Santana Row for the Weekend

This weekend, I’ll be heading toward the South Bay for some belated-birthday pampering from my boyfriend.

First, he’s back in California and more importantly, the Bay Area. He lives in the South Bay and though it’s still not too close to Berkeley, I am in no way complaining. Portland, you’re great, but I’m still bitter you took him from me for a year. Anyways…

Their styles are in the "menu" section, so it seems like a bar. Super adorable, yet very classy.

Their styles are in the “menu” section, so it seems like a bar. Super adorable, yet very classy.

For his gift to me, he has booked me an appointment at Dry Bar, a blow out bar hair salon. No cuts, no color, just blow dry and style.  I’m excited for it, since I usually don’t get my hair styled much. He wants me hair straight, but isn’t going to be upset if I choose something else.
They have 8 different blow out styles and all of them are a flat rate and include a wash! Ah! Pampering for a little night out on the town! Did I not mention what we’re doing after?

We’re exploring Santana Row in San Jose–an upscale shopping center that Carlos Santana owns.

It has a ton of shops, a ton of restaurants and just a lot of cool places to see.  I cannot wait!

It’ll be nice to hang out with just him. We’ve been doing things a lot of groups of friends, which is great and I love it! But we need some bf/gf time and tomorrow will be just that.

So I’m not sure what kind of food we’re getting, but I’ll definitely try to do a post where I review the restaurant. Trying a new place has been happening a lot since I’ve moved to Berkeley–but I always get excited about trying new restaurants. Sorta wish I had more restauranteurs with me in Berkeley to try things more often. Though it honestly gives me an excuse to cook more.

Well that’s my next mini adventure. I’ll end it off with a little bit of Carlos Santana in honor of this weekend:

 

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Bezerkeley!

I apologize for how long I have been MIA on this. I had so many plans and they all fell through.  

However, now that I have moved into Berkeley and have been eating and cooking my way through the city, I have a great deal of inspiration for posts! I’ve been cooking more, eating at a lot of great places, but also trying to be healthier in my eating choices. We’ll see how it works.  My roommates and I try to cook every Wednesday together. Last week we made enchiladas with soyrizo. It was amazing! 

Also, there are so many places to visit in the East Bay and in Berkeley! My boyfriend and I plan on taking many hikes around the area–which we still need to arrange. 🙂 The other day though, him, myself and 2 of our friends went on a hike to Muir Woods! it was gorgeous being out there. And I had to face my fear a little on some parts (we went off the normal path a bit). Even though this isn’t in the East Bay, it’s still an exciting place I visited!

And music. I’ve been really getting into a lot of Of Monsters and Men (which we know already) but also Passion Pit, Matt and Kim, and other bands with similar sounds. I don’t know how to describe it but electronic alternative rock? If that even makes sense. PLUS, Lara Downes, a woman I worked with at the Mondavi Center at  UC Davis, is performing at Yoshi’s in April and I really want to check her out. She is so talented and such a great person. I feel I owe it to her to support her. 

See?! Lots of ideas. Now I just need to delegate time to writing it all down. 🙂

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Quick Update!

This won’t be a long post, but I just wanted to update that I got an apartment in Berkeley with 2 of my friends my college! I’m really excited for this new change in my life and how much easier my commute will be to work. 

Though the apartment is small, its in great condition, near BART and a ton of buses, and not far from downtown Berkeley. I’m so excited! I was nervous about moving out of my parents house, cause I know I’ll miss them and it’s comfortable to be in familiarity. But I know I need to do this, to be more independent and not get complacent. 

That is all for now! I’ll update with more music, food, and travels later!

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Fascinated By My Fascination with Food

Food helps me so much.  Not just for nutrients, but whenever I am sad or happy, food either fuels the happiness or comforts the sadness.  It’s not news that many people eat when they’re sad and upset (or happy I guess.  But I only crave a galleon of ice cream when I’m super sad. Usually, I just crave a pint.).  I’m jut another person in the world who finds comfort in food when something bad or sad happens.  Although I don’t want to get into details about why I’m sad (I’m learning not to dwell on things and just move forward), I do find it fascinating how much I’m fascinated by food.

