Recent News

Keep calm and embrace Ramadan

WSB Admin 28/04/2019 0

By Rositsa Dorovska 

With the Holy month of Ramadan approaching, like every year, expats from all nationalities and religions, around the Gulf, are getting involved with the preparation. For a newcomer, though, the first Ramadan can feel like a challenge.  You have to avoid eating or even drinking water in public, paying respect to the daylight fast. Also, you have to catch up with the Ramadan schedules of malls, restaurants, etc.

No need to stress yourself out,  try to explore Ramadan, instead. It‘s a great opportunity to take more from your Middle East experience and to learn about the culture of the feast. The first time  I‘ve spent Ramadan in the Gulf, I was surprised to witness how commercialized it‘s becoming nowadays. Sales in the malls, lavish iftar and suhoor buffets at the restaurants in the evenings. For a foreigner that can make  Ramadan even more pleasant and bearable, but this is not the essence of the Holy month. At it‘s core, Ramadan is all about compassion and sharing.

Off course, your Ramadan experience won‘t be authentic enough, without the atmosphere of the iftars, when people would rush to gather around the table. But if you want to dig a little deeper and to explore this special time of the year, one good idea is to set some Ramadan goals. Fasting, but not related to food, is something you may try (nevertheless the real fast has its proven health benefits). More impactful, however, would be if you can avoid bad thoughts, words and deeds. Ramadan is a great possibility to polish your communication skills, as it is popular with big family and friends gatherings. Let the warmth of these moments, reach you out, even if you are far from your loved ones. Hospitality is the word, best describing the people of the Middle East. Don‘t hesitate to indulge in their company, if you have a chance to do so.

Another bad habit you can give up on, during Ramadan, is procrastination. Contrary to the common belief, time doesn‘t stop during the Holy month. People continue working, running errands etc..Therefore you have no excuse to postpone your tasks. Stay focused and use the mysterious vibe of Ramadan, to observe yourself. Develop your consciousness towards the usage of time, like towards any other resource we are blessed with. Pay attention to the little things you may have taken for granted. While taking care of your thoughts and wellbeing, don‘t forget about the others. Ramadan is the best occasion to give back to your community. Whether you will join a charitable organization or you will choose other cause, that will count as a good deed and example… If you succeed in accomplishing your Ramadan resolutions, the reward will be satisfaction and confidence. So keep calm and embrace the spirit of this Ramadan.

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Saudi Women’s Stories – Get Involved

WSB Admin 28/04/2019 0
By Sheikha Aldosary

Saudi Women’s Stories is a storytelling platform for Saudi women to tell their stories, show their diversity, express their opinions, present their interesting journeys to change and success.  It is an independent platform to show new aspects of Saudi women’s lives that haven’t been shown in the past and to tell interesting stories from Saudi Arabia to the world.

We hope Saudi Women’s Stories would contribute to inspiring and empowering women. We hope it would help them learn some new skills to tell their own stories and shine.  Saudi Women’s Stories also hopes to open a dialogue about issues concerning women’s lives and their societies and let us all work together on finding solutions to a better world.

Founded by Sheikha Aldosary, a journalist, media and communication expert specializing in women rights, political and socioeconomic issues in Saudi Arabia, with more than a decade of work experience in the field. Academically, she has studied the image and visual representation of women in media and has extensively researched the Saudi women’s image in western media.

Sheikha is passionate about women’s empowerment, education, equality issues, women’s stories and their fascinating tales. She found this platform not to highlight Saudi women’ stories only, but stories of all women living in the kingdom. She wants to highlight their outstanding life journeys, hoping to extend this to a storytelling platform for all women around the world.

We are looking for enthusiastic writers, editors, photographer, videographer, translators, designers, to join Saudi Women Stories’s team and be part of a great interesting squad of storytellers! Everyone is welcome regardless of age, gender, nationality, religion, and background.

