Beauty, Giveaways, Holidays

Celebrating Mothers Day // Gift Ideas & Giveaway

April 22, 2017

To me, Mother’s day is all about spring, life, love, and expression of gratitude. We often take moms’ love, life, and energy for granted, so Mother’s Day is a great day to shower her with kisses and hugs and endless love!

I love giving a pampering experience to my mom, sister, and my girlfriends on Mother’s Day, and this gift guide includes all my absolutely favorite beauty products that add a little bit of luxury to my favorite mamas’ lives. I paired them by categories, and you can put together these goodies in one beautiful basket or you can give them individually, depending on your budget and her interests. But either way, I absolutely LOVE all of them.

AND, this year I also wanted to thank you, my readers, for following and supporting me, and for being such great friends to me. So I am doing a GIVEAWAY of three of my favorite Dr. Jart face masks! Scroll down for the pics and details!!

10 Beauty Gift Ideas

Drunk Elephant Oil and B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel ~ Drunk Elephant is a new brand to me. Perhaps because of its simple and refreshing packaging, I thought that Drunk Elephant was more for a younger skin. But after I tried their oil and this intensive hydration gel, I was hooked. Love the quality and how they feel on my skin. Soft and lightweight, and scentless.

Slip Silk Pillowcase  ~ For a stomach sleeper like me, this pillowcase is a savior! Every morning, with no exception, I would wake up with creases on my cheeks, so discovering this Silk Pillowcase was so exciting. I don’t wake up with creases on my cheeks and my face skin feels soft and luxurious…

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47  and St. Topez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse ~ Summer is approaching fast mamas, and SPF mixed into your moisturizer or foundation is not enough. This sunscreen is 47SPF, made of natural ingredients, and smells and feels amazing. As to St.Topaz self tanning mousse, tanning my white legs and arms is a great way to get a toned and pampered look. I love how it gives me instant results!!

Beach Perfume ~ Scents are very personal and wear on people differently, but if you love beach cities where the fresh air is mixed with the scent of salty ocean and sunscreen lotions, then you should give it a try. It is my go to fragrance during summers, especially on weekdays, when I sit in the office and secretly smell my wrist and dream of beaches.

Becca Backlight Filter Face Primer ~ Nothing says happy and healthy mama more than a smile and glowing skin. And there is certainly no shortage of illuminators in stores now. This Hourglass illuminator can be worn under and on top of make up, or both for an extra glow! It is not shimmery or too shiny, it is just right for healthy glowing looking skin. GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment ~ is also quite fun. It changes color from white to chrome as you apply it to your face and it peels off leaving your skin tighten and illuminated, just enough to shine through foundation. Love this mask.

Elephant Body Whip Cream  ~ Moisturizing my body always gets neglected. I mean, I brush my teeth, I shower, I put face cream on, and then I am suddenly out of time. I try to make moisturizing my body a part of my beauty routine. I mean, it’s just another minute! But I usually end up skipping it. This moisturizer is one I can get rebind and apply without forgetting. And body whip creams always feel luxurious too.

Sheet Face Masks ~ Last but certainly not least. You know how much i LOVE sheet face masks! I love Sephora, Dr. Jart, and Boscha sheet face masks, and usually go for hydrating, contouring, and brightening. Also, recently I found these new Dr. Jart deeply hydrating sheet masks that you keep on for 30 minutes. Exciting!! After the dry winter months my skin is thirsty and needs deep hydration more than ever!

And Here Are The GIVAWAY DETAILS! 

Enter to win these Three Dr. Jart Masks ~ Hydration Lover, All That Contours, and, my favorite, Brighening Infusion!

For the U.S. only. Sorry my international babes!!

To enter, leave a comment bellow, sharing one of the ways your mom has been a hero.

For two additional entries, follow Splash of Teal on Facebook and Instagram!

The winner will be contacted and also announced on our May 7th newsletter.

GOOD LUCK!

And here’s why I think my mom is a hero. She dedicated her life to the prosperity of her family and gave the gift of freedom and opportunities to my sister and I and our families by leaving behind everything she ever knew and immigrating across the ocean to the United States. And for that I am grateful forever.

