Living Rent-Free

No, I am not talking about the literal definition of living rent-free. If you are allowing someone else to live rent-free in your head, that could be a problem.

Disclaimer: I believe this idea is more of an advanced concept in personal growth and development because the hardest part is being able to identify and address it as it is happening. This means that we need to already have developed a type of mindfulness that is often found in more advanced personal-development practices. It’s also a lot harder to teach people about the benefits of this concept for themselves, so I want you to keep an open mind while reading. Let’s begin, shall we?

♡ Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

My husband often tells me that I unintentionally give other people free rein to live rent-free in my head and it has been really affecting me in a negative way. I know he is right, and that’s why I want to address what living rent-free actually is and how we can catch ourselves doing it before it consumes us. It’s not just about mental health — living rent-free is also very taxing on the human body in all aspects. It takes up space in our brains, causing us to not have the energy or room to be the best version of ourselves, and drains our stamina to do more productive things. Yikes.

It’s important to always stay aware of the cause and identify what you can do about it so that you get relief. Figuring out how to break the cycle of negative thoughts is hard, but it does get easier the more you work at it. Furthermore, it’s important to know that there are a number of ways to help you break out of this cycle by learning the underlying causes behind your energy drain and where this “energy zap” is coming from.

(っ◔◡◔)っFYI: What does it mean to live rent-free?

Rent-free is a term used by young people to mean, “allowing someone to occupy your thoughts.” It is also a slang expression and catchphrase used to describe how someone holds a grudge or allows an individual to occupy their thoughts, often meant to mock that person. This can be seen as an insult because it suggests that the person does not have any control over their own mind. Believe it or not, this is becoming a major problem in today’s society and people are too lenient with themselves and others. It’s interesting to think about how negative energy affects our mental state.

♡ Related Article: Boundaries Matter


What are the consequences?

Living in someone else’s head can be difficult to deal with, especially if the relationship is one-sided. One of the many side effects is constantly thinking about them and letting their presence linger in your thoughts. This can be very difficult to live with, not only because it feels like you’re never getting a break from that person, but also because it tends to make your mental state worse. If you don’t do anything about it, it could manifest into feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and depression — all of which are detrimental to our mental health.

Struggling with these thoughts and feelings can be a painful experience, but the only way to truly move on is to process them. Other people may struggle with intrusive thoughts and feelings as well, but this doesn’t mean that they are alone because there are many ways to overcome these difficulties. Trust me — I have experienced it first hand. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing about this topic.

“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” — Ann Landers

If you are experiencing intrusive thoughts and feelings, it is important to be aware that these can really leave you feeling overwhelmed and weighed down emotionally. However, the most effective way to deal with these emotions is to learn how to process them and understand them. If we try to ignore these negative emotions or push them down, then they will continue to live in our heads.

Remember, you are not weak because you have let someone live rent-free in your head. You have been strong and you have prevailed. The last thing I want you to think is that you’re the victim because that’s just not true. You have more control over the situation than you might think! 💪


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

Finally, I can’t tell you how to process this stuff. All that I ask is that you get the help you need if therapy is a good option for you. Everyone has their own way of dealing with people, but if your strong and negative emotions are making it hard for you to function, then therapy could be the right option for you. Thus, I encourage you to explore different options and find what’s best for you.

If you have any thoughts that you would like to share with me, please leave a comment by joining the conversation below ↓ I had previously posted this blog post on Medium, which now has a paywall. If you want to support me on my writing journey, I would greatly appreciate it if you read my articles over at Medium (a starving writer needs to eat), but if you don’t have a Medium Membership that’s totally understandable.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

5 Things I No Longer Buy

(◔_◔)っQuestion: What are some items that you no longer buy?

A few months ago, I stumbled upon this blog post which made me reflect on my own life and spending habits. My intention was to answer her question in a timely manner, but we all know how long it takes me to post a blog post response. Bee is a 30-year old blogger who runs a popular blog called Mind. Beauty. Simplicity. She writes blog posts about intentional living, self-growth, lifestyle, and anything in between. I recommend checking out her blog and following her if you haven’t done so already.

These days, I am on a similar journey as Bee. When it comes to living intentionally, I am still far from perfect but I have learned to be more mindful about my spending and to avoid buying things that aren’t going to add value to my life. Keep reading if you are interested in learning what I added to my list! 🙌


•✽ 5 THINGS I NO LONGER BUY ✽•

1. Bath & Body Works I have nothing against Bath & Body Works. In fact, it is a great store and I still like their products. I am wiser now that I am older, but when I was a teenager, my life revolved around this store. I was in love with their products and the shopping addiction got pretty bad whenever there was a sale, which was pretty much every week 😆 I would buy all sorts of things: lotions, shower gels, candles, fragrance mists —you name it. When I couldn’t go through the products fast enough, I would make lists of the products that I wouldn’t have to replenish. The lotions and body mists lasted so long to the point where they would expire and end up smelling horrible. Once I realized that I was wasting money, I stopped shopping at Bath and Body Works.

2. Subscription Boxes These days, subscription box services are catering to everyone’s tastes. You can pretty much guarantee that the subscription box model isn’t just limited to food and books – there are monthly boxes for everything from candles to clothes. Want new socks and underwear but don’t want to think about it? There’s a box for that. And as tempting as these subscription boxes are, it is important to note that these services usually charge an upfront fee as well as recurring fees each month. I cannot justify paying a high price for items that I might not even like or use! 🤦‍♀️

Note: I want to make a clear distinction between subscription boxes and subscription services. We have access to Netflix and at one point, we paid for a Spotify account. We are thinking about renewing the Spotify subscription since my husband regularly uses that platform. We also have a Costco membership and I finally upgraded to a Premium WordPress Plan last year. When I was in nursing school, I subscribed to www.nursng.com after failing a clinical rotation in Spring 2019. At one point, I also subscribed to www.coursehero.com and even uploaded my own summary notes to share with other students. Subscription services are valuable tools when used for their intended purpose.

