create and grow happily

Category: Motivation & Inspiration (page 1 of 3)

I aim to be enlightened everyday, one way or another. Here, you’ll find posts wherein I spread inspiration and positive food for both the brain and heart.

Haircut, expectations and hope

Hello friends.

I bring to you this small update from the safety of my home. And I’m guessing – nay, hoping – that you too are reading this from the safety of yours.

As you may have caught on from the above title, I had my hair cut a couple weeks back. I had this planned since last year. I was going to have my hair cut in a long pixie… which isn’t really any different from my short hair last year. Except last year it was a super short bob and this year I have a long pixie. But I disgress.

This is kinda the style I am going for. Funnily enough, I painted this to try out the two new brushes I bought a week before my haircut appointment.

Today, while listening to anime opening songs, I thought about how far I’ve come from high school. Haircut-wise. Back then, I was too afraid to do anything with my hair outside shoulder-length layered. (Man, seriously, the only variety year after year was whether I’ll have the edge blunt cut, v-cut or u-cut. Wow.)

That said, I made a short list of stuff I have yet to do with my hair:

Screenshot of list with text: "Stuff I haven't yet done to my hair: Bleach or color; Undercut; super short pixie cut; full on bangs (impulsive mistake made in third grade does not count)"

I really want to try all of these someday, at least once.

And I guess that’s it. Me thinking wistfully, hopefully, of a future where I become a littlestudent more adventurous with my hair. It seems like a silly thing, and perhaps in the far future I’ll reread this post and think, “God, 22-year-old Kate is a drama queen.

Well, to be honest, at this moment? With all of us right in the thick of things, I have no expectations. I don’t know what will happen. From where I stand, the future is a little blurry.

But I do have infinite hope.

Hope that we’ll all get through this, one way or another. That one day, we will step out into the concrete, onto the green grass. Smell the fresh air and shake hands with our neighbors and hug our friends. Happily and without any fear.

But for now, friends, I hope that you are well and staying at home for the duration of this pandemic.

Take care and wash your hands,

Kate

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See, we all make tiny mistakes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

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

Kate xx

Photo from Lucas Swinden via Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Ode to the Small and Basic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chop them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU!

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

xx Kate

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

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

Photos from Ivory Mix

5 Actionable Steps to Set & Achieve the Big Goals

Pre-S: This is an old post I’ve written a year ago. I reckon it’s good to update it with a bit of new information I’ve recently learned regarding goal-setting so here ya go!


There are certainly people out there who can’t – for the life of them – achieve the big goals they’ve set for themselves.

I know this because… well, I’m one of those people.

And yo, I’ve tried every-freakin-thing. I did New Year resolutions. I’ve read every goal-setting blog posts available in the personal development community. I did it all. And it’s not like I can’t follow through with the tasks I need to do. I totally could.

If it was given to me by someone else, or if I gave my word to do something to another person, I sure as heck can follow through with my promise. My problem lies with the goals and plans I’ve set for myself.

It wasn’t until I learned about Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies that I realized there was nothing wrong with me. There are just people who, like me, find difficulty in meeting inner expectations.

This you?

Do you also have a hard time achieving the goals that you’ve set for yourself?

Do you set a big goal – you know, those goals that are ambitious and huuuge? – and eventually fall out of it?

Well, my friend, this post is for you.

HOW TO SET AND ACHIEVE THE BIG GOALS (when you’re not a pro goal achiever)

There are essentially two types of goals. The big goals, which are ambitious and often takes a long time to achieve. And the small goals which are more achievable. Since the small goals are easier to accomplish, we’ll pin that one for later and focus on the big goals.

Big goals seem farfetched. They’re what you call top goals, your ultimate goal in life. And because they’re huge, it makes sense that these goals take years of work to achieve. So they’re quite difficult to attain.

This and other internal complications (like self-doubt and low self-confidence) would add to your big goals’ difficulty. Which is why a lot of people don’t follow through with their big goals. But that does not make it ultimately unreachable.

Big goals are totes achievable, my friend! It all comes down to how you set them.

Ever had a hard time setting and achieving goals for yourself? Check out this 5 actionable steps to set and achieve the big goals. #goalplanning #goals

1) Know Your Why

Why are you setting this particular goal? Why is achieving this goal important to you? What are you trying to achieve? What will you get from achieving it?

