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Category: Blog

2 Oct

Getting Ready For Baby

Getting ready for baby can be time consuming, overwhelming (especially if you don’t know where to start) and so exciting! I can’t even tell you guys how many nights I’ve stayed up looking at reviews of products and narrowing down what items we want for our son. I say “we” because Solly and I discussed most of the items together and came to a mutual decision on all of it.

I know, I have several baby related blog posts that are shamefully overdue like our baby announcement photos (6 months late *covers eyes*), gender reveal and baby shower posts but I promise I will post them eventually. My superstitious ass has it all typed and formatted out on WordPress but a part of me wants to wait until he’s here, safe and sound, in my arms before I elaborate further on any of those events. Until then- I wanted to share some items we CANNOT wait to put to use (please note how I emphasize cannot in the previous sentence, 39 weeks and 3 days right now, had a great pregnancy thank God but want this baby out of my belly and in my arms now! Anyone else this far along and feel me?)

Here it goes…

1. UppaBaby Cruz Stroller and Bassinet 

I wanted a stroller that not only looked cute but functioned well. I had my eyes set on the Mima Xari in camel, and even went to a store 3 hours away one weekend to try it out but ended up not purchasing it. Although the Mima was beautiful, it wasn’t an easy ride. Felt forced. Also, if we had purchased it, we would have needed adaptors to attach the car seat as a travel system. What if I lost the adaptors one day? Would I have to risk waking up my infant by unbuckling him from his car seat and transferring him into the stroller after a car ride tranced him into a beautiful slumber? No. It was not a practical purchase friends, and even the reps at this particular NYC baby store agreed with me. I saluted goodbye to the Mima and was redirected towards the UppaBaby line. I love how easy it is to maneuver this stroller! Such a clean ride and the bassinet and stroller seat are so versatile. I can have him facing me for the first few months in the stroller seat, facing towards the world as a toddler and lay flat in the bassinet attachment for a few months while also using the bassinet as a sleeper separately from the stroller when needed. The UppaBaby Mesa car seat attaches seamlessly to the Cruz and Vista strollers, no adaptors required. No waking up baby by transferring him from the car into the stroller. We chose the Gregory model for the UB Cruz stroller, the Henry bassinet and the Henry car seat which attach easily into the stroller frame. We also chose the UB Cruz over the Vista because it was the tiniest bit more petite, and I liked that. Once we put it to use, I’ll update my review!

2. UppaBaby Henry Car Seat 

Car seats in the US are treated with flame retardants. Every company has a different allowance of flame retardant they utilize on their car seats, but what a lot of new parents aren’t aware of is that flame retardants can cause endocrine disturbances and developmental delays in babies and children. I had a friend mention how the UppaBaby Henry car seat is actually treated with zero chemicals because of the material it’s made out of- microfiber wool- which makes it a flame retardant free car seat. Love how it clicks right into the stroller, has an easy base installation and the blue marl color of it.

How cute is this little car seat mobile? Bought it on Wish for $1

3. 4 Moms MamaRoo

This has got to be the coolest swing ever. I’ve read mixed reviews about babies either loving it or not loving it. I have the infant insert with it, so I’m hoping my little one gives it a chance when he’s here! I love that it’s a smart connect swing that you can control with an app on your smartphone. Once I put the mamaroo to use, I’ll update my review!

4. Honest Company Products 

I purchased a trial size set from the honest company by subscribing to their free trial bundles on their website. Paid $5.95 for shipping and handling for a travel size set of household and baby honest products along with seven printed newborn diapers and a pack of travel size honest wipes.

Haven’t tried any of the products yet but I’m more than down with the whole eco friendly savoire faire and using clean products on baby and around the house.

5. GB Pockit Stroller 

This has got to be the COOLEST travel stroller EVER! I mean, just look at the video below. It really folds up that small and can go right underneath the seat in front of you on the plane! We have the travel itch right now since we haven’t been anywhere in months, and once baby can hold his head upright we’re taking this stroller with us wherever we go. I registered for some accessories for it- like a stroller organizer/ console for parents and a rayshade cover for extra UV protection to make traveling with a baby a little bit easier. If you have any tips on traveling with baby please let me know!

