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

image1.jpeg

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!

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.

IMG_4117.jpg

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.

IMG_4114.jpg

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?

Travel Diary: Times Square, New York

Travel Diary: Times Square, New York

I guess you’re wondering where I’ve gone to, disappeared, hidden and concealed myself from this beautiful blog. Trust me, I’m as hurt as you.

I’ve been trying to set up myself for graduate school and believe me, it was a looong process. I had to take a hiatus from blogging for a few weeks but I’m so glad to be back!

I finally got my student visa and travelled so my family decided to stop by in New York for a day before transiting to our next destination.

In my previous travel post, I mentioned that New York is somewhere I would love to visit again! I last came here in 2008 so I was extremely excited to visit again.

I wanted to see Times Square again because the picture  of the place was imprinted in my brain from the last time I went there and it’s such an iconic place.

Times Square….

Times Square is in Manhattan and it’s mostly known for all the brightly adorned electronic billboards and massive pop up shops below. It’s also super close to where the famous Broadway shows are played!

IMG_6246.JPG

New York City is chaotic, crowded, a little dirty and full of life. There also seemed to be a lot of larger-than-life personalities here. I saw a lot of interesting things and strange people while I was in Times square.

IMG_6299.JPG

As I mentioned before, there is no place I’ve ever visited that’s like New York because it’s so different! It’s also one of the only cities I know that becomes even more busy at night.

It’s such a peculiar city, I’m so sad I couldn’t see more of this place. I will come back again one day because I still need to see the Statue of Liberty duh!

Without boring you further, here are some of the pictures I took at Times Square! All of these pictures were taken on my iPhone! Gasspp!!

IMG_6296.JPG

IMG_6310.JPGIMG_6321.JPGIMG_6349.JPG

IMG_6430.JPG

What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With Blogging

What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With Blogging

I’m pacing up and down in my living room, phone in hand, thinking of how I’m going to complete a post about how to stop feeling overwhelmed with blogging when I’m encountering those feelings myself. Haha I’ve been overwhelmed with blogging so many times but I’ve always managed to come out alive and kicking!

Finding the motivation to write, publish and promote posts can be difficult for some bloggers. Blogging can be hard sometimes. And trust me, I totally understand how difficult it is to keep up with writing posts, sharing them, promoting and engaging with your community. It can easily turn into a full-time job.

Overwhelmed with blogging….

I usually overwhelmed when I have a mountain of tasks I need to complete. I wake up some mornings dreading all my Pinterest pins, blogging posts and Instagram pictures I have to keep up with. Then instead of actually doing it, I shut down and do nothing at all.

Once I have a long to-do list I begin to prioritize what is really important and that can leave my blogging as a second priority (I know).

I often shut down because I ask myself “why is this causing so much anxiety for me? Is it even that serious”. The answer to me is no, nothing is never that serious. Which results in me pushing all my blogging duties aside.

It can also be extremely demoralizing when you are pushing out posts and you’re not getting the engagement you want or you are working for. It’s in those times that it is most tempting to ask yourself if you should to quit or keep going?

And sometimes…it’s just not fun. That’s the one thing I dread the most. I never want to get to a point in my blog where I feel like writing is a chore. I always want it to be fun and something I look forward to.

Ask yourself what is really important.

What is really important? Blogging to me is important but at this time in my life is it really important to cause more anxiety than my education? Or my health? No it’s not.

I’ve always gotten some form of anxiety/FOMO from social media so I always aggressively take action when I feel it creeping up again. I try to re-center my thoughts and focus on what is really important. Doing this removes those feelings of anxiety.

Only do the bare minimum and what is necessary

You’re not super woman. It’s okay to not be able to do 1000 things at once. Try to focus on one thing and do that well. Last week, I didn’t want to read any posts or pin on Pinterest. I guess you could say I took a break because I didn’t have the mental energy to do blogging stuff. I just wanted to binge watch Stranger things 2. LOL

All I did was like a few pictures on my Instagram. It really took the pressure off for a while and now I’m ready to go back in full force!

Always try to automate things that can be automated. Automate your Pinterest with Tailwind. You could even automate your Instagram. At the moment, I don’t do either because I don’t want to spend that money yet. But once I do, it will definitely ease the pressure of keeping up with blogging for me! I highly recommend it.

stil-243513-unsplash

Force yourself to write, Even if you don’t feel like it.

When I don’t feel like writing, I write. Even if it’s the shittiest thing I’ve ever written in my life I’ll keep typing and finish the post. I can then later go back and edit it. Which usually turns out to be a really good post!

You don’t have to be completely inspired each time you write a post. I highly doubt that even the greatest writers were inspired each time they put the ink on paper. So write away!

Don’t get hung up on numbers

It’s fun when you’re growing in numbers but very discouraging when you are not gaining followers or even losing them! My fellow blogger friends often complain about losing followers so I can empathise with them over this situation.

