“My motto is to love greatly, laugh freely, live naturally, do good when you can and stay productive.”

–Nabila Khashoggi

Herodotus wrote of the fountain of youth, a spring in which one drinks or bathes and remains young forever. As lovely as this sounds, it is only a myth. There are ways, however, to keep a youthful spirit. After all, age is just a number. Spartan and the Green Egg was created in an organic, enthusiastic way. It came about, at first, for my oldest son and, in the years hence, has remained a source of inspiration to me because it’s all about curiosity. If we can hold onto our curious nature and never stop learning, our spirit will remain youthful, unfettered, and happy. I’ve always been inquisitive about the world, about far-off lands, different cultures, and other ways of seeing and living. This, in my experience, is the basis for feeling enthusiastic, never bored, and young at heart.

Of course, every coin has two sides… I am also an advocate of healthy living. This means eating well, breathing deeply, and, of course, good skincare! You be surprised at what clean beauty can do for you. By drinking lots of water and using a good moisturizer, your skin will look and feel softer, more supple, and more radiant. To learn more about my philosophy of dualism, check out Spartan and the Green Egg and Full Cycle Publications for information on teaching children and stimulating adult imaginations.  Also check out Nabila K Cosmetics for clean skincare and beauty.

Stay Curious

If we’re always questioning, we’re not complacent. It’s a good idea to keep that inquisitive spirit about the world and those around us. This sort of attitude helps one to stay young at heart with their youthful glow intact. Of course, staying young is a state of mind, but it also has to do with wellness. This, to me, means drinking a lot of water and eating as well as possible (trying to avoid lots of junk food, GMOs, processed food, etc.). There’s nothing better than learning about food, planting a garden, watching it grow, and then reaping its bounty. I love enjoying summer salads with my family more than almost anything. 

Other than staying curious, one should also focus on inner wellness and listening to what’s going on within your body. Self-care—whether it’s a massage, bubble bath, spa day, me time, or a walk in nature—is also very important. Make time for yourself and treat yourself, too. This is where Nabila K cosmetics and skincare comes into play. Look into the Nabila K bath salts, oils, lotions, creams, and candles available for making your life just a little more comfortable and luxurious.

Welcome the Ecstatic Experience

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”

 –Emily Dickinson

Make yourself aware of and available to the world around you and the good things it has to offer. If you are open and accepting of an ecstatic experience, it will happen. The other side of the coin is that, if you close yourself off, you might miss these wonderful opportunities. 

Keep Your Eyes Open

Those who look for beauty tend to find it. Every day can be seen as a great opportunity for adventure, learning something new, and meeting fabulous people. If you keep your eyes open, who knows what you’ll see! This will also make you feel youthful. With age comes wisdom (hopefully), and if we’re lucky, we’ll retain our child-like glee and wonder.

For more information on Nabila K Cosmetics, Spartan and the Green Egg, and other life lessons, musings and observations, check out the respective websites and read what’s on my blog

(Images used above include fairy and cottagecore film stills from Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” and “Picnic at Hanging Rock.)

#OnTheBlog #inspiration #lifemotto #philosophy #nabilakcosmetics #spartanandthegreenegg #ontheblog #sparkofyouth #enthusiasm #staycurious #lookforbeauty #lifelessons #thinkadventure #fullcyclepublications



Show What’s in Your Bag

Many women seemingly live out of their purses.It appears others can name any items, and they can magically produce those items like magicians. In fact, some women have large purses that function almost like miniature suitcases. However, they also tend to carry far more than they actually need to carry. You may want to effectively stock your purse with the essentials without lugging around unnecessary extras. Here are the top 10 types of items you should always carry in your purse, in addition to your wallet.

1. Water and a Snack

If you have a busy schedule, you might have trouble squeezing in time to stop for food or drinks. Solve that problem by keeping water and non-perishable snacks in your purse. Water is especially important since your body needs it for many reasons, including joint lubrication. If you do not want to carry a large bottle of water in your purse, consider carrying a collapsible water bottle instead. That way, you can fill it quickly wherever you go, drink from it when needed, and quickly collapse it again.

When selecting snack foods to stash in your purse, be careful. Not all snacks travel well. One great option is to pack a few individually wrapped granola bars before you leave the house for the day. You can eat them anywhere, and they cannot spill in your purse. Other options include:

  • Nuts
  • Dried Fruits
  • Trail Mix
  • Jerky
  • Crackers

2. Personal “Must Have” Items

Personal “must have” items are items unique to you and your preferences or needs. They are the items you simply cannot live without. You might feel attachments to some items for sentimental reasons. Others might be necessary for your work or personal activities. Some examples of such items include:

  • House or Work Keys
  • Family Photographs
  • Reading Glasses
  • Business Cards
  • Lucky Charms

3. Something to Do

There is nothing worse than being stuck somewhere, such as on a commuter train or bus, with nothing to do. Try packing a novel or crossword puzzle book for longer trips. You can also pack earbuds if you like to listen to music. If you tend to amuse yourself by playing games on your cellphone, always keep a spare phone charger in your purse.

