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September is Half and Half, No In-Between // Side Notes

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.

Half on-my-knees-crying, half jumping-up-and-down happy.

Half super chaotic, half super relaxed.

Half unaccomplished potato, half slaying-it-productive potato.

In my September, there were no in-betweens. Only halves of the extremes. Interestingly, the first half was where all the crying and chaos and unaccomplishments happened. I have this itty-bitty suspicion it’s like one of those light drizzles that’s left over after the huge storm that was August passed. *glares at August*

The second half, there were still a bit of chaos and a bit of crying and a bit of unproductiveness, sure. But it was all manageable. And frankly, with the degree of happiness, and chillness, and accomplished-ness that I felt on the second half. Those tiny bits of negative were irrelevant.

interesting finds

In the Blogosphere

Suktara shared some amazingly practical hacks for busy women (and we all need these, believe me.)

Ki’ara discussed why we lose our motivation and offered great tips on how you can keep it.

Brittany argued why it’s best to forget about finding your purpose and it is such an interesting perspective!

Are you listening? Alex talked about active listening – what it is and how you could benefit from it.

We can definitely find happiness in the little things which is why Joy listed down 25 small things she finds joy in.

Amber wrote a comprehensive guide on how to navigate stressful situations.

Lana bravely shared the darkest moment in her life, in hopes of helping others realize that they are not alone. Not gonna lie, this one’s my favorite post I’ve read this month. (And that’s saying something, considering I’ve read dozens!)

The Awesome Side of the Internet

Yes, yes. I know. The Internet can be a jerk sometimes. But it is also filled with authentic and incredibly inspiring human stories. I always believe it only takes one kind heart for other kindness to join in 🙂

<3 Somebody created this masterpiece that is the Avengers: Infinity War anime opening. It’s BRILLIANT. My geeky heart is in paradise.

<3 This tweet DID NOT make me cry. I’m not crying. You are.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

<3 If you want something totally adorable, scroll through this thread of cockatiels. Two is ah-dorable and the other one is downright funny. Watching these videos literally cured my cough.

<3 This comic about purple hair and imposter syndrome is TOTALLY RELATABLE. I can’t even.

recommendations of the month

Feedly app – For Keeping up with Your Fave Bloggers

My problem with the WordPress app is that it’s not so friendly with non-Wordpress blogs. And I rarely open Bloglovin hehe. Feedly is my favorite app to use when I need to quickly browse over all my favorite bloggers’ recent posts. And it has a super simple interface that even tech newbies can navigate!

Google Keep

I honestly don’t know what I would do without Google Keep. Honestly. Making use of Keep beyond just blogging is probably 80% why my second half of September wasn’t so chaotic. I use Keep to take notes on my academic works, putting links to refer back later, blog to-do lists and even reminding myself of my goals. Plus! I recently found out that I can open it on my browser. So when I need to make an outbound link to an article I referred in a post, I don’t have to do some Matrix maneuver with my phone! It is literally a life-saver!

the little things

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

  • I finally finished my application for graduation ahhh!
  • Joined in with a group of super inspiring ladies to work on something super incredible. (This one’s a secret for now 😉 )
  • Achieved my goals of reaching 950 followers on my blog and 90 followers on Instagram. Thank you so much to all of you!!! <3
  • I actually understood finance??? As a context, I hate finance. Of all my major subjects, I despise finance. And it’s so weird that I finally get the underlying theories behind some of the topics.

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

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

  • Cough. Severe my-lungs-want-to-come-out-of-my-ribcage hacking.
  • I still didn’t do a lot of art this month. Still haven’t finished my Kate Harker illustration.
  • I still haven’t repotted Watson’s babies.
  • The rainy season. Which worsened my cough a few times.

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)

  • Reach 1000 followers on here before November 14th (but preferably on October) and 100 followers on Instagram
  • Do two full-color illustrations. The Kate Harker one and another cutesy weapon-yielding girl.
  • Join in on Inktober for 20 days tops.

Last Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Read a Rumi passage a day. Nope. This didn’t come through at all. But! Sometime in the last week of September I was able to read a chapter of a nonfiction book a day. So can I’m calling that a 10% success? Yes or yes?

Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Read a chapter of a nonfiction book a day.  I might as well continue on to this for October since I’ve already accomplished it in the last several days of September. Also hoping I’d finish a couple of nonfiction books this way.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

How was your September? Is there a goal you want to reach next month? Let me cheer you on!

xx Kate

August Side Notes: A Melting Pot of Sweat, Tears and Hurried To-Dos

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.

The Japanese has this eating game called yaminabe.

Literally translates to “dark night (yami) pot (nabe)”, it’s a whole ‘nother level of pot luck where you and your friends gather around a cooking pot and, with the lights off, throw in whatever ingredients each of you brought into the pot. And you have to eat whatever you got.

That pretty much sums up my August.

Life just threw in whatever it wants into my pot and all I could do is eat what I pick up and get through it. It was a tornado of a month and I’m just glad it’s over.

On that note, there won’t be any #DrawMyBooks section this month because I only read one (ONE) book in August and I decided I’ll just put it together with next month’s books. It’s kinda sad but not entirely surprising. Our semester started this month so I spent most of August getting back into uni mode and juggling college and my creative hobbies.

But enough about that, let’s get on with this!

interesting finds

In the Blogosphere

Queen of Spreadsheets, Shealea, shared some ah-mazing tips on making use of spreadsheets to up your blogging game.

Rebekah talked about disability discrimination and how it’s still an issue today and you need to read it N O W.

Alex listed three reasons a good idea is optional in creating. And if you’re a creative, specifically a writer, this one’s for you.

