My Coloring Therapy

I picked up this coloring book for adult during my last trip to Bali.

This is not my first coloring book and I highly recommended as a relaxing activity that can be practiced daily. I picked up this art therapy – it’s a therapy for me as it helps me relieve stress as I focus in the moment, it works for me and I’ve encouraged friends to try, but keep in mind it might not work for everyone – when I was living in the UK. Back then it was more of a Sunday, rainy day, hobby, where I get to let my inner little girl out, but I found myself picking my book up when I had a not so good day at work and this is when it became my way of meditating.

I have read a number of articles about coloring books for adults and coloring as a therapy. There are numerous people claiming coloring can be a stress relief, lower anxiety levels, train the brain to be more creative, and many more, you can read about them in 7 Reasons Adult Coloring Books Are Great for Your Mental, Emotional and Intellectual Health from the Huff Post. A number of researches have also been done on coloring for adult and it does seem to support that it can reduce anxiety, however do keep in coloring can be therapeutic, but doesn’t replace therapy! Do try it! There’s no need to old school like me, there are thousands of printable free coloring sheets online that can be downloaded from Crayola, Faber-Castell and Just Color!

Comment below to let me know what is your art favourite art therapy!

-xoxo-

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Types of Friends You (Will) Have in a Lifetime

I’ve been really excited and looking forward to this week because my childhood friend and all time best friend is coming to visit me in Hong Kong. We actually haven’t been able to see each other very often since I moved away, but every time we see each other it’s like we’ve never been apart. We started reminiscing about the good old times, friendships and new friendships… And this is what we came up with:

  • your work bff: this is your go to person for coffee breaks, afternoon cookie sharing and bathroom gossips. You message them discretely to tell them how you can’t stop yarning in your meeting and how you really are looking forward to Friday. This is also one of the decisive person you consult to determine what to wear for office parties.
  • the friend who can party: yes we all have one, or a few. You probably never met them sober for more than 20 mins, you can count on them to be out or wingman you out! You’ve known them forever, and knows probably too much details from certain areas of their lives and they yours, but you know you both are in a safe place 😉
  • the one you always make plans with but never hang out: they are cool people, you met them perhaps at this social event or a party, you exchanged contact and loved the idea of continuing your conversation, but somehow never find a good time. You know what I’m talking about.
  • the out of town high school/college bff who know everything about you and you talk regularly if not daily: there’s no need for further description, they support you the best, they <3 comment all your insta pictures.
  • friends of your friends (or possibly your other half’s friends): I only referring to the cool ones whose makes you smile when you ask “who else is attending?” You have them on insta and fb, but never bother making plans, cause they are someone else’s click.
  • your childhood (best) friend(s): your bridesmaid(s), sister from another mother, wifey on social media, you name it!

<3

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2 Simple Steps to Get Where You Want to Be In Life

A week ago I got contacted by a friend of mine back in high school. It’s been over 10 year now, and I must say it did bring some memories. I’ve mentioned this to one of my best friend (who also was from the same high school) and we started talking about where we are now, the things we’ve accomplished since.

Both of us are currently in a good place, but nowhere close to what we “predicted” for ourselves over 10 years ago. Yes we did achieve a number of things we did, but we also took very different paths we thought we would. And the reason for this is simple, we were young and we ride along life by taking constant challenges, and opportunities to learn, which is a great thing, but we both felt that in another decade we want to look back and say proudly that we accomplish what we strive to accomplish and even more. How can we do this?

(It is important to mention that when this conversation happened, I was still in the “riding along with what life brings me state of mind, but not for my best friend. He already took the time to think and set his goals.) I realise how I got myself caught in the “how do I close my current project at work”, “what’s going to be the next project that’s going to add value and get myself a promotion”, “where am I going for my next holiday”… life race. This is a very stable way of life, but in this millennial frenzy and pressure to grow exponentially, I actually didn’t have the time to think of what I really wanted to accomplish in the next 10, 20 years. What was important and where I really should allow myself to have a breather.

