Putting things in perspective

Last night I went to volunteer at a kids homeless shelter – it was a potluck (hubby cooked of course) and I believe the intent was really just to socialize with the kids. You never know who will inspire you, or who you connect with. Sometimes you’ll meet someone who will change your life after a single interaction. I’ve definitely met people like that, and there have even been bloggers who have influenced me in the way I think!

The kids were mostly really sweet and I loved hearing them introduce themselves and talk about their hobbies. They ranged from I think 13-17. The other volunteers were between 14-24, except me of course, so I think everyone connected really well. It’s always interesting for me to see how you can give the rebellious children just a little bit of 1×1 attention, and their attitude completely changes! My mother in law works with kids similar to their demographics, and goes through the same thing. Although at school, I’m sure it’s so much more difficult to give kids the attention they need.

The local MSA sponsored the event, and we were all dressed in ethnic attire. I wore the only ethnic attire I have in Charlotte – this new khaadi kurta that was recently shipped to me.

After dinner with the kids, we went outside to play some basketball. I love shooting hoops but thought I’d let the kids have their time πŸ™‚

I used to love doing stuff like this back in college with different organizations, and I haven’t been good about continuing with it the older I get. But seeing kids smiling and laughing when they don’t have a lot of material things, but a whole lot of love, that just gives you the kind of happiness that can’t be bought. I can get carried away wanting things that my friends have, that I know we can’t afford, being on just my income, but it makes me feel good when I control my impulses and get the same level of satisfaction from something totally free!

Casual Friday

Nothing exciting going on lately, but wanted to post this cute dress I got from ASOS! We’ve spent so much time getting rid of stuff from our house – I mean I literally still have the same furniture from college, minus the bed set my parents got me when we got married. I would estimate we’ve donated about 30 trash bags full of things – clothes, home goods, kitchen gadgets, furniture, etc! But you know what they say about getting rid of stuff – it’s just giving you space to allow more (cuter) stuff to enter your life! πŸ™‚

I used to not be a clothing or shoe person, and I’m totally cool wearing and repeating the same outfits all the time. But something changed last year, and I started to want to spend more time on myself!

I started focusing on being a happier person last year, as part of my New Years resolutions. It’s not like I was sad or depressed, but I really just wanted to smile more, and help others smile more. I stared to get to know myself better. I never realized I was an extrovert! I grew up my entire life thinking I was shy, that I didn’t make friends well, and being alone was the way I liked it. But as I started to figure out who I am, I realized that I love people, I love making people happy, I like sunshine and being outdoors, I enjoy meaningful conversations with a stranger, and I uncovered so many things that made me realize that I actually like myself! Lol! And when you like something, you’re more likely to nurture it, treat it well, and I feel like the result over the past few months has been me having more fun with life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to discover “me”, and to treat myself right. πŸ™‚

Dot dot dot

Of course when my friend is in town, we get an excuse to go somewhere nice and have fun on a weekday!! One of my friends had taken us to this super cool spot called “…” close to uptown. Its almost like a speakeasy where you’re required to have a “membership” (it’s only $10) and check in at a door, where you’re escorted to to the dining area. The food was really good! My favorite is this ahi tuna poke – it’s so fresh, and the crisps are delicious!

I got a mocktail that was so beautiful, very sweet, and savory. It went perfectly with the tuna platter.

After dot dot dot, we walked over to Amelie’s for an espresso and dessert! My friend got me a box of Sugarfina desserts – he said he remembered me mentioning years ago I wanted to try it, so when we walked by the store one day at the airport, he got me some! πŸ™‚ best friend ever!

Top: Pretty Little Things

Culottes: Macy’s

Metalmorphosis

There’s so much going on in our lives right now, so we are trying not to go anywhere far. There’s a giant sculpture called Metal Morphosis created by Czech artist David Černy in a random business park off 485 in Charlotte. There’s the same sculpture also in Prague! I visited the Prague sculpture 2 years ago, so it was really neat seeing it here in Charlotte, and brought back good memories, although the weather was much nicer this time πŸ™‚

As you walk up to the sculpture, it starts rotating and reconfiguring, spitting out water when it’s in the final configuration. It’s super cool! The artist said it was a self portrait. To me, it felt like going through the day, and wearing different “faces” – not in a fake way, but just understanding what everyone needs, and recognizing how to effectively communicate with others. It can get draining, and feel like your head is twisting in a million directions.

