Getting back into the swing of things


It’s so sad when you abandon a blog. Unlike the times you stop journaling or writing in your diary, retreating back from a blog feels like giving up on a public project in which others may/may not have invested their time and care. You almost feel bad about it, visiting the sad, empty blog from time to time. Oh look, no new posts today. Sadface.

I had high hopes when I started this project about a year ago. I was fresh from the full-time job circuit and enjoying a more freeing lifestyle of grad school and part-time work. I was thinking about homemaking, feminism, cooking, cleaning, organization, and above all, having fun. I didn’t think anyone would read this thing, but it would be a fun place to write about all the crazy thoughts bouncing around my head. If anything, it would get them out of my head, and maybe even set me up for something akin to Pinterest-like-fame – people linking to MY organization tips?? Oh, you shouldn’t have.

But then, life, as it always does, gets in the way. Last year, it was work. As much as I enjoy/need free time to think and dream – and as much as I was relishing my small break from 40+ hour work weeks – work is still very important to me. I gain a real sense of purpose from “work”, especially achieving success and acclaim. I’m always jumping at chances for promotion, taking on new positions whenever I’m needed. I like to impress and overachieve. Even if I’m placed in a not-so-ideal situation, I work my ass off until I’m running the place. It’s how I’ve always been, and probably always will.

The past year has been a roller coaster of emotions when it comes to work. I’ve been way up, and very recently, way down. Now, I’m back to a quiet lull – just tooling around the kiddie coaster at the moment – and I’m ready to take yet another deep breath. I’m ready to slow down, read, write and relax. I’m ready to come back to this blog.

Last year: a short recap

Last year, it was the bookstore. I started working at a bookstore down the road from my house shortly after starting graduate school and quitting my full-time job (that I really, in truth, didn’t like) last spring. It was an awesome, liberating experience. I liked my work at the bookstore, even if it was only part-time and I had to run a cash register for six hours at a time.

Then, I started impressing my bosses and was promoted – to full-time. I served as a shift supervisor and took over merchandising and receiving/processing the store’s weekly shipment. I wasn’t necessarily working 40 hours a week, but it was better money than part-time and I was being promised future management positions. I became giddy with success.

And so, it was no question that I would apply for a manager position at another bookstore – owned by the same company where I was working – as they prepared to open a new store last fall. It also seemed par for the course that I got that job, as well as a salary and 40+ hours a week. Of course, I was still in graduate school (and doing fine), but I threw myself into the job. Opening that store was simultaneously stressful and exciting, though we all had our breakdown moments (at one point, my bosses didn’t want to give me a day off in two weeks and all I could think was, “How am I going to get my homework done???”). But I pushed through because of SALARY, and POSITION, and POWER. I had only quit my old job less than six months before and look at me now, rebounded and doing better than ever. I’d figure out a way to balance everything, no problem.

That position had its ups and downs, and I endured a difficult holiday season. Still, I was having fun. I truly liked my co-workers, including my fellow assistant managers, and enjoyed coming to work everyday. I enjoyed being a manager and working with the associates in my department. In January, I started a management class and had big plans to apply what I learned at the store. I created metric-tracking spreadsheets, and embarked on ambitious projects to keep the store clean and organize the comic section. I tried to impress my District Manager during his visits and received no complaints about my job performance. I knew the store wasn’t doing too hot sales-wise, but that wasn’t my department, and I knew that I was doing well.

But then, on Valentine’s Day, I learned that my position was being eliminated. It wasn’t anything I had done, in fact I had done nothing wrong other than fill what was apparently the least important management position at the store. They needed to chop somebody, and I was on the block. I was shocked and heartbroken. Unfortunately, a series of events I won’t go into put me into a position where I had no choice but to quit and walk away from all my hard work.

Back at it

There were some dark days during this time, but ultimately I know I made all the right decisions, and now I’m back on the right track – a better track, I might say. A few days into my new unemployment (funemployment?), I saw a job listing for a library assistant position at one of the university libraries where I go to school. I jumped at it, and within a week, I had a new job. It’s ideal because my goal is to work at one of these academic libraries, and I knew for a long time that I needed to get my butt out of retail and into my proper profession sometime this year. I didn’t expect it to be this fast, but you know, maybe things happen for a reason.

