You Cannot Pour from an Empty Cup

Regularly taking the time to look after yourself is absolutely essential for your physical and mental health and well-being. This has been a hot topic of discussion online, however, this does not make it any less important; in fact, it only further demonstrates the critical role self-care now plays in our lives. Don’t ignore the importance of taking a moment out of your day to focus on yourself and prioritize your own health and happiness.

That is why I felt that it was important to re-share my Medium article on the blog. If you use the following link to read this article and you are already a Medium subscriber, I will earn a small commission. It might be only a few pennies but it’s better than earning nothing at all. This article is behind a paywall on Medium but I want to make it available for everyone to read.

♡ Medium Article: You Cannot Pour from an Empty Cup

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

Taking care of yourself with self-care 🧘🌱

I recently saw this topic appear in my newsfeed and it made me contemplate the meaning, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” This phrase can be used when considering your relationship with yourself and the importance of self-care. As much as I think the word “self-care” is grossly overused, I don’t have a better word for what I am describing here.

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Taking care of yourself is essential before you can pour your energy into anything else ♥

In order to be there for others, you need to make sure you first take care of yourself. Moreover, when we are not taking care of ourselves, it can be extremely difficult to show up at our best in all areas of our lives, whether it is for ourselves or for others. This is why the expression “you can’t pour from an empty cup” also applies to you as an individual, and not just when discussing how it is important to show up for the people around us. Sometimes you need space to do your own things and focus on yourself, which doesn’t make you selfish.

The importance of self-care

One of the most effective ways to do this is by engaging in self-care on a regular basis. Self-care is defined as any activity that someone does deliberately in order to take care of their mental, emotional, physical health, and overall well-being.

Photo by Ivan Samkov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/

By taking the time to prioritize your well-being and spend time with yourself, you will have the energy and motivation that you need to be present in each of the different areas of your life. Thus, it is important to show up for yourself in every area of your life that is important to you. The following quote resonates with me:

“Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.” — Audrey Lorde

I will tell you one thing many people get wrong about self-care. Self-care should not involve self-indulgence, which entails lavish massages, expensive hair appointments, and other things that require spending a lot of money to temporarily make oneself feel better. On the other hand, self-care is about doing things naturally that will help you to feel good. Spending more time outdoors, exercising, etc. are great ways to look after yourself.

Remember, self-care can be done without having to break the bank. There are a number of ways to make self-care a priority and you don’t need to spend money in order for it to be effective. If you’re in need of some affordable self-care ideas, you might want to check out my hobby blog, www.sereneluna.net, for a few ideas. You can check out my list of affordable self-care ideas here:

♡ Related Blog Post: Affordable Self-Care Ideas

Take It or Leave It

It’s natural to want to be there for your loved ones and friends at all times of the day. However, it often leaves us feeling a lack of balance in our lives which can lead to neglecting our own needs and health. It’s important to take some time for yourself from time to time, so that you can be a better person for the people around you. Moreover, as we all come to rely more and more on ourselves in a world that encourages self-sufficiency, the importance of self-care becomes even more important. We need to have our cups full before we can start achieving the things that we want. Thus, self-care is a fundamental part of our lives.

If you found this article interesting, or even if it just changed your perspective on things, please let me know in the comments below ↓ Your feedback really matters to me.

P.S. You can also connect with me on Twitter (@hellokitty8404) and I encourage you to subscribe to my website at http://www.sereneluna.net so that you can receive the latest updates from me.

Thanks for stopping by! â¤ï¸

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March Goals | Winter 2023

You guys, it’s March 2023! I’m feeling excited to see what this month brings, but I’m also a bit overwhelmed. There’s so much I need to do and the days are flying by! It feels like I barely have enough time to check in with everyone and make sure you are doing well. To be completely honest, I’m still unsure if I will continue with these blog posts in the foreseeable future or not, but for now I will try to stay consistent. These monthly goal blog posts go hand-in-hand with my daily updates of what my life is like, which I will continue to post on Twitter. If you’d like to follow me and get a glimpse into what my day is like, please feel free to click the following link:

♡ Quick Link: https://mobile.twitter.com/serene_hilz

ℑ𝔱’𝔰 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔩𝔲𝔠𝔨 𝔬𝔣 𝔱𝔥𝔢 ℑ𝔯𝔦𝔰𝔥🍀

Turning Over a Renewed Leaf

This is not exactly a new season or month for me, instead, it is more of a continuation of the last two months in terms of my monthly goals. I have made some small adjustments to my diet and have been exercising regularly, so I am not making any drastic changes or starting a new diet, etc. In fact, I intend to remain consistent with my current habits and continue to make subtle improvements that will help me ultimately achieve my goals. This month is a particularly busy one for me, as I am juggling my work commitments and parenting responsibilities, while also trying to get ready for an upcoming vacation next month. The pressure of having to finish all of these tasks in a timely manner while still having the time and energy to prepare for the trip is causing me a considerable amount of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with any details about my travels yet, but I can assure you that I won’t be very active on social media while I’m away. All I can say is that my destination is a warm and sunny place! 🏝️

