Make food, not war

I propose to resolve all of world conflicts with food.

Me and Carol were volunteering last week at the NYC rescue mission, an organization that provides food, shelter and guidance to those who need it (homeless, jobless, or fighting addiction to drugs or alcohol). We spend a few hours there helping with the lunch food service, and it made me remember that a simple thing like a good meal goes a long way.

Providing a nutritious meal to someone that is hungry and hurting often opens the door to discussing deeper needs. It can be the first step in a person’s recovery. – NYC Rescue Mission

Where I come from, we always eat together. And I’m willing to bet, that Kazakhs are the most hospitable people in the whole world. Growing up, I remember every single dinner was eaten with family, and often other relatives of friends. Winning me over is pretty easy, in fact, just give me some good food, and I’ll be purring like a happy cat.

My mom runs her own company (for 12 years now – go Pokies Mom melissa joan hart pokies!) and the whole company eats together at the big table every day. Their awesome chef is this Uzbek lady who makes me wish I lived and worked there just for her meals – after you eat her food you’re in heaven! And drinking is allowed (and sometimes encouraged) too, actually. Even Joel agrees that company who eats together, stays together.

*A lunch feast at my mom’s office

I’m trying to imagine what happened if instead of armed conflicts with Middle Eastern countries, we organized a huge buffet of food and let them taste Texas-style BBQ, or New Orleans gumbo or have the best American chef give them a taste of modern American cuisine, paired with wine. Would they still grab their frigging guns and start shooting at people who they just shared a meal with? Or, as Sean puts it, just open Starbucks and McDonalds everywhere and win them over, with McNuggets and good iced coffee. There – I just solved one of the biggest world issues, with a simple thing – a good shared meal, that’s as old as the world itself.

1000 fans love MayNovember!

I’d like to applaud to my best friend Ohn for reaching 1000+ fans on Instagram! Girl – you rock!

For those of you who don’t know, Ohn runs a fun, vintage-inspired and affordable online boutique from the heart of NYC! Her unique style is the source of inspiration and admiration, and 1000+ Instagrammers agree! !

Hugo kudos to Ohn on working full-time, running the store and having fun! Check out for amazing jewelry, stylish clothing and accessories. Flat-rate shipping anywhere in the world, Facebook fans get extra discount!

And – new Fall collection coming soon, it’s time to refresh your wardrobe for the new season!

Soundtrack of the night: Hiromi

This week has been pretty busy, between negotiation workshops and various projects at work, and a few afterwork events, I can’t believe it’s almost Friday.

Highlights this week:

  • Phillies beat Mets on Monday night! We had such great seats at the Citi field (gifted to Sean), in the Delta club section, soft cushioned seats, perfect view of the field. And forget waiting in line for food – they bring it over to your seat! I think I’m spoiled for life. Such a fun night!
  • Gym. Yes, indeed. Class instructor Joe makes you sweat like no one else during his high intensity workout, and makes you feel awesome afterwords. Fellow gym goer: “I hate this class!” Me: “And yet you keep coming back!”
  • 180 days play by Taren Sterry, our improv instructor extrodinaire. She’s amazing, and her upbeat energy just carries the performance through. Highly recommended
  • Hiromi’s performance at the Blue Note! Just got back and it was absolutely frigging mindblowing! First time I saw her was back in 2007 when she just released her “Time Control” album and was performing at the Borders store (remember Borders?), and I was blown away. I’ve seen her a couple of times since then, and every time I’m in awe. Her show with Stanley Clarke was one of the best, as two of my friends agreed wholeheartedly. Definitely check out her performance, she’s playing tomorrow and Saturday.

Here’s a delicious piece by Hiromi, where she puts a fun spin on a classic, Pachebel’s Canon in D.

Looking forward to things makes you happy

If you know me a bit, you probably know that I do not like surprises. I mean, I do like nice gestures and small gifts here and there, but when it comes to big stuff like birthday parties where there’s a lot of planning involved and it’s all for me – it feels weird. But I LOVE to plan parties, including surprise parties for my friends and family. When I was a kid my favorite birthdays were my parents’ for some reason, not even my own.

The thing that got me thinking about surprises, is this article, asking a curious question:

What brings more happiness, anticipation of surprise?

Turns out, that anticipation, in general, is more powerful:

Research shows that people can reap substantial enjoyment from anticipating an upcoming event even if the event itself is not entirely enjoyable

And looking forward to something, even in distant future brings happiness:

If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar – even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.

That’s great news, my friends! So let’s all get some fun activities on our calendars! I have a few things that I’m looking forward to in the upcoming weeks:

  • Scala class at General Assembly
  • Oktoberfest at Bear mountain
  • Concerts at Radio City
  • Fancy lunch cruise around Manhattan that my awesome family gave to Sean for his bday (and I get to go too! obviously :))
  • Friends’ wedding at Bryant park
  • Apple picking and halloween!

What are you excited about this fall?

Watching clouds in Dumbo

Just lying on my back on the lawn in Brooklyn bridge park and thought that this cloud looks like a poodle dog:


Such a gorgeous day for a picnic in the park! There’s a smorgasbord food festival every Sunday here and it’s amazing: lots of great food and dessert vendors, park with a stunning view of all three bridges-Williamsburg, manhattan and Brooklyn.

Sean just got an arnold Palmer slush with raspberry! Gotta go!

Btw,Wordpress for iPhone is real neat and let’s me post pics and blog from anywhere


Water is full of magic. Shapeless but incompressible, it is the only substance that can exist naturally as solid, liquid and gas inside earth’s temperature range. It’s called the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid – and yet is also harmless to drink and ultimately sustains life.
– from “Saltwater Buddha”

Cheers to weirdness

This struck a cord with me, as we talked about this with Mike the other day.

Don’t be normal. Sadly, normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you financed, in order to get to the job that you don’t really like, but that you need, to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it. – Marc and Angel life hacks

Looks like Johnny Depp agrees: