Chrome Extensions I Find Useful

Inspired by Rowena Tsai’s video (I’ll link her video at the end of this post) on the Chrome extensions she finds useful, I decided to take a look at my own extensions and how I use them to boost my productivity. Now, I realize that this blog post might be a bit niche but as someone who is constantly using her laptop for all kinds of things; university, this blog, writing and reading, I like geeking out about things that make my laptop work better. So while I learnt about a couple of extensions from Rowena which I began enjoying as of late, I am not going to talk about those because I don’t have a well-developed impression of them.

The first extension I find useful is Grammarly. I have been using this extension for a while now since college actually. I have always been proud of my spelling and grammar, especially because English is not my first language, however, we all make mistakes and as someone who studies literature and whose passion is writing stories, Grammarly is so helpful. Grammarly is an extension which corrects your spelling and grammar mistakes and tells you why your original text is wrong.

The second extension I find useful is Forest. Forest is an extension that blocks sites you don’t want to utilise (such as YouTube, Netflix, Twitch, etc.) for a specified amount of time. When the timer goes off you have a pretty tree in your little garden and coins which you can spend on more pretty trees. If you decide to use the sites that cause you to get distracted anyway, you tree dies and leaves an ugly dead tree in your little garden. This is especially useful for me when I’m reading for my classes, writing assignments and writing for my stories. Whenever I run out of ideas for my stories or the reading material is giving me a headache, I immediately run to YouTube so this extension is super useful to keep me focused and on track.

The third extension I find useful is AdBlock which is pretty self-explanatory. I personally find it hard focusing on articles I’m reading and even when I watch videos because ads are constantly blinking in my face. Not to mention all the ‘indecent’ ads that pop out of nowhere.

Lastly, the extension I’ve had for the longest time is Momentum. I don’t really use this one is for productivity reason but rather because it looks nicer than the usual Google search bar and all the bookmarks under it. It also has a to-do list and really beautiful pictures so that’s a bonus!

So here it is, my favourite Chrome extensions! I hope you found these useful or even just a little interesting. Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post!

What are your favourite Chrome extensions, do you even use extensions?

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE< CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER MADE THEM!)

Using YouTube for Escapism + 3 Favourite Youtubers

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          Like many other people, I too, am obsessed with YouTube. It started sometime in 2011, this obsession of mine and changed slightly over the years. I am the kind of person who is so awfully aware of everything I do and why I do it so I realized that the reason why I started watching YouTube back in 2011 was because it was so new and interesting, the connection between creator and viewer seemed personal. Then every YouTuber and their mother started putting out merch, they started doing weird tags and challenges and there was no creativity on YouTube anymore. Of course, I don’t really mind or care that these YouTubers turned their channels into businesses, everybody has to make money, but personally, I am not a big fan of tag videos or the Q&A format. But the more I watched YouTube the more I grew accustomed to this content and started watching it mindlessly. Watching the same content over and over made it easy for my brain to switch off and use YouTube as a form of escapism. It was no longer relatable, just a way for me to stop thinking for a damn minute.

          Again, I am a very painfully aware person. I know I use media as a form of escapism and that it really doesn’t do much good for my mental health, but that’s the fun part of being a teenager/young adult, I grew up mindlessly watching content I didn’t care for without realizing that this is a habit that will be so hard to kick. I started being interested in the idea of self-improvement back in college. I was having a hard time focusing and being generally happy and I just wanted to feel good about myself for once so of course, I went to YouTube. I looked up basic words like self-care and self-improvement and I spent hours, days and weeks just mindlessly watching these videos. They were different from what I was used to, British YouTubers doing absolutely nothing but showing off. These videos were inspirational and made me want to become better, but as I said earlier, using YouTube as a form of escapism is a habit that’s very hard to kick. I had to actively think about my reasons for watching these inspirational videos and motivate myself to get up and put them into practice.

          I’m not going to lie and say I completely changed. I didn’t, I still watched YouTube mindlessly (I binge watched Dan and Phil’s Undertale series at least 10 times, not to mention all the Sims 4 let’s plays I’m still obsessed with) and I will probably always do that to some extent. But at the same time, I learnt to take a step back and spend some time in the present. I started following YouTubers whos content matched my goals and slowly started changing my routines, habits and outlook for the better.

