July 21, 2014

25th: Reflection, Enlightenment & Sage Wisdom

Since I was a little tater tot, I sincerely believed that the entire month of July belonged to me. It’s never just been a birthday; I have a birth month. Though the mentality has remained the same, this year's a little different for a couple of reasons.

The first: I’m about to turn 25. I feel different; it's very difficult to describe and it’s definitely not what I thought it was going to be like…

25 always seemed like the most majestic age. I just couldn't wait to be 25 - it equated to sheer bliss and perfection in the eyes of 5, 10, even 18 year-old Sumaira. For reasons only children understand, I envisioned myself to be supermodel tall, rich & famous, newly betrothed, and naturally fabulous. Something about the way 25 sounded seemed so far away and too good to be true.

The second difference: At the start of my birth month this year, I met with my first (and hopefully last) health scare. I was diagnosed, sick, hospitalized, and then sick again for 2 straight weeks. I had never felt so sick and weak before. 


Thankfully, it’s not life threatening, but a burden and an eye opening experience. At my most vulnerable state, I looked at my surroundings and thought, "how did this happen to me?" My invincible spell was broken.

Young people tend to lead their lives as if they're wearing a bulletproof vest. That's the beauty of youth though, isn't it? You think you're forever unscathed and shielded from all bad until it happens to you. In a matter of seconds, your entire outlook on life can change. Priorities shift. Perspectives change. Relationships gain different meanings. And one finally grows up.

Life throws you curves but you learn to swerve [Rascal Flatts] Yeah, I'm not the tallest, I'm certainly not rich, and am very much single. That being said, 25 has arrived and given all the circumstances, I'm more than okay with who I've become. I'm happy, blessed, and enriched daily with so much love. Oh... and I'd like to think I'm naturally fabulous or at least en route! ;)

25 is going to be my year to thrive. I can feel it. 

Life is fickle as is the quality of it so...

Break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love deeply. Laugh uncontrollably. 
Never regret anything that made you smile. (Ethan Mascarenhas)


Happy 25th birthday to me. xoxo



July 20, 2014

ICONS BOUTIQUE


With great pride, I am honored to introduce you all to my sister's latest venture - Icons Boutique - an online boutique dedicated to producing high quality, trendy fashion while giving back to the underprivileged. 5% of all sales are donated to a foundation supporting underprivileged women and children around the world. 

Icons Boutique was materialized in 2014 after 2 years of designing, conscientious strategizing, and implementation. Sabrina Diana, my sister/designer & founder, has singlehandedly designed every article of of clothing and handcrafted all jewelry. 

Icons Boutique was officially launched on Sunday, June 29th at the ART Factory in Paterson, NJ. 


Browse and shop the first collection at www.iconsboutique.com and enjoy 10% off with promo code FLOWER. Check out some of the pieces below... xoxo






July 02, 2014

How Films Have Warped Our Perception of Men & Romance



As I become more acquainted with modern-day dating, I'm slowly realizing that most of what I grew up believing about men and romance are completely mythical.   

Let me preface this post by declaring that I am not jaded; I am simply observing and learning. This post also is not reflective of one particular situation but is an analysis of my adulthood dating experience thus far.



I'm starting to believe that women of my generation are at a slight disadvantage when it comes to dating mainly because of 2 reasons: 



1. We grew up watching Disney movies, the most amazing romcoms [romantic comedies] there ever were, and in my case, unrealistic Bollywood films. We've been brainwashed from the get go that there is one prince charming for every princess [which we all are] and that he'll sweep us off of our feet while effortlessly riding his horse.

Don't even get me started on Bollywood movies...they have falsified men into being super humans. My apologies but they’re just given way too much credit. They’re defying families to be with the ones they love, beating the crap out of the “enemies” in elaborate action scenes, traveling from Italy to India via foot in one week (Oh yes! that is a scene in a very popular Bollywood movie). As ridiculous as you can imagine, it’s been shown in these movies and alongside many, I've believed it all!  



2. We grew up in an age when technology was on an upwards slope but are now experiencing adulthood in an era when technology has overpowered social interaction thereby making dating that much more cumbersome.  

 If you know me personally, you know that I am a HUGE movie buff. I analyze movies to the T. But even I've been suckered into believing some ridiculous scenarios displayed on celluloid. Let's take a look at some of our favorite, widely appreciated romcoms and open our eyes a little bit. 

