Monday, January 13, 2020

5 Things To Be Better at in 2020

As we have stepped into a new year and a new decade it's time to start with new mindsets and habits. The beginning of the year has been hectic but there is still time to start from a new track.

Here are 5 things I am determined to be better at in 2020. 

1. Saving Money

I have never been good at counting and saving money. Though I rarely buy expensive stuff  I may often do shopping on the spur of the moment and never seem to have any savings left by the end of the month.
This year I will try to do my grocery shopping monthly instead of weekly. I am sure the less I go to the supermarket, the less I will be tempted to spend money on all the discounted offers. Instead, I will purchase more from local stores or online.

2. Being Organized

I can't stand a mess and I try my best to keep my house and things tidy but you can hardly call me an organized person. Planning is usually boring for me but I have felt the necessity to make it a habit. It is so easy to stand the stress of everyday life when you are organized. I just need to divide my chores and duties evenly during the week in order not to fuss a lot over excess work.

3. Self Care

I am going to make my mental and physical self-care a priority in 2020. This will include healthy eating and physical activity. I am sure that by improving my diet and drinking more water I can fight my skin and hair dryness .
I will also keep insisting on my "me" time without feeling guilty of being a selfish mom, daughter, and wife.

4. Minimalism

No matter how hard I try to avoid buying unnecessary stuff, I still find my house full of excess and distracting stuff . Minimalism is not a trend I am going to follow but a necessity for my mental health. Decluttering your living space may give you peace and clarity and will let you focus on what is important. I will try to get rid of unnecessary stuff by donating and restrain from purchasing duplicate items and clothing. 

5. And, finally reading

It's a pain to admit that I hardly find the time to read a book these days. I am really guilty of spending a lot of time on social media.  I will do my best to go to bed with a book instead of a mobile phone and read every night before sleeping.

Have you set any goals or resolutions in 2020?

What are you planning to be better at this year?

Monday, December 16, 2019

My Favorite Instagram Accounts in 2019 (part 1)

Instagram is the social platform I love most of all and was most active during 2019.

As an amateur photographer, I keep taking photos throughout the day and Instagram is the place where I can freely post them in my stories without having to bore my friends and relatives. I guess so:)

Instagram is also where I grew most as a blogger and where I made the most engaging connections and followers taking into consideration that I opened my account in January 2019.

Favorite Instagram Accounts

There were some special accounts I especially grew fond of in 2019. These are bloggers that I check on daily, whose posts I find especially motivating and uplifting. These are accounts I share the same interests with and learn from. As the year is coming to an end I feel like thanking them for their hard work and giving them a shout-out.

1- itsjasminehunt

Jasmine is an Instagram Business Coach sharing daily Instagram tips and tricks both in her stories and posts.
She is down to earth and very supportive whenever you turn to her for help.

2- wordsforintroverts

 If you grew up thinking something is wrong with you just because you enjoy silence and daydreaming, you are not alone. Follow Catalina, her deep talks and daily posts about introversion and self-love can be very empowering.

3- artbylenashop

 Lena is a talented artist creating original prints, bookmarks, postcards, stickers, notebooks and not only.
If you are looking for original Christmas gifts, check her wooden Christmas tree ornaments on her shop .
If you need an illustrated header design service for your blog or online shop, you can turn to Lena as well.

4- willowbottom

 Whitney posts about practical ways to help save the environment by living a sustainable lifestyle. She also blogs about spending time in nature, health tips and real food recipes.

5- practicallyminimal

 Shawna shares her story about how living with less stuff makes life easier inspiring others like me to work toward a life free from clutter and too many commitments.
She teaches us to apply minimalism in our lives in a way that makes sense, in a way that's practical for us.

Do you follow any of the above accounts?

If you are also a lover of Instagram, let's connect.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Frozen 2 (movie review)

Frozen was the movie I took my 4-year-old son on his birthday back in 2013. It was also his first cinema visit and our favorite family animation since then.

Frozen 2

By coincidence, we planned another cinema visit on his 10th birthday a couple of weeks ago and found out it was the day Frozen 2 was released. To my disappointment and despite my persuasions, my son thought he was too old to watch Frozen 2 and preferred to watch Maleficent with his cousins. 

First Cinema Visit (Frozen )

However, I couldn't miss the chance to watch Frozen 2 so my husband and I left the kids at the Maleficent cinema hall and headed to watch Frozen 2.

I must confess I just couldn't help comparing the sequel to its 2013 blockbuster throughout the film which was not a good idea.
The original songs were better, weren't they? 
Too many new things, new stories. Too deep and hard for kids to understand. It's more an adult animated movie.
These were the thoughts circulating in my head.

Frozen 2 (movie review)

Like the original, Frozen 2 opens with a prologue from Anna and Elsa's childhood, where they learn from their father about an enchanted forest inhabited by magical spirits and people called Northuldra.

Then, we turn to the happy kingdom of Arendale ruled by the ice-wielding Queen Elsa and her sister Princess Anna. They live happily together with the chatty snowman Olaf, woodsman Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven. 

