December 29, 2010

Rain, Shopping & Other Stuff

So we got some rain today, it's really rare for it to even drizzle here in Hurghada. This is only the second time it's rained this year. The last time was in January, I posted about it and it was quite a heavy rainfall and a mess. Thankfully today it didn't rain very hard but there was thunder and lighting and the kids were really excited about that. Well, most of them. Salwa was convinced lightning would strike us.

This past week I was getting some new clothes for the kids. It was so easy when they were young. I'd just pick out what I thought was cute and it was fun and easy. Now that they have opinions on style and what's cool, it's a nightmare for me. To be fair, Dawood (12) doesn't care, he isn't picky and isn't into his looks yet. Safiyah, (6) loves everything and is an easy shopper. Salwa (almost 9) and Zayneb (almost 11) are the tough ones.They hardly like anything and I have to convince them to try stuff on just to see how it looks. Sometimes something looks so different on and then they are convinced. I went from store to store trying to find stuff they liked, that matched and that I approved of. I kept trying to explain that if they want to wear boots, then you need to wear skinny jeans, and if you're going to wear skinny jeans then I'd like you to wear a longish shirt. It took 2 days and a few exchanges but we were all finally happy with their purchases in the end. Zayneb had me take this picture minutes after we got home so she could see her ensemble.



























I didn't get a chance to get a new abaya like I wanted. That's a trip I like to make alone or with just one kid. Zayneb's my fitting room guard since most fitting rooms here are a little booth with a curtain. I hope to go soon, with any luck I'll find one that I really like.  I did get a few little things recently, though. 

This scarf called my name. I love the colors and it goes great with any
black abaya. 

















These hijab pins were just 4.50LE, that's like 80cents or something.


Love these earrings, the bows are so cute.

My friend gave me this flower pin. It's also a hair band. 
You know when food is just so pretty, you have to take a picture?
That was the case with these here strawberries, mashaAllah.

































































































We are about to start midyear exams and it's such a pain because they are spread out over 2-3 weeks. Starting next week they don't have school except for the days of exams. Some days 2 of them have a test and some days just one of them, some none. The last exam is Dawood's on Jan 20.  Then we have a break until Feb 12. I can't wait. My mom's coming then and we can do lots of fun stuff when there's no school. Stay up and watch movies. Go out and not worry about HW or studying. Go away maybe. I'm really looking forward to it.

December 23, 2010

The Dreaded Anonymous Comment

So what's the big deal about Anonymous comments? Do you hate them? It seems like most bloggers have an immediate dislike for people posting Anonymous, well pretty much only when they have something negative to say. It does seem like most people that do have something negative to say do so anon though, right?

In all honesty, I once posted an anon comment on a post and it didn't end well. I decided then if I have something to say, I'll just say it as MonaZ. I do have to bite my tongue sometimes though because what I have to say isn't what someone wants to hear so I refrain from commenting at all in that case.

I don't know, I suppose if you allow anonymous comments on your blog, sometimes people will post anonymously. People seem to take it as an insult and need to find out WHO it is, etc.  Guess what, there's an anonymous feature there for a reason. Somehow when someone leaves a less than kind comment, anonymously, bloggers take it really personally.

I guess it can be cowardly to comment anon, but sometimes it just should be accepted. If someone has something to say about you or your blog, maybe just take that in and think about it. Either they have a point and you can learn from it or they're a jerk and not worth worrying about. I don't get a lot of anonymous comments but when I do, I don't delete them, I just reply to them like any other comment. I don't care who it is.

December 21, 2010

Randomness

Haven't had much to blog about lately, getting over sickness, not doing much. The kids have mid year exams soon then the break so we're looking forward to that. Might go on a little trip, we'll see, inshaAllah.

I love changing the template. I'll spend hours and can't stop until I love it. I'm not crazy about this blog template but I need to sleep soon. Plus, it won't kill me to leave it for a while till I find what I want.

It's been getting colder here lately. Of course cold here is not the same as cold in the US or elsewhere. You see all the tourists in shorts and tanks and the Egyptians are wearing sweaters and coats. It's all relative. It's still warm and sunny during the day. It goes down to the 50s (10c) at night. The thing is there's no indoor, central heat so the houses are stone and they get cold. It's sometimes colder inside than it is outside in the sun. I do like the chance to bundle up a little and break out the warm blankets and fuzzy slippers though. 