So here the exercise he made me do:

Step 1

  • Make a list of things you want to do or accomplish in the coming 10 years.
  • Set specific timelines for each and every of those items
  • Start doing things on your list now

Step 2

  • Share this list with someone who is in your life for the long haul (family, friends or significant other). They do not have to do the same exercise, but it’s great if they want to.
  • Set catch up session every 3 to 6 months (doesn’t have to be long or formal) it can be a coffee or if like me you’re not living in the same country, facebook call or message does the job as well!
  • Put recurrent alerts in your calendar already

Listing is the easy part, it’s really when you have to give it a hard timeline that it gets hard. Setting a deadline actually forces you to this about the process (time it will take you, realistically, to get there). It also puts everything on that list on perspective, some projects are more ambitious and will take more time, which will push you to reconsider your priorities.

The exercise took me less than an hour, but do feel free to give yourself a couple of weeks (or as long as you need, but set a deadline for yourself) to properly think, but since I feel a lot happier in my daily life, because it allows me to be more focused (brush away any negative energy easily because I’m in it for the long run). It’s OK if one of my projects gets delayed because of something unforeseen, because the goal is something I need to constantly work and improve over 10 year. You wind some you loose some, every every now and then and that’s fine. Rome was not build in 1 day.

– xoxo –

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El Nido A Snorkeling Paradise + A Few Things You Probably Need To Know

El Nido was one nice little surprise! We booked an extended weekend get away on the famous Philippines island of Palawan without much research I must admit. For those who came across my previous posts 5 days in paradise & 2 potential cyclones this comes with no surprise as I’m quite the last minute traveler, and planning is definitely not my forte! I did hear from friends that Palawan was beautiful, but let’s say that I did not expect just how breath taking the undisturbed lagoons and private beaches would be. No wonder it was voted #3 in Condé Nast Traveler out of 25 best island beaches for swimming and snorkeling!

We stayed 4 nights and roughly 4 days (minus the travel time), which was just enough time for me! We booked 2 almost full day tours and spend our free time exploring nearby beaches.

For the tours there are 4 main ones: A, B, C & D! Easy to remember right! A was the most popular one (and probably the most instagrammed one too :P) so we opted for this tour on our first day. The big and small lagoons were beautiful, and we did some snorkeling in between, which was nice. However, what really took us by surprise was the tour C. (We decided on the tour C, because it was the one recommended from Lonely Planet, and friends.) The scenery was as breath taking as in tour A, but it was a lot quieter.The water was so clear and the islands close to virgin! We had the chance to see from pretty close coral, fish and starfish of all shapes and colors. We were lucky and came across a family of Nemo (clown fish) and bumped into a couple sea turtles. Simply amazing. Note that a lot of snorkeling spots were in pretty shallow water, so for the ones who don’t feel comfortable hanging out too long in deep water, it’s perfect too!

In the area of El Nido

There are a few beautiful beaches accessible 10-15 mins in tricycle (cost around 100-150 pesos, depending on your luck or negotiation skill :P)! We went to Las Cabañas. There are a number of really nice beach bars and restaurants with swings instead of stools, and there are a number of relax beach activities like kayaking and paddle. You can walk all the way to the Las Cabañas beach resort on the far end, end from there you have access by foot to Depeldet Island, where you can do zip lining.

Private beach dining

Although there are a number of cute restaurants, and cute restaurants on the beach, if you feel in the mood for some memorable romance, you can book a private beach dinner. A private boat will come pick you up right before sunset and take you to an island with a private beach, where you and your love one can enjoy a romantic dinner surrounded by candles on the beach. You won’t find those in travel tours or online bookings, but your resort will know. What you need to do: contact your hotel or resort and they will help you organise a nice evening. You will be able to pay either online or either cash when you get there!

A few other things you need to know

Before you go on ad plan your next beach escape, snorkeling tours and the private romantic dinners, here are a few things you need to know before going to El Nido!

1. El Nido is not cheap. Compared to Cebu and other areas in the Philippines, El Nido is a mainly touristic place. You would roughly need to prepare extra budget. The ride from the airport cost 350 pesos, any main course will cost around 300 pesos (a full meal – starter, wine desserts would cost around 1000 per person). Lunch is inclueded in the tours, but there are a number of extras for the activities, 400 if you want to kayak and 80 for a beer 50 – 70 for a coconut.

