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The Trouble With Money…

Did You Know? Some people believe “if I make more money, I can be competitive and win the race,” When money is the top priority for a person, and they lose it – because of a layoff, for instance – their self-worth shrinks. (“They mix up net worth with self-worth.”) They suffer significantly because money is the only thing that matters, instead of another person who places greater value in family and is passionate about other things.

( v i a )


Lets talk MONEY, shall we?  Delicious, rich, spectacular money.

The Trouble With Money

Money is the driver of pretty much everything.  You need it to survive, to pay the bills, to have a roof over your head.  You also need it to fund activities in order to keep you sane from your full time job that’s paying those bills.

I’ve always dreamt of people with indispensable money – what it looks & feels like to go anywhere & do anything without a worry in the world.  Eat wherever you want, drive whatever you want, pay for your family/friends vacations, payback the people you once had to borrow from, go to any doctor you want, get a nice face mask.

However, this post isn’t about wanting money, it’s about appreciating what we have.

Abroad, all I wanted was fucking money. I was SOOO broke.  I wasn’t able to work right away because the Visa permit for my job was taking longer than I expected & when you breathe in Dubai you spend $500/breath, so there’s that.  Any money I could get my hands on disappeared before I had a chance to look at it.  And, I didn’t even know how to borrow money from anyone at home.  Thank God I didn’t know how to open a credit card!  So, I had to ask favors from people in Dubai that I barely knew at that point.   I felt like I lost all my power & confidence. (Enter: Shingles)  Not exaggerating, I counted every. single. cent. (or dirham in that case).   Until finally, I started working & feeling like myself again.

But, when Wafiq & I moved back to the U.S. from Dubai, with only our savings accounts, we were back to feeling like we had nothing.  Of course we had our savings but with no income those numbers start shrinking fast, not to mention the unexpected cost of immigration lawyers & the fees associated with their services.  Back to NO FREAKING MONEY!   (Very familiar feeling.)  At times, it was sickening & scary. But the curve ball here is, all the moments we shared together where we felt alive!  The hustle of life right under our feet & only possibility ahead.  Not yet in a full time corporate job that was holding us back, only imagination & a blank slate ahead.   It was a mix of feeling like we’re the biggest fucking losers on Earth that can barely eat,  to free spirits with the entire world & all of its opportunities spread out in front of us.    In a cage, but free.

Well, we’re not that broke anymore.

But, because I know the feeling & I don’t doubt that it could happen again… I wanted to write about being broke.  It fucking sucks baaaaad.   But so does having money.  Money sucks.  I’ve been friends with people that have had a lot of money their entire lives, and always will.  With money comes greed & stubbornness.  Your surroundings appear cloudy.  What’s real & what isn’t.  Who needs a favor & who wants one.

I’ve also been friends with people that once received a lot of money after living without it for most of their lives.  Even this scenario can turn ugly.  Money changes people.  Takes away the depth of conversations, turns the topics into competition.  Proving themselves & their worth.

Looking back, not having money was a grind that I’m happy I did my best to appreciate.  I had beautifully authentic conversations & met some of the most genuine people in those times.  I had nothing more to offer than my friendship & a night in playing cards w/$3 bottles of wine, drinking it out of a plastic coffee cup.  (PS.  I was out of college, this was no longer acceptable.)  I connected with people that valued life & friendship more than the depth of each other’s pockets.

When Wafiq & I had no money we wouldn’t go out very often because we simply couldn’t afford it.  But it was so easy to say that: “we can’t afford going out because we don’t currently have a job… or money.” HA!  Now? We have to say yes to a steak dinner and taste our wine with a seal of approval before we purchase the glass.   Once upon a time, we used to get very creative with dates. The park or beach with a picnic meal & cheap wine.  Cheese plates with a movie in the background & cards on the table. Driving around brainstorming ideas of companies to apply for or career paths to get involved in.

My point is, the grass is not always greener on the other side. And I think the solution is to be grateful for what you currently have & to be thoughtful of the people around you.  Whether you have money now or you don’t, be thoughtful & appreciate where you’re at.   Listen, create good conversations about weird things.  Also, get out of your own demographic a little.  For me, that helped understand money a lot better.  When you become friends with people that truly have NO money and people that truly have an abundance of money, you’ll learn a lot.

 The-Trouble-With-Money

I love the idea of simply being thoughtful.  It takes slowing down & being vulnerable, but that’s better than leading with insecurities.  Go out today & be thoughtful while you take on the world & work work work work work!  You got this, whatever amount is in your pocket is enough for today!

