Live Like a Goddess

Discover your inner Aphrodite

La Vie en Rosewater

La Vie en Rosewater


Rosewater is made from steeping fresh petals and distilling. Photo from

In the Mediterranean we try to use all natural products with a deep history of its beneficial uses, instead of relying on man or factory-made ones. This was, of course, primarily dictated initially due to the region’s lack of buying power and remoteness. But, as the people of these regions slowly gained in wealth and imported products began permeating the local markets, some traditions stay true. Rosewater is one of them.

Rosewater is one of those truly multifaceted products which are used in the kitchen to sweeten foods, as well as in the bathroom and bedroom as a beauty and healing product. Best of all, the luxurious scent of this marvelous little water adds a bit of zest to your cooking without breaking the bank. The cost is under $5.00 for a 12 ounce bottle.

The homeopathic roots of rosewater date as far back as the ancient Egyptians. According to legend, Cleopatra would take milk baths with rose petals floating to keep her skin soft, smooth and gloriously scented. Even in recent times, it is said the streets of Beirut are filled with the scent of rosewater in the late Spring and early Summer, as the rose petals are pressed, steamed and distilled to make this many faceted beauty and food product.

Rosewater for skin

Rosewater is typically spritzed on the faces of women with sensitive skin or rosacea, due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties. For those with acne, applying rosewater as a tonic reduces the amount of bacteria on the skin. So it makes an excellent, all natural toner for skin that has broken out due to excess oils. Even for those of us who don’t necessarily have problematic skin, rosewater is a gentle, fabulous pick-me-up. The scent awakens your senses better than coffee (well, that may be a stretch, but it does work). Rosewater enjoys a natural aromatherapy healing to elevate your senses.  Rosewater is refreshing, inexpensive and luxuriously scented; keeping skin soft and hydrated – which is important for all skin types at any age.

Rosewater for Men

While some men may scoff at smelling like roses, let me point out that rosewater is an excellent aftershave. It stems from the very same reason that rosewater is good on sensitive skin: it helps to calm irritated skin. And don’t worry about smelling like a girl: the rose scent is light and generally dissipates off skin within the first 30 minutes.

Rosewater in the Bath

The calming, luxurious effect that rosewater has on your skin can have the same effect on your other senses. After a long, busy day, a deep bath in hot water with a few drops of rosewater and any essential oil (my personal favorite is Jasmine) relaxes even the most stressed out Type A out there. Best of all, you go to bed smelling like a bed of roses – with the added bonus of softer, brighter skin.

Rosewater in the Bedroom

Try spritzing your sheets with a bit of rosewater to release the Aphrodite within.

Rosewater in the Kitchen

In addition to using rosewater for beauty purposes, try adding a splash of rosewater in the kitchen for a refreshing twist on simple salads.

Rosewater in the Laundry

Give your freshly laundered clothes a little goddess love. Spritz folded clothes with a few sprays of rosewater. Your family (and you!) will love it. It makes your entire wardrobe, closet, drawers smell heavenly. Simple pleasures like this go a long way in making one feel luxurious and pampered, without spending a fortune.


Moroccan Cucumber Rosewater salad is light, refreshing and perfect for cleansing the palate. It is served in most evening meals.


Moroccan Shredded Cucumber Salad

Used as both an aperitif and as a digestive, this cucumber dish helps to cleanse the palate in between meals and bites.

  • 1 English or American Cucumber, peeled (if desired) and shredded
  • ½ teaspoon of Sugar or Stevia to taste
  • Dried Mint
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater

In a large bowl, shred cucumbers, sprinkle in sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Add mint and rosewater. Place in fridge and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.


Watermelon, Basil & Feta Salad

In Greece, with the extreme heat and no one with a ravenous appetite, watermelon and feta is a simple summertime dinner. Add some fresh bread and a dash of rosewater for an island-flair.

  • Ripe watermelon, cubed
  • Chunk of Feta
  • Fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons rosewater

In a large bowl, combine the above. Enjoy the compliments you will receive on this simple, yet exotic salad.


Have I convinced you to give Rosewater a whirl? Do you know of any other fantastic recipes that uses this elixir of the goddesses? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment.


Islanders Have Nothing to Do, so they Do One Another

Originally published on 8/25/16 on Women Who Live on Rocks A little more tongue and cheek than the usual drink Hibiscus tea ( or how to make a rocking Spanokopita ( I hope you all enjoy it!


