traditions.

As long as I can remember, Eid has been one of my favorite holidays. Growing up, I anxiously waited for my father to give us Eidi (money) after prayer, and it’s quite adorable that he still does that. I love how my mother always makes everyones favorite foods. The aroma of sheer every Eid morning is what woke me up. It’s exactly how kids feel Christmas morning. I think as a child I took all this for granted. There came a time where we didn’t get to celebrate together as a family. My father had to go into work, my brother was off at school, my sister was celebrating in a different country, and I had classes. I am grateful that this Ramadan I was able to spend every day with my family, and Eid was no different. Being united as a family has to be the biggest blessing.

One particular Eid, my mother stayed up all night making me an outfit. It was absolutely perfect. A purple sequenced lengha with a purple silk kameez with gold buttons, and a purple sequenced dupatta to go along with it. Can you tell purple is my favorite color? That lengha was the business. I was ecstatic to wear it the next day. Wearing fancy Eid clothes is equivalent to being a princess (or prince) for a day. And I definitely felt like a princess in my lengha. My mother insisted after prayer I take off the lengha and change into something more comfortable, but I wasn’t having it. I told her it wouldn’t be Eid if I changed out of my clothes. Until nightfall I did NOT take off that lengha, and I’m sure even then I put up a fight.

Still at 26, Eid clothes are important, although some things have changed, that remains the same. No more sequenced lenghas for this girl but I pick out an outfit in advance and leave it strictly for Eid because new clothes are a must. There are so many things about that day I would never alter, and I hope once I begin my family I can keep all this alive. How my father is shouting at all of us to hurry up, so we’re not late for prayer. How my mother is stuffing our faces with sheer, even though our stomachs can’t take it because of Ramadan. How my brother is helping me pick out my shoes and sometimes even my clutch as we rush out the door- and yes, he still does that, how we always forget my little sister, and lastly how I hug my parents first after prayer. These will always be my favorite things about Eid. Family. Traditions. 

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Outfit: Faraz Manan Lawn, courtesy of A La Couture | Heels: Nine West | Clutch: The Limited

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the bigger picture.

Ramadan means different things to different people. Most people utilize this month to get closer to God and get in touch with their spiritual side. For me, this month has particularly been about reflection. With all the horror happening around the world, I’ve been constantly counting my blessings. How can you not? It’s hard not to wonder, how is it, that this is my life? I might be many things, but one thing I never want to be is ungrateful. I’ve done my best to really use this month to reflect on me and those around me, to gain perspective and wisdom. Another thing I tried extremely hard to improve and focus on is, patience. You can never have enough, it seems.

I don’t consider myself an angry person, but when I do get angry or upset – it consumes me. This month I focused on how foolish that is. We can’t control other peoples actions nor the things they say, but we can control how we react. The trouble with this is though, I might know how to control my actions but not so much my thoughts. How can I control those?

Prior to this month, I was angry at a friend. It took me awhile to stop caring, but it happened. It’s not easy to let go of the things we hold so dearly, but why let it ruin our lives? It was ruining my life. When I don’t understand something, my mind fixates on it. I recently had someone apologize to me for something they did five years ago. I told them it was too late and how none of that mattered anymore, they continued to say ‘better late than never’ but is that actually true? I constantly talk about closure, and how we’re the only ones who can make ourselves come to any sort of conclusion. Their apology was five years too late, and perhaps that apology was actually for them. I’m thankful I picked up the pieces a long time ago and rearranged them in order to suit myself. 

What I realize now, that not everyone thinks or more importantly, feels like we do, AND that’s okay. Either we accept them, or we don’t. It’s actually quite simple, we just make it complicated. Going through those emotions, brought me to this point, so perhaps the angry phase was necessary. It took me awhile, a month to be exact, to come to the realization, that there are bigger things than you and me. 

The only way to drive out darkness is with light. The only way to rid yourself of hate, is to embrace love. Any time you get angry or upset, in that instance just remind yourself how it isn’t worth the burden. Our hearts weren’t meant to carry hate or anger. 

As this month is ending, I just want to take a moment and reflect, on everything we’ve tried to achieve, everything we have to be thankful for. Think of those who are less fortunate, and do everything in your power to help them. Make sincere du’a (prayer) and give charity. Whatever your goals were this Ramadan, I hope you reached them and continue to strive for the bigger picture.

 

It’s Eid! Let’s eat 🙂 

 

linen & things.