3. Bottled Water When you stop and think about it, it is pretty insane to pay for water when you can get it for free out of your tap. Sure, bottled water isn’t bad for you; there are worse things that you could be drinking such as soda or beer. If you are not active enough to need a drink with extra electrolytes and if drinking from a reusable bottle helps reduce your plastic consumption, then why would you bother spending money on something that is so easily accessible? The water you get from your faucet is much more affordable and safer for you. Also, by using a reusable water bottle like this one, you’ll be saving money as well as doing your part for Mother Earth. 🌎

4. Starbucks Did you really think that I was only going to throw shade at Bath & Body Works? I also like the fancy coffee drinks from Starbucks, especially their Frappuccinos. The vanilla whipped cream is absolutely divine! ❤ Plus, if you are anything like me, I do not go to Starbucks just to order a basic cup of coffee. I usually go to Starbucks to spend money on these fancy, empty-calorie Frappuccinos which typically cost around $5.50 -7.50 CAD. I prefer to save these treats only for special occasions rather than treat myself every time I go to the mall or local Starbucks coffee shop. ☕💕

If you are a coffee drinker like my husband, getting a good cup of coffee doesn’t require waiting in line. It just requires learning how to make a good cup of coffee at home. Next time you are shopping, skip the Starbucks line and make coffee at home. If Starbucks coffee is your thing (for the record, MCDs coffee is my thing), you can buy the coffee beans and make it at home for a fraction of the price. Even Costco sells Starbucks coffee beans. There is really no excuse to buy takeaway coffee anymore.

5. Alcohol This is an easy one to add to the list because I was never really a fan of alcohol. I don’t understand the hype around it, I don’t like how it makes me feel, and I don’t crave alcohol like some people do. Sugar on the other hand is a different story, which you can read about here. Personally, I think that there is too much sugar in alcohol, which is not limited to Vex, Smirnoff, and those cocktails with cute little umbrellas! I am tired of harping on the fact that alcohol isn’t good for your health and overall wellbeing. When you think about it, what kind of benefit does consuming alcohol bring? None that I can think of…. so yeah, I seldom drink alcohol 🙄 I would suggest cutting out alcohol from your budget if you are looking to save some money. It is an easy way to pocket extra cash without feeling like you are missing out on anything. There are other ways that you can socialize with people: going for walks, playing board games, or setting up a game night at home. Remember, you don’t have to stop socializing altogether.

👉 Image: I went on a trip to NYC with Nick and his friends, but I don’t remember what year this was 🤷‍♀️

Choosing to live a simpler, more intentional life is a conscious decision that affects each and every choice we make. Try thinking about the things that you can live without, specifically things that no longer serve a purpose in your life. What are some items that you no longer buy? Let me know by joining the conversation below ↓ I look forward to reading your comments.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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1000 Followers: A New Milestone!

(っ◔◡◔)っ1000 Followers! Thank you so much for following this blog!

This was one of my long-term goals which I was hoping to reach by Spring 2021. I can happily say that I reached this goal on July 24, 2021 which is good considering that I seldom post new content on this blog. My only concern about keeping a free blog domain is that I may lose all of these stats if I were to switch to a paid domain. Knowing that I am not committed enough to post on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, I should probably stick to this free domain for now. I hope that you will continue to join me on my blogging journey when the inevitable happens, because one day I will have no choice but to upgrade and buy a domain.

Honestly, I did not expect to gain 1000 wonderful followers, and yet, here we are. I still believe that this blog has a lot of potential and I am already envisioning it reaching 2,000 followers. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for spreading the love and helping to keep this blog alive! ❤

The No. 1 Mistake that Bloggers Make

My No. 1 tip when it comes to gaining followers is to actively engage with the people who bring traffic to your blog. And by this, I mean responding to the comments that you receive, as well as visiting their blogs in return. Without engaging with your readers, you will have to outwork the algorithm by spamming the WP reader and annoying your followers. Please don’t be that person. Without comments from your followers, your blog is practically dead space in the blogging sphere. And I think that is a waste of your precious time and energy. At the end of the day, followers help keep your blog alive, and your blog is nothing without loyal followers. I know this sounds harsh but it is the truth. Somebody needs to say it, so it might as well be me. I do not expect everyone to agree with me, nor do I want everyone to agree with me. All that I ask is that bloggers are kind to one another and understand that everyone is entitled to an opinion. Not everyone thinks the same way as you do, so I stress the importance of keeping an open mind. I also stress the importance of supporting other bloggers, because it is not all about you.

You should be allowed to leave a comment without worrying about being blocked for having a different opinion. You should be allowed to have intellectual conversations without questioning it. You should be allowed to give another blogger constructive criticism/advice without getting snarky, rude replies in exchange. I shouldn’t have to worry about these things, but I feel like I am stepping on eggshells with some bloggers. Even though I still follow some of these bloggers after having some nasty encounters with them, I stopped engaging with them on their blogs. I stopped liking and commenting on their blog posts. And that is something that they should be worried about. They basically lost future business with me, and any entrepreneur would tell you not to make enemies with potential customers.

If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all!

–Unknown

Another Mistake That Bloggers Make

My No. 2 tip is not to anger your faithful readers and followers by pushing them away. Remember, the spammy genuine comments is the main reason why your blog is alive and well. Like a healthy garden, you need to water it often and trim the weeds 🌱 Also, you need to be able to regulate your emotions so you don’t piss off the blogging community and ultimately drive your loyal followers away. Personally, I love having healthy debates with people who are able to keep things mutual and respectful. Not everyone is going to agree with everything I say, nor should they. I am happy that people feel comfortable commenting in the comments section below 🠓, and that everyone feels welcome here. I am really grateful for the 1000 wonderful followers who chose to follow this blog! 🌻🌻

“Be who you are and say what you feel,

Because those who mind don’t matter,

And those who matter don’t mind.”