Xx


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Life, Travel

How A Poem Cleared Up My Weird Travel Emotions

Did You Know?  1/3 of the world’s airports are located in the U.S. ( v i a )


I was looking through poetry the other day for National Poetry Day & the next thing I know 4 hours passed, I ordered 6 poetry books off Amazon, & I confessed to Wafiq that I’m going to become a song writer.

This too shall pass.

When You Don't Want To Travel

One poem really stood out.  Take a quick read:

Let me tell the tale
Of a girl who didn’t stop
Who climbed up every mountain
Without a pause upon the top
She’d dance until each blade of grass
Was clothed in drops of dew
And the sun knew her by name
But the silver moon did too
For a fear had setled in her bones
A fear of sitting still
That if you’re not moving forward
It must mean you never will
So in time her dance got slower
And she looked at all she’d seen
But found gaps inside the places
That she’d never fully been
For she was a human doing
Human moving, human seeing
But she’d never taken time
To simply be a human being
– e.h

When You Don't Want To Travel

When I came back from Dubai I couldn’t figure out why I hated the idea of traveling so much.  The biggest drag was talking travel.  I couldn’t get inspired or motivated to think about vacations, explorations, studying abroad, beaches, getaways, culture, language, hotels.  BLAH.

And this feeling stuck with me until about 3 months ago.  I spent at least a year in that feeling of travel = BLAH.   I wasn’t even the slight bit interested when I met someone with an international accent, or recently back from another country.  It was weird (…and now I’m realizing a little racist?)  I used to DIE to ask people thousands of questions about their recent vacations or country/state of origin, but I found myself completely uninterested.  (I wrote this post: here during that time, and I can tell, HA!)

I was pretty confused as to why.  After all, I’m the girl that moved across the country after high school, studied abroad by myself in a country that I didn’t know the language (at all), moved across the world with a suitcase & no clue what the hell I was going to do!  Travel gave me life & truly fulfilled my spirit…  I used to spend my life googling where to go & what to do. Who I could meet & where.  How I would get there & how I would convince my family I wasn’t crazy.

Why the fuck couldn’t I be amused by it now??!!  I felt really bad.  Not even a beach vacation?!  Boooooring.

Give-Yourself-A-Break(3)

When I read this poem it made sense to me.  I was always moving, moving, moving, & going, going, going… I swear even if other people didn’t see it, all they had to do was be in my mind.  FULL of plans & what’s next, constantly.  So afraid of stillness because it meant being stuck.

Without much intention, the past year I’ve gone to bed amazed with what I have & my routine.  I got way better at taking time to be present & patient, which I’ve never done before.  I literally look at the wall of the rooms where I live & am like “hot damn Katie, you’re fucking living. YES! YES!”. HA!

Although all of those moving, moving, moving choices gave me the best experiences of my life, this is a new kind of best experience – Like they have all been.  To be still for a quick minute & feel the stillness is a brand spanking new best experience.  Making sense?

When You Don't Want To Travel

Now, do I have plans to pick up my shit & move to Iceland tomorrow?  Maybe…  I’m getting back to feeling excited about travel & adventures, but it took some time.  This poem helped me feel excited about that time, like I’m not going to miss out on being a “human being”.  I want to be a human being too!  Not just a Human Moving OR a Human Doing!  A Human Being!

Anyways, because this particular poem helped me understand myself a little better I really wanted to share it.  I wish I read it when I was in the thick of “TRAVEL = BLAH” because it would’ve helped me feel comfortable with the feeling.

Thoughts?

As always, be thoughtful…

Xx

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Life, Places: Middle East, Thoughts

Dating a Muslim Immigrant… during the “Muslim Ban”

Did You Know? As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity.

( v i a )


Heads up – Muslims come in all shapes/ forms/ colors/ backgrounds/ beliefs/ families/ countries/ parents/ lifestyles.

They do not all wear a hijab or thobe or a long beard.  They are not all brown.  They are not all from the Middle East.  They ALL have long, black, thick, curly, beautiful eyelashes.

Muslim-Immigrant-

As much as I would love to say I’m a scientist and am knowledgeable on this subject because of my time living in the U.A.E., I’m not.  This is basic common knowledge.

You probably have Muslim friends.  And you might not even know it.  Hello, my Muslim brother.

Some Muslims pray at every call to prayer.  Some don’t pray at all.  Some believe all words of the Quran. Some have never read the Quran.

I feel like the word Muslim is connected to an image of what that looks like to a lot of Americans & I wanted to paint a realistic picture, because even I wasn’t as aware as I am now.

