Guest Posts

Guest post: Domestic abuse – 4 warning signs that can save your life

By on March 24, 2017

A week and a half before, I announced that I will be accepting guest posts on a range of topics. Well, here is the first one. However, this post was not sent by the author, instead I reached out to him after reading it, for reasons that will become obvious if they haven’t already.

Bart Proctor is a US citizen and a former police officer who blogs about his experiences when he was in service. In this post, he highlights four signs of an abusive person that should serve as warning signs to the partner. Since there were affiliate links in the original post, I had to edit it a bit (with his permission) but the link to his blog has been included at the end along with the link to his Facebook page, where you can contact him.

As I have stressed in other articles, being a cop has given me a unique perspective into deviant human behaviour. These calls stick to us long after we have experienced them. Thank goodness not everything about the job is so bleak. Some days we actually get to help people. Every day is different in police work.

There are some calls, however, that are more frequent than others. Probably the most frequent calls we respond to are calls of domestic violence.

I can honestly say, with nobody worn camera required, I have never worked a shift in my 23 years where either myself or another officer working with me has not responded to a call of domestic violence.

Not. ONE. Day.

Cops hate these calls.

It’s not that we don’t want to help those who need us. These calls, especially when children are in the home, drain us. There is also an increased chance that one of us could be hurt or killed when responding to these calls.

It is also difficult at times when all we have is her word against his without any other evidence.

Early in my career, while working the south side of our city, I responded to a domestic violence call between a husband and wife. The wife was being loud and abrasive with me and my partner, yelling and screaming for us to take her husband to jail for hitting her.

The husband, who was sitting on the front porch, remained overly calm and relaxed, insisting that his wife was crazy.

I would later learn, through updated domestic violence training, this was a classical demeanour an abuser would use to fool us.

It worked.

We cleared the call and would later mark off duty.

The next day, as I arrived for work, I was greeted by my Shift Sergeant. He handed me a stack of warrants and told me what the husband had done to his wife before and after we had cleared the call from the day before. It was bad.

I was embarrassed. Ashamed.

I had been conned and it could have cost this woman her life.

But I learned from this mistake and from future training.

Now, after investigating thousands of domestic violence complaints over my career I want to share what I know. I want to make you aware of these 4 early warning signs that almost all abusers display. Remember, these are just the four, in my opinion, that are at the top of the list.

This knowledge could potentially save your life.

1. Jealousy

And I’m not talking about the healthy form of jealousy that all humans feel for loved ones.

This is the kind of jealousy that doesn’t look good. Like “you know it when you see it” kind of jealousy that’s not good. Many abusers will have this common trait that builds over time.

With abusers, the outward jealousy they display quickly develops into an almost manic obsession with you.

And it’s not healthy. Or normal.

Throughout my career I have investigated thousands of domestic assault calls. I remember early in my career I wanted to know why or what was the universal cause of these events.

Without fail it would almost unanimously begin with a statement similar to this one:

“He accused me of sleeping with my co-worker when he grabbed the phone from me. When I tried to get it back…that’s when he punched me in the face”.

If you have ever felt the sting of jealousy, you know how hurtful and painful it can be. An abuser takes the hurt and turns into anger and sometimes hatred.


2. He breaks things

This one trait and early warning sign of an abuser sometimes gets overlooked as either passion or just him having a bad day.

It is neither.

Before I have every male in this country bashing me for taking the side of the female and for writing this article, let me be clear. It is one thing to be angry and punch a wall out of frustration.

It is something entirely different when you see every door, wall and every other content in a house destroyed. Trust me, when you see it, like I have on too many calls, it screams of an abusive spouse or partner.

It’s only a matter of time before his aggression and anger towards inanimate objects turns to something new.

And that would be you.

3. Past Abuse

Many abusers cannot change their violent ways. Be it the way they were raised, past traumatic events or just hard wiring. Now I know human beings have the ability to change and some do.

Sadly, most don’t.

If, while vetting your new partner (and yes you should definitely do this) or acquaintance, you come across past violent behaviour, please proceed with caution.

