Tag Archives: summer

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! šŸ˜

SF Sundays – Summer of Love, Colors and Laughter

My second summer back in the Bay and I couldn’t be more excited. I feel like this summer especially there are so many exciting things to see, do and eat yet so little time. From a parade that’s filled with colors and pride to local delicious eateries like no other, the city is the place to be this summer if you ask me.

Are you ready? I sure am, yalla!

HAPPENING AROUND TOWN

c/o KQED

June is Pride Month and it goes with out saying that the San Francisco is home to the largest pride parade of it’s kind in the country. The annual San Francisco Pride Parade will take place June 30th. The parade will start at the Embarcadero, head down Market Street and ending at the Civic Center Plaza. The day prior, will see lots of activities, live shows and celebrations of local heroes.

Last year, over 50,000 people marched and many more came out in support. I can only imagine how many this year will be out in our great city celebrating. Grand Stand tickets are still on sale now, so don’t miss out!

c/o SFMOMA

All this summer, Andy Warhol’s From A to B and Back Again will be exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Now through September 2nd, and for the first time in the US since 1989, his retrospective works are being exhibited. This is truly a one of a kind treat and we in the Bay are so lucky. If you’re a member, it’s free, otherwise most admission tickets are under $40! You can even have a private group tour set up for a slightly higher fee, #JustSaying. However, on June 29th, I’m organizing an outing with the local InterNations arts and museum group for an afternoon at SFMOMA. Join like minded art lovers from around the world for an afternoon that’ll be filled with fun and lively conversations.

Lots of really good comedy is coming our way this summer, too. As a loud laughing fan of stand up, I’m already getting tickets left right and center for all these amazingly talented funny people coming to the Bay, many starting at just $25! Here are just a handful of confirmed shows that I’m super excited about:

c/o Chase Center
  • June 21 ā€“ 23: The massive comedy festival that isĀ ClusterfestĀ is three days of laughs, music, podcasts, drag queens and fun! Anyone else geeking out as I am that Leslie Jones is now confirmed in the line up? YEEEEEEES!
  • June 22: San Leandro’s Arts Commission is holding it’s 1st Annual Comedy in the Plaza. This free event should be a blast since it’s being emceed by one of my favorite local comedians and TV personality Brian Copeland.
  • July 12 and 13: Mo Amer is coming to Cobb’s Comedy Club for four shows already selling out fast. I’ve seen him perform live and let me tell you, this dude is HILARIOUS! He was recently featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and is currently featured in Hulu’s original series RAMY.
  • July 25: The hilarious Greg Props will be recording his hit podcast The Smartest Man in the World live at the historic Punchline! He also has a few shows lined up later in the week but if you’re a fan of the podcast, this isn’t to be missed.
  • December 7: Yes it’s past summer but it’s my birthday and I’m super excited! Why? Because on my birthday, my biggest celeb crush that is TREVOR NOAH is bringing his Loud and Clear tour to San Francisco’s new Chase Center. It’s like we were destined to meet on such a special day, you know? hehehe
  • December 21-23 and 26-30: And since I celebrate my birthday all month long, I’m so excited that the Bay Area’s very own Ali Wong is coming home for the holidays. She’s bringing her Milk and Money tour to the beautiful theater that is The Masonic. We aren’t even through June yet and this funny lady’s first show is already sold out, WOW!

YUMMINESS ACHIEVED

The best thing I’ve loved about eating my way through my hometown is discovering ones that have been open for at least 20 years, that I’ve passed by on numerous occasions and some how missed out on. Until now! For the last year since moving back, Toyose has been my go to spot at least twice a month for either take out or late night dinner with my gal pals.

When I say it’s a legit hole in the wall, I mean a hole in the wall. Toyose is literally a home garage converted into a laid back eatery in the Outer Sunset. A fusion of Korean and Asian American cuisine, they have some good stew pots, fried rice, tempuras and katsu plates. My go to lately has been their spicy chicken wings… Oh my God, they are so finger licking good in every sense of the word that I keep forgetting to take a picture of them.

