Stand Against Sexual Harassment #Mesh_Basita #مش_بسيطة

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I am about to share with you a story that I’ve only told to few people…

When I was a child, my parents always wanted me to participate in different cultural activities; drawing was one of them. I loved drawing and coloring, it was a hobby that I wanted to improve so I joined a cultural center where I had a couple of classes each week. I remember one time we had a substitute teacher, he was a teenager who knew nothing about drawing, he was only there to watch us finish our work. I asked him if I can go to the bathroom and he said sure okay. As I walked out of the class and towards the bathroom I noticed that he was following me and he insisted that he wants to help me. I was 7 years old at the time, but this didn’t stop me from noticing that his behavior was odd and that his place was definitely not in the girl’s bathroom to help me. I immediately refused and went directly to the receptionist and asked her to call my mom to come pick me up from this place. I was so disgusted and horrified to the extent that I waited for my mom on the street, I couldn’t stay one more minute there. I remember clearly that his boy didn’t even touch me, but it was my first encounter with sexual harassment and it was definitely not okay. This is one of many incidents that girls are forced to live with in different scenarios on a daily basis. Sexual harassment doesn’t have to be in the form of a physical act, it can be the way someone speaks to you or looks at you. It doesn’t have to be from a stranger, it can be from anyone in your direct circle.

I am extremely proud to be part of The KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality at AUB campaign #Mesh_Basita #مش_بسيطة stands for the idea that sexual harassment is not okay, that it should not be normalized, and that there should be legislative reform around these issues in Lebanon. Check out the full video for the campaign, which is held in partnership with the Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, WAMLebanon. Join us in sharing your own photos, videos, and text highlighting that sexual harassment is not okay using the hashtags until August 15, 2017.

Sexual Harassment is not okay in any way, and I invite you to spread the word and share your experience!

Lara xx

My Fashion “Anti-Haul”: Trendy Items I am not Willing to Invest In

So, before we start this post I want to clarify what is a ” Fashion Anti-Haul”. Basically, it’s the things that I am not interested in buying for several reasons. I found this concept on YouTube and I felt like I really need to blog about this since it’s a new intake on trends and shopping in general.

We are constantly being bombarded with trends and items that we feel the need to buy, but sometimes its good to step back and realize that we don’t need to buy all these items to feel happy and content. I also intended on writing about this since bloggers are technically perceived as a sales agents for everything related to the fashion/beauty industry, and this raises a huge question mark on what items should we buy or not. Are all trends worth the investment? 

Below are a few items/trends that I am simply not buying. I learned my lessons over the years, I will not easily fall in the same trap! Whether I am paying a large or a small amount of money, I really don’t need it all!

1- Pearl Jeans

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It looks like pearls on everything is the newest trend. Wherever I go, I find pearls on shoes, bags, sunglasses, clothes, etc.. I’ve been also particularly eyeing jeans with pearls on them and it seems like everyone has these pants now (Thanks Zara). I really don’t find it necessary to purchase those jeans or any item with pearls on it simply because it will become useless next year and I would have paid a lot of money on them. The jeans for example are above $50 so I’d rather invest in a pair that I can regularly wear for a long time.

2- One Piece Swimsuits

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If I can give summer ’17 a theme it would be ” One Piece Swimsuits & Flamingo Inflatables”. I am sure you’ve noticed how wide spread the one-piece swim suit trend is. However, this is also an item that I am not willing to purchase seeing that I usually like to stick to timeless pieces that I can wear for more than 2 summers. Moreover, I usually don’t have the flexibility to go regularly to the beach so I end up wearing my swim suits a maximum of 2 times each. That’s why, I will not be adding one-piece swim suits to my collection any time soon.

3- Bags

I love bags! I will always spend money on bags with no regret, but sometimes when you’re throwing a serious amount on certain bags you need to do a lot of researching

  • GUCCI:

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Gucci has been releasing a lot of models lately and I really don’t see them as timeless trendy pieces that can be worn for many years. I can’t afford a Gucci bag at the moment, but even if I did, I would never invest in such pieces that I could only wear for one season.

  • Basket Bags

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So, “The Little Red Riding Hood”  basket bag is a thing right now. I don’t mean to be rude, but I really don’t see the logic behind carrying a basket bag. Sure, they’re cute and everything, but they look super impractical and they are quite expensive. This is also an item that is here to stay for one season so I am surely not interested to buy a bag that can only be useful for a Sunday picnic.

4- Shoes

  • Les Tropeziennes Sandals

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This was one item I bought a few years ago because I fell under the internet spell. I saw everyone wearing them and I thought to myself why not invest in a pair of sandals that will last a long time and are supposedly good quality sandals. Man I was wrong! I remember purchasing these sandals for approximately $85 thinking that they will last me a lifetime, only to learn one summer after that they’re my biggest purchase disappointment. After wearing them for a few times, they became seriously slippery and they looked super disgusting like I’ve worn them for 6 years (Keeping in mind that I extra good care of all my shoes, clothes, and bags). I don’t think I will ever buy expensive shoes ever again after this experience.

