Fall Family Photo Shoot

I had the pleasure of meeting Northern VA photographer Maria Shakir at FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar Ashburn’s Grand Opening party where she took pictures of the event. After viewing her portfolio, I saw that she does great work with family portraits. Since I haven’t had time to take professional pictures of the twins when they were born (whereas with Rumi I took several), I thought it would be a great idea to do an outdoor Fall photo shoot.  We picked a day in October at a historic park in Leesburg, VA.  We got very lucky that day. The weather was as perfect as it was ever going to get in this area!  I dressed up my kiddos in knits to celebrate the season. For the boys, I chose a cream, gray, navy blue and chocolate brown color story. For Rumi, I kept it similar but added in pops of color with the embroidery in her boots and her knit hat. I wore a Lucky Brand embroidered sweater coat that reminds me a lot of my own fashion line.

When we arrived (a bit late unfortunately because it’s not always easy to get three kids ready!), Maria was ready and waiting. She brought several “props” for the shoot including a wagon, basket, and blankets. We ended up using our own blankets but did put the boys in her basket which ended up looking really cute.  It was hard to get the boys to laugh as they usually do because they were so enchanted by what was around them such as the trees, leaves and sky. Rumi had a good time at the shoot, and my favorite picture of her is the one where she is kicking up the leaves in her purple hat.

I loved this photo shoot, even though our car battery died when we left (thank God for a good Samaritan who showed up and helped us!).  I highly recommend hiring Maria for any photo shoot. She uses a nice camera, is patient, and knows how to capture someone’s personality in the right lighting.

OFFER: She is so kind to give me a special offer to share with my friends and family. If you mention my name, she will give you a session for only $95 as well as 15 digital images instead of 10! Offer is good through November 2014.  Make sure to mention my name to get the discount!  Here is her website: http://mshakirphotography.com/ and her email: mshakirphotography1@gmail.com
























Halloween Decor Idea! 3D Elsa Pumpkin: DIY Tutorial

This year should be called “Elsa-ween”! Rumi is obsessed with “Frozen” as many little girls are. Every year, I paint her a pumpkin for Halloween – for me it’s safer to do than carving a pumpkin with a knife around a small child (and more fun!). This year has been crazy busy with two salons and twins but I always try to carve out one-on-one time with her. Here is my 3D Elsa Pumpkin that I made for her, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to make it. Supplies you will need: a pumpkin (of course!), acrylic paints, paint brushes, off-white yarn, scissors, stapler, pen/pencil, paper cups, paper plate and tablecloth to protect your table.  I purchased most of the supplies from Joanne Fabrics. The paper cups are to hold water for when you paint (to moisten your brushes, and to clean in between colors). The paper plate will serve as your palette so you can mix colors. Perfect day to paint a pumpkin! a   b c STEP 1: Pick a pumpkin that has a rounder shape and that “sits well” on the table because you don’t want to work with a wobbly one! Find a picture of your inspiration. In this case, it’s Elsa from “Frozen”.  I first took a pencil to out line the shape and features of her face, and darkened it with a pen.   d STEP 2: Next, “prime” her skin using white paint. This will be the base of the painting. Her face looks “flat” now but we will shade and contour in the next steps.   e  STEP 3: Start painting in her lips, eyes, eyeshadow. Use different brushes for the various areas (you don’t want to use a big brush to paint a small area or you may mess it up). You may have to combine colors to achieve the desired color. If you have doubts about how to make a certain color, you can always Google it.   f  STEP 4: Fill in the brows with a brown (mix red, blue and yellow to make brown).  Then make a peachy/pink color and lightly paint in shadows and contours so the face doesn’t look so flat   g  STEP 5: Take yarn and cut them into same size lengths to desired lengths based on the area of the hair you would like to style.   Take your stapler (yes!) and staple pieces of the yarn to the pumpkin to secure it in place. You can cover the staples with different parts of the yarn.  Make variations in yarn lengths and build on the areas you would like to style for the crown of the head and bangs area.  Bet you’ve never styled (or stapled) a pumpkin’s hair before!   h STEP 6: Cut long pieces of yarn in the same size – as long as you would want her braid to be. Cut as many pieces to achieve the desired thickness of her braid.  When you have created the pieces, create a top knot and staple bottom areas to the top section of the pumpkin to secure it in place. Once it’s secure, then divide the yarn in three groups and start braiding down. Once you get to the bottom, tie it in a rubber band, and use some of the yarn to cover the rubber band   i  STEP 7: Touch up paint as desired, display and ENJOY!! Remember – there are no rules when it comes to art.  I made many mistakes when drawing her original face – that’s why it’s good to start with a pencil so you can change things around.  The most important thing is to have fun with this project if you are doing it with your kids! PS – sorry if I missed any steps or if I didn’t explain something correctly. I’m trying to get this blog up before I put the kids to bed, and I’m so exhausted myself!

