create and grow happily

Tag: Young Adult (page 1 of 8)

24 Good Deeds You Can Do Right Now (with little to no cost)

One of the best things about the holiday season is the celebration, the gift-giving, and spreading love.

Also fun fact: did you know St. Nicholas (or Niklaus) was actually a 4th century bishop from what is now modern-day Turkey? He was known for giving gifts to children, among many other awesome deeds. There’s a very informative Twitter thread about this.

Simple Good Deeds You Can Do Right Now | Inspiration, Positivity, Holiday

So onto the spirit of the historically accurate St. Nicholas, here is a list of some simple yet wholesomely good things you can do right now that have little to no cost:

  • Compliment a stranger.
  • Greet the guards and school janitors.
  • Donate to a charity. For example: the rhinos will definitely appreciate your few bucks. Imagine a happy, healthy rhino. Save a rhino today.
  • Gift a bookworm a book you’ve read. Or, even better, gift them a book on their wishlist.
    Speaking of which, if you want to give a book to a marginalized teen, consider donating through Diverse Book Bridge.
    Not everyone has public libraries with an amazing array of books, much less an easy access to a public library. So reading a book with a great rep that the teen can absolutely relate to would be an awesome gift 🙂

  • Help someone cross the street.
  • Hug a friend.
  • Thank your parents.
  • Thank everyone who has impacted your life in some way this year. And American friends, I get it. This is what Thanksgiving is for but, I mean. Nothing wrong with expressing gratitude one more time this year, yes? 🙂
  • Tell your fam you love them.
  • Buy someone a coffee. Like me. I would greatly appreciate it if you buy me a coffee <3
  • Buy from a street vendor.
  • Treat retail workers and waiters like the actual human beings that they are.
  • Actually, treat any living thing like the actual live beings that they are. Translation: don’t be a jerk.
  • Listen to a geek geek out.
  • Be curious about someone else’s interests.
  • Don’t skip the ads.
  • Boost someone else’s project. Actually, boost anyone and everyone who needs more lovin’.

Here’s a quick list of awesome people and their projects that I want to boost:

<3 This video by Eden which sounds like a great idea we should all do every holiday.

<3 The Chameleon Project by anonora in which she will host a bunch of creatives in her blog next year.

<3 Maud of My Passion Projects whose blog I recently discovered and is a Super Awesome Blogger, no doubt about that.

<3 L.C. Fiore’s The Last Great American Magic, because it is an amazing read and must be read by everyone, in my opinion. Also, you can check out other novels by indie authors that I highly recommend here.

<3 Lia creating a database of publishers that send ARCs (or Advance Reading Copies*) to international reviewers.

  • Do your online shopping using someone’s affiliate link.
  • Use the correct pronouns.
  • Respect someone saying no. Actually, just respect everyone. Again, don’t be a jerk.
  • Reach out to friends you’ve gotten out of touch.
  • Leave thoughtful comments on videos and posts.
  • Share the content of your favorite creative.
  • Credit a creative’s work. This one I want everyone, especially myself, to be more aware of from now on.

Whew. This was supposed to be a 300+ short but sweet listicle post but I kind of got carried away…? So yeah hehe 😀

My point here is this: it does not cost you much to give something to other people. And you don’t necessarily have to give money or other material things. Even the things you thought was trivial can be a huge deal to someone else.

And so this list is a reminder to everyone, including myself, of the good things you can do to anyone right this moment. Pick one—or three or more—and share the holiday love 🙂

How else can you do something nice to someone with little to no cost? Share them below!

kate

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PS: If you like this post, here are other little things you can do to spread love this holiday season.

* edit: I first wrote “author review copies” like the pathetic potato that I am lolol

How I Deal with Feeling Stuck in Life

Have you ever had that feeling when the Devil’s Snare is holding you tightly and you’re just… stuck? Except you’re not really physically stuck. More like mentally and emotionally stuck. In life.

Image result for devils snare gif

I mean. We’ve all been 11-year-old Ron at some point, amirite? (Source)

Feeling stuck in life sucks. I end up panicking. Always. And as much as a level-headed Hermione in my mind tells me to just relax, Kate, just relax, my first instinct is to be Ron: become sarcastic while panicking.

I mean, just off the top of my head, this ‘I’m stuck’ feeling:

  • Makes you feel like you’re not doing anything
  • And because you’re not doing anything, you feel useless
  • And this makes you feel worthless
  • Which lowers your self-esteem
  • And you end up becoming a mashed/couch potato binge-watching awful reality shows on cable.

I’ve been a mashed/couch potato binge-watcher plenty of times and I honestly don’t want anyone to end up in the same position as I have, so I’m sharing to you what I do when I feel stuck in life. Hope this helps! 🙂

Purge / De-clutter

Has the physical chaos around you added to all that tangled mess already inside your head and it’s messing you up?

Friend, you’re not alone.

I’m not a very organized person. I have piles of scratch papers and empty watercolor tubes and dried up pens all over my room that I don’t throw out until it’s been like months. So when my mind becomes a hot mess and gets too overwhelming, the mess all around me is like a fuel to the already burning fire.

This is usually the time when I grab a broom and a rag and have an impromptu cleaning spree.

I’m telling you: there is something absolutely therapeutic about de-cluttering your space and purging the mess.

