Summer 2014 (picture overload)

Helloo, everyone!!  So I know I didn’t get to share a lot of posts this summer, but I wanted to make one post with a summary wrapping up the entire summer.  Summer is always so exciting when in starts, in the middle, it feels like it’s never-ending, and then at the end, you realize that you’re not ready for it to end!  But after experiencing such a brutal winter this year, I did not complain once about the weather and appreciated the sunniness and heat for the short amount of time that we have it!  

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So May was the first month post-grad. (Above are some beautiful flowers I received and of course a princess balloon from some friends, lol.)   I spent most of the month just relaxing, making quick domestic travels to neighboring cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York.  I’ve taken summer classes every summer since I started college, so it was nice to finally just have a huge break and not worry about anything (at least until I start grad school this fall).  

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Beautiful views at the Baltimore Inner Harbor!

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We stopped at cute little Lebanese spot downtown in Baltimore called Byblos for dinner.

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I have to admit I really wasn’t too crazy about the food there.  However their dip appetizer platter was pretty good.  All your basics - tabouleh, hummus, baba ganoush, grape leaves, etc.

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Sunset in Brooklyn by the Verrazano Bridge - one of my favorite bridges - and also the one I pass through back and forth between my new school/soon to be new locale and home.  We’ve made several trips back and forth, going to the airport, going to my new school, and also looking for apartments!  

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In June, my grandmother, my aunt, and 7 year-old cousin from India came to visit us!  My grandfather unexpectedly passed away in April (bless his soul) so it was comforting to see my family, especially my grandmother after the tragedy.  

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My family is spread out on three different continents, but it’s still amazing how close we are and how much love there is between us.  We have been fortunate enough to see each other almost every year by either visiting them or them visiting us.  And of course with the vast advancement of technology, it’s so easy to keep in touch with distant family.  

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My 7-year old cousin is the youngest of all (seven) the grandchildren, and boy is he a handful of energy ;) He is the center of all our love and attention.  He is shy at first, but once you bring up Batman, Ninja Turtles, Skylanders, cars, Lego’s, or FIFA, he is just non-stop talking!  I’ve seen him almost every single summer since he was born, and it has been such an incredible blessing to watch him grow and develop into this little person with his own huge personality :)

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My mother also threw me a grand graduation party in June, which my family was also here to be a part of!  It was nice celebrating this milestone with my family, close friends, and people in the community who have watched me grown up ever since I was a wee little girl.  Here are a few of my girl friends from back home!  Me being an animal lover, we wanted to incorporate the elephant statues into our picture :).

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At the end of June, Ramadan began, which is a month of fasting for Muslims.  No eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset for 30 days.  I know some might find this horrendous - but I absolutely love the month of Ramadan.  It’s a month of lots of get togethers, and ironically lots of food and festivities (in the evening upon breaking our daily fast).

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Just a couple of the yummy dishes we got to break out fast with!  Usually, people will go all out when preparing evening dinners for breaking our fasts!

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I will admit that this year was the most challenging one yet, just because it was right at the peak of summer, so super long and hot days.  I wasn’t working this summer, so I fortunately had the luxury of being at home and not doing any strenuous labor.  But I felt for my fellow friends fasting who had to work all day long.  But all in all, I try my best not to complain while fasting.  

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Fasting teaches you patience and appreciation and really makes us realize how lucky and blessed we are.  The month did fly by extremely quickly!  I am always sad when Ramadan ends.  After Ramadan ends, we have a day long celebration called Eid, where we dress up, get together with family and friends, feast, exchange gifts and play games, and just celebrate and enjoy each other’s company.

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Aaand that brings us right to August!  The Sunday of the Summer!   I will be relocating to Long Island for grad school, which I am both excited and nervous about.  I got my own place, a studio, near my college and will move in at the end of the month! 

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Until then I am just tying up all the loose ends for what I’ve wanted to do this summer, making my last rounds in meeting and catching up with friends, and prepping for grad school and my big move. I hope to share more of my adventures then soon! 


Some Philly Eats: Ariana’s, Green Eggs Cafe, & Capogiro

Hey, everyone!  I hope you all have been have a great summer.  My summer has been great but has been going by way to quickly!  Summer has been busy, so I haven’t been posting too much, but as I was organizing my pictures from the past 3 months, I thought I’d share a few dining experiences that I had in Philly!

