6 Habits to Stay Focused in a Distracted World

As I cozy up to my laptop while sipping my second cup of caffeinated orange pekoe, I contemplate what to write for my next post. Lately, I have had many days where I feel like my time could have been better spent (I’m looking at you, Twitter). Do you ever feel guilty for not doing the thing that you know you should be doing but really don’t want to do it? It is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to stay focussed and motivated to write blog posts, let alone log into WordPress. I am very behind on replying to comments, visiting other blogs, and interacting with other bloggers. It has become more of a chore which is not a good thing, especially since I still need to flex my writing muscle. Blogging can be a lonely path but it’s the path I choose to take.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-REFLECTION 🍵💕

If you have been following me on Twitter @hellokitty8404, you’ll know that I am struggling to find significant meaning and purpose as I am grappling with difficult circumstances in my life right now. I use Twitter mainly for habit tracking and weekly updates. It has gotten to the point where I am more of an open book on Twitter than I am on my blog, which is kinda ironic considering that social media is the thing that kills productivity and keeps us distracted in this already highly distracted world.

If I have the slightest chance of succeeding as a hobby blogger, then I need to have a list of habits that help me stay focused, especially when writing is the last thing on my mind. Even though I no longer need to focus on studying for exams (I graduated in December 2020), I understand that working on a writing project or reviewing notes for work requires a similar level of discipline and focus. If you have a similar desire to be the best version of yourself, then you too will need to learn how to develop strong discipline skills and a constant desire to learn new things. Personally, I feel like this list I have created below ↓  applies to university students as well as ambitious Millennials. Let’s get started, shall we?

6 HABITS TO STAY FOCUSED IN A DISTRACTED WORLD: A PRACTICAL GUIDE

1. Log Out of Social Apps. You have no reason to be on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Log out before these addictive apps take you down a rabbit hole that not even Alice in Wonderland wants to explore. Once you’re an active member of these apps, it becomes even more difficult to leave – good luck with that. Seriously. Don’t kid yourself. 5 minutes turns into an hour. An hour turns into 3 hours. Using your smartphone? Even worse. It’s almost impossible to put the phone down so I suggest hiding it so it is out of sight, out of mind. Log out of the messenger apps too while you’re at it (texting is just as addictive). These apps have no place on your phone which brings me to my next point.

2. Take a Social Media Hiatus. I promised myself in January 2017 that I would not download any more social apps. I seldom keep social apps on my iPhone and use my phone for what it is: a phone. There seems to be a new app released every 6 months and it’s exhausting trying to keep up with them all. This is similar to having a second job but this “job” doesn’t pay your bills. So unless it is a passion with a purpose, why bother? Btw, I am still taking a hiatus from Facebook and Instagram and have no immediate plans to return to these platforms. You can still follow me @serene_hilz so that you’ll receive updates when I eventually decide to return to Instagram. I haven’t posted anything new in years but my thoughts remain the same about social media. Thank goodness I’m done nursing school! 👩‍🎓

3. Go to Bed When You are Tired. Tired at 10 pm? Go to bed. Don’t make the same mistake as me where I end up laying on the couch at night, mindlessly playing Candy Crush or watching dumb TV shows on Netflix. I enjoy staying up late at night when it’s quiet and there are no distractions, but at the same time, extra sleep is really important for mental health and concentration the following day. Nights when I do not get enough sleep, I end up sleeping in and wasting the following day or week playing “catch up.” Go to bed and take cat naps if this is an option for you.

4. Make a Plan every day. This one seems obvious. My MIL suggested that I get a planner. Planners can be purchased from a Dollar Store and it doesn’t have to break the bank. I also bought a journal to write in whenever I am not using the notepad on my iPhone. It helps me stay in the present moment and keeps me focused on important tasks. When I complete a task, I highlight it in bright yellow which gives me a sense of accomplishment. The dopamine rush I get from doing this is much healthier than the brief adrenaline surge from Facebook or some other addicting app. At the end of the month, I review everything I completed plus I don’t feel the temptation to wander mindlessly through my notes, older blog posts, etc.

