My Accomplishments in 2013

In my statistics wrap-up from yesterday, I talked about the books I reviewed in 2013. Today I’m going to focus more on the general blogging (or related) achievements. So less focus on reviews and more focused on blogging, coding, real life, or whatever!

Posts on the blog: a breakdown

I created the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin

It's here!  The Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin

I’m feeling EXTREMELY nostalgic right now you guys! Almost exactly a year ago, I sat down and created version 1.0 of the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin. I was exactly where I am now—in California, at my parents’ house. There I was, sitting at the kitchen table or in my bed or on the dining room sofa, just coding away like a madwoman.

At the time, I was excited, but I thought maybe I’d sell like 30 copies of the plugin if I was lucky and that would be that. But now here I am: one year later and I have over 300 sales.

Also, I spent a few weeks over the summer revamping it into version 2.0, which was kind of a bitch. I hope I don’t have to do that again LOL. But version 2.0 completely owns version 1, so it was a good move. πŸ™‚

I started selling pre-made WordPress themes

First I created the Morph Theme, which is actually heavily based on one of my old blog designs (from a previous non-book blog). Then I followed that up with Texturize. I sold a couple, but it was nothing to get too excited about.

Then, I spent like a week or two doing serious, hardcore, crazy ass woman coding. I was going to make the most ULTIMATE CUSTOMIZABLE THEME EVER! It drove me nuts. When you have a theme with over 150 customizations, you have to account for every.single.possible.combination. Every scenario. Every single setting. It’s insane. I remember mumbling, “This shit better be worth it!” And it certainly was! I’ve sold over 128 copies of Tweak Me, which is over $4,000 in sales! Well worth the stress and near tears I put into that crazy theme.

Huge thank you to every blogger out there sporting Tweak Me!

Also, I teamed up with designers to turn their design ideas into real WordPress themes! It’s been a pleasure working with those three lovely ladies. πŸ™‚

I changed my blog’s name

BookNook: Young adult book reviews

Can you guys believe that Nose Graze used to be called BookNook? In April I decided to change the name to Nose Graze. I haven’t looked back—not once. This was one of the best decisions I ever made for my blog! It actually makes me laugh to think that Nose Graze was ever called anything else. It just doesn’t compute!

Here’s to great decisions!

I redesigned the blog

Don’t remember how the site used to look? I’ve currently on my 5th design for this site, but just to refresh your memory, here was the previous one:

Old BookNook blog design

I stressed over this new design for several days, but I’m really really happy with how it turned out! I actually don’t see myself redoing it anytime soon (which is a huge deal for me, a serial site re-designer).

I moved to a dedicated server

I hosted all of my websites on GoDaddy for a long time.. something like six years. But in 2013 I stopped using shared hosting and moved all of my sites to my very own dedicated server. Don’t know what the difference is? Read my post on the different kinds of hosting.

Except for a few recent hitches that I’m struggling to figure out, I’m super glad I made the move. I have more control over what’s going on and honestly… having my own server just makes me feel like a boss.

My boyfriend and I took a kissing selfie on top of the Eiffel Tower

Honestly the photo is way too embarrassing bad to ever share with anyone.. but IT HAPPENED! We stood on the Eiffel Tower (freezing our asses off) and took a smooching selfie. We also took another one below the Eiffel Tower that’s equally embarrassing.

Kissing selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower

I swear one of those blurry blobs is me. I just look ridiculous.

I bought the biggest container of hot chocolate mix known to man

…and finished it all (it’s gone as of a few days ago).

Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate Mix

I think the picture says it all.

I launched

We read books, we blog books.  Welcome to Book Blogging!  A resource hub, database, and community for book bloggers.

Just recently I launched my latest project,—a resource hub, database, and community for book bloggers! So far it has:

  • A blog database
  • An events database
  • A reading challenge database
  • An activity/updates stream
  • A variety of co-bloggers
  • Its own forum for larger discussions

There have been a few bumps along the way… like when I decided to scrap the initial forum platform and start over on a brand new one. Since one site is WordPress and the forum is NOT WordPress I had to work on syncing the login systems (so that you only have one account), and that’s been a nightmare. It leads to complications.. like WordPress allows you to have 3-letter usernames, but the forum platform does not, etc. GRR!

But looking ahead, I have some super exciting features planned for it! I can’t wait! Coming up are:

  • A book trading system, where users can list books up for trade, view offers, and accept or reject the offers themselves. This is nearly ready for release! I might have people beta test it first.
  • A self published book request system. Indie authors can list their books on the site and bloggers can request review copies. Authors can choose to accept or decline the requests. When accepted, the blogger has instant access to the ebook.
  • I might integrate my book blogger WordPress hosting idea into this site, if time permits.

