Best ways to beat the Sunday blues

Best ways to beat the Sunday blues

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

We’ve spent our entire week slaving away at work/university with only one thing on our minds: the weekend. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there – every week in fact. We’re ecstatic when Friday finally rolls around, and Saturday’s even better because we have the whole day and night to kick back, party and do whatever else we please. But then Sunday rears its big ugly head and laughs in our faces. Whether we’re suffering from massive hangovers or just dreading the impending doom Monday brings every damn time, Sundays suck. But never fear – there are things we can do to beat those dreadful Sunday blues.

Get all your work done on Friday afternoon

We for one cannot wait to get out of the office on a Friday. However, it’s important to remind ourselves that if we don’t get all of our work done before the weekend, there will be double the workload come Monday morning. Our trick is to start organising all of our work on Friday morning, and then we can dedicate our entire day to making sure everything gets done. If necessary, we even stay back after home time to ensure everything’s in order. Honestly, we’d much rather get home a tiny bit later than spend our Mondays playing catchup and feeling like absolute crap.

Organise Monday’s gear when you get home on Friday

If we manage to get everything in order before Monday morning, we’ll have more time to spend doing whatever the hell we want on Sunday night. There’s nothing worse than feeling hard done by on a Sunday while tearfully ironing work clothes and packing bags. Frankly, it’s a huge fat reminder that soon we’ll be slaving away for five days straight. It’s much better to get the organising over and done with on a Friday when we’re feeling fresh, fabulous and thirsty for the weekend.

Spend time with friends and family

Sure, we might have already spent the weekend with our friends and family, but they’re pretty good company. Even if we just catch a movie, go out for dinner or gossip about the latest episode of The Bachelor – our minds will be focused on things other than our upcoming commitments. By the time Monday arrives, we won’t even have time to think about how bad it’ll be. It will just arrive and things will probably go a lot smoother than anything our minds have concocted to scare us.

Write everything down

No, this isn’t only for primary school kids. Writing can actually be a very therapeutic way to get all of our thoughts and feelings down while keeping us away from that mental institution. Whether we’re bitching about the colleague who keeps stealing our sandwiches, the one who types too loudly or the boss who keeps passing us up for a promotion – get it all down. Trust us, it will make you feel so much better. Just be sure to keep the diary at home and don’t let it anywhere near the workplace!

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Stop overthinking and relax

Let’s be honest, Sunday nights are probably worse than Monday mornings. We’ll never understand this because it means we use more negative energy worrying about something that’s not even as terrible as the act of worrying. It’s a weird concept to wrap our heads around, but according to experts we overthink way too much. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say our minds’ main goal was to cause as much unnecessary anxiety as possible. But hey, we can train ourselves to chill out, relax and enjoy the remainder of our weekends. Some things we can do include light exercises, such as yoga. Yoga relaxes not only the mind, but also our muscles. What better way is there to rein in the business week than feeling absolutely fabulous?

How to survive a long haul flight

How to survive a long haul flight

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

We all love travelling, but the idea of being trapped in a metal can for hours on end can deter even the most frequent flyers. For us Australians it’s especially difficult, as we live so far away from most of the world. But if we want to visit somewhere exciting like Europe, we have to suck up our pride and make the most of a not-so-great situation. Here are some of the best ways to do just that:

1. Wear comfortable clothing

This goes without saying, but comfortable clothes are a godsend when it comes to long flights. You will be sitting down for several hours, and perhaps even transiting through various airports, so dress comfortably. Trudging around with heavy luggage is already bad enough, but it’s even worse when you’re wearing heels and jeans that cut off your circulation. Opt for something loose, light and layer up. Planes usually range from freezing cold to scorching hot, so bring a jacket and wear something lighter underneath.

2. Bring a neck pillow, earplugs and an eye mask

Neck pillows are an absolute must for long flights. Most airlines provide you with these, but they’re not always the best quality. Invest in a proper neck pillow, which you can easily buy from your local airport. It will help you sleep, support your head and make your journey a thousand times better. Make sure you also bring earplugs and an eye mask if you want that quality shut eye. Again, some airlines will give you these, so it’s a good idea to check beforehand.

3. Don’t go overboard with food and drinks

We know free food and drinks is never a bad thing, but there’s no need to over do it. There’s nothing worse than getting indigestion when you’re thousands of feet in the air. It’s already uncomfortable enough – don’t make it worse! The same goes for alcohol. While it’s fine to have a sneaky wine or two, don’t drink too much. It can act as a stimulant and keep you up for hours.

