Say Hello to 'Exactly, Jess'!

I changed my blog name!

For 4 reasons:
1) I found my high school ex reading my blog which I find extremely uncomfortable.. I mean, I’ve worked hard to keep this blog on the D-L! (and no, I won’t be changing my URL everytime I found out someone has stumbled across my blog)
2) I’m getting fed up with a creeper/stalker named “Stacy”. And honestly, if she finds this blog.. well…
3) My blog traffic comes from a lot of spam websites so I want to be able to have an actual representation of my blog visitors
4) As much as I liked my old blog name… it was time to part ways to get rid of people, and also, I felt that the fact that I had ‘sushi’ in my name made it feel like I had to design my blog with sushi related stuff. Exactly, Jess feels much more personal, and, well, exactly!

PS: I do apologize for the spam of Bloglovin updates… 😦

New Blog Design (#MightyMOtivation)

See something new?!

I redid my blog design because I sort of dislike the image mapping AND I decided to make a bucket list page and realized if I continue to make more pages/links, I’m probably going to have to redo a banner every so often.

Gosh, I feel so.. self centered to use my own pictures as a theme but.. it’s my blog, hahaha!
HA! (sorry, I’m just feeling a bit off today).

So, earlier today in Instagram, I got tagged by Mo and this week’s theme is change. And I figured, what’s a better way to make change by changing my blogger theme? I mean, sureeeee, I can change my life (seriously, it’s changing alright!), buuuuuut… my blog!!

I based this design off my old, old, oooooooooooooold design from my old blog. It’s simple and I fell in love with the final result.

click for full size.

I couldn’t replicate the polaroids because it was generated by a discontinued program 😦
I also couldn’t replicate the font (I know, it looks similar right?!) because I forgot the exact font name, but I found some cool ones that I enjoy better. I didn’t think of capslocking my title at the time I was making it… but I sort of wished I did 😦 oh wells. 

I’m making final tweaks (maybe new buttons?) to the theme such as what to do with my sidebar headers… I seriously HATE making those things T___T

Anyways, enjoy!
Chhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhange.
#MightyMOtivation

Blogging Tips: Switching over to Disqus Commenting System

Me, sharing blogging tips?!

HA!

I have been blogging for quite a while, however, I don’t do it on a professional level. So, being a personal blogger, I don’t give much thought to my blog as others would do – you know, scheduling posts, purchasing a beautiful template, Facebook Page, etc.

I did, however, switched over from the native Blogger comment system to Disqus Commenting System a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it!

What exactly is Disqus? It’s an alternative commenting method used by many, many, many, popular websites, especially news sites. It’s easily installable (literally, just a click or so to install to Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress, etc.), and it’s highly customizable in colours and settings.

A lot of you will also be pleased that Disqus also drives additional traffic and activity to your blog!

I don’t know why I never installed Disqus the very moment I created my blog, but nonetheless, I hope you guys make the switch and marvel at how awesome this commenting system is.

Pros:

  • Easy 1-2-3 installation to Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. You can also choose to install it manually if your site isn’t supported by their auto-installation.
  • Customizable in colours to match your template and in settings (profanity settings, moderating, etc).
  • Syncs with your existing/new/future Blogger comments. So, if you chose to install it today, all your comments will be synced with Disqus, and any new/future comments left while having Disqus installed is synced with Blogger (so, if you ever choose to uninstall it, your comments won’t disappear).
  • Transferable. I’m not too sure on this feature but the site said you can transfer your entire Disqus to a new website if you wish.
  • E-mail notifications when someone replies to you. This is the key feature to driving additional activity and traffic to your blog. Before installing Disqus, I’ll reply to comments but nobody seems to come back and hold a conversation. Since using Disqus, I’ve seen a big improvement in activity on my blog. And, I also get notifications when other people reply to my comments which is nice too! 
  • Many log-in options! Your readers can leave a comment with their Disqus account, Twitter, FB, or even the regular, Name/E-Mail method.
  • Less spam! Oh my gooooodness, ever since installing Disqus, I have not received a single e-mail notification about spam comments! Sure, Blogger did a great job blocking spams but it still e-mails you when a spam comment is blocked. However, Disqus doesn’t allow any spambots whatsoever!
  • For those moderating comments, you can approve or disapprove via e-mail!

