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

Yep. You read that right.

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

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

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

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

In the Blogosphere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Awesome Side of the Internet

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

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

You need to rewatch LoTR but with cats.

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

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

VIOLET EVERGARDEN

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

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

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

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

HEARTSTOPPER

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

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

That’s it. That’s the pitch.

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

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

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

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

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

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

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

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

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

Last Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

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

Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

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

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

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

xx Kate

Photo from Ivory Mix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nope. It isn’t.

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

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

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

Take the initiative and tell people what you want.

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

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

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

Look. People want to help you.

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

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

1. Tell them politely and with respect

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

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

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

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

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

2. Be as clear and concise as you can

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

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

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

3. Have one point and make it your anchor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU!

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

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

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

Why you need to create your own business hours

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

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

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

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

The Benefits of Establishing Your Own Business Hours

1) You create boundaries

Specifically, time boundaries.

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

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

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

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

2) It gives you free time

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

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

3) Avoids overwhelm and burnout

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

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

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

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

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

4) Creating your own business hours can reduce stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

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

xx Kate

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

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

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

New Year, New You: Things you need to leave behind in 2018

New year new me, yes? YASSS.

That said, I know a lot of people don’t like doing New Year Resolutions, me included. But there’s just something absolutely wonderful in being given the chance to reset things. And I think that’s one of the lovely things we could do in January.

There are some things that you need to leave behind in order to move forward and further grow. Here are six of them. #selfgrowth #personaldevelopment

But if you’re like thirteen-year-old Kate and you’re deeply allergic to change, why don’t you try leaving things? Specifically, you need to leave behind the things that bummed you out last year? You know. People, mindset or stuff that did not make you happy in last year. Below is a handy list of things you can start with.

6 Things You Need to Leave Behind in 2018 so You Can Start 2019 on a Better Note

(featuring some awesome motivational tweets from awesome people)

1) Comparisonitis

 

One of the things you need to leave behind this year is this modern-day ‘sickness’ which does not bring anyone any good. And if anyone tells me otherwise, I’m challenging them.

Comparisonitis is real. We’ve all been there. We have done it. Compared our lives with our neighbours or our friends or even someone you only know through the Internet. And this problem definitely got bigger in this age because of social media and how it made other people’s highlight reels a mere click away. You don’t need that on 2019, yo.

Related: How to Turn The Comparison Game Around and Actually Help You

2) Compromising sleep and health

I love how has become more proactive. The hustle culture is an ever-growing one and I’m all for it! I love how everyone is ready to act on their dreams and goals. It is honestly so inspiring, and makes me want to do the same with mine.

But there’s also a flipside to this.

Sometimes, we are so focused on trying to achieve our dreams that we have disregarded other equally (if not more) important stuff like our health and wellbeing. You need to leave this behind, this unhealthy habit.

Friend, it’s good to hustle and work super hard for your dream life. But please don’t forget to take a break. Look after your body and wellbeing too. Make them a priority. It’s your main ship to get to where you want to go after all 🙂

Sometimes for you to improve and continue forward, you need to leave behind the things that slow you down or hinders you from your best self.

3) Negative Self-Talk

If there’s one thing I learned last year, it’s that I really am the only person standing between me and the great opportunities waiting for me. Negative self-talk is comparisonitis’s ugly cousin. You don’t need either in your life this year. Which is why we’re leaving both of them behind.

I made 2018 my year of saying yes. To new opportunities and new experiences and new friends. I’m so grateful for everything that had come to my life. I don’t think I’ll be able to experience any of it had I listened to my negative self-talk. And that did take lots of work, too. This year, I will continue challenging negative self-talk.

4) Bad or unhealthy habits

This one’s probably one of the hardest one to leave in this list. I know it is for me. And that’s saying something because, boy, are these things hard.

But it is necessary.

We all have them. A bad habit or five that’s preventing us to be the best person that we could be. Or at the very least, be a better person than you are now.

For instance, mine are picking on my chappy lips and procrastinating until the very last minute. Both are habits with long-term consequences that I know my future self don’t want to deal with. But it is so freaking hard to stop them too, you know???

Anyway, I will work on it this year. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I shall happily report less lip-picking and procrastinating.