Just fill out the form on our website, tell us about yourself, why you want to join the team and what would you like to do and the best contact information to reach you!

Additionally, if you have an interesting story you want to share it with us, please do, we would be more than happy to hear from you.
Kindly if you need any further information don’t hesitate to contact us anytime!
email us:

Visit our website:

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Learning More About KSA’s Natural Treasures at the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC)

WSB Admin 28/04/2019 0

By EB Davis

Summer is almost here and that means its time to plan a few weekend escapes to cooler climes. Taif, one of KSA’s most popular summer destinations, is known for its fresh mountain air, rose farms and sprawling verdant agricultural landscapes, but its also home to the Prince Saud Al Faisal Wildlife Research Center, more commonly known as the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC).  

Located about 30 km east of Taif, the NWRC is open to the public, but only with prior permission from NWRC and the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA). Established in 1986, the centre has been an important part of KSA’s conservation efforts for a variety of endemic species such as the Arabian oryx, Asian houbara bustard, red-neck ostrich, sand gazelles and the Arabian peninsula’s critically endangered apex predator, the Arabian leopard.

With less than 200 of these big cats left in the wild, KSA along with UAE, Oman and Yemen, has taken steps to preserve this species. NWRC, under the auspices of the Saudi Wildlife Authority, has over the years launched community outreach and conservation education programs as well as installed dozens of field cameras throughout the Sarawat Mountains in hopes of tracking the elusive leopard within KSA’s borders. Unfortunately, the last wild leopard sighting was in 2014, after it was tragically poisoned by a Makkah province local for killing one of his camels.

However, there is still hope for these big cats. NWRC successfully bred two cubs in 2018 bringing the total to 15 Arabian leopards in captivity in KSA. The centre is the only place in Saudi to view the Arabian leopards as well as learn more about SWA’s conservation programs.

Inside the centre’s secured area, visitors can tour of the expansive grounds via a 4×4 vehicle along with a knowledgeable guide. The majority of the centre’s grounds are dedicated to large captive-breeding groups of oryx, sand and mountain gazelles and Nubian ibex which are free to roam the savannah-like terrain. The landscape is also dotted with large granite rocks, a favourite place for the resident non-captive breeding population of rock hyrax which can be seen scurrying across the boulders in the late afternoon sunshine.

Believed to have been the origin of the mythical unicorn, the Arabian oryxes are incredible to witness with their dignified gait, striking black and white-patterned faces and impressive twin-spire horns. The red-neck ostrich, also known as the north African ostrich, is the largest bird on the planet and is also amazing to see moving in groups across the sandy plain.

The centre does not allow visitors into the leopard’s captive breeding area but keeps one older leopard on-site near the visitor centre for viewing. There are also several other non-breeding species such as a lion and lioness, striped-hyena and several cheetahs on-site.  

These big cats and other species were smuggled into KSA mostly likely en route to private collections or as personal pets, but were seized and later brought to the centre. Saudi Arabia is a member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Fauna, better known as CITES and prohibits the trade of endangered wildlife and plants. Looking into the concrete enclosures at the once majestic lion and cheetahs as they recline listlessly inside their small cages is a sad reminder that without conservation initiatives and protection efforts these big cats may soon be extinct. 

This year NWRC will officially open its newly built welcome centre and plans to expand its public outreach with additional activities and tours. The NWRC is one of Saudi Wildlife Authority’s 15 protected areas and all are worth a visit.

To plan your visit contact Saudi Wildlife Authority or NWRC at 012 748 1252 or fax your request to +966 12 7481305.



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Finding Joy in the Kindness of Giving

WSB Admin 28/04/2019 0

By Lizzie Daniell

The feeling is incredible and it’s what we should all do this lifetime!

With Ramadan just around the corner here in Saudi and around the world, I wanted to think about some of the meanings. It’s not just the giving of gifts, that in itself is amazing. It’s about the beauty and joy in the world and how we, as wonderful human beings, can make it so much better for ourselves and for others by GIVING. Stepping out and looking at what we can offer, do and give to other people.

