Embracing My Body: Making High Waisted Pants Work

February 8, 2017

Some say that high waisted pants can elongate the silhouette, narrow the waist, and mask ‘flaws’. Not me. I have always felt that the high-wasted style accentuates my curves, when I feel more comfortable hiding them. I also don’t pay my dues to crunches, so you will barely ever see me wearing a shirt tucked into my pants. But this season, stores are carrying a great selection of high-waisted pants, and they look so fun and stylish, that I wanted to give them a try and make them work.

These Topshop pants are my first high-waisted purchase this season. I loved them for their neutral color and polished details. These pants are perfect for elevating my work look. To get the most slimming effect possible, I wore the pants with my nude leg-elongating pumps (high heels are perfect for this look) and a simple tieneck blouse. The look is very feminine and elegant, and I like it.

Having said that, liking it doesn’t make me feel super comfortable wearing it. I find myself thinking about sucking in my stomach, and that is not the way to live. So for now, to embrace this style, I have to work on embracing my body even, whether or not I work out. Challenge is on!

Do you wear high-waisted pants? How do you style them? Leave your comments below!!

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

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Health, Life

Proactive Ways to Clock In 10000 Steps Daily

February 3, 2017

During my late 30s I discovered and fell in love with Pilates classes and created a well balanced weekly exercise routine that included one weekly class, a 20-minute bike ride, and 10000 steps daily. Then last year, I had the idea to up my exercise routine a bit, and made it my new year’s resolution. And I so wish I didn’t! The moment I thought about it, it became the beginning of a complete abandonment of my fitness regimen. All but one of two pilates classes bundles I bought last February have not been used! And while I managed to keep the same clothing size, I felt a big difference in my energy level and then my mood level (which is the worst!).

So this year I decided not to make anything drastic and to ease myself back into my old exercise routine and slowly build it up. So I started clocking in 10000 steps each day. Having no shortage of step counters, from an apple watch, a fit bit, and 3 good old steppers (remember those?!), my first day was an absolute failure, 250 steps. While I have a somewhat active lifestyle, from downtown court appearances to extensive travels, on the days I stay in my office or work from home, I have to have a proactive approach to clock in the necessary steps. So, besides parking far away or taking stairs, here are three proactive ways to clock in your daily steps, rain or shine:

1. Find a scenic spot near your home or office to make your walk enjoyable, so you can concentrate on breathing fresh air and clearing your mind. 

2. Instead of scheduling a lunch date with a friend, meet her for a walk instead.

3. If short on time, make the outdoors your office. Take a conference call or take time to catch up with mom.

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

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Journaling: Figuring Out The Road Ahead

February 1, 2017

A few days back, as I was organizing a drawer dedicated to greeting cards, calendars, and notepads, I stumbled upon a true treasure, my old journal! I’d forgotten that during my twenties and thirties, I used to keep this journal by my bed and write about some special events, thoughts, feelings, and breakthroughs. Like many, I would start journaling at some point, but never kept it up when things got better. And I wish it wasn’t like that. Reading my own journal 20 some years later felt like reading a novel, except that the main character was me!  On the first pages, there were pieces of my life when I met my baby boy for the first time (he is twenty five now!), my first impressions of immigrating to the U.S., and the struggles of having a career and being an autism mom. This journal was both my therapist and a good friend that helped me figure out my way forward. I am forty seven now, and the process of thinking, feeling, and growing is certainly not over and never will be. So I want to get back to the habit of writing whenever I get a chance. 

Do you keep a journal? Have you ever? Are you planning to pick up journaling again? Leave your comments below, would so love to hear from you!

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

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Cold Weather Report: Wearing a Parka To Work

January 30, 2017

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to take on another week! I’ve been battling a cold for almost two weeks now and spent most of my weekend in bed. Sometimes it feels unfair that we have to miss out on weekend fun just so we can regain strength to go back to work! But it is what it is, and I made the best of it and look forward to getting better. Meanwhile, I have a few trips up north coming up, and I am happy that I got this parka to keep me warm. I bought it back in October for our family’s annual ski trip, which didn’t end up happening.

While wearing parka has never been a very fashion forward stylish garment, the metallic blue fabric coupled with a detachable faux fur around the hood makes it cozy and, at the same time, modern. To create an elegant work-appropriate look, I decided on an all-blue monochromatic look and paired the parka with my Zara faux leather skirt and Topshop turtleneck, no statement accessories.

Do you live in a cold climate? What do you wear to stay warm and stylish?

♡ Zuma A.

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Books, Life

Good Reads Monday: Winter Reading List

January 23, 2017

Happy Monday darlings! I hope you were able to stay warm and dry this weekend! It’s been raining cats and dogs here for several days, making it hard for us to go outside. So what better time to curl up and catch up on some reading! I read to Alex daily, and his book selection is pretty awesome. But I miss having my own time with a book and the exciting anticipation to find out what’s going to happen next. Given that I never have time to do anything without planning in advance, I’ve now put reading on my list! Here are a few books I put on my winter reading list. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any of them or if you have any other recommendations!