My apartment needs a big clean up, I have to organize the kid's clothes because so far I've taken out the winter stuff but haven't put away the summer stuff so it's a mess, my stove is gross, I need to get on it. Last time I did some major cleaning a couple of weeks ago I had a major asthma attack cause of the dust. The doctor told me not to dust. How can I not dust in Egypt? E suggested getting a cleaning lady to help but I'm not a fan of the idea.  As touched upon in Londoneya's post,  they tend to flood your place with water and it's just a whole hassle and you have to help anyway, I can't just sit there and have a woman clean around me. Maybe I'll get a surgical mask and then unearth the under bed clothing storage and spray oven cleaner.

Even when I think I don't have anything to say, I miss blogging and ramble on about nothing. Thanks for listening.

December 15, 2010

Decor

I love looking at home decor pictures. A few of my favorite sites are Apartment Therapy, Ideal Home and Houzz.

I would love to have an open plan kitchen. You feel more a part of what's going on around you and it's airy.
I love this one. The blue is my favorite color. I believe Crayola coined it "cadet blue".
























Now bathrooms are a sanctuary. Imagine having a shower under this. Like a rain cloud over your head!



























I don't need a huge bathroom, Just a big, claw foot tub. That's luxurious on it's own.

Elegance & Decay eclectic bathroom

Bedrooms should be serene. I love the grey striped wall and the throw pillows here. The storage bench is also handy and cute.

































I think I like this one more. Chocolate brown and pale pink. I also love the bedside lamps.


































The family room is the most important, I think. I love this one. It's cozy and clean and welcoming. I like the idea of a ottoman/coffee table. It has my favorite colors and plenty of seating. Click the photo to see the rest of this amazing room.

San Carlos Residence Two contemporary family room

December 9, 2010

The Lure of Christmas


What is it about Christmas that is so attractive? I"m talking about the commercialized, secular Christmas here. Even here, we can't escape the decorations in shops and the songs at school. There's something about it that just grabs children and adults alike. I don't know if it's because we grew up with it, but I find my self nostalgic for red & green candy and Christmas lights.  Is it because it's such an old tradition, ingrained in our memories? We didn't celebrate it at all as kids, our parent's would not have it, of course. But because we wanted to get in on the fun, my siblings and I got each other "New Years presents".  

 I'm not saying we should copy Christmas.I'm not. I recently came across some photos from an event, an Islamic function called 3mu 3Eid. (Uncle Eid) It was a dude dressed in full gulf Arab gear with a Santa beard and a bag of gifts on his back. How lame is that? It's messed up on several levels.  Do we have to cater to Christmas hungry children to that extent?! NO. That's just selling out. Besides, it's supposing that Muslim = Arab.

We do make a big deal about Eid and we get new clothes and pjs, give gifts, go out and have fun on Eid day, but we need to make our holiday more fun and exciting so it doesn't pale in comparison with Christmas. I know it's not a competition but I want my kids to really love Eid.

I hate to make it sound like we need to commercialize Eid but I'm afraid that's kind of what I'm saying. As much as we try to make Eid fun, and keep traditions for the kids, there's a certain spark missing. Maybe it's as simple as specific Eid candies or decorations that are Eid specific but It kind of saddens me when the kids come home excited because they decorated a Christmas tree in the classroom or because "Santa" came. I don't know, I'm just talking here.

What do you think? What is it about Christmas?

Sickly

I'm sick. It's horrible. You know the feeling...

Your nose is so blocked up you can't even sleep. NO not the alarm clock already!
You're coughing so much, your stomach muscles are sore. I didn't know I had abs.
The rest of your body aches just as much. Someone rub my shoulders?
You go through 500 tissues in a day and they surround you and litter the bed and floor. I'll get those later.
You're sick of soup and orange juice. I know, I know, fluids. Your head is heavy and pounding. SHHHHHH!
You're hot one minute then freezing the next. Where are those socks!? Somewhere under the blankets. 
You're taking meds that make you sleepy but life can't wait for you to take a nap. It's bedtime kids, that means you're supposed to be IN BED.