With love always,

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook all the live action and Instagram for more Mother’s Day gift ideas and daily fashion! xx

Autism Mom, Life

Practicing Self Care // Challenges of Making Life Beautiful

April 19, 2017

Practicing self care may mean doing different thing for different women. To me, the words ‘self care’ used to mean a spa, or lighting up a candle and putting on a calming face mask for ten minutes before bed, or drinking a Pomegranate Martini on a date night with V. During my early thirties, life became busy, stressful and demanding, so I started looking into the concept of work life balance. I PROMISED MYSELF to squeeze one or two of the things I listed into my schedule, but finding time was difficult and the idea died down.

When I got married and had kids, I started living my life the way my mother did ~ no one in the world watches you like your kids watch you. My mother’s life was my example. I watched her and followed her example ~ how she worked, how she lived. Along the way, I abandoned self-care; it just was NEVER CONSIDERED A PRIORITY, so it was the first to go when things got hectic.

Now, I think to myself, though, AM I SETTING THE RIGHT EXAMPLE FOR MY KIDS? Do I want my children NOT to practice self-care when they grow up? And to be honest, would the lives of my children be any worse if I practiced self care?

But I didn’t understand this back then. As years passed, stress and exhaustion only kept growing, and I started having backaches that would tie me to bed for days at a time. Then I said to myself: if I don’t take time to myself, then my body will force me to! So I revisited the issue of self care and work life balance, and started scheduling spa times, girlfriend times, and alone me times. And these self-care moments felt good, but they weren’t very effective. I would go to a spa, come back home feeling relaxed, but within less than an hour, my stress level would be right back where it was before I left the house. As if an hour in the spa has never happened. 

It took me a few more years to realize that practicing self care is a lifestyle I have at all times, and not isolated life incidents. I mean, eating a light salad occasionally won’t make me a healthy eater if I eat junk food most of the time! So here’s my point:

Self-care is a state of mind. It is how you see your life at all times. You are the boss of your life, so be a good one.

To me, readjusting my life philosophy and rearranging my priorities were groundbreaking for living a quality and enjoyable life.

5 Key Components of Self-Care

1. Get rid of guilt, and be confident about prioritizing self-care. Breathing exercises and meditation are great tools for this. Two years of therapy gave me the great jump start.

2. Create partnerships. Feeling confident about delegating and sharing responsibility with my husband and my kids.

3. Cut down your to-do list. Sometimes I take on things that no one else agrees to do. And to be honest, sometimes I take on things just because I can! But going back to my first point, I can do a lot of things and so can others, and learning to resect my time an energy is important to my sanity.

4. Shedding doubts and negativity. Doubt and negativity are absolutely draining, and noticing when they enter your thoughts is the first step to gaining power over them. The life of a parent, especially if your child or children are on the spectrum, is an emotional rollercoaster. Some days they progress and some days it’s like they are going backward, and I’ve found giving powers to doubts and negativity is destructive.

5. Incorporating things you enjoy into your lifestyle. Make them habits. On Friday nights I spend time with my girlfriend(s). Saturdays I usually spend doing something creative, whether it is taking and editing photos or baking or taking a walk by the beach… On Sunday mornings I do a face-mask and unwind. Throughout a week I enjoy tasty dinners (we started ordering Blue Apron, and enjoy their dinners very much!), and I love my daily chats with kids about life and stuff.

All these components may seem reasonable and obvious but not easy to implement. They involve not only working on and changing firmly instilled habits, but also changing others’ firmly instilled habits. But living beautifully is your right, and if it takes years and hard work to implement, it is worth it. 

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for all the live action and Instagram for daily fashion! xx

Small Investments to Achieve Your Best Work-Life Balance

Spending a Day in a Farm Doing Nothing

Proactive Ways to Clock in 10000 Steps Daily 

Reminding Myself to Stay Present

Sheet Masks: Glowing Skin at Every Age

Autism Mom, Life

Autism Diagnosis // Getting Over the Stigma

April 12, 2017

The emotional journey of accepting that your child has autism is confusing and overwhelming.  Autism spectrum is something that we can’t see and is hard to understand. One minute my baby boy has a tantrum over the color of a lollipop, and another minute he is playing just like any other kid!  And then there is stigma!

