Fashion – What to Toss from Your Closet for the New Year


By My Chic Obsession

Whether you’re someone that sets resolutions or not, there’s just something about a fresh start and starting off a new year on the right foot. Many people are evaluating their eating and workout habits, but there’s a place not many think of to start: the closet. People don’t think of what to toss from their closet, but studies have shown that extra clutter is a huge factor in the stress in our lives. Furthermore, if you were to eliminate clutter you would eliminate 40% of time spent cleaning. Not only that, but most people only wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. I’m all about re-wearing items, but that statistic makes me think there’s a lot of extra pieces just sitting around in our closets.


Oh, and did you know that 25% of Americans that have two-car garages don’t even have the room to park their cars in them? That has nothing to do with fashion. I’m just on the subject of clutter and I found that not totally surprising, but pretty crazy. Doesn’t that make you want to purge? I hope it does because now is the time to pour your favorite drink, blast some tunes, take everything out of your closet, turn off the sentimental and indecisive part of you, and clean!!

This isn’t a post about the trends to toss, because we all know by now that’s what “out of style” today is going to be back tomorrow.


1. Anything that’s too small
I think we’re all guilty of keeping something that’s too small in our closets and telling ourselves that we’ll fit into “one day”. Now I’m all about motivation, but how long have you been telling yourself that? 1 year? 2 years? If you haven’t fit into by now, chances are you won’t. It’s time to dress for the size you are now, not what you hope to be. You’ll even look better, I promise.


2. The abundance of t-shirts
Maybe this is just me because I’m not really sporty at all, but how many t-shirts does one really need? How often are you really wearing these? When it comes to deciding on space, are you really going to fill it up with t-shirts? In my personal opinion, if you need over two hands to count how many you have, you already have too much…

3. Things you’re keeping just because you spent good money on it 
That whim of the moment purchase just because you found this major designer on clearance and thought there was no way you could pass it up? Those boots you needed to buy insanely last minute but you never really liked them anyway? Or how about the item you bought just because it was a name brand but you really had no idea when you’d ever wear it? It’s time to cut your $$ losses.

4. Bridesmaid dresses
This one is hard because you probably spent a lot of money on it, but how long ago did your friend get married and how many times have you worn it since then? If the first answer is years and the second answer is 0, sorry, but it’s time to let it go.


5. Items with holes/stains/rips/pills
It should go without saying, but how many of us hold on to clothes that we’re unable to wear (unless you’re going for “homeless”), but yet we still let take up valuable hanger space? If it is fixable and you haven’t fixed it yet, either go do it RIGHT NOW or just accept that you never will and toss it.

6. Clothes that were gifts but aren’t totally your style
Kudos that you’re sentimental and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if it’s not something you even wear then there’s really no reason to hold on to it. Unless they go through your closet every day looking for missing pieces, how would they even know that you got rid of it? Chances are if they love you enough to get you something, then I’m sure they love you enough to want you to live sanely and clutter free.

7. Costume Jewelry
It’s true, we’re all scared to get rid of something only to have it be super trendy the next season, but I really can’t think of a time where tacky costume jewelry that turns your skin green will come back in style. And if it does, maybe you should just skip that trend.

8. “Painting” clothes
Paint splotch here and there. Oversize tee. Stretched out leggings. How do all of these things end up in this ever growing “paint clothes” pile? Yes, it’s a good idea to have an outfit to wear for all your projects, but unless your name is Chip Gaines, chances are your day job is not in demo and one outfit is all you really need.

9. Things you haven’t worn in who knows how long
An obvious one, but if you can’t remember the last time you wore it, then you’re not going to have a “next time” you wear it either.

10. Clothes that you don’t feel confident in
Even if you have a stack of comfy clothes for just lounging around the house, why keep them if you wouldn’t be caught dead in them outside? There are comfy outfits you can wear around the house that you’ll still actually feel good about yourself in (hello leggings and sweaters!). This also goes for items in general that either fit slightly weird or just seem off to you.

11. Things you’re just not feeling anymore
Okay, so you went through #1-10 (yay you!) Are there things left that you look at and yeah, they may be in pristine condition and you wear it a lot, but you just don’t really like anymore? Give yourself permission to get rid of anything left that doesn’t excite you. Ask yourself: If I were out shopping, would I buy this right now?

Whew. Cleaning out and deciding what to toss from your closet is a lot of work, but oh so rewarding. Now don’t freak out if you’re down to the bare bones. You still have clothes to wear. And I bet that you’re actually going to make better outfits now. After all the junk is cleared out, it is a must to make sure all your basics are covered to maximize your wardrobe potential. The fun part of this is that now you get to make a list and shop! A completely responsible shopping spree of course.


Enjoy your well-thought-out closet and Happy New Year!

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The Ultimate Guide to Making Anti Aging Smoothies


By Holistic Juiciness

Stop getting hung up on expensive creams and injections as being your only hope to turn back the clock!

It’s B.S.

Those so-called miracles are anything but, and actually contribute to you aging before your time!

