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What, like its hard?

I never thought in a million years I would wear a Barbie/Elle Woods pink suit, but I gotta say thank goodness for evolving. I would have missed out on this fabulous piece. Suits are most definitely my favorite for work, they are easy to put together, look professional, and are mostly very flattering. I purchased this suit from Target, -their new line, A New Day. I cannot rave about Target lines enough, they are affordable and best of all the quality is so amazing for the price point!

This linen blend is perfect for the hot weather that is already here in North Carolina. I love that I can make this look causal if I wear the pants with a white or black tee and maybe some comfy sneakers. I can also wear the blazer over a black camisole and pair it with dark denim and heels – so versatile! Definitely see my self living in this for the next couple of months!

Pants (they are a relaxed fit so size down – I did small!)

Blazer

I wore a bodysuit under my blazer, which I purchased from h&m years ago. Bag is ElizebethandJames, heels are Valentino.

How would you wear this suit?

and of course have to mention my amazing photographer/friend! Who truly makes photoshoots so much fun. PorshiaHernandezPhotography

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mad for plaid.

Plaid is everywhere. On the streets of Milan, Paris, New York – and even my office. I am absolutely thrilled about plaid making a comeback to fashion. Forget just a plaid jacket, from matching sets – in true Cher Horowitz fashion- to even plaid shoes. I am here for it. I am a sucker for mod styled fashion. If I could live in any era it would most definitely be the 60’s, I have Mad Men to thank for that.

My plaid suit from Target’s new line “A New Day” (my new OBSESSION by the way)  is so comfy and it seriously takes out all the stress in the morning when I know I have a long day of work ahead of me, full of meetings, being out and about in the community, and have dinner plans later. It is extremely versatile, it takes me through the day.

So I bought my suit back in the Summer, early Fall – and ya girl has dropped some pounds – time to get it tailored! I didn’t even realize till I had my photo shoot – so much stress from work and life in general – but a good reminder you never get rid of such a classic piece! You must tailor it to you, every step of the way.

I let the suit do the talking, so I keep it simple with an off-white shirt and simple black sling-backs. The focus should always be YOU. Remember clothes don’t wear you, you wear the clothes – Ruby always taught me that as a kid and it is a very important fashion rule I do not forget. Clothes should compliment you and your structure, your personality, and you should always feel comfortable and confident in the clothes. If you don’t then the clothes ultimately wear you.

Can’t wait to add more plaid pieces to my wardrobe! How do you guys wear plaid?

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Spring Vibes

Spring is short lived here in the South, but lately we can’t seem to get rid of these frigid temps. I can’t complain too much, it is April and I was in New Jersey this past weekend and it started to SNOW! I’ll take 50’s any day. I enjoy a little chill in the air any ways, summers here get extremely hot, its nice to enjoy the in between sometimes.

Insert lightweight coats. I love a nice jacket/coat. I think it can really make an outfit come together. I own so many different variations of a trench coat – you can always depend on something extremely classic. Since the weather is very bipolar it also makes it easy to transition into the afternoon when the weather tends to get much warmer. Layering – to a certain extent can really help you look as if you put time and thought in your outfit.

And lets talk about transition. I live in my work clothes 8-7 typically, but to make it look less work attire-ish, I switch it up by changing my shoes and removing the coat for a more casual look. If I wear heels to work then I prefer a much more causal look when I just want to chill with my friends and put on flats. If I am more laid back at work and already wearing flats then I like to switch into heels and add some really nice earrings for dinner. You never want to waste a good outfit, even if it is just work clothes.

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the more causal look, ditch the heels and pair it with loafers or slides.

Outfit linked below – let me know if these tips helped you for ideas on work threads and being able to transition your outfit from day to night!

Classic Trench Coat

Top

Slacks

Slides

Thanks to my girl, Porshia Hernandez  for the amazing shots! You guys need her photography in your life, definitely check out her page!

challenge accepted.

I often hear people say they want to be challenged in life, and then you challenge them and they cannot handle it. It is much like truth telling, everyone wants the truth, up until you actually give them the truth. I for one, always want to be challenged and I always want the truth.

