Stop judging a book by its cover

10 Sep

I was sitting at a community table at a coffee shop today, waiting for my friend to show up, when a woman came and asked if she could sit by me.

I thought the gesture kind and a sign of being brought up right, for of course she could, it was a community table after all!

As she sat down, we started conversing, and the flow of it was so good that we did so for a good thirty minutes at least-the time it took my friend to arrive (seriously, though I need to stop getting to meet-ups on time).

However, although the conversation was fun and it felt like two like-minded individuals were talking, she said something towards the end that left me feeling less than great, and yet I realized it wasn’t something new that I was hearing.

Her exact words were ” I am shocked to find out that you are completely different from what I thought you were when I saw you, I wasn’t expecting this kind of thinking from you nor this type of a conversation with you.”

Let me rewind a bit.

You see when she came to me, I saw only a woman. When we were talking, for me,  I was a medical student and she a practicing doctor.

But here is what she, and I think most of the world, saw when she approached me.

She, a burqa clad woman with a niqab covering her face, saw a girl in three-quarter jeans, a top and, (as she pointed out) a made up face and stylized hair. (For the curious ones-I was wearing eyeliner and lip balm and had walked out right after a shower-it was one of my most laid back looks.)

She saw a woman who was everything Islam represented, going and starting a conversation with a woman that in her head embodied everything Islam resented.

And yet, to her shock, when we started conversing she found out that I didn’t only have enough brain cells to hold up a conversation about politics, the rights of women and the importance of career goals, I also had morals as strong as her, a stronger knowledge of my religion and a better realization of the distance we had developed from our religion.

So let me decode her words for you-what she meant was, when she saw me she thought I was a shallow girl with no moral code and no idea of my religion, and thinking back to the conversation, I could see the points she had already tried to prove that to me.

A tiny example, when she tried to make me agree that the girls from my high school have the worst reputation in Lahore, there must be a reason to that, I wouldn’t agree no matter how much she pushed. I might have spent only two years in LGS Defense, but they were enough to prove that those girls were nothing like the reputation that preceded them-but do you know what they had in common?

They were strong, opinionated, ambitious girls who were-you guessed it-fashion forward. Just like I was. Just like Islam told us not to be (in her head, at least.)

However, while I failed to persuade her that most of what she had heard about the school’s girls wasn’t true, I will give her this much though, that she changed her view on me at least. By the end of our conversation, we exchanged numbers and she urged me to stay in contact because she liked me that much.

A small win? Yes, too small in fact and hence, the bad taste left in my mouth wasn’t done away. And although I can’t blame her, I am tired of this.

This perception that because I dress a certain way, my religion is bound to be worse than yours.

I respect every woman who covers her head, those more who follow the rules of dressing in Islam down to a ‘t’, but to the same women, I want to say this-don’t judge me because I am not practicing my religion the way you think it should be practiced. You don’t know how much I pray for the strength to gain that level too, you have no idea of my struggles on that and most importantly, I believe, you don’t know whose way of practicing religion God prefers.

But, just for the sake of perspective-if your Islam was honestly as good as you deem it to be, you wouldn’t be busy judging me.

Honestly, I have been at this end of the conversation times too many. People see me from far and think of me (and even go as far as to call me) an amoral girl or a slut (excuse the language). Till one of them somehow gets to know me and realizes (admitting said realization to my face) of how wrong they were.
But the ones who don’t get to know me, continue on their tangents-with me, with other girls like me.
They see the jeans and the tops and assume we are sluts, assume that we have no sense of our religion, assume us to be below them hence, and the chain of assumptions goes on. If the girl in jeans goes and talks to a guy, he must be her boyfriend. If she goes out with male friends, she must be sleeping with them.
If she doesn’t talk to you, another man, it must be because she is too proud.

If she does, then she is trying to get you in her bed too.

If she wears make up, she is a slut trying to seduce you.

If she dresses fancy, it is to attract you.

Stop. Stop. Stop.

Stop labeling us and putting us in a box just because you don’t get us. We don’t fit the box you are trying to put us in to.

You know how you lie? That is a sin too-oh, I can almost see you smirking as you think to yourself that showing my skin is a bigger skin. Well staring at it is an even bigger one, isn’t it? Gossiping about it is even worse. Spreading rumors, is probably the worst.

But of course, you get to judge me because we sin differently.

‘Sinners judging sinners for sinning differently.’

I learned a lot from this quote, but mostly this-I can’t judge someone for something I deem religiously or morally wrong because I can’t see the whole picture. And I definitely can’t see who God prefers amongst us.

It taught me the need to focus on my own religion, for how can I judge a thief if I am a liar? How can I judge a sinner if I am not a saint?

In short, I am not saying my religion is perfect-but is yours? And yet do you see me pointing fingers? How are you sure yours is better than mine, stronger?

Just because you cover your head makes you so sure you are better in front of God than me, then please continue to bask in that ignorance and judge me endlessly.

But if you can, consider this-what if my morals are better than yours?? What if I am closer to God? What if I do something on a daily basis that God likes more than you covering your head daily?
Do you have any guarantees? Because I don’t.

Consider this-what if not covering up as Islam instructs is my one sin (or amongst a few), and one that I ask for help on a daily basis, one that I regret the most. Look at your list of sins, how many do you have?
Look at that list and shorten it, and stop looking at mine, because that in my head is the most important thing Islam teaches us-no judgement on anyone’s religion, just attempt to perfect your own.

Learn the basics. Learn to be tolerant. Learn to stop judging a book by its cover.
And remember that Islam isn’t about sitting in groups and bashing others on what they wear and how they live their lives, and using that to make yourself feel good about your religion.

Islam is about practicing good deeds, and that too so well that you force the people around you to be impressed and inspired by you to work on their own personas.
Lead by example, that is the basic teaching of our religion!

Hence, I repeat, learn the basics. And remember, that Islam puts women on a pedestal in every way, in every walk of life, then who are you to try and pull them down based on outward appearances? 

More importantly, Islam taught us repeatedly to to look into the hearts of people, not their actions.

The whole concept of intentions is so clear in our religion-a good intention is almost as good to our Lord as a good deed. That in itself shows how important the goodness of our hearts is.

And if you think you can’t know how good someone’s heart is just by looking at them, then how can you judge their whole religion based solely on what they wear?

I end this post on a heartfelt request.
Stop judging us just because we dress differently from you.
It hurts. Me yes, but your religion even more so.

 

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Twenty-something lessons learned

21 Aug

As I turn a year older this week, I sit back and reflect on the year that has gone by. And as I do so, I can’t help but notice all the lessons life has taught me in it. And although some of them were more bitter than not to live through, they were nonetheless important experiences for me to face, to learn from.

Today, I want to share some of those lessons with you, in the hopes that maybe they will aid someone out there in some way. After all, its best to learn from others’ mistakes than to go making your own, right?