It all starts when Elsa hears a singing voice calling her to the mysterious enchanted forest, a land her father told her and Anna about as a bedtime tale. And she determines to investigate the voice and find the truth, to better understand the source of her magical freezing powers and to save Arendelle as the forest spirits attack the town and the people are forced to flee to the countryside.

Anna is determined to follow her sister. Her beau Kristoff, his hulking reindeer, and the funny snowman Olaf (who is now gifted with permafrost against heat and melting) volunteer as well.

Frozen 2, Anna and Elsa

Four elemental “spirits” are at work here—those of earth, air, fire and water. Each has its own symbolic stone totem in the enchanted forest and each spirit comes with its own physical embodiment, too.
Fire comes as a cute gecko-like creature, Bruno, water as a horse; the earth as a giant, rocklike critters; and air as a tornado-like swirling wind that characters start calling “Gale.” 

We later learn of a fifth element, which is Elsa herself, who is somehow the magical key in uniting these 4 spirits in a kind of harmony.

While there's lots of humor, again thanks to Olaf,  and catchy musical tunes, the sequel is undeniably a bit more intense and deeper than the original.

The visuals are dazzling, the animation is richer,  undoubtedly surpassing the original as well.

Just for the sole reason that this is one of the few animations focusing on sisterhood and girl empowerment with Elsa and Anna being examples of strong women who lead confidently and support each other, Frozen will stay my most favorite animated movie so far.

What about you?

Have you seen Frozen and Frozen 2?

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #28 "Autumn"

You start appreciating things once you lose them.

It's been a few years since I've been desperately missing the autumn season. After leaving my country for 12 years I have never had the chance to see the leaves change into yellow, brown and red. I get so jealous every time I see kids jumping in the piles of leaves as I live in a place where most of the trees are evergreen.

This year I made up my mind to find a place where I could see autumn in all its beauty and colors. Firstly I had to ask in a Facebook group and to my surprise, I got recommended lots of places and the next weekend we took a short trip to a place called Laklouk. 

Laklouk is a region located at an altitude of more than 1750 meters. It is more famous to ski lovers for its ski resorts and that's why it never occurred to us to visit it before December. It also boasts with its raw nature suitable for hunting and beautiful panoramic scenery with half a dozen agricultural lakes.

This week My Wordless Wednesday features the photos I took in Laklouk in autumn. 

Laklouk, Lebanon

Laklouk, Lebanon

Laklouk, Lebanon

Do you love autumn and rain?

When was the last time you took a road trip to a new place?

I am linking up with

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Coffee Lover Interview 4

My blog, coffee and camera!

You must be hiding somewhere away from disturbing noises to enjoy your solo coffee time and do some reading or surfing. What about another Coffee Lover Interview, this time with Fadima Mooneira from Malaysia, the author behind the blog Fadima Mooneira ?

Fadima is a lifestyle, travel, pop-culture and edutainment blogger. She is also a freelance illustrator, a teddy collector, and a bookworm posting her artwork and writing book reviews. You can find her also on Instagram and Twitter.

Mooneira's Artwork

Mooneira is definitely a coffee lover as you will find out by reading her answers to My Coffee Lover Interview.

1- What time of day do you usually drink coffee?

I usually drink coffee for breakfast and I never drink coffee after 4 pm.

2- How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?

1 cup

3- Do you prefer going out for coffee or drinking it at home.

 Both. It depends on my mood and situation. If I have my friends with me, I will drink coffee at our favorite cafĂ©.

4- What is your favourite coffee drink?

 I like Black Americano and caramel macchiato.

5- When drinking your coffee, do you prefer drinking it instantly and quickly or taking your time and enjoying it?

I like to take my time and enjoy my coffee.

6- What is your primary reason for drinking coffee?

For energy, the taste and the smell of course.

7- What do you take coffee with?

 If I’m drinking caramel macchiato, I will add whip cream with it. But if I’m drinking Americano, I will just drink it plain with no sugar.

8- Do you own a coffee machine at home?

No. Not yet.

9- How often do you visit coffee shops?

Twice a month.

10- What is your favourite coffee shop?

Dal.komm Coffee. It’s a Korean coffee shop. Quite famous in Malaysia.

You can also read 

My blog, coffee and camera!

If you are a coffee lover and want to be featured on my blog, feel free to contact me and send me your answers to the 10 questions below. 

You can download the free printable "Coffee Lover Questionnaire" by clicking on the link below. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Wordless Wednesday #27 "Exploring Lebanon"

Today's Wordless Wednesday is all about Batroun, a coastal town in Lebanon you will fall in love at first sight, a real treasure of the first civilizations, among them the famous Phoenician Wall. 

For sea lovers, Batroun is a real bliss to enjoy the crystal clear waters and the white pebble beaches of the Mediterranean Sea. 

The Phoenician Wall, Batroun, Lebanon

Batroun, Lebanon

The Phoenician Wall, Batroun, Lebanon

I'm not a beach lover so I was more excited to find out Batroun's cozy narrow streets, biking routes and old souk (the local stores and cafes). 

