Things are happening!

I am very excited… there’s lots going on in my little piece of the world right now.  It’s been so long since I’ve written a post, so I feel like I should bring ya’ll up to speed on a few things.

  • After Fezzik passed away, I wasn’t sure I would be able to get another pet ever, let alone anytime soon.  Having him pass in the way he did, while in my lap, was one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever experienced.  Nick, however, worked his supreme powers of persuasion and convinced me, after about a month, to try again with this little guy.  Meet Tig, our Netherland Dwarf bunny..TigIsn’t he the sweetest?  He’s definitely a handful,  but so far so good.  He’s got a pretty posh little cage setup and after a month with us, he’s started to trust me a lot more.  Can’t say the same for Nick!  I just love his wonky facial markings.  He reminds me of a boxer!
  • I’ve been at my new job for over two months now (!!!) and I’m really enjoying it.  Everyone in the office is super friendly, supportive of their employees and it’s a much calmer, less stressful environment.   They have regular company events: last month a picnic/bbq and this week a hospitality tent at a baseball game.  I have no doubt that I made the right decision coming on board here.
  • My little (middle) sister is getting married in mere months.  I feel super old, but I’m excited for her.  I’m also excited to be a bridesmaid–thank goodness the dress isn’t hideous!  But there are hot pink shoes involved sooooo….
  • Tomorrow I try my first ever lyra class (suspended hoop, think Cirque du Soleil).  I’ve been wanting to try it out ever since H took it up a few years ago, but I was never brave enough and didn’t want to put down the money to try it out and potentially hate it.  When a free class here in Charlottesville came up on my Facebook feed, I jumped on it and booked a space before I could talk myself out of it.

And now for the big, big update: from the start of next week, I’m transitioning to a mostly vegetarian diet.  I say mostly because I’m still going to eat a small amount of seafood and I’m not shunning eggs.  So not strictly vegetarian, but close enough to call it mostly vegetarian.  I can give up red meat and pork no problem.  Chicken will be harder, but not impossible for me.  It’s the things like seafood and eggs that I’m not ready to cut out.  Maybe I will be one day, but not right now.

We did go vegetarian a few years ago for a week which, in the grand scheme of food is pretty much nothing, but still.  It was a cool experiment and I’ve always been up for doing it again but life just gets in the way sometimes.  We default to the tried and true recipes we’ve eaten hundreds of times and most of those include meat. It’s time to break out of that rut.

So what does Nick think?  Well, he’s doing the first week with me, I think as both a supportive measure as well as to detox himself a bit.  We haven’t been eating as healthily as we could for the last week or two, and I think he’s just as tired as I am of feeling full and bogged down.  After that, I’m not necessarily on my own with going veggie, but he’s still going to eat meat–which I’m fine with.  As long as it’s not bacon.  He can’t eat bacon in front of me.  I might actually cry.

Why am I going veggie?  That’s a hard one to answer.  Lately I’ve been feeling “not good.”  I don’t know how to describe it, other than it’s just a general sense of feeling crappy.  While I don’t know if going veggie will fix that, it certainly can’t hurt.  Add in the fact that I haven’t been able to smell or touch raw meat of any kind without gagging (as in hang your head over the garbage can) for the last month, I thought maybe it was time to give it a shot.  This isn’t to lose weight, though if it’s a byproduct, I’m not going to complain.  It’s a move I’ve been thinking about for a long time, months now, and I feel like I’m ready to move on with it.

My biggest worry is that I’m going to get bored really quick.  Sure, it’s all new and sexy right now, but won’t having to cook two similar but different meals every night make it hard, expensive and a pain?  I sincerely hope not.  As a matter of fact, I hope the shopping trips will get slightly cheaper as meat will last longer.  Next week’s menu is pretty bomb.com with gazpacho, spicy zucchini pitas and Mexican street corn burrito bowls all on the list.  I’m pretty excited about all that yumness.

But what happens after next week?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I haven’t set myself a time frame on this.  I’m veggie as long as I need or want to be, no more, no less.  In the meantime, send me your best veggie recipes, blogs, book recommendations, whatever!  Spam me, people.  I just picked up Anna Jones‘s A Modern Way to Eat and Jeanine Donofrio’s The Love and Lemons Cookbook of blog-world fame, both of which look amazing.  So send me your suggestions: I have the feeling I’m going to need LOTS of inspiration!

