Chit Chat – Life Update

Chit Chat – Life Update

I’ve been away from my blog from several months and I thought it would be fitting to write a life update! As I mentioned in my New Years Post, I’m moving towards a more quality centric blog instead of quantity. The pressure to blog/vlog has had very bad consequences in the past but blogging when I feel like puts me at ease. However, I always worry that if I’m away for too long, you’ll all forget me! So a life update is awesome to just catch you up to speed on what I’ve gotten up to in my absence!

If there is anything on this list you’d love me to expand on and write a blog about do let me know!

Graduate School

I’m now in my second semester of graduate school. It still feels strange sometimes that I’m doing my masters because I never had a concept of what graduate school would be like. It’s a lot of work, but it’s given me a lot of skills in a few months. My favourite part about graduate school is learning coding/programming languages. I was excited, but nervous to learn it from scratch coming here but I’ve learnt so much and its now one of my best parts about the course. I think it’s that eureka moment I get after stumbling on a code for hours and finally seeing it work. It’s an emotional rollercoaster but I love it so far.

Move Back To WordPress.com

Earlier this year I moved from my blog, which was hosted on WordPress.com to a self hosted site. This inadvertently caused a massive amount of headache as my website crashed multiple times within this time. Also, trying to find the right themes and customizing was also challenging. However, the final nail on the coffin was the lack of engagement with the WordPress community! I hate it. I realised that I don’t care about SEO, domains, self hosted, traffic or any other blog things I “should” care about. It produces a lot of negative feelings for me and makes me unfocused on producing blog content.

I decided to move back and I’m happy and calm not caring about all the extra blogging stuff. I just want my likes and comments over blogging jargon that gives me headache any day!

My site currently looks like a headache so bear with me because WordPress is currently facilitating my transfer! Everything will be back to normal after October 5th.

Self Awareness

I’m striving to be more self-aware. I was really inspired by a Japanese TV show called Terrace House (It’s on Netflix, thank me later).  Besides being amused by all the cultural differences Japanese people had with the Western world, I was particularly impressed by their self-awareness and reflection on all aspects of their life. There is also a strong desire to be better, and think of other people’s feelings and how their interactions affect people. I tend to think of how interactions affect me instead of the other way around, which upon watching this show, exposed my selfish tendencies! I know, strange. I can learn from anything, even reality TV shows. Haha

Dreadlocks

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I started dreadlocks! Myself! They’re currently 4 months old and coming along nicely. I guess you could say I gave up on my natural hair this summer. The breakage and tangling was real so I decided to lock it since my hair tends to want to lock itself every 2 seconds. My locs give me even more peace of mind since I use less products and only have to deal with my hair every 2 months. I ALSO DONT HAVE TO COMB IT OMG YESSSSSSS!!

Weight Loss

I’ve lost a total of 8kg (17lbs) since the beginning of the year.  I lost a lot of weight, but I lost it slowly to preserve my madness. I attribute the first few months of the journey to eating low-calorie alternatives of the things I loved like brownies, ice-cream and spaghetti. However, towards the last few kilograms, I attribute my weight loss to intermittent fasting and eating one massive, delicious, calorie dense, meal a day. I have my hangry, binge days but all in all its going pretty smoothly since I always feel very satiated after each meal.

That’s it for my life update! Theres many little other things that have happened but this is just the main stuff. Thank you for reading!

The Introverts Guide To Having A Social Life

The Introverts Guide To Having A Social Life

Most people I meet in real life seem to be shocked that I am an introvert. I think it’s because introversion is mostly confused for being shy, or socially awkward. I’m neither of those, I just get drained and over-stimulated in social situations. This has been a source of some social anxiety for me because on one hand, I love connecting with people but on the other hand, I just want to sit and chill in my room alone all day.

I think another thing that most introverts can attest to is how much they detest small talk. I’d rather stand in a room in front of 20 people and give a speech than make small talk, thinking about this makes me less nervous than sitting face to face with someone new. I think I’m more anxious of a personal interaction than public speaking, but this anxiety may be only peculiar to me.

