Ever since we moved into our new house, we have been in the process of making this place feel like home. The previous owners did a great job renovating the place, which won my heart since the minute I stepped through the front door. Each room was pleasantly inviting and tastefully decorated.
Since the day we moved in, I have been trying to re-create that same feeling. It is incredible how a seemingly large, empty room looks so spacious when nothing is occupying that space vs. having a house full of crap stuff. So this begs the question: how do we keep our new house organized and my stress levels in check?
Home Sweet Home
Cleaning has always been a challenge for me and I feel like I have ADHD when it comes to cleaning and organizing, because I have such a hard time focusing on any given task. I never understood people who actually enjoy taking part in cleaning rituals or people who have picture-perfect homes, like the previous house owners. Since moving last month, I have unintentionally manifested secret junk drawers. They appear out of nowhere and the universe seems to think that I need them in my life.
Personally, I do not think that my family will ever learn how to keep a house tidy like Marie Kondo, or learn to love cleaning/organizing despite our best efforts. My fantasy self would suggest otherwise. My fantasy self adheres to a list of rules that will change your life, such as the one I am going to share with you below ↓ Take my list with a grain of salt, since I have yet to figure out how this list has made any lasting impact in my personal life. I’ll go on these cleaning sprees until I burn myself out, only to relapse and become mentally lazy.
Disclaimer: I created this list from a bunch of different sources and kept it on my phone, untouched for years. And like any organizational expert such my fantasy self would tell you, one also needs to focus on removing digital clutter. Therefore, I am releasing it into the universe so that I can finally delete it from my phone, once and for all. Welcome to my little corner of the internet! 👼
Does This List Really Work? 🤷♀️
(✿◠‿◠)っ Why don’t you try it for yourself and let me know if it works!
1. Make your bed every day. 2. Put toys in a designated spot; use a storage system if that is an option. 3. Garbage belongs in the garbage. 4. Remove the dishwasher after wash cycle is complete. Load the dishwasher as you go and clean the counter top when you are finished cooking. Aim for #sink-zero every night. 5. Keep the bathroom countertop clutter free if possible. Wipe down with antibacterial wipes. Wipe the toilet and scrub the toilet. 6. Do one load of laundry every day. (2-3 times per week for us) 7. Keep kitchen countertop clutter free. Spray antibacterial in the sink. 8. Vacuuming the floor and heavy duty areas (kitchen and dining areas) once every day. Keep the floor clutter free and remove clutter as you go. 9. Shoe organization. Get some cheap storage baskets with a nice lining and/or a shoe rack! 10. Take care of the mail as soon as it enters the house.
(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥
Since moving into our new house, I am still in the process of de-cluttering a lot of rooms. I have seen other bloggers post before and after photos which is a nice idea, but my after photos look just like my before photos. A preschooler does an excellent job of re-crapifying every nook and cranny. As I dig deeper into my strong desire to keep my home clutter-free, I am learning more about myself in the process. It took me years to finally realize that clutter heightens my already high anxiety levels. When I eventually figure out how to de-crapify my habitat once and for all, I will be the first one to write a ground-breaking blog post about it.
An April 2021 recap blog post did not happen last month and I can explain. My [temporary] work schedule is crazy busy during the months of May and June as I am currently working 5-6 days/week until further notice. I say “temporary” because I do not know how long this pandemic will last, and the duration and severity of this pandemic greatly influences whether or not I get shifts. Although I am fortunate to be working these days, on my days off, I am often too exhausted to write a blog post, let alone do deep introspection which is necessary in order to craft a blog post that’s worth reading. And that’s the truth.
April Reflections ✨
Looking back on the goals that I made for March 2021, I noticed that my goals pretty much stayed the same throughout the month of April 2021. I believe that it is good to stay focused on a few big goals rather than flip-flop between a bunch of small ones. I call people who jump from thing to thing dabblers, which is something that I am trying to avoid, personally. How can anyone get good at something if they keep flip-flopping between things or take up too many hobbies? My advice is to stick to 1-2 hobbies and get good at them. No, you do not need a YouTube channel, a Podcast channel, 10 different social media accounts, and a small business in order to be successful, unless that’s how you truly want to waste spend your time. It is important to get very clear about what you want and make a plan, and my goals are loosely based on S.M.A.R.T. goals. I suggest that you do the same, but that’s my opinion.
How My Life is Changing
Reflecting on the months of April and May (so far), here are the goals that I managed to accomplish along with the goals that stayed the same since March:
Continue picking up more shifts if it fits my schedule As previously mentioned, I am not working at the hospital these days. Right now, I am working from home and my schedule is full-time due to increased employment opportunities. However, I have received some criticism from people regarding my work schedule (as if it is their business), saying that I should be taking maternity leave or time off to “relax”. Just because I am 37 weeks pregnant does not mean that I am incapable of working, nor am I entirely useless. Also, one should not assume that I qualify for maternity leave, because I don’t actually qualify for it. I only started working in February 2021 and thus, I have not accumulated enough hours. That being said, my husband qualifies for paternity leave.
Completed UWorld and Wrote the NCLEX-RN! As mentioned in a previous blog post, I wrote the NCLEX-RN on April 26, 2021. It was definitely the most challenging exam that I have ever written and I am super relieved that I passed in 110 questions! A few days later, I got my RN permit so I am very happy about that too! Even though I am too pregnant to be on my feet these days, I am excited to see what the future holds career/profession-wise. 👩⚕️
Publish 1-2 blog posts per month Let’s face it: I am still writing the bare minimum right now. I am not sure if I will be uploading more blog posts during the month of May. My schedule is busy and I have no time for blogging as a result. Like I mentioned earlier, blogging is not my priority right now even though I enjoy this hobby a lot. Connecting with other bloggers gives me a reason to log into WP every day, even though I am not actively posting new content.
Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments I am getting annoyed that some people are reiterating the same stuff that I mentioned in my previous blog post whenever I try commenting on a pregnancy forum which I won’t mention here. I am well aware that I might have iron deficiency anemia and I got my bloodwork done last week. I am currently waiting for the results and will find out if I am anemic on May 12, 2021. We still need to find a baby doctor which is hard considering that we are moving to the opposite end of the city at the end of the month. I know that I am running out of time, and I am not entirely sure who to turn to for advice regarding baby doctors. Finally, I got my COVID-19 vaccination (1st dose) last week! In Canada, we have to wait 12-16 weeks before receiving the second dose which is dumb in my opinion. With increased wait times between doses, how is the vaccine supposed to be effective?
I am going to be truthful and real here. I am not exaggerating when I say that these past few weeks have been rough health-wise. 3rd trimester sucks and I really have no other way to describe the aches and pains that I am dealing with as I near the end of this 9-month journey. As I write this, I can barely stay awake. I hardly sleep these days and get poor sleep if I manage to sleep at all. My body aches, both physically and mentally. Overall, these spontaneous growing pains make me feel blah which I think is normal considering that I felt the same way with my daughter. A lot of people like to glamorize pregnancy but there are a lot of unglamorous things about it too. And that’s the truth.
My husband and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary on May 7, 2021 ♥
We had cake on our anniversary and cake again on Mother’s Day. You can never have too much cake! 🍰
Baby boy is due any day now, and I hope he arrives sooner than later. I am so uncomfortable and hotel uterus is ready for eviction.
I am learning that I am much more capable than I give myself credit for 😇
My life goals are probably a lot different than yours, and that is okay. We are all on different journeys. One should not compare their journey to someone else’s journey.
COVID-19 is still really bad in my province (currently dealing with a 3rd wave), but we will get through this. On the bright side, the pandemic has given me shifts and I want to think that I am helping humanity with the work that I am pursuing. I want to think that I am contributing to something much bigger than myself. We really are all in this together! 😷
You might be thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?” The title of this blog post will make sense in a moment. And no, I am not talking the illicit drug known as “ice”. I am literally talking about frozen water such as ice cubes, crushed ice etc. and weird pregnancy cravings. This is a vulnerable post so I encourage you to read the whole blog post before jumping to conclusions. Btw, all images are my own and any advice I share here is based on personal experiences. And just to be clear, I am not a medical doctor nor am I here to give medical advice.
Some Quick Life Updates
I have been busy this month studying for the NCLEX, so I don’t have a list of goals to follow except for the ones that were carried over from March 2021. I really need to pass this exam, and it is has been stressing me out because I still don’t feel prepared. To be honest, I don’t think that I will ever truly feel prepared for this exam. Also, I was working up until this past weekend, and had to decline another shift because it is getting increasingly more difficult for me to work; right now I am 34 weeks pregnant and feel totally useless. I picked up one CDC shift this week which is a work-from-home job, and I feel guilty for not picking up additional shifts right now. There is only so much that I can do these days without losing my sanity 🙄 In the meantime, my cravings for crushed ice are very intense. I crave ice more than I crave MCDs coffee and bubble tea.
Most of you probably enjoy munching on the ice at the bottom of your glass on a hot summer day, and it is quite normal to enjoy the occasional ice cube from time to time. But is it normal to crave ice every day, regardless of season? I have what is known as “Pica” which is defined as:
Pica – craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value – such as ice, clay, soil, or paper. Craving and chewing ice is often associated with iron deficiency, with or without anemia, although the reason is unclear.– Mayo Clinic
For most people with pica, it is usually due to a deficiency and goes away once the deficiency is corrected. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved ice from 1st trimester up until I gave birth. We did not have access to the best health care services in Saskatchewan, so my anemia was easily overlooked. Apparently, I was severely anemic and nobody caught onto this, including myself. After I had my daughter, my ice cravings went away soon after. I think that pagophagia, that is, cravings for ice, are highly correlated with low iron levels during pregnancy. Now that I am wiser and have better access to healthcare where I currently live, I am suspicious that my iron levels might be dropping again, so I will be getting another blood test in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, I plan to start taking an iron supplement.
Symptoms Related to Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)
I am going to share with you some of the symptoms that I deal with on a day-to-day basis. Women in their child-bearing years are highly susceptible to Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA). You might have IDA and not even know it, since other health conditions can cause these symptoms as well. One particular thing that screams iron deficiency for me is pagophagia (cravings for ice) which is based solely on my personal experiences. Please speak to your doctor if you think that you may be deficient in iron or have similar symptoms as I do. I am not going to go into detail about the pathophysiology, pharmacology, and biological pathways related to IDA. If you are interested in that stuff, feel free to check out this link for more information.
My Iron Deficiency Symptoms:
Pica: Cravings for ice, dirt, clay etc.Has anyone watched My Strange Addiction? It is a rather disturbing show and yet I watched all of the episodes I could find on YouTube 😂 I am convinced that several of these people have Pica. Personally, I don’t think cravings for ice is that bad except that it is terrible for tooth enamel, but overall, I don’t think that my addiction to ice is hurting anyone. I know that every addict says that, but it’s just frozen water, people. It is not like I am eating paint chips or chalk. Personally, I prefer soft ice over hard ice (yes, there is a difference!). If you suddenly develop cravings for non-food items, please don’t ignore this red flag and speak to your doctor. I am not here to glamorize Pica – it is abnormal.
Extreme fatigue and lack of energyLike I said before, other conditions can mask iron deficiency anemia (IDA). From personal experience, I know that 3rd trimester is exhausting, and perhaps my lack of energy and feeling like I am going to pass out are linked to that. However, fatigue and overall lack of energy are also related to low iron levels.