The joy of giving certainly has a lot to give us back! Peace, happiness, smiles, warmth, joy – these are some of the instantness of giving. Giving means helping in a way, which makes us reaffirm the simplest meaning of humanity “Whenever we do, the world sees the difference and our hearts open. Always”.

Giving is a sense of love, and love is a wonderful feeling that enriches us all

Many of the rituals that happen in our everyday lives, help us as a reminder to step outside of ourselves and think of others. Sometimes in difficult situations, it helps us look around and say… I choose others over myself.

Today I choose YOU with all my love!

Many of the religious festivals we celebrate throughout the world all have the same thread running through them. Reminding us to: Think of others; Give to others, Be kind to others. Under grace and in the perfect way, obviously!

Ramadan is an example of this I believe. Not only to test oneself but to have an idea of how others might feel (put yourself in their shoes) esp as we all follow different paths; which teaches us a sense of awareness, kindness, knowledge and how amazing it is to give.

I was lucky enough to be taught this at home as I was growing up, which I hope has continued with me through my life. Not always easy I know, esp if you are down, unhappy or sick of where you are currently in your life – our trials and tribulations! But interestingly, if we are able to do this during those difficult times, it truly helps us get out of our head and feel better. An act of kindness/giving brings joy back into our mind, body, heart and soul.

Why is it that sometimes we allow society to change our true core? Is it because we get carried away with what others are telling us? We shouldn’t you know! We should try to listen to our own inner thoughts as we wake every morning – be the better version of you and all that entails: love, joy, giving, kindness, honouring and respect.

Dictionary meaning of giving:


Lizzie’s meaning: To love yourself enough to give to the world unconditionally!


What is your meaning of GIVING, I’d love to hear your thoughts?

Ways to give:

  • Giving of oneself
  • Giving your time to others
  • Giving gifts
  • Giving love
  • Giving joy
  • Giving happiness
  • Giving thanks
  • Giving Help
  • Giving to yourself
  • Giving a hug

To give is amazing, it comes back to us in so many ways. So try to remember to be open to receive – it is a beautiful gift, and one we all deserve – let it pour in!

So, as we remember the joy of giving and share it with the world, I close for now… until next time, dear friends.


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WSB Inspiring Woman: Maria Cometti DQ Living & WSB

WSB Admin 26/04/2019 0
Maria Cometti at the WSB Find and Be Found, annual networking event and job fair. Photo credit Hala Oueini

Sally Kennedy, WSB Founder shares her impressions of WSB Inspiring Woman Maria Cometti, WSB Board Member and DQ Living Co-Founder…

When Maria Cometti arrived in Riyadh she didn’t sulk or hide inside….. she decided to explore society and find a place she fit in…..
She found WSB. She connected with the then director Betsy Sharma and as Betsy had an ill child I met Maria for coffee.  I met an elegant, blond young woman with a ready smile and curiosity…. positive outlook and ‘get things done’ attitude. I was sooooo happy to ask her or get involved in WSB. She just fit the need we had for someone to connect with the community.
And connect she did!
She is the poster girl for ‘Arriving and Thriving’ in Saudi Arabia…. a great example of the universal humanity we all share regardless of nationality……making friends and partners with everyone she meets and bringing us all together as one voice. We thank her for her tireless commitment and enthusiasm.
A truly inspiring woman!
And now let’s hear from Maria herself….
Tell us about yourself?I am originally from Syracuse, New York. I learned about business and cultivated a passion for entrepreneurship working for my father’s remodelling company. After spending years dreading the upstate New York winters, I dreamed of moving to the sunshine state. That dream came true when I went on to study business management at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was at Eckerd that I befriended people from around the world, and was inspired to travel and work abroad. I taught English in South Korea and then went on to work in sales for a media company based in Belgium. In the sales role, I had amazing and challenging experiences working on projects in Switzerland, the Philippines, Malaysia, and South Korea.

