Visiting the Bayan Botanical Garden

Post by Mark

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If you’re interested in visiting the Botanical Garden at Bayan Palace I have some good news (and a bit of bad news as well). The Bayan Botanical Garden is open to the general public every Thursday. You don’t need special permission or anything of the sort. All you need to do is give security your civil ID and they will let you access the garden.

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The Bayan Botanical Garden contains three different zones with different kind of plants in each. It’s not that big but it’s still pretty cool and most of the plants are labeled with their names. There isn’t a guide book that contains details on the plants so if you’re really curious to know more about each plant be prepared to wikipedia from your phone.

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Now for the bit of bad news. The Bayan Botanical Garden is open every Thursday… from 9AM to 1PM. That pretty much sucks for everyone who has a job. It also explains why the only other visitors at the garden while I was there were housewives with their kids. Still, it’s better than having no access at all. If you’d like to visit the garden, here is the location of the entrance on [Google Maps]

Thanks Maaz!


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Fork Fed: Avocados

Post by Fork Fed

avocado

If there is just one food item I think you should add to your diet everyday, it’ll definitely be avocados! Creamy, delicious and most importantly super nutritious! There just isn’t one reason I can think of as to why you shouldn’t have this food everyday, except for the fact that if you’re not careful your calories could get out of hand.

When talking about fats to any of my clients I always sense some hesitation in adapting them into their day-to-day eating habits; but not all fats are created equal, after all i’m only pushing for them to have more fruit – but a fatty one this time. Despite being called a fat, some fats can actually make you thinner! Let’s take a look at avocados because I really believe they are one of the supreme fats out there.

Bye-Bye Hunger!
Yes, fats will keep you feeling full for a very long time. Who wouldn’t want to feel full? I certainly do! Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, the healthy fats that keep your heart happy and tummy feeling full. Research has proven that eating just 1/2 an avocado can help keep you feeling full for hours to come; just be sure not to have chips with your avocados and instead aim to have them in a salad to feel fuller for longer.

Hello Waist-Line
We all want to shrink our waist-lines and believe it or not avocados have been proven to help. High in fiber and low in carbohydrates, no wonder this miracle fruit can help us with weight loss. But! It’s not just general weight loss that we’re talking about, research has actually found an association between reduction in belly fat and consumption of avocados. Yes, we can still eat and lose weight. It’s the type of fat in avocados that has been linked to regulating the gene that stores fat in your belly area. It definitely is worth a try, just make sure to swap your avocado for other fats you were eating and not add it to your diet. A swap will help cut down some of the calories.

Nutrient Booster
Not only are they loaded with antioxidants and minerals, but avocados can also help boost the absorption of other vitamins. Adding avocados to other veggies (like your salad) can help you absorb about 3 to 5 times more antioxidants than you would had you chosen to have that salad alone. See some vitamins (A,D,E,K) need fat for better absorption and you can’t go wrong with a fat like an avocado. But, like I said not only does it help you absorb more nutrients but avocados are also loaded with nutrients like vitamins K, C and potassium.

Bad Fat Crusher
Worried about your cholesterol? You shouldn’t be worrying if you’re including healthy fats in your diet like avocados. Avocados are loaded with mono and poly unsaturated fats which boost your heart function by increasing the good kind of cholesterol (HDL) and lowering the bad kind (LDL). Stronger heart, stronger you!

Control that Sugar Spike!
My favorite benefit of having avocados is the fact that it will limit how much your blood sugar spikes after a meal. There are many times where we have sugary foods and if you don’t pair those sugary treats wisely you could end up with a sugar spike which is always followed by a crash! Ever feel sleepy after indulging in carbs? My solution is to always add a healthy fat to whatever you’re eating, this way you somewhat control your sugar from spiking too high. Avocados on the other hand, are not just healthy fats, they’re loaded with fiber and vitamin K – both have been shown to improve your insulin sensitivity helping control your blood sugar levels.

