I am someone who has no patience for surprises. I have this urge to find out about things before they actually happen, and get all antsy when I don’t know what’s coming my way, even if I know for a fact that it will be good. When I think about it, it really is an amazing feat on my part that I do not flip to the last chapter with every book I read. But endings are sacred to me – and let’s face it, you can’t really enjoy an ending without knowing the beginning.
Still, I have to admit that sometimes it is better not to know.
I was jolted awake yesterday morning with the insistent ringing of my doorbell. I was greeted – after hobbling around for a couple of minutes frantically looking for pants to go with my short, short night shirt – with purple balloons, cake and streamers and a whole chorus of “Happy Birthday, Zen!” Let it be known that I have never been surprised on my birthday. I always expect or know what’s going on, and I already thought we had a plan for the day… so for them to show up at my door like that, I was actually so speechless I forgot to blow out my candles, and I just stood there with puffy eyes, grinning like an idiot, before I got pulled into hugs and kisses and a little bit of, “Zen, why are you in jeans?”
Well, technically, International Chocolate Day falls on the 13th of September, but I had driven myself into a sugar coma yesterday and absolutely could not muster up the energy to put up a post. That said, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t get a celebratory post even if it’s a day late, right?
Okay, okay. I just want an excuse to share pictures of the things I ate. I feel this would be best expressed through a timeline.
10 a.m. I had a delicious, warm, buttery chocolate croissant. The only thing that could’ve made it better is chocolate sprinkles.
12 30 p.m. Lunch time. I opted for a triple chocolate muffin with a gooey chocolate centre that exploded in my mouth (and got all over my fingers) with each bite. It was one of the best muffins I’ve ever had.
One post ago I mentioned that I was going to be moving. At the time, I didn’t really believe it. Even though I was packing and having such a difficult time deciding which books I should take with me, it still hadn’t sunk it that in a few days time I was going to find myself in an entirely different country. For some reason this made me very depressed, and I was susceptible to random bouts of crying.
Thankfully, that’s behind me now. I guess I should give a bit more information… I’ve moved to Dubai, UAE. Some of you might remember that I’ve spent the first 19 years of my life there before eventually going to Lebanon. This country is more of a home to me than my actual home country. It’s where I grew up, it’s where I feel comfortable, it’s where I feel free to be myself. It’s changed a bit in the few years I was away, it grew and developed… but I still see in it the home I once left behind.
But I’m happy now. I’m starting my independent life. I take the metro to work every day, I have morning walks by the edge of the lake on my way to the office, I’m taking charge of my work, I’m hunting for an apartment, I’m getting all my paperwork in order… and I’m also of course discovering all the new dessert spots in town. 😉
This reminder might seem unnecessary to some, because of course chocolate is not something one would forget to eat. However, it is highly important that you have some today, because the 13th of September happens to be International Chocolate Day!
I have been obsessing over this since last night, trying to figure out how to celebrate it. I am extremely busy with work but a day like this cannot go unnoticed! First I figured I could buy some chocolate bars, but that seemed like a poor way to celebrate, then I upgraded my thinking process to baked goodies (cakes, brownies, cookies) but even those didn’t make it feel all that special… plus I would end up with a destroyed kitchen that would take hours to clean.
So I went all the way. An international day celebrating the thing I love most had to be given its proper due, and that meant going to a patisserie and buying ALL THE THINGS. Well… erm, some things anyway. I had ice-cream and an assortment of cakes!
I’ve been having a less than stellar week, some bad things happened that culminated with the loss of my tablet, the one I use for reading eBooks. To say I was upset would be understatement; I went to bed and cried into my pillow for a bit after the incident happened. I’m coming to terms with it now, and I’m already looking for a (cheaper) replacement as I’ve completely given up hope on retrieving it.
So today I decided to treat myself, and those who read my blog know that there’s no better way to cheer me up than with books and sweets! Yes, folks, it’s time for one of those posts again. I’m thinking it should be a regular segment on this blog! 😉
I discovered that we have the Magnolia Bakery here in Lebanon (I’m guessing some of my American readers will recognize the name). As is the case with any new discovery, I tend to splurge. My sister and I shared a slice of red velvet cake, a Snickers icebox pie with cream cheese frosting, a mini caramel pecan cheesecake, a mini white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake and finally, a cheese marbled brownie. I was on a sugar high.
An extreme sugar high.
Magnolia Bakery description: made red with cocoa, vanilla and a little southern mystery, with its own special whipped vanilla icing. This one was waaay too sweet. I love red velvet, but the buttercream frosting was overwhelming!
Classic, moist brownie with a cheesy twist! Very very good.
Let it be known that I am absolutely biased when it comes to Macadamia. It’s one of my absolute favourite nuts. I really loved this one too!
This was exquisite. Buttery, smooth and absolutely delicious. I melted upon the first bite.
Description from Magnolia Bakery menu: chocolate wafer crust layered with peanut butter and cream cheese and whipped cream filling, topped with Snickers bar pieces. This was incredible. The cream cheese topping was an excellent touch!
I don’t know about you, but when life stresses me out – and it has been doing that a lot lately – I find the best way to unwind is by spending a little money on things that make me happy. Well, all right, I’ll come clean; I spent more than a little, but today’s retail therapy did wonders to me. Wonders I tell you. With the overwhelming amount of work at the office, my recent escapade of paranoia, and my still-persistent headaches, it was nice to go out and have fun… and celebrate my recent Freshly Pressed status (I may sound all casual about it now but I was squealing my head off when I found out!).
So yes, retail therapy! What is it without sweets? 😀 If you’re on a diet the following pictures may be bad for you. I should know. I’m on a diet. But I do not regret what I ate! No, every single dish was completely worth it. I took my sister with me and between the two of us we shared three desserts, the first being a delectable (and extremely rich) Nutella pie.
For the last three years my birthday was during the weekend or otherwise on a day where I didn’t have school/work, but today it’s on a Tuesday, which generally sucks, but I’m going to look on the bright side and be thankful that it’s not a Monday and that I’m back to even numbers in terms of age. Yay!
Apart from work, today was pretty nice. I got paid, I went out for cake and books (I got Looking for Alaska by John Green; One Day by David Nicholls; and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell) with my friends and then got treated to more cake at home! I’ve got so much sugar in my blood stream it’s making me hyper, haha.
I think this is the longest I’ve gone without updating this blog. It feels kinda weird. The truth is, work is keeping me so busy I barely have time to do anything else. I’m so tired I’ve gone delusional. This morning I was feeling incredibly dizzy so I sent a text to one of my coworkers telling her I won’t be coming in. Or I thought I did. Apparently, it was all in my head. I had imagined that I sent her the text, just as I had imagined that she had replied and told me to get better. It was a little bit embarrassing when they called to check on me and I insisted that I had notified them of my absence.
This week was a bit of a hectic one, but there are always things that can make it better. Drawing inspiration from Rebecca Stibrany’s post, here’s a list of things that make me happy, in no particular order!
Even a person who’s barely familiar with me will know that chocolate is my absolute favourite thing in the world. If I’m having a stressful day, feeling upset or sick, lacking inspiration, bored, sleep-deprived, I can simply eat chocolate and feel instantly better.