Hi there! Thanks for stopping by.
My story picks up steam here, in San Diego, California, but it starts somewhere else. I grew up in suburban Chicago in a house with all the touches of my mother’s impressive homemaking. I have a lot of memories of that place + from that time, spanning from happy pieces of nostalgia to the darker familial drama that feels like another lifetime ago. There were grasscloth walls that lead into a kitchen washed with bright spring sunlight, a dull red house with overgrown grass next door to us + a picture window that faced the front of the house; in the winter, it showcased a gorgeous glittering gold, white + silver-trimmed Christmas tree. There was a home-cooked, sit-down meal every night; no elbows allowed on the table. Fragrant lilac + peony bushes flanked the sides of the house. It wasn’t the only place I lived in my 18 years in that suburban town, but it was the first.
I moved on to spend my college years in Michigan, which were filled with restlessness, cheap vodka, crash-and-burn love affairs + that false sense of freedom that trademarks the end of teen years + scratches the surface of the 20s. After three + a half years, I headed back to Illinois, leaving East Lansing just before Christmas break vacation, at the height of the Midwest winter when everything is grey + slushy + harsh wind literally seems to bite your skin. I arrived home to my mother’s new house—quiet + totally unfamiliar. I had no job prospects, no money + not a clue what my next step would be, or what I even wanted it to be. I dawdled there for a while, waitressing to make a little money + give myself some much-needed structure. The hours were long, the stress was high, the tips fluctuated + my boredom was through the roof as I waited for life to begin—whatever that meant. Eventually + quite literally, winter wore off. Spring brought with it an opportunity that catapulted me into a new beginning, a life I loved, a new east coast home + into some new version of myself.
That May, I packed up my car, made the ten-hour drive east + moved into a little house in Ithaca, New York five minutes down the road from the academic building on Cornell’s campus where I spent my days as a summer student + research intern. I settled easily + steadily into my quaint life, + I became acquainted with another layer of myself—one that I can only guess was buried under habits of hustle + early-20s tumult. I came to appreciate a little bit of calm. My eyes were open. Exploration + adventure came easily. I felt in tune. I took in the shocks of color in the wildflower patches that lined the roads, the horses that grazed in the sun that literally sparkled as its rays hit the hills, the wineries, the waterfalls + picturesque woodsy hiking trails that dotted the community. I sat with my cousin on many weekends at her home on a neighboring lake, drinking mojitos packed with fresh mint + watching the sunset over the bluff – "a movie I never get tired of watching," she would say. My work fascinated me, my creativity was ignited, lake-side living was dreamy + summer was in full bloom. It was just plain good.
It was there + in that time that I discovered my deep love + appreciation for food—for sourcing it, harvesting it, creating with it, photographing it + eating it. The Finger Lakes region where I lived is an agricultural mecca with countless dairy, fruit + vegetable farms, gardens, vineyards + farmers markets. My eyes were open + my senses were piqued. Every day held a creative session in the kitchen.
It was also during that summer that I visited my father’s family from which I’d been estranged for most of my life. One of the best things I’ve ever done was make the drive straight south into Pennsylvania to meet these incredible people. I was greeted with open arms + unbelievable kindness, not to mention overwhelming emotion. We noshed on pita bread spread with labneh + olives + ate feasts of family staples: hummus, fattoush salad, spinach pies, stuffed grape leaves, everything flecked with za’atar. I learned: about my cousins + their children, about my family + its past, about Syrian culture, about my father, about healing the deepest, unknown parts of our stories. That whole summer was transformative, a sort of renaissance period that ushered in the root-setting of the life + self I’m still building continuously.
After that, life somehow brought me to California. I have many people to thank for that, but mostly God. My path bought me first to San Francisco + then onto San Diego in the fall of 2018. It’s got this vacation-like vibe that makes you feel like you’re actually on a perpetual vacation. The elevations change drastically as do the landscapes; mountains, sea, deserts. California is a dream + didn't know I had in my heart.
What you’ll see here is this: my creativity in food + word form. It’s more than that though. It’s my story + my passion in the ever-happening transit of living life. It’s my thoughts + confessions with all the raw nuances that I best express in writing. It’s parts of my now. It’s me. I’m a transplant, a young old soul, someone who loves comfort + security + tradition but is wild at her core. I’m an introvert + a connector. I’m an observer + a thinker, despite the fire that lies beneath the quiet side.
I’m a lot of things + I like real things: that’s what I want to share here. This is a glimpse of my life + passion. It’s sort of all I know how to do in a way—cook, write, reflect, create, explore. I hope you find something beautiful + something that inspires you.
What’s in a name?
I like symbols. I like those words together, + this is where I’ll share food for nourishment + indulgence + words for hope + inspiration.
You might have also noted the Biblical reference. I'm not religious, but I am spiritual. As a person of faith, you'll see reflections in my writing.
All I know is, despite all the science, logic, reason + (sometimes harsh) realities that exist in this life, I’ve seen + continue to see something greater + higher moving in mine; in me. It’s that simple. It’s the truest thing I know. As I share my story + thoughts here, you’ll come to see a person who's a little bit of everything, as we all are. Confused, broken, hurting, hurtful + whatever other “negatives” you want to assign, but also a person who’s joyous, very much whole, sharing beauty that comes from deep inside, yearning to love others + be loved + longing to create light.
I think that’s what being a person of faith is about—sharing + embracing all the parts of us + others…just like God does. That's the take on faith that colors my words + that you'll find here.