Breathlessness with light exercisePerhaps this is related to pregnancy, as I am extremely exhausted climbing stairs these days. I can barely walk to the mailbox down the street without feeling totally exhausted. Even getting ready for work was a daunting task that I dreaded, and it is a miracle that I can even managed to get through the day without feeling like I was going to collapse any second. Other people have even pointed out that I look tired. Extreme exhaustion is not normal and should be discussed with your doctor if you are experiencing similar symptoms.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Since 1st trimester, I have been getting the worst leg and foot cramps at night. On average, I get anywhere from 2-6 leg cramps, including Charlie Horses, in a single night. I also get horrible itching at night, so I often need to resort to an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-allergy medication, which doesn’t always relieve the itching. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had similar itching so I know this is probably a pregnancy thing. But is it really a pregnancy thing, or an iron deficiency thing? 🤔 I already discussed this with my doctor and was told to increase my magnesium intake. The dose that she recommended for me is quite high so I am going to try a magnesium gel to help calm my restless legs at night. Apparently, gels and sprays are much more absorbent then magnesium gummies. If you are curious to know where I order most of my melatonin and magnesium products from, I use a Canadian site called www.naturalcalm.ca. Even though they only ship within Canada, I have seen some of their products in US stores.
Are you experiencing similar symptoms? Do you have weird cravings for things like ice? If yes, then I would highly recommend getting your iron levels checked. Sometimes, relying on food sources that are high in iron is just not enough, especially if you are also expecting 🤰 If you are struggling with pica or any of the symptoms I listed above, I want you to know that there is hope. Feel free to join the comments section below ↓ if you can relate to these struggles or deal with a deficiency. It helps knowing that I am not alone ♥ I will do my best to reply to your comments!
I wanted to upload a new blog post highlighting my goals for the month of March but I was working yesterday evening. And earlier this week, I was too exhausted to do anything productive. I am a very last-minute person when it comes to blogging because it is not my top priority these days, so consequently, my blog posts tend to be a bit late. As of late, WP has changed the settings yet again so I am not very eager to use the WP editor. A blogger suggested that I write my rough drafts elsewhere so I am trying Microsoft Word now. If this works, you might be seeing more blog posts from me in the future.
Although March started off slowly, I did end up picking up more shifts mid-March. In terms of the habit-tracker, I stopped using it because I find that a basic list is fine for my needs. I have simplified my life so much that nothing is overly complicated anymore. Furthermore, I believe that much of our anxiety and depression stems from having overly-complicated schedules and lifestyles. Don’t get me wrong – I still get anxiety and depression, but it’s manageable despite doing things that are still anxiety-provoking. I also pride myself for living medication-free and am living proof that one can work through their problems using a holistic approach.
Learning to Let Go 🧘♀️🌱
I feel less guilty declining shift offers as long as I do not have to interact with people. Much of my shift offers are done through texting/email which I am totally fine with. I ended up picking up extra shifts this month and my once-barren schedule for March quickly became a colorful mosaic. I am the type who feels like it is my obligation help out wherever I can, while forgetting that I have other things to do like studying for an upcoming NCLEX exam that continues to nip at my ankles. Reflecting on the March of March, here are the goals that I managed to accomplish:
MARCH GOALS 2021
Continue picking up more shifts if it fits my schedule I managed to pick up a few extra shifts during the month of March and I am proud of myself for doing this. Let’s not forget that I am a newbie and stepping outside of my comfort zone makes me feel uncomfortable. I will admit that I often cry before shifts because I am terrified of the unknown. My dad used to tell me that I wasn’t making progress because my comfort zone only stemmed from my study desk to the garbage can in my room. And he was right. A person will not make much progress if they are unwilling to step outside of their bedroom, unless they are a full time blogger of course. As a teenager, I hardly left my room and my parents’ friends knew me as the girl who hibernated in her room and lived in her pajamas. To this day, I still live in my pajamas but I have made a lot of progress since then.
If shifts become available for second job, try to bid on them I ended up getting 3 shifts for my side-hustle job which was surprising. I did not have much luck bidding on shifts this week but that’s okay. You win some, you lose some. I predict that there will be a dry spell in April 2021 so I am not going to get my hopes up too much. Also, I might lose this job entirely once my job title changes (long story). Any extra shifts I am able to get during the month of April will be a bonus and definitely not something that I feel entitled to have.
Complete 1-2% of UWorld each day ➡ Test date is April 26, 2021 Yikes. I do not feel ready to write this exam and will probably never feel fully prepared. It is very exhausting juggling this pregnancy with a busy work schedule, and I hardly find the time to study these days. I am currently 86% done the QBank which I am proud of but I am still terrified of writing the NCLEX. I really need to pass this exam because my future depends on it #no-pressure
Finish writing the 3-6 month learning plan I submitted the learning plan but I still question how I am going to complete everything on the list. It is stuff like this that keeps me up at night. My learning plan is ambitious so I am really hoping that I will be able to finish it on time. I continue to try my best at work, but is “my best” really enough? I always feel like I could be doing more and never seem to feel satisfied with things.
Publish 1-2 blog posts per month Let’s face it: I am writing the bare minimum right now. I am not sure if I will be uploading a goals-related blog post for April yet. Like I mentioned earlier, blogging is not my priority right now but I do find that these posts help keep me accountable for my actions. Also, I do not want to become complacent with my writing which is the main reason why I continue to blog.
Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments I went to all of my doctor’s appointments this month. However, I need to schedule a few more appointments which I plan to do during the months of April and May. I am still on the edge as to whether or not I should get the COVID-19 vaccine now or after I give birth. I am eligible to sign up for a vaccine now, so I am seriously considering it. There are a lot of appointments to keep track of so I recommend using a basic planner to keep track of everything, such as these ones:
Send some Easter snail mail I sent a bunch of mail to those who gave me their current addresses, but I have mixed feelings about continuing this craft. I love sending snail mail but I seldom get mail in return. Not only that, but half of the time, pen pals do not let me know if they received their mail so I often wonder if the mail got lost or something. Lack of communication drives me crazy and I try to practice what I preach. I try to let people know via email or text message when I have received their mail. Seriously, how difficult is that? 🙄
Continue tracking monthly spending I am really proud of this one, since I only spent $170.15 on myself during the month of March. My credit card bill was low because I cut out so many unnecessary expenses (except my monthly phone bill) and kept myself busy. I continue to shop at Dollarama but I go there once a week and spend ~$20-30 per trip. Did I mention that I still have money left over on that Tim Hortons gift card that I earned from Swagbucks back in January? I decided to finally use up the gift card by splurging on some treats for the family. It is hard to believe that $25 lasted me 1.5 months! With the Tims Rewards, Roll Up the Rim (RUTR), and hockey promotion thing, I managed to score some bonus drinks too! 🙌
My only “health goal” was to stay healthy 😷 I am doing everything I can to keep myself and my family healthy, especially since I am exposed to potential pathogens at my workplace. Currently, I am craving crushed ice really badly which is a sign of iron deficiency. It is called Pica and I had cravings for ice chips when I was pregnant with my daughter as well. It turns out that I was severely anemic last time. I am not too worried this time because my cravings did not start until 3rd trimester where iron deficiencies are quite common; therefore, I am trying to eat things rich in iron. If anyone happens to know any recipes that are loaded with iron, please let me know in the comments section below ↓ In the meantime, I will continue chomping in my ice chips 😋
P.S. A while ago, I uploaded a Virgin Pina Colada recipe on my blog. I can assure you that all of my drinks are non-alcoholic. My current obsession are Virgin Lime Margaritas. My takeaway is that you can still enjoy these fancy drinks even when you are pregnant. Non-alcoholic drinks do not have to be “boring.” Another reason why I like these drinks is because #crushed-ice. It’s so refreshing! 🥥🍍
February was a busy month for me. Although I have been using a daily and monthly habit tracker to keep track of my goals, it did not dawn on me to write a goals-related or monthly recap blog post. Now that we are well into the month of March, I am going to skip February altogether. I won’t bore you with a February recap, and March is pretty much a continuation of February. Overall, my goals have not changed that much within the span of a month.
March started off slowly as I did not have anything scheduled near beginning of the month. As the month progressed, my schedule got busier and I found myself with very little time to sit down, gather my thoughts, and write a semi-decent blog post that I was passionate about. Today, I feel like I do not have time to craft a blog post; however, anxiety is at an all-time high for me. Therefore, I feel like writing this blog post is not optional at this point. Right now, I am feeling very stressed with everything that is happening in my life, especially when trying to find work-life balance. I am grateful for the casual hours but I am still dealing with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy, nonetheless.
Re-grounding Myself 🌱
Today, I had to decline a shift offer which was incredibly difficult for me since I am a people pleaser. To make matters worse, I kept replaying the phone call in my head over and over again. This particular event has been on my mind all day which has hindered me from getting any productive work done. During times like these, I need to remember to re-ground myself and focus on the list so I can get out of my own head. I will show you my list for the month of March. 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 2021
Continue picking up more shifts if it fits my schedule
If shifts become available for second job, try to bid on them
Complete 1-2% of UWorld each day ➡ Test date is April 26, 2021
Finish writing the 3-6 month learning plan
Publish 1-2 blog posts per month
Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments
Send some Easter snail mail ✔
Continue tracking monthly spending
Don’t get me started on my health goals. My goal to make water my beverage of choice went out the window because I crave icy, sugary drinks these days. I am not watching my weight right now nor am I counting calories. I am not overweight so I am not concerned, but the amount of sugar I am consuming is a bit alarming. In happier news, I passed the glucose tolerance test (GTT) last month so I do not have gestational diabetes. My bloodwork also came back normal so I’m happy about that! It is hard to believe that I am in 3rd trimester already ❤ Grow baby, grow! ❤
I choose to believe that the quote by Roy T. Bennett is true. I have seen growth in my personal life because I continued to focus on my goals every day, regardless of how mundane they were. There will always be good days and bad days, and as long as you keep watering your plants everyday, you will be successful in life. I am curious to know if you use a daily or monthly habit tracker. Have you had success with your habit tracker? Are you building your dreams and chasing your life purpose? I am curious to know in the comments section below ↓
If you need a refresher, please go read No Spend Challenge | I Messed Up. Setting ambitious goals is one thing, but persevering despite a less-than-perfect month takes even more self-praise, motivation, and commitment. In total, I had 7 days where I “accidentally” bought non-essential items. Nothing is truly accidental because we are ultimately responsible for everything we do, including yearly subscriptions that we may have forgotten about 🤦♀️
Below is the PDF sheetthat I printed off and taped to my wall formonth of January. Whenever I had a good day, I got a sticker. I know it sounds silly but it keeps me motivated since I like to keep the positive streak going. I am also keeping a tally at the bottom of the sheet which indicates the number of days that I cheated or unintentionally spent money. I am aware that January has 31 days and felt that it was only fair to include that extra day in the challenge.
Perfectionism Was Not The Goal
I received lots of feedback from my readers throughout the month of January, and your comments meant a lot to me – thank you so much! ❤ I couldn’t help but notice that several of you a) agreed with me or praised me for attempting such a challenge or b) were appalled that someone like me screwed up the No Spend Challenge or c) questioned this challenge with much skepticism. To clarify, I am human too and make mistakes just like everyone else. God might be a woman according to Ariana Grande, but last time I checked, I was an imperfect human being and still am to this day. Remember, perfectionism was not the point of this challenge. In fact, perfectionism can be quite damaging to one’s mental health and probably contributes a great deal towards neuroses.
