Friday, November 14, 2008

{ my place or yours...destination: jordan }

Petra photo by Yaatra. via flickr.

Each day, upon visiting my {virtual} friend Karey, I feel as though I'm transported into a magical fairy tale. This gorgeous Midwestern Princess, now living in the Middle East, shares the most amazing, heartfelt stories of her beloved prince, their 3 little princesses, and their life in a land far, far away--certainly all part of the magic Karey weaves into her special tales. It's Karey's knack for seeing and celebrating the little things, however, that bring true sparkle to each and every post she writes. 

So while Jordan may not currently be on your top 3 list of Places to Go, your perception of it is certain to change after reading today's My Place or Yours. Please join Karey as she shares with us the happily ever after she and her family have found in Amman, Jordan and why she's so proud to call it home. 
i hate pics of myself

Please tell us a little about yourself
hi everyone! it’s me…karey m. i’m positively giddy about sharing suzanne’s space today. mostly because S.HOPtalk is brilliant, but mostly-mostly because suzanne is, quite simply, a wonderful soul. as the oldest of my girlies three would say, i’ll bet her heart is ruby red. she's become one of my very favorite imaginary friends.

i live in
amman, jordan with my husband, who affectionately signs all of his notes to me love, uncle sugar, and the three girlies we’ve made: lillie kate, grae-rose, and esmé dahlia. most days, i write mackin ink to remind us of who we were and the grand adventures we shared. if i’m feeling particularly naughty, i write mackin ink to make uncle sugar’s eyes overflow.

the girlies three by you.

we may have already met on
kirtsy, where i’m lucky enough to be a design and crafts editor. which means i’m required to scour your bright sites for inspiration to share with the kirtsy masses. {sigh.} it’s a dirty job…good thing i only wear black.

i’m a foreign magazine junkie, currently addicted to anything and everything in print from the uk, australia, anywhere-in-asia, and, of course, the arab world. i’m a crow, drawn to all things sparkly, a madness i’m trying not-so-hard to cure. and every so often, i freelance for a local writing refinement firm. but all i’m really trying to do is add three women to the world who love themselves so much that they want the best for everyone. i really hope that one works out.

enough about me. i’m desperate to introduce you to the country i’ve called home for nearly three years. a country that has gifted my family with her lovely people, her magical traditions, and her never-ending generosity. welcome to my place. welcome to jordan.

Three words that best describe Jordan
heroic, humbling, and always a haven.

Your favorite time of day
ever since we’ve lived in this part of the world {we previously lived in muscat, oman for a few years.}, i’ve woken up every morning around four thirty during the day’s first of five calls to prayer, known as fajr. it sounds like this.

no matter your beliefs, it’s an incredibly serene way to begin the day, right? made even more irresistible when i remember that an overwhelming majority of jordan is awake and at peace at the very same time. it's moments like this when i almost pinch myself.

Currently on your radar
cuba has me under her spell. i’m on constant watch for the exact minute our embargo and travel restrictions disappear. until then, i vacation on
flickr, swimming in the deep photostreams of modest and jill and saminater.

turquoise.coche.havana photo by saminater. via flickr.

thanks to uncle sugar, we’ve amassed quite an impressive collection of old-school cuban wooden cigar boxes. just a few more, and i’ll be able to make my dream advent calendar for my girlies three. because nothing screams merry christmas more than tobacco and communism.

What is your most cherished spot in your home? And why?
i adore our walls crammed with photos. they truly tell our life story. which, to me, looks an awful lot like one hell of a holiday.

my fave photo wall 1

my mood always brightens when i walk through our back hallway. adorned with my girlies’ petite homages to rothko and wescoat, grae’s portrait of uncle-sugar-riding-on-a-turtle from nearly seven years ago, paper lanterns hung with fuchsia ribbon, a locally-crafted carpet, and ever-changing tubs of toys…it’s just plain cheery.

my fave hallway by you.
the best part? that hallway leads me to my three and uncle sugar.

