Palazzos + Sunnies

Fashion

Finally, the weather is hot in Houston, as it should be in the springtime. I went on a lunch date with a blogger friend at Jinya Ramen Bar and we ended up taking a stroll around the River Oaks District after. It was sweltering hot, but I still wanted to dress cute for our date, so I’ve put together a look that’s lightweight and super stylish. I’m obsessed with these floral pants from the Rainbow Shop, which has now become my go-to for palazzos.

To all my women traveling in the summer, these light and airy pants are perfect for you! Not to mention, they would look great for a day at the beach.

IMG_5145

img_4975.jpg

Olive has just become my new favorite color. The gorgeous earthy color goes perfectly with the floral theme, not to mention you can pair it with all neutral colored pants. 

TOP: Ribbed Turtle Neck Sweater from H&M

SCARF: Ribbed Turtle Neck Sweater from Ali Express

IMG_5123

I’m obsessed with this ring bracelet from Charlotte Russe. It gives this outfit the extra flare it needs, and goes so well with my golden sunnies.

BRACELET: Grand Gestures from JustFab

Similar Here

IMG_6751

SHADES: BSX Eyewear from Giordano

Similar Here: Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses from Forever 21

Similar Here: Tinted Aviator Sunglasses from Forever 21

IMG_5136

Champagne satin pumps were the elegant touch this outfit needed. Since I wore pinks and greens, I decided to go with nude pumps to tie it all together.

PANTS: Floral Split Leg Palazzo Pants from Rainbow Shops

Similar Here

HEELS: Champagne Crystal Satin Pumps from Nina Shoes

Similar Here: Contesa Champagne Satin Pumps from Nina Shoes

Similar Here: Felyce Satin Pumps from Nina Shoes

IMG_5081 2

For more outfit ideas follow me on IG @rafafarihah

Your Austin Food Guide

Lifestyle

Recently, I spent a long weekend in Austin, TX with friends and had a spectacular time trying the best food places and most famous tourist attractions. Our main purpose of going to Austin was to attend a conference, but we tried cramming in whatever we could when we had spare time. And trust me, we sure got hungry.

Halal Bros.

halalbros

You must have heard of the famous Halal Bros. that got its start in Brooklyn. They opened up another location on Guadalupe St. in Austin, and I have to say, it’s pretty darn good. They have amazing hummus, falafel, shawarma, gyro, and chicken over rice with a side of fresh salad. The picture above is of the combination plate. And don’t forget to ask for extra white sauce!

Gordough’s

banana

nutty

Gourmet + Doughnuts = Gourdough’s, get it? This little dessert truck is an Austin classic because of how crispy and delicious their donuts are. They have a variety of options on their menu, from The Nutty Valentine with strawberries and nutella, to Black Out with brownies, fudge and chocolate chips.

Lick Honest Ice Creams

lick

Lick-ice-cream-scoop-1024x676 2

Lick Honest Ice creams has fun flavors on their menu like Horchata, and Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint. Ask for their waffle cone!

Popbar

popbar+case+1a+lo

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 4.57.49 PM

What’s cooler than handcrafted gelato on a stick? Create your own popsicle or get a pre-existing combination from the menu and design it with sprinkles, coconut shavings, cotton candy, milk, dark, or white chocolate. Do it for the gram!

Austin Chai Wala

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 5.03.46 PM

paratha.jpg

If you’re on-the-go and looking for an Indian breakfast, this is your best option. Austin Chai Wala is a food truck that serves anything from samosas and kashmiri chai to nutella parathas.

Arpeggio Grill

pizza

This may be a Mediterranean restaurant, but they are well known for their 30-inch halal pizzas. Yes, it’s bigger than your face.

Longhorn Chicken

longhorn

If you’re looking for food past midnight, this is the best place to get halal fried chicken and waffles.

Kylie Jenner Lip Kit Dupes

Beauty

In case you don’t know, I am kind of obsessed with Kylie Jenner’s lip kits. I have been trying to get my hands on them for a while now, but the moment I was about to hit “Checkout,” they were sold out. The colors are gorgeous and perfect for daily wear, parties, a night out with bae, clubbing, you name it. Her Metal Matte Lipsticks are to die for. If you can pull them off, hats off to you.

