Friday, June 15, 2018

Potterific July Photo Challenge!

Grab your wands, pull up your sleeves, get ready! I'm beginning my annual celebration of the biggest and best fandom of the world. Ladies and gentlemen, I officially announce The Potterific July! What is it, you ask? A grand celebration of Harry Potter throughout July. Each year I celebrate Harry and JK Rowling's birth month Potterhead style. Throughout the month I blog about all things Harry Potter. Some of that includes my favorite bits from the books and movies and showcasing my HP merchandise and collection. Basically I go about posting as much HP magic all around as possible. It's a bloody brilliant way of honoring the fandom and I have so much fun by the time the month ends that I'm hoping for a couple extra days. Haha!

This year I'm doing something special! I'm challenging myself to a fantastic Potterific July Photo Challenge! I'll be posting a Harry Potter themed photo on my Instagram each day of the month based on the prompts I've put together in the picture above. Each post will be tagged with the hashtag PotterificJuly. I'm so excited! But wait, there's more ...
Since it will be super cool to have more and more magic in my feed I'm opening the challenge up for all Potterheads to join. No commitments, no pressure. Join me on Instagram and follow along the prompts all month. If you miss a prompt here and there that's fine too! No rules except tag your photos with the hashtag #PotterificJuly so whoever is participating in the challenge can find your posts too! I'll be featuring the most awesome posts throughout the challenge in my Instagram story and maybe on my blog too if I got the chance. I can't wait to meet new Potterheads on Instagram and connect with those I already know through the challenge.

So here's what to do:

  • Grab a copy of the prompt list by saving/screenshotting the picture above.
  • Get ready by planning or 'drafting' your picture posts.
  • Somehow let me know you'll be joining me for the #PotterificJuly Instagram challenge. You can find me on Instagram at @Saraallie and DM or comment on the prompt post there. You could also leave me a comment below this blog post and leave a link to your Insta for me to check out.
  • Be there on the first of July with the hashtag #PotterificJuly shining on your posts on Insta!
The more Potterheads the better and more fun July shall become! Remember to connect with me on Instagram at @Saraallie so I know you're joining us too! Have fun!

Mischief Managed.
See you on the first!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sara's Word ~ Where Have I Been?

Oh my God, is this really happening? Am I really typing a new blog post right now? Am I really and finally back to my beautiful blog? Wow. It's about time too. I've missed blogging and looking at my pretty blog and blabbering on and on and on ... errrr, you get the point. I've been away and I've had a good break and now that I'm back I have a million things planned for my darling blog! But first, the most important question ...

Where have I been? I've been away for like a month. Now that's a lot of time, isn't it? So where was I? Truth be told, I was right here. I just wasn't blogging. Life threw a hectic fit at me during April and I basically took May off from life. Sounds so cool and all now but I actually felt pretty dull without my blog. I tried writing a million times during May but I just was too brain dead to do it. So after multiple attempts I decided I'd give myself a break. I never even came around to mention this break's beginning on my blog and thus it seemed like I'd just disappeared! Ramadan came up in May, leaving me with little to no energy too. So I basically just fell off the face of the earth. But I hung on to it with my pinky finger and now I'm back and with some serious BANG too, I tell you!

Sooooo what's up, where are we? In April I was on fire with the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. In May I was lying low. In June I have returned, risen from the ashes a mighty fierce phoenix ready to spread her wings ..... okay, cut it, too much drama. The point is, I'm back! I have so many things planned for my blog. I'd like to take June as the month during which I fully return. We still have a couple days of Ramadan left and then there'll be the mighty grand Eid celebration. So June will pretty much be a tad bit packed too. Instead, I want to take this time to plan and prep for ... *drum rolls* THE HARRY POTTER JULY! Yesssssss, that's right! July is coming up and just like last year I'm going to be celebrating the entire month and honoring the greatest fandom to have ever existed on planet earth! Yeppp, that's my big grand announcement! I'll be back with more details in a couple of days. This year, I want to make it bigger! This year, I want to connect with all my fellow Potterheads out there! It's going to be SO exciting!

I feel so awesome just having typed up this babble. Phew. Glad to be out of that pathetic bloggers' writer's block! Yayyyyyyyyyyyy, I'm back!!! *squeeeeeals in excitement* So watch this space for some serious awesomeness in the next few days. It will be great, I promise!

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Wacky Finds Series ~ Volume 36

It's time for Volume 35 of The Wacky Finds Series!
These are a monthly series I started out of sheer awe of how crazy things around me are! Here's what this is about ... Ahem Ahem: When my awesome self steps out of my bed each morning I meet a world of crazies. People, things, phenomena, and acts of nature which are simply too unusual to miss and not record! The Wacky Finds Series will cover all the weird stuff that I find along my way; good weird, awkward weird, bad weird, I-totally-don't-get-this weird .. all kinds of weird shall be recorded and snapped without any discrimination!

