Thursday, 27 June 2013

☀ Summer's Here ☀

Well the countdown days are over since today was my last day at school and my feelings are all over the place. I've been eagerly counting down the days to get to this day because I was absolutely certain I'd be extremely excited and happy to finally be done and over with school. Well right and wrong.

Towards the end of the year, especially this year, I just get really exhausted and want to be able to wake up whenever I feel like it, sleep whenever I feel like it (well I did that throughout the year but I learned it's probably not the wisest option. And I learned it the hard way. Whoops?) But this way there are no consequences for my irrational decisions that are made in the spur of the moment at 2 in the morning when my brain concludes that it's far too early in the morning to go to sleep and just stays up even though it's practically half asleep.

Enough about my sleeping patterns.

Today was okay. I mean it was nice but the previous 3 days were just lovely. I felt like I got to talk to people I never got a chance to talk to before and that's upsetting..that there are many people out there to get to know but we're so limited to really small groups of people. I know everyone always needs a small group of people that are the closest and as you go further, the circle expands but I felt like this year I've let my circle get far too tight. I did get to know many people I didn't think I'd get close to this year and I'm really pleased about that. I guess you take small steps every year. What I loved the most about the last week was the fact that there were less people so I could hear everyone and everyone could be heard and that was really special because nobody gets a chance to get their words across anymore. Everything's super fast paced and racing past and it gets really tiring. I mean because of the sole factor of being able to communicate easily I swapped the mentality of "Get me out of this hell hole" to "Wow..I actually quite like these people" overnight.

I've also been active and consistent with my art journal/scrapbook/whatever-it-might-be-called and I'm quite excited to make it even more personal and special after a summer of photographs, memories and lots of stories to tell.

I'm glad I'm facing the summer with a tiny bit of nostalgia for certain people but an even larger eagerness to just explore for a while. To stop living online, on my iPod or on my phone and live more outside. Immerse myself into hobbies I love; take pictures, sit by the beach and just think for a while, write about everything I want to figure out without any distractions or invisible and unsaid obligations to maintain constant contact with people or society. I've also collated a little bucket list for the summer and later decided to expand it and set myself adventurous and experience-based goals from now till my last year of high school before I start university and I guess I might post it here later.

I don't know how I feel right now, but that's exactly what the next 2 months are for. I can figure things out at my own pace and desire.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer/holiday wherever you are in the world.




Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Before you read this post - if you can focus on reading while music's playing, click right here to transport yourself through time and play "Asleep". You'll get some vibes straightaway.

Now that's playing. See how different everything is? I have a weird bond with the link of music to pieces of text or novels in general and the fact that this book in particular is so strongly linked to music from the time period that intrigues me the most, it's an exciting experience. The whole book changed so much in my head but I can't even put my finger on what exactly fascinated me about it. Considering it's a relatively short book in comparison to the majority of books I read, it feels especially elongated in my mind. All the characters seem to have lived in my head long before I've read the book, and even long after the last page unfortunately (or fortunately) came to an end.

I read the book quite a long time ago. I remember being exposed to it when I was around 12 I think (And I'm 15 now so that's not "quite a long time ago" but to me, it feels like too much has changed unfortunately (fortunately?)) and it struck many chords. It planted new thoughts in my head and helped others grow and I felt like it was my secret. My little guide to everything written by a group of people that I've grown to love and know so, so well.

And every year since, I would read it. It became almost like a traditional ritual that I couldn't miss. Often I would pick it up whenever I feel like I need a lift or a reminder that life is a lot more than what it seems to be. Things do change and I wish I could describe what I learned from that book but I can't. All I know is that every time I read it, I felt like I was being drowned into waters that made drowning the most beautiful possibility I could imagine. I felt like little pieces of me were being torn out and lent to Charlie to write down all his letters on and given back to me, to keep. And I loved every painful moment of it.

