Saturday, December 31, 2011

Nerja: put it on your travel list for 2012

Nothing like the end of a year to take time to look back on what you accomplished. And, nothing like the beginning of a new year to get started on another year to do things, go places, see things and enjoy life. Travel was one aspect that we didn't do much of this year since our baby was still quite a little baby, but this year, we hope to rectify that.

I'd really love to explore new places this year, take more leisurely vacations instead of rush-rush trips checking sights seen off a list as if they were items on a grocery shopping list. That's not how to enjoy a vacation, is it? That's just making it something that you want to get over, not relish as a good vacation should be relished.

The way I like to vacation now is to take a little cottage or suite or even apartment rentals so it's like a home away from home where one can settle in comfortably. No daily shifting to a new destination, rushing on tour buses, running through museums for me. I'd rather take in the sights at my ease. As for the destinations, I'd love to go to a nice warm place, somewhere with history and culture, a place that has great food and of course a nice cafe culture, so I'm quite drawn to Spain, specifically Nerja, which I heard about from our friends who visited it recently.

Quite frankly, I'd never heard of it before, but after hearing about it, and of course Googling it, I thought it looked like a really great place to visit, full of interesting nooks to explore, beautiful beaches, museums and shopping. Located on the Costa del Sol in Andalusia, in Southern Spain, Nerja seems to have a great mix of old and new, touristy and authentic, all of which make for a great destination. The few things that really intrigued me about Nerja were the ancient Roman aqueduct and the primitive cave paintings which were discovered in 1959.

Looking for some Nerja apartments was so much fun that I felt like I was on vacation already. It was so tempting to book some flights to Nerja and fly off to this beautiful spot right away. I love traveling to new places, and I love to look at homes from across the world, so looking for a perfect holiday villa was the best of both!

Friday, December 30, 2011

a new look?

One day, one of these fine days I am going to go to the cosmetics counter in one of those shiny stores where everything and everyone look like they belong to a perfectly coiffed world. It's almost the new year and that's always time to shake things up isn't it! To change what one as a boring old routine, to something new and exciting. Ok, so I'm not going bungee jumping or anything that wild, but going to those dreaded make-up pods might as well be the same thing. I'd love to find the perfect light day foundation to wear on a daily basis, and maybe some bronzer or blush thingie. I mean, I'm not looking for some fancy trick on how to make your eyelashes grow longer or thicker or anything like that, but finding a nice lipstick would be great too. Just the basics.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to everyone! Some shots from my home from the last week. I did just the very bare minimum of decoration, and enjoyed the crafting fun, although it was such a rush-rush. The good thing is that after a while, I won't remember the rush-rush part, just the lovely things.

Growing up, Christmas meant a party with Santa at the club where we'd be given the presents we asked for in our letters to Santa. As we grew into teenagers, the high point of Christmas turned to the dance parties that we loved to attend. In my college years in the US, I remember going on drives to see the lights and decorations in people's houses. Now, as a small family, we are enjoying making our own little rituals for Christmas with our daughter, who hopefully one day will fondly look back on these days.

Every morning we start off our days listening to some old time music, Paul Anka, Engelbert, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond. They all take me back to childhood days, even though all of them were all considered old time music even when I was growing up, but we still listened to them and loved them. I hope my daughter does the same.


A lovely star that I made one night. It was fun and easy to do and I love how it looks hanging in my home, especially in the morning light. Inspired by Kay.

Some paper lanterns that didn't turn out like I wanted them to be, so a blurry photo is how I'm going to remember them. Nicer this way! 

Home baked apple cobbler.....to make the home smell lovely and warm our bellies. 
 
Merry Christmas to you and yours. Banner from Love Mae's Studio of Mae. Simple and Sweet. And free. The spirit of Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

on The Walk at JBR

Photos from the National Day holidays. Long overdue, but here they are. We spent the day at The Walk on JBR. It was busier and noisier than normal, but still fun. We had a little picnic on the beach and then watched some of the performances by Emarati dancers, drank some Arabic coffee, which to me still tastes like tea, got some balloons for E and generally had a nice leisurely day out.

Some info about JBR or Jumeirah Beach Residence. It's a huge residential development near Dubai Marina, facing the beach and with lots of cafes and restaurants. There are two levels...the lower level is called The Walk, which is where most of the lively stuff takes place. The upper level is mostly for residents and has some grocery stores and the usual laundry, pharmacy, gym, day care center mix. To give you an idea of it's size, there are 5 Starbucks in JBR alone!

Love the view up from here....even though I think it's a bit claustrophobic. This is the upper level which is mostly for residents, but we like to go up there for some quiet time away from the noise. We spent some time up here for E's lunch, so she could eat in peace.

As we reached the stairs going down to The Walk and the beach beyond.

There are lots and lots of cafes and restaurants here...everything from gourmet burgers to Turkish to French and more. This one, The Butcher Shop and Grill has some mean burgers on its menu.

Arabic coffee, which really tastes like tea to me. Strong stuff though.

