Solo Living – what I loved so far & others not so much

Well, it looks like my plants and I have successfully survived almost 3 whole months of living solo. While many find themselves moving out during university or even to a job in another city shortly thereafter, for those who leave our childhood home later on in life I think the change can still be quite profound (and perhaps even more thoughtful). Let’s take a moment to ponder and chuckle at the 3 things I loved about going solo and 3 things that I’m still learning to love.

coffee shop lifestyle

+ CALM SOLITUDE: I wasn’t quite so acutely aware of how much noise was around me until I had the chance to live in solitude with nothing but the ambiance of atmospheric sounds and my own thoughts. This switch alone had a notable impact on my mental health. As an introvert with an extroverted career choice, I craved those hours of cocooning in order to recharge because my day job can be draining. I used to take trips out after work just so I can be undisturbed and have moments to myself but now that I’m on my own, being able to truly make my home my nesting place has been a much welcomed luxury.

— MEAL PLANNING: Here’s one I’m still learning to do and had really taken for granted when my Mother made most of the kitchen decisions. I document my food journey over on my other blog CarrotsNChopsticks but in short, let’s just say that I have lost many fresh produce to the lack of good planning. When cooking for one and shopping mostly once a week, being strategic about my meals not only benefited my budget but also made sure I wasn’t freaking out last minute and resorting to ready made foods. With breakfast, lunch and dinner on daily rotation, this is one I certainly haven’t mastered yet.

coffee shop lifestyle

+ SURROUNDING MYSELF WITH JOY: While I grew up most of my life having my own room, I didn’t have much say in the the colour of my walls, my furniture or larger objects. My parents never indulged in decorations for aesthetic purposes and as a whole, I wasn’t able to make many style choices except the colour of my bedding. The freedom to build my space and fill it with objects and choices that brought me joy gave me a way to expressive my identity that felt fulfilling and joyful. Until I get around to doing an apartment tour, you can see what DIY house projects I’ve been up to in my house vlogs.

— COMPOSTING: Apartment life comes with certain conveniences and other well… new living habits to adopt. While composting it is the norm in a lot of big cities, doing so by going to the back yard of your house versus lugging it down to the basement of an apartment complex are two different things. Eating solo means I don’t necessarily make a ton of compost but the nature of what it is means I still have to take it out frequently.

+ NEW ROUTINES: New environments, new neighbourhoods and a new living style means I get to create new day to day rituals and routines. Things I previously had to do in order to accommodate others in my household now has become much more flexible. As a tinge selfish as it sounds, it’s been incredibly wonderful to only have to plan for myself and having control over the daily details brings down my anxiety dramatically.

coffee shop lifestyle

— MONEY MONEY MONEY: So paying your own rent in full really bites. Yes it’s an eminent realty of growing up and flying solo but the rental market in the Vancouver lower mainland is staggering. And it’s not just the roof over my head. Suddenly, factoring in everything from a grocery budget to my internet bill means I’m so much more away of where every penny goes. This increased money awareness is by all means a positive thing but certainly one that still takes some practice.

+ SENSE OF SELF: Now with all complaints aside, the most important and fundamental reason for my firm decision to detach from my childhood home is to have the opportunity to be my own individual in a physical, emotional and psychological way. It’s one of the best decisions I have made in life and while my bank account is poorer than it could have been, I am so much richer by investing in myself.

Chat soon,

…and we’re back!

Vision Board 2017
VISION BOARD 2017-2018

As I’m sitting on the living room sofa typing this post up on my iPad, I’ve just finish dinner and jazz music is playing in the background on a Friday night. Not a sound interrupts the stillness except for the soft lure of the saxophone and the dull ambiance of traffic passing by…and I love it.
The last few weeks has been filled with sleepless rental hunting, packing up an embarrassing amount of bobbles from my bedroom, spending too much money at Homesense and getting excited over finding the perfect food storage container. Moving out on my own has been on my goal list for years now and now suddenly everything is coming together. A new space not only mean organization and decor videos (which you can find these vlogs my Youtube channel) but also a chance for me to explore many growing personal interests and expanding the breadth of my blog.

It’s going to be an exciting new adventure!

