A Pocket Thermal Printer – short Review for poooliprint!

Hello again everyone! Today I am back with a review, but since I’ve done a ton of book reviews in the past, I thought this time it’d be great to do a short review of a product! ๐Ÿ™‚ Recently I was sent a pocket thermal printer from Poooliprint, and it is essentially a portable printer that connects to an app on your phone so you can print any image you want! The printer shoots out inkless (black and white) prints, and you can use them as decor for your journals, planners, notebooks, phone covers, walls.. anything you can think of! Here is a little unboxing and preview of the pocket printer ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s definitely a very simple and functional printer that adds a little more life to your pages! It’s small enough that you can carry it around with you, it does not take up too much space when you leave it on your desk, plus it looks adorable! The printer comes in different colors too (I got mind in yellow, but they also come in pink, green, and blue)! Here is the link to Poooliprint’s Instagram page, where you can also find a ton of planner/bujo ideas that can inspire you to spice up your pages using the pocket thermal printer! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is a short video on how I use the printer and the printed images for my planner!

Overall I am very pleased with the printer! It’s everything I expected it to be, and I am just obsessed with the cute design of the printer! It makes me super happy whenever I look at it on my desk, and it cannot be any simpler to use! It’s a great journalling companion, and I am excited to use it in other ways ๐Ÿ™‚ I think this printer is a great gift idea to journal/planner enthusiasts as well, or anyone who likes decorating in general!

If you were looking to purchase this pocket thermal printer, feel free to use my code CUPS15 at checkout, or click on this link so the code can be automatically applied! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much to Poooliprint for sending over the printer and for sponsoring this post! ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time!

Cath xx

Advertisement

Anxiety, Stress, Privacy… Let’s Chat!

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all been well ๐Ÿ™‚

Today’s post is going to be a little different to what I usually write on here, but I’ve made it a goal to be more vulnerable and honest on this platform so thats what I’m going to be today!

I’m at one of those points in life where I start questioning a bunch of things – my career, my future, my habits, mindset, and lifestyle. Honestly, whatever you can think of, it’s probably been at the back of my mind. But today, I’ll be touching on what’s been contributing to my anxiety and mental health lately, and I choose to talk about them on here because I think these feelings are mutual to a lot of you as well.

I’ve had lots of people reach out to me to talk about their mental struggles and asking for help to overcome them (and please, if you ever need a friend to do so, I’m always here, and my DMs/emails are always opened to all of you), so this brief moment of vulnerability is my way of implying that you are not alone, and that we can all get through this together! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also hope to relate better to all of you once I reveal some personal things about myself on here โค Thank you all so much for giving me the comfort and reassurance to be (more) myself here on social media ๐Ÿ™‚ โค It means the whole world to me!


Let’s start with anxiety.

I can admit that I’m a very anxious person in general. Pretty much anything that spurs up anticipation gives me the jitters! It could be adapting to a new environment, making new changes, working, ordering at the counter, getting on the bus, arriving late, and so many other little things. I don’t talk about it often only because it has a lot to do with my personal life, but behind all the “aesthetic” pictures on my feed, I am an anxious person with overtly anxious thoughts. A lot of these thoughts stem from the uncertainty of everything in my day to day life. I also worry a ton, and there’s just so much going on in my mind that the overwhelming feeling has the power to glue me to one spot and prevent me from doing the things that could actually help eliminate these worries. The best way I can soothe my thoughts is mostly through journalling, or having an intimate heart-to-heart with a friend or family member. 

The most prevalent anxiety-inducing thought to me at the moment has a lot to do with uni and my career. To give you guys some context, I have just finished my bachelors degree in science (engineering science) and am pursuing a postgraduate degree in professional engineering (specialising in environmental engineering). I am due to graduate at the end of 2022 but am thinking of extending my degree, and what this means is that instead of taking a full load of units in one semester (which is equivalent to 4 units), I would do, say, 1-3 units instead. Most people do this so they can allocate more of their time for a part-time job, internship, extracurriculars, or just take a breather in general. The main reason I’ve been thinking about extending my degree is so I can have more time for myself.

Here’s a bit more context on studying engineering in my university: The ‘traditional’ engineering career pathway is that you finish your masters and go straight into – if not an entry-level position) – a graduate program for 1.5 – 3 years before you get offered a full time job (granted you perform well enough in your graduate program). While it all sounds very prestigious and rewarding (because in a way your full load of study is being paid off by working straight after you graduate), it really does take a toll on your mental health (I mean, even the mere thought of it sounds daunting!). So after much debate and consultation with a few people, I am considering extending my degree. I know some of you guys are probably thinking; well, that should be an easy decision to make. I mean, taking a gap semester or gap year is super common. But ‘stalling’ to graduate and get a full time job to earn a full time income is still very much stigmatised (at least in my culture it is), so while it might seem like a no brainer to extend my degree, it’s still a very difficult decision to make personally.

Anyways, that’s the mini debate I’m currently having with myself. I am obviously very privileged to be able to even have these options to start with, but an obstacle is still an obstacle, and you have the right to feel stressed out when you come across one!

I’ll keep it at that for now, but if you guys are interested in reading more about my studies/career in general, let me know and I’ll make an update on this ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you guys have any questions at all, feel free to let me know so I can explain a little further in a separate blog post!


Now let’s talk stress. To keep things short, I consider myself independent in my day to day life. I live away from my family and am currently supporting myself, which is fair to say that uni and grades aren’t the only things that I need to worry about. I have bills to pay, work to fulfil, loved ones to spend time with, and myself to take care of. While I am blessed and grateful to have this platform and do what I love doing as means of supporting myself, I do not think that my ultimate end goal is to blog and create content for a living (at least, not for now it isn’t)! I’d dip my toes into engineering as a full time career first before anything else ๐Ÿ™‚ And as a student, I want to get as many work experiences as I can get to build my career. This can be quite difficult to achieve if I don’t prioritise my work well enough, which is why not having enough time for everything is the root of my accumulating stress.

In between uni and blogging/freelancing, I am also keen on taking up some extra part-time work in order to gain some new skills. On top of that, I’d like to also be more consistent in creating art and update my online shop once a month. All that being said, I’ve got a lot on my plate, which means some sacrifices would have to be made.. so again, things may change in the future for me, but for now, I’d just like to be frank and say that all that gold is not glitter, so whatever you see on social media – no matter how beautiful and glamorous an IG story/post/reel looks – you do not know the reality of the content creator’s life, so be mindful of your words and actions, and always keep an open mind (+ be kind to one another! โค ).


Now let’s talk privacy. This is probably the most obvious ‘issue’ on my platform, and funnily enough, I’ve never actually properly talked about it on here before!

By now, you would all know that I run my accounts with a faceless identity. This is due to several reasons:

  1. I am a relatively private person in general
  2. I want to remain as professional as possible. I do not want people and potential employers to judge me based on what I look like. Rather, I’d prefer to be judged based on the blog posts I’ve written and the people I’ve helped in the community, which brings me to my third reason:
  3. Not revealing my face would prove just how effective my content really is, and how much they really mean to people, because then you know that the people who are following me are engaging with me because of the content I create and NOT because of what I look like.

In short, I’d just like my content to stay as authentic as possible for myself and for everyone else who appreciates it. I do not want negative people in my life to tarnish this community that I’ve grown to love and cherish so much (I’m not saying that it’s bound to happen, but it is a possibility). So for now, I’d like to keep this community and my real life separated so I will always have a place to escape to when real life is just too much to handle. Plus, I do believe that I still have the power to help and inspire people even if I don’t reveal what I look like. I love talking to you guys about uni, careers, mental health, and life in general, and I’m very grateful that so many of you have trusted me with your personal stories even without knowing what I look like. This just goes to show that you can still empower people, thrive, spread positivity, and have a voice on a platform where a majority of your audience do not know what you look like ๐Ÿ™‚

However, that does NOT mean that I will NEVER show my face online. I definitely do see myself revealing it to you all one day ๐Ÿ™‚ It could be in a week’s time, a month, a year… I’ll never know, but I’ll do it when I’m ready to!


