Things I love

  • ~Louis
  • ~Family&Friends
  • ~IceCream
  • ~MyKindle
  • ~CoffeeBreaks
  • ~Sparkles
  • ~Knitwear
  • ~Vanilla
  • ~AllThingsLUSH~
  • GossipGirlxoxo~
  • Chips&Ketchup~

25 September 2013

Strada - Amman

Tuesday, September 24: Review a book, place, or product.

It feels like it's been a while since I've written about places in Amman. Over the summer, and especially when I was working on my dissertation, Louis and I tried out several coffee shops in an attempt to find some decent "western" coffee (we were struggling to find cappuccinos that didn't taste like weak lattes).

One of the cafes I really liked was Strada cafe, just off Rainbow Street. It's not a very big cafe, but it is smoke free so that's a great plus in Amman. The coffee was nicely made, although they didn't have flavoured coffees. We also tried their Oreo cheesecake, which was moist and rich. I've been back a couple of times since, and each time I've not been disappointed. If you're in Amman and not sure where to enjoy a coffee, then try out Strada!


24 September 2013

My Life in a Letter

Monday, September 23: A "life lately" post. What you're up to, how you're feeling, how you're doing on your goals, etc. Bonus points for great photos!

Dear Baba,

Life has been pretty interesting lately. Let me start with what's going on around the world. Firstly, and although it's five years later, America has an African American president. You remember how you told me that you watched Martin Luther King Jr deliver his infamous speech in DC? Well, I think you would have loved seeing Obama inaugurated. I guess it's a milestone many of your time thought may never happen. So, that's the first piece of news! And, around the same time as his election, the world experienced a financial crises with effects that still reverberate with us today. But, I guess if the world survived the Great Depression, we can survive this!

A bit closer to home, the Arab nations decided that enough was enough and, about 2 years ago, started revolting against the various oppressive regimes in the region. I don't follow the events as closely as I should. Politics has never been of major interest to me unfortunately. It's been fairly unstable, what with the financial crises, wars, revolutions, threats and all that. I try to remain positive through it though. I mean, other than the fact that every nation and civilisation has gone through turmoil, unrest and revolution before settling down, we are literally witnessing history. And it's not always easy and it's definitely scary at times. 

My friend described the state of the world in a really beautiful way to me once. She said, the birth of a baby is messy, and ugly and painful, but then something really beautiful comes out of the whole ordeal. And she said that the world was kind of going through a similar phase, a messy, ugly period, but a more beautiful world will be born at the end. And that put things into perspective for me. I stopped fearing all of this uncertainty and tried to embrace it. Her positivity really inspired me, and I've not been as afraid since.

I think you would have loved keeping up with all the news - especially with the amount of social media that has developed over the past few years. I remember how you used to read newspapers online. Well, you would get the news straight to your phone now. Never miss a news story ever!

In personal news! Well, I've been married for almost four years! Can you believe that? Time does fly. He's really wonderful, and I'm not just saying that haha! Of course, I get sad sometimes that the two of you didn't get much time together. I'm sure you would have loved him. I think you would've enjoyed talking to him about economics and government and Yemen. He is really smart and asks a lot of questions - something I should've done more when you were around. I imagine that the two of you would have analysed all the action happening around us! He reminds me of you at time, his kindness and reasoning. I know that you can see that I'm happy.

Also, I decided to quit law. Pretty much altogether. I know, it's not what you wanted for me. After working in the field for a few years, I knew that I was never meant to be a lawyer. It took a lot of to-ing and fro-ing but I am now a Personal Assistant. To some it doesn't sound as glamourous as being a lawyer, but for me, it's the most content I have been in any job. I do work in a law firm, so all of my legal knowledge comes in handy and gives me an edge! But, ultimately I enjoy supporting people around me in a more personal capacity than being a lawyer. It's only been 6 months in my new career, so I do get worried I'm jinxing my luck! But I finally feel like I "fit" somewhere. And man, isn't it a great feeling! Having said that, I did complete my masters in law, which I'm sure you're proud of. I have to show off - I was awarded a distinction! I'm so pleased to have accomplished that. Some of my colleagues joked that I should re-think being a lawyer...but they know my reply to that!

