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:

โ™ก Quick Link: https://mobile.twitter.com/serene_hilz

๐’ซ.๐’ฎ. ๐ป๐’ถ๐“…๐“…๐“Ž ๐ต๐‘’๐“๐’ถ๐“‰๐‘’๐’น ๐’ข๐“‡๐‘œ๐“Š๐“ƒ๐’น๐’ฝ๐‘œ๐‘” ๐’Ÿ๐’ถ๐“Ž!

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 ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช

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 ๐Ÿˆโ€โฌ›

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 โ†“ 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! โ™ฅ

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 โœจ

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 doctorโ€™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 ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช 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 โ†“ 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! โ™ฅ

January Goals | Winter 2023

As the new year approaches, I have made a promise to myself to make setting monthly goals a priority and I am excited to start off with January 2023. Writing out a list of achievable goals that I can work towards has always been important for me, and this is an opportunity for me to start fresh and strive towards making real progress in achieving my aspirations.

For those of you who have been keeping up with me on Twitter (@serene_hilz), I am currently in the process of holding myself accountable for my exercise regimen. To do this, I have been using the treadmill to stay active on days where I am not occupied with work commitments. Keeping myself motivated and challenged on a daily basis by setting goals and achieving them has become an invaluable habit for me. I love to be able to take a step back at the end of each day and reflect on what I have accomplished, which is especially rewarding when I receive positive feedback from my followers that they find my posts inspiring! This is something that truly makes me proud and never ceases to give me a sense of accomplishment.

โ™ก Quick Link: https://mobile.twitter.com/serene_hilz

๐•€ ๐•’๐•ž ๐•–๐•ฉ๐•”๐•š๐•ฅ๐•–๐•• ๐•ฅ๐•  ๐•ค๐•–๐•– ๐•จ๐•™๐•’๐•ฅ ๐•๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•ฆ๐•’๐•ฃ๐•ช ๐•™๐•’๐•ค ๐•š๐•Ÿ ๐•ค๐•ฅ๐• ๐•ฃ๐•– ๐•—๐• ๐•ฃ ๐•ž๐•–!

As I had mentioned in my previous blog post, the beginning of the New Year was unfortunately filled with a few days spent in bed due to illness. It wasn’t until January 4th that I started to feel slightly better and was able to enjoy a meal of sushi. Unfortunately, I was feeling depressed by January 5th. My depression is usually bad this time of year (aka. Blue January) due to the colder temperatures, lack of sunlight and the end of the holiday season which means there’s nothing to get excited about. I am the type of person who needs something to look forward to, so that’s where this blog comes in. If I cannot control my circumstances, then I will create my own goals and routines this year.

Yes, it’s the same template as previous years. ๐Ÿ“†

Are you familiar with this template? If you read my March Goals blog post(s) over the years, I can tell you that it’s the same template. Why did I only post during the month of March? Who knows! This template, however, is something that I’m very proud of and I will continue to use it for this blog. Personally, I don’t like creating blog posts from scratch because they often lack organization and flow, which are things that I hold high standards for. If a blog post looks ugly, then I will often scrap it or re-write it so it’s “easy on the eyes.” You might be wondering how this month differs from previous months. Well,, let me show you:

January Goals 2023

Career Goals:

  • Do not miss any work days this month ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™€๏ธ
  • Get comfortable with working on new unit (general medicine)
  • Catch up on emails and work on MLL courses
  • Start bidding on shifts for February as they become available

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts per month
  • Publish 1-2 articles on Medium + share articles on blog
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments
  • Monthly donation to Amref Health Africa
  • Daily Duolingo practice ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช

Health Goals:

  • Treadmill on days I am not working + upload progress on Twitter
  • Track water intake on Water Llama app
  • Track steps on Pikmin Bloom app
  • Healthy/clean eating 80% of the time
My Mii looks constipated lol

And there you have it! As you can see, I have laid everything out in a clear and concise manner and I am very direct about what I do. I’m not an expert when it comes to achieving life goals, but I believe planning and sticking to what you set out to do is key. It’s not always easy and that’s why I remind myself of my goals every day. Even though it can be tough, taking consistent action towards what you want make the biggest difference in the long run.

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 โ†“ Also, I would really appreciate it if you followed me on Twitter, 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! โ™ฅ

Salad Dressings ยป3 Waysยซ

Here’s a funny joke:

Q: Why did the tomato turn red?

A: Because it saw the salad dressing!

*cue laughter*
โ™ก 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.

Iโ€™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.

