LauraxELLE

Some issues with our unquestioned media use

March 4, 2019

Small practical guide – Three questions we don’t ask ourselves about our social media use, but should

 

On average, an Instagram user interested in fashion opens the app 32 times a day. (Yes, you’ve read that correctly!) If these stats are currently only available for this app, think about how many times we open Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn or other apps! How many minutes, in fact, do these platforms steal from us? And are all these hours on our phones well spent? How much of the information we receive brings us value? How much value do we add to those around us? How many pictures mark us positively on a daily basis? These questions, and beyond, are things that we need to address if we want to optimize what we get from the time we spend online, both for ourselves and for those who follow us. After all, if at the end of the day, after lots of screen time, we do not have more information or a better mood/energy than at the beginning of the day, that says something about the quality of the content for which we sacrifice moments with our families, minutes to read or moments of silence in the privacy of our own minds.

In the following paragraphs I have made a selection of themes to ponder on for those of you who want to use these social networks in a wiser way. Beware, this is an article with many (many!) questions whose answers may not be the most comfortable.

 

  1. What do we transmit through what we post online?

“Three more hours until take off, so ask me anything.” “Stuck in traffic again, awesome, what about you, reply to my Insta-sticker with your mood” “I’m bored so I am trying out all these new filters. Which one do you like best?”

Sounds familiar?

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Laura Recommends

February Recommendations II

March 3, 2019

I will not bore you with yet another rant about how short February felt like, but instead I’ll leave you with my Recommendations list for the past month. Also, scroll until the bottom to open two translated articles from my ELLE Romania column. Enjoy!

ARTICLES

A world built for men – The Guardian

This might be the best article I have read in the past months. It shows the risks women are put through because most safety regulations have been made for 75 kg 1.8 metres men, the hidden toxic problems behind nail salons, phone sizes and much more. It’s an absolutely eye-opening piece that you have to read!

The Millennial obsession with starting over – Medium

I got this article in one of my Medium newsletters and it hit home hard. It speaks about the obsession young generations have with moving from place to place and letting a move define them, while also falsely claiming that solely moving to a new place could change them instead of changing themselves first from the inside.

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LauraxELLE

Thoughts on speed traveling and mass tourism

February 26, 2019

We have seen it all and understood nothing

A story about a possible future Olympic discipline of speed traveling

 

We work an entire year for a seven day holiday outside our own country in which we aim to take pictures of ourselves at the same touristic attractions where other thousands of people have checked in before so we can come back home happy that we now have enough #tb photos to post in the next twelve months. This is all that’s left from our vacation and it’s a pity.

No wonder that increasingly more people have the possibility to become tourists once or multiple times per year. The plane tickets have never been cheaper (that is, if we talk about the economy class), the accommodation options are the most diverse ever, especially for those who want to avoid hotels or who do not have the budget for them (see AirBnB, Couchsurfing.com, HomeAway and many other examples), and the pictures from our social media feeds keep encouraging us to explore Cinque Terre, climb to Machu Picchu, navigate on Lake Como or see the NYE fireworks above the Sydney Opera House. Could we not go as well?

Yes. If we choose to go to a place only because we saw others do it, hence we want pictures like them, we are the most eloquent example for the phenomenon of mindlessly adopting something without understanding its sub layers. And after all, why waste so much money on a vacation when you could spend only a part of them on image editing services in Photoshop?

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Laura Recommends

January Recommendations II

February 7, 2019

Happy New Year! (Is is still time-appropriate to say this?) Happy Lunar New Year! (I guess this is more appropriate to say now that I am publishing this article in the first week of February)

 

I hope you all got a wonderful start to the year. I know many people dreaded January (hence all these “January was a long year” jokes), but I personally loved it. I feel I have done a lot, grew some more and came across some truly interesting articles, videos and books I can’t wait to share with you. Let’s get started:

 

AUDIO

Two Dope Queens

I listened to their episode with Michelle Obama (I’ll start reading her book in February and I am super excited!) and I was surprised I haven’t listened to these two ladies before! They are so fun, energetic, refreshing and witty! Loved the episode and will certainly listen to more.