Since college, I was fascinated with Arabic cultures, and another dream came true when I met my Saudi husband while working in the Philippines. My husband and I spent a couple of years apart as I worked for my father’s company in Syracuse and then my sister and I opened a vintage clothing and jewellery shop in Florida. After the birth of my daughter in 2013, my daughter and I moved to Bahrain to be close to my husband and his work in Riyadh. Then, in 2016, after our second child was born, we moved to Riyadh.

What do you do as WSB Development Manager?

As soon as I arrived in Riyadh in 2016, I reached out to WSB. I knew that my success in our new home would depend upon me getting involved in the community. Thankfully I had the opportunity and honour to meet Sally Kennedy, WSB Founder, and she offered me a chance to work with WSB as the Development Manager. When I started, I mostly conducted outreach meetings with compounds, hotels, and some embassies to introduce WSB and discuss opportunities for collaboration and sponsorship.  I also worked a lot on the WSB newsletter. As time went on, I got more involved in organizing events. When we saw the opportunity to create a program that brings together Saudi and Expat women, for professional networking, I jumped onto that possibility and helped start up and run WSB Connect. WSB is an invaluable resource for the community and made all the difference for me moving to KSA.

DQ Living Project Coordinator Maria Cometti interviewed the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Mr. JO Byung Wook, for the Korea country feature in DQ Living Magazine. Photo credit: Embassy of Korea, Riyadh.

How did you get involved in DQ Living?

DQ Living magazine started as all things, with an idea. When I was moving to Riyadh, I knew I wanted to live in the DQ because of the international community, security, and most of all the parks, gardens, and running trails. However, it was difficult to find information about the DQ establishments. I met residents who had been living in the neighbourhood for 10 years and still didn’t know what restaurants were here. Furthermore, through my work with WSB, I was meeting with embassies and would often be asked how they could outreach DQ residents. From these experiences, the idea arose to create something for the DQ, a community with 10k residents and 83+ embassies and consulates. I originally thought about an association or a newsletter. I asked my friends, and blogging pioneers (who I had met through WSB) if they would be willing to start this project with me. They agreed and together we decided on a print and digital magazine; DQ Living.

DQ Living Contributor meetup at Leila Restaurant, DQ.

What do you enjoy the most about your work with DQ Living?

The part I enjoy most is collaborating with my team, putting our ideas together, and constantly working to improve our product. At the end of the day, it’s about the people you work with and the people you help through your work.

What is the hardest part about your work with DQ Living?

The hardest part of building our start-up is there is so much work to do and limited resources to do it. We have a small team and each of us has to wear many hats.

How do you balance being a mum and a working woman?

I’ve either found or created a flexible work situation what suits me and my family. I’ve also been blessed to find good help. That’s not to say it’s easy, and whether a mom works or not, unfortunately, there is often an element of guilt felt over what she is not doing. When I started to work with WSB, I would schedule my meetings at the different compounds around Riyadh and bring my kids with me to enjoy the compound play facilities while I was in my meeting. So it was fun for them and work for me. I try to involve my kids whenever possible. Waking up at 4 am a few times a week also allows me to get in a couple of solid hours of undistracted work before the household wakes and the emails/whatsapp messages start pouring in.  Life can quickly get busy, and it’s been important for me to step back a couple of times a year and reevaluate what I’m spending my time on. They say, show me how you spend your time and I’ll tell you your values. I make sure to schedule dates with my husband and weekly playgroup with my best friends and their kids.

Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?

I try to look at the learning opportunity in each situation. Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. I’ve learned a lot!

Contact Information & Social Media

Facebook, instagram, twitter @dqliving

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Meet WSB Director – Alayne LoNigro

WSB Admin 26/04/2019 0

Who I Am:

I moved from Los Angeles to Riyadh in February 2018 to accompany my husband, Paul, who has started a new joint venture in Saudi Arabia.  Paul and I are parents to four daughters. Our youngest daughter, age 15, is here with us and attends the American International School, Riyadh (AIS-R); while our three grown daughters are currently living in California.