  1. Sometimes you will trust the wrong people. It will hurt but you have to realize that it was not your fault and you will have to forgive yourself for it.
  2. Words can hurt more than you realize, so be careful with them.
  3. No one is irreplaceable, except your mother! If someone leaves your side, it is only to make space for another person. So stop fretting over the ones who walk away!
  4. On that note, remember this-hold your family close to yourself but your mother even closer. She is God’s greatest gift to you!
  5. Stop thinking about what others think of you and stop trying to see yourself from their eyes. Don’t re-type that text. Don’t reread what you sent! Learn to see yourself from your own eyes, learn to love what you see. Celebrate every part of yourself!
  6. Believe in miracles. That girl with the three rounds of failed pregnancies will call you from the hospital nursery post the birth of her twins. Your friend will get to marry the man she always loved. The class fellow who seemed to fail at everything will finally meet up with you and brag about all that they have achieved.
  7. Absolute honesty can at times hurt more than you can imagine. Don’t learn to lie, but do learn to identify the exact point where you need to, well, shut up.
  8. Love freely, but expect none in return. If you do, that is recipe for disaster. If you don’t, you shed half of your troubles.
  9. Buy those Stan Smiths. They never go out of style!
  10. Use the words that broke you the most as your biggest strength. Let them drive you to be your best self!
  11. Humility is the sexiest attribute to possess. That and intelligence.
  12. Opening about your insecurities isn’t easy, but if you talk to the right people about them you will be fine. If you choose the wrong person, don’t worry. The right ones will come along soon enough and help erase any harm done.
  13. Don’t pick up that call your instinct tells you not to. F**k your heart. Trust your mind in this one,
  14. Put your strengths in a box, block out everything else and focus on just them. Everything will then fall in place.
  15. Also, block every form of hater and hatred from your life. Don’t be mean, but just don’t give space to negativity in your life.
  16. Being young means you will make mistakes no matter how careful you are, so cut yourself some slack and enjoy life a bit.
  17. You can’t control every situation, it is just not humanly possible. So if things don’t go according to plan, don’t beat yourself down on it. Instead let yourself go with the flow for once!
  18. It is okay to have dreams different from your peers, you don’t have to want what others around you want.
  19. If your career is your number one priority, not only is that perfectly fine, but anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t have your best interests at heart. If they love you, they will support you no matter what, that is how simple the equation is. No ‘raised to the powers’, no variables in this one!
  20. Some people will hurt you no matter how much you love them and some will love you no matter how much hurt them. Cut out the former kind from your life, and start valuing the later group. Those are the ones that will be sitting proudly in the front row, cheering you on for every single one of your accomplishments, because they will be part of the reason you got on the stage in the first place!
  21. Your mom was right about there being a specific way to fold your laundry and to do the dishes and to dry the dishes. She was also spot on in her ways to identify and avoid fuc*boys. In fact, she was right about almost everything. You are old enough now to admit that.
  22. But maybe not old enough yet to admit how much like her you have become!
  23. Don’t let yourself be walked over by anyone, no matter how important they are to you or how much you love them. No one should have that kind of power over you, period. 

 

Letters to you

9 Aug


What a month July was!

I fell in and out of love ten times a day, I did things I had never done before, ate foods I had never heard of and made memories that will last me a lifetime. You guessed it right, I spent the month of July travelling.

And I absolutely loved every minute of it.

And now that it is over and I am back in my country, back with my loved ones, I am living through a bittersweet haze made more confusing thanks to my jet lag!

I have so much to share here with you, so much I am bursting to tell, but I am short on time and feel terribly guilty knowing my posts here will be more infrequent in the upcoming month than ever before!

However, I do promise to try and write to you all as much as I can before my final exams get so close that opening my laptop will become impossible. For that upcoming inevitability, I apologize in advance, but until then here is a sneak-peak into what I am going to be sharing with you in August

As my base camp for July was Chicago, a detailed guide to Chicago will of course be coming your way intermixed with fun stories of my time in the city. Along with that, I will also be sharing with you the best weekend road trip destinations close to Chicago and will share my tips on how to enjoy your weekends in Chicago to the max.

Also, because it took me a trip to Orlando and two days in Disney to figure out how to make the best out of a trip to Disneyland, I will share that with you too in as comprehensive a guide as I needed when I was headed there (and failed to find).

The Friday Five posts will be coming your way too and because I have my birthday coming up in a week, be prepared for a partly corny post on what I have learned in this past year.

There is a lot more on the agenda for what I plan to post here from my trip to the States, but with exams so close, I can’t promise as to when the posts will be headed your way. Hence, keep your eyes peeled to this place (aka, follow my blog here or on Instagram) and watch out for when they go live! Trust me, there will be some crazy stuff in there that you do not want to miss out, especially if you want to hear about some of my most embarrassing moments from the trip!

Really looking forward to writing all these posts for you, even if they will be fewer than ever before-quality over quantity though, right?

Till next time,

Gull.

 

 

 

 

How to perfect your airport look

27 Jun

Airport style has intrigued me since well before the age of Instagram and Snapchat, kids. (God, that makes me feel ancient!)

The main reason? I always wondered how all those celebrities looked so good even after having been stuck so long in an aircraft where the air will end up getting as stuffy and stale as in a semi-functional refrigerator. How did their clothes never look crumpled? How were their hair always so perfect?

Over the time, via a lot of hit and trial, I’ve found answers to some of my questions and in doing that, have improved my own personal “airport” style. 

Here is the first lesson that I have learned though-your “look” needs to have a perfect balance of chic, comfy and laid back. Something that looks great when you are boarding but also allows you to relax once you are on that plane!


Finding that perfect balance was the hard part but over the last few years I’ve found a go-to look for travelling and even though I still don’t manage to look as fresh as Victoria Beckham when I get off my flight, I can achieve blogger status in my post flight looks and for me that’s good enough. 

Here are my tips for getting your perfect airport look. 

Don’t wear light colours. 

No matter the length of your flight, even when you are super careful you will end up getting off the plane to find specks of stains of things you probably didn’t even touch. Even if you are super lucky and avoid that, every crinkle gets magnified in light colours and your clothes look like they have never been ironed. And have never been washed (from the overall stale air)!

Wear sweats or tights/leggings. 

Your legs, and your body needs to be able to have breathing space. Tight clothing doesn’t only cut down on that but also keeps you restricted and feeling uncomfortable. Plus, it definitely doesn’t help in your circulation to the lower limbs which is always a major concern for me on longer flights where I know my venous return is already getting compromised from the decreased activity and my posture (ok, too much medical jargon coming in). So for long flights I stick to comfy leggings or sweats!

However, for shorter flights stretchy jeans or cropped boyfriend jeans are my go to. They might not give me the space in long flights but they are “roomy” enough for shorter/domestic ones. 

Later, Layer, Layer 

For me, this has been so helpful. Because I either feel too hot or too cold while travelling. No in between. So, my go to is a loose tee with a light weight sweater , which I can remove or wear as the need be. And a jacket to layer. Stylish yet practical. 

Moreover, carrying a jacket thus has too many advantages-it warms me up when I am feeling too cold. Plus, I usually carry my heaviest jacket thus to cut down on my luggage weight. And, as my jacket collection is one of my favourite things in my wardrobe, any jacket that I fear wouldn’t be able to travel well in the luggage, I board with it. 

Most importantly, slip into the jacket when you get off your flight, and it will hide any imperfections in the rest of your look. (That’s why so many celebrities get off their flights with those cute but well covering jackets.) You will look put together no matter what the state of the rest of you is!

Keep socks 

They will keep your feet warm on the flight. But most importantly, when you walk through the security checks, slip them on and avoid having to walk completely barefoot through the line (and on that carpet)!

Keep your carry on light. 

I used to have so much in my hands I wouldn’t have the time, energy or enough free hands to focus on myself. So, now I keep it all minimal. An easy to manoeuvre carry on and a hand bag. That’s it. I keep the jacket on till I’m in the plane and then remove it or not depending on the temperature.

The girl who looks like she just walked out of the spa, not a flight? That’s one of her secrets. And I say that from personal experience!

Tie your hair. 

