Advertisements

Tag Archives: India

Monday’s Munchies: Food At CNE

Every year, for the 18 days leading upto Labour Day, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE or The Ex) takes place at the Exhibition place in Toronto. In simple words, it’s Canada’s largest fair. There are games, rides, international pavilions, exhibits, shows, a casino and ofcourse, food.

Oh yeah, lots and lots of food. Not just any type of food – there are unique types of food that you have only imagined, never tasted. Yup, I go to The Ex for food.

2 summers ago, deep-fried butter made its debut and the crowd went wild for it. Since then, The Ex has all sorts of deep-fried goodies: Mars, Snickers, Twinkies, Twix, Oreo Cookies, Coke, Colossal Onion and even Mac & Cheese. Last year, debuted the Krispy Kreme Burger: a meat patty and cheese sandwiched between two glazed Krispy Kreme Donuts. What. The. Heck.

In addition to more heart-attack-enducing foods, The Ex also added some variety to the mix

  • Thyme & Olives: a Halal Lebanese bakery selling yummy pies – spinach, cheese, cheese and zataar, meat, and turkey
  • Far East Tacos: A twist on traditional taco’s – you can choose from a variety of Korean inspired toppings
  • Vie Raw Food: For the health conscious, The Ex welcomed raw food this year

Here’s what Nouman and I tried new this time:

  • Steak & Cheese Factory: Nouman loves meat so he tried a sandwich from the Steak & Cheese Factory. He ordered an 8″ chicken and cheese sub but they gave him an 8″ steak and cheese sandwich instead. The line was super long but Nouman didn’t love his sub

 

 

  • Thyme & Olives: We heard that the Turkey and Cheese pie was really good so Nouman’s family tried that. Everyone really liked it

The Turkey pie on the right side

  • Deep Fried Oreos: The concept seems yummy but it wasn’t too great. I would’ve liked it better if there was still a slight crunch to the cookie but there wasn’t. The inside was surprisingly very soft. I’m not a fan of the batter either – it’s too thick and gooey for my liking. Overall, it was just meh.

3 for $5. What a ripoff

A look inside

  • Deep Fried Snickers: We decided to get the snickers bar with icecream and chocolate sauce on top. This was much better than the Oreo. I liked the crunchiness of the peanuts and the stickyness of the caramel. The icecream was also a good idea – the lightness of the icecream balanced the thickness of the batter.

  • Just Cone It: I love pizza and so I had to try this. I opted for the pizza flavour minus the pepperoni – the server even got me a new bowl and spoon since the previous ones all had pepperoni mixed in. While the concept is great, the flavour was definitely lacking.

A closer look

  • Swiss Waffle: Topped with soft serve vanilla icecream and fresh strawberries. We got our waffle dipped in chocolate aswell. Ofcourse. Contrary to the Belgian waffle, the Swiss waffle is crispy which makes it fun to eat.

 

I think next year I’ll try the Kimchi Taco from Far East Taco!

 

Advertisements

Tips and Tricks From A Desi Bride

There are lots of tips for non-desi brides out there but not alot for us South Asian brides. I know that many of you will be getting married in the weeks following Eid so here are some tips that will help.

  • Organized Packing: Packing up your life and moving to a new home can be overwhelming. I recommend packing sensibly to make your life easier for you. When I was packing, I made sure I packed in an organized way. If you have your belongings organized in suitcases, it will help you greatly. once you have moved. The basics:
    Overnight Bag: These are your essentials – toiletries, undergarments, nightsuits, makeup, 1 extra outfit, etc
    Honeymoon Bag: If you’re travelling soon after the wedding, it’s best if you have a separate suitcase with all your honeymoon things.
    Everyday Clothes: These suitcases will include clothes you might wear until the last day before your wedding. This also include Hijabs, purses/clutches and shoes
    Off Season: Since we got married in the summer, I put my winter clothes in one suitcase so I could store it away easily. This suitcase can also include other items that you might not need in your immediate future

Packing my life in suitcases.