♡ Zuma A.

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi ~ A  36-year old neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with terminal cancer confronts his own mortality and attempts to answer difficult questions about mortality. What makes life worth living in the face of death? Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015 while working on this unforgettable and profoundly moving memoir.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris ~ I haven’t read Sedaris’ books yet, but heard from so many about his funny and unique ability to tell his story. His move to Paris inspired this collection of stories, where he writes about his attempts to learn French. I very much look forward to read Me Talk Pretty One Day.  

The Career Code by Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power ~ running a start-up business is not an easy task, and this book promises to be an inspiration, insightful, and pragmatic guide for creating a professional success!

Career, Life

Tips to Succeed When Working From Home

January 20, 2017

Slowing down my law practice and working from home as much as possible was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This brought more balance to my work and family life and ended up being crucial for Alex’s growth and development. Having said that, having a career and being responsible for all the cases I was taking on was very important to me. I knew that working from home would not slow my ambitions down. There are increasingly more women who do that and succeed without sacrificing morning sleep and home made lunch breaks. But while working from home is a different experience from working in the office, it is not necessarily easier. Whether you work from home like me or are a stay at home mom and thinking of starting a business from home, planning plenty of things to do each day is essential. The drawback of working from home is that sometimes I fall into trap of getting little too comfortable. So here are three most important things that help me get back on track and do the millions things I do.

1. Set up an alarm every morning:  

When I have morning court hearings, I get up at 5AM. I take about an hour to get dressed, grab breakfast, walk Lucy, and leave the house so I can be in court by 7:30. Yes, it takes me an hour and a half to get to work!! But when I work from home, I allow myself to sleep in and set up the alarm to 6:30 AM. I feel more positive, much less distracted, and productive! Tons of work gets done before the clock hits noon.

2. Plan plan plan:

I am one of those people who multitasks a lot and often have tons of little things to attend to. If I don’t plan, I will forget half of them and get seriously overwhelmed. A planner helps me pioritize and organize what needs to be done and when. It keeps me on track and I seriously can’t go without it.  

3. Dress for success:

Even if I am home, with a rare exception, I dress up to feel better and boost my productivity. Sometimes it’s jeans, a sweater, and sneakers, and other days it’s trousers with a blouse and flats. I also try to always put on simple makeup, like foundation and blush to brighten up my complexion. This feels just so much better, and if I have to run errands at some point during the day, there is no need to dress up any more hehe.

So here are my three must have habits on the days I work from home. Are you a stay-home mom or do you work from home? What are your must have tips to succeed? Leave your comments bellow, would so love to hear from you!!

♡ Zuma A.

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Shopping with Feelings: Elevating Basic Style

January 18, 2017

To me, the journey of creating the ideal wardrobe can be an emotional experience. Most of my clothes have a feeling or a story attached to it, a lot of times it’s an ‘I got it when…’ sort of thing. That’s why when it’s time to part ways with these pieces, I don’t want to let go! So when shopping, I try to strategize and look for clothes that I can keep as long as I’d like, that will also stay relevant for a while. To make sure I pick the right items for my soon-to-be ideal wardrobe, unless I absolutely fall crazy in love with a garment, I ask myself these these questions before I pull out my credit card:

1. Is it right? Comfortable pieces are important to me, so the right fabric, silhouette, and stitching make all the difference! I never believed in sacrificing comfort for the sake of fashion, or that fashion in some way means discomfort. To me ease and comfort = chic!

2. Can I envision at least three distinct looks with this item? Versatility is very important. If I want a piece, I have to be able to envision it going with the other things in my closet.

3. Do I own a similar item? In this day and age of fast fashion, we sometimes forget about garments tucked away in our drawers or swept to the side in our closets. Having said that, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few LBDs, or white shirts hanging in my closet. They are just all different in style or feel!

4. Is there at least one embellished feature? I am the first person to advocate for classic pieces, but I also like to look for something with a special touch. Oversized details work perfectly! Oversized boho flares, bell sleeves, velvet fabric, unique stitches… I picked this outfit as an example because I have owned every item here forever, and all of the separate items have some unique feature that distinguishes them. And of course, I can look at each item and remember what I wanted to capture and the feeling that came with the purchase. 

What are your tips on building your ideal wardrobe? What type of items do you feel elevates your look? Post your comments below! Would love to hear from you!! 

♡ Zuma A.

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On the Daily Grind: Finding Time to Socialize

January 13, 2017

One of the greatest gifts I we get with age is the array of different people we meet and the life-long friendships we develop during different times in our lives. Childhood, schools, jobs, hobbies, relationships… I love all my girlfriends, but as I go through each period of my life, I get wrapped up in the daily grind and finding time to socialize is tough. I am also an introvert, and so it’s easy for me to just stay in my own space! Of course I do go out, but I tend to prioritize big gatherings an not one-on-one girlfriend times! So we end up seeing each other every few months if we’re lucky, but usually every few years (years fly by so fast!!). I truly miss their presence in my life, though. I miss their personalities and all their different refreshing points of view! So good for my soul.