Never compromise yourself for a few followers or likes. It soooo exhausting and burns you out faster than you can imagine. I know numbers are all the rage right now in the blogging world but I believe we are shifting towards an engagement-centric community soon. It doesn’t matter, as long as your 50, 100 or 1000 followers are engaged that is amazing in itself.

Your blog, your rules

It’s your blog and you make the rules. When I had 15 followers and now I have 2400, I always had an audience that genuinely enjoyed my content. I listened to them but I always blogged about what truly interested me. I made the rules as I saw fit and because of this, it’s more difficult for me to be overwhelmed with blogging.

At the end of the day, do what makes you happy with your blog and if something is making you feel unpleasant, scrap it! It takes the edge off knowing you are completely in control of your blogging outcome…


I hope I’ve helped you with some ways to get over those overwhelming feelings over your blog.

I would love to know if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed with blogging?

What methods do you use to ease that pressure?

How To Get Your First 500 Followers On Instagram

Instagram has changed. Gone are the days where you take a photo straight from your iPhone, slap on a Valencia filter, put one or two hashtags and call it a day. Instagram has evolved into a powerhouse especially for bloggers and influencers! I have had Instagram for 5 years now so I have seen many changes in the app. However, it wasn’t until 5 months ago I decided to create a separate Instagram for my blog and grow it. I have amassed a lot of amazing followers so I would like to share how to get followers on instagram!

A lot of the strategies that bloggers tout as the best strategies honestly do not work. Hashtagging brings almost no returns now. It is also a complete waste of time spending hours on your phone liking and commenting on people’s photos in the hopes that someone will follow you.

I needed to find a method that worked so I read lots of blogs on how to get followers on Instagram. My main criteria was that the method should be cheap and show a noticeable growth in followers without spending hours on Instagram.  After a few tweakings and experiments, I found it!

I didn’t use any follow bots/automatic liking systems because I don’t have the money and I wanted a more organic growth. Growing your Instagram this way is definitely slower than using bots but I’ve found that the audience you build will be more engaged. Also, as your following increases, the amount of followers you gain increase exponentially so patience is the name of the game!

Post (Semi) Often

I’m guilty of not posting often because I don’t have the time to take pictures for the week and schedule them. Whoever does this is a true champion! How do you do it?!??!

Posting frequently on Instagram is a no – brainer. It’s always the key to growing any social media account. Post frequent, high quality posts. The more often you post, the more exposure you get and a greater chance of more people seeing your Instagram and following you! Most experts say posting once a day is optimum for growing your account.

But it’s not absolutely necessary. I only post once or twice a week and I get followers everyday. Do what frequency is best for you and makes you comfortable. Just be consistent. Consistency is key.

Do A Follow Train

This is the most important thing that has made my instagram grow these past 5 months. I do a follow spree 5-6 times a week and I have seen a lot of growth from this method. Here is how I do it

At peak hour, (which is 7-10 pm for my time zone) I click on the latest posts from a user I follow and see who liked it. Once I’m there I visit the pages of whoever liked their picture. I like the users pictures and then follow them. I usually follow 10-15 people on these days. They will usually follow you back. I have a 70% success rate using this method. This method is absolutely necessary for me.

One thing to consider is a users follower to following ratio. If a user has a massive gap between followers/following, do not expect a follow back. It also helps to follow people who are interested in the same things as you are. So I usually follow a lot of bloggers and females age 18-30 because I know they fit my demographic of who I am trying to reach!

Instagram Pods

Instagram pods are completely optional but they do help somewhat in engagement on photos. An Instagram pod is a group of bloggers on an Instagram group chat (usually 15) who comment and like on every post anyone shares in the group. There’s no limit on the amount of instagram pods you can join, but one pod is a lot to keep up with!

It’s nice to have a group of bloggers that will always like your pictures and comment. I also ask for blogging advice and general chit-chat from time to time on the group chat so it’s a nice community to be in. However it’s not necessary, Instagram pods are so new and you can grow your account without one.

Follow a theme

how to get followers on instagram

Once someone visits your page for the first time, the overall impression that they get is what will make them decide to click the follow button. Themed Instagram can help drive people to click the follow button. I love having a themed Instagram, but it’s not always the easiest thing for me to achieve.

My theme is currently (to the best of my knowledge) lots of white space with a pop of neutral colors. I don’t overthink my theme and frankly I don’t care. As long as my pictures look decent I’m posting it.

You can tweak and try different themes to see what gets the most likes and comments. If a streamlined theme works for you, do it. It’s also good to have a theme when you are branding yourself on social media because you can be easily recognized by your style of photos. It’s all dependent on what you personally want!

Once you implement these tips, you will see an organic growth of your Instagram with highly engaged followers. I hope you got some amazing tips on how to get followers on Instagram!

Instagram is fun, but my new favourite social media is definitely Pinterest because I get lots of traffic from there. I wrote an extended post on how to get started using Pinterest and drive traffic to your blog. Do check it out!

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

books I've been loving lately lifestyle blogging basics

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

books I've been loving lately the curated closet

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

books I've been loving lately

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