Debbie discussed about relatable villains and questionable heroes and mentioned The Darkling so you could be sure it’s a great post. (No bias here at all.)

Jenny shared how she fits self-care into her everyday life, because self-care isn’t just the occasional mani-pedi session but something we need to incorporate into our daily lives.

Ashley wrote an amazing piece about finding closure when a friendship ends — and it is super relatable!

“It’s true that in losing a friend, you still go through the five stages of grief.”

Jade listed down five ways to increase your motivation when you’re struggling with depression.

Nancy mused about finding time for the things that you love and listed some of the things she makes time for. AND I’M ALL FOR IT.

Abi published this super empowering post on embracing your sexuality as a woman.

Phil talked about “The Urgent Rush” which is when parents get worried that their kids don’t develop a certain thing at a certain age.

The Awesome Side of the Internet

Yes, yes. I know. The Internet can be a jerk sometimes. But it is also filled with authentic and incredibly inspiring human stories. I always believe it only takes one kind heart for other kindness to join in 🙂

<3 This creative video I found on Twitter

<3 Ava DuVernay inspiring message

<3 If you watched Bear in the Big Blue House back when you were a kid, someone found the lost last episode of the series here. A guaranteed tear-jerker.

<3 These beautiful art by Hayley (@FrockMeImFamous on Twitter) and the touching story behind it.

<3 These precious boys dancing to the music of this precious violinist.

recommendations of the month

I Need To Start a Garden EP by Haley Heynderickx

Shoutout to my best friend for recommending this artist to me (she knows my music taste so well <3) Haley is an absolute fab, adorkable human being and her songs just bring me inner peace – the kind you would need when you’re going back to school. Give “Oom Sha La La” a listen. It’s such a happy song but also very honest. You can check her out on Spotify here.

Blogging Buddies Facebook Group

Created by the blogger fairy godmother, Ruth, this Facebook group is an amazing place to connect with fellow bloggers and ask for blogging-related advice and share tips as well. Thanks to this group, I discovered tons of awesome bloggers whose websites I wouldn’t have been able to stumble upon otherwise!

the little things

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

  • Got friends on all my classes, yay!
  • Started a blog Instagram account and reached 50 followers in two weeks, omggg??? (As a context, it took me 2-freakin-years to reach 100 followers on my old account)
  • Drank more water, whoop whoop!
  • Reached 500 followers on Twitter, whattt <3
  • Finished a month’s worth of art journaling! (contrary to popular belief, I’m not good with keeping up long commitments like drawing everyday for a month so this is really a huge achievement for me)

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

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

  • My calculator game was off like you wouldn’t believe. As an accounting student, I need to solve long problems as fast as possible, and I was just a hot mess for the past few weeks while solving sample problems, ugh. Get it together, Kate!
  • I had a mini writer’s block and wasn’t able to write my September posts on time. BUUUT! I used a five-item to-do list every time I started to feel overwhelmed and it helps a lot!
  • I wasn’t able to create a lot of art.

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)

  • Finish my Kate Harker illustration.
  • Repot my cactus, Watson’s babies. (Still had to do this. I’m so sorry, Watson!)
  • Reach 950 followers on here.

Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Read a Rumi passage a day for thirty days. (Wish me luck!)

Who’s currently your favorite artist? What were your goals in August? Did you achieve them? Share them all below!

 

Side Notes: A Monthly Wrap Up by yours truly

*inhales deeply*

Alright. I’ve done this before. And over the course of this blog, it had two different names. None of which stuck. They say three’s a charm and three is my favorite number so I’m doing this again. For the third time.

In my journey to nourishing and flourishing my creativity and personal growth, I’ve come across plenty of interesting, and incredibly inspiring things. Some eventually become some of my best posts here. Some… just don’t fit in anywhere. I’ve been mulling over creating a platform where I could share all these doesn’t-fit-anywhere interesting and incredibly inspiring things. So. Here we go again. *crosses fingers and toes*

side notes

July is my comeback month. I wish I could say that I re-entered the blogosphere wearing shades and my suit jacket flapping behind me and some kickass music playing in the background. You know, super cool and all. But it was more like Harry coming back from spiritual King’s Cross, pretending to be dead and was suddenly like, “Hullo! I’m not dead yet, folks!”

Anyway, let’s get cracking!

interesting finds

In the Blogosphere

Syaza wrote about how to find yourself when you’re feeling lost. It is an incredible piece, and I loved it so so much! Below is one of my favorite quotes (Which, by the way, was super hard to pick because she’s written so many noteworthy quotes!)

“It’s odd that we’d find ourselves only when it’s the right time to. When we’re young, it’s typical to be turbulent.”

Lily talked about why we need more confident female characters in books. All throughout reading this, I was nodding my head (like yeah). Because, yes, growing your self-confidence is something a lot of girls in particular struggle with.

Ruth shared her experience of making a Youtube video for the first time. I’m all for doing the stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed of doing and not listening to what fear is telling you. Ruth said it best, “Do something scarier and then the other option won’t seem so bad.”

Nati wrote about friendships — specifically female friendships — and why some lasts a lifetime while others only last a minute (or, you know, very very shortly.)

In the midst of all the book piracy talks on Book Twitter, Shealea compiled a super informative list of ways you can get books legally and for free or at a discount. Also, if you want an extensive list of upcoming Asian-inspired novels, she has two lists for fantasy and sci-fi books.

Mark at These Foreign Roads shared some of the snaps they took while in Colombia and, boy, artist me went *heart eyes* and drooled and wanted more of those amazing Colombian street art.