Muslims are white skin, Muslims are from a small town in Poland, Muslims are your suburban neighbors, Muslims donated to your charity, Muslims work at Starbucks, Muslims drive toyota’s, Muslims are Canadian, Muslims have blogs where they talk about fashion & dessert, Muslims wear gold chains & Adidas, Muslims wear short sequin dresses & fake nails, Muslims listen to Eminem, Muslims listen to Beyonce, Muslims are blonde, Muslims go running at 5:00pm after they leave work.

Muslims are from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.  They’re also from Jamaica,  South Africa, Honduras, France, Canada, and The United States.

Muslim Ban

Yes. I made him pose like this.

Lucky me, I have my own little Muslim immigrant.  With everything going on last week having this immigrant has kept my anxiety at a steady level 5.  And, in order to keep the playing field fair, I’ve asked him a thousand terrifying questions, staring directly into his eyes, waiting for him to feel the same anxiety that I have.

The truth is, he doesn’t.

Visa’s and being allowed entry to the United States is not something new for him.  We’ve been struggling the past two years with ways to get into the immigration system.  I think we had enough moments to make the current situation feel  like a breeze?  That’s the reality of immigration, IF you’re trying to do it legally.   Wondering if we’ll get through customs (I say we’ll cuz I’m considering us same-same), is our normal.  Countless times I’d be waiting at the customs exit doors crossing all my fingers & toes that my precious Muslim immigrant would come through doors without being denied & sent back home. Two years ago, after a grueling customs process, we were told by an immigration lawyer that Visa’s get denied in the airport all the time and they don’t need to give a reason, so hello reality, American’s are finally meeting you.

Immigration is tough.  No matter what side you’re on.

So what I want people to know is that no matter what side you’re on, it’s ok.  You can still be compassionate.  You’re still a human being.  Some people/families are hurting, some are not.  It’s ok to push your opinions aside (trust me, we all know them) and be a human being to another human being. That’s it, simps.

For example, if you live next door to a Mexican family that’s being deported & the immigration officers come knock on the door & are stripping the parents from the house as the kids cry with screams for their parents – and you agree that illegal immigrants should be deported. There are two ways to act:  1. You sympathize, feel compassionate & act like a human being.  2. You scream out the door “GOOD! LEAVE YOU MEXICANS! GET OUT OF HERE!” Possibly with a huge sign.

Don’t be #2.

There’s opinions & loud noise flooding every outlet of social media, television & papers.  But you don’t have to do that. You can, but you don’t have to.  Why not have a conversation with your friends, ask the Muslims you know (because you know one, trust me) how they’re doing. What they think about everything.  Having that compassion, completely disregarding loud opinions, is so completely refreshing. Genuinely see what the fuck is up, salam aleikum my brother.  (I just like using the minimal Arabic that I know, forgive me.)

With everything so elevated, it’s wonderful to have a conversation.   And you DO NOT have to push anyone into feeling bad, scared, or anxious – like I did.

At this point my precious immigrant is milking it:

“Katie, please hand me the remotes, I need to watch TV all night to distract me from the problems” “Katie, please make me dinner, my stomach is hurting, it must be the stress”.  “Katie, if you go buy me a large Toblerone I’ll feel much better as it’ll remind me of home.” “Katie, Maybe playing video games all day will put me at ease”

(WTF have I done)

 Muslim-Immigrant-(3)

My point is, maybe you’ll talk to someone with a visa & they won’t be super bothered.  Figure out why.  Maybe they have a spin on things that you didn’t understand before.  Now is the time to be a human being, be kind, be thoughtful, and ask questions.  Keep an open mind & listen.

We’re choosing to be patient through this process, like we have been.  I don’t believe the end of big change is near, so taking it day by day while eating Toblerone’s & watching American Crime Story, is how we’re handling current events for now.  It’s good to be alive.

 

Xx

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Life

5 Ways To Make A Brave Decision

Did you know? “The top fear Americans reported in the 2015 survey is the corruption of government officials. In fact, 58 percent of respondents reported being “afraid” or “very afraid” of a corrupt government.” ( v i a )


In order to validate the following I have to toot my own horn a little.   I’ve appeared to be brave a couple different times in my life.   I feel like I’ve mastered faking bravery very well in order to get through specific scenarios.  (Don’t give me a strep throat test or you’ll see the opposite of bravery in a matter of seconds.)

5-ways-to-be-brave

Bravery can be a wiiiiiide range of things.  The brave decisions most people know about me are making moves, literally. Moving away after high school, Dominican Republic, Dubai

But Bravery can also be quitting or changing your career.  Breaking up with your boyfriend or dating a girl.  Being promiscuous.  Deciding to divorce.  Having a baby. Getting through health struggles or confessing to health struggles.  Sharing honest opinions, admitting you fucked up, crying.  Saying sorry. Meeting a new group of friends, networking, asking for a raise.

