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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DUBAI! Top 5 Pieces to Pack.

Dubai Fashion

There are 3 questions I get asked all the time: how I was treated as a woman in the middle east, did I feel safe AND “did you have to cover up the whole time”.

I hope I’ve done a good job clarifying, go to this post to see my answers to all 3 of those questions if you haven’t already.  (We went to the public beach on this trip & there were girls in thong bikinis & topless tanning, so I think people are comfortable doing whatever they please.)

For me, I wanted to fit in.  I wanted to act like I’ve been there before & I know what the fuck I’m doing.  There’s something powerful in that.  Also, for any destination, isn’t it fun to fit in?  Wear what they wear.  I think it makes you appear well traveled, like you know what you’re doing in you life.  So that was my goal this trip.  I stuck to coverage.  When I was living there, I pushed this boundary w my cut off shorts & dresses all the time, because I was bored of being covered & it was HOT AF.  Being that I was just visiting, I had a different approach this time.

The theme:  BLACK BLACK BLACK.  If this is the color of your wardrobe, you’re in luck!  I like bright colors, florals, sparkles, drama – so I had to go shopping.  An abaya & burka are black, so that’s the colors you’ll see a lot of when you’re out.  I asked someone why black?  Why not beautiful colors + design on the abaya?  I was told the original purpose of the abaya was to avoid attention.  Bright florals & colors will do the opposite, drawing attention to the people wearing them.  So black is the theme!

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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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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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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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Being Thoughtful + 5 Times To Stop & Think

Thoughtful

As you may have noticed, I write “be thoughtful” at the end of all my posts.  When I started writing regularly I wanted to think of something to end with.  Something short, that I genuinely wanted readers to leave w/every day.   I thought about “be nice” or “be kind”  because there’s nothing better than a nice person, but that’s not always the case.  Sometimes, you shouldn’t be nice.  You should be strong.  You should be loud & badass & stick up for yourself, which might not be nice.   I might actually suggest “be mean”.

I came up with “be thoughtful”.  If you slow down & you’re thoughtful of the people you’re interacting with, you’ll know whether to be nice or to be mean.   No one knows what’s going on w/the people they interact with every day and no one knows you.

I think this really amplified itself for me a year ago when I was dealing w/bad anxiety.  I feel like I looked normal but was going through such a tough time in my head.  I was trying to take things slow & gentle while I worked through my anxiety, and I felt fragile.  But people didn’t know that.

One issue I had was driving anxiety.  American’s driving is the single thing I HATE the most about America.  It’s also one of the only times I use the word hate.  Moms, dads, young people, old people, men, women, they all drive like a tasmanian devil.  It’s crazy to me!  We have these huge machines we’re plowing recklessly through traffic with and have no worry?  And where are we always rushing to?  Why are we rushing?  We’re a product of our environment, American’s are glued to time.  My advice is to say fuck it & leave work early, take your time to your kids soccer game, so you can show up alive.

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I’m Moving. 4 Items On My Furniture Wishlist.

New Furniture

Did You Know?  Australian homes have the largest house size with an average of 2,500 square feet, while homes in China are the smallest, at just over 500 square feet. U.S. comes in with the 2nd largest average size.  (via) Happy Thursday! We’re moving in a few weeks & I’m in the process of purging […]

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