January Goals 2023

Career Goals:

  • Stay up-to-date on my work schedule
  • Attend in-class sessions on March 14ᵗʰ & 15ᵗʰ
  • Request March 26ᵗʰ off as it no longer fits my schedule
  • Complete the Connect Care modules on MLL

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts + monthly goals/recap blog posts
  • Publish 1-2 articles on Medium + share articles on blog
  • Sign up for a 1-month Medium Membership trial ✨
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments
  • Daily Duolingo practice 🇩🇪 → I want to go at my own pace

Health Goals:

  • Treadmill on days I am not working + upload progress on Twitter
  • Limit drinks to water, tea, and coffee → cut back on spending $
  • Track steps on Pikmin Bloom app → continue to plant flowers 🌸
  • Healthy/clean eating 80% of the time
Selfie taken March 17, 2020 🍀

And there you have it! My goals this month are very similar to those of last month, with an emphasis placed on getting fitter and healthier so I can feel more comfortable in my own body and potentially even wear my pre-pregnancy clothes again. My goal is to build a positive self-image, not only in regards to physical appearance, but also for my mental health. It is not only about accepting your body but also feeling good about it and not waking up every morning with self-hatred. Mental and physical health are equally important and should be given priority in order to achieve inner peace.

I am curious to know what your goals are for the month of March. Feel free to let me know in the comments section below ↓ Also, I would really appreciate it if you followed me on Twitter (@serene_hilz), that is, if you aren’t already a follower. Though it is often a struggle to gain traction on that platform, I still find it really enjoyable to establish connections with fellow bloggers.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

February Recap | Winter 2023

It is the end of the month, once again! I have thought about whether or not to continue with my monthly goals and recap blog posts. I’m curious to know if they have been a useful resource or tool for readers of this blog. Would you find value in these posts if I decided to keep them going? I haven’t been writing these blog posts for very long, yet my calendar is already full. That does not leave me much time to be creating quality content.

Despite the fact that I do not update this blog as frequently as I would like, I have been busy in other aspects of life and work has taken up a significant portion of my time and energy. On top of that, my family responsibilities take up an even greater portion of my day-to-day life. It often amuses me to see how people without kids feel they have the authority to comment on my parenting style when they are not experiencing the demands of being a parent themselves. Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs out there, so it’s no wonder why I prioritize this over blogging.


Let It Go~!

As I look back on the month of February, I am reminded that sometimes the answers that we receive in life, even though they may not be what we were hoping for, is usually the right answer. It can be excruciatingly difficult to come to terms with the fact that sometimes the answer we need is not necessarily the one that we would like to accept. I have yet to receive the closure that I was seeking, but I am slowly learning how to move on and accept these things for what they are. Letting go of things, whether it be a lingering grudge or feeling wronged by someone else, can certainly be a painful experience. Nevertheless, it is something that we must do in order to keep growing. These days, I have to keep reminding myself to “let it go!”

♡ Related Article: The Gift I Never Gave

FEBRUARY GOALS 2023

Career Goals:

  • Continue to pick up day and evening shifts I was able to secure two evening shifts earlier this month, and the other ones were the same. As I’m not fond of day shifts, I’ll stick with evenings for the foreseeable future.
  • Catch up on emails I am up to date on the important emails. Anything that wasn’t pinned to the top of my email list got neglected. I only check my emails once a day whereas I used to check it multiple times a day.
  • Bid of shifts as they become available Yes, I decided to bid for two consecutive days as previously mentioned.
  • Work on the MLL courses. # of completed modules: ?? I didn’t count the modules because I don’t care enough to count them. But I did complete a handful of them. I still have a handful left, which I want to complete before the in-class course starts in mid-March.

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts per month In February, I published two blog posts that weren’t the monthly goals and recaps. I also rewrote the poem, Friends No More and had fun answering the 20 Valentine’s Day Questions Tag ♥️
  • Publish 1-2 articles on Medium + share articles on blog Last month, to my surprise, I managed to successfully publish two articles on Medium. This took me by surprise since I didn’t think I would end up with any published articles at all. If you’re interested, you can take a look at my work here and here. I have yet to post these articles on the blog but have plans to do so at some point.
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments This seems to be an ongoing cycle that never ends, and even though I initially planned to share the details of my new Posh Planner for 2023, I haven’t been able to get around to using it yet. And despite making use of my basic $4 Dollarama planner, I have been quite forgetful lately.
  • Daily Duolingo practice 🇩🇪 If you are a Duolingo user and haven’t added me yet, then I strongly encourage you to do so. I always accept someone who sends me a friend request as it’s great for doing the challenges with friends. I don’t have enough time to grind for XP, so I have been stuck in the Obsidian League for 3 weeks now.

