So we haven’t met here on the website since April 2018. A little short of a year ago. Allow me to give you a recap of how the past year went. If you feel like it, share how yours went in the comments.
First, if you follow me on instagram, you probably wouldn’t need this post. You probably know most of the stories here, because I almost never stopped sharing stories there. But there are some things that will be observed and phrased more elaborately here.
- This year, I kicked up my food photography work into the professional world by working for a major client. SHAMELESS PLUG: CHECK MY PORTFOLIO PAGE. I was making recipes for short videos and taking photos of their food products. We filmed 31 videos that I will upload later to my Youtube Channel and I have shared some of the photos on instagram in the past year.
- I’ve also worked with a dairy company where I styled for one time, then offered to shoot and style on my own for a couple of photos at a discounted rate that they afford in exchange of being on board for a higher budget project to come (gullible me). I only offered to style AND shoot because I wasn’t clicking well with their photographer (a family member). I did the shoot and waited long to get paid. Their excuse was that they’ll pass by to deliver the cash. Then asked me to pass by their house to pick up the money, and being out of my way, I couldn’t get there for some time despite me asking for them to use any money transfer service available. Lastly, they ask me if I picked the money up because they couldn’t find the envelope.
And there it is folks, a case I lost because the blame was on me for not picking the money up (there’s nothing I can do anymore, I dwelled on that enough and had to let it go, no contract, no receipts)
- I got contacted for a few food shoots, I did the styling for video recipes and food stills with a photographer. I’ve done more work for my page though and I have shared them on my instagram feed
- This past year, up until October, I met a lot of tourists through Taste Lebanon, the Culinary Tours company I work with, and made new friends from around the world who were able to see the city through my eyes.
Shelly is a fellow blogger from New Zealand whom I had the pleasure to walk around with and eat and drink in Beirut in 2017. She got back to Beirut in 2018 as part of her travels so we can have some wine and chat! I wish I can repay the visit and take a break in NZ
I met John on Instagram and through TL. I showed him Tripoli and took him another time, along with his photographer Alan, around to take photos for his new book, Saffron at the Souk. Can’t wait to get the book!
- A lot of nature events happened this year.
I cooked at Heaven Ecoland a few times. And when I wasn’t, I was just chilling on a hammock or showering naked in the river 😋
The grape harvest season came early last year with the heat and drought. It was a lot of fun to participate in the harvest event at Chateau St. Thomas for the third year in a row. Your next bottle might be one I had a hand (or a foot) in making 😏🍷
The Cherry Festival in Hammana was a delight to be at. A day out in the blazing spring sun was fun with all the fresh cherries and cherry flavored confections and concoctions
In September I designed the logo, poster, and flyer for a Rural Film Festival in North Lebanon. It was a nice event followed by a wonderful hike in the famous Ammou’a E’zer Forest. A lot of photos I haven’t shared.
- This past year was filled by so many events and projects with CLOWN ME IN. From the ToT (training of trainers) project, to the new-clown-recruitment project followed by our annual tour, and the storytelling street theater caravan tour. It was a busy year, thankfully. A few interjected fun stuff came up as well, like our hilarious Elections Campaign to mock the ridiculous 9-year-late elections we had last May, messing up the British ambassador’s speech at the inauguration of the new British Council office, taking over and performing in a Christmas festival in the mountains, and entertaining and hosting at several events.
Lastly, I got the chance to go to Syria to give a training there, and it was quite an experience to just be there.
- Speaking of these projects, ever since October, I have lived like a gypsy. Living off of a small handbag because I stayed at my friend’s Sabine since we were doing a lot of clown work and rehearsals together. That was followed by a 2-week residency and training at Hammana Artist House on physical theater, theater space awareness, and dramaturgy. Moved back to Sabine’s end of November. Then back home to my family’s for a week. Then off to Sri Lanka for a two-week vacation (where we stayed for only a night in the hotel, only twice for 2 nights) and now back home. And last week I took a trip to Syria for a few days and back.
There goes my consistent sense of “HOME“
- During this past year, I had a few media appearances. Twice live on air for a radio interview to talk about the clown work. And. recently, two weeks ago I was on a popular primetime TV show to give my word on ice cream and share some recipe, tips, and ice cream photography and styling tips
- The thing I missed the most his year is cooking. I gave very few cooking classes, and I wasn’t having the time and mindset to cook at home (which home, one would logically ask) but I did entertain at Sabine’s for a group of their friends (diplomats and journalists mainly) and the food was a hit. I had the most fun time cooking, the smoothest EVER!
- Apart from all the busy and hectic things, August was a terrible month for some reason. I wasn’t feeling like doing anything. I haven’t been posting anything on the blog since April and my instagram feed was feeling like a lot of effort to maintain (I’ll get to that in a later post). Slowly, I stopped posting on the main feed, but kept the stories alive because they felt more effortless.
That Instagram pause lasted for around two and half months, until on our Lebanese dress-up holiday I decided to dress up as something I haven’t been and publish a post on my feed. It took time to be a bit more consistent, but I am acting upon my feelings rather than what the marketing world dictates to get the most likes and followers. It feels better that way!
One of the effortless things I do is a photo of Beirut from the road I take to the highway every time I’m going down. It is the same view, same angle, but it is never the same.
View this post on Instagram
On this day, I decided to be someone I haven't been in more than two months; an online food influencer. It's St. Barbara's day, and in our region, we dress up and go door to door. I've been touring around lately, so I'll stick with showing up on each and every one of your profiles. This is one of my favorite holiday recipes: boiled wheat berries flavored with anise and decorated with nuts. In some days I used to have this for breakfast. Get the recipe on cookin5m2.com . . . #foodstyling #foodstylist #foodphotography #stbarbara #borbara #holiday #wheat #gluten #vegan #dessert #foodblogger #sarcasm #fromscratch #lebanon #cookin5m2
- Lastly, and for my 31st birthday, I decided to take a strict decision.
Something that is going to leave a mark.
I saw beautiful semi-precious stones in Sri Lanka, and decided to get one of them, my birthstone, as an earring. AND YES. I got my ears pierced. Both of them.
This is not a clip-on or magnetic earring.
Here they are. Vibrant red-light-brown Garnets on both earlobes.
And there it is. That’s how my year went. It wasn’t all pink and bright. It had the ups and downs, but I had to, like every time, pull myself together and keep going. Because that’s how it is, how it should be.
How was yours?
Tell me about it