I think...that what made the book so special to me was Charlie. Sam and Patrick had unbelievable effects on me and I know naturally the reader would sympathize and empathize with the protagonist but that wasn't the reason Charlie became one of the most important people to me. He was vulnerable, very and most people didn't even realize it because he worked so hard to hide it really well. I don't know if you often see yourself in characters and then subconsciously feel this meaningful yet irrational connection to them? I'm not quite sure what it is. But it's something.

Charlie taught me that it was okay so analyze everything. Despite him feeling obligated to participate, at the time I read the book I was constantly participating and having to shut down every little moment of analysis that I absolutely marveled over but never had the chance to enjoy. There was always something I had to be doing and that had to be done right. And all expectations - mainly academic and if family related were about the academic life I was willingly agreeing to because of my instinctual perfectionism - were screaming to get done and get done right. So the moments I enjoyed most, I didn't get enough taste of and this book, for the few hours I escaped to read it gave me a chance to just think of the seemingly great mysteries of everything, no matter how mundane it may seem to the average person.

Charlie begins his story, no actually he begins telling us about this small part of his story by saying that all the names are pseudonyms and many have jumped to assuming he was the 'unreliable narrator' and claim that perhaps you can't believe anything Charlie says after that. But this most definitely was not an English assignment to me. This was a human being who may have lived miles away from me but he was there and he was feeling these things and he was living and he happened to share this little piece of his life with me. I wasn't about to question his goddamn intentions. I loved Charlie and that is all that mattered.

Charlie has so much going on inside his mind. He's always thinking about everything and often finds it hard to suppress everything, because let's face it; that is tremendously hard. And he tries. He tries to the point where it brings me to tears. And wether it's my first read of the book or the 21st, it always does that to me. To know that he just wants to forget. He just wants to be happy and he finds those few moments of infinity when he's around Sam and Patrick because they opened his eyes to more, they made him feel like he belonged, made him feel like less of a bystander and more of a friend. And that means so much to him. They made him forget and he appreciated every minute of it. And that just brought the worst sadness down on me, like he was someone so close to me yet I was so distant to him, out of reach and couldn't be there to reassure him or just simply make him forget, even if it's just for a few seconds.

I've never spoken this much about this, mainly because i. most of the people I would tell would assume I'm overanalyzing the book as a whole and ii. I can never seem to get these words out loud. I can't organize them in my head and I feel like no one will get the full image of what I'm trying to explain but merely one hazy glimpse at the entire chaotic artwork in my head. But I have written about it so much that every time I type out his name, the bond feels like it's tightening.

I hope you got more than the hazy glimpse.

Love,
Hiba







Tuesday, 11 June 2013

♡Fashion Icon♡ - Lana Del Rey (Part I)

I'm feeling quite sick this morning, so to make myself feel better and to entertain you for a minute or two while you read this, I thought I'd go ahead and do another "Fashion Icon" post *cue the "yay"s* This time it's all about Lana Del Rey.

 Will you still love me when I'm no longer young & beautiful.  


I'm going to try a little something new today, Lana herself is inspired by the 1950s and 1960s so I thought I'd dive into those decades and be inspired by them directly.

Catherine Deneuve

Catherine's fashion sense is the most similar to Lana's and I suppose Lana was most inspired by her fashion sense. I can see similarities with Lana already, especially the picture on the right with the sweater which is similar to Lana's H&M adverts.







Lana Del Rey's Fashion Story on Vogue




Nancy Sinatra

Another huge inspiration of Lana's is Nancy Sinatra; she has mentioned her in so many of her songs and if you take a look at her fashion choices you can easily see the similarities.






















Her signature is definitely the flower crowns and this is my favorite part because it's so easy and cheap to make plus you can get super creative with it. If you're too lazy to make them yourself, it's okay, you can get them here.

And if you'd like to make them yourself, here you go; some guides to help you out!



So I thought I'd give you a quick little post & I have a feeling I have so much more to add in the future :) 



                                       

iOS7: What's New?


"Nothing we've ever created has been designed just to look beautiful. That's approaching the opportunity from the wrong end."