Why Islanders Have More Sex



This may be one of the best well-kept secrets of island living: we are *horny* here. Not like a little bit horny, but straight out, teenage-frenzy-horny. Have you ever noticed that you feel a bit more,ahem, amorous while on a beach vacation? Maybe it’s the sun, sand, and alcohol (a less-than-holy trinity), but the killer combo makes most people impossible to resist a flirty glance, a stolen kiss, or, if you’re lucky, a bit more.

*click for image credit

Now take those stolen, sweaty moments and expand it into days, nights, weeks, months, and possibly years. There are plenty of times for the unholy of sanctions to strike. And that is exactly what is happening on my rock. All. The. Time.

I’ve got a few possible explanations as to why we islanders get in-between the sheets more than the average colder climate dwellers…

The Weather

Yes, this one is really quite obvious. As mercury rises, pheromones release, sending us all into the friskiest of moods. There’s something about ladies in short dresses, bare skin, and sweat beading (because it’s so stinking hot) that has men slinking through the streets like alley cats looking for food.

We Come Alive at Night

To deal with the relentless sun, we sleep by day and play by night. With the nighttime comes locally-produced (read: cheap) beer, wine, and liquor. While northern friends may flock to the rock to escape cold, blistery days, we island-dwellers shrink from the relentless sun and then come alive by night. The nighttime living turns into nighttime loving, once alcohol is introduced into the mix, especially if we have all this excess energy to be consumed due to our lethargic, sunny daylight hours.

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Vacation Brain

It’s the vacation state of mind. The perma-vaca mood that permeates the islanders has many locals and expats alike howling at the full moon. We can’t help it. There’s a relaxed vibe that does not translate in higher latitudes. With both brains and bodies in chill-mode, we return to our natural animal-mode. We are blessedly stripped from typical Western cultural norms, business attire, and polite banter/behavior.

But while I can go on and on about the weather, the nightlife, and the holiday-mindset, do you want to know the real reason why islanders get it on so much?

There’s nothing else to do.

Really. It’s that simple. In America, where I’m from, we were constantly climbing the corporate ladder, or training for a marathon, or helping in a charity, or starting a business, or taking a child to tennis/track/violin/you-name-it. On our rock, we have no large corporations. Non-profits are feeding a stray dog or cat. And absolutely no one would be stupid enough to train for a triathlonhalf of the year (it’s simply too hot). So a better form of exercise is… you get the picture.

And there you have it: plenty of time on your hands, no high pressure aspirations for a killer career or a multi-million dollar venture, scant clothing or modesty, plenty of alcohol-imbibing, and nocturnal living. This is why islanders – at least on my rock – are having more sex.

How about on your rock? Have you noticed an exorbitant amount of busy-ness between the sheets in the absence of business on the streets?

*click for image credit

The “F” Word That Rules Our Life

Originally published on Sivana Spirit on July 25, 2016

A year ago today, my father-in-law succumbed to prostate cancer.

It was a grueling 4-year battle that saw him deteriorate until all that was left of him was skin and bones. I still have no idea why his body began to mutate against himself.

Before the cancer, he was the epitome of health. At age 70 he worked vigorously and daily in his large garden. He ate (mostly) locally and organically, and in moderation.

He exercised his mind by hand-drawing architectural plans.

He was surrounded by beauty and love from his adoring wife, children and grandchildren.

But yet, cancer still seized him. I don’t know why.

Perhaps it was genetics; perhaps it was bad luck. But cancer came, and it didn’t let go.

Being at the center of a family going through an emotionally and physically exhausting experience such as cancer, I watched and wondered what would happen if we were in the States.

The process is similar: countless doctor’s appointments, MRIs, bone scans, chemotherapy, radiation, sweat, tears, meals being delivered by nearby family or neighbors, silent prayers for full recovery.

But yet the process felt different.


It is Written. “Maktoob.”

Behind every uttered prayer was a slight resignation in a higher being. Let this be Your way.

It wasn’t the TV commercials dotting the airwaves today: a series of faces saying “No” to cancer, demanding it to be obliterated from our vocabulary. This fighting spirit we have in the West, while intoxicating, can be famously distorted.

One of my favorite movies of all times is Slumdog Millionaire. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Now.

The last words in the movie were “It is written.” Of course, the movie ends on a happy note.

The boy gets the girl and a million rupees. And we viewers think Maktoob is Arabic for “it is written.”

It also means “fate,” which we are trained to believe means happy endings in the West.