The Pumpkin Patch

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Kaiser Nik

Stroll Through Battery Park

We drove up to NYC – with the twins!  Luckily the trip went well, and we had a chance to visit our old stomping grounds: downtown Manhattan.  I used to love strolling by the waterfront when Rumi was a baby. Some days I miss being able to do that with the twins, but know that raising them in Northern VA – away from the hustle and bustle of the city – is the right thing to do. Here are some pics of us enjoying the start of Fall in the Big Apple.

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I love this set-up outside the Whole Foods in Tribeca.


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Strolling through the park in a crochet vest and colorful handmade bag from India

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Me and Baby Nik: 3 months old


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With Baby Zaki: 3 months old

Fall Is Here!

It’s officially the last day of summer which means I can take my cable knit sweaters, wool berets and riding boots out of the bins and put together cozy outfits for Fall.   It also means taking advantage of the festivals and events that take place in Northern VA.  Old Town Leesburg is a historic town in Loudoun County sprinkled with cute little boutiques and hidden restaurants.  Finally had a chance to go this weekend and came across an art and jewelry show nestled between the cobblestone streets.

I wore a vintage Victorian-style blouse with princess sleeves and lace yoke. I love the covered buttons on the sleeve and neckline.  I paired it with a long chiffon vest that reminds me of an original Versace print, faded jeans, maroon boots, vintage purse and round brim felt hat.  The whole look has a “colonial” feel to it, which is perfect for a walk around a town that was part of the Civil War.

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Samira Walking

Samira Back

I came across an artisan who hand weaves beautiful jewelry pieces from Peru for his company “Rumi Sumaq”.  I asked him if he chose the name “Rumi” after the poet, and that that is the name of my daughter. I was surprised to learn that rumi is actually a name of a Peruvian stone!





Old Town Leesburg is filled with hidden restaurants.  I saw this man smoking in front of a wine and tapas lounge and he reminded me of a civil war soldier transported into modern times

Leesburg Restaurant

This is one of many cute boutiques that can be found in Leesburg. I love the display of fashion & accessories on a Southern colonial style porch.








Rumi Rose

My little Rumi loves dressing up and showing her latest outfit. Hmmm…I wonder where she gets that from?   I love the vintage feel of her new hair cut, her flapper-like pose and the overall energy of this pic.

Rumi vintage

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! Hope it’s full of giggles & smiles!


Baby Nik
Baby Zaki

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The Twins Are Here – The First Week!


After a long (and tiring) pregnancy, I’m excited to announce that Zakiriah and Nik were both born on Thursday, July 10th 2014 at 1:19 and 1:21 pm. Zaki (left; 6 lbs 4 oz.) and Nik (right; 6 lbs 13 oz) are doing very well so far, but what a whirlwind it has been since being at the hospital and bringing them home. Nothing could prepare me for the excitement, happiness and awe of holding not one – but two – beautiful babies in my arms…and nothing could prepare me for the amount of feedings, diaper changes, burps, soothing that goes along with having two infant babies to care for at one time. Even with all the work and sleepless nights, I am so in love with these two angels and thank God daily for giving me healthy babies.



