Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Year in Search 2014

Watch Google's  video to rediscover the events, people and topics that defined 2014
Via: Google blog 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Color of the year

Every year since 1990, the Pantone Color Institute has nominated a Color of the Year, which supposedly predicts the single hue that the design world will go nuts about for the next 12 months. Last week, the color institute chose the 25th Color of the Year: Marsala (Pantone 18-438).
The Color of the Year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the fashion and entertainment industries – including films that are in production, the world of art, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, the availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention. Read more here 
I didn't like the color personally but makes me think Pantone's ability to sell anything.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Winter in Lebanon as not seen on TV!

This is Lebanon #liveloveLebanon

#FashionBox Holiday Gift Guide :: Men's Edition by Playing With Fashion.

As promised, every Friday I will invite a different Lebanese Blogger for a post on Men's Style.
This week's guest is Maya from Playingwithfashion . Maya is of Russian & Lebanese origin and juggles between being a full-time Interior Designer and a full-time Blogger.She Started Playingwithfashion in July 2012 for the purpose of finding her own voice.

click to enlarge

Christmas Shopping could be stressful in general, but it always helps having some cool suggestions from other people around you that could make the quest so much easier. While shopping for girls and all the women in your life is quite easy in my opinion, shopping for guys is another thing. I get lost when buying guys christmas or birthday presents, because the choice is very limited. So, I went on a quest to find the best christmas gifts this Season, by asking my husband and a couple of guy friends for gifts they would love to receive.
Therefore, here is my Holiday Gift Guide :: Men's Edition

1. RAZER KRAKEN PRO NEON HEADPHONES :: who doesn't like to get proper gaming headphones?? I think all guys who are into gaming or even just into tech-y computer stuff would appreciate a pair of awesome headphones from razer.

2. PLAYSTATION 4 :: This is on a higher budget, but is definitely on top of all guys' wish-list. This is the Ultimate christmas gift, that would be enjoyed for a very long time. And if the price of the PS4 is too steep for you, you could get the PSVITA, which is an awesome gadget too.

3. BOSE COMPANION 20 MULTIMEDIA SPEAKER SYSTEM :: When it comes to sound, BOSE is where you head to. They have the best sound systems and the prices are quite decent for the quality they provide. This would be a very appreciated and well loved gift for those who enjoy their Music or Videos on their PCs.

4. NESPRESSO COFFEE ACCESSORIES :: for the coffee lovers out there, any of the Nespresso accessories would be highly welcomed. There's nothing better than sleek modern designs that could be enjoyed with your favorite cup of coffee. If they don't have a Nespresso machine, a set of cool espresso cups would be a winner gift, too.

5. CHRISTMAS JUMPER :: Stylish jumpers could be worn throughout the whole winter time, but Cool Christmas-themed jumpers could only be worn around the festive times. This JUMPER from H&M has the perfect christmas spirit and the price-tag is very affordable .

6. CHECKED SCARF :: gifting a scarf is a no-brainer in my opinion and is a perfect solution when you are on a budget but still want to get something exciting. The choices are very vast and I think you can never go wrong with a ZARA scarf in a checked print, which is both warm and stylish.

7. KIEHL'S SKINCARE SET FOR MEN :: most of the times men tend to forget about taking care of their skin, which gives you the perfect opportunity to gift one of Kiehl's Sets made especially for men. These sets come in very masculine packages and smell very neutral, thus making it very guy-friendly.

8. ZIPPO LIGHTER :: a Classic gift in my opinion, and would be greatly admired by your Smoker-friends. Although I do not encourage smoking, I still feel that the Zippo lighters are great in their designs and make a perfect gift for the Collectors in your circle.

9. GMT IRON THRONE :: most people I know are pretty obsessed with Game of Thrones at the moment, so any merchandise that revolves around the series could be a cool gift and very unexpected. Whether it is a figurine statue, a book or even a cup , the receiver would be excited.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A coup de moi !

This is a guest post by Hala Moubarak, a good friend of mine, Designer, Freelance Interior Architect, Design professor and writer. Sharing her thoughts in french on my blog.
You can follow Hala On Twitter @Halamoubarak - Instagram:  @halambk

Bonjour ! Moi c’est Hala… Hala Moubarak… et Paf ! La personne devant moi ouvre Face book, tape mon nom pour voir à quoi je ressemble, si nous avons des amis en commun, si je suis mariée, si j’aime la plage, si… Foutus réseaux sociaux. Foutu monde qui s’est transformé en « Peeping Tom » en un rien de temps. 

