What’s The Problem…..Dear?

First of all: I am not your dear!

Second: Here is my problem:

What makes a total stranger call me dear??? In a shop, in an office, or in a supermarket?

What if I was a conservative woman who would be totally offended by a man calling her “dear”. What if my husband was uptight and would be angry to see/ hear a man calling me dear!



What usually upsets me more than dealing with a disastrous customer service, is having the same customer service agent/staff, responsible for the disaster, call me “Dear”! It makes my blood boil! My problem is with word “dear” itself, like what does it even mean? Does it fall somewhere between “darling’ and “stranger”?  Somehow here in the middle east everyone thinks they are entitled to use it on everyone else on this planet! “Dear, we don’t have the small size anymore” “dear, can you send me an email?” “dear, what color do you want?”, and with every “dear” I hear I feel like pretending that I don’t speak a word of English, hoping that at least I won’t have to deal with the D word anymore! -I AM NOBODY’S DEAR!! I am a total stranger, you don’t even know my name! –

It is mostly used when someone is trying to implicitly apologize without having to say it out loud, or trying to ask you to do something, which, in both cases, can be done without feeling the need to impose and destroy boundaries.

Am I the only odd one here, or does anyone else on this island, hates to be a stranger’s dear?? Let me hear it please …


Hello Grief… Again..

This post was the hardest to write, not because it is about someone who is no longer with us, nor is it because this person is my father whom a simple post like this one will never be enough to explain what a wonderful father he was. It took me days to be able to sit and think, mainly because I didn’t want to. It hurts way too much to think of the father he was to me and my siblings. Writing about his death forces me to deal with his death, which I still don’t know how to face. It has been over a month since my world had peacefully crumbled, and I have been putting off grieving since then. I always talked, praised and wished for change to hit my door, little did I know, some changes are so devastating that they leave you profoundly paralyzed.

I had never planned to live far away from my family and miss them terribly. I had never planned to shrink my time spent with my family to a couple of months each year. I had never planned to get news of who gets engaged, sick, or even who dies through the phone. I never had the intention to call home somewhere other than the one home where I was born, raised and brought up. Now looking back at those bright and joyful days, I had never planned for anything. Not that I lacked ambition or that I was too wise to worry about the future, far from that, it just seemed that life had it all figured out for me. At each and every intersection, life had already a road mapped out for me, without even giving me time to think of potential options, and I liked it this way. I was ready to take things the way they presented themselves. I never complained, even now I never do.

I also never planned to get a message from my mother at 11am telling me that my dearest father had passed away so unexpectedly, and without any warnings. Yet I did, few weeks ago, and suddenly I was faced with my worst nightmare, one that had kept me awake at night, many nights. One that I spent a lot of time analyzing, and somehow preparing myself for, knowing that at some point in life, the nightmare will turn into reality. Even though death was always present in the tinniest corner of my brain, way behind, in a very small corner that I rarely checked, but I still thought of it, how I would react to it, what will life be like after it, and whether or not I will get on time to say goodbye to the one leaving this life so peacefully, leaving behind a heartbroken family and loved ones. Yet still when that message appeared on my phone, I froze. 2018 was supposed to be a good year!! How can this happen!!

How can one deal with this pain in the chest, (an actual physical pain, and not just emotional) each night, when it is all quiet, and there is just you and your broken heart to deal with this stabbing pain, that makes you weep like a baby, and stops you from breathing? How could you ignore the guilt that comes with each morning, when you open your eyes, and know damn too well that you have a day to live, while your dearest father doesn’t? How do you adjust to saying “May he rest in peace” every time you talk/think about him?

Until now, every time life had showed me its ugly face, I had accepted the challenge happily, however this time the emptiness inside of me mixed with that terrible pain in my chest, and the profound guilt of being alive while he isn’t, those ugly feelings make me go on an autopilot mode…. living like a shadow. My knees are week, my breath is short, and I am like a walking zombie trying to get as busy as I can so that another day can pass. This is how I am doing it: One day at a time. It is hard to imagine any future without the kindest heart who had always wrapped us all, with a soft blanket of warm love and devotion!

