Category Archives: Home Decor

Planning a Fun and Memorable Eid Party

By Nasreen Faiz

Eid Mubarak

 

The holy month of Ramadan is almost here and preparations are in full swing for many families. 

As an event planner, I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to plan a variety of events, everything from weddings to aqeekas to corporate social gatherings. With each and every event, one thing has always been the main focus; guest experience. The same should hold true for an Eid party.
Ramadan 2015 isn’t here just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start planning for Eid already! Here are a few pointers that will help in making any Eid party a fun and memorable one!

Decorate the Home

This goes without saying. There are tons of cute Eid specific decorations that you can splurge on to liven up your home/venue. If you’re in Toronto, SalamShop, Modah and Kaamilah Boutique are great places to start. If not, there are plenty of small but fiercely creative shops on Etsy selling Ramadan and Eid specific decor. For example try Path of Light Designs.

Wear Your Best Outfit

You’ve dressed up your home, now it’s time for you to get ready. Be sure to wear a new outfit, or if not new, something that is special to you. Whether you’re throwing an Eid party with a guest count of over 200, or a intimate dinner with just close family, asking your guests to where formal attire will certainly help in creating a festive atmosphere.

Secret Eidi

This is a great way to get everyone (regardless of age or gender) involved! Ever heard of Secret Santa? The concept is quite similar to that. Essentially, you’ll need to:
     - Set a budget between yourselves. It can be $10, $20, $100, whatever you are comfortable with.
     - Write down the name of each person who’ll be participating on a slip of paper.
     - Fold their names and put it in a bowl
     - Go around the room and have everyone pick a name. This is the person who’ll they’ll be getting a gift for.
     - When everyone arrives at the Eid party, ask all of the guests to put they gifts in a communal area.
     - Once everyone has arrived, you can hand out to each guest the present that has their name on it.
     - The guest first has to guess who got them, but after one guess the person reveals themselves
There is one other variation to this game that you can consider using.
If you wont be able to meet with the guests prior to the party to pick the name slips, you can simply ask each guest to bring a gift that is suitable for anyone to the party. Once all of the gifts are at the party, you can label them all with a number.
Write down the same numbers on a slip and have each person pick a number.
A third option is to use a site called Drawnames.com to draw names and even add a wishlist.

Date Cake

Dates are an essential when opening up a fast, so why not celebrate by making a date cake for Eid? Here is a link to one of my all time favourite recipes; Easy Date Cake. You can even add your own little twists to the recipe by adding ingredients such as toffee.If you don’t want to serve it as part of dessert, you can even cut the cake into tiny bite size squares and give them as party favours. A couple whose wedding I planned recently gave date cakes as a favour to their guests and they were a hit!

Make Gift Baskets

We should do our best to help those around us, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. This year, create a new family tradition by making small gift baskets for women and children in need. It’s a great way to give back to your community. You can create small gift baskets for kids by adding a few toys, clothes or (my personal favourite) halal gummies! Blossom & Bean sells them in packets, or you can contact them about buying in bulk if you plan on making quite a few. You can add Pashminas for women, chocolate, gift cards,  etc. Work on them during the month of Ramadan, and then deliver them to shelters on Eid.
What are some of your Eid traditions? How do you liven up your Eid Parties? Comment below and let me know! :)

 

About the Author

Nasreen Faiz is a professional wedding planner and designer at Rangeen Weddings and Events. Life should be rangeen (colourful) which is why her main focus is to always create luxurious designs within any given budget.

Stay Positive: How To Survive Home Renovations!

By Rahila Ovais

Stay Positive Through Home Renovations

We recently moved into a new house and it took us a quarter of the year to make it into the home we wanted. Since our sole reason for moving was to be closer to family, we hadn’t paid much attention to its condition.  Our new house is nearly 20-25 years old and the previous owners had kept it just like that! It was dark, dingy and dated (feel free to add any other D words to this list) and although it is a sound structure, it required major upgrading to make it loveable and livable for us.

After a 3-4 month renovation, these are the lessons we learned:

Have a Plan Be Realistic

When I say have a plan, I don’t mean that you should have a vague idea of what you want from your renovation/remodeling project. What I mean is you should make your plan as detailed as possible while also keeping it realistic. If you are looking to create an open concept space, then be aware that some things on your wish list may not be possible due to building code and structural issues. So make sure to have a back-up plan as well.

Budget

Setting a budget almost defines your plan or shall I say your plan depends on your budget. No matter how you put it, both the plan and budget go hand in hand. So when making your plan and setting your budget, it’s a good idea to overestimate the costs. Do not and I repeat do NOT plan to use all your savings towards your renovation. Save yourself a cushion for those unexpected costs or expenses that are bound to arise with any renovation project.

Contractor

Ask your friends for referrals but also make sure to do your own research. Most contractors are referred by word of mouth. When you do have a reference of a reputable contractor, ask to visit one of their job sites, check out their most recent project details. Define your plan as clearly as possible and ask for detailed estimate/quote. Determine how you can work with your budget to maximize the end result.

Manage and Communicate

Now that you have hired a contractor, all you have to do is to manage them. Sounds easy? Let me tell you by my personal experience that it not as easy as it sounds. While you have to make your presence known to your contractor, you also don’t want to micro-manage everything. As long as you define clear timelines and your deadline is specifically laid out, you still have to make sure that work it being conducted in a timely manner. Sometimes you may have to deviate a little from your timelines due to reasons beyond your control such as any third party or supplier issues.

Temporary Campers

We were lucky enough to camp at my mom-in-law’s house during the three month long renovation project at our house, but how many times and how many people really have that advantage? If you are having your kitchen remodeled then you will definitely have to set up a temporary camp away from the construction zone, with a microwave, toaster oven, electric kettle etc. Same goes for washroom renovations. Make sure you are only renovating one washroom at a time and I won’t go into any details on why!

Pack Up On Patience

This is most important to remember during any renovation/remodeling project. You will need to pack your patience and you will need lots of it. You will have to be patient not only with your contractor and your partner/family but most importantly with yourself. Focus on the end result.

 

About the author:

Rahila Ovais is a Pharmacy Technician working at the Ontario College of Pharmacists. A mother to four, she’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago.

Image: 123RF/astragal