6. Ergobaby 360 Carrier

So this is another item we can’t wait to use for traveling. I like how you can carry the baby in front, in the back and on your sides without straining your neck and shoulders. It’s ergonomic design helps in preventing aches and strains while carrying your baby. We registered for the icy mint carrier which didn’t come with an infant insert but it was pretty easy to find on Amazon.

7. Solly Baby Wrap

The company’s name is Solly baby…I mean OF COURSE I was going to buy this! My husbands name is Sohail (Solly for short) and the wrap came in a pretty camel color that I couldn’t pass up! I like that there are different ways to carry your baby and the wrap is made out of breathable and stretchy material. I think I’ll use this one more at home whereas the ergobaby will be more of an outdoor and travel use baby carrier.

If any of you have any suggestions on products you personally love please DM me on the gram or comment below! 💙

3 love
15 Mar

Chanel Le Lift and Hydrabeauty Review

So last year I was walking the streets of Florence and came across a Sephora. There was no way I wasn’t walking in. Italian Sephora’s are just like the Sephora’s in the states, the people working are in the same uniform, ladies are getting makeovers, the music is peppy and the store smells like amazing goodness. The one difference was that Italian Sephora’s carried several different lines that you won’t find in the states. Brands like Chanel, YSL, Dior, La Mer, Versace and Moschino are in these European Sephora’s and guess what- they’re CRAZY discounted! So last year, I splurged on a couple YSL lip creams, a Moschino cologne for my hubs, a Versace perfume for myself and three Chanel skin care products. I walked by the Chanel aisle and remembered that Huda Beauty had once reviewed the Chanel Le Lift and reviewed it as one of her favorite face creams. So the Chanel Le Lift Crème Fine retails in the US for $165 for 1.7 ounces. I bought it for $99 for 1.7 ounces. Around this time last year, I had dry patches under my under eyes and the beauty advisor really recommended that I use the Hydra Beauty Gel Eye Crème. This retails for $68 in the US but I believe I paid no more than $38 for it in Florence. The last product I bought was the Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Balm which retails here for $50, but I paid around $20 something.

I have been using these items on and off for a year now but I can’t say I’m smitten. The crème fine face cream is a little drying. I read through the ingredients and noticed that alcohol is an ingredient and that definitely helps in drying your face. I will say that it helped my skin a bit in the summer when my skin texture changes, but nothing too major where I can see noticeable results. The crème fine does have a fragrance to it- which I know some people don’t prefer when it comes to a night time skin routine. The hydra beauty gel eye crème definitely helped the dry patches under my eyes. It however did not make my dark circles any lighter. Lastly the hydra beauty nourishing lip balm- I can’t say I was a fan of this product. It doesn’t really stay on too long, isn’t very nourishing and has a really sterile taste. I honestly prefer other lip balms over this one (The Dior Crème de Rose Smoothing and Plumping Balm in my opinion is unbelievably better, you can’t even compare them on the same level).

Would I re-purchase these? Probably not. If they change the formula omitting the alcohol, I might give it another chance. Also, if you find yourself in Europe wanting to splurge, don’t forget that you can get a VAT tax refund if you spend a certain amount when you’re shopping. This tax refund will work at Sephora, retail stores, tourist shops and so many other places. You will have to bring your passport along and they will give you a detailed piece of paper that you present to the Italian customs department (or any other country in the EU). Customs will stamp it and you are responsible for mailing it when you go home (the postage is pre-paid).  A few weeks later, you receive a tax refund for the items you purchased in the EU.

Another tip- any skin care item labeled “lotion” in Europe is actually toner. I was about to buy quite a few for gifts because of how cheap I thought the Chanel lotion was until I opened one up and it was a hefty bottle of blue liquid face toner lol.

 

6 love
10 Sep

Huda Beauty Matte Liquid Lipstick Review

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Can we all agree that Huda Beauty is a beauty mogul? I follow her and her family on snapchat and they are always cracking me up. The UK has the royal family, America has the Kardashians, and the UAE has the Kattans.

