Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Travel Tuesday; Madrid, Spain

On the heels of a relaxing weekend in Madrid, I'm able to pen a post that's fresh on my mind. Digging through 1000s of pictures and attempting to remember the intimates of a trip from yester-week is sometimes tough. Per my usual, I booked my trip through a discount travel site and did well on pricing. I initially booked a hotel near the airport because it was a 5-star that was dirt cheap but I cancelled and changed for a hotel in the city; my namesake, Hotel Regina (minus one 'i')

The hotel, Hotel Regina, is located city center and has all conveniences inside and nearby. Its interior is modern with touches of classic features, bar, restaurant with brunch, and fast room service.

However, I was a bit taken aback by the size of my tiny interior room.

European Hotels are duly known for their "quaint spaces" but this closet with a bed was not my speed; I stayed; it was OK. I don't think I would have made it longer than the few nights because it was an interior room with no natural light because the window faced another interior window. That was a drag. I asked for an upgrade but the lady acted as if she didn't understand. I didn't bother challenging her because I went there to relax.

Because the hotel was on the main drag I was able to do a lot of things by foot. I engaged in a lot of people watching, photography, small talk, and of course tapas tasting.

I did not visit any museums or historic areas because I simply was not in the mood for such. The weather was excellent so outdoor cafes and strolling through the various plaza were in order. I did one city tour with Madrid City Tours. It's a red double decker bus that circles the city stopping at preselected locations. Tourists are able to hop on and hop off at the stops of their choice and reenter at designated stops. The cost of the tour was 21 Euro. I enjoyed sitting on the top level and just taking it all in. The total trip was about 30 mins not including any stops.

In the city, I particularly liked the street performances and was able to catch some video of a young crew serving a splash of hip dancing. (loaded to my YouTube Channel)

Madrid is a quiet city during the day and quite bustling at night. I recommend Madrid for a quick getaway because an extended trip would have become a bore. A weekend with the girls or boys would also be well served because there are ample night spots. I did not see many activities for children but I didn't seek them either. Couples would definitely enjoy the area as love in always in the air.

I will visit Madrid again within a couple of years.

As always, there are more pictures here.

Tags: "ttot", "travel" "Madrid, Spain" "Madrid" "solo travel" "Hotel Regina Madrid"

Monday, June 24, 2013

In the News; Monday's Musings

Events of the past week have been quite newsworthy; Paula Dean casually uses the N-Word and publicly hoped that her staff would behave like Steppin' Fetchit, I enjoyed an extended weekend in Madrid, Full-figured fashion week in New York City, thoughts of re-branding, and the close of one year living abroad.

Let's begin:

Paula Dean - The butter queen knows better than to call someone the N-Word, that's never good for business and branding. However, she felt that "in good fun" her casual use of one of the world's most derogatory and oppressive word was OK. Welp, Food Network felt otherwise. Though many align themselves with the likes of the racist Paula Dean, the world of capitalism knows it's bad business therefore off their roster she went.

Safe move.

What bugs me in addition Paula's actions are a good number of blacks are pouring out loads of sympathy for Paula. It's quite disgusting at the amount of passes given by the doormat simps that accept her behavior because of her age and location. Perhaps because I was raised during the era of "Gangsta Rap" it is ok for me to shoot anyone who pisses me off and steps on my white sneaks; I think not. Thou shall not give a pass to Butter Dean either. Those who accept mediocrity are the weakest link in progression; I have more on that in a few. Either way, Paula will bounce back just like other poorly behaved celebrities.

Madrid, Spain

I had a pleasant extended weekend in Madrid. The weather was nice, my hotel was in the midst of everything, dining, activities, protests, and sight seeing. All stroked my need for a weekend away. There's not much day time bustle in Madrid, so I was able to casually stroll the streets while sipping on a ripe cafe' and enjoying a beauty of it all. Madrid is such a clean city with passionate residents. I didn't engage in any formalities other than a city tour. I opted out of museums and historic what nots because I simply was not there for that, I just wanted to relax uninterrupted.

The time in Madrid helped me to refocus and shed a bit of stress. Between completing my first year abroad in a location that I loathe, having a heart attack, and feeling smothered by nothingness, a change, though brief, in scenery was much needed.


I've tried to baby Her Perfect Black Dress for almost two years now (though I've blogged longer under a different name). The concept didn't quite go as I wanted as I am placed in the fashion/beauty category. Though I like my personal fashion, it's not something that I want to share daily or anything I think people would like. I get tons of emails to host giveaways or sponsored posts about fashion, but it's just not my thing. I'm in the process now of thinking of a name and redesign for what I want to do with blogging. I like news, conversations, reporting, current events; a CNN of the sorts. My blog friend Kita's is where I go daily because it's such a relaxed atmosphere that touches on many things, that's what I want to, a Huffington Post type of deal but commentary by me. It's in the works and I hope to make the transition over the summer.

