January 30, 2015

Friday Confessional #7

Today I'm super happy. It's the end of my first Whole30 challenge for the new year.
I'm even happier because it's the first one that I actually completed one successfully. I've attempted to do a challenge maybe three or four times but always end up cheating and once I mess up, I give up completely.
This time it was different. I wanted, as part of my goals for the new year, to really focus on not only setting goals but executing them 100%.
I knew that I had to see this through to the end. Also I really wanted to lose a few pounds accumulated over the holidays.

To say it was easy would be a lie. It's never easy deciding to change your eating lifestyle but because I have been doing Paleo for a while, doing the Whole30 was a lot easier this time around.
Basically, in order to detox your body and break dependency on unhealthy foods you give up all forms of sugar, dairy, legumes, wheat and processed foods. You give up all treats (including paleo ones made with seemingly healthy ingredients) and you even give up sugar-free gum (artificial sweeteners).
Sounds like torture right? LOL. Not as bad as you think. The first few days are hard especially if you have a serious addiction to all things sugary. Luckily, I no longer do. Paleo took care of that for me. I have gotten over most cravings so I didn't struggle in that department.
My problem was that I had eaten so much carby foods and drank so much beer in Vietnam that my body was being fueled by the residual crap left over. Once I started the detox process, there were days when I felt like crap because my body was dealing with getting that stuff out. I had low energy and was exhausted. This only lasted three or so days thankfully.

I didn't drop crazy weight but I have lost quite a few inches. I forgot to take my measurements and didn't weigh myself before I started but I have a pair of jeans that I deemed my "skinny jeans" that I've been using to determine how much progress I'm making. It was one of 2015 resolutions to fit into them.

I tried them on this morning and holy smokes, they totally fit.
Like actually fit. Before when I tried to get into them I felt like a sausage stuffed into a straw, but now they are comfy and I don't have fat rolls spilling over.

Ok so the Whole30 is over, what's next? How do I plan to continue the momentum?
My goal is to return to a paleo lifestyle. Some people start reintroducing certain foods like yogurt but there isn't anything I totally miss, well maybe the occasional glass of wine. I think I may have wine once in a while.
I have more weight to lose and I have to continue to eat right and workout. It's a slow process but the results do come. You have to be willing to make the sacrifices and put the time in.

Hopefully this inspires someone to give Whole30 a try. Feel free to reach out to me with questions. It really isn't as hard as it sounds.
Have a great weekend.

January 28, 2015

All the Pretty Things

Hello my lovelies. Hope you are well.

Am I the only one who drools over pretty things?
I can be such a girl sometimes.

Here are just a few things that have caught my eyes while perusing the World Wide Web.
Aren't they lovely?

lacy bra-let
interesting heels

delicate jewelry
brightly hued shoes

Simple and clean accessories
Thanks for stopping by.

January 26, 2015

Weekly Wishes #44

Hi lovelies,
I am so exhausted! Forgive me for any spelling or grammatical errors. I feel like my brain just wants to take a nap. I've been trying to go to bed early but can't sleep because of this dumb cough I've got going on. I wake up way too many times in the middle of the night practically hacking up a lung. So annoying!
Anyway, otherwise I'm ok. No complaints folks. The weekend was fun. I met up with one of my lovely friends and had breakfast. We played dress up and had loads of fun. We kept trying on the faux fur winter stuff they had in one particular store and taking selfies. I thought the sales ladies were going to ask us to leave at one point. Such fun!

I did a little update to the blog. I'm not super creative and most def not a graphics type of person but I figured I should try something new. I like it. What do you think?

Check out my goals yo.

Last Week's Goals
  • Finish my book Am working on it. I'm almost there, think it should be done by the end of the month. 
  • Go to bed at a decent hour.  I keep failing at this and I am suffering. I need to get it together. 
  • Complete this week of Whole30. One more week to go!! I've been tempted a few times to eat a cookie or some cake but I'm sticking to it. 
  • Drink loads of water I did really good on this but not as good as I hoped. It's a work in progress. 

