March 29, 2014

happy fun times






I've been wanting to do the Color Run for the longest time. The timing just didn't fit until a couple days ago I saw that there was going to be one in Abu Dhabi.
Man was I excited. I messaged my former running buddy and luckily she was also interested. We registered and got out little packages with out t-shirts and other goodies.

It was so much fun, although we did more walking than running. To be honest most people walked the 5km. There were a few serious runners but it was mostly just for fun and all the proceeds go to charity which is awesome.

It's such a great activity to do with your family. I loved seeing all the little kiddies in their gear out on the track.

My friend and I had so much fun. I was pelted something awful with the color. Luckily I was smart enough to cover most of my hair. It would have be a nightmare trying to get the color out of my entire head.

I would do it again. Maybe next time I'll actually run. Ha, who am I kidding. I'll probably walk.

It's so nice to be able to do the things that make you happy. And to have amazing friends who join in the fun. I feel really blessed to have these opportunities as simple as they seem.






March 27, 2014

naked yoga anyone???

source

Thought this was pretty interesting.
A Yoga class where you can practice the art in the buff.
It's suppose to help with building confidence about your body and make you more secure with the human body in general.

What do you think?
Would you try it?
Personally, don't like the idea of
a. sitting on a mat that was used by someone else. LOL Hopefully each person brings their own mat.
b. having to experience the person in front of me doing downward facing dog.

If you're in New York and interested check it out here.

Thoughts????

March 26, 2014

weekly wishes #17


I'm a little behind with my weekly goals but better late than never.
Only a few days left before my trip to Nepal and I'm really excited.
There are so many little things I need to get done before I leave. This is what happens when you procrastinate. I never learn my lesson.

Ok so let's get into the wishes/goals shall we.


Last Week's Wishes
  • continue squatting I am not doing so badly with this, will continue to work on this goal.
  • put away of the piles of clothes slowly accumulating on the chairs around the house.  The clothes are still on the chairs and the piles have gotten higher. 
  • keep my sanity at work. Still sane!
  • Pray and read my bible.  Need to work on this goal a lot more. 
  • Oil pull 5 days this week.  I'm now doing this most mornings except when running late for work. My gums feel healthy and my sinuses aren't as bad as they usually are at this time of the year. 

This Week's Wishes
  • pack for my trip. I haven't even started. I worried about packing too early and put if off and now the day is drawing closer and I feel so lazy about it. 
  • get money exchanged  for trip
  • finish up last minute purchases for trip
  • get rid of perishables in the fridge
  • pay bills before trip



March 24, 2014

weekend recap



This past weekend I celebrated my birthday a few days early by having brunch at my favorite hotel with some of my closest friends. Just something low key and simple.
It was fun hanging out with them and enjoying the amazing food at the Yas Viceroy Hotel. If you're ever in Abu Dhabi on a Friday you have to check it out.

I wore a dress that had been sitting in my closet for almost 2 years because I have a tendency to buy things I like if they're on sale and plan to lose weight to wear them. LOL. It's sort of my motivation. A few months ago when I started Paleo I tried the dress on and although I was able to zip it up, it  didn't feel comfortable. I vowed that I would wear it for my birthday.
The big day arrived and I am happy to say that I was able to wear my lovely little dress.











I'm glad I was able to do something fun because my birthday is on Tuesday and I doubt I'll do anything. I'll probably be too tired  after work. Boo!

Have a wonderful week y'll.
Ciao!

March 23, 2014

travel plans revealed

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Hey lovelies,
Spring Break is a week away and I am itching with anticipation.

I was chatting with my friend from work about needing to get away for a bit and she said "let's go somewhere together."
With her impending return to her home country at the end of the school year, this would be our only opportunity for the girls trip we had casually chatted about but never actually planned.
Where to was the big question. We needed cheap but fun, also somewhere neither of us had been before. Somewhere in Asia was our best bet.
When she threw out Nepal I thought "why not? "
I had never thought of Nepal as I place I'd like to visit but, as I've said many a times I am always open to trying new things and going almost anywhere.

It took us less than an hour to have our flights and hotels booked. We decided on  visiting Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bhaktapur. These three cities seem to have all the best that Nepal has to offer. We'll get a chance to experience the rich culture, the beautiful landscape and the history of the country by stopping in these cities.

