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  • Under Eye Patches and Masks: The trick to de-puff eye bags

    You probably would have come across a beauty routine video of a celebrity filling in the viewers of their morning routine whilst sporting two stickers below their eyes. Produced by luxury brands like Chanel to drugstore labels like Garnier, under-eye patches have become a skincare staple for quite some time now. What are under-eye patches? Simply put, they are masks designed just for the delicate skin on the hollows of your eyes to cool the puffiness and reduce the bags, rejuvenate and brighten the skin that help make yourself look like you’ve not been pulling an all-nighter in the past few days. If you’ve ever tried them, you probably have an idea of just how hydrating it can be to pop a pair over your eye-bags on while you go about sipping your coffee and prepping for the day. For those who want to learn a bit more, these are some of my favourite under-eye patches that can give you an idea on how to purchase products that suit you: Milk Makeup Cooling Under-Eye Patches: These are by far the best masks I’ve used, but at the same time, the Dhs105 price seems a lot given that it’s just six patches. Since, it is a recognised brand the price could be justified, and I would urge the splurge if your budget allows it. Enriched with caffeine ( that's what compelled me to make the purchase🙈) to de-puff and seawater to sooth and calm, fifteen minutes after applying these eye patches, you can actually see the difference from the dull and tired eyes you had on. However, as these are comparatively pricey, I would recommend using these patches for major events- when getting ready for an interview, going out for a party/ date or when you desperately need a cooling and de-puff fix in the morning. Tip: Cool these in the fridge the night before a big day, and you’ll see just how crisp and cooling the effect is once you’ve popped them on in the morning. Pixi- FortifiEYE and DetoxifEYE: Pixi is one of my favourite brands for getting quality, quantity at a budget- something that my student bank can really benefit from. 30 pairs for Dhs88 is a reasonable price, especially since these tubs last me a good 2-3 months. As these are hydrogel patches, they stick on well, and they feel much cooler than the sheet patches. Within 15-20 minutes (I keep them on longer if I have the time), you can actually see your eye bags and puffiness reducedand the skin around your eyes literally looks lifted. What makes me buy this repeatedly is their packaging. It comes with a little spoon to scoop out the patches hygienically and since they are packed in a pretty tight container, you don’t have to worry about refrigerating them. Just keep them in your drawer or someplace cool. Garnier SkinActive Orange Juice Hydrating Eye Tissue Mask: A lot more affordable (Dhs 9.90) and easy to carry around while on the go. They work similar to the Pixi eye patches, with the only downfall being- they are sheet patches that tend to stretch and droop when applying. That aside, as it has Vitamin-C and hyaluronic acid, making your skin brighter and hydrated in just 20minutes. This is perfect for those who want to use eye patches but don't see the need to spend an obscene amount of your earnings on them. As I spend majority of my time on my laptop, I pop these on while I'm working late to cool the eye strains and as a bonus they make the skin look refreshed and brighter too. There’s a range of eye patch brands out there that are reasonably priced to suit all budgets- and most of them will probably get you your money’s worth. The next time you walk to school (slip on a pair of sunglasses if you’re conscious), hop on a flight or even plan to spend a late night at your library, consider popping on a pair of patches to experiment and see what works for you!

  • Infatuation

    Entered into my life with charming audacity Coaxing sweet nothings one couldn’t possibly deny Gentle nudges with ever-growing persistence A somebody who happened to glance at my existence. A fresh face sported a lasting blush Hearing words that are of necessary hush Thrusting an innocent mind into a world so wild Gone is the naivety that was once held on so tight. Eyes scroll eagerly across the words you’ve expressed Lips curl up with a knowing smile, so faint Heart thumps with a pounding joy so true The mind hoping to soon unite with you. Then comes along a cruel twist of fate The bubble around pops and leaves me desolate Everything halts and trickles away The genuine smile once etched onto my face Washed off by the tears that left its trail. A conflicted mind, a confounded heart A burning will to just stay apart Willful struggles to get through this ache The impending choice leaving the soul in despair. Forbidden words that long to bleed through sealed lips Desperately clenched fists and punctured palms To stop me from succumbing to your charms The stinging burn screams at me to stay away. The need to hear your voice so strong To know if you’ve been thinking of me all along The longing hope I have to be considered Solely in my memories it exists in despondence. Those agonising tears that drop in distress At the ease at which you can show ignorance Blessing me the chance to forget and reset Fooling myself into believing I could actually feign neglect. And then you leave me hanging by a thread To run back to you whenever you expect The infatuated pull struggles to fade away Crying prayers that I never have to go through this again. My destructive mind pleading you to stay away The stubborn in me refuses to say it to your face. How, I covet the life before my world revolved around you But I’m thankful you taught me that this was all too good to be true. ©Michelle Almeida

