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Saturday, 20 January 2018

12 Apps/Sites for a Newbie Blogger

12 Apps/Sites for a Newbie Blogger
Saturday, 20 January 2018
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I started my blog on December 23rd, 2017. So, that makes... almost a month. I've been using these apps to:

  • Promote my blog
  • Meet new bloggers
  • Work on my blog aesthetics
  • Edit photos
  • Check statistics
I've added clickable links in the subtitles for easy finding!

To get your blog started I suggest you invest in an Etsy blog theme. It will definitely give some oomph to your blog. My experience with my Etsy web developer has been great. She answered all of my questions promptly and fixed any issues with my theme. I got my theme from TemplatesbyKate. I suggest you choose a theme that is visually appealing and that represents you!


Google Analytics

This app is a must. Google Analytics gives you real-time stats. It shows your growth, your audience locations and your popular posts. This app tells you what are your landing pages and your exit ones. You will also be surprised to find out how much time is spent on your blog. I find all the stats compelling!



Twitter

Twitter! Twitter! Twitter! It's a great place to not only promote your blog, but to meet bloggers from around the world. There are Twitter accounts that retweet your posts for you to join a larger blogger community. I've come to realize that Twitter holds a large supportive blogging group.




Instagram

If you don't have an Instagram account, I suggest you make one! Again, there is a big blogger community featuring their posts on Insta. It's easy to promote your blog by adding an eye-catching image to the phrase "Link in bio." Then, you can edit your profile website to your blog's post one! Simple, right! I've noticed that some bloggers have their photos based on a theme. Mine is Quotes at the moment. Also, if you decide to make a theme it doesn't need to be definite!




Facebook

As a newbie, I don't feel comfortable setting up a Facebook page yet. However, I've joined a few Blogger groups. We support each other by promoting each other's blogs. I enjoy having a lookie at blogs and leaving comments afterwards. A good trick is to reach out to bloggers, read their posts and leave meaningful comments. They are most likely to reciprocate.



Pinterest

Ok, I don't really use Pinterest because my blog is pretty personal. But who knows, maybe I'll post this one on it. I find Pinterest is mainly for projects, tidbits, recipes and DIY. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there is much more to it! Sharing your posts on Pinterest can create interest surrounding your blog, or so I've heard! Don't forget to add a pin it button to your blog posts.



Tailwind

Speaking of Pinterest, Tailwind is a great app to schedule your pins. Because hopefully, you're not on your phone 24/7. It also gives you insight into busiest traffic times on Pinterest. If you're using Pinterest, this is something I suggest!





Tumblr

Tumblr is fun too, visually speaking. I found a free Tumblr widget code on this website. I had to tweak it a bit, but I hope it works for you. You can also add your own posts to your Tumblr page if you have one.


Bloglovin'

I like this one because it reaches out to a different audience. Some of us like using Bloglovin to easily navigate through our favourite blog posts. It's useful to have a follow button on your page!




Buffer

Buffer is my go-to app to schedule Instagram and Twitter posts. It's so simple to use and you can schedule post weeks in advance! It automatically posts your tweets at the time you have chosen. As for Instas,  it will remind you to post and will paste your description for you!


Canva

Canva is a photo editing tool. There are many templates ranging from Twitter posts to Instagram posts to blog banners. Seriously, everything. The editing is so easy! I use it for all of my Insta posts.




Enlight

I do a lot of editing on my phone and this is a cheap photo editor. It's also easy to use and it creates good results. I don't own a camera yet and am relying heavily on this to get what I want.

Hope these helped! Happy blogging! And, remember blogging should be fun!

- Catherine




Thursday, 18 January 2018

My Bipolar Story Part 2

My Bipolar Story Part 2
Thursday, 18 January 2018
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I left off when I got discharged from the Children's Hospital. Then, I got transferred to a terrible institution with a psychiatric wing for teenagers. I won't name the place as I'm sure it helped some teenagers through their toughest times.

It was not the case for me.

When I came in, I hated the place already. The day staff were amazing, but the night staff looked like they hated their job. It's at night that I required the most help and, often, their response was: "Go back to bed." Like that helped...


