We’re Going Back To Dubai!

Bahrain

I have some exciting news! Or at least I consider it exciting… I’m heading back to Dubai!  This time, I’m not moving there & simply going for a visit – like a normal person.

Last time I was in Dubai, I remember literally telling Wafiq “I’m never ever.  Never. Ever. Coming back to this fucking place.”  Harsh, I know.  And I told everyone that!  I hated the thought of ever going back.  Being able to say that out loud & having made it through the experience – felt amazing.  I felt stuck when I was in Dubai, by my own stubbornness, for so long that when I finally got out of it, I felt like I made it! And there was no going back. Literally.

The experience was way harder on me than I expected & by the time I had my plane ticket in hand to come back to the States, I was extremely excited for America!  But, two years later I can say I’m actually excited to go back.  Mostly because so much has changed since then.  Personally & professionally.  Also, I’m not moving there so I know I’m not stuck, merely a tourist.  And shiiiii, I lived there for almost 2 years! There are parts & memories I miss.

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You Need This Book – Love Warrior

LOVE WARRIOR

Ok. Ok. So when I first mentioned my few weeks of life changing events I said it was a combination of things.  One was Jury Duty but the other was a book.  Somehow, the stars aligned in a way that helped me read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton during my week of Jury Duty.  fyi – There is plenty of opportunity to read while on Jury Duty, it feels like you’re constantly sitting in the small Jury Room waiting for the courtroom to be ready.  I was easily able to finish reading Love Warrior… and wow.

I first heard of Glennon Doyle on Chelsea! about a year ago. Since then, I’ve been wanting to read her book, but procrastinated.  I picked it up, and even read a page or 2 several different times, but always ended up putting it down.  At first glance, the book seemed too emotional & strong (if that makes sense) which scared me away from it.  Emotionally deep books (and movies) gets my anxiety on it’s tip toes so I tend to avoid them.  However, Love Warrior was the only book I packed in my purse for Jury Duty, leaving me no choice but to get through it.

Lucky for me, because this book changed me in a similar way Jury Duty did.

Let me explain.  I recently had a truce with my anxiety, where I looked it in the eye with a smile & shifted my mind to start using it as a tool.  (Also on Chelsea!), a woman being interviewed asked Chelsea to name 3 qualities she likes about herself, and they couldn’t be physical.   I listened, laughed and fell asleep.  In the morning, I was driving to work & thought about that same question.  3 qualities I like about myself, and they can’t be physical.  One of the answers that kept creeping in my mind was – anxiety.  Wtf.  I thought anxiety was something I hated.  But, I started feeling like Batman’s bestie.  Powerful, relieved, and excited.  I told myself, anxiety is a superpower.  A freaking superpower!  Because of anxiety, I’m uber aware of feelings & emotions.  They’re loud, and they’re always there for me to hear. And if I can control them a little, they can be a badass superpower.  And that’s exactly what I’m going to make them.

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Wtf. What No One Tells You About Jury Duty.

Jury Duty

I never know if I should write how I feel right when I’m feeling it or wait until I get my thoughts together… For example, Jury Duty.  I walked out of Jury Duty feeling like I couldn’t breathe.  I was fucking rocked, and scared, and anxious.  For a week I couldn’t sleep without having nightmares.  Surprisingly, my immediate reaction was to hate blogging.  The first thought I had was “fuck my blog”.   Although it’s my creative outlet,  my experience on Jury Duty made me feel like I was wasting precious, valuable time working on my silly blog.  I needed to be doing more!  A week or so passed and I started thinking I need to write this all down in my blog, change my blog, change people!  But then I felt I was too wrapped up in emotion, not thinking clearly.  Now, I’m a month past Jury Duty and feel like I’m rational, yet still kind of wish I would’ve written everything down when I was irrational.  When people are super expressive with feelings I listen to them, even if they’re wrong, there has to be parts to take away.

A month ago I had to report for Jury Duty.  I recently registered to vote and the two results in that decision were (1) Donald Trump as my president (2) Jury Duty summons.  Real winning decision making skills right there, Ha!