  • Ditch your 2020 self and work on these habits

    The year 2020 is a milestone; no one will ever forget. We've gone from living in fright to uncertainty, eventually coming to terms and somewhat accepting the new normal. The extensive scale at which the virus spread over the world took everyone by surprise, and although (partially?) scarred, we've finally made it through the stress-laden year and have also successfully begun anew. We've learnt a LOT from 2020. From understanding the importance of hygiene to finding fashionable ways of styling masks, amidst all that chaos, there's a lot more you can take away from the intense year we've had, and implement these into your fresh beginning. Get into the habit of making your own decisions: If there is anything I have learnt from last year, just believe your gut instincts and make your own decisions. You can ask as many people for advice, all the while ignoring the fact that there's this tiny part within you that actually wants the decision to be made for you, But it never works that way. It's never easy to calculate your choices and have an impulse answer ready. But you need to start somewhere. Making your own decisions is a gamble. You either lose all that you've worked for or continue winning. However, even when you lose, there are other ways of growing through that loss. Ignore…… it's truly bliss: People will always talk, but it lies with you to either accept their opinions or ignore and move on with your day. It is incredibly toxic for your health to surround yourself among people who will drop crude and unhelpful comments. You can't stop people from talking (even though your palms itch to shut them up with a smack🤦🏽‍♀️), so it would be best to find ways of staying away from such negativity or develop the skill (yes..I do consider 'ignoring' people to be a skill😓) of ignoring unnecessary comments. Limit social media intake……it helps: Yes, social media has its crazy advantages, but it can be too easy to get enveloped into the craze of knowing what people are doing at all times, continually posting to get the likes and followers and the obsession over an unread message when you see the person is 'active'. With these stress-inducing behaviours, going offline is the perfect solution or at the very least, just switch off your notifications. You'll instantly feel the weight of online activity leave you, and you can finally stop stressing over watching those stories that are bothering you. Take a break……& Work on yourself: We've come across illustrative quotes on Instagram that share tips on 'looking after mental health'. But how often do we actually switch off and take a break to work on ourselves? If the lockdowns have benefitted us in any way, it's that taking a break from social interactions and excessive workload is required to get a breather and focus on your personal growth. It's okay to detach from the world outside and utilise that energy to build a better you. Moreover, you don't owe anyone an explanation over your choices or the breaks you've taken. Keep your plans to yourself……Not everyone thinks the best for you: It's a great feeling to share your ideas, goals or even your accomplishments to the world. It's normal to want to feel validated and acknowledged over your hard work. However, you need to remember that, you're no mind reader. Not everyone will have the same opinion about your endeavours the way you do. It is a competitive world out there, and you will face instances where people will either invalidate your efforts, swoop in and take it away from you. (or they'll just do both💁🏽‍♀️). Keep in mind that you don't need that kind of negative energy before you take on a new project. You'll find yourself much happier and at ease when you get on with your work with a mind that does not focus on people's comments and criticism. Leave the toxic people…….And Invest your time on people who matter: It's not easy to detach from the people you've spent a good chunk of your time with. Everybody wants to have that typical, overly dramatised and glorified friendships; the one whom you're inseparable from since high school. Yes, most people go over it wrong when moving onto things and people they consider prime, without realising the people they're hurting along the way. While it is the human in you to wallow in sadness, you also need to pick yourself up, dust off the people who've changed their agendas and start focusing on the people who actually matter to you. Start focusing your energy on those who've stood by you and are still rooting for you and stop pining for people who clearly don't spare another glance at you. Be vocal……speak up: Diplomacy is excellent and all. It keeps you away from some hassle and helps you uphold some kind of trustworthy reputation. However, there's a limit to holding in your opinions for the sake of your repute only to gossip about the situation. I've lost count on the number of people who share wildly honest views but refuse to speak up to the person who actually needs to hear it!! It's a straight-up cowardly act, and you're neither helping yourself nor the people who are ready to back you up. It's perfectly fine to be respectful and avoid confrontation if the situation calls for it. But we've reached a stage where being polite or simply quiet for no reason is no longer required. So, go ahead and be blunt, repeat all those questions you never understood the answers to, refute those who try to put you down and more importantly, speak up and defend yourself (because no one is ever going to do it for you). Check up on people……you don't know who needs it: The entirety of the past year has taken a severe toll on almost everyone's mental health. From being isolated indoors, to dealing with pressures surrounding work, school or even physical or emotional abuse, nothing can ever go wrong by ringing up your close ones to have a chat. Pretty much all of us have a cell phone glued to our hands so, it's really no excuse to not dial a number or type out a quick text. Trust me, a hell lot of people would appreciate the gesture. Don't settle for less: Everyone of you are worth more than you'll think. Whether it's your friends or significant others, don't let anyone or anything belittle your worth. You're not getting the respect you deserve? Either make them aware of it or, take a stand and cut them off. Even more vital to keep in mind, is that it's essential to get away from the people who don't reciprocate the equal amount of time and energy you invest in them. You can have an army of friends……But it's family all the way: You can post images of your friends on socials and pair it with cheesy captions. You can even boast about the invites you get from every one of your many friends. But no matter the pedestal you place your friends on, it's always going to be your family that sticks by you. They are the only ones you're going to be able to trust, and no matter what, they are the only ones who'll look out for you. If the epidemic has helped us learn anything, it's to respect the relationship you have with them and never take them for granted. It's been a rollercoaster of a year with an uncountable number of malfunctions along the route. But despite the palpitating circumstances that have been thrust upon us, we've victoriously sailed through. With that said, you can break into the new year by taking away some of these tips on ditching your 2020 dejected self and revamping yourself into a more empowered and motivated person. Until next time MA♥️