Many communities and cultures, including my own, look at families with children with disabilities as defective or at very least, weak for not being able to ‘control their kid’. Even now that Alex is twelve, people who know me and my struggles well, tell me sometimes ‘look at him now, I told you he’s fine!’ or that such and such people ‘raised their autistic kid all by themselves, without diagnosing and he looks perfectly fine now’. These kind of statements used to make my blood boil, but not anymore. They come from ignorance, and no longer caring what others think actually feels freeing! I know that if I left autism untreated to avoid judgement of others and for the sake of ‘normalcy’, not only I would lose, but my child would lose! So here are my ten cents on doubts and worries about stigma:

1. Ignoring the diagnosis will never bring ‘NORMALCY’. 

Pretending that things are okay, does not make them okay. It may be quite easy to hide children at home when they are little. But children grow and have to go to school and hiding them at that point is impossible. Meanwhile, the best years for the intervention are the early years!

2. Missing out on the early intervention may slow down or stop your child from reaching his or her potential. 

There is truly NO DOWNSIDE and only an UPSIDE to the early intervention. Once, when Alex was almost three and I was battling the acceptance of Alex’s diagnosis, I had to fly to Tucson for work. I was running late, the flight was about to depart, and I was the last one to get on the plane and throw myself in the seat as the flight attendants were closing the door behind me. An older man was sitting next to me smiled. We were sitting in a first row and he looked like he had been sitting in the plane for a while, watching people getting in. He seemed so calm, which was so disharmonious from how I felt ~ stressed, confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, depressed. He stated the conversation with something like ‘tough day?’, and before I knew it, I was telling him about all my troubles and concerns. And he told me something that turned around everything for me, he said, ‘so what are you afraid of? You know, if you don’t get on the autism train now, you may never know what he is truly capable of.’ That was a turning point for me.

THE IDEA OF NOT GIVING MY CHILD THE OPPORTUNITY OF REACHING HIS POTENTIAL SUDDENLY FELT SO DESTRUCTIVE TO ME.

3. Knowledge is power. Listen, talk, read.

One of the biggest reasons I feared autism is because I wasn’t understanding it from the medical standpoint. I think that being able to physically point to the reasons that cause particular behavior and disability helped me to RESPECT my child’s feelings and behavior. And the respect caused me to learn to SPEAK AUTISM so I could communicate with him and teach him everything I know. Think about it, if your child is deaf, would you not learn sign language?

Having said all that, raising a child on the autism spectrum is hard, and it is an ever evolving world of education. Be prepared to fight, and learn to take ownership of your child’s disability. Autism is now part of your life, but it won’t control your life if you don’t let it. Sure, I sometimes wish autism awareness would come with a baby manual for some heads up. But then, I probably would not open it until the reality hit. I never ever thought it would happen to my kid… not really sure why I thought that. 

SPREAD AWARENESS!

With love,

Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for all the live action and Instagram for daily fashion! xx

Autism Mom

Autism Awareness Month ♡ Calendar of Events

April 5, 2017

4/9  Stella&Dot Jewelry Giveaway 

We’re partnering with Jamie from Stella & Dot to do a fun giveaway! Make sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for details! Also, April 1-30, Stella & Dot will donate all net proceeds of the beautiful Harmony and Melody bracelets to the HollyRod Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing compassionate care to those living with autism. Even more importantly ~ 1/2 the proceeds of anything purchased on this Stella & Dot site throughout the month of April will be donated to Autism Science Foundation, so please consider buying a beautiful jewelry for an amazing cause.

4/12 – Autism Diagnosis // Getting Your Family On Your Team

It takes a village to raise a child with autism, and after the diagnosis, creating a good network to help you is very important. Often, though, the immediate family resist the diagnosis! Stay tuned for my blog of the 12th, where I’ll share tips on how to get your family on board with you and become your effective support.

4/19 Autism Mom State of Mind // Practicing Self Care

Being an “Autism Mom” as I call it, it’s crucial for me to take care of myself so I can take care of my son and the rest of my family as well. Stay tuned for my blog of the 19th, where I’ll be talking about details on how to practice self care. Whether you’re stressed with work, family life, relationships, or fill in the blank _____, I’m offering some practical tips on how to preserve a peace of mind, so you can avoid ever entering a state of chaos. 

