Friday, June 28, 2013

Jordan Week 5

Hello,

So I thought it would be time to continue with my travels and pictures.  About time, am I right?!? So here we are - week 5!  This was basically the only time SN (she is now a graduate!! - belated congrats!! and now she is in Israel how jealous are we?? I can't wait to go back!) and I were separated during our entire time in Jordan.  She had already visited Wadi Rum with her family in the past.  Wadi, refers to a valley, and in Jordan there are some with vegetation (around a river) but others are brown.  Wadi Rum is brown - surrounded by desert and rocks (like a canyon).  Several Bedouin groups live in this Wadi, and have tent villages where tourists can come and stay in tents.  We stayed in a very touristy tent village, but there are others that are more authentic and you can stay with the locals.  They did a big show that night, with traditional food, dances, clothing and even a fake wedding ceremony.  However, I tried to not stay up too late because I had signed up with some other members of the group to go on a sunrise camel ride.

Here are the long awaited photos:

 This is one of the vents for where they cook the meat and chicken in the traditional way - underground.    It is actually pretty cool and I did not eat much because I was already queazy but I heard it was delicious!
 The bunch of us looking up over the tent village.  We had just climbed to the first level on the closest rock formation. 


 We decided to keep climbing higher and see how far we could get - I am scared of heights so I tried to stay away from any edges, which limited how high I could go, but I was still impressed with myself and hung with the group for most of it.  But I also just wanted to show what the Wadi really looked like.  It is beautiful in its own way.  


 Back in the tent village, they had started to set up for the night festivities.
 The way down off of the rock formation.  Not easy to get up but definitely even harder to get down.  
 The workers uncovering the food. It was really cool.
 After dinner, there was much "traditional" dancing and music and people from the different groups joined in.  There was even a pretend wedding and the festivities that accompany that.
 This is what the inside of the tents look like!  Nothing much but they definitely worked for the night though became a little unbearable as the sun got higher in the sky in late morning early afternoon.
 Waking up for the sunrise camel ride, and this is the view I had.  Again, I say it is just incredible!

 Of course, while the people who had us sign up for camel rides told us that two could fit on a camel, in fact only one could.  So we had to share times.  So I opted to walk the first part.  


 We took a break around the halfway point and the Bedouin that was giving us the tour made a small brush fire and made us delicious tea (probably with some cardamom in it - really delicious).   


 Sunrise.






Camel's footprints in the sand.

Our stay in Wadi Rum was short, and I did not have to organize it which was a relief because I had started to but I had chosen a different date.  While I may have done things differently, I had a great time and really enjoyed myself.  Some of the group had traveled Thursday night to Amman, I had arrived with others Friday morning, and then we had left late morning from Amman via a bus we had rented and drove to Wadi Rum.  It was several hours, though definitely not as far as Aqaba.  We stopped at a tourist spot by the Dead Sea at one point, and I was able to buy most of my gifts for people - dead sea products.  I just love that stuff.  My favorite hand lotion was from there but it is all gone now!  Ahava is the Israeli brand of dead sea products which is sold at Target and other locations as well.  Saturday we returned by the early afternoon to Amman and I traveled in the nicer area of Amman by myself before getting a ride from the Intercontinental Hotel to the bus station and then back to Irbid.  It was a good weekend. 

I am so happy that I was finally able to publish this post.  I am still working on my photos but I finally am close enough that I didn't mind finding the photos I wanted to use.  Honestly, I took quite a few photos - hundreds on each trip we went on - but thankfully most don't have people in it which is what I am organizing right now.  It jut takes some time to go through and label everyone and where the photos were taken.  

Thanks for your patience.  The next post concerning my time last summer will be about my trip with S to Israel during our vacation/break from school.  Had such an amazing time and I can't wait to share it.  Hopefully I will be able to post it sometime next week!  

Thanks for reading.

With joy,

A


Thursday, June 27, 2013

My recent purchases (thanks to my mom!)

Hello,

I have a busy day ahead of me but I just wanted to share real quickly some of my recent purchases over the past two months!

I hope you love them as much as I do.

 I got these beauties at J. Crew before I moved to Dallas (along with an adorable skirt ... and a shirt that I am wearing below).  They told me to size down to a 9.5 (normally I am a 10 sometimes bigger, but I agreed because the 9.5 were snug but the 10s wear almost too big and because they stretch out I did not want to walk right out of my shoes - but currently, I am still in the process of breaking them in, so a little tight/painful).  During last year's Summer Olympics in London, Kate Middleton was seen wearing blue Stuart Weitzman wedges and obviously, I could not afford those but I found these and fell in love.  If you ever check out my pinterest, I am completely obsessed with Kate Middleton.  