  • Quiet Time: Having some quiet time the day(s) before your wedding is so important. A wedding house is ablaze with craziness and it’s easy to get caught up in that. To help calm your nerves, you should really enjoy some down time – do something you love or do nothing at all. I loved all the maddness that was going in our house but I am so thankful to the peace aswell. My mom made sure that my room was off-limits to any craziness so that could be my safe haven incase I needed it.
  • Check List: Make sure you have a checklist detailing everything that needs to be done on your days.
  • Reminders: Set reminders on your phone for the most important things. For example, Nouman set a reminder for my ring and I set one for his.
  • Picture List: Desi weddings have huge guestlists and everyone wants to take pictures with the bride and groom. At the end of a wedding there are always family shots that have been missed, relatives are offended that they weren’t asked to be in a picture or you have endless stories to share about some family hogging the stage. A pre-made picutre list, detailing the sequence of group shots, will limit all of that. This is the one thing I forgot to do! I did give my photographer a list of pictures I HAD to have but I think they forgot it on all 3 days. I wish they would have asked me because I had 3 additional copies at each event (minus the valima).

1/2 a page of a 4 page list for our photographer

  • Itinerary: Prior to your events, give each days itinerary to your  vendors. This will help them have an idea of when they’ll be most needed and where. It’s good to keep everyone in the loop!
  • Plan Ahead: I can’t stress this enough – if you plan ahead, you will not be stressed out in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Create a schedule for yourself if you need to – do whatever it takes to have things done early.

Boxes of chooriyan waiting to get sorted for mehendi favours. We were done these around 1 month before the wedding

Goodies assembled, in groups of 10, and ready to be put inside wedding favour boxes. These were also completed and set aside around a month before the wedding

  • Responsible Helpers: If you don’t have a wedding planner (I didn’t), appoint either 1 person or 2 people to be in charge. These are the go-to people for all your vendors and your guests. I have often seen that family/friends pull vendors in different directions: you have a nagging aunty wanting pictures of her all night, one uncle tells the caterer to serve dinner but another one asks it to be delayed – who the heck is your vendor supposed to listen to? Do yourself and your vendors a favour and have responsible go-to people. Nouman and I gave each vendor the names and contact information of my sisters and his brother – these were the only people they were allowed to listen to. We included this information on our itinerary.
  • Payments: In the mahem of wedding, you might forget to pay your vendors or might not pay them correctly. Therefore, set aside the balance due to each vendor in envelopes marked with their names
  • Beauty Regiments: Whatever beauty treatments you want to do, you should start atleast 3 months before the wedding. The 3 months leading up to your wedding should not include any new skin care or dietary routines – you want to avoid any reactions your skin/body might have. Ideally, starting 6 months prior to your wedding is the best idea. This includes skin care, hair, diet, contraception, waxing, etc.
  • Don’t Sit On Your Dupatta: Not sure why this piece of advice has always stuck in my head but I agree. Make sure you don’t sit on your dupatta or else you’ll be uncomfortably trying to squirm off it without drawing any attention to yourself.
  • Tape: Based on my own personal experience, make sure you keep double-sided or duct tape with you! Sounds weird, but incase something breaks or snaps, you’ll need it. Trust me. Wait for my Mehendi “Behind The Scenes” post to find out why!
  • Let Go: The best and hardest advice is learning to let go. Around a month before the wedding, I let go of everything. I knew that I had done everything I could and everything else was upto chance. Starting around 3 months before my wedding, I started telling myself that things will not go exactly as I planned but I must not let it get to me. You don’t want to be the bride that is tense and worried about how the event unfolds – it shows on your face and it doesn’t look good! Instead, accept that hiccups will happen so you can relax and enjoy the day(s)!


Bridal Jewellery: Big Rings

I love rings! Especially the big rings that have been in fashion for brides. These days, it seems the bigger the better but I disagree. While I do love big rings, I’m not a fan of the ginormous rings that some girls/brides wear.

I knew I wanted a big ring to enhance the ‘traditional bride’ look that I wanted to create on the wedding day. Check out a picture of me at the end!

Precious Collections by Maira Khurram

That’s me!

p.s. I’m hoping to get my pictures soon – can’t wait!!


Inspiration: Lajwanti Coat

I saw this outfit and it is so hot! I love the detailing on the back of the coat and the richness of the fabric.

Image via Facebook

What do you think?


Vendor Review: Sonia’s Henna Art

You might recall how excited I was to find a mehendi person for our wedding – I love mehendi so I wanted it to be nice. I’m not sure where to start with this review so I’m going to cut straight into it:

I was disappointed with Sonia.

About 2 weeks before my wedding, I received a message from a previous client of Sonia warning me not to use her. The clients experience was not good because Sonia was late and had rushed the bride and her family. After hearing that, I was a little nervous but thought I’d give her a try anyway. We had another lady coming to do Mehendi for my family, so the worst case scenario would be to rely on the backup person.