I'll call this bit - What We Saw & What We Should Have Seen


1. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Note: One of my all time favorites. I'll be the first to admit that I'm guilty of having watched it 35 times. 
What We Saw: After Andi and Ben both realized they were using each other to advance their respective careers, they walk their separate ways, both seemingly distressed. In the last scene of the movie, Andi is in a cab on her way to the airport to move to Washington DC when all of a sudden Ben flags her down with his curly locks flowing while riding his motorcycle. He admits he's in love with her and convinces her to stay in NYC to begin a life together and live happily ever after. So cute right? WRONG!

What We Should Have Seen: Andi busted her ass in Columbia where she earned a degree in journalism. Throughout the movie, she makes it very clear that writing the "How To" columns were trivializing her degree and what she really wanted to do was be a journalist who wrote more substantial content like politics or world affairs. As Andi was on her way to Washington DC to snatch a golden opportunity, selfish Ben whisks her away from her lifelong dreams by promising to love her forever after having known her for merely 10 days and also having shamelessly used her as a spring board to get an account in his advertising firm. Come on Andi, you're smarter than that.. What an ironic movie title for an ending that showed a girl lose her career dream for a manipulative d bag. 



2. The Wedding Planner
Note: Conveniently, another Matthew McConaughey movie. Perhaps he's been type casted as the resident douche bag of Hollywood. Regardless, I love any movie that J.Lo is in... ;)
What We Saw: The lonely yet successful wedding planner, Mary, finally finds true love in the dashingly handsome doctor, Steve Edison, who also happens to be the fiance of her high profile client. Their love conquers all and they live happily ever after while enjoying M&Ms (all but the brown ones of course) in front of drive-in movie theatre. How romantic... NOT!



What We Should Have Seen: The beautiful and highly successful wedding planner, Mary, succumbs to the temptation of cheating, slimy Steve Edison whose fiance is head over heels in love with him, causing herself to get an ulcer because of wedding planning stress. Steve leaves his annoying but innocent fiance at the altar causing her to feel utterly humiliated because he was hanky pankying with their wedding planner. Meanwhile, he decides to go break another relationship by attempting to stop the wedding of Mary and her childhood friend Massimo. Can anyone say serial cheater/home wrecker?






3. Two Weeks Notice
Note: No denying that the chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant is **ELECTRIFYING**.
What We Saw: The endearing development of a friendship/relationship between ivy-league attorney, Lucy, and real estate tycoon George Wade. Lucy and George are complete opposites and witnessing them banter is just oh so adorable. Lucy realizes her work is not satisfying and decides to leave George's company. George's multiple attempts at getting her to stay are supposed to be perceived as cute and heartwarming. Making calls to surrounding law firms and convincing them to not hire her is so adorable? Who does that?

What We Should Have Seen: George became so heavily dependent on Lucy because she was the only pillar of strength and stability in his life. Therefore, when she decided that she was overqualified and wanted to do something that brought more satisfaction to her life, George made all attempts to make sure she didn't leave him i.e. calling everyone in the area and letting them know she was not worth hiring. Additionally, if he had loved her, why would he be shamelessly hooking up with the new annoying, Southern employee right in front of her? Am I the only one who thought George was an immature, spoiled, selfish prick and Lucy was way too good for him?



While I don't think "prince charming" as we've known him exists, I do still believe that true love is out there and in various forms. Is it our fault that we continue to search for this non-existent, unrealistic person who was presented to us while we were impressionable toddlers up until our 20's? Absolutely not. However, I think it's time to make a conscious effort in troubleshooting our expectations and mentality when it comes to romance. Wouldn't it feel better to expect less but be pleasantly surprised when they do exceed our expectations? I think so! ;) xx. Yours truly. 

June 12, 2014

On An Aside: The Other Side of Being a Single Lady


Almost a year ago, I wrote a post called The Perks of Being a Single Lady [http://www.sumairaflower.com/2013/08/on-aside-perks-of-being-single-lady.html] 

While I still believe in these perks, I'm starting to feel a change. Perhaps it's due to everyone and their mom having a wedding this year, or the daily FB reminders that your peers are coupling up and getting engaged, or maybe simply a shift of priorities within myself. Whatever it is, it's been on my mind. I've compiled a list of the other side of being a single lady aka annoyances/frustrations.... (These are in no particular order; I'm just rambling.)

1. The Wardrobe Assistant
This morning I was getting dressed for work and couldn't get my beautiful but frustrating bracelet on. Had a man been in the picture, I could've gone back to sleep for an extra 10 minutes. Grr. Oh and zippers... frikken dress zippers! I always need someone to help with zippers! My pint size frame doesn't help me at all when I need to zip up my dresses. (However, I will say that being a single lady has made me an expert at using hangers to zip those suckers up.)

