Road Trips Season is Back!

Took us a while to get back on track, my friends and I, with the #touristinmycountry #touringlebanonin300days goal that we planned few years back.

After the winter’s season is gone, we planned a day in the breathtaking Bekaa Valley, specifically in Ammiq.

Charming scenery, light spring breeze and my camera. That is exactly all you need there. (An additional cup of coffee there wouldn’t harm as well).

Check out some cool pictures I’ve taken of this beautiful place in my country.

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Cute Ducks 🙂

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Spring is here!

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Ammiq’s Main Road

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Old Bekaai Barn

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Ammiq’s Reserve

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More of Ammiq’s Beauty

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#Blossoming

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Taanayel Ecolodge

Let’s Go Indian with “Reservoir Beirut”

20170125_183126-01.jpegExperience… Experience… Experience!

Give me the most “Chichi” restaurant to find or a dime-store, I’d still pick the one with the better “experience” on its menu. (For that, I should be scoring high on the Openness to Experience, one of the Big 5 traits of Personality – also known as OCEAN Model – acronym for Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism).

[…]

Couple of days ago, I knew that “Reservoir Beirut” re-opened, with a new flair.

To those of you who don’t know, Reservoir Beirut was one of the few – actually the only – pub to exist in Ramle Bayda, Beirut. The shop was closed in early 2000s. I know about this place, because back then, when I was a young teen, pubs were still a no-no for my generation yet older people talked about it as if it was the “Hub”.

Flash forward and here I am, on the main entrance of Reservoir Beirut, the place that kept the name, yet changed the feel… Indian Style this time.

I entered the shop. Different from the images I created across the years in my head. Different yet Interesting much.

Welcomed by the co-owner, I sat with my friend waiting for the menu.

[…]

I told you earlier, it is the experience that keeps me going to such places. And that’s exactly what the co-owner managed to show me!

Here, I will highlight the main experiences that will make you want to go (or in my case, go back):

1- The Story behind this place:

When welcomed by the co-owner, the place was a bit quiet. Only two other customers were present (to be fair and square, it was 6:00, a usual dead time in Beirut – right after moving from work and just before heading to dinner).

She was very pleasant, introduced us to the place and told us some info on the Indian traditions and the type of food presented. The interesting part of the story is that, this co-owner was a waitress who used to work in this place long ago, before it closed. Days passed, and after studying abroad, she came back, passed by this place full of early adulthood memories for her,  and set her mind to revive the place again. And she did 🙂

When asked about the reason behind choosing Indian for a cuisine, her answer was that  through the years of study abroad,  most of her friends were from the Indian Community. As a result, she learned some recipes and discovered her “talent” in cooking.

Few years later, the entrepreneur student managed to actually co-open a place that is worth checking.

 

2- The spirit of this place:

One of the things that I liked in Reservoir Beirut when it comes to the setting and display is the actual authenticity. The place is not complicated. No extravaganza, no glitter. A simple place serving simple authentic soul food. The kind of food that doesn’t exist much in the area (Hindi being the only main Indian exception). This simplicity is rare to find in nowadays restaurants.

When I entered, I felt that like I am there, in a local Indian ‘westernized’ restaurant, with true authentic people sitting around one table. The wall dressed with beautiful local portraits and the menu is as simple.

The time we ordered and waited, the co-owner chitchatted with us, and with the other table. Few minutes later, the 5 of us (Our table, the owner and the second table), joined conversations about the place’s history. It felt authentic and real. And that is one experience I genuinely enjoyed.

3- The food inside this place:

Let me tell you something… This place is so “HOT” – take it in any sense you want, and it’ll fit – , you must try it out!

We’ve tried: The Indian Samosas, the Chicken 65, the Indian Corn (Oh my lord, that one is to die for) and the Butter Chicken. Of course, one cannot eat Indian without actually using the traditional Indian bread (Garlic Naan).

  • The Indian Samosas, quite like our Lebanese puff pastries, yet with a twist. Triangular in shape and filled with potatoes and peas, oh I can feel the crust. Very delicious and fulfilling as appetizers.

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  • The Indian Corn, I don’t know what that is… It is one of the simple yet exquisitely made items that will make visit again. Regular corn on the cob, marinated with different spices along with butter and lemon. Simply delicious. Highly recommended as a starter.