The Awesome Side of the Internet

Yes, yes. I know. The Internet can be a jerk sometimes. But it is also filled with authentic and incredibly inspiring human stories. I always believe it only takes one kind heart for other kindness to join in 🙂

<3 This Twitter thread story about a boy and his yellow shirt (for those who wants unbelievable pureness and innocence, and lots and lots of waterworks)

<3 The responses for this r/relationships post about a girl with weird (translation: super cool witchy) hobbies.

(side note: I realized, although you can still see other people’s responses, you won’t be able to read the original post so check out the screencaps on Twitter here)

<3 The lovely comment section of this Youtube video filled with so much love and– mygosh, you wouldn’t expect such compassion in the Youtube comment section but there you go.

Books I Read This Month

(Why yes! I will have a book-related section in this no-holds-barred monthly post. Expect nothing less from me.)

Ree (or rvsalochka in Instagram) created this monthly thing, #DrawMyBooks, where you create an illustration of the books you read this month. This is a brilliant idea and I love it because, well, books + art is definitely my cup of tea.

While I did start reading tons of books in July, I only finished reading three books this month. I’m not upset, though. I’ve come to a point where I no longer beat myself over reading goals. I read whatever I want to read at the moment. Sometimes it takes weeks for me to finish a book, sometimes I’ll be done with a series over the weekend. Both scenarios are completely fine for me.

  • Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster || 🌟 5 delicious cookies || Whimsical and heartwarming. (Read my full review of it here.)
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang || 🌟 5 piping hot muffins || Reading the blurb, I thought it was a steamier The Rosie Project, but gosh it totally isn’t! It’s steamy alright, but it’s also incredibly romantic and I absolutely adored Michael’s Vietnamese family.
  • Rapture by Alex P. Wu || 🌟 4 sharp knives || An interesting and thought-provoking read. I rarely read dystopian, sci-fi now but this has a nice combination of action and themes that will leave you thinking deeply. Also! Zero romance, yas!

recommendations of the month

Making Sense of Diet and Food from the Straight and Curly podcast

As someone who is becoming more aware of the food I eat, I really loved this three-part series from the Straight and Curly podcast. I’ve mentioned the podcast before and this is honestly one of the best self-improvement podcasts out there. If you’re looking to try out Whole 30, ketogenic, another kind of diet or just want to start being more conscious of what you eat, Kelly and Carly packed some pretty awesome and practical tips in this series. You can check out the three-part Making Sense of Diet and Food series here.

The Every Damn Day List by Sarah von Bargen

Let me just say, Sarah is one of my blogging superheroes. I LOVE her blog. Her writing inspires me, and she is hilarious! She is practical but there is certainly an undeniable magic in the way she sees the world. The Every Damn Day List will help anyone who struggles in not feeling productive, especially in slump days. Check out her post on why you need one and how to make it!

the little things

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

  • Got my blogging mojo back, yay!
  • My blog’s new look eep!
  • Reached 400 followers on Pinterest, yay! (side note: I’m looking for more people to follow, so leave me your Pinterest links below or message me on Pinterest @/allthetrinkets!)
  • Finally finished my internship and thesis, whoop whoop!
  • Improved on painting skin, whee <3 I love the way I draw noses now, too!

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

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

  • Sleep deprivation due to thesis and internship and just this entire semester in general. It is awful to go to work or school with eyes as heavy as golf balls, folks. I seriously advise against it.
  • I had an upset stomach for a whole week. I got so anxious and worried that there’s a problem with my gut, but, lo and behold, it was gone when my period came. I just hope this won’t be a regular PMS thing. That would suck so bad.
  • Insect bites urgh. For some reason, I don’t get this during the summer but gawd do I have TONS during the rainy season.
  • The waiting game for the release of my final grade for a subject. At the time of writing this I am a bundle of worrying nerves.

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)

  • Finish these two art WIP that I haven’t touched in months.
  • Repot my cactus, Watson’s babies. They’re crowding their parent’s pot — it’s like a mini cactus jungle or something.
  • Finish reading two nonfiction and two fiction books.

With that, I’ll leave you with these two beautiful words that I somehow find poetic and an auditory delight: “unplucked eyebrows.” Is anyone with me in this??

Do you have an awesome post in July that I missed? Share the links of your July post below!

Also: if you have any blogging event this August or September that you want me to feature, feel free to let me know in the comments or shoot me an email!

Photo from StockSnap

Is Having a Niche Really THAT Important?

A quick history about me and this blog: I hated the word “niche”. Seriously. I hated it with passion. I winced at the very word whenever I see it.

In the early days of this blog, I used to rally against its importance. I think I’ve had a few blog posts talking about how I honestly believed you don’t need a niche to have a successful blog.

Do I still believe that now? ABSOLUTELY.

Is Having a Niche Really THAT Important? | Here's what you can do if you plan on going nicheless because the niche life is not meant for you | Blogging tips, Niche blogging

Not gonna lie, though, sometimes I catch myself doubting. Wondering what would happen if I just pick a niche and write most of my posts under that one topic.

Will my blog be more “successful” than I am now?
Will my blog’s growth rate be higher?
Will I feel more validated by all the numbers?
Will the likes of Neil Patel and Lauren Hooker finally notice me* and my tiny blog??

*I need to know, ok???

So let’s take a look at some pros of niche blogging, shall we?

Pros of Having a Niche

Brainstorming for post ideas is a piece of cake*

Since you already have an established niche, you don’t really have to think so hard about what to talk about. You simply need to think of subtopics from one or two general ones. If you’re a fashion and beauty blogger, you can brainstorm for fashion- and beauty-related blog topic ideas.

*Okay, let’s be real here. Brainstorming for post ideas is NEVER cake. (Or if it is, it’s Hagrid’s super-difficult-to-eat rock cake) But you know what I mean.

