Tag: Lessons

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.


<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!


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 Blogging Lessons I Learned In Two Years

I’ve been blogging for about two years already. *blows party trumpets* And while that felt like dog years to some others, I’ve learned a few things in blogging that I take with me to this day.


I’m not gonna say I’m an expert already because I sure feel way opposite of that. But these are blogging lessons I’ve personally learned in my two years of running (ooh! That sounded professional) this blog. And I thought I could share them with you today.

1| The People are Awesome

You know that saying about surrounding yourself with awesome people? That goes the same online. The blogosphere people–readers and bloggers alike–really are nice. I always feel happy when I think about this online community I’ve joined in, specifically WordPress. Everyone’s supportive and encouraging.

Sure, there are jerks lurking in some corners and one can’t really make them go away forever. (Although that’s not stopping me from continuing to report that perv bozo in the Teen tag.) But how I see it, those trolls just lift the value and goodness of everyone else who are being honest and kind. As they say, you can’t make a light go brighter if there’s no darkness. 😉

2 | The Blogosphere is Filled to the Brim with Inspiration

Seriously. Anywhere you go, you will find inspiration. It could be the topic or a certain line the blogger has used or even the blogger him/herself. This is why I try to spend as much time browsing my Reader for new blogs as I can.

Honestly, sometimes it makes me feel like a turnip in a rose garden. And I’m gonna lie if I said I’ve never caught the Blog Envy flu. (I have, once or twice) But then that just makes me feel even more pumped up and determined to make my blog better.

That said, tamping down my competitive streak when blogging was hard but totally worth it. There is no intense competition here so you might as well leave your competitive hat at home. Instead, share the love and spread happy vibes!

One blog, and the awesome blogger friend behind it, that never fails to inspire me is Kiya of Flawed Silence. Her posts always makes me feel motivated. All in all, she is an awesome unicorn, you guys, so go check her blog out!

3 | Your Blog Can Be Anything You Want It to Be

The beauty of blogging, and this is often looked through, is that it can be anything. Your blog is your little space in the Interwebs–whether you’re using a free platform or a paid one. It is yours and you can make it into anything you want it to be. Sure, there are limitations to using a free platform but I think that just sparks up my resourcefulness. And this doesn’t stop me from making my blog look pretty.

A great example of a free-platform blog that’s killing it is The Young Hopeful, it’s a college-related blog and if you’re on Pinterest and search up for college tips, you’ll see this blog at the top. Imagine my giddy surprise when I learned they’re running on free platform.

(P.S.: I have a board in Pinterest specifically for college tips and other secret formulas for surviving college life. 😉 Check it out!)

4 | Acknowledge the Learning Curves

This is something that I think a newbie blogger must know. Specifically those who want to blog as a hobby or for personal development *raises hand excitedly* and have plans on growing their blogs in the future *raises hand again*

If you’re completely new to blogging, you have to acknowledge that there are and will be learning curves to pass through. And I mean in everything! Finding your voice, the perfect blogging schedule, writing process, DIY-ing your blog design, etc.

Unless of course you’re a talented snowflake and you just know you were born to blog, then maybe you won’t have that much of a learning curve to go through.

But for the rest of us mere mortals, suck it up and don’t expect that you’ll have like 100000 pageviews at day one. I’m not trying to be Jenny Raincloud here; it’s realistic and being ready for this will avoid disappointments and unreached expectations.

Personally, I find the learning curves to be amazing experiences. Even now I’m trying to learn the bits and bobs in blogging and I take them all one day at a time.

5 | You Don’t Have to Heed All Advice

Ha, if you’ve been here a long time you’ll know I’ll have this little detail included, especially since we’re talking about blogging: take every advice you get with a grain of salt. In my case, I don’t have to listen to those find-a-niche advice.

Know that while these people are experts and they know what they’re talking about, only you can truly experience working on your blog. Only you can tell what works for you and what doesn’t.

I have many mottos and one of it is, “There is no standard solution for anything in life.” There are a million ways to solve a problem but we often like to take the convenient route because there are proofs of people successfully reaching the other side.

I refuse to believe that having a niche blog is the only way to succeed in blogging. So I say, if you want to travel the road less taken, then by all means do!

One other amazing thing about blogging is how much it can help you grow mentally and emotionally. Over the past two years that I’ve had this blog, I feel like I’ve grown as a person and it’s not just to the credit of the blog itself. Every one of you who read my blog is a consistent encouragement for me to keep on going.

So thank you.

Thank you all so much. 🙂 Here’s to another year of spreading creativity, passion and inspiration!

How long have you been blogging? What are the lessons you’ve learned in blogging so far? Share them in the comments or tweet it!

Happy blogging, awesome peeps! 💃

4 Storytelling (+Life!) Lessons from Hayao Miyazaki’s Films

It has been more or less three years since Hayao Miyazaki’s last feature film, The Wind Rises, was released and until now I miss his presence in the film industry.

Hayao Miyazaki, in my opinion, is not only one of the best animated filmmaker in Japan but the entire world. You could watch his movies at any period of your life—whether you’re nine or twenty-nine—and they will still resonate with you.