I can’t even think of writing something about what a great father mine was, or how lucky I was to have him by my side as a kid, or as a full-grown woman, simply because it hurts to remember those days right now, and to remember that I no longer have him to create more of these blessed and blissful memories. So for now I will wipe my tears, get back to my busyness, and to pretending that nothing had happened, that my father is still alive, and just a phone call away because so far that is the only thing that makes this pain go away…… until it hits me all over again!


Words About 2017

What did your 2017 look like?

Mine was nothing like the years that have passed, this one was a little too salty, a bit soupy, and a tad too fudgy. It was the year I witnessed two tiny little hearts stop beating, I said goodbye to some friendships that have lasted years and years, but have reached an absolute dead end. I have had multiple punches in the gut that have left me crouching for a bit too long. I have answered the phone many times to be hit with terrible news. I have watched loved ones leave knowing that they will never return.

It has been a very very long marathon, that has left me breathless and without an ounce of energy, and I won’t lie, I am very happy the year is finally coming to an end!  Yet and without sounding too philosophical, throughout the year, I have had a beautiful home that I am blessed with and so very thankful for, I have always come back home to a wonderfully supporting husband, who in the midst of hurricanes have held my hands, not to tell me that it will be ok- because he knows way too well that this sentence over here makes me go nuts!! (No one knows that it will be ok, for all I know it can even go worse!)- but to tell me that we will work things out, we will figure out a way, like we always do! and that more than anything brings life back to my dying little heart! I have believed in myself and went back to the work field, on my own terms and with my own schedule as work will always come second in the list of my priorities -first comes my little ray of sunshine: my son- and this has brought so much joy and pride to my heart. I have harbored some new friendships, that have proved themselves to be loyal, and trustworthy. I have had the sunlight of my days and the smile that brightens my life always by my side, my beautiful son with the old soul, the one who fills my life with laughter, wonder and magic! I have also met some wonderful people who have inspired me greatly. Sometimes going through rough times makes you realize how blessed you are, and I feel 2017 was just that. It was God’s sign to me, to enlighten me and to show me the right way, to let me know that I needed his guidance, power and love and I have humbly accepted all the above.

There were many happy moments in 2017 that I will cherish forever. There were many other moments where love and empathy have filled the air around me making me feel so light and without a care in the world. More than I can count, and because of life’s weird way of showing us how vulnerable we all are, I was rewarded by connecting deeply with my loved ones, with friends, and with complete strangers too.

2017 has been too thick that it has left me not knowing what to expect from 2018. Yes, I am and I will always be hopeful and full of trust toward the one God, who has blessed me with countless gifts, some of which I have asked for and others that I didn’t even know I needed until they arrived. I know very well how life is all about different seasons and changing cycles, and that nothing stays the same, but with this year coming to an end, I simply am just too grateful that the year is over to have any expectations whatsoever for the next one!

Whatever 2018 will bring, I pray and pray and pray some more, to bring some wisdom with it, along with some new memories that can make the hardest times seem easier.

I wish you (and me) a wonderful year ahead, one where your heart will taste the absolute joys of life, and where your soul will brighten your being each and every time life decides to show you its ugly face, but mainly I wish that every night when you put your head on a pillow, you feel peaceful and whole, always, and forever.


I Will Always Call You Baby…

To my darling husband ….

We were kids when we met, without a care in the world. We laughed till our jaws hurt, we played like kids, we never ever discussed what the future might have in store for us, simply because we didn’t care, because we lived our NOW like one should! Things were so simple, and all we would think about occasionally was where we were going to eat that day, and it was enough.

We got to experience life’s finest surprises, and we held hands and smiled.

