A visit to “Maison Lavande”

If you’re in Montreal and you’re bored to bits and pieces and have nothing to do for the next couple of weekends, then why don’t you go to the lavender fields in St-Eustache? It has always been a little girl dream of mine to walk in those purple fields for hours and dance around as the wind blows the lavender beautiful therapeutic sent up my nostrils. Finally, with the push of my little darling niece who also wanted to go, I ended pursing the rest of the family to join in for a healing journey. You can spend the entire day walking around, taking photos, strolling, relaxing and picnicking all for the price of 10$ per person (or free for those under 11). It was totes worth it. Even though, I expected the smell of lavenders to just waft up my nose and wrap me overwhelmingly but the smell was mild. I still highly recommend you visit Maison Lavande for a day of family fun. Even though it was busy, it was still relaxing to sit in the fields and enjoy the sun. I fell in love immediately and felt serene throughout the whole visit.

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So in today’s post, I wanted to share some photos of the place along with some outfit details…since I have been a little MIA lately; growing by the second here and haven’t been inspired to dress fancy.

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You will have plenty to do and see there and I promise you won’t even want to check the time because you’ll absolutely love it. I also recommend you try tasting something from the Bistro; either a fresh and cold lavender juice or a lavender frozen yogurt….so delicious and punchy, in a good way!

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As for my outfit, I went for something comfortable and somewhat monochrome…I mean I did want to take loads of pictures in the fields…so I didn’t want to wear something too colourful and crazy because I wanted the main focus to be on the gorgeous lavender plants. So I went for a pink/salmon color scheme and wore a dress I owned previously but haven’t put in a while as a shirt and just added my maternity jeans; pretty simple and straightforward–nothing too avant-garde! So to keep that salmon scheme going, I wore my current favourite rose pink flat mules from Kenneth Cole Reaction and those cute little pompom pinkish earrings.

WHAT I WORE

DRESS: Pink Rose ♥ JEANS: Thyme Maternity ♥ SHOES: Kenneth Cole Reaction ♥ SUNNIES: Kate Spade ♥EARRINGS: Claire’s

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I suggest you hit up the fields this month because the flowers are super in bloom and so you’ll fully take advantage of the view!

Long haul flight; pregnancy edit

I have traveled long haul multiple times; for years, since I was a little girl, but for some reason, as I get older, I find it harder and harder. I didn’t really know what to except when it came to traveling six months pregnant; so here I am writing you a little bit of a summary of how I felt after an 11hr flight.

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WASHROOM BREAK

Whether you like it or not, the washroom will be your best friend. It was always a huge burden for me to go to the washroom on planes because they’re so filthy and disgusting and I feel shitty after going in there. However, no matter what you do, pregnancy will not allow you otherwise. I ended up going, no joke, every hour to the loo, which was not such a pleasant experience. A girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do I guess. So here’s my advice to you, be prepared; prepare your supplies…get a toiletry bag and fill it with wipes, hand disinfectant and your own soap (dramatic I know, but trust me, you need it). Anything that makes you feel fresh will be a bonus to keep in your bag. Also, a fresh pair of undies, in case of emergency, also helps.

DRYNESS; DRY EVERYTHING

Second thing I really struggled with and wish I had thought of was having a super super dry nose, gosh, that one is a killer! I already, slightly, before traveling, suffered of a dry bloody nose, but I didn’t think it would be a huge issue on this flight. I struggled for most of the flight and just ended up wetting my nose whenever I felt like I couldn’t handle it anymore. One thing you can get to ease your dryness is a nose spray like HydraSense and this should do it.

You’ll basically be a walking cactus! I know I was before traveling and during the flight, I suffered quite a lot…not the greatest feeling being dry. However, for that I was fully prepared. I had a facial spray, a face moisturizer and a body lotion. These were essentials that I knew I needed to pack and they helped ease my dryness quite a lot and I felt pretty content with what I had packed. Another thing, don’t forget the eyeballs ladies! Your eyes will be desert dry the minute you’re up in the air. So make sure you pack up some eye drops with you because you’ll need it.

