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Jai

Next month I will be on a plane headed to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  I must say I’m super excited. I haven’t really traveled and forever, so I am definitely looking forward to this trip. Our hotels are booked and the itinerary is almost finalized.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are known for their richness in Arabic and Islamic culture, so there are customs that they follow and as a sign of respect, visitors should follow as well.

abudhabi-dubai

Knowing a little something about culture it is important to dress and act accordingly. I’m sorry, but I’m not about that jail life and if you do not research and understand where you are going, you are risking your freedom in a foreign place. Yes it can be that serious. With that being said, I’ve come up with a list of things you should pack when visiting places in the UAE.

The key here is modesty, so leave the booty shorts home. Most places that you may visit require your legs and shoulders to be covered up. If you visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, men must wear long pants and women must have their head, legs, and shoulders covered. This is a non-negotiable.

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I know some may ask, “How do you dress modestly when it is extremely hot?!?” Although this place requires women to be modest in public places that represent the culture, you don’t have to forsake your style in the heat.

Here are some key items to pack if you are traveling to these places to show your style and remain cool

What to Wear in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

 

Now the nightlife in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will give way to more leniency when it comes to clothing. Most of the places have been “westernized,” so finding a cute party dress shouldn’t be that difficult.

I plan on packing all of the above. We plan on doing a lot of sight seeing, eating (yummm), and safaris, so I need to be comfortable. I will probably pack more printed pants than anything. I lived in light weight printed pants over the last few summers. They were low maintenance, but very stylish. So pack according to the activities you will be doing as well.

Special shoutout to my friend Kim. When I was in a blogging rut, she gave me an idea to do this post. That was back in December/January lol. Better late than never.

Have any of you traveled to a place with specific cultural norms when it came to clothing? What did you wear?

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment- Jim Rohn

In December I set my goals for 2015, and I have to admit, it has been a rocky start. It is the first week of March and I am not where I thought I should be at this point in the year. I can’t cry over spilled milk. I just have to keep it moving. On Instagram I constantly see people meeting their goals and seeing results. I am super happy and proud of them all, especially the people that I actually know like my bestie Erica who is a meal prep goddess! I see everyone making progress and I’m just scrolling and double tapping on IG, which is not helping me meet my goals at all.

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On one of those posts from the IG_Weightl0ss page was of a woman who was my height and roughly 7-10 lbs pounds heavier than me said something that clicked with me…

“It wasn’t until my 5’4” frame hit 160 lbs that it really clicked- our bodies are a direct reflection of our lifestyle. So I changed mine- I started exercising, eating clean, and laying off the cocktails. I started goal setting, 5 lb milestones at a time…The process has taught me the ability of the body to transform when you train and feed it with the right foods. Patience and perseverance are key in any transformation.” Source

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OUR BODIES ARE A DIRECT REFLECTION OF OUR LIFESTYLE!

Boy did that resonate with me. In order for me to see change, I have to truly change my lifestyle.

She started small with goal setting. Usually when I get on this fitness and healthy lifestyle track I try to go all in at once. That was my first mistake. Humans are creatures of habits and it takes a lot to break those bad habits. We have to make a conscious decision to break those habits by setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals. Yes SMART Goals. I need to set goals that I know will require discipline, but I will have a greater chance of success.

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So my first set of goals is to increase my water intake (At least 6 glasses daily-It is a struggle for 4) and minimize the amount of times I eat out per week. Last week I ate out at least 4 times, and I want to bring that number down 1. Sometimes I get lazy and don’t want to cook, or I don’t want to eat what I did cook. I need to get over that. Also, I just need to increase drink more period. It’s not like I’m drinking juice or soda, I’m just not drinking anything at all, and that is a problem.

Next week I’ll report back on my progress. Do you set fitness and health goals?

How do you stay on track?

Since I moved into my new apartment last August, my accessories game has taken a turn for the worst. With the exception of a few pieces that my mom bought me for my birthday, I have not updated my accessories in forever. I have lost tons of earrings and only wear a few pairs now, because that’s all that I have left.

I had an accessory cork board before, but the way my new bedroom is setup, there isn’t enough wall space for it, and it would look awkward in any other place other than my bedroom. So I barely wear the necklaces that I do have, and when it is time to “dig in the boxes” I just get lazy and do not feel like searching. I’m not going to even talk about bracelets and rings. SMH.

I’m just not inspired by what I currently have anymore, so I’m on the search of new pieces to update my look. Accessories can make or break an outfit so I like to have multiple options. I want to do a wardrobe update for the spring (whenever it decides to show up) and new accessories are a top priority.

Here are a few pieces that I am currently scouting all under $50:

Fab Under $50 Accessories

 


Flower jewelry
$31 – newlook.com

Guess necklace
guess.com

How are you going to update your spring wardrobe?