And I don’t call it a purge for show. If there’s an article of clothing I haven’t worn for like a year, I throw it out or donate it. If my desk or shelves are filled with papers from months ago, I throw them out. My sister had this paper bag filled with newspapers that she supposedly was going to add to her portfolio (she’s a journalist) but it’s been gathering dusts since last year. So when my brother needed paper for their classroom’s recycled Christmas decor, I gave the paper bag to him.

Look through every nook and cranny of your work space and your bedroom. If you’re a semi-organized fellow like moi, you’re bound to find a mess or four. So here are some quick de-cluttering you can start doing now:

  • Dust off those spider webs in the corner.
  • Organize your closet. (I mean, do you really really need that knitted hat with pompoms you’ve had since third grade? Come on, Janice.)
  • Unsubscribe to newsletters that you don’t read anymore.
  • Change your bed sheets and pillow cases. (I mean. That feeling of flopping onto a clean bed? 11/10 would do it every-freakin-day)
  • Organize your bookshelves. In rainbow colors or by authors, whatever suits your fancy.
  • Throw away those old earphones that don’t work anymore.
  • Deal with The Chair™. (You know? That chair in your room where a pile of your dirty laundry sits? Tell me I’m not the only one with that chair.)

Be ruthless in your purging. When I purge I only follow one rule: if it doesn’t do any good to you anymore, it doesn’t need to occupy much space in your life. Throw them out. Let them go. Give them to other people who will make use of them. The act of cleaning and de-cluttering is a big help. And when you’re done, you’ve got so much more room to do more things. #Win.

Move / Take Action

There are so many things I didn’t get to do because I thought I wasn’t ready. And, listen, this is a very unhealthy thought to have, okay? Don’t be like me, kids.

Sometimes we get stuck because we have this mindset that we’re not good enough for anything. That we aren’t ready. That our skills isn’t enough to do what we want to do. It’s like you’re stuck in a quicksand made of all the negative self-talk you’ve created.

But you know what? No one’s ever ready for anything.

At this point, I’ve probably watched enough TED Talk videos and listened to enough motivational podcasts to know people rarely are completely ready when they start doing what they’ve wanted to do.

And you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that 🙂

In fact, if you’re not ready but you jumped in and started anyway, GO YOU! That’s brave and that in itself is something to be proud of—because you faced your fear and said, “I’m doing this anyway.”

Avoid Comparisonitis

Boy oh boy. This is probably a common problem among people in the Internet. Because, you know, social media.

We can all agree social media feeds on the little green monster living inside us, right? Seeing the fabulous achievements and gorgeous lifestyle your Facebook friends have, the glamorous travel-filled life of the people you follow on Instagram… All these make comparisonitis such an easy sickness to get. And comparisonitis can make you feel like you’re not good enough to do something. Which can end up with you feeling stuck.

When that happens, I want you to remember this:

Social media is a highlights reel.

People usually only post the good things that happen in their lives. The things “worth sharing.” (Except Twitter. Twitter is the John Bender of social media.)

Image result for john bender gif

This guy, I swear. (Source)

I remind myself this all the time. I forgot where I found it—I tried looking for it but my History tab and my memory are both jumbled mess—but I read somewhere that we all compare our real life to another person’s highlights reel online. And that doesn’t seem fair to yourself, isn’t it?

What the post said was so accurate for me that I whipped out a blank sheet of paper and wrote a line from the blog post that really stuck to me. I have it on my desk beside my computer where I can see it everyday.

 

I think I paraphrased this to make it shorter and fit the paper. So if you know where this is, let me know in the comments so I can fully credit them! 🙂

Somehow, reading this quote every morning or when I’m working on my desk gives me comfort. Knowing and constantly reminding myself that other people go through bad times too and that they also rarely share all this to the world makes me more empathetic, I guess. 🙂

How do you deal with feeling like you’re stuck in life? Share your wisdom in the comments below!

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PS: If you like this post, check out why it’s okay not to have everything figured out and how to conquer creative block.


Friendly reminder that my blog birthday giveaway is still going on! You can win an art commission or a custom set of blog graphic elements including a blog header 😀

Interested? Click on the image below for more info.

blog birthday giveaway

My Precious Potato Turns 3 + Blog Birthday Giveaways!

Oh my lord, I didn’t even realize until it was literally just a few days until my lil’ blog’s birthday! This precious pitter-pat officially went live three years ago on November 12th… Or was it the 14th? I honestly forgot HAHAHA (<– shameless + pathetic)

I feel so old now, having been in the blogosphere for three years. And honestly, I feel like I don’t want to be too sentimental about this. My blog has been a permanent part of my life for sooo long and I know it will continue being so for a veeery long time 🙂 And that’s all there is to say about that.

I want to take this moment, instead, to thank all of you 700+ beautiful bumble bees who have been here with me. Whether that has been since two or three years ago or just an hour ago. Thank you so much. You all have inspired me countless times and I look forward to being inspired by all of you in the next year <3

Also: how timely is this!

I finally (FINALLY) finished cleaning the autumn watercolor graphic elements I did last September.

This is free. Like seriously. I promise your postman won’t deliver any unexpected bills from me to your doorstep, cross my heart.

