Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Plaid Reindeer // Library Haul

Red Crop-top: Charlotte Russe // Navy Shirt& Mom Jeans: Unknown // Rings: F21 & Aldo // Shoes: Call It Spring // Handbag: Charming Charlie

This has to be one of my favorite shoots. I really, really love this new bag I grabbed during Charming Charlie's black friday sale. (It wasn't actually on sale, but minor detail, yeah?) I just looove the holiday feel and the bright red and my hand with the henna and the day this was taken on.

This was actually on November 27, 2015: Black Friday. It was after all the sales so we didn't really go to hit those up. My younger and only sister and I separated from our parents to walk around a little promenade under the gloomy cold sky with a huge tree and lights strung up all around and a kind, sizzling festivity hanging in the air. It was just one of those really, really good days, where it's fun and you make the most of the moment and you're content. We didn't buy much. We didn't have to. Just being there was enough.

Current library books/(ly) reading: Queen of Shadows- Sarah J. Maas, Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell, Ruby Redfort: Catch Your Death- Lauren Child, Mosquitoland- David Arnold, The Mysterious Benedict Society #3- Trenton Lee Stewart, Illuminae- Amie Kaufman&Jay Kristoff, and probably a few more. The scent and feel of BRAND NEW library books waiting to be read. CAN ANYTHING BE BETTER?! They're all books I've been wanting to read for ages now and know are amazing and worth-while (a few are re-reads).

 Immensely enjoy your December and Winter, as today's the second day and tomorrow, Wednesday, will be the third (even if you're Muslim like me or etc. and don't celebrate Christmas, because there's a lot of beauty and magic during the cold season if you open yourself up to it instead of shutting yourself out with an anti-cold sentiment that summer lovers like I tend to do. I used to do that my whole life until last year.)

Hope ya had the best twenty-fifteen it was in your power to have. Only one more 2015 post left, and I know I never got to my DIY henna post. I never break promises, but this one I did and it kills me that I didn't keep my word. I also submitted to Local Wolves magazine, this super rad SoCal based print on art and all things beachy. They had a call for 2016 New Year's resolutions art forms, and I sent in a writing. Fingers crossed! It'd be an honor to be featured there and I love sharing my writing on any platform I can. How do you feel this December? About 2015?

Life is spontaneously splendid.
Aiman Ghani 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pumpkin Pie + All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Food Fashion

Food Fashion: a quirky post where I model an outfit I picked based off of its matching edible item. Usually I dress as the item and not with a picture of the item on my outfit, but this seemed to work. Past scrumptious recipes I embodied are: strawberry milkshakechocolate vanilla swirl ice-cream, and salt lake caramel because I really, really like personification (that's you, PIXAR!). especially that of foods. For some reason it's so amazing and fun to re-imagine food as living. When my friend first pointed these INCREDIBLE drawings by meago on DeviantArt out to me, I used up all my tiny brick phone's storage taking pictures of them off the computer so I could admire them as much as I wanted. True story! HOW PERFECT ARE THEY, THOUGH?! She added more drawings recently! I can't believe people actually possess the power to create such flipping mind-blowingly perfect, creative works of art with their own two hands. I want every single one of those food girls framed. They are uniquely stellar. My gosh. Click through for the perfect recipe to pumpkin pie! [With a December twist, of course.]

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cornflower Blue

I vaguely recall these photos being from last year. I don't even know at this point seeing as it's 2015 and I think this was sometime...yes, it was definitely last August or September. (I checked, and I put this post together originally December 7, 2014). Chicago has been doing us pretty good this Autumn (it's 71F right now! how grand! even the chilly bits have been okay) and as someone who despises the cold, it's a loving reprieve. If you missed my latest reads, you can catch up on them here or here at my twitter. I've been entering giveaways and contests on social media from some of my favorite trusted brands TONS this week so...may the odds be ever in my favor, no? ;) I wanted to discuss buying brands VS. buying out of love here, too! Grab your pumpkin spice latte and read on!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Here's the ootn for when my best friend and I met Ransom Riggs (author of the bestselling  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series) and happened to "run into" his wife Tahereh Mafi (author of the Shatter Me series) casually lounging in the lobby. Journey back in time to Wednesday, September 30, 2015 with me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fairtytale Colours

As promised, here's my post! For more outfit details, a catch up of how it's been getting back into routine and out of my unmotivated state, "You don't need to wear designer to look good", my second Rocksbox unwrapping, books I've been reading, and what's so fantastic about seasonal things, keep scrolling! You deserve a quality post for my hiatus. Grab your chai tea latte and curl up. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chicago's Summer Scene Part 2 // Hello, Change.