One day, I became hysterical. I was placed in isolation for two hours. Being placed in isolation means no contact with the outside world. I was in a room with white walls, with a single bed in the middle of it. Oh, and there was a one-way mirror. When I was taken to that room, I believe it was twice, I had to remove my clothes and wear a hospital jacket. This is honestly the most humiliating thing that happened to me there. Their reasoning is, if you're in a hospital jacket, you can't flee. I was obviously not going to flee from an isolation room.

During group time, I didn't like to share my suicidal ideas with a bunch of teenagers. Sure, I was close with a few but being put on the spot by the psychiatrist was intimidating. I would much rather answer his questions in private. However, whenever I had sessions with him, I felt judged. How many times did I need to answer: "Why are you feeling suicidal?" It's in my file.

Some of the activities were great. Anything having to do with the Occupational Therapist was interesting and engaging. But there was a lot of downtime. With nowhere to go, I had not much to do. There was nothing organized during the weekend and we were pretty much left to ourselves.

Universal Studios

There were social activities as well. Movies and dancing. But, we were put with other patients with more severe disorders. As a thirteen-year-old, being asked to dance by a grubby old man was scary. The movies shown were inappropriate for my age. I was forced to watch 40 Days and 40 Nights as well as the 40 year-old-virgin. Maybe, they had a thing for the number 40.

Cosmopolitan

My parents also got angry at the Institution's director for letting staff leave their Cosmos around. At the age of thirteen, I did not need to know about the 25 ways to a better sex life.


The teachers were great! They helped me catch up on main subjects such as French and Math. They let me go at my own pace while giving me challenges. They also kept contact with the school and prepared my exams in the Institution. It was one-on-one teaching, as well. The greatest thing was that I didn't need to go back to school all at once. I could do half days to better acclimate myself.

This was all in High School as I had graduated from Elementary. But, guess what I had to go back...several times. Every one to two months actually.

I thought I could have a fresh start in High School with new friends. I went to an all-girls Catholic school and as you know, girls can be vicious. I was not so much on the receiving end because I kept quiet most of the time.

This private College catered to children from Pre-K to Secondary 5. These terms may be new to you as our education system is different here in Quebec. Anyways, my old friend from Elementary School transferred in 5th grade. She made new friends and pretty much left me. That triggered my depression. 

It didn't help that her new best friend said: "I hate that the College accepts new girls in High School."

I must say, there was one very sweet girl who got everyone to sign a get-well card.

I think I took a lot of things way too personally. I analyzed every action and every word. I felt so lonely but I'm sure some girls tried to reach out to me. But, being depressed makes you shut out everyone.

This is part of my High School story. Up next, my first manic episode.

- Catherine

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.


Canada: 1-853-456-4566
Québec: 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553)
Kids Help Phone / Tel Jeunes:  1-800-668-6868

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Sunshine Blogger Award!

Sunshine Blogger Award!
Tuesday, 16 January 2018
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I was graciously nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Chelsea at Simply, Silly and Soulful. Check out her blog! You won't be disappointed. Through her posts, you can feel how honest and loving she is.


The Sunshine Blogger award is given by bloggers to bloggers that inspire creativity and positivity!
The Sunshine Blogger Award rules are as follow:
  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.


Here are the questions I received as a nominee!