Here I am in front of the hospital on due day. I was feeling excited yet very nervous, and had to wear a black dress because it’s the only one that fit me by the end of my pregnancy.


My babies are finally here! I couldn’t help staring, holding and kissing them.


My little Rumi meets her brothers for the first time. She loves them, but also has bouts of jealousy when she sees both of us holding or feeding the boys. She tells us, “I want to be a baby again”, and actually proceeds to act like a baby (crawling on the floor, wanting to drink from a bottle, wanting to be held). Since she was the only child for four years, I can imagine how tough it must be to see her mama and dada give not one – but two – new siblings attention. She doesn’t understand why physically, she is bigger than them, and why she has been, in her eyes, replaced. We constantly reassure her and show her love and affection daily, and day by day, she is exhibiting less jealousy tendencies.


Nik and Zaki in their going home from the hospital outfits. They look more ready to go home than I was!


Nik and Zaki’s Vermont Teddies gifts given by Kaiser’s co-workers


Nik and Zaki after their first sponge baths. Warm and snug as bugs in a rug! I was so blessed to spend my birthday (July 20th) with them!


Swaddled in their crib. They are sharing a crib for now – as they shared a womb-until they are able to move and roll over. It’s comforting for them to be close.


My sleeping angels in their first at home photo shoot at one week old. The tenderness and bond between them is so touching.


I Love Eyelet!

I am obsessed with eyelet and lace fabrics. The combination of both makes my heart melt – that is why I love Catherine Malandrino’s designs so much. Something about eyelet makes me feel happy, refreshed and at ease. Now that I’m 7 months along, I’m looking for comfort in what I wear, and what better way than soft cotton eyelet!

Here are some pics of Rumi and I before going to a gathering this weekend. It felt nice to take a break from work, to dress up (even though it takes extra effort – I can’t even bend down to put on my shoes now), and spend time with family and friends. I wore a cotton eyelet & lace top, a coral colored eyelet maxi skirt and a twisted beaded necklace.

As for my hair: besides blowouts (at FLOW of course!) and a recent on the whim haircut in Chinatown NYC, I haven’t done anything to it since being pregnant (it’s my natural ombre! lol) – I have been trying to stay away from as many chemicals as possible lately. No hair coloring/highlighting, nail polish, limited perfume, etc. I just personally feel whatever you put on your skin seeps into your body, and I want to keep it as natural and holistic as possible for my babies!

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First Pregnancy Photo Shoot – Enjoying Spring

I don’t need tell anyone how horrendous winter has been on the East Coast. It feels like an eternity of snow, sleet, dark clouds, cold winds and overall dreariness. So when the sun finally popped out and felt warm last weekend, we decided to take advantage of it, of course! We found a nice park in Vienna, VA on the weekend of the Cherry Blossom Festival (yes, we wanted to avoid DC traffic!), and snapped some memorable family pics! At this point, I am 6 months preggers with twins. I look smaller than I feel. What you don’t notice in the pic is how much my back hurts. As painful as this outing was at times, I wanted to capture some moments with my little Rumi and my dear hubby Kaiser because we had taken pics of Rumi when she was 3 months old at this very same park. It’s nice to see flowers in bloom – it feels like such an awakening of the spirit, soul, and senses.

You would think as a former maternity wear designer, I would be so excited to design or buy maternity clothes. To be honest, I’ve never felt more comfortable in my stretchy black pants and long maternity tops. This photo shoot is the first time I put on a dress at this stage of my pregnancy. I’m wearing a stretchy long print dress by ABS, cream cardigan (long enough to cover the bum : )), and flats. Nothing fancy – but oh-so-comfy!

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