๐—›๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—ป ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜‡๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—ฑ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด!

SALAD DRESSINGS ยป3 WAYSยซ

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.

โ™ก Image #1: Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

โ™ก Image #2: Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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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! ๐ŸŒฑ This drink tastes like mango ice creamโ€”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! ๐Ÿฅญ๐Ÿ˜‹

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! 

โ™ก Image Source #1: Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

โ™ก Image Source #2: Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

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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.

โ™ก 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 cafรฉ 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!

โ„ ๐•ด๐–™’๐–˜ ๐–™๐–Ž๐–’๐–Š ๐–™๐–” ๐–’๐–†k๐–Š ๐–† ๐–œ๐–†๐–—๐–’ ๐–’๐–š๐–Œ ๐–”๐–‹ ๐–ˆ๐–”๐–ˆ๐–”๐–†! โ„

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! โ™ฅ

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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! โ™ฅ

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Easy Guacamole Dip

๐’ฉ๐‘œ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’พ๐“ƒ๐‘” ๐’พ๐“ˆ ๐’ท๐‘’๐“‰๐“‰๐‘’๐“‡ ๐“‰๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“ƒ ๐’ถ ๐’ป๐“‡๐‘’๐“ˆ๐’ฝ, ๐’ฝ๐‘œ๐“‚๐‘’๐“‚๐’ถ๐’น๐‘’ ๐’ท๐’ถ๐“‰๐’ธ๐’ฝ ๐‘œ๐’ป ๐‘”๐“Š๐’ถ๐’ธ๐’ถ๐“‚๐‘œ๐“๐‘’!

I have a challenge for you! Using everything you have in your cupboard, come up with a recipe and actually make it. You can โ€œcheatโ€ 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! ๐Ÿฅ‘๐Ÿ˜‹ 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! โ™ฅ

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Peppa Pigโ€™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? ๐ŸŒฑ

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 375ยฐF (190ยฐC).
  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! ๐ŸŽ‚

Thanks for stopping by! โ™ฅ

great-vibes.regular (1)

6 Subtle Signs of Loneliness

(ใฃโ—”Vโ—”)ใฃSerious Question: Do You Struggle with Loneliness?

๐’ด๐‘œ๐“Š ๐’ถ๐“‡๐‘’ ๐“ƒ๐‘œ๐“‰ ๐’ถ๐“๐‘œ๐“ƒ๐‘’.

Photo by Clรฉment 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 donโ€™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:

โ™ก 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 youโ€™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 whatโ€™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 donโ€™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 youโ€™re having trouble finding someone to talk to? Not only are you feeling stressed but youโ€™re struggling with loneliness too.

Loneliness is not just about not being able to find someone to spend time with. Itโ€™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, itโ€™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 youโ€™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 werenโ€™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 desireโ€”nobody likes to feel left out. As a result, it wouldnโ€™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 arenโ€™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?

โ™ก 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.

๐Ÿ‘‰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 youโ€™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!

(ใฃโ—”โ—กโ—”)ใฃ โ™ฅ FINAL THOUGHTS โ™ฅ

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 โ†“ Feel free to share this article with anyone who might be struggling with loneliness.

Thanks for stopping by! โค

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 itโ€™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 aโ€ฏmorning 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 โ€” 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 antidepressantโ€ฏand 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.โ€ฏ 

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 youโ€™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 youโ€™ll also feel more relaxed and stress-free.โ€ฏ 

9. Start a Business. Starting your own business can be scary, but it also has many benefits. Youโ€™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 doesnโ€™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 youโ€™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…..


โ–‘Eโ–‘nโ–‘jโ–‘oโ–‘yโ–‘ โ–‘yโ–‘oโ–‘uโ–‘rโ–‘ โ–‘nโ–‘eโ–‘wโ–‘ โ–‘lโ–‘iโ–‘fโ–‘eโ–‘!โ–‘


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 youโ€™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 โ†“ 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!

Having a Midlife Crisis? Here Are 5 Changes You Can Make to Overcome It

Disclaimer: I am pleased to have Davis return as a guest blogger. You might remember him from his first guest post appearance in April 2022. 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 this 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?

5 Ways to Overcome a Midlife Crisis

Midlife is the term used to refer to the transition phase between adulthood and old age. For many individuals managing this phase of life can prove to be challenging given the sheer number of changes it can bring. Moving towards 40 years of age means individuals start nearing the end of their careers, which can cause uncertainty regarding what to do next. Additionally, with age, certain health problems are bound to arise, and even if theyโ€™re minor, individuals need to focus on their health more than ever before. The struggle to manage these changes is often referred to as a midlife crisis. In this article, weโ€™ll explore the best ways adults can tackle these changes healthily and improve their quality of life.

