Use The Power Of Intent To Clear A Path For Yourself

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As you may have heard, NZ received a lot of rain as of late. My prayers and sympathetic thoughts to those whose lives were greatly affected. Fortunately for us, our household just further glimmered. My parents and I spent even more time than usual together and I made “healthy” French toast for them. It’s actually very simple! For the three of us, I soaked 6 pieces of gluten free bread in a beaten mixture of 3 free-ranges, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon, then fried them in a hot pan with a little coconut oil until nice and golden. Last, I topped them with fresh fruit, honey, and plain yoghurt (not pictured). Image-1 (1)
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Never enough herbs in a Persian woman’s garden.
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Can you see what I see? On the last day of term, we made an Easter egg hunt for the little munchkins. Image (12)Image (13)
And… one for the big munchkin who really shouldn’t be having one in the first place.
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Another day, another green smoothie. These are also super easy to make. Simply blitz together in a high-powered blender: 2 frozen bananas (frozen bananas make your smoothies colder and creamier), 2 large handfuls of spinach (stalks and all), a big dollop of natural yoghurt, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Top with favourites.
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I found out the hard way that jandals were not appropriate wear for yesterday’s Saturday Farmers’ Market. As I walked into a muddy puddle and splashed gunk all over myself, I overheard a father telling his little girl not to worry about getting dirty as she, in her pink gumboots, was appropriately dressed – I couldn’t help but take his comment as a personal dig to my existence.
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Giant delicious organic apple from the organic apple people at the Saturday Farmers’ Market (sorry I don’t know your company name). Image (8)
For as long as I have been coming to Sumner, I have been in mad-love with that itsy bitsy yellow house bursting with character. I sent this photo to Soroosh expressing this, and he replies: “I like the modern house next to it.” BLAH Image (1)
sumner
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Almost finished writing back to my Japanese students ^.^
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Mojgan joon, I wish you were here to accompany me on my walking adventures. Alas, I think of you always – the coming Autumn leaves further remind me of my unforgettable time with your beautiful family in beautiful Nashville. Image-1 (6)
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Last but not least, a picture sent to me by my dear mentor and friend. AKA Soroosh’s father. Guys, I am so impressed and inspired by him. Rick is a man of so many talents. But most of all, he is joyful, he is understanding, and he is compassionate. Also, big-ups for food-presentation and food-photography, and your recently written article HERE.

Is Someone Getting The Best Of You?

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I had the loveliest Saturday with my also lovely friend, Sam last weekend. We went to the Saturday Farmers’ Market for a Posh Porridge breakfast but when we saw that they weren’t there and on holiday, we had Bacon Brothers instead. Yep, I ate bacon. And not just any bacon but NZ bacon in say over 4 years of not having eaten it and oh my was it delicious. And, I’m not kidding you, I was full for 1.5 days. Rick, I can’t wait for you to try it. NZ bacon > American bacon.
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Super easy Easter crafts. Top, chooks made with pom-poms and egg cartons. Bottom, a carrot made with an empty yarn cone donated by a student’s thoughtful mother. Image (2)Image (3)
Sorry mom, forgot to move the towels (again). #PUGLIFE
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Making tissue paper flowers for the upcoming Ridvan celebration at Bahai Children’s Classes.
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“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” ~Alfred MercierImage (1)
Below, what I sent S for his birthday (ie. a present also for myself): a Sydney weekend getaway! EEEE we are so blessed. And how about you my dear followers? Is someone getting the best of you?
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There’s Nothing New Under The Sun. It’s Never What You Do But How It’s Done.

Dear Ashida Sensei,
This one’s for you!
Thank you for reading my blogs. I miss you and I miss Japan very very much, too!

Yesterday, I received a jam-packed envelope containing letters from my ex Junior High School students in Japan. Ashida Sensei, thank you for initiating them. I have always admired you. You once told me that you teach because you feel an obligation to open your student’s minds to the outside world. At the time, I thought your statement was beautiful. Today, with the heartbreaking circumstances of our world, I understand it as incredibly necessary, too. Thank you for selflessly shaping our future. Funnily enough, lately I have been receiving some negative opinions (and unfortunately from those dear to me) about my work. The education of children is not adequately valued in our society. These attitudes have left me unhappy, thinking that perhaps I should have studied something different, something more reputable like medicine or law. Fortunately, other positive forces in my life have rescued me from the quicksand of such negative thoughts. One beautiful lady in particular pointed me to the following quote by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith:

Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children… It is, however, very difficult to undertake this service, even harder to succeed in it. I hope that thou wilt acquit thyself well in this most important of tasks, and successfully carry the day, and become an ensign of God’s abounding Grace; that these children, reared one and all in the holy Teachings, will develop natures like unto the sweet airs that blow across the gardens of the All- Glorious, and will waft their fragrance around the world. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. pp. 133-134)

So, “the education and training of children” is not only the greatest service of all time but also one that is very difficult to do and to succeed in. Don’t get me wrong, I am not tooting my own horn. Rather, I wish to acknowledge the true importance of a teacher’s work.