Aaaand that concludes my whole blog post! Wow, that was way longer than what I’d initially liked it to be, but I hope you guys enjoyed reading it! May this be the start of a long line of personal blog posts to come, and I hope you guys learned something new about me that you can relate to ๐Ÿ™‚ As always, feel free to reach out to me when you need someone to talk to. I am always happy to lend an ear!

Thank you all for reading and being here with me.

Lots of love, Cath

Starting out an Online Shop!

You may or may not know, but I’ve just recently launched an online shop called my thoughtful space! I sell mostly stickers and printables, but I’m also planning on putting up some more paper goods in the future like bookmarks, art prints, and possibly ephemera bundles (it’s a pretty farfetched dream for me, but I’ll get there)! Anyways, since then I’ve been getting lots of questions on things like my creative process, getting inspired, and how to start an online shop in general!

In this blog post, I will be getting into the nitty-gritty of starting an online shop ๐Ÿ™‚ This post probably won’t be as in-depth as I’d personally like it to be since I myself am still experimenting with the whole structure and system of my online shop, so I’ll just be going through some of the more general questions and advice on starting an online business.

Take note that I’ve only had this shop for three months, so I’m not the most experienced person you can refer to about these things, but hopefully this post can be helpful to some of you in some way!


MY CREATIVE PROCESS

Digital art

I’ve been getting a bunch of questions on the softwares I use to make my stickers, and I use the app Procreate on my 10.2 inch Ipad! The stylus I use is the apple pencil, and I use it for all my digital drawings! These three are my basic digital art essentials ๐Ÿ™‚ I highly recommend getting them if you’re thinking of making stickers for your shop (or if you’re just thinking of trying out digital drawing in general)! You will need to get used to the features of Procreate, but it’s an AMAZING app since It’s super practical and efficient!

Inspiration

In terms of inspiration, I draw things from literally everything! Nature, music, books, people, places, conversations… you name it! I remember referencing one of my first digital art from several iconic book covers that were displayed at the front of my local bookstore.

I’ve also referenced my own pictures in the past (as narcissistic as that sounds) for an art! :’) Here’s how it turned out:

Pinterest and Tumblr are also amazing sources for inspiration! Literally anything that inspires you should also be the things that make you want to pick up a pen and start drawing!


So, Where Do I Begin?

Niche

Okay, so you’ve got your ideas down. Now what?

Start by deciding on a niche and narrow down your target audience. You might be excited about opening up a shop and all, but try to limit your products when you’re just starting you. A rule of thumb to go by is to sell products that you would buy yourself! Don’t just sell things that won’t bring in any value to you or your shop.

I also do NOT recommend churning out multiple products at once (when you’re just starting out and have a small audience). Put your effort and energy into making a few pieces that you’re super proud of! Additionally, you will need to think about the amount of time it takes you to create a design. For example, I take about 8 hours to complete a sticker sheet (rough sketch, outline, coloring, design), so I make sure to dedicate a day or two within a week to create new designs for my shop updates (which happens every month).

Tools

Since I own a ‘paper goods’ store, I produce all my stickers and prints using a printer and a sticker cutting machine! I’ve had the printer for several years now, and it’s a (old) Photosmart series 5520! It’s an inkjet printer, and it’s important to consider the supplies you’re getting that would suit the machines you have at home (eg. sticker paper specifically made for inkjet printers would NOT suit laser printers)!

As for the sticker cutting machine, I have the Silhouette Cameo 3! I was lucky enough to score one secondhand and have been using it for all my die-cut and kiss-cut stickers ๐Ÿ™‚ The Silhouette Cameo also comes with its own software that you can use to trace your drawings! You can definitely start out by hand-cutting all your stickers/prints though ๐Ÿ™‚ It just takes more time to do so, that’s all!

The Silhouette software was a pain to work with at the beginning, but going through a bunch of Youtube tutorials can definitely help you get started!

I still do recommend doing your own research when it comes to printers and other machinery that you may use to create your products! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re using printers, keep in mind that laser and inkjet printers may produce different quality products! I also recommend looking through videos on the Silhouette machine and Cricut machine to compare their functionality and see which suits you best!


Setting up your shop

Platform

So you’ve got your designs and products ready. That’s great! Now it’s time to decide where you want to sell them! ๐Ÿ™‚

Personally, I use Squarespace. But a majority of small business owners start out with Etsy! I’ve done a bunch of research on various platforms, and to me it seems that Etsy would the best choice in the short run (while getting a personal domain in websites like Squarespace is better in the long run).

Etsy has allocated fees every time you list a product on your shop and whenever you make a sale. The startup cost for Etsy is definitely much lower than Squarespace (the commerce plan is about $300 AUD a year). However, I went with Squarespace anyways because I was able to redeem a 50% discount by using my student email! So I only paid $150 AUD for the first year and am now loving having a website all to myself โค A part of me did regret a little for not choosing Etsy to begin with, but I am grateful to have the freedom to customise my shop and make it personally mine ๐Ÿ™‚ I do still plan on putting my products up on Etsy one day though, just so I can garner a little more exposure online!

However, I’ve also heard a little bit about Etsy having high fees for small business owners who are making a relatively higher amount on the platform. That, and the fact that once you’ve established a store on Etsy, you are under their policies and guidelines, so you have little power over your own shop (I highly recommend checking out lilynzt’s youtube video on why she decided to leave Etsy).

I guess it goes without saying that each platform has their pros and cons. Nonethless, you should be doing your own research (!!!!!) and see which one suits you best! Starting out an online store can be super risky, but it all comes down to taking that leap and actually starting. Whether you think you’ll be making a mistake in choosing either platforms, at least you know you’ll be learning something! ๐Ÿ™‚

Marketing

This is where things get a little more challenging. The downside to having your own platform (apart from the pricey startup cost) is the difficulty to market your products.

If you’re starting out from scratch, consider gaining an audience before you set up your products. For example, you can set up a personal Instagram for your shop and showcase your art there before selling your products! Show people what you have to offer and excite them by promoting your items! Even if you’re using Etsy to start your shop, while the platform does its part to market your products on their own platform, you’ll also need to take the responsibility to garner attention from people who are NOT on Etsy!

Product trial

Testing out the quality of your products is probably one of the most aggravating obstacles I’ve ever come across in starting out an online shop. There is SO much trial and error to be done, and it honestly pains my heart to see SO much paper and ink go to waste just so I find the right settings for my stickers.

Nonetheless, practice makes perfect! You just have to be really patient with the whole process! If you’re like me and are working on everything from the production to the service all by yourself, you need to understand that things will take time ๐Ÿ™‚ Be kind to yourself and do all things with love. You CAN and you WILL produce beautiful arts and products, no matter how difficult things may seem!

Shipping

Last but not least, you’ll have to think about shipping!

This year has been particularly challenging in terms of shipping due to the high volumes of mail and scarce flights all over the world. Please check with your local post office to see if there are certain mail restrictions and/or updates on the countries that you’re planning to ship to! If you’re selling products in packages rather than envelopes, be mindful of tracking as any outbound parcels may have the tendency to get lost in the mail. Always remember to consult a staff in your post office if you have any questions! Pandemic or not, it’s good to stay safe and provide your customers with the best possible service!


And that’s it folks! I hope you found this blog post somewhat helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ For those of you who’s supported my shop in the past, you have my eternal gratitude โค And for those who have just started out their small business, let me tell you that it is WORTH IT. The feeling of receiving an order notification is just unbeatable :’) While it may take time to grow your shop, every little step counts!

You are all talented and wonderful creatives! Best of luck and have the best time creating โค

xx Cath

My Top 4 Reading Habits [2020]

Hello everyone! I’m back today with a post that covers all my reading habits! I thought it would be fun to go through my personal habits as a book blogger with you guys since I get asked about my reading lifestyle multiple times. This short post will hopefully give you guys a bit of inspiration on how to read books more efficiently, improve your relationship with reading in general, and perhaps integrate books and reading into your busy work life on a daily basis!

