How many of us actually read the newspaper- as in the physical copy? More or less similar to that old photo where instead of people looking at their phones they were focused on the paper like wow can’t wait to get to page three to read the continuation!

Recently, I’ve been picking up the paper from the little drop box that says “Only Take One” at my university. Why am I reading a physical copy rather than the speedy electronic version ready at my fingertips? Other than my eyesight being unblessed with the amount of times I’m staring at a screen, having a physical copy makes reading more, well, real.

I would compare it to reading a book. Do you feel the same accomplishment when you scroll to the end to the book [via pdf/kindle] as you do when you feel one half of the book weighing more than the other, and then officially reaching the back cover?


Personally, I prefer a physical book over pdf/kindle version anytime any day!

The reason why I’ve decided to start reading the paper is because more often than not I find myself in a bubble. The world doesn’t just revolve around the country I live in. There are 196 countries, and me knowing all about one country leaves me hopelessly lost for the other 195. 


Why is it important to learn about what’s happening in other countries? 

The more you know, the more you grow. It allows you to become more well rounded & informed on the world around you rather than living your life in a bubble. If you don’t read the news that puts you at a loss. The world has a lot of things happening; imagine if you only stayed on one page, one country, when there are 195 to go? It’s nice that you can recite that one page to a Tee, but what about the other 195?

Funny story: so I opened the newspaper backwards - how to be a 21st century human being reading a newspaper- and then happened to see this and WAIT THERE'S GOING TO BE 4 MORE MOVIES AFTER FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM @ JK ROWLING BLESS YOU THANK YOU I HOPE ALL YOUR TRANSPORTATION COMES ON TIME

Bonus for reading a physical copy is that it’s not something that can be fabricated like what happened with Facebook having fake news. [side note: if people really had the dedication & determination to make fake news a thing imagine they used that determination to educate themselves on what's actually happening in the world?!]

What I'm aiming to say with this blog post is this: Pick up the daily paper and skim through the international section and absorb like you’re a sponge that never gets full. What you’re reading is going to be history one day, and wouldn’t you rather say HEY I REMEMBER THAT HAPPENING I WAS THERE rather than oh wait who, what, when, oops wow I was there.. just not paying attention.

____


“Journalism is the first rough draft of history.”
Philip Graham, publisher, The Washington Post



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If you’ve been keeping up with me for a while, you’ll know I’ve been on the quest of trying to find something healthy/refreshing to eat when I start feeling like it’s time to take a nap halfway through a morning lecture. 

Previously, I essentially ate 3-4 oranges a day before realizing that over dose on healthy life is not the way to stay awake halfway through a lecture [ if you’re interested, you can read the post I did on that here] After going to Target, I came across Tic-Tacs. Now, I remember just taking a few and my breath being fresher than fresh water wayy back when tic-tacs were THE THING. So I thought why not give it a try when I feel sleepy?

I did this for about a week and essentially what would happen was I would be ready for success once I took a tic tac, but then five minutes later crash. I should probably state I ate about 3 at a time because I felt that having 1 was like .1 seconds of freshness and I wanted more freshness than that so thought to just take 3 at a time. #thatlogic


Looking at the ingredients on the back, it contains 0 grams of sugar [doing more research it actually contains 0.5g of sugar] .

By taking three every single time I felt tired in a lecture, I was essentially eating sugar. And everyone knows, if you have sugar you’ll just be on a sugar high roller coaster that only goes up The Fault in Our Stars style for a little bit before coming back down to earth extremely sleepy and wishing your professor had a snooze button.

Lesson learned: Tic-Tacs + Morning Lecture = ABORT ABORT ABORT

PS. I found this funny: So on the back of the tic-tac box

but then on the top side it said


# that moment where tic-tac can't choose a country to be loyal to



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In one of my previous blogposts, I have challenged myself with the task of becoming apart of the USA Olympics team for Tokyo 2020 for running (I’m gearing towards 5000-meter run aka 3.1 miles based on google). If you haven't read it, you can click HERE.

When I’m on campus, I go to the indoor track and run laps there (with the assistance of the RunKeeper app that tells me what type of run I should be doing because wow personal trainers offered at my university are PRETTY expensive like did my university forget I’m actually a student???). On the weekends, I go a few laps around a lake by my house (one lap and a half averages to about 1 mile). Something that I realized is that my speed on the track in school vs speed at the lake was actually faster? I wasn’t sure why that was since I’m the same person running on the track as I am at the lake, so why the added time on the lake? At the lake, a mile would take me 8-ish minutes while on the track, my fastest time yet was 6:45. That's a whole minute and a lil bit extra!


