Tuesday, September 16, 2014

10 Books That Were Adapted Into Incredible Films

When it comes to adapting a novel into a movie, there are a lot of things that come into play. Although the storyline is epic already, it is key to project that story to the big screen without the story losing it's meaning. Here are 10 great books that were adapted into incredible films.

1. The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Published in 1969, this crime novel fiction is the reason why The Godfather (1972) is ranked as one of the greatest movies of al time. This book interprets the realistic drama of mafia war.

2. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Published in 1964, this children's book is not only one of my favorite books, but lead into one of my favorite movies ever Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (1971). The story executes rags to riches and teaches you about appreciating what you have, as a young boy's life is changed forever after he meets an eccentric chocolatier.

3. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Published in 2002, this literary fiction book tells a moving story which involves a teenage girl who after being raped and murdered watches her family in the afterlife which brought us The Lovely Bones (2009). This story is definitely one of the greatest that exists in the world as we know it.

4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Published in 1982, this epistolary story is the reason why The Color Purple (1985) became one of the greatest dramas to hit the big screen. The story is simply about women of color living in the south during the 1930s.

5. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Published in 1971, this horror novel is the reason why The Exorcist (1973) became one of the greatest horror films of all time. The book tells a story about a 12 year old girl who deals with demonic possession and how it effects her family.

6. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Published in 1956, this story brought us one of the greatest movies of all time, Old Yeller (1957). The story is about a family who falls in love with a dog. The dog later becomes infected with rabies and eventually they have to kill the dog. Very sad.

7. Cool Hand Luke by Donn Pearce. Published in 1965, this dramatic prison story brought Cool Hand Luke (1967). This first-person novel tells a story about the life prisoners have to endure on a daily basis back in that era.

8. The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris. Published in 1988, this epic horror thriller is what brought The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) to the big screen. This thriller covers the psychological profile of a cannibalistic serial killer.

9. Forrest Gump by Winston Groom. Published in 1986, this 21st century novel dramedy is the reason why Forrest Gump (1994) is one of the greatest films to date. Although the film is different than the novel, it would not exist without it.

10. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Published in 2002, this crime and mystery fiction story is proof that the Mystic River (2003) is one of the best films this century. The book tells a story about three friends growing up in Boston to later become enemies.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chai Carrot Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Frosting

National Cupcake Week starts today, September 15th 2014 (which is Monday) and lasts until September 21st (Sunday) 2014. This is more of a British holiday than an American holiday, however, I thought it would be fun to embrace it considering I love cupcakes and quite a few of you who read my blog are British.
To start National Cupcake Week, I decided to share one of my favorite cupcake recipes: Chai Carrot Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Frosting. It is incredibly perfect for the season approaching us, Fall. Are you ready to make these delicious cupcakes? First and foremost, you want to make sure you have the following ingredients… 
4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour (if you prefer more natural, you can use Almond Flour)
 2 cups Granulated Sugar (if you prefer more natural, you can use Truvia or Stevia)
 3 teaspoons Baking Soda
 2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Nutmeg
2 cups Silk Very Vanilla Soy Milk (if you are allergic, just use Silk’s Vanilla Almond or Coconut Milk)
 1 cup Coconut Oil
3-4 TAZO Chai Tea Bags
 3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1/2 teaspoon of Ginger
1 pinch of Black Pepper  

For the frosting, you want to make sure you have the following ingredients…
 2 cup non-dairy, non-hydrogenated butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup non-dairy, cream cheese (I used Follow Your Heart)
3 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Silk Very Vanilla Soy Milk (if you are allergic, just use Silk’s Vanilla Almond Milk or Coconut Milk)
Let’s Bake!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your batter by combining flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. As you continue you want to  fold in the remaining ingredients. So you want to add oil, milk, spices (cinnamon, clove, cardamom, ginger, i.e.), vinegar, vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined.
As you prepare your batter, it is important to start creating your Chai tea. I love to do this on the stovetop, however; a microwave works efficiently if you are pressed for time. If you are making your tea on the stovetop, you are going to want to boil it and then use medium heat for about 5 minutes. Cool for 10. Add into the batter and mix again. 
Once you continue, it is important to prepare your cupcake pan and get everything ready for the oven. 
Let the cupcakes cook for about 20 to 25 minutes. 
Once 20-25 minutes have lapsed, you want to transport them onto a plate and then, onto a cooling rack. Set them aside. 

 Let’s Frost! 
I used my KitchenAid mixer to make the frosting. It is important to combine all of the ingredients, except the confectioners’ sugar (or powdered sugar), vanilla, and milk into the mixer and mix until it is smooth and begins to fluff. With the mixer on low speed, add confectioners’ sugar and fluff for another few minutes. Add vanilla followed by the milk. 

Once all ingredients are well-combined, beat on high until frosting is light and fluffy for about 5 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more milk to achieve the consistency are you hoping to achieve. 
Take your cake and start to apply the vegan frosting. You an pipe this because of the consistency of it. Decorate the cupcakes however you choose. I like to keep things modestly simple because the simplicity of the icing and it’s unique flavor is brought out from the cake itself and not the other way around. 
Guess what?! You’re done! Congratulations! You have just made Chai Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

2014: Happy Day!