4. Drink plenty of water

There’s a lack of humidity in air cabins, which makes flying incredibly dehydrating. Experts usually recommend quadrupling your water intake on flights to avoid dehydration. Keep this up the entire flight, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to ask for more water. Experts also advise drinking other liquids, such as gatorade because they’re full of energy, and maintaining balance is very important.

5. Bring your own entertainment

Most long-haul flights have in-flight entertainment, but you should check this just in case. Either way, pack a few things to keep yourself entertained. Load your phone up with some music, bring a good old fashioned book, download some movies on your iPad, or even take this opportunity to tackle that work you’ve been putting off!

6. Pack light, but be prepared

We know this is going to be hard for you fashion-savvy gals, but don’t pack too much stuff. Carrying heavy luggage around for hours on end can be exhausting, and it’s guaranteed to put you in a bad mood. Having said that, make sure you pack the essentials. Remember to pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, baby wipes and deodorant. They sound like simple things but can be easily forgotten and you’ll definitely regret it if you don’t. However, make sure you don’t pack anything over 100ml, and that you don’t bring aerosol deodorant. Airport security is very strict with these rules, and they’ll probably be confiscated.

7. Sit back, relax and enjoy

Finally, just enjoy your flight. We know it’s long and tiring, but it’s not every day we get to sit down for hours and do absolutely nothing but eat and watch TV. Enjoy it while it lasts because it will be over before you know it!

How to exercise according to your mood

How to exercise according to your mood

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

We all go through rough patches from time to time – some of us more so than others. And although we deal with our emotions in different ways, there’s one thing we can do to make sure we don’t push ourselves over the edge. It’s not a new concept but that thing is exercise.

Sometimes we’d rather do anything (think major surgery) before resorting to exercise, but studies have found that different kinds of exercises have the ability to shape, affect and direct our moods. For example, there are certain sports we should avoid like the plague when we’re angry, and vice versa. Here are some of our strongest moods and what we should do when we’re experiencing them.

Angry

Obviously, feeling angry isn’t the best thing in the world. Our blood is rushing to our head, we can’t think straight and all we can see is red. The only thing we want is to punch someone in the face and then down a bottle of wine. However, there are better and more healthy alternatives to this. Why not head to the nearest gym and go to town with the punching bags? Better yet – take your anger out on some of the poor souls in the ‘boxercise’ classes. After all, they signed up for it! Many anger management classes even employ boxing as a means to help eliminate anger, so we know it’s legit. Go for it.

Happy

The aim here is to maintain our happiness levels. This can be difficult because our moods change so quickly, especially when our lives are as hectic are they are. We need to find something not too intense – yet something that’s full of endorphins to achieve that natural high. One sport that fits this criteria is running – and no, running’s not going to kill us. We just need to choose an intensity we can adhere to without scarring ourselves for life. One great place for light jogging is along the beach – where the ocean will provide an excellent scenic backdrop. If we’re feeling really adventurous, we can even go for a dip afterwards!

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Sad

The last thing we want to do when we’re sad is hit the gym or perform something equally as excruciating. However, exercise gives us endorphins and endorphins make us happy. Yes, we know chocolate does that too, but it’s not as effective and chocolate makes us fat. So, balance it out and do something that makes you happy. Dancing is great for sadness because our bodies respond positively to movement. Research has found that we’re programmed to ‘jump for joy’ when we’re happy and ‘slump’ when we’re sad, so trick your body into thinking you’re happy by dancing up a storm. It really works – our brains react to messages and signals from the brain – it’s science.

Stressed

One word: yoga. The goal here is to zen your stress levels and chill the hell out. We know that taking time to do this can be annoying, especially when we’ve got a million other things to do, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Experts believe there are psychological benefits to yoga, as it has the ability to help us ‘return to meaningful activity’ and provide a sense of accomplishment. “Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact,” said Michael Otto, a professor of psychology at Boston University. “Exercise has such broad effects that my guess is that there are going to be multiple mechanisms at multiple levels.”

Fast track your morning routine

Fast track your morning routine

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

Some mornings we jump out of bed, drink kale smoothies, and strut out the door feeling and looking like a million dollars. Other days we sleep through our alarms, skip breakfast, and spill toothpaste all over our shirts. There’s usually no in between.

