Monday, March 3, 2014

Snow Days

Even though my work never has snow days, the beauty of Ferazhaving them is that I get to come home to some delicious dinners!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Valentine's Day - Michigan Trip

To me there are few things more romantic that Valentine's Day in Michigan. I was excited to be getting in the night before and to have a full day in Michigan to celebrate with my number one squeeze but mother nature did not cooperate with my plans. My flight was canceled because of a DC 'snowstorm" and rescheduled for the following evening. Luckily I was still able to get to Detroit in time to meet my valentine to go to our favorite restaurant together.

I remember pulling up so many times to this sign and enjoying endless delicious and fun dinners with friends and the cute guy below.

And he popped the question! Romance.

We spent the next day seeing our good friends and their adorable kids, catching up Feraz's aunt and family and attending the aqiqah of our Michigan moved to DC moved back to Michigan friend's little son. I love it when there is a big event when we go back because we get to see so many of our friends in one go.

The next day we headed to my parent's place. Unfortunately, it was snowing and we saw about twenty cars being towed on the hour and a half drive. I will never understand why people drive so fast in slick weather conditions. All was good once we arrived to my parent's house. My sister came over and we all had lunch together. After that my mom, Feraz and I went to the mall where I finally bought a wedding band ten years later. Happy Valentine's Day to me! That evening lots of our family came over and the rest of the Shelby trip was spent catching up with relatives and relaxing.

On Monday, we headed back to Canton and on the way we visited our Michigan moved to DC moved back to Michigan friends. They just bought a new house and its incredible to see what the same amount of money can get you in Michigan compared to DC. I will never get over the sticker shock of prices for homes in DC.

I was supposed to head back to DC that night but my flight was cancelled again. I was pretty annoyed by this knowing that my morning flight would probably get cancelled because there was snow in the overnight forecast and sure enough it did. We both eventually got back on a Tuesday evening flight just in time to meet our friend David who was in town from Paris. We had some good times catching up with him over the always classy Dominos dinner! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Olympics, Pakoras, Babies and More Babies

People + Pakoras = PARTY.
Feraz and I started off our weekend by going to an Olympics Open Ceremony watching party. We were asked to bring our favorite international dish so of course I showed up with pakoras. One girl brought home made baklava and it was ridiculous. She shared the recipe which I can't wait to try out. She said it was her first time making baklava and it came out amazing! Hopefully that means it won't be too crazy hard to make!

New moms deserve cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.
Saturday was one of those ideal days. I went to yoga in the morning, came home and made cookies and played with Safa. That quickly took me to 6 pm. I quickly got ready to meet my new friend Julia for dinner and to talk about adoption. Julia adopted her daughter from Korea and I recently emailed her an SOS asking for a pep talk as we struggle with the adoption process and the waiting. It was so great to just talk about it and be around someone who had gotten through it successfully. The adoption journey has been trying. It sucks to want to parent so badly and to know that so many kids need good homes but have to sit back and do nothing while you wait for the match. But as I have heard so many adoptive parents say, you end up with the child you are destined to be with and when that happens, all the waiting makes will have been worth it.

Baby whisperer. NBD.
After the dinner we went for a late night meet-up with our friends who recently welcomed their sweet daughter into the world. They were so chill and relaxed. It was great to see and I admire their strength in the first weeks of parenthood!

We spent the next day visiting more friends. There were five little kids at their place but they all mostly played with each other and it was amazing to see how the kids kept each other entertained. Should we change our aspirational number of 4 kids to 5?? Feraz always reminds me - We have to get to one first! But what is a silly thing like reality to keep one from dreaming??

Does well with kids of all ages.
After hanging out with our friends we went home to meet our other friend for dinner and then headed to our place to watch Rush. It was a great story. Definitely worth watching. It was a good thing I got all that hanging out and fund our of my system over the weekend because I ended up having the stomach flu for the next two days! THE WORST!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tennis, Chain Restaurants and the Super Bowl!

This past weekend was filled with great weather. It always feels a bit like winning the lottery finding a $5 bill in your pocket when you get to go outside and play tennis in the winter. We got some good games in on both Saturday and Sunday. Yippie ki-yayy!

After some solid tennis, we headed to Denny's because we had a free coupon. Yup. That happened. Did you know that you can get two eggs, two pancakes and hash browns for FOUR DOLLARS at Denny's? It was amazing. I think we will be going to Denny's a lot more often in the future.

To cleanse ourselves of the Denny's binge we headed to Trader Joe's (What's up with all these apostrophes in our Saturday destinations?). We loaded up on groceries and then went to do a quick visit with Feraz's brother. We had a good time playing with Safa and had to head out after a quick cup of tea because I was going to yoga with a friend.

