Friday Things

Hey guys! How’s it going?

Ramadan is winding down, and things are getting busier than ever! But first of all: how is Ramadan more than half over? It feels like it just began. The days have been speeding by, and Eid is just around the corner.

Before Ramadan began, I was worried about how tough the fasts were going to be. The hot and long days combined meant that they were going to be extra tough. But after the first day, they were fine. Dare I even say, easy? I’m actually shocked by how easy I found them this year, compared to previous years. But I suppose that’s the beauty of Ramadan; each year is different, and so are your circumstances.

But with only 10 days left, the race is on for Eid. There’s so much to do! It’s my first Eid-ul-fitr away from my family, so there’s also a tinge of homesickness that is colouring all my preparations. Everybody’s got their own Eid traditions, and it’s what makes the day so special: reviving those family traditions. But being away from home also means that I can carry those traditions to my new home this year, and also make some new ones.

My personal tradition has obviously come with me: making Eid cards! Making cards is so relaxing and enjoyable for me, and having to make a bunch of them is my idea of a perfect evening. I’m in love with this year’s cards, and wish I was getting one too haha.

Unlike previous years, I haven’t been experimenting in the kitchen as much this year. I have a few basic dishes that I’ve been making throughout the month that I just keep rotating: baked boneless chicken 2 different ways, puff pastry, and keema or ground beef. I also tried my hand at making samosas this year but the shape was a bit off. They tasted good though!

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As for baking, I also made banana pudding! It’s not technically not baking, but you know what I mean. It’s one of my husband’s favourite desserts and I’ve been meaning to make it for ages. The one from Magnolia Bakery is supposedly famous, and that’s the recipe I used. I have no idea if it tasted anything like the original, because I don’t like bananas so I didn’t try it. According to my husband, it was good. Here is the recipe, in case you’re interested. I ended up halving it and it was too much for one person, even over the course of a few days. The bananas tend to blacken after a few days, so it doesn’t last very long. So keep that in mind when you’re making it!

Ramadan means staying up at odd hours of night/day which means insomnia at certain parts of the day for me. For example, right after sehri, is a tough time especially since I’ve just eaten and my brain is all wired up and the birds are also up and making it impossible for me to fall back asleep. This is the time when I usually scroll Pinterest and Instagram. About a week ago, I randomly stumbled across people who do brush lettering. Several hours later, I was obsessed and wanted to learn too!

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Brush lettering is different from calligraphy in that it uses markers and pens, rather than fancy calligraphy tools. This is my amateur understanding of it, but I could be totally wrong! I tried to learn calligraphy before with a set I bought from Chapters a couple years ago, but it was rubbish. But I’ve always been interested in lettering and beautiful scripts, and brush lettering actually seemed doable.

But of course, nothing is as easy as it looks, especially on social media! I just received my special markers yesterday and haven’t had much time to practice yet. But it’s also really relaxing and enjoyable. I’m still learning basic strokes and am just starting to make letters, but I can’t wait till I can start joining the letters and making words!

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I know, I sound like I’m learning writing for the very first time, like a 5 year old. When my husband first saw me pull out my practice sheets for script lettering, he was like you know our 4 year old niece is also learning her letters? -_- So yeah it looks like I’m learning my ABCs again lol.

Anyway, that’s what’s new with me! I started writing this post earlier in the day and just got back to it around 10:30 and am now finishing up at 11! Oops! So it’s sort of a late Friday Things for this week.

Hope you all had a fabulous week!

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Review: Red Queen

Red QueenMare Barrow is a Red. In a world ruled by elite Silvers, her and her family live day to day on their meagre income- and what Mare steals. The Silvers, on the other hand, are rich and powerful, and all are ruled over by the King.

After an encounter with a stranger, Mare finds herself in the heart of the Silver power- in the palace- as she miraculously gets a job to serve in the kitchens. At the palace, Mare is exposed as a Red with Silver abilities.

In order to protect her- and to watch her closely- the King makes Mare stay at the palace and forces her to get engaged with his second son, Maven. His first son happens to be the stranger who helped her get the job in the first place.

Stuck at the palace, Mare finds herself at the heart of a Red revolution- and also stuck between the two princes.

 

Continue reading →

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Wanderlust

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My desire to travel the world, in recent years, has become irresistible. It’s a deep longing in my soul, a stirring I get every now and then, that makes me wish I could grow wings and soar above lands of antiquity and breathtaking beauty. It’s an itch to see a new world and be immersed in new surroundings, filled with people I’ve never met and cultures I’d love to explore. It’a a desire that keeps me up at night, as my mind can’t help but imagine all the wondrous sights this wonderful world is filled with.