As soon as I tried my recently purchased matte liquid lipsticks from the Huda Beauty collection, I knew I had to write a review. Her false eyelashes are some of my favorites including “Farah” (ironically) and “Samantha.” I had to splurge on her brand new line of liquid lipsticks, especially since the Kylie Lip Kits were beginning to wear down my olfactory senses.

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The first advantage of these liquid lipsticks is that she doesn’t use red 40, a chemical dye which is literally made from crushed insects and is present in numerous lipsticks and cosmetics in the market. A second advantage is that there are no parabens or phthalates in the formula. Parabens and phthalates are endocrine disrupters which will alter your hormone levels and have also unfortunately been discovered in abundance in tumor biopsies of patients with breast cancer.  Instead, she utilizes natural ingredients such as vanilla [vanillin], coffee seed extract [coffea arabica] and olea europaea fruit oil [a form of olive oil] to enhance the scent of the lipsticks, making it a superior aroma in comparison to the Kylie mattes. I personally believe the coffee seed extract aids in plumping your lips throughout the day, so there is no need to over line them.

My cat wanted in too!

My cat wanted in too!

I purchased bombshell, venus, trophy wife, flirt and spice girl. In my opinion, bombshell and venus are a perfect everyday hue (I am an NC25-NC30 in SFF). I liked how trophy wife and flirt looked on my skin tone, however I might wait until fall to really rock spice girl because of its earthy tones.

Finished look

Finished look, applied bombshell.

The colors don’t last as long as the Kylie mattes, but I do find Kylie LKs overly dry. Huda’s formula has more moisturizing ingredients within it. And even though I did need to reapply after having dinner, I really didn’t mind to.

xo ?

 

13 love
10 Aug

Keeping Up With Kylie Jenner

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Let me start off by saying- do you guys know how flipping hard it was to get these?! I wanted to buy all of them but the inevitable happened- some of them sold out RIGHT as I was checking out. Despite all of the Kylie Lip Kit mania and her unattainable products (I mean, she did “break” google once didn’t she?) I want to share an honest review of them.

I’m usually an NC25 mixed with NC30 in MAC’s Studio Fix Foundation. More NC25 in the winter and NC30 in the summer, and the lipsticks and lip kits that I purchased (I bought Mary Jo K, Koko K, Posie K, Exposed, Dolce K and 22) seemed to all work well with my skin tone. I can be a little apprehensive buying lipstick online especially if I can’t swatch them ahead of time, but I’m glad I took the plunge so you guys don’t have to!

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Right to left: 22 lip liner, Posie K, Exposed, Dolce K, Koko K, 22 and the Mary Jo K lip kit.

Mary Jo K

Mary Jo K is literally the most perfect red

Dolce K

Dolce K

Exposed

Exposed

Koko K

Koko K

Posie K

Posie K

22

22

I absolutely love all of them. They glide on, smell like vanilla cupcakes and truly are long lasting. I went out to dinner last week wearing ‘exposed’ and I talked, laughed, ate and kissed a baby and didn’t need to re-apply at all.

What do you guys think of her new Kyshadows and perpetual new matte shades? Can you keep up with Kylie Jenner?

xo

15 love
5 Jul

Rosé

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Rose water is literally a breath of fresh air. Formulated with rose petal extract, it’s a fragrant and hydrating pick me up for dry, tired and just plain “blah” skin. I spray rose water as an essential component of my skin care regimen, either on top of my night cream or sometimes to set my makeup throughout the day.

Pictured here are the Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist [$24] and the Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist [$32]

I really like the Jurlique mist better. It’s subtle, hydrating and uber feminine. I also have been using  rose water mixed with purified water for years. I buy the bottle for $1.99 from my local Indian supermarket and pour it into an empty mist bottle. ?

13 love
12 Jun

Syrian Delight

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Our recent adventure to Turkey was full of new cultural experiences as well as breathtaking visions of the beautiful world in which we live. However, we were also exposed, indirectly, to a hint of the hideous evil in this world. A lot of you saw the vacation portion that I posted on Instagram and Snap-chat, but there is a part that I kept private because I needed time to truly reflect and process how to share it with everyone.

