How Old Are You?

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If you didn’t know how old you were, how old would you think you were??? I probably would think i was 32! (I am actually 29).If you asked me last year, or the year before it, I would have definitely said 18!! When people say age is just a number, I totally disagree and think it is plain nonsense! Age is experiences, tornadoes, springs and falls! Smiles and tears gathered to shape your life forever! It is ups and downs, failures-lots of them- It is moments when you think you’ve nailed it and others when you sink into your own misery! So how can all that be as simple as a number! Few weeks ago, I celebrated my 29th birthday! The same day my Taichi master, wisely commented that my face looked very young whereas my eyes screamed wisdom and old age! She saw it as the result of being a mom! Myself, i think in the last year i have grown in so many ways, that I no longer wanted to be 18, 22 or even 29! I wanted to be old and wise and have few more grey hairs! This came to my own surprise, because I have never wished to be older! I always wanted to be younger and even at 22 I felt already old! Too old to be the silly little girl I was and still is! The thing about growing up, is that although we look back with a faint smile and probably some shy tears, to the old us, the old memories, and always say: “Yup! those were the best days of my life”, we still somehow believe that the best is yet to come! With time, we get better at growing up, at being ourselves, at being in our own skin, even if that skin is getting wrinkly and old!

After retiring from being a teacher, my mother decided that she wanted to do more, and she did it! She pursued her PhD in Islamic Studies, a subject she was always fond of. She never complained that she was old or that she hated aging! To me she always appeared to be in her forties! She seems to get better with age. With every passing year, she seems to be a little closer to the woman she wants to be! That is how I want to do it! I am now closer to my thirties than I was last year! And just the thought of it, fills me with excitement and anticipation. What will this new decade bring into my life? More wisdom? More knowledge? More laughs and more tears? More grey hairs and maybe even more babies?! Who knows?

We open magazines and we see gorgeous, young, skinny, beautiful girls, in bikinis, a glowing skin and a perfect body shape, and we decide- or we let them decide for us- that that is the norm! Every woman should always look young, pretty, skinny. Basically, a woman should never age! So we fight our own bodies and minds and we get ourselves into a constant battle to reach to the norm! We get irritated at each birthday because it can only mean a step closer to being out of the norm! We are forced to believe that better is young! But somehow we all know –in the deepest parts of our beings- that better is actually NOW! Wherever we are, at any stage, we all know that we are NOW our finest selves!

So again, how old are you really? Forget about the aching knees and the grey hairs, forget about the young face and the beautiful skin. Isolate yourself from all these stuff, and tell me how old you really are??? How old you think you are?

Ouiam

Morocco, Oujda….. And We Meet Again! 

  

In my old room, in the home where i spent my childhood! Here i am again. With my son wandering around, the way i once did! Touching things i once touched! Living the life i once lived! And it feels absolutely delightful! 

Coming home has become a luxury i only offer my self once or twice a year. First, because it is so far and extremely tiring! It takes me about 24hrs from the time i leave my current home, till the time i reach my old home! Second, because now i have a baby and you try making this trip with an active, full of energy little boy like mine lol! However, once home, i forget the pain of the trip and get lost in the opulent comfort of being home, surrounded by the dearest people to my heart! Although we grow and evolve and change in so many ways, being home, somehow always makes us go back in time, to all the little happy moments, or the not so happy ones! Being home enables us to bring the child within us, without a glimpse of shame! 
I once heard that half the feeling of home is usually a person! And this is profoundly true! Home to me is my parents, my sister and her family, my cousins and my aunts and uncles! When i dream about coming home, i let my mind wander into all those little tea parties, we usually have, where everyone is talking to everyone- yes at the same time- yet we all have the magical power to understand, follow and even reply at the same time! This always fascinated me! And i crave it whenever i am away from home. I equally crave all the goodies prepared by all the beautiful ladies in my family lol! When i think of home, I fly to the mornings we spend talking over tea, just to be pleasantly interrupted by a neighbour who simply wants to say hi! Knocking on other people’s doors for no reason other than saying hello, is how i was brought up! And that is what i greatly miss in my life right now! The simplicity of life that we once had, yet lost in the craziness and busyness of life, is what i mourn! So when i come home, i try to recharge my soul, i try to soak up every minute and every beautiful, meaningful moment. 
One of life’s greatest pleasures, is being among people who truly deeply love you, no matter who you are, what you do or say, what you think or wear, what you have or don’t have, what you believe in or what you don’t! My family has been and will always be, my strength and my weakness! So for the next three weeks, I will let my self savor the time spent in my my hometown, with the people i love the most, i will also write a lot and post a lot of pictures so stick around ;)! 
Ouiam

How Bad Do You Wanna Be Successful?!