2. The other thing is there is about 1 ATM in the whole area, and most places only accept cash, so make you come prepared. If you do run out of cash, and the ATM is empty (which happens fairly often apparently), here’s a work around: a lot of the spas and tours will accept car payment with a 7% charge, and you can negotiate to get cash back when you pay for your tour/or massage. You can get 2000-5000 (which would last you 1-2 days comfortable) depending on their available cash on hand.

3. People live on island time, which means be patient. A tour starting at 9am might very well start at 10am and a private boat coming to pick you up at your resort at 6pm might just mean whenever the captain can, which is 7:15pm. But hey when this happens just remember you’re on holidays and in one of the most paradisiac place on earth! Lucky you!

4. Ecological tax is a 200 peso tax you need to pay if you want to do island hoping, and will last for 10 days. The only thing is you need to make sure to get the receipt or the number the first time (we didn’t know for our first tour.. don’t make the same mistakes as us!)

5. Medical, there are no pharmacies and not hospitals close, nothing will probably happen, but it’s worth bringing some ointment and over the counter painkillers.

6. Buy a waterproof bag before going on a tour, it’s necessary and you can find it pretty much everywhere in every size!

– xoxo –

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48 Hours in Tokyo

I’ve always dreamed of traveling to Japan, and Tokyo was the classic place to start!

As you probably know, there’s no one more last minute than me when it comes to booking a holiday, however, I really wanted to experience the cherry blossoms, so this time it needed a little bit of coordination. On top of not excelling at planning, I usually also do not like to have a very charged and pre-laid out schedule (I like to wander around, and let the local culture I encounter guide me, which has always taken me to amazing places :). However, what you need to know is that Tokyo is a very big city and Taxis are the most expensive in the world. We only had 4 full days in the city and wanted to make the most of it, so I agreed to some planning! 2 days on a schedule to be exact!

Here’s my recommendation for 48 hours in Tokyo and how to make most of the touristic must!

First 24 Hours

  • Tsukiji Fish Market: We really wanted to see this legendary fish market, where the world’s best Tuna are auctioned, but what we didn’t know is that there is an extension of the market where you have small sushi restaurants and various other fresh Japanese product for sale. We already grabbed breakfast at the hotel, which was honestly very good (we stayed at Hotel The Celestine), but I would recommend holding your hunger a bit and have your breakfast at the market before walking around the endless display of fresh products from the sea.
  • Midori Sushi Ginza: This place came highly recommended from a friend who has been living in Tokyo for a couple of years (trip advisor link here). There’s usually a 30 min to 1hour waiting queue, but it’s worth the wait! The area is busy and the new Godzilla Statue is located 5 mins walking from the restaurant, so you can explore during the queuing time.
  • Imperial Palace: The area around Chiyoda is absolutely beautiful, and it’s perfect for a digestif walk! If you are in season you’ll be able to catch the magnificent Sakura (cherry blossoms), otherwise, the area is still very impressive with century-old trees all around. You can rent a little boat, and ride around the palace. I’m not sure if this was romantic, but it was definitely fun!
  • Orchard Bar Ginza: This also came as a recommendation, and the cocktails are absolutely amazing!

To 48 Hours

  • Mochi for breakfastOiwake Dango: Mochis are made of sticky rice filled with all kind of sweet paste, green tea, strawberry, red bean, etc.) If you have never tasted it, it’s a must! It does taste a bit sticky and strange at first, but it gets really addicting! You can also take a few to go to enjoy for the next stop!
  • Shinjuku Park: One of the prettiest park I’ve had the chance to stroll around! If you’re in the park for the sakura season, the view is absolutely mesmerizing! Note that there is an entry fee and the park closes at 5 pm*
  • T’s Tantan – Vegan Ramen: This place was absolutely delicious! I’m usually not the biggest ramen fan, as I don’t each much pork and I try to trade as many products for an animal-free alternative. I had the black sesame base and drank every drop of soup from that bowl! Yummy! Note, it’s not the easiest place to find as it’s located in Tokyo station, but Japanese people are very nice and we asked the shops around and they were very happy to point us towards the restaurant 🙂
  • Shopping in Shibuya: You’ve most probably heard or seen in documentaries and movie the Shibuya crossing. It’s a bit underwhelming,  but it was a Tokyo Must! The energy was quite vibrant and did some shopping in the quite fun boutiques, which was very nice! We ended the day with a nice cold Asahi! Happy day!

