create and grow happily

Tag: Motivation & Inspiration (page 1 of 6)

A Quick Guide to Support Your Fave Creatives Online

We know the Internet can be a pretty harsh place. And it is sadly quite common for the creative folks to not be taken seriously as professionals online. Off the top of my head, I can enumerate common scenarios in the Interwebs where creative people have been robbed off of fair compensation or at the very least, credit. And I can tell you right now, I’ve personally experienced at least two of these:

Book bloggers being offered free books in exchange for a book marketing campaign (i.e, organizing blog tours and giveaways)

The “All-Mighty Free Exposure” mentality (rolling my eyes)

Uncredited use of a photographer’s work

Companies justifying free stuff as just compensation for a promotional post.

Bloggers’ posts being blatantly copied word for word.

Big brands utilizing contests to cherry-pick their favored artworks when they could just hire people like any other jobs.

Honestly, these all suck.

Just experiencing one of these sucks.

Creatives are found in almost every nook and cranny of every existing industry. You find creatives in the Interwebs, in markets, and in every conceivable department in a corporate office. Yes, even in infamous “boring jobs” like accounting.
Related: Boredom Boosts Creativity. Here’s How.

Most of all, everyone – and I mean everyone – knows (or at the very least has an inkling) of the importance of creativity. Creativity results visually appealing works and amazing designs. Creativity kickstarts awesome ideas. Think of Tesla’s alternating current. Think of Joy Mangano and her Miracle Mop. Think of the Empress Hsi Ling Shi who saw a bunch of worm cocoons and thought, “Ooh! We can make a cloth out of this!”

Creativity could definitely turn the world upside down.

Creativity is responsible for the first step. That spark of an idea that will gradually rise into incredible fireworks. That tiny seedling that will later become an enormous, beautiful tree. The starting point of success.

It all begins with a creative mind or four.

Which is why we should all appreciate a creative’s work. That said, you don’t have to bank out a million dollars to support your creative friend or loved one! Even the smallest acts of kindness can go a long way. Here are a few ways you can support your creative friends with little to no cost.

How to Support Your Fave Creatives with a Few Bucks

Become their Patron

From artists to bloggers, from booktubers to podcasters, there are plenty of creative folks over on Patreon! Patreon is a website where you can support a group or individual through monthly pledges and basically become their Patrons. There are people who have their pledges start at one dollar and go up from there. And in return, you can get Patron-exclusive goodies and behind-the-scenes. Isn’t that fun! 🙂

Support their Kickstarter campaign

Lots of creatives have Kickstarter campaigns to publish a book or launch a video game. It’s kinda like Patreon except your funding for a creative’s one huge project rather than their monthly income. And since the projects are huge, the goodies you get are huge too.

Buy their products

Almost all creatives sell the product of their awesome creativity. And you can find it ANYWHERE. There are those who sell handmade watercolors and other crafts on Etsy, stickers and prints on RedBubble and Society6, and music on iTunes or Google music. Some even have their own shops for their digital products such as eBooks and workbooks. Which goes to say that you have lots of opportunities to buy your fave creatives’ stuff. Isn’t that great!

Buy them coffee

I know not everyone can afford a fifty-dollar Kickstarter campaign pledge. But there are less expensive ways to support your creative friends! Ko-fi is an online platform where you can, well, buy someone coffee. Technically, you donate three dollars to them to show your appreciation for their work. The best thing about this is that Ko-fi does not take a single cent from your money and it goes straight to your Paypal!

How to Support Your Fave Creatives with Zero Cost

Of course, if you are not able to afford financially supporting your creative friends, you can still show your support through other ways that won’t cost you any money.

<3 Credit them for their work

<3 Share or retweet their posts

<3 Tell your friends and family about them

<3 Give them a shoutout

<3 Link back to their posts

<3 Leave a review on their podcasts or books

<3 Leave a comment on their Instagram post or video on YouTube

<3 Stream their music on Spotify or Bandcamp

<3 Recommend them to people you know

<3 Use their affiliate links

<3 Tell them how much you love their work. (Trust me. This boosts self-confidence 100%)

What other ways do you think you can show your support to your creative friends? Share them in the comments below!

xx Kate

Photos from Ivory Mix and Gabrielle Cole

You Can’t Do What You Want to Do Unless You Start Doing It

Back in 2016, when I was new to Instagram, I was scrolling through all these gorgeous illustrations of freeform watercolor flowers. Videos and images of a slender hand with a paintbrush swirling it like a wand and colors seeping out at the edge of the bristles.

In my eyes, these amazing people were magicians. They were performing purely enchanting magic. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

For hours, I’d dive deep into different watercolor hashtags, witnessing the magic over and over again. At one point, one thought sparked in me.

Almost immediately, it bled into my mind like watercolor paint spreading onto a wet paper:
I want to paint with watercolor too.

Immediately, I shoved the thought away. I grabbed a metaphorical tissue paper and lifted that bleeding watercolor paint off my canvas mind. Because… I couldn’t. I was never good at watercolor, that’s what I kept telling myself. And so I went on with my life, inspired and captivated and completely jealous of the artists I see in my mobile screen.

That is… Until I was standing on the school and office supplies store. In front of a shelf of student quality watercolors.

You know that part when Moana sang about the line where the sky meets the sea, “It calls me”?

That was me in the student grade art supplies aisle that day.

It was one of those few times in my life when I let neither fear nor self-doubt stop me. I didn’t think about anything. I didn’t have an impromptu performance with my chicken and sang about how I’ve been staring at the edge of the water(color) the way Moana did.

Before I knew it, I was at the cashier with a set of watercolor tubes and brushes clutched at each hand.

fear, starting, quotes

That fear that you’re going to suck and it’ll be awful.

