True Moments, A Photo Series (5)

So typically, I take photo submissions for this section, and I still will! But I realized I haven’t posted any of my own photos yet, and hey, I have been to Iran too!

So, these are from a trip that I took with my family went to Iran in 2010.

It was the 2nd time that I had been to Iran. The 1st time, I was 8 years old, and I got sick for 3 of the 4 weeks (yikes…) that we were there. Short story: I was young and ate everything in sight because it was DELICIOUS…note to self, pace yourself in a foreign country!

But for those reasons, that first trip didn’t count in my book. This one counted. In only 10 days actually in Iran, we went to Tehran, Esfahan and Tabriz. Another post to come regarding my impression of the country having not been there since almost 20 years before that.

Hope you enjoy these moments.

Click on the first image to open the gallery view.

How Good Is Arash’s Persian? The Politics of Language & Identity in Diaspora Iranian Pop Music

A nice post from “Ajam Media Collective” on language and the arts, when looking at various groups of Iranians (and other cultures!) and how they connect through art & music. Love this quote “Arash’s exchange in this interview makes it clear, if only for a moment, that a cultural space does exist where Iranians inside and outside of Iran have the capacity to face the differences that define them without creating immutable boundaries to contribute and interact with each other.”

When “Goodbye” usually meant “Hello”

This is something I have wanted to write about for a very long time.  And I am going to bet almost all of you already know what is coming.

…so let’s go back about 15 years…

*At a party*
Mom: “Shirin! Come downstairs to say bye, we are ready to go”
Me: “ok coming.”

*After a couple parties* 
Mom: “Shirin! Come downstairs to say bye, we are ready to go”
Me: <internal thought> I will go downstairs in about 45 minutes, they should be all done with “goodbyes” by then…

God forbid, we had just said “thank you for the party, see you soon”. No no, we didn’t do that. We couldn’t just say goodbye,  and this was out of our immense respect for everyone. We couldn’t just leave, we had to make sure conversations were complete, thoughts were expressed, and sentences were finished!

And therefore, our goodbyes essentially would end up becoming the beginnings of new conversation. Only difference was we were usually uncomfortably waiting right by the door (usually the door was even open ready for our departure!)  instead of just continuing the conversation when we were actually sitting with some chai in our hands and at ease. I used to actually get very annoyed at this because I would have to stop the crazy fun I was having with all the kids of the party, go downstairs and then stand awkwardly as my family was continuing the conversation I was never even a part of to begin with.  Of course, I tried to go back upstairs but it was always “noo come on, come on… ve are about to leavvve” :) (and that was my attempt at a persian accent)

Lesson to be learned: the next time you are at a persian party, and you think things may be coming to a close, give it about 45 min…You are then probably able to leave the building respectfully.

I like to think the real reason is we just don’t want to stop having fun!

“POOSH”: A story of an “Iranian-Preneur” (1)

It has always been inspiring and motivating for me to hear about entrepreneurs and their different paths to success. Their stories, challenges and achievements are ones to hear and learn from.

I am starting this section to highlight various Iranian entrepreneurs that have pursued their passions and ambitions. Here is the first featured story. 

Thank you to Farnaz Abdoli for her submission and willingness to be featured!


Her mission is color harmony & beauty accompanied by simple design and comfort.

Introducing to you “ POOSH”.

Farnaz Abdoli  is the founder of “POOSH”a clothing and handmade leather company, started in April 2012 in Shiraz, Iran.

Some of her designs:

About the business: The focus of POOSH Fashion Brand is on street fashion.  Initially, this was strictly a women’s fashion company but as this line of fashion developed, many began to complain why there was not any male pieces. And so, they started men’s fashion line as well.

Following clothing, Farnaz and her sister began designing accessories such as leather bags and wallets.

Why did she start this company: Her interest in designing clothes and following world fashion trends goes back to many years ago as her interest grew in color, schemes and graphics.  She studied graphics in school and over these few years, she had a graphical and vivid mental image of her designs. She considers fashion design as an act of art.  In addition to graphics and design, she also worked very closely with her mother in theater and production in Iran. These varieties of experiences ultimately lead to her attraction and enthusiasm towards fashion design.

In order to pursue her full intention to make a true career out of these interests, she named her company “POOSH” which means cloth in old Farsi.

Farnaz also had a challenge that most businesses do not have.  She had to consider the cultural and social issues in Iran and  due to this her pieces need to have not only amazing art works appearance but also very practical characteristics of  good clothing.

Currently she sells online as well as participates in various exhibitions. She will also have her first fashion show soon in Shiraz, Iran and hopes to open a store soon!

POOSH Facebook Page

You can see more of her work by clicking the below links!


First Exposition of POOSH

Featured in Persia-Modeling

What is the best part of a Persian meal? The Tadiq!

As the  influx of Persians crowd the dinner table at any party or “Mehmoony”, my mind usually goes to one thing “Is there going to be enough Tadiq left by the time I make it around this table!?”  Some panic instills… and when you do get some of it, you feel that you have conquered and accomplished your ONE and ONLY primary goal at this party.  Ok, at least this is how I think…

When I tell you that this is the best part of a Persian meal, I am not exaggerating.   I think most would agree.  And when I think of how to describe Tadiq to someone, I think of it almost like fried dough, but thinner, crunchy and better! But that’s the best comparison I can think of.

