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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De-crapify Your Habitat: The Basics

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? 🤷‍♀️

(✿◠‿◠)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.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

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And Then There Were Four

May was another busy month for me. I ditched my daily habit tracker which I now realize was a mistake. That journal thing was useful and I was actually crushing big goals when I was using it consistently. My life is a mess without any kind of schedule or normality. Everything in my life is different now – new home, new baby, new location (sort of….) bigger family (totally not used to a family of 4!), and new plans. Some readers even asked about my disappearance on WP and if I was okay – your concerns really touched me. Thank you! 💕 I just wish that there was more time to write/blog.

Re-grounding Myself Again 🌱

I also wanted to update you on my whereabouts. Up until the beginning of June, I was temporarily working full-time from home. We were also in the process of packing and moving to a new home. On May 20, 2021, I went to my appointment as planned, only to find myself in the L&D triage unit at the hospital later that day. I had abnormally high blood pressure a.k.a. gestational hypertension + fluid retention, so they wanted to rule out some things, like preeclampsia. I am grateful for the knowledge I gained from nursing school because I knew what signs and symptoms to monitor throughout this pregnancy. That being said, I became concerned during the final weeks of pregnancy when my BP remained consistently high, which is abnormal for someone who typically has low blood pressure. Ultimately, childbirth was the best solution to quickly alleviate my gestational hypertension.

On May 21, 2021 at 4:48am, Baby Aaron was born weighing 7lbs 1oz, and measuring 20.5 inches. He had some mild jaundice (more medical jargon, see photos below ↓) but the jaundice went away on its own and he didn’t need blue-light therapy. Most of this pregnancy was fairly straight-forward and uncomplicated up until the very end, the delivery went smoothly despite dreading childbirth the most, and Aaron is a healthy baby boy. His big sister welcomed him with open arms! ❤

Rebecca and Baby Aaron
A jaundiced Baby Aaron, 1 day old
A sleepy neonate. He will be 1-month old on June 21, 2021 🐵

(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

I am keeping this blog post short and sweet because honestly, I am not in the mood to write today. I am trying to write a blog post in the presence of others and the words aren’t flowing the way I would like them to – and good writing cannot be forced. I haven’t even touched my personal laptop in weeks which I mostly use for WordPress, but I consider it rude to spend hours blogging when we have company over. Also, my phone needs a major upgrade which I don’t see happening any time soon (it barely holds a charge), so I haven’t felt motivated to brainstorm blog post ideas, write rough drafts on my phone, or capture life’s precious moments. Perhaps it is time to revisit that habit tracker journal yet again, before I become a lazy potato.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

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The Merry Month of May 2021

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.

Happy Mother’s Day! There’s still snow on the ground, so planters did not happen this year. These flowers were from Mother’s Day 2019! 💐

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:

Career Goals:

  • 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. 👩‍⚕️

Personal Goals:

  • 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?

Health Goals:

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.


FINAL THOUGHTS

  • 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! 😷
May 7, 2016 B.C. (before COVID-19) ♥

Thanks for stopping by!

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March Goals | Spring 2021

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

Career Goals:

  • 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

Personal Goals:

  • Publish 1-2 blog posts per month
  • Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments
  • Send some Easter snail mail ✔
  • Continue tracking monthly spending

Health Goals:

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 ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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Would You Rather? Christmas Edition

I find Christmas-themed blog posts a bit overdone. Everyone and their moms seem to be doing Blogmas this year. You will not find me participating in Blogmas or other holiday-themed blog challenges. Ever. They’re just not my cup of tea. Why? I feel like I shouldn’t feel the need or pressure to publish a daily blog post for the sake of publishing something. I care more about high-quality blog posts than I do about quantity. Nobody should ever feel pressure to write, because I can assure you, that is when blogging stops being fun.

Recently, I saw this particular blog post floating around the WP sphere. Apparently, this specific Would You Rather? quiz originated on Pinterest. Who knew?! Normally, I give credit to the person who gave me the idea, but who started this thread? Was it a blogger or was it someone on Pinterest? This inspiration came from various sources and you are all welcome to participate you want to join in! ⭐

Would You Rather⁉

  1. Have to sing Jingle Bells loudly every time you walk into a room or wear a Santa suit to work every day for a week? My workplace consists of lounging at home and I basically live in pajamas. I am not a loud person so you will not find me singing songs on a whim. If I had to choose, I would pick the Santa Suit even though I do not like whimsical Santa Clauses and snowmen. A Santa Suit counts as pajamas, right?

  1. Not celebrate Christmas this year or not celebrate your birthday this year? We are not party-animals so I seldom celebrate my birthday. And if I do celebrate it, then it is pretty low-key and chill. Christmas on the other hand, is kind of a big deal to people. Sadly, we will not be visiting my parents or in-laws this year but it is still nice to relax on Christmas day, nonetheless. This year, I plan to spend Christmas at home with my husband and daughter.
  1. Have Frosty the Snowman as a friend or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Like I stated before, I usually do not care for fictional snowmen, whether they are found on mugs, plates, socks, cards, characters like Frosty the Snowman, or Olaf from Frozen I & II. If I had to pick Frosty or Rudolph, it would have to be Rudolph. Honestly, I find these fictional stories childish and overrated so Rudolph and I probably wouldn’t be like Anna and Olaf.