Health Goals:

  • Treadmill on my days off + Accountability If this is your first time reading my blog, then I strongly suggest that you follow me on #Twitter! Not only do I post updates and photos to keep myself accountable, but it is also an amazing platform to connect with others who are striving for similar goals. I recently started taking virtual tours around the world while working out, and it has been an incredibly fun and unique experience so far. It is a great way to stay motivated while exercising as I am able to explore beautiful places all over the world without leaving my home. The visuals of these virtual tours are awesome, thanks to an amazing YouTube channel called @TreadmillTV (and others).
  • Limit drinks to water, tea, and coffee Overall, I am quite pleased with my success in achieving this goal of limiting my beverage purchases. During the month of February, I mostly drank water, orange pekoe tea, and coffee. I even managed to limit my trips to Tim Hortons; I only had steeped tea a total of three times this month. Also, I did indulge in some bubble tea with my daughter out of our shared love for it – a total of two times this month.
  • Track steps on Pikmin Bloom app The nice thing about this app is that it syncs with the step-counter on my iPhone. Carrying my phone with me all day isn’t ideal, but this app helps me stay on track. I set myself the goal of 10K steps per day, and it’s done wonders for my health and fitness! Not only has it helped me lose weight, but I’ve seen an improvement in my overall wellbeing too.
  • Healthy/clean eating 80% of the time Although I’m quite conscious of my diet, I still indulge in unhealthy snacks. To make sure my lifestyle is balanced, I opted to stop buying fast food, which I did for the majority of February. It is important to note that I have a tendency to engage in disordered eating habits, which I don’t want to do, so I don’t intentionally practice intermittent fasting. Over the years, I have gotten better, but I still slip up occasionally.

(っ◔◡◔)っ Key Takeaway: If you’re not already following me on Twitter (@serene_hilz), I’m tracking my fitness progress, and you can get real-time updates about my day-to-day life there.

•♡•♥•♡•♥•♡•

And there you have it! As you can see, my February Goals mostly stayed the same. I plan to upload a Monthly Goals Blog Post for March if I am able to find the time to do so. I will try to find time to post this week but there is no guarantee that I will be able to keep up with my writing schedule. After all, I also write for Medium (@sereneluna) and I am thinking about sharing those articles here 👀 It’s getting to the point where it’s hard to maintain a blog AND a Medium account. Now is a great time to follow me on Medium so you don’t miss any of my latest posts! I’m really happy to announce that I have now reached 1.3K followers on Medium and 1.4K followers on WordPress!

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

Friends No More

Disclaimer: Friends No More is based on my personal experience with unhealthy friendships that I have had in the past. This poem isn’t directed towards any one person in particular. It’s a reminder of the pain I went through when someone I cared deeply about betrayed me and lied to my face, ultimately leading to our friendship to come to an ugly end. This poem is 100% original, written by me, and it is bullshit-free. If you like this poem, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here. ✨

Thanks for reading! ♡

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20 Valentine’s Day Questions Tag

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and once again, I seem to find the best Q&As on Deandra’s blog. In case you aren’t familiar with her, Deandra has a lifestyle blog called The Black Princess Diaries (TBPD). This time, blogger Deandra has posted a 20 Valentine’s Day Questions Tag that is sure brighten your day. If you have a moment, I highly recommend taking the time to check out Deandra’s blog for some unique and interesting content.

Today, I’m excited to share my 20 Valentine’s Questions Answers with you. Whether or not you’re into Valentine’s Day, I think these tags are fun for everyone. They were fun for me to answer! Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Have you ever been deeply in love? Yes, and I am still in love 10 years later ❤️

2. Kisses or Hugs? Both, but if I had to choose then I would say hugs 🤗

3. Candy or Flowers? Flowers are a special gift that I don’t get to enjoy very often. While I can buy candy any time, flowers make the occasion even more special 💐

4. Baking or Cooking? Baking because I love sweets! Me too, Deandra. I love sweets too.

5. Do you remember your first kiss? Yes, and it was slobbery and gross.

6. Would you date someone who’s well known for cheating? Although there is an old saying that goes “once a cheater, always a cheater,” it ultimately depends on what kind of relationship you are looking for. For me, no I wouldn’t give them a chance to be in my life. Plus, hookup culture is not as exciting as it sounds.

7. What’s the most important part of a relationship? Communication, trust, and affection are the 3 essential components that can lead to a successful relationship. Without any one of these three aspects, it can be difficult to maintain the bond. I’m a living example of this as I’ve been married for 6 years now. Mark Manson explains the 3 components more clearly in the following article:

♡ Related article: https://markmanson.net/3-core-components-of-a-healthy-relationship

8. Red or Pink? Pink! I’m not really a fan of red.

9. Milk, White or Dark Chocolate? White chocolate!

10. Do you believe in love at first sight? It really depends on the context and situation. Can someone fall in love with someone they’ve never seen before just through texting? Yes, it’s certainly possible.

11. Favorite Chick Flick or Romantic Movie? I’m not a huge movie fan, but the one that comes to mind immediately is “50 First Dates.” I think I must have watched it over fifty times.

12. Stay In or Go Out? Although I prefer staying in and relaxing at home, I also like to go outside for occasional walks. Strolling outdoors makes me feel refreshed and joyful.

