Thursday, 26 October 2017

72 Hours in Belgium!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

A Future With No Language Barriers?

Language is crucial to our existence. Our voices vary in tone, sounds, depth and pitch. For some, our hands are our narrators and they punctuate each sentence with a gesture. We understand one another through language, it tells a story of where we might come from, our accents often a compass to direct others in pinpointing which geographical location we might be from.  For years, there have been people who wish they could speak, or at least, understand every language spoken on earth. According to the 2012 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records, Lebanese born Ziad Fazah holds the current title and world record for being able to speak the most number of languages. Labelled as a polyglot, this Liberian-born Lebanese man is able to read and speak 58 languages, including Polish, Norwegian, Arabic, Thai and various others. But what would happen if the world no longer needed to learn a language? What if you could simply speak?
The ILI device is a small, portable language translation device and it was released in the United States of America in June 2017. According to those who have actually tried it out, it’s one of the best translator devices as it requires absolutely no internet to function. The device contains built in phrases in four available languages (English, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese) but more languages are to be added in due time. The way it works is relatively simple; one holds in a little button on the device, say or ask something, the device processes the information and then translates it in as little as 0.2 seconds in one of the four languages mentioned. What’s great about the device is that, aside from not needing internet to function, it’s designed for those who are often traveling and need assistance with language. Additionally, it has a built in section where common phrases of all four languages are stored to make little to no mistakes when using the device.

The downside to this creation is that technology is already replacing books. Books can be bought online, e-books are readily available and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to download a PDF file with all the information one needs on it. However, with the creation of the ILI device, people could also potentially no longer be interested in actually learning a language and understanding the culture that comes with understanding said language. For travelers, phrasebooks and books with simple exercises in them to help Person A communicate with Person B will be more of a chore now that there’s a device that will do it for you.

Though ILI certainly does have a great impact on the environment, given that it’s not using trees and reducing paper waste, some of those who want to learn a new language will be less motivated to do so if there’s a shortcut. There is no right or wrong, just lack of motivation and understanding. Language is often tied to a culture and while the device will be handy for travelers, it reinforces the idea that print is dying and technology is taking over, a topic that usually ends in a (heated) debate. Locals are often also more appreciative when they notice someone is making an effort to speak their language and many people could also be scared of someone approaching them with a random device and speaking into it in, especially  if they don’t know what the device is and if they can’t recognize the language that is being spoken. In addition to that, Person A is pressing a small button to record their voice, which could intimidate Person B. This is important to notice because in a time like today, not many people are willing to trust complete strangers who approach them, much less so if they’ve got a small electronic device and are pressing a little button to activate it. Am I hinting at bomb threats? Absolutely. Terrorist attacks have become very common over the past three years and while there will be people who are patient, or curious enough, to stand there and listen, many could also be intimidated.

Furthermore, there are multiple questions that come to mind for me personally if I were to use it. The first is how do you make those people feel comfortable without putting them off and how do you approach another person with a device that they will most certainly look at in curiosity while you simultaneously try to convince them they have nothing to fear? The website states that the battery lasts approximately 3 days when used an average of 10 times per day, but let’s be honest, when you’re traveling in a foreign country where you don’t know the language, need directions to places, have to ask questions about where the nearest grocery store, bathroom or petrol station is, you’re probably going to be using the device a little more than that. What about accents and dialect, does this have an impact on the device and how the information is processed? None of these questions have yet been answered but overall, I think the concept of the ILI device is incredible and credit should be given to CEO Takura Yashido, the genius behind this idea. While there will be a few, dare I say it, glitches with the system, I think the device will function just fine in modern day society. It’s something that’s truly innovative and must’ve taken a while to figure out as it seems complex given how many languages there are in the world.

      Below is a video which demonstrates how the device works.

      What do you think of ILI? Let me know in the comments. 


Monday, 9 October 2017

Other Girls Are Not Your Competition

You and I have both seen it; those memes of girls praising each other  in pictures with the caption "me vs you because we're both queens" because we're finally realizing that we need to start supporting one another. Yeah, those pictures. They've started circulating the net and only recently has it become, dare I say it,  popular to actually support a fellow human being. A ridiculous statement, sure, as it is something that shouldn't need to go viral in order for us to treat one another like actual people, yet here we are in 2017, tagging our fellow girlfriends in memes to remind them what 'boss bitches', 'queens' and 'goddesses' they are. But, why now? Why has it taken us so long to realize that other women are not our competition? 

The male gaze is prominent. I'm sure many (straight) females can back me up on this one by saying that one of the biggest reasons girls tear each other down is because if one guy, or even multiple guys, see a girl as beautiful, immediately other girls start talking about her, all in the name of jealousy which will later link us to insecurity. This is simply not because they hate said female, but because many actually aspire to be like her. From a young age,  a majority of girls have been conditioned to think that pretty is all we need to strive to be. It gets you friends, boyfriends, popularity blah blah blah. Though not directly stated through family members, comments like, "Oh, better watch your weight!" or "You shouldn't do that because guys don't like it when a girl does that!" etc have influenced some of our decisions regarding our own happiness. We become slaves to magazines like Seventeen who tell us how to flirt, how to dress, what to wear on a date, which makeup products to use to appear 'flirty', 'how to get a summer body' - but not how to stay healthy for the rest of the year. Our bodies are the objects of desire in music videos, car advertisements, lingerie campaigns, shaving ads -  granted these are all consensual, we still aspire to be like the women we see on social media and in advertisements. After all, what would male products be if females didn't market them? 