On New Things and the Fear of Starting

Listen:

You will suck. That’s probably the most likely scenario.

I’m not saying this to be a Jenny Raincloud, by the way. I’m saying this because it’s true. You’re new to this. Of course you’re not going to master it overnight. Give yourself some slack, my sweet exhausted potato. Embrace the suck.

And if it gives you any comfort, no one started out being a master.

Picasso spent his early days as a painter being ridiculed for his art. He was told his art was not good. PICASSO. (I know this because National Geographic told me.) I’m quite certain that Mozart didn’t come out of his mother’s womb with a piano and composing iconic music after iconic music. And Colonel Sanders! Grandpa KFC, of all people, started out his fried chicken empire far later into his life. These people have achieved success in one way or another. And th good news? They all achieved it in various ways and at various points in their lives.

You can too, if you stop listening to fear.

Why the Fear is There

The first time I attempted to paint galaxy, it ended up looking like a hot pot of guts and brains. You know, the kind that not even the hungriest of zombies would go near.

And I stayed that way for months.

Imagine if you tried inserting the USB plug on your laptop for a hundred times. And miserably failed on all those times? I was that frustrated. Probably 75% of that time I contemplated on throwing everything I bought and never lay my hands on watercolor ever again. The fear was constantly whispering to my ear that I sucked and that we should just stop this. Gosh, it was right there with me at the art supplies aisle. And it was there again when I was about to put my first watercolor stroke on paper. And the next. And the next. Fear is always with us.

But see, friend, here’s what I learned: The fear is there for a reason.

It needs you to be grounded. It needs you to be realistic. To not get your hopes too high up in the clouds. But if you allow that fear to take control, to take full control?

You’ll be so grounded in your place that you wouldn’t be able to move.

And this is where you’ll come in. You have to have your own volition to move. To take the first step. To grab that watercolor from the shelf. To make your first stroke on paper. To write that first sentence. To stand up and speak out. To let fear be with you every step of the way, but to never let it take hold of the wheel.

You can’t do what you want to do unless you do it. You have to turn that wanting into being.

Make “I want to paint” become “I am painting.”

Make “I want to speak out” become “I am speaking out.”

Make “I want to tell this story” become “I am telling this story.”

You can never magically be what you want to be. You have, first of all, to take action.

And once you’ve taken that first step, don’t stop. Because, believe me, I know how harder the next steps will be. And it will be Super Tempting to just shrug off and say, “Eh. I tried.” But the next step is going to be your new first step. So you have to keep at it. You have to keep going.

Until you are what you want.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do for a really long time? Have you taken the first step to do it? If you have, share some tips on how to conquer that fear of starting! We welcome all the wisdom you have 🙂

xx Kate

Photos from Death to Stock and Ivory Mix

9 simple ideas to turn your incredibly sucky, bad day around

It was early in the morning, they’re showing Despicable Me on Disney channel. Pharrell Williams was coolly singing on the background, “I’m having a bad, bad day.” And I just whipped my head towards my brother with the most outraged look, waving vigorously at the TV, “That is ridiculous! No one sounds that cool when they’re having a bad, bad day! NO ONE.”

I said this passionately because I do have a few personal experiences on my belt.

See, I was never sleek or cool or smooth when I’m having a bad, bad day. I’m cranky, my RBF is on Downright-Scary Mode, and I’m storming past every single thing I bumped into. Yes, every-freakin-thing. I even threw my Totoro plushie across the room. (I later cooed him and said I was sorry, though.)

This you?

Welcome to the club, we’ve got jackets.

9 Simple Ideas to Turn Your Bad Day Around | Personal Growth, Self-improvement, Happiness, Mental Health, Happy Life, Lifestyle, Inspiration

Bad days often happen quite spontaneously. You wake up 1% cranky. You’re running late and some lady is taking her sweet time walking in front of you and you can’t walk past her. Now you’re 75% cranky.

Or maybe you wake up 1% unmotivated. Or 1% sad. Or 1% pathetic. My point is, things can add up to that one percent and suddenly it reaches the maximum point.

We wish we could go back down to one percent. But I learned that, once we hop into that bad mood, we ride that downhill path with our foot pressing hard on the gas pedal.

And that’s the thing with bad days: when we have it, we somehow believe it’s gonna be this awful for the entire day. Like the entire twenty-four hours. But folks, as someone who deals with bad day-ness like a lady dragon on PMS, I am telling you:

Bad days can still be turned around.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE DEALING WITH A CASE OF BAD DAY-NESS

1) Do yoga

So my aunt has been doing the “Legs Up the Wall” pose to relieve her tired legs ever since I can remember. But she has NO IDEA it’s a yoga pose. Even I didn’t know until recently! I got this from her and ever since entering college, I do it on nights when I’m completely exhausted. It also works for restarting your day yo! But any kind of yoga pose you want to try is good too. The point is it will help release the tension in your muscles and make you more relaxed.

2) Try meditation

There was this one time when I was in a seriously bad mood and I listened to the 10-minute guided meditation on the Headspace app, and I kid you not, tears fell from my eyes. Like literal tears. Now, I wasn’t exactly bawling. When I think about it now, it was just another way of releasing the negative emotions. I guess I also cried because it honestly felt relieving.

3) Be with nature

Sometimes there’s nothing more effective than to hang out with Mother Nature, in whatever way you can do so. Maybe you can have a short stroll in the park or a walk by the beach. Even just sitting in your backyard and listening to birds chirping is calming. So that when you go back to the drawing board, you have renewed energy.

4) List down what made you smile today

I wouldn’t say that I am a Type A person but I do have some tendencies. And writing things down certainly helps me get a better grasp on things. Making lists is one way you can apply writing into self-care. Also, just the process of recapping your day so far and looking at what has happened in a more positive light? That’s fun! And it’s gonna work wonders to your well-being yo!

