Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blog Sell By Dates

During my blog absence I've been able to observe two things: simple, down-to-earth blogs that suddenly evolve into elegant, sophisticated and professional ones and blogs that decide to shut down for good (with or without warning).

It got me thinking. When it comes to a blog transformation, it can be good or bad depending on the change. If we're talking about a redesign to make things simpler for the everyday reader, such as fonts and widgets, change is probably a good thing. On the other hand, I used to have a long list of blogs on my roll, but over the past two years I've seen many turn into something I can hardly stand. Most of these blogs caught my attention because they were real people, with real budgets, real (cheap) cameras, just sharing their life experience. And now a lot of them are full time dedicated bloggers with expensive taste, complex project tutorials and staged photos I could never come up with. They seem to have changed their whole concept without even realizing.

So, what makes a blog a good blog? Is becoming professional actually slowing them down?

As for blogs shutting down, I can understand most of them. Life suddenly catches up with them and they have to make a choice: the blog or family? the blog or work? the blog or sanity? The blog seems like the easiest of the two to let go. And they will be truly missed.

So coming back to full time blogging, is that really a good choice? Is it a job or a long term hobby? How long can a blog hang on for without becoming boring or evolving into something no one wants to read? When those teenagers that read about make up tutorials grow up, will the new generations be into makeup as much as today or will they prefer a tech blog? When the OCD neat freaks with kids are left with an empty nest, will they still read those budget friendly, meal planning blogs? What's more, will the writer behind the blog still be motivated to write after 5, 10, 15 years?

I guess my question is only one. When does a blog expire?

I'd love to hear your opinions on this topic, if you'd like to share in the comments below!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

I may have mentioned Goodreads on here before. It's really a social media page, but I love using it to keep track of what I've been reading and what books I'd like to read. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing a lot of reading lately, so after hiding in a shell for 6 months I decided to check back in to see what I've been missing. As soon as I logged in I was told to set a challenge for 2015. I've kept it pretty low this year, considering I have to study this year again. 10 books. 10 new titles. I thought I'd share what I'm looking forward to reading this year with you.

I may be twenty something, but I'm a teenager at heart, so most of my to read list is young adult (and I'm not a big fan of classics). Here's what on my list lately:

Allegiant - Veronica Roth

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) - Cassandra Clare

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

Opposition (Lux #5) - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

Silver Shadows (Bloddlines #5) - Richelle Mead

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive. 

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

So those are four of my next reads for this year. I'm sure I'll find another six before the year is over!

What's on your reading list this year? I'd love to hear what you guys are into! Please share in the comments below!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What I Expect This Year

I celebrated the beginning of 2015 on 1st of January but my new year didn't really start until 1st February. That's when I started to think about what I want to accomplish this year. And now, the middle of March (when I started writing this post, probably April now), I'm thinking about what I want to accomplish blog-wise.

As you read in my last post, I want to relaunch my blog properly, with a good number of posts prepared and ready to go. It's not always easy to find the time to take on projects, snap some photos and edit them. So I am going to be realistic. I'm setting a 2 posts a week goal for this year (probably Tuesdays and Thurdays).

Another thing I've noticed is that even though organizing and cleaning are still a big part of my life (and a necessity!), there are a ton of other things I'd love to share and may not be home-related. So I'm shutting down Following Sam and mixing it all together here on Life in Sam's Box.

This year is more about discovering what I need, rather than trying to sattisfy the blog's needs. I think people who can dedicate their life to blogging are really lucky (and really talented!) but I just can't be one of those people. I have a job. I have a test to study for. And I only have 24 hours a day to do so.

I've noticed a lot of the blogs I used to read have evolved into more professional and sophisticated ones and I no longer identify myself with them. I don't want that to happen to me. I want to stay real. I want to keep my blog real. And the truth is life isn't always what you plan it out to be. We have jobs. We have homes. Some have kids. We also need a social environment. It shouldn't all be said on a screen.

That said, I love my blog and I will do anything I can to keep it up and running. It's something that motivates me to be me and sharing my projects with you means the world. I hope you'll all stick around while I keep at it, sharing those little moments one post at a time...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Back For The 100th Time

Okay, so I've been MIA for about 6 months. I am really bad at keeping blogging promises. My deepest  and most sincere apologies. 

I guess it's time that I explain myself and try to defend the indefendible. The reason I haven't been around lately is because I've been preparing for an important test for a spot on a hospital pharmacy programme. Unfortunately, this year I didn't get a spot so I'll have to give it a second try next January. 