However, small talk is a struggle sometimes. I usually just want to go about my day not speaking to anyone but someone bursts my little introvert bubble then I have to derive the mental strength to think of something to say. It sounds dramatic, but it happens often, especially after I have been in a social situation for more than a day. So without further ado, here’s my introverts guide to having a social life, from an introvert, me!

Don’t Sweat The Small Talk…

One thing I would say about becoming more social is to not be afraid or annoyed by small talk. It’s a basic nuance of life. It’s also not really important so it’s not something that much emphasis should be placed on. When I don’t have the mental capacity to make small talk I just smile, or laugh and nod.

It’s Okay To Blend In….

It’s okay to blend in the background of a conversation. Especially in a group setting. I understand the pressure of trying to not seem quiet when there are 10 + people screaming over each other. Introverts often want to pretend like they are extroverted in a social setting. This makes you put up an act that can drain you mentally very quickly.

I always appreciate the fellow introvert in the group who only speaks once or twice within a 5 minute period and just listens to everyone talk. Observing other people can be so much fun (and eye-opening), especially since we are very introspective people. There are things I would have never noticed about people if I was talking the whole time.

Listen And Observe, Our Most Powerful Quality

Listening to other people and asking questions is our most powerful tool. I’m usually relieved when people tell a story to me because it takes off the pressure for me to say or think of something. I also enjoy stories because they draw you nearer to the person you’re speaking to. This makes me feel closer to them and much more comfortable. People generally love to talk about themselves so this makes it easier to take the pressure off you!

It’s Okay To Be Uncomfortable…

Strive to get out of your comfort zone. This is different for everyone so I can’t give hard figures and advice. For me, my comfort zone is sitting at home week in, week out reading a book. Leaving my comfort zone means going out and meeting new people. Because of this, I started following a rule of saying yes to almost anything I was invited to.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable and anxious in social situations. Those nerves are irrational when I really think about it. But they’re there regardless. What are you really afraid of? Embarrassment? You’ll choke up and have nothing to say? Awkward silence?

And when all of that happens. So what? But did you die? LOL in fact you’d find that it was a learning experience. My most awkward and draining experience as an introvert was when I went to a party where I knew absolutely no one. For the life of me I could not mesh with this crowd. Trying to make conversation became tiring very quickly. I just picked up my self and went home calmly. What I learnt from that experience is that my interests do not jive with every crowd, and that is okay.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable, but if you are consistently dreading the thought of hanging out with people you meet often, it may be less of introversion and more of social anxiety. It can also mean that you just don’t like the people you hang around so much. I’m not a big lover of massive, crowded events and parties. This is something I do very rarely. I love travelling, eating out and museums, so if someone consistently invites me to places I don’t want to hang out in, I’d know that our interests at a basic level do not match.

Final Thoughts….

It’s okay to say no. You’re not the life of the party and that’s okay. You’re the sit in the corner kinda girl. The only have two friends kinda person. The only person in your friend group that legitimately looks forward to doing nothing on a Saturday night. Prefer to text than call. Just an all round cute little, introverted potato.

I guess this whole post is just trying to say that you should embrace the introverted side of you. It’s what makes you unique! You don’t have to fundamentally change your personality, you just have to exit your comfort zone more often.

Thanks for reading! How do you balance a social life as an introvert?

Graduate School: A Semester In Review

Graduate School: A Semester In Review

I think I should skip a long winded excuse and give a perfectly good reason for my hiatus; Graduate school has been kicking my butt! It really hurt me to not blog consistently but I could not give a hundred percent to both blogging and school. One had to suffer. In this instance, it was the blog. But I’m so glad to be back!

I started graduate school in January after a looong gap year. The gap year was fun (and very much needed) but I was excited to go back to university and study again.

A Steep Learning Curve…

Right off the bat I knew my degree would be challenging. My Masters is completely different from my Bachelors degree because it requires more Math knowledge than Biology (which is not my strong suit).

In my Bachelors degree, I studied cells and peered down microscopes. But in my Masters, I’m staring at codes and computer screens. I’m really lucky my program required no formal college background in computer science, but there was a learning curve at first. Learning programming languages is challenging, but so rewarding and fun in the end.