Cooking, eating, and even watching other people cook is so comforting and soothing to me.  I love all the colors in food, crave the flavors whenever I hear people talk about them (ESPECIALLY Nigella Lawson.  She has such a way with words regarding food.Nigella Cooks Caramel Croissant Pudding), and feel excitement when I’m cooking.  Since I’m getting a little better at cooking, I’m becoming more confident and feel very much in control while in the kitchen. Cooking and food just takes me to a different place in my life.   I’m not an expert in the culinary world or anything, but I am so eager to learn and actually cook.  It’s one of the few things in life that catches my attention and usually keeps it (unless it’s watching Ina Garden. She might have good recipes, but I think she’s odd and never gets me excited about cooking).

I look at this Duck Confit and drool.

Eating food is a whole different thing for me, too! When I try delicious food (which is just about anything), I fall in love with it.  My mouth starts popping with so many flavors and textures, I love all the different colors and presentations and trying new things gets me excited! I watch all these food/ cooking shows and just imagine eating everything they present–whether it’s a double bacon cheeseburger or duck confit, I want to taste it all!

Naturally, when I am upset and I just need to stop crying, food is the obvious solution.  Today, luckily, I had planned on making Lime Bars for a small party at work. In the middle of everything, I found comfort in focusing on zesting limes, squeezing the juice, and mixing the rest of the ingredients.  I basically had no problems (except for the zester being a little difficult) while I was in the kitchen and just focused on the task at hand.  Then, while those were baking, I had a rather large turkey, pesto mayo sandwich, that I had intended to have half of and save the rest for later.  But since I was already in a not-so-great place, I ate the whole thing. My mouth sometimes doesn’t like to listen to my stomach or my head and just keep eating.

I have such a love for food and hate when I take advantage of it. I knew that the sandwich was tasty and I knew I could eat it all. (Many refer to me as, “bottomless pit,” or, “garbage disposal.”) I also knew how much it would make me feel better.  And it did. Eating the turkey, with the delicious pesto mayo, on nice focaccia bread hit the spot for me. But I realized after I ate the sandwich, I shouldn’t have let that happen. Although I pride myself on not being a picky eater (hence the nicknames), I think now is the time to be picky about how I eat food and the kinds of food I eat.  I do attempt to find healthier options to have in my apartment, but with a low budget like mine, it gets a bit difficult.

My relationship with food is a great one, but sometimes I use it to get me out of a funk I’m in.  I realize that’s not always a bad thing, but I know I need to be careful when it comes to that. I’ve considered various “diet” plans, where I don’t cut anything out, but decrease the amount I eat of a certain food. Because I think diets are silly and it’s all about moderation.  But I really need to think about how to make this relationship satisfying and beneficial for myself. We’ll see what happens.

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“Well tell her that I miss our little talks…”

I was on that bridge! It was spectacular!

This past weekend, I visited Portland for the second time this year.  And it was great! I went to the Multnomah Falls, saw some friends at a BBQ, ate a lot, and even went to the Japanese Garden! But saying good-bye to my boyfriend this time around was much harder than any other good-bye.

While I was in Portland though, I kept hearing this song: Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men. At first I thought nothing of it, but then I started really listening to the lyrics…

“I don’t like walking around this old and empty house
So hold my hand, I’ll walk with you my dear

The stairs creak as I sleep, it’s keeping me awake
It’s the house telling you to close your eyes

Hmm… sounds like a similar conversation my boyfriend and I have had…

These phrases just reminded me of our long distant relationship.  I mean the whole song did–not just because I kept hearing it in Portland and now it reminds me of the city, but for some reason, I relate to the lyrics.

I know that the bridge isn’t exactly our relationship, but I see something in those words.

You’re gone gone gone away
I watched you disappear
All that’s left is a ghost of you
Now we’re torn torn torn apart, there’s nothing we can do
Just let me go we’ll meet again soon
Now wait wait wait for me
Please hang around
I’ll see you when I fall asleep

Yes, we are still together and no we are not a ghost to each other, but… somehow our long distant relationship can fit this.  We’re “torn” apart due to him being in Portland and me in Northern California, we had to let each other go when I left Portland or whenever he visits and leaves me. We think about each other all the time and even have dreams of each other. All this may seem cliché or ridiculous, but every time I hear this song, I think about our relationship.

I think about how hard it’s been for us: how much we miss each other, how talking on the phone or video chatting just isn’t the same, and how much we want to stay together, even if we are not in the same state.  Mainly, this song reminds me of all the strength we’ve had for each other.  When I start to cry during our skype sessions, he always finds a way to cheer me up and make me laugh.  When he gets so lonely and upset about not being near me, I remind me that going through the tough stuff will make being together that much better.