–Dr. Seuss

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

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Something Needs to Change

XOn3CljIt’s rare for me to upload more than one blog post in a single week, but I haven’t been feeling super talkative lately. Usually, you can’t get me to shut up, but my mood has been $hit lately. If you read my previous blog post, My 10 Favourite Feelings Tag, you may have thought that I am as happy as a clam. At least, I was feeling happy until yesterday. And as much as I want to complain and vent about everything that is wrong in my life right now, I rather not ruin your mood too. Being pessimistic is like a disease and all it takes is one pessimistic person to infect us all 😷 The stuff that I am dealing with is very personal and bothersome, and this topic is not open for discussion. Please do not ask me to elaborate in the comments section below ↓ or try to convince me that things will get better with time. Well yeah, things usually do get better eventually. This thing has been bothering me for a few years now and it’s incredibly frustrating. I though that I would have made some progress by now, but instead, I haven’t made much progress at all. Like a hamster running in a wheel, but never reaching its destination. ‘Stuck’ is how I would describe my life right now.

Stuck in the middle

Lately, I have been thinking about revamping this blog. I have yet to figure out how to turn secondary pages into blog posts. I feel like the majority of my readers end up missing most of my poetry and recipes because these sections are categorized under pages rather than blog posts. I want my current pages to show up on the home page, but at the same time, I want them to show up as previews under the parent pages. I currently use the free version, so I am not blessed with plugins and unlimited features. It’s just the basics.

Does anyone know if there is a way to add blog posts to pages so that you can see blog post previews on the pages themselves? Is there a way to categorizes blog posts on these pages? Am I making any sense?

Over the next few months, I am going to transfer my secondary pages to blog posts so that they will actually show up in the WP reader, which is where most of my traffic comes from. When I first started blogging in 2016, having secondary pages made the most sense because it allowed for visitors, mainly people who were not WP bloggers, to easily navigate my blog. However, I want to expand my recipes, poetry, and student life ツ sections, so having secondary pages isn’t the best option anymore.

Secondary pages, sometimes referred to as daughter pages, will appear under their parent pages. These secondary pages are different than blog posts.

For those of you who have been following me for a while, did you know that these pages even existed on my blog? If you answered no, then this is why something needs to change.

Thanks for stopping by!

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My 10 Favourite Feelings Tag

Pink and Yellow Shapes Birthday Pinterest Graphic (1)I want to thank blogger Pooja for sharing this tag with me! If you aren’t familiar with her blog, then I highly suggest that you check out her creative musings over at Lifesfinewhine. A while ago, I promised her that I would [eventually] complete this tag which dates back to May 27. 2020. Even though I had good intentions and even jotted down a list on my phone’s virtual notepad, the note accidentally got deleted. I am now writing a new list which is in no particular order. Today, I spent some time reflecting on the things/feelings that make me happy. I purposely left out some of the obvious things like spending time with family and friends.


Rules for Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share your list of 10 Favourite Feelings. 
  • Nominate other bloggers. 

My 10 Favourite Feelings Tag

1. Spending time with my cat. As many of you already know, I really adore my cat. I adopted him last year when I was dealing with major depression that was quite severe. If you need some happiness in your life or feel like your mood is $hit most days, then I highly recommend adopting a cat! Not every cat is friendly though, so take your time choosing the right one. Adopting a cat is a big decision, but it is a decision that you probably won’t regret! ❤🐈

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Morning cuddles with my boy, Timon ❤

2. Connecting with WordPress bloggers, both online and offline! I am very fortunate to have this blog, where I am able connect and chat with other like-minded bloggers. Blogging has been incredibly rewarding and it only keeps getting better. I never imagined that I would end up receiving personal emails, end up receiving snail mail, and even meeting Vee in real life, who is one of my favourite bloggers.

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Before I started blogging, I used to send snail mail to online friends on Facebook. I am still taking a FB hiatus and have no plans to return to that platform any time soon.

3. The smell of the Earth after it rains. Am I crazy, or is there a distinct, earthy smell after it rains? Do you know what smell I am talking about? Because that’s the smell I love! It’s a refreshing feeling after it rains ☂

4. Reaching a destination after walking for what seems like 500 miles. If the destination does not include coffee or tea, then it is a waste of my time 😂 Most of my destinations are food-related. If I didn’t walk to these places, I would probably be obese by now. I choose to walk even though I have a driver’s licence. Personally, I do not like driving a car and I will avoid driving as much as possible.

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This is one of my favourite bubble tea places. Even though I took the Light Rail Transit (LRT), I technically walked there. Since the COVID-19 lockdown, I have not taken the LRT 😷

5. Having fresh-cut flowers in my house 🌻 My mom lives across the country, and she surprised me with a dozen sunflowers for my birthday! Best birthday surprise ever ❤Sunflowers are my favourite flowers and I associate them with the month of August. They’re so sunny and cheerful. What’s not to like about sunflowers? 😍

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Not my birthday sunflowers. This photo was taken at my mom’s house, Summer 2019. Look how big and gorgeous these beauties are! 🌻🌻

6. Sunsets from my balcony. You do not need to go to the beach to enjoy a sunset. In fact, you can view beautiful sunsets from the comfort of your balcony or backyard. Some sunsets are quite stunning. My favourite kind of sunsets are the cotton-candy colored ones 🤗

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This is what I call a cotton-candy sunset ❤

7. Finding $$$ in random places. It might be money laying on the ground (I wish), money in my coat pocket, or finding money in a drawer etc. Finding money I didn’t even know I had is a great feeling! Once I found $200 cash while cleaning the house, which was money I made from Kijiji sales. I had stashed it in an envelope for a rainy day and completely forgot about it! I’m also bad for accidentally leaving money in my coat pockets. Once my mom found a $20 in my coat pocket, so she kept it. It was an old coat that I no longer wanted, but I guess it still had some value.

