I Reached My First 1K Followers on Medium!

Yes, I’m as surprised as you are. I gained 1000 followers within 8 months! In case you missed it, here’s a link to my latest post on Medium. By the way, this article is free for everyone to read. I plan on posting an article very similar to this one when I reach 2,000 followers on Medium.

♡ Medium Article: 1K Followers: A New Milestone!

👉 Follow me on Medium @sereneluna

First, let’s start with some housekeeping. I have been feeling rather emotional this week for several reasons not mentioned here. Moreover, I recently caught conjunctivitis from my 18-month-old, and trust me, Pink Eye is not a good look. I am also dealing with a lingering cough that makes me sound like a chronic smoker (mind you, I don’t smoke), congested sinuses, and a sore throat, and Aunt Flo paid a visit. The emotional toll has been significant and now it’s impacting my mental health.

Not only that, I need to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for Friday because I am working. The last thing I want to do is cancel work because I am sick. I am doing everything that I can to get better, but at the moment, my energy levels are too low for me to write anything more than a few sentences at a time – let alone blog posts or articles. I will not be posting any new recipes this week but I plan to continue where I left off next week. In case you missed it, I have been trying to create an archive of recipes that can be found under my Pages.

👉 You can find the entire archive on www.sereneluna.net

Okay, so let’s get back to what I was saying about Medium. I’ve reached a very important milestone, and I think it’s worth talking about what I learned along the way.

(っ◔◡◔)っ Confession Time: I didn’t plan to join Medium – it was more of an experiment.

I had no intention of joining Medium in the first place, but I wanted to entertain the idea of making some passive income. I have never considered joining this platform before, but I heard great things about it from fellow bloggers. I might not be the type of person who is interested in trying out every social media platform to determine which one is “the best” because, in reality, no such thing exists. And don’t get me wrong, I am all for exploring new avenues and keeping an open mind, but actively seeking out and maintaining multiple social media accounts is time-consuming, and frankly, exhausting.

For instance, you will find me avoiding platforms like Mastodon and Hive Social because half of Twitter has already migrated to these social media platforms. I intend to stay on Twitter because I use it in a similar manner as one would use Facebook for status updates. It is my way of screaming into the void for others to hear, something that most of the time falls upon deaf ears and yet still feels validating in some weird way.

Two Truths and No Lie

Since joining Medium, I learned a couple of harsh truths, which also hold true for bloggers on WordPress. This is what I learned:

Truth #1: Not everyone will reach 1K followers on Medium

How many people actually gain a decent following? Most accounts I’ve seen are stuck between 100 – 500 followers, and I think they’re missing a key element. The key to writing successful and well-received content is something that I cannot quite put my finger on, but I know it exists. Maybe it is a feeling or the right timing of events happening in the world. Maybe it’s both. Whatever it is, I will figure out this conundrum with enough time and effort put into my work.

While my Medium account managed to reach over a thousand followers, one particular blogger who encouraged me to sign up for Medium in the first place, who I shall not name, has had notably less success with her Medium account. I think it’s safe to say that she has a total of 19 followers on Medium. But I stopped counting after she blocked me on every platform she knows I bless my presence with. I choose to believe that she was frightened by my excellence and couldn’t cope with the pressure of my brilliance.

Arthur reference: “I’m frightened by [her] excellence” from the episode, Popular Girls.

Truth #2: Other Bloggers/Writers are Secretive AF.

Here is a nugget of truth that you don’t want to hear, but many bloggers and writers are often selfish and don’t want to share their secrets with others. It is important to understand that people aren’t inherently bad. However, after being burned so many times, I learned not to trust people so easily and I’m overly cautious. The thing is, people will keep secrets unless there’s something in it for them. For example, I know someone who has been keeping vital information from me. Even though she knew how to solve my problem, she chose to keep this information to herself. She had nothing to lose by telling me, but instead, I continued to take a huge tax cut on Medium commissions each month. This was until a complete stranger reached out and helped me solve my problem, which was so kind of her! $hit like this is what I’m talking about.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

I’m not sure that my Medium account would have taken off as quickly as it has if it weren’t for this blog, www.sereneluna.net, in the first place. Although I am far from a professional writer, blogging has been a hobby that I enjoy doing for fun and it has also helped me stand out from the crowd. It could be because I have a passion for blogging, or maybe it’s simply because of the sheer numbers game behind it. Who knows?

