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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March Goals | Spring 2022

This is the beginning of a new month which means that we have a fresh start (yet again). I am not waiting another day for a fresh start, since we already know that January and February 2022 were bleh months for me. I am still catching up on the comments from January. No, I have not forgotten about you all. To all of my loyal readers and blogging friends, thank you for putting up with my sloth-like self. What I really need right now is a steeped tea and a calm place to escape to which does not exist in my world. As I continue to search for my quiet sanctuary, I often think back to life before the pandemic started 😷 When I was at U of Calgary B.C. (before Covid-19), I used to escape to the arboretum on campus. I really miss that place. *Le sigh*

If you knew me IRL, my life would probably bore you. If I am not doing mundane, mind-numbing chores, I am probably working or taking care of my 5-year old kinder and 9-month old baby. That being said, I want to be more organized this month so I think it’s only fair that I hold myself accountable somehow. Since I haven’t used Instagram since 2019, I don’t see the point of using IG stories, even though I have had some success with it in the past. Right now, blogging is the main platform that I use so it makes sense to share my goals here with my readers. Just a quick note that my goals this month are rather vague and I have not gone into much detail yet regarding my current diet. Perhaps I will elaborate more about my weight loss journey and plans in a future blog post if anyone is interested. FYI I am not overweight but I want to lose belly fat, specifically visceral fat. I fit the definition of skinny fat which is annoying because I cannot wear cute clothes without hating myself. 😓

The Daily Grind ☕💕

By now, we all know that I lack the motivation to grind away at writing, editing, and uploading new content for this blog. Even on my days off, I am too lazy to get off the couch and actually do something productive. The recipes I made earlier this week were not “Insta worthy” so I didn’t bother snapping photos. I would like to share my low-carb recipes with you, but the perfectionist in me is stopping me from actually following through with it. Perfectionism is a B.I.T.C.H. 🤦‍♀️ I currently have 31 drafts on WordPress + ideas in my head + ideas that live on a notepad on my iPhone. That being said, I refuse to upload half-baked blog posts just for the sake of gaining more views and followers.

Old News is New News

In other news, I was sick (again) during the month of February. To add to this series of unfortunate events, I was unable to find a habit tracker because Costco didn’t carry them this year and the calendar store is closed until further notice 🙇‍♀️ I am a visual learner and seem to do better when I can physically see what goals I need to achieve. Right now, I lack direction and feel a bit lost when it comes to setting short-term and long-term goals which is no surprise considering that I haven’t been using a planner at all. At this time, I am thinking of sharing my goals with you to keep myself accountable for the month of March. I really seem to struggle with finding the energy and motivation to stop being a lazy potato.

It is hard to believe that one year has passed since I last posted my goals for March 2021 🌸 You can also read about how that went down here. 🌸 I have decided to keep the same layout this year. Below ↓ I will show you my list for the month of March 2022. My daily lists are very similar except that daily lists include mundane tasks like cooking and cleaning. So what does my list for the month of March look like? Here, let me show you:

March Goals 2022

Career Goals:

  • Continue to work weekends and Fridays, preferably evening shifts
  • Bid on shifts so I average 7-9 shifts per month
  • Renew and review courses on MLL
  • Attend 2 online wellness seminars

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts per month
  • Publish 2-3 recipes and/or poems
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments
  • Continue to declutter house every day
  • Have an IRL meeting/get-together

Health Goals:

  • Follow a low carb diet for 3+ months
  • Continue Intermittent Fasting (IF)
  • Slash 90-95% of wheat products. Slash 70% of refined foods including refined sugar 🧁
  • More cooking and baking at home
  • Daily walks and sunshine if weather permits ☀️

Not that anyone cares: My scale needs new batteries so I don’t know my actual weight. The way my clothes fit is a better indicator than a stupid number on the scale. I don’t care about weight as much as the way I feel on the inside and I know that my BMI falls within the healthy range of 18.5 – 24.9. And yet, people often tell me that I do not need to lose weight, but they aren’t me. What I do know is that I don’t feel good on the inside. I want to feel healthier and my body looks (and feels) tired. Ideally, I would like a flatter stomach by summer so that is what I am working towards. More importantly, I want to get rid of my inflammation as a result of sensitivities to certain foods. The last time I felt comfortable in my own body was in 2015. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but affirmations and mantras about body positivity do not make me feel better about myself. I also came to the harsh reality that I haven’t made much progress since 2017 when I wrote a blog post about my dieting woes called No Carbs, No Life.

