Archive for the ‘~ Wellness Wednesday’ Category

I have been meaning to post recipes here, but life and such has been getting in the way. I have a few recipes photographed and they simply need to be edited and posted.  But but but but…

Anyway, it has been unbelievably hot in Los Angeles these days and my brain doesn’t always function fully when it is this hot. Not to mention my sense of humor tends to take a vacation and land itself into dreamland where there is a nice pool, a nice ocean breeze, and someone who cooks and cleans for her.

I don’t know about you, but just like my sense of humor I like little weekend getaways to places where there is plenty of things to do yet there is also plenty of time to just sit around read a book or just hang out with cool people.

Here is a fun thing I have done and if you want a fun weekend where you can go back in time and be a kid again at camp, then you must check this little fun event out from Friday September 25th to Sunday September 27th in Catalina Island.


I just look at the picture above and I just want to dive right in.  You know why? You see that rock?  It is my favorite place to go snorkeling. Amen.

We all need vacations where we can just forget about it all and have some good times! So my advice today for Wellness Wednesday is reward yourself with vacations!


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Last week The Sous Chef and I along with a friend took a road trip up north. We left our dog with our trusted friend Mr. B who has a dog of his own Tucker. It is nice to have friends who have dogs who can dogsit while you are gone and vise versa.

We were into our third day of good times and had just ended our first tour of wine tasting at one of the wineries in Sonoma. We went outside to sit on the patio to enjoy the views. I was feeling a little tipsy just from the four different types of wine that we had tried. I noticed that there was a message on my phone. Upon checking my voicemail my heart nearly stopped beating as only two words seemed to have registered in my brain: “lost” and “dog.” I panicked. For a split second all I could think of was my wonderful, sweet, submissive, and unable to survive in the wild for 1 hour dog being lost in the mountains of Idyllwild and being eaten by coyotes. Of course I went immediately into the worst case scenario possible. I re-listened to the message while my heart was beating so hard that I thought it was going to break my rib cage, slice open my skin, and fly out of my body.

The message was from Avid, the company that tracks lost pets based on the information on their chip. Someone had found my dog’s dogtag and had called the number to report having found it.

I took a deep breath because I immediately knew that my sweet baby was not lost because the dogtag found was the one that belonged to Avid, which lives on my keychain. I figured out that somehow it had fallen off the keychain while The Sous Chef was carrying it the day before.

It is a good thing to know that the info works and they do call you, although, I got the message a whole 24 hours later. Anyway, I carry the Avid dogtag on my keychain because I always have it with me anywhere I go. Our dog not only is chipped but also wears a nametag with my cell phone number as well as The Sous Chef’s cell number on it, but she also wears a second tag that has her rescue group’s number on it. So really, who ever finds her would have a choice of three numbers to call before having to take her somewhere were the chip info can be scanned.

Anyway, I called the company back and they gave me to person’s name, Bryan, and his number. I called him and sure enough he had found the dogtag on the street in Berkeley and he was kind enough to put it in an envelop and send it to our home address.

I re-uncounted this whole story because it is what I call a random act of kindness. Bryan didn’t have to pick-up the dogtag, take the time to call Avid, or mail it to me for that matter. But he did. And for that I am extremely grateful.

It is refreshing to see people who are kind and considered. But most importantly, and ironically, it was a reminder of “what goes around comes around.” I say ironically because I had a conversation with The Sous Chef recently precisely about how I feel that it seems that I notice more and more a lack of kindness and consideration by others, especially those who you actually give to.  I find people who are takers very hard to deal with. It gets tiring to give and give while simply receive back a lack of appreciation or at times a thank you.

What happened this past week was a good example of what The Sous Chef reminded me. In a nutshell sometimes you get back kindness from people who you least expect it from or know for that matter, and not from those whom you have given to. It is all about what you put out in the universe. It will come back, one way or the other.

Have you experienced a random act of kindness?

