Five Tips for Optimizing Your Smartphone

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

I feel that most people who own a smartphone use it throughout the day every day.

I definitely believe that excessive use of our smartphones can potentially harm our physical and mental well-being.

On the other hand, smartphones often do help us stay connected to our friends and family and the world around us.

Without a doubt, smartphones do have their pros and cons however, in this post I would just like to share a few simple tips for optimizing your smartphone experience.

Cover it:

If you’re clumsy like me I would definitely recommend investing in a good case to make sure that if an accident happens and you drop your phone, its not completely damaged. If you have an iPhone or any other phone with a large glass screen I would also recommend getting a screen protector just to ensure extra protection. I cannot count how many people I have seen who have accidently shattered their screens. The initial investment in a good case and screen protector can definitely be worth it in the long run.

Battery Saving Tips:

In order to make sure that your phone is always charged you can invest in a portable charger, which is basically a battery power bank which you can insert the USB of your charger and charge your phone without an outlet. However, there also a number of free ways to increase the battery life of your phone:

  • Always make sure to close power draining apps and tabs.
  • Even if your phone has 80 or 90 percent charge try to put your phone in low power mode so it increases the battery life.
  • If you’re in a hurry but you do have access to an outlet, put your phone in airplane mode so that it charges faster.

Consider adjusting the settings of your phone. For example, you can tinker the email setting so it doesn’t automatically update and you can adjust the settings so that your apps do not automatically update.

Passwords:

Some apps and websites require us to put in our passwords before being able to access the app or site. However, if you have different passwords for different sites (which you really should because it’s a bad idea to use one password for everything) you might occasionally forget your password.

One possible option is to download a password manager app on your smartphone. You use one password to access this app and this app manages all of your other passwords and it can autofill your passwords whenever you need them.

When you’re trying to create a password, a longer password is often safer than a shorter one. In order to make the password easier to remember choose chunks of data to make it easier to remember. Also, the more crazy or exotic your password is the more likely you will be to remember it.

Tune Down Distractions:

The best solution to avoid the distractions of your smartphone is probably to turn it off completely or hide it far away or even in another room when you are trying to get work done. However, other options include turning on the Do Not Disturb button if you have an iPhone or putting it on airplane mode.

Likewise, if you’re like me and you don’t even turn off your phone at night you can put it in airplane mode, preferably 20 to 30 minutes before bed. This way your sleep will not be disrupted and when you wake up in the morning you will only see the time and you won’t be distracted by a barrage of notifications.

Keep It Clean:

I know this sounds quite gross but studies have found that often times our smartphones have as much as ten times more germs than public toilet seats!

The average adult touches their eyes, noise or mouth an average of 16 times an hour and this could lead to a variety of potentially dangerous germs being transmitted onto their phones. Some of the viruses that can be transmitted are the flu virus, viruses that can lead to the common cold, noroviruses that can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, and the E. Coli virus.

As scary as this sounds, the good news is that the solution is fairly simple and straightforward. All you have to do is clean your smartphone at least once a week to prevent the buildup of nasty germs and viruses. I personally prefer using pre-moistened anti-bacterial wipes however, please do some research to make sure that you do not accidently damage your phone during the cleaning process. Click here for a helpful article.

I am definitely not tech savvy but I do hope you found these tips to be helpful.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

Deep Work: How to be More Productive

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

If you’re anything like me, you sit down with the intention of getting some work done and then before you know it, you’re tempted to check your phone and then once you grab your phone, its hard to put it down!

Even if you’re focusing on your work, you may hear or see a constant string of notifications or messages and you may then be tempted to respond and in many cases you do stop working and respond to these notifications or messages.

Unfortunately, every time we respond to an email/text or every time we google something while we are working on a cognitively demanding task, we pay a small price. In the moment we may not notice the price but overtime, it adds up. Basically, every time we are distracted by technology, it takes us longer to go back to being focused on the task we were working on and overtime this affects our creativity and it prevents us from reaching our cognitive potential. This phenomenon is known as attention residue.

Social scientists have tested this idea of attention residue in their labs. They gave their subject a task to do and then at some point they distract the subject by briefly making them look at something else, etc. When they then turn back to the cognitively demanding task , their performance decreases and it drops for a while.

I was recently listening to a podcast interview with Cal Newport, who is a computer science professor at Georgetown University. He has come up with the concept of deep work.