I can definitely see why Tokyo is one of the world’s most coveted cities to travel in the world! Absolutely recommend, and i think the cherry blossoms are worth the planning!

– xoxo –

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Cayenne Pepper Lemon Detox – Get Your Beachbody Ready!

It’s March ladies, Beachbody season is coming fast! If you’re like me and have been holding on to the little Christmas and New Years party weight until spring, then this lighter version of the Master Cleanse is perfect to kick-start your healthy lifestyle again!

I’m quite familiar with the Master Cleanse and have done it a number of times over the past years, and it works. There are a few reasons why I’ve come up with a lighter version of this formula, that I do on a seasonal basis. I like this modified detox regime because:

  • I don’t have to worry about losing muscle mass;
  • I Can maintain my daily activity without feeling a lack of energy;
  • It can be easily incorporated into my busy work schedule.

*Note that the above are things I have personally experienced when I was on the Master Cleanse. Everyone might experience slightly different experiences based on your existing health conditions and how one eased in the Cleanse.

The recipe (for 1 unit intake)

  • Half a lemon’s juice (freshly squeezed), ~ 2 tablespoons +
  • 2 tablespoons of Grade A maple syrup +
  • A dash of Cayenne pepper powder ~ 1/5 of a teaspoon +
  • 120 ml of purified spring water.

The detox lasts in total 7 days.

Day 1 & 2: Easing In

This is very very, did I say very? important to the detox! Before starting the cayenne pepper lemon detox, the body needs to be prepared. 2 days prior to the detox, remove all processed food intake. On the first day, I replace my meals with fresh juices (with no added sugars), soups, congee and cooked vegetables. The second day I try to limit my intake to only lighter soups (broth and fresh fruit juices).

Day 3 & 4: Detox

For those 2 days (you can increase this up to 10 days but from personal experience I wouldn’t recommend more than 7 days) , stick to only drinking the above recipe, you can have up to 12 unit intakes per day. I like to schedule those 2 days on weekend days so it’s easier 🙂

Day 5 & 6: Easing Out

You’re body probably feeling much freer by now, and probably pretty proud (and you should be, give yourself a little clap!), but just hold off on the sushi for another couple of days! Same as easing in, on the first day introduce fresh juices and light soups. then you can add some solid food like vegetables and fruits on the second.

You can repeat this fairly often, do give yourself at least week break in between (make sure you’re having a healthy and sensible diet). You’d be surprised at the amount of waste you’re carrying in your body. Each time I personally loose around 1 to 1.5 kilos, but some of my friends have experienced slightly more!

Would love to hear about your detox experience!

– xoxo –

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Hong Kong’s Egg Puffs – The Absolute Yumms You Need to Spice The Weekend Up

For those of you who haven’t heard about it, egg puffs or eggettes are egg waffles popular in Hong Kong and Macau, and one of my most loved after work and weekend stroll indulgence! 😛 You can imagine my excitement when a new Mammy Pancake opened right next to my flat. They are already quite known and are hardly in need of publicity (as the average waiting time is more than 15 minutes :o). Note that there are quite a lot of known egg puff places in HK and you can find the classic flavor in most of those. Here I’m only going to talk about my personal 2 favorites, and why you should stop by if you haven’t already!

Mammy Pancake: Like the name says it, it’s pure pancakes, egg puffs forms, OG waffles, you name it they have it and they have it in every flavor you can possibly imagine – they also have a really good selection of salty ones for those who prefer salty treats. They are also quite reasonably priced (for HK). The only downside is their queue, but hey, I’m willing to wait for a little for the warm and fresh stuff!

Oddies: As it gets pretty warm in HK pretty much at least for 8 months of the years, freshly made warm waffles might be the treat you had in mind after a cold scoop of sorbet or ice cream. Well, no need to make compromises, as Oddies gives you both! You get to pick your egg puff flavor and the ice cream or sorbet of your choice and they will top that up with old school type chocolate and vanilla softies. They might not have as many waffle flavors, but you will be more than satisfied with all the ice cream and sorbet flavors! Absolute Yumms!

What are your favorite treats and weekend indulgences? and if you’re in HK & have the time to try, let me know what you think!

– xoxo –

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I Tried Bike Sharing to Work for a Week… And Here’s Why You Should Too!

