Saturday, March 30, 2013

Divine Design: Create Highly Fashionable Bedroom Designs With Animal Print

Have you been inspired to redecorate your room after seeing Snooki's love for animal print? (Yes, she decorates everything in animal print, every wall of her home with JWoww on the MTV spin-off show "Snooki & JWoww")

There's a subtle difference between animal print accents and a total safari explosion. Remember, you don't want your bedroom to look like it's a traveling circus, so be mindful of the way you incorporate them. Don't take it too extreme: learn how to create a high fashion styled bedroom with luxurious animal prints.

Pair Animal Prints With a Pop of Color

Depending on the print of your choosing, look for colors that add an extra pop. Be wary of mixing animal prints together, though. Just stick with one animal print then use accent colors to tie the room together.
For a black and white feel, zebra stripe is the way to go. You can use accents of pink, red or light blue. For a warmer or more neutral tone, use a leopard pattern or python print. For an accent color, stick to browns, blacks and creams.

Use Subtle Sheets

Stay away from the bold print on your sheets. To keep it classy, sophisticated and fashionable, opt for more subtle sheet in silver, white or gray. This will still give you the high-end look you want without going over the top. Use decorative pillows to tie-in the colors of your bedroom and use one accent pillow to accentuate your love of animal print. But remember, if your bedding is zebra print, DON'T choose a pillow that's python. This just will not do. When shopping for sheets, pillows and comforters for your mattresses, make sure the styles work together! You can also add a nice, cozy faux fur animal blanket on your bed.

Accessorize a Seating Area

If you have a rather large master bedroom, incorporating a seating area will tie in your room and allow you to have an extra area to decorate. Try using an elegant wing-back chair in a lilac or cream color with a metallic finish. The animal print twist? Incorporate the animal print of your choosing along the sides of the chair. This will add some fun to your room! In addition to the chair, make sure you place a small table, fresh flowers, an ottoman and a small blanket.

DIY Picture Frames

Your bedroom isn't complete without an animal picture frame. Keep it classy and choose a scrapbook paper that veers from the traditional loud print. If you love cheetah or leopard print but don't like the harsh, bold colors, find the print in a different shade like light browns, creams or grays. To pull off the picture frame, just take the scrapbook paper you found and cut it to size. Simple glue the paper on the wooden frame using Mod Podge and let dry. You can add some extra flair by attaching jewels or glitter.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Giraffe; dine in London's Heathrow Airport





One of the great things about traveling is tasting the many flavors. As you know, I am a fan of dining out, so trying new restaurants is always a joy. 

A few months ago, it seemed as if I was trapped by travel. My initial flight to Paris was delayed, so I missed the connecting flight, then I finally made it to London for an extended layover only to find that flight was cancel. By then I was tired, irritable, probably a little unsavory, and hungry. 

Once I finally got settled in the correct terminal, I immediately noticed tall, lanky creatures before me. It was an interesting view as well as engaging, so I happily trotted over to see what's what.



By then, I didn't care too much of what was on the menu, I just wanted to sit down.


My weary began to settle as I heard the world music tunes. I don't know what was playing, but it had a
world, jazz, with a hint of R&B feel. It was relaxing. I was promptly attended and order what turned into Reginia's self indulging airport meal.

I had the BBQ Chicken & Smoked Cheddar Quesedilla, Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream, and the most delicious 'Tosca Capp.


Afterwards, I was stuffed to say the least.

There were a ton of things on the menu that I wanted to try. Some were a bit hearty, so I decided to save those for a later day because no one can go to London just once.










Very satisfying! 

More pics here.



Tags: "London" "giraffe in London's Heathrow" "food" "BBQ Chicken & Smoked Cheddar Quesedilla" "travel"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Vacation Attire for Me; Packing and Such



If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that I am having a fit and a half trying to pack. I have to pack for two climates as well as for Ash (more later), so this is giving me the blues. In addition, I am getting side-tracked by all of the entertainment gossip on one of my favorite blogs, Funky Dineva. Between the RHOA divorce filings and Funky Dineva's videos, packing just isn't happening.

Oh top of that, Ash brought over his packed things and said he's ready to roll. Many would be happy with this notion but this is what I have to deal with -


Photo credit {via}


He was just so cute and so elated that he had completed his packing and it was all in this one backpack. Ten days of vacation things in this one unit. Umm, sir, umm NO. This is NOT how we're going to do it. He was just puzzled as to why I gave resistance and after all day at work then the doctor's office, I couldn't offer an explanation. Just NO.