My first reaction with Jury Duty was, anxiety.  Because that’s what I do best.  “What if I have a panic attack while I’m there”  “There’s no way out of this”  “What if I can’t breathe” “What if I can’t talk” “How long will it take”  “What if I don’t show up”.  Welcome to my brain.

Everyone told me their Jury Duty stories & how they tried to get out of it or why they weren’t chosen or how strong minded they were so no way someone would pick them, or it’s probably a dumb case, so annoying to go to Jury Duty.

I had NO idea how fucking hard it would be for me.  I happened to get chosen to be a Jury member.  12 out of 80 something people were chosen.  I have a few thoughts on that.  If you have an education, compassion, you’re smart, you listen, understanding, morals & ethics – you SHOULD be a chosen member for Jury Duty.  When I started hearing what some of the other Jury contenders were saying, I thought holy Jesus I better be chosen.  No way they’ll let these fucking stubborn assholes make a judicial decision, right?! And I was right – they chose me.  And they should choose me.  They should choose you too, if you’re smart and a good listener.  It is your duty and it is your responsibility.  ESPECIALLY if you’re making decisions about someones future.  If you don’t do it, those stubborn assholes will, and that’s not acceptable.

The Case.  I’m going to summarize what was a week long journey of my court case the best I can.  In reality, the details of the case itself wasn’t the traumatizing part of Jury Duty so I don’t want it to be the highlight of this post.  There was a domestic violence dispute where a woman ended up with a cut on her hand and the defendant plead not guilty.  This was a felony case because of the claim of the use of a deadly weapon.  When it came time to deliberate there were two different charges we could sentence the defendant with, or decide he’s not guilty.  The jury decided the harsher of the two, a felony.  The second decision was his sentencing.  Because he already had a felony on his record and spent time in jail, the Texas law requires a minimum sentence of 25 years.  My jury members wanted to really stick it to him so they gave him a 26 year sentence, as kind of a “ha ha”.  The defendant stood up, heard his sentence, ran his fingerprints, and went to jail until he likely will pass away.

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Life Chats: Not Always Rosey

Life Chats

I would love to say I’m back with Taylor Swift in my ears but I have 1,000 upgrades, login/password confusion, and download issues happening in iTunes right now so no Taylor Swift for me! Might have to take it the old fashion way of buying a tangible CD or pirating.    I’ve only been looking forward to this album since she disappeared.

I had a few traumatizing events happen the last few weeks, Jury Duty, work overload, and a book that rocked my socks.  The combination of everything changed me.  Really changed me in my core, opened my eyes, freaked me out, kept me awake… I’m going to follow up with a few posts on those events in the next week or so because it’s a lot to take on in one post, for me.  Especially since I haven’t written a post in awhile, I wanted to say hi first!  Immediately after Jury Duty I started thinking – fuck blogging, it’s not important enough.  I kind of protested myself, to myself?   My eyes were opened WIDE and I really shut the door on blogging, I was completely shifted in my thoughts.  I couldn’t come on and write about shoes, or festivals, or being happy – when that’s the opposite of what I gave a shit about.  But then, being away made me feel anxious, I love writing. And it doesn’t have to be roses and smiles all the time, because life isn’t roses all the time.  And my writing doesn’t have to be perfect or make perfect sense, because no one is perfect.  No one knows everything.  I also learned that being away from blogging & writing didn’t feel right. 

I’ve anxiously been waiting to have a post schedule again.  I use my blog as a creativity outlet but realized it’s more than that for me, it’s a way to express what’s in my head and talk to a few people that read.  My goal  is to eventually talk back and forth (I think some people call that conversation 🙂 ) with readers.  I know everything I say or think can be changed with a little extra knowledge and I’m going to do my best to search for it!  And always hear the other side on all my thoughts, and I encourage you to do the same.

Needless to say, waaaay out of the holiday spirit this year.  I don’t even remember Halloween.  Did it happen already?  This might not seem like a big deal, but as a blogger I should give a shit.  And my whole life I have – I love costumes and dressing up.  I’m typically VERY holiday. Celebrations excite me and I’m always down to participate… but this year I haven’t gotten into the swing of things, just haven’t and I probably won’t.  I’m relieved, I don’t want to holiday this year.  I want 2017 to be the year that I’m not focused on holidays but focused on myself and upcoming plans.  I’ve done this once before, when I first moved to Dubai.  I skipped holidays, and you know what? It wasn’t so bad.    So this year will be somewhat similar, not a total skip, but pretty darn close.

