Modest Fashion Goes Mainstream: Macy’s Carries Verona Collection

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On the heels of luxury hijabs breaking into mainstream fashion news, we have the exciting news of the retailer Macy’s announcing that they will now carry modest fashion brand Verona Collection online. The modest fashion brand, founded by Lisa Vogl and Alaa Ammuss in 2015, has quickly grown into a powerhouse brand with a free-standing store in Florida.

Verona Collection is also a 2017 Macy’s Emerging Vendor success story from the Macy’s Workshop. “The Workshop at Macy’s is an exclusive retail vendor development program designed to give select high potential minority- and women-owned businesses the tools to better succeed and sustain growth in the retail industry.”

According to Huffington Post, the Verona Collection line at Macy’s e-commerce site will feature a variety of hijabs or headscarves, as well as modest tops, pants, dresses and abayas.

As a Muslim blogger who personally knows Lisa, I am THRILLED for her successes. For now, this line will only be carried on Macy’s website, but I hope this inspires Macy’s to start carrying this line in physical stores soon! What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Hijab Trend: “Luxury” Hijabs

Haute Hijab Luxury Collection Celestial Silver Hijab
Haute Hijab Luxury Collection Celestial Silver Hijab

Salaam my lovelies! In December, I had the pleasure of meeting Melanie Elturk who is the CEO of Haute Hijab to do an in-office customer interview in New York. I sat down with Alice (Customer Experience at Haute Hijab) and Melanie. It was a heartwarming experience filled with laughs and experiences that only hijabis can understand.

At the time, I was bemoaning how there was a lack of hijabs for special occasions like graduations, birthdays, weddings, and baby showers. I remember how Alice and Melanie glanced at each other with knowing smiles, but they stayed mum about the impending launch of the Haute Hijab Luxury Collection. Sorry, no exclusives here! For an exclusive on the Haute Hijab Luxury Collection line, please check out Pop Sugar Fashion.

Fast forward to this week, and now I know what those smiles were for! The line is just gorgeous. The pricing is definitely not for the faint of heart as it starts from $250 and goes up to $325. I love the intricate beading, crystals, and material and this goes into the price. According to Pop Sugar as told by Melanie:

The Muslim community is, number one, highly educated. And, as a result, pretty wealthy. Our specific customer base has a medium household income of $90K. She has a high educational degree: PhD or masters. We were hearing: ‘My husband is a doctor or I am a doctor, and we always have these formal affairs. I have nothing to wear. I look so frumpy, and I just pale in comparison to everyone who is there.’

But it did resonate a point. Why are there no hijabs that have the detail and quality as clothing does for special occasions? Why are hijabis wearing plain cotton hijabs with their wedding dresses or for their graduations? Shouldn’t there be a better option?

I will congratulate Melanie on producing a beautiful line with stunning marketing pieces such as a flawless teaser video, promotional images, and press. It is the first time I ever saw publications like Pop Sugar or Vogue feature a hijab line and I hope its a trend that won’t go away.

While this may be the first collection that is mass produced for a luxury line, I wanted to share some other brands who are rocking the luxury hijab trend on a smaller scale. Take a look and let me know if I miss any!

Framed People

Framed People Cotton Feathers Hijab in Gray

Framed People is a San Francisco based hijab line that features luxuriously designed hijabs with feathers and other whimsical details.

Framed People is a hijab line that is dedicated to sourcing ethically produced fabrics that are unique, stylish, and comfortable. Their Feather Hijab features cotton feathers versus feathers from an animal which means your conscience can be at rest. For a special occasion, I would recommend the Chif Chif Piping hijab with its beautiful metallic piping. The hijabs range in pricing from $20-$40.

Inayah

INAYAH-BRIDAL1091

This is the LINE I turn to for a hijab that makes me feel special. The heft of the material, the stitching at the edges, all of it is detailed and these hijabs last forever. I just wish they had a little more embellishment. The hijabs range in pricing from $5.99-$45

Vela Scarves

Vela Scarves Platinum Flower Petal Hijab from the Resort Collection

Vela Scarves Platinum Flower Petal Hijab from the Resort Collection

Vela Scarves is a line based in Los Angeles by Marwa Atik. We have known about Marwa’s easy California style for a while and even featured her on a Follow Friday post back in 2013!