Being able to answer these questions and knowing your why may seem all woo-woo at first. (Trust me, I thought so too.) But it’ll help you all throughout your journey of achieving that Big Goal.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Goals are like cars. They’re great. With their help, you’ll get from Point A to Point B, easy. They carry you to where you need to go next. But they can’t do it all on their own. In order for your car to help you, you need to fuel it. You need gas.
You need a motivation power.

A motivation power is what powers your goal, to turn on and work. Without a motivation power, you’ll be stuck at Point A. With the wrong motivation power, you can’t get anywhere far.

Like, if you want to reach 1000 subscribers on your blog, just so you can reach 1000 subscribers, the motivation power of that goal is really really short. That’s because it’s the wrong motivation power. And if you want to reach 1000 subscribers on your blog because that’s what others are setting for theirs, that’s not the right motivation power either.
You can’t just set a goal for the sake of setting a goal. Or because that’s what someone else wanted. There has to be a purpose to it. Your goal needs to be meaningful to you. You would need something that will drive you to take action.

2) Turn Your Big Goal into Small Achievable Ones

If you’ve been around on my blog for a while, you would know how much I LOVE setting big goals into small achievable ones.

See, your Big Goal is one ginormous triple-layer buttercream cake. It’s delectable. It makes you salivate. But you can’t just open your mouth and gobble it all up in one go. I mean, you could try… but boy, will your jaw have cramps afterwards.

Instead, cut them into small neat slices. You can just concentrate on that one slice that’s on your plate and gradually work your way into every layer. Until you’ve eaten the entire cake.

See what I mean?

You can apply the same principle in goal-setting. Create milestones that you can focus one at a time. Angela Duckworth calls this a goal hierarchy. Your top goal, your Big Goal, can’t stand up on its own. It needs to be supported by a middle-level and low-level goals. These are goals that, once achieved, would bring you closer to your top goal.

So if you’ve got a five-year goal, slice it up to yearly goals. And you can even go further and turn those yearly goals into monthly goals. And then weekly. And then daily! This allows you to focus on only what you can do today. And through working on your small daily goals, you’re gradually working on your Big Goal one day at a time!

Do you ever have a hard time achieving your Big Goals? Here's how to set and achieve them in 5 actionable steps.

3) Don’t Let Doubt Creep In

I’m sure you already knew this: Achieving the big goals will not be a walk in the park.

You will encounter obstacles along the way. And one of your biggest adversaries is self-doubt.

The thing is, doubt is inevitable with big goals exactly because they’re not so easy to attain. All throughout your journey, doubt will pop out of nowhere. It’s like one of those recurring antagonists that just don’t die, you know?

So when you start thinking of worst-case scenarios, when the voices in your head are giving you all the reasons to stop, challenge it. List down all the reasons to forge ahead.

Related: How to Challenge Negative Self-Talk in Three Steps

Similarly, if you shared the huge goal you wish to achieve to someone and they have that “Is he/she for real?” disbelieving look, walk away.

Just walk away. They will only add up to the doubt you’re already giving yourself.

And when I say walk away, you don’t necessarily have to ban them from your life forever. Sometimes the people who doubt us are those closest to us, those who are important to us. Which makes their disbelief all the more hurtful.

It’s sad but it’s true for a lot of people.

So whenever they wear that uncertain expression, ignore it. When they speak their doubts, let it pass through one ear and out the other. Or insist you can do it! And if they still persist on what they think, leave it alone. Don’t fight, especially if they’re important to you; you don’t want to lose them to a conflict of ideas. We all differ that way.

But you don’t want to lose that goal, too. Instead, look for other people who will support you, understand you, and share your journey with them.

Having a hard time achieving your Big Goals? Try these 5 actionable steps to set and achieve them. #goals #personaldevelopment #goalsetting

4) Write Your Goals Down

I’m telling you, there is power in writing things down.

When you write things down, it:

  • Creates permanence
  • Makes abstract stuff more real
  • Puts things (like my scattered Obliger brain) in order

If it isn’t evident enough, I love writing. I like to journal, I love to free write (which you totally should try, by the way) and, every once in a while, I love to write poems too. And I’m not alone in this writing-love-fever.

There’s a reason why bullet journaling, or any kind of journaling for that matter, is still super popular today amidst awesome apps like Evernote or Keep. This is because the physical feel of writing is already therapeutic in itself.

This isn’t to say that putting your goals in notepad apps aren’t good. I do that too! I pin both my weekly and monthly goals in my Keep and place a reminder for them everyday. This is just to reenforce to my Obliger brain that I need to act on the goals I’ve set for myself.

