Bloggie Wednesdays: How Blogging Saved My Sanity

Bloggie Wednesdays: How Blogging Saved My Sanity

I celebrated Beautyholics Anonymous’ birthday yesterday. As I prepared for the 5th anniversary, I looked back to how it all started.

When cousin Beetrice began blogging in 2004, I thought it looked like a lot of fun. It wasn’t till 2005 that I too jumped on the blogging bandwagon. My first blog was something I kept in secret, which I did not share with anyone at all. It seemed quite silly blogging and not sharing with anyone, but somehow it felt cathartic writing one compared to a diary (which I used to have heaps of). Before I started blogging about beauty, I had a personal blog for 2 years (in fact, I still do, but it hasn’t been updated in well over a year).

There are two very significant moments in my life when I can truly say that blogging has saved my sanity.

Few people know a more personal part of me, something which I experienced years ago. Before I moved to Australia, it wouldn’t be something I would readily share with anyone. End of 2004, I left for Japan for work and training, and lived there for about 1.5 years. It was truly one of the most trying times of my life. I was terribly miserable and homesick, had no Internet access where I lived, extremely limited Internet access at work and the only times I could actually go on the Internet was at the end of each week, where I would head to an Internet cafe 30 minutes from where I lived.

Truth be told, I was an emotional wreck. It was the shittiest time of my life, yet also the one when I truly learned about myself. I had a lot of bittersweet moments in Japan.

Life in Japan 2005-2007

Life in Japan, 2005-2007

So how did blogging come into the picture? There was no Twitter or Facebook back then. The only way I had any contact with friends and family was via work email. Funny enough, with all the websites the company blocked (e.g. Yahoo mail, Gmail, etc), the one website they did not block was Blogger. I was blogging on Blogger back in the day, and what I would do was write about my life in Japan. I would talk about my weekends, what I did, what I saw, did countdowns to the days I would be home, and so on. It gave me something to do during the lonely nights when I was in my room, with nothing on the telly but Japanese talk shows I could not understand. It was all I could do without going absolutely bonkers.

The other significant moment was when I moved to Australia after I married Tim. It was a very big chapter in my life when I came here as I left my family, friends, job, everything behind to a land foreign to me. Other than Tim, I only knew one other friend in Melbourne. Unfortunately, I didn’t see her often due to her hectic work commitments.

I usually have no trouble settling in to a different country. I was right at home in the UK after the first week (I studied in Scotland for 3 years), and as difficult as Japan was for me, I didn’t have much trouble because every now and then, I would be out with my Japanese and Malaysian friends. It was different in Australia because I barely knew anyone. The first 6 months was really bad, and I was homesick. Poor Tim tried introducing his friends to me, and as much as I liked them, they were HIS friends. I needed to have some of my own.

It’s funny how the blogging universe can turn things around for you. It was in Melbourne, just a couple of months after I moved here, that I met LeGeeque. I’ve been a reader of her old blog (now defunct) for months before I came to Australia, and we’ve been exchanging comments on our blogs. She gave me plenty of tips for my bridal photography, and I waited in anticipation of her blogging about her wedding.

Our six degrees of separation became even smaller when she found out that my first boyfriend was her best mate from work! Till today, I don’t know how the heck she managed to find that out. She emailed me one day, saying that it was high time we met. So we did, over coffee, and hit it off immediately. She introduced another friend to me, and now the three of us meet regularly over drinks and meals. Needless to say she became my closest friend in Australia.

How did beauty blogging come into the picture? Well, I started beauty blogging in Malaysia (with the encouragement and guidance from Paris B), and continued in Australia. A year after I moved to Melbourne, I stumbled upon Val‘s blog. Again, we exchanged comments on our blog, and when I was back in Malaysia for one of my annual trips, I offered to get her a mascara she’s been raving about. We finally met in person when I passed it to her.

