create and grow happily

Author: Kate Ashley (page 2 of 18)

A catch up and what’s gonna happen now

So here I am.

Finally getting the guts to actually write something for this here blog. After months of burying myself into a mound of Webtoon comics, manga, and anime series. And subconsciously forgetting about my art, my blog, and the rest of my creative life.

Sure, I’ve put out a few great artworks the past few months, but even the dopamine hit of posting them into my art insta and being praised for them was short-term.

Work has ultimately taken up much of my daylight hours. Which is weird because, honestly, I have not done a lot at work these past three months. The “busy” moments happen every start of the month but even those days don’t exactly feel exhilarating. Plus, there were other things happening in my personal life, like my grandma’s passing, that I don’t exactly want to talk about too much.

At the end of the day, only one thing mattered:

I felt deeply depressed and completely unsatisfied.

Allowing myself to be buried underneath all that, I did not do anything. At least, nothing actionable or noteworthy.

I simply made myself be carried away by the flow of life. Wake up early, ride the bus, get to work and clock out by 5:30pm, ride the bus home while probably reading a manga or watching an episode.

And it really hit me: how utterly boring and glum that is. How you basically have zero agency on the one thing you should hold influence the most:

Your own fucking life.

Excuse my French but, really, there was no sugar-coating this.

My art is suffering. I’ve been consuming great masterpieces — on Instagram and Webtoons and various anime — and yet have not taken what inspiration I got from them and mold them into my own creation.

My blog is suffering. I’ve been having doubts with writing in the personal development niche recently. I did not want to read any “Simple Tips to Live Your Best Life” kinds of blog posts because I started to find them empty and repetitive.

Consequently, my life is suffering.

…Buuut that’s too complicated a topic and too long to tackle in even a 1000-word post. So let’s focus for now on what’s next in line up there. Which is also what is, quite frankly, the most important points I should be discussing.

On blogging and the personal growth niche

I’m not gonna deny it — I LOVE the personal growth niche. The community built around this like-minded desire to grow and improve is a fascinating one. I’m so happy to be a part of it, no matter how small my contribution may be.

But there’s a huge difference in writing about the truth you discovered to live a happier life and listing down “6 easy tips” to be happier.

I’ve read the same kind of posts, given the same kind of advice over and over again. (“Take a long walk” is one of those advice that, as of writing, is currently fueling up a massive discourse over in MH Twitter, by the way.) And the thing is, for me right now, these kinds of advice just feel… lackluster. Empty. They aren’t enough.

I’m sure there are people out there who just wanted the quick reminder or that tiny push. And maybe, for them, these posts are exactly what they need. Heck, there have been plenty of times when they were exactly what I needed too. But right now, it’s not what I’m looking for. It is not what I need. And in effect, these kinds of posts are not what I want to write about.

It took me a long time to come to terms with this. Because continuing felt like an obligation – and in effect, quitting felt like a self-condemnation. This “duty” I think I have for the readers of this blog. But then, I realize:

Wait a sec. Forcing myself to write a topic I don’t like is a disservice to myself AND to my readers.

And this is an advice I often give to fellow bloggers too.

Like, gee, Kate. At least follow the advice you made, yeah?

With that said, here’s what’s going to happen with All the Trinkets moving forward.

No empty listicles.

I’m not going to totally abandon listicles. Besides, it’s the kind of blog post that’s very easy to write. But I vow never to create those empty, repetitive listicles in my blog from now on. No more “6 easy steps for a happier life”.

Life, I found, is much more complicated to go through. But at the same time, life is simple – but no, it is never easy.

Instead, I just want to write about the truth. My truth, anyway. The truth I learned along the way. The small ones, and the ohmigosh-this-is-a-huge-eureka-moment ones.

Outside of these blog posts that borders on “life” and “personal development,” I also want to write more about art and creative living. And, like, no more of those general, all-around, free-for-all creativity topics. Starting today, I want to write only about my own creative experiences. My creative truths. (Which is kinda fancy-schmancy but, whattayouknow, it fits.)

This all may seem selfish but…

To be honest, for a long time, I write with you, my readers, heavily on my mind. Sure, I think about myself too. And it so happens that, for the past couple years, what people enjoyed reading and what I enjoyed writing aligned.

But the fact is, I no longer enjoy writing the same topics. In these same perspectives and this same format. Maybe in a few years, I’d go back to loving it. Maybe. But for right now, I need to step away from all these. Explore new ways to write and express myself in this ever-changing blog of mine.

Speaking of my blog changing…

To align with this kinda sorta new way of me blogging, I’ve decided to change the look of my blog. Yes, again. Don’t worry it’s going to be a long project and I’ll tweak some elements here and there gradually. But it’s gonna happen.

The way I think it, my blog changes and reshapes and transforms when I, too, change and reshape and transform.

Before anything else, this is my place in the Interwebs. My small, humble place.

And like with any kind of challenge we face in life, if the way forward for me and this small humble place of mine in the Interwebs is to change things up, then… Challenge accepted.

To all the readers who have followed me up ‘til now, I truly appreciate all of you. I hope you continue with me as I embark in a new chapter with this blog. And if not, well no worries. Thanks for being with me anyway, however long that may be.

Kate xx

Photo by Scott Web via Unsplash

Perfection and Success: A Story of Cut Hands and Dreams Smashed

At 11:23 in the morning, a young girl who has only ever cooked eggs and rice in her life was in the kitchen with the stove top on. She was chopping an onion, preparing for her younger sister’s meal when she accidentally sliced her finger. As she ran around looking for Band Aids, she heard her uncle laughing in the living room. It was the kind of laugh that was three-quarters snort and a quarter derision.

“If you can’t even chop onions without hurting yourself, you’ll never be cut out as a chef.”

Now, the girl never thought she would ever be a Michelin-star cook. She has never even aspired to run her own restaurant. But those words still cut through her heart and crushed her.