Taipei center area is pretty flat, and there are bicycle paths on pretty much all major roads, which makes it perfect for biking around 😀 So I did take the challenge to cycle to work and back to my hotel for a week… And here’s my experience!

Day 1

I have to say I’ve downloaded the o.bike app and tried it for 2 short trips (depending on your region, you might have ofo, mobike and other options to choose from, the bicycles are different you might prefer one modele to another, make sure you try a few before commiting to a top up) – to brunch and back in Da’an district – to make sure I reduce as much friction (morning stress) as possible.

The ride to work: There were no available bikes where the app actually said there was. Off to a great start! I decided to walk a bit and found 2 bikes, which both failed to unlock. Ended up walking for 10 mins, to finally find one. The bike was in questionable condition and very hard to cycle because I was already behind schedule, I decided to tough it out like a big girl instead of trying my luck again.

By the time I got to work I was sweaty, unusually stressed and hungry again, even though I did have a decent English style breakfast + fruits. It took me almost an hour door 2 door (40 mins of cycling).

The ride back: Much smoother, I found myself a well-maintained bicycle on the first try! Yay! The ride was much less smooth. It was around 7 pm and I found myself cycling at the heart of rush hour in the busiest area in Taiwan. I had to be extra alert and juggle around scooters, people getting off busses right on the cycling path, busy people with no intention of wasting a second to let you pass and unaware people strolling on the cycling path. Stressful.

Mental note for day 2: prepare a relaxing playlist for the trip.

Day 2

The ride to work: I found the same bike I use to get back the day before, the exact same place I left it. 😀 Small win. I was much more familiar with the route, therefore did not check my phone at every red light I encountered, and was able to listen to my #morningmotivation playlist without interruptions! Only thing: my butt did hurt from sitting on the bike.

I was still sweaty and still hungry (even though I’ve increased my breakfast intake by a small croissant), by the time I got to the office. Mental note to bring a change of top for tomorrow.

The ride back: Was able to manage the “after work franticness” and even stopped at a small street stall to pick up some warm chestnuts. Eating while cycling is quite challenging… had to wait until I got back to the hotel… still warm and good!

Day 3

The ride to work: Had a LBD (little black dress for those who need some more reasons to wear black) on. Did not think this through – Mental note: make sure I only wear sumo squats friendly outfits. The champion cycling athlete that I am also managed rip my pantyhose (tights for the rest of you :P) thank god there’s a 7-Eleven at pretty much every block in Taipei!

The ride back: Got almost hit… by a young and handsome pedestrian. Everything good otherwise.

Day 4

The ride to work: I felt confident enough to almost take a tiny shortcut, but changed my mind last minute (for those who knows me, orientation is… well let’s say I have other qualities). Bumped into colleagues in front of the office, and they were pretty impressed. Felt good.

The ride back: Felt a few raindrops mid-route, but it was a false alert. Mental note to pre-check the weather forecast, I must say I was one lucky bird so far.

Last Day

The ride to work (There was no ride back because I took a cab directly after work, making a stop at the Howard Plaza on my way to the airport – Back to Hong Kong!) was fully under control and barely broke a sweat. Winning #ladyboss

Why you should try it too and adopt it into your routine a couple of times a week:

Let me know (comment below) what else you think I should try next as part of my daily routine!

– xoxo –

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Traditional Taiwanese Breakfast + Weekend Flower Market

One of my favorite things to do in Taipei is breakfast. Yes, it’s a thing.

Taiwanese people definitely know their food. With their famous night markets, countless local delight restaurant and desserts shops, Taipei is definitely on my list of top destinations for good eats! One of my 2 favorite foodie pleasures is traditional Taiwanese breakfasts & Bubble Teas.

As you probably guess, there are quite a number of famous traditional breakfast places, but I chose Yong He Soy Milk King – 永和豆浆大王 or simply known as Soy Milk King because they have a great variety, it’s very reasonably priced and their crispy sesame pancakes alone is worth the trip (the best after a night out :P)!

Here’s their full menu (they do have an English and Japanese one :D)

Love love watching the cook’s expert hands work on those delicious treats!

  

Absolute Yumms!

