Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ode to Baby Blue

Last weekend we made the difficult but necessary decision to go furniture shopping. A few hours later we left with a new couch, ottoman, table, and accent chair, the couch and chair were definitely in the plan, the others...not so much but we figured go big or go home. Plus you know that I can't say no to a good sale. With the purchase of our new couch it was time to say goodbye to our current one, my beloved baby blue. You may think I'm crazy dedicating an entire blog post to a couch however, I promise that there is a method to this bit of madness.

My relationship with Baby Blue began in the summer of 2007 when I moved from Kansas to Florida for my job with then Webster College now Rasmussen. My grandparents and parents graciously offered to help me furnish my apartment with new furniture. My mom and I found her at Rooms to Go and we both instantly fell in love. Ironically enough my parents have a couch similar in their house which always made me feel a connection to my Texas roots while I was away. 

 While living in Tampa Baby Blue and I entertained friends and family from near and far, She comforted me when boys were mean and I just wanted to cry it out, supported me on lazy weekends when I wanted to watch tv or movies, and brightened up my living room wherever I moved. When the opportunity presented itself to move back to Texas I had decided that I had moving down to a science. A great crew of professional movers carried her off and we'd reunite in College Station.

In College Station my job duties shifted significantly and I worked a lot of late nights programming for both Hillel and after changing jobs, Texas A&M where I worked for the Memorial Student Center. In my rare free time my apartment was filled with students whom became friends as well as friends and family now that we were geographically closer. Baby Blue "supported" me throughout the remainder of my arduous Masters program and was my comfort zone when I wanted a relaxing moment to myself. Although Blue had moved with me what felt like thousands of miles she was still in one piece and I worked hard to protect her from harm, namely, liquids, food, etc. After I met Brad and our relationship became serious and committed we moved Blue as well as his sofas across the complex to our two bedroom apartment in the same complex. This is where Blue would meet a very special little "boy."

Boy/Puppy Meets Couch

In August of 2011 Brad and I adopted our now 4 1/2 year old pup Manolo Martinez Esquenazi Weiser Krugel, Manny for short. Manny came into our world like a whirlwind and we've loved him every since. He has also loved his couches whether they were Brad's purple couches or Blue he always found his place, usually on top so he could have the best view or sleeping soundly on the cushions. This love affair and admiration began with Baby Blue when he was a baby. 

As he got older he would move around but when we got home after work he was usually in the same spot, snoozing in between the pillows waiting for us to get home. 

When we moved into our house in College Station we had the perfect set and finally were able to combine all of Brad's and my furniture in one place. Our friends would come visit as would my students so needless to say our couches were well loved. Our families would also come visit as well and I have some wonderful memories specifically of Alle and Abuelo. I'll never forget when abuelo came to visit College Station for the last time he and Alle fell asleep on Baby Blue which always warms my heart when I think about it. I think this specific memory stands out because my parents and my couch share similar moments where I'd often find the two Manolos asleep together.

Alle and Manny also spent some quality time together as well. 

After our move to our house I started to notice that Baby Blue was starting to fade but I wasn't quite ready to move on yet. This couch was more than a couch. When I lost Abuelo and became emotional I always found myself gravitating to my couch. This couch, this object made of wood and cloth, was not just a couch but instead a vessel full of years of love and it was something that was given to me by my abuelo. It was a touchstone and something that comforted me and connected us. So I refused to let her go when we moved. Baby Blue semi survived the move to Pittsburgh. Our movers were not the most gentle and the creaks when you sat began to grow louder and more prominent but there she sat in our living room to continue to support and love us in our new home. 

In Pittsburgh Manny's bond with Baby Blue grew. Here he assumed his position of neighborhood watch and protector of his people and home. 

Over the past year the 9 1/2 years have begun to show and the creaks and groans when you sit have become more prominent so I prepared myself of the inevitability of saying goodbye. As hard of a decision as it it was I know that Abuelo would not want me to hold onto a slowly breaking couch. He would want us to find something new to bring us joy, comfort, and furniture that will support our hopefully soon growing family for years to come. When we made the decision to buy new furniture I knew that I couldn't bear leaving her on the sidewalk.  Luckily we found some graduate students in need so Baby Blue could go to a good home. 