I went to yoga for the first time in ages and ages and it felt great to be on the mat, to listen to my breath and to be around my old teacher. Afterwards, my friend and I went to Red Toque, one of my favorite restaurants from our old neighborhood and picked up sandwiches to eat back at our place. It was such a nice chill evening. Tennis, diner food, Safa, yoga and friends! What a day! And the weekend was only half over!

Sunday was pretty chill. We ran errands and went to my friend's apartment where she had rented out the movie room to watch the super bowl. There was a great spread and I don't think anyone watched a minute of the game, though we did catch the halftime show. We had to rush out a little early to get home in time to watch Sherlock. May have been the best one since it came back on!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Graduations, Supper Clubs and Sleepovers

Our weekend started off misleadingly low key with a movie and dinner at Feraz's brother's place. The rest of the weekend would be a bit of a blur. Saturday morning I woke up early to help prep for my sister-in-law's graduation. She is a rockstar who graduated with a JD from Yale Law and a MPhil from Oxford, as a Rhoades scholar, and managed to pop out two kids along the way. I would say that deserves a glittery Congrats banner, wouldn't you??

After the graduation party, I headed home to cook for supper club. One day I will write a post about supper club but for now I will let it mysteriously pop up on my blog via 3-4 pictures. Please see below.

It is only appropriate to end the supper club photo series with this especially mysterious looking photo.

We wanted to rush home from supper club because we were having an impromptu sleepover. Our friends need a place to crash and they had baby August with them so we could not resist. We ended up playing games and having shenanigans until two or three in the morning. I love my cozy house and my cozy friends and holding sweet brand new cozy babies. 

The next day it felt like a Herculean effort to leave the house by three pm but somehow we managed to do it and were able to make it to the DC Youth Poetry Slam semi-finals at the National Portrait Gallery. I expected a few of the kids to be good but man, they were all amazing! They had such confidence and told the most heartbreaking stories in the most beautiful ways. It was a sharp reminder of how much some kids endure. They rhymed about rape, domestic violence, bullying, teen pregnancy, abortion, identity, sexuality and so many other intense topics. Really inspiring- I hope we get to check out the finals.

We appropriately headed over to Busboys and Poets with some friends and had a lovely dinner chatting and enjoying each other's company. We made it home just in time to catch Sherlock and kiss another wonderful weekend goodbye. 

Apple Pie - Straight From Tblisi

This weekend I was getting ready for my friends to come over for brunch when I saw a huge bowl of apples just looking as if they had no destiny but to go bad and finally be thrown out. Feeling a bit heroic, I decided to rescue them by making the apple pie recipe I learned while I was visiting Tblisi 

As I was baking I was filled with memories of Georgia. The thrill of traveling alone, meeting fantastic new people and seeing things I had never seen before. It was such a wonderful feeling and made me want so badly to get back on the road.

The table cloth hanging on the wall was bought in an underground market by the rail station.
It was so nice to have my friends over and especially to meet August Knutsen for the first time!

A little extra fun for you below.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Road Tripping - 72 Hour Edition - North Carolina

Feraz and I had been planning to go to Michigan for the long weekend but when ticket prices shot up we decided we didn't want to pay over $600 for the trip. Instead, we decided we would go in February (this means I will be able to go to Cederland on Valentines Day!!!) and just have some local fun this time around.

On Thursday night I asked Feraz if he wanted to go on a trip during the long weekend. I had mentioned it a few times earlier in the week and Feraz didn’t take it too seriously so I decided to post on Facebook to see if anyone had recommendations for places to go that weren’t too far from DC.

One of my friends from law school suggested Chapel Hill and a quick google maps search showed that we were just four hours away. It was the perfect distance for a long weekend trip. I looked up some google images and it appeared to be a perfectly cute and charming place.

I knew that wouldn’t be enough to convince Feraz to go though. I hopped on to Airbnb and started looking for a cute place that we could stay. I hit the jackpot when I found a cute little blue cottage in the country. It sat on top of a hill, and overlooked a horse stable. It promised glorious sunrises. I was sold and I didn’t even have to ask Feraz to know he would be sold too.

via AirBnb
The next day I got home from work and we packed up and hit the road around 7:30 pm. We stopped at Denny’s for dinner where we both broke from tradition and actually ordered dinner food. We had the skillets and they were meh. Lesson learned. Order the fricking breakfast at Dennys!

Right before we arrived to our cottage, Feraz was driving down a windy road when we almost hit a deer! It was standing in the middle of the road and when I looked up it was directly ahead of us. If I had been driving, we would have definitely hit that deer. With heaps of praise being showered upon him, Feraz pulled into the cottages drive just a little after 12:30.

Despite how tired we were, we were so taken by the cottage that we spent the next half hour exploring the tiny  place. We came in to the Beatles playing on the ipod. The long and winding road…tun tun tun… always leads me back to your door. On the bookshelf, there was a copy of the Awakening, my all time favorite book. We looked in the fridge which was filled with homemade jams, marmalade, brownies and other goodies. There were eggs, yogurt, fruit, nuts and lots of other snacks. Although the place was small we looked at each nook and cranny finding so many little things that made us happy.