Anyway, between that and all other things (weight gain), I decided to have the tailor to craft a few pieces because I procrastinated and my online things just wouldn't make it on time. My handcrafted items are now at the laundry but you'll see them in the vacation shots.

I decided on mostly sundresses because they are free flowing, breathable, and attractive.


Photo credit {via}


I have a few maxi dresses that I got from Dorothy Perkins and Old Navy. I hope to incorporate those as well. At this point, I just want to get there already and let the clothing chips fall where they may.



Tags:"travel" "maxi dresses" "tunic dresses" "Hong Kong" "Qatar Airlines" "Bangkok" "RHOA" "funky dineva"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Well-Organized Girl's Guide to Packing (Repost)



The countdown begins...

As Ash and I count down the days to our first official trip together, I thought that it would prove prudent to revisit the dynamic guest post by Kim of PishPoshPerfect. Her article was spot on in helping us to organize our things so we can enjoy the culture and spirit of Hong Kong and Bangkok.

I loved this post so much and felt that it needed an encore.

Enjoy


--------
                                                   The Well-Organized Girl's Guide to Packing

I was so honored when Reginia invited me to pen a guest post for her blog, as I have been admiring it ever since she and I reconnected a few months ago.  She asked for organizational tips and, inspired by her current travels and a recent vacation I took, organization around packing seemed a natural fit. I strive to keep everything in my life well-organized, from schedules to home to office—and these are the things that help to keep me on track when I’m planning to go on a trip. Hopefully they’ll help you as well! I believe that with the right preparation travel can be infinitely less stressful, giving you more time to focus on the joys of the trip itself. So what does the well-organized girl do when preparing for a trip?


Plan outfits ahead of time--even down to accessories and undergarments.

I know this seems like a lot of work, and well--it is. But it’s also well worth it. Planning your outfits ahead of time means not needing to pack tons of extra pieces that you think you might want to wear…maybe. Instead you have the exact items, shoes and accessories that you’ll need for each day that you are away. (I am totally on board with a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, so adding an extra style or two is absolutely acceptable!)


Maintain a similar color scheme for as many of your outfits as possible.
To the same end as planning your outfits ahead to avoid an over-packing situation, plan said styling within the same color scheme as much as possible. This allows you to wear the same shoes and accessories more than once, and leaves room in your suitcase for all the great purchased items you’ll want to bring home!


Use proper luggage.

Know what type of baggage you’ll need based on where you’re going and the length of time that you’ll be away. Is an overnight bag suitable? Would a duffle work better? Is there a weight restriction for suitcases on the airline you’re flying?


Be sure to take advantage of the extra space within your suitcase. Does it have compartments inside? Can you fit flat items like your magazines in the front pocket? I also recommend the use of dedicated bags that go inside your main bag like: a cosmetics case for your hair and makeup products (so nothing spills on your precious cargo); shoe bags to protect their heels and fabrics; and folding jewelry travel bags—these often have specific, sized compartments for earrings, necklaces, etc.




Keep travel size toiletries and plastic containers on hand.

Because I travel often, I like to buy travel sized toiletries and keep them in my cosmetics bag so they're always there; as well as travel sized bottles and containers to use for my products-of-the-moment that don’t already come in smaller packaging. It’s great because in the proper sizes, the containers work for both road and air travel. Opening my bag and seeing the needed items already there greatly reduces the last minute stress of running around and trying to snag things.



Clean your home before you leave.

I always, always clean and straighten my home prior to going away—even if it’s overnight. I make sure beds are made, bathrooms are cleaned, dishes are washed and all trash bins are completely empty. I even make sure to get rid of any leftover items in the fridge (coming home to weird kitchen smells can’t ever be a good thing). After being away on a great trip or vacation, I want the peace of mind to extend even once I’ve returned home; and clutter immediately disrupts that. Having fresh scents permeate the rooms and crawling into fresh sheets makes the hard prep work all worth it.


Scope out the travel landscape.

If flying, be sure that you are checking the airline’s website for travel restrictions and flight schedules. If road-tripping, map out your route ahead of time—even if you use GPS, it’s great to have an idea of where you’re headed before hitting the open road, just in case. Be aware of any toll roads, and plan stops for bathroom and/or snacks if going on a particularly long trip. This way you have an accurate idea of what your trip will be like which will ultimately alleviate stress.