5. Email is Your New BFF. Forget texting and FB messenger. I once used texting as a way to have deeper conversations with online friends. I thought that these conversations were meaningful but I don’t have a record of them; only a virtual footprint 👣 If I want access to my past conversations, they are buried among hundreds of thousands of text messages that probably won’t be looked at again. I like e-mail because I can keep the important files and discard the rest. The email I use is the same one I had since I was 12 so if a classmate or long-lost relative needs to contact me, they can. Looking back, I remember when we used to send chain mail to our e-mail contacts. It’s bittersweet digging up old emails but I have deleted the majority of them.

6. Classical and Chillstep. If you have a hard time staying focused like I do, try listening to
music. Not just any kind of music, preferably instrumental music. My muse is classical piano music, Lofi, and Chillstep (it’s an acquired taste). YouTube makes it incredibly easy to stream playlists so I recommend starting there. I also used to be into this weird sub-genre called Nightcore, which is another acquired taste. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I even made my own Nightcore songs and upload them to YouTube. At one point, I was so bored that I spent a few weeks pretending that I was DJ Hilz or something.

Note: You can find my YouTube channel @hellokitty8404. I guess people seem to like this music because my channel currently has 538 subscribers to date, and my most popular video has 269,712 views. 💁‍♀️


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

The world is full of distractions, especially in this digital world, and it is becoming more and more difficult to stay focused. I believe that if you are able to implement my list in your own life, you will be able to focus on the task at hand. ✍📝

If you enjoyed reading this blog post or would like to share some nuggets of wisdom with me, please join the conversation below ↓ in the comments section. I know I haven’t been the greatest at replying to people in a timely manner but I want to get back into blogging again. However, I am always open to discussing this topic with like-minded people who are also motivated and driven to succeed!

P.S. You can now easily save this blog post on Pinterest by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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The 6 Most Annoying Types of Blogs

Earlier this week, I received a lovely notification from WordPress that sereneluna.net turned 6 years old! 🥳 Admittedly, I didn’t do much with my blog until Spring 2019 and at that time, I had approx. 20 followers. Since having a quarter-life crisis in Spring 2019, I started taking blogging more seriously. It didn’t take long to realize that writing is a therapeutic outlet for me. I know that I am still a newbie blogger, but it feels really good to have people that are interested in my writing. I’m so grateful that anyone reads my blog, and I really hope that my follower count continues to grow! 🌻🌻

What Makes a Blog Annoying?

If you have been blogging for a while, you’ll know that blogging can be hard work. The worst part about blogging is that there is always a risk of your content being ignored. You’re constantly coming up with different ideas to create compelling and high-quality content for your audience. Despite all of your hard work, there is no way to know for sure if you are doing the right thing. The worst part about blogging is that it’s not easy to keep your readers engaged. However, there are some things you can do to make sure your blog posts are not too annoying. Below ↓ I want to show you 6 types of blogging styles to avoid which can be annoying for your readers. Please note that the following list is in no particular order. Let’s get started, shall we?

The 6 Most Annoying Types of Blogs

1. Blogs with no images. A blog without pictures is not engaging for the reader. Adding photos helps increase readability and breaks up the text, so go ahead and add some pictures! Increased readability may be due in part because readers don’t need to read as much text, which is often more difficult and time-consuming than looking at a picture. It’s also possible that readers are better able to remember the information shown in pictures than those seen only in text.

2. Blogs that are poorly written. Sadly, poorly written blogs are a problem that is not going away. The problem is not just the content but also the formatting and organization of the blog. It is not surprising that a poorly written blog is more likely to have lower engagement rates and fewer shares across social media platforms. As a result, this can lead to less traffic and less visibility in search engines. Okay, so how do you spot a poorly written blog? For starters, poorly written blogs usually contain a lot of spelling and grammatical errors, which can make the blog difficult to read and ultimately discourage readers from returning.

3. Blogs with no information about the blogger. Bloggers who do not have an “About” section can be sort of mysterious. It’s clear who’s behind the text that was posted, but one can’t help wondering about their motivations for doing so. These blogs might be interesting in some ways, but they will not have a built-in audience, Furthermore, these bloggers may end up having more difficulty getting their posts shared. Blogs with an “About” section are better for building an audience, attracting more followers, and reaching more readers.

4. Blogs that lack original content. There is a trend in social media to share blog posts that have been written by other people. This is being done for many reasons, but most commonly it is to build traffic for the author of the post and/or to share a person’s opinion on a topic. The problem with this practice is that it discourages original content from being created and shared, which could have consequences for the blogger down the line. Personally, I have unfollowed bloggers who do this because I think it is a lazy and unnecessary practice.