13. Favorite color of Roses? I’m a fan of not only pink & white roses, but also yellow/orange and multicolored ones. Specifically those interesting options at Costco – you know which ones I mean?

14. Do you leave love notes? I don’t often display my affections through traditional gestures, but I love to send cute text messages, edit images (see image below), and send cards via snail mail 💌 During a particularly difficult time of my battle with depression, my loving husband surprised me with notes that did wonders for my wellbeing. Such thoughtfulness really makes a difference.

15. Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day? Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put gel-clings on the windows this year as the cat attempted to eat them. Nonetheless, we had some fun while it lasted! Dollarama has the best Valentines Day decorations.

16.  Do you believe it’s possible to fall in love on the internet? Sure, many individuals have experienced this as well, including myself. I used to opt for LDR dating before giving IRL dating a shot. In my opinion, it is like ‘dating with training wheels’ – some similarities with the real thing but it’s not exactly the same.

17. Are you currently in a relationship? I am married, so I’m only interested in platonic relationships.

18. Do you think people who have dated can stay friends? That’s a difficult decision to make. In general, I believe it’s best to move on. Even though I try to consider all possible scenarios and exceptions, it’s not always easy due to the emotional stability needed. It’s understandable that you both broke up in the first place if the emotional stability is not there.

19. What do you notice first about another person? Most importantly, are they friendly?

20. Do you consider yourself romantic? My husband and I don’t believe in over-the-top displays of affection during special occasions like Hallmark Holidays. It is all about how we interpret love and romance. Instead of splurging on costly presents, I’m content with the little acts of love that naturally come with our marriage. Others might find our relationship to be a bit uneventful but I am genuinely happy being married in my thirties, and this is what matters most to me.


MY NOMINEES:

You are all welcome to participate in this tag if you would like! If you do decide to participate, I ask that you credit the person who gave you the idea in the first place, whether it is Deandre or myself, or another blogger. Do you agree with my answers? Did any of my answers surprise you? I look forward to reading your replies in the comments section below ↓

Thank you for stopping by!

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February Goals | Winter 2023

It is indeed surprising how quickly February arrived, leaving me with barely enough time to check in with you all. Even so, I recognize the value in pushing forward with my goals and plans, and so, without hesitation, I have created a similar list for the month of January. My mundane day-to-day life has not changed much, but I remain committed to making sure I stick to my routine and achieve what I need to accomplish.

For those of you who have been following me on Twitter, I will continue to add updates of my progress, such as completing a challenging workout or achieving another Duolingo lesson. Additionally, I may post small pieces of creative work, like poems, pictures of my cat, and photos of my favorite beverage lol Twitter is where I tend to open up and share my thoughts. You can follow me via the following link:

♡ Quick Link: https://mobile.twitter.com/serene_hilz

𝒫.𝒮. 𝐻𝒶𝓅𝓅𝓎 𝐵𝑒𝓁𝒶𝓉𝑒𝒹 𝒢𝓇𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹𝒽𝑜𝑔 𝒟𝒶𝓎!

Different Month, Similar goals.

If you’re curious about the differences between this month and the last, you will find that it is pretty much the same routine (for the most part). Since I will continue to donate to Amref Health Africa, I left it off from my list of objectives for February. It was kind of like paying a phone bill where these things are automatically renewed. A month ago I put it up to send a message to an annoying spammer who kept pestering me on #Twitter. Following up with reporting him and blocking three accounts he had, things are better now. As I have no shifts on the Gen-Med unit this month, I chose not to include it in my goals either.

January Goals 2023

Career Goals:

  • Continue to pick up day and evening shifts
  • Catch up on emails and work on MLL courses
  • Bid on shifts for February as they become available
  • Work on the MLL courses. # of completed modules TBD

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts + monthly goals/recap blog posts
  • Publish 1-2 articles on Medium + share articles on blog
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments
  • Daily Duolingo practice 🇩🇪

Health Goals:

  • Treadmill on days I am not working + upload progress on Twitter
  • Limit drinks to water, tea, and coffee
  • Track steps on Pikmin Bloom app
  • Healthy/clean eating 80% of the time
Photo is my own. Please excuse the cat hair 🐈‍⬛

And there you have it! As you can see, my goals are similar to January. Ideally, I am hoping to get fitter so I can wear my pre-pregnancy jeans again. I lost a bit of weight last month but I don’t own a scale. I go by how my clothes fit and my clothes are starting to fit a lot better. During the month of February, I’m keeping my focus on fitness, along with career and personal goals (of course). My goal is to shed some belly fat so that I can wear my jeans by mid-March.

I am curious to know what your goals are for the month of January. Feel free to let me know in the comments section below ↓ Also, I would really appreciate it if you followed me on Twitter (@serene_hilz), that is, if you aren’t already a follower. It is so hard to grow on that platform but I really do enjoy using it to connect with like-minded bloggers.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

January Recap | Winter 2023

It’s already the end of January 2023 – seriously, where did the time go? When you work on weekends, it can seem like months are passing by three times faster than normal….It can often feel like only a few days have passed since your last weekend. This phenomenon makes it easy to believe that time is indeed an illusion, as this concept supports that belief.