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New Feature – The Weekly Watson

Starting next week I’ll be doing a new feature called ‘The Weekly Watson.’

Who’s Watson? What the hell is this?

Let me start by saying you have Dan Pashman’s food podcast The Sporkful to blame/applaud for this (let’s be honest, it’s all about whether I die from food poisoning or not).  This week’s episode is all about using data in the kitchen and whether or not IBM’s super-computer (Watson) can be relied upon for recipe suggestions based on food pairings ‘fed’ to it from website Bon Appétit.

It was an interesting concept that I, as a tech geek, food lover and blogger felt I had to try out and document.  That’s ‘The Weekly Watson,’ kids… me trying out dishes that will maybe work, but more than likely won’t.  I’ll tell you what ingredients I gave Watson and what the options on offer were (yes, you get options).

So let me know your thoughts on ‘The Weekly Watson’ and by all means send in your ingredient suggestions.  The weirder the better!  *Sigh* I’ll probably regret saying that… the first recipe next week involves me boiling an avocado, after all.

Want to know more about Watson, and his other functions?  He’s not just a chef, you know. 

If you love to eat or love thinking/talking/daydreaming about food like I do, I can’t recommend The Sporkful podcast enough.  It’s hilarious, interesting and some of the stuff Dan Pashman comes up with is brilliant.  They’ve only recently done a riff on Serial and investigated food theft from an office fridge.  Great stuff.

steph2If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com!

A little bit of lovin’…

I don’t think I’ve ever done a post about some of the blogs I read, and shame on me for that!  As a blogger, I love reading other blogs and interacting wth fellow bloggers.  I’m subscribed to quite a few on WordPress, Bloglovin’ and by email so there’s always something to look at.  I’ve selected just a few of my favorites–some you might know, others are probably new.  Either way, I hope you find something you enjoy as much as my blog (obviously)!!!

Just me, Leah

I love, love, LOVE this site.  I’ve only been reading Leah’s blog since around Christmas but I think she’s the bees knees.  I was introduced to her blog by a friend and fellow blogger (see next listing) who was taking part in Leah’s Love Every Body workshop.  Just me, Leah’s emphasis is on plus-sized fashion but also looks at makeup, hair and self esteem (hence the Love Every Body workshop!). Leah oozes positivity and is insanely gorgeous and funny.  If you’re not already reading her blog, you darn well should be.

Eternally Wanderlyn

I met Lynsey a few years ago (REALLY??!!) here in London.  A fellow American, she was here for classes and I met her at the tail end of her time here.  She’s a great gal and her blog has come a long way despite still being a baby blog!  Eternally Wanderlyn has a little something for everyone–travel, food, beauty, you name it.  She’s also taking part in Leah’s Love Every Body workshop.

The Beauty Gypsy

I’ve really gotten into beauty blogs of late and I have to say The Beauty Gypsy is one of my absolute favourites.  It’s a bit different to the normal makeup tutorial/review sites in that The Beauty Gypsy tends to stay in the realm of natural remedies and organic tips and tricks and many are DIY at home recipes which I think is fab.  I haven’t tried any just yet, but I’ve only been following for a few weeks so you can bet I will be!

The Small Things Blog

This is probably one of the more popular and well known blogs on the list.  Despite its popularity, I wanted to include this site because it’s just so damn beautiful and has some pretty easy to follow hair tutorials.  But there’s more to Kate’s site than hair, let me tell you!  I’ve discovered some great makeup products via her site and love looking at her photos (all of which are gorgeous).

Judging Covers

Ok, so this goes without saying.  Even though I’m a reviewer for the site, JC is my go to site for book reccomendations.  Nominated for Cosmo’s Lifestyle Blog of the Year in 2011, it’s a pretty popular book blog and I’m so proud to be a part of it!

1000 Awesome Things

Sometimes you just need a pick-me-up and a reminder that the world isn’t an awful place.  Whenever I’m feeling like that, I turn to 1000 Awesome Things.  This blog is simply what it says it is… a list of completely awesome things.  Launched in 2008, 1000 Awesome Things hit the 1000 mark in 2012 and is still (thankfully going).  Some of my favourite awesome things include:  “Bakery Air” and “When the thing you were going to buy is already on sale.”  Genius.