It is a crispy, tasty, and best of all, an OILY treat.  :)

Here is your short and sweet recipe.. for this: 

Tadiq (bottom crust of rice)

This process begins in the middle of making rice…rice has already boiled, is taken out of the pot before this.

  1. Spread some olive oil to the bottom of your rice pot
  2. Place whole pieces of pita bread on the bottom of the pot, oil both sides, and then place top of the bread facing down.
  3. Cover whole pot with this pita bread
  4. Pour rice back into pot, push towards center
  5. Place paper towel on top of pot and then place cover on tightly
  6. Put it on low heat for 30-45 min
  7. At this point both your rice and Tadiq is done. After you pour out the rice to a platter, you can start to break out the pita bread
  8. It should be a nice, light brown color
  9. Break apart some pieces and place on a separate platter when you serve (like the image)


From Iran, Living in America… Visiting Turkey. Oh boy.

We got back from Turkey a couple weeks ago and after surviving the chaos of lost baggage, jet lag, and consistent wondering as to why I live in America vs. Europe (this last one was the most common thought actually) I am now able to reflect and think about the trip we had.

It was a wonderful time with some wonderful people.  Now,  if this was a travel blog, I would write more about the sights we saw such as the Blue Mosque or the Grand Bazaar.  But this is not a travel blog – and the links are there for you to read about. :)

What I will remember the most won’t be the details of these places but more so some of the funny encounters and awkward situations

You know you are Iranians in Turkey when you notice these things…

  1. My family speaks Azari, similar enough to Turkish, so we figured we would be fine. Was this true?NO! Well… half of us were fine. It was not the half of us that were Persian. They understood us, we did NOT understand them (as much). But hey, at least half of the communicating party was fine.
  2. In one of the restaurants, we asked for the check, twice. Instead, we got two cups of tea or “chai.”
  3. We said “Merci” multiple times.. and they said “Oh are you from France?” :/ no…(Note to self: “Thank you” is really only the same in French and Farsi)
  4. Best form of communication when you have no other form? Smiling! :) :)
  5. If we started our convo in English when we were in a cab, our wallets were automatically more empty at our destination…
  6. Hookah/shisha/water pipe was part of a breakfast meal… What?!
  7. On a carriage ride our driver was very excited to share with us the couple Persian phrases he knew: “dooset daram” and  “jigareto”  So we taught him: “mimiram barat“. ;) all the key Persian phrases for survival.
  8. Cats, Dogs and…more cats.. Oh My.
  9. One day, 60 of us got on a bus to go to a wedding. Enough said.
  10. You make sure the store owners in the Bazaar know that you are from Iran, not America, so that you can get more of a discount.

Bottom line: Turkey was awesome, these memories were amazing… go when you can!

Bye Bye “Amreeka”

(That is “America” with a persian accent…)

I am off to Turkey for a couple weeks, so this blog will be off as well.

HOWEVER, I am almost 100% positive that a clan of Iranians in Turkey will create some fun/entertaining/interesting stories for you all.

So I will be back with those to share (and some photos of course!).

Stay tuned…

True Moments, A Photo Series (3)

Our 3rd Photo Series is brought to you by Dr. Farnaz Pezeshki, a Pharmacist in the Boston area and a true “dokhtar shirazi” (girl from Shiraz, Iran) :)

The first 5 pictures are from a small village called Ghalaat, about an hour outside Shiraz. Ghalaat is known for it cool weather and beautiful waterfall. All natural water, or melted snow from the peaks of the mountains surrounding the village.

Next 2 are from Bagheh Eram in Shiraz, a historical garden.

The last is a live Persian band with traditional instruments on the streets of Shiraz!

Click on the first image to start the slideshow. 


Really? Can smoke sometimes actually be “good” for you?

YES (kind of?).

I have one word for you: Esfand.

So, superstition is one of those concepts that we each have our own personal beliefs in. I wouldn’t even say Iranians are more or less superstitious than others. We all personally have our own levels of beliefs or none at all.  Regardless, some of us do believe in the “evil eye” similar to other cultures out there. And we all have our own ways of “dismissing the evil eye”.

I recently asked some friends whether they  this is a tradition their families have incorporated into their lives. I have received mixed responses.  Seems like it is not as common as it used to be many years ago,  but it is in my household. I grew up with this. We would come back from a party or a “mehmoony” as we call it, regardless of the time if night (2am was very common) my mom would insist we come to the kitchen and basically inhale this smoke! and then I guess we were…safe? We just accepted it to be true.

Now you are really wondering what I am talking about.

So what is the “Esfand”?  Well, the short story… we pour these seeds into a pot (sometimes on aluminum foil), place then over the stove, once well heated a popping sound begins as smoke comes out, and we essentially inhale believing that we have now gotten rid of any “curses” instilled upon us through others. Some also say a prayer as they do this process. These seeds are not only native to Iran but also Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan.

Click here for some more brief information around the seeds and their use.

Why?? I don’t even have a good answer for this! But there are few different situations that we do this. From my own experience it was typically when we may have received many compliments in one evening, or we just feel someone was giving off some negative feelings, we would then worry they MAYBE were giving us the “evil eye”. And just to be safe, that is what we did.

Sprinkling Esfand

This is personally a tradition I am used to and I will admit that regardless if I think it actually works, I will incorporate it into my own life purely because it is tradition :)

Is this something you and/or your family does? What about in other cultures?  Would love to hear about your stories and experiences!