Lately it seems the latter is happening more often than the former. It could be something to do with the new year, but we’re all feeling the tiredness more than usual. We all lead busy lives, and, frankly, our scattered morning routines aren’t doing us any favours. Luckily, we have some ‘fail safe’ methods to ensure we get out the door on time and in one piece.

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Make use of the night before

Anything that can be done the night before should be embraced with open arms. Showering at night will save us from having to shower in the morning, and we’ll still be clean when we wake up. We can also prep our skin the night before by exfoliating or using a face mask. That way, in the morning, all we’ll have to do is splash on some water or even a light cleanser. If our face is washed properly at night, there’s no need for extreme cleansers or scrubs come morning time. Some other methods include packing lunches, preparing handbags and deciding what clothes we’ll be wearing the next day.

Use multi-tasking products

Let’s be honest, makeup can be incredibly frustrating. Not only is it tedious, but it’s also super time consuming. Yet sometimes we still want to look fabulous, so we soldier on and do what we have to do. Fortunately, that’s where multi-tasking products come in. These are awesome, as they combine a number of different cosmetics that get the job done in half the time. Some products, such as lipsticks, also double as makeup for your cheeks, eyes and lips. To make it even more convenient for the fashion-savvy gal, they even change colour depending on where they’re applied. Other all-in-one products include BB creams that combine both sunscreen and tinted moisturiser. BB creams boast great coverage, and they basically eliminate the need for other foundation and powders. There are so many multi-tasking products on the market – finding them just requires a little bit of research.

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Embrace the low-key beauty routine

We know it’s nice to look our best, but realistically it’s not always possible. With that being said, there are a few low-key beauty routine won’t leave us looking like trolls. Just because there’s not enough time to achieve those on fleek brows and savage eyeliner wings doesn’t mean we can’t still look hot. Leave the contouring kit for important days and embrace the quick concealer and mascara routine. We don’t need to spend copious amounts of time straightening and curling our hair – just run a brush through it and throw it up into a ponytail, messy bun or even leave it out. And don’t even think about washing it – there’s no time for that. If necessary, use dry shampoo to give it a quick refreshing spray. Don’t worry, it’ll still look shiny and clean throughout the day. Just wash it when the opportunity presents itself.

Have a quick and easy breakfast

We all skip breakfast from time to time – mainly to spend more time mastering our beauty sleep. Yet eliminating breakfast on a regular basis can be harmful to our health. Studies have shown that not only is it unhealthy, but it has the ability to make us gain weight. This is probably because we get super hangry later on, and devour anything and everything we can get our greedy little hands on. To break this habit, prepare something quick and easy the night before, or even eat some simple yet nutritious cereal. Better yet, grab some fruit and yoghurt en route to eat during the commute. If you’re heading somewhere that allows food (like a food friendly office), just eat it there. Be creative and resourceful – there are so many ways to keep both you and your stomach happy.

Practice makes perfect

We know mornings usually suck, but cutting our routines in half isn’t that hard. One easy way to master all of these things is to time ourselves each day to figure out how long it takes to get everything done. Once we have an idea of how long we spend on certain things, we can re-evaluate our methods, and work on improving them. Practice everything, and soon the mornings will be our beautiful little oyster.

A story of twins separated at birth

A story of twins separated at birth

1. The early years

33-year-old Lin Backlund and Emelie Falk tick all of the boxes when it comes to mysterious, unique and heartwarming circumstances.

After all, it’s not everyday you meet twins who were separated at birth, only to be reunited as adults 29 years later. It’s also somewhat of a rare occurrence to discover that both sisters grew up to be school teachers, got married on the same day and even danced to the same wedding song – You and Me by Lifehouse.

In 1983, the non-identical twins were born to a large family in the northern city of Semarang, Indonesia. Eight months later, they were taken to an orphanage where they were both separately adopted to two loving couples. Strangely enough, both families lived in Sweden and raised the girls in adjoining towns.

The only catch was that neither twin knew about the other, and that wasn’t going to change any time soon.

“I knew I had a lot of siblings in Indonesia because we read the adoption papers a few times when I was young,” Lin said. “But I never felt like anything was missing. My younger sisters in Sweden were, and are, my real sisters.”

Emelie expressed similar feelings, but admitted that sometimes she did feel like something was missing.

“I guess in my heart I knew I had a twin sister, but I had everything you could ask for: two loving parents and a little brother. I had a really happy life,” she revealed. “When I was a little girl, my mum used to tell me I was born in her heart instead of her belly.”