We were also lucky to discover Lebanon's most famous brewery " The Colonel Beer" and most importantly to taste the lemonades made by the hospitable and sociable locals. BTW in 2012, Batroun entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest cup of lemonade which weighed 5,543 liters.

The Batroun Lemonade


Do you like road trips?

When was the last time you explored your country as a tourist?

I am linking up with

Monday, October 21, 2019

5 Tips to Pack for a Vacation

Travelling has become an anti-stress prescription that lets me discover new places, new cultures, relax from everyday chores and do what I love most, taking lots of amazing shots. It teaches you about the world, makes you more tolerant and independent and provides you with unforgettable memories and experiences.

However, there are a few things that stress me when traveling. 

I am one of those people who takes traveling so seriously that gets very worried and anxious before every trip. One of the reasons is that I usually overpack especially when I'm back from my homeland blaming myself for all the unnecessary stuff in my suitcase. 

That's why I've been trying to improve my packing skills and I've found some tips that might help you in your packing as well.

1. Start Packing Beforehand

I usually carry a suitcase, a carry-on, a backpack and a purse with me so it needs lots of planning. A few weeks before the travel I put all my luggage open in a visible area and start packing it slowly and mindfully. I have a visual memory so it helps me keep in mind what I already put and what still needs going.

2. Make a list of the essentials

There are everyday-use essential items that you have to put only on the day of the departure. Chargers, toothbrushes, makeup. Make the list of your essentials to cross out before closing your suitcase and keep that list for later references as well.

3. Carry matching outfits

Carry clothing that is easy to mix and match. Just imagine your total outfit starting from accessories to footwear for each day. Try to minimize your clothing by sticking to neutral colors. Add bright colors with accessories. Also keep in mind that dark colors are more preferable as they may hide stains.
Assign one outfit set for the travel day both for the departure and the arrival. This way you won't have to worry about what to wear.

4. Everything should have its place

Remember where each item goes. Everything should have a place. I put all my electronics in the backpack. The carry-on is kept for light first-hand essentials, snacks and souvenirs.  Try to group items like makeup, toiletries and accessories in small bags. Place your socks in shoes. Also have clear photos of your identity cards, tickets and insurances in case your wallet gets stollen or lost.

5. Pack smartly

Whenever possible, carry samples of perfumes, creams, makeup, toothpaste. Dress with a couple of layers. Wear what you can't fit. Wear the heaviest jacket, the heaviest shoes. In case you feel hot or cold, you can always use them as a cushion or a blanket.

Is packing a struggle for you as well?

Do you usually pack beforehand or keep it to the last minute?

I am linking up with 

Inspire Me Monday

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Coffee Lover Interview 3

Insert some coffee as it's time to begin another Coffee Lover Interview, this time with Shawna from Practically Minimal.
Shawna is exploring minimalism in a practical way with the aim to inspire one another to work toward a life free from clutter and too many commitments. 
As she does this, she is always accompanied by some coffee to help in this mission of hers. 

Keep on reading to find all about her love and addiction to coffee.

Shawna in front of the first-ever Starbucks in Seattle

1- What time of day do you usually drink coffee?

In the morning. Except, if I’m out at a nice restaurant, I may have an espresso or a Spanish coffee after dinner.

2- How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?

One or two usually. On occasion, I’ll have three cups, but that’s rare. 

3- Do you prefer going out for coffee or drinking it at home.

Both. I’m a freelance writer and blogger, so sometimes I’ll work from a coffee shop. More often, though, I’ll make my morning coffee at home or grab a coffee to go. 

4- What is your favourite coffee drink?

Hot, black coffee either light roast or medium roast. If it’s a really hot day,  I might have a cold-brewed black coffee as a treat.

5- When drinking your coffee, do you prefer drinking it instantly and quickly or taking your time and enjoying it?

Taking my time and enjoying it. However, I sometimes do 6 a.m. fitness classes, so I’ll usually drink my coffee pretty quickly on my way there! 

6- What is your primary reason for drinking coffee?

I’m probably addicted to it. I don’t necessarily notice that it “wakes me up,” but I’m sure it does. I look forward to my first cup of coffee in the mornings. 

7- What do you take coffee with?

Absolutely nothing!

8- Do you own a coffee machine at home?

Yes, I have a Ninja. It’s a drip coffee maker, put you can make a single cup at a time to a full pot (and everything in between). 

9- How often do you visit coffee shops?

Anytime I need to get out of the house and have work to do. Or, if I’m between appointments and need something to do. I may go several times a week, or not go at all for several weeks. I’m very inconsistent with my coffee shop visits!

10- What is your favourite coffee shop?

I don’t think I have a favourite. My first choice is almost always a cool, independently owned coffee shop. In Edmonton, I like Credo or Transcend. Otherwise, I’m a Starbucks girl. You can pretty much always find a Starbucks nearby and their coffee is consistently good!

Even though I’m Canadian, I really don’t like Tim Hortons coffee (am I allowed to say that, lol?)!  

You can find Shawna on

You can also give a read to

If you are a coffee lover and want to be featured on my blog, feel free to contact me and send me your answers to the 10 questions below. 

You can download the free printable "Coffee Lover Questionnaire" by clicking on the link below.