Sunday, January 03, 2021

All I want in life now really

Well, it's the third day of the new year. I dunno about you but everyone seems to be treading softly. It's not celebration I can feel in the air, but an overall feeling of exhausted relief. "We made it. We're still here. We hope to stay this way throughout 2021." Seems like everyone's goal for the year is to stay alive. On any regular year, most of us will think that's the bare minimum. But with a contagious disease spreading insidiously all over the world, that's the biggest goal.   

That's mine, too, for me and my family. And then I have a second one. It's not a goal really. More of a wish. It's a wish because I don't know how I can make it come true given the pandemic and the loss of projects. What's my wish? I want to have our whole condo unit renovated.

My husband and I have been talking about it once in a while over the years. Our eldest son will be a teenager in a few years. Well, all three of our boys will be teens soon so we need to give them more space and privacy. Our home is almost 14 years old so things need to be updated - the air conditioners, the TV, the kitchen, the floors. I want more lights. My eyesight has gotten worse with age and I need more light, especially when I cook. My husband wants to freshen up the walls with paint and wallpaper. He also wants a bigger TV for the gaming devices he just bought and will buy. I want a big Persian rug in the living room, new curtains, new beds, new sheets, new closets. 

I want shelves in the living room so I can move all the books from the boys' room outside. Loyal Readers will know that the boys' room used to be our home office so all our books are on one whole wall. I want to move those out. When I was a kid, my parents used to drag us around to visit the homes of their hundreds of friends. I remember that the one thing that impressed me among all those houses was a wall of books in the living room. So I want one in my own home.

But talks of renovating remained just that - talks. When we were quarantined last year, however, I became more acutely aware of our home and everything that needs to be fixed and upgraded. I'm also aware that even if I had the means to have our home fixed, the pandemic makes that complicated. Our condo admin is leery of letting non-residents in the complex so good luck getting any renovating done. 

So let's strip down my wish, shall we. My home is actually quite wonderful. Sure, it needs a little freshening up but our home is so nice that my family - even the kids! - didn't feel the desire to go out at all for the last 10 months. I've mentioned this before. Because my husband is an introvert and I hate traveling, we've built our home to be complete in entertainment, comfortable and cozy. Video games? Books? Movies? Board games? Toys? They're all here. We've been cooped up for almost a year and we haven't gotten bored yet.

So what's my itch to renovate all about? Well, it's the thought that the vaccines won't reach our shores for months. So that means at least half a year or even a year inside our home again. I don't know if we can distract them for yet another year.

All I want in life now really is for my kids to be safe and happy. Safe from the virus. Happy with just us. So all I want to do is make our home not just a refuge and respite but also an even more fascinating place for them, a wonderland to make them forget the world outside, if only for one year more.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

30-Day Blog Challenge accepted! What to expect this January 2021 on Topaz Horizon

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm starting 2021 with a challenge -  a blogging challenge! Many of my blogger friends did the 30-Day Blogging Challenge years ago. I never did it because I can't even bring myself to blog regularly, not even twice a week sometimes, so how can I even do 30 consecutive days? Well, that's why it's called a challenge!

I'm treating the next 30 days as my one and only time I'll share everything I think about every single day. This is why I don't want to do the blog challenge before. To create daily blog posts means I'll have to share more than I'm willing haha But that's also the beauty of blogging, right? I'm aware that in the past few years, I've held back. Many reasons. I'm changing, my life was changing, and I really didn't want to talk about things while I was processing them. 

But since I've finally settled down and I'm calmer and wiser now, I decided I can blog every day and share more of myself! I'm so excited! I've actually already made a head start. The next 30 days have already been planned. To make it easier, I followed a general topic list:

Mondays - Marriage and motherhood

Tuesdays - Press releases, shopping finds, product reviews

Wednesdays - Beauty finds and reviews

Thursdays - My work (including sponsored posts) and working mom issues

Fridays - Celebrities and entertainment

Saturdays - Anything goes!

Sundays - Thoughts and faith

Although I guess I'll publish whatever post is ready. Take a peek!

Tentative lineup schedule

What I also hope to achieve with this daily challenge is to figure out which topics my Loyal Readers are most interested in. And which days your schedule is free enough to read my blog. So if you have any suggestions or which topics you'd rather see more or less, please leave comments throughout this month!

As you can see, almost every day is already plotted out. I haven't finished these posts yet, however, so that's the challenge. Some of them are already outlined. Some of them are written but have no photos yet. Some have photos but aren't written yet. So let's see if I can get them done. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: I didn't make it LOL It's hard! I don't have the discipline. I'll try again... in 2022!

