Christmas 20 Questions Tag

christmas-2947257_640Hey Everyone,

Hope you’re all doing well!

I would like to thank my very sweet blogger friend Kate from the lovely blog Becoming Rivera for tagging me in her 20 Christmas Tag Questions post. If you haven’t already, make sure to visit her lovely blog and show her some love!

I am so excited that she tagged me because even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I still love the holiday season and all the festivities that occur during this time of the year.

I personally celebrate Eid which is a Muslim holiday that occurs twice a year and each Eid celebration lasts for three days. Because Muslims follow the lunar calendar each year the day that Eid starts varies a little.

The first Eid is immediately after the month of Ramadan, in which Muslims fast and don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. The second Eid is around two and a half months later and it is a celebration to commemorate the Hajj pilgrimage. For this year, both the Eid holidays have already passed.

Since Christmas is coming up I will answer each of the 20 questions from my perspective on Christmas and if I have anything to share about Eid I will share that as well.

1. Use one noise to describe how excited you are for Christmas?

For me personally, the sound of Jingle bells is associated with Christmas and whenever I hear a song that relates to Jingle Bells I know that Christmas is coming soon!

2. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Even if I did celebrate Christmas I think I would probably never open any presents on Christmas Eve, because I think that one of the many things that makes Christmas special are the presents and gift exchanges.

Eid: In my family the adults don’t exchange gifts during Eid but they do shower the children with gifts and as a child I remember that my Eid gifts were always given on the first day of Eid.

3. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

What I love about Christmas is that all of my family members including my aunts and cousins are off from work so we have a chance to meet up and spend some much needed family time.

Eid: Whenever possible I love to spend time with my extended family during Eid. However, here in the U.S. sometimes this is difficult because if Eid comes in the middle of the week then its hard to request a day off from work and so sometimes not everyone is able to make it to the gathering. Sometimes if it does come during the week we try to celebrate it the following weekend.

I have to mention, that one of the things that I love about the Eid after Ramadan is that I get to eat again after a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset!

4. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

I feel like I am the type of person that would use a fake Christmas tree just because I assume that this would be the cheaper option and maybe if its small enough I could keep it and use it again next year.

5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

To be honest I don’t have one in particular that I would consider to be my favorite. But in general I do love watching Christmas movies because most of them are wholesome and family friendly which I think is great. This year, I have had some more free time so I have really been enjoying watching a number of different Christmas movies including Netflix’s A Christmas Prince.

6. Where do you usually spend your holidays?

Our holidays are always spent with the extended family. Most often we meet at either our house or my grandmothers house.

7. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Definitely Feliz Navidad

8. What is your all time favorite holiday food/sweet treat?

Any type of cookie. They used to call me the cookie monster when I was a kid. I like to enjoy a cookie with a cup of warm green tea.

9. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers?

No its been such a long time since I’ve heard their names.

10. Be honest, do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts?

To be completely honest, I do like receiving gifts a little bit more. But its just because I think that giving a gift is something that takes some thoughtful thinking like I am always at least a little worried about whether the person is going to like my gift or not.

Of course, when giving gifts it is the thought that counts.

11. What is your favorite thing about Christmas?

I love the fact that during Christmas time there is a positive vibe and I love that the mood is often very festive and joyous. I think that the same is true for Eid. And of course, I love that we get to spend time with the extended family.

12. When do you first get excited for Christmas?

I get excited for the holiday season when I start seeing Christmas decorations at my local stores.

Eid: During the last few days of Ramadan I get excited for the Eid festival.

13. What is the best Christmas gift that you have ever received?

One time a friend gave me some creams, lotions and body spray from Bath & Body Works and it came with an adorable tote bag.

Eid: In my culture most children are given cash for Eid and as a child I was given my fair share of cash. However, one year an uncle gifted me a huge stuffed animal and that became my favorite Eid gift because not only was it unique but it was very cute and soft as well.

14. Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

I definitely am not a pro and to be honest I am quite lazy so I leave the wrapping to my mom who is definitely a pro.

15. As a kid, did a sibling ever receive a present that you wished was for you?

Thank God no this has never happened because I have two brothers who are a lot younger than me and our tastes are very different.

16. What would your dream place be to visit during the holiday season?

I have always lived in sunny southern California so I’ve never experienced the snow so I would really like to visit somewhere where I can see some snow!

17. Most memorable holiday moment?

One time during Eid my family had just finished eating and we sat and turned on the TV and we saw that there was a live concert of our favorite musician playing on the TV. It was exciting and very fun to watch a free concert in the comfort of our own home!

18. Do you make New Years Resolutions ? Do you stick to them?

I do but I usually just think about what things I want to change and/or improve but I get lazy and I don’t write them down so I often forget about them. However, I am working towards setting reasonable goals and hopefully this year I achieve some of them!

19. What makes the holidays special for you?

Without sounding too cliché I really do love all of the extra family time. I also love the lights and beautiful Christmas decorations and of course, the delicious food and sweet treats are definitely among my favorite things about the holidays.

20. You have been granted one Christmas wish…what will it be?

My beloved father has had some health issues this year and I hope that he regains his health.