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  • The Chicken 65, small fattening cubes of chicken, marinated with spices and fried with ghee (Let’s add 2 kilos to my already overweight body :D). Quite frankly, a good average dish. Even though mixing it with the garlic naan made it even better, the dish wasn’t somewhat of a signature.I would replace it with another item next time.
  • And finally, the Butter Chicken. Okay let’s be real now. Butter + Chicken + Cashew = Deliciousness. Perfect creamy sauce watering the chicken with cashew gave the entire dish quite an identity. Full of flavor and nicely displayed. A ne pas rater!

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Cutting things short, the place is new yet one must give it a try… For the simplicity, authenticity and the good – unusual – taste.

Switzerland: For the Love of Cheese, Chocolate and Scenery!

To those of you who don’t know, I spent 25 years of my life with Aviophobia – Fear of Flying.

I used to see family members and friends discussing trips and travel experiences throughout my life and not even feel concerned…. Until the day had come, where all the factors were in favor and I stepped a foot in Switzerland (Kind of cool for a somewhat first time traveler!). Ever since, things became pretty much dramatic, and my Aviophobic self became so addicted, managing to visit 7 countries in less than a year!

Cutting the story short, let me share with you some of the great moments of my journey in the Land of Cheese, Chocolate and Alps.

I have visited 4 main regions in total: Bern, Zurich, Lucern and Bernina Alps.

  • Bern: Needless to say that each city had its own charm, yet the impact that the medieval city of Bern (the capital) left in my heart is just magical. Remember the old stories of Beauty and the Beast? Yep. Exactly like that! Perhaps it’s because I’ve never seen a medieval city before, yet the houses, the roads, the town-hall, the big clock at the entrance of the old town, even the water pumps… just Magical!IMG-20170107-WA0060-01.jpeg Old Town of Bern – View from UpIMG-20170107-WA0064-01.jpeg Entrance of the Old Town of Bern – Zytglogge
  • Zurich: Not only a beautiful city, but also the food there is so good, you just can’t get enough of! I made sure to eat Cheese and Beef fondue daily there (and Oh God! I still crave this cuisine from time to time!).zurich

My advice for you is to try Le Dezaley Restaurant (Niederdorf, close to the GrossMünster) for fondue. Once there you’ll understand what I mean… The house in which the restaurant is located exists ever since the 13th century, and the medieval ambiance is felt inside. Try all the sauces they offer, allow your taste buds to enjoy new flavors.

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Cheese Fondue… Tasty!

  • Lucern: Now that’s a bridge worth taking photos of! (Considering that this bridge – Kapelbrüke – is of the most photographed bridges in the world). Named after St. Peter’s Church (Thus the Kapel = Chapel Bridge), it is also the oldest wooden bridge that you can witness in Europe.
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Kapelbruke – Chapel’s Bridge

What I also found interesting in Lucern is Saturday’s market. People from all around the city gathered on the sides of the lake and sold literally everything (from veggies, food to flowers, flea and crafts). The beauty of this market is that it is so diverse, you can meet people from all over the world just by visiting their stands (From France, Germany all the way to Peru and Brazil, I was impressed!)

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Saturday’s Market

Another place worth seeing in Lucern is the Lion Monument: A huge carved dying lion in a rock is placed in the middle of a small garden.

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Lion Monument

  • Bernina Alps: One cannot visit Switzerland without passing by the Alps, and I did. Took the bernina express panoramic train and visited all the mountain range from eastern Switzerland to northern Italy – Literally! (The train’s last stop was in Torino – Italy). The alps are simply majestic. Covered in a beautiful white veil, the mountains were fully decorated.
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Miralago and Swiss Alps

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Bernina Express Panoramic Train

Few tips to Consider if visiting Switzerland:

  1. Eat Chocolate from day one. I didn’t and I regret it. Laderach is the chocolate brand I loved most. Try all the variety that your eyes can fall for (Strawberry, Chilli lime, Cornflakes, Glacier, Florentine and many more).
  2. Metro use is beyond amazing. The swiss are truly of the most organized, punctual and clean community I’ve ever met. Metro works by the second – literally.
  3. If visiting several cities within the country, use the “Swiss Pass” instead of buying several tickets. It’s valid for X full days (you decide the bundle you want) and covers any kind of transportation.
  4. Switzerland, though in Europe doesn’t use the euro currency. The country has the Swiss franc (CH).
  5. 1CH = 1 USD approximately.
  6. The country has high cost of living index (Highest in the world), thus the high quality of life (And trust me, it’s amazing…)
  7. The citizens in Zurich and Lucern are by far of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Super helpful and courteous!

