March Reads


Hello there beautiful people! 😀

Belated Happy Easter! I hope you had a meaningful observation of the holiday.

Here in Indonesia I didn’t notice Easter that much (were it not for a message from a friend) and it’s a first for me. Muslim and Christian holidays sorta just follow one after the other here and since Christians/Catholics are the minority, Christian holidays seem to  become more ordinary than festive. I don’t celebrate every holiday but it does seem a bit weird that the world around you is almost oblivious to it. I’ve become so used to having neighbors celebrate on behalf of an entire block where I came from and I sorta miss them!

Oh well, let’s talk books now, shall we? 🙂

So last week I decided to reignite my love for reading because ever since I stopped working the 9 to 5, my voraciousness for books has nosedived. My Kindle has become more of a gaming tool than anything else 🙄 I was therefore quite pleased that last week I really felt like reading. And so I did! I finished not one, but 2 splendid li’l books:

Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by blogger turned writer Glennon Doyle Melton.


Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award

The inspiring and hilarious instant New York Times bestseller from the beloved writer, speaker, activist, and founder of whose writing is “like a warm embrace” (

 Glennon Doyle Melton’s hilarious and poignant reflections on our universal (yet often secret) experiences have inspired a social movement by reminding women that they’re not alone. In Carry On, Warrior, she shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud-funny new essays and some of the best-loved material from Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman’s trying to love herself and others, readers will find a wise and witty friend who shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.

What can I say? I really, really like this book 🙂 It’s so down to earth and hilariously so that I felt as though Glennon was a personal friend who’s got this crazy-silly side that speaks so much to me XD It’s definitely a feel-good book that I can see myself reviewing every now and then to remind me that life is “brutiful” – brutal and beautiful.

 “The Rules of Life: A Personal Code for Living a Better, Happier, More Successful Life”by Richard Templar

This is a motivational book of 105 bite-sized ‘rules’ that are practical and simple.  I really also enjoy books like these where a chapter is but two pages long and the take-away is immediately applicable. It’s not very deep or profound, which I like because I wasn’t in the mood for anything serious and analytical. It’s a book you can keep on your nightstand and open randomly to any ‘rule’ and then make that your intention for the day.

The book is divided into 4 sections – there are the rules for you, partnership rules, family and friends rules and social rules. I read everything in one go but I think it’s also a good idea to focus on one section (one area) of life per week and finish the book in 4 weeks (a month). Come to think of it,  I’ll definitely do it this way the next time around as the book’s definitely worth reading again and again just for  some quick reminders or to give yourself a mood boost 🙂

So that was me last week, lost in the pages of these 2 books. My rediscovered yen for reading seems not to be slowing down yet so I have already downloaded several other book samples to my Kindle.  Oh dear, less time for crocheting I’m afraid XD

And, did you notice that it’s the last week of the month already? Have a strong, positive ending to March,sunbeams! ❤ 🙂


Volunteer Vacations and Scary BHAG’s, Can You Relate?


I just chanced upon this site and was reminded once more of my long held intrigue for volunteer vacations.  This morning, excitement stirred up once again, I texted the link to a friend.  Her lukewarm response:  “Nice!  I’ll show this to a friend”, and then a while later, “I’ll give this to my bro”.

I replied – “Wait, let’s think about it.  Let’s actually give it some thought”.

And for good measure I later on added:  “Remember what they say – if it is to be, it is up to me”.

Have you ever felt excitement for something but somehow just filed whatever that was away in your mental “maybe later” bucket list without much thought?

Well for me, this is one of those.  And I understand why.  It’s a BHAG. It’s scary.  It’s overwhelming.

But today for some reason I dared scrutinize it. I replied to my friend: “I understand why we’ve been brushing it off despite fawning over the idea.  It’s too big.  So we must slice it down into bite sized pieces.  Let’s do something in Thailand for instance (since it’s near where I am), for perhaps just a week, or 2.  Let’s just pick something manageable and see what happens from there”.

And that gave us hope 🙂 In the grander scheme of volunteer vacationing, it might just be a speck.  We might even find out that the baby step is not feasible at the moment. But it’s a start.

