Lists, Personal, Reviews

2014: A Top Ten List

2013 was a bit of a mixed bag for me. There were parts that were very good and there were several that were…less so. I’ve spent the year trying to remember that I can’t control everything. I’ve also had to accept that some things just were not meant to happen (and to ignore all of the shit I can’t change – this has helped). As for the good parts: my blog stats improved (35,000 visitors,  4974 comments (though honestly they had nowhere to go but up and half of those comments are mine)), I traveled to several places (some new, some not: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Montreal), I did some traveling around my home state (Telluride, Aspen, and The Stanley Hotel/Estes Park), I saw Bob Dylan in concert (this was a 30 before 30 goal), and I finished renovating four rooms in my house (11 more to go, anyone want to buy it?). As for the bad parts, I won’t go there, but I will say I finally broke down and cried when my dishwasher caught on fire. The silver lining? My house didn’t burn down.


I don’t typically make resolutions and this year will be no exception. I do set goals though. Specifically, I pick one goal each month and try and complete that (i.e. January’s goal is organization). This week’s top ten list: goals (bookish and not so bookish, as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) for 2014.

  • I would like to grow blog readership. Do I have a plan on how to do this? No. So far I’ve been very lucky and met some really wonderful people who’ve stuck around. Thanks guys. You’re the best. Now I just need to figure out how to keep going without exhausting myself.
  • Have my blog be aesthetically pleasing. Sometimes I worry the only way to really accomplish this is to move to self-hosted. Ugh.
  • In the not so bookish resolutions, do something nice for myself once a month. I had my first facial last autumn and it was magical.
  • This will be an awkward one. Dress better. I spent about 30 hours a week working on site, but I spend about 15 hours a week working from home. It’s the home part that’s dangerous for me. I tend to take the yoga pants/men’s flannel/top knot approach (incidentally, that’s exactly what I’m wearing right now). Yep, I look like I never want to get laid again. The new rule: if I’d be too embarrassed to answer the door, don’t wear it.
  • Personal posts. Have more of them. I am an incredibly private person (even if it doesn’t always seem like it – see above). I’d like to figure out where to draw the line and I’m working on that, as I did in 2013. After all, this is a public blog, from my perspective, written by me – you’re not here for Jake Gyllenhaal’s opinion.
  • Attend BEA in May. I’m not super fond of NY or huge conventions, so this will be a challenge, but there are some great people going that I would love to meet.
  • Participate in no challenges. This may seem counterintuitive to point #2, but I had challenge overload in 2013 and didn’t like it. This year I’m reading whatever I want – within reason.
  • Be happy, healthy, and sleep more. Simple enough, right?

So what are your goals for the new year?

Image found here.

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  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    Can I make it my goal to wear more yoga pants, men’s flannels and top knots? Because I’m a little jealous right now. Growing the blog without exhausting is a balance I’m working toward this year, too…hopefully we can find a way to do that.

    • Rory

      I’ve abused the look for the last two months or so. It didn’t help that I was as sick as a dog. I had a double ear infection, who gets that as an adult?

      I don’t want to get to the point where this isn’t fun anymore. So as long as I don’t cross that line, it should be good. But here’s to blog-life balance! 🙂

      • Kelly Massry

        I get ear infections! Just had one last week and I’m almost done with my dose of antibiotic. Seriously, my colds always go to my ear – you’re not alone!

        • Rory

          That makes me feel moderately better, but mostly I have all the respect and pity for you. It stinks.

  • Lianne @

    I’ve been thinking about purchasing a customizable theme for my blog but then I end up stalling whenever I think about how much I’d need to dish out for that. Ehh, one of these days, lol.