I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m also sticking with Medium. There is so much to learn and explore on this platform. Do you have a Medium account? If you do, please share your handle with me so I can follow you. You can leave your Medium handles in the comment section below ↓

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

Fudgy Brownies

(っ◔◡◔)っTreat yourself to some fudgy, chocolatey brownies! Not only that, but they are also perfect for sharing with family and friends

★彡[ᴅɪᴅ ꜱᴏᴍᴇᴏɴᴇ ꜱᴀʏ ʙʀᴏᴡɴɪᴇꜱ?!?!]彡★

Okay, so this recipe isn’t exactly the healthiest but kids love them. I do plan on posting a healthier brownie recipe in the future, but for now, this is the one that I am using. Because these brownies are made with simple, standard ingredients, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be a show-stopper!

If you’re looking for a healthier, plant-based dessert recipe, then I recommend checking out this chocolate cake recipe by Peppa Pig. Kids love Peppa Pig so you really can’t go wrong with this healthier alternative.

Anyways, back to the brownies. The fudgy brownie recipe is fairly simple and straightforward. To make the brownies extra special, you can dust them in confectioner’s sugar or add a few chocolate chips. Another advantage of this recipe is that it’s simple enough for children to help. Let’s get started, shall we?

FUDGY BROWNIES

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • confectioner’s sugar (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease an 8-or-9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Using a mixing bowl, mix together the cocoa and sugar. Add in the melted butter and stir again. Finally, whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add the flour and salt, and mix just until smooth. Gently incorporate the chocolate chips (optional). Don’t overmix it.
  4. Scrape the mixture into the pan and spread it out n an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  5. Take the pan out of the oven with oven mitts, then let it cool on a heat-proof surface before cutting. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar to decorate (optional). Enjoy!
Just so you know, Rebecca is the one who approved this recipe.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Salad Dressings »3 Ways«

Here’s a funny joke:

Q: Why did the tomato turn red?

A: Because it saw the salad dressing!

*cue laughter*
♡ Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

The Art of Salad Dressing

I typically don’t make salad dressing, as my mom makes better salad dressing than I do. I purchase Kraft salad dressings only when I am lazy or busy because they are easily accessible and convenient. However, homemade salad dressing is way better than store-bought ones – even my mom agrees. My mom lives halfway across the country, so I can’t show up at her house every day for freshly made salad. So that leaves me with two options: a) keep eating the Kraft salad dressings or b) learn how to make my own.

I’ve compiled these recipes so that you can enjoy more freshly made salads, and make salad a part of your diet. Many salads are healthy, but people don’t always like them because they’re so bland. If you dress the salad up with an interesting dressing, not only will it be more appealing to people’s taste buds, but it can also give their bodies all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. The best thing about this recipe is that it is all ready for you to use in just a few minutes and can be made using ingredients that are probably already in your house. I’m confident that these salad dressing recipes will be helpful to you, as they have been to me.

Salad Dressing Science: Salad dressing is a process where two liquids – oil and water or vinegar – are mixed together. Normally, liquid drops of oil and water remain separate from each other. If you start with just the oil and the vinegar, they won’t mix well until you add an emulsifier, which helps them to combine more smoothly. You can mix and match ingredients to create your perfect salad dressing.

𝗛𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗻 𝗰𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘇𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴!

SALAD DRESSINGS »3 WAYS«

Servings: 1 mason jar each                         Time: 10 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

1. BASIC B* VINEGARETTE

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

2. CITRUS SUNSHINE DRESSING

  • 2 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

3. SWEET HONEY VINEGARETTE

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • pinch of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the ingredients and mix them well using a whisk.
  2. Slowly add a little bit of oil while continuously whisking the mixture. Once you have added a small amount, start to whisk faster.
  3. Toss the dressing with a green salad, or add it to a mason jar for storing in the fridge.