4. Medications

There are two types of medications you always need in your purse. They are prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Prescribed medications are most important. For example, you may need to carry an epinephrine pen (epi-pen) in case of major allergic reactions. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, may also require you to take important medications with you everywhere you go. Carrying OTC medications like pain relievers is also important. You never know when a headache or other mild ailment may strike.

5. First Aid Items

According to the American Red Cross, it is always important to keep a first aid kit handy. You may not be able to store a full kit in your purse, but there are certain first aid items you can easily take with you on the go. Always keep items like bandages and disinfectant ointments in your purse for emergencies. Cuts and scratches often occur at the worst possible times and in the worst possible locations. Prepare for those situations, and you could save yourself or another person in a time of need.

6. Your Favorite Cosmetics

Makeup has been a staple of the fashion world since the late 1800s. Although, today’s cosmetics are certainly far different from the early cosmetics offered by companies like Avon. Today, you have many different cosmetics options, including Nabila K! Some of the best contain natural ingredients and are free of harsh chemicals. Keep those cosmetics handy by getting a zippered makeup pouch to keep in your purse. Stock it with your favorite essentials, like lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush.

7. Personal Care Items

If you are like most women, you probably already keep sanitary napkins or tampons in your purse. However, there are other personal care items that can come in handy on the go. For example, you may want to keep an extra stick of deodorant or some perfume in your purse. You may also want breath mints or breath spray to help you prepare for unexpected business or social interactions. And, of course, in this day and age, some kind of hand sanitizer.

8. Hair Items

Short hair does not require a lot of on-the-go care. However, if you have long tresses, you may want to keep certain hair items in your purse. Bobby pins or hair elastics can help you keep unruly hair in check. You may even want to keep a hairbrush or hair spray in your purse. Then you can adjust your look on the fly wherever there is a mirror.

9. Safety Items

As an independent individual, you may travel alone quite often. If so, you must keep personal safety in mind. Today, there are many products designed for personal safety that can fit in a purse. Pepper spray is a common option. You can also opt to carry a light that might temporarily blind an assailant. A third option is a small alarm you can pull or press to make a shrill noise when you are in danger.

10. Pen and Paper

Now, most people do not think to carry a pen and paper. Texting and calling have become so simple that it is often unnecessary to write a note. However, there are times when taking notes, making lists, or leaving notes for other people is still important. When you keep a pen and paper handy, you are prepared for any situation and can also help other people out in a pinch.

What’s in Your Bag?

If you are like me, you have more than one handbag. There are purses for seasonal wear, and I have certain clutches that I like to use on more formal or festive occasions. Each of these are left stocked with a variation on the items listed above. It is a definite timesaver when you can pull out a purse to go out and know it already has everything you need in it. At the end of each day, upon returning, I set aside about 10 minutes to go through my purse to empty out anything that doesn’t belong there, like loose paper, wrappers, etc. That way, the purse is ready for the next time I need it! 

#nabilakhashoggi #khashoggi #lifestyle #explore #habits #nabilaK #spartanandthegreenegg


Let Go of Stuff

The Fine Art of Letting Go

When I was younger I can remember my step-mother reminding me that when I wanted to get something new I needed to make room for it by getting rid of the old. The item in question of course was a favorite sweatshirt of mine that had rips and tears in it. The shirt was totally in fashion those days (don’t ask me when!) but she was right….I needed space to put the new clothing in. The reason I was reminded of this little slice of my life was that now with the new reality all of us are facing, like many, I’ve had time to do a wholesale decluttering of everywhere in my space ….starting with my closet. You know what I discovered, besides a pair of shoes I’d forgotten I even had? Letting go of stuff is harder than you might think!

brown ceramic coffee mug on book

I’m Not Alone

There had to be a method to my madness with this decluttering, cleaning, throwing out, giving away frenzy. I would approach it with a plan. So, like most I turned to the Internet for useful information and I stumbled upon several psychological reasons why it is difficult to get rid of stuff. Most of them agree that it boils down to any or all of the following: 

  • No time.
  • Lack of Motivation.
  • You save things “just in case”.
  • connectionto something.
  • You recall the amount of money you spent on that item!

The take-away from all this is that everyone procrastinates when it comes to cleaning out their space to make room for the new. Equally true is the sense of accomplishment you feel when it’s completed. 

How to Let Go of Your Things

assorted-color apparels

Maybe you have items that have sentimental value to you but they are taking up valuable space. Experts suggest you take a picture of that item. That way you can still remember it and the memory associated with it without it taking up needed real estate in your closet. Another good thing to ask yourself is whether the item in question is something you really ever use, or will ever likely use. If you are like me you have made a purchase or two with the intention of using said item, but there it sits in all its glory. If the items are still in good condition consider donating them to a charity rather than filling up the landfill. Someone else may actually get around to using that item. 