Since then, she has grown her hijab line to be a rare combination of high fashion and modesty and it shows. Marwa pores over countless materials and handpicks all of her hijab embellishments. Look at the detail on the Flower Petal Hijab from the Vela Scarves Resort Collection!

According to Vela Scarves, this is the Vela Girl: “She’s fun, modest, intellectual, and is deeply involved in the community. She is well-versed on the latest trends but knows how to make them suit her. The Vela girl knows her decision to be veiled does not fit the mold, but she embraces the opportunity to make her distinction beautiful.”

Some popular Vela Scarves girls are Noor Tagouri who wore this bespoke Vela Scarves hijab featured below for her wedding festivities and Neelam Hakeem who was recently seen dropping lines on P. Diddy’s Instagram.

Noor-Tagouri-_shabster

Vela Scarves range in price from $10.00-$72.95.

Hijab Couture

Hijab Couture is an online boutique based in Houston, Texas which provides custom designed hijabs, headpieces, and veils for weddings or special occasions. It is a boutique by Affaf Nusratullah who not only designs and makes each piece by hand, but she is a makeup artist as well! What a talent mA. Her pricing ranges from $49-$200+.

Hijab Couture 1

Diversity in Modest Fashion?

Modanisa Offers A Look Into the Lack of Diversity in Modest Fashion
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Salaam my lovelies! I hope that you kicked off the New Year with some new resolutions. I started with one of my own: to keep on blogging. Here is why:

The recent Dubai Fashion Week sponsored by Turkish modest fashion line Modanisa was exciting, but also puzzling. Hijabi fashion blogger Manal aka Chinutay shared how she was disappointed to see that there was a lack of diversity on the runway and among the modest fashion influencers asked to attend the show. Here is what she had to say:

“First off, what was obvious was not who was flown out but who wasn’t! I myself (apologies if I missed any influencer), was the only black woman to be flown out and participate out of MANY beautiful influential black women. Whilst there, I’ve had our sisters (WOC who live in Dubai and purchased tickets) come up to me anbd ask me what was very apparent…’Where are all the other black bloggers/influencers?'”

The struggle for diversity in the Muslim fashion world is very real. It seems that the ideal Muslim fashion blogger is thin, light-skinned and very much like an actual fashion blogger with a hijab on top of her head. While these bloggers work very hard to create beautiful content, there are so many more of us who attempt to shed light on the fact that Muslims are a billion-plus deep population with so many more faces and bodies.

For me, it has always been a struggle to find modest fashion clothing that will actually fit and flatter a curvy body type. Admit it, how many of you even follow a plus-size or curvy modest fashon blogger? Yet, we have countless women who wear hijab that fall into this category! How important is it to see a valid representation of the runway of what the actual Muslim population looks like?

This is why I am starting back up on blogging. We NEED diversity. We need more women of color modest fashion influencers. We need more body positivity in the Muslim fashion world. This is my personal truth and I hope that it speaks to your personal truth too. For far too long, we have been silent, but I hope that my blog inspires you to embrace who you are too. I hope that you embrace my personal journey and start your own to love yourself the way that you were made.

Love to you all.

Online Shopping Review: Kohl’s

Salaams my lovelies! It has been a while. I have been trying to be more “in the moment” when it comes to spending time with my family, I have been working on my fitness routine (more to come!) and lastly, just working. As a working mom, it has always been a challenge to publish blog posts, but I promise that I will get more consistent.

One reason I don’t publish as often is that I want to ensure that what I am writing about actually benefits you and that it makes sense from a Hijabilife perspective. I have been looking at sharing things that I personally enjoy versus promotion. Anyhow, with that being said, I will say that as a curvy hijabi, it is super challenging to find flattering trendy clothes.