1. Commit to an Exercise Regime

According to research by AARP, the following are common health conditions faced by adults during their mid-life: high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and anxiety. While each of these conditions affects the body differently, they have one thing in common. Regular exercise can significantly reduce the onset of these diseases and help individuals manage any existing symptoms.

Exercising 30 minutes a day, whether cardio or weight-based exercises, will help you improve cardiovascular health, maintain a healthy weight, keep blood pressure in check and promote happier moods. Additionally, it will reduce the chances of developing further age-related conditions and keep you active for longer.

Regular exercise is bound to make you feel tired each day, which is a good thing as it will lead to a healthy sleep schedule. On average, adults require at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. A good nightโ€™s sleep will improve your ability to manage stress, increase energy levels and keep your mind sharp throughout the day.

2. Start Practicing a Hobby

If the stress of handling numerous life changes is constantly at the forefront of your mind, consider starting a hobby that helps break the chain of thought and puts your mind at ease. Best hobby ideas to consider include:

  • Learning how to play an instrument
  • Starting a mental health journal
  • Reading books
  • Starting a vegetable garden in your backyard
  • Volunteering at a local NGO, animal shelter, or any other organization of your choice
  • Learning how to cook

The number one benefit of having a hobby is that youโ€™ll dedicate time and effort toward something which brings you a sense of fulfillment and happiness. Even after a long day, a hobby will help take your mind off things and develop a positive mindset. Incorporating a hobby as part of your daily routine will keep stress at bay, allowing you to come to terms with changes without being overwhelmed.

3. Pursue an Online Degree

If you aspire to have a more fulfilling job than your current one, adding an educational credential to your resume will open doors to numerous better professional opportunities. For instance, if you want to boost your salary potential during the last years of your career in human resources, earn your human resources degree. This degree will help you develop the necessary skills and expertise needed to land a better job.

Regardless of the program, compared to traditional degrees, an online course provides the benefits of a flexible schedule and affordable tuition fees. As a result, you can continue working while studying and get the best of both worlds. Additionally, you can start applying for new roles towards the end of the course and make a smooth transition post-graduation.

4. Launch a Business

As reported by SSA.GOV, the legal retirement age in the US is 67 years. But, you can continue working way past this age by choosing to start a business. As an entrepreneur, youโ€™ll have full control over how much you work, your compensation, and the clients you work with. This is a great option for individuals who do not want age to restrict their career aspirations. While many may feel mid-life is too late for making the switch to entrepreneurship, in reality, the experience youโ€™ve gathered through decades of work will serve as a great foundation to run a business. However, running a business will bring a few risks, such as:

  • Your income will be directly dependent on business performance. Hence, conduct thorough research regarding what products/services are in demand and the customer demographic you want to target.
  • As a business owner, you will be liable for business-related liabilities. But, you can significantly reduce your risk by establishing a Limited Liability Company (LLC). There are various online formation services you can work with to form your LLC without any hassle.

Additionally, with advancements in technology, it has never been easier to run a home-based business. Whether it be marketing, accounting, project management, or other business operations, various free applications can be used. For projects where you require expertise, consider hiring freelancers from reputed websites such as Upwork and Fiverr who work on a per-project basis and charge affordable rates.

5. Reconnect with Old Friends

For adults who feel that theyโ€™re stuck in a rut, reconnecting with old friends can be a welcoming experience. For most of us, the time spent in school or college is what we cherish the most. But, as time passes, we lose touch with friends with whom we share numerous happy memories.

Using the power of the internet you can easily find what your old friends are up to and set up a time to meet. As long as you remember their full name, a simple google search will bring up their LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook profiles through which you can contact them. In case you only remember a part of their name, add their school/college name in front of it during the google search and you should find their profiles without any hassle.

โžค As reported by SocialSelf, being social provides various benefits to adults, such as:

The best way to overcome the challenges of midlife is to make healthy changes. Each change you make, whether it be following an exercise routine, pursuing an online degree, or starting a business, will have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. Additionally, remember that you are not alone in your struggles and can always reach out to family and friends who will provide you unconditional support in times of need.


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. In the event that you are going through a mid-life or quarter-life crisis, you can refer to this blog post for future reference. Finally, if you learned something new from this blog post, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below โ†“ 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!