Can we talk about holding on to something that’s broken because you KNOW you can fix it? The chances are that is not going to happen and the price you’d have to pay to have it fixed for you is often more than what the item cost you to buy it originally. So. Not. Worth. It. 

Delegate, Designate and Donate

One of the best pieces of advice I received many years ago was to categorize everything I am getting rid of into several different groups: Keeping, Donating, Giving Away and Trashing.  I try hard to have very few items going into the trash pile because I just don’t want to contribut to the landfill chaos if I can help it. Going from closet to closet I have managed to get these designations in hand. I also advocate delegating some responsibility to other members of the family because they live there too and you just want to share the fun (ha). If you have children this is such a great way to teach them about making room for the new by getting rid of the old (see the lesson stuck with me!). It also gives you precious, often teachable moments with your kiddo as you discuss why something should stay and why something should go. Teaching them how to make decisions about things is a critical life skill and will stand them in good stead well beyond simply deciding if it is time to donate the Tonka truck and old Xbox games. 

Letting Go Feels Good

Once you get your closets under control you may find yourself wanting to tackle other areas of your home. But beyond the Konmari effect that comes from cleaning and organizing everything is the mind-clearing, soul-lifting benefit from decluttering. It is as if you are clearing away the mental clutter as you clear away your physical clutter. And, it can be said that letting go of things that no longer serve you, fit you, are broken, or you never bought in to works as much for relationships and self-image as much as it does for old shoes, chipped coffee cups or craft projects that, let’s face it, are never going to be done. My last thought on this decluttering adventure is that letting go is a freeing experience everyone should embrace. Is anyone else hearing the song from Frozen playing in the background? 



“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” -Henry James

For a memorable European summer getaway, you’ll want to feel as good as you look and vice-versa. There are lots of tried and true ways to guarantee a sexy appearance, and Nabila K’s got you covered. Whether you’re looking to try full-on glamour with statement-making smoky eyes or natural sun-kissed beauty, Nabila K has all the inspiration via your favorite European glamour goddesses. With the right products, you can easily achieve romantic looks that will leave everyone breathless.

For all of the romantic looks listed below, ensure that your makeup is shiny, ethereal, and perfect with a bit of primer (tinted or clear) and setting spray. To get that radiant glow to immediately illuminate your look, try Nabila K’s Beauty Stix (“Glow Getter” will add instant glimmer and glitter).

And, let us not forget: when you feel like covering up (and should to protect yourself from the sun), a stylish straw hat and dark sunglasses (à la Brigitte Bardot) are always chic. 

Look 1: Emulate Sophia Loren with a sexy and sun-kissed look, with full brows and lined lips. There’s nothing more seductive, summery, or European than high glamour accentuated with a shadow of underarm hair, full lips, and natural eyebrows. If you’re planning a European getaway this summer, draw inspiration from one of Italy’s most iconic beauties, Sophia Loren. 

For full, sumptuous lips, try lining them with one of Nabila K’s long-lasting lip pencils. This will give your mouth definition that won’t rub off in the water, sun, or even while sipping a cocktail. For a subtle yet romantic look, try a dusty rose hue; Nabila K’s “Satin” lip liner pencil is perfect for a look that’s just enough. 

  • For full, perfectly manicured eyebrows that are natural yet done, try Nabila K’s “Brow Fixx” product in Blondie, Brunette, Chocolate, Dark Brunette, Fair Blonde, or Clear shades to match your unique hue. Of course, Sophia Loren would need the brunette option. 
  • No romantic look would be complete without a good mascara.

Look 2: To get your eyes as dark and exotic as Claudia Cardinale’s, you’ll need a reliable dark eyeshadow, eyeliner, and false eyelashes. Look as sexy and seductive as you feel this summer with a little help from another Italian beauty (and, of course, from Nabila K). 

  • For the perfect smoky eye, try Nabila K’s single well eyeshadow in “Blackest Black.” Now, it’s essential to remember that a little goes a long way with such a dark shadow, and with this (as opposed to eyeliner), you can create a gently smudged smoky look that is soft and not too garish. Because this eyeshadow is crease-proof and has impressive staying power, it’s exactly what you need to recreate Cardinale’s romantic look.
  • To complete a romantic look that’s all about the eyes, you’ll need false eyelashes. Try a full strip of Nabila K’s “Feather” lashes or the individual “Ever After” option for a more precise, defined look that screams 1960s allure.

Look 3: For a gorgeous, dewy look that’s natural and glowing, take a cue from Catherine Deneuve. 