It was fate that the young lovers met! It was serendipitous that we found one another after all these years! Yes, fate can be beautiful.

But in the Old World, fate also means reality.

It means you take the good with the bad and that God Almighty (or any form of a Higher Being you believe in) wills it to be for you, in that particular instance.

You can fight, as my father-in-law did with rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, but in the end, cancer won. And it was fate.

Where’s my Hollywood Ending?

I write this entry with mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I find the lack of fighting spirit in the Mediterranean to be disheartening and weak.

On the other hand, there is a sense of peace in not struggling to be in control at all times.

If something is not in your hands, then why fight futilely? Why pretend we have a choice, when sometimes the road is already written?

This is what Fate means. It’s a quiet resignation that sometimes shit happens.

And as much as we all want a happy ending, sometimes it’s not in the cards.

Not at that moment or for that circumstance.

But there will be other happy endings if you choose to move where the story ends.

Life is the Gift

It has been a year since my father-in-law’s passing.

We share his words, his vivaciousness, and zest for clean living.

We do not cower in the shadows of his memory.

His toothy grin and wrinkled face in pictures are front and center in our living rooms.

We visit his graveyard all the time. His grandchildren have planted evergreen trees and Bougainvillea at the cemetery where he has been put to rest.

The trees grow, yet his memory will surely fade over time.

But we still do our best to remember his smile, his kindness, and his love for his family.

Life is a cycle that is all-too-well-understood in the Mediterranean.

There is no squeamishness about death.

There’s no way around it.

With every first breath, there is a last. Every beginning must find its end; life is to be celebrated.

Whether the life was cut short due to an accident or illness, it is irrelevant.

Because life itself is the gift. Not the end of the story.

TV Interview with Vox Pop on BRT

Hey guys – sorry it’s been ages since I last wrote. I’m back on the island and have done some relaxing (a little too much), catching up with old friends, and learning new recipes. I got a chance to speak with my friends at BRT, the national TV station on the island about the work we are doing with Live Like a Goddess. Below is an excerpt of the TV program. I’ll be certain to send out the full interview here as it airs. . .


Woo hoo! Spreading some Mediterranean love. . .…/vox-pop-on-brt-television-2407201…/

Get your natural electrolytes fix with Ayran

It’s getting hot in here. . .  so drop the Gatorade!

Please excuse the Nelly reference. I’m basking in my own sweat in the Mediterranean as I write. My brain and skin are fried.

We’ve all heard it before. Mercury’s rising. Kids are playing outside. We need to replace all those lost electrolytes with. . . a sugar-infused “sports” drink (whatever that means)? I’m here to tell you guys about a healthier alternative to that sugar-laden drink we in the West consider critical in replacing all those lost electrolytes.

Before we begin, though, let’s breakdown the story of electrolytes. According to WebMD, electrolytes are minerals in your body that regulate blood pressure, body’s water content, and our nerve and muscle function. We lose electrolytes through normal, daily activities. However, when we perspire, we lose electrolytes at a faster speed. Now, here’s the fun part: which minerals in our blood system naturally comprise of these oh-so-important electrolytes? Answer: sodium, potassium, calcium, and bicarbonate.  (

Not sugar. So, can someone please explain to me why we give our kids a whopping 56 grams (or 20% of our RDA) in a 32-ounce bottle of Gatorade? (Sucrose syrup and glucose-fructose syrup are two of the three first ingredients). May I suggest an alternative thirst-quencher, with organic, healthy roots that is easy to make involves only a handful of ingredients?

For my family, summertime in the Mediterranean means long, hot summer days at the beach or pool, cooling off with a tall glass of homemade ariani (Greek) or ayran (Turkish). All this punctuated with watermelon and feta cheese for dinner. (As a side bar: give watermelon/feta a try! The salty/sweet combo is addictive).

What is Ariani/Ayran? 

I learned about ariani while living in Cyprus. When the heat soars, the younger generation of moms reach for juice boxes and ice cream to hand to their kids. However, the older generation pull out the yogurt and the blender. They know how to quench their thirst naturally, organically using an age-oold method.

Ariani is a refreshing summer drink made from diluted Greek yogurt, salt and dried (or fresh) mint. It originated in Turkey and is served all over the country. From 5-star hotels to fast food restaurants and everything in between, ayran is by all means a national drink in Turkey. During the Ottoman Empire, the drink was introduced to other lands, and is now widely consumed in Greece, Lebanon, Iran and beyond.