Summer's switching out for fall, I'm continuing last week's post, filling you in on my usual updates, and clarifying that I'm not always this happy, so you don't have to be, either. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Chicago's Summer Scene

The city is a stunning place- mm, especially when it's probably one of the best cities in the USA, my hometown and home of wind, churros, a giant reflective bean and the prettiest of movie/book settings turned real life: Chicago, Illinois. You don't want to miss out on the GORGEOUS, lush greenery and beauty in this post. Hoping everyone's labor day and final weeks of summer have been grand!! Book recs, anyone? I'd love to get some. It's been a while. Let's blog, shall we?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Gold Accents, Harry's Birthday + What's Rocksbox?

I've been talking about rocksbox for weeks on my twitter and instagram and I've finally got the time to fill everyone in on what it's all about and how I styled my first rocksbox set! Keep reading for all the details. You'll get ONE MONTH FREE with the code spontaneouslyxsxoxo so what're you waiting for?! It won't cost you a penny and it'll be sure to brighten your day while doing so!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pastels Amidst Shadows and Light

Top: Ralph Lauren // Cardigan: Macy's // Pants: JCPenney // Shoes: Call It Spring // Bag: Dynamite // Bangle: DIY // Rings: Suzy Shiers 

Yay pastels. Happy Wednesday, everyone!!
     In case you couldn't tell (I bet my life you couldn't), I'm wearing a man's shirt. Specifically, my dad's. My fashion inspiration hunt goes something along the lines of: wander in the room of everyone in my house, man or female, and rummage through their closet until something desirable is found. Then I return to my room and work to transform it with layers and colors and an assortment of things. 

     I made my blog one year ago in July 2014. Look how far I've come now. Thank you all for your incredible support along the way. Cliche, but I mean it with all my being. It is love, and most especially the love found in friendship and kindness and gestures of appreciation from strangers, that kindles hope. Always. Without it, where would our world be? To girls everywhere, own it. And if you're a writer: keep writing. Everywhere, all the time, about anything. Write about the gum wrapper that missed the trash can and the man with deep set wrinkles at the store. Wonder about your sister's shift in mood and daydream elaborate tales. Or about why the mud is brown, or who decided cows would be called cows or pink nail polish would be more pretty than yellow (I disagree).

     July is surprisingly cool at the moment so don't waste it away. xx. Sunshine only graces us for so long. I have never regretted a year and (God-willing) never will, but I need to start eating healthy so I can scratch it off my 2015 mental bucket-list, otherwise allowing it to haunt me like the ghost of grocery lists past for several more years to come. This is so important it's italicized. What's that for emphasis?

Life is spontaneously splendid! I guarantee it.

(ps. do not regret this Ramadan. for all my Muslim sibs out there, keep on keeping on. it's in your power to be the best you can be. you've got 10 days to make up for the wasted 20. or you've got 10 to keep your spiritual high awakened. if you want some good videos or Islamic resources to enlighten yourself or stay busy with, email me at spontaneouslyxs@gmail.com. i will help in whatever way i can. pray for me, and I pray you all have a very good end of Ramadan. i'm starting to miss it already, oh dear.)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

DIY Fourth of July Half-Moon Nails

Who doesn't love a good celebration? I'm up and ready to celebrate ANYTHING, but I really do love fireworks. The sound of the firework bouncing against the sky like it's a skipping stone hitting a pond, the fragrance of smoke mixed with wet grass, the dazzling display. I'm a sucker for anything big, sparkly, or loud. Forever a child. Summer is all about the little, awe-inspiring things. Even if you don't celebrate or get a chance to see the fireworks, these nails are sure to get you into the 'Merican mood. Scroll through the pics for the full tutorial! 