Beauty Bloggers

Through Val, MBBE was born. With that, as they say, the rest is history. I now have a group of girlfriends who share many common interests with me, and a social calendar that my husband is quite envious of. My social life was non-existent in Malaysia and even more before the MBBE was born.

So for me, blogging was never about the freebies. There was no such thing as freebies when I began beauty blogging. It started out as a creative (and distractive) outlet for me, which grew to something much more rewarding. I remembered my very first personal blog post in 2004. I hoped that this “blog thing” would be a project that would last for at least a year, and not just any other thing that I usually begin but never finish.

Well, it’s been 7 years since I began blogging, 5 years since I started the beauty blog, and things are getting better every day. Will I ever stop blogging? I honestly don’t know. Things change when chapters of our lives change and sometimes we move on. For now, I’m very happy where I am and it’s all thanks to blogging.

I wouldn’t want to change that for the world.

Bloggie Wednesdays is a series of articles just on blogging. They contain tips, how-tos, discussions about anything and everything you need to know about blogging and how we can be better bloggers. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks about blogging you would like to share with us, or if you have any questions you would like me to address, please let us know in the comments.

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41 comments… add one
  1. Retty

    You Go Girl!

    1. Tine

      Thanks Retty πŸ™‚

  2. Regine

    Hi Tine! I am also coming to Australia (from Manila) this July for my postgrad. This was just some of the inspiration I need because I’m honestly a nervous wreck about the move. I think I’ll continue blogging as an outlet at least. Don’t know what the adjustment will be like, but I’m also excited about it. Thank you for sharing this. πŸ™‚

    1. Tine

      Regine: Oh you should! There’ll be even more to write about, e.g the move, your transition, things you’ve seen, food you’ve tasted, challenges…oh so much! Great platform to write all your memories in.
      All the best in your move. You’ll love Australia like I do πŸ™‚

  3. LeGeeque

    Aww….. remember we’d just exchange emails on gmail as a form of “chat” in those days? Hee hee hee… How far we’ve come. Like you, blogging was never about freebies for me – especially in those days when I was blogging – I bought my own crap and wrote what I wanted and accountable to no one but myself πŸ˜€ Even though the blog’s closed down, I’m so glad I did that because that’s how I was made the honourary evurl girls. Ahem. Ahem. Ahem. πŸ˜€
    LeGeeque recently posted..Addicted to InstagramMy Profile

    1. Tine

      LeGeeque: Hahaha I remember! I’m sure Google Chat was already available back then but why did we just use email again? πŸ˜›
      Yay for being a part of the #evurl girls! πŸ˜€

  4. Paris B

    It is almost scary but I actually remember that beginning stage. I was on Blogger back then too and I don’t know how we all began “chatting” in the comments but yeah. Wow! I think my 1st point of contact was the box of stuff I sent up to you in Penang. Such a box of randomness. And of course, that epic wedding πŸ˜€ Look how far we’ve come! πŸ˜€ Like you, I love blogging simply for the fun of blogging and all the lovely people I meet through it. The day it stops being fun, I stop.
    Paris B recently posted..Psst! What’s the Gloss? Taking it easy with the Dior Eye Gloss in Tan and SeashellMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Paris B: Hahaha first point of contact was actually the Skin MD sachets! You wrote a review about the product, that you had a few samples to give away to first few who commented. And I did!
      OMG the wedding! That was fun. We’ve never met and the first time you saw me was me sachaying in an evening gown. Hmmm not bad for first impressions, eh? πŸ˜‰

      1. Paris B

        OH GOD! Skin MD! πŸ˜€ One of the first ever blogger reach outs. Man! Seems like aeons ago!
        Paris B recently posted..Tackling ageing with an Ideal Resource : Darphin Ideal Resource Smoothing Retexturizing Radiance CreamMy Profile

  5. Grace-melody Moo

    Happy birthday Beautyholicsanonymous!:)