“Oh I don’t need real food. I’ll just live on this raw cabbage. I’m so happy. This is fine. Everything is fine.” — Jenny Lawson

Do you have any goals that you are trying to achieve this month? If you do, what are they? Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I look forward to reading your comments. I am working this weekend, so I will reply to your comments and catch up on blog posts when I have time.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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10 Ways to Change a Negative Mindset

When I was still active on Instagram @serene_hilz, I posted an IG story about my struggle with handling strong, negative emotions. I realize that I am naturally drawn towards negativity, so perhaps that is why I attract more of it in my life. Lately, I have been reading more negative blog posts than usual, and I believe that this could be due to my newsfeed. Not surprisingly, I tend to follow like-minded individuals who seem to be negative like myself. After all, misery loves company.

(◔_◔)っSerious Question: How are we supposed to embrace negative emotions so we can get on with our day and have more mental clarity? To answer this question, I have compiled a list of 10 things that can help you change your negative mindset. Let’s get started!

10 Ways to Change a Negative Mindset

1. Check your attitude. The way you think about your life, goals, dreams, and desires can make a difference in how you live your life. Think about it: If you ruminate on the things that you do not have in your life, then you will subconsciously attract more of these things in your life. Not only that, but you will also create more frustration which is harnessed from negative energy. You are ultimately doing yourself a disservice by being a Negative Nancy and there is nothing cute about whining to me or to anyone else.

2. Think Better Thoughts. What is the difference between people who feel stuck in life and people who go on to accomplish great things? Successful people think differently than the rest of the herd. Often, successful people have already changed their mindsets, whether they are aware of it or not. The good news is that it is never too late to transform your thinking patterns too. One way to adopt a growth mindset is to become aware of your negative thoughts and actively choose to think better thoughts. Stop ruminating over the things that went wrong or believing that you are a victim in life. Instead, you can channel this negativity into a creative outlet, like blogging.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. Yikes. I think this one deserves its own blog post. I cannot stress this point enough but comparison really is the thief of joy. We live in a society where social comparison dominates, and whether we admit it or not, humans love to compare and judge. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms really do bring out the green-eyed monster in people. Next time you feel tempted to compare yourself to someone you envy, try shifting your focus. Instead of focussing on others’ achievements, turn inwards and start focussing on your own unique qualities. I know this is easier said than done, but try counting your blessings the next time you catch yourself being envious of someone else.

4. Cry It Out! 😭 They say that “good girls don’t cry.” I hate to be the person to tell you this, but mentally stable girls cry. Big boys cry too. There is nothing bad about having a good cry. Most of us are taught that crying is immature, uncool, and a sign of weakness. If that was the case where we weren’t allowed to be vulnerable, then I would not be writing this blog post. More than ever, we need to allow ourselves to feel these feelings, both good and bad, and tears are a natural, emotional release. This, crying is a healthy way to let go of bottled-up feelings and emotional pain.

5. Forgive Others. How much time and energy do you spend being angry towards other people? Anger is obviously serving some kind of purpose in your life; otherwise, you wouldn’t be projecting anger into the universe. That being said, what good does it do for you to hold a grudge against someone who has done you wrong? Learning to forgive others is easier said than done, since negative emotions often cloud our judgment, thus making forgiveness seem like a waste of time. However, learning how to forgive others will give you peace of mind and, in turn, you will become mentally stronger.

“Unforgiveness is like drinking posion and hoping the other person dies.” – Margaret Stunt

6. Forgive Yourself. Do you say cruel things to yourself that you would never say to anyone else? Would you speak to your friends the same way you speak to yourself? Chances are, you probably judge yourself too harshly. AmIright? If you think that you are being too hard on yourself, maybe it is time to practice self-compassion and forgive yourself for being the imperfect human being that you are. We cannot undo our past mistakes, but we can choose to make better choices in the future if we can forgive ourselves and learn to trust the universe.

“You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay

7. Learn to Let Go. There will always be things that you cannot control no matter how much you try to micromanage or wish for a more desirable outcome. And sometimes, feeling out of control can be overwhelming. If you believe that you are a #victim, I cannot deal with you right now. Seriously, nothing annoys me more than people who have a victim mentality. That being said, learning to let go and surrender to the universe is not the same as playing #victim. The universe works in mysterious ways and it is okay to surrender to the divine universe. Acknowledging your weaknesses and letting go of the things yet you cannot control will, in turn, make you a mentally stronger person.

