New Year resolutions? Yes & No and how it all changed for me!!

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With less than a week to go till the New Year, many of us have different kinds of expectations of 2017. Some of us can’t wait to put behind 2016 and move on whereas others are a bit nonchalant and quite frankly dismissive of this whole end of the year fiesta. This is where resolutions come in (with a bang). It is not until a couple of weeks back that I took a look at the passing year and realized that I, Patyl- Astrid, have completed unconsciously many of the New year resolutions of 2014-2015 and 2016 combined in one single year. How did I do that? Did I mean to cross off those jotted points from my diary? (yeah I am one of those- with the diary I mean) What did I feel when I came upon this discovery? To be honest, I was dumb struck! Why? Because as I mentioned it earlier, I did not plan it, nor realized any of it until I was done.

 

Resolutions. Resolutions.

 

If we look closely at each other’s resolutions, we notice that we have more in common than meets the eye. The first thing we all jot down is cutting down on vices and embracing the opposite. Mine, as well as your resolution for the past so many forgotten years has been to start a healthy lifestyle by going to the gym and cutting down on alcohol and junk food. Am I not right? Well to be realistic such drastic change cannot and never has begun over night. It takes patience, a lot of it, and most importantly acceptance that this is what we are going to dedicate to become within the upcoming year. And how many of us failed at it within a couple of months of the New year? The reason? We are so determined to jump on the gym bandwagon for the sole purpose that we started to get nauseated by the end of the year back to back parties and dinners. We think solely on the spot by letting our momentary feeling take the best of our decision- making. Once we heal (for some by the end of January) we get back to our drinking /night out splurges.

A shout out to the single ladies out there as well as those spoken for, don’t we all just want to be in that secure ‘the one’ kind of relationship and tie the knot? Come on, I know that you dream of your wedding day and those who are tying the knot during the holidays are not helping with their Instagram postings. One of the resolutions I have witnessed many to vow by in the next year is falling in love with ‘the one’ and settling down. Seriously? I did not know that there was a timeline set for such thing. Now if you are already with ‘the one’ then maybe you are stating on taking the next step and getting engaged. Now, even that you can’t just pinpoint it on paper. It is something that both parties have already agreed on prior (whether you are going to wait a couple of years before getting married) or happens on a sudden whim from the boyfriend/the one, one night at dinner or after implementing an orchestrated adventure for two. Both cases, ladies you are not in charge of the emotional side of things. Your heart controls you. Single ladies you can’t force yourselves to fall in love and girlfriends you can’t impose your other half to take the next step if he is not ready yet. Hence, do enter the new year on good foot. Embrace your future day by day. Do not jump big leaps and fall into oblivion. Those single hearts out there are going to be full of love when the time, I mean, the right person comes along.

 

Resolutions. Resolutions.

 

I am not trying to turn you against your New Year resolutions. I know too well how exciting it is to imagine oneself in the near future as a near perfected woman. The New Year brings out an emotional roller coaster within us. A strength, a determination that, we only witness in the month of December. You know what I am talking about, right?

I want to tell you ladies that writing down open- ended generalities as New Year resolutions will only bring you down when they are not fulfilled. Why don’t you jot down your resolutions into a step by step goals? Why not embrace the fact that much of your goals are set to become part of your lifestyle than just a box to tick off once you have accomplished it.

By summer 2016, I stopped smoking. An accomplishment by itself because it was one of the many vices that I did not intend to quit, even though I repeatedly written it as a New Year resolution. I don’t even think about it nor crave it till present day. How did I do it? Well I unconsciously started smoking less. A pack a day turned into ten cigarettes a day and so on so forth.

Moreover, being in a relationship with my boyfriend of more than a year, I know we are meant to be together (forever) by tying the knot someday soon yet not having a date in mind does not make me want to go write down 3/3/2017, right? I want to remind you that I have been single for many years prior just like yourself (and at times with the wrong type of men), and I did intend on finding my one the upcoming year. However what I realized when I met my boyfriend was that I can’t put a ticking time bomb on my heart. He came un-expectantly into my life (way after I had given up on that aspect of my life) and I do not intend on losing him because of some time set goal.

My career is up till this day in shambles and I am not worried about it. I am carrying on with my artistic projects and I am not setting unimaginable goals. My goal for my art is near attainable than my grandiose dream ever was (for now of course, remember being passionate should not set you limits).

I took control of my life summer 2016 and from than onwards everything seems to fall into place. When you are at peace with yourself and from within, you can set your mind to do almost anything. Everything is possible from then onwards. Hence my accomplishments step by step. I know you will all reach that point one day, hopefully sooner than you think. Just don’t go writing down general predictions on your to-do-list only to be disappointed flash forward six months within 2017.

