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 🇩🇪 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! ♥

Stay Away

Before I get started, let me just say that this is a parody of  The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber’s hit single, “Stay,” but with a humorous twist – the title of my parody song is actually the opposite! This was completely unintentional but when I finally realized it, I could not help but laugh 😆 Until recently, I had never heard of the artist known as Kid LAROI. Upon doing some  research, however, I found that he has made quite a name for himself in recent years with his unique blend of rap and pop music. It’s no wonder why he has become so popular in such a short amount of time!

Initially, I was not a fan of Justin Bieber’s music because of his higher pitched voice and style of music, especially when he was younger. However, as time passed, my opinion has changed and I have come to appreciate his music. I want to be absolutely clear that this satirical take of Justin Bieber is created with the sole intention of providing humor and should in no way be interpreted as offensive. My aim is simply to craft an amusing piece of writing for the reader’s enjoyment. Please keep this in mind while reading for a more enjoyable experience.

If you enjoy reading my parodies, feel free to check out my other parody and poetry musings here. Thanks for your support! 💖

[Chorus]
Gotta get away, from your face
Radio is playing all your songs
I can’t take it no more, I am out of here
I don’t need this kind of stress

[Verse 1]
Stay away from me, don’t come near
I don’t need your singing in my ear
Your voice is too high for me to take
So just stay away and give me some space

[Pre-Chorus] 
Oh, ooh-no (Oh, ooh-no, ooh-no)
Oh, ooh-no (Oh, ooh-no, ooh-no)
Oh, ooh-no (Oh, ooh-no, ooh-no)
So just stay away and give me some space

[Chorus]
Gotta get away, from your face
Radio is playing all your songs
I can’t take it no more, I am out of here
I don’t need this kind of stress

Gotta get away, from your face
Radio is playing all your songs
I can’t take it no more, I am out of here
I don’t need this kind of stress

[Verse 2]
Your auto tune just makes me cringe
And your lyrics make me lose my mind
I’m gonna turn away and find some peace
This noise is not what I need

[Bridge] 
I can’t take it, no it’s too much
Can’t take your high pitched singing
So just stay away, that’s my plea
I am done with Justin Bieber

[Pre-Chorus] 
Oh, ooh-no (Oh, ooh-no, ooh-no)
Oh, ooh-no (Oh, ooh-no, ooh-no)
Oh, ooh-no (Oh, ooh-no, ooh-no)
So just stay away and give me some space

[Chorus] 
Stay away from me, don’t come near
I don’t need your singing in my ear
Your voice is too high for me to take
So just stay away and give me some space

Stay away from me, don’t come near
I don’t need your singing in my ear
Your voice is too high for me to take
So just stay away and give me some space

[Outro]
No-oh
So just stay away and give me some space

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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.

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 ♥ 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! ♥

Peppa Pig’s Chocolate Cake

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

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

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

CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

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

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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I’m Keeping My WordPress Premium Plan

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

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

Related Blog Post: Blogging Fatigue

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

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

My Voice Will Not Be Silenced

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

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

Dear Readers, I Love You.

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

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

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

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

Instagram: @serene_hilz

Twitter: @serene_hilz

Medium: @sereneluna

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Social Media Anxiety

First, let’s start with some housekeeping. I am re-sharing my Medium article on the blog (same article but listed under a different title). If you use the following link to read this article, 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: Is Social Media Making You Anxious?

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

Social Media Anxiety

It is no surprise that technology has become predominant in everyone’s lives in the past 20-something years. People now have smartphones and smart TVs, and they don’t even bat an eyelash. Smartphones especially have been making life a whole lot easier by enabling people to stay in touch with friends, classmates, and family at any time of the day. It can be hard to not check your social media sites or text your friends constantly but we love being connected. With the click of a button, we can find pictures and videos of animals, recipes for some of our favorite foods, or any photo from friends’ latest vacation. We have everything at our fingertips and everything that we could want in the palm of our hands.

(っ◔V◔)っSerious Question: What is Social Media Anxiety?

Social media sites can make people feel anxious when they use them too much. It’s important to think about how checking the sites impacts you and try putting the phone down even if you don’t want to stop using the site for good. We can all relate to the feeling of being sucked into the vortex of social media. It’s hard not to get distracted by all the yummy recipe videos and adorable photos of our family pet, but it doesn’t come without a cost. Look at that mouth-watering slice of pie and think about how your homework isn’t going to do itself. One more scroll is time that could be spent doing something more productive.