This is from Prague..

And here’s the one in Charlotte..

The hubby also took some cute photos of course!!

I’m a blonde!

I’ve been going back and forth thinking of going blonde or not. I feel like there’s a lot that I’m doing because I’m realizing it’s my last chance before we have kids to do something different and spend time on myself! πŸ™‚ Ally at Forbici does such a good job at getting the color right. I asked for a super Elle Woods blonde, and she literally got it perfect! I think I’ll keep this for a while!!

Vegas…??

The other week, I was talking about how I never want to go back to Las Vegas. I went there once I think in 2008, and that was enough for me!! But the hubby was talking about just visiting it once, so I’m glad this happened!!

When we got to the airport (and we were totally not ready to leave, we felt like having an after party!!) we found out our first flight was delayed, causing only a 5 min layover (which of course we couldn’t make) before our connecting flight to Charlotte. Because of the snow storm in the east coast, a lot of people were going through the same thing! The lady at the counter was sooo sweet though, I tried to push for a hotel room so we could spend more time with my brother, but they wouldn’t do it. And I did not want to ask the newlyweds to house us for the night! After a lot of searching, she tells us she can get us to Charlotte tomorrow, but we would have an 8 hr layover in Vegas, between 10pm and 6am!! I hated the idea, but honestly it was perfect because Vegas is the only place that’s actually open during those times lol!!

Before our flight, we met up with the brides family at a restaurant in Simi Valley – it was so amazing. Their family and friends are so much fun, so loving and kind and welcoming. It just made the delay worth it!

When we got to Vegas, we took a shuttle to the strip, and keep in mind we are both so tired and dead, but we decide to walk the strip and decide if we ever want to properly come back. We walked through all the casinos, and thankfully hubby is not a gambler so we didn’t lose any money πŸ™‚

I wished the shops were open! That would have been cool. But one of the casinos was having a “Year of the Dog” themed art exhibition – it was so cool!! That was the highlight of Vegas for me. I wish it wasn’t so cold!! I was constantly taking off my huge sweater (part of my dumb last minute haul at the Anthropologie in SF) in the warm casinos and putting it back on when we walked outside.

The best part was really just sitting at a lot machines and having deep conversations with each other. Maybe it was because we were both so tired, but there are some times where we just talk about everything. My husbands really my best friend, I could talk to him forever, and I’m grateful to have had that time to talk about life. πŸ™‚

We went back to the airport by 3am, and fell asleep on the airport chairs – I was about to pass out just walking, we were sooo tired. But such a fun trip!!

Golden Gate

The day of the walima, we woke up super early to do the tourist things in the city! We started by getting delicious pour over coffee by a farmers market in Fisherman’s Wharf, and ate a delicious egg breakfast. Man was it cold though. I should have packed more than the faux leather jacket lol.

We walked from the farmers market to fisherman’s wharf, which wasn’t really open yet, we got there at about 10am. We walked along the dock and saw the noisy funny seals, they were like stacked on top of each other!! And I felt like you could see them pushing each other off the docks lol. I see the seals on my Saturday morning tv shows like Animal Rescue all the time, but seeing them in person again was so cute.

After that, we took an Uber to the Golden Gate Bridge! We only walked about half the bridge, because it would have been difficult getting an Uber back, oh and we didn’t want to be late for the walima! I kept thinking how lucky people are here to have so much beauty – both natural, the bay, and manmade! And just seeing so much life and people, that made me so happy.

We headed to see the painted ladies afterwards, but didn’t spend a lot of time there because we were getting hungry!! We met my brother at a near lunch spot with my parents, and before heading back, got some Boba guys!!