  • Make sure your skin is hydrated and smooth with a clean, organic moisturizer or serum (we recommend Nabila K’s Manuka Honey Whip with aloe vera and shea butter), some aloe surge facial mist, and, by all means, do not neglect your lips! Keep them supple and kissable with Nabila K’s silky smooth lip balm (try the collection of seven travel-size tubes) made from the finest, most ethically-sourced ingredients. 
  • For a little more pizazz, try one of Nabila K’s vibrant, romantic lip glosses (available in ten shades).

Look 4: For your most romantic European look this summer, take a cue from Virna Lisa and accentuate your beauty mark (or create one), apply a sexy cat eye, and play up your pout with a pink or coral lipstick. 

  • For your eyes, look no further than Nabila K’s Ultra Black waterproof liquid eyeliner. Because it’s smudge-proof, your mysterious dark eye makeup will stay put (and perfect) all day and night.
  •  Make everyone say “Ooh-La-La” when they see your shiny coral lips. For a romantic look that lasts, Nabila K’s lipstick is just what you need. For pink lips with high shine, smooth on the creamiest, most luxurious lipstick in the perfect shade of dusty rose. It’s no wonder Nabila K dubbed it “Bella.”

For more information on all the products mentioned in this blog, click the links below (it’s that simple!) and get started on your most romantic makeup looks!

(Nabila K products pictured in this blog include “Brow-Fixx” in Brunette and “Bella” lipstick.)

Check out the website for more (and don’t forget to read the blog for beauty and skincare inspiration).

#naturalbeautyproducts #gettingrealwithbeauty #nabilakcosmetics #nabilak #nabilaKcosmetics #nabilakhashoggi #OnTheBlog #cleanmakeup #summerbeauty #romanticlooks #summergetaway #europeangetaway #brigittebardot #sophialoren #catherinedeneuve #claudiacardinale #virnalisa #romanticmakeup #europeanvibes #cleanbeauty



But first, Coffee

Have you ever taken that first sip of morning coffee and wondered how it was even discovered or why we have such a love affair with this marvelous brew? Me too. I have had coffee in many places around the world, and I can tell you that I definitely have formed certain preferences for the type of coffee I prefer. But would I even know a coffee tree if I was looking at one? So, because I don’t like not knowing things, I did some coffee research. The information I discovered was, in a word, delicious. And, in some cases, surprising!

Our Coffee Craze Started with Goats!

Most historians agree that the discovery of coffee was in Ethiopia (whose coffee is still outrageously good to this day). A goat herder noticed that his goats were very energetic after eating red berries off a nearby stand of bushes. This was the 16th century. Not wanting to be outdone by his goats and being very tired as a goat herder might be in the 16th century, he decided to make a “tea” from the berries of the bush. The first coffee was born. Since it was discovered in the region called Kaffe, this is what the drink was called. This delicious brew went viral, and soon, it was being enjoyed all throughout the Arabian Peninsula. And, enterprising businessmen decided to open, you guessed it, coffee shops. 

Through the usual trade routes, coffee made its way into Europe, but the Church in Italy condemned it, calling it the invention of the devil. Makes me wonder if that’s where espresso came from because you had to make it fast before the priest caught you. Actually, the truth is that Luigi Bezzera created the espresso machine in Italy around 1901, so my curiosity is now satisfied. Finally, the Pope became involved (Pope Clement VIII) and decided to taste this bitter brew for himself. As you can guess, he was won over and declared that it was not Satan’s drink after all. 

Finally, coffee made its way to America in 1668. And for a while, coffee overtook beer in popularity as New York’s best breakfast beverage, which is why, to this day it is still viewed as a breakfast beverage. 

In Search of the Perfect Bean

What makes coffee taste like it does? The beans, of course. We call them beans, but really, they are berries that grow on the coffee bush. Where the bush grows affects the way the bean tastes, just like the place where grapes grow affects the taste of the wine; so, where they grow matters as much as how they grow and what is done to them after they are harvested. There are two basic types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Robusta has more naturally occurring caffeine than Arabica and is more ‘robust’ in taste. Arabica is milder and has less acid. 

The World in Your Cup

Not that I’ve done this yet, but I think it would be interesting to line up a good sample from each of the countries producing coffee to taste the difference between them. This is definitely on my to-do list. I do know that most of the Latin American regions have coffees that tend to have flavors that are nutty, with hints of chocolate. They mostly grow the Arabica varieties. Africa and Arabia grow both the Robusta and Arabica types of beans, and the taste is more along the lines of fruit, floral, and even earthy. Coffee from Nicaragua often has hints of vanilla and hazelnut without you having to add any of that by way of a flavored creamer. 

Jamaican coffee has an almost sweet quality to it, while coffee in Mexico has a little hint of spiciness. True Columbian coffee, and one of my favorites, is smooth, sweet, and very rich with almost overtones of nuts and caramel. In stark contrast is coffee from Brazil that can taste almost like you’ve bitten into a bar of dark chocolate (still VERY good, but strong). 