5. Blogs that are written like a diary. This blog is usually just a list of random things that this blogger has done during their day or week, such as what they ate for breakfast or what they watched on TV last night. This type of blog is not helpful to anyone and honesty, nobody cares that you had chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone and your boyfriend had vanilla frozen yogurt. Please keep in mind that your audience is not limited to yourself. I follow a few bloggers who write a lot of diary-style blog posts, but it doesn’t bother me because these bloggers have been blogging for years and I know what to expect from their work.

6. Blogs with too many ads. Bloggers who create blogs that have too many ads in them are trying to make money off of the people who visit their blogs. This can be annoying for other bloggers because a lot of advertisers are targeting these types of blogs, which could mean having to scroll through the endless amounts ads just to see what their original point was. A lot of bloggers who create blogs with too many ads in them are trying to make money by posting the “sponsored content” that they are given by their advertisers or sponsors. Some bloggers or non-bloggers might feel this way because they believe these blogs are being made for the purpose of making money.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

Whether you are just starting to blog or you have been blogging for a while, it can be a daunting task to come up with fresh and engaging content. If you want to have a successful blog, don’t let these 6 common blogger mistakes get in your way. Sure, I could be a bit too cynical, but I hope that you enjoyed reading this blog post nonetheless. If this blog post taught you something or made you think about the way you go about blogging differently, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I will try to reply to your comments during my free time.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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March Recap | Spring 2022

Although this blog post is overdue, the important thing is that I finally uploaded it in response to my previous blog post, March Goals | Spring 2022. Hey, at least I showed up and followed through with what I said I was going to do, even if it meant not following through with ALL of my goals. March was a very difficult month for both my husband and me and I am honestly surprised that I haven’t abandoned my blog yet. When I first started blogging, I promised myself that I would not quit no matter how I was feeling. Over the years, I have seen so many bloggers quit which is another reason why I make sure that this blog is updated at least once a month. ✍️

During the month of March 2022, I started off with high hopes and big goals to get healthier, but I quickly lost momentum after I kept receiving bad news throughout the month. It’s been hard to stay motivated and positive lately, but I’m hoping that April 2022 will be a better month. Here’s a recap of what happened during the month of March regarding my personal life:

  1. My husband was in a car accident and fractured his wrist. His work car was also totaled so now we only have one vehicle to drive.
  2. My 10-month old son needs urgent eye surgery, which was postponed last week. I am still too upset to talk about this. If you’re curious about the condition that my son has, you can learn more about it by clicking on this blog post (skip to #7 for details). Unfortunately, both my daughter and my son have inherited the gene from me 😔
  3. My husband and I have to make a very difficult decision regarding future plans involving the family. I am gutted and not handling this well….

A Small Victory

It wasn’t entirely doom and gloom this month. I finally found a planner at Staples out of all places, which I started using to keep track of things. Having a planner has helped me organize my day and prioritize my tasks better. I am able to see what needs to be done and what my deadlines are. This particular planner is really helpful because it keeps me on task with my work schedule, hobbies, and home life. I am trying to remember to write in it daily but most days I forget to fill out the pages. I didn’t think that it would be hard, but I guess I’m still a little lazy.

March Goals 2022

Career Goals:

  • Continue to work weekends and Fridays, preferably evening shifts I only worked evening shifts during the month of March. Friday-Sunday is my typical work week.
  • Bid on shifts so I average 7-9 shifts per month I worked a total of 9 shifts during the month of March and I did not have any sick days. I did not bid on any additional shifts because all of my shifts last month were scheduled ahead of time.
  • Renew and review courses on MLL Everything is up to date ✔
  • Attend 2 online wellness seminars I only had 1 online wellness seminar to attend. In April, I have 2 online wellness seminars to attend.

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts per month I published 4 blog posts during the month of March.
  • Publish 2-3 recipes and/or poems I published 0 recipes and/or poems during the month of March because I wanted to write more long-form blog posts instead 😅
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments I went to all of my doctor’s appointments this month. Aaron’s eye surgery is still pending so I am eagerly waiting for more details regarding how we proceed from here.
  • Continue to declutter the house every day This really depends on how I am feeling, and whether I have the energy to declutter. These days, I am focussing more on organizing and cleaning than selling and/or donating items. I did manage to purge 3 large bags of junk though.
  • Have an IRL meeting/get-together I attended a 100-day parade at Rebecca’s school and that’s the only social thing I did this month. I am quite disappointed in myself for not making more of an effort to meet people. I think my social anxiety has been a major problem in the past. Thus, my fear of meeting new people has prevented me from stepping outside of my comfort zone.