5) Blast your motivational playlist on the speakers

Back when I was in my punk phase, I like to write the phrase “No Music No Life” in a rock-and-rolly kinda font with skulls and crosses all over my notebooks. (Yes, I was that extra in my punk phase.) But it’s true isn’t it? Science has proven how helpful music can be for our well-being. I find playing Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days are Over” or Hall and Oats’s “You Make My Dreams Come True” instantly lifts my mood and puts me into awkward dancing mode.

6) Read your manifesto

A manifesto is a great tool to keep yourself motivated. I found this really awesome manifesto through Brain Pickings and, ohmygoshyouguys, it is just incredibly well-written and packed with so much motivational power!

7) Make someone laugh

You’re probably wondering why you need to make someone laugh in order to turn your bad day around. Well, there’s this saying that goes: we all do better when we all do better. Simply put, kindness has a two-way effect. It affects the people around us who are the receiver of said kindness. But it also affects us emotionally and mentally. Because doesn’t it feel good when you help someone without expecting anything in return?

Also read: 24 Simple Good Deeds You Can Do Right Now

8) Literally restart your day

I saw this movie before where the girl literally shouted, “Do over!” and a montage of them restarting their day ensued. I used to think it was cute and ineffective. But now I know that literally starting over your day doesn’t necessarily mean rewinding. Nor does it mean waking up like it’s 8 AM and doing your entire morning routine all over again. It’s your attitude that you’re gonna want to start over.

9) Change your outfit

There are weekends when I feel pathetic and useless. Wearing my pajamas, a tornado-wrecked bird’s nest for hair, and melting on my bed for two days. And I’d think, no. This is not how this weekend would go. So I’d change from my pajamas, wear a bra, comb my hair and get out of the bed to work on what needs to be worked on. It always works.

What do you do to turn a bad day around? Share your wisdom with us in the comments below!

xx Kate

PS: Check out how I deal with feeling stuck with life

Photo from Ivory Mix

You may not need to be an early bird to be productive

In my quest to fight procrastination and have a productive day every-freakin-day, I have probably spent hours* on Pinterest scrolling through productivity articles and infographics. At this point, I can already expect one advice the productivity experts all give:

Wake up early. Like 5 AM early. Because early bird gets the early worm, right?

Well, uh… Not all the time?

Take it from an early bird: Waking up early may not be enough.

It’s not necessarily the “abracadabra” you have to do so your day would magically be a productive one. It works on some people. But on others? Not so much.

*procrastinating, and yes the irony isn’t lost on me.

Why Waking Up Early is Not Enough

Your Biological Preferences

If you think my procrastinating-on-studies binges are counterproductive, think again. It was in one of these “I’m bored, let’s go on Google” moments that I learned about how much sleep certain successful people have.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, The Dalai Lama and Arianna Huffington sleeps for seven to eight hours every day. Meanwhile, Tom Ford, Angela Merkel, and Indra Nooyi are part what’s called the “sleepless elite” and get by with four to six hours of sleep (yish.) And Winston Churchill and LotR author J.R.R Tolkien usually get out of bed late in the morning.

Here’s what I took away from this:

Different people have different sleep schedules and yet they can still function well every day and succeed in what they do.

I truly believe there are as plenty of preferences as there are people. So, really, it all comes down to knowing yourself. Your strengths and weaknesses, your limits and your nonnegotiables.

Whether you need to drink coffee first to switch on your human being-ness, or simply rush off in thirty minutes like a freakin-tornado.

Your Peak Time

I know people who work best during the witches’ hour and those who work best really early — like waaay before the sun plays peak-a-boo at the east. I find I work best in the middle of the day since I’m practically a lazy potato early in the morning and a tired potato by 9 p.m.

Friend, get this: There is no One Ideal Work Time.

We all do our best work at different times of the day. Which is comforting, right? It is quite relieving to know what works best for others may not work best for you and vice versa. The sad part is the nine-to-five work day is the “regular working hours”, as if there is some kind of predictable schedule.

But creativity and inspiration and our own bodies have a different concept of time. Which is why waking up early in the morning? It may not be enough to have a productive day — not for everyone, at least.

So what can you do to have a productive day?

Be Disciplined

You could do this in different ways like:

+ Making a schedule and following it, if you’re a Type A person or simply have a knack at being organized.

Kelly Exeter, who co-host my favorite self-improvement podcast ever, has this two-notebook system which you may find interesting if you like a simple yet very efficient system to organize your life.

+ Setting a rewards system to motivate yourself into doing stuff.

+ Reminding yourself of the importance of finishing a task.

Discipline is built by deliberately doing what needs to be done and, in time, it becomes some kind of habit. For example, I mentally negotiate with myself into finishing a task and be like, “If you finish this and that now, we can have time to read that fanfic update we’ve waited for months.” That usually convinces me enough to get to work.

To learn more about how to build your self-discipline, check out this video by Thomas Frank of College Info Geek. Side note: Marcus Aurelius is like my mom, I swear.

Get to Know Yourself

You know how I mentioned about your body clock and your peak productivity time above? The whole point I was trying to say is that maybe, my fellow procastinating productivity-finding adventurer, you don’t have to look anywhere else.

The only person you have to focus on is YOU.

When you know what triggers your Super Saiyan mode or what makes you bloom beautifully like a sunflower on a bright sunny day, everything else will run smoothly.

Maybe you hit your 5000-word goal after a rigorous morning workout session, maybe you can write and schedule two months’ worth of blog post after angry-cleaning in the afternoon, maybe a midnight cake break is all you need to finish that thesis today. (I mean, let’s face it. We all need a midnight cake break at least once in our lives, right?)

