Nov 25, 2015

What a sick society!

3inda haydeik el marad
Ya haram, 3am bishouf 7akeem nifsene
"Gizèle t3a2adit min el chimio w harro cha3rata

I have no doubt that Gizèle is having a  rough time accepting herself as a cancer survivor, who is undergoing a hard chemotherapy treatment that will leave her bold but healthy. As a matter of fact, Gizèle can only see herself as weak and bald because she lives in a society that pities her for being sick, instead of praising her for being a fighter and surviving her sickness.

I went to see a psychologist a few times in my life. I was tired and needed to make sure that I was emotionally stable and what was going through my head was normal. In fact, I wanted to make sure I was sane. Yih, la2… 3ayb! 3ayb because I live in a “sick” society where it was okay to go have a health check-up once a year, run routine tests, make sure your body is functioning right. 3ayb because I live in a society where it is absolutely “okay” to have your teeth checked every 6 months, your face botoxed every 4 months, your nails done every week… but your mind? Your mind is not “okay” to be checked. 3ayb. Because if you have a tired mind, you are mentally sick. And mental sickness cannot be cured. Unfortunately, that is the society I live in. (hamdilla I ended up being fine but If I wasn't I would definitely had followed an appropriate treatment without hiding it or being ashamed of it!)

My society? It's a society that is sick to the extent of considering mental health secondary and cancer illness a taboo subject. True. Cancer sickness is a taboo subject after all. More taboo than the cheating occurring in relationships, the lack of education, the low percentage of book purchasing… or maybe it is a taboo subject because of the lack of education itself.  I look outside the borders and see people calling those who have cancer “fighters” and “survivors”, I see them looking at them with admiration, not with a pity look, I see those fighters shaving their heads, decorating it with headbands and posting online about their journey, turning themselves into an inspiration for others,  a source of pride for their family and friends and, above all, a source of pride and joy to themselves because fighting cancer, whether successful or not, is an achievement. But then again, unfortunately, I live in a sick society.

I live in a society where it is a shame to let anyone know when you've had an accidental abortion. I live in a society so sick that it believes being violent to women is not a social disorder. I live in a society so sick that it believes getting drunk 7 days a week is cool and does not hide any disorder. I live in a society so sick that it believes skin problems are a curse. I live in a society so sick that it believes cancer is a taboo illness. I live in a society so sick that it believes psychological issues are incurable and mental health is not important. And abI ove all, I live in a society that would probably think I am mentally unstable for believing it is sick!

Nov 18, 2015

Health and Fitness - Yes I exercise, and here is why!


This blog post comes as a launch for a series of monthly posts about fitness and dieting that I will be writing under the supervision of Jeff Hanna*.  Jeff is one of the best personal trainers I have worked with and my fitness mentor for the past year. He is known to work with complex cases and has a vast experience in fitness training, body building, injury recovery, healthy dieting and dancing (oh yes! We’ll be posting about dancing too!). Highly motivational and full of positive energy, Jeff has taken his student to places no one has expected to reach before (moving lazy me to the gym regularly is the biggest proof of all!).

*You can contact Jeff through his website on  or on his email Also, make sure to like his facebook page: Jeff Hanna Training, in addition to following his Instagram on: Jeffhanna88

Now let me tell you why I exercise!
1. I exercise because it is healthy:               
Counting the physical benefits of training would never be fair; training reduces back, neck, knees and joints pain. It also helps strengthen your heart and bones, reduces your allergies, increases your immune system, etc… On a more serious note, training helps in maintaining strength when fighting diseases such as HIV and Cancer (which treatments attack the muscle mass – the more muscles the patient has, the more strength he will have while fighting), it helps fight osteoporosis (by creating mass muscles and protecting the bones), it promotes healthy prenatal preparation and postnatal recovery, and, above all, training minimizes the effect of irreversible diseases such as scoliosis, disc problems, osteoarthritis, etc…

2. I exercise because I want to live longer:
After all who doesn’t want to live long? And what’s better than living longer and healthier with full energy and full strength? Training gives your bones strength, promotes heart health and reduces disease risk related to age and bad lifestyle habits. It also helps control blood pressure and helps your body naturally secrete the Growth Hormone (GH) which is known for its anti-aging benefits.