1. Setting The Scene

I like to get immersed in my surroundings, just like I do in the stories of the books that I’m reading! Lighting a candle, sitting in a park, or reading at a cafe can really enhance your reading experience! Look for a comfortable spot at home, make some tea, snuggle in your coziest outfit and get down to reading! Creating a lifestyle out of it could perhaps cultivate a reading habit. Make it something that you prioritise and look forward to everyday! Associate positive things with reading and you’ll find nothing but joy when you pick up a book!

2. Consider Annotating Your Books

If you guys know me long enough, you would know that I annotate my books (dog ears, highlights, etc), but for the longest time I’ve considered annotating taboo and did not dare to “damage” my books by writing in it or dog-earring any pages. I found my love for annotating a couple years back and ever since then, reading has felt so different to me. I realise that I’ve been holding myself back this whole time by keeping my thoughts to myself, . Writing in my books has allowed me to openly interact with the story and connect with the characters better. Now I bring a pen and post-it note everywhere I go. It’s a real game changer, you guys! Not only does it improve your reading experience, annotating actually helps you understand the stories better because you’re actively engaging with the book rather than passively reading the words. Plus, you get to read through your annotations in the future if you decide to pick up the same book again in the future! It’s always good fun doing this โค (more on annotating books can be found in this blog post)

3. Different Modes of Reading

It goes without saying that many reserve a huge amount of time in a day to sit down and read a book, and this does not have to be the case! For example, the first thing you can do in the morning (instead of going through your phone/social media) is to take the time to read! If you can’t normally focus on a physical book, consider trying out audiobooks! You can even put it on while you go through your morning routine. Leave it on for 30-60 minutes everyday for the rest of the week and you got yourself a solid reading habit!

I for one am able to listen to an audiobook while I’m working on a blog post, running errands around the city, commuting, or when I’m drawing on my Ipad for work! Sometimes I can finish a whole audiobook if I’m creating content or drawing all day! It’s literally killing two birds with one stone, and it’s amazing!

Additionally, ebooks are also great if you’re constantly busy at home and only have time to read when you’ve wrapped everything up at night. I like to save ebooks for my nights, preferably right before going to bed. I’m always way too tired to read a physical book at night (and when I do find the need to pick one up, I can only go through so many pages before my eyes fail me and I start dozing off). In this case, ebooks are great alternatives as they are lighter in weight and, personally, are easier on the eyes. Transitioning between these three formats can really boost your reading game while still keeping up with your day to day schedule and tasks!

4. TBRs Aren’t Always Your Friends

Having a set pile of books that you’re determined to get through will only pressure you. It’s great to have a selection of books to choose from, but don’t let it get to your head that those are the ONLY options you get to have. Personally, I’d suggest picking a book based on your mood and not from your set TBR pile. In full transparency, I’d recommend dropping TBR piles completely. You don’t want to treat reading like a chore and force yourself to read for the sake of proving to yourself that you can get through a pile of books in a short period of time, or fulfilling a monthly challenge. Reading should NOT come with any pressure. They’re just books, and you’re meant to enjoy them!


Thank you so much for getting through this fairly short post! I hope you enjoyed it and/or found it somewhat helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ Please feel free to ask me questions down in the comments, or message me personally! My DMs are always opened โค Take care everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

xx Cath

How I Stay Productive At Home

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I last posted ๐Ÿ™‚ Lots of things have changed, and we’re definitely living in weird times, but that won’t stop us from becoming as productive as we possibly can be!

Since a majority of us are currently working from home, I’ve had a few people reaching out to me for some tips on staying focused and productive whilst being cooped up at home all day, and because I am used to working from home, I thought I’d share with you guys some tips and tricks and sort of navigate through how I manage between staying indoors for so long and still getting my work done!


Plan first thing in the morning

I cannot stress how important planning is! You have all these deadlines and to-do’s piling up in your head, but leaving them in your thoughts won’t do you any good because you have so many other things to think about. Make sure to always set things out first thing in the morning before you start working. Make realistic goals and write them out somewhere so you can physically see it! This way you’ll be constantly reminded of what you need to get done. If you’re always making a mental note of your tasks, it’s hard to manage and plan your day as it goes by. You will feel so much lighter after you write out your goals and plans for the day. Feeling organised is so important to me. Without physical lists, I can go mad with all the deadlines piling up in my head!

The importance of a decluttered mind

This may not apply to everyone, but if you categorise between your personal work (studying, watching lectures, admin work, etc), creative work (content creation, photoshoots, writing), or even work such as cleaning and laundry, you may ask yourself: which one to do first? Maybe you need more brain power to listen to a lecture and write down your notes for it, or you need the time to focus and complete a draft for a creative work? Perhaps the laundry bin has been full for the past few days and you can’t get it out of your head and you’re just simply itching to wash your clothes.

Well, everything comes down to your focus! What makes you feel the most productive? An empty laundry bin? A clean table? A finished draft or lecture? Think about it; you may have deadlines and priorities, but you won’t be completely focused on your work if you have a dirty sink or a measly 150 words left to finish your essay. Get rid of those small, pesky tasks BEFORE anything else. For example, I love having a clean workspace, so I like to take the time to make sure my desk is clean before I start working! This makes me feel more focused, and it lets me power through an important assignment rather than being distracted organising my table in between my study sessions. I also like to make sure I fill in the remaining gaps for all my unfinished work from the day before. This could be a writing assignment that I’m just so close to finishing, but didn’t have the time to complete yet. Everything comes down to focus, and having a decluttered mind (with NO pesky distractions to gnaw at you) will maximise it!

A productive workspace

A productive workspace is one that keeps you focused and motivated. You do not want any distractions lying around you. Keep your phones and games out of sight! Get some water to stay hydrated and ONLY surround yourself with the things you need to get your work done (i.e. laptop, pen, notebook, Ipad, etc). Try to keep your workspace as minimal as possible, because you do not want to be fiddling around with anything within arm’s reach (i know we all do this..)! I suggest only having your phone with you if you need it for work purposes. However, having a phone with you may also be good if (and only if) you are using a productivity app! I’ve been using the Forest app lately and it’s been soooo fun. I love the incentive of this app. Basically you plant a tree and it grows as long as you do not leave the app. If you do, your beautiful plant will wither! It may sound ineffective, but trust me when I say how painful it is to see them die! >< Anywho, Forest is a paid app, but I think it’s an investment that goes a loooong way.

Change (up) your environment!

Since most of us are at home a lot more now, it’s easy to lose focus because we’re just sitting down in front of our desks for hours. If it’s possible, change up your working area! Sit on the couch, write at your porch, pull out a picnic mat and lay it out at your yard for you to work on. Even something as little as re-organising your desk space (moving your items around, changing the positions of your desk and chair) can do wonders to you! Joining your family/roommates while you work will can also be beneficial for you!

Take breaks!!

You’ll definitely start to lose focus and get distracted after a few hours. Take this opportunity to take a break! Don’t push yourself! Take your mind off your work and have a lunch break (as you would at work or in school) or even bake. Make yourself a cup of coffee, journal, stretch, read for a bit! Ease your mind a little. You do not want to overwork your brain. At times like these, it is so easy to get lost in your work. But being at home also gives you the perfect chance to relax a little more and look after yourself. Setting up breaks in your planner is also a good way to remind yourself that you need to take your days slow. Just cause you have more time in your hands doesn’t mean you need to cramp all your assignments in one day! Staying productive means taking breaks too ๐Ÿ™‚

Know when to STOP

Working at home gives you the perfect chance to find out how long exactly you can keep working until your mind starts to wander/you start to lose focus. I find out that I get tired when I’ve been up for approximately twelve hours. For example, if I get up at 8:00am in the morning, by 8:00pm I would have to STOP any heavy work I’m doing and give myself time to relax and unwind. I do this because I know how hard it is to focus by the time the 12th hour rolls around, so to prevent from wasting any more time, I make sure I drop everything that i’m doing by then. This also somehow gives me the motivation to wake up earlier, because it gives me more time to work on things I’d rather be doing during the day like journaling, reading, and writing!

Of course, this does not apply to everyone! Some of you might be able to work for more than 12 hours a day, or even less. It doesn’t matter! What’s important is you establish a pause button on yourself. As I’ve said earlier, please take care of yourself. I know this post is all about being productive, but whether you feel motivated to do work or not, what’s most important is that you’re looking out after your own health (i.e eating and sleeping enough).


Alrighty friends, that is all I have for today’s post. I hope you all found it somewhat helpful! Feel free to follow my home routine via my Instagram stories (and my ‘lifestyle’ story highlight) if you think that will help motivate you! โค As always, I am open to chat if you ever have any questions (or just want to talk to me in general!!). Stay healthy and hopeful! This too shall past ๐Ÿ™‚ Take care!

xx Cath

What’s On My Desk (Essentials of a Writer, Reader, and Blogger)!

Hello everyone! A while back, I asked on Instagram if you guys wanted to see a what’s on my desk/desk essentials type of blog post and the responses were all so positive! So today, I’m here to go through everything that’s on my desk! ๐Ÿ™‚

My desk is where I do most of my thinking and creating. It’s a representation of the writer, blogger, and reader in me, and just like the constant changes made in my inspiration and creativity process, my desk is a space that also needs to be changed and altered constantly. The things that are on my desk each have their own personal meaning and reason as to why they are put on my desk in the first place. Each item also inspire me in different ways ๐Ÿ™‚

Anywho, whether you’re here to look for some desk inspiration or find out more about what’s on my desk, thank you for joining me today! Let’s jump right into the post!


Here is an overview of what my desk looks like! Some pretty generic things atop my desk include a laptop (this one’s the MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch), a mug from Legami Milano, a stationery jar filled with pens and pencils that I brought home from all the different hotels and restaurants I visited, a couple of books, and a table lamp that was gifted to me! My table is from Ikea, and it’s called Tร„RENDร–. I got the table for only $39 AUD, and it’s great! Super sturdy and easy to assemble. You get a lot out of it for its price ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up on my table is my typewriter! Her name is Venus (named after @lauramaria8386’s suggestion on Instagram), and she’s my baby โค My mom and sister surprised me with her on my 19th birthday, and I can never get over how thoughtful this gift was :’) I take my time to type something up, which is why I don’t use it as often as I’d like to. However, looking at it makes me feel so happy, nostalgic, and inspired. That’s why it’s such a staple on my desk โค I believe my family got this typewriter at a local Indonesian online store, but I’m sure you can find the exact same one on Amazon or Ebay ๐Ÿ™‚ This typewriter is the Olympia Traveller C if any of you were interested!

Next up is my gorgeous little dried flower dome that was also a birthday gift from my mom!! โค This one’s from Magnolia Bouquet, an Indonesian dried flower specialist on Instagram! My mom got this for my 20th birthday, and I loved that she told me she wanted to get me something “everlasting” and alive! My mom is the cutest I swear โค The colors of the flowers are absolutely gorgeous, and everything about it looks so magical and ethereal! I will think of my mom every time I look at this little glass dome :’)

This is my very first self-purchased plant baby! The one on the left is Erik, and Mia is on the right! I put them on my desk because because I wanted something that could grow along with me ๐Ÿ™‚ A little cheesy, but it motivates me to work and strive for the best! I’m also sentimental over the fact that I found them by accident, got them at a really good price, and decided to name them :’) Now I’m just way too attached!

Now we have the prints! These prints (and the poster frames) were generously gifted to me by Desenio, and each print has a personal meaning to me. Each of them inspire, motivate, and tell a story. The Spanish Alley poster reminds me of one of my favorite books (The Shadow of The Wind), The Letter poster resonates a lot with me and my life, The Old Train poster is very calming and pretty to look at, and the Night Fox poster staring longingly at the moon reminds me of a very special someone โค I can just stare at all of them all day!

I also have these headphones that were given to me by Sudio! I tend to switch around between these headphones and my regular wired Apple earphones, but these headphones are a huge plus because they are noise-cancelling and, of course, wireless ๐Ÿ™‚ I need them almost everytime I blog or study!

Next I have these cute thrifted ceramic knick-knacks that actually opens at the top! I store all my favorite rings and earrings in here just so they’re easy to pop on when I’m on the go. I love the designs! They look so English and cute! :’) These mainly serve as memorabilias from when I visited 3 in 1 Market, a huge Antique market that happens in Perth twice a year!

I also have my trusty journal with me on my desk! This one’s from Papermark.id, and it’s my new 2020 blogging/daily journal! I use my journal almost daily for both blogging and personal reasons ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been journaling for about four years now, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! I love anything to do with journaling, so having a journal near me is very important! If you’re interested to read more about my journal, check out this blog post here!

Lastly I have my must-have journaling essentials! Aside from post-it notes, I like to use these little notepads to jot down all my important pointers for when I journal or study. I also love my Page Anchor! It prevents my books and journals from closing AND it’s beautiful! I’m obsessed. I bring it around with me all the time!


That’s all I have for today! Thank you so much for sticking through till the end :’) I hope this post inspired and/or helped you in some way!! x

Until next time,

xx Cath

How I Edit My Pictures

Guys!! I am SO sorry it’s taken me this long to put up this blog post! I wanted to make sure that I cover everything and go through all the details needed to clear up all your questions! I’ve been receiving so many questions on how I edit my pictures, and I only want this post to be helpful to you guys, so bear with me – we have quite a bit to get through!

A little *disclaimer* before I start – I wanted to highlight that the editing technique I use work specifically for my pictures only, and that I do not sell presets, so please take anything I say in this post with a grain of salt! I cannot guarantee that your photos will look exactly like mine, but that’s the beauty of editing! ๐Ÿ™‚ No two pictures look the same, and this post gives you the chance to experiment with different editing tools and lets you find your own style ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, just in case you guys are only here to know the apps & filters I use to edit my pictures, here they are:

  • VSCOA6 filter on FULL
  • Lightroom – mostly tweak highlights and shadows, play around with the color mixer (usually the red, orange and yellow) as well as temperature. Then enhance clarity and sharpen the image
  • Pixlrbrighten brush and darken brush to adjust pictures
  • Retouch – Blemish brush to remove tiny flaws in pictures (eg. spots, stains, etc)

Now, onto the full tutorial!


Here is a snapshot of what my feed looks like at the moment:

As you can see, most of my pictures have a mix of orange, brown and yellow tones. These colors are what help achieve my warm and cozy aesthetic, and I try my best to include as little blue and purple in my photos.

The apps I use to edit my photos are VSCO, Lightroom, Pixlr and Retouch. I use VSCO and Lightroom EVERY TIME I edit, whereas Pixlr and Retouch are mostly used to edit out minor details in pictures. All apps are free except for Retouch, however each app does have its own pro version (which of course you need to pay for). VSCO‘s free version does not include the filter that I use for my pictures (which is A6), but I think VSCO’s yearly membership is absolutely worth it for all the filters and additional tools you get. If you’re new to editing, VSCO is a great app to start with! If you don’t want to spend on a yearly membership (which is $28.99 AUD), you can opt for a monthly membership (which is $6.99 AUD) and even start a 7-day trial before making any commitments. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lightroom on the other hand does ALL of the magical editing :’) and I would HIGHLY recommend getting the paid version of Lightroom (which is about $14.99 AUD a month). Paying $14.99 AUD a month is not cheap, but if you’re serious about building up your Instagram, Lightroom is the best investment you can make to doing that. I use the free version of Pixlr because I only use very specific features on the app, and you’ll see which ones later in this post! As for Retouch, you pay $2.99 AUD for the app and it’s yours for good. I use Retouch quite a bit, so the price is definitely worth it for me!

Okay okay, that’s all I have to say for the apps! Now I will be sharing three different scenarios in which I take and edit my pictures. Each tutorial will be based on the pictures that you would normally see on my feed (white sheets, tables, cafes).

Examples

Here is the raw/unedited picture. I took this picture by a table that had a window with natural lighting pouring in, but it’s still a little “cold” and dark.

Before I go into Lightroom, I always, always upload my pictures to VSCO and use the A6 filter. Here is how it looks once I’ve applied it. It has a sort of ‘bloom’ effect where everything looks much cleaner and softer.

