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Friday, July 3, 2015

Special Eid Offer

Ramadan Kareem dear Hijabitopians!

Hope you are all well and enjoying the benefits of this blessed month.  Can you believe we are already halfway?

I'm sure many of you have started preparing for Eid.  To help you with your Eid hijab style needs, Myra is offering Hijabitopia readers a special Eid discount from now thru July 20th with free ground shipping on most items within in the US.  All you need to do is enter the code "hijabitopia" at checkout.


Click here to go to Myra's website.

Happy Eid shopping!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A spring-time MUST have!

Who's ready for winter to be over?  I know I am!  Bright spring colors and warmer temperatures make me happy.  So does spring fashion!

Zara has the PERECT spring cardigans that are oh so modest and fashionable too!  For 39.90 they are a STEAL!  The possibilities with this cardigan are endless.  It comes in mink, ink blue, and black. Get yours here before they're all gone!








Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best shopping tip ever!

Have you ever gone to a store, found that PERFECT top of your dreams, and wanted to cry because you wished it was just a tad longer?  Well, worry no more fellow hijabistas!  Many stores offer a tall option, meaning that the top you like will be slightly longer than the generic sizes they have available.  Now, in my eyes, this is a WIN-WIN situation.  The only downside is that you would have to order your desired item online, because most stores don't always carry tall sizes.

A great example of this is the below sequin side-stripe tunic I recently purchased from J.Crew (on sale!).  While it's already long, I felt that if it was just a bit longer, it would look so much better.  And I was right!  Just order your regular size in the tall length, and it should be a perfect fit.


Remember, other stores offer tall sizing as well, including Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy.  You may have to order online, but many times if you order online via a sales associate, you don't have to pay shipping.  Another great tip!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Our favorite time of year...

Can you guess why this is our favorite time of year?  If you guessed because of the after Christmas sales, then you guessed correctly, my dears!  Here's some of the oh-so-hijab-friendly goodies we scored and some we have serious crushes on.

Let's start with H&M.  Huge sale going on here.  We love this black simple hooded maxi dress.  There are endless possibilities with this piece.  Dress it up, dress it down, or lounge around in it.  You can't go wrong for $10!!!  Did I mention that this is a great DEALIE-O?!


We also love this extra long hoodie.  Perfect for busy day when you're running errands.  Modest, chic, affordable!  You most definitely cannot go wrong with this wardrobe staple for $25!


Now on to Forever 21.  We found an amazing long black blazer that we absolutely LOVED!!  The perfect hijab-friendly length, and oh-so chic.  The quality was also AMAZING! (I know because I saw it in the actual store.)  You're probably thinking good quality and Forever 21 are not synonymous.  Trust me when I say this piece is FABULOUS!  It's a wool-polyester-silk blend, and from the Premium Collection.  For $49.99, you cannot find something this amazingly made.  


Now on to Zara, one of our favorites.  We love how they have so many tunic-length options.  Here's a poncho-style sweatshirt that we adore.  For $39.99, you can't go wrong.  Act fast because this is in the  stock clearance section, meaning there are only a few left.  


And finally, this poncho, for $79.99, we love.  Black and white with a pop of red.  So elegant and chic.  


All of these can be ordered online.  So if you want to avoid the crowds, click on the links above, add to cart, and proceed.  

Happy shopping!!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Muslim Girls Love Lipstick Too