Chat soon,


Filofax Clipbook: My new (again) planner


While I’d hardly define myself as a #planneraddict even in the loose sense of the word, I am somehow always shuffling through a couple of different planners over the course of the year. Having bounced around between more traditional bound dated options, to bullet journals and various layouts, my current daily writer is a self compiled Filofax Clipbook, adapted with personal printables. 
If you had watched my inexpensive DayDesigner x Walmart planner video from earlier this year, I talked about how I had been pleased with finding a perfect pre-dated weekly design but over the weeks the real kicker had always been the paper quality which not only limited my pen options but also seemed to affect how often I used it. 
Filofax had always been a familiar name but not a brand that I had paid a lot of attention to until I recently bought one of their removable page notebooks for work. My goal had always been to find the most functional, compact with practical design features and their new A5 sized Clipbook, with the self adjusting soft cover is a strong contender. Self-adjusting simply meant that the cover is attached so it can lay flatter when you don’t have it filled up. And although neon pink isn’t my preferred colour choice, it was on a great discount on Amazon which means I could try out the size and system without feeling too guilty.
The current contents of my Filofax planner is still in the works, especially as I’m still waiting for a few other inserts to arrive in the mail but so far I’m loving the size, flexibility plus the fact that I can print my own weekly pages on some incredible paper. The week on a single side seemed daunting to at first but I quickly found that I hardly needed more than this for my appointments an I can always add an in between page if there’s anything important to write. This means that instead of 52 pages for an entire calendar year, I’ve just shrunken it down to 25 pages! Here’s what I have in here so far.

Using my We R Memory Keepers special adjustable punch, I can also add in any pages that I’m loving at the moment or simply just bits and bobs that I want easy access too. So far, I’m loving the change so we’ll see how long this holds up.
Chat soon,

My 1st Bullet Journal + Video


Starting a bullet journal took me completely by surprise. Although I’ve watched quite a few videos here and there, the practicality of having to set up and create my own notebook seem like a black hole for closeted perfectionists like myself. Yet having recently become disatisfied with my 3rd planner this year, I decided maybe yellow is the way to go.


While I’m far from figuring out a personalized format for my daily usage, I like the idea of putting to use all my beautiful stationary (that’s been collecting dust on my shelf) and the excuse to gather more washi tape and magazine cut outs. In a strange way, I’m also hoping this experience will force me to let go of some perfectionism and even be a little spontaneous as there’s bound to be little quirks and mistakes when creating anything handmade. I’d love to hear your practical advice about bullet journaling, especially formats and styles that’s worked well for you so type away in the comments!

Take a spa moment…because you need it

The other day I had a bath. A bath? Really? That’s all you came to write about today? Well, there’s a little more to this because you see, baths have always been a luxury growing up. When I was a child growing up in China, bathtubs in homes were a rarity and having a bath was usually reserved for very small children sitting in big bright plastic wash bins. Not only is there a cultural distance but even as I’ve been living in Canada for more than a decade, baths still seemed like such a guilty pleasure because of all the water hogging and that mere fact that well… you’d just have to sit in there the whole time.

But between starting a new job, feeling incredibly nervous and shoveling a ridiculous amounts of snow that shouldn’t be here in Vancouver at all, I felt so worn out on a Saturday afternoon that I finally ran myself a bath. Reaching deep into the back of the beauty cabinet, I threw a few scoops of The Body Shop’s Egyptian Milk and Honey Bath* powder in the steaming water and sank my sore and weary self into the pale blue bath water. Down…way down up to my shoulders. The sweet, soft fragrance of honey with a tinge of flowers was relaxing without being overpowering and filled the room with its lingering aura. Drying off, I followed up with the Japanese Camellia Cream* which has a bouncy souffle texture and contains oils of the white flower prized for its skin caring properties rich in oleic acid. Although light in texture, it only takes a little to spread over the skin and I even took the extra care to cover behind my legs and an extra dollop on my elbows. Forty minutes later, wrapped up in my fluffiest winter robe, I decided this bath was the best decision I made all month because sometimes, you just need a spa moment.

Take care,

Treat yourself a little…everyday

Shoes: H&M | Perfume: Philosophy Amazing Grace* | Bracelet: Kate Spade Bangle
I used to be the type of person who wore, did,  used things out of efficiency and convenience but while I may have been productive, my days had little sparkle or joy. I could go on and root this to my mother who always insisted on function over form and rolled her eyes at my fussy things but truth is, if you aren’t feeling it in your day to day life then maybe you haven’t been treating yourself right. 
On the surface this sounds like awfully enabling talk to get you to buy more things you don’t need but my point is not simply to have a larger collection but rather everyday pieces that puts a little spring in your step. Need a new pair of flats? Buy the pair with the sparkle. Eating dinner out of the same boring utilitarian bowl? Trade it for a bright and cheery piece of ceramic. Gotta wear a business outfit for work? Put on some polka dotted undergarments to start your morning. I think as a backlash towards our growing consumerism culture, people frown upon the idea of owning good things but I think the key is to be more critical of how your possessions are serving your life. For the past year, I’ve made a point to incorporate one happy thing into my life each day; something that gives me a giggle or a smile when I look at it and brightens the moment…. plus its more reason to shop for that perfect joy inducing thing, no?
Stay positive,