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Look what I spotted at Target yesterday! These super cool Mickey Mouse hands' bookends. They're so cute and just so classic. I didn't buy them because they don't in my room anywhere but the entire Mickey Mouse line at Target is just so cool. Hot dog!

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Again, spotted at Target yesterday. When I saw this I snapped a picture and sent it to Abbie to tease her. I wrote, "Want this?" Hahahahahahahahahaha! Why would somebody want to wear a watermelon underwear?! Whyyyyyyyy! Hahahahaha! But then why not? Hahahahahahahaha!

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My little darling Gubby has officially started doodling and her doodles are the cutest! She makes round people with stick arms and legs. Recently they've upgraded to having smiling faces when before she only drew a straight line for the mouth. Her drawings are SO cute! I think I've taken a million pictures of each one of them so far.

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My brother bought this. He came home late night and said, "This is for you guys!" And oh my God. This is deadly delicious. This is insane. We've only had a weeeeeee little bit so far and OH.MY.GOD. It is just so yummy. Yumm the bumm! They're not kidding when they say brownie batter core. It really DOES have actual heavy loaded brownie batter in the middle!

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Just before Ramadan begins, Abbie and I cook our sehri meals before hand and freeze them. That means that at the end of every day we're dead because we're cooking in bulk. And when I've died and become so tired I can't even breathe ... I look at the sink and I see a gang of dishes bullying me. Hahaha! This is how I wash my cooking pans: I use the spray on our faucet to spray away all the food. Then I rinse the pan once. Then I spray some grease cutting liquid in it and let it froth. And I run away. Hahaha! Kidding. I come back after a while and the dishes have mostly cleaned themselves by now thanks to that froth. Then washing is a breeze! Phew.

That's all folks! Until the next five wacky finds, have a wacky day!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Our Gorgeous Ramadan 2018 Favors

Ding Dong! Knock Knock. Look who has arrived! Only the most awesome neighbors/friends everrrrr. Duh! *rolls eyes* It's Abbie and I, with our Ramadan favors! We've been doing it for a couple of years now and each year our friends just LOVE it! A pretty box full of delicious treats which also happen to look so very stunning. And all of this just to wish Ramadan Mubarak before the month of peace and blessings begins! This year Ramadan has arrived during the Spring season again. So once again our favor box was all colorful and glittery and flowery! It was beautiful! Yayyy!

Aaaahhhhh they were so so so beautiful! I still haven't gotten over them and it's been a week or two since we gave these babies away. They were so colorful both inside and out and oh my goodness, the delicious factor in there? BEYOND understanding delicious!!! Let me tell you what these beauties had in them ...

The New Moon Sugar Cookies!
This year the cookies were in a gorgeous shade of electric blue and dusted with edible glitter too. They sparkled and shined and tasted divine. Oh hey, look, I just rhymed! Hahaha!

The Belle of the Ball Sugar Cookies!
The weekend right before Ramadan began was Mother's Day and that's when we made and sent away these darling favor boxes too. So in went my Beauty and the Beast inspired sugar cookies which were my Mother's Day treats that doubled as Ramadan favors. They were beautiful! It was coincidence that the New Moons were electric blue this year. When we placed both of these cookies next to each other in the box it looked like I'd done a yellow and blue Beauty and the Beast theme. Hahaha!

Chewy. Gooey. Delicious. The sprinkle cookies of your dreams.

My world famous Snickerdoodles! (ahem ahem)

Tadaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! That's my entire baking ready to be packed away. Isn't that a gorgeous spread of deliciousness? Yummmmm .... So the favor boxes had my New Moon cookies, the Bell of the Ball sugar cookies, the Sprinkle Cookies of Your Dreams, and Snickerdoodles. But there was more. Muaa haa haa haaa!!! We also packed dates and chocolates. Dates were that brilliant traditional Ramadan touch and chocolates of various kinds just added more yumm to our treat box. There was Twix, Snickers, Hersheys, Butterfingers, Peanut Butter Cups, Rolos, and what nots!!! DELICIOUSNESS OVERLOADED! 

When we went looking for seasonal favor boxes we found similar ones as we had last year. They were floral and Spring like and colorful and pretty and just the right size. So we grabbed them and brought them home for our beautiful Ramadan favor box of 2018!

SEE THAT GIANT BAG OF CHOCOLATES? Yumm. We also had two other bags which had Hersheys and what not. I confess ... I ate two while I sorted them out for packing in our favor boxes.