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That’s how I got my Passport stamped last year! Highly advising everyone to visit this breathtakingly beautiful country…

Happy Traveling Everyone! 🙂

New Year Resolutions: Universality and False Hope

Date: 26 till 31 December 2016.

Occasion: Closing 2016’s chapter and opening a Tabula Rasa Blank Slate for 2017.

FAQ: What are your 2017 resolutions?

I bet you can easily recite 2 solid resolutions. Truth to be told, You might have been using those for a couple of years now. You answer the question and smile. You wait for others to answer, and they too, recite and smile.

While asking my friends for their 2017 -New Year, New Me- resolutions, two questions popped into my head:

1- Do all people around the globe have similar resolutions? Do their hopes and dreams pivot around same areas of life?

2- Why do most of the resolutions set on New Year fail to move into Reality zone?

I researched for answers and discovered they are of value, and decided to share them..

Answer to (1):

While surfing the web, I came across an interesting Google Experience.

In the last week of 2012, Google created “Google Zeitgeist” – For those who don’t know the term, it means the Spirit of Time (How deep is that!) – where people shared their resolutions for 2013. Members from all over the globe, with various background and cultures, from the Siberian Glacial lands to the Amazon jungles, participated in this global trend.

The beauty of this experience is that each individual was able to see what others wrote as well. On a larger scale, the entire world can see full trends of regions, countries and even continents.

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Each human being pinned his resolution and made it accessible for others to see it. (That’s not the cool part yet!)

The fascinating part of this experiment is that people from all around wished for 6 things mainly: Love, Health, Career, Finance, Family and Education.

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Not a single continent didn’t have those 6. And if you’d zoom a little bit more, you’d discover that Europe’s densest resolution is related to Love. North America’s resolutions were more focused on Health and Career, etc…

In Grosso modo, people from around the globe share the same “wishlist”. Despite their huge differences from countries, ethnicity, interests, to geographic and language barriers, the world is One. And that is just fascinating – for 7 billion people to be united in thoughts.

Answer to (2):

Hello Frustration. Forget about using proper guidelines, setting SMART goals and determining rewards to small steps. The “New Year Cheer” scenario that starts a day after Christmas will fade away 2 days after year end, precisely, on the first pit-stop when your friends plan for a Burger Night.

And even this part of resolutions is Universal.

Research shows that New Year Resolutions fail to be achieved in most of cases due to something called: False Hope Syndrome.

This syndrome -legitimate psychological term – is described as the Unrealistic expectations of Self-Change. People keep on repeating those self-change attempts despite the previous failures.

People at this phase of year perceive themselves with more control and optimism. They reflect on the year that has passed and look forward for the one to come. Thus, they set tougher and higher goals, hoping that the “new” year will make them happen. Peers also, with their own wishlists help in setting the bar high.

To avoid this trap, it is always important to distinguish between what’s feasible and what’s not among those self-change goals. The key is to review those goals the moment when they start fading (day 2 of the new year) and adjusting them more realistically.

[…]

So here’s to a Blank New Year! Wishing you all Universal wishes and Realizable resolutions!

Leaving you with a laugh on past resolutions in fun tweets…

 

 

For Plus-Size… Accessorize!

Not a fashionista and have never been.

This is how I want to start this blog. Not because I don’t want to, but because I thought I can’t.

Few days back, my friend Lara suggested to style me.

Being a plus-size person (with an over indulgence in Food), I accepted the challenge, knowing that her endeavor might be a total fail (especially that I have tried many times, hopelessly).

To my surprise, she thought of things differently. When all my thoughts were focused on the outfit, she took the periphery and built on it.

Her advice was to actually help me invest in Accessories. When I thought of it, I thought to myself: this girl is right!

