My Goals for 2015

I’ve never really had a thing for setting New Year’s resolutions. Because I think 2015’s going to be a special year, I’ve decided to sit my ass down and properly think through my goals for the year ahead.

Here’s what I came up with:

1. Spending more time with my family

If there’s one thing that has been constant throughout my life, it would be the love, care and support that I’ve always been getting from my family.

We live in a world of uncertainty, and with time passing by so quickly, I don’t want to live my life regretting not having spent enough time with the people who love me the most.

2015 is dedicated to my Mum, Dad and two sisters. I’ll make an effort to spend more time with them.

2. Cherishing my relationship with Lorna

Lorna has been the best thing that has happened to me and I feel our relationship getting stronger day by day. While we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, we always make it a point to talk things through and not go to bed being unhappy with each other.

I want to be the pillar of strength for Lorna, just like how she has been for me all this while. We started going to church together more regularly the later half of 2014, and I want that to continue this year.

I’ll also make an extra effort to love and care for her to the best of my ability and not take her love for granted.

3. Spending and saving wisely

After having worked for more than a year and a half, I’ve learnt that it’s true how one’s spending increases with one’s income. I made several big purchases last year and probably also made it onto Amazon’s list of highest spending customers. Not a good thing just so it’s clear.

This year, I want to manage my finances better by spending and saving wisely. I’m using OCBC’s brilliant Frank account to compartmentalise and budget my money and it has been working out well so far.

Specifically, I want to save at least 60% of my monthly income.

4. Launching my lifestyle brand

For the benefit of those who’re new, I started a curated lifestyle goods store, Sialah, last year. Sialah was a proof of concept, and it went really well.

I’ve since been doing a lot of work in the background and am pleased to announce that I’m aiming to launch the real brand will by the first quarter of 2015. Be sure to stay tuned for updates.

5. Writing consistently

I’m guilty of being an inconsistent blogger. I’ve no idea why, but my enthusiasm for writing online comes in phases.

This time round, I’m adamant about writing more consistently through 2015. I’m doing it not only to become a better writer, but because I see writing consistently as a way to document my life, the way I think, and how I see the world.

I’ve just redesigned danl.im for 2015, and my aim is to publish at least 1 article every fortnight for the whole year, no matter rain or shine.

6. Traveling more with family and Lorna

Last year was a busy year and I only managed to squeeze out a holiday with Lorna. We went on a short trip to Phuket and had a really good break.

It’s been too long since we’ve gone on a holiday together as a family (Lorna is as good as family). My family almost went on one the end of 2014, but I had to cancel on them because of my dance commitments.

This year, I want to go on at least 3 holidays, with Lorna and my family.

7. Managing my time

I’m currently working full time at Savant Degrees, dancing 2 to 3 times a week, working on my lifestyle brand, gaming (a lot), sleeping (too much for my own good), the list doesn’t end there. On top of that, there are many things that I would love to do, like learn how to code, play soccer, read more, meet up with old friends, etc.

In order to squeeze in more things for the year, I want to manage my time and commitments better for 2015. I’ll do my best to plan out my week every monday and find time for the things I want to do.

8. Reading more wisely

It’s not that I haven’t been reading enough. I’ve actually been reading a lot. Problem is that I’ve been reading too much nonsense and it distracts me and occupies my mind space. This quote below scares and inspires me at the same time.

You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.
― Charlie Jones

This year, I aim to read at least 1 quality book every month. For the month of January, I’m re-reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.


That’s it for now. 8 goals for 2015 will be a massive challenge to achieve. I hope to look back at the end of the year and be able to tell myself that I’ve accomplished every single one of them.

Having said that, I hope your goals for 2015 are big, scary and awesome. If you haven’t set them, you know what to do.

Socially Distributing Works That Work

Acting on inspiration is high up on my list of New Year’s resolutions for 2015. After being inspired by my first copy of Offscreen Magazine, I went on a mad hunt for similar quality publications documenting creativity and passion, and found Works That Work by chance.

Issue No.4 of Works That Work explores extreme environments and how they can spark innovation

Issue No.4 of Works That Work explores extreme environments and how they can spark innovation

Works That Work is an international magazine for the curious mind, intending to surprise its readers with a rich mix of diverse subjects connected by the theme of unexpected creativity that improved our lives.