Abbie designed and printed out a beautiful blue and yellow Ramadan wish label for each one of our favor boxes. It read 'Ali Family wishes Ramadan Kareem' and matched with my cookies!

This picture is oddly very satisfying, don't you think? I tried my best to pack these up with perfection so in the end they all looked exactly identical to each other. Haha! There was the bed of chocolates underneath and then the layer of dates and cookies and finally those two show stopper fondant decorated cookies on top. These boxes looked beautiful! I am jealous of my friends and neighbors because they get to experience that feeling when the box is opened and you first set your eyes upon this deliciousness. It must feel awesome, right?

Another year, another Ramadan upon us, and another extremely delicious and stunningly beautiful Ramadan favor box. *wipes away happy tears* I feel so satisfied and awesome looking at these! Aren't we just the best people in the neighborhood? *laughs*

Ramadan Mubarak everyone!
Let me leave you with this glittery goodness ...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Have a Blessed Ramadan 2018!

Here's wishing Muslims all around the globe Ramadan Mubarak! May the month be full of peace, blessings, and countless happy moments. May God bless us all, bring our families closer, make our friendships and communities stronger, and bless our hearts with goodness so we can all become better versions of ourselves!

Each year I plan out my Ramadan with super duper excitement. We're super low on energy while fasting so Abbie and I make our Sehri meals ahead of time and freeze them. Currently, our freezers are bursting with food and frozen frying type items from the store. About a few days before Ramadan begins we begin cooking Sehri saalans and then in a ziplock they go and straight to the freezer. It saves us a lot of time which we then use to the best of our abilities towards praying and doing all that good stuff. I've even managed to clean most of the house (as much as my broken wrists allowed me) so I don't have to worry about deep cleaning until Eid. For Iftaari this year, I am again gearing up to bake some super delicious desserts! Ramadan is the one month in our house when we don't think about diets so this is my chance to get my Sara's Baked Creations mode on! Haha! It's all going to be super awesome, God willing and I'm just so excited!

I've set some personal goals for myself this Ramadan. I want to do as much as possible. Quran and prayers will be my top priority above all else. I hope I'm able to do my best! I get really terrible murderous thunderous migraines when I fast so everyday is a challenge for me. Good luck to me for that! Other than my spiritual goals I'm also going to be focusing on self care a lot this Ramadan. I've been ignoring myself a lot lately and things need fixing! This will be the perfect time for that.

This year all I wish for is peace. I've cleansed out as much as I could before the month began (both within myself and also removed toxicity from my surroundings) and I intend to stay as far away from negativity as possible. I just want to say this to everyone: Please stop being toxic. At least for a month. It can't be that hard, trust me. A month is just around thirty days. This year, please, just please, try not to make Ramadan a kitty party-ish affair. Don't focus on how huge of a gathering you managed to invite for Iftar at the local masjid. Focus on how many needy people you were able to help and feed this month. Don't focus on how gourmet your food provision was during your Iftar parties. Focus on how beautiful and sincere your prayers were. Don't focus on what the other person was wearing. Focus on what special good deed they were doing and then do it yourself. Don't focus your energy on dissing others, bringing them down, and getting into comparison wars. Focus on how to become the most awesome human beings on planet earth so that when Non Muslims look our way they only see goodness and not the foul misconceptions which haters and bigots have created. Be the best example so that there can be no possibility left for negative misconceptions! Because really, Muslims, if truly sincere to faith, can be the best human beings!

Ramadan Mubarak,
Be kind, be nice, be awesome!
Have a beautiful month!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Socks Are Cuter Than Yours!

Aren't cute socks just the cutest things EVER? I love getting cute socks for myself and my collection right now contains way more socks than I think I can even wear in an entire month! Haha! But hey, they come up with the cutest new designs each time a new season begins and then I find myself standing in the shop with round puppy dog eyes hoping the heavens would split open to tell me that it's okay and perfectly fine if I buy a few more pairs! This time though, I didn't have to go through the dilemma because mama and Abbie came home with these awesome six pairs for me. They're from Target's Bullseye Playground and I guess these must have been Valentines themed! I love them all, but I think I have a favorite ... Ssshhhhh, don't want to hurt their feelings!

This one's a dark dark shade of blue with grey toes and pink hearts all over. It reminds me of the days when Hilary Duff used to be in her teens and the best kind of fashion was wearing neon level pinks with denim jeans. Those were some serious good times and this pair is totally the same level of girly and cute and elegant at the same time!

In my case the sock should say 'Me + Me = Glitter' but it conveys the love for glitter and is purpalllllll! I love purple and pair it with pink and I'll be head over heels! Haha! Get it? Heels. Socks?

