I have had this project in mind for the past 2 years…I was perhaps a little to ambitious in my mind. I would have wanted to produce more items and give back as much as possible. As I decided to “retire” from the fashion industry and no longer create massive collections, I decided to venture into more of a humane/ethical world. I wanted to put myself to good use and make a positive impact in my community…which led me to think, why not use the fabrics/trims/buttons for a good cause. I wanted to create these items for the purpose of making children happy. I wanted to make 100 dresses (initially) for charity and give them to orphaned children in Jordan. I completely fell in love with the country and wanted to perhaps be able to leave a positive mark there. I searched high an low for the right place to invest my time in and with the help of some wonderful people, I was able to find the perfect place I will give my dresses to (will be keeping the name anonymous for the moment).
As I work on many different project from running a business, to working full-time, to blogging, to planning a wedding…this project was on the back-burner. Truthfully, I was super disappointed with myself for not being able to complete the set amount. After some struggles and some squeezed time, I was able to complete 35 dresses. That doesn’t mean I will not set another goal, it just means that for the moment, this is what I have.
These dresses are collectives of different fabrics I owned, however, some were donated to me by friends. I used up loads of my trims and buttons to embellish them. I didn’t want to make regular boring dresses, I wanted something cool, different and unique. I wanted to make different size dresses and different dresses. Each one unique to its kind; never the same. I wanted the orphans to feel like princess in the special coming times. Since it will be Ramadan soon for us Muslims, Eid will follow. Taking the time to make these dresses in time to make the children feel happy and joyful is super humbling. I wanted to be able to offer those little beautiful angels something special just like them. Eid is a time of celebration for us, it is the time to share your wealth with the needy to make them feel like your equals. It is the time to be happy and celebrate with your loved ones. As Muslims, we grow up with charity instilled in us, because it truly is the essence of religiousness. To be able to share your goods with the needy is a marvelous feeling. It is necessary for me to keep the concept of unlimited love and kindness alive ad going.
Although I didn’t spend much time working of them, I enjoyed every minute and sincerely gave it my all.
PS: this is one is one of my favorite!! I mean look at how cute it looks!! So novelty <3
I did not just stop at making little girls’ dresses, I decided to go all the way to teens. I did dresses for starting at 2 yrs till about 25 yrs. Now I would have wished that I had the chance to stay at the orphanage for a while and volunteer a little bit all through the holy month of Ramadan…but unfortunately, like I said, sometimes life takes us to different paths…paths we never dreamed of being in.
All in all, these 35 dresses all have a story behind them and I hope that this will at least make the girls happy, even if it’s for a couple of hours. I want to be part of their lives as they are the future and to make them feel loved and wanted is a blessing.
Since I was a little teeny weeny girly, I always wanted to go to Africa and “save” the world. I want to give my time to charity and not have anything in return except gratitude, friendships and memories with real people. Now, I never had the chance to go to Africa (yet), but I decided to start somewhere…although small, I am hoping that it will leave a great and positive impact. Philanthropy is a part of me and I am hoping to continue to share my love of humanity with those around me. For those who are interested in getting involved, you can shoot me an email and I will gladly transfer your messages to those in charge. This is completely non-profit for me. These orphans could use help getting the basic necessities such as school supplies or toiletries.
As Ghandi said; be the change you want to see in the world…I always, since a was little, tried to keep this in mind!
If you’re visiting Amman, then you must, like literally must go to Beit Sitti. If you’re going with a group or just with your partner in crime, this is a wonderful experience to go through. I had booked a place for 2 (hubby & I) before I went to Amman. Let me tell you that it was one of the most memorable moments I have experienced so far (well bungee jumping is up there too).
Beit Sitti is cute home in Jabal Al-Weibdeh owned and run by the Haddad family. The sisters wanted their grandmother’s legacy to live on and they wanted to share their passion for food with others…what better way to offer that through the coolest cooking/dining sessions! Hence the name Beit Sitti..which means grandma’s home in Arabic. We also get to learn how to prepare 4 Arabic courses.
You can go there for either breakfast, lunch or supper. We decided to go to the supper session and we ended up being in a group of 8; an Italian family and an American couple. We had loads of fun sharing our travel sorties and cooking together. You learn how to cook traditional Arabic meals with the help of Um Reem (the chef/cooking teacher). You get to cook with veggies and spices picked and prepared by local women. What I loved about this is that they make their own spices and sell them! All to support women and local farmers and producers.