♡ Related Article: It’s Time to Stop Procrastinating

Down the Social Media Rabbit Hole

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/aya-mei/art/

If it’s not the perfectionist’s rabbit hole, then it’s the social media rabbit hole. You may find it hard to get out of the Facebook and Twitter loop when you spend too much time scrolling through social media. It’s important to take time for ourselves, but these days it seems like it’s almost impossible to do so. With the world at our fingertips and the internet constantly online, it can be difficult to unplug. You are always expecting someone to contact you even if you’re not that social yourself. When your phone is constantly in reach and within sight, it’s hard to avoid distractions from all of this constant connectivity.

Social media can have a negative effect on your life if you mostly use the platform for negative engagements such as arguments or venting frustrations. This manifests as social media anxiety where you worry about updating social media and partake in this compulsive behavior because you feel obligated to check in constantly. And it’s not just the social media platforms themselves that are the cause for concern; some experts say that engaging with these platforms too much can lead to a number of mental health problems, such as depression, depression, and FOMO. 

You might have social media anxiety if you answered “yes” to the following questions. Keep in mind that these behaviors could lead to symptoms of anxiety:

Questions
1. Have you ever compulsively checked your phone, laptop, or tablet?
2.
Do you spend hours scrolling through social media feeds?
3.
Do your friends and family think you spend too much time online?

What can you do about it?

There are a few ways to stay off your phone when you don’t want to. For instance, if you’re talking with someone in person, keep your phone in your pocket. Other tips include turning off all notifications and using an app like Freedom, which automatically blocks apps that cause addictive behaviors while blocking notifications. This is a way to control your social media scrolling by not splitting attention. Stop reminding yourself that there will be more to look at. If you’re unable to access your social media for a while, it will create anxiety in the short term and make you more productive. It’s worth standing up for your social media rights as they allow people to communicate, with friends or family. Pictures are a great way to show people where you’ve been or what’s happening in your life. You can send me photos of your pet any day!

(っ◔◡◔)っKey Takeaway: It’s important to remember that social media is supposed to be fun. If you find that it’s not fun anymore, then it might be time for a break.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

I am mindful of the impact social media can have on mental health, so I make a conscious effort to limit my usage. The upside is that by limiting my use, I am not exposing myself to social media as much. Less time on social media means less anxiety. These days, I am mainly active on Twitter and this blog. I’m not active on Instagram (@serene_hilz), but I do check it occasionally. As for Facebook, my account has been collecting virtual dust for some time.

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! ❤

Blogging Fatigue

You might have noticed that I have been taking a lot more breaks than usual, and that is partly due to my laziness and partly due to recent jaw surgery that I had 2 weeks ago. I’m recovering slowly from the surgery and it makes it difficult for me to find the time to write. I haven’t blogged in a while and was starting to feel pretty guilty about it, but now I’m glad that I uploaded something even if it is a bit of a rant.

(っ◔v◔)っWhat is blogging fatigue?

It was difficult to find a true definition of “blogging fatigue” and a lot of what I found online was just written from a personal perspective. Blogging fatigue (aka burnout) is just like it sounds: when you become so tired or bored of blogging that you no longer feel motivated to do anything about it.

Do I have blogging fatigue? I am not sure that blogging is worth the time I spend on it. While I enjoy writing and have a lot of ideas to share, there are some obstacles that make me hesitant about throwing more money and time into this pipedream.

Running Out of Time

My domain and hosting renewal date is fast approaching and given WordPress’s recent change to its hosting plans, I’m at a bit of a loss. In short, I currently have the Premium Plan, which was part of the legacy plan. I’m not very impressed with the Premium Plan because it’s missing some notable things that I needed such as SEO and Plugins.

In other words, I cannot politely ask you to buy me a coffee with the help of a Kofi Plugin. This is kinda a dealbreaker for me. ☕💔

While I don’t have any interest in the Pro Plan, I do like what it has to offer. My concern is the price. With my blog being a small hobby blog, why should I have to pay an expensive price for many services that I’ll never need or use? It’s a great plan, but not necessary for my blog.

