6 Must-See Items in Dubai (& they’re free!)

Dubai List

I would argue one of the best things about Dubai, if not the best, is how much you can explore & simply see.  Without having to pay anything or work very hard.  Not without effort, Dubai sets records & created a visual piece of artwork.  You can fill your entire trip just driving around exploring the different landscapes – for FREE.  Sometimes paying for the view, isn’t as good as actually searching for it yourself.

I wanted to show you how to make a trip adventurous without spending a ton of money!  I feel like I’m a master at going on budget friendly trips, including Dubai.  Food & drink is expensive, but there’s SO much to do for free, or nearly free – if you can just get yourself there.  You wouldn’t even be able to finish this list in one trip!  And if you do, I can add to it 🙂

This is MY checklist when I go back – things to go stare at.  And they never get old.  Even when I lived there, going to stare at the items on this list was one of my favorite things to do.  And a way to ensure I won’t waste my precious money.

1-  Burj Khalifa
This twinkly building still takes my breathe away.  Because it’s right outside the Dubai Mall there’s plenty of space to go walk around the building & look at it yourself – without paying a dime.  Get yourself to the Dubai Mall & walk outside.  You can eat near it, shop near it, walk near it, or just sit down & stare at it.  The fountain show that plays outside the building at night will also take your breathe away.  Go check it out during the day & at night for completely different views.  Until Dubai builds their next world record setting building, this is the top spot for me.  And you absolutely need a GoPro to fit the whole damn thing in a photo, OR spend $$$$ to have a tourey sales man take one measly photo for you…

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5 Personal Fav Posts from 2017

Muslim Ban

For anyone that hasn’t had a chance to read my old posts, below are a few of my favorites from 2017!  Enjoy!
Dating A Muslim Immigrant… During The “Muslim Ban”
Tis a sign of the times…  I love this post because, Wafiq.  What an interesting time it was.  We happened to just be finishing our own immigration journey during this time & learned TONS of immigration info we never knew before.  Which I think is why we were super comfortable.  Even though people were freaking out.  I remember we were happy, lucky & together 🙂

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Two Years Later – Visiting Dubai!

Dubai

The saying “time flies when you’re having fun” is terrible & true isn’t it?  I remember miserable days/years in different jobs, & man did time drag.  But, of course, when you’re having fun & enjoying all the parts of your life, time goes quick!  So, would you rather a boring yet long life or short yet exciting life? Ha!  Nothing like that awful question to wake you up on a Thursday morning.

I’m back from Dubai! Long story short, it was fun & it went fast.  Which in this case is better than the alternative.

Everyone that followed along on my Instagram Stories, thank you! That was fun to create.  If you missed it, I left a lot of the stories in my “highlights” section.  Click on my Instagram profile & right below the bio you’ll see the circle for Dubai & Bahrain with the stories while I was there.

If you’ve been reading for awhile you likely know this trip was a big step for me.  Last time I was in Dubai I left in a rush & didn’t exactly leave every relationship in it’s best place.  And that feeling strengthened even while I was back in the States, especially when Wafiq decided he was going to stay & begin the immigration process.  Needless to say my relationships weren’t in tip top shape across the pond.

Last year, I decided to skip the trip Wafiq took home for that very reason,  I wasn’t ready to walk back into my past OR the lions den.

This year I was ready.  Wafiq & I are both comfortable & confident in the choices we’ve made in the past & knowing we’re in control of the choices were going to make in the future – I felt like there was nothing to fear anymore.  No judgment or conversation or threat or whatever was going to hurt me.  And I don’t mean to paint the picture as if everyone was going to do just that, but when you’re struggling & feeling weak & not confident with yourself – it’s hard to defend decisions in front of anyone.  And we lived in that space for awhile so I had to protect myself.  But this time I was ready.

Right when we arrived, I felt like I was living in Dubai yesterday, but better.  And more comfortable.   Everyone was excited to see us.  The first days were filled with food.  Family. Friends. Kids.  And Food.  I definitely did not have a chance to pick up my phone & document anything.  But because those first days were easy, I immediately knew the rest of the trip would be too.

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Reasons You Don’t Have To Set 2018 Goals

Goals

2018 is on it’s way!  Lets set goals, shall we?!

No.

No we shall not.

I thought a lot about this.  The big, long-term beautiful (somewhat vague) end goal is always in sight, but all the others change.  I love it!  I welcome change, even though I fear it.  As ideas & goals shift throughout the year, you create new agendas & updated accordingly.  Which is why, now that it’s 2018 & resolutions are all the talk, you shouldn’t feel pressure to make them.  

I’ve learned one of the worst things you can do to yourself is lose your own trust.  Disappoint yourself.  I know any goal I set on Jan 1, 2018 will end up changing, therefore I’ll end up disappointing myself & losing my trust.  Which is a big no-no.  So, fuck the 2018 goals.

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5 Ways To Finish Out The Holiday Season, Stress Free!

Holiday Shopping

You know the one part that sucks about holiday time that doesn’t exist around Thanksgiving… The torture of trying to find gifts, for everyone.  And make cookies, and hang decorations, and go to holiday parties, and try to eat healthy.  Adding gifts on top of all that jazz is what can easily make you freak the F out. I have a few ideas….