I used to wear heavy make-up, (I still do at times) and I used to LOVE wearing lipstick. All. The. Time. My favorite colors were purple, plum and dark red by Christian Dior. I have to admit, they had the most luscious, beautifully pigmented, nicely hydrating formulas. After embracing Islam, even though I knew that wearing heavy make-up was discouraged, I couldn't just go cold turkey. I was addicted! I just loved the continuous moisturizing effect, the feeling of creaminess, and of course the splash of color on the lips. I used to apply it ever so precisely to define the contour and to make my pout a little bit more voluptuous…
To me lipstick was just a simple accessory. A tiny piece of make-up that held magical powers to quickly transform the ‘sleepy’ looking me, into ‘awake’ and ‘confident’ me. It just gave me a sense of a ‘put together’ girl. Most of the women in my family used to wear it, including the ones I looked up to. It was just a natural thing for me to do, no second thoughts. It didn't mean much more than deciding what color would complement my complexion the best…
During my travel to the Middle-East, I had the pleasure to meet many extraordinary Muslim girls, who were especially wrapped up with beautification of their CHARACTER, rather than their outer beauty. Yet amazingly enough, their faces were glowing with captivating beauty. The peaceful, cheerful and ever so polite young ladies were grabbing every opportunity to make their family and friends around them happy. Their grace and immaculate manners were further beautifying their personalities, something so rare to find in other parts of the world I've been to. They weren't concerned with the hottest shade of the eye-shadow, or latest ‘long-lasting’ formula of lipstick. They were focused on everlasting beauty of the heart.
The realization of the TRUE BEAUTY made me want to compete in this kind of beauty… I didn’t want to wear lipstick anymore. However, it took some time to quit. The addiction was strong, but I knew I had to do something, so I resorted to a lightly tinted balm and chap-sticks when I was going out. It worked! I was able to trick my senses and still had the nice hydration while on my way to ‘recovery’!
One of my favorite lip stain/balm is the Chubby Stick Baby Tint by Clinique. It gives me all the moisture I need with a slightest tint, that’s really unnoticeable.
Islamic teachings dictate, we shouldn't beautify ourselves, if we know that there might be a possibility of coming across a non-mahram, meaning a man who is not a member of our immediate family. (For more details on mahrams please go HERE.) The Muslim women are encouraged to beautify themselves inside of their houses for their husbands. So go ahead, take this privilege and impress him once in awhile, and wear it freely to all girls parties too.
‘Using cosmetics such as lipstick and blush is alright, especially for a married woman.’ (Fataawa Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, part 2, p. 828.)
‘If a woman does not appear wearing that in front of strange men (non-mahrams) and it does not contain any impure substances such as pig extracts, and it is not harmful to the skin, then it is permissible, especially in order to beautify oneself for one’s husband. The basic principle concerning adornments is that they are permissible. And Allaah knows best.’ (from Islamqa.info; entire post HERE.)

If you are faced with the ‘lipstick addiction’ and would like to break up, here are a few things you can do:
  • be a trendsetter, the first among your friends to go ‘bare-lips’
  • if you are sincere about it, pray and ask Allah to make this ‘painful break-up’ an easy one
  • trick your lips into thinking that they are covered with luscious lipstick by slathering some lip balm
  • surround yourself with people who support your decision
  • if you are married, talk to your husband to find out what he thinks about it
  • follow your heart
Here are a few more tips for the Muslimahs regarding beauty, circulating the Internet:
  • For beautiful face and skin, make wudu (ablution) before praying 5 times daily
  • For beautiful lips, speak words of truth and praises of Allah
  • For beautiful hands, use them to do good work for family, community and charity
  • For beautiful eyes, take time to look around in wonder at Allah’s Creation
  • For beautiful hair, cover modestly and show only to people who have the right to see it

WHAT DOES LIPSTICK MEAN TO YOU? ARE YOU ADDICTED, OR WEAR IT ONLY FOR THE SPECIAL PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE?

I love you Girls! Stay focused!
MGiL
Originally posted on MuslimGirlinLove.com

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On the way to a PhD. Or Not!





A friend posted a link to an excellent article titled "Parenting your way to a PhD". At first I was going to just share the article, but then I thought why not write my own story, and maybe I'll kill two birds with one stone (not that I would kill any birds, I love birds. I haven't posted here in a while, and figured I could use this space to share some thoughts. :-) 

So here goes my story...

It's been only a few months into the semester, and how many meltdowns have I had? ( I can't count really). But my family and friends keep motivating me saying, "Everyone goes through it.  It's a process!" And unfortunately, in my household giving up is not an option. 

In the meanwhile, I'm still trying to adjust since, I'm a total Type A.  I think I can do it all. But I'm finding out that it's harder for everyone else to get used to my new schedule.  

One of the questions I get asked almost bi-monthly:

"Honey, why can't we go to my friend's for dinner?  They've been inviting us for the last 2 years!"

When I'm down and think I'm ready to quit I ask a couple of friends for a I-wanna-forget-about-my-whole-life girls night out. I go out for an hour or two, dump all my I'm-gonna-be-a-loser-I-think-I'm- gonna-drop-out-I-am-the-worst-wife-worst-mom-worst-aunt worries on them. Then I... Laugh... Cry...Laugh and cry at the same time (oh yes, it's possible)
Go to sleep... Wake up...and... Repeat! 

Then the next day the question comes...

"Honey, if you have time to go out with your friends why can't we go over to my friends house for dinner?" :-)

Hi, My name is Elif. I'm a Type A and I, I, I can't do it all. I believed that I could do it all for the last 38 years. But I have come to terms that I can NOT do it all.