I’m telling you this story for a reason. And I hope by now you get it.

We all have that one person in our lives, that young girl’s uncle. Someone who aces at being a Jamie Raincloud. A put-downer. A positivity vampire (you know, someone who sucks the positivity out of you).

And sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if what they’re saying is actually a big deal to you or not. You would still be hurt.

And as much as I want to explore that complicated area of feeling hurt on things that ultimately don’t matter, I want to take a rain check on that for now.

What I really want to focus here is that subtle nag at perfection and success the uncle in the story did. It’s like he was saying that the young girl, who has barely cooked a meal in her life, cannot be a chef just because she hurt herself in the middle of cooking. That someone completely novice can’t become a master all because of committing one common mistake.

Now, as an avid fan of Masterchef Australia for the past couple years, I think that’s loaded bullcrap.

I know for a fact that even home cooks, those people who are passionate about food and cooking, can hurt themselves in the middle of a panicky situation. Those well-renowned chefs only seem effortlessly perfect and successful in the kitchen now because of all the mistakes and little injuries they got early on in their careers. Mistakes that, well, they learned from. Their so-called perfection and success are only achievable by learning through their failures.

See, we all make tiny mistakes.

To say that one tiny mistake can cost you your success or your career or your entire life is utterly foolish. Click To Tweet

For years, I’ve had this voice whispering to me, my very own inner negative uncle. That perfectionist, positivity vampire telling me every tiny mistake I’ve done is pushing me farther and farther from perfection and success. I guess, these voices contributed to the anxious-filled, overthinking perfectionist that I have become.

Just last month, I was on my way to my first ever job interview. And I forgot to bring any valid I.D. to get inside the building. All throughout the bus ride, I kept thinking how I have screwed things up. They’re never gonna interview me because I’m incompetent. The HR of the company will whisper it throughout all the HR of all other companies in the city. No one will hire me. And so, I am an utter failure.

All these thoughts… because I left my I.D.

But see here’s the thing: I am still here. I’m still alive. And little by little, I’m moving forward. Making progress and achieving small successes.

Related: My Two Cents on Failure and How I Dealt With It

We, as a society, have reached a point where we condemn or ridicule every mundane mistake a person has made. And to be honest, it’s not a great time to be in. We can be so hung up on the smallest details and the tiniest flaws. So much so, that we forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

And I’m not saying mistakes are great. They aren’t, obviously. Mistakes suck balls. But judging someone’s character based on the mistakes they did is a bit… unfair, don’t you think?

So if you’re like me, beating yourself over every small mistakes you commit, here’s a reminder:

No one should ever be measured by the mistakes they did. Your failures cannot measure what you are worth. And it should never. Click To Tweet

It’s how you respond after such failures that matters more. Be it changing for the better. Or striving for improvement and progress, whatever that may be for you.


How do YOU define perfection and success? Have you ever had a non-dream be shattered before? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments!

Kate xx

Photo from Lucas Swinden via Unsplash

3 Reasons You’re Feeling Unproductive (and What to Do About It)

As my boy, Li Shang, famously said, let’s get down to business. If you’re here right now, I’m willing to bet you’ve been in that kind of sloppy hell: The Slow, Sloppy Hell of Feeling Unproductive.

It isn’t exactly painful outright. It’s one of those slow-burns. And it burns from the inside out. It targets your self-confidence and motivation and self-determination ever so gradually until they’re nothing but ashes.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, friend. I’m here.

Let me help you douse that flame now before it continues to spread. Here are three reasons why you’re not achieving anything right now and what you can do about it.

Why You are Feeling Unproductive Today and What You Can Do About It

1) You are busy doing other less important things

Look, I get it. We’ve all been there. We’ve all said we had an unproductive day. That we weren’t able to accomplish that one thing because we were too busy on other things.

But were you?

Were you really busy with other things? Or suppose you actually were busy, were you too busy on something that’s actually relevant?

Maybe, like me, you were only doing this thing they call procrastination.

Take it from someone who went to the Procrastinators’ School of Making Excuses. There is a difference between being occupied and pretending to be busy. Learn it. Know what signs to look for.

Be self-aware when you start making excuses. Over time, you’ll find it easier to spot them. I noticed that excuses always have a different tone than truth — even those we say in our heads.

What You Can Do:

You’re probably familiar with the Eisenhower Matrix. Where you arrange the tasks you need to do under levels of importance and urgency. This way, you can eliminate a task that is neither important nor urgent. And then you can focus your energy and present time on things that are actually important or urgent. Or both!

2) You’re a perfectionist

It may seem counterintuitive, saying that being a perfectionist is making you unproductive. Like, won’t my perfectionist tendency make me more productive?

Um, actually…no.

I know this because, aside from being a Master Procrastinator, heck I’m a Master Perfectionist too.

When you’re so focused on having everything —  and I mean, every tiny detail — perfect, you end up getting fewer tasks done.

See, perfectionism takes up a lot of time by forgetting time. When you’re nitpicking on the small stuff, when you’re putting 120% of your attention on that tiny area in your project, you forget about everything else. Including time. And if you have that special hybrid I call perfection procrastination, you waste time by doing mundane, unimportant tasks. When you should be working on the ones that matter.

What You Can Do:

Give yourself the permission to fail.

Remember: choose finished, not perfect.

Let that sink into your mind. The idea of not succeeding at first try isn’t so bad. What’s important is that you learned from your failures and mistakes. And these lessons will actually help you get closer and closer to success.

3) You’re feeling unproductive because you’re mentally or emotionally stuck. Or both.

Being stuck stems from various causes. Perhaps you’re having a writer’s block. Or experiencing a creative draught. Maybe you just have zero inspiration to write or do anything.

The thing is, a lot of our physical tasks are partly powered by our inner resources. Some even more so than others.

