One Year Young: 'For the Intolerants' Celebrates a Blogiversary (+ Giveaway)!

One Year Young: ‘For the Intolerants’ Celebrates a Blogiversary (+ Giveaway)!

Let’s see, exactly one year ago today I was here:

The Red Pyramid.

The Red Pyramid at Dahshur.

 Ok, I wasn’t exactly there, but I was pretty close…I was here:

...with the old...

The island of Zamalek, smack in the middle of Cairo, Egypt. Yes, that Egypt.

I was busy working and yoga-ing, enjoying down time with friends, and forever exploring one of the the most populous countries in the Middle East. I was also doing my best to hang onto my sanity, which was fast dwindling after a little over 3 years of Cairo living. The pollution, sexual harassment and deteriorating social/political situation – along with a few other things – were really starting to grate on my last nerve. I felt like a guest who had overstayed her welcome at a party that should have ended hours ago. Though I knew the time would come to pack up my expat life and take it elsewhere, I wasn’t at all sure when that would happen and where the next point of entry would be.

It was into this chaos that For the Intolerants was born.

one year

Tired of getting bogged down in the negative sentiments that were brewing at the time, and caught up in the countless frustrations as well, I decided to try some reverse psychology. I started this blog as 1) a personal project to get into the habit of writing creatively in my free time, and 2) an attempt to focus on all the good things, the nice things, the profound things that were related to being an intolerant expat living in Cairo. If you’ve followed my musings over the last year, you’ll notice that I don’t post “bad reviews” or hand out ratings that slide on some starry scale. I don’t do this because I would rather not dwell on the negativity, and it’s not in my best interest to waste a single word to create a post about a place or an experience I didn’t like.

That’s what comment cards and emails to senior management are for.

Instead, I’ve given myself over to ranting about the beautiful things, the finer things I’ve come across, like the Intolerant-friendly focaccia I recently had in San Francisco that I nearly sobbed tears of of delight into. Or the organic goodness at a restaurant in Istanbul that was so delectable I had to revisit the place three times in one week. Or throwing back the lovingly-prepared koshary in Cairo that was made with locally sourced ingredients that managed to feed my soul as much as teaching back-to-back yoga classes did.

Getting ready to yoga it up at Nun. Not a bad space to get centered and focus on your practice, no?

Getting ready to yoga it up.

Choosing to develop For the Intolerants in this way has been quite the learning experience and it has given me the opportunity to see the places I live in, and travel to, in a whole different light. It’s been rewarding, it’s been a challenge, it’s been a process.

It’s been a journey.

One year on, and 365 sleeps to the day when I published my first post, I now find myself here:

Crossing over - from Brooklyn to Queens via the Pulaski Bridge.

Crossing over – from Brooklyn to Queens via the Pulaski Bridge.

Where I get to do all sorts of things that include this:

Pimp my ride.

Pimp my ride.

this:

Getting arty farty, over and over...and over again.

Getting arty farty, over and over…and over again.

…and this:

Let's eat, drink and be merry. Ok, so I was doing this before, but hey...I'm still doing it, that's what counts.

Let’s eat, drink and be merry. Ok, so I was doing this before, but hey, I’m still doing it, and that’s what counts.

It’s been five months since I left the amorphous and riotous city of Cairo behind to settle into the cacophony and diverse shores of New York City. Though it wasn’t an easy journey and there are people and things I miss desperately, I haven’t looked back. I think this transformation has been reflected in the natural evolution of For the Intolerants. While food and travel are still the bedrock of this site, I’ve branched out to rant about all sorts of things including: unconventional sightseeing suggestions, musings on style, worthwhile places to spend your hard earned cash, more serious commentaries on a handful of culture, society and expat living-related issues, as well as several fabulous guest posts thrown into the mix.

I’ve had the opportunity to learn about things I thought I would never, ever, need to use. Concepts that come wrapped up in abbreviations like: SEO, SERP, CPM, ROI and HTML.

*sigh*

As they say: onwards and upwards.

Over the course of this past year I’ve also had the good fortune of interacting with some fantastic people along the way. Individuals who are manifesting their own incredible journeys and are eager to share their ideas, experiences and small parts of their lives. While some of these meetings have taken place in “the real world,” the majority have been within the confines of the informationsuperhighway. Regardless of how we’ve met or the type of interaction we’ve had, I’ve learned something from all the colourful characters I’ve encountered via For the Intolerants. I hope to continue nurturing the relationships I’ve made with #bloggerfriends (you know who you are), and I look forward to collaborating and exchanging ideas with the people I meet between now and August 29, 2014…when this Intolerant becomes yet another year older and wiser.

Now since I’m getting sentimental I’ll take a moment to thank, well you dearest Reader! To each and every person who has stopped by For the Intolerants – whether you’ve read all 154 posts or have only dissected a few – thank you! I hope you’ll continue to read and give feedback, not only today, but in the next 365 days and beyond.

blogiversary

So in honour of this mini-milestone and as a way to say ‘thank you’ to my readers, this Intolerant is having her first ever #giveaway! It’s a modest something that speaks to the ethos of this site, which is: give yourself up to good food, good travel and good living.

Because there isn’t enough time NOT to indulge.

It's chocolate so good, you'll cry. No really, you will.

It’s chocolate so good, you’ll cry. No really, you will.
(Photo courtesy of Fine & Raw)

Getting in on the action is Brooklyn-based chocolatier Fine & Raw who has generously agreed to sponsor my blogiversary/birthday giveaway, and will provide one lucky winner with three gourmet Fine & Raw cacao confections!  

To the chocolate factory we go!

To the chocolate factory we go! Photo courtesy of Fine & Raw

Fine & Raw is a company on a mission is to save the world “through silliness and chocolate” (which sounds like a good plan, no?). They create their sweets using innovative low heat techniques that maintain the chocolate’s vitality and flavor, and they have some pretty unique options to choose from like the robust 78% & nibs, the textured lucuma & vanilla, a truffle-lined bonbon bar, a sea salt beauty and the fiery mesquite. Having indulged in their goods myself I can safely say: this chocolate is delicious. Mouthwatering even. It’s organic. It’s GMO-free, eco-friendly and socially responsible (aka: Fair Trade) to boot.

It’s chocolate so good you’d be mad to consider sharing.

But if you do dare to share, well…you better love that person. A LOT.

For the Intolerants has teamed up with Fine & Raw to share the birthday love!

For the Intolerants has teamed up with Fine & Raw to share the birthday love!
(Photo courtesy of Fine & Raw)

To enter to win this trio of chocolate goodness send a descriptive blurb (150 words max.) OR a photo with a blurb about one of your favourite intolerant-friendly places (a restaurant, café, place, etc.) in the city where you currently live. All entries can be sent by email to editor@fortheintolerants.com or via the comment field below. Submissions should include your name, where you’re from and your website URL (if you have one, if not you can still enter).

*Note: giveaway is open to US residents only! (There will be something in store next year for my non-US readers)*

Be creative, feel free to get as far outside of the box as you’d like and just have fun with it! The giveaway ends September 10th, 2013 at 23:59EST. I’ll feature the winning blurb and/or photo in a post on September 12th, 2013 and your Fine & Raw chocolates will be shipped shortly after that.

I look forward to reading/viewing your entries. Until then, let’s raise our glasses, put our hands up and celebrate a blogiversary!

It’s time for the Intolerants to unite.

****

To ogle more of their artisanal chocolates check out Fine & Raw on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.