If you have any references for an excellent designer who can set up the new blog, port from Blogger to Wordpress, and have this site redirect to the new one, send them my way. I want something sleek, modern, and attractive for news and commentary.

Living Abroad

July 4 marks the close of the school year. The students stopped coming at the beginning of June. My first year abroad was a bit disappointing. It was absolutely nothing like I imagined. I'm in a remote location, hours from the city and western amenities. I'm away from socialization and the ability to meet lots of people. My work situation was ok but professionally I didn't absorb much; there were far more withdraws than deposits. At this point in my career, I want to learn, be mentored, be a mentor, and have opportunities for intellectual stimulation. After 15.5 years in the industry, I have the art/craft of teaching and administration nearly perfected. I know SPED, ELL, CCC, and all the acronyms that education has to offer. I want to build upon that. Unfortunately my professional brand expansion has stalled because there isn't access to what I need.

As I mentioned, socialization and mediocrity. There's something about southern people (the ones that I encounter) and the acceptance of mediocrity. It's quite disturbing to think tank dwellers. Many try to color it as "thinking positive" but tap dancing with a noose around your neck is anything but that.

I said that to say, it is my hope that my next few years abroad will provide opportunities to meet new people, see other faces, and associate with those with those who are well traveled and can think beyond the fried pork chops.

On a lighter note:

Full-Figured Fashion Week

Some of my blog boos attended events during New York Fashion Week. I loved seeing the photos from all of the bloggers particularly my Atlanta love Oh Nikka, my mid-west girl Inez of StyleChic360,  Ty of Gorgeous in Grey, and lastly the belles of the ball Chasity of Garner Style and From the Rez to the City.

Inez of StyleChic360

Photo credits for this section belong to the individuals mentioned above.

What's on your plate this Monday?

Tags: "Paula Dean" "Paula Dean uses the N-Word" "Madrid" "ttot" "travel abroad" "travel in Europe" "living abroad" "teacher in Abu Dhabi" "heart disease" "exercise" "plant based diet"

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thank Goodness It's Friday

Most weeks I wish for Fridays to have a day of peace and rest, this Friday is no different except I'm in Madrid. Yes I finally made it after a faux paux or few along the way. It wouldn't be like "me" to not have a hiccup or 10 to complete simple tasks.

Of course leaving "the island" was a challenge because the wind decided to pick up thus the ferry had cancelations. Thank goodness for my "local" friend who happened upon a ticket for the plane into the city. It is always much better to take the quick 45 minute flight into Abu Dhabi than the hour and half ferry ride then 2 and a half hours into the city. That's way too challenging to do time and again. (insert over it face here)

Once I arrived into the city, it seemed as the magical stress fairy waved her wand and the stresses disappeared, NOT so much. Apparently, my rescheduled doctor's appointment was not put into the system; so much to their surprise and mine, my voyage to see the doctor was in vain. Whew, yes excited I was. I couldn't wait to get to the hotel to sleep in their extra firm bed. I love the way the stone mattress melts my sorrows away. Yes just love it.

The hotel is on the main drag to the airport, so instead of frustrating myself and the taxi drivers with my profound sense of direction in Abu Dhabi, I stay at this place because it's a one road deal to the airport.

Now the adventure begins....

Air France and Etihad are air buddies. Typically Etihad have things in order but with the middle man of Expedia plus Air France, things went a bit south and quickly. First, I couldn't check in online which shot my nerves because I missed a flight before because of an online check in mix up. On top of the online check in screwy, Expedia listed the departing Terminal as 2, um no way Expedia Terminal 2 is for private jets and cargo, I was not apart of either this go a-around OK. So, I had the taxi drop me off at Terminal 1, then trecked over to Terminal 3 then heard, "there's a problem with your ticket". WTH. No it's not.

The kind Etihad gentleman called a few people, typed a few letters, then sent me off to the long line of would-be travelers. In short, I made the flight, but had to check my carry on bag which was later left for dead in Paris. GRRR Thanks Air France.

I arrived to Madrid, no bag and the delivery service closed for the day. (insert yall better fix it fast face here) I decided to wait the 2 + hours for the next flight that my bag was on. I missed most of my evening in Madrid due to Air France. NOT A HAPPY GIRL... however, my namesake hotel is amazing and in the midst of the action. The room is smaller than ant spit but all is well.

In other news, Paula Dean seems to be the biggest loser of the week. She claims that everyone uses the "N-word" and exerts that it's OK to do so. Dear Butter Queen, it is not OK to use the "N-word" and using such reference in the presence of any living being is unacceptable. You are a tack head for doing so and I hope you twerk your way down butter lane out of existence. Food Network due your rightful duty to cancel the Butter Broad, we don't need her.