(Pictured above: "Allure" by Revlon, "Rapid Red" by Sally Hansen, "Endless Blue" by Sinful Creations Professional)

  • Red, white, and blue nail polish (I chose an off-white which looked less chalky and more creamy but you're free to use the regular kind)
  • 3-4 toothpicks

1. Gently push your cuticles all the way back with the toothpicks. You'll need as much of your nail exposed as possible. Using the white paint a layer on your ring finger. Repeat as many times as necessary until no part of your nail can be seen through it (I only had to use two coats).

2. Let a few drops of red drip off the end of the brush and onto a napkin. Using your toothpick, dip it in the nail polish and outline a "half-moon" shape, going a bit past your actual "half-moon" (lighter nail part) area, making sure to not extend more than halfway past the nail (3/4 of it should be left for the next color). Fill in the outline using the same toothpick.

3. Use a clean toothpick to fill in the rest of your nails with the blue.  

Check out my Fourth of July 2014 post here

Have an amazing, fireworks-filled, summer-tastic July 4th if you're in the states! It's a beautiful July day and I can't wait to see your guys' recreations. Don't forget to hashtag your pics #diyaug so I can find them! If your day hasn't been so swell, don't lose hope. Especially not in summertime. There's always something to be done, somewhere to go. Keep looking. 

Life is spontaneously splendid. ox 

Friday, July 3, 2015

4 Year Hijabiversary

It is my weapon of choice
my armor against everything I despise
and my protection from wrongdoings.
It holds me warm as if in frail memory 
of the ghost of my mother's worn touch.
Like a rib cage to a heart
my collar bones and pulsing beat
are safe behind a veil so as
to not accidentally push too hard
on my neck and cease
to be, to exist, to want, to have.

How could it be so, eyes full of
sunlight (and verily, noor) and a
mouth of big words forming the image
of a beach-side view, a city in Paris, 
how could it be such a sight left alone?
Surely there are extravagant curtains 
and rows of fine silk to accompany the  
most prettiest of views.

No one could wrestle me into it
and no one would dare wrestle me out,
an act akin to stripping the coins out
of a beggar's filthy hands. It is mine
and I am its; we are entwined,
inter-crossing like stars in a constellation.
We are one, we are none, 
we are all, my hijab and I.

It is
everything feminine:
the whip and the whoosh of long,
dark locks swirling in the breeze;
the tell-tale fluttering of eyelashes.
It is
the smirk of unnecessary
make-up on a young face; 
the soft voice of a mother
cooing to her baby.
It is
my choice, not my oppression
my love, not my resentment
my pride, not my embarrassment,
my identity, not  my cover-up,
my faith, not my fear. 

It is my bracelet, my pretty ballet flats,
the shirt that fits everyone just right.
It is my click-clack-click-clack of heels on the tile floor, 
the blazer that 
demands respect.
It is the sharp glasses
and clean hands, 
everything good and 
worth remembering.
It is the crown atop my head,
marking me as the queen 
Islam has made me.
It is the paradise beneath 
my feet and the luck 
of being given such a high stature;
for being chosen.
It is my inspiration and my drive;
it is my love and my life. 
It is me, for I am it,
my hijab and I. 

Hijab: Unknown // Top: Carson Pririe Scott // Jeans: H&M // Bracelet: Charming Charlie // Flip-flops: Kohls 

July 2, 2011 - forever.
July, my birthday month, the middle of summer, full of so much sunshine I want to devour it like it's food and let it fill me; for surely it offers every bit as much stability to my soul as a hearty breakfast would. (Also: Julius Caesar was a great read. That's relevant, right?)

Currently (re)reading: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Adventurous, enjoyable, loving. No graphic scenes whatsoever. Recommended for fans of smart books written by smart people.

Life is spontaneously splendid.