          Without further ado, these are my three (current) favourite YouTubers. I will link all their channels at the end of this post.

Kalyn Nicholson

          Kalyn was one of the first lifestyle YouTubers I followed back in college and I can safely say that she honestly changed my life for the better. At first, I watched her content because I was desperate for a change but slowly came to love her personality and her outlook on life. She began changing her content last year and now makes videos on spirituality, being happy yet she still makes those lifestyle videos I originally fell in love with. She makes videos like ‘coffee talks’ (as videos and podcasts) which are basically advice videos, rosé rambles where she talks honestly about her life, GYST videos which are basically videos of her getting her sh*t together and so many more. She makes me want to travel and allow myself to be in touch with my spirituality. 

          Content: Lifestyle, spirituality, personal development

Rowena Tsai

          I started watching Rowena sometime last year when I was going through a slump. As I do, I found one of her videos in my recommended section and I completely fell in love with her message. She’s not militant, in fact, I like how she’s not afraid of her own slumps yet she always gets back up. Rowena is that person who’s videos I can watch and they instantly make me feel less shitty about myself. Plus her voice is very calming.

          Content: Self-care, personal development, life advice

Madeleine Olivia

          Madeleine’s videos are my latest obsession. I started watching her two months ago when I went fully vegan and I haven’t stopped since. Madeleine’s videos focus on veganism made easy, minimalism, self-care and living an ethical life. Basically all the things I aspire to be good at. She helped me a lot in feeling more comfortable as a vegan, I don’t cook very well but she made everything so easy. I have also started watching her minimalism series and while I really like the idea, I am also a bit of a maximalist (is that even a thing?)

          Content: Veganism, Minimalism, Ethical Living

          So here it is, an explanation of how I used YouTube and social media as a form of escapism and how I’m working on changing that as well as my top three favourite YouTubers. Feel free to let know who your favourite YouTubers are and make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of my seven favourites Monsta X songs. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day!

          With love,

          Sonny xx

 

Kalyn Nicholson’s Channel

Rowena Tsai’s Channel

Madeleine Olivia’s Channel

 

 

Top 7 Songs: SHINee

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          As I have mentioned before, SHINee was the first kpop group I truly fell in love with. I’ve been following these boys for the past six years and I have never lost my infatuation with them and their music. They started out as trendsetters and remained that way until today and I really like that about them. SHINee’s music is interesting and fun and sometimes really deep. I think my favourite album of theirs has to be The Misconceptions of Me album.

          Without further ado, here are my favourite SHINee songs:

SHINee – Stand by Me

SHINee – Your Name

SHINee – Obsession

SHINee – JoJo

SHINee – Replay

SHINee – Honesty

SHINee – The Reason

Bonus

SHINee – Girls, Girls, Girls

SHINee – Evil

SHINee – Fire

          So here it is, a list of all my favourite SHINee songs. Granted, I don’t like all of their songs and some of them I don’t like enough to include here but I am really happy with this list nonetheless. I think it’s a great representation of what SHINee has been able to accomplish with their concepts and their lovely vocals. Let me know your favourite SHINee songs and if you don’t know them, let me know if you’re interested in them after reading this list! Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to read my last blog post which is my fourth and last instalment in my back to school, study tips series Slytherin edition.

          With love,

          Sonny xx

(videos and photos are NOT mine, credit goes to their makers!)

Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Slytherin

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Hi and welcome to the last instalment of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series. This time around I’m going to talk about my own house (once again sounding way too geeky) which is the house of Draco Malfoy and Merlin himself. Slytherins are known to be resourceful, fraternal and careful. We’re brave but smart at the same time so we’re good at discerning when it’s worth being brave and when it’s not. I genuinely do think that Slytherins are a mixture of all the other houses.

In this post, I am going to talk about ways in which a Slytherin (and anyone else, really) can use any means to achieve their ends.

Slytherin

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Resourceful

Fraternity

Preservation

Use any means

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My first tip is to use any method that is useful to you. Everybody learns things differently and so making use of different resources will not only allow you to discern which study method works best for you but it will also allow you to gather more information and get a deeper understanding of the subject you’re learning. You can do this by trying out different learning styles such as mind-maps, reading out loud or teaching the material to other people or simply by using your school’s library. I personally like to use websites like JSTOR which is a digital library created in 1995 which I can access through my school’s website. I also use ebooks and articles I find in my school’s library and by using all these sources I can make sure my notes are extensive and detailed.