  • The Bare Minimum At Parties

    For guests who refuse to acknowledge people outside their ‘friend circle’ We've had a wonderful Christmas. Well, the best we could under the current situation😬. Since it's the holiday season, that means family gatherings, socially distanced parties (whatever that means💁🏽‍♀️), surprise drop-ins to share sweets and gifts, and every other possible celebratory meet-up. I've had my fair share of attending parties pre-covid, and there was a time that I actually looked forward to them. In recent years, however, I've started to feel perturbed whenever my parents receive an invite, and I'm expected to show up at a gathering where I have to slap on a smile while every guest my age decides to ignore me. Growing up, my school and my parents would often remind me of a few rules when attending a social gathering. Be polite…be respectful…acknowledge everybody…include everyone, and the list goes on. Throughout my entire childhood, falling back on these set rules helped break the ice and eliminate any awkwardness when meeting someone. And, let's be honest, it feels great knowing that a total stranger takes the effort to make a get-together accommodating. Unfortunately, not everyone received the memo, and that's caused a lot of people to resent parties for fear of being socially rejected. Recently, after attending a Christmas dinner with a few friends and family, I realised, maybe it's time for a refresher session for all of those ignorant guests who refuse to put down their ego because of their social standing and neglect anyone who does not share the same ideals as them. Nobody needs you to babysit someone at a party. But it's common decency to be respectful towards everyone present at the table. So here's a guide to help you be less ignorant while making worthwhile for everyone, including yourself. See someone feeling left out? Involve them in your plans!: Now this may seem a bit forceful, but for a moment, put yourself in their shoes and think about how intimidated you'd feel being all alone among a crowd of oblivious adults who are having the time of their lives and a group of kids your age leaving you out of every discussing while laughing their hearts out. The party is just going to last just a few hours, and this might be the only time you're going to see the person. So what's preventing you from including everyone in 'the group😓'? Stop having one-sided conversations: Nothing is more annoying than being ignored in a chat, hearing the people around you go on about things you have no idea about. I've been invited to a fair amount of parties where a group of guys go on about some football game and engage in inside discussions over whatever happened in their school. It's a social event, not your school break to solely catch up with each other on the trending gossip. Save those for your private meet-ups and get the people left out involved in the conversation over a shared interest. You never know, that person can actually wow you with something that can ultimately open up a new set of conversation topics. For heavens-sake, not everyone is interested in your predictions over the upcoming football game!😣⚽️ Try not to discuss your professional/ academic achievements: It's brilliant that you've got your hands full with achievements and rising above and beyond in your work life. And it's understandable that you want to gloat a little about it- after all, gloating is good for the skin🤩. But know when to stop. God knows how many times I've heard people talk about their school grades and prefectorial positions and the top scores they've achieved. It's a festive time or it's time to celebrate someone's milestone, but it's not your day to ramble on about your career prospects or the awards you've received. It's a whole other thing when someone else acknowledges your hard work or the gathering is in your honour. Until then, don't toot your own horn and fish for compliments. Stop making others insecure at a time when everyone is supposed to enjoy a joint event. Stop being clique-y!: It's a comforting feeling knowing that when you attend a social event, there's someone you can latch onto for the night. Now that you have a secure company, what about those who don't? It's not fair, to anyone to see your entire group of friends babbling with each other while they sit idle. It doesn't take much to get someone neglected to join your ring😊. Waving them over too can work miracles. But don't gang up and blatantly keep away from someone who's left out. It's flat-out rude, disrespectful!!!! This is not a cry for help but rather, a source of educating those obnoxious minds that quite a few still possess😇. You're only going to meet each other once or mayyybe twice in a year so don't ruin the joyful occasions with your dense attitude and learn to accept that there will be people who are different from you and your clique. Don't get along with them? That's fine. No one expects you to spoon-feed anyone and after you've done your bit and you're not entitled to look after someone. It is your time to enjoy too. But it's a simple courtesy to make everyone around you feel welcome and acknowledged…even if it's for just a few hours. Merry Christmas🎄 and a Happy New Year♥️

  • The Queen’s Gambit: A series of Chess, Trauma, and Sportsmanship

    Times have changed when it comes to women and sports. We have women in every sport, crushing the dominating and demeaning stereotypes that discouraged them from involving themselves in any rough activity. Instead idolised them as the weaker sex, solely known for their poise and beauty. We owe this transition to the 1960s when girls/women were finally much more involved in sports and were encouraged to play at the high school and college levels. Albeit the encouragement was misguiding as it aimed to ensure women maintained their 'feminine figures,' it was still a start that paved a historic route, giving women the platform to take sports to new achievements. The Queen's Gambit, starring protagonist Anya-Taylor John (Beth Harmon), showcases the start of people's liberal mindset in the '60s. Bringing together the challenges of her traumatic childhood and her gifted skills in the male-dominated sport of chess, the mini-series illuminates and breaks the norm that women are more than just empty beings designed to meet every generalised expectation. Based on the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, the story takes us through the competitive life of a young orphan- Beth Harmon- who masterfully challenges her opponents as a woman in a 'beautiful' game of chess as she navigates through the stigma, isolation, addiction and of course the sexism. Keeping aside the beauty, wardrobe, and the overall framework of the series, which perfectly depicts the 60's style, the show throws light on the importance of sportsmanship. Knowing when to accept defeat, her willingness to learn from mistakes, and her diligent attitude towards her goals make this show stand out. We see a good balance between her years growing up and her chess improvement until she reaches the height of success. The dynamic with her adopted mother is one of the extremely crucial elements. The tension between her competitors and her relation with 'friends' gives out flair and continuity. Eventually, the show's realistic aspect is effectively brought out when her fame stains her childhood passion for the brain-riddling game due to her addiction for luxury garments and tranquilizers (Xanzolam). With every defeat since her pinnacle, the mental snuggles are reflected through her clothing, makeup, and extravagant purchases. This could be a way to reinvent herself and live the carefree life she observed and ignored during high school days. Towards the end of the crushing downfall, there's a moment of realisation that makes Beth re-think where her ambitions lie. She realises the promises made and the commitment to her beloved sport, revealing her first victory against her own traumatic battles and highlighting her sportsmanship qualities. What makes the show wholesome is the acceptance of defeat by her competitors as well- they take the loss with dignity and relief and share the victory with pride. While the show does bring out a tinge of glamour through seductive expressions and striking postures (her iconic bow-shaped pout paired the interlinked fingers and confident gaze), it redirects the viewer's attention to sportsmanship but this time connects the importance of teamwork- and not just concerning the sport but in her battles against the traumatic psychological trajectory and addiction. The Queens Gambit is a metaphor that beautifully encapsulates the struggles of Beth Harmon's life as she skillfully crafts her way through the chessboard, through the narrow-minded attitude of the stubborn men, and through her own traumatic battle. The show takes viewers through a turn of events that leave you with intense emotions; it suffices to say the show is definitely a must watch that will have you hooked until the very end. Review by Michelle Almeida

