Vogue Parody: 73 Questions with Ray

I intended to publish this post as an extra weekly post on Tuesday, not the Saturday one, however, due to the technical difficulties I am facing at the moment, I had to go with this one for the week.

Vogue questions, for those who are not familiar with it, is a segment where an interviewer behind the camera asks an artist/celebrity 73 random questions.

I like this segment and have watched most of them. I have to say though that I find many of them rather awkward because I feel they try too hard to make it look like it’s unplanned/unscripted which sometimes comes across cringe-worthy.

However, there are some that I do enjoy watching because I like the person being interviewed. And it’s fun too.

I was surprised to find that bloggers have created their own version of the 73 Vogue Questions as a “get to know me” thing and I think it’s cool!

I was tagged in this by the beautiful Mikaela, you can read her answers here.

I have attached an audio file below of me answering the questions to make it easier for those who don’t want to read the whole thing. Because that’s a lot of trivial reading!

But don’t mind the weird sound differences, I recorded this on more than one sitting and it’s only done on my phone. I may have also screwed a few names here and there.

Audio version: vogue-73-questions-with-ray-1.m4a


73 Vogue Questions

1. What’s your usual Starbucks order?

I don’t drink there that often, but mostly it’s Caffe Mocha, no whipped cream.

2. What does your work station look like?

It used to be my desk in my bedroom near the window looking out on a few buildings and a garden. But recently I have been just using my laptop on the couch.

3. All-time favorite food?

 I’d have to say chicken.

4. Favorite author?

Tough question! I think it would be a tie between Agatha Christie and Paulo Coelho.

5. What do you think of open relationships? 

I think it’s a weird concept, however, if it works for you then cool. I wouldn’t ever be part of one though, quite jealous for that.

6. What is your favorite video game?

I love racing games in general. I can’t quite remember names, but I remember there was a motorcycle racing game that I was addicted to. Back in the day I used to play super mario a lot too!

7. Guilty pleasure treat?

Don’t think I have one. Unless we’d consider pizza a guilty pleasure..

8. Your favorite movie?

A movie that has good plot twists, real scares, about cooking, or simply one that makes me laugh all would qualify as a favourite movie.

9. Favorite book?

It’s hard to pick a favourite book. But I’ll go with the first two that came to mind: The Secret: Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne and Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. 

10. Best advice you’ve ever received?

My mom used to tell me when I was younger, “If you’ll have no problem if the whole world finds out what you’re doing now, then do it.” This has been kind of my moral compass.

11. Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter to interact and share my thoughts. Instagram to me is like a reality TV show; I get a sneak peak at everyone else’s life.

12. Are you a desktop or laptop person?

Definitely laptop. I love a desktop for the keyboard, but overall a laptop is my choice.

13. What projects are you working on right now?

I’m working on an ebook at the moment and have just gotten back to writing fiction again, so hopefully I’ll manage to finish a few short stories in the near future.

14. What’s your favorite color?

Black overall; however, in clothing, I also like Red a lot.

15. Did you get good grades in school?

School here is education up until Secondary school only not college/uni.

So in school I only got good grades in the subjects I liked which were languages, literature, psychology and philosophy. Everything else was average.

16. Dream job?

When I was younger I wanted to become a forensics analyst. And when I grew older my wish was to be part of a cabin crew.

17. Played any sports?

Karate and swimming but I didn’t last long in either.

18. Do you have a degree?

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Telecommunication Engineering.

19. Nationality?

Egyptian.

20. What’s your favorite kind of blog post to do?

I like ones that have a lot of information that not many people may have heard of.

21. What do you like to collect?

I used to collect local comic magazines when I was in school, now I don’t collect anything.

22. Describe yourself in 3 words?

Empathetic, thoughtful, and indecisive.

23. If you were a rapper what would your rapper name be?

I can’t really think of one, it would be a ridiculous one though like Big L or something.

24. Who was the last person you DM’d?

My sister

25. What’s on the top of your wish list right now?

Vacation, on the beach.

26. Sorting House?

Not a Harry Potter fan, if this is what that is.