How I Built This

I must have listened to 5 HIBT episodes in two days because they were right up my alley: business women and men talking about the companies and the projects they started and the way they reached success. I loved learning more about companies I had no previous knowledge on (or very little info) such as Burton. Highly recommend that episode and the entire podcast series for those of you passionate about business.

Challenge Accepted – Celeste Barber

If you don’t follow Celeste Barber on Instagram, you are missing out. She is a brilliant Australian comedian who recently published a book. As the physical book was not available in the Netherlands, I opted to listen to it (she narrated it herself!) and it was such a nice way to de-stress. While the book doesn’t always seem to always have a red thread, it is certainly a fun, easy read.

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Laura Recommends

November and December Recommendations II

January 2, 2019

Happy New Year! I hope your 2018 was a good year for you and that 2019 will be even better. For those of you who thought I have abandoned my sacred monthly Recommendation project, I haven’t. It’s just that I have decided I will combine November and December into one big post (perfect for the holidays!) since these months are too crazy to pen down everything I want. You can check out here what I wrote last year during my November and December post.

 

PLACES

Escher Museum, the Hague

I visited this museum in November after complaining I haven’t really seen a lot of museums in the Hague and this quickly turned into one of my favourite ones. It definitely offered more than I have expected, starting with the permanent exhibit of Escher’s visual illusions, the superb interior with square staircases, unique chandeliers and the fantastic interactive rooms perfect for testing how deceiving our sight can be. It’s certainly a fantastic place to spend 2 to 3 hours on a rainy day in the Hague.

Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden

I had no idea about this museum until I got out of Leiden’s train station and saw an ad for an exhibit about Bali. I was instantly triggered, so that obviously became a spontaneous stop during my day in Leiden. The exhibit was very well done, with many local objects, recordings, infographics, videos and so on depicting the local Balinese customs and way of living, while also highlighting the urgency of certain issues: mass tourism, plastic pollution and globalization. Beyond this exhibit, this museum of Ethnology has permanent and temporary exhibits on most regions of the world, from Asia to North America and Australia. I have to go back, so I would definitely schedule more than 3 to 4 hours for a thorough visit.

Femmes Fatales exhibit, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

I had been waiting for this exhibit ever since I first read about it online and on my birthday I finally managed to get there with my mom. It was absolutely fantastic – from the selection of pieces and designers (all female) to the set up of the rooms and the stories behind them, this was a very tasteful exhibit which displayed more than I anticipated, so it has definitely exceeded my expectations. If you decide to go and visit it, the museum ticket also includes the entrance to the permanent exhibits (such as the one on Delftware) and temporary ones (such as Splendour and Bliss – a fantastic show of Islamic art!).

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Laura Recommends

October Recommendations II

November 3, 2018

In an extremely fortunate turn of events, after feeling that September was longer than just four weeks, October managed to feel like a month and half as well. This either means that my time machine device works or that I have become more productive and organized since I am getting so much done. Yeah, it’s probably the time machine 😉

Here is what I have loved reading, watching, listening and experiencing this month. If by the end of this article you opened dozens of tabs and you are feeling inspired to test out on your own what I have shared below, please take few seconds and give this article a share: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WeChat or even in a good ol’ email to a friend you think might like this article. It would help me a lot!

 

BOOKS

Everything I know about love – Dolly Alderton

I laughed. I cried. I clutched the book tight to my chest. I re-read my favourite paragraphs. I took pictures of my favourite pages. I laughed some more, while in the train next to dozens of uber silent people. No shame though because this book was worth all the looks I got. Since there are too many things to say about, I’ll resume myself to say that Dolly writes fantastically well and relatable about friendship, family, womanhood, loss of close people, youth, university years, dating and much more. If my friends receive this gift from me for Christmas, I hope they act surprised.

The 24h wine expert – Jancis Robinson

One of my wishes for 2018 and also for 2019 was to learn more about wines. And while tasting is one way to learn about them, I also wanted to improve my theoretical knowledge about oenology (my inner nerd is way too excited to use this word). This short book definitely helped me out with some base knowledge, while also leaving me wanting to know more, which is what I think any good book should do. It also made me curious to read more labels at the wine aisle or local wine shop to see if I can recognize abbreviations and grape variety. Definitely a nice gift for wine lovers in the early stages of wine knowledge.