Image #1: Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

Image #2: Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Creamy Vanilla Mango Smoothie

This recipe is very easy to make and I unintentionally discovered this delicious smoothie the other day when I used vanilla soy milk instead of coconut milk. This smoothie tastes super creamy and it is vegan! 🌱 This drink tastes like mango ice cream—no joke! Even my husband likes this beverage so I am going to show you how to make this Booster Juice Imposter in the comfort of your home.

If you have enough mango you can use it instead of ice. Personally, I prefer to use frozen diced mango and skip the ice. Also, the maple syrup makes a BIG difference when it comes to sweetness, and a little goes a long way. Feel free to add extra soy milk until the thickness of a milkshake is reached. I hope you like mangoes as much as I do because this smoothie is about to rock your taste buds! 🥭😋

Creamy Vanilla Mango Smoothie

Servings: 2                          Time: 5 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of diced frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla soymilk such as Silk
  • 1/2 tsp. maple syrup to sweeten
  • Ice cubes (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour the vanilla soymilk and the maple syrup into a blender. If you can, use a good blender that is capable of crushing ice. My personal favorite is the Vitamix.
  2. Once you’ve added all the fruit and ice cubes to the blender, place the cover on top of it.
  3. Turn on the blender and blend/pulse ingredients until smooth. 
  4. Pour the smoothie into a tall glass. Enjoy! 

Image Source #1: Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Image Source #2: Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Stovetop Hot Chocolate

I noticed that people don’t visit my blog pages, but rather they read the blog posts. This is why I wanted to add an archive of only recipes to my Recipe Page.

Now that it’s practically winter and it’s too cold to do anything outside where I live, there is nothing more comforting than a hot cup of tea or coffee. I don’t mind the instant hot cocoa from the grocery store – we have a can that we are currently using. Sometimes, I want “a taste of home” and yearn for something a bit sweeter and richer than a cup of hot tea or coffee.

♡ Image Sources: https://www.pexels.com/search/hot%20cocoa/

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I can still remember my most recent experience with homemade hot chocolate and the memory is so vivid that I can almost taste it. My husband and I were in southern Ontario, at an outdoor outlet mall, when we decided to stop for a hot chocolate at one of the cafes. We were window shopping when we came across this amazing café and had to try their hot chocolate. I can remember exactly how it tasted and it was by far the best that I’ve ever had. I want to try and recreate that recipe, I know mine is nothing special but I always love when my daughter asks me to make something. A few weeks ago, I did just that. Although I didn’t take any photos at the time, I wrote down the recipe. Now, I want to share the recipe with you!

❄ 𝕴𝖙’𝖘 𝖙𝖎𝖒𝖊 𝖙𝖔 𝖒𝖆k𝖊 𝖆 𝖜𝖆𝖗𝖒 𝖒𝖚𝖌 𝖔𝖋 𝖈𝖔𝖈𝖔𝖆! ❄

Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Servings: 4                          Time: 15 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 handfuls of mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon (optional), and water in a saucepan. Turn on the saucepan to low heat.
  2. Use a whisk (or another spoon/spatula) to mix the ingredients until there are no lumps of cocoa powder left.
  3. Slowly add the milk and whisk the ingredients together.
  4. Keep stirring the ingredients until the mixture is hot. Bring to a light boil.
  5. Before serving, froth the milk and cocoa powder together. Add marshmallows and enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Easy Hummus Dip

Continuing on with the challenge from yesterday, you probably have a can or two of chickpeas in your cupboard, right? I sure do! To accompany the guacamole dip, why not try some hummus dip? It’s just as tasty and quick to make.

While I usually can find store-bought hummus for a cheap price, I think it’s important to remember that it’s not always the best idea to buy something just because it is cheap. Store-bought hummus can be of lower quality than homemade, and sometimes you don’t get the same true taste. With my recipe, though, I’ve found that even though you might have to spend more time making your own, it will be worth the effort because this homemade hummus usually has a better taste.

EASY HUMMUS DIP

Servings: 5-6                         Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can (15 oz.) of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp. plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1.5 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • optional: sliced veggies, pita bread

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add a few inches of water to the saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add the cloves of garlic (still in the skin) and cook them for 10-12 minutes, or until the cloves are tender.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and run cold water over the garlic to cool it down. Once the garlic is cooled, peel the skins.
  4. Add the peeled garlic and canned chickpeas (drained) to the food processor. Add yogurt, olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt, and water to the mixture.
  5. Process the hummus for approx. 30 seconds, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
  6. Scoop the hummus into a serving bowl and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Serve with sliced veggies, pita bread, tortilla chips, etc. Enjoy!