The decor is to die for! I want to live there! The way it’s set up, the furniture, the ambiance….everything was so vintage and so adorbs!!! It sincerely does give out the vibe of grandma’s home. Hubby and I got the chance to sit down before the cooking class started with Um Reem; she was the kindest, funniest woman I ever met! She even appointed me as her assistant because she loved me so much.
When the group was finally complete, we started the cooking class with a drink. We got to have a homemade lemonade served in a mason jar…omg!!!! YUM! It was so delicious, I couldn’t resist asking for seconds.
We then started the class with a little introduction and explanation to the idea behind the house. Our first course was to prepare Maqluba; a traditional Middle Eastern dish made with the combination of rice, chicken, eggplant, cauliflower, potatoes and tomatoes. They are all assembled in a way to form a castle in a pot and cooked that way…then when the whole thing is cooked and ready to serve, you flip it onto a plate. Then it comes out so festive and delicious looking, you don’t even have the heart to dig in.
Look at how delish that looks!!!! AHHHH!!! Each of us had a chance to touch the plates and add our own love to it. This was super interactive and entertaining. Watching foreigners love Arabic food is so heart-warming..I can’t help but feel a little proud. Can you see how Um Reem so professionally and casually turned this baby!
Then we had the chance to prepare an authentic gardener’s salad made with fresh locally picked veggies. They smelled so strong and just so real!! I cannot explained how fresh they smelled.
Hubby was so excited and he was in charge of putting in the components of the salad together and mixing it all with the dressing. I was so proud to see him cook! Love you babe (if you’re reading this)!
We then got to make Mtabal (aka Baba Ganoush or at least close to that…there are slight differences but ultimately they’re both dishes prepared with egg plants). I had to whisk the eggplant with yogurt and gosh was that a workout or what?!
I unfortunately could not take pictures of the dessert, because I was appointed whisker yet again…I don’t know why! It was a Mhalabya. This dessert dish consists of mixing milk powder, starch powder, water, sugar and orange blossom. OMG, it’s so good! Mouth-watering and just ugh! Food porn all over!
After finally finishing everything, we all sat down around the table and got the chance to eat what we cooked, while talking about our lives. Both families were lovely and made us feel so at ease. Hubby enjoyed their company and it was so cute to see him in a different environment (he’s a lawyer…and he’s always in suits)!
If ever you have the chance to visit Amman, Jordan, you need to make time for Beit Sitti. It’s the ultimate cooking/dining experience. It literally had me smiling so hard the whole time, I had face cramps! Haha! Um Reem was so sweet, I wanted to put her in my pocket. So was the beautiful host, Raya…I couldn’t get a photo with her, le boo!!!
I think this is the best way to connect with you better half, have fun and meet new people. Make friends and share stories…This place is an absolute must!
I guess I get to be special and I get to be celebrated twice…I am such a brat!!! Actually, the only reason why I am getting a second engagement party is for the pure fact that I couldn’t celebrate with all my sisters by my side this summer…so my momma took it upon herself to do another one for me..an all girls party for my sisters, our close friends and I. It was this past weekend and omg I had loads and loads of fun. The DJ was the bomb! She was on cue and her music choice were great; had me dancing all night. My friends on I were on the dance floor the whole time. Anyway, back to the point of this blog…I finally got the chance to wear a dress I owned for a while but never had the chance or occasion to put it.
At the party, everyone asked me if the dress was traditional…but this is how it goes: this dress is a twist on what’s usually traditional for us. We wear head to toe embroidered tunic and let me tell you that they are quite heavy. So this dress captures the essence of the embroidered element of our culture. I sincerely felt happy in it and just super me. It’s colorful, it’s pretty, it’s feminine and it’s happy! It’s one darn happy dress <3
So here it is:
Sorry for the blurry pics…I was way to excited in this number and my sister gave up on me!! x)
I got this dress for my birthday and I was so ecstatic to get it and add this in my collection as it is an exquisite piece…so rich in heritage and culture yet so modern and chic.
Hope you guys enjoyed this look as much as I did!!
I was walking around downtown Amman and I came across a really cute tiny clothing store..that had unique items and fashion pieces. When I asked the sales associate where they imported the pieces from, he told me they locally made them in Jordan. I was so excited to come across this store because it supported local designer and that to me is always a plus when I go shopping. The fashion industry is made of bug sharks and little fish and I love the little fish. I love supporting them!
Anyway, back the the shopping…I had liked a lot of items in the store..but on my way out, I spotted this dress and then I died. I knew I needed it in my life. I mean, it’s really simple and modest in design but it just screamed my name. It’s stylish, comfortable, summery, girly and very versatile. I know I can get a lot of wear out of this baby. I can wear it with heels, flats and even sneakers and it would still look smashing. I can accessorize it however I want because of it’s neutral color.