How do I even begin to describe how I feel like I belong in a Chiquita banana ad when I wear bell sleeves? However, in spite of my initial reservations, I could not help but be tempted by this gorgeous chambray top by LC Lauren Conrad from Kohl’s.

Minara

I have never really shopped at Kohl’s before, but I was convinced by a friend to shop there and that line is amazing! In the picture above, I am wearing head to toe LC by Lauren Conrad line. The top and leggings are both affordable and modest fashion-friendly. The line featured clothing that is double-stitched and from beautiful fabrics. Imagine trendy clothing at Forever 21 prices with the quality of a Banana Republic line.

I ordered my pieces online since I know the selection is wider and I know my sizing. I wear a size Large for this particular line (it runs bigger than most lines). That means that if you wear a Medium, you may want to try a size Small. The shipping was fast and easy and you get email notifications with tracking numbers and an ETA. If you are looking for some spring clothing on a budget, give Kohl’s a try!

Please note: I was not compensated by Kohl’s or LC Lauren Conrad for this review. I purchased all pieces reviewed in this post.

Hijabi Fitness: How To Get Started

Salaam my lovelies! It’s been too long since I blogged last, but I have some exciting news. I have written in the past about my fitness journey, but I wanted to share my progress. I had a baby almost TWO years ago and for some reason, the second time it has been a challenge to shed that extra baby weight. That being said, it can be done.

I think the hardest part for me was that it is so easy to get overwhelmed with how to even start. What gym do I join? What classes do I take? What meal plan should I follow? In a world full of options, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

I was lucky enough to have a fellow mom be my workout buddy last summer and do a boot camp called Training For Warriors. Once I got in, it was small consistent steps that have really made all the difference. I still have a ways to go, but I wanted to share my fitness journey so that I can inspire you if you are a novice.

Start With Clean Eating

I know I said fitness journey, but you can’t be fit if you are eating junk. But what is clean eating? It can mean a lot of different things for different people. For me, I am an apple shape. Which means that I carry a LOT of my weight as visceral fat in my stomach. This shape is more prone to diabetes, hypertension and other bad diseases. If you are an apple shape, it is easy to despair, but you CAN get into shape.

Once you pinpoint your body shape, you can figure out how your body metabolizes food. For me, it was all about that rice and other carbs. I replaced my rice with riced broccoli (Trader Joe’s has a readymade one) or with riced cauliflower. I eat a lot of lean protein and salads.

Meal Plan

Invest in Tupperware containers. Start with 10 lunchbox size ones, 10 half-sized ones and 20 minis. Spend Sunday thinking about what you want to eat for the week and shop for those meals and snacks. Keep in mind that I meal plan for the week, but I cook food to last till Wed. Then I cook again for Wed-Sat. For me, I like baking omelette cups and banana nut cups for breakfast, shrimp scampi with zoodles and grilled chicken breast with salad for lunch. For dinner, we mix it up. I sometimes do meatballs, sprouted bread grilled cheese with avocado and more.

REALLY Start A Food Diary

This was key for me. I was not understanding why I gained so much weight, but when I saw just how many calories some of my “healthy” snacks were, I knew I had to change it up a bit. For example, one of my yogurt faves was more like a dessert clocking in at almost 300 calories! Add the granola and other additions and it was almost 1/3 of my recommended caloric intake. Yikes!

You can also see patterns. When did I reach for my snacks? Was I sleep deprived? Was I feeling stressed? Once you see your triggers, you can really work to change those default habits.

Start Exercising with High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT means a combinations of max cardio with resistance (weights) training. This can be anything from jumping jacks, burpees and battle ropes mixed with push ups, tricep dips and more. This will WORK. If you are like me when I started, you may not do a lot. I started off doing about 5 pushups on my knees. You will eventually get to 15 pushups or more on your toes. It is a slow process. It took time to gain the weight and it will take time to take that weight off.

Start Using Protein Powder

Using protein powder to make shakes was a game changer for me. I HATED shakes and smoothies. It turns out that I really just hated the bananas in the shakes. I actually make really delicious shakes using protein powder, almond butter and almond milk. I mix up the fruit combinations and add green powder to the mix too. It is so GOOD. It is like a milk shake, but it helps you rebuild your muscles from all of that resistance training.

