Day 1

Today, I went rollerblading for the first time in years. I impulsively bought a pair on Amazon for 80 bucks, thinking that it would be a fun way to get active and lose weight. I use to be really good at it. When I was younger, we had somehow stumbled onto this pair of blades that were absolutely perfect. The grip was divine and the roll was so smooth. I remember how devastated I was when I outgrew them. I use to be fearless on wheels, but I didn’t feel that way today; it was most disheartening.

I know I have a few things I need to conquer as far as my own social anxiety goes. I hate even admitting that I have social anxiety; I typically put on a good show in front of people. When I showed up to the Rose Bowl today, I was already feeling pretty anxious about the high-school lacrosse players huddled in the middle of the running circle. I’m much older now, and I shouldn’t care too much what people think, but the thought of falling down in front of all those kids is simply enough to make anyone nervous. Nevertheless, I strapped my blades on and hoped for the best.

From the get go, it was clear this was a mistake. Why did I think I could pick up where fifteen year old Dina left off? I shuffled off to a corner after (barely) skating ten feet and immediately tore my skates off, bolting for the car. I had set my expectations so high, like I would be a natural all over again. However, this was a very necessary learning experience.

All my life, I tend to avoid things that take work. Finding a job, losing weight, etc. I don’t think I’m scared of hard work, but what I feel most is failure. Once I get into something, I master it, but only if I’m pretty good at it right away. For some reason, I fear not being the best at something, and if I don’t show that potential immediately, I lose all interest.

So I personally want to make this seemingly small goal of being able to rollerblade a priority in 2019. I just want it to serve me in a sense that I out my mind to it and i succeeded at something that was good for me mentally and physically.

When I got home, I’m going to attempt to skate around the kitchen just to get my bearings. Tomorrow I will head to the Rose Bowl early and attempt another go at it; this time I’ll remember my headphones. I will also not be deterred by the imperfection of my goals.

What I mean by that is, I will always get back on the horse. I told myself at the beginning of 2019, I would write everyday. Well, today is the 7th and I can’t say I’be honored that goal one bit. But I will try to do my best everyday. I don’t want to say I’ve already fucked up the year because of my inability to have a strong beginning. What I do today, matters what happens tomorrow. Consistency will matter down the line.

Now, to create some goals for the year. Copy them into your phone, look at them everyday, and know the only thing that seperates you from being an average person is just sticking to the things you say you’re going to do. I have to be extraordinary, because the thought of being average is maddening, and I crave so much more for my life.

Daily goals:

Consume only natural sugar

Consume fewer carbs

Get excited about nutritional food

Wake up early

Sleep earlier

Drink more water

Drink low-calorie alcoholic drinks (if you drink at all)


Weekly goals:

Exercise at least four times a week

Write 1-2 sports articles

Create 1-2 plots for easy-to-film shorts

Minimize screen time for optimal productivity

Meal prep – cut cost of eating out and cut calories

Get better at rollerblading


Monthly goals:

Complete one book

Film one short

Submit 1 – 2 completed articles


Yearly goals:

Lose weight

Maintain a healthy life style

Make a career change

Make 2019 your fucking year



Fuck you, 2017.

Last night I rang in the new year through the comfort of my own home. I haven’t done that in years, and honestly its the best I’ve felt in a really long time. I slept in much longer than I should have, but I’m going to promise to work on that. In order to prep for the future, I really need to assess my goals and shortcomings and take away from them in order to better reach success.

Here’s what we liked in 2017:

  1. Took Samie to his first Celtics game and had a blast.
  2. Traveled to Tahoe.
  3. Was asked to be a Brides maid for my best friend’s wedding.
  4. Started a writing project with Racki and Emily.
  5. Wrote a short film and got to be on set for the first time watching my work come to life.
  6. Samie came to visit for the first time.
  7. Went to Big Bear for the first time.
  8. Waved at Jason Segal.
  9. Watched the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history when the Patriots defeated the Falcons.
  10. Somehow managed to survive on my own.