Cons:

  • When you sync comments, any threaded conversations you had with a commenter will be displayed like an individual comment. So, if you replied to Commenter A, once synced with Disqus, your reply to Commenter A will be a sole comment and not replied to anything. I assume that’ll also happen if you ever uninstalled Disqus.
  • You have to install the mobile version of Disqus manually, otherwise mobile readers will be greeted with the native Blogger comment. This aspect might be tricky for those unfamiliar with HTML.
  • Sometimes, it takes a while to load, or it might not load at all. This might be contributed from the amount of other downloads (heavy images blog), I’m not entirely sure. I’m a patient person and would click on the Reload button if Disqus doesn’t load properly, but I can’t say that for other bloggers. 

Do you have reasons to why you installed and loved Disqus? Let me know below! 😀

Privacy on the Internet (and How to Protect Yourself)

Y’all like my creepy edit? Haha, don’t worry, I didn’t black bar three strangers. It’s me with a couple of friends!

I’ve had my dumb share of actions on the internet before. Like my previous story of being a victim of money embezzlement, I shared my e-mail, home address and contact info to complete strangers in Russia. And honestly, I’ve probably shared my home address to third party marketers when signing up for shit that was too good to be true.

Admit it, we’ve all done it; some may have given out more information, and some maybe haven’t. But, as a young adult with hopes of a successful career, I got extremely paranoid about my online footprints.

Yes, I was one of those that shared all my social network accounts and registered accounts with my full name on the bio and as an username. Needless to say, if I didn’t change my online footprints, a Google search with my full name will give you access to my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it. And it’s open for the public to just browse around (except for Facebook).

Creepy, eh?

The reason why I’m talking about online profiles and privacy (AGAIN), is because I can’t stress this enough, and I want people to be more aware of their online presence. I thought that my Twitter account and my old blog isn’t “popular” enough for creepers to creep on me, but put it this way, if you’re on the internet, you’re on the internet.

I see bloggers and Instagramers sharing their full name(s) on their profiles. I see teenagers (less than 16 years old) sharing their full name and location, alongside with dozens of selfies and all I’m thinking about is… STOP THAT. DELETE YOUR LAST NAME! Even if there are 10 billion other people with the same name, it’s not hard to narrow it down.

People with domains, don’t cheap out and skip out on WhoIs protection ($10/year, some offer for free!). Many of my favourite bloggers don’t have WhoIs protection and a quick search on their URL gave me EVERYTHING a stalker can ever want – full name, contact number, address, etc. It’s scary, and I’m no creep, I only searched them up to make a point for this entry, but imagine what a creep CAN and WILL do for information. The world may be big but you can’t assume the best for yourself.

I haven’t read any stories about crazy stalkers from the Internet, but I can guarantee you, it’s probably happening somewhere right now on this planet. If it’s not stalking, the most common case is having a full Google CV of your social networks available for friends, family, and future employers/academics available for them to click through and “get to know you”.

I chose to keep my blog private because I’m not ready (or ever will be) to share it. I chose to use ‘Jess’ and ‘Claire’ for most usernames and bio names. Now, whenever I Google myself (and I do it a lot), only my LinkedIn profile appears and that’s all I want. Nothing else, and God forbid, no Google images.

So, how can you protect yourself?

  • For starters, don’t use your surname, no matter how common it is. Use your first name, or a combination of your first and middle. Hell, even pick a fake name! Most of my profiles now just states my name as Jess, and some Jess Claire (like my Twitter). A lot of people seem to like to use their full names on popular social medias. I can also understand that your account may be private, but I’d rather have my boss assume I don’t have an Instagram account.
  • Pick a new username. This might be hard for some but I chose to let go for my Twitter and Instagram username because it was just my full name. A Google search provided links to those two media outlets and I didn’t like it. Sure, I could have private them but I enjoy sharing my Tweets and pictures with readers and strangers (ironic, eh?). Come up with a fun username, for example, I chose ‘finnandfriendsgoldfishes’, named after the Goldfish crackers.
  • Delete unwanted social media accounts*. I stopped using Flickr, Vine, umm… Springform, etc. Why keep a history of your foolish actions and remarks on a site you don’t even use anymore? 
  • Delete your meta info from photos. I don’t do this enough but sure, it’s fun to geotag your photos but a news segment showed how easily it is to get the exact location of where that photo was taken. Sort of like your photo was a GPS. This is mostly a concern for parents. 
  • If you’re under the age of 16, don’t share your age. It makes me feel so, I don’t know, concerned, to see bloggers saying, “Hi, my name is Lucy and I’m 13 years old!” Substiute your age by saying you’re a teenager, or a high-schooler. Many bloggers now just say “20-something”. 
  • Google yourself, and Google often. I don’t care how narcissist that sounds, but I do it whenever I’m bored. I need to keep myself updated on whether or not professionals employers/schools can find me. The only thing that should show up on your Google search is LinkedIn or perhaps, your online portfolio, etc.
  • Purchase WhoIs Protection. It’s usually $10 from most domain/hosting services. Some even offer it for free or discounted. Under Canadian regulations, any personal .CA domain actually comes with a free WhoIs protection! Whoooo! And for those who don’t know what a WhoIs protection is, it’s a service where you pay to have your personal information hidden from anyone that looks up your URL. With WhoIs, instead of your name and personal data appearing, it’ll show viewers the service provider of your domain/hosting service. For example, if you look up my domain, it’ll list only CanSpace information, and not mines.
  • Create a new e-mail for your blog. It’s great to have readers e-mail to you, but always, always, create a new e-mail that you intend to share to the world. I’ve seen bloggers that shared their personal e-mails as a contact method and if you’re comfortable with that, it’s fine, but personally, I’d like to separate mines. I already got dozens of spam e-mails on my Blogger e-mail because it’s out there on the web.

Yes, in a way, I am a bit hypocritical about protecting myself while sharing my photos and personal experiences so openly, but I’m comfortable with that. I’m 20 years old, and my readers and Instagrammers knows I live in Vancouver. That’s about it. Unless you’ve followed me from 5 years ago, you’ll know my full name. But otherwise, no one else does, and if I can, no one else will. Sharing photos is acceptable, but sharing your personal information that can leave a negative impact is something I’m not down with. I’d rather have my surname protected, address protected, and employers looking at my LinkedIn page instead of how many beers I chugged last weekend.

Ya, diggin?

*Had too many accounts and can’t remember all of them? Google all your possible username(s) and you’ll be surprised. I nearly forgot I had half of these accounts if I didn’t Google about three usernames that I would’ve used. Most, if not, all sites will give you the option to delete or suspend your account. If you can’t find the option, e-mail their support team and let them know you want the account cancelled. I’ve done that a few times and support desks are more than happy to make you satisfied.

The Liebster Award

Am I a little late to this game? I remember doing the Liebster Award on my ooooooooold blog but I believe the only difference was the fact that we didn’t have to write our own 11 questions.

But, nonetheless, I’m happy to have been nominated by the wonderful Ruth @ Lazy Thoughts (thanks again!)!
liebsterblogaward

The rules:
Link the blog that nominated you for the award
Choose 11 bloggers to nominate who have less than 200 followers
Answer the 11 questions given to you
Let the people you have nominated know that you have done so
You can’t nominate the person that nominated you
Create 11 questions for the people to nominate to answer
So, without further do, here’s 11 questions Ruth asked me:

What is the best place you’ve visited?
My favourite place would probably be Hainan Island, China. I was only there for a few days but it’s literally like the Chinese version of Hawaii. The weather is beautiful (I tanned within 20 minutes!), the ocean is nice, and it was a great place to relax. However, at one point during my relaxation, three men tried to pick me up – too bad I don’t speak Mandarin nor am I interested in Chinese men.DSC01097Can you say throwback?! ^^ July 2011. Look at that background!