    Tine, keep up the blogging ~ you have made many seemingly boring things come alive for many of us, including myself. I was never quite so enthusiastic about skin-care till I was influenced by your blog, and yours is the only beauty blog that I religiously follow! No regrets in not finding another one to follow, hehe. Here’s to another good year of blogging and networking through your blog for you. Lotsa love!
    Grace-melody Moo recently posted..The Hope of Your gloryMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Grace: Thanks Grace. It’s an honour to be the only beauty blog you religiously follow. Talk about pressure! Ahem πŸ˜›

      And you keep on blogging too. I’ve been following yours ever since I found out you blog too. LeGeeque and I were such stalkers on your blog man πŸ˜›

      1. Grace-melody Moo

        LOL. Thanks for the encouragement! Well it’s good that we finally met this year then ~ even though it was through that sad event. Otherwise I would have never braved myself to speak to you in person.
        Grace-melody Moo recently posted..Self-talkMy Profile

  6. beetrice

    I’d been looking back at some of the old posts on the personal blog, and boy, did I write a lot of nonsense back then (still do!). It was really a way to keep in touch, and I’m really glad it’s opened so many doors for you (including meeting LeGeeque, because otherwise I wouldn’t have met her either!)

    Lovely post, as always. πŸ™‚ And after reading this, I realise I’ve gone back to the personal blog to vent every time things went really wrong, or really right. So there you go! πŸ˜€
    beetrice recently posted..The week in Instagram…My Profile

    1. Tine

      Beetrice: Man I haven’t touched my personal blog in well over a year. I seem to have more to write here than over there. And when I did have something to say, it’s more ranty than anything else πŸ˜›

  7. Nikki

    *wails* I still haven’t met you!!!!!

    But I’m not worrying, I’m sure the day will come.
    Same as you, blogging saved my sanity…I’ve experienced the most trying times of my life year 2009-2011 and I survived it all because of blogging! Blogging kept me busy and I can’t help but thank readers and “Blogger” for it.

    I hope to meet you soon! πŸ™‚
    Nikki recently posted..AMW Reports: Promod Opens its 10th Store in BGCMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Nikki: *wail even louder* And I haven’t met you! πŸ™

      It’s amazing how your blogging journey has grown, with such awesome opportunities. I’m hoping that Nuffnang Australia will bring some bloggers from the Philippines (like they went to your country last time), and that you’ll be coming too. Woman, we have to meet soon! πŸ˜€

  8. xin

    thanks for sharing the story with us! life in melb certainly looks more exciting than in malaysia for u eh? πŸ˜€
    xin recently posted..Hi Juliet! I love how you cleanses my face! Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser ReviewMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Xin: Most definitely. I never thought that was possible seeing how my life here began. I’ve been very blessed πŸ™‚

  9. Norlin

    So glad that I delved into beauty blogging too! Or else I don’t think our paths would have crossed!! πŸ™‚ Loved reading your journey into beauty blogging. And yes, it isn’t about the freebies – it’s all about discovering and sharing things we know and getting to meet other like-minded people. xx
    Norlin recently posted..Must Have & Lust Have Tools for Your HairMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Norlin: And I you! πŸ˜€ That’s the best part of blogging for me. Yes, there’s the networking for more opportunities, but really, the friends you make through blogging…it’s just gold. I can finally talk about stuff I’m passionate about, stuff I enjoy with like-minded people, and they won’t judge me for being shallow (nor I them). Gold! πŸ™‚

  10. Celina

    Aww what a great read Tine! Been great getting to know you more and more over the last couple of years! Can’t wait to celebrate your birthday with you this weekend πŸ™‚
    Celina recently posted..Laura Mercier Sheer Creme Colour – Pink Cheek Veil Review, Swatches and PhotosMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Celina: My first time celebrating my birthday with my MBBE girls! I simply cannot wait πŸ˜€

  11. Tina

    Wow, just WOW is all I can say about this post. I’m too much of an awkward writer to string my thoughts into coherent paragraphs, so I’m gonna dot point πŸ˜›

    1. Thank you for sharing the story! I never knew the story of how you began blogging. As one of my blogging gurus, I love knowing about it now and it’s such an interesting tale!