 I am really excited to not only travel to this amazingly interesting country but that I get to share the experience with my lovely friend.
It will be bitter sweet.

Ciao

March 22, 2014

real life struggle

Hey lovelies. Happy weekend. I hope you're enjoying your freedom. That's how I think about my weekends at least.

I wanted to talk about something that I've been really struggling with over the past few weeks.
I'll preface by saying that one of the things I find challenging is being open about my feelings or problems. I'm really not good at it, actually hate talking about emotional/ feelingly (made this word up) type stuff.
I'm usually really articulate and can communicate my thoughts in a relatively intelligent manner but the moment I have to open up and discuss my feelings/problems is the moment I turn into a bumbling mess.
I guess it comes from my fear of appearing weak or vulnerable. I don't want to talk about my feelings because they're so complicated (I like simple) and I may break down and cry (hate crying, I get the worst headache and my eyes get puffy...not cute) and that would make me seem weak. I hate the idea of being perceived as someone who can't deal with life.

Just wanted to put that out there so you can understand me a little better.

So my struggle has been really a private one. I have spoken  to a select few people who were also going through the same thing but for the most part I tried to handle it on my own.

I made a promise long time ago  in this post that I wanted to be more transparent on my blog. I admire those bloggers who can share what's going on in their lives in an open and honest way. I strive to be more like like them.

So here is my real life struggle.
I've been having a hard time emotionally over the past few weeks. After almost two years of being away from home, I experienced the most severe case of homesickness. I was miserable and depressed. I think there was day that I may have sat on my couch and cried for 6 hours.
It seemed like my entire world was a mess (dramatic much?). It's weird how one thing that's seemingly wrong in your life can make everything else seem like a snowball of chaos although there is no correlation between any of it. Please tell me I'm not the only one like this.

I was really missing my friends. My friends are really important to me, they are people I spent years cultivating a relationship with. Many of them have been in my life anywhere from 5 to almost 20 years. Those are the  people who know me and who I can be myself around, no judgements and no condemnation. I feel secure and happy when I'm with them and if things are rough just being around them makes me forget my problems.
I was seriously missing those people to the point of a break down. It scares me that all these years apart will cause us to drift apart and when I finally decide to go home, the relationships will be completely changed because we've changed.

I was also struggling with managing my expectations of the friends I've made here.
When you move to a new place your need to be a part of a social group is more heightened because you're in this unfamiliar place and it can be painfully lonely.
You try to make friends as quickly as possible to create a sense of security.
Sometimes you don't get to know these people deeply enough but you assume that because you've clicked and spent so much time hanging out and having a good time, that they will be to you what your friends back home are. When that doesn't happen it can be disappointing.
You know how you have different types of friends who based on their personalities bring different things to your life; you have the listener, the shoulder to cry on type, then there is the comedian to make you laugh and the problem solver  to help you get your crap together. I have all these different people in my back home life.
The problem for me was that I expected one person to be all the things that all my other friends (back home)were to me collectively.
That is a lot to put on one person and  obviously it wasn't possible and  it was completely unfair to that person.
However before I realized the error of my way, I was thinking this person had somehow let me down by not being everything I needed. It finally hit me that I was being unreasonable and that person couldn't fulfill the expectations I had created for them. What I wanted from them just wasn't something they could give me. It was like expecting a cat to lay eggs (totally impossible and unreasonable).
If you choose to be friends with someone, you have to take them as they are.
That's what friendship is about.
I'm working on coming to terms with this reality. I don't know how I came to be this way, I am usually quite sensible. Seriously, moving can bring out the best and worst in you.

Thankfully I'm in a better place this week. I know I am very blessed to have some wonderful people in my life. I just need to focus on that.
The homesickness has subsided a little but I'm still counting the days until I get to be back to the states.

Thanks for listening,
Ciao!





March 18, 2014

Coconut Curry Shrimp





I made this last night and it was so yummy. The best part is that it is one of the simplest recipes you will ever make. It is so easy.

Someone on Instagram asked for the recipe so I am posting it here.
As usual the ingredients are not exact as I literally just threw it together for myself.