After this fulfilling breakfast, the Jian Guo Weekend Flower Market – is just over 10 minutes walk from Soy Milk King. Ths market has something for every taste – peonies to cactus and even Siamese fighting fish – the Jian Guo flower market offers quite an impressive sight. Plus for the bloggers and photographers out there, it is the perfect scenery for amazing pictures.

Just the breakfast and flower market is worth the weekend trip to Taipei! Let me know what’s your favorite weekend morning stroll <3

– xoxo –

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It Only Took Me 8 Years To Start A Blog…

It took me frankly over 8 years to finally start my blog. Just wanted to share this with all of you who are thinking of taking the plunge! By all means, this is not a post on how to start a blog in 2018 – Judging on the 8 years, I am certainly not the best example to follow when it comes to planning on starting up, bloggingbasics101 does a much better job!

I’ve always loved Fashion (most of us do!) Highschool and college were years spent dressing up and discovering my style. Selfies, Snapchats, Instagram, etc. were not yet “a thing” (Although this is no excuse for me waiting all this time). The early bird internet fashionistas started their bloglovin spaces, and it was quite cool. So I of course after doing some thorough research (clicks through other people’s pretty pages) I decided to give it a go.

The 1st attempt (1st year of my journey to extrachilliplease): It was brief and I was naive. I learned quickly that it was quick and easy to set up a blog, but I haven’t given that much thought to personal branding and content. This was no Myspace (for those of you who can relate). I had a very nice teal blue background with some artsy fonts, but that was pretty much it.

I figure that I needed to produce some pretty amazing picture content, so I went out to get a good camera and looked into taking some online photography tutorials. After some hours spent practicing, and some serious thoughts on the blog theme, I gave it a second attempt. This time I decided to focus on street fashion and travel. I was traveling quite a bit with my family and leveraged a holiday in Hawaii to start. I learned very fast that it was very time consuming, and somewhat not so easy to capture Vogue style street fashion moments. I did take quite an impressive number of mediocre pictures.

Sometimes after sinking quite a good sum of money in a good camera, I learned that a mutual friend was making websites on the side. So naturally, I approached him. He thought me how I could use design tools to produce images and use online picture banks, so I can focus on writing. This 3rd attempt was frankly quite fun, but we had conflicting schedules, and I found myself procrastinating without him. Eventually, this project faded away.

A good friend of my in uni – the kind who is super creative, always have 10 projects going on at the same time – showed me how he started his own gig selling jewelry online, and he was using Instagram as a marketing tool. I shared with him my interest in starting a fashion blog and he offered to help. This 4th attempt was truly fun, and armed me with one pretty good Instagram portfolio! Senior truly became busy with parties, recoveries and final. The number of Instagram likes was pretty flattering, but still nowhere close to a blog.

Sharing my potential future fashion blogging hobby with a boyfriend who had a web + marketing solutions company turned out to generate a lot more interest than I expected. We started together somethingcharlie.com (long gone). Once again I was naive and we both quickly found out that keeping up with the by then full-time online bloggers was a real challenge. This collaboration and my 5th attempt went on for a decent period of time but didn’t last.

Over a cocktail night at a friends place, I met Lara, she was just a ton of energy and I’ve learned she studied journalism and was working for an online fashion brand. She showed me this blog she was hosting and some articles she wrote about traveling and life in general. It didn’t take long before we started meeting regularly and started building hypebunny.com – hence the shoot with the bunny mask. We were really good, but we were also 2 young career women who thought of this project as a hobby.

Two years went by, after 6 attempts, I knew by then a blog was pretty time consuming, and time was always a luxury.

Until a few months back. Something happened in my personal life and it really made me rethink myself. The kind of life-changing event that makes you take a step back (it sounds cheesy, but you know). Since I’ve made some pretty drastic changes and have finally decided to make the time for things that make me happy in life. That’s right blogging was one of them 🙂 Although I am still learning every day to juggle a busy job, family, friends, working out and still finding time for the right now “still very in need of content” “Fashion” section of extrachilliplease, I can honestly say this has been fulfilling a part of me that was always missing.

If like me you always wanted to start something (what passionates you? leave your comment below), please please do not follow my “over 8 years” + 6 failed attempts footsteps! Do it now and you’ll find a way to make it work. It won’t always be easy, but it will be fulfilling I can guarantee you that!

Charlie

– xoxo –

 

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