5) Toxic people

I’m aware most people will say to cut off the toxic people in your life. And I support this. You don’t need to surround yourself with negative people who easily and constantly ruin your everyday life. But I also acknowledge that this could get tricky when that toxic person is a close relative or family. For some people, cutting things off with that toxic person may not even be an option.

 

6) Unhealthy and unnecessary perfectionist tendencies

Does this mean there are healthy and necessary perfectionist tendencies, Kate?

Why yes, there are.

Look. I’m a perfectionist. Does being one made life difficult for me? Yes. But do I still think there are great things that came out of my perfectionism? Absolutely.

See, if it weren’t for my perfectionist tendencies, I wouldn’t be able to deliver good work. I won’t make quality outputs in school, or during my internship or even here on my blog. It did help me in becoming detail-oriented and diligent. I do think perfectionism has some good sides to it. To a certain degree.

But like most things, too much of it is bad. One of the awful sides of perfectionism is the procrastination that happens when you have perfectionist tendencies — or perfection procrastination


I know that most of these things above aren’t easy to leave or cut off. They could be awfully complicated, depending on your specific situation. But I hope that you try working on a couple or three of them. In order to be better and live a happier life, I believe that you need to leave something in the past. And find something better to carry for the now and the future.

Besides, isn’t that what self-improvement is all about? 🙂

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU!

What other things do you want to leave behind in 2018? Share them below!

xx Kate

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Wanna make 2019 better than last year? I hear you, friend. And I think, in order for you to move forward and be a better version of your 2018 self, you need to leave behind some things in 2018. Click on to read more.

Photos from Ivory Mix 

2018 New Things: An Evaluation (and what I want to do moving forward)

Last year – or one year and 17 days ago, to be precise – I published a post in which I announced that I will try to do 10 new things in 2018. And the result… deeply astounded me.

Out of the 10 new things I set myself up to do last year, I was only able to do one.

WOW, KATE.

But because I kinda want to make up to (deeply disappointed) January 2018 Kate, I will look further into each New Thing and torture myself in embarrassment at the same time.

This is going to be fun, y’all.

1. Finish a horror movie without running away. I didn’t even watch any thriller last year, wow. But I guess it was to be expected since I was extremely busy for my last year in uni.

2. Make no-bake cheesecake. In my defense! I was going to do this over the holidays. But as I was spending Christmas and New Year’s in my grandparents’ house and all of the people living there either have diabetes or high cholesterol, I decided to just do it when I get back to Cebu.

3. Enroll in an art class. This is the One New Thing that I got to try out last year. So I signed up for one of Craftsy’s art courses because they had a promo back then. The course I signed up to is Kateri Ewing’s Startup Library: Painting with Watercolors. It was ah-mazing. I love the teacher and it tackled watercolour basics which really helped me understand watercolour better.

4. Make a popsicle house. I can’t believe I forgot I had this as a New Thing! And my brother had a project where he had to build one, hng.

5. Go to the gym. I don’t wanna talk about it.

6. Participate in an open mic. I remember I had plans on doing this last April at a popular tea house in my hometown, when I went home for a long break. But I learned that they no longer have an open mic there which was sad. I also didn’t know any other place that holds an open mic. So there you go.

7. Pierce ears. Omg, I was going to do this! But again, I had no time. Also, I was supposed to do it with my best friend but I only went home twice last year. Again, sad.

8. Eat sushi. Again not much free time = no time to go eat out. I did try out eating Korean barbecue and kimbap for the first time last year. So that sort of makes up with trying out new food, yes? Yes. And for a picky eater, I’d say that’s a win.

9. Listen to an album from a genre I don’t usually listen to. Um… I don’t think it counts because it was only one song but I listened to KDA’s Popstars.

10. No chicken or pork for a week. This is the one that I was disappointed at myself the most, to be honest.

All that said, it was quite disappointing for my first ever New Things year. For 2019, I will be tweaking things a bit and just try out five. Also, I’m going to add in a monthly assessment section on my Side Notes every month for this.

Five New Things I’m Going to Try in 2019

1. Make no-bake cheesecake

I am adamant in doing this, okay??? My family think I can’t make food outside instant stuff and frying eggs and cooking rice. I’ll show it to them. Also I just think it’d be nice to finally be able to try making something no-bake. I’ve seen them on Pinterest and they just look delicious and seem easy to do.

2. No chicken or pork for a week

As a notoriously known meat-eater, this is another thing my family don’t think I can accomplish. They don’t believe I can live with just fish and veggies. But I want to prove to them and myself that I can do this. This one’s going to be hard, though. So I’ll probably create a meal-plan for this specific week.

3. Attend a yoga class four times

I honestly have no idea how I’m going to do this but I want to try. I’ll have to research on yoga classes near me that I can attend to.

4. Attend a live watercolour workshop

I tried enrolling in an online art course last year. This time, I want to see if I get out of my introverted shell more and interact with people with the same interest. It’ll be fun too!

5. Post five video on Youtube

I’m still not sure if I want to appear on the videos or do a voice over or… just make videos but I haven’t dipped my toes on creating videos for fun and not for a school project. So this is going to be fun and anxious-filled.

Other than these five New Things, I also have three Big Goals I hope to achieve this year:

  • Have a collab with a huge brand on my blog
  • Save up for the CMA Board Exam (which I hope to take either this year or next)
  • Write a 100-page book. (I have no idea what it will be right now, but I just want to write one hehe)

I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU!

Did you achieve your goals last year? What are your goals for 2019? Share them below!

xx Kate

An impromptu welcome back after my impromptu break! | December Side Notes

Why yes, I totally did go away from the blogosphere for one whole freaking month without a warning after posting that November Side Notes.

Was I sorry? Of course! Even just a tiny bit.

Did I regret it? Definitely not.

I thought November would bring out all the busyness of the year. But nooo. December is definitely the busiest I’ve been this year. All the Christmas shopping, all the clearance running… All the graduation shenanigans. Sigh. But that’s the thing. I’m okay with all of it.

Because YA GIRL HAS NOW OFFICIALLY FINISHED UNI Y’ALL.

I’ve also taken advantage of this month-long impromptu break by catching up on emails and creating blog posts and do all other online responsibilities I’ve set aside because I wanted to focus on graduating. I haven’t ticked all my delayed to-do lists but that’s alright. I’m going at it slowly.

Anyway, on to the post!

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

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

interesting finds

In the Blogosphere

Key shared a very personal post about experiencing post-partum depression and it’s such an inspiring read.

ALJ put out the most awesome holiday gift guide for this year and — welp, not that you’ll need it. But in case you need to shop for super duper late holiday presents, they’re your gals.

If you’re up for some wholesome holiday read, Devinder posted the most wholesome Christmas post I’ve read this month where she shared the traditions she and her family have for the holidays.

Marie-Celine wrote this short but super on-point piece on comparisonitis and we could all go for a little reminder today.

Corrie wrote this timely piece on creating transformative New Year’s resolutions that you can carry through past January!

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 🙂

This kid is a goth in training and I have mad respect.

Seven-year-old shows her friends her new prosthetic leg and if that doesn’t tug your heartstrings enough, see how they responded *heart eyes*

McDonald’s created an anime commercial and it’s super kawaii (cute).

This girl is signing to her deaf father at a rock concert and my heart is swelling from so much love.

recommendations of the month
“Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee

The best Sunflower song I have ever heard y’all.

It’s so good vibes-y and super upbeat. All throughout November to December, I listened to this repeatedly on commute while going to school. It is such a great way to start the day on a positive note! Go ahead and listen! Also, watch the new animated film Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse, which the song is a soundtrack to. Haven’t watched it myself but you can be sure I will!!!

Chocolate Soy Milk

In case you didn’t know, I don’t drink coffee. *shields self from any attacks*

I have never really liked the taste of coffee. Also, my mom prefers we drink milk every morning, if we could help it. I was extremely busy these past couple months. In effect, I had to sacrifice my sleep. Because I don’t drink coffee, I try to get my dose of caffeine in other ways. I tried pure cocoa but that was bitter as heck. And I tried getting from cola but that’s wayyy too unhealthy and certainly not good for my hyperacidic-prone stomach.

But then, I remember my friend once recommended chocolate soy milk.

