2019 Life Goals // Blogmas Day 16

I recently did a post where I talked about my reading goals for the year, but I wanted to include some of my “life-related” goals, too!

I am a super goal-oriented person, so setting to-do lists and making bucket lists is my absolute favorite thing ever. So, here are the things I hope I accomplish this year :)

Save $1k

I am the absolute worst at saving money. I made myself the goal of saving 1k in my bank account between September and December, but that just didn’t happen. I work a job at school which means I get paid minimum wage, and I can only work a certain number of hours a week. But, I plan on getting a job over summer break outside of school again so that I can save more money, and I’m just going to be more conscious about it in general.

Finish my poetry manuscript

I’ve had a name and theme idea for a poetry collection for months, and I eventually want to publish it. So, this year I want to work on drafting together all of the poems, organizing, editing, and then finalizing the details of it so that I can eventually send them off to a publisher or self-publish it!

Finish the first draft of my novel

I don’t plan on publishing an actual novel for a while, I want my debut as a novelist to be something I truly love. However, I want to finish the first draft of my current WIP, even though I know it will never be published. It’s great practice though, and would make me so happy!

End my second semester with straight As

I have been working really hard this year so far so earn the grades I have, and I want to keep this streak up next semester! School is my number one priority right now, and I want to do well.

Get a summer job/internship

Like I said earlier, I want to get a job over the summer to save up some extra $$. It really doesn’t matter where it is at this point, I just want to find something!

Hit 1k followers on here

I am so proud of this little blog I started when I was a little sophomore. It’s been through a lot of ups, downs, and changes, but I love where I am today. Numbers are not something I focus on heavily, but it would be nice to reach this number!

Hit 500 followers on my poetry instagram

Alongside the last goal, I also want to hit 500 followers on my poetry account because poetry is something I want to take more seriously this year. The reason for setting this number is just because it will hold me more accountable when it comes to posting. I want to make sure I consistently post on the account.

Go on a road trip with friends

I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip with my friends, but we’ve never been able to actually do it. It would be so much fun, and hopefully I get to do it in the future!

Let me know what your goals are in the comments below :) See you tomorrow!

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Why I started Blogging // Blogmas Day 5

It’s crazy to me that I started blogging (seriously) a little over three years ago. Time really does fly. I still remember when I first created my website, and the thrill of all of the new possibilities ahead of me gave me goosebumps. Back then, this site was not called Kisses From Jess (I honestly can’t even remember the very first name of it), and my posts were mainly fashion and beauty related.

Today, we are here at Kisses From Jess, a name that stuck for about two years now (after some heavy rebranding), and I write about books and writing- things I am truly passionate about.

These past three years have been full of ups and downs, and I have changed, learned, grown so much despite it all.

I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the reasons I began blogging in the first place because it was a decision that truly changed my life.

I needed a creative outlet

So, before this blog, I actually gave Youtube a shot. Many of the friends I met online had Youtube channels, and I used to watch other content creator’s videos constantly. I thought it was perfect. But I quickly discovered that Youtube was not for me. I did it for about a year, and then I quit.

But I was feeling so restless. I needed to put my creative energy into something else, now that I wasn’t filming and editing videos. I’ve thought about blogging before, and I had a Tumblr account back in the day that I was on constantly. So I figured, why not give it a try?

I love to write and wanted to explore this passion

I also thought of blogging over other things because I love to write. I have been creating stories and writing poems for as long as I can remember, and English was always my favorite subject.

I knew that this was something I wanted to do more of, and eventually share it with the world! Blogging allowed me to do just that. Now, I share a lot of my poetry on here, and I even post writing updates on books I’m writing (how crazy is that?!).

To develop new relationships and meet new people

Finally, I wanted to meet likeminded people that I could connect with. It’s hard to find people in real life that are as passionate as me about writing and reading and all of the other things I post about.

I attended a Vo-Tech high school where the focus was on studying medicine and health. I realized that is something I no longer want to pursue in freshman year. I was surrounded by people who were passionate about studying medicine, while I was more interested in creating new stories.

Blogging allowed me to meet so many amazing people who I now call my friends. I really don’t know where I’d be without the support of so many of these people.