As our family envisioned the life transition from Southern California to Saudi Arabia, we recognized that we were coming to a unique place at a unique time, and we wanted to be an integral part of the transformational change that is taking place. We decided that I would invest my time here to pursue endeavours that would best utilize my passion, professional skills, and experience.

Having juggled work and family most of my life, this past year has brought a new found freedom of managing my own time.  At the onset, I had established a few “aspirational goals” to keep myself motivated and to develop a healthy routine.  This has allowed me to gravitate towards like-minded people and organizations focused on growth, like WSB.

On a more personal note, my heart sings in nature, thus I love travelling to places with natural beauty. And in my spare time, I experiment with gardening, cooking, and the art of flower arranging.

What I Have Done:

I am a 25-year career professional currently on “otium” while in Riyadh. In my last assignment, I served as a business leader providing focused global business insight through various levels of performance and market trend analysis to the executive leadership team for Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.* I facilitated the strategy for harnessing, sharing, and collaborating business intelligence to help set the critical foundation for the future success of Jacobs by successfully launching the new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Program across the globe. I held a strategic role during the most significant transformation in the history of the company. I was an integral part of executive leadership succession planning, restructuring the company into Lines of Business, and the largest acquisition in the history of our industry (CH2M).  

In the area of philanthropy, I am currently leading the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) at AIS-R as the President.  In the past, I have served as a mentor for the underprivileged students in the Los Angeles area in the field of Architecture, Construction, and Engineering through the ACE Mentorship Program.  In addition, I spent a year in Russia as a mentor to students at the St. Petersburg State University, Physics Department.

My Passion and the Women’s Skills Bureau (WSB):

Initially, I was drawn to WSB because of the opportunity to network with professional women from around the world who have the common connection of being away from “home” and putting their careers on hold.  When approached by the WSB founder, Sally Kennedy, to be part of the Board as the Director for the upcoming 2019 – 2020 year, I visualized how I can use my strengths in leadership and strategic organization to elevate WSB to meet the recent wave of changes for women here in-Kingdom.  One of the most intriguing discoveries, since I’ve been in Saudi, is the untapped pool of talent all around us. By harnessing our power and strength to inspire, influence, and teach each other we can make a difference in each other’s lives. We are dynamic in the way we interact and when we are inclusive, we reshape the conversation and create an environment that thrives.

I am ecstatic to be part of such a purposeful organization in Saudi and ask for your full support in the upcoming year.

* Jacobs leads the global professional services sector delivering solutions for a more connected, sustainable world. With $15 billion in fiscal 2018 revenue and a talent force of more than 80,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of services including scientific, technical, professional and construction- and program-management for business, industrial, commercial, government and infrastructure sectors.

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A letter to yourself

WSB Admin 21/04/2019 0

By Nadeen Fathima

Dear *the one reading this*,
Hey, you there! Yes, you! How have you been doing in life? Perhaps a lot happier, or maybe a little sad? Whatever it is,I hope you are in the best of your health. If you are happy, I hope the happiness lasts and embarks you upon a beautiful life ahead. If you are sad, I won’t ask you to try to search for happiness. I know sometimes you just can’t. I’d rather send you endless prayers to feel better soon, because sadness is something that gets hard sometimes to deal with. Life gets inexplicable at times, I promise and it’s okay. 
Is the world or people around you tiring you out a little bit? Or you’re just drained off energy trying to explain yourself to people? Or somebody just broke your trust or your feeble heart? Did you feel that you weren’t good enough and contemplated over it again and again? If it did, I’d say you that people around sometimes spread toxicity and if you listen to everything, life would only get harder. You may be stressing over it. I know it’s hard. Overthinking just seeps within you. But dear, don’t let people or anything drain you off yourself. At the end, do what makes you happy. Were you less appreciated recently or discouraged for something amazing you did? Did it feel like people didn’t notice how good you were at something? I promise, even when people don’t appreciate, keep doing it. I promise it gets better. 