The point is: you get to know yourself better and you do what works best for you.

Take everyone else’s pieces of advice with a grain of salt. (Yes, even this one.) Try one or three of them, but if it doesn’t work on you, that’s completely okay! Just try something else! Because something else is bound to work.

And when something does work for you? Boy oh boy. The world better watch out. Because you’ll be unstoppable!

How many hours of sleep do YOU need? Does waking up early prove to create a productive day for you? Share them in the comments!

kate

Let’s be friends!

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PS: How to get through an exam week alive + Why you need to try free writing

Photos from Wonderlass and Raw Pixel

9 Really Awesome Podcast Episodes that Motivated or Inspired Me

One thing I rarely talked about on here that I may, from this point on, be talking about more is how much I love listening to podcasts. Like a lot. I’d listen to it every day if I could. I especially love listening to them when I’m either painting or angry-cleaning the room I share with my sister.

(Angry-cleaning because I’m a 12% clean freak but we’re both totally unorganized college dorm dudes in our past lives—and probably still are, just in female bodies. But anyway.)

A flatlay with a white notebook, keyboard, headphones and mouse on a pink surface

I’m really happy that I found out about podcasts back in 2016. They kinda bring me back to those airy afternoons I had during summer breaks when I was a kid and I’d doodle or color on my coloring books while my grandpa listened to sappy radio drama and I’d listen along. Except, you know, podcasts are far better than sappy, cheesy radio drama. (Sorry, grandpa.)

Podcasts have been a source of inspiration for me. They’re often packed with stuff I didn’t know before or ideas I haven’t learned or both or something else entirely. You can listen to them anywhere AND they could be really entertaining! 🙂

So today, I’m sharing to you 9 super motivating and inspiring podcast episodes from different podcast shows I’ve listened to so far. Take out your pen and paper, I might have just given you your next favorite thing to listen to! 😉 (I am super confident in my impeccable taste, obviously)

9 Podcasts that Motivated and Inspired Me | Motivation, Inspiration, Personal Growth, Lifestyle, Creative living, Creativity
(Note: Click on the pink words to check out the episodes!)

Straight and Curly – Should You Ever Work for Free?

An advice given by successful people – in the creative industries, particularly – to newbies is to never do your work for free. Something both Carly and Kelly think is neither a useful nor a realistic advice. So they’ve discussed here when should you work for free and when are you being exploited. It is a great episode and I’ve taken away some really sound tips that are better alternative than the “don’t ever work for free” one.

Straight and Curly is a self-improvement podcast show hosted by Carly Jacobs and Kelly Exeter. So if you’re a self-improvement junkie like yours truly, give this a listen. They’re both really fun!

TED Radio Hour – The Source of Creativity

This is, like, podcast classic right here yo.

TED Radio Hour, for me, is a great TED talk summary-maker of some sort. Aaand also I really like the host’s voice. But then again, all the folks over at NPR have great voices.

This episode is one of my all-time favorites because 1) it’s about creativity, ‘nuff said, 2) it talks about where to find creative inspiration which is, you know, a really dire everyday problem for your girl here, and 3) it has two of my favorite TED speakers ever. What more could a girl ask for???

Heavyweight – Isabel

I discovered Heavyweight just this year and I cannot believe that I only learned about this show recently. It’s about looking back to when things took a huge turn in someone’s life. And you know how looking back at the past is one of the many things I do on my free time.

Isabel is the name of the writer of literally a suitcase full of letters addressed to a guy named Brad. I don’t really want to give out too many details but it gave me an entirely different perspective on making peace with your past and all the items from it, and how it will ultimately become a part of who you are and will be.

Pink rows of mailboxes in front of pink cement architecture in Ocean City

Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert – The Pure Pleasure of Making Stuff

I love listening to Liz Gilbert’s podcast because of her voice as well as how it seems like she speaks forth wisdom every ten seconds. I’ve gotten plenty of inspiration from her podcast and even some blog post ideas!

Here, I particularly loved what Rayya Elias said about how amazing it is to be inspired from other people and also with your own self. Because, yes! I think that finding inspiration from within you is awesome too! 😀

Invisibilia – The Personality Myth

My gateway to podcasts, Invisibilia certainly has a special place in my wee potato heart. I found out about it by reading one of Maria Popova’s thought-provoking articles over on Brain Pickings, but I forgot which one.

I absolutely loved this episode which is about how we perceived ourselves to be and Alix Spiegel and Hanna Roseman asks the question, “Does a person’s personality stay the same?”

The Mindful Kind – Cultivating Self-Worth

Rachael Kable is one of my Favorite Bloggers Ever and she is one of the BEST on the topics of mindfulness and meditation out there. Her podcast episodes are short but sweet and ohmigosh I am SOOO in love with her voice. I absolutely recommend listening to her podcast while lying on your bed in a lazy afternoon. It’s super relaxing.

In this episode, Rachael talks about how lack of self-worth impacts more than your appearance and that “outsourcing” your self-worth isn’t the best and most effective way of cultivating it.

Ctrl Alt Delete – Rae Earl: “Snowflake” is a Bullsh*t Word

Emma Gannon’s podcast is one of my most favorite podcasts to listen to when I’m painting. In each episode, she would have a laidback conversation with her guests about a certain topic and I just love how casual it is. It’s perfect for doing art.

And I loooved this episode so much! Rae Earl is a brilliant and hilarious woman! That part when she ranted, I laughed so hard!

The Lavendaire Lifestyle – How Confidence is Built

I like how Aileen makes sure that the listeners will get something from each episode. She or her guest bring with them stories about personal growth and challenges they’ve faced in their lives and share some advice for others who may be going through them too.

I especially love this particular episode because it made me realized just how much what happened in our childhood can affect us for the rest of our lives.