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I went to Ariana’s in Olde City, Philadelphia for some delicious, authentic Afghani food.  I was actually there for an event, in which we got to sample several different dishes off the menu, which was even more exciting!  The event was for BestBite, a company/service which hosts different events at restaurants and showcases their signature dishes for one set price.  Here are some dishes that we got to try out!

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Presented here is Aashak - steamed scallion-filled dumpllings topped with spicy yogurt and meat sauce, sprinkled with mint.  We also have Sambosa - Fried pastry stuffed with chickpeas, potatoes, and spices, served with fresh cilantro sauce.  We also have Bulanee Kachou - turnover stuffed with potatoes, onions, and spices topped with yogurt.  I think the Aashak was my favorite out of the three!

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Here is only one of the SIX main dishes that were featured.  The lighting was a little off, so my iPhone pictures weren’t fantastic plus we were just so busy socializing, eating, and having a good time!  This is dish here is lamb kabouli palow - seasoned chunks of Lamb under brown basmati rice, topped with almonds, pistachios, carrots, and raisins.  So yummy!  Definitely one of my favorite dishes of the night.  This is one of the most popular and common Afghani dish, so if you’re trying the cuisine for the first time, this dish is a must!

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Next up: Green Egg’s Cafe!  This is a popular brunch place and has very unique and tantalizing menu items!  There are three locations in Philly.  It was such a beautiful morning that day ad we got to sit outside.  Menu items vary from egg based dishes to french toast/waffle dishes to meat based dishes.

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Here is Green Eggs’ famous Red Velvet Pancakes!  WOW!  I have to admit this looked much better than it tasted, but it was definitely worth a try.  

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And of course a manlier dish, chicken and waffles with poached eggs.  I’m personally not a huge fan of fried chicken, especially early in the early AM, but my friend loves this dish.  I’m definitely more of a sweets kinda girl.

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Here is just a pretty sushi roll called Palm Springs Roll at Mizu Sushi near Rittenhouse Square.  The sushi wasn’t too bad.  I’ve tried a few cucumber wrapped rolls in the past at different restaurants but wasn’t to crazy about them because they were slightly bland.  I tried out this out and it tasted so fresh and tasty.

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And lastly, some Capogiro Gelato.  This year, Capogiro was named #1 ice cream spot in the entire WORLD by National Geographic.  I’m not a huge fan of ice cream all the time, and would rather go for fro-yo, but this gelato is seriously amazing!  The cups are a little pricey, but definitely worth it every once in a while.  You also get to try free samples of flavors of your choice!  I’m not a fan of fruity flavored ice creams and frozen  yogurt, as I find that the flavor tastes somewhat artificial.  However CapG’s fruit flavors are SO fresh and you can actually see and taste the little fruit bits.  Here is half mango and cucumber. Yup…cucumber!  It is surprisingly sweet and delicious and tastes so refreshing!  I also love the pear flavor, which is hot pink in color.  

Hope you enjoyed these many foodie pics! :) 


my apartment bedroom

Some of my friends had been asking for pictures of my college apartment and I finally got to post some pictures up.  (Leave it to me to post them nearly three months after I graduated!)

I lived in an off-campus apartment complex for students which is located about near a 10-minute drive away from campus.  There are buses that run regularly to get students to where they need to be.  Residents also have free parking.  Planning a commute could be a little of a hassle and not being right near campus could be a little inconvenient at times.  But I’m the kind of person that likes to work in peace and quiet in their own space, so this set up worked out perfectly for me, as I had my own bedroom and my own bathroom.  The bedroom was also a nice size designed for 1 person in a college apartment.

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This here is my bed area.  On my walls I have an Indian tapestry and the calligraphic canvas painting I posted on a couple months ago.  I love the color purple and had to incorporate it into my bed theme somehow, so I used a purple throw blanket as an accessory. The tapestry luckily managed to match the whole thing with its purple, orange, and yellow.

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Some furry little friends!  I got this backrest from Walmart.  It’s great support for when I’m doing late night assignments on the computer and I want to relax or keep warm.  Since the other colors they had were dull or didn’t match, I just bought the zebra print one because who doesn’t love animal print!