People have no idea what it means to do a PhD unless they have one. It's like being a mom. You can not explain to someone who has never gone through the stages of pregnancy and delivery or raising kids what it's like to be a mom. They just have to go through it. That's what I'm learning. 

With a household full of PhDs and MDs, and OVER achievers, I've been exposed to what it's like to do a PhD  but NEVER realized what it entails till I started my own journey. 

I'm trying to adjust. Or pretending to. But I've at least learned to be able to say "no" to people right away. 

I've already got my line memorized, in case you wanna ask me for something :-)

It goes something like this...

"My sincere apologies, but I can't. I'm a full time PhD student and am responsible for 7 people in my household as a mom/guardian/aunt/wife/cook/tutor/chauffeur etc (the list seems endless but the "etc" will have to suffice for the rest of my titles), I only have time for school, and family. This is all I can do right now"

Some people think I'm a snob.

Others are sweet, caring and understanding. 

When things get rough, I repeat to myself. "It's a process. It's a process. I'll get through it." 

When things get even rougher I email my sister and she says, "Chill! It's a process, it's a process..."

As I'm trying to rush-in a paper, having gotten only 4 hours of sleep within 48 hours, my daughter walks into the study asking for help with her Arabic homework.

At first I get frustrated, because I'm exhausted, my brain has already given up on me, and to imagine that my brain can think in Arabic... Well... Yah... This is so not happening! 

But my beautiful 13 year old who is trying to translate an ayah from the Qur'an is not at fault. She is up with me at 12:00am trying to end her endless 8th grade homework so she can go to bed too.

I stop. I help her. Give her a kiss good night. And, continue writing.

5:00 am my best friend whatsapps me: "Elif, I didn't see your paper in my email, I panicked, did you send it for me to edit?"

"No. I'm not done yet :-(",  I message her back

Now I'm all emotional because I'm tired, I wanna cry. "What a great friend, she wakes up from her sleep to check on me. It's not even time for Fajr yet. But she's right there with me!"

In fact if it weren't for whatsapp, I'm not sure if I would have made it through the last few months. It's my first semester for God's sake and I'm complaining as if it's my fourth. 

I guess I'll get used to it. Or learn how. And my whatsapp buddies will just keep listening to me complain my way to a PhD :-)))

10:00 am I manage to finish my paper. Shower, get dressed and drive to school to turn in my paper.

I love my Professor, and I love my class. But, why in the world would I have to drive to school during Thanksgiving break, when we don't have class, to physically turn it in to his office? Has he heard of email? :-)

Anyway, I'm just happy I made it there safe and sound and turned it in.  Now I can go on with the rest of my life. "What life?," laughs the voice inside my head :-)

2:00pm

I rush in to Costco to quickly pick up groceries because Ms. Little-I-Can-Do-It-All wants to make a nice Thanksgiving lunch. ("Good luck!" laughs the voice inside my head.)

I speed thru Costco, packed with hundreds of people, throw the groceries into the cart trying not to run people over, and make it to the register. After I hand in my membership card, the man asks.

"Did you get this card today?"

"No?" I reply, thinking, is my membership payment due?

I'm in no mood to converse, but now he got me all curious and I can't help but follow up with, "Why are you asking?"

"Because you're wearing the same clothes in the photo on your card" he says.

"Ha ha ha!," I laugh. Actually, I wear the same clothes every day!" I blurt out. "I got the card 4 years ago!" 

O-M-G-! I so did not say that! I think to myself. I'm too tired to explain to him that I have not worn the same clothes for the last 4 years everyday :-))) But, I just let it go. 

3:20pm 

As I sit in the carpool line waiting to pick up my kids (and 2 other families kids) from school, I try to call the library to extend the due date of the books that are due. 

The lady asks for the last 7 digits of my library card.

Since there are way more than 7 digits, I first count the last 7 and begin reading them to her from (right to left, as you would read in Arabic). The librarian says, "But that doesn't sound like anything like our numbers, are you sure you have the right location?".

I laugh with embarrassment. 

"Oops, sorry. Hehehe. When you said last 7 digits, I read them from the end to the beginning." 

Then she asks. "Can I have your name?"

"Yes. It's E-L-I-F. 'F' as in London," I say proudly, only to realize the word 'London' does not begin with an 'F' :-). Since people can never understand how my name is spelled, especially over the phone, I always spell it out as 'E' as in England, 'L' as in London. 'I' as in India, and 'F' as in Florida. But this time I got it all wrong.

I catch myself in time to burst out another embarrassing laugh. 