Google was founded on September 4th 1997, however, it became a domain officially on this day 17 years ago. I find it incredibly fascinating because it was in late 1999, early 2000 when I first discovered Google. Needless to say, I was modestly skeptical and didn't think it would go on to become one of the world's most popular websites.
I had a relative that attended Stanford University for Psychology way before my cousin Neda Afshar attended (in fact, it was our uncle) and he told me about a website called "BackRub" which was operated on Stanford servers at the time. He also told me Google was once a part of BackRub before it was shut down due to overuse of bandwidth.
About a year after BackRub closed, both Larry Page and Sergey Brin played around with names and ideas on what to call their newest project. It was then, that they both came up with using the name "Google".
In 1998, with an investment of $100,000, Google basically took off from there. Now it is 2014 and Google has managed to become a billion dollar brand. As I type this out, I am actually using a Google product (Blogger or Blogspot) to do so. I am extremely confident that Google will continue to become greater. In fact, by the time I am old and gray, Google will be even bigger than they are now, which is huge.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th 2014

Can you believe that it's been 13 years since the terrorist attacks in New York City on the World Trade Center? It's been over a decade since Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Causing over $10 billion alone in damage, the lives lost (3,000+ people) on that horrible day are priceless.
I remember when I first heard of the terrorist attacks. I was in class typing up a paper about ethnicity and the college environment. If I remember correctly, it was a general Psychology class. One of the assistant professors came running in and mentioned that a plane was hijacked (United Airlines Flight 93) and landed in Pennsylvania.
My entire being went completely numb. It was as if a plethora of fear manifested my entire being. The only thing I could think was "what would motivate someone to want to do this?" Ironic that I was writing a paper that incorporated racial profiling and this type of affliction was occurring, as I hit space followed by enter.
I proceed to look at my prepaid cell phone where I noticed that I had received a few missed calls from family and friends. When I checked the voicemails, the entire terrorist attack was brought to my attention. Little did I know that about 20 terrorists from a terrorist group had an agenda and were looking to desperately be heard through their actions, so they took it upon themselves to hijack planes, crash them into buildings and take lives, including their own.
The only thing I could think of was the manipulation and the marginalization of these "terrorists". I think these people were simply made to believe they are nothing, unless they do something to garner attention and make some sort of change, as a result. I remember reading about this type of thing, but I never thought that a group would take it one step further and actually kill people in the process.
As an Iranian American woman living in Pittsburgh (which is where I happened to live/be at the time of the attacks, as well) it was evident that these people were all part of a social exclusion. Crime is often embraced and valued in the social marginalization of people. So, these terrorists were actually taught that killing other people just to be heard was actually the right thing to do. And as a result, change would happen.
Almost like a regressive imperialism, I believe the motivation for these attacks was quite evident, but at the end of the day, no matter what anyone attempted to do, the brave ended up losing the battle. When I look back 13 years ago when this happened, I see a part of history. There were a lot of heartaches and a lot of heartbreaks, but in the end, I see a country still standing. A country that is still alive and well.
Freewill is a choice, as freedom is too. We live in a country that allows us to use our freedom for whatever reason we choose. It is certain that we will never forget what happened on this day many years ago, but we can be grateful and thankful that we are still here and still standing.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Today Is Freddie Mercury's Birthday

Happy Birthday Farrokh Bulsara! In my opinion, there is no other artist in the world like Freddie. He had the voice, the artistry, the personality, and the charisma. His style and image was one thing, however, every time he opened his mouth, you knew it was him singing and as a result, he had unbelievable projection because he made you believe what he was singing about. Freddie delivered vocally through every single performance.
If I had to choose my top 10 favorite songs by Freddie Mercury/Queen, I really couldn't, however; my favorites right now include: 
In My Defence
Bohemian Rhapsody
Who Wants To Live Forever
The Show Must Go On
I Want To Break Free
There Must Be More To Life Than This
It's Late
Mr. Bad Guy
Thank God It's Christmas
The March Of The Black Queen
Princes Of the Universe
Living On My Own
Foolin' Around
Radio Ga Ga
Funny How Love Is
A Kind Of Magic
Save Me
Let's Turn It On
Somebody To Love
We Are The Champions
You And I
Don't Try Suicide
It's A Hard Life
Under Pressure
You may be gone, but you are never going to be forgotten in this life time. Happy Birthday Freddie!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy 16th Birthday Google

Founded in 1998, continues to remain stronger than ever. I remember when I first started college, every single computer at the main library had "Google" as it's start page. I remember asking the librarian "What is Google?" and she proceeded to explain to me, it's a lot like MSN (which was the most popular at the time) and Yahoo!
Little did I realize that Google would go on to become something so much greater in the years to come. Not only a business, but a brand. Now, 16 years later it is stronger than ever. In fact, it went from a small idea with only few employees to almost 50,000 employees (47,000+ to be exact).
With a strong effort to promote lobbying, Google is definitely high in the ranks. When I asked the librarian years ago "What is Google?" I never realized that would go on to become one of the world's strongest and powerful multinational corporations. And knowing what I know now, I believe it's going to be just as strong in many more years to come.
Happy Birthday Google!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Joe Valo Is My Soulmate

I could write over a million reasons why I love Joe and why I believe he is my soulmate, however, the love he and I have is beyond priceless. Words can only express and project so much. One thing is certain, we have something special and that something continues to grow more each and everyday.
The yoke of inauspicious stars, that shine effortlessly through the day and the night. Shakespeare once said "What's in a name, that which we call rose, by any other name would smell as sweet." The good and pleasurable things that life brings are unexpected and unpredictable. A plethora of euphoria that is controlled by light and lasts all through the night. Love is never rough, never rude, never crude, nor should it hurt, but it can prick like a thorn.
Read my love story here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Burger Day: Veggie Burgers

 Today is "Happy Burger Day" so I decided to share with you some veggie burgers that I have prepared. As a lacto-ovo vegetarian (occasional vegan), it's only appropriate. I love making them, so I am always getting creative. Until the next time. Enjoy friends!