Wow, I guess there is a lot of news once you sit down and write about it. The last "vital" piece of my life as it is currently, is that L and I moved to Amman last year. I just got tired of all the rain in the UK! Also, I wanted to be closer to Mama and my brothers. It's been a good year. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about moving countries again, but now that we've done it, I feel more confident in the even tthat we want to move again. And we've done so much travelling over the past 3 years. You'd be impressed by the number of countries that we've visited and places we've seen! I'm pretty sure I got the travel bug from you :)

So, that's life as it is. I think of you often. I know you're present in my life, but it doesn't make writing this letter any easier. When I was in high school I decided one day to write down a "plan". It did not look anything like how my life has really panned out!! But that's the exquisiteness in life. It throws what it knows you can handle. All it asks of us is to open up and trust that we will absorb the blows that come with the beauty. 

With all my love,


22 September 2013


 Friday, September 20: React to this term: comfort.

 ~Being surrounded by friends and family~Snuggling up on the couch with Louis~Eating cake~Drinking lovely coffee~Watching movies~Wearing cozy knitwear~Being engrossed in an all consuming book~Hugs~Living in and enjoying the moment.



18 September 2013

Worth 1000 Words

Wednesday, September 18: Only photos

17 September 2013

Sleeping on Swimming Pool Floors

Tuesday, September 17: A memory you would love to relive.

My grandfather from my father's side used to live in Upstate New York. During the summers that we did go to America, we would rent a car and drive up to visit him. I won't lie, I never thought these trips were that exciting. He lived in a small town, on a road with houses that looked the same. I remember that there were some rail tracks nearby, since we used to drive over them when we drove from our hotel to his house and back. 

The last time I visited his house was when I was very young, perhaps 7 years old. One of the most vivid memories I have of that time, though, was that of learning how to swim. You see my parents, two older brothers (who were studying in the US at the time), younger brother and I would stay at the Ramada when visiting my grandfather, and they had a small, but really pleasant, indoor swimming pool. And during our visits, after we'd spent the entire day with my grandfather and other family members, my older brothers would take my younger brother and I down to the pool and we would swim for what seemed like hours. 

It's amazing how simple life is when you are young. Which is one reason I would like to re-live this memory. I would like to go back, to the time that my older brother would show off his swimming skills and in turn make us want to learn how to swim. Taking turns, he would take each of us in his arms and "dive" down to the swimming pool floor so that we could touch it! He taught us this little trick where we'd grab on to the edge of the pool, put our feet up against the pool wall (like a froggie), then push ourselves into the pool and do an underwater somersault. It was (still is) the most impressive pool trick I have EVER learnt!

Another move he patiently taught us was how to blow out all of the air from our lungs and sink to the pool's floor, where we would sit cross-legged for as long as we could (which was never very long!).

And of course, he taught us how to lie on swimming pool floors :)


16 September 2013

Words to Yourself

Monday, September 16: Write a public love letter to someone in your life. (It doesn't necessarily need to be romantic.)

Dear Me,

I'm writing you this letter to tell you how much I love you. I know, it may sound crazy and narcissistic, but it seems that you forget to tell yourself those three words.

Why do I love you? Well, believe it or not, you're brave. Not many people would be able to leave their entire family and move to a different country at the age of 18. Not many people would then leave a country they loved to start a new life in the middle of the desert. So, you're pretty brave. It'd do you good to remember that every once in a while! 

Also, I love you because you are always trying to learn new things. And it kinda peeves me when you beat yourself up about not "getting things" straight away. I mean, remember when you started your first job and you'd never used Outlook but ta-dah! you managed? And now you're giving your colleagues tips about sharing calendars! How about figuring out eyelash curlers?! You were like "whaaaa?? WHAAA?" but BOOM, luscious lashes were achieved! Not just that, how about the fact that you've been trying to push your boundaries? I mean, you started a blog. You're doing a blog challenge. And even if there are days when you doubt your ability to continue, you push yourself and then realise that it's totally do-able.