What we didn’t like about 2017

  1. I didn’t meet any of my weight loss goals.
  2. I discovered I have an unhealthy relationship with food.
  3. I lost a friendship and discovered how cruel some people can be.
  4. I didn’t budget well and spent money I didn’t have.
  5. My foot really hurts but I’m too afraid to see a doctor about it because it might cost too much.
  6. I ignored my financial responsibilities.
  7. I drank way too much.
  8. Wasted too much time on social media.

So now that we have a few things up on the board, it’s time to set some new goals. Attainable goals.

  1. I will write more often. If not everyday than at least 4/7 days of the week. I can’t call myself a writer if I don’t actually do that.
  2. I will not live vicariously through other people’s social media accounts.
  3. I will attain a better understanding of food and develop a healthier relationship with it.
  4. I will not drink excessively.
  5. I will not drink and drive.
  6. I will create a healthy routine of cooking at home more often and exercising to boost my self esteem. I want to lose 30 pounds.
  7. I will pay off debt and stay ahead of my finances.
  8. I will boost my credit score.
  9. I will not double-book my engagements and keep better track of what I’m doing everyday.
  10. I will find a job and get out of the Cheesecake Factory.
  11. I will declutter my apartment.
  12. I will be open to love.

Self-awareness is half the battle and I no longer just want to sit in my own self-loathing. We are the masters of our own reality and if I can find a way to embrace that, then I know I can achieve my goals. I want to be a better me before I’m 30.


Write. Write everyday. Write until you don’t know any other way to live your life. Write until you crave the clank of the keys against your fingers. Write until you derive pure pleasure from the fluidity of your thoughts flowing to the page.

Write until you’re free.

That’s just the thing, I don’t feel free. I’m locked inside my own head, so afraid to allow the release of truth explode into reality. If you keep it all in, did it really happen? If you say it out loud, you’re forced to face it. It’s as real as anything now; it has a form, it has an entity.

Allow this to be a confession, a clean slate, in order for me to move forward and really exercise my true potential. I need a cleanse, to tap into my truest form. I’m a writer. I soak up joy from the pen to paper. I need more drive, I need to feel more alive.

I want to start incorporating things in my life that bring me joy, aside from writing. I hope to write about those things. I want to start exercising and getting my body right. i need to apply for jobs but I can only do that once I start fine-turning my craft. I can’t just say I’m a writer; I need to be one .

I need to create some discipline. for too long I have allowed myself to fall victim to instant gratification, often times actions that leave me more miserable in the long run. So make a conscience effort. Be better.

I need to start reading more. I need to be more inspired.

Boston, the Beautiful.


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fireworks over Boston -

Fireworks over Boston –

Boston is quite possibly the most badass city in all of the United States. Why you ask?


Sit down kids; it’s time for a history lesson. To Start, I’ve written you a poem.

Authors note: I’m not a poet. Don’t judge me.

A long time ago in the year 1776
Rose a group of men with a nation to fix
A declaration would be written for those who recall
The most undeniable truth, preaching justice for all

Bostonians rebelled with their freedoms at stake
You can tax their goods, but their spirit you can’t break
From ship to ship they pillaged, but took nothing but the tea
And threw it all overboard, sending it outward towards the sea

Their confidence grew stronger; the colonist would no longer stand
Under the suppression of the Brits, who tried to rule their land
“Intolerable” they called them, but this time they could see
That these people wanted nothing more than their right to just be free

Two years later began a war, revolutionary of its kind
A war that would change our history, so it’s best to keep in mind
That when you celebrate this day today, in your hand an ice-cold beer
It’s important to remember to thank a good man who went by Paul Revere

And remember to thank John Adams, for he is the reason why
We celebrate this day each year with explosions in the sky
And lets remember liberty, and her each and every son
And a major bout of gratitude, to the writer, Jefferson

Now while you’re flipping burgers, and relaxing in the sun
And drinking your Sammy Adams with a shot of Jameson
You look up at the sky, waiting for those fireworks to commence
Be thankful that a group of men signed for Independence

So with your friends and family is how we celebrate this day
And be grateful for our rights, and that we have a say
Because of John Hancock and Bostonians with a plan
We can celebrate America, and freedom for every man

Boston, bitches.

Yay for history! No other city does Independence Day better (and St. Patrick’s Day for that matter, minus Ireland). In 1783, Boston became the first city to designate the Fourth of July an official holiday. You’re welcome.

