September

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Hello friends!

Is it September already?! I can hardly believe how quickly this summer went by!

Yesterday was such a strange day as I watched my brothers enjoy their last day of summer before getting ready for the first day of school. And even though I’m not going back to school this year (thank God!), I was still hit with a wave of nostalgia from the past year. For those of you who don’t know, I just graduated from teacher’s college in the Spring, and so school was pretty much on my mind the whole year.

Over the past few years, I’ve always come to regard the first day of school as a return to routine, even before I went to teacher’s college. I’m not sure why this is, but there’s just something about the first day of school that has been wired in my brain as a new beginning and a fresh start. And so I’ve traditionally used to as a turning point in my own life, after the craziness of summer, even when I haven’t been physically returning to school, to make new goals and get back to business. And this year’s no different.

This past summer was one in which I got very little done; a lot was going on and I found it hard to focus. I spent the first half of summer feeling guilty about this, about not writing or accomplishing any of the other goals I had set for myself, but quickly I realised that sometimes you just have to let go. I have a hard time doing this, and usually spend a lot of time feeling guilty, but I tried to change this this summer. I enjoyed myself as much as I could, knowing that once September came I would become focused and get back to work.

And so I spent the day yesterday making a list of goals for myself for the month. As some of you might know, I love making lists. But they’re usually vague and just titled ‘to do’ with no indication of when I need to accomplish them by. But this time I made my list just for September and now, I find that my list is a lot more manageable. Instead of just writing ‘start writing next novel’, I’ve written ‘begin drafting next novel’ because I realise that that’s a more realistic goal for the month. Hopefully making smaller goals for myself will help me feel more accomplished.

Over the summer, I stopped using my personal planner, because things just sort of happened on a whim. But in my attempt to get more focused and get more done, I plan on going back to writing things down, even things I hope to accomplish each day. Naturally I felt that a new (cute) agenda was necessary for this! :P

Anyways, I hope the beginning of this month finds you all well. I hope you all had a relaxing and restful summer!

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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DIY: Paper Bows

diy: paper bowsHello friends! I’ve got a cute DIY tutorial for you today: paper bows! They are super easy to make and add such a cute touch to any gift or card.

They’re simple to make, and can be made in any colour paper to change up the look completely. They’re three dimensional and can make any present or gift look personalized.

Let’s get started! (more…)

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Dear Summer, Where Did You Go?

Hello friends!

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of August already! Every summer, I usually count down excitedly to August because of my birthday, but once the first of August passes by, the rest of August is usually a countdown to back to school. But even though I’m not going back to school this year, my brothers are, and so it still feels like a countdown to enjoy time with them before they both get busy with school again.

This year it also feels like a countdown to Fall. It’s gotten drastically colder here in the GTA this past week and it definitely feels like summer is quickly coming to an end! Gone are the days when it’s 20+ degrees at 9 in the morning. Now it’s barely 15, if anything, and then the temperature slowly rises in the day, only to plummet back again by evening. It’s such a drastic change this year that it’s making me dread the impending winter already!

This week I got the best surprise ever: my best friend, who now lives in NYC, whom I haven’t seen since April when I went to visit her, flew in on Tuesday! I knew she was waiting for some documents before she could come, so I wasn’t expecting her. I was hanging out with my cousin and nephew when she called me and asked me to come open my front door. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed louder!

And even though summer technically is coming to an end, I can’t wait to spend time with her and do all the things I’ve wanted to do all summer, but have had no one to do them with! On my long list: the drive-in (I’ve never been!) and a chocolate lounge near lakeshore. Can’t wait!

I haven’t really been reading anything new these days; I got a gift card from work and bought 2 new books, but they’re still sitting in the Chapters bag by my bed. Currently, I’ve been rereading Harry Potter and am currently on book 5, Order of the Phoenix! I know this doesn’t count as much coming from a longtime fan as me, but they are STILL so good! It’s been a few years since I’ve done a whole series reread; I used to do it once every year but since discovering Goodreads a few years ago, I haven’t had a chance since I’m always trying to keep up with my yearly goal. But I’ve kind of (temporarily) abandoned it in favour of rereading my favourite books and I have to say, I’m highly enjoying it. People often ask my how I can reread books when I already know what’s going to happen, but there are lots of reasons! You can read more about them here.

I was supposed to begin writing my fourth book this summer, but alas, that still hasn’t happened! I haven’t really written much this summer, unfortunately. I have written some poetry lately, and so I try to write in whatever form I can, just to keep practising. I’m still sending queries out for my third novel in hopes that someone somewhere out there likes it (inshAllah!) so keep your fingers crossed!

In some ways, this feels like the summer of incomplete projects (writing and baking projects), but alhamdulilah, it’s been a summer of even more exciting things. Usually, with the end of summer there’s a feeling of melancholy in the air, but for the first time, I’m more excited about the months to come and the changes they will bring.

But until then, I plan on enjoying the last few weeks of summer with my family and friends. :)

Hope you’ve all had a good summer!