This Week's Goals
  • bed by 9:30
  • Laundry
  • pay bills
  • vacuum the house
  • wash the bathroom
  • meal plan
  • finish my book
What's on your agenda this week? 

linking up with melyssa

The Gratitude Project #3

Hi lovelies,
Welcome! I hope you are doing marvelously.

This week I am grateful for ...

  1. Christmas cookies shipped all the way from Germany, a wonderful surprise from a lovely friend. I am waiting anxiously for the last day of my detox so I can eat them.
  2. laughter, because it's truly the best medicine.
  3. my kids. They are pretty darn cute and most days, very well behaved. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

January 24, 2015

Friday Confessional #6

Hi lovelies,
Happy weekend! I am a little late with this here Friday Confessional but better late than never is what I like to say.

I am happy to report that I am in a much better head space than I was last week.
So did things change or get better? No, but my attitude did.
There are still some roadblocks in my way but instead of spending my time worrying, I have chosen to continue to live and enjoy life.

I'm laughing more and doing things that I enjoy. It's amazing how much it helps to change your focus and outlook.

Yesterday I received an email from a former student. After 3 years of being away, she still misses me and thinks I'm the best teacher she has ever had. That really put a smile in my heart.

I've also been spending time with my friends. Sometimes when you are feeling crappy, it seems like the best thing to do is to isolate yourself but being around friends can really help to cheer you up. Just make sure to spend time with the friends who are generally positive and won't bring you down further. Laughter is really the best medicine.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful weekend.

January 19, 2015

Weekly Wishes #43

Hello lovelies,
Sometimes I absolutely love living here in the UAE. Take today for instance, when it rained. That's a normal occurrence in most places but a rarity in a dessert climate. That's not the awesome part though. The awesome part is that they dismissed school early. It wasn't even a thunderstorm- type- torrential -downpour-kind of rain.  Seriously, where else doe that happen?

My co-worker and I went out for lunch and enjoyed the extra hours gifted to us. It wrong to wish it rains again tomorrow? Can I get so lucky 2 days in a row?????

Anywho, let's see how I did with my goals for last week shall we?

Last Week's Goals
  • Schedule a much needed and long overdue dental appointment.
  • Hit the gym 4x 
  • Create meal plan and actually stick to it.  
  • No arbitrary grocery buying.Stick to my list!
  • Drink more water especially a glass before bed.
  • Read bible at least 5 nights
  • Limit time on social media. I was doing so well before the holidays but I've gotten caught up again. I'm wasting time that I could be using to read a book and my bible.
  • Find a book to read.  
Yes lovelies, I managed to get my goals accomplished, ok except that bit about social media. Arg...I'm hooked I tell you, hooked! Is there AAA for Social Media? 

This Week's Goals
  • Finish my book
  • Go to bed at a decent hour. Apparently insufficient sleep affects your ability to lose weight 
  • Complete this week of Whole30. One more week to go!! 
  • Drink loads of water

That's all folks. 
Have a lovely week. 

January 17, 2015

The Gratitude Project #2

Hey lovelies,
I hope that you're enjoying your weekend. Mine is almost over. I could definitely use another day.

This week I had to dig really deep to find some things that I'm grateful for. It was just that kind of week.
That is the point of me doing this project though, finding the good things even in the face of difficulty.
So here is my list, a very short one.

  1. A good hug. I ran into my friend Faith who gives the best hugs. I was in desperate need of one but I didn't realize it at the time. Looking back now I see that it is something I needed. Thanks Faith!
  2. Friends who read my blog and send me messages to see how I'm doing. Thanks Lorien!
  3. My crockpot, for making life so much easier. 

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” 
― Eckhart Tolle

Have a great day. 

January 16, 2015

Friday Confessional #5

Hey lovelies,
Yay, it's Friday!!!!
I hope you all have amazing things planned for the weekend.

