Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates, Staying Sane

The Awesome Month of April & The Marvelous Month of May

April. Gurrrl how fast you go! But you gave me some awesome victories that I am definitely grateful for:

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผย  I sorted out my feelings about blogging and this blog. As a result, not only does this blog now enjoy a fresh “coat of paint”, but more importantly, I’m staying true to sharing about me and my life as it unfolds.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผย  I started on a path to beauty because I hit rock bottom on this matter. There was a time when I was younger when I didn’t care about my appearance, and I could get away with it. But now I need to swallow my pride and get help because, as a stay-at-home-mom and as I grow older, I’d rather be an inspiration than a warning ๐Ÿคญ

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผย  I discovered a new & interesting author, understand Indonesia better, and no longer feel guilty for a few not-so-nice observations I’ve had about this country and its people (in general) because the author has actually observed the same! As they are fond of saying here “begitulah” (that’s just the way it is)!

Indonesia Etc

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ I had my first FO of the year ๐Ÿคฉ

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ This month my husband went on his second overseas trip and I’m no longer panicky about it ๐Ÿ˜€ As a matter of fact, I kinda enjoy the change of atmosphere ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s not that I no longer worry about what to do & who to contact in the event something unforeseen happens. But I think it’s because I’ve been learning a bit more Indonesian lately and I’m exposed to more people as a result of my new hobby.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ And lastly, I think it could be the start of the rainy season. Yay! It’s been raining the past few days and right about time too because the heat was sweltering. (When is it ever not sweltering hot over here, eh? ๐Ÿ˜œ).

rainy day

And Now for Making May Marvelous

A lot of people have a monthly bucket list and I enjoy reading them. I do agree that it’s a wise & deliberate way to ensure time is well spent. I’m also an enthusiastic goal setter myself (ok, way too enthusiastic most times) although the implementation part is often a bit problematic ๐Ÿคญ

But anyways, in that spirit, here’s what’s on my May bucket list:

๐Ÿ‘‰ ๐Ÿ‘‰ Stay away from anything crochet (or knitting) ๐Ÿ˜

I just thought it’d be cool to give something I’m obsessed with a break and see what rushes in to fill the void. I’m considering the following in its place:

๐Ÿ’„ย  read a book, maybe 2

๐Ÿ’„ย  learn a new recipe, maybe 2

๐Ÿ’„ย  craft something out of paper, maybe 2

๐Ÿ’„ย  have coffee with a friend, maybe 2

๐Ÿ’„ย  celebrate Mother’s Day in a positive way

๐Ÿ’„ย  buy a doll

 

Now on to YOU:

What are some of your April highlights? Looking forward to something special in May? Do share! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Advertisements
Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

Lessons from 2017

baby-buddha-funny-deep-quotes

A friend from home recently told me she was feeling depressed. She was doing an end-of-year review and was feeling morose about the year that wasย ๐Ÿ˜• Which got me thinking about my own experience of 2017 ~~ hmmm, certainly not bad and definitely with a big bang ๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ

The good thing about having a blog is that it makes a year-end review quite easy. Even if you didn’t blog everything, the posts will be enough to jog your memory. So here are my take-aways from 2017 (in no particular order):

1.ย  Man plans, God laughs.

2.ย  Create happiness within your own 4 walls.

This applies to everyone but is especially true for expat SAHMs.

3.ย  Happy people are good people. Good people are not always happy.

4.ย  Community (really) matters.

And I’m talking about the village of support you create for yourself in the shape of friends, neighbors, your go-to hairstylist, even your favorite book store. Let’s just say this is one thing I didn’t know I missed until it was gone. Unfortunately, I still have to find a way to fix this (if there is one!).

5.ย  Never under-estimate the power of retail therapy on not-so-busy weeknights (or wherever the malls are open till 9 or 10 PM).

Much lesser people makes the whole process unhurried and, actually pleasant.

6.ย  Schedule a real change of scenery from time to time. (As in, anywhere but on this island)

Short reason: so that problems don’t seem larger than they are.