These are all in PNG format and have transparent backgrounds so you can put them on any image of any color with no hassle. You can click on the image above if you want to download all of them at once. But if you have an eye for only one or some of them, click here to download your desired graphic elements individually.

Should you download it, linking to my blog or mentioning me is not necessary but very much appreciated 😉

I only ask one thing: please do not sell or give away any or some or all of the graphics to any one else. You may direct them to this post so they can download their own copy and everybody’s happy, right? Right!

And another thing:

You know how I said in the title blog birthday giveawaySSSSS?

Because I have more than one! 😀

Okay so here’s how the other one goes. It’s kind of a bit more complicated. I dunno. And it’s not much. Maybe you won’t like it. I’ll let you be the judge of that. But anyway.

 

blog birthday giveaway

Dear Beautiful People of the Internet:

I had so much fun with my first artsy giveaway early this year. I mean: drawing those hands clutching a book for Ilsa, the book-reading pose for Lia, Sasha’s fabulous pink hijab, and Kiya’s camera. These were all things I haven’t drawn until then and I enjoyed doing all of them SO MUCH.

I couldn’t NOT do another artsy giveaway.

So here’s the gist of it all:

I’ll pick three (because 3rd blog birthday obvs) random people who will win either of the following:

art commission

 

An art commission. A stylized portrait of you or your persona (or the man/woman of your dreams) with a simple background, or maybe a simple illustration with minimal props, etc. So long as I could accomplish your illustration with pencil, ink, and watercolor, with a bit of digital added in there, I’m all for it!

Just two things I won’t draw: realistic portraits or any famous classical paintings like van Gogh’s Starry Night. Because 1) realistic portraits and classical paintings take too much time and 2) I’m not… classically trained.

Note: Sadly, this will not include any pretty gold frames and won’t be delivered at your doorstep. Though I would love to explore that in the future, for now this will be digital and a high quality image will be sent your way.

 

custom blog header

A header and/or other graphic elements. So like a blog header, or a logo, or pretty dividers and other bits and bobs you’ll want to make your blog prettier. All 100% handmade by yours truly and all 100% made only for you <3

Judging from my first artsy giveaway, the blog graphic one isn’t that popular and, I mean, I totally understand! I enjoy making my own blog pretty myself! But I’ve had people reach out to me asking if I do blog headers and stuff so I thought, “Why the heck not?”

3 Simple Things You Need to Do to Enter:

<3 Click here to tweet so others will know. Or if you don’t have a Twitter, just holler about it on your blog and link to this post. I’m not picky.

<3 Comment below which one you wanna win (and choose just one, okay?)

<3 And tell me one Super Awesome Blogger whose Super Awesome Blog you want me to check out 🙂

I’m not really sure how many of you will enter–maybe more, maybe less. But anyway. This giveaway/raffle/thingy will run until the end of the year, December 31st 2017, and I’ll pick the winners sometime in January.

I wish you all the best of luck and hope you have a weekend as Super Awesome as you! <3

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PS. Blogging lessons I learned last year + How blogging helped me in school

Note: The last two photos are not mine. I only added text and image overlays on them. Thus, that is not my torso. Though I so wish that was my shirt </3

How to Conquer Creative Block (and smash it to bits!)

Something that has been bothering me lately is how I never seem to finish anything. And I mean anything creative.

Like I would have this awesome idea for an illustration or a blog post bubbling in my head and I just know it would be so fun to create or write and gahhh it’s so good where’s my pen gimme paper and then—

Whoosh. It’s gone. And it’s messing. Me. UP.

Do you ever have that happen? Like one minute you have this cool idea of a blog post or a novel or a drawing or something and it’s extremely exciting. But before you can even act on it, it just dissipated into thin air?

It is completely frustrating. And I’ve been struggling with it for some time. So I thought I’d do a bit of reflection on how I got through my previous creative blocks (because this is obviously not the first time I experienced a creative block.)

I listed them down below for all of the precious creative corn cobs who is or has suffered from creative block like yours truly 😉

Let’s battle these horrible blocks together, yeah?

What to Do When Creative Block Happens

Remember “Finished, Not Perfect”

See, perfectionism can be that grumpy old troll blocking your path. As a creative, I easily get sucked into this whirlpool mentality that what I do, I should be doing perfectly. What happens is that I focus on perfection more and end up with these perfect yet unfinished works. And let’s be real here, those don’t really give that same amount of satisfaction as finished works do.

The creator of the famous Inktober Challenge, Jake Parker has this short video where he gave this really good point about how a year from now, you’d think you could’ve done better.

So why fuss about it so much now, when you know you’re gonna be better at it in the future?

Now, whenever I’m writing a blog post or creating an illustration, I make it a point to just focus on finishing it. Sometimes it comes easy, like being at the moment of drawing something. And sometimes overthinking starts to nudge me on the side and I’ll have to force myself to get back to doing what I’m doing.

During those times, I remember that my goal at that moment is “finished, not perfect.” You can watch Jake Parker’s video below:

Create a Mental Accountability Exercise

Whenever I read articles on how to be productive when you’re unmotivated or something similar, one tip they always throw out is to keep distractions away from you.

This doesn’t work for me.

I grew up having to think of things to keep myself occupied without any help from the adults. And while that’s a good thing for my creativity, it does have some negative side: I am always distracted.