What are some of the organizational tips and tricks you use when prepping for travel? 

Credits found in original post.

Tags: "travel" "hong kong" Bangkok" "organizing packing" "international travel"


Friday, March 22, 2013

PCOS & Infertility (Guest Post)



Hello loves,

Below is an article penned by guest writer Valerie Johnson of Healthline.  I've chatted with Heathline about a guest post for a while. However, I wanted something dear to me that readers could relate. I participate in a few message boards regarding PCOS and Infertility because I have PCOS. Dealing with PCOS is challenging and I would like to enlighten others about the syndrome. 

---

A Look at PCOS and Infertility

There are many issues that relate directly to women and their fertility. And it is interesting and important to keep in mind that women’s bodies change on a fairly constant basis, and not only during pregnancy.
As an example, let's consider the process known as ovulation. While many of us view this as a single event that happens once each month of a pre-menopausal woman's life, it is a lengthy process of change. Here's how it works:

A woman will enter into a menstrual cycle each month, and in the first half of it their ovary will develop "follicles" that will eventually lead to the release of a single egg from one of them. Over the next few days, one follicle continues to grow and develop, and produce a single egg. When that egg has reached maturity, the body will increase specific hormones and cause the egg to burst out of that follicle. That is the moment of ovulation.

Clearly, this is a delicate process that requires specific hormones in specific quantities, to be produced at the ideal moment. If there are issues relating to hormones, there may be a serious disruption to the entire process.




Enter PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is just as it sounds. The woman has "poly" or many cysts in her ovaries. These are formed because the body fails to produce the right hormones during the menstrual cycle and the follicles will only begin to mature, but grow to completion. They will then start to hold the fluid that has gathered, cease growing, and become cysts.

What is so interesting is that it is a "women's issue", but is also dictated by some of the, what many consider to be, male hormones. Excessive amounts of testosterone and insulin that are the leading causes of PCOS, and it may ultimately prevent a woman from conceiving.

This is because the body is not creation enough progesterone to allow the lining of the uterus to thicken and to trigger the release of the egg. Additionally, progesterone tends to guide the menstrual cycle or pattern, and its absence in sufficient quantities can cause a woman to have no cycle at all. Thus, PCOS and infertility are often associated directly with one another.



Predictions are Not Possible

Because hormones are impacted by PCOS, it then becomes more challenging for a woman attempting to conceive to use typical ovulation prediction methods. As an example, many women track their menstrual cycles in order to know when they are ovulating and when to attempt to conceive. This is guessing at best and that is why many women also monitor their hormone levels. Unfortunately, women with PCOS have elevated levels of some hormones on a constant or unpredictable basis, and this can make any monitoring completely ineffective.
The good news about all of this is that there are many ways that the issue can be treated, and even for women who are seeking to become pregnant.



Overcoming Limitations

One of the very first things a physician will suggest is for the women to consider weight loss. This is because anyone in the overweight category may be producing fewer necessary hormones and a small drop in weight can cause the body to rebalance.

Additionally, there are insulin regulating drugs, fertility drugs, and manual fertilization tactics that harvest a woman's eggs and then restore them in a fertilized state in the uterus. There are also some alternative treatments that are designed to trigger the ovaries to function properly.
They key is to know that there are options and to seek some guidance from a physician if your goal is to conceive.


Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday; United Arab Emirates



Wordless Wednesday; United Arab Emirates









Tags: "Dubai" "burj khalifa" "Abu Dhabi" "Taste of Dubai" 




"teach away" "teach in Abu Dhabi" "teach for ADEC"

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taste of Dubai 2013



Over the weekend, Ash and I headed to Dubai for a bit of vacation shopping and a much needed break from "Mayberry". I specifically selected this weekend because of the "Taste of Dubai". The Taste of Dubai is the city's annual food festival featuring area restaurants, international chefs and cuisine, as well as interactive shows for the family.

This years festival featured; Philips Chef's Theatre, Kenwood Cookery School, entertainment by UK's Noisette's, and The Virgin Roadshow.



This was our first time experiencing the Taste of Dubai. The festival occurred during the application process last year and I vowed to come if I was selected for employment.


The weather was absolutely perfect. The skies were sunny, temps in the upper 80s, good food, a relaxing atmosphere, and loads of people watching.