The impression was made on our first full day in Istanbul. Sohail and I had just flown in from London. We checked into our hotel in Sultanahmet and went for a walk around the local area. Our adventure began at the square, where the brilliant Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya face each other. Afterward we progressed further into the Grand Bazaar.

It was colorful and vibrant, crowded full of shops displaying mosaic pottery and lamps. The atmosphere was accompanied by an intoxicating aroma- a mix of spices, tea and Turkish delight. There was one shop in particular that struck my curiosity. I’ll be honest with you guys- it was no different than the myriad other shops in the bazaar but I walked in because I heard Dr. Dre and Snoop Dawg playing on blast. I was greeted by a polite local shop owner who asked if I was interested in pottery. I protested that we didn’t have any room in our luggage, so he countered: “You… like the Turkish delight?” with his broken English and motioned his arm toward his second shop.

We walked into the second shop, which was full of different trays of dessert. Here we were greeted by a young man who spoke perfect English. He had thick eyelashes, a bright smile, and a scar between his eyebrows and nose. We began sampling the pastries as he told us about the different varieties. His vocabulary was surprisingly fluent and extensive. He was obviously well-educated. I kept wondering why he was working in a simple shop in the grand bazaar. I asked him where he was from, and he replied: “Syria.”

His name was Ibrahim. And although he never referred to himself as one, he was a Syrian refugee.

Ibrahim talked about how life had been good in Syria. He mentioned that when… if the war was ever over he would go back to his hometown of Aleppo without thinking twice. He was a Doctor of Pharmacy student back home and he had a bright future in that world. We spent so long in conversation that he eventually gave us chairs to sit on. His personality was full of life, with a warm smile adorning his face the entire time. While sampling the fruit and nut laced Turkish delights, we discussed the Syrian crisis and the scar between his nose and eyebrow. The wound was suffered when he was kidnapped while trying to escape Aleppo during the assault on the city by the forces loyal to Bashar al Assad. At this point his warm demeanor hardened, he stopped talking for a moment before mentioning how it hurt to remember those times.

We then transitioned to how he traveled to Turkey, and his life working in Istanbul. I asked him how the Turks treated him and he replied: “Well, when you come into a country that isn’t yours and you are willing to do the same work for half the wages, then you can imagine how the people living there would feel about you.”

It broke my heart. He was no different than us, except that he had lost everything he had. At the point of a knife, he abandoned his country, friends, and family, because he was not safe living in his home.

I’m sharing this with you guys because it hurt me so deeply. People like Ibrahim had real lives back in Syria, where he should have been looking to settle down and preparing to start his career as a pharmacist. My brother is roommates with a guy in Houston who was a well-known surgeon in Syria. Can you imagine having to leave everything you have: your career, family, lifelong friends, and the home you grew up in, after watching it blown into a million pieces? Imagine losing your identity, your dignity, and then traveling to a strange and unwelcoming land to begin a new life from scratch? It’s heartbreaking. And then I see on twitter, people smearing refugees as terrorists and ‘rape-fugees’.

Syrians are leaving their home country because they’re trying to escape the terror there, only to cross deserts, forests, and oceans and be exposed to varying levels of mistreatment everywhere they stop. All across Europe there are signs that read: “Refugees Not Welcome”, while in camps they are treated like animals. Have Bashar’s barrel bombs destroyed humanity as well?

I think about Al Assad, and how he’s robbed children of their childhood. Children that are 6 years old are going to remember the gunshots, bomb shells, airstrikes, buildings torn into rubble with their only salvation being a terrible migration through hostile land and sea. Bashar Al Assad is responsible for the death and suffering of so many in Syria. This is not meant to judge him as a leader or as a man, but I will say this – he will have to answer to God.

As the bazaar began to close down, and without knowing any other way to say goodbye, we offered him some money, but he flatly refused. He insisted with pride that he had a good job, and that the pain was behind him. We asked him what his favorite version of Turkish delight was, and bought the pomegranate flavor that he suggested. As he handed Sohail our dessert, he wrapped his hands over his and whispered with a smile and wink: “The dessert in Aleppo was much better than this.”