  • Happy Birthday Mom!!!♥️

    Embraced within the love she offers Snuggled within the warm comfort Whispering and sharing witty banters Cherishing that nothing can come between us Sitting and chatting like depraved friends Scheming and conspiring as bored confidants Knowing there’s no one we trust more than each other Giggling and snickering at the world around us My best friend, my guidance, my mom so dear So far away, but in my heart so near Every ready to help through strife Ever ready to help with a smile Cheeky grins and angry glares The many ways you show you care Through my falls and lows, you’re always there beside me Pulling me up and dusting away my insecurities The devoted mother works endlessly Sacrificing on life’s luxuries To spend time with her daft daughters Creating memories that are much sought after The mother who works so tirelessly Ensuring to meet our every need To the one person we just can’t thank enough Hoping the love we have for her works Oh, loving mom, so strong of character It’s ever an honour to celebrate this day with a cheer There are no words to describe the love we have for you But hope the little things we do make through On this auspicious day mommy ♥️ I just want to say gladly It’s a privilege to have you as my mother And I would not have it any other It’s a joy to celebrate this day To express our gratitude and our respect I’m glad I get to wish you a Happy Birthday To another successful year To another older you!😝 Happy Birthday and Love you mom🥰😘 Love MishMel &Dad♥️

  • Anxiety and Driving

    Dealing with anxiety when driving and the things I do to calm myself😅 ‘Your life is on the road’. That’s probably not the best thought an anxiety-driven person should drive with, but that’s the problem with this mental health disorder, you don’t really have that much control over your thoughts and reactions. I was always eager to drive. Loved the idea of speed (still do actually), the convenience, the feel of controlling your car, and the intoxicating smell of petrol 😍 (yes..I'm a sucker for the smell of petrol). Unfortunately, this euphoric stage was all before I developed anxiety; when I thought life was just a smooth drive.😬 All of this excitement and eagerness dropped down several notches when I started my driver's training and began with my road assessments. It was a brutal phase,…the constant overthinking, the palpitations during exams, and the pressure of just wanting to get over and done with my training and get my license so that I can finally get rid of those obnoxious trainers and condescending examiners😞. I had a three-month break because of university, and those were the best three months of my life. It felt relieving to get away from that confined space, with constant jabs and the struggle of trying to pass those exhausting exams. But once I came back for my winter break, even though I dreaded making the call to schedule my exam, I guess I got lucky, and within two weeks, I FINALLY got my license! Yay🙌🏾 It’s actually considered an achievement to get your license in the United Arab Emirates. The license is accepted worldwide because of how ruthless and strict their training is. So naturally, I was proud of myself of finally pulling through and securing it despite the bumpy journey. But here’s the funny thing and something I didn’t think about before. When you’re learning, you still have someone beside you to guide you and control the car for you with the help of an additional break. You're still dependent on the trainer to help you out! But, once you are done with the training, you’re on your own. All alone in that enveloping silence, with your mind to focus on nothing but the road in front of you. And dear lord, that was when every possible obsessive thought crept in. ‘Will I reach my destination safely?’, ‘Will I meet with an accident on the road?’, ‘Will I meet with an accident at the destination?’, ‘Am I going the right route?’, ‘Did I use my indicator when I changed the lane?’ And the questions just keep spiraling! Everyone thinks I'm scared of driving. If that were true, I don't think I would've succeeded so far. I find that it's the stress of anticipation that projects the fact that I'm scared. Driving with anxiety is not something anyone should go through. It’s bad enough you experience it in everyday life. It’s worse when it’s your life in question. But there is no way to dealing with it, and you're just stuck in a vulnerable position, having to suck it up and just drive. Yes, almost everyone says it’s OK to make a mistake on the road....that is, after all, the only way you learn. But that’s not what someone with anxiety would think..(at least to my knowledge). Instead, it’s the anticipation of what could happen before we reach the destination that occupies our mind. It's not about t making the mistake, it's a spiral of crazy and wild thoughts that run through your mind before the mistake takes place. I t’s a daunting feeling😵 to be on the road with your mind in a frenzy and your emotions all haywired. Pushing the accelerator makes you think you’re going to tailgate and hit the car in front- the car would actually be miles ahead. The sound of a honk makes you rethink and diverts your focus onto all the mistakes you could’ve made in those few seconds- the honk was actually for someone else. Over the past few months, spending the maximum amount of time on the road, brushing up on my skills, experiencing a few bumps here and there were was the only way I could push myself to eradicate the fear. Does it help to force yourself to do something you are not focused on? Probably Does it ease the panic? Not in the slightest. But driving regularly and learning from mistakes does make it easier to control the uncontrollable thoughts. Everything under this emotion revolves around you. It's thinking about yourself in the worst-case scenarios. Cops, crash, injury, safety are elements that get you in that overthinking phase, and there’s no one to help you with it. It’s just you by yourself, hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and your mind, a hundred miles away. And no matter how much you try to escape those feelings, it just hounds back at you. That being said, you can't blame your anxiety for a drive gone bad. You have to find ways for yourself that can help you to cope with it when driving. For all those struggling with anxiety with driving, here are some things that help me refocus and calm me that could possibly work for you too. Have someone in the car: There's nothing worse than driving when you’re not in the mood or just plain tired. Combining your tired mind and body, along with anxiety, is bound to result in some form of damage. Instead, ditch the car and have someone chauffeur for the day or use any form of transport services. This will not only keep you safe but also won’t give you any more reasons for your anxiety to escalate further. (Here are some pupper pics for you!!😍😊) Music: A playlist to jam to is the best way I keep myself relaxed.🎧 I love listening to trendy songs with a fun beat and find that it keeps your mind diverted from compulsive thoughts and more aware of the surroundings. Accepted attitude: the biggest challenge when driving is ’Anything Can Happen’ 🥺. It doesn't necessarily need to be your mistake. The roads are filled with rowdy idiots😝 and the only way you can save yourself is to be your alert self and make a conscious effort to have a positive attitude. Tired….Just Don’t drive!: There's nothing worse than driving when you’re not in the mood or just plain tired. Combining your tired mind and body along with anxiety is bound to result in some form of damage. Instead, ditch the car and have someone chauffeur you for the day or use local transport services. This will not only keep you safe but also won’t give you any more reasons for your anxiety to escalate further. These are just a few coping mechanisms I practice that really help me control migraines, palpitations, and shaky hands. You need to find things that help you and that's only going to happen once you take the chance and drive. Keep in mind that you're not going to overcome it in the first go and that's okay. Take your time, keep practicing soon you'll find yourself calm and collected even when someone is blasting the honk behind you. Take care and stay safe!