Both girls grew up to be beautiful, kind hearted and smart young women with loving husbands and children of their own. They already had everything they wanted and needed, so why waste time digging up the past?

But when Emelie started planning her wedding in 2009, she began wondering about the circumstances surrounding her adoption. Eventually, she thought that perhaps it was worth some investigating. And just like an itch that wouldn’t go away, the curiosity eventually consumed her.

Which is when everything started to unravel…

2. suspicions

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“When you were a small girl, a woman called to ask if her daughter could maybe be your biological sister,” were the words Emelie’s mother used when she was questioned about the adoption.

According to her, when Lin’s parents left the orphanage with their new baby all those years ago, their taxi driver – confused – turned to them and asked:

“What about the other one, the sister?”

Assumedly, he’d seen the babies around and knew a thing or two about them. He even happily jotted the girls’ Indonesian names down on a piece of paper – Nur Hidayah (now Lin) and Nur Kasanah (now Emelie) so that the Backlunds could decide what to do with the information.

And without further adieu, the family took Lin home to Sweden and vowed to one day uncover the truth.

3. When nothing added up

 

Two years later, the Backlunds were finally able to track down Emelie and her family. To their astonishment, the Falks also lived in southern Sweden, which was a huge coincidence considering the twins were both born in Indonesia.

Eventually, the families arranged a meeting and sat down with one common goal in mind: to figure everything out once and for all.

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But when the Backlunds and the Falks compared their daughters’ birth certificates, a few confusing discrepancies were found. Lin’s certificate said she had more siblings than Emelie’s, and both documents listed different addresses for their biological parents. The only thing the birth certificates did have in common were their parents’ names, which wasn’t enough to convince anyone.

In light of this new information, the Backlunds and Falks concluded their daughters weren’t sisters, let alone twins. DNA tests hadn’t been invented back then, so there was very little anyone could do.

“We weren’t similar at all,” Emelie said. “And they were all just happy being a family. My parents has been longing for children for more than ten years.”

All connections were soon forgotten and subsequent contact was lost. However, both girls were raised in stable and loving homes. Lin was blessed with two younger sisters, while Emelie grew up with a brother three years her junior. To their parents’ credit, neither twin ever felt out of place or like they didn’t belong in their own homes.

“There was no difference between us growing up,” Lin said when questioned about her siblings. “Once my mother told the doctor, a few seconds before she could think it through, that she couldn’t understand why I was allergic to a lot of stuff, since neither she or my father had any allergies. She worked as a nurse and she’s usually educated, but just in that small second – that’s how natural she thought it was that we should have the same genes.”

4. PUTTING THEIR SUSPICIONS TO THE TEST

Fast forward 29 years and both women were still living in Sweden. They had moved out of their childhood homes, but they still had very positive relationships with their parents and siblings. 

But after learning of her adoption story, then 29-year-old Emelie began to think that maybe there was more to the story than her parents originally suspected. And now that technology was so advanced and information was more easily accessible, she could take matters into her own hands.

“When all of this information came to me, I decided to search for Lin, and I found her on Facebook,” Emelie said. “I was really nervous to send her a message, but I wrote ‘Hi, my name is Emelie. I don’t know if you’re the person I’m looking for, but…’ and then I told her the whole story my mum told me.”

According to Emelie, Lin was very sceptical at first and gave “quite short” replies, such as “Hi. Hm, this sounds weird.” But after Lin spoke with her own mother who confirmed Emelie’s story, she became more enthusiastic and the two soon became fast friends.

“We decided to meet for the first time in Lund at Lin’s place,” Emelie said. “When I saw her, the first thing I thought was that she was really pretty and had long legs. We sat in her living room and talked about everything and nothing. It felt really nice and relaxed.”

However, even though both women felt an instant connection, Lin said the meeting wasn’t particularly overwhelming or exciting, as neither twin knew whether they were actually sisters.

“We met because we at least had the same background, and we were probably born in the same village, or at least we had been in the same orphanage,” she admitted.

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After getting to know each other a bit more and keeping in constant contact, Lin and Emelie both eventually agreed to undertake a DNA test to find out once and for all if their feelings were warranted.

“It (the test) said we were 99.98% sisters,” Emelie said. “That made us both laugh and cry. It felt really nice, although we could already feel in our hearts that we were sisters and twins before the results came back.”