They aren’t regulated by any government body (not that that would help a whole lot), but it means that companies can basically make any claim(s) they want about their product, no matter how outrageous, and get away with it!

So, where does that leave you?

Well here’s the good news – Looking younger starts, and has always started, with what you eat.

Your body needs the proper nutrition to work they way it was designed to, and to repair the damage caused by the toxins you put on and in it.

I can’t think of a better way to give your body (including your skin) all of the nutrients it needs, in large doses, than smoothies.

Keep reading to find out why smoothies are so great for making you look and feel younger.


Smoothies are:

  • Chock full of vitamins, enzymes, and minerals
  • Easy to digest, which means optimal assimilation of nutrients
  • Great for stabilizing blood sugar. 
  • A fabulous way to consume a variety of different fruits and vegetables at one time
  • Terrific for cleansing the body of toxicity
  • An easy way to add more fiber to your diet for optimal bowel function

*All of which are needed to slow aging


  • The health of your body depends on your digestion. When you blend your foods, you are supporting the digestive process. Your body does not have to work so hard to break down the nutrients as they are in a pre-digested state.
  • Did you know that 80% of your energy is spent digesting and assimilating your nutrients? So why not support your body, so it has less digesting to do, and can spend more time repairing damage (like age spots and wrinkles)?
  • Instead of preparing and eating cup after cup of healthy veggies and fruits, you are packing them into one nutrient-dense smoothie.


This may surprise you, but the secret to young looking skin doesn’t involve any super expensive beauty products; rather it includes fruits and vegetables that are rich in carotenoids.

Research has shown that people who ingest carotenoids on a daily basis have younger looking healthy and glowing skin.

Before you start eating vegetables and fruits to get that youthful glow, let me add that the secret also involves mixing them with healthy fats such as avocado, or coconut oil. The human body needs these healthy fats to help absorb the vitamins.

The combination of fruits and vegetables with proteins and healthy fats provide you with optimal anti-aging nutrition.

Since smoothies are loaded with essential fatty acids and antioxidants, they benefit the skin by minimizing any puffiness and redness, keeping it wrinkle free and smooth.

So if you are sick of people telling you that you can never have improved skin, you can show them it is possible just by adding some delicious and healthy smoothies to your diet.*

*You also need to eliminate all toxins from your life. Things like pesticides, fungicides (found on non-organic produce), chemicals in conventional household cleaners, air fresheners, make up, and body care products (like: deodorant, soap, body wash, shaving cream, moisturizers, sunscreen…the list goes on).

*Don’t drink unfiltered water from the tap, (especially if you live in a city – but well water can have it’s own problems), or from a plastic bottle (even if the label says the plastic is BPA free).

*All of these things contribute to early and increased aging.



Add the following to make the „Ultimate“ anti-aging smoothie:

PROTEIN: For vegetarians add hemp seeds, chia seeds, nut butter (like cashew or almond. Not peanut). If animal products don’t bother you, you can use a tablespoon of collagen hydrolysate.

FIBER: The best choices to add extra fiber to your smoothies are: flax seeds, avocado, or chia seeds.

FRUIT: You can add any fruit you want – e.g. banana, peach, pear, mango, lime, or berries. To make your smoothie nice and cold, without using ice that can water it down, freeze your chosen fruit for a couple of hours before hand. You’ll hear from many „experts“ to limit the amount of fruit you use in a smoothie because of the sugar (because sugar is horribly aging – which is true – but that is refined white sugar, and huge amounts of natural sugars.) Sugar found in fruit is wrapped in lots of fiber, so it doesn’t cause the blood sugar spikes that a piece of candy would. If you’re eating a well rounded, toxin free (that means no sugary junk) diet, then DON“T worry at all about the fruit in your healthy smoothie!

GREENS: Greens make your smoothie super healthy. You have many choices such as: spinach, kale, basil, cilantro, parsley, cucumber, the list goes on. Just watch for strong tasting greens like: cilantro that can over-power your smoothie. Try a small amount if you aren’t sure about how it will taste.

HEALTHY FATS: You can add according to your taste, but the best options are: avocado, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cocoa butter etc.

LIQUIDS: Coconut water, coconut milk (this will give you an extra hit of healthy fats too), almond milk, hemp milk, or raw milk from pastured, grass fed cows are great choices. If you aren’t making your own nut milks, read the packaging for added harmful ingredients like: guar gum,  and carrageenan to name a few. Plus, many of these packaged milks contain very little actual „nuts“, some as little as 2%. It’s so much better to make them yourself at home with organic nuts and filtered water. It’s not hard at all!

SUPERFOODS: To be honest, I don’t really like the term „superfood“ because it makes us think that expensive „exotic“ foods are the only things we can eat to get awesome health benefits – It’s just not true! Spinach and apples are superfoods, so are sweet potatoes and bell peppers. So don’t think you have to run out and spend a fortune on these superfoods. While they do have great health benefits, they aren’t absolutely essential to your good health and anti-aging. Some examples are: maca, cacao, goji berries, bee pollen, aloe vera, spirulina, and acai.