Regularly I say how self aware I am. It is critical that in life we are mostly aware of our flaws but habits in general. Conversations or emotions can get extremely real if someone else is the one telling you about yourself. Now and again though we need someone to hold the mirror to us. Whether that be your partner in life, family, friends, whomever – but you need someone to occasionally hold the mirror and tell you like, “hey have you ever thought about it this way?” Or better yet be that person for yourself.

I am flawed, naturally but it is an everyday process to be able to look in the mirror and still love yourself. Love yourself to the point where you understand that self improvement is also a form of self care, self love. Self care isn’t always luxury but a mean for survival, and constantly working towards improving yourself is in addition to a form of self care.

I am not going to preach that it is 2018 and we need to focus on ourselves. The thing is, we should strive daily to focus on ourselves. To protect our worth, our successes our failures. Our alignment doesn’t have to be everyone else’s alignment but it paramount to recognize that healing and self care has no end point, no summation, no finish line. It is the act dedicating each day to finding yourself and loving yourself despite how cruel the world can be.  One thing I have learned through my entire existence is the importance of perseverance, that in the face of true love – yourself, you don’t just give up – even if the world is urging otherwise.

endings.

As the year is ending, I can’t help but to think of all the things I gained this year, and just as importantly, lost. I hate the cliché, New Year, new me. I actually hate New Years all together, I have never fancied the holiday, I think it is entirely overrated and just an excuse for people to party and pretend that they don’t enter the new year with the same problems. Yes, I am THAT person.

Growth is essential at every turn of your life. Some people need Mondays, a new calendar year, or just a new morning, and that is fine, but my real question is – are you growing, are you evolving are you challenging yourself to change the things in your life that give you no joy?

I often see people be complacent in their life. I have done it too. With jobs, with living situations. I see it happen in marriages, relationships all too regularly.  Why do we insist on torturing ourselves? Isn’t it a form of torture – to continue an act that literally is breaking us slowly?

I have stayed in toxic relationships a number of times, Mainly friends… people who disguise themselves as your friends but really do not value you or above all are not kind to you. Why do we allow people to be rude or make us feel bad? I have struggled with this my entire life. I see the good in people, and I give them the benefit of the doubt, that no they care about me, that is why they say things that way. But here’s the catch, you can challenge someone without being rude or ruthless. Recently, my closest friend has been challenging me to see the world differently. Constantly pushing me out my comfort zones, but in the gentlest way possible. Showing me how my patterns are actually quite harmful to myself because I continue let people and situations have space in my mind that do not need to be there.

If someone does not add value to your like then they are wasted space. If the friends or the people in your life do not challenge you with TACT, then they are bullies. If people are not kind to you, what is the point? The world is cruel place as it is, why allow people – who are supposed to be our pillars, be unkind? Growth is also realizing that you do not have to have the same friends you have always had if they do support you in your journey.

I do not think I value anything more than time. It is the only thing I can offer someone that truly is priceless. Where you spend your time as well speaks volumes about yourself. I always heard the company you keep is a reflection of your personality. So spending time with those who bring no value to your life, is truthfully a waste. How do you manage to rid people who are wasted space in your life?

I often ask this question to myself to help differentiate between people I want to invest in and where I want to spend my time – since I value it so highly, as one should.  I read once, you’re nothing special if everyone has access to you. Spend your time wisely. Spend it with those who bring you comfort.

365 days. How did you spend it? 2017 was full of lows and highs, as every year is. It was complete of goals and failures.  We must take time to nurture our minds, to turn those failures into lessons, to push ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. I am exceptionally grateful for the losses this year, it taught me to survive. Mental health and inner peace is the new success, the new goal. My focus for the New Year is to become solution oriented and not problem oriented. My focus will be to say No where my heart is not happy, no matter who it is. My focus will be to live a peaceful life even if that means it needs to be done in solitude. Leaving anything and everything behind that is toxic. Turning 30 this year was additionally a great reminder on – how do I want the next 30 years of my life to look?

Endings, or new beginnings? I suppose it all depends on how you look at it. Cheers 2018, I am so ready for you.

chasing time.