This shouldn’t come off as a surprise anymore. The immediate connection between our physical health and mental wellbeing has been proven in so many studies. Our physical health is as affected by our mental wellbeing as the other way around.

Which means poor mental health can be the cause of physical fatigue. And therefore, you feel unproductive.

In order to do the things you need to do, you must also pay attention to these inner resources–inspiration, motivation, and mental stability, to name a few. Because when we lack or don’t have such resources, we become mentally or emotionally paralyzed. Literally unable to work even when we are physically able to do it.

What You Can Do:

Along with your physical health, take care of your mental and emotional well-being too. Exercising is just as good for your mind as it is for your body. Having a well-rounded healthy lifestyle that takes into consideration your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is imperative — whatever life you may live. Create that balance, yes? BIG YES.


Have you got more tips for those who are feeling unproductive? Share your wisdom in the comments below!

Woman writing in the background a white rectangle overlay with the text, "3 Reasons Why You're Unproductive Today - and what you can do about it"

Photos from Ivory Mix and Kaylah Otto (via Unsplash)

Image of a woman sitting back on a pink overlay. A white rectangle with a text on top says: 3 Reasons Why You're Feeling Unproductive.
Girl on a sofa with a pink translucent overlay and a text on top saying, 'Feeling unproductive? Three reasons why + what you can do about it'

Hi, I’m still alive (probably?) | March Side Notes

You may have asked, What the heck happened to Kate?? (Or probably not.)

To which I answer, Kate was very confused blog-wise this month. But I’ll talk more of that in another post. (Maybe. Possibly.) For now, let’s start this wrap-up, yes? Yes.

Side Notes is a monthly wrap up where I share the interesting, and incredibly inspiring things I found during the month that I couldn’t fit in any post. Expect awesome recs, awesome books and awesome bloggers.

Also expect: fangirling (lots of it) and a glimpse into my life — the happy, the chaos and all.

I’m sure a lot of awesome posts were published all over the blogosphere this month but, sadly, I just didn’t have any on my Keep Notes.

I did share some posts I loved over on Twitter earlier this month so go check out my Twitter too! I share posts I come across at the moment on there, and sometimes like today, completely forget to add them on my Keep Notes.

The Awesome Side of the Internet

The Internet can be a jerk sometimes, let’s all be real here. But it is also filled with authentic and incredibly inspiring human (and non-human) stories.

Friend, if you’re going to watch one thing from all of these, let it be this birdie rock-and-rolling to Elvis and his bird fren not wanting to be part of it.

The only space mascot we need: Earthy.

I’ve never been into True Crime, but this article questioning the gender of the famous, most mysterious serial killer might have just converted me. I’m gonna listen to My Favorite Murder on the bus this month, y’all.

This teacher lost her battle with cancer and continued to teach on Youtube. Cue heart swelling. Cue mad respect.

Fonda Lee wrote a great Twitter thread on Writer’s Block and iT SPOKE TO ME.

A postman who takes pictures with the neighbors’ dogs is the BEST postman.

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj

I feel like, ever since I discovered The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Youtube, I was on the journey of finding better and better late night shows.

This topped it off easy. Even LSSC.

Hasan is clever but very relatable because 1) he’s a millennial and 2) he’s an Indian-American. And I’m not gonna say I understood all of his Indian jokes but I live for those about practicality because Filipinos are like that as well. It’s just an overall entertaining show and you will always leave with a new thing learned. Aaand! It’s on Netflix so you can watch the entire episodes anytime. But they also have a Youtube channel with Youtube-exclusive content.

Francina Simone

I only subscribe to one Booktuber and that’s Francina. I love her nuanced discussions on all things bookish and while we don’t agree on everything, I respect her stance and her “too each their own” approach which I’m all for too! 🙂

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

  • I finally got my first ever salary!!! *whispers* Is this what it means to be an Office Lady?
  • I got to treat my fam on my birthday! *whispers* IS THIS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ADULTING OFFICE LADY???
  • My little art instagram is growinggg *cries in confettis*

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

(because we’re not perfect, and it’s good to share your awful moments)

  • I’m quite sad that I haven’t been around in the blogging community this month. And whenever, I got this weekly blog stats report, it’s like a slap to the face of, “Hey, here’s another week you didn’t do squat on your blog!” So you know what I did? I disabled that weekly stats report. Which was definitely the right decision because I immediately felt lighter afterwards.
  • Lots of stuff brewing on my mind this month. But, seriously, when is that not happening? lol
  • I’m trying to introduce myself to a lot more fiber-rich food just because I’ve been having stomachaches recently and I’m… scared.

Little Milestones – Things I Want to Achieve or Do Next Month

(because according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, I am an Obliger and I need outside accountability to reach personal goals)

  • Create a routine around work ✔ | This was like, The First Thing I did this month so yay!!!
  • Set aside 5,000 php to savings (That’s about $100, give or take) ✔ | Holy cow, I completely forgot about this goal but I’m so glad I got to save more than that!
  • Write and schedule posts ✘ | Again, haha.
  • Go ice-skating! (It’s searing hot over here which is why this is perfect, and it’s just nice to get out of my comfort zone, once in a while!)
  • Have at least three posts up on the blog. (Don’t worry, I have first drafts finished but let’s see if they’ll get past second draft.)
  • Do a full-color illustration! (The sad thing with this month’s art was all of them were simple portraits. Which isn’t surprising. I don’t have a lot of time to make full-color pieces because of work. But with Holy Week coming up, I’m hoping I could get out at least one full-color piece next month.)

Last Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Finish one book. Ohmigosh I achieved thisss! *cries noisily* The book I finished reading was When Dimple Met Rishi, which was… okay? I wouldn’t say it was earth-shattering and broke my heart. But there was this one particular scene with Dimple and her mom that made me cry. But yeah, I’d give it 3 out 5 cookies.

Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Journal for the entire April. I’m probably going to use one of my old sketchbook journals for this. But yeah, let’s do this!


How was your February? Was it awesome or did it suck so bad? Share to me everything!

xx Kate

Photo from Ivory Mix

February was more chaotic than last month, wow. | Side Notes

Yep. You read that right.

Remember when I said last month, I hope February was going to be kinder to me than January? February was like, “NOPE! Not gonna.”

On a more positive note, though! I have new graphics for Side Notes, whee! Figured it was about time. That old one was getting… well, old.

Side Notes is a monthly wrap up where I share the interesting, and incredibly inspiring things I found during the month that I couldn’t fit in any post. Expect awesome recs, awesome books and awesome bloggers.

Also expect: fangirling (lots of it) and a glimpse into my life — the happy, the chaos and all.

In the Blogosphere

Anne shared 7 gift ideas for those in a long-distance relationship. And I say, they’re all pretty wholesome enough for anyone in your life!

Brett talked about dealing with negative feelings and shared some awesome tips to do so healthily. Check it out!

In need of some self-care ideas? Jackie recommends doing something creative — like building a house on Sims! Read her post for 6 more awesome recs!

Lea talks about her life as a 28-year-old married woman with no kids. (Guess what question she always gets asked.)

Hafsa created a journaling party and it. Sounds. SUPER. AWESOME??? I want in so bad.

Is blogging dead? Ashlee thinks not. And I, as I write the draft for this on WordPress Classic Editor, so so agree.

Lauren talks about grief and how to cope with the loss of a loved one.

Apostolia shared habits to have a happy life and I’m taking notes.

Deze shares the 6 hard lessons she learned in her first two years as a married woman and it’s applicable to any relationships!

The Awesome Side of the Internet

The Internet can be a jerk sometimes, let’s all be real here. But it is also filled with authentic and incredibly inspiring human (and non-human) stories.

Someone made a music video out of Paint and it’s BRILLIANT.

You need to rewatch LoTR but with cats.

Someone’s gonna be a great lawyer someday. Case closed, y’all.

You know how last month my recommendations were both educational apps? Welp, today I’m recommending two of my recent fave series!


I’m going to put it out there: this is anime. And before you scroll further thinking, “Oh, that isn’t my cup of tea.” Hear me out first!

This anime series revolves around a young girl who knew nothing of life outside her military background. Now that the war is over, she has to learn what it is like to live outside the front lines of a battlefield. (Wow, someone hire me to make blurbs. I think that’s a fair, non-spoilery one.)

It’s a coming-of-age series, my favorite anime genre after fantasy and slice-of-life, and it is heartbreakingly beautiful. It may revolve around Violet Evergarden, the young girl I mentioned above, but it’s more than just her story. The entire series is jam-packed with stories about love and family and self-growth. Not to mention, the animation is just BREATHTAKING. And y’all I’m not just saying that because Kyoto Animation, my all-time fave anime studio, produced it.

You can watch Violet Evergarden on Netflix now. Please watch it. (And if you do or did, hit me an email or slide a DM wherever. I want to talk about this and none of my friends has watched it yet!!)


This is another series I recently got into that I think not a lot of people generally know. Like Violet Evergarden, you would only know about Heartstopper if you’re in the community. (The anime community in Violet Evergarden’s case, the book community in this one’s.)

Heartstopper is a webcomic written and illustrated by YA author Alice Oseman. It’s about two adorable soft bois being adorable together. An openly gay boy who overthinks for a living, and a soft-hearted guy who’s still figuring out his sexuality.

That’s it. That’s the pitch.

Now here’s the thing. I’ve read books my whole life. Consequently, I’ve read tons of books while on public transportation. But I’ve never — and I mean never — cried on public because of a book. Ever. This webcomic? It’s responsible for my first-ever public book tears. It is that good. You can read Heartstopper on Tumblr or in the Tapas app.

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

  • I landed my first ever full-time job, y’all!
  • I’m getting on top of my Twitter game, ey!
  • My sleep is now regular!!! (It really was the lack of a structured routine omg! Once I was working, I’m already asleep at 10pm and up by 5am the next day. Could still need a little tweaking as I want to spend a bit more hours on my blog… but I’ll take it!)

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

(because we’re not perfect, and it’s good to share your awful moments)

  • My blog game and all other social media games are not as strong as the Twitter one. As you may have noticed, I decided to go on a hiatus halfway through the month.

Little Milestones – Things I Want to Achieve or Do Next Month

(because according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, I am an Obliger and I need outside accountability to reach personal goals)

  • Make no bake cheesecake. ✘ I was on the verge of becoming broke so I’m doing a rain check on this one.
  • Get interviewed by 5 companies. ✘ This didn’t happen BUT! I landed my job on the only company I got interviewed so yay!
  • Finish writing and scheduling March’s posts. ✘ Still writing up March’s post. Oh well.
  • Create a routine around work
  • Set aside 5,000 php to savings (That’s about $100, give or take)
  • Write and schedule posts

Last Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Eat fruit once a day. This didn’t happen BUT!!! I am eating fruit every other day so that’s a good start.

Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Finish one book. If I said I didn’t have much time reading books on February, I’d be lying. I just chose not to read any books. Now, I want to just finish one book. If I could just finish reading one, I’m good.


How was your February? Was it awesome or did it suck so bad? Share to me everything!

xx Kate

Photo from Ivory Mix

Want to get what you want from other people? Do this one super simple thing.

Open hand with a pink overlay. Above is a pink rectangle with the text - Wanna get what you want? Do this one super simple thing.

It was a quiet afternoon. I was sitting back on a bench when my afternoon blog reading was interrupted by my friend’s huff.

“I’m pissed,” she announced as she sat beside me.