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Great, now that I’ve got your attention, let’s first look up the definition of Success:

Success: The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.

So from this definition, we can safely say that success is not given, and most definitely not the product of luck! It is achieved. The word “desired” also implies, that success is wished for, and wanted by the individual who is seeking it. Which makes me believe that it is then a choice. We choose, plan, want, wish for a specific thing, then start working on it, in order to get it! So far, I guess we all agree, right?

Okay! now let us move to the complicated stuff!

Since someone’s success is strongly linked to his choices, how come some of us are successful while some are not? And I don’t believe there is anyone in this planet who wouldn’t like to actually be successful! In addition, whenever we watch TV, browse on the net or social Media, we kind of get the impression that successful people, have to either be rich, famous or somehow important! Doesn’t that contradict the definition of success? Where it is clearly stated that success depends on one’s wishes! Which implies that anyone and everyone can be successful!??

Let’s take Vincent Van Gogh, for example, he was not famous, he was a struggling artist in his lifetime, yet who now doesn’t know him? Who on earth would think of him as “not successful”? This shows you in a very humble way, that to be successful, you shouldn’t be rich or famous! If anything, you should work hard and be passionate about what you do!

This time I will not go as far as the medieval ages to prove a point, I will stick to the twenty first century! And I will talk about myself. Currently I am jobless (as many would think), I am not famous at all, yet I am very important to my family! I wake up every morning, excited about what the day will bring and how we will make each second of it count, I take care of my lovely little bed head, from morning till night, without a break, I am exhausted by the end of each day, yet I am the happiest I have ever been! I love what I am doing and I love doing it every single day! So to me, I am very successful! Sure, to you I might be a stay-home mama, but remember success is a choice, you choose where you want to be successful and you work on it until it happens. I chose to be successful as a stay-home mama! And some days I do a wonderful job at being successful!

To me success will have to be related to what you are passionate about, because only then you can challenge yourself to give your best performance, now if what you are passionate about can get you a steady and decent income, then why not, but if it doesn’t it will not make you less successful!

In order to be successful, you need to believe that you can do it! You need to sink within yourself, get beneath the layers of your mind and dig deep, until you find out what it is that you are passionate about, only then you can fly to the great big success, that only you can define and determine. Never belittle yourself or what you do or what you are passionate about! The richest people of this era started very small, yet they believed in themselves and in their ideas. And their passion only gave them the drive to reach where they are now. If other people do not think of you as successful enough, rich enough or important enough, Well be it! However, you will always be successful in your own way!

Ouiam

Be Careful…… Or Not!

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Growing up, I was told to never walk barefoot, to never go to unfamiliar places without a family member, to never play with the mud or sand because my clothes will get dirty. And I have done just as I was told. While these rules seem perfectly logical and reasonable, now I wish I had rebelled against them, at least once in my childhood. I remember when I was about seven years old, my brother bought me a super cool bicycle, a green one. And he taught me how to ride it. However, I was told to only play with it in the backyard, so years after this, when I was about 15 years old, I met a new friend and while talking we discovered that we were once neighbors, so she said “Oh you are the little girl with the green bicycle who never left their backyard?” we laughed and laughed about it, but I secretly felt a little sad that it was so true, I actually never left our backyard with that cool bicycle! and I wished I had done the opposite, even once in all those years! My mom was a teacher and whoever was raised by a teacher, will understand what I am talking about. Discipline was vitally important in our household! And I thank god for that, because thanks to the way my mom raised me, I am who I am today, I know my limits and what is wrong and right! Yet I wish I could have got my hands and clothes dirty while playing in the mud, or felt the ground with my bare feet, while running and screaming like the rest of my friends did, I wish I took that green bicycle around the neighborhood, I wish I wasn’t careful at times, I wish I fell more and scratched my knees, I wish I broke a leg while climbing a tree. I know my wishes might sound absurd to some of you, but that is the truth! I do wish I didn’t hear too many “be careful”s!