“I knew it was something good and special,” Lin agreed. “When we got the DNA results, it was a relief. It was an ‘okay’ that we were allowed to feel what we were feeling. We felt like we had been friends all our lives.”

5. The similarities and differences

Although Lin and Emelie are fraternal twins with many different interests, it’s blatantly obvious they also have plenty in common – and not only their teaching professions, wedding dates and wedding song selections.

“We’re both sensitive and sometimes we act on a feeling,” Lin said. “We have a hard time letting things go, and we care a lot about the wellbeing of others, which can be both good and bad.  We both also like home decorating and being creative. Emelie is good at writing, making birthday cards, scrapbooking and so on, and I have my sewing and gardening. We both also like music and singing, but Emelie’s so much better.”

But just like any other siblings, the twins also have their differences. For example, while Lin appears more calm and reserved, Emelie comes across louder and more outgoing.

“I like to talk and laugh out loud,” Emelie said. “I like to do things very fast and get them done quickly, while Lin’s the opposite.”

Lin, who agreed, said that Emelie is more comfortable being the centre of attention.

“She’s more social than me. I like to be in the background, except for when I teach,” she said. “People sometimes say I’m like the older sister and she’s the younger one, but I think that’s because she’s more lively and outgoing.

We’re both teachers, so we both like education. However, Emelie’s more patient with younger kids because I educate 17-19 year olds,” Lin laughed. “For me, they’re too much effort – even my own!”

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Lin then admitted that she’s calmer and more of a thinker than Emelie, but that Emelie tends to share more personal stories than she does.

“I’m happy to do that as well, but with people I know,” she said. “I don’t know why, because I trust people too, but I guess I just don’t like being in the centre as much. Emelie’s more sensitive and knows the right thing to say. I went to high school with just guys, so I guess sometimes I communicate as a typical male. No prejudice there, but I’m just more straight forward with what I think and I don’t take the time to read feelings.”

And although they are two independent, strong women with their own lives and responsibilities, at the end of the day they have the twin thing down pat.

“We can both sense how the other is feeling,” Emelie said. “Sometimes we text the other one in the middle of the night with “I know you’re awake. What’s up? How are you feeling?”

6. Nature vs nurture

“I think the environment plays the absolute biggest part of who we become. I also think it’s dangerous to think it’s all in our genes, like ‘blood is thicker than water’ because honestly, sometimes it’s not. You’re not done or finished when you’re born, you are made and change during your lifetime. The choices you make affect who you are. It’s not all in your genes. You are able to change who you are.” – Lin Backlund.

Lin and Emelie might be fraternal twins, but the nature vs nurture debate is always an interesting concept when it comes to twins or siblings who were separated at birth and raised apart.

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The debate is one of the oldest arguments in the history of psychology. There are many good and relevant points for both sides, so it’s been difficult for researchers to determine whether a person’s development is predisposed by his or her DNA, or whether it’s influenced by his or her experiences and environment.

There has always been fascination surrounding twins and siblings raised separately. Identical twins, in particular, share the same amount of DNA because they originate from the same egg. Fraternal twins, like Lin and Emelie, come from separate eggs and share only 50% of their DNA, just like normal siblings.

According to Personality Research, fraternal twins are far less likely to be as similar as identical twins, but there are still possibilities that they – like any normal siblings – could grow up to have the same interests, tastes in food, fashion style, friends and more.

Personality is a good example of a trait that has been studied in both identical and fraternal twins. Identical twins reared apart are much more similar in personality than fraternal twins in the same situation. According to researchers, this suggests that personality is heritable.

Dr Nancy Segal, Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) and Director of the Twin Studies Centre, has authored approximately 120 scientific articles regarding twins. She has also published four books, and is currently working on a fifth one titled ‘Twin Mythconceptions: Facts Or Fiction?’

 According to Dr Segal, identical twins reared apart are just as alike as identical twins reared together. To rule out identical appearance, she even studied personality in unrelated look alikes who turned out to be quite different. However, this wasn’t surprising as she very much expected that to be the case.

Dr Segal revealed that nature and nurture both play roles in shaping a person, but genes have a greater influence on some things, such as personality, rather than other things like job satisfaction.

She also said that separated twins are generally more alike than different later in life. One example she provided was a set of identical twins she studied in her book: ‘Invisible by two: lives of extraordinary twins.’ These twin brothers were part of a landmark Minnesota twin study that Dr Segal was heavily involved with, and which took place from the late 1980s until the early 2000s.