La délicatesse – David Foekinos

After I came back from France last month, I decided I want to read more books in French in order to maintain my level of understanding the language. And I am starting to feel a little mad at myself for not having done this sooner. Considering two French books cost me only 6 euros each, I should have switched to reading in French a long time ago! Budget-jokes aside, (beware, nerd moment coming through) I forgot how exciting and mind-expanding it is not to know all the words in a book – and this made me engage more with the story and truly pay close attention. Regarding the book, I found it beautiful, fragile, fun, sad, and yes, delicate and it definitely made me want to watch the movie adaptation with Audrey Tautou.

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Laura Recommends

September Recommendations II

October 7, 2018

This September felt like a double Oreo. Before you laugh, hear me out. This September felt like double the goodness for me because I genuinely felt like this past month had 60 days. And maybe it was because I managed to squeeze in not one, but two trips, finish a few books (out of which I will only be listing my favourite two below), went to uni and generally had a really good time. I can only hope that with such a great beginning of the academic year the ensuing months will be just as amazing, peaceful and well traveled. Here are some of the things I have read, watched and enjoyed in the past weeks:

 

BOOKS

The Four – Scott Galloway

I have been looking forward to reading this book for a while now and I can definitely say it has matched my expectations. Scott’s analysis, besides making you do a double take about the things you thought you knew about the Four Horsemen (Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google), is also very sharp and witty. Although an advice section is not very common within books like his, I particularly enjoyed it.

Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

Before starting this book I didn’t know much about Nike except for the swoosh anecdote and their famous Just Do It campaigns, but I feel like from now on I will be looking with very different eyes at their sneakers and fans. The story was very well written, the rhythm was much better than I thought (I seriously thought they were doing to glaze over the beginning years and just go straight to the uber successful and well known part of their history) and it felt more sincere than many other books I have read. I would have particularly liked to read more about Nike’s story development after 2007, or at least more about how Phil perceived it, but considering the less fortunate events that happened in Phil’s family, I will not complain about that.

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life

6 years of blogging

September 1, 2018

This time 6 years ago I opened my laptop and decided to start a blog. It was 2012 and people were opening blogs like crazy while sharing their links everywhere, from Facebook to Lookbook, Flickr and even Google+. They were fun times.

Although I felt there was a lot of content out there (silly me, I couldn’t have predicted the effects of social media and our current content invasion), I thought I could say something different.

In the beginning, I was sharing my outfits and pictures taken by my mom in our horribly lit house (which is how many bloggers started), my shopping hauls and various moodboards I made using pictures I found online (Pinterest was not that strong back then, so it was all up to Google Images for me). Later the shoots got a bit more complex, involving outfit changes and better locations around my hometown. You get the picture. I was a dreamy 14 year old teenager and I had this ambition to prove the people around me that even teenagers can be relevant in the fashion scene of Bucharest. I used to apply to go to as many events as I could, I went to many fashion and art courses and workshops, I got my first business cards when I was 15 and I started learning who is who in Romania.

Obviously, no one knew me (tbh, I don’t think many know me now either), but for me this didn’t matter because I was too excited to explore this new world.

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Laura Recommends

August Recommendations II

September 1, 2018

I hope you’ll read this article somewhere on a beach (it’s actually where I am heading to right now as I write these lines) or somewhere sunny, where you can still pretend it’s the 1st of June all over again.

I’m not going to write any more introductory lines because I don’t want to get sentimental over the summer break, so here are the things, places and events I loved this past month. Enjoy!

 

ARTICLES

Why songs of summer sound the same
A brilliant and interactive piece from The New York Times (and seemingly fitting for this August article) shows in a well researched and superbly illustrated manner how the songs we hear today are less diverse in sound than in other decades. It’s a fantastic and interactive piece and something that maybe you would not read in a classic blocks-of-texts way. The piece also reminded me a bit of this fantastic article written by the Wall Street Journal in which they used an algorithm to show how the lyrics in the acclaimed Hamilton musical were created.