I didn’t work for the first half of January but I worked a decent amount during the second half of January. If you ask any of my friends and family members who I interact with on a regular basis outside of work, they would tell you that I’m rarely ever around from Friday to Sunday. When I’m not sleeping, I’m usually working or studying for some exam thing. During the weekdays, I have typically been more active online and while this has recently become less frequent due to my ever-growing list of tasks, I still strive to spend as much time online as possible. A hectic schedule can make the days seem to fly by, but it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed. To keep up with all my obligations, I’ll be writing monthly recaps – this helps me stay accountable and take a look back at what I’ve achieved.


Seeking Clarity ✨

Looking back on the month of January, I am incredibly proud to have accomplished a handful of my planned goals that I had set out for myself at the start of the new year. I am doing my best to take life one step at a time and not get overwhelmed by the pressures of looking ahead to multiple months at once. Additionally, I have been facing issues with indecision lately, however, I am expecting February to be the month that brings me clarity and the ability to make the right decisions.

JANUARY GOALS 2022

Career Goals:

  • Do not miss any work days this month I’m proud to say that I didn’t miss any work days this month, despite being ill right at the beginning of January and having to spend New Year’s Day in bed. Nonetheless, I was able to make it back to work mid January and ended up completing a total of 9 shifts! I’m really pleased with myself for managing to do this against all odds and staying productive.
  • Get comfortable with working on new Gen-Med unit Out of the nine shifts I have had so far, six of them were spent on the Gen-Med unit and I am gradually getting more and more comfortable working there. Although I am still not confident with the new admissions and discharges process, I have faith that with a bit of practice and determination, I will eventually master this skill as well.
  • Catch up on emails and work on MLL courses I still have more than 30 modules left to finish by March 14th, 2023. Although I wish I could have been more productive with the MLL modules, I am determined to maintain pace and catch up on them before the deadline approaches. I hate doing things last minute.
  • Start bidding on shifts for February as they become available Yes, I eventually decided to put in a bid for two day shifts. Although I am not overly excited about working days, I will get through it…. but first, steeped tea lol Day shifts can be incredibly hectic and chaotic at times, but they can offer plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts per month Writing has taken a backseat this month as I’m busy with exercises and language lessons. It’s not that I’ve lost interest in writing, but rather that I just don’t feel as compelled to create unique content currently. This month, I posted the following blog posts in case you missed them. I guess parodies are fun? You be the judge.
  • Publish 1-2 articles on Medium + share articles on blog So far, I have only shared the What Do you Hope to Accomplish in 2023? article on my blog. However, the other Medium articles that I did publish are not necessarily focused on blogging but rather reflect a more broad range of topics and opinions. Do you really care about what I think about the “Follow 4 Follow” Method on Medium? Probably not, right? Thought so!
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments This seems to be an ongoing cycle that never ends, and even though I initially planned to share the details of my new planners for 2023, I haven’t been able to get around to it yet. For now, I am making do with a basic $4 Dollarama planner which does get the job done; but eventually when time allows it, I will upload a picture of the Posh Habit Tracker Planner that I recently bought.
  • Monthly donation to Amref Health Africa For the past twelve months, I have been regularly donating to Amref and have no intentions of stopping anytime soon. I hope that by supporting their good cause, I can help make a difference. Moreover, anyone who attempts to pester me for donations on #Twitter will be reported and blocked without hesitation.
  • Daily Duolingo practice ðŸ‡©ðŸ‡ª I have managed to form an impressive habit of sticking to my Duolingo practice this month. Additionally, by leveraging the advice from YouTube videos and Reddit forums, I have also figured out an ingenious way to get unlimited hearts without needing to purchase the Super Duolingo subscription. The leagues have been occupying a lot of my time lately; I was able to dedicate 10+ hours to learning German last week! This app is proving to be quite useful for me, so I will continue using it!

Health Goals:

  • Treadmill on my days off + Accountability I was successful in maintaining a consistent routine throughout the month of January. Despite being slightly under the weather at the start of the month, I was back on my feet and on the treadmill in no time. On my days away from work, I made sure to allot at least one hour for exercise on the treadmill, doing a minimum of 300 calories burned and at least 3.2 miles/hr. I realized however, that this strict schedule might not be sustainable for the long-term as I have a tendency to quit.
  • Track water intake on Water Llama app I am terrible at consistently tracking my water intake, no matter how hard I try, unless I am always conscious of it and track it 24/7. Sadly, I could have done a much better job of monitoring my water intake if I was more diligent about it.
  • Track steps on Pikmin Bloom app The nice thing about this app is that it syncs with the step-counter on my iPhone, which also syncs with my Apple Watch. This app only works when I am carrying around my phone though, and I don’t want to be a slave to having my phone in my pocket all day. I upped my step count for the month of February – more on this later.
  • Healthy/clean eating 80% of the time Although I’m quite conscious of my diet, I still indulge in unhealthy snacks. To make sure my lifestyle is balanced, I opted to reduce the amount of fast food intake, particularly from McDonald’s. Additionally, I abstained from purchasing donuts at Tim Hortons.