Photo avec un hamburger, photo devant le sapin, photo avec la tantine qui n’y comprend rien, photo en classe, photo avec pour titre « La Vita E Bella » ! Mais l’est-elle vraiment ? Au delà de ces images qui se projettent sur un écran, sur un téléphone, sur une tablette ; tel un prolongement aux bras et aux doigts ; y a-t-il une réalité ?

Ma réalité se résume dernièrement à me chamailler avec les personnes qui m’entourent. Enlève ton téléphone ! Je te parle ! Écoute-moi… Moi qui suis devant toi… Moi en chair et en os… Moi qui donne un cours, moi qui veux rêver, moi qui désire discuter un livre ou un film, moi ! Et la seule chose qui se produit, c’est un sourire effacé qu’affiche l’autre personne, pour me dire Non !
Non je ne veux pas écouter un cours d’histoire ! Parce que Google répond à toutes mes questions. Non ! Je ne veux pas rêver avec toi, je vis entre temps la vie des autres. Non ! Je ne veux pas discuter d’un film, parce que je suis avec mon téléphone, et dans tous les cas les bloggeurs n’aiment pas le cinéma européen.  Non ! Face à un quotidien dirigé par le virtuel. Un abrutissement qui laisse dans ma bouche ce gout aigre que je n’arrive pas à décrire.Un selfie ? Mais pourquoi ? Pour dire que je porte une robe Zara ? Pour montrer que je bois un verre à Fraya ? Pour embrasser mon mec et afficher mon bonheur devant la face du monde ? Pour qui ? Pour qu’on m’envie ? Pour que je sois le sujet du jour ? Pour que j’affiche des lèvres de canard et que je laisse supposer un Botox ?  Pour répéter au monde que je suis heureuse, épanouie, amoureuse ?Ou alors… pour ne pas dire l’opposé.

 Pour ne pas dire que je vis un vide. Que ma seule vraie relation se fait à travers un téléphone. À travers des « Tu me manques » via Whatsapp, dénudé d’émotions et de véracité. Via des « Likes » qui ne veulent rien dire…J’ai envie de me réveiller un matin, de respirer un bon coup, et de faire mon café… Me déconnecter quitte à passer pour une « has been ». J’ai envie de cuisiner des tartes, d’inviter des amis, d’ouvrir des bouteilles de vin, de rire, de partager des rêves, et de prendre ceux que j’aime entre mes bras. J’ai envie de reprendre mes cahiers, d’écrire, d’acheter un stylo bille, et des pots de peinture… de transformer des chaussettes en marionnettes,  de recoudre mes blessures, et de regarder le monde entier sans avoir à justifier ma vie, mon bonheur, mes accomplissements. 

J’ai envie de sauter de joie, de prendre plus de cours de yoga, d’embrasser l’homme de ma vie  sans raison, d’appeler ma mère pour lui dire « je t’aime », de laisser demain aux étoiles, de courir, de voyager, et de faire silence ! Le jour où je ne serai plus de ce monde, je prendrai avec moi ces trop plein d’émotions qui ont fait de moi un être humain et non pas une machine.À la santé de 2015, des diners, des rencontres, des fous rires, et du merveilleux qui m’attendent !

Hala Moubarak
Photo Credit: These Things 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Copywriting is dead!

Well  to be honest I don't like to read long articles, blog posts or even ads...
This video gathers great writers young and old to share and discuss their thoughts on copywriting.
Very interesting documentary about the revolution of copywriting. It's well worth a few minutes of your time. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Beirut Plus TV

I was invited to the Beirut plus tv launching last week along with many other lebanese bloggers.
Beirut Plus Tv is the first animated web series in lebanon, created by the amazing couple, Toni Yamine and Maya Zankoul Yamine,  I was very impressed with the quality of this creative work and I had the chance to chat with Maya, to find out more about this project.
What was your inspiration for this project ?
Having an animated series has been on my wish list for the past 5 years, ever since I started my comic blog "Amalgam". I believe that Lebanon needs its own animated world, where things are looked at positively, as opposed to the mood we tend to see in mainstream media.

