All posts by Ms. Hala

SF Sundays – Winter Wonderland!

Happy December Everyone!!

I do love the city in December. Maybe it’s the holiday lights, maybe it’s my birthday month. I don’t know, I just love San Francisco in December!

Our family may not celebrate Christmas but we sure love the winter season nonetheless, exchanging presents, and decorating our home as we do for Halloween and both Eids each year.

Before we go exploring the city, I do want to remind you that we’ve had massive fires up in the North Bay thanks in part to PG&E negligence (yea, I said it!), heat waves, high winds and dry brush in the past couple of months. If you’d like to help those in need this holiday season, please support the World Central Kitchen, Islamic Relief Fund and the California Fire Foundation.

HAPPENING AROUND TOWN

If you’ve never seen a movie while the amazing San Francisco Symphony performs the soundtrack and music, have you really seen the movie? For the holiday season, expect to find movies like Love Actually, Ghostbusters and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Oh, I can’t wait for that one!

c/o sfsymphony.org

And as with every year, Cirque du Soleil is back in San Francisco with the production of Amaluna, running now through January 22, 2020. Happening at Oracle Park, with another story as told by amazing acrobatic performers and live music. Get your tickets now, these shows are selling out!

Need a friend or two to join you on these amazing wonderland adventures? You should join me as the consul of InterNation’s SF Culture and Arts Group! We check out some beautiful and fun works throughout town on a regular basis.

I entered the cosmos!

Recently, we were invited to the opening of the As Above As Below exhibit at the Menresa Gallery in the St. Ignatius Church of USF. A small but extremely dazzling exhibit bringing astrology, neurology and the arts together. I entered the cosmos and so should you, as you only have until December 15th to check it out. The exhibit is free but be sure to book your tickets online.

We also checked out the season’s must see exhibit, Soul of a Nation, at the de Young Museum. Our group got together last week and were truly immersed in the powerful pieces, from collages and photography to paintings and sculptures. Many in the group did the audio tour which went into further detail, history and relevance of each piece.

Faith Ringgold, 1977 – Alice Neel

Don’t forget the ice rinks are up and running now through January all across the Bay. Head to Union Square Ice Rink and skate around the beautifully lit tree. For the second year, the lovely Winter Park at Civic Center is back. This is an ice rink that the young ones will truly enjoy among the greenery and lights. The Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center is not just open during the holidays but all year long! There are many more ice rinks to skate through the Bay Area, which you can find thanks to TimeOut San Francisco.

YUMMINESS ACHIEVED

Nothing truly scares me like hunger. This week, I want to highlight the food banks that begin their busiest time of the year to help secure food for those in need. I urge you all to check out your local food banks, volunteer and donate.

These facilities are literal life lines to many families and individuals in need, especially those affected by the recent wildfires.

If I missed any food bank or resource in the Bay Area, please include them in the comments below.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events, organizations or restaurants listed unless otherwise noted. If you’d like me to rant about a happening around town, an awesome organization or a yummy eatery for my SF Sundays rant series, please email ha@mshala.co.

I Survived the Loma Prieta Earthquake

I survived the Loma Prieta earthquake, 30 years ago!

Image result for loma prieta
c/o NBC Bay Area

Today, October 17, is the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. That 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Bay Area 30 years ago, yet I remember it like it was yesterday!

I was seven years old, home with family after school, coloring when all my crayons started going all over the place. “Stop messing with my crayons!” I yelled at my brothers but before they could answer, my pregnant mom screamed at us to get under the table, it was an earthquake.

Those were the longest seconds of my young life under that table!

Related image
c/o San Francisco Chronicle

Luckily, we had just gone through the safety drill in school, how one should dock and cover under a table or stand in a door frame as my mom did when an earthquake struck. We stepped outside our small two floor apartment building after the fact, checking on neighbors and friends.

Back in our apartment, still shaken, we picked up all that fell and assessed the minor damages. My mom was so worried with the local news reporting of the rising death toll, major damages and aftershocks throughout the day that she had us sleeping in the building lobby that night to easily escape if need be.

I remember the image of the collapsed section of the Bay Bridge on the news. Seeing it these many years later sometimes beings that flush of fright my seven year old self felt back then. I also remember the ongoing repairs that took place months and years since then. Including the repairs to the Ferry Building, which rang when the earthquake struck in 1989.

Are we ready or prepared 30 years later? How does one get prepared? Make a plan with your family and friends. Know all your exits at home as well as at work and school. At home, have a first aid kit, canned foods, water and other necessary supplies packed in an accessible pantry/space. Make sure your home or renter’s insurance in a state like California covers you should your health or home be affected. And finally, stay informed and ask questions. It can save your life!

International Coffee Day

Wherever I’ve been in the world, I’m blessed to have sipped some ridiculously good coffee.

Happy International Coffee Day!!

National Voter Registration Day

Today is National Voter Registration Day. Are you registered to vote? Not sure if you are? Need to update your information? Under 18 years old? Go to vote.org today and take a few minutes to register, pre-register or update your registration.