You can build a dedicated readership and an engaged community around your blog

Finding readers interested in your topic and fellow bloggers who has the same niche is easy (or at least, easier compared to nicheless bloggers.) If you’re good at your niche and you’ve established yourself as someone knowledgeable about it, people will go to you when they need answers or solutions to questions related to your niche.

Which makes sense, really.

I mean, wouldn’t you go ask help for your Herbology homework to Neville rather than to Draco?

Partnering with brands and sponsorships

If you’re looking to partner with brands, having a niche makes it easier to find the perfect brands for you. Or at least, that’s what I’ve heard and observed.

Companies often approach blogs that usually talk about niches related to their brands. Beauty products look for beauty bloggers, restaurants reach out to food bloggers, and unicorn companies reach out to me. Or at least I’m waiting for them to.

Growing your blog becomes easier

Because you can build a dedicated readership more easily and you have the chance to place yourself as an expert of your niche, the growth of your blog is, often times, faster compared to when you don’t have a niche. Readers and visitors generally prefer it when they know what to expect from you. So if you give them that consistency in your blog content, you will be loved.


All of these have one common denominator: niche is good for blog growth. You know, the technical kind. The numbers, the stats, the brand partnerships. The typical criteria for knowing whether you are a successful blogger.

Now let’s look at the cons, yeah?

Cons of Having a Niche

You’re limited to the topic you’ve chosen

I mean. I’m not saying you’re utterly forbidden to talk about the nitty-gritty marketing and then you’d suddenly post pictures of your puppy and tortoise fighting over a banana. But there will be people who’ll think, “Really? You could’ve posted that somewhere else.”

Remember when I said people like it when they know what to expect from you? Well there you go.

It gets meh over time

If you’re anything like me, sticking to just one topic could get boring real quick. You can’t expect me to talk about graphic-printed socks for ten consecutive days. I’ll die from blog exhaustion.

Your blog doesn’t stand out

Especially when the niche you pick is a saturated one (like fashion) or a really really narrow one (like green bananas*). How do you plan on making yourself different from the rest of the crowd? Plenty of ways, actually. But I’ll leave that for another post. Still the challenge to get people to read your blog is bigger.

*It was something off the top of my head (hek hek)


Now see, these three things weigh far heavier to me than any amount of pros. I’m a multi-passionate creative person. If my creativity gets restrained, it’s a deal breaker, Martha. Find someone else.

This is why having a niche isn’t important to me. Still. I’m not gonna lie and say I couldn’t care less if my blog grows or not.

Of course I do.

It’s a lovely sense of achievement to witness your little corner in the Interwebs be read by hundreds of people. Not to mention, the healthy amount of validation* I get from people who find what I write about enjoyable or inspiring. It’s a healthy boost of self-esteem and makes me more confident in what I do.

So what can I do instead? How can I create that sense of consistency found in niche blogs into my blog?

*Yes I like being validated. I’m only human ok???

One word: focus.

Ever since I picked a focus for my blog, it has been far easier for me to:

+ think of future blog post ideas
+ establish my blog identity and what my blog is all about
+ find blogs who talk about similar topics as I do

I like to think of focus as the chiller, more relaxed version of niche. You know, greets the neighbor’s dog, drinks 100% apple juice every night, does yoga every weekend. That kind of guy. He cool and not so stern.

You can blog about supposedly different topics so long as you keep your focus in mind.

For example, my focus is on finding and helping others find creativity, passion and inspiration. And this could manifest in different ways: life lessons from a chicken, listening to a podcast, something that happened in my life.

But with every post, the one thing I always think about is, “Hmm, what’s so inspiring about this story? What insight can I share?”

I even do this with tags. I mean, I might be extremely lucky since all tags I’ve been tagged so far has either one inspiration-leading question or the tag itself is created to spread love and inspire others (aka the beautiful and awesome Kiya’s Beautiful Is Tag)

My point here is, by establishing your blog’s focus, the blogging life gets easier. You can have a good amount of perks a niche blog has without feeling like you’ve squeezed every ounce of gray matter out of your brain thinking of a blog post topic related to that one niche.

The question now is: should you follow my footsteps?

As the great Dumbledore once said: Yes. And no.

Whether you’re a niche blogger or a nicheless one, a sense of consistency in your content has to be present. And if you’re the latter, no doubt having a focus is a good alternative for picking a niche.

But remember: it is not, and will never be, essential to your blog’s growth. The kind that’s beyond the numbers. The kind that will impact you and others in a deeper level.

It is only one of many ways.

At the end of the day, it is up to you whether or not you want to pick a niche or a focus or just go and be completely spontaneous with creating your content. What does not work for me or other bloggers, may work for you.

You do you, my friend. And I mean that in the best, most positive way 😉

YOUR TURN: Do you think having a niche is important? Do you have a niche? What other pros are there that I missed out? Are you nicheless like me? Do you have a focus for your blog? What do you struggle the most about blogging?

I would love to hear your thoughts! 🙂 Share them below!

PS. Did anyone notice the teeeeny-tiny changes I made in my featured image??? 😀 That’s in preparation for a huge blog makeover I’m planning to have soon! Eep! I’m super excited! 😀

Happy blogging, awesome peep! 😉

Introducing Fourth Friday Fangirling!

I’ve been meaning to create a monthly feature where I feature awesome blog posts, blogs, and bloggers that I found during the month. I used to have that included in a monthly wrap up before but I tossed the wrap up out the window.