4/22 10AM – Facebook Live With ‘A Mom’s Happy Hour Podcast

So excited to join a group of absolutely fabulous moms at A Mom’s Happy Hour podcast. We will be having some real, honest chat about having an ‘Autism Mom’ state of mind and practicing self-care. We will broadcast on Facebook Live! So make sure to  follow me on Facebook for details. Can’t wait!!

Entire Month of April – #CabernetCan Campaign with OneHope

Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I’ll be partnering with an amazing organization, ONEHOPE, to spread Autism Awareness. I promise you won’t want to miss out on what we’re sharing!

One Hope Wine

Fashion, What I Wore

3 Favorite Outfits This Spring ♡ Instagram Weekend Edition

March 29, 2017

Style Spotlight ~ 3 Spring Looks

I love clothes. To me, my outfit is an extension of me. The way I dress, sets up my mood, makes me feel good and dynamic, and conveys this message to others. So when I shop, I always think how each garment makes me feel and what vibe I’m giving off when I’m wearing it. I love how my style has changed depending on what I want to say to the world at any given phase of my life. I went from a rebellious teen, to a student in overalls, to a young professional in preppy suits, and today I try to convey comfort, confidence, and excitement for each day.

When it comes to style, I now find myself attracted to simplicity and ease and the beauty of unexpected details. While my work wardrobe mainly consists of somewhat embellished basics, on weekends, I mix these basics with more colorful accent pieces to add an element of playfulness and fun. And this spring, the fabric textures, floral embroidery, ruffles, and colors are absolutely beautiful. Bellow are three of my favorite weekend looks this month.

Look #1 

zara tops

This outfit is a bit artistic, perfect to go to a flee market or antique shopping on a warm spring day. I’ve never been a big fan of antique shops or flea markets, but recently I started watching HGTV’s Flea Market Flip and totally got hooked!  Now, this Zara top is very interesting. It is sheer and covered with white flowers, but it feels more edgy than feminine. I tried wearing it with different color tanks, but found that white works the best. And as to jeans, after wearing this high-rise ‘mom fit’ style jeans, I don’t know if I could ever go back to skinnies. They are so comfortable and, luckily, are flattering! With or without a belt, the jeans emphasize the waist and make legs appear longer.

zara top

Look #2

favorite outfits

This look is very versatile. I can wear it any day of the week. If I substitute this utility jacket with a blue blazer, I can easily wear it to the office. If you follow me on Instagram, (if not, follow here!) you may have seen this office outfit wearing this same Anthropologie top, black culottes, and pumps. The look is very classic and modern at the same time. These photos here, though, we took over the weekend at the Tanaka Farms in OC, my favorite place for their pumpkin patch, pick your strawberries tour, and pick your own watermelons tour.

Look #3

This look is all about the color. Green is one of the it colors this spring, and it is so fun and refreshing! This sweater is very versatile and can be dressed up and down easily. I wore it to Lenley’s  birthday brunch, to a lunch date, and to the beach. 

Finally, a few words about these Kate Spade wedge sandals. I have owned them forever. Classic T-strap style, neutral badge color with some splash of gold, and tall wedge heel that is easy on my feet, is a winning combo. 


So here are my three favorite looks this month! Spring fashion is so fun and vibrant and makes me feel just so much better. Which of these looks you like the most and why?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments bellow. And make sure to subscribe to the Splash of Teal monthly newsletter for many more hacks and tips on how to surround your daily live with travel, beauty, and style to live your best life.

Lots of love,

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for all the live action and Instagram for daily fashion! xx

home, Life

Mirror Decor: How to Create a Bright, Zen Space

March 22, 2017

I always want to build a bright, tranquil, and healthy home for my family, so to add as much sunshine as possible, which can be a foundation for happy living, I started looking into decorating with mirrors. I love mirrors for their functionality and their ability to enhance the light and size of any room. Last summer I finally went for this oversized mirror, 6.5 feet! Originally I thought to place it in the bedroom, but the space was limited and we decided to place it in the living room by the entry way. I liked the functionality of the mirror, it was in a perfect place to make a final quick check of my look before leaving the house. But I feel that mirrors should create a magical extension of the space, and as much as I wanted to love the mirror, I did not love how it reflected a narrow wall and an armchair which looked disproportionally small in the illusion of big space.

A few months later, I saw this mirror in a magazine spread. It was leaning on the wall by the dining table, reflecting the light from the window and enhancing the room beautifully! This made me realize that when I brought the mirror home, I concentrated on finding a big enough empty space for it. I did not pay attention to what it would reflect and what it should reflect.