I used to think everyone boards the flight with their hair perfect, stays so through out and gets off thus too. I was so wrong. All I have learned is that the easiest way to keep my hair looking presentable is two tiered. Keep them in a loose bun through out (which, as a person with long hair, makes my life easier). And then brush them out and use a little dry shampoo right before landing. Because that is the only way you will look like you’ve showered in your life. Ever. 

Keep an extra pair of shoes 

And that’s the secret to all the heels you see in the “airport looks” done by your favourites. Smart girls always have an extra pair of heels on them that they pull on for boarding the flight and leaving it. Other than that, comfortable flats are all you will see them in. Always. 

Change out of those clothes 

Here is my favourite tip. It might make you feel a little extra, but, keep an extra tee in your carry on and change before landing. Especially if you know someone important is going to greet you at the airport and it has been a long flight. 

Your clothes aren’t the only factors that make up part of your airport looks, general hygiene and how fresh you look are equally important parts of the equation, so here are some tips on them!

Right after take off

Wash your face with a cleanser you prefer (get a travel-sized pack) and ensure that there is zero make-up on your face. Follow that up with a good moisturiser and an under-eye mask. 

In the flight 

Keep yourself well hydrated and avoid coffee and (if you drink) then keep their number minimum too. Drink loads of water, keep moisturising yourself and ask (nicely) for a hot towel or two to keep your hands and face completely clean. Keep breath mints with you and keep using that travel-sized perfume you brought along!  

Right before you land.

Wash your face . Brush your teeth and, if you can, floss. After refreshing yourself, use a little under eye concealer to instantly refresh your eyes. Swipe some mascara and a bit of eye liner. And you will look so much more presentable that even you will be surprised by the change! 
Cheers,

Gull

Friday Five 

24 Jun

Happy Friday everyone! This week went by in the blink of an eye and the realisation has left me with mixed emotions. Although I’m excited for what the future holds but I was having so much fun enjoying my vacations that their end is making me sad too!

However, bittersweet or not, I came across a lot many fun things this week which I’m too excited to share with you. Picking my top five was the hardest ever this time around but here they are, just for you!

1. These feminine lace-ups with the cutest details are available at the craziest (read:-ridiculously cheap) price! They are on sale though, so hurry up and get them while stocks last! (P.S. Express has an ‘up to 70% off’ sale going on so do check the whole sale out!)

 

2. This gorgeous H&M one-off-shoulder crop top that is on sale! And on trend too- we covered them in our June Style report in detail. (H&M has an ‘up to 60% off’ flash sale for today so hurry on over before you miss it!)

 

 

Kendra Scott earrings 

3. I’m in love with these Kendra Scott earrings! Honestly, they are cute but crazy, (just like my soul)! Get them here if they speak to you too!

 

 

 

J. Crew skirt

 
4. This ruffled skirt that I’ve seen on all of the best (and my favourite) fashion bloggers finally went on sale. And I couldn’t be happier!

 

Stella Sneakers

 


5. We all know white sneakers are here to stay, then why not add a little heel to them while staying comfortable and stylish? These sneakers by Stella do all that and more, giving any outfit an instant dose of edge. Get yours here!

 

Love,
Gull!

Weekend city guide-Miami edition

22 Jun

Happy Thursday everyone!

I am calling this guide a ‘mini’ one because I have only ever stayed there for two-three days max! The reason is simple, that’s the max amount of time I can spend doing ‘nothing’.

Don’t get me wrong, the endless ice-creams, the cutesy restaurants and cafes and the party scene there is pretty cool, and I love the quintessentially South Florida scene there, but as a tan person genetically, that is the max amount of sun bathing you will ever catch me doing. Ever. And when in Miami, you can not avoid the sun nor the beach-not enough, not at all!

So here is a Miami guide for anyone looking to do a small romantic getaway or a fun girls weekend there. (P.S., it is absolutely on my list for my bachelorette weekend though, like, duh.)

Where to stay

del

Delano-a view captured by their own photographer

 

Delano

 

It might be one of the priciest places to stay at in Miami, but the experience will be worth the splurge! Since it is Miami, the scene outside is the real deal-its infinity edge pool and bungalows with rainfall showers are what draw many a tourist here and the Agua Spa is like the sweet cherry on top of this deal. The suites themselves are nothing short of incredible featuring a tranquil white-on-white design scheme that will calm you to your core! My advice-stay here for one night at least! You will not regret the memories you will make!

Standard miami

The Standard (source: their website)


The Standard

If you are not looking to go overboard with your hotel expenditure (read:if you want to avoid bankruptcy), or if you plan to stay for more than a couple of nights, this one is a great choice! The Standard Hotel and Spa thinks of itself more as a spa with a few guestrooms rather than the other way round and has the perfect environment to help you unwind while you vacation. In between the outdoor soaking tubs, the 90-degree hammam, the cedar sauna and the on-site juice cafe-you will be addicted!

sanctuary

The Sanctuary (taken by their photographer)


Sanctuary South Beach

This is the ideal place to book if you are on a budget and yet still want to feel like you are staying at one of the best spots in the city. Their pool specifically makes you feel like you got more than what you paid for and not only are their rooms spacious and comfy but the beach and several shopping options are close by! The trick though is to book a month or more in advance for which they offer multiple too-good-to-be-true packages.

Where to Eat

versailles.jpg

Versailles


Versailles 

This place is one of the most iconic spots of Miami, called by some even ‘the most famous Cuban restaurant in the world’, and you definitely cant leave Miami before going here

Yardbird

 

 

If you are into Southern food and that too in a farm-to-table kind of a set-up, this is a must go for you! However, it was their brunch that stole my heart. (Available for weekends only, but too good!)

27-restaurant-4

27 Resturaunt

 

27 Restaurant

The interior has a colorful, beachy vibe (complete with picnic tables, bright shelving and catchy wallpaper). The menu is a mix of Caribbean, South American and Middle Eastern cuisines, and the food is divine!

 

ms cheez

Ms. Cheezious


Ms. Cheezious

 

This place on Biscayne Boulevard is one of a kind for one special reason-it is dedicated to cheese. From mac and cheese to grilled cheese, they serve it all but with quirky twists and at amazing prices. Two words-must go!

Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop

Started by an actual firefighter, they offer some of the best pies in the city-and the serving size of their slices is easily good enough for two! Economical and delicious-what more could one want?

The Local house

One of the best spots for brunch in the city! Their caramelized banana pancakes with creme fraiche are amazing! Also a must try is their crab cake benedict.

 

Where to get Caffeinated 

Las Olas Cafe 

For me, leaving Miami without trying some Cuban flavor was a huge no so my trip to Las Olas Cafe was a must! And was I glad that we went there. Getting served fantastic cups of coffee in a laid-back setting is in itself worth the extra walk in the May heat but the first sip of my café con leche y azúcar made all the extra effort more than worth it!

panther

Panther Coffee

Panther Coffee 

The reason Panther Coffee Miami Beach is a favorite with both locals and tourists is that it has kind of a Starbucks vibe but with much much better coffees. Plus, while their indoor space is great for work and meetings the outdoor seating in the breezeway is great for a fun, relaxed hangout!

Cafe Demetrio

It is a quaint European style coffeehouse that has some of the best artisanal brews in the city! Housed in a 1920s building with a garden-like terrace, it also offers live music-an over all combination that gives it an old world charm and makes it perfect for an afternoon retreat! Tip-try their Cafe Leo!

Bachour

Bachour Bakery + Bistro

Bachour Bakery + Bistro

Not exactly a cafe, but their coffee was amazing. However, what made this place an instant favorite for me were their macarons and their pastries! After all, who doesn’t love freshly baked goodies with their morning coffee?