I was talking to my sister about this and she said she read something about that on the New York Times and how it’s some sort of science. Now of course I couldn’t find the article after countless of scrolling, if I find it I’ll edit it in! I did find another site stating the difference between track and road running. On the track, when you see those white lines, it happens to keep your mind focused. I can admit when running around the lake, my brain would be like oh I can stop on this lamp post for a little walk and then I can pick up again at the next lamppost. Or my pace would slow down a bit because of lack of motivation. Meanwhile on the track, I’m more focused on running and not on stopping. Also, whenever there are other people on the track I always make a point to pass the person ahead of me, sort of as motivation to go faster. (That’s how my speed per mile went down!) Also, I feel like the while lines sort of serve as a reminder to keep on going, and keep doing the loops around. (You can read the article here if you want!)

But the benefit of running on the road is getting yourself into the environment for 5K’s or marathons you plan to run. I personally hope to run a few 5K’s soon, here’s to getting my focus on speed and not on stopping when road running!

I would have to say a tip for making your speed per mile go down is to find a place where runners frequently find their inner Usain Bolt, and make it a point to pass them. Sometimes the best motivation to go faster is to have the mindset I can pass this person, yes I can, YES I CAN.


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How many of us actually smile as something apart of every day and not something that's rarer than a relaxed Sunday? (I'm currently a university student where Sundays are filled with getting assignments done by 11:59PM.)

In my biology class last semester, my professor asked "What's something that's contagious?"IN TERMS OF PRESENT DAY DONT GO THINKING OF THAT BUBONIC PLAGUE SPREADING LIKE IT HAD A VENDETTA AGAINST HUMANKIND  Now in my head I was like oh obviously it's smiling because when you see a stranger smiling in your direction- in that awkward situation when making eye contact- you also send a smile their way. 

Well apparently I wasn't getting this answer correct even though I 100 percent believe I was right.  The answer was Yawning. In retrospect yes this is true, when you see someone yawn it's like a domino effect, one down everyone else to go. 
me not knowing how to pose for a photo
I think this sort of showed where my head was. In my religion of Islam it is a Sunnah ( teachings, deeds and sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, as well as various reports about Muhammad's companions -If you'd like a more elaborate definition of Sunnah here you go: HERE) to smile; it is considered charity. The idea is that every good thing is a charity. When we think of the word "charity" we think of money donations. Smiling at someone is like making a donation to brighten the moment you managed to catch a stranger/friend in.
guess who figured out how to pose for a camera after five hundred photos later
Currently, I would say I smile but just not enough. I guess I have some more smiling to do in my life; it lifts my mood up and can lift the moods of people around me. Not all charity has to be a bill from your wallet, share a smile and it is charity enough. Here's to cheesin' through life - just because the world can be dark place does not mean you can't be that lil star shinning bright like a crown.

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Last month, I was sent on the quest to retrieve 15 different species of trees that are native to my state for my Ecology term project. Now, this began with me looking at a tree, scissoring off a branch and concluded with me getting odd stares from people who were probably wondering why exactly I was taking nature with me.

this right here- if I identified it correctly- is Kentucky Coffee Tree
Gymnocladus dioicus

The process of gathering 15 difference species of trees took about three days. In the first day, I brought home about 10 species to identify. There was a small portion that were native to my state while there were others that were native to U.K., Asia, Norway etc. Some of the nicely shaped leaves - this is what happens when you’re an ecology student: you look at leaves and start complimenting its structure like it’s the BeyoncĂ© of trees- sadly weren’t native which was rather annoying due to the effort I put to hop up to grab them.


no i was not climbing this tree; I’m not tarzan or jane for that matter.. also the splinters I would get from this tree god save me

Something that this project taught me is that America is made of bits and pieces of everywhere else. We are the youngest country comprised of different religions and cultures (and trees) all meshed into one United States of America. Yes, there are trees that aren’t native to my state but are here, by some miracle. Does that make them less apart of the place that they stand? Some were native to U.K but extensively planted in my region for the past few decades, does this still make them foreign to the land they’ve occupied for the latter half of the century?

No.

Why?

Just because they weren’t the original settlers in the tree-universe, that doesn’t make them less apart of the land. Yes they came later than the natives, but here they are settled in my native state that has been their home for the last decade. Are they originally foreigners? Yes. Are they foreigners now that this is a place they have grown roots into the ground literally? No.

They are as much apart of the earth as every other native tree. What matters isn’t how long they’ve been here, but the diversification they brought to the land. 

