Sunday, October 23, 2016

Modest Fashion: Summer/Hot Weather

No, I did not avoid this post due to it's difficulty, although "covering up" and "hot weather" are two phrases which do not naturally belong together! Even as the weather is quickly cooling off here in the Northeast US, I find that it's never too late to offer tips, as this is one of the most difficult seasons in which to dress modestly.

I have to admit much of my summer was spent wearing workout capris and t-shirts, unfortunately. It was boring from a fashion standpoint and it wasn't as modest as I would have liked, but it wasn't bad. That is how I spent the hottest days when I wasn't in work (which required your legs to be covered as it is a lab). If I could have 3 items that I would say are essential for a modest summer wardrobe, they would be:

1. Flowy Pants
Close-fitting clothing seems like a good idea in summer, but actually loose clothing provides room for air flow which = built-in A.C. system. Always a good thing.

2. Loose, long tops/tees
They cover your butt, you can tuck them in (fully, partially) or belt them, and you don't have to worry about pit stains if you sweat (hey, let's be real here). Win win. What's difficult about this is finding the ideal top: not low cut, the perfect amount of flowy-ness without looking like you just bought the wrong size, yet long enough to over more coverage. PLEASE let me know if you find this! The sleeve length doesn't matter to me as you can always wear something over top.

3. Oversized blouses
I LOVE this look. My favorite outfit would be some variation of flowy pants, a loose tee tucked partially into the front of the pants and an open blouse. It was light, loose and comfy--but still cute. It looks chic if you do the partial tuck and add a funky necklace. Or, you can wear a blouse with jeans and call it a day. I love this because a blouse ensures you can have as high of a neckline as you want, if the buttons go all the way up. I try to find shirts that don't wrinkle too easily; ones you can hang to dry or hang after removing from the dryer and not have to iron at all. This makes them a non-hassle to wear.


Check out my other posts in the series so far:

- Spring

Saturday, October 8, 2016

I walked away from my blog. Same old story.

I stopped writing for a while. I got tired of making everything look nice and neat and pretty. Some people love that, but what I really love is writing. Nothing else. So, let this blog look unprofessional, amateur. I just want to write.

Yesterday, a leader at my job talked to us about National Depression Screening Day, which was on October 6th. She did something really brave. She shared that she dealt with depression. She stood up in front of us all and freely spoke about it. She didn't have to. But the support meant a lot to me.

We already know there's a stigma around mental health and mental illnesses; that's nothing new. But it's still there. If you take a day off because you're physically sick, it's automatically accepted. But one day I called off from work because I mentally could not cope with sitting there and acting normal. I of course just told them I "wasn't feeling well" and let them believe I had a cold or something. It was true, I wasn't feeling well. But it was emotionally. And I felt guilty about calling off, as if it wasn't legitimate.

So, I know it doesn't have as much of an impact, saying it online, because lots of people are brave enough to say anything online. But it needs to be said anyway:

I deal with depression and anxiety. It's an ongoing, off-and-on issue and I deal with it. Some days better than others.

I needed to say it because the instinct is to hide it, to pretend you're okay. But for the millions of other people out there that aren't okay, they need to know they're not alone. So this is one form of support you have, if you're one of those people and reading this. I can be there for you. Because I've dealt with it too.

I know what it feels like to be a prisoner in your own mind, to be haunted by your own thoughts.

At night the monsters come out to torture me. 

My monsters are ghosts but their effects are very real. They are thoughts, but the thoughts have twisted their way out of my brain and run loose in my body. They saw at my stomach, slice it into pieces. They scrape away the outside of my intestines. They fill my heart with coals until it stretches fit to burst and then they light the coals on fire. Then they sleekly slide back into my mind and quietly, keenly observe the shackles I have placed upon myself and the destruction that ensues. They watch my soul get eaten away like acid, except I don't die from it, I remain acutely conscious of the smoking, rotting aftermath. 

My thoughts haunt me like ghosts and torture me like I am a spy caught by the enemy. I would like nothing more than to feel nothing, to sink into an abyss of numbing blue, and it is only then that my monsters curl up around my heart like a cat, lulling me into a false sense of the quiet after a storm.