8. “Kodak” moments. Let me be clear about something: I am aware that I am not photogenic. My dad thinks that I love taking photos of myself but I seldom take photos of myself. Yes, I have a profile picture of myself only because I rather see an actual picture of the face behind the blog, even if that profile pic happens to be filtered. Most of the photos I post on this blog are my own, such as this adorable pic of Rebecca and Timon the cat 💕 I am really beginning to loathe royalty-free pics because every blogger seems to use them nowadays 🙄 #unoriginal

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Photo taken October 16, 2019

9. Donating/selling items. Knowing that my stuff is going to a better home is a very satisfying feeling. Meeting the buyer in person also gives me reassurance that my stuff is actually wanted, especially since I know that they want to buy my stuff. I find it much easier parting with sentimental items if I sell them, compared to donating them. For all I know, donated items could be going straight to the landfill, which I find a bit disturbing.

10. Spousal business travel. I really enjoy taking advantage of my husband’s travel excursions whenever the opportunity arises. Usually, our schedules clash and I have to stay home, but sometimes I am fortunate to join him on his adventures! That being said, I can no longer tag along on his business trips because of the pandemic 😭


My Nominees:

https://popsiclesociety.com/

https://simplychronicallyill.com/

https://renardsworld.wordpress.com/

https://mymartialpath.wordpress.com/

https://inhisserviceandlovingit.wordpress.com/

And….GO!! There is no pressure to respond to this nomination. I am curious to know what your answers are if you decide to participate! Whether or not you were nominated, you are still welcome to join in on the fun!

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Summer Blog Party! #Twitter-edition

Twi

A Little Birdie Told Me

I admit that I am most creative when I am dealing with insomnia, and last night was one of those nights. For once, I actually remembered my idea and came up with this gem!💎 I am extremely overtired right now, but I will try my best to explain my idea to you. As you may know, I am not active on social media platforms right now. Some people may argue that blogging is a form of social media, so basically I am was only active on WordPress. However, a little birdie told me about the benefits of using Twitter to help increase blog traffic, so I have decided to reopen and update my abandoned Twitter account, which can be found at @hellokitty8404 💕

*Gasp!* Twitter? But why?!? It’s simple. Because I find methods of communication quite limited on WP and email often dwindles after a few exchanged, heart-to-heart messages. Snail mail is even more unreliable. I sent out mail a few weeks ago and I haven’t heard back from my recipients, so I don’t know if they ever received their mail. That being said, I hope to connect specifically with WP bloggers on Twitter. Blog parties are popular in the WP community, and if you haven’t heard of a blog party, then I’m afraid that you have been living under a rock longer than I have! I was looking for the definition of a blog party, and I found the perfect definition from KaylaAnn’s blog, kaylaannauthor.wordpress.com, where she defines a blog party as:

“Generally speaking, a blog party is an online gathering for bloggers of all kinds to meet and engage with one another.” —KaylaAnn

She goes on to define what blog parties are on Twitter, but that’s where she lost me. My idea is a bit simpler. Anyone who has a Twitter handle (aka. @your.account) could share their handles in the comments section below↓ Currently, I am attempting to follow WP bloggers who also have Twitter accounts, as a way to hopefully improve communication and networking opportunities. However, trying to navigate through each and every one of your blogs is not an easy task or the best use of my time.

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“This will be easy!,” said my illogical, insomniac brain.

I Invite You to Join the Party!

I figured that everyone could benefit from a twitter/blog following networking party by joining the #follow-train (a cringe-worthy hashtag) in the comments section below↓ It’s simple and saves us both time! I will keep the comments section open until next Wednesday, August 5, which happens to be the day after my birthday! 🎉🥳 This gives you a week to join the party if you wish to share your Twitter handle with us bloggers! I promise to follow your Twitter account as long as your account has a) up-to-date tweets from 2020, b) your account isn’t a bot account or full of spam, and c) your account/tweets has some relevance to your blog.


Follow the Steps Below ⬇️

Like. Comment. Engage. Spread the Word.

  • LIKE! You are not obligated to like this blog post, but I appreciate the likes, especially if you would like to see more of these blog posts in the future!
  • COMMENT! Tell us your name, leave a short description telling us what your blog is about, and add your Twitter handle (@your.account) so we can follow you. Please do not skip this step or your comment may end up in my spam folder. 
  • ENGAGE: Like KaylaAnn mentioned in her blog post(s), blog parties are not about simply promoting your blog/work, and I completely agree with her statement. There is no party without engagement! I encourage you to visit other blogs and check out their social media accounts too. And follow them if you like their content.
  • SPREAD THE WORD: There is no obligation to re-blog or re-tweet, but I would greatly appreciate it if you did. The more you help spread the message, the more opportunities there will be to meet new bloggers and increase your following as well! ❤

The comments section will remain open from July 28, 2020 – August 5, 2020 at 12 p.m. Mountain Time (MT), so take advantage of this opportunity while you are here, especially if you have a Twitter account. Also, feel free to keep this party going by spreading the word! Remember, our blogs cannot thrive without each other’s support. We are all in this together! ❤

Thanks for stopping by!

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700 Followers: A New Milestone!

(っ◔◡◔)っ700 Followers! Like my toddler always says, Whaattt?!?! ♥

I try to publish a new blog post every Monday during the summer break. It’s not Monday yet, but I wanted to share some exciting news with you and this announcement cannot wait any longer. As you have already guessed from reading the title, this blog has reached 700 followers! If all of you were to attend a lecture at the University of Guelph, the biggest lecture hall has 606 seats. Sorry, I guess some of you will have to stand. Feet off the tables, please.