Unfortunately, travel is expensive! And so I’ve never actually been anywhere, unless you count Pakistan, to visit family (which I don’t). I’ve been to Florida twice, New York and Montreal once. I haven’t travelled my own country yet, but that doesn’t stop me from dying to see the rest of the world!

Pinterest has definitely awakened the wanderlust inside of me, especially over the past year or so. I keep seeing the same gorgeous photos splashed across its pages, which inspired me to create my own Places to Dream About board, to keep track of all the places I dream of visiting. The list grows every day!

So here is my list of places that are literally calling to my soul.

ITALY

Ah, Italy, where to begin? So when I used to think of Italy, I used to only think of Venice and Rome. Venice seems to be a hauntingly beautiful city, with its wondrous waterways that wander through the city. And Rome with its ancient ruins and history, has always called to me.

But recently I’ve discovered many more gorgeous cities and towns in Italy, like Sorrento, Positano, Cinque Terre, Lake Como, and not to mention the Amalfi coast. I would love to walk the cobbled streets, under ancient archways, along the same steps as great artists and architects.

FRANCE

Let’s start with Paris. It’s supposed to be the most romantic city in the world, and how can it not be? With the glittering Eiffel Tower in the background, I can imagine myself strolling the charming, yet trendy streets, standing next to the grand glass pyramid outside the Louvre, browsing the books in Shakespeare and Company, gazing upon the awe-inspiring Arc de Triomphe, visiting the fresh and famous farmer’s markets that are in abundance, and eating all the croissants, pastries, and macarons to my hearts content. <3

But France is more than Paris! It’s also got many smaller villages and towns that seem like they’re plucked right out of a fairy tale. I can just hear Belle singing “Little Town” from Beauty and the Beast in the background as I type this! The world may have become more technologically advanced and filled with population, but these little towns seem like they’re frozen in a much simpler, easier time.

And you can’t forget about Versailles, the center of French opulence and decadence. It’s a palace teeming with history!

THE FRENCH RIVIERA

The French Riviera or Cote d’Azur includes the south of France, but it also includes the principality of Monaco. It’s on the Mediterranean coastline, which makes it share the stunning blue Mediterranean sea and climate.

I have an obsession with water; any city or town perched on the edge of a cliff, near water, simply calls to me. And when I see these pictures of Monaco always being of quaint houses perched on hills, staring into crystal blue sea, my heart just flutters. Everything seems so colourful and so clean, and pristine.

GREECE

Remember what I said about water calling to me? The same goes for Greece! When I first saw the famous blue-capped, white houses of Santorini in a movie once, I fell in love. Perched on top of a hill, the houses are crowded but gaze out onto the stunning blue of the Mediterranean sea. I dream about travelling through all the small islands of Greece, walking along the jagged coastline, climbing the steps of cobbled stairways to blue-domed houses, and feasting on the succulent seafood found fresh in the sea.

But no trip to Greece is complete without a trip to historic Athens! A centre for Western cultural birth, there is so much history buried beneath the surface here.

EGYPT

Egypt has been on my travel bucket list since I was a little girl. I used to want to be an Egyptologist when I was younger, because I was enthralled by Egyptian history. I know there’s more to the country than ruins, especially now, but for me, it’s a place of childhood fascination and I cannot wait until the day my eyes feast on the breathtaking beauty of the Pyramids! I’ve watched countless documentaries about them, seen thousands of pictures, but I’m sure they do no justice to their majestic presence in person.

I’d love to breathe in the air at the Valley of the Kings, where hundreds of pharaohs were buried with all their worldly belongings, take a cruise down the Nile, one of the most fertile rivers in the world, and travel to Alexandria, one of the metropolitan cities of the ancient world. Ah, Egypt!

 

These are just a few of the places I’m dying to visit! If I kept going, this post would never stop! Other must-see places include: The United Kingdom (also a childhood dream- Harry Potter, Jane Austen, Shakespeare; need I say more?), the Maldives, Turkey (a crossroads of cultures and continents, plus so much history), Austria, Switzerland, and Malaysia.

So many places, not enough time! Even as I’ve been writing this post and selecting pictures to share with you all, I’m getting the itch again. Pictures are one thing, but I want to experience the world with smell and sound, touch and taste, and not just through the screen.

What are your top places to visit?

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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Catching Up

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Hey guys!

So it’s been awhile since I’ve updated on here. May was quite a busy month, and with Ramadan starting today, I’m sure June will be busy as well!