And here’s the final product! See how there’s more yellow and brown and a less blueish tinge?

Following the same formula, here are a few more examples:

Raw/unedited

A6 filter

A6 filter + Lightroom

Raw/unedited

A6 filter

A6 filter + Lightroom

Raw/unedited

A6 filter

A6 filter + Lightroom

Most of my pictures are, as you may have noticed, taken indoors. I have this sort of woody, warm orange-y tone that I would like to think depicts a cozy theme ๐Ÿ™‚ Naturally, to achieve any theme, you should start with a raw picture that has its base color (eg. neutral tones = beige/brown/white, soft tones = pastel colors, etc). Almost all my pictures have a splash of orange, yellow, red and brown, and you will recognise a pattern in the way I edit my pictures in Lightroom (eg. my most used tools, different enhancements, color balances, etc).

PICTURE EDIT #1 – Indoor White Sheet

Before

After

<——————- Editing Process ——————->

Unedited picture

  • Raw/unedited
  • Shot in natural lighting (next to a large window)
  • Tones present: Brown, yellow

Here’s an example of an unedited flatlay that I recently posted on my feed. This picture was shot on an Iphone 6.

VSCO filter applied

  • Warmer tones
  • Brown and yellow color generally stands out more!

I uploaded the unedited picture onto the app VSCO and used the A6 filter at its highest level. You can see that the picture is much brighter and the colors look more enhanced.

Lightroom edits

  • Darker & clearer journal pages
  • More pronounced yellow & brown tones
  • Has a more “cozy” look
  • Sharper image

I imported the picture from VSCO onto Lightroom, which is where things get complicated (and fun!!). Basically I wanted to make sure that the brown and yellow matches the tone of my feed (which takes a bit of trial and error). You may also notice that one post-it looks a little brighter than the other, which I will try to fix after this step! But first, I have a little video tutorial on the whole Lightroom editing process to show to you guys, which will hopefully make it easier for you to see how each tool can be used to enhance a picture.

Using Lightroom (Video)

For anyone of you who has not used Lightroom before, this can look quite complicated. My number one tip is to obviously try it out for yourself if you can and play around with the tools and features of Lightroom ๐Ÿ™‚ As I mentioned, it is a paid app and, yes, it is a little pricey, but personally Lightroom is worth every penny for its versatility and performance. I can always rely on it and I cannot see myself using any other app to edit my photos to “perfection” apart from Lightroom! It’s available on mobile & on your desktop so it syncs and makes your lives so much easier when editing!

I always get asked if I use/sell presets, and the answer is yes, I do make my own presets, but no, I do not sell them. The presets I use would most probably only work on my photos only, and I do not want to sell something to someone if there is a chance that it may not work the same way for them. I probably have more than 20 presets saved in Lightroom, however it can still take me up to an hour to edit a picture because even with the use of presets, a picture still requires numerous tweaks in order to look the way I want it to look AND match the feed of my page. But sometimes these presets do work wonders, and using the right one can save you SO much time. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just need to get a hang of it and maybe then I can share my presets with you guys!

Lightroom Formula

If the video is a little hard to follow, here’s a screenshot of each Lightroom tool I used and how much of it I applied in the edit.

Often my pictures are way too overexposed after the A6 filter is applied, so I like to reduce the highlights and whites. Shadows brightens a picture and reduces any dark patches that may be present (eg. shadows of objects). This command, along with Blacks, reduces the contrast of an image while enhancing the colors of the picture.

Here I’m applying Temp to add just the tiniest bit of orange-yellow tinge to the picture to make it look warmer!

The color mixer is probably my worst enemy and my best friend. I rely on this tool SO much because I have to constantly adjust my ‘base’ colors to match my feed. I often play around with the red, orange and yellow colors, and I almost always set the red hue to a really high level. This makes any red color in a picture look more orange. luminance brightens any red in a picture and saturation intensifies the color.

There was minimal red in the image to start with, so I went ahead and adjusted the brown tones in the picture so it looked brighter and more orange.

Yellow is just as important for me because I also have a lot of white in my pictures. I always try to decrease the yellow tinge in my journal pages, white sheets, book pages, walls, etc to create a much more minimal look. Low yellow saturation levels also balances the warm tones in my picture, especially since I already applied a little bit of Temp in my picture. I often go back and forth between Temp and this yellow color mixer ๐Ÿ™‚

Dealing with white sheets mean lots of light glares, so I try to adjust any intense lighting by toning down the blues in my pictures. To do this, I reduce its saturation to give it a more grey color (rather than a jarring white).

Lastly, clarity and sharpening. I ALWAYS use this effect in all my pictures. Always. It just enhances the overall quality and brings out the texture in an image. Sharpening does the same, but it isn’t as intense as clarity.

Additional tweaking

  • Journal pages and post-its now have the same brightness level
  • Balanced color coordination and lighting
  • Completes the picture

You can see now that both journal pages have (roughly) the same brightness, and that is all thanks to the app Pixlr! I use Pixlr for their “brighten” and “darken” brushes, which is a similar tool to Lightroom’s “selective” tool, but is much simpler to use! Having the same color tones really help complete the picture and makes it look more put together.

Using Pixlr (Video)

Here is a quick video tutorial on how I use the brushes! I love how you can change the intensity of each brush, and it’s super easy to use too!

I’m hoping this first picture editing example is detailed enough! :’) My next couple of picture editing examples tutorials will be much shorter because I don’t want to repeat myself too much (unless I have an app/tip to mention). So let’s just jump in to my next example!


PICTURE EDIT #2 – Indoor Table Setting

Before

After

<——————- Editing Process ——————->

Unedited picture

  • Raw/unedited
  • Shot with natural lighting
  • Tiny flaws (e.g. dust on my table, typewriter looks a little slanted)

VSCO filter applied

  • Lighter tones
  • Green-yellowish tint

Lightroom edits

  • Much darker tones
  • More contrast
  • Brown/orange filter

Using Lightroom (Video)

Lightroom Formula

This is a new one! Rotate is exactly what it sounds like. It rotates an image so the objects in it will all look aligned. The typewriter in the original picture looked just the TINIEST bit slanted, so all I did was rotate the picture to fix it up!

Additional tweaking

  • Dusts are all gone!!

Here is where Retouch comes into the picture! Retouch is an app that allows you to remove objects in your photos, and though I’m not too good at using the app yet, it helps if you want to eliminate little things in your photos such as marks and stains! Below is a short video on how I use the app.

Using Retouch (Video)


PICTURE EDIT #3 – Cafe Shot

Before

After

<——————- Editing Process ——————->

Unedited picture

  • Raw/unedited
  • Tones are too ‘warm’

VSCO filter applied

  • ‘Bloom’ effect
  • Reddish tones
  • Journal pages are too bright & warm

Lightroom edits

  • Rustic tones are more present
  • Less ‘warm’
  • Journal pages look more white than yellow

Using Lightroom (Video)

Lightroom Formula


Final Word

That pretty much sums up how I edit my pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚ It has taken me DAYS to put everything together, but I really hope the wait was worth it and that it cleared up any questions you have on the way I edit. Do keep in mind that angles and lighting vary for every picture you take, so these Lightroom formulas are just meant to be references! Please feel free to tweak these formulas until you get the desired look/theme! There are also so many other ways you can achieve the rusting/brownish/cozy look, and this blog post is just one of them! I will be super happy if my tutorial helped you guys out in some way ๐Ÿ™‚

PRO TIP: I also use the app UNUM every time I edit my photos (just to make sure I create the same color consistency throughout all my pictures) and it’s a huge lifesaver! It’s a free app, though I believe it’s only available on IOS :/ You basically get 18 free grids and you can even connect your Instagram account to sync all your photos on there! The grid is moveable for pictures that you upload directly to UNUM, and it’s a great way to plan your feed ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

That should be everything! I hope I’m not missing anything.. what a shame it would be, considering it took me almost a month to put this up :/ I’m so sorry guys! Please let me know if you have anymore questions, I will be happy to help! In the meantime, have fun creating and editing! ๐Ÿ™‚ And feel free to share some of your own tips and tricks with Lightroom and/or any other apps you recommend!