Slightly salty, rather than sweet, it may take some getting used to. But it’s worth it. A comparison of those above-mentioned electrolytes of Gatorade (the de facto electrolyte drink of the West) versus Ayran is below. I even throw in sugar gram content and overall calories to give a better health picture.

Nutritional/Mineral content Gatorade (8 ounce) Ariani/Ayran (8 ounce)
Calories 50 42
Sugar 14 grams 3.2 grams
Sodium 110 mg 191 mg
Potassium 30 mg 141 mg
Calcium 106 mg
Protein 10 grams


Notice any differences? Aside from calories and sugar content, Gatorade grades far below Ayran’s nutritional/mineral content. Please note: this is only for an 8-ounce bottle/glass of both Gatorade and Ayran. Most Gatorade bottles come in 20+ ounce bottles, so please do the math.

It’s no comparison. Ayran is a natural, healthier alternative to Gatorade. It’s also super-simple to make.


Refreshing ayran – natural, organic and thirst-quenching


  • ½ cup your favorite brand of Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried mint, if desired

Add all of the above in a blender and whirl to oblivion a couple of seconds. Serve over ice.

Kefir versus Ayran/Ariani

Some often confuse the recently “discovered” super-drink Kefir with Ayran. However, they are not the same. Ayran is made from Greek yogurt that has been diluted with water, add a touch of salt (to taste) and blend. It is generally served chilled or over ice. Kefir, on the other hand, is made from kefir “grains” (a yeast/bacteria starter) which resemble tiny cauliflower. Kefir is made from milk rather than yogurt. Personally, I find ariani easier to drink than kefir. In the West, many people add sugar or fruit syrups to the kefir. Otherwise, kefir may be considered a bit too sour, bitter and strong. Ayran, alternatively, has a diluted yogurt taste. If you like yogurt, you will probably likely like the taste of ayran.

Have I convinced you yet? Make ariani/ayran a part of your homemade traditions to live like a Mediterranean god/goddess. Enjoy your summer and stay cool, refreshed and hydrated.

7 Things I Learned Living in the Mediterranean

Originally posted on Mind Body Green on 5-27-16.

7 Health & Life Lessons I Learned From Living In The Mediterranean Hero Image

Photo: Stocksy

I was one of those people who did everything right growing up. I studied, got good grades, got better jobs, and kept out of trouble. I never wanted to disappoint my immigrant parents, who had sacrificed and scrimped so that my siblings and I could graduate from college debt-free.

When friends and roommates were gallivanting across Europe, running with the bulls in Pamplona, hooking up with Greek gods at outdoor discos, or trekking the Great Wall, I worked and studied. I spent college summers working in a grassroots organization, a political lobbying group, or as an intern at the Virginia General Assembly.

One summer in college, I secured an internship on a remote island in the Mediterranean. That summer in Cyprus changed my life. I returned to the University of Virginia smitten with this ancient island, the gorgeous natives, and their relaxed, healthy lifestyle. It didn’t hurt that I was also smitten with a guy. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had met my future husband.

Years later, this dashing young Cypriot and I married. We lived in Atlanta, where I had earned a respectable MBA in finance and a high-paying but (for me) unsatisfying corporate existence.

I spent hours on the road or chained to my cubicle. Although our bankroll grew and we had two beautiful children, I felt there was something missing. That distant summer in Cyprus was an ever-present reminder of how life should be: healthier, more relaxed, and more balanced between work and play.

With two babies in tow, my husband and I decided to pack up our Atlanta home and move east . . . to Cyprus for what was originally planned to be only for a couple of years (“until Ella goes to school” was our mantra). However, life took over; we got addicted to the Mediterranean sun and remained on the Island of Aphrodite.

Over the years, I learned a thing or two about how to relax, relish life, and live like a Mediterranean goddess.

Photo Credit: Claudia Hanna


1. My cupboards are bare but my fridge is full.

In my corporate days, locked 10-plus hours in a cubicle or traveling to multiple cities weekly, I munched on granola bars, sipped on Diet Coke, and snacked on dry Fruity Pebbles late at night.

Processed foods usurp our American grocery aisles. On the island, we eat three proper meals. Snacks are whole fruit or nuts.

Today my meals are centered round seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Condiments, cookies, and crackers (if they exist in my kitchen) are small boxes and enjoyed sparingly (bye, bye Costco-size!).