You've completely forgotten what it feels like to feel normal, to be healthy and you swear to never take that for granted again.

Until you do. Alhamdulillah.

December 8, 2010

24 HOUR PHOTO CHALLENGE







































The 24 HOUR PHOTO CHALLENGE is an online photography contest where the competitors receive the contest rules and regulations at a specified hour and have only 24 hours to shoot, edit and submit their photo to the judges.  
This is an international competition and does not necessitate that you live in a specific timezone to participate. However, you must coordinate your time accordingly because for each contest the rules are given at the specific time and you have 24 hours from the release of each contests specific rules and guidelines to complete your photos. 
Each contest will have a different theme and none of the participants will know the theme until the release of the rules at the start of the competition.

 You can use any camera you have for this challenge. Anybody can participate. Just go to the Facebook page and click Attending.  


Mustafa Davis is a judge and sponsor of the contest and is an extremely talented photographer, you should take a look at  his work.


I should also mention that the contest is sponsored by, among other companies, Zenhom, my brother's clothing company.


More contest and prize information is available here.

December 5, 2010

678




















As I've mentioned before , I'm not an avid watcher of Egyptian or Arabic movies, but when there's one that seems interesting, I'm definitely eager to see it.

I heard about a new movie here called 678. It's supposed to be addressing the sexual harassment that is such a common problem.  678 is the number of the bus the female lead has to take to her job each day where she suffers harassment. I hope the film causes more awareness to the problem and helps bring more consequences to offenders.

I'm really interested to see how they address the problem in the film. Here is an article about it and here and here are 2 trailers for the movie.

If you watched the trailers, what do you think? Would you see the film?

December 3, 2010

Nice And Neat

Houda's post inspired me today! No, I didn't refinish a dresser. I cleaned out and organized my dresser top and drawer. Well, my half anyway. Actually, I take up more like 2/3rds of the space. :)

I didn't take a before picture, it was pretty bad. Let's just leave it at that.


























Stuff is so much easier to find now. It was a jumbled mess and now I can see everything at once.







This jewelery box was taking up space, and not holding much because I thought it had to be for fine jewelery only, but I figured I'll just use it for my watches and costume jewelery.

I keep stealing glances at it. Yes, I'm that easily amused.

December 1, 2010

Unofficial


































I bet you didn't know that Jessica Alba promoted socks. I bet she doesn't know it either.

It's funny,  I see this kind of thing here all the time. There's a men's barber near by that's apparently backed by Ricky Martin and David Beckham. Face creams that bear the image of Nikki Taylor and  Drew Barrymore are common. I think most of this stuff is made in China, somehow they get away with the free celebrity endorsements.

P.S. Jasmina, the socks made me think of you! :)

November 28, 2010

What I've Been Feeling Lately

I hate this. Ever since Eid I haven't counted a point or watched what I eat nearly as well as I was. I was doing so good and I was so excited about it all and now I'm feeling so unmotivated. I don't like feeling this way or the fact that I feel this way.

I keep reading old posts trying to get that intangible something that I had. The thing that made me want to make healthy foods and keep track of my eating. I'm still walking in the mornings, I haven't put any weight back on but I'm at a stand still for the past couple of weeks.

I didn't want to post this to get a bunch of "You can do it" and "don't give up" comments because I know you guys support me, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I just needed to get it out.

I  think about the big picture and I think, my life is good alhamdulillah, and I'm happy and I'm lucky to have a great family and good friends, this is one thing that I really struggle with. I don't want to go backwards but I need to just jump into it and get back in the groove.

I know I have to do this. I just have to man up, or woman up, really.  InshaAllah, maybe I don't have to keep blogging about it every week but I hope that I will want to. If I'm successful I'm sure I'll want to share.

I'm definitely not where I used to be though. I used to eat everything I wanted in any quantity I wanted at any time and didn't feel a tinge of guilt. These past couple of weeks I'm eating but not bingeing or anything. Just eating enough of whatever to satisfy my craving.

I have a huge craving for turkey and mashed potatoes this week, you can guess why and I'll probably make some soon. I made this yesterday and it was really good. Pasta salad with 'crab' and veggies. I did't use too much mayo. I tried the light kind and it was gross.


