I would like to finish with my favourite Japanese Proverb:

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
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When A Woman Becomes Her Own Best Friend Life Is Easier

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Except my momma is my best-friend. Here’s a lovely green-smoothie bowl recipe I made for her and I earlier this week: simply blend 1 banana, 1 kiwifruit, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt and 1 tsp cinnamon until smooth then top with favourite toppings. When I sent this photo to Soroosh, as I often do of my random daily snaps, he said: “tell your momma the days of smoothie-bowls are over, I’m coming for it!” Yep, don’t blame him. Twas delish.
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In addition to purelyinstagramworthyflowers, I topped them with my homemade gluten-free muesli which is basically a concoction of mixed nuts and seeds, buckwheat puffs, brown rice puffs and quinoa flakes – all individually bought and mixed together.
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Posted this fatty on Instagram. My friend Chris commented: “Garfield, is that you?”
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If you haven’t read Flow magazine, you’re missing something big. So lovely, so delicate, and so inspiring. Image-1 (2)
BearLion Foods have the best salads in Christchurch. This is a fact. Pictured is a mix of two wholesome vegetarian salads bought on my to work from the Riccarton Bush Saturday Market and enjoyed on my lunch-break in sunny Sumner. Image-1
When it comes to organic food stores, I lack serious self-control. I want to buy everything. The trouble is, I can hardly afford one thing! I think this was $6 something. ARGH why so expensive? Alas, it was heavenly. So good that I recreated it myself the next day ;) Simply warm 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 tsp raw cacao powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, and some orange zest in a small pot on medium heat. Once hot, stir in 1-2 tsp of honey or coconut sugar.
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Heaven is a place on earth. UTOPIA ICE is simply the best. I mean come on, where else can you get 5+ vegan options including: passionfruit coconut ice-cream and raspberry and saffron sorbet?!
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Sorry for the copyright Flow Magazine but I just couldn’t agree more! “Coming out of  a period of scarcity, we have now reached a point where we have too many things, and it’s damaging our health.” True dat. Image-1 (1)Pad Thai selfie from my family’s all-time favourite: Zab Thai.
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In case you missed my infamous bathroom selfies with the glorious towel backgrounds.

Spoiler Alert: Love is worth everything, everything.

To help me cope with missing Soroosh, I started a NZ Bucket List for us to work through come June. Some of the options are luckily local and frequent. Like, the Saturday Farmers’ Market which I have always been in love with.
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Nothing but organic.
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My dad ordered something from the Bacon Brothers which came with a hug as well! LOL you should’ve seen his face! Such a character, this guy!
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Mmmm! Remember Mandy, my ice-cream queen? Well, her and her partner don’t just make ice-cream – they make heaven: gluten-free waffles with coconut whipped cream, strawberries, roasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate drizzle.
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You know you’re cheap/on-a-diet when you share one waffle between 3 hehe >.<
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Sunday morning Baha’i children’s classes.
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Today’s virtue was “justice”. Above, equality is demonstrated with a popcorn filled “scale”. And below, one “life-raft” for all. Image (6)
Last but not least, the rest of my brother-in-law’s grandmother’s Black Boy peaches stewed for alongside my ritual morning muesli.
Image-1Happy week y’all! <3

To Be Creative Means To Be In Love With Life

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Stewed Black Boy Peaches are one of my most favorite foods and they’re truly perfect for crumble.

Filling:
10-12 Black Boy Peaches, peeled and chopped random
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pure vanilla essence
2 tbsp runny honey

Crumble:
1 cup gluten-free jumbo oats
1/4 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of chopped raw nuts of choice
1/2 cup of raw seeds of choice
1 tbsp cinnamon
a pinch of each ginger powder, nutmeg and cardamom
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup or runny honey
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Place the filling ingredients in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water and cook on medium heat with the lid on. Once the peaches have softened remove the lid to allow the liquid to reduce – we want a fairly thick consistency – I believe the secret to a crunchy crumble is a relatively “dry” filling so that’s what we’re aiming for.