Still, the thought of having a monthly space that’s dedicated to spreading love in the blogosphere was still there simmering in the back of my mind, waiting to be cooked enough for me to serve to the world.

new feature in blog Fourth Friday Fangirling

Two things happened last month during my blogging break that resulted to me finally starting this idea:

1) The White Bear Online whose suggestion in the comments as you see below is as amazing as her <3

2) That “There’s No Room for More Bloggers” Debacle that happened a few weeks ago.

If you’re not familiar with said debacle, here’s the three-point outline:

+ Some huge blogger got interviewed in some magazine

+ Said huge blogger was “being completely honest” in thinking there’s no more space for more bloggers

+ It was controversial (if that previous point wasn’t blatantly obvious)

I mean, I guess I can (barely) see what the blogger was trying to convey? That for you to be commercially successful in the blogosphere, standing out is key. But she can’t escape the fact that the way she worded it was utterly discouraging and disheartening. Which is a huge reason as any to give some lovin’, in my opinion.

And so Fourth Friday Fangirling is born!

What in the world do you want to achieve with this, Kate?

I want to create this hub to promote hidden gem bloggers and, hopefully spread the love. I know my reach with this blog isn’t that far but All the Trinkets is a blog for passion and I want to share other bloggers’ awesomeness to as many people as I can 🙂

So why the name?

1) I checked the calendar and there are at least four Fridays in a month.

2) While there are months with five Fridays, “Final Friday” seem… gloomy, doesn’t it? Like it’s the last Friday of your existence? Yish, I don’t want that kind of mood here.

3) Fangirling is a part of me, and I’m basically fangirling over blog-related stuff 😀

4) I don’t want to do it on the first Friday ehehe

Why just once a month, Kate?

I actually want this to be a weekly thing, but a) I know I’ll be in crunch for time the coming months with class starting soon so that’s impossible and b) I want to spend the entire month to actually check out and discover blogs and bloggers.

I don’t want to just pick someone, say some nice things and call it a day. I want to really check them out and see firsthand all the awesomeness they possess. I want to be in love with their blog and what they do. So by fourth Friday, fangirling for them is like total piece o’ cake 🙂

What are the subheadings of this feature?

While I want this feature to be focused on spreading some blogging love, I also want it to be really bubbly and full of gushing. So here’s a quick breakdown of the feature:

Blogging (of course) – Fave blogger of the month, newbie blogger I’m totally in love with, blog design that is so eye-drooling, blog post that moved my heart to Pluto and back, awesome blogs that I discovered that month. I’m picking four, depending on what I find.

World – Happy and inspiring things that happened in the world. Because don’t y’all think we need the frequent reminder that goodness still exists?

Interests – From books to inspirational quotes to music and beyond.

When is this starting?

This month yo! 😀

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I start my blog binge-reading.

Your turn: Do you have any projects you recently started in your blog? Any changes you made or new things you added? Share them below!

Happy blogging, awesome peeps!


Edit: I made a mistake. It wasn’t The Gecko Online but The White Bear Online who commented that suggestion, whoops. Don’t worry, The Gecko Online, you’re still awesome 🙂

The Uniquely Me Tag | Tag Tuesday

I thought I’ll be running out of Tag Tuesdays to post at present and I’ll bring this temporary, will-be-irregular feature of my blog in the shelf until I’ll do another catching-up in the feature. But I got this just last week and I simply KEN-NOT put this award in the shelf for the future because:

a) It’s made by the amazing Elm and I am super STOKED to do a tag she made!

b) One of the most amazing teen bloggers I know just made a blogging comeback and nominated me for this.

So here I go!

The Uniquely Me Tag | Which reached nearly 1000 words... BUT I HAVE NO REGRETS!

Enter a caption

THE RULES

  1. Thank the person that nominated you for this tag and link to their blog (spread the love, basically).
    As I mentioned above, Ash of Call Me Ash nominated me for this tag. She is pure amazeballs-turned-human and she is the wonderful brain behind last Christmas’s Bloggers’ Secret Santa, which I more-than-enjoyed and she knows it 😉 Thank you, you amazing Ash you!
  2. Write as many things that are unique to you as possible: these can be things that you do, say, like or have that make you different to other people or let you stand out. It can be what defines you as a person, a little thing about you that is just simply you or something little known that you think makes you up as a person.
  3. Nominate up to 10 bloggers or as many as you like; there isn’t a limit.
  4. You can take this tag as seriously or non-seriously as you like; you can laugh whilst doing it or feel contemplative: this is about you, after all. Elm, you beautiful human. This is what I love about you <3
  5. After you’ve written this and if you ever feel like there’s nothing to you but what other people have already said and done, look back to your post and remember that it isn’t true.

Unique Things About Moi

<3 I love so many things. Like seriously. SO MANY. I am an ultimate fangirl–I fangirl over both moving and non-moving things, concrete and abstract things.

<3 My definition of ‘cute’ is super broad when it comes to animals. It could even encompass dangerous predators like killer whales and lions as well as what other people would describe as weird animals. I like to believe that every animal is beautiful in its own way, just like every human being is.

<3 I have a pretty wild imagination. I see a random object or person doing something trivial or a certain scene, my mind could easily come up with bizarre backstories for it.

<3 That said, I believe that the world–even more so, the universe–is big enough that man has yet to uncover half of its mysteries. And that’s okay for me. Mysteries make life more interesting 😀

<3 I like to people-watch. And I think it’s more fun than small talks.

<3 I have a high sense of social justice. That doesn’t mean I immediately side with the minority or the poor though. Because I’ve seen financially less fortunate people use their financial standing to get what they want and even that’s not fair, isn’t it?