Like I would try to keep my phone away from me when I work but then ooh! There’s that book my sister bought last week, let’s read the blurb! Or I would study somewhere in our campus with few people hanging around but gosh, look at those rooftops outside, what color are those?

See what I mean?

So instead of keeping them away, I have to build on my inner focus more. Which is why I’m trying to create this habit of having a regular mental accountability exercise. Like every hour or so I’d think, “Okay, Kate. How are you? And how have you been doing this-and-that so far? What’s your progress? What are you finding difficulty on?”

It’s like I’m being the supervisor of my own self, weirdly funny as that sounds. I haven’t built this habit firmly yet but the times when I do completely immerse myself in the exercise I finish more work and I feel I enjoyed doing them more.

Change Things Up

I don’t know why. But when you’re doing routine work in a different way, it’s refreshing. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

I’ve been struggling with finishing blog posts lately, which is why I’ve been having these short impromptu blogging breaks the past few months. I just can’t seem to write well in my laptop for some reason.

So I decided I’d write the first draft of this post on my tablet and then edit on my laptop. And ohmybuttertoast, it worked! It freaking worked you guys! My train of thought went more smoothly than when I’m typing on my laptop. And it felt weird. Weirdly good. It felt like it’s been a long time since I wrote something and finished it.

Of course, I had to add in some stuff while I edited the draft on my laptop. But the point here is: by changing just one small detail in my routine, I actually worked better.

Take a Break from What You’re Doing

I honestly can’t stress this point enough. I even made a separate post before on the importance of taking a break. Breaks are important and we’re usually in this hustle mindset that we forget to sit back and catch a breather. Heck even I do.

Last month, I made the decision of stepping away from my Wednesday-and-Saturday blogging schedule because it’s just not doing any good for me recently. I needed a fresh perspective and a new routine.

October gave me that opportunity with Inktober. There were times when I had to do a bit of catch up but I enjoyed Inktober! And it has opened new creative, artsy doors that were totally refreshing.

(Also PS, if you haven’t read it yet, I’ve written a whole post on my first Inktober and what I’ve taken away from that experience)

And I know this contradicts that first part about finishing your work. But you know what? Why not try both?

I’ve been in a time when I thought, “Crap crap crap this looks awful, this really looks awful” but continued doing it anyway and finished it and freakin’ loved how it looked. And I’ve also been in a time when I simply turned the page of my sketchbook and told myself, “I’ll go back to that later. Maybe it won’t look as awful by then.” On both times, things worked out alright.

A few more ideas

I love reading blog posts or listening to podcasts on creativity and ideas. So here are some other bloggers’ take on creative blocks and, in general, capturing the ever fleeting and slippery ghouls called ideas.

May of Forever and Everly shared a simple yet very crucial tip we sometimes forget when blogging: when you have great blog post ideas, freaking write. Them. Down. (Also, her post is all about blogging pet peeves which is totally hilarious so go check it out after you’ve written that idea down, okay?)

In this post on organizing your blogging life, Ilsa of A Whisper of Ink gave me the most amazing idea for saving ideas (so meta I know) BOOKMARKS! Why haven’t I thought of that before???

The lovely blogger from Thoughts from ’94 wrote this post on writer’s block. I especially loved how she said blogging is not always about the writing but also experiencing things because YAS GURL I TOTALLY AGREE.

Y’all also check out where Lauren of Loulabellerose find blogging inspiration. I love how she added “Myself” there and it reminded me of an episode from The Magic Lessons podcast where Liz Gilbert and her guest of the episode talked about how wonderful it is to find inspiration from yourself.

Check out these girls’ lovely blogs, yo! They’re really amazing 😉

See, there are so many ways that you can go about conquering creative block. That’s the great thing about dealing with problems on creativity.

There is no perfect solution. There are hundreds of ways that you can navigate to. And you can try one or three or all hundreds of them and learn which one works for you and which doesn’t 🙂

YOUR TURN: Have you experienced creative block? How did you deal with it? Share your wisdom in the comments!

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Why It’s Okay to Not Have Everything Figured Out

This is actually an old post that I kinda made a huge overhaul on. Still have the same points as its older version 😉


Do you have that person in your school or workplace or neighborhood? That smart-Sheldon who won the chess tournament or happy-go-lucky-Larry who won employee of the year or Tracy-girl-next-door who baked the chocolate pie that got the highest-bid.

They have this light in them. Their sureness and confidence blind you, make you look away.

And then there’s you. A helium balloon. Floating aimlessly and letting yourself be carried away by circumstances. You look at them again and you think, “Man, they have everything figured out, don’t they?”

Yo that’s me too. The helium balloon. And you know what? I’m okay. It’s okay to not have everything figured out right now. Here’s why.

There are still so much to discover

The world around you extends beyond your reach. Think about that. There are still so many things beyond what you see in front of you and you can’t possibly know all of them all at once. There are simply so much more for you to discover. And not only around and beyond what you see; even inside you.

If you’re a fellow young adult, I’m willing to bet there are still parts of yourself that you don’t know much about.

And friend, that’s completely okay!

Like Shrek famously said, we have layers (although, I know he meant ogres. But c’mon! Even humans do right???) We’ve barely scratched the surface of who we are.