?? ??

Some videos I found informative regarding the Syrian migration are on YouTube, by Field of Vision productions in collaboration with The New Yorker . There are 6 episodes which document the refugees’ journey from Syria, Turkey and then into the E.U. I’ll add the link below.

Worth the watch.

16 love
22 May

The Art of Togetherness

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Everyone deep down is in search of ‘the one’, that one person who is our complete and total soulmate and who we can foresee sharing the remainder of our lives with. Sometimes it can take a while to meet this person and it can leave us hopeless. Unseemly questions arise within us like: is there really someone out there for me? Someone who’s made for only me? Am I going to have to compromise on what I want? Is this soulmate business even real?

Questions and thoughts like these are common, but the moral of this post is to inform you that there is someone for you. There is a soulmate for everyone. Someone who will absolutely love and adore your being is out there. An individual who will partake in your happiness, someone who will care if you’re sad. A person who checks off every item on your list. A person who will enjoy your company even when you don’t enjoy your own and a mate that will never let you be alone in this crazy world, even when you insist. It is inevitable that many of the frogs you will meet throughout soulmate searching will not turn into princes. But it is all a process- and a learning experience more so. It takes time, but in this scenario time is your friend. I mean, can you imagine being married to the wrong person?

Sohail has been wonderful to me. A true gem, and you can tell he has been raised by a queen because of how respectful and loyal he is. He has been my support system, my confidant and truest friend. I can’t imagine being married to anyone else. Sometimes I look back at all of those frogs and think how lucky I was that God didn’t let those situations progress. I believe I was destined for more. I was being perfected for Sohail, while he was being perfected for me. It took time. But time was our friend. He came along when I was happy. Happy with myself, my surroundings, while I was focusing on my wellbeing and career. He came out of nowhere and forever changed my life.

If you’ve found your soulmate, consider yourself extremely lucky and this next part isnt applicable to you (scroll down)- but if you are in search of your partner and find yourself hopeless (hey, we’ve all been there) – here are some things you can do:

Pray – Pray for everything you want. God listens.

Stay positive – Wake up with a smile. Happy feelings will attract more positivity into your life. The law of attraction is real. Also- stay away from negativity. Do not surround yourself with individuals who are unhappy with their lives and will do/say anything to hurt yours due to jealousy. If it includes calling someone out and having a bad day for one day it’s okay. Do not let yourself be around people who have no value in your amazing life. A part of loving your soul includes having the strength to stick up for yourself. Don’t be friends with dramatic and jealous individuals. Have the guts to call a bitch out when you need to.

Show gratitude – Wake up everyday grateful for five things that you have in your life. You are far better off than billions of people in this world. Remember to show your gratitude to God for the things you do have.

Value your being – know that you have a standard and a strong self worth and that you will not settle for any loser. You are not searching to settle. You are searching for your soulmate. Settler ≠ soulmate.

Work on yourself – if you know you get angry at the drop of a hat or aren’t happy with an attribute you possess, work on yourself. I’m not saying change who you are- but alter your bad qualities into better qualities for your own well being.

The more you focus on yourself and your own soul throughout all of this, the more enjoyable and memorable this process becomes.

In honor of my togetherness post I wanted to share a few photos from our rukhsati ceremony last year. I was inspired to write this because of our one year anniversary. May we have many, many more.

the programs at our wedding. I feel like these were so helpful for all the non-ethnic people that came

Todd Bailey photography

I was in jeans literally until the last minute that day

I was in jeans literally until the last minute that day

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Todd Bailey photography

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Todd Bailey photography

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Todd Bailey photography

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Todd Bailey photography

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Todd Bailey photography

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Todd Bailey photography

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Todd Bailey photography

14 love
3 May

Back to Mac

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I literally have so many lipsticks of different brands, but I always find myself reaching for Mac. Nothing else compares. I also love their “Back to Mac” policy. I always purchase mine from Macy’s, where I get double the plenti points on beauty purchases.

 My everyday shades are: honey love, please me, cosmo, oxblood and mocha –  which is making its debut in this photograph. What are some of your favorite shades? 

13 love