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Sandhya with other members at a home meet-up

South Asian women across the country are finding social support in a thriving Facebook group devoted to them.

The Little Brown Diary has over 40,000 members, primarily between the ages of 20 and 40, and 100 subgroups devoted to niche topics. Some of these include mental health, entrepreneurship, career advice, and more.

Members of the group can discuss their experiences as South Asians, inner conflicts they face, and even bond over their favorite hobbies. The Facebook group has become a safe place for many of its members to find support in the most transformative periods of their lives. These include:

  • Supporting women in domestic violence and sexual assault circumstances
  • Sharing mental health and suicide resources
  • Connecting members to support each other through grief and loss
  • Helping members find the strength to get a divorce or defend their decision to be childfree
  • Helping them navigate career changes
  • Helping to find friends in a new city
  • Finding a community of other neurodivergent people in their shoes

“I joined the online community because I was looking for that sense of belonging and connection with others who shared similar experiences and backgrounds,” expressed Sandhya Simhan, one of the group admins.

“At the time, I was pregnant and eager to find other desi moms who could offer support, advice, and friendship during this significant life transition,” she says.

Another group admin, Henna Wadhwa, who works in Diversity and Inclusion in Washington, D.C., even uses the group to inspire new areas of research, including a study on ethnic-racial identity at work.

“I was surprised and excited for a group that brought together South Asian/brown women. I wanted to meet other women with similar research interests and who wanted to conduct academic research on South Asian American women,” Wadhwa says.


While social media isn’t always the best place to spend our time, studies show that the sense of community people get from joining online groups can be valuable to our mental health.

“The presence of LBD has allowed so many South Asian women to truly feel safe in their identity. The community we have built encourages each person to authentically and freely be themselves. It is a powerful sight to witness these South Asian women be vulnerable, break barriers, and support each other in their journeys,” says Wadhwa.

Hena and Neesha

According to an article in Psychology Today, a study on college students looked at whether social media could serve as a source of social support in times of stress. Turns out, these students were more likely to turn to their social media network rather than parents or mental health professionals for connection. The anonymity of virtual communities was also seen as appealing to those experiencing depression.

“The social support received in the online group promotes a sense of well-being and was associated with positive relationships and personal growth,” the article states.

This is why finding a community of like-minded individuals online can have such a positive impact in your life.

“There are almost half a million women in our target audience (millennial South Asians in North America) and about 10% of them are part of LBD. It’s been a game-changer for our community. LBD is all about embracing your true self and living your most authentic life. It's amazing to see how the members support, relate, learn, and lift each other,” says Wadhwa and Simhan.

True

Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.


Due to factors like factory farming, logging, and urban growth, the Earth is losing trees at an alarming rate. According to Earth.org, approximately 10 million hectares of trees are lost each year.

Forests regulate the air we breathe and are highly effective in moderating greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, tropical forests provide up to 30% of the global action needed to stop climate change.

"Planting trees can help improve everything – from air quality to economic opportunity to mental health – and everybody deserves these benefits,” SZA said in a press release about her previous environmental activism.

Guided by Conservation International and World Resources Institute, the PPC employs science-based best practices for the selection, implementation, and long-term monitoring of their restoration efforts.

In addition to their goal to restore 100 million trees, the PPC also works to regrow forests in geographies that represent the greatest global need. This includes areas with the greatest potential for positive impacts on climate, with community and biodiversity goals being prioritized as they set out to restore forestland across the globe.

To learn more about the Priceless Planet Coalition or how you could get involved in forest restoration, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

* Additional Sweepstakes Details: No Purch. Nec. Void in Quebec and where prohibited. Mastercard cardholders before 2/4/24, who are U.S. & Canada res 18+ at time/date of entry. Ends 2/10/24. Winners/ARV: $30 USD each. Entry must include a “seedling” emoji and tag a friend. Canadian winners must answer a time-limited skill-testing math question. Odds of winning depend on the total number of entries received. Rules: priceless.com/forceofnature

True

Soda is entwined in the American experience. From our sports games to the movie theater, every child’s birthday, and simply in most American refrigerators, soda is ubiquitously tied to our every day. It has become one of the biggest businesses in the world with fierce competition among brands, fighting not only for the American dollar but for a space in our collective consciousness.

But we all now know it’s bad for you, plain and simple.

Enter OLIPOP, the first soda to break the sugary mold and enter Americans’ refrigerators en masse. OLIPOP's humble beginnings start by rewinding the clock almost two decades ago. Co-founder, CEO, and Formulator Ben Goodwin was searching for the most scientifically credible and accessible way to promote microbiome and digestive health to everyone.

Like a mad soda scientist, Ben was on a mission to make a soda that’s both delicious and supports digestive health. To truly grasp Ben's passion for health, let's journey even further back in time to his teenage years. Anxious, overweight, and disenchanted with the low-fiber, high-sugar Standard American Diet (SAD), Ben recognized the need for a transformation. He overhauled his lifestyle and diet and lost 50lbs. As he continued down the path of rigorous nutritional experimentation, Ben discovered that his lifestyle changes not only enhanced his energy levels and physical well-being but also positively impacted his mental health and cognitive functioning.