  1. Have mistletoe hanging in your bedroom doorway or have a large decorated Christmas tree in your bedroom doorway? How would a Christmas Tree fit in my bedroom doorway? Are we talking about a miniature Christmas Tree? Because that might work. Even though I appreciate a nicely decorated Christmas Tree, I would choose the mistletoe because of its minimalistic design and its anti-clutter approach when it comes to interior decorating.

  1. Write a five paragraph essay about the meaning of Christmas or solve a page of Christmas themed math problems? As much as I enjoy writing, I would not want to write a 5-paragraph essay about the meaning of Christmas because 1) Nobody including myself would want to read it and 2) How boring! 😴 Oh, how grinchy of me! I mean, there are better topics to write about, and being passionate about what you are writing is the true meaning of blogging. I much rather solve the math problems, even though I suck at math as an adult. As a kid, math was actually one of my stronger subjects.

  1. Have a job wrapping presents at the mall or have a job taking photographs of children sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall? I LOVE wrapping presents so presents all the way! I have been wrapping presents since I was 4 years old and volunteered to wrap relatives’ presents too. Wrapping presents is one of the few things that I actually find enjoyable and quite therapeutic. This year, I do not have any presents to wrap. 🙇‍♀️
I cannot take credit for wrapping this present. My mom wrapped it for Christmas 2019!
  1. See the Nut Cracker or dance in the Nut Cracker? I cannot dance to save my life so I would choose to see the Nut Cracker. However, it would be cool if I was a ballerina dancing in the Nut Cracker in a past life.

  1. Be given $100 for Christmas to spend on yourself or be given $1K before Christmas to buy presents for other people? $100 does not get you much in Canada. If I needed $100 quickly, I could sell unwanted items on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace. I much rather spend money on other people so I would choose the $1K to spend on other people. Giving gifts to people and seeing their faces light up is very gratifying.

  1. Have a nose the glows like Rudolph’s or have pointy ears like an elf? Like I said before, red noses and Rudolph in general is too overrated for me. Elves however, have the potential to be “cool.” Besides, aren’t elf ears considered kawaii these days? Hasn’t there been a recent craze of e-girls and elf ears taking over the internet lately, or is it just me? Elf Girl Makeup Tutorial Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPgU-GblHYM

  1. Be one of Santa’s elves or one of Santa’s reindeer? Isn’t this the same question as #9 only worded differently? Duh, I would be one of Santa’s free spirited elves. Let’s keep Christmas classy this year, rather than tacky (or trashy). 🧝‍♀️🎄

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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Improving Sleep Hygiene

As somebody with a history of depression and the tendency to stay in bed all day if only my toddler would let me, I struggle with sleep hygiene. During my second cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) session last month, my therapist gave me a list of ways to help improve my sleep hygiene. I want to share these helpful tips with you, especially if you deal with frequent bouts of insomnia or have mild to moderate depression.

Improving Sleep Through Behaviour Change

Stimulus Control Procedures

  1. Go to sleep when you are sleepy.
    The longer you stay in bed, the more the bed is associated with a place to be awake instead of asleep. If you need to, delay going to bed until you are sleepy. No, this does not mean watching TV or using your smart phone. Screens emit a blue light which messes with your circadian rhythm.
  2. Get out of bed when you cannot fall asleep or go back to sleep in 15 minutes. 
    Get out of bed if you cannot fall asleep after giving it your best effort. It is better to get out of bed than it is to keep laying in bed with your ruminating thoughts. Once you are out of bed, return to bed when you are feeling sleepy again. The goal is to associate your bed with sleepiness.
  3. Only Use the bed for sleep and sex.
    Avoid other activities that do not involve sleeping or lovemaking. Activities to avoid include watching TV, listening to the radio, eating, or reading in your bed.

Sleep Hygiene Guidelines

  • Caffeine Avoid consuming caffeine 6-8 hours before bedtime. Caffeine disturbs your natural sleep rhythm. I would suggest cutting off caffeine consumption around 1700 (5:00 PM) so you will feel sleepier prior to bedtime.

  • Nicotine Avoid nicotine before bedtime because nicotine is a stimulant which keeps you awake. Avoid tobacco before bedtime and during the night as well.
  • Alcohol I don’t know about you, but alcohol makes me drowsy. Even though alcohol promotes the onset of sleep which makes you feel sleepy, alcohol also interrupts your natural sleep pattern. Avoid consuming alcohol less than 4 hours before going to sleep.

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Because we don’t get this drink in Canada. If it’s fruity and sweet, I’m probably going to drink it.