3. I exercise because I feel happier and more energetic:
That’s a simple equation: when you exercise you sweat. When you sweat your body produces a hormone that makes you feel good. Let’s keep it simple and call it the Happy Hormone. The Happy Hormone makes you feel happy (like its name indicates) and more energetic!
Now to be honest, I’ve read a lot that exercising works as an antidepressant, reduces anxiety and stress and makes people feel relaxed and happier. I’m not sure if I’m feeling better because of the results I’m seeing in the mirror and feeling in my daily life, or because of the hormones my body is now generating. But who cares? I’m happier and that’s all that counts! Also, I must admit that since I started exercising, I sleep less (my 6 to 8 hours of sleep are enough now), I feel energetic, I work better, focus longer, I train harder. In fact, now I can hold a very busy schedule, I need less sleep and rest, and above all I still have energy to go out and catch-up with my friends after a long day. La belle vie!

4. I exercise because it helps me in my daily life:
Modern training whether classes or bodybuilding (and yes, girls can do bodybuilding without bulking up!) are based on functional moves that mimic our daily activities. Such exercises work on each and every muscle in the body, facilitating daily tasks, and making daily activities easier and less tiring!

5. I exercise because it boosts my metabolism:
The more I train, the more muscles I build (that will be a whole other post that Jeff will guide me through). And the more muscles I build, the more fat I burn. And the more fat I burn, the more I can eat without gaining weight. Not exactly but you know where I am going here right? Chocolate! I train for the love of chocolate!

6. I exercise to lose fat:
Of course I train to lose weight and fat! After all I am human and if training came without physical benefits I would feel demotivated.  But to be honest, I started training correctly when I learned that training had many benefits and that I should not hit the gym only to look skinny.  Actually, I do not even like skinny! Curves rock…

7. I exercise because it makes the body look good:
I personally believe that the first impression counts and the first impression is mostly based on what a person looks like. I do not call everyone to work on his physical appearance and run for the beauty pageant but there is nothing more repulsing than looking round and chubby at 30 in 2015. Hate me all you want but if you do not have a health issue, then you have no excuse to be round!

8. I exercise because it helps me eat healthy:
Unconsciously, when I hit the gym, I start eating healthier. It is like I want to preserve all the effort I have done at the gym and do not want to waste the result my training will be getting me.  As such, the combination between exercising and eating healthy helps me reach points 6 and 7 above faster… which can lead me to tolerate more cheat meals and thus…. More chocolate!

9. I exercise because of the power:
Who does not like to feel strong? Guys crave it. Girls dream of it. I dreamt of it… until I lifted the first 80 kgs on the Leg Press the first time. Then I started craving it, wanting to lift more and do more reps. One more. A new record to break! What a good feeling!

10. I exercise because of the discipline:
Attending courses, joining classes, reaching on time, respecting your coach, following instructions on exercises and reps… it feels like “good-old” school days again but hey! With the lifestyle we follow and the lack of organization I have, exercising sure helped me boost my sense of discipline!

11. I exercise because it helps me socialize:
Socializing has nothing to do with adding new friends to your close circle. But for a people’s person like me, seeing new faces every day, chitchatting over a common area of interest (here being the gym, exercising and healthy dieting), learning from experience and sharing stories and anecdotes has never been more fulfilling. I can’t deny I have met interesting people who have added value to my work, my life and my friendships. Oh and my lovely coach with whom I will be collaborating on a training and health related blog post on monthly basis!