Deep work is an almost flow like state of work where we are only focused and concentrated on our work without letting anything distract us.

Cal Newport has written a book on deep work and in the podcast, he gave some of the following suggestions for how we can achieve deep and meaningful work:

Limit Social Media:

Newport claims that he has never had a social media account. He is not necessarily completely against the idea of social media, its just that he feels if he were to have a social media account it would take too much of his time.

For me personally, as a blogger and as someone who has family all over the world, social media is very important and I don’t plan on giving it up. In order to avoid wasting too much time on social media I would suggest choosing a specific part(s) of the day where you can check social media and I would suggest setting up a time limit as well.

Organizing Your Time:

Before starting your work, its important to create a daily schedule in which you plan out your day. Newport mentions that he works during very set hours during the day. One point that really resonated with me is that he mentioned: “I don’t let my mood dictate how my day unfolds”. Newport also mentions that great creative thinkers approach their time like accountants. They’re very structured and systematic with their time and they produce the most unstructured creative works.

Being Comfortable with Annoying People:

Okay, so this is one of the hardest tips for me to apply to my own life because when someone reaches out to contact me I almost always try to reply as soon as possible. Newport explains that he is someone who is very bad at responding back to others and he has set this expectation that he is simply unavailable most of the time. He admits that this has occasionally become a problem for him but ultimately it allows him to have a lot of time to focus on his deep work.

Although this tip may not be applicable to everyone’s lives I do think that taking the time to reply to texts, emails, comments, etc. should be incorporated into our daily schedule. By setting up a specific time we can still be social without damaging our work concentration.

Ratio of Deep Work vs. Shallow Work:

Not everyone works in a profession where they can dedicate long hours to deep work. Newport suggests talking to your boss or supervisor explaining to them what deep work is and then asking them how much time you should dedicate to deep work and eventually once your work is optimized your boss will see the benefits and this could potentially improve the workplace culture.

Reconfiguring Peoples Expectations and Channels of Communication:

You might be wondering, when you’re in deep work what happens if there is an emergency were someone needs to reach you? Or, what happens if you work in a very client-based environment. Newport suggests that some effort and creativity need to be used in order come up with different ways of communicating. For example, this can include creating an emergency number or a client email with someone there to respond at all times.

Shutdown Properly:

At the end of every work day it is absolutely vital to stop working and spend plenty of time relaxing and unwinding, with your family or however you choose to unwind. Sometimes, even after we have stopped working, its difficult to stop thinking about work. Newport suggests coming up with a mantra to help you stop thinking about work. Newport admits that his mantra: “Schedule Shutdown Complete” is slightly nerdy but it works for him.

Benefits of Deep Work:

Deep work and the ability to really focus on the current task is important to students and to many people who work in a knowledge-based economy where most workers rely more on their brain than their physical body for their jobs.

Deep work can also add meaning and joy to our lives. Studies have shown that people who are engaged in deep work end up being happier. People who spend a lot of their professional time concentrating on their work tend to enjoy their work more.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

Water and Other Blessings

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

This post might be a little bit all over the place but I just wanted to share some things that have been on my mind lately.

I know this might sound a little weird but lately I have been thinking a lot about water.  I think it all started when I heard that the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa is about to run out of water in as little as three months. I just found it so shocking that a large city of nearly four million people would run out of water so quickly. I cannot even imagine how much of a nightmare it would be for the people and government of Cape Town if Day Zero becomes a reality.

And then yesterday I was listening to NPR news on the radio and there was a story that UNICEF reported that the majority of the children that are dying in impoverished and war torn nations are not dying from bombs and bullets rather they are dying due to a lack of access to safe and clean water.

These two stories really made me realize that often we take the things that we have for granted. Whenever I get thirsty I go grab my cup and put it under the water filter in our kitchen and thank God in a matter of seconds I am able to drink a cup of safe and clean water but it breaks my heart that millions of innocent children do not have access to this most basic human necessity.

Also, the Cape Town story has really reminded me to be more mindful of how I use water and it has encouraged me to try to avoid wasting water. I think this is especially important for me and all others living in drought stricken areas to start implementing water saving strategies because some reports are suggesting that other large drought stricken cities, such as Los Angeles, should also be careful.