America is made of bits and pieces of every else, and that is what truly makes America the great country it is.

me cutting branches down responsibly

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Everyone needs water to drink. Whether you prefer drinks that contain enough sugar to sweeten tea for all of Great Britain, you end up coming back to water because someone on your social media is a healthy human being and you think to yourself well it can't be THAT hard.

In my math class, I sit next to a sink and for the past few times I've had class, the sink is always going drip drip drip. Now, the logical thing for me to do is walk up and shut it tightly before class and then take my seat, but I don't have the luxury of a few extra minutes due to racing from class to class. Every time I see this water drip throughout the class, I wonder to myself: If I were to put a large container there for the hour and a half that I sit here for, will it be full? Probably. Here we are wasting tap water like it's nothing meanwhile it could be the difference of life and death for someone else. 

It's literally Niagara falls via classroom edition
I have to admit, when I went to shut it off after class, I was expecting an easy twist of it, but the sink was literally like TRY A LIL HARDER IF YOU WANNA SHUT ME DOWN XOXO and after a while I managed to shut it as tightly as I could- with a broken plastic led pencil in the hand I used to shut it with. It was dripping a little, but not as much as before. 

Water is a necessity and then here we are, letting it drip away like it is nothing. I guess as the saying goes, you don't know what you have until it's gone. I do hope that we will learn the value of water before that happens.



After the Rio Olympics, essentially me having the adrenaline from bouncing up and down on my couch, I decided on reviving a dream of mine and making it larger- go big or go home right?? Previously before becoming a professional couch potato whenever the Olympics were on, I used to love running. Due to having coaches in high school that yelled 30/7 and essentially treated me like the ground they walked on because I wasn't their "Number 1 bae on the track", this made me hate the sport. Before I disregarded the sport completely, I did this 5K run and ended up wining first place in my age group- without the pressure of the coaches I had #bless.

As Rio came to a close I found myself remembering my medal for winning first place in my age group. It made me remember the saying "Hate the player but not the game". I could dislike the coachers I had but that didn't mean I had to disregard the sport like a sock with a hole in it. (sorry, I'm not John Green material) So after seeing the Rio olympics, it reminded me how much I missed that feeling of racing and generally feeling productive. 

It was then that I decided that why not give it a shot? Why not try to become apart of the USA Olympic Tokyo 2020 team for running? It can't hurt- I'd much rather try and not succeed than not even try at all. The most difficult part about a dream is taking the first step to making it a reality, but once you get started it's not as hard as your brain keeps trying to convince you it is.

.....
Well I'm hoping it isn't......

@ brain R E L A X pls

---
PS. Highkey waiting for Michael Phelps to come to Tokyo 2020 as a plot twist. 

Sahara xo


Can we talk about the blessing that is this bright sombrero look how beautiful it looks

Recently I began looking back at photo's I've taken in Spain from a couple years a go and I managed to stop at this one photo of a sombrero. Two years ago when I saw the sombrero I basically took it in my hands and put it on and told my friend yes yes yes I am going to get it, I want it, it is coming on the plane with me you can't convince me otherwise I will somehow turn this into my daily hat to wear when the weather is nice out.

BUT THEN BY SOME MIRACLE MY FRIEND MANAGED TO CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE.

My friend told me that if I got the sombrero she wouldn't talk to me, and in that moment I had a decision to make. Buy the sombrero and wear it out the store like I was Beyonce, the sombrero was my crown, and the world was my kingdom, or put it back where I got it. Sadly, I decided to put it back where I got it and left the store without any souvenirs. Every time I see this photo I think of that moment and how much I wished I could have bought that sombrero and not cared that my friend wouldn't talk to me (we shared a room together so I very highly DOUBT she would have been able to NOT talk to me).

It sort of went in a circle really; one minute I wanted the sombrero, the next I didn't because a friend told me not to, and now here I am wishing I had my sombrero.

Moral of the story: Just because your friend doesn't like something you want that doesn't mean you shouldn't like it.

Also a moral of the story: IF YOU SEE A SOMBRERO BUY THE SOMBRERO


You do you, not anyone else!

Sahara x



Did you ever know that eating too many oranges can be bad for you? 

I've only recently realized this after eating about 4 large oranges a day. Now fruits are healthy so in my mind I thought to myself  5x on healthy fruit = Your body is thanking you for taking care of yourself.  But science decided to burst my bubble, as in I felt as though someone took a needle and POP.