Right in the heart of Boston, at the Granary Burial Ground (est. 1660) along with Massachusetts governors, mayors and clergymen, you will find the graves of three signers of the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine. Peter Faneuil, benefactor of the famed downtown Boston landmark also rests there along with patriot and craftsman Paul Revere. James Otis, Revolutionary orator and lawyer can be found there as well as five victims of the Boston Massacre, another event proving Bostonians won’t stand for shit in their own city. It is also kind to note that near the center of the ground, a 25-foot-tall obelisk commemorates the tomb of Benjamin Franklin’s parents. Literally, the people who helped in writing, and defending, possibly the most poignant declaration of human rights are laid to rest in the city itself.

Every year, roughly 3 million people from all over the world flood the streets of Boston to experience the Boston Harborfest, the largest Independence Day festival in the world. Harborfest celebrates Boston’s colonial, Revolutionary War, and maritime history and heritage with entertainers, historical reenactments, music, Harbor cruises, walking tours, and Chowderfest. Of course we can’t forget The Pops Concert and fireworks that are unparalleled by any other city.
John Adams, born and raised in Quincy, Mass, second Preseident of the United States, Harvard educated at age 16, and all around total bad-ass is the reason we celebrate this day with fireworks. A day after congress voted for independence, Adams wrote a letter to his wife back in Boston. His letter to Abigail Adams, dated July 3, 1776, read in part:
…I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Thank you Mr. Adams, for knowing the right way to throw a party.

Mr. Feeny as John Adams in the movie 1776

Mr. Feeny as John Adams in the movie 1776

So enjoy your day. May it be filled with great beer and barbeque and endless amounts of lawn games. May the parades be full of merriment and the skies illuminated the way John Adams had hoped. So get that ugly eagle tattoo in the back of your friends van, and rejoice in wearing those American-flag swim shorts. May you also be grateful for the world is filled with people who are not as lucky to know liberation. Let the Budweiser flow like amber waves of grain. Embrace every freedom you have today. Hug your family. Buy your beer. Grill outside. Adopt a puppy. Breathe. Embrace it all; you have the freedom to do so.

Liberty. Eagles. ‘Merica.

how do you like them apples

No labels: Simply “Marriage”


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My train of thought is completely derailed as I sit at Nature’s Brew Cafe. A group of men walk in and they are ecstatically greeted by another group of men sitting in front of me. They embrace tightly, big smiles and pats on the back. I remove my ear buds, curious to what all the fuss is about.

“It happened, can you believe it? It’s unreal.”

“No man, it’s real. It’s really real.”

They all sit down, but the energy, the happiness…it doesn’t go away. The people around them offer their smiles in support, and even a slight wave of a fist in the air; a victory pump. The cafe is filled with college students, not a single one of them looking on in distaste or hate. I’m only an onlooker, and the moment has come and gone, but for that instant I witnessed history.

The Supreme Court has ruled gay marriage legal in all 50 states – what a monumental step for people, humanity, and love.

I’m a straight, white girl in 2015, never knowing what it’s like to fight for my rights as a woman, and never being judged by the color of my skin. I’ve never had to fight for my right to love because I have always been attracted to the opposite sex. On occasion I’ll have trouble at an airport, because Dina Hussein Al-Ziab just screams terrorism, but if that’s the worst of my struggle, I’m very lucky indeed.

Yesterday though, was the first time I really stood back and realized how fucked it is that this was an issue for so long. The idea of loving who you love has always resonated as a very simple idea to me; Emotions cannot be helped, or fought. They are as undeniable as your need to breathe. Love is a force that drives you, consumes you, lifts beyond your own limits. How can anyone look at someone else and tell them it’s wrong to love someone because of gender, race, or any other differentiating factor?


What bothers me most is people’s inability to see things from a different perspective. Consider a world where a woman loving a man was deemed inappropriate. I would have no idea what to do with those feelings. I can look at a woman and admire her beauty, but seriously,  nothing gets me going more than a well groomed beard and some nice shoulders. Oh, baby. That desire and attraction is embedded in me, and it was never something I questioned. Only recently (yesterday) did I realize I took this right for granted. For some men, a well-groomed beard and some nice shoulders have them going from 6 to midnight. I get you, guys. Men are hott! Get it! It just comes down to a simple truth that there is nothing wrong with feeling how you feel, and loving who you love. Now why is that so hard to accept?