Today we are no longer kids, we are grown ups, we have another human being to take care of, and life is no longer simple. Simple is a word that we now only use to describe our clothes maybe, but never us nor our life, because there is nothing simple about it now. We still hold hands, but now you hold my hand a little tighter. We still laugh but now we laugh harder, we still run around like kids, but this time we have a new little participant. We still make fun of each other, now we do it more often. We still send each other silly messages, they just got sillier, because with a kid onboard you sometimes need to use the weirdest words to describe your day.

No matter how hard my day is, in your arms I always feel like a little girl again, without a care in the world again. Only you can have the extraordinary power to make everything look and feel safer. Only you can make the biggest problems seem so small and almost insignificant. Only you make me laugh at myself till my stomach hurts. Only you can access my brain anytime you want and read all my thoughts. Only you make my heart skip a beat!

No one prepared us for what life had for us, but you my love were there to hold me, to heal me, to help me, to wipe my tears, to ground me, to take care of me. You are my personal travel agent, my tech-guy, my music downloader, my Netflix fixer, my graphic designer, and most importantly you make the best food in the world!

You are the only one who can read my horrible hand writing, you still laugh at my silly jokes, you cheer for me, you forget my clothes at the laundry –it’s ok I still love you-, you let me share your drinks – Ok maybe not, but I still do it- You listen to me when I ramble, you know it when I think out loud, and you get it when I randomly try to end an unfinished story-from the day or month before- without even an introduction.

You hate my ripped jeans, but you still say that I look nice in them. You don’t like me to take pictures of you, yet you still let me do, you even smile. You don’t like my gluten free, dairy free, vegan pancakes yet you still eat them. You think I don’t know, but I do…and it makes all those things way more special!

You support me and my choices, no matter how crazy they are. You give me the support I need to be the person I want to be. You encourage my sometimes irrational and unreasonable ideas, and you watch them with me as they become reality. You are everything, you are my tribe, my village, my rock and my safe haven.

I will keep on making fun of you even when we are old and crazy, I will still feed you healthy food even when your teeth are gone, I will keep on taking pictures of you even when your wrinkles are more than I can count, I will still let you handle my computer, phone, IPad, and whatever gadgets we will have then! I will always call you baby, even when we have grandkids to babysit, and I will always love you!


Why Blogging..!


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If you have asked me this question 4 years ago, I would have laughed and said “Why would anyone -sane- expose themselves, so raw and so vulnerable to practically everyone who has internet!” Fast forward, 4 years later, one beautiful son, and tons and tons of growing and evolving, here I am, pouring my heart and soul every single time on blank pages, sharing them with … practically everyone who has internet! Every time I sit in front of my computer, a light sweet wave takes me somewhere I have never been before, and as I write and keep writing, that wave makes me lighter and lighter till I am thin as air. A feeling that I have never experienced before, even though I have been writing and journaling my whole life, yet knowing that someone else- even if it is just one single person- also behind their screen is reading what I have wrote, makes it all so worth it.  It means that someone is probably feeling all the feels that I have poured straight from my heart and soul, and even though I might not even know them, we somehow would have connected so deeply and intensely through words from my world to theirs.


What I have never realized up until my son was born, is that writing is the cheapest form of therapy. Whenever life hits me on the face, the first thing I do is pick up my laptop, and strip down all the masks that we all wear in our daily life. The smile we wear even though we are struggling to keep the tears away, the “happy” we force just because we don’t want to burden friends and family with what troubles our minds and hearts, the empty look we wear when you know that everyone will sense the sadness and sorrow inside your soul, and all other sorts of ornaments we keep in boxes for special occasions. I get real, and raw. Whether I end up publishing the post or not that’s up to me, but at least I know that my feelings, my hurt, is no longer just inside my heart; it is somewhere else, either kept safe in my folders or out in the open, and this somehow feels like someone else is sharing those feelings with me, and this makes the burden a little lighter.


Writing is what feeds my soul, it is what keeps me balanced and on top of any mess life can bring to my life.