27. How many tattoos do you have?

None. I only get temporary ones.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?

Grateful for everything I managed to accomplish so far to bring me a few steps closer to my goal.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?

 I’d say the fact I have managed to spend more time with family.

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

I had my hair cut at last!!

31. What’s the best thing ever?

Sunrise.

32. Favorite season?

Winter.

33. Favorite holiday?

It’s a tie between Ramadan and Christmas. I’m not a christian but I really like Christmas time.

34. Which fictional character do you relate to the most?

I didn’t put much thought into this, but off the top of my head I’d say Mort Rainey from the Secret Window.

35. Do you like surprises?

I love surprises. But the only surprises I actually get are in the form of plot twists.

36. What’s the biggest surprise you ever had? 

I think it was back in prep school. A surprise birthday party the class arranged for me along with all the teachers. It had a profound effect because I had just moved there, so I was new with not many friends. I was also a little sick at the time, so it meant a lot.

37. What’s the surprise that made you cry?

I can’t remember if I actually cried in that one above or not but if not then probably none.

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given someone?

I think a birthday present which was a huge package with all this person’s favourite stuff.

39. Do you like muffins?

Wouldn’t turn down a chocolate or a vanilla muffin.

40. Do you cook often?

I cook when I feel like it.

41. What’s your favorite dessert?

A Black Forest Cake.

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like? 

I don’t have one in particular but I’m not a heavy dessert eater either.

43. Cake or pie?

Cake.

44. What’s your least favorite food?

Crabs.

45. What’s your favorite condiment?

Ketchup and Mayo

46. It’s 4 AM on a Saturday night, what would you eat?

I could very much bake a cake at 4 AM.

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?

It would be a research based class probably.

48. Best animated film?

Lion King and Toy Story.

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?

A guy brought flowers and got down on one knee in the middle of the university’s entrance, asking to forgive him…

50. Best thing to do on a first date?

Listen more than you talk maybe.

51. Worst thing to do on a first date?

Show up late.

52. What’s the funniest pick-up line a guy could use on a girl?

Not a clue.

53. Best comic book character?

A tie between the Joker and Loki.

54. What are three things that are always in your purse?

A hand cream, a mirror, and a pencil attached to a tiny notebook for when inspiration hits.

55. Favorite drink?

Tea.

56. If you could play a historical figure in a movie who would it be?

Cleopatra.

57. Kittens or puppies?

Definitely puppies.

58. Tell me your favorite sushi roll?

I’m terrible with memorizing names, but it was a shrimp roll with rice and seaweed.

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?

Currently it’s NYX.

60. What kind of fountain do you use?

Don’t use one.

61. Blow dry or air dry?

Blow dry, don’t like the feeling of wet hair.

62. Who is your fashion icon?

Don’t have one.

63. Favorite Disney Character?

Probably Ariel.

64. What are you doing for tomorrow?

Relaxing probably.

65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?

A Bad Moms Christmas.

66. Movie that made you cry?

There’s a lot of them, the last one was probably Avengers: Endgame.

67. If you could sing a duet with someone, who would it be?

Adam Lambert.

68. If your life was a song, what would the title be?

The beauty and the tragedy. It’s an actual song by The Age of Information.

69. What’s your favorite animal?

White big cats and elephants. Sorry couldn’t pick one.

70. Favorite illustrator?

I don’t have one favourite, I mean I do love illustrations but names don’t seem to stick.

71. Person you wanna have coffee with?

Jennifer Garner.

72. What’s the country you wish to visit?

There are so many, but Malaysia and Italy are both at the top of the list.

73. Best way to decompress?

Pizza + Comedy + Couch.


I’m supposed to tag 10-12 bloggers for this one but I’m honestly not sure who would be interested to be tagged. I might add a list later. 

For now though if you want to be tagged let me know and I’ll add your name or simply just go ahead and write it without being tagged. This is how this thread has started actually.

Till next week, happy days!

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Money VS Passion: TRJ’s Quarter-Year Update

This post is my first update on my journey so far. If you have been following the journey, or just intrigued to know what I have been up to those past 5 months, then I invite you to read on.