Stick with Friends Who Encourage You

Let your friends and family know that you are starting this new fitness journey. I am the luckiest lady to have a husband who supports me every step of the way. He never complains about our meals and that we don’t have junk in the house. The kids LOVE my healthy snacks too. I have more energy and I am happier too.

These are tips to get you started, but what are your fitness tips? Do you like these tips? Would like to hear more? Let me know in the comments below!

Free Ramadan Printables Round Up

Now that Ramadan is near, it is time to start preparing ourselves mentally and spiritually for Ramadan. I like to prep by adding one more page of Quran daily and also fasting the week prior on Monday and Wednesday (which is the Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH). I should really just fast every week, but I am working on that (I love food more than I should).

Well another thing I do is create a welcoming home for the kids by decorating for Ramadan. It gives us a tradition that the kids look forward to and makes them appreciate what Ramadan is even if they can’t fast yet since they are so young.

A few years ago, I bought a blank banner from Target and spelled RAMADAN KAREEM with peel off sticker letters. However, that turned into a crazy project with an active toddler! So I try to have the decorations ready to place in the home and let the kids pick where they go. Perhaps as they get older, we can get into making decorations together. Path of least resistance, am I right?

One way I decorate on a budget for Ramadan is to actually print free Ramadan printables. Rather than have you all spend your time scouring for the perfect Ramadan printables, I have done the work for you and you can spend that extra time polishing up on your extra ibadah (you’re welcome, please pray for meeeee).

Here are my top picks so that you can decorate your home for Ramadan like a rockstar (or like a Muslim Lauren Conrad Pinterest princess):

Sweet Fajr

Sweet Fajr is a great site for Muslim printables if you are really into that floral, Pinterest bunting style banner stuff. Here is are THREE great free Ramadan Printables that are very girly and floral. 

Sakina’s Design

This Ramadan banner is for the mommy crowd who loves things in primary colors. Kids will love it since it looks so playful! Sakina’s Design has moved to a different website, so their older banners are no longer available.

A Little Pixel

This Ramadan banner is more crescent moon themed and perfect for anyone who wants that authentic Ramadan decor feel.

Modern Eid

Let’s say you are not into even printing out a DIY Ramadan banner. There is hope for us tired mamas. You can just buy a Ramadan banner from Modern Eid. They have a variety of fun Ramadan decor such as hipster gold foil, marbleized balloons and more!

In My Studio

Okay, I cheated here, but this website is amazing for free Eid printables! This graphic pink and black banner for Eid is just too cute. This is a great site for anyone who is looking for Eid printables that are stylish and timeless. She even has a cute Ramadan countdown calendar that you can print now.

What free printables do you love to use for Ramadan? Let me know in the comments below. I really hope my round up helps you get ready for Ramadan!

 

Why I Won’t Stop Wearing Hijab

Woman wearing Aab chiffon hijab

Woman wearing Aab chiffon hijab

The world has been rocked by so many sad events that has shook the Muslim community at large. Namely, the Paris attack and now San Bernandino has many Muslims worried about violent backlash. I can see why when we have presidential candidates like Trump calling for a registered database of Muslims that is reminiscent of how Hitler maintained Jewish identifiers for the Jewish community during Nazi Germany. I want to let you know that you are not alone if you are scared. I am scared with you.

I have worn hijab ( head scarf) for a very long time (I am talking since 1994!). Back then, I was told by very well meaning people not to wear it since it was right on the heels of the World Trade Center bombing and I could be the target of hateful people. While I have encountered hateful people in my life, I will say that I have never once regretted my decision to wear hijab (head scarf). I have been discriminated against in school, for jobs and in other matters. Why would I do that to myself? Because I believe in it.

When 9/11 happened, I still wore my hijab. I still remember the angry red faced man who screamed at me to go back home in the Lowes parking lot in Buffalo shortly after that. However, I never lost my resolve to wear hijab because it had slowly became a part of who I am. I had worn it for so long, it had become a part of me. I still believe in it.

