For the love of the Big Apple Circus

 

circus

circus

About a month ago, I attended the Big Apple Circus when it was in town. I went with my husband and both our sons. It was held at Cunningham park in Queens. Very many years ago when I was in Junior High School, I remember going to the circus on a Friday night with some of my girlfriends and it was nostalgic to be back at the same place well over a decade later.

The acts were unique to the Big Apple and they incorporated parts of NYC life into the circus acts. For example the dog show was set to take place in central park because back in the day that was the weekend activity- walking dogs in the park and the tightrope walk act was shown to be walking over the Verrazano bridge.

circus

circus

 

The Big Apple Circus is such a lovely family tradition. It’s smaller scale than a larger circus like the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey circus which is usually held at a much larger venue. I attended this circus in my childhood and I remember that it was my first time ever going to Madison Square Garden which was very exciting. The Big Apple Circus gives off a neighborhood vibe by being held at the park. The circus is complete with typical circus food which was available for purchase consisting of popcorn, soda, hot dogs, cotton candy etc. adding to the laidback feel. The kids loved it and it was quite enjoyable by all. (There are no pics of the show itself because photography was not allowed inside.)

concession stand

concession stand

circus

circus

My outfit of the day (OOTD) details:

Coral blazer with nazy blue trim- CWonder

Printed pants- CWonder

High low top- H&M . Not pictured well but the shirt is high low and was longer in the back. I also wore it here.

Patent wedge sandals- JCrew

Necklace- JCrew

with one of the trailers

with one of the trailers

circus

circus

 

simple makeup look

simple makeup look

Here was my very simple makeup look. Thanks for reading! Xoxo

 

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For the love of a Mom’s Struggle During Ramadan

prayer mats

prayer mats- momma and child

In the past 4 years, the first 3 I haven’t been fasting due to 2 pregnancies and nursing. Last year I was still nursing my son who turned 1 during Ramadan but I did decide to fast. I missed it so much. Without fasting, Ramadan is not the same. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. And it taught me so much self control and humility.

Due to the fact that I was still nursing I kept all 30 fasts with no break. It was complete and utter dedication and I had not experienced a Ramadan like that before. As a female, it’s rare to fast the entire month uninterrupted. Last year was the first year I could not eat but had to provide food for my kids and spouse. It was the first year I actually worked and fasted. I worked some extremely long 13-14 hour shifts and some days back to back. It was the first year I fasted the true summer fasts in the scorching heat. It was the first year and probably the only time I would be nursing and fasting. And even with all of this it still truly was a beautiful Ramadan.

Obviously you could imagine the toll it had on my body. I lost a lot of weight. I simply did not have enough time to eat and I was in a constant state of exhaustion. But I did not miss a single prayer and I carried that habit on for months even after Ramadan.

One large aspect that I missed out on and I know many mothers also miss out on is tarawih prayer. I hated the fact that I could not perform tarawih but it was impossible with my 1 and 3 year old. I did attend tahajjud prayer a few times because, well that’s the only time I had to myself. The kids were asleep and my husband was home in case they woke up. These tahajjud prayers brought me to tears. After kids I feel like there is a constant struggle with kids and quality prayer time. This is definitely a reason why my Umrah trip a few months prior holds so dear to my heart. I was able to completely indulge in worship without having to worry about the kids because I knew they were in good hands.

Why is it that women love attending tarawih prayer even though we get the same reward while praying at home? Personally, I have better concentration at the masjid and I don’t have to worry about the kids running around (my kids sleep late) and when you are at the masjid your time is devoted to staying there to finish tarawih. It forces you to set aside time for prayer. At home, I tend to remember a million things that need taking care of instead of praying. Also, by the time my husband and I are done putting the kids to bed, I’m beat. In regards to attending tarawih prayer, I am aware that it is your personal time with God and that is why I never asked anyone to watch the kids and I always allow my husband to go without debate because that’s his duty.

Yesterday my friends watched my kids and I actually attended tarawih prayer last night. This was the first time in 4 years, the last time being back in 2009 during my first pregnancy. Could you imagine not having prayed a tarawih prayer at the masjid in 4 entire years?! Try to wrap your head around that. If you are on your break or for whatever reason will not be attending tarawih prayer, I strongly encourage you to volunteer to look after one of your friends’ babies/kids and allow her to pray tarawih at the masjid. There will be plentiful rewards for you both. May Allah accept our fasts, prayers, duas and struggles and make the most of this blessed month. Ameen

(Read all about my Umrah trip here.)