“Little Talks” most likely isn’t about a long distant relationship, it might even be some sort of break up or break down song for a person in a relationship, but the greatest thing about music is that there is always room for interpretation–there’s always a way to relate to a song, a lyric, a beat.  It’s my favorite thing about music, finding ways to relate to songs and seeing how they remind me of my life and my experiences.  Cause that’s music! It’s life, love, experiences, pain, suffering, survival, happiness, emptiness, it’s anything you feel and remember when you hear it, sing it, or write it!

That’s why I need it. Cause when I’m sad and thinking about how much I miss my guy, hearing this song reminds me of our strength and the good times we’ve had–and the many more to come.

“Though the truth may vary
This ship will carry
Our bodies safe to shore.”

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A Sad Day Today…

Music is a powerful thing.  It influences people to be themselves, to rebel, to stand out. And the Beastie Boys were the epitome  of all that and more.

Hearing that Adam “MCA” Yauch had passed away was really hard. I honestly did not want to believe it. Him and the two other Beastie Boys seemed immortal to me.  They made songs that helped Hip Hop enter a whole different level of music and did it on their own terms.

I know that I wasn’t necessarily the generation of Beastie Boys.  I grew up with them as a kid, not fully understanding the lyrics, but enjoying the music none the less. As I grew older, the group was already at a maturity level that helped me better understand the world we live in and see the positive affects people can have on the world. MCA was one of those guys I loved hearing, not just rap, but speak.  He truly had a way with words and honestly believed in peace and love.

Being a Palestinian American woman, I found him inspiring.   He helped me see the Middle East.  Younger, I was very confused about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I had a family who was very biased toward Palestine and had every right to be–they were one of the families that fled Palestine to avoid anymore endearment of the conflict.  I guess I always saw Israel, Palestine, and the whole Middle East as violent.  And 9/11 didn’t help.

I wasn’t bullied or judged as much as I know many other Arabs and Muslims were in America, but I did have some stupid questions asked to me– and some questions I wasn’t sure how to answer.  Do you hate Jews? Are you going to bomb us now? Why don’t you wear the hijab?

I am Catholic. A Palestinian American Catholic woman.  Not uncommon among the Arab world, but stereotyped as “unheard of”.  But when I was young, I thought I was uncommon and I thought my life had to deal with hate and violence. So I ignored anything that had to do with the conflict to keep myself feeling positive and being kind.

MCA was one of those people who helped me see the Middle East as not just a violent place full of hate, but a place that needs peaceful help. He didn’t fully help me, but he opened my eyes to something I was very unsure of at the time.

Today, I am more aware, more acceptable of it, and have more hope.  Many people who write about MCA will mainly talk about his music, his life, and his accomplishments. Many will talk about the affect he had on them.   His affect on me was to not only love Hip Hop, but to find peace in a place that seemed so violent.

Rambling is something I do best and have clearly done it well here. I am sad about Adam “MCA” Yauch passing away.  A great man has left us, but his life will live on through his music and his words.

And now here’s some SABOTAGE!

RIP MCA

*Note: I’m not trying to cause conflict with this post. The subject matter I have mentioned is a sensitive one, but I was only using it to show my love and appreciation for a man who has recently passed. I don’t expect to get many comments about the issue, but if there are people who do want to comment, please understand where I am coming from before any comments are made. This is a personal blog about my life and the things I love affecting it. It’s innocent–nothing more, nothing less.*

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Traveling for a few days…then baking for a few days.

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Historic Portland Sign

Although I haven’t posted in quite sometime, there were still lots of traveling, cooking, eating, and listening to music done.  Last month I actually visited Portland, OR.  It wasn’t my first time, but it was a first on fully exploring different parts of the city.  Ever since my boyfriend moved there in January, I’ve been dying to see why he loves it so much up there.  And I honestly say I understand why he does now.

Portland is weird and awesome and full of life! The cloudy days didn’t really get to me (even though I was there for only 4 days) since I grew up near San Francisco, CA and am custom to it.  It was just a beautiful area.  I even got to see Mount Hood, a dormant but potentially active volcano according to Wikipedia–which means I was there on a nice day! I knew Portland was weird through the show Portlandia, but I needed to see it for myself.  I mean, Portland can’t be that weird, right?

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Basically the view of Mount Hood from the Area my boyfriend lives in.

