Happy Halloween!

It’s a perfect Fall day in Portland, which means that Halloween is upon us!

Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox

Just like everyone I know, I am absolutely in love with Halloween. Ever since I was little, my mom had us decked out in creative costumes (Kian and I were matching crayons one year!). And every year my dad would take us trick-or-treating, dragging us in the Radio Flyer red wagon from house to house.

Living in an apartment complex, I doubt that I am going to get trick-or-treaters. But I do have candy on hand just in case (OK, I lied… I just really wanted some Reeses!)

Saturday I went out with some friends to Howl Portland and it was CRAZY! Held in a creepy warehouse, Howl was the place to be in SE. And with four dance floors, there was tons of music and tons of people! I have never seen so many crazy, outrageous costumes in my life.

Steven and I went as Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox! My co-worker Bridget came up with the idea and it was just too hilarious to pass up!

Halloween 2011

Goodbye Couch, Hello 5k!

I have made a big decision!

Well, a big decision for me…

In March, I am going to run the Shamrock Run 5k race. 

All you runners/athletes are probably laughing at my announcement. But for someone who hasn’t run in YEARS, 3.1 miles is terrifying. And for someone who prefers going to happy hour instead of the gym after work, this is going to be a hard (but good) change!

It’s funny to think back to the days when I was a runner. In high school I played competitive soccer, was on the swim team, ran track (ha! this cracks me up), and rowed on a crew team.

Between those four sports, that’s a lot of running! (If I did it before, I can do it again.)

Enter college and my running shoes went into hiding. But this week I have dusted them off, hit my running stride, and have started to train. And I am going to whip myself into shape!

I am using the handy Couch to 5k iPhone app to help me with the first nine weeks of running. For anyone who wants to join me (hint, hint!) it’s a fun app that is all about interval training. I love it, but ask me again in 9 weeks, and I might not love it as much.

Big thanks to Amy and Bridget, my wonderful co-workers at UP, who are my running mentors and have inspired me to become a fierce and fit ‘young professional.’

Mid-Week Music – Ants Marching by Dave Matthews Band

I have been on a huge Dave Matthews Band kick lately. Their songs have been playing on repeat in my apartment for the past couple months.

And with their hundreds of live albums, it’s impossible to grow tired of them. I would even go as far to say that DMB’s songs are better live then recorded. Either way, their songs totally kick ass.

I dare you to try not to dance during this song. It literally has me dancing every time.

PDX Fab Find: Urban Waxx

courtesy of Urban Waxx

You know when you find a fabulous business and you just want to tell everyone about it?

That’s how I feel about the fabulous Urban Waxx

Urban Waxx is a full-service waxing salon with two locations, one in NW and in Tanasbourne. They are a Portland-based salon and their motto “The best wax you’ll ever have. Seriously.” really says it all.

Urban Waxx rocks, I can’t even say that enough.

Being Iranian, I am prone to the not-so-glamorous unruly eyebrows, unfortunate upper-lip hair. Yes, I just admitted that and I will not be ashamed! I have been waxing since I was about 10 (trust me, I needed it)I would like to consider myself a waxing expert, but really I only had my waxing experience in the back of a nail salon in West Linn. Although they always got the job done, I never knew what a REAL waxing experience was like until Urban Waxx.

First off, you can book your appointments online. It’s a handy feature and a super important once since Urban Waxx and the wonderful estheticians are booked way in advance (which is always a good sign for a great establishment!).

courtesy of Urban Waxx

My first appointment I walked into the NW location and was greeted with such a calming ambiance. The waiting area is an open area decorated with art from a local artist and there are plenty of magazines and snacks provided while you wait. But hold on, it gets better! They also offer you a glass of wine. Wine before waxing? I can’t think of a better way to wait! There are also mimosas on Sunday!

Can you say ‘super fabulous?’

The first time I booked online, I was randomly paired with Beth. And I am so happy I was! Beth is a brow guru who really knows what she’s doing. From the moment we met, I felt like we had been longtime friends. We are just chatting away during the appointment and then before I know it, I have beautiful, arched eyebrows! 

I highly, highly recommend Beth, I absolutely adore her!

What I really love about Urban Waxx is the fun atmosphere in the salon. They are super knowledgeable about waxing and skin care, and are really able to make you feel comfortable during what could be super awkward situations.

If you live in Portland and get waxed, go to Urban Waxx. I promise it will be worth it. Need more encouragement? Go to Yelp!, it seems like everyone is in love with Urban Waxx!

Fall days, “Chili” nights

Fall in the Pacific Northwest is absolutely gorgeous. From the chilled air to the falling leaves, Portland knows how to do Fall right!

This past Saturday, Steven and I decided to celebrate by having a “Fall Date.” Everything we did Saturday, from the food to the activities, had a Fall theme to it.

Although completely corny (I am not afraid to admit it!), we had such a wonderful time! I highly suggest it to couples who are looking to have a unique and fun date.

Our masterpieces!

I feel like we were able to pack it all into one day! From a wonderful breakfast in the Park Blocks under the falling leaves to the always delicious Pumpkin Spice Lattes (I swear I could have them year round!) We went to Baggenstos Farm where we did a corn maze, went on hay rides, and scoured the patch for our perfect pumpkins! The farm, located in Sherwood, was super adorable and has tons of activities to do for both kids and adults. Later, Steven surprised me with a pumpkin craving kit, scary movies, and Margaritas! (ok, our one departure from our fall-theme, but still my favorite drink!)

 

Aunt Donna's Chili

For dinner that night, I wanted to make chili. Nothing seems more perfect than a bowl of chili on a cool, Fall evening. 