I just wanted to get that out and let you guys know where I'm at. I think after "confessing" I'll be more motivated to get back on track. Thanks for listening!

November 24, 2010

Ode To A Flip Flop



























Flip Flops, Oh Flip Flops
How I love you so.

You've been so comfy without fail,
I want the world to know.

I've worn you months on end, most of my waking hours,
Still you've yet to wear out at all, you must have super powers.

Just as sparkley as the day we met,
not a crack, rip or tear.
So absolutely soft and light, you're like walking on air.

You've been my shoe of choice, all I ever want to wear,
I love you so much, in fact, I bought another pair!


























I made the poem up while cooking dinner, thought it was funny.
If these are available where you live, I urge, nay, implore you to buy a pair. I think I've said enough but they are the most comfortable thing I've ever put on my feet, and so durable. Everything gets so worn out so easily here. I'm not crazy about the smileys on the silver pair but they wont show when I'm wearing them anyway.

November 23, 2010

Luxor Part II

The hot air balloon ride was an unexpected treat. We hadn't planned on going and although I've always wanted to fly in a balloon, I never really thought it would actually happen. It's actually not scary at at all. It was bigger than I expected. This balloon held about 18 people including kids and the operator/pilot. It's divided into 5 sections. One in the middle for the pilot, and four other sections. There were elderly people so you know it was fine. I noticed there were a lot of retired couples on vacation in Luxor, it made me smile.

Anyhow the  take off was really smooth and the landing was just a tiny bump, not bad at all. All in all it was surreal and very exciting.


The anticipation!

Our balloon...

Other balloons getting ready.

We're in!

The inside of the balloon from the basket.

And we're off the ground.

Up, up and away!

Getting higher.

Pay no attention to the man picking his nose behind me.

Salwa

I love how the crops look so neat from above.

Our shadow on the mountains.

Getting really high up now.

The song "From A Distance" comes to mind.

Zayneb, checkout the operators tie.

Back on solid ground.

The "official" certificate, oops, didn't fill in my name yet.

Dawood, proud, he wore the t-shirt on the same day.


Some fun at the pool

The next day, we took a faluka  boat ride on the Nile, to a little banana farm. It was cute, the breeze was great and we got to look at all the cruise boats and some farm animals.
Dawood and Essam
Zooba



I didn't get a good picture but there were lots of water buffaloes.

Down a little trail to banana island.

Banana trees everywhere you look.

Nice.
It was a great trip and if you're into the historical aspects, even better.  I love going away for a bit, it recharges you and makes you miss your regular life a little bit.  It's a great break from the monotony, housework, school and a chance to be lazy without guilt. I'm already looking forward to hopefully going somewhere for the mid year break! Gotta have those things to look forward to, but at the same time, I'm trying to enjoy the now, inshaAllah.

November 21, 2010

Luxor Part I

Our Eid trip to Luxor was very relaxing and fun. Luxor is so green and lush compared to Hurghada so it was a nice change of scenery and of course the Nile is always a great view.  I have so many pictures, I'm going to make this a 2 part post.  I'll let the pictures and captions do the rest.

Almost there...
Luxor is famous for the horse drawn carriages.

The view from our hotel room balcony.

Another angle.

The kids can't wait to go to the pool.

This reminded me of that Tom Petty/Alice In Wonderland video

The pool is floating in the Nile.

View from the pool side.

From the hotel room you can see hot air balloons, (we go the next day!!)

This was Eid day we went to see some Temples on the West Bank, so over the bridge we went.

From the bridge.

Colossi of Memnon

It's a long walk to the Temple of Hatshepsut. It was pretty hot, I can't believe people come in July.

The Temple of Hatshepsut.

Habo

Finding some shade.



The columns had carvings of names and dates from the 1800's and more.

The pigeons have made a home up there.

The colors here are amazing.
Temple of the Nobles, I think....I'm not huge on this stuff, yea it's something to do and interesting to see but you see one temple, you've seen them all, I say.

This fallen statue reminded me of Lost. That shows you how much I know about pharohs and all that.

The girls

Climbing is fun.


Salwa near some tomb type deals.

I'll post pictures from our hot air balloon ride and more tonight or tomorrow. Blogger takes forever to upload pics.