What’s your BHAG?  Look it in the eye and chop it down.


Where To Study Online for Free

comic-383541_640For a while now I’ve been having a love affair with free online courses and I feel truly blessed for the opportunity to no longer have to pay a brick and mortar institute to get my cup of knowledge refilled.  If there’s an internet connection, there’s a cheap and convenient way!

Just recently I finished (and passed!) an online course about the Origins of Crime where I learned (aside from this and many others) that the most common type of homicide are those committed by 2 males fighting over status (a.k.a. bar fights), and that venting your anger frequently actually makes you more aggressive in the long run – and not the other way around as most of us were led to believe.

I also greatly improved my puny (although I say that with much love 😉 ) cooking skills via this heaven-sent cooking school.  And just a while ago I learned some timely tips on relocation and how to create the perfect sanctuary to call home via Laurie Gardner’s There’s No Place Like Home.  (I found it really interesting to learn that animals have this very simple rule in choosing where to live, they simply:  adapt, migrate or die).

And all that and more for free 👍

So maybe you’re like me and feel the need to indulge your inner eternal student 🙂 Here are some sites I can recommend, in no particular order.  Please note that some of these sites might ask you to pay for certain (but definitely not all) courses.

Coursera. Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses for anyone to take, for free.

Udemy. Udemy’s mission is to help anyone learn anything.

Open2Study.  Just click on the ‘free courses’ tab at the top of the landing page.

edX.  There’s a free ‘Science of Happiness’ course that I’m itching to take next! ❤

Academic Earth.  They’ll help you find courses, but I go straight to this extremely enlightening page of curated playlists.

And although I’ve never run out of options yet, I also visit Class Central for help finding courses every once in a while.  (I’m the type who just likes to line a lot of options up).

So there’s absolutely no lack of options.  Squeal! 😀

How about you?  Have you ever learned something online for free?  Do you know of any other sites we could add to this list?

~ Paardje 💋

Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

February Wrap-Up

February Wrap-Up

Well what do you know, March is upon us – it’s also my birthday month and I have absolutely no idea yet how I’m going to celebrate.  Any suggestions?

Anyhow, did you get some stars under your belt in February?  I’m pretty sure you have! It would be such a blast if you could share some in the comments below 🙂 C’mmon, share!

While you’re thinking, allow me to warm this up with my own report.

For February I ~

⭐ Successfully established the habit of starting each day with a tall glass of warm lemon water.

⭐ Successfully established a morning routine that I am quite happy with.  Morning routines are very important, and because I only recently stopped working, I needed to establish a new start to my day. I’ll tell you more about this in a later post.

⭐ Messaged/texted my husband ‘good night’ and ‘I love you’ every evening of the month.

My husband is based abroad and sometimes I take cordial greetings like ‘good morning’, ‘good night’ or even just a ‘hey there, handsome!’ for granted :/ Since February is the love month, I wanted to be consistent with at least 1 daily greeting. I chose an end of day greeting for this initiative.

I was consistent, and I’m happy this is continuing to date 🙂 The only times I missed greeting my husband ‘good night’ was 1, when my phone went kapot and the other 2 times when I was still starting and the habit hadn’t stuck yet.  But this is a win fo sho!

⭐ Blogged every weekday of February. (And I give myself bonus points for posting on weekends) 😀

When I set out to blog I didn’t really plan on posting every day.  I thought it would be difficult and must require a lot of discipline plus, I was already overwhelmed just thinking of what to blog about.  But I set it as a challenge for February nevertheless.  To help me along I came up with weeklies like “Pebbles of Wisdom” every Monday, Wordless Wednesdays, Funny Fridays and Learn Something New features.