(ps. I will be uploading a DIY Fourth of July manicure tutorial in a bit! check back soon or follow my Instagram or Twitter @ the username spontaneouslyxs for both)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Daffodil Denim

Vest Top: Macy's // Gray Shirt: Gap // Mom Jeans: Thrifted // Hijab: Charlotte Russe // Shoes: TOMS

Well the weather is being a doll and summer vacation is, happily, upon me. I've been reading nonstop and trying not to get stressed over my whole read-to-review ratio, and also: I just want to talk, and inspire others to feel, books. I often feel pressured to give the pros and cons of a book and compare it to the author's other works and this and that and whatnot and whatwho, but really I just want to tell you why I read the book and how it affected me. Apparently, that's not why people read reviews.

I love everything about summer so much. Relaxing feels lovely and I was working on a summer reading guide but life is busy and crazy and fun and often time isn't alotted for all the pleasures we seek. So pardon my leave! I'm constantly let down and then given an amazing gift from life- on a day to day basis, even. I'm not always spewing positive things- sometimes I can be quite sour and rainy. But the important thing is to genuinely know and believe, even in your moments of hardship, that bad moments do not add up to a total sum of a bad life. Life is spontaneously splendid. Just wait for what this summer has in store for you. What does summer mean to you? To me, it means just about everything.

Hope my quick and easy outfit pulled the whole denim-denim-denim thing together nicely. It was a bit chilly out the day of my shoot so this isn't ideal for hot weather- unless you're down with the whole burning to death thing. Woohoo anti-society! 

Life is precious, and it's always spontaneously splendid. Smile away. And no matter how many times people complain about your teeth being too far out of your mouth, refuse to close it. Teeth were meant to be shown off.

Aiman Ghani

[Ps. May we all have fun preparing for Ramadan, which is in less than two weeks. It's the Muslims' holy month of fasting. Look it up!  This month is going to be wonderful Inshallah.]

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Title: Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 368
Genre: YA fiction, travel
Rating: 4/5 mangoes

     Right about now it's 5PM (on the dot) and I am so grateful to have my blog. I have so much to say on this brilliant novel that I'm glad I have more than 140 characters to talk with (twitter: @/spontaneouslyxs). You can read about my new rating system here. The reason it doesn't get 5 mangoes is because although I wouldn't change a thing, I have this gut feeling that it isn't a five quite yet, that the 5 mango books need to have just a little more, and for that reason, I'm out. Haha, just kidding (Shark Tank reference!), but for those reasons, it's a four. Maybe that "little more" is closure in the form of the companion novel, Just One Year, but for whatever reason, this book affected me a lot. By the end I was crying, as in truthfully dripping tears, which is something I seldom do and never used to (I've become more of a softie.) Gayle Forman did an outstanding job bringing everything in this book to life, something I didn't see in If I Stay, which I felt was rather over-hyped and built up with more than was given to us at the end.

     Allyson Healy has always been the quiet, no-risk girl until she meets Dutch Shakespearan actor and nomad Willem at one of his performances while visiting Europe on a chaperoned tour trip with her best friend. Running into him again on the train, she spontaneously and totally out of her comfort zone agrees to spend just one day with him in Paris, only to discover the next day that he's missing. Gayle Forman describes heartbreak in an authentic format that's almost overwhelming in it's beauty; one of missing someone, of playing the "What If?" game, of yearning for something you can never have. You get to see how Allyson deals with the after affects of one perfect day, finding who she truly is between who she pretended to be, and breaking free of all the ropes tying her down to the no-risk girl she's always been. It definitely will inspire the wanderlust in you and really make you want to get up, stop sitting, and go do something crazy yourself.

     It delves a lot into emotions and a strong state of almost emptiness that makes it more than a breezy read, but a good one light enough that you'll still find it enjoyable.

