Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wedding Bonanza (part 2)


I've decided to write the Wedding Bonanza story is five parts.  I started with the holud and mehndi DIY, and this part is more about those events.

I'm going to focus on the holud.  It's a truly Bangladeshi tradition.  After the guests arrive, the groom's party arrives.  They are greeted by the bride's family.  Her siblings and younger cousins line up and feed them sweets and hand them small welcome gifts, such as roses decorated with ribbons.  They bring dalas, which are the gifts for the bride.  Usually, baskets are decorated and the bride's bridal clothes, shoes, matching purse, and various other new outfits.  Some dalas contain gifts (clothes) for the bride's immediate family, which in my case meant my parents, my brother, and my grandparents.  Different families do it differently, opting to gift out to the parent's siblings/aunts/uncles, as well.  Other dalas contain fruits and sweets.  These were arranged out in front of the stage, along with the sweets that the aunties in my community made.  If you're wondering where the groom is in all this - he's not invited!  While we chose to have a ladies-only holud, even at coed functions, the groom isn't invited to the bride's holud, and vice versa.  Don't worry, though - members of my family decorated dalas of our own which were brought to Char earlier in the day.

A collection of beautifully decorated dalas of clothes and food!

After everyone was seated with my almost-in-laws at a place of honor, I entered accompanied by my cousins.  Traditionally, everyone in the bride's party dresses in yellow and the groom's in a contrast color, but I exercised a little bridezilla power.  I wore a yellow sharee (sari), my guests wore reds and oranges, and my in laws wore blues and greens.  My mom's best friend conspired to purchase matching sharees for the aunties and separate matching sharees for my friends.  If so many of them weren't hijabis, I might have posted the pictures!  Everyone lined up to put turmeric paste on my forehead and cheeks and feed me a bite of sweets.  This tradition is to wish the bride well and make du'a (give blessings) for the upcoming marriage.

After dinner the fun really began.  There was a show!  Many of the community aunties had prepared acts such as dances, skits, and poetry.  Since my in-laws are Pakistani, they incorporated some Urdu into their acts as well.  They really wanted them to feel welcome as the newest members of our community.  In addition to the aunties, my cousins and friends and little girls in the community also performed dances, down to my cousins children!  It was so cute!  My cousins did a really heartfelt dance to a Bangla song and my friends danced to BSB!  My in-laws prepared a couple of songs too!!  The surprise my mom and I planned for everyone was that I sang - I don't perform anymore, but I've been training since I was five, and aunties always tell me I should keep it up cause they love my voice (not to toot my own or anything, haha).  It was very exciting to perform and also kind of scary to sing for my mother-in-law-to-be, but she seemed to enjoy it.

After all the performances, we opened up the dance floor.  The highlights of that are my mother, Nanu (maternal grandmother) and Nanu's sister getting their grooves on!  It was a great night and you could really feel the love.

I want to end with this photo of my sharee/look.  I've (weirdly) colored in my head and neck because I'm not wearing hijab, but iA from now on, I won't be blocking out my face from photos.  The sharee itself is a yellow net in the lehenga style, meaning there are no pleats in front.  I chose this for it's beautiful color scheme of green, blue, and pink (and yellow!).  The blouse was made to fit with a three-quarter-length sleeve so that I can wear it again when I'm not with ladies only. ( :  I'm wearing flower jewelry in the traditional style, although mine isn't made from fresh flowers as it sometimes is.

The outfit I wore for my holud!  I loved the colors and the materials.  I'm wearing tradition flower jewelry, and I did my eye make-up to match, using yellows and greens.

Hope you've enjoyed!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wedding Bonanza (part 1)


So now that wedding craziness is over, the furniture is purchased, and the apartment mostly settled, I thought I'd start to share some of the prep that went into the big day(s).

There were five events.  That's right.  FIVE.  IN A ROW.
1. First, obviously, there was a bachelorette party.  I didn't do anything DIY for it, but it could not go unmentioned.  No boys and no booze, just a few lovely ladies out to have a good time.  And let me tell you - we did.  I don't think I had such a good workout in weeks!
2. Second, I had a small mehndi with a group of female friends and cousins.  I got my bridal mehndi done by one artist, and another was there to do smaller designs for the attendees.
3. The next night, there was a traditional Bangladeshi holud.  It's a ceremony during which guests wish the bride prosperity.  It's called a holud because of the use of turmeric, which is made into a paste and applied to the bride's face.  In addition to the blessings that she is receiving, the turmeric also serves to brighten the skin, leaving it glowing.  The yellow brings out the golden undertones in our skin.
4. The fourth evening was the actual wedding.  We were married by an Imam, followed by a whole night of speeches, slideshows, and schmoozing with out 500+ guests.
5. The final event was the walima, which is a reception hosted by the groom's family.  It was a smaller gathering, but just as lovely.