Long reason: otherwise idyllic, the sleepy atmosphere of this place (that permeates everything) can drive me nuts at times ๐Ÿ˜

7. Dress and make yourself up for the day, even when you’re just staying home.

This includes taking a shower before 10AM otherwise, good luck with the humidity! ๐Ÿ˜„

8. Let the breadwinner earn bread the way he wants.

Everyone is just happier that way.

9. Have fun marking the passage of time.

Set goals, take on projects, schedule stuff in your calendar to look forward to, and then blog about it.

99.9% effective against the doldrums ๐Ÿ˜

10. Break it down into bite-sized chunks.

Absolutely golden advice.

11.ย  Never run out of Re-Mag & Re-Myte supplements.

I didn’t blog about this but this has to have a spot on this list because the difference it makes is just too obvious to ignore. I have more energy, I sleep better, I am in a pleasant mood, I have better cognitive function, I even have more breast milk. When I was pregnant, I would experience those pregnancy-related swollen feet & ankles whenever I did not take these supplements.

12. Everything looks better arranged on a tray.ย 

(I absolutely love this one!)ย  I mean, seriously! Just give it a try! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ

What about you? What are some of the lessons you learned in 2017? Let me know in the comments section, bet I can learn from you too ๐Ÿ˜ƒ โค๏ธ

Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

Is Your Blog In A Rut?

coffee-2354892_960_720Mine is!ย And it bothers me ๐Ÿ™„

So okay I’m 7 months pregnant and I can’t be into a lot of stuff because I should be taking it easy, which also means less things to blog about.

My interests of late has also gone to pregnancy specific topics from post-delivery recovery to breastfeeding … and I don’t want to blog about those ๐Ÿค”

But I want to blog, because blogging is a life saver for me. Every single like and comment is precious human interaction. The act of putting my thoughts out there not only cathartic and soothing but also, undeniably fun.

Ergo, I am not having a lot of fun lately by allowing my blog to fall by the wayside.

We need a remedy.

Blog Events/Challenges

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when I participated in a few weekly blog challenges. They were always fun, thought provoking, and guaranteed my blog had fresh content every week. They definitely get your blog out of any rut it might be in!

So off I went to WP’s Events page to see if I could fish a few that would light my fire. Here are just 3 I’m considering at the moment:

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

๐ŸŒˆย  The Weekly Smile/Wednesdays – simply share something that made you smile that week.

๐ŸŒˆย  Weekly Small Pleasures/Sundays – you guessed it ๐Ÿ˜‰, it’s about the small things/pleasures that made you happy that week

041514 sywbanner

๐ŸŒˆย  Share Your World/Mondays – answer random questions each week and share your world in the process

And since cultivating an attitude of gratitude is such a huge happiness booster, I’m also quite interested in the following gratitude-focused events:

Processed with Rookie

๐ŸŒˆย  My Gratitude Project/Wednesdays

๐ŸŒˆ Thankful Thursday/Thursdays

๐ŸŒˆ Ten Things of Thankful/Saturdays and Sundays

There are definitely more events to choose from and you can even narrow them down by topic of interest, such as books, photography or running.

Craft Related Events?

I didn’t find craft related events on there though, which is a bummer because, as someone who’s into crochet and knitting, I’d like something that encourages me to create.ย  I am aware of WIP (work in progress) Wednesdays for crocheters and knitters (only?) and FO (finish off) Fridays.ย  Is there anything else of the kind out there?

Of course, you can always create your own blog challenges, but it’s a lot more fun if you do it with others ๐Ÿ˜Š

What Blog Events Are You Participating In?

I’d like to get your suggestions if you’re a participant (or have been) in a blogging event. What was it and what did you like about it?

Also, I suspect that not all events are listed on the WP Events page and you might know about them. Do share! I might like some of them enough to join and, you’d be doing me a favor ๐Ÿ˜Š

Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

Blogger Recognition Award

blogger-recog-awardHappy Monday everybody! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’d like to start this week on a really positive note – a Blogger Recognition Award, bestowed upon me by the lovely Joanne @ A Glimpse Into My Journey.

Thanks so much, Joanne! โค I really appreciate this ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

The Rules of this Award (are actually pretty simple ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘):

Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. ย Write a post to show your award. ย Attach the award to the post. ย Give a brief story of how your blog started. ย Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers. ย Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. ย Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide a link to the award post you created.

Okay then, here we go!