  • The figure in front.....

    I stare at the figure in front of me Eyes rake down with hateful scrutiny Following the ridges and sickening curves Believing it to be nothing but a curse The gutted glances and repulsive remarks That society bestows upon us without a thought That fills her with a burning shame That leaves scars behind from the hateful pain. The ashamed girl in front grabs the protruding skin. A reflection of what’s broken within Mirroring the thoughts that continuously swirl Where she wonders if a day will ever arrive Where she has to give up the fight And empty it all into a hole. With baggy clothing that shrouds the body To protect herself from any more misery But the words she hears clings to the heart That cracks her sanity eternally ripping her apart The glint from the glass shines with mirth, And the girl in front relentlessly judges her worth., For a moment, the anguish within forgotten, In its place, hope and satisfaction spread. Visions flash before her Of a life that makes her ponder Will she ever be accepted for what she appears to be Or will she always just be a mockery For the merciless society For all those who fail to see It’s not just the weight on us we have to battle But also your constant gaze and tattles That does nothing but belittle Reflecting from the slab of glass Is the goal that she has, That one day she’ll look at herself And a proud smile will light up her face. Where she’ll gaze at herself with awe and content And avoid negativity with contempt. Where she’ll stride around in confidence And won’t bow down to your arrogance. Until then, she has a journey to go, Where she’ll endure curves and bumps That’ll hinder her spirit and make her slump. But what matters is her effort and inner strength. To continue along the rightful path and avoid your demeaning torments. So society do us all a little favor, And let us continue to endeavor. Without your unwavering scrutiny Without your unnecessary crudity Leave us to ourselves, for we know what is best. Each humiliating word may strike us, but we’ve learned to take it all in jest. Stop whirling in your endless stigmas. And overlook the flaws and shame. For there is more to a person Than what appears in front of the glassy frame.