Let's start with the mehndi and holud.

The mehndi was held in my parents' basement with a backdrop done up by one of my lovely cousins with sharees and Christmas lights.  Alhamdulillah it was very nice, until it got pulled down by guests.  Oops!  Here's a shot of my beautiful mehndi done by Henna Cafe, and you can see the bright background!

My and Char's names were written in mehndi hidden in the designs.  Tradition dictates that he has to find our names on the wedding night!  Hehehe!!

 As I explained before, the holud is a celebration of the bride.  We had a small(ish) ladies-only gathering that lasted into the night.  A tent was sent up in my parent's backyard to accommodate the 140 or so women and girls that were in attendance, with a stage on one side.  The stage and all the decorations were done in-house.  My parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and parents' family friends painted the backdrop, the stage covering, and set up the decorations.  And!  They decorated the buffet tables with fabric flowers!  At a holud, the dinner is prepared by the host, but all the sweets (and there were tons!) are a potluck event.  Every auntie bought a different kind of sweet, in addition to the amazing food and sweets my mom made.  It was really something.

More later, friends.


Metallic Mani #2


I wasn't going to post this tonight, as I'd already published, but I guess I got too excited.  I'm trying the metallic Sharpie French mani that I saw on Concrete and Nail Polish, a nail blog I enjoy.  I'm kind of obsessed with Sharpies so I already had all the supplies on hand!  I started by trying all three metals (gold, silver, and bronze) as tips over two coats of Essie's Brooch the Subject.  I didn't love it - the colors were weirdly difficult to distinguish against the base.  So I changed it up a bit, using Essie's Topless and Barefoot instead, a beautiful pink nude.  I stuck with one color (gold) and to spice things up, I added a bit more than simple French tips - STRIPES!!!

Top: the first go round.  Index - silver, Middle - bronze, Ring - gold
Bottom: current iteration.  Thick gold tips with stripes(!) on the index and pinky!

One thing to watch out for is to make sure the Sharpie is dry, and then carefully applying the top coat.  Otherwise you'll end up with smudges!!  Blech.

Have fun trying this with any base color and any Sharpies you can find at home or at work!  Think of designs like polka dots or stripes, or go crazy with an Olympic theme.  ( :




I read an article a few days back about a lovely Sikh man who hung out around New York City in a Captain America costume - complete with beard and turban!  (He wrote the article.)  He describes his worries and expectations and the outcome and experiences.  He received a lot of attention and most of it was raving.  He wanted to challenge the thinking that Captain America, the idea and what he stands for, has to be defined by and as a white male.  And I think he succeeded.  Kudos to him for having the courage to introduce a new idea to the world.

While reading, however, I started to think about whether we all needed to make spectacles of ourselves to encourage people to be more open-minded and think critically about society today.  Now, I don't think that what Vishavjit did is ridiculous - I actually really applaud him.  I want to be clear that he is awesome-sauce.  I agree that being outspoken is the only way to approach it - no one ever inspired a revolutionary movement by sitting around silently.  And sometimes being outrageous is the right way to make a point.  I just wonder if pageantry is ever going to stop being the only way to open dialogue.  How sad for us.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Berry Earrings


Two nights ago, I worked on two things.  First, I hand made a pair of ear wires!  The are made from 18-guage 24K gold-filled wire and I think they're adorable.  I still need to smooth the back end of each hook, but I think they turned out well!  I'm going to continue playing with the dimensions of the hook, but I really like how this first attempt came out.  ( :

24K gold-filled, 18 gauge ear wires!

Second, I attached to each earhook a small drop cluster of Swarovski crystal 4mm bicones in rose (pink), indian pink (dark pink), and padparadscha (grapefruit).  I love how the colors work together to create a full range of soft pinks.  The earrings could be paired with an number of looks and outfits, from day to night to formal.  I call them my Berry Earrings and I think they're the first of a set in a themed collection.  I'm so excited about the possibilities!!

Sweet drop cluster earrings with a berry twist!

I'll let y'all know if/when my Etsy is finally up and running!  And don't forget to follow me on Pinterest!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Let's Talk About VaJayJays


As I'm sure most of you know, American Apparel has this shirt by Petra Collins and Alice Lancaster.  Yes, it's kind of old hat, but today I read an interview with Petra, so I wanted to jot down some thoughts.