First of all, this is not exactly a “quarter-year,” but I only thought of this post about two weeks ago or so, and I was either going to do it now and be a little behind on the “quarter” part, or wait for it to be like half a year update or something. But I eventually decided to just do it now.

I felt like I should have a post where I document what has been going well for me so far on this journey and what needs improvement. So that I can have an overview of where I am exactly.

I started this journey in December 2018, so this is currently my 5th month on the journey.

I have had some downs and a whole good deal of ups, and I’m working my way through this as hard and as fast as I can.

Downs

I’ll start with the downs first, so I can end this on a positive note.

1. No day job

So far, I haven’t managed to find any day jobs that would allow me to do what I love doing, which is writing.

I enjoy writing, whether it’s blogging here or writing fiction, and living to do just this was my ultimate dream. But, you know, it would have been nice if I managed to get paid for that as well. However, no luck so far in that area.

2. No more Redbubble

Another bad news is that my online store on Redbubble, which was actually bringing in some profit, got suspended for no reason about 2 months ago.

I figured it out by chance, when I was checking for broken links on my website here and found that my store’s link was one of them. I mean imagine finding out like that; not a very pleasant surprise.

I contacted them a dozen times, for about 3 weeks, and I received no answer. Until I eventually tweeted them and someone replied to me a week later.

They said my account seems to have had some kind of a “suspicious activity” that violated their rules or so and which has resulted in suspending it.

Now I have not logged into my account nor uploaded any new designs for over 3 months prior to this suspension. So, there is no way in hell I had anything to do with this activity.

When I tried to have a better explanation as to what kind of activity exactly that would be considered “suspicious,” to the point that they would suspend an account without even a notice; their reply was that they don’t know and they can’t tell me what it is exactly.

That was it. They literally shut down a person’s source of income with absolutely no explanations.

They shut it down and they don’t even know why it was shut down. However, they still banned me from ever using their service again.

I wrote a post some time ago about my experience with print-on-demand websites and I talked about how much I love and recommend Redbubble as a free online shop, I sincerely take that back now. Please do not use this service.

I wholeheartedly believed it was an amazing service at the time, but you can only judge something based on your experience and what you have seen, and at that time, I only saw a great service. But now and after how they’ve treated this whole situation, I honestly would just recommend you go for any of the other alternatives on that list.

3. No books read

So, I had a plan to read a book every month. One book that would help me progress and benefit me on this journey; and I would write a review about it here to share the best ideas discussed with everyone.

However, I only managed to read 2 books throughout the past 5 months.

I will try to get into the habit of audiobooks, because apparently having to stare at words on a screen 24/7 is not making me very enthusiastic about seeing more words on any other page.

Ups

Now to the good and productive side of the journey!

1. Investment

I mentioned in a previous post that I started my first investment in real estate through a local home construction company; starting with a very humble amount of money, the least amount they accepted actually.

This one is successful so far and is supposed to provide a little amount of interest in the next few days, as a quarter year profit, which will hopefully help with my saving up target for the year.

2. Saving Goal

Speaking of saving up, I’m sort of halfway through my annual saving goal, so this is good news as well.

I have been practicing a lot of ways to help minimize my spendings as much as possible, since my income is not that great at the moment. So, I follow these saving money tips religiously.

I still need to find some form of a stable job though, since it’s apparently the only way I will be able to progress a bit faster with my goals.

3. Retirement Account

I was in the bank a few weeks ago and I was asking about the available index funds to see if I could afford any.

And I found something else, that is a bit similar, which is a type of insurance that withdraws a fixed amount from your bank account on a monthly basis and provides a certain profit every year.

The profit percentage is not fixed and it is mostly connected with the economy, so it is sort of a similar thing to index funds; however instead of making one-time payment to buy a fund, I make smaller monthly payments, which kind of suits my current financial situation.

So, I opened an account there and this is considered my first long-term investment method. (If you are in Egypt and want to know more about it, just contact me.)

4. Knowledge

I have learned so many new things in those past few months.