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That is it for my little post today. I hope you found this inspiring, and maybe it will make you want to start your own blog! As always, feel free to leave any comments down below, I love reading all of them :)

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NaNoWriMo week 2 update- spoiler alert: things are getting tough

Another week of November has passed, which means we are 1/2 way through NaNo (and I’m posting this on my birthday)!

The first week of NaNo went really well for me, which you can read all about in my week 1 update.

Unfortunately, the second week has been very far from successful. The second week is hard for everyone, especially if you’re not used to writing so much everyday (like me). I lost my momentum, and I felt like I was spiraling down with no way to stop myself. 

For the first two days of this second week, I was just extremely busy and only managed to get about 600 words in each day. That meant I was very far behind, and catching up is extremely hard to do when you’re supposed to be hitting 1.6k words a day.

The next two days were pretty good, and I wrote over 2k words for both of them! But, I was still behind by over 1k words.

The next day was my worst day up to this point. I only wrote 200 words, and I was feeling super discouraged. Plus, school was starting to catch up with me and I was feeling very anxious because of it. I was probably almost 4k words behind at this point. 

Things just didn’t look good for me when it came to NaNo.

BUT

I’m here to remind you not to give up. NaNo is hard. Writing in general is HARD. Even though writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, it is still work. Which means there are going to be days where I’m not going to feel like writing at all. And that’s okay.

This week was full of ups and downs for me. I had some of my worst writing days this week, but I also managed to hit my highest word count in a day (over 3k words!). 

I’m still behind on the target word count, but I’m not giving up!

I have decided to change gears a bit with NaNo, and although I’m still going to shoot for 50k, my goal now is just to write everyday. Even if that means putting down 20 words and stopping there, I’m okay with that.

After all, the whole point of NaNo is just to write and be surrounded by a community of people who like to write, too.

I hope you are all having a successful NaNo, which to me means making any progress on your novel at all. 

Good luck with the next fifteen days, and remember- you automatically win NaNo just for trying :) 

NaNoWriMo tracking & reward system | week 1 update

Hello everyone! Today marks one week of NaNoWriMo! I’m happy to say that I’m actually surviving, and I’m on target with my word count. I didn’t know if I would even make it this far, so I’m extremely proud of myself and all that I’ve accomplished. I’m past 10k words at this point! That is so crazy to me.

I didn’t realize that all I needed to get myself to write was a bit of a push. I wish that I had forced myself to participate in NaNo in the past, like I did this year. Maybe I could have written multiple novels by now.

I think what’s really helping me is my tracking and reward system! If you didn’t see my last post, you can check it out here. I mentioned the Lightspeed Planner, which I have been using since the start of the month. I am absolutely loving it! I would highly recommend checking it out and possible buying one for yourself.

Here is what a blank page looks like:

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How I use it for NaNo:

Each day looks slightly different, but I always write my word count goal in either the “must do” or the “should do” spot because it is a huge priority for me. I don’t plan on ever putting it in the “could do” category unless I absolutely have more important things taking up my time. If it’s in the “should do” category, it’s because I have a big homework assignment that I need to complete before I can write. Otherwise, it always goes in the “must do.”

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As for the notes section, I use that to track my actual progress. I write down how many words I started the day with, then I write how many I ended with. On the right side, I put down the total words written that day. If I am on target for NaNo, I give myself a star sticker for that day. I really want to keep that streak going and have a star every single day, so this is another motivating factor. The planner also has a little pocket in the back, so I can keep all of my stickers with me!

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In the planner, there is also a performance tracker. You can rate yourself on a scale from 10-100% based off of how well you performed in a given day. The way I use it is that every 10%=200 words. Therefore, 100% means I wrote 2000 words! It’s very hard for me to write 2k words in a day, so I haven’t yet reached this. However, it motivates me to push myself so that I can get as high up as possible. My highest was 90% one day, which I am extremely proud of!

Rewards System:

The back of the planner contains some pages for you to set your goals. I’m using this as a rewards system for each milestone I hit in NaNo. Here’s how it looks:

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  • 10k words- Chick-fil-a trip
  • 25k words- clothes shopping
  • 40k words- buy myself a book
  • 50k words- get the new Kindle Paperwhite!!

This has been a great way to push myself to keep going. I want the Kindle Paperwhite so bad, so I’m only letting myself get it once I hit 50k words. Ideally, this would be by November 30th, meaning I won NaNo. However, if I don’t make it, I’m still going to use this to make sure I finish this draft after NaNo is over!