Reply All – The Skip Tracer Part 1 and Part 2

Kinda like how Ctrl Alt Delete focuses on the growing online world and how it has and will continue to affect our lives, Reply All is all about advancing technologies and the humanity surrounding and ever-accompanying it. It’s hosted by Alex Goldberg and PJ Vogt but in this episode, Shruti Pinnamaneni comes in to share a story about skip tracing, which is like online bounty hunting.

I think what I found interesting with this episode is the skip tracer’s understanding on what her client stands on and her empathy with the person she’s looking for and will probably help put to jail. It goes to show that morality isn’t so black and white. That you can understand what one people stands on and still empathize with someone who thinks the opposite.

Do you listen to podcasts? I’m always on the hunt for new podcasts to listen to so, if you do, share what you love below! 🙂

kate

Let’s be friends!

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PS: 6 Places I Go Online to be Inspired

Photos from LUM3N, Ivory Mix and Jerry Keisewetter

Friendly Reminder: Let Your Weird Be Free

Hey hey.

Have you ever been called weird as a kid? Has anyone ever laughed at something you thought was extremely funny or extremely interesting and looked at you like you’re from another planet? As if they were saying, “Why is this kid so weird?”

How did it feel being called weird in such a subtle yet brutally honest way?

Did it make you feel embarrassed? Did it take a huge hit to your self-esteem? Did it make you rethink about what you thought was funny or interesting? Like you are now convinced at the possibility that maybe you are from another planet? Like maybe showing that quirky side of yours was a wrong move?

Ever thought that maaaybe you should just hide your weird side from people? That maybe it’s better that way?

Well, imagine this:

You’re hanging out with your friends.

You cracked a dad joke. Or made a smartass comeback. Or created a horrible pun. Or danced macarena without the macarena music. Or educated your friends on the mating process of narwhals. Or shared an unpopular opinion, like, I don’t know, aye-ayes are cute. (Although I honestly don’t think this is an unpopular opinion. Aye-ayes are cute. But I digress.)

Basically, you did something weird. In front of your friends. In public. For everyone to see and hear. Yikes?

Nope. Not yikes. Not yikes at all.

Because, my dear quirky friend, you have NO idea.

Friendly Reminder: Let your weird be free | Inspiration | Motivational | Positivity | Happiness

Perhaps an author was sitting nearby, contemplating this scene in their work-in-progress. And they saw you. And an idea sparked. Perhaps that author’s novel will be a New York Times bestseller. In the book, there’s gonna be an iconic scene — inspired by your weirdness.

Perhaps a Youtuber saw you and snorted at what you did, choked on his soy milk caramel frappuccino even. And it inspired a comedy sketch that will garner millions of views and will be copied by other Youtubers and will be the reason the choked Youtuber could host on SNL. All because of a sketch — inspired by your weirdness.

Perhaps a sperm whale researcher was drinking black coffee with his baklava. Sitting at a corner booth, he overheard your heated monologue on narwhals, and it gave him the key solution to the conservation of sperm whales — and so it was inspired. By. Your. WEIRDNESS.

Look. I get it.

These may seem like ridiculous scenarios. You may be thinking, “What kind of sperm whale researcher hangs out in a mall’s food court??” To which I say, YOU. NEVER. KNOW. YOU NARROW-MINDED POTATO.

Because people being inspired by your weirdness isn’t weird.

That’s the point I’m trying to drill into your wonderfully weird brain.

We live in this blue and green oblate spheroid big enough to accommodate all kinds of ideas. A planet bigger than all of our brains combined. Can you imagine that? It’s bigger than 7 billion brains. Seven billion!

Each of us can only generate as much ideas. But all these ideas coming out from our hypothalamus and our gray area and our cerebellum… basically from all parts of our brain, all of these ideas are unique. And before you tell me, “Welp someone made this and that. My idea’s not unique.” Hold your horses, you.

What I’m saying is, these ideas are unique in a way that they are molded with your own unique perspective and came about through your own unique experiences.

They may only be one puny idea in a world teeming with so many other puny ideas, but they are the only puny idea of that kind that came from you. That puny idea of yours is part of a complex idea system. It is the one unique protein that make up a chromosome, which ultimately makes one well-coordinated and functioning body.

Can you imagine if the idea of Apple came about from some other guy named Steve but not Steve Jobs? Can you imagine if someone else other than Xi Lingshi found out about the silkworms’ cocoon of thin fibers? We probably wouldn’t have silk.

It probably might have become, like I don’t know, really thin hair extensions made of worms’ cocoons. (Which is more of a mouthful than just silk.)

Can you imagine if J.R.R Tolkien burned all the papers containing his fascination on making Elvish language because some brute told him he was weird? Can you imagine if Mama and Papa Mozart didn’t support Mozart’s affinity for music and made him become a baker instead? Can you imagine if Dr Seuss didn’t write?

And so: be weird.

Be the kind of wonderfully weird that you are.

Not just because it is a disservice to yourself to lock that part of you in a cage. But because it is a disservice to this planet that is simply begging to witness that strange beauty unfold.

I can guarantee you, the world will be a lot less brighter if your weirdness was locked away deep inside you. In some dark place that no light can shine upon. And won’t that be a shame?

So let people give you the judger eye. Let other people sing about you in your own version of the song “Belle (Little Town” from Beauty and the Beast. Let them question your ideas. Let them question it or raise their eyebrow on it or laugh at it.

And if it hurts too much, find me. I’ll buy you ice cream and let you free your quirkiness and celebrate it for the whole world to see. Let them be scandalized by how shameless they think you are for not keeping your weird tucked away.

Because you know what? There is no shame in showing the whole world who you are — every beautiful aspect of you.

You are you. You matter. And you are beautiful, quirks and weirdness and all.