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Here is a closer look at the pattern of my bedspread quilt.  I LOVE this bed set.  I usually tend to stick to purple bed themes, but I’m really glad I got this one because the colors are so bright, vibrant, and warm!  This bedspread is by Cynthia Rowley (but I purchased it from TJ Maxx for half of the regular price!) I love her designs as they are so colorful and the details and patterns are so intricate.  

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Here is my desk area.  Usually it is FILLED with books and papers.  But this was right before I started clearing out my room, so I had everything packed away.  For anyone starting school or wanting to stay more organized: I highly recommend getting a dry-erase calendar!  They are so flexible and practical and helps you plan out your week/month.  You can just take a quick glance at it before you go to bed to make sure you’re not forgetting to do something! 

This is my dresser area.  On the dresser I just have a jewelry box - which I received as a gift when I was about 10 years old, hence the super girly design.  It’s a great size and has great compartments, so I never felt the need to give it away.  I also just have some decor and pictures.  On the walls I just pinned up scrapbook paper and beads for some added color.  I intended to do some sort of Pinterest-y DIY project for this wall area, but never got to it.

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Here is this overall look of my room as you enter it! Aaannd just as I post this…I just realized my room basically matches my blog. Go figure lol!


"Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing."
- Hunter S. Thompson (via gnarly)

"I don’t fear commitment. I fear wasting my time."
- (via gothics)

(Source: shelleywangbang)


graduation cap decorating!

Graduation season is here once again, but what’s special about this season is that I am celebrating mine!!  It is insane how fast 4 years can go by!  At times, it feels like I have been here for ever and other times, it feels like it went by way too quickly!  Saying goodbye and moving on to the next chapter, is always a bittersweet feeling, but at this point I was ready!  (My graduation was this past weekend)  Here is the cap I decorated for the big day! 

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I’ve been pinning ideas for a while now for inspiration.  One thing that I noticed was just how extremely blinged out with glitter and rhinestones the caps were.  These designs are cool without a doubt, however I personally wanted to create a cap that was simple yet elegant and unique, and that i could still appreciate and be proud of 20 years to come.

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Using a hot glue gun, I stuck on a glitter off-white scrapbook paper on halfof my cap. There is space between the button and the flat surface of the cap, so the paper slid right between, and sat perfectly!  I wrote my last mine in these letter stickers on the top portion. with these convenient little letter stickers!

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At each corner, I added a some pearl rhinestones in an organized, detailed pattern.  These were adhesive stick-ons, but I recommend that you still use hot glue to stick them on as they have a tendency of getting everywhere including your hair!

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I cut out a Nittany Lion paw print from blue scrapbook paper and glued it onto the cap!  I added some rhinestones and made the first initial of my first name!

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Finally I added some calligraphy.  This says “alhumdillAllah” which means “Praise God” in Arabic.  This calligraphy symbolizes my commitment to my faith as well as my love for Islamic calligraphic art, both which will always be a part of me.  Being that patience and faith has gotten me through the past 4 years, I felt it was appropriate to put it on my cap.  It also added a unique and personal touch to it.  I just used acrylic paint onto the white paper and then stuck the paper onto the cap.  I cut out blue stickers from the letters I used for my last name as a border.

I’m pretty positive the quotes that I follow now, will not be the same ones I follow in 20 years, so I avoided putting on words.  Plus it avoid tackiness/lack of originality.  I also didn’t want to put anything that indicated my future study/career plans - because we never know where exactly life may take us.  I wanted to make everything on the cap relevant to my graduation milestone and also that will always be the same in years to come.  My last name will always be the same, I will always be PSU ‘14, etc.  I did use glitters and rhinestones, but I stuck with a limited color palette, just using my school colors.


Tampa Bay Weekend Part 3

So after the awards ceremony (the weekend before this past one), we had an extra day in Tampa, with nothing to do!  We didn’t have car, so we took a shuttle from our hotel the nearest mall and spent the afternoon/evening there.

I am a tea fein..so out of all stops at the mall had to be Teavana and trying all the samples.  (Totally beats Louis Vuitton and Michael Kohrs in my books!)  My favorite sample was this mix and we bought some of it to take home.  The mix was the Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls with the Peach Tranquility.  It has that green tea kick in it, with some sweetness from the peach and a calming effect from the chamomile.  And it smells so yummy!

Yay for some complimentary tea!  I also love the adorable little teapots! 

Outside of the mall entrance, there were these small restaurants and shops built on stone pathway - it felt like you were in Europe.  In the evening the lights lit up and it looked so pretty.  Wish we had something like that here, up in PA!