SNACKS

Yes, the plane gives you food…but I don’t like it much and it isn’t a lot of food anyway. One thing I know for sure is that I get hungry quite often. Eating little baby sized meals is the way it will be for the next few months and so snacking is super essential. So before getting on the plane, get snacks! Pack everything and anything that will keep your stomach happy. I ended up packing energy bars, mixed nuts and some chopped veggies.

Overall, it was an okay experience…I usually get super tired on long haul flights and end up taking sleeping pills to sleep it off…but since this wasn’t an option for me this time around. I ended up dozing off for a little on and off during the flight, walked around a little and watched movies to make the time pass. It is necessary not to obsess with the time and keep checking it because it just makes things worst. Just stay positive and keep yourself entertained and you’ll see that in no time, you’ll get to your destination safely!

Living in Palestine: a year in review.

It’s a year, exactly tomorrow, since I moved away from home, the only home I have ever known. Montreal was pretty much my sanctuary; I was free to do what I wanted, whenever I wanted. I know that life isn’t about just that, but I felt free to express myself even though I was an outcast due to being part of a visible minority. I felt more myself in Montreal than I do here in Jericho to be completely honest. This post is to share my story and my transition into living in the Middle East…more precisely Palestine. First of all, whenever people ask me how it has been, I simply say that it was the hardest year of my life…not because I didn’t have all the goods or all the money or all the materials in the world, but mostly because of how easily I seem to have lost my true sense of self. It is probably hard to understand for many because I am an Arab, I should easily fit in…but on the contrary, I was and will continue to be an outsider and that people remind me of every day.

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One of the main issues that had me so depressed was the fact that due to political unrest and issues in this country, I ended up losing my Canadian citizenship here and was treated just as those poor stateless citizens, which is fine by me (now at least), but I will not lie and say that I took it with a grain of salt. I felt like I lost a big part of my identity. I was not used to be stopped and interrogated and watched and followed. I felt alone and hopeless. Being away from my family felt hard and not having much here made me depress even more. Nothing seemed to cheer me up and for the longest time, I buried myself at home and didn’t want to see anyone or go anywhere. I wasn’t interested in making friends or going out with my husband even. Besides, It wasn’t even easy making friends, girls can be so vicious and hurtful sometimes, it’s scary. I was considered an idiot because I didn’t spend all my waking time painting my nails or brushing my hair. There was no girl power to say the least…that made me realize how lucky I was back home to have my girl squad by my side. My girlfriends helped shape me and push me out of my comfort zone. They lifted me up when I was down and I did the same with them. That to me is pure gold! Therefore, I guess what I am trying to say is that my experience here in Palestine further pushed me to stay safe in my own house at all times. Months passed and losing myself seemed more easy; I let everyone use me, abuse me and step over me.

I couldn’t for the life of me find a job to keep myself occupied…like no one wanted to hire me!!! They all knew I had the qualifications, but for some reason everyone seemed threatened by my baggage. I never wanted to take anyone’s place, I just needed a job to keep me busy and occupied. Unfortunately, everything I tried but I failed, miserably. I felt ashamed, hurt and very much incompetent. I know it really wasn’t my fault, but I couldn’t help but think that I sucked at life pretty much. I couldn’t even get a volunteering gig because I seemed too nice and by that, I mean, I was probably hiding something (totes wasn’t). Adjusting to my new life was quite difficult, but I did it anyway because I was at least with the man I love. Then when light seemed to appear at the end of the tunnel, I worked in a tourist area for a good three weeks only to have the owner not pay me anything. It has been seven months now since stopping that job and still got no money from them…every time something bad happened to me, I kept saying I deserve it; it’s what happens when you’re nice; which ended up pushing me into my sinkhole further down. I think I ended up being harsher on myself than others were. I mean yes I was labeled as an outsider, but for some reason my will to keep fighting has faded and I was completely unhappy with the life I had. If it wasn’t for my husband being by my side, my depression would have been tremendous. I went to other touristic related jobs, here in Jericho, only to be told that I needed to remove my veil. Like why??? I never removed it in Canada and worked pretty much my entire life, why would I remove it now??? It was such a struggle for me to find any job that I gave up on that and that led me to feel like a failure to humanity.