Share your quirks below and allow me and everyone else to celebrate them 🙂

kate

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PS: What’s stopping you from doing what you want to do?

Photos from: Death to Stock Photo and chuttersnap via Unsplash

On trying new things this new year (+ 10 New Things I’m Gonna Try in 2018)

Last year, I came across these two things that helped me come up with something I wanted to do on 2018.

One was stumbling upon the Yes & Yes blog by Sarah von Bargen and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me last year.

Yes & Yes is filled with inspiring, practical advice for everyday problems. It helps a lot that each post written by Sarah and her guest contributors exudes good vibes and humor. And see, Sarah does this thing where she attempts to try 25 new things every year. She even wrote a post on why we should try new things, and it was one of the most insightful pieces I’ve read in 2017.

The second one was listening to the third season of the awesome NPR podcast show, Invisibilia. There is this episode about a guy who made a randomizer app that basically pushes him to experience new things. Things outside his personal preferences and his routine. Like he would eat at a restaurant he never went to, he would listen to songs someone else in the world listen to all the time and he would go to parties he wasn’t invited to.

What this guy and Sarah were doing… I thought they were awesome. I thought they were inspiring.

And I realized, I wasn’t doing anything like it.

The silhouette of a hand and arm being raised against a purple and pink sky in a field

Unlike them, I wasn’t actively seeking and trying out things outside of my comfort zone. I was playing by the borders but I was never serious.

Look, I won’t deny it: I’m a creature of habit.

I like routines because they somehow translate my life into a more understandable system. And I stick to them, come hail or high water. I’m pretty much religious to whatever routine I created for myself, that I could go through the motions even when I’m not mentally up for it. It’s kind of a scary skill, I know, and it has served me plenty of times.

But it also hindered me from trying new things.

Because I know now that this is fear playing out in my life yet again. And I want to deal with this fear of getting out of my comfort zone in the best way I can: by, you know, stepping out.

So, in the spirit of Sarah’s amazing New Things yearly tradition and the guy from that Invisibilia episode, I will try to do 10 things I’ve never done before this year.

On Trying New Things This New Year | Lifestyle, Personal Growth, Inspiration, Motivation, Conquering fears, Geting out of Your Comfort Zone

I’m only doing 10 since I also have some really ambitious personal goals I want to achieve this year hehe. Anyway here they are!

1 | Finish a horror movie without running away

You know that moment in a horror movie when the protagonist is in a darkened hallway, slowly walking towards a door cracked open with flickering lights inside, and the music is also slowly building up tension? I swear, my feet itches whenever that happens because I just KNOW there’s gonna be something super scary on the other side of the door.

And so I’d run away.

I basically just ran away from my seat whenever I feel like I’ll see something super scary in the next few minutes. Like when I was a kid, I used to run away whenever the queen turned into an old hag in Snow White and they’d make that big reveal.

So yeah. I’ve never really finished a horror movie in my entire life.

2 | Make no bake cheesecake

I’m no good with cooking or baking. To this day, the only dish I can make with pride is corned beef wherein I sauté several slices of onions and reheat a canned corned beef. A+ chef, aren’t I? (Not.)

And also, my mom is a great cook. I never had a reason to go to the kitchen other than to eat. This is partly because of my fear of dealing with knives and fire. But also I’m just afraid that I won’t make something delicious.

If I think about it that way, it’s kinda like how other people don’t excel in arts because they’re afraid they won’t make a good drawing. Or people who don’t excel in sports because they’re afraid they’ll be the reason they won’t win a match.

Wow. I guess fear does permeate through every aspect of your life, huh?

3 | Enroll in an online art class

Beyond buying art supplies, I’ve never really invested in further improving my art. For one thing, I’m a broke college student. For another, I’m afraid all that investing will be in vain so I never really dared.

4 | Make a popsicle house

Can you believe that I got through grade school and high school without creating a single popsicle house?

I can’t believe it too.

Popsicle houses are like your typical arts project. But I’ve never done one. Ever. Welp, that’s about to change.

5 | Go to the gym

I’ve… Never worked out in my life. I can’t even climb four flights of stairs without stopping somewhere on the second flight.

6 | Participate in an open mic

Let’s just say I like being part of the audience. I am a happy consumer of performance arts. But I never really like being on stage. I feel awkward and I feel as if I’m not entertaining anyone at all. Also, I choke on my words when I’m in front of people. So um… let’s cross our fingers I’ll be fine when I do this.

7 | Pierce ears

Okay, I do have a pair of pierced ears but this was done when I was a wee potato. I’m not really afraid of needles, I just… don’t like the idea of being pierced, I guess?

8 | Eat sushi

Look. I love Japan. I adore their culture. But I’ve never eaten raw fish in my entire life. I’ve always been a picky eater. And whenever we go to the beach, my family loves to eat fish cooked only in vinegar or any citrus but I always get the either the fried or grilled option. It’s one of those not stepping out of my comfort zone things. And I refuse to be thirty and not try sushi.

9 | Listen to an album from a genre I don’t normally listen to

I haven’t found a particular album to listen to but genres I don’t normally listen to are:

  • Hip-hop
  • EDM
  • Classical music
  • K-Pop

If you have any album in these genres you want me to listen to, I’m open for recommendations 🙂

10 | No chicken or pork for a week

I love meat and these two are my favorite kinds of meat. I basically eat them almost every day. I can honestly say I’ve never gone on a week without eating pork in at least three meals.


These ten things seem simple and I deliberately chose them for their simplicity. Because I know my obstacle won’t be something physical or financial – but a mental kind of obstacle. And, let’s be honest here, that’s still a rather difficult obstacle to surpass.

I do hope I’ll be able to try all these this year. I mean, I have 359 days left, so this should still work, right?

