1. I have a cupboard (and a half) dedicated to spices.
Call me the spice queen if you will, but I have a thing with collecting herbs and spices during my travels. Some people like to collect postcards and mini trinkets as a memory of a place they’ve visited; I attempt to collect the taste and flavors of that place and bring it back home where I can relive it once again. I usually try to attend at least one authentic cooking class during my travels so that I can replicate those dishes with their true essence.
2. Manousheh is the name of my car.
It was named after the first thing I ate in it (mana’eesh za’atar). Yes, yes, my world does revolve around food, but you already knew that.
3. The first mac & cheese dish I ever attempted was a total disaster.
I was about 10 years old when my friend Dina and I decided we wanted to make our first Mac & Cheese. They definitely didn’t have those pre-packed options in the market yet in Saudi. We basically took some (uncooked) macaroni, put some cheddar cheese on top and popped it in the oven. We soon realized it was a disaster, but we were so proud of our achievement we almost broke our teeth as we chowed down on it. We’ve both come a long way since, there is hope after all! 😉
4. Sports & adventure are a part of who I am.
Their existence in my life is proof that my heart still beats. I love the outdoors especially water sports like scuba diving. I also enjoy hiking & abseiling and playing tennis. There’s no limit to what I’m willing to try, but summer sports is more my thing. I try to go out of my comfort zone and sometimes surprise myself in what I am willing to try which has helped me overcome fears & go beyond my preconceived abilities!
5. I’m a travel Junkie.
I don’t always like to plan, just get me a little excited and I’m off on the next flight to a new destination. Some of my favorite spots have been:
- Eating in Porto (Portugal), Florence (Italy), Damascus (Syria)
- Relaxing in Formentera (Spain), Monterosso Al Mare (Italy), Cayo Coco (Cuba) & Muscat (Oman)
- Exploring in Granada (Spain), Marrakech (Morocco), Seoul (Korea) & New Delhi (India)
- Adventures in Wadi Mukheiris (Jordan), Cape Town (South Africa), Kitulgala (Sri Lanka) & Nungwi beach (Zanzibar)
7. Sashimi is my middle name.
Since college days I’ve been in a romance with salmon sashimi. My friends and I used to frequent Kanda, an all you can eat Japanese food restaurant. I remember clearly, we had to fill out these sheets to place our orders. Each order of sashimi was 2 pieces. One day, I was so hungry I forgot that minor detail. I placed 25 orders of sashimi, meaning 50 pieces for myself alone (OH GOD!) that’s not including everything else we had ordered. Mind you, for each piece we didn’t eat we had to pay a dollar and we were on a student budget, we didn’t have that kind of money! Nobody else wanted sashimi! so I ended up walking around the restaurant trying to convince neighboring customers to take some away. I was called sashimi ever since…
8. Halloween is by far my favorite time of the year!!!
I start planning my outfit months in advance, though the best ideas tend to come to life in the last minute. I’m ready to miss all the holidays & celebrations including new years, but I will not miss this one! To me, halloween is sacred, it brings all my closest friends together where we get creative & let loose. It is beyond fun! I also love how we always take our costumes & halloween themed food platters so seriously!
9. My favorite colors are yellow, green and blue.
I realized over the years that colors impact my mood. To me, these colors reflect nature, happiness & positivity. They also portray the way I like to live my life: active yet calm and at peace. Yellow & blue seem to have over taken my entire closet – I think I may need an intervention. I’m so in love with the color yellow, I was once asked if I was right or left handed, my response was “yellow”! Go figure!
10. I was part of a rock band.
Singing always makes me happy. Growing up, there was always music & singing at home. My dad thinks he’s Andrea Bocelli & my mom’s soprano voice is beautiful. In high school & college, I joined many choirs and later during my working career I attended vocal classes with a teacher who helped push my vocal limits. During my MBA, I wanted to continue singing, there was only 1 option! Join a rock band! That was out of my comfort zone, but I ended up performing live with a talented band. I’m band-less at the moment, but hoping to get back into it soon. Next time, I would like to sing Jazz & Blues.