How many languages can you speak?
I speak English fluently, and it’s actually my first language. A lot of people are surprised to learn that I don’t speak Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin and the Enping dialect) nor do I understand it very well. To communicate with my parents, I mix both my dialect (literally, I’m at a toddler level) and English together and worst case, I use Google translate app. I studied Canadian French (yes, there’s a difference between Canadian and France French!) for just about 9 years. I also learned American Sign Language but forgot most of it because I don’t have anyone to practice – I think I might pick it up again.

Do you prefer sweets or chocolate?
Chocolate! Especially milk chocolate. I absolutely hate dark chocolate.

Do you own more pairs of heels or more flats?
I think I have to say heels… technically they’re wedges. Here’s the thing about my relationship with shoes. It’s non-existent. Why? Because I have small feet … size 2 1/2 kids; so you can see my shoes choices are quite limited. The only pair of flats I can get are in either black or silver and they’re the same design! All my wedges were purchased back in China (smaller sizes are popular in China) BUT I’m still require to wear to wear insoles to fit them better. I guess… I save hundreds of dollars by having small feet?… haha.

What’s your favourite item of clothing you own?
Don’t laugh… or judge, but it’s either my pink zip up hoodie or grey pullover hoodie. They’re both so cozy and warm, comfortable and fitted too! But, if it’s something more fashionable, I guess you can say it’s black chiffon top with pink rose/floral designs. I love it because it’s lightweight, and easy to pair up. I can dress it up for business, dress it for a nice summer day or dress it up for a night out.

What’s currently on your fashion wishlist?
 Nothing fancy – just new leggings. I have two of the best leggings every worn but for some reason they pile so easily and I don’t have the time to run a fabric shaver/lint roller over them everytime I want to wear it. It’s weird because I buy from this company regularly and it’s only their leggings that have piles on them.

What’s your favourite high street store?
I don’t shop in name designer stores because… A) no matter how much I try, I can’t find anything that suits me and B) it’s too expensive for me. I can’t justify spending $150-$300 on a top (probably because I’m not a huge fashion person). But I do enjoy shopping at Urban Planet, Garage, H&M, Forever 21, Wet Seal, Charlotte Rosse, Sirens, and Urban Behaviour.

Top 3 films?
Titanic, Matilda and Harry Potter series!

What was your first job?
Cashier at Dairy Queen. You can read all about my horrible experience here.

What was the last book you read?
The last book I’ve read was The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. I rated it a 3/5 on Goodreads because it did give me the chills but it moved too slowly. Currently, I’m reading Hitler by Ian Kershaw.

One makeup item you can’t live without?
Ugh, I’m having trouble between eyeliner and mascara! I’d probably say mascara though… I don’t even know why!

Thanks, Ruth for the questions! And for any new readers, hope you learned something new about me, haha.

My 11 questions:
  1. If you can be any celebrity you want to be, who would it be and why?
  2. What’s the most embarrassing fashion moment (either a wardrobe malfunction or a fashion no-no) you ever had?
  3. Do you have any piercings aside from your earlobes?
  4. What’s your career goal?
  5. What beauty advice do you wish someone would have told you earlier?
  6. If you got your acceptance letter to Hogwarts, what house would you be and which animal would you bring along?
  7. What was you’re favourite travel destination?
  8. If you could go back time, which goods/services do you wish you could have created?
  9. What’s your top three most hated disliked store and why?
  10. What’s one thing (fashion and/or beauty) do you wish people would stop doing?
  11. What’s an interesting fact about you?
To be honest with you, I’m not going to tag 11 people. I know the rules say to tag 11 and I’d be unfair that I did this award without following the rules but I feel like most people I follow have already done The Liebster Award and/or has more than 200 followers. I also feel like people are getting annoyed with this award.

So, if you like the questions, feel free to do this award! Thanks for reading and hope you understand why I didn’t nominate 11 people!

Have fun!