Wednesday, November 20, 2013

And its time for a little break.



Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I’m going to be taking a break from regular posting for a couple of months. I might be dropping in here and there with some posts that I had already been working on but no regular posts for a bit. Every once in a while, a creative mind needs a break to be able to just live life instead of worrying about your next project or picture or post. I think this is that time for me :)

I would love to do some guest posts though. So if you have an idea for something that would go with the feel of this space, please go ahead and send me a message on nataliyanajibAThotmailDOTcom.

Thank you so much for reading and stopping by. Have a cozy, memory filled winter.

Be back soon. Xoxo.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Inspiring me lately.

Hey beautiful people, here is the November edition of things that have been inspiring me. Enjoy!



Clay pottery. I have to try this.


Adorable whimsical little bird.



Two ways to style printed silk pants in colder weather.

Crafts for Kids


Love this adorable craft party painting plushies. Such a great idea.


Adorable little leather pouches for kids.



Family picture walls.


Elsie’s adorable Kitchen.



This cozy winter inspired Ruche Lookbook.


These words from a piece by Matt Walsh

Of course not all women can be at home full time. It’s one thing to acknowledge that; it’s quite another to paint it as the ideal. To call it the ideal, is to claim that children IDEALLY would spend LESS time around their mothers. This is madness. Pure madness. It isn’t ideal, and it isn’t neutral. The more time a mother can spend raising her kids, the better. The better for them, the better for their souls, the better for the community, the better for humanity. Period.’

Go here to read the full piece.


How to raise creative kids by my favorite blogger.


‘Because she had a natural sense of modesty about her that has been stripped away by today's culture and we need to bring it back. .. We need to teach girls that modesty isn't about covering up our bodies because they're bad. Modesty isn't about hiding ourselves, it is about revealing our dignity. We were made beautiful in his image and likeness. So the question I'd to ask is this, how will you use your beauty?’ - Designer, actress and Christian Jessica Rey.


Love these words from this beautiful video that has been going around on the truth about bikinis and why to dress modestly.


Lessons every woman can learn from Jane Eyre to live well.


Love the introduction of this beautiful new magazine aimed at Muslim women, called Identity.

‘It is obvious that this magazine is for Muslim women, but I don’t want it to be like anything out there that’s targeted towards us. As in, I don’t want t to be the typical mélange of hijab styles, marriage tips, and generic Islamic advice. We have plenty of that out there, Alhamdullilah. I want Identity to be able to really speak to people and listen when they respond. I want it to be a dialogue. a complex dialogue. I want it to be about things relevant to us, large and small. Whether that is soul-searching, places we want to go, people we want to meet, clothes we want to wear, or who we are and who we want to be, identity is an attempt at reflecting every intricate layer within us. We are far more than what other people see in us – our religion, our headscarves or lack thereof. We are daughters, students, professionals, mothers, wives, and most importantly, human beings. We are even beyond both of those lists of definitions and what we simplify ourselves to be. Which is why I could never pinpoint to you exactly what Identity is all about. Because how do you simplify the life of a diasporic Muslim woman? You cant.’

Baby/Kid Fashion


Loving faux fur vests. (Left) from RUUM (Center) from Little Maven by Tory Spelling at JC Penney (Right) from Mini Boden sold at Nordstrom


Loving the new lines at JCPenney for kids specially Joe Fresh and Baker by Ted Baker. Definitely a must check out.

Being Muslim in America


Love this effort by a library system in Milwaukee to to fight myths against American Muslims.


Winnie Datwa, the amazing Egyptian-American fashion blogger.

Another Pakistan

11_ Girls, credit Saad Sarfraz Sheikh

this quick tour of Lahore from Vogue India.


This amazing product line out of Pakistan. Read the story behind this brand here.


An Indian-American’s writes about his trip to Pakistan.

None of the pictures are mine and clicking on them will take you to the source links.

Hope you are inspired and thanks for reading.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What we wore. Another fall evening.


Anya wears: Coat from Old Navy (also worn here), Skirt from RUUM (also worn here), Tights from Target, Shoes by Old Soles via My Habit

I wear: Sweater from H&M, Pants from Gap (also worn here), Boots from Target, Scarf from one of the shops in Islamabad, Pakistan, bought many years ago.



All pictures taken by the husband:)


Friday, November 8, 2013

Baby when the lights go out


Last weekend, because of a wind storm and fallen trees and power lines, there was a power breakdown for half a day at our place. Because everything at our house is electricity related, life pretty much came to a stand still. It turned out to be the perfect opportunity for the first fire of the season and a simple fireside picnic of yummy cold roasted chicken-and-almond sandwiches by the husband and some cold orange juice.