Sometimes when I have absolutely nothing to write about, I simply put some loud music on, close my eyes and let the magic happen. I can see the words dancing in front of me, I try to catch them one by one, and put them in the right order, because boy sometimes they just flood into my radar and I can’t keep up.


Each and every word has a story, and each story makes its way to my heart and takes a tiny piece of it, till the words are done, my mind is blank again, and words-free, only then I enter some kind of trance, one that leaves you high for hours and hours. A beautiful feeling that I won’t trade for the world.


And so just like that and soon after my son was born, writing has become the most essential and rewarding routine in my life. So yes, I now crave the feeling of being true to myself and sharing it with the whole world. From a pure introvert, a fierce and brave woman has risen, one who is not afraid to share and share and share, and share little more.


So there you go, this is why I have a blog, this why I write, and this why I get behind the screen to write, so you, who is also behind the screen can enjoy 😉






Say Cheese…!!!


After becoming a mother to my sweet Adam, documenting memories has been a very important task, this is why I started this blog in the first place. Time was/ is slipping through my fingers while I watch my baby boy becoming this big kid, and knowing that yesterday will never come back is a very sad feeling that makes it very hard to enjoy the “now”. So that’s why I write! I created this little window to take me back on time every time I needed to. With the blog came the need to take plenty of pictures, to make the posts complete. I take an immense pleasure taking plenty of pictures everyday, because I know how happy it makes me to scroll through my phone and find these forgotten and long gone but very much cherished moments. I am no professional photographer though, but I try my best ;), and you can imagine my excitement every time I plan a professional photo-shoot, with photographers who capture magical moments and transform them into forever lasting memories. However, personally, I find it very hard to be myself in front of a camera, in front of a stranger who wants me to look at the camera, smile, pose and I don’t know what else!!! I feel so awkward, and I suddenly don’t know what to do with my arms, hands and …. Myself in general. I also find it very hard to “act natural” how can I act natural??? Some photographers though have this special gift of being almost invisible, which makes you almost forget their presence. One of these special gifted photographer is Makenzie! I worked with Makenzie once and I watched closely how people were slowly feeling relaxed and themselves under her gaze. I also saw how warm and sweet she was which makes you fee like you’ve known her for a very long time. So when I had a chance to be one of her “models” I couldn’t wait to see the results!


We invited Makenzie over to take some pictures of me and my son, and we were so excited. She instantly connected with my son, who wanted her to take a picture of “Zang” his favorite toy, to which Makenzie happily obliged, and Adam couldn’t be happier!  She told us to go on with our day, and just do what we usually do, which is a little weird, because we usually have no audience in normal days, but we still pretended that we were alone. Few minutes later, Adam and I were all over the place, reading books and doing our morning school work, we couldn’t even hear Makenzie’s footsteps! She was gracefully moving doing her own thing, without asking us to pose, smile, move shoulders or chins! And guess what: It was AMAZING!! When she finally said “I think I’ve got plenty of pictures”, we were pleasantly surprised. Few days later I received a folder full of beauty, magic, and love! The pictures were so amazing! She managed to capture more than just a mother and her son taking few pictures together, she captured feelings too. The pictures were so vivid and alive in a very beautiful way. She has this unique style in taking the most mundane pose and turning it into an unforgettable moment! I will happily share some of these treasures with you , in this post, and you can see for yourself.



I also had the chance to ask Makenzie few questions, to know a little more about her, and what she does. Here is what we talked about:


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First please tell us a little bit about yourself? Who you are, where are you from?


I am a wife and mom to two amazing girls, 4.5 and 2.5 years. We moved from Washington DC to Bahrain last July, so we’ve been here for almost a year and a half.  We are really enjoying living here and hope to stay for another few years!  Before becoming a photographer, I was a teacher for 4 years, and then worked for a textbook publisher as a sales manager for nine years.


How did your relationship with the camera start?