  • Swimming/Training Slides

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For the past year or so I’ve also been seeing a lot of those Adidas and Nike slides that look weird and are also ridiculously expensive. Actually I still don’t understand why would I want to wear athlete slippers in public, they’re not casual in the sense that they could be thrown with a pair of genes and a t-shirt. They would still make me look like a lazy person or an athlete wannabee so no thanks.

  • Fenty Fur Slides

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I really don’t want to go on and on and waste time and energy on those hideous shoes. Simply I will never think of buying those shoes and neither should you.

So here you have it, my “Fashion Anti-Haul”! I really hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it made you think a bit about some items that you regret buying and your future buying habits. As I mentioned before, you really don’t need to follow and spend on every trend out there. Next time you go shopping think a bit about the item that you’re about to buy and how much use can you get out of it.

What are the items that will fall under your fashion anti-haul?

Lara xx

How I Create Time for Myself

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Sometimes we get so involved with work/studying/parenting, that we forget to step back and give ourselves some time off to relax and unwind.

It was at a certain point in my life (probably a year ago), when I realized that I wasn’t giving myself some time off to disconnect and just relax. It was a moment when I decided to make some fundamental changes in my daily routine that could help solve this problem

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∇ Weekends are Sacred ∇

In the past I used to always accept working on weekends, sometimes I even offered to finish some work or attend an event/meeting that is work related. Nowadays, I accept the fact that sometimes there are some exceptions and work might need to be done over the weekend, but on regular weekends I usually sign out of everything work-related and I try to enjoy my time off as much as possible. I usually plan weekend activities and getaways so that my days off are not wasted especially during the summer time. I also make it a point to check social media less than usual. These photos were taken at Kalei Coffee Shop in Mar Mikhael where I usually enjoy some quite time during the weekend. The place is just so hidden and secluded so whenever I am there I feel I am in my own bubble where I can play with puppies, read a book, or chat with friends.

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∇ Well-being Routine ∇

My personal well-being routine consists of finding some time to constantly remain active, pampered, and well read. I know it’s hard to commit to the gym when you have a full time job, but I found early morning workouts to be the best solution for a working person (especially if you work long hours). If you can’t go to the gym, a walk or a quick blood circulating workout at home should be sufficient. I also find great joy in my  “me time” pamper/skin-care routine. I usually like to play with face masks or just apply my regular skin-care routine. Believe me, nothing beats the feeling of relaxation and zen afterwards. My daily well-being routine wouldn’t be complete without a podcast, book, or a YouTube video, and those usually come in handy before bed.

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∇ Blogging/Vlogging ∇

Blogging/Vlogging is hard work; you always have to plan, schedule, create, edit, etc.. but for me it’s fun work, it’s something totally created by me and that makes it such a rewarding hobby or whatever you want to call it. Whenever I feel so overwhelmed with life I look around and I realize the sad truth, I am neglecting something I created from scratch 5 years ago, and that’s what keeps me motivated to unwind and go back to my laptop to write and create new things. One of the best ways to disconnect from your hectic life is definitely practicing your hobby whatever it may be, and that is a very crucial step for stress management.

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So there you have it, those were my 3 ways to de-stress and unwind. What do you usually do?

My outfit details:
Pants: Bershka 
Shirt: Old
Vest/Bag: Zara 
Shoes: Mango

Lara xx

5 Things I Miss About The Early Blogging Scene

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For those of you who don’t know, I started blogging in 2012. Back then, Instagram was just starting, and bloggers weren’t really relying on this platform for fame or recognition. The term “Instagram Influencer” or “Instagram Fashionista” was pretty much non existent.

Nowadays, I feel like fashion blogging is on the verge of dying. Why you might ask? It’s simple! People are doing it for the WRONG reasons. I’ve actually discussed this topic so many times with fellow bloggers who have the same feeling about the industry.

So below are a few things I miss about blogging and bloggers:

1- The Genuinity

I feel a huge reason why fashion blogging is “dying” is because people are not genuine anymore. It’s always the same collaborations, the same projects, and the same events. If a blogger collaborates with one brand, you see everyone else working with the same brand as if it’s a must or a rule. I am also always confused whether a post or an article is sponsored or not. The Lebanese blogosphere is still not used to posting the hashtags #ad or #sponsored, so we are always wondering if the blogger is actually in love with the product or if it’s just a sponsored post.

I’ve also realized that some bloggers feel the need to post something about a place or a product just because they were approached by the brand or maybe sent a package, and this is a main reason why I feel the content is not genuine anymore. If you don’t love it, there’s no need to post about it.

2- The Writing

The rise of “Instagram Influencers”stopped bloggers from actually writing content. Why waste hours writing a post if you can get all the fame and the recognition just by posting a photo on Instagram? I admit, I’ve neglected blogging for a long time but not because of Instagram. I was actually demotivated to create any content which is an inevitable step in every blogger’s journey (Don’t you agree?)

