Printed Pants + Personal Reflections

In honor of California recognizing August 2016 as Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month, I thought this was a good a time as any to share some thoughts and realizations I have had lately. To be honest I debated whether or not to share anything here since I like to keep things light and fun at, but I decided since this is my personal blog, I am just going to go ahead and get personal with you.

I’ve been so stressed by all of the hatred and fear mongering that has pretty much defined this Presidential election, in addition to that, the already rampant gun violence in our country, terrorist attacks around the world, and the anti-Muslim sentiment in America that has been brewing for so many years. It has gotten so bad for me lately, I find myself working less, and becoming anti-social to avoid the inevitable conversations that I know will upset me, I end up staying home more and interacting with people less. Anyone who knows me knows that this is not who I am.

It is funny, growing up in the 90’s it seemed like as Muslims, especially South Asian Muslims, we were pretty much invisible in society, and definitely so in the media. Many people didn’t seem to know where Pakistan even was, and we literally had to check “other” in terms of race when filling out forms. (I know Asian/Pacific Islander was technically correct but  you know what I’m trying to say here.) Then all of the sudden 9/11 happens and we go from non-existent entity to number one enemy. For a long time I would get angry every time I’d hear another story about a hate crime against a Muslim person, or when I learned someone innocent was detained without reason, or any time I accidentally watched Fox (or as I like to say ‘faux’) News, or saw a clip of Donald Trump saying, well anything at all. I couldn’t understand why the acts of a few were being blamed on a group consisting of over a billion people around the world, and why that false narrative was being so easily accepted by my society.

But the other day while watching a story on my new favorite channel, Viceland, I was inspired to finally change my outlook. The episode was called Gaycation: Brazil, and hosts Ellen Page and Ian Daniel take a look at Queer life in Brazil. There is an interesting clash of cultures there, where on the one hand they celebrate sexual liberation, especially during Carnivale, but they also have the highest murder rate of the LGBTQ population in the world. What really inspired me was what Carol Marra, Brazil’s first transgender model, said about how she copes with the intolerance towards her and other LGBTQ people, she answered: “Even though life doesn’t smile at me, I smile at it every day.” There was something about her energy, her attitude, that gave me hope that things could and will get better. Even if they didn’t, I still wanted to be like her.

So instead of getting upset or internalizing the negativity that I see around me, I am going to take a cue from Marra and smile right back in its face. If I take everything that life gives me as a blessing, the experiences I’ve faced will allow me to empathize with others who are struggling too, and I believe the world could benefit from a little empathy and compassion right now.

Thanks for visiting and letting me spill my heart out today.

With love and light,  -Z

Also, here’s a new outfit 🙂
jjill-wide-leg-pants summer-style-wide-leg-pants jjill-summer-outfit printed-pants-tank-top-sandalsPants: Thanks to J.Jill | Tank: Topshop (old) Similar Style | Sandals: Born | Jacket: Thanks to True Religion (old) Similar Style | Sunnies: Miu Miu via Ditto – (use code LOVEZAHRA for a free trial month!)

Follow Me! @zahra_sandberg


Last week we took a quick trip to escape the snow for some sunshine in Key Largo, Florida☀️ We spent every moment possible outside, Tom and Adam got their Scuba Diver PADI certification (yay!) while Sophia and I spent our days either swimming or drawing marine life and landscapes. This was my first trip after my sister passed last November, and even though I look so happy here, there were so many moments I felt the grief and sadness, as if it happened just yesterday. I am still figuring out how I want to show up in this space, as I have changed so much as a person since the loss. I just don’t feel called to post some of the things I shared before. Maybe that will change someday, or maybe it will just naturally evolve into something new. I think I will take this year to just process it all. (Even the idea of taking an entire year to think through something is a huge shift for my usually hyperactive type A personality) My focus at the moment is just living in the moment with my family and friends, spending time doing things that make me happy and healthy. I hope to share some of that journey here with you ~ thanks for following along ❤️
I had planned to shoot this outfit in collaboration with @lenacoutureofficial right before my dear sister passed away. Saba, the designer, was more than understanding if I didn’t want to anymore - but after thinking on it for a while I decided I wanted to - in my sister’s honor 💗 She was always my biggest hype woman. When i would feel like I’m not good enough or that I should quit (which was often) she would tell me I was unique and great and to keep it up. When I think of my sister, beauty and love is all that she embodied in her being. She expressed that on the outside also - as she loved to wear everything glam, bright & colorful, and full of bling. Hair done, nails done, everything did - that was Nusrat. For this shoot I took the time to get glam after a long hiatus - and makeup and hair took so long because I think I forgot how to do it, but afterwards I was surprised how I felt transformed. When I wore this gorgeous outfit that I know was designed with such love and incredible attention to detail by @lenacoutureofficial, I felt all of that beauty - like a walking piece of art, and very much at peace. Thank you so much to @divmophoto for capturing the feeling so well 💕
Ski weekend with my favorites ❄️❄️ So proud of Sophia for skiing on her own for the first time!
There are some trees with seeds that only grow after a fire. Their seeds are completely sealed with a resin that have to be physically melted off by a great fire in order to propagate. So to do we as humans, gain wisdom only after great pain and suffering.*
A month ago (and one day) I lost my sister and best friend to cancer. I am still completely gutted and broken. But, I’m also so so grateful to have had felt the love that now brings me so much heartbreak. ❤️ I am so inspired by her - and I will forever live my life to honor her memory. Miss you sis ❤️
Classic outfit combo: oversized blazer + denim 🖤fendi mules @shoeslutz
Just a mom who loves mums 🌸 🪴
Cozy for a coffee date ☕️
French. Toast. Egg. Bake. Save this recipe for a weekend or holiday brunch - it’s SO good and fool-proof! I’m not even a sweet person and I love it. The pecans are a non-negotiable IMO - I get honey bourbon vanilla pecans for this and it is just heavenly. Enjoy!