I like to think that the teenage years and early-twenties of your life are the time for self-discovery. This is when you’re starting to get a grasp of every bit of you—who you are and what inspires you and what you aspire to be.

So go ahead. Give yourself permission to explore both your outer and inner worlds.

We all have our own paces

So we’ve already agreed no one has it all figured out, right?

Well sometimes, it’s not accepting this fact that’s difficult. It’s believing this is true for you. It’s believing that it’s not necessary for you to have everything figured out right now. This is incredibly difficult to acknowledge, I know.

Whenever I think of where I am in my life at the moment, I always (always) end up comparing myself to others. It’s an annoying habit that I’m trying to end. Because it ends up with me thinking, “I should be at this point in my life right now” or “What am I doing wrong?” or “Just give up; this isn’t for me.”

Total killer of your self-esteem, I tell you.

still-young

I took a time off school last year and during the five months that I was away, I learned a whole new kind of scary things. But it was also during those five months that I learned I wasn’t part of any “rat race”.

I wasn’t “falling behind.”

I was, and am, simply trudging through life in my own pace, period. It took me going back to uni to have that registered in my brain, ya know. We should totally learn from turtles and sloths. They’re incredibly slow right? But what if they’re only incredibly slow in our perspective? Maybe they thrive at that pace. And thrive they certainly do. Just like how cheetahs thrive being the fastest animal on land.

We all run our lives at different paces. Quick or slow, it doesn’t matter so long as you reach your goal and have enjoyed the journey to get there.

You’ve got time

This relates to being at your own pace.

See, I think we have this belief that time is constantly slipping away from our hands. As if we need to achieve a certain number of things at a certain amount of time.

I mean look at Alexander Hamilton (why does he write like he’s running out of time?)

But don’t get me wrong, I’m all for making specific attainable goals. In fact I like making these kinds of tiny goals. The problem arises when we try to place ourselves in “standards.” Like by thirty years old you have to start thinking about starting a family. Um, no thanks?

Young adults, especially, are placed in immense pressure to think about their careers by age fifteen, some even younger. My family, bless them, never really put me and my siblings under pressure. My mom would always say, “Pssh don’t think too much about it. You’ll know it when you know it.” But society isn’t as kind, we all know that.

The point is, most teenagers are still patting our way in this maze called life. We take a wrong turn here and arrive at a dead-end there. We’re still starting to grasp life. Still identifying the many options laid out for us. It seems unfair to expect us to have it all figured out already, don’t you think?

finding-your-place

I’m jealous of those awesome peeps who stride through their lives at a brisk, sure pace. In a way, they motivate me to be surer of every step I take. But because of that, I also empathize to those who are uncertain like me.

If you beat yourself up over not having things figured out, stop it. Here’s the truth, in its unfiltered un-sugarcoated state:

No one really has it all figured out. Not even Sheldon or Larry or Tracy. No matter how much it looks like they do.

Instead of wallowing up in self-pity (and I know firsthand how hard this part is) find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

So here’s what you can do:

Give yourself permission to explore your world, the inner and outer ones. And, in your own pace, pat your way around the maze. Stop looking over how Sheldon or Larry or Tracy. This is a maze made especially for you. And finding your way through it is not going to be an overnight process.

It will definitely take time and dozens of wrong-turns and detours. But you’ll be fine. You got this.

Maybe you would get there. Maybe you wouldn’t. But on the way, you’ll pick up lessons and new experiences. Treasure those more and learn from them, because these are what you’ll be carrying with you to your next destination, wherever that will be.

Your turn: What are you working on at the moment? What’s happening in your life right now? Share it with me in the comments below! 🙂


Hey guys! I just wanted to let y’all know that starting October (aka tomorrow), I will only be posting on Saturdays. I want to give away some time to fully participate in Inktober so yeah 🙂 Don’t worry! I will still be active here (interacting with other blogs and dropping embarrassing fangirling comments) and on social media. I’m reconnecting with Bloglovin so if you have one, share ’em below so I can follow you, okay? Okay!

Hope y’all have an awesome October and see you all next Saturday! 😉

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8 Gorgeous Color Combinations I’m Loving Right Now

I don’t have any favorite colors. I like all colors equally. I believe that all colors are beautiful in their own little ways.

So once in a while, I’m gonna share with you guys the awesome color combinations I discovered and make a neat little list of them with pretty collages of pictures using these colors. This isn’t gonna be a regular feature, by the way. Just whenever I find a handful of gorgeous color combos. Okay? Okay! Let’s go!

But first, a disclaimer: None of the images I used in the collages below are mine and I will never claim them as mine. I found all of these via Pinterest and have made a board exclusively for this post. Please check out my Pinterest board if you want to know where I got them.
If any of the images below are yours and would like for me to take them down, please contact me through this page and I will do it as soon as possible. 🙂

Lagoon + Baby Pink

This is the more pastel-y version of my blog’s color scheme. (Also, notice how I used it in my headings and subheadings like with this post? 😉 ) I’ve been in love with this color pair ever since my blog revamp last year. Together, they create this light and fluffy feminine atmosphere and that’s exactly how I want my blog to feel. Also they kinda look like candies, right???