Entertainment

Other than sunbathing on the beaches, that is. 

Rent a bike and explore

Two reasons why I suggest this-one, because this is a much better option than renting a car and trying to get around because parking in Miami, especially close to the beaches, is far from fun-we spent fifty minutes looking for a spot to park and then ended up having to pay extra to a valet to park for us. Secondly, Miami is like one flat biking town, and there is not a more fun and easy way to get from one place to another. Plus there are so many cute hidden spots that you can only stumble upon if you are biking!

Shop at 

The Mall at Lincoln road
It is a pedestrian only strip of boutiques and designer shops that is a must go for anyone looking for a good shopping experience!

Boho Hunter
This place will make you feel like you came to the beach unprepared, but will kindly offer all that you forgot you needed to bring! From wrap headbands for lounging by the pool to cute woven totes to ruffled skirts, they offer everything you will need to buy and then some! (They have an online store too which is ridiculously good!)

Books and books and Taschen (the later is on Lincoln rd.)
These shops are must visits for book lovers, especially if you forgot to bring a book for your day at the beach!

Must See

miami-beach-art-deco-district-ocean-blvd

Art Deco District


The Art Deco district-
The colorful buildings here are world famous, and there reason is pretty obvious for the colors and ‘art’ in them will leave you inspired! It’s an especially good spot for architecture buffs!
Tip:– Head to the Art Deco Welcome Center to get a guided/self-guided tour of the district!

Wynwood Arts District
Home to plenty of art galleries, shops, bars and some really amazing street art, this area is perfect for spending a relaxed afternoon in Miami.

Little Havana-
You can’t visit Miami without a trip to the city’s famous Cuban neighborhood. Packed with cigar shops, galleries, fantastic Cuban food and Cuban coffee spots, it is an experience in itself!

Little havana

A piece of Little Havana

 

vicayza.jpg

Vicayza

Vizcaya Museum and Garden- It is a national historic landmark and once you see it for yourself you will know what the hype is about! The property reminds you of an Italian villa and is a perfect spot for walking around, taking in some beautiful views and escaping the city’s hustle and bustle!

Must do

Kayak at Oleta River State Park
If you want to experience part of the natural beauty in the area, this park is a good way for that! For a non-sport-loving person like me (no shame, girl) it was an amazing spot for picnicking but locals suggested that the real way to see the park’s beauty was via kayaking! So do give it a try!

Jet-Ski-
How can you not when you are so close to such beautiful waters? There are multiple rental companies to use for this ‘must-do’, though
American WaterSports is usually the safest option. (Full disclosure-I might know how to swim, but huge water bodies scare me so I didn’t even go close to any of the jet skis!)

Enjoy the sunset from the South Point Park-
It is honestly the best spot to catch the sunset, both picturesque (think walkways, benches, green spaces) and relaxing!

Visit Key West
If you have an extra day on your hands, spend it in Key West. The beaches are less crowded and the views even prettier! Plus its famous coral reefs are ideal for activities like snorkeling and diving!

 

For your sweet tooth

bianco

Bianco Gelato


Bianco Gelato

For the absolute best gelato, you have to head here! Not only because of the taste but also because the owners are very quality conscious. Plus, they have so many options that it will leave you astounded-including even dairy-free ones!

 

Azucar-

Acuzar

 

Azucar ice cream

If you are amongst those who prefer their ice-creams to any gelato, this place should be on your list. Not only are their flavors incredible but they also make fresh ice-cream daily! It is located in Little Havana so try it out while you are touring the place!

Ella

This pop-up cafe is made for sugar lovers, or at least their buttermilk pancakes will make you feel so! A perfect spot for breakfast or for a grab-and-go sweet treat!

 

I hope next time you plan a visit to Miami, this guide will prove helpful to you! 

Lots of Love,
Gull.

Ten things I learned in New York

17 Jun

I love love love New York. 

Honestly speaking I am absolutely addicted to the city. The pace, the energy, the constant inspiration from every direction that can at times push your mind into overdrive, but usually keeps making you do your best-it is honestly a city where you feel like no dream of yours is out of your reach.

However, more than that, the city is always going to have a special place in my heart for it saw me stumble through a long month as I made my way around it on my own- adventuring, learning, falling and picking myself back up. At the end of that month though I felt like I could relate with Alicia when she crooned the iconic lyrics. The streets did “make me feel brand new” in a way that I can’t explain, and I felt more inspired there than I had ever before.

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Today I am going to share with you some of the lessons that I learned during that month, hoping that some of you will be able to make good use of all that I stumbled upon during my (mis)adventures in New York!

  1. Don’t shy away from asking for help. A smile and a kind “hello” opened up so  many wonderful conversations for me and is one of the main reasons I was able to see a side of NY I had never been able to when I visited it for those four/five days, going to only the mainstream ‘touristy’ spots. A quick question for some advice led me to see/eat at/experience the spots the New York-ers preferred (the ones that weren’t madly crowded by tourists) and I love NY all the more because of those experiences!

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    The (at times creepy) subway

  2. The Subway wasn’t difficult to figure out. At all. It took me a day to get the correct feel of it, and a week to learn the names of all the pertinent stops and even to learn the difference between SoHo, NoLIta etc. Besides, google maps was honestly a life saver for me when all else failed. BUT. Don’t rely on those around you in the subways to guide you correctly. I realized within a couple of days that most of them were either new to the city or tourists and more often than not gave me incorrect advice.
  3. Some of the best places to eat at are in Brooklyn. The place is full of hidden gems including some of the best bakeries (with some of the best bagels) ever! (More on that in an upcoming post.)
  4. Do not leave your house without your ID. Honestly, never ever take the risk!

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    SoHo

  5. The best place to shop in New York is SoHo. Some of the best bakeries and cutest/most hip cafes are in NoLIta and SoHo. Also, you can find some of the best photo-ops in SoHo! My advice, in short, is that even if you are there for only a couple of days, have one meal in SoHo at least. (I will be covering the best spots for that in an upcoming post!)
  6. West Village has the most laid back vibes and is infinitely chic at the same time with some of the cutest bookstores and shopsAlso, because the architecture here is beyond amazing and the tourist flow little, it is an ideal place to get your pictures taken (without getting in the way of others or vice versa)! However, somehow I found the people here most reluctant in making eye contact or being up for a quick chat-or was that just me?
  7. Broadway bites (Greeley Square – Broadway, between 32nd and 33rd Street) might not be a year round thing but if you are there in June/July or in fall, they are a must go! The stalls there offer everything and anything from the funkiest of ice-creams to pasta to the most delicious baked goodies. (Do not go there without cash though!)

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    Le Biblioquet, Upper East Side

  8. If you want to feel glamorous, eat out at a restaurant in Upper East side or shop their. Both experiences for me have been unforgettable.

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    Times Square

  9. Although Times Square is definitely overrated, (I mean the amount of people there give anxiety to my claustrophobia prone self), if you can, stay there late into the night, for a better, more memorable experience. The crowd thins out closer to midnight and the place is far less noisy and much more fun!

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    Central Park

  10. Put aside at least a day for Central Park. It is not a place to stop at between your morning coffee and lunch-if you want to find out why so many people fall in love with it you have to experience it-on foot, preferably. Start at one end, or even midway if you feel like you have little time and do try to cover as much area as you can (going up or down). So many people and websites will point you to the ‘tourist favored’ spots, but honestly every few steps you will come across a view to make you stop and stare-and that is what makes you fall in love with it.