Ash isn't into crowds much, but we made our way through anyway. We enjoyed the international aromas and tastes from around the world. To my disappointment, most of the vendors charged per plate. This caught me by surprise as this isn't the culture of Taste of Atlanta. So thumbs down to digging into "your pocket" for each vendor.



Ash's favorite was the Indian cuisine (I forgot the name of the restaurant) and I enjoyed steak and potatoes. We also shared a bit of dessert and spirits. 

It is my hope to visit the festival again next year. Hopefully the sponsors will take note of the complaints regarding the extra charges because that was truly a bummer. However, the venue was nice - Dubai Media City - and the weather was perfect.

What did you do this weekend?

Of course, more pics can be seen here.





Tags: "Philips Chef's Theatre", "Kenwood Cookery School", "Noisette's", "The Virgin Roadshow" "Taste of Dubai" "Dubai Media City"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Mint Chocolate Cookie Sandwich




One of the many things that I miss about being an elementary school teacher is the ability to bring creativity into classroom. With any holiday, birthday, or if the wind blew north, I would find a way to incorporate food and crafts into the lessons. During the latter part of my time in the classroom, I had many active parents who would support my love of creativity by bringing in the necessary materials and putting all hands on deck to make it happen for the students.

So it didn't surprise me that when I saw the Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie post on one of my favorite blogs, My Thirty Spot, my brain went into high gear on how I could somehow treat my staff to such a St. Patrick's day treat.




St. Patrick's Day isn't celebrated in the UAE but I think the "western" teachers would get a huge kick out of a St. Patty's Day, school appropriate, surprise. They'd probably prefer a traditional Irish delight but yeah, I can't bring that.

Below is a recipe found via FoxNews; created and developed by Laura Lilling:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Creme de menthe
  • 50 Chocolate or mint chocolate wafer cookies
  • 12 Ounces semi-sweet chocolate, oughly chopped
  • Green sprinkles (optional)

Preparation


Step 1:

Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.


Step 2:

Prepare mint butter cream filling. Beat butter in an electric mixer on high speed until light and creamy. Add powdered sugar and Creme de menthe and mix on low until incorporated. Increase speed to high and mix until filling is light and fluffy.


Step 3:

Put together sandwiches. Spread 1 tablespoon of filling onto bottom side of half of the cookies. Press remaining cookies down onto butter cream to make sandwiches. Place cookie sandwiches on prepared baking sheets and put into freezer for an hour.


Step 4:

Once cookies have chilled, melt chocolate for dipping. Place chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave in 30-second increments stirring in between until chocolate is completely melted. Dip half of each cookie sandwich into chocolate and cover with sprinkles if desired.


Step 5:

Store cookie sandwiches in refrigerator and serve at room temperature.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/recipe/st-patricks-day-mint-chocolate-cookie-sandwiches#ixzz2MqbSuYFr



Original Story posted here. Key recipe/photo credit - Lauren Lilling 

Tags: "St.Patrick's Day" "cookies" "fun for kids" "My Thirty Spot" "FoxNews"  "food" "cooking" "teaching in Abu Dhabi" "teach away" "international teacher"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Clash in the Kitchen



If you've followed this blog for a while, then you know I have a love/hate relationship with the kitchen; mostly hate. Somewhere within the bounties of social media, hormones, and spousal duties is the desire to cook a decent meal. As this has been a challenge for me my entire adult life and  it has become a greater challenge now that I share a kitchen with another. Yep this "another" is my FH of who is of another nationality which has created a clash in the kitchen.

On most days, Ash makes dinner for which I am grateful because most days I just don't want to cook. However, Ash's tastes are quite different than mine and secondly Arab diets are anchored in breads, lamb, hummus, and other flavors that I have yet to embrace.




Ash feels the same way about my American meals. Though he tries them, he is just not fond of beef, mashed potatoes, grits, or eggs (my favorites). I'm having a tough time merging the cultures without making two meals or creating sad faces.



One thing we agree on is grilled chicken. Ash loves grilled chicken and could eat it everyday; me once a week is fine. So in an effort to have chicken while trying something new but familiar, next week I'm going to try my hand a making Chicken Makhani or "Butter Chicken". 




One part of me wants to conquer the kitchen challenges and the other part says "Ah what the h*ll".

Sigh....

Do you and your spouse have kitchen clashes? What can I do to get over the hump?