Cerulean + Mandarin

I wasn’t usually into dark and bold color combinations. And this color combination is super bold. I mean, look at those shades of blue and orange. They’re vivid and they contrast each other. But that somehow works because the orange pops against the blue. And I really really (really) like it when one of the color pair pops out and the other simply helps. It’s like a dance, don’t you think? 😀

Maroon + Gold

This is also a bold color combo but where the cerulean and mandarin has this heavy atmosphere, maroon and gold is more elegant. I mean, doesn’t that color combo remind you of royalty? It reminds me of that. Also GRYFFINDOR COLORS! (I mean, I’m a Ravenclaw. #AndProud. But still.)

Navy Blue + Rose

UGH I LOVE THIS COLOR COMBO SO MUCH I CAN’T EVEN asdkjefghsnml

This is a color combo I would wear in a heartbeat. Because I really like how the feminine feel of the rose color balances out with the masculine-ish feel of navy blue. Also light and dark shades. They contrast.

Purple + Dandelion

If you’ve noticed, all of my collages above have some kind of food included in them. And, I’ve checked, the rest below have too. Only this collage doesn’t and I regret not looking for a purple ice cream or cake *sheds a tear*

Anyway. Purple and yellow are the secondary colors of my blog color scheme (as you probably notice their “secondary presence” in my design). I added them several months after choosing my main colors. I love this color pair because they’re bright. And their brightness keeps the airy feel of my teal + pink main color pair grounded.

Baby Blue + Lemon Yellow

I don’t know why but when I see this color combo, it reminds me of a super cute doll house. DOESN’T IT OR IS THAT JUST ME? Like lagoon and baby pink, it’s a light color combo but it looks a teeeeny tiny bit less feminine and more youthful. For me at least. This is definitely the kind of color combination I like to use for a youthful and happy illustration.

Tumbleweed + Mustard

Don’t you just love earthy tones for fall??? I do. I do a HECK lot.

Honestly, mustard was one of those colors that I find hard to like. It reminded me of… well, mustard. And I don’t like mustard. (I’m a ketchup kind of girl ok??) But I remember seeing someone mix mustard with a earthy colors like meadow green and tumbleweed and that’s when I realized it’s actually a pretty color!

Not to mention, one of my favorite artists, Taryn (aka @taryndraws) absolutely makes mustard and other earthy tones loveable every chance she gets.

Dusky Cedar + Olive

AHHHHH ever since I discovered dusky cedar last year, I have been in love with it! It’s one of those colors perfect for autumn and with olive green, it’s much much better! I really like pairing different shades of red with different shades of green. They’re just pretty to look at <3

I had so much fun making the collages for this and I loved looking at the variety of color combinations I have here.

Your turn: Do you have a favorite color? What color combinations are YOU loving right now? I’m on a personal hunt for pretty color combinations so share your faves below!

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What’s Stopping You From Doing What You Want to Do?

Seriously. I’m curious.

Think of something, just one thing, right now. Something that you’ve always wanted to do but never found the time. This urge deep, deep inside you that just wants out. It just screams to be shared to the world. But it didn’t get to.

What is it that’s holding you back? That’s making you hesitate to take the first step? That no matter how many times you’ve replayed Shia Labeouf’s iconic (and probably now a classic) motivation clip, you STILL didn’t do it?

Is it your need for perfection? Or is it procrastination? Is it maybe because you feel guilty? Or you have more important things to do? Or you feel like you’re not ready for it? That you’re not good enough?

What’s Stopping You From Doing What You Want to Do? | Personal Growth, Fear, Positivity

I like to think there’s one word for it, whatever it is that’s holding you back:

Fear.

I mean… perfectionism? That’s fear. Procrastination? Fear. Guilt? Busy-ness? Insecurity? F E A R.

Me + Fear = Self-doubt

At the start of the year, I planned this monthly creative thing. During each month, I was supposed to work on one huge illustration. It was supposed to be my 2017 creative project where I could improve on anatomy, get out of my creative comfort zone, practice putting more details on my work.

Now that I think about it, they’re all ambitious shenanigans.

Three months into it, I was still okay. I got to create illustrations that I was proud of, even now. But March was also the last month of our school year. Things got hectic and busy. I was meeting project deadlines. At the same time, deep inside me, doubt was starting to grow. Doubt on myself, mostly. On my art.

Utterly overwhelmed, I ran towards and hid behind the protection the busy-ness of school life provided. I had more important things to do, I reasoned out. I needed to make a priority. Funny thing, this was exactly what happened to me last year. I threw out everything not related to school.

My art, my blog, and *chokes* books.

That was hell, I tell you. And I regretted not having enough time for my hobbies.

I promised myself I wasn’t going to be like that this year. But, surprise surprise, I went back into that rabbit hole. Less than a year later.

Here’s another example:

I am a World-class Procrastinator™. Most times, I procrastinate because I’m lazy (especially in things like, you know, school). But sometimes I procrastinate in creating a blog post or doing this illustration that I’ve been planning in my head for a while now. And I constantly beat myself up over it.

Fear manifests into your life in so many ways

You might take a look at what’s holding you back and think, “Pssh, nah. That ain’t fear.” But if you look real close and think about it real hard, you’d realize that yes it is fear.

