Hello there! It is so SO good to have you here! The month of Ramadan is coming to an end with Eid-al-Fitr right around the corner, along with the Memorial Day weekend. That’s right! This year we are celebrating Eid, and Memorial Day, on the same weekend. This got me thinking about a previous post from a couple of years back when the same thing happened. It's hard to reflect back on those times, especially with everything that's happening around us today with the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, this is a time of celebration with families and friends, even given the current quarantine situation. It may seem depressing when you think about the fact that we won’t be able to do some of the things that made those previous holidays enjoyable, like meeting families, having cookouts and feasting together, so I think it’s important to find ways to celebrate. This is the reason why I want to share my list of the 12 ways of celebrating this eid. Hopefully you too will find these tips helpful.
Bake Cookies - Cookies are easy to bake and fun (and trouble for the sweet tooth). They can be so festive during every occasion. I wanted to include my Eid cookies in the Eid bags to drop of to family, but my first batch wasn't looking so great! Try again?
Cook a Special Meal - Is there any holiday that doesn't involve (elaborate) cooking? Cook up a storm for the family at home and enjoy the special meal together. You can even drop off a dish for your other families.
Dress up - Eid is a major excuse to dress up and look our best in our ethnic attire #representculture
Group Zoom Call - Get on a zoom call with your families to celebrate Eid together-from-afar, show off your Eid outfit, your baked cookies, or take screen shots and selfies, or anything to enjoy the time on the call. I'm looking forward to my zoom call scheduled with families around the globe!
Draw Eid Cards - I made a few DIY greetings cards last year, but my lack of confidence in them got the best of me. So, I never sent them out! This year I've decided to share a few even if they aren't "perfect" - it's the thought that counts, right? Sit as a family, on your own, or with your kids to enjoy a craft session to create cards or any Eid craft project.
Drive by to wave at families/Friends - Dress up in the morning and go for a drive to wave at your relatives and friends. Make it even more exciting by capturing it all on video if you'd like and sharing with those afar. Every year we take turns driving around to and visiting each others houses throughout the day. I have a lot of families who live nearby. With this year being an exception, we thought of driving by to see (from a distance) few of our relatives who live close to us.
Mail out holiday cards - If you planned early enough, good for you! Since we can't celebrate with all our families, as we are used to doing in a yearly basis, my husband thought of sending out Eid Holiday cards or Eid greeting cards. So, at the last minute, we've decided to print out cards and drop those off during our drive as a family - all dressed up!
Deliver Goodies - Drop off gift bags or goodies for your family members, close friends, and/or neighbors. Something as simple as the cookies you've baked. We usually host an Eid gift exchange party with a massive feast for our families (60 people and counting). This year that obviously can't happen in large numbers.
Give Eidi In A Balloon - Okay, you can give Eidi any way you want if you are even doing Eidi for children. It doesn't have to be all extra with balloon. But I'm usually "extra." Kids love Eidi (which kid is not excited about it on Eid day?) or at least I did growing up. It wasn't about the amount, but more about the fun of collecting something from relatives through out the day. It was fun!
Apply Henna - I'm not someone who applies henna often, but I have friends and families who follow this tradition every year for Eid. If you enjoy getting your henna done professionally at an Eid "mela" (fair) every year, why skip it this year? I'm talking about the henna part, of course, not the Mela part. It doesn't have to be perfect to make a difference. You can order/pick-up organic henna from local professionals, and create a small piece of artwork yourself right on the palm of your hand.
Decorate Your home: Just as any other holiday, Ramadan can be a great time to decorate the house. If you haven't decorated for Ramadan, you can still throw something together quickly for Eid, and especially in quarantine, it doesn't have to be elaborate. Maybe a corner of the living room, a mantel, the dinning area, front porch, or the garage. Or, simply put up some lights and a DIY wreath for the doorway. Anything that suits you. With a toddler at hand full-time, I didn't do much to decorate for the holiday this time. I just focused on the credenza in our dining area.
What Gives You Joy: Each person has his or her own unique way of celebrating the holidays. And since Memorial Day is coinciding with Eid, celebrate it in whatever way brings you joy. We are planning on BBQ-ing at some point by keeping with the tradition of Memorial Day weekend. You can do chalk paint outside with or without kids.
I'm hoping that these ideas help you get through these trying times. You can go with one or combine a few of these to enjoy with your family and little ones. While we celebrate the end of the holy month and remember those who have fallen for our freedom on this Memorial Day weekend, we must also honor and not forget those who are making sacrifices for us, even as we speak, to get us all through this challenging period in humanity. Wishing you and your family lot of love and health.