I’ve only been at it a week and I already love it. Because I’m me, I’m already looking ahead on how to get ahead, impress, and overachieve. What can I say, it’s in my nature. But this job is definitely part-time, so I’m back at where I was a year ago. Working part-time, in graduate school, and with thoughts of homemaking on my mind. The idea of “home” is actually a bigger part of my life right now, actually, as J and I are in the process of looking for our first home. We plan to buy this spring and early summer.

And so, as I search for ways to fill my time when I’m not working on schoolwork, I thought it was high time to reboot A Homebody. I’ve redesigned it, and have some fun ideas for posts, and I think it will work this time. Unless something magical happens, I believe I’m committed to this schedule for quite some time now. And so if I’m going to start thinking about ‘home’, I might as well document those experiences in this virtual journal, reflect on it, think it through. What else is a blog for anyway?

And if someone is reading this, well, thanks and welcome back.

Welcome to one homebody’s life


It’s always awkward writing the first post for a new blog. And so, I’ll keep this simple:

Welcome to A Homebody! 

After blogging about books and reading for going on four years, I decided that the older I got, the more I realized the importance of home, and making that home a special, healthy, warm and hip place to be. I have a lot to say about home, whether it’s what I’m cooking for dinner that night to finding affordable, Earth-friendly cleaning products. What I say may not be particularly special, but it’s what’s on my mind and I wanted to create a space for me to discuss these thoughts and insights further.

All that being said, I understand that these posts will most likely be geared toward a readership around my age bracket – from fresh out of college to those dealing with the “pressures” of the quarter-life crisis. I’m not going to pretend I know what it’s like to have kids, though who knows, this blog may still be around when I do get around to procreating. I won’t pretend I know what it’s like to own your home, either. Still, I hope that others will enjoy reading, no matter what your station in life. In fact, I’ll be writing plenty about growing up here at A Homebody (my best friend is expecting her first little one this summer – ch, ch, changes my friend!), and so I welcome advice from like thinkers with a bit more experience under their belt.

But wait, who is this blogger person anyway?mr b

  • I’m Laura (hi!). I’m in my mid-20’s and I’ve been blogging about books and the reading experience over at Paperback Fool since 2009.
  • I live in Metro Detroit with my husband and two cats, Harper Lee and Mr. Bennet.
  • I’m currently working on my Masters of Library Science while working at a bookstore.
  • For some reason, I really like to cook and clean. And I’m mildly OCD when it comes to organization.
  • I take out my aggression on the track as a roller derby girl, playing for one of southeastern Michigan’s awesome amateur leagues.

Why home is important

In naming this blog, I really only had one choice: a homebody. Because, that’s what I am. Despite my love for traveling and discovering new places, my favorite place to be is home. I like being at home. I like the warmth of home. I like the comfort and familiarity of home. Home is where we’re safe and loved. It’s where my cats live. It’s where I make food and share meals with my family and friends. It where I can go barefoot. It’s where I read. It’s where I love. It’s where I write.

Now let me assure you, I have no intention of being a stay-at-home wife. I have ambitions, I have dreams and if anything, I have a driving desire to work and make a difference. However, I can’t lie: ever since I graduated from college, creating and maintaining my home (and everything that entails) has been a deeply satisfying experience. Being a homebody may not be exciting, but I can’t imagine being anything else.

A post-feminist philosophy

Perhaps more important than my daily ramblings, though, I have a certain fascination with the idea of the “modern homemaker.” As a self-described feminist and liberal-leaning lady, I’m not looking to recreate the 1950’s here, nor bring back the regressive, ultra conservative philosophy that a “woman’s place” is in the home. However, over the years, I’ve observed homemaking – with its new emphasis on sustainability, post-consumerism and healthy lifestyles – making a comeback, led by some of the most interesting young women out there. And it’s not just women, but men too are going back to their kitchens and gardens and looking for ways to create a better, healthier and simpler life for them and their families. Yes, young homemakers are bringing back the old ways, but this is not your grandmother’s kitchen.

And so …

harperWelcome to this journey! I hope you enjoy and perhaps share a tip or two yourself. And if not, just ignore the girl talking to herself about cleaning routines and burning the chicken dinner.

Also, excuse the copious pictures of my cats. But aren’t they cute?