Every year, as December 31st comes and goes, I always promise myself to get back in touch with my girlfriends and keep the relationship constant, but fail. This year, I finally decided to actually make it happen!! So in my planner, overpacked with work projects and kids activities, I looked for available times for lunch breaks and coffee dates. And no matter how much I thought my planner was packed, I found times we could absolutely meet! So I made calls and sent out texts, wrote in our dates, and made them recurring ones!

Stop one, breakfast at Blackmarket Bakery with my super talented friend Adrianna Kinal (you should check her beautiful art here, and follow her on Instagram here!). It is amazing how after not seeing each other for months, we were able to just pick up where we left off!

How often do you see your girlfriends? Is finding time to socialize challenging for you? What do you do to make sure you see them often? Would so love to hear from you, leave your comments below!

♡ Zuma A.

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home, Life

Sweet Vanilla Candle, Easy Happy Living Hacks

January 11, 2017

A few years back, when Laura Mercier came out with her Vanille soufflé body cream collection, I fell in love with the vanilla scent. There is something so calming and therapeutic about it! Vanilla invokes a feel-good feeling, and given that I am an absolute stress ball and need all the help I can get, vanilla everything has become a fixture in my home.

A few weeks back, while holiday shopping, I found this absolutely delicious Boulangerie Sweet Vanilla candle from Anthropologie. I looved it! I even got worried because I often develop a fragrance sensitivity to some candle scents and didn’t want to be forced to give it away. Luckily I didn’t have to! The candle’s warm and fuzzy vanilla cupcake scent gives me a feeling of comfort and truly promotes happy vibes. No matter, whether I work or read a book, I often light this candle, especially on the cold and gloomy winter days.

Do you often light candles at home? Which scent is your favorite, and how does it make you feel? Let me know in the comments below!

♡ Zuma A.

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Fashion, Life

Monday Blues, Getting Back To Work After Holidays

January 9, 2017

Happy back-to-work Monday, loves! I always think that getting back to work after a vacation is tough, but not as tough as getting back to work after holidays. I think that the difference is that before heading out of the office for a vacation, I always try to finish as much work as I possibly can and maybe even organize what I need to do after I get back. When holidays come, however, I somehow slow down and procrastinate leaving work to another day, and then, when that Monday after the holidays come, I get slapped with piles of files before I get a chance to regain my usual workday pace. I experienced some of it last Thursday morning; I was working from home anticipating a slow day when I got pounded with phone calls and emails, all asking me to do something different, leaving me hyperventilating for a moment. To avoid any more experiences like this, I made a few preparations, especially considering I had to fly to San Francisco first thing this morning.

1. Come into the office with a plan of what you want to accomplish that day. Make sure to work in a reasonable transition time to adjust.

2. Start your regular work-week evening routine a few days before you head back to work. I have always done it for my kids to get them ready to go back to school after a vacation. Normalizing their morning and evening routine eases the transition tremendously. So why not do it for myself?

3. Don’t let holidays ending get you down. I always get so excited before holidays, anticipating fun times and and spending time with loved ones that I don’t normally get. It can feel lonelier and more mundane when all that is over. But hey, nothing stops me from having good times with family and friends next weekend!

4. Last, but not least, making an extra effort to dress up in light and bright colors and wearing the makeup I love makes me feel not only more put together, but also a bit more festive and excited about the day. So waking up that 15 minutes earlier is worth it to get that!

Do you ever feel Monday blues? Share your thoughts and tips on how you overcome them!!

♡ Zuma A.

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A French Take on Smartphone Addiction

January 6, 2017

Have you heard about this new French law that allows employees to turn off their work email after hours? So that means dinners at home can go uninterrupted and work-emailing can become a non-issue! But, seriously, no one would argue that making an effort to take a break from your phone or tablet on off hours is a bad idea. My day usually starts at 5 AM, and the first thing I do before I can barely open my eyes is I reach for my phone. I quickly wake up as soon as I start reading and responding to emails and messages (work and personal), checking Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. So by the time the sun is up, my head is filled with loads of information I can probably live without. And then I continue holding my phone in my hand for about  85% of my day, every day. I even opted for a smaller iPhone because an iPhone+ would be too bulky for me to hold for that many hours each day.

Now, as I write this post, I can only hope you have the same phone habits as I do, because if not, this sounds like an addiction. Honestly, even if we all have it, I really do think it’s addiction, just a widespread and socially acceptable one. So I want to try and take some time and declutter my mind. Maybe an email free weekend to help and slow down the time? How do you all deal with this smartphone obsession? Do you have tips or ways that you take some time off from social media or emails? Leave your comments, would so love to hear from you!

♡ Zuma A.

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