Oh well, did you cry yourselves to sleep last night? Because the weight of this world was unbearable? Because you just couldn’t love yourself? Overburdened. It may feel like nothing gets better but trust me time heals everything. Be strong. Did you feel like your opinions didn’t matter/you yourself didn’t? Trust me, there are people who would miss you when you’re gone. There are people who admire you so much without even you realizing. You are not just another human hidden in the crowd. Like everybody else, you’ve your speciality.

Now enough about sadness. Did you laugh so much that your stomach hurt? Did you talk to people you love that you felt amazing afterwards? Or wait, did you run back onto your bed with clean sheets after a long day of work sipping a cup of hot coffee? You ate your favourite food, accomplished a small goal or completed your work on time? Did that little baby’s smile warm your heart? Or you had a good drive in the car, the cool breeze swaying your hair onto your face? Wow, life is more beautiful than you can ever imagine and you’re doing great. Even if the progress is slow, in time you will conquer everything that you want!

Yours sincerely,


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10 ways to grow your instagram account -for bloggers

WSB Admin 21/04/2019 0

By Saima Nadeem

Let’s talk about INSTAGRAM today. It’s the trending topic this year because, in the last few years, Instagram has been growing tremendously and I am surprised. If you are a blogger, having an Instagram profile is a must nowadays. More than 1 billion active users use Instagram monthly. So, to strengthen your brand, using Instagram is a strategy you shouldn’t miss.

Whenever anybody asks me about blogging, I tell them to grow their social media along with building their blog. I started blogging in February 2018 and right at that time, I started using Instagram. From a handful of followers, I grew my follower’s number to 10k plus in this one year.

You can do that too if you want to. But that’s true that Instagram keeps changing its algorithm so sometimes post reach is good and sometimes not but here I am, sharing 10 ways to grow your Instagram. I will tell you 10 practical ways to increase your followers organically no matter what’s the algorithm of Instagram.


More than 400 million users daily use Instagram. The Instagram stories have better reach as compared to other social media networks. People love watching stories of their favourite bloggers. You can take full advantage of this feature and interact with your followers more. Tell your followers whatever you are doing, feeling and going to do. You can use different filters and how can I forget about boomerang videos. They are my ultimate favourite. When somebody asks me about Instagram growth, I always tell them to focus on their stories.


I know you must be thinking about finding out choices of your audience? Sounds weird, right!

But let me tell you, if you literally find out what does your audience like to see, you will grow tremendously. People love watching relatable stuff. If you are a style blogger, you cannot talk about your cooking all the time. You should be talking about styling, fashion and stuff like that. Find out which posts get more love and why they are more liked by people. This is really important if you want to grow big.


I always suggest bloggers connect their social media so that they can get the audience from everywhere. Don’t just focus on Instagram or only Facebook. You can simply turn on the option under your posts if you want to share the post on other social media channels. It will save time and will increase the post reach. This will definitely help people around other social media networks to see your blog. Trust me, just try this and you will love the results.


I know most of us skip that part but this is so important. Whenever you post something, make sure the geotag is on. People should know where this post is coming. People love to follow others from the same place or city. So don’t miss the chances of getting followers from the same location. Next time when you share a photo or even a story, add a location.


If you follow all of the above ways, congrats because people would be loving you already. But make them fall in love with your theme and your Instagram feed even more. You can choose so many filters, themes, applications for this purpose. But people love consistency so you should consider this.


How can you expect others to come and comment on your photos when you don’t even go and like their photos? Think about it. It makes sense. Extract a few minutes and like or comment on a few photos from a fellow blogger. It will build your trust, build a connection and people will get to know about you and may follow you by looking at your comment.


