Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday Bliss

Sunday is the day we slow down and really appreciate what is around us.  When we catch up with ourselves after a busy week.

I have been participating in the selfie challenge hosted by Elsie and Emma over at A Beautiful Mess. ~T

Fasting has helped me appreciate the little things more-like fresh water. ~M

Thursday, July 25, 2013

slinky 2
Photo by Woodleywonderworks (flickr)

The intwerwebs are easy to fall into. Sometimes too easy and you find yourself akin to a slinky stuck on an elevator, falling and falling until you aren't really sure where you began on where to stop. Here are a few things that made us pause recently:

Even the seemingly insignificant words we say mean something more >>>
Once clothes were tailored to fit us, but now we tailor ourselves to fit the clothes >>>
Artist Alyssa Dennis makes dreamy detailed works >>> (I especially like this one)
We all know that family members look alike, but this is a whole other level >>>
This Chicago based t-shirt company is really going places, and they have great designs >>>
Really want to try the two tone lippie, can't seem to get enough of the pink and red contrast >>>
Bec Winnel's portfolio is stunning,we really want a couple prints for ourselves >>>
Jenny recently diy-ed concrete countertops, seriously thinking about recreating this one >>>
Having lived in Uptown, I am kind of obsessed with the Uptown theater. If only I had the money for this lot >>>
Elizabeth is doing an fascinating series on babies/children as they grow >>>

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In my neck of the woods we have doughnuts

Apparently, cupcakes are so last year. Doughnuts are the new black (Chicago Reader even named it the best new food trend). I am a big fan of doughnuts, even though until fairly recently all I had ever really had was the Dunkin and supermarket variety. But then again, I think doughnuts are kind of like pizza where even when they are bad they are still good. Or maybe my sweet tooth is steadily taking over my brain and I am lost.

Glazed and Infused started as a modest little window in Wicker Park. There was something so exciting about being able to walk up to this little hole in the wall and receive the bounties of sugary goodness while the rest of the world was binging on tacos (from Big Star of course). Late night wandering no longer really work with my lifestyle though so now I like to get my fix from the West Loop location.

Every day there are a variety of flavors that are rotated depending on the season. This visit we were lucky enough to get blueberry lemon, a strawberry glazed bismark with lemon curd filling, a banana cream cheese and a bear claw with apples and almond paste. I had been hoping for one of their everything doughnuts but maybe I will have better luck next time. ~T

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sunday bliss

Sunday is the day we slow down and really appreciate what is around us.  When we catch up with ourselves after a busy week.

Working on a furniture transformation. More details to come ~T

It's my fiancee's birthday! ~M

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Maria's Bridal Shower

Maria is getting married this August and I wanted to do something extra special for her bridal shower. Since this is her last summer home it was a goodbye party of sorts as well and I made sure she went out with a bang.

My little sister has always had a very charming way about her that people can't seem to resist. She got her first flowers from a boy in kindergarten during recess. I remember thinking way back then that she would be a heart-breaker. So, it makes sense that she would get engaged in one of the most romantic places in the world; after all she is someone who deserves to be swept off her feet. From the lofty view of Montmartre Maria's attention was stolen by her fiancee popping the question. This was my inspiration for her party (plus Maria's love of lemonade).


Photos by Nakia Carbide

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Iftaar Party (Bribing my friends to come over and do some manual labor)

Until you have had a wedding in your house you don't exactly know all that is involved with pulling a wedding off. I am getting married this August and since I am the second child in the family to get married I knew I would need the help of my friends to get things done. Since it is Ramadan, I decided to have my friends over for some food (nihari! my favorite) and help me get some stuff done.

For the main ceremony everyone will eat together at the mosque. We have invited over 500 people; that is a lot of guests to provide with napkins, cups and cutlery...oh and food of course. In the mosque, we will eat sitting on the floor around a large metal disk called a taal. All of our food is placed on the taal and we share the meal family style while mostly eating with our hands.

Oh all of the SOLO cups...

We always start a meal with a taste of salt. It acts as a palate cleanser and reminds us about how lucky we are to have food in front of us. Since it is such an important part of the meal we like to dress our salt up in style. Thus we are decorating these cute little holders for each taal.
Painting some swans

One of our wedding traditions is that the bride's family gives gifts to the groom and his family. My fiancee has a large family so we have lots of things to wrap up prettily.
Wrapping up the gifts

We got a lot done this night. Thanks guys! Please wish me luck in getting the rest done!


Sunday Bliss

Sunday is the day we slow down and really appreciate what is around us.  When we catch up with ourselves after a busy week.

Sorry for the late post! A sick and teething baby has made things a bit hectic lately.

Every summer I re-read Harry Potter ~M
Just bought some antique mini drawers ~T
Wavefront music festival ~M
Baby toes in the sand  ~T

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pure Michigan

Lake gazing

A couple weeks ago we took a family vacation to celebrate some birthdays. This was the vacation of our childhood. We all packed into our respective cars and drove a few hours to one of the most remote places I have ever been. I was honestly afraid my little toy car would get stuck in the tire treads on the gravel roads; and since there was no cell phone reception I do not know what we would have done if that had happened. We had rented a cute little lake adjacent cottage off of Airbnb and the weekend was full of games and hijinks. We went canoeing, played board games, created a roaring bonfire and even started a family band.

