An Intimate Surprise 10th Anniversary Party

It's been ages since I posted on this blog. With motherhood, INKMADE, and my photography work, it's difficult to find time to write and photograph just for fun! So much has happened since the last time I posted Alhamdulilah. Amira turned one. We moved into our first home together. And we just hosted a surprise 10th anniversary party for my sister and brother-in-law! 

My sister and brother-in-law got married young, had a simple wedding, have three beautiful children, and work day and night as a pharmacist and podiatrist. They go out of their way to make sure their kids are happy, as well as the rest of their family and friends. Even after my sister comes home after a long day, she offers to watch Amira, help out with INKMADE, and just lend a hand whenever I have a lot to get done. My brother-in-law also has a crazy work schedule, but he still takes time to help us move, hang out after a long day, and just be there whenever we need him. They are both my role models for having such a balanced, loving marriage. That's why I had to work with our friends and family to throw an amazing surprise anniversary party for them! 

We decided to host it at our house, which motivated us to unpack and get our place tidy quickly. (It's been taking forever with a toddler running around!) I told them that we were hosting a housewarming party, so they had no idea it was going to be their anniversary party! I started by creating a Pinterest board to find inspiration for the table setting. My sister, mom, and I share decor for parties that we have collected over time after hosting so many bridal showers, baby showers, and other events. I reused some of those pieces for the decor for this party and bought a few more to complete the look. Our friends and family helped out with the food and I baked the cake. There's no way this party would have been a success without our amazing friends and family. I feel so grateful to have such wonderful people who took so much time out to make sure this party was a success! Check out a glimpse of the party below:

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May Allah (swt) bless these two with nothing but love, happiness, and success always. Ameen! 


Table Decor Details:

Amira's Nursery Nook

It seems like not too long ago Afroz and I were living in the city, preparing to move to the suburbs after he got a new job. It was a fresh new start for Afroz and a continuation of my work with INKMADE from my new home studio. We found a decently priced apartment in a wonderful neighborhood close to Afroz's job and were excited, but sad to leave our old apartment near downtown Chicago. Just before we started packing our boxes to move out, I found out I was pregnant. We were ecstatic and our mindset now shifted from thinking of just moving to a new place to thinking about the home our baby girl was going to live and play in for the first time.

It just so happened that our new apartment had a huge master bedroom. We realized it was perfect for the baby, since there was enough space for a crib and changing table. I knew I wanted to keep her in the room with us. It would be easier to keep an eye on her and feed her at night. I didn't really think of a specific theme for her nursery nook. I just imagined something simple that blended into our existing master bedroom furniture, but also had a playful touch of color. 

After measuring the area next to our bed, we realized we had exactly enough room for a crib, changing table, and a Diaper Genie to sit right next to each other. All of the furniture came from IKEA. It's simple, affordable, and we love it!

I keep most of Amira's everyday clothes, blankets, bibs, washcloths, toys, etc. right under the changing table. All of her dresses and nicer outfits are hanging in a closet. I also have her diapers, wipes, lotion, baby oil, and creams on and under the table, easy to reach whenever we need it. We also put up two shelves above the table to hold some boxes of some of her shoes, socks, headbands, and books. I also put up a guestbook map that my friends and family signed during my baby shower. It's nice to read their thoughtful words as I'm grabbing a book to read to Amira.

One of my favorite things in Amira's nursery nook is her mobile. One of my friends gifted it from my registry and I'm so glad I added it on there! She absolutely loves looking at the little hot air balloons move and listens attentively when the song plays.

I put some more baby shower goodies on the shelf, as well as some props from a maternity photo shoot we had a while back. I honestly didn't plan exactly what I was going to put on the shelves, but it all came together pretty well. The storage space is useful and there's also room for a few cute props for decor.

Afroz and I are big on making the most of small spaces. We love living in an apartment that has just enough space to be comfortable and not crowded. I'm sure in the future we'll eventually move to a bigger space as our family grows inshaAllah, but for now, we enjoy our cozy apartment and love Amira's little nook in our master bedroom.

