Moving from NYC to the ‘burbs of D.C. has been a big adjustment for us. I grew up in Northern VA but moved up to NYC and lived there for 10 years. My husband Kaiser has lived in NYC almost his entire life! We decided to move back to the D.C. area to raise our daughter Rumi and to be closer to family. We still have kept our city apartment because it’s nice to go up there every now and again to get a taste of the city. He misses things like being able to get a “slice of pie” from the corner, or a bagel on a walk. But we are appreciating many things about Northern VA as parents. When I was single, I didn’t like living in VA – I thought it was boring and dull. It’s a different story when you have kids! You start looking past yourself and think about what’s best for your kid, and for us that means she has more space, more fresh air to breathe, and more time with family.
We love driving through Loudoun County and taking in the scenic mountains and farms. Drive past Leesburg and you get into Purceville and Berryville where you can find hidden farms, orchards, and vineyards. I love finding little towns nestled in the mountains and valleys – it’s such an escape from the hustle, bustle and grind of day to day life. Here we are at a little farm we found on the side of the road. We stopped to snap some pics of the beauty around us! Loudoun County is beautiful, calm and peaceful!
I wanted to be comfortable so I wore a chunky gray sweater, bell bottom jeans and a knit hat. Rumi wore a floral embroidered sweater poncho and fringe boots.
Every year I tell myself that I am going to design and sew a costume for Rumi – something fabulous and creative – but I just realized that I don’t have time to go to the store and search for one let alone sew one from scratch! Running a business full-time while juggling motherhood leaves no time for crafty projects – the kind I envisioned myself doing with my kids when I thought about what it would be like to be a mom. This year, Rumi wanted to be Tinkerbell for Halloween. I found a princess fairy costume from some Halloween store, and paired it with a silver tulle skirt I picked up at Target to create more fullness. In the end, she was super excited which was all that mattered! And I don’t think she will care if the costume was custom made or store bought – she was just happy to wear a tiara and hold a wand (which begs the question – why do all little girls want to be princesses and fairies??)
My mom Guli is very resourceful. She was re-purposing and recycling before it become hip and trendy to do so. Since I was little, I remember her hand embroidering and sewing details on clothing. She has a knack for taking something shabby and redesigning it into something new and loves designing outfits for herself for evening wear. I always tell my mom she should have been a fashion designer. Since she likes to dress in modest clothing, she finds creative ways of incorporating classic cuts with fashionable accents like custom beading and embroidering.
On this blog, I plan on showing some before and afters of her creations from start to finish. How she starts with a piece – be it a skirt, blouse, jacket, etc. and how she alters it or mixes/matches it with something else in her closet. Here, I snapped some pics of her taking a vintage pearl and crystal beaded necklace apart, and sewing the crystal beads onto a crocheted tank top in order to cover up the deep v-neckline. She also took a white chiffon dress apart and made it into a skirt.
I wasn’t there when she went to a wedding in the outfit she created, but the she did take a pic on her IPhone, which I have shown below. Stay tuned for more of Guli’s designs!
On Thursday, October 24th, I attended the Evening of Hope Gala to Benefit Afghan Women & Children hosted by The Nooristan Foundation, at the residence of the Indian Ambassador to the United States, Nirupama Rao. Special guests included Washington diplomats and Congressman, including Mr. and Mrs. Ed Royce. The event raised money for a great cause which you can read about more here: http://www.nooristanfoundation.org. Helping Afghans is a passion for me and my family – we feel that we are lucky to live in the U.S. and the least we can do is raise money to help those in need such as building schools, supporting entrepreneurship programs for women, housing families in refugee camps, and much more. Thank you to all the kind donors and supporters who came that evening, especially Leonie Industries – they donated $5,000 to Nooristan Foundation!
Unfortunately, the world has a negative view of Afghans because of the media, especially after 9/11. People don’t realize that the country boasts thousands of years of rich art, history and culture. Part of the culture is traditional Afghan dress and embroideries which have inspired my fashion designs. I love studying the various embroidery techniques among the different tribes, and understanding how their lifestyles impact their dress. So, it was only fitting that we all wore Afghan dresses to this important event in order to “represent” our birth country. I wore a custom black “East Meets West” Afghan dress, in a longer style, designed by my sis Mariam when she was in Kabul. I love the silver embroidered bodice and sleeves. My sisters, cousins and friends also wore traditional Afghan dresses which are known for their vibrant colors, fabrics, embroideries and cuts.
Apologies for the not-so-high quality of many of the pics. We were instructed not to bring in cameras for security reasons, so I had to take pics with my phone. We were lucky enough to find someone who did bring a camera (thanks Mr. Abdullah Noori!) to snap a few higher quality pics:
From left to right: My sister Alina, my cousin Roya, my cousin Hangama, me, my dear friend Senzel, the U.S. Ambassador to India Ms. Nirupama Rao, Ms. Hakimi (wife of Afghan Ambassador the U.S), my mom Guli, my aunt Schameya, my sister Mariam in a purple flower caftan I designed, and Arian Ahmadi
My mother, Guli, and father, Nadir Atash, speaking with the Ambassador
My aunt Mary and colleague Mr. Abdullah Noori
Yama Keshawerz and my sis Mariam Atash
Mariam and Congressman Ed Royce
Members of Leonie Industries – they donated $5,000 to Nooristan Foundation!
I’ve often been called an old soul. When I see photographs or films of women from the 1940’s-1960’s, walking through New York or Paris, I feel a bit nostalgic as if I lived through those eras myself. How I wish. Fashion was so detailed, so thought out, so divine. Each outfit told a story. Those were the days when women would dress up to go to the market, with a sense of passion, pride, and purpose.