Here’s to another great year!

From what I know so far (deets soon!), 2014 is going to be an intense, busy, but exciting year. Part of that is because I will be graduating university and going out into the REAL WORLD! Scary! I will be taking my freelance business full time, and hopefully making some very promising strides with

I’m excited and can’t wait to get started! πŸ˜€

What are some of your highlights or accomplishments from 2013?

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Wow Ashley, your 2013 was totally amazing and I’m happy for all of your accomplishments! I really love your discussion posts and your Book Blogging website. Such a great idea and the website is just awesome. And aww that’s cute how you and your boyfriend took a picture with the Eiffel Tower at the back! Hope you had a great New Year’s and a very awesome bookish 2014!

    1. Thank you so much! πŸ˜€

      I wish the photos came out better. It was an awesome day, but it was also a “let’s be totally un-photogenic” day LOL!

    1. I’m so glad you’re loving the Book Blogging site! πŸ˜€ Yaaay! I’m psyched for what’s to come!

  2. Wow girl, so much, so much. You should be so proud of yourself. I still want to be you. I am so getting the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin when I switch. I would do the Tweak Me theme too if I wasn’t going to try to code it all myself when I have more schooling.

    Congrats on all the sales and the kissing. Kissing is so important. hehehhehe

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Most Anticipated Books of 2014
  3. I’m in such awe over how much stuff you’ve done this year and you’ve really made some terrific contributions to the book blogging community so thank you so much Ashley <33 I love working with you too! I hope to be able to send more design mock-ups too this year when I get some inspiration ^^

    Happy New Year! I hope 2014 is fantastic for you πŸ™‚

    Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted: Top 10 Best & Worst Books I Read in 2013
  4. Ashley, you are one AMAZING lady! You accomplished so much last year; I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us for 2014!

    1. Hopefully great things! πŸ˜€ I look forward to your site launch! I just realized it’s launching January 28th—that’s my birthday! Hah!

  5. First of all, that pic with you and the hot chocolate? I get it. I really do. Plus your face, in that pic, is all kinds of adorbs. But seriously,you have had a fantastic year. My biggest highlight would be STARTING my book blog. My biggest accomplishment would be the auto-approvals from multiple publishers on EW.

    You are AMAZING!

    Alexia @ Adventures in Reading recently posted: Top Ten Books I read in 2013
    1. Ohh I totally agree: auto-approvals are THE BEST! I’d love to snag some more of those lol.

    1. Haha! πŸ˜€

      Great goals! I totally need to follow more blogs. That’s one of my goals too!

    1. I actually got the Nose Graze term from the TV show The O.C. lol! They talk about nose grazes a lot. It’s that moment where two peoples’ noses touch before they kiss.

  6. Omg your face with the hot chocolate is priceless I love it! 2013 has been such a great year for you, Ashley! I remember when your UBB plug in and Tweak Me theme first came out, everyone was so excited over them and I was super jealous that I wasn’t on WP so I could buy it lol. I’m glad that all of the hard work coding the plug in and design paid off in the end. I also LOVE your new blog name, even though I loved your old blog name just as much! I also think that the bow you have on your header is adorable <33.

    And we all know how well Book Blogging is going. Seriously, that was a genius idea that you had, creating a site like that. Hopefully, 2014 will be even more successful than 2013 was. (PSβ€”I'm sure you guys look adorable in that Eiffel selfie :D)

    Happy new year, Ashley!

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: 2014 Reading Challenges
  7. I think you make the rest of us look bad! You’ve done all this amazing stuff… and what have we done?! haha. But that’s okay, we all move at different paces and all have something to be proud of.

    And you should definitely be proud of yourself. I really do hope 2014 is an amazing year and everything works in your favor. You know we’re in similar situations and every stride you make towards a better future gives me a little bit of hope that things will work out for me as well. <3

  8. Wow, Ashley! You are just so fucking ambitious and amazing! I do not have the words, obviously. The launch of Book, those sales, the days of coding, the beautiful romance, the travelling, the blogger assistance, the photography, the everything! You have acclomplished things that people twice your age have not. You have major talent, and you work so hard! Despite all of this, you are THERE for all of us when we deseparately ‘cc’ you in tweets and the like. Hats off to you! I cannot wait to see how you destroy 2014 too!

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