The important part here is that you have your goals written out. That way, your goals feel more tangible.

5) Enjoy the Journey

Achieving your goals won’t be an easy journey. That much I can assure you.

But we have to remind ourselves sometimes that the process is just as important as the outcome.

There are many things that you will learn along the way. Maybe you’ll find out that your little milestones have changed and you’ve found another path to reach your Big Goal. Maybe your Big Goal has reshaped and molded itself into something else. That’s totally okay!

And when life gets you down, you know what you gonna do?

*DON’T STOP BELIEEEEVING HOLD ON TO THAT FEEEEELING*

Ahem. Okay. So that song actually holds some truth for goal-setting.

This is why having that purpose in setting your goal is important. I mentioned earlier that doubt creeps in any-freakin-time and I meant it. Don’t stop what you’re doing just because doubt arrived. Don’t stop believing that you will reach it. Because you can.

You totes can. I believe in you.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Do you have any big goals planned out for next year? Share them in the comments!

Kate xx

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We all love to set big goals for ourselves. The problem lies in achieving them. Here are 5 actionable steps to set and achieve the big goals. #goalplanning #goals

5 Pretty Color Pairs I’m in Love with Right Now

It’s been a year since I last shared my favorite color pairs on here. Between then and now, I’ve found some really awesome and super aesthetic color pairs. They inspired me with my blog’s new look and on my recent artworks.

I’m really loving pastels and neon colors these days, which is weird because I was never into these colors as a kid. I used to favor the bright, the deep and the neutral. Granted, my teen years were pretty much me in my goth and edgy “Don’t talk to me” phase so there’s that.

Anyway! Here are the 5 color pairs I’m loving at the moment!

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. 🙂

Grey and Muted Pink

pink and grey - 5 color pairs I'm loving right now

What I absolutely love about this color pair is how it’s feminine but not overly so. Totally my cup of tea. I never liked greys in lighter shade before but they give this kinda moody, kinda aesthetic (?) vibe to it that I now absolutely love. And the pink is just a nice pop of color in contrast with that grey.

Magenta and Canary Yellow

magenta and canary yellow - 5 color pairs I'm loving right now

Magenta is another one of those colors that I never liked as a kid. My sis and I had this 480-color Crayola box and magenta was one of those colors we rarely use. It’s just, in my seven-year-old self’s eyes, magenta didn’t make sense. Like, is it red or is it purple?? It really confused me.

Now, I could fully appreciate its beauty. And because it’s such a vivid color, I usually pair it up with pastels or muted colors. Canary yellow is my fave to pair with magenta. A small area of the wall in my bedroom has this color pair and whenever I look at it, I’m just – it’s so beautiful.

Neon Blue and Ultraviolet

neon blue and ultraviolet - 5 color pairs I'm loving right now

Oh boi. As recent as when I was a freshman in college, I loathed neon. I hated it with passion. When I see neon, I run to the opposite side as fast as I can. But I’ve recently (like just this year recently) come to love neon colors. If you add in black, this color combo will be p e r f e c t. Neon colors just have this moody retro urban feel to them. It’s really great for creating atmosphere and moods in an illustration.

I tried to do it in a full-color illustration one time and… welp. It didn’t work. But it was probably because the paints I used were more muted. So I learned that if you want to recreate the neon look on watercolour, you’d need translucent paints for it.

Cerulean and Moss

cerulean and moss - 5 color pairs I'm loving right now

If Magenta was the color I rarely used as a kid, cerulean is the complete opposite. I freakin-loved this color! I would use it on every page of my coloring book. I’ve been saving nature landscapes from stock photo sites lately. I use them to practice on painting landscapes and I always get attracted to images with lots of blues and greens.

Blues and greens are classic color pairs that would always (always) work. I particularly love using cerulean with the less vibrant mossy green.

Mint and Peach

mint and peach - 5 color pairs I'm loving right now

*sigh* I love this color combo like you wouldn’t believe.

While I started to love pink, there’s nothing more beautiful than peach. Peach feels like it’s walking on that fine line between orange and pink, you know? I love that. And mint. Oh mint. I don’t know if it’s just me but it’s such a Gen Z color pair??? All pastel and bright and super aesthetic. This is the kind of atmosphere I want for my blog – fun and happy but also quite relaxing. I hope I achieved that 🙂

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What are your favorite color combinations at the moment? Share them in the comments below! I’m always on the hunt for gorgeous colors 😉

xx Kate

PS. You can check out my previous post on color combos here!