The day before my Mehendi, Sonia was scheduled to be at my house for 7pm – this gave me enough time to get home from my nail appointment, change my clothes and eat. However, as I walked in the door at 6:30pm, we received a call that Sonia was here. I thought, wow… a desi person, who’s EARLY? That’s awesome! When Sonia entered, she thought my appointment was scheduled for 6pm and that she was late – not a good sign if my appointment been for 6pm. Anyway, I told her I’d be about 15-20 minutes as I needed to change. As soon as I said this, she asked if I could be ready in 10 minutes since she needed to get back home. Ummm… what?! A little annoyed, I let it go because she seemed somewhat flustered.

I changed super fast, didn’t bother eating and rushed to get started with the mehendi. I’d rather that she take her time than charge through our mehendi session. I sat down, told her the style I wanted (not heavy and very bareek/traditional mehendi) and we got on our way.

For about 2 seconds, that is.

Almost as soon as we started, she received a call from one of her friends. Without getting too negative this is what happened: The entire time Sonia did my first hand, she kept getting calls – she would swear at receiving the call, ATTEND the call, hang up and then apologize to me. This happened 3 or 4 times and it was really distracting.

When she finished my hand, I told her I didn’t like it and that it wasn’t what I had asked for. She started apologizing and telling me that she doesn’t like it either and that she ruined my hand. She even went on to say that if people ask, I shouldn’t give out her name – she might have been joking about that. I must have looked upset because she said something along the lines of: “You’re not going to cry, are you?” Apparently, another bride had cried because she didn’t like her mehendi design.

As she started my second hand, the mehendi artist for my family came in. Once Sonia saw the second mehendi artist, she started getting visibly nervous. She kept saying that the other lady is “so good” and “so much better” and that I should have just gotten it done from her instead.

Definitely not something a client wants to hear!

Long story short, she ended up only doing the insides of my hand and I got the outside done by the second mehendi person. As she was leaving, she said she got nervous because of the second mehendi person and that’s why she couldn’t do a good job.

Below are the major setbacks:

  • Lack of Professionalism: Attending personal phone calls and swearing around your clients is just not acceptable.
  • Disregard for Time: In my case, Sonia was early but that was a fluke; she had thought she was late. Similar thing happened to the blog reader who messaged me – coincidence? I hope so. In addition, if you have booked an appointment with someone, the last thing they want to hear is that you need to leave soon
  • Inability to Follow Client’s Request: I might be an isolated incident but I felt as if I wasn’t heard. Maybe it was because she was distracted/nervous, but she had a hard time delivering the type of design I wanted
  • Colour: Bluntly put, the colour of Sonia’s mehendi was bad. Since Sonia doesn’t make her own mehendi (which she tells everyone upfront), she relies on someone else to supply them to her. I have seen the mehendi of the supplier on numerous people (including myself) and it is always very light. Sonia told me that if I take care of my hands (she gave me instructions), that the colour would come… but it didn’t.

As an aside note, I did think that the “party” mehendi she applied was okay. The designs weren’t the greatest – they were pretty average – but definitely nothing that warrants a negative review.

The first hand – Nice design but completely not what I had asked for

Second hand

“Party” Mehendi Design – the hand on the left, palm facing you, is by Sonia.

Overall, I was disappointed with Sonia because she didn’t give me what I wanted and lacked professionalism. I did think her design was nice, just not what I had asked. Based on my experience, I would not recommend her. Sonia does have potential but there is alot of room for improvement. She has a long way to go if she wants to excel in this competitive industry.


Dressing For the Heat: Hijabi Edition

Before I start on what I actually want to write about, I have a funny story to share with you guys.

While we were in Barbados, I took my Hijab slightly different than I normally do. Instead of wrapping my Hijab around my chin (i.e. covering my hair and my neck), I wrapped it just around my head (exposing my neck). Since I didn’t look like a “gori” or local, I apparently stood out more than I thought I would. And let’s face it, I do expect to stand out almost everywhere I go because of my Hijab. Everyone in Barbados is super nice but I got stared at. Alot. I got stared at so much that I once asked Nouman if there was something on my face. But no, I was just different so people stared. The guys wanted to be my friend. Wink wink.

