Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Oh Hello There Dear April


Oh yes, hello there dear April. It's officially the second quarter of 2015! It's already summer here in the Philippines - and if we rely on weather predictions then it's going to be a very dry and warm summer. I am not exactly thrilled about this but I am going to claim that it is going to be a wonderful month.

March was a blur, it came and went too quickly. My husband left for a week to handle some work stuff in Denmark and I missed him quite a bit more this time. I am sure our little princess missed him too. Now he is back and we are planning for a trip to my province so we can attend my niece's first birthday celebration. We are also planning to have Summer baptized this month.

My main goal this month is to manage my time WISELY. I look forward to our trips this month and bringing baby for the first time to the beach. Ah Summer's first summer! Gotta make sure it is going to be something special more so that we are going to be spending it with family.


Here are a few of my other goals this month:

— Organize baking tools and equipment as well as ingredients.
— Buy white or seafoam green table cover.
— Clean the spare cabinet in the bedroom.
— Get rid of expired food items in the pantry.
— Purge closet and give away old clothes.
— Publish at least three blog posts each week.
— Drink a glass of water every hour.
— Say "I love you" to my baby daughter every day.
— Apply for baby's Denmark and Philippine passport.
— Organize paperwork for maternity benefit claims.

I usually just write my goals in my planner but this month and the next months to come I would endeavor to write a blog post entry preferably every first day of the month. What about you? Have you set goals for yourself this month as well? If you blog about your goals too, please send me the link, I would love to read your goals too - leave me a note in the comments box below. 

LET'S CONNECT

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Blogging Tips and Tricks Series: Choosing Your Domain


Last week, I shared what I think are the essentials that every aspiring blogger should have. I would also like to say that I do not claim to be an expert at blogging and everything that I aim to share in this series are my personal experiences and/or things that I have learned/read/research.

I started using the free Blogger platform and after about a little more than a year of blogging, I decided to buy my own domain name and I have renewed it annually since. If you are serious about taking your blog to the next level, I would strongly suggest for you to register a unique domain name. A domain name is your own unique website address or URL, such as www.firstnamelastname.com and this address identifies your site.


Here are a few tips when choosing your own domain name:
  • Research - Make sure that you have a unique domain name. Choose one with a good recall to your target readers - something that is easy to remember. Jot down words that is related to your planned niche, as well as descriptive words to attach to your keyword. You may also want to check social networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to verify if the handles you have chosen or want to use are still available. I wish someone gave me that advice when I started a few years ago. 
  • Register - As soon as you have researched and decided on what your domain is, make sure to register it before you start building your blog. Domain names sell quickly. If you are not ready to purchase yet (as was my case before), you can still blog using the free platform and then just redirect your site after. Although, it would be best to register and buy your own domain name to make sure that no one takes your preferred name from you. Quick tip: Make your domain name easy to remember (short and catchy as well as easy to pronounce and spell). Do keep in mind that sometimes you will not get your first pick so make sure that you have at least two options on hand. 
  • Reason - Avoid choosing a domain name that is similar to another well-known domain name and of course make sure to not violate someone else's trademark. Also avoid choosing hyphenated domain names as this could lead to potential errors when you share your URL verbally. 

If you already have a blog running on WordPress and you think that it is high time to run a self-hosted blog, you are going to need a host. It is essentially the company that hosts your site in its servers. I recommend Bluehost as a reliable and practical option (at only $3.95/month). 

If you choose Blogger like I did, your blog is already hosted in the Google servers - easy peasy. You need not purchase the hosting service to go with your domain name.

Blogging has changed my life in a positive way and I hope that as you immerse yourself into the world of blogging that it would have a positive impact to you as well. Please join me again next week for the third part of this series (I have not yet decided on what topic to talk about but it should be up on the blog next Saturday). If you missed the first part, click this link.

If you are reading this and you already have a blog, please do share how you chose your domain name. If you are still thinking of what to choose, I hope this article helped you at some point. At the end of the day your domain name should be a string of letters that will be your blog's primary identity. Choose wisely!

LET'S CONNECT

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Making Life Worth Living


What makes life worth living? I've asked myself that question and I felt a little resistance inside me to answer such a question. I find it a tad bit difficult to answer with thoughtfulness and honesty. There are so many forces bigger than myself but I know deep within that I should make room for that question and answer it with conviction.

But it strikes me as a really important question. Such as every human being on earth is only given one life to live and so it is only but practical to make the most out of it.

Make The World A Better Place (in your own little way)
You can make the world a better place by striving to be a better person each day. Strive to entertain positive thoughts and find the best in others. Do something good to yourself or other people around you to nourish your soul and practice the idea of "paying it forward".

Laugh Often (and much!)
Avoid taking things too seriously and laugh at every chance you got. Laugh it off - when you commit mistakes. Laugh it off - when life gives you lemons. Laugh often as you journey through life - in various circumstances and situations. Laughter, anyway, is good for your mind, your body as well as your soul. If you can't laugh then you can at least smile - it reduces stress and anxiety and that's guaranteed.