This week was somewhat of a challenging one.
Not only am I feeling like crap health wise (bloody allergies!) but I've had some roadblocks that are standing in the way of me getting some very important things accomplished. Everything seemed as if they were going smoothly, then out of the blue came these roadblocks. It's so overwhelming even thinking about them right now.

It is taking everything in me not to feel discouraged and sorry for myself. I keep saying little prayers asking God for peace of mind that it will all work out.

I am positive that God has a plan and that even though I can't see it or even imagine what it could possibly be, it will be revealed to me in the right time.

Hopefully, that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is just around the bend.

Have a wonderful weekend!

January 12, 2015

Weekly Wishes #42

Hi lovelies,
I  hope you had a wonderful weekend.
Mine was very low key. I spent all day Friday cooking so I was exhausted. On Saturday I caught up on my rest and tv watching. Sometimes it's good to stay in and chill.

It's Monday already?
Time for weekly wishes y'all.

Last Week's Goals
  • gym 4 times  check, I feel especially good about accomplishing this goal. I've been out of the gym for a minute and it feels so good to be back even if I'm still sore.
  • write Gratitude post check. Read it here
  • create weekly meal plan check. I made it but kinda did some extra buying. Now I have way too much grocery. I would hate to see things go to waste because of that.
  • work on resume and cover letter check
  • get car washed  finally! 
  • upload Vietnam pics from camera fail womp womp. Soon

So here are my goals for this week.I'm hoping I can kick butt again this week. 
  • Schedule a much needed and long overdue dental appointment.
  • Hit the gym 4x 
  • Create meal plan and actually stick to it. 
  • No arbitrary grocery buying.Stick to my list!
  • Drink more water especially a glass before bed.
  • Read bible at least 5 nights
  • Limit time on social media. I was doing so well before the holidays but I've gotten caught up again. I'm wasting time that I could be using to read a book and my bible.
  • Find a book to read.
That's it. Sure seems like a lot. Wish me luck.
Can't wait to see what you guys are working on for this week. Check out The Nectar Collective for some link up fun.

January 10, 2015

The Gratitude Project #1

One of the lessons that 2014 taught me is the importance of having a spirit of gratitude.
I had many moments when I would focus only on the things that were going wrong and it would leave me feeling discouraged and miserable. When I chose to focus on the blessings, I was much happier and more positive.
Unfortunately, I  was really good at focusing on the negatives and not so much at focusing on the blessings. It was just so much easier to see what wasn't going well.
Part of my goals for 2015 is to do the opposite of that.
I have decided to create my own gratitude project. Basically, every week I choose at minimum of 3 things that I am grateful for. I am committing to looking beyond my circumstances and finding things that add value and joy to my life.
It doesn't have to be anything life changing or huge, just something that makes me smile even when my day sucks, especially when my day sucks.

This week I am grateful for

  1. My apartment. I love coming home and just relaxing in the comforts of the little space I've created. 
  2. My friends who constantly check on me to see how I'm doing and to tell me how much they miss me. It definitely feels good to be loved.
  3. All forms of social media that allows me to maintain the relationships I have here and at home. 
  4. Appletv. Thanks Apple for this awesome invention that allows me to watch some of my favorite shows while sitting in my stretchy pants on my couch. 
I feel better already just thinking about this list. 

What are you grateful for this week. I'd love to hear from you.

January 9, 2015

Friday Confessional #4 + Recipe

Hello lovelies, 
Happy Friday! 
I was super busy today cooking and meal prepping so that during the week I won't have to do too much. I literally spent 4 hours today chopping vegetables, seasoning meat, baking and sautéing. I'm exhausted! 
It will all be worth it in the end though. I have salads for lunch prepped to go, roasted veggies ready for dinner. I have a whole chicken slow cooking in the crock pot and some wings marinating in fridge. I'm going to throw those in the crockpot too once the chicken is done. Bet you didn't know a crockpot was so versatile. You can cook just about anything in there, it's awesome!!