The Jiggly Bits

I’ve probably mentioned The Jiggly Bits blog by Teeny Bikini before but I’m going to again.  I don’t care!  I love it!  The posts aren’t regular so when I get a notification of a new one I do a little wiggle in my seat and settle in for another rambling, random tale of absolute weirdness.  Teeny Bikini writes the way I think and the way could never dare to, my grandparents read this blog, after all!

Brittany.  Herself.

I love this woman.  Seriously.  I admire her body bravery and how much she loves herself, and her acceptance of her ‘bad days’ where she doesn’t love herself as much as she should.  Brittany is a strong personality and I’d kill to have her level of confidence–just take her Muse Project post as a perfect example.  How awesome is she, right?!

Lucy Robinson’s Blog

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Lucy’s books, but her blog is just as ace.  Her tone is friendly and hilarious, and she’s currently writing daily posts called “Wot I Loved Today.”  They’re a great dose of positivity and a reminder that each day, miraculous, hilarious and brilliant things happen to us, whether we realise it or not.

Small Dog Syndrome

I just started following C’s blog a few days ago and I’m totally smitten.  I can’t put a peg or genre on her blog because there’s a bit of everything going on.  A fellow Londoner (hi!!) she writes a lot about the city, posts interesting photos around town and muses about hipsters in Shoreditch.  I totally want to blog stalk her and start reading from the very beginning.

So, lovelies, who are you following that you think I should check out? I’m always on the hunt for more fantastic blogs–throw me a bone in the comments!

Oh, and while you’re at it, if you’re on Bloglovin’ (who isn’t these days?) give me a follow by clicking the little button contraption thingy below.

Follow on Bloglovin

steph2

If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1.  Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com.

TILT – 20 February 2014

It’s Thuuuuursday and that means I’m showing you my TILTs (filthy).

This week I’m loving:

  • Getting paid.  Today is payday and despite it being a short month expense wise it’s been a killer with lots of birthdays and other various gift giving occasions.  My account is a bit plumper now ad that always makes me feel a bit happier.
  • All of the veggie meals we’ve been having.  Seriously?  This week has been amazing food wise and I just feel so much better.  My stomach pains have eased and I actually feel like I have a bit more energy.  Does this mean I’ll be going ‘whole hog’ (pun alert) and become a full on vegetarian?  You’ll have to wait for my wrap-up of the week to see.
  • Grouplove.  Stop being filthy… I’m talking about the band.  I’d heard one or two of their songs in passing on advertisements but never really paid them much attention.  N sort of introduced me to them and they’re all I’ve been listening to of late.  Check out their video for “Ways to Go.”  It’s pretty hilarious.

What are you totally loving this week?

steph2

If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1.  Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com.

Restaurant Review – Meza, Tooting Bec

You might be surprised to hear that moving to London was a huge cultural shock for me, despite the same language, similar way of life and so on, mainly in the food department. N’s family is a veritable cultural mish mash… his mum’s family is Spanish and his dad’s is Iranian. All of a sudden I was hearing things about curries, cous cous, tapas, paella, hummus and other funny sounding foods I still can’t pronounce let alone spell. Sadly, there’s one thing Kentucky didn’t have much of when I was growing up and that’s culturally rich food. If it wasn’t Chinese, Mexican or (maybe) sushi, we just didn’t have it. It’s a bit different now, thankfully! I can at least get the ingredients for a curry now, if nothing else (where would I be without my chicken tikka masala??).

I’ve tried so many different foods here in London—things that I wouldn’t have even sniffed at a few years ago.

For example?

Lebanese.

WHY in the HELL have I not been eating Lebanese my whole life?! Specifically, why haven’t I been eating food from Meza my whole life?

Photo courtesy of southwest-london.com
Photo courtesy of southwest-london.com

Meza is a brilliant, teeny tiny Lebanese restaurant that opened up nearly two years ago right by the flat. And by ‘right by the flat’ I mean I can smell them cooking their chicken and lamb, it’s that close. N and I passed by it every single day and every day it was packed out for lunch and dinner. And every time we passed it, N said exactly the same thing: “Hey, that place looks good. We should try it sometime.” It became a running joke until finally one day after about a year we decided we’d give it a go.

