Surprise! Surprise! It’s Your Birthday!

Birthdays are supposed to be days that we can assume to be better than other days..we can be selfish and claim that day as it’s the only day in an entire year which is about us.. why not?!

But what about all those who plan surprises for you? So I want to write to your dear ones to talk about this a bit and express a bit of concern over the ‘planned’ surprise.
I can’t help but think how it all takes place. A birthday is supposed to be a day where when you open your eyes you feel loved..you don’t want to end up going to the bathroom to wash your face and brush your teeth thinking that yeah once you freshen up and go to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for everyone (that is still your job even on birthdays..what happened to good old breakfast in bed…hmmm) someone might just remember and make your day by wishing you and asking how you’d like to spend the day or maybe have something reallyyyyy exciting planned for the day (which does not include a trip to the grocery store lolll). Maybe it would be nice to think that once a year it can be about you. Once a year it would be nice to not have you wait the entire day only to be wished after dinner with a cake and a present (as that is what commonly happens in our society). That doesn’t leave much of a surprise as that is very much expected 😛

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Have you all ever thought about ways of actually making someone’s birthday special for them. I know its a debate whether birthdays should be celebrated or not but I for one don’t believe in cutting the cake but a nice fun day is not a bad idea at all. After all, like I said, that is the only day in an entire year which CAN be about us.

So let’s take a look at a few ideas that might just make someone’s day. (You don’t have to agree with me of course) but hey! What’s the harm in trying? 🙂

  1. Make their day by wishing them first thing in the morning (why wait till evening)
  2. Stick a birthday message on their bathroom mirror. (Trust me you can’t beat that)
  3. Serve them a breakfast with a little cupcake and a candle on top. Pancakes with a little candle could work too.
  4. Ask them what they would like to do or better yet come up with a list of 4 to 5 things and ask them to pick what they would want to do.
  5. If you don’t believe in all this then try giving them a day off from their regular chores and let them relax.
  6. Get them an appointment at a Spa (don’t wait till evening even for that, it’s always nice to get done with spa in the morning so you feel refreshed throughout the day)
  7. Take them for an adventure (could be a sport too) that they like.
  8. Take them on a shopping spree.
  9. Take note of what they’ve been wanting to buy for some time and fulfill their wish by getting them that.
  10. Plan an awesome party. You can have a chocolate party, dance party, FIFA party, makeup party, dress up party, movie party, trek party (which would include a trek and a little birthday party up the hills), superhero party…be creative..think what your birthday person would like the most.
  11. Plan a roadtrip. Celebrate the birthday after reaching one of the destinations.
  12. Gather friends and family for an old school type of surprise where you all gather up, turn off the lights and then scream “Surprise” once they enter the house.
  13. If you are big on spending time with each other then plan a day together and do things that make you both happy.
  14. If you can sing and play any kind of instrument, then make good use of it (add a few dance moves to brighten up their day).
  15. Take them to a concert, play, movie, match…whatever the preference.
  16. Plan a fun sleepover with friends.
  17. Find out where Karaoke takes place in your city. That is always fun and could follow a great dinner somewhere.
  18. Get some friends and play some fun board games if you are not much into celebration.
  19. Or go all out and throw them a big birthday bash. Well, why not!
  20. Bring back the postal joy by posting them a card. Nothing beats that even today.
  21. Do something unexpected and be the reason behind that huge smile on their face.

I have kept this post simple and tried to list down things that are pretty doable… if you have any fun ideas, feel free to share them in the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you.

In my family August, September, October, November and December are total birthday months. Lots of birthdays..so naturally there is a different way of wishing each one.

Happy Wednesday people! Weekend starts in UAE tomorrow. Enjoy and relax!
Laughter is truly the best thing in life.

MUCH LOVE!

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Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are magical. They are perfect to add and create a little magic of your own. Gone are the days when decorative lights were used only for birthday parties and weddings. There are so many different kinds of lights available in the market that its unreal and all the more beautiful at the same time. Dim lights are just the thing for me. I’m obsessed with lamps and basically warm light (I hate white light). Warm lights were a huge part of my Dad’s home so that is kinda embedded into my memory and soul. Warmth of any kind is beautiful isn’t it?!