All of last week I had boiled eggs for breakfast and I wanted something a little different this week. 
It's a challenge to make something for breakfast that doesn't include eggs. I had to find a way to be more creative especially when I don't have much time in the mornings. 
A great way to change things up is to add some kind of meat or veggies. Lamb seemed the best choice cause I love lamb. Like a lot. Kind of obsessed with it actually. Hmmmm...lamb. Any who...

Here's the recipe for that amazing quiche like yumminess pictured above. I really didn't measure the ingredients but it's so easy, trust me. I'm going to guess at the portions. 


1/4 kilo Ground lamb ( I bought half kilo and used half the portion)
1 cup frozen broccoli ( thawed and chopped)
1/4 cup chopped onions (I used frozen chopped onions)
2 cups kale
2 cups spinach
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon turmeric
A few dashes of Mrs. Dash
2 tsp organic ghee
2 tbsp coconut milk
12 eggs

Heat 1 tsp ghee and add onions. Cook until fragrant, then add the lamb.
Cook the lamb until the pink is gone. Add turmeric, salt, pepper, cinnamon and Mrs. Dash. 
 Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. This should take about 5 minutes. (You don't want the lamb to be too dry). Transfer lamb to a separate dish and prep pan for the kale and spinach.
Add the remaining ghee and cook the kale and spinach. 
Beat eggs with the coconut milk. Fold in all the other ingredients and stir together. 
Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes until firm. 

I baked mine for 35 minutes and it was a little dry. I think that five minutes will make a difference. It's still pretty yummy. I love the combination of cinnamon with lamb. Such a lovely flavour. 
Hahaha, I'll be eating this all week. 
Just heat n' eat. 

I hope you make it at home and let me know what you think. 

January 6, 2015

Guide to Eating Street Food when Traveling

Amazing BBQ from this street side vendor. 

One of the most exciting things about traveling is trying new foods, well for me it is. I look forward to sampling things I've never heard of or tried before. Even some things I would never have imagined putting into my mouth.  
I am willing to try almost anything once.  I've had street food across Thailand and now Vietnam. I've also eaten in my fair share of very local places in Oman and  Nepal that would make you question my sanity. Knock on wood, but I've never gotten sick.

Asia is particularly lauded for its street food. The food's good and cheap. Like really cheap. 
I wouldn't exactly call myself an expert but from my experiences so far I've compiled a few tips for eating street food when traveling. I know for many people this is one of the most difficult part of traveling and they tend to stick to foods that are more western or familiar.
Not only is that super expensive but a big part of the culture is the food and it would be a huge disservice to you to not immerse yourself wholly in the culture of the places you travel to.

Here are just a few of the tips I've picked up along the way. 

1. Choose stalls/vendors that are busy. Lots of action typically means that the food is good and chances are the food is freshly prepared. 

2. Relax your standards of cleanliness a little. You're more likely to get sick from worry than you are from the food. In real life I am a germaphobe, I always wash my hands before eating and cooking. I carry sanitizer and disinfectant wipes everywhere but when I travel there are things beyond my control. I refuse to spend my time focusing on what's going on with the cook or what's on the plates. I would miss out on some amazing food if I did.

3. Eat where the locals eat. They know the beast places with the best food.

4. If you have no clue what to order, look in someone else's plate. If it looks good, try it. When I was in Vietnam I couldn't read the menus most of the time but if I saw someone eating something that looked amazing I'd just get it. This strategy hasn't failed me yet.
I saw a local lady eating this at a very popular spot in Hanoi's Old Quarter. Had no clue what it was but everyone was eating it so of course I had to give it a go. It was delish!

5. Don't be afraid to eat from strangers especially the locals. I've had random people share their food with me and it gave me the opportunity to try something different. Definitely exercise some degree of caution and it's ok to say no if you just can't bring yourself to accept but lighten up some. I haven't gotten sick.
I ate this fertilized duck egg offered by a stranger at a roadside bar while in Vietnam. First time I spat it out so they gave me another. LOL and I ate it.  