I recently started a campaign “what’s in my bag?”. It went viral and people loved it. I know it was not something very new but it was new for me and for many bloggers in my niche. Everyone loved doing that and guess what, I got more than 1500 genuine followers in just one week. But the hashtag could be about anything that you feel like doing. Encourage others to use it and share posts or stories.


Social media is called social media for a reason you gotta be social if you want to grow and build an audience. So, leave comments on other posts, praise others good points and stay in touch with people who are in the same niche. Building connections mean you should have a tribe of your own who have your back. Recently a blogger lost her account and Instagram deleted her insights and all. Her fellow bloggers helped her build her account and she had so many bloggers who pushed her and had her back. See? This is what I am talking about.


People love free stuff. I mean come on, who doesn’t love to get some free goodies? I do. So if you want your followers to love you more, try running a contest for them. As a token of appreciation, just to thank them for all their support and love they give you. Ask them to tag their friends, share your post on their stories and encourage them to be more active. Giveaways work wonders sometimes. But make sure you are giving away some relevant stuff to your followers. If you have a beauty blog, don’t just give away kid’s stuff. Lol.


Last but not least, this point is my favourite. I am happy to see the recent rise in trends of collaborations among bloggers. You can ask other Instagram users in your niche to collaborate with you. Take off stories and tag each other. Tell the audience about the other blogger and let them tell about you. This is an awesome way to share audience that benefits everyone who is in the collaboration. I love to collaborate and over these few last months, I have collaborated with so many other bloggers from the same niche, from a different niche and the results were amazingly good.

So these were the 10 ways to grow your Instagram if you are a blogger. Do you know any other tip or trick that worked in your blog growth? Do share with us. I would love to hear from you. I hope you loved reading this post if you did, don’t forget to share this with your friend bloggers.

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Diaries of an expat who just couldn’t love Riyadh… enough Part 1: The Move

WSB Admin 30/03/2019 0

By Ruba Mahmoud

  • “Mom, why are we here in Riyadh?”
  • “To be with Dad”
  • “That’s it?”
  • “Yes, that’s it, but it’s everything that matters”

That was about all the conversation I had with my -back then seven-year-old daughter- to clarify to myself more than to her about the reason we had to leave our homeland, house, parents, friends, jobs and whole lives behind us and move to a city I couldn’t feel any connection with.

I was supposed to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the move because it didn’t come as a surprise. My husband has already been going back and forth for years, but the gap was only getting bigger, my role was getting bigger and tougher while his was becoming shallower. He was no longer there for birthdays, doctor appointments, first steps and first words. He was missing the milestones of our three children and I was starting to get used to his absence. He was no longer a part of our life. Something was wrong and we had to something about it.

So that was it, the decision was made and we had to be back together before my kids, myself, or even he got used to it. He tried to get me prepared in several direct and indirect ways to the life in Riyadh and I just thought to myself, well, how hard can it be? We speak the same language, same religion, very close culture, same manners and pretty much same history, I thought I got it all figured out despite all his warnings, but THIS I didn’t see coming!!!

It was August 2014, I have already quit my job that I loved so much, said goodbye to my kids’ nanny who left for good, sold my car, and packed what I thought would need for a basic life, because -after all- we’re not supposed to stay for long-or so I thought!

Saying the goodbyes was so hard- especially to my mom and dad, it was the first time to leave my family for a long time. My kids were so young and had no idea what’s going on, just excited for riding a plane with their new “Hello Kitty” and “Dora” suitcases, with all the nice stuff I got them to keep them busy during the flight,

My husband on the other hand was carefully watching; alert toward my reactions, following with anticipation my every move. He had worries, and they were in the right place.

Be it stress, anxiety or my subconscious; I got severely sick and had a terrible headache for the whole flight!  The two-hour flight turned into a nightmare. I’m used to travelling around to short and long destinations, yet never had I got sick or had a headache, but this time the pain was intolerable. Only to make things worse, my little son fell asleep on my lap so I couldn’t move, and my body got numb. Ironically enough the plane staff had no pain killers, and I just couldn’t open my eyes anymore. Law of attraction? I had no clue.