I am not saying it was all bad, life is certainly difficult for many people here and I am thankful that what I went through wasn’t as hard as what others go through, but never in my life have I felt completely alone as I felt here in Jericho. I asked for help only to be rebuffed brutally. I tried to make my surrounding better but I was laughed at for caring for stupid things such as the environment, charity and kindness. People are so oppressed here that they lost all sense of care for others in their own community. No one has the time to be socially charitable, which is very sad because I know it’s not their fault but that doesn’t have to stop them from holding on to what’s right. I think this is what bothered me the most in my stay here, not finding someone with the same values as me made me sick to my core; so sick that I too wanted to be evil. Twisted, I know! I felt like everything I learned from my mother and family no longer had a meaning.

I guess what I am trying to say is that even though life hasn’t been easy for me here, I am thankful for having went through what I went through because it showed me to be even more grateful for what I have in my life; my family and friends are more important than any amount of money one can have. Living simply and modestly is even more of a mission to me than it was before; being around the people you love is enough to keep you happy abundantly. Life is too short for us to waste our time to fight for titles, positions and social/political status. It is all meaningless!! Just be content and satisfied with what you have in front of you, and then life is so much sweeter!!!! I would never have made it through without my loving, understanding, selfless husband. I have been hard on him many times through my stay and was probably my punching bag but never did he ever complain about my stinky attitude and for that I am truly and utterly indebted. So, even though this year was hard, I think I came out stronger and more focused to remain humble and happy.

See, no one pushed me to go through with this change or with this adventure, but taking the chance was worth it in the end, because the love I have for my husband is endless. I will treasure this year in my heart and use it as a guide to lead a life of yes! I will follow my dreams relentlessly and ensure that every moment goes by with a purpose; never wasted and never meaningless. I know that many might judge me for being somewhat open about my experience here in Jericho, but this is my side and I stand by it!

A day in the life: Deir Hajla.

On Easter weekend, we decided to go around town and discover new spots to hang out at (mostly, i do the discovering…since being new here and all). I was quite energetic and wanted to take advantage of every second of that day; didn’t want to waste it at home. We ended up going to Deir Hajla, a small town just 15 minutes outside of Jericho to visit the St Gerasimos Monastery; one of the oldest churches in Palestine (founded in the 5th century). It was super exciting to see, I love visiting churches (some creep me out, not gonna lie) and seeing people committed and concentrated on praying. There were a few sisters around that day that welcomed us warmly although they were occupied preparing for Easter Sunday. It’s a Greek Orthodox Church and it was so beautifully ornamented on the inside in gold and baby blue colors. The light was a little too dim for me to take loads of pictures, but I snapped what I could. The church ceiling was high and meticulously worked with metals and stones. The wooden benches were stacked perfectly one behind the other giving us enough space to walk around and enjoy the monuments placed carefully around the place. There were a couple of skulls in glass boxes around the church of martyred monks. The Monastery was destroyed and restored a couple of time and they still continue their work on it to this day. What’s interesting about the history of this particular Monastery is that apparently is was a refuge for Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus. They hid in a cave here during their flight from Herod. An underground chapel was built on the spot where tradition has it the Holy Family spent the night.

We ended up having a quick supper that day and by quick, I mean falafel sandwiches, not my favourite, but it worked…since I am not enjoying meat and poultry so much these days. The day was a bit grim and a little but windy, so I ended up dressing in something a little more colourful to brighten the grey of the day. So here are a few pictures of today’s adventures and outfit.

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Falafel has made me a little bit of a bloated mess..so I looked extra pregnant, but I still made it work. Plus, wearing a skirt helped a lot.