As expected, I learned a lot in the process (some weeklies will be continued, others not, still others tweaked). And the Universe apparently was also pleased with my efforts by blessing me with:

⭐ A nomination for Versatile Blogger Award on the 4th

⭐ I made my 100th post on the 24th  🙂

~~~~ THANK YOU to all who visit this blog and leave footprints and especially those who give the extra ❤ by following this blog.  I APPRECIATE YOU ALL SO MUCH! ~~~~

In addition, I have gotten much more comfortable blogging and sharing a bit of myself (this is a huge deal for me). I look forward to getting better as time goes by 🙂

⭐ Read 4 books – The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler, Why Do I Love These People? by Po Bronson, The Servant’s Tale (fiction) and The Witch’ Tale (fiction) both by Margaret Frazer.

⭐ Exercised 19 times this month (goal is 20).  Moving forward though I don’t know if I should keep giving myself stars for this as this is now a part of my morning routine.  Or, maybe I will but only on those months where sticking to a routine is almost impossible like, December.

⭐ Started the following projects –

30 day yoga with Erin Motz

Understanding the Origins of Crime (online course)


I also tried but failed to:

🙄 Meditate. Something about meditating just keeps eluding me 😦 I also had this to contend with that made it all the more difficult.

🙄 Establish an evening routine.


 ~~ O ~~

And there you have it, my stars for February.  Now it’s your turn!  🙂 Share! Share!

~ Paardje 💋

Monthly Reviews & Blog Updates

The Wrap-Up: January

lovey dovey

The 1st month of 2015 is over too soon and I’m reminded of something I’ve always wanted to do – but never gotten around to doing, until now – which is to mark the passage of time with lists of accomplishments. Whether they be big or small, a hi-light or even a low-light, I think that the habit of looking back on your rockstar moments can be quite a rewarding and eye-opening experience.

January has always been tricky because the 1st week is still so festive and everybody’s still high on the New Year’s spirit. Things only return to normalcy for me by the 3rd week, and usually by then, I don’t feel like starting any new undertaking because I feel that 2 weeks isn’t enough time to do anything substantial. (Excuses, I know!) :-/

Still, I managed to rake up a few stars under my belt:

² I’ve gotten interested in yoga. I’ve always wanted to be more flexible but my infatuation with the wheel pose is what really cinched the deal for me 🙂 I’ve now added beginner yoga routines to my morning exercises, and regardless of whether or not I eventually get to do the wheel pose, I am already enjoying all that stretching I’m doing.

² I learned that I have hooded eyes. I’ve always just been a lipstick and eye-liner + mascara type, but then for some reason I cannot recall, I became infatuated with eye make-up. I haven’t made the investment in make-up and brushes yet and I’m still on the fence with this one since I’m already happy with my liner & mascara. But if ever I do decide to move forward with this, the process is now a lot less confusing!

² I cooked a bit. I don’t know what they were but I prepared 2 new beef recipes this month. Cooking is a big deal for me because I think I hate it. For me it just seems like such a huge production number for so little returns – they like it, then there’s nothing left to show for all your effort, or they hate it and your confidence and self-esteem is crushed.

Till present, I’ve cunningly avoided the whole deal by hiring a housekeeper/cook. But now that I’ve chosen to embark on an exciting domestic adventure, I have to face this dragon and slay it. Thankfully the housekeeper/cook’s contract will expire by April yet, so I have the luxury of vacillating – I run away from it, then I come back when I’m feeling strong again. Repeat and rinse. Lol!

² I read 3 books: The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Matilda Bone (fiction) and The Housewife Blues (fiction).

² I started playing around with photo editing and the results are used to pimp up this blog.

² I found my exercise groove back. I’ll blog about this separately.

² And speaking of exercising, I managed to exercise 14 times in January 🙂 Not bad considering I started back on January 14th yet after pigging out over the holidays. It was tough getting back on the train because the first few times I’d wake up feeling run over by a bus. Thankfully, it got much better by the next week.

² I also cleaned out/organized my closet. I felt so much better after purging out about 2/3rds of it,  and got a much better grip on my personal style.

~~ O ~~

That said, I’m excited to see what fabulous things February has in store for me! 🙂

How about you? What are your stars for January?  Are you looking forward to some goals in February?


30 Dr. Seuss Quotes That Can Change Your Life

Quotes are a lot of fun and can really help the decision-making process when referred to at the right time.  My experience is that often it’s the simplest quotes that are the most potent and memorable.  Here’s something I was really delighted to find floating about on the internet.  I couldn’t resist getting a copy for this blog 🙂

My favorites are #3 and 11Which one is yours?