ASOS Maternity Dresses
With a pregnant belly, it’s pretty difficult to figure out what to wear on a daily basis. If you’re pregnant or have been pregnant before, you know what I'm talking about. With the weather being so cold right now, I simply opt for sweatpants or maternity pants, paired with a top and jacket to keep me warm. However, in the rare occasion that I do dress up, I tend to lean towards dresses (always). And, I actually enjoyed wearing rightly-fitted, maternity dresses or women’s dresses that had the flexibility to cover and flaunt my bump while being super comfortable. If I could, I would wear maternity wrap dresses, maternity maxi dresses (they have some beautiful maternity bridesmaid dresses as well!), or maternity midi dresses all day, every day - with my pair of sneakers or flat sandals. When maternity clothes fit our bodies properly and make us feel good and comfortable in the outside, it feels good in the inside!
The first two trimesters I wore regular wrap dresses (ordered up a size). They usually provide ample amount of slack to readjust to your growing belly. I didn't care too much about seasonal trends. In all honesty, if I wanted to wear comfortable maxi dress in the cold, I wore it with sweat pants underneath and matched it with sweater and jacket on the top. It kept me warm and cozy. Now, if there is one brand I depended on regularly for cute maternity clothes, that embraced my pregnant belly and fit me perfectly each time - it's ASOS. If you know me, you've probably already heard me talk about this brand a lot. Every maternity dress I ordered through them, for my pregnancy related events, were a perfect fit for me. I can wear these dresses post pregnancy as well - extra point for that! I didn't try their pants or tights, so I can't speak for those. But, ASOS dresses are simply stunning.
You are probably wondering if this post is sponsored, so let me make that clear: this post is not sponsored by ASOS (darn, it should be, right! *wink*). However, if you make any purchases using the affiliate links to my favorite dresses, then it has the potential to earn a commission. I've always been a fan of their products (their crop tops are so cute and versatile!), and now pregnancy clothes got added to that list. My list of favorites from their maternity section is too long. If I could, I would buy them all. So, I wanted to share a few with you if you are in the market for a cute bunch.
Here are 10 of my favorite maternity dresses by ASOS:
I hope you find these helpful as you shop for a new collection of maternity clothes for your closet. If any of these you find perfect, let me know - or better yet, send me a picture!
Thank you, love!
As you have already noticed, my last several posts have been all pregnancy related and pregnancy updates. When you are expecting, so much of your life revolves around the life growing inside - your eating habits, your thought process, and your lifestyle. I found myself always googling all sorts of questions and pregnancy tips and products I was curious about. As we are preparing for our baby to arrive, I wanted to share my experiences for any mom-to-be or momma-to-be who are in a similar phase.
Best Pregnancy Books
It's difficult to figure out what to eat when pregnant and create a pregnancy meal plan for nine months. I mean you know what nutrients you need to focus on and all the healthy pregnancy food out there. However, knowing what to focus on weekly makes life much easier. This book provides a week-by-week guide on what to eat during each stage. Although I didn't try all the recipes, that's also included, I found it tremendously helpful to know what food-of-the-week to focus on for the target development. It just helped narrow down the overall list of food to eat when pregnant. I also loved learning and being aware of how my baby was growing each week and how the food was effecting the growth.
This book is quite insightful and educational. I really enjoyed reading this book and learned some valuable and fascinating information. Dr John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and a dad, who draws examples from scientific studies and neuroscience research and facts, as opposed to mere opinion.
I have six other pregnancy books here, but I'd be lying if I said I read them all.
Nesting Phase of Pregnancy
My goodness, only four more days till Valentine's day, and we're so ready to meet our baby boy. I doubt I'll ever be fully ready for labor, but he is definitely a little too snugged in there and pushing around to hopefully make his debut soon. During this waiting period, I'll post a few pregnancy related topics while the countdown continues.
The Nursery Decor
I understand soon-to-be parents or soon-to-be mommas tend to get very excited about decorating the baby nursery. The whole decorating part can be fun as the anticipation of baby’s arrival builds up. Even though we live in a two bedroom apartment, and I’m highly tempted to invest my energy on these cute nursery ideas and nursery themes on Pinterest, I’ve decided to not dedicate an entire room to creating one just yet. Although designing and putting together baby's room would be so much fun, it’s not necessary for us right now. Why? Because of two reasons:
Staying positive and hopeful is not always easy during pregnancy, especially when the future is so unpredictable, and there are so many pregnancy horror stories out there (not to mention the hormones!) That's when self-love and supportive networks can help guide us in a more positive direction. Even with all that, it can be difficult to ignore the negativity that surrounds us, and we might not be able to always ignore them. And, that's okay. We are only human. We just have to move on and focus on the next day. Things that helped me stay positive:
The Big Birthday Month
It feels like just the other day that I've announced my pregnancy to my family, and I can’t believe I’m on the last stretch of this pregnancy process. Third Trimester - 38 weeks - full-term and counting! At any moment, we'll be welcoming our special little valentine. I'm so proud of how far we have come.