– Peter Bilak, Editor of Works That Work.

I placed my order of Works That Work No.4 yesterday and can’t wait for its arrival. I’ve also decided to play a part in sharing creative inspiration by socially distributing the magazine in Singapore.

If you’re stuck in a creative rut and are seeking a fresh dose of creative inspiration for 2015, you can place an orders by either leaving a comment below or sending me an email. I’ll reach out to you individually. Order details are below the break.

Works That Work No. 4

Works That Work No.4

Works That Work No.4

Works That Work No.4

Works That Work No.4

Works That Work No.4 – Photo Credits: Works That Work

 

 


25 SGD/Issue + 2 SGD delivery (Singapore)
Only 7 copies available, order by leaving a comment below or sending an email.
Orders close on 11th January.

Redesigned for 2015

I started this blog a few years ago hoping to force myself to write, to blog, to document my thoughts and make myself a better storyteller. I’ve since learnt that blogging requires discipline. A lot of it.

Fast forward to today, having been inspired by the works of of Julie Zhuo, Oliver Emberton and Elle Luna who’re all great writers, blogging’s back on my list of new year resolutions.

And so, I set some time aside the last few days of 2014 to redesign danl.im for the upcoming year, in hope that having a more pleasant looking blog would motivate me to blog more often.

Before starting, I knew my limited knowledge of HTML and CSS wasn’t going to get me very far in terms of blog customisation, so I set out looking for a theme that would match what I was looking out for out of the box.

What you see now is largely the work of an awesome developer, Raam. He built the Independent Publisher theme for WordPress, from which I conveniently customised. If you’re looking for a great looking, content-centric WordPress theme, look no further . Stop what you’re doing and download his theme.

Back to the Redesign

This is the blog’s fourth iteration in as many years. For inspiration, I looked to successful blogging platforms available today. My notes are summarised below.

Medium really surprised me with how they merged lovely typography with beautifully laid out pages to give their readers an immersive reading experience.

Ghost amazed with speed, speed and more speed. Blog pages loaded lightning fast and with people having increasingly short attention spans nowadays, I knew speed was going to be a big one.

Svbtle was another one I liked because of how simple the pages looked and how the lack of clutter allowed readers to focus on reading.

With these notes and lessons I learnt from previous redesigns in mind, I decided to focus on designing for clarity and speed.

Clarity

While researching, I chanced upon an article that did a really good job of explaining typographic clarity. Here’s an excerpt:

Typographic clarity comes in two flavors: legibility and readability. What’s the difference? Legibility is a function of typeface design. It’s an informal measure of how easy it is to distinguish one letter from another in a particular typeface. Readability, on the other hand, is dependent upon how the typeface is used. Readability is about typography. It is a gauge of how easily words, phrases and blocks of copy can be read.
Allan Halley

To address legibility, I decided to go with a sans serif this time round to give the blog a cleaner and more modern edge. Ended up being really happy with the font of choice – Freight Sans Pro. I played around with weights and sizes for the blog headers and body text and really like how the font reads in different sizes.

Next up, readability. I used Pearsonified’s Golden Ratio Typography Calculator to determine the best line-height for optimal readability. Simple but brilliant tool. Just enter your desired font size, content width and desired characters per line and the tool churns out everything you need for supposedly perfect readability.

If you’re interested, the values I’m using are:

  • Font Size – 19px
  • Content Width – 700px
  • Line Height – 29px
Speed

Let’s talk speed.

Silly me hosted danl.im on a server in the United States several years ago as I thought that most of my traffic would be coming from that region. However, after several years of unnecessarily long page load times and traffic data showing otherwise. I’ve decided to move to a server closer to home – Singapore.

I’m now happily hosting danl.im on a Digital Ocean plan that only costs me a fraction of what I used to pay, at $5/mo now. Setting up was extremely easy and if you’re reading this from Singapore, you’re probably getting lightning quick page load times. This for me, is extremely important. Especially on mobile devices. I’ve closed more pages not because of boring content, but because of slow page load times.

If you’re looking to set up a lightning fast self-hosted WordPress blog, I’d definitely recommend it. Use this referral code below to get $10 in credit.