  • Traveling back to Dubai during the Coronavirus...? Here's what you should know

    First things first- You need an approval permit, granting you entry into the United Arab Emirates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation- (This is the link that helps you apply for the permit) Applying for the approval permit is a tedious process, and requires residents of UAE, (who want to come back), to fill up a whole load of details in order to gain permission to board a flight and enter your Emirate. Receiving the approval permit takes a lot of time. It can be disheartening and demotivating, but if you want to come back, you need to ensure you've uploaded the right documents and details. There have been instances where those who have applied for a permit to enter the country have received their approval in just a few days, while some of them have received it months later. You need to keep trying. (P.S. Permit rejections have happened if incorrect documents are uploaded. It's best to clarify any doubts you may have when applying for it, so as to not delay the process.) Once you've received your 'approval', Book your flight- These are repatriation flights, so you will not see any schedules on the websites. You will have to directly call the airline agency and they will guide you through the process. In the Aiport - Be prepared. Have each and every document ready. Everything is chaotic right now, so it's best you be prepared for any situation that can happen. Ensure you have with you, on hand your approvals, flight details, and any other necessary documents. - Follow social distancing rules- You've taken a risk to travel during these unprecedented times. Don't put yourself or anyone else in any form of situation that could lead to contracting the disease. Follow the simple guidelines and you should be just fine! All you need to do is, wear a mask and a pair of gloves and keep your distance. Airports have taken some measures to ensure distancing, but it's on you to ensure you're keeping yourself safe. - You may not have to go through passport control/ immigration checks in the airport- When I traveled, I didn't go through any immigration check at Heathrow Airport, London. Everything was done during check-in. As mentioned before, things are changing every day, so don't worry if you think you've skipped a step! - Security checks are conducted as normal- Your gadgets, liquids under 50ml, etc. will too be checked. You may be required to take off your shoes (esp those with boots). So, make sure you've got on some extra socks. You don't want your feet touching the floors🤢. What happens once you board your flight? - Every flight expects you to abide by social distancing norms. That means you will be given your seat accordingly, with a good amount of distance between you and other passengers. - Flight meals are standard for everyone. Everything is boxed, sealed, and packed to prevent any form of personal contact. - There are no onboard services provided, except provision and collection of your inflight meals, audio gear, and blankets. - Should I upgrade to Business/ First Class? It is a wise decision to maintain as much distance as you can from others. However, bear in mind, for the price you'll be paying, you will not be given any of the onboard facilities that you normally receive when flying either of these classes. It will ease your mind, knowing you're spending a huge chunk of time within the confines of an aircraft in the safest way possible. So if you can, and you don't mind the extra expense, then, by all means, go ahead. What happens once you're in Dubai? You've made it to Dubai!!, you've got one thing off your shoulders. There's still a lot more to go through, so make sure you get as much rest as possible in flight - You will have to fill in some documents. As soon as you exit the flight and enter Dubai International Airport, a couple of documents will be given to you. These are formal documents, in which you are required to fill in some personal and medical details and travel history. You will also be signing a quarantine contract. - Following this, you will go through a mandatory temperature check and a swab test. And yes, it is an intimidating procedure. The test won't hurt you. You'll feel slight prickly pressure and unease but then again, it's not every day you have someone jab a cotton swab into your nostrils. 🙈 The nurses and doctors in the airport are extremely accommodating and will help ease you through the entire process. So don't worry much about all of this. The atmosphere around the entire airport will be intense and daunting. But, as long as you follow the rules laid out, you should be fine!😀 - Once you've successfully gone through your medical checks, you will proceed through with immigration and go on to collect your baggage. - You will no longer be required to pull out your luggage from the conveyor belt. They will be sanitized and left on the floor for you to collect. * There are no E-gate services so it would be helpful to keep your passport ready. - Residents of Dubai will not be allowed to go home. You will be required to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days (or even less, if your swab tests come out negative two to three times) - You will not be allowed to meet anyone, so you may want to make adjustments to ensure those picking you up, don't come to the airport unnecessarily. You will be directly taken to a car and dropped off at a designated hotel. What will Quarantine in a hotel look like? - As mentioned before, those residing in Dubai will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Those who have landed in Dubai and are residing in any other emirate will be given instructions accordingly. - Your hotel expenses are paid for, so you don't have to worry about any of that. - Now that you are in a hotel, don't expect regular housekeeping services, you are required to do that yourself 😁. So think about looking after your room well during your time in quarantine. You will be provided with all the materials such as a change of sheets, towels, and toiletries. - You will be offered three meals a day. They will be kept outside your rooms for you to collect. These too are provided free of charge. However, you are also allowed to order in from restaurants and everything will be delivered to the doorstep of your room. You are by no means allowed to exit your room until your time in quarantine has come to an end. - Another round of swab tests will be conducted in a week's time. Results for both your tests will be given out within two days. Fingers crossed🤞🏾 - Your parents/ friends/ anyone you know are allowed to drop off things for you and you can finally enjoy home-cooked meals! What can YOU do to travel safely? - Pack light: This goes without saying when you're traveling but now more than ever, reduce the weight in your cabin bags. The journey is going to be exhausting and you don't multiple or heavy bags exhausting you even more! - Check-In every bit of luggage: If you can, check-in every possible bit of luggage/ bags you have. Don't roam around the airports, struggling with your bags, and exposing them to the virus. You are even given the option to check in your cabin bags, so it would be advised to go ahead with this. Carry around a small handbag with just with your travel documents and essentials. - Pack extras: In your cabin bag, keep a spare pair of gloves, masks, and any sanitary products that you might need. Don't depend on airports to provide you with these. -Gloves and Mask: This is pretty much a compulsion right now. Make sure, under no circumstances, you take any of these off (at least until you board the flight). It is difficult breathing in them, but you need to bear it for a few hours. It is for your safety. - Layers: If possible, add on layers of clothes to keep yourself shielded as much as possible. You want to prevent any form of body contact and the best way to go about it is layering up. Be sure to dispose of these clothes into a laundry bag the minute you get into your hotel and get them cleaned up as soon as possible. * If you do layer up, chances are your body temperature may reflect high during your temperature checks in Dubai and it may look like you have a fever. Don't panic! The nurses will assist you and give you some time for your body to cool down before they retake their checks. You have after all traveled 12-14 hours in layers! Should I invest in a Safety Face Shield or any Protective Clothing? - While it's always best to invest in products to keep yourself safe, it is not compulsory to go through with this. Layering up, and wearing a pair of gloves and a mask and following the rules laid out for you should be enough to ensure your safe travel. Remember that traveling under these circumstances is a huge risk you've taken. It will be a strenuous journey. So be prepared and alert for any obstacles that may occur. And stay safe. Once you are back, it will be a huge relief and you will feel massive tension lifted off your shoulders. I know many of you are still stuck abroad and hope that you will be back soon. Until then stay safe and strong!♥ Take care and stay safe and wish all of you traveling back home a safe journey✈️♥️ This post is focused primarily for those who are traveling back to Dubai. Experiences vary for everyone and rules are constantly changing so be prepared for challenges to strike up. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Hope this guide helps!!

