souvenirs from Israel

Because it's the weekend, and it has been scientifically proven that on the weekend, the people of the internet can only read lists, here's a list of little tokens I brought home that keep reminding me of our trip to Israel.

Halvah || Have you ever tasted hummus and thought, "this might taste good as candy?" No? Well, you're wrong. In that bowl on the left sits the flaky, sweet middle eastern candy known as halvah. Although not actually hummus candy, halvah is sesame candy, and ground up sesame seeds are tahini, and tahini is a crucial component of hummus, so, close enough. I am obsessed with this stuff, and finished off my entire duty-free container in a matter of days. (if I can't read the nutrition facts due to their being in Hebrew or Arabic, it's healthy, right?) Then, the first chance I got, I visited my local Middle Eastern grocery store and bought a giant vat that came complete with English nutrition facts. Rude.

Cheap pashmina || Displays of these scarves were set up conspicuously in every single market, just waiting to trap tourists like myself. I chose this green one because it reminded me of the bright blues and greens of Akko. Also I've been told I look good in green. 

Tea set || I don't actually own these PiP Studio dishes -- yet. Some of these mismatched dishes and teacups waited for us in our room at the Efendi, and it was out of one of the tea cups that I drank wine on the roof while watching the sunset -- a top ten Israel memory. I recently discovered that the brand is available on Amazon and pretty much everything is on my wish list.

Hamsa | Similar to the evil eye in Greece, the hamsa is a universal sign of protection. Much like the scarves, walls of hamsas are set up in every place you might find tourists.

Jewelry | Top left: I discovered the jewelry designer Shani Jacobi at a tiny store in an unassuming strip mall, and I'm in love with everything she makes -- but these earrings especially. Top right and bottom: I bought the delicate feather necklace at an arts market in Tel Aviv with the help of Y's uncle, who made sure that the Hebrew-speaking artist and I understood each other. Helpful, because I really don't understand Hebrew -- so much so that I didn't realize that Y's uncle was also buying me the matching earrings. So sweet, right? 

This is a really great story to tell when you want to see if someone is listening to you-- I told it to some co-workers and one of them said, "how romantic!" 

She was not listening. 

Toiletries | At the Efendi hotel, our shower was stocked with this Delicate Jasmine shampoo and conditioner by Sabon, a company founded in Tel Aviv. I obviously kept it (because I'm Ross) and now I might be slightly obsessed and buying it for everyone I think deserves a little spa indulgence. Tip: before giving your mother-in-law jasmine-scented hand lotion, read the label that says that jasmine is actually an aphrodisiac and this lotion is very "sensual". Oops.