We had to pre-book our table about two weeks in advance. Meza is eensy weensy and can only serve around 15 people at a time so booking ahead is a must. But oh my god… it was beyond worth the wait. It was like heaven in my mouth. Succulent, tangy, juicy heaven.

I’ve never liked hummus until I had Meza’s. Theirs is beyond amazing and seriously turned me on to the dish.

Meza's hummus
Meza’s hummus

We’ve been several times now and they’ve started doing their menu takeaway too which we’ve capitalised on quite a bit (see pics below) by stuffing our faces in our pyjamas. More give in the waistline for more food, dontchaknow!

And now, for food pervs everywhere… loads of pictures of yummy dishes!

 

Look at that spread... heading straight to our tummies!
Look at that spread… heading straight to our tummies!

 

They haven’t got a website which means the menu isn’t online but Urban Spoon have uploaded a photo of the menu to their site.

 

Menu photo courtesy of Urban Spoon.
Menu photo courtesy of Urban Spoon.

 

For the record, I highly recommend the Moutabal. It’s probably one of the yummiest things I’ve ever tasted and the pomegranate seeds on top just make it that much more scrumptious. Also a favourite is the Soujouk, spicy little lamb sausages.

Yum yum Moutabal!
Yum yum Moutabal!
Spicy sausages!
Spicy sausages!

Second best thing about Meza (after the food, of course) is just how cheap it is. You can’t go wrong there.  We always pig out (whether dining in or taking away) and the bill is rarely over £30.

The service is brilliant and friendly, which is always a plus.  The owner actually ran into N out and about last week and remembered him and said hello, which is nice of course. 

I don’t really have any complaints about Meza or their food.  Other reviews have lamented the small size of the restaurant but actually I think the intimacy lends itself to the food and makes dining at Meza a very special and warm experience.  If it were any bigger I don’t think it would be the same at all.  The last thing Tooting needs is another cafeteria-style eatery where people are packed in and moved along in droves. 

I give Meza a very firm 5 out of 5 stars… it’s a brilliant place to go on a date, meet up with friends or family or just to pick up a quick and cheap takeaway on a Saturday night.  You absolutely must try it!

steph2

If you’re interested in getting in touch, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or @londondiaries1.  Alternatively you can email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com.

Pimpin’ away… pimpin’ away

Have I mentioned that my hubby, N, has decided to follow in my footsteps and start a blog?

Oh yes.

Check out http://nomingly.wordpress.com/.

Love it.

X

S

‘Tis the season…

… to over-indulge on too much drink on a night out.  Had too much wine at the work do?  Too many pints out with your mates?Hey, it’s Christmas, so why not??

But there’s nothing worse than waking up the next morning to a frosty, cold hangover.  Stabbing headaches, nausea, cotton mouth–we’ve all been there.  I’ve got a few tried and true “cures” for hangovers to help you out of “black void” that is “the morning after”.

  • One sure way to help lessen the effect or even the likelihood of a hangover is to make sure you eat before you go out on the lash.  I don’t mean have a huge steak and baked potato and then go get shattered… and eating right before drinking is a sure recipe for the barfies.  But have a regular meal… breads are fantastic to sop up the alcohol in your system.
  • Drink lots and lots of water before, during, and if possible after.  Part of the symptoms of a hangover stem from dehydration–alcohol sucks the water out of your body.  You might have to wee more than normal, but it’s worth it in the end.
  • One of my colleagues at work swears on soup after drinking.  I’ve never tried it, but I thought I’d throw it out there.
  • Avoid dark colored alcohol as it tends to make the effects of a hangover worse.
  • Fresh air helps.  If the sidewalks aren’t too slippy, venture out for a few and embrace the icy cold air.  Not only will it wake you up but it will also leave you feeling a bit more sober after.
  • Get loads and loads of sleep.  The best way to get through a hangover is sleep–you’re less likely to notice the pain!
  • The morning after, stick to bland-ish foods straight away, like toast or crackers.  Smell is one of the causes of nausea, so the less smelly the food the better!  A glass of juice and a glass of water are fab as well–they replenish the sugar levels in your body and rehydrate you.
  • Avoid taking any pain killers–your liver has enough to contend with burning off all the alcohol in your system!

And you could always just not drink… but why would you want to do that??  🙂

Happy (and safe!!!) drinking!

X

S