Lights, camera, pose!- How to make yourself look better in pictures

As you rummage through the umpteen pictures in your phone’s gallery, it is quite common to feel disappointed. The dilemma of asking your friend for another picture or settling with mediocre ones is a real thing. And you question yourself whether donning that cherry-red dress or that emerald-green Punjabi that day was worth it.
But fear not! With these photography tips in mind, you can be the star of your crush’s Instagram feed.

The Basics

When it comes to lighting in portraits, there are endless possibilities both indoors and outdoors. Acquaint yourself with the surroundings. Capturing pictures early in the morning, during late afternoons or in overcast weather can result in fascinating natural-light portraits.
However, be careful during midday or indoor photography. As you must always make sure your face is facing the light to help you define the features and minimize unappealing shadows.

Going “Extra”

Wearing that lacy maroon kameez and making your beau get a matching shirt may seem like a lot of effort. But you would thank us when it results in that picture-perfect moment captured in a photograph! The background and the setting are also paramount to the success in taking a good picture. A neutral, uncluttered background; or an interesting wall, fence or even a door can provide the perfect pop of color and texture.

Moreover, you might want to choose a place that goes well with your outfit. If you are wearing western apparel, you might want to go for places such as Edith, Horse and Horse, The Red Chamber or the fancy hotels in Dhaka- as the ornamented furniture, ravishing décor and chandeliers and the gorgeous lighting make the places very photogenic! However, if you are going for a more traditional attire, check out places such as The Green Lounge, Cha Walah, Chows restaurant, Ajo Idea Space, etc. Places that provide picturesque outdoor as well as indoor settings for the photographs.

Props

As someone who carried balloons all the way to Maldives and took a picture jumping with them with the sun-kissed resort; pristine coral reefs and turquoise water in the background; I can’t stress my love for props and how much props can add to enhance the overall photo. Although you have to be careful of not taking too much focus away from the main subject, using props in the right way can add a sense of story and give the subject an extra layer of depth. These could include hats, umbrellas, mirrors, balloons or even everyday items such as a flower or a musical instrument. You can also find numerous videos and articles on the

Google how to use these props in your pictures and mesmerize your social media followers!

Getting the right photographer

Being photographed is an unnatural and stressful experience. Even the most expensive camera equipment and all your photography “wisdom” would go in vain if you are not relaxed and comfortable around the photographer. Make sure you take a friend or someone who is open to suggestions. And is willing to provide guidance like “Raise your chin a little” or “Look the other way for a fake candid!” to help you shamelessly pose without thinking twice.

Before-After

It is true that capturing photos in their natural setting may create striking portraits. Even so, adjusting the brightness and contrast, altering the hues and playing with the shadows can enhance your shots significantly. Editing platforms such as Aviary, Luminar, Lightroom and Photoshop are a great way to help you achieve this and take your photographs to the next level.

8 Tactics to help manage your insomnia

Sleep is an integral part of human life. The amount of sleep needed might vary from person to person, but most healthy adults need somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. But sometimes, Hypnos refuses to bestow his blessings on us, and we end up with a condition called insomnia.

Merriam-webster defines insomnia as “prolonged and usually abnormal inability to get enough sleep”. The symptoms include difficulty falling/staying asleep, waking up early with an inability to fall asleep again, daytime sleepiness, tiredness and so on. But for someone to be diagnosed with insomnia, the symptoms have to be there for at least 3 nights per week over a course of at least four weeks. Anything less than that is easily manageable through some simple lifestyle changes. And here’s how you do it.

Can’t sleep? Here are 7 musicians/bands you could listen to.

Maintaining a sleep schedule

Yes, it sounds hard, especially when sleeping in is so blissful. But you need to train your body to sleep properly. So get up on a set time every day. Your sleep cycle will be back to normal in a matter of weeks.

No naps!

We know, naps help you through the long and hard workday. But if you want to fall asleep at night, then limit your naps. Push yourself through the day, and by night you will be tired enough to have a good night’s sleep.

Tire yourself out

Exercise regularly. Go on a hiking trip on the weekend. Walk to work, run in the morning. The idea is to make your body tired enough so that by the time you go to bed, there is nothing on your mind except for the sweet release of sleep. And then do it all again.

Manage your stress

Taking measures to manage your stress goes a long way in managing your sleep problems. Basic stress management strategies like deep breathing, yoga and aromatherapy will take away your troubles and you will sleep like a baby.

Take care of your body

No matter how cliche this sounds, your body actually is your temple. Take care of it. Cut down on nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. Eat balanced meals at regular intervals. Be careful of stimulants that might hamper your sleep cycle. Practising these techniques will surely help with your insomnia.