 Jack Yufe and Oskar Stohr were born in 1993 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, to a German Catholic mother and a Romanian Jewish father. However, Yufe grew up as Jewish in Trinidad and became part of the Israeli navy. His identical twin brother, Oskar Stohr was raised as a Catholic in Nazi Germany and eventually joined the Hitler Youth.

According to Dr Segal, the men were “very similar in most aspects, except for their political and historical views.”

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When the brothers first met, they didn’t get along at all. In fact, they refused to acknowledge each other as fellow human beings – let alone twins. They said goodbye on bad terms, and it wasn’t until 25 years later during the Minnesota Twin Study that they were reunited.

When Yufe and Stohr met at the airport, coincidently they were both wearing the exact same outfit: a white sports jacket, a shirt and glasses. Additionally, both twins enjoyed reading books from back to front, wrapped rubber bands around their wrists, wore tight swimsuits, sneezed loudly in lifts and always flushed the toilet before and after using it.

In Dr Segal’s book, she said most of these traits could be explained by genetics. The toilet flushing, for example, was most likely a result of the brothers’ aversion to germs.

The only things the men didn’t have in common were their political views and beliefs, including who they thought was responsible for World War II. Obviously, the twins had extremely different upbringings and it was difficult for their genes to overcome such prominent and strong environmentally shaped beliefs.

The Minnesota Twin Study ran for over 20 years. The researchers studied 137 pairs of separated twins – 81 identical and 56 fraternal. The study was revolutionary in the respect that scientists discovered the environment didn’t play a role as significant as they originally suspected. For example, religiosity and social attitudes showed a genetic influence, rather than an environmental one.

Another study, which was commissioned by the Journal Science, researched intelligence in relation to genetics. They found that 70 percent of IQ variation across the twin population was caused by genetic differences, and 30 percent was due to environmental differences.

Among identical twins, 80 percent of those surveyed said they felt closer to their new twin than they currently did with their oldest and closest friends. According to researchers, this suggested a very strong genetic component in the bond between identical twins.

Twin studies have evolved significantly over the last few decades. New research has given scientists an entirely innovative understanding of the roles that both genes and the environment play in human development. Now and in the future, researchers are aiming to link specific genes to certain behaviours. They’re also hoping to discover a lot more about genetic and environmental crossovers and their relationships to both identical and fraternal twins.

7. Where are Lin and Emelie now?

It’s now been five years since Lin and Emelie met for the first time, but according to them it feels much longer.

“It was like suddenly having a new best friend that you don’t really know, but it feels like you do,” Lin said. “We have known each other for just five years, but it feels like a life time. I also feel safe with her. I know she will be there for me and I for her no matter what.

We send text messages every other day, and talk almost every week. We both work as teachers and have small children, so we have a lot to discuss. However, we both have very busy lives, so we don’t see each other that often. It’s also hard because we have different families, so all holidays and special occasions are with different families and friends.”

And although Emelie said sometimes she feels sad that she and Lin missed out on so much of each other’s lives, she wouldn’t change anything, as they both have very good lives.

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“Now we have kids, and they have the opportunity to get to know each other and be a part of each other’s lives,” Emelie said. “That makes me happy.”

Lin currently lives with her husband and two young sons, while Emelie lives with her husband and two infant daughters.

Emelie teaches Swedish to immigrants, and also teaches English and Swedish to young children. When she gets the time, she enjoys writing, singing and hanging out with her family and friends.

Lin leads a very busy life teaching high school students, but she also runs a small company where she sells and sews clothes. Some of her hobbies also include running, cycling and gardening.

8. More reunions

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Due to the success of their own reunion, the twins have even travelled back to Indonesia a few times to meet their biological family. According to Emelie, their first meeting was “magical,” but she couldn’t have done it without Lin by her side.

During one of their trips to Indonesia, Lin and Emelie were shocked to discover that they also had biological twin brothers who were separated at birth, adopted and raised separately – only a few years prior to their own adoptions.

After reaching out to the Internet, the women were eventually able to locate their twin brothers, Heru and Hero. One of the brothers was presumed dead, so they only searched for Heru. However, it was a very pleasant surprise when both Heru and Hero responded to the search.

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The male twins were raised in different countries, and according to Lin, they have many differences. The men still have difficulties speaking with each other, as they both experienced “sad and hard” childhoods which affected them greatly.

