Birthday Reflections

If you know me well then you know I am the least celebratory person you will meet. If it wasn’t for my family reminding me every year, I would probably try to forget my birthday. I do however like to make a lot self reflection around my birthday in order to tune into what I have learned that whole year. Last year I wrote a post, “30 things I’ve learned in 30 years“. This year I have been doing deep reflection on building a better character.

One bad habit that I’ve been trying to tackle on, is stopping victimizing everything bad that has happened in my life. Putting my trust in God that everything happens for a reason and that better days will come. Complaining all the time can actually affect your mood and how people perceive you. I know this sounds very dramatic but I had the constant thought of wondering if people would miss me if I would die. I felt that I am always victimizing myself and complaining that people did not find me pleasant.

I realized my first bad characteristic was not listening to others and including myself and my heart. I have been practicing self pity for so long to the point that my problems were more important than other people’s problems. I stopped listening to advise because I always had excuses and the problem never arose from me but others. Consequently, I became a selfish person not realizing that other people might be needing help, or wanting to help and saw things differently. With that I have to stop assuming that I know the reasons to people’s actions and instead have conversations where I would be actively listening whereby my thoughts can be changed if that person is proven to be right or has defended their actions justly.

Another very important characteristic that I want to work on is being kind. I am generally a kind person and do not mean to harm or hurt anyone as most people I believe are. My concern however, is whether or not I am striving to be the most kind person I can be. My answer is a big fat NO. I mean kind to the point of getting out of your way to help others, to putting for 110% effort in exhorting kindness. I believe this type of kindness is revolutionary, it moves mountains it fights wars and unites us as humans. Most people say that you have to be kind to yourself before you can show kindness towards others. I have tried that approached and for 31 years I have not succeed. This year, I will do the opposite, I will be kind to others first, especially to my kids before I show kindness towards myself and see if that has some sort of fulfillment. Sort of like, trying to eat healthy will lead you to a more active lifestyle approach, rather than trying to have an active lifestyle will lead to eating healthy. Am I making any sense?

My biggest characteristic strength happens to be my biggest weaknessas well. One of the things I am secretly very good at is reading people and their intentions. I am very good at reading and understanding people but that can have its off sets as well. Reading people comes from high sensibility and vulnerability where I can easily empathize with anyone and deeply visualize their emotions. This strength is not something I can explain or show off on my resume but it’s something that I secretly know about myself. This is also why I very sensitive around people that I am not fond off and can be shaken by the environment around me. I realize that I have to stop internalizing and overthinking everything that I caught on about a person or environment and let it go. Knowing that people and cultures are what they are and I just have to accept it for what is it and nothing more. Instead use my strength and turn it to something positive, like helping people in need.

Now, I know it sounds as if I tackled all these characteristics but the truth is I am not even 1% close to where I want to be. This post is more of a reminder to continue to actively change. Even one action towards change can make a huge difference in our character. Also, the people that always telling us that we should change are the same people who will never see our good deeds and are quick to point their fingers when we fail. It is important to change for ourselves and not for others and never give up even if we fail a thousand times.

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Kitchen Makeover Ideas for Less

Makeover doesn’t need to break the bank. It can be even cheaper than buying a couple of used items in thrift stores. Sometimes just moving or painting a couple of items around the house can make a huge impact.

I have always loved interior design and if there was a carrer I could go into right now would be just that. I love the idea of making our spaces an echo of our personality. Just like style and fashion is away of expression, interior design can serve the same purpose.

My interior design style has a lot of influence from my history, lifestyle and passion. I am a stay at home mother (which means I am broke) whose passion involves understanding different cultures, traditions and travelling. This translates to, in the world of interior design that I want my space to be kids appropriate with a bohemian aesthetics and lots of ethnic and local handmade presence.

Since moving to Egypt the whole apartment needed/needs a whole makeover but my budget has been very limited. We started with pink walls in the master-bedroom (I wanted to ripe my eyes off every time I looked at the wall), lime green color in the smaller bedroom and the rest of the house was a combination of yellow and red (hello McDonalds). I am pleased to inform you that we now have changed the colors of walls to light cool gray.

The kitchen and bathroom are the too spaces that need the most work but take the most out of my budget. I am a strong believer that makeovers does not have to be expensive and require buying new items. Thankfully we now live in the era of Pinterest we can find a tone of diy projects and inspirations. I literally spend hours looking for kitchen makeovers and have created quite a board with a tone of inspiration that I would like to share with you.