I don’t mean to sound as if time flew by for me, because the pregnancy process is a piece of cake. I know many women who’ve had hard pregnancies. Pregnancy is tough as it is with the ups-and-downs of hormones, emotions, physical changes, and all sorts of pregnancy symptoms. You are making a human being! Each stage of pregnancy can bring with it it’s own sets of challenges and symptoms - both positive and negative. You’ll have hard days, but I think, for every mother, the experience is unique. No two mother or no two baby are the same, and no pregnancy is easy. It’s the positive outlook that’s important to minimize stress and stay healthy (more on this later).
I enjoyed being pregnant, and I’ve had a healthy pregnancy so far and a very supportive group of friends and family who made this whole process so special and sometimes emotional, driving me to positive thinking and a happy state of mind. I felt so blessed. I’ve been counting my blessings for every good news I received whenever I went for my monthly doctor's visits. Now in the third trimester with 38 weeks already passed, they have turned into weekly visits. However, no matter how healthy you are, how fit you are, or how strong you are, you’ll find yourself wondering if your baby is doing okay, if you are eating right or doing the right things, or if everything is going well in there. That’s totally normal! You’re pretty much blindfolded until those ultrasounds and tests come through. Even then, things can always take a turn. Not everything can be foreseen even with the most technologically advanced tools in hand, but that's out of your control.
At the end of this beautiful journey of 38 weeks, I’m so grateful and as ready as I can be to meet my bundle of bliss. I’ve been nesting hard core, and it feels that no matter how much I get done and how many amazon packages I open, there is more to do and a wish for one more day to tidy up just a tad bit more. The realization that our baby might be here any day now has started to not only look real but feel real. With the bassinet in the room, the car seat setup, and all baby clothes washed and ready, we only have baby left to arrive and make it all into a home of three.
Thank you for your blessings and your well wishes as we count down to begin this new chapter of our lives.
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The big question: are we having a boy or a girl?
2018 will be a year to remember and cherish. It’s the year I’ve been blessed with my first pregnancy. I think from the moment we found out we are expecting, which was in June (my birthday month and our anniversary month), the thought of what might be the gender of our baby started to stir our minds and hearts. We decided we wanted to find out the gender after we have successfully completed our first trimester and embarked on the second phase of pregnancy. The waiting and anticipation was killing me, but this pregnancy process has been absolutely surreal and precious. After five months of patiently waiting, we decided to host a small gathering to share the special moment of reveal with few of our family and friends. My husband really wanted to host an at-home dinner with a few family members, but I got carried away.
My Guilty Pleasure
With Spring behind us and the first week of summer here, I figured I'll share a summer drink recipe for you. While Cherry blossoms and May showers are signs of Spring in Washington, DC, my family knows the season is here when the mangoes arrive in their fruitiest of aroma. As the weather warms up, mangoes begin filling the homes of all my relatives. Although this King-of-Fruits can be found year-round, their true taste peaks in the Spring season as they start to really ripen up as summer weather nears. Mango becomes the perfect ingredient to add to your tropical smoothie recipes, summer drinks, and fruit salads. Nothing is more refreshing than a glass of chilled mango lassi. Okay, there are other refreshing drinks out there too, but this mango lassi is way up there! And my mom's authentic mango lassi recipe is not only the best... it's oh. so. gratifying! If you're thinking of summer wedding ideas or drink ideas for South Asian weddings, this fresh fruit beverage can surely add personality and bring a seasonal flare to your wedding drink menu.
How to Stay Motivated and In Love
Hello, my people! It seems forever that I’ve been out of social media. Let me explain. I’ve been on a short-term sabbatical and paused on social media as I sought out to achieve “perfection” and a well curated visual appeal. You know, what I do comes from a place of love and appreciation. It’s truly a labor of love. When it turns to just labor, I like to take some time out to hit that reset button and really focus. And, then refocus: ensuring it’s all about the love. And it keeps bringing me back to you. Thank you so much for your messages (I love them!) and for getting in touch with me. I promise to you… I’m here, and I am okay. I hope you are too.
Modern and Budget-friendly Lighting for An Apartment Bedroom
Have you ever wondered who my blogs are meant for? I’m an event planner and designer, who is also a decor enthusiast. So my blogs often cover myriads of topics, including weddings, birthday parties, event decor and also interior decor. I love the simplicity of life and enjoy living it by taking pleasure in the most meaningful and beautiful details in it. So, I often focus on the lifestyle blog aspect as well. Who are they for? They are meant for you - whether you are single, newly engaged, newlyweds, married couples, and couples with children and family. If you like entertaining, home decor, events, and lifestyle posts, you're at the right place.