And there you have it! Do I feel more confident and positive about myself? Absolutely! Did I successfully achieve the goals I had set out to do in the month of January? Yes, indeed! Will I continue this positive trend of setting monthly goals for personal growth and development? Definitely! Will I be posting a Monthly Goal Blog Post for February? Potentially. It is likely that it will be similar to my January list as my goals have not changed.

Finally, if you want to drastically improve your life and have been procrastinating on setting New Year’s Resolutions, goals, etc., then I highly recommend that you take some time to read What Do You Hope to Accomplish in 2023? I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to read this article, as it can be a key factor in jumpstarting your journey towards achieving all the goals you set for yourself and making meaningful progress towards creating a better life for yourself, starting now.

Did you achieve your January goals? Please let me know in the comment section below ↓ Also, if you’re not already following me on #Twitter (@serene_hilz), I’m tracking my progress and you can get real-time updates about my journey there!

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

What Do You Hope to Accomplish in 2023?

Happy New Year! This is a late post because I’ve been sick with a stomach bug these last couple of days, making me bedridden and incapable of doing much. Not the best start to the new year and I don’t know what happened to cause this? Someone may have wished me some bad karma because it came on suddenly. The only good thing that came out of this was giving my body the ability to reset via an unintended extended fast. So yay to maybe lowing a couple of pounds?

Anyways, I am re-sharing my Medium article on the blog. If you use the following link to read this article and you are already a Medium subscriber, I will earn a small commission. It might be only a few pennies but it’s better than earning nothing at all. This article is behind a paywall on Medium but I want to make it available for everyone to read.

♡ Medium Article: What Do You Hope to Accomplish in 2023?

Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/

How to make better New Year’s Resolutions

Are New Year’s Resolutions a waste of time? It depends on the types of goals you make.

New Year, New YOU!

It really comes down to the quality of questions you ask yourself. When you don’t think about what you truly want, it’s impossible to know if you’re making progress and can become susceptible to failure. That being said, if you ask yourself the right questions, then it gives you a clear idea of your goals and gives you a sense of accomplishment for achieving them.

Remember, New Year’s resolutions are only effective to the extent they are fully aligned with who you are along with your goals. If you can understand such alignment, then you will be able to create a powerful resolution(s). It is crucial for such resolutions to be about things that are truly important to YOU.

Time for Self-Reflection

Reflecting on the past year, what you’ve achieved, and what you’d like to achieve for the next one is a good start in prioritizing tasks for 2023. To do this, take some time to reflect on your achievements and shortcomings from the past year, and make any adjustments so that you can set yourself up for even more success in the coming year!

As the new year rapidly approaches, your New Year’s resolutions need to be meaningful and serve a purpose that is specifically designed to better suit your needs and wants. This is not the same as following society’s norms or what your parents want for you. It also isn’t the same as doing what your friends or spouse want you to do. It’s important that your resolutions are personal and cater to your individual needs.

New Year’s Resolutions are worth a try. There’s something about them that makes people want to achieve their goals and stop making excuses.

Resolutions are a great way to look into the future, evaluate what you want to see accomplished in the coming year and create a realistic plan for achieving them. Now that 2023 is here, take some time to reflect and consider what your goals for this year should be. Tie resolutions to the goals you want to achieve and write them down so you can track your progress. Once you write down your goals for the year ahead, it becomes easier to do a lot of little things that can help you achieve them.

It is also important to note that writing down your thoughts and feelings releases a lot of emotional clutter, helps you revel in the joys of small moments even more than just putting some New Year’s Resolution ideas on paper, and has even been found to be more beneficial than journaling. But don’t just take my word for it. Why not give it a try and see where it takes you?

Image source: Photo by Lil artsy: https://www.pexels.com/photo/

How do you find your true potential and figure out what you want your life to look like in 2023? By answering the following questions.

Questions
1. What have you learned in the past year?
2. 
Visualize your life one year from now. What does it look like?
3. What steps can you take to put your vision into action?
4. How are you going to measure your progress?

Smart Goals Graphic by StudyLib. Link: https://studylib.net/doc/25489999/smart-goals-article

For those who want to be successful with goal-setting, it is important that you use a good goal-setting framework. I recommend using the S.M.A.R.T framework for all goal setting because it is one of the most effective frameworks and has been shown to be very useful for many people. Give S.M.A.R.T. goals a try and see if they help you too!

I not only wish you a happy new year, but I hope that all your wishes come true in the coming year. May you find a great deal of happiness, peace, and love in the coming year. I wish you success, too ♥︎

P.S. You can also connect with me on Twitter (@hellokitty8404) and I encourage you to subscribe to my website at http://www.sereneluna.net so that you can receive the latest updates from me.

December Recap | Winter 2022

I know I said that I wasn’t going to make these diary-style blog posts but I am even less inclined to write anything if I am going to stick with the original plan. So out with the old plan and in with the new plan! And right on time for the New Year.