In reflecting on our almost 10 years together I've found that this couch embodies my relationship with my grandparents in so many ways. Both were always there for me, they comforted and supported me, they were with me in times of joy and sadness, they shared the weight of many decisions that I made in my life, and always made me feel like I was home wherever they were. And I am so incredibly greatful to them and how they have changed my life. Home is where your heart, and my case, your couch, is.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

All that glitters...

Since I was born I have always gravitated to symbols like evil eyes and hamsas and my mom and abuela always ensured that I was "armed" with beautiful bracelets and amulets to protect me. My personal motto is that you can never have enough hamsas or evil eyes so I set out to make my own to reflect my personal style. After modeling them my friends and family asked me to make them for them too, so here we are! 

Before I showcase some of my newest designs, I wanted to share with you some information about the origins of the Hamsa and Evil Eye courtesy of

Hamsa Meaning - Where Does Hamsa Originate ? 
Whilst today we do not exactly know the true origins of Hamsa Hand symbol. We do know however, that throughout registered history, humankind has adopted the hand symbol in every culture without exception.

Ever since ancient times we have always been aware of the energies spreading from within the palm. All human movements under the command of the brain are linked with hand-eye coordination and so civilizations and ancient cultures created a mystery around it, which was the beginning of Hamsa icon.

Hamsa Meaning or Hand of Fatima - 

A Universal Symbol of Protection - Studies have shown that this image and belief started to solidify in the Middle East, before the time of the main Egyptian civilizations in two basic forms.
In its simplest form the symbol for Hamsa is the hand.
It is talismanic symbol that they believed would protect them from harm against the evil forces and bring them goodness, abundance, fertility, luck and good health. 
Hamsa is an icon used by man as a defence, in his struggle against the forces of evil.

The Hamsa icon not only has a special place in Judaism, it has also evolved to become regarded as sacred and respected symbol in Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Jain beliefs and in Anatolia.

The Evil Eye

The fear of the evil eye has been ongoing since prehistoric times. It represents the fear of those destructive energies that arises from negative emotions, like jealousy hatred and envy. Desire for protection against these negative emotions is a universal impulse and for thousands of years the peoples of many ancient cultures and religions resorted to unimaginable procedures and sacred symbols to protect them and stop them becoming a target for these evil forces. 

Many early cultures adopted the eye as an icon for their protection, others used Hamsa and so over time the most popular universal symbol became an eye placed in the palm of a hand. The power of the eye inserted into Hamsa combined their power and introduced the idea of obtaining a more powerful talisman by combining the power of two. Today the Hamsa with Evil Eye icon and symbol has reached its final form and found an ideal place in the world of symbols. Aesthetically it is uses as a stylish and beautiful figure for the decorative arts and intellectually, it is used for religious beliefs and is accepted as an icon / mascot or charm, which attracts goodness, luck and abundance, whilst propelling the forces of evil.

While Jubana's Jewels is not at this time a venture that I can retire off of it's been a great way to express my creativity, craft unique and personal gifts, and originally pass the time as I was waiting my new adventure to begin. I'm always open to artistic ideas so if you have something that you'd like to see let me know!


Friday, January 8, 2016

Just call me Heinz, It's time to do some major catch up...

So my last blog post was dated 2013 and needless to say a lot has changed since then. Here's a quick list of the highlights:

In 2013 we bid adieu to 2013 and the events that continue to help shape the person that I'm becoming. To name a few, Brad and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, Manny turned 2 years old, celebrated my 31st birthday with two of my best friends, left a job that afforded me the opportunity to work with students that have now become my extended family, started a new job where I got to work with the most supportive and goofy people on the planet, and lost my abuelo. 

My abuelo was my best friend, my confidant, my cheerleader, my partner in crime, my security blanket, my hero, and more than words can describe. We had to say goodbye to him in November and I miss him everyday.

Yes, 2013 we had our ups and downs but I am so thankful for those moments because they are helping me to become better, stronger, more grateful, and are part of my life's journey. 