The past six months have been very strange for me. I'm usually very organized and don't get very stressed when studying for tests but juggling my morning job and 5-6 hours of studying in the afternoon has proven to be a difficult challenge. One I will unfortunately have to go through again this year. Letting go of blogging for a few months hasn't been easy and it isn't the only thing that has happened. I've slowly settled in to a routine of absolute chaos. No meal plans. No cleaning schedules. Not even on Saturdays. No colour coded planners. Complete and utter disaster. 

When I first started studying I had everything set out. How many days for each chapter. How many hours. What colours I was going to use for each subject. But as the months progressed all my organization skills started to slip away and I was left with a huge pile of mess. Practise tests from one subject were filed away with books of another. My markers had grown legs and disappeared. My study schedule was whenever I had the time. And looking back this is proabbly what set me up to fail. I was very motivated when I started but after about 3 months I was physacally and mentally burned out. 

So this year I'm going to start early and get on top of things before they decide to get on top of me and probably eat me alive...again. One of the things that has helped me over the past 2-3 years to stay organized is sharing my everyday habits with you on this blog. I'm going to set April as my relaunch month and prepare as many posts as I can before then. I'm determined to get back to being me. 

If I've finally posted this and you're reading it, that means I've accomplished this very difficult task of reorganizing my life, taking photos, editing photos, writing posts, etc. and I truly hope to keep it up for a long time (at least longer than usual). 

I've also challenged myself to get back to meal planning and exercising, as well as eating healthy. I want to be physically prepared to take on this challenge again. 

And now that the weather is getting better,I'm finally feeling motivated to get back on track. I do hope you'll join me on this journey. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pinning: Organized Garages

It's been a while since I've posted some pinspiration so I thought I'd share some ideas for our next project with you.

Our garage at the moment is a bit of a mess, to say the least. It's full of boxes from the move and from recently purchased appliances that are still on guarantee. So I was surfing Pinterest as I usually do for some nice ideas for our messy garage.


This is actually a really good idea, since most of our garden tools are scattered around the garden at this very moment (you can see our garden progress here). Plus, using PVC pipes in an inexpensive solution. 


This has got to be my favourite by far. I'd really love to have a workbench, where everything is this organized and projects can be done with ease. Maybe add a pegboard above the bench?


Oooh, this looks nice. I'm actually digging the blue colour for the garage. 


This seems like a really good solution for homes with kids and lots of sports equipment. I think these kind of storage solutions, without lids, is a lot more practical and they're more likely to put their stuff away. 

You can find more of my pins over on my Pinterest boards.

How do you organize your garage? Please share you thoughts in the comments below!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Miracle of Varnish

The doors in our home must be about 15 years old or more. With time (and pets) they seem to have lost their luster and were looking pretty dull. So I thought I'd pick up some varnish in a nice dark brown caoba and give them a little love.

I started with the bathroom door downstairs. It's still missing one side of the frame but that's a easy fix.

I took the door off it's hinges and sanded down the frame and the door so the varnish would adhere properly. As for the varnish, I used a small brush for the frame and for the actual door a sponge roller and a tray. I gave it a total of three coats, letting the varnish dry between each one about 30min (as said on the tin).

I was really wowed be the results:

Before doing the doors though, I tested the varnish on a smaller area, in this case the bannister. 

I'd like to do all the doors now seeing as how inexpensive it was to spruce up the downstairs hall with just a 12€ tin of varnish. 

I truely recommend using this easy method to give your home a renovated look for very little money. 

Have you varnished or painted any doors in your home? Do you have any tips to share? Please let us know in the comments below!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Garden Progress

Now that the weather has started to cool down (though we're still above 30ºC), we decided to tackle the garden. I really want to grow grass out there and make it pretty, though we're not sure it's going to grow very well. But, hey!, we're gonna give it a shot.

First of all, I have to share the before photos so you can fully understand the work that has been put into this backyard over the past two months.

As you can see, the garden was a complete disaster. It was full of overgrown weeds, old appliances, rusty metal poles and a lot more (as well as unwanted wildlife). We knew as soon as we saw it that it wouldn't be easy, especially not with the heat.

We started by throwing out all the things that didn't belong there and that we obviously, didn't want to keep. Then it was time to get rid of all those plants and weeds.

If we wanted to grow grass we needed to air the soil and flatten it down a bit, so that's what we did.

After about a month of hard work, this is what we have now:

Pretty clean, huh?

Wanna see an amazing before and after pic?

What do you think? Has anyone else been clearing out the garden? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!!!