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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Norooz 2015: Celebrating in Los Angeles

Celebrating Norooz.
Mersi Pejman Akbarzadeh.
A new dawn, a new day and new life begins and that day is on Norooz. Marked as the first day of Spring, it is the start of a brand new year. Celebrated by Persians all around the world, Norooz begins on Friday, March 20th. Los Angeles is often dubbed "Tehrangeles" for it's extensive Persian population. As Norooz approaches, a lot of amazing events are happening in the city of angels. So, what are they?

On Saturday, March 14th the Farhang Foundation will be celebrating the Iranian New Year at the Norman P. Murray Community Center from 11:30 am until 5 pm. Located in the heart of Mission Viejo, if you are looking for an event to attend, this is definitely where you will want to be. For more information, call: (310) 666-1546.

On Saturday, March 14th the Aliso Viejo Library and Persian Storytime presents the 2nd Annual Persian New Year Celebration. From 1:30 pm until 4:30 pm, you can celebrate Nowruz with children's art gallery, crafts, short video clips, storytime, face painting, and more. For more information, call: (949) 360-1730.

On Sunday, March 15th the ISCC (or International Society for Children with Cancer) will be featuring an array of delicious Persian food including pastries and jams at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach from 11 am until 6 pm. Aside from amazing food, you can expect amazing entertainment too. The time is now to celebrate. For more information, call: (949) 679-9911.

On Sunday, March 15th the Child Foundation will be holding their annual Nowruz Bazaar. Located at the Hilton in Woodland Hills, you can expect great food, great entertainment, and even greater people. Admission is free. For more information, call: (310) 453-0809.

On Tuesday, March 17th the Norooz celebrations continue at the 6th Annual 4Shanbe Soori Party. Starting at 8 pm at the Port Restaurant in the heart of Corona de Mar, you can expect nothing less than a good time here. For more information, call: (949) 439-7097.

On Tuesday, March 17th starting at 6:30 pm you can enjoy a Persian Feast at Ray's and Star Bar. Hosted by the LACMA, you can explore the museum after-hours and enjoy great art, food, and more. Located in the heart of LA, the Cur-ate Series is the opportunity to explore a Persian themed four course meal prepared by executive chef Viet Pham (Food Network Star, Iron Chef America, etc). The cost is $90-$100. For more information, call: (323) 857-6180.

On Tuesday, March 17th join Kayham Kalhor and Shujaat Husain Khan as they entertain you with a Persian/Indian Fusion Concert with the Ghazal Ensemble and Sandeep Das. Located in the heart of Irvine, this event will be held at Barclay theatre and starts at 8 pm. For more information, call (949) 854-4607.

On Tuesday, March 17th you can enjoy yoga and meditation at the Iranian American Center in San Diego from 6 pm until 7:30 pm. Hosted by the PCC (or Persian Cultural Center) releasing tension can be an amazing thing to do for the new year. For more information, call: (858) 552-9355.

On Wednesday, March 18th the Ranacho Park Rotary is holding their Nowruz Party. Located in the heart of Los Angeles if you want to eat, drink, and dance, this is the time to do so. For more information call: (310) 722-1817.

On Friday, March 20th join the ISTA (or Iranian Students Association at University of California in San Diego) from 7:30 pm until 11:30 pm at the Price Center in San Diego for the ISTA Norooz Celebration and After Party. Enjoy a banquet dinner followed by live music and entertainment provided by DJ Mohsen and DJ Al. For more information, email: ista@ucsd.edu.

On Saturday, March 21st the Persian Cultural Center and Association of Iranian Professionals is holding their Annual Nowruz Gala at the Marriot Hotel in La Jolla. Starting at 6 pm, this celebration includes a seated dinner, comedy by Tehran, a featured dance performance by the Persian Dance Academy, and music by DJ Julius. For more information, call (858) 522-9355.

On Saturday, March 21st the IPAA (or Iranian Psychological Association of America) and the IADA (or Iranian American Dental Association) are holding their annual Nowruz Gala. This event is located at the Grand Ballroom in the heart of Los Angeles. Starting at 7 pm, you can expect an amazing time. For more information, call: (310) 499-5622.