Until next time,

xx Cath

My Year In Reading (not all the books yet all of the books)

Since we’re approaching the end of the year, I thought I’d reflect on what my year in reading has looked like so far! This year has been the busiest year for me (in terms of university and work-related stuff), what with balancing being a full-time university student, having a part-time job and finding the time to update my blog and Instagram. I also receive a lot of questions on my reading habits, so maybe this will clear things up a little bit, for you guys ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll start by saying that I’ve been reading less and less each year. Maybe it’s a time management thing, but I won’t lie – reading hasn’t been the same for me ever since I’ve started to take on more books from publishers and author. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to receive FREE books from around the world AND have a platform where I can voice all my thoughts and reviews. However, it can get a little overwhelming, especially when I get too excited and say yes to all the bookish campaigns and promotions. :/

I guess we are all aware of the popular recommendation that readers who are busy are suggested to make time to read before bed, but I often find myself getting super drowsy the moment I reach my bed, and I just cannot muster up the strength to get past 10+ pages of a book. Reading while commuting is great too, but I’m finding it really hard to focus on my book (while on the bus) because of how crowded and loud it can get. Ebooks are definitely an option too, but most of the books I want to read I already own in physical form (which is honestly a dumb excuse, but I much prefer reading physical books over ebooks, even when I’m on a tight schedule). Audiobooks are also a bit of a problem for me because on one hand, they are an amazing commute alternative, but they put me in such a sleepy mood ๐Ÿ˜ฆ There just seems to be no way for me to get any reading done with my packed schedule! Hence why I am sooo behind on my Goodreads reading schedule (10 books behind, to be exact).

I have participated in the Goodreads challenge for a good five years now, and I was able to read way more books in 2016 and 2017 than I have set on for myself for the Goodreads challenge.

here’s a fun when where i set 80 books for the year and reached 60, and I was SO bummed out xD

Seeing my past reading challenges has made me beat myself up for not reading as much as I have in the past. It’s just a little sad to see how little I’m reading due to my inability to manage my time better, and university and work may not really be an excuse (lots of people can still make time to read tons of books even with a busy lifestyle)! On the bright side though, I haven’t felt any pressure to read at all this year, which makes any spare time I get so worthwhile, because whenever I do have time to read, I actually want to read. Granted I read way less by waiting until I have some (pretty much non-existent) free time on my hands, each book I read ends up being an amazing one, and it’s all because I make sure I only read when I feel like it. So there’s a little silver lining here! Despite reading so little due to my busy schedule, I am very much enjoying the fact that I am not forcing myself to read ALLLL the books this year. Instead, I am taking my time to read the books I actually want to read!

So far this year I’ve only managed to read 15 books (out of my goal of 30 books), all of which I’ve enjoyed and given at least a 3 star rating. On top of that, 8 of the books has become a favorite of mine! I’ve never felt more content with the books I’ve read, so I guess I can say that I am somewhat grateful for my busy schedule :’)

This year, I’ve not fallen into a reading slump, read books that I genuinely want to read, and immensely enjoyed more than half of them, so the verdict is: I am very pleased with my progress and this mindset that I have learned to adapt (that is, not to force myself to read all. the. time, even if it’s my job to as a book reviewer/blogger/content creator). The beauty in reading is to remember that your books are not going anywhere, so take your time to read each one of them! My number one tip is to never make reading a chore. Treat books as an escape and you will get one ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re reaching the end of the year, so I hope you all take things slow, read and enjoy all the amazing books that you’ve been meaning to read!

xx Cath

Cafes I’ve Been Loving Lately (Perth)

As many of you may already know, I love to explore different cafes in Perth! I tend to visit cafes that have a calm and productive environment (not too overly-crowded nor quiet) so I can journal and read! In this blog post, I will be going through some cafes that I just simply love to spend my time in (either for creating content or just for fun)! I thought it’d be nice to just show a little bit of my appreciation to all these lovely cafes and give them the exposure that they deserve ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy reading!


Freddie Strudels

193 Brisbane St, Perth WA 6000

As per the name, Freddie Strudels is famous for their hand-crafted strudels! They come in so many different flavours (apple, peach, and mango amongst many more), but their signature strudel is their durian flavor (which I’ve tried and so loved!). Their cafe is so so cozy.

I also always have their custard coffee whenever I’m there. It’s super smooth and delicious! I also never fail to take away two of each flavor from their horns selection. Personally I think they’re the highlight of the cafe โค

2271DCB7-8D7C-4C4F-BAD4-3C6E31870D47.JPG

2490D69B-6466-42E5-AA1D-CA26948C1487.JPG


Lincolns 102 

102 Lincoln St, Highgate WA 6003

I’m so lucky to be able to live so close to this cafe! It’s literally only four minutes away! Their hot chocolate is to die for, and it comes in this tall glass of milk along with a shot of chocolate which you pour into the glass and ~stir~. It’s SO good!

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


Mary Street Bakery

507 Beaufort St, Highgate WA 6003

Mary Street Bakery is the cutest! They have such lovely cakes (my sister and I always go back for their salted caramel cake – SO good), and something about their interior just really draws you in! I love catching up with friends and journaling here. Fair warning though, they get super busy during brunch hours, so nab a seat preferably during lunch hours!

5E493CD7-6CD1-4C5E-84EC-370134CF363B.JPG


Blacksmith Perth

460 Beaufort St, Highgate WA 6003

This is a recent favorite of mine, which is quite dangerous considering how close I live to them ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I love the interior of the place and their food. This is also one of the few cafes where I order tea, because they have this one special option called autumn strudel (if that doesn’t sound dreamy, I don’t know what does), which consists of black tea with hints of apples, vanilla, and cinnamon. โค I’ve only been here once, but I can see myself visiting a couple times a week :’) Something about the cafe just makes you want to stay for hours!

036A6449-8870-4056-A468-A97D86A59704.JPG

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

2DA1FD59-E8E2-44AB-BE52-679F284178B4.JPG

img_7265.jpeg


Source Foods

4/289 Beaufort St, Perth WA 6000

Source Foods has been a go-to of mine ever since I moved this year. You’ve probably seen quite a few Source Foods posts on my Instagram, and it’s because I’m pretty much obsessed with their cafe! I love that they have window counter seats, and because I don’t see very many of them around where I live I always try my best to nab them when they’re available. Their Mรถrk hot chocolate is so addicting, and definitely worth a try if you’re a fan of dark chocolate! I like to come here alone for the most part to journal and read, but I’ve made quite a few memories with my sister and friends while we worked and chat together for hours here. โค

7D361341-1CEC-4267-B807-FB7105B60387.JPG


Dome

Trinity Arcade, 72 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000

The ambience of Dome is my favorite. It looks like what I envision an old-style New Orleans cafe would look like, and it just feels like you’re in a vintage film! I am always so inspired whenever I journal and read here! I remember reading The Night Circus here where I read for hours and drank copious amounts of hot chocolate and ahhh – such great memories โค

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

d532fbf9-9264-48f9-8aad-7f22ee2aa699.jpg


Comma Cafe

487 Beaufort St, Highgate WA 6003

Amongst all the cafes in Beaufort Street, Comma is a gem. I love how spacious the cafe is, and the staffs are super friendly! I can find myself getting lost in my book/journal because of how peaceful and lovely the place is. The food is great (with prices lower than your average cafe here) and there’s quite the selection of both food and beverages. Highly recommend!

8ECC53E3-C57B-4891-B5B6-C482B56F70C6.JPG

009A8334-2513-418B-BD6F-11F5D4EB8660.JPG

5DEC5651-700A-4B31-A4C2-BFCDCE11059B.JPG


That is it for this list! I’m definitely making a part 2 for this, because I’m feeling a few more favorites coming along. :’) Let me know if you guys enjoyed this blog post, and if you’re planning on trying any of these cafes! Thanks for reading xx

– Cath xx

 

Get To Know The Blogger!

Hello everyone! It has been quite some time since I’ve dropped in to say hello! I have a lot going on right now, and hopefully I’ll have a post all about life updates very soon – so stay tuned!