I mean, I’ve probably watched most of his movies more than a dozen times each for the past six years and there are still new things I would learn as I watch one of them for the enth time.

I planned on creating a tribute article of sorts but I felt, with my little insight, I would never do him or his films justice. Which is why I’m doing this Kate-style: a list of lessons.

Since some folks out there are probably participating in NaNoWriMo, I thought I can help out in the inspiration part with these lessons on storytelling. I freaking love stories anyway, whatever medium is used, so this is also me fangirling about storytelling. And I’m going to casually insert some life lessons in there too, if I can help it. Because you all probably know how obsess I am with life lessons, right? (If you hadn’t, now you do ;))
Whoa, that’s like using one stone to hit two birds and eat a cookie! #Winning.

1 | Learning to Pause

Don’t get me wrong, there’s something thrilling about action-packed stories. I love them and my regular praise for Rick Riordan books is evidence enough. But I also love how Miyazaki has this short “breathing room” after every excitement. A space where we see his characters simply reflect their circumstances and we don’t really need any explanation or dialogue. We just connect with them.

My Neighbor Totoro Iconic Bus Stop Scene | 4 Storytelling (+Life!) Lessons from Hayao Miyazaki's Films

I mean, who could forget this scene?

In a sense, you could also apply this to everyday life. I understand the appeal of living in the fast lane but pausing every once in a while, giving yourself a little breathing room in your life, won’t be so bad. Personally, I like plunging on to a project or some task and give myself a little break after. And when you think about it, isn’t that what the Pomodoro technique is all about? *le Eureka gasp*

2| Not Really Happily Ever After

Growing up, I have always gravitated towards happy endings. The hero saved the princess, the cursed town restored, yada yada. I’ve only started to appreciate the not-so happy ones in my late teens, have only realized how closer they are to reality.

Kiki and Jiji | 4 Storytelling (+Life!) Lessons from Hayao Miyazaki's Films

And in most of Miyazaki’s films, you would not get a completely happily ever after. I mean, everyone’s happy, sure. But some things aren’t tied up tightly into a pretty ribbon. While Jiji did return to Kiki’s side in Kiki’s Delivery Service, he still can’t talk.

Things don’t always go exactly the way we want them to. And that’s okay. 🙂

3 | Incredible Character Depth

Okay, by far, this is one aspect in a Hayao Miyazaki film that I like the most. (Which is why I’m going to have a short fangirling moment below mehehe) And if you know me, that’s not a surprise at all, considering I always talk about character depths in my book reviews.

The thing is, Hayao Miyazaki’s characters all have incredible depths. And I mean incredible!

Princess Mononoke’s Lady Eboshi is not the cruel, heartless leader of Irontown because we see her compassion towards her workers, women from brothels and lepers—people who have been looked down by the rest of society. The titular character of Howl’s Moving Castle may be one of the film’s good guys but he also bears a vain and immature attitude.

Lady Eboshi | 4 Storytelling (+Life!) Lessons from Hayao Miyazaki's Films

(Image via Nefarious Reviews)

In Miyazaki’s world, there is no purely good guy or a purely bad guy. And it pays to realize that this is true for our world too.

Everyone has a little good and a little evil in them and in the end, you can’t sum up a person by one act. And anyway, that just seems unfair, ain’t it?

4 | Emotions and Logic

Fun fact: did you know that Miyazaki creates scenes through the emotion they bring? He and the rest of his animators actually come up with the storyboard afterward.

I’ll give you a minute if you’re mind’s blown.

You okay now? Okay.

And hey, don’t worry. When I learned about that the first time, I was like, “*whispers* NO FREAKING WAY.”

Hayao Miyazaki Storyboard | 4 Storytelling (+Life!) Lessons from Hayao Miyazaki's Films

The Storyboard for Ponyo (via Creative Stuff)

Maybe it’s because of this that Hayao Miyazaki’s films always bring up a surge of emotions whenever someone (me) watches them. Maybe this is why we (I) could connect to the story and the characters so much.

I think this comment from RogerEbert.com could sum up my thoughts on this one:

“He’s (Miyazaki) always made us realize that human/dramatic motivation is too complex for either-or reasoning.”

While I really want to ponder upon Miyazaki’s thoughts on the complexity of humanity, the point is Hayao Miyazaki does a huge part of his work emotionally, something that I think is important in art in general. And it worked well on him.

In our case, we have to find what works for us. I, for one, am the kind of person who has to balance both emotion and logic in my life. I can’t function in total intuition nor in total organization (a long story I’ll tell some other time) so I need balance.

So that’s it! These are the storytelling lessons I got from Hayao Miyazaki’s films along with some life lessons as well. While we’re at it, here are two amazing videos about Hayao Miyazaki that I’ve watched (for like a hundred times now):

Hayao Miyazaki Tribute Video in 3D by Dono (Vimeo) – A 3-minute tribute video of all of Hayao Miyazaki’s works. This brought me surrounded by my own lake of tears. Like the feels…

Hayao Miyazaki – The Essence of Humanity by Channel Criswell (YouTube) – A 16-minute video essay about how Hayao Miyazaki understands the complexity of human emotions. This is so amazing, I downloaded it in my YouTube app for offline watching. <3

Have you watched any Hayao Miyazaki films? Which one(s) is (or are) your favorite? What are your thoughts on his films as a whole? Share them on the comments or you can tweet it! (Yay for options!)