Image source: https://www.dreamstime.com/

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Easy Guacamole Dip

𝒩𝑜𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝒾𝓈 𝒷𝑒𝓉𝓉𝑒𝓇 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓃 𝒶 𝒻𝓇𝑒𝓈𝒽, 𝒽𝑜𝓂𝑒𝓂𝒶𝒹𝑒 𝒷𝒶𝓉𝒸𝒽 𝑜𝒻 𝑔𝓊𝒶𝒸𝒶𝓂𝑜𝓁𝑒!

I have a challenge for you! Using everything you have in your cupboard, come up with a recipe and actually make it. You can “cheat” by referencing google for inspiration if you need some ideas. Tomorrow, do the exact same thing. I bet that you will come up with two different recipes without the need to buy any new ingredients. Keep repeating this process and make a mental note to add your recipes to a database for easy access. If you do this for 30 days, then you should end up with ~20-30 unique recipes for your family.

With the avocado craze dying down and Canadians finally being able to find avocados for a reasonable price, it is easier to use avocado in my dishes. I love avocado toast, but guacamole is way better! 🥑😋 Guacamole pairs well with fresh tortilla chips and I no longer have to resort to store-bought guacamole on days when I am craving this healthy snack.

EASY GUACAMOLE DIP

Servings: 4-6                         Time: 20 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 ripe avocados, halved
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 bag tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop the green onion and tomato into small pieces.
  2. Slice the avocados in half and use a spoon to remove the pits.
  3. Scoop the avocado sections into a bowl. Add the garlic powder and lemon juice. Mash it all up with a fork.
  4. Add the chopped onion, tomato, and salt. Mix everything together.
  5. Serve with a generous portion of tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Cute kawaii smiling avocado. Source: https://www.vecteezy.com/

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Peppa Pig’s Chocolate Cake

Disclaimer: Please note that I make no money from this blog and I’m not involved with affiliates. This blog post is for educational purposes only!

This chocolate cake recipe is from my daughter’s book, “Peppa Pig Loves to Bake!” I want to share it with you because she tends to destroy everything she touches, and I don’t want to lose this recipe. I want to make this recipe evergreen, and currently, my blog is a good place to do that. We got the book from a book sale at my daughter’s school but it is also available on Amazon. If you scroll down to the bottom of this blog post, you’ll see a video tutorial by no other than Peppa Pig herself. Unlike the video, the recipe in the book is vegan. Alternatively, you can also use gluten-free flour if you’re avoiding gluten.

Did I mention that this recipe is vegan-friendly? 🌱

CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

Servings: 4-6                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 5 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add in applesauce, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and water. Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour cake batter into an 8″ x 8″ square pan or 9″ round cake pan.
  5. Using an oven mitt, put the cake pan in the oven.
  6. Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Using an oven mitt, take the cake out of the oven. Let cool.
  8. Once the cake has cooled, have fun decorating it! 🎂

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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I’m Keeping My WordPress Premium Plan

Yes, that’s right. I’m not leaving WordPress and I renewed the Premium Plan a few days ago. I was lucky enough to find a coupon for 50% off the Premium Plan and ended up only having to pay $63.00 CAD after tax! If you have a Premium Plan and are interested in taking advantage of this offer, please DM me. The coupon is only good for users who already have a Premium plan. 💻

Whenever I compare WordPress to a self-hosted site, I still conclude that WordPress is the best option for me. It’s no surprise that WordPress is popular because of the vibrant, caring online community that supports it. Even if you decided to host your own site instead of using WordPress, you wouldn’t get that same feeling of being part of a larger community. Yes, I know that WordPress is overpriced for what it is but it’s the community of bloggers that keeps me here. You can read my thoughts about WP Plans and what I like or dislike about it, here:

Related Blog Post: Blogging Fatigue

Regardless of whether you stumbled upon my blog, or you are already a member of the WP community, it is important to be courteous, kind, and respectful of those around you even if you disagree with their opinions. Please don’t be a little b.i.t.c.h. in the WordPress community. Because when you are, it becomes less enjoyable for everyone else.