And this is how I decided to wear it!
What I wore:
– Dress from Amman, Jordan (local boutique).
– Necklace from Jerusalem (Antique and Vintage collectibles).
– Jessica Simpson Clog Sandals.
– Aldo sunglasses.
What do you guys think of the dress? Is it a yay or a nay?
Sooooo I got engaged this summer!! And this is what I wore…there were loads of wardrobe issues along the way. I changed dresses like 5 times. It sucks when you have a big event in your life and you prepare for it for months, then last minute, everything falls apart…This is exactly what happened to me and when I finally found the dress…well it was apparently too dark for a bride.
Anyway I guess I needed to rant a tiny bit…so 1 day before my party, I had to go shopping the streets of Amman, Jordan to find the perfect dress…10 hours later, this was the one. Although I felt a little older and a little fatter in this number, I didn’t care and I had the time of my life.
I ended up doing my hijab in a turban style…which is a total first for me. But the response was quite positive…surprisingly. So it gave me a little boost of confidence.
I had my makeup done by L’Oro Capelli in Jordan with Marina. She’s the owner of the salon and she worked with passion and dedication. Although she struggled with me a little (I couldn’t stop tearing up!), she managed to make me look like a million dollars. Shout out to Marina!!!!
So I paired my dress with a burgundy turban and burgundy/gold shoes. I topped it off with a studded gold H&M earring. Although I was down in the beginning of the day, my fiance made me feel like I was the only girl in the world (yes I stole this from Rihanna).
We danced and danced and danced for 3 hours, we didn’t even sit. We took loads of pictures and we had loads of fun with family and friends. All in all, the event was a success and everyone left happy.
I feel like this post was a little rambley but it doesn’t matter…It makes me happy to just sit here sometimes and virtually blab…
I was lucky enough to spend an entire month in Jordan this past summer. It was not only the most liberating experience ever, but it literally exchanged my life (that’s a major understatement p.s.)!!! I grew stronger, I became happier, I met loads of people, I made genuine friendships, I ate awesome food and most importantly I found myself.
I took endless pictures and I keep talking about it till now. Guilty! I am!!! I so full on take advantage of every opportunity to talk about how AH-MAZING my trip was.
For those who don’t know, Jordan is a monarchy in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. It is a country rich in culture, history and heritage. Jordan is filled with historical and architectural remains of the Roman/Ottoman/Byzantine empires. The country is mostly desert but every location has a story to tell.
I am sharing with you the things I did in Jordan for 4 weeks and I am warning you that this is going to be picture heavy!!
This river has religious significance, but more importantly in Judaism and Christianity. This site is considered holy and loads of pilgrims go to it every year to repent. This is the site where the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land and where Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist. In Arabic, the baptism location is called Al-Maghtas. There are only ruins that remain on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River. The River is divided by Israel and a part of it belongs to Jordan. In the Jordanian side, that’s where we find the site to Jesus’ baptism and the ministry of John the Baptist.
Jerash is the site of the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa. This city is considered one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East. There are many visible remains in the Greco-Roman Jerash which include, the Corinthium columns, Hadrian’s Arch, the circus/hippodrome, two large temples (dedicated to Zeus and Artemis), the oval Forum, which is surrounded by a fine colonnade, the long colonnaded street, two theatres (the Large South Theatre and smaller North Theatre), two communal baths, and a scattering of small temples and a lot more.
This is a very big tourist attraction in Jordan and in one of the theaters, every summer, there’s the Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts that takes place (an annual celebration of Arabic and international culture).
~Hot water springs & Dead Sea~
The Ma’in Hot Springs are a series of hot mineral springs and waterfalls located between Madaba and the Dead Sea. It;s therapeutic, it’s remarkable, it’s breathtakingly beautiful! The minute you get to the location, you can instantly smell the minerals in the air. There are degrees of heat open to the public from moderately hot to extremely hot. There are caves with natural sauna effects and pools to bathe in. For a day of relaxing, this is definitely a place to visit. These falls originate from winter rainfalls in the highland plains of Jordan and eventually feed the hot and cold springs in the valley. This water is heated to temperatures of up to 63° Celsius by underground lava fissures as it makes its way through the valley before emptying into the Zarqa River.