They are only open from 6pm to 2am so expect to wait some nights for about a good 20 minutes or so. Just walk in, write your name on the board and the number of people. You’ll be seated and quickly served by some friendly faces. I’d use the wait time to check the menu and figure out what you’d like to chow down on. I’d totally recommend for groups to order a bunch of plates and start sharing.

You’re welcome!

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.

Travel Link Up – Favorite Staycation Spots

Travel bloggers come together monthly for the Travel Link Up, a fantastic way for bloggers to come together to write and share posts of a particular theme. Even though I’ve been behind, I try to join whenever I can. This month’s theme is “favorite staycations” and I just had to take the opportunity to brag a bit about my hometown region and a far away favorite. 

Staycations are like adding a fun boost to the weekend that’s usually set aside for family, laundry, errands and TV binge. When you are in need of a vacation but can’t go so far or for so long, it’s good to hop in a car, a train, or even a short flight to enjoy a quick break from the mundane.

Here, I’m going to focus on two of my favorite staycation spots since I’ve lived in two different parts of the world. One being in my hometown of the Bay Area and the other being from my expat life in Qatar.

Let’s go far then bring it back home.

Muscat, Oman

IMG_20161209_112439-01.jpegDuring the five years of my expat life in Qatar, I was lucky to be able to go on weekend trips to near by countries like the UAE and Kuwait. Many of which literally meant time with family and friends or at a hotel spa getting a well deserved pampering session. I got to do a little bit of both with some adventure when friends and I headed to Muscat in 2016 for a long birthday weekend.

Barely an hour flight away (think SF to LA), once I landed, I went straight to the hotel where I indulged in a mani-pedi pampering session before chilling on the warm private beach with a good book. Yes, Muscat in December is like a sweet summer day in San Francisco. It’s seriously perfect beach weather, warm but not too humid, light breeze and clear skies for the most part.

As an IHG member, I got a sweet deal at the Crowne Plaza Muscat. It’s very much a chill out hotel that I’d go back to again. Great spots to eat, excellent services and did I mention they had a private beach?

IMG_20161209_165408-01.jpegOnce my friends caught up though, we went exploring! Headed to Bimmah’s infamous sinkhole and clear beaches before driving out the city to the canyons of Wadi ElSham. This is a trek everyone should do once in their lives, absolutely beautiful and breathtaking.

Canyons are no joke and as an out of shape person, it wasn’t too hard to trek through some of the rocky narrow parts. And if you’re a swimmer, you’ll love the varying spots where you can take safe dive, come back up and trek some more. I went as far as I could before the path was too narrow for me and alas, I’m no swimmer but I still enjoyed exploring and watching the waters ripple below.

Nature truly beckons here in Muscat, where you can lose yourself in awe of your colorful surroundings.

Monterey Bay, California

I’ve been a tourist in my hometown since repatriating back home over a year ago. There is still so much for me to rediscover as I eat my way through town and see the changes that have happened over the course of my absence. I did get to rediscover an old favorite for a few staycations, including a birthday weekend late last year (I know, I’ve developed a pattern! =P ). On a good day, it’s a short hour and a half drive to this small historical beach town.

IMG_20190331_134903-01.jpegOnce a mainstay for sardine fishing and canning, Monterey has become a hub for marine preservation and exploration. My brother got his scuba diving license there before we took my nephew to his first aquarium adventure. He got to see all the different kinds of jelly fishes up close before finally seeing his favorite, the hammer head shark, swim by.

Just a half hour away, one can head to Moss Landing for an afternoon of dolphin and whale watching. It’s an absolutely glorious experience, highly recommended!