Setting Personal Goals
Sure, I could have chosen to lie about my spending habits, but that would have defeated the purpose of this challenge 🙅♀️ Although the No Spend Challenge was annoying and inconvenient at times, it made me more mindful of my spending habits and helped me develop a better relationship with money and unnecessary purchases. Rather than go cold turkey during the month of February, I have decided to continue tracking my spending using a planner. I also realize that banning myself from places like Dollarama did not save me money in the long-run. Therefore, I am limiting myself to one Dollarama shopping trip per week with a budget of $20-30 since I also shop for the family. Honestly, this challenge helped heighten my awareness, and I am even more mindful about my spending habits these days. I learned that I do not need to deprive myself of the simple pleasures in life, as long as I continue to live an honest and intentional life 🌺
A Small Victory!
I accumulated $50 worth of Tim Hortons gift cards from Swagbucks, which helped me survive the month of January 2021. My husband decided to join Swagbucks using my referral link, after seeing that I was able to redeem $100 worth of e-gift cards in 2020! Because my husband joined and earned 300 swagbucks (SB) within 30 days of joining, we each received a $3 rebate bonus. In conclusion, Swagbucks is legit and rewards people for shopping online, submitting receipts, completing surveys, playing games, and completing daily tasks (they’re easy). You won’t get rich from Swagbucks but you will be rewarded for your efforts.
A shoutout goes to Nicholas Tan (my husband) for supporting me! Thank you for the delicious Steeped Tea(s)! 😊💕
If you sign up using my referral link and start earning SB, you will be helping me out A LOT. For every 10 SB you earn, I will be earning 1 SB which adds up over time. Also, if you acquire 300 SB within your first 30 days of signing up, you will receive a 300 SB ($3.00) welcome bonus on top of the $3.00 that you have already earned. As a thank you for earning SB to help support my steeped tea addiction, I will give you a shoutout in a future blog post (your blog link included) as my way of saying thank you. That way, other bloggers can find and follow your blog too! ❤
Are you one of those people who could use a self-care day to recharge? Me! Pick me! 🙋♀️ If you happen to fit into one of the two categories below, then you would probably benefit from a self-care day. Personally, I fit into both categories depending on where I stand in my work and personal life. When I am unemployed, I learn more towards #2 and when I am employed or taking courses, I learn more towards #1. Not to mention that we are also dealing with a freaking pandemic, which has taken a toll on people’s mental health.
(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ So tell me, what kind of person are you? ♥ 1. You are overwhelmed because you feel that you need to stay busy, or you have a hard time relaxing when you do have free time. 2. You do not know what to do with your free time so you end up doing nothing productive or rejuvenating.
Below, I have compiled a list of affordable self-care strategies that will not break the bank and will hopefully help you recharge and reground yourself. I cannot stress how important it is to take care of your mental health and well-being, especially during these difficult times. Obviously, I am not a party planner nor am I going to plan out the whole day from morning to night. What I will do is give you some free or budget-friendly suggestions for a self-care day. Self-care does not have to be elaborate or expensive! Let’s get started, shall we?
Go For A Walk Outside
When my cat was sick, my husband took him to the vet. Afterwards, my husband spoiled the cat by letting him venture outside. And the cat loved it! ❤ Pet parents do not hesitate to take their dogs (and cats) out for walks, but when was the last time you took yourself out for a walk? Are you spending way too much time indoors and not enough time in the great outdoors? If you live in Canada like me, I totally understand why you may choose to stay inside the house. Canada is cold AF, especially in this province. If the weather is nice where you are, depending on what your definition of “nice” is, I encourage you to stand barefoot on the grass as a way to ground yourself and reconnect with Mother Nature.
Spending time outside can be incredibly therapeutic. I encourage all of you to leave the house at least once a day if you can, and spend some time outdoors. Right now, I am not getting my daily walks and my mood is suffering as a result. I am probably Vitamin D deficient because I hardly ever see the sun 🌞 My blinds are closed as I write this and I keep my windows shut due to the frigid cold. Also, the paths are icy AF outside so I try not to leave the apartment. The affordable solution is to suck it up and spend time outdoors, but knowing how terrible my balance is, I rather not deal with a sprained wrist or ankle. If you live in a warmer climate, then you are incredibly fortunate! 🌴
Enjoy A Hot Beverage
There is something soothing about sipping a hot beverage any day of the week ☕💕 A hot beverage is fairly inexpensive if you make it yourself at home. Also, it is easy to make a basic coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, so there is really no excuse not to enjoy a cup or two. My favourite thing to do first thing in the morning is to enjoy a hot beverage while I read the latest blog posts from my fellow WP bloggers!
Read A Book
Got a book that you had every intention to read, but never got around to reading? Now is a good time to pick up that book and yenno, actually read it. I cannot tell you how The life-changing art of tidying up ends because I never finished reading it. Seeing my pile of unread books made me realize that there is no reason to buy more books when I haven’t even finished the ones I have. Reading can turn into an expensive hobby, which is why I encourage you to shop your own house first before buying more books.
Take a Bath
I used to be a shower person, but I have evolved into a bath person over the years. I take a bath 3-5 times per week, and thus, the shower gel and body butterdid not last long. Enjoying a warm bath is honestly one of my favourite ways to relax. Also, I noticed that taking a bath is the fastest way for me to warm up after being outside in the frigid cold. Not to mention, baths can elevate a crappy mood, relieve muscle aches and pains, and reduce stress levels. Although I prefer to take a bath midday, I still recommend taking a bath at the end of day before bedtime. Why? Because baths have the tendency to calm an overactive mind, relax you, and make you sleepy. If you suffer from insomnia or anxiety like I do, then try adding this bath ritual to your schedule to help you wake up feeling more refreshed the next day.