My refuge to busy-ness? That’s me avoiding the challenge I’ve set myself up because of self-doubt. Because I was afraid of failing that challenge. Being a creative procrastinator? That’s me fearing I won’t do what I imagined in my mind justice.

Like, you know how boggarts transform into that very thing you’re afraid of? How it turned into a giant spider for Ron and a dementor for Harry? That is the very essence of fear.

It morphs and takes different shapes, depending on the person that encounters it.

Now, I’m facing another encounter with fear. And it’s holding me back again. But this time’s different. I refuse to let it hold me back. I don’t want to feel awful at myself because I didn’t try to step away from my fear. Not anymore. And if you’re in a similar position as me right now, neither should you.

So what can we do about it?

Really, the first step to all this is knowing you’re afraid of something. And that fear is holding you back.

Sometimes we like to be in denial even with ourselves. I get it. My gosh, it can be sooo hard to be honest with yourself. Because truth is supposedly simple but it also hurts, which makes it so difficult to confront, let alone acknowledge.

So I always take the phrase “reflect on your actions” to heart. I try to give myself time and space alone to reflect on what I did and why I did it. Sometimes I reflect while doodling. Sometimes I’m just staring at my ceiling while the Hamilton soundtrack is playing in the background. I couldn’t care less, so long as I’m reflecting and acknowledging my flaws and fears.

If pure, staring-blankly-into-space reflection is hard for you, here are other ways you can reflect:

<3 Talk with someone—whether it’s a friend, or a confidante, or a professional

<3 Write an entry in your journal

<3 Meditate or do yoga

<3 Read books in a genre you rarely read

<3 Cook or bake

<3 Do pottery or other crafty activities

<3 Listen to relaxing music

When you’re at that point where you’re frustrated at yourself because you are not doing the thing that ignites your passion, it’s time to reflect. Ask yourself, “What is it that’s holding me back? What am I afraid of?”

Awareness is always the first step. The moment you are aware of your emotions and fears, the moment you acknowledge their existence, the rest is a little bit easier to deal with. At least that’s what I think 🙂

Check back here again next Wednesday for part two of this… Post? Impromptu series? Whatever you call it. 😉 I will talk about the rest of the steps you could take to step out of fear’s grasp and start doing what you’ve always wanted to do. For now, take the first step. And tell me:

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never got to? What’s holding you back? Is it fear just like mine? Do you take time for self-reflection? How do you reflect on your day?

I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts! 🙂

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! 😉

I Stopped Figuring Out My “One True Calling” and Started Identifying My Calls

Here’s another Katie’s Oldies but Goldies! (HAHAHA I should really stop using that lame name now, I know. But I can’t help it somehow???)

Hey everyone! Just wanna let you know that at the time of editing this post, I’m still alive. Not as preoccupied and llama-wailing as last week, thank goodness. Saturday’s post miiiight be a new one. Might. If I find the time. Until then, I will be a lurker in the blogosphere whenever I find the free time to open Reader.

Hope y’all are doing great! 🙂 Now, onto the post…


I always admired how my sister knew exactly what she wanted. Like me, she devoured series like the Harry Potter series and A Series of Unfortunate Events when she was eight or nine. On her fifth grade, she was already writing her very own novel in an unused composition notebook.

By the time she was in high school and got exposed to the annual city-wide press conference, she started competing in editorial writing. That was when she realized she loved technical writing more than creative writing. She’s a writer for a local newspaper now and she still types fiercely.

And then there’s me.

Figuring Out Your True Calling | Life, Twenty-something, Career, True Calling

You know how as far back as kindergarten we were already asked what we want to be when we grow up? Back in first grade, I really put a lot of thought into this because we were supposed to tell it to the entire class.

So I weighed in my options. I was definitely not going to be a doctor because most of the class already said that. And you can’t have everybody be a doctor, right?? Who’s gonna run the country then? So you know what I wanted to be back in first grade?

A miner.

And I mean, that’s not an awful job in and of itself. I don’t think I’ll ever have the bravery those admirable miners have every time they go to work. But do you know why I wanted to be a miner???

Because I wanna give poor people some of my wealth.

*sigh* The Seven Dwarfs definitely contributed a lot in my way of thinking back then.

I’ve been blinded by old-school shine animation. And look how happy they are!!!

Funny how, when I think about it in retrospect, adults just ask this question because they find children already thinking of their future adorable.

Like six-year-old innocent Kate who is still free of any cynicism in her body.

But over and over, I am asked this question from grade school to high school and even now in college. It may have evolved into different forms the older I get but it’s still the same:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“What’s your ambition?”
“What are you taking in college?”
“What do you do?”

I’m now usually asked the third one. And when I answer Accountancy, it’s always followed by either, “Oh! You’re so smart then!” or “Wow! So you wanna be a CPA someday?”

And the thing is, I don’t think I’m that smart–I’m merely hanging by a thread at this point. And I don’t want to be a CPA. (At least not for long.) This question about my career is always a daunting reminder that I barely have a plan for my future.

See, we’re that consumed on thinking about career. We like to put this kind of expectations to our young folks, reasoning that they have to be ready when they step out into the real world. As if the world we young adults are living right now isn’t the real world.

Related read: I Don’t Think the Real World is Out There

But what if they still don’t know what they want to do? Most likely scenario? They get thrown with so many negative responses.