CHIA SEEDS: These are super seeds that contain a wide range of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, iron, calcium and antioxidants which are all good for keeping your skin fresh.

FLAX SEEDS: These super seeds provide omega fatty acids and fiber. They help to achieve soft and smooth skin. They also eliminate toxins from the body, helping you maintain a clear complexion.

GOJI BERRIES: These are the tastiest example of superfoods, containing vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. They help maintain hormonal balance, which is crucial for youthful skin.

AVOCADO: Avocados contain vitamin A, D, E, and omega-9 fatty acids. These fatty acids are the building blocks of skin. These nutrients help to keep the tone of your skin even and smooth. So, adding avocado to your daily diet is a great idea.

CAMU POWDER: This powder is loaded with vitamin C which helps to keep your immune system strong and give you vibrant young skin.

SPINACH: Spinach plays a role in slowing down the aging process of your skin. It contains beta-carotene which is a precursor of vitamin A, and is well known for its anti-aging properties. It moisturizes the epidermis, and as a result, prevents wrinkles and removes dead cells that cause your skin to look dull.

TOMATOES: Tomatoes happen to be little red heroes for our skin. They provide protection against one of the major enemies of our skin. They are very high in the antioxidants that protect our skin against UV damage.

PUMPKIN SEEDS:  Are rich in vitamin C and fatty acids which produce our skins natural oil called sebum. This natural oil helps to protect and repair the skin if damaged. So, eating pumpkin seeds can help you get glowing, evenly toned skin.

PINEAPPLE: This fruit is a great treat for your skin. It is rich in vitamin C, amino acid, and collagen. Collagen helps to support the skin structure and vitamin C, and amino acids help to repair damaged skin. It contains an enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme is famous for its softening effect. So, adding pineapple to your smoothie can help you to achieve younger looking and glowing skin.

BLUEBERRIES: Blueberries contain a high amount of anti-oxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins kill off free radicals, that contribute to aging. They also enhance the effects of vitamin C. Basically, blueberries help reduce the rate in which our cells age. Can’t get much better than that!



  1. Quitting after a few failed tries. Sometimes you just aren’t going to like the taste. Not everyone likes the same things. But don’t give up. I promise you, if you keep trying you’ll find lots of awesome recipes that you’l love! Plus, if you download my free smoothie recipes guide, you’ll be hooked for sure. They taste great!
  2. Not adding liquid to your blender first. To keep from over-working your blender motor, you should add your liquids first, along with a few softer ingredients.
  3. This is a big one! Not buying organic where possible. If money is an issue, try to stick to this list of the most and least contaminated produce.
  4. Not washing your produce. Just 1 tablespoon of white vinegar per 1 gallon of room temperature water makes an excellent produce rinse. Let your produce soak for 10 minutes before aggressively rinsing. This doesn’t remove the pesticide residues, but it does remove most bacteria and dirt. Do you know how many times your produce is handled before you take it home? LOTS!!
  5. Using unhealthy protein powders. Most of them are crap! Plain and simple. Your best options are hemp seeds, or my favorite – Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, which is a complete protein.
  6. Letting color turn you off. Lets face it – sometimes the color of your smoothie won’t look so appetizing! Like baby poop brown. But, please don’t judge a smoothie by it’s color. Some of the best tasting ones are the worst color.
  7. Not mixing it up. Variety is the spice of life, and in this case, the it’s the road to health. Try new recipes with different ingredients (and different health properties). Don’t just stick to a few that you know you like. Get adventurous.
  8. Making too much ahead of time. Don’t make more than 1 or 2 smoothies at a time! If you make a big batch, in the morning, for the whole day, by the time supper rolls around many of the vitamins that were there in the morning, are now gone. Oxygen is our friend, it keeps us alive after all, but it also is what eventually kills us (through oxidization). The same thing happens to the vitamins in your smoothie if it’s left too long. So, it’s best to only make what you’re going to consume right away.


By now you are probably excited about the anti-aging possibilities of
smoothies. You also probably have a busy life.

You may find it difficult to squeeze smoothie making time into your already hectic schedule.

Don’t worry.

The following tips will help you fit delicious and nutritious smoothies into your daily routine, so you don’t miss out on the youthful rewards they deliver.

  • Set aside one day each week to shop for produce. When you get home, dice, slice and chop your produce into small, blender-friendly pieces. Store in separate transparent containers so you can tell what’s inside with a quick glance.
  • A large smoothie makes a filling, healthy meal replacement.
  • When buying a blender, make sure the jar is easy to clean. Preferably glass. Ensuring that your blender jar is dishwasher safe makes cleanup easy.
  • Swap your morning coffee for a smoothie.
  • Get the family involved. When everyone in your home begins seeing the health benefits smoothies provide, and how great they can taste, they will want to make them a part of their daily routine too.
  • If you absolutely must make your smoothies ahead of time, (like in the morning for the whole day), freeze the ones you want for later, and thaw them as you need. At least this way they don’t oxidize quite as bad!
  • If you don’t want to do all the prep at once, once a week – at least do it the night before. While making dinner, why not chop,
    peel and dice your fruits and veggies and place them in the fridge for the next day? If everything is ready to go, you’ll be more likely to have a healthy smoothie instead of some junk!

