September 24, 2014

Human Connections

It was a morning like any other. Kind of sleepy, but I was on my second cup of coffee and hoping this would do it. I knew shouldn't have stayed up late binge watching random YouTube videos!
I hurriedly get dressed and do a quick 5 minute makeup and I’m finally ready. I get into my reasonable sedan, still sipping on that coffee.
So I’m driving a long on the highway when a familiar tune comes on the radio. It’s “Groove is in the Heart” At first I just smiled and nodded my head to the beat but I couldn't control myself. I simply had to sing right along and do a little car dancing. I silently thank Dee Lite for composing a tune such as this to get me in a great mood this morning.
Just then. I glance over at the car beside me and this is what I see. It’s as if in slow motion, a car full of young teens mouthing the words to the song. At first glance I thought they were mocking me. But then…..BUT THEN, I realized what was going on. They’re listening to the same station. To the same song! They were having a blast, giving me thumbs up and waving. We drove along side each other and continued to bop along to the classic tune and as they veered right, quite poetically, the song ended just as they caught their exit. We gave each other knowing nods and then, just as quickly as that Kia full of kids came into my life, they were out of it.
Did that just happen? I asked myself as I continued driving along my way. It did. And it was amazing. It was a rare, and beautiful moment of pure human connection with strangers.

August 10, 2014

Why I Love The Sea

As a small child when you’re hurt or upset, your mother or father or someone would carry you. You could fall asleep in the car or somewhere, and your parents would carry you to your bed. I recently read something very small and simple, that was kind of profound. At some point, your mother or father put you down and never picked you up again. Hmm, I thought, it’s true and it’s kind of sad. You never really knew it would be the last time someone carried you and you were probably too young to appreciate being carried anyway.
For the most part, for the rest of your life you carry yourself. Hopefully you carry yourself well, with dignity and pride. Rarely does one, as an adult get to let go in that way and feel cared for as you did in childhood. A bride being carried over the threshold on her wedding day is a romantic gesture and when an athlete is lifted up over his teammates’ shoulders it’s showing appreciation.
The sea carries me. When I swim way out away from the crowds, and I’m floating in the water, I feel weightless. I feel at one with nature. My head is clear. The sea washes away my worries, heals my aches and in that moment, the sea is carrying me. It tells me everything will be fine. The sea is where I feel free.

July 18, 2013

Ramadan Commercials

When Ramadan rolls around each year, along with a new crop of television series along come a fresh batch of commercials. It's like the Superbowl is in the US, but it goes on all month long. You start to get sick of some, for sure but there are some that are nice and some that just drive you nuts. Here are my thoughts on some of the popular Ramadan ads this year.

Mountain View This one, I like and laugh at it every time. It's a new mini city on the outskirts of Cairo, that honestly, looks really nice. The Ad   <--- here on youtube depicts a guy barbecuing, seemingly in a park, then it pans out that he's in the middle of a round about or something and some dude thinks he's selling food.  The idea is if you live in Mountain View Hyde Park, you can grill in the park like they do in California! The guy on the bike cracks me up when he's like What eh?? Khalas!

Vodafone Share  It took me a minute to realize they were saying Share. It's pronounced more like sheer in the ad but I guess that's just the arabization of the word. Mohamed Mounir sings over little clips of pure Egyptianess and how we share everything. I really love it and think it's really cute and heartwarming.

CocaCola  This one I liked at first but now I'm getting sick of that song. I like the imagery and the idea. You know they're saying lets all be united and not divided after recent events. Correct me if I'm wrong, I think it's Cairokee singing?

Birell I don't get this one at all. There's a whole series of different ones with horoscope signs and they're at a costume party. Someone please explain this to me.

Maxibon This ad is funny but getting annoying. Yahbal...Khod Feshar! I saw a thing on FB comparing this ad with Egypt, saying the lion is the army, the guys eating the ice cream are the people and the guy in the middle the brotherhood. Heh. Propaganda or over analyzing? I like the sandwich side better for the record.

Pepsi/Chipsy For this commercial, they had a teaser for several days until they revealed the end of it. It's kind of nice. I know that a lot of the elements are about Ramadan shows and personalities from people's childhood but I'm sure it didn't have the same effect on me as it did people who grew up here. They even brought Fouad El Mohandes back from the dead.

Galaxy There's one where this woman buys a box of Galaxy Jewels chocolates and hands it to some guy working on the street. He then takes one and passes it to another person and so on until it comes back to the original woman with one chocolate left. That that I say one thing. YEA RIGHT! We all know that IF someone were to give away a 60le box of chocolates to some random person on the street, they'd take it home, end of story.  The one with the check out girl is believable but this one, pshh.

Cadbury Speaking of chocolate, the one with the Cadbury bus is cute. Would have been better if they were on regular bus or at least one with air conditioning because the way they're passing around that chocolate without a wrapper, you know that would have melted already.

Cottonil I hate this commercial. It's really annoying and lame and I hate that it's catchy and I found myself singing it and was like NOOO WHY!? Who likes this commercial? It's dumb.

Universal This started out as a teaser where we didn't know what the ad was for. It was just Ahmed Ezz talking to himself. Well it certainly got everyone wondering. The rest of it was a let down. An oven? Really?

The rest of it is either too boring or unimaginative to mention or it's one of those guilt trip donation ads.  Oh and there are new PSA type ones about second hand smoke. A step in the right direction. How about PSAs on littering? That'd be good.

Well that's all I have to say about that. Have you seen these if you're in Egypt/dish/youtube? What do you think?

July 17, 2013

Article on SA Muslima

A while back I was asked by the lovely people at South African Muslima Magazine to write an article about Ramadan in Egypt. The issue is now out and you can read it here.  Hope you enjoy it, please let me know your thoughts on Ramadan where you live. :)

*It's been brought to my attention that the site is blocked in Saudi and who know where else, here's a screenshot :) Ramadan In Egypt 

July 16, 2013

Iftar Today

Each day in Ramadan, I try to think of what to make for iftar. When everyone is fasting, you really want to put that extra effort and make it a really delicious meal.  Today, I finally succeeded in making bread! It's kind of a big deal for me because until now I've never been able to make nice fluffy rolls. My previous attempts have always resulted in tough chewy bread. This recipe was a little painstaking but worth it in the end. I only made half the recipe to try it out but they disappeared in no time. I'm going to try adding cheese and garlic to the dough  next time.

Dinner rolls just out of the oven.
The spread.
This is a recipe I learned from my aunt that is basically mashed potatoes layered with ground beef and topped with toasted bread crumbs.
Roasted garlic and herb cauliflower is an MVP in my recipe repertoire. 
To drink I made Karkade which is a hibiscus drink. Really good and refreshing.
Chocolate mousse for dessert. This is the recipe, it was pretty easy to follow but I used real whipping cream since we don't have frozen whipped topping.

I'm always looking for new recipes to try. Pinterest usually has some good ones, I just have to start making sure I have everything before starting something or else I end up having to send Dawood to buy something quick like I did today with the whipping cream! 

It is pretty tiring on a day like today to make all of that, but it makes me happy when everyone likes it. Anyone have any go to, tried and true recipes for me to try?

July 9, 2013

Happy Ramadan

I wish you all a blessed and joyous Ramadan!

July 6, 2013

Swell Promo

I've been working on a promotional video to help get my little business going and if you've been over to Swell Blog Design, you know it's got a retro feel and I thought a parody of those old instructional videos would be a fun way to get the word out.

Please let me know what you think and share if you like it. It was fun making it and I hope it will help promote the site.