How this blog started:

It was on a flight home from LA. I couldn’t sleep, my head was swimming with so many stuff because things were happening career-wise and my personal life was also screaming for attention. In a bid to calm myself I commanded my brain to focus on things that made me happy.

I was riding this train of thought but my mind was still restless – up until the thought struck me that I should start a blog.ย  And that’s when I got excited ๐Ÿ˜€

I realized I needed an outlet, something that forced me to focus on the good things, the simple pleasures, the lessons, the fun and the crazy side of me. Something that could also be a platform for connecting with others of same interests but without the obtrusiveness of Facebook. I needed a happy space โค ๐Ÿ˜€

And thus OSB&V was born!

My advice to new bloggers.

  1. ย Be yourself.ย  Write to express, not to impress.ย 

When I started blogging I had no voice, I wrote to please the reader. I was tentative and needy of likes and comments. The things I wrote about were chosen with the reader in mind. Needless to say, I wasn’t really having much fun.

Then I started just expressing myself – this is my party, I can dance the way I want to, right?! ๐Ÿ™‚ As I gained more confidence just putting myself out there I also started having fun. And that’s when the likes, comments, follows and even the awards came ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ (Along with much much muccccccchhh appreciated comments like, “I like the way you write”, which always catapult me to the stars!).

In my experience, the posts that are the most “me” are the posts that get the most likes and comments.ย  So be yourself. Express yourself. It’s your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

2.ย  That said, do pay attention to quality writing.

I don’t know if many will agree to this but it’s like when we know we are going to have a visitor, we do comb our hair and wash our face at the very least don’t we?

Just because we are expressing ourselves, being real and all, doesn’t mean we forgo basic rules of grammar, composition and presentation. I mean, I think it’s just being respectful to our readers. Many times I’ve come across an otherwise nice post but went away with less esteem for the writer because it was written and presented in a careless manner.

I value every visitor to my blog so much that I sometimes edit my posts to death! LOL! ๐Ÿ˜† This is extreme of course and I’m no great writer by far but I do what I can to put my message out there in a way that is easy to read โค

3.ย  Make it fun!

By now you should know it’s all about the fun factor for me ๐Ÿ˜€ To me this means, blog about the things you love, the things that matter to you. Don’t worry about finding your niche or your audience, this will come in time. Express your joy, marvel, appreciation, confusion. Express your crazy and unique sides.

Find other blogs of like-minded bloggers, reach out and make friends. Join writing challenges and prompts or make your own. Be as regular as possible, but allow yourself to take breaks whenever necessary. That way you come back refreshed and ready to put your piece of sunshine out there for others to find ๐Ÿ™‚

My nominees:

Hmmm … I’m never quite sure how to do this part ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

There are quite a number of bloggers I’d like to nominate but I also know that some bloggers aren’t into this type of thing.ย  So allow me to try a different approach this time – I will nominate these sexy people on their blogs personally ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ This way I feel that I’m not putting them on the spot if they choose not to accept.ย  (I don’t know if this is a good thing even ๐Ÿ˜– How do YOU do it?)

~ oOo ~

And that is that! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thank you for reading and – what advice do YOU have for new bloggers? Share YOUR thoughts in the comments section and (if you’re feeling sexy today!) feel free to consider yourself nominated for this award โค โค โค

And don’t forget to visit Joanne.ย  She creates really delicious stuff over there and her posts are always a joy to read ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a wonderful week everyone! ๐Ÿ’‹

blogger-recog-award

Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

Gettin’ Busy With It

running-498257_960_720

The good thing about sitting with boredom for a while and hearing what it has to say is that I always end up with a pretty bangin’ list of things to do or learn ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜

It’s not the exception this time, which is why I now have the appropriate reaction down pat – put all routines on hold, grab pen and paper and give boredom it’s airtime.