To get you started, here’s an awesome smoothie recipe to try right away:


  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 and 1/2 cups coconut water or non-dairy milk (coconut, hemp or almond milk)
  • 1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries etc)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (raw unpasteurized)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

Add liquid, spinach, hemp seeds, coconut oil, and honey to blender. Blend until smooth. Slowly add frozen berries. Blend until completely incorporated. ENJOY!

So there you have it! Are you going to start making smoothies to help turn back the clock?

If you try the recipes in the ebook, can you please let me know which ones are your favorites? I’d like to make sure I provide you with more of what you like. Thanks 😉

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How to Boost your Confidence


How to Boost your Confidence

By Preirna Prachi

There is always a second thought when we make a decision. Meeting a lot of people in our daily life, there are many who’ll influence you, suggest different directions to reach your goals or are themselves at a similar stage where you stand. While you see people making complex decisions who stand at the level of your competence, or when you hear to what someone has to say, there is an enormous confusion to what would be the right choice for yourself. Though you might have a choice, these factors bring a second thought that extricates your confidence. It is necessary to build up a trust within to achieve success. Let us find out how to boost your confidence in such complex circumstances.

Make a choice

While there are different options in any situation, the second thought will always give us a negative opinion and generate confusion. It is probable that you might be proficient at something better than where you stand today but still do not have the win. For example, you might be capable of getting a more qualified job compared to the one you possess today. But what makes you lag behind? Though we are working vigorously to enhance our skills and achieve something better, we defer in our confidence. We are scared to fail. It is our lack of confidence that brings a second thought with all the confusions. But if one has the courage to lose, it is quite easy to cope up with the failure. So make a choice and ignore the second thoughts of failure.

Do not run behind perfection, boost your confidence at every step of success

It is not wrong to set high standard goals but it is equally important to understand that nothing is definite in life. Goals are like the stairs of a building where we want to reach the top. If you want to reach there, walk step by step. If you try to reach the roof at one go skipping the steps in between, you’ll probably fall. Conversely, the fear of falling might not want us to move up. So, always take a step forward and comprehend what it seems like. If you do not relish how it is at the subsequent step, you can at all times take a step back. Success at each level or every small effort you make will boost up your confidence in reaching the top. As we say, ‘slow and steady wins the race’, never hurry to get into perfection as failures will always lead to a decline in your confidence.

Think about your small successful decisions

We all make small decisions in our everyday life. We confidently make them because they do not have a heavy impact on the outcomes or we are totally used to them. However, when it comes to something huge, we tend to lack self-confidence. But, these small decisions can work as the supporting elements as they prove that you can actually make decisions with conviction. Right from the time we get up in morning, we confidently decide what to eat, what to wear, where to go or what to do. When it comes to bigger decisions, boost your confidence by recalling these successful daily decisions you make.

Eliminate the negativity

Positivity will bring in the confidence in a person. A disbelief in a choice you’ve made leads to a second option leading to chaos and losing the uphold on the first decision. Though it is important to consider the shortfalls, always remember, every choice you make will have its own pros and cons. So, while you make a choice, be a little away from its negativity and keep going. Sometimes, one might also have to stay slightly ignorant with the reality to develop confidence and work on the gaols.

Early experiments and experiences lead to confidence

Be ready to take the risk today since tomorrow shall be too late. The earlier you start, the younger you are, the better is the strength you’ll pose to accept your failures. Every level of achievement involves immense struggles. Commencing early gives vast experiences leading to boosted confidence in the future. If you build the competence of taking risks and facing failures, you tend to boost up confidence in making choices and decisions.

Ask for Guidance

No matter if you are surrounded by people younger to you or older, it is never wrong to ask for a piece of advice. If you believe people have the right answers, then it is worth talking to them no matter how silly they find you. Guidance can help you make a choice boosting up your confidence in whatever you do. You get valid points and reasons to why you chose the particular option over any other. A CEO of a company may be younger than her employees, but it is necessary to communicate to make better decisions leading to the benefit of the enterprise.

Final words

Confidence is something that one tends to build with time and experiences. It is extremely imperative to achieve success in life. Confidence can lead you to make better choices in life. It simply requires the courage to take risks and bear failures to boost up your confidence. Thus, one achieves victory only when he has enough confidence to trust his own decisions and bear all disapproval to get a positive outcome.

Travel – A trip to Yala National Park


A trip to Yala National Park

By Alexia Jolliot

One of my favorite thing to do in Sri Lanka, it’s going on a safari tour. It’s exciting, its fun, it’s outdoorsy. So, whenever we have friends or family members visiting the first thing I am planning is a trip to one of the many National Park. There are a few options when it comes to National Parks but the most famous of all is Yala, as it is home to the Sri Lankan leopards. Yala National Park is a protected area complex comprising five blocks as well as adjoining sanctuaries, but most of the time when people refer to Yala National Park they actually refer to Yala Block 1.