  • Sleeping Pills Sleep medications are an effective short-term treatment for people who struggle with falling asleep at night. However, sleep medications lose their effectiveness in approx. 2-4 weeks when they are taken regularly. Over time, sleeping pills may actually make sleep problems worse due to dependency; withdrawal from the medication can cause insomnia. Use sleep medications only if you need them and avoid relying on them long-term.
  • Regular Exercise Do not exercise within 2 hours of bedtime since exercise excites the nervous system and interferes with your ability to sleep. I am guilty for exercising right before bedtime…
  • Bedroom Environment Your bedroom should have a moderate temperature and it should be quiet and dark. Personally, I leave the window open at night and close the blinds. Also, I sleep with earplugs and an eye-mask which helps a lot.
  • Eating A light bedtime snack, such as a glass of warm milk, a banana, or a piece of cheese can promote sleep. Avoid eating snacks in the middle of the night because awakening may become associated with hunger.

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Eat all the yummy things; my mom really knows how to host a party! 🥳

  • Avoid Naps OK, I am totally guilty of this one! I love afternoon naps and will occasionally take an afternoon nap, typically lasting at least 1 hour in length. Now that my toddler lives with me 24/7, she doesn’t let me take naps. The sleep you get during the day will essentially take away from the amount of sleep you need that night. If you must take an afternoon nap, schedule it before 1500 (3:00 PM). Do not seep more than 15 to 30 minutes, according to doctors’ recommendations.

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Now that is the biggest yawn I’ve ever seen! 😂

  • Unwind Before Bedtime Allow yourself at least 1 hour before bedtime to unwind. Find what works for you to wind down, and give yourself an hour to do so. Consider reading a book or writing in a journal before you fall asleep.
  • Regular Sleep Schedule Keep a regular time each day (7 days a week) to get out of bed each morning. Keeping a regular waking time helps set your circadian rhythm so that your body learns to sleep at the desired time each night.
  • Stick to the Plan Set a reasonable bedtime and rising time, and then follow through with the plan long-term. Set the alarm clock and get out of bed at the same time each morning, regardless of your bedtime or the amount of sleep you got the previous night. This guideline is designed to regulate your internal biological clock as well as reset your sleep-wake cycle.

Monkey Business by Rebecca Tan 🐵

I would greatly appreciate any feedback or tips that you have for fighting insomnia. Let me know if anything on the list has helped you achieve a good night’s sleep by joining the conversation and leaving a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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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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Hilary’s Poetry Corner

Exciting News! Smiling Face on HTC Sense 7

A new page section has been added titled “Poetry” which you can access at the top of this blog. Over the next several weeks, I will continue writing poems since this seems to be something that I enjoy doing now, especially during exam season. Here is a sneak peak at some of the poems that I am adding to this blog. All poems are written by me and are 100% original.

Table of Contents 

  1. Raps By Hillz (2)
  2. Friends No More
  3. The Road Now Taken
  4. When Life Gives You Lemons
  5. Broken Hearted Girl
  6. Halfway to Morning
  7. Heaven’s Lost Property

Tropical Sour Patch Kids Review!

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A few months ago, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t buy candy. This past week has been difficult for me, and when I’m stressed, promises may get broken. All my life, I’ve only known the traditional Sour Patch Kids, which were my favorite candy growing up. When Blue was introduced, that was exciting for me and blue raspberry did not disappoint. It is very rare to find unusual flavors in Canada where we live, so when I found a Tropical mix, I couldn’t say no. In the US, I could imagine finding a bag of Tropical Sour Patch Kids in every grocery store, but not in Canada. Here is my review of the tropical flavors, from most tasty to least tasty, to give you an idea of what to expect:


Orange – Tropical Twist; This flavor definitely lives up to the name. Tastes mostly like mangoes with some other tropical fruits mixed in. I cannot tell what fruits they are exactly, but the flavor is good for artificial tropical. Mango and Pineapple? Mango, pineapple, and orange? Who knows!

White – Pineapple; It’s not bad, and but I thought it was Pina Colada. Had they named it, “Pina Colada,” you would instantly know what flavor this is as soon as it hits your tongue? Also, this candy is white – not yellow, so I don’t know why their site features this flavor as a yellow candy. Pineapple-coconut or whatever this candy is by default isn’t my favorite candy flavor so I cannot give it first place. However, I’m impressed by this one.

Pink – Paradise Punch; Given that description, I had no idea what to expect. It didn’t taste bad but it didn’t taste great either. It definitely passed in terms of the sour factor. I love sour things, and Pink was the sourest of all 4 flavors. However, when it changed to sweet, that’s where it went from good to bad.

Purple – Passionfruit; This is an unusual flavor and I expected better, honestly. Passionfruit was the reason I bought these Sour Patch Kids in the first place. Overall, this flavor was the worst of the bunch and purple didn’t taste like passionfruit to me. This flavor possesses a very artificial, chemical flavor straight out of a laboratory.


Overall Rating: ★★✩✩✩

I won’t be buying Tropical Sour Patch Kids again. In comparison to original flavors in terms of tastiness, these tropical kids were nowhere close. Tanginess? Probably. The Pink is definitely the tangiest of the bunch but compared to the original flavors, these flavors are just “meh”. Tropical candy isn’t my preference when it comes to artificial flavors so this probably affects my rating. See for yourself: try them and rate them. See if they live up to the original flavors and let me know what you think of Tropical Sour Patch Kids in the comments below.↓