EID MUBARAK 2021

Alhamdulilah we are able to celebrate our victory in Ramadhan this year. When I was younger, I looked forward to celebrating Eid because I knew I would be getting all the green packets (of money) from adults. Now, I look forward to Eid because it is a time to reflect and spend time with the family and friends. It is difficult to spend time with the family and friends all the time so I truly appreciate the time off from work to reunite with everyone.

People who skip visiting during Eid, you are missing out a lot. It is a time to catch up and bond. Regardless of how old I am, Eid visiting with the family has always been a priority to me. My aunties and uncles may age a little more every year but their presence and jokes never get old. Everyone’s lives are evolving too quickly and despite being so busy, Eid is time reserved for those special ones closed to our hearts. I find that the older I am, the more I appreciate spending time with loved ones.

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Learning to be a tourist in my own city during a pandemic.

When can I start traveling again? I had never imagined a time when traveling would become a distant dream. For me, traveling to new destinations keeps me enthusiastic, adventurous and alive to new ideas. But what to do now? I agree that my problem is trivial, given the serious livelihood repercussions of this pandemic. But I want to preserve my spark of wanderlust because it’s an important part of who I am.

Also, I have a 2 y.o to entertain on weekends, so my child enjoys these new experiences. And it’s better than being forced to give her screen-time because I am tired of entertaining her at home.

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Selamat 2 Tahun, Chiara.

Tepat hari ini, 22 Maret 2021, 2 tahun usiamu Chiara (Ternyata bersamaan dengan ultah blog ini yang udah 9 tahun juga rupanya!). Ibu bahagia kamu tumbuh sehat dan bahagia. Alhamdulillah…masa menyusui 2 tahun tercapai juga, dan sebentar lagi saatnya menyapih yang sesungguhnya baru akan dimulai. Tentunya saat kamu dan ibu juga sudah siap.

Sebelumnya tak pernah menyangka akan ada di titik ini. Dulu ibu gag yakin ibu mampu untuk menyusui, bahkan saat lahiran pun belum beli pompa asi karena saking gag percaya dirinya bisa menyusui apa gag. Tapi rupanya ibu salah besar. Ketidaktahuan adalah musuh besar seorang ibu. Rupanya ibu kurang ilmu soal menyusui. Berkat pencarian info sana sini, tanya ke rekan-rekan yang lebih berpengalaman, serta dukungan dan doa dari orang-orang terdekat akhirnya ibu mampu menjalankan amanat ini. Dari menyusui langsung sampai asi perah. Dari setetes asi jadi berliter-liter asi. Dari yang hanya membasahi pantat botol, hingga berhasil nyetok sefreezer.

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Lately I’ve been…

It is easier to write when you’re in pain. It seems that ideas come easily when you’re sad, angry or devastated. It’s easier to explain the negative feelings rather than the happy ones.

These past few days I’ve been writing and writing but I never really publish it here because I just look at my writings and most of it are sad pieces and I don’t want my blog to be like that, I mean I am trying to have a positive outlook right? But then I realize that when you’re sad, words just comes out naturally and when you’re happy you can’t really explain it. When you’re happy sometimes you have too much words for it that you can’t organize it into writings, you don’t know how to begin to tell an awesome day but when you’re sad you know what to exactly write or say, every word is a vomit, it’s what you really wanted to tell without thinking about it first. At least that’s how I see it. 

Maybe what I’m trying to say here is that it’s more interesting to write about painful stuff, it has different emotions which you can play around. And people mostly relate to these kind of stuff, some people embrace their negative emotions that reading sad writings or watching sad movie for the nth time comforts them (weird way of coping up) I guess sadness over sadness cancels out the sadness and makes them positive after. 

So here’s a life update from my life lately.

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Creating Memories & Life Lessons on the Playground

I was born into a middle class family, where my parents tried their best to bring us up. We were aware that means were limited and we have to try to utilise it to the optimum. This awareness never made us demand much. But stay content with whatever we had.

Coming back to today’s times, it seems that everywhere we look, we find ourselves bombarded with advertisements telling us we all need more stuff. I believed the advertisers for years. But now that I’m older? I realize that when I think back on my childhood, it’s the memories I made with my family that I cherised — not the gifts I received. I hope to give my daughter the gift of memories over the gift of toys she’ll forget by next year.

One thing we miss a lot after the pandemic in the visit to playground especially overcrowded in those kids play area during weekends. The kids were unknown to each other but they enjoyed running around those equipment’s, climbing and hanging and the rush sliding down. These don’t make that much fun, when you visit on other days when there are no kids around and your kid alone in those slides, swings and bars.