Steven’s Aunt Donna is literally the best home-cook in Oregon and lucky for all us aspiring cooks, she has a blog filled with recipes and tips! Sloppy Jo’s is now a one-stop blog for me and her famous chili recipe is fantastic and super, super easy! It was the perfect dinner to make to end our “Fall Date!”

 

We have now decided to implement “season dates.” Have any suggestions for a “Winter Date?” Let me know!

The NBA lockout saga

courtesy of the LA Times

I (just like every NBA and Portland Trailblazer fan) have been following the NBA lockout closely. Every meeting, every press release, and every player tweet I have followed with intense scrutiny, but also intense optimism. Now, I am done with it all.

(I should disclose now that I am a relatively new Blazer fan, so take this post with a grain of salt. Kian is the resident NBA expert of the G-E family. But I have enjoyed going to games, following the players, and cheering for the Blazers for about two years. I am a fan, but it no means a NBA guru.)

The NBA lockout is really beginning to piss me off. At first I was optimistic that both sides could negotiate so that games could be played. But ladies and gentleman, I have lost my optimism. 

With the mediation ending in a giant mess yesterday, I have lost all respect for the NBA and NBPA. This is getting ridiculous and everyone is losing in this now tangled process. From a PR perspective, this is a disaster. The all-mighty mediator, who was sent in at a last-ditch effort to salvage the season and the league, said last night “No useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time.”

courtesy of Technorati

The federal mediation has seemingly made the labor negotiations worse as both sides are as far apart as ever. Press conferences that begin with “I want to make it clear that you guys were lied to earlier…” do not bode well for a potential season. The fact that both sides can’t agree on who broke the talks off shows that there is no end in sight of this giant debacle.

Well, this sucks. 

From all the press coverage to the media silence from both sides, I was again optimistic that something good could come from all this hype. But now more games are going to be cancelled and no new talks have been scheduled between the NBA and NBPA.

We are now back to contentious press conferences and the annoying and over used #letusplay hashtag.

From my lowly perspective, the owners are looking like jerks and the players are looking like children. No one is winning the war and the fans and stadium employees are ultimately the casualties.

So the mediation came and went. Now both sides are unhappy, upset, and completely divided. According to  San Antonio Spurs owner and labor relations committee chair Peter Holt “We’ve kind of worn each other out.”

Well, you guys have worn me out too. 

Mid-Week Music – Sleepyhead by Passion Pit

I am not ashamed to admit that this song ran my life for about two years. Between junior and senior year, I played this song non-stop everyday (I apologize to my former housemates for this obsession). Sleepyhead is totally funky, completely weird, and never fails to make me dance a little.

Although Passion Put does a great job, you should hear my version with Jamie. Driving down Willamette Blvd, we would nail this song out of the park.

I came, I saw, I loved Iran!

Jameh Mosque in Esfahan, Iran

I’m back and I miss it already!

The past two weeks have been a crazy adventure that I will never forget.

In short; Iran was wonderful to us. Not only did we get to visit family (whom I miss and love dearly), but we also got to explore our heritage and learn more about my dad’s childhood. The food is delicious, the culture is rich and the scenery is gorgeous. I mean, what could be better than that?!

 

 

Some of my favorite memories of the trip are at Mamani (grandma) and Baba’s (grandpa) apartment. That’s where the family would convene for food, stories, and laughter. All three were plentiful during those days and nights. Mamani is the best cook, nothing can beat her traditional Iranian meals. Her food brought everyone together and those are the times that I will never forget. 

family

 

Baba's park

One of my favorite stories involves that little apartment. Across the street from Mamani and Baba’s apartment is a playground and park. Five years ago when we visited, that space was filled with weeds and broken concrete. During our stay we learned that my Baba actually created the park for the neighborhood children. The government wanted to put a mosque in that space, but Baba single-handedly lobbied for and created the park. My baba is an amazing man.

The people of Tehran were so kind and friendly to us during our two weeks. From taxi drivers to shop owners to the city dwellers we met on the streets, everyone welcomed us with open arms and wide grins. There was a waiter at Hotel Niloo named Reza who left a lasting impact on my family. With his upbeat disposition and his accent-filled english, Reza greeted us every morning with his happy nature and questions about the United States. I learned as much from him as he did from us. 

Other highlights include…

My cousin Keyvan’s wedding, which was just one giant party! Their traditional Iranian wedding ceremony was beautiful and my family had so much fun at the reception. Kara and I were asked to be a part of the ceremony and I was extremely honored to be there for their big day! Congratulations Keyvan and Behnaz!

 

 

Our trip to Esfahan, Iran was perfect! Our hotel (which was straight out of Aladdin) was gorgeous, I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it was. We had a full day to explore the historic city and trust me, we got to explore the entire city! The mosques in Esfahan are breathtaking and we learned so much about Iranian architecture and craftsmanship during our stay. My cousin Sarah joined us on our trip, she is such a wonderful person and I miss her so much already!

 

Getting to just spend time with the family was amazing. From our joyous greeting to the airport to the tear-filled goodbyes at Mamani and Baba’s apartment, our time with family was plentiful and truly incredible. My Amoos (uncles) are hilarious and my cousins are some of the best and most talented people I have ever met. I loved spending time with them. 

Side note: I got pneumonia during the trip! With some brilliant timing, I was sick for the first half of the trip and even got to experience a trip to an Iranian hospital! We joke that my hacking cough was the soundtrack for the first half of Iran.

This post is basically a love letter to my family and the city of Tehran. The past two weeks have been incredible and I know I will continue to gush about this trip and the Iranian people for the next couple months.

My pictures are up! Check them out at Iran: 1 and Iran: 2

dad with Mamani and Baba

Azadi Tower in Tehran, Iran