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    Central Park

Bonus tip-try to rent a boat on the Lake in Central park and row your way around it. You will get to see the famous NY skyline from a completely different (and infinitely gorgeous) perspective!

Xo,
Gull 

Friday Five

17 Jun

Happy Friday everyone! Thank God the weekend is here-was said not by me because tbh I have been making such good use of my month off from med-school (i.e. I have been sleeping so much) that all my days have melted into one another and my Mondays have been as good as my Fridays!

Sorry, I get to feel this way only for three weeks once a year, hence I had to enjoy this/brag about it. However, I have also got five fab things for you today that I am sure you will love and will hopefully make you equally happy!

  1. The most gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff wrap around watch. 
    watch

    Rebecca Minkoff wrap around wrist watch

    Honestly, I was obsessed with it the minute I saw it! It is classy, with a twist and as it doubles as great arm candy it is perfect for travelling when you need accessories but also don’t have a lot of space for too many of them!

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    The “Go Naked” Urban decay perfume oil

  2. The new Urban decay perfume oil.
    Not only does it smell divine but it comes in a travel friendly bottle that fits in your purse, is easy to use and has the cutest packaging. It is limited edition though, so hurry and buy it while stocks last!

    jewelry

    Rings from Fervor Montreal

  3. Everything from Fervor Montreal.
    Especially their Chloe collection which is delicate and colorful at the same time.  And their statement rings! Each piece is so versatile, that it can go with almost anything-a quality I always look for when packing for over-seas trips because I want jewelry that can go with more than just one of my looks!
  4. This Furla travel bag which is everything!
    The best part is that it is on sale!! And I feel this bag (or one similar to it) is a must for every fashion-lover out there! It has length adjustable straps and can act as a backpack as well as a hand bag! (I love such flexible pieces!)
  5. This lash primer that has changed my life.
    Honestly, I always thought that lash primers were the most useless make-up item ever. Till I used this one and my perspective (and life) will now never be the same. One swipe of it on my lashes followed by my mascara and it feels like I am wearing the most natural-looking fake lashes. Does that make sense? I hope it does because I mean it-everywhere you go people will be commenting on your ‘brand new lashes’!

XO,
Gull.

Work-friendly cafes in Lahore 

12 Jun

I’ve never been the kind who can sit in a library for hours and study/work. Nor can I do that at home. Being a medicine student though, that equation didn’t work well for me and I had to find a place where I could sit and study for longer than five minutes in a go.

My answer came to me out of forced circumstances. My final exams were just around the corner, when some relatives came to Pakistan to visit us.

The energy levels at home were beyond anything. Everyone was as people should be when they haven’t met their loved ones in years-loud, worked up and ready for laughs on the smallest of triggers.

Fun times but not for someone with their medicine finals so close. One day, tired of the noise levels, I gathered my books and ended up going to a cafe close to my house.

I got more studying done that day than I’d in the past four at least.

And hence it began. My love for studying and working at cafes around town.

However, I soon realised that every cafe wasn’t work friendly. Some didn’t appreciate you sitting for hours after paying for only your coffee while others were too loud or their furniture too relaxed (yes, that’s a thing) to let you work. However, in the past four odd years, I’ve found some favourites for working at. And though I wish that we could have a Starbucks at every corner too where you could sit and work for hours, these cafes have been saviours for me and today I share them with you!

1. Gloria Jeans, Z block DHA:-

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It’s at the top of my list for a reason. The staff is infinitely courteous and accommodating. The noise levels through most of the day don’t get too annoying.

However, here is the best part-most weekdays, as you climb their stairs to the upper level you will find almost all the tables occupied by customers working away (or even studying) creating a perfect work friendly environment for anyone. Add to that, their community tables are at the perfect height for the given chairs for any kind of work (hi zero neck strain). And, they don’t guilt trip you for sitting with your single coffee cup-for hours.

Verdict-The staff is helpful, the baristas good at their work and the ambiance always both welcoming and work-friendly.

2. Mocca, Mall one, Gulberg 

Mocca


The only reason it’s at the second position on this list is that personally it’s a little too far out of my way. Otherwise, it’s as good as Gloria Jean’s Z block for working out of. The staff is diligent, the lighting amazing (minimal eye strain, omg). Add to that their amazing coffee and macaroons and the place becomes the perfect cafe to work out from. Again, a lot of other workaholics come here too and many a times you will find yourself surrounded by a group of other people working or studying there too, creating the perfect ambiance for you to do the same. That stands true especially for the new covered area they have made on their rooftop. (Plus glass walls, omg!)

Verdict-the food options are vast, the coffee is amazing and the staff is helpful but non intrusive, letting you work as undisturbed as can be.

3. Coffee Shop, Defense club, J block DHA

Coffee shop, Defense Club


One place I can sit from morning till evening with minimal distractions, great (usually) coffee and very, very helpful staff-it’s this. And I’ll be honest. I’ve spent many a day here with my laptop or my books. The only flaw is their lack of wi-fi and the at times not-so-good coffee. However, the staff here is made up of the best, most courteous group of people ever which almost make up for the draw backs. Almost.

Verdict-Perfect ambiance for working if you can do so without wi-fi. Or can arrange for your own.



4. Rina’s Kitchenette, DHA

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Rina’s Kitchenette 


It is almost as good as the other places on the list. The only issue is, this place can either work really well for you or not at all. How? Because the place is small and if you end up going there during rush hours (or when a particularly loud group of people is there too) it’s not going to work out for you at all. But between the rush hours, the community table on the ground floor is a favourite of mine to work at because honestly their dessert menu is the best in the city.

Verdict-They have the best dessert bar ever and amazing coffee too but the environment can swing from being work friendly to the opposite on different days and during different hours. Hence, it’s a calculated risk at times but a great one nonetheless.

Friday Five

9 Jun

The five travel linked beauty products that we fell in love with this week are listed below. I hope you enjoy them!

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Travel essential-Darphin Beauty revealing cream

  1. Darphin Exquisage Beauty Revealing Cream
    Moisturizing should be a key part of your beauty regime no matter if you are travelling or not, but travelling requires you to put extra efforts into the step. This cream is a little thicker than your usual moisturizers but that is why it makes it an absolute in-flight travel essential! It keeps your skin firm and super radiant, no matter how long the flight.

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    Travel essential-Aerin rose hand cream

  2. Aerin rose hand and body cream
    Because your face is not the only place that gives in to the drying impact of travelling-you need to give as much attention to the rest of yourself too. This Aerin cream is ideal for keeping your hands and feet moisturized, helping you smell great at the same time! (I might be slightly obsessed with its fragrance, to be honest!)

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    Travel essential-Ouai Dry shampoo

  3. Ouai Dry shampoo
    This little guy is a life saver, especially for the days when showering on the go isn’t the easiest task. For me though sometimes even after a good wash my hair looks flat-probably because of the change in air and water, and this spray helps my hair look voluminous again. So, for any time during your trip, if your hair seems too flat and not fresh enough, this will be your savior!

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    Travel essential-Kate Somerville Cleanser

     

  4. Kate Somerville Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
    A good, deep cleaning cleanser is a must when travelling-because you are definitely going to be more in the outdoors than normal. Plus, your skin is never really prepared to deal with the different percentages of bacteria and dust particles in the new environment, so the best way is to keep your skin as clean and your pores as gunk-free as can be. This cleanser is ideal for the required amount of exfoliative treatment, letting your skin remain clean and fresh looking (and far away from pimples).