This health journey eventually led to his discovery of the microbiome—a vast community of trillions of bacteria influencing everything from the immune system to digestive functioning to emotional health. As health experts like to point out, our modern-day microbiomes lack the flourishing diversity of healthy bacteria. This is largely due to our diets, characterized by a scarcity of fiber and an excess of added sugars. The challenge lies in the fact that, in our busy lives, most of us don't have the luxury to wander through forests and woods, picking berries, and searching for fibrous roots. But yet, we desperately need a diet that’s nutritious, diverse, fruit-full, vegetable-stuffed, and fiber-filled.


This understanding deeply resonated with Ben as he pieced together the puzzle of his own profound experience with nutrition. Intrigued and committed, he embarked on a journey to source scientifically credible and accessible methods to bring the ingredients and benefits of an age-old diet into the palm of your hand. And what better way to achieve this than by reinventing one of the largest sugar contributors in our diet: soda.

However, don’t mistake this for a personal vendetta against bubbly beverages. Ben, having grown up enjoying soda, has a genuine love for it. He also understood soda’s extensive and rich history woven into our American identity. For many of us, the satisfying pop of a soda tab can evoke memories of campfire stories, family movie nights, road trips, and good times spent with friends. Ben had no intention of taking away a nostalgic beverage ingrained in the backdrop of countless cherished moments. Instead, his goal was to discover a way to preserve the soda you know and love while enhancing it with ingredients that nurture your microbiome rather than harm it.

It is safe to say that Ben succeeded in that mission. However, it wasn’t always easy, and it certainly wouldn't have been possible without his Co-founder and business partner, David Lester. In 2013 — armed with a bag full of homemade soda and a passion for the microbiome — Ben articulated his vision of launching a healthy soda brand during a coffee shop meeting in Palo Alto. Right from that initial conversation, it became clear to David that they had an idea worth pursuing.

Thanks to their relentless pursuit of a healthier soda, combined with Ben’s extensive and unique formulation of traditional and innovative soda flavors, has brought us to this moment. Today, OLIPOP isn’t just competing alongside traditional soda giants in retailers; it’s redefining the category entirely. In 2023, OLIPOP sales surpassed major soda brands including Pepsi, Mountain Dew, A&W, and Canada Dry at a national retailer—signaling that consumers are craving a beverage with a delicious taste without the harmful side effects.

Community

Decluttering top of mind for 2024? This Facebook group can help

This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

With the new year comes plenty of resolutions we all vow to keep up with the best of intentions. But by February 1, our resolve has often waned as life gets in the way and things go back to how they were. What we all need a little more of is motivation.

When we participate in something collectively, it’s easier to meet goals and maintain the enthusiasm to get things done. While the support of a friend or two is great, imagine having the power of an entire online community cheering you on and offering advice along the way.

This is where the Daily Decluttering Challenge Facebook group comes in. This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

“By building a network of people who can support and encourage you along the way, you can make progress towards your goals faster and more effectively. Remember, no one achieves success alone, and having a strong support system can make the difference in a goal set versus a goal achieved,” says Kristin Burke, a goal achievement coach.

In addition to tips for tidying up around the house, members share advice on how to tackle one thing at a time, where to donate excess items, and what they do to exercise more willpower to avoid buying new things.

For anyone hoping to declutter their lives in the new year, this Facebook group has the perfect challenge to get you started.


Beginning in January, members kicked off 2024 by focusing on junk mail, emails, and drawers for the first week. Then they will move into different areas of the house, breaking it up into one room a week. There will also be 17 different community chats that offer additional tasks to challenge you every 2-3 days and encourage you to keep going and know you’re not alone.

Here are a few tips from Stacey Smith, the group admin, to get you started:

  1. Start small. Set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes and see what you can accomplish during this time.
  2. Focus on a single area at a time. A lot of the group members recommend focussing on a flat surface area, such as your bedside table or an area near where you sit. Keeping a space decluttered that you always see can inspire you to take the next step.
  3. Take pictures of your progress. You don’t always notice the progress that you’re making, so taking a before and after photo of your decluttering projects can help you see the transformation you’re making.
  4. Break up your tasks. If you get overwhelmed, take a step back and break your project up into smaller tasks. For example, if you’re working on a junk drawer, start by getting rid of all the trash and broken items first so it becomes more manageable.
  5. Don’t worry about how long it takes you. If it takes you a week to clean out a single drawer, that’s OK. It isn’t a race. The clutter didn’t happen overnight, so you can’t expect to have it cleared out overnight, either.

If you’ve got decluttering on your list of 2024 resolutions, this Facebook group is for you. Don’t be one of the 43% of people who quit their resolutions by the end of January. Instead, let the online peer support keep you motivated for January and all year long.