So yesterday - June 10th - was the WWDC; Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone West Center in San Francisco. During this conference the iOS7 was brought up and is due to be released in the fall of 2013. (Internal Excitement)

At first I looked at it on my web homepage and just stared because I didn't like what I saw but I still thought I'd give it a chance, look through the changes and the perks that they provide and this is my conclusion.

The first thing you'd notice is the new home page:


As a whole I thought it looked unlike the conventional image in my head that represented Apple. I didn't like the fact that the little apps looked less 3D but they leaned more to the whole futuristic design and even though it's not as "3D", it does have some feel of dimension and as they said on the website, I do believe simplicity is complicated. Because it's hard to make Simplicity look and feel this desirable.

The color scheme is definitely the right one though because it feels modern and just makes you want to have and use it. I haven't seen it in real life yet so I cant be the judge of that just yet but it looks like I'd enjoy it. We'll see.







Control Centre 

This improvement, I like. 

I always want to turn the brightness up/down and it just takes too l o n g (That's what you get when you're born into a generation that's always running around). 

I also really like a shortcut to important and frequently used things, so this is great.













Notification Centre
Now you can take a look at the date, weather & recent events on the calendar without even unlocking your phone along with the notifications you missed. This is definitelydefinitelydefinitely more useful than the previous necessity to unlock your phone before you can look at your events and weather stats and stuff.



Camera
The first thing I noticed was the customization specifically made for Instagram of taking square photos (along with the 2093572345803 (more like 10) filters) :') Oh wow. In addition to that the button seem to have been "simplified" like everything else in the iOS7. I guess it gives it its own charm somehow?








TABSTABSTABS

I'd like to find out why I love this so much. 

It's such a minor detail, I mean you probably look at it for around 2 seconds each time you'd use safari, but this new display for multiple open webpages just makes the whole experience desirable. 

And that is exactly what Apple has always done for me. It's just quite fascinating.


iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, PC and Apple TV. The stations evolve based on the music played and downloaded so the more you use it, the more it knows what you like to listen to!

What I love most about this that is quite special, aside from its Genius facilities that include the "Play More Like This" functions, now you have a "Never Play This Song" function which is just...yes. Yes. You're doing it right. And you can even tell Siri to "Play more like this" along with stuff like "Who sings this?" which is always something super important to me because I keep hearing songs on the radio and I just cant tell what they're called and ah. It's frustrating, okay?

Siri can do more, damn it!





What's new with Siri?

New look, wahey: Now it blurs the background giving it an elegant and very modern feel.


* New sounds: A more natural speech patter and allegedly easier to understand!


*Now checks Bing (gross, why?) Wikipedia (HOMEWORK YES) and Twitter (stalking time)


* Can return call, play voice mail, control iTunes Radio and more (I dont know what more, but they say there's more.)

Ah. That's a wrap up of iOS7, I was considering buying the iPhone 5 (or atleast saving up for it) but now after this news I suspect there will be a new phone in the horizon so I shall save up - or pathetically attempt to - and wait for the summer to pass to see if they have something new up their sleeve.




Thursday, 6 June 2013

150+ Book Giveaway :)

Live to Read

Thought you all would be interested in joining because hey, 150+ books okay? :')

♡Fashion Icon♡ - Hayley Williams

I thought the next fashion post should definitely be all about one of my favorite artists, Hayley Williams and her wonderfully outrageous hair. Fun fact, Hayley was the person that made me want to dye my hair a bright color and this is how it ended up bright red! Thanks Hayley, wahey!


1. Sweater + Collar = Um Give Me?
I have alwaysalwaysalways loved the combination of sweaters and collared shirts underneath because it just gives it a uniform-like look of sophistication but definitely not boring, especially when the patterns are mismatched.

Shirt: Forever 21 (but don't think it's available anymore)
but similar ones here

Sweater: Top Shop (Not in Stock)
but similar one here

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2. Retro Jackets
I just love cropped denim jackets and the patterns on this one are so fun and exciting and definitely something I would live in for so long.