12. I exercise because it’s educational:
Education has nothing to do with degrees. It all revolves about one’s thirst to learn about a certain subject and add this general knowledge.  Since I started going to the gym regularly, I know more about exercises, classes, fitness, healthy dieting, proteins and vitamins, etc… It’s a whole new world and I still have a lot to learn but hey! At least I learned something new and benefit my mind not only my body.

How did it all start?

Oh well…

I woke up one morning with a terrible back ache. Too early to feel such morning pain in my early 30s, isn’t it? Moving out of bed, it was cold outside, my knees were hurting and I had no energy whatsoever to move. I felt sick. My bones were sick. My body was telling me something. Could it be the same thing my friend was telling me the other day? Could I be turning into an old lady a 30, starting to look like one, and starting to gain weight to an extent my body was hurt?

Slapping myself back into reality, I registered myself at the gym later that day and started to exercise. Exercising felt good but I was not seeing any major changes, except some weight loss. So I started to obsess over sculpting my body. And this is when my friend put me in contact with Jeff, a trainer who started following-up with me with training techniques and dieting tips, helping me shred the fat that is too obvious to everyone who know me, gain confidence and above all, fall in love with weight training.

During that time, and while I am no fitness guru, and I do not have a wide idea what fitness and perfect healthy dieting is about, my friends started mocking me for being fitness obsessed and a gym addict.  In fact, I would easily cancel and/or delay plans because I cannot miss my training! Training became part of my routine; just like going to work, doing my nails, catching-up with the girls, going to the beach, etc… on my to-do-list, there was training.

Nov 10, 2015

Men, women - and faithfulness

People come to me for relationship advise, and by people I mean friends, friends of friends and even acquaintances. 
I’ve been single for quite some time though and I don’t know how they can trust someone who is single to advise them about relationships, but they do… and (most of the time) it works!
I am not sure if it’s my divorce, or my calmness and patience when it comes to listening and giving advice, or my “weird” interest in the difference between men and women and their different ways of thinking, or even my “weirder” stance on taking the man’s side first in any argument, but I’m apparently turning into the Carrie Bradshaw of the people around me. 

And since I decided to go back to blogging when I have time, I was pushed to write about men, women and relationships.

Being amused with the push and intrigued by relationships, I decided to play the role of Carrie Bradshaw on my blog, from time to time.

Now back to our main blog subject: Men, Women - and faithfulness…

I believe in fairytales, prince charming, la vie en rose and happy endings. I’m a girl, who can blame me?
But above all, I believe in monogamy.

Intrigued by the high level of unfaithfulness between couples, even those around me, I decided to prepare a small research based on which I came up with this post:
Men and women both cheat, each in a different way and each for a different reason.

Women will want to kill me first, so I’ll start by them before moving to the “other sex”. Oh yes, you fellow gender folks, you cheat too (since most women deny it… 3atoul el rijjeil only does it).
Looking deeper into the matter, I learned that women cheat because of a bad dispute in their relationship (because obviously splitting is not an option, 3ayb el jorsa!), or because of a lack of attention from their partner (because seeking attention elsewhere will solve their problem); they also cheat because of lack of support from their partner (because yet again communication is not an option and seeking outside attention seems like the perfect solution) and last (but of course not least) because of lack of sexual intimacy in their couple (you know, because it’s “3ayb” to approach her partner herself and show desire. Ya 3ayb el choum! Chou baddo y2oul 3anné no way…. Biste7é otloub chi gheir une parure de diamant dernier cri de chez Tiffany moi!).

While the men reading this were surely amused by the above and are probably smirking at their partner now with the biggest “women cheat honey, see?” look, I can’t deny that the answers I got when I asked the men around me why they cheat (or might cheat) were outrageous! Seriously guys? In fact, I’ve been hearing that you cheat because she gained too much weight and doesn’t look appealing anymore (well I have to admit that when anyone turns from a size zero to a size 20, it is normal this person is not appealing any longer…. So I’ll pass this one!) and that you cheat because you can (straight to the point here!), because its’ thrilling (yeah because you think cheating is easier than being committed) and because your partner is not good enough or does not satisfy you, whether emotionally or physically or both (and I wonder what you are still doing with her!).