Moving on let’s talk about ways to use fairy lights to add a little magic to any space. I for one use fairy lights in different parts of my house. I have them in the kitchen, in my daughter’s room and out on the balcony as well.

The one’s on the balcony are star shaped solar lights which I either leave on the artificial grass (can’t grow grass on the balcony now can I, so obviously that was the best alternative as I really wanted a nice green spot in the house) or I hang them on the plants which gives a nice effect as well.

Dressing Table

 

If you have colored decorative lights that you probably got for a birthday and now have them stashed somewhere in the store room or some box. Take them out and put them up on your dressing table. I put them up on my daughter’s dressing table and they add just the right touch to the room.

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If you have plain fairy lights they can work really well too.

String Light Jars

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Put strings lights in a jar and create gorgeous little lamps that can be placed anywhere at all.

Black or white board

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Put the lights around frames or chalk boards. I have a  chalk board in my kitchen which helps me stay organized. I list down whatever chores I have to get done or whatever I need to remind myself of, its super helpful. The back side is white which can be used with a board marker of course but I love the chalk board more.

Drapes

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If you have drapes in your room, you could add lights and make them look even lovelier. Trust me they will look really dreamy and magical.

Light Wall

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Create a little wall out of lights outdoors. It would be perfect for garden parties, Bbq parties or even just to add some glamour to dull outdoor areas. Balconies also look stunning with these lights.

Bed Frames

Wrap them around your bed frame for that gorgeous dreamy effect or hang them over the bed frame.

Display pictures

Put these lights on a focal wall in your house where you would want to display your memorable photographs. The wire of the fairy lights make the perfect way to display your favorite photos. Get a little creative, there is always more than one way of displaying photos, the lights would just add a bit of magical touch to your memories.

 

I have my mind set on using a little more of these on the balcony outside my room. So all you lovely people out there, do let me know what you think of these ideas and also leave your own so that together we can create a little more magic.

Enjoy your Sunday!

LOVE,

Sonya

|Faces| Huda Kattan

Like most successful people, Huda Kattan started small.  While holding down a job in finance that she hated, she launched a beauty blog in 2010, soon after which she quit her finance job. Kattan then started her Instagram account in 2012, followed by a beauty business selling false eyelashes in 2013.

Luck seemed to be on her side and in her case small got huge very quickly. The Dubai-based Kattan is now unchallenged in the makeup world. She has a breathtaking 20.7 million Instagram followers and has smartly leveraged that social media following to grow her business. She now offers liquid lipsticks, lip strobes, highlighter palette and eye shadows in addition to her lashes, which are available through her online shop and Sephora, which has 11.9 million followers on Instagram.

Kattan was born to Iraqi parents. She attended college in Michigan where she studied finance, a career she quickly gave up to become a makeup artist. Kattan met her husband at college and they moved to Dubai in 2008, where she now happily resides with him and their daughter.

When asked about the way beauty is perceived in Dubai she said  “Beauty in Dubai is on another level. I grew up in Tennessee. I loved to wear full glam. I used to want to wear flash lashes every single day. I remember wearing them once and someone was like, “Are you wearing false lashes?” I felt embarrassed. In the U.S., it’s perceived as though you’re trying too hard.

In Dubai, people respect you if you wear lashes to the grocery store. I’ve been at the gym at 5 in the morning and seen full glam, which, I think working out with your full makeup is just crazy. But it’s more over the top here. Middle Eastern women have very strong features, and makeup tends to accentuate those features really well without looking like too much.”

She says “I took beauty so seriously before, and I do still, but not in a way where I can’t have fun with it. I’m passionate to learn more, passionate to know how we can change people’s lives by giving them one tip. But when it comes to the look, it should be fun. You should just be like, “Yeah, I’m a cake face — so what?”

It is said that she makes an astonishing AED 66,000 with each instagram post.  Huda Kattan has changed a lot over the years and that simply proves that you CAN be the best version of yourself. She never feels shy to talk about her surgeries, fillers etc. unlike other public figures.  She is extremely humble, down to earth and truly inspirational. She is on the Internet’s most fascinating people’s list

Enjoy the slideshow!

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Weekend Chit Chat

Hey everyone! Hope Ramadan is going well for you all. I have not really been MIA just crazy busy with my little ones and home. Gosh we don’t realize how much of an effort goes into our days and nights. It’s only when you get time to be by yourself and really breath, is when you get to ponder over the fact that it’s a lot of work. So all the people out there, men or women, who take out so much of their time to be with their families and do anything and everything to make them happy, Hats off to US! 🙂 I do however try to stay active on Instagram so that I stay connected with you all. For those of you who are not on my Instagram can follow me, my ID is  sonyalee1. Let’s connect! 🙂

For those of you who don’t know yet, the official page for Wings & Strokes is www.facebook.com/wingsandstrokes. You can find Wings and Strokes on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube.

Moving on let’s talk about the weekend. Ramadan has us all busy here, but I do have to point out that it relieves us of the daily task of preparing lunch for the family. I still have to prepare something for the kids of course.

This weekend has been extremely lazy, I fell very sick and that drained me of the much needed energy. Still managed to take the kids out for a bit, they deserve a break as much as we adults do. Found some really neat things for the house (i’m obsessed with my home and home decor) you can easily call me The Desperate Housewife, most of my friends call me that. Watched a great movie with my kiddies, it’s not something new but definitely worth it. It’s called Game Plan. It’s super cute and my older one loved it. The Rock really does justice to his character and I adorrrrrrred him in this one. Parenting is indeed the most beautiful thing on earth. I feel fortunate to have been blessed with wonderful children who make my world beautiful and my life worth living. I hope and pray that I can help them become worthy people as they grow up.

Also I wanted to tell you that I am starting a new section in the blog talking about everything related to ‘Home‘. Really excited about that. I spend most of my time at home with my children. I have been working from home as well. As this is the place where I spend most of my time, I find myself doing something or the other throughout the day. This is something I’m very passionate about so expect a lot of home related posts. (Like seriously)

Big question for you all. I know most of you open W&S on your phones but I wonder if you have had the chance to open it on your desktops or laptops? Do try it once, and let me know what you think of the layout of the blog. I think you might just like it more, I prefer to open it on laptop (self obsession, yesss).  So the weekend ends here in UAE tomorrow and begins in most parts of the world. What are your plans? I plan to lose weight lol but then again that’s what I plan everyday 😉

Some of my friends want me to put my name on the posts which I never do as I didn’t really want this to be about me but I feel that it’s good to connect, it’s “time” to connect! I have been blogging for two years now, Wings & Strokes is two years old, I have neatly kept my name out of it for this long and spoken about people and things that inspire me. Even though I don’t post regularly these days but I promise to fix that so we get to know each other more. Thank you for visiting, reading and staying for a bit. Means the world to me!

Enjoy the weekend!

Love,

Sonya

|Faces| Zaha Hadid

Google seems to be celebrating Zaha Hadid today, now for those of you who don’t know who this legend is. She was one of the finest Iraqi/British architects that the world has seen. How do I know? Because I’m obsessed with architecture. She has received a number of prestigious awards for her dazzling work. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She was also the first woman to win the Royal Gold Medal in Architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects. And she won the Stirling Award, the UK’s most prestigious architectural prize.

 

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Queen Elizabeth II made her a Dame in 2012 in honour of her commitment and services to the profession (wow). Hadid never had a family of her own, choosing not to marry or have any children.

I’m going to share a few of her marvellous creations with you. There is nothing more fascinating than stunning, mindblowing architecture and this woman certainly has blown my mind. As a child, I really wanted to study architecture but life had other plans for me (also I wasn’t so good with numbers).