Find Your Bliss (travel and explore your country and the world)
Once in a while, book a plane ticket and travel to a new destination to reinvigorate your soul and take you away from the busy trappings of your daily life. The lasting benefits of travelling always outweighs the cost. Aside from disconnecting from the daily grind, travelling widens your perspective and increases your resourcefulness as well as allows you to make lasting memories that would last for a lifetime and this is something that money cannot buy. Experiencing different cultures can be enlightening and educational. At the end of every travel, you will always come home renewed which would help you function better.

Read, Read, Read (books, magazines, even product packaging)
"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Reading can stimulate your mind which then prevents it from losing power. As they say, you have to use it or lose it. Feed your brain with new bits of information - this will equip you with better vocabulary, better coping strategy when faced with challenges, and better memory.

Find A Hobby (a craft a day keeps boredom at bay)
A hobby is more than just an idle pursuit to pass the time. Hobbies can give you joy that would help you reclaim your life from an otherwise boring and mundane life and/or task. A hobby offers a time for you to relax as well as provide you purpose, satisfaction and pleasure.

Attitude of Gratitude (thank you, thank you, thank you)
Being thankful can boost your well-being. Gratitude also opens the door to more relationships as showing appreciation can help you win new friends and nurture existing ones. Being thankful makes you easily contented thus you live a life less complicated. Oh and yes, being thankful can help you sleep better. Ask me how...

Forgive (again and again - many times over)
Forgiveness can lead to healthier relationships as better health as it promotes the reduction of stress and anxiety. When you forgive, there is a tendency to improve your psychological well-being as well.

There are other several ways for your to make your life better - to make life worth living. It would be impossible for me to list down everything. It would be nice to know directly from you what sort of things you do to make your life worth living. Let's talk! 

LET'S CONNECT

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Our Week In Photos: Kissed The Flu Goodbye


Last week was one of the longest weeks so far only because hubby had to fly to Denmark for his medical check-up and so that meant I did basically all the feeding and nappy changes except when my sister so happily did it for her niece. Summer had the sniffles in the middle of the week and I had the symptoms too. She got better after a day but my symptoms persisted so I exercised a lot of self-control to not smother her with kisses. It was a little bit hard but we managed. We've kissed flu goodbye and we're both back to the pink of health.


All the pictures above were taken using my phone and some were edited using an app for Instagram so I am not sure why the resolution is not good. Anyway, I will try to take pictures using my camera so I can have better resolution.

We had another photo shoot with The Picture Company - my niece, Dorothy Elleana, and Summer were such troopers. They both were too cute in the pictures. I observed that Summer had a very good neck control already at five weeks. Such a cutie! (I'm the mom who adores her little baby so much. You have been warned. Haha!)

I have grown to love doing this series already as I get to look back on the tiny epic moments that I have shared my tiny bundle of joy. She has shown so much personality in so little time. But still until now I am baffled at how a tiny human being can give her mom so much laundry.

How was your week?

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Monday, March 23, 2015

10 To Die For Workspace Inspirations


As I contemplate and entertain the idea of leaving the workforce and start working from home full-time,  I would like to be able to set-up a creative and inspiring working environment before my maternity leave comes to an end. The internet is overflowing with wonderful ideas and truly inspiring workspaces that are super worthy to be included in anyone's inspiration board and so I took advantage of it.

A small home office does not require much space but to pay this off it will for sure require a great deal of creativity. I want something cozy and at the same time with lots of functional elements. I also want something refined and feminine with lots of natural light.

I love the gold elements in this workspace. 

I love how natural light can come in just by opening the curtains. 

When I look at pictures and illustrations as well as patterns, I lean towards dots and lines and chevrons. 

I don't like how bright this workspace is but I like the open shelves and cabinetry. 

I like how simple yet elegant this design is. 

This one is very functional and seems easy to pull off in a small and cramped apartment like ours. I love how you can work on crafts on one side and some serious writing job in another side. Two birds in one stone eh? You just need a bookshelf and a table to get this concept down pat. 

Oh the peach walls! Everything will be peach-y in your little working space if you choose this happy color for your workspace.

A little inspirational quote on the wall would surely get your day going. 

I love the combination of sea foam green and white in this photo. 

This design is so me - dots and lines and florals and boxes (lots of 'em). 

Image Sources
The Glitter Guide / Decorazilla / Good Housekeeping / Home Idea Network / House of Rose Blog / Label Me Merrit / Littlephant / Veanad / Pottery Barn / HomeyOhMy

I think I can get this project done. I have enough inspiration to get this going. If you have other design suggestions that you want me to add in my inspiration board, please do let me know. Wish me luck!

LET'S CONNECT

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

It's Fontastic: 10 Oh So Pretty Scripts


I stumbled upon Creative Market while looking for fonts to beautify my blog content and I couldn't hold back myself from not sharing this with you. It was definitely a eureka moment. I am so giddy! The fonts I am going to share with you are so pretty and some are even dreamy. I am literally lost in the beauty of these scripts.

NOTE: Scroll below for pure premium font goodness. Click on the font name so you can read more about it and then DOWNLOAD it catches your fancy. 