Once ready, transfer the peach mixture to a deep oven-proof dish.

In a large bowl, combine all crumble ingredients together until nice and sticky then assemble on top of stewed peaches.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Enjoy!
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A super easy rainy day craft idea for little monsters featuring the fatal potato (far left).
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Clever little zine I came across on my lunch-break at work.
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Happiness is picking up your library requested books! Thanks for the book suggestion Rick, already LOVING Deep Work. Image-1
Oh my sister and I were so naughty today. We went to Le Panier Boulangerie !
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Another kids fun activity idea: we made wands from felt pipe cleaners and used detergent to blow bubbles.
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Yummy healthy snack idea. Raw chocolate energy balls. Recipe HERE.
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Do you know what this is? Check out my new Savvy Tokyo article HERE to find out more.

There Are Hundreds Of Ways To Kneel And Kiss The Ground.

A photo diary:
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Dark chocolate and roasted hazelnut ice-cream.Image (3)
White peach and vanilla sorbet. Image (2)
The mastermind herself.
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My attempt at having a non-cereal breakfast: free-range scrambled eggs (2), avocado, and organic gluten-free bread.
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This is a non-traditional Persian New Year haft-sin (literally, seven “S”) table. It’s non traditional because I only had 5 of the real S’s. The other two, I made up myself: S for saat (clock/watch) and S for sparrow (yes sis, I realised sparrow wasn’t Persian. Whatever). Image (1)

Making Great Art Is About Being More Of Who You Are

Sorry my last post was a whiny one. I’m quite good at that, whining. So much so that my primary school teacher, my Payne, told me, as I whinged my way through the wet mud on school camp, that he’d never met someone so complaining and impatient before. Though in my defence (and his) the same teacher gave me the class diligence award at the end of the year. So, I am complaining but I am persistent, too. Yes, a woman of many qualities. Alas, don’t you think I have good reason to complain? Harry seems to think so. You know, Harry from When Harry Met Sally? He takes the words straight out of my mouth when in his epic declaration of love he says: “when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”Image-2
So, I keep busy…Image (1)
I bakeImage-1
I shop.
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I work.
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And I work some more (watching Japanese movies for my next Savvy article).
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And I reassure myself that this too shall pass. For almost one year has passed since mummy and daddy came to visit me in rural Japan where my life was so very different to what it is today.
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Trying their first ramen. image79
Enjoying sakura (cherry blossom) season. Aimage123
And watching their daughter imitate Mimasaka’s best sushi chef.
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I’m Ashamed At How Many Times I Do It

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I’m ashamed at how many times i do it
in between mouthfuls of muesli
in between ad breaks
on my smoko
on the toilet
and each time I’m left disappointed
yet i go ahead
and do it again
http://www.cheapflights.co.nz
just joking
tricked ya!
we’re actually f’n expensive
you can’t see him
you can’t afford it
I thought it would get easier
like when I’d start working
I’d become busy
and I wouldn’t miss him
or at least, not in this way
don’t worry, Anisa
just be patient
things will get easier
turns out
things get horrendous
okay, maybe not horrendous
I mean, my family isn’t sick
and my boss isn’t a dick
I’m not an unappreciative girl.
just that,
none of that changes
the fact of the matter
the fact of the matter
that i’m stationed here
and he’s stationed there
RA RA RA
welcome
to
my
frustrated
stream
of
consciousness.  

If You Take A Flower In Your Hand And Really Look At It, It’s Your World For A Moment

The night before I was to be leaving Soroosh in Nashville, he read me a children’s book to calm my nerves. You may know it, apparently it’s quite popular but at the time, I didn’t. The Kissing Hand as the title suggests is a kiss in a hand gently pressed on its recipient’s face.
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I recently received this kiss in the mail. Image-1 (4)
The first time I experienced origami (the art of paper folding) was in Japan where a coworker asked an entire class to make a paper crane, write their name on it and later stand and declare: “this crane was made by (insert name here)” as a way of introducing themselves. I remember silently panicking for the students who wouldn’t know how to do it. Turns out I had no idea. Every student made a crane. And they made them fast!
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You know how they say only in hindsight can you realise the true value of a moment? Well, I remember feeling extremely homesick and out of my comfort zone that very make-a-crane day. However, if it wasn’t for that unique experience, I wouldn’t have been able to pass on the art to my new students today.
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“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~C.S. Lewis (Coffee. He means a cup of coffee!)
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You know round Saturn peaches? Well, turns out they have pretty inappropriate looking nectarine cousins and here’s one of them.
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More work antics….I love my job!
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