<3 I love learning. Heck, if I was a demigod, I would be a child of Athena, no doubt. Buuut, I don’t really like school and studying. *smiles sheepishly*

<3 I sometimes think I am a walking paradox. I am hopeful and cynical. I accept the fact that the world can be impossibly harsh but this doesn’t stop me from looking for goodness hidden beneath all the awful. And it’s hard sometimes. I mean, you wouldn’t believe the heated debates happening in my mind when these two parts of me clash–and they do, often.

<3 I am such a daydreamer. Like seriously. There was a time when I thought, “Could I be a chicken whisperer??”

My Nominations

Kiya of Flawed Silence – Who (and I will never get tired of saying this) is just the Most Amazing Person EVAR. She made this amazing post last year which was the first post I read of hers (about the definition of support) and I immediately loved her writing, still do!

May of Forever and Everly – Who I only knew today and I seriously love how she doesn’t hold back on her all-caps talk and fangirl screams <3 That wild positive energy is just so contagious! 😀

C of A Girl and Depression – Whose blog I also only recently found. I have yet to binge-read her blog but I read and loved this post where she talked about finding beautiful things in life and she also shared her equally beautiful photographs of different flowers and- OHMIGOSH YOU HAVE SUCCULENTS! <3

Lia of Lost in a Story – Who totally OWNED the Button theme she used for her blog. I plan on binge-reading her Bad Book Project (which I’ve been wanting to read since February but school was the attention-seeking goblin that it is) this week. I am at awed at her and the rest of the participants of Camp NaNoWriMo this month and I wish you all good luck!

Kate of Girl Masked – Who is my name-mate and one of the kindest person in Twitter. She is so brave to share the experiences she has in her blog. And she’s super sweet!

Heidi of Little Latte Library – Whose blog I also just checked out recently. (Yes, I’m catching up on checking out new blogs and they’re all ah-mazing!) And AHHH where do I begin? She wrote this amazing post about our college degrees not defining who we are, her blog images are topnotch grade A+, and on that note, her Instagram is almost like a book photography Nirvana for me.

*cough* This is weird fangirling for people, three of whom whose blogs I only recently found, isn’t it? Pardon me.

Anyway, I’m short of people so… if you have unique traits in you, I nominate you!!!

Happy Tuesday, awesome peeps! <3

How Blogging Helped Me Grow Academically

It’s funny how I partially use blogging to escape my academic woes. Whenever I’m having headaches because of groupmates who drain my brain cells faster than the current political news, I’ll be like, “AHHHH I’ll open WordPress to replenish brain cells!”

And where did that get me?

Blogging, bless it, helped me grow and improve some skills that are useful in school.

Who knew it would turn that way, eh? 😀

How Blogging Helped Me Grow Academically | It’s funny how I partially use blogging to escape my academic woes. And blogging, bless it, helped me grow and improve some skills that are useful in school.

1 – Essays are easier to write

By far, this is what amazed me the most. A few weeks ago, I had to scrounge up a terminal report in less than 12 hours. (Don’t follow me, kids.) And if this happened three years ago, I would have already run my way to the teacher’s office, prattled my list of excuses and begged for at least a 12-hour extension.

But college doesn’t really work that way—unless you’ve got a really valid excuse, like you were in an accident or something. But it surprised me how, now, it is so easy for words to come out of my mind and into fingers pressing keys.

I like to think that my (very loose) writing process for blogging helped a lot with organizing my thoughts and on proofreading as well 🙂

2 – Better photo-editing!!! (And on that note, video-editing!)

This one was unexpected.

I know photo-editing is important when you have your own blog, and especially if you do everything by yourself. But I never knew that I’ll need this same photo-editing skill for school.

In another example of a recent project-cramming (that, again, you kids shouldn’t follow) I had to create a 14-page magazine that serves as the final exam for one of my minors. I can’t be totally blamed this time since my groupmates were too busy with their majors to give a rat’s butt on this teeny tiny minor subject. (And no, these weren’t the brain-cells-draining groupmates I mentioned earlier.)

But I was on the verge of pulling my hair out in anxiousness with how chill they all seem.

Image result for frustration gif

“The deadline is in TWO-FREAKIN-DAYS, guys???”

I never not pass a project. And I never do things half-heartedly. So I bought glossy paper and asked them for their individual articles and started editing each page. With two days left before deadline.

And by some kind of miracle, I finished everything in a day. Until now, I cry at how agonizing that day was.

I’m really thankful for my stash of royalty-free images, graphics, and fonts. I also wouldn’t be able to work so fast if I didn’t use Photoshop that frequently for my blog.

And so again, bless you, blogging.

3 – Communicating with other people online

Did you know that the Kate pre-blogging was shy both in real-life and online? I was a lurker. I didn’t reach out to practical strangers and I only occasionally chatted with my friends on Facebook (because, pft duh, we see each other the next-freaking-day anyway.)

Gosh, I didn’t even have Instagram and Twitter three years ago!

If I was still a lurker today, I don’t think Cait of Paperfury (OMG my ultimate book-blogger hero!) would ever notice my wee presence in the Twitter-sphere. (Yep, I’m making my own word hahaha)

Blogging helped me in having the guts to reach out to people online. First in blogs’ comments, then emailing bloggers, and then in social media. The reassurance that these fellow bloggers are all awesome and gracious enough to tolerate my weirdness (and had cute and amazing quirks themselves) had a HUGE impact on me and built my self-confidence.

And I’ll never (I mean never) get tired of saying THANK YOU SO MUCH ALL YOU AMAZING UNICORNS/LLAMAS/NARWHALS/ALPACAS/DRAGONS for being the amazing people that y’all are <3

How did blogging helped your life? I would love to hear your stories!

Happy blogging, awesome peeps!

Mystery Blogger Award | Tag Tuesday

Hey there, everyone! Let’s get on with this, yeah?