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I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! I am loving my system and how well it’s been working for me so far. Let me know if you have a system of your own and how it works for you, cause I’m always open to new ideas.

Also, check out the lightspeed planner, which you can buy here!

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how to stay organized in school

*This post contains a promotion for the Lightspeed Planner, but all opinions are my own.

I am HUGE on organization. I keep all of my stuff in order, and I work really hard to create systems for myself to keep my papers together.

In college, you don’t get a lot of space to keep all of your papers/textbooks for school (if you dorm), and you don’t have anyone around to tell you to keep your things neat.

I have a few tips here to help you stay organized for the rest of the semester (and hopefully the rest of your school career), which I hope you find helpful.

Use a Planner

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Using a planner is truly vital- especially in college. If you don’t write down all of your assignments, you’re going to lose track of what you have to do. Planners are so beneficial, and you can schedule out time for all of your activities. They are a great visual to utilize, and I would be so lost without mine.

Professors (almost always) give you a syllabi with all of the assignments for the semester listed on them with the due dates, so you can go ahead and mark the calendar right away. This way you won’t forget about something, especially if the Professor doesn’t talk about it in class.

Also, with a planner, you can evenly spread your time out between school, work, friends, and other obligations. You can make sure you have an even balance of everything, and see how much time you spend on each activity.

Planners are just life changing.

Buy a File Folder/Accordion Folder

I can not explain to you how useful having an accordion folder has been for me. I write so many essays and take so many exams. Eventually I don’t need them anymore for the current class, but they may be useful again for either the final exam, or a future class. I don’t want to get rid of all of the notes I have, so I put them all in accordion folders and separate them by class.

My plan right now is to have a new one for each semester, so that way I can easily find anything I’m looking for. You really don’t know when those notes will come in handy again. Obviously, there are many things I throw out and don’t keep, but I like to keep the big assignments or important works that I might be thankful for at a later time.

Pack Your Bag Ahead of Time

The night before every weekday, I pack my backpack. This is extremely important to me, because I tend to get very stressed out in the mornings, especially when I give myself some extra time to sleep in. If I put the things I need in my bag in the morning, I tend to forget things or bring things I don’t need.

Doing it the night before just helps to eliminate some stress!

Make To-Do Lists

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I have been using the Lightspeed Planner for my daily to-do lists, and I am LOVING it. It makes everything so simple and helps you to prioritize your important tasks. It contains around 280 undated pages that are all the same:

  • Must Do
  • Should Do
  • Could Do

It helps you to identify your three main objectives for the day, and will ensure you stay on track. I think overwhelming yourself with too many tasks makes everything very overwhelming and stressful. By just focusing on 3 things a day (you can always write multiple things in each box if you really need), you can fully dedicate yourself to those three things.

At the bottom, there is also a notes section, as well as a progress tracker. You can decide how productive you were for the day, which is really motivating for me.

Overall, using to-do lists really inspires you, and checking off every box on the list is a very great feeling.

Set Time to Clean

Dedicate a specific day/time to cleaning. The days go by so quickly, and sometimes it feels as though you just cleaned your room yesterday, but really it’s been almost two weeks. You really don’t realize how fast it goes by.

I usually dedicate Thursdays to cleaning because it tends to be my lightest day of workload. I have enough time in between my two classes to Swiffer my floor, dust my furniture, organize my files, and clean out my fridge. After class, I usually do my laundry, and then I have the rest of the day to do whatever else I want/need to do.

If I didn’t specifically set this time, I probably wouldn’t dust my room very often, and it would get messy very quickly.

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Please let me know if you try out any of these tips, or if you use them already! Comment some of your organization tips, too. I can always use some more suggestions.

Also, be sure to check out the Lightspeed Planner! I highly recommend it :)

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dear 2017

dear 2017,

You were one of the craziest years of my life. So much had happened, both good and bad. I went through a lot. I’ve also grown so much.

So I just want to say thank you.

Thank you for teaching me to give it all I’ve got if I want to accomplish my dreams. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself and in my work. Thank you for teaching me to slow down, take a deep breath, and take one step at a time. Thank you for bringing the most amazing people into my life. Thank you for giving me so many amazing opportunities. Thank you for showing me the importance of hard work.

