May 9, 2017

So.... Who's registering as an organ donor?

I was supposed to write about spring and early beach season this week, summer tan and flip-flops.

However, as I was finishing my pedicure last Sunday, I heard the terrifying news about a Lebanese young lady shot dead at the exit of a nightclub.  It saddened me and caught my attention over the next few days, sanctioning me with a huge writer’s block. I’ll postpone my weekly post once again. After all, my writing does depend on my mood lately….

The news following however came very inspiring. The girl’s parents decided to donate her organs and save the lives of those in need. Quite a weird initiative in Lebanon I must say!

Post after post, people started praising the organ donation gesture, link after link led me to the National Organization for Organ & Tissue Donation & Transplantation (NOD) website, a website I browsed through and read thoroughly.

To be honest, it’s been a while I wanted to register as an organ donor and laziness was kicking over but I just discovered the steps were quite easy and oh how I would love to see every single one of my friends doing the same:
  1. Register online on https://www.nodlb.org/en or at any Maliks branch;
  2. Inform a family member (decision maker in case of your death such as parent, spouse, sibling) of your decision;
  3. Wait 3 weeks and receive your membership card;
The cool thing about NOD is that they follow-up on continuous basis with all the hospitals of Lebanon and are informed about any death.  Accordingly, shall the deceased be registered as an organ donor, and after the approval of his family (which is why #2 above is quite important!), NOD will be retrieving the donated organs (the retrieval is done through operation and no disfiguration would occur on the body) and then passing them to the registered receivers. And the coolest thing about all this is that anyone under the age of 70 is usually eligible to save a life!

Ultimately, one donor can save many persons once deceased. So why be remembered with tears when you can be remembered with gratitude and live through another person’s smile?

 

Mar 19, 2017

What's the perfect gift for a mom on her day?

I was not supposed to blog about gifts for mothers day. I chose to skip that post for this year and focus on my social media ranting post earlier this week (here). But I was surprised to wake up to a message from a friend asking if it was okay to buy a dishwasher for his wife on mother's day.

NO!!

I'll make this short, simple and to the point:
Mothers day is the one day of the year where the woman should be spoiled as a woman not as a housewife, mother or whatever else this superhero does all year long.



Don't get me wrong; there is nothing wrong in cleaning, cooking, making the beds, the dishes, the laundry, taking care of the kids and of the social happenings of the couple, and everything else a mother and/or wife do. I'm not the kind of woman who would pull a “mish shaghelté” or “I work all day, go do the dishes yourself”. But seriously…

Let's think of it this way: would you rather receive a new project from your colleagues as a birthday gift or a cake to enjoy?

I'll answer that! A cake. The project will still be here tomorrow morning and they can allocate the work to you that time. Today is your day and you shall enjoy it.

Same goes here! You know that dishwasher? She wants it, needs it, and you are going to get it anyway. Buy her something that will make her smile. Something that has: this is your day and I thought of a way to make you happy sweetheart.

This can go from jewelry, clothes, handbag, spa treatments (my favorite! All mothers need this) to flowers, cakes or a handmade card with a sweet note if you're on a budget.

Just get her something that has “you're an amazing WOMAN” all over it. She deserves to feel that on this day!

Mar 16, 2017

My rant about Social Media - March 2017 edition!

Okay, I think that's it. I've had enough!

With the latest updates on Whatsapp and the stories going live on all sorts of social platform* life is just not as we know it anymore.  Almost every person I know is a blogger**, a photographer***, a traveler**** or an “influencer” (what the hell is that anyway?!). All pictures are loaded with edits and filters, and there is nothing normal or natural about anything anymore! Going through Snapchat, Insta-Stories and Whatsapp Status, I see the same images and videos on repeat as if one medium was not enough! Hey neighbor, did you forget to check my Snapchat today? Oh cool! Have a look, I copy pasted it on Instagram and Whatsapp! And to make things even worse? The shares on Facebook are growing by the minute…. I’m driving through traffic (because traffic is uncommon in Beirut) and hey look it’s raining outside! (because when it pour all over the country, it only does where you stand!  People have lost their minds in the need of self-validation and everything is just out of control nowadays!

*my favorite still is Snapchat – it just serves the purpose perfectly and provide you with a notification of any screenshot!
** before you comment, I don’t claim to be one! I write for fun and I don’t post consistently to call myself a blogger)
*** even if he only owns a phone camera
**** even when Dubai is the only place he has visited

Before you remind me of how much of a Social Media addict I am (yes, I admit I am), I would like to point out that I use each medium to what it originally was created for: my photo albums go to my Facebook account, my writings go to my blog, my instant pictures go to Instagram, silly shares go on Snapchat (thank God my boss does not have a Snapchat account!) and so on… I do occasionally edit and filter photos but I try my best to keep it real.