So ladies and gentlemen feast your eyes upon the stunning architectural work of none other than Zaha Hadid

Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan

The Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan was completed in 2013

The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum, London

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum

 

Port House, Antwerp, Belgium

Port House

Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza

Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza (2008)

International Cultural Centre, China

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Bee’ah Headquarters, Sharjah UAE (unfinished)

Bee’ah headquarters

Opus Tower, Dubai

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ME Hotel, Dubai

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Sleuk Rith Institute, Cambodia

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Grand Theatre, Morocco

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Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Abu Dhabi (2010)

Riverside Museum, Glasgow

Riverside Museum, Glasgow (2011)

New Beijing Airport Terminal (unfinished)

New Beijing airport terminal at Daxing Airport

Al Wakrah Stadium, Qatar (proposed to host 2022 FIFA World Cup)

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City of Dreams , Macau, China

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She died unexpectedly of a heart attack last year leaving many unfinished projects to her name.

International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It was originally called International working women’s day. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. Once again it’s that time of the year when we celebrate women around the world. Once again we will pick a few celebrities and famous people, talk about their big achievements and what not. Agreed! Of course they have worked very hard to get where they are today but I want to take this day and talk about women around the world who are neither celebrities nor celebrated. Let’s talk about women who are ordinary yet so extraordinary that it’s rather difficult to put them into words for words shall not do justice to their essence and substance. Women who are part of our lives yet remain invisible, their struggles and achievements remain concealed from the world, and all they have is a smile on their face. Their souls are tattered yet they stand tall with composure and strength.

Let’s talk about women who give us birth and spend each second of their lives ensuring that we get the best of what life has to offer. Women who live for us, who die thinking of us. Let’s talk about women who leave the comfort and safety of their parents home to enter a world unknown, a world where she entrusts herself to another man and agrees to devote the rest of her life to building a home with him. A life which requires her to change everything about her to become part of someone else’s world. A life which requires a lifetime of sacrifices, heartbreak, joy, laughter, struggles, rejection, acceptance, good times, bad times…and everything that comes with it. Let’s talk about how they choose to live despite having their hearts broken over and over again. Let’s talk about women who stand up for what’s right!
Let’s talk about small yet important things that women manage on an everyday basis that you may not pay too much attention to until you try calming 2 crying toddlers, making dinner and explaining the particulars of a newly-acquired client to your boss over the phone at the same time. This may sound ridiculously hard to pull off, but this is something thousands of women pull off every day, something that should be deeply appreciated and something that nobody should take for granted.Let’s talk about single moms who smoothly play the role of both parents making their children their top priority and work towards giving them extraordinary lives. Let’s talk about women who suffer at the hands of this vicious society and their unnerving rules. Let’s talk about daughters who stand by us, try really hard to achieve small goals to make us proud. Daughters who would do anything to see us smile. Let’s talk about women who remain gentle and kind no matter what life puts them through.

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Who are women when they are not dressed in their corporate best? Mother, sisters, wives, daughters, girlfriends and fiancées…what would we ever do without them? Nobody can honestly say we don’t owe an enormous amount to the women in our lives, from the mothers who made us chicken soup when we were sick as children, to the sisters who helped us decide what to wear on our first date, to the wives who somehow manage to juggle both a career and a family, never missing a beat. Women’s Day is all about celebrating these incredible people and showing them how much we love, respect and value them.

It’s time you tell the women in your lives how amazing they are and what they mean to you. No matter how strong they seem, they are fragile from within. Love them. Cherish them. Stand by them! Be the reason they smile! Treat them right!

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Also I would like to take this day and talk about men who lift their women higher because they value them, they treat them right and love seeing them happy. Who were raised right by strong women and stand for what’s right. Who don’t feel insecure because of their achievements.  Men who are the reason behind a woman’s genuine smile! Hats off to you men be it fathers, husbands, sons, brothers or friends.
Happy Women’s Day everyone!

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|Faces| “James Morrison”

James Morrison, the incredibly brilliant, gifted guy from Warwickshire England, born on August 13, 1984, has a voice that is almost impossible to get out of mind once you have listened to his extraordinary music.


He rose to fame and success with his single “You give me something” in 2007, leaving the world in awe of his voice, great videos and charming looks. The song is featured on his debut album, “Undiscovered”, which was released on 31 July 2006. The song has been nominated for a BRIT award in the category Best British Single Shortlist in 2007. Not to mention he looks like Chris Martin’s long lost brother, the resemblance is uncanny, especially when his hair is shorter.