In the mornings, I usually like to listen to the news on the radio and recently I heard a story about the increasing number of homeless people here in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Once again, this story really pulled at my heart strings because it reminded me that there are people that are suffering right in my own backyard. To make matters worse the story added that the local authorities were basically trying to kick out the homeless people from the encampments they had created and in the process they were throwing away many of the basic possessions that these homeless people had with them. Its tragic that in one of the most affluent parts of the world there are still people that are suffering.

On another note, my heart goes out top my parents homeland, Afghanistan. More than 130 people have died in the past two weeks due to various terrorist attacks. Yes the story has been covered by the news media but unfortunately I haven’t seen an outpouring of support on social media. I think that, God forbid, if this were to happen to a Western nation then there would have been a larger outpouring of condolences and support.

To be completely honest I don’t blame anyone I just think that people have gotten so used to hearing about tragedies in war torn nations such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc. that they’ve become desensitized to it. We assume that these tragedies are just a common part of life in these nations but we often forget that these people are human beings just like us and they have similar dreams and aspirations and for them this unnecessary and inhumane death and destruction is just as painful.

I certainly hope that this post doesn’t make anyone too sad rather my goal is to remind myself first and then my dear readers that sometimes we are stuck in our own bubble as they say. We are often so focused on our own problems and we focus on what we lack rather than all that we have been blessed with.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

Here’s How Take-Out Food is Harming the Environment

coffee-drink-2433133_640Hey Everyone,

Hope you’re all doing well!

We all know that most of the take-out food that we purchase from restaurants (to eat at home or in the office) is bad for our health. However, research has shown that our take-out habit is also harmful to the environment as well.

For example, here in the U.S. if you go to your local fast food place to order some food to go, you will notice that along with your order, you will receive lots of extra napkins, plastics, utensils, paper or plastic bags, and packaged condiments.

Some of the extra stuff that comes with take-out is recyclable however, most of it is just waste. These bags and wrappers may seem insignificant, but here in the U.S. packaging makes up the largest category of local waste.

On top of this, single use items such as napkins, plastic utensils, etc. make up 10 percent of all waste. Obviously, the problem is not just limited to take-out food.

The larger problem is that 29 percent of our greenhouse gas comes from how we make, consume, and dispose of stuff. It takes a lot of energy to make single use items that we only use for such a short amount of time and we then trash out.

Without a doubt, recycling is great but for the sake of global sustainability our long term goal should be focused on minimizing our waste by reducing the amount of single use items we use and focusing on using reusable items.

Quick Tips:

There are a few important steps that we as individuals can take to reduce our waste. The following are just a few of the examples.

  • A large number of universities and hospitals have started using reusable take out containers for people who eat at their cafeteria. The way it works is that once you enter a cafeteria you check out a reusable food container (much like you check out a book from the library) you use it and once you have finished your meal you return the container to a designated area so they can wash them. It definitely may take a while for this to become a widespread trend but if you’re going out for a meal consider taking your own reusable container so you can store your leftovers in it.
  • Plastic water bottles are a huge problem. Around the world people buy around one million plastic water bottles every minute and most of these eventually land in the landfill or in the ocean. Without a doubt, if the only thing that we all do is start carrying a BPA free reusable water bottle, we would be significantly decreasing the amount of waste.
  • When you go shopping consider taking your own reusable shopping bag to reduce the use of plastic bags. Here in California we have a law that requires this because it now costs 10 cents for each plastic bag. At first, I have to admit, it was inconvenient but as time has gone by we have become used to it.
  • You can often cut the amount of packaging by buying stuff in bulk.
  • When at home stop using disposable plates. I actually know a few people who use disposable plates at home because they feel it is easier and they feel that they are saving water. I live in drought stricken California so I understand their point but I think that the amount of waste that accumulates in the long term is not worth the potential water saved.
  • In the kitchen, many people suggest using cloth instead of paper towels. I admit I don’t do this as much as I should but this can definitely help cut back on paper towel and napkin waste.
  • If you get a lot of junk mail in your mailbox consider calling and cancelling as much of it as possible. I know that this is inconvenient but in the long term you will reap its benefits. Once again, I have to admit I don’t do this but I do try to make good use of the junk mail by using it as a cover under my birds cage to hold their droppings. I need a sheet of paper each day for them so instead of using other paper I use the junk mail.
  • Finally, a lot of people suggest buying used clothing and other products instead of new ones. Consider visiting your local thrift store and you might be surprised at what you can find! I once found a small Burberry bag for $3 at my local thrift shop. Of course, now thanks to technology their are a lot of online options as well!