Why do you think that this project is suited for a web format? Is TV dying?
The web has replaced TV for a lot of people. I feel that TV is slowly becoming obsolete, or at least "retro". We believe that this format (short episodes, 2-4 minutes - on the web) fit the current audiences needs. People are busy, spend most of their time behind screens, and that's the most effective way to address them. In a way, we're trying to move the classical way of watching TV to the internet.

How long does it take you on average to write/create an episode?
It's hard to say exactly, because we make everything in-house at wezank in parallel with our other workload. However I can estimate that writing and drawing takes about a couple of days, animating takes about three days, we take a day to record the voice over, and finally add the sound design. Since we're self-funding this, we need to be practical in the time we invest on the project. So about 6-7 days of work.

What has been the biggest challenge in making the series? 
The biggest challenge for us at this point is finding the time to work on it. Because we're self-funding it, with no plan of monetizing right away, we need to continue our other work in parallel in order to be able to finance it. However we're happy with this decision as it will allow Beirut+ TV to be our own creative outlet, a platform that is completely free, and I'm looking forward to work on the upcoming episodes for this first season.

Check out the first trial video & don't forget to subscribe to the Beirut Plus TV channel 

Friday, December 5, 2014

#FashionBox: The Elements of Style by Maya Metni

As promised, every Friday I will invite a different Lebanese Blogger for a post on Men's Style.
This week's guest is Maya Metni  from whom I really enjoy working with. 

Case Study: The Elements of Style

Friday Fashion and blogging about men's style is really a kick for me! I do love posting nicely styled photos, but this time, I wanted to go into more thorough explanations with you about what really gets an outfit going, so I thought we'd dissect each one them! Shall we?

In this fancy one, the beautiful scarf and glasses give the edgy look, and the loveliest detail is the pink lining of the brown coat ~ classic with a twist!

Here as well, we still are in the elegant and timeless, but check the glasses in the square pocket, the funky wrist bracelet and the italian leather document holder; the devil is indeed in the details!

Leather wrist bracelets can be worn with your watch (even if it's not a sports one) and for those who are worried I assure you: VERY hot, very masculine.

Here we have 3 great musts: The grey coat, the denim shirt and the fluffy scarf. But what is even greater is the mix of all three together; colors, textures and styles! Greater and greater? The elderly gentleman wearing them!!

Never underestimate the power of a colored or patterned sock ! It can do wonders to your everyday suit... I still remember my art history teacher in Paris, the most wonderful public speaker I met, and yet, the happening of the day was a glimpse of his socks...
And brown patinated leather shoes...mmmm!

This is one of my favorites ;-) #Pitti style... The grey flannel vest, the polka dot pocket square, mixed with denim, striped socks and classic shoes...

Same palette but in more summery textiles, with a tartan pocket square and a nice classic watch... Forgot to put an arrow on it as well, but notice how the linen vest and denim shirt sleeves are rolled up??

Voila! That's it for today. 
To sum it up: Mix'n'match, Layer & Accessorize.
I tried to show you clothes and accessories on actual active men of all ages and not models... 
Do you like it? Think you could pull that off?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

If Alcohol Labels Were Honest.

Most of you probably remember these honest slogans by Clif Dickens.
What if alcohol labels were honest?
These images, do a great job of doing just that: Jack makes you text your ex, Fireball causes you to blackout, drinking Patron always ends with you dancing on tables.
Funny Right?
Via: graysonbc

Monday, December 1, 2014

Why I don't Use Watermarks

I hate watermark and signatures on photos so much so I start unfollowing people who use them on instagram, dont let anyone fool you with the reasons why they watermark their pictures. Signatures on your photos is pure ego and it is ugly.
 I don’t use signatures or watermarks on my own work because I want it to be beautiful. I want it to stand on it’s own.The best photographers in the world don't use them!

Here are the Top Reasons Not To Watermark Your Photographs by Jamie Furlong 

1. Watermarks Are Ugly
Plain and simple. You have just ruined your perfectly good photograph and made it a crap one by stamping your name all over it. You might think it looks great because it's got your name and beautifully designed logo on it but when I view it all I can see is the watermark. My only reaction to a watermarked image is 'look at that ugly watermark' and I move on to the next image.

This may just be a personal response but I know I'm not alone in this thinking. Trey Parker (with over 1m followers on G+) wrote about this last year and it generated an insightful discussion on the subject (see Further Reading, below).