Blazers have always been my favorite go-to piece. I love how it can instantly dress up a casual t-shirt with a pair of skinny jeans. Since I tend to be a little bit more conservative, I always wear something over my dresses, and I feel a blazer adds a little something extra. I normally wear cardigans over dresses, but adding a blazer transforms your look from girly to sophisticated. I purchased this white linen blazer about two years ago, and it has been one of the best investments I have made. I love how light and breathable it is, and it extremely versatile! I knew the DC heat would have been intense and especially having to walk around the city, I wanted to keep my look easy. I prefer to keep one piece of my outfit the focal point, and everything else relatively soft. Hope you enjoy this city edition of pictures! And since the day wasn’t about me, I couldn’t get too creative.

Blazer: Fabulous Finds Boutique | Dress: Buckle | Clutch: Steve Madden | Neckelace: Buckle | Shoes: Buckle

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summer blues.

Ramadan gives me NO energy. It is a horrible excuse, I know. And to be quite honest, with all the atrocities happening in the world, my heart is just extremely sad, but that is the thing about life, it must go on. I would make my fashion post serious… so here is my first OOTD!

Maxi dresses are my favorite! They’re so chic and simple, yet you can totally dress them up. Long sleeve maxi dresses are such an obsession for me. I am always on the hunt for one! When I style my outfits in general, I honestly don’t put too much thought into it. Over the years, I have gotten more and more simple in that aspect. I styled this maxi dress with a statement necklace, a clutch, and some simple black sandals. I added the scarf for a more fun factor, but let me tell you, this North Carolina heat and humidity is real. The scarf came off and my hair went up in a pony tail! LOL Hope you guys enjoy!  And thank you to my cute photographer, my brother.

maxi: limelush.com | scarf: f21| shoes: Naughty Monkey, purchased from Buckle | clutch: a boutique in Atlanta| necklace: f21

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the root of all evil.

Why is it as children we have more empathy? As we get older, we somehow lose that. I wonder what it is about aging that makes us less connected to those around us. I once felt horrible for someone I didn’t really know, and granted his loss/pain didn’t have anything to do with me, but when the person who caused him the pain asked me one simple question, “how does that affect you?” I was dumbfounded. What response did I have for this question. Oh, I know, the fact that I am human, and when others are in pain, it has an impact on me. The real question is, why don’t YOU feel something?

All of the atrocities going on in the world have affected me. How can I sit comfortably in my home knowing innocent children are dying. I almost feel guilty that my “problems” consist of filling out grad school applications, losing the five pounds I might have gained during Ramadan, and working on building my website. I mean how is it that this is my life, and that is theirs?

Social media has played a vital role in spreading awareness on the violence happening in Gaza and Israel. I love that my twitter feed is filled with prayers for those who are suffering, with the hash tags of FreePalestine, PrayForGaza. As much as I don’t want to see the gruesome images, I realize how they are key in getting those who aren’t informed, to face this reality. I do believe there are other effective ways of raising awareness, and of course I always feel words are just as strong as images, if not more. 

Now perhaps updating a status isn’t really saving the world. I know this. I have a success story though, that made me feel different. I’ve been reading all these articles my family and friends are posting, and a part of me felt I shouldn’t add to the flood of posts. After Israel declared ground invasion, I felt various emotions and posted a status. Sadly enough, not many of my non Muslim friends liked my status. One friend though, started doing research and educating herself on the crisis in Israel and Gaza. She called me two hours later, bawling, literally crying like a baby. I tried to console her, but what could I say? Did I feel happy that this affected her so deeply? Happy wasn’t the word. Relief? Yes, relief, that’s it. Relief that the problem was acknowledged at all. I quickly realized, that I brought this on. I brought her to these emotions. She kept crying and saying that could be Layla-her 8 month old daughter. She kept saying to me, this isn’t about Muslims or Jews, this is about humanity. How can the Israeli government ruthlessly continue to murder children, and say we are defending ourselves?  If everyone could feel that sort of empathy, compassion, then perhaps there could be change. The root of all evil, isn’t just the acts of injustice, but the lack of compassion shown towards these injustices.

If you feel as if you’re choosing sides, then YOU are a part of the problem. This isn’t about sides, this is about the inhumane affairs occurring. If you see an explicit picture of those who are suffering and it doesn’t make you almost reevaluate your life and take a moment to count your blessings, then YOU are a part of the problem. If you feel this crisis doesn’t affect you, then YOU are a part of the problem. When innocent children are dying and we sit idly, we have tremendously failed as humans.