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A couple of weeks ago the Los Angeles Times ran the article Better Sleep, Better Living, which I found very interesting.  I meant to blog about the subject matter for that week’s Wellness Wednesday.  However, I ended up blogging about the post-election chaos in Iran instead, as it was heavily on my mind.

What type of sleeper are you? I used to be a deep sleeper. Somehow as I have gotten older that has changed.  I am not a morning person, yet, I have never been one of those people who can sleep in or sleep until past noon.  When I used to have a regular 8 to 5 job I always struggled to get out of bed in the morning, yet when the weekend came around I could not sleep past 8am, a whole two hours later than my usual wake up time during the week.

Interestingly, my sleep patterns do not reflect the outcome of the study presented in the article. As I have gotten older my sleep patterns have also become affected about how I feel. If there is something that bothers me profoundly, I will lose sleep over it. I have been known to toss and turn all night unable to sleep.

There are also other things that can have an impact on my sleep. I won’t talk to you about the hardship falling  asleep and all the nightmares that I would have the night before any exam.  The nightmares were always the same, I either never made it to the exam because I get lost or I had no means to get there OR I just sat there and because I forget everything.

I have found that there are also other factors that can affect my sleep. I know that it is in my best interest to stay away from coffee or strong tea in the afternoon, as well as not have a heavy dinner.  I have also found that Chamomile Tea works like a charm. It completely relaxes me and I eventually fall asleep.

Two other points of interest for me about the article were “cooling the brain” and “happy, rested couples.” I kind of chuckled at both.  Cooling the brain, yeah, I really have an issue with that. Sometimes, there are so many things going on in my head that I don’t seem to be able shut down my brain at night.  It is crazy how at times I have solved issues in my sleep simply because my brain just didn’t stop working.  Point and case,  last Friday morning I woke up and had a solution in regards to what to do with our dog while we are going on our road trip.  I woke up with a plan for the pending logistics of the last two days of it.

Now without reveling too much…my comment to the following quote was: YOU DON’T SAY!!!!

The quality of a couple’s sleep and relationship tend to follow the same trajectory, researchers said. On a day-to-day basis, a couple’s relationship affects how well they sleep. And how well they sleep affects how the relationship functions the following day.

Holly mother of God if that ain’t true, I don’t know what is! I have spent a few sleepless nights when I was furious with my significant other.  If things were bad the night before, then you better believe it that they are not going to be any better after a night spent tossing and turning!!

They always say that sleep can have an effect on your mood, alertness, state of mind, and weight.  I always try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep.  I find that if I go past that, I don’t feel as good.  I also know that it is not as easy for me to go back to sleep once awakened in the middle of the night. I hate being awakened for this very issue.  You may be so amused to know that The Sous Chef works nights and gets home around 3am.  So needless to say that I don’t really get the luxury of having continues sleep because I get awakened by his not so subtle entrance. Or that he complains about the fact that The Dog and I have left him no room on the bed or there is not enough covers for him.  Or the latest? He woke me up one day last week at crack of dawn telling me to stop pinching him. In my perplexity over the accusation all I could utter was, “how can I pinch you if I was asleep?” But he was convinced and angry that I was pinching him.  Seriously, I had better things to do, such such as sleep! In retrospect, it may have been true, it must have been my subconscious mind telling my fingers to pinch him for waking me up as much as he does!!!!

Have you ever pondered about your own sleeping patterns?

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Wellness Wednesday

It has been an emotional couple of weeks filled with ups and downs. I am sad that many innocent lives have been lost and people’s voices have been silenced. However, there is a part of me that feels that things will never be the same.  I have been deeply touched and humbled by the outreach of care and love towards the Iranians who bravely took the streets in Iran.

I came across these videos tonight. Never in my life I thought I would witness such a tribute.  I have always liked Jon Bon Jovi and have been teased about it all my life about. Now, in this moment, I like them even more than ever before.  The video below is simply amazing.

Music has an amazing way of reaching one’s heart and soul.  This is simply amazing to the point where I have goose bumps all over.