In 2014, Brad received a phone call that would provide us an opportunity to move on to bigger and better things together. That phone call came from Carnegie Mellon University with an incredible job offer. Our house sold in less than 24 hours and I'm just played the waiting game with my job search. I moved Brad up to Pittsburgh in May and I stayed in College Station until the end of June after we sold our house. We're so grateful to A&M for the wonderful opportunities we had been given and all of the friends we've made there. 

Throughout the summer of 2014 I explored the city and applied to, I'm not exaggerating, over 100 jobs and after 10 plus jobs I was offered a position with the Katz Graduate School of Business as their Assistant Director of Student Recruitment. Let me tell you that as frustrated and impatient I was starting to become this job was worth every minute I had to wait. I love my job and I look forward to hopefully being here for a long time. 


During this time I was able to do a lot of long overdue self care, healing, and I discovered my love, and a new hobby, for making jewelry. I even started my own Etsy shop. 

In September we were fortunate enough to purchase our second home. This time we opted for a beautiful victorian built in 1900 which came with wonderful neighbors and beautiful views of the city. 

That December we had our first out of town visitors! My mom and brother David joined us in Pittsburgh for the christmas break. It was cold but we had a great time showing them some Burgh hospitality. 

In 2015 we continued welcoming visitors to the Burgh with Brad's family for Passover and a summer filled with awesome reunions with our now neighbor, Becky in Baltimore, Gordon, and my best friend Rosie. We were also lucky enough to see two of our favorite people tie the knot this past summer in Atlanta. 

The summer also kicked off to insane travel season where I got to visit Boston, DC, Chicago (twice), Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Houston, and Lansing/Farmington Hills. One of the highlights was being able to visit Michigan with Brad and see where he grew up as well as his old stomping grounds from when he was in Law School. 

In August we celebrate all that is Manny and his 4th birthday!! Time truly flies. 

In October we hosted our first ever Diversity Student Weekend which I planned and executed with the help of our amazing students and staff. Later on in the month my mom, Alle, and Mica also came to visit followed by my former students, Chris and Andrea. 

A few weeks later we drove down to Texas for Thanksgiving. Needless to say we were not driving anywhere longer than 3 hours again for awhile.

Professionally and personally I'm happy to say that I am the proud founder of the first ever Hispanic Latino Professional Association at the University of Pittsburgh. I've definitely got my work cut out for me but we're moving forward. Sigue Pa'lante no Detras!

I also made my web debut via my wonderful friend Tara's blog, Cafe Con Leche 

Cafe con Leche uses a creative approach, infusing art and culture to engage Latinos and build brand relationships. We are the recognized expert in providing insights and reaching the Latino segment in the Pittsburgh region. Using a creative approach, we identify influencers and connect the dots that others do not see. Cafe Con Leche is the authentic way to reach Latinos in the Pittsburgh region. 

Definitely check out their page and the amazing work that they are doing here in LatinoBurgh. 

Now 2016 is here and I am incredibly excited to see what this year will bring. 

Until next time.

About Mariam

Life is sweet

Life is sweet

And they lived happily ever after

And they lived happily ever after

One day a beautiful Jewish girl met a nice Jewish boy and made their mothers very, very, very happy

One day a beautiful Jewish girl met a nice Jewish boy and made their mothers very, very, very happy

About Me

For those of you who know me, writing has always been one of my passions, with the exception of my Masters or any ridiculously long testament within the wide world of Academia. I've only had the pleasure of blogging a couple of times, mostly for a few classes in graduate school, but figured it was time to organize my numerous thoughts and musings with all of you out there in cyber land. I created this page because my mind is always running and often times my thoughts get lost in the hubub. Plus, my friends have always said that I'm a great storyteller, so I'd love to share them now with you. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this... Throughout the past 33 years of my life I've seen, heard, and experienced so many different things as well as had many adventures and dream of so many possibilities. But in short, what it comes down to is this..I'm just a little Jubana trying to make a difference in the world. Everyday I live my life to the fullest and have fun doing it. Life can't always be about work or how much money you make. There's so much more to life than that.