The online world is already filled with criticism and naysayers. Individuals who don’t like you will always find a way to talk or write about you. It is never been easier to ignore these people because, like they have always done, they’re likely still lurking in the shadows of cyberspace 👀 If I left WordPress, my voice would be silenced, and I would be doing myself and everyone else a disservice. Her name is not mentioned for privacy reasons, but if she’s reading this and recognizes herself in these words, then yes–I am talking about you.

My Voice Will Not Be Silenced

You see, I still have a lot to say; hence, I am not going anywhere. Writing is very therapeutic for me and it helps me make sense of my thoughts and complicated emotions. And I know that there are some people who will disagree with me, but I also like using the Medium platform (follow me on Medium @sereneluna) because it is a great way to share my thoughts with the world. But it is not always easy to use and navigate, whereas WordPress is much easier to use. That’s why I will continue to share [most] of my articles on both platforms.

Furthermore, I have no intention of making my blog posts private because I aim to make all of my content easily accessible. Understand that I am not monetizing my blog content (I make $0 from this blog) so it’s a labor of love. I don’t need to blog for a living, so instead, I do it out of the kindness and generosity in my heart. Instead of putting up paywalls on everything, that’s what Medium is for 💁‍♀️ One way or another, I will find a way to pay for my blogging expenses so that I can continue to provide my readers with quality content.

Dear Readers, I Love You.

I want to take this moment to thank each and every one of my loyal readers for sticking around with me for all of these years. If it wasn’t for your dedication, my blog would never have grown into something so special and I am forever grateful that you have been there through the ups and downs. Something needs to change in order for me to keep going with this blog, but I am looking forward to what the future holds. I know there’s a lot of pressure to be perfect and keep up with social media trends but I don’t want to fall into the trap of being fake. That’s why I want to stay true to myself while also finding creative ways to show my personality. I really look up to bloggers who are able to write controversial blog posts and put out a clear message when they know some readers will disagree but they do it anyway because they are following their own truth. Only a small handful of bloggers come to mind, which I can count on my fingers.

This might be hard to hear (er, read), but I’m gonna be 100% honest with you. You can’t deceive yourself that everything is fine when it isn’t – I won’t lie and say “everything’s fine” when that is not the case. Sometimes my blogging may stop for a few weeks, but I can assure you that I have no intention of neglecting this account. I am not going anywhere, and I still try to find time to read your blog posts when I get the chance. I will admit that I read a lot fewer blog posts than I used to, and try not to get caught up too much in the blogging world these days.

(っ◔◡◔)っKey Takeaway: So I guess I am stuck using the WordPress Premium Plan for another year, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

P.S. If you’re interested in following my stories on other social media platforms, you can find me here. I do not actively post on Instagram and if you try to send me DMs there, I probably won’t reply. Twitter is where I primarily post updates about my personal life, especially my cat! 🐈‍⬛

Instagram: @serene_hilz

Twitter: @serene_hilz

Medium: @sereneluna

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Will You Come to My Party?

Disclaimer: Rebecca’s birthday was on October 27th, but her birthday party was on November 10th (it was my husband’s idea). Because Rebecca’s birthday party has already passed, I’m going to write this blog post in the past tense. If you spot any mistakes please let me know and I’ll make corrections. The same article can be found on Medium but is behind a paywall. If you are still interested in checking it out, then you can do so by clicking on the following link:

♡ Medium Article: Will You Come to My Party?

𝕎𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕤𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕚𝕟𝕧𝕚𝕥𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤, 𝕤𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕨 𝕨𝕖 𝕨𝕒𝕚𝕥.

My daughter recently turned 6 years old, and after much thought, my husband and I decided to host her birthday party at an indoor playground this year. Indoor playgrounds are the perfect place for children because they offer fun equipment like monkey bars, climbing walls, and other features that children love!