 


With that said, I hope this inspires you to start blogging. I sincerely hope to continue writing through 2015. If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Thank you for reading.

Have a blessed 2015 everyone.

The Best Writing Advice You Can Ever Receive

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

– Gary Provost

Chanced upon this beautifully written paragraph on Quora today. Amazing example on how the right sentence structures and lengths can have such a great impact on a reader’s experience.

 

Life Hacks: How I Blocked 27548 & Counting Ads On The Internet

Can you imagine life on the Internet without advertisements?

No advertisements to distract you while you’re surfing the web. No advertisements stopping you from watching your favourite videos on YouTube. No advertisements on your Facebook and Twitter news feeds. No advertisements on the results page when you Google something. No advertisements anywhere, ever again.

You can, with ‘AdBlock Plus‘.

I found AdBlock Plus after I started looking for a way to prevent YouTube from sneakily making watch lame advertisements right before watching one of their videos. I really hated those 15 to 30 second long ads that didn’t allow you to skip them. Talk about destroying user experience, those ads on YouTube really did for me because I’m a YouTube addict.

AdBlock Plus prevents YouTube from showing me ads, it hides advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, Google search results, and many other places where one might encounter ads on the Internet.

AdBlock Plus

27548 ads blocked to date.

Sweet.

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BAUHAUS Titanium Carabiner

I backed my second Kickstarter project around 6 months ago. It was for the BAUHAUS Titanium Carabiner. I don’t know why I did it, I think I did because I found it cool. Maybe also because I have a thing for carabiners.

Anyway, I kind of forgot about the project after it got successfully funded. The good thing was the project’s founder, Sunny from MAS Designs, sent regular updates to us backers on how the project was coming along. I really enjoyed his updates. They were informative and really gave me an insight to what running a Kickstarter project was like. He mentioned the whole process being a frantic rush to meeting deadlines, dealing with bad manufacturers, rushing orders and everything else under the sun.

The Titanium Carabiner finally arrived in the mail last week. I love it. I’ve since attached it to a set of keys, and the bunch sits nicely in my bag now. Here are some photos. Sunny, I hope I’ve done your product justice.

BAUHAUS Titanium Carabiner Packaging BAUHAUS Titanium Carabiner Unboxing BAUHAUS Titanium Carabiner Keyrings BAUHAUS Titanium Carabiner C50 BAUHAUS Titanium Carabiner C50 & Keyrings BAUHAUS Titanium Carabiner & Box

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Weekender

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

I’ve been doing quite a bit of my shopping online this month. The Timex Weekender finally came in the mail last week. I love how it looks and how it’s so light. Still got to get used to wearing a watch around though. I find wearing one a hassle sometimes. Hopefully this one will stick.

How I Bookmark Webpages

I’ve recently found a system to bookmark pages on the web that I like or love or find interesting or want to refer to in the future.

I used to use Chrone’s native bookmarking feature, I felt it was the natural thing to do since I’ve used Chrome for the last 4 years. That’s quite some time. I just never got down to keeping track of the sites I love properly.

Anyway, that system was really messy, and more often than not, I couldn’t find the bookmarked pages when I needed them. I either forgot to bookmark them when I was supposed to, or they got lost in the mess of bookmark folders.

I’ve since discovered a new bookmarking service, called Kippt. It’s a clever pun on kept I think. And I really think that it does its job really well. That’s on top of the fact that it has a really nice user interface. I like pretty things. Back to the topic, I’ve been using Kippt for the past 2 months and I haven’t looked back since.

In my opinion, a good bookmarking service should be easy to use, have a good user interface, and have social sharing functions. I like the idea of being able to share my bookmarks with anyone with the click of a button.

Kippt

I also like that Kippt has a simple Chrome extension that allows me to bookmark sites, drop them into separate folders, add notes and tags, and even share on Twitter or Facebook. All this without needing to access the webapp.

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Birthday

DNL660

My lovely and loving Lorna whom I’m learning to cherish and understand more and more every day. I love you so much.

4

My loving family whom I’m so thankful for. I love you Mum, Dad, Debbie, Laura & Belle.

5

Thank you for having spent my birthday with me!