Work with others

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This is where the idea of fraternity comes into play. Slytherins are mostly seen as selfish and mean but I genuinely think that’s because nobody really likes Slytherin. It’s a mode of self-preservation, I presume. However, I think that the fraternity within the Slytherin house is a very strong one and so I imagine in the Harry Potter books groups of Slytherins studying together in the common room until the early hours of the morning. I think that working with others is useful because it allows people to share information and further solidify their learning by teaching the material to others.

Take care of yourself

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Self-care is such an important thing and a lot of people either forget about it or don’t do it properly. Self-care won’t work if you’re not in the right headspace for it – you can put on a face mask and soak in a bubble bath but if your head is swarming with anxieties and worries, well, you’re not getting the best out of your self-care routine. To me, self-care means ridding myself of all worries and just caring for my physical and mental health. I have an entire list of self-care activities which you can check out *here*. Some of the ways I practice self-care are things such as meditating, walking outside without listening to music (I always have my earphones in my ears so this is a big improvement for me), tarot reading and working on my bullet journal/kpop journal. These activities are awesome because they allow me to rid myself of everyday stressors and just live in the moment, something I struggle with.

So here it is! The last part of my back to school study tips. I had so much fun writing this mini-series so thank you for reading and I really hope the tips are useful! Feel free to let me know how you study and what works for you. Also, make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of all the TV/literature tropes I hate.

With love,

Sonny xx

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Worst TV/Literature Tropes

trope (n)

1 A figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.

‘both clothes and illness became tropes for new attitudes toward the self’
‘my sense that philosophy has become barren is a recurrent trope of modern philosophy’
‘perhaps it is a mistake to use tropes and parallels in this eminently unpoetic age’
1.1 A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
‘she uses the Eucharist as a pictorial trope’ Source

As we have already established, I am a big book person. I love books, I love reading and I love ingesting stories. It’s a form of escapism for me. I feel the same way about TV shows – I get to know unique characters that I can relate to or learn from, I get to understand someone else’s mind and how they work as a person through the way they wrote the book/script for the TV show. I just love it.

What I don’t love, is when that source of escapism is tainted by bad tropes. It ruins everything, the stories, the characters and the entire universe that has been built. I think that’s definitely one of the reasons why I’m so picky with the way I consume any type of media. I’m selective about the books I read, I never liked those cheesy romance novels, about the shows I watch (I don’t like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones) and I even do that with anime! I’m so particular about the things I don’t like because it helps me pick and choose what to spend my time on (and my energy, let’s be honest).

The first trope I hate is the best friends turned lovers trope. I hate how unrealistic it is, how it doesn’t let our main girl, because let’s be honest, it’s usually the girl who ends up crawling back to her childhood best friend, grow into the person she can be. I believe this trope is a comfortable way for an author to write a novel which a lot of people will enjoy. It’s all about comfort, about being secure and not stepping out of the comfort zone. People find it easier to digest a story about a girl who’s infatuated with two boys but in the end chooses the childhood best friend because it’s easy. She doesn’t have to get to know this new guy, she doesn’t have to see if it’s going to work or not because it’s safer to go with the comfortable choice, even though that choice might not be a good one. Urgh, this trope pisses me off so much that I could write an entire essay about it.

The second trope that I hate is diversity for the sake of diversity. We are in 2018, we live in a *mostly* diverse world, in a global world, but some authors still choose to stick to one type of character (the white cis heterosexual male/female). When they do choose to write diverse characters, they don’t write them because these characters are just that, humans experiencing the contents of the plot, but because that’s what’s expected in 2018. I really dislike this because even though it is 2018, a lot of people still can’t relate to the characters they read about/watch on screen. Everyone wants to feel represented, to feel heard, to not feel invisible. And so when so many books and TV shows attempt to be diverse, it almost always comes across as disingenuous. These diverse characters never get a normal plot of their own, their stories almost always revolve around their diversity. The LGBTQ+ character’s story is almost always about their struggle as an LGBTQ+ character, they’re rarely just people with a different sexual preference. This trope is so disappointing, even though we are making a lot of good progress, it’s really not enough.