I honestly can’t think of one instance where I have arrested someone for domestic assault and it is some fluke occurrence with no prior history of violence.

The laws have gotten a little better in providing stiffer penalties for those who are convicted of domestic violence on more than one occasion.

4. Isolation

This warning sign is non-negotiable. Meaning, get out. And I don’t mean plan on making a move or contemplating the meaning and future of the relationship.

Grab your kids and cell phone and leave. NOW!

Isolation is one of the more insidious ways an abuser uses to control and ultimately hide their activity. I have seen, on multiple occasions, where the abuser has refused to let their partner have any interaction with family or friends.

In some of the worst cases, I have seen where the phone lines have been cut by the abuser (and now, cell phones being turned off).

The tactic of isolation is similar to those used by cult leaders who want to brainwash their victims and control any influence from the outside world. I have interviewed many victims of domestic violence who had been isolated for days and sometimes years. It really is one of the sadder things I have seen as a cop.

Read the original post here.

Contact Bart Proctor on Facebook.

Have something to add? Leave a comment. And don’t forget to share with friends and family.

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How to deal with a numb brain?

By on March 22, 2017

So it’s almost been a week since I’ve published a new post. Though I have some blog posts planned, for some reason I don’t want to publish them. At the moment, that is. But I still want to write something, the problem, however, is what? My mind is numb. You see I have hit a block and not for the first time.

Every time I start a new venture, project, whatever you may call it, I really throw myself into it. I plan ahead, come up with new ideas. But after some time the enthusiasm starts waning. I start finding reasons I cannot go on. This is why self-employment scares me. There is no one to threaten me with termination if I don’t turn something in.

Before this site I had two blogs, both of which I was really excited about when I made them. I worked hard on them and then after some time, I got busy with my job or university and well…got bored. Then two weeks ago I bought this domain because I was really serious about blogging, (I still am, I swear) spent time on it, promoted it, planned content and where I want to take it in future, all in one week. Since the past two, three days though, I have started to feel bored and tired. It’s not because I haven’t been getting feedback or response. Today marks the 20th day of my site and as of now, I have close to a 1000 hits. Considering my lack of expertise, I don’t think my stats have been that bad. I still have a long way to go, a lot to learn and yet here I am writing and rewriting posts and then erasing them completely.

At the cost of sounding extremely dramatic, I want to tell the reader that I knew this day would come. This time though, I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to shove my hard work in a corner. Therefore I am writing this mumbo jumbo instead of the posts I had planned to work on so I can get rid of the monotony that my brain is protesting against. Now do you see why I don’t want to stick to a niche? Why I would like to write about anything and everything?

When I started writing this, I thought I’d just write about the book I am reading currently (The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins). You know stuff like what I think of the story, (it is very interesting, so far) how much I’ve read, (I’m on page 89) what genre does it belong to, (mystery) etc. I ended up writing this dramatic monologue instead. If you are reading this, I’m sorry. I really wanted to keep it interesting but I really can’t help it, I’m a very dramatic person.

#NowReading The Woman in White. Quite intriguing. #bookstagram #bookgram #bookmark #reading

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One thing I’m truly excited about is the guest blog that I will be posting tomorrow. I wanted to post it today but I didn’t want to steal the limelight of this masterpiece. Kidding, I don’t want to spam the inbox of my email subscribers. So stick around, a guest post is coming!

Oh and if you want to contribute, you are more than welcome 🙂


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6 questions you need to ask before choosing a theme

By on March 19, 2017

Continuing with the topic of building a website (or a blog), here I’ll be listing down a few things that you must take into consideration while selecting a theme. It is very important to select one that not only looks good but is also simple to navigate around. The first thing a visitor sees is not your content or author bio. He sees the layout.