Putting away my phone, I asked her what happened. She wanted another friend of ours to do something for her but that other friend didn’t do it. When I asked her if she told our friend specifically what she wanted, she looked at me in a weird way. As if I just told her she grew mushrooms on her head.

It was pretty obvious what I needed, was what she replied.

At that time, I bit back what I wanted to say.

That I think she was wrong. Our other friend might not have known what she wanted.

An open hand reaching out and an arm behind. Above is a white rectangle with the text - Here's how to get what you want by doing one suuuper simple thing

See, here’s the thing: I understand my pissed friend’s pissed-ness. I get where she was coming from because I have felt that same way too. There are some things you just can’t obtain on your own. You will need other people’s help. And so you create these expectations towards those other people. You just assume that they’d easily understand what you need. Because what you need is pretty obvious, right?

Nope. It isn’t.

I mean, it might be super obvious – to you. But that’s because you know what you need. But other people? They usually have zero clue. The truth is, no one’s a super mind-reader.

No one holds the blueprint of your mind other than yourself.

So if you really want things to happen, you have to do something about it. You have to reach out first. Click To Tweet

Take the initiative and tell people what you want.

Want to meet up with an old friend you saw recently? Tell them you wanna hang out.

You want that guy beside you to stop invading your personal space? Let him know.

Maybe you think it’s high time for a pay raise? Knock on your boss’s door.

Look. People want to help you.

The people who care about you and want to see you succeed? They want to know if there’s anything they can do to get you to where you want to go. But if you want something from other people, you have to tell them about it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t know. They couldn’t help you get what you want if they have no clue what exactly it is you want.

So how can you get what you want by telling others? I’ve got 3 tips.

1. Tell them politely and with respect

I know, I know. This should be super obvious but I think it still needs to be emphasized: You wouldn’t get what you want if you’re rude.

I’ve witnessed people who like to show a sense of superiority by being demanding and belittling others. And okay… you miiight get what you want this way but you wouldn’t earn other people’s respect. Which would make dealing with them in the future difficult. Some people might even despise you if you did this.

And friend, I’m highly against burning bridges. The people you meet along the way? I believe you’ll meet them again. And when you do, you don’t want to be remembered as that rude doucheface who likes to scream at people.

A little kindness goes a long way. And to put it bluntly, a quicker transaction, even. Things go more smoothly when everyone’s in their happy place. Plus, you’ll likely leave the premises feeling quite positive and light-hearted.

I don’t know about you but I would pick that over that coldness and a doucheface rep any day.

2. Be as clear and concise as you can

This is something I learned from my Business Communications course. Clarity and conciseness is key to good communication. They will guide you and the other person to a better understanding of each other.

And to get what you want from other people, you need these two important ingredients too.

I know this is something I need to work on too. I’m aware that I can be roundabout with what I want to say. But I recently learned something from a fellow roundabout friend that I think is a great tip for anyone else struggling to be clear and concise. Which brings me to my third tip…

3. Have one point and make it your anchor.

That one point will keep your winding explanation grounded. It’s your North. So whenever it feels like you’re about to go off-topic, remember your anchor and steer your conversation back to it.

Maybe you’ve wanted to change careers and you’re meeting an acquaintance who’s working on the field you want to switch to. I know we tend to go off-topic lots of times in casual conversations. You could be reminiscing your high school lives, or talking about that girl you know from college. But remember your anchor and keep it close to you.

So when they ask you something work-related, you can say something like, “Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to tell you. I wanted to switch careers and I’m interested with the kind of work you do. Do you have any tips you can share to a newcomer like me?”

I bet you, your friend’s face will light up and tell you everything they know.

I‘m sure of this because I’ve been the asker and the askee on two separate occasions. So I know the people around you will tell you everything they know can help.

The people around you want to help. Allow them to do so by telling them how. Click To Tweet


Let’s do this. Right here, right now. What do YOU want from other people? What can WE help you with?


Hand and arm with pink color overlay. White square on top with the text - How to Get What You Want from Others by doing this one super simple thing

Photos from Death to Stock and Chimene Gaspar (via Unsplash)

Why you need to create your own business hours

Is Time Management in the same level for you as flying? (Because, you know, it’s unachievable) Or maybe you’ve planned to be productive but end up spending it scrolling through Twitter? Perhaps you’re always scrambling around to get a some semblance of routine in your life?

Friend, I know exactly how you feel. Which is why I know you definitely need to create your own business hours.

Have you ever felt like “Time Management” is in the same level as flying? (Because, you know… what even is time management??) Did you ever plan to have a productive day but end up spending it scrolling through Twitter? Were you ever distracted by messages you received at an ungodly hour? Friend, I know exactly how you feel. Which is why I know you definitely need to create your own business hours.

Obviously, most businesses have this. Business hours is that period in which the company do… well, business. But we can also see it like this: it’s when, and only when, people can go do business with a company. Or in this case, you. Here’s how creating your own business hours will help you.

The Benefits of Establishing Your Own Business Hours

1) You create boundaries

Specifically, time boundaries.

If you ever struggle with friends or bosses who respond to you at ungodly hour, this one’s for you. This is also helpful to those who work at home or are freelancers.

When you don’t have the gift of a set time like in a typical nine-to-five job, it could be so easy for your work hours and non-work hours to blur and mix together. And that isn’t productive or efficient.

Creating your own business hours could help with all of that.

Not only do you create time boundaries to the people around you, but you can also train yourself to stick to those same boundaries. I know there are people who have a hard time with that as I’m one of those people.

2) It gives you free time

Because you have set business hours, you can leave time in your day for personal stuff. Maybe you like to kick back and crochet to end your day. Or maybe you like to have time for a 10-minute workout sesh in the morning. Knowing when your work starts and ends means you can make room for other things in your life.

And most importantly, when you do scroll through Twitter, you could do it outside your business hours, on your free time – and not feel guilty about it! #Win.