As for their other biological siblings, they have 13 in total. 11 of them are still in Indonesia, and Lin and Emelie have even been introduced to some of them.

Emelie said that she’d always believed her personality was similar to her Swedish family’s, but upon meeting her Indonesian family, she realised that she and Lin also inherited a number of traits from them.

“I don’t like being alone,” she said. “And I believe it’s because we have a lot of family members and it’s somehow in my blood to feel safe with a lot of people around me. I’m also sensitive, just like my sisters and biological mum.”

9. But the story isn’t over yet…

 
There are still some remaining mysteries regarding Lin and Emelie’s story…

Firstly, why was that taxi driver so familiar with the babies’ names all those years ago? Nobody knows for sure, but some people have speculated that he was actually their biological father.

And secondly, are Lin and Emelie’s similarities and differences due to their near identical upbringings or were they caused by DNA?

“We both had good, safe childhoods with everything we ever needed,” Lin said. “We both have the same culture and same typical Swedish family life, so it’s hard to see any differences there. Perhaps it would have been easier if one of us were brought up in a totally different culture or country. We were even brought up in the same part of Sweden.”

10. Their advice

While many can’t relate to Lin and Emelie’s situation, it’s never certain what life has in store. And if you’ve been separated from a loved one, or if you were adopted, one day you might want to find out more.

Here’s Emelie’s advice:

“It’s so different for every person, but I know that for many people this means everything. My advice is to be as calm as possible and take your time to get to know the person you were separated from. It’s very emotional, and it’s not always easy to handle.

Lin and I were lucky that we had each other when we were searching for our biological parents. We’re also in the same country, speak the same language and have people around us who make us feel safe. I think it’s important that you have someone to talk to. Family members, friends, or even someone you don’t know. There are a lot of different adoption groups on Facebook, for example – people to talk to and share experiences with.”

If you have any questions regarding adoption, you can anonymously call the adoption hotline on 1-800-923-6602, or you can visit their website.

Fitness myths you shouldn’t believe

Fitness myths you shouldn’t believe

Originally published by me on BeautyNews.com.au.

If you’ve spent even 20 minutes in a gym with other people, you’ll know that suddenly everyone in the vicinity becomes a health and fitness expert. Whether they’re criticising you for eating non-fat yoghurt for breakfast or trying to convince you how important it is to take a million different supplements a day, they think their word is gospel.

But let’s be honest – most of these people have absolutely no freaking clue what they’re talking about. To clear things up, I’ve done a bit of research and have discovered some of the top fitness myths out there. And let me tell you, there are plenty.

Strength training makes women bulky

According to certified fitness and nutrition experts, this is one of the biggest lies out there. While lifting weights does build muscle, it takes a hell of a lot more than three kilo dumbbell curls to transform you into the Hulk. You might be thinking of all those female bodybuilding pics you see on Insta, but let me tell you, those women pretty much devote their entire lives to gaining muscle and looking buff AF. They also complement their training with super high protein diets and a really, really strict fitness regime. Trust me, you’re not going to turn into a superhero just by performing two to three sets of light weights a few times a week.

Squats are bad for your knees

Again, this is complete BS. In fact, experts say squats are actually good for your knees. Squats are among some of the greatest moves for performance enhancing and core-building strength. Not only do they develop all of your major muscle groups around the knees and hips, but they also help other muscle groups, such as the glutes, calf muscles, quads and hamstrings. Once you strengthen these muscles, the pressure is eliminated from the knee joints and onto the muscles that are designed to stabilise those joints. Unfortunately, no matter how much research is done about squats, many personal trainers and media personalities are still spouting off incorrect facts.

The more you sweat, the better your workout was

Not always. Some people naturally sweat more than others, and that definitely doesn’t mean they’re working out any harder. The amount you sweat also depends on your fitness level, body type and genetic history. Experts believe that the best way to measure your workout is by intensity, not sweat. If you did an intense workout, but didn’t produce any sweat, it’s definitely not something to worry about. As long as you completed your fitness regime properly and gave it all your all, chances are you totally killed it.

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Sit-ups and ab exercises will give you a six-pack

Sorry to burst your bubble, but your six pack isn’t making an appearance any time soon if you live by this rule. According to research, “you can do sit-ups for days, but if you have a high percentage of body fat, your abs will stay in hiding.” Abs will only appear when you eliminate the belly fat that covers them. To achieve a toned stomach, you should try high intensity training. However, the simplest way is to just cut out artificially sweetened drinks and sugar from your diet.