Don’t select a theme on how great it looks. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the theme compatible with your niche (or lack thereof)? If your lifestyle blog looks like a teenager’s journal, it doesn’t really give readers a great impression.
  • Where is the main menu be displayed? If it is not at the top or the sidebar, then it will be hard for users to access your pages and categories. If it is displayed in the sidebar, it brings us to another problem…
  • Which spaces does the theme allot for widgets? At least one of the widget spaces should be the sidebar so you can put up the author bio, contact info, subscription form etc. for everyone to see easily. In some themes, widgets are placed at the end of the page and hardly anyone has got the time and patience to scroll all the way down to see if an author’s bio and other information about the site have been included. It also becomes a problem if you have placed ad widgets that are at the pit of the page where hardly anyone bothers to look.
  • Are the colours too bright or jarring? This can make your content hard to read.
  • In case the current colour scheme doesn’t compliment your content, can it be changed? Luckily though, nearly every WordPress theme has the option of changing background and font colour so you can play around till you find the perfect one.
  • In case there is a header image, ask yourself if you need it. There are themes that are perfect for you but they have huge header images that are totally unrelated to your site. Some themes do offer multiple images to choose from so if you can find one that is relevant, great. Otherwise, you can take either take an image yourself or design one.

What do you take into consideration while deciding on a theme? Let me know in the comments.

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6 rules of communication you should start following

By on March 17, 2017


Communicating with people is not exactly my forte. Naturally, there are a lot of awkward moments where I don’t know how to start a conversation, carry it forward or just put an end to it. Recently, however, I’ve been setting some rules for myself. Here are six rules everyone should follow when stuck in awkward situations.

Stop saying sorry for everything

‘I’m sorry I got caught in traffic.’

‘I’m sorry I am sick.’

‘I’m sorry my battery died.’

None of the above is exactly your fault, so why apologise? Save it for when it really matters, when you actually did something wrong. Saying sorry for everything makes the word lose its meaning and significance. It becomes more of an expression than an apology.

Learn to say NO

This has been said by so many people so many times but it doesn’t seem to be enough. If someone wants you to do something for them and you are not in a position to help them out, just refuse instead of making excuses or grudgingly agreeing. Unless, of course it’s someone who would put everything on hold for you. Then say yes.

Stick to your decisions

Like Salman Khan sticks to his commitment. I come across many people who are dillydallying between decisions. Even once they take one, they keep trying to justify their reasons for it. I honestly don’t understand why. If you think your decision will offend people and you feel sorry about that, you either shouldn’t have taken it in the first place or should have been prepared to face the brunt. And, if you realise your stance is wrong, admit it.

Don’t hold back appreciation

When you see someone working hard, doing something worthwhile and excelling at it, applaud their efforts. Often this is the only way you can show your support and it means a lot to the person who is already under a lot of pressure.

Be polite but don’t be Roohafza

Being polite is good, going overboard with it is not. Too much sweetness can be nauseous. People who are extra nice just come across as phony and insincere.

Stop beating around the bush

Let me tell you a story here. So I had, or if you insist on calling someone on your Facebook friend list your ‘friend’, have a friend who I hadn’t talked to in sometime. There was no fight or anything, we just drifted apart, got busy with our lives. One day she messaged me and told me off for around five minutes for being mean and never bothering to contact (was not to to be petty or anything but it pretty rich coming from her because she didn’t even invite me to her wedding).

Anyway she managed to make me feel bad and I apologised. Next thing she says is to give her brother some career counselling. And once I did, she had nothing to talk about anymore. The reason it pissed me off was she could have asked me that straight away instead of dragging me on a guilt trip.

Moral: if you want a favour from someone who you haven’t been in touch with for a while, kindly just tell them you need help without trying to act as if you care about their lives. The attempts are transparent and annoying. You can’t stay in touch with everyone but you might occasionally need their help and it’s ok to ask for it.

Do you have any tips to help people communicate better? Do share them in the comments. Or you can even write a compilation of the ways you interact with people as a guest blogger for my site. Click on the button below for details.

And if you found this post helpful, don’t forget to share it with your friends 🙂

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5 plugins that made my website experience easier

By on March 16, 2017

Managing a website has the potential to turn you into a nervous wreck but certain plugins have the ability to prevent that from happening. Surprising as it may sound, humanity still resides in this world and to make our lives easier, web developers put in their sweat and blood to create plugins that manage to get you through the tiring process of establishing your domain.