We live in such a fast paced world. Meeting after meeting, coffee cup after coffee cup, one stop to another. I feel as if I never really get to relish in the moment. I’m eating breakfast, and I am already thinking about lunch (#fatkidprobs) but no seriously, because in my mind I am thinking will I even have time for lunch? I’m always thinking ahead, thinking about the time I have between point A and point B and what all can I get accomplished.

Someone recently told me it’s a practice to be present. And I am really awful at this practice. I’m pretty sure I was aware of that,  but they brought it to my full attention, and now it is all I can think about. I never really enjoy the moment, because I am already concerned about the next.

I have a good friend who has been coaching me on this practice lately, to be present, to live in the moment. But to be honest, its extremely difficult for me. Even though my emotions ultimately drive me, I tend to make a pro con list in my head before generating any [major] decision. I have to thoroughly think something through before I continue. By the time I need to make the decision, I’m either more confused than I was in the beginning or someone made the decision for me. Sadly, this happens to me often.

Looking back, I realized there were so many pivotal moments in my life I forgot to enjoy, because I was already onto the next goal. You always hear its about the journey not the destination, but then why do we put so much emphasis on the destination?

I’m always in limbo. For this ten minutes of happiness – is it worth a lifetime of regret? Okay yeah, I’m being a tad bit dramatic, but that is exactly how I form my thoughts when doing something, “reckless” as people would say. For those who know me, know that I am NOT a, “go with a flow” kinda girl. Complete opposite really, I need dates, times, instructions. I need a plan, a strategic plan. And if something doesn’t align with my vision, it throws me off. Also, I’ve always taken others in to consideration. How will my actions affect them? And when I say others, I mainly mean my parents, my family.

If you never live the life YOU have for yourself, than have you even lived? I’m starting to move slower. To stop and really savor things that bring me joy. The thing about the future is, it’s not promised and NO matter how much I try to plan my next move, something will always interject. I just have to realize that IS also a part of the process, the journey. The goal isn’t to only reach the destination but to fancy the pit stops too, even if it was never really part of the plan.

fine lines.

As I get older, I started to notice fine lines around my mouth and my forehead. I kept thinking, how did I get here? Fine lines represent different things – old age mainly, but perhaps I should dig deeper than anti aging products. My prominent frown lines come from all the scrunching my face does on a daily basis because of all the stupid remarks people say. My fine lines around my mouth are a representation of how much I’ve laughed over the years, and I should be proud of that –  not try to reverse the process. But maybe I  should be more concerned with fine lines that aren’t really visible, and the damaging effects those lines have on me.

Between love and commitment there is such a fine line. Between being vocal and crossing over to disrespect. Between wanting what your heart desires and keeping others happy. Between being a manager and a leader. Fine lines are everywhere in our lives – so very prominent, so very tricky, but not always so visible, and the smallest step can cross you over to the dark side.

I tend to tread carefully, it’s who I am. At times, I think I am actually rebellious, but then I am put in situations where I am on the verge of those fine lines and quickly realize I am not as rebellious as I think am. I am not afraid to be honest, but I am afraid I’ll hurt someone with my honesty. I’m not afraid to make big moves, but I am afraid how those moves will effect me mentally. I’m strategic with most of my accords, even though I have A LOT of emotion, I start to think of all the pros and cons before making that decision. It usually is a battle between logic, rationale, and how I feel/what I want.

Fine lines represent courage. It forces you to be fearless. Whether its for your job, friendships.. relationships – you have to be brave and embrace the path that can change your entire life. If you always tread carefully on those fine lines, you’ll never know what is on the other side of fear. It could be love, an amazing business venture – and yes you’ll lose money at first, but its exciting, and thrilling, and the experiences are endless. I once read, fortune comes to those that are brave. It has resonated with me since. In order to get what you truly want, you can’t allow yourself to be complacent even if  that decision scares the shit out of you.

So yes, fine lines can be alarming and extremely intimidating, but they also portray progression, and progression is the key to a rewarding life.

May the space between where I am and where I want to be, inspire me.