When I’m out on a date, I try not to hold my phone too often (unless I am not interested in what is going around!) and when I’m out with friends, I enjoy the moment and capture a few happenings on cam or video for the sake of the memory. But I post what is as close to reality as can be… In fact, my profile if full of non-flattering pictures of myself, non-edited ones, pictures where I look silly, stupid, ugly or fat. I post what I can, when I can, in the best way I can. And the best way I can is the most truthful. I post what is real.

But what exactly is real nowadays?

The more people are getting submerged by applications, connection mediums and accounts, the less real they are becoming. I miss the days where people would go and comment on blogs - back in the days we had the Facebook notes and everyone had something to say or comment or debate on those shares. I miss the time where people would take a minute to write a nice comment on pictures instead of automatically scrolling through their feeds and liking whatever picture and/or post they see out there (though I am guilty of this sometimes).  I miss the time where social media did not control my life, my family’s and my friends’… the time where we could sit and enjoy a long talk over coffee, in front of a chimney…. the time when taking a picture would take 10 seconds not 50 (10 seconds for a Facebook photo, another 10 for Instagram, another 10 for Instagram story (let’s switch angels), then 10 for Whatsapp status and 10 for Snapchat…) and maybe we could record a video and a boomerang post while at it!

I miss the time when people were real… the time where freckles showed on pictures, where eyelashes were not combed and long (hey guys! there are apps that do this for us girls!) and where people’s lives looked like what they shared and people’s pictures actually looked like what they were like in real.

I miss the time where I would see my friend at the end of the street and recognize her… the time where people looked like themselves in pictures and their live looked real in posts!

So to all of you out there who think what you scrolled through today on your various platform is real, relax… Life is oh so different out-there!

Feb 26, 2017

Let's Food Drive this Lent!

Giving a little has never affected anyone's financial status.

I have lived by this saying for quite some time now and have tried to encourage my friends, colleagues and family to chip in 3 donation campaigns that I personally worked on (Christmas 2015, Easter 2016 and Christmas 2016).

This year during the whole holly lent period, I will be holding a new Food Drive campaign to raise food and/or money to purchase food and distribute them among those who need help most. Accordingly, anyone who is interested to chip in is welcome to contact me.





Why it is important to donate during Lent period?

Keeping a lent is not only about fasting and self-denial or deprivation. Lent is not a period to be economical, going on a diet or torturing yourself. Lent is a time of almsgiving (giving money or food to the poor).

How can anyone participate in the Food Drive without being affected financially?
1. Anyone can donate as little as one food item (you can find a list of donation items below to facilitate the chore) or as little as 5.000 lbp in cash;
2. Anyone can hold a personal piggy bank and donate its content at the end of the lent. How? It's quite easy... If you are cutting on chocolate, or drinks or anything else, you can put the value of that item into your piggy bank every time you feel like consuming it during the lent.

What to donate for the Food Drive?
1. All types of basic food and additives aside from refrigerated stuff, vegetables and fruits. Example: pasta, rice, grains, canned food, sugar, salt, flour, powder milk, oil, etc... Along with corn flakes, biscuits, jam, jello, custard, etc... (those in need deserve some sweets too!)
2. Cash money; this option is for those who don't know what to donate or don't have time to go shopping themselves!

How to donate?
It's quite simple; contact me between today and Palm Sunday and I'll pass by you to collect your donation. On the last week Lent, we will be distributing the collected donations and updating you all about the results!

You know that pasta pack you just bought for less than 5.000 today? Giving it away will not affect you at all but it will feed a family of 4 that eat once a day and sometimes even once every two days!

So... Who's in?

Feb 10, 2017

The post about Valentine's gifts...

I was not supposed to write this post. I did not even think about this until I was urged by many readers (mainly men) who needed help buying their Valentine's day gift. This being said, I put down some of their questions and decided to share the answers hoping they will be of help for all!

When is the right time to celebrate Valentine's day in the relationship?
In my opinion, there is no right or wrong in celebrating any occasion as a couple, as long as you're in a couple. But I'll still give what I believe is a fair breakdown: if you're 1 to 4 months into the relationship, there is absolutely no need to celebrate the day, exchange gifts or flowers. If you're 4 to 8 months into the relationship, you can discuss the celebration with your partner and decide accordingly; I don't know what is the big fuss about Valentine's day celebration but apparently it is one stressful occasion for new relationships! Now if you exceeded the 8 months, I guess you should know your partner's stand on Valentine's day celebration and it is easy for you now to plan accordingly (PS. If past 8 months into the relationship you still don't know your other's half stand, I am sorry to tell that you lack communication!)