Today and because of all the “be careful”s I heard, I am always careful, way too careful. I do not like to go to the beach because I don’t like the sand, I am scared of all kind of animals, I never climb anything, I never walk barefoot! And that is exactly why I do things differently with Adam. Because I lived the other side of the story and I did not like it! I want my child to decide for himself how he wants to be entertained. The other day, we went for a walk with a friend, her sons and her dog: Harvey! He looked like a very sweet dog! It was Adam’s first time to encounter a dog, he liked him first but when Harvey came closer, he panicked, well actually, we both did, so I had to fight my fear, and touch the dog because how else will my son learn that it is okay to play with dogs! I had to fight the urge to run, I had to keep calm and explore, myself, how it feels like to caress and play with a dog! Few minutes later Adam was indulging himself in some Harvey and Adam time! And I was in cloud nine! I did it!! And therefore he did it too!!

Few months ago, at a birthday party, Adam was still crawling commando style, and of course he was being the little active and energetic little boy he is. He was all over the place, crawling left, right and center. I overheard two lovely women, wondering why I left my child crawling the way he did, on a floor where germs were having a little party of their own, and one of them decided that i did it because I was too tired and had no one to help me with Adam. It was very funny because it was not the first time I hear these kind of comments, and surprisingly, they make me happy! I realize how different I am doing my job as a mama, and it makes me happy! I was right behind my son, making sure that he was safe, yet I didn’t stop him from getting dirty or exploring the surroundings. Actually, I always insist on taking him to the play in the grass, with the mud and sand, explore, and get those little fingers and toes dirty (nothing that a 5 minutes bath cannot fix), I teach him how to climb and how to get down, I let him walk barefoot in the supermarket, pushing the trolley around, while strangers shoot me with their angry looks, and that is totally fine!

Although being too careful allowed me to be more creative and innovative, it unleashed my imagination and spread my wings, yet I still wish I wasn’t careful all the time. And it is such a great blessing to be able to learn so much while teaching my son not to be careful! Parenting is letting go of your child a little more every day, it is growing together while growing apart. Parenting is tricky, but I know from my own experience that it is okay to let kids be kids, it is Okay not to control every moment and hold back because of our fears! So every day I try to teach my little one to fly on his own, little by little, until one day he can do it all by himself! Until we both can do it on our own!

Ouiam

Thank God It’s Friday: What’s in the Oven?

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Every day is a new day! You open your eyes, and you wonder what surprises might this day bring!? Then you get caught up in the busyness of every day’s life; what has to be done, what should be done. You worry, you think and overthink! You go on with your day and you try your best to make it a good one! To me, I wake up every day with an empty tank, that I need to fill up before I put my head right back on that pillow, that same night! I fill it up with many things!! Filling this tank is crucial for my night sleep, if the tank is full, then I have this sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that allows me to close my eyes and fly to La La land! Therefore I have learnt to do just that! I fill my tank with love and kindness, positivity and optimism! i fill it with a toddler’s smiles and laughter, with words and prayers from my parents. I have to see friends, talk to my precious people. I have to go out and see the sun! I have to stop and admire the blue sky. I have to take tons of pictures to document every single day of this cherished life! And Fridays are just the epitome of all that! I love them because a full night of sleep is almost always guaranteed! My Fridays are always filled with family, friends, and all the good things that come along with them! Today was a little especial though! A small celebration of my birthday (even though my birthday was two weeks ago) creeped into today’s schedule- it was a surprise-, we went for a brunch to Ritz Cartlton Bahrain, we were sitting by the pool, in this fantastic weather, the food was succulent. This was one of the very few hotels in Bahrain, that offers a wild range of vegetarian food for people like me( we tried The Four Seasons Bahrain, last week and all I had was a salad and some cold mezze!! Ughhh) . (here i share some photos from today)

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Okay, now let’s talk about what is in the oven today, shall we?!! This dish often saves my days! It only takes about twenty minutes, and it is delicious!!! All you need is :

Salmon fillets (two or three)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 small onion (cut into stripes)

1 capsicum (cut into cubes)

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper

All you need to do is lay your salmon fillet on a dish, add the lemon juice, season it with salt, pepper and thyme, cover it with the onion and capsicum, then add the Parmesan cheese on top and place the dish in the oven, I usually leave it about 20 minutes to cook and voila!!