When my oldest daughter was born 4.5 years ago, like most moms, I wanted plenty of pictures of her so I bought my first DSLR camera.  I quickly became interested in going beyond just the basics of what my camera could do and read all I could online about different lenses, settings, and so on.  Lots of practice, reading online tutorials, and watching YouTube videos about editing got me to here.


How long have you been taking professional pictures for?


I did my first paid shoot in October 2016.  Before that I had taken photos for friends’ families a few times, but never as a paid job.  With the encouragement of friends, I decided to start the business about a year ago and started regularly taking clients.


Do you have a favorite style, field, things to take pictures of?


My style is lifestyle and a bit of documentary.  I like to do minimal posing, and gravitate towards very natural images.  I love working with families.  We are all so busy with work, school, and other activities: how often as families are we all in the same place to just relax and hangout with no distractions? I feel so honored that I get to share that together time with my clients’ families and to document it.  I love sessions that are joy-filled with lots of laughter.  I want clients to look back and not just say “the photos are nice” but also think “that session was a lot of fun!”


I love to take pictures, yet I hate to pose, would you like to give me and the other mamas tips on how to look great on camera?


Relax, relax, relax.  Relax and be yourself.  Connect with your child, and that emotion will be the first thing you notice in the photo and not what you’re wearing or if your hair was perfect.


And how to get more natural pictures?


See the above answer 🙂 Focus on connection, having fun, laughing together.  Focus on the people around you and forget about the camera.


Many moms love photography; what advice would you give them in case they want to pursue a carrier in this domain?


Take pictures every day!  The more you practice, the better you will get.  The more you’ll figure out what you like and don’t like.  You’ll start to notice which settings on your camera give you the results you are looking for.  There are lots of great free resources online.  Use those to your advantage, but nothing can replace 1:1 instruction and mentorship.  I love working 1:1 with moms to help them learn how to take better photos day to day of their children with whatever camera they have available. Besides lots of practice, also follow photographers whose work you love and notice similarities in the images you connect with.  It will improve your eye for what makes a great image.


How do you see yourself and your photography in few years from now?


I would love to start doing more documentary sessions.  Right now most sessions I do are at locations around Bahrain.  I’d really love to add in some at-home documentary sessions.  Much like the time I spent at your house, a documentary session means I come to a client’s home and take photos of the family spending time together doing a favorite activity together, whether it’s snuggling on the couch together with stack of books or making breakfast together on a weekend morning.


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How do you balance your work, and duties as a mama of two?


This is a great question and something I’ve been working on the last month.  In this first year in business I was saying yes to doing sessions at all days and times.  I was in business building mode and didn’t want to turn down any opportunity.  Over the last couple months though, I started to resent weekends when I was gone all day long or weekdays where I’d miss dinner rushing back from a sunset session.  So a few weeks ago I came up with a list of specific “yes” days and times when I will take sessions, and “no” days and times when I won’t take sessions.  I do a lot of my editing and computer work in the mornings while my oldest is at school, and in the evenings after my girls go to bed.


Do you do maternity and birth photos?


Yes!  I love, love, love all things baby and motherhood.  I would like to be doing even more maternity sessions.  I have not shot a birth yet but I really would like to.  I recently put together an investment guide for birth photography so that I will be ready when more inquiries come to me.


Any advice on which camera to buy, to take normal (not professional) pictures?


Oh this is a tough one!  There are so many good entry level cameras on the market.  I started on a Nikon D3200 and I still think that is an excellent series to start with.  (I now shoot on a Nikon D750 for all client sessions.)  Canon makes a comparable entry-level series which is well regarded.  If you travel a lot, check out Fuji mirrorless cameras which are lighter and more compact and produce fantastic images.  I travel with a Fuji XT10.


What are your favorite spots to take pictures at, in Bahrain?


