Stovetop Hot Chocolate

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

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

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

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

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

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

Stovetop Hot Chocolate

Servings: 4                          Time: 15 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Easy Hummus Dip

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

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

EASY HUMMUS DIP

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

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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

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

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Easy Guacamole Dip

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

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

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

EASY GUACAMOLE DIP

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

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Peppa Pig’s Chocolate Cake

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

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

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

CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE

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

INGREDIENTS

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

DIRECTIONS

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

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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I’m Keeping My WordPress Premium Plan

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

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

Related Blog Post: Blogging Fatigue

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

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

My Voice Will Not Be Silenced

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

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

Dear Readers, I Love You.

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

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

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

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

Instagram: @serene_hilz

Twitter: @serene_hilz

Medium: @sereneluna

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Will You Come to My Party?

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

♡ Medium Article: Will You Come to My Party?

𝕎𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕤𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕚𝕟𝕧𝕚𝕥𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤, 𝕤𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕨 𝕨𝕖 𝕨𝕒𝕚𝕥.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Party Anxiety

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

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

Then we played the waiting game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

6 Subtle Signs of Loneliness

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

𝒴𝑜𝓊 𝒶𝓇𝑒 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝒶𝓁𝑜𝓃𝑒.

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

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

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

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

♡ Medium Article: 6 Subtle Signs of Loneliness

6 Subtle Signs of Loneliness

1. You often feel bored.

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

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

2. You have nobody to lean on.

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

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

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

Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. You distract yourself with self-care activities.

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

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

♡ Related Article: Affordable Self-Care Ideas

6. You compensate by shopping and hoarding things.

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

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

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

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

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

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

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

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

10 Self-Improvement Habits to Make You Happier

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

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

Image via https://www.pexels.com/

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

10 Self-Improvement Habits to Make You Happier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And most importantly…..


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


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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

A Tribute to Zoë

˚ʚ♡ɞ˚ 𝕾𝖊𝖊 𝖞𝖔𝖚 𝖔𝖓 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖔𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖗 𝖘𝖎𝖉𝖊 𝖔𝖋 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖗𝖆𝖎𝖓𝖇𝖔𝖜 𝖇𝖗𝖎𝖉𝖌𝖊, 𝖕𝖚𝖕𝖕𝖞 𝖌𝖎𝖗𝖑. 09.25.09 – 09.26.22 ˚ʚ♡ɞ˚

♡ Photo taken Summer 2021

I am crying as I write this. My beautiful little pug girl crossed the rainbow bridge last Monday and I’m finding it hard to put into words how I’m feeling. She was not just a dog. She was a friend and a member of the family. My parents grew to like her so much that they kept her after I moved across the country.

Sadly, I didn’t spend that much time living with my dog under the same roof. I went off to university the year after we got her and I lived on campus for the next four years. I would occasionally visit my parents on weekends. Fast forward to the year 2014 when I moved out of the house and moved across the country to a new province. Since then, I saw my dog very little – a couple times a year at most. Every time that I visited her, she had aged even more with grey hairs on her chin. But she was exactly the same, sweet and loving as I always knew.

Then I blinked, and it was her 13th birthday last month. By then her health had greatly deteriorated and I was lucky to spend one final summer with her last year, even though it was only a few days. By Spring 2022, she became completely deaf and was diagnosed with diabetes. Since April of that year, her diabetes had not been well managed since she was severely hyperglycemic and insulin resistant. She seemed old, but it was probably diabetes and not old age that made her decline faster than we had thought. It was just two weeks ago when she was not only deaf, but she was also blind, disoriented, and anxious. My last request to my parents was that they let her live until her 13th birthday, which they honored on September 25, 2022. On September 26th, 2022, she crossed the rainbow bridge. 🌈

It’s a Beautiful Life

Zoë (spelled Zoey according to my dad) had a great life living with my parents and she often spent weekends with my dad on his sailboat. But I knew something was very wrong when she slipped off the dock and fell head-first into the water two days before her 13th birthday. My dad rescued her in time, but she was disoriented and scared. Prior to the incident, my parents tried a new trial medication to preserve her vision, but it was ineffective. When they told me she was having a hard time due to her old age, and that her time was coming to an end, I accepted it because I knew she had lived such a good and fulfilling life. But when the vet put her down last Monday, it was so difficult for me.

Last week, I was going through an intense period of grief and sadness after the sudden loss of my dog. While it is normal to feel this way and many people will identify with what I went through, I am still feeling very sad. However, the only thing that I can do is take things day by day. These are lyrics from a Korean song called Beautiful Day by Crush. It was playing on Spotify during my morning walk, which reminded me of Zoë.

Her Memory Lives On 🐾

My parents want to plant a tree in their yard and I want to put a memorial rock by the red oak tree where Zoë’s spot will be. The painted rock that I have would be great for that. I’ve had this rock for a while now. I got it from one of my friends in the U.S. before the pandemic happened. The plan was for me to hide in Canada, but I couldn’t do it. The game “Hide or Keep” is a lot like Geocaching because it incorporates the thrill of hunting for hidden rocks in various outdoor areas.

I intended to hide this painted rock somewhere on campus, but before I could, the pandemic happened. Also, there was major construction going on, so I was unable to find the time. That being said, I have kept the rock with me all this time, but it’s time for me to pass it on. I think I will place the rock next to the red oak tree in my parents’ front yard. This will become Zoë’s spot.

♡ Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-tree-268533/

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” James Herriot

P.S. This blog post was inspired by Jenny from Jenny in Neverland. To read her beautiful tribute to her dog, Rory, you can check out her heartwarming post here.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

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

Disclaimer: I am pleased to have Davis return as a guest blogger. You might remember him from his first guest post appearance in April 2022. Davis runs a blog called https://businessisfun.net that I highly recommend you check out and follow him if you haven’t done so already. Since Davis wrote this guest post, I cannot take credit for it. While you are here, I would love to hear your thoughts about this article. Let’s get started, shall we?

5 Ways to Overcome a Midlife Crisis

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

1. Commit to an Exercise Regime

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

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

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

2. Start Practicing a Hobby

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

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

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

3. Pursue an Online Degree

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

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

4. Launch a Business

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

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

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

5. Reconnect with Old Friends

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

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

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

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


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

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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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