I would like to tag any other blogger who sees this to complete their own Christmas 20 questions tag if they’re interested. I had a lot of fun completing this tag and I think these types of posts definitely help readers learn a little bit more about the blogger behind the blog.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

 

 

Six Back to School Tips

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

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In the spirit of back to school season I wanted to share some of my personal tips on how to make the transition back to school as smooth and hassle-free as possible. I created these tips with the college student in mind however, I hope that these tips will be hopeful for students at all levels.

Map it Out

If its your first time attending the college, or if you attend a large university, it might be a good idea to find the location of your classes before classes start. Most universities are always open in the sense that you are free to walk around and find your classes the day before or even a few days before they start.  The first week can be very hectic so its nice to have one less thing to worry about. I personally consider myself directionally challenged so this is a tip that I definitely always used when beginning a new set of classes!

Read the Syllabus

So this is a tip that every professor is going to encourage you to follow. The syllabus is a document, created by the professor, that basically explains the format and layout of the course and most importantly, it almost always includes a section about how the course grade will be calculated.  The syllabus also contains a section on how you can best reach the professor if you ever need to contact him or her. A lot of the questions that you may have about the course structure will be covered in the syllabus so I would definitely recommend saving a copy of the syllabus on your phone or laptop.

Buy Textbooks/Materials

Another great reason to read the course syllabus is that it often includes details about the required textbook and any other required materials. If you are going to order your textbook and/or other required course materials online its a good idea to order them as soon as possible because sometimes shipping can take a while.

I personally loved using DealOz for purchasing my textbooks because all you have to do is enter the book’s title, author, or ISBN number and this site will search through the web and find the best deals for best new, best used, and best rental price for the book that you need.

Almost all colleges and universities have a college bookstore. Purchasing from the college bookstore is often convenient but costly. Also, check to see if there are any local bookstores that are competing with your college bookstore and these stores may have the textbooks that you need for a cheaper price then the college bookstore. However, in my experience textbooks sold online are almost always cheaper.

If the course requires you to purchase scantrons or booklets for exams I would recommend purchasing those in the first week just to get them over with and have one less thing to worry about when its exam time.

Start Studying

From my experience, most of my fellow students always started studying only a few days before the exam if not the night before. I would definitely recommend studying as soon as possible and especially after every lecture when the material is still fresh in your mind. With this method you only have to study a few minutes each day instead of trying to cram all the material before the exam. Cramming the material before the exam can become very stressful and you are much more likely to really understand the material if you spend a few minutes studying it each day.

Take a nap

Many students often sacrifice their sleep in order to fit in enough time for their academic and/or social life. Some students even brag about pulling an all-nighter. The reality is that sleep is vital not only to our physical health but it is also very important in making us cognitively awake and alert which can help us perform better academically.

As someone who is a recent graduate I know that sometimes life gets too busy and we simply don’t have time to get the required seven or eight hours of sleep. However, in order to avoid feeling burned out or tired feel free to take a nap ideally for around 30 minutes a day. Research shows that a quick daytime nap can reenergize us without harming the amount or quality of the sleep that we get at night.

Stay Positive

It is totally common to be a little nervous at the beginning of each school year whether it is because you are starting a new school or you are taking a class or classes that you feel are challenging. I know it might be intimidating to ask a teacher or professor for help but there are there to help you and the majority of them are very happy to help. Always try to stay positive and remember that with hard work and determination you can excel in any class!

I hope you all find these tips to be helpful!

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

Top Three Tips for Staying Hydrated This Summer

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

It’s officially summer and the heat is soaring in many parts of the world including my own city.  For many, summer is a time for relaxing, enjoying the warmer weather, and having fun in the sun. However, with all of this fun comes the danger of dehydration from the intense heat.

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I have to admit that for the longest time I had a false sense of confidence that I would never become dehydrated. Recently, however, I learned my lesson the hard way and this inspired me to do some research and write this post for you so hopefully you can all stay hydrated and healthy this summer.

According to the Mayo Clinic the following are some of the signs of dehydration in adults:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Urinating less frequently
  • Dark colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

Here are some tips for staying hydrated this summer:

Drink Water:

I know this one is very obvious but many of us simply forget to drink water and this can lead to trouble. If you’re out and about throughout the day it might be a good idea to carry a bottle with you preferably a BPA free bottle.

Its best to drink water before we get thirsty because by the time we’re thirsty we are already at an increased risk for dehydration. According to the Institute of Medicine the average female should drink about 11 cups of water each day and the average male should drink about 16 cups of water each day. Of course, this is just an average estimate and this will vary on many factors such as your body type, how active you are, and how hot is it outside. This estimate also includes other sources of water including tea or coffee, and the water that is in the foods that we eat.

I know that this might sound a little gross but one of the ways that you can make sure that you are properly hydrated is to look at the toilet the next time you urinate. The color should be a pale yellow.

As with all other good things in life, too much water is not a good thing. Drinking too much water is dangerous and can lead to water intoxication. Also, drinking too much water causes you to lose sodium at a faster rate than your body can replenish and this can lead to hypothermia.