The sorer you feel after a workout, the better your workout was

Soreness is usually just a sign that you haven’t performed a particular move before, or for a while at least. While stiffness and pain can be signs that you absolutely nailed your workout, it’s also possible to exercise without feeling like you’ve been kicked in the shins, thighs and buttocks with giant arse heels the next day. Everyone is also different, and some people experience delayed muscle soreness. Experts say that pain is not a suitable indicator of effectiveness, and that you shouldn’t worry if you’re not feeling as sore as your expert resident gym buddies.

7 things people really need to stop doing on public transport

7 things people really need to stop doing on public transport

Originally published by me on Mamamia.com.au.

This morning I was on the train when a woman pulled out a small disposable razor and started shaving her legs.

Yep. She was shaving her legs. DRY. ON THE TRAIN.

Um, I know it’s the silly season and all, but seriously? I’d much rather go to work with the hairiest legs in the world than shave in front of an entire peak hour train carriage.

 Unfortunately, that’s not even the weirdest thing that’s known to happen on public transport. Here are some (of many) more annoying passenger habits:

1. People who board without letting others off first

These people are so desperate to nab a seat, they’re willing to bowl over frail elderly women and their tiny walking sticks.

You’ve probably seen them before – they’re the commuters who line up where they think the carriage will stop about 15 minutes before the train’s expected to actually arrive.

They refuse to move for people getting on other trains and when theirs finally arrives, they barge in the doors as soon as possible — alighting passengers be damned.

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I don’t know where you people learned your manners, but don’t you know you’re supposed to stand to the side of the carriage and wait for EVERYONE TO GET OFF?

Would you really prefer be the cause of someone falling onto the freaking train tracks, rather than having to stand for 10 measly minutes?

Remember: sensible people are good people.

2. People who sniffle and/or cough without covering their mouth

Not only are you probably infecting me with your illness, but you’re doing in a really awful way. Just stop.

Nobody can help getting sick and sometimes we still have to go to work, but please try not to spread your germs by being a gross person.

Trust me, the sound of blowing your nose is much nicer than the sound of snot being sucked around every two minutes.

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3. People who put their bags on the seat

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. What gives you the right to dictate whether people can sit next to you?

Did your bag pay for a ticket? No, I didn’t think so!

I know it’s as simple as asking someone to move their bag, which I’ve happily done on many occasions. But the point is that I shouldn’t have to do in the first place.

How about you just not put your stuff on perfectly good seats? Great, thanks.

4. People who trim their nails

To be honest, this is even grosser than shaving your legs on public transport.

Where are your disposed nails going? Are you dropping them on the floor so that someone else can clean them up, or are you allowing them to fling across the carriage and potentially land on some poor unsuspecting soul’s head?

Either way, not cool.

5. People who eat smelly food

People who eat on public transport don’t bother me at all. But people who eat smelly food in small spaces? Bad.

Whipping out a can of tuna, an egg sandwich or even leftover curry is a huge no no. It gets up the nostrils of everyone around you and when it mixes with the already sometimes-questionable scent of public transport, they’ll want to puke.

I used to catch the train to work, and without fail, the same woman would sit next to me every single morning. She seemed nice enough, but she liked to eat corn on the cob for breakfast.

Now, plenty of people enjoy a good cob of corn — but I don’t know anyone who eats it at 7:30am. Out of a plastic bag. For 50 minutes straight.

I even moved carriages several times, but she somehow still sought me out. She then spent the entire journey nibbling as slowly as possible on her corn while elbowing me in the ribs.

Fun times.

6. People who read over your shoulder

Trust me, my text messages aren’t that interesting. Most of the time I’m just messaging my mum asking her what belongs in the fridge and what belongs in the pantry.

It’s even more annoying when I’m trying to read a book or newspaper. You do know that you’re not being stealthy, right? I can feel your eyes burning through my pages.

If you’re really that fascinated with my reading material, why don’t you just buy your own damn one?

7. People who listen to music without headphones

Yes, I always listen to music on public transport. I’d be bored out of my mind otherwise.

But I use these small things called headphones that – shockingly – allow only me to hear my music. Crazy concept, right?

Apparently it is for some people. They seem to think their music is so great that everyone else should also be subjected to its torture.

But the train’s not your personal dance party, buddy, so give it up.

Feel free to inflict the pain on your own ears, but leave mine out of it.