2. Everyone eats fat, but no one gets fat.

I used to obsess over eating low-fat pretzels, low-fat muffins, low-fat yogurt, and the like. In the Mediterranean, full-fat yogurt and milk, lamb, fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, and whole grains comprise our diets.

It’s considered far better (and more tasty) to savor a half-cup of full-fat yogurt than to eat a container of flavorless nonfat yogurt, sweetened with syrup and fake fruit.

3. I skipped the gym and started a garden.

I loved my old boot camp classes, but in the absence of an ex-Marine screaming his head off at overweight, overprivileged office workers, I learned to take long walks through the hills or down by the seashore with my family and dog.

Tilling my own land; planting cilantro, cucumbers, and tomatoes, weeding, and watering until the fruit grew ripe: This is one of the simple ways in which Mediterranean people live healthfully. Less stress, more living outdoors.

4. Adopt a giving nature.

I grew up in Virginia, so I mean no disrespect to the notion of Southern hospitality, but there is no comparison to Mediterranean hospitality.

We all love getting stuff—free gifts, swag bags, birthday or Christmas presents. It is always fun to receive. In the Mediterranean, there is an expectation to always give. So if most people are giving, then most people are also receiving. It’s a giant circle of being nice.

We show up at someone’s home with a bottle of wine, some slices of homemade cake, or fruit from the garden. Whatever is on hand, a simple token of thanks goes a long way.

And if you have nothing to give, a smile and a compliment will brighten anyone’s day.

5. I stopped being a jack-of-all-trades and stuck with (and profited from) a single one.

I studied business. I should know my core strengths. Should. Through my 20s, I flitted from one job to another, with the excuse that I was making vertical jumps. In truth, I had a hard time settling down and developing core competencies.

Although I earned a finance degree, my natural inclination was in the arts. I studied drama, theater, and screenwriting. These technical skills were what allowed me to eventually take a chance and work for myself.

In Cyprus, my American accent was in demand. I had my own radio show and worked heavily in TV. Eventually, I launched a children’s theater school, teaching local and expat kids the love of drama.

Bottom line: Find out what makes you happy. Pick a trade and make money from it.

6. Learn the language—or at least some choice phrases.

Americans are really proud people. We believe we have the best nation in the world. But guess what? Many other people feel the same way about their country.

In under two years, I could speak the local language. Expats marveled at how I had picked up the language so quickly. (Turkish is not an intuitive language to learn as a native English speaker.)

But guess what? Locals loved it! Although English is widely spoken all over this fine planet, don’t be the rude traveler. Learn their language, their customs, and their culture. We are guests in their country.

7. The world is smaller than you think.

When we lived in Atlanta, my husband and I had exactly three visitors: an old friend from New York City who came down for a girls’ weekend and my parents the week after my daughter was born.

Strangely enough (note: This is sarcasm), living on a Mediterranean island elicited friends and family from far and wide to visit. They seemed in awe of our ability to pack up and move across the world.

High school, college, and grad school friends; distant cousins; siblings; and more all came in droves to visit. We even had a newlywed couple spend part of their honeymoon with us.

Communication and technology has been a lifeboat for me. Keep up with your old friends! You never know who may need a hand or a pillow to lay their head on for a few nights.


Why is Everyone Yelling?

Originally posted on Women Who Live on Rocks:


Moving to my rock was a family affair. I relocated with my husband, a local Cypriot, and my two young kids. We were warmly embraced by his family, who happily wrapped their arms around their long-lost son and his American bride. Then we sat down for a long, lengthy lunch and that’s when it happened:

The fighting.

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It started almost immediately. Somewhere between passing the souvlaki and the tzatziki, the voices went from happy banter playing with the new babies in the house to my husband and father-in-law having a “discussion”. I couldn’t understand what was being said since I hadn’t picked up Turkish yet at the time. It was just LOUD.

My eyes widened, my stomach twisting and knotting like it always does when I’m anxious. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to move to this island! Oh God, what did we do? Why did I quit my job? Why did we move out here to take over a family business?

After my husband and father-in-law’s apparent argument ended, my husband turned to me and smiled like nothing had happened. I eyed him quizzically. What’s wrong? I mouthed. He stared at me blankly, apparently having no idea what I was talking about.

And so was my first lesson in island living. People here are LOUD – plain and simple. That’s how they roll. I haven’t pinpointed the exact reason, but I have a few theories:

Why are islanders louder than Americans?

*click for image credit

Theory 1: It’s way hotter and everyone is annoyed.