However, it seems times are changing and things are the worse than they have ever been. Islamophobic campaigns by Pamela Geller and other hate think tanks are succeeding.

I don’t know if it is because I have kids now, but I am aware that my wearing hijab doesn’t just affect me, it affects my family. If I am with my kids and wearing hijab, I am putting my kids at risk. This thought frightens me more than anything. For the first time in my adult life, I considered taking my hijab off. Yes, I know to fear God over God’s creation, but you are also supposed to keep yourself safe first and foremost.

But when I even thought about taking off my hijab, I just could not bring myself to. It would mean that Islamophobes succeeded in terrorizing me. It would mean that they had succeeding in changing my behavior based on their hate. I am not advocating that you parade around in a face veil in the rough part of town, but I refuse to take my hijab off. Will I wear a hat over hijab while I drive? Perhaps. Will I be careful and carry mace? Yes. But for now, these haters can’t take my hijab off. But they can’t change what I believe in and hijab in something I believe in.

 

 

Hijabi Beauty: The Lowdown on Baking Makeup

Baking Makeup

It may look silly, but baking your makeup leaves you with a flawless and creaseless makeup look. Photo of Heidi Hamoud

Like most Southeast Asian girls, I have been blessed with panda undereye circles that always get worse with less sleep. As a mom of TWO kids under the age of 5, it is safe to say that I never get enough sleep. So the panda eyes are in effect on a regular basis. And no, I don’t look as cute as panda does with them. When people say “wow you look tired!” we all know that they mean you look like crap. And no one intentionally wants to look bad. So I have come to rely on makeup to get me looking like a human again. Perhaps one day I can venture out bare faced (when the kids finally sleep the night…which is looking like it could be when they reach college). In the meantime, I will try my best to fake looking rested with makeup.

While we may have gotten the concept of contour (creating a chiseled look with dark matte powder) and strobing (using luminescent creams or powders to highlight) down, there is yet a new makeup trend to try. It is called “baking” and unlike contouring (which looks crazy and is hard to do for me), this makeup trend works. Baking your makeup is when you use layers of powder set by the warmth of your skin to create a creaseless, flawless finish to your skin.

I was skeptical at first. Wouldn’t that just make me look like I was doused in flour? But, after trying it, I can say that no one said I looked “tired” and I was asked by a few people if the baby was “sleeping” through the night. Noooooooo I wish! But clearly baking fooled people into thinking I was getting a good night’s rest. So if you want to look rested, here are my steps to baking your makeup:

Hydrate Your Skin:
This may sound counterintuitive, but your skin should always be clean and moisturized before you bake your makeup. I really recommend Neutrogena Hydroboost Cream. It just drenches your skin in moisture.

Use a Primer
I use a primer because I am too busy to reapply my makeup (ha who has the time?). I use a pea sized amount. I use the Smashbox Primer, but a drugstore dupe is the NYX Primer.

Add Concealer
I don’t actually wear foundation. If you do wear foundation, put that on and then add concealer. I basically just put a thin layer of concealer that has been thinned out with argan oil to create a diffused lovely coverage of my panda eyes. I use Maybelline Master Concealer.

Add Another Layer of Concealer
Go back and add another layer. This is when I add a layer of Kevyn Aucoin Sensuous Skin Enhancer (which is like spackle). Make sure to pat this layer on so it doesn’t smudge the previous layers!

Dust on Translucent Powder
THIS is where the magic happens. PACK on a lot of translucent powder on the concealer. I use MAC Prep and Prime Finishing Powder.

Bake
Take a damp sponge and dip it back in the translucent powder. Dab it over the powdered area. Let it sit for at least 3 minutes. I typically leave it on while I do my eye makeup.

Dust Off Powder
Dust off the excess powder with a brush and voila! You should have rested, creaseless looking eyes!

Do any of you bake your makeup? What are your tips for this technique? Let me know in the comments below.