I’ve always seen fit girls around me all dressed in black/or any monochromatic outfit yet they looked stunning. What slipped my mind is that they actually wore colorful scarves, trendy hand accessories (from rings to bracelets) and statement make-up.

I agreed to go on with this venture and started noticing that little items like necklaces, shoes or even bags help in building ones unique identity, especially for overweight people.

And this is what we’ve done during this exercise, Lara and I!

Not only did those small items add a nice “flavor” (food related jargon :P) to the outfit, they were easy to have… After all, it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it’d be!

Let me show you some of items we opted to have:

(I was lucky enough to be styled with items from Peer Beirut Shop. The items were so unique, I bet no one in Beirut has the same quality and customer service they had with me).

1- Choker Necklace –  Smart Casual, wear it with plain tops to emphasize on the jewel’s uniqueness.

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2- Amazingly unique Cross bag – Street smart, perfect shape as it fits your essentials (wallet, cellphone, perfume, etc..).

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3- Loafers (Oh those pairs! Leather-printed shoes – super comfy and casual with style).

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4- Le Specs Sunglasses – Mirrored and unconventional. Looks great with Business Casual outfits.

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With small additions to my actual outfit, the photo shooting session ended up being great! For an hour or so during the shoot, I was that trendy person – not the plus-size person struggling to find outfits.

Here’s a glimpse of how the styling, Peer’s accessories and Photo-shoot looked like:

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So to all the plus-size girls out there, trust me, you too can still look trendy…

My advice for you: For plus Size… Accessorize!

 

It is very important to mention that Peer – No Pressure Beirut shop’s extraordinary collaboration made this event possible. This small shop located at the end of bliss street is one of Bliss’s little hidden gems. Targeting women mainly, this place has it all: From full outfits to shoes, sunglasses accessories, bag and even cool gadgets. This place is a must visit if you are one hell of a fashionista (Some of the items were way too cool for me!) or if you want to find items that are funky and unique!

Visit them or check their page via Facebook or Instagram for more updates.

20 things I learned in 2016…

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I have to admit that 2016 was one hell of year for me. From joy to heartbreak, discoveries and disappointments, this year got me into quite a good number of experiences/lessons.

As I am soon to close this chapter of my journey, here are couple of things that 2016 has taught me…

  1. Sharing brings a different flavor to things: From food, books, late night talks, road trips, crazy adventures and even silence… Life is more meaningful when shared.
  2. If you really want something, make effort for it: Whether your favorite childhood gifts that you insist on keeping, or human relationships. Just like plants, to keep them alive, you have to keep watering and pruning them. And even this doesn’t guarantee that they’ll survive.
  3. Nothing in the world beats the love of thy parents: Past beyond childhood and teenage fights, there is no love like theirs. They are here for you… Through thick and thin, literally.
  4. Lipsticks are good accessories: Wear them often.
  5. Fears cripple you, and Truth sets you free:  This comes with a price at certain times, yet letting go of your fears and speaking up truthfully is always relieving. Never be afraid to be honest and true to yourself and others. It saves your soul.
  6. Expectations lead to disappointment: The less expectations, the less boundaries and the more authenticity in treatment. Give people the freedom with you, and you will be surprised how things end up miraculously.
  7. Traveling is food for one’s soul: Discovering new cities, speaking different languages and learning about cultures gives your heart a spark… a passion. So keep on picking destinations, booking flights and venturing the world.
  8. Mandala books are a great stress relief! Buy “Voyages Extraordinaires” color book and thank me later! (And as a result, I’ll have to thank my Boss for that).
  9. Compromise is not always a bad thing: This is a good lesson about setting priorities straight. Not everything/everyone is worth a fight. Choose your battles wisely and know when it is wiser to compromise.
  10. Oh, and stop comparing! No one is equal to you, and no one will ever be, so stop all the drama and focus on your our own journey.
  11. Try new things. Everyday. With every opportunity. With all your might.
  12. Tattoos are the body’s little jewels. Pick what represents you and wear it with pride. Preserve the memory of precious times.
  13. Communication is Key: Not everyone perceives things the way you do. To have things the way you want, you need to express more – for others to be able to understand.
  14. Everyone is good in something. I bet you are great in something. Don’t let anyone make you feel not good enough. Never. And always remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your own consent.
  15. Simple things matter a lot (If not the most): Do not underestimate the power of a smile, a gentle text, a morning coffee cheer or flowers. Little things make a great difference to people’s life.
  16. Appreciate the voice that criticizes: This might sound odd, yet keep these people close. Whether friends, teammates or family, they’re the ones with “balls”- blunt enough. They’ll push you to reflect more and sometimes -believe it or not- they are the people to care the most.
  17. Learn your way to enjoy your own company. It is okay to be alone sometimes. Discovering oneself is as challenging as knowing the world outside.
  18. Do what sets your soul on fire and makes you happy! Not everyone’s going to like it, yet after all life’s too short to care about others opinion that much!
  19. Practice what your preach: or don’t preach it at all. Hypocrisy is everywhere around us. It takes courage to act what you actually say.
  20. And last, embrace life and feel the magic! 🙂