“What an irresponsible child.”
“Stop being indecisive.”
“You can’t keep playing your whole life, kid.”
“You shouldn’t be wasting your time.”

Don’t you think that seemed…. I don’t know, unfair?

Not everyone is like my sister. Not everyone knows what they want to do. Some of us are still patting our way into this dark maze called life. And you know what?

Not having everything figured out is okay.

And so, if you are also on the verge of wrapping yourself around the same thoughts I mentioned above, here’s what you can think instead:

<3 It’s not irresponsible to not know what you want. Not when the options could be too many for you to handle and you’re overwhelmed.
<3 It may seem indecisive, but I would rather weigh in my options carefully than pick a choice quick.
<3 It’s not playing if you are trying to think real hard about your career.
<3 And how can it be a waste of time when you’re trying to learn more about yourself and what you really want?

The awesome blogger behind Personal Dailies said it best in her post, “Do you know what you want to do yet”. That the first 18 years of life is not usually the ideal time to figure out your One True Calling.

We all go through similar things, sure. But when they would happen and how we would respond to them are all unique to each of us. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying everything first before picking out what you really want to do. I’ve come to the conclusion that life is a series of trial and errors.

There is no fix thing or an absolute solution.

And if, along the way, you want to change course, it’s your call. Which is what I’d rather want to do. Instead of thinking about my calling, I’ll just start identifying my call.

Kinda cheesy and lame, I know. But that’s just it. No one–not your family or your friends or the school or even Yoda–can tell you how to live your life or pinpoint to you where to find the answers you need. You only need one person. And that’s you.

TALK TO ME: Do you know what your calling is? Or are you like me and still mulling over your choices? Have you recently discovered your calling? If yeah, would you like to share about it? I would love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

Have an inspired, whistle-while-you-work day, awesome peeps! <3


PS. Google Calendar says today is apparently Book Lovers Day*. So shoutout to my fellow bookworms! What are you reading today? Anyone read any book that taught you something career-related?

Also, here are some other articles on early career decisions for youth. Just to let y’all know that, if you’re feeling it, you’re not alone 🙂

Young people are having to take career decisions too early | The Guardian
The Immense Pressure of Career Choice | Psychology Today
I also shared three reasons why it’s okay not to have everything figured out. You can check that post out here~

*I mean… let’s face it. Everyday is Book Lovers Day, amirite???

 

 

Gender Bias: Reflecting on a Conversation I Overheard in Class

Earlier this week, I overheard something during class. See, our professor wasn’t around so I spent the period making notes of another subject (Do you see the sad life I’m currently living??? *cries ungraciously in the distance*)And while writing, I… kinda eavesdropped on the conversation of the people in front of me. I can’t really help it because our desks were near. Heh. #Excuses

Basically, the guy was talking about how he was mugged and he lost his phone. And the girl he was talking to was baffled.”How is it possible that you were mugged?” she asked, not in verbatim by the way, but that was the idea. “Why wouldn’t I be?” the guy asked, equally puzzled.

And then, the girl, God help her, said something along the lines of, “Well, girls are supposed to be the ones getting robbed.”

I know, right?

I was on the verge of crying out, “Wait what?!” at that point. So was the guy. She went on explaining that it’s because girls are often seen as weak and that makes them more susceptible to getting mugged than guys. That guys are less likely to get robbed because they’re seen as strong.

I share my reflection on a conversation I overheard, regarding gender bias | Millennial, Life

Ya gotta admit, she has a teeny-tiny point. We do have set cultural expectations on men and women, with the former being strong and the latter being subservient.

Still. I would like to think that thieves and petty criminals scour their potential victims carefully. I mean, they would have a certain level of street cleverness, right? Even fantasy novels with thieves and assassins imply that, don’t they???

More importantly, it felt wrong to generalize.

Because that conversation I overheard? That is a perfect example of gender bias experienced by everyone. The progress we have with stereotypes for women are, at best, crawling and at worst, stagnant. And yes, one of the reasons is because of how men see us. But then women themselves have this same generalization on their own gender.

See, I think this is why we aren’t getting past through all this gender bias. Or any bias for that matter. And we won’t anytime soon.

UNLESS.

We start thinking out of the confining box of categories and stereotypes we like to put ourselves in. Not only be aware, but actually start acknowledging people’s individuality. That we have to constantly remind ourselves that no one is merely a part of a group.

And I’m no exception to this.

I’m no less guilty than that girl in my class. I’ve held both ends of gender bias. I know how discouraging being placed in a box can be. And I also know how these categories and stereotypes can make life so much easier. Because they simplify things. Make them less complicated. And we humans don’t like complications.

The funny thing is: we are complex beings.

And the only way to understand these things better and make them simpler is to accept its complexity.

TALK TO ME: Have you ever experienced being on both ends of gender bias? Or any bias, for that matter? What box/es have you been placed in before? How do you start to see people beyond their stereotypes? Do share your thoughts and opinions below!

Happy Wednesday, awesome peeps! <3

P.S. Ohyeah, and before I forget the most important question: what fantasy novels with assassins and thieves have you read and would highly recommend??? I’ve read The Final Empire, by the way, and it’s definitely a must-read!