All of these choices, you should feel brave enough to do.

5 Ways To Make A Brave Decision:

  1.  RESEARCH

    Whatever it is that you’re trying to be brave about, learn about it.  Learn as much as you can. Ask questions that you’re worried about, don’t be afraid to say what’s making you scared.  Own the fears & ask about them.  Be sure to ask the internet, or sources that are going to give you their honest facts or opinions.  Avoid gossip like the plague.  Search for honesty & facts.  Don’t ask to hear an answer you’re looking for, ask to hear honesty.  One of my most recent brave moves was when I moved to Dubai, to everyone else it looked like too fast of a decision based on whole lot of nothing.  But I asked the internet any scary question I had, I skype interviewed people in Dubai that were doing what I wanted to do, I looked at my current situation, and I made a long, well thought out pro & con list.  I knew as much as I could have possibly known before leaving.

  2. SHUT UP

    Actions speak louder than words.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone talks about doing something 1 million times, every single day, and never puts action to their words.  Don’t be that person.  Do all your research so that by the time you start talking about it, IF you ever start talking about it, you’re brave enough to trust what you’re saying.  You already have a plan. No one can talk the bravery out of you, because the opinions of others can’t sway the facts you’ve already spent time researching.   Of course, they’ll be a couple close people that you might need to talk to before making your brave move in order to get your research in order, but keep quiet besides that.   There’s been a lot of “brave” decisions I’ve had in my mind that no one has ever heard about, because I did my research & determined I needed to shut them down.  Be smart and make your very own decisions before blabbering.

  3. BE SELFISH

    Sounds easy but it isn’t.  Everyone has a fucking opinion & it’s annoying.  At the end of the day, your main concern should always be yourself and your own happiness.  Here’s why – the people in your life are not going to get the best version of you if you’re not happy.  So do what you need to do for yourself to be happy, I promise it’ll only benefit everyone in the long run.  If that means breaking up with a boyfriend, he would also never have the relationship he deserves w you if you weren’t confident in it, in the long run it’s beneficial for both of you to do what you need to do for yourself to be happy. When your main concern is making yourself happy & you’re able to shut out all other distractions, you’ll be braver than you think you can be.  And eventually, everyone will get it.

  4. CONFIDENCE

    This one & the next are the 2 most important ways to be brave.  BE CONFIDENT.  Trust yourself! Trust yourself! Trust yourself!  You have no idea how many other people you’ll inspire by believing in yourself.   And remember, sometimes being brave is admitting when you’re wrong, that’s ok!  That’s one of the bravest things to do in the entire world because it makes you completely vulnerable < almost everyone struggles at this.  Sometimes you fuck up, make a bad decision, or trust the wrong people – that’s ok too.  Pick it up and move on with another brave decision.  Maybe you never want to have kids, maybe you want to come out of the closet, maybe you want to quit your corporate job & pursue acting – trust yourself!  Be confident through the whole process, beginning middle and end.

  5. BELIEVE

    Alright, I’m going a lil spiritual here, but what the hell – If you don’t have some kind of spirit then it’s going to be hard to have bravery.  I think we all have a path planned for us,  it’s a matter of trusting the path and believing in it.  That’s why I try hard to trust my gut & not let too many other opinions change it.  Even after a failed decision, I rarely regret it.  At the end of the day, any decision you make, whether it turns out or not was likely meant to happen.  Maybe there was a lesson to be learned, maybe it turned into the best decision ever, maybe you had to go through something to get out the other side a different person.  Whatever was meant to happen, will happen, so you have to keep going on your path & believe in all of it.

 5-ways-to-be-brave

And remember what’s the worst that can happen?  USUALLY, the worst isn’t that bad, its recoverable. We’re all afraid to be brave because we’re afraid to fail or what people will think when/if we do.  But if you don’t make a few brave decisions in your life then you’re likely concerned w too many other people and not enough about yourself.  Life is speedy quick, so brave decisions are important to act on.

What did Matt Damon say in the movie We Bought A Zoo?   “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

Touche

Share your brave decisions below 🙂

Have a great rest of the week & be extra thoughtful

Xx

 

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Life

Everything Happens For A Reason

“Sometimes God will inconvenience you in order to help somebody else. Instead of getting frustrated when our plans don’t work out, we need to remember that it’s not all about us. Maybe God has you there on purpose to let your light shine. He’s counting on you to be a good influence on someone else.” – Joel Osteen

  Joel Osteen Quote

I read this quote online months ago & it’s popped in my mind on almost a daily basis since then.  I don’t follow Joel Osteen (a friend of mine reposted it on FB), and I’m not suuuper religious, but I translated this quote to apply to me.