If you have not tasted coffee from Tanzania or Kenya, make plans to do so. They are unlike any of the others in that the coffee has an almost ‘bright’ taste with overtones of citrus and berries. Delicious! Also on the delicious radar is Indian coffee, which tends to be creamy, smooth, and even has hints of cloves and nuts. 

Guatemalan and Peruvian coffees, tend to be smooth, low acid, and offer hints of honey. And if you hate that bitter coffee aftertaste, then consider trying a coffee from Costa Rica, whose aftertaste is almost negligible. Coffee from Sumatra tastes super sweet without having to add anything to it, with an almost chocolate syrup taste. It’s like drinking a dessert and is also very tasty. 

Most Studies Show Coffee is Good for You Too!

Did you know that there have been hundreds of studies done on coffee and its effect on humans? Go figure. Vitamins such as B2, B3, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants are in your favorite breakfast beverage. Most of the studies agree that enjoyed in moderation coffee can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower the risk of liver cancer and Parkinson’s, and helps protect against heart failure. 

Top Brands to Try

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Intelligentsia : This company has won numerous awards for its mostly Columbian and Peruvian coffee blends. What I love about it is their direct-trade practices, so you know exactly where they are sourcing their beans and that the farmers are benefiting from it rather than a large-scale commercial farming conglomerate. Try their Frequency Blend or the Borealis Blend. 

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Stumptown: Located in Portland, Oregon, this coffee company started crafting its coffees in small artisanal batches. To this day, they still use the same production methods to create delicious whole-bean coffees that hail from Columbia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Rwanda. Try their Ethiopian Mordecofe, or Hair Bender from Africa. 

Espresso Italiano Whole Bean

Lavazza: (best for espresso): This coffee company has been around since 1895, so they know coffee. In particular, they know espresso. Their espresso blends are exquisite. Expect to experience a hint of fruit and even floral fragrances from this coffee. Try the Caffe Espresso if you are a lightweight when it comes to espresso, or if you want to go for the gusto, try Crema e Gusto. 

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Peerless Coffee & Tea: Located in California, this company won the Roaster of the Year in 2019, so they are very good at what they do. Founded almost 100 years ago, this company was started by an immigrant from Yugoslavia. Try their coffees using beans from Costa Rica, Jamaica, Hawaii, or Panama. Their coffees are sourced from direct trade or single origin, which means sustainable practices were used and the farmers weren’t exploited. 



Top Lists to Make Your Life Better

“Lists are a form of power” – A. S. Byatt

I have a confession. I’m a list maker. In fact, I might even be a serial list maker, if that’s a thing. I have lists for daily activities, lists for appointments, lists for things I plan to do in the future, and lists for my lists. I realize this may be a little extreme for many people (do they MAKE a 12-step program?) but having some organization in your life is also not a bad thing. Here’s a list of the BEST lists to make to keep yourself organized and productive. 

1. Household Chore List

If things tend to pile up in your house, then creating a list of tasks prevents this from happening (or at least happening as frequently). For me, doing just a little bit each day means I don’t have to spend a few hours on the weekend playing catchup. If you have a large home, then try the “zone” technique. Each area of the house is a zone, and you only focus a small amount of time on that one zone. Set a timer, put on a great audiobook or music, and before you know it, 30 minutes or less has blown past. 

2. !0 Minute Task List

Think about all of the things you need or want to get done. Select those that should only take around 10 minutes or less. When you get an unexpected chunk of time, drop one of these bad boys into that time slot. Believe me, these little 10-minute wonders add up when you are able to do about 3-4 of them a week. 

3. Travel Packing List

This is an essential list in my house because we are always on the go. Having a set list means a lot of the planning is already done, and all you have to do is put them in your suitcase. I also find it very helpful to have duplicates of my makeup and travel-sized items so that I can just leave them to live large in my suitcase. That way, they are already packed and waiting for our next adventure. Good travel lists could include a capsule wardrobe selection for the various seasons. Destination-specific lists with items and wardrobe are also wonderful. When I was first building my travel item lists, I took advantage of the return travel time to reflect on what items and wardrobe worked for me and what did not, and what I wished I’d packed but had forgotten. It’s a brilliant way to create a list that works for you and your family each time, no matter where you go. 

4. Kitchen List of Goodness

I don’t know about you, but it annoys me when we waste food. We don’t do it on purpose, but often after a meal is made, there are leftovers…which we promptly forget about until it becomes a science experiment gone horribly wrong. So, on the outside of our ‘fridge, we have a leftovers list, and down below that, there is a space for grocery items we want or need to replace. Same goes for the freezer…where things go in and often never come out. You can expand this kitchen list to include pantry items as well. 