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Snacking on some macrons and chocolates with my mama. 

For dinner we stopped at this Italian restaurant in one of the outdoor eatery spots.  I guess you could say it was sort of a variation of Olive Garden.  I think it was called Tuscany Italian.  ABove we have grilled salmon.

And here were have grilled shrimp. We are seafood lovers!

Enjoying the beautiful Tampa weather. :)

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I am obsessed with palm trees, if you couldn’t tell already!

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Set of palm treas against a beautiful sunset that evening

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Taking of from Tampa Bombay at 8am last Monday morning!  Still was able to make it back in time for my first class that day.  It was a bummer coming back to a chilly, rainy PA, however this week so far the weather has been looking amazing (finally) so I’m not gonna complain! : )


IIFA Awards in Tampa Part 2 

In continuation to my previous post of my first night at the IIFA Awards ceremony, here is part 2: the final night of the IIFA program and also the main award ceremony!

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The hosts were Shahid Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar.  Notable performances by Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit, and Hrithik Roshan.

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For this event I did dress up a little more and put on some traditional gear! I love this outfit my mom bought for me last summer from India.  The colors are also perfect for springtime!  Unfortunately since it was a last minute trip, I forgot to pack bangles!  No outfit is complete without a set of bangles, but this time I had to make do.

Again I loved these pair of earrings as well! :)

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Me n my mama before the show start.

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Here are the hosts: Shahid Kapoor (left) and Farhan Akhtar (right) - who also performed the night before.  

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Here we have the mayor of Tampa and Anil Kapoor on the left.  Sonakshi Sinha was called upon stage to present a Lifetime Acheivment award to her father, Shatrughan Sinha, so sweet!

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Priyanka Chopra flying in to start her performance of the night!  

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Priyanka Chopra is another one of my favorites!  When I was younger I used to watch all her dance numbers for inspiration to create my own dances when I used to practice!  She has done musical collaborations with will.I.Am and Pitbull here in the U.S.

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Priyanka Chopra pulled John Travolta from the audience onto the stage to dance with her for a bit.  So cute!

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Mr. & Mrs. Saif Ali Khan presenting an award. (He was the co-host of last night’s show, and she also performed the previous night)

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Here we have Hrithik Roshan presenting an award to John Travolta.

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Here we have Kevin Spacey!

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Kevin Spacey presented the award to Deepika Padukone…loved her dress!

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The hosts made Deepika teach Spacey how to do a silly little dance that was quite popular in a movie.  At first they were BOTH hesitant to do the dance, but after the hosts’ persistence, they gave in and used the prop and they both got really into it, especially Spacey.  It was so funny to see him dance!

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’80s/’90s actress Sridevi and her film producer hubby Boney Kapoor (also Anil Kapoor’s older brother) presenting an award.

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Dia Mirza and R. Madhavan presenting awards.  These two starred in a popular romantic/chick flick 13 years ago together! 

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Deepika Padukone performing

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Madhuri Dixit had one of the best performances that night!

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But hands down, the winner again goes to Hrithik Roshan! 

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Phenomenal performance of his!  The crowd just went wild!  And that was the end of the crazy, long night!  It was just a spectacular weekend!


"When a woman is a daughter, she opens a door of paradise for her father. When she is a wife, she completes half of the deen of her husband. Allah has raised women’s status to so high that when she is a mother, Paradise lies under her feet. If everyone knew the true status of women in Islam, even the men would want to be women."
- Islam (via nasaya)

IIFA Awards in Tampa Part 1

This past weekend I had the chance to go to the annual IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) Awards in Tampa, Florida!  It was a completely spontaneous trip but it was well-worth it and awesome getaway for a little bit!  The IIFA Awards are a HUGE award ceremony for Bollywood cinema (a la the Academy Awards/Oscars).  Every year it takes place in some cool foreign place from Dubai to South Africa to Bangkok to Singapore to Amsterdam to Malaysia to Toronto to Sri Lanka.  This year they were held in the U.S. for the first time!  

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Getting ready to land in the beautiful Tampa Bay.  I LOVE Florida weather and landscapes.  It has always been my favorite state!