These were just a few of my suggestions so please feel free to let me know of any recycling or reusing tips that you may have in the comments section below!

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

Three Goal Setting Tips for the New Year

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

If you’re anything like me, as New Year’s approaches, you get excited and come up with at least a few New Year’s resolutions but soon after the New Year you give up on or forget about your New Years resolutions.

If you think about it, New Years resolutions are like goals that we set up for ourselves and of course, our goals are whatever we are trying to accomplish.

It is very important that we never give up on setting goals for ourselves because psychological studies have shown that people who set goals for themselves perform better on tasks in comparison to people who have not set goals for themselves.

Setting goals can definitely lead to improved performance but only if we set the right type of goals. In order to be effective, each goal has to be moderately difficult, specific, and in harmony with your own needs and desires.

Make Sure Your Goals are Moderately Difficult

As you have probably guessed, goal difficulty is based on how hard it is to accomplish the goal. Research has shown that the more difficult a goal is the better performance outcome it will likely have. The reason behind this is because more difficult goals require more effort and persistence. The more difficult the goal is the more effort you have to put into achieving it. Difficult goals also enable us to become persistent because we are motivated to keep working towards our goal and constantly putting effort into the goal until we finally achieve it.

Obviously, I believe that goals should be moderately (and reasonably difficult) for example, I, as someone who is pretty lazy and can barely climb a hill, should probably not count on climbing a mountain anytime too soon.

Make Sure You are Setting Specific Goals

It is also really important to set really specific goals that tell you exactly what you need to do. Let’s say that you have an upcoming exam and your goal is to simply study a lot. It’s a great goal to have but its not a very specific goal because studying a lot can mean different things to different people. A better alternative would be to plan out the steps you need to do such as read the chapter, take notes, review the notes, etc. Specific goals are really helpful because they take away any ambiguity and help us focus our attention on what we need to do in order to reach our goal.

Set Goals that You Believe In:

Finally, when it comes to setting goals make sure that you are setting goals to accomplish things that you are genuinely interested in and/or things that you feel will truly improve your life. Do you want to lose weight? If you’re thinking about a future career do you want to be a doctor? When setting goals consciously ask yourself, do you really want to accomplish this task or is this something that society respects. Not everything that society respects is bad or wrong but we need to make sure that we preserve our own individuality as well!

Goal setting is such a huge topic and this is just the tip of the iceberg but I hope these tips are of some help to you the next time you want to set a goal!

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

My Minimalism Journey

 

Hey Everyone!

 

Hope you’re all doing well!

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I am sure many of you have heard about minimalism and know what it is. To be completely honest I have come across this term many times throughout the past few years however, it was only a few months ago when I really started researching it and afterwards I realized that minimalism can definitely help make our lives a bit better.

Two of the most famous promoters of minimalism are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus of the famous blog The Minimalists . The Minimalists describe minimalism in the following way: “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important-so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom”.

To me personally, minimalism is a way of life in which we can simplify our lives by eliminating the possessions that we no longer need and becoming a more conscious consumer by starting to really ask ourselves do we really need an item before we actually purchase it.

Minimalism may not be for everyone but I think that most people can benefit from minimalism. The reality is that minimalism is simply an idea and it is up to us to incorporate it into our lives in a way that benefits us. Basically there is no one particular type of minimalism. Based on many factors such as our age, our job, our roles within our families, etc. our type of minimalism may look very different from other minimalists.

My main motivation for embracing a minimalist lifestyle was to get rid of the junk that I no longer needed in order to have a more organized room so I can more easily find things when I need them. One fact about me is that I am absolutely horrible at finding things (especially things that I know are hidden among other stuff). Finding the things that I needed had become a source of stress and anxiety for me.

As a newly graduated college student, I had tons of papers that I no longer needed and I carefully recycled them. (As a side note: whenever you are trashing or recycling papers always make sure that you no longer need them, make sure that you don’t accidently trash important documents. Also, if the papers contain sensitive information about you its probably best if you shred these papers).

Once I had finished recycling all of the documents that I no longer needed I started going through my other possessions which for me, mainly consisted of my clothing and accessories. For me, this was definitely harder because there were some items where I couldn’t decide if I should keep them or donate them.