Shall I buy a gift or a dinner is enough?
I went through this question over and over again and could not find an answer. I wish I could!  As much as I believe that the best dinners are the ones that are planned in tête-à-tête without any occasion and the best gifts are the ones your lover drops by just because he/she liked something in the mall and picked it, no matter what its value is, I still can't imagine Christmas, birthdays, special occasions without a gift.  However if you want my honest opinion, I would die for something personalized and handmade for Valentine's day and trust me if I would say I would be equally happy with a golden pendant than with a handmade card with a sweet note inside. It's never the material value of the gift that matters, it is the thought put into it!


I am bad at picking gifts and had a headache to pass Christmas' list not long ago. Can you help?
Sure! You can check my good old post about gifts picking and I'll be on call till next week! 

Now remember not to fall into all the advertisement for Valentine's day and as I always say: aim for a relationship where every day is a celebration of your couple, not only that advertised day of February!

Feb 9, 2017

Men, women - It's valentine's day again

As I roll in my sheets all alone, a week before Valentine's day, I remember once again how much I hate that day. 

In fact, I have never enjoyed celebrating Valentine's day and never understood people who enjoyed it. 

Maybe because I always aimed for a relationship full of care, love, attention and romance around the clock. 

I have always cherished the tête-à-tête times a couple spends even when just reading a book or saying nothing. I cherished the random text messages kisses that can reflect the teenage aspect of any adult and yet draw a smile on everyone's face. I cherished the cuddling, the whispers in public, the "I miss you" hug after a long day at work. I cherished the 5 minute chat and the quick good night kiss just as much as I cherished a full day out. Maybe I never cared about Valentine because I never needed my man to prove to me his care on this specific day as long as he was proving it every single day of the rest of the year.

Someone once told me that a person who is single should not preach about relationship and give advises. And another person once told me that I am too ideallistic in my way of defining love and relationships that I sure am not genuine enough. But with Valentine coming again this year I still insist on my definition of love and see it as perfect as it might ever be!

But before beginning, let's not confuse love with falling inlove. Love is deeper than falling in-love and sharing a feeling of lust towards someone. Love comes from the mind and controls the heart, while being in-love controls only the heart without any logic whatsoever.

What is love? 

As I said it many times before... Love is loving an imperfect person, perfectly. It is knowing the other’s flaws and accepting them without feeling the urge and need to fix them. Love is believing no one is perfect, including oneself.  Love is looking above one's flaws and appreciating the good he spreads. Love is being able not to let go, even when you want to the most. Love is holding the other person still when that person is letting go. Love is sticking around at the hardest times and even when pushed away because that's when you need to prove your care the most.  Love is standing still, no matter what. Love is not needing to do an effort to impress the person in front of you, it’s wanting and desiring to do that effort to make that other person proud. It is not letting go, no matter how hurt you are. It is lusting for a moment in each other’s arms without suffocating in the cheesiness of romance and relationships. Love is trusting blindly, giving effortlessly, feeling lust around the clock.  Love is not searching for someone to complete you; Love is being complete, feeling happy and sensing full without the other person… but still wanting to share the moments with that other person. Love is not suffocating without the other person because love is mature, and at the end of the day no one is ever indispensable. Love is not a need or a desire, it is not just an emotion. What's love? Love is a decision. 

Love is that feeling of care you can desire to share with a person you've known for an hour or a day or a month. It has no knowledge of distance or time and can not be measured in any palpable way.

Love is what Disney taught me when I was young. It is not about happy endings, it is about dreaming. Love is a dream I still believe in at 33.

And Valentine's day? Well love is celebrating it every single day...


Jan 30, 2017

Bring my 33rd year on!

I’ve been told repeatedly that, once I reach my 30th year on this planet, as a girl, I would avoid telling my age and would start pausing at “I’m 30 something” or “I turned 30 few years back”.

On the other side, I have always been scared to be dependent on anything including being trapped in a certain fear or phobia. I work hard, daily, to break every single phobia I start developing and try not to be paranoiac about anything (well, as much as I can! I’m a normal human being after all and I definitely fail to overcome some phobias I have). Some, not all, and definitely not the Gerascophobia.My mother, when asked about her age, still says she is “29 and a few months” and she scolds me with her look when I openly say I am turning 33 this year as people will probably be able to calculate her real age (Love you mom, if you’re reading!).