     After reading If I Stay and beginning Where She Went, I ruled out Gayle Forman as an author I love. I didn't find myself emotionally connecting to anything because I didn't really find anything to connect to. I read the entire If I Stay, and it was like being told a story about someone's dead great-great-grandmother. Irrelevant. Not directly affecting me. Vague. But in this book, her writing, the reality and beautiful, dramatically tragic truth that nothing is an accident, the inspiration to travel and venture out into the unknown, the feeling of being in Europe yourself, and the emphasis on what the best parts of traveling are (makes sense- during the 3 years before college Forman took off for travel she's visited 64 countries, her fave being India. Woohoo Desis!) completely changed my opinion of her. The emphasis on a thought I love in theory and reality- that life is spontaneously splendid and anything can happen anytime- showed a lot to me in terms of how it connected to Allyson using that as a way to find herself, but in a relatable format. If you're telling me you wouldn't have struggled the way she had after holding one perfect day in her hand and losing touch with the only person who experienced it as well faster than a chunk of gold in a river, you're telling a fantasy. For whatever reason I almost thought of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, though the storylines are very, very different. What struck me as similar was the many interesting tidbits I learned from the book as well as very unique and decidedly uncliche things/events/words to mark their special moments, ie. something other than roses at a dinner or a pretty sunset or compliment. Both books also tie their entire books back to Shakespeare at some point, which is something unique to every author and elevates the book to a higher standing. (Don't get me wrong- TFIOS is sad in a very obvious way, whereas Just One Day might not be sad to some people and instead just interesting as it's almost a mystery to find out what will happen next.)

A special shoutout to my best friend for recommending this book to me- because life is spontaneously splendid, and you never, ever know which books you'll truly love until you give them a chance, which is why I say READ EVERYTHING. I've been going insane because it's been days and I still don't have Just One Year.
Happy warm weather reading, travels, and more! (I'm shivering right now. Why is May 20th 50°F?) 
Aiman Ghani

[Disclaimer: I am not an Islamic leader or informed person of any kind. While I do my best to review and recommend only halal novels, there are some exceptions. Please take your deen into account and take precautions before reading any book despite who it may be reviewed by. A source to check books for how age appropriate they are is commonsensemedia.org] 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DIY Flower Crown + 10 Variations

With spring here, what better accessory to roam the earth in than a flower crown? Quick, inexpensive, utterly attractive and supremely versatile, these are a must have. Scroll through for full instructions!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Flower Child in a Too Hot Dress (for a 70F Day)

He loves me...He loves me not. 
Dress: Charlotte Russe // Jeans: H&M // Hijab: Saudi Arabia // Shoes: TOMS // Rings: Assorted (Aldo, Pakistan, A Gift) //

Alright. Maybe this isn't really bohemian. But it's colorful and went stupendously against the cherry blossoms, which are sprouting all over as spring is in full bloom (literally). My new found love of plants and earth in general is really inspiring me to appreciate every flower I come across- especially the talking kinds. I went with a multitude of colors because hell, I felt like it. And if you feel happy in what you're wearing then it doesn't matter if the choices are logical. In this case, the colors enhanced each other. Not one of the pieces I'm wearing could've stood out on its own.

I'm off to enjoy a scrumptious mango before my sister finishes them all! Today started off quite not so good, but it progressively got better and better, just in time. My I-hate-everyone-and-everything-sucks mood was starting to show in my snippish attitude. Life is spontaneously splendid. You won't see the good stuff coming. (ie. being okay with a fever when pizza is there to cheer me up). Have the most splendid May ever!!! xx
Aiman Ghani 

(ps. aren't TOMS the comfiest things? don't wear them on a day out, though. it could rain at any moment since it's still April and therefore showering, and these canvas dolls aren't made for anything more than a light breeze.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rainy Day Adventure

Howdy hey hi hello ho! HAPPY EARTH DAY! Save the trees and plant flowers for the bees; this mother is one in a million. I won't post every week, though that's definitely my goal. I actually have so much content I don't always get the chance to figure out which post I want to upload and sometimes I need a little more time to edit than life allows. April is swell and it is NEVER too late to begin change. Get working on those New Years resolutions! 

On Sunday a few gal pals of mine and I ventured out into the lovely downtown of a large town not too far from where we live. Although we went to support a friend as she competed in a pageant vying for a scholarship, we quickly realized pageants are more fun when seen behind-the-stage, ie on Toddlers & Tiaras. Watching almost 200 girls one by one strut the same pose or answer the same question with hardly a vary in response isn't really exactly the most exciting thing. But the rain was falling and about halfway through the show we left the main hall and went to explore the upstairs, eventually realizing there was a balcony seat area. We then proceeded to sit up there, laughing freely without the strain of worrying about disturbing people watching (only a few people were sitting up there). 