  • Solitude

    Lying on the creaking old bed With a scrunched face and hands aside Exhaustion has me crippling inside Eyes shut, basking the pain A lone tear slips and leaves a trail. There's nothing around me. That bounds and confines me, Only the air and wall surrounding, A friendship now growing. Yet, there's no room to escape To let loose and run away From all the madness and fear Instilled in us by events unclear. I want to go out and feel the sun, but I'm locked, by a sickening curse, By the rules of nations And your foolish decisions I want to see the light and stare into space Feel the crisp, fresh air kiss my face The mere thought of people around me Oh, how glad and thrilled I will be. I want comfort, I want luxury. No materials, just family I want sleep, a dreamless one To wake up without a scream or a frown Make every day a meaningful one Crack a smile at the burst of dawn For you're favored another day Don't cry and waste it away. Count your blessings they said, But all we did was show ignorance Now we need to pay a price And pray, it's not our demise. - Michelle Almeida ♥️

  • Home Alone and Hungry

    ....This Easter? Times are weird right now. Things have gone for a total toss. The joy to spend with family and friends has proven to be a challenge for most of us, especially during this festive time. Some of us out there are even facing the misfortune of celebrating this day alone. Now, just cause you're stranded, does not mean you don't have to enjoy your time in and prepare a nice cooked meal for yourself. All you need is some candles, a good movie, and patience. Given below are just a few ideas of simple meals that you can try out for yourself. These are my personal choices and I vamp them up to suite different taste . You too can use these ideas as a base. Fill and flavor them the way you would like to and after all the hard work, cozy up on the couch, with a charged-up laptop, and ready yourself for an Easter meal, you'll remember for the rest of your life. 1) Pasta- A simple dish that does not take more than an hour (unless you plan on making everything from scratch🤔). Swirl your pasta in a sauce of your choice. (Check out this website to mix up some quick and easy sauces that you can make at home- Stir some shredded chicken/ beef or even vegetables. You can also add a side of garlic bread to go with your pasta. Don't have the traditional baguette, don't worry, use regular slices of bread, grease it with garlic-infused olive oil and bake for a few minutes until the bread turns crispy. 2) Salads- The sound of a 'salad' may cause queasiness. After all, who wants to gorge on a salad during Easter? However, with the right ingredients, you can actually transform your greens into a filling and delicious meal. Your base would require green leaves. Play around with different kinds of them; (Lettuce, Kale, Cabbage, Red leaf lettuce, Spinach). Now, don't just stick to green, throw in some more colors as well! Some chopped cucumbers, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes... the list's endless. A salad needs some cheese. My advice would be to stick to either feta- for a rich tangy flavor or go simple with some parmesan. Balance it out with some protein. This can include chicken, eggs, or chickpeas, and while you're at it, garnish with some croutons, pine nuts (your choice of nuts), or some pomegranates- yes, pomegranates to are included in salads! Adding these will crunch up your delicious meal. Now for the best part, drizzle some salad dressing. You can make your own, simple dressing by just adding a few crushed garlic cloves, 1-2 spoons of lemon juice, some chili powder (my personal preference), into olive oil. Just remember, don't overpower your dressing. 3) Fajitas- Want to fancy up your dinner, try out fajitas. With sliced white onions and a variety of peppers, sauté them in olive oil and flavor with some smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper (a substitute for the mix😜). For the non-vegetarians, add-in your choice of either chicken or beef. Serve your quick made fajitas in a warm tortilla and top off with some sour cream or guac, and don't forget your cheese! 4) Stir-fried noodles- One of my favorite dishes is a simple stir-fry. All you need are some noodles of your choice (I find any Indo-Chinese style noodles perfect for this). With your choice of any Asia sauce (chili, soy, sauce, etc.) along with finely chopped garlic, salt, and pepper, and chili flakes, depending on your spice tolerance, quickly toss these together along with pan-fried veggies and/or shredded chicken. Once your ingredients have been perfectly coated with the sauces, serve and enjoy. 5) Side of fries- As a last resort, you can never go wrong with any dish as long you have a side of fries. Either a well-done steak or a veggie burger. Or even a simple grilled chicken. Just marinate a fillet of chicken in some oil and spices (chili/ garlic powder, mixed herbs, salt, and pepper). You could venture out and sprinkle some cheese for extra flavor. Set this on a baking tray alongside some fries and veggies (mix of chopped carrots, broccoli) and bake until chickens cooked well. Some of these can also be store-bought (if you have the time to sneak out for a quick run to your local grocer.) You can even season your fries with a range of spices for some flavor and top them up with an assortment of sauces, gravy, and cheese. Follow recipes by and They have amazing recipes that are easy to try out that don’t cause you to damage your kitchen. I hope this helps you out and that you’ve had fun trying to cook up your own dinner. Don’t miss out on enjoying these festive moments…Stay safe and take care. Happy Easter!😀 Until next time♥️… Picture credits:

  • Toxic Friendship?