Whatcha Reading | June 2016

    • 100 PERFECT HAIR DAYS | Jenny Strebe
    • BRUNCH @ BOBBY’S | Bobby Flay
    • YOUR BEAUTY MARK | Dita Von Teese
    • MY TINY GARDEN | Lucy Anna Scott & Lucy Conochie

      You can always tell the type of mood I’m in by the books I’ve got in my book bag. Lately I’ve been taking a break from makeup and have taken a liking to gardening… well, more like bringing spots of green indoors. I’m always fascinated by the thoughtful and creative ways that people make use of small spaces and the way that everything fits together so seamlessly and My Tiny Garden has been a great treat of a read to sneak up on others ideas. But of course a good trip to the library isn’t complete without a stop by the food shelves; being so busy with school the last while, food is one of my little luxuries and I always try to take the time to pack myself a good meal. Speaking of which, in case you’ve been missing my Foodie Tuesday series – I’ve got something else in the works!

      Good night,

      Dressing for happiness

      Closet declutter

      Do you dress out of convenience or happiness? I think we would be much better people if we practiced the latter but sometimes life gets in the way and we regress to plain clothes that doesn’t get dirty and aren’t too precious. Realistically I’ve yet to spend a lot of money on a piece because I worry I’m going to spoil it but many of my clothes don’t bring me joy – they are simply for covering. And that is a poor reason to pick something out of your closet.

      With the air heating up to 30 plus degrees this past weekend, I’ve finally succumbed to scavenging my closet for summer ready clothes and beginning to pack up my winter items. The big surprise? I don’t actually have any likable pieces to wear for the summer. In the past few months I’ve done a great job at updating my knitwear collection and even the odd fantastic shoe but the heat is bringing in a whole series of new problems. On one hand I would hate for something to go to waste if I haven’t worn it much but on the other it’s probably the piece that I always flip past because it doesn’t spark happiness. Between dressing for real life and dressing for myself, where does one find the balance?


      New minimalist 2016 planner – The Setup

      Fresh new paper makes me so happy and it’s even better when bound up in a nice new planner. With so many things going on all at once, having place to sort out my day keeps me grounded. While I usually wait until December to purchase such things I was in desperate need of something to divide my personal, school and blog life but my previous option just didn’t have the right layout. Well all I have to say is…. thank goodness for online shopping.

      • PLANNER | Indigo | Similar | Similar slightly smaller 
        • Note: This exact version you see here was the 2014-2015 edition of this planner and most sellers have now updated to the new 2016-2017 version which has a different layout for the weeks.
      • ERASABLE PENS | Pilot Frixion Series
      • WASHI TAPE | Daiso
      • LEATHER TABS | Buy it
      • DECO DOTS | Buy it
      • STICKER POCKET | Buy it 
      • MAGNETIC BOOKMARK | Similar / Different Design

      The planner craze is hot right now and you may have seen some of the more popular options like the Moleskin, Kikki K and the Erin Condrin. I went for a Korean brand because I love the smart yet simple aesthetic and it’s understated luxury all for less money than most of the western options. Essentially here’s what won me over with this Indigo Story planner.
      • It’s the perfect notebook size: while the ring binders are easily customization I didn’t like that it made things quite bulky. Most other bound options were only for pocket sized which is much too small to write comfortably.
      • It’s organized vertically: this seems rather trivial but my last planner had a strange left – right layout that didn’t feel natural and I always wrote my dates in the wrong place.
      • Each day has 3 sections: and that’s really important because I need one for my daily school schedule, one for life things and one for blog planning. I also have them separated by colour but the divided section makes looking things up a breeze!
      • The paper is beautiful: I mean really, if I am going to be using a planner every single day then I want smooth gorgeous paper to write on. I’d say this is a medium weight paper (heavy ink pens will bleed/cause shadowing a little on the other side) but its fitting for a planner as not to make it too heavy.
      • It has nothing more: which could just be a sign of me growing old(er) but the fact that it has just everything but nothing else makes me incredibly pleased. I pack enough in my purse as it is and this minimalist design is both stylish yet space saving.
      Little accessories are also really helpful in personalizing a planner and to add extra functionality. The monthly tabs are something I had from last year that I really enjoyed. If you’re a planner enthusiast, let me know your favourites!

      Stay organized,

      My Bucket List: Dreams, goals, aspirations (video)

      When we we young, we had a million different things we wanted to do and no problem in believing they were attainable. As we get older, I think it’s even more important to keep on adding to that dream list because it makes life interesting and keeps you motivated for the future. While I can’t map out every detail of what’s to come, knowing that I’m working towards some definite goal puts me at ease that some part of it is definite. Consider starting a list of your own and fill it with the big things and some little ones as well; I’d love to hear what you’ve got!
      Stay Beautiful.