Health Goals:

  • Follow a low carb diet for 3+ months Low carb made me miserable but I can see why people do low carb diets. I had less brain fog and felt better both physically and mentally. I ditched the low carb diet mid-March after my husband was in a car accident.
  • Continue Intermittent Fasting (IF) I still do intermittent fasting, but usually on workdays. I don’t bother eating at work so I end up unintentionally fasting for 9-10 hours.
  • Slash 90-95% of wheat products. Slash 70% of refined foods including refined sugar. I was doing really well with this up until the end of March when I received the bad news about my son. One thing I managed to cut out of my diet was store-bought bread, although I still eat pizza crust and other wheat products. I’m trying to be more mindful of what I am consuming and how it makes me feel.
  • More cooking and baking at home I have some amazing wheat-free cookie recipes that I want to share with you! However, the photos I have are crappy and I have been unable to get good quality images. Idk what it is about recipe pics, but I am not talented at food & drink photography 🙄
  • Daily walks and sunshine if weather permits 🌞 I have been making an effort to walk to Tim Hortons or the plaza at least once a day, but I still feel like I am not spending enough time outside. Canada’s weather is notoriously unpredictable. In the winter, we can experience severe snowstorms and biting cold, while in summer we may experience scorching heatwaves.

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

I had a lot of bad things happen to me last month and I don’t know how I feel about April yet. I think that April will continue to be a challenging month for us, but at least my husband’s broken wrist is healing and he is able to drive again. As for my son’s upcoming eye surgery, please pray for him and keep him in your thoughts. I hope that April will be a better month for everyone.

Photo taken on March 14, 2022 (Pi Day)

Thanks for stopping by!

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🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 10.0🌞

I want to continue where I left off since uploading the 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 9.0🌞. Sure, there are several topics that I could be writing about right now, but I want to finish this before I move on to something else. You see, I tend to get hyperfocused and/or fixated on one thing which I feel inclined to finish before I am able to move on. I have always been like this and I don’t really see it as a shortcoming or problem. I checked my drafts yesterday to see if there were any more outstanding Sunshine Blogger Awards (SBAs) but it appears that I am all caught up! That being said, I really wanted to wrap up and retire the SBAs on my blog for good so the 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 10.0🌞 will be my last one in this series.

Btw, feel free to leave comments in the comment section below ↓ BUT if you say something generic like, “Congratulations” then I’m not going to reply to you. To clarify, this was an open nomination for anyone who wanted to participate, so I basically nominated myself LOL

The Sunshine Blogger Award is per recognition award for bloggers who inspire readers by promoting positivity and bringing joy. Since nobody nominated me for any recent Sunshine Blogger Awards, I did some digging on WP and found an open nomination from a blogger named Beverly who runs a blog called https://becomingtheoilandwine.com. Honestly, this is the first time that I have read her blog so I don’t really know what her blog is about yet. When I have more time, I plan to catch up on her blog posts.


🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD RULES🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award 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:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions 👈 optional
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts 👈 optional
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

QUESTIONS I WAS ASKED:

1. What is one of your funniest funnest time of the summer? I’m not sure if this is a typo, and even then, this question is confusing. Funnest time of the summer? 🤔 I think the person asking this question meant to say “most fun.” I deal with high functioning depression so I cannot recall the last time I had fun during the summer. If I had to choose something, it would be enjoying refreshing bubble tea on a hot, sunny day! 😎 The husband would agree – this is his drink, not mine!

2. How do you like your ice cream? Plain or Toppings? I think D.W. can answer this question! 🍨

D.W.: Does Muffy have an ice cream machine? If she does, I’m gonna have vanilla with vanilla sprinkles and hot vanilla sauce. Does she have a petting zoo? I wanna pet a whale. I think I’ll pet the whale first, and then I’ll have the vanilla with vanilla sprinkles and vanilla sauce. But if I pet the whale first, my hands might smell fishy, so first, I’ll have the vanilla with the vanilla sprinkles and vanilla sauce, and then… Oh, wait. Whales are mammals, right? I wonder if my hands will smell mammaly.