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On December 30th I held a Vision Board brunch with a few of my friends, sister, and niece (yes my, then 7-year old niece, made a vision board). On my vision board I have the words and phrases like, “Health, Love Your Body, Stronger than Ever…” to keep me motivated throughout the year. Last year I had lost a tremendous amount of weight on the Daniel Plan (over 15 lbs, that’s a lot for me) and I was the smallest that I had been in years. In no way am I saying I was overweight or obese…far from it, but I wasn’t healthy. So as I was motivated to keep this new lifestyle, but it was definitely hard to maintain. Eating healthy is so expensive. I mean a package of quinoa can be over $8. That’s a lot compared to a bag of white rice.

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I joined the gym with my mom and sister and was going consistently for about three months. I participated in the crazy physical challenge Tough Mudder in April, and after that my motivation to workout went down hill. I was “training” for Tough Mudder so I had something to work toward.

So then comes May and I went to New Orleans for Memorial Day and ate and drank more than I should. I didn’t realize what the food and liquor did to me, but when I returned my family members were asking why I looked swollen. I was confused. I looked at my feet and they resembled the feet of a pregnant woman in her 9th month. My godmother is a nurse and told me to get dandelion root tea to detox from the sugar, salt, and alcohol. I did and my body went back to normal after a day or two.

I had to complete my last summer of my 2nd graduate program and the schedule was 8-5 Monday through Friday and a few Saturdays. If I wasn’t doing school work, I was sleeping, looking for a new apt, or a new job. It felt good when my classmates noticed my weight loss, but it was extremely difficult for me to maintain my new healthy lifestyle because the food near Columbia is just ridiculously expensive and I didn’t have time to meal prep.

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I’ll speed this up…from September to now I have been totally inconsistent with everything. My weight has been fluctuating also but the last month it has been steady. Some of my clothes don’t fit, hence why I don’t post outfit photos anymore on the blog or IG. I refuse to go shopping lol. I did the Daniel Plan 10-day detox, I did the #FitGirlsGuide challenge, and I saw success with both, but I wasn’t consistent. So I went back to my old ways. Diabetes and high blood pressure run in my family. It’s in my genes. My family is pretty good when it comes to eating healthy and working out, so to still have member inflicted with these diseases is scary. I don’t want to change my lifestyle so I can be thin, but I do want to be healthy. That’s the bottom line.

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This healthy lifestyle is hard to maintain! I love food too much, and it seems like that’s the one convenient thing to do when dating and hanging out with friends. It’s always let’s meet for lunch, brunch, dinner, drinks, happy hour. These are the essential social activities for young modern women in NYC, but it ends up being very expensive and sometimes takes you off track of reaching your goal. This lifestyle takes creativity (for meal prep), commitment, and discipline.

This woman recently wrote an article “Being Thin Didn’t Make Me Happy, But Being ‘Fat’ Does.” I read the article and she raised interesting points. Being thin should not be anyone’s goal. Being healthy should be the goal. You can be thin and out of shape, have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, but because you are thin you think it is ok. It is not. If your goal is to be thin, then you will be miserable. Your goal should be health and happiness, and to look good in and out of your clothes (whatever looking good means to you).

healthylifestyle

So let me break down the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: I know what I am capable of doing. I have seen success when I was disciplined and committed to this new lifestyle.

The Bad: I became lazy and inconsistent with meal prep and working out. I said yes to too many cheeseburgers too often (nothing wrong with a cheeseburger once in a while) and said to too many opportunities to workout and eat right

The Ugly: I’ve gained all the weight back that I lost and a little more. I’m back a square one.

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2014 was an AMAZING year for me. That was definitely my season to flourish and bear amazing fruit in many areas of my life and I thank God for it. 2015 has started off a little shaky in a few areas, but I know this season, this winter I’m feeling, is temporary because no season lasts forever. So I’m done with the challenges. I cancelled my gym membership because I know I’m not going to go, but I have been taking advantage of the on-demand fitness options that I pay for with Fios lol. I’m not going to take baby steps, but I’m not going to do the extreme. I’m going to eat, I’m going to workout, and I’m going to live a healthier life.

This weather has been a drag. I know, I know, it is winter and this is the “normal” weather for winter…. I don’t think I’ve experienced such frigid temperatures and consistent snow. I’m so over it. I hate dressing for the cold temperatures. People always say, “You can tell who has true style based on how they dress in the fall and winter.” I think that’s a bunch of bologna. When it’s cold I honestly just want to throw on a sweater, some leggings or jeans, and my UGGs. That’s it. Comfort and warmth are key. This weather does not have me motivated to get dressed at all. I try to spice it up a little for date nights with the boo, and occasionally for work but that’s about it.

I’m not going to count the days until spring. Every season has it’s purpose, so I’m going to try to make the best of winter.

This look I created below would definitely be a nice pick me up.

Beat the Winter Blues

 

This goes to show a little color goes a long way. I’m used to just wearing gray and black. Occasionally, I’ll throw in some burgundy and oxblood. Colors do help change your mood, so add some color to your wardrobe to beat the blues!

How do you get out of your winter style rut?