It’s pretty weird, but totally a place I could live in.  I mean, it’s a big city version of Davis, CA, and I’ve lived here for roughly 5 years! But besides all that, Portland really surprised me with all the great food it has to offer.  There are SO MANY FOOD TRUCKS, it’s insane and marvelous all at the same time.  I honestly wish every city was jammed packed with food trucks like Portland is.  And it’s not just the typical taco trucks or hot dog stands like on the East Coast– it’s legit food! Yes, food trucks are totally trending right now (which I am all for), but I’m pretty sure these places have been in Portland for a long time.  My boyfriend and I just found a random block in the downtown area and took way too long to decide what we wanted.  I ended up getting a great deal on Indian food (hella food for just 6 bucks! My kind of place.) and he got a korean/ vietnamese burrito–super spices, but also fresh flavors.  Omgosh, so good!! We were forcing ourselves to finish to eat as much since we were so full.

Of course we went to Voodoo donuts and tried the favorites: the Voodoo jelly filled donut, maple bar with bacon donut, chocolate oreo peanut butter donut, and the captain crunch donut.  Amazing, duh. We also had Deschutes brewery, which had absolutely spectacular pork belly and great beer, as well as ventured to the Portland City Grill for our V-Day dinner (which, no surprise here, was really really really good!).

Portland was amazing and had a great city feel… I may consider moving there one day…

And lastly, here are some pictures from when I made Blueberry Muffins because I had WAYY too many of them:

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Uncooked Muffins

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Cooked Muffins!

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First Restaurant Review

Blogging has been a bit difficulty for me.  To be honest, I had great ideas for a couple blog entries. I went to the Highland Games in Pleasanton, Ca and the Greek Festival in Sacramento, Ca for a weekend and I tried a ton of dishes and heard so much music.  But I couldn’t find time or energy to document anything.

But yesterday, I went to a restaurant that reminded me of my blog and made me want to write about it.  de’Vere’s in Davis, Ca recently opened this past Monday and I decided to head there yesterday with some friends.  I was excited because it’s an Irish pub that came from Sacramento.  I had been to the one in Sac, but I was excited for the Davis one– figured I’d do my own kind of review.

We got to the restaurant and you could instantly feel the vibe of the place.  It was relaxed, laid-back, and Irish (of course) There was a 35 minute wait, since the whole place was packed.  Luckily, there were enough stools at the bar that we decided to have a drink while we wait.  I had a Harp beer, along with my other friend, and my boyfriend had a Lauganitas IPA.  The Harp was a great light beer, not as light as other beers, but it was just right.

While at the bar, we talked to the very friendly and informative bartenders, while admiring the detailed woodwork.  Since we figured we’re waiting for a bit, we order chips and dip– fries with an assortment of dips.  It was a rather small plate of chips with three dips: cheese dip (closer to blue cheese), ketchup, and curry ketchup.  Of course there was brown sauce on the table, which you have to put on the chips, but the curry ketchup was the next best dip! If you love that spicy, curry flavor, this dip would be perfect for you.  Split between the three of us, these chips and dips appetizer was not too filling, but definitely kept our stomachs from growling too much.

When we were told our table was ready, we got to see the lovely library room (with games, books, and comfy-looking couches) and were sent to the back room.  Luckily, even with all the tables full, there was still a lot of space.  There was a flat screened TV showing the Oregon vs. USC football game.  Unfortunately the program kept going in and out, so we missed some of the good parts.

Our waitress was alright, she wasn’t very attentive to us, but it could have been cause of the busy night.  Since we were at the bar first, we knew our orders.  I got the shepherd’s pie with a pub salad, my boyfriend got the Rueben with chips, and our friend got the bangers and hash.  I got the pub salad first and though the balsamic dressing was delicious, the greens were a little over dressed.  The menu mentioned there were caramelized onions, but I didn’t taste them until my last three bites– which would have been amazing if it were more intertwined in the salad. The shepherd’s pie was absolutely delicious. The gravy was so flavorful and the potato’s on top were amazingly creamy.

Though we didn’t have room for dessert, or even asked if we were interested in the dessert menu, the whole atmosphere of the place was great! The bartenders were friendly and the bus boys were always asking about game and cheering with us.  I’m happy to have gone to de Vere’s and had a blast exploring the world of Irish cuisine and pub!

*phew* I did a restaurant review.  It may not be the best, but it was my experience.  I’m thinking the more restaurants I visit, recipes I try, concerts I see, places I travel to and review/ critic them, maybe it’ll help me understand different worlds and understand myself.