The Dead Sea is of course famous for the extreme levels of salt in the water. The reason why they call it dead sea is due to the salt and that there are no living creatures there. It’s so salty that we can’t even drown, the body just floats! A lot of people in Jordan go there to seek remedies for skin issues such as eczema.
This was always ALWAYS on my bucket list. I think any Indiana Jones avid fan would want to see this city. Petra is one of the 7 wonders of the world because of many different reasons. The impossibly intricate mind boggling architectural detailing of this city is reason enough for this to be a wonder <3.
Petra was known as the capital city of the Arab Nabataeans. Reasearch and the remains show the ability of the Nabataeans to control the water supply that led to the rise of the desert city, creating an artificial oasis.
The impressive main entrance to the city leads steeply down through a dark, narrow gorge, a natural geological feature formed from a deep split in the sandstone rocks and serving as a waterway flowing into Wadi Musa. At the end of the narrow gorge, we find Petra’s most elaborate ruin; the famous Khazneh (Treasury in arabic). This treasury remains in a remarkably preserved condition. A little farther from the treasury, at the foot of the mountain, there’s a massive theatre and a great of tombs. Tombs that are separated by class..those of the poor and those of the rich. Past those tombs, there we find the valley which opens out into the plain and where the site of the city is revealed with striking effect.
Wadi Rum..oh Wadi Rum <3 If you ever want to experience camping at its best, then go to Wadi Rum. This place is also known as The Valley of the Moon because of its resemblance to Mars with its red sands. When the sun sets, this is when the magic happens; you see the constellations, the stars, feel the desert air and smell freedom. This is the largest wadi in Jordan. The Nabateans also inhabited this place as they left some of their marks in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. This place is also known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who passed through several times during the Arab Revolt. It is also a place where many climbers and trekkers find refuge.
I had the chance to sleep in a tent and experience the true Jordanian desert with good food, great company and music. Along with going on a 4 long hour ATV desert tours, you can choose to camp under the stars, ride Arab horses, hike and rock-climb among the massive rock formations.
Aqaba is the only coastal city of Jordan and it is Jordan’s main port site due to its strategic location at the northeastern tip of the Red Sea. But for those who really want to indulge in the full nine yards of awesome vacationing…well better go to Aqaba. The beach off the Mövenpick is just glorious. The smell alone is to die for (any beach avid would know what I am taking about)!!! Aqaba is a major tourist attraction and it is known as a liberal Arab city. Along with relaxing and tanning by the beach, you can go on boat rides, snorkel, jet-ski, and!! you can even go antiquing.
~Umm Qais & The sea of Galilee (aka Lake Tiberias)~
This is small place in Irbid, in the northern part of Jordan that borders Israel and Syria. Umm Qias is a place principally known for its proximity to the ruins of the ancient Gadara. There are castle remains of the Roman/Byzantine area. Umm Qais overlooks the Sea of Tiberias, the Golan Heights, and the Yarmouk River gorge. The Sea of Galilee is the largest freshwater lake in Israel. The lake is fed partly by underground springs and the Jordan River (which flows through it from north to south). For those who have an infinite love of history and culture, they’ll definitely enjoy a visit to this city. It was touching, especially to my parents being close (but not close enough) to their homeland. I found it beautiful but quite eerie being this close to Syria, as you can hear the emptiness through the trees.
Last but not least (I know this post is like 99 years long), I visited Ajlun castle. A 12th-century Muslim building, situated in northwestern Jordan, this caslte is rich in history. It was built by the Ayyubids in the 12th century and enlarged by the Mamluks in the 13th. The name Ajlun goes back to a Christian monk who lived on this mountain in the Byzantine Period and the castle stands on the ruins of a monastery.
The fortress was built by Izz al-Din Usama, a commander and nephew of Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi (Saladin). This fortress was primarily built in order to help the authorities in Damascus control the Bedouin tribes. What’s interesting is that Ajlun Castle is one of the very few Muslim fortresses built by the Ayyubids to protect their realm against Crusader incursions. From its location, the fortress dominated a wide stretch of the northern Jordan Valley. It certainly baffled me with the intricate detailing..it felt surreal to be there and see and the effort put into building a strong protective castle. It is a must see!!
I tried to cram everything down here in one post. But honestly, a lot of these pictures and descriptions don’t do this country justice. Every place I visited touched and marked me in such a positive way <3 I am smarter because of this experience…not only about my own culture and others as well. Being Arabic but raised in Montreal all my life…is sometimes hard. And to know everything is just a bit confusing. So, this trip was very enriching and it made me appreciate having the chance and opportunity to travel and see such a culturally rich county. I will forever cherish this trip!