Insecurity is a weakness - and also a waste of time. If I could give my younger self, or anyone in their early teens, one piece of advice it would be that there are more ways to be beautiful than your outer appearance. Girls compare each other so much; from breast size to hip ratio to the size of our butts and the length of our bodies, it doesn't seem to stop. The cycle is endless as we think in order to compliment someone else, we need to put ourselves down. Stop. Just stop it. The more you repeat those words, the more you'll believe them because that is the energy you are manifesting for yourself.  Yo-yo diets don't work, weighing yourself every three days will only aid in losing motivation because you're not giving yourself time to work for lost weight, losing weight in a short amount of time doesn't always count as it's usually water weight first, bleaching your hair won't fade your other insecurities. You need to work on yourself, your inner being, focus on what makes you happy. Altering your outer appearance rarely ever fixes what is missing on the inside.

One thing I hate about Instagram is how unrealistic some of the standards are. On Instagram, everyone appears to be happy and successful. Our online success is measured by the amount of followers, likes and comments we receive, from our friends and even people who don't know us. You continuously refresh your page to see if you've gotten likes  - it's incredibly addictive. You know what, it's exhausting comparing ourselves, don't you think? For example, our boyfriends lurk for hours on the pages of Instagram Baddies, our friends aspire to be like the women we see on our morning feeds, we envy the bodies we  could be working for, instead we criticize our own and what's worse, we allow ourselves to feel a certain way due to an unrealistic image featuring a girl who has taken hours to do her makeup in the best possible lighting and then continued to edit her picture so her feed would be coherent. You see, social media is as fake as you make it - people almost never post the bad stuff. It's taken me ages to accept and get used to that I'll never look like some of the girls on there - and that's perfectly okay. We've allowed ourselves to become so comfortable with categories and labels, jokingly tossing phrases to our friends where we call ourselves 'literal trash' because it's cool and something we got used to saying but we forget what we're doing to ourselves in the process. We're comparing - and when has that ever made us feel better? 

Comparison is toxic; to your mental health, to your thought process and at times even to your physical being as some go to great lengths to achieve what they think is perfection. Perfection is an illusion created in order for us to continuously strive for better. While better is great, happiness is more important and I can reassure you that you won't find that by envying someone else's Instagram feed. Realize your power as a female and own it. The world sees us as the underdog, the weaker being. The very part that identifies us as female is used as an insult to insinuate that something is weak. You're powerful, you don't need to compare - if you do have a desire to compete, work on the person you are and improve on the person you were the day before. I repeat; other girls are not your competition.

Love, Miah

Thursday, 5 October 2017

EcoTools Smokey Eye Essential Brush Set Review

I was gifted this EcoTools Six Piece Smokey Eye Essential Set and decided to share my thoughts. I'm curious to try out more items from this brand, as I've recently learned more about them. I'm happy that the that the brand is entirely eco-friendly and that the products are sustainable and some are even made from recycled materials. For example, the brush handles on the set I am showing you today is made entirely out of renewable bamboo!

The brush set contains six different brushes and a mini cosmetic bag. The brushes consist of a large shadow brush, an angled crease brush, a petite shading brush, a liner smudge brush and an eyeliner brush. What I love about the brushes is that they're labelled, making it perfect for beginners. 

From top to bottom: large shadow brush, angled crease brush, petite shading brush, liner smudge brush and eyeliner brush.

A large shadow brush is typically used to apply shadow onto the lid and blend out. The angled crease brush aids in defining, really making your eyes pop by adding drama and depth. The petite eye shading brush is useful for adding an additional colour for some more dimension. The liner smudge brush helps to enhance the smokey effect that the eyeliner brush produces when adding definition along the lash line.

As previously mentioned, the set does come with a brush bag which can double up as a cosmetic bag. It's compact and fits the brushes in neatly with loads of extra space.

The bristles on the brushes are oh-so-soft and pick up product quite well. They blend easily, are easy to use and are made of high quality materials for an affordable price of only €13.95, which Dutch citizens or expats can purchase at BoozyShop

So far, I am loving this set and highly recommend it to those wishing to buy a new brush set. Again, it's beginner friendly and super easy to use and the quality of the products, which are made of synthetic materials and recycled aluminum, are incredibly high quality! A good way to take care of your brushes is to store them upside down after washing them. This is so the water doesn't run down and loosen the glue and prevents bristles from falling out.

What did you think of this post? Are you in favour of trying out sustainable or ecofriendly beauty, or do you own any products from EcoTools? Let me know in the comments!

 f o l l o w

M I A H 


I'm doing a travel related Q&A soon, so please leave any travel questions you'd like me to answer!