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Never let a person get comfortable disrespecting you!

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“The more chances you give someone the less respect they’ll start to have for you. They’ll begin to ignore the standards that you’ve set because they’ll know another chance will always be given. They’re not afraid to lose you because they know no matter what you won’t walk away. They get comfortable with depending on your forgiveness. Never let a person get comfortable disrespecting you”.  

I stumbled on this quote the other day on my friend’s IG profile. I liked it and here we are several days later the content still on my mind, pondering and decided hence to share with you all some of my thoughts on the subject matter. But first;

In this new age of virtual insanity, it has become very difficult for single ladies out there to compete with one another and meet gentlemen. The easiness of the swipe and like button, DM’s and private Facebook messages has further let some of your guards down and make you behave in ways acceptable by mainstream media. On a moral standard, I deem such action unacceptable to you, a single lady, first and foremost.

Social media has shaped people to act on a whim because as I mentioned it earlier, a silent agreement has hatched way to people think it is ok to sext with a random stranger while in a relationship with another, message a late night booty call and get away with it while no party pays attention to the nonexistent next day follow up / call. There are many other examples but I do not need to pinpoint them all, right?

Now I know you are going to ask me, what is the point of all that I mentioned above, to do with the quote at the beginning of my blog post. Take what I am saying as a prerequisite, as what made way for men to be comfortable at disrespecting us. Social media (and everything virtual) is behind the malfunctioning experiences we have with the opposite sex and how we portray ourselves to our love conquests. I repeat: Relationships are being based on how we portray ourselves vis- a- vis social media. If we are okay with casual hook ups and guys not asking about us the next day then we are doing great with the ongoing trend. We are unconsciously not respecting ourselves, hence, we are paving way for men in getting comfortable disrespecting us every way possible. Social standard has stooped to its lowest and to be honest I don’t know till when we are going to let self respect partake in this affair.

For those sucker for a meaningful relationship, a fairy tale love (yes it does exist!!) stop accepting less in order to maintain a half ass (boy) man. If he doesn’t show interest in you on the first date and ask for a second one, just delete his number from your phone. It’s either there or not (the mutual attraction). Do not accept being the after-a-month second date. Trust me, if he likes you he wouldn’t have waited that long to see you again. If you feel that the person you are out having drinks with is only interested in casual sex and not bending towards #TeamRelationship, shorten your outing. You don’t need to waste your time, nor I believe you are looking to make new friends (remember we are all here for #TeamSayNoToHookUps). To those fixated on a crush whom you dated a couple of times but never got being exclusive, just stop making excuses for his lack of specificities and move on already. I bet 100$ he is waiting to have you in bed and hop to the next one. And last but not least, if you did give in to him not once but twice and thrice, still not being exclusive, then you can kick “respect” and “relationship” out of the window bye. You are now labeled as fuck-buddies. Ha! A label indeed. A slap in the face would be, for him to become exclusive with another woman. Girl you were just the “femme de passage” till he found the one with higher standards and self respect.

The way men treat you is based on the way you see yourself and treat yourself. Whatever image you are portraying to the outside world is how men will scrutinize you, enquire about you and then based on all the above approach you. You need to be headstrong in this dog eat dog world and set yourself on a pedestal. Forgiving once on one hand is ok however succumbing to social pressure and kissing your self- respect goodbye, will never get you the crown and the King you have long been awaiting for.

Are you worthy of a crown or becoming one of the pack follower?

That is for you and only you to decide.

X.O

ps: and don’t forget, it only takes one slip to make the cards all go tumbling down ….

(The image I used was randomly chosen off the internet – I don’t know who the artist is).

Bookish Bookworm’s recommendations!

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This year I took part in the #bookchallenge set on Instagram, by fellow book bloggers worldwide. While most of you follow fashion icons and fashionistas for beauty/ clothing tips, I, on the other hand love to follow bookish readers like myself. There are many book bloggers out there and I have come to like a few much more for their witty book reviews and recommendations (@crimebythebook @theguywiththebook @alice.in.wonderbookland @paperfury and etc…)

My challenge was to read 30 books within a year and I accomplished it by reaching 31, knowing fully well that I could have surpassed the limit by far more. Hence next year’s challenge being set to 50. I have a specific genre that I like to read and that is psychological thrillers, murders, mysteries. On the other hand, I like to drown myself into novels that are set in time and locations such as 18th century France or Britain with the clash between the royals and the common peasant. I know two extreme genres. And I like them the best. I have three pages of to be read books recommended by my fellow book bloggers (apart from the un-opened books left on my shelf) and I cant wait to start.