Is it safe to take my child to the playground during covid? Playground play is beneficial for kids’ physical and mental health, but parents wonder about the risks of letting their children use playgrounds during a pandemic. By following basic health and safety guidelines, playground play can be safe.

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Stop Whining, Start Winning.

Taking ownership of your problems was one of the things I learnt from my final year at university, and it has also helped me with my mental health recently. My strength comes from expanding my horizons academically and professionally. Accountability is something that I find to be paramount in any adults life, or at least I feel that it should be. We all have and will continue to face problems, that’s part of life. But it’s how we deal with these problems that is important, and can determine whether we meet our goals and targets we set ourselves. Taking accountability for your problems or actions truly helps you grow as a person. It helps your self confidence and overall personal growth.

I want to therefore use this blog post to discuss why it’s important to take responsibility for our problems and talk about things that have helped me. Sometimes we get caught up in our day to day lives and not take the time to reflect on what we’re living. This encouraged me to analyze within me and execute on what’s needed to be done in order to be where I want to be. I want to note that I am no expert in this topic, and that everyone’s situation is different. Furthermore, different people define the term problem in different ways. Therefore, what I say may not fully relate to your situation, and I understand that.

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Making time to do the things we enjoy when we have a busy schedule

We know from experience how hectic and busy schedules can not only put a strain on your physical and emotional state, but it can also stress your marriage and your partner. Doing things that we enjoy is a key source of happiness. It can include hobbies, self-care activities or treating yourself, as well as other things.

Unfortunately, the fact that it is easy to get consumed in the busyness of life, and our daily responsibilities mean that it can be difficult to spend time doing the things we love. We have recently been able to spend a good amount of time doing the things we enjoy even though we have a full-time job, but I appreciate that it is not always easy to. Therefore, I want to use this blog post to talk about 8 things you can do to make time for the things you enjoy when you have a busy schedule. These are by no means suggestions guaranteed to work for you, as I know everyone has different situations, but I hope they can help nonetheless.

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10 Things I have learnt from difficult situations

Hello lovelies!

I have faced difficult situations in the past, but I have learnt something from all of these situations, and I want to share this in this post. I am aware that everyone’s situation is different, but I hope you can relate to some of the things I talk about.

Bad things happen regardless of situations, I think it’s what we learn from those situations that truly changes who we are as people. Some of the hardest things I’ve ever been through have been the making of who I am, and I wouldn’t ever want to change it. As people we are constantly evolving and changing, that’s why when people say to me “You’ve changed” I see it as a compliment. I don’t want to stay the same, I want to keep learning from my mistakes and grow from them.

I of course need to mention here that I don’t know your situations individually, and these are just my thoughts and lessons I have learnt myself from my own situations. If these don’t apply to you then I understand, we are all different and have been through different things.

So let’s get into it!

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Everyone is fighting a battle that you don’t know about

The quote/phrase “Everyone is fighting a battle that you do not know about” is probably one of the most popular ones that I have come across recently, and is a quote that is relevant to all of us. Recently I have been thinking a lot about this quote and I want to use this blog post to discuss my thoughts. I will talk about why I think it is vital to understand the fact that everyone is fighting a battle that we don’t know about, as well as mention other things that I believe is important to know.

I think I’m learning to be more patient and kinder to ourselves as well as others. It’s a big world and there are many walks of life and everyone’s life and path is uniquely designed for them. Battles are unique for everybody. Social media is just a highlight reel of ones best moments – but it gives us the facade that no one else ever has problems going on in their lives, and thats just simply not true.

I want to start off by really breaking down the quote, to understand what it really means. The words “fighting a battle” refer to the fact that challenges are being faced, some are every day, whereas others are every now and then. These challenges can vary massively, some can be as big as meeting a tight deadline for a project that determines whether you get a promotion at work, whereas others can be things such as coping with a packed train in rush hours. The words “that you do not know about” are important, as it indicates that a lot of these battles are not visible to others, even if you see them every day.

However, the most important word in my opinion in the quote is “Everyone”. The word implies that no matter who you are, even if you are the CEO of a big company or a millionaire, you are still not immune to fighting everyday battles and having bad days. This also highlights the fact that mental health is something that affects everyone, which is absolutely crucial to remember going forward.