5. Birthdays and Gift Lists

Remembering someone’s birthday is a great way to remind them how much they mean to you. Create a list on your computer or enter their birthdays onto your phone’s calendar. Then, set a reminder a week ahead, so you have time to order the perfect gift, or send them off a beautiful card. If your loved ones live farther away from you and you’d have to mail a gift, choose something that will ship well and arrive intact, like an elegant candle, diffuser, or a personal product like creamy body butter or lotion

6. Personal Goal List

I do not make New Year’s resolutions. However, I do focus on personal improvement at the beginning of each year….and I make a list. For example, it can be something small such as practicing better posture when I’m working at the computer. Or increase my yoga practice. This year I added to my list life skills that I wanted to make sure my children knew. I find this particular type of list also helps me with the planning of the other lists because it puts things into perspective and makes decision-making easier when you allocate your time and energy to something that matters. 

7. Gratitude List

I made doing this a priority many years ago, and it is an incredible tool for keeping me grounded, happy, and moving forward. Each year I read back through my gratitude list in a journal I keep specifically for this purpose. It’s often hilarious the things I wrote down in the past for which I was thankful. Because some days, all you can be thankful for was that someone remembered to put the toilet lid down. Or that the flowers you planted finally bloomed. 

Even if you implement only ONE of these lists above, I know you are going to find it brings a certain amount of satisfaction, as well as time, back into your life. And in the end, having more time to spend with family, friends, and personal pursuits is what makes life joyful. 

#nabilakhashoggi #khashoggi #lifestyle #explore #habits #nabilaK #spartanandthegreenegg


Train Travel

Consider Taking a Vacation by Train this Year


Traveling by train may not be your first go-to when planning a trip with your family; however, you would be missing out on one of the best and most relaxing ways to travel. Taking a train is a stress-free way to travel as you don’t have to worry about driving, traffic, or stops for human needs (bathrooms, eating, stretching legs, etc..) It’s all taken care of. Trains can even come with different car options, such as luxury seating or even sleeper cars for longer overland trips.

Favorite Train Trips I Recommend

There are many places that offer amazing rail travel packages. For those traveling with younger children, the Rocky Mountaineer and  VIA Rail Canada are excellent companies to work with as they have a 2-3 day trip that is suited for children. For those who want a little more activity in their train travel, the  Glacier Express that runs out of Switzerland has a train trip that occasionally stops to allow passengers to disembark to go hiking amongst the mountains and glaciers. Should neither of those interest you, there is a company called Golden Eagle’s 21-day Silk Road which, as the name suggests, travels along the ancient trade route called the Silk Road and is a 21-day train ride from start to finish. It is advised you have prior rail riding experience as 21 days in a train can be taxing on those not used to rail travel. Not looking to leave the country, try these fun trips:



Planning Your First Rail Trip

Planning for a train trip may seem daunting, especially if it’s your first time riding one. However, the more experienced rail riders use travel agencies to do all the booking and planning, so all they have to do is show up at the station. If that is not your speed, then what many do is go through train companies like Amtrak. Here you can pick your destinations and select from many possible destinations using Amtrak’s “500 Destinations page”.  From there, it’s pretty much the same as purchasing plane tickets. Once you have your destination down, you can figure out what you will need to pack and bring.

Tips and Tricks for Traveling by Train

Like with anything that has been around for a long time, there are tips to train travel. Because even though train rides are relaxing and accommodate most things, there are ways to be more prepared and comfier while enjoying the trip.

Pack Light

While there are baggage cars on trains, those sometimes come with extra fees, as with air travel, so many passengers pack a decent-sized carry-on with everything they need. This way, you save some money and space in your seating area or travel car.

Learn the Route

This may seem like an unnecessary thing to do since you are not the one who is driving the train. But, if you experience or have high anxiety or become impatient, then knowing how much longer you still have before reaching your destination can be beneficial because being anxiety-ridden on a long train ride can make it feel so much longer.

Bring Entertainment

Bring something to entertain yourself, as there may not always be something scenic to catch your eye out the window or someone to talk to. So, it’s best to bring something to distract you from those boring times. Good things to bring onboard are books, portable gaming systems, drawing books, electronic tablets, and downloading some favorite shows onto your phone (often there is little to no Wi-Fi on a train).


Happiness 101

The Power of Positive Memories

Have you ever lost yourself in a good memory for a while? Maybe you reflected on a wonderful vacation you had with loved ones. Aside from giving you a feel-good moment, did you know that memories, especially positive memories, are powerful in other ways too? And now, research is backing that up.


How We’re Wired

As human beings, we evolved to recall situations that cause us pain so we can avoid it or make plans to deal with it before it happens. It’s an ancient early-warning system of sorts. While this served us well when most of the animal world was trying to eat us, it can work against us in the modern world. That means our desire to remember the positive aspects of our lives isn’t as easily triggered as remembering the painful aspects. However, new research shows that positive memories allow you to access deep personal resources that can inform your choices and experiences and contribute to better mental health.