Exercise with Caution:

Exercise has countless benefits for our physical and mental health and well-being. However, in the summer it is especially important to stay hydrated while you are exercising. Some experts point out that during a workout session we can lose up to four pounds of fluid before we feel thirsty. This is why its recommended that we should drink about half a cup of water 15 minutes before starting to exercise then continue to repeat this every 15 minutes during the workout session and then once more after we’ve finished the workout session.

During a particularly intensive workout session water may not be enough to keep us hydrated. This is because when we sweat a lot our body loses electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that are found in our blood and they help regulate the amount of water in the body and they help transmit nerve signals to our muscles. Drinking sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade can rehydrate our body and replenish the electrolytes that we may have lost.

Coconut water is a possible natural alternative to sports drinks. Coconut water has electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Coconut water is a fairly low calorie drink, it has between 60 to 90 calories. During extremely intensive workouts sports drinks may be your best option. However, these drinks are high in glucose and sodium so if you have diabetes or high blood pressure it is best to talk to your doctor before taking these sports drinks.

While exercising, its good to push ourselves a bit, however, it is vital that we know our limits and we stop before we have reached a certain point. If your muscles feel very tired and/or you feel dizzy then it is definitely time to stop or take a break to hydrate yourself. Muscle fatigue and laziness are signs of dehydration and need to be taken seriously.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

According to the National Institute of Health about 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from the food that we eat. During these hot days it is it is vital that we include and/or increase the amount of fruits and veggies in our diets because they contain electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Fruits and vegetables have a high water content. Here are the fruits with the highest water content:

  • Strawberry (92 percent water)
  • Watermelon (92 percent water)
  • Cantaloupe (90 percent water)
  • Peaches (88 percent water)
  • Pineapples (87 percent water)
  • Oranges (87 percent water)

Note: Bananas and dates should also be consumed because they contain potassium.

Here are the veggies with the highest water content:

  • Cucumbers (96 percent water)
  • Lettuce (96 percent water)
  • Celery (95 percent water)
  • Radishes (95 percent water)
  • Tomatoes (94 percent water)
  • Cauliflower (92 percent water)
  • Bell Peppers (92 percent water)
  • Spinach (92 percent water)

Of course fruits and vegetables should be consumed in moderation. Fruits are high in sugar. Also, those people that are on a blood thinning medication such as Warfarin should be careful because some fruits are blood thinning and some vegetables are high in Vitamin K.

Bonus tip: Try adding some sea salt to your food. Sea salt not only adds flavor but it is also has sodium and potassium which can help you stay hydrated.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful in keeping you hydrated this summer!

With Love,

Yasmin

A Bit of A Change

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well! autumn-1850717_640

As some of you may have already noticed I have changed the name of this blog from Yasmin’s Lifestyle Blog to A Bit Better.

When I initially created this blog the only thing that I knew for sure was that I wanted this to be a lifestyle blog and I wanted to share certain aspects of my life on this blog. Of course, this is why I initially chose the name Yasmin’s Lifestyle Blog.

Now, more than a year later not much has changed. This is still a lifestyle blog, with a greater emphasis on physical and mental health. However, I ultimately decided to change the name because this blog will not revolve around me rather my main mission is to create posts that will hopefully make the lives of you my dear readers just a bit better.

Of course, if something notable happens in my life I would love to share it on this blog. However, I am really passionate about creating posts about issues and topics that will hopefully play a role in improving the lives of others.

I know that I have mentioned this before but I would be truly honored if this blog makes even one person’s life a bit better.

Thank you all for your continued love and support! I truly hope you will all continue to join me on this blogging journey!

With Love

Yasmin

 

Reflections on a Tragedy

Hey Everyone!!! Hope you’re all doing well!

Initially I intended for this blog to be only a place of positivity however, life isn’t always happy and perfect and tragic things do occur all over the world and I think that as good humans its our responsibility to  feel sorrow when we learn about tragic events.

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Yesterday, a group of barbaric terrorists created chaos in my parents hometown, Kabul, Afghanistan, by detonating a car filled with explosives. Although they were targeting supporters of the government the majority of the victims were civilians including women and children.

Honestly, some of the images that I saw were just so tragic they included injured children and even a tiny toddler covered in blood. Other images showed a river of blood.Thus far, 64 people have died and more than 300 have been injured.

One of the things that gives me pain is that this tragedy did not receive nearly as much media attention that the recent attacks in Belgium received. Please don’t misunderstand me I was in deep pain after the attacks first in Paris and then in Belgium.

However, I truly believe that all loss of innocent lives is a tragedy whether that be in San Bernardino, Paris, Istanbul, Belgium, Kabul or anywhere else in the world.

I  understand the point that these sorts of attacks are more common in Kabul and in other Middle Eastern or Muslim countries that’s why its not as shocking as the recent tragic events that occurred in San Bernardino, Paris, and Belgium however, aren’t they all equally tragic when innocent lives are lost?

I am hoping to see a day when the media treats all lives equally.

Anyways, thank you for bearing with me through this sad post I promise you that the majority of my blog posts will be more positive 🙂

With Love,

Yasmin