I’ve been to Yala three times, the first time the zone 1 was close and we (Mr. GM) were reluctant (to say the least) to drive an extra 1.5 hours at 5 in the morning, so we gave up and sleep late instead. The second time, I went with my parents during their first visit, and while we enjoyed being in a Jeep in the wild, we did not see any leopards or elephants, it was a bit disappointing, especially as we did it after Udawalawe where we saw so many different things. As my parents were visiting again this year, I planned another trip to Yala National park. And guess what, Yala zone 1 was once again closed. You would think that as someone who got surprised once to find Yala closed, I would have double checked this time before going, I did not… to my defense, the park was supposed to re-open on the 1st of October and we were the 20th. Anyway, this time we did not give up as we really wanted to spot a wild leopard and decided to drive in the early morning to the zone IV and V, where it is still possible to spot leopards. I won’t get the suspense going any longer, we did not see the leopard, unlike my friend who was there a week before and saw the leopard, or our guests who were there two weeks before and saw the leopard, or anyone else that I know visited that park. However, leopard or not, the experience remained thrilling, the park beautiful and, we did get some adventure on the way.

On the way to Yala National Park
On the way to Yala National Park

So, we all got up at 5 in the morning, and took the direction of the Galge wildlife park entrance, entrance to Yala block III, IV, and V. As we were driving along the very scenic B35 in the dawn’s early light, I ask if everyone was seeing what I was seeing in the distance. We weren’t sure at first (it was early, we had no proper coffee, it was early and the night was short…, but as I kept driving there was no other option than to believe what we were seeing. There was a huge, massive, at least 3 times bigger than the car, elephant in the middle of the road. It is the first time we encounter a giant on the road and we weren’t quite sure what to do, we were full of wows and fear, fear definitely overshadowing the wows. We stopped the car and discussed our options: to go or not to go. We heard stories about cars that got flipped or pushed off-road by elephant and quite frankly we weren’t ready to take any risk. As we were about to turn the car around, a bus came and drove as if it was the most normal thing in the world, we followed his lead and went just fine. We learned later from our Jeep driver that this elephant flipped 22 cars in September.

Arriving at the park entrance, we park under the trees, and in the five minutes it took me to get advice on which park to visit and getting our tickets and safari jeep organize, my family had made furry friends that seemed to love our car a lot. While these creatures are friendly at first, be aware that they get cheeky quite fast and are expert in stilling things.


Following our guide advice, we decided to go for Yala Block V also known as Lunugamvehera National Park. The park, rich in biodiversity, expand for 23,498 hectares, with a huge manmade reservoir that occupies over 14 % of the park superficies, The Weheragala reservoir. While visiting the park, it is possible to see the Sri Lankan Leopard, fishing cat, king mongoose and sloth bear, along with Elephant, various kinds of deer’s, and bird species a lot easier to see wandering around the wild. Lunugamvehera is one of the many sanctuaries in Sri Lanka that have been established in the interest of the wildlife allowing for a pathway for the wild elephants to migrate between Yala National Park and Udawalawe National.


We entered the park and stopped at the first pond to observe birds, water buffaloes, and crocodiles, a parakeet got his head out from a tree intrigued by this sudden bustle. We continued on the dirt roads, looking for the famous leopard. We enter a wooded area, known for observing the big cat. As you know we did not see the leopard, but we had the chance to see (and smell) the prey he killed the previous evening. We stopped the car nearby and observe round of different animals coming to eat on the rest of the dead buffalos, we stayed there for a while hoping the leopard would come to finish his kill. We wandered in the park for another two hours, crossing from time to time another jeep. Almost every we stopped the car, the macaques would show hoping to steal something to eat.


A good thing about Lunugamvehera National Park is that it is a lot less busy than Yala zone V and it is still possible to observe elephant and feline. Coming from Colombo, the best is to take the highway all the way down to Matara, then follow the  A2 until Tissahamara and drive up on the B35 until the park entrance. If you are visiting Sri Lanka, it would be best to include it in your itinerary. A good option would be to land in Colombo, and then go to Kandy, Ella, continue on to Udawalawe, then Yala, then relax with some beach time on the Southern Coast, either around Tangalle or Mirissa and finish with a couple of days in Galle (read my Galle guide here). As for the transportation, I would advise to mix between train (in the tea country), bus and private car.

Where to stay in Yala:

To complete the “into the wild” experience, I highly recommend some glamping.

Big Game Camp Yala offers very decent and comfortable safari tents. The setup is amazing, the camp is located around a pond where if you are lucky, wild animals will come to drink. The bungalow tent is spacious and comfortable with a private bathroom. The highlights were the extremely nice BBQ-dinner with candlelight in the evening and the manager Kamal who will go out of his way to make it happen

Price: from 120 USD per night


If your budget allows, stay at the newly open Wild coast tented lodge. While we haven’t had the chance to try it yet, you can trust Resplendent Ceylon to offer an impeccable service, amazing food, and perfectly designed rooms. The place looks amazing in picture and I really look forward to trying it ( I haven’t given up on leopard yet, I made it a point to see one before moving out)

price: from 340USD per night ++, all inclusive even the safari

But if you prefer more formal accommodation:
But if you prefer more formal accommodation:

Jetwing Yala is a good option, the rooms are spacious and well accommodated. Their food is great, the breakfast buffet has just anything you could ask for and they have a delicious buffet barbeque on Saturday night. The pool is huge and the area often visited by wild boars, monkeys and sometimes buffalos.  Be advised though that the service is slow, especially the check-in, and they aren’t really business-minded.

price: starting from 160USD per night in low season.