Recently, there has been quite a few new people following my Instagram and blog (which I want to express how grateful and excited I am! I interact with so many of you on both platforms and it’s just amazing to see how much love and passion each and every one of you exude!! โค ), so I thought I’d introduce myself and answer some of the questions you guys asked me on my Instagram, just so you can all get to know me better ๐Ÿ™‚


GENERAL Q’S

What is your all-time favorite song? (@bookedsoul)

I think it would be Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys. Something about the song just makes me want to revisit it all the time (and never bores me whenever I do)! I also share fond memories with the song, so it’s got a lot of sentimental value to it, which could also be why I love it so so much (on top of the fact that it’s a bomb song ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

What do you study in university? (@marijeekelenkamp)

I am currently studying Engineering in university (will be specialising soon, and will most probably go towards either Civil or Environmental engineering)!

What is your favorite self-care remedy? (@hayleyherlick)

My favorite self-care remedy is very simple! All I like to do is have a hot shower, put on some cozy pyjamas, brew a cup of tea and read in bed until I get sleepy and eventually doze off โค I always feel much more energised and relaxed the next day! ๐Ÿ™‚

What is your favorite movie? (@laurakriskovic)

Ooh! My favorites would have to be Whisper of The Heart, Spirited away, and Coraline. It seems that all three films have one thing in common; atmosphere! ๐Ÿ˜‰ These movies hold such a special place in my heart, and I can re-watch them multiple times without ever getting bored!

What inspires you? (@lilythetaleteller)

My parents, my sisters, The Bookstagram Community, Lana Del Rey’s music, Cafes, Pinterest boards, late-night reading and writing, atmospheric stories, museums, beautiful cinematography, going back home, lovely company. โค

How old are you? (@rianne2626)

I’m 19 but will turn 20 in December! I’m not sure why getting old scares people – for me, getting older means newer, better, and more exciting opportunities and challenges!

What is your favorite subject in school? (@jadenrscott)

I love Mathematics! It’s the main reason why I’m doing Engineering in university now ๐Ÿ™‚ I also really liked English, but the subject didn’t come to me as naturally as Mathematics did (though I still had a ton of fun learning English in Australia, since the curriculum here is different to the system back at home in Jakarta where I’m from ๐Ÿ™‚ ).


BOOK-RELATED Q’S

What is the name of your favorite book? (@clautive, @laura.kriskovic)

Ah, the infamous question every bookworm dreads to hear xD Oh but I do have so many favorite books – I just can’t pick one! To list a few:

I just really love atmospheric books, and the first four novels in this list are the perfect examples!

What is your favorite childhood book? (@thelehakhan)

It would either be The Witches or Fantastic Mr. Fox, written by my all-time favorite children’s author Roald Dahl (Dahl has written some adult books, but he is most well known for his children books!). I also love James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and The BFG by him! Bottom-line, I love Roald Dahl a lot :’)

Fun little childhood fact; I actually had measles and when I was about 11 years old and had to miss two weeks worth of class, so to kill time, I picked up The Witches – which has been collecting dust for years because my mom got it for me when I was at an even younger age in hopes that I would become a reader just like her (yes, there was a point in my life where I did not read nor like books) – and though I did not begin to like books at a young age, I eventually did because of The Witches! I was absolutely obsessed with it. I kept it close to me ever since, and the story has stuck by me all these years.

I have to say, if it weren’t for my measles and the fact that I was to pretty much stay away from everyone who came close to me, I would have never enjoyed reading at all (which is insaaane to even wrap my head around, consideringย  I now have a whole Instagram page dedicated to books)! I have Roald Dahl and The Witches to thank for making me the reader I am today. Truly my hero, Roald Dahl. I actually wrote a little dedication post to Roald Dahl a few years back if you’re interested to read it: Roald Dahl: A Hero

What is your favorite part about reading? The plot? The ending? Flipping through the pages? (@wisdom.of.heart)

I looove this question! For me, it would have to be the characters that I get to read about! I’m not a plot critic (as most book reviewers are and, ideally, should be). What matters most to me is the authenticity of the writing and how deeply connected I get to the characters by the end of the book.

If the book focuses on atmosphere AND has beautiful writing to go with it, it’s a huge win for me too!

When did you start writing? (aa.jullien)

I started writing when I was about 13 or 14. My first published piece was a cringe-worthy Quotev story (that surprisingly got really popular xD ). It was so trashy, you guys! But perhaps that was why it did so well :’) I had so much fun writing it though, and have found my love for writing ever since! โค

What are some books that you would re-read with pleasure? (@thelehakhan)

I would probably re-read all of my favorite Roald Dahl books. They’re so light, fun and entertaining! I’ve read Fantastic Mr. Fox multiple times now, and it keeps getting better every time I read it! I also think The Night Circus is a good re-read, because the story and details are so intricate, it seems like you catch something new each time you read it!

What do you think about while writing a book review? What do you look for in a book? (@candyflosstrash)

I like to base my reviews off of my thoughts on the writing, characters, and a little bit about the plot and the world building (if it’s a huge factor of the book). I look for different things in different books. For example, I’d expect a solid start to the world building of a Fantasy novel, and I’d love for a Fiction novel to have much richer prose and evoke some sort of emotion from the reader (although there are lots of books that have caught me by surprise, so there is really no telling as to what it is specifically that I scrutinise when I read and review a book ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I also don’t have a set structure of my book reviews, and I write whatever comes off at the top of my head. Nowadays, as you can see from my Instagram page, I write annotations in my books (which also really helps when it comes to reviewing books!).


Well, that’s all the questions that I will be answering for now. I will be happy to answer more questions on my Instagram – just shoot me a DM and I will be happy to help you with anything!

I hope you learned something new about me. Again, I wanted to thank you all of you for being so lovely despite being my long absence. This community is too pure for words, and I will always be grateful for it.

Until next time,

Cath xx

Low Impact + Sustainable Living: What I Wish To Achieve

If you aren’t already aware of it, the #zerowastemovement is slowly but surely taking over the globe! Lately it’s been all over my Instagram feed, and honestly I can’t think of anything better to stumble across online!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.33.02 AM.png
Credits: @zeroquestpeople

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.34.38 AM.png
Credits: stacysullivan_

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.12.34 PM.png
Credits: @taylor.pforwords

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.35.26 AM.png
Credits: @plantedinthewoods

Seeing these photos has inspired me to start living low-waste and pick up on sustainable habits! I would also like to personally thank  Erica over at @librettoreviews for inspiring me with her adamant (and not to mention BEAUTIFUL) blog posts and photos! Erica was initially a Bookstagrammer herself, and throughout the years I’ve been following her, she has slowly transitioned to posting more low-waste content (and I am L I V I N G for it!!).

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.46.16 AM.png

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.46.39 AM.png

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.44.18 AM

In short, the #zerowastemovement encourages people to reduce as much waste as possible. This is done by implementing all sorts of habits, such as buying package-free food where possible, using reusable bags, making your own cleaning supplies/make-up products/food at home, going vegan, and so much more! Last July was deemed #plasticfreejuly, which was a challenge started by the Plastic Free Foundation to encourage people to reduce their plastic waste! Today, millions across the globe are doing their part by refusing plastic and transitioning to being plastic-free in their own lives.

In today’s post, I would like to share with you all some things I wish to achieve in regards to living more sustainably!


Invest on a Keep Cup

I’ve been having lots of take-out coffee lately and changing to having my coffee in Keep cups/my own cup by bringing them to coffee shops can really help to reduce the amount of paper cups I dispose! Keep cups are not cheap, but I think they are an amazing investment because they are forever! I’ve seen some coffee shops accepting normal cup, mugs, as well as jars too. Not just Keep cups! So anything that you have your coffee with at home should work just fine! But I would personally love to bring Keep cups around with me, especially when travelling. You just never know when you might need it! It really helps to reduce just one or two paper cups you throw away!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 11.16.27 AM.png
Credits: @librettoreviews

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.43.23 AM
Erica’s take on bring jars to coffee shops! See the original post here


Buy more bulk food

Grocery shopping is so easy when you can just pop anything you see on the shelf into your cart. But if they’re contributing to landfill, you have to reconsider your options! Convenience can be efficient, but sometimes it isn’t very sustainable! I’ve recently discovered a bulk-food store near where I live (!!!) and have been regularly shopping there for grains and spices ever since! They encourage you to bring our own jars and reusable bags, so you can leave the store with completely plastic-free groceries! How amazing is that? Perthians! Kakulas Bros is the way to go! Another bulk food store I’ve been seeing around the gram is The Source Bulk Foods, but I haven’t gotten the chance to visit them yet!