You can read my blog post about the 6 Most Annoying Types of Blogs, right here.

♡ Related Blog Post: The 6 Most Annoying Types of Blogs

Do I care if this makes me a hypocrite? Maybe. But honestly, who is keeping tabs on me and who cares?! 🤷‍♀️

░J░u░d░g░e░ ░m░e░ ░w░h░e░n░ ░y░o░u░ ░a░r░e░ ░p░e░r░f░e░c░t░.░


(っ◔◡◔)っ Serious Question: Are you familiar with the game, Never Have I ever?

1. Never have I ever written a monthly recap blog post.

I’ve never written a monthly recap before but I think now’s a good time to start. I want to write this post in order to encourage myself and hold myself accountable, but also so others can take something away from what I’m writing.

I am still a little confused about what I am doing with my Medium profile. Traffic has declined a lot but I am still gaining followers. I have currently reached 1,100 followers and it is crazy to me. Whoever is reading my articles, thank you for your support!

In case you haven’t been following me on #Twitter or #Medium, I forgive you. Seriously though, you haven’t been getting updates from me if that’s been the case.

2. Never have I ever had COVID-19 😷

December sure didn’t start out that well for me. I got sick the first week of the month and had to call in for 5 shifts. That’s a lot of work! I ended up getting laryngitis and bronchitis, which resulted in this awful cough that wouldn’t go away. I’m glad I’m finally feeling better, though, and haven’t had a coughing fit in three days now.

One would think that I had been diagnosed with the COVID-19 plague, but I still haven’t been diagnosed with COVUD-19! It annoys me when people incorrectly claim to have had COVID-19 and refuse to get tested by a medical professional. You don’t actually know IF you have it unless you take the test. Honestly, I don’t know how I haven’t gotten it yet but I have a theory that I may have caught it in the earlier days before we had to get tested. Who knows!

Now that I feel better, I will be returning to work this weekend and need to make some money to cover the expenses this month. It’s a relief that I live debt-free and don’t have to live paycheck-to-paycheck, but now I’m trying not to feel overwhelmed by the bills this month.

Other Life Updates

✿ My daughter got her ears pierced. My husband was hesitant about it, but he quickly got over it. I took my six-year old to get her ears pierced on December 26, 2022, which is what we call Boxing Day here in Canada. My daughter’s earrings are the color of her birthstone which happens to be October.

✿ My kids had a lot of appointments this month. With so much to do on a day-to-day basis it can be a struggle to keep track of it all. My calendar is pretty crappy and I am ready for a new one! Looking forward to some new stationary in January 2023.

✿ I had a massage last week, for the first time in years. The last time I had a massage was 2019 before the pandemic happened. Although the massage was quite painful, I felt so much better afterwards. This weekend, I am less achy than usual. I plan on going back for another massage in the new year.

✿ I started using the treadmill again. I was using it religiously during the summer, but then I stopped for some reason, and noticed that I have been maintaining my weight. This does not make me happy because I have 20 pounds to lose and most of it is belly fat. All I want to do is wear cute clothes and feel good about myself. And being skinny fat does not feel good. There is no denying that, and I do want to mention that “every size is beautiful” is an empty statement which does not change my reality. It’s not enough for me to tell myself that I look great when I don’t feel the same way about myself. The most important thing for me right now is getting in shape.

✿ We did not see family this Christmas, and nobody visited us either. My mom is afraid of flying in an airplane, my dad doesn’t like to fly by himself, and my parents fear COVID-19. There is no convincing them to visit us this year as they are worried about their safety. My husband didn’t want to use his vacation days to visit family in Ontario this year because they would all be gone anyways since most of his extended family weren’t going to be there. Our Christmas was very scattered and uncoordinated. We didn’t do much at all.

✿ My ASUS laptop is dying a slow, painful death. I need a new laptop and am at the point where I won’t even turn my laptop on. I have been having issues with my laptop for a while and know that I need a new one but am having a hard time choosing which brand. I currently have an ASUS and I am not interested in getting a MacBook. In case you missed my blog post about my experience with owning a MacBook, you can read about it here:

♡ Related Blog Post: RIP Old Friend 💀❌

My ASUS laptop got me through nursing school.

(っ◔◡◔)っ â™¥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

I have a feeling that this will probably be the last blog post for December. I don’t typically reply to blog posts on days that I am working, and I happen to be working this weekend.

I really appreciate it when readers take the time to read my posts, and I hope that you found them interesting. I know they were pretty straightforward and uneventful, which is why I want to hear from you. What was your December like? Are you enjoying the holidays so far? Feel free to join the conversation below ↓ And if you don’t hear from me, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year! 🎉🥂

Thanks for stopping by! ❤️

This or That? Christmas Edition

I find Christmas-themed blog posts a bit overdone. Everyone and their moms seem to be doing Blogmas this year. You will not find me participating in Blogmas or other holiday-themed blog challenges. Ever. They’re just not my cup of tea. Why? I feel like I shouldn’t feel the need or pressure to publish a daily blog post for the sake of publishing something. I care more about high-quality blog posts than I do about quantity. Nobody should ever feel pressure to write, because I can assure you, that is when blogging stops being fun.