After a while the noise got too much, so we went up one level. I think the performance was just finishing at this time....the stage is in the center in white. 

Clowns blowing up free balloons. This one really scared E, who wouldn't let go of my hand for quite a while. 

E trying to eat my french toast. Inspired by a certain Miss S, who tempted me with snow covered french toast. Ours were simple....although I did drizzle a bit of jam on this one :-)

I love you, Internet!

I love it, love it when I find that I can do something online that earlier one had to go to an actual physical office for. Like bill paying. Or buying airline tickets. Ok, so that's an old one, but it's so helpful nevertheless. I've been looking at getting some new insurance, since the one we have is expiring and I want to switch providers. So, I was happy to find that I could just key in all my details online and get a quote, which apparently would be quite accurate to the actual amount that we would have to pay. Nice, na! I thought so too. Finding sites like http://wholesaleinsurance.net was helpful too. And you know what, the insurance company that I'm leaning towards actually has an office quite close by. Walking distance close by. Where I go for my walk close by. I know, I know, the internet makes us lazy. But I still love it. Love it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

recently....

Another new week. Another week to make new memories. I love it when I look at it this way. Instead of thinking about it as another week of the same-old, same-old.

A freshly baked cake and an empty glass of green tea. This has become one of my new favorite cakes. I love the simplicity of the recipe as well as making it in a loaf pan.


Elisha doodling away while I sit and have a cup of coffee. Lately this has been the best way for me to get 15 minutes of me-time.

Piles of mail.....mostly bills that we never bother opening since I just check the dues online and pay directly. Who needs paper bills anymore. Some lovely surprises too....postcards and cards for E and me!

At the beach. Do you see the three paragliders in the sky? This is Palm Jumeirah in the back, btw.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

the worth of a full night's sleep

To me a full night's sleep is the most precious thing. Till I had a baby and lost an enormous amount of sleep, I never realized how much for granted we take this most simple aspects of our lives. And I find it really, really hard to function straight without a full quota of sleep, so much so that we're considering getting a new mattress just so that we get a better night's sleep even though it's not always a full night's sleep. Well, I can't just blame it on my not-so-little baby, since I'm up late into the night working too, so it's not her fault that I don't get enough sleep. But seriously, she loves to jump on our bed, so maybe that's why we're considering a new mattress, maybe just a foam mattress to put on top of our current one. Oops, there I go again blaming her!

And of course, she doesn't like the way I'm thinking, since she's stirring and kicking around...I'm listening to the monitor as I write this post. You know the whole, mother-baby bond thing, for us it extends to her knowing when I'm about to go to sleep.....she might be fast asleep, but as soon as I lie down, she decides to wake up. And, each and every time, I tell my hubby, oh you know she hugged me like this today, she thinks I need another such hug right away and wakes up. I love the mother-baby bond, but can we pass on these kind of instances, E?

Sunday, December 04, 2011

another week

Another week gone by, racing by, so fast that I was left confused at what day it was. It was a long holiday weekend for us, so that was partly the cause of the confusion, but it left me trying to catch my breath. Holiday weekends should be the opposite, shouldn't they? We should be refreshed by the end of a long weekend, but sometimes I look forward to the week of mundane-ness to soothe me.

Instead, here are some somewhat soothing shots.

The buildings next door. They all look so much nicer that our windows have been cleaned. Earlier, all I could manage was the small window under the openable window, but now, wow, our views are amazing. It's like being given a new pair of prescription glasses. And if you're wondering why I don't bother cleaning them myself, its because I live on the 16th floor and dangling outside is really not my thing! I mean I want clean windows, but not that much!


Elisha playing with her numbers board. She always likes to play with it on this windowsill in the sunshine.

Some tea and brownies to celebrate a few things. I'm loving the evening light we're getting in our bedroom these days. We've never been here at this time of the year, since we were out on vacation at this time last year. So it's a nice fun thing to see what part of the room will light up next.

One morning in the living room. I try to always sort it out the night before, so that I don't have to see the mess of the previous day. I'd rather start my day seeing pretty things like these!

reminiscing about those college days

What do you remember of college days? The parties, the fun roommates, the midnight rounds of pizza, the pop quizzes, or the essays? For me, it is a mixture of some of the fun things like hanging out with my roommates as well as lots of hours at the library researching essays. All of my professors were very enthusiastic about essay papers and so I always had a couple to do each week. I usually used to start of researching them in the library, then writing a rough draft by hand, and finally typing them out double-spaced in Times New Roman as was always specified by the professors. But times have changes, now I hear the way to go about them is to use CyberEssays research papers instead of spending hours at the library!

It's become so much easier to do the research for papers too, so much so that it makes me feel like I'm ancient, but still, I think we had a pretty good time doing things our way. I loved the library and the stacks where I spent many a winter afternoon, sitting by the window with my pile of books. I even remember looking up tips on grammar in an actual book, when was the last time you did that? Now it's all about using the computer and the automatic spell and grammar check, isn't it!