When I started my website last week, I felt exactly like Lizzy must have felt when she first entered Rosings Park the first time. Unsure and somewhat intimidated by everything unfamiliar. Especially in the beginning when you are still working things out, dealing with glitches that pop up what seems like every minute as well as analysing your performance and coming up with a definite strategy if you haven’t already. Of course, none of this would mean anything unless you’re putting extensive and quality content on your site. These plugins take care of all that you hadn’t thought of due to your lack of information and make your efforts pay off. I’m going to list down 5 plugins that made my experience not just easier but fun.

Also read A list of Dos and Don’ts when switching from a blog to a website

Yoast SEO

This plugin is a MUST if you want your posts to rank high on search engines like Google and Bing. Yoast doesn’t care if you know nothing about SEO, it’ll help you optimise each post to the maximum and making sure that the post is as readable as it is clickable.


This plugin is exactly what it sounds: a jetpack of every important feature you require for your website to work. With this plugin, you get security against viruses and hackers, detailed stats, free themes, widgets, SEO etc. Cherry on top: most of the features are free. Although if you want to avail upgraded features you can purchase a Personal Plan at a very affordable price.

Askimet Anti-Spam

It successfully protects you from spam comments, some of which might include harmful links.


There is no need to include countless social media icons at the end of each post. SumoMe is a list of every social media channel available for you and your readers to share your post in one place. And that is not even the best part (although it is pretty awesome). It has countless other features that help you keep track of how many views each of your posts get as well as increase followers and building a list of email followers. Pretty awesome right?


You can only build a loyal readership by reciprocating the love. CommentLuv automatically includes the latest post published by the blogger that comments on your blog so you can pay a visit. In short, it brings us all closer as a community.

These are the first of many. Which plugins did you install that helped your website grow? Do share in the comments below 🙂


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Site niche – is it really important?

By on March 14, 2017

It’s hardly been a week since I got my own domain and already people have started asking me what it is about, i.e., what is the niche of the site. And that has got me thinking, what is it about really? So far I’ve posted a book review, a short story, a list of steps to take when building a website and a press release as a favour to an acquaintance. None of these posts are related to each other! But to be honest, my stats haven’t suffered. For a new website, I have been getting more hits than most blogs that have been around for years. I’m not bragging, I promise. But the confusion is pretty valid. And it is also the inspiration for this post.

However here’s the thing: I don’t want to limit myself to a topic. There I said it! There is a lot going through my head and I want to share some of it with the world if not all. I may not be a pro-blogger like many out there but will act like a smartass and tell those who are stressing about selecting the perfect niche: it’s not important to have one. This is NOT to say that you shouldn’t be writing about popular topics. Of course you should tell people how to gain more followers, SEO etc.! These are not just popular topics, they are important as well, especially for dummies like me who need all the guidance they can. However, that doesn’t mean we should abandon writing about topics that interest us but don’t garner enough traffic, like book reviews or commentary on anime.

What’s the solution then?

How about striking a balance? It’s what I say about Pakistani serials. Anyone who watches Pakistani dramas must be aware of the amount of rubbish they air in the name of entertainment. Same stories, different faces and why? Because for some twisted reason, those are the serials that garner ratings! So it’s understandable why channels would choose crap over quality, they need the money. My point is, if a channel is broadcasting five ridiculous shows a week, they can at least air two quality dramas for people who appreciate original, creative stories.

Same goes for blogs too. Produce content that is bound to attract readers. But don’t abandon the poor souls who are interested in things others find boring. More importantly, why abandon writing about what YOU are genuinely passionate about. The world is huge and there is an audience for everything. There is nothing wrong with catering multiple audiences at once.

This is the plan I plan to follow. What do you think? Tell me in the comments.

And if found this post interesting, share it with your friends 🙂

If you have a unique niche or want to write about something different for a change, you can contribute to my site! Click on the button below for details.