The jacket's now on SALE here

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3. My favorite: Oddly Perfect? 
This look is literally so much in one and every little bit is wow. I especially love the platform sneakers (which you cant really see in this picture but they were in the photo shoot. You just have to believe me) because I've wanted ones for ages now but just cant seem to find them here which is unfortunate.
Jacket: The focus here is how well you customize it. So any jacket will do!

Guitar Sunglasses for 2 bucks here

Vans Platforms: here

The leggings are sold out >:( but some equally great alternatives:
• Cotton Leggings in ALL patterns for 7 dollars: here
• Marvel Universe Heroes: here
• Doctor Who: here
• Adventure Time: here

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4. 90s Skirt. Yes.

If I could get my hands on this skirt, I will take it and run as fast as my feet can take me because it is gorgeous.

Collage skirt here

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5. Cartoon Dress
Wow, Hayley, could you please donate this to my "I-Need-Your-Clothes" fund. It's a good and noble cause. 


Dress here

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6. All the Dr. Martens Ever.

Silver Ones here
Even available in high top boots here

HOW ABOUT YOU JUST EXPLORE THE ENTIRE WEBSITE


That was it for Hayley Williams :)
Any suggestions for next fashion icon? x





Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Killing Joke


My best friend Abigail and her (twin wooaah) brother, Adrian, are absolutely in love with DC and Marvel comics/movies/everythings which makes them pretty damn awesome even though since I'm not a huge fan (only because I didn't get into the whole mania before it got super big so I miss quite a lot of the plot lines) I find it quite hard to participate with them in their hardcore-fan-discussions that are usually filled with intense emotions. 

But the other day, Abigail suggested lending me this comic in deluxe hardcover edition because she thought I'd love The Joker's perspective on everything and that he definitely had a unique outlook on life after what he's been through so I'm definitely excited to start reading this (I'm already halfway!) and I'll be sure to tell you all about it!

Oh and if you remove the dust jacket from the comic, you find this on the front cover. How marvelous!?!?!
|
V






Tuesday, 4 June 2013

23 days left - On The Road

Hello Reader :)

So recently I've been back on track with my reading of Rookie Yearbook One and I've decided to be inspired by Rookie and have a set theme for each month depending on the vibes I get from certain months. So what I did is I've listed a few themes that I'm going to use for the rest of 2013. Since we're 4 days into June, I'm going to exclude it from the theme specifications and instead spend it preparing for July while still writing regularly throughout the month.

July's theme is "On The Road" because my summer break begins on the 27th of June and I'm going to travel on the 3rd of July to Morocco. Since summer break is my absolute favorite part of the year and it's all about journeys and people and adventures, this theme is the perfect choice.

Just wanted to put that out there & I'm unbelievably excited for the summer. Ah.

✐ Every Day - David Levithan ✐

Every Day by David Levithan is best described in one word. Bittersweet.


As you know, I recently got this book from my best friend Katy who has read it and thought that I would really enjoy the book and to be honest, she was absolutely 900% right, because I didn't just enjoy it, I completely and wholeheartedly fell in love with it.

From the second I picked it up, I had no idea what to expect because from the little I knew about it from Katy's little emotional-therefore-incoherent descriptions. She didn't want to ruin it for me and I thought I will just find out more about it as a go, because that is the essence of reading. The journey. And this journey was unlike any other because it genuinely made me see things through a new lens. One that I have never tried to use before perhaps because I had no idea it existed. Just like my experience, the plot was beautifully unpredictable and new.

I wish I could talk about the little things I loved about it coherently, but I think I might be incapable of that. Despite that, I shall try. Usually I like to go for bullet pointing every little thing I absolutely loved - and in fact I started doing that and then erased it all - because it would simply take ages and ages to list everything I loved, so instead I'm building up from my favorite quotes off the novel.