Honestly, I did not expect to gain 700 wonderful followers, and yet, here we are. I believe that this blog has a lot of potential and I am already envisioning it reaching 1,000 followers this year. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for spreading the love and helping to keep this blog alive! ❤

Stay hungry, Stay Focused!

what-you-stay-focused-on-will-grow_roy-t-benett_the-light-in-the-heart

What are you focusing on?

I believe that bloggers, especially those who are new to the WP community, are eager to gain followers which is a great goal. I mean, who doesn’t want followers, handfuls of comments, and daily traffic? When I first started blogging, I felt like I was talking to a wall. I rarely got comments, and if I did, it was usually spam. Lots of things have changed within a year, but most of these changes resulted from observing others, learning what not to do, and taking notes. Even though this blog is already 4 years, it sat dormant until April 2019. In other words, this blog gained approx. 680 followers in 15 months!

There is one blogger in particular who helped jump-start my blog. Even though Ilona was a fairly new blogger, the WP community seemed to naturally gravitate towards her blog because she had friendly, non-judgmental vibes. At one point, Ilona and I became international pen pals! 💌 Sadly, I haven’t heard back from her since November 2019 and I miss her terribly. It was recently brought to my attention that she permanently deleted her [second] blog which is really unfortunate. I hope she knows that she is deeply missed by the blogging community.🌹🥀

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” —Walter Hagen

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You Win Some, You Lose Some

Regardless of what happens throughout my blogging journey, I remind myself that I will gain some followers and lose some followers along the way. I consider myself to be a creative person but I am terrible at networking as well as collaborating with people. Also, I am the perfect candidate for transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) which are triggered by stressful events, and I have already had 2 major TIAs in my lifetime. Statistics state that 1/3 of people who experience TIAs will also experience a stroke in their lifetime. This is not a sob story; this is simply why I try to avoid taking on extra commitments. Just breathe, mes amis. 🧘‍♀️🌱

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you achieve your goals as long as you are constantly working on becoming a better version of yourself. I believe that nobody is entitled to success, but everyone has the potential to succeed with hard work, grit, and perseverance. Stay calm, and never give up on your dreams! ❤

Thanks for stopping by!

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7 Ways to Get Inspired About Writing

“I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do the day after.” — Oscar Wilde

I am probably not the best person to give advice about blogging. This is coming from someone who lacks the motivation to open her laptop every day. This is coming from someone who much rather use her phone to read blog posts and leave thoughtful comments on other blogs instead of creating her own content. Yeah… that girl 🙇‍♀️

And who can blame me? Anything else is more exciting than this 🤷‍♀️

I don’t even enjoy writing blog posts but I write because I have something to give to the world. I have ideas that need to be expressed to an audience rather than keep these ideas to myself. Honestly, social media just isn’t cutting it for me anymore. Being obligated to write lame status updates or leave superficial likes/comments does not make a lasting impact in my opinion. I don’t know if blogging is a waste of time but it is a risk that I am willing to take. Tbh, the WP community is important to me so I will continue to write blog posts for them. I don’t write for myself anymore.

Inspiration is Where You Find it

writing-828911I am sure that any writer, including bloggers, have faced some kind of roadblock throughout their writing journey. If you have ever lacked inspiration to write a blog post that you are actually proud of, then welcome to the Writer’s Block Club! Just know that you are not alone if you are lacking inspiration. Personally, I do not really struggle from a lack of inspiration or creativity; my issue is motivation and laziness.

I want you to know that there are ways to overcome resistance, and often, the solution is pretty simple. I want to share some tips to help you find your spark in writing again. Here are some tips to get you back on track:

7 Ways to Find Inspiration

1. Write it on a Cue Card. Yenno, those little note card things you can buy at Walmart for less than $1.00? Do yourself a favor and buy a pack of cue cards. Whenever random ideas strike, write your ideas down on these cards and store them in a place where you won’t lose them. I actually use sticky notes for this hack but the type of paper does not matter. A notepad on your smart phone works too. However, if you lose your phone, then you’re out of luck.

2. Write it down on paper! Similar to point #1, writing your ideas or thoughts down on paper frees up space in your brain so that you can focus on the things that matter. Even if your ideas seem stupid or silly, write them down anyways! I also encourage you to write down those brilliant shower ideas. You could potentially use these ideas for future blog posts. #just-saying

3. Reconnect with the reason why you’re writing. Why did you start writing? What inspired you to start a blog post? Why haven’t you quit blogging yet? What is that spark that keeps you blogging? What is your “why”? Reconnect with your “why”. Surprisingly, I have a why, even though it’s a dim flame right now. I may be an inconsistent blogger but it really does not matter, as long as I do not quit. Winners will tolerate the mundane and the monotonous. Losers will quit.

4. Remember mindfulness? Yeah, mindfulness. If you haven’t been practicing mindfulness on a consistent basis, start reconnecting with it by silencing your mind. By living in the present, you break away from focusing on the past or future. Instead, you train your mind to focus on what’s right in front of your nose. Mindfulness closely relates to the concept of realism, but you don’t have to be a realist to be mindful.

5. Change your environment. You need to love your writing space. I don’t particularly love my writing space so I often face resistance. Why would I want to spend time at my desk when I can lounge on my comfy couch and watch TV reruns all day? If the weather is nice, I will occasionally write posts from my balcony. Writing blog posts from my balcony sparks joy. Writing blog posts from my bedroom does not spark joy. Find a writing space that sparks joy for you.

