Tag: Blogging

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

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

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

 

6 Reasons Why You Should Try Free Writing

6 Reasons Why You Should Try Free Writing

In case it hasn’t been obvious, I love writing.

Whether it’s writing about my angst-filled days as an early teen or this one scene I came up where a twelve-year-old girl and an ancient dragon bickered if that huge grey thing is a boulder or Big Bird, writing was, and still is, a great way for me to channel my creativity into something.

But free writing.

Oh boy. That is a deeper and more intimate way in which writing has changed my life.

Good ol’ Wikipedia calls it a prewriting technique in which you disregard spelling, grammar, or topic.

I’ve always thought of it as like freestyle rap, except you’re just writing. (Freakin-genius in English, aren’t I?)

But anyway.

I have relied on it a lot in different aspects of my life this year. Which is why I’ve set myself up into convincing anyone who doesn’t free write to do it. Because I think it might just change yours too 😉

6 REASONS WHY FREE WRITING IS GOOD FOR YOU AND YOUR LIFE

1. You Get to Organize Your Thoughts

I’m the kind of person who has 1,498,257 thoughts running on my mind every second. It can be pretty overwhelming. Like I just can NOT concentrate on doing anything else.

Does that sound like you too?

Does it feel like your mind is this browser with dozens of tabs opened simultaneously and it’s like you, the entire computer, is lagging constantly because how the heck are you going to process all of these???

Is that you?

Alright. Try free writing.

Free writing might just help you organize, even just a little bit, all those thoughts you are on the verge of drowning into. It totally helped me.

When I free write, I have this feeling of gradually letting thought after thought out of my brain. Putting one word after another is like closing those tabs one by one until you have just enough that you can focus on at the moment.

It is incredibly freeing and isn’t that nice? Because it’s called free writing! See what I did there? 😀 (I am so not funny)

2. It Makes You a Better Writer

Free writing helps you put thoughts into words well, right? So it also helps you become a better writer.

I mean, for one thing, it is not called a prewriting technique for show. But like any skill, writing something engaging and compelling takes lots of practice and actually doing some writing. Kristina wrote that it helped her write as many as 1,000 words in 15 minutes.

Let that sink in for a sec. 1,000 words in fifteen. freaking. minutes.

Totally amazing, right??

But free writing doesn’t just help you in the practice aspect of becoming a better writer. Free writing also helps you get into The Flow™. Or The Zone™. Or The Groove™. Whatever floats your boat.

This is when you feel fully immersed and focused on whatever activity you’re doing.

And yes, free writing can help you go to that state of mind while writing. Simply because practicing it helps you to take away compulsive self-analyzing. You might or might not get anything substantial from what you’ve free written. But you cannot forego the fact that it is a great way to flex your writing muscles and, you know, do writing warm-ups.

3. It is Actually Fun!

Sure, maybe that compulsive editor inside of you doesn’t like being in the process of free writing. BUT! Finishing that first draft of a blog post and reading through all of the grammatical errors and typos afterwards?

PROOFREADING HEAVEN.

Which, in my compulsive editor’s view, equals F-U-N.

How else is free writing fun? I’m so glad you asked.

<3 Reading old stuff you free wrote. Do you laugh at how awkward and overdramatic you are in your old diary entries or is that just me?

<3 Knowing you can write better now compared to X years ago. Boost your self-confidence yo!

<3 You don’t have to restrain yourself and overthink every-freakin-thing (which, let’s all agree, dampens the fun out of writing)

4. It is Good for Your Sanity

There has been plenty of research in the fields of psychology and neuroscience on the importance of free writing. And it is also used in counseling and therapy.

I mean. Hello, journalling?

If you’ve read plenty of self-care posts like I have, you’d know journalling is in there at the top of the how to self-care lists. And that is basically one of the best ways to incorporate free writing into your life.

Here are some other ways free writing can be good for your sanity:

+ It’s kind of an art therapy (which we’ll discuss further later)

+ It helps you put jumbled thoughts and emotions into words (as mentioned above) which is great for self-reflection and your mental health.

+ It tires you and that’s kinda like exercise for your arm (and I dunno, for some reason I like good exhaustions. Don’t you?)

+ It’s better than breaking plates and punching a hole on your wall. I mean, you could always write about punching a hole or maybe even turning into a dragon and burning down the next village over and look! No one in real life got physically hurt! Win-win. (Except for those poor villagers. May they rest in peace.)

5. You Become More Productive (writing-wise)

One thing I’ve heard and read a lot on conquering that Horrible First Draft™ is to write now, edit later. Which, I just learned, is an excellent advice for any type of writing; from novels to poetry to technical…and even blog writing.

Practicing free writing can help you from experiencing what Ignited Moth’s post inspired me to call, The Backspace Syndrome. You know, like that backspace key is so tempting to use and you edit and delete as you go? You ever had that?

Hey me too!

So when I feel like the backspace urge is too strong as I’m writing a blog post, I either resort to writing by hand or typing it on my tablet where the urge is usually not that strong and free writing comes more naturally.