My Hijab style in Barbados

Anyway, back to the topic on hand…

I normally don’t get hot; I’m always freezing. Sometimes, I have to step outside my work to get “toasty.” Yup, I’m one of those people who think 30+ degrees is PERFECT – much to Nouman’s disbelief might I add. I do love to wear summery clothes in the summer though. Below are some tips for those of you who cover-up in the summer:

  • Maxi Dresses & Long Skirts: Your BFFs for the summer. Light, airy and oh-so-comfortable! I’m not much of a skirt wearer, but maxi dresses are a staple in my summer wardrobe. I have around 10 long dresses and I always want more. Most dresses are sleeveless, so you can pair them with the below
  • Shrugs/Cardigans: You can pair long dresses with a light cardigan or shrug/bolero. Don’t use the same cardigans as you have for the winter – those are obviously way too thick. Instead, purchase your cardigans/shrugs around Fall or Spring; you’ll find nice colours and they’ll keep you cool in the heat. I can never have enough of these – I always buy solid colours since they are the most versatile (black, white and bright pink are my go-to colours)
  • Shirt Dresses: I love these. If you see a long sleeve shirt dress, buy it. These are often made of cotton or chiffon so it’s perfect for a hot day. Pair these with:
  • Full Length Tights: Who doesn’t love a stretchy elastic band at the waist? I’d trade in my tight jeans for tights anyday. They keep you cooler than jeans and add a bit of flair to any outfit
  • Long Sleeve Shirts: This is a tough one, but if you can find them, buy them! Wearing a cotton or chiffon long sleeve shirt is great – it can dress up any look (paired with dark jeans) and saves you from wearing cardigans ontop of jeans.
  • Linen Pants: I bought a pair of loose-fitted linen pants for our honeymoon and I LOVE them. I only wore them once on our honeymoon, but I ware them often around Toronto. So comfy and so light.

Tights and a dress – this was in January so I paired it with boots. In the summer, I wear flats or sandals instead.

If you wear a Hijab…

  • Headbands/Bonnets: I don’t know about you, but most of the time I wear a full cap under my Hijab. I’ve worn it from day 1 so I find it the most hassle-free thing to wear. However, if I’m going to a really hot place (i.e. Karachi in June), I often switch the cap for a headband/bonnet. There’s less fabric around your neck – so it helps keep things cooler
  • Material Matters: Wearing a thick velvet Hijab might not be the smartest choice for summer. Go for lightweight and breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen or silk.
  • Colour Blast: It’s summer – enjoy bright or light colours but avoid dark ones such as black. This is the one tip that I’ve been having a hard time sticking to recently. I went through a phase (2 summers ago) where I LOVED colourful Hijabs – the brighter, the better. This summer, I’m still loving my black. I think it has something to do with the fact that my favourite Hijab (2 for $10 from Ardene) is black. I have the same one in blue but I don’t love it as much. Yeah, I’m weird. I do wear colourful clothes so I guess it balances out! I love yellow these days. I have a yellow (full sleeve chiffon) shirt and I wish I could wear it everyday.

Long dress, check. Thin cardigan, check. Light Hijab, check.

Seriously, it’s not that hard. I know many desi’s hate summer because of clothing issues… but I love it!


Monday’s Munchies: Food in Barbados

We forgot to take pictures of everything we ate, but here is a look into some of the yummy things we did capture. Barbados is known for its scrumptious fish! We ate fish almost everyday and loved it – so fresh and tasty.

Breakfast at Pearson

Dinner at The Carriage House – Dorada Fillet with baked potato and salad

Flying Fish with macaroni pie at Cutters Deli – a short walk from the resort

Fish with rice & peas, salad and fried plantain

Fish with salad, potato and yams

Pina Colada for him. Guava for me. The best juice I’ve ever had. EVER.

This was a local fast food chain. It was quite similar to KFC. We had potato and curry roti – it was pretty good, but not the greatest.

Pasta at a restaurant in the resort, D’Onofrios Trattoria. Nouman didn’t like this much

I ordered pizza. It was average

Enjoying a grilled cheese samwich on our balcony

Flying fish with rice & peas, salad, macaroni pie and coleslaw. This was at Oistens – it’s a street party that happens every Friday

Blue Marlin with the same sides as above. This was by far our favourite type of fish – it tastes like chicken, so Nouman loved it!

Getting coconut water on our resort

He got pineapple flavour and I got strawberry. Notice the tan? OH YEAH!

Treats after a long day at the beach. This was from a cute cafe on our resort

Room service and grilled cheese samwiches. Nouman couldn’t have more than 2 fish balls.. so naturally, I ate them all. He had juice and I had coke. Ofcourse.

We went back to Cutters Deli for our last breakfast. Eggs Benny for him

Yummy Breakfast Burrito. All mine.

Sorry if you’re fasting! It’s Monday’s Munchies, what did you expect? 🙂