My point is, that mirrors are one of the most powerful and magical decorating tools, no matter if it’s place in a big or small space. If placed strategically, a mirror’s powers extend beyond their functionality. They add light, extend space, enhance decor, and create any ambience you want! Learning more about where to place mirrors was a useful tool in helping me decorate my home. Since then I added a few more (smaller) mirrors in the house and love them. And here I have highlighted a few of my favorite mirror decor ideas that worked well for me, especially since my home is very not big.

Mirror Decorating Ideas:

Add a Window.

The hallway is a bit isolated and darker than the rest of the house. A mirror in the entry hall is a beautiful accent that makes a space look larger and brighter. So hanging this mirror from T.J. Max Home on the hallway wall opposite the backyard door, helped multiply the light and add the depth and energy to the room instantly. Also, this mirror is narrow and long, and so it makes the room appear taller. If you are looking for a way to elongate your room, look for a vertical rectangle mirror. Now this mirror has become my go to  for a final check of my look before I head out of the house.

Reflect Plants and Colors.

While placing mirrors opposite a window is one of the oldest and classic decorating tricks, not all spaces have that opportunity. And if you want to place a mirror on a wall that does not face a window, placing plant or a flower bouquet adds a feel of the outdoors. Green leaves and stems, especially, bring a doze of freshness into the room. Doubling the succulents in front of a mirror creates a similar effect. Also, placing colorful flowers and books in front of a mirror adds more color to the room. I often coordinate color of flowers with color of candles, sofa pillows,  throws and curtains, depending on the season.

Oversize the Impact

I absolutely LOVE my oversized mirror’s new placement in front of the dining table. While the dining room is not much bigger than the table itself, it is surrounded by two full size windows to the backyard. The mirror’s reflection of the yard, creates an impression that the space is open and somewhat outdoors! We usually eat at this table during special gatherings and holidays, so when people come over and the table is decorated, it looks like the number of people and party decor is expanded. And if I want to create an ambience of a romantic evening, this mirror is a perfect tool to double the candles.

Layer Mirrors. 

To float a mirror on top of a mirrored wall takes special preparation, but I also love leaning a smaller mirror on a bigger mirror. Here I can control the angle and what the smaller mirror reflects. In my home I have an old mirrored wall that has paint stains that I couldn’t remove. So I layered another mirror (technically, it is a mirrored tray, but I use it as a mirror) over the stains and placed books and a flower bouquet in front of it and love it. Doubling the number of flowers is always a good thing.

Group a Few Mirrors Together.

These three Pottery Barn round mirrors came as a set and look like three reflections that brighten the area with gold frames. I also think that they would look very lovely if placed horizontally over a couch or a bed. I love these Anthro Mirrors too. They are sold individually, but come in three different shapes and sizes that mix and match. With picture frames and other art, they can create a gallery wall.

Move Mirrors Outdoors.

Just as mirrors create an illusion of bigger space indoors, they do the same for outdoors, whether it is a balcony or a yard. It doubles the green too. During my travel to Portland last fall, we staid in  a charming house owned by an artist and master gardener Em. At first glance, it is a very simple and beautifully decorated country style home with a rustic charm. Some details of the decor were immediately noticeable for their uniqueness, though, especially the placement of mirrors throughout the house and the yard. This trick is very impactful on a small balcony.

So those are my tips on how to strategically place mirrors to decorate your home, inside and outside. Hope you enjoyed this post! Do you like decorating your home with mirrors? Share your tips in the comments bellow. And make sure to subscribe to the Splash of Teal monthly newsletter for many more hacks and tips on how to surround your daily live with travel, beauty, and style to live your best life.

Lots of love,

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for all the live action and Instagram for daily fashion! xx

Food, Life

Food: Philosophy & Rules + My Daily Food Diary

March 15, 2017

In my quest towards healthier and happier living, I thought to start with lifestyle’s absolute basics ~ food.

Food is such a big part of our lives, so making sure I eat nourishing and quality food is very important to feel good and have the energy to live my best life.