After being interviewed at FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar about the salon for an online tv show, I spent the afternoon in Georgetown with my dear husband, and it felt like we were transported to Paris, in the late 40’s, for the day. We love coming into the city every now and again. D.C. has European charm, and if you get into the nooks and crannies of Georgetown, and walk along the C & O Canal, you will be transported to an old world. We ate lunch at Cafe La Ruche, and then went for a stroll. Since I’ve started my blog, he has been an amazing help with taking pictures, and I’m so thrilled with what he captured on this outing – the retro/vintage charm that I often live in, in my daydreams.
Dress by Anthropologie, jacket by Nanette Lepore, hat by Cynthia Rowley, shoes by Steve Madden, vintage purse
Sunday mornings seem to be the only time I have to myself lately. I came back from NYC last Monday, and have been busy at FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar training new staff and working on a couple of new ad campaigns. If I wasn’t working, I was shuttling little Rumi back and forth to pre-school, getting her ready, taking her to her first field trip, prepping her meals (which isn’t always easy since she’s a picky eater), cleaning, doing laundry, etc. Working moms everywhere can relate.
This weekend, I did find some time to organize my closet which is something calming for me to do amid all the chaos. I came across a pair of high-waisted pleated voluminous pants with a tapered hem that I bought from NYC. I’m loving that pants are moving away from a skinny look to more volume lately. Looking at it, it immediately reminded me of the 80’s. When I get dressed, I sometimes like putting together themed outfits depending on my mood. The weather outside was cloudy and a bit nippy, so I decided to wear a navy blue sequined sweater, buttoned-up blouse (you have to button it all the way to the collar to pay homage to the 80’s : )), gold braided belt, brown pumps, chunky gold watch and my cool nerd glasses. I felt like a preppy student in London in the 80’s. Very specific! This is what I wore to work on Saturday, and to a get-together afterwards.
For make-up, I kept it light on the eyes and redder on the lips. I’m loving my new lipstick by Motives (Ruby)!
I bought a green trench coat a few months ago, and every time I put it on, I want to jump in puddles and run through the streets with glee. Something about this color makes me feel…happy. Who knows, it may have something to do with my love for Kermit in 4th grade, but this color does something to me, especially knowing that winter is just around the corner.
This weekend, we took an unexpected trip to NYC. My coat came with me. And when I put it on and paired it with a vibrant polka dot clutch, I felt free to be me.
Calvin Klein coat
What do you wear for a cover shoot? This was my first one, for Fairfax Woman Magazine’s November/December issue, featuring FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar as the story and the backdrop. I wanted to wear something that looked professional and stylish. I chose a navy blue Catherine Malandrino eyelet and cotton dress that I picked up from a boutique in NYC. I love the princess sleeves, square neckline, button down front and overall classic cut. To accessorize, I wore a black, gold and silver knotted beaded necklace, navy tights and black ankle boots. Before the shoot, I had my hair blown out and curled into FLOW’s Calypso look (loose waves).
To be honest, it was a bit challenging to pose for this shoot. I didn’t want to look to sultry, too sexy, too anything – I just wanted to convey a professional, stylish business woman kind of look. I felt a bit awkward throughout, but the photographer was good at making me feel at ease.
Here are some pics taken before the shoot as well as some behind-the-scenes ones. Looking forward to seeing how the cover turns out!
Catherine Malandrino dress, Steve Madden shoes, vintage necklace
Running a business and being a mom doesn’t leave much time for myself or my family, but I do make it a priority to set aside Sunday as a day I can unwind. I try to slow things down and remove myself from the demands of running a business. This past Sunday, Kaiser, Rumi and I went to Old Town, Alexandria. It was a very warm day considering it is October so I wore a sleeveless ruffle top with a print skirt. The cuts and fabric of my outfit are Summer, but the colors made me feel like Fall. Rumi were a sleeveless print dress, purple tights and gold sequin ballet flats.
We ate lunch and walked down King Street, which reminds me of a European town with it’s small boutiques, antique shops and restaurants. Old Town is a historic city a few minutes away from D.C., with cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. It was nice to stroll through the streets basking in the sun, while enjoying the sights and sounds of Fall.
As a kid, what’s more fun than going to a birthday party? When I was young, a party consisted of a cake, a few balloons and some friends coming over for a few hours. Today, it’s a different story. Parents are going all out for their kids’ parties, myself included. A cake, paper streamers, and balloons are simply not enough anymore!
Last weekend, Rumi was invited to a double birthday party for my second cousin Roya’s two daughters (Sophia and Lila). I have to say it was one of the best, if not THE best, kids birthday parties I have been to. It was set up outside in a picturesque setting – a cozy cottage type home nestled between large oak and pine trees. A long chain swing hung from the strong branch of a wise tree, adorned with vibrant balloons. In the grassy area, there was a small petting zoo (llama, baby ducks, chickens, goats and sheep!) and a big bounce house that shook side to side as the kids squealed and jumped in delight. On their driveway, they set up a long table filled with a variety of American and Afghan foods – the appetizers before the evening’s steak & barbeque. On the porch, they set up the birthday presents, and surrounding that area, were Fall decorations such as pumpkins, hay, a scarecrow and even a relaxing hammock. Cute and memorable!
Rumi had a good time but I think I overdressed her in a navy blue sheath dress with colorful buttons and trim, white sweater/tights and pink fringe suede boots. After the party was over, her boots were covered in mud, but I didn’t let it bother me because I was happier she had a great time!