I was keen on sharing with you some of the books that I enjoyed much reading this passing year, hoping that I might spark some interest in you to devour as well;

Crimes & mysteries books > You have none other than James Patterson, Lisa Jackson and Mary Higgins Clark to dwell into. Michelle Davies’s “Gone Astray” is a very good read. Full of suspense and last minute twist to the plot.

One book that had me hooked for a whole week, day and night, was none other than “The Crow Girl” by Erik Axl Sund. To be honest, you need the stomach to read this last one as some scenes within are a bit too graphic and even for the strong hearted like myself, left me a bit queazy. Not recommended for sensitive readers.

crowgirl

My all time favorite crime author is Jo Nesbo. I don’t know what it is but I feel its the whole psychological challenge/ thriller that is behind his characters that has drawn me into his books. I recommend “The Snowman”. The latter left me exploring the same genre of writing within other Norwegian crime writers. I gotta thank @crimebythebook for encouraging me through her posts into exploring these crime authors.

Furthermore, if you are an avid historian and love the history behind the famous capitals of the world, I advise you to grab Edward Rutherfurd’s timeless books. I read “Paris” , “London” and “New York” and I travelled with the characters of each book within each century. Each city unfolds the lives of a few and more families who with each passing years intertwine together through love affairs, marriage and secret pacts. It is an enjoyable read for anyone wishing to escape their present state into the glorious past of of these capitals. The author has been awarded the Goodread choice Awards Best Historical Fiction. Goes without saying 🙂

2016-12-14-13-48-06

This last month, I decided to end my book challenge by exploring some readings from Middle Eastern authors. I came to realize that as a middle eastern, I related to the plots and stories within these books, my favorite authors being Elif Shafak and Ahdaf Soueif. I recommend “The Bastard of Istanbul” , “Honor”, “Three daughters of Eve”. Shafak tackles modern day issues within her books that any woman can relate to. Ahdaf Soueif’s writings are dreamy and poise. I would recommend “The eye in the sun”, and especially “The map of Love” . Before I forget, “The Yaacoubian Building” by Alaa Al Asarany is an enjoyable read. If you have the patience to read the story behind Rabih Alameddine’s “The Hakawati” then I would recommend you start right away and immerse yourself into the story telling of djinns, queens and kings and slaves.

thehakawati

I know I had started this post by wanting to recommend to you a few of my favorite books within each genre and I ended up pouring my heart out. It is good that I stopped and realized what I was doing before I opened up all my library’s collection.

You like crimes, do not hesitate and go straight away and explore jo Nesbo and his fellow crime authors. I know that is what I am gathering as TBR for 2017.

Moreover, I am challenging myself to read more Middle Eastern author’s  books as their content is surprisingly good.

Do you have any more recommendations for me? I would love to hear about it!

xo

Exes; those that cant be tamed.

disclaimer: Remember that ex you couldn’t live without? Well look at you, living and shit!!

Ex, is a word we are all too familiar with because, yeah, we all have a minimum of one in our drawer (if you don’t have an ex, then girl, have you been living under a rock?). Kitchen Drawer? Closet? Cabinet? Hell any restrained rectangular shaped space would do, as long as it doesn’t open by mistake (that cabinet holding all those old tupperware would do). So within these space you would toss an ex or two and try never to slide the door open, and if, God forbid, those damn sized tups’ burst the door open, shut it back firmly and tightly. You do not need an old junk when you have collected new gadgets in the cabinet next door. Why am I comparing exes to in-animated object? Well do I need to remind you what they talk behind our back to their home boys? Guess not, so tups they shall remain. And between us, sometimes they do deserve that adjective…

So I am writing about this topic because as a woman I relate to those who are weak when their ex tries to catch up with them out of the blue on a Tuesday afternoon, season being winter at best (you know in winter everyone is relatively in a hibernating mode and seeks his selfish comfort). I am reaching out to those women who are in doubt of themselves when an ex pops back in the picture. I am reaching to the women who I am warning not to cave back in. I admit and its human nature, I caved in and so did you. And we most probably learnt our lesson I know I did. 110%.

A decade ago we would have given our bone marrow to our partner. A decade ago, we were ready to be tied down and faithful to his (sorry) ass. We were patient and caring to his mood swings and depressive state of mind. We were taking care of his every whim. We put our 200% into the relationship only to be given the boot because he was not ready to settle down. Picket fences and all that shebang. We grabbed our hearts in our own hands, a few teardrops here and there for a couple of weeks and we moved on. Apparently, men (boys, to be more precise) do not move on as easily as we thought they did. When he came back, we gave him the benefit of doubt and rekindled the relation. Only to have the same problems resurface and ended with another break up in our hands. Not the fairy tale wedding we were imagining, nope. Flash forward ten years, give or take, and you have EX trying to infiltrate your life again. Apparently you turned out to be the one who actually did M.O.V.E  O.N. and you’re happy and you know it (clap your hands!!!). Ok, sorry I’m being too merry about this, I just felt like tuning, its the season to be jolly, lalalala you know!! (ok apparently you don’t, i’ll stop).