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    Travel essential-Karuna face masks

  5. Karuna face masks
    There is nothing more refreshing (nor better for your skin) than to return to your hotel after a day of sight-seeing and going to bed with a nice face mask. Not only will you wake up the next day re-energized but so will your skin! And these Karuna face masks, especially the hydrating one, is one of my favorites when travelling! It keeps my skin fresh and hydrated, minimizing the break-outs I once used to be prone to while travelling. In fact, the last time I was travelling, I began to break out pretty badly but between the cleanser mentioned above, these masks and this ELF acne fighting spot gel, I was able to make the pimples go away!

 

10 books to take on your vacations

5 Jun

For some holiday trips are more than just a time to have fun and sight-see, for some it is the only time they get to unwind and the only time they can fit all the the things they have been missing out on, into.

For us book lovers, the knowledge that vacations are the only time for guilt-free book reading (because lets be honest, when has a dead line forced us to give up on reading completely) is both daunting and challenging-more so because finding books that are both scintillating and yet can be called ‘light reads’ is hard. However, not all of us can take up long autobiographies as companions for our beach days (no matter how intriguing they might be) and for those who prefer an easy-going book to take to their vacation spots with them, here is our list for you! Take your pick, kick back in your beach chair and let yourself get lost in the wonderful words of these writers!

For the cafes

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The Goldfinch


  1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt-You will hear people that will urge you to read it because of how well it has been written and those who will cast it away as a ‘children’s book for adults’, but while for the latter you need to remember they cast away Harry Potter in the same way, over all just know this-it is one of the most talked about books of this past decade, even in the literary word and at the same time it is an easy book to read through. And, though many dissent, it does have that Dickensian feel to its writing that keeps you enthralled throughout. If it is one book you can read this summer, read this, it is worth it!
    (Buy here.)
  2. The Twilight wife by A. J. Banner-The book takes us on a journey with Kyra as she unravels the memories she lost to a diving accident, uncovering truths about people she thought were her friends and discovering a past that comes back to her like a terrifying nightmare. An immersive thriller, the twists will keep you involved till the final, shocking discovery while every page leading to it will keep you on your toes!
    (Buy here.)
  3. 13 reasons why by Jay Asher-The book behind the popular Netflix series of the same name, read it if you prefer books to their on screen adaptations. While the season itself is by turns moving, horrifying and enthralling, the book pushes you to question your own actions even more, causing a much needed introspective in its readers! Plus books are always better than their on-screen adaptations, no?
    (Buy here.)

For your favorite cities

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  1. It started with Paris by Cathy Kelly-A once in a lifetime moment in Paris starts a chain of events that nobody could have predicted as a young man’s proposal to his girlfriend up in the Eiffel Tower sends ripples throughout their families. A fun read, easy to get through for even the most reluctant of readers!
    (Buy here.)

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    I heart New York

  2. I heart New York by Lindsey Kelk- This book is as light heart-ed as they get (without getting annoying, cheesy or boring) and will especially be an instant hit with any SATC lover! First in a series of books on Angela’s quirky adventures, this book introduces us to a cheated-on heroinne running away from a horrible marriage and into the arms of new possibilities and even new love. By turns both cute and funny, it will be hard for you to not to finish it!
    (Buy here.)

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    The little Paris bookshop

  3. The little Paris bookshop by Nina George- A protagonist who calls himself the literary apothecary, astutely prescribing the exact books needed to mend broken hearts and souls, yet the only heart he has failed to mend via literature is his own. Haunted by a heartbreak from his great love’s disappearance, he finally gets the courage to open the one letter she left behind-the contents of which take him on a South of France and finally to his own healing. If you’re looking to be charmed right out of your own life for a few hours, this is the book for you! After all, who can resist floating on a barge through France surrounded by books, wine, love, and great conversation-even if comes to you only in written form!
    (Buy here.)

    eat pray

  4. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert-This is one book that can teach you something new every time you read it, therefore don’t shy away from re-reading it. And if you haven’t read it yet, well-why not? An intensely articulate, sensible and by turns funny memoir of a woman’s journey to self discovery, it shows what can happen when you take charge of your life and your own happiness!
    (Buy here!)

For the beach

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  1. The forty rules of love-Elif Shafak-A book that needs no introduction, a book that so many have fallen in love with and so many have drawn inspiration from! At forty when Ella receives her first assignment at her new job, she is introduced to Rumi and his works and as she reads more on him she begins to realize his life is starting to mirror her own and, as such, she finds inspiration for her own life in the most unlikely of places!
    (Buy here.)
  2. The unfortunate importance of beauty by Amanda Filipacchi-Centered around two women at the opposite ends of the beauty spectrum dealing with one common problem-finding a love that can overcome their looks. Add a murderer to the mix and you have a perfectly ‘thrilling’ modern-day fairy-tale.  Part literary whodunit, part surrealist farce, it is a book made for lazy beach days!
    (Buy here.)
  3. After you by Jojo Moyes-So many times we read a book that changes our lives forever but also leaves us with the nagging question-‘what happened after’. Jojo gives us that in a book that is almost as impactful as ‘Me before you’ as she shows how life for Lou Clark is after Will, how she dares to fall in love again and how two families, as real as our own, can make us feel their joys and pains like our own. Fall in love with Lou all over again as she tries to get her life back together in a post-Will world.
    (Buy here.)

 

Friday Five

2 Jun

As promised, the Friday Five posts are back and because we have dedicated this month to all things holiday, our Friday Fives will follow the theme too. This week, we will share with you five travel essentials we have fallen in love with! We hope you like them as much as we liked them for you!

1. For your luggage concerns, we found the perfect brand! Samsonite not only offers bags that are spacious and supper stylish but also ones that are durable. Plus, they have something for everyone-from the businessman to the globe trotter, everyone will find a bag here that suits their persona. For this month though, we picked this super funky red one that has not only been personally tried and tested but it is also on sale.


2. We might be slightly rose gold obsessed. But when you add that rose gold to our favourite brand, we are sold! These rose gold Beats wireless headphones are so good that we couldn’t resist buying a pair for ourselves too! (Buy here!)


3. Passport holders/covers are like bobby pins. The more you buy, the more you need! Picking one favourite from the thousands we fall in love with daily was hard, but here is the one that seemed to literally woo us. Or maybe the line on it says out loud what our souls feel-either ways here is our current favorite passport holder!

4. Reading in-flight is something almost all of us end up doing. Somehow the in-flight entertainment offered is never good enough. But finding a good read for the flight isn’t an easy task either. We asked our in-house book-lovers what their suggestion for a “vacation” book would be, and this is the one we all seemed to agree on- “The ministry of utmost happiness” by Arundhati Roy. (Because…why haven’t you read it yet?)

5. Comfortable shoes should be at the top of your list when travelling because bad shoes make for a bad travelling experience. Our favourite pick are these sneakers which feel like a party on your feet (even after hours of wearing them)!

XO, Team TMW

Trend report-June edition

1 Jun

1. One shoulder tops

Because cold shoulders are too main stream now!

If you want one for a steal, the option below from Storets is amazing.

(Get here! Or get a variant of it here. )

 

 

But the top that added new life to the trend is this one from Mr. Self Portrait! It is a splurge, but these wide-sleeved shirts are the latest fashion-favourite for they include another much-loved trend, wide stripes!

 

2. Mis-matched earrings

 

All the cool kids are mixing and matching their earrings. What about you?

You can get them here/here for a steal and here if you feel like splurging!

Charlize Theron brought the trend into limelight again, via her Chopard earrings at the Oscars. Note that one has a heart-shaped  pendant while the other has an oval one. 