Ramadan Mubarak, first of all, for those observing! The fasts are going to be long, especially with the heat, but we’ll get through them and come out stronger inshAllah 🙂

So what have I been up to exactly? Well, something unexpected I’ve been doing recently is watching a lot of basketball! It’s unexpected because, as many of you know, I’m not a sports lover by any means so watching any sport is a big deal for me. But my husband is a big basketball fan and so I’ve found myself watching a lot of games with him. Before, I used to just be on my computer and be doing my own thing, but then I started watching a little bit and now I actually enjoy it! I don’t keep track of any of any of the games, by any means, but if they’re on, I’ll watch.

My home team of the Raptors didn’t make it to the finals, so now I’m cheering for the Golden State Warriors, who seem the most likely to win.

You might have noticed that I haven’t really been posting many new recipes on here lately. I’m still baking, but I haven’t had a chance to try out any new recipes lately. And now that it’s Ramadan, I don’t know what my schedule will be like.

If you were here last year, you probably remember my food frenzy! I love experimenting in Ramadan and I tried a bunch of new recipes last year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that this year, because my routine will be completely different. But I hope I can try a few at least!

Also, this is my first Ramadan away from my family, so it’s definitely going to be a big change! Everybody has their own Ramadan routine and Ramadan traditions; being away from my parents means that I have to come up with new traditions and have to create a new routine based on my current schedule.

Food is definitely part of tradition and I know I’m going to miss my family’s traditional Ramadan fare. My parents would make the same stuff they make very year, with me supplementing with some different and fun stuff. It was awesome.

But being away from home means that I can try to keep the weight off this Ramadan! I know, I know, I say this every year, but this year I’m determined. (Although my determination is wavering as I think about what I want for iftar tonight…). But the trouble is making yummy things for iftar and then wanting them again in sehri. So I’m just going to avoid it altogether and only make one thing for iftar that I can eat for sehri. Let’s see how it goes!

 

Moving on from food! I’ve recently discovered spray paint! And I’m kind of obsessed with it. I bought these glass bottles from Target for a couple of bucks a week or two ago and spray painted them gold. I then stuck flowers in them for a cute home decor piece! It was less than $10 too so it’s a fun and cheap idea.

In other news, I really miss writing these days. Like I mentioned before, my other blog has pretty much taken over my life, and while I love writing posts for it, I miss writing for me. This blog was one of my outlets, but lately it can’t be that anymore. And so I barely get to do any personal writing, which I’m really missing and craving.

I know I say this a lot, but I’m going to try and write more on here. Even if it’s only rambly, boring posts like this. It actually took me 2 attempts to write this; I tried last night and it was like I was writing a laundry list of everything I’d been up to and it was so boring. It’s like I was out of practice and that’s when it hit me how little I’ve been writing these days. So please excuse any further boring posts like these while I try and get my groove back!

Anyway, my stomach is making obscene amount of noises right now and it’s only 4 in the afternoon. -_- So I’m going to go now!

As always, thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

 

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DIY: Ombre Roses Shadow Box

Ombre Roses Shadow Box

Hey guys!

I’ve got a DIY tutorial for you all today: ombre roses in a shadow box. If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen a few versions of this already. This is the latest one!

So I bought a shadow box frame from Homegoods a few months ago and I was obsessed with doing something new and different with it. I’ve used one before to make a photo collage of me and my best friend, which I gave to her as a gift when she got married. But I wanted to do something different with the shadow box this time. I wanted to put flowers.

DIY: Ombre Roses Shadow Box

So I found a tutorial online and made them! The first one was a little botched because I didn’t have the correct varying shades of pink, and so it wasn’t really as ombre as it should have been. But it was a good experiment!

DIY: Ombre Roses Shadow Box

The next one I made for my mother in law. She wanted it in purple and so I found a pack of purple paper, which had 5 different shades of purple in it. I picked 3 of them and made the roses from that. For this one, she didn’t want a shadow box and instead wanted a regular frame. I found one that was similar at Homegoods with a removeable back that was deep enough.

And now I present to you this one: my final piece. This one is for my mom. I really hope she doesn’t read or see this before I see her because it’s her birthday present! I really hope she likes it 🙂

So if you know anything about me, you know that I love pink. And so when I found this beautiful 10 x 18 linen shadow box in Homegoods, I knew I had to buy it. And I knew the roses were going to be pink.

What I love about this project is how easy it is. It’s a bit time-consuming (the roses don’t roll themselves lol) but it’s fairly easy and it ends up looking so impressive in the end. Plus it’s such a nice gift to make someone that they can use to decorate their home.

Let’s take a look how to make this! Continue reading →

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