Just got back from spending 2 weeks across the globe in Bali. Here are a few snapshots of my treasured time in paradise.Read More
Almost a month late but worth the wait! I couldn't resist posting some photos from my recent trip to Seattle at the end of April. I had such an amazing time visiting one of my childhood friends and exploring the city together for a few days. As soon as I touched down, in true "Naseem fashion" we took the train to an old abandoned cinema where they were hosting this 90's music video sing along party. It was amazing. The seating was almost like an indoor drive in where each person had their own little booth and waiters would come over to you and deliver drinks and snacks. We danced, we sang, we were nostalgic to the MAX. It was epic. The rest of the weekend was filled with a whole lot of F O O D. I took the train to Pike Place Market by myself on Friday and explored all there was to see. There was so much action -- someone selling freshly caught fish in one corner, another corner filled with fresh flowers being arranged and sold, and another corner of little shops like a quaint magic store and one with screen prints from the last few decades. The market was like a maze. I felt like I got lost a million times but I couldn't stop going around and around. I walked past the gum wall -- and couldn't help just staring at HOW much gum there was on it! What else? Treated myself to Beecher's mac and cheese while watching the cheese being made in front of me! Got some Seattle coffee, baked goods, and of course the clam chowder. (Hands down the best I have ever had!).
Aside from that, it was so nice to experience a change of pace from what I'm used to with SF. Seattle was definitely similar but it had this really interesting vibe about it. More laid back, more defined. I really loved it. Plus the area my friend lives in is so diverse, everywhere we went had its own charm. She unknowingly found out she lives next to this hole in the wall Vietnamese BBQ spot that Anthony Bourdain swears by. We found this out and went at 9:45pm after having lounged rooftop in her jacuzzi. Perfect Saturday night. Then came home and passed out, haha.
One other really fun part of the trip for me was driving out to Alki Beach. It was so stunning to see this beach because not only are you staring out into the ocean while laying on the sand but your view is of snow covered mountains. It was truly majestic. The mountains there are something else. I felt like I was Maria in Sound of Music with the backdrop of Austria's mountains almost. It was so beautiful. I seriously can't wait to go back, this was one of those cities that grabs you and leaves you itching for more of it. So, so glad I had the chance to go and feed my wanderlust bug that is yearning for more and more travel ;)
Sometimes in life, the spontaneous decisions end up being the most memorable. I'm not talking about going out on a whim and doing something stupid without any wisdom (i.e. the YOLO mentality that so many teens have today), BUT sometimes a little adventure with wisdom is worth it all.
It all started when I went to go see the Backstreet Boys reunion tour this May. I've been a huge fan of them since I was like 7 yeas old, and I even went to see their reunion tour (the one without Kevin *tear* back in 2009). It just didn't do me justice. As soon as I heard they were coming back -- WITH Kevin -- I knew it would be epic. To put it simply, the show was amazing. Everything I could have hoped for. But for some reason it wasn't enough. At the end of the concert as we were leaving we saw this sign for an after party with the boys for $75. I think we were all so out of it/ tired/ on a high from the show that none of us really made a proactive decision to go to the party. The day passed, I go back to work; back to reality. For some reason that Tuesday at work I just had an itch. I wasn't done and wanted more BSB (cue my inner jr high fanatic, but that's what I felt!). Anyways, I randomly decided to check their tour dates that were still to come. Lo and behold, they were headed to Vegas for a show Friday and Saturday night. Mind you, I had never been to Vegas either and it was kind of like the stars just aligned -- I. Had. To. Go. Hand shaking, I took out my phone and texted a few of my girls to see if anyone would even be remotely down to join me on this adventure. After a few "are you crazy's?!" one of my really close friends texted back with a simple "YES." And the rest is history.
My friend Sep and I embarked on this entire fiasco, staying up til 1am that Tuesday night, booking tickets/ picking hotels/ dying of laughter at our spontaneity. Friday couldn't come any faster, but as soon as I got out of work that evening, it was on. We flew out and the plane ride itself was the beginning of a story that seems like it was almost out of a movie.