Gone is the luxury of central air-conditioning. We sweat and glisten like all of Mother Nature’s other creatures – all while trying to accomplish the everyday business of living in the human world. And it gets freaking irritating. Take a moment and think of any dreaded chore – cleaning the house, cooking dinner, walking to work in a hurry – now add in extreme heat and the buckets of sweat that accompany it. Kind of makes you want to yell in frustration, doesn’t it?

Theory 2: There are fewer walls on the island to contain the volume.

Now hear me out. I think this theory actually makes sense. It’s somewhat scientific, considering how sound waves travel and bounce off of objects. The weather is more temperate here so people live and hang outside more. There are far fewer doors and walls surrounding us that trap noise. This means that people can shout, speak up, speak out, and it won’t bother the table beside them. Less walls = less bouncing of sound waves back to us = people yelling

Theory 3: Masculinity is tied to being the biggest – and most amplified.

Just like it is in the Animal Kingdom or your favorite Godfather movie, the patriarchal system on my rock is alive and well. Some men prove their masculinity by being the loudest and having the last word (we women ignore them). All that testosterone makes things noisy around these parts.

–   –   –

The loudness factor is definitely real here. My husband, for one, seems to be yelling constantly whenever he’s in the midst of happy banter with his buddies. But as soon as he switches to English, he’s the mild-mannered, chill guy I’m used to. This is across the board what I have witnessed all around my rock. Perhaps it’s the heat? The lack of walls? Excess testosterone? Who knows. But I have finally gotten used to it. My voice even elevates a couple of octaves now too when I break into my Turkish island-speak. And you know what? I kind of like it. It feels pretty good sometimes.

*click for image credit

Who said island life was supposed to be quiet anyway?

Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . .


Get your DREAM job in your DREAM country

Originally published on @EasyExpat


Photo from

On my sunny rock in the Med, there’s a certain untz untz untz beat that travels most radio waves and plays loudly on cars racing down dusty roads. Young men sporting large diamond earrings drawing on cigarettes, nodding their heads in tune. Their hairy, brown arms sticking out of the car window, slicing the air, fists pumping to the beat. Islanders call it “Garage” or “Club” music. Americans unabashedly call it Eurotrash.

My car doesn’t have a CD or cassette player; and there still is no such thing as satellite radio. I’m stuck listening to the radio. After 4 years of trying to appreciate Club Music, I had nearly given up. Then one day by chance, I was driving home from work as a Senior Lecturer of Finance at the American University. I was on a familiar road when a new sign, one I hadn’t seen before, popped up in front of a newly-constructed apartment building: “101.8 Radio Fog.” Interested, I switched immediately to the station and nearly broke into tears of joy in my Fiat. There, playing softly on a static-y radio wave were sounds of home.

American Pop music, grunge music, and even (seriously – I can’t believe it – COUNTRY music) floated through my car. I was in such shock, I turned my car back towards the sign. I parked my car and bolted through the front door. Two young employees sat behind computers on unassuming desks. The eyed me as I sprang through the door, breathless.

– “Do you speak English?” (my first question nowadays).

– “Yes,” a chic, green-eyed guy in black-rimmed glasses responded.

“I just want you to know how thankful I am that your station has opened! I love it! I’m American and am so happy to have American music playing“, I gushed.

As it turned out, Mr. Green-Eyed Glasses agreed there were far too many Club stations on the air and he far preferred pop/rock/grunge/country – all of my faves. The station was his idea and he was the Manager of Radio Fog.

Despite having an MBA in Corporate Finance, I never enjoyed pouring over spreadsheets and coming up with company valuations using a discounted cash flows model. I far preferred acting and writing. Back home, I took oodles of acting classes, participated in stage plays, and landed a couple of gigs in my spare time, when I wasn’t strapped to a desk, eyes glazed over an MS Excel worksheet. But in my new home country, I could recreate myself. I could be the better version of Claudia I knew I was supposed to have been, had I had the guts to try in the first place.

I stared straight at Mr Green-Eyed Glasses manager and offered my services.

If you ever need a jingle or a voice over, using my American accent, please let me know

The manager didn’t respond. Instead, he stared me up and down, trying to assess this random American girl in his makeshift office/apartment. We exchanged numbers and said our goodbyes. As it turned out, he asked a few people about me. On the rock, everyone needs to be put in a certain “box” – people must be categorized, labeled and then put into a mental filing cabinet. Claudia is married to Tony, who’s the son of Tulin, who worked as a biochemist at the State hospital with Teresa, my cousin’s wife’s mother. Since my story worked out and Mr. Green-eyed Glasses could put me in his mental filing cabinet, I got a call the following day.