"I want love to conquer all. But love can't conquer anything. It can't do anything on its own. It relies on us to do the conquering on its behalf."
I find this quite upsettingly true. Most pop culture focuses so much on the fact that love is powerful enough to "conquer all" but in reality, it never does. Love is never the last one standing. I'm not quite sure if that's just a pessimistic perspective or pure reality, but that is how I see it. Again. The only word I could quite feel matched the book the most is bittersweet and this concept is just that.
"Kindness connects to who you are, while niceness connects to how you want to be seen."
This is the most beautiful trait description I have ever read not because it's so elaborately described with the most creative adjectives but because it is simple and just. so. goddamn. true. 
"Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over. 
I know how wrong this is. 
It's a hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things. But I have seen that strength over and over again."
"The problem is the confinement, the inability to leave. Any time she let it, the weight of living creeps in and starts to drag her down.

Finally. Finally there is a realistic description that speaks honestly about mental illnesses; depression and anxiety specifically. I dont even feel the need to comment about it. It just is.
"I attack my cuticles with merciless precision. It is the only sensation that feels genuine."
Ah.

This novel is so beautifully put together. It's a series of open ended stories with infinite possibilities and it makes you realize that we all should be quite - if not unbelievably - grateful to have an almost guaranteed tomorrow, to have a life that builds up and remains constant no matter what takes place over time. Despite the challenges you're still reassured by the one thing that will never change and that is that you will be yourself everyday.

What the novel symbolizes to me though is the fact that some people do not feel like they could be themselves. People that are afraid to get attached because of the fear that it will all go to waste. The fear of everything crashing back down again. The everlasting sensation of being haunted by the possibility of tomorrow when you're already struggling with today.

This post is quite incoherent because I'm still trying to gather my thoughts regarding the book and to be honest, I have never felt so emotionally involved with a book like this before.

Have you read it? Tell me about it?




Saturday, 1 June 2013

Body Image

I recently made a video called "Girls on YouTube" in response to Benjamin Cook's video from the series of "Becoming YouTube" and today, one of my friends messaged me about it saying the following (this will only be modified grammatically to make it into the form of paragraphs to make it easier to read)
"As much as I like the video, I don't think you are right all the time there. Guys as a rule do not have a problem with what they look like. Most guys would not care AT ALL. The amount of girls compared to the amount of guys who are insecure about how they look or even give a shit is MASSIVE. 95% of guys won't give a shit what they look like.  
Most of them would want to look better, because that's natural, so do I, but no one would take that to such an extent as to making a fuss or something. No one would care about how they look like in a photo or video or shirtless. Because they simply don't care what others think of them, sure it's good to look good, but I've never met a guy who's insecure about his looks. Not talking about body specifically, but looks in general. Guys are just more confident. 
Guys actually don't care. We don't take notice of insults or anything. We ignore it because we don't care. If you tell a girl she's fat, you're an idiot. You tell a guy he's fat, everyone will laugh and the fat guy will be like, "Okay? Yes I am". No one says that's wrong. What's with that? It's like there's a difference in how you treat a guy and a girl. 
Instead of saying this from a girl's point of view, where you victimize girls, tell it from a guy's point of view. Girls have invented themselves this idea of how they are supposed to look. It's not guys that are making these rules up. Girls are easily manipulated."

My friend and I did end up deciding to talk about this at school in person because this isn't a discussion to have over text and it's 11:31 PM but I'm going to respond to this now since I'm in the zone to talk about it and update this after we talk.

Points I want to address - I'll organize it nice and clear for you to read:

1. "Guys as a rule do not have a problem with that they look like. I've never met a guy who's insecure about his looks.

You most certainly cannot base a worldwide issue on the amount of people you have met. I've never met someone that was sexually abused at home but I am mentally aware that there is a huge proportion of people that have unfortunately suffered from that experience. And to be honest, "as a rule", some guys do have a problem with what they look like. Here are some statistics (despite my hatred of categorizing people in the form of numbers, this helps people visualize the issue)

• Up to 12% of teen boys are using unproven supplements and/or steroids.
• 45% of Western men are dissatisfied with their bodies.
• 17% of men are dieting at any given time.
• 1 in 10 people with anorexia are male
• 4% of men purge after eating
• 85% are dissatisfied in terms of weight; around half want to lose weight and half want to gain weight.

and these are j u s t a few statistics gathered from all around the place. But my point is, the minority of a problem does not erase its existence.