We ended up upgrading our seats a few rows so we moved up quite a bit. As soon as the plane was about to take off this woman comes rushing in, trying to catch the flight. As she's catching her breath she realizes her seat's been taken (right across us). Funny enough, the seat next to me was empty so she takes it. We don't talk the entire flight but as soon as we were landing, I peered out the window and was admiring the lights on the Strip. She asks, "Oh is this your first time in Vegas or something?" And I replied and told her surprisingly it was. She proceeded to ask if we were going to see any shows while there and I said, "Yeah, don't judge us but we're actually here to see the Backstreet Boys tomorrow night." She laughed and said, "Wow same here. I actually was just at their other show in the Bay Area last weekend too." Right then, Sep and I knew we had found a friend. Another believer, if you will ;) We went on to have a little bonding sesh and then found out the good stuff -- drumroll please -- she ended up being best friends with the Backstreet Boys' head of security. The second she said that I was like, ok this is it. We have to make something happen right now. Sadly she didn't offer any backstage access or a chance to get in the concert for free or any of my other fantasies so I gave up. We get off the plane, head out, and that's that. Suddenly, she asks us if we want to share a cab since our hotels were so close. We said sure and get in the cab. During the drive I noticed her texting a LOT. As soon as we were about to arrive at her stop, she turns to us and says, "What are both of your full names?" *Cue stars in eyes.* She goes on to say, "It's your first time in Vegas, I want to make it memorable — I'm getting you meet and greet passes to their after party tonight.
I kid you not, we were both like kids on Christmas morning, shocked with no words to express our joy. As soon as she got out of the cab and left, I started screaming like a true 11 year old girl. Our driver got back in the car and had to ask if everything was ok. LOL. We were beyond giddy. Now mind you, we had bought tickets to their concert and after party for Saturday night but this was Friday. So it wasn't even on our agenda but we just went with it. (In addition, we didn't even have a meet and greet ticket, just access to the party party, which we both had no idea what it would entail).
Even more funny, we come to realize that this after party is being held in our hotel. The hotel we randomly decided to pick out at 1am a few nights before. We check in around 11pm, get ready in a hurry, and rush over to the club. The line was out into the casino floor, but we went up with confidence and poise. In that moment I felt like true VIP royalty. As soon as we mentioned our connection's full name (after a minor glitch), it was like we were Obama and the First Lady. They opened up the velvet ropes, gave us every VIP/ backstage ticket possible and led us up the stairs through the elevator to the roof of the club.
And then it happened -- we met the boys. They walked in and for a second it almost felt like just seeing your friend out at a club and reconnecting. They were so friendly and down to earth that it seriously felt like we knew them. In that moment all I could ask myself was, "Ok what do you say to BSB?" And we just walked up to them as if they were our best friends -- "Hey guys!" -- to which I was greeted back with a "Hello beautiful" from Howie D. We took our photos, had a few moments with them (which of course, I couldn't contain myself long enough and blurted out a "I've been in love with you since I was 8" to Kevin).
The crazy thing was, maybe 2-3 people after us, they decided to shut down the photo taking since it was taking too long. The line still had maybe 50+ people in it. Again, divine favor or WHAT?! From that point on, the guys were literally partying with us in the club. We stayed out until 3am, watched Nick Carter DJ, and danced the night away. Which of course included following them around til we got a selfie with each and every one of them. And of course, I went in for the kiss with Kevin. Mind you, interesting point to note is that I was actually air kissing him but he leaned in for complete contact. [I can die happy.] It was epic to say the least.
We were on cloud 9. And this was only night one. Way to enter Vegas with a bang right? The rest of our trip consisted of hotel admiring, walking, pool lounging, eating, napping, and even me reuniting with a really good friend that I hadn't seen in ten years since our 8th grade graduation. It was perfect. The next night we went to the concert which was almost even better than the first one I went to. YET AGAIN, our lives were made when AJ decided to run off stage during one of their songs and run into the audience. Which row does he run to? Of course us. We were two away from the aisle too so he legit was in our faces, singing .. and holding the girl next to me. Like, I couldn't write this if I tried -- it was so so meant to be for us. And I'll leave it at that.