Science Agrees: Positive Memories Can Heal

Of the numerous studies on positivity, one particular study published in the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, showed impressive results. Using a technique called Social Broad Minded Affective Copying (BMAC), test subjects who were diagnosed as having suicidal thoughts were simply asked to recall a recent positive memory of being with another person. As they did this, their brain waves and vitals were monitored. The results showed that when a test subject was engaged in remembering a positive memory or experience that involved another person, all the areas of the brain involved in creating feelings of self-worth were activated. The person re-experienced the event as if it were happening again and received the same benefits and feelings of positivity as the first experience. This opens up epic possibilities for creating a wonderful reality for ourselves with the proper tools.

Positive Experiences build Positive Memories

It is now emerging from several seminal studies that human beings can consciously alter their own brain. The more you practice positive emotions and positive memories, the more your brain will change to accommodate this new normal. It’s a type of activation, and like lifting weights to build muscle, having positive emotions and positive memories upon which to call, build strong mental health. The sciencey word for this is experience-dependent neuroplasticity. Boiled down to its simplest definition, it is your brain’s ability over time to quickly access positive emotions by accessing positive memories and to remain in that state. This is a powerful tool to have at your fingertips, often at the price of only recalling something wonderful. You can literally shift that negative filter we inherited as primitive humans (our default mode) and deliberately shift it to a positive filter.

How Can it Work?

Simply recalling good memories sounds rather farfetched, but the truth is ,when you are stressed out, your brain shuts down your cognitive emotion regulation. This cycle, or downward spiral, can literally be interrupted by a positive memory, which thus frees up your brain to actively handle what is going on in a positive way. A 2019 study from England discovered that patients diagnosed with clinical depression had the inability, or a blocked ability, to recall positive memories. In fact, their cortisol levels were at the bottom. This led scientists at Boston University to do their own long-term study. Their research suggests that the key to treating certain mental health disorders may very well lie in the retraining of the mind; to allow positive memories to leave a stronger footprint on the brain than negative ones.

Choose Your Mental Real Estate

This same study out of Boston University discovered that positive and negative memories are stored in completely different places in your brain. The ramifications could be huge after further research is conducted. Consider that there could be a treatment that, coupled with retraining of the brain, could completely reverse such disorders as depression or PTSD. That’s huge. That’s powerful.

How Do You Use this in the Real World?

There are quite a few ways you can apply this to your everyday life. And many of them are pleasurable to do, take almost no time, and can have a massive impact on the quality of your life. Here is a list of a few things you can do to help switch off the negative filter and create a new positive one.

  • Keep a picture on your work desk of a favorite vacation spot. In times of stress, simply lose yourself in that moment once again.
  • Create a list of your top 10 most favorite memories (like a top 10 playlist). Spend time each morning flooding your brain with feel-good hormones, and then go take on your day.
  • Keep a picture of your loved ones where you can see them often. Recall the situation that prompted the photo, what this person wearing, and engage all of your senses in that one moment.
  • Find mementos that represent something positive and make an appointment to touch them once a week, recalling why it is special to you.
  • Keep a gratitude journal (literally counting your blessings boosts positive emotions).
  • Practice self-care by spending some time alone, maybe with a good book, a lovely scented candle, and a wonderful fluffy blanket.



“On the secretly blushing cheek is reflected the glow of the heart.” –Kierkegaard

Glamour from the ’70s and ’80s is making a comeback in a big way (social media is absolutely filled with pages dedicated to beauty, glamour, and fashion of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s). People are nostalgic for the pre-internet days of Studio 54 nightlife, glitzy outfits, disco, and statement makeup. Think back to the uber fun, candy-colored photographs that made up all the glossy fashion magazines in the ’70s: from bright pink cheeks on all Guy Bourdin’s models to Lisa Taylor captured by Chris von Wangenheim, “maquillage de poupée” (doll makeup) is having a resurgence.

Rosy cheeks, however, never went out of style. Women have always when out of proper blush, pinched their cheeks, scrimped and saved for a pot of rouge, or even—quite a long time ago—used crushed berries to achieve a flirty, seductive look. Well, look no further for the perfect, clean blusher you can feel good about using. Nabila K has got you covered (literally) for all your high-fashion makeup needs and desires.

At First Blush

With shades ranging from dusty rose and golden sand to hot pink, Nabila K’s new line of blush covers every hue imaginable for every skin tone and mood. Deliciously light and shimmery or matte, Nabila K’s blush goes on effortlessly and, when applied to the apples of the cheeks or cheekbones, will turn any makeup look up a notch.