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We stayed at the Hilton. Lalalove seeing Palm Trees! :) 

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I got passes for two events on Friday and Saturday.  Friday’s evening event consisted of the technical awards and of course NO Bollywood show is complete without some dance and music performances!  This event was hosted by Saif Ali Khan (who is one of my top favorite Bollywood actors) and Vir Das.

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Getting ready for the first event!  I didn’t really know what the event would be like and how fancy the dress code was going to be, so I just wore a black evening gown/maxi from Forever21 and a black shawl.  When it comes to dressing up, Indians definitely take the crown for getting all decked up.  When I arrived at the event, there were some people who were in evening casual wear and there were some who, as I expected, all decked up like they were going to a wedding!  I’m all about comfort and I didn’t feel the need to go all out…because well I’m just a fan, not a celeb (lol) plus the event was outdoors.

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I loved these earrings that my mother let me borrow! 

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My stunning Mama and I in front of the stage before the start of the show. How gorgeous does she look in that sapphire blue?!  Totally her color.

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So on the left - the two gentlemen in the black suit and the white suit are Vir Das and Saif Ali, respectively.  The gorgeous lady in the gold sari is Malaika Arora, who is a popular and amazing B-wood dancer!  She just turned 40 last year and she is one of the hottest mamas to exist!

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Here we have the multi-talented, Farhan Akhtar, who is an awarding winning producer, director, screenwriter and actor.  He has won awards for his film productions and acting!  He is also a singer and has been nominated for his songs.  Here he sang a medley of his own songs and songs that were parts of his films such as “Dil Chahta Hai” - a classic!

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Here we have Anil Kapoor presenting an award.  You may recognize him from the host of the millionaire show in Slumdog Millionaire and he was also in the last Mission Impossible movie.  He’s been in the industry for 35 years now and he is just a fantastic actor and seems like such a down-to-earth person.

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Here we have Sonakshi Sinha.

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Ms Bipasha Basu!

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This was just a small performance, but by far my FAVORITE moment of the night.  Here we have singer, Mikha Singh performing on the right.  He went pulled up superstar, Hrithik Roshan from the audience, on to the stage and had him dance for a bit.  Um, wow!  Most girls die over Hrithik Roshan and his movies and I’m probably the only girl who doesn’t care much to see him on screen.  However - I just LOVE seeing him dance and being his natural, real self.  He is really one of the best dancers on this planet - just youtube his name and you’ll see various performances of his that he has done in the past 15 years.  He just danced along to Mika for a couple minutes, and that to in was an impromptu dance, but that little number was just soooo awesome!  He also has a really likable personality when you see him during interviews and performances.  It also doesn’t hurt that he has a fantastic physique and amazing eyes ;) 

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Again we have the hosts of the show and in the orange sari is the glamorous and classy Madhuri Dixit.  She was super popular in the ’90s and is just such a timeless beauty!  When I was just a baby, my mom tells me the first song that I started dancing to was one of her songs!

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Ms Kareena Kapoor over here!  She is also the wife of Saif Ali Khan.  

These are just some of the major highlights of Friday’s show!  If you think this was spectacular wait until you see my next post on the Saturday’s event - the main awards! : ) Coming soon!


"Woman is a delicate creature with strong emotions who has been created by the Almighty God to shoulder responsibility for educating society and moving toward perfection. God created woman as symbol of His own beauty and to give solace to her partner and her family."
- Imam Ali (as)

(Source: yazahra)


independence and maturity

Living on your own, supporting yourself, having your own full-time job does not imply maturity; it indicate independence.  Everyone will eventually gain independence when their own life forces them too.  Maturity includes understanding that the world isn’t about you.  That just because you don’t hear or see something, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.  That just because you read and learn a lot, doesn’t mean you know everything.  Realizing that if you have access to read this, in the grand scheme of things, how trivial the things you stress about are.  Realizing that you are not the only person with troubles…that the person next to you is facing their own battles which you know nothing about, even if they don’t say a word about it, even if they walk around with a smile on their face. Maturity is being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing the world from their eyes. To understand what a situation that you have never been through must feel like for someone else. Acknowledging the temperament of that specific individual and trying to understanding how he/she may reacting to the situation which you still have never been through. And who knows what surprises life may through at you in the future, that you could possibly go through the same. This is maturity. Independence and maturity are not mutually exclusive. Independence is not a reflection of character. Everyone will eventually gain maturity when their own life forces them too. But some take a lifetime to develop maturity or never even do.