A little after 1 am, we went up to the small loft with its sloped ceiling and had a wonderful deep sleep.

I woke up around 9 the next morning and went down to Feraz having his coffee.  I peeked out the door and saw one of the horses in the backyard. It was so beautiful even with the bare trees and the browns of winter painting the landscape. 

We set to work to putting the breakfast that the host had left for us on the table. We had sourdough bread, waffles, homemade jams, eggs and some coffee. We took our time getting ready, listening to the ipod that was already in the place. It had the perfect songs for the setting and we let the shuffle take us through Dylan, the Beatles and so many other classics. 

While I was waiting for Feraz to  get ready, I found a pair of binoculars and started watching the different birds coming to the bird feeder outside. There was one bird with a bright red head that was beautiful. The picture below is not of the bird.

 While we were exploring outside the owner of the cabin came out and asked us if we needed anything because she was heading out to the apple store and wouldn’t be back for a couple of hours.  We told her we were fine and off she went. We walked around a little bit and met the horses but it was cold so we decided to head into town. When we were headed out I said to Feraz, “Isn’t it so quaint that she is going to the apple store?” Feraz agreed. It wasn’t until a while later that I realized she meant the Apple store. Whoops!

We decided to go to the North Carolina Museum of Art first. As luck would have it, they had a huge Rodin collection! One of my favorite museums in the world (only surpassed by the Dali Museum in Spain) is the Rodin Museum in Paris. After seeing Rodin in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I felt extra lucky.

We got to the museum right as a tour was starting so we were able to learn about the huge collection that was on loan from the Chrysler collection in Virginia. What I liked the most about the NCMA is that the museum was a conquerable size. I felt like I was able to comfortably see all the art work and take my time with each piece. Granted, you can do that in a larger museum as well by just focusing on one wing but I tend to find myself overwhelmed in some of DC's big museums- not really knowing where to end or begin!

While Feraz rested, I checked out the modern art. I don't like all modern art but there is definitely work that is creative, fun and challenges notions of conventional art in a way that makes you really think (opposed to making you roll your eyes).

After we finished up at the art museum we decided to check out Raleigh. We ended up parking our car right in front of the Art Space which one of our friends had recommended to us. Art Space is a building in which there are a bunch of different artists' studios. The artists create their work in the space, sell their pieces and engage with the public. You can just go in and watch artists doing their thing, you can ask them questions about their different pieces or in our case talk to them about how they should never support Man United. We especially enjoyed talking to the artists and learning more about particular pieces. I think Torpedo Factory in Alexandria is a bit like that too but I've never interacted with the artists there. Now, I am much more inclined to do that!
This reminded me of my little sister. Because her name starts with the letter A. 
We had some forgettable food in Raleigh and walked around a little bit but we didn't think much of it so we headed back to our cabin which was warm and cozy and most importantly had coffee and brownies. Those are not brownies in the picture below.

We ended up resting longer than we had planned and we were a little late getting out to go check out some live music. We had been debating between a foo fighters cover band at the cat's cradle or another musician whose name I don't know that was playing at the Kraken. We decided on the Kraken and started out on the 40 minute drive through complete darkness to get there. Our maps app told us that we were arriving to the destination but there was just darkness. This place was definitely not in Chapel Hill, where we thought we were going. Out of what seemed like nowhere, we saw a small run down bar on the side of the road. We parked in the small parking lot and made our way into what may be the most divey dive bar in America.

(via the Kraken Facebook)
The musician played a few songs and I really liked what I was hearing but Feraz wasn't into it. We stayed for a while but the musician went out on a long break and after 15 minutes or so we decided to head out to Chapel Hill to see if we could find something to do. We ended up liking the area and found a cool photo exhibit that was oddly enough open so late at night. I found a print I loved there but Feraz wasn't so crazy about it so we didn't get it. 

The next morning we headed to the Sarah B. Duke Gardens. Even though it was winter, I found them so beautiful. We walked around and enjoyed the 'warm' weather.
Vintage Bjork
There were two little brothers going nuts over these ducks. They were laughing so hard every time they did anything. I want to be like that.

Oh hey beautiful red bridge.
We headed back to Chapel Hill where we walked around, did a little thrifting, re-visited the art gallery and I bought the print Feraz didn't like! We finally wrapped up our trip with a stop at Mamma Dip's Kitchen to fuel us on our drive home.
Goodbye New Year's resolutions.

All in all, the trip was not the best thing we have ever done in our life but it was a good adventure and a spontaneous weekend. There was something about just getting up and going that felt good I hope its not too long before we do it again.

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