Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What I Learned from my First Year of Marriage

What I Learned from my First Year of Marriage
This year, Alex and I celebrated 12 years together and our first wedding anniversary! Marriage is a holy institution where a husband and wife are bonded through the word of God, and I was able to experience firsthand what this meant after I got married. 

There are two main things I learned and it only made me realize how lucky of a wife I am to be able to call Alex my husband!

1. Stop being stubborn and share the weight.
I discovered the importance of relying on Alex to share a burden with me so we can solve it as a unit. While Alex was the one person I could always depend on prior to marriage, there was something that shifted over the year after we exchanged our vows. I've always been pretty independent and haven't really been one to ask for help. I like to find the solution because this has worked for most things in my life.

Well, last year was a turbulent year for me, for reasons outside our relationship. Once I finally let Alex bear the weight and stress of the problems with me, the mental strain plaguing me was alleviated. Throughout all of last year, he kept saying "let me help you" and I continuously responded back with, "no, I will figure it out."

Towards October, my mental health toppled and could have been avoided had I stopped being stubborn. God intended for husband and wife to work as a team and lean on each other for support.

"So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what 
God has joined together, let no one separate.”

-Matthew 19:6

2. We get to because we want to, not because we have to.
During college and most of my 20s, I was especially selfish. I will go into more detail about this in a separate post, but essentially I reached maturity in our relationship in my late 20s. Once I knew I was ready for marriage, I started finding myself making smaller decisions here and there with Alex. I was beyond ecstatic for us to make major decisions together and discuss what would be best for us instead of me

It stopped being "I have to do this" to "I want to do this." We could strategize anything in our life; ranging from careers to hobbies to decorating our home. It's setting aside time together every week and realizing the number one priority in our lives is each other.

What I Learned from my First Year of Marriage
Wedding Photographer: Tara Leinen
As the years go by, I am sure I will continue to discover more lessons. But in the meantime, I'm aiming for us to attend church at least once a week and start praying together.


The Ritz-Carlton Earns Forbes Five-Star Rating for Fifth Consecutive Year

The Ritz-Carlton Earns Forbes Five-Star Rating for Fifth Consecutive Year

The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain received recognition as a Five-Star luxury resort for the fifth consecutive year from Forbes Travel Guide. Under this recognition from Forbes Travel Guide, the property continues to be the only full-destination resort in the southwestern United States, and remains as one of the eight most luxurious hotel and spa properties in the world!

"I am deeply grateful to our resort’s stellar team of ladies and gentlemen, who continue to bring a new and increasingly memorable luxury travel experience to the desert Southwest,” said Liam Doyle, Area General Manager, Western Region, for Marriott Luxury Brands.

As you may recall from the beginning of the year, Alex and I our celebrated our first wedding anniversary and 12 years together with this Ritz-Carlton in Tucson. From the exquisite culinary experience to the scenic desert oasis, we witnessed on first-hand what validates this accolade. 

“With our property renovation unveiled just a few months ago, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain continues to seek ever new ways to delight and inspire our guests – who remain at the heart of everything we do,” said Doyle.

During select dates of March thru May, the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is introducing a Spring Getaway rate at $299 per night. Alex and I plan to take advantage of these rates and experience the three swimming pools! I look forward to the visit as we always find such serenity in this Sonoran desert luxury destination.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Topgolf Brunch

Topgolf Brunch

Topgolf is stepping up it's culinary game: Brunch. With the breathtaking views of the Santa Catalina Mountains, you can enjoy a friendly competitive round of Topgolf while choosing your pick of savory, sweet or healthy brunch menu items.

As a "City of Gastronomy" recognized by UNESCO, it is no surprise Tucson was selected as one of 10 testing doors out of the 70+ Topgolf locations. For those of you who feel the best brunch places are always downtown, you may need to head over to the northwest side of town because Topgolf's brunch is worth experiencing.

Below are the brunch menu items Topgolf invited me to taste at their media event:


Hot Mess Waffle Fries
Topgolf Brunch

What impressed me the most about these fries were two things: they didn't get immediately soggy and the layering was well-distributed. When I asked the Topgolf team what prevented the waffle fries from instantly getting soggy, their response was the waffle fries served as a better foundation as opposed to regular fries because of the holes. These are definitely a cheat-meal worthy brunch item to share! Smoked pork is tossed in a spicy BBQ sauce, which consists of the housemade buffalo and BBQ sauce, then layered with the housemade craft beer queso and a sprinkle of three cheese blend. A sunny side egg is the perfect creation for an even tastier mess.

Kalbi Beef Bowl
Topgolf Brunch

The Korean beef short-rib is marinated with sesame oil, red and green onion, and soy sauce. To ensure absolute flavor, the meat is grilled to order then placed on kimchi fried rice. Julienned carrots and diced pickles are the other flavors to accompany the dish, along with a sunny-side egg. As a Korean-food lover, I would recommend asking for a drizzle of the gochujang sauce because this particular kimchi fried rice does not include that as a main ingredient. If you don't like spice, then keep the dish as it is because the flavor is still enjoyable either way. While this dish could be shared family style, I find it delicious enough to eat by myself!