I offered to record a jingle for free. But as luck or fate would happen, the station had just let their Morning Radio Host go, and they were looking to replace him. I could have free reign over content. And so began my 4-year role as the Radio Show Host on “The Morning Show with Claudia,” on the coveted time slot of 8 AM – 10 AM Mondays through Fridays.

What I discovered: being a trained American actress on the island is what made me unique. In the U.S., I would be a dime a dozen. My show highlighted secrets and smut of the Hollywood entertainment industry. Listeners all over the island thought it was broadcast in Los Angeles. They had no idea it was from a tiny, sound proof apartment in Nicosia.

Do you have a story of you landed your Dream Job? Please share! 

Discover your inner Aphrodite. . .


Pucker up with tart, sweet Pomegranate Molasses

First published on C’ville Weekly


You are probably familiar with the powerful antioxidant punches of the almighty pomegranate. Loaded with phytonutrients, pomegranates lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and increase the speed of heart blockages. They are also packed with fiber, vitamins C and K, and folate.

In the Mediterranean, October is the month of pomegranates. With pomegranates weighing down the thin, sharp tree boughs, their flowery, fragrant scent fills the air. The edible seeds burst to break free from the fruit’s thick skin.  If you happen to catch the splitting pomegranates too late, it can cause a real mess under the tree. The sticky, sweet sap stains terraces and wrought iron furniture. But that same sap is straight-out delicious. In the Mediterranean, when bags upon bags of pomegranates are collected from a single tree, we can make our own molasses by slowly cooking the pomegranate seeds down with water and sugar. We use this sap (let’s start calling it molasses or syrup) for centuries year-round. I am excited to now see this tasty condiment lining our grocers’ shelves in increasing frequency.

While pomegranates are the fruit of the Fall, pomegranate molasses really comes into its full use in the Spring.

Pomegranate molasses is the single secret weapon to enrich your favorite salad, vegetable or meat marinade. Slightly tart, slightly sweet, it’s the perfect combination for a tangy twist to your favorite meal (think lamb). The complex flavors of pomegranate molasses have many uses.

Below are some of my favorite uses of pomegranate molasses.

  1. Homemade salad dressing. The secret to a subtle, sweet, authentic Mediterranean salad dressing is a good-quality extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate molasses
  • 1 part extra virgin olive oil (my favorite is Trader Joe’s California Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1 part balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 part pomegranate molasses
  • Juice from a quarter of a lemon
  • Salt to taste

Whisk and pour over your favorite greens for a sweet and savory salad dressing. I promise: You will ditch your favorite bottle of Kraft after trying this one.


  1. Vegetables before grilling. Add a twist of sweet to your favorite veggies without a lot of excess calories. Brush a hint of extra virgin olive oil mixed with a few drops of pomegranate molasses on vegetables before they hit the grill for a burst of flavor. Portobello mushrooms and sliced eggplant, with their earthy notes, are particularly well-suited for a few drops of pomegranate sweetness.
  2. Meat marinades. For your favorite homemade kebabs, massage yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper and pomegranate molasses into lamb, pork and chicken. Marinade for at least 30 minutes to allow all the yummy sweetness to penetrate before grilling.
  3. Need a quick, light pick me up? Whisk a spoonful into some iced tea. I love a good spritzer in the hot summer months. For just a little bit of sweet without all the pucker, add a teaspoon (or less!) of pomegranate molasses into a homemade iced tea or some soda water for a light, refreshing taste.

Play with this versatile condiment and add a hint of complex, earthy, sour, sweet tones to your favorite meals, salads and drinks. But take heed: Not all pomegranate molasses is created equally. Some molasses is made with refined sugar to make it unnaturally sweet for the Western palate.

Hint: Look for pomegranate molasses with sugar as no higher than the 3rd ingredient on the list.

Introducing the Live Like a Goddess Summer Tour

Fellow Goddesses,

I’ve been writing articles for Live Like a Goddess for over a year now. The recurring comments I get when I teach a Mediterranean cooking class, give a speech, or write an article is . . . “I love the idea of a Mediterranean lifestyle, BUT I don’t really know how to apply it in my life.”

The other thing I always hear is “OMG, I would LOVE to go to the Mediterranean!”