 

VIDEOS

How feng shui shaped Hong Kong’s skyline
I never noticed in pictures how some buildings in Hong Kong have this rectangular-shape cut out, so I was fascinated when I found out why. This video is part of a VOX series called Borders and it is absolutely fantastic, so you should definitely check it out, and if you are curious about Hong Kong, there is another VOX video you should watch if you would like to know more about their culture and aesthetics based on neon and more recently, LED lights.

Rom Cons: Problematic Movie Romance Lessons
By now you probably know I am obsessed with Screenprism and this video perfectly illustrates why they create amazing content. This time they take 10 messages that romantic comedies send and decode them, showing how unhealthy and unreal are some of these rom-com ideas and behaviours. They also recently published a video about Titanic which made me do a double take because it made me look at the movie in such a different way that I may have to rewatch it for the 26th time.

10 Letters we dropped from the alphabet

All I am saying is that you should prepare yourself to be mentally blown away by some of the fun (and real!) facts in this video. Also, suddenly a lot of things will make sense, such as restaurant names like “Ye old tavern” or the backstory to why w is pronounced double u. Austin is incredibly hilarious and informative at the same time, so it’s pretty hard not to like this video 🙂

What If English Were Phonetically Consistent?

Another language-related video (yes, I fell into that nerdy Youtube wormhole) transforms into hands-down one of the hardest pronunciation exercices I have ever heard. It makes you ask yourself lots of questions about how we passively take languages as they are without second guessing if their rules actually make sense.

 

BOOKS

Buyology by Martin Lindstrom
My second Martin Lindstrom book after Small Data (which I talked about in the July Recommendations article) was maybe even better. It was fun, pleasant to follow and very intriguing at times, especially when talking about neuromarketing. It contains one inaccuracy about how the Nike logo was created, so I can’t give it 5 out of 5 stars, but it is still a great read.

Cum să fii fericit în România – Humanitas Publishing House
I bought this book called How to be happy in Romania after seeing the amazing contributing authors list. I found it so relatable, funny, diverse and unexpected that it quickly won me over and I can only hope more collections of essays like this one get published.

 

PLACES

Museum of Communication – Bern, Switzerland
Interactive, highly entertaining, displaying a large collection of pieces, and suitable for both children and adults, while catering to the needs of each group, this museum seems to have it all. Most information sections in the museum are in Swiss German, French and English, so it’s perfect even for foreigners. I loved discovering new devices and pieces of history I have previously missed and I am sure I could have easily spent more time there.

Delicii and Dolci Coni
The last days I spent in Bucharest were marked by me trying to fit in my schedule as many ice cream stops as possible. These two shops were fantastic places I never went to before, and they triggered in me a newfound love for delicious mango ice cream. Dolci Coni also makes the best lemon and basil ice cream I ever had and a fabulous passion fruit sorbet, while Delicii has some of the funkiest flavours I have ever seen, such as Black Sesame or Sunflower Seeds, which were already gone by the time I arrived there. Next time 😉

 

EVENTS

Brunch în ograda lui Moromete

While this was an event only held in Romania, I still felt the need to talk about it here, mainly because of the great idea behind it: organising brunches in small villages while activating the local communities to take part in the events by providing ingredients from their gardens, cooking, singing or dancing. I think it is a marvelous way to make some smaller places and communities in Romania more well known while also making sure that younger generations get to experience almost forgotten recipes, local dances and the idea of a rural closely knit community. The events are organized by My Secret Romania and they still have upcoming dates all the way till late September, so you can check out this link for the exact dates and locations.

Picnic & Film la Conac

I am a big fan of outdoor movies so when I heard about this event I was instantly curious. I went with my mom and before watching Haute Cuisine (a movie I also recommend, although the plot seems like it could have used more work) we got some mozzarella bites and some fajitas from the food trucks there and had an absolutely great time (after our bodies got numb from too many mosquito bites). Nonetheless it’s still one of my summer’s highlights 🙂

 

I hope your summer went just as well as you imagined and that you got as much rest as you needed.

I don’t know if I am ready yet to say goodbye to summer, but I do know it was a good one and I know I have so much to look forward to in September and onwards (including my 6 year blogging anniversary!!)

Laura