3. What are your favorite gospel songs? I’ll recognize the songs when I hear them, but otherwise, I don’t know the names of the songs that I like. I don’t keep a playlist of gospel music.

4. Do you like ice skating or riding a bike? I used to be able to do both, but I haven’t ice skated or ridden a bike in over 15 years. I would like to go bike riding again since we live close to a 30-kilometer bike path, but we need nicer weather before I can turn that dream into a reality.

5. What is your favorite food to eat during summertime? How I dream of sunshine and summertime! I look forward to eating watermelon 🍉 and other yummy fruits that are in season during the summer months. Since it is wintertime, you’ll find me eating boring apples, bananas, and oranges. 🍎🍌🍊

6. What is your favorite book to read? I gave up buying (and reading) books in 2020 to save money and I haven’t looked back 😶 If I were to read a book, you would probably find me reading a self-help book or a recipe book from my bookshelf. One of my favorite books is, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson.  

7. What dream place would you enjoy visiting? Lately, I have been daydreaming of visiting the Maldives ever since I watched YouTubers vlog about this dreamy place! 🏝

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

8. Do you have any pets? If so, What kind? I have a Pug named Zoë and she lives in Ontario with my parents. My dad spells her name differently: Zoey. Since I live approx. 2,200 miles away, it is rare if I get to visit my dog. I miss my dog terribly. I blinked and she is now an old lady.

In Spring 2019, my husband and I adopted a rescue cat and I named him Timon, after the Lion King. He is a free-spirited cat who is untrainable, but I love him dearly 🐈‍⬛💕 In Spring 2021, my husband decided to get a bunch of fish so we have not one but three fish aquariums. Two fish aquariums are freshwater and the third fish aquarium is saltwater. I told him that cats and fish do not mix but he wouldn’t listen to me. 🤷‍♀️

9. What does Christ mean to you? This is a tricky question for me to answer because I consider myself to be a very spiritual person and only a little religious. What does “a little religious” mean, exactly? 🤔 It means that I lean towards Christianity and share the same morals and values as a Christian, but I do not actively read the Bible and I go to church because my husband makes me is Catholic. That being said, I find that going to church gives me a sense of calm and peace of mind, in similar ways as guided meditation. In the past, I was more agnostic but have started embracing religion a lot more since I became a mother. I am open to change, but I cannot see myself ever becoming a super religious person.

10. What encourages you to keep writing? I enjoy writing for an audience. Knowing that there are readers who give me the time of day and genuinely care about what I have to say means the world to me. Unlike other forms of social media, blogging gives me a voice. Also, I prefer to share my thoughts with like-minded people instead of keeping these thoughts to myself. I am an open book by nature, so this is a great platform for me to be my true, authentic self! 💖

11. Where is your favorite place to go to for vacation? I cannot remember the last time we took a real vacation, except to visit our families in Ontario last summer. However, I hardly call this a vacation; it is more of an obligation. We took a plane there so I guess this still counts? ✈ Ontario is my home province.

This is a photo of my childhood room. As a teenager and young adult, I had this limiting belief that I would be imprisoned between these four walls for most of my adult life. At the time, I was too scared to venture out on my own. Since moving out, my room has been repainted and my parents’ house is currently being renovated. I wish I could have told my younger self what I know now: The real prison is your mind and your limiting beliefs are keeping you stuck in life.

🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD NOMINEES🌞

Again, I have decided to leave it open to anyone who wants to join in on the fun and I am keeping the same questions as last time. Tag, you’re it!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is the theme of your blog?
3. Is your blog a hobby blog or do you monetize your blog?
4. Are you a vegetarian?
5. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
6. Have you ever tried online dating?
7. Do you have a Nintendo Switch? If yes, what is your favorite game? 🍎🍒🍊🍑🍐
8. Do you play Animal Crossing? If yes, what is your Island’s fruit? 
9. Do you believe in magic?
11. What is your favorite cereal?

And….GO!! I know you have very busy lives outside of the blogging world and I appreciate that you took the time to read this blog post! I look forward to reading your answers if you decide to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award.