Make it a true girls trip and head to the Monterey Plaza Hotel for a beautiful room, a day at the spa and dinner by the sea. The hotel even offers perks and packages, especially if they know you’re there for a special occasion. They were sweet enough to offer us freebies from my favorite coffee spot there, Tidal Cafe -home of the best chocolate scones, EVER!- as a birthday gift.

So tell me, where are your favorite staycation spot(s)?

Travel Link Up – My Travel Wishlist for 2018

Travel bloggers come together monthly for the Travel Link Up, a fantastic way for bloggers to write aboutĀ a particular travel theme while reading and sharing each other’s posts. This month’s theme is one’s travel wishlist for 2018. This rant will be my first with the travel link up, finally!

IMG-20170909-WA0034-01.jpgOne of my goals for 2018 is to travel more than I did last year. This, in part, is sparked by two things. One, my plans from last year was put on hold because of my repatriation back home. And two, this year’s destination wedding seasonĀ is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier! This is an opportune time for me to revisit favorites as well as discover new places.

So here’s my travel wishlist for 2018:

San Francisco Bay Area, California

I’ve been playing aĀ tourist in my hometownĀ since repatriating last summer. There’s so much for me to rediscover as I eat my way through the city and the Bay Area as a whole, really. Like trekkingĀ the hiking trails in Sausalito, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on foot, checking out the latest exhibits at the Asian American Museum, observing the marine animals at the historical Monterey Aquarium and show some love to the businesses reopening in the Napa Valley areas.

New York Tri-State Area

DSCN0211-01.jpgI’ll be heading to the New York area in the early summer for my cousin’s wedding! After dancing the night away, I’m going to try to cross a few things off my list that I didn’t get a chance to do during my last visit. Like, go see a Broadway show. I mean seriously, how have I been to New York City so many times and not see a single Broadway show? Preposterous! This year, I must see a show and I’m spoiled for choice with new ones coming out as early as March 2018, wow! I’d also like to head to Hoboken, New Jersey. It’s been on my radar as I hear they’ve got a booming food culture there.

Sicily, Italy

IMG_20160723_131933-01.jpegLater in the summer, I’m heading to the magnificent island state of Sicily for my dear friend’s wedding! I’ve been through most of Italy in 2016 but not to Sicily. Thus, my friends and I are planning to stay about a week to check it out in all it’s glory once we’ve recovered from dancing all night or two long. I’m being told that Mount Etna is a must when visiting Sicily. This should be a good way to work out all the food I plan on eating.

Dubrovnik and Fort Lovrijenac, Croatia

Another trip missed last year was Croatia. As a history buff, I’m anxious to see the ancient coastal city of Dubrovnik. Of course, I can’t be in Croatia as a huge Game of Thrones fan and not head to FortĀ Lovrijenac, where it’s the setting for Kings Landing. The scenery alone is a great backdrop for this historical fantasy. Here’s to taking a seat on the Iron Throne!

Luxor and Aswan, Egypt

IMG_0180-01.jpegSince I won’t be far,Ā seems a short trip to the Middle East is in order. It’s been a good number of years since I’ve been to Egypt and of the few times I’ve been, I have yet to visit Luxor and Aswan. As a history buff, these historic provinces have so much to offer and I’m still making a list of all the things I need to explore. I do plan on going with a tour guide of sorts as to not miss out on anything.

Bali, Indonesia

I was so close yet didn’t get a chance to go as planned for my birthday last year. I’m hoping to make it this time around and explore the bounties the island has to offer. Fingers crossed there won’t be another volcano eruption, otherwise, I’m checking out Mount Agung and the surrounding towns.

Paris, France

This country, specifically Paris, is a coin toss for me because as much as I’d like to go, the fact that hijabs and niqabs are banned in its many public places doesn’t put me at much ease. I’ve almost never had a problem outside of airports during my travels but that’s not the expectation I have for Paris. However, I’d do anything to just sit in one of the eateries facing the Effiel Tower and eat my heart out.

Do you have a travel wishlist for 2018? Do share!