    I’d also love to attend BEA one of these days but I’m sure I wouldn’t know what to do with myself once I get there. Probably self-combust from all the stuff you can do there xD But yes, I’d love to do that one of these days too.

    lol I’ve been caught on occasion running to the door to sign for a package and I’m looking rather D= (in one case recently I was still in PJs and staring at him bleary-eyed because his door-belling woke me up *good times*)

    Great list! Best of luck with your resolutions this year–I especially like the last one 😀 My TTT

    • Rory

      I don’t want to self-host because of the extra work. But if I want things to look the way I want, I’m going to half to.

      I have no idea what to do when I get there. I’ve seen pictures, it’s really intense.

      My delivery guy is used to my look. He probably be shocked if I opened the door in something that did not resemble pajamas.

      Same to you!

  • bookaliciousmama

    Wonderful resolutions. I’m so happy we’ve gotten to know each other! I agree that growing readership is exhausting……

    • Rory

      It’s tough to find a balance, even more so if you have stalled in growth (which seems to be where I am at the moment, but December is a tough months to judge).

      And me too, blogging is so much better with a great support group!

  • lauratfrey

    My goals are not so different from yours. Maybe I’ll get to writing my own post tonight. I think you’re on the right track!

    I’d love to go to BEA one day but it’s quite a haul for me. Maybe when the kids are older.

    I personally don’t see anything wrong with yoga pants. I even wear leggings as pants sometimes *shock* *horror* 🙂

    • Rory

      I’ll get there one way or another. Where? I don’t know, but I am on the track to something.

      It’s not close for me either, but at least it’s within the same country.

      I like yoga pants, it’s the amount of time I spent wearing nothing but yoga (and slouchy tops, I need to get out of the grungy ’90s) that’s embarrassing me. I wear legging with tunics a lot too, but I try and make the effort and pair them with nice riding boots. Usually.

  • Christine @ BookishlyB

    Happy New Year! I have my bookish goals, but personally I’ve settled on a few: vacuum every other day, brush my dogs’ teeth and walk them 5 times a week, worry less (ha), and stop getting so far behind on my grading. I love the idea of having a new goal every month, though- makes things seem more attainable.

    • Rory

      God I need to worry less. But then I worry about worrying less and realize that’s not going to happen. The 12 goals a year has worked well for me in the past, so hopefully it does this year too.

  • Words for Worms

    “I would like to grow blog readership. Do I have a plan on how to do this? No. So far I’ve been very lucky and met some really wonderful people who’ve stuck around. Thanks guys. You’re the best. Now I just need to figure out how to keep going without exhausting myself.” THIS. So much this.

    • Rory

      YES. I feel like I’m stuck in blog limbo at the moment. (Big) Sigh.

  • Liesel Hill

    I SO want to go to BEA. Don’t know if it will happen this year. I live across the country and it would be a major trip and expense, but we’ll see how everything goes. 😀 Great goals! 😀

    My TTT

    • Rory

      Me too. The expense is part of the problem. Living in CO it takes forever to get anywhere. I’m still hoping to pull it off, if I don’t chicken out and make excuses.

  • Nish

    Your blog is already quite pretty. I am curious to see what ideas you will implement once you move to self-hosted.

    I moved last year with huge ambitions as well, but my blog look still remains basic. I just don’t have the time, design ideas, and css skills to actually do very much :(.

  • Charleen

    #4 is something – along with getting more comfortable with makeup, hairstyling, and accessorizing – that I’ve been working on for a while. I’ll never be the woman who can’t run to the store for a quick couple things or drop off my (non-existant) kids at school without full hair and makeup, but I want to be able to present myself as an adult, and I want to choose to do so more often than taking the lazy “I don’t care, I’ll never see these people again” approach.

    Great goals. Good luck!

    • Rory

      I go to work looking professional enough (I hope), although my boss did give me the side eye about my chipped black nail polish the other day.

      I spend at least 50% of the time without make-up on. I’m okay with that now, but we’ll see how that changes as I get older. The good thing to looking younger is that when sales people answer the door and ask if my parents are home I can say no and shut the door.