Are you trying out new things this year? What are your goals for 2018? Tell me all about it below! Also, if you have a blog post you recently published about your 2018 goals, I’m giving you permission to share them below too! 😉

kate

Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Bloglovin

PS: How to Achieve the Big Goals + I know I should have announced this last Wednesday but I got unexpectedly preoccupied so here ya go:

The winners to my Blog Birthday Giveaway are:

Ignited Moth
Lia
The Unknown Wiki

Congratulations! Whoop whoop! I will be contacting you guys in that order between now and March 31st 🙂 Thank you so much to everyone who participated! I plan on doing at least one this year as well so look out for that, okay? Okay!

Photos from: Bryan Minear via Unsplash and Say Hello Photography
You can check out the Invisibilia episode, Bubble-Hopping, and the rest of the episodes from the awesome NPR show here.

17 Life Lessons I Learned in 2017

Today is the last Saturday of the year and what a year it has been!

I’m honestly not one to make an annual review of my year because – I don’t know. I don’t like grading my year and evaluating if it was a “good” year or a “bad” year. I find it cool that other people do it, though. It’s just not something I personally do hehe. I actually recently read an essay piece about this and you can check it out here.

What I like to do, instead, is to reflect back on the past year and remember all the lessons I’ve learned in 2017. Because you all know how I like life lessons 😉 And also, my homeboy once said:

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

So here I am, reflecting on the lessons I lived this year to understand. Grab a chair and a box of tissues or three because you might need it.

Or maybe you won’t but I might, okay? Okay.

17 Life Lessons I learned in 2017 | Motivation, Inspiring, Reflection. Lifestyle

1. There is no real world out there.

This year, I was especially tired of adults telling me about the “real world out there” as if the world we young adults are living in isn’t real.

Newsflash: it is.

Every hardship and every experience that we go through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood will ultimately affect our adult lives. And this fact is backed by science yo. But also, like, that actually makes total sense? Because are we not molded by our own experiences? If you feel you’ve been told to prepare for the “real world out there” plenty of times, I have a post for you to check out.

2. Stop comparing your level 18 to someone else’s level 38.

It is never healthy for you, okay? As much as social media gives our comparison beast easier access for things it will compare to us, you have to constantly remind yourself that social media is a highlights reel. You don’t know what’s happening beyond that certain celebratory post or that beautifully styled photo.

3. We all have our own pace.

Sloths taught me there are those who thrive in the slow lane. And that our slow lane doesn’t necessarily mean the sloth’s slow lane. Maybe that’s just its norm.

In the same way that a squirrel’s norm is skittering at a quick pace. In the same way that a mammoth moth’s norm is a mere week more of life after becoming the huge and beautiful insect that it had become as it emerged from its cocoon. (Seriously. Sometimes Nat Geo Wild have sadder, more tear-jerker stories than any soap opera that ever existed.)

You cannot tell a life well-lived just by how much it has achieved in a certain block of time. We all grow at a different pace and we all get to where we have to go at different times.

4. You are allowed to be human.

To make mistake. To be flawed. Don’t let anyone say you can’t be like that.

Friend, nothing good comes out of obsessing on achieving perfection. Take it from a perfectionist like yours truly.

5. You define you.

Not things. Not stereotypes. Not society. You and only you define who you are. And on that note…

6. Let go of the people polluting your life.

Find yourself people who will enrich your life with support and compassion. People who will accept and love you for who you are. It is a disservice to your own self if you surround yourself with emotionally unhealthy individuals.

Remember: toxic relationships of any kind are like tooth decay. Pull that little beast out of your life for good and you will thank yourself later.

7. There are some things you simply cannot control.

And trying to control it will end in vain and you hurting. Let it go <3

8. There are some things that you cannot say.

I absolutely love the growing number of empowered people who have found the strength to use their voices this year. From amazing people who take the time to educate others of their culture even when it’s not their job, to the incredible array of individuals, both men and women, who shared the awful experiences they had in their workplace and community.

It is truly inspiring to see that more people have found how powerful their own voice can be.

But at the same time, I have also learned this year that there are simply things you cannot say.

Perhaps you just can’t say them yet or perhaps they are not something you should say ever. But I find this does not necessarily mean your voice is restrained and you are restrained. It just meant you are not harming anyone else by saying them. Does that make any sense?

9. There will be people with different opinions from yours.

Boy, being more active on Twitter this year really hit the nail for this.

There are as many opinions and perspectives as there are people. And there is nothing wrong with creating a discourse about your differing opinions. In fact, do so! To let other people see how you interpret and see these issues and share your opinion on them is the best way you could make other people see things in your perspective. And this I support 100%.

But there is a difference between “Look, here’s why I think you’re wrong and that what you’re saying is harmful to others” and “You’re SO wrong! Are you a freakin idiot?? I’m the one who’s right lalala!”

And you have to be careful not to cross that line. Otherwise, no well-intentioned discussion, that could have possibly taught all parties something, would happen.

Also, note to self: don’t feed on the trolls. They know they’re provoking you, Kate. Don’t be tempted. You’ll only satisfy them.

10. There is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging yourself.

Look, prioritizing and focusing on what matters are good and all until that’s all you ever do. Please, take care of your body.

Our bodies are not machines and, heck, even machines need breaks. So take a break too! Treat yourself to an ice cream after a long study session. Cuddle your pet for several minutes before going back to finishing that project. TAKE. A. FREAKIN. NAP.

Breaks are important and not to be taken for granted. Allow yourself to be human, remember? 🙂

Freshly baked lemon cake with icing and lavender flowers

11. You don’t have to show everything to everyone.

In this day and age, sharing could easily turn to oversharing. Which is not really good for most part.