Wishing you a great end of year, and a more joyful, serene start for 2017.

May the lessons you learnt this year brighten up the unknown path of the year to come…

Happy Holidays!

7 Things to Know if you are visiting Europe’s Hidden Gem: Budapest

Last July,  part of my overcoming fears journey, my friends and I decided to hit the roads again and travel to the Land of Healing Waters: Hungary.

To be honest, the country wasn’t on my Traveling Bucket List, yet I got carried away with the excitement of visiting a new place.

5 days and Budapest amazed me with its charm. Simple yet full of life… This city exceeded my expectations.

To help you/encourage you to visit this country, check out some of the things I discovered there…

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1.Local Currency: Though Hungary is part of the European Union, the country has its own currency: the HUF (okay, that sounds funny but their currency is the Hungarian Forint).

Now let us make it hard on people who hate Mathematics: 1 USD amounts to 292 HUFs (Try buying a coffee cup without feeling like you paid a lot :P).

2.Spending Budget: If you are a young tourist wanting to benefit from the land’s sights yet on a budget, a day in Budapest would actually cost you around 100$. (25$ for the accommodation, split between 2, 8$ for the transportation, and the rest for entrance fees, food and gifts) – That being said, Budapest is very, very affordable!

3.When: Early Summer. (Last week of May is Optimal, not too crowded, not too cold).

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View from Top of Buda Castle

4.Location to stay at: Budapest is actually the combination of two cities Buda and Pest. (Buda being the “Elitist”). Zoom your map to Pest, find a location near the Metro Station and Book it!

5.Ways to Commute: METRO. Easy, simple, and giving you access to all the main locations in the city. Besides that, Budapest Metro is not heavily populated like other European cities (Paris, Rome).

 

Tip: If you are traveling in a group (2 or more), buy the Group Ticket  (24-Hour Group Travel Ticket)., it’s a saver especially if you are using it a lot.

You have to note that you can get to a good number of attraction sites by walking.

6.Top Places to Visit:

A- St Stephen’s Church: Though beautiful from outside, make the effort to go inside and don’t even think of missing the Tower. The church oversees Budapest and the view from up there is breathtaking!

Tip: Entering the tower requires an entrance fee, yet entering the church is free of charge.

B- The Hungarian Parliament: Not only the 3rd biggest parliament in all Europe, it is also majestic! Gothic style with a brown-reddish dome… Just beautiful!

C- Buda Castle: Located in Buda, on Castle Hill and overseeing Pest. The Chain Bridge (that one can pass by when commuting between Pest and Buda) is visible from up there.

Tip: Instead of walking all the way to the Castle (20 min of walk in the hot summer weather, take the TukTuk. It gets you close to the castle in a minute and grants you a good view and “new” commuting experience in the city.

D- Matthias Church: 15 minutes away from Buda Castle, this church is witnessed the coronation of several Hungarian Kings (Most famous being Franz Joseph). The tiles covering the church can’t be missed (As they are a Hungarian Specialty).

Tip: The Church is both a prayer place and a museum. Benefit by visiting both for a minimal fee.

E- Fisherman’s Bastion: Originally built to commemorate the memory of fishermen who maintained this part of the city (A fish market was located there instead of the bastion).

Good to know: It’s been said that Walt Disney got inspired from this place to build the actual Disney castles.