Furthermore, I have a major issue with throwing my hard-earned money at a hobby blog that doesn’t provide me with enough monetary return to make it worthwhile. As of the time of this writing, I have made exactly $0 from this blog, despite blogging for 6 years. Last year was the trial run to see if I could make something of my blog – I saw very little success which is not enough to justify continuing with my current WP plan. These days, I spend more time writing for Medium because of the ability to monetize. I joined Medium a few months ago and I’ve already been able to generate some revenue with just a handful of my articles.

Down the Perfectionist’s Rabbit Hole

I often find myself stressed out when I need to update my blog every month. If you’re someone who is always worrying about not meeting deadlines, it may seem like a bad thing to skip a few months here or there. It is no surprise that I often obsess over the formatting, wording, and images. Thus, blogging turned me into even more of a perfectionist than I already was. I also felt pressure to generate more and more content, fearing that my blog posts weren’t gaining enough traffic. I noticed that it became tougher to gain followers than it was to lose them.

Is it just me, or is the follower count frozen? I haven’t seen much of an increase in follower count this year and I don’t know if this is due to a recent WordPress update.

Self-Promotion Is Annoying

I find myself feeling frustrated and irritated when it comes to cross-promoting content on social media. I have grown tired of promoting my blog posts, and much like what I have seen so often on Twitter, spamming people with links that don’t seem to lead anywhere. But after a while, I found these behaviors to be less and less appealing to me. Playing the blogging game seems like an enormous time commitment.

Despite the unpleasant things that are often found on social media, I have had many positive interactions too which have helped me with my blogging skills and networking. I’m really thankful to finally receive some help and guidance after spending several hours spinning my wheels and getting frustrated. I have received so many thoughtful comments and now I know whether or not to continue my blog. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me!

I am curious to know if you ever wanted to quit blogging. What made you decide to stay in the end? Please feel free to comment below and I will do my best to reply to everyone. I apologize for my delayed responses recently. It has been an exhausting recovery from jaw surgery, but I’m slowly getting there.

Thanks for stopping by!

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The Remarkable Blogger Tag! ⭐✨💫

♡ Featured Images: Simply Selena Blog + Elsie LMC Blog

Cheers, from Canada! 🍁 I am feeling a bit better this week compared to last week. They say time heals all wounds and there is some level of truth to this. It is going to take me some time before I can trust people as much as I used to before, but that doesn’t mean I can’t practice self-compassion. My mental health is fragile and it needs a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean I am helpless. I had initially planned to complete this last week but I was feeling sorry for myself and needed some time to wallow. That’s not very cheerful of me, eh? 🍁 It is hard to believe that we are already well into the middle of July, and yet I still haven’t written up a post on my goals for July 2022 despite having good intentions. While I might be procrastinating on my July goals, I have something more exciting for you today!

I was recently nominated by the lovely Elsie LMC who runs a blog called https://elsielmc.wordpress.com. If you aren’t following her blog already, then you really need to check out her blog. I hope she still sees this post because I know she mentioned needing a break from blogging. Also, a special mention goes out to Simply Selena for creating this tag in the first place. I wouldn’t have known this had it not been for Elsie LMC! See how everything comes full circle? 😅

Normally, I turn down tags mainly because I can’t keep up with them. However, since I have completed the 🌞 Sunshine Blogger Award 🌞 Series (all good things come to an end), I was sad to finish it and actually missed completing these awards. They’re fun to do, and it can be a great way to establish connections with like-minded bloggers! Let’s get started, shall we?


THE REMARKABLE BLOGGER TAG RULES

The Remarkable Blogger Tag has rules (surprise, surprise!). These rules ensure the success of this award, providing exposure to all the award winners. The rules are quite simple and straightforward.

RULES FOR AWARD:

  • Add the featured image(s). I used both.
  • Tag your post with #the-remarkable-blogger tag.
  • Pingback to original post
  • Give credit to the creator.
  • Share something unique about you.
  • Answer the remaining 9 questions the person who nominated you has asked.
  • Nominate 10+ other bloggers and ask them 9 questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts 👈 optional
  • ℍ𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕗𝕦𝕟!

SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT ME:

It is difficult to put down just one unique thing about me, so I am linking you to a blog post that might answer this question better than I possibly could in a few sentences. Why share one unique thing when I can share 10 things that you might not know about me? Check out the blog post below ↓

♡ Related Article: 10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

QUESTIONS I WAS ASKED:

1. If you could live in any type of home, anywhere in the world, where would you go and what house would you choose? If I could live anywhere in the world then I’d want to live in a mansion. One can never have enough space and I think it would be fun if my home was set in some kind of tropical location. As long as it’s somewhere that’s warm and has beautiful beaches, then it sounds perfect! 🌴🌞

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

2. What is your biggest pet peeve? Those people who crack their knuckles every now and then. I can’t stand it! My husband does it sometimes and I want to slap him.

3. What would you tell ‘the you’ that started your blog if you could go back to that day? I would tell past me that blogging was a great decision and not to listen to anyone who says otherwise. I have no regrets.

4. Is there one song out there that you think everybody should listen to? I can’t name one song to listen to but would recommend you check out the different sub-genres of music such as ‘LoFi’ or however you spell it. Something like ‘Chillstep’ might also be good to listen to. Youtube has you covered, and if you have no idea where to start, you can check out the link below! 🎧

5. If there were no limits in life for a day, what would you do first and last? I am always drained of energy 24/7 but I don’t think there are any changes up I would make if time didn’t matter. I am more alert at night than during the day, so if time didn’t matter, I would do my most productive work at 0200 in the morning and finish my projects before noon. I know this is a symptom of depression. But I used to be a night-time person by default and still am if I didn’t have other responsibilities.

6. Have you set yourself any challenges for the year? Honestly, I just wanted to be happier this year. After doing an assessment, I realized my problem was my social anxiety and not getting out anymore. I just wanted to chat with that local blogger friend of mine (now an ex-friend), but it’s not gonna happen anymore. I had also tried to meet up with another blogger before she left Alberta, but I never did get a chance to say goodbye in person. I feel like my social anxiety is the reason why I’ve found it difficult to make new friends lately. 😓

7. How many blog posts have you written so far? I am not good at math, so I’ll need a second to look it up. I am only counting blog posts that I have written this year, not including articles that I have written separately for Medium. I have written 21 blog posts for this blog since January 2022, not counting this blog post. Lemme break it all down for you since the start of the year:

8. Does your blog have a niche or no? I consider myself to be a lifestyle and mental health blogger, but I don’t limit myself just to that. I like to write about a variety of topics. I don’t just write for the sake of writing. I write with the intent of connecting with my readers and providing them information that they can use in their own lives.

9. Do you have any advice for helping a blogger get out of a writing rut? I can answer this question. I have a notebook that I use all the time to keep track of my thoughts and never find myself without inspiration. If I get an interesting idea, I will draft it and give it a shot. Sometimes, though, I don’t feel like writing at all, but then again, anyone could go through periods of feeling unmotivated sometimes.


MY NOMINEES ⭐✨💫

https://primevalpixie.com

https://stevescountry.com

https://zerospace05.wordpress.com

https://jesusluvsall.org

https://invisiblyme.com

https://popsiclesociety.com

https://thebighairdiaries.com

https://fightmsdaily.com

https://puddlesidemusings.wordpress.com

https://justabucketlistdream.com

QUESTIONS FOR THE NOMINEES:

1. What is the most valuable thing you learned from blogging?
2. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
3. What was the last thing that made you laugh?
4. What kind of food could you eat every day without getting tired of it?
5. What food(s) do you dislike?
6. What fictional character(s) would you want to be friends with if you could?
7. Do you plan on going to the zoo this summer?
8. Do you listen to music while you draft blog posts?
9. What’s the last app you used on your phone?

And….GO!! There is no pressure to respond to this nomination, as I know you have very busy lives outside of the blogging world. I look forward to reading your answers if you do decide to participate, I am curious to know what your answers are!