Maybe this will be a new beginning of exploring new experiences.

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The Effects of Movies and Music

“The wind talks back… my bones are shifting in my skin, and you my love are gone.”

This quote is from a song by Ingrid Michaelson called The Chain, which you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu2gxZDquzA

It’s by far my favorite song of Ingrid Michaelson.  The lyrics are relatable to people who’ve been through heartbreak and the desire of taking that previous lover back.  I definitely have been there.  But that’s not what gets me about this song, it’s how the music is composed and how intense it is, and yet so simply.

This song includes a musical composition called a round. Most people know what it is because they’ve done it in elementary school with songs like “Row, row row your boat,” and “Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, brother John…”  But for those of you that are unsure, a round is when more than two voices sing a melody but begin at different times while still maintaining a harmonious fit.

If you listen to the song, you can here the music building throughout the round, and all the voices are doing are singing the same thing louder than softer, and yet it has such a dramatic effect.  I always get chills when I hear this song, ESPECIALLY with the cello! (The live version of the song, which is above, has it.  The recorded one does not.) I just love how strong this song has an effect on me when it’s quite a simple song.  But that’s what’s great about Ingrid Michaelson.  She’s an artist that seems to understand less is more.

The Fighter seems to have done that to me as well.  I just saw the movie roughly twenty minutes ago and I was completely drawn to it and completely… how should I say this… emotional after watching it.

If you don’t know the movie, here is the wikipedia article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fighter  It’s about this fighter, who struggles in the ring and with his family.  And they have a WHOLE lot of problems.  It’s a very good movie, and Christian Bale was spectacular in it.

When I compare how the song effected me like the movie, I in no way am saying that this movie is simply, because it’s not where close to that.  But a single moment, a single action can effect you so strongly in a movie.  This movie had MANY of those scenes.  I don’t want to give anything away, but there were many arguments and fights in that movie, but the ones that seemed to affect me the most were the ones that seemed so real to me.

I’m being very vague because I’m not really sure how strong the effect of this movie was on me.  I didn’t cry, but I felt emotional.  I felt sad and hopeful all at the same time.  It was like I could relate to this movie, even though I’m not a fighter, a crack head, or a white, christian family in Boston.

Music and many movies have this strong effect on me sometimes to where I just feel inspired, compassionate, and just FEEL in general.  They help me think about my life, what I’m doing with it, what’s good and bad about it, and how thankful I should be for everything.

I think that’s why I named my Blog “The Wind Talks Back.”  It’s a lyric of a song I really like, but it’s also a symbol of life and how there is more than one way for someone or something to talk to you and make an impact on your life.  That’s how music and some movies are to me.  They make an impact on my life and let me see how everything else in my life has done so too.

It’s not just my loved ones talking back to me, but the wind talks back too. And it is just as important to know what it has to say.

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Hello Blog World!

St. James Cathedral

The end point of El Camino de Santiago

Hello Blog world! This is my first public blog and I am quite excited about it!  I don’t have anything real specific to talk about besides my life, but there are some things I plan on discussing more than others.  Some interests are food, cooking, singing, music, friends, family, and traveling!

Speaking of traveling (I guess I’ll start with that!), as much as I’d like to say I saw the picture above in person, I did not.  The lucky person to have done a portion of this walk and saw this amazing structure is my boyfriend.  Just last week, after two weeks in Spain, he finally finished El Camino de Santiago and was able to see this.  I love traveling to new countries, cities, neighborhoods…traveling in general! But unfortunately, I was not able to go anywhere too special this year– mainly because my family and I went to the Middle East last summer.  However, I am living my travel dreams vicariously through him this summer, as well as my sister!

Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey

This picture to the right is the Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey, where my sister is! I don’t know much about this, but I figure when I talk to her/ when she gets back, she’ll have loads to tell me about it.  Two very important people in my life are off traveling Spain and Turkey and I am stuck in the same old spot I’ve been stuck in for the past four years, yearning to get out! But, with friends here to keep my spirits up, it’s still been a great home to me.

I live in Davis, California, but I grew up in a suburb-like city of San Francisco.  Davis is NOTHING like San Francisco, which is the kind of city I was born to live in.  Davis embodies a small town and a college town–cuteness and crazy college kids all in one place.  It’s been great, but I’m ready for something new.

Well, this is my first attempt at blogging! I’m done for the night but I’ll be back soon!

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