The reason why I eat 3-4 oranges a day is because I have a morning class, and 2 afternoon classes. Usually by about mid-way through the class I start to feel myself getting sleepy and so I figured out a solution: eat an orange; the freshness is bound to have some sort of affect. When I used to feel myself falling asleep I take out an orange and start peeling it, and it's like the freshness was a shot of expresso because I would be peeling with one hand and scribbling down some notes with the other wide awake. But then after looking online I realized two things:


Eating one orange a day = Healthy person 
Eating 3+ oranges a day = Overdose on healthy life

So, when you eat more than about 2 oranges a day you can have weight gain, heart burn and stomach pains. (You can find all information on this HERE) Basically, trying to be healthy by eating 4 oranges a day did not work in my favor because just as I thought I saw the last of the words "weight gain" it came back for Round 2. 


 "Too much of anything is not good for you..." ~ Barry White

I didn't necessarily think eating 4 oranges a day throughly because I thought Eating Healthy = Healthy self but overdoing healthy = not so healthy self.   Attempting to keep myself awake mid-way during class is proving to be a challenge since most foods (such as anything with sweet) allows you to ride the energy wave for a little while before it crashes. After thinking of ways to stay awake, and realizing that peeling an orange in class in the front row is awkward enough, anything else that requies anymore effort doesn't really seem like the very best idea.


I guess I'll have to guess and check and keep an orange on the side just in case plan B,C,D,E,F,G (etc) doesn't work. But the Tip for the day is: If you want to stay awake eat an orange, it is 100% guarantee to wake up up the same way expresso works its magic! Just don't overdose on them!

Sahara x


A few nights ago, a day before an exam, my family had a late dinner and already had my plate made, but I took an early night to wake up early to study and thus did not eat dinner. Then I woke up at around 4:00AM to study for this exam. I've somehow managed to fall into the path of putting this exam above my family and my health. Is this right? NOPE. Did I think it was right at the time? SOMEHOW MY BRAIN TICKED THE YES BOX FOR THIS.

I put all my time into an academic subject and it didn't turn out the way it should have. I felt drained for the few days after the exam because I was playing catch-up on my sleep. This made me realize that exams SHOULD NOT be put at a higher level than your family and health. Life as a college student sometimes has me reversing those roles; exams left and right I can't believe I'm not an exam ( see what I did there like the slogan "I can't believe I'm not butter... no... okay carry on reading ignore that hahaha)
Actual photo of my brain when I saw a question during the exam.

As I think back at my grade and basically have thousands of metaphorical deaths inside me every time I look at it I think to myself: By some miracle it is not the end of the world. The world is doing it's rotations and I still have a heartbeat that beats 232894320 times faster every time I look at my exam grade.

Although this exam didn't turn out as planned, I should see what I can learn from it. I should study every week the material not just cram it into 48 hours of studying. The brain is like a sponge, and like a sponge it can only absorb so much. By looking at my exam today, I realized how the professor phrases questions and how to prepare for the next exam. My study habits will now include knowing how to answer correctly instead of falling into the trap of being between B and C. (As is always the goal knowing the answer instead of playing the game of which one LOOKS better)

Instead of feeling upset, I would feel happy with my next exam because after seeing how the professor phrases her questions and the ways I could improve my study habits, I will go into the next exam confident in the knowledge I absorbed. And that's really the goal, not the letter grade, but actually understanding what's being taught.

Sahara x





Flowers are given to me
only one day of the year.
It makes me wonder
if they only think
of me then,
and not everyday of the year.

~ This poem is written through the perspective of a Mother on Mother's Day~

Sahara x

Anyone have that favorite TV show they wait to see every single week? It's probably the only reason I look forward to Monday: New Week = New Episode. One of my favorite shows is Reign. I laugh, I cry, I smile, I cry some more and that's the best way to describe the process of me watching Reign- my emotions are constantly on a roller-coaster.  It is a historical fiction about Queen Mary of Scotland. Although there are times where Reign can be problematic, I always find myself sitting in the same spot eagerly waiting for the next episode because of the cliffhanger they left on. I think this goes with most shows, ending with a cliffhanger because they know you're going to want to know what happened next. 

Although I find the show at times problematic, I am already attached to the characters that not watching it isn't really an option. I used to watch The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars, and I stopped watching both for 2 reasons. Personally, The Vampire Diaries after Season 3 just went down hill, plot lines just need help and I would be more than happy to offer plot lines without plot holes and well.... logic. Pretty Little Liars just kept getting repetitive and after the third or fourth season I stopped watching; A kept trying to find them while I was trying to find a reason why I was still watching. So what does Reign have that the other shows didn't? Well to give some back story, I watched the first 1 and a half seasons in 2 days which coincidentally I was supposed to be doing a 10 page paper. I would say that the actors that portray the characters have kept the show alive entirely. The plot lines at times annoy me but the way it is acted out makes it work; the actors make me want to come back and relive what they are acting out. 
" Whatever the future brings, you are my light." 
- King Francis
good king francis blessing TV's everywhere - literally the best!