3) Avoids overwhelm and burnout

Overwhelm and burnouts often happen because of overworking. Sometimes, people overwork simply because they don’t have that strong separation between when they should work and when they should take a break.

Not all of us are expert time-jugglers. This means we have yet to master the art of time management. If you are one, then I highly suggest starting with establishing your own business hours. Here's why you need one.

When you have your own business hours, you can establish a structured time in which you do your work.

And you should do your work strictly within those hours only.

Why do you think most factories have business hours? Because it isn’t ideal to run a machine endlessly and without breaks. If they did this, they would run their machine to the ground and break it. Like machines, you need to take a break.

4) Creating your own business hours can reduce stress

I think this is particularly helpful to fellow Obligers, and anyone who is a semi-organized potato like me.

Obliger is one of the four tendencies in Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies. (Gosh, I am in love with this book. Expect a book review and a more in-depth discussion on the tendencies in the near future!)

Related: Four Personality Tests You Can Try Today to Better Know Yourself

Obligers are those who put a higher value on meeting other people’s expectations than they do on their own. Which makes Obligers reliable co-workers and peers. (Not to brag or anything, but this is accurate yo.) However, they also have trouble setting boundaries on other people’s demands, and this could be a huge source of stress for them – which is, again, accurate yo.

If you’re an Obliger like me, creating your own business hours can help you set limits on what people need from you and when you can work on those demands. No more getting up late at night to write that document someone wants.

On the other hand, this is also super helpful for both semi-organized and un-organized folks. There are times when you are aware of how you aren’t organized. And you mentally kick yourself for not being productive with your time.

Establishing your business hours, and sticking to it, may just be what you need. With a structured time like this, it’s like going back to school. You don’t have to think about what you need to do. The frequency of scrambling around is lessened because you already have your day planned out for you, just like when you were at school.

The big difference is this is more convenient because you don’t have to start at seven-in-the-freakin-morning. (Shaking my head at the school system.) Instead, you get to establish your work hours during your peak time.

In this day and age of hustle culture, time is a very important commodity. Learning to be more productive is everyone’s business nowadays. Maybe you can juggle everything in your to-do lists like a pro-juggler could. But maybe you’re like me and is often seen scrambling around for some semblance of order and routine.

Start by establishing when to work and when to take a break.

And look hey. This may not be boss-level time management, but it’s a start!


Are you a professional time-juggler? Or are you a Twitter-scroller? Do you think established business hours will work for you or nah?

xx Kate


Suck at time management? I feel you. If you have a hard time managing your time, maybe you can start with creating your very own business hours instead. Click on to read why you need one.

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

First Month of 2019? Done. | January Side Notes

Okay, so is it just me or did January craaawl its way out like it always does, every-freakin-year? (Do you notice how I am so obviously Team Thank God January’s Over?)

Now that we can scratch off the first month of 2019, let’s welcome February with enthusiastic arms! This year’s Hearts Month will be particularly festive on here because I’ve prepared blog posts all about relationships — with yourself and with others.

But you’ll have lots of time to see that. Let’s dive in to this month’s wrap up.

Side Notes is a monthly wrap up where I share the interesting, and incredibly inspiring things I found during the month that I couldn’t fit in any post. Expect awesome recs, awesome books and awesome bloggers.

Also expect: fangirling (lots of it) and a glimpse into my life — the happy, the chaos and all.

interesting finds

In the Blogosphere

Nikita discusses the pros and cons of having an unconventional or nontraditional job, and it’s a must-read for my fellow 20-somethings who will be starting their career.

We know January is the month when new habits are decidedly taken upon and immediately thrown off the window. If you’re like me, then this post by Suktara on how to form new habits is for you!

Alex has an incredibly insightful piece on how improving your well-being may just be the key to happiness.

Don’t have much time for yourself? (Yeah me too, sometimes) Emily suggests setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier.

For my fellow bloggers out there, the amazing Lav wrote this incredibly motivating piece filled with reminders for when the blog stats are low.

Rachel shared a very personal story about post natal depression and if you’re a mom going through it also, I highly suggest reading Rachel’s post! Below is my fave quote from the post:

I hadn’t realised how low I was until I started feeling better.

I just found Oxria’s blog today and there is zero doubt that I. AM. IN. LOOOVE!!! Her illustrations are gorgeous and she has this post on notebooks that help her keep organized and my semi-organized potato self is drooling in envy!!

The Awesome Side of the Internet

The Internet can be a jerk sometimes, let’s all be real here. But it is also filled with authentic and incredibly inspiring human (and non-human) stories. Also: I take zero responsibility for any tears you might shed opening one of these links. Click at your own risk, y’all.

I have a soft spot for grandmothers so this tweet about a girl and her gramma with Alzheimer’s is just oh-so precious. Ma heart!

Y’all need this reminder from Artidote today:

Anthony Exeter (God bless your soul) has these six rules for life, as shared by his now-widowed wife Kelly Exeter. (My heart BROKE, you guys.)

DOGGO-LOVERS, brace yourself for this one. This story of a mom and daughter seeing a stray dog on the sidewalk is wholesome and might possibly make you cry. Probably.

For my fellow CAT-LOVERS, I got one for you too. Don’t worry, it isn’t exactly a tear-jerker. Tear-provoking is very rarely a cat’s brand, as you may know. In this one, my fave cat in the Internet, Maru, claimed another cat’s box quite smoothly. Just like James Bond, this gorgeous smooth-moving cat.

There is a Youtube channel where someone cooks mini-food using mini-utensils and mini-kitchen equipments and I am enthralled. Here’s one where they cooked mini Japanese curry and rice.

So I saw this one on Facebook but it was a screenshot from Tumblr. And look, I have this thing with screenshotted (? omg grammar) posts. Like, it’s okay if I was just passing by and I read it. But if I’m going to promote the stuff, you can be sure I’ll find the OG source and lead you to them because they deserve the traffic more than those sc-ers/ ctto insensitive-only-wants-clout potatos.