I experience lots of highs and lows in my everyday life, but one thing I’ve managed to keep steady is the healthy eating habits my mom instilled from day one. As a parent, I work very hard to instill those same habits in my kids! During my mid 30s, when I struggled with Alex’s food sensitivities, I searched for recipes he could learn to love, and as a result, also learned to appreciate the taste of all kinds of foods and fell absolutely in love with the experience of creative cooking and eating.

So here’s my food-philosophy:

First and foremost, food is a necessity. Food’s main purpose is to nourish my body, so, out of respect for my body I choose to eat nutritious and quality food.

Second, food is fun. I joined the ‘foodie’ movement for Alex’s sake, but quickly realized how delicious, adventurous, and pleasurable the experience of exploring different foods and enjoying the process of eating could be!

There are a few rules I have that ensure I don’t sabotage this food philosophy. Of course, like Alice in Wonderland famously said, “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” I do break my own rules sometimes, of course, but in general they keep me in check.

1. Eat Every Meal, Seriously.

Usually, my eating schedule looks like this: 6AM Breakfast, 10AM Lunch, Noon Snack, 3PM Dinner, 6PM Tea and dessert.

Now, skipping snack or lunch is NEVER a good idea, but because I am always rushing late everywhere, it is my biggest challenge. Last Thursday, I was late to my afternoon case in Adelanto detention which is two hours away from home, so I had to postpone my lunch. But by the time I was done, I was running seriously late to pick Alex up from school. I was stressed, hungry, and irritated to say the least. I could not stop to grab food because that would delay me even more. These are the times I wish I kept snacks in my car!! By the time I got back home with Alex, it was almost dinner time, and I could care less about eating a healthy dinner to nourish my body. All I cared is to have a ‘feel good’ food that would just feel so satisfying… which, as usual, followed by bloating, thirst, and guilt. Not missing that meal earlier in the day, even if it was a something small I’d packed from home, would have made my meal at home later a healthier one.

2.Taste your food & whenever you can, take your time.

If you work or a mom or both, I don’t need to explain this. During quick-bite types of meals, I try to take the time to be mindful about the food I’m eating, even if I’m forced to eat in a time crunch.

3. Don’t keep junk food at home.

I am pretty good at this one. Unless it is a Super Bowl weekend, you will never find sodas, chips, or sugary cereals in my house!! My choice of drink is water, water, and more water.

4. Indulge in junk food once in awhile, but not 3 days in a row.

Back in January I happened to be at the New York’s JFK airport two days in a row. And when there, I always order my fave shroomburger from ShakeShack, with curly fries and milkshake. And yes, two days in a row. I swear, on the third day I was craving a burger and fries again. So no junk food more than, preferably, two days in a row!

5. Keep a food diary on hand ~ it’ll help you stay motivated and focused.

Here’s a peak into yesterday’s food diary. Of course it doesn’t look like this every day, but give and take, it is a pretty accurate menu of my typical day.

6AM Breakfast: half an organic banana, 1/2 tsp almond butter, 1/2 cup greek yogurt,1/2 flux seed, 1/4 cup granola. Coffee with vanilla almond milk.

I never EVER! skip breakfast! It gives me energy for my most productive morning hours. I truly rely on those hours.

11AM Lunch: A slice of multi-grain bread, half an avocado, feta cheese, thyme garnish, splash of lemon. Water with lemon.

Usually by 10AM I am ready for lunch. I was craving this sandwich yesterday. I got introduced to this sandwich at Cafe Arvo in Honolulu recently and I love it. Their presentation also included a pretty edible flower, but I thought that thyme would do this time.

12Noon Snack: Strawberries, a handful of almonds, tea with honey and lemon, and a piece of dark chocolate.

I have never been big on snacks, so I usually grab some roasted almonds and hazelnuts (V is the best at roasting almonds!!). In the winter I go for something more substantial, like toast with jam, but now that fresh berries are back in stores, I go for that. I love berries, so that works well for spring and summer. If I am not home, I try to go for a pressed green juice. I don’t like salads, so it is a good way for me get veggies in.

3:30PM Dinner: Okay, don’t get jealous. For dinner I had Moroccan-spiced lamb and beef with brown rice and pita chips. And a glass of wine.