Yes, those are my chubby little hands. 












2. The Human Pillow
Spooning - need I say more?



3. The Handyman
Opening jars. Taking out the garbage. Shoveling snow. Installing my air conditioner. Am I right or am I right?

4. The Safe & Sound Feeling
It's embarrassing how many times I've mistaken a crack or creek for a robber trying to break into my apartment and how many times I've slept with a butcher knife on my nightstand. Oh and how many times I've called the police resulting in a false alarm. Oh ya, that's happened.  






5. The Voice of Reason
You know, like someone who'll tell me from time to time, "Hey Sumaira, I think you're shopping too much" without getting popped in the face. 



















6. The Online Dating Travesty
If you read my blog, you already know my thoughts on this. Tinder/Match.com are as unromantic as it gets and definitely not making the already awful dating scene any easier. Let's be real, would you ever have the balls to say half the stuff you message me on Tinder in real life? I don't think so. 

7. The Dating Game aka The Worst Game Ever
I can honestly dedicate an entire post just to this. Why are people so hesitant to be honest with how they feel whether it's to themselves or to other people? If we're more forthright about what we desire, then there will be a lot less game playing. Oh and this texting BS is completely inefficient and the perfect ingredient for miscommunication. 


I found this little snippet on Elite Daily and it accurately encompasses "the dating game."

8. The Wheel
Do you know how many times I've been the 3rd, 5th, and sometimes even the 7th wheel? I've become that "wild single friend" who couples live vicariously through. 

9. The D-Bag
Why haven't we learned anything from Carrie Bradshaw? Why have I, alongside many others, clung to the Mr. Bigs who constantly screw us over when the Aidans would do anything for us and with a bouquet of roses?  















10. The Companionship
Last but definitely not least, I miss the companionship of a partner. Whether it's having someone to watch reality TV with or gossip about office drama, it's comforting to know your lover/best friend will be there when you come home from a long day. A massage doesn't hurt either ;)


Judging by #s 1-3, you must be thinking I'm seeking an indentured servant and not a boyfriend. But honestly, I just want what everyone else wants and/or is afraid to admit. 

PROCLAMATION: I am finally ready for love to find me again and I am not ashamed to admit it. I would much rather be an excellent communicator in person then be a pro at the dating game. There you have it. Take it or leave it. And... let the matchmaking begin! ;)

May 31, 2014

Gem Restaurant & Lounge, Boston

Before I dive into bashing and trashing, allow me to apologize for the lapse in delivering my opinions. I've been in and out of the city, bouncing from wedding to wedding. While it's been a blast, I am weddinged-out! I also just got all 4 of my wisdom teeth pulled out yesterday, so I will be doing a lot of writing within the next few days [considering I look like Quagmire from Family Guy!]

Just before the wedding mayhem started, a group of friends and I went to Gem for some Saturday night fun. Let me start by saying Gem is by no means a gem! Sorry, but I'm not sorry.

What's good? The decor, location, and music. Oh, and cute guys of course.

What's bad? The entire place is just too small to accommodate the number of people they allow entry. The ladies' room makes you feel like you're in the loo of a fast paced Amtrak train. The drinks are way too overpriced considering how diluted they are with juice.


I was not feeling a good vibe from this place. Not to mention, every corner reeked of vomit - GROSS! Perhaps it is me who is outgrowing this scene but I will not be returning unless someone pays me to. Yikes!



May 05, 2014

Southwest Day Spa, Brookline


If you live the kind of life I lead, then you'll need a massage on the regular. Just kidding, I'm just the ultimate massage whore. I just loooovvvveeeee massages - who doesn't? #TREATYASELF!



With 7 years of being a converted Bostonian under my belt, I can tell you who the best and worst masseuses of the city are. One of my favorite places to go to is Southwest Day Spa located on Beacon Street in Brookline.


Southwest Day Spa is an intimate, full-service spa that makes you feel relaxed from the moment you walk in. Fortunately and unfortunately, it's right across the street from my office which means if I'm not responding to your texts after 5:00PM, chances are, I am getting pampered at Southwest.


Besides the peaceful ambiance and soothing voices everyone whispers to you in, the little details simply cannot be ignored. I love that the lounge area is fully stocked with 20 different teas to choose from in addition to a light snack - salty or sweet - you pick. I'm a huge fan of Penhaligon's products so to find these goodies in the bathroom feels like Christmas! I also love that the receptionist knows me by name and makes a point to always say something nice about me :)

Southwest is moderately priced. Some services are on the expensive side but ya know what? You get exactly what you pay for. The level of hospitality should be applauded. Every single employee in that spa does whatever they can to heighten your experience. You can tell that the employees really love working there which transcends into their quality of work. 