Favorite discovery
i love the spontaneity of outdoor markets.
souk jara is a delightful weekend excursion during the summer months, and a great source for local artwork, all-things-handmade, and even furniture.

souk jara furniture by you.

the souq al ard at beit al bawadi is another, i wonder what they’ll have this week kind of a place. from lavender to lemon curd to soap house goodies to a secret back room filled with racks and racks of random couture, this market never disappoints.

i also didn’t realize how much i loved the local pottery, especially
silsal ceramics. their modern collection is my downfall, for sure. if you can’t get to amman, you’re still in luck; silsal’s on the verge of opening an online shop.

silsal mod vase by you.

Where do you go to escape?
i could wander ‘round readers bookshop all day with my girlies, and still return that evening after i sent them off to sleep. it’s seriously that well-stocked and that much fun.

readers owners

for me, maybe the most remarkable aspect of readers is that it was made in jordan by two jordanian women. even more impressive? they’ve hand-picked every. book. in. the. shop. the very very very best part? one of them is my friend. and both she and readers make me way less homesick.

Who is/are your favorite artist(s)?
i firmly believe
rima malallah must be a living fairy. not the kind that perches quietly on tufts of pale pink, but the kind who mesmerizes all who enter her studio as she races up and down her twisty staircase with her pixie fringe and random expletives and armloads of her very cool art.

love on a bike

i’ve bought customized treasure boxes and journals, which are always a hit. when i need an exceptionally fab hostess gift, i simply drop off bottles of wine, upon which she decoupages a sampling of her exceptionally fab work. i always always request her owls.

girlie treasure boxes

What is/are your favorite local shop(s)?
the crow in me can’t stay away from
lama hourani’s gallery. i think every woman should own one of her distinctive pieces. as for me, i’m working on my third.

lama hourani mine

Best kept local secret
when we first arrived in amman just a smidge before our girlies’ september birthdays, someone whispered in my ear about
sugar daddy’s bakery. at the time, sugar daddy’s was nothing more than the most drop-dead delightful cupcakes and cakes, baked in a home kitchen and delivered by one of the most handsome boys in the city.

sugar daddy's bakery-1 by you.

today, that handsome boy’s become a family friend, and is mere weeks away from opening new shops in beirut and dubai. we never celebrate a birthday without his babycakes. and he’s promised me that as soon as he moves into his brand new amman location, he’ll give me his current shop’s sunshades. anyone recognize those cupcakes?

sugar daddy's girlies-1

An ideal spot to linger over lunch
i honestly can’t remember the last time i enjoyed a leisurely lunch. but lingering over early cocktails or a light dinner with uncle sugar? i’m in.

the living room has been a favorite since our first few weeks in amman. they've a sushi bar, a stellar salmon tori, sinkably deep velvet couches, and the lighting makes anyone look gorgeous.

we also enjoy the
square bar at the four seasons. uncle sugar is always impressed with the mini kobe burgers. i’m always impressed when the staff - from the valet to the doorman to the waiter - pretends to remember me. welcome back, madame.

at least once or twice a month, i meet friends at our favorite sushi bar,
vinaigrette, for some urgently needed laughs and crunchy salmon salad. it’s beyond.

When visiting Jordan, don't miss...
there’s a reason petra was named one of the new seven wonders of the world. it’ll steal your breath, and fill you up with enough awe and beauty and…wonder to last a lifetime and maybe even a few days after that.

petra at night flylice
lights at the end of the tunnel photo by flylice. via flickr.

be sure to schedule your trip around a nighttime tour, which is pure magic.

If you had an opportunity to live anywhere else in the world, where would we find you?
we move a lot, and i’ve found that i require very little. the closer to water, the better. sunlight and heat are delightful, too. but, for me, the very idea of our next home – wherever it may be – is terribly exciting. i always dream of our next adventure.

secretly? if i could steal anyone’s life and homes and talent, i’d become
john hardy in half-a-heartbeat. wouldn’t you?

john hardy bali home
john hardy home in bali via cookie magazine.