I find it pretty spectacular how certain words, music, or art can leave such lasting impressions.  Especially because -how many quotes a day do we scroll through on FB, Instagram, Pinterest & whatever else…

For something to stick, is a big deal. And this one stuck.

I am THE believer in the saying: “Everything happens for a reason”.  No matter what I go through & then look back at – it always makes sense.  Always.  Every instinct I have, moving away, changing, jobs, new friends, relationships, decisions I religiously believe happens for a reason & that’s what I use as motivation not to question myself too much.

Having that belief also helps me worry less.  When I make what appears to be a large decision to most people (moving to Dubai before ever seeing it), I have loads of confidence in my decision because I know that’s what I feel is my next step  – and it’s happening for a reason.

When I get to Dubai, and am having an experience that is nothing like I imagined, I have in the back of my mind that it’s happening to me for a reason.  That keeps me calm.  Okay with the process.  But eager to figure out “why”.  The lightbulb moment.

The problem I noticed, and how this quote changed my mind a little, is that sometimes something that happens isn’t for ME.  Or for YOU.  It happened for someone else.  The explanation might not be there for me to see.

To help this make sense – I was always so concerned and now realizing selfish, waiting to see how each decision would play out and how it would benefit ME.  What the hell is that?!  (Writing this down is making me embarrassed.)

Everything happens for a reason, but that benefit might not apply to me.  I always thought: “Oh that happened to me so I could meet so-and-so” “Ohhhh that happened to me so I would leave my work place” “Ohh that happened to me so I could learn confidence”

Hopefully I’m making sense.

After glancing past this quote I realized I had it wrong.. for pretty much ever.  Everything does happen for a reason,  still faithfully believe that, however that reason might not always be – to benefit ME.

Maybe my light was shinning & it was needed to shine somewhere else.  Maybe I needed to be a complete fail so someone else could realize their life doesn’t suck as bad. HA!

But hello?! DUH!

After I started thinking this way, nearly every day for the past 6 months or so, it’s almost as if the pressure has been taken off of ME.  Because it’s not all about me.  It’s about all of us.

I know, I’m deep.

You can imagine, I’ve had months of thinking about this and it’s all coming out.  But the whole thought changed a lot of my mindset and has influenced my decisions & reactions the past couple months, so I thought it was worth sharing.

Because it’s a bit of a relief.

Thoughts?

 

Xx

 

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Food

Staple Minnesotan Supper: Tator Tot & Green Bean Hot Dish

Staying in the Minnesota spirit as long as possible, I come today w/a recipe to share.

The holy grail of all a mid-western’s dinner menu: Hot Dish.

hot-dish-recipe

We don’t call meals in a pan casserole, we call them Hot Dish.  And boy do we love them.  If I wasn’t consistently concerned about my health I would eat these meals every night of the week.  All the best food groups slammed right into one pan, what’s better than that?!  (Anyone see that Friend’s episode where Rachel makes the Thanksgiving 7 Layer Dessert, “Cream, cake, berries, chocolate, beans, beef, jam” LOL)

 green-bean-hot-dish-recipe

After living YEARS without hot dish in my life I made an attempt at the ever so common – Tator Tot & Green Bean Hot Dish.  (My nickname as a child was: Spud.)

I did my best at making this recipe as healthy as possible – however, keep in mind Tator Tot’s are one of the main ingredients.

And I have A WAY EXAGGERATED excitement over the fact that I made homemade cream of mushroom soup! Cream of pretty much anything is a MUST in any hot dish.  Minnesotans always have a can on hand, at least a good Minnesotan would.  But I’m a huge believer in knowing every ingredient on the food label & I can’t manage to find a good cream of mushroom soup can.

So I bit the bullet & made my own (so easy it’s embarrassing).  Find the recipe: HERE  The only thing I changed was adding a few chopped mushrooms.

This is a true Minnesotan dish & totally worth trying at home.  Even if you’re not from the Midwest, get a little taste of it!  Also, don’t be afraid of the presentation, it’s all those good ingredients in one location – a hot dish pan, not too scary.

homemade-cream-of-mushroom-soup-recipe

Tator Tot & Green Bean Hot Dish

Ingredients:

1 lbs ground beef  (Can absolutely be made meat free!)