Recently V and I felt that our dinner ideas were turning out flat, so we decided to try Blue Apron services. They deliver the recipes and ingredients and for the last three weeks we’ve had it, we’ve been loving it! I like that the ingredients are a perfect balance of lean protein, veggies, and whole grains. I will try a few more weeks and then will post a complete review. So far, our dinners are quite different from what we’re used to. (Sorry, I took pics before I cooked the meal, and totally forgot to take pics after and ate it!)

5:30PM Snack: Tea with lemon and two macarons.

This is typically my last meal of the day. I start my day early, and usually I am in bed by 9PM. On the days we go out for late night dinner, I end up eating one more meal. But since it doesn’t happen too often, an extra meal is okay with me hehe. I get these macarons from the frozen desert section at Trader Joe’s. My favorite ones are vanilla, caramel, and pistachio. So good!

So that’s my food philosophy, rules, and daily food diary. I hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful. What is your food philosophy or rules? Share your thoughts and tips! Would so love to hear from you!!

Life, Personal

International Women’s Day: Journey of an Immigrant Feminist

March 8, 2017

On this International Women’s Day, I’ve been thinking a lot about my journey as a woman and feminist, with thoughts and questions about how women are treated and raised in society in my mind…

  • What would women be like if we weren’t shaped and influenced by the society and culture of the place we were raised.
  • What would I be like if I didn’t see my mom cooking and cleaning after a long work day, but rather my mom and dad alternating their cooking and cleaning responsibilities?
  • What would I be like if I would never hear ‘that’s what good girls do‘ and ‘what would people say‘?
  • What would I be like if I wasn’t told that boys can’t cry like girls, and that girls would have to ‘be a man’ if they wanted to be strong?

I was born and raised in Armenia, and when I was born, my family was disappointed that I was a girl.

When I was 7…  I had to help mom in all her house chores. I didn’t think of asking my parents back then whether if I had a brother, would he have to do the same chores? 

When I was 13… I couldn’t dress in pants and edgy shirts, and wore knee length dresses instead.

When I was 17… I could not choose to study International Relations because no one would hire a girl for such a job.

When I was 23… I was married and had a child; and when I was twenty four, a brand new immigrant in the United States, standing at a crossroads, I decided not to study journalism because I thought I could never be louder than men and my questions would never be heard.

Finding True Freedom

Twenty three years past since then and I have come a long way. Natural instincts of the real me helped me find my path towards true freedom. The learning process was not easy, but it was very important for me to live my best life. Education gave me power and the confidence to make and trust my own decisions and earn my living. It also gave me the power to make a leap out of my community and explore the world where no-one knew me, where I would be free to be me, where I would not have to explain myself to anyone except to myself. You know, my mom was always fearful that society would reject me if I didn’t behave. I used to cry from my inability to fight it back then, but in the end, I rejected those notions to build a life for myself the way I liked it.

Having said that, I also want to say that a twenty three year journey towards my freedom was not enough to undo the social stigma instilled in me during my younger years. I still fight a voice in my head that tries to dictate how I ‘should’ do things and tries to stop me from moving forward. I still catch myself apologizing for things that are not my fault or refusing thanks I deserve. Undoing what was instilled in us as children is a tough task, but the awareness and daily practice, makes it better for me every day.

And here’s my final point. As difficult making changes can be, the quality of my life as a human has improved tremendously and not just for me. My husband is my friend and my equal partner, but also, I am his friend and his partner. Together we enjoyed each other’s company and friendship, together we raised and enjoyed our kids, together we bought our first cars and first house, and together we went through great times and tough times. And together we tell our kids to build a life they want and not the one we want for them. They are feminists too.

Today is an International Women’s Day, and I think of every woman who fights for the right to be herself and wish her the power and strength to be what she wants to be.

Have you ever felt restricted by your community rules and traditions? Share your stories, would so love to hear from you!! 

Lots of love, 

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for all the live action and Instagram for daily fashion! xx

Life, Personal

How My Breakdown Turned Into a Breakthrough

March 1, 2017

Do you ever feel like you’ve depleted absolutely all your energy and are just so done with being an adult? This feeling has been brewing in me for weeks, and it finally broke out last Saturday morning. I was hanging out in the kitchen with V (my awesome hubby) drinking coffee, and suddenly, tears started rolling down my cheeks uncontrollably. 

I finally just had it.

