Saturday, March 31, 2012


I woke up this morning and was so aware of my body. I feel young and strong. I take a deep breath. It is easy. I look at my hands. My fingers stretch out and close in a ball. There is no pain. I look around. I see the sun pouring into the room. I can see the details on my dresser that is far away. My sight is good. I hear the birds chirping outside our window. I hear a lawn mower in the distance. My heart beat is steady. I get out of bed and my legs are sturdy. I have a drink of water and it feel it cooling me as it goes down.

I am 28 years old and I can't believe I ever hated my body. Thank you God for giving me this healthy, wonderful treasure.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

When I was a teenager my cousin used to recite her favorite Urdu poems to me and I would struggle to understand them. Although I speak Urdu fluently, a lot of the vocabulary in Urdu poetry is beyond me. As I get older, I am trying harder to read Urdu poetry and understand it in the native language. In the meantime, I still love reading good translations.  One of my favorite Urdu poets is Faiz Ahmed Faiz. I found this great translation of one of my favorite poems of his (listen to it here):
Craving your love, he gambled away
both this world and the next.
Look – he is leaving now -
having spent the night in grief.
And the taverns are deserted,
and the wine glasses are upset;
hurt by your departure
even the Spring has turned away.
Forgetting you was a reprieve,
but it did not last.
Now we have seen how far
even God can be trusted.
The world seduced us,
made us exiles from your memory;
day by day, the business of living
proved more deceptive than your love.
And then, today, she smiled,
forgetting herself,
and the heart, so long unused,
began to beat with a new urgency.
Another great one:
Your sorrow came, searching for life,
But those who would have died for you are gone,
Those who would have bowed their heads when you passed
Have all gone their own ways.
And the night is gone too,
Annoyed with you for keeping it waiting;
And those who came to console me have left,
Angry with me because I would not cry.
There is no question of love now,
I cannot complain, cannot say what grieves me,
I have no suggestions to make
In the tyranny of your love
My heart has lost all its rights.
I was the one
Whose shirt turned red with the blood from the streets;
These are the stains that I wore proudly
All the way to my beloved’s house.
But passion is out of style now,
And this rope, these gallows, are no longer needed;
Those who were proud to be accused of love
Have all vanished like criminals.
And one last one!
That which then was ours, my love,
don’t ask me for that love again.
The world then was gold, burnished with light –
and only because of you. That’s what I had believed.
How could one weep for sorrows other than yours?
How could one have any sorrow but the one you gave?
So what were these protests, these rumors of injustice?
A glimpse of your face was evidence of springtime.
The sky, wherever I looked, was nothing but your eyes.
If You’d fall into my arms, Fate would be helpless.
All this I’d thought, all this I’d believed.
But there were other sorrows, comforts other than love.
The rich had cast their spell on history:
dark centuries had been embroidered on brocades and silks.
Bitter threads began to unravel before me
as I went into alleys and in open markets
saw bodies plastered with ash, bathed in blood.
I saw them sold and bought, again and again.
This too deserves attention. I can’t help but look back
when I return from those alleys –what should one do?
And you still are so ravishing –what should I do?
There are other sorrows in this world,
comforts other than love.
Don’t ask me, my love, for that love again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Would you put a transit chair in your house? 

 I want this so badly for my balcony.

I am going to take a picture of this chair to Pakistan, have 5,000 made and become a millionaire.


I feel lame for liking anything from DWR but I always think I would get so much work
done in this chair! And I would need to be a doing a lot of work to afford this chair!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


via IndianFoodsCo

Today on the way home from work, I picked up two samosas. I could smell them the whole way home and  as soon as I got in the apartment, I sat down at the table and ate mine right up. Still hungry and wanting more of that goodness, I eyed the plate I set down for Feraz. I could eat it and he would never even know I had brought one for him. But I didn't.

That's love.

Monday, March 26, 2012

think pink!

I don't know if it is the cherry  blossoms or just the signs of spring in general but all I want to do is wear pink! Here are some of my favorite pinks right now.

I love the pink pants I'm seeing everywhere.

How about some hot pink nails if the pants are too bold?

This J.Crew skirt with a classic black and white stripe top
could be a summer uniform.

 A good t-shirt is underated.
If all else fails, I like to let my shoes do all the work.

Friday, March 23, 2012

capitol river cruise

We went on the Nightingale for a Capitol River Cruise last night.We thought it would be a good opportunity to see the cherry blossoms and even though we got a peek at the blossoms, it was the glorious sunset that stole the show. I love being outside around water or forests but I think my absolute favorite thing in nature is the sky. Some of my favorite moments in life have been lying on my back and looking up and feeling like I am falling into the sky.