I’m Married To Coffee

Before graduate school, I was a very casual coffee drinker. By casual I mean a Frappuccino at Starbucks once in 2 months. Now I guzzle down record amounts of expressos every few days. My coffee relationship started because all my classes are taken at night (7-10pm), which is a huge adjustment for me. However I fancy myself sort of a night owl now!

Grades Don’t Really Matter….Or Do They?

They never really did, but this is more emphasized in graduate school. As long as you’re not flat-out failing and you understand the basics of the program, you’re in the clear. However, the failing grade is B-, below a 3.0 gpa which is a HUGE oxymoron. They say that it’s more about what you know, than cramming and getting A’s, but your grades must still reflect your knowledge. But the perfectionist in me is still irrationally obsessed with grades and if I don’t get an A or A-, I’m usually not happy. So thanks, but no thanks. LOL

Moving To America

I have been visiting the U.S for over a decade now, but studying and living in the U.S is a different beast of its own. It was not so difficult moving to the U.S so much so as it was moving to a new place where I knew no one and had no family nearby.

There are things that I’d usually brush off for my brother or father to do for me, especially the stereotypical “manly man” jobs. But this time I had to do everything myself because I was on my own. It was a fun experience to be much more independent but I’d rather not do that again. Lmao

So here’s to next semester! AND PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LET THERE BE NO MORE GROUP PROJECTS OR THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Jk, not really, okay bye.

I Don’t Know What To Blog About Now….

That being said, I missed you all! I’m going to have to slyly infiltrate the blogging community again because no one will remember who I am at this point. I’ve also been gone so long that I don’t know what to blog about any more. I need a fresh dose of inspiration. Suggestions?

Do you have any questions about graduate school? I would love to answer them. Please comment below!

What I Want To Achieve In 2018

What I Want To Achieve In 2018

It’s a new year and I feel so ready for 2018! I felt 2017 was a transitionary period in my life where I was just preparing for 2018 to start. I’m excited to go back to school for my Masters, meet new people and form new relationships. I also started blogging consistently last year and I now feel like I’m getting more into the groove of things now.

Besides the blogging stuff, there are so many things I’d like to improve this year. I don’t have a long list of what I want to achieve in 2018  because I have a track record of my concrete plans going to shit lmao. However, it’s great to have a general idea of what I want to do this year!

What I Want To Achieve In 2018

NO. 1

I would love to be more mindful of the stuff I buy in 2018. I have a difficulty separating needs from wants which makes me buy things that I may not even need at all. This happens because I feel like I need something when in actuality I can live without it.

I also LOVE dirt cheap, trendy clothes but they may not always be the best quality. I’m tired of having my clothes fall apart after one wash so a solution must be met in this regard.

I’m envious of my brother because he has clothes that last for 5 years and still look new. However, he shops at designer stores (Something I can’t bring myself to do yet). I would love to strike a middle ground between dirt cheap and designer prices. I will focus more on the quality of clothes I buy as opposed to following trends.

NO. 2

I want to be more consistent with my blog and social media. I’ve been missing from Instagram and Pinterest for a couple of weeks. My lack of motivation started when I lost the charger to my good camera. I didn’t enjoy taking photos anymore because they turned out ugly. I’m glad to have a backup charger now so I hope this is the push I need to start posting more on social media. I’m also considering scheduling my social media posts using tools like Tailwind and Buffer.

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NO. 3

I would love improve the quality of my posts this year. I am currently sensing a shift in the type of content that interests me. Although I love how many posts I’ve done on this blog, but I believe quality is better than quantity. The quality of some of my posts on this blog suffered because of the pressure I felt to post once a week.

I dont want to feel this type of pressure and I always want to produce the best content. Because of this, I may reduce the frequency of my posts to twice a month to be more quality-centric and see how that affects my blog this year.

NO. 4

Unapologetically embrace who I am. I think embracing yourself is a lifelong journey that has it’s ups and downs. I love who I am, flaws an all and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. Most of the things I HATED about myself when I was young are either not a concern or a mild inconvenience now. It doesn’t affect my self esteem anymore. This year, I would love to continue to improve my health, body and just be more accepting of my shortcomings as a person while I try to improve them.