1 medium yellow onion Diced

6 cloves garlic Diced

2 C French style Green Beans cleaned & chopped into 1 inch pieces

1 Tbls minced Herb (Thyme, Oregano, both)

1 ½ C Cream of Mushroom

8 Button Mushrooms Chopped Small

¾ C Milk

½ C Plain Greek Yogurt

Tator Tots

Salt

Pepper

1.5 C shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:  Pre-heat oven to 375.  In a small saucepan, brown ground beef over med-high heat until cooked through, drain any excess grease.  In large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, once hot add the garlic & onion cooking until near translucent (3-5 minutes).  Add chopped mushrooms & cook another minute, until barely soft.  Turn off heat.  Add the ground beef to the onion, garlic, and mushroom mixture. Mix well.  Starting adding! Chopped herbs, cream of mushroom, green beans, milk, & yogurt.  Spread evenly into a casserole dish, layer shredded cheese on top of ground beef mixture.  Finally, line the top of the casserole with tator tots in even lines. Bake for 45 minutes & enjoy!

 green-bean-hot-dish-recipe2

Anyone reading have their own hot dish recipe to share?  If you try this one, let me know!  Anything Minnesota has a special place in my heart, including being able to share this little recipe.  Enjoy!

Xx

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Life

Oui Please, No More Culture Shock

There are pro’s and con’s to being busy.  I’ve noticed the busier I am the quicker time goes by & I can’t stand when time goes too fast.  When I’m not busy, aka Netflix and chilling, time goes pretty slow.  How did I finish an entire series in one day?!  But that’s the laziest form of survival, so it’s a toss!

 minnesota-blog

If you’ve been watching my Snapchat or following my Instagram you’ll have noticed I was in Minnesota last week.  I had to get my hair cut & my favorite stylist is in Minnesota so I made the trip.

(Not really.  My cousin got married so I went up for the wedding… and conveniently got my hair done.)

I’ll recap the trip next week w/suggestions for your Minneapolis itinerary.

Being in Minnesota this time around was actually a relief.  Last time I was home I had major culture shock.  I had a hard time communicating my feelings & expressing what I was going through.  I reacted to people’s comments defensively & craved some sort of debriefing conversation.  Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have spoken to other human beings.

This time, being around family, felt normal again! I could talk in complete sentences.  Think realistically. Respond responsibly.

I felt like I got to redeem myself.

It’s not that Dubai was super tragic, or anything extraordinary that caused my culture shock issues, it was the change.  There were different circumstances abroad that created a huge amount of change & development in such a short amount of time.  Constantly living on level 10.  When I came back, it was another huge wave of change on a Level 3.   The adjustment took time.

I have a new appreciation & understanding for people coming to America from abroad.   Or anyone going through dramatic life changes.

Now that I’ve recovered, I get excited remembering ALL the changes & happenings.  OUI! And where I am now, how much I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, the weird feelings I had throughout.  Even the emotional differences between moving away when I was 18, a semester in the Dominican Republic, and living in Dubai. Each so different & challenging in their own ways.   But pretty happy to have them behind me, as to now only have to reflect 😉

 

Anyways, I wanted to fill you in a little!  How’s everyone else doing? Excited for fall?

 

Have an extra excited day, don’t worry, and be thoughtful!

 

Xx

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Life

A Trip Down Memory Lane – MissBassmaster Favs

One of the coolest parts about blogging, especially travel blogging, is being able to look back at your own writing & experiences.  Recently, I’ve been trying to clean up my old posts to make a more cohesive MissBassmaster.  In doing so I’ve stumbled upon some awesome posts.  Damnnnnnnnnnnnn Katie, round of applause!   I keep trying to remember where I was writing, what I was thinking & how I was really feeling.  I must have done a good job of conveying my emotion at the time because re reading particular posts brings me right back to the same feelings I had.

At the time I remember genuinely believing no one reads blogs so I was writing to the air – but I’m glad I did!

For anyone new to MissBassmaster, or looking for a good trip down memory lane, here are a few of my personal favs:

Olive Oil + Hair

Ha!  What you’ll do when you have no money & nowhere to be.  This particular post was still in the beginning stages of Dubai when I had major self esteem issues, hense the drama.  I remember it like it was yesterday… Feeling so proud to have a head full of grease and smelling like a frying pan. Aww.

I’m Here. Hi. / BOOM It’s My Birthday

I’m Here. Hi.  Is probably my shortest post but it’s the sweetest.  I can tell the hard times are finally behind me & I was myself again, reading this simple post put a huge smile on my face. I finally made it!  And BOOM It’s My Birthday?  Ummmm hello happiness, good to see you again!