Well, here’s your chance! Beginning Summer 2016 there will be a Live Like a Goddess Tour to get your Inner Goddess into full swing.


7 Days, 6 Night tour of Cyprus (the Mediterranean Island of Aphrodite)

July 30 – August 6, 2016


Merit Park Hotel is a 5-star, all-inclusive hotel, which includes 3 buffets per day, unlimited shelf drinks at any of the several beachside and poolside bars; beachside restaurant for salads, kebabs, pizzas; indoor bars; cappuccino, espresso and Turkish coffee bars, 24-hour Casino; daily ice cream socials; sushi snacks; and unlimited use of the spa center, including sauna, steam room and fitness center. The resort’s fabulous pool features a poolside bar, attentive staff bringing food and dinner and being next to the beach, guests can easily take part in the many water sports offered by the experienced staff.

Enjoy the Island of Aphrodite with your own (American/Cypriot) guide (me!) I have lived in Cyprus for over 8 years. I know the island inside, out, and will show you the very best of living like a Mediterranean goddess


Day 1:    Welcome to Cyprus, transfers to and from hotel, settling in. Unpack, relax, swim, eat and play

Day 2:   Introduction to Live Like a Goddess and the 5 Pillars of Goddess Living

Sunset Beach

  • After breakfast, join us for private belly dancing classes on the beach
  • Breakout group with LLG Founder Claudia Hanna to present overall healthier lifestyle guidelines, which are applied throughout the week.
  • Eat, drink and be merry during the day: time off to acclimate and enjoy the hotel, accommodations and Mediterranean!
  • Evening sunset cruise with 1 complimentary drink at 4 PM
  • Optional: tandem paragliding excursions may be organized by the Hotel Concierge for a mid-day or early evening pick-up. Highly recommended! See the coast from new heights. Cost of tandem paragliding and transportation paid directly to paragliding company

Day 3:   Day trip to ancient city of Famagusta – pack your bathing suits!

Salamis Columns

  • After breakfast, pick up at 9:00 AM
  • Visit Saint Barnabus Monastery and final resting spot
  • Visit ancient Roman city of Salamis (
  • Lunch
  • Walled City of Famagusta (Saint Nicholas’s Cathedral, The Othello tower, Djanboulat’s Bastion & Museum, Porta del Mare, Martinengo Bastion, the old Royal Palace, Namık Kemal Dungeon & Museum)
  • Return to hotel in time for dinner (about 8:00 PM)

Day 4:   Kyrenia Day and the authentic Farmer’s Market – bring some spending money this day to pick up souvenirs and amazing fruit and vegetables.

tomatoes vine

  • After breakfast, pick up at 9:00 AM for a tour of the weekly farmers’ market. Buy fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, assortment of nuts and desserts
  • Shopping tour of downtown Kyrenia for souvenirs
  • Lunch at the Kyrenia Harbor of fresh fish and local Cypriot mezzes
  • Return to hotel after lunch for swim, relaxation, dinner, downtime
  • Feel free to try your luck at the hotel casino!
  • Optional: scuba diving excursion may be organized by the Hotel Concierge for an afternoon pick-up. Additional fees paid directly to scuba company for pickup and service. Must be PADI and/or NAUI certified.

Day 5:   Aphrodite’s Temple and Vineyards – pack your bathing suits!

Aphrodite Temple

white wine

Day 6:   Hotel, Yoga, Scrub-down in a Turkish Hammam, Relaxing day


  • After a long day trekking through the fields where both Aphrodite and Cleopatra stepped, a day of relaxation and pampering is in order
  • After breakfast, join us for a private yoga lesson on the beach
  • A truly spectacular experience, the Turkish hammam was once the public bathhouse where people would gather to scrub off excess dirt and exfoliate dead skin. With a private room and personal assistant, the Turkish hammam is a relaxing, unforgettable experience.
  • Get your “fal” on! Enjoy a cup of Greek coffee (size of an espresso cup) and get your “fortunes” read by an expert.
  • Evening off to relax, eat, drink and be merry

Day 7:   Final Day of Live Like a Goddess Tour

  • Breakfast, pack and shuttle to the airport(s)

Coastline 16

Total Price for hotel, full board, transportation on the island, and all the activities listed above, including gratuity (excluding airfare): $1275 per person, based on double occupancy


Grab a friend and join me for an unforgettable trip this summer! For more information and to register for your own Live Like a Goddess Tour, email me

Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . .

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