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NO. 5

Draw closer to God. It’s kind of sunk into my head that God should ideally be at the centre of my life. I pretty much backslided in 2017 but  I always tend to remember this passage from the bible:  “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33. This verse reminds me that everything else in my life is secondary to God. If I just focus more on Him, my needs will be met.

NO. 6

I want to continue to live in the moment. Sometimes I tend to think and think about things instead of actually going out and doing them. It’s the introverted part of me. This year, I would love to go out more and explore the world, meet new people and have new experiences!

And that’s it! This is what I want to achieve in 2018! What are your New Years resolutions?

Amazing Books To Read This Fall

Fall is upon us and I think this is the perfect time to snuggle up and find some new reads! But first let’s take a moment to thank the book gods…I’ve read more than 2 books in a month! I have read a lot of  books recently and I decided that it would be nice to share 4 amazing books to read this fall.

I can’t believe I’ve read these many books in a short span of time because I literally have the attention span of a fish. Reading for me used to be anywhere and an anytime thing but now it has become so ritualistic and boring. 

I need to have the perfect conditions present before I can read now. I’m talking a dark room, complete silence and preferably snuggled in a blanket, before I can read. My high maintenance habits have made it difficult to finish books within a sensible time frame…until now!

I usually read all my books on the kindle app on my iPhone or Kindle device and I buy all my books on Amazon. It’s so much more convenient and I prefer reading the reviews before I shell out money to buy it. Most of these books are 4.5 stars so they’re fan favorites!

Lifestyle Blogging Basics – Laura Lynn

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I’m always on a path of self improvement especially when it comes to my blog. So I decided to buy a book about lifestyle blogging to see if I would learn anything new. This book is written by Laura over on Breezy and Brazen.

Why you should buy it:

This book is perfect for any beginner blogger that wants to get started on their website/blog. It talks about starting a blog, what blogging platform to use, how to promote your posts, working with brands and many more. I also loved how there was a “how I failed” section in each point because it’s reassuring to know that blogging is not a smooth sailing ship. You will make many mistakes but as long as you keep going it’s all good. It’s an extremely valuable book for all level bloggers so it’s worth a read!

Luring A Lady – Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is a really popular author and I’m sure almost everyone has read one or two of her romance novels. I’m a romantic girl at heart so I enjoy reading romance genres from time to time. I was pulled in by the plot in this book so I decided to make a purchase.

Luring A Lady is a about a woman called Sydney Hayward who recently took over the family’s real estate business. She has always felt the pressure to be the perfect wife/socialite/daughter so she is closed off and too busy for any distractions…that is until Mikhail comes along.

Why You Should Buy it:

It is a simple, cookie cutter, entertaining romance story. It’s so easy to read and you don’t have to rack your brain trying to comprehend what is being said. It was also cute to see how her ice-princess facade was slowly melted by Mikhail. And if you love an Alpha type main character in a novel, this book is for you.

The Curated Closet – Discover Your Personal Style And Build Your Dream Wardrobe

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I have the most haphazard personal style ever because I just throw anything on and pray for the best. I also happen to hate shopping and the thought of spending hours in a clothing store makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Although I hate shopping, I love fashion! I wanted to see if there is way to build a wardrobe I love that captures my personal style, but is versatile for any season. Enter the curated closet! It goes into detail about building your wardrobe based on what you like, shopping tips and building a capsule wardrobe! It’s a really invaluable tool for anyone that wants to improve their closet with minimal effort.

Why You Should Buy It:

If your closet is a mess, you have no semblance of a personal style and you don’t have the willpower nor energy to figure it out yourself, this book if for you!

The Naturalist- Andrew Mayne

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The Naturalist is a thriller/crime investigation novel about a scientist who is thrust into the middle of an investigation when one of his former students is brutally murdered in the woods. I’m not done reading this but I’m really enjoying it at the moment! I’m also getting a serious Gone Girl vibe from this novel and I know there’s going to be a massive bombshell at the end. Fingers crossed it lives up to my expectations!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my post this and found some new books to read this fall!

What are your current favorite books?