We all know these lip kits sell out in a flash and if you haven’t been able to snap one of them before they broke Google (unless you want to pay extra to buy these sold out and already overpriced lip products from Amazon or eBay), don’t worry. Here are some affordable spot-on similar dupes for every single lip kit to made do with till they are in stock again. Since pretty much everything looks good on Kylie Jenner, I tried to use photos of normal women of different skin tones to give you an idea of whether each shade looks good on you.

lips

Candy K

This shade is light pink with a few hints of brown, kind of like a rosy nude. Perfect for daily wear if you want an effortless look.

candyk

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Abu Dhabi, $9

Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Pasadena, $20

Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Celebrity Skin, $21

Dolce K

This is light brown color, like the color of hot cocoa or coffee.

dolce K

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Chi , $6

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bow N Arrow , $20

True Brown

Exactly what it’s called: true brown. Basically, a rich chocolate color. If you are going for a bold look, this color is perfect for the fall.

truebrown

MAC Lipstick in Antique Velvet, $17

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick in Dominatrix, $18

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Limbo , $6

Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Brooklyn, $20

Lime Crime Velvetine in Salem, $20

Posie K

A darker pink, with hints of light violet.

kylie-posie-k-social-

 Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Marvelous Mauve, $14

 Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Soft Lilac, $20

 Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Mother, $20

Mary Jo K

Your classic red lipstick. Perfect for any occasion and it makes your teeth look as white as pearls.

mary jo k

NYX Liquid Suede Lip Cream in Kitten Heels, $7

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw, $20

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Always Red, $14

Lime Crime Velvetine Matte Lipstick in Reddest Red, $20

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Creeper, $6

Koko K

This light pink shade is a cute summer color for daily wear. I personally don’t think I can rock this one.

koko

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Midi, $6

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick in I’m Nude, $18

Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint in TBT, $20

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Milkshake, $20

22

This is the perfect orangey-red lipstick to add a pop of color to your look in the summer or spring. This one looks good on almost every skin tone.

22

Colourpop Ultra Matte Lips in Succulent, $6

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Morocco, $7

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Persimmon, $20

Kourt K

This deep-purple shade is perfect for all skin tones and is great to wear in the winter or fall. It gives a vampy and sexy look.

k

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Transylvania, $6

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Sad Girl, $20

Lime Crime Velvetine Matte Lipstick in Jinx, $20

Exposed

This is a lighter version of Kylie’s Dolce K. It is more of a beige color. I personally cannot pull this one off on my skin tone.

exp

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Kae , $6

King K

Gold. Gold. Gold. Very bold and in-your-face, but oh-so gorgeous.

met

 CoverGirl Colorlicious Lip Lava Lipgloss in Lava Glow, $8

Reign

This is a sparkly chocolate brown with undertones of pink and orange. This shade looks amazing on everyone and is perfect for parties.

 Milani Amore Mattallics in Materialistic, $9

Heir

met1

This is a lighter copper shade, and my second favorite after Reign.

Milani Amore Mattallics in Chromattic Addict, $9

Majesty

This is obviously the boldest color on the list. A metallic black with dark blue undertones.

majesty

Baby Bat Beauty Metallic Lip Cream in Midnight, $12

Like Gloss

This one is basically a gloss version of Dolce K.

like gloss

Covergirl Colorlicious Lip Gloss in Melted Toffee, $6.60

Literally Gloss

This is a beautiful caramel colored lipgloss.

NYX Xtreme Glossy Lipcream in Skin Tone, $6

So Cute Gloss

This is basically the gloss version of Kylie’s Exposed.

Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer in Nude Eclipse, $5.49

 

For more matte liquid lipstick swatches, check out my swatch video:

Flaunt Your Florals

Fashion

We’re three weeks into the spring season, yet somehow the weather just keeps getting colder, even in Texas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t dress cute while keeping warm. If you love florals, then you’re in luck. They are huge for this spring season! I like florals, but just subtle hints of floral embroidery here and there, or even floral lace patterns. After all, I am all about the minimalist approach.

Here’s a look you can achieve with a simple black/white collared top with floral design, and palazzos or high-waisted wide-leg pants with richer, warm springtime colors. I left the last few buttons of the top open for extra flare, and wore a black basic tee under it, which I tucked in.

If it’s cold enough where you live, you can even pair it with a floor length duster jacket, or a black trench coat.

IMG_5881

TOP: Stella Embroidered 3/4 Sleeve Shirt from Boohoo

IMG_5880

CHOKER: Faux Suede Choker from Forever 21

Similar Here: Faux Leather Choker from Forever 21

EARRINGS: Hoop Earring Set from Forever 21

Version 2

PANTS: Tie Front Palazzo Pants from Rainbow Shops

Similar Here

 

IMG_4987.jpg

HEELS: Brash Suede Block Heels from Payless

Similar Here: Faux Croc Caged Heels from Forever 21

If you end up buying something similar, make sure to tag me in your pictures! I’d love to see how you style them.

Empowered Women Empower Others

Self

I’ve spent the last two months reflecting on my life and what I want from it. The last 1.5 years of my life were spent hustling so hard that I didn’t have time for myself. I had so much on my plate that I was at the