✨ Happy New Year ✨

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Lessons from 2017

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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 was 😕 Which got me thinking about my own experience of 2017 ~~ hmmm, certainly not bad and definitely with a big bang 😁❤️

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.  Man plans, God laughs.

2.  Create happiness within your own 4 walls.

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

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

4.  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.  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.  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 😏

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! 😄

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 😁

10. Break it down into bite-sized chunks.

Absolutely golden advice.

11.  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. 

(I absolutely love this one!)  I mean, seriously! Just give it a try! 👍👍

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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 😃 ❤️

November Read: One Small Step Can Change Your Life

KaizenOne of the perks of being a Kindle owner is being able to download free ebooks. (I think this is where Amazon puts new and aspiring authors to test the waters. If their book garners praises, then they can charge for it, if not … But I don’t really know, I’m just guessing 😁). 

Anyhow, I’ve downloaded quite a few free ebooks in the past and find that most of them should [perhaps] just remain free. I don’t say this to be mean, I know writing takes a lot of work but, there’s something to be said for quality and talent (or real good editors & proofreaders). I just think that quality and talent deserve distinction, price be one of them.

I digress because I can’t imagine this book, authored by Clinical Psychologist Robert Maurer, would stay free for very long*. It is well-written and well-organized. I wasn’t distracted by errors in grammar and composition (which I sadly often find even in books that aren’t free), and the thought process represented by the chapters flows logically and smoothly.

But good grammar and composition is definitely not all this book has to offer. The content itself, while not something novel or ground-breaking, is gold.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” ~ Tao Te Ching

Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement, is very familiar in the field of work.  Kaizen advocates using very small steps to improve a habit, a process or product using very small moments to inspire new products and inventions. Because it is so identified with efficiency at work, it just totally escaped me that Kaizen could also be applied to your personal and daily life.  (Yes, I’m looking at you flabby, post-baby body! 😠).

“Confront the difficult while it is still easy; accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.” ~ Tao Te Ching

Chances are, there’s something in your life that you want to change or improve but have been dithering on.  According to the author:  “All changes, even positive ones, are scary. Attempts to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means often fail because they heighten fear.  But the small steps of kaizen disarm the brain’s fear response, stimulating rational thought and creative play.”

The key idea here is how fear (of change/improvement) can be conquered by something small. The book helps the reader explore how small can be very potent through chapters on asking small questions, thinking small thoughts, taking small actions, solving small problems, bestowing small rewards, and identifying small moments.

Even problems such as pessimism can be subdued by the question: What is one thing about me (or my spouse, or my place of work) that is special?

The book ends with the chapter “Kaizen for Life”  and encourages the reader to hold on to the essence of Kaizen, which is an optimistic belief in our potential for continuous improvement.

Like earlier mentioned this book was an easy yet stimulating read. I love books that give pragmatic and sound advice, more so this one where the recommendations do not involve drastic actions or shelling out money. I highly recommend this 🙂

In ending I’d like to share with you one of the phrases that I highlighted and which is, I think, my favorite in the entire book:

If you spend a minute or two each day writing a kind note to tuck into a loved one’s briefcase or a child’s lunchbox, you may save yourself the headache that comes  when relationships grow cool from a lack of nurturance and daily care”.

Now excuse me, I gotta go give my eldest a hug 🙂

 

‘* as of this blogpost, the Kindle edition is now priced at $7.23 … aww, drats! 😶

Flat Belly Made Easier 😉

Happy Monday beautiful people! ☺️

Sometimes (because most times I use music💃💃💃), when I need to get myself motivated to exercise, I scour the net for nutrition or fitness infographics. A few days ago I found this and thought you’d find it interesting too – might not be new information but a little reminder can’t hurt, right? ❤️ 😀

Oh and, I’m all for the dark chocolate advice. You too?! XD XD

Have a strong start to your week, peeps!

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Blogger Recognition Award

blogger-recog-awardHappy Monday everybody! 😀

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! ❤ I really appreciate this 😀 😀

The Rules of this Award (are actually pretty simple 👏 👏):

Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.  Write a post to show your award.  Attach the award to the post.  Give a brief story of how your blog started.  Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers.  Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.  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.  And that’s when I got excited 😀

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 ❤ 😀

And thus OSB&V was born!

My advice to new bloggers.

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

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?! XD 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 😀 😀 😀 (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.  So be yourself. Express yourself. It’s your blog 🙂

2.  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 XD 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! XD XD 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 ❤

3.  Make it fun!

By now you should know it’s all about the fun factor for me 😀 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 🙂

My nominees:

Hmmm … I’m never quite sure how to do this part 😲

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.  So allow me to try a different approach this time – I will nominate these sexy people on their blogs personally 🙂 🙂 This way I feel that I’m not putting them on the spot if they choose not to accept.  (I don’t know if this is a good thing even 😖 How do YOU do it?)

~ oOo ~

And that is that! 😀 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 ❤ ❤ ❤

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

Have a wonderful week everyone! 💋

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Why SAHMs Should Exercise 💃💪🏃

Several days ago I confessed to feeling bored and that, because I’m also a SAHM, this has triggered some sort of specific research into this notion  of ‘housewife boredom’.

I’ve since discovered that housewives’ schedules run the gamut from not having enough time to even comb one’s hair to just twiddling thumbs until it’s time to prepare dinner o_O I found out as well that ‘housewife boredom’ also stems from a need to occupy time with something productive, challenging and self- nurturing ❤

Every housewife will have her own preferred solution to this predicament, but one that I (and obviously a lot of other health and wellness proponents) strongly recommend is ⭐ exercise ⭐ ❤

Exercise has given me a wealth of benefits, more so as a SAHM, and I cannot imagine life without it 😀 😀 Here are my reasons:

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  1. It gives you something to do ⭐

If the lack of structure and/or the abundance of idle time is the culprit, then establishing a regular exercise schedule is a life-saver.  This solution is furthermore scalable in terms of time, effort and interest required:  you can join a gym, take a walk, jump rope at home, do 15 minutes of flexibility stretches in your PJs or start with a plank for 1 minute each day if this is all you can do.

      2.  It releases feel-good endorphins ⭐

Being cooped up at home for most of the time and the lack of adult conversion can get us SAHMs into a funk o_O We therefore need a readily available source of feel-good hormones handy – exercise!  It’s not a secret how exercise can make you feel good.  Read more about this here, here and here.

      3.  It gives you confidence ⭐

While I exercise I am constantly reminded of how awesome the human body is 🙂 I appreciate my body all the more when I notice it is responding to all that strength training I am doing (hello, toned midsection!), how much more flexible I have become and how much longer I can do dance fitness videos.

As you get better at your choice of physical activity, you come to appreciate your body more and more and cannot help but feel gratitude and pride for everything it is doing and can do for you.

At appearance level, exercise will make you walk taller and straighter as lethargy will no longer weigh you down. In its place will be ease of movement and vitality.  And that’s confidence boosting. And sexy! 😉 😉

      4.  It is self-nurturing.

Exercise time is ‘your time’.  It turns the focus back on us, we’re doing something for ourselves that will enhance the quality of our lives and by association, our family’s too.  It takes away stress and anxiety and puts sparkle and energy in its place.  That’s exciting, isn’t it? 🙂

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It’s actually quite easy to establish an exercise routine once you’ve set your mind to it.  My tips are – find something that you enjoy doing, start small, and do it at the same time each day.

Know that in the beginning your old self will do everything it can to stop you from doing it, and it is very good at doing so! o_O o_O But just remember that a few days is all it takes to change your internal dialogue and just 3 weeks to establish the habit.  Before you know it, you’ll be signing up for an organized run, or a Zumba master class! 🙂

Now log off and go! 💃❤️‍💃