Ingredients:
Approximately 16 -20 medium peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2 red onion
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup cut up bell peppers (mixed colors)
1.5 cup spinach
1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1 tsp curry
1 tsp tumeric
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Saute chopped onion and garlic until the onions are translucent and fragrant.
Add the peppers and cook for about 2 minutes then add shrimp. Cook the shrimp until they are pink.
Add curry, tumeric and salt and pepper.
Cook for about 2 minutes then add coconut milk and spinach.
Allow to cook on low heat until the spinach wilts.
Makes 2 servings


There it is. So easy and simple. Takes maybe 10 minutes start to finish.
I served it with roasted vegetables but have had it with a baked sweet potato and it was great. I am thinking cauliflower rice would be another good option.












March 17, 2014

weekly wishes #16





Hey lovelies,
Happy Monday! I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

It's time for weekly wishes. Let's see how I did with my goals from last week.

Last Week's Wishes
  • take my vitamins everyday.   Did it!
  • eat before 7 p.m every evening.  Most evenings I was able to eat before 7 but old habits die hard. Going to continue to work on this. 
  • Do more squats. I was a squatting fool and I think it's working. This will be a recurring goal. 
  • Spend less time on social media. Can we say FAIL!!! Still embarrassed. 
  • Read.  I actually caught up on my reading despite not cutting down my social media time. What can I say, I'm like suoperwoman or something. 
  • Give myself a manicure. I did it but it wasn't in the least bit professional. I simply cut my nails, attempted to file them and put a few coats of clear polish on. My hands look only a little better but I'll take it. 

This Week's Wishes
  • continue squatting
  • put away of the piles of clothes slowly accumulating on the chairs around the house. 
  • keep my sanity at work. My Arabic co-teacher is out this week and I have the kids all to myself. Over 20 little kiddies to entertain for the entire school day takes it's toll. 
  • Pray and read my bible. Working on building my faith and relationship with God. 
  • Oil pull 5 days this week. This involves swishing coconut oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes to help promote healthy gums and rid my body of toxins. I'm trying to make it a regular habit. 
What are your goals for this week?

March 16, 2014

weekend re-cap



Hi lovelies,
The weekend has come and gone, all too quickly I might add. I was not ready for work this morning, wanting instead when my alarm shrilly interrupted slumber to roll over and bury myself deeper within the warmth of my duvet. Sadly, reality knocked and I was forced to answer its call. Time to go to work.

I had a great weekend, one of the better ones in a long time.
It began on Friday when I went to church and ran into my sweet friend R. He mentioned that he was going to be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with some friends and if I wanted to join. I tagged along and ended up meeting a really great lady who may become a good friend. Turns out she worked for the same Charter School network I worked for in NY at the same time that I worked there. We had probably gone on a few professional development events together and never met until we were half way across the world.
Small world much?

After this little get together, R and I headed out to have tea with my weekly tea buddy Jenny and her hubby. We spent some time catching up and enjoying each other's company.

 R and I were starving once we were done with tea. He took me to a new restaurant, where I had the best darn eggs and bacon I've had in a while. I don't know what they put in the food but it was delish considering it was something so basic as bacon and eggs.

Next up was coffee with another friend after R and I went our separate ways.

My evening wasn't done yet and after coffee I had just enough time to get home to eat and have a quick shower. Then it was off to the movies with a friend from work. If you haven't seen "300, Rise of an Empire" I highly recommend it. Well, only if you're into blood and guts and big brawny half-clothed  men.

Saturday was a bit more relaxing. I did a little grocery shopping, tidied up my messy place and finally got a chance to catch up on my reading. Later I went out for lunch with a friend.
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing some more and reading.

It felt good to be out and about catching up with old friends and making new ones.


I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Besitos

March 14, 2014

hair lately




Hey lovelies ,
Am I the only one who gets super excited  when they discover new products/stuff?
For me it's hair products. Seriously I love hair products and some may even refer to me as a product junkie and you know what, I'm okay with that. 

It's a process trying to find what works for your hair and if you try something and you don't like it, on to the next. Right??

My latest product find is from a company called Soultanicals. I found out about them from a little lady named Fran over at Hey Fran Hey
She mentioned a few of the products she liked and they just happened to be having a sale so I checked them out. I was really impressed with their line of all natural hair and body products. 