30 reasons why

As I begin to reflect on the last decade of my life, I can’t help but to think of the lessons life has taught me. Some lessons I genuinely feel I could have lived without, but that’s the thing about tests – every so often, they come unannounced and it’s not about the preparation necessarily but how we manage the test itself.

I have a deep fondness for failing. Odd sure, but It makes me stronger. I come back ten folds. My 20’s were a collection of failures. Losses. Things I couldn’t control – that I so desperately wanted to control, but as I entered my late 20’s, I started to recognize that it was never about the failures or losses so much, but how I handled them. You hear this time and again, but it never really resonates until you’re put in a situation where all you have is blind faith, and that blind faith is the only element that can guide you in the darkness.

In your 20’s you’re a slave to your dreams, and can also feel bounded to the hopes and expectations your family has for you too, and then there is regret. The old servants of regret, linger – oh how they linger. My 20’s were emotional. High strung – even more than my teenage years (just imagine.) The beauty about 29, was I found myself calming down. Not being a slave to my dreams or expectations but simply understanding what it meant to relish in the moment and to accept what life had presented to me. To not let the hopes of my family weigh unusually heavy on me. To not let the servants of regret linger. It takes a different kind of strength to combat such emotions, and I don’t think it’s something that can be taught or something I have conquered by any means – but it is extremely empowering having more control of your emotions, over your thoughts and more specifically being able to distinguish between the two.

In honor of my 30th tomorrow, here are 30 life lessons that I value so deeply:

  1. Self love is the beginning to EVERYTHING.
  2. You can’t MAKE anyone love/like you. Whether it be family, friends, or a potential significant other. You have to accept that people are entitled to their own emotions.
  3. Don’t try so hard to get people to like you. I learned this lesson early on but still struggle at times. All that matters if YOU like yourself.
  4. Loving your parents doesn’t mean you have to listen to everything they say.
  5. Not listening to your parents – doesn’t mean you love them any less.
  6. THE ONLY PERSON ENTITLED TO MY TIME IS ME.
  7. THE ONLY PERSON ENTITLED TO MY TIME IS ME. (One more time, in case you missed that)
  8. No is a full sentence. You do not have to explain anything to anyone.
  9. It is okay to keep your opinions to yourself. (This has been my biggest lesson this year, I have to tell myself constantly, “it’s not that deep, Fatima)
  10. No need to overshare your life to paint this perfect picture.
  11. It is [very] OKAY to be different.
  12. You do not have to be present for everything. You will miss out on some events and that is okay.
  13. Mental health is JUST as important as your physical health.
  14. You have to let go of mental attachments. (The bane to my existence – I tend to get mentally attached, because I am naturally an over-thinker – but it is extremely important to allow yourself to surrender to what is vs. what you want.)
  15. It is okay to cry.
  16. Healing has no end point, no summation, no finish line. Its the act of dedicating each day to finding yourself and loving yourself, despite how cruel the world can be.
  17. Being self-aware. Be familiar with all your flaws. Be so enlightened, that no one can ever say, “you’re like this..” and be shocked.
  18. Truly understanding that physical beauty is temporary.
  19. Know the difference between poisons that can blind you and the poisons that can open your eyes.
  20. Compassion is the root to a joyful heart.
  21. Never settle.
  22. If you aren’t passionate about something, you’re not living your life right.
  23. Change is significant to growth. Never allow yourself to get complacent.
  24. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Being able to adapt will take you far.
  25. Follow your arrow. The best gift you can give yourself is a lifetime of adventures.
  26. You aren’t entitled to anything in this world.
  27. Stand up for those who don’t have voices.
  28. Be your own hero.
  29. Be kind to yourself, FIRST and ALWAYS.
  30. My favorite, most humbling reminder: What is meant for you, will reach you even if it is beneath two mountains. And what isn’t meant for you, won’t reach you even if it is between your two lips.

Thank you 20’s, you were absolutely ruthless but the most incredible teacher I could have asked for. Thrilled for what my 30’s will propose.

Alhumdulliah always.

i don’t mind.

We hear the phrase, ‘be mindful of others’ regularly. Especially with social media consuming our lives, we consistently hear people say, ‘pay attention to your surroundings, be present, be aware, be mindful.’