  • What is your most favourite thing to do to pass time?
    • Currently, I'm enjoying taking pictures and editing them for my Instagram. I love reading as well and am trying out the #theunreadshelfproject2018. I have so many books and as you may know, I keep on buying more. It doesn't help that I work next to a major bookstore.
  • Who is your hero and why?
    • My father is my hero. He is diagnosed with bipolar as well. I've seen him struggle in the past but that did not stop him from keeping our family together. He amazes me the way he does everything from taking care of the family to paperwork to handling a stressful job.
  • Why do you blog and how long have you been writing?
    • I have wanted to start a blog for a while. I like to write and read, so I thought why not? I like the idea of sharing my thoughts with the world. I wanted to create a platform for others to understand what it meant to live with a mental disorder and how life can be fun anyways! I started blogging right before Christmas!
  • What inspires you?
    • Pretty cheesy, but God inspires me. In the hardest times, I feel so much love emanating from him. Acoustic renditions of popularized songs and instrumentals inspire me when I work. 
  • What makes you laugh?
    • All the memes my friend sends me. I don't know how she knows what will make me laugh in hysterics. 
  • Who is your favourite blogger and why?
    • This is a hard one! But my favourite blogger at the moment is Erin from coffeemeetspolished. Her posts are diverse and thoughtful. I learn a lot from them and she isn't afraid to tackle subjects that may be taboo. 
  • What is your favourite movie?
    • My favourite movie is Trolls! It's the happiest movie I've ever seen. Seriously, after the first time, I saw it (yes, there have been multiple), I was on such a happy buzz! The songs are great, it's visually stunning! Not your typical animation movie, I must say.
  • What is the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?
    •  The most challenging thing I've ever done was go back to College. I dropped out a couple of times because of my mental illness. I did not think I could face going back with so many young people. I did, I love what I'm studying and I figured out that age is not a sign of maturity.
  • What is your greatest fear?
    • At the moment, my greatest fear is to not get a job after I graduate. 
  • List 5 things you’re most grateful for and why.
    1. God. I can feel lost without His presence and I appreciate him for guiding me.
    2. My family. They have been there for me through it all.
    3. My boyfriend. I never thought I would meet such a great person in my life.
    4. My cat. She often makes my day and reminds me that it's okay to take it easy sometimes.
    5. My heritage. I'm proud of where I come from and I never want to forget it.
  • What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
    • I take my medication. I want to keep that brain functioning!

My 11 nominees are...!

Thank you again, Chelsea, for nominating me!

My 11 questions to you are...!

1. What are some songs you have on repeat?
2. What do you do when you feel down in the dumps?
3. What can you not live without?
4. Who is your hero?
5. What is a book you would read over and over again?
6. What do you aspire to do in the future?
7. What do you do on your down time?
8. How do you stay focused?
9. How do you stay organized?
10. What are you passionate about?
11. If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be?

Looking forward to reading your answers!

- Catherine

Whitewashing Asians

Whitewashing Asians

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I'm half Asian and half French Canadian and as some of you may guess, sometimes stereotyped.

I grew up in a small village with a population of mainly, if only, French Canadians. I went to the supermarket with my dad, and little old ladies would ask: "Where are your children from?" He would aptly respond with a cold stare: "From my wife." I mean, how is it not plausible for parents of two different races to be together and have children?

It was strange to them, in any case.

Another incident occurred in Elementary School. While I was walking back home from school, a few older boys asked me if I had chopsticks in my hair. Ok, everyone. Chopsticks are not hair decorations! They are for eating! Would you put a fork in your hair, unless you're Ariel of course?

Also, as an Asian woman, I'm often asked if I'm Chinese. Honestly, if you wanted to know just ask me my origins and I'll be happy to tell you!

Anyways, this brings me to the subject of my post: whitewashing Asians in mainstream media.

First off, what does whitewashing mean?

Whitewash is the activity or effect of presenting facts in a way that hides their unpleasantness 

A few notable examples of Asian whitewashing include:

- John Wayne in the role of Genghis Khan in The Conqueror (1956)

Reynold Brown Huffington Post

Not to mention the offensive depiction of Japanese man Yunioshi played by Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1965)


Paramount Pictures

- Jim Sturgess in the role of MIT Black-Jack member Jeffrey Ma in 21 (2008)

Huffington Post

- Scarlett Johansson in the Japanese anime Ghost in the Shell (2017).

Paste Magazine

- Tilda Swinton as a Tibetan monk in Dr. Strange (2016).

The Independent 

And, it doesn't end here. Ed Skrein resigned from the upcoming Hellboy because he was cast as a Japanese-American character from the Marvel comic book!

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Which makes me think, why can't we cast Asians in Asian roles?

The problem with whitewashing in mainstream media is that it gives a popularized false portrait of ethnicities. It engenders presumptions towards minorities and may sometimes give in to race and ethnic superiority. And that is dangerous.

To add to that, there ARE plenty of successful Asian actors and actresses as well as some waiting to be discovered. Which brings me to think why do feel the need to only give Asian roles to Asians. Why can't, I don't know a Korean woman be the "girl-next-door" in a romance flic? or there be a Vietnamese journalist, looking for his next scoop? All this really frustrates me.

I'll end this with this humorous, yet accurate video: What kind of Asian are you?