6. Move your body. It is incredibly difficult to become a productive human if you don’t know how to snap out of being lazy. Laziness often occurs as a result of environmental cues (I’m looking at you, comfy couch). You must find a way to snap out of your laziness, and sometimes, simply getting your butt off of the couch and cleaning the house for 10 minutes is enough to switch productivity gears. Incorporate movement into your day to break the laziness spell. Remember, long-term laziness is not sustainable, especially if you are trying to be a productive human.

7. Take a break. There is nothing wrong with taking a blogging hiatus, but there IS something wrong with deleting your blog when things begin to lack luster. If you feel burnt out, by all means take a break! Blogging is meant to be fun and it should not feel like punishment to you. And when all else fails, walk away from your blog for a while to clear your mind. You’re doing yourself a disservice by forcing yourself to write sub-par blog posts just for the sake of publishing something for your readers.

1941cf28de72a936b283224927879ac8Whether you are working on a blog post, essay, poem, or short-story, remember that laziness or lack of inspiration does not have hinder your writing goals and dreams. Turn off the TV, put your phone away, get your butt off of the couch and go write something. Good luck and happy writing! 💌

Thanks for stopping by!

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The Lockdown Tag | 2020 Edition

log-down-tag-imageHello, dear readers! I am still alive. I am barely hanging by a thread, but I am alive and this blog still thriving! I am currently in the middle of Spring semester and my courses rely heavily on essay writing and group work. Trust me, it is as boring (and stressful) as it sounds.😴 Since I don’t have a lot of spare time, I was looking for a blog post idea that wouldn’t take hours to write… then I stumbled upon this gem💎 My creativity is nonexistent right now, so I want to thank blogger Pooja for sharing this tag with me! If you aren’t familiar with her blog, I highly suggest that you check out her creative musings on her blog, Lifesfinewhine!


Rules for Award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the blogger’s questions. 
  • Nominate other bloggers. 

Questions I was asked:

1. What country do you live in? I live in Canada! 🇨🇦

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Mountains in Banff, Alberta

2. Favourite book? This is a tough question. I don’t really read fiction books, so a lot of the books I read are snore-worthy, self-help books. 😂

3. How do you spend your time during lockdown? During the first month of lockdown, I wasted most of my time doing unproductive things. Then school started near the end of April, which forced me to get my shit together. Now I am drowning in a pile of writing assignments which doesn’t seem to end. It is insane how quickly time flies, especially since this semester is less than 8 weeks long!

Study breaks with my kitty ❤

4. Have you tried cooking a new dish because of lockdown? When I am not busy with school, I am busy trying popular recipes that have been floating around the internet, such as whipped Dalgona coffee. Dalgona coffee is amazing, and you really need to try it. I used to think that instant coffee was yucky, but I assure you that it is not! Dalgona coffee is as divine as a fancy coffee drink from a coffee shop. Yes, it’s up there with the Starbucks Gods! ☕😍

Photo Credit + Coffee recipe: https://www.instagram.com/bbcfood/

5.Early riser or Night owl? I wish I was an early bird but I am a night owl!🦉 Given the option, I prefer night shifts over day shifts. Afternoon shifts aren’t bad but night shifts are the best! 😴🌙

6. Holiday dream destination? Cherry blossom festival in Japan! 🌸🌸🌸

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7. Favourite food? My Oma’s German cakes! While we’re at it, let’s take a trip around the world! LOL✈🌎 I wrote about my Oma’s desserts in an older blog post which you can read about here.

8. Instagram or Twitter? Neither?! I don’t like social media since it’s junk food for my mental health, and my mental health is SO delicate these days. I bet some of you are wondering if I have an Instagram or Twitter account. Yes, I do. My Twitter account is private which I seldom use for product reviews.

My Instagram account is @serene_hilz but I rarely update my account. Honestly, I am not a fan of social media right now. Feel free to follow me – my account is public but that may change in the future!

9. Favorite cartoon as a child? Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob SquarePants! 
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10. What do you prefer on a Saturday night? Netflix or Partying? Neither?! I prefer to play video games on a Saturday night or catch up on homework that I may have neglected during the week. I usually let my homework pile up on weekdays and attack it on weekends. Yeah, I am weird and I know I fit the stereotype of an extreme introvert. Don’t judge me until you try it!


My Nominees:

https://reasonstolivefor.com/

https://stevescountry.com/

https://themoodymom.com/

https://kimswebsite.blog/

https://bournemouthgirl.com/

QUESTIONS FOR THE NOMINEES:

  1. Overall, how are you handling the quarantine?
  2. Have you violated any of the restrictions? If yes, what rule(s) did you break?
  3. What viral recipes have you tried during the lockdown?
  4. What activities have you missed the most during quarantine?
  5. Do you wear a mask when you leave the house?
  6. Are you an essential worker? If yes, what is your job title?
  7. How do you exercise during the lockdown?
  8. Have you subscribed to any new subscription services since the lockdown started?
  9. What did/does your daily schedule look like before the pandemic started?
  10. Do you think that the pandemic is getting better or worse?

And….GO!! There is no pressure to respond to this nomination. I am curious to know what your answers are if you decide to participate! Whether or not you were nominated, you are still welcome to join in on the fun!

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28 Life Lessons Learned

I had good intentions to publish this blog post on August 4 which was my 28th birthday. Fast forward two weeks, only to realize that I had forgotten to edit it. Now I am finally getting around to publishing the damn thing. 5+ hours later, my back aches, my feet hurt, and I am surprised that nobody has kicked me out of the food court where I am mooching off of A&W’s WiFi. My husband is meeting clients today so I really have no excuses while I wait for him downtown.

It’s the Thought that Counts!

Overall, my birthday was OK. Nothing too eventful happened unless travelling 7+ hours counts as an exciting trip. Even tough I only flew across Canada, there were many stops along the way which extended the trip. Since moving out west, flying has become the norm for me so my birthday was just an ordinary day. To celebrate my very belated birthday, I wanted to share with you 28 things that I learned in 28 years. This list is in no particular order since I wrote the outline while waiting in the airport, but each item on the list has shaped me into the person I am today.