BUTTERSCOTCH - a beautifully organic, hand-lettered script, carefully crafted and then digitized into an easy to use, elegant yet "inky" typeface.


ISABELLA SCRIPT - a handwritten copperplate calligraphy font, combines from copperplate to contemporary typeface with a dancing baseline, classic and elegant touch.


BONJOUR - a bold and beautiful brush-lettered font. This is one of the BEST BUYS in this font list! The lovingly crafted Photoshop styles are available in watercolors, foils and inks to bring your typographic creations to life. I couldn't wait to buy this so I can start creating lovely things. Such yumminess!


VERYBERRY SCRIPT - a handwritten font with a unique character. I like the simple elegance of this script. There are more than 750 glyphs in the font including discretionary ligatures, initial and terminal forms for all letters and ligatures, stylistic alternates, ornaments, etc.


GREATESQUE - a beautiful script in flaws. Spontaneous, wild hand and imperfect flow give the natural look to your work. This is great for designing book covers, film covers, apparel, cards, logos, posters, etc. I love the unfinished finish of this font a lot.



ALEGANCE TYPEFACE - a beautiful handmade calligraphy typeface. This is so pretty and it makes me remember the time I tried calligraphy. I may just go back to learning it again because of this font.


PEINTURE TYPEFACE - a handwritten calligraphy font that looks understated but packs a punch. This font is great with greeting cards and other projects that requires natural and personal touch.


INK BLOSSOMS - a font that reminds me so much of my own handwriting - no kidding! I love how natural-looking this looks.


UMBRELLA - a brush script that is beautiful and unique. It is a modern calligraphy typeface in combination with a calligraphy brush writing style. The font set has contextual swashes and alternates, discretionary ligatures as well as stylistic alternates and sets.


GREATPARK TYPEFACE - a beautiful handmade brush script give this set its natural look. The swashes and ornaments give this some character.


Did you like any of the fonts I shared? Head on over to Creative Market and let me know your personal favorites. I would love to know...

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blogging Tips and Tricks Series: Essentials Every Blogger Should Have


As I slowly inch my way out of the corporate world and find my way back in the blogging world, I am going to start a series that would help me refresh my blog. Over the past few years that I have maintained my blog, I've encountered ebbs and flows and writer's block as well as blog drought to name a few and now that I have a little more time at home I am planning to take things a little more seriously this time. I don't intend to make a living out of this but if it will then it will be a welcome blessing. Who knows this could just be the start of a career that I can devote some of my idle time aside from taking care of my little one.

My aim is to share - as I relearn the ins and outs of blogging for myself - I want to be able to share this to my readers as well. I aim to share my life as a new mom (the wins and challenges and the whole nine yards), my opinions and thoughts, my observations, tips and information that will be useful to anyone who gets to read my articles. Thus the birth of this series - Blogging Tips and Tricks.

Please note that this series does not aim to teach you how to get invited to events, how to receive freebies, how to be famous nor how to score writing gigs. Do know that I am not an expert - treat me like a student who's sharing what I have learned.

So let's get started with the essentials that you need to have to start blogging:

1. Notebooks / Planners - I always carry a notebook or planner in my purse so I can jot down blog post ideas or anything inspiring that I see. It is also very useful to jot down quick notes or reminders. I can also sketch out images of things I like or see. There are many notebooks available in the market now but choose something nice and cute so you would be inspired to carry it with you everywhere you go. Don't let a brilliant idea go to waste. You can use the planner to plot specific posts and then schedule the dates to publish your article. If you are the digital type, you can use your smartphone's calendar feature as an alternate to this. As for me, I would rather stick to the old school way of writing down my ideas.

2. Camera / Tripod - This is an obvious necessity that needs to be in your essentials list. Choose a camera that you would be comfortable in using so you can take crisp photos for your blog posts. The tripod would be useful in ensuring that your photos will not be shaky or out of focus. While we're at it, make sure you have good lighting (natural light is best) when taking your photos as well. I am using a Nikon D7000 with its original kit lens. It takes pretty decent pictures already so I am good with it. If you want to enhance your pictures, you may use photo editing software like Photoshop or an online photo editing tool such as PicMonkey for only $4.99/month or $33 for the whole year. If you want to spruce up your photos, you may purchase design bundles as well as premium fonts (like the one I used in the picture above - Manhattan Darling Regular).

3. Laptop / Smartphone - In order to publish your blog posts, you need to have an access to a laptop or a desktop or even smartphones with access to your blogging portal. I prefer to use a laptop because I can bring it with me anywhere inside the house and it is also very light when I have to take it outside. I am not comfortable using a smartphone to blog because of the formatting limitations but that's just me. I think it's the way to go so I better start learning that too.

4. Internet Connection - Of course, the only way for you to be able to publish your posts is to have an internet connection. I am currently on a 5MB broadband plan and so far it is working for me. It isn't fast as lightning but it isn't slow like a turtle - it's just right for my blogging needs.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part and now that you know the essentials that you need to start then you can keep the ball rolling. I am so thankful that I made the leap and started my blog. Now, it's your turn...

See you on the next part of this series - Choosing Your Own Domain

LET'S CONNECT

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