On Saturday, March 21st celebrate Norooz at Club Pardiss in Laguna Woods at Club House 7 for their annual Persian New Year Festival. From 6:30 pm until 11 pm, you can enjoy amazing entertainment from Nader, Nadia, Eddie, Lucia, and more. Complimentary Persian tea and pastries are available. For more information, call: (949) 268-2417.

On Saturday, March 21st you can celebrate Norooz at the Grand Park with award winning actress and activist, Mary Apick. Located in the heart of "Tehrangeles" from 1 pm until 5 pm, you will have an amazing time. Guests can eat, drink, and enjoy the finest Persian dishes. Live entertainment is also provided and to top it off, everyone will have the chance to explore Persian culture through the arts. Admission is free. For more information, call (818) 288-4050.

On Saturday, March 21st the Metropolitan Nightclub in West Hollywood is holding their Norouz Mega Bash. Starting at 10 pm, you can expect real excitement celebrating the Persian New Year. Music is provided by Bobby K, DJ Sepi, Aaron Sparxx, and Alex. #NorouzMegaBash For more information, call: (310) 363-0311.

On Saturday, March 21st the PCC (or Persian Cultural Center) and the AIAP (or the Association of Iranian American Professionals) will host their annual Nowruz Celebration at the Marriott in La Jolla. Featuring DJ Julius, Tehran, and a performance from the Persian Cultural Dance Academy, you can expect an amazing time. Tickets are $100-$110 per person. For more information, call: (858) 552-9355.

On Sunday, March 22nd, LACMA (or Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is celebrating their 7th Annual Nowruz Celebration. Located in the heart of LA, this event is also hosted by the Farhang Foundation too. For more information, call: (310) 666-1546.

On Sunday, March 22nd you can join the IAC Group (or Iranian American Community Group) of Orange County at the Colonel Barber Park from 1 pm until 6 pm for their Persian New Year Festival. Located the Rose Garden in Irvine, you can enjoy live entertainment and amazing Persian food. Plus, it is free. For more information, email: contact@iac-group.org.

On Thursday, March 26th celebrate the Persian New Year with the IALA (or Iranian American Lawyers Association) from 6:30 pm until 10:30 pm at Flame Restaurant in Los Angeles. Enjoy a Persian style buffet, as well as, appetizers and desserts. Entertainment and music provided by DJ Hessam. For more information, email: IALAlawyers@gmail.com.

On Saturday, March 28th Essence and Avesta Empire proudly present their Kurdistan Nowruz Gala Party with Foad Naraghi and Nidar at the Eretz Cultural Center. Starting at 8 pm, you can enjoy a wonderful time. For more information, call: (424) 261-5873.

On Saturday, March 28th celebrate Norooz Eve at Club Mahin in Laguna Woods. From 6 pm until 11 pm, you can enjoy an epic time at Clubhouse 7. For more information call: (949) 468-6899.

On Sunday, March 29th the NIPOC (or Network of Iranian Professionals in Orange County) is celebrating the 13 Bedar at Mason Regional Park. Starting at noon, you can enjoy a wonderful time in celebrating Norooz. For more information, call: (949) 851-3993.

If you know of an event that is not listed, please share the event in the comments and I will go ahead and publish it. Thank you.

Los Angeles: Best Persian Restaurants of 2015

Koubideh, courtesy of Persian Dutch Network.
Nicknamed "Tehrangeles", LA is known for its culture, its milieu, its bricolage, and its entertainment. With over 10 million residents alone in the metropolitan area, Los Angeles is also the second largest city in America.
 
Are you looking to enjoy a fantastic Persian dinner? So, what are the best Persian Restaurants in Los Angeles? Just click here to find out.

Norooz 2015: Celebrating in New York City

Norooz Haft Sin.
Mersi Masoud Ramezani.
According to the 2013 census, There are 8.4 million residents alone in the metropolitan area of the big apple. New York City, the city that never sleeps and is home to many great things. And like every major city on this planet, the Persian population is quite extensive. The Persian New Year is approaching. So, what is happening in NYC for the Norooz?