Before you run and grab your avocados keep in mind that 1/2 an avocado contains 161 kcals, 15g fat, 8.5g carbs (of which 6.7g are fiber) and 2g protein. If you choose to substitute your oils with avocado oil (which I think is a great idea) then 1 tablespoon contains 124 kcals and 14g fat – you do lose the fiber and protein if you choose to have the oil. With this in mind, baby steps are all it takes to achieve a healthier lifestyle, you can do it!

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

Image Source


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

Busy weekend but super busy Saturday. Lots of things to do but the most popular event is probably the Russell Peters show. If you haven’t bought tickets already you’re out of luck since they’re already sold out. Check out the full list of events for this weekend below:

Thursday
The Honey Bee Exhibition
The Avenues Food Market
Good Vibes Festival
Film Screening: Vanishing of the Bees
Rooftop Movie: A Master Builder

Friday
The Honey Bee Exhibition
The Avenues Food Market
Gingerbread Cookie Decoration
Chill-Out Fridays

Saturday
The Honey Bee Exhibition
The Avenues Food Market
Spark Marathon
Farmers Trip
Guided Tour: Old Kuwait City
Yoga at the Park
Madeenah Tour: An Unexpected Landscape
Protein Sheikhas: Bootcamp
Art and a Burger on the Side
Urban Beekeeping: Talk and Live Demonstration
Rooftop Movie: Mood Indigo
Russell Peters Almost Famous in Kuwait

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]
For a full list of upcoming events click [Here]

Note: Sometimes events get canceled, postponed or have details changed. I try to make sure all the information is accurate but always double check with the organizers to be sure.


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I finally got it, The Kuwait Urbanization

Post by Mark

kuwaiturbanization1

I’ve had my eye on this rare and hard to find book ever since I found out about it a few years ago. It’s by the architect and planner Saba Shiber who joined the Kuwait Ministry of Public Works in 1960. The book dates back to 1964 and lays out the plan by Saba for Kuwait’s urbanization. The book features his research, sketches, plans, photos and visions he had for Kuwait.

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A couple of weeks ago I miraculously managed to get my hands on a copy of the book for a ridiculously good deal. I had a saved search on eBay in case the book ever popped up and it did once or twice but the asking prices were ridiculous like KD300 or so. Not that it wasn’t a fair value but it was a lot more than what I wanted to pay. Then a few days before the new year a seller in France put up a hard cover version of the book for sale and the starting bid was just KD50! So I waited and waited and nobody was bidding on it so I finally came in last minute and picked it up myself for KD50. I couldn’t believe I scored such a great deal on the book. Shipping cost me KD14.5 with Aramex so overall I really feel like I got a steal. Best Christmas gift ever thats for sure.

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If you’re interested in the book I’ve previously typed out the preface written by Saba and published it [Here]. I also have a PDF version of the book (166MB) uploaded to my server and you can download that from [Here]


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Etihad Airways to the United States

Post by Mark

etihad

Ok since I’ve been drinking in the Abu Dhabi airport for the past few hours and I’ve been listening to David Bowie’s Starman on loop… I’m now in a slightly better mood. So, I figured I’d post what was actually cool about flying with Etihad to Los Angeles. This was my third trip to the U.S. in the past 6 months, the first time I flew British Airways, the second time United Airlines and this third time with Etihad.

I personally prefer as direct a flight as possible since I pop a sleeping pill and xanax combo that basically knocks me out for most of the flight. So 5 hours or 10 or 15 doesn’t make a difference for me. Stopping half way is annoying, I just want to settle down in my seat, sleep and then wake up in my destination. United Airlines was a direct flight but their planes were pretty old and they’re now no longer flying out of Kuwait.

Etihad and Emirates both have direct flights to LA but Etihad has one major advantage over Emirates. U.S. Border Control are located at the Abu Dhabi Airport. It’s so odd I’m not sure why they chose Abu Dhabi, their only other location outside of North America is in Ireland. What this means is you get all your security and visa procedures done at the Abu Dhabi airport and then once you land in the States you don’t have to go through any of it. You actually land in the US as a domestic flight, you walk out of the plane, pick up your bags and leave the airport. This is very convenient especially for those who don’t have US or Canadian passports since the immigration lines on arrival to the U.S are usually super long.

