A new year doesn’t mean too much to me, I don’t set new goals and I don’t force resolutions upon myself knowing I won’t keep them. However the fourth quarter of 2017 brought with it my first writing hiatus that lasted a few months, stemming from the lack of inspiration and the time I took off to do some soul searching. My online presence decreased, my Instagram posting became erratic, my rants on Twitter became nonexistent, I totally abandoned Snapchat, and I avoided polished Facebook photos that would eventually be the discussion of my entire friend community.
I am known as Maria the style blogger, (or as many people call me “style me”) who is always attending posh events in the most casual outfits. “Don’t you feel awkward?”, they ask. “Kudos for staying true to your personal style!”, they say. And staying true is what helps me to not bend day in and day out as the influence of a certain sector of society tries to get to you, peer pressure style.
The only summer event that was true to itself, thus allowing all the attendees including myself to be bare and genuine, was the notorious Monday nights of food, drinks, friends and dancing, a.k.a. the Doers Club. What makes it so sought after? It is because amidst the cookie cutter events happening in the capital targeting the same circle, rises an alternative by Dewar’s that caters to independent creatives living true to their passion.
Upon returning from London a few months ago, I had shared a post summing up places to visit (click here to read) and I was asked why this city in particular left an imprint on my heart. No amount of storytelling will convey the charm of London and its eclecticism, however I dedicate this post to those who aren’t unlike me, literature buffs, music lovers and art connoisseurs who appreciate objects and places with soul.
Naji and I are huge detective buffs with Sherlock Holmes topping our list. Any fan of the TV series Sherlock will recognize Speedy’s Cafe as the local eatery right below the on screen version of 221 B Baker Street which in fact is located on Euston Street. I kid you not, we walked kilometers to reach the cafe on over 3 separate occasions and each time we found it to be closed, and as it wasn’t meant to be for us to have the recommended English breakfast inside, we had to be satisfied with a mere photo at the entrance step.
The term ‘influencer’ gets thrown around a lot, and although I’m not exactly sure how it came to exist, I know that a couple of years ago everyone wanted to be labeled an ‘influencer’ whereas today it is a shunned word. Why is it shunned? Because those who truly have influence in their field loathe being thrown in the same pod as the more recent Instagram ‘public figures’ glorifying their material possessions.
But what is an influencer, really?
I personally don’t think it takes tens of thousands or even a million social media followers to make you an influencer. An influencer influences, no matter how small his/her reach is, if that person is able to change opinions and shape minds, then this is the category they fall into from tech gadget savants to beauty product experts. Influence isn’t a matter to take lightly, because with reach comes responsibility, but there are also major cons to this digital phenomenon. There is no denying that a great portion of the blogosphere has become a marketing strategy, and while it is never wrong to monetize one’s influence, there is a fine line between hoarding all the collaborations you can get, and being genuine. The majority of the audience are smart enough to differentiate between authenticity and paid content, but there are still fresher minds that are really influenced by a blogger they look up to, and if the latter is merely posting in return for a few bucks, this particular demographic will be falsely deceived in thinking the reviewed product is a must have and therefore will go ahead and buy it without the proper research.
London for me has always been a fairy tale city, from kings and queens to lords and ladies, for someone who pretty much lives in their head and daydreams of past centuries, I had it built up in my mind. That being said, I still never understood what the fuss was about in this present day and age and why those who visit develop a bond and a passion for this city. I was adamant on finding out firsthand, and after years of convincing my husband to join me in my adventure, he caved and we booked a ticket for London, and despite the fact that some tried to convince us to squeeze in Scotland and/or Ireland in the same trip, I was determined to make our long vacation dedicated to thoroughly exploring one city.
You know what I’m sick of? It’s people who think they have the right to comment on someone else’s weight gain/loss, their food intake, their dietary choices, and anything along those lines.
Newsflash: If it isn’t your body, then kindly refrain from sharing your opinion.
If I had a dollar for every time someone oh so clever on social media decided to comment sarcastically about a food photo I shared, I would have enough money to buy a bakery and eat every darn thing my heart desired. That’ll give them something to talk about.
I have been postponing sharing my thoughts on this topic for a year, and wanted to have it up and ready for my 10 year graduation anniversary for poetic reasons, but here I am a year later and I only just managed to organize my thoughts because I made a life altering decision a couple of months ago. This entry is deeply personal and will hopefully inspire you to never give up on your dreams, my thoughts however are going back and forth so there is no clear timeline for what you’re about to read.
An eternal pet peeve of mine is the lack of individuality in our part of the world. People are always afraid of other people judging them, so they do whatever it takes to please said people. My question to you is, why not please yourselves? I can’t even fathom why some girls feel obligated to follow fashion rules to be considered fashionistas, what an abused adjective that turned out to be.
When it comes to fashion, everyone is so busy following the latest trends and getting sucked into the “must haves” of each season, that they forget that once they walk out the door, every other person will be wearing the exact outfit. Whatever happened to panicking when girls saw someone else wearing the same dress, is it so last century? My eyes hurt from the sea of light blue blouses that are either dresses, off the shoulder tops, or can be tied at the waist. And so on and so forth every season with a different trend that becomes so overdone and over-worn.
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, however my experience with breastfeeding two children for more than a year each, taught me a lot and placed me in a position of giving advice to those who seek it from me. I have offered breastfeeding support for lactating mothers, and if you feel like you want to learn from what I went through then this post is for you. If you are however, here to judge breastfeeding mothers or in any way feel this is an attack on formula feeding mothers, then obviously you have no any idea that I am all about accepting other parents’ choices, hence I invite you to exit this page, there is no room for negativity or judgement.*
I haven’t stopped raving about Barcelona since I visited last autumn, and one of the things I cannot neglect to add on the list of its charm is the food. Both visually enticing and tasty, this Catalan city’s cuisine is top notch. Our culinary journey wasn’t premeditated, we literally sat down for a meal at the first place we saw when hunger was striking which is a rule of ours when we travel. In front of each restaurant like most cities these days, lies a board with the menu, specials, happy hour discounts and lunch offers. Read on and feast your eyes upon the food in Barcelona!