On Monday, March 16th you can enjoy a Norooz Dinner at Porsena from 5:30 pm until 10 pm. As Norooz approaches, so does the demand to enjoy great entertainment and even greater food. The cost is $55. For more information, call: (212) 228-4923.

On Wednesday, March 18th from 6:30 pm until 8:30 pm, the Whole Foods Bowery is hosting a Persian cooking class. NYC's best chefs, artisans, and growers will come together to give you an experience you will not only love, but appreciate too. For more information, call: (212) 420-1320.

On Friday, March 20th Cafe Nadery is holding their annual Persian New Year Celebration. Starting at 6:30 pm, you can the new year with an outstanding dinner followed by incredible entertainment. The cost is $70. For more information, call: (212) 260-5407.

On Saturday, March 21st you can visit The Beard House for their annual Norouz Celebration. Join chefs Josh Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri as they take you through a taste of Persia with an amazing French fusion. The cost is $130-$170 per person. For more information, call: (212) 627-2308.

On Saturday, March 21st Cafe Nadery is having another annual Persian New Year Celebration, so in case you missed it Friday night, you can enjoy it again. The action starts at 6:30 pm. The price is $70. For more information, call: (212) 260-5407.

On Sunday, March 22nd join the Ghazal Ensemble: Kayhan Kalhor and Shujaat Husain Khan the Shimmel Center. From 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm, you can enjoy a rare yet unique Iranian meets Indian collaboration to celebrate the Persian New Year. For more information, call: (212) 316-1715.

On Sunday, March 29th the IABA and the PAAIA are holding their annual Nowruz Dinner at the New York County Lawyers Association Ballroom to celebrate the Persian New Year. From 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm, you can enjoy an epic dinner from Colbeh and Shiraz, an open bar, and live music. Admission runs from $40 to $75. For more information, call: (646) 580-5118.

I will continue to update this, as more events are shared. If you know of an event, please do share it in the commons. Thank you.

New York City: Best Persian Restaurants of 2015

Ghormeh Sabzi, Iran's National Dish. Mersi
Amin Majidi.
New York City, the most populated city in the United States. With almost 20 million residents in the metropolitan area alone, the city that never sleeps is definitely a global power city and one of the most exciting places in the world.
 
The question remains: can you find Persian food here? Absolutely. In fact, some of the best Persian food can be found in the big apple. So, what are the best Persian Restaurants in New York City? Just click here to find out.

Chicago: Best Persian Restaurants of 2015

Baba Ghanoush. Mersi Takaokun.
With over 9 million residents alone in the metropolitan area, Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States. Home to the busiest airport in the world, Chicago is known for it's culture, sports, and even as pioneers of electronic dance music. 

Chicago is also home to some of the best Persian food in the country. So, what are the best Persian Restaurants of 2015? Just click here to find out.

Monday, March 2, 2015

How To Dodge Peer Pressure

Peer pressure, nature's way of trying to make you give in and human's way of trying to make you fit in. Whether it means doing something spontaneous and daring or simply trying something new, peer pressure still puts you in between a rock and a hard place.

Even when you feel reluctant and unsure, you still find yourself saying yes in an effort to please the masses. So, what if you don't want to say yes? How do you dodge peer pressure?

Say your friend invites you to a party. Although you feel a little reluctant to go, you really believe it would be a great social opportunity for you so you decide to cave in and attend. As you walk through the door, you look to your left and notice a group of people playing beer pong. You look to your right and see people socializing, as they sip on cocktails in effort to drink away bad memories. Then, you look straight ahead and see multiple dancing and enjoying the entertainment.

As you observe, you are approached by good looking man (and if you are male, just pretend this is a woman, hahaha). They lure you into the kitchen for conversation and small talk. They ask you a few questions, before finally asking if you would like to go upstairs for a little "fun". You have doubts. You are not promiscuous and you know that there are many consequences to such actions. You fear saying no because you don't want to hurt this man's feelings, but then again you don't want to be ignored either. You fear saying yes because you don't believe you should. What do you do?