Cortinas decorativas para la cocina | Decoración

etagere murale cuisine de couleur blanc pour la cuisine blanche

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your kitchen is lacking some cabinets like my is than this is a perfect fix. You can literally cut off some extra fabric or curtains you already have around the house place a curtain rod under the counter top and voila, you have yourself an easy project.

Here is another example of curtains under the sink which leads to the next hack which are, shelves. Open cabinets are so trendy right now and one of the simplest and cheapest makeover.

Tablillero abierto con tubo para guindar Make It Work: Smart Design Solutions for Narrow Galley Kitchens e8c8a76b0fd0111a264a28e228ca480c

Open shelf can make such a drastic change into your kitchen, it also makes the kitchen look more spacious.

 Large cast in situ one piece polished concrete worktop

Remodelista: Sourcebook for Considered Living 

Kitchen counters and cabinets can be so expensive and time consuming that a simple wooden shelves all over the kitchen might just be the fix in less the cost.

Before and After: Grody Tin Shelf Gets Pottery-Barn-Style Makeover » Curbly | DIY Design Community ich will eure wohnung sehen.... - Seite 449 - erster, erster, erster!!! :jumpy: her mit den bildern. ich mach welche, wenn ich aufgeräumt habe :oops: 8-[ jaaaa...den thread gibts im... - Forum - GLAMOUR

Another cost effective kitchen makeover is creating extra storage. A storage shelve can be purchased cheaply but it can also be a diy project.

-PERFECT EXAMPLE OF SALVAGING CABINETS. THIS IS THE EXTREME EXAMPLE. I LIKE IT. USUALLY THOUGH YOU ARE ABLE TO GET A WHOLE SET OF OLDER CABINETS FROM NUMEROUS SOURCES...JUST HAVE TO GO LOOKING WITH A LITTLE CASH IN HAND..ALWAYS REMEMBERING YOU HAVE: LIQUID SAND 'PAPER', PRIMER, PAINT, BITS OF UNMATCHED HARDWARE TO ADD TO WHAT YOU FIND

Lastly the most gratifying way to a kitchen makeover is to paint all cabinets. This might have the most drastic change and cheapest method to a makeover.

Bellow are some other inspirational pictures that might help achieve a kitchen makeover for less.

tips-deco-cocinas-pequenas-distribuir-cocina-espacios-pequenos cocina-madera-recuperada  Half of the Rye kitchen in London is comprised of stainless steel workbenches and appliances. For more see Kitchen of the Week: An Artful Ikea Hack Kitchen by Two London Foodies.

Kitchens that improve with age Kitchens that improve with age

 

Charity in Egypt During Ramadan

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Ramadan is a holy month where Muslim abstain from eating and drinking from early dawn to sunset, while replenishing spiritually. However, the month entails many other acts of worship, one being giving charity to the ones in need. Giving charity or zakat ( in Arabic) is a key component of acts of worship, it keeps one centered in this life and it increases your modesty. In Islam, a smile is considered charity which allows even the poor to practice this charitable act.

Muslims all over the world are especially generous during the month of Ramadan. In the west, many Muslim either donate money towards charity facilities that they deem fond of. Others, give out their service by volunteering their times and efforts in shelters or giving out iftar (the break of fast) in local mosques. In Egypt, however, people make charity very personal. People collect the most popular items in an Egyptian cuisine and give out to people they know are in need.

In the grocery stores you have an abundance of people trying to bulk on the essentials such as rice, pasta, sugar, flour, lentils and much more and giving out to family members, neighbors, people that perform daily labor services such as the trash collector, bus driver, housekeepers and others. Although giving charity to facilities and giving out iftar in mosques are other methods that Egyptian engage during the month of Ramadan. The most popular method of charity is very personal and is the act of knowing exactly where the charity is benefiting.

Another aspect that I found interesting in Egypt is that everyone is so excited to give whatever they can towards charity. There is an assurance that whatever effort is exhorted towards giving out, God will reward and give tenfold. People also never forget the acts of kindness done towards them. It is not unusual to hear supplications for good rewards in the name of the one who gives.

Ramadan is a month where people in general try to practice the act of good character. Today, I met a Christian Egyptian who told me that she loved Ramadan because people are simply happy. She said it all, people who hear about the sacrifice of fasting without food and water usually cannot fathom the happiness and joy that Muslim have for Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem!