September really was quite a month.. we went from Amsterdam to Cairo, Iraq and then finally wrapped things up with friends and family in Dubai. We stayed at my uncle's place, my mom flew in from Karachi to spend some much need time with her grandson. My brother flew in from Sri Lanka, he was having a boy's getaway and catching some cricket matches. M has a few friends and cousin's who live there, as do mine. The plan was to try to meet them all, but by the time we got to Dubai we were exhausted and hibernation seemed like the best idea.

So we ate 

 D played with a miniature shopping cart.. how cute is that!

he sat in a car

he slept in a car (a crazy expensive bed that had lights)

I met my friends.. I have known these ladies since I was 11 or 12 years old.

M met up with his cousin..

and here's a little before

and after for you.. D with my brother at six months and again at two years.

Three days went by in a blur.. and our adventure came to an end.. hope you all enjoyed the trip.

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Liebster Award

It is always a pleasant surprise when you get nominated for a blog award, it is a great reminder that there are people out there that truly enjoy reading what you have to say and share.. So a great big thank you to Grace of GP Photography for nominating me for the Liebster Award.

The Rules:
- Post 11 random facts about yourself.
- Answer the questions your nominator asked.
- Create 11 new questions for your 11 nominees.
- Link your nominees to your post & obviously tell them.
- No tag backs.

11 random facts about me:
1.I have never had an actual out of home in the office job.
2. Moved to Pakistan at the age of ten
3. Hate yogurt, hate!
4. Have an intense fear of bugs, even butterflies.
5. I am not even 5ft tall.
6. I love to read.
7. I was almost off to law school but found photography instead.
8. I have traveled to four continents.
9. I don't need a reason to laugh.
10. M and my birthday's are just a day apart... plus five years.
11. I like to think my baked goods look better than they actually do.

Questions Grace asked me:
1. Which celebrity would play you in a movie about your life?
My husband answered this one: Mila Kunis

2. What is your favorite holiday?
I love Christmas, even though we don't celebrate.

3. What is your favorite item from your closet?
Right now it's my red pants and a yellow clutch.

4. What is your favorite Disney movie?
The Little Mermaid.

5. What is your dream job?
It's what I do right now.. I'd just love a little more recognition and sales.

6. What is your favorite book?
I don't have one. I enjoy so many books for different reasons, it wouldn't be fair to them to choose.

7. It's alright to brag, what is something you love about yourself?
I'm not petty, I don't hold grudges or like to cause unneeded drama.

8. What is your favorite food to make?

9. What is a fashion "don't" that you've done in the past?
Oh god.. I'm sure I've committed plenty of fashion crimes I'm not even aware of.

10. What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?
Lounging in bed and then sharing a nice big breakfast with my family.

11. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
I can't seem to put my finger on just one.. I have been blessed with a very supportive husband who has helped me realize that my work is good, that I am an artist and not just a lady with a camera.. and that support is invaluable.

My nominees:
Blessings of a Stay at Home Mom
A Girl in Transit
Bringing Up Emilu
Leigh Ann Fisher
Outside Looking In
Krug the Thinker
I Heart Interiors
Sparrow and Spark
Magical Day Dream
Sideburns and Bangs
Pumpkin Delight

Questions for my nominees:
1.What is your favorite city that you have been to?
2.If you could do anything, what would you do?
3.What is your favorite household chore?
4.What was your favorite cartoon growing up?
5.What is your current guilty pleasure?
6. What is the most exciting thing you have ever done?
7.What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you do now?
8.What are you reading right now?
9.What is your favorite room in the house?
10.Would you travel back in time or to the future?
11.Who is the most fascinating person you have ever met?

It's still not too late to enter my Giveaway!

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Seven Days in Iraq

After our nine hours in Amsterdam and three days in Cairo we were now on our way to spend seven days in Iraq. We spent the first four in Karbala, where the tragic battle of Karbala took place.

Here lays the body of Imam Hussain (A.S) and his two sons including six month old Ali Asghar (A.S), his brother Abbas (A.S) and the seventy two martyrs of Karbala 

The next three days were spent in Najaf where lies the father of Imam Hussain (A.S), Imam Ali (A.S). The mosque in which Imam Ali (A.S) was martyred in.

Also in Najaf is one of the largest cemeteries in the world, it houses over half a million graves including two prophets.

We enjoyed a lot of delicious and refreshing pomegranate juice.

Being in Iraq was unlike anything I had ever experienced. There were check points every where. You were body searched when you entered the area of the shrines, then you were again searched before entering each shrine. Bags were checked to make sure you had no cell phones or cameras hence the inability to take any pictures. But take my word for it, the interiors of the shrines were breathtakingly beautiful. And as apprehensive I was about travelling to Iraq with D in tow it was actually a very peaceful experience.

I always hear people talking about how they went to a holy site and the experience moved them, spiritually enlightened them and other such things and I was always seemed like something you are supposed to say. But now I can attest to the fact, the experience did in fact move me, it was spiritually fulfilling in a way I hadn't imagined. And I wish it for everyone who is searching for it.