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

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

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

The Japanese has this eating game called yaminabe.

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

That pretty much sums up my August.

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

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

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

interesting finds

In the Blogosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Awesome Side of the Internet

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

<3 This creative video I found on Twitter

<3 Ava DuVernay inspiring message

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

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

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

recommendations of the month

I Need To Start a Garden EP by Haley Heynderickx

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

Blogging Buddies Facebook Group

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

the little things

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

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

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

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

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

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

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

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

Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

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

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

 

Self-Love Starts With Self-Acceptance: Why I prioritize accepting myself first

I think self-acceptance is more important than self-love.

And alright, alright. Before you throw the proverbial eggs at me and demand I wear the cone of shame, hear me out.

Self-Acceptance, Self-love, Acceping Yourself, Perfectionism, Personal growth, Inspiration

In my quest to devour as many personal development articles as I could, I came across a quote that, frankly, struck a chord in me. I forgot what the exact words were but the thought was this: “If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will find it difficult to love others.”

Honestly, I call BS on that.

Some people are quite capable of loving others wholeheartedly and unquestioningly. But when it comes to themselves, this is a drag-a-square-boulder-up-a-hill kind of battle. It’s difficult. These people often give themselves zero room for errors and set themselves up to extremely high expectations. I always wondered why we do this, why we are so hard on ourselves. And most of us are – especially girls.

I found a bit of insight through Sharon Salzberg. She discussed how we humans were, on an evolutionary standpoint, wired to look for the negativity in our lives. It was literally a surviving mechanism. And this trait has been passed on from generation to generation. It’s probably why we fixate on our failures and inadequacies so much. It’s probably why we do not like our flaws and, ultimately, ourselves.

Look, I’m not saying you should not love yourself. I’m all for that! I just think it’s ridiculous to make it seem like self-love is some kind of prerequisite to other kinds of love. It isn’t. I don’t think so.

I like to believe that self-love, and every other kinds of love for that matter, is one unique experience. Each one is a game utterly separate from the others. They shouldn’t be mushed into one category, as if one kind of love is a level you need to pass through. Learning one kind of love is exclusive of learning all other kinds of love. Apples and oranges, you know?

And here’s what I think:

love needs self-acceptance

It may be accepting the flaws of a partner or child. It may be accepting the shortcomings of a family member or a friend or even a dog / cat / rabbit / bird / unicorn child. Why yes, you can do that to yourself too! You can recognize your flaws and get on better terms with yourself.

Acknowledging and accepting that you are not perfect is very much a part of self-love. But in a way, it’s quite different from the “I love this part about myself” and “I am worthy of good things” cupcakes-and-ice cream kind of self-love that we often see being encouraged in the personal growth community. (Although that’s awesome too!)

Through self-acceptance, you don’t only see yourself for the good and more positive traits that you possess. You also accept the bad and less positive ones. You accept that you are not perfect and are with flaws. You don’t just love the cupcakes and ice cream, you also acknowledge the goodness of broccoli and raisins. You are able to embrace all parts of you. Warts and scars and all.

I mean, aren’t these the parts of ourselves that we find extremely difficult to accept and, ultimately, love? It is because we have these flaws, because we are imperfect, that we hate ourselves in the first place. Sometimes we can focus so much on our shortcomings that we no longer see what we’re good at.
So imagine what would happen if you start to accept your flaws. What would happen if you begin to embrace your imperfections?

This is why in my little journey of loving myself more, I want to focus on self-acceptance. On accepting both the cupcakes and ice cream, and the broccoli and raisins. Because even though those broccoli and raisins don’t taste as good as the cupcakes and ice cream, they’re good for you too. (This is a really long stretch of an analogy but I do hope you get the point.)

Do you struggle with self-love too? What are some of your imperfections that you’ve learned to accept?

xx Kate

Self-acceptance, personal growth, self-improvement, personal development, mindset, self-love, loving yourself, accepting your flaws

Photo from Ivory Mix

Side Notes: A Monthly Wrap Up by yours truly

*inhales deeply*

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

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

side notes

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

Anyway, let’s get cracking!

interesting finds

In the Blogosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Awesome Side of the Internet

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

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

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

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

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

Books I Read This Month

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

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

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

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

recommendations of the month

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

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

The Every Damn Day List by Sarah von Bargen

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

the little things

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

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

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo from StockSnap

How to Turn The Comparison Game Around and Actually Help You

Comparisonitis is, unarguably, a real thing. It is an awful modern illness a lot of us have experienced, you know, at least once or twice a year.