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I Cant Wait For…

Mindful

Attention All: We have a new motto in our household.  I’m putting the same test on you & your household as well.  No more “I can’t wait for…”

I’ve never been someone who’s said “I can’t wait for…” or “I can’t wait when…” very often but I caught myself the other night.   I kid you not, Wafiq & I said approx 4 times in a row an “I can’t wait for…” sentence.  “I can’t wait for us to get the new computer screen”, “I can’t wait for the new speaker”,  “I can’t wait for…”.   We sat down on our badass couch in front of our huge ass TV in our treehouse home and started laughing.  WTF.  We have everything we’ve ever wanted right here in front of us.  There were moments we couldn’t wait to have our own space, we couldn’t wait to get through the immigration process (& payments), we couldn’t wait to make money… and here we are with all of those things fully accomplished.

And now we’re acting like we need more?!?

Even when we barely had our own room to sleep in, we rarely said out loud how much we couldn’t wait to have our own place.  I think we both knew if we started to focus on the things we didn’t have, we could end up in a dark, miserable tunnel of misery.  So we rarely talked negatively.

It’s interesting once you start having “things” you start focusing on more things, for some reason.  I think accidentally.  I laughed out loud when I heard myself.  We both did.  And we said, no more! It’s freaking ridiculous what we’re doing.  And instead, we focused on watching the season premiere of Survivor.

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My First Dating App Pic + A Little Dating History…

Dating Picture

Last week I did something a little anxiety provoking by logging onto Facebook & scrolling through years of pictures.  I don’t use Facebook very much anymore, and have never been a die-hard Facebooker.  For a few years after graduating college I deleted my Facebook all together.  No matter how much mind control you have, scrolling through a feed of highlights from everyone else’s life takes its toll on you.  I felt myself questing decisions I was making & comparing, comparing, comparing! – so I let Facebook go. At the time it was fantastic.  Since then I’ve rarely been using it & do my best not to get sucked into scrolling through my feed.

Ok, so this leads me to the other night, I stalked myself.  I wanted to see what was up with Miss Katie in her good ol Facebook days.  Years ago Facebook used to be a place where people posted full albums of a night out, dinner, vacation, dog, friend, time at the park.  Not 1 photo, but an album of 50.   These days Facebook is more business-y? And people sharing articles.  Instagram took over photos I think.  So I stalked back to the days of albums.  I should continue by saying, I don’t like erasing past decisions, which is why I try not to delete anything that I posted myself.  If I wanted to post it at the time, that’s how I was living life! OUI!

I felt pretty good after stalking.  Solid life experiences I’ve been documenting.

BUT THEN, I came across this photo of myself on my apartment balcony and immediately remembered.  MY FIRST DATING APP PHOTO.  I think I was 21?  Somewhere around there, and guys I put so much effort into this photo! The outfit, the lighting, the smile, the head tilt!  Probably even the nails…  I remember getting this shirt for $5 at Forever 21 & I never loved anything more.

My one & only dating app picture – on E Harmony
I put myself on EHarmony.  EHarmony at 22.  I remember feeling like the guys I was meeting on my own weren’t interested in anything more than going to church with their parents on Sunday mornings OR binge drinking on Monday nights.  Not for me you know, can we land somewhere in the middle?  So EHarmony (and blind dates) were my jam.  I pretended I was on The Bachelor and had a new date every week, on Thursday nights.  I had that system running for a long time…  Thursday was perfect by the way, the date didn’t interrupt one of my already planned fun weekend nights but was late enough in the week to actually relax & enjoy the night. Highly recommend setting up a similar schedule if you’re single.

The problem with Eharmony was that no one wanted to date me.  I think I was too young for the site?  One of the dates that I landed was with this guy that met me for appetizers.  He barely spoke & I don’t think listened to anything I said.  But I was so excited for this date!  I remember that. I can’t remember why, I think because he was older and it made me feel like he had to be more mature & maybe potential for a 2nd date??  Well we ate the apps, he took me to a nearby bar, and I saw a smile for the first time of the night when he looked up for the first eye contact of the evening and asked “what my sexual preferences were”.

