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    California, Lifestyle

    Bungee Jumping Off the Bridge to Nowhere

    bungee jumping

    Bungee jumping was one of those bucket-list items that I desperately wanted to achieve. It’s not the same as skydiving, which I got to do while in Arizona four years later, but it’s still a rush. There was no better place to take that leap of faith than off the Bridge to Nowhere in the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains. Read more

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    Lifestyle

    January Favorites

    In January, we all are working on our resolutions. Promises that we make to somehow better ourselves with the turn of the new year and those promises usually last maybe a week or two before we go back to our normal routines. I decided this year not to make resolutions, but to instead take baby steps in doing things I love, such as travelling, being creative, and moving forward with my life and career…things that I had been working on for some time now.

    I started the year off with a cold. There was no celebration and I ended up being a designated driver for a neighbor on New Years Eve. Luckily, I had a few days off of work due to the holidays to feel better and then I hit the ground running. The most memorable part of this month was my trip to Cozumel and getting Open Water Scuba Certified through PADI.

    And now this month’s favorites!

    Bee Raw Honey – I can go on and on about the benefits and wonders of raw honey and why I love it so much, but we’ll cut to the chase. Honey is my go-to for everything and while I normally buy locally made honey at farmers’ markets, Bee Raw is one of my favorite online shops for raw honey. Their flavors are subtly different and not overwhelmingly sweet. The perfect additive to my tea for aiding a sore throat.

    Dean and Deluca Diner Mug – I love diner mugs. The shape, the feel…it makes me feel like I’m at a little diner or cafe.

    Graze Cranberry and Hazelnut Toasts – Graze is a subscription box for snacks and can either be a four or eight pack. I prefer the sharing sizes, which are about three or four servings per bag and I get five bags a month. They’re great for on the go, a quick pick me up, or in this case, at the airport. The cranberry and hazelnut toasts, with black quinoa and Himalayan pink salt, are my absolute favorite and I’m on a mission to try to make them on my own. (To try Graze, use this code to get your first and fifth box free: NP9CCT15P.)

    Lululemon Run All Day Backpack – I have a thing for little backpacks. They’re incredibly convenient and this one fit me just right and wasn’t uncomfortable to wear around all day. It was large enough to fit my camera, a couple water bottles, and dry clothes for when I was out diving. You can even put in a water reservoir inside it as well. And it’s perfect for hiking!

    Ugly Doll – Love this thing. I use it as a pillow when I travel.

    Sun Bum Sunscreen and After Sun Lotion – I normally prefer organic and natural skincare, but these were convenient and they smelled like bananas and coconuts.  Always wear sunscreen!

    GoPro Hero+ – Since it was my first time diving, I wanted to document the amazingness that is the ocean. I purchased a GoPro Hero+, which is very user friendly for a novice GoPro user. I ordered mine in a bundle to include a plastic handgrip mount, an SD chip and a head harness. I figured that if something happened to it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world since I didn’t fork over that much money for it. Other than my horrible filming skills, it worked better than I had hoped! I kept the GoPro on the entirety of the dives, filming as much as possible, and sorted through the video afterwards.  GoPro has a free software available on its website that can be used for editing and sorting through videos and my Hero+ also has WiFi capabilities so I was able to look at the footage on my phone. An accessory I wish I had while diving is a light so that the bright colors of the coral and the fish could be seen. I’ll definitely be an upgrading in the future.

    Aldama Milk Candy Wafers – Mexican candy! I’m a fan of candy from foreign countries and these light wafers are perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.

    Dive ring – One of the divemasters on my trip told me that buying a dive ring after getting certified was a rite of passage. The PADI dive flag is red with a white diagonal stripe running across the center and the rings replicate the look. These rings are commonly found in many of the shops in Cozumel because of the high demand and popularity of scuba diving in that location. We shopped around in Downtown Cozumel looking for the perfect ring at a decent price. We finally found one at Joyería Ix-Chel, a small jewelry store on the main street across from the pier. It had a more feminine feel to it and I loved the imperfections in the red coral.

    Sea urchin shells – I found one of these in 2007 while in Baja. Unfortunately, it broke. While walking along the beach in Cozumel, I came across a large sea urchin, still alive and stuck in the sand. I kicked it back into the ocean and shortly thereafter came across two, small, and perfectly intact shells. A fun little addition to my shell collection.

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    Food, Lifestyle

    Țuică: A Homemade Cold Remedy

    Just recently I had whatever ‘crud’ was going around, which always starts off as a minor tickle in the throat and eventually turns into a dry, unproductive cough, hoarse throat, sinus headache, and finally a stuffy then runny nose. Not quite the best way to spend New Years, but my dog kept me company as I braved the cold South Dakota weather for his walks and then curled up in bed or on the sofa among tons of blankets.