It’s a pretty long list usually as I don’t censor. I then give the list time to simmer and, sooner or later a few will hold my attention long enough to become goals ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜

And so, since it’s the first Monday of June — Happy 1st Monday of June to y’all!!! — I figured it would be the perfect day to announce my goals for the month ๐Ÿ™† ๐Ÿ™†

7d40aad80f81b903954ec95c1c769ba8

I love having monthly goals โค โค They give focus and direction, as well as something to celebrate at the end of the month.ย  I picked 3 for June, and I feel that they give enough variety without necessarily diffusing my focus:

  1. Complete Introductory & Phase 1 Beginner of my Indonesian language lessons.

The fact that I haven’t seriously sunk my teeth into learning the Indonesian language is like a leaky faucet that’s keeping me up all night.ย  It’s about time I got it fixed! ๐Ÿ‘Š ๐Ÿ‘Š

ย  ย  ย  2.ย  Knit my first sweater.

I am still not over the fact that there are also circular needles and double pointed needles – I thought there was only those straight ones! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

โ€ฆ so from there you can imagine how lofty this goal actually is for me. But as I sat and learned how to knit-purl-knit-knit, I realized my truth: I came here for the sweaters!

So I’m just gonna dive right in and learn as I go along ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

ย ย ย ย ย  3.ย  Learn to make meatballs.

Just because ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿคฃ

images

As you can see I’m very specific with all 3 so there’s no room for distraction.ย  And of course, to keep me accountable (and so we can have delicious chats), I’ll be blogging about my progress as I go along.

I’m actually pretty excited ๐Ÿ˜€ Wish me luck!

And now what are YOUR goals for June? ๐Ÿ™‚

Blogging, Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

Ending May On A Happy Note ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

2c38b551b0b6670461009670874dbf4fHello e’rrbody! How have you been? ๐Ÿ˜€ โค

I’ve been deliciously busy last week, just plunged the depths of my interests and curiosities in the face of my “boredom” problem which is now but a pathetic & cowering shadow dragging its feet towards the gates of oblivion.

My! How dramatic. XD XD

Today, I chose to close May with a list of things that make me happy.ย  And I have to thank the radiant Lindsay over at the always insightful Letters to Dutch for happiness-tagging me ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

I was so excited when I got the tag because, who doesn’t want to make a list of things that make you happy?! I mean, that has got to be the single most simple, thoughtful, cost-free and happiness-inducing act you can do for yourself, yes?ย  ๐Ÿ˜€

I was also happy because I really want to share with you a personal story. Something I did when I first started out in the corporate world, in a big city full of strangers, that was telling of the attitude towards happiness I’d soon come to embrace.

Ready? ๐Ÿ™‚

OK!

The Story

It was a huge job in a huge city away from home.ย  I was new, I still had no friends and, Valentine’s day was coming up.ย  I don’t know why but all the single ladies in that office made such a big deal out of it.ย  Talking loudly about their guesses and fantasies about how their boyfriends would surprise them, fancy dinners, gifts, etc.ย  I’d hear them and swallow saliva because I already felt so lonely and uprooted, and now I’d have to be pitied for not having romantic liaisons too???

Que barbaridad! ๐Ÿ˜  ๐Ÿ˜ 

My agony grew as Valentine’s day drew nearer.

But then a miracle happened. ๐ŸŒŸ ๐Ÿ’ซ โœจ

On that Valentine’s day I walked away with the hugest, most impressively arranged (and probably the most expensive) bouquet of veeery pretty flowers.

And I lived happily ever after was beset with inquiries from curious (nosy) ladies for days after! XD XD

How did that happen?

Well, I bought myself that bouquet and told everybody it came from a “secret admirer”. End of agony. XD XD

words-to-live-by-famous-people-about-to-be-born-crazy-crazy-quote-about-life-and-happiness-580x593

And that was perhaps the first time I realized that happiness is something you engineer for yourself.

Granted, my example is petty and simplistic. But I know now that happiness doesn’t have to be complicated or profound.

This phrase “happiness is something you engineer for yourself” is not mine by the way. I came across it reading blogs on WP and the blog author was an engineer (not surprisingly). I can no longer recall who this person was, but I thank him and give him credit for something so simple yet profound. Note the use of the word “engineer”, because indeed, happiness does not fall out of the sky and most of the time, circumstances do not cooperate.