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Guest Posts | Press Release

Rabia Anum Launches Aasaniyan Beauty Studio

By on March 13, 2017

Karachi, April 13, 2017: News’ brightest star Rabia Anum launched Aasaniyan Beauty Studio at Zamzama, Karachi. From being into limelight as a newscaster to starting off her own brand, Rabia is not looking back.

Elegantly decorated, the beauty studio is equipped with the state of the art salon fixtures, facial and massage room, comfortable manicure pedicure stations and a staff that is not just well trained but also well experienced.

Aasaniyan is a One Stop Beauty Solution; it has solution for all your beauty related problems, from skin to hair, makeup to spa. Aasaniyan is bringing the Best Hair Color Techniques to the market with International color blending techniques so that our women can forget the old streaking methods. In makeup Aasaniyan is coming up with the techniques that are used on International Models and TV personalities.

“Aasaniyan is my Mother’s dream. She has always helped me in fulfilling my dreams and now this is the time when I can at least try to do something for her. Every day I am all dolled up for TV since last 6 years and now I will be helping a bunch of girls in my team to doll up thousands of girls around me,” said Rabia Anum, owner of Aasaniyan Beauty Studio.

“Aasaniyan is my brainchild and it’s just me and my family who are putting all the possible efforts to make it the most successful beauty brand for women. We are coming up with the understanding and promise of not compromising the quality of our products, we have spent a huge amount on our products so the quality is not compromised,” she added.

The opening was attended by celebrities, bloggers and friends. The salon is located at 6th Zamzama Commercial Street, Shop No. 5, Khaadi Lane, Phase-V, DHA, Karachi.

This press release was sent by Hiba Zubairi, a Marketing Manager at a PR firm and has been posted without any editing or changes. 



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A list of Dos and Don’ts when switching from a blog to a website

By on

Unbelievable as it sounds, most people in this day and age wonder aloud what blogging is all about. Isn’t is all about writing random stuff that flits through our useless minds? Well, allow me to tell you. It’s not random and it stops being a ‘hobby’ once you switch from a blog to a website. It is like being a mom. Just like a woman who has just had her first child, (or any number of child, they are all demanding anyway) there is so much to do in a short time period and no matter what anyone tells you; it CANNOT wait. Can you imagine a mother carry on watching TV while the baby is screaming because he is hungry or taking a shower when she needs to change his diaper? So how can you expect a newbie to allow that glaring glitch to stay on his/her site that took hours to design (or, in my case, customise) and have dinner in peace?

There are countless sleepless nights when you are writing and rewriting a post that would be perfect for your blog or website. Throughout the day your brain is buzzing with ideas that need to process and develop. Relax for a moment and your brain will throw away all those amazing ideas in the dump of useless memories. You know the scary pit they show in Inside Out? No luck trying to recover them.

Courtesy: Giphy

Now I’ve been blogging for years. A better part of a decade really, so I’m not exactly a newbie. But I had never really taken it so seriously. It was more of a hobby. I have two blogs where I’ve written a lot but I wasn’t regular, never cared about my site ranking, SEO etc. Until now. And by now I mean a few months ago. Even though I didn’t take it seriously, I really do enjoy blogging so I asked myself, why not turn it into a career? At that time, I was almost done with my masters and I was deciding whether I wanted to look for a job again or start my own thing. I settled on the latter but things took an unexpected turn and I ended up with a three-month gig at a newspaper and had to shelve my dream of building my own website.

Three months later, here I am. I bought my domain three days ago and realised (too late) that I really had no homework done. I only had a vague idea of what I wanted the site to be about and a lot of other vague ideas that propped up from there but other than that…nill. Thanks to Epife I was still able to build a decent site and while the process is simple which is made simpler if you have a decent friend to help you out (another shout out to Arfa), it is time-consuming I still have a lot to do, a lot to learn, a lot to read and a lot to write.