      • Charleen

        I can look nice/professional when I have to, but I feel uncomfortable and self-conscious, like I’m trying too hard. I want to get more comfortable with it to the point where that can be my default. It’d be nice not to have my husband act surprised any time I put more than five minutes into my appearance.

        • Rory

          Haha. The other day someone told me my hair looked nice. My response: “Oh, thanks, I combed it.” embarrassing.

  • Ciska (@_Ciska_)

    I hope you will enjoy BEA even though the setting might not be great. I do not like big crowds or cities for that matter but just think of the great people you will meet and ALL THE BOOKS 😉

    I love your blog and am so glad I have found it this year!! Please keep it up either in jeans or yoga pants!

    • Rory

      I like cities when I can relax and stay awhile. New York is not a place I liked to be rushed through. And BEA is so MASSIVE, but you’re right – ALL THE BOOKS.

      Rather shamefully, the yoga pants will probably stay around (I’m wearing a new pair this morning).

  • tanya

    I work at home too and my look is rather depressing. But I hope to dress more nicely when i go to the BEA. It sounds like a fiar number of us are planning to go and I can’t wait.

    • Rory

      I know quite a few people who are planning to go to BEA. I’d love to go and hopefully will. I will be leaving my yoga pants at home, even though walking around BEA would be way more comfortable in yoga pants. It should be fun, comfortable or not.

  • DrFrood

    I’m a ‘fail big’ kind of guy, so goals for the year include becoming king of the world.

    I figure lots of highly intelligent, qualified and experienced people have done the job before of running parts of the world, and look at the mess they all made of it so I’ve got as good a chance as anyone…

    Growing the readership sounds like a lot of work and comfortable, loose fitting clothing tends to make it easier. so I wouldn’t give up on the yoga pants etc just yet. I generally just revise my shame levels downwards so if someone’s fool enough to come to my door they have to take whatever I’m wearing. Good luck with your goals.

    • Rory

      I’m the opposite, I really do not like to fail. I will go a long way to avoid doing things I might fail at. Obviously this is a problem. But then again, my success rate is very high. So…king of the world? And what is your first order of business? I really do think it’s true you have as good of a chance of success as the rest of the people in power, this is as insulting as it is complimentary.

      I don’t think yoga pants will disappear any time soon (as they are quite handy to have when I actually do yoga). I just want to move on from the look that I’ve already thrown in the towel. Sadly I’m not one of the lucky women that look good in men’s clothes, so I’m trying to keep the shame levels above rock bottom. I think the problem is that I’m not embarrassed to answer the door (and I probably should be).

      And good luck to you too, hopefully you have a fall back plan if world ruler doesn’t work out.

      • DrFrood

        First order of business is a tricky one – there’s so much to accomplish. I’ll think about it while I’m posing for one of the statues in my honour.

        • Rory

          Ah, I see. You’re only in it for the glory.

          • DrFrood

            Not just the glory, but y’know, priorities…

          • Rory

            1. Vanity
            2. Notoriety
            3. Authority

            67. World Peace

            Or something like that.

          • DrFrood

            1. Statue
            2. Getting a proper 4th series of Arrested Development made
            3. Getting the original Star Wars trilogy released without all of Lucas’ silly embellishments thereby improving international relations.
            4. Crushing my enemies thereby conclusively achieving world peace
            5. Renewable energy and hugs for pandas
            6. Finishing The Wire

          • Rory

            Knowing pandas will get love and affection makes me feel better about the whole thing. You have my full support.

          • DrFrood

            Thank you.

            You can be my chief librarian and head of security. Do you have any bow hunting skills?

          • Rory

            You’re welcome.

            And yes, I learned everything I know from The Walking Dead.

            (Low expectations are encouraged.)

  • Heather

    I would not be embarrassed to answer the door in the yoga pants/men’s flannel/top knot combo. Heh. I dress like that at home, too (except I wear jeans every day instead of yoga pants), and I must say, I’m not ashamed. Haha!