8. Accept Life As It Is. Accepting reality can be scary because it means being okay with the way things are in the present moment. If you have been fighting reality, you might not be ready to accept your life as is. Similar to Point #7 it means surrendering and letting go of your fantasy self. It means facing and accepting what is, which allows you to make wiser choices in the future. Resisting reality might seem like the easier choice, but avoiding and resisting the truth has negative consequences.

9. Do Nothing. What do I mean by this, exactly? Doing nothing seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? However, doing nothing is similar to sitting in a silent room and meditating. I understand that meditation isn’t for everyone, nor am I telling you to meditate. People who have kids and/or busy schedules might not have the time to “do nothing.” A calmer mind can do wonders for your mental health if you are able to shut off the monkey chatter. The brain is not meant to run on overdrive all the freaking time!

10. Practice Mindfulness. If you haven’t been practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, start reconnecting with it by first silencing your mind. By living in the present, you break away from focusing on the past or future. If you have a philosophy background, you’ll know that the past and future are not real; the present moment is real. Since mindfulness enables us to bring our attention back to the present moment, perhaps we should start focussing on the things that are right in front of our noses. Just saying.

“Peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with the contents of your mind.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru


(っ◔◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

When you are feeling more relaxed and calm, you will be able to focus your energy on the things that actually matter. Best of all, you will be able to think more clearly which enables you to plan and better organize your thoughts. Remember, insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, so I challenge you to try something different today. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ if this blog post taught you something or made you think about things differently.

This image was edited by me aka. Mama Hillz

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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Lingering Hope

My goal for the New Year is to upload more content without setting a set-in-stone schedule. Lately, I have been bothered by the amount of negativity taking place in the WP community. That being said, I am not going to let one Torontonian blogger dim my sparkle! ✨ I recently caught on that she has been purposely shadow-banning me on her blog by removing me from her follower list and sending all of my comments to her spam folder. Seriously, who goes out of their way to remove followers?

This past week, I have been meditating and reflecting on a few things and I realize that drama, both offline and online, negatively impacts my mental health and well-being. This week, I started cutting back on the amount of time I spend on my phone, especially social media, even though the bulk of the drama is taking place in the WordPress community. I don’t think that she and her followers (some are my followers as well) know that I have read their comments. Be careful what you say, because not only do your words dig deep but they also say a lot about your character. Personally, I love how Ryan Biddulph from Twitter handles this kinda thing.

Lingering Hope

Disclaimer: This poem was originally posted as its own daughter page, so nobody stumbled upon it. Even though this poem is unrelated to my little rant *above* I still wanted to include the poem in this blog post, as a way to bring more content to you all. If you like this poem, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here

Thanks for reading! ♡

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12 Days of Finals

Merry Christmas elf-ryone! 💚 Thanks, @ElsieLMC for coming up with that clever introduction. It’s very punny and I hope you don’t mind that I used your intro here. This year, I wanted to dress up my son as a cute elf but was unable to find an elf outfit. Maybe it will happen next year! 🎅🎄 I wanted to share with you some photos of our little Christmas tree. Most of the decorations came from Dollarama. As many of you know, this girl is frugal. Even this trademark wrapping paper came from Dollarama. 😊

12 Days of Finals 📖

When I was in university, I wrote a rough outline for a parody of the song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” I never got around to editing and uploading this parody and at one point, I even forgot that I had the rough draft on my notepad. I figured that there is no better time than Christmas Day to upload this parody for all of my readers. If you enjoyed reading this parody, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here.

[Verse 1]
On the first day of finals,
My professor gave to me
A ton of anxiety.

[Verse 2]
On the second day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 3]
On the third day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 4]
On the fourth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 5]
On the fifth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 6]
On the sixth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Six study parities,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 7]
On the seventh day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 8]
On the eigth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 9]
On the ninth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Nine cram-sessions,
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 10]
On the tenth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Ten people praying,
Nine cram-sessions,
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 11]
On the eleventh day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Eleven temper tantrums,
Ten people praying,
Nine cram-sessions,
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety.

[Verse 12]
On the twelth day of finals,
My professor gave to me
Twelve clocks a-ticking,
Eleven temper tantrums,
Ten people praying,
Nine cram-sessions,
Eight sugar crashes,
Seven Venti coffees,
Six study parties,
Five all-nighters,
Four restless nights,
Three Dunkin’ runs,
Two Advil pills,
And a ton of anxiety!

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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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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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