"Sorry, I meant 'F' as in Florida," I say.

The nice lady extends my books, by the time I reach to the front of the carpool line. It's only 3:30pm and the rest of my day is just beginning :-)


8:00pm

"Honey, my friend just called. He's inviting us over for Thanksgiving dinner. What should I say?"

"But, honey! Remember I called and cancelled our invitation to R's house so we could have Thanks giving lunch at home as a family and maybe watch a movie."

"But we're having lunch. This is a dinner invitation." 

:-)

Inhale. Exhale. and Repeat. "It's a process, It's a process..."

And if you care to know, we are going over to my husband's friend's house for dinner. Oh, No, it's not the friend who invited us for Thanksgiving dinner. And it's not the friend who has been waiting for the last 2 years.  It's another friend who invited us in September, but I agreed we could go on the last day of finals, mid December, instead. 


Hi. My name is Elif and I think I'm headed for a PhD. 'D' as in Disaster. :-)


Friday, November 14, 2014

Halal Poetry for the Heart




It's so hard to find anything to read these days that has an intellectual context and does not use bad language. I mean, it's one thing for us adults, but what do our children read? The toddlers have a small number of options to read from, not that most of those are not full of silly fairy tales, but they still have a larger option that does not use improper language.

There is a lack of literature for our Muslim teenagers to read. My daughter, who most of you probably already know, loves to read. Yet as a mom, I have no option of offering her books that have a good message, or proper language, because there are NONE! I know all her friends also read profusely. 

Luckily, Janna also loves to write. I had told her a long time ago that I would like to share her writing here on our blog because I enjoy reading it as an adult, and there are so many Muslim girls or boys her age who could take advantage of her stories.

Anyway, long story short, Janna now writes her stories on a site called Wattpad. This site does not allow us to copy the works, but we are required to provide a link.

Janna writes regularly on Wattpad and as a mom, Alhamdulillah I am so proud of her work and her talent. I love seeing her strong Islamic values portrayed in her writing.

Just to give you a background in case you don't read her bio before you read the poems, Janna is a hifz student whose heart has been touched by Qur'an in many ways. Thus, many of her poems quotes an ayah, or has a title related to the five daily prayers. One of her poetry books is about a Muslim homeless girl, and the challenges she faces. 

Please share her work with your kids, or anyone who enjoys good, clean writing with a wholesome message.

Profile: @fadedblue

Link to one of her poems from the "Faded Blue Book Chapter of "Fajr" in which she writes about the daily challenges of a homeless Muslim girl. 

http://www.wattpad.com/78755803-faded-blue-fajr

Jumaah Mubarak, and my love to all...

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Can You Do to Be a More Beautiful Person


As'salamu Alaykum dear HijabiTopians!

I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with you through this beautiful blog of our lovely Islamic Fashion Designer, Sister Elif Kavakci.

Don't we all love fashion, glitter, beauty? But we should never forget that beauty is not just about the external features of our persons. It goes deeper than that. It's the character, the manners, the heart.

Do you often struggle with finding the ability to be kind to others while feeling tired and irritated with daily struggles of life?  Do you ever ask yourself: am I kind to MYSELF? What do I mean by kind to yourself? I mean care enough to pay attention to your own physical and spiritual needs. Once you are kind to yourself, your entire attitude towards life and fellow humans changes too.

As Muslims we are obligated to pray five daily prayers, which should take care of our spirituality. Well, does it? Everyday? Not for me... unfortunately. Sometimes, as I am praying, going through the prayer with my body, but not with my heart. I struggle to achieve the true connection with Allah Almighty. The Satan is working his hardest to divert my concentration during this time.

Working on improving our prayers, listening to Islamic lectures (here for an example), reading the Qur'an or the translation of the Qur'an, supplicating and dhikr (remembrance of Allah) may help us a lot. It all brings more contentment to the soul.

"Only in remembrance of Allah (swt) will your heart find peace" Qur'an 13:28



Here is an excellent post on how to improve khushu (humility) in our salah (prayer), which leads to successful and fulfilling connection with out Maker Allah Almighty.

We are also obligated to take care of our bodies. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh said, that the best gift from Allah after imaan (faith), is health.

The final messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad, pbuh mounted the pulpit, then wept and said, "Ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health." Related in Tirmidhi 

Aren't we supposed to appreciate our health, never take it for granted and care of it by taking care of our bodies as well? Connection with Allah, the certainty and health go hand in hand to achieve well-being. So what else can we do to keep our bodies in a good shape?
  • Eat halal food, and that what is beneficial, in a measured manner.
  • Follow with a health practitioner if we fell sick.
  • Ensure adequate sleep.
  • Be physically active.
  • Reduce stress, etc.