    2. Even though I have family in Taiwan, I have no friends there. If blogging will bring for me when I move there what it brought for you when you moved to Oz – I would be so ecstatic!

    3. Five years is such a massive accomplishment – like I’ve said before, when I grow up, I want to be a blogger just like you <3

    4. You're such an awesome writer! If you weren't so nice – I'd shiver in your presence every time I see you πŸ˜›

    and finally…. I am super thankful I met you, and all the MBBE – I'll miss you :'(
    Tina recently posted..LancΓ΄me Vernis In Love 407N Gris AngoraMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Tina: AWWWWWWWWWWW. Come I hug you πŸ˜€

      It’s an honour, really it is. Didn’t realise you wanna be a blogger like me when you grow up. Still have plenty of time, since you’re only 25 and all πŸ˜‰ You have massive potential, my dear, in fact, look at your blog now. It’s growing so well! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you in hopes of more blogging opportunities in Taiwan. And you have that personal shopping thingy going on, right? πŸ˜›

      Can’t wait to see you this weekend. Damn I’m going to miss you heaps when you leave.

  12. Jyoan

    Ah, I understand bonkers. I nearly went bonkers when I followed my then fiancΓ© to Malaysia. Like you, I turned to blogging, forum-ming, and exercising. I had absolutely no friends there, and was awfully bored. It was that time I felt myself slipping deep into depression, and I was still aware of suicidal thoughts (thank God I was aware). The closest people to me then (psychologically) was really the Malaysian bloggers, since I understood the things they were blogging about, and I too was living on Malaysian food and Malaysian beauty products. My family and friends back in Singapore didn’t really understand what I was going through. Everybody thought I had a good life, going to another country for free, no need to feed myself, literally leading a tai-tai life.

    Anyway, I got so crazy I asked my fiancΓ© to let me go home and be separated for a few months. I took a part-time job waitressing, because it filled a good 12 hours of my life, and it gave me a lot of friends and company 7 days a week. And I was so happy to be back in Singapore, where everyone else that matters is.
    Jyoan recently posted..All-in-1 Holy Grail Guide to Acne-clear SkinMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Jyoan: So pleased to read of your blogging story, Jyoan! It’s difficult moving to unfamiliar grounds, regardless of how near they may be to each other. I’ve had people back in Malaysia judge me too, that I’m leading a good life, that I’m a tai-tai (tai-tai my big backside. Didn’t realise tai-tai had to do every single thing around the house plus so much more herself), etc. In time I realised those words were spoken more of envy than anything else, which was when my feelings changed from anger to pity. I’m doing something I enjoy now. Sure I don’t earn as much as before (not that it was a whole lot to begin with), but at least I’m happy, and my husband supports my decisions.

      At the end of the day, you do what you’re happy with. Life’s too short to compromise it away πŸ™‚

  13. Swati

    wow…loved reading about you, Tine πŸ™‚ and, congratulations for the 5th year anniv πŸ™‚ *toasting* for many more to come πŸ˜€
    and, you are looking soooooooo pretty in all the snaps and especially in the japan ones!!!
    Swati recently posted..How do you feel when you are down? {Your Opinion}My Profile

    1. Tine

      Swati: Aww thanks Swati. You sure know how to make a girl blush πŸ˜›

  14. Issa

    awwww, this is a very nice post. i envy you guys for writing very well. i also want to try blogging but I am not good in writing and expressing myself πŸ™ …. but i just want to share to you that reading blogs saved my sanity! Two years ago, my husband left me after my son had a very rare disease. For me, that was the lowest and shittiest point in my life. My son was still undergoing therapy when he left us. πŸ™ I was so depressed that time but I have to be strong for my son. I always have to stop myself from crying so I keep myself busy in front of the internet. That was the time I encountered Nikki’s blog (I am so glad I found her blog because she really saved me! I was so happy reading her blog because it was full of positive and happy thoughts! just what i needed at that point in my life!) Then I was led to other blogs (Paris B., yours, etc.). I got interested with anything about beauty plus beauty bloggers are so nice! You guys make me feel I have a friend even just by exchanging comments here. πŸ™‚ I also hope to meet you someday Tine! πŸ™‚