  • Display the award logo on your blog prenos-11
  • List the rules. Copy.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. Edit: Crap. My brain was (figuratively) soup already last night when I posted this.
    The ever amazing Anna of Diversion3000 nominated me for this. Y’all check her ah-mazing blog out if you haven’t already.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. Wait, who created this?
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  • Answer five questions from the nominator. Okie.
  • Nominate from 10 to 20 bloggers.
  • Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

Three Things about Moi:

+ I don’t eat too many candy or chocolate. I love ’em, I really do. But I guess being selfish with them when I was a kid (and having a 5-year toothache as a result) made me be like, “Nope, no more, Kate.” On the other hand…

+ I can gorge on as many fruits as my stomach will let me. Seriously. I got home from school one time and (as I usually do) checked the fridge and saw a plateful of pineapple chunks (not the canned one, btw.) I brought it with me while watching afternoon cartoon shows and before I knew it, there was only one chunk left.

+ My blog reached 500! Oh my lord, I am so stoked about it! Thank you so much for all of you who have clicked that subscribe button. You all mean so much to me and hopefully after all my exams this week, I’ll be able to reach out to you guys more because I miss reaching out to all you awesome peeps out there.

Anna’s Questions:

  1. When was the last time you had a Deja Vù?
    I think yesterday? I have this thing going on where something happens and a few minutes later I’m like, “Wait. Did that happen before?” My brain’s weird that way hahaha
  2. Velvet or silk?
    No doubt: velvet. Silk is cool, honestly. But I am seriously in love with velvet.
  3. What do you usually have for breakfast?
    Rice and breakfast-y food like eggs and canned tuna. Typical modern Filipino breakfast.
  4. What do you think about skateboards? Nah, just kidding: What’s the most embarrassing/craziest thing you’ve ever done in front of your crush?
    I like to answer the first one, actually xD I think skateboards are cool and I’d want to learn them but I have poor coordination sooo ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    As for the embarrassing thing… back in high school, we had a Valentine’s Day schoolwide activity and I was “handcuffed” using rope with my then-crush. It wasn’t in front of him but more like beside him. With our hands tied together.
  5. When was the last time you cut your hair? How was the hairstyle like?
    Eyyy. Last year. Like August or October? So it’s pretty recent. I cut my hair real short, around a few centimeters below the chin and it’s only recently reached shoulder-length 🙂

My Best Post:

How about! You go put a random word on the search bar over there and click what appears first, eh? 😀

The Awesome Peeps I Nominate:

Kiya (who is the most awesome person in the blogosphere in this humble girl’s eyes and yes, I’m kinda biased because she mah soul twin from another mother two years and many miles apart :D)

Mahriya (who makes some of the most ah-mazing blog headers I’ve seen)

Girl from Ghana (who wrote this MUST READ poem about God, tradition and morality. Like seriously. Read it.)

Farah (who has the most amazing white-themed Instagram I’ve ever seen! Also Farah, *whispers excitedly* I LOVE YOUR HEADER’S FONT)

Ignited Moth (who’s an awesome artist and whose art style I love so much. It kinda reminds me of Tim Burton’s Sally? ^_^)

Cheila (who is someone I knew just recently and is a sweet and genuine human being)

Hannah Grace (who created one of the best Valentine’s Day-related post last February. Reading her part of it now still gives me chills and moves me.)

White Bear Online (who I only know recently and wrote this interesting post about fear and changes. We’ve all been there, yeah?)

Smriti (who is my 500th follower. Thank you lovely! Am sending you a virtual cookie jar full of your fave cookie 🙂 <3)

My Questions:

  1. What or who inspired you to blog?
  2. What was the biggest obstacle you overcame last year? Or recently, really?
  3. What’s your everyday mantra?
  4. If you’re allowed one impossible thing only you can do, what would that be?
  5. What’s your spirit mythical creature?

See how I only have 9 bloggers nominated? That means you can do the tag if you want to! 🙂

Happy Tuesday, awesome peeps! 😉

5 Blogging Lessons I Learned In Two Years

I’ve been blogging for about two years already. *blows party trumpets* And while that felt like dog years to some others, I’ve learned a few things in blogging that I take with me to this day.

blogging-lessons-I-learned-in-2-years

I’m not gonna say I’m an expert already because I sure feel way opposite of that. But these are blogging lessons I’ve personally learned in my two years of running (ooh! That sounded professional) this blog. And I thought I could share them with you today.

1| The People are Awesome

You know that saying about surrounding yourself with awesome people? That goes the same online. The blogosphere people–readers and bloggers alike–really are nice. I always feel happy when I think about this online community I’ve joined in, specifically WordPress. Everyone’s supportive and encouraging.

Sure, there are jerks lurking in some corners and one can’t really make them go away forever. (Although that’s not stopping me from continuing to report that perv bozo in the Teen tag.) But how I see it, those trolls just lift the value and goodness of everyone else who are being honest and kind. As they say, you can’t make a light go brighter if there’s no darkness. 😉

2 | The Blogosphere is Filled to the Brim with Inspiration

Seriously. Anywhere you go, you will find inspiration. It could be the topic or a certain line the blogger has used or even the blogger him/herself. This is why I try to spend as much time browsing my Reader for new blogs as I can.

Honestly, sometimes it makes me feel like a turnip in a rose garden. And I’m gonna lie if I said I’ve never caught the Blog Envy flu. (I have, once or twice) But then that just makes me feel even more pumped up and determined to make my blog better.

That said, tamping down my competitive streak when blogging was hard but totally worth it. There is no intense competition here so you might as well leave your competitive hat at home. Instead, share the love and spread happy vibes!