If you're looking for a great massage, facial, or even a "boyzilian" [LOL] I HIGHLY recommend Southwest Day Spa. In particular, Caio is probably the best masseuse I have ever had. 5 stars from me! 




April 03, 2014

SUR, West Hollywood


Thanks to my pop culture-loving sister, I was recently introduced to the most brilliant television shows of our times - the Real Housewives franchise. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but they're certainly very entertaining! And yes, I realize I'm a late adopter. My favorites are Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Real Housewives of New York City. I am particularly enamored by Lisa Vanderpump of Beverly Hills. So naturally, when I planned my vacation to LA, I immediately factored in SUR - one of Mrs. Vanderpump's many accomplishments. 

SUR (acronym for Sexy Unique Restaurant) is a lounge/restaurant located in West Hollywood. As promised by its name, SUR oozes sexiness from the minute you walk in. There is so much sensual energy and flirtatious vibes throughout the venue. The decor is kitsch and fabulous! Love the details. 

Surprisingly, the wait to get a drink at the bar wasn't very long considering how packed the place was. Perhaps those cute bartenders from the show are actually really good at their jobs! PS. I saw Tom from Vanderpump Rules. He's definitely way cuter in real life!

I knew there was a slight possibility I would see Lisa from afar because of how many times SUR is featured on both shows but never did I ever imagine that I would not only meet her but get a picture with her! Seated beside Ken, Mohammed, and Mohammed's beautiful fiance, she was legitimately glowing, dripping in diamonds in the dimmed dining room. My girlfriend and I took a leap of faith and approached her table to say hello expecting to get either kicked out or shooed away. Instead, Lisa graciously exchanged pleasantries after I introduced myself and expressed my admiration for her and her success. 

I usually don't get star struck but I couldn't help but be when I met her. Lisa Vanderpump is simply a stunning, sophisticated, intelligent Brit who has some serious business smarts. Meeting her made my night!

Anyhoo, considering how popular Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Vanderpump Rules, and Lisa Vanderpump are, SUR was pretty easy to get into! I was expecting to have to wait in a long line or not be able to get in at all. Another note, SUR is way smaller than it looks on the show. But I guess that's how everything is in Hollywood - way tinier than depicted on screen including the people! The only downside I can come up with is that there was a weird mix of people that night. Perhaps it was just unique to that evening. Beyond that, SUR is pretty awesome. If I ever go back, it will be to eat there as I have heard the food is fantastic! xx..

PS. Ken is so frikken adorable.
PSS. Jax was not working that night.


Theme Song: G.U.Y by Lady Gaga featuring the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

March 23, 2014

WARD 8, North End


Lately, I've found myself in a state of reacquainting - with old movies, skinny jeans, and of course people. Last week, I had the pleasure of reacquainting myself with a childhood friend whom I have not seen in 13 some odd years. He happened to be visiting Boston and wanted to catch up, so I suggested we meet up at Ward 8 in the North End. Since it's opened its doors (not to mention, very heavy doors) in late 2013, Ward 8 has become the most talked about hot spot in the area. 

I absolutely love the atmosphere - very intimate and cozy. The brick interiors and camel colored furniture ooze a very loft-y feeling. I love the set up with the bar right smack in the middle. No one is secluded in the restaurant which makes it a great "mingling" place if ya know what I mean ;)

The food is delicious. I admit that I indulged in an amazing cheeseburger with truffle fries and a few glasses of Pinot - YUM! I probably should have tried the Ward 8 drink but I wasn't feeling very adventurous. Perhaps next time!

The service was awesome. Every employee's excitement for the restaurant's success radiated through their individual excellent customer service. A very nice group of people working here. PS I LOVE the flannel shirts as the uniform - it's a great look!

Overall, Ward 8 gets a thumbs up from me. With a fabulous name, optimal location, great hospitality, and of course, delicious menu, this restaurant has all the perfect ingredients for success in the city. Hope everyone is enjoying Sunday FunDay! Ciao ;)

PS - Recipe for the Ward 8 beverage - SALUT!


March 16, 2014

On an aside: My 1st Tinder Experience...


I finally joined Tinder a few months ago. I won't lie, I have thoroughly enjoyed swiping left, right and seeing who's out there. Most of the messages I've received have been nothing short of lewd. Therefore, when someone messages you something somewhat genuine on Tinder, there is a sigh of relief. Pathetic, I know but this is the world we live in now. 