SOURCES

Crib: IKEA SUNDVIK
Crib Bedding: Babies R Us
Mobile: Target
Changing Table: IKEA GULLIVER
Changing Table Baskets: IKEA BULLIG
Shelves: IKEA LACK Wall Shelf
Shelf Storage Bins: IKEA KUGGIS
Frames: IKEA RIBBA
Art Prints: Rifle Paper Co.


Our House Flip Project

Many couples dream of going on "baby-moons" during their pregnancy, but we decided to do a little something different. We spent most of my pregnancy sketching, gathering light fixtures, ordering tiles, updating spreadsheets, studying properties on Redfin, and talking to contractors. For us, working on a house flip was another version of a "baby-moon." It was a huge accomplishment for both me and Afroz right before we both became busy with parenthood.

A few years back, Afroz and his family bought a foreclosed house in the suburbs. They rented it out for a while after doing a little work here and there. Afroz and I always daydreamed about renovating the house. We had so many ideas, but it was difficult for us to do anything, because we lived in the city at the time and I was busy with school. Once we moved to the suburbs, we decided to devote some time and money to finally fix up the house. We knew it was going to be tough with my pregnancy and Afroz being at work most of the day. We had to get the house sold before my delivery, which meant we didn't have much time to shop around for everything we needed, so we stuck to finding the most reasonably priced retailers near us. Thankfully, we found a wonderful contractor to turn our renderings and sketches into a reality.

We made sure to create a budget and also logged all of our purchases on a spreadsheet. Being organized was extremely important for this project. Otherwise, we would go over budget immediately. We also had to remind ourselves that the goal for this house wasn't for it look 100% perfect; nor was it to remodel it according to our taste completely. The goal was to remodel it according to what sells and to make a decent profit.

This house had a weird layout. It was a single-family house with two bedrooms and what seemed to be two poorly designed kitchens. One was large and had outdated cabinets along a wall filled with wood panels. The other one was very small and seemed completely out of place. We decided to get rid of the smaller kitchen and transform the larger one. We immediately knew that the new kitchen would be the heart of the house. 

Kitchen

We went with simple white shaker cabinets for the kitchen, along with silver hardware. We combined it with subway tiles and a white/gray quartz countertop. The size of the kitchen was perfect for an island and we topped it off with silver pendant lights above, along with recessed lights.

Floor Tiles: Floor and Decor
Subway Tiles: Floor and Decor
Cabinets and Countertop: Total Kitchen and Bath
Hardware: Home Depot
Light Fixtures: Home Depot


Dining

The space we decided to call the dining room was essentially a family room for the previous owners. Since there was no dining area in the house, we thought its proximity to the kitchen made it a perfect space for a spacious eating area. The dining room was also covered in that hideous wood paneling. We decided to clean it up and add new light fixtures. Instead of spending money on brand new hardwood flooring, we decided to install unfinished flooring in the dining room. Then we had the existing flooring sanded and stained in the rest of the house, so everything matched perfectly.


Living Room

The living room had a fireplace and flooring that really needed some work. The newly stained hardwood flooring created a seamless transition between the dining and living room. We also added recessed lighting, which allowed the room to look more spacious and bright.


New Bedroom

Since there were two kitchens, we felt like the smaller one needed to go. It looked more like a bedroom or a den to us. We had the cabinets removed, added a small closet, and painted it a light gray tone to match the rest of the walls in the house. 


Existing Bedrooms

The existing bedrooms just needed some patching on the walls and a fresh coat of paint. The floors were sanded and refinished. We also changed the bedroom doors and closet doors, which really allowed the rooms to look brighter.


Bathroom

We didn't devote a huge budget for the bathroom. We expanded an existing linen closet, painted the walls, and cleaned up the fixtures that were already there. In hindsight, we wish we gave the bathroom a better makeover, but hey, we learned our lesson.

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Thankfully, we sold the house around the time of my delivery. We were so nervous, but in the end, we were able to stay within our budget and were able to get the property sold. It took a lot of time and effort, but it was a great experience. Afroz and I were able to learn so much before we buy our own house one day inshaAllah!

All photos of the updated property were taken by Redfin. If you're looking to buy or sell your home, we definitely recommend Redfin. Our agent did an amazing job and Redfin's services were very professional and helpful. This isn't a sponsored post; we just really loved working with them!