Bon Appetit!

Ouiam

Yes I am JUST a Mom….!

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Yes I am JUST a mom, doing mummy stuff all day long. I spend my days with a little baby, feeding and bathing him, reading and playing with him. We go out for walks when the weather permits, we sing and have dance parties, we jump and crawl together, we paint and color. You know just mummy stuff!! And yes when people tell me “Oh yeah you are JUST a mom” I smile, I feel proud, I give myself a pat on the shoulder and say: “Yes I am A MOM!!”. I do not get offended, it never bothers me, because to me, being a mom is the greatest job in the world and that is just enough for me. Because when my son looks me right in the eyes, and smiles, that is all the acknowledgment I need. Because when my husband says: “I am here now, go take a break, you’ve done a lot today”, that is the only form of appreciation I want! I think of my mom and my grandmother, and all the greatest women in my life, and yes some of them might be JUST moms to some people but they mean the whole world to me!

When I meet someone for the first time, and they ask me: “So what do you do? “ I proudly reply: “I am a full time mama!” I can see a glimpse of disappointment in their eyes, a little awkward smile follows, and most of them change the subject instantly! I, on the other hand, feel sorry for them, because they seem so embarrassed. I feel like telling them: it is Okay! I am who I am and I love it!

Yes I am who I am and I love it! I am a mama! Nevertheless, I am a woman too, a woman who spends her free time working so hard to make herself better every day! A woman, full of ambition and ideas! I am also a wife to a great man; a daughter to wonderful parents! a sister and a friend! I am a human being and that is enough for me. I do not need a job to define me, I might want a job to satisfy a tiniest part in me that is hidden for now, but it will never define who I am. This is how I see myself and with everyday/ week/ month/ year, this vision changes, converts, rotates and I am Okay with that too!

I most definitely congratulate every working mama! Because they simply are superheroes! They are powerful, strong and selfless women! And they are wonderfully respecting who they are and who they want to be! Nonetheless, this does not downgrade full time mamas in any possible way!

Being a mother empowers me in the most satisfying way! I teach a little human being bits and pieces about life, I take his little hand and walk with him, guide him and be there for him, I build and create his memories! I shape his childhood and toddlerhood! I am his Mama! And that is more than enough for me, for now!

If you feel the same way too, let me know, share your story too…!

Ouiam

Secrets about love….!

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Have you ever felt unloved? Unwanted? Or even invisible? You will be the luckiest if your answer is NO! Kids might feel unloved by their parents, wives at times feel invisible to their husbands, parents at some point, feel unwelcome to their children’s lives. Suddenly we feel like a dark cloud has migrated and declared our hearts its territory! We feel defeated and hopeless! We begin to see ourselves so small and it hurts! No matter who will make us feel this way, whether it is a spouse or a parent or a brother or friend, it will still keep us from sleeping at night, even though we will pretend that we couldn’t care less, to save the tiniest piece of our pride and dignity that remained.

But wait a minute!! What is love? How do we define a person who cares about us? How do you know what the other person feels like, if you have no magical power to enter his heart and steal a glance? One evening, few months ago, and while putting Adam to sleep, I had an epiphany: we don’t all love the same way nor with the same capacity!! It might be old news to you, but realizing that, in that dark room and that silence, where I could almost hear my thoughts. I felt like I had the last piece of the puzzle, and miraculously, everything fell in place for me. People have their very unique ways of loving and showing their love, they might appear very questionable and unusual to us, yet it is still their way of loving us. Just like the way we want to be loved, might seem also questionable and unusual to them. Do you see what I mean here? Some might need space when in a crisis and might feel suffocated with all the attention while others need people around to reassure them and make them feel safe. We might be the kind who shower others with calls and messages when they are in need, or we might be the kind who show their love by keeping our distance. So how do we judge? How can we really say that we feel unloved? Do we have some kind of device to measure this love, and set a minimum and maximum to it? We rather expect the other one to love us on our own terms and conditions, yet we need an unconditional love! (How ironic is that). How is it even possible, unless the person is a mind reader or some kind of magician? it is far from being reasonable right?