I think she is a lovely, well-dressed woman - princess!! Doesn't every girl want to be a princess? I mean and she handles it so well!  But I do love these shoes, and I think they are on sale now (of course...though I did get them with both my student discount and a discount in the store so I think they were about the same price they are now online! - here). 
 Again, before I moved to Texas, I was shopping at Nordstrom, and I realized, I don't own any black heels.  This was probably because I really want my own pair of Christian Louboutin, though I have to face reality and realize that I won't be getting those for quite sometime!  But a girl can dream can't she?
Swoon! -- Every girl should own at least 1 pair of Christian Louboutin's at some point in their life I feel. Check them out here

As a result, I was shopping around the Nordstrom shoe department (it was the semi-annual sale) and found these Corso Como heels, though they were not on sale, and I did not feel comfortable spending over $100 (they are 128).  I eventually found them a few weeks later, online at Amazon on major sale ($50 - I know I was worried they were fake but they are real!! And they were on clearance sale so I am just a lucky gal) 

 The light does not do these justice (sorry bad photo on my part) but these are great seafoam/light green-blue color and they are a tad baggy but I love them and I got them at the shorts sale at GAP!).  I think the sale is still going on, and if I needed more shorts or had unlimited money I would purchase all of them in every color because they are so comfortable and yet long enough that I feel comfortable being seen in public in them!  Love them!! Check them out here - at least I think these are the right ones!  Seems like an amazing sale actually has gotten better if I can scrounge up the money (and convince myself I need them) I might have to get them in light purple!  
 I don't think this is still available from GAP - I found it on a different blog (BarefootBlonde) and she mentioned that she had found it on clearance for $9.00 at her GAP, so of course I sprinted to the nearest GAP (a block away) hoping that I could find it and I couldn't see it but then I asked one of the people that worked there and she said she knew there were a few in the back and she found a Medium for me and I just love it! Super comfortable, yet light enough to even wear here!  

These are the two forever 21 dresses I mentioned in an earlier post I had bought for work! Now I have worn both of them and I have gotten great complements on both! 
 Forever 21 has activewear now, and even though I love Lululemon - I can't afford it! So I am going to stick with the pieces that I have and if I need activewear, I am going to stick to old navy, forever 21 and Victoria's Secret for now.  I mean why not?  They have great pieces that last a while and if you wait for the right time, can get them for super cheap!  Though I am currently lusting after this piece:
Even on sale they are $66, which I could spend on other things (or not spend and I don't need them...) but you can find them here
Firstly, when I started to shop at more affordable stores, I went back to Kohl's and loved it! The sales racks are a gold mine! And I already loved LC from the show Laguna Beach (did not watch the Hills after either the first or second season - definitely not with Kristen back) but I always really liked her and wanted to support her - though I admit I have never considered reading her books...maybe I should for an easy read... but I forgot that she designed clothing for Kohls and oh my goodness...They are all amazing! Now I am not saying, all them looked amazing on me, because they didn't  but her pieces are great and I love them all!  This blazer has been on clearance for a while but was able to get it recently and it still available (at least it looks like it is) online - here.  I actually have it on my to do list to check out some of the newly available stuff and see if there is anything I would be interested in getting!  I mean, it is totally fashionable - in season - in vogue (haha just said that) but it doesn't cost a fortune (like forever 21) so I love it.  All my pieces I own that are from this brand, I have always received compliments every time I wore them.  

Took this picture (#selfie) on the escalator heading to the DART last Friday - I included it because I wanted to show you the J. Crew linen shirt (I mentioned above) and my awesome floral cap!  I have three baseball caps that I love to wear.  This forever 21 floral cap, that always makes me stand out, my NY Yankees cap, that I had to replace because somewhere in Jordan, I misplaced it - I have my hat in some photos and eventually I no longer have it, and lastly my Cayman Islands hat that is really worn out but my dad bought it for me and I am just one of those people that if someone I love gives me something I never let it go!  I just absolutely love it and wear it/use it as much as possible, no matter how dorky it is!   

Before I forget, I just went through a whole change in skin regiment because I normally have great skin but since I have moved down here, my skin is dry and so I had to overcompensate with moisturizer which caused me to break out....not fun! So my allergies get much better but my skin takes a noise dive.  I did some research and was able to figure out what I needed to do! And it was so nice, when I walked into work today, the receptionist commented that my skin looked great and was glowing...haha I thought wow yay - wedding glow haha jk nowhere near close to ever having that (don't even have a "man friend" as my mom would say....).  But still it was really nice! And, since it worked for me I figured I would share it....soon!!

Here is a sneak peak - it includes me looking like a green witch! I don't plan on looking like this every night - more like once a week or every two weeks - depending on how my skin does...

Of course, even though I had yesterday off, I did not work on organizing my photos so not quite ready to post pictures from this last weekend or of Jordan! But I plan to do that tomorrow, while I relax at the pool -- now that I have bathing suits (because my packages are arriving) I can "chillax" at one of the three pools!  How will you be enjoying your weekend??