So I tried that and YOOO. To my fellow rare non-coffee-drinkers out there. This is the healthy caffeine option we need y’all! I drink either the Vitasoy Chocolate Soy Milk or the Vitamilk Double Choco Shake (which is a local product, yay!!!). Both are extremely delicious and they give me that small boost of energy I need in the morning.

the little things

Little Victories – Kickass Stuff that Happened This Month

    • I FINALLY GRADUATED Y’ALL!!! Finally finished four years in Accounting huhu. I actually wrote a super long Instagram post about it (shameless self-promo) and if you followed me on there, let me know so I can follow you back!
    • Got six cartons of Dutchmill from my Secret Santa (another non-caffeine drink I absolutely enjoy) and that makes me super super happy.
    • I am now, once again, surrounded by my favorite fowl ever: CHICKENS!!! (I mean, the turkeys of my neighbors in Cebu were fun to watch but nothing could top chickens for me hehe)
    • Finally bought cactus soil and pebbles for Cactus’s babies. But I just found out you don’t want to transplant cacti on the fourth quarter of the year since it’s their dormant period so April transplanting it is!
    • Sent out 2 guest post pitches! This isn’t what I hoped to achieve but I’ll take it. (Side note: you can check out my guest post about why having a creative hobby is important on La Ivana here)

Little Detours – What Kicked My Ass This Month

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

  • I had a pre-graduating breakdown and that meant puffy eyes on graduation day, oomf
  • Still have zero posts on buffer and I’m still scared
  • I haven’t touched any book in weeks wow

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 three posts for the month and send out two guest post pitches
  • Read and comment on 14 blog posts every week
  • Update my resume (hnggg)

Last Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

Be happy and stress-free. December was certainly stressful but the holiday vibes really got to me and I’m super happy.

  • Next Month’s Self-Improvement Challenge

    Try out one thing you haven’t tried before. I’m already thinking of trying out sushi for the first time but I need to ask a friend where the best sushi place in town is hehe.

    I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

    How was your December?? Do you drink coffee or not? What’s your favorite non-coffee beverage? Tell me all the things!!!

    xx Kate

    Photo from Ivory Mix

The Lost Art of Trial and Error: Why we need to try and fail to succeed

Out of complete boredom, my younger brother borrowed my phone to play a Merriam Webster quiz.

And look hey. It’s not for the lack of games in my phone. I have one! A difficult puzzle platformer called Catbird. But my brother only wanted something to waste his time on, not his patience or his brain cells. And I get it; Catbird is basically like Flappy Bird. Definitely not something to just kill off boredom. But when I looked over his shoulder to check on how he was fairing, I was surprised at what I saw.

“What are you doing?” I asked him suspiciously.

“It’s okay,” he reassured me, “I have a plan.”

You know what he was doing? His grand strategy for the Merriam Webster quiz? He was clicking on random choices. Random. Like, zero consideration on whether that choice was the right one or not. I wasn’t surprised at all that he got a really low score afterwards.

I mean, how was that a winning plan?? You’re obviously bound to fail when you don’t think things through.

And then he did his grand game plan the second time. But this time, because the questions tend to repeat and he remembered the answers, he got more questions right. And he did this repeatedly until he passed.

Quite a cheeky strategy coming from my pure little brother, but it worked! So I figured this is something I could apply when playing Catbird. That instead of obsessing over winning, I could just try my best and learn from my failures.

Then I realized… whoa. This is a mindset I could have beyond games. I could apply it in my LIFE.

In this age of instant gratification, we have forgotten the importance of trial and error. I make a case in defense for it and why we need it to succeed. Click to read the post!

Perfectionism in games and in life

See, what I found disconcerting with my brother’s game plan was that it was not what is perceived to be a game plan. This idea of deliberately failing felt like an anti-thesis to the main goal of playing any game – to win. And as a card-carrying perfectionist, I was quite familiar with this.

Succeeding at first try is even next-level dopamine hit for me. And I’m sure it is for other people too. In fact, I recently found something on Pinterest about how to become a superstar blogger at day one, so I know I’m not alone.

The idea of being a successful blogger on your first try is also a kind of next-level dopamine hit. We bloggers have aspired to be that way, at one point or another. And maybe you still are.