This is yet another proof that the world has witnessed the struggle of the people of Iran. We may not be there with them, but they are heavily on our minds and in our prayers. We still wish nothing but their wellness and freedom.

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Hundreds of thousands of Mousavi supporters gathered in Freedom Square to protest.

Hundreds of thousands of Mousavi supporters gathered in Freedom Square to protest. Source: guardian.co.uk

I had a completely different post in mind for this week’s Wellness Wednesday than what you are about to read. It has never been my intention in any shape, way, or form to talk about politics on this blog. My purpose for creating this blog was, and still is, to introduce Persian cuisine and culture to anyone who cares to read about it. However, today I feel the need to talk about something that has been heavily on my mind for the past few days. Forgive me for the long post, but there is a flood of emotions running through me.

Last week we flew to Seattle for our friend Winford’s graduation from University of Washington. I have known Winford for about twelve years. We met in an economics course while we were both pursuing our undergraduate degrees. I was there for his undergrad graduation and lucky me, I was able to be there for his graduate school graduation.

Friday night Winford had a party at his house and I was able to meet his new friends in Seattle. I enjoyed talking to every one of them, but one of the most memorable conversations was with one of his friends Jason.  I was rather surprised when he asked me if I was excited about the elections in Iran and how I felt about it. My first reaction to this question was: wow, he knows what is going on in Iran and he is not Iranian. Perhaps, I may have disappointed him when I truthfully told him that I had lost hope many moons ago about what would become of Iran. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed talking to him and learning that he has always had a fascination with Iran, follows the news about what is going on there, and that someday he would like to visit.

You see, that simple statement touches my heart in ways that I can’t describe, because it is very refreshing for me to meet people who look beyond politics and see Iranians as people. What I mean by that is the fact that we are always associated with the word “terrorist,” and people that don’t know better think that we are all a bunch of ignorant fundamentalists. Sadly, such people don’t ever take the time to reason that the views of a government are not necessarily the views of the people of that country.

I have lived the majority of my life outside of Iran and have been treated as someone from a third world country more times than I care to admit.  I find this to be a huge misconception about my people because there are many highly educated Iranians around the glob.  Additionally, in United States we are the one minority, or immigrants, who are highly educated and successful professionals. Additionally, being religious and following your religion does not in any shape, way or form make you a fundamentalist. What makes a person a fundamentalist, or a fanatic, is when they use religion as an excuse to hurt or kill others.

I would be a liar if I said that people’s reaction to my nationality have not bothered me. They have. Profoundly. In ways that I have resented being born in Iran and Muslim.  When I left Iran for the last time in the mid 80s I swore I was never going back. I planned to ask my mother to let me get baptized, and I secretly wished that I could change my last name to my step-father’s Italian last name. I never ended up doing either, because for one thing, I have never been religious enough to want to pursue a whole different religion, and well, changing my last name was too complicated.

This resentment followed me for many years and it wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I started feeling more comfortable with who I am, as a whole.  I came to realize that regardless of what happens in my life or where I live, I will always feel an emotional attachment to my birth land. I also started focusing on the good memories and attributes of being Iranian, verses the negative events that had shaped my life while I lived in Tehran.

I have always felt that I have been lucky enough to have left and given the opportunity to live in countries where I have a voice and freedom of speech.  Yet, at times I feel a deep sense of guilt for having had this opportunity while many others have not. In the eighties I always prayed, and let me be brave and say that I believed, that one day the fundamentalist would leave Iran because no one was happy because they made everyone’s lives miserable. By 1989, their tenth anniversary, I was left disappointed and bewildered by the fact that they had been in power for ten long years. By the time the twentieth anniversary rolled around I had lost all hope, because it had become evident to me that people in Iran had absolutely no voice and if they chose to speak they would be imprisoned, tortured, or killed, without any reservation.