One blog, and the awesome blogger friend behind it, that never fails to inspire me is Kiya of Flawed Silence. Her posts always makes me feel motivated. All in all, she is an awesome unicorn, you guys, so go check her blog out!

3 | Your Blog Can Be Anything You Want It to Be

The beauty of blogging, and this is often looked through, is that it can be anything. Your blog is your little space in the Interwebs–whether you’re using a free platform or a paid one. It is yours and you can make it into anything you want it to be. Sure, there are limitations to using a free platform but I think that just sparks up my resourcefulness. And this doesn’t stop me from making my blog look pretty.

A great example of a free-platform blog that’s killing it is The Young Hopeful, it’s a college-related blog and if you’re on Pinterest and search up for college tips, you’ll see this blog at the top. Imagine my giddy surprise when I learned they’re running on free platform.

(P.S.: I have a board in Pinterest specifically for college tips and other secret formulas for surviving college life. 😉 Check it out!)

4 | Acknowledge the Learning Curves

This is something that I think a newbie blogger must know. Specifically those who want to blog as a hobby or for personal development *raises hand excitedly* and have plans on growing their blogs in the future *raises hand again*

If you’re completely new to blogging, you have to acknowledge that there are and will be learning curves to pass through. And I mean in everything! Finding your voice, the perfect blogging schedule, writing process, DIY-ing your blog design, etc.

Unless of course you’re a talented snowflake and you just know you were born to blog, then maybe you won’t have that much of a learning curve to go through.

But for the rest of us mere mortals, suck it up and don’t expect that you’ll have like 100000 pageviews at day one. I’m not trying to be Jenny Raincloud here; it’s realistic and being ready for this will avoid disappointments and unreached expectations.

Personally, I find the learning curves to be amazing experiences. Even now I’m trying to learn the bits and bobs in blogging and I take them all one day at a time.

5 | You Don’t Have to Heed All Advice

Ha, if you’ve been here a long time you’ll know I’ll have this little detail included, especially since we’re talking about blogging: take every advice you get with a grain of salt. In my case, I don’t have to listen to those find-a-niche advice.

Know that while these people are experts and they know what they’re talking about, only you can truly experience working on your blog. Only you can tell what works for you and what doesn’t.

I have many mottos and one of it is, “There is no standard solution for anything in life.” There are a million ways to solve a problem but we often like to take the convenient route because there are proofs of people successfully reaching the other side.

I refuse to believe that having a niche blog is the only way to succeed in blogging. So I say, if you want to travel the road less taken, then by all means do!

One other amazing thing about blogging is how much it can help you grow mentally and emotionally. Over the past two years that I’ve had this blog, I feel like I’ve grown as a person and it’s not just to the credit of the blog itself. Every one of you who read my blog is a consistent encouragement for me to keep on going.

So thank you.

Thank you all so much. 🙂 Here’s to another year of spreading creativity, passion and inspiration!

How long have you been blogging? What are the lessons you’ve learned in blogging so far? Share them in the comments or tweet it!

Happy blogging, awesome peeps! 💃

When Things Seem to be Falling Apart

A few times in your life, you would hit a low point. Like the sad chapter in a novel or one of those sad slow montage in movies with rain or sad songs in the background—or even both.

when things seem to be falling apart

And to the viewers and the readers, the bystanders who merely witnessed you at your lowest, it’s not a big deal. It’s a short-lived moment in a bigger picture. A blink of an eye. They’d think you’re being too dramatic. But you know they’re wrong.

They haven’t experienced it the way you have. They don’t know the pain and sadness that only you bear.

They don’t understand.

And so you suffer quietly. Blinking back tears, pushing them far back into your eyes. You try to lift your head up, look at the ceiling, but see nothing through the blur of unshed tears filling your sight.

They don’t see the swell and redness that your eyes should have after crying because you did not shed any tears. You did not cry loudly; no one could hear the song of hurt playing deep inside you.

No, only your body could feel your struggle and your mind was the sole listener of that sad song. The swell wasn’t visible outside because it was your heart that stretched unbearably with bottled up pain.

To the people who are suffering alone, who are crying in the dark or silently inside, to those who feel like things seem to be falling apart around you, please know.

I understand.

I’m one of you. I have felt similarly to what you are feeling now. And let me tell you something honest.

The others are wrong, yes. You are not experiencing a montage that would fade instantly. But they are also right. It is not the end of the world. That burden is not forever. And if it comes to a point when it becomes overwhelming, please.

Please don’t allow yourself to be drowned by your sorrows.

Please remember that you are stronger than your struggles.

Please know that I am here.

If that makes any difference.

I’ve learned to accept that life comes with harshness and cruelty and difficult obstacles but even now I still don’t know the secret formula for passing through each of them with no scratch. I bear with me scars that will never fully heal and I will carry them for the rest of my life. But I refuse to let that stop me from wanting to live the life that I want to lead.

And it mustn’t let you too.

So suffer. Give yourself a moment (or three) to cry, to acknowledge the pain. Mourn for that tiny piece of perfection now wounded and utterly imperfect. Grieve for the loss of happiness but know—truly know—that it’s only temporary.

Because what’s amazing about life, I learned, is that it’s so much bigger than all of us. This makes life uncontrollable and unpredictable. But this also allows life anything inside it. Anything. The possibilities of what will happen next are infinite, as are your choices. Even at times when it feels like you’re cramped tight in a box.

So cry. Be sad. And then choose to be happy, to be hopeful, afterwards.

I know it’s hard; I keep returning in that same position, always struggling every time. But try. Stand back up bearing the scars. Forever with you, a reminder of what you have gone through. There will be moments when they’ll hurt again.

But stand and keep on walking anyway.

Have a happy day, awesome person 😃