Now excuse me, I have to go and binge-rewatch some of the movies I just mentioned above…

(I didn’t know you could crave for movies)

(Crap, now that I thought of crave, I’m craving for ice cream too)

Happy watching, awesome peeps!

18 Lessons I Learned in 18 Years

So. It’s my birthday today. Would you look at that, I’m now 18. Hurrah.

It’s not that I’m glum about it, don’t misinterpret. It’s just that…I guess as you grow older, birthdays just becomes this small detail in your life that people around you feel obliged to be happy about. Or I dunno, maybe that’s just me…

Holy heck, it’s my freaking birthday. Why am I so melancholic? Arrrggh. Keep it light-hearted, Kate. Srsly. This whole Comprehensive Exam preparation is really getting on my nerves. -_-

What I am happy about are these:


  • Google greeted me! With awesome delectable cakes…that I can’t even eat. But oh well, Google greeted me! Isn’t that awesome? 😀
  • One of my bestest friends ever (Hi Quexy!) reminded me how cool it was that the whole world is celebrating something on my birthday.
    But here’s the thing: somewhere out there, someone’s celebrating your birthday, whenever it is. And the world is finding new ways to celebrate something every single day. By the way, happy Easter Sunday/ National Cherry Blossoms Day, everyone!
  • Said best friend (Hi Quexy!) sent me the most awesome multiple SMS birthday message ever~ <3
  • Two of my awesome closest college friends send me Facebook messages that made me speechless. In completely different ways…Because there’s this…


    And there’s this…

    goat heart.

    I dunno how to feel with this… (And yeah, yeah. I said screw anonymity but it applies to me. Not my friends.)

  • I’ve finally finished my part in the company study. The concepts of which I have only an inkling of knowledge of. Crossing fingers for the oral defense. X(><)X
  • I have the same birthday as Keira Knightley and freaking James Potter!!! To think that J.K. thought of creating a character with a birthday same as mine is just so…💕

Anyway, I remember watching Jenna Marbles’s 29 Lessons I Learned in 29 Years and was inspired by it thinking, “Hey, I wanna do that on my 18th birthday!”

Because there’s nothing better than reflecting back on the path you’ve taken and comparing where you’ve been to where you are now. Right? And also, I don’t feel old. And I wanna feel old today (see #16 below for why) so looking back on how I was for the last 18 years was a pretty good idea. So yeah. Here are 18 lessons I learned in 18 years.

  1. Disney lies. Birds–no, animals–will not approach you just because you’re singing. Or in my sister’s case, trying to feed the chickens with leaves. Imagine a girl trying to prove to her little sister that “chickens eat moringa leaves” and chasing the chickens around the yard. Man, that was a highlight of my early childhood days.
  2. Cartoons and animations are not only for children. NEVER.
  3. Sometimes, curiosity makes the cat a smarter cat. If you’re curious about something and you wanna learn it, go! Best case scenario, you’ll be invited to The Ellen Show. Or win a Nobel. Worst case scenario…you’ll learn something new. Be it something mind-blowing or totally unnecessary. You learned a new thing. That should count for something…right?
  4. Vegetables will never taste good when you’re a kid. But you’ll learn to appreciate them when you grow up. Trust me.
  5. Getting below 85% (or A) is not the end of the world. It took college to make me realize this.
  6. It’s okay that you like something kids your age don’t. This lesson is still something I’m learning today. If you like something, others’ opinions shouldn’t really matter.
  7. Maybe you won’t have many friends, maybe you’ll have few great friends.
  8. Listen to your mother’s advice. When she said not to touch that tiny red bump on your cheeks, don’t touch it. Or else, you’ll suffer more than 5 years of acne scars. Kate.
  9. Your quirks also make you who you are. Embrace them.
  10. Related to #9, you don’t need labels to be you.
  11. Even if your photos aren’t Instagram-worthy, it’s okay. So long as they’re packed with great memories.
  12. So what if you like something ridiculous or silly? Michelle Phan is obsessed with Sailor Moon but that does not make her any less awesome. Love what you love. #TeamUnicorns
  13. You can’t make everybody like you. You won’t like everybody. But choose wisely the people you are willing to waste and spend time with. <– Look at that. I sound like some old philosopher.
  14. Change will never be something you’ll expect. And that’s okay.
  15. We’ve all got our own pace. So, really, there’s nothing to “catch up” to others. Especially when studying, Kate.
  16. Appreciate sleep. You’ll get less and less as you get older. Until you’re retired and all you have to do is sit on a rocking chair on your front porch yelling at kids. I can’t wait to be old.
  17. You will get there, wherever you wish or dream to go. I promise, you will. Do your best and have faith on yourself.
  18. And if at rare times that you don’t, maybe you’re meant to be somewhere better.