 

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For the love of The Halal Food Tour

halal food tour

halal food tour

This past sunday was the Halal Food Tour presented by Sameer of Sameer’s Eats and his team including Saad Malik and Faraz Khan. If you don’t know who Sameer is, he is a halal foodie. He checks outs halal food spots around the country. The Halal Food tour was held at the Teaneck armory in New Jersey. This was the first ever tour with the second stop being in New Jersey. The first stop was in Irvine, California a few months prior. (Last year they had a halal food festival in New Jersey).

posing with a tank- it was held at the teaneck armory

If you want to act hard, pose in front of a tank with shades on

There were many food vendors all around the field including Chal Chilli, Chinese Mirch, Kabab Paradise, Kasra Restaurant, Especially For-U-Cakes, Zaika BBQ &Grill, Pizza Time, Lal Qila to name a few. There was a kids large inflatable bouncy house and a few clothing stalls as well. The stage was set up in the front.

burger flipping action at Kebab paradise

Chef Fahim Saleh- burger flipping action at Kabab Paradise

For my late lunch I had burgers from Kabab Paradise because burgers are my all time favorite food.

burgers and wings- essentials

burgers and wings- essentials

The burger was surprisingly delicious. Often, outdoor food tends to taste generic and not as flavorful. But the burger was grilled to perfection and the meat patty was seasoned and of a generous portion. The toppings were the perfect finishing touch to the burger and I was quite content.

There was a break for Asr prayer. Soon after was the Iron chef competition which was one of the main events of the program. Earlier in the day, Yvonne Maffei of Myhalalkitchen.com gave a chicken parmesan demonstration but I missed that. For the Iron chef competition there was 4 spots/teams and one spot opened up last minute and a last minute contestant joined with her sister. The first dish was chicken strips sponsored by crescent foods and there was 20 mins allotted to finish. The secret ingredient was apricots and it had to be incorporated into the meal. The 2nd half was dessert and each team had 10 minutes to prepare the dish. They were given cake and biscuits as a base.

during the competition

during the competition

The judges were the mayor of Teaneck- Mohammad Hameeduddin, Sameer Sarmast and Ibtihaj Muhammad who is a member of the United States fencing team. She is the first muslim women to represent the United States in international competition. The judges are on stage overlooking the contestants wearing the white chef hats and Aman Ali was moderating the competition. Faraz Khan was very busy with capturing all of the days events on camera and film.

Fatima- the winner of the Iron Chef competition

Fatima- the winner of the Iron Chef competition

The winner was Fatima and her sister who joined last minute.

 

Ibtihaj and I

Ibtihaj and I

Ibtihaj and I are mutual instagram followers so it was great that I was finally able to meet her in person. Growing up, I was in gymnastics for years and I loved it. It was my passion. I thought I was going to the Olympics. Ha. When I started attending meets and competitions my parents abruptly said I couldn’t go anymore because I had to wear leotards to the meets and competitions. I was heartbroken beyond belief. I was angry for days, weeks, months and then eventually I got over it. I was so young, only in the 5th grade or so. It makes me extremely happy to see Ibtihaj able to be on the fencing team and able to do so while still being dressed modestly and wearing the head covering. Also, I think I was in awe at how she exudes such grace and class Mashallah. What a stunner and an amazing role model and a true inspiration. You can check out her facebook page here.

Ibtihaj and I

Ibtihaj and I

 

Aman Ali- comedian and moderator

Aman Ali- comedian and moderator

Aman Ali is a comedian. You can follow him on facebook. He has some of the best statuses ever!

Sameer and Saad

Sameer and Saad of Sameer’s Eats

You can follow Sameer on facebook here and you can check his website at: sameerseats.com

necessary awkward distance pic

Sameer and I- necessary awkward distance pic

Mo Sabri- Lyricist

Mo Sabri- Emcee and Lyricist

 

girls and I

girls and I

My outfit of the day (OOTD) details:

Silk tunic top: Hale Bob purchased at ruelala.com. I wore a simple tunic top to stay cool in the warm weather and it was great for an outdoor event. I especially like this top because of its longer length and loose fit. It also has crystals and bead work along the neckline for an extra flair to a plain tunic.