Overwhelmed with frustration and exhaustion, in that moment, my life felt like an endless list of:

  • responsibilities
  • deadlines
  • and checking things off

My job is insanely stressful and more demanding than ever these days, and of course, being an autism mom can also be extremely energy-depleting and demanding.  AND THEN, there is the ‘life factor’ which I refuse to give up and try to do as many things as I can possibly fit into my day. 

As a result ~ there I was standing in the kitchen crying to V that I’m overwhelmed, exhausted, dissatisfied. Life is not supposed to feel like this! Where am I rushing to? Why do I intensify things with more unnecessary worries, doubts, guilt, overthinking, you name it?! It is as if I am sabotaging myself…

Am I sabotaging myself?

Because truly, most of the things I do in my life I chose myself, and many of those things I actually like, certainly enough to offset the things I don’t like, and if not for overthinking and over worrying, my life might feel so much better. 

So what now? Crying certainly felt cathartic, but after the tears subsided, some reflection started. I have to learn to do things in moderation, cool down on intensity, concentrate on things that inspire me, and focus on the quality of my experiences rather than quantity. 

With that being said, I want to share something with you. Lately, I’ve been so worried about writing just to write, that I’ve completely forgotten about WHY I started this blog in the first place. I started blogging to capture the beautiful little moments in each day, to express my heart’s desires, to share simple pleasures, to express myself, capture memories, and share happy moments. Not to cross a checklist off my chore list.

Now to the announcement. I’m restructuring my blog writings and musings. I will be posting on the blog every Wednesday moving forward, writing about beautiful things that I fall in love with, lifestyle hacks and tips, and the extraordinary experiences I enjoy. I hope only and always to inspire you to live your better life. PLUS, I will be sending out a completely redesigned, beautiful monthly newsletter to all of my lovely followers with more helpful lifestyle hacks and tips, healthy living tips, and fun and fashion inspirations. 

Make sure you subscribe here.

Now it’s your turn, can you please share with me ~ have you ever felt overwhelmed? Tell me your story for a chance to be featured in an upcoming blogpost. I really want to create an intimate, authentic community where we can all share our struggles, our triumphs, and be real with each other. Please comment below. 

I am so thankful to all of you for taking the time to read my posts and always being there for me. 

Lots of love, 

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action and daily fashion! xx

Autism Mom, Life

Weekend Inspiration: Spend a Day in a Farm Doing Nothing

February 17, 2017

 I admit, that ‘simple living’ state of mind doesn’t come naturally to me, and I need to make a conscious and constant effort to stay grounded and even learn to do nothing sometimes (I used to be good at it when I was a kid!).  Recently, during our weekend trip to Portland, I found that one of the best places and ways to recharge and do nothing is to spend a day in a farm. There is something incredibly therapeutic about spending time in nature, away from the fast-paced city vibes, free from modern electronics. Nature always does an amazing job clearing my mind from unnecessary thoughts and reminding me that life is not really complicated if I don’t complicate it with these thoughts myself. So we spent that day watching pigs, goats, and chickens roam around the farm looking for things to nibble on, tasting tomatoes and collecting raspberries, and laying down on a hammock staring at blue sky, chatting with Alex about stuff. And it felt so good.

When did you last do nothing? Leave your comments bellow, would so love to hear from you!!!

day in a farmday in a farmday in a farmday in a farmdoing nothing doing nothingday in a farm

Fashion

Florals: Incorporating Spring Trends Into Your Wardrobe

February 15, 2017

Here comes the sun! After six weeks of cold and rainy California weather, the sun is finally out! I missed the happy blue sky and am so ready for spring’s arrival. I even started putting some of my winter sweaters away to make room for a few new spring items. And with spring trends always come florals, so beautiful, romantic, and happy! During fall months I bought a bomber jacket and a black top with embroidered bold flowers which I will be enjoying wearing this spring. But I also look for more delicate and feminine garments with floral print, and this Topshop blouse is just that!

Florals, ruffles, plisse, and delicately embellished sleeves, all are this spring’s trends, and this blouse incorporates them so beautifully! While the weather is still cool, I pair this blouse with my flares and a trench coat. The look is modern and yet romantic, and as soon as days get warmer, I am thinking of wearing this top with something light and breezy.

What is your favorite spring trend this year? Leave your comments below, would so love to hear from you!!

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx


spring trendsspring trends spring trends spring trends topshop floral top florals