It reminded me of my first winter in Seattle and one of the biggest storms I have seen in this area. We were out of power for a few days in the freezing cold. But it ended up being one of the most memorable few days of our life. We loved gathering at friends houses playing Ludo, telling scary stories in the candlelight and screaming our hearts out, getting creative with what to eat that we didn’t need to cook or warm up, and at nights bundling up under all the blankets we could find in our house. I remember my mom always telling us about her childhood and how people spent their evenings talking and playing board games and just being with each other. Those three or so days actually felt like that. So much so that when the lights finally did came back, I felt sad for a second (Of course, nothing can beat hot water and heating when its freezing outside, so the nostalgia didn’t last for any longer, wink).


Thanks for reading and stopping by!

For those in Pakistan, being without power might have lost its charm (!) when it’s an everyday, every-hour-or-so – story. But maybe every once in a while, when your UPS chooses not to work, you could turn off your cellphones and huddle around a candle and just share memories and stories, reminisce and maybe laugh your hearts out? I am sure of it, it will feel good. You might even want to turn off the UPS yourself once in a while ;)


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Your words will guide me.


My dad wrote me this email. I was returning from Pakistan after attending my sister’s wedding. Because of some visa issues I had to return the very next morning after the Valima1 and I left the event early to pack for my flight the next morning. I had a huge lump in my throat throughout. It had been an emotional and stressful couple of months because of my dad’s sudden job loss because of the government change in Pakistan, planning my sister’s wedding in Islamabad while living in Karachi2 and just the emotional baggage that comes with a wedding, and just the Pakistani summer heat that makes everything harder.

Just a few hours after Papa and Mama dropped me at the airport the next morning (and a painful goodbye as always. I am terrible at airports!),  I stood at the public internet terminals at the Dubai airport and read the words that will stay with me forever. I still don’t know when he found the time to write the email in all that pre and post wedding chaos. I stood in the middle of the airport, reading Papa’s words as tears just flowed. Like most dads mine was also not very expressive but he had the gift of words and whenever he did express his love for us, it went straight to the heart. What I didn’t know then was how much more this email would mean to me a few years down the road!

Three and a half years later, when I returned from Pakistan after Papa passed away, the first thing I did was print that email and put it up on my refrigerator where I could see it all the time. Reading it in those early days felt like he was talking to me, and it gave me motivation to go on. It guided me through those painful early months. It is so amazing the impact of our words. When we write them we don’t really know the places they will reach and the time barriers they will cross. Even when my father isn’t there, the words he wrote remain. Every time it is feeling especially hard to get through the realization in my head that I cant talk to him, I read these words and I feel peace in my heart. It is like he is talking to me, it is like he knows, he understands how hard it has been, and in a strange way, he is guiding me on how to get through this.

Though he wrote them years before he passed away, it seems like they were written for right now, for this time for our fears and tears, and the struggles we face today. Papa you were and always will remain our hero and our guide. Thank you for everything. May you always be in God’s best care. Ameen.


Thanks for reading and stopping by.


1Valima is translated as a marriage feast and the second of the two traditional parts of an Islamic wedding and its arranged by the groom’s family.

2Islamabad, the capital, and Karachi, the largest city, are almost 1000 miles apart in distance and are very different cities in their own ways.

Friday, November 1, 2013

7 years.

I realize that I share a lot about motherhood here but not as much about the man in our life that makes it all possible:) My husband and I celebrated 7 years of marriage this year and it already seems like we have spent most of our life together. In some ways I was a completely different person when we started our life together. Without even realizing it I guess, he has changed me in so many ways. I was lost in my career choice and scared of stepping back into the office environment. He helped me dream for brighter things, made me rethink life and faith and so much. Where I'm at today, would not have been possible without him and I’m so thankful.

I have to admit something here, the thing that gets most affected once you become a mom, is your relationship with spouse. You're plain tired and exhausted by the end of the day, and would rather just slouch in front of the TV than communicate. And that is one of the scariest things for me because at the end of the day, your kids are just going to be with you for a limited number of years and each other is all we have at the end of it.

And even though you fight and argue and have days where you think 'if only he/she did/didn't do this', if you both have the same values and beliefs, you’re amongst the lucky ones. It is such a huge blessing to share the same ideas about life, faith, family, raising kids, finances etc. with your spouse. You might not have a decent conversation in days in the whirlwind and exhaustion of daily life, but when either of you is down, if the other knows just exactly how to put things in perspective, you've got a great thing there:)


If you’re married or about to be, here are some inspirations.

This book is one of my most favorite books on marriage because it just inspires you to be a better spouse and person more than anything else. This article on why it is good to be a loser in your marriage. These 15 tips on making your marriage work.

Thanks for reading. Have a lovely weekend.