My Dumb Idea to Try the Master Cleanse

Because this is freaking hilarious.  I will forever remember this cleanse & my conversations w/Wafiq during this time.  Since doing the cleanse & writing those posts I’ve heard a tooooooooon of negativity towards juice cleanses & restricting diets.  I would like to take this opportunity to make it clear – I was doing the cleanse as an experiment.  I didn’t know if it was good, bad, or ugly – I was bored & wanted to see if a cleanse like this was survivable, shoot me.

Myth Busting Dubai

Awwwww finally learning to defend Dubai.  This is one of my favorites because it’s so true to Dubai!!  I always say, I’m totally open to talking negatively about Dubai or really anywhere else in the world, as long as you know what you’re saying.  Facts & education, or I might as well be talking to a fucking wall.  If you want to answer some questions about life in Dubai, or the Middle East – read this.

My Fellow American’s in Dubai

I never write posts like this anymore!  Truly one of a kind – a story on MissBassmaster.  How hilarious are my fellow American’s in Dubai, and I remember working so hard at portraying each character in the pictures.  HA!

Finally Back in Austin, Texas!

I forgot how hard this was – culture shock in general was super heavy for me.  And it took almost a full year to get over it.  Only NOW am I comfortable talking and explaining Dubai to people.  That took forever! This post was written so perfectly to reflect my feelings.  Anyone struggled with culture shock?  I wasn’t ready…


EEEEEEEE!! That’s my trip down memory lane!  I haven’t gone through ALL my old posts, those are the ones that stuck out & I found to be a good read going back.  If you really pay attention you’ll see my ups and downs were a little roller coaster-y.    Any other bloggers notice that in their writing?   I’m going to try to maintain a more “up” feeling going forward, jeeeeez Katie.

I know I always say it, but I’m so so so super grateful for where I am now 🙂

Have a light day & remember to be thoughtful!!

Xx

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Travel

Why It’s OK To Be A Tourist

I’m in a few travel groups on Facebook & Instagram + I follow a couple blogs that travel often. They’re all veteran travelers, or it appears that way. Maybe the most outspoken members are?

Being-a-Tourist-

One common theme I’ve seen a lot of since joining travel groups or following travel blogs is this idea to avoid extremely tourist travel locations or activities, with the idea to experience the destination as a local would.

Although I completely understand where that mentality is coming from and have been known to preach the same way, the more I see posts & conversations like this the more I start feeling like I need to defend tourist hot spots.

Being-a-Tourist_Times-Square

Times Square, New York

First, traveling isn’t easy for everyone. For someone who hasn’t previously had the opportunity to travel OR for someone who has never been courageous enough to explore – traveling can be very intimidating. The money, language, navigation, and companionship can be scary. Even for me, after traveling with zero percent idea what the hell I was doing and somehow surviving, traveling still gives me anxiety. Tourist locations can offer a little relief. You’re in a group of people who also, don’t know what the hell they’re doing. People are confused, taking pictures, lost, excited, eating terrible food, and probably dressed 180 degrees opposite of the local style.

Second, is this a competition of the most adventurous? Where’s the smallest crack in the ass restaurant I can go to in order to show I’m “one” with the culture, or sky dive down an erupting volcano in an undiscovered mountain range in order to show how much of the planet earth I’ve been to? Sometimes a girl just wants to see the Statue of Liberty, buy a $40 foam crown visor, and eat corn out of a cup!

Being-a-Tourist-New-York

Statue of Liberty, New York

I sway back and forth with the tourist vs local way to see a destination.

While living in Dubai, my very favorite thing to do was the desert Safari – and there is literally nothing more touristy to do in Dubai than that damn desert Safari. But I loved it. And participated whenever I had the chance. At the same time, I avoided the tourist restaurants like the plague. You couldn’t pay me to eat that shit.

Being-a-Tourist-Dominican-Republic

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

When I lived in the Dominican Republic, I LOVED eating the food at my host house because damnnnnnnn could my host mom cook a meal! (I’ll work on repeating some of those recipes for you guys.) And why would I eat at any popular restaurant over her meals?! HOWEVER, I spent several weekends at the resorts where you couldn’t find a single local. I laid out on the beach, drank dranks, chatted with Europeans & danced with other tourists to Dominican music… w/no Dominicans.

50/50

Being-a-Tourist-Henna

Desert Safari, Dubai

But what I want get across – if you want to do the desert safari in a car full of tourists or you want to take a ferry to the statue of liberty or you want to dance to Dominican music with no Dominicans IN the Dominican Republic: go ahead!

I would challenge someone that is going on a very touristy vacation to spend one night looking a little further for a restaurant that isn’t advertised, but the hotel check-in person recommends as their personal fav.

Or spend one afternoon shopping where a local buys their clothes.