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I Did Another Thing on Medium

Image source: Pexels.com by Kristina Paukshtite

If you read my recent blog post about joining Medium, well I did another thing and decided to try my hand at publications. It had been a while since I wrote anything worth sharing, so I thought I might try this as a way to garner more traffic. You can read my previous blog post here:

♡ Related blog post: I Did a Thing and Joined Medium

I often find myself complaining that my blog is not getting many visitors these days, and I was looking for a place where I could improve my content and build a more engaged audience. Even though I’ve been really nervous about branching out and trying something new, I decided to try publishing on a popular platform that has been around for years. My experience so far has been a rewarding one, though it was also nerve-wracking when I had to go from making $0 on my hobby blog to joining the Medium Partner Program (MPP), not knowing what to expect. I am still on the journey of earning enough money for a cup of coffee. ☕💕

Anyways, I submitted an article to a publication on Medium last night and was nervous about the whole process. I chose a publication where the owner personally reached out to all of her contributors. She seemed nice and I wanted to help out. This publication seemed to be the least intimidating out of all the ones I have seen on Medium. Long story short, my article got added to the publication!

Normally, I would re-share my articles on my blog but I decided to put my most recent article behind a paywall. With the great amount of changing trends, publishers have been forced to consider paywalls as a response to the growing subscription economy. In this case, I wanted to implement this feature especially since I published this article exclusively for Medium. You can read my latest article here:

♡ Medium Article: It’s Time to Stop Procrastinating

Depending on how this goes, I will probably be posting most of my articles on the Medium platform. However, I will still share the links on this blog so you can read them.

Medium is a free platform and anyone can join, but if you decide to get a membership, you’ll have access to all the paywall content I’ve published at your heart’s desire. Your membership fee directly supports me and other writers too. You’ll also get full access to every story on Medium.

Interested in getting a Medium membership? You can click here to get started. Thank you for supporting me on my writing journey!

Follow me on Medium!

I Did a Thing and Joined Medium

Image source: https://pixabay.com

I joined Medium because blogging got boring.

I have been blogging since Spring 2016 and I have to admit that the novelty has worn off. Blogging has been my creative outlet, but recently, I found myself getting bored of sticking to one type of blog post, specifically listicles and practical guides. At the time, I didn’t even know that I was looking for a new platform that would allow me to express my thoughts and ideas in a diverse manner. Naturally, I am curious and I knew I wanted something that would enable me to make my voice heard by people who might not have listened otherwise. I would be lying if the potential to monetize wasn’t one of the primary drivers for my decision to join Medium.

Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back! —Proverb

👉 You can now find me on Medium! Here’s my account: https://medium.com/@sereneluna

Don’t get me wrong: I still love blogging on WordPress. It is a great way for me to share my thoughts and opinions with the world. I enjoy writing about my experiences, as well as sharing some of the things that I am learning along the way. But right now, blogging on WordPress is just not fun for me. I have tried to keep up with writing engaging content, but I just can’t seem to find anything worth sharing most of the time. I was always excited whenever I received a comment on my blog because it meant that someone had read what I wrote. Due to a lack of new visitors, I’ve been really feeling the burn lately and don’t want to do anything anymore. When this happens, it can be virtually impossible to put the same amount of energy into this blog like I once did. 🙇‍♀️

But It Gets Worse.

I also want to point out that there are only so many topics that I can write about before it becomes repetitive and boring. When you are writing on a weekly basis, it is hard to come up with original ideas that haven’t been covered before. It’s a shame that engagement on my blog is good but traffic and Domain Authority (DA) is pitiful. To be completely transparent, I don’t think I’ll be able to monetize anything on my site at this rate which is discouraging considering the money I’ve sunk into it. Oftentimes, this is a common problem for WordPress bloggers and I am feeling frustrated because of it. When it comes to blogging, I’m just not sure what I should do anymore.

Ideally, I want to find a writing space that allows me to grow and share my ideas with an engaged audience. Most of the time, I feel like I am not targeting the right audience on my blog which is incredibly frustrating. I do want to thank all you people who still come by and read my posts. You’re the reason why I haven’t given up yet and I really appreciate that. This blog wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for my loyal readers and followers! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! ❤

Now I find myself sitting here, wondering what exactly I’m supposed to do now. Do I just stop blogging altogether or find another way to make it fun? I feel like I’m in a bit of a slump and I don’t know how to get out of it. I’m sorry this wasn’t a happier blog post filled with unicorns, rainbows, and good vibes only. 🦄🌈

P.S. In case you didn’t know that I have a Twitter and Pinterest account, you can follow me on these platforms too by clicking here and here.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