Finally, the last part of the whole trip -- which makes the above occurrences so much more worthwhile was when it was time to head to the after party (this was the one we actually had tickets for). We ended up making a stop at another club before the party, thinking it would be fine since the night before they strolled in around 1am. Long story short, we get back to the after party and see a pretty empty club. Barely any action and a slump in the all-around mood. We find out - they came for ~20 minutes, took a few photos, and left because it was their "mellow night" and they were tired of partying from the night before. No Nick DJing, no selfies with AJ, no kissies with Kevin. Imagine our dismay. Here we were, so confident from the night before, ready for part 2 with our boys -- and they were gone! All of these girls who had tickets to the after party were standing there in disappointment. I was on the edge of tears but kept telling myself, "Wait. Last night happened to you. Remember that."
And with that, we realized how kindred our decision to take this trip was. Everything that happened from start to finish was golden. It will seriously be an experience I treasure for a lifetime with a friend that was the perfect travel partner. In a sense it brought us even closer to share a memory like this together. It was seriously perfect. And while I'm pissed I had paid for a ticket to a party when they barely even showed up, the spontaneous memory I hold of how Friday night went down is probably one of the best moments I have to cherish. And makes for an epic story too, right?
The cherry on top of all of it was the way my cousin put it, "Imagine if you told 8 year old Naseem that this would happen to her one day." And that kind of just let it all sink in. As sad as one might think it seems, it truly was a "dream come true" in a sense. I wouldn't trade it for anything :) :)
I just got back from NYC for a short yet fabulous 3 day trip. My friend and I were on a mission from the beginning to see all there was to see -- complete with a full spreadsheet that I had looked over by some NY natives. To say the least, it was one of the best trips I have been on. To see another side of the country was a treat in itself. The diversity, the culture, the leaves changing into fall colors... Wow. It was more than I expected. I found myself at some points just stopping to stare at the beauty before me. The majestic sights of Central Park, the walk back from the Brooklyn Bridge overlooking the Manhattan skyline, the lights of Times Square, and the Top of the Rock. Seriously breathtaking. We had the lucky opportunity to make it on the Jimmy Fallon show too and got to high five him ;) [not to mention participate in a birthday dance off led by the Roots].
All in all, I have never walked so much at once but it felt so good. We took the subway everywhere and it was so easy because everything is so close by with the amazing underground transportation system.
I've also never been this outspoken before, haha. We had to leave our timidity at the door because as tourists in NYC we had no idea how to navigate. Every stop we made, we asked natives what their suggestions were and of course, which trains to take. It was awesome.
One of my highlights was taking a bicycle carriage ride through Central Park. The weather that day was literally perfect. The sun was shining and it was the absolute best fall, crispy air. The leaves were red, yellow, and orange -- radiant hues. I loved it. Watching people canoe in the river under the bridge and seeing the joggers nearby... So surreal.
I also loved going to the little places like East Village and seeing how much character there was. Mini bars and cafés, tattoo parlors, craft stores. It reminded me soooo much of Paris.
Finally, the night I felt so VIP was when we went to the top of the Standard Hotel. It overlooked the entire city with the water under us and all the skyscrapers lit up with lights. All around us were little white couches to lounge on and a rooftop bar. Oh and not to mention, a tent with a crepe maker ;) fabulous.
Hands down this is a trip I will never forget. <3
Ever have those seasons in your life where all you want to do is just fly away? There doesn't have to necessarily be anything wrong in your life or anything too stressful, but simply a yearning to adventure. A desire to take a step outside your comfort zone and see things from a new perspective. That's how I've been feeling lately. Amidst a time where a lot of changes are going on around me and within me, Dream place on the list right now? NYC baby. I'm such a city girl at heart and I head to San Francisco every chance I get for a taste of its rich culture and escapism feel. I don't know what it is about big cities but it seriously makes me come alive inside, and I mean that both in the mental sense and even physical sense. I get an excitement in my bones and even the crisp air and hustle and bustle of each person rushing off to do their own thing excites me. The best part of all of it is that I love thinking that each one of these peoples' lives must somehow happen to collide in one way or another. Maybe I've seen Crash one too many times but I love the sense of thinking that even if we think we're in the largest city filled with a bunch of strangers, that we all still manage to collide at one point or another. After all, why else would we constantly be hearing the saying, "Wow, what a small world!"