The third trope I hate is the 1000-year-old monster dating a 17-year-old girl. I have to preface this by saying that I have read these types of books and I have watched TV shows that revolve around this trope (Twilight, Vampire Diaries) and came to find this trope creepy. I understand why it’s the way it is. People are dreamers, they want the impossible, they want to feel unique and adventurous and what’s more adventurous than vampires and beasts and zombies? The part that I don’t understand is, why do they have to be so damn old? How is it normal for a 200-year-old vampire to pursue a high school girl? Would people be alright with this trope if the love interest wasn’t a vampire and was just a plain old guy? Of course they wouldn’t because it’s gross! Just because the 200-year-old vampire looks like a 25-year-old student, it doesn’t make the situation better – it makes it worse.

Lastly, I hate the plain-jane trope. Writing characters for the sake of relatability is such an overused trope, especially in YA, that I can’t even begin to describe how much I hate it. It doesn’t necessarily stop me from reading the novel because when it happens I tend to focus on the story rather than the character, but at the same time, I believe that a story is incomplete without a good, well-rounded character. Women are always written either as the blonde bimbo who sleeps around a lot, the geeky girl or simply, with no personality because it allows people to insert themselves into the story. If the author writes a story where the main character is very detailed and real, people who haven’t found themselves yet cannot relate therefore the book doesn’t sell. It’s as simple as that. The male characters don’t get it any easier though. It’s always the nice guy who’s not really nice, the geeky guy who can’t get the hot girl and when he does he doesn’t change at all (but when the geeky girl gets the popular guy she has to change completely) or the mindless hunk who can get any girl but somehow falls in love with the geeky girl.

While I don’t like these tropes (and many others, I might make a second post), it doesn’t mean you can’t like them. Everyone views the world differently and everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, their own likes and dislikes and I respect that!

I hope you enjoyed this long, ranty blog post. Feel free to tell me all about the tropes you hate or love. Thanks for reading and make sure to read my last blog post which is a list of my favourite BTS songs.

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFS ARE NOT MINE, CREDIT GOES TO THEIR CREATOR)

Top 7 Songs: BTS + Solos

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          As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts about kpop, one of my favourite groups at the moment is BTS. BTS has had such amazing success both in their home country and abroad which I find very impressive. Not many groups have been able to break into the international market and stay there for as long as BTS has. Personally, I like BTS’ more upbeat songs and I think my favourite album of theirs is WINGS so you’ll see a lot of that in this post. I think the reason why I decided to do this is 1 because I wanted to share my love for BTS and their amazing discography and 2 because I think it would be cool if I could show some people who maybe don’t know much about kpop or BTS, some awesome songs! 

          Without further ado, here are my seven favourite songs from BTS, including their solo songs!

BTS – Coffee

J-hope – Mama

BTS – Spring Day

Jimin – Serendipity

BTS – Mic Drop Remix ft Desiigner

Jungkook – Euphoria

BTS – Not Today

Bonus

V – Stigma

BTS – Dimple

Jungkook – Begin

          So here it is, my top seven BTS songs! Thanks a lot for reading and feel free to let me know what your favourite songs are and also check out my last blog post which is my to-do list for my second year of university.

With love,

Sonny xx

(videos and photos are NOT mine, credit goes to their makers!)

To Do – Year 2 of University

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As the start of the second year of university is approaching, I’m realizing that even with my 5 months of holiday I didn’t prepare enough. This happens to me all the time, I am, after all, a master procrastinator. I spent the first month recuperating from the first year of university, the second and third applying for jobs and the fourth hanging out with friends. As my summer holiday is coming to an end, so is my sense of peace, calm and my composure.

I am freaking the f**k out, internally.

So what do I do when I’m freaking the f**k out internally? I make very detailed plans on how to get my s**t together. Yep, that’s right, I make plans. I write to-do lists and wish lists and I write paragraphs all about the things I want to achieve and by doing these things I manage to collect my thoughts and put myself together again. I started doing this a couple of days ago and now that I am done, I think I finally have a sound plan of what I should do to be completely prepared for my second year of university. (I’m making myself sound like a real f**k up, aren’t I?)