The hate in the world can only fuel the love we have and bring it to new heights. Today in this cafe, I saw what love is. I see the support, and I see hope for what this world can truly be someday as long as these new generations continue to teach acceptance instead of intolerance. Let the haters try and stop lovers from marrying. Let them try to stop issuing marriage licenses all together. Let them picket and spew their venomous words. They will never win. Let rainbows fly and love fly higher.

Be that person who will always step up for someone else’s rights. Stand up for the moms who have only ever dreamed of secure futures for their children and their partners. Support the fathers who taught their children to love without fear despite the the cruelty of society. This is for the people who have fought from freedom and equal rights, and for the people who have passed before they ever saw their dreams come to fruition. This is for anyone who even embodies the capacity to love so deeply, regardless of who that love is meant for. This is for all the tears of joys shed yesterday, and for all the people who finally married their loved ones.

I’m looking forward to attending some beautiful weddings in the future. Celebrations of love resonates through the universe and to everyone around you. Can you feel it?


P.S. The tool bar on is a rainbow. Fuck yeah.

An Open Letter to My Baby Brother

Samie Blog 18

Dear Samie,

I remember the day mom told us we were going to have another brother. We yelled, “Send him back, we don’t want him!” What I REALLY wanted was a sister after having two other brothers, but alas… my hopes were dashed. Like all truths, you just accept them and move on. Little eight-year old Dina didn’t have much else to say on the matter considering you were nothing but an idea at the time.

As we got closer to the date of your birth, I remember mom lying down on the couch, her belly swollen, big and round. She told me to come over so I could feel you move. I laid my hand down where mom told me to and waited patiently, not sure what to expect. Then there you were, kicking. I felt you push up against her skin and I know I smiled in awe and excitement. When you’re that young you can’t fully comprehend how miraculous a moment like that is, but I knew I loved you then without even meeting you. We all did.

February 13th, 1997 you were born – the most exiting thing to happen that year after the release of the movie, Titanic. It was dark out when dad drove us to Hale Hospital to meet you. We walked in and mom was all smiles in her bed, and she was holding you all wrapped up in her arms. Dad told me to sit in a chair and to make sure I held your head up before he handed you to me. The first time I held you I was nine years old, and as I looked down at you, the only thing I thought was, “He has really big hands.”

Samie Blog 14

I didn’t know then how much you were going to change my life. I didn’t know how much of a better, more nurturing person you were going to make me. I now understand when parents say, “they grow up so fast.” I try to look back and then I realize our childhood was a whirlwind of memories, and I feel sad that I was too young to really cherish the idea that you would not be that small forever. I use to sing you to sleep, lulling you to the cacophony that was “You are my sunshine.” I would wash your super curly hair and change your diapers because I was your sister and I never thought twice about what my job was.
Samie Blog 19When you learned to walk, I rejoiced. When you learned to speak, I was so proud. When you learned to eat with utensils and not your hands, I was there to tell you, “good job.” I watched movies with you, played ball with you, cradled you closely because at one point in life you were actually smaller than me. Those days passed so so quickly.

I remember how excited the boys and I were to teach you how to ride a bike. We finally took your training wheels off and headed to the park. We held onto the bike as you got on and told you to just pedal. You pushed forward and left us in the dust, riding your bike like you had known how to do it for years. We stood there astonished and that was the first time I realized that you really didn’t need me for everything.

I left for college during your awkward middle school years. Every time I would come back you would grow taller, and stronger. You begged mom to sign you up for football and after only two weeks you wanted to quit, it was just too hard for you. Mom had spent too much money to allow you to do such a thing so you stuck to it. During your final home game in highschool, you would thank her through tears for not letting you quit.

Samie Blog 12You lost all the baby weight and grew to be six feet, becoming a man practically over night. When I moved back home from college, I invested so much time in your extra curriculars, taking work off to be at every wrestling match even though there were ten hours long and you only wrestled three times. I attended all your football games through snow and rain, and clapped the loudest at every sports banquet. What astounded me more was not that people wanted to tell me that you were an incredible athlete, but that you were an outstanding human being.