While following the Minimalists on various platforms I realized that for Joshua Fields Millburn, minimalism was a gradual journey and it took him several months to get rid of everything that he no longer needed.

However, Ryan Nicodemus got rid of his possessions within a few days. Nicodemus described how he actually had a packing party where he invited his friends and they helped him pack all of his possessions in boxes and for a period of time he lived mainly by only grabbing the things he needed and after a certain period of time he got rid of the things that he had packed but never used after packing them.

For me personally minimalism is a long term journey in the sense that I have gradually gotten rid of the things that I no longer need but I still have a ways to go.  One thing that has really helped me is the ninety-ninety rule. Basically if you have something and you’re not sure if you still need it or not, ask yourself if you have used it in the past ninety days or do you anticipate using it in the next ninety days. Of course, this is just a general rule that doesn’t work in every situation but it can be helpful.

Like I mentioned earlier, minimalism has made me a more conscious and aware consumer. Previously I would go to the dollar stores and purchase anything that seemed cute or seemed like it would come in handy one day. Now, I have really realized the power of creating shopping lists in which I list everything I need beforehand. If I come across something online or at the store that I want, I wait it out for a few days and if I still think that I need it then I will purchase it.

Some people may think that they can only have a set number of possessions in order to be considered a minimalist. However, this is simply not true. Minimalism is about getting rid of the excess but it is not about restricting you. Minimalism is not against material possessions it is simply about making sure that every item that you do have is of some value to you.

This post cannot do justice to this wonderful topic however, there are so many books, articles, blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos etc. on minimalism. Click here, here, here, and here to learn more about minimalism.

I hope that this post has inspired you to perhaps gradually declutter your life with the goal of making your life a bit better.

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

 

World Refugee Day: How You Can Help!

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

asylum-914183_640

Today June 20th 2017 is World Refugee Day and this is a topic near and dear to my own heart because my parents immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan and if they had not done so, or rather, if they were not allowed to do so, then I probably wouldn’t be here today.

In order to better shed light on this issue  and present you, my dear readers, with some tangible solutions to this heartbreaking humanitarian issue, in this post I will summarize a recent  TED Talk by David Miliband about this issue.

David Miliband is a British Labour Party politician who has been a member of the British parliament and he is the chief of the International Rescue Committee charity.

Speech Summary

  • The current refugee situation is indeed a humanitarian crisis however, it is manageable.
  • Facts in numbers: In 2016 65 million people were displaced from their homes. Of these 65 million people most of them stayed in their own countries but 25 million of them became refugees. Most of these refugees are currently living in developing nations.

Causes: (as presented by Miliband in this TED Talk)

  • Weak states that cannot support their own people
  • An international system weaker than at any time since 1945.
  • Differences in theology, governance, engagement, with the outside world, in significant parts of the Muslim world.
  • This refugee crisis is a long term problem with deep causes however, it can be solved.

Solutions:

  • The refugees need to get into work in the countries they’re living in and these countries that they’re living in need massive economic support.
  • Education for kids is a lifeline and not a luxury especially since many of these people are going to be displaced for a long time.
  • Most refugees live in cities and so they need cash to pay rent, buy clothes etc. Give refugees cash to boost their economic power and to help the local community.

Controversial Solution:

  • The most vulnerable refugees need to be given a new start and a new life in a new country including in the West. The numbers (of those needing to be admitted into Western nations) are small but the symbolism is huge. Now is not the time to ban refugees but it is the time to embrace victims of terror.
  • It is a good question to ask are they properly vetted? However, the reality is that refugees are among the most properly vetted people that enter our countries.
  • Refugee is not another word for terrorist.
  • If refugees are not given the proper help, they take risky journeys in unstable boats with life jackets that cannot even prevent children from drowning. He describes this as not just a crisis but a test of our humanity.
  • Yes, refugees are often very different from us but this should not prevent us from helping them.
  • Empathy and altruism are two of the foundations of civilization and we should use these beliefs as our motto to help others.
  • In this modern world, thanks to our smartphones and other gadgets  we cannot say that we did not know what was going on.
  • If we fail to help then it shows that we are lacking a moral compass.
  • Saving refugees is a part of Western history, especially after World War II. So if we trash refugees, we trash our own history.