Tips: organize your safari tour yourself as they truly overcharge for the service.


Older people deserves respect

Older people deserves respect

Older people deserves respect!

By Amal Chatterjee

I remember a movie I saw in The United States called A man called horse which was about the life of the native Americans and the harsh way they had to adjust to the severe winter and the often scarce availability of food at times. It made them move frequently their camp in search for food and water so they were experts in setting up their tepee in a new location and also in dismantling the tepees that was done exclusively by the women.

The Native Americans took the word practicality to its extreme and discarded anything or anyone in its name. There was one scene when a very old and feeble woman was turned out of their tepee to die in the freezing cold and snow blizzard because they could not care for the sick and very old people who had outlived their usefulness in their nomadic life.

The scene was so pathetic that it brought tears to my eyes watching the old woman slowly freezing to her death. Perhaps they were practical people to whom life or death meant very little because they lived a precarious life of hunting and gathering where old people became a liability.

I often think of this topic because everybody gets old someday and faces the challenges all old people face at some point and often fall short of meeting these challenges due to many reasons that I want to write about today.

I have a written a blog called The old age care that is perhaps worth reading in this context.

We now live in the era of practicality just like the Native Americans did so long ago and have not learned to treat old people with respect they deserve. The Confucian ideology that promotes love and respect for the old age parents and grandparents has seen a dilution due to a large measure of economic pressure under which people now live but this lack of respect and care for the olds has more to do with the attitude and not always about money.

The joint family system that was practiced in some parts of India where the grandparents and parents lived together with their sons under one roof distributed the income evenly among all although not all the sons were earning.

It worked until the sons got married and brought into the family a woman from another family. She had no love or loyalty for the in laws and demanded that her husband spend the money he earned for her and her children and not share with the others so it brought about a fracture in the joint family system that slowly fell apart.

Now if we observe the present situation, we learn that sons live separately and some keep the grandparents and parents with them grudgingly or at best with indifference because they have lost faith in the old Confucian system.

This has something to do with the loss of respect the daughter in law has that the sons condone to keep peace so the old are tolerated but not respected. This puts the olds in a precarious situation so some go to live in the old age homes but it is not for everybody. These old age homes are not for the poor because they are run as business and cater to those who can afford the cost.

The vast majority of old people have no choice but to live the rest of their life with their sons or spinster daughters. I have written about the abuse they suffer silently and pray that the Good Lord takes them.

There was a movie made by Satyajit Ray a long time ago called The diary of the road ( Pather panchali ) that won many awards for its graphic depiction of the old age problems. I remember one particular scene in the movie where an old woman rocked to and fro in her village porch late at night with an oil lamp when everyone was sleeping singing O Lord my day is over, it is now the evening of my life. Please take me now.

It was a classic movie that highlighted a problem the society has faced since a long time and still does but it is pathetic and no less sad than the Native American woman freezing to death in the blizzard at night. They felt the uselessness of their lives because they were unloved and uncared for.

Now I read the news about the young people in Spain attacking the retired old people who meant no harm to anyone so what makes the young people behave this way? Some old people live on their pensions or own resources so they are no burden to anyone while others less fortunate have to live with their sons.

I think the arrogance of youth that has no reverence for anyone especially old people has something to do with it. Where does this arrogance come from?

I have often heard people say that respect must be earned but it goes against the Confucian practice of showing respect to any and all. Your parents do not have to prove their worth to earn the respect of their children but should be respected without conditions because parenting is a hard job anywhere and they make a lot of sacrifices to raise their children. Your grandparents deserve even more respect because they raised your father so well and used their hard earned life long experience to do so.

This is where the orient and the occident part ways in understanding what it means to show respect to the old people and the meaning of duty and filial subservience.

I think the fault lies with the people old or young who insist on being called on a first name basis  so a child can call his grandfather John or his mother and father by their first name. This is where the seed of disrespect is sown that later blossoms into something else. This is common in the western culture.

It is easy to show disrespect if you do not love someone so it prepares the ground for the lack of care and concern for the olds when they need it the most.

The respect comes from the realization that you owe your existence to your parents. They not only feed you but protect you from harm and always look after your wellbeing although it is also true that some parents do not do a good job due to some problems of their own.

In the animal kingdom from which I always draw my analogy, the relationship between the mother and the offspring is quite clear cut and visible. The females will fight to death to protect the young but at a certain time will wean them off and push them onto their own. The lion will not tolerate any challenge from its grown up male cubs and may even kill them.