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🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 9.0🌞

Whoever is reading this post, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to connect with me! I was hoping to wrap up the Sunshine Blogger Awards (SBA) for good with a 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 10.0🌞 However, to my dismay, I am only on 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 9.0🌞 which means that I still have room for a final Sunshine Blogger Award if anyone wants to nominate me LOL. You might be wondering why this blog post is so random. If you really want to know why I have the sudden desire to reply to a SBA-nomination from October 2019, it is because January has been a crappy month for me (still is) and I need some sunshine in my life. In case you missed my last post, here is a link to my similar yet different blog post titled 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 8.0🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award is per recognition award for bloggers who inspire readers by promoting positivity and bringing joy. Thank you, Steve, for nominating me for the award on October 14, 2019. This date is not a typo – I left the nomination in my drafts for 2+ years, untouched. I am sure that most of you are familiar with Steve’s Country unless you have been living under a snow-covered rock. But don’t worry! Steve has you covered. He has plenty of snow-covered rocks to share with you! And let’s not forget the hot cups of coffee waiting for you when you pay him a visit.


🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD RULES🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award 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:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions 👈 optional
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts 👈 optional
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

QUESTIONS I WAS ASKED:

1. What is your favorite fruit? Personally, I love them all so it’s hard for me to narrow it down to just one. I can narrow it down to my top 3 favorite fruits: peaches 🍑 mangoes 🥭 and raspberries! 😍 

2. What is your favorite meat? I think my favorite meat is smoked brisket from Big T’s BBQ!

3. Do you like to make your own juice or buy it? We used to have a Ninja juicer but it took up too much cupboard space and it was a pain to clean. Eventually, I gave my husband permission to sell the juicer and I do not regret this decision. While we had the juicer, we were able to make fresh carrot, apple, and beet juice which tasted amazing. However, the amount of work it takes to make fresh juice is not worth it in my opinion. I don’t buy juice because it is too $$$ in Canada. While we were visiting Singapore in Summer 2018, we bought freshly made juice every day! FYI sugarcane juice is simply delicious!

4. Do you like to bake? Sometimes. I like eating it more than I like making it.

5. Do you like to cook? No. Cooking creates a huge mess so I prefer simple meals. Less mess, less stress! My husband enjoys cooking so he is the chef in our house.

6. Would you rather eat at home or a restaurant every day? If I had unlimited, disposable income and I did not care about my weight, then I would eat at a restaurant every day. It is fun to eat out, so why not? But is it the right thing to do? Probably not.

7. Do you like to travel? Traveling can be fun, but traveling can also be exhausting and pricey $$$. And given the pandemic that we are [still] dealing with, we travel a lot less than we used to B.C. (before COVID-19) 😷 I have never stayed at a resort or have been on a cruise, so maybe one day I will be able to check these things off of my bucket list. In the meantime, I would like to visit Hawaii or visit Singapore again with my family.

Singapore, Summer 2018

8. Do you enjoy walks in nature? Yes, I enjoy walks in nature. I find walks in nature very healing and therapeutic. There is something very special about reconnecting with Mother Earth. I recently discovered a concept called grounding, which I like to do during the summer months when it is warmer outside.

9. Do you enjoy camping? I haven’t been camping in years! The last time I went camping, I think I was 11 years old. It was a lot of fun, and I would not turn down an invitation to go camping. You bring the camping gear and I’ll bring the food, which will probably be takeout. As we have already established, I don’t really enjoy cooking.

10. Would you prefer to live by the sea or in the mountains? We currently live in the foothills of a mountain which sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? I cannot get a good view of the mountains from where I live though. Due to the pandemic, we cannot visit the mountains in Banff National Park which is 1.5 hours away.

11. Would you prefer to live in an apartment/flat, or in a house? I have lived in an apartment/flat and I have lived in a house. I currently live in a townhouse and it is 1000% better than living in an apartment. A townhouse is quiet whereas an apartment is loud and noisy. We bought our townhouse in May 2021 and it feels nice to finally own a house. There was a time when I had to put up with an insufferable human who lived in the apartment dwelling above me. Re: What is “normal,” anyway?

Rebecca enjoying the first snowfall on our new balcony!

🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD NOMINEES🌞

Usually, other bloggers ask me to nominate them for a Sunshine Blogger Award, so I decided to leave it open to anyone who wants to complete it! Please answer the following questions below ↓

QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is the theme of your blog?
3. Is your blog a hobby blog or do you monetize your blog?
4. Are you a vegetarian?
5. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
6. Have you ever tried online dating?
7. Do you have a Nintendo Switch? If yes, what is your favorite game?
8. Do you play Animal Crossing? If yes, what is your Island’s fruit? 🍎🍒🍊🍑🍐
9. Do you believe in magic?
11. What is your favorite cereal?

And….GO!! I know you have very busy lives outside of the blogging world and I appreciate that you took the time to read this blog post! I look forward to reading your answers if you decide to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award. 

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DIY Honey Lemon Candy

✧・゚: * We wish you a [belated] Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🎄🎁 *:・゚✧

Here in Calgary, it is snappy cold. It is so cold that I seldom leave the house unless I absolutely have to freeze my face off. Yesterday, I needed to run some errands and happened to stumble upon a pharmacy that had Pfizer vaccines. The timing was right, so I ended up getting my 3rd Covid-19 booster shot. So far so good – I have a sore arm, but otherwise I feel fine. These days, I am still trying to avoid the general public as much as possible without resorting to a complete hermit lifestyle. The temperature here is disgusting, and there is nothing glamorous about staying frosty. Last night, it was -30°C (celsius) which is stupidly #cold.

Tis’ Flu Season Too

Not only is it unbearably cold AF, but it is also cold season (pun intended) ❄ I know that everyone is sick and tired of the pandemic so I don’t want to harp about the importance of getting vaccinated. I did what was best for me and you need to do what is best for you. I know that my immune system is not very good and I even wrote about my crappy immune system in an older blog post. I try my best to stay healthy, but sometimes sickness cannot be prevented regardless of how cautious and healthy you are. Sure, you can sanitize your hands and wear a mask all you want, but at the end of the day, there’s still a chance that you will get sick.

(◔_◔)っThink about it this way: It’s not a matter of if you catch it. It’s a matter of when you catch it. 😷

Thank goodness that I am not sick right now *knock on wood* but when I am sick, I usually get a sore throat. If I don’t get a sore throat, it’s usually a bad head cold. Head colds and sore throats are icky, and I really don’t care for the store-bought throat lozenges. The most effective throat lozenges usually contain eucalyptus which is so overpowering and makes me wanna gag. Eukalyptus is definitely an acquired taste. Sure, an alternative is store-bought vitamin C drops which are pretty palatable but they can be quite pricy for what they are, and I much rather get my mega doses of Vitamin C from fresh citrus fruits! 🍋🍋

I hope that my dear readers aren’t sick right now and that everyone stays healthy this holiday season. Whether or not you have a sore throat right now, I have a special honey lemon candy recipe to share with you today. This recipe tastes like store-bought candy but it is healthier and cheaper than what you would typically find in the supermarket. To be honest, I did not change the original recipe all that much; I used slightly less sugar in mine. Here is the link to the original candy recipe: https://www.manusmenu.com/honey-hard-candy

Even though the author says that you need a candy thermometer, I haven’t been able to find one. I made this recipe a handful of times without a candy thermometer and it worked fine. You really need to keep a close eye on the candy or you might end up with burnt sugar instead. An alternative to a candy thermometer is to take a cold bowl of water, and using a spoon, scoop some of the mixture out of the pot and transfer it to the bowl of water. If the candy sticks to the spoon and hardens right away, then that’s the texture you want. Also, this recipe calls for 6 tbsp. of sugar but I prefer to use 4 tbsp. of sugar for a tarter lemony flavor 🍋 It really depends on your personal preference! 😅

Not convinced yet?

Here are some photos of my cute heart-shaped candy creations. I hope that you enjoy making this DIY honey lemon candy recipe as much as I did. If you enjoyed this recipe and would like me to share more candy recipes in the future, please let me know in the comments below ↓ Have a safe and healthy New Year everyone! 🎉😷

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Classic Shortbread Cookies

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate page. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. At this rate, I only have 2 more recipes to upload which are banana muffin recipes. These recipes don’t feel very festive but I am still planning to post them before the end of the year. Ideally, I would like to share a new recipe each week, but I know that this goal is overly ambitious. In a perfect world, there would be more recipes.

(っ◔◡◔)っ Isn’t my mom’s mini Christmas tree adorable? 🥰

Despite feeling sick during the Christmas Holidays back in 2019, I attempted to make shortbread cookies that year and failed miserably. My advice is to let the butter rest at room temperature until it is totally soft.