Anyways, that's my little word vomit of the day as we trek into the weekend. Who knows when these little trips of mine will come to play, but I hope one day soon!
This past weekend was seriously one of the best times of my life. It's so funny how the little things end up mattering the most. Of course a wedding is nothing little -- but simply the notion of being amidst your entire extended family for three full days was something else. I tend to forget how priceless moments like that are. It was so fun because the entire wedding party, the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents; ALL of them, were in the same hotel. So the night before the wedding we had a huge suite where we had a little soiree for all the guests. It was perfect because so many family members from the bride and groom's side were meeting for the first time so it was a good mini ice breaker for everyone.
The funnest part for me was being able to take the elevator up and down at any hour and visit my uncle, visit my cousins, and just simply have all of us able to hang out all together for 3 full days. It's almost like when you go on a huge trip with a bunch of your family or close friends; you're together in a tight space for the full duration of the trip that once you get home you're stuck feeling a little lonely from missing them.
The wedding itself was breath taking to say the least. My cousin and aunt are masterminds at DIY and party planning and they executed one of the most creative and beautiful wedding ceremonies I have ever seen. It took place at the Detroit Institute of the Arts which is a museum, and so the wedding itself was amidst one of the exhibit halls.. It was almost like a rustic dungeon type of feel; very enchanting. I loved it.
This also marked the first time that I was a
bridesmaid maid of honor! It was so fun and such a legit honor to be a part of my cousin's wedding. She and her husband only had 4 people in their bridal party; their brothers and their 2 cousins (me!) So it was truly an honor to be included above all their close friends and colleagues... I saw how much family means to them. Some of the highlights included helping my cousin as she was getting ready in the morning, taking photographs of her (which turned out amazing if I do say so myself), and catching the bouquet! It was such a touching moment for both me and for the bride. She said she felt like I was going to get it and inside of course I wanted it too! It seriously came right to me. It was so sweet seeing how happy our grandparents and moms were too. Such a memorable moment for me <3
Other than that, my biggest take away is just sitting back and reflecting on how important and irreplaceable family is. No matter what. It's funny because my older cousin (the bride), and I have never been "the best of friends." She's 4 years older than me and her brother & I are the same age so it's always been us two who usually hang out more. But over this past weekend I saw how untouchable the bond is between cousins. Especially for us because I only have 4 first cousins, and the other two live in Iran. So these two are literally like my siblings. Being able to take part in her wedding and on her side for the entire thing was such an honor to me.
Included are some of my photographs for your viewing pleasure. Truly an amazing weekend spent with my family. I will never forget it!!
Guilty: I've been more and more afraid to show my face here because of how much I've been lagging lately with the blogging. No excuse really.. I think I've just been really preoccupied in my mind and thoughts. I'm all over the place lately. Not to mention, I just turned 23 this week so much of my time was spent in birthday queen mode ;) best time of year, haha. I love the month of November especially because of Thanksgiving though. I got to spend tonight surrounded by my family and close friends who are pretty much our family. We don't have too much of our extended family living near us, so for the past couple of years we've spent the holiday potluck style with three or four of our super close family friends. It's always quite the occasion. We're surrounded by amazing food, get caught up in the most competitive charades games, and spend the whole night laughing and getting cozy by the fire. This is a short post because I'm actually leaving my thanksgiving dinner right now to head straight to the airport to catch the red eye to Detroit for my cousin's wedding! I get to be her maid of honor so I'm super excited about that. I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving surrounded by family and lots of love. Oh, and please indulge. It's only right this time of year!
I love the start of rain season -- fall fashion and colors in full force. Plus, BOOTS! This weather really reminds of my summer trip to Europe. Hardcore nostalgic right now :/
I had the amazing chance to go on a dream trip of a lifetime to Europe with my family. Not only was it a fantasy to all of us because the pricing had always been so expensive, but it was also one of the best bonding experience the 4 of us have ever had. This is one trip that I will forever remember.The photos don't eve begin to do Europe justice! It was MAGIC, my friends.
The day after I got back from France, I began my first "big girl job" as I like to call it. I've been there for the past 4 months working as a recruiter. It is SO different being in work mode rather than school mode. I'm enjoying it though... it has been such a growing experience that was much needed. More on the job to come!