Shine anyway! ๐ŸŒŸ ๐Ÿ’ซ โœจ

There are SO many things that make me happy – from the obvious (my family) to the mundane (that mug of coffee in the morning) and anything in between (looking up at a magnificent moon in the evening). For this post however, I have to narrow it down to 5 and, off the top of my head, these are:

โญ Exercise โญ

The fountain of youth! I cannot do without exercise now that I’ve gotten used to it and have fallen in love with it. My body and mind crave it. It makes me feel grateful for being healthy and capable, and I am dosed with feel good hormones for the rest of the day. Truly, exercise gets me out of any funk I might be feeling at any moment.

โญ Music โญ

Mainstream top 40. Lounge. House. Spa. Meditation. Acoustic. Medieval. Instrumental. Beach… I’ve been blasting The Black Eyed Peas on my speakers lately and then shift to Medieval when I’m reading my medieval mysteries. I listen to House when I’m doing yoga. It’s crazy but it works for me. Music makes me happy! โค โค

As a gift to you, here’s the song that’s predicted to be the happiness theme song for 2016 ๐Ÿ™‚

โญ Kindness/Generosity โญ

The two are synonymous, I believe. An act of kindness gives my feet wings and even just seeing it or reading about it being done by others warms my heart. That’s why I watch the Ellen Degeneres show whenever I can because those surprises she doles out to unsuspecting people, they just make me want to swim from the chandelier (in a good way). LOL! XD XD

In my ‘confined’ state I am unable to do Random-Acts-Of-Kindness (RAOKs) directly, so I’ve taken to doing this via the games I play.ย  I’m currently obsessed with Seeker’s Notes: Hidden Mystery and I take great delight in helping my “friends” complete collections by gifting them with special items I have in surplus. The harder the item is to come by or build, the more excited I am to gift it ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

I’ve thought of knitting/crocheting for charity too but, I really prefer doing an act of kindness in person. It just gives the most satisfaction โค โค โค

โญ Crocheting/Knitting โญ

I am project oriented and I relish having a practical end-product at the end of my efforts. And if I can accomplish this with the least amount of equipment, then that’s just purrr-fect!

That is why crochet -and just very recently- knitting, appeals so much to me. The whole process is just so juicy! From choosing the project, the materials, the recipient and finally the making of the product itself. Yes, crochet and knitting definitely float my boat! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

hey_girl_medium

โญ Choosing to be a SAHM โญ

I love it! Little to no stress. The luxury of time to take care of your family and yourself. I even love the luxury of “boredom” that comes with it because I can cure that with something that nourishes my soul, mind or body. It’s just the perfect setting to be so deliciously self-focused.

~ oOo ~

And now it’s time for me to choose 5 others for this happiness tag ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘

The beautiful Minaxi over at Gameplan Happily Ever After.

The inspirational Debbie of Forgivingjournal.

One of the earliest blogger friends I made here on WP, I call her Karla (but I don’t really know for sure!) who takes the prettiest pictures and blogs over at My Messy World.

The cheerful & witty Carlos of Thoughts of a Trainwrecked Pineapple.

And … I just realized I’m gonna choose 6 instead because I have these 2 new blogging friends I just can’t leave out ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

Yanti of New Lives and Opat of Handsy Craftsy. These lovely ladies are from Indonesia and they do not know (until now!) that they made me very happy when they responded to my meltdown post by inquiring about where I live in Indonesia and offering to be contacted if I ever should visit Jakarta โค โค โค (There’s just NO reason for me to sulk now, is there?) I’m just blessed like that ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

OK, that’s me.

But what about YOU? What makes YOU happy? Let me know in the comments section so I get more ideas for my happy-list ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’ž

Thank you for reading, and B-Happy! ๐Ÿง

Feel-Good Fridays, Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

An Exciting Milestone ๐ŸŽ† ๐ŸŽ† ๐ŸŽ†

thank-you-928217_960_720

๐ŸŽ† ๐ŸŽ† ๐ŸŽ†

Some time over the past several days I reached 1K followers – a very significant and exciting milestone in my blogging life ๐Ÿ™‚ Needless to say, I feel so happy and exhilarated and lifted up and so encouraged ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

When I started out all I wanted was reach 200+ and now … well … pheeewww!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like I’m on top of the world! ๐Ÿ˜€

โค THANK YOU SO MUCH to all you sexiest followers on wordpress! โค

~ Paardje ๐Ÿ’‹โ€