What I wore

SHIRT: Max ♠ SKIRT: Stradivarius ♠ NECK TIE: Vintage ♠ SHOES: Thrifted ♠ BAG: Aldo ♠ SUNGLASSES: Kate Spade

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For those planning to travel around this region, I suggest you strongly visit this church, it’s freaking amazing! Plus, I has a little coffee shop and playing area for children, so you get to enjoy it and have a picnic. I know that a lot of pilgrims add it to their list of places to visit while on their praying/religious journey to the Holy Land…but for those who don’t know about it (like me), then here you go! Take the time and plan it out!

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SHOP THE LOOK

A date with nature <3

We were spontaneous! Actually hubs was; for the first time in a long time and it was delightful. I was a little bored from spending too much time at home lately and so this past weekend, hubs decided to take me on a little dinner date to Ramallah. Nothing fancy, just a quick trip/walk around the city. It was relaxing and actually super fun. We stopped a few places to look at the horizon and appreciate nature a little; the weather is usually super nice once you leave Jericho and the minute we started going up the hills, the breeze was to die for. Since we weren’t doing anything fancy, I dressed up super casual but with a little bit of sparkle, obviously, because why not? And also, I feel like dressing up lately has given me more energy than usual. Putting a little more makeup than usual too has given me more energy and a boost of confidence I have been lacking lately.

Anyhow, this is the outfit I chose to wear:

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I have had this silver sweater in my closet for 2 years now; I had bought it to wear to any event, and never actually got around to doing it. Instead, I kept it there, sitting and waiting for the right moment to take it out for a ride. Today was the day; it’s actually super comfortable and soft despite the fact that it looks a little bit stiff. It was quite expensive at the time when I bought it while on vacation in Saudi Arabia. Since I knew we were eating heart, heavy food, I knew I needed to wear looser fit pants, well because the belly is growing and tight pants and food/baby belly doesn’t go hand in hand. I got these maternity cargo pants donated to me by my sister in law and I thought it would be the perfect time to test them out. So glad they’re simple and just go with everything. The belly band is re-sizable and it’s prefect because I can wear them all the way to the end of my pregnancy.

Got these espadrille flats while on a little vacation in Jordan with the hubs a few weeks ago and the weather was just too prefect not to wear them. I am so scared to go up a shoe size, I so love my 6.5 feet and cannot imagine being a 7.5. I got used to having all the shoes available in my size at the stores and also, they’re small and they’re my favourite body part. Haha! Not a foot fetishist here, just love my petite frame.

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We walked around Ramallah city for about an hour and then ended up heading home, because the weather got a bit colder…good thing I carried my favourite trench with me in case. It came in very handy!

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My favorite part of this whole outfit, obviously, was to finally be able to hang out with husband without being sick or looking grim or feeling nauseous. We were able to enjoy each and giggle and laugh, walk around and just be completely content for a few hours. My other favorite part, was to soak up nature, which is something I miss doing. My sisters and I used to always make time, back home, to enjoy nature and connect with it. These are the moments that I truly miss. Spending time with my family, away from technology…arguing, fighting, then getting back to being friends again; these moments are irreplaceable and today brought me to that and I am forever grateful.

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To me, today was exceptional! We didn’t dress fancy, or have fancy food, we were simply unorganized and spontaneous and that make me happier than anything else in the world. To top it off, we were one with nature, we couldn’t have asked for anything better!

A visit to Temptation Mountain in heels!

This is my last post of 2017! Can’t believe it’s over already! It’s been quite an emotional ride; filled with great and not so great moments, but I know that I am coming stronger out of this one and I cannot wait to take on 208 by the horns. 2017 brought me closer to the love of my life but tore me a little bit away from home. Emotional I tell ya! Anyway, what a better way to end the year than with a huge outfit bang! This is a little bit of a tiny DIY, a very simple one; a super simple one that you can easily do with anything bling-y you have! I was simply too tired of wearing my black culottes all the time, and I didn’t want to buy new ones, so I just pimped them up real good. I had a few knicks and knacks around and so I used them to turn my plain old black culottes into a cultural piece.