Explore the local grocery store the hotel bartender goes to.

Finding something very simple to dig a little into the local culture will only make any travel experience more heartwarming, that’s what I’ve learned. HOWEVER, by all means stick to the tourist activities if you want to. Take pictures, look silly, talk to other tourists, because why not?

Being-A-Tourist-Amsterdam

Amsterdam

One thing I most definitely do not discriminate against – being a tourist.

I use my own judgement to decide between what’s a tourist trap and what’s simply a (sometimes) fun touristy activity. There’s a fine line for sure, but exploring both locally and w/in the tourist boarders is A-okay!

I’ve been wanting to get that off my chest for a really long time… I never want to talk about visiting a country, traveling or moving abroad in a way that’s intimidating or sets the bar high, or to be cool – because it shouldn’t be.

Thoughts?!

 

 

Happy exploring!!

Xx

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Food, I recommend...

My Best Friend – Garlic

My favorite topic of all time = GARLIC!

Garlic-As-Medicine

My most viewed post, hands down, is about the time I had shingles & used garlic as medicine.

I recently went back to read the post and eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Painful! But also badass. I’m proud of myself.

For anyone who hasn’t read the post, about 2 years ago I diagnosed myself with shingles while I was living in Dubai. I think it was due to stress? I’m not exactly sure why or how I got them but I know I was pretty stressed at the time, which I read can weaken your immune system.

I didn’t have insurance so I had to do a little investigating of my own to find a solution because GOOD LORD THAT WAS THE WORST PAIN EVER!!! EVER.

I scrolled all day through Pinterest & Google, tried a couple different medicines from the pharmacy, and finally landed on an article that mentioned: Garlic. It’s those articles at the bottom of the search pages that always catch my eye when I’m looking for home remedies. They’re not paid for, they’re not trendy, and they’re the most likely to be tried & true.

I put 1 huge BULB of garlic in juice 2x a day. Maybe 3x the first day. And drank it. Yes, I was super nauseous. Yes, it was disgusting. BUT I kid you not, my shingles dried up SIGNIFICANTLY the next day. No more fresh blisters, no more zinging nerve pain.

I think I cried.

And, (knock on wood) I haven’t had shingles since then.

Here’s the deal with garlic ( v i a / v i a ):

  • 3 cloves of garlic have the same antibacterial activity as a standard dose of penicillin

  • Anti-Viral + Anti -Bacterial + Anti-fungal = Need I say more?

  • Boosts immune system, manages blood pressure, heart health, cancer prevention, aids in digestion – the list goes on.

  • Eating garlic regularly is not only good for us; it has been linked to reversing the 4 major causes of death worldwide including heart disease, stroke, cancer and infections

Garlic-As-Medicine

Guys. I’m in love with Garlic. A passionate love. After seeing how incredible garlic was for my shingles, I’ve been eating it every day since and obsess over it.

I add it to EVERY SINGLE MEAL: Salad, pasta, chicken, fish, tacos, stir fry, eggs, salsa, curry, literally every meal – I add garlic. And a lot of it. Several CLOVES.

Quick story… everyone thought I was coo-coo with my garlic obsession.  Luckily, Wafiq needed emergency surgery in New York. Ok, not luckily, BUT I saw an opportunity. I was going to see if garlic would heal his wounds quickly. Honestly, to prove to myself that garlic was actually a miracle medicine.

When we got to Austin I had Wafiq eat almost 2 BULBS of FRESH, chopped garlic. (He put it on rice with Chicken.) Before we went to bed he jokingly said (as one of his wounds was protruding and bruised, almost bleeding): “Imagine I wake up in the morning and my cuts are healed”. This is after 3 days of dealing w/nasty incision marks.

Well well well Mr. Wakiki look what happened in the morning.

I’m not lying, those damn cuts were sealed up & looking healthy as ever! Right away we both regretted not taking a before and after pictures.

Garlic-As-Medicine

I can’t praise garlic enough. I talk about it all the time to my friends, I keep pictures of big ass garlic cloves that I find on my phone, and I like to leave bulbs on the kitchen counter so I can stare at them. Garlic is the reason I believe food is more powerful than we know & makes me want to raid the internet all day for other secrets.

I am NOT a doctor, or even close to it. You should definitely go to the doctor if you have an injury, or rash, especially one that appears to be shingles!

But if I can eat a ton of something & see such amazing benefits than it’s worth sharing.

If you haven’t met garlic yet, please set a date. Get to know each other & be ready to fall in love like I have.

 

Who has other good secrets?

 

Xx

+ See original post: here
+ See garlic salsa: here

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