I prefer to use products that are chemical and sulfate free in my hair because I have Psoriasis on my scalp and it is exacerbated by chemicals. I count it a blessing when I discover a company that caters to the needs of  women with natural hair.

After checking out the products and reading reviews, I bought a few things. 
My mom brought them for me when she came so it hasn't been a long time since I've been using them but so far I am happy. 
My hair feels healthy and smells great which is always a bonus especially when you work out 4 times a week. I can't wash my hair after every workout. My hair would be dry as old bones and let's be honest, ain't nobody got time for that.


+ Master Hair Cleanse: A detoxifying hair cleansing mask that removes dirt and build up without drying your hair. This product promises to repair damaged hair over a 4-6 weeks period. 

The verdict is still out on this. I don't think my hair is damaged but it is a little dry sometimes and this has helped with retaining moisture since it has a wonderful list of ingredients which includes aloe vera, coconut oil, hemp seed oil and a bunch of other really great herbs and essential oils. 

+ Loc-n-Roll Twist and Fro Out: This a hair butter but can act as a body butter that helps to alleviate dry hair and skin. 
The main ingredients are mango butter, Grapeseed oil and a blend of other healing oils. 

I love using it at the ends of my hair when I twist it because it keeps the dryness at bay. Also it smells amazing. Very tropical but not overwhelming. 

+ Afrotastic Deep Conditioning Treat: This is a deep conditioning mask that helps to promote healthy and moisturized hair. 
There is a host of amazing ingredients and the smell of course is wonderful. 


In my arsenal of hair products are my staples of Organic Virgin coconut Oil and Shea Moisture products. These have worked for me and I don't think I'll ever give them up but it's nice to have some new goodies to mix things up a bit.

My hair has grown but it's really hard to tell because it curls up and shrinks like a frightened snake (lol, that's my analogy cause I couldn't think of an animal that shrinks). 
I am still happy that I made the decision to go natural and although there are days when I have "fro envy", I am mostly happy with my little sprouting afro. It grows at a snail's pace but it's getting there. Eventually it will be the big hair that I've been dreaming about. 





Can we get into these bags under my eyes. Like,where they come from? WTH?? 
I think I'm getting old people. 

March 13, 2014

capturing the human moments


"Comfort" Paris '13

In case you haven't quite figured it out yet, I love photography. I love trying to capture the beautiful things and moments that catch my eye. That passion ties into my passion for travel.

Nothing else gives me the opportunity to experience and capture beauty in a variety of cultures like traveling does. My camera is always at hand because you never know when that moment will arise for you to take the shot.

After doing some reflection I've realized that as much as I love photographing architecture, I love photographing people more. Street photography is where my heart is leading. I love capturing those special and rare human moments.

I know some people will have negative things to say about street photography but my feelings are that if the images are captured and used with positive intentions and as long as they are not taken in places where it is illegal to photograph people then it's okay.

However there is still a fair amount of trepidation associated with street photography and I will admit, I am a bit scared. I mean what if the people get angry? What if they try to break my camera? Kanye West much? You just never know.

As I was thinking these things I found this book by one of the street photographers I follow named Eric Kim.
It's called  "31 Days to Overcome Your Fear of Shooting Street Photography".
The best part is that it is FREE.

Kim offers tried and true advice on how to overcome that intrinsic fear that comes from shooting people (not literally of course). Some of his advice is pretty funny but all practical and doable.

My humble advice is to just get out there and do it. To perfect your craft you have to fight the fear holding you back.


"Fashion". Paris '13

"Music" Paris '13
"The Souq" 'Dubai'12

"Enamored" Paris '13
"Street Vendor" Istanbul '13

"Shoe Shine" Istanbul '13
"Friends" Abu Dhabi '12

"Waiting" Abu Dhabi '12

"Hidden" Abu Dhabi '12

"in the shadows" NY '12


"Chase" NY '12

"Tiny Dancer" NY '12

March 12, 2014

hair envy

I'll admit it. I'm not ashamed to say I have hair envy but can you blame me?
This is Cynthia and I regularly stalk  read her blog
She has amazing style but most importantly amazing hair. 

It's just so big and beautiful. 
I'm hoping that one day my hair will be just as big. 
A girl can wish right?