The downside of Etihad is there is a high chance you’re gonna miss a connecting flight. A lot of my friends have missed connecting flights in Abu Dhabi because their flight from Kuwait was delayed or in my case, even when my flight wasn’t delayed I still managed to miss my connecting flight to Kuwait. It’s a gamble so just make sure you know the risk.


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Why Etihad Airways Sucks and American Express Kicks Ass

Post by Mark

amex

I was originally going to post about how shit Etihad Airways is because they removed my name off my connecting flight back to Kuwait. They “assumed” I wouldn’t be able to make it to the gate in time and now I’m stuck in their airport for 5 hours waiting for the next flight out. But, I figured everyone had already heard a ton of horror stories on Etihad and you wouldn’t be interested in hearing another. I mean even Anderson Silva trashed them on his Instagram account after his last visit to Kuwait.

So instead I’ve decided to turn this post into a positive one and talk about my love for my AMEX card. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember and I love it for multiple reasons. Firstly getting an AMEX card was a fairly simple process, I don’t remember the exact steps since it’s been 6 or more years since I got the card but I do remember their requirements were really simple, something like just prove you work and that was it. They then give you a ridiculously high limit, mine has always been like $12,000 from day 1. But the biggest advantage of the card for me is lounge access while traveling. For example I’m now stuck at the shitty Abu Dhabi airport for 5 hours and Etihad couldn’t give me access to the lounge even though they fucked up because the lounge was “full”. Not that I really care for their lounge since it’s small and overpacked always but I just wanted them to compensate me in someway for ruining my return flight. Since I couldn’t get access to their Premium Lounge I decided to check the airport website and see what other lounges were available here. I ended up finding one called Al Reem tucked away on the far side of the airport that allows access to AMEX card holders. I’m here chilling in the lounge now and it’s actually better than the Etihad Premium Lounge. It’s quieter, a lot less people and there is even a bar.

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I travel a lot and always in coach when traveling around the region so the AMEX card really makes the airport experience a lot more comfortable. I use it mostly at the Kuwait Airport, Beirut Airport, Dubai Airport (all terminals), Bahrain and now I’m using it in Abu Dhabi. If you’re flying out with FLyDubai from the Sheikh Saad Terminal in Kuwait, the AMEX card also gives you access to the business class side of the airport which is a much more superior experience compared to the regular side.

Other than lounge access, my AMEX card also gives me 30% off on MyUS shipments and I also earn points on the card which I can convert to air miles for my favorite airlines or buy products from the AMEX store. If all that isn’t enough, my AMEX card has even given me access to early bird or reserved seating for concert tickets in the States using TicketMaster.com.

There are some downsides of course compared to the credit cards from your bank. You have the yearly card fee which you have to pay while my MasterCard with NBK is free. The interest rate is also higher with AMEX, my MasterCard I think is 1% a month while AMEX is like 2.3%. Then you lose a bit of money with the exchange rate whenever you settle your bill since you have to pay using US dollars. But those downsides are worth it for me which is why I love my American Express card. For more details you can visit them in Salhiya or check out their website [Here]


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Lexus NX 200t

Post by Mark

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A couple of weekends back I borrowed the Lexus NX 200t from the dealership so that I could review it for my blog. I had emailed them requesting it since I’d been admiring the car for awhile now and was curious to try it out. Lexus weren’t really know for exciting or breakthrough designs but the NX completely changed my perception on them.

My favorite color on a car is usually black, but not in this case. I was actually disappointed when I picked up the car to find out it was black. The NX is designed with a lot of sharp lines and black just hides all of them. Not only that but one of the nicest design elements in the car are the rear lights which stretch across the side of the car over the rear tire. But in black that part doesn’t show and instead blends in with the rest of the car. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to show off how beautiful the car really is in my photos because of the color, but I also figured there are tons of them on the road already so more than likely you’ve come across a lighter colored version.