I love you because you try to be a good friend. Now, I know that you're not always great at keeping in touch and you say you'll message but then you don't. But, ever since you had a pen-pal in 1st Grade, you have always made an effort to check-in with your friends every once in a while. Not many 11 year old children send snail mail to their friends in Canada for several consecutive years. But you did, and you even sent stickers with some of those letters too! 

I won't keep going about all this mushy mushy love. But I'll leave you with this: put in some time to remember all of your great qualities and create more positive energy for yourself. Being good to ourselves is just as important as being good to others. And I think that it's almost needed as a foundation to be able to support the love that you then give to others. 

Like scaffolding against a building. 



14 September 2013


Friday, September 13: A self portrait

Hmmm. Like a selfie? 

Since I'm not quite sure, I'm going to just post one of my favourite pictures from one of my most cherished days - 2 November 2009. I could barely contain my excitement at the prospect of seeing Louis and starting our married life together.


13 September 2013

Social Media

Thursday, September 12: Discuss ways that blogging or social media has changed you.
From here.
Just to spell it out, I love blogging and I love Facebook :) I'm not really into a lot of other social media (Twitter, Instagram, etc) but I love Facebook because it connects me to my friends and family all around the world...WITHOUT having to worry if they change email addresses or phone numbers, yet again! 

Blogging has been a really rewarding hobby for me. I started it almost a year ago because, well, I thought I had something to "tell the world" (haha!). But I've realised through the past 11 months that blogging has brought out that creative streak in me that I never thought existed. Plus, I love having a little "project" that I can develop and grow. 

I enjoy finding new blogs and exploring people's lives. And, surprisingly to myself, I start thinking of ways that I can grow and expand my blog. In that sense, blogging has also made me start analysing where I want my own personal and professional life to head. I'm becoming better at focusing on the aspects of myself that I would like to improve on and, more importantly I think, I'm becoming more able to break down how to achieve those things. And I really think that a large part of that is because I care about the progression of my blog and I am making a conscious effort to keep up the momentum. 

Perhaps not strictly social media but another way I have changed my routine over the past year is through the daily use of RSS feeds. I admit, I'm not the best at following news or trends, but because I add my favourite blogs and sites to my Blogger / bloglovin, I am always discovering interesting stories and keeping up with current events. 

I do think that social media is important. I think that perception of people has broadened to encompass your "online persona" and so I believe in doing things like taking the time to have a LinkedIn profile and setting appropriate privacy levels on Facebook.

But within that it's also really important to have fun and let your personality shine through! ;)


From the comfort of my couch

Wednesday, September 11: Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop.

I'm going to limit this to shops that only sell online rather than shops that I do online shopping with when I am too lazy to go to the actual shop! You can find details of other brands / shops that I love by clicking on the "wishlist" lable :)

Here and here.

Asos is one of my most favourite online shops. I was introduced to it in 2008 and have bought a lot of pretty dresses from there since. Other than the fact that it stock every type of clothing and accessory you can think of, it gives students 10% off and has recently been including more and more high street shops to its collection, which means even less effort when doing online shopping! Their returns system is easy and quick and their customer care is great.

I love Amazon! Mainly, because they are the brains behind the Kindle (which I can't live without) but also because it's a fantastic place to find whatever you're looking for at a cheaper price. And, because it's not a physical store, you can find items that would normally be out of stock in places like Argos or Woolworths. 

OF COURSE! I have used Ebay a LOT over the past few years. From stationary to jewellery, shopping on Ebay is simple and convenient. I've also sold many old items on the site so it's an awesome way of making a bit of extra money. 

And that's it! What are some online shops that you shop at?


10 September 2013

Turning Point

Tuesday, September 10: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.


One moment? Ok.

11 September 2002.

The day I boarded a Yemenia flight to London Heathrow to attend University in Sunny Leicester. Maybe this is a bit of a cop-out, because it's such a big event and I can rely on it "satisfying" today's prompt. But things really did change from that moment.

I had always wanted to leave home and Sana'a and live independently and alone and all that jazz. I remember I took only one suitcase, because I would have to shop in England and make sure I bought winter clothes. I remember waking up one October morning to a rainstorm like I'd never seen, and being cold in a manner I never knew I could be so I rushed to Topshop to buy the biggest, longest coat they had. I remember brushing my teeth in the morning darkness, absolutely confused as to what was going on. I remember sharing one bathroom with 5 other girls and being surprised that it was ok.

I remember being terrified of accepting any drinks from anyone, because my mom had warned me of murder stories that started that way. (R, remember that?) I remember being afraid of travelling at night, especially on buses. I remember going dancing with friends and sleeping when the sun came up. I remember not knowing ingredients to so many different dishes and having friends stand by and vet what I could and could not eat. With no judgment and never making me feel like I was causing any hassle.

Most of all though, I remember the transition. It was slow but I'm so thankful for it. 

I learned to trust people. Whereas in school, as a teenager, I guarded my feelings and secrets, revealing them only to my journal (ohhhhh yaaa I'm one of those), I opened up to friends and realised how incredible it is having people around you whom you could rely on. I realised that being vulnerable is not weak and, given the chance, people usually open up to you in return, and that's when you bond with them and hope to God that everyone has a chance to feel that way with at least one person. 

I learned to question myself and not be afraid of the answers. At first, it's scary. No, terrifying. Everything you thought "real" or true, is scrutinised and analysed until you feel that you don't know anything at all and you want the pain of going through this growth to stop. I found this particularly difficult. Many of my friends around me were used to analysing everything and coming to their own conclusions. I had somehow lived in a bubble until the age of 18! Which, I am grateful for and would not change. I learned that just because I or someone else questions something, does not mean that it is not true to me. On the contrary, it strengthens who you are. 

I learned not to take myself too seriously and to allow myself to change. And I learned how to lessen the amount of importance I placed on certain things so that I could be more open to other things that could be (or not be) more important.

I also learned to take night buses and trains without having a heart attack! And I did love living independently. It was worth it!


09 September 2013

Can I be of assistance?

Monday, September 9: Take this short personality test and respond to your results. (at the end, find the detailed profile of your personality account - click "click to view" under "You" and "self awareness and personal growth." You can even google your type and find more info on it!)

Of general relevance, not to this post though. Found here.

Aha! So, I took this test a while ago after I came across it in one of Jenni's posts. It was surprisingly accurate and I liked it because it told me that ideal careers for me include teaching and some sort of administrative careers. I had literally left law to teach and then landed a PA job. So that was nice validation (from the internet anyway haha). Also, I sent it to a close friend and we practically were the same personality! Thus, further validation of my friendship choices *wink*

Moving along, two things I need to tell you about me:

1. I absolutely LOVE personality tests!! Other than the shenanigans I mentioned my high school friends and I used to do, we used to take one personality test after another. "What's your ideal career?" "Who're you going to marry?" "What does your favourite colour say about you?" "Are you completely crazy and take too many tests?" So, ya.

2. Because I'd taken this test before and came up with ISFJ (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling & Judging), I am now worried that I will re-take the test and won't like the in, I may have changed as a person since taking the test..and not to my liking! And, to add more crazy to that statement, I'm not sure how to explain it, but I get really angsty if I think I'm "deceiving" myself or others when it comes to silly things. For example, I refused to to wear mascara and eyeliner until about the age of 20 because I was worried that if I wore mascara and eyeliner everyday, I would be lying to people about the true depth of my eyes and length of my eyelashes. Not that I see ANYTHING wrong with enhancing what you have. Further-crazy, I thought that if I got people used to seeing me wearing make-up, when I don't wear it I would look like 137662 times uglier. Cray-zay.

Anyhoo. I am just gonna re-take the test and see what happens!!