Some things I have already implemented in my life and practice and some are things that will help me in a bit of a long-term, such as the various investment methods that would make it easier for me to see what exactly I would want to do with my money once I have enough of it.

5 months ago, I had absolutely zero knowledge in any and all of the below.

a. Making Money

  • I learned how to become a host and make money with Airbnb. I was planning to put that to practice a bit earlier, but decided to put it off for personal reasons. However, I still have it on the list of things I will be doing soon.
  • I learned how to invest in index funds, and I consider this to be one of the highlights of my accomplishments, if I say so myself. This is also the first thing coming up on my list once I have enough money to put in a fund.

B. Blogging

I have learned a lot of tips and ways to help with my blog’s performance, whether it be through applying SEO or other methods that I shared here to drive more traffic.

Learning this stuff and applying them gradually has made a noticeable difference in the way the blog has been performing.

Below is a graph of my views and visitors from December 1st until April 25th. And I will not be sharing any numbers, because my focus is not on the numbers at all, just as it shouldn’t be anyone else’s, as long as progress is being made.

The point is that this curve/chart is going upwards, not a flatline and not heading downwards. That is the only thing that matters in stats.

Blog stats (views/visitors) from the period of Dec 1st to Apr 25th

Since I learned about Google’s SEO and applied most of what I learned to my website, I’ve definitely started seeing a difference in traffic, in that, I have been gaining a lot more visitors from search engines, Google and others, in the past few weeks than I have been since I started this blog.

There is no graph I could manage to get from the WordPress stats to show this progress.

But here’s how my website has been performing as recorded on Google Search Console from Dec 29th till Apr 23rd.

Google Search Console stats for my website from Dec 29 to Apr 23

I learned a lot about Pinterest, too, and how to use it to drive traffic to your website.

I’m still working on seeing results from this one as I have just started; but I did see my very first few clicks from Pinterest last week, and my curve is also moving upwards. So, hopefully, I’m on the right track.

Below is a graph of the profile reach stats over the past few weeks since I started working on the account, from March 27th to Apr 25th.

Pinterest profile reach from March 27 to Apr 25

C. Wellbeing

I have also learned how to manage goals and set up clear and achievable plans.

I developed a lot of habits that has helped my productivity, such as creating lists for everything, which has hugely impacted my life, to be honest, and helps me achieve my daily goals every day.

Also, thanks to this, my house is always clean now, because I’m rocking those chores! That’s probably too much information for you, but I wanted to put this out there: Little accomplishments count, too.

I’m physically much better than I was a few months ago, too, thanks to a workout routine, a few detox challenges here and there, and learning more about physical health and ways to keep a good posture to ease my neck and back pain.

I’m also mentally motivated, blogging-wise, thanks to a great company of bloggers who have found and read my blog and granted me with nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award, the Blogger Recognition Award, and the Sunshine Blogger Award, which I am yet to publish a post about.

5. Great Company

Speaking of great company, last but definitely not least, throughout the past few months, I have met so many amazing people.

Some of them couldn’t have been more supportive of my journey and never seem to miss an opportunity to cheer for me and lift me up with their comments and feedback.

And some of them have inspired me in a lot of different ways, and maybe without them even knowing it.

But all of them are incredibly nice and friendly people with genuine personalities that have left a huge positive impact on me.

And I would like to take this moment to give them a shoutout, just because I can (in no particular order, websiteTwitter).

Erin@Erinbabysteps
A. Jackson@AMisanthrope1
Hannah‏@PagePlacePlate
Vanessa@TheWblogger
Sandy@sundaywithsandy
Mikaela@fit_blondie_mj 
Roger@mindandlove1
Syeda@Gurru_Says
Mama Robbins@MamaRobbinsLife
Alpana@chand_alpana
M. Lanen@lanendevries
Sophie Alice@prosateuse
Kenzie@MsKenzieMack

These people have been the cause of some of my smiles, giggles, or laughters; they either taught me something new or just been such great companions that made my journey, so far, a much more enjoyable one!

I cannot wait to meet more amazing people and learn more and, hopefully, achieve more of my goals to eventually reach the ultimate one: Becoming my own boss.

Till next week, happy days!