Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Versace Chuckle

We were in The Mall of the Emirates in Dubai last night when we stumbled across this gem in the Versace window. According to my hubby, the shirt says "I'm stylish, but I like to hunt".

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Baby Mangos!

Last summer when I got back from the US, our Emirati friend/neighbor/landord gave us a mango tree as a gift. It has more than doubled in size over the past year, and today I got a pleasant surprise. It seems our little tree is now full of lots of little baby mangos like this one.

How cool is it to have your own home grown mangos? I see lots and lots of mango sorbet in my future.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who Wants a Lamborghini?


I heard this story on the radio this morning, and knew I had to share it. It seems somebody has abandoned a Lamborghini in the emirate of Sharjah, or maybe they just forgot where they parked it. I don't know that you could really miss a purple Lambo though. Here's the story: Lamborghini ‘abandoned’ in Sharjah street | GulfNews.com

I should mention when looking for the story online to share, I actually found another one about an abandoned Lamborghini at the Dubai airport last year. It sat for over 20 months before they auctioned it off. If you've ever parked at the Dubai airport, you know that the parking fees probably totaled more than the car.....Just kidding, but it was probably close.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Think I'll Pass on This One

Placenta soap?
Ok, not trying to be crude or offensive here. Just trying to point out how some companies and their choice of product names would not go over very well in America. I have other examples, but they may be deemed offensive although I don't believe that was the intention when they were named.

For the record, this soap contains PLANT placenta. Still, I don't think there are any marketing gurus in the states that would slap a name like this on soap and expect it to sell. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ramadan Dieting

Ramadan treats from my friend "H".

Well friends, we are a few days into the Holy month of Ramadan here in Abu Dhabi. No I'm not Muslim, so you're probably wondering why that means anything at all to a non Muslim. Wellllllll, Ramadan in a Muslim country means you have to follow some rules regarding eating or drinking in the view of others prior to sundown or you can get into trouble. These aren't the only rules, just the hardest ones to follow when it's 120 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

My husband and I have decided to use Ramadan as our chance to drop a few pounds we gained eating our way through France last month. I'll share with you more on the Paris trip later, but when you see the pictures you will understand why you can't say no to French cuisine, especially the desserts. Anyways, since most of the restaurants are closed here during the day, and the few that are open and hidden from view of those fasting are completely packed with Westerners, we've decided to skip lunch and only have a light snack here at the house.

I should mention that one of the cool things about Ramadan is that the government mandates that the work day for people in the private sector be reduced by 2 hours each day during Ramadan for both Muslims and non Muslims. Some companies have even more reduced hours, as is the case with my husband's company. They are working a 9am-2pm schedule during the month of Ramadan.

Since he's getting in so early, our dinners are earlier than normal making it easy to skip or only snack at lunch. It seemed like the perfect plan to lose a little weight, but I didn't factor in the generosity of my Muslim friend and neighbor, "H", who has started sending over Ramadan goodies.

You see during Ramadan it is the custom for Muslims to share with their friends, family, and strangers. Well, my dear friend H knows I love chocolate. She always makes sure she has some chocolate goody when whenever we have tea together. Today, she sent over what I can only define as "Chocolate Death Cake" and dates fresh off the tree in her garden to share her holiday with me.

If we keep getting delicious treats like this during the next month, I'm thinking our little weight loss plan is going out the window.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Birthday and My Bucket List

Me at my most favorite place in the world.

I've been so busy lately with things around here, plus a quick trip to the US (fill you in later) that I haven't even mentioned that I checked the number one item off my bucket list for my birthday. No, I'm not dying, or at least I don't think I am. I'm just a firm believer in dreaming and realizing those dreams when possible.

First, confession time again...... I'm a Francophile. I love any and everything relating to France. I credit this to being reminded by my grandmother constantly as a child that I'm part French. Grandma's surname was Jaques, originally Jacques, but shortened  and pronounced  Jakes after the family came to America.

J'aime toutes les choses françaises.

That little spark from Grandma inspired me to take French as soon as I was able to in 8th grade and I continued till I graduated. I actually even began teaching French to 3rd graders at a local elementary school for one class period during my senior year of high school. Then there was French Club Treasurer, French Honor Society, and of course your's truly received the French Club Scholarship (paid for books).

Anyways, it was during all of these years of French classes that I was introduced to impressionist art and my all time favorite artist, Claude Monet. I absolutely adore Monet and his works, from his early years to his later years when he started losing his sight. My husband jokes and says our house is like a mini Monet gallery, because it's filled with his prints. I can spot one of his pieces from a mile away, even if it's one I haven't seen before. I even taught the kids from a young age to recognize his work, and they are quick to proudly point them out to me if they ever see one.

Claude Monet the "Father of Impressionism"

Which brings me to my bucket list. I have dreamed of visiting Monet's garden and waterlily filled pond that is showcased in several of his paintings for years now. Thus putting it at the very tip top of my bucket list. Yes, I know it's not exactly climbing Everest like others may have as their number one, and it is a bit foofoo but it's MY list. I can be foofoo if I want to.

Monet's home at Giverny

So, the hubby and I hopped a plane to the City of Lights for a few days for my birthday. That's right, birthday number 38 was spent in Paris! And la pièce de résistance of the trip was a train ride to the little town of Giverny where I got to step inside a Monet painting. At least, that's what it felt like to me. It was some amazing surreal moments for me, as we walked the grounds of Monet's home touring his famous garden and pond. For me it was all so familiar, despite never being there before. At different angles you could capture several of his many paintings, but in real life not on canvas.

Les Nymphéas (The Water Lilies)

One little spot of Monet's massive garden

Not wanting to spoil my moment taking pictures, I commissioned my husband to be trip photographer. Besides, he's the artist in our family, I'm just an admirer. While he went around snapping pictures that resembled the numerous Monet paintings I've subjected him to over the years, I was able to just sit on the many benches around the grounds and just take in all the beauty. I could have sat there forever. I was actually shocked at how many tourist just shuffle through the place without ever really stopping to take in its amazing beauty. Monet was just as much a talented gardener as he was a painter, but just like his painting style his garden did not conform to the norm either. It has been described as a mix of both French (formal) and English (natural) styles. Whatever label you put on it, it's pure genius. Monet himself called his garden his "greatest masterpiece".

Sadly, I couldn't stay in Giverny forever, but I did buy up a good portion of the gift shop to take with me or at least it seemed that way. I bought so much I was invited behind the counter to inspect all of my items. The hubby just stood back and shook his head and laughed at me. Poor guy knew there was no telling me "no" at the "Monet Store". Lucky for him we don't live in France, at least we don't live there yet.

I'm already planning how we can live on the outskirts of Paris one day.....one more item for the bucket list.

Me behind the counter at the gift shop. No, I wasn't joking.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fiery Skies over Abu Dhabi

Sun setting behind the Central Market Towers.

The view from our balcony tonight.

*Photo props go out to my husband for these shots.