What's your motto?
it is sheer good fortune to miss someone long before they ever leave you.

i so wish i could tell you those words can be found in…i don’t know…some j.d. salinger short story or the secret history or even me talk pretty one day. they’re not. i tripped over them years ago while reading one of toni morrison’s books. i never made it past the dedication page, where these fourteen words sat.

no regrets, though. because they’ve been in my back pocket ever since, and helped me get through a few heartbreaking goodbyes.

i’m also a big fan of it’s nice to be nice. even when it sounds more like please. stop. being. a. jerk. please.

the end…

oh, suzanne! this was heaps of fun! thanks, everyone, for reading my ramblings.

i wonder if i’ve tempted you at all to visit? i know jordan’s far away and she lives next door to some rather interesting neighbors, but this is the sort of country that’s simply worth all the effort in the world. jordan breaks my heart with her courage and love and never-ending loyalty. you’ll love her. i just know it.

and, remember…you’re always always welcome at my place! xoxo. karey m.

Thank you so much, Karey...what an amazing place you've shared with us all today! And yes...I'm tempted.


Anonymous said...

Yay! I loved every word (and picture). Karey is the best!

amy turn sharp said...

SHUT UP! My day is the best ever. I feel like I just a fabulous article on my fave celeb in Vanity Fair! I love this woman so so much you know. She and I will meet someday! Yes, I stalk her. :)

amy turn sharp said...

AND>>> I love yr blog darling. yr fab

Natalie said...

Karey, you always delight! I adore your sense of wonderment at the world and now I would like to move to Jordan.

I have to say I'm rather surprised to see how many stores/signs/etc... are in English!

Julia said...

This was such an extraordinary interview! Thank you, thank you! What a beautiful woman :)

Cindy said...

this was such an interesting 'my place or yours'. i learned a lot about jordan, which is great. they must just swoon over karey's gorgeous blue eyes and blonde hair ;)!

girllovesclothes said...

great post, and so inspiring!

Melissa said...

Karey is the awesomeness! So glad you had this interview with her. Loved it.

It's amazing how differently she has made me view Jordan, and the Middle East on the whole. Amazing, the power of the right words.

Mrs.French said...

eeeep...I didn't think it was possible, I love her even more now. thank you so much suzanne...xo t

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is blowin' my mind wide open. I had NO IDEA how much I completely love kareym. Until now. Now I know why... brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Gob smacked. I seriously seriously heart Karey M, thank you for allowing me to learn even more about this fabulous woman and her family - and now I have found S.HOP talks as well - yay! xx

dee said...

Karey!! Oh your pretty face and darling girlies always get me. Jordan sounds magical. And if Cuba ever does open its doors, I say we take a trip together with Uncle Sugar and Pablo. I'm sure I'll come back with about fourteen stray dogs, so it should be quite an adventure!!

Lovely interview, Suzanne:)

Relyn Lawson said...

Even if Karey didn't make me want to visit Jordan for its own sake, I would want to visit in the hopes of tea with her and the girlies three.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Karey has managed to take a place that never entered my mind to visit and put it front and center on my radar. Put my on the long list of her adoring fans.

Suzanne...great interview!

karey m. said...

now THIS was a nice bunch of comments to wake up to this morning! even if i had to close my eyes as i scrolled past my mug. {for the record, no. one. swoons.} but seriously, your kind words make me feel five pounds thinner. or something equally fantastic. xoxo. karey m.

Maggie, Dammit said...

I am printing this out.

Not kidding.

Megan said...

Lovely , as ever. Now I know all the best places to stop in Jordan if I go there and Karey isn't around!

Sarah P. Miller said...

Oh, oh, oh. Like I needed another country to add to my travel list? Um, yes please!

Anonymous said...

What a treat to see Karey over here! And the images--simply stunning. I'm going to Jordan just as soon as I get a job, make some money, accrue some vacation time and book the travel.

please sir said...

Wow amazing interview. I love learning more about Karey M. She is always a delight to read and converse with over e-mail and comments. Hearing more about her home is even better! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm ready to pack my bags! What an amazing place...I love your finds...thanks for sharing!

Anastasia said...

what a great interview - nice to meet a new blogger and the pictures - wow!! just neighbour visited Jordan, her photos were also love to go to Petra oneday...

Anonymous said...

thank you for this! i looooved learning more about the lovely karey. such a great piece. and love your blog!

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