Garden of the Gods

So, why in the name of god did all the gods decide to assemble in Colorado Springs?

That I don´t know, but I know that it´s not too bad a place for the authorities to meet and conspire!

Joking aside, I visited Garden of the Gods this morning and these huge rock formations are quite something to photograph! The mountains behind them make a perfect background, the perfect contrast. But what I loved the most were the different birds that I saw there. Apparently, the garden is home to more than 130 species of birds!

Enjoy this brief tour.

GOG00

GOG01

GOG02

GOG03

GOG04

GOG05

GOG06

GOG08

GOG09

GOG10

Paella Valenciana

Now doesn’t THIS look mouth watering!

During this trip to Spain, I got the chance to help Carmen, a very sweet Spanish woman from Valencia, cook a typical Valencian paella meal with chicken meat and rabbit meat. I watched her cook the meat at first then add vegetables (green beans and white beans) and finally water and have everything simmer for a long time. To add flavor and color to the paella, Carmen added 3 large fresh springs of rosemary, salt and a generous sprinkle of saffron powder. She left the meat and vegetable cooking until everything became soft and aromatic before adding the rice. She let the rice absorb liquid completely, which didn’t take a long time because she kept everything uncovered and on high fire. Excuse me for not noting down measurements of ingredients, but I took some delicious photos for you, so here you go!

Click for photos and description (almost a recipe!).

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Long Weekend in Westport

What is everyone up to this weekend? I joined a group of close friends in Westport for a long weekend of catching up, relaxation and fishing. The cottage we are staying in is super cozy and warm. When we were driving to it, we thought we were going driving to the end of the world. The roads were unpaved, thin and lined with trees so high that you can’t see the sky. We had to drive for 15 minutes outside of the town of Westport to get to it. But the moment we parked the car and went into the cottage, we were breath taken by the  genuine feel of it and the amazing view of the lake. Take a look at these photos and let me know what you think.

Have a nice weekend.

So Why Montreal?

Um, why not?! It is a beautiful city with great schools, a good quality of life and a diverse cultural scene. We finally took our decision early this year and started the real preparations last month. We are both very excited, simply for the change. We have been living in Jeddah for 5 years now and have had enough of the 365 days of sunshine (NOT). It is time for us to move on, to move forward and as I always say, change is necessary for progress. So this crazy couple are embarking on a new freezing adventure late this Spring and they simply cannot wait!

And I’m going to …

Oh my god, Confetti hasn’t had a post in over 3 weeks! Where are you, Loulou?

Well, Loulou has been knee-deep in preparation for the big move. Big move? Yes, Iam packing two suitcases (and selling everything else!) and heading West. What? West? Where? How? Um to Montreal, Canada! Mamma mia, when?! Soon, very soon!

More details tonight. Have a good day everyone!

Gifts With No Occasion

… are the best kind of gifts, no?! I was in Beirut last week (that’s mostly the reason behind my disappearance) and I received three unexpected gifts from my mom and sisters! I absolutely loved them. I’m not usually a materialistic person, but these cute gifts warmed my heart.

Thanks N., L. and L.! <3

Pendant of my favorite animal, the giraffe

A much needed pair of trendy brown sunglasses

An over-sized hip blue canvas bag

Best of 2011

What an eventful year! It started out alright. My mom visited me at the beginning of the year and we had a good two weeks together. Then, my health took a dip and I had a rough few months. But it seems that traveling was in the cards for me because I visited several new cities this year and spent vacations with my family, with R. and with my mom. Another good thing that happened this year was that I managed to lose the extra few kilos that I had put on the past two years. Not all news is good as this year I wasn’t able to see my best friend whom I normally meet up with once a year. However, the year ended on a good note and … I went for LASIK and that changed my whole outlook on life (pun intended)!

Here are a few photos highlighting the beautiful memories of 2011:

weekend mornings by the sea

family summer vacation in Spain

the BEAUTIFUL San Sebastian (Spain)

fun with R.

drinking a lot of tea in Istanbul with mom

the Bosphorus

BERLIN!

Paris with Mounir & Aida

friends

Susuru (Japanese for slurping)

If you are in Berlin and want to have Asian food, Japanese in particular, there is only one place to head to: SUSURU.

Susuru only serves noodle soups and appetizers, but that won’t matter to you because you wouldn’t want to have anything else anyway!

We started with shrimp dumplings that were very light and perfectly steamed. Then I had the chicken curry udon soup and R. had a shrimp udon soup, both were delicious and the portions were generous. (And yes we slurped!) For dessert we tried the green tea ice cream and the chocolate spring rolls with vanilla ice cream, and needless to say they were both very special.

A small and funny detail about the restaurant: there are kitchen aprons hanging on little hooks on the sides of the tables to protect your clothes while you slurp!

So again if you’re in Berlin and in the mood for Japanese food, try Susuru. Here’s the address:

SUSURU
Rosa-Luxemburg Strasse 17
10178 Berlin

Room of Silence – Berlin


Image

While walking around in Berlin, R. and I ran into the banner above, which immediately caught our attention. We pushed the door in and were greeted by a silent middle-aged man behind a desk surrounded by complete silence. We asked if the Room of Silence was open for anyone and whether it was for free. The silent man spoke, “of course,” he said. We pushed another door that led to a room as small as a regular living room with chairs lined in theater-style. We took two adjacent seats and just sat in silence for five minutes. I did a 5-minute relaxation session, abdominal breathing and all, and R. sat there with his thoughts in total silence.

The Silent Room

We were beyond thrilled by the possibility of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city with just one push of a door. What a brilliant idea. We totally disconnected from everything outside, from the pain in our legs, from the plans for the rest of the evening and from the world. Read below for a description of the Room of Silence, Berlin:

The following description is taken from Berlin101 website.

The “Room of Silence” is located in the north side of the Brandenburg Gate. It is inspired by the meditation room in the UN building in New York. The room was opened in 1994, and offers the people passing by a chance to sit down in silence, meditate, rest and so on, and is decorated with abstract pictures. We can tell you it is indeed a very relaxing, positive experience.

Opening Hours: Apr-Oct 11:00 -18:00, Nov & Jan-Mar 11:00 -17:00, Dec 11:00 -16:00.

Back From Holidays!

Sorry for leaving without any notice, it was very busy before the holidays and I forgot to post a ‘see you soon’ message! But now we are back and although it is going to take me a whole week to re-install myself in my life and not feel disoriented, I am happy to be reconnect with everyone on Twitter and here on Confetti.

I had a great two-week break. I spent it with my family in Italy and Spain and it was beautiful. I’ll leave you with these photos until we meet again some time soon this week. Have a great week!