I also wanted to put out that I have not completely transitioned to just getting bulk food, and lots of my groceries still come from large supermarkets. However, it still helps to have a small part of your groceries be package-free by going to bulk food stores. One day I WILL come home with completely package-free groceries. Until then, if you’re able to snag just one or two things without disposing any plastic, it’s already a win!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 11.29.25 AM.png
Taylor’s grocery haul! See the original post here

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 11.31.52 AM.png
Rachael & Scott’s bulk haul! See the original post here


Material Swaps

There are so many things in my apartment that I can easily swap for that aren’t very environmental family and sustainable! Some examples include:

Paper towels โž™ Unpaper towels

We use so much paper towels at home because it’s just so easy and convenient to use them and then throw them away. Have you ever wondered how much waste you can reduce by using Unpaper towels instead? Unpaper towels are essentially the better alternative to paper towels! They can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and are sustainably made most of the time! You can even upcycle your old clothes/duvets to make some yourselves!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 11.48.05 AM.png
Credits to @avocadohandmade! See the original post here

Plastic Toothbrush โž™ Bamboo Toothbrush

Plastic toothbrushes cannot be recycles as “small parts of the toothbrush gets stuck in the machinery”, according to a 2019 National Geographic Article. So I’m opting for a bio-degradable bamboo toothbrush!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 11.56.19 AM.png
Credits to @plantedinthewoods! See the original post here

Plastic bags โž™ Reusable bags

This one’s a HUGE one! I am already bringing my own reusable bags and produce bags to go out, but it’d be great to have more of these in my basket rather than plastic. Produce bags are SO lightweight, so bringing them to grocery stores and weighing them should be no problem! All across Australia, customers tend to opt for self-check outs, which should be very convenient if you bring your own bags with you! Because the produce bags are so light, you do not have to worry about the tare weight! I use them all the time for buying fruits and vegetables. I love them so much!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.14.31 PM.png
Love this post from @stacysullivan_! See the original post here

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.18.19 PM.png
Beautiful post from @plantedinthewoods! See the original post here

When it comes to reusable bags, you can go for literally anything that isn’t easily disposable, yet durable enough to carry all your groceries. Some examples are tote bags, cotton string bags, and even backpacks!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.02.41 PM.png
Credits to @stacysullivan_! See the original post here

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 10.34.10 AM
Credits to @taylor.pforwords! See the original post here


Try more low-waste recipes!

There are SO many creative low-waste recipes out there that I’ve saved, and I’m hoping to try them out someday! These recipes have been tried and loved by so many, deeming them not just effective/delicious, but super cheap and low-waste!

Natural “Essential Oil”!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.25.36 PM.png
See the original post on Natural “Essential oil” using food scraps by @taylor.pforwords

Lime & Cilantro dressing!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.32.49 PM.png
See the original post on Lime + Cilantro recipe by @zeroquestpeople

DIY Dishwashing Tablets!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.41.14 PM.png
See the original post on DIY Dishwashing Tablets by @thebotanicalblendco

Nice Cream!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.27.45 PM.png
See the original post on Nice Cream recipe by @taylor.pforwords

Turmeric Golden Milk!

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.30.27 PM.png
See the original post on Turmeric golden milk recipe by @taylor.pforwords

3-step DIY Laundry Powder

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 12.22.23 PM.png
See the original post on 3-step DIY Laundry Powder by @mammarevolution. Her post was reposted by @thesourcebulkfood


Some of these transitions may initially come in a pretty penny, but they’re god for the environment and lasts a while! I sure am not going for all these swaps all at once, but at my own page (and maybe, just maybe, I might find some cheaper/more affordable alternatives on the way?). Bottom line, the intention and the mindset of living a more sustainable lifestyle is still there, so these swaps WILL happen.

Let me know if you guys enjoy this sort of content! I know it’s not a very common Cups and Thoughts post, but it’s something I am passionate about and would love to share with you all. I am more than happy to do more of these posts in the future if you guys enjoy them! I can do ones that reflect on reading and journaling. I think it would be very interesting!

Hope this was all helpful and insightful! I would love to know your thoughts down in the comment sections!

xx Cath

 

 

 

NEW Name + Blog!

catlogo-2

So in case you haven’t noticed… Bookishsmaug is now Cups and Thoughts!

I have been thinking of changing my handle for a while now, but I am very pedantic with these things, so it took me way longer than expected to come up with my brand new official blog name. I wanted to go for something that reflects my content (books, lifestyle, journaling), has a personal meaning to me and still sounds general and friendly enough to keep that ~Bookishsmaug essence~. I wanted to incorporate the word “cup” in my name, that was for sure. However I did not want a word that was too closely associated with books. The word “thoughts” was something I use in my day to day life. I use it when I read books, annotate them, take pictures, scroll through my gallery – you name it! Which is why it was perfect because “thoughts” can mean a bunch of things, namely to do with the content I put up all over my platform.

Hence, Cups and Thoughts was born!

Lots of people miss Bookishsmaug, and to be honest, I do too! The name holds so many memories for me. I spent almost five years with it, and letting go of the name was a really tough decision.

But, as I said earlier, I wanted a name with more meaning.

Often I receive compliments for my handle because it “has a nice ring” to it. It’s not a mouthful like Cups and Thoughts (though to be fair, Cups and Thoughts actually roll off your tongue quite nicely), and it’s got that literary reference that so many people are aware of.ย  However, you would be surprised to know that I am in fact not a fan of The Hobbit series. That is to say, I have never watched the films nor read any of the books.

So how and why did I go with the name Bookishsmaug in the first place?

Well, I was obsessed with the character Smaug at one point. I was twelve when the infamous BTS clips of Benedict Cumberbatch playing Smaug took over most of my evenings.

Yes, I was that obsessed.

I was indeed a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch. I watched Sherlock then and I grew fond of the actor, but my fondness only stretched so far. I didn’t even bother watching The Hobbit, and I was never intrigued by it anyway (even with Benedict’s portrayal as Smaug). But it all started from those clips! (if you haven’t already seen them, watch the long version of the clip here)

So there you go. I added the word “bookish” because my Instagram focus back then was solely on books. Honestly, I could’ve been more creative with my handle, but my Instagram was something I did purely for fun, and a Bookstagram account was all I wanted.

Five years later, I’m still here blogging about books. But beyond that (and I would have never expected this to happen), my account actually grew, and with the growth of my account comes my need for a community that felt more personal to me. So my content changed as well. I wanted to share more than just books with the people I interacted with on a daily basis. I shared snippets of my life, talked about my hobbies apart from reading, started this blog and so much more. I wanted to make sure that though the numbers grew, authenticity and engagement was still present.

But before I go on a tangent that talks about my Instagram journey (which could be explored in another blog post…?), I wanted to just say that, though 12 year old Cath took that leap of faith and brought Bookishsmaug to the Bookstagram world, today, Cups and Thoughts marks a fresh new start.

Cups and Thoughts will now focus on a wider variety of content, which may include things like sustainable living, more personal lifestyle content, and even food – all in addition to my main focuses on books and journaling.

I’m still getting used to the name myself, but I know for sure that change was necessary.

But as always, I’m open to all your thoughts and suggestions on what can be improved! Let me know what you would like to see more of ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to post more often on this new blog, so hit me up with your ideas!

I also want to thank all of you for all the tremendous love and support throughout this journey โค Cups and Thoughts now has 50K followers on Instagram! How insaaaane is that? Thank you, thank you! โค

Well then, I think that’s all for today’s post. Until next time!

Cath xx