Looking back at my journal, I can see that I really focused on myself this year. I wanted a chance to reinvent myself and feel like me again. However, I also lost myself towards the end of the year. I was in a strange and unfamiliar place that I am only starting to come out of now.

This year, I pierced my ear again, read more than ever before, went on a weeklong vacation with my family (over 20 of us), applied to colleges, got my first (and second) job, went camping, started my senior year of high school, got into 9 colleges, and became an adult (!!).

I am finally in a happy place in my life. I want to continue down this road, and make 2018 even more memorable than 2017.

dear 2018,

I promise to make you wonderful.

2018 goals

I am a huge goal setter. I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for myself all the time because I like to keep myself motivated with them.  So naturally, I had to create this post because the beginning of 2018 is now upon us. I know 2017 wasn’t the best year for everyone, but that just means we can only go up in 2018. Besides the things that were going on in the world, I changed a lot in 2017. However, I am looking forward to 2018, and I hope to change more than just myself- I want to change the world.

And now, the reason you clicked on this post- my goals!

Say “yes” more

I say no to going out and doing things a lot. I am a homebody, and I need time for myself in order to recharge. I haven’t been spending a lot of times with friends over the past couple of months, especially since I started working. Over winter break, I finally had the rest I needed, and I feel like I am ready to go out again.

Go on more adventures

Like I said before, I stay home a lot. When I do go out, it’s always to the same few places, and I don’t mix it up a lot. This year I am hoping to change that. I want to explore new places in my town and in my state. I want to step out of my comfort zone and see all the different sights there are to see.

Use my film camera more

Over the summer, I bought a film camera, and since then, I have only developed one roll of film. I want to take more pictures and actually use the camera, since I spent a lot of money on it. I want to take the pictures so I can turn them into physical memories. I just need to remember to bring the camera with me.

Spend Less money

I have been a shopaholic my entire life. This is my worst trait in my opinion, because it means when I finally have some money, I impulsively buy way too many things that I don’t even need. If I only follow one resolution, I want it to be this one. Wish me luck (I’m really going to need it for this one).

Read for quality, not quantity

In 2017, I read a total of 65 books. My goal on Goodreads was 50, so I definitely surpassed that. However, I was constantly picking up the shorter books from my TBR in order to finish more books. I don’t want to read like this in 2018, because I don’t want reading to be a competition. Therefore, I set my goal to only 1 book this year so that I can still keep track of what I read, but without the added stress of reaching a goal.

Get organized when it comes to blogging

Way back two years ago, when I first began this blog, I was so organized. I planned out each post, I scheduled them weeks in advance, and had all my pictures taken and ready. Now, I write blog posts in a hurry because I find that I never have time to write them. I want this to change. I want to go back to producing quality content. Hopefully this first post will begin this challenge. I also want to get a routine and a schedule for posting.

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Those are all of my goals for this year. What are some of your resolutions?

xo, jessica

top 10 books of 2017

2017 was a really amazing reading year for me, and while I am sad for it to be over, I am also really excited to see how well 2018 goes for me! I read so many great books, so narrowing this book down was extremely difficult! But, I have done it, and here are my top 10 books of the year!

10. Never Never

I absolutely love Colleen Hoover, and I have read so many of her books (and I own so many more). I read this e-book towards the beginning of the year, and while it is really short, it was so fascinating. I haven’t gotten to part 2 or 3 yet (I have no excuse), but just the first part was enough to make me fall in love. Hopefully I will get to the other 2 very soon!

9. Eighteen Years

I just recently finished reading this but it was a great collection of poetry! I wanted to read it for such a long time and then I finally got around to it. It was so emotional and strong.

8. Always and Forever, Lara Jean

This is the finally book in the trilogy, and it was my favorite. It was such a great way to end the story of Lara Jean. I fell in love with the characters even more, and it was so sad to think that it was going to be over. I really enjoyed the book, mostly because the series was really important to me.

7. Caraval

Coming in at number 7 is this widely known book! I absolutely loved reading it and I was so fascinated the entire time. The plot twist was crazy, and the world was so interesting. I am glad I decided to read it, even though it’s not something I would normally pick up.

6. Illuminae

This is another book that I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards but I got it for a really good price online. I was a bit confused by it when I first started it, but soon I was completely hooked. I absolutely need to read the second book, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. I highly recommend giving it a try because the style was so unique.