    • Rory

      I’m not, that’s the problem. I by no means plan to dress impressively, but I hope to at least look like I got out of bed before 9 (even if I didn’t). If bedhead would become stylish, I’d be golden. Somehow it’s frowned upon at the museum I work at. I think my coworkers don’t know what they’re missing out on by not taking an hour to style their hair.

      It takes a lot to shame me. In fact, I don’t even know what would. I know there’s something, give it time, it will inevitably happen.

  • Acid Free Pulp

    I don’t think you should worry about the “at-home uniform.” As we speak, I am typing in an oversized sweatshirt and flannel pajama bottoms. Also, I do really like the appearance of your blog. I know this is important (and its something I worry about for my own), but you’re definitely on the right track.

    • Rory


      I love oversized sweatshirts. And I don’t worry about it so much as I feel better when I look better. I’m already prone to being emotionally down in Jan/Feb that if something little can change my mood, I should probably do it.

      I’m picky about aesthetics on the blog (and in my house, at my work desk, etc), so thanks for letting me know it’s not as bad as I think it is. 🙂

      • Acid Free Pulp

        Yes! I usually go bonkers by February from everything winter. If I’m working at home, of course, I don’t need to brush my hair but sometimes you just got to pull yourself together and get the hairbrush out.
        Good luck with moving back east. Flying in to or out of the city is always a pain no matter what.

        • Rory

          Hairbrush? That’s what hats are for. I’m an adult, I should not be serious here, yet I am…

          And thanks. I’m headed back next week for an interview. I got so pissed off dealing with Logan a few months ago (mostly the rental car center) that I opted to fly to Manchester instead. The rental car center is in front of baggage claim – so convenient. I don’t know why I told you that, but in case you ever need to fly and want a convenient experience…

          • Acid Free Pulp

            Many limbs crossed for your interview.
            I always appreciate good flying tips, especially because I do go to Logan. A few weeks ago, I had my one and only swift experience there. I don’t know why. Everything just lined up correctly for once.

  • Acid Free Pulp

    Also, one year, I was an invited to a party at book expo and it was a lot of fun. I recommend you go if you can.

    • Rory

      I (fingers crossed) might be moving back east. I don’t know yet. If I do it will be a lot easier to attend BEA. I like New York, but I don’t like when I have to fly in and out within three days, it’s definitely not as much fun. If I’m only a few hours away, I won’t have the added hassle of getting to the airport/on the plane/to the hotel… If I don’t move, I’m still willing to brave the airport, I’ll just be a bit crankier.

  • ebookclassics

    Good luck with your goals! Have you participated in Armchair BEA? I’ve also been thinking about self-hosting, but don’t know where to start and don’t know if it’s a good idea since I barely have time to work on my blog that way it is now.

    • Rory

      I’ve watched armchair BEA, I’m always working when it’s going on, so I’ve never participated.

      My primary objection to self-hosting is the initial move. It’s a lot of work to do by yourself and it’s not cheap to have someone else do it. Since I’ll never make a fortune on the blog, I’m not sure how much I want to invest into it. Decisions, decisions…

  • Sarah Says Read

    But the embarassing clothes are the MOST COMFY!

    You were crazy busy this past year – that amount of travelling in one year is insane to me! I’m lucky if I get to leave my home city once a year. MAN I would love to go to BEA this year… but probably ain’t gonna happen :-/

    Oh, and I think your blog is very aesthetically pleasing! I like the simple style. Good luck with your goals!!

    • Rory

      Yes, they are. And I do rock my “never trust an atom t-shirt”.

      I do like to travel and I tend to combine business/vacation trips (i.e. I have a two day business trip next week, but I’ll stay an extra days two days to see the area, so that helps). I *think* I’ll attend BEA, but I’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see how much airfare and hotel will be.

      Thank you. It’s mostly my header that really pisses me off. I’m about to the point that I’m going to pay someone on etsy to make one. It’s not bad, only $10-30. If it puts a stop to the irritation it causes me, it will be $30 well spent.