3- The Identity

I feel like nowadays my Instagram feed is the same. Bloggers discussing the same products, places, and trends. Between every few photos, you have to spot the fishnet stockings, or the meal at that new trendy place. The content is pretty much becoming predictable, and bloggers are losing their sense of uniqueness or identity.

4- The Effort

In Lebanon we have a few profiles who actually put sweat and tears into their content. I have so much respect for these people, and they truly inspire me to become a better blogger version of myself. However, it’s fair to mention that the effort that was put few years ago has immensely diminished today. I used to blog every other day in the past, and today I can barely post twice a month.

5- The Discussion

I remember back in the day  blog posts used to generate a lot of discussion and debates. People were eager to read new content regardless of their interest, so they interacted with the blogger or maybe tagged their friends. Nowadays, I feel people are not intrigued to click on a blog post and read it, perhaps they prefer reading a few sentences on Instagram and that’s about it. Let me know how you feel about that

Before I end this post I wanted to mention that I am not claiming in any way that I follow the best blogging practices in the industry, I make mistakes all the time. I just wanted to express through this blog post what many bloggers are feeling today. Maybe this can motivate us to write more and create more interesting and unique content.

PS: Here’s my first ever blog post !!!! Those 5 years really flew by 😦

Let me know what you think of this unusual post 🙂

Lara xx

My First Vlog is UP!

Hi guys! Just a quick hello to let you know that my FIRST Vlog is UP!!

The whole process of filming and editing was truly a blast, and I really want to thank every single person who watched my Vlog and gave me feedback, you really made my week 🙂

So here you can find the Vlog below:

Hope you enjoy it!

Don’t forget to show me some love by Subscribing to my channel 🙂

Lara xx

 

I AM STARTING A VLOGGING CHANNEL!

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For the past 2 years, I’ve been planning on launching a YouTube channel. However, this plan never came to life for many reasons:

1- I don’t have the right camera equipment 

2- The right camera equipment is way above my budget 

3- And honestly, fear of failing 

So this plan just kept on dragging, and never really happened keeping in mind that YouTube is my favorite social media platform, and I spend an average of 2 hours a day watching videos and discovering new talents on this platform

As part of my 2017 resolutions, I am planning on setting monthly doable goals instead of unrealistic goals. So I thought to myself, why not vlog this entire process and bring you along to be part of this experience.

I have no expectations

I am doing this for fun, I won’t be stressing about the quality of the filming and the editing, but instead the quality of the content. If I felt at any point that the content that I am filming is useless and lame, I will not post anything. I really want this to be a spontaneous experience where I take you with me to events, dinners, meetings, birthdays, road trips, reviews, or anything that is worth being filmed. This channel will not only be a video diary of my set goals for each month, but also a space to share some of my interesting experiences that I feel are worth remembering and re-watching in the future.

For now, I am posting on a monthly basis: 1 vlog per month. If I had some interesting content to share that could all be squeezed into 1 video (ex: an interesting day, a staycation, a road trip…) I will do that, and in that case I will have more than 1 vlog to share during the month. If this kicks off, maybe I can start doing weekly vlogs 🙂

Let the filming begin

I already started filming some content and I am really excited to start this whole experience on a platform that I thoroughly enjoy. If you have anything that you would like to see on my channel please let me know, I would love to give it a try! Also, if you have any filming or editing tips, your support is highly appreciated 😀

Until then, you can follow me on my social media platforms to stay updated on my latest news and projects (not that I have many, but I have a cute colorful Insta theme going on)

Instagram: @laraajouzz

Facebook: Lara Speaks Style

Lara xx

My 2017 Resolutions

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It has been a tradition on this blog to share my new year resolutions and celebrate a new year on the blog (Fun Fact: I launched my blog on the 31st of January 2012)

For this year, I decided to keep my resolutions short and simple so here we go!

1.Set Monthly Goals

Instead of listing yearly goals, I decided for this year to set monthly goals without pressuring myself. One month I am in the mood to read books and other months I am just too busy or not really in the mood to read anything. That’s why I didn’t want to pressure myself, but rather have a few doable health, fitness, beauty, and career goals set for each month. Stay tuned because you will be seeing some pretty cool content in the coming few months related to setting monthly goals 🙂

2. Do Something Outside my Comfort Zone

Not that I am not a risk taker or a adventure seeker, but for this year I really wanted to do some things that I am usually scared of doing. I already have one plan in mind (something that I have been planning on doing for the past 3 years lol), but I will not share it until I actually do it!

3. Focus on my Well-being

For the past year, I felt I’ve neglected myself a bit and focused more on my friends and family and their well-being. This year that won’t change, but instead I want to dedicate more time for myself and my well-being.

All in all, I do believe 2016 was a wonderful year full of changes and new adjustments in my personal and my professional life. I managed awesome projects at work, discovered beautiful places in Lebanon & Europe, met some amazing people, and most importantly committed to yoga!

Hope you had an amazing holiday season and you’re off on a beautiful start for the new year!

Lara xx