Now just one stop left, full of family, fun and hopefully sleep. See you all in Dubai

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The City of a Thousand Minarets

I am so glad you all enjoyed our layover in Amsterdam and now it's almost time to take you to Egypt, but before I do I must give you a little background. When I told you that we had a trip planned I mentioned that is was not going to be a trip of leisure but of prayer and spirituality. And it was exactly that, it was not about the pyramids or the museums but of a beauty, history and pain of a different kind. Let me explain. Most of you know that we are Muslims. Like most religions, Islam too is divided into many sects, the main two being Sunni and Shia. We belong to the latter. The Shia's are further divided into many sects, we belong to a a sub sect of the Fatimid's known as the Dawoodi Bohra's. You may have seen Muslim women wearing headscarves and burqah's etc. We, the women, traditionally wear what is called a rida (they can be a variety of colors with embroidery and applique, sequins, bead work and ribbon work, the sky is the limit) and the men a white kurta (top) pajama (bottoms) with topi (hat). While we, M and I, are strong in our beliefs we are moderate in our lives and hence do not wear them unless there is a religious event. Now since this journey was religious in nature we wore:

Because the Dawoodi Bohra's (more commonly known as bohri's) are such a small community, when we go to these pilgrimages there are places for us to stay. They may be as good as a hotel, motel or hostel depending on the location; and they typically provide transportation, food, laundry service etc. But you have to keep in mind that this in fact a pilgrimage which are not supposed to be easy.

While in Egypt, Cairo to be exact, our main focus was Imam Hussain (A.S.), the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H). Imam Hussain along with his family, close friends and followers were starved and kept thirsty for three days before being brutally martyred in Karbala (present day Iraq). I will stay clear of the gory details, in the end Imam Hussain was beheaded and while his body remains buried in Karbala, his head is now buried in Cairo. His sister Zainab (A.S.)'s shrine is also in Cairo along with several other members of the Prophet's family. During this trip we visited these shrines to pay our respects.

What many of you may not know is that Cairo, the capital of Egypt was founded by the Fatimid Dynasty in the 10th century. It is also know as the City of Minarets with more than a thousand mosques in the city. We were able to visit seven of them, each with such rich histories and beautiful architecture.

Masjid Anwar 

 Masjid Lulua

 Masjid Aqmar

 Masjid Azhar

Masjid Azhar 

 Masjid Tuloon

Mohammad Ali Mosque

We also cruised along the Nile 

saw the Pyramids and the Sphinx and before we even knew it, our Egyptian adventure came to an end and we were off to Iraq.. with apprehension and full of prayers..

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Amsterdam Again

In September I took a travelling hiatus, on the way to our destination we had a nine hour layover in the wonderfully charming Amsterdam. This was not our first time visiting but it was D's.



We had a good six hours to spend in the city, so we took the train to the central station and then walked and reminisced. We had lunch at the Nieuwe Kafe in Dam Square and it was delicious. And then D discovered pigeons.

and then we were on our way to Egypt.

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Banana Walnut Stuffed French Toast

I know this is late.. months late but I haven't forgotten. I had said that I would share the recipe for the Banana Walnut Stuffed French toast I made M for Father's Day and have now become our Sunday tradition.. they are so easy and delicious.

Chop some walnuts, slice a banana sometimes I throw in a strawberry or two into the mix. In a pan take a little butter, add the walnuts, bananas and some brown sugar and cook till nice and gooey :)

In another dish whisk an egg in some milk, cream if available or interested and a dash of cinnamon. 

 Lay out the bread and spread the mixture generously and make a sandwich

Soak both sides in the egg mixture and grill in a pan with a bit of oil/butter

and serve golden brown.

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Starting School

I can't believe the time has already come, but yes my baby boy is ready to go off school. He is now bored of his mommy and needs some friends his own age. 

You can just see the excitement in his eyes. He picked out his own back pack and can get there fast enough. Though he has had a rough first few days. He started the day after we came back from our trip and didn't have time to recover from his jet lag. So while he was excited, he ended up falling asleep mid class (which is three hours, three days a week) The first day he slept till I came to pick him up, the other two he woke up mid way and ended up disoriented and cranky. Hopefully this week will be different.

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Getting to Know CoCo's Jewelry

Before I get to D's big milestone and cute pictures I'd like to introduce you to the wonderfully talented Coco of Coco's Jewelry she is my October sponsor. 

Tell us something about yourself

I live in Toronto in a light filled hi-rise condo, where my kitchen has been taken over by my sewing machine, and my den functions as my jewelry studio. I devote pretty much all my time to my work, but when I am not working, I love to spend time with family and friends, cooking gourmet meals and do some travelling.

How did you get started in your handmade business?

About 3 years ago I visited a yoga retreat in the States and one of my work assignments (karma yoga) was to help with the spiritual jewelry store on campus. It came as a total surprise to me that I actually loved making jewelry! But designs were strictly monitored there; so when I returned home, I set my imagination loose and started to create the type of jewelry I would wear (if I wore jewelry!!). Soon thereafter, I found Etsy and things just fell into place.

What makes your work different?

When I see all the incredible talent on Etsy and elsewhere, I feel humbled. The true artists are those that create out of nothing, manipulating metals and other materials into shapes of incredible beauty. In this sense, I don’t consider myself an artist.
Having said this, I am very comfortable with my design aesthetic. I hope that people will connect with this aesthetic and find what I make, beautiful. I am very particular about quality and craftsmanship, and I hope people will see that in my work.
I love to try different things. People will notice that in my shop. There’s such a variety of styles, materials and techniques. I love gemstones, crystals, leather, resin, bone, ceramic, clay, metals, anything that I can turn into beautiful jewelry.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

At this time I cannot imagine doing anything other than what I am doing now. I just love it. I hope that in 10 years I will continue to do what I love doing and be really successful at it!

And if you love Coco's Jewelry then you will be amazed by CoCo's Handbags.

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I'm Back!

Just to let you all know we're back.. lots of tales to tell.. but first I need to unpack, take a shower and probably eat something.. will be back to my regular posting on Thursday.. and it'll be about a new sponsor and then on Monday D's big milestone.. if you like cute pictures you'll want to be here..

And a little something just for all my fellow coffee lovers source

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