Here are some great unedited shots of the sky from last night. I highly recommend doing the 7:00 ride which picks up in Georgetown and takes about half an hour.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Memories of Water on World Water Day

One of my earliest memories is from when we lived in Pakistan. I remember on cold mornings when my brother would take a little pitcher like the one in the picture below and he would pour water in my hands so I could wash my face. Then I would do the same for him. I remember the water being so cold and gasping when it hit my face. We didn't have any water source at that house until my sister was  born.


My mom used to walk down to my grandparents house and fill clay pots with water from the large well. I remember watching her slight body carry those large pots full of water on her head without any difficulty. When I was a little older I would help her pull the water from the well.


I remember the day my sister came home from the hospital. My mom was sitting with her on a woven bed and in the background men were installing a water pump. For the next year I would love pumping up and down and filling the buckets with water whenever we needed them. What a luxury it was to get water so easily.


As I would grow up my memories of water would take on a different context. There would be the great water of the Atlantic ocean as I flew to America for the first time. There would be the water of the Great Lakes as I grew up in Michigan. The water of the Bosphorus as I learned to live in Istanbul and now there is the water of the Potomac that we walk by on warm evenings.

From a trip to the UP.
From a frequent ride on the ferry in Istanbul.

I realize what a privilege it is that my current thoughts of water are filled with happy memories. It is amazing that so much of the world doesn't have access to clean water, leading to thousands of deaths every day. Matt Damon is the co-founder of and he wrote this great piece in the Huffington Post encouraging us to use our voices to bring attention to this issue. I hope you will join me in giving thanks for access to clean, safe water and if you can, I hope you will donate to the UNICEF Tap Project or

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the small things - part II

As I was walking to lunch, I noticed this. I burst out laughing right there.

the small things - part I

On Saturday night I felt Feraz getting out of bed and asked him where he was going. He responded that he was going to sleep in the guest room. I asked him why and he said with a tired face, "Because you keep laughing in your sleep."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

storms and spring

Just a few moments ago, I was having my cake and tea for breakfast and watching the rain come down but in an instant the rain intensified and a storm rolled through. My whole body felt tense because in a home like ours, you feel like you are caught inside the storm.

When it rains in our apartment, it feels like we have a tin roof and that the skylights must all be made of plastic.  And when it storms like it is doing now, it is so loud in the house that it feels like the roof will fall in. Each lightning bolt floods the apartment with light. And when the thunder strikes, I see the tea cups on the buffet rattle.

I feel like I am in Tissot's "A Passing Storm." (via the Romantics

But within minutes the storm is over. There is only the sound of water trickling out of the gutters. It is a gentle and calming sound. The pink light of daybreak is escaping the blues and grays of the sky. My tea is still warm and it soothes me again.

I love sitting on the couch and watching the weather and sky change. I am reminded of the constant shifting of life and how quickly things can go from one way to another. When things are good or bad, my mom always reminds me that neither state lasts forever. It is a truly beautiful thing.

Right after the storm from our family room window. 

A few minutes later. 

Happy first day of spring! May we always embrace the changing seasons.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Love the Place You Live - Georgetown, Washington DC

Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom has challenged her readers to love the place where they live. She wrote:

 I think it’s so important to embrace the place where you are living. Even if you’ll only be there for a short time! Learn to love it. Discover its treasures! 

She will be doing a roundup of posts about loving the place you live today, so make sure to go visit her!

We moved to DC an year and a half ago and like many people who move to DC, I just didn't like it. I thought the people were pretentious and didn't feel that DC was a real city.

Then, last fall we moved to Georgetown and my opinion has completely changed. I think it has as much to do with the move to a more livable neighborhood as it does with our effort to get out and experience the city and meet more like-minded people. I've talked about some of the things I love about DC here, here and here.

This past weekend, I didn't want to go out of my way to find something I loved about the place I live. Instead, I wanted to live a typical weekend and then reflect on how it demonstrated what a great place DC is.  Incredibly, everything I write about below happened within half a mile of our house and all in Georgetown.

I woke up Saturday morning and prepared for what I've heard referred to as a DC institution- brunch. I love brunch and I can't help love a city that embraces it so openly. I was having an old colleague and friend from Istanbul who recently had a baby over. I woke up and realized that the present I had bought her baby would be too small by now but luckily we live so close to the Georgetown shops that I was able to walk out and find a bunch of options for baby gifts just a few minutes away. I also realized that we didn't have anything to prepare brunch with but that was ok because Dean and Deluca is just a skip away from our house as well. Even though I find it too overpriced for regular grocery shopping, it is great to pick up some potatoes, fruit and a loaf of freshly baked bread. I love that DC loves brunch and we live in such an accessible place.