  • Leah

    Great goals! I look forward to meeting you at BEA — although not liking NY or big crowds much will be a challenge for me, too.

    What’s wrong with dressing comfortably?! It’s almost 12:30 in the afternoon, and I haven’t even showered or gotten dressed yet, so you’re not alone. I’m just lucky the boyfriend thinks my butt looks cute in my perpetual leggings 😛

    • Rory

      We can all get together and not like crowds…in a crowd!

      I’ll admit I’m a happier person when I am more comfortable. When I get home at night, the very first thing I do if take off my boots/heels and peel off my tights/leggings. Then I sigh in relief.

      I’m a little jealous that you’re still in lounge wear, I am on my lunch break. Five more hours… 😉

  • Jennine G.

    I agree – no resolutions, just goals. My personal goal is to live more thankfully – whether good or bad seasons of life. And for my blog, to make it more aesthetically pleasing and more sophisticated, which I’ve already started!

    You have great goals! I like when goals serve a purpose for a person and aren’t just way out there things that aren’t likely to happen.

    • Rory

      I like things to be attainable, I don’t enjoy failing (though still do, often). The rest of the year runs more smoothly if organization is January’s goal.

      My blog’s appearance will always be a thorn in my side I think, but I’m working on it.

  • amyo3119

    I think it is easier when it is listed as goals and not resolutions. If you finish a few goals then you feel accomplished!

    I love being in comfy clothes. I work all week, so I can’t stay in comfy clothes. I would hate to think of how I would dress if I worked from home. I try to think if I would be embarressing to have an emergency and have to leave my house like this, then I should not wear it. Some days it works, and I dress better. Some days I just do not care.

    I make it a huge goal to save my money and make the trek to New York for BEA. I already have my plane tickets booked, now I have to save for the hotel. I enjoyed New York when I visited in 2011, but big crowds not so much.

    • Rory

      I love yoga pants. If I could wear them out of the house with dignity I would totally do it (I already do sometimes, but only when I’m actually going to yoga).

      I’m really hoping to get to BEA this year. It looks very overwhelming, but in a good way. I haven’t booked my plane ticket yet, but I should and suspect I will by next month. I’m secretly hoping my library will at least purchase my conference ticket.

  • Bonnie (@missbonnie13)

    I would have no doubt cried if my dishwasher caught on fire too. I would love to grow my blog readership as well but have not a clue where to start. I moved to self-hosted last year and really like it. Although I was never on normal WordPress so I don’t have that comparison. Oooh you’re going to BEA? So jealous. Definitely one of those things on my bucket list. 🙂
    I’m not doing any resolutions because I did a bunch last year and failed and I’d rather not go through that again. So I’m winging it this year.

    • Rory

      I cried. I believe the word fuck came up a lot too (while trying to figure out how I might work a fire extinguisher). I’ve used both .com and .org on WordPress, they are pretty similar. My not moving to self-hosted is pure laziness (and a bit of the expense) on my part.

      I *might* be going to BEA. I also might *have* to buy a dishwasher (I already just my bought fancy new washer) to save my sanity.

      Ugh, I hate failure. I will go out of my way to avoid doing so, even if it means I have less adventure in my life.

  • Kelly Massry

    Wow – looking at these comments, you have a huge following! That’s amazing.
    I agree with the no challenge rule. Last year I accepted to many review copies and I really lost out on readerly freedom. This year I’m trying to read more loosely and I’m enjoying it so far!

    • Rory

      I don’t have a huge following so much as a chatty following – which I love. I love talking to people (most of the time).

      This year, in regards to review copies, I working on realizing that I don’t have to review them if I didn’t enjoy them (and especially if it arrives unsolicited).

  • Melinda

    Good luck with your list and I hope you can stay clear from challenges 😉

    • Rory

      Thanks. Too much pressure!

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