When I look in the mirror and see the lines and wrinkles on my face, I do not fear them. As many of you already know and as I expressed freely and loudly before, I am pro-injections and fillers to reduce wrinkles and age lines in order for the woman’s face to look more presentable in public and on pictures. But I am totally against deleting those lines and thus deleting the person’s age. In fact, your face must reflect your age because there is nothing wrong with your age!

After the wrinkles come the white hair. I dreaded this moment in my early twenties and used to fear the first white hair, so I dyed by hair since I was almost 19 years of age. Changing from a color to another, I ended up discovering the first white hair last year, right after my 32nd birthday. And guess what: I had to act with overreaction and sadness just to be “normal” around my friends and family.  But deep down inside, I felt nothing; it was just a couple of white hair that could be covered with hair color shall I wish to do so!

And this year yet again, as my birthday approaches, all I can think about is my birthday dinner, how many cakes I will get to cut (because I have so many wishes to make!) and how to spend a memorable times with friends, family and all those I care for.

What I dread deeply is not making a good memory out of this year, rather than the age I’m turning into.

When I look in the mirror, with every white hair (those left uncovered with hair color), with every wrinkle (I did not start injections yet and don’t plan to start any soon!), I see years of experiences, memories, tears, happy moment and wisdom (or so I hope). I look and see future dreams, hopes, plans and expectations and I pray to receive as much as I wish for, and of course as much as God believes I deserve.

I’m growing old. I’m growing up.And in just a week I’m going to turn 33!

Bring it on!


Jan 10, 2017

Every dollar counts - December 2016 initiative

No child should die in the dawn of life” – Danny Thomas

Danny Thomas* was a young entertainer struggling to make a living in the field in Detroit, USA. Over the years, he prayed for Saint Jude Thaddeus** and promised to build a shrine for the saint one day.  From a struggling entertainer to a well-known national entertainer, Danny Thomas shined in the industry and kept his pledge for Saint Jude, and this is how Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital saw the light.

Known today as the Children Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL), the center was founded in 2002 following an agreement between the Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon Foundation and the American University of Beirut Medical Center. The center was inaugurated in April 2002 and works in full affiliation with the Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Almost 15 years later, the center still operates to support and treat all children fighting cancer, using the latest medical treatments, the most sophisticated psychosocial services and ensuring a proper understanding and awareness of the disease.

Honestly?

I have read what I stated above in a more developed manner on the CCCL website over and over again onhttp://www.cccl.org.lb/ and I have followed-up distantly on the center’s work especially after the donation my friends and colleagues collaborated in making last year (http://maya-yared.blogspot.com/2016/01/every-dollar-counts-december-2015.html), but it was only until my visit to the center last December that I really felt involved in the cause. 

I have met with a member of the fundraising team who guided me through the donation process (raised this year again via piggy bank, just like last year) and explained to me a bit about the center (they even let me visit the outpatient division!), and I was mainly touched by the confidentiality and respect they have to the cases they treat, the fighters (that’s what I like to call any patient suffering from cancer), and even the donors identities!  I was also happy to hear a confirmation that all the fighters treated at the CCCL are treated for free regardless of their age (as long as they are under 18 years old), their religion, their race or their nationality.  Furthermore, when I asked about the hair donation process (a process that I hope to be able to undergo next year), I was happy to hear that the fighters at the CCCL do not wear wigs; this has ensured the amazing psychological follow-up done at the center and it says a lot about those fighters who have embraced their cases and now believe in themselves as fighters (soon to be survivors) rather than feeling weak and seeking to hide and suffer in silence.

A total of 1,024,000lbp (One Million and Twenty Four Thousand Lebanese Pounds) was raised this year (receipts attached to this post) and I left the center with a mixed feelings of hope and pain. My son (Stephen) who insisted on accompanying me to the center (and even donated from the money he had in his own piggy bank) asked a lot about the medical process at the center which was explained to him in a manner suitable for his age. He put tears in my eyes as we left when he said “You know mom, we are lucky that we are not sick but it is good that the sick people have someone to help them, take care of them, treat them and plus they are at a nice hospital not one with white boring walls” (he was referring to the children-friendly décor that surrounded the place.



Raising my prayers to find a cure for cancer…. and on this note I leave you.

Until next donation!

*Dany Thomas is of Lebanese descendants
** the patron saint of hopeless causes