Whatever your relationship status maybe, home-decor - big or small - plays a role in every stage. If the topic of this post didn’t already give it away, let me restate: this specific blog is focused on lifestyle and home-decor. On your home decor journey, good lighting will be key for every room in a home. Now, if it can be charming as it is functional, all the merrier.
Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” - Ahazrat Inayatkhan
Aside from adding light to your room, ceiling lights, pendants, and flush mounts can show off your style and make a design statement. Whatever your options maybe, a house or a rental, it can be styled beautifully. Apartments should get the same amount of love and decor enthusiasm as any other home, because home is where our hearts are and where we are the best and worst versions of ourselves. When changing up small details or bringing those finishing touches to your home decor, lighting fixtures will help enhance the mood of a space - big time!
Your first year of marriage will most definitely involve some home decorating, whether it’s investing in your first mattress, your first sofa, or some most-needed kitchen essentials. Now that I was done with the major pieces, it was time to focus on the smaller details that can create a bigger impact. For quite some time I’ve been thinking about making use of the electrical outlet in the second bedroom ceiling. As a newly-wed myself, insisting on financing the decorating of our first home, I was in a position to look for things that are not only functional and appealing, but also budget-friendly. I didn’t want an expensive chandelier, but something affordable, charming, and fitting for the existing modern and chic look of the second bedroom.
The moment we spotted this light fixture in Ikea, I thought of the existing painting in the bedroom. There’s a chrome sunburst effect in the abstract wall art which go in tandem with the design of the ceiling lamp. Look closely and you’ll see as if the artist who created the strokes on the painting has also designed the shapes within this lamp - or so it seems. Although the silver and white option, available in this lamp, would’ve been a safe choice to match up with the rest of the silver in the room, the copper and chrome finish glistens and pulls from the brown touches around the space. It works out perfectly.
Fun and Inviting
We wanted something fun and inviting, so it draws some attention to the piece while still allowing the rest of the room to shine. This chandelier is quite modern... almost has a futuristic form. “Totally has a sci-fi feel to it” I thought. But the important thing was that its modern aesthetic would add so much to the bedroom decor and style. With our strong love for science fiction movies, it was no surprise that my husband and I were both drawn to this ceiling lamp. But, I had no idea until months later that the lamp was actually inspired by science fiction and the design was a winner of the international design competition Red Dot Award. Huh...who knew! As a married couple, you want to incorporate home decor styles that speak to both of you or those sharing the space with you, so it reflects a sense of combined style while also being functional.
Variant Shape and Intensity of the light and Shape
The fun features and details of this lamp also confirmed it as the right choice for this bedroom. This Ikea light fixture is pretty flexible, or should I say versatile? What do I mean by that? To fit your lighting needs, you can make the chandelier smaller and simpler or you can make it larger and more dimensional, by either shutting it close or pulling it open. With a simple pull of the strings, you can play with the shape and intensity of the light. The height is also flexible. You can pull it up closer to the ceiling or hang it lower depending on the look you desire. I pulled mine very close to the ceiling and purchased the medium size.
Piece of Cake Installation
Installation was pretty easy, and since our apartment ceiling was already wired, fitting the electrical fixture was a quick fix for the two of us. Hubs and I are both comfortable with fitting electrical fixtures, but he’s definitely better at it. One time, I did a surprise living-room makeover for my parents and added a chandelier. I was able to quickly install it myself following the direction it came with. However, this one didn’t come with exact direction on the wiring, but my husband was able to quickly figure out which wire was the earth <-- very important!
A home is not mere transient shelter. It’s essence lies in personalities of the people who live in it” - HL Mencken
When shopping for chandeliers or ceiling lamps, remember to not only look for something you like but something that also fits the design aesthetic of the space. When there are multiple people living in a house, I believe the common areas should reflect the life of all those living in the home. That’s what gives it personality, making a house into a home. If you’re financing the decor, it’s probably easier to grab everything you like without a second thought. But when there are two or more people living in a household, it’s important to be mindful and take into consideration the needs of those sharing a space, so it represents them and creates a sense of familiarity. Like the saying goes “The needs of the many out-ways the needs of the few” ← My husband will be so proud of this quote. If you don’t understand the reference, you've just disappointed my husband. But it’s okay. I'm the one who has to live with a StarTrek nerd.
Thank you so much for being here, and here is to styling with a dash of panache! Happy decorating, my people.