(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Final Thoughts ♥
Finally, I would suggest journaling. However, I do not find it very relaxing. I use a planner to stay organized but that’s as much journaling as I do these days. I used to enjoy writing letters to pen-pals and still do to an extent, but it has been difficult for me to find the motivation and energy to send snail mail. I apologize to anyone who I have not responded to via email; I haven’t had the motivation to write my wordy, thought-provoking replies. It is not that I have forgotten about you ❤ Same goes with pen-pals – I have not forgotten about you either and I will send more mail when I find the desire to write again 💌
I think I just screwed up the No Spend Challenge. I did not think it was possible to royally screw it up until January 8, 2021. One thing I learned about myself is how easily I call it quits as soon as I make a mistake 🤦♀️ And just like that, on January 9, 2021, the No Spend Challenge went out the window. Like I said in my previous blog post, No Spend Challenge | January 2021, I have an All or Nothing personality which can really hinder progress and prevent me from implementing lasting habits. I know I can do better and I plan to pick up where I left off… today, anyways.
Below is the PDF sheetthat I printed off and taped to my wall. Whenever I have a good day, I get a sticker. I know it sounds silly but it keeps me motivated since I like to keep the positive streak going. I am also keeping a tally at the bottom of the sheet which indicates the number of days that I cheated or unintentionally spent money:
Hilary, How Could You?!
This No Spend Challenge was going well until I received a disturbing email on Friday, January 8, 2021. This company had no problem telling me that they charged my credit card for a another yearly subscription of $30.00 USD. In all honestly, I completely forgot that my subscription was about to expire and assumed that I already unsubscribed from this service. I know that this is my fault and nobody else’s, but I wish they had sent me an email alerting me that my subscription was about to expire. Personally, I think that auto-ship and subscription services are dangerous when forgotten about, and I honestly do not know how all of you manage to keep track of your subscriptions. I will not mention the name of this company out of all due respect. Don’t get me wrong – this subscription service is pretty good, except that I no longer need or use this service. *Sigh* I tell myself that I am more forgetful than usual due to my pregnancy brain. Update: Rebecca is getting a baby brother in May. We are Team Blue! 💙
Calling It Quits 🙅♀️
I felt guilty. I felt shame. I was angry at myself because I was the one to blame. I was upset because I broke the promise I made at the beginning of January 2021. So, what did Hilary do to make up for this screw-up? She dug a deeper hole on Saturday. SHE SPENT MORE MONEY! 💲💲💲
I ended up spending money on sour watermelon slices, sour neon gummy worms, and OMGs ($13), postage for the US and international stamps ($17 + $8.20). and a few other miscellaneous items that I certainly did not need ($15). Even though I continued to avoid Dollarama like the plague, as mentioned in my previous post, I ended up spending more money by avoiding Dollarama, so avoidance was clearly a dumb decision. At least I learned from these mistakes; however, I still messed up the No Spend Challenge, nonetheless. Like I tell my fellow blogging friends, I do not expect anyone to have a perfect month, and this includes myself. Like you, I am human and I make mistakes. Like you, I need to start practicing self-love and forgiveness. It is okay to mess up, and the important thing is that we pick up where we left off. 🙏💕
Can you picture yourself not spending money during the month of January? I was inspired by Happy Simple Momto embark on this journey one year ago and I haven’t looked back. I did the challenge last year and felt much better after putting a temporary ban on buying non-essential items; thus, I was able to detox from the Christmas debt hangover. Is this extreme? Maybe a little, but I assure you that this challenge is totally doable. In fact, you might actually enjoy it. Chances are, you probably already have a lot of stuff laying around your house for future DIY projects (Pinterest, anyone?). And if you are like me, chances are you probably forgot about most of the stuff that you already own.
Below is a list of 10 non-essential items that I will not be buying this month. I do not encourage you to ban essential items like groceries, gas, phone bills etc. because these things essential for a reason. Non-essential items include extra things that you can learn to live without, and this list will vary from person to person. Remember, what you choose to give up for January is entirely up to you! 🙌
January No Spend Challenge
Here is a list of some of 10 things that I am not buying throughout the month of January 2021! 💰
1. Coffee and Steeped Tea I love coffee from MCDs and Steeped Tea from Tim Horton’s. Even though I can make MCDs coffee at home, I crave their coffee when I am running errands. I also crave Steeped Tea from Tim Horton’s which is a bit trickier since I cannot replicate it at home. I have tried numerous times to replicate it but I have not found a good replacement for store-bought Steeped Tea. I am able to justify buying Steeped Tea in-store by using gift cards and Tim’s Rewards (buy 7, get one free).
In 2020, I used my Swagbucks Rewards to purchase $75 worth of Tim Cards. If reward programs like Swagbucks appeals to you and you are interested in signing up, my referral link is https://www.swagbucks.com/profile/hellokitty8404. It is free to sign up using my referral link and you will be helping me out too. It’s similar to “Buy Me A Coffee!” but doesn’t cost you anything! ☕💕
2.Junk FoodI have been a junk food addict for as long as I can remember. I could live off of junk food instead of real food but my guilty conscience does not allow me to succumb to poor lifestyle choices. However, I do consume a concerning amount of junk food on a weekly basis, specifically sugary treats like candy and chocolate. There is nothing wrong with junk food in moderation, but I admit that moderation is not a word in my vocabulary 😂 For this reason, I will be making my own treats in the New Year. In the past, I have made DIY honey-lemon candy, protein gummy candy, air-fried BBQ chips, kale chips, Dalgona coffee, and chocolate mug cake.
3. Ordering Takeout We told ourselves that we would only eat out twice a month, but we do not keep track of our spending. I feel like we were eating out at least 4 times per month, not including the Tim Hortons runs. I realize that we eat out way too much, so during the month of January, we plan to cook our meals at home. Often, I find myself giving into hanger when I am running errands, my husband wants to celebrate a special occasion, our daughter is hangry too etc. Next time, I will pack snacks when we travel, even if we are just running errands.
4. Eating at Restaurants We eat out at restaurants once a month because we spend more on takeout, and this goes hand in hand with point #3. Still, there is no reason to eat out if we can learn how to create our favourite dishes at home. There is no need for physical cookbooks since I can [usually] find what I need on the internet.