Indoor Playground for Kids. Image source: https://www.familyfuncanada.com/

My daughter was excited about her upcoming birthday party which is totally understandable. Throwing a party is an important part of childhood and it can create memories that last a lifetime. I wanted to give my daughter the same upbringing that I had as a kid, but unfortunately, our house is too small for large gatherings and I didn’t want the kids to be running around or messing with things. So, an indoor playground it was!

My husband had a good idea when he suggested that we invite my daughter’s classmates to the party. Sometimes, you just need to go big or go home! 😂

I spent all Monday evening working on my daughter’s invitations and it felt like a school project all over again. Fiddling with every last detail, and even ripping envelopes that I messed up not once, but three times, I was exhausted. When I saw the finished product, however, I knew all of the hard work was worth it.

Invitations for Becca’s birthday party. The photo is my own.

Despite all of my work, I spelled Abby’s name wrong and my daughter made a big fuss about it. Meanwhile, she didn’t know how to spell Abby’s name either so I had to guess.

Becca: Abbey’s name is spelled with an eeeeeeeeee!!!

And now I know. I won’t make that mistake again.

Party Anxiety

In many ways, hosting a birthday party sounds like a dream come true for any kid; however, there is plenty of anxiety that goes into planning them. If you’ve ever hosted a kids’ party before, then you know exactly what I mean.

For some people, RSVPs can be a major source of anxiety when hosting an event. As a rule, invitations should go out as soon as possible after being personalized for guests. Since we were still in the early stages with our RSVPs and waiting to hear back is never fun, it would have been much easier to get everything in order if we knew how many kids were coming.

Then we played the waiting game.

Only 2 kids RSVPd on time, which heightened my anxiety even more. I kept telling myself, This is okay. Everything is going to be okay.

It is always helpful to include an RSVP by [date] on your invitation, as it gives guests more time to plan before the party. I got excited every time I got a call from an unknown number because I thought it might be a parent telling me their child would be attending my daughter’s birthday party. However, it was mostly spam or work-related calls.

There was something very stressful about waiting to see who would RSVP to her birthday party. Would her party be a success or would it be a total flop? There were too many unknowns, and without experience hosting kids’ parties, all I could do was eat Cheetos and patiently wait. But here’s the thing:

👉 My vocabulary does not have patience in it, because I am an impatient person.

Being a parent can be challenging, and the worst-case scenario would be to have a “teddy bear picnic” for my daughter if nobody RSVPd. I’m sure she would be just as happy with that, but it’s not the same as having a birthday party. My daughter loves her toy cat and drags it with her everywhere, which is the equivalent of a security blanket for children.

Becca playing with her toy cat at the playground. The photo is my own.

With 10 out of 12 kids who RSVPd attending my daughter’s birthday party yesterday, and with 11 total kids in attendance including my daughter, I’m happy to report that I think it was worth it. If my daughter is still into indoor playgrounds when she turns 7 years old, it’s something that we would consider doing again. If anything, we learned that weeknights do not work for most parents, and that weekends are probably best when planning a kid’s birthday party.

I ask the parents on WordPress, have you ever experienced this? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below ↓ I will do my best to reply to your comments as I am working again this weekend.

Party favors for the kiddos. The photo is my own.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

6 Subtle Signs of Loneliness

(っ◔V◔)っSerious Question: Do You Struggle with Loneliness?

𝒴𝑜𝓊 𝒶𝓇𝑒 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝒶𝓁𝑜𝓃𝑒.

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

It is never good to be lonely and it can even lead to feeling vulnerable. There are times when you may feel like you don’t need anyone, even though we all need people around us. I know how it feels and I want to reassure you that you’re not alone.

You might not be aware of how lonely you are. People have different ways of showing the warning signs, but if you ever have the sense that you’re lonely, it is best to deal with it as soon as possible. Knowing these early warning signs can help prevent feelings of isolation. Here are 6 signs to help you determine if you are struggling with loneliness.

Disclaimer: The same article can be found on Medium, but is behind a paywall. If you are still interested in checking it out, then you can do so by clicking on the following link:

♡ Medium Article: 6 Subtle Signs of Loneliness

6 Subtle Signs of Loneliness

1. You often feel bored.

Do you often feel lonely and bored? Do you have days where you have nothing to do and no one to hang out with? Is your social life a little dull?