It is inexplicable, how our own perception of things can hurt us in the most obvious ways! I have struggled with this my whole life, I always wanted to be loved MY WAY (without even knowing that). And whatever didn’t match “my way” then by definition, wasn’t love. Now I realize how mistaken I was! Some actions done by our loved ones can leave us puzzled, wondering: “How can they do that?” we forget that, that same action might make perfect sense to them; it might even be their way of saying “I love you”! Even if not, and it is exactly as you and me would assume, truly a horrible act of wickedness, do we really know what is going on in that person’s mind? Can we take a second, and think, think deeply, not just brush our brains, dig and dig until we can see clearly! Before we judge our loved ones! Because without a doubt, we would want them to do the same for us! I know I would! I would want to be given the benefit of the doubt! I would want to be forgiven.

This past year was a continuous learning experience for me, but figuring this out, was one of the most valuable lessons, somehow it opened my eyes and helped me see clearer. Now before feeling, unloved, unwanted or even invisible, I stop and think, really think and try very hard to see their way of loving me, even in the darkest parts. And from where i stand now, i can proudly say that it is absolutely worth it!

Ouiam

Eight ways to keep your toddler busy!

Hello Mamas!

How hard it is to keep a little peanut busy, so you can finish that meal you are cooking. Or finally attack that pile of laundry that has been waiting for you all week. Or simply to enjoy that cup of coffee you have been craving for, since six o’clock this morning!! Well! take it from me, it is incredibly hard. Some days that meal will never leave that pot and other days that pile of laundry will just double in size, and sometimes you will never have the chance to even dream of that coffee. Yet it is not completely impossible. Toddlers at this age are eager to learn and explore new things; every little thing will amaze them and blow their little minds! So I believe it is exceptionally important to nurture and encourage this need they have to explore, and always keep their little minds busy as well as their little hands, in fun yet educational activities. I know that sometimes you just run out of ideas, and believe me, at some point, you sure will! These little human beings will drain your brain and never get satisfied! However and because I have been there, and still am, today I will share with you all, eight fun ways to keep your little one busy:

1- Edible Play dough:

If everything ends up in your little dude’s mouth like my case, then this is ideal for you!

1cup flour

1cup water

¼ cup salt

2 tablespoon cream of tartar

1 package of sugar-free jello

Mix all the ingredients together and cook over low heat on the stove. Stir frequently. You can use a whisk to get rid of the lumps and then cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring with a spatula. Once the dough starts to gather into a ball and doesn’t stick to your fingers, then you can take it off the stove.

2- Edible paint

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My little man would spend about 30 minutes busy painting and mixing all colors, with some occasional trips of that paint to his mouth, but it is perfectly safe because yeah it is EDIBLE!

1 Cup of flour

3 cups of hot water

Food colorants

In a pot, mix the flour with 1 cup of water, then gradually add the 2 other cups, keep on stirring until it thickens. Let it cool then separate the liquid into different bowls and add the food coloring (see picture above)

3- Whipped cream and food coloring

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This is my son’s favorite game, I simply put some whipped cream in a cupcake pan, add some food coloring and let the fun begin!

4- Ice painting

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Put some edible paint with some water into an ice tray, put it in the freezer, then give your little one some colored ice cubes and let him experiment!

5- Cotton painting

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Simply dip the cotton in the paint and let them color! How easy is that!

6- The tube of fun

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Ideally you would need some empty paper towel tube, but some plain paper would also do (check the picture), tape it into the wall, and let your toddler drop the little balls through it into a basket.

7- The tins with shapes 

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Take some milk tins (or any other tins), cut a hole in the lid in different shapes, then cut some paper into the same shapes of the holes (see picture), and let your toddler put each shape in the appropriate tin!

8- The water bag

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Take a sandwich bag (zip lock bag), put some water and some edible paint in it, close the bag, and tape it into the wall. Let your child play with it.

I hope you and your little one enjoy these ideas! Thanks for passing by!

Ouiam

Thank God It’s Friday: What’s For Breakfast??

Hello there!