And there is nothing more awful than comparing your wonderfully unique self with another equally wonderfully unique person. I’m sure we all know this. Deep deep down.

But we just.can’t.help.it.

Comparing yourself to the people around you is almost as easy to do as enjoying a glass of Coke. Or five. You know too much of that carbonated drink is not good for your health but you keep chug-chug-chugging on, anyway.

By now, you’ve probably heard this a million times but I’m still going to say it: You get zero benefits from comparing yourself to other people. It never turns well.

And as Taylor Swift once wisely said, Never ever ever.

How to Turn Comparison Around and Actually Help You | personal growth, comparisonitis, comparing, self improvement, progress

But I recently came across something on Twitter that you can do instead.

Anoosha is one of the many (many) artists I look up to and she made a thread where she shared her art journey and career path. In it, she cautioned young artists against career comparison and she recommended something mind-blowing instead:

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

Reading that, yo, you wouldn’t believe how I reacted. I was just… BLOWN AWAY!

Because to me, that is the perfect way to turn the Comparison Game around. And you can actually do it in the healthiest way possible.

By comparing yourself now to how you were before, you will see progress.

To see that you have grown, one way or another.

And the best thing about comparing your present self with your past self? You’re super focused on self-progress that you have zero time to compare yourself and think about playing catch up with the rest of the world. #Winning!

Here are a 3 things you can compare your present self to with your past self:

1) Your Creative Work

How have you grown, artistically? If you draw, do you have better grasp at anatomy? Or if you’re a writer, do you write better prose? Or maybe even piecing a better analogy?

There’s this meme in the online art community where artists and illustrators share works they did 3 years ago, a year ago and now. It is a super awesome way to see the growth of their art styles. Try doing this in your own creative field.

If you’re a writer, compare what you’ve written from 3 years ago, a year ago and now.

If you’re a photographer, put those three photographs side by side.

This meme is absolutely applicable to almost all kinds of creative field – if not all! – and will visually present to you how much you’ve grown over the past three years.

2) How You React or Respond

Are you calmer and more levelheaded at dealing with conflicts now? Or maybe you are no longer afraid to speak up your mind and are able to disagree with someone’s opinions without being impolite or rude?

Do you say ‘thank you’ more than ‘sorry’? And for my fellow socially awkward potatoes out there, are you slaying those socializing events? (Why yes, actually saying something as coherent as “Yes, it is!” to a total stranger, is huge progress in my book!)

Take some time to self-reflect. Recall a recent experience. Consider how you felt at the time and try to see it in a third person’s point of view. What would younger you have done? Did you respond with more love and respect now than if you faced a similar scenario then?

3) Your Lifestyle

Do you eat more fruits and veggies? Do you no longer wheeze after climbing two flights of stairs? (Honestly, give yourself a pat on the back, that’s great!) Do you no longer give in to your impulsive buying tendencies? Do you make procrastinating work for you? Are you more productive?

I know firsthand that these can be suuuper hard to do. (Especially that not wheezing part.) But it is definitely not impossible!

4.) Your Habits

Are there old bad habits you had that you no longer do? Because omg that’s so great! Bad habits are hard to stop, as they always say. Have you created better habits recently and they now come as easy as breathing to you?

Habits are one of the foundations of someone’s lifestyle. If you have good habits established into your daily routines, this will ultimately define what your lifestyle is. For instance, I used to stay up until 3AM. And so I’d spent most of my commute to and from school asleep. This was kinda okay back in high school, but come college, it was awful. I was perpetually tired and sick. And so I forced myself to go to sleep as late as 10PM so I’d still have adequate amount of sleep. Now, I wake up bright and early and ready to tackle on the day’s work!

Being able to look back on how you were before and comparing it to how you are now helps in boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence. This is proof that you’ve gone so far and have progressed.
And remember: progress comes in many shapes and sizes.

There’s always progress as time flows by. ALWAYS. It’s damn near impossible to be at a total stand still for a year or two. At the very least, a morsel of you have changed because of the things you’ve experienced and what you’ve taken from those experiences. All you’ve got to do is see them for the progress that they are.

What have you achieved recently? Do you have any other tips on how to track your progress?
Share them all below so we can celebrate with you and learn from you at the same time! 🙂

xx Kate

Photos from Say Hello Photography and StockSnap

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