See you guys soon and always check in with me on Instagram for up to date pics from Madrid.

Tags: "trot" "travel" "Air France" "Etihad" "Paula Dean uses the N-Word" "Delma Island" "teacher in "Abu Dhabi" "travel to Madrid" "Madrid, Spain" "Hotel Regina"

Monday, June 17, 2013

Music Monday; Robin Thicke - Blurred Lines ft. T.I & Pharrell

Aww yes, the official start of summer is near and this song came into my world just in time. Like most, each year, I deem a favorite summer song and this may be it. It's a sexy upbeat number that features three of my favorite artists; Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell. 

I am so excited about hearing Pharell in rotation again, it warms all that is me. Pharrell is a super producer that turns whine to shine. He has worked with many A-List artists and his magic never disappoints. 

I loved this song from the moment I heard it. Robin's sensual delivery and mainstream charm is felt in the harmony. 

I'm thankful for the internet because I've yet to hear it on Dubai's 100.5, perhaps I need to tell them to put it in rotation.  Of course the video is just as sexy and quirky as the song. The scantly dressed models gives us a bit of tease with their flesh tone undies. The icing on the red velvet cupcake for me is the supreme lust of my life, T.I. Umm, to see him trot throughout the video and serving the southern boy, Atlanta, give-it-to me thrust is every single thing; well maybe not every single but almost.

Blurred Lines is a perfect summer jam. It's in my rotation for sure.

PS. Dear Robin, my co-worker's brother is your neighbor and he would like for you to stop talking so loud on your deck at odd hours. Thanks. Don't shoot the messenger.

tags: "Robin Thicke Blurred Lines" "Robin Thicke" "TI" "Pharrell" "Blurred Lines Video"  "Dubai 100.5"

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Father's Day - 2013

A well-deserved and celebrated American Holiday, Father's Day, is Sunday June 16. Father's Day is a day to honor and celebrate the fathers that are near and dear to us. Honoring dear dad is usually done with an external token that connects us to our dads or spreading cheer with some of his favorite things.

For me, this is how I would love to celebrate Father's Day:

  1. Father's Day Cookout. Man oh man can the father's in my life burn on the grill. My step-father David, as well as my Uncles Al and Robert, can turn Kroger Beef to Chef Gourmet. I'd love to have them all together for a cumulative Father's Day Celebration. My dear dad from above would beam with pride.
  2. Father's Day Getaway. OK, yes travel is becoming a common theme around these parts because travel feels so go. Giving dad a weekend away, with mom of course, would say Happy Father's Day like no other.
  3. Gift Basket. Inside would be sports tickets to his favorite professional team, a weekend in the city, and matching sports gear.

I've always steered clear of ties, socks, and undies because that's just too personal and bland. 

Happy Father's Day 2013!

How are you honoring the dads in your life?

Tags: "Happy Father's Day" "Father's Day" "father's day ideas"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Adding a Bit of Summer Spice

Now that schools are out, carpools are completed, and the summer schedules are in full swing, it is time to add a bit of "summer spice" for mom and dad. A parent's schedule is hectic and quite busy during the school year and often times, personal care and relationship maintenance falls by the wayside. Therefore, I am offering 5 easy tips to add summer spice for mom and dad.

1. Summer Getaway - There's nothing more relaxing than time away from the home in a freshly manicured room with touches of luxury and privacy. Getaways can be made to fit any families budget. Sandals' Resorts are exclusive for couples and offer an array of pampering services than will spark romance between mom and dad. If an international destination is quite budget friendly, local hotels offer cozy dinners, premium wine, and plush accommodations.

2. A Dessert Before "Dessert". Sharing sweets with your sweet creates a pleasing palate. Mom and dad can explore a new cafe in the city to enjoy a sweet that isn't on their standard dinner menu. I suggest the rich taste of raspberry cheesecake, a delectable square of chocolate topped with local strawberries, or a cool frozen yogurt can be easily fed to one another. A healthy treat can be fresh berries after a day of picking at a local farm.

via Tastefully Entertaining

3. Revisit the Past. If you're residing in the city in which you had your first day, revisit the past and engage in the niceties that originally connected you. Take a stroll down memory lane while holding hands, and exchanging shy giggles.

4. Exercise. A healthy body and soul is the anchor for mutual desire. If life has handed a few extra pounds, and a booklet of winkles, that's ok. Mom and dad can combat life's oddities together. Couples exercise can be fun, encouraging, and most definitely romantic. Celebrating the end of a rep with a smooch is a great way to add a bit of spice.

5. Divert from routines. Changing your daily weekend routine of chores, play dates, and committee commitments can do wonders for adding a bit a spice between mom and dad. While the kids are away at soccer practice, take a cruise through the city, run home for a bit of uninterrupted "play" and pretend to be teens again.