Growing up, my parents really wanted to embed mindfulness in to us kids. To be quite honest, it’s all they cared about. If we were sitting and someone (mainly elder) was standing, we should be mindful and offer our seat. If someone came to visit, I should be mindful and offer water, or chai. If someone was complaining about a situation we should be mindful and offer help. To constantly be aware of others needs. Growing up, my sister would jokingly refer to our mother as a social worker. Despite having three kids, she took on tasks for people like it was her job. Both my parents really. They were so kind to open their doors and have people stay if they ever needed a room or food. Literally anyone could call my parents for help, and you’d never hear a no. Never.

I am truly grateful to have witnessed such kind, extremely giving, and mindful parents. They not only taught us to be respectful to others but to always show compassion to those in need. And they really taught us to be attentive to not only others’ experiences but their feelings especially.

Desis are ALL about emotions. I mean just watch any Bollywood movie and see how we like to pull at peoples heart strings with emotional blackmail… err situations. Being mindful isn’t a dreadful thing. It’s a wonderful attribute but is there such a thing to be too mindful? I genuinely don’t think I have EVER made a life altering decision without listing the pro’s and con’s of how OTHERS might feel (and when I say others, I mainly mean my parents.) Sure, I’ve been selfish and did things I wanted but I also drove myself pretty crazy up until I made that decision.

I find my mindfulness has spread to other areas of my life. With friendships, with work. I have a hard time saying ‘No.’ Because, again my parents taught us to always be mindful of  people’s feelings.  I don’t quite know how my parents provided for three kids and were able to take on more than their share – because I find myself struggling. On one hand I want to be able to make everyone around me ‘happy’ (I say happy but I know it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy – a general consensus if you will) but on the other hand it can take a huge toll on one’s sanity.

My friends who are amazing wives struggle between what their husbands want, what her parents want, and what her in-laws expect from her. She’s busy in her own life and of course has a voice but is also extremely mindful of keeping the harmony. I often listen to their struggles, pause and ask, “and what do you want?” The most daunting question of all time. We’re so wrapped up in trying to balance the beam. I truly believe they forget what they even want to begin with. I don’t want to make the bold statement that more often than not, women are asked to be more mindful than men, but in this case I’ll say it.

I once read a story that really resonated with me for many different reasons. A couple gets married and they make a pact for the first couple of weeks they won’t let anyone bother them no matter what. The guys parents come and they ask each other do we let them in and break the pact? The guy says it’ll be okay, they’ll be fine. The following week the girl’s parents are at the door. And of course not wanting to break the pact she convinces herself that it’s okay, they’ll understand. After a couple of minutes, she can’t take it, she tells her husband we should let them in, what if it’s something important? She opens the door. Fast forward a couple of years they have a son and then a girl. On the arrival of their daughter, the husband began to cry and the wife jokingly asked why are you crying? And he replied, “because the one who’s going to open the door for us, is here.”

I know plenty of guys who are mindful. I know plenty of women who are not. But there is something about this story that really resonates with me. The girl felt so many emotions upon opening that door. Firstly, to not want to disappoint her husband if she did open the door or feel guilty if she didn’t open the door for her parents. I often find myself at a similar crossroad. When my co workers say no to my boss for an extra task, I start to think of the all reasons why I should take the task. Mindfulness. It pops up everywhere.

For once, I’d like to be mindless. To solely make a decision based on my needs, only. We often spend our adult life fixing what our childhood broke and I’m not sure which part is more broken now.

My parents raised humanitarians, and as grateful as I am to them, I’m also upset they set me up for failure for my own sanity. The world wasn’t raised the same. The guilt that consumes me when I don’t fulfill a task that’s asked of me, will be the death of me. Many would say, this is a personal problem, and that’s feasible. Nevertheless, how is one to turn off being mindful? That’s just it though, there is nothing noble about not giving grace. It could be I’ve been on the right side all along, although for the sake of my sanity (and others like me) it’s time to fathom that No is a full a sentence and completely okay to use every once and awhile.

I do mind.

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