Tip: The place is so close to Matthias Church. Also, benefit from having a quick bite in the market nearby. (The sausages there are a must try!)

F- Margaret Island: It is a big park (an actual island). You can bike it all! (Such a cool experience)!

7.Food Items to try out:

A- Kurtoskalacs or Hungary’s famous Chimney Cakes. Yummy! Just heavenly and so worth the try (eat one every day – worth it and make sure to try the different combinations!).

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A must try. Day and Night, those chimney cakes are amazing!

B- Goulash soup: not the best thing I’ve had yet famous in the Hungarian cuisine, so it is a must!img_6944.jpg

C- Sausages. Sausages. And even more sausages. Try them all!

D- Tarhonya: looks like couscous yet in fact its big pasta with meat/chicken stew next to it. (not bad at all).img_9055.jpg

5 days and I felt like I needed much more to discover plenty of things about this place. And even though I didn’t foresee it, Budapest turned out to be a hidden gem in the middle of Europe!

Advising you all to book a flight and visit this city full of life!

Cantina Sociale: A Wine-Ful Discovery…

Last week, my friends and I decided to go discover a new place in Beirut. Passing by the busy streets of Ashrafieh, a new place pops up on the main way to Sassine.

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A very “chill” place with what looks like an eco-friendly atmosphere. Located next to Caribou Café, this place looks like a Café but actually for Wine lovers. A terrace with authentic brown chairs (those that remind you of the good old days) and a bike hanging on the wall are the first things you see when entering “Cantina Sociale”.

Cantina is a new concept wine Café opening in Lebanon, yet not so new abroad. It started in fact in Europe as a collaboration of farmers/wine makers to sell their harvest/wine in one place. Indeed, the place is here is wine-full of varieties from different countries in the world (Portugal, Spain, France, South Africa, etc…).

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The space is very friendly, casual and good for groups. The servings offered are more of bites, suitable for a café. Nothing too fancy, nor too light. The menu ranges from Salads to Sandwiches, Cheese… oh my… good Cheese and Charcuterie.

The best part of the place is actually the wine machines. Whether you drink or not, you must check them out! Placed in many places in the shops, each specific for a type (red, rose or white), country (France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia and MANY more), those machines operate through a pre-purchased card on the counter. All one has to do is to get a glass from the shelves, insert the card and chose what wine to order (Sip, half a glass, full glass).

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We ordered a Cheese Board and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

The food is good. The grilled cheese sandwich was delicious. Full of flavor, perfectly home – made.

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Cantina also offered popcorn, refilled every while.

Cantina Sociale’s Pros:

1- New Concept in Lebanon (I am sure it will be a success story) – Wine Lovers, this is the perfect hangout place.

2- Cantina’s location is ideal, on the main road, meters away from Sassine Square.

3- The space is cozy, friendly and very inviting – the decoration is simple yet peaceful.

4- The place is affordable for a café with a twist.

5- Popcorn. Better than salty crackers. Just Yummy!

Cantina Sociale’s Cons:

1- The place lacks music. Adding music (classical is the first to come to my mind), would make the stay more enjoyable.

2- Considering the concept is still new, the service was a bit slow. (Yet to be fair, the place is operating for less than a month and its crowded).

I definitely recommend this place. Cozy, good to try with good company. I enjoyed the experience and would definitely go back there!

Inviting you to try it out, whether for the food, the mood or the joy that comes with new experiences!

Challenge Accepted… Year 26!

Hey Again,

It took me 15 days to find out the topic I wanted to share with you. I thought that blogging would be easier… Surprise, surprise… It’s Not!

The reason why it took me so long was because of all the hesitation I got while searching for an interesting topic.  I realized that before sharing insights and tips, I wanted to connect with the readers, to introduce them to the person behind the blog… The Blogger “Wannabe” with all the events that led her to start writing.

So here it goes… one of the stories that contributed to the start of this blog…

[…] On my 26th Birthday, last year, I decided to entitle a full year of my life to Overcoming Fears (or getting courage to doing new things).

1- Fear of Letting Go (Oh, and it’s hard): I left the scout group I dedicated 7 full years of leadership to.

2- Fear of Heights: Paragliding over Jounieh.