Introvert(22%)  Sensing(38%)  Feeling(38%)  Judging(33%)

Perhaps I didn't change much...OR...I just managed to dig up my previous answers from my subconscious and answer the questions in the same manner. I will continue to analyse that over a cup of crazy.

What were your results? Did they surprise you?  


06 September 2013

Death by ice cream

Friday, September 6: A story about a time you were very afraid.
Found here.

Funnily enough, this prompt was a little tricky, considering I am one big COWARD. After thinking for two days, this is the story I am going to share. 

During the summer of 1992, my parents, younger brother and I went to America to visit my oldest brother. I was 7 at the time, or I'd just turned 8, can't quite remember. Because it was summer and we were on holiday, we were allowed to eat quite a lot of ice-cream. Usually home made ice cream cones like the ones in the photo :) Sadly, on one of those days, I overdid it. 

I didn't realise I'd overdone it until we went out for a walk along the Reflection Pool near the Washington Memorial and I became very, very, very thirsty. So thirsty that I convinced myself that I was dying from over eating ice cream. There were water fountains every few meters or so, and I would run to them, guzzle water, then run back to my family, only to be thirsty again by the time I reached them. 

I was terrified. What was this unheard of disease that attacked young, albeit ice cream greedy, girls?! I really do remember telling my parents that it was the end, that I was dying because my thirst could not be quenched.

Of course I was fine but there you go. 


05 September 2013

Picking your battles

Thursday, September 5: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 

Today's prompt doesn't specify that I have to pick one piece of advice. But I will, because it's one that I can clearly define from a specific period of my life. 

I was a senior in high school and having endless "discussions" and talks about where I would attend university once I graduated. I argued with many people, countless times and after each debate I would despair about the whole topic and my future. Even if my parents took me aside and assured me that nothing would change their mind about sending me abroad, I would cry and feel sorry for myself. 

But my mom gave me a piece of advice that I can't forget. She said that I couldn't let every person who resisted my plans bring me down because then I would never get anywhere in my life. 

And she was absolutely right. Even if people don't like what you're doing or going to do, if you think it's the right thing for you, then take time to listen to them but then be strong and just do what you have decided to do. 

Thank you Mama for being a strong and selfless role model and making me realise that battles will come and go but I can choose to overcome them.


04 September 2013

The easiest question EVER!

Wednesday, September 4: If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? (bonus points for fun photos from Pinterest, but don't forget to cite the source!)

Right, right, right. Two things I have to assume for the purpose of today's prompt:

1. Louis has three months off too
2. Money is not an object

To get this fabulous road trip off to an equally fabulous start, Yemen would be stop number one. Not only because I miss my family, but also because they would kill me if I was off for a trip around the world and didn't visit them first! 

That's meant to be Louis...

Next stop: The US of A!

I really want to spend a decent amount of time travelling around the US. There are so many places to visit, so many friends and family who live there that I'd like to see and so much food I'd like to try! It would be fun to rent a car and just drive across the country, from East to West.

Places on my hit list:

  • Washington DC - because I haven't been there since 2000 and I just think it's a great capital city
  • Boston - if we leave now, we'll get there during Fall, which is something I've always wanted to experience
  • Philadelphia
  • Connecticut - because one of my bestest friends lives there
  • New Orleans - on my list really because of the rave reviews by a close friend
  • Grand Canyon  - YES!
  • Vegas - why not?!
  • LA & San Fransisco

Next destination: Japan / South Korea

Other than the fact that I love Japanese food, I am really interested in visiting Japan to see more of their culture, present and past, and explore the far East. I dream of wandering around stone gardens, dressing up as a geisha and being blinded by the cities' lights.

And South Korea, because I've had many South Korean friends whom have all been amazing people. I want to experience their country, like they have mine :)
Image found here.
Image found here.

Finally: Australia and New Zealand

Kangaroos and cuddly animals. Need I say more? Ok, also the spectacular views, especially those in New Zealand, snorkelling, hiking, surfing and all kind of sports I would not usually dare try!

What would you do with 3 months' off?

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