*And before ANYONE wants to jump down my throat about facts- I am very well informed about the crisis, and my heart goes out to everyone effected from these events, those in Gaza AND Israel. 

heads up!

It’s not a surprise how much I LOVE headpieces. Just take a look at my Instagram, with my eastern wear I am usually always rocking a “maatha paati” or “teeka”- which are just more specific names for headpieces in Urdu. Even with American clothes, I like to incorporate headpieces and headbands. I know statement necklaces have been HUGE this year and I really like how they jazz up an outfit but I’ll always have a soft spot for headpieces. Being that they’ve always been so common in my culture, and the new craze fits right into my insane obsession for them. 

My rules for wearing headpieces are simple. Less is more folks. When I want to wear a head piece I keep the rest of my jewelry to a minimum. Simple studs usually suffice for my earrings. I don’t even bother with a necklace, and if you must, keep it as effortless as possible. With Pakistani clothes, I tend to dress it up more, but that’s a given.

So I get a lot of questions on where I buy my headpieces. I am fortunate my mother goes to Pakistan every year and shops for me. I have picked up some great pieces at Urban Outfitters and that was two years ago, now they are much more common and can be found anywhere. I have also purchased some of my favorite pieces from my lovely friend, Ruma. Ruma owns her own business and you can follow her on her Facebook page and Instagram by the name A la Couture! She carries beautiful Pakistani and Indian clothes and the jewelry is definitely drool worthy! I am hooked, any time I need matching earrings for an outfit, or in my case a teeka or headpiece, I instantly think of Ruma. Not only is she exceptionally friendly and sweet, her service is extremely efficient! We have a special giveaway coming up so stay tuned, I’m giving you a heads up! 🙂

 

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This headpiece was purchased from A La Couture.

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This headpiece was purchased from Urban Outfitters. Earrings and outfit courtesy: A La Couture. 

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This maatha paati was purchased in Lahore, Pakistan.

j’adore.

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Since I get a lot of questions about some of the products I use and love, I decided this could be my first beauty post. They’re all random but definitely my essentials.

I always rave about the Clarisonic –  and for my male followers, you can totally invest in this too! The Clairsonic was a complete game changer for my skin! I was 23 and I was still breaking out. It did not matter what face wash I used or what lotion, acne was inevitable. For someone who was breaking out since they were 14, I WAS DONE! I needed something different. I’ve read some reviews that initially, it can purge your pores and cause break outs, but that never happened to me. I use the sensitive brush head and it works perfectly with my skin. I tried the acne brush head once or twice, and the way my skin is now, I find it abrasive. Almost three loyal years later, who would have thought my skin would be one of my favorite things about me!

Every now and then I do break out, it’s totally normal, but you just have to learn to combat it, the proper way. A change in diet usually effects my skin, and all those lazy nights of when washing my face becomes a huge task. The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion has been extremely beneficial. Anything with tea tree extracts or oils, is supposed to help acne prone skin. This lotion does wonders! You can get it at Ulta or of course The Body Shop. Their whole tea tree line is absolutely wonderful. I love the way it smells, its a strong smell, but a clean scent and the face wash wakes me up in the morning – it’s definitely a winner for me!

Okay so my obsession with chap sticks are probably unhealthy, ask anyone. For the most part my lips aren’t too dry but since I love matte lipsticks, dry lips are an absolute no no! Vaseline lip therapy- rosy lips, is easily my new favorite! I’m kind of a snob when it comes to chap sticks because it has to be the perfect consistency, not an over bearing smell, AND actually stay on my lips for longer than a minute. This cute little product by far is one of the greatest I’ve tried in awhile!

I love blush. I feel as if I can never have enough! I know it sounds crazy, but my face eats blush so I initially apply excessive amounts. Nars Amour is my signature, I always come back to this blush color. For my skin tone, it is the perfect pink. It’s natural but bright and totally build able, and it stays on!

Another one of my staples! MAC’s Please Me is my signature pink lip. I have tried SO many lipsticks and this one is just the perfect shade for me! And look- its ALMOST finished, my mother would be so proud.

I’ve recently just gotten into make-up brushes. I’ve always used Bamboo and loved it because of the natural bristles. I recently just purchased e.l.f’s studio brush line. For someone who is relatively new to applying makeup with brushes and doesn’t want to spend a lot of money – BUY THIS! It was THREE dollars. You can’t beat that. It’s supposed to be a dupe for MAC brushes. I use this small stipple brush for everything! BB cream, liquid blush, even blending my concealer. It’s amazing.