So here it is, my to-do list. Feel free to use this for yourself and improve on it!

What went well and how can I improve?

The first thing I plan to do is figure out what went well in the first year of university and how I can improve in the second year. I write it all down and talk about how specific things affected my physical and mental health as well as the grades I got at the end of the year. This allows me to really think about the things I need to change and in the end, the changes I will make will be beneficial in the long run.

Finish all my reading, complete with notes

This one is a bit of an obvious one. I want to finish all my reading, or at least as much of it as I can before the year starts so that I don’t have to struggle during the semester. Instead, I can focus on re-reading the material and getting a deeper understanding of the subject and the analysis.

Refine note-taking methods

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but the way I make my notes affects the outcome of my studies a lot. My note taking style changed a lot from secondary school when I had 9 different subjects (the way I took notes for maths was different from how I took notes for English) to college when I did 3 subjects to university where I only do 1. In the first year of uni, I struggled to find a note-taking system that worked for me and I only found something that worked decently by the end of the year and so I want to perfect my note-taking style by the time I go back to uni.

Refine assignment steps

I’ll explain. Whenever I have an assignment due, I take specific steps to complete that assignment. I write it down in my calendar with an earlier due date than what’s actually assigned, I write down everything I need to do to complete this assignment and then I break everything down into a very detailed plan. Or at least I try. This method is so long and tiring that I almost never did it. Instead, I procrastinated a lot and ended up rushing some of my assignments because of it. I suggest looking up some blog posts about it (I’ll upload mine very soon so stay tuned for that.)

Lunch ideas + budget

I go to university in a very expensive area which means that buying lunch every day would break the bank *very* fast. I only go to uni three to four days a week and some of those days are very short so I don’t bring food to school, but when I do, I want to bring something from home. This didn’t work out well in the first year because I made all these plans and came up with super fancy recipes that never worked out. I didn’t bother preparing my lunch the night before because it was too time-consuming and so this time around, I want to figure out a meal plan that’s affordable, simple and nutritious. I might even make a post about that! Similarly, making a budget is very important because let’s be honest here, we’re students and we’re not made of money. By making and sticking to a budget, I can afford everything I need and even things I want.

Stationery!

I personally don’t have to buy any new stationery since I make digital notes and I have enough stationery to last me a couple of years but going stationery shopping is not only fun and exciting because it’s a great way to start the new semester, but it’s also a great way to infuse some fun into this long-a*s to-do list.

Plan out outfits

If you’re anything like me, you’re too lazy and disinterested in fashion to care how you look in a 10AM lecture. Make-up be damned, right? Well, that was my attitude for the entirety of the first year and I have to say that half the time I felt like crap because of it. It’s not like I showed up to class in my pyjamas or anything, it’s just that after a night of studying and surviving the rush hour, I just couldn’t be asked to cake my face with makeup – it was tiring. You know how we all feel pretty when we put effort into how we present ourselves? Not for others, of course, but when we dress up for ourselves! I want to invest more time into feeling comfortable going to class but putting effort into my appearance at the same time. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a hoodie and jeans (which is probably how I’ll dress after the first two weeks) and I’m not going out to buy a whole new wardrobe. Instead, I’ll look through my closet and come up with 7 interchangeable outfits that I can put together real fast the night before. That way I get to be lazy and cute at the same time!

Make a playlist!

This one is a bit silly but hear me out. To me, music is a thing that makes me so happy, it calms me down and it puts me in the right mood for anything. I am that person that makes a playlist for anything. I have a playlist that I play during autumn, one that I play when I walk the dog, one that I play when I’m taking a bubble bath, etc. Going back to school, be it secondary, college or university or hell, even going back to work after a nice, relaxing holiday can be difficult and draining. Doing little things to perk ourselves up like a celebratory cupcake, a new playlist or reading a cheesy novel might sound silly, but they’re not. Anything to get us through the day, right?

So here it is, my to-do list for my second year of university. This post turned out to be so long but I think it’s important to put it out there, maybe as a form of inspiration, maybe for you guys to marvel at how much of a mess my life is. Either way, thanks a lot for reading and feel free to tell me how you prepare for a new beginning! Make sure to check out my last blog post which is my August playlist.

With love,

Sonny xx

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