Get your anxiety under control

Human beings are prone to anxiety. It is a part of our survival instincts. But that does not mean you have to succumb to your worries without fail. Simply get done with your worrying before you go to bed. Your bed is for sleeping, and that is it. Set aside a few minutes to fret over your day, and get done with it. Don’t make phone calls in bed, do not eat in bed, don’t do anything in bed that is not related to sleeping, and you will see noticeable improvement in the quality of your sleep.

Set the mood

You are not designed to sleep in a room full of crying children. So before you go to sleep, set the environment. Make sure your bed is comfortable, the temperature is just right, and disturbances are minimum. Do not eat or drink anything right before bed to avoid going to the bathroom every half hour. If you have a pet that sleeps with you, consider moving it’s sleeping location so it does not accidentally wake you up during the night.

Consider seeing a therapist

If you have been doing all of these and still having trouble falling asleep at night, consider going to a therapist, Cognitive therapy works great for some people with insomnia, and it is worth a try.It will help you find proper information about sleep norms and set reasonable goals to solve your sleep problems among other things. So try that!

Not being able to sleep properly can take a toll on both your body and mind. So before the problem gets out of hand, take measures to solve it. And let us know if they work for you. Cheers!

Planning a Date? Here are 10 things you could try

As bustling it is, Dhaka can be a dark and dreary place when you are trying to date someone. Planning a date here is almost impossible because of the lack of interesting activities. After all, just how long can you spend eating at various restaurants and listening to sub-par music? You have to start getting to know the person you are with at some point. And that doesn’t happen at restaurants.

Also read: 5 signs that says that your first date is going south

Lucky for you, we have come up with a list of activities that you can try out with your loved one. Hence, the next time you are planning a date, give these places a go.

Go play

You do not need your own “playroom” (yes, that was a 50 shades reference) to have fun. There are a number of places in Dhaka where you can try out games like bowling, shooting, pool or laser tag. These places are great to see your date in a competitive light. Check out The Ultimate Fun Factory, for example. Look up places that are easy on your schedule and wallet. After that you just need to go and have fun.

Clay station

The art of pottery has been around for thousands of years, and it will never go out of style. So if you want to spend some quality time with your beloved, try taking a package at Clay Station. They have a range of packages where you can make your own pottery, or you can simply pick one and colour it. This will be a new experience for both you and your date, and you will have a lasting souvenir.

Plan a study date!

Not everyone is into books. But everyone needs to study every once in a while. So if you have an upcoming exam, or you need you catch up on some work, do it together. Find a nice, quiet library where you can spend time together as well as being productive.

Take a class

Be it baking, dancing or yoga- taking a class together is a great way to bring out the best in both of you. By choosing to learn something together you get to see completely new sides of the person you are with. And that can be a very pleasant surprise. So do a little research and see what piques your interest.

Go to an open mic

There are a number of cafes in Dhaka that arrange open mic nights regularly. Go check these events out. Every once in a while, lose yourself in a cup of coffee and interesting performances. These are surely going to entertain you.

Go see Puran Dhaka

Puran Dhaka is a place shrouded in history, mystery and culture. It has beautiful places you can explore, delicious food you can taste, and enigmatic alleys that will give you a feeling of adventure. So take a day off and just roam around Puran Dhaka. You will love it.

Go to festivals

Dhaka has a number of festivals going on throughout the year. Make a list of festivals you want to attend- from Sakrain to lit fest to folk fest. Then just enjoy your time.

Gulshan avenue window shopping

Just roam around Gulshan Avenue and check out the extravagant shopping places. You don’t have to buy anything, just look around and have fun.

Art galleries

Art galleries in Dhaka hold exhibitions throughout the year. Spend some time in this exhibitions and indulge yourself in the mystery of art.

Volunteering

This is a particularly decent way to get to know the person you are dating. Do they care about the society? Are they willing to give back to the community? Do they have basic empathy for humans and animals alike? Knowing the answers to these questions are especially important if you are thinking of a commitment. Ask around for volunteering opportunities, and see what clicks.

A word of advice- dating will always be hard. Put as much effort as you can to spice it up. This will make the challenges of dealing with another human being much more bearable.

Good luck, and have fun! 

5 tips for the solo traveller in Bangladesh

Travelling in Bangladesh can get pretty hectic and confusing at times, especially if you’re travelling solo. But if you planning to ditch your group and set out alone into the unknown, you need to know that it isn’t as hard as it is made out to be. If you can remember some basics, you’re good to go.

Here’s a hands-on guide to help you navigate through the jungles and alleyways of this land of adventure. Buckle up.

Pack light (Comfortable clothes, Accessories, Medicines, etc.)

If you’re travelling solo, chances are, you’ll be backpacking in most places. Even if you’re not, there’s no point in carrying loads of trousers and tees on a trip.

Pack light, take only the essentials.