5. Online Shopping I pride myself for having self-control when it comes to online shopping. I keep online shopping to a minimum and only use a couple of sites, at most. There are some products which I can only buy online, such as Natural Calm – Calmful Sleep Natural Sleep Aid (powder) which you can purchase at an unbeatable price here. Now that my shipment has finally arrived, I do not need to buy anything else for a while. Oh yeah, and I avoid Amazon because of bad experiences/scams from questionable sellers.
6. Dollarama This goes hand and hand with #2 and #7 because two of my biggest culprits when shopping at Dollarama are junk food and stationary. Dollarama has good quality stationary and I cannot fathom why anyone would spend full price on greeting cards. The prices at Dollarama range from $1-$4 per item and the quality is decent, unlike other dollar stores I have shopped at. I shop there 2-3 times per week and usually spend $20.00+ per shopping trip. It is a problem that needs to be nipped in the bud.
7. StationaryWhere do I even begin with this one? I ❤ stationary! I love sending mail as much as I love receiving mail. Snail mail seems to be a dying art, and I usually give up when so-called pen-pals don’t reciprocate at all. I know I set my expectations too high and need to work on that. I also have an all-or-nothing personality, so this year I ended up mailing zero Christmas cards. That being said, I still have a problem when it comes to buying stationary and I get carried away sometimes. Therefore, I am putting a ban on stationary and will use up what I have before I buy more. 💌
7. Skin Care ProductsNot only did I find some great deals during Boxing week, which you can read in my previous blog post, my mom also mailed me a bunch of skin care products from around the world for Christmas 2020. I definitely have an abundance of skin care products not limited to: face wash/cleanser from Japan, mini shower gel(s), a family-sized shower gel imported from Greece, body butters, body creams imported from Greece, hair care products from Korea, pain relief analgesics by Kalaya, and body yogurts. There is absolutely no reason for me to buy more skin care products unless I run out of something, which is highly unlikely.
8. Alcohol We are not big drinkers, so alcohol has never been an issue for me. Also, I am 19 weeks pregnant so I am not drinking alcohol anyways. I find it incredibly irresponsible for pregnant mothers to drink, fully knowing that they are harming their unborn child. For pregnant women who want something a bit classier than sparkling water this holiday season, there is a non-alcoholic beverage on the market known as sparkling fruit juice and it tastes delicious. I like how this beverage even comes in wine bottles which closely resembles champagne. This drink is a treat and not an every day indulgence. Cheers! 🥂
9. Miscellaneous Gifts I often spend money on others before I spend money on myself, and I like to buy “just because” gifts for my husband and daughter. I feel like this is my way of telling them that they are important to me. I know what my husband’s favourite candy and snacks are, for instance. He is aware that I am doing this January No Spend Challenge, and I am pretty sure that my daughter won’t notice. A friend of mine has an upcoming birthday, and because she lives in a different province, I want to send her something by mail. This might end up being an exception to the rule as I have no way of sending homemade gifts without paying ridiculously high shipping costs.
Finally, I encourage you to try this challenge during the month of January to kickstart the new year! I also encourage you to track your spending habits using a budgeting app or free PDF trackerso that you are able to see the progress that you are making. The results may surprise you! 🙂
If you need some extra encouragement this month, feel free to message me on my Contact Info Page. Please note that I mostly use email and WhatsApp. Also, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ and I will do my best to reply to your comments! ❤
Let’s face it. Most of us are nosy people. At some point, I am guessing that you were probably curious about my life. I consider myself to be a fairly private person for the most part. Tiani Angela, who runs a blog called tianiangela.com, inspired me to write this vulnerable blog post. You can read her original blog post here. Like Tiani’s blog post, my blog post is extra-personal as well. Please read without judgement and keep and open mind. Thanks. 😊
10 Interesting Facts About Me
1. I am an only child. And I am not happy about it. I was never happy about it. I always felt like I was meant to have a sibling and being an only child felt “wrong” to me. When I was 18, I learned that I was a double-rainbow baby which explains a lot 🌈🌈 When I was 12, I asked my parents to adopt an orphan from China and sadly, they said no. I think that is where my fascination for Asian culture started.
2. I married an Asian boy. The fascination for Asian culture continued into my adult years. Although I have long graduated from reading manga and seldom watch anime these days, my husband has taught me a lot about his Asian roots, specifically Singaporean roots. I met him in January 2013 and we have been together ever since. He is my rock and we have been married since May 2016.
3. I am mother to a Eurasian toddler. Most of you already know that I am a mom since it’s in my About Me section, yet people often seemed surprised when I tell them. I am a Millennial in my late twenties so I am not that young anymore. I try to follow other bloggers who are also in their 20’s+ but a few younger bloggers have slipped through the cracks. My daughter is a rambunctious 4-year old who loves life. Her favourite thing to say is, “Mommy, be happy.”
4. I had a miscarriage in October, 2015. My daughter was planned and she is a rainbow baby. Prior to having my daughter, I had a miscarriage and it was devastating. I feel like miscarriage is a topic that often gets swept under the rug even though 1:4 women end up having a miscarriage in their lifetime. Miscarriage is more common than people think and it shouldn’t be ignored. For anyone who has had a miscarriage, I want you to know that you are not alone. 👼
5. Given the choice, I would be a fruitarian. I ❤ Fruit! I find the fruitarian lifestyleintriguing and it would be my diet of choice if boundaries did not exist. However, I have a background in nutrition and neutraceutical sciences (NANS) from the University of Guelph, so I know that a fruitarian diet is not the answer to long-term health and longevity.
6. My pupils are different sizes. And this is concerning to neurologists. Ironically, my first clinical placement this semester was on an acute neurosurgery/neurology unit. I cannot tell you how concerned some of the staff was when I told them that I was born this way. When pupils are two different sizes, this usually indicates some kind of brain lesion or altered level of consciousness (LOC).