The thing is, no one wants to fail.

Failing leaves an unpleasant taste to the mouth. We spray away failure like we spray away bad breath. We wouldn’t want to experience it if we could. This is why we want to succeed at first try. It means not going through all the awful feelings you get when you failed. It means going straight to medal. And foregoing trial and error is a concept that’s too good to be true.

But see, the heavy truth is this: Less than one percent of bloggers – or anyone for that matter – become successful at day one.

I admit, I pulled that number out of nowhere. And it really isn’t reflective of any statistics made on success. But you get my point.

Rarely anyone becomes successful at first try.

I already shared my two cents on failure before, and how it’s important. And I still stand on that ground. Failure is necessary for us to eventually achieve success. But more importantly, it is through failure that we learn from our mistakes. And eventually grow from it. And therefore succeed.

But how could we fail if we don’t give ourselves permission to do so? How could we experience failure and grow when we’re so adamant to avoid trial and error?

The Lost Art of Trial and Error

My mom, a mathematics teacher, taught me that when all else fails, when you can’t think of any other math technique to find the solution to a problem, do trial and error. It is the most underrated yet useful thing you can have for solving math problems.

Surprise surprise, it is also the most underrated yet useful thing you can have for solving any life problems.

But see, the problem with trial and error is that it is tedious. It takes suuuper long to get to the answer. And no one wants to take the long winding path, when they could just go for the shortcut. Honestly, even I don’t want to. But in this age of instant gratification, we’ve somehow completely forgotten the idea of trial and error.

When you start your blog, you want it to be seen and successful at day one.

If you’re trying out a new product, you want to see its effects overnight.

When you take on a new creative project, you expect things to go your way.

But you might not be successful at day one. You may not see if the product is effective until a month of consistent use. Maybe you’d reach a creative dead-end sooner than you anticipated.

You may not succeed at first try but that doesn't make you a failure #quotes

Click to pin!

Maybe all you had to do was change a few things a bit. Tweak your process or try out a different one. Maybe you need to stop thinking things through so much and just click on whichever choice is in front of you. And if you make a mistake, you could always take notes. Eliminate that choice from your list for next time, and move forward.

And maybe, like my pure little brother with his cheeky game strategy, you too will pass your quiz.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What do you think about trial and error? Can you think of a time when you couldn’t wait for the outcome to show? Share them in the comments below!

xx Kate

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What To Do When You Have Zero Inspiration to Write

We’ve all been there. Cracked some knuckles, poised yourself for the shot and hit the ball rolling. And then the ball skidded to a full stop. Stuck and unable to move.

Inspiration to write? Zero.

Quite an erratic thing, inspiration. It comes and goes as it pleases. Which is why heavily depending on it is a big no-no. Especially if you’re like me and you want to build consistency in your blog or writing project. You need routine and a failsafe system.

And when inspiration suddenly slips away from underneath you, you need a backup plan.

Have no inspiration to write? Read on for 5 things to try when you have zero inspiration. #content #writing

1) Change Your Environment

If you’ve been holed up in your room for more than two hours trying to finish that first draft on your laptop, that’s basically your brain telling you, “I’m tired. I need a change of scenery.”

We can only take so much inspiration to write from one place. And I’m not just saying this for show. Our brains need constant stimulation to work – particularly when it’s doing creative work. The more we stay in one place, the less the stimulation our brain gets from it. For the brain, it’s been sensing the same things for hours. This is why we need go to someplace new. The new surroundings will surely recharge your brain in minutes.

2) Read, read, read

As a fully-fledged bookworm, I am all for reading. Leisure reading, academic reading, reading blogs, reading the back labels of products… I love all of it. If I could, I’d read like twelve stuff all at once.

But anyway. Reading is also great for reviving inspiration, yo!

And you don’t have to read a whole book too! There have been plenty of times when I become inspired just from scrolling through Twitter, or reading on someone else’s comment section.

One of the many awesome things your brain could do is take in information – any information – and process it and create lots of data just from that one piece of information. Our brains are literally biological supercomputers!

3) Bore yourself out

Did you know that boredom is deeply connected with creativity?

