All posts by sumeerayounis

Wallpaper in Bathrooms

The bathroom has to be one of my favorite places in the house. I feel like you can really go crazy with your design choices since you are not committing any idea to too much square footage. And my favorite design element in a bathroom is wallpaper.

Once upon a time, I used to volunteer at Yoga District in DC. There I met the incredibly talented Kate Zaremba who has since gone on to launch Kate Zaremba Company. Her work is drool-worthy! I always want to go on spending binges when I’m on her site. One of my favorite products that she offers is her wallpapers! I am saving my pennies so I can start splurging on her work. Here are a couple of my favorite wallpaper prints which would take any bathroom to the next level.

Nouri’s First Birthday

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For Nouri’s first birthday, I wanted to plan a day that was low key and focused on celebrating our first year of parenthood.  We spent the night before Nouri’s birthday remembering how an year earlier we had no idea our little baby was coming that day. My lightening fast labor didn’t give us any time to reflect on the fact that we were about to become parents! Even as we drove to the hospital I was afraid to think it- that the next time I would be coming home, it would be as a mother. A mother!

Immediately after Nouri was born, I asked, “Is she ok? Is she healthy?” And asked again and again. I was so scared that something had gone wrong in that intense finale of my pregnancy. But there she was, our sweet little baby. Going through those memories with Feraz was so special. Talking about how much love we have for Nouri, remembering her different milestones and reflecting on how lucky we feel to be her parents may have been the best part of the celebration.

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For Nouri’s actual birthday I wanted to keep decorations to a minimum so I simply ordered a bunch of prints of Nouri’s first year from Costco to put up around the house, ordered this honeycomb garland, picked up a bunch of balloons from the dollar store and called it a day. We ate yummy chicken biryani, saag, bindhi, raitha and samosas.

The night before Nouri’s birthday, we blew up balloons and put them all over the house as a nod to one our favorite nicknames for Nouri- Noonie Baloonie. I found this birthday girl balloon dress on Amazon and felt it was too pricey for something she would just be wearing for a few hours but managed to find it for $5 on Ebay! Yes! Especially good because I don’t think she found it particularly comfortable.

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I had seen these awesome fruit cakes around and loved them as a slightly healthier option than a traditional smash cake. The cake was really, really easy to assemble and none of the mess that comes with a smash cake!

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For the birthday cake for everyone else to eat, I used my cake making cheat. After years of making cakes, I’ve found that the cake portion doesn’t really taste much different whether I’m using a box mix or whether I’m making it from scratch so I just go for the super quick box mix. Frosting is a different story. I can definitely tell the difference between homemade and frosting from a can so I usually just whip that up with whatever 4 or 5 ingredients the recipe calls for. In this case, I made a vanilla cream cheese frosting, filled the cake with raspberry preserves and topped with sprinkles. Super easy and forgiving.

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Probably the first and last time I will be able to blow out Nouri’s candle. Even here, she looks appalled that she isn’t doing it. I made Nouri the “one” crown using this picture as inspiration and using this and this tutorial for guidance. I think a crown is a better idea for an older kid because Nouri basically pulled it off after thirty seconds of wearing it. But we still got a few good shots with it during our family pictures so not a total wash!

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I used the pictures I printed of Nouri to decorate around the house. I used them to spell out her name and to make a big number one. I selected the white border option when I printed the pictures to help them pop and used washi tape to stick them up so I wouldn’t damage the walls.

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I loved the honeycomb garland. It’s so whimsical and adds some great pops of color. We are thinking of just leaving it up because it’s fun and reminds us that all of life is a party! (I’m aware that the cheese level getting dangerously high on this post.)

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Not the greatest quality but I had to include one of the only family pictures from the day. Love my little family so much!

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Family Pictures by Blue Lily

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A long time ago I saw photos by Blue Lily on a blog I read and was obsessed. I loved the work this husband and wife duo puts out. When I saw that they were coming to Maryland close to Nouri’s birthday, I knew I had to book them.

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We’ve been trying to get family photos done for ages but haven’t been able to get our act together. In this case, I didn’t find out Blue Lily would be in town until a few days before the shoot I was able to book. In an ideal world, I would have liked to have had a ton of time to plan things better, to have taken the day off work and to have maybe lost 40 pounds. But I had to work with what I had!

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The day we took these pictures and even looking at them the first time, I felt disappointed- I wished that Feraz had shaved, that I had picked a different outfit to wear, that I had coordinated our colors better. I wish I hadn’t gone to a new place to get my hair blow dried so I would have liked how it turned out.

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And that’s ok. Because I know that when I look at these pictures one, five, ten years from now- all I will see is my beautiful little family and how we took these photos to commemorate the first year of our sweet little Nouri’s life.

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Her first year did have a moment when I found myself parked in a random neighborhood stress eating a bag full of McDonalds alone as I cried but I’m thankful that there were only a handful of moments like that. Mostly there were evenings of rushing home from work to cuddle my sweet baby, laying awake at night marveling at the little angel we had made, evenings eating together as a family, watching Nouri go from a little blob to a little firecracker who has more of my personality than I am probably ever going to be able to handle.

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And so, so many laughs.

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