One reason why it’s important to realise that everyone is fighting a battle that we don’t know about is because it helps us become less judgemental and more understanding and empathetic of other people’s problems. This is because we then appreciate that what you may see on the outside may not be representative of what someone is going through on the inside. Sometimes we are too quick to assume that someone has it all figured out just because they seem fine when we see them or even if we see their pictures on social media. The problem with this though is that this can lead to their problems or challenges being taken less seriously, as we have already made the assumption that their life is great.

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Asking for feedback from my clients

Have you ever typed an email, erased it, and typed it again as you fight with yourself internally about whether or not to send it because you fear the response? That’s where I was yesterday.

I’m in the process of reading The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey. In one section, Covey talks about how constantly learning helps build trust with others because it shows that you’re willing to grow and change. And one way to figure out what type of changes you’d benefit from most is to seek feedback from those around you.

Feedback Equals Growth
This got me thinking about my writing business and whether I’m doing what I can to create happy, loyal clients. I’ve been working with most of them for years, so I know I must be doing something right, yet I’ve still had this nagging voice at the back of my head telling me that I’m not doing enough. That I’m somehow subpar to many of the other writers out there.

So, yesterday, I sat down to write each of my clients an email asking three key questions:

What do you enjoy about my writing services?
In what areas do you feel I could improve?
Are there any services that I could add that would make it more beneficial or easier to work with me?

I had the first email all typed out then erased it completely in a state of panic. What if my clients responded in a way that proved my fears to be true? What if I am, in fact, a subpar writer? Worse yet, what if they pointed out areas where I lacked that I didn’t even realize? Could I mentally handle that type of news?

After taking a few deep breaths and calming myself down, I reminded myself that if I valued my clients as much as I said, their feedback was important to me. And if I was somehow letting them down, the sooner I rectified the situation, the more likely it was that I would keep them as clients long-term. So, I typed the email up again and hit send. I followed this process for all 3 of my regular writing clients. Then came the really hard part. Sitting and waiting for my responses.

Bracing for the Worst
The first response came about an hour later. I’m pretty sure I held my breath when opening the email. As I waited for the page to load, I kept telling myself that it was going to be okay. I would survive the response and, in knowing where I was falling short, I could make the necessary changes to keep my clients happy for years to come.

When reading the answer to my first question about what they enjoy about my writing services, I was pleased to learn that they find me to be a “thorough writer that does not require a lot of editing.” This was a pleasant surprise because this was the one client that I felt edited my content most. So, I was expecting the complete opposite response.

Then I moved on to the next answer, the one about where they feel I could improve. That was the question I was really interested in learning the response. Their feedback? “Cannot think of any.” What? Seriously? They didn’t find me lacking as a writer?

To this, I did what most people would do. I didn’t believe them.

I do realize that I don’t totally suck, that I am capable of turning words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs, but everyone has room for improvement. So, I didn’t really take their response as proof of being a good writer. Instead, I shrugged it off and anxiously awaited my next response, hoping it would tell me where I actually lacked.

Why Do We Always Look for the Negative When It Comes to Ourselves?
Isn’t this what we often do as humans, shrug off positive feedback while looking for the negative? It’s like we want to prove the ways in which we are “less than,” even if it means totally disregarding everything that we do right.

I think it’s time we quit doing that to ourselves. Yes, there is still great value in finding out where we can learn and grow, but there is even greater value in understanding our personal (and professional) worth. Not that we need to seek constant reinforcement, but reaching out to others from time to time and asking their feedback helps open our eyes to the things we are doing that provide value to others.

I get that this is an incredibly scary prospect because you may sometimes get responses you didn’t expect. For instance, I learned from one client that they wanted more humorous content. This is out of my comfort zone. But it’s good to know that this client is looking for something a little lighter.

Another said that, while they were happy with my services, it would be great to become more familiar with their brands/products.

My point is that sometimes hard-to-ask questions provide unexpected, yet pleasant, responses. Are there any questions you could ask the people in your life that would provide more insight as to how you may be able to grow?

It isn’t easy to sit and wait for the response, but if these are relationships you truly care about, it’s incredibly helpful to know how you can provide more value. Plus, when others see that you’re willing to take additional action to strengthen your personal or professional relationship, it really goes a long way.

That said, you also have to be willing to act on their responses. You can’t just throw out the question and then say, “Okay. Thanks for your input. I’ll file that away.” You actually have to take what they say and use it to grow (as long as it is a reasonable response, of course).

This was a good exercise for me in that 1) it helped me identify how I can provide even more value to my clients and 2) it increased my self-confidence because my clients are overall happy with my work. I hope it provides this type of value to you as well!