__________

Any shows that keep you glued to the screen?

Sahara xo


Ever really want to eat an apple but then suddenly have the image of your hands getting sticky in public and having to go through the hassle of going to the bathroom to wash your hands up because hand sanitizer isn't sanitizing your hands? If so, we're on the same boat. Queen of #stickyhandswithapplessquad at your service to tell you that I've just figured to a way to eat apples in public without having your hands feel like they are sticker than honey from a bee.

So I figured out this hack when I reached the bottom of my lunch bag, and me being slightly lazy to walk to the garbage can the day before, I had a clear sandwich bag at the bottom. Guess there as a reason I was being lazy that day- it came in handy! So there are only two things you need: 

1. An Apple (obviously)
2. A plastic sandwich bag, one without the zippy part (photo below of the plastic sandwich bag I am talking about just incase this description is downright horrible) 


So the first thing you should do is turn your plastic bag inside out :

I feel like I'm wolverine but instead with a whole hand of claws like here I am off to fend off the stickiness that comes from an apple #justiceforstickyhands
Next step is to grasp the apple through the plastic bag:

And vwalla you then have the plastic bag covering over your hand = bye bye sticky hands and hello to the fruit we can now eat in public without having to make a sprint to the bathroom to wash our hands up 3 minutes before our class starts.
And when you're done with the apple simply pull up the plastic bag, reversing it back to right side in from the inside out way you had it, (obviously you wouldn't have a full apple.. at least I'm hoping you're not taking two bites and disregarding it completely that would be a complete waste of a perfectly tasty looking apple!). You're then back to how the bag original was and then you just toss it to the garbage with your sticky free hands!

P.S. When I told my mom about this she simply looked at me and said: "It took you 19 years to figure this out?!" Better late than never!

Sahara x


Movie trailers left and right the second you turn on your TV, it's kind of like a McDonalds they don't show they are making a movie the trailer just appears. As these trailers play on loop after every time a show goes on a commercial break, we sit and wait for whatever  show we are watching to return from it's cliffhanger.  There are many Young Adult film trailers playing on the screen- most of which movies rehash the same idea just in a different form. 

Surprisingly, when Children's movies play on the screen they aren't the same stories told with relationships left and right. Instead children's movies focus more on morals and being independent. In Young Adult films there is the trend that there always has to be a love story and usually the people in the relationship depend on each other and never truly depend on themselves.

It's almost as if the children's movies give people their morals and to believe in themselves. While Young Adult Films play on the screen, it's seems as though they are undoing all that the children- who are now young adults- have learned from the movies they watched filled with morals and lessons that they once based their whole lives around.
_____



I have to wonder though, are movies getting worse or are they really reflecting our values? I also must state that not all movies are bad and meaningless because there are great movies!



"Everything I learned, I learned from the

movies.” 



Sahara xo


_____

 Traveling to a new place allows you to have a new perspective. Occasionally you find yourself comparing your lifestyle to the one you are viewing. When I went to Spain as a class trip I found there were a few things I focused on: Culture, Food (OBVIOUSLY), and Scenery. 
There were a few things I realized. The water was clearer and provided such a calmness that I found myself becoming relaxed as the waves collided with the sand. I feel as though anywhere that is not "your'' country seems much calmer. There was also a few cultural differences, of course, there were dances that were done on nearly every street corner and as a tourist I stopped and watched with awe. Such an interesting view seeing something that you wouldn't correlate with your daily life but is the people's- of the place you are visiting- only life. As every city there are street dancers but there was such grace as the people danced, and on my part relief, in seeing something other than breakdancing.

As I wandered the streets of Spain with my class, we were guided to a small restaurant. This was the moment I was waiting for and I can tell you that I was not disappointed; I was so happy to not see a burger on my plate with a side of fries!


The entree, main meal and dessert had so much color and I feel that best describes Spain. Spain is full of life, everyone I passed by was smiling. There was never a dull moment on the streets of Spain whether you're walking or biking down the streets. Something that is occasionally said is that in the city times goes by so quickly and people are constantly doing everything against time. To best define the differences I would say that the city compared to the streets of Spain is fast paced; too fast to even recognize the beauty in every moment.
______
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~ Saint Augustine
____


Sahara xo



In the past,
we relied on
people to bring light
into a black and white photo.
Presently, the black and white
filter is occasionally
used. It makes me wonder
if people are trying to see
if they bring
light into the photo
or if the color is
already there, and
they are in black and white.

- S. Desert

Sahara x