personal

One Day At A Time

It has been 3 weeks since S has left to the States to witness his charming older brother marry an angel of a woman, and spend some much awaited time with his loving family. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy for me. But you know what? So far, it hasn’t been impossible either. I’ve kept busy (I’ll keep busy), and I’ve taken it one day at a time (I’ll take it one day at a time).
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A month ago, daddy making a Kiwi speciality: whitebait fritters, for S.
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Can anything beat breakfasting with your love?
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Forced S to hike Rapaki with me. He said the view was almost worth the pain.
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“You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizons. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.” ~Ethel Barrymore (Shoutout to the lovely lady customer who said she reads my blog!)
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Great fun making my famous pikelets with my kiddies (1 cup plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 free-range egg, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup milk – mix until smooth then cook tablespoon-full amounts in a good quality non stick frying pan or with a little oil in a not so good quality one – about a minute each side)
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The night of S’s bitter departure sweetened by dessert from The Villas.
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Wearing my boyfriends sweater. (“I imagine a line, a white line, painted on the sand and on the ocean, from me to you.” ~Jonathan Safran Foer)

 

Don’t Fear The Light That Dwells Deep Within…

You are powerful beyond what you imagine. Just let your light glow.
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Cheater cheater pumpkin eater!
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Japan is that you?! (If you haven’t already, I totes recommend checking out newly opened Japan Mart at Riccarton Westfield.)
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Self empowerment no53279 buying flowers (and cacti) for yourself.
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Reason 437698 I LOVE my job: so many 5 year old birthdays!
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Robot art by Jella, age 5.
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So incredibly proud of Mandy and Sebastian for working crazy hard to make their dream a reality! Utopia Ice is officially opening shop in Sumner village next week!
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Sorry for the radio silence my friends. I have been working on a children’s story! It is one from my childhood and named after my dear mother. I am in the process of having my manuscript assessed before sending it to a publisher so please please pray for me! Worst case scenario, I’ll publish it on my blog for y’all to read.

Much much much love,
Me.

There Is A Stream Of Love Supporting My Dreams

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Spring means Subway picnic dinners.
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Treated myself to some well-deserved me time the other week! And although lovely, I did feel bad about using so much water…Do you know if a bath uses more water than a shower? It must, mustn’t it? Alas, as a once-in-a-while treat, I did feel amazing, and I slept like a baby. Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
Petal carpet love!Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetI moved out of my parents’ again! How do you like my new room? I used to be an avid Frankie Magazine reader. However, after the original creators left, I’ve become a dedicated fan of The Lunch Lady which ironically, is their (Frankie’s ex-creators’) new publication. Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset
PMS is a bitch and so was I this day. I made S walk 40 min to the grocery store for a sweet craving (I wanted naturally dried apricots) but when the supermarket didn’t have them (what supermarket doesn’t have apricots?!) I spent 15 indecisive minutes only to buy checkout chocolate. Oops! Sorry S!
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And, one of my most memorable days yet…yes, that special! S surprised me at work with a picnic lunch of my favourites! Sushi, chocolate (the same one I had had that my moody night at the supermarket hehe), berry smoothie, and last but definitely not least, Dr. Feelgood frozen pops. This time we tried jelly-top Passionfruit and White Chocolate and I gotta say, it’s my favourite flavour yet! Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Yeah baby! Find them at Fendalton New World in Christchurch and probably everywhere in Auckland. Thanks Dr. Feelgood, I adore you!Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
I love my boyfriend because he agrees to pancakes for dinner.
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“Practice gratitude relentlessly. As you practice gratitude you will attract more thoughts and feelings of gratitude. In a shot time your entire being will be saturated with it, and you will experience a happiness that is beyond what you can imagine. This is what is ahead for you when you choose gratitude as your way of life. And if you can really live in this highest state of gratitude, you will never have to ask for anything. Everything you want will be given to you before you even ask, because gratitude is the magnetic substance that opens every single door in the Universe.”
~From the Secret Scrolls by Rhonda Byrne

I Am Growing Flowers…

in the darkest parts of my heart, for if light ever enters, it would know where to start. ~Noor Unnahar
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On Sunday evening, S and I went to The Tannery to watch one my favourite musicians, whom I first stumbled upon busking in Queenstown some 5 years ago (he busking not me) at live music venue, Blue Smoke. Of course, Graeme James was absolutely phenomenal – people like him make me wish I was at least slightly musical. On the contrary, S and I were not in top form.

You see, since his arrival, things have been pretty difficult. Getting used to one another’s presence after six months of separation takes work. Funnily enough, and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing this, Lifa (my Israeli brother with the beautiful Japanese wife) contacted me with a very resonating message a couple days ago:  “Are you guys still madly in love?” he asked, followed by: “When Aki came to meet me in Israel she suddenly wasn’t sure anymore…I would blame it on me coming late to pick her up from the airport but you know…doubts started and all. Eventually we passed that but what I’m saying is that surprises can happen.”

In my case, there have been no doubts, none whatsoever at all. Just disappointments. Allow me to explain: for 6 entire months I had looked forward to his arrival. So much so, that I had booked and cancelled 3 different cafe’s for our first place to go to after the airport (I couldn’t decide which would impress him the most). Next, I’d planned our weekends, and week nights, and basically, every minute of which I was not at work. We’d missed out on so much, now that he was finally here, I wanted us to do it all! But as the old yiddish proverb goes: “man plans and god laughs.” At first S was extremely jet-lagged, then poor guy fell sick due to climate change, then I became sick (both physically and emotionally) due to overly attached girlfriend shenanigans (haha). And, it’s also winter, which means everything is just that much harder to begin with. So, with my grand schemes down the drain, and my expectations unmet, I found myself rather disappointed.

And this is where we chose love. Realising that if we wanted to be more than picture-perfect happy, we needed to put in the effort. So, as kindly as we could, we communicated our feelings, and as selflessly as we could, we acknowledged one another’s. It was an arduous process. It is an arduous process. I can’t say I’ll ever master it. But what I can say is that it was the rain (and shine) which made our relationship blossom. For the sincere way S offered me solace, made me fall in love with his beautiful soul all over again. In the words of Abdu’l-Bahá: “where there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time.”
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To Be Human Is A Powerful, Profound Thing That Deserves A Lot Of Patience.

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This sweet card was made by my even sweeter five year old student. Did you lovely people have a memorable Mother’s Day? This year I decided not to make a big Facebook announcement for my mama, instead I wrote this (incase you and I aren’t Facebook friends):

I don’t want to post a generic message about how I love my mum and how lucky I am to have her (which I do and which I am) this Mother’s Day. Instead, I want to acknowledge all of my friends who either live far away from their mothers (I know from first-hand experience how hard that is) and those whose mothers are no longer with us. I wish you calmness and strength <3
Image (3)Mum’s breakfast at Untouched World – a lovely modern cafe with high-quality ingredients and a romantic fire.
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Absolutely in love with my Dr. Seuss preschool teacher uniforms because I absolutely love him! Who is/was your favourite childhood author? (A question posed to me by Soroosh the other day to which I actually replied Paul Jennings).
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Kids say write the darndest things!
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“Stained glass” butterflies made with black cardboard paper, coloured tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Super easy, are instructions needed?
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New favourite CHCH eatery! This $12 split pea soup (topped with caramelised onions) served alongside Bellbird bread and carrot butter from Gatherings was 10/10.

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)
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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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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.

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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