Red Anjou pears, clementines and crepes topped with powdered sugar and honey.

I also made some Pakistani style scrambled eggs and country style potatoes.

My friend came over and we spent over four hours catching up and having cup after cup of tea. I think brunch is a time when people just kick back and don't bother to look at the clock. It was wonderful. As soon as my friend left, I started to prepare for some more friends who would be coming over. I had promised to make them pakoras and realized I didn't have all the ingredients. Another run to Dean and Deluca

We ended up eating and playing games close to midnight. Our friends even cancelled their Saint Patty day plans to stay and play Carcassone. We enjoyed some of the great French pastries my friend brought over earlier and had a fun time teaching our friends our favorite game. I love that DC has people that are so open and will change their plans.

Bringing more people into our obsession with Carcassone.

Sunday morning, I had plans to meet my friend David who was down for the weekend from Princeton. We headed to Cafe Divan, a great little Turkish place, for breakfast. I love that my friends from all over visit DC and I love that DC can teleport me back to my life in Istanbul without me even having to leave Georgetown.

David with his cay after speaking to our waiter exclusively in Turkish and after we
had the best kunefe I have tasted since being back in the states. 
After a leisurely three hour breakfast, I had to head to my painting class at Brush and Blush. This was the painting we were supposed to make.

When the teacher went around, she would exclaim what great colors everyone was using or how amazing their painting looked. When she passed me she would say, "That's coming along," and later, "We have a touch up class you can come to." To my credit this wasn't a painting class, as I expected but more of a people sit in a room and paint at the same time class. There was definitely a wide range of results in the paintings and nobody painted a tree like  the one above. I think my tree looks a bit like Sideshow Bob.

The main problem (ha) with the painting is that we ran out of time. I will repost once I finish.

I love that DC has so many options for creative outlets so if, hypothetically speaking, you weren't the best painter, you wouldn't feel so bad because you know there are lots of other things you can still try. 

Even with such a packed weekend, I had a great time. I love that there is never a dull moment in DC and that even on the days we aren't in museums or at shows, we still have so much to gain from this great little city. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

are you ready for spring boys?

I used to know a guy who wasn't the best dresser. He didn't necessarily look bad but you never would have remembered what he wore. Then, one year, I began to notice that every time I saw him, he looked so sharp. I started to pay more attention to what he was wearing and I noticed that all his outfits followed a pretty simple formula. Crisp bottoms, contrasting shirts, coordinated belt/shoes and maybe a cool accessory here or there. Since then, I've noticed that every time I'm paging through a men's magazine, the same basic formula is used. 

And if there is only one thing you take away from this post, remember that the number one rule of style is that your clothes should fit well. In fact, they should fit you perfectly. Even if you want to buy cheap clothes, get them tailored. From your mom if you have to. Pants should not bunch up at the bottoms. Shirts should not puff around your waist. 

Also, under no circumstances should you ever wear pleated pants. Ever. 

Once you have your template down, you have created the perfect base on which to go as crazy or as conservative as you want with your look.

via Dapper Lou

1. Buy three slim fit dress shirts.

Get this shirt or a similar slim fit shirt in three colors.
Don't be afraid to add in some bright color this season.

  2. Get three pairs of versatile bottoms.

You'll need at least one pair of light or grey pants.

Get shorts that fit. Roll down for modesty.

Instead of jeans, go for a navy trouser
3. Get five t-shirts in different colors:

For basic t-shirts, stick with v-necks and bold colors.
Prepare your guns to wear lots of t-shirts.
4. Get shoes that can multi-task.

These loafers can take you from running errands
to the beach to a get together.

These sandals or anything else not made of plastic are a great
substitute for flip flops.

Get a pair of sneakers that do a little fashion work for you.
5. Accessorize. Your personal style statement should come through the accessories you choose. Whether you go bold with suspenders or a bright scarf or choose understated elegance with a smart bag and sharp belt, this is where everything comes together.

Buy a pair of sunglasses that make you feel cool. 

If you are afraid of too much color, your belt is
a great place to sneak it in.
The right scarf screams confidence.
Get a vintage or vintage inspired watch like this one.
Get a bag you can throw all your stuff for the day.
Bulging pocketes can ruin your outfit.

A nicely tailored jacket will bring
your whole look together.  
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