5. The Princess Saves Herself in this One

This was the first book I finished in 2017, and it set my year off on a good start. When I think of poetry, this is the book that comes to mind. Since reading it in January, I now own a total of 3 copies (all signed) and I have read it twice. The poetry is amazing, the author (Amanda Lovelace) is so sweet, and the message is empowering. I suggest this book to everyone and I talk about it so often.

4. Talking as Fast as I Can

If you love the show Gilmore Girls (like I do), then you have to read this book! It is written by Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and it is an autobiography. She talks all about the show in a comedic way, as well as different events in her life. It was so interesting to listen to (I got the audiobook) especially in her voice.

3. Everything Leads to You

This book really showed me a different side of the film industry that I hadn’t thought about in the past, so it was so interesting to learn about. The entire story was also really cute. I will probably be re-reading this soon, too.

2. The Hate U Give

I’m sure you have already heard about this book, but if you haven’t, you need to go read it right now. It was so POWERFUL. It really took my breath away. The story is very relevant to the world right now and deals with race issues (black lives matter movement). I think this needs to be read by everyone, and it would be a great book to read at school.

1. Turtles All the Way Down

This is John Green’s latest novel, and it was BEAUTIFUL. It was such a relief to read a book that accurately portrayed OCD and anxiety. People often think I am exaggerating when my compulsions get the best of me, but they are true. I wish I could hand all of my friends this book to read in order to understand me better. I often don’t know how to phrase my own anxieties, but he did it in the perfect way.

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What were some of your favorite books of the year? I would love to know! Leave it down in the comments :)

xo, Jessica

first q&a !

A few weeks ago I asked you all to ask me some questions for a Q&A, and now I’m here to answer them!

What book(s) made a huge impact on you as a kid and now?

When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was The Hunger Games. I was obsessed with it and it was one of the first books that I actually couldn’t wait to get my hands on. I was in 6th or 7th grade when I read it, but I think it would be so interesting to re-read it and see if my opinion has changed at all.

Now, there are way too many books that have had an impact on me. To name a few- To Kill A Mockingbird, The Hate U Give, The Princess Saves Herself in This One.

Has a book ever derailed you and completely changed the course of your life?

No, a book has never completely changed my life. There are definitely books that have changed my mindset or made me see things from a new perspective, but not enough to change my life around.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I am planning on going to college to be a public relations major, so I would like to be something under that field. Possible a publicist or a public relations manager. I also hope to be an author, which would be my ultimate goal in life.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?

I don’t collect anything now, unless books count. When I was younger, I used to collect many random things- rocks, nail polish, etc.

What is your favorite poem and favorite form and why!

I have so many favorite poems. There are honestly too many to choose. One of them is haiku #2 from Madisen Kuhn’s book “Eighteen Years”. I also really love poems by Amanda Lovelace.

I don’t have a favorite poetry form though. I like any style, as long as it is well written. What I look for in poetry is just emotion and an ability to relate to the subject.

If you’d like to answer any of these questions in the comments, feel free to do so! I’d love o know your answers.

Also, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and an amazing holiday season!

See you soon.

xo, jessica

17 things i learned being 17

On November 15th, I turned 18. That is INSANE to me. I am officially an adult. This past year has been all about growing and learning for me. I have definitely changed as a person, friend, writer, blogger, and student. Not only did I get my license, but I also started my first official job, finished my college applications (and even got some acceptances back already), and so much more. I know that I will continue to grow everyday, but I wanted to do this post so that you guys can hear some of my advice (no matter what age).

  1. take care of your body.
  2. do what makes YOU happy
  3. it’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out
  4. crying does not make you weak!!
  5. not everyone is meant to stay in your life
  6. be kind to everyone
  7. mistakes are okay
  8. don’t be afraid to show people you care
  9. write everyday
  10. you can say “no” without making up excuses
  11. get off of your phone sometimes
  12. don’t be so negative all the time
  13. don’t let the little things bother you
  14. embrace the future, don’t let it scare you
  15. you are the only one who can make things happen for yourself
  16. stay humble
  17. you are doing just fine

Each of these little lessons/reminders have helped me live a less anxious and happier life. I struggled a lot at the beginning of the year with anxiety and stress, but these tips were really useful. I hope you keep these in mind, and I hope they help you out!

xo, Jessica