I got to listen to this amazing podcast episode in Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete where she and her guest, Rae Earl, talked about the consequences of sharing everything in your life on social media, along with body image and mental health. It’s a fun episode and if you like listening on conversations about the Internet and how it affects our lives like I do, you should definitely check out the rest of Emma’s podcast.

12. Don’t judge how other people spend the money they earn.

It is not yours. Plain and simple.

13. Changing your routine a bit can work wonders.

I shared this post on getting unstuck with life and I mentioned how writing my first drafts for blog posts on my tablet instead of typing it in my laptop as I always do helped me with my writer’s block and on actually finishing a draft. I still do it, you know. And it still works wonders!

See, you don’t have to necessarily change everything in your routine. You don’t have to do a complete routine overhaul. Simply tweaking and changing a bit here and there can already seem like both familiar and refreshing to your brain.

14. Don’t be so quick to assume someone’s character.

Just… Don’t.

I’ve learned this year especially that every person has character depths. Even those that you think seem like a cookie cutter of a certain stereotype. You just don’t know them that much to see it but it’s there.

And anyway, thinking of people this way instead seem a lot better and more compassionate and more thoughtful than to simply assume everyone’s shallow, right? 🙂

15. Choose to be positive.

Because you do have a choice. And you can choose not to dwell too much on the bad stuff. Another takeaway from your resident cynic potato (aka me.)

16. Find time for your hobby.

Hobbies are important, y’all.

I’ll probably write a more in-depth post about this next year but in the meantime, know that those people who laugh at your hobby and say your hobby’s ridiculous?

They’re the kind who don’t get anything from Santa.

They’re a bunch of sad folks who have yet to find their own hobbies. Forget about them. Keep doing your hobby. (Unless, of course your hobby involves hurting other living beings badly then please please please look for a better hobby.)

17. Don’t give up.

This may seem a bit cliché but hear me out here.

Honestly, there have been plenty of trying times throughout 2017 for me. And I’ve hit a real low at some point. But you know what? A small part in me had this cliché line on repeat whenever it happened. It was just a constant phrase I hear during those low times.

And so here I am now 🙂

Friend, no matter how “good” or “bad” this year has been for you, remember that, in spite of everything, you’re still here. You’ve reached this point and you’re 200% stronger than you were at the beginning of 2017.

You probably got new battle scars all over you too. But hey! That also mean you’ve got a lot of experiences and accomplishments on your arsenal too! Don’t take that lightly. It’s huge, no matter what other people say.

And you’re gonna greet 2018 with more resilience and more strength than you’ve greeted any other year before.

Don’t give up. You got this.

I believe in you. <3

I hope you have an awesome year ahead! <3

What lessons have you learned this year? Do you also have a wise homeboy? Share it all below!

kate

Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Bloglovin

photos from: SC Stockshop and Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Bloggers’ Secret Santa 2017

Aside from taking a breather from school and inhaling yummy food, I always thought that Christmas is all about giving and joy and celebrating life and all its good things.

Perhaps this year has been meh or really really awful for you. And I get it, the horrible stuff are pretty difficult to ignore. I know that firsthand. But it’s important to remind yourself that there are still reasons to keep smiling and forge ahead with resilience. This is Ash’s aim for creating Bloggers’ Secret Santa.

It was one of the highlights of my Christmas last year. So imagine my surprise when I received a message from her asking me if I can help out on this year’s Bloggers’ Secret Santa.

Image result for what surprised gif

So okay. To those who aren’t familiar with Secret Santa, it’s basically being randomly assigned a person and giving them a gift anonymously. In this case, your Christmas gift is the inspiring words you’ll write to a fellow blogger.

And hush, you. Yes, you, you self-doubter. Your words are inspiring. Don’t say it’s not. I’ve seen what you can do. And even if I haven’t, I believe in you and your kindness. Okay? Okay <3

Bloggers' Secret Santa

HOW EXACTLY ARE WE DOING THIS, KATE?

I’m so glad you asked. Here’s what you’re gonna do:

  1. Fill in the super short form I have at the end of this post.
  2. You have until Thursday, December 14th 23:59 GMT to sign up and take part. The next day, your names will go in a random name generator thingamabob and you’ll receive an email telling you the person you’ll be the Secret Santa to. It’s kinda like in Hunger Games except, you know, there’s no killing.
  3. Please don’t tell anyone who you got. Because where’s the suspense in that, amirite?
  4. From the time you know the person you have, you’ll be required to make a post of over 500 words for them. This is where your mad blogging skills comes into the picture. The post is basically an appreciation post for all their awesomeness and hard work. (In my case, it’s an opportunity to fangirl on someone hekhek)
  5. Add your own unique spin to the post! If you want to sing them a song, make them a ppt of their awesomeness, GO DO IT! It’s fun and makes them feel special 🙂
  6. That said, you can title the post however you want. Just include the name of the person you have so they can find it easily. Or, you know, link to their blog!
  7. You can start publishing your posts on Monday December 25th 0:00 GMT. Use the tag #BloggersSecretSanta on your blog and all over social media so once everything’s published, we know where to find your awesome and inspiring post 😉
    (you can even check out the tag on Reader right now to see all the awesome posts made last year!)
  8. And the most critical part: add all of the dates to your calendar! Especially if you’re forgetful like moi, you’ll really need it.

I think this is a great way to spread the love and happiness this holiday season. And, as Ash brilliantly said in her post last year, we’re all a big happy blogging family, yes? YES? Yes.

So whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you’re still very much welcome to join. It’s also a great way to make new blogging friends, especially if the person you get is someone you barely talk to. And I would totally appreciate it if you spread the word about this (by reblogging, tweeting, etc) so we can all have fun together!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate on asking me. 🙂

Happy Weekend, you beautiful unicorns!

kate

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