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

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My 3-Step Summer Morning Routine

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Summer is a very tricky time of the year for me. I am usually very lazy when it comes to makeup and skincare, because let’s face it, we are all sweaty and irritated and we really don’t need extra layers on our faces. That being said, I developed an easy, simple, 3-step routine that takes about 2 mins and covers all the necessary basics.

1- Cleanser

I’ve been using the Vichy Ideal White cleanser for about 3 months now and I am loving the results. It’s super light-weight and the texture is so revitalizing which is something I really look for during the summer period. I haven’t had any breakouts from this product so I am guessing it is working well with my skin.

2- Toner

I recently went for a skin consultation session with Kiehl’s where they gave me this Toner to use everyday after my cleanser. This product with Iris Florentina Root Extract, is known for its deeply nourishing and anti-aging benefits to skin, so it helps prep your skin and moisturize it before you begin the morning or night routine.  I haven’t been using it for a long time, but I am incorporating it in my daily skincare routine so hopefully I’ll report back on this one.

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3- SPF

This is probably the most important step in this whole routine. SPF is highly important in winter and summer and it’s a step that I never miss in my morning routine. I am currently using one by Avene which I absolutely love! You can also use other options that are tinted if you don’t like using foundation or BB cream.

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Extras: 

There are obviously a few products that I occasionally use here and there such as the thermal water sprays to set my makeup and refresh my skin during the day. The 2 sprays I usually use are from Vichy and Avene. I also tend to use eye cream before concealer if I am feeling my skin is dry (I know I should be committing to that more often).

Hope you liked today’s post, what are your go to products for summer?

PS: I’ve added links for some of the products mentioned below so that you can shop my post and benefit from a discount! 

Lara xx

Drugstore Matte Liquid Lipstick Review: ColourPop, NYX, Sephora,etc…

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When it comes to my lipstick preference, I usually lean towards the matte liquid lipstick formula. This year I had the chance to try many different lipstick brands, some drugstore, and others high-end. For this post, I decided to focus on the more affordable brands who carry matte liquid lipsticks.

Before I start this post I want to state that this is my personal opinion based on my experience. The products mentioned below have been tested over and over for the past months, so it is not a first impressions point of view 

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1- L’Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Lip Paint

I purchased this lipstick a few months ago from Feel 22. I had no expectations, I simply wanted to test a new shade for spring and summer. Color wise, I really really loved this lipstick, I always find myself reaching for it on a daily basis. However, if you’re looking for a matte lipstick that will last you all day this is not it. True, it is a matte liquid formula, but it is more of a super moisturizing formula that fades off 30 mins later, so you need to re-apply many times during the day. I have noticed that it tends to last longer if I use a lip-liner below, so that might help

You can purchase this lipstick on this link http://bit.ly/2qdcYzS

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2- ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip

When I first saw the ColourPop Ultra Matte bundles on Feel 22 I was so impressed with the color range and the prices. I wanted to buy a pack but the products were immediately sold out. Eventually I had the chance to buy the Up and Away bundle that consisted on nudes and oranges. The name of this collection says it all, it is ultra matte, and they weren’t joking at all when they came up with this name. I really hated the formula of this lipstick; it’s super matte to the extent that it starts falling off during the day. It also left me with extreme chapped lips the next day so that didn’t encourage me to re-use the product at all. My only solution to prevent the falling off/chapped lips situation was to use lip balm before applying the lipstick and I could honestly see an improvement. If you really want to try the Ultra Matte range, I highly encourage you to use lip balm before.

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3- Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain

I have mentioned this product over and over on my blog and it is still a favorite of mine! The color I use (Marvelous Mauve) is perfect for my skin tone, I use it for all occasions and it never fails to impress me. The formula is just excellent, I never experience any chapped lips and it stays on for the entire day even after I eat or drink.

The color I use is currently sold out on Feel 22, but you can try other colors as seen in this link http://bit.ly/2pjB1bx

4- NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

Out of all the products previously mentioned, this is my most recent acquisition as NYX recently launched in Lebanon during Jamalouki Con. I applied this lipstick every single day for the past 2 weeks so I guess I have a final review by now.  I can fairly say that this lipstick comes between the L’Oreal Lip Paint and the Sephora Lip Stain. It doesn’t fade away quickly, but is it moisturizing and “less matte” just like the L’Oreal lipstick. The color and the formula is perfect for everyday use, so I do recommend it if you’re not looking for a super matte formula.

I hope you enjoyed this type of post! For more updates follow me on Instagram & Facebook

Lara xx

My Birthday Brunch

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I haven’t done a proper birthday celebration in years, so this year I thought why not?!

It was a beautiful warm Sunday morning at Garden State where I invited some of my closest and dearest for brunch to celebrate turning 24! For this occasion, I decided to wear one of my favorite pieces that I bought a few months ago from Zara. The moment I spotted this unique piece, I knew I had to have it. I saw myself wearing it for at least the next 5 years, and that justified the splurge, as it was one of those expensive items at Zara.

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Below this embroidered piece, I wore a sports bra from Victoria’s Secret. Yes you read that right, a sports bra! I didn’t own any black cropped top, so I said to myself why not wear a sports bra instead. I was lucky with the weather, so I wasn’t feeling cold at all with this combination

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This birthday was really special, I was surrounded with amazing people who took really good care of me for the past week. I also want to dedicate a special thank you to my dearest school friends and my partner for being there for at least the past decade, you are the best!

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What do you think of this birthday outfit? How would you pair it?

Photos by: Zahra Basma

I was wearing:

Embroidered Cover: Zara (F/W 16-17)

Sports Bra: Victoria’s Secret

Leggings: American Apparel

Sunglasses: Rayban Round Metal Classics from Sunglass Hut

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

 

Skin Care & Beauty Products We Need in Lebanon + Announcement

I guess by now we all agree that  we have limited skin care and beauty brands in Lebanon.

Personally, I am very eager to try many  products that are sadly not available here, so I decided to prepare a list of (some) of the brands that we need in Lebanon. Can we consider this as some sort of a petition? :-p

S K I N   C A R E

Fresh

I’ve heard so much about this brand especially their eye creams and face masks, so it would be nice to give them a try

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Sunday Riley

Although this is probably one of the most over-priced brands in the market, I am still eager to try their facial oils

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Pai

Another “YouTube made me buy it” brand that I am also willing to try

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M A K E   U P

Hourglass

2 words: Marble Palette!

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Tarte Cosmetics

Tarte was one of the brands that I really wanted to try until the best thing ever happened in Lebanon: Feel 22! I’ve already mentioned this website on the blog, but it’s basically a place where you can find many beauty brands that are not available in Lebanon like Tarte, Becca, Huda Beauty and many others. I already purchased the Tartelette in Bloom palette from Tarte and I am IN LOVE! Check out the website and use my promo code “LARASPEAKSSTYLEFEEL22” for a special discount

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Bare Minerals

More beauty brands that I would love to test! I’ve recently spotted their lipsticks and I really liked all the nude shades

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Honorable mentions: NARS, Glossier, Pixi, and Sarah Chapman

What are the brands that you wish we had in Lebanon?

Lara xx