Also read 5 plugins that made my website experience easier

Despite still being in the initial stages, I’ve gone through so much that I think I can give those bloggers, who are planning to go down the sinister path of getting a personal domain. I’m going to make you a list of the things you need to cross out when you build your own website. Still with me? Good. Stay for a bit longer.

Why do you want a website?

Really ask yourself that because it is a full time job. Buy a website ONLY if

  • You are really passionate about it
  • You are ready to take on it as a full time job instead of just a hobby. It requires patience, time and hard work for your venture to start paying off
  • You are capable and ready to adapt to rapid changes so you stay on top of your game

If you are sure of everything listed above, move on to the next step. No it’s not buying a domain. Not yet.

How to build your brand?


Since you are moving forward from a blog to a website it means you are ready to build your own brand. In order to do that

  • Decide on a name. If you have a niche, that makes things simpler for you since you have a specific area to focus on. Be creative but keep it simple and short. Remember, whatever you choose will be the name of your brand. I chose Farwa Rants because I couldn’t settle on a niche, scatterbrained as I am and I do rant a lot. Oh, and my name is Farwa, in case you were wondering about the first part.
  • Once you’ve decided a name, design a logo that can you can use on your website, social media accounts and as watermarks on your pictures. If you know how to use any photo editing software, you can design it yourself or ask someone else to do it for you. Or you can generate a logo online. There are many websites that generate several logos for you to choose from and some of them are actually good. I’m not a very creative person so I tried a few sites, selected a few I liked to show my brother who will design a customised version of it for me because what are brothers for right?

Related: Site niche – is it really important?

Now that you sorted the above out, it’s time to take the final step: get a domain.

What to do once you have a website?

  • Select or design a theme that goes with your niche and also represents YOU. There are millions of bloggers out there that are offering content that is somewhat, if not completely, similar to you so you need to stand out in whatever way you can.
  • Create accounts on every social media channel that will bring you traffic. Do not underestimate the power of social media, it plays a huge role in driving traffic to your site. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr etc. and be active on your channels. Don’t just share your content. Share informative articles or pictures, videos etc. anything that will keep your followers engaged.

Done? Now to the next and most important step:

Start posting!

  • Unlike Aladdin’s Genie, ideas do not pop out whenever you want them. Get a notepad and a pen or open a word document, whatever tool you find most comfortable and brainstorm. It’s a really eye-opening session, brainstorming. You realise that a lot of you think is rubbish that you shouldn’t ever utter or even think of again. You also realise that most of what you think are crazy ideas are actually the most wonderful and those are the ones you should end up developing.
  • Prepare a rough draft first. Write whatever comes to mind without going back to edit anything. I call it Brainstorming Session #2. I’ve been at this stage for an hour now but it is better to write first and edit later because if you do both simultaneously, you’ll end up forgetting points you wanted to add or worse, lose direction.
  • Inevitably, the next step is editing. No matter how good you are at writing, it is vital to go through what you have written because there is always room for perfection.
  • Not all of us are amazing photographers or own expensive cameras that can make ugly look breathtaking. If you too fall in this category, there are many websites with a huge collection of stock photos that are free, free, FREE! Become a member of the site(s) you think have the best pictures and use them without having to worry about copyright issues. Find a list of free photography websites here. And yes, you can also post your watermark or logo on those pictures.

How to improve and grow your website?

  • Interact with other bloggers. Remember, we are a community and here to support each other.
  • Don’t just share your content. Share blogs from other bloggers that you find interesting or informative. You can also promote fellow bloggers and ask them to return the favour.
  • Stalk other bloggers. It doesn’t matter what they write about, just go through their posts, check the layout of their site, the way they interact with followers etc. You can learn something from everyone.
  • Read, read, read. Read everything you come across, blogs, news, articles, books, anything you can get your hands on. Not only will it increase your knowledge, it will also force your brain particles to sneak out of their comfort zone and come up with new ideas.

Well, that’s about it. This is all I’ve learned so far. But I know I have a long way to go and can really use your help! So do share your experiences and tips in the comments.

Also if you found this post helpful and interesting, don’t forget to share it with friends 🙂

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