This is where we are different from the animals. We do not challenge our sons when we become dependent on them in the old age and submit to their wishes because we become helpless. The in law factor looms large in such situations but not limited to it.

If the sons show a lack of respect to their parents and grandparents then it rubs off on their progeny who grow up discourteous towards them including the parents.

The frequent break ups of families due to the discord between the parents in the western culture is perhaps one reason when children in such dysfunctional families who suffer the most start to treat their parents with less than respect if they suspect their parents of infidelity, mismanagement of the family resources and negligence in their parental duties due to selfishness.

While infidelity can cause to break a family apart causing distress to the children, it is not the only reason for the break up in the family. It may be excessive drinking or gambling or other vices that make a family split apart. Why some people drink and gamble is another story that has been written about in my other blogs.

The Catholics forbid divorce in many countries so the parents may commit indiscretions due to reasons of their own and still stay together but it breeds contempt for them among the children and some may even do the same when they are adults.

When the parents and grandparents lose their moral ascendancy over the next generation due to their own personal behaviors, they lose respect that would be given them otherwise. So it is how we behave makes people respect or disrespect us.

There was an advertisement I saw in TV where the grandfather was offering a drink of whiskey to his grandson who put his arm on his grandfather’s shoulder in a very patronizing way. Such ads would be banned outright in more traditional societies where such behavior would be taboo but is common in the west.

With the industrialization and rapid urbanization comes pressure to limit the size of the family and live a more self-centered life from which the parents may be excluded. But this exclusion may also come about if the sons and daughters get jobs in different cities or even different countries and settle down there leaving the ageing parents at home with no one to look after them.

In many such cases the sons and daughters may decide to put them in old age homes where they receive some care. The old age illnesses are perhaps one reason for it but it may be also because the old age homes provide an alternative to lonely living. The Alzheimer or dementia that affects so many old people can be very alarming so some countries like Japan are taking steps to identify such people and put electronic bracelets on them for tracking purposes.

The old age problems will not go away as people are living longer these days so have to face some of the problems. The question is how to deal with it effectively. Those who can afford can opt for the old age homes but how about those who can’t afford? The vast majority of the old people can’t afford so they stay with their sons in patriarchal societies and daughters in matriarchal ones like here in the Philippines.

The disrespect shown by the young people toward the old people in some countries comes from the deterioration of moral values that the older generation failed to teach through their own example and traditions.

When some respect is shown toward them, they are more surprised than happy because it has become rare. When I gave up my seat in the bus to an old lady in Washington, D.C. one day, she was speechless and then effusive in thanking me although to me it was a normal thing to do.  It is not so normal. I see the arrogant young people sitting in subways not giving a seat to the elderly while playing with their cell phones or listening to the I- tunes in their headphones.

This lack of courtesy and empathy to the olds breeds contempt that others take to an extreme when they attack and kill some old people for fun like in Spain recently.

The remorse or regret that may eventually come to the young people who one day get old and get the same treatment from the new generation by then  is too late to make any  meaningful changes in their lives so they blame it on their parents who failed to teach them good values.

So I think we all share the responsibility of teaching and learning together the core values that guide the decency and moral behavior in all of us and solve this problem together.

There is no other way.


What is Bitcoin?


What is Bitcoin?

Maybe you here it many times in the news, radio, ads etc., but you have no clue, what it is? Me neither until some months ago, I started to find out more about it. At that time I’ve thought, why digital money? Paypal is doing a good job already. You can transfer your money instantly. So why digital money then? That’s why when I’ve heard for the first time the term bitcoin, I didn’t take it seriously. After I’ve found out what Bitcoin is really about, I start to take it more seriously.

The founder of Bitcoin published a white paper 31st October 2008 right after financial crisis in 2007, which was caused by the banks. In Germany the government rescued the bank system with €290 billions. Because the banks weren’t trustworthy, he started to create the 1st bitcoins on 3rd January 2009. At that time 1 bitcoin was less than $0.01. On 2010 each bitcoin was priced less than $1. The first altcoin was in 2011.

Coin market cap

Now, a decade later each bitcoin is worth about $8000 USD with 1506 altcoins. But why does it get so popular? It has some great features. For example you can’t fake it. It is possible a normal fiat money, but it is impossible to duplicate this digital currency, because it based on cryptography. Besides it is decentralized, which means you can transfer money directly to the other person without intermediaries. In this case a bank is not necessary any more, which is not trustful anyways according to the founder. This decentralization is based on the blockchain technology. On top the idea of this digital currency is to have faster transfers and lower transaction fees. In 2015 the transaction fee was $0.01 USD, but now to transfer bitcoins the transaction fee was even up to $40 USD, which means if you want to buy a $10 USD pizza, you have to pay the transaction fee on top, which make $50 USD in total.

That’s ridiculous. Additionally, it is not scalable, because now the energy consumption gets to high. To make any transactions, it would consume as much energy as a house would consume for a week. That’s why its market share dropped in 2016 from about 90% to 35%.  Even after many forks to Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, SegWit etc. to increase the scalability, altcoins are still on the rise. There is even an altcoin now, which has no transaction fee, instant transfer and endless scalability. It’s the same thing with the computers in the 20th century, where it was really big, slow and consumed a lot of energy. In 1943 the IBM president Thomas Watson said, that the world market would need about 5 computers. Now we know, he was wrong.

