Help Zee Go To The New School in New York!

Zeina is a Lebanese writer trying to raise money for her MFA in writing at The New School. It’s so cool that she got accepted there and she’s so close to her goal with 48 hours left so spread the message and let us help Zee make her dream come true!

You can contribute now by visiting this [Link].

I loved Zee’s take on Beirut, check it out: [Beirut, a bruised exotic]

My name is Zeina Abi Assy and I am Lebanese. I am often labeled as a graphic designer because of my degree, a copywriter because of my job, and a writer among family and friends because of my passion. I studied graphic design at the American University of Beirut and minored in creative writing non-fiction. I am a writer and I believe in the power of non-fiction work from this specific area of the world where realities are restrained.

I got accepted to study creative writing non-fiction at The New School, an incredible writing school in New York, and it is my every desire to go. I come from a part of the world where few are contemporary non-fiction writers, set aside women writers, where opportunity is rare, where stories remain unheard, they remain in the dark, tasteless, colorless and insignificant. But these stories are beautiful, they are distinct and they deserve a chance.

And we want to be remembered, we want our stories to have value, our time here, our lives, our culture, our fight, we need them to last, just a bit longer than ashes. And I want to take part in writing the untold story of Beirut, and of Lebanon.

Pieces of my heart still look the same as when they were born. Pieces like my love for my family and my homeland. Pieces that are still afraid of death. Pieces that will never understand war. Pieces that will always empower my words. I want these pieces in me to grow. Mahmoud Darwish once wrote “I was not born to live sunsets but sunrises”, although sunsets will forever move us, we need to see the sun rising, at least once, at least momentarily, at least for a change. Writing is my sunrise. The New School is my sunrise. New York will be my sunrise.

I got accepted but I don’t have the money to go.
I’m making this campaign to raise the money for my tuition fees, which is around $ 50,000.

Stoli’s Orgnl.TV Project

Stoli

Even with all of the trouble plaguing the country, there’s no shortage of great existing and emerging talent in Lebanon, and I never miss an opportunity to promote these people either through the blog and social media tools or in any other way possible. Unfortunately, a lot of these talents go unnoticed due to the lack of exposure and capital as well as the lack of government incentive. Having said that and in order to help showcase these talents, Stolichnaya kicked off a worldwide campaign last year entitled ORGNL.TV that gave the opportunity for creative individuals to share their talents online and get the exposure they need.

To make things even better this year, the project evolved from last year and is now going after key bloggers and influencers to seek out local original talent and reveal their work whether it’s Art, Music, Fashion, Tech or Taste.

Knowing that I am not usually a fan of online campaigns or competitions, I agreed to get involved in this one because I thought I will be helping, if possible, to promote few local talents to get the proper exposure and who knows maybe let one of them win this thing and make his dream come true.

All you need to do to get into this competition is email me najib@blogbaladi.com before the end of July and share your work so I can post about it if it’s truly original and creative. A lot of people are already doing that with or without competition so there’s your chance to show your originality to the world.

music

You can check out samples of entries for each category [Here].

PS: The prize for the most original talent will be at first a major exposure through the highly popular Orgnl.TV website, as well as a trip to a Stoli international event along with the blogger (will share the details once I get them) among other things.

Ramadan Kareem from Chivas Regal

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Photo via Moe EL Zein

Don’t you just love it when we see such ads as a sign of unity and co-existence? It’s a bit silly and cliché but it definitely beats those who get offended by the picture.

Check out the comments on Stop Cultural Terrorism in Lebanon’s page.

PS: Noting that the ad wasn’t intentional as the billboard above the Chivas poster is digital.

Bethany Kehdy’s The Jewelled Kitchen Is The Telegraph’s Cookbook Of The Week

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I like food blogs and I’ve been following for a couple of years now Bethany’s website [DirtyKitchenSecrets]. I love how passionate she is about her job and the amount of time and effort she puts into every post she writes. I’ve also had the chance to talk to her on several occasions and was supposed to meet her in Lebanon but it didn’t work out (hopefully on her next trip).

In case you’re still wondering who Bethany Kehdy is, She’s a Lebanese-American who grew up in the Lebanese mountains and spent a lot of time as a child “watching and learning via osmosis the art of Middle Eastern food preparation, cooking and preserving from my grandmother, dad and aunties”. She started DirtyKitchenSecrets back in 2008, launched Taste Lebanon culinary journey across Lebanon, has been featured in dozens of websites and publications and is a proud ambassador of Lebanese cuisine in the world.

She’s also one of the people behind the awesome “Taste Lebanon” video that went viral and helped portray a great image of Lebanon and Lebanese Food.

[YouTube]
Meet Bethany Kehdy

The only thing missing in Bethany’s career was a cookbook and she recently launched her debut cookbook entitled “The Jewelled Kitchen” after 2 years of hard work. The book was selected as the Cookbook of the Week by The Telegraph and here’s what they had to say about it:

Kehdy is a Texas-born former Miss Lebanon whose blog, Dirty Kitchen Secrets, offers a robust reinterpretation of the food of the Middle East and north Africa, designed for modern living. This book is a by-product – a collection of recipes for things such as freekeh with lamb and rhubarb, spiced squid, lentil and tamarind pilaf, and stuffed quinces. Evaporated milk pudding is based on the Middle Eastern milk flan muhallabiah.

I always wanted to learn how to cook and I think I am going to start with Bethany’s book. I’ll try make some Muhallabiah which doesn’t look that complicated (I hope).

Evaporated milk pudding
Serves 4

200ml milk
200ml evaporated milk or unsweetened condensed milk
40g caster sugar
3 tbsp cornflour
Large pinch ground cardamom
Rosewater
1 tbsp Arabic coffee or espresso beans, or dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped
Put the milk, evaporated milk, sugar, cornflour and cardamom in a heavy-based saucepan and whisk to combine. Put the pan over a medium-low heat and bring to the boil, whisking continuously until thickened. When the mixture coats the back of the spoon, remove from the heat. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a pouring jug.

Add a few drops of rosewater and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes. Pour the mixture into glasses or bowls, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until set (2-3 hours). To serve, sprinkle with the coffee beans and the pistachios.

I am passing by Librairie Antoine today to see if they have the book and get it. You can order the book or download the Kindle edition on [Amazon].

Crazy Motorist

Is it that difficult for the ISF to stop these crazy motorists and confiscate their bikes? They pull their stunts on the same highways and they go in groups so they are asking to get caught.