This past February marked the 30th anniversary of the revolution. Thirty years of my life I have lived resenting what has become of my birth land. I have resented them for putting us through a war for eight years, brain washing people, taking Islam to a level that in my heart I firmly believe that Prophet Mohammad never intended for it to be, have killed many innocent people, and have ruined the reputation of our culture and history. And most importantly, I resent them because they punished members of my family for having worked for the previous government on both my mother’s and my father’s side. I resent them for having executed two of my aunts’ husbands on my father’s side for being high ranked in the military leaving eight of my cousins fatherless. I resent them even more for imprisoning my favorite uncle on my father’s side for having been in the military, only releasing him for poor health nine years later. Unfortunately, he left us soon after due to leukemia leaving behind two young sons. Fortunately, on my mother’s side no one died, but many were stripped of everything they worked for and humiliated.

So when I was asked what I think about the elections, these are the things that come to my mind. Ironically, I found out about the results of the elections as we were sitting on the plane waiting to take off Saturday night. I was watching CNN and they announced the results and people’s reaction. This was yet another disappointment and slap in the face. Just when you start thinking that there might be a chance, one small opportunity, it all goes up in dust.

So today, I would like to ask you to keep all the Iranians who are fighting for their vote in Iran in your prayers. It is heartbreaking to watch what is being unfold and the violence. I feel helpless, but I am choosing to be hopeful for the Iranian youth who has shown so much courage in the past few days. Statistically, 70% of the population in Iran is young; I truly believe that they hold the future of Iran in their palms. I am cheering for them and keeping them in my prayers. Of course it is easy for me to say go on, go out there and risk your life, as I am sitting here at my desk typing this post in the safe haven of the South Bay. But there is nothing I can do. All I can do is make sure that people understand that those out in the streets protesting are trying to fight for a change and demand for their votes.  The footage seen all over, either on YouTube or pictures, is gruesome. But please understand that it wouldn’t be this way if the government didn’t exercise their violent antics. The Iranians out in the streets are crying out to the world that they want change. There has been, there is, and there will be a lot of blood shed, but I am hopeful that this time it will lead to a change for the better.

In conclusion, I would like to share a couple of sources for information about the latest news out of Iran:

On Twitter:

One of my favorite Twitters with up-to-date info about Iran and all things Persian: Persian_Twitts

Selma Twitting: Salma1

Worth reading:

Iran Protests: Twitter, the Medium of the Movement Time.com

Fresh protest under way in Tehran – BBC

guardian.co.uk photo gallery

Last but not least, I ask you to pray for the wellness of all the protesters seeking a better Iran while leaving you with this powerful song, “Imagine, Iranian peace song. The song is in Farsi with subtitles in English within the video.

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june 2009 (Small)

Happy Wednesday People!

Today’s post is about laughter. I am a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine for the soul. I love to laugh and I can be heard from a distance when I laugh. It is good to laugh!

I love comedies and totally love movies that make me laugh out loud. The Sous Chef and I laughed quiet a bit last Friday night when we went to see “My Life in Ruins.”  I may have snorted a few times from laughing so hard too… 🙂

If you liked “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” you will probably enjoy this new movie by Nia Vardalos. It was especially funny for me as we just came back from a month long backpacking trip in Europe.

Hey, can I tell you a little secret? Come closer.

If you go to the watch a movie at the Del Amo mall, you can get discounted tickets at the Jhonny Rockets with the purchase of a hamburger, fries, and soda.  Not only that, you can take your food inside the movie theater. We didn’t know until after we bought our tickets, but it is a pretty sweet deal. 😉

So go on out and have yourself a good laugh!

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May 2009 073 (Small)

Last week I learned through a twitter update from Pinch My Salt that King Arthur Flour was giving away free flour for Bake2Share. So not to be the one to miss out on an opportunity to do something that involves doing good by giving to others, I went to the website and filled out the necessary form.

I ordered a bag of flour for myself and one for one of my favorite people who I thought would enjoy partaking in something like this.

Much to my excitement the bag of flour arrived today! Now I need to decide who I am going to bake for and what I am going to bake!!! 🙂

Sometimes the littlest things lift your spirit and that of others.

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