28 Life Lessons Learned in 28 Years

1. Life is unfair. Get used to it. #tough-love  

2. Insomnia is real and can be really debilitating if you let it rule your life. 

3. Cats and dogs make fantastic friends. Lizards….not so much. You can’t cuddle with a lizard but they make great conversation starters when forced to awkwardly engage with people.

4. And you fall, and you crawl, and you break many times over. Avril Lavigne got it right. #complicated

5. Life isn’t static. It’s constantly changing, so it’s better to change along with it than to resist change.

6. Being uncomfortable is a GOOD THING. You need to step outside of your comfort zone in order for real growth to happen. And you’ll be one step closer towards reaching your goals.

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All credit goes to Sarah Andersen → Sarah’s Scribbles

7. Quality over quantity. The number of likes and followers does not matter in the grand scheme of things. Social media is also quite meaningless unless you’re trying to brand yourself or provide value to people. Blogging provides tons of value IMO and it took me several years to discover that I really enjoy writing for an audience.

8. Minimalism is a great concept and we can all benefit by learning how to live with less stuff. If you would like to learn more about how minimalism has positively impacted my life, you can read about it here.

“The secret to happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates

9. Don’t treat your body like a dumpster. Respect yourself by being kind to your body. 

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10. Learn to accept and make peace with yourself because nobody else can do that for you.

11. You don’t need friends to be happy and being extremely introverted is not a flaw in your character. 

12. Most people will lie to you or let you down, including family. Be prepared for friends to disappoint you as well. If anything, lower your expectations to live a happier life.

13. There is truth to meditation. We should learn to embrace this ancient practice. 

14. I am scared of aging and looking my age. I really don’t want to live to be 90+ years old. Genetics suggest that I will live well into my 90’s. A vivid dream I had when I was a little kid suggests that I will live to be 64 years old.

15. Failing at something does not make YOU a failure. I still haven’t made peace with my failures yet, since my recent experience with failure is still raw and painful.

16. Not everyone is going to like you no matter how hard you try to please them.

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17. There is truth to mindfulness and finding greater consciousness. Make it your ultimate goal to aim for self-actualization by referring to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At one point, Maslow’s Pyramid was the background image on my desktop. Can you tell that I like psychology? 🙊

18. After all these years, The Amazing Race is STILL my favourite reality TV show. I watch the Canadian version as well even though it’s not as good as the original series. I don’t keep up with the latest TV shows on Netflix because TV is a HUGE time waster, but I will make a scene if I miss out on watching “The Great Race.”

19. Strong negative emotions are meant to protect you, that is, if you are still living in the stone age. 

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You can find my latest Instagram stories @serene_hilz

20. There is no need for cookbooks as long as you have an internet connection. You can find everything you need online for FREE! I enjoy learning how to make delicious recipes that are kinder to my body, since I am intolerant to white flour, dairy, and refined sugar.

21. Sugar is highly addictive and should be considered a drug. It’s impossible to quit. I even published a post about how to give up sugar, and even I cannot follow my own advice. Hypocritical of me, eh?

22. You can grow bean sprouts in a jar. Bean sprouts are not only cheap, but they’re also nutritious. You can find affordable jars at your local dollar store. You don’t need a special lid or anything fancy to grow bean sprouts. I used a tutorial from YouTube to grow beansprouts. The whole process is very easy and straight-forward.

23. If you don’t have dental insurance in Canada or the US, do yourself a favor and get dental insurance. Since the problem wasn’t resolved years ago, I’ll have to spend thousands of dollars to pay for orthodontic treatment and jaw surgery. I have no choice but to go back to nursing school and face that beast. These “luxuries” in life cost $$$.

24. I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t smoke. Marijuana recently became legal in Canada but I still have no desire to smoke weed. The cannabis culture does not appeal to me and actually disgusts me. NO THANKS. 👎

25. It is OK to spend money on things that bring you joy. Cats, unicorns, steeped tea etc. Cats bring me joy so we adopted a kitty in April 2019. Steeped Tea from Tim Horton’s also brings me joy. I stopped buying steeped tea in April 2019 to save some pocket change but later decided that the benefits of saving money did not outweigh the enjoyment I get from drinking my favourite beverage.

26. Have a growth mentality instead of a shrinking mentality. Do not settle for less than you deserve in life. Always look for opportunities for growth, whether that means aiming for financial security or finding a career that will sustain you. My husband deserves credit for teaching me this life lesson.

27. I believe that there is a soulmate for every person on this planet. Ladies, if you are still single, consider this as a plausible reason:

“Someday my Prince Charming will come. Mine just took a wrong, got lost, and is too stubborn to ask for directions.” —Unknown

28. It is OK to be yourself even if people don’t always get you. For example, I am hypersensitive to noise and a little neurotic at times. My automatic response to loud noise is to cover my ears and cry. I have cried at a loud football game, I have cried at a loud pub full of drunk people when I was 3 years old and when I was 23 years old. Oh there ain’t no other way because baby, I was born this way!

img_2937_19727604261_o.jpgWell, there you have it. I could keep going but I am feeling 28 right now. Which life lesson(s) did you relate to the most? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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My Favourite Things

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I was inspired to write this blog post after reading Rebecca’s blog post called My Favorite Things. She runs a blog called Minimalism My Way and I encourage you to check out her blog. If you would like to learn more about minimalism, she provides a detailed explanation of what minimalism is.

I think that we share a lot common. We both listen to The Minimalists podcasts which originally inspired Rebecca to write her blog post. Rebecca writes:

I was listening to a podcast earlier from the Minimalists (those guys who made the Netflix documentary) that gave me the idea for this blog post.  They have a really great podcast that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the idea of minimalism.