Check out her blog when you get a chance. It's pretty cool.


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March 11, 2014

Whole30- Week 3 and a recipe

Yay, week three of Whole30 and I'm doing really well. I am over the cravings and the initial feeling of exhaustion when you overhaul your eating, is gone. I feel really good and my belly is getting flatter. 

I honestly don't know how much weight I've lost. I stopped weighing myself  a long time ago and am just going by how I look and feel. Sometimes I'll try on a  piece of clothing that couldn't fit to get a sense of my progress. 

There are some jeans in my closet that are a bit snug in the waist. At the end of the Whole30 I'll try them on again and if they fit comfortably then I'll know I was successful because they couldn't even get them past my knees the first time I audaciously tried them on in the store. 

The second time on a whim I decided to try them when I revisited the store and they totally went up and I could actually button them. 
Of course I had to get them and they're my "skinny" pants. Haven't worn them once but I will.  Just need to keep myself on track and continue to focus on my goals.

Here are some of my meals for the past week, hope something inspires you. Feel free to reach out to me if there are any recipes you'd like. 


grilled lamb chops with pineapple fried cauliflower rice

tuna cakes with homemade garlic aioli and sweet potato fries

baked sweet potato, grilled chicken and butter browned mushrooms

curry chicken, mixed veggies and fried plantain


the tuna cakes  are so yummy you won't even remember that you used canned tuna. I really just went with my instincts when making these so the measurements aren't exact but it is really simple to make. Not much room for error.


Ingredients
1 can tuna (make sure it's soy free)
1 egg
1/2 chopped red onion
1 tbsp coconut flour
Mrs. Dash garlic flavor seasoning (or any seasoning you like)
1 tbsp coconut oil
cilantro or parsley

Directions
Drain tuna and add egg, seasonings and chopped onion and coconut flour.
Put oil to heat and roll tuna mixture into balls and flatten.
Cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes. Allow them to really brown before flipping them. That way they will retain their shape.

For the aioli I used a tbsp of homemade paleo mayo, 1 clove garlic chopped and the juice of half a lemon. stir together and serve with tuna cakes.


Well I hope you enjoy making these. I got four decent sized cakes out of the one can of tuna. I had two meals which is pretty awesome.
It was a nice change from the usual chicken or meat.

March 10, 2014

Weekly Wishes #15


Hey lovelies, it's that time of the week already.
Welcome to Weekly Wishes hosted by The Nectar Collective.
This month the weeks seems as if they are speeding by and I am happy because Spring Break is that much closer. I am beyond ready.

Let's get into it shall we.

Last Week's Wishes
  • successfully complete week 2 of Whole30.  Yay me! On to week 3. 
  • work out 5 days.  Didn't feel so good over the weekend and skipped the gym. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. 
  • begin my free trial of Photoshop and watch tutorials on how to do basic editing. Completely owned this one. Check out this post to see some of my work. 
  • Drink more water. Yeah did pretty good with this one too especially when I made "Sassy Water". 
This Week's Wishes
  • take my vitamins everyday. I just can't seem to remember. May need to set an alarm of some sort to remind me. 
  • eat before 7 p.m every evening. I procrastinate and sit around and before I realize the time has flown by and I'm eating dinner at 8. Not good at all. 
  • Do more squats. Just randomly do squats every and anywhere. Well maybe not everywhere but definitely when I'm brushing my teeth or cooking. Is that weird? Well I don't mind being a little weird cause I'll have a nice tush to show.
  • Spend less time on social media. It's embarrassing how much time I spend checking Instagram. I blame all those people who post pictures of food and their newly slimmed down figures. I'm practically obsessed. 
  • Read. Maybe when I cut down on the time on Instagram I can finally  finish the book I'm supposed to be reading. 
  • Give myself a manicure. Trying to save some money so in between my monthly mani/pedi treat, I'll give myself a home manicure. 

Okay folks, that's it for me. 
What are your goals/wishes for the week? Good luck!!!



March 9, 2014

currently




Listening to....
Love jamming to this while driving.

Reading....
Very interesting and sad book. It's hard to read.

Watching....
Greg Kinnear has always had a special place in my heart. Good to see him back on tv.



Craving....



Loving....
Loeffler Randal Sawyer Sandals