Thanks for reading!

With joy,

A

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Workout Schedule!

Hello,

Last week went by so fast - and last night and this morning as well, sorry for being a little behind!!

Here is how I did last week:



Again, not hitting everything but I am at least doing a little something every day! I will also tell you, when I spend a day exploring and walking literally everywhere, like I did this past Friday, I am exhausted through the next day! Saturday, I was supposed to go to the zoo but I could not wake up until noon, I did not even hear my alarm!!! I can't wait to share my photos from my adventure last Friday!  And even better news I am now finishing up all the jordan photos so I can share those with you and even though we are only on week 5, I realize that I only have two posts really to share Week 5 and week 6, the last two weeks I guess I will share (so 3 posts) but they will be combined because all SN and I did was escape to a nice hotel in Amman and sleep in air conditioning while treating ourselves to real food.  It was miserable to have to go back to Irbid each time but at the end we figured out an arrangement that made it easier the last few days in Irbid before we flew back to NYC and then home!!   Can't wait to share those with you though! Then we have Abu Dhabi and my semester there!

Before I forget, here is my schedule for this week:


As you can tell, today is a busy day for me and I hope to hit everything on it!  I also just bought 3 dvds because I decided that I would much prefer just doing the yoga in my room (I have already been going to classes for 2 years) and I am so tired after work that even the thought of going across the street and down a block is too much to bare, and alot of times I get in the mood to do yoga when there is not a yoga class to go too, so I started watching videos online and then remembered some great dvds I had before I lost my collection of dvd's on the way back to DC from Abu Dhabi.... or maybe hopefully they are somewhere in the house packed but regardless I decided to replace them and keep those handy!  The three dvds I bought are:


123


I love all three of these dvds...and they each are good workouts, though nothing can really capture the routine one does at Yoga to the People in St. Marks Square, but I can work with these and youtube videos to try to get back to my yogi routes!   The last one is just a great workout and I used it alot in Jordan, at night after I would run at the track though it is nothing compared to the Insanity workouts but you can find those online!  I will have to see if I can fit the 30 day shred into my workout schedule but it is already pretty full!


Thanks for reading.

With joy,

A

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weird Recipe #2 - Another recipe I came up with while living in Jordan

Hello,

Ready for another one of my weird made up recipes!  Before I go too in depth explaining about how to create this recipe, I wanted to explain where it came from.

I love carbs - especially bread and pasta!  I am an athlete so I eat a ton of them during pre-season and season, and way too much for being out of season!  But, I also get really bad headaches (like in my eyes, which makes it really difficult to do anything in the sun or around lights) - I know I am a vampire!  So basically I tried to go gluten free to see if my headaches would stop or at least become less frequent.  Don't get me wrong, maybe it would have worked but with the terrible heat in Jordan and food options, my headaches not only got worse, but came almost every day for a while, so I figured it just was not worth it to be completely gluten free.  However, this recipe is one that I came up with while living in Jordan and still gluten free. I will also tell you, I love this recipe and make it all the time!! It is super easy to make and quite delicious though I end up wanting more until the rice noodles expand and make me super full!  I need to work on eating slower so I can let them fill me up before I eat too much and go into a food coma!

Funny enough, I had the choice sometime in the last week of living in Jordan either to suck it up and not eat this anymore or go out and buy more of the ingredients.  SO of course, I went out and bought more of the ingredients which meant that the last day and half, I ate this way too many times so I would not waste any food.  It was totally worth it.  Ok so here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • rice noodles - instant (with water) 
  • tomato sauce - pasta sauce
  • low fat/part skim low moisture shredded mozzarella
  • parmesan (like the powder type...can't remember what you call it but you can buy it in the bottle shake/pour out)
  1. Place rice noodles (as much as desired) into a container filled with water - its ok if the rice noodles don't initially fit all under water, as they soften, you can either bend them to fit or they will do it on their own.  For them to soften takes about 10 minutes - maybe less or more... I don't always pay attention I usually put them in, do some stuff and then test to see if they are flowy/ready to eat...
  2. Heat sauce pan with 2 tablespoons (more or less - I eyeball it depending on how much of rice noodles I am making - I don't even measure to be honest just am like that's good) and a handful of the mozzarella that I drop into the pasta sauce.

  3. Heat till the sauce starts to bubble/make noise and then drain water out of container and add noodles to pan.  


  4. Using wooden spoon or spatula move the noodles around with the sauce till evenly coated and warm through and through - turn pan off and put noodles onto dish

  5. add as much Parmesan as you would like 

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.  Total time is about 20 minutes but it goes by fast because you are not really doing anything for the first 10 minutes...actually it probably takes more like 15 minutes total.  I love it...and I guess it is good for gluten free as well as just being delicious.

Thanks for reading.

With joy,

A