In a time in your life where it is so easy to succumb to your status as football and wrestling captain – your basic high school jock – you became more than that. You became someone your friends and fellow classmates could respect and someone who teachers praised for academic excellence as well as your kind nature.

Samie Blog 1
I remember mom told me this story that one of your teacher’s had told her. The teacher said that they saw you in the hallway and some girl had dropped her stuff all over the ground. Everyone kept walking by but you stopped to help her gather her things. Maybe this doesn’t seem like much, and maybe it’s really easy to have ignored her and kept going, but you didn’t. You did a very simple, and kind thing that probably changed that girls day. Those little kind things about you…that’s what separates you…that’s what makes you great.

Samie Blog 5You became a leader and role model for your friends, classmates and under-classmen. People know who you are all over town and my chest swells every time I get to say, “That’s my little brother.” When I look at your I see the best qualities in this family – you embody all the good that this family holds. You’ve got Akram’s humor and Husam’s creativity. You’ve got mom’s generosity and dad’s strength. As far as genetics go, we are cut from the same cloth, born with the same curly hair, nose, hands, and height. In some ways we are more like twins than Husam and me. But if I have to give you anything in this world, I hope you take the idea that I loved you the way an older sister should love her brothers, and that your capacity to love is the greatest gift you could ever give someone.

You’re graduating today, leaving highschool for the next great chapter in your life. For some reason though…I’m not worried about you. I know deep in my heart you are going to accomplish so many amazing things but… I’m here to tell you it’s okay to mess up. You’re going to make mistakes, and you’re not going to have all the right answers. Sometimes you’re going to find yourself staring vacantly into nothing wondering what the fuck you’re doing with your life. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to not know sometimes – that’s life. I’m just not worried about you.

Samie Blog 17You have so much conviction and compassion, no matter where you go there will always be support in your corner. When you need guidance, always know we’re here to help you, to listen, and to lend a hand whenever you’re in need. Don’t be afraid to take risks in your career, and whenever you can say “yes” to traveling, to new experiences, to anything that will make you a well-rounded person…always say “yes.”

Love to your fullest extent, and dream bigger than anyone else around you. Don’t be afraid of rejection and never ever, ever, EVER think you’re not good enough. You’re the best, the best there is, and you will go on to prove that to the world. To Husam, Akram, and me you are the baby. You will always be the baby, but we are also you’re biggest fans. The next four years are going to be an incredible journey, but if you ever need help, or just some kind words, you can always count on us. There is not an ocean we wouldn’t cross or a mountain we wouldn’t climb to get to you. I believe there is nothing you can’t accomplish in this world as long as you have unwavering love and support in your life.
Samie Blog 2Next year you will leave all the things you have known your whole life. Rest assured, Sam, nothing real in your life will ever change. Your best high school friends will be with you wherever you go. No other friends in the world will know you better than Phil, George and Matt because they’ve seen you through all your transitions. You are going to meet so many more people and become the best version of yourself that you ever thought possible.

So I leave you with this, my brother. I’m so proud of you and all you have done. I cannot wait to see what your future brings and all the stories you will have in time. I will always be grateful you were born, and that you were not a girl. In retrospect, I wouldn’t change a thing about growing up with three brothers because you are the reason I am strong, independent, and can love so unapologetically. You changed our lives the minute you were born for the better. I know you will go on to change so many more. I’m so proud to be your sister. I love you, Samie.

Love always and forever,

Your favorite Sister,


Samie 21

P.S. Here is a little excerpt from a letter my friend Claire wrote to me when I graduated. I remember this letter whenever I experience a great chance in my life, like when I moved to California. Don’t be afraid to feel everything.

I hope you’re feeling excited by this transition, but don’t be afraid to grieve the loss of what has been. When you’re standing in that auditorium amongst the sea of cardboard hats and swinging tassels, I hope you smile from ear to ear. I hope you remember everything that made [high school] wonderful, and I hope you allow yourself to just *feel* everything you need to. I also hope that when you’re feeling the loss of the last four years, and are facing that crushing question, “What’s next?” you remember that I’m here for you, always.