👉 The butter must be soft in order for this recipe to work!

I made the mistake of beating the butter while it was still partly chilled which resulted in pie crust cookies. You don’t want that.

CLASSIC SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Difficulty: medium

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat butter until creamy but not oily.
  2. Sift dry ingredients four times; add to creamed mixture a little at a time.
  3. Work ingredients with a spoon as long as possible, then turn mixture on floured board and knead until mixture cracks slightly.
  4. Pat to 1/3″ thickness.
  5. Cut with fancy cookie cutters and bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Now that we are approaching the Christmas holidays, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below ↓ I love reading your comments! 😊

Thanks for stopping by!

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Creature of the Night

Disclaimer: This poem was originally posted as a separate daughter page, so nobody stumbled upon it. I am editing and re-publishing all of my poems to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding. If you like this poem, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here.

Thanks for reading! ♡

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Sugar Cookies

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate page. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding! 😊✨

Here is my favourite cookie recipe of all time! You may remember seeing this recipe from an older blog post that I posted back in December 2019! 😅 I love making mini Christmas cookies and decorating them with cute sprinkles. If you live in Canada, you can buy these sprinkles at Bulk Barn. I also like to package these cookies in tins to give away as hostess gifts. When my now-husband and I were first dating, I gave these cookies to his family as an attempt to win them over and I think it worked. My husband and I have been married for 5 years now, so I believe that the saying is true: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

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A close-up shot of what these miniature cookies look like. I wanted all of the stars to look the same, all of the snowmen to look the same, etc. There are 9 different shapes featured here: 1. snowman 2. snow-bear 3. snowman 4. bell 5. Christmas tree 6. gingerbread man 7. holly 8. star 9. stocking

These cookies are a timeless classic and are totally worth the hard labor it took to make them. Just kidding! Decorating them is a lot of fun and it doesn’t feel like work to me. If you enjoy baking, you’ll probably enjoy making these cookies. The best part about mini cookies? You can eat 10 of them in one sitting without feeling guilty about it!

SUGAR COOKIES

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Heavily filtered photos meant for Instagram but they will have to do. In the future, I will take new photos with a decent camera. I just wanted to give you an idea of what these miniature cookies look like. 😊

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups of flower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cling film (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda.
  2. Add butter to mixture and combine until crumbly.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla to mixture.
  4. Roll out dough and wrap in cling film (optional).
  5. Chill in fridge for approx. 1 hour.
  6. Slice dough with fancy cookie cutters and place on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

I encourage you to give this recipe a try. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below ↓ I love reading your comments ❤️

Thanks for stopping by!

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Broken-hearted Girl 💔

Disclaimer: Broken-Hearted Girl is based on a true story after having a fallout with a high school friend in 2017. Let’s call her Emma* – her real name has been changed for privacy reasons. This poem is 100% original and bullshit-free. I am re-publishing all of my poems to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding. If you like this poem, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here. ✨

P.S. I also wrote a break-up letter called, Weeding Out Toxic Friends Part 2, which you can read here.

Thanks for reading! ♡

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Alone Together

Disclaimer: This poem was originally posted under pages, so nobody stumbled upon it. I am re-publishing all of my poems to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding. If you like this poem, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here.✨

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Thanks for reading! ♡

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Carrot Coconut Muffins

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate page on November 15, 2017. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding!

My husband and I take health and well-being very seriously. Usually, I will make several trips to the grocery store when trying a new recipe but this time, I decided to only use what was in my cupboard. I changed the original recipe I was referencing quite a bit. You can find the original carrot muffin recipe over at Genius Kitchen.

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CARROT COCONUT MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

DIRECTIONS

  1. Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk the egg.
  2. Add orange juice, margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar to the bowl. Stir well.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Stir in egg mixture and mix until dough is moistened.
  5. Gently fold in carrots and coconut. I shred the carrots using my Vitamix blender.
  6. Spoon into well-greased muffin pans. Cupcake liners are optional but I don’t recommend using them for this particular recipe. The dough is too dense, making the cupcake liner difficult to peel away.
  7. Sprinkle some of the white sugar on the muffin tops for extra shine. Again, this step is optional.
  8. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees F.
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Photo credit: Genius Kitchen, photo by Jose G.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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