(Yes, I am passionately heated regarding this stuff — and I’m already at that point in my life where I feel too old to protest on every-single-thing I see on Twitter. It’s like art theft and copy-pasted blog posts for me.)

Anyhoozles! Here it is. Violetwolfraven from Tumblr wondered if maybe supernatural creatures once existed here on Earth but, over the years, mixed in with humans and you can see them in traits and personalities that modern people now have. Like maybe that ballet dancer who seems to hover mid-air for a few seconds might have the blood of fairies. I promise you, their imagination is wild and amazing and it made my fantasy-loving brain drool. You should read the entire thread because there are people asking the mythic counterparts of writers and artists. It’s amazing, really.

(Can’t believe I wrote more than 200 words for one link but there you go.)

recommendations of the month

Bluprint (formerly Craftsy)

Bluprint, formerly known as Craftsy, is an amazing website filled to the brim with craft-related videos and classes. It was through here that I watched a class on watercolor and this class by Kateri Ewing helped me improve my watercoloring. There are also other classes on the site, like for baking, knitting and jewelry-making!!!
Pocket App

I no longer have the Pocket app on either my phone or tablet but I’m still subscribed to it because I signed up, and Pocket Hits curate the most insightful, thought-provoking articles on the Internet every week.
Like, I rarely watch the news now (especially since it’s the start of election season over here and ugh, so not liking all networks’ coverage right now.) so I get my dose of what’s happening in the world through my journalist sister and via email.

I mean, look at these articles! These >>>> News

That said, I highly recommend signing up for Pocket. They have the most intriguing long-form articles ranging from various sources around the Web.

(Side note: If you want to read about that article on insect collapse on a Puerto Rican rainforest — which is a must-read, by the way — you can read it here.

the little things

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

  • I made full-color illustrations! Three of them! In a month! (Yayyy)
  • I spent one month not worrying about school! Gosh, it feels GOOD.
  • Updated my resume and got references! (I have a blog post scheduled for this exact story. Stay tuned!)

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

(because we’re not perfect, and it’s good to share your awful moments)

  • I got invitation for job interviews that I had to reject because I wasn’t in Cebu. That sucked.
  • My sleep are getting irregular and I have no idea why. (Is it the lack of a structured routine? Idk.)

Little Milestones – Things I Want to Achieve or Do Next Month

(because according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, I am an Obliger and I need outside accountability to reach personal goals)

A Mini-Review on This Month’s Goals

  • Finish three posts for the month ✔ and send out two guest post pitches ✘ (Sigh. Will this even happen, at this point?)
  • Read and comment on 14 blog posts every week ??? (I have no idea if it reached 14???)
  • Update my resume (hnggg) ✔

For Next Month

  • Make no bake cheesecake.
  • Get interviewed by 5 companies.
  • Finish writing and scheduling March’s posts.

Last Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Try out one thing you haven’t tried before. The sushi didn’t happen, sadly. Buuut I did try out strawberry milk tea for the first time so — is that good enough? For now, yes.
Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Eat fruit once a day. I need it. It doesn’t hurt to eat fruits more often, yes?


How was your January? Did it crawl for you too? What are your fave educational apps at the moment? I wanna know it all!!

xx Kate

Photo from Ivory Mix

Here’s what you need to achieve your big goals and resolutions this year

We all know January is the month of new goals and resolutions. New year new me, as every netizen proudly announces on January 1st. We greet the start of the year with optimism and hope. And why won’t we? There’s something absolutely wondrous about having the chance to start again.

The problem, my friend, lies in this teensy-tiny detail:

Our optimism and hopefulness in achieving our goals often don't last the entire year. Or even January. Click To Tweet

Now there are tons of factors we could consider. Maybe it has something to do with a certain personality trait. Maybe you weren’t able to create an effective goal-slaying strategy. Or maybe – just maybe – the goals and resolutions you set for yourself was unachievable and unrealistic in the first place?

Before you get your feathers in a ruffle, let me make this clear.

I’m not saying you can’t dream big. By all means, do! In the world we’re currently living, we need all the dreamers. Those people who are unafraid to go beyond. (Plus Ultra, knowwhatimsayin)

But there is a fine line between setting big goals and resolutions, and achieving those same big goals and resolutions. And that fine line is incredibly important:

Action. You need to take one specific action in a certain way: Start smart. And how does one start smart, pray tell, Kate?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Through small things.

There is a fine line between setting big goals and resolutions, and achieving those same big goals and resolutions. And that fine line is incredibly important:  Action. You need to take one specific action in a certain way: Start smart. And how does one start smart, pray tell, Kate?  Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Through small things.

An Ode to the Small and Basic

When you want to achieve something and nothing seems to work, start again. And start smart and small. (I dare you to repeat that fast.)

I know I seem like a broken record at this point but it’s too important not to say again. The small things matter. Be it a small habit, a small change in your routine, small goals and resolutions. They matter. In the same way that rice matters to an Asian household’s daily meals. Small things matter just as ants are important in the ecosystem they’re in. They make up the foundation in which the big things stand upon.

Without the small positive changes you start to incorporate into your life, you can’t expect to see the big changes.

Whenever I’m stuck in a creative rut, I go back to the basic. And I start again – in small things. Doodles, sketches, and when I’m really in a huge, like capital H huge, rut, I do stick drawings.

The thing with small is that they’re… well, small. They’re so small, they’re achievable. Easy to cross off your to do list. They can be achieved in a short amount of time. And achieving one small goal can give you enough dopamine hit to cross off another small goal. Then another. And then another.

Now, how can you turn big goals and resolutions into smaller goals?

Chop them.

I’m not kidding. And I’m definitely not just trying to be gory – I hate gore. In order for big goals and resolutions to become small ones, you really just need to chop them into smaller pieces. Like slicing an entire triple-layer buttercream cake into small, delectable slices.