Personally, I think that this idea is fantastic because it makes me think about things that are most essential in my life. Looking back a few years ago, my list has changed quite a bit. People have the misconception that I still have an obsession with Hello Kitty which is not true. I stopped collecting Hello Kitty stuff years ago because I got bored of collecting and the clutter gives me anxiety. Everyone is unique so it’s understandable that we different tastes and preferences!

When you think about your favorite things, I want you to consider these questions: What things truly spark joy in your life? What items do you use the most? What items can’t you live without?

Here is a list of my favourite things which are in no particular order. Similar to Rebecca’s list, I also chose 5 items to include in my list of favourite things.

Coffee Mug

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This is definitely my favourite mug by far. I bought it from Bed, Bath and Beyond because it was on sale. I wanted a nice, tall mug for my coffee and this mug has served its purpose for 3 years and counting. I also like that it wishes me Happy Birthday everyday  because why not celebrate 365 days of the year?

Essential Oils

img_3353-1Can you tell that I really like the essential oils from The Body Shop? I have other essential oils but these ones are the best in my opinion. I first discovered them at a friend’s house and I’ve been hooked ever since. The scents are refreshing and different than what you would typically find elsewhere: boring lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

Please do not burn these scents using a candle and traditional clay diffuser. For best results, they are meant to be diffused in water. In the background, you can see the diffuser that I use. 🌱

My Cat

Meet Timon, the latest addition to our family!

My daughter and Timon the cat posing for an Easter photo.

We recently adopted an 18-month domestic short-hair cat from the shelter and named him Timon after the Lion King. I got him to help me cope with my depression because I know the therapeutic benefits of owning a pet. Timon brings me a lot of joy and I’m generally happier these days because of the cat.

PS4 and Okami HD

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Screenshots of the game taken on my iPhone. It took me 60 hours to beat the game for PS4. I did not collect all of the stray beads but I collected what I could.

I cannot express how much I love this game but it’s A LOT ❤️ I had this game for PS2 and loved it so much that my husband bought me the PS4 version so I could relive the nostalgia. The HD makes this game even more beautiful than it already is. The soundtracks are pure bliss to the ears and the artwork is easy on the eyes. There’s a lot of demons and evil things lurking this game so I wouldn’t recommend it for really young kids. In summary, you are a wolf God your job is to rid the evil and restore everything to normal using your celestial brush techniques.

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Adult Coloring

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Adult coloring postcard I completed and sent to a lady living in a retirement home. I never heard back from her and still think about her to this day.

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Another adult coloring postcard that I mailed to a friend for her birthday! 🍍

Even though adult coloring is more of an abstract concept than a thing, I felt that adult coloring deserved to be included in my list of favourite things. This hobby is something that I personally enjoy doing and it brings me joy. Personally, I don’t collect adult coloring books or use them because they add unwanted clutter to my house. Instead, I try to buy adult coloring postcards, cards, and stickers (I’m not making this up!) to color and mail to pen pals who are living in Canada and the US. I hope to send mail to other countries one day but I haven’t had the energy or the mindset to adult color my worries away in the most recent months.

What are some of your favorite things? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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Goodbye Materialism, Hello Happiness

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2017 was the year that I finally set myself free from materialism and it was the best decision I ever made 🙌.

Believe it or not, there was a time when I spent [most of] my birthday and Christmas ca$h on materialistic items in an attempt to momentarily feel happy. Over the years, especially during my college years, I learned that wasting money on impulse purchases not only burns a hole in my wallet but my bank account takes the final blow as a consequence for my poor decisions.

Luckily, I learned the value of money from an early age. My parents taught me that money does not grow on trees and if I want something badly enough, then I need to work hard for it. There is a misconception that only children are spoiled, selfish brats, which may be true for some kids, but I do not consider myself to fit that stereotype. Honestly, it infuriates me when people assume that I possess this quality just because I “appear” to be spoiled, whatever that is supposed to mean.

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Window shopping at the Mall of America in 2017. I left the store empty-handed even though these stuffies are cute. 🍌🎂

Be-grateful_Daily-Inspiration_The-Red-Fairy-ProjectA turning point occurred prior to moving out and living life as a 20-something independent post-graduate just trying to make it on her own, alongside her soulmate. Honestly, I could not imagine my life without my husband. I often wonder, where would I be today had I not met him? Would I still be living with my parents, hiding in my room all day, while caught in a mess of never-ending-drama-infused-quarrels among my friends, especially online? Social media was definitely my fuel for real-time connection, but was I really connecting authentically?

Unlike most of my peers, I try my best to detach myself from ego, likes, and popularity contests. Seeking approval and searching for happiness that is purely ego-driven is a pathetic way to live and sadly, too many people choose to base their happiness on external validation. I see it way too often, especially among my close friends, where their motives are purely ego-driven and they base their self-worth on the number of likes they get on an Instagram or Facebook photo. Personally, I am relieved to have left this realm where I no longer have the need to participate in this glass-ceiling dream of egotistical satiety or having to impress people I don’t like with stuff I cannot afford.

News flash! the ego is never satisfied. 😱

Throughout my young life, I have been trying to please other people and conform because I wanted to fit in. If normal is seeking everyone else’s approval while failing to love ourselves, if normal is relying on external validation such as the number of likes or comments or shallow happy birthday wishes we get once a year from people we barely know IRL, if normal is wasting countless nights dwelling on our past mistakes and wondering why we were ghosted by whatshername, then I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want that extra baggage weighing me down. The moment you realize that none of this stuff matters (external validation) is the moment you will set yourself free and start living a better life.

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I’ve only been to the Mall of America once in my lifetime and I would like to go back one day.

I am curious to know whether or not you embrace minimalism. Also, what are your thoughts about seeking social media validation? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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