Is This Déjà Vu?

Similarly, I did a Would You Rather? blog post 2 years ago which was a hit and I wanted to do it again this year. In case you missed that blog post, you can check it out here:

♡ Related Blog Post: Would You Rather? Christmas Edition

I’m writing this from our new desktop PC and it feels strange, but it’s noticeably faster than my slow-poke ASUS laptop. I need to buy a new laptop, and I’ll do so after Christmas. Recently, I saw this particular idea on Instagram, out of all places, even though I rarely use Instagram. This specific This or That? challenge was created by Beth @blushing.ginger and Julie @gladyourehereco. Rather than answer one per day, I am answering them all in this blog post. After all, I prefer not to do daily holiday-themed daily challenges.

A Couple Things to Note

I just wanted to clarify that my numbers in this list are not the same as the numbers on the board. My lists used to be numbered. However,I ran into some trouble and now my list items are in a bullet point form; it’s not terrible, but the spacing is off and that bothers me. The original board shows numbers 1 to 31, with 16 total squares. I am unsure of whether or not that is intentional, so I just wanted to clear that up for you first!

Before we get started, I am not tagging anyone. You are all welcome to participate if you want to join in! ⭐Let’s get started, shall we?

#thisorthatholiday

  • Cosy or holiday cheer? My daughter would choose Holiday Cheer, there’s no doubt about it. As for myself, I care more about coziness than anything else. I would always pick “comfortable” over “cheerful”, especially this time of year when depression starts to get me down.
  • Snow globe or snowflakes? Do I own any snow globes? No. Do I like snow globes? Yes. There’s no need to bring the snow home when there’s snow outside. We get a lot of snow where I live and I am over it. I love how you can catch the snowflakes on your tongue when it’s snowing. So I would still choose real snow over a snow globe.
  • Candy canes or gum drops? Candy canes, duh! I don’t like gum drops or jujubes so I think my answer is obvious.
  • Baubles or bows? I like baubles because they’re spherical and delicate. I also like the variety, whether they be cheap ones from the dollar store or expensive ones.
  • Something red or something green? Personally, I don’t care for the color red, so I default to green. Even though we only have basic red and white Christmas wrapping paper this year, which clashes with everything else, red is a very bold color. Of course, my husband decided to buy me red wrapping paper to wrap presents this year. even though I hinted to the colorful, non-traditional paper. I guess he didn’t get the hint.
  • Wreath or garland? My mom decorates her stairwell with garlands. It looks so pretty lit up in festive lights and I think that it would be even prettier with garland on the railing. Even though I don’t currently have a garland in my own home, I think that it would be an excellent addition to my home as well!
  • Postcard or letter to Santa? I never cared for Santa Claus when I was young, and I still don’t care for him. He seems way too commercialized. That being said, I prefer to send a Christmas card instead of a postcard, but a postcard is better than nothing.
  • Nutcracker or elf? My mom has a big collection of Nutcrackers, including a Viking Nutcracker. I still think Nutcrackers are creepy looking but the Viking Nutcracker with the Hollywood horns is cute. I wish I had a picture of the Viking Nutcracker to show you but sadly, I don’t have one.
  • White Christmas or no snow? I think we already established that we get a ton of snow where I live, so I highly doubt that we will have a green Christmas this year. It’s almost always a white Christmas.🎄✨

  • Let It Snow or Happy Holidays? What does this even mean? Are these song titles? I don’t go around saying, “Let It Snow!” to everyone I talk to, but I might say “Happy Holidays.” Preferably, I say, “Merry Christmas!”
  • Gingerbread house or cookies? Personally, I prefer cookies because less mess. My daughter would choose the gingerbread house. We are planning on making a gingerbread house this weekend. A few years ago, I made some mini sugar cookies to give to the in-laws. I think miniature cookies are really cute, plus you can eat a lot of them without feeling too guilty about it.
  • Presents or stockings? While I agree that stockings are adorable and festive, I find them to be quite impractical. Not only are they difficult to fill to the brim with all sorts of goodies, but they also have a tendency to snag and leave a mess on the floor. This year my kids will be getting stockings sent from my parents (grandparents) so they will actually be getting stockings for now on. We won’t be spending Christmas with them this year because they live far away and my parents don’t like traveling d/t the pandemic.

  • Sledding or ice skating? I haven’t been on the ice since I was 12, but I would choose sledding. It feels safer. My daughter would probably choose both, as she is learning how to skate.

  • Winter fox or penguin? I enjoy both foxes and penguins, but I feel that penguins are a bit more traditional. That being said, I can’t help but notice how adorable winter foxes are too.

  • Hot chocolate or champagne? Let’s save the champagne for New Year’s Eve!🥂 I would have to go with hot chocolate. By the way, if you are looking for a hot chocolate recipe, I have the perfect recipe for you!

♡ Hot Chocolate Recipe: Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Thanks for stopping by!

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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 â™¥ 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! â™¥

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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