I believe in monogamy alright. I believe that it takes two to build and ruin any relationship. That perfection does not exist. That faultless relationships are the fruit of Disney stories.
I believe that if you are with someone, you do an effort to be faithful, talk your issues out and solve the matters. And I believe that life is too short to spend it with the wrong person and that breaking up can always be an option.

Above all, I believe in respect. And I believe that if you cheat you lack respect. Not the respect of your partner. Not your self-respect. No. your respect to yourself. Yes, if you cheat you simply don’t respect and love yourself enough to pull out and away from a relationship that is obviously not fulfilling to you, and search for another that could be perfect, or at least worked on.

A golden rule to remember here:
Cheating is thrilling? It gives you an adrenaline rush? No my dears. Cheating is easy.
You want a thrilling challenge? Be faithful. That’s a hard one!

Nov 2, 2015

A basic guide to buying the "perfect" gift

I hear a lot that I’m good with gifts and gift ideas in general… okay well at least when I put a thought into the gift and don’t opt for classical ones… but what people keep asking me is “how” I became “that good” and how I can pond the perfect gift idea for a person I know nothing or minimal information about.
With my favorite time of year (Christmas) coming around, I decided to write the few good steps to follow to get the perfect gift:

1. Set a budget because a gift is never about its value;
We often hear that a gift is all about the thought, never about the value. But when it comes to actual purchases, tables turn and we often opt for a high-end “whatever” gift because people tend to appreciate things with high values.  But what we often forget is that the value is never linked to a price and sometimes a US$ 50 gift can mean more than a US$ 500 one! Trust me people, set a budget (w mish 3al libnéné…. bein 50 w 300 dollar!).

2. Define your aim;
Do you want to impress with your thought of the gift or buy something needful for the person you are gifting? If you aim to impress, aim for something personal (check number 4 below). If you aim for it to be needful, do a research (check number 3 below).

3. How to buy a needful gift;
Everyone needs something; in fact, we all have that list of things to get divided into two categories, the “urgent things” that usually contains the necessities, and the “non-urgent things” that contains important things to have and less important things we want. And we all wait for our salaries to be issued or the budget to allow us to hit the market and mark stuff off that list. So no matter what your budget is, get to know the person you are gifting and remember anyone would appreciate receiving what he already wants… even if it was a simple pair of socks!

4. How to buy a thoughtful gift;
Those gifts are my personal favorite especially for big occasions such as baby-showers, birth, anniversaries, bridal-showers, weddings, engagements and why not birthdays (especially if the person belongs to the people described in number 5 below!) A thoughtful gift in my opinion is often something personalized or related to a certain activity or hobby the receiver is interested in. the list of alternatives is long and depends on the person gifting, the receiver, the budget and the time limit to finalize the gift. It can also be something a person need but cannot financially afford.  But again, if it comes to me, I would rather have something useful and personalized than an ipad I can live without anyway!

5. How to gift someone who already owns everything?
Someone once told me: a person who has everything does not have two of everything. Adding to it my personal conviction that a personalized gift is worth a million even when it does not cost a thousand… I believe there is always something a person who has and can afford everything would be needing or interested in receiving.  Don’t have a specific idea? Get emotional, touch the soul. A person who can afford and has everything is most probably someone who would appreciate the thought not the materialistic value. Make him smile when opening that box and tadaaaaa! you’re on the right track!

6. What to gift girls when you’re confused?
Jewelry.  When you’re too confused never opt for perfumes, cloths or accessories. Buy valuable jewelry or gold.  PS: Diamonds are not a must (unlike people think!). Stick to your budget and keep in mind a US$ 50 pair of golden earrings is worth more, in a  girl’s eyes, that a US$ 60 handbag. Why? Because girls are weird!

Happy shopping :)
PS: my birthday is in February, re-read the article before buying me a gift please!