Friday, January 01, 2021

My first vision board ever and it's for 2021

Happy 2021! First day of the new year. I super love the hope new beginnings bring. So last night, as we were all waiting for midnight to ring in the new year, I went through magazines to make something I've never done before: a vision board.

Many of the powerful and successful women I know say they create a vision board for their life, their business, their family, their year. So it sounds like a great idea to start any project, any aspect of your life, or every year. And yet I've never made one till today. I dunno why. But I do know why I'm making one for the first time now. I never needed it before because I was always fairly successful in most everything I've done. But that's the thing: fairly successful. Not spectacularly successful. Maybe a vision board will help! 

So here's my vision board:

It's all words, I know. I'm inspired by words. I love pictures but they don't really stir much in me. That's why when I was a kid, I never really believed in "a picture is worth a thousand words." When I was going through magazines, these were the words that called out to me. To me, they mean a lot more than what they read. So let me explain:

Be a better business owner.
I'm an entrepreneur with a thriving writing, editing, PR consulting, and blogging business. Yet I know I can do better. Here's how: Be kinder to myself and not say yes to everything in the contract. Stick to my rates. Meet deadlines. Make better content for clients. Send invoices ASAP. Don't be shy to follow up my checks. Update my accounting books every month instead of every end of the year. See? Lots of areas for improvement!

It is time to bloom where you are planted.
The key phrase here is "it is time." That's the whole reason I cut out that sentence. I almost always bloom where I'm planted because I planted myself there to begin with. But in 2020, plans were derailed. I was planted at home. I was okay with staying put but frustrated with being a housewife. I'm not a good housewife. But maybe this 2021, it's time for me to bloom into a good one!

Be yourself. Work hard.
I'm an advocate for being yourself. I'm so self-aware, however, that I realized I'm turning down opportunities more often than I should because I know I can't do it - either because I lack the talent and skills or because it will take me away from my kids (and I tell myself that this is a noble excuse). I mean, there's saying no because it's truly not worth it but then there's saying no because you're scared or you're lazy. So the important part is "work hard." Enough of navel-gazing and let's start doing! This year, I should say yes more to projects people believe I can do. I mean, if they can see me doing it, then I must be capable, right? No more self-doubt!

Last year, I spent more time consuming than creating. Binged on Netflix shows and movies. Watched makeup-and-murder videos, tiny home tours, and royal docus on YouTube. Read books. Read tons of articles. Listened to Taylor Swift's folklore album too many times. All good, of course. I keep thinking of Stephen King when he said that his consumption of other art is part of his work. It feeds him. So he spends 4 hours every day reading... and then he spends the rest of the day writing. Consume - create. That should be my pattern. 

(I did create something wonderful in 2020! I'll tell you all about it soon!)

Bring goodness to the world through everyday living.
That's the key phrase: "everyday living." We all have big goals of changing the world in an impactful way then make small evil decisions to get there. You know, for the greater good. It should be my goal to make the world a better place with my daily choices. That means small but good decisions all the time. 

Hold the babies. Run the errands. Do all the things.
Okay, dangerous territory. I can't possibly do ALL the things. But it called out to me. It told me, "Be a good mom. Do the good work. You can do it all and have it all and it's not going to be easy but try it anyway!" Ya. Like I said a few paragraphs ago, sometimes I don't try because I know it's too hard, and as Yoda said, "Do or do not. There is no try." So I don't. Now I think that that's prevented me from doing a lot of things I could've been good at, or maybe I could've failed at. That's not the point. The point is to try. This 2021, I will try to do all the things.

Change the world.
Big goal but that world doesn't have to literally be the planet (although if we all take two tiny jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine, for example, that can truly change the world!). The world can be my kids' world. Or my husband's world. Or my friend's world. As we talked about earlier, small decisions, small kindnesses, small favors can actually change someone's life in a big way. Never ever underestimate the small things we do for others!

Just enjoy.
Lots of goals and, to be honest, I don't know if I can do them all or consistently. So this is a reminder to pause sometimes and appreciate my amazing life. It's already good where I am now and, yes, lots of improvement needed in many areas, but that shouldn't make me unhappy and full of discontent. Just enjoy the ride while we move towards new destinations!

And that's my 2021 vision board!!!

I used the Dream Board spread of the 2021 Belle de Jour Power Planner for my vision board. If you want to do the same, I'm giving away one BDJ Power Planner 2021! Join join join! I pick a winner on Sunday!