I started chatting with someone on Tinder. He messaged me first and didn't make suggestive remarks. We also had mutual friends which gave me solace. When he asked to meet, I said to myself, "oh what the heck - why not!". For obvious reasons, I will not reveal his name however let's just refer to him as Juan Pablo (since he seemed just as douche-y as the most recent Bachelor)

Juan Pablo and I made plans to meet at a coffee shop this afternoon. The first encounter can be awkward but I was relieved he looked the same as in his photos. As we waited in line to order coffee, he asked me a question to which I promptly answered which was then followed by silence for about 10 seconds...

STRIKE 1: Juan Pablo asked me to repeat myself because he was still engaged in the conversation he had just had at brunch and basically tuned me out.  Okay then.

We sat down and started chatting. One of the first things that we, excuse me, HE talked about was his romantic history. Juan Pablo continuously talked about his ex-girlfriends. I'm no dating expert but isn't there some kind of cardinal rule in place where you don't talk about exes on the 1st date? I'm okay with a mention here and there but not as much as he did. That would be STRIKE 2. 

It was a rather boring conversation. I asked most of the questions. Juan Pablo judged me for being a shopaholic. He said he couldn't get that out of his mind and that shopping actually doesn't provide happiness. Um, yes it does. He equated shopping to a quick fix from drugs after which he asked me if I did drugs, in particular MDMA - I don't even know what that is. 

Juan Pablo came off completely spoiled. I kid you not, at one point he said, "the wealth, the life, the loves, everything I have, I didn't earn or don't know if I deserve. It just came to me." STRIKE 3. I cringed in embarrassment for him. 

A half an hour into our "date", Juan Pablo decided he was over it and said he was going to take off in 10 minutes to avoid wasting either of our time. Fine, I respect it and to be honest, he relieved me. However, he ruined it for himself when his follow up comment was, "hey, at least you got a free coffee!" Oh thanks - how gracious of you. STRIKE 4 - and that's not even allowed!


Toward the end of the coffee outing which didn't last more than 45 minutes, Juan Pablo told me he doesn't even know why he's dating since he is still completely hung up on his ex-girlfriend. On his way out, he hugged me and said "Sorry, I wasn't a better 1st Tinder date experience." Ya, me too. 

Take away points:
I am not mad at Juan Pablo nor am I bitter about how badly our date went. In fact, I feel bad because he's clearly still hurting and pining for his ex. Anyone who has been through a break up knows that that pain is indescribable and overpowering. 

I don't expect to find love after every date and I don't expect everyone to fall in love with me. I also realize I've been looking for love in the wrong place. However, I am genuinely worried for the females of my generation living in cosmopolitan areas. Especially in a transient city like Boston, there is a never ending supply of beautiful, young, intelligent women which lead men to never want exclusivity with someone. On top of that, you have apps like Tinder which somehow gave men the leeway to approach you like a hooker. Attraction has become a very fickle concept because the next girl is just a swipe away. Maybe I need to move to Kansas... Ciao! 

March 02, 2014

On an aside: Oscars - The Good, Bad, Over & Underrated

Let's be real, in addition to the awards and yada yada, most of us look forward to the Oscars primarily for the fashion. 

Overall, the looks were rather drab this year. Not too impressed, somewhat disappointed, just meh. 

The GOOD:

Kate Hudson wows in icy Versace gown with bejeweled cape (left)  
Camila Alves oozes freshness in blush pink structured gown (center)
Sandra Bullock looks ethereal in dark blue Alexander McQueen  number (right)
LOVE ALL OF THESE!   

The BAD:

Anne Hathaway looks like a disco ball in tacky, black Gucci dress (left) She also looks like she could be in a George Michael music video.
Cate Blanchett, who always gets it right, gets it totally wrong in this Armani Prive gown that totally washes her out (center)
Kerry Washington looking rather sloppy in Jason Wu gown that resembles like an un-ironed bed sheet (right) Take a cue from Olivia Wilde.

The OVERRATED:

Charlize Theron was an almost 10 but something about the straps on this black Dior dress was odd... (left)
Lupita Nyong'o's pale blue Prada dress is BREATHTAKING but a plunging neckline on a flat-chested, muscular woman makes her look somewhat masculine (center) PS. Is it just me or does she look like she got open heart surgery?
Jennifer Lawrence's red hot Dior frock doesn't seem to do much for her amazing body (right) 

The UNDERRATED:

Porta De Rossi looks nothing less than chic in Naeem Khan (left)
A very pregnant Olivia Wilde looks simple yet so elegant in  Valentino (center)
Kristin Cavallari, also pregnant, rocks this beautiful, simple Alexander McQueen gown (right)