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Life Chats, Moving 9.8.17

Life Chats

Finally the day has come, we moved into a different space. Remember when I moved into this tiny apartment and I was so happy?  I believed that was literally all I needed in life, a perfect shelter.  I’m still on the small living environment kick, too much space gives me anxiety.   I know most people hate moving but I’ve decided I love it,  I’ve moved a lot and lived out of a suitcase more years in my life than I’ve had a closet.  Not really.

Getting rid of shit is my jam. It gives me the same excited butterflies you’re supposed to get when you see your significant other.  Moving forces you to really purge shit out.  All those things that Wafiq was making us hold on to because “we have space” are officially at Goodwill. And all the stupid clothes, cheap gimmicks and nonsense you can find on THIS list are gone!  Moving is a breeze because all our “things” (besides the bed, sofa, and TV) fit in a few boxes 🙂  Awww my favorite feeling.

One of the many reasons we’re so excited about our new place is that the view is open to trees, no more walking path!   What do you guys see when you look outside your window?  We started feeling a little like we were living in a hamster cage because our windows opened to a walking path that people loved to bring their dogs to, so we happy peeps right now.

As you may have heard, there’s a hurricane that recently f*cked up parts of Texas.  In Austin, we lost power for 20 hours & had wind + rain but nothing much larger than our regular storms.  Please remember, when you’re thinking of Houston and all the damage it’s done, there are several smaller communities that have been damaged as well & also need help + resources.  The less popular babies need attention too 🙂   I have to say, it’s refreshing to run through my Facebook feed and see all my Texas friends coming together to love & support one another.  No more wrestling over topics that don’t serve a purpose or creating fights & arguments because we’re bored.  There was awhile there I didn’t even check FB.  So, proud of Texas right now and proud to be a part of the state.

And mother earth must be freaking PISSED off right now, brewing storms all over the place.  EEEk. I pray everyone stays safe & cuddled with their people. Love love love.

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3 Tips For Normal People Trying To Take A Pretty Picture

Good Photos

I HATE taking pictures.  I take them all the time for Instagram & my blog but it’s my least favorite thing to do.  People stay interested w/images more than a ton of writing so I know if I want my blog to be what I imagine, it has to include photos.  But it’s the hardest piece of the puzzle.  Can you be more into yourself than when you’re taking photos, trying to be pretty?  Ugh it makes me uncomfortable more than you’d imagine.

When you see pictures of me, this is typically the process. First, I hold the camera & Wafiq poses for it so he can remind me how easy it is.  He doesn’t care if other people are looking at him as he tries to act cool for pictures, he models confidently.  Once he makes me laugh enough, we switch.  He grabs the camera & tells me to do the same thing.  Boom, all my pictures.

I’m uncomfortable taking pictures & I know I’m not the only one.  Being in a picture these days means you’re likely going to be plastered on social media for everyone’s eyes.  Back in the day, a photo was shared w/family & maybe a few friends.  Now it’s all eyes on us, all the time!  The good side, having these pictures posted everywhere means we’ll easily be able to have the memory.  The best part, the memories. So I don’t let myself shy away from taking them.

There are a few, super simple tips I learned in college when pictures really started being a thing.  I wasn’t used to my picture being taken & after seeing a few horrible ones I started following these three rules for ALL photos.

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5 {New} Jazzy Ingredients For Your Kitchen!

5-new-ingredients

I’m back w/a few other kitchen favorites!  I’m all about trying new flavors, doing new things, and not getting too comfortable with -anything!  Including food.  I keep these 5 ingredients in my kitchen most of the time, and think it’s worth a try if you haven’t.  Sometimes, when they’re sitting there starring at you, you’re more likely to make use of them. I might not cook w/these guys every day, but they’re common enough ingredients to keep around

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Life Chats: Bernice Turns 6!

Life Chats

Did You Know?  “Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not sweat by salivating. They sweat through the pads of their feet.”  ( via ) I can’t believe it’s already August.  I’m actually okay with that because, as much as the rest of Austin is loving to complain about the heat, I’m grateful it hasn’t been […]

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