  • For a party where you want to look extra done and glitzy, try Nabila K’s “Pumped Up” to accentuate your cheekbones, channel Melanie Griffith in “Body Double,” or even a Peter Sato painting. When you have nostalgia for the mall and maybe even some ’80s pop music, this product will bring back memories. You’ll instantly feel like Debbie Harry. For a harlequin or doll look, apply a circle of blush to the center of your cheeks.
  • All you need to complete your look for date night is Nabila K’s “Bottoms Up” blush (that and a cocktail!).
  • “Hot and Spicy” is the perfect sandy, nearly terracotta bronze for a touch of highlight, shine, and a healthy, sun-kissed glow. An essential product for any seductress.
  • “Ruffles” is the go-to cosmetic for all our girly girls out there! For that à la mode look where you use a bit of blush on your nose (as if Jack Frost has been nipping at it), this is perfect. It’s subtle enough to use liberally and has just enough pop to really stand out.
  • “Ladybug” is the cute, lightweight blush every woman needs to feel her best and most feminine.
  • “Playful” is the ideal cosmetic for those fun-loving, flirtatious girlies out there looking to have a good time, and if you blush, it’s no big deal—no one will notice.
  • To achieve an effortlessly sexy look, try Nabila K’s triple-milled fine powder blush in “Sultry.” With pigments that last all evening, your sensuality will, too.
  • “Excessive” can be used as a bronzer and blush that will brighten your features and add a special glow to your overall appearance. Perfect for women with olive, tawny complexions!
  • “Echo” is the blush you’ll want for every day, at the office, or simply running around town. With a matte finish, you’ll feel glamorous all day long.
  • Feeling lucky? “Lucky 13,” with its frosted shine, is the deepest hue of all blushes and will make you feel as if kissed by a rose.

(Nabila K Blushes pictured above include: “Excessive,” “Pumped Up,” “Ruffles,” and “Lucky 13.”)

For more information on all the products mentioned in this blog, check out Nabila K’s website and the links listed below:


For more beauty tips and inspiration, read the blog.


Become a Lifelong Learner

“I am a lifelong learner and I love history. I believe that my drive for knowledge keeps my mind young and my zest for life at its highest levels.”

–Nabila Khashoggi

Being a lifelong learner and endlessly curious is why I have such a passion for literature, promoting my children’s books, art, and travel. Some may think I’m a bit whimsical, and, well, that’s because I am! Get curious and creative! You’ll see just how much there is to keep you endlessly fascinated and sharp.

Some tips for staying abreast of history, art, literature, etc.


“Learning never exhausts the mind.” –Leonardo da Vinci

  • Read, read, and then read some more! Visit your public library. Your library card may be the most valuable piece of plastic you own! Saul Bellow said, “People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”
  • Use your smartphone to find interesting, educational, fascinating content! We are so inundated with information—most of it useless and probably untrue. If we use our phones in an intelligent way to actually learn about things, they can be indispensable If you’re not sure of an event in history or person, when they lived, etc., look it up!
  • Engage with your friends. Ask them what they’re reading, what films they’re watching, etc. If you can go to a revival house, do so. Everything is streaming now and we can view great old films from the comfort of our homes but make a habit of going out with friends and watching films or seeing plays and then discussing them. History and art happen when intelligent people talk about ideas and things they’ve witnessed.
  • Travel if you can. One of the great pleasures of my life has been traveling extensively. This is partly why I wrote the series of children’s books, “Spartan and the Green Egg.” Travel also informs the creative process when I’m thinking of new ideas for my line of skincare and makeup, Nabila K. Certain fragrances from around the world are especially intriguing because of their exotic nature. For example, the damask rose is a favorite scent with an incredible past. If we can use an ancient Middle Eastern scent that adorned princes and princesses in our everyday lives, that’s true luxury!

For History Lovers


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

 –Mahatma Gandhi

As a lover of history, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that you must find out about the world, important key events, and how they shape people. It can be mind-boggling just thinking about the history of the world, how old and vast it is, etc. This is why I think everyone should regularly visit The Museum of Natural History (in NYC). The exhibits on extinct mammals, the evolution of man, and the incredible dinosaur bones really humbles me and are sure to make anyone who sees them feel very small in the scheme of things! Learning about our awesome natural world makes me feel vital and alive.

As a lover of art (especially photography), one should also regularly visit The Met in New York City. Having a sense of the history of art, important artists, and movements is fundamental to being an educated individual. Where would we be without art? Wherever you are in the world, try to visit great art museums (if you’re in Paris, spend an afternoon in the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay; in London, go to the Tate).



“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

 –Pablo Picasso


Another reason to stay abreast of what’s happening in the world is so that you can help bring about change where change is needed. Awareness is essential, and so is philanthropy. The Children for Peace (ONLUS) is a charity that means a great deal to me and one I try to stay as involved with as possible.


To read more about Spartan and the Green Egg, Nabila K, and The Children for Peace, visit the sites below:


To read more of a recent interview with Al Sharkiah magazine, check out their website.



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