A healthy relationship maintains a solid family foundation. Now, call Nana and Papa to let them know the kids are coming over or plan an extended sleepover, away from your house of course - then return the favor, and let the spices sizzle.

Tags: "freelance writer" "summer love" "summer relationships" "adding spice into relationships" "couples vacation" "school is out" "sandals resorts"

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday; Landscapes

Wordless Wednesday; Landscapes

tags: "Wordless Wednesday" "landscapes" 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Dusit Thani Hotel - Abu Dhabi (Review)

Dusit Thani Hotel - Abu Dhabi

Dusit Thani Hotel is a new 4-star hotel in the growing business and government district of Abu Dhabi. This central location gives its patrons a short taxi ride to the corniche, local malls and cultural attractions. Dusit Thani is positioned upon a rising hill in which the glass towered building  the appearance of supreme grandeur. Appearances within Dusit Thani did not disappoint; the hotel is outfitted with accessories of pure luxury. Upon arrival, excellence is immediately noted. Everyone from valet, concierge, room service, to restaurant employees were extremely gracious. 

Opulence is duly noted throughout the hotel. Dusit Thani has several amenities that are indicative of a 4-star hotel. The lounge areas are outfitted with touches of cultural Thailand while infusing the ornate desires of the middle east. There is not limit on the amount of gold trimmings, crystal, diamonds, and decorative stone floors.

The view from my room on the 23rd floor overlooked the city. I could see pieces of Al Reem Island to the right and the direct views of the government district. I'd say it's an average view in comparison to Etihad Towers or Emirates Palace.

The room had all of the touches of standard four star amenities. The space is comparable to several hotels in the area with similar pricing. It had a large sized flat screen TV with both Western and Eastern Channels, huge bathroom with a soaking tub for two, standard and overhead shower heads, comfortable robe/slippers and a sizable bed.

I was not pleased with the comfort of the bed or the quality of the toiletries.  The toiletries are by Nature Touch and the bed was pretty hard, in my opinion. Firm mattresses seem to be standard in the region because I've only found true comfort at the Sheraton Hotel Corniche.

Without a doubt, I had to try room service. I ordered breakfast and it did not disappoint. The omelet was perfect as well as the potato cakes, beef bacon, and chicken sausage. They offered a strong brew of coffee that helped kick start my day.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay. Check-in and Check-out were easy, service was prompt. Because smoking is so prominent in the region, I would suggest more control over non-smoking rooms because my room had hints of smoke.

Loved my stay, see you again Dusit Thani.

Tags: "Dusit Thani" "Dusit Thani Hotels" "Dusit Thani Hotel Abu Dhabi" "Abu Dhabi" "teacher in Abu Dhabi" "travel" "hotel reviews" "travelocity " "Etihad Towers" "Emirates Palace"

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dear Meatless Monday,

Dear Meatless Monday,

Things between are beginning to get a little shaky. I mean, I search the web hours at a time most day looking for healthy meatless options with a special perk of being gluten free. However, the past few Mondays things have gone south, not Paula Dean south, but more like WTH South. See the above picture should have been a simple masterpiece. I used a product that I've grown to love, mung beans. Then I added my beloved sweet potato to the mix and things just went WTH South. 

See you were' supposed to look like this;

Photo via Lifeologia.com / recipe found via Purella

I pretty much followed the recipe except the chia seeds and the chickpea flour. I couldn't find it in this oh so remove location and I didn't want to hunt for it in the city, so minus two on the recipe. 

Number 1 - Soaked then boiled mung beans with a few spices.

Number 2 - Wrapped sweet potato in foiled then baked

Number 3 - Pealed sweet potato, sliced, mixed with chopped onion and spices 

Number 4 - Added the mung beans

Number 5 - made patties and baked. Because of my location, gas options are not allowed though people buy gas tanks and cook indoors anyway. No ma'am, not me. So I opted for this little oven in the meantime. I assume the key was the chickpea flour because my patties never really stuck together. I tried to fry them afterwards to make them look like the fabulous picture above, but failure was the only option. Bleh, these are not my friend. I tasted them and they were bitter. So this recipe is a no go for now until I return to the US to get some chickpea flour from Dekalb County Farmer's Market in Atlanta. Oh I love that place.

See you next time on the next episode of Reginia tries Meatless Monday.

PS. I was left high, dry, and hung on this sad little Monday. Boo hoo

tags: "Meatless Monday" "PCOS" "Food" "health" "mung beans" "sweet potatoes" "sweet potatoes and mung beans" "dekalb county farmer's market" "Atlanta" "teacher in abu dhabi" "teaching in Abu Dhabi" "delma island"

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