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The NX is a cross over vehicle which makes it smaller than a proper SUV but slightly larger than a standard car. They always feel like oversized hatchbacks to me and the NX isn’t any different here. It’s a 4-cylinder turbo engine with front wheel drive but it never felt like it lacked any power on the road. Obviously the fact that we don’t have any mountainous roads helps a lot with that. In the States they have a hybrid model which comes with an electric motor for the rear wheels turning it into an all wheel drive car. Not sure if we have that option in Kuwait, I didn’t see any at the dealership and I forgot to ask them if they had any.

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Like all Lexus cars, the interior was plush with leather all around including on the dashboard. The entertainment system interface still feels outdated which is disappointing. They’ve also replaced their finicky joypad with an even more finicky trackpad. I hated the trackpad, it seemed like anytime I accidentally tapped it the car would change a setting or forward a song or perform some other unwanted action. The trackpad along with the outdated interface were the only things I actually didn’t like about the car. Actually come to think of it, the sound system wasn’t that great, mostly because if there was any bass in the track the rear trunk door would loudly rattle annoyingly. For the passengers sitting in the rear, there’s pretty good legroom. I’m over 6ft tall and as you can see in the photo below I didn’t have any space issues.

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Like I mentioned at the start of this post the NX is a pretty hot looking car. Lexus have managed to carve out a look that can’t be mistaken for any other car on the road except possibly their larger RX series. The starting price isn’t that bad at KD12,950. It kinda seems like a good deal considering you’re getting a good looking Lexus with a nice all leather interior and Lexus reliability. They have an F-Sport version which looks even better with larger wheels and slightly more aggressive styling, but that’s priced at around KD16,000. It’s a great car overall, but Lexus should definitely give their entertainment system interface a major overhaul. If you’re interested in test driving the car you can do so by contacting the dealer. Here is a link to their [Website]


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My Favorites of CES 2016

Post by Mark

ces2016

Last week Huawei sent me to CES 2016 in Las Vegas to cover the experience for my blog. The Consumer Electronics Show is one of the largest electronics shows that takes place during the year and the largest event that takes place in Las Vegas period. If you checked any electronics or gadgets blog last week like Gizmodo or The Verge then you were probably overwhelmed by all the CES related posts that they published. Well I’m not going to do the same here, instead I’m going to highlight just some of my favorite things I saw at CES this year.

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The whole experience was insane since the Las Vegas Convention Center is HUMONGOUS. I thought the watch expo Basel World was huge when I visited it in 2013 but CES is so much larger. It’s hard to explain how big it is, I mean just the lobby of one of the halls was larger than any of the halls at the Kuwait International Fair Ground. CES was so huge that it took me more than 2 hours of fast walking to cover all the halls and then after I left I found out I had even missed one hall completely. There was so much stimulation everywhere I looked that I felt like I was having out of body experience at one point.

Anyway, below are some of the things that stuck out for me, if you follow me on twitter (@mark248am) then you’ve probably already seen most of the below but with less details.

Read the rest of this entry »


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The Urban Analyst Sets the Record Straight

Post by Mark

settingtherecord

Ten days ago when I posted about Taiba, the 15 year old fashion instagrammer whose work I really liked, a lot of people took to the comments to voice their disapproval. Some were extremely judgmental, others were just simply mean. I don’t know how people don’t see the possibilities Taiba has in the long run if she’s this good doing what she’s doing today. Even if you don’t see the talent in her work that’s fine, at least her parents can and are being very supportive which is what really matters. If my parents didn’t support my passion when I was 15 (which was mostly browsing the internet trying to find porn), I might never have become a blogger today.

In any case, Taiba decided to set the record straight on some of the accusations about her and she published a post over the weekend on her blog. If you’d like to see what she says, you can check out her post [Here]


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Guy Goes Apeshit on Parked Cars

Post by Mark

The video above went viral over the weekend showing a guy smashing windows of some parked cars in the industrial city before casually getting into his own car and driving off. The cars were parked illegally on the side of the road causing traffic and the guy must have gotten stuck in it which is why he probably went apeshit. [YouTube]

According to the MOI instagram account, he guy was caught.

apeshit


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