My personal opinion of the shirt: Blech.  I do not want to ever wear a bleeding vajayjay on my chest.  Why?  Because I don't like periods.  They're messy, and sometimes crampy, and altogether last for far too long.  That said, no, I don't think vaginas are gross.  Or pubic hair.  And I am certainly not ashamed to be a woman, have a hooha, or get my period.  And lest you think I've forgotten, no, I'm not disgusted by masturbation, either.  My husband and I enjoy being together.  I like knowing that I can have children (because my husband and I want them).  I just don't enjoy a bleeding vajayjay.

Now all of that said, I don't understand what all the uproar is/was about.  This graphic tee, like any other is purchased by people who want to make a statement, want to shock you, or just plain like it.  You don't like it?  don't buy it.  It's the kind of this thing you see in the store, laugh about with your friends, and then move on from.  There's no reason to be rude - to someone wearing it, someone selling it, or the people who created it.  It's not offensive.  If it actually offends you, that a different issue altogether.

Being offended indicates you have a deeper problem.  And I believe Petra and Alice were trying to get to this point.  The detractors are showing far more buried feelings than I bet they realize.  Why are they so affected by a t-shirt?  The plainly misogynistic arguments thrown up by men and women alike prove the wayward thinking that has been propagated in our society today.  Should a woman not have a vagina?  Should a woman not have a period?  Should a woman not masturbate?  Should a woman not have pubic hair?  Should she simply be silenced or not exist at all?  Think about the message these people have internalized and are now spewing back into the world.  Good on Petra for shedding some light on the situation.

As for "decency," I like to keep my privates private and that's why I don't put in on a shirt.  A drawing of a vagina is first of all not the most vulgar thing out there in the world.  I wouldn't suggest or support wearing this particular shirt to any religious services out of respect, but that is my opinion.  If your kids see it on the street and ask you about it, it's your duty to explain.  If you don't want to, or are embarrassed, that's no one else's problem but your own.  To adapt from Louis C. K., women can be proud of themselves and enjoy their sexuality because you don't want to talk to your own kids for 5 minutes?  Give me a break.


Updates on My Love Life and Resume


Today I started a volunteer position at a local medical school.  I've joined an Immunology lab studying B cell development in immune response as it is related to certain types of cancer.  I'll be there full time for now, but iA when I get a job, I will cut back hours to after 5pm.  I have to talk to the postdoc about it.  It's all in the long road to academia.  InshaAllah.  But so yes.  #JobHunt2013 continues.  Some interesting prospects are in play; we'll see what happens.  Send good vibes my way!

It's been just over nine weeks since Char and I got married, and I'm loving life!  Every day we're tired and then there are always dishes to do and dinner to prepare and clothes to put away, but it's worth it.  ( :


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers' Day!!


HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY!!  I tried to make a weekend of it, with small things each day, but I rely on her help way too much to be able to pull off anything fancy.  Friday was a special delivery of two dozen rainbow roses at the office, signed with my, my brother's, and Char's names.  Saturday there was a nice card extolling my mother's many wonderful qualities and teachings.

Tonight I'll be buckling down to produce what is hopefully a memorable dinner.  I managed to finally find a recipe online of one my and Ma's favorite dishes at The Cheesecake Factory: Jamaican Black Pepper Shrimp.  It's amazing!!  Rice, black beans, plantains, mango salsa and of course, the Jamaican black pepper shrimp!!  I'll let you know how it turns out.  ( :

One last thing of note.  Char's name made it onto my mum's card and mine will be on his mum's along with the other siblings/wives.  This is happening.  <3


Friday, May 10, 2013

I'm Getting Married!!


I'm engaged!!  I know I didn't even finish Our Story (and maybe I even will someday), but about four months ago in January, Char's and my families came together and celebrated his and my betrothal! We had a small, family-only party.  I wore a gorgeous teal, green, and blue lehenga, and he wore a color-matched tie with his suit.  It was really great.  Our cousins took pictures and my mom cooked an amazing meal.  I met his adorable grandparents!  I am so so happy!  ( :

Our parents set the date for August 31st, of this year.  It's seemed so far away, but now it feels so close and there are so many things to do!

I really really kept meaning to update and, well, I'm a lazy biatch, so it never happened, hahaha!!

The perfect ring that Char picked for me!  And a glimpse of my outfit.  ( :