Related: The Mid Year Favourites Roundup: Books, Music, Movies and Makeup!

4 amazing books to read this fall

3 Things That Made Me Accept My Natural Hair

I have had a complicated relationship with my hair. I grew up in a society that did not accept my natural hair, afro’s or dreadlocks. Straight silky hair was right and kinky hair was wrong. Right from when I was little, I went to the salon every three weeks to get a relaxer. Now if you don’t know what a relaxer is it’s a strong chemical that you put on your hair to straighten it permanently. I had extremely coarse and thick hair that my mother couldn’t comb so this was the best option at the time. Also, everyone was doing it so it was not a big deal.

I think most people can agree that relaxers are more harmful than good. The hair relaxers always burnt my scalp (yes, chemical burns on my scalp!!) but I always loved the straight silky look I got when I wore a relaxer.

I never knew what my actual hair looked like. I always had the impression that my hair was some sort of untamable beast that needs a relaxer unless all my hair would fall out.  It was unthinkable not relaxing my hair!

I also thought that people who had natural hair were dirty, lazy and god forbid they had dreadlocks. This was years of conditioning where I grew up where your natural hair was not appreciated.

 

3 things that made me accept my natural hair

Breaking the Stereotype

The first time I saw a woman with natural hair was on YouTube. Shoutout to Karen aka Glamfun. She looked beautiful, and she looked like me!! Could I really have hair like that? I decided to go natural because I was tired of using weaves as a crutch. I didn’t like the fact that I felt less of a woman once I didn’t have a weave on and felt the need to hide or compensate with more makeup!

It was then and there that I decided to go natural! It wasn’t always an easy journey but reminding myself of these three things finally made me accept my natural hair and love it for what it is!

  1. Your hair is a unique representation of you

Absolutely no ones hair can be the same. Your hair is designed perfectly for you. It’s adapted to your skin colour, your weather, even the colour of your eyes. Your hair has a personality of its own and you should never compare list for list with another persons hair. Using a natural hair typing system may be only part of the equation but just because you and someone have the same hair type does not mean you can do the same things on your hair and have the same results! It will always look different. Embrace its uniqueness cause that is you.

    2. Get preconceived notions of what you think “good hair” should look like out of your mind

I’ve learnt that healthy hair is good hair. Healthy hair always looks good no matter what texture, color or length. Once you remove unrealistic expectations of what you think your hair should look like and accept it for what it is, it will be great! I used to admire people who had long flowing locks of hair and hated natural hair. The self-hatred and conditioning was real ladies! Now I appreciate all hair types, but I have a special admiration for afro’s. They’re just a special breed awesomeness!

On days that I think my hair looks like absolute shit, I get 1000 compliments on it. So never think your hair is ugly because it’s not what you think it should look like!


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3. Stop obsessing over your hair length

When I first went natural I was obsessed with growing my hair long. I always had 16 inch weaves so to go from that to short hair was very challenging for me. I also felt like I had to grow my hair long because my hair had been grazing my neck my whole life and I wanted to prove to someone I could grow it long for some reason. This led me to do arduous things that I didn’t like only because it would give me long hair. Instead of enjoying my hair at every step of its journey, I was always obsessing over it. As long as your hair is healthy, it will grow!

Now I pretty much don’t care about having long hair. I’m even contemplating cutting it shorter because it’s so much more easier to manage! In the end, your hair is an extension of you. Accepting it may not always be easy, but once you do it is extremely liberating.

Thank you so much for reading! If you would like see one of the ways I take care of my natural hair check out my Ultimate Routine For Thick, Curly Hair!

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I’ve Gone Self Hosted: The Move To My New Website!

I’ve Gone Self Hosted: The Move To My New Website!

I have been flirting with the idea of going self hosted for months now and I finally did it! I’ve Moved! If you’re reading this post right now it means you’re still subscribed to Thepearlylife.wordpress.com!

I have now moved my blog over to thepearlylife.com so I will no longer update posts on this website!

I hope you can join me over on my new website! I already have some new posts I would love you to read.

Thank you so much for your support on my blog. I wouldn’t be here without it. ❤️

Love,

Pearl.