Yes, you with your eyebrow skeptically raised. It’s true. Plenty of studies have shown that boredom is a key ingredient to creativity. I actually listed down some of these said studies in this post about boredom and creativity.

But the gist of it is this: When we’re bored, our brain goes into Incubation Mode. This also happens when we’re in a shower or sitting in a car in the middle of a heavy traffic. It’s when our mind wanders, sifting through one thought after another. That’s when inspiration to write — or any kind of inspiration, for that matter — is born.

Also, if you’re still skeptical with this whole boredom and creativity connection, Chris of McAdventure blog also has a blog post all about how boredom relates to creativity.

Do you have zero inspiration to write? Yeah, we've all been there. Click on the pin for 5 things you can try when this happens. #blogging

4) Take a break

I feel like in this Hustle Generation, pausing for a while just isn’t an option. Think about it. Do you know any person who hustles so hard, they forget time to take a break? I bet you do. And I bet you know more than one person.

In my household alone, I know three and I’m one of them.

The problem is, we’re brain-abusers. We try to squeeze out every ounce and make use of every neuron of the three-pound lump inside our skull. We try to cram in our day with as much tasks as we can manage to accomplish.

But see, here’s the thing:

Even our brains need downtime. It needs to rest and recover before tackling on another task. This is why adding in white space into your life is important. Even a thirty-minute break in between tasks goes a long way!

Becoming inspired is important in finishing that first draft, be it a first draft of a blog post or a novel. And your brain is right there at the dead center of it all. Take care of your brain, and you’ll surely slay that first draft!

5) Brainstorm with a friend

If you’re really stuck at a creative dead end, then you can always ask a friend to help you brainstorm. I highly recommend asking for a friend who gets it.

Like, if you’re stuck in writing a blog post, seek help from your blogger buddy. If you need help with worldbuilding, call your writer friend. These friends are much more empathetic with your creative woes than, say, your mom. (Though it doesn’t hurt to ask your mom for help too!)

Remember, it is definitely okay to ask for help, especially when you desperately need it.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What do YOU do when you have zero inspiration to write? Share your sage wisdom in the comments below!

XX Kate

Photo from Wonderlass

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What can you do when you have zero inspiration to write? Read on for five things you can try.

Four Blog Writing Lessons I Learned in Four Years

When you’ve been blogging for long enough, you tend to create routines. You have little systems in place that you’ve developed over time. It makes the entire blog writing experience less stressful.

I’ve learned so many things in the four years that I’ve been blogging. And I realize I rarely talk about them on here. So today, I want to highlight on my blog writing journey and the lessons I learned along the way.

My Writing Voice Metamorphosis: From Cynical Caterpillar to a Better Butterfly

I was one of those early teens in the internet who is angry at the world 24/7. Shocking, isn’t it? But it’s true.

My username was literally Cynical Kate or something. I know it’s hard to imagine now since my personal brand, and by extension my blog’s brand, is spreading positivity and love. (Create and grow happily, yes?)

But that’s my origin story as a blogger and writer.

Somewhere along the way, I realized how emotionally taxing it is to be angry all the time. My fingers tapping onto the keys could sometimes feel more like slamming doors after doors. And I know there are people who thrive in that energy, but I’ve come to find out I wasn’t one of them. I found that there is, on the other hand, so much joy in writing with a happy vibe.

So I did.

Finding the Right Blog Writing Voice

Writing with the right happy vibe was a journey in itself, though. A sub-plot, if you must. I’ve been that blogger who uses lots of exclamation points and making words suuuper looong. I have used gifs and memes. I’ve abused the capslock and emojis.

And while there are also bloggers who are so natural at this, writing this way didn’t feel normal to me. It felt inauthentic and forced.

I didn’t feel like myself.

It wasn’t until I first stumbled upon the Yes and Yes blog that I found inspiration and clarity. I LOVE the way Sarah writes. It’s like your best friend talking to you and the way she put in humor and stories in her post are clever.

That’s the kind of happy vibe I want. Like your funny and clever best friend talking to you.

That, plus my love for analogies – that would go so far as comparing getting past obstacles to a chicken – and adding pop culture references, is my current writing voice.

So what did I take away from those four years of searching for my writing voice?