    1. Tine

      Issa: I love your story Issa. You’re such a strong woman for going through all that, survived and came out victorious on the other side. You blow me away with your strength, my dear *hugs* πŸ™‚

      I can’t remember when I stumbled upon Nikki’s blog. It was so many years ago! I remembered seeing her smiley face and boy, is it infectious. I’m so glad that through her blog, you found me and I you. Hope to meet you some day too πŸ˜€

  15. Helz Nguyen

    Im glad that you decided to share your story with the rest of us readers. Wouldnt know that you have come so far, its admiring. I believe true bloggers are not doing this for freebies. We all have something inside that moved us and it keep pulling us to that direction.

    Congrats again for your anniversary πŸ™‚ I cant wait when my blog hits its first birthday hehe
    Helz Nguyen recently posted..Haul Gmarket – It’s Skin, The Saem , Sum 37 and TonyMolyMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Helz: Thanks Helz πŸ™‚ It’s immensely satisfying when our blogs hit a milestone, whatever it is. Makes what we’re doing worth it. When’s your blog celebrating its first birthday? I’ll have a cupcake on your behalf then πŸ˜›

      1. Helz Nguyen

        Oh its still 9 months from now πŸ˜€ I just started blogging, so my blog is still in baby steps. But we will get there, I can just feel it lol
        Helz Nguyen recently posted..L’Oreal Glam Bronze Trio Eclat Soleil Sun Radiance TrioMy Profile

  16. Megan

    Thank you for sharing your story, I love reading these kind of posts so great to see that blogging made you so many friends!
    Megan recently posted..Maybelline Great Lash – Lots of LashesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Megan: The friends I’ve made from blogging (including you!) are so much better than any freebies. Can’t put a value to that πŸ™‚

  17. Dana

    Oh Tine, how I can relate… my previous blog prior to the beauty blogging actually what kept me sane at that period of my life… I would be writing poetry and verses and anything diary-like for up to several times a day! I didn’t tell people about it either, it was personal… it still exists though but I don’t update it anymore. How time has changed. That was few years before I started beauty blogging (and beauty blog is almost 3 years this October!).

    I, too, when I started, was all purely creative and no such thing of freebies were even in mind. It only just began when I googled “brisbane bloggers” a year ago that I came across the other brisbane bloggers and that’s where the BBBE strted and the rest is history… strange… but true…

    πŸ™‚ hugs

    1. Tine

      Dana: The last time I read my old blog from back to front, I cried. It’s unbelievable to see how I’ve grown in time. It’s like a time capsule πŸ™‚

      I’m so glad you ladies have BBBE. It’s so much fun hanging out with people that share the same interests as you do.

  18. Beauty Box

    Thanks for sharing such a personal story…blogging also saved my sanity when I moved to Japan. Six years later, I’m still in Tokyo and it def grew from being just a distraction to something much more exciting.

    1. Tine

      Beauty Box: I remembered stumbling upon your website years ago. Your blog has grown so much! Hope we get to meet in future when you visit Australia πŸ™‚

  19. kaitlin

    I’ve just started reading your blog, and in one day I’ve read all posts from Nov 12 to this! I too understand how you feel, I’m from Malaysia now staying in Melbourne and I’m still trying to come to terms with my lack of friends here as compare to in Malaysia. πŸ™ I hope one day it is all worth it.

    1. Tine

      Wow thanks Kaitlin!

      Things will get better, I’m sure of it. It was difficult for me and I pulled through. Turns out I love living here now, more than I did in Malaysia. At the very least I don’t have to worry all the time about my bag being snatched or getting mugged at the shopping basement parking lot *shudder*

      All the best, and do let me know how you get on πŸ™‚

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