Thanks for reading,

Ikhas

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Chocolate Chip Sprinkle Blondies

chocolate chip sprinkle blondies

It’s been more than a week since Eid, but I still haven’t caught up with all my work yet. Whenever Eid happens in the week, it takes about a week for the excitement to finish, because there’s just so many family parties and gatherings going on that seem to last forever!

I became super lazy this Ramadan, and my bout of laziness has yet to leave me. I know I have so much to do, but after a day at work, I want nothing to do than lie on the couch and watch movies, which I usually don’t even get around to, and instead just spend the hours on Pinterest (must…get…off…Pinterest -_-).

chocolate chip sprinkle blondies

My Summer Food Bucket List plan has also gone out the window, especially since I seem to be getting a lot more shifts at work and don’t really feel like experimenting in the kitchen. On Eid though, I decided to deviate from my traditional Eid fare (inside out chocolate chip cookies, find the recipe below!) and make these blondies. (How’s that for experimenting? lol)

Have I mentioned before how much I love bars/squares? If not, let me tell you now: as much as I love cookies, I absolutely love the no-fuss part of making bars. Throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and then toss in a pan. No chilling, no scooping, and very little clean up! How can you go wrong?

chocolate chip sprinkle blondies

The longest part of the whole process is baking, and that doesn’t take too long either. These Chocolate Chip Sprinkle Blondies come together in under 30 minutes, and with lots of sprinkles, are perfect for birthdays, other festive occasions, or just everyday! Have a look! :)

(more…)

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Friday Things

Hello friends!

So it feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve done a Friday Things post so I figured it’s time to catch up with you all :)

It was Eid this past Monday, and so I’m still recovering from all the excitement and joy that comes from the holiday. Every year, it takes me a few days to get used to Ramadan being over and this year is no exception.

It’s always a physical and a spiritual adjustment. Physical because your stomach naturally shrinks and it’s weird to eat in the daytime again. Everytime I get hungry in the day now, I have to remind myself that I can eat. How weird! It’s a spiritual adjustment because there are so many blessings in Ramadan and as soon as Eid is over, the days feel so different. I have no way of explaining or describing it, but no matter how excited I get every year that it’s almost Eid, once Eid passes I find myself feeling sad that it’s over.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get much work done this Ramadan and so find myself behind on a lot of my personal projects. I was supposed to begin working on my fourth manuscript this summer, but something huge happened right before Ramadan that made me super distracted and excited so that I still haven’t started it yet. Now that Ramadan finished a few days ago, I still find myself distracted and unable to focus. I barely kept up with blogging here and really had to push myself for my other blog as well!

I had also planned to bake a lot more, to explore a lot of the deserts that I’ve been itching to make for years but never have, but also never got around to those. I’d like to think that I’ll start getting to them again soon, but my mom has other plans for me. She’s on a mission to teach me Pakistani cooking this summer! While I love to cook, I’m not a big fan of Pakistani cuisine (except a few notable dishes), so I’ve never really taken much of an interest in learning to cook it. But my mom wants me to learn the staple dishes and so I have a feeling I know what the rest of my summer is going to look like…

I also happen to turn a quarter of a century today. I’ve been having my quarter-life crisis for a few years now, so this year doesn’t really feel too much different. But 30 seems a lot closer now than it did when I was 21, which is when my quarter life crisis began lol.

When I was a kid, turning 25 seemed so glamorous. I still remember turning 15 and thinking to myself where I would be in 10 years, thinking that I would be so much more accomplished and put together, thinking I would have it all figured out. And while a (large) part of keeps thinking about all the things I still haven’t accomplished yet, I still try to remind myself of all the ways I’ve changed in the past 10 years, and even in the past 5 years.

I definitely don’t have it all figured out but I feel like I’m a lot closer. I’ve realised that I don’t need to follow society’s expectations of being a woman or following a traditional career path. I’ve realised that I’d rather work my hardest over the things I love and that make me happy than on things that other people think I should do. I’ve realised that all I can do is try my hardest; things won’t always work out or happen the way and when I want them to do. But all I can do is try.

Ever since finishing school at the end of May, I felt like I had the whole summer stretching out until September. But September, which has always signified the beginning of a new routine for me, always feels a lot closer on my birthday. As someone who’s always been forward looking, it’s always been difficult for me to live in the moment and enjoy the present. I’m usually always regretting the past or thinking wistfully about the future. But this year I plan on changing that, inshAllah.

Today, I plan on being thankful for all the things I have right now and who I am. I don’t want to drown myself in the good memories of the past and thinking about how things used to be. I don’t want to lose myself in thoughts about all the things I have yet to accomplish in the future and all the things I want to be. I just want to be.

Sorry if this got overly cheesy/sentimental! I’m currently listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album (which I LOVE) and it’s very wistful and romantic.

Anyways, a belated Eid Mubarak to all of you who celebrated! For those of you who didn’t, a happy August to you all. Hope you’re enjoying the summer! :)

As always, thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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