 


 

3. Pin straight hair

Thank you KimK for bringing this trend back, because honestly we don’t think we could stomach another head of curled hair. Not on us, not on anyone else!

Bonus tip: Couple your sleek-straight hair with a lob and be the group’s cool girl!

 

Olivia Culpo

 

4. Tassel(ed) earrings 

They are fun, quirky and come in so many colours. Brb, as we run to get ourselves some.

 

You can buy them here or here (steal). And here ! And for Pakistanis (especially Lahoris), check out these ones from BTW*Esfir!

To get earrings similar to the style above, check here!

5. Ruffles. Ruffles. Ruffles. 

Enough said!


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Zimmerman top

Get similar looks from here, here and here! Or try this H&M top whose color you will fall in love with!

6. Cute little ‘hand bags’

Let’s be honest, when are they not in style?

Some of our favourites are the Small Marcie Saddle bag and the Small Grained Calfskin Faye Shoulder bag from Chloe, and this Valentino!

But our favorite most is this Celine photographed below!

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Celine-Aimee Song


7. Gucci-esque flats 

Let it be known that Gucci made these slightly manly and very office-wear inspired flats the “in thing” but the brands around caught up fast enough! For us though, the Alexander Wang flats photographed below win the race! Best flats ever? We think so too!

Get them here!! 

Or a similar style for a steal price here!

Wang-Blank Itinerary 

Catch you next month with another fun-filled trend report, until then,
Ciao! xoxo

Letters to you

1 Jun


Hi everyone,

It’s finally here! June, the month that for so many (especially for college students like me) marks the start of summer vacations! Oh, how we have waited for it!

Now that it’s here, I am pretty sure most of you have begun planning (or are already setting off) for your vacations.

Which is so cool, and all my best wishes to those who have already planned it down to a T! But for those who feel like you need more inspiration or just some tips on what to take and how to pack, and where to go-don’t worry, we have got your back!

We here at TMW, are dedicating June to Holiday planning! (Cue five minutes dance party!)

It is time to get your holiday planners out! And if you aren’t sure where you want to go to, then stay tuned for our post on ten of our favourite spots for holidaying which we have written with all types of vacationers in our mind!

If you already have a specific location in your mind then our travel guides on Chicago, New York, Miamiand (cue extra special sound effects) Lahore might be all the help you need!

If you are fine on all these ends and just need some extra help in packing, watch this space for our tips on packing when you travel internationally and when travelling nationally. 

If you are looking for lights summer reads while vacation-ing we have got you covered!

What to wear on vacations is one of the hardest questions ever but we will answer that too along with a trend report on what’s hot this month in the fashion world! Plus we have an extra-yum post on our favourite holiday style tips, all just for you!

For a bonus post, we have asked beauty experts for in-flight skin care advice to keep our skin from breaking out when we jet set to our vacation spot. Sounds intriguing? I hope you like it even better than us when the post goes live!

And finally, for the ones who because of any restraints (family, work, job) can’t travel, we worked on something that will help you fight off that wanderlust!

Our Friday Five will relaunch this month too, featuring all things holiday all through June, and for the desi foodies out there, we have a really special post on all the best spots to eat and work at in Lahore!

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about Father’s Day, and have a really fun post planned for it. But the post in itself is a surprise, so no sneak-peaks for this one!

Does what we have in store sound like fun to you? The posts themselves are even more fun and have a lot more to offer than I’m letting on! So you will have to keep an eye out for them as June progresses! (See what I did there?)

I am really looking forward to your feedback on all the posts we are working on for you! Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions or requests for any particular posts!

Lots of love,

Gull

Our advice:-sign up for our mailing list or follow the blog so you know as soon as the post you are looking forward to goes live!

Learning to forgive 

31 May

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Forgive, even though, the chances of an apology, seem more distant than the stars.

This quote has been my mantra for some time now, but it is only recently that I understood its true importance.

If you think that you have been wronged-if you truly and honestly believe that you have been-the chances are that the truth is evident to the other side too.
But, the chances that they want to see it as clearly are slim, the chances that you will get an apology from the other side, or the universe, for all you have been put through-slimmer.

If you then continue to live in the status-quo, waiting for an apology that might never come, you aren’t just prolonging your own pain and adding to your agonies, waiting for a boat which most probably went down like the Titanic, ages ago, on a shore riddled with quick sand.  You are also letting yourself stay stuck at one point, a point that you need to leave for your own benefit, your own growth, for you are holding on to something which has to be let go if you want to be able to hold on to something better!

However, here is the real game changer. Even if you get the apology, or when you do, it will not bring you any satisfaction. Remember that old analogy? Where the broken glass when put together still bears all the scars-in this case the apology doesn’t even act as a glue putting the glass together-it acts like a cheap store brought tape with which you are trying to fix a delicate crystal figurine. You can imagine the mess you are making out of it.

And it makes sense too. How indeed can a pain that brings tears to your eyes, a heartache that steals your sleep, a betrayal that scorches your soul-how indeed can a simple ‘I am sorry’ atone for all these crimes that have been done against your soul?

Will the sorry let you believe in love again? Will it let you trust a friend again? Will it fix the scars that still bleed? Will it take away the pain of being lied to?

It won’t, not on its own, not without more effort from either one or both of you, but mostly not without a lot of effort from you because at the end you yourself will have to take the steps to your own full and complete healing! For here is a universal truth you need to realize-no one cares for you nor loves you more than you can yourself.

It is hence on you to go out and find a ‘super glue’ good enough for your figurine. It is your job to spend days, rather than a hasty hour, in putting it back together-and once you put every effort into that, you will see the results in the form of a figurine almost as beautiful as before, but better due to the hints of the scars that she wears as proudly as war wounds, And as reminders that though you are fragile, but you made it out in one piece.

And that end result will be both rewarding and liberating, letting you move on in a way that a half-felt apology never would! Letting you live a little freer while at the same time helping you break away from the grasps of relationships that are more hurtful rather than not, freeing you from the need of apologies that will give you nothing. Bringing you a satisfaction that will last you much longer than what an empty “sorry” will ever get for you!

In short, it is time you stopped waiting for an apology that will fix nothing. Rather offer the forgiveness no one is asking for, because that alone will cut you loose-and what would be better than to be free again?

To forgive is to forget, so forgive and forget and begin your journey forward!

Five shoes to lust over

17 Apr

This week’s theme for five things is on a topic close to the hearts of many girls-shoes!

Here are five shoes that aren’t just drool worthy but also ones that we urge you to add to your summer wardrobes as soon as you can!

  1. The ones for all your ‘lawn jodas’:-
    https://www.facebook.com/somaintl

    Soma

    They are elegant and versatile, perfect for the hot weather and don’t take a toll on your wallet!
    Buy them or more like these here!

  2. The ones that you can wear with your jeans as well as with your midi-skirts.
    Dress them up or down, they are perfect for summers, plus they are a complete steal in place of the wonderful Sam Edelmans (which not all of us can afford)!

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    Chapter 13

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    Sam Edelman

    Buy the Chapter 13 ones here and Sam Edelmans here!

  3. For the desi in you:-

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    By Uzma Pirzada

    Buy these and similar pretty ‘khussas’ by contacting the brand here!

  4. For the sporty-chic look, these both were so summer perfect that we couldn’t pick one!

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    Antonia Melani

    Buy them here!!

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    Halogen

    Buy these Halogens here!

  5. For the party girl (who can’t deal with stilettos in this heat):-

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    Marc Fisher

    Buy these wonderful wedges here!