    Feels like a punch in your chest when you have to take that heartbreaking step to end a bond with someone you thought would be your trusted confidante. We all dream of having that iconic group of friends, a solid group where you all go about your mischievous ways together, have the anecdotes that make you snicker while others stare at you with dumbfounded awe. Or maybe, it's just that one friend you enjoy spending time with; bantering over bizarre antics that only you both could come up with, calling each other in the odd hours of the day just cause you're bored. A friendship where you support each, no matter what, while the rest look upon you with envy. It's devastating when it's those horrible moments that overpower those beautiful memories you've had together which often results in you dealing with immense grief. At the end of the day, it is your mental health that needs to be put before everything. It took me a while before I understood what comprises a toxic atmosphere and what I can say is, this environment differs from person to person. The first step to understanding your toxic atmosphere is understanding your emotions. How happy and comfortable are you with yourself while you are around them. If you find the need to get away from your friends to get a breather continually, it's time to re-evaluate your friendships. Now, you don't NEED to cut off immediately. Start by observing their behavior towards you. Common signs of a toxic relationship often point toward Jealousy, Building on your insecurities and anxiety when they try to contact you. Ask yourself these questions- Q) Do you get a sense of jealousy from them? Jealousy is an innate behavior that is inbuilt in all of us. However, it should not hinder your friends' ability to lend a hand when you need it. Moreover, they also need to learn how to express them appropriately. Q) Do they put you down when they gloat about their achievements...There's a huge difference between sharing your achievements and gloating about it. You'll find that they'll expect you to pay attention to their success while; Is there any attention paid towards you? Or any appreciation expressed for anything that you do? Most often than not, your actions will be termed as 'bragging', maybe you'll even be termed as an 'attention seeker'. Any of these terms ring a bell? Q) Are they competing with you? Healthy competition is always encouraged, but there's a line that needs to be drawn especially when you are the one being shamed and put down in the pretext of 'competition'. Q) Are you anxious when they try to contact you? If you find yourself stressed out when your friend(s) tries to contact you, that immediately calls for an evaluation. This is one of the most common signs that point towards a toxic friendship. Maybe you're addressed when there's a need of you and then sadly disposed of when your toxic friend(s) has achieved what they wanted. Maybe you just don't like the way they act or talk around you. You could feel pressured to behave a certain way around that person. There are so many factors to look into when you find yourself dreading at the thought of hearing their voice or coming across them. This is a time to pay attention to those phone calls and messages. How often are you kept in the loop? Q) Are they disrespectful? Intentional snarky comments, avoiding you on social media and messaging groups, encouraging others to ignore you, spreading rumors, and bad-mouthing you to others. Are they keeping you away from others? Another sign into toxic friendship includes distancing you from others (often from within the same circles) while simultaneously ensuring they remain in touch with you. This gives them the power to control their hold over friendships. This can be a plausible way to encourage jealousy from within you. To get an adverse reaction from you, which can later be used to put you down and a way to show that you're easily replaceable. After speaking to a few people about what a toxic friendship means to them, a standard answer that I've received is that "you feel like everything is one-sided with them." A toxic friend would make things all about them and their needs. Their expectations would be for you to stand by them, help them (emotionally or financially), or they could expect you to put in more effort into saving your friendship. In these cases, you need to know that every relationship is built on treating each other equally. Yes, sometimes they MAY require a little more help and attention than you (or vice versa); you need to know when to put your foot down on their demands. While these are just a few points that you need to consider over your (toxic) friend, you also need to need to take a look into yourself: your emotions and actions. Prioritize yourself right now and figure out how their toxic behavior changes you. Do you get annoyed when they remind you of your failures? Or do you feel dejected sad when you're only there to fill up a spot of a friend before they move onto someone else? Do you find yourself hostile, conniving, and acting in ways you usually wouldn't. The change brought within you would have most probably stemmed from the feedback your toxic friend(s) provide you with. 'Feedback' is usually in the guise of 'looking out for you' and 'helpful advice.' If not an emotional change, are you physically changing yourself to appease your mates. We blatantly that the dilemma to change ourselves in order to appease others can be felt by people of all ages, whether you're in junior school, an employee with high post job or the C.E.O of an organization. Everyone can go through a toxic relationship. The only thing that matters is how maturely you take necessary action. You don't want to be under a paranoid state when you make a decision, and there could be the minute possibility in which they could be looking out for you. See for yourself if you're incorporating an uncomfortable styling sense or picking up a few bad habits. No one's a better judge of yourself than you! Now that you've gotten a gist of what consists of a toxic life, evaluated and accepted the problems that have been affecting your mental well being, it's now time to take some action: - Talk it out Never rush to conclusions. Have a one to one conversation about the issues that you are facing. You don't want to give up on a beautiful friendship easily and so talking is the best way to get to know the problems each of you are facing and how you can rectify them without having to cut them off immediately. For all you know, they could be dealing with critical issues of their own that are making them behave this way. While talking things out, it is also essential to keep in mind that this was the same person who hurt you. Don't be too easy on them as this could be a way of taking advantage of you once again. Make your decisions wisely. - Set some new Boundaries If you choose to give your friend(s) another chance of building a healthy relationship, then you might want to consider setting some boundaries. Boundaries include limiting your interaction with them.. Face to face contact, social media conversations, meetups along with mutual friends. When setting your boundaries, we tend to distance ourselves entirely from mutual friends as well. Don't stop having your bit of fun! - Now What? Last Resort.....Time to Cut them out You've gone great lengths to defend and put yourself first finally. It's never easy to take such a measure, but if things don't turn out for the better, it may be time to cut off completely. If even after talking things out and giving second chances and exhausting every possible way to salvage your friendship, things still don't pan out.... you'll see yourself de-stressed when you don't hear or see anything about them. Cutting off includes a social media unfollowing as well. We all have that compulsion to keep checking on our friends, and when you're trying to end a toxic friendship, the compulsion to check on them increases a whole lot more.  This might be the time to click those unfollow buttons or block them entirely. There's nothing more therapeutic than waking up and going about your day without having to come across the person that caused you a hell lot of pain. However, think carefully about blocking their contacts and emails. If this is someone you work with or run in the same circles, you might need to maintain a relation out of professional courtesy. But make sure that they know that their contact with you is nothing more than for professional needs. School, work contacts will come in handy in this case. I hope these tips have helped! Keeping all of these in mind, look after yourself well, and stay safe. And remember, nothing is more important than your mental health and happiness. P.S: I will be uploading another blog on Dealing with Toxic Friendships- Looking after yourself after ending a toxic relationship. So do keep an eye out for the next post! Until Next Time♥️

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