When a person becomes an EX, that word not just labels him, it defines the boundaries and sets the tone for any further relationship. An EX is a person that was once close to your heart. A person you shared everything with baring in mind of a possible future together. However, the WE became EX and your roads diverged. For the better, trust me. When an ex pops back and tries to cave you back in, try not to remember the good things. Remember the bad things. Remember why things never worked out. Remember the tears. Remember the broken promises. Remember the lies. Remember the drama. Do not set yourself good enough for the promises. Do not be content with his just words. Do not fall for the petty act. Do not fall again because of your pure heart. Do not fall because you think that he is the only one out there for you. Do not fall for the comfort of the relationship. Do not fall back into his comfort zone. Do not fall back because you are scared of any future uncertainties. Do not fall back into his arms because of the society’s pressure. NO!! You deserve better. No. You deserve the best. And the best is not hidden in that EX. It is hidden in your future. And that kind of future awaits you. That kind of Love is out there. Do not settle for less. Trust me (again).

There is a french saying that goes like this “Chasse le Naturel, Il retourne au galop” (shoo away human nature, it comes back naturally)and that is what happens slowly yet surely.

Now let’s toast to those who put their clingy exes in the in-animated tupperware closet and drink a couple of bubbly to the every woman in us!

Chin (up) chin (up)!

xo

 

 

From Bentley to Uber; an upgrade!

I was 18 years old when I started taking driving lessons with my father’s driver. I was not to keen to learn ‘manual’ and opted for the easy ‘automatic’ because like most Lebanese drivers I wanted to buy my license. However to clear my conscious (and that of the driver/teacher) we decided that I would get my license only after he didn’t feel threaten for his life on our daily lesson. And the day came and I graduated from “Anto’s Driving Academy” with flying honors and started cruising in the city in my mom’s car (to the rather arched eyes of hers).

Flash forward 13 years, after three car change and a promise of a Bentley Continental GT as my wedding gift, I made the drastic decision of selling my car as I was moving out of the country for good. For someone who has, all her life, been used to being chauffeured around and driven herself from a place to another, the mere thought of being car-less brought a panic attack onto my pampered ass.

Abroad we are all use public transportation whereas in Beirut we do not acknowledge them, which is understandable when looking at those filthy buses roaming the roads of the capital. Thankfully, the ‘service’ has upgraded itself from the famous 1980s Mercedes. But then again, we think twice before riding one (rather I do).

I learnt a lot from letting go of my comfort (place/toy/zone) and here is what I have come to realize:

We are way too attached to material things. We think that we will not be able to survive without them in our life. That they are what keep us going everyday. Slight wake up call guys! We can do without them and there are alternatives to ease us around (Uber? Private cab?).

We only acknowledge BMW, Audi and Mercedes in this country. These cars bring status. As a previous owner of one of this brand, I admit that was my sole reason behind owning one, although the gift came unexpectedly one spring day 6 years ago. I realize now that this is so over rated given the number of people who can afford one if their credit history permits them through the bank. + you cannot buy class through material things (thats a proven fact. Look around you!).

The country’s infrastructure is not too well developed to be parading with the latest model of any given high end car. I know too well how many times I had to change a tire because a nail had ruptured it. It is only these past couple of years that I came to realize how much money is thrown on unnecessary luxury when we can all do well without (what if you owned a Honda?). Here it is wise to mention that with each passing year, the price of your car depreciates. My 51K straight from the dealership merely brought me back 13K. Talk about fairness (and another panic attack).

Too much traffic. Yes. Too much due to unnecessary cars on the roads. Carpooling anyone? Or has that concept not reached the shores of Lebanon? I guess it hasn’t yet.

Now that I am back for a couple of months I am happy that I do not own a car. Why? well for the simple fact that I got my sanity back from this stressful sport. I gotten used to being driven around in Canada, (hey!!) subway station everyone. Buses too. More importantly I walk walk and walk. Just a few days ago, I walked under the rain to get to my appointment. 40min walk daily > what better way to keep your blood flowing. And I realized once again how shallow and Lebanesey I was by driving from X to Y instead of just walking the 15min trajectory (and instead of drowning in traffic for 30+min). If those reports of 500K tourists visiting Lebanon in a few weeks true, I wish you luck my fellow people.

Btw did I tell you how addicted I have become to Uber? Yeah that too.

Good Week to you all 😉