This is an example of peer pressure. You are being put on the spot. If you have to question it even once, you must say no. Why? Because even if you only live once, giving in to what you question will only create unhappiness for you, as you will not enjoy yourself and you just may regret it later.

The power of no allows you to confirm that you do not agree. Almost like a reassurance clock that is being set off. You can make excuses and tell a white lie, but what happens when you don't have anything to support them? The best way to dodge peer pressure is to simply tell the truth and say no.

If you stand your ground, you will never give into anything. Remember the key ingredient to dodging peer pressure is being true to yourself and what you believe is right and appreciating the individualism you have. Don't be afraid to say no.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cell PRO iPhone 6 Armband + Giveaway

Tomoson is one of those sampling opportunity websites that I recently discovered. Offering an array of products, one of the greatest opportunities that I found was the chance to try the iPhone 6 Sports Armband, courtesy of Cell PRO.

I absolutely love this armband for many reasons. I use my iPhone often, especially when I workout. In fact, I prefer it over my iPod. The sound quality is outstanding. This amazing Cell PRO addition keeps my phone protected without moving all over the place, making it modestly comfortable to wear. Speaking of working out, this armband is sweat-proof.

There are two slots in this armband, so say you want to take a walk and don't feel like taking your purse or wallet with you. Aside from your phone, you can take your credit/debit card, driver's license or state ID, and even take a little bit of cash with you if you need to.

What I love about the iPhone 6 Sports Armband is the fact that the neoprene material is very soft yet lightweight, so it doesn't get in the way of what you are doing. It also fits every arm. So, whether you have small arms or large arms, you can benefit from using this by adjusting the velcro strap, which extends.

I was relatively worried about the touchscreen working through the clear cover. Needless to say, it works fantastically.

Looking to take take a walk at night? Well, you will enjoy this product even more simply because of the reflective band which is completely visible during the night hours.

Although originally $29.95, you can purchase the iPhone 6 Sports Armband right now for $12.95 on Amazon. For more information about the iPhone 6 Sports Armband, simply click here right now.

I have wonderful news to everyone who reads my blog, SarahAfshar.com. Cell PRO is offering the opportunity for you to win one. Yes, this is your opportunity to grab an iPhone 6 Sports Armband. One of my lucky readers will have the chance to win this product.

How can you do that?

It's simple, share this post all over social media. Whoever shares the post the most wins the prize. Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

 
When I think of life now versus life several years ago, I think a lot of amazing things have happened. I have discovered new experiences, garnered new knowledge, met some amazing people, and managed to rekindle a romance with my first love, Joe. And ever since, life has been great.
 
"Flowers heal me. Tulips make me happy. I keep myself surrounded by them as soon as they start coming to the island from Canada, and after that when they come from the fields in La Connor, not far from where I live." - Rebecca Wells, NY Times Best Selling Author

 
When I look at the word "love" I see something that is virtually impossible to define because it's a plethora of feelings, moments, states, and attitudes which connect to the physical, mental, social, emotional, and even spiritual affection towards another party. Love has many sides, but if a person is one's soul mate, all of these one dimensions of love come together to create a full, everlasting romantic ardor. When I met Mr. Valo, I was a teenager and now, being in my 30s, I have come to realization that we are in fact, soul mates and are truly meant to be.
 
"I'm calling for you, under the moonlight, staring at the daylight shining through. I see the sunrise, shining in through your eyes. I look up to the sky, I'm calling for you." - I'm Calling For You, Unchained Echo (Sarah Afshar & Joseph Valo III).

 
If love is real or if love is true, the person that you loved long ago will come back to you eventually. A love lost is never fully gone, if they return. Throughout the years, you will recognize this. I have dated an array of men, but have always wondered how Joe was. I guess you could say, he was always in the back of my mind.
 
"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." Charles M. Shultz, cartoonist.
 