When we finally arrived at the airport, I was still in so much pain and could barely focus on what’s going on around me, everything was so blurry. Trying to pull myself together so we can finish the procedures and get to a place where I can finally rest, I had so much strange feelings and observations!

The only thing I remember my husband saying when the officer wanted to take my picture for the visa was: “smile, because this picture will stick to you”-oh God, nauseous with a smile, it turned out so bad, and yes it did stick!

Reaching the hotel was everything I wanted at that moment, so we collected our luggage, lots of luggage, ordered a taxi, and I finally took my first step in Riyadh, the first step into a lifetime.

To be continued….

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Can practising mindfulness transform your life?

WSB Admin 27/03/2019 0

By Talat Jalali

We’ve all heard that mindfulness is a mental-health holy grail: the answer to lack of focus, a blah mood, and even stress (leading to better sleep and a boosted immune system). But who has all that extra time to sit around being mindful with a schedule full of appointments and social obligations?

Just as not all CrossFit or yoga classes are the same, not all meditation practices are equal. In fact, there are many types of meditation that offer different benefits. Mindfulness meditation techniques are used to train the mind and emotion to work on your behalf.

Sometimes there comes a time when nothing changes, but everything changes. The significant change that happens inside you. You identify with the stressors in life all the more skilfully.

How does this change happen? Unplugging connects you to your surroundings.Follow the steps below indeed, you encounter some really incredible bits of knowledge that lead to some truly astounding movements.

1. Be receptive to your emotions: the best time to pay attention to them is NOW

Mindfulness is a tool to grow full cognizance in the present.

Nobody is going to focus on our feelings. Even we cannot relocate our feelings and emotions into other parts of brain. We must oversee and take care of these feelings, take control of that internal world and not put it off.

2. You don’t sweat the small stuff

Truth be told, the majority of the things we squander our vitality responding to are little things. Be that as it may, at the time, everything appears to be a huge mess. Scan your mind for stress, identify the cause so it doesn’t spiral, and note how it’s affecting you. You’ll regain control of your feelings and learn how you handle times of unease.

3. Appreciate things more

Meditation is all about the tenderfoot’s psyche. You’ve played a game a million times, yet not on this day as of now with this kid who is somewhat not the same as he was yesterday.

When we focus, we see excellence where we didn’t see it previously. We see development and change and change where before we may have just observed stagnation and everything seems to be different.

4. Develop greater compassion

The more mindful we are of the present minute, the more in order we are with the encounters of others, their satisfaction and their torment. This produces empathy we pretend to help other people not on the grounds that we realize we ought to or on the grounds that it’s what we’ve been advised to do. We help other people since we know that their torment is our agony Doing a good deed boosts your mood (and the recipient’s), infusing upbeat energy into your day.

5. Mindfulness teaches to stop judgmental attitude

Figure out how to carry on with your existence without judging. Individuals have the privilege to experience their lives as they like. Your life is your own, be in charge of it and don’t pass judgemental comments about lives that you’re not living.

6. Put aside “I NEED TO BE” in order to practice “I AM”

We experience the vast majority of our lives being what others need us to be. Let’s change your perspective of living from, “I need to be” for “I am”. Meditation reminds us of our identity and interfacesce with our actual selves in the present.

As science meets spirituality, the road to happiness for the 21st century becomes clearer: be quick to laugh and slow to anger, meditate, exercise, get enough sleep, be compassionate, help others, nurture your social connections, be at peace, comfortable in your own skin, and thankful for all that is happening to you. Wait for science to tell us more on how to live the life we want to live.

Talat Jalali, is a Post Graduate, English and  Social Work with majors in working with youth and adults. She is an enthusiast writing about general wellbeing,  women empowerment, and provides counselling related to family & women.

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