Make a big goal like “write a book” into something small like “write for 10 minutes everyday.”

If you want to read more books, make it a goal to read before you go to sleep.

To grow your social media, start by spending ten minutes engaging with the community.

If you want to get a job, have a quota of resumes you need to send everyday. This same thing also works if you want to land a guest post or writing op.

Go as small as it needs for you to jumpstart that change, or create that new habit, or achieve those big goals and resolutions. And remember to keep at it. Make yourself repeat the small things the next day. It could just be one chapter, or ten minutes, or five resumes / guest post pitches. Heck, it could be even smaller than that, if you like!

Here's what you need to achieve the goals and resolutions you set for yourself this year. #goalsetting

The important thing is you’re putting one foot in front of the other. You’re taking it one slice at a time, consistently. In a matter of time, you’ll have your foundation. And it is a stable and sturdy foundation.


What are some big goals you have set for yourself this year? How can you turn them into smaller goals?

xx Kate

PS: Check out four other steps you can take to achieve your big goals.


Do you have a hard time achieving your goals and resolutions this year? Click on to find out what's one thing you can do.

Photos from Ivory Mix

On My Semi-Organized Life and Learning to Embrace It

Confession: I have a deep, deep green envy for people who lead a super organized life.

I mean, clean workspace? Alphabetized books? Super cute stationery drawers?? Ducks in a neat row, arranged by size???

Cue sparkling eyes.

See, my whole life I always wanted a clean organized room. But alas, no matter how much I angry clean and sort out my books by sizes or spine colors or authors, I can’t seem to accomplish what those folks on #mybookshelves or #myworkspace on Instagram could. One time, I tried incorporating an editorial calendar for a month. And despite how much more efficient it made my blogging process, it only lasted for that month.

No matter how much I try to make myself go into a routine, I just end up going rogue. Very few of the new habits I take stick. And when they do, some don’t even last long either. Or they’re just effective for a short time or in bursts.

That, my friends, is what you call a semi-organized person.

You know how some people are super organized superheroes, and others are, um… cluttered potatoes? Well, there are actually people who fall right in the middle. They’re called semi-organized and I’m one of them. Perhaps you have a suspicion you’re one too. Here are 5 signs you can look into to know if you’re one.

You know how some people are super organized superheroes, and others are, um… cluttered potatoes? Well, there are actually people who fall right in the middle. They’re called semi-organized and I’m one of them. Perhaps you have a suspicion you’re one too. Here are 5 signs you can look into to know if you’re one:

1) Some aspects of your life is clutter-free and neatly ordered while others seem like they’ve constantly been devastated by a tornado.

For instance, my bag is super clean. There’s a system as to where everything is placed – even the trashes that I set aside when I can’t find a bin near me. On the other hand, my workspace looks like it’s constantly devastated by a hurricane. I once misplaced my comb and I couldn’t find it until a couple weeks later. It’s horrendous.

2) Everything is a distraction

You know how you open an app on your phone to do one specific task and then, three hours later, you resurface and have ultimately forgotten what it was you had to do?

Yep. That happens to semi-organized me so many freaking times.

It could be social media, or the television playing on the background, or the music I have playing on my earphones, or shiny things. Maybe even an unusual mannerism from someone in my peripheral vision. The gist is anything can be a distraction. It’s quite difficult for me to focus on one task but when I do, you won’t see me doing anything else for hours.

3) New routines and new habits very rarely stick.

I already mentioned this above but it needs saying again.

Folks, I try. I really really do try. But I always have a hard time creating new or better habits. And even when I do, they don’t stick for very long. One time, I tried to use Habitica. But that didn’t last a week. Another time, I try to do ten-minute exercises every morning, but three cramps-filled days later, I forgot about it.

4) When desperate, you resort to nonsensical multitasking

Oh boy, this happened to me whenever I’m procrastinating in the mornings instead of prepping for school. I end up brushing my teeth and picking out clothes at the same time. Putting on my earrings and carrying my bag out of the room with my teeth. It’s not a pleasant sight to see and I don’t advise anyone visiting our house on 9AM.

5) When you are at peak organized mode, it’s absolutely wonderful

And after finishing your homework, bulk-scheduling posts and arranging your closet to look decent enough, you relax. But also lowkey hoping that you won’t fall into Cluttered Potato Mode for the next several moons or so.

As semi-organized folks, we often have the tendency to fall on either side of the spectrum – extremely organized or cluttered potatoes.

There are super organized people like Marie Kondo and then there are cluttered people like Rebecca Bloomwood. But did you know that therea re also people who fall right in the middle? They're called semi-organized. And I'm one of them. Are you one too?

But for most part, we struggle to be more of the former. To be more organized. To embody the clutter-free spirit of Marie Kondo. But we can’t help it that there’s just that part of us who’s as disheveled and distracted as Rebecca Bloomwood.

It’s sad and, for that little aspiring Marie Kondo-wannabe inside me, quite disappointing.

But this year, I want to embrace my semi-organized-ness. This year, I want to be less critical of myself when I divert from writing blog posts to check on the chickens on the backyard. I want to bask in fully during breaks. But also remember to give myself a push in the back when I’m knee-deep in lazy potato mode. I want to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with taking things slow, or relaxing for a while. And while there is so much joy in accomplishing everything you need to do, there’s also a different but equally wonderful feeling in doing absolutely nothing.

I need to have faith that I’ll figure things out… eventually. And maybe, so do you.


Are you a super organized superhero, a cluttered potato, or a semi-organized bloke like me? Is there a trait you didn’t quite like that you want to embrace more this year? Share them below!

xx Kate


Embracing my semi-organized life and learning to accept that I can never be like Marie Kondo. (And that's okay.)

Photo by Haute Chocolate Stock