FYI, if you are not yet 18 years old, many states like California will allow you to pre-register to vote at the age of 16 or 17 years old. This means that the few minutes you take today to pre-register automatically registers you to vote on your 18th birthday. How sweet is that? Click here to check your state’s requirements to pre-register to vote.

A few minutes out of your day is all that it takes!

Want to make a difference? Vote. Want a better future for our children? Vote. Want something done about climate change? Vote. Want to end the Muslim Ban? Vote. Want to reform the immigration policies? Vote. Want to protect LGBTQ rights? Vote. Want equal pay for equal work? Vote. Want to see any real change? Vote.

Please share this post to all your family and friends, young and old.

Picture of the Day

❤️ Happy Anniversary to our lovely Mama and her wonderful husband, Sayed.

Insha’Allah a lifetime of wedded bliss, happiness and love. May God continue to bless your beautiful union for many more years to come. ❤️

SF Sundays – Wonders to Explore!

I’ve got to say, despite a couple of rough weeks personally and as a local, I’m just glad July is over! Let’s get busy with all the good happenings in the city and around the Bay. The days are long, the nights are breezy and the food is filling. Let’s get into the groove of things, yalla!!

HAPPENING AROUND TOWN

First, I’d like to start by announcing that I’m officially a volunteer with the Arab Film and Media Institute (AFMI). AFMI is the wonderful organization that has been showcasing Arab creatives in film and television while providing educational courses for youth to get into film and television. And I’m excited for the upcoming 23rd edition of the Arab Film Festival! The largest of it’s kind in the nation, this years festival will start October 11th, with passes already on sale. Do not miss out peeps, I promise you that this year is expected to be the biggest one yet.

Second, as many of you are, I’m into the culture and arts scene of the Bay Area. I’ve recently become the consul of InterNation’s SF Culture and Arts Group. A few weeks ago, we checked out Andy Warhol’s From A to B and Back Again exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Absolutely beautiful and you will learn something new about Andy, I promise. You only have until September 2nd to check out his retrospective works, so don’t miss it.

In a few weeks, I hope to have us head to the symphony, a few comedy shows, a film festival and we’ll even check out this little play called Hamilton. Join us!

Third, can I remind you that we have a wonderful local animal zoo here in San Francisco? Yes, the animals at the San Francisco Zoo hail from all over the world and are just a joy to explore, especially with the young ones. I personally LOVE the meerkats, otters and the petting area. And don’t forget, if you’re a San Francisco resident, admissions are free on the first Wednesday of every month!

YUMMINESS ACHIEVED

I have to say that when I found out that Lady M of New York was coming to town for a limited time, I was excited. And not working far their pop up shop made it even more exciting for me. However, when we tried to make a reservation online for our orders, they had stopped taking reservations after complaints that many stood in the same long lines as everyone else.

Fine, we’ll go stand in line, I mean, who wouldn’t for those delicious thin layered delights, right? Nope, They were here for four days and ran out before the end of the third day. It was really disappointing until I learned they sell to customers in pop up shops what they deliver from online orders: the frozen version of the cakes out of New York. So what was the point?

Turning this frown upside down, I’ve got two words… Move Halal. My good peeps in Oakland just started a sweet one stop shop for those seeking halal meats, fresh ingredients and wholesome goods from our native lands. Want to whip up a legit hummus or craving freshly baked bread? They’ve got it!

You can either get your order delivered for a flat fee or pick up your order at Salam in Oakland (more locations may be added in the near future). That’s right, Move Halal delivers around most of the East Bay and even ships non-perishables across the nation so you can deliver some deliciousness.

Best part? Move Halal has partnered with Pure Hands Foundation to donate some of the proceeds to support their initiative of providing meals and medications to those in need in Yemen. If that isn’t a fantastic start up, I don’t know what is.

#GILROYSTRONG

I urge you all to support and pray for the wonderful people of Gilroy as they mourn the loss of three beautiful people and heal the many injured in the useless gun violence that took place at this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival. There will be many vigils and memorials held for 6 year old Stephen Romero, 13 year old Keyla Salazar and 25 year old Trevor Irby. To support #GilroyStrong, you can buy t-shirts where funds will go to support the victim’s families.

May those perished rest in God’s eternal peace, may God grant those injured a smooth recovery, may God grant strength and mercy to the city of Gilroy, ameen.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events or restaurants listed unless otherwise noted. If you’d like me to check out and rant about a happening around town or a yummy eatery for my SF Sundays rant series, please email ha@mshala.co.

Picture of the Day

What is summer to you? Summer to me is sand at my feet, waves crashing, a light breeze and a warm sun between a few clouds. Summer to me is my nephew’s glee when we bonded at the beach just him and I, chasing waves, picking up shells and laughing our hearts out for no apparent reason.

Here’s to a wonderful season and a happy August, peeps! 😍