Dec 14, 2016

For those who hate winter...

It’s official: It’s harder to get over winter than to get over an ex!

However, I have put down a list of things to do during the coming three months of rain and cold (the list is written exclusively for those who do not ski and do not enjoy snow, rain or any activity that revolves around that!)….

1- Spend Quality Time
Indulge in deep talks with friends and family members, visit your aunts and your old school friends, talk for hours over a hot chocolate or while enjoying red wine. Three months of catching-up would be perfect and you will perhaps discover new friends with whom you will share next summer’s joys!

2- Catch-up on some reading
I love reading but I always pick a day at the beach or a sunset drink over my book. Winter time is the only time where I am faithful to my “minimum of 2 books per month” quota!

3- Watch series
I am continuingSuits this month and will finally start The Game of Thrones this winter. Research your interest between the top-hit series and go buy/rent them!

4- Discover winter drinks
Hot chocolate, Starbucks signature seasonal drinks, flavored tea, red wine, hot chocolate with red wine, hot red wine, etc… The “winter drinks” list just keeps getting longer and longer and you only have three months to try all the items out!

5- Go out!
Put the UGGs on if you have to but just go out. It is gloomy outside and staying in won’t make you feel any better.

6- Bake…
Because there is nothing warmer and more fulfilling than the smell of baked bread and cakes!

7- Prepare that summer body
With all the drinking and the baking, you definitely will need some burning! Exercise… it will keep you warm, help you shred the winter calories and will help you get that summer body ready in time!

8- Watch movies, plays, concerts, attend workshops or crafting classes

Dec 8, 2016

Keep your eyes on the road this winter!

I’m fairly good when it comes to driving, and extremely bad at parking (I should definitely work on my parking skills!). but living in a country where no traffic law is truly applicable, I learned to move around without developing major (or minor) driving awareness. And so, thinking I am a fairly good driver, I had my second accident (like real accident) a month ago (my first accident being cause by speed driving when I was 20, over 10 years back!). I went out of the car in complete shock. My car was in no driving condition. I stood there silent. I had put down my phone just 10 seconds before the accident because, like everyone else, I think I can multitask when driving. At least I was not on the phone or chatting so I did not have to deal with all the guilt that would come with it…

That accident made me promise myself never to use my phone when driving. No emergency can make me use it ever again. But it also made me look around and see all the basic mistakes I make and the people around me make… and I think that I really don’t want to lose another acquaintance, friend or family member to a road accident we can all avoid by following simple steps.

1- Use your seat belt – It won’t wrinkle your suit/dress and I promise you’ll still breathe!

2- Don’t drink and drive – this is not discussable!

3- Don’t use your phone and drive – short conversations are okay over Bluetooth or earphones;

4- Pull aside when sleepy – the safest place to pull aside is in front of a bank or pharmacy; there are always security guards there and cameras rolling and you can inform them you are too tired to drive and need a nap before continuing your way;

5- Take a taxi when tired… or call UBER – and yes, Taxis are overpriced in Lebanon but whatever the price is, your life is worth a whole lot more!

6- Children under 12 years should go in the back seat – I don’t care if they scream for motion dizziness or nausea, hand them a plastic bag to throw-up in!

7- Children under 5 years should go in their car seats – I don’t care if they like it or not, scream or cry or hit you! And I definitely don’t care if the car seat is hard to move from a car to another. I am a mother myself and my son was in a car seat all the time until he was 5 years old. And when we used to live abroad, we used to ship it to Beirut with us! Nothing is hard when it comes to child safety please!

8- Children should not learn how to drive in traffic – I really can’t see anyone’s logic behind it… If your child is interested in hitting the roads, maybe you can give him driving and road awareness courses, teach him to read the road signs and road lights, play a game of letting him tell you when to move and when to stop (from the comfort of his back seat) when driving (all alone in the front seat, with your seatbelts on!)….

9- Continuously check your car – wheels, mechanics, everything!

10- Riding bikes are the latest trend and …. who doesn’t love bikes! However, our roads are not safe enough for cars and hence, they are dangerous for bike riders! At least wear your helmet (preferably your full outfit), let your passsenger also wear his, and remember that your 10-year old brother cannot be a passenger on your ride. 

Last but not least: don’t speed! Speeding will ruin your car anyway with all the bad roads we have!

Dec 1, 2016

Let's hug a person infected with HIV today...

Two weeks ago, I had a chat with an acquaintance who was telling me of a “weird” event in Hamra Street. He said he was having coffee and a guy was on the road holding a card saying: “I have HIV. Give me hug”. People were roaming around, some hugging him and some were not. When I asked this same person what he did, he said: I stayed away of course, what if he had HIV?! “shuallah jabirné in3idé”.
(I believe all that was happening was part of a campaign for World’s Aids Day but I would not find anything online. Please share the link if you find anything!)

The person in question was a guy I had met. His answer made me lose all interest in him because it reflects a lack of culture, knowledge and a lot of rudeness. I would hug a person who has HIV. I would hug him, be friends with him, go out, hang out. I would hug a person who has AIDS as well.

Am I not scared for my health? Those who know me enough would know how much I am. For God’s sake…. I run an HIV test every time I visit my dentist (okay I hope my dentist doesn’t read this!). But this does not mean I do not have enough common sense, knowledge, education and above all humanism that pushes me to refuse the stereotyping and the social refusal people suffering with HIV and AIDS face on daily basis.

They CAN work, go out, have friends. And we NEED to know more about them, their case and how to deal with it in 2016.

So let’s have together a recap about the Red Ribbon day!

What is the World’s aids day?
The world’s Aids day is held on December 1st of each year to remember all 35 million + people living with HIV worldwide, raise awareness about the infection and commemorate those who have lost their life in the battle.  Since 1998, people worldwide wear a red ribbon in support on this day whereas many Red Ribbon sales events are held and the money would go directly for the support of the cause or of those infected.

What’s the difference between HIV and Aids?
As defined on, “HIV is a virus that may cause an infection, but AIDS is a condition or a syndrome. Being infected with HIV can lead to the development of AIDS, which stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS develops when HIV has caused serious damage to the immune system.”

How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is spread through: Blood transfusion, semen and pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, breast milk, infected needles/syringes/any other infected object (ask your beautician, dentist or doctor about the safety measurements they use to sterilize everything. It can also be transmitted during pregnancy (the risk is of 30% but can be reduced to 4% with the right medicine) or from inter-contact between wounds and broken skin.
HIV is not transmitted by air, water, mosquitoes or other insects, saliva and tears and sweat (that is not mixed with the blood of an HIV infected person), shaking hands, hugging, sharing toilets, sharing cutlery or dished or drinking glasses or any other social body to body contact (talking face to face, cheeks kissing,etc).

How can you be protected from HIV?
It’s quite easy!!! Be safe in your sexual relations (by using protection) and avoid everything mentioned in the section here-above with persons testes HIV positive!

What are the common myths about HIV?
- Whomever has HIV will die within a year;
- You can tell if someone has HIV by looking to their face;
- Straight people can’t have HIV;
- HIV-positive people can’t have children;
- HIV always leads to Aids;
- If two partners have HIV, there is no need for further protection;

And above all, the biggest misconception is the reason of my post today:

HIV can be spread through casual contact with an HIV infected person.

Stay safe!