5 Ways To Finish Out The Holiday Season Stress Free

 The Gift Of Being Stress-Free:  Ok, think about the people you’re buying gifts for.  Thinking of them?  If most of those people knew you were stressed out, driving around like a maniac, spending more money than you had, buying their gift from the checkout line in Target because you can’t think of anything else – they wouldn’t want that from you!  So don’t feel like you have to do it.  Wait until the next day, by them a good book, or gift card, and let the pressure of other gifts go.
Essential Oils:  This may or may not be a placebo, the essential oil trend, but I don’t give a fuck.  If it works because my mind is telling me to believe it’s working, or the oils are truly relaxing me – I’ll fucking take it.  Am I right?  I met an essential oil doctor (jk she was selling her oil potions at the grocery store & I stopped to talk to her), and she gave me a combo she said would help me relax.  (5 drops Lavender, 5 drops Jasmine, 5 drops Frankincense, 3 drops Ylang Ylang.)  She put it in a tiny spray bottle (here) and said to spray it on my pillow at night, on my clothes, mid anxiety attack – whatever.  I’ve become obsessed.  It’s so easy to do too!  Go to Whole Foods, get these essential oils, get a tiny spray bottle, and make your own secret Xanax potion.

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2 Places To Find All Your Holiday Gifts

Holiday Gift Guide

This is the only “Holiday Gift Guide” I had time to make this year!  My goal for next year is to be more specific & give some super badass ideas for everyone you’re shopping for.  To take the weight off your shoulders & have a stress free season.  Holiday Gift Guides are my jam & I find them to be incredibly helpful.  Hopefully this list will at least send you in the right direction…

Your Friends Businesses:

You know what’s freaking crazy, not supporting your friends small businesses or hobby’s.  If you have a friend or know of someone that’s bravely trying to create their own business & fulfill a passion, you should be the one in line to support them!  I feel like I’m always hearing the critique of what people are trying to do rather than the encouragement & support.  SO, what a wonderful time to show support to these businesses by ordering gifts through them. Think of people you know that are trying to start a product, sell a product or service and figure out who you can gift that to.  That way, you’re giving an awesome gift to the receiver and another gift to the person you’re purchasing from.  If you don’t have any friends doing this, check out Etsy.  Tons of businesses & hobby’s on that website are small (& you can consider those people friends). Love this idea!

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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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Forget Cyber Monday & Try This

Asos

Thank you to everyone for your feedback on the Jury Duty post!  I can’t describe the relief it was to feel other people understand where I was coming from… The experience made me think I was alone on an island called Understanding – so thank you thank you thank you! And like I said, I’m not done with this, so stay tuned.  My wheels are spinning!  Please continue to let me know if you have similar stories, ideas, thoughts – I love hearing them!

Today, I’m getting off the serious train & into something I consider a little more enjoyable.  I become overwhelmed & disengage quickly when someone is in a constant heavy subject.  Even for me, that gets exhausting.  I need to full circle of conversation.  I also try to enjoy my life & freedoms as much as possible because I know they are not granted to everyone.

Let’s talk Black Friday & Cyber Monday.  Fuck that shit!  (Yeah right, I spent the entire weekend scrolling the internet in efforts to procrastinate all other tasks.  Procrastination does not end in college.)

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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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Austin City Limits Music Festival 2017

ACL Fest

Wooooooof TA!  Austin City Limits music festival beat the crap out of me! Every year I go I hope it’ll be easier, but it never is.  I love the music & the break from normal life – but it’s H O T in Texas and that heat can really beat you up.

This festival came right on the heels of the Vegas catastrophe, which you couldn’t help but feel heavy about.  My friends & I did our best to not bring it up but that’s hard to do when there’s thousands of people stuffed in on top of each other at a concert.  I think that’s how it’s going to be from now on for our generation.  It’s hard to honestly say otherwise.  We have to live in a place where we’re cautious of our surroundings and listen to our instincts, especially when we’re in large crowds.  Unfortunately, that’s where we’re at in America.  Boo, all because of those mother fuckers.

One adjustment I noticed this year, I’m not sure if it’s new or just something I’m more aware of, is the huge crane overlooking the festival with police on it.  They had a birds eye view of the entire festival and you could see they had huge lenses to see everything happening on the ground.  That was about my only piece of mind.

On the 2nd night as Wafiq and I were watching one of the shows, we heard a huge bang come from the other side of the festival.  We told ourselves if we hear it again, we’ll leave.  Then we heard it again.  And again.  There were police near us that also looked concerned, as did most of the people around us.  To make a long story short, it was pyrographics at the stage on the other side of the festival. I’m thinking (and hoping) this part of live performances will have restrictions in the future.  I don’t think it’s worth it to risk confusing a crowd.  With our tensions a little higher than we’d like, Wafiq and I decided to leave early that night.  Again, we’re at a place where you have to trust your gut on certain circumstances, call us dramatic but I’d rather be the dramatic one all day than the one standing there when/if something happens.

I constantly brag about the incredibly insightful active shooter training I did with our city Fire Marshall – I need to do a whole post on that because it was way more helpful than I imagined it could be.

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