My Valentine's Day message to Joe that I recorded using my iPhone 5 memo last year. Just click here to listen to it.
 
"I see the sun, when two become one. I'm running away from you, I'm running to the way of the moon. I see the stars, shining on the way to Mars. I'm running back to you." - Running, Unchained Echo (Sarah Afshar & Joseph Valo III).

 
Love happens naturally. If you go searching for love, you are never going to find it. Sure, you may feel like it exists right away, but can honestly say "I know that he is going to come back into my life" and that the feelings, the states, the attitudes, and the emotions are reciprocated? Every single person that I know that chases love, never finds it. And when they do, it doesn't last long. To me, love is not temporary, as love should never be pursued. Sure, lust can be pursued, but you will never find love that way.
 
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare, poet and playwright.

 
If you believe you won't find love it is because you have spent your time chasing the wrong person. I believe there is someone out there for everyone, so don't believe for one second, you will be alone forever. That is, of course, you choose to think pessimistically and self sabotage. True love, real love does not go away. You don't have to work for it, as it happens naturally between two people.
 
What is your favorite love song? Check out mine here. Also, do not hesitate to check out my favorite classic rock love songs too. Just click here. And, if you are looking for an amazing song to make love to, just click here.
 
"I can't stop loving you, I'll never want to leave you, no matter what we've been through, it is you. I'll never surrender, our hearts will be together, the days we'll always remember, it is you." - It Is You, Unchained Echo (Sarah Afshar & Joseph Valo III).

 
Through thick and thin and through black and blue, the love Joe and I have is true. Sure, we have had to endure the trials and tribulations of what every couple goes through in life, but without struggles in life, you will have no progress (thank you Frederick Douglass) and that my friends is the reality of everything. Read our love story here. I love you, Joe.
 
Happy Valentine's Day!


Friday, February 13, 2015

NYC: Lil Jon at LAVO in NYC tomorrow (2/14/15)

Located in the heart of the Mideast part of New York City on 39 E 58th St. lies LAVO Nightclub and Restaurant. If you frequent the Green Café, it is just right across the street. It is also directly next to Fratelli Rossetti. As part of the TAO group, you can expect one of the best party experiences you will ever have.
 
LAVO offers one of the best subterranean ambiences you will ever experience, as the atmosphere is something to desire. They also offer some of the best food you will enjoy in the big apple. In fact, I recommend the Rigatoni Melanzana and the Tiramisu with a glass of Moscato D'Asti. Check out the menu here.
 
The entertainment is dope, as you can expect a bank party filled with memory breeding experiences. Tomorrow, hip hop sensation, SKAM Artist Lil Jon will be throwing down and spinning beats starting at 11 PM EST. General admission at the door. To make a reservation, just go here.
 
For more information about this amazing Italian establishment, simply call  (212) 584-2700 right now.
 
Check out my interview with Lil Jon last year. Just click here right now.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Valentine's Day 2014

 
My amazingly handsome boo, Joseph Valo went all out last year for Valentine's Day. Needless to say, it was the best yet most memorable Valentine's Day ever. Valentine's Day 2015 is this Saturday, so I am very excited to see what my soulmate, lover, and best friend has planned.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Red Velvet Rose Cake from Neiman Marcus

Although my amazing boo, Joseph Valo III bought me this cake for my birthday, I wanted to share this simply because this is one of the perfect gifts I would recommend to give for Valentine's Day.
 
 
 
I love everything about this cake. Not only does it look absolutely beautiful, as the white, pink, and red icing are well blended to create depth and mimic roses, but this cake tastes incredible. The cake itself is flavorful and provides the palate with something to be desired.
 
Another thing that I loved about this cake is that the icing is sweet, but not sickening sweet to the level that it is overpowering or complicates the cake. It is a nice buttercream with a hint of cream cheese, which is perfect because it allows you to enjoy the flavor of the cake too. My cat actually attempted to eat this cake believe or not.
 
 
 
Check out a full image of this cake on my Instagram too. For more information about this incredibly beautiful yet delicious cake, simply click here right now.