It is funny how some food can take you straight back to the origin of a memory. Every item on today’s menu (lunch), magically took me back to the beautiful home, where I spent all those beautiful years of my childhood! May be it is the appetizing smell of those vegetables being cooked, or the delicate aroma coming from that HARIRA (a Moroccan soup that I will soon post its recipe), on the stove. One thing I am sure of, though, is that with every stir and every move, I saw my mom in the kitchen, passionately and lovingly doing what she did best, while I would sneak in and be the littlest food thief I always was. I saw my mom in her apron, looking so pretty and gracious. Gently yet efficiently, transforming few items, into this gorgeous looking meal, that would take all of us to heaven!

Today we had some very precious people over, for lunch, and just like every time, we talked and talked and talked for hours, over lunch! It is always refreshing to spend some valuable time, with some healthy minds and virtuous souls. People who can teach you things you never knew they even existed! Just as your body needs food, your mind needs these inspiring and insightful conversations with people who fill your world with positivity and serenity!

My menu today was 100% Moroccan; however, today’s recipe is of none of the dishes I have cooked! It is not even my own recipe! Today my husband nicely and sweetly, suggested sharing with all of us, his recipe for making jam! He makes the best jams ever, so why not take advantage of his skills and expertise, right?…. yes RIGHT!

So without further ado, here is my husband’s easy and quick recipe for jam:

1Kg of any fruit you have

2 cups of sugar

1 lemon (we will use both, the zest and the juice)

Put the fruits in a pot , after washing and drying them, add the sugar, the lemon juice and zest and let it simmer over a low heat for about an hour, or until the liquid gels over a cold plate. If you think you have overcooked it, just add some water and cook it some more!

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Enjoy your Jam!! Xx

Ouiam!

Happy Reading: April

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By nature, I am a total bookworm. When I was a kid, my dad used to buy me three storybooks every Saturday, and I would be so excited and eager to read them all, that I would stay up all night, and finish all three of them. Then, I keep on re-reading them until the next Saturday finally arrives! But really what’s better than having an hour or two – or sometimes five until I finish the book I started then. Some books have this effect on me- while sipping some tea and waiting for my eyelids to get heavy.

I read anything and everything, really! I love words and sentences, and I think any book, in this world, is worth reading. Of course, I have my preferences, and every month, I spend hours on Google and Goodreads, checking for my kind of books. But my one rule has always been, FINISH THE BOOK YOU STARTED!  No matter how ridiculous this sounds, I truly believe that every book is sacred and it is highly disrespectful to leave it unfinished.

So every month, I download books on my kindle and buy few more on Amazon, because although I love my kindle, I still love to read an actual book. Flip the pages while the smell of the paper caresses my nose. However, I have to say that the kindle is much easier to carry around, especially when you are in the middle of reading few books at the same time, (always my case, the books I read in the morning are not the same ones I read at night). You just do not have to take all three (or five lol) books with you wherever you go, you just take your kindle! This month, and after a dear friend of mine, mentioned it, I will write a small review about some very interesting books, that I have read and greatly liked. And guess what? Yes i will do it every month (yaaay!!).

  • Scary close (Donald Miller): This book is simply out of this world. I usually do not like to read self-help books, so when I saw it on amazon listed as one, I hesitated. On the other hand, it was all over the web, and everyone was saying great things about it. So I decided to dig in. For people like me, who are interested in dropping the act and be themselves, this is definitely THE book!
  • Quiet (Susan Cain): This book will enable you to really understand your own personality. It treats the controversy about how the world sees and thinks of introverts and extroverts. Such a great and inspiring book.
  • Brain Rules For Baby (John Medina): a friend of mine recommended this book, and I just couldn’t put it down after i started it. If you have a baby, or about to have one, this book is a great read. It handles some very interesting topics, DOs and DON’Ts, while pregnant. TV: Yes or No and why?. How to handle tantrums. And many other interesting things.
  • The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell): a very interesting book, especially if you want to start a business. It talks about the little things that make the big difference. The tipping point, as Malcolm says, is the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”
  • The invention Of Wings (Sue Monk Kidd): it is a book to get lost in, the writing and the storytelling is remarkable, short sentences that tell you everything you would want to know.

Now your turn, what is the last great book you have read?  Leave a comment and suggest one book to a friend (me!). what would you recommend?

Ouiam