There were a couple baby sized tables perfect for Bachu

Out on the lake
We had a blast on this tree swing
scrabble photo 20130622_173404_zps43818a1e.jpg
Scrabble was an intense affair
Cute garage turned taco stand off the highway

And last but not least a video of the band...

I always knew

Fireworks by Maria Sayla

I am currently living out y dream of becoming an artist. I go to one of the best art schools in England and am so happy to be there. I go to the Manchester School of Art which is part of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Ever since I was a kid I constantly drew pictures and colored. Usually at some point kids grow out of that; I never did. I always wanted to be an artist. As I grew older I came to realize that being an artist isn't the most practical job so I bounced around ideas of going into psychology and even pharmacy. But I knew that would  never make me happy, sure I would be more stable financially, but money really can't buy true happiness.

After graduating high school I was lost. My parents never pressured me to go into anything specific, but like all parents they wanted me to be stable and happy. I started my post high school education in community college. I took an art class in my first semester and finally decided that I am going into art.

Art makes me so happy. Deep down I guess I always knew that nothing else would compare. I have worked very hard to get to where I am now. I am constantly learning new things every day. Being an artist is so exciting for me. It's funny to think back and remember being told by my drawing teacher that I didn't have the talent to become an artist. I never let that get me down. I am so passionate about what I do that no matter what anyone says I will pursue it. I mainly draw and paint but my skills aren't limited to that. The past year in school I have learned so much more.

I am happy and thankful for all the love and support my friends and family have given me. I am not yet sure what I will do when I graduate, but no matter what it will be in the art field. I will always be an artist, and always have been it just took me a little time to realize it.


When I knew

“I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: You Are A Writer’ held by Positive Writer.” - See more at:
“I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: You Are A Writer’ held by Positive Writer.” - See more at:
“I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: You Are A Writer’ held by Positive Writer.” - See more at:
“I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: You Are A Writer’ held by Positive Writer.” - See more at:

 I have always been an avid reader. In grade school I was the awkward kid who found a little corner off to the side and read a book during recess instead of playing kickball. I was a champ at four square though. I was always getting lost in the world I created in my head with the help of the likes of LM Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott and Madeleine L'engle. It never occurred to me that I could ever create such wonderful stories until I read Harriet the Spy (by Louise Fitzhugh). In Harriet I found a kindred spirit. And I did all I could to imitate her by writing about everything I saw. But things got rocky for Harriet and that held me back. I wanted to be smarter than Harriet; learn from her mistakes without actually making them myself. So I didn't fully commit, I dabbled but wouldn't lose myself in my own creations like I did with others'.

The turning point came during in 5th grade. The annual young authors competition brought something out in me I hadn't really felt before. Sharing my weekly progress with my classmates made me want to share more and more. Let everyone see this castle-in-the-air of my creation. I read my story to everyone who would sit still long enough. It was a compulsion to make people understand what I saw when I closed my eyes. A few years later when I began writing poetry, I realized how futile that was. Now I look forward to seeing how others interpret what always seems so clear to me when I first put pen to paper. In college I had a random acquaintance tell me he looked forward to following my career, that was when I really felt like I had arrived. I realized my so-called-dabbling was something real and concrete not just to me but to others as well. I write primarily for myself, but I am not the only reader I keep in mind. Like your stereotypical writer I crave approval, adoration even.


note: I got the idea for this post from a contest hosted by Positive Writer

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cooking Countesses: lemon raspberry cake with coconut frosting

It is a milestone birthday for our Momma this year but she explicitly told Maria we weren't allowed to throw her a party. I, however, decided to ignore that (just a little).

A few days before her birthday, I hosted family club. For those who are unfamiliar with the Pakistani social construct of club it is essentially a group of people (friends, family, couples etc) that decide to meet on a regular basis so that we can make sure we get to spend time together in person and catch up.

Since Maria arrived a few days before club I was able to enlist her help in preparing my home and our meal. She was even kind enough to make this fun banner for decoration.

The ladies arrived when the sun was bright and high for our luncheon. Ironically, our Momma was the last one to arrive due to some appliance issues that needed her attention. For the appetizers Maria prepared cheese and crackers with some honey while I baked zucchini fries and our guests sipped some homemade kiwi lemonade. Once everyone arrived we chowed down on beef peppercorn patties in a cream sauce with steamed green beans, spinach onion bread and mashed potatoes. Then Momma made us tea and Maria and I brought out the surprise birthday cake and gave her our presents.

We are pretty sure she knew the cake was coming since I had asked Maria over the night before to help me prepare but she had the grace to act surprised anyways.

The lemon cake was pretty easy to prepare and came out delightfully fluffy. And the raspberries paired wonderfully with the bright tartness of the lemons. We used this recipe for the lemon raspberry cake and made a coconut whipped cream frosting because I am still kind of intimidated by butter cream. I will definitely be making this cake again.

Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp sweetened coconut flakes

Note: I used a stand mixer but this can easily be done with a whisk or immersion blender as well
1. Place the coconut milk can in the fridge overnight. This will help the water separate from the cream.
2. The next day scoop the cream out from the top of the can into a mixing bowl, make sure not to get any of the water as it will make the end result runny
3. Add the lemon juice, zest, whipping cream and sugar and using the whisk attachment on the stand mixer mix the ingredients on low til stiff peaks begin to form.
4. Using a spatula fold in the sweetened coconut flakes and ice the cake with a generous layer