It had been two hours and several since any of us had eaten so we were famished, resulting in desperate attempts to hunt down a vending machine/cafe (what kind of place doesn't have one? there are even vending machines in schools, for godssake). We had been discussing this but weren't quite sure if we were THAT desperate; after a few more minutes our minds were made, and we were going to walk through the now 49°F weather (it was 71° when we arrived thus we were all inadequately clothed. Chicago is very, very strange.) and slightly drippy sky but extremely puddle/mud filled sidewalk to the downtown area, which houses a large outlet and tons of food shops.

   Maps wasn't working so we had no GPS to guide us to our destination. Chilly and kind of wet, we saw a sign stating downtown was straight ahead, though it pointed to an intersection. Luckily, the corner of what we guessed was a red shop could be spotted at the end of one of the streets. Taking a leap of faith we decided what the heck and headed down that street, turning right and walking straight and screaming in joy as signs of civilization began to appear. We continued on wards until we found a burger joint where we bought a large fries to share. It had been five hours since we'd eaten and we were chilly and soaking as we absorbed the hot, salty treat. After a few minutes we made our way back to the theater, laughing and dripping and holding onto the nothingness and everything that is a spontaneous, crazy adventure (we left without telling anyone and set out alone as everyone was inside shops/houses rather than out in the street like us) in a large city where somehow everything seems a little smaller contained between the thick bond of friendship and sisterhood tying the three of us together like those orphan stories you'd read about (specifically: The 3rd Series of Unfortunate Events novel). 

Fun has to be made and sometimes doing crazy things is the way to do it. Unideal conditions truly aren't always as bad as they originally seem. It's quite something to use your brain instead of Wi-Fi connection for answers. When you put your mind to it, the solutions you'll dream up will blow you away and create memories to last a lifetime. Hope everyone's weekend was splendidly content amidst the chills and watery mist. A FULL-HOUSE SPINOFF CALLED FULLER HOUSE IS BEING CREATED BY NETFLIX FOR NEXT YEAR. After hearing that news things can only be so bad, right? *squeala in joy* Happy Earth Day. Show the earth some love and remember to celebrate its infinite beauty everyday, dreamers.
Life is Spontaneously Splendid.
Aiman Ghani 

(ps. recylce! go electricity free for a bit. show the earth a little more love today. xx)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas + Guest Blogging + BIC Products Review!

Book: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA fiction, fantasy
Here's some thoughts on this blue beauty and BIC's fabulous products. Scroll through, and get your hot drinks (or cold, if it's nice enough!) ready. Xo

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Daisy Skies + Welcoming Spring

Top: Charlotte Russe // Pants: Kohls // Hijab: Unknown // Jean Jacket: Gap // Bracelet: Gift // Black Watch: Citizen Eco Drive // Blue Watch: JCPenney // Nails: Sally Hansen's 'Hot for Chocolate' // Shoes: Call It Spring 

Even though it's cheap to apologize for it, forgive the less-than-ideal camera quality. The last photo is  one I love, an outdoor one taken at dawn time. If you've never been up or out at that time, I really, really recommend you try it. There's something really magical about being awake when the entire world is asleep, something I've mentioned a few times before. Grab some of your gals and hit the road or simply walk out onto your porch. The air is so sweet, the world so silent...in that moment, it's hard not to feel grateful for life.  Even the house shutters seem to yawn. Happy April 1, 2015. I'm pleased it fell upon Wednesday. Have the most amazing April and breathe in every second like it's the mist of a rainy town you won't get to be a part of anymore. Find your happy places, read your happy books, wear your happy clothes, do your happy things. 

What excites you the most? I'm completely ready for the chance to browse flowers and plan my garden as well as begin to kick out the toe-less shoes and flowy clothes.

All  the love in the world-
Aiman Ghani

[PS. Don't lose hope- it's just month four. Life is spontaneously splendid. Believe in it.]