In the world of today, when most music videos are based on nudity, his music videos are refreshingly simple yet classy. Singers like him are a reminder that there is still great music out there. He attributes his distinctive voice to a severe bout of whooping cough that nearly killed him when he was a baby. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that his music is irresistibly addictive. He has four marvellous albums to his name to date

  • Undiscovered (2006)
  • Songs for you, Truths for me (2008)
  • The Awakening (2011)
  • Higher than here (2015)

I absolutely love his music, a few being absolute favorites

His official website is http://www.jamesmorrisonmusic.com/
The website is stunning, suits his personality perfectly! Do check it out!

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A few years ago when he was at the peak of his career, when he was the toast of the music industry, a string of sold-out arena shows under his belt and his third platinum-selling album topping the charts. James Morrison disappeared. His soulful voice fell silent, the appearances dried up and baffled fans were kept waiting and waiting for his next release.Morrison had become a virtual recluse from the music scene, holed up in the mansion that his six million album sales had bought him. He suffered three tragedies in three years losing his father, brother and nephew. Grief sometimes hits us in ways that we can’t explain, but once we emerge from the darkness, we come out much stronger, more able and mostly a better version of ourselves. He used to be a trained carpet fitter before he came out with his music and won hearts of million around the world.

Dating one woman for more than 10 years makes me think highly of this man indeed. Gill Catchpole and James Morrison had a beautiful daughter named Elsie.



Signing Off
W&S

 

Daddy-Daughter Duo… Dave Crosby & Claire Ryann

I’m sure by now you have probably seen the disney-inspired daddy-daughter duo videos going viral on Facebook and Youtube. This duo is not very easy to forget, they will stay on your mind long after you’ve seen and heard them. The videos have such a tender simplicity, the ability for the Dad to create a moment with his daughter and to share it with the world is nothing short of beautiful.The way he only has eyes for his princess, the way he softens his voice to allow her to dominate in all its sweetness…It’s magical!

The little angel has such an incredible control over her voice that it gave us chills.It gave us goosebumps and got us really teary eyed. Hats off to the handsome Dad who saw her potential and shared it with the world by giving it just the right lift that she needed at such a tender age. Her innocence has been preserved in all her videos..we don’t see her trying to be a glamazon like many other videos we have come across. Well done parents of Claire Ryann!

Dave Crosby is an incredible singer, he has his own Youtube channel : Crosby 
You have to listen to his songs, he is an amazing singer.Music isn’t his full-time job but he has done a few big corporate music projects and he is coming up with some great songs this March. He has also done some applaud able covers. Subscribe to his channel for more.

Here is one his masterpieces

Coming to Claire Ryann. This little girl with such a strikingly beautiful and innocent face that is unforgettable, and a talent like that just adds a cherry on top.


Claire and Dad have done some amazing videos together.
Dave says “Claire learned to talk at a super young age and we noticed really early on that she could carry a pitch. I remember some time after her first birthday, she was slamming her hands on our little keyboard in the living room. She started hitting the same note over and over, and then she began to sing the exact same note. I was sure at that moment that she was going to be able to sing.

This led to an obsession with Disney songs. It started with Frozen, but we also introduced her to some of the classics: she absolutely fell in love with The Little Mermaid when we showed it to her. We bought “Part of Your World”  for her and she would request it whenever we drove around in the car. Pretty soon, she was singing the entire song word for word everywhere.

One day, I was getting an oil change and while I was paying, [Claire] suddenly burst out into the Little Mermaid song, walking around the waiting area and being so dramatic. It made everyone in the waiting room laugh and people were pulling out their cell phones and recording it. That gave me the idea to put a video on YouTube. A few months later, during Christmas break, we finally made our first video to the song from Little Mermaid.”
(courtesy:www.parents.com)

You can find all their videos on their Youtube channel called Claire and the Crosbys.
We put together some of our favorites for you. Here you go:


Signing off
W&S