San Fran in a weekend

Although San Fran is one of my favorite cities in the world, we only had like a day and half to explore, for a few reasons! I wanted to make sure this trip was about the walima, and not us trying to explore a city, and I didn’t know how many vacation days I would have, having just started a new job! I’m still shocked at how much we saw – thanks to a lot of money spent on Uber!

Day 1 – my brother met up with us, after giving him horrible directions, and we walked around close to the hotel, at the end of the cable car line. Junaid and I have a photo there like 10 (i literally can’t remember the year, so maybe 10?) years ago. And it’s the photo that Hubby first saw of me πŸ™‚ it was so crazy coming full circle!! I was just a kid then – I wish I could tell myself that I’d be ok! πŸ™‚ So after walking around, having great desi food, and picking up cookies from a cute shop, we went over to the newlyweds apartment. It looked so amazing! I loved how cozy it felt. We ate dinner at their place and helped them pack the rest of their favors for the next day. πŸ™‚

Jmads Valima

Most likely the most beautiful walima (not valima) I’ll ever go to 😍 – we just got back from my brother and sister-in-laws walima (like a wedding reception/party thrown usually by the grooms family).

We were only in town for 3 days – but San Fran is one of my favorite cities in the world, so I wanted to explore with the hubby. I was so surprised at how much we walked and looked at. I’ll do a separate post about it!!

The walima was absolutely stunning. The venue doesn’t usually take wedding bookings, but the bride was able to convince them! It was a small event – I think there were around 100 people. There was a head rectangle table in the middle, and a few circle tables on either side of it. Instead of a stage, there was a gorgeous floral backdrop and a bench for the couple to sit. It was so perfect and so them. The table decor was really earthy and elegant at the same time, lots of white and green. It complemented the venue really well.

My dad was having getting ready issues, that’s what happens when you’re so introverted and get super super nervous meeting new people and being in new places – so that delayed us like an hour unfortunately. But that’s part of life, and I’m so thankful my husband helps him feel comfortable. I felt so bad because the coordinator expected us to be there a little early, but didn’t really know how to explain the situation to her. Oh well.

I was sooo nervous about being emcee to the event. The couple is like super well spoken and just good at public speaking, which is like the opposite of me, if you know me. And sometimes I feel out of place around them..I mean I kinda grew up in the country. Anyways, I’m hoping it wasn’t that bad. The best part was I asked Jam to record a speech to play at the walima. I had no idea it would be 11 min!! I hadn’t watched it ahead of time…I had to push him for weeks to do it, and of course he sends it to me the day before. I wish he was there, but seeing my brother, mom, and dad all tear up seeing him on the large screen…that made my day.

I need to do another post with the professional photos, because I was trying hard to get a good photo of my outfit, because my mother in law spent her time getting it made!! I just was not crazy about how I was looking, you know there are just some days where you don’t feel like you look good. Oh well. But the bride was stunning as always – just naturally beautiful!! (mA) her dress was so unique and so awesome- it was an embellished too with a skirt that opened up in the front to these amazing fully embellished pants. I was dying over the outfit!!

The food was amazing- and the presentation was super cute. How sweet are the gol guppa? Favors were from a cute cookie shop πŸ˜‰ and desserts were donuts, ras malai (my favorite dessert EVER) and other sweets!!

The night was so beautiful, it really was just a big elegant dinner party. The best part of the night was meeting all their friends and loved ones that have become like their family!

New Years Eve

This past weekend we went with some friends to Nashville, TN to celebrate New Years!! The place we rented was this photography studio turned super cool and retro Airbnb. So many famous country singers had visited this place, and it was super cool seeing memorabilia just hanging around.

Unfortunately there was a mixup with the number of rooms that were advertised, so we literally had to sleep in this kinda cool, but really gross, room that was used as a powder room. That was not fun. As I was sleeping I could literally only think of how many germs we were breathing in.

Anyways, although it was 9 degrees all weekend, staying in was a lot of fun, and the group we went with was awesome. I did my own hair, teased it super high, and ended up loving it.

Nashville was a fun experience, I think we’ll go back in the summer sometime to actually be able to enjoy some live music!! πŸ™‚