References:


- Catherine




Monday, 15 January 2018

My Bipolar Story Part 1

My Bipolar Story Part 1
Monday, 15 January 2018
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My bipolar disorder story started at the age of 12. I was in 6th grade and had lost all of my friends to the "cooler" ones. I felt so lonely and couldn't bring myself to go to school. I just stopped attending. There was nothing my parents could do. I would just cry most of the day.

I felt completely miserable. Why should I go if no one wanted to talk with me during recess? I was also the bookish girl and basically shut everyone out during the first few days until I couldn't take it anymore. Seeing my old friends discussing magazines and sharing gossip (that I thought was about me) was the worst.

I became suicidal.  My first thoughts of suicide revolved around "Nobody loves me. I don't love myself. What's the point?" My first "mild" suicidal action was to try to stop breathing. I would go under the sheets and keep my breath in until I couldn't anymore.

My parents decided it was time to do something. They brought me to the Children's Hospital. I was so "lifeless" that I didn't respond to any of the reflex tests. I went through several exams and blood tests.

At the time, it was rare for a person of my age to have suicidal thoughts. They wanted to rule everything out, so I stayed on the medical floor for a few weeks. I was so well cared for when I went there. I had a personal occupational therapist. I did a lot of art and read a lot. But I must say it was not all fun. These things occupied me but, when I would meet doctors and talk about the source of my problems, I would break down in tears. I was also checked 24/7 for my safety which was hard too.

This was all near my 13th birthday. As soon as I turned 13, the doctors gave me the discharge and sent me to a Teen Institution. It was the worst. But that's in another post.

- Catherine

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

Canada1-853-456-4566
Québec: 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553)
Kids Help Phone / Tel Jeunes:  1-800-668-6868
Sunday, 14 January 2018

Cette semaine no.2

Cette semaine no.2
Sunday, 14 January 2018
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The week started brilliantly with Sunday Service. It was a great way for me to reconnect with God after all the crazy of the holidays. The sermon was about the Olive Tree. The Reverend spoke of Romans 11:16: “if the root is holy, so are the branches.” He wanted to remind us of where we come from.











After the Service and the refreshments, my friends and I went to the mall. Our friend from Toronto was with us and we treated ourselves to some good coffee. We had a lot to catch up on. 

I went to David's Tea and bought a travel mug (50% off!). I also got some loose-leaf tea: The Queen of Tarts. This tea includes hibiscus, guayusa, marigold petals, stevia extract and natural blackberry flavouring. All organic! I asked for a fruity tea that would keep me awake during classes and I can't wait to do a test-run! It's tea time for me!

On Monday, I had a delightful day at work.



Tuesday was work, followed by tutoring. I treated myself to a gourmet poutine... from the acclaimed chef Jérôme Ferrer at his "Casse-croûte du terroir de Montréal" chez Jerry. 

I had the Fourchette d'or poutine. Quel délice! It. was. fancy. For those of you who aren't familiar with poutines, it is basically french fries, cheese curds and gravy. Poutine was originally popularized in Quebec. So, if you want to have a real one, have a visit!

My "fancy" poutine had cream of mushroom sauce, hollandaise sauce, pulled pork, foie gras and, of course, fries and cheese curds. Without knowing, I came right before closing time and got leftover fries from the kitchen for free. It was a nice addition to the following day's lunch.


Oh! And I also had Gourmet Popcorn from Les Gamins Gourmands. White chocolate and coconut! Yum!

--------------------------

And then, Tuesday night. I had the head injury which I recounted in this blog post. I basically fell out of my bathtub, destroyed the curtains in the process and bumped my head on the toilet seat. As a result, I had a very mild head concussion.

However, I returned to the Emergency on Saturday. I started to feel pain in my leg. During the night it was unbearable. I woke up to get some water and I couldn't walk anymore. After a good 6 hours of waiting, the doctor examined me and said that I had badly sprained a muscle when I fell out of the bathtub. I am now on work-rest. How boring but necessary.



Before all that pain, I went to see a movie on Friday: The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman. Honestly, the best. When I mentioned to the boyfriend that it was a musical, he was not so delighted. In the end, he said it wasn't too bad. I loved the songs and the choreography. It was visually stunning!

And, Saturday it was my mummy's birthday! Happy birthday, okasan!

- Catherine
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