Carnitas Benedict
Topgolf Brunch

Long ago I used to be a fan of traditional benedicts but now seek out something more, and the Carnitas Benedict is the perfect alternative! A buttermilk biscuit is halved then topped with smoked pork tossed in a tomatillo salsa. TopGolf recommends an over-medium egg, which is then covered with tomatillo salsa, pico de gallo and Cotijia cheese.


Everything Bagel Pizza
Topgolf Brunch

I have a difficulty between choosing what was my favorite between the Everything Bagel Pizza and the Ahi Tuna Toast. If in the mood for something heavier, I would without a doubt go for the Everything Bagel Pizza to share with friends as one of our brunch items! The pizza dough is brushed with egg wash to give it that nice, golden color, then topped with Everything seasoning. Herb Boursin cream cheese is generously spread over the bagel, followed by the placement of the lox, fried capers, slice radishes, fresh dill and cherry tomatoes. The radishes are a unique substitute for the red onion ingredient most lox menu items have.

Ahi Tuna Toast
Topgolf Brunch

I would recommend the Ahi Tuna Toast for those who are looking for a healthier and lighter brunch item. Poke fans will love this toast as well because it's essentially just that on toast! Thinly sliced, seven-grain bread is lightly toasted before it is spread with a gochujang aioli that consists of a nice level of spice and savoriness that creates an umani of flavors in one's mouth. Tuna marinated with Shiro Miso, a light and sweet miso flavor, is mixed with dice avocados and juicy navel oranges. Quinoa is cooked then deep fried and used sparingly over the toast as a light crunch.


Farmer's Benedict
Topgolf Brunch

With more restaurants recognizing the importance of offering creative vegetarian menu items, you won't be disappointed with the Farmer's Benedict. A fried zucchini cake is used as the base, then is topped with a seared beefsteak tomato, followed by a poached egg. A savory tomato basil sauce, or farmers sauce, smothers the stack. The sauce is simmered with a mouth-watering herbed cheese to create a rich and creamy consistency. Cotijia cheese is loosely sprinkled as the final touch.


Smoothie Bowls
Topgolf Brunch

For those who always wish for a fruity and healthy breakfast item then look no further. TopGolf will serve up two different smoothie bowls which are both topped with: granola, kiwi, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, banana, slivered almonds and chia seeds. I didn't get a taste of the Green Bowl, but the Açai bowl I would recommend splitting up with friends as a supplement to savory brunch items. The Açai Bowl includes a blend of strawberries, mango, açai, agave and almond milk.
The Green Bowl is blended with avocado, spinach, kale, mango and almond milk.


Carrot Cake Waffles
Topgolf Brunch

Carrot cake waffles are drizzled with cream cheese icing and traditional caramel. I was initially concerned the brunch item may be too sweet but the waffle base isn't as decadent as I anticipated! The dish includes a dusting of powdered sugar and quartered strawberries.

Topgolf Brunch

Topgolf's donut assortment includes: fruity crisp, cookies and cream and s'mores. The fruity crisp is a yeast-raised donut with a vanilla glaze and crunchy, fruity crisp cereal. Cookies and cream include a chocolate cake donut with vanilla icing topped with chocolate cookies. The s'mores donut is a white cake donut with chocolate ganache, graham crackers and brûléed marshmallows. Long-term, TopGolf may rotate the donuts seasonally.


Candy Bacon
Topgolf Brunch

This is a must; order the candy bacon and you won't regret it! The candy bacon uses a thicker cut bacon than the bacon that accompanies burgers. Brown sugar and granulated sugar are mixed with crushed red pepper for a subtle spice. The result: caramelized bacon!

Topgolf Brunch

After seeing the photos of the new menu, my husband told me that we should switch our evenings for mornings at Topgolf. I can't say I disagree!


Friday, March 1, 2019

A Syrian Sentiment

A Syrian Sentiment

New York Fashion Week is the opportunity to showcase creativity and eclectic styles. For my every-day-look, I tend to gravitate towards feminine whimsical or classic pieces. However for NYFW, I wanted to do something different for Rebecca Minkoff's show. I integrated a piece of my family into the look I created: a velvet bolero with intricate embroidery.

My mother passed the bolero down to me from my great-grandfather, who migrated to the United States from Syria. In California, he met his American wife and worked as a merchant. At some point over the years, my grandfather and great-grandfather had a disagreement and never really spoke again. As a result, my grandfather decided to go by his middle name, Spencer, as opposed to his Syrian first name and the name of my great-grandfather, Najeeb.

While I may never learn about that piece of my family, I did feel a sense of pride and confidence when I wore the historical garment knowing it was a part of my great-grandfather's Syrian culture. To me, it's important to maintain family history and values. Our family history is what contributes to the type of person we are today. Debuting this bolero to my first NYFW attendance made the experience all the more special.