THISSSSS almost became my most favorite. I think this is my second most favorite one. For sure. I love the colors so much, the hearts are super adorable, and that's my life's motto on top. Hahaha! FRIES BEFORE GUYS! Totally me. Hey, I should make a cake inspired by this pair of socks someday! That would be really cute!

The typical candy hearts socks! How cute can they be? Seriously. Check the level of cuteness. It's hazardous - it's just TOO cute! Aahhhhhh!

This one is SO Chesire Cat from Alice In Wonderland. Like, you look at these socks and you instantly see Cheshi there. "Every adventure requires a first step!" ... Step. Get it? Step. Socks. I did it again. I'm such a genius! Hahaha! We're all mad here!

XoXo! These are my girly version Gossip Girl reference socks. What's not to love about these? Pink. Red. XoXos all over. Glamorous, fabulous. fantabulous, gorjabulous.

Andddddddd presenting my most favorite!!! The white sock with the roses on it. The pinks and the light teal/turquious ... I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS PAIR! This is my most favorite one! It's very Beauty and the Beast pretty rose type but like its pink version. I love it!

Oh how beautiful these new socks are! They are such a nice addition to my collection of cute socks. They're everything I love. Girly, beautiful, funky, and super colorful! LOVE. LOVE. LOVE!

Monday, May 7, 2018

SUCCESS! The April A to Z Challenge 2018 Completes!

Dhan tanan! Stand up, applaud, cheer for me!
Once again, I have successfully completed another April Blogging from A to Z Challenge!
This year it was particularly challenging because my life was a busy mess, yet, look at me ... surviving like a champion! Yayyyyyyy! Now, it's time for reflections, thoughts, and what nots!

What was I up to in April?
My Blogging from A to Z theme this year was once again all about my passion and hobby of baking and cake decorating: SARA'S BAKED CREATIONS! My love, my talent, my favorite thing to do! All throughout the month I was posting delicious detailed blog entries. For each one of my selected baked wonder of the day I showed off beautiful and extremely tempting pictures, behind the scenes shots, the making, and the detailing. For a month my blog was boasting mouth watering content from top to bottom. It was so so so much fun! You can find the main index of all my entries right here!

The good, the bad, erm .. yeah!
I have been doing the challenge for a couple years now and I love it. There's a special kind of excitement on my blog in April thanks to the challenge. It's just so much fun! Buttttt ... I think out of all my years of participating in the challenge, this year was my slowest. I had a new baby niece arrive in our house on the fourth of the month and then dad came over to meet her. We had some guests over thanks to the little darling too. Oh and my wrists weren't in their best condition. I have pain in my wrists because I've overused them a bit while traveling and dragging luggage around so they hurt real bad and feel stuck. With all this happening I wasn't able to schedule all my posts ahead of time. Usually I do that so when in April I have free time I use it to go commenting on other participants' blogs. This year, I spent the few moments of free time that I had writing up blog posts so I won't miss a day. Guess what happened? I wasn't able to go discovering and commenting on other blogs. So I'd say this year I was pretty dead where interacting was concerned. Not good!

Maybe it was because I wasn't able to leave comments, but I also noticed that this year I got far less comments than I've received in all my years of this challenge. It was sad because I find the comments very encouraging and motivating in a world otherwise full of negative people and bullies. Anyhoo, those who left me comments had awesome stuff to say and I intend to go back and get in touch with them now that I'll be freer in May!

Now let me talk about the new changes we saw on the A to Z blog this year. Basically, there was a new Master List and the Daily Letter Lists. I had no problems with them at all, though I admit the daily letter signups should have stayed open all month because I know each year there are people catching up with posts on the weekends. I was able to post everything on time even though I had nothing scheduled but still missed a couple of daily letter forms because I was busy and couldn't enter my link in them. So my opinion: I'm fine with the forms and everything but they'd be so much more fun if they stayed open for entry through the challenge! Also, I think the A to Z team should look into RTing posts tagged with #AtoZChallenge on Twitter so they get more exposure! Ummm, the rest, I think the team manages everything EXCELLENTLY! I'd say I have no complains.

Just like always I loved participating regardless of how rushed I was or how many comments I received! I love getting a chance to revisit my baking and find pictures of their making. Behind the scenes are always fun! I also love how, thanks to the A to Z, I have a sort of April feature on my blog that's all about my baking! I'm seriously considering making this a thing for sure. Oooh and I'm also considering taking part in the road trip the A to Z team is hosting. I was planning to go and visit the blogs in my free time anyway so the road trip definitely sounds like my thing! You know what? I'm already thinking about next year's challenge! *laughs* Would I do the same theme? Different one? Would I make it? Would I survive? Time shall tell ...
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