More Solutions:

  • If you’re an employer hire some refugees
  • Take on the myths that friends and family have about refugees.
  • If you have money try to donate some it to charities that make a difference for refugees.
  • If you’re a citizen try to vote for politicians that will implement some of the above mentioned solutions.

Concluding Remarks:

  • He mentions the story of a French man who helped his Jewish grandmother  and aunt during World War II by giving them refuge in his village. When Miliband, as a teen visited this now elderly French man and asked him why he took such a risk the man’s reply was: “one must” meaning that helping others was a natural and innate thing to him as it should be to us too.
  • He concludes by reiterating the point that it is possible to solve this problem and by helping refugees we are upholding our own cherished morals and values.

Here is the link to the TED Talk

Want to know more about the refugee crisis? Check out CNN’s article on this topic. This article also has a how to help section at the very bottom of the page.

if you’re in the U.S. and want to contact your elected official regarding the refugee crisis or any other issue that you’re passionate about? Click here for some tips and pointers.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

I am very thankful to the beautiful and very sweet Nicky from The Shimmer Within Her for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I absolutely love the layout and design of her blog. More importantly, I love the fact that all of her posts are very inspirational and she is truly successful at cheering me up with her lovely posts. If you haven’t already then please make sure to check out and subscribe to her blog !

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Here are the rules:

1.Thank the person that nominated you

2. Answer the 11 questions from your nominator

3. Nominate 11 bloggers

4. Give them 11 questions to answer

Here are the questions that she asked along with my answers:

  1. What’s the last thing you do every night, before going to sleep?

I usually perform my skincare routine and read a few pages of either a book or magazine that I have in my room. I then say a quick prayer and then just go to sleep after turning of the lights.

2. Think of an adjective to describe yourself that starts with the same letter as your name?

This is a hard one because my name starts with a y. After doing a quick Google search I think the word yeasty can somewhat describe me. According to AdjectivesStarting this word means very creative and marked by spirited enjoyment.

3. How many blog posts have you published so far?

I have posted 10 posts so far and this will be my 11th post 🙂

4. What’s the title of the next post that you’re going to publish?

I am not quite sure right now 😊

5. If you had to choose one color to wear for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Blue just because its my favorite color and there are many different shades of this color.

6. What was the last lie you told?

I recently took an online course and the final exam was quite challenging and although I did pass I scored lower than I usually do on tests. When my parents asked me how I did I totally downplayed it and said: “it was fine”. I am definitely not proud of the fact that I lied.

7. Name one nice thing about yourself?

I am a fairly compassionate person.

8. When we meet for the fist time, what will be the first thing I notice about you?

Currently, I cut my hair into a short voluminous Bob style so my hair may well be the first thing that you notice about me?

9. What do you like to do when it rains?

I get really excited when it rains because I live in drought stricken California. I just enjoy watching it rain if I have time other than that I usually just go about my normal life when it rains.

10. If you had to change your blog name what would it be?

Hopefully I won’t have to change my blog name but if I have to then I may change it to Yasmin’s Corner because I really do view this humble blog as my home on the internet 🙂

11. Name one nice thing that you will do for yourself today?

This morning I went for a walk in the morning and this is a routine that I have had on and off for many years and I hope to maintain this routine for as long as I can.

There are so many wonderful bloggers out there that are all worthy of such nominations. I would like to nominate the first 11 bloggers that followed my blog as a thank you for supporting me from the beginning of my blogging journey! 

I proudly nominate:

stylishablog

Live Breathe Beauty

Rhio Amber

Becoming Rivera

Rationalizing the Universe

dandadiary

from Libby, with love xoxo

Angela’s Avon

Earthbound Pair

Fashion Academicus

20 Something

To all my nominees feel free to do this post if you’re interested but no pressure if you’re not interested or if this doesn’t fit into your blog niche or category 🙂

Here are my 11 questions:

  1. Do you have a specific morning routine and if you do what is it?
  2. Do you prefer hot summer weather or cold winter weather?
  3. What is your favorite type of food to eat?
  4. What is or would be your dream job?
  5. What is your favorite book?
  6. Favorite sport to watch and/or play?
  7. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
  8. What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you?
  9. Do you have a favorite celebrity?
  10. What is your favorite app?
  11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Once again, thank you to the lovely Nicky from The Shimmer Within Her for nominating me and I hope you all enjoyed this post!

With Love,

Yasmin