All of the above are important steps to a healthier you, but there is one, which by doing on regular basis can help take care of the rest of them. It is the PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. (More about the benefits of physical activity from Mayo Clinic here.) 

I don't know about you, but I hate working-out, however, truly LOVE the feeling afterwards. Besides elevating my mood and literally making me a better, kinder human, the little use of the muscles balances my hormones, improves the quality of my night sleep, increases my metabolism, encourages healthy eating and reduces stress. How awesome is that!?



If you do not follow a work-out routine for any reason, try to take a walk, go biking or do a few easy exercises at home after fajr prayer.

I began a new fitness series on my own blog, to help us stay motivated and active, the easy way! For starters, the exercises include basic plank, that strengthens your core while shrinking your waist, and lunges that firm and strengthen the lower body.

All you do is investing a few minutes a day for a betterment of you and to becoming a more beautiful person INSIDE AND OUT :)

Love,
Your Sister in Islam,
Muslim Girl in Love

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SALE ALERT!!!



As you know from several posts in the past, we love the Burqini.  Not just any Burqini, but the original one designed by Australian, Aheda Zanetti.  If you haven't yet purchased one, now would be a great time as it's on sale.  They don't go on sale often, so if you haven't gotten yours yet, I strongly suggest you do.  You can get up to 30% off.  You will NOT regret it.

Read this previous post if you're not yet convinced.

Click here to order yours today!



Monday, October 13, 2014

Homemade Vitamin C

No doubt, winter is approaching and along with it, more colds, flues and stuffy noses. Can we help ourselves to feel better, or perhaps prevent getting sick in a first place? Most likely we can, by taking extra vitamin C supplements.
Vitamin C is best known for strengthening the immune system. This potent antioxidant also has many other important roles that control significant aspects of our health. Vitamin C helps detoxify our bodies, protects and promotes healing of all of our cells, and helps us deal with both mental and physical stress. It also supports healthy bacteria in our gut, neutralizes free radicals, is anti viral and anti bacterial, prevents and kills cancer cells, supports healthy skin and organ tissue, and so much more. Most people, especially children, would benefit from more vitamin C.
And of course you know, that the best vitamin C is the one that comes from natural food, not even the best vitamin C tablet would come close. It is far better absorbed and used by your body in its natural state. Did you know that dark leafy vegetables like kale, green and red peppers, broccoli, kiwi, strawberries, and even parsley and cilantro have more vitamin C, than any citrus fruit? Without the skin that is…
Citrus peel is a power house when it comes to antioxidants, rutin, hesperidin, and bioflavonoids. I already listed some health benefits of orange peel in my previous post, and it only touched the tip of the iceberg. Organic citrus peel is very high in vitamin C; 100 g of citrus-peel provides around 130 mg of vitamin C, verses the fruit of an orange provides just 71 mg per 100 g of fruit. Citrus peels also benefit due to enzymes, phytonutrients, and important nutrition we don’t even know about yet.
The best way to use orange peel is to dry and grind it. This way it retains the valuable enzymes, unlike the sweet, yummy candied orange peel, for which recipe I posted here.  (I learned that the heat kills the enzymes, and sugar is actually lowers your immunity.) After eating the fruit you may simply cut the peel in thin strips and allow to dry on your kitchen table for a few days, in a sunny place such as window sill, or in the oven on very low temperature setting. When completely dehydrated you can use your coffee grinder, a powerful blender or food processor to make orange peel powder full of vitamin C! This way you can store it in an air-tight container, or a tight seal jar, for over a year. Add it to your favorite smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt, or sprinkle some in your cereal. One rounded teaspoon should be more vitamin C complex than what your body needs daily, regardless of your size.
Another way to enjoying the orange peel powder is in your tea. Simply sprinkle some into a cup of your favorite tea just a few minutes after brewing. 
How about applying it on your face to enjoy smoother and brighter complexion? By mixing two tablespoons of the powder with 1 tbs of honey, you can make a clarifying facial mask for oily and blemished skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse it of with lukewarm water. It unclogs your pores and delivers the vitamin C straight to the skin. It makes your skin much lighter and and super clean. Love it! (If your skin is dry add a few drops of olive or avocado oil and rinse it of after only 10 minutes.)
Let me know if you are intending to make your own orange peel powder, or already tried it, and how did you like it.
Stay strong, healthy and beautiful. XOXO