It’ll help you move faster and it’ll be easier for you to keep your belongings in check. Make sure you carry a few wearables, nothing too heavy or uncomfortable, considering we’re not travelling in winter. Remember, you’re on a trip, not casually hanging out in Dhanmondi Lake.

It’s not important that you look your best, but that you feel your best.

So be comfortable and chill out. If it’s summer, always keep a water bottle in your backpack. Bangladesh is a humid country. 

Do not forget your phone charger, earphones. Pack a few common medicines for headaches, stomachaches and such, just to be prepared. 

Get small packets of toothpaste, soaps, hand sanitizers etc. You never know where you’ll be staying.

Always keep mobile data on your Phone

The worst part about travelling solo in Bangladesh is probably the lack of navigational accessibility. The roads and streets aren’t marked. The local people will definitely cooperate but sometimes mislead too. If you’re looking for directions or trying to select the best routes to your destination avoiding traffic jams, Google Maps is your best friend.

Keep some mobile data always to help you find your way.

Also, you need to maintain a Snapchat streak, right? (No? Okay)

Communicate with the locals

You’ll need to talk to people on your journey. There’s a lot of talking involved. You’ll need to ask for directions, clarify your intentions of travelling to a place (I know right?) and so on. But most importantly, people in Bangladesh are generally curious and they’ll ask you a lot of questions and try their best to show you around and help you. Be nice to them and they’ll be nice to you. Bangladeshi people have the reputation of being the nicest people on the planet. You’ll get a glimpse of that reputation when you’re out on the streets.

Keep in mind that Bangladesh is a conservative country and it will be better to maintain appropriate attire to avoid harassment. Especially if you are a woman travelling alone. It will be best to get used to people staring at you. Most of the time, they stare because they’re curious.

Know about the fares when taking a rickshaw or a taxi. You have to bargain right to get a good deal on fares. Ask the locals for help and they’ll gladly help you out.

Keep your documents organized

Keeping your travel and personal documents safe and organized is one of the most important parts of your preparation. Keep your tickets, hotel reservations, your ID etc. all organized in a wallet. Keep your money and your credit card safe. If something gets lost, the return policy isn’t particularly user-friendly in Bangladesh.

Always keep some extra cash in hand, merely a precaution.

Be safe

Although it’s generally safe, it doesn’t hurt to stay prepared. Small robberies, muggings and stealing isn’t uncommon in Bangladesh. Keep a pepper spray or a small knife with you to stay vigilant. Don’t get trigger happy though.

Travelling solo can actually be more fun than travelling in a group. You get your own freedom to relax and explore. If you do it the right way, travelling solo can be the best experience ever. So, follow these checklists on your next destination and most importantly, do enjoy.

4 Essential Tips to make cooking a little easier

Some of us know cooking as digging through bound books of Siddiqua Kabir or a collection of firsthand secrets from grandma to mom. Some of us watch too many episodes of Top Chef, Masterchef. Then we too want to curse like Gordon Ramsey over our scrambled eggs or charm like Jamie Oliver while drizzling balsamic vinegar. After countless nights of dining out or getting takeaway, we wish we could cook.

But, cooking can be daunting. Cooking can feel like risking this short life, the few limbs and the condition of the stomach. Cooking can be overwhelming to start and easy to get lost in because there are so many things to do.

Here are some few essential tips to make cooking a little easier:

Have the Right Equipment

Make sure you have the right kitchen utensils for the job.

The most basic ones are the pots, pans, colander, spatula, spoons, knives, to get you by for most recipes. However, if you want to try your hand your baking, you might need a grill oven, a mixer or food processor.

My personal recommendation for a grill oven: Miyako Grill Oven. This device is inexpensive, easy to use, has a good heating power and it comes with a rotisserie option.

Learn the Basics


Get acquainted with terms such as julienne, chop, mince, resting, blanching, etc. Youtube is great place to start. Find out what they mean, so that you don’t get intimidated if you come across the words in recipes.

My personal recommendation: Learn how to peel a vegetable first and then learn how to cut it. Do not peel with a knife like a Bangladeshi mom, use a peeler.

One of the best places to learn these techniques is the Allrecipes youtube page. 

Keep it Simple

After  your kitchen utensils are in order, check the ingredients. Find your recipes by googling your ingredients and browsing through your search results or check Allrecipes  or Tasty or Buzzfeed for easy facebook and youtube videos. Stick with recipes that are simpler–has few ingredients and the assembly requires simple techniques. Pick a recipe and go for it.

My personal recommendation: Italian pasta dishes are great for beginners. Boiling pasta is hard to mess up. Sauces for most of these dishes are easy to make.


Practice Makes Perfect

It is okay if you fail the first time around. You might misjudge a measurement, overcook, substitute the wrong ingredients. And THAT IS ABSOLUTELY OKAY.  Check where you went wrong and fix that the next time when you are making that dish again.

Happy cooking, just don’t give up and keep at it.