Blogging for four years meant I've learned plenty of blog-related things. Here are the four biggest blog writing lessons I learned in four years.

1) Read as much as you can

This isn’t just me being a bookworm and promoting the beauty and importance of reading. (Although, I’m all for that!) But seriously. To improve as a writer you have to read.

There’s only so much you know and ideas you can come up on your own. I know this because I myself don’t have lots of mindblowing ideas coming out of my brain everyday like how scrabble relates to not giving up on life. I need outside perspective too.

And when I say read a lot, I’m not pressuring you to read 300-page novels either. You can read an online essay on Longreads, or scroll through an article on Medium. Heck, even reading a comment in one of the Facebook groups you’re in goes a long way.

2) You are an important part of the writing equation

You know how most blogging advice on writing a good blog post centers on what your readers like?

Well, that’s true. But I don’t think it’s the entire truth. What your readers like to get from reading your blog is important, sure. But you also need to consider what you like to write.

Think about it:

If you forced yourself to write something that your readers like but you don’t quite enjoy writing, what do you think would happen? The post will come out unnatural and inauthentic. And your readers will sense this.

Blogging for four years meant I've learned plenty of blog-related things. Here are the four biggest blog writing lessons I learned in four years.
Blogging for four years meant I've learned plenty of blog-related things. Here are the four biggest blog writing lessons I learned in four years.

Format how you like to format your posts. Make use of lists. If you like long paragraphs, don’t be afraid to use them! One way to be authentic online is through doing what you prefer. It’s honestly more enjoyable to read a blog post that’s so real. I talked more extensively about writing a great blog post on the Blog Buddy Program website, if you want to check it out!

3) Learn how to balance self-acceptance and self-improvement

There’s room for improvement but there’s also lots to love about your writing now. This is something I struggled in my first year blogging.

I always thought my writing sucked. I had the habit of publishing impulsively and then reading back what I already published and finding flaws that I edit right then. And I would spend hours doing this. Looking back, that was such a perfectionist Kate thing to do. But it was also very counterproductive.

I talked about this before:

When you choose perfect over finish, you leave zero room for improvement.

Spending so much time trying to fix your work will end up in you getting stuck on doing only that one thing, for-freakin-ever. I’m all for editing, but you need to give it an end time.

4) Finding your writing voice takes time

It could take months or, in my case, years to find and develop your writing voice.

This isn’t to say that your writing right now is awful — not at all! It just means that you aren’t there yet. You aren’t in that place you wanted to be yet. The way I see it, it’s kinda like how an artist’s skill develops and progresses over time.

In fact, both writers and artists (and all kinds of creatives, really) follow the same creative principle: improvement requires hours and hours of practice. This is why it’s important to show up and write stuff and finish writing said stuff. It’s how you improve as a writer.

Remember: even the masters were once novices.

We all have to start somewhere. And really, the only other way to go is up. So enjoy where you are right now. Relish in the things you are proud of, and be excited for a better you ahead. Because there will be a better you ahead. I know it.

Blogging for four years meant I've learned plenty of blog-related things. Here are the four biggest blog writing lessons I learned in four years.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What are some blog writing tips you’ve learned so far in your blogging journey? Share them below!

xx Kate

In another news, November 14th marks the day this smol blog was born. Which means I’ve been around the blogosphere for 4 years. Which is, like, a century in Internet Days and therefore I am a certified virtual crone.

This little corner of the Interwebs that I call home has gone through so many phases — and I’m sure it will continue to do so. But I never expected my blog to become so important to me. Yet in a way, it had a huge part in making me who I am now.

Gosh, I’m getting sentimental.

Anyway.

As a thank you to all you amazing human beings who made blogging an incredibly enjoyable experience, I’m having my 2nd Blog Birthday Giveaway!

Here’s what’s in store for this year’s blog birthday giveaway:

  • 1 winner of a $25USD Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 winner of a full-color illustration (A5 size, 300 dpi)
  • 2 winners of a watercolor portrait with minimal background (A5 size, 300 dpi)

I will be sending all these digitally, though, as I have yet to figure out my country’s mailing system. This giveaway is open internationally and I will be picking out the four winners on December 2, 2018. Good luck!

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