    We all have our own remedies. Some swear by hot water with lemon and honey. Others drink hot toddy. A coworker of mine drinks an entire bottle of orange juice, with lots of pulp, and drinking a ton of Southern Comfort after. “I feel hungover the next day,” he says, “But my cold…is GONE!” (To put things in perspective, this guy also has a pet pig named Fred…).

    Me? Well, I grew up with my grandmother making me Țuică, which is essentially Romanian moonshine, boiled with cloves and sugar. It’s not the most pleasant of cold remedies, although I much prefer it over cough syrup and it clears your sinuses and soothes the throat quite well.

    The recipe is quite easy and you don’t need that much alcohol.

    • Measure an espresso cup’s worth of Slivovitz Old Plum Brandy and pour it into aa cezve (a pot designed to make Armenian or Turkish coffee).
    • Add half a teaspoon of whole cloves.
    • Bring to a boil.
    • Pour into the espresso cup and add a desired amount of honey. If using cane sugar, add prior to boiling.
    • Down that sucker in one shot.

    You should be feeling fine in no time 😉

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    Lifestyle

    100 Years: Recognizing the Armenian Genocide

    I am a descendant of survivors. And I demand recognition.

    My great-grandfather was one of the survivors in my family. He was young, in his teens, when he and his brother escaped from their home in Turkey and ran away, the rest of his family slaughtered. He ran away to Bulgaria, where he joined the military and eventually meeting his bride before settling in Romania.

    My great-grandmother was another. She was orphaned and ran away to Greece, eventually settling in Lebanon.

    April 24th marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, or Մեծ Եղեռն (the Great Crime). It commemorates the day in 1915 when the Turkish government arrested and executed hundreds of Armenian intellectuals. The government set out to exile and massacre the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Of the 2-2.5 million Armenians, an estimated 1.5 million were killed between 1915 and 1923. Some, like my great-grandfather’s family, were slaughtered in their homes. Others were forced on death marches without food or water and subsequently died.  To this day, the United States still hasn’t recognized this event as ‘genocide’ and the Turkish government continues to deny these allegations.

    In Los Angeles, a march will be held on April 24th, starting in Little Armenia and ending at the Turkish Consulate to protest the Turkish government’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide. More information can be found here. I will be attending a small monument unveiling in Scottsdale, AZ.

    I am by no means a historian. There are many sources available on the genocide, such as  Armenian Genocide Centennial and some recommended books, both non-fiction and fictional, are listed below:

    • A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility – Taner Akçam
    • The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response – Peter Balakian
    • The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity – Taner Akçam
    • Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide – Donald E. Miller
    • The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History – Raymond Kevorkian
    • Black Dog of Fate: An American Sone Uncovers His Armenian Past – Peter Balakian
    • My Name is Aram – William Saroyan
    • The Road from Home: A True Story of Courage, Survival, and Hope – David Kheridan
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    California, Lifestyle

    Sampling perfumes at Scent Bar

    scent bar storefrontScent Bar is a tiny boutique for unique, high-end, hard to find perfumes. The store had originally opened near the Beverly Center and I remember driving past it multiple times in college on my way home. Currently located on Beverly Blvd near a corner coffee shop, Scent Bar’s storefront is simple with glass windows allowing you to peek inside at the hundreds of bottles lining the inside of the store. The shop itself is very small, a single room with two of its walls displaying the many perfume bottles, organized by fragrance notes, and a third wall displaying body and skincare products. A long table, covered in candles, additional scents, and small bowls of coffee beans, allows clients to sit and sample the perfumes with the help of two experts. I had browsed the the website (www.luckyscent.com) multiple times and had ordered a couple samples in the past but it’s a much different experience having experts recommend specific perfumes based on your preference. I personally prefer floral and citrusy notes and sampled about ten scents. Because I’m on a budget and didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars, I was able to take home four samples and rose scented hand lotion.

    Annick Goutal Petite Cherie – a light fruity and citrusy scent with pear and peach note

    Annick Goutal Ce Soir ou Jamais – a floral scent with rose as the main note

    Keiko Mecheri Les Nuits d’Izu – a slightly unisex scent with citrus notes

    Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses – a more unisex scent with coconut and rose notes

    Scent Bar is worth visiting if you enjoy unique perfumes and want the experience of sampling scents for both men and women without feeling pressured to purchase anything. It is so much different than going to a department store.

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