2. "Guys are just more confident"

This is partially true. Guys are just more confident because they are raised in a society that focuses 110% on their personality and attitude rather than their appearance - as it should. It is unfortunate that there are images perpetuated by the media for men to abide by or look like; because most male characters in video games and movies are also often given unrealistic expectations to live up to, but there is always more of a focus on personality and mentality on guys than on girls and that was the point I was trying to get a cross in the video.

3.  "If you tell a girl she's fat, you're an idiot. You tell a guy he's fat, everyone will laugh and the fat guy will be like, "Okay? Yes I am" No one says that's wrong. What's with that? It's like there's a difference in how you treat a guy and a girl"

This is a double standard and I most definitely do not approve of double standards, whatsoever. The fact that I'm saying you should not go up to a girl and call her something you think would hurt her, does not mean I'm saying "hey but it's okay to do that to a guy." No. I was addressing that particular aspect because it is the majority and it was also the main focus of the video I was responding to.

I personally do not condone double standards what so ever and would stand by my belief that if this gender cannot be treated a certain way because it's unacceptable, the other gender should not have to endure similar behavior either. But the truth of the matter is more guys will go up to girls and say there is something wrong with their appearance (wether it's private remarks or blunt, loud ones) than girls will to guys. That doesn't make either of the genders right for doing so.

4. "Instead of saying this from a girl's point of view, where you victimize girls, tell it from a guy's point of view"

I addressed the video from a girl's point of view because of a few reasons:

  1. I am a girl and there is no one else to understand the situation better than I would. Talking from a guy's perspective will make me seem like I'm diving into the realm of the unknown, even though I'm 110% sure of my facts from that perspective too.
  2. The video I was responding to was specifically about girls. Specifically.
  3. The video was offensive towards girls and not guys, so bringing up guys while responding to someone that didn't even mention it will make it all irrelevant.

5. "It's not guys that are making these rules up. Girls are easily manipulated"

This irritates me so much.

I am not blaming you for the body image issues that have reverberated across my gender and age group. It is not your personal fault but yes you are a contributor. And you have a huge role in contributing to this issue:

The majority of guys - or how about we say people, will make it very clear what kind of girl they prefer or what kind of physique is the right and perfect physique. And this irritates me because this is something that is: a.) Conditional and b.) Out of the person's control so there is absolutely no point in you criticizing him and her over something they can't change. Can you even imagine how upsetting and frustrating that would be?

The media is the main source of the issue - as always. Women are presented in a particular manner in the media field and this affects them tremendously. I am sorry but it certainly is not the vulnerable, 10 year old girl's fault for watching a movie and wanting to be the most loved character that happens to be the only one considered beautiful with her perfect face, hair and body. These 10 year old girls will grow up to be young women that are deeply affected by it. Not everyone ends up being tremendously affected but you make it sound like it's their fault when it is just most definitely not their fault. You cannot blame someone from consuming the shit they watch on television, some people cant help it and you do not have the same filtering capacity as a young girl or boy, you are naturally absorbing and learning from everything you watch, read, see and hear. 
The thing we should be targeting now is not the people that have certain issues it's what giving them those issues. Because, to be honest, when you're not suffering from something yourself you do not quite realize the severity of it all, and when you become a member that indulges in such behavior that might affect certain individuals negatively you need to get a grip, realize what you're doing and stop.

Because no matter how serious you think it is, something small to you might be the world to someone else. One little remark you've made might be the 12th comment that person's heard that day. 

I'd just like to understand, how hard is it to just try to not hurt people with your words. Don't make comments about something that is not harming you personally. If you have a problem with someone's appearance, you have a problem with yourself. Because what someone looks like, or how tall they are or how much they weigh is literally n o n e of your goddamn business! 

Just. Don't. Make. Comments. Like. That. 

It's so simple. 

Every problem should be given importance because even if it seems insignificant to you now it either already is significant, or it will become significant if it is not stopped.