7. Also related to eyes, I am a carrier of Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy (FEVR). Even though I am asymptomatic, my daughter is one of the unlucky few who is symptomatic. She was born blind in her left eye as a result of FEVR. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, FEVR defines a group of inherited diseases with abnormal retinal angiogenesis leading to incomplete vascularization of the peripheral retina. Every 3-6 months, my daughter gets routine surgery and receives laser surgery if necessary. Laser surgery is dependent on the progression of this eye disease. If she does not receive routine checkups, there is a risk that she could become blind in both eyes because the disease typically affects the eyes bilaterally.
8. I was anorexic when I was 13 years old. I hate it when people try to glamorize anorexia to get attention or pretend they have an eating disorder when in fact they don’t. You’ll often notice this in the blogging sphere and social media and it’s is one of my pet peeves. I can tell you that anorexia is NOT glamorous. It is an eating disorder (ED) that the individual cannot control. These individuals know that it is wrong; they have insight but they lack judgement. I wish I had pictures and clothes to show you what I looked like at 98 lbs. but I don’t have any “memorabilia”. My parents threw out those memories without my permission.
9. I attended 3 different universities. I am not making this up, unlike some people I know. I attended University of Guelph from 2010-2014 and obtained a degree in biological sciences. I also minored in nutrition and neutraceutical sciences (NANS). Sadly, I realized that I would not be able to truly thrive with this degree so I took some courses through Athabasca University, an accredited online university in Canada. Now, I am nursing student who is living in Alberta and I plan to graduate by the end of the year. It’s been a long journey and I am really, really tired of school.
10. I own a 210ish year old violin. Or something like that. I lost track of its exact age; my violin is ancient. It’s been passed down in the family and got sold at one point. Fortunately, my dad was very lucky and managed to rescue the violin for me, which I received as a birthday gift. I named my violin Matilda the III and she has a very rich, pure sound. I haven’t played her in years since she doesn’t live with me, but I love the way she sounds.
Well, there you have it! Did anything in my list surprise you? If so, what did you find most surprising? Do you know me as well as you thought you did? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓ If you decide to write a similar blog post, please let me know so I can check it out. 🙂
Disclaimer: I wrote the rough draft over a week ago as I am still fumbling around with the stupid Block Editor. However, this event does not dismiss the emotional turmoil, exhaustion, and frustration I have regarding what happened last week. Things are still awful and I am as moody as ever, since I am having a hard time coming to terms with things. I am not sure where to go from here or how to remedy the situation. It is hard for me to give you enough context without sharing too much of my private life online.
Sept 7, 2020 @11:55 AM: I am scrolling, scrolling. I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I am trying so hard not to cry. No, this cannot be real. This cannot be happening again. We had a promise. A promise of trust so fragile that it shattered yet again. A promise so fleeting that I could feel it escaping through my fingers like sand. I find myself screaming and shaking like someone who is in the midst of a mental breakdown. Then it dawned on me: Maybe I can take the pain away with some painkillers. Tylenol is innocent enough, it wont hurt me… maybe then, my emotional pain will disappear and I won’t have to feel anything. I just want to feel nothing….
I wish that I didn’t have to write this depressing post. I wish that yesterday didn’t happen, but it did. I took a more than the recommended dose of Tylenol. My liver may not have been too happy with me but I am fine. I suggest that you try to suppress your pain with medication. It will not take away your emotional pain. To feel any kind of relief, I think I would need to black out which might be accomplished with alcohol. I abstain from alcohol and I don’t take prescription meds, so the strongest thing I have is Tylenol. Once I swallowed 2/3 of a bottle of Advil in one sitting, took a nap, and woke up with an unrelenting headache. I was fine. Nobody found out about it until a few months later, and by then, I was back to my old self, distracted by academia.
I can relate if you are reading this post and desperately want to numb your emotional pain too. To an extent, I understand the challenges that people face with mental health challenges, and I get that life is not all sunshine and rainbows. You will probably be hurt several times in your lifetime, and those you are closest to will probably end up hurting you most. I am writing this blog post because it’s incredibly painful for me to process what happened yesterday, and I just want to be understood. If you want to read about a similar experience I had a few months ago, you can read that blog post here.
Reflecting on 2020 so far, 2020 has been a weird year for all of us. I have been working on getting my $hit together since the beginning of the year. Did the pandemic disrupt my plans? Yes and no. Sure, I did not get to travel this summer but that is not why I am upset. Like I said in my earlier post, it is hard to stay positive when I am dealing with $hit that is VERY triggering for me. My mental health is fragile and I need to do everything I can to protect my well-being. Reflecting on my previous post , we know that there needs to be mutual trust between 2 or more people, in order for any relationship or team to thrive.
What is so difficult about being honest? Why do you refuse to change your ways when you know that your behaviour hurts me? I don’t care if being honest is more painful than covering up the truth with a bunch of lies. What hurts the most is having the nerve to lie to my face without blinking an eyelash. Even when I question your behaviour, you respond with a lie. You are emotionally unavailable and uninvested in what we were working so hard to build. A relationship is built on 3 things: communication, trust, and affection (may be intimate or non-intimate).
Liar, Liar 🔥
This is what I want to know: Have you ever told a lie, and did it end well for you? Because it did not end well for me. When someone tells a lie, they end up hurting the people around them. Even if they get away with their lie today, it will eventually catch up to them. Some of the best liars are known to be sociopaths and psychopaths because they are constantly forced to cover up their lies and believe their own BS. Also, they are known to have incredible memory recall. Imagine yourself telling a bunch lies and then having to remember those lies today, tomorrow, a month from now, and even years from now. The psychopath or sociopath might get away with it, but the rest of us will eventually caught. The person who hurt me certainly did get caught and I am still PO’d.
Do you believe that it is ever OK to lie to someone, or continue to lie to someone for whatever reason? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓ I really enjoy reading your comments! ❤️
It’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.