I know what it's like when your mind is your greatest enemy. I don't know your story, and you don't know mine, but I just let you know you're not alone.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Modest Fashion: Spring

This is Part II of my Modest Fashion series. To recap;

I haven't always dressed modestly. In fact, I used to feel pressure to wear low-cut tops and short shorts just because that's what everyone wore and expected you to wear, too. I never actually felt comfortable in that stuff, and now I embrace modest dressing because if anything, it gives me more confidence than before. I appreciate and respect my body, and although sometimes I don't like certain aspects of it, I know it's special and should be treated as such.

Where I live, Spring is all about dressing in layers as it is usually pretty chilly (although occasionally warmer). Layers are perfect for dressing modestly!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Book Review: Her Fearful Symmetry

Title: Her Fearful Symmetry
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Pages: 401
Publication Date: 2009
Also Wrote: The Time Traveler's Wife, The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Adventuress

Her Fearful Symmetry seems to have reviews across the spectrum, with some hating it, some loving it and everything in between. I have to admit, by the time I finished it the first time, I hated ALL of the main characters, if not every character in the book. I hated them for who they were, not for how they were written or anything. No, this book was written extremely well. To elicit such a strong reaction is a mark of how good a writer Niffeneger is. After that, you would think I would put the book down and never look at it again. But no, almost immediately, I reread it. Seriously--I got to the last page, and then turned around and started again. Now It's one of my favorite fiction novels EVER.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Modest Fashion: Winter

I haven't always dressed modestly. In fact, I used to feel pressure to wear low-cut tops and short shorts just because that's what everyone wore and expected you to wear, too. I never actually felt comfortable in that stuff, and now I embrace modest dressing because if anything, it gives me more confidence than before. I appreciate and respect my body, and although sometimes I don't like certain aspects of it, I know it's special and should be treated as such.

A story that really drives this sentiment home for me takes place between Muhammed Ali and his daughters, who one day were dressed immodestly. It is an excerpt from the book, More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali's Life Lessons Through His Daughter's Eyes.

When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father's suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them."

He looked at me with serious eyes. "Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too."

Here are five looks perfect for the Winter season:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Secret Self

I am going to have to burn all my journals before I die.

And not because I write a lot of horrible stuff about people (notice how I said "a lot," which means I may have written some horrible stuff) or have a ton of big secrets (Again: "a ton." How clever). 

But because I believe it's essential to keep at least a small part of yourself unknown to the world. Maybe that's my introversion speaking, but I don't think so. You maintain a sense of self when you can be assured that there is a part of you that belongs only to you. 

This is extremely difficult for me, since my boyfriend probably knows almost every single detail about me (and I him). But even if my journal just contains a different wording of an idea that he already knows, then it's still somehow secret. It's my head on paper. Minus the blood, cerebral spinal fluid and brain matter. 

Some people don't feel the need to commit this gruesome act, but I find that it helps my real brain to feel less cluttered when I journal. It's the muggle version of a pensive.

Whenever I feel a little lost though, all I have to do is look back in my old journals. All my past selves will be there waving up at me, and as long as they don't start talking back I'll know I'm not completely insane. 

I may be crazy but at least I'll know who I am.  


[1] At this point you might be wondering what a picture of a turtle is doing here. It's because turtles can hide and I thought that was symbolic and significant to the subject matter. It's a shame the real reason isn't because I secretly own a collection of turtles and this was my way of hinting about it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A New Beginning: Week of January 4, 2016

I know in reality January 1st means nothing, but it still brings a sense of hope and freshness. As we start the first week of this new year, here are some quotes that have inspired me lately:

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Leading Lady

I have this problem of taking a back seat in my own life. I'm an observer by nature--if you happened to attend a dinner party with me, I'd be the one quietly absorbing the conversation around me--forgetting that I should probably talk once in a while, too.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent 2015

As Christmas approaches, I've been looking for a quiet way to celebrate and appreciate it before it quickly passes. Over the past few years, I haven't been able to really enjoy Christmas and find it's mostly because of the commercialism and stress that often pervades it. Instead of giving in and becoming totally stressed out, I've created a plan for Advent 2015.

Part 1 includes making my own advent candle like the one below:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

For the Love of Books

Before the leaves started to turn, my boyfriend & I decided to take a trip to a bookstore cafe we'd never been to in the area. It was in the middle of an apartment-type complex; something we never would have found if not for Yelp! (If you live nearby Philly area, it's called Wellington Square Bookshop.) Visiting places like this instantly re-awakens my love for books, though that love never really dies.