Remember that time that I made “invest” my word for 2014? And then I wrote a nice summary of how that was going at the end of February and again in April? And then my goal for the year was never heard from again? Just like a New Year’s Resolution to not make it past the first quarter.
Except I actually didn’t entirely forget about it. But when I realized I’d skipped writing an investing post for May and June, I decided just to wait until the end of the summer to provide an update. So here we are.
It’s a little amusing to me that “self” is the first topic I added to this post template. I was looking forward to sharing about the progress in the other areas, but I don’t feel particularly strongly about this one. On one hand, my blog, my home, my job and my body are all parts of myself and I did do a lot of work there. On the other hand, much of this summer has felt like it’s been about external things.
But it’s not all bad. I read some books and took trips to Chicago, the Jersey Shore and Maine. I participated in a small group bible study at my church which I’m looking forward to restarting this fall. But overall, self-care has not been a focus.
I have spent a lot of time on my blog this summer. In my last investing update I mentioned that I’d done a Google Helpout with Katy Widrick and the effects of that are still on-going. Katy suggested that I work toward more clearly finding my niche by focusing my blog on local topics. At first I was really hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the more interested I was. I love living in the Berkshires and there are a lot of awesome food related events that are worth sharing about. The shift of the Relishments brand from food and flexitarianism in general to food and flexitarianism in the Berkshires isn’t a huge one, but it did result in a new header image, new social media images and bios and some new content. You may have noticed an increase in local posts over the past couple months; my current plan is to write about specific Berkshire things (events, stores, restaurants, etc.) twice a month.
I’ve continued to work towards finding an advertising strategy that works for me. Most of my ads are still affiliate ads and not providing revenue yet, so I’ve supplemented with some other income through Lijit and Google Adsense. One of my goals is to court local advertisers, but I’m not sure when I’ll be working on that. I’ve also been working on using my biggest referrers, Pinterest and StumbleUpon, to my advantage.
Another super useful result of the Helpout I did with Katy was the Facebook group I joined. The amount of help the group members provide each other is amazing. You can thank their input for the look of my new media kit, the social media sharing icons that now appear on the left side of my blog and the fact that I’ve stuck to my editorial calendar so well lately.
As always, I would love any blog feedback you may have!
In my April/May post, I bemoaned the fact that we hadn’t made any house progress in a long time. That was not the case this summer. We took advantage of a great sale to get 2 Threshold 6-cube organizers from Target (not an affiliate link) for our upstairs hall to make up for our lack of a linen closet and I love the way they look. We also finally put curtains in our living room and office, thanks to Zulily (affiliate link). We also hung a bunch of artwork and photos that had been leaning up against the wall since we moved in. It’s almost like this house in inhabited by adults! Almost.
This weekend, Brian and my dad are planning to install wire shelving in our pantry. I’ve been dreaming of this shelving (which will replace the white particleboard bookshelves we’re currently using) since we moved in. I hope it all goes well!
Summer relationships are weird. I’ve hardly talked to anyone from school and many of my local friends are so busy with kids and vacations and work that it’s hard to make plans. My daily emails with my sister fell off because of my random schedule.
That said, some of my other relationships have been renewed this summer. I had the change to attend the wedding of one of my college best friends. The Jersey Shore family reunion with Brian’s side was the first time I was able to really talk to some of his relatives. We’ll have seen my parents on two occasions. Brian’s college roommate came to visit for a weekend. We hung out with my college roommate and her family for a day. And I suddenly and randomly revived relationships with some formerly very close friends, thanks to the internet.
In terms of school, I invested decently this summer. I’m rolling out a new teacher website this fall which has seen some serious work. I’m also teaching a brand new and very different course that I’m excited about. Work on that will be on-going, guaranteed. I also invested a chunk of change at yard sales and used book sales on items for a classroom library. I’m really excited about it; probably more excited than my students ever will be. I also passed the teacher certification test I took in June, so now I can really call myself an overachiever.
This summer I worked a new summer job at a non-profit. It ended up being a lot more work than I expected, but I am loving it. Some aspects of the job are going to continue throughout the school year, which is also awesome. My investments there are pretty concrete and it’s fun to see their effects. I also think that stepping back from teaching for a bit will give me more energy for the fall.
You would think that someone with a really flexible summer work schedule could manage to get into a fitness routine, but I didn’t. I did make it to yoga once or twice. I ran two 5k races – The Humane Race and the Dash for Dana – and felt good about my times. I did some running in preparation for those races and I’ve done some running since. I’ve also done a lot of walking. Not bad, but considering what I could’ve been doing, not impressive either.