It may surprise you to know that these feelings are not uncommon. Humans are social beings whose brains are designed for connection. People need connection and it doesn’t matter if we’re trying to connect with friends, family, or strangers. But if you don’t have many friends or if you’re not close to the ones you have, your life may start becoming monotonous. You spend every day doing tasks by yourself, eating meals alone, and scrolling through your phone without really paying attention to it. In this case, the boredom you feel could mean that you’re feeling lonely.

2. You have nobody to lean on.

Who do you have in your life who can support you during tough times? Do you have a friend that is always there for you to talk about what’s bothering you over the phone or in person?

Imagine that you had a long day that has gone from bad to worse. You finally get home and your mind is still racing. You want to speak with someone about how you are feeling but don’t want to overwhelm them with your problems. You reach for your phone and scroll through the contacts, but you are unable to find even one person who would understand how you feel. Who do you call if you’re having trouble finding someone to talk to? Not only are you feeling stressed but you’re struggling with loneliness too.

Loneliness is not just about not being able to find someone to spend time with. It’s about not having a close friend that you can talk to, who can help you sort out the bad things that happen in your life. You might have people you see at work or school or neighbors with whom you talk about the weather. However, it’s also essential to have someone who will be there for you when things get tough.

Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

3. You overshare when someone gives you the time of day.

Do you speak quickly when you’re having a conversation? Do you speak in great detail, sharing lots of personal information that you might regret later?

Oversharing is another sign of loneliness. Lonely people might talk a lot just to fill the void, but not necessarily in person where they could connect with others. People have a deep social need to connect and when we finally find someone who listens, it can be hard to restrain our thoughts. The sudden outpouring of all that pent-up loneliness can often be overwhelming for both parties.

4. You are jealous of others having a good time.

How do you feel when you see a group of friends hanging out and you weren’t invited? How do you feel when you see all those pictures on social media of people having fun? Do you feel indifferent or does it make you feel jealous?

If you are currently feeling lonely and left out, know that it is normal to want to spend time hanging out with friends rather than being alone. And even if nobody talks about it openly, it is obvious that many people share the same desire—nobody likes to feel left out. As a result, it wouldn’t surprise me that the fear of missing out (aka. FOMO) is directly related to this natural human desire to feel included.

5. You distract yourself with self-care activities.

Yes, you read that correctly! But please hear me out on this. If you find yourself constantly distracted by things that make you feel good, such as warm baths, bath bombs, or a hot cup of coffee, but your ambitions or goals aren’t being fulfilled, then maybe this is a sign that you are craving comfort. There is nothing inherently wrong with self-care, but consider how much time (and money) you invest in these activities daily.

A while ago, I published an article on this blog, with self-care ideas that are free or inexpensive. Why not take a look and see if you can find anything that would be helpful to you?

♡ Related Article: Affordable Self-Care Ideas

6. You compensate by shopping and hoarding things.

Do you enjoy shopping a little too much? Does your home have an excessive amount of clutter? Do you feel like you can’t stop yourself from shopping and don’t know why?

As children, we find a sense of security and emotional support in our favorite teddy bears and blankets. When we feel unsafe as adults, it can be satisfying to buy our way back to safety. When we are feeling lonely, for instance, buying items that make us feel safe and protected can become addictive. We want things like clothes, trinkets, and jewelry that make us feel like the world knows we exist, even though they don’t actually solve the underlying problem. Being attached to objects might be an attempt to compensate for the loneliness you feel.

👉You might be feeling lonely at the moment, but don’t let that get to you. Here are a few things you can do to start feeling better:

  1. Talking to someone can help you open up about what you’re going through. Whether you prefer professional therapy or just want to talk to your family and friends, they must know how they can help.
  2. Engaging in social activities like volunteering or joining a sports club are all good ways of socializing with others and keeping a healthy mind.
  3. Taking care of our bodies is vital. It applies to both mental and physical health and ensures that we can live with a sense of quality in our lives. Drink plenty of water, get outside for some sun rays, and try to get your blood pumping!

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

It is natural to feel lonely at some point, but don’t let it get you down. Reach out to friends, or try other creative ways to meet new people and make connections. Remember that you are not alone in how you feel and there are so many people who are going through the same challenges as you. You can ask for help and support when things get tough and it is okay to talk about how you’re feeling.