Mustard pants: Esprit, which I wear all the time. These are the perfect color for spring, summer and fall. They are so soft and comfortable and have a slim leg without being tight. I also wore them in a prior post, you can read about it here.

Wide T strap sandals: Boutique 9. These shoes have studs and crystals on the wide T Strap. I also wore them in a prior post, you can read about it here.

 

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For the love of the July 4th Weekend

Maliha and Saqib from their Gaye Holud

Maliha and Saqib from their Gaye Holud

July 4th weekend is when America celebrates Independence Day and for most it is filled with family, friends, BBQ, pool parties, the beach and fireworks. This hardly ever holds true for me because there is always something a lot more important going on- there is always weddings July 4th weekend. Fittingly so, my husband and I got married the same weekend many (many) years ago. Ha. This year one of my friends got married and her wedding events dominated the weekend.

bride and I- 2 days before the wedding

bride and I- 2 days before the wedding

On July 4th, we had a pre wedding party to attend- the Gaye Holud (pronounced guy). This is a Bangladeshi term for a pre wedding party. A Gaye Holud is a fun festive non formal party before the wedding to get everyone in the mood. It’s filled with dancing, henna, music, food, décor and gifts. During a Gaye Holud, usually wedding clothes, jewelry and gifts are presented beautifully and exchanged. Holud itself is actually turmeric powder- that is a yellow spice. It is said to make the skin glow and at some Gaye Holuds, all the guests put the holud on the brides skin to give her a glow. The bride wore a sari in typical holud/mehndhi colors. Holud/mehndhi colors are usually yellow, green, orange and red. The bride also was adorned with artificial decorative floral jewelry to add to the festive feel. Many brides wear real flowers as well.

sister of the bride and I

sister of the bride and I

I wore a typical Pakistani mehndhi outfit consisting of bright colors. I wore a silk outfit with wide leg pants. The pink dupatta I used to cover my hair. The chiffon crinkle material was perfect to give a little extra volume. I bought it from Pakistan when I went on my first ever trip this past December. Yes you read correct, my first ever trip. I made a post on it, be sure to read about it here.

ladies only!

ladies only! look at all the vibrant colors!

The mehdnhi was separated the second half of the evening and the guys were asked to leave. This enabled all the girls to join in the dancing festivities by not having to cover up and being able to dance and perform the organized dances. I actually had to leave early and could not stay for the remainder of the Holud because I had work for 13 hours the next day.

bridal poses

bridal poses

Saturday was the wedding. The bride wore a beautiful forest green gown perfectly coordinated with cream. She didn’t wear typical red because she wore that color on her nikkah (religious wedding ceremony) about 8 months prior. The bride wore a Paksitani style outfit. The gown had a train and was heavily adorned with crystals in large motifs all throughout. Her dress sparkled from every direction and could be easily seen from every single corner of the hall. So stunning, Mashallah!

my hubby and I with the newlyweds

my hubby and I with the newlyweds

I wore a gown which I also got from my Pakistan trip. The gown I wore was one of my favorites. I loved it because the gown had all these extra details that made it so unique. It has horizontal pleats on the chest, ruching on the wrists, vertical pleats on the bottom hem, a jeweled neckline and large crystals embellishments in many different colors. The dark colors- black and gray which made it perfect for a nighttime wedding. The front was all embroidered with threadwork and crystals and faux pearls. There was so much work on the outfit, I didn’t wear any jewelry except one Swarovski cocktail ring.

in love with fariquas sari

in love with fariquas sari

This gown is actually just like an abaya/jilbab but heavily adorned. I enjoyed wearing it so much and I will definitely wear it to some of my friends’ weddings that are coming up! I actually had to wear my gown with flats but it worked out perfectly because my feet didn’t hurt and I was able to hold my kids with no difficulties (wearing heels and holding kids takes serious balancing skills- a skill that I have not mastered as of yet)

girls girls girls

girls girls girls

 

Groom and his buds

Groom and his buds

mandatory husband and wife pic

mandatory husband and wife pic

To end the July 4th weekend, I attended the Halal Food Tour the following day in New Jersey. You can read about that here.

And Ramadan Mubarak to all who are observing! Whether you started Tuesday or Wednesday try to benefit from all of the blessings of this month.

gown

take 1

gown

take 2

 

take 2

take 3

Thanks for reading! Xoxo

-Sana Rashid

 

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