I love all Benefit products. The Erase Paste is undeniably one of my favorites and it actually does what it claims! I don’t know about you, but it does not matter how much sleep I get the night before, my dark circles are always prominent. Dark circles are also prone to darker skinned people. Apply this before your concealer, and voila, it tones down the purple. It also helps with using less concealer, which is a huge plus.

Hydrating your skin is vital. This is my secret weapon. Sephora’s flawless moisturizing lotion is incredible. It has SPF 15 which might not be ideal but it is a start if you don’t apply sunscreen at all. My skin is very normal, not oily and not too dry. This lotion is hydrating, doesn’t feel heavy and it doesn’t have a smell. I swear by it.

Lastly, Ben Nye Banana powder. I love setting powders but why are they always white? I am FAR from white and most setting powders always leave a white caste over my skin and I absolutely hate that. This translucent mattifying powder is silky fine and I love how it blends into my natural undertones. These powders are specially formulated to absorb excess oil and soften the appearance of pores. Oh, and the Kardashians use them, and let’s not deny how fab their make- up is. Okay, now go bananas!

If you would like to see how I apply any of these products, leave a comment below and let me know!

truths unveiled

I know that it might be an interesting time to talk about this, but it has been a year and I couldn’t think of a better moment to speak out. I get many questions regarding my choice, at times I am ready to give people an elaborate answer and at other times I don’t see a point. I see it as a personal decision and isn’t something I felt the need to announce. If there is one thing I have learned its that people always see things as a loss or a win, and that is not the case in this situation. People are very quick to jump to conclusions, however I know that is inevitable. To clarify, don’t assume that I left hijab out of weakness or lack of faith. Don’t make the mistake to think I am less religious because of it or girls who cover are more religious. 

Let’s go back to the beginning. I was thirteen years old when I decided to cover. I look back at the signs and how I wasn’t really ready and at the time I had no idea what it takes to actually encompass hijab. I pushed through, because of course I made the decision and there was no turning back. As the years passed by, every moment I wanted to take it off, I felt like a failure. If truth be told, it wasn’t even my decision anymore. My mother was very firm to her belief of “what will people say?” I lived my whole life in that fear and perhaps I didn’t see myself as a failure, but the world would have, and my parents were not having that. Every time the topic came up, it was clear that if I took off the scarf, I would be a disappointment. 

The thing about disappoints and expectations is that they are unavoidable. It took me a long time to understand that. The mold that comes with hijab, I didn’t fit anymore. I never fitted that mold, my parents knew that, my siblings knew that, my cousins knew that. It’s not like I was wild or anything but the mere fact that I didn’t fit the description of what society thinks a hijabi should be. The burden of being a certain way was just too much. I hate that in our culture/society we have to be or act a particular way- and if you’re not that way, then people have some words to exchange about you. (However, I do realize this battle was never with the world and I, it was with my self) I wore the hijab and tried vigorously to fit this image of who a hijabi is supposed to be, and every time I went somewhere, I was expected to be someone I was not.

I once got a proposal JUST because the guy knew I wore hijab and had green eyes. It disgusted me. What if I didn’t even pray? He had NO idea who I was, and in that moment I didn’t even know who I was. He said he wanted a religious girl, and my aunt proceeded to say well she’s not “that religious” (that bothered me too) and his mother said, we don’t care, we want a hijabi. It saddened me that it was okay for hijab to be just a “trend” that it didn’t matter who I was, and what I believed, as long as I looked the part. 

Labeling people for what they lack is shameful. I struggled with this for many years and finally I came to a point in my life that if I wasn’t wearing the scarf for God, then I shouldn’t be wearing it. If you do things for the world, for people, and not yourself then you have it all wrong. I get ignorant questions all the time, “oh, is it because you wanted to show your hair?” for me, wearing a scarf was never difficult, I always had girls tell me, “oh my god, hijab suits you so well!” I’m grateful that for me, not once was hijab ever about appearance (because thats obviously the point) that part came easy to me. I started hijab in an era when there were no hijab tutorials, just me and a plain black scarf and two safety pins. It was the internal struggle that I couldn’t push away. Who am I? Who do I want to be? What do I want to portray as a person? I commend thirteen year old Fatima for sticking to her haste decision, I tried, I tried with every fiber of my being- but unveiling myself this past year has made me even stronger and I have never felt more like myself. 

And before anyone puts their judge-y pants on, just remember a sin that humbles you is WAY better than a good deed that makes you arrogant.

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