6. Go with your guts. If someplace just doesn't look clean, don't eat there. I've been on the verge of fainting from hunger many a times but refused to eat simply for the sake of eating. I always refer back to tips 1 and 3.

7. Always walk with imodium  just in case. The truth is that no matter how much caution you exercise there is still the potential to eat something that doesn't sit well with you. It's good to be prepared. Get the quick release which promises to relieve stomach issues in an hour.

Here are just a few of the awesome meals I had while in Vietnam. All from street side vendors.
quail eggs

Bun Cha. marinated pork served with rice noodles and herbs
I think this is called Banh Xeo but I don't know for sure. It's like a  hard taco shell stuffed with shrimp and  some noodles among other things. I had no idea how to eat it so the waitress took a piece and made a little wrap in the thing below that looks like paper. You dip it in a sauce and eat. It was really yummy.

I can't remember the name of this dish but it's a sort of thin pancake steamed and then stuffed with minced port. its covered with dried shrimp and shallots and coriander. You dip it in the sauce which has one piece of roast pork. You take little bites of the pork as you eat the noodles. 

Fruits in coconut and condensed milk served with a little bit of crushed ice. Surprisingly good. 

And of course there was Pho!

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I hope it has encouraged you to step outside your comfort zone even just a little.

January 5, 2015

Weekly Wishes #41 + January Goals

Cruising the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

Hello lovelies, I hope that 2015 is treating you well thus far.
Vacation is officially over and I'm back to work. Booo. I'm greedy and love vacations, is that such a bad thing?

On to more positive things. I started my first round of Whole30 and it's day 5 already. I am feeling good and plan to get through the next 25 days by planning my meals ahead of time, having one day to do most of my cooking and making snack bags to have on the go.
If you're interested in finding out more about Whole30 check out this link. It's a great way to reset your body and get on the path to a clean and healthy lifestyle.

In an effort to make my goals for the year more manageable and increase my chances of success, I'm focusing on completing one or two things each month that will contribute to my overall plan.
So this month these are my goals.

January Goals

  • Complete Whole30
  • Go to church 2 times
  • Read 2 books 
  • Begin my Gratitude Project. My goal is to spend some time each week reflecting on at least 3 things that I'm grateful for. I think it's important to focus on the positive things happening in my life.
  • No shopping for clothes, shoes or random crap.
  • Save money towards my trip to Jordan.
This Week's Goals
  • gym 4 times 
  • write Gratitude post
  • create weekly meal plan
  • work on resume and cover letter
  • get car washed
  • upload Vietnam pics from camera
What are you guys working on for this week? Whatever it is I wish you much success. Have a great week. 

January 1, 2015

Year in Review: 2014

As with any year, 2014 came with it's own set of highs and lows.
Despite the challenges, of which there were quite a few, I am supremely grateful for all that I was blessed with.
I can't say enough how fortunate I am for being able to live my dream. My prayer is that 2015 will be an even better year of personal growth and opportunities to continue to turn my dreams into realities.

There were so many wonderful and special memories from 2014. Here are just a few of the highlights of the year .

  • mom came to visit. It was wonderful showing her around Abu Dhabi and spending time with her.

  • traveled to Nepal

  • My summer trip home to NY was amazing. I reconnected with friends and family, some of whom I hadn't seen in ages.

  • Road trip to Oman. I absolutely love Oman and it always makes me so happy when I go. 

  • Made some new friends in Abu Dhabi.
  •  went on my first solo trip. 

There were also some poignant lessons that I garnered from 2014. Some were very hard lessons but I am definitely a much better person for them.
  • Never compromise who I am to please others
  • Follow my heart and instincts always. no exceptions
  • Pray more and worry less
  • Facebook and Instagram aren't measuring sticks for my life/success
  • I am braver and tougher than I ever imagined
  • Find joy in even the smallest thing
  • God is in control
  • Be present in the moment
this new year will undoubtedly be awesome and I am excited to see what lies ahead.