2. Watermarking Does Not Prevent Image Theft
If you want to avoid people stealing your work, don't post it on the internet. Ever. That's the only way of preventing your work from being downloaded without your consent. In the article 'I Can Remove Your Watermark With No Problem', photographer RC Concepcion wrote that of his images that were stolen, all of them were watermarked. He no longer watermarks his work.

Image theft is not done by commercial business. It is done by peers and non-photographers who want a nice desktop background. Should a corporate company steal your work, think of the pay-off you'll get when you take them to court for copyright infringement. You did copyright your image, didn't you?

3. Did You Pay For The Software That Created Your Watermark?
The audacity of some photographers watermarking their work with pirated software is shocking. I've seen literally hundreds of posts on forums asking for serial numbers to unlock their pirated software. Next day they post up their image with a watermark created by their stolen software, expecting people to respect their hard work by not stealing their image. I wonder how many of these people bother to read and remember the names of the developers in the credits when they open up their pirated copy of Lightroom.

4. I Can Clone Out Your Watermark
And I can do it really easily. If your watermark really annoys me, some simple cloning will eliminate it, and if that doesn't work the 'content aware' tool should sort it out. Not everyone knows how to use Photoshop but you'd be surprised how many people use Picasa, Gimp and other free software to make simple alterations to photographs. Even 'average' computer users like my partner and my dad know how to clone these days.

5. Do I Care Anyway?
Even people who can't clone will download your image if they like it enough, watermark or no watermark. Watermarking doesn't physically prevent people from taking your image. And if you've disabled right-click on your website, which I advise against*, the thief will just examine the source code of the page containing your image. 

*I once read a compelling argument that suggested people looking to use your image commercially may want to download your image first to discuss it in a meeting before approaching you to buy it. If they can't download it, they'll simply move onto the next image.

6. What Are You Expecting In Return?
I wonder what people who watermark their work are expecting from the image thieves. Now they know who the photographer is will they send them an email thanking them for their hard work? More than likely they'll do a search on the internet for the photographer to find more of their images to download! 

Perhaps you think someone will buy your work, in which case you can direct them to your online store or portfolio, or even the stock library you contribute to.

7. Work So Unoriginal You Have To Remind Us Who Took It
If photographers insist on taking a picture of a ubiquitous sunset the only way they're going to make it stand out is to put their name on it! In my survey this was the single biggest reason for watermarking: to remind us who took the photograph. I have difficulty with this argument on two levels.

Firstly, people post their images up via flickr, G+, Facebook, 500px or some other website within their account that contains their name. I don't need to read your name on your photograph because you posted it to your wall, which has your name on it.

Secondly, I'm a strong believer in developing ones own style. The greatest photographers are instantly recognisable. Henri Cartier-Bresson is perhaps best know for ten infamous images, but even the ones you've never seen before are still recognisable as his and that's because he developed his own style. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't ever remember him stamping 'HCB' all over his images.

8. Ego Trip
I believe some photographers only put watermarks on their work so they can see their name in lights. They spend more time creating fancy watermarks than they do straightening their horizons or looking to develop their own style.

9. How Much Money Did You Lose?
By uploading an unwatermarked image, rather than a watermarked one, how much money did you lose by not selling it? Realistically? One of the respondents in my survey stated that by putting their name on the photograph, people will know who to approach if they want to buy it. If you're serious about selling your photographs, you'll have already gone down the whole stock photography route, won't you? Your website will be set up to sell images directly or your Facebook page will have a link to your Smugmug account.

10. Look Around You
I follow some truly inspirational photographers across various social networks. You might be surprised who they are: one doesn't own a camera; one of them I met for the first time last week. One of them could even be you, but they all have one thing in common: they never watermark their work. Look around to see who's watermarking and who isn't. From where I'm standing, the greatest photographers don't watermark.

The fact is we upload and share our work on the internet so we should expect image theft whether we like it or not. However our images are more likely to be stolen by someone wanting a wallpaper as opposed to commercial theft, so don't ruin the moment captured by adding artificial noise to it. It's ugly and distracting and does no favours to the aesthetics. Consider all the digital fingerprinting options like meta-data and Digimarc instead.

Ultimately we should be striving for our work to be so unique and individual that when someone sees it, they recognise our style immediately. Well ok, maybe you don't want to do this, but it's always been my motivation and if you are serious about photography it should be yours too IMHO.