Five women who inspire us

10 Apr

This week’s Five things’ theme is:-

 

Women who inspire us

We present to you five women who have bravely started off or are already running small businesses in Lahore while managing their studies, their social lives and their jobs on the side too, because apparently “too much on my plate” is a phrase they know nothing of.

1. Sugar craft by the dynamic sister duo, Shanzeh and Aleezeh Salman

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Shanzeh Salman

Do you know what is better than home-baked goods which are tastier than what you have eaten at even the best of the bakeries around town? When these goods are almost as good in their looks too, making you want to eat your cakes and have them too! So while you are left in a quandary over whether you should eat their items or save them for decor, our advice would be to take a bite-because the heaven in your mouth will be worth defiling their beauty.
Here is what the sisters had to say about their brand:

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Aleezeh Salman

“We love working together, baking magic together. My cozy business-minded, kung-fu Panda sister and I, a slightly clumsy art student, spend hours in the kitchen experimenting. It oddly feels like home, recreating old recipes, and playing around to customise new ones; knowing that you’ll create something you can call your own. Sugar Craft means a lot to us! It’s super cosy 🕊”

Find them here!!

2. Maven Clothing by designer extraordinaire, Aisha Malik

Aisha Malik

Who doesn’t love a nice desi wedding? Everyone does, yes? But the one problem we all always find ourselves facing is-clothes. We all want something pretty and traditional, yet something that makes us stand out and be different! Enter Maven, a brand that does formal clothing with such a subtle western fusion that you are left with clothes desi enough to please your grandmother and yet cool enough to help you stay in the spotlight.
We asked Aisha her plans for the brand and here is her answer:

“MAVEN by Aisha Malik eagerly aspires to dress up all those beautiful women out there with the latest, chic and minimal cuts incorporated with our very own developed embroidery. I felt the need of introducing MAVEN to provide our clients with the best fashion trends incorporated with the best fashion consultant in town.”

Visit their Instagram or Facebook page for more information!

3. Makeup by Hira Khan by the brilliant make up artist, Hira Shahraiz Khan

One line-she doesn’t believe in the art of caking! And we were sold. However, what gains her more respect is that she isn’t just amazing at her work, but she is also a brilliant teacher and the kindest person to work with. She can do make-up for any occasion-party, wedding, dinner date,you name it-and no hair-do seems too hard for her to pull off. Plus, she can teach it all to you too! All in a day’s work!
Hey, girl, superman just called to ask why you wont stop stealing his thunder!!
Here though is all that inspired the maestro into becoming who she is today:

 

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Hira Khan

“Makeup had always been a subject of interest to me. Everyone has their own way of expressing the creativity that exists within them. For me it was makeup, I always felt that there can be no better canvas than the face so that’s when i decided to pursue makeup as a career choice. What inspires me is the concept of “Less Is More”. I believe that makeup should be used to enhance the beauty that already exists and nothing should be over done.”

Check her work out here!

4. Bakeology by Saira Qayyum Malik
This little home based baking business might be new in town, but I can personally vouch for three things-the experience of the woman behind it, the taste and the proffesionalism! All of it is beyond any you will find in many of the ‘well established’ baking businesses in Lahore. Fair warning though, this one business is going to be one you need to be watching out for!
Here is what the owner told us when asked what inspired her to finally put years of practice and experience into use and begin this business:

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From Bakeology

“Translating my ideas into confectionary is something I really enjoy and cherish! So I finally decided to make use of all that I have learned in my life and bring to my customers something only years of experience in baking could-finished products with old world charm and perfect taste!”

Visit their page here to learn more about them!

5. Into the kitchen by Muzna Ali Khan
She doesn’t run a business per say, but we believe it is more of an “as yet” situation because with cooking skills like hers, she is bound to be running a well loved eatery soon enough. Till then, enjoy her food via her blog where she shares her personal recipes without qualms. The icing on the cake is that her recipes are so easy to follow that even we got them!
We asked her how she manages it all with her grueling medical school routine and here is the answer that left us all stunned:

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Muzna Ali Khan

“I came up with this idea before my third year finals (in medicine school). Since they were postponed, I decided to channel my energy towards something I loved doing and hence this blog came into being. Our routine (as medical students) is very hectic, but you make time for what you love. I have at times skipped college to post a recipe I really want to share and the love I get in return from my followers is what makes it all worth it. I am on my 90th recipe and I plan to do a giveaway when I reach the hundredth! My blog is something that helps me get away from the stress of my university and something I love too, so it isn’t a burden, rather an outlet!”

Find her blog here !

 

Friday Five

12 Aug

Travelling isn’t easy. 

There. I said it. 

I love travelling, honestly. But like all good things, it has its cons. And for me one of the biggest con is  packing. 

Somehow, every time, no matter how much I try, I end up leaving behind at least one very important thing. And mostly it’s not that I forget to pack it, it’s usually because in the past trips I wouldn’t have needed the item so I skip packing it this time. And by some law, it’s always that one thing I end up needing the most in the particular trip. 

One thing though that I no longer compromise on, and hence never leave behind, is my small collection of skin care products. Simply because you need to take extra care of your skin while travelling. Plus, no matter where you are travelling to, the chances of not finding the exact products that work for your skin are always higher than not. 

To avoid the risk of them bursting into my luggage though, I always hand carry my skin care products. Which essentially means I have to get travel sizes for all of them but thanks to shops like Sephora, it is so easy to get my favourite items in mini versions that it seems like no trouble at all!

Since I just got back from travelling abroad, and having packed my must haves again proved to be a great decision (for my skin), I figured I’d share with you the five travel sized skin care products I always have in my carry on and that I wouldn’t risk travelling without, ever!

1. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate® Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash 

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again. This cleanser is the best-especially for acne prone skins. I tend to break out more while travelling, but since I’ve begun travelling with this my breakouts have reduced marginally!

2.  First aid beauty Ultra Repair® Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 40

I’ve combination skin that dries up even more when I’m travelling, so this is an essential travel item for me. If a strong (long lasting) moisturiser isn’t enough of a pro for you, the fact that this one comes with an SPF 40 should have you running for your credit card. 

3. Ouai Morning After Kit

Once you begin using this on your travels, there will be no going back. Trust me!

4. Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Mask

I love a good sheet mask. Especially when I’ve been out all day being a tourist. However, this charcoal one by Dr. Jart is probably the best one out there! Easy to use and very effective!

5. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15

Just like the rest of yoir sun-exposed body parts, your lips deserve a little extra protection too and this sunscreen is here to save your day while keeping your lips moisturised and tinted!

Till next time,

Gull. 

Friday Five

1 Jul

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. I’m currently travelling which makes sitting down with my laptop to write a post really hard!

However, I had been really looking forward to write this week’s Friday Five. Why? Because it marks the start of the 4th of July weekend and (drum rolls please) it also marks the start of some amazing sales. Listing down my favourite five for you right here. Do check them out!


1. 50% off at Ann Taylor. I’m in love with this top. And how cute is this one. Use the code JUSTBEACHY at checkout to avail the offer. 


2. Up to 70% off at ASOS! Look at this top! Perfect for summer, no? And now perfectly priced too. 


3. Anthropologie is offering up to 30% off at select items. This top is perfect for this summer-on trend and just so cute!

4. Upto 60% off at the entire Old Navy online store! Now I can get this whole look at less than half the price! Ten minutes dance party? 


5. An extra 50% off on sale items at Banana Republic. What could be better? Maybe a 40% discount on regular priced items? ‘Omg’ indeed! (Seriously crushing on on this neck-tie top though!)

Happy shopping! Love,

 Gull!

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