Photo credit: google images
Tags: "butter chicken" "interracial relationships" "interracial marriages" "cooking" "arab meals"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Break Fashions; for Him



Spring break is fast approaching and as I mentioned somewhere on social media, Ash and I are taking our first vacation together. O_O. Ooo, I am hoping and praying that he's a good traveler because y'all know I have fallen in love with traveling again. 

Our first stop is Hong Kong. We staying four days in Hong Kong and four days in Bangkok then a few days in Dubai to unwind. I can't tell you how excited I am. 

BUT

Ash is bit of a country boy. Yes there a such country people in the Arab world and Ms. "Urbaness" just happen to snag one. Aww, must be that southern charm of mine. O_O. Anyway, he is typically draped in his traditional wear, but we fancy something different for vacation. My honey is about 6'2 and 200lbs, so his style must be comfortable yet hip. We are shopping this weekend at traditional stores like Gap, Abercrombie, and Bloomingdales but I just don't know what to select for him. To him, if it's clean, it's ok. UM no. 

I need help from you guys. In Hong Kong, the highs are in the 70s and lows 50 but Bangkok, oh sweet Jesus, are in the 90s and lows in the 80s. 

I've thought about steering him towards looks like the one's below; tell me what you think.




Am I headed in the right direction?




Tags: "Gap" "travel" "vacations" "couples traveling" "Expedia" "Qatar Airlines"

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fun, Low-Key Spring Break Locations & Tips (Guest Post)



With spring break season approaching fast, I've had a lot of readers and colleagues ask me, "Is there any place in the U.S. that won't be infested with college students?" and "How can I save money, spend less and still enjoy my spring break?" Well, I'm not a financial advisor or a travel agent, but I am a frugal traveler and for the past 10 years, I've successfully vacationed without the inconveniences of being surrounded by crazed college students.

Security at Its Best

Whether you're leaving for a weekend retreat or traveling abroad for a week, you will want to keep your home, vehicle and valuables secure. Home security and identity protection companies, such as Life Lock, can alert homeowners of break-ins, robberies or vandalism as it occurs in their homes while they are away. As an incentive to travelers, LifeLock offers a 10 percent discount on a standard membership and 5,500 extra miles to American Airlines frequent fliers for new members upon their enrollment. Affordable security for your home and valuables and extra miles? I know it seems too good to be true.

Saving Money & Cutting Costs

Business2community.com contributor Sam Burgoon offers sound but often forgotten advice for travelers, including plan ahead, research the best deals and go with a group of people who can split the costs of board, food and fun. Remember to learn the laws and customs of the area so you can avert trouble with the locals. Even if you travel domestically, certain state laws are different from New York to Louisiana. Burgoon warns readers that it only takes one slip up to turn your vacation upside down and cost you exponentially in time, money and safety.

Spring Break Spots

Kelli B. Grant, of the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, recommends the following top locations for a vacation free of spring break college crowds:
  • Fort Myers, Florida - Students who flock to Florida during spring typically visit Miami and Panama City Beach, says Grant. Spring breakers seem to steer clear of Fort Myers, despite its gorgeous beach and affordable luxury hotels. For baseball fans, Grant suggests visiting this city because Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins host fun spring training games. Vacationing in this city is definitely a home run!
     
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey - Since March and April are colder off-season months on the boardwalk, vacationers can get incredible rates at casino hotels and won't have to deal with the crazy spring breakers. Rates at four-star Harrah's hotels start as low as $30 a night. This city needs lots of love since the damage it suffered from Hurricane Sandy. You'll be pleasantly surprised with your good time.
     
  • Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, California - While these tourist spots are known for their vineyards and wine, the intoxicated crowds are more sippers, than slammers. Even though spring is a fine season to go to a wine tasting, most crowds tend to go on the tours during the summer, Grant says.
Wherever you choose to go, be sure that you do the necessary research to prevent legal issues, save money and protect your home. You'll actually enjoy your spring break and skip any wacky, drama-filled issues.




About the author: 

Dana Proctor
Dana has frequented houseboats, hot air balloons, planes, trains and skateboards to relay the fun things readers can do on vacation.

Tags: "spring break" "florida" "beaches" "vacation" "California" "new jersey" "atlantic city" 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday; iMovie - I'm Learning Y'all










Tags: "YouTube" "travel" "Paris" "Her Perfect Black Dress" "videos" "UAE" "teaching in Abu Dhabi" "iMovie"

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