End result? I have a finished first draft of blog post! Needs a lot of editing. For sure. But it’s more than a rough outline and I’ve got thoughts and ideas down that only need a bit of refining.

6. Free Writing is Therapeutic

Free writing helps me sort out things that have been on my mind. It’s rather comforting, you know.

Gosh, there were times when free writing became incredibly emotional for me. But, in a way, it was also (well here it is again) freeing. It was just me introspecting and untangling some of my thoughts. Even for just a bit. Like I don’t have to untangle everything, and I usually don’t. But what relatively little that I get untangled and sorted out, is big enough so as to make my life just a bit more bearable.

And that’s honestly what I love the most about free writing.

Do you free write? If so, how has it helped you? Do you have the Backspace Syndrome too? Do you binge-watch TED talk videos like yours truly? Tell me all!!!

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PS: If you enjoyed this post, you might like to learn 13 ways to be inspired and pump up your creativity. Just putting it out there 😉

(Photos used from Kaboompics and Pixabay respectively)

My Precious Potato Turns 3 + Blog Birthday Giveaways!

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

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

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

Also: how timely is this!

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

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

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

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

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

And another thing:

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

Because I have more than one! 😀

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

 

blog birthday giveaway

Dear Beautiful People of the Internet:

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

I couldn’t NOT do another artsy giveaway.

So here’s the gist of it all:

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

art commission

 

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

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

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

 

custom blog header

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

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

3 Simple Things You Need to Do to Enter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My First Inktober + 2 Things I Learned about Monthly Challenges

What I Learned from my First Inktober

Sometime early this year, I’ve made my decision. This is the year.

I was gonna participate in Inktober.

Now for those who don’t know, Inktober is basically a month-long challenge to draw something with ink for the entire month of October. A lot of the people in the art community participate in this but basically anyone who likes to draw and wants to improve their inking skills are open to participate.

A part of me was excited and determined and all sorts of giddy. But a huge part of me was also skeptical. The moment I made that decision, I’m pretty sure that huge part of me turned around to look at that tiny, energetic, always-quits-halfway part of me thinking, “…Can she even do it?”

Folks, I admit, even I had doubts I could do it. I’m not proud to say that I’ve had a preeetty long track record of endeavors that I started but never finished. *cough*like Friday Fangirling*cough*

But guess what?

I DID IT. I-freakin-did it! I finished Inktober!

It was quite the exhausting month for sure. But more than that, I enjoyed it so so much! And like any experience that I have, I’ve got some great takeaways from participating.

What I Learned from my First Inktober

No one’s Putting Any Pressure on You

That is, no one… except you.

Classic case, isn’t it?

No one was pressuring me to do Inktober every day (although that’s ideal) or to follow the official prompt or to just use ink or whatever. But going through it, I felt like I should do all these things. I felt like I should follow the official prompt or some other prompts, which I did. I actually used four prompts for my Inktober. Four. (I know, I know. Why am I so extra?)

The thing is, this self-inflicted pressure has brought me more stress than Inktober should have brought. And that’s not what the challenge was all about! Sometimes I could get so caught up in the little details and I go down the Everything Has to Be Perfect Rabbit Hole™ and it is so hard to get out. But sometime in the middle of the month, I just decided:

“Screw it. I’ll finish this. But I’m finishing it on my own terms. I want to enjoy this and that’s what I’m gonna do.”

And you know what? That was all the permission I needed. There were days when I don’t have any inspiration to draw or I’m not motivated. I would have to push myself a little bit to catch up on the days I missed but that’s okay! Because I’m having fun. Which brings me to the other takeaway…

Remember to Have Fun!

Inktober was a wonderful platform for me to improve on and get to know my art. There were quick doodles, there were drawings I didn’t like and there were those that I absolutely loved.

And those times I was by my desk, concentrating on every curves and strokes and line? When I was completely present in what I was doing? They were the best part of this whole experience.

These are my top five favorites because I did something new in each of them and that was fun! 😀
PS: I also updated my Portfolio page to add two of these.

I learned so much on where I want my art to go. But also, taking some time in my day to just sit down and draw was… kinda therapeutic.

What I’m trying to say here is: monthly challenges usually have two objectives.

  • To push you into doing something now
  • To have fun while doing it

And we often forget that second one because we’re too caught up trying to achieve the first. So please remember to have fun, okay? <3

There are several more monthly challenges in the next two months before we say goodbye to 2017. There’s the famous NaNoWriMo, the not-so-famous NaBloPoMo… I think there was another art-related Na-Mo for November as well but I forgot what it was hehe

There’s also Blogmas for December! And if you’re participating on any of these, allow me to impart on you some friendly reminders:

<3 No one’s pressuring you to do anything in any particular way. You do you and you do that challenge on your own terms 🙂

<3 Find a challenge buddy! It makes the whole challenge experience easier to endure 🙂 Oh, by the way! Shan from Going with Happy has made an accountability group chat on Twitter for those who’s doing NaNoWriMo.

https://twitter.com/GoingWithHappy/status/925124546444779520

<3 Don’t be afraid to reach out to people if or when you feel burnt out. My inbox is always open, okay? ALWAYS. And I will shower you with encouragements and happy gifs and battery-recharging words (Because you TOTALLY deserve it.)