Hubbs has been telling me about Temptation Mountain for a while and has been wanting to take me there for a little walk around, but we never got a chance until today. Temptation Mountain is like 5km out of Jericho and it is said to be the mountain where Jesus resided while the devil tempted him during his 40-day fast. There’s a beautiful monastery there and there’s loads of pilgrims from all over the world that pass by this monastery during their prayer and redemption journey. I met a few and it is quite interesting to see them so dedicate to renew their faith. The church is high and isolated and I am sure it is the perfect place to be in when you are in search of finding yourself and in search of inner peace. So, what better way to end the year than in a place of solitude and reflection to get the chance to reflect on your past actions and work on the future to better yourself as a citizen of the world.

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This outfit I wore seems so fitting to the fact that it bring culture and history all together. I know I am wearing heels and all, but it really wasn’t bad to walk in them!

I decided to bedazzle my culottes with Palestinian embroidered pieces I had lying around and add some gold coins for extra oomph.

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WHAT I WORE:

SHIRT: Zara (thrifted) ♥ Pants: Zara ♥ SUNNIES: Claire’s ♥ SHOES: Charles & Keith Sandals ♥ JACKET: Vero Moda Trench ♥ EARRINGS: Aldo

 

I wanted to take time to wish you all the happiest of holidays and to have a wonderful new year!!! May 2018 be filled with amazing opportunities, endless happy memories and loads of peace and love!

You had me at Saint John!

After our little trip to Fredericton…we drove and headed to Saint John (New Brunswick). I’ve always wanted to go there but never actually made it until today with my favorite person in the world; my husband. Saint John was just beyond words. Describing it and writing about is just not enough, you have to see it! It’s gorgeous. The weather was a little bit colder for us and it was a little windy but it was worth it. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. We ended up sleeping there in a little Motel…I stopped there to go to the loo but my husband was touched by the owner’s kind gesture of letting me in one of the rooms to use her washroom that he decided we should sleep there. Total win and no regrets! Hillcrest Motel is literally 1 minute drive from downtown Saint John. We didn’t struggle to find anything and the sleep was super comfortable…to use it was just a wonderful place to sleep in and the view was phenomenal. For the price, we were pretty content.

Our first stop there was the Irving Nature Park and it was beyond words…just acres and acres of beautiful land and colorful trees…600 to be exact and this park had the most beautiful view of the shore and we had a chance to snap picture of the trees and the water since the water levels were lower the time we arrived. The sand was magical…the ripple marks were like a mesmerizing painted canvas and I couldn’t help but snap photos of that too!

We then headed off to the Reversing Falls and that’s where my husband just went bananas! He couldn’t believe the view and was laughing his head off in admiration (of course) and awe. I swear, it’s like watching a baby take his first steps or something…it’s super freaking adorable and super touching ❤

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So basically…there are 3 different types of tides and a series of rapids that meet to create the reversing effect. The waters go through a narrow gorge before emptying into the Bay of Fundy and so the “falls” are created. It’s quite fascinating actually and a little bit scary…when you seriously think about it and wonder how the hell you would ever get out of there if you’d ever fall! After walking around a bit and going up the bridge and over…we decided to head on over to our next little stop before the sun set. We had enough time to drive over to see a little bit of that sunset over at Fort Howe National Historic Site. I know there wasn’t much to do but enjoy the view…but this exactly what we did. The view of Saint John was magical and the harbour was super impressive…especially with the massive boats and all the yachts. It’s definitely a view to remember.

The fort was built in 1777 by the British to protect Saint John from American raids. There was a little block house but unfortunately it was closed…so we couldn’t get inside. Nonetheless, we got to touch and see a little bit of history.

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We got a little hungry after walking around the city and decided to finish off our days in a little bit of a walk around downtown Saint John. The houses were so colorful, little and just overall cute. It made me want to live there! Just so I can own a pink house (haha!).

Walking around the port was very romantic and cold..but we finished off our night on a high note and we made plans to come back to Saint John because it has a little special place in our hearts.