Bahrain Fort is probably the most popular location with clients.  I’ve been loving the Sheikh Isa House in Muharraq lately.  Al Jasra Handicrafts Center – when the shops are closed – is a green-filled hidden gem (although the watchman there last time didn’t look pleased I was taking photos ;)).  The Royal Camel Farm is super fun.  The grounds of the National Museum are filled with beautiful and interesting architecture.  Tree of Life is still on my wish list, haven’t done a session there yet.  The Bahrain skyline over the water at Prince Khalifa Park, off Hidd Bridge, is amazing at sunset.  I could go on and on!  I’ve really enjoyed exploring all over Bahrain so far.



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I Hope you enjoyed this super cool interview with Makenzie, and the super cool pictures too! And guess what……That’s not it….. We have a great giveaway for you guys!! Check out my Instagram account and follow the steps, to win a fantastic mini-session with the very talented Makenzie!!!! YAAAAAAAY!!!





You’ve Been “Ghosted”!!



Just between me and you, how many messages, calls, emails, and RSVPs you have to look into that you haven’t replied to yet? How many friends have you left hanging this week, just because you have many things planned for the day and you are not sure which one of the events planned you are keen to attend? No don’t be shy just raise your hand, I won’t see you lol



How did it ever become so normal to ignore calls, messages, and people in general! How is it OK to treat people this way? I am all for spending your time wisely, setting priorities, and focusing on what’s more important (people and things that make you happy in life), yet this doesn’t mean ignoring other people, it doesn’t mean disrespecting them and  “Ghosting” them! Yes peeps, it has a name now! The action of disappearing, not getting back to people, and basically ignoring friends and family members, just because you are “busy”, has a name now: GHOSTING!!! Since when this was acceptable to start with, let alone have a proper name and be included in the list of normal things?



How many times, you found yourself, on a Thursday night contemplating your options, yes you had that invitation at a friend’s house for dinner (which obviously you haven’t confirmed yet”, you also have a thing with your family that you said you might be able to do (even though you knew you had other things planned for that day!!), you also want to stay home and watch a movie on your couch!!! Don’t worry I won’t judge you -I am behind my screen, remember?! – The confusion, the not knowing of what you’ll say to the people who won’t see you that day? The wasted energy trying to come up with a list of good excuses that you might use/need? On the other hand, how many times have you found yourself texting and calling people to check whether they are coming to your party/ gathering /lunch-anything else- or not? How frustrating was it? How unpractical that was? Do you remember how upset you were when you couldn’t know how many plates you will have on the table, because someone hasn’t replied yet?  Do you remember how disappointed you were? VERY!!!


You remember a time where there were no Facebook events, no “Going”, or “Maybe”, where you leave people hanging, not knowing whether they should add another chair or not? There was no texting and hiding behind a screen just because you’re not up for a real conversation? When you would call people back, go visit them, instead of sending a text, or liking their Facebook status! Where and how did that time go? We developed a weird kind of social epidemics, where we simply don’t care about others. Ignoring someone has become much easier than calling them and apologizing. Not calling people back has become the norm. Ignoring texts, calls, emails, friends and family members has become a habit, and I wonder why? Why we care more about things, than we do about humans? I can’t even point out a time when this started to be ok, I just remember that few years ago, I could never leave someone hanging, whether it is a text, a call, an event, whatever it is, I would never think twice before picking up the phone, or laptop and answering all what needed to be answered. It used to bother me and make me cringe every time, I call, text, invite someone and they leave me hanging, just because they think they are too busy to do so, however, few months ago I found myself not mad anymore when I got “ghosted”!!! I realized that now I became very familiar with the idea too, it has become so normal to me if someone didn’t RSVP, or answered a call or an email, or didn’t get back to me like they said they would! And this is exactly how social epidemics creep into our lives! While we know and are absolutely convinced that these things are wrong, seeing and encountering them in our daily lives, makes them NORMAL!!!


What if right now after you read this post, me and you, we go back to our phones, and get back to those waiting for our calls, texts, RSVPs, emails…etc? How about from today we pay a little more attention to people, and not things?  How about we say enough to ghosting? How about that?