<3 Have fun! Because it’s going to be stressful, no doubt, but there are always something fun to experience in monthly challenges! 🙂

I wish anyone participating on a November monthly challenge the best of luck!

Remember:

You got this. I believe in you <3

Are you participating on any monthly challenge this month? How about in December? Is anyone even planning their Blogmas posts already? Whatever you’ve got planned, I’m cheering on for you!! Whoop whoop!

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5 Autumn-Inspired Watercolor Graphics I’m Loving Right Now (+ A Freebie!)

Autumn Watercolor Graphic Bundles

This post contains affiliate links. I only promote products I think are awesome + all opinions are 100% my own 🙂

Have I ever told you how much I looove design? And graphics? Especially handmade graphics???

I do. Like a lot.

Which is probably why I really enjoy the formatting part of writing a blog post and I LOVE playing around in the Customizer page. And in case you don’t know, I obsess over color combinations.

One thing I really like about autumn is how everything seems to be dying but there are still sooo many interesting bursts of colors and it’s just, it’s plain amazing. (Of course I haven’t experienced autumn firsthand because I’m a girl from the tropics haha)

I’ve been practicing making my own watercolor graphics (and I just like scrolling for pretty graphics and illustrations, ok??) And while I was scouring the Interwebs for inspiration, I found some really cool autumn-inspired watercolor graphic bundles. They’re all gorgeous and I love how they made use of the orange + purple color combo because I really like that color combo <3

AND! AND! I have a freebie made by yours truly at the end so don’t miss that out! 😉

Autumn Watercolor Graphic Bundles

Note: The following images are not mine and I don’t claim them as mine.

Fall Watercolor Clipart Autumn

This one makes use mostly of oranges and reds. But what’s interesting to me are the curvy-ness of the branches and leaves, I found that really helps in making wreaths easily.

Fall Watercolor clipart Autumn - Illustrations

Autumn Leaf Fall Watercolor

Ugh. This one’s pretty. I LOVE the muted shades but somehow there’s still vibrancy. I also like how she used a different color to line the leaves (And is that digital?)

I kiiinda tried that with color pencil in mine and it didn’t work hehe

Watercolor Wonderful Leaves

Ohmigosh ohmigosh. This one’s PRETTY. This is also #goals for me. I love how delicate those leaves look and also how she used more purple shades than oranges.

Watercolor wonderful leaves. Autumn example image 1

Fall Is In The Air

Okay, this one’s kinda similar to the first one in color scheme, except she also added in a little bit browns ans greens and yellows which makes them less monochromatic in a way. Looking at these really reminded me of a ground fully covered of dried leaves that I often see in Instagram.

Fall is in the air Autumn Watercolor - Illustrations

Autumn Forest

This is the same artist who made the purple leaves above and gahhh I’m such a fan of her now. I’ll probably look her up on Instagram after writing this hahaha

I love that dark and muted shade of green she used in some of her individual leaves and I tried making leaves in that color too. They’re really good to pair with oranges and reds.

Autumn forest | Watercolor | Fall example image


Over the past few months, I’ve been working on creating watercolor paintings that I wanted to turn into graphic elements.

I’ve been really interested with the concept ever since two years ago, when I discovered Freepik and other glorious spectabulous websites that offer handmade drawings as digital elements. In my eyes, tHEY’RE THE FREAKIN RAINBOW UNICORN OF THE DESIGN WORLD.

I’m such a nerd, I know hehe

Anyway, I did say that I was gonna practice on painting plants and other pretty graphic-worthy thingies from now on. And I did! Eep!

Now here’s the thing. I actually made 39 individual elements.

But for some reason, they have white jagged outline around each element even if I made them transparent. I only learned how to fix the white thingy last week so I’ll slooowly fix each elements and won’t be able to share them with y’all.

Until then, here are 5 watercolor graphic elements I made for fun using some of the individual elements 😀

Free Autumn Watercolor Floral Graphics

These are already transparent and in .PNG format. They’re great on white background or any other light colored background. To download, simply click the image above and it should download directly! 🙂

And I guess that’s it for now! I’ll see you all again next Saturday!

YOUR TURN: How are you? <3 Do you have any creative projects you’re currently doing? Would you mind sharing? 😉

Ooh! Also guys: I’m thinking of making either textured patterns or tribal-inspired watercolor graphics next. Which one would you like to see?

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8 Gorgeous Color Combinations I’m Loving Right Now

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

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

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

Lagoon + Baby Pink

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

Cerulean + Mandarin

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

Maroon + Gold

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

Navy Blue + Rose

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

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

Purple + Dandelion

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

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

Baby Blue + Lemon Yellow

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

Tumbleweed + Mustard

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

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

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

Dusky Cedar + Olive

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

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

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

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