Did any of these points resonate with you? Let me know by joining the conversation below ↓ Feel free to share this article with anyone who might be struggling with loneliness.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

10 Self-Improvement Habits to Make You Happier

Background: It is my pleasure to have Davis return as a guest blogger for the third time. You may remember him from his first and second guest post appearances in July 2022 and September 2022. Davis has two previous blog posts that you might be interested in and you can read them here and here for some insightful advice on how to improve yourself!

Disclaimer: Davis runs a blog called https://businessisfun.net that I highly recommend you check out and follow him if you haven’t done so already. Since Davis wrote the following guest post, I cannot take credit for it. While you are here, I would love to hear your thoughts about this article. Let’s get started, shall we?

Image via https://www.pexels.com/

There are many things you can do to make your life better, and the good news is that it’s never too late to begin. In today’s article, Davis shares ten things you can start doing today to improve your life and make yourself happier. Whether you want to feel better about yourself or your career, or you are just looking for some inspiration in everyday life, these tips will help guide the way.

10 Self-Improvement Habits to Make You Happier

1. Start a Morning Routine. Sticking to a morning routine can help you start each day with greater focus and productivity, ensuring that you begin the day right. 

2. Journal Each Day. People who journal have increased happiness and lower levels of stress. By putting down on paper all your anxieties and worries from your day, you take some power back from those worries — and gain perspective, too. 

3. Exercise Regularly. Daily exercise improves your mood and gives you extra energy to tackle tasks. Psychology Today notes that exercise is a natural antidepressant and can make a huge difference in your happiness quotient by easing stress, relaxing tense muscles, and helping you sleep better. 

4. Set a Fitness Goal. If you have a fitness goal in mind, it’s easier to start and stay on track. Set your fitness goals with a coach or trainer as they can help keep you accountable for your workouts and ensure you use proper form. Once you hit a milestone, such as running your first 5K, you may consider a nutrition plan to further enhance your health. 

5. Spend Time in Nature. Cornell University cites research showing that spending time in nature reduces stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, improves mood, boosts your immune system, and helps prevent dementia. Try to spend some time each day walking around Midvale, Utah, or sitting near a window with a view of trees or other greenery.  

6. Take Regular Breaks. Taking breaks throughout your day, even if just 5 minutes long, can help improve productivity and decrease stress. 

7. Remove Toxic People From Your Life. Some people bring a sense of harmony to your life, while others cause discord and unhappiness. Find out which kind you’re dealing with, and start changing your social circle. By removing toxic people from your life, you can reduce stress and increase happiness. 

8. Organize Your Home. Remove negative energy from your home by having a deep cleaning and decluttering session. Not only will it look much better, but you’ll also feel more relaxed and stress-free.  

9. Start a Business. Starting your own business can be scary, but it also has many benefits. You’ll learn new skills, set your own hours, and gain the freedom to make decisions as you see fit. If you’re looking to change your life for the better, starting a business is worth serious consideration. Online resources, such as website builders, and templates for invoices and business cards, can all be a big help. 

Starting a business doesn’t have to be an overwhelming endeavor, because you have a lot of resources at your disposal. For example, if you want to learn about content marketing (a specialized area of advertising), check out CornerstoneContent.com. Or, you can reference DreamHost.com for a complete guide on how to launch a business, including what goes into a business plan.  

10. Get the Right Amount of Sleep. When you’re well-rested, you can concentrate better and see situations clearly. Less sleep impairs concentration and memory, making it harder to problem-solve and think critically when issues arise. 

And most importantly…..


░E░n░j░o░y░ ░y░o░u░r░ ░n░e░w░ ░l░i░f░e░!░


Good habits are essential for self-improvement and it can be tough to build them up, but all it takes is a small change and even one small, permanent change can make a huge difference in your life. Why not challenge yourself this month to start using your new habits and see how you feel?

If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to read more posts from this blogger, you can visit their website at https://businessisfun.net. Finally, if you learned something new from this blog post, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ Interested in writing a guest post for www.sereneluna.net? If you would like to write a guest post, please email me your idea by filling out this form.

Thanks for stopping by!