3- Fear of Airplanes/Travel: Switzerland being the first country to visit.

4- Fear of Dogs: Happened in Dubai for the very first time. (Thanks Ashta!)

5- Fish! (Still not eating anything but Sushi – Oh and I am addicted now!).

6- Fear of swimming (after my drowning incident).

What I noticed after overcoming those fears, is that I actually love Challenges. They drive me forward. They push me overcome them.

I also discovered that I overcame each fear with a friend or more. My friends were my support system and  helped me (whether directly or not) reach my goals more consistently. They were the compass that brought me back every time I got lost. They were also there for me when I celebrated each new milestone of this journey (Naaa, I don’t like to celebrate much :P)

Wishing you fears… yes! Fears burning in your soul… and wishing you Courage and determination to overcome them!

After all,”Overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most.”

So here it goes…

Hello Everyone,

My name is Jana and this is my first blog post.

A year ago I decided to make a complete makeover to my life. I blew my 26 years’ candles and dedicated the year to “Overcoming fears”. And this is how the journey began…

Last week, almost a year later,  I felt the urge to start sharing details of this journey with others, perhaps I can help others create their own “Happifaction” map.

My blog will be mainly about my life Outside Working Hours. It will discuss my thoughts (and beware, they are many they keep ping ponging in my head!), my travel experiences, my pursuit towards fitness and my regular weekly activities.

Cheers to Happy Crazy Starts…

Hoping you Enjoy it!

jana

On Stigma and Vulnerability

In recognition of someone I once labeled, and proved to me that he is worthy of all what’s good in life, regardless of any vulnerability he might have.

Every person in this world has a story. No matter how cheerful, impactful, relatable or even incomprehensible, one’s story defines one’s existence.

I am someone indescribably passionate about Human Behavior: Observing how people behave in situations, ‘reading’ their minds, realizing that certain consequences trace back to hidden roots in childhood were all fascinating me. The Human Brain was such a big world waiting for me to explore it.

I studied psychology in my undergraduate years, and the more I dug deep, the more I realized the power of this entity on top of my shoulders: Beautiful yet difficult to be understood.

I used to ‘diagnose’ people in my head, nothing pretty real, yet just a matter of observation: This guy suffers from PTSD, she’s bulimic, seems like he has agoraphobia, and the list goes on.

I was fine with this idea, pretty much actually happy, being able to correctly label those people based on their behaviors. Until the day came, and felt judged.

[…]

Funny thing that when you, yourself is the object of a stigma, you view things differently. And that’s truly tragic, because despite our “human-ness”, we are so ignorant to each other’s well being unintentionally.

[…]

I am a person having an anxiety disorder falling under the name of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, more like having fear of certain situations considered as “normal” for others. Let’s simplify the deal here: people with this kind of disorder can display different kind of reactions/behaviors facing different, normally considered situations.

I, for example, have fear of new situations: A new job, a new decision to be made, a new investment, even a new friendship scare the hell out of me. They shatter my mind, cut straight into my soul and make me feel helpless. Anything that’s new, and that I have no control or power over crumbles me. Luckily enough, people don’t witness this unless I verbalize the matter to them (Extravagantly huge cheer to my close peeps for handling me well).

The good part about it is that my fear is temporary. It stretches between a day of couple of weeks to suddenly disappear, making me return to my initial stage. It doesn’t impact my daily activity in grosso modo, as I try to always control, yet it leaves scars on me every single time it happens.

[…]

I labeled people so many times in my life, not necessarily while conversing, yet more often in my head, and recently, I feel sadness upon doing so. I am not questioning my intentions, yet I am concerned about the person I exploited without considering so.

He is a human being… Just.Like.Me. And for once, I felt that my vulnerability is similar to his (being exploited), even though very different (Different conditions).

We are humans. And we are all Vulnerable. Some socially, others physically or even, mentally and that doesn’t make anyone of us any less of the other.

My vulnerability is teaching me how to accept others, despite/regardless of what makes them different; especially that what unites us is much bigger.  Acceptance is what makes us different. It is what makes us Human.

I want to accept you, the same way you embraced my existence, and encourage you to feel power through your vulnerability… Because it is okay to be different…We’re not forced to be the “Same”.

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