Because of its disruptive potential many people get scared of it. Cryptocurrencies are still emerging. It is not implemented worldwide yet and the oldest one exists not even a decade. We will see, what will happen in the next decades.

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What is SEM?


What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and it is part of Digital/Internet/Online Marketing. It contains SEO and SEA. SEA stands for Search Engine Advertising, which is also known as Pay per Click (PPC), because everytime a User sees an ad and clicks on it, he/she has to pay a certain amount of money, which is actually pretty cool, because you pay for results instead of the traditional one. The most popular PPC is Google AdWords.


This is, how Google AdWords looks like, when type in Hotels New York City. As simple as that. So everytime someone clicks on that link…., the company Booking has to pay for that click a certain amount of money to Google, which can be some cents to even some $. It depends on, how strong the competition is for that keyword, which also determines the price.

If you use Google AdWords, your ads will appear in Google instantly. You will get traffic to your website right away, which also has a positive effect on the Google ranking too. In order to find out, which keywords are relevant for your Business and popular at the same time, you have to  use some tools for it. With a web analytics tool, you can find out, whether you get much traffic from that keyword or not. SEA doesn’t replace SEO and vice versa. With SEO it takes months to get you ranked on the top places on Google. So it takes ages to get target traffic to your website. With SEA you get it instantly, but you have to pay for it. In short term it is recommendable to use SEA, while it is recommendable to use SEO for long term.

My Web Agency Sites4Businesses is providing SEO services. Feel free to contact it: Sites4Businesses. If you want to stay updated, just subscribe to my newsletter on the left side.

What is SEO?


What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines are a software, that searches the World Wide Web for the keyword you’ve typed in. The most popular one is Google, but there are many other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu etc. So SEO means, that you optimize your ranking on search engines.

The higher you are ranked, the more traffic you will get. The good thing is, that those traffics are free and even targeted, because you are ranked on specific keywords. The paid version is SEA, which is making an advertisement on Google. The good thing here, that it works instantly. Everything that drives traffic to your site increase your ranking.

SEO is divided into 2 parts. The first one is called onsite/onpage SEO and the other one is called offsite/offsite SEO. Onsite means, that you make your Website easy for search engines to find it. So it is more technical. For example the alt tags of your page, your website performance, responsiveness etc. The offsite version is everything external from your website. The most popular one is backlink. Backlinks refer to your Website, which is an indicator for Google, that your Website has a good reputation. The more backlinks you, the better it is, but not only quantity is an indicator for Google. Also the quality of the backlinks. It is determined by the Domain Authority.

Social media plays also an important role. The more shares, likes and comments you have, the higher you will get ranked on search engines. Social media platforms are e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. SEO takes much time, because it takes time to build reputation, but when you are highly ranked, you will get free and targeted traffic regularly. Once your reputation is established, you will get those traffic on the long run. You also can optimize your ranking on Video platforms like Youtube. The paid advertisement works instantly, but if you don’t advertise any more, there won’t be any traffic.

My Web Agency Sites4Businesses is providing SEO services. Feel free to contact it: Sites4Businesses. If you want to stay updated, just subscribe to my newsletter on the left side.

What are Web Developers? #IT #Business #Website

Web developer

When I meet new people, they usually asked me what my occupation is. As soon I tell them, that I’m a Web Developer, they understand, that I’m a Web Designer or I create Websites. To make things clear a Web Developer is a coder. A programmer. Someone using a programming language to code a Website like with Java, C#, Ruby, JavaScript …

Here are some examples of the most popular and current technologies Web Developers are using: Ruby on Rails and Node.js. These are softwares to code Web Applications. I notice, that in London (UK), they mostly use Ruby on Rails, whereas in Germany Node.js is more popular. Very interesting …

These are some of many popular Websites based on Ruby on Rails:

And here are some of many popular Websites based on Node.js:

  • Paypal, Yahoo, Wall Street Journal Online, Shutterstock, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Netflix, Uber, Ebay, Walmart, Google, Medium etc.

Amongst Web Developers, they can be distinguished between Full Stack Web Developers, Back End Web Developers and Front End Web Developers. I’m a Front End Web Developer myself, because I like doing it to the front and here is my personal and professional Website: Denis Doan

Conflicts in a relationship

Conflict, break, fight, dispute, problem

There are fights in a relationship and it is inevitable. To keep the relationship still strong, there are something you have to think of. It’s how couples you react, that reveals, whether the relationship is stable or not. Here are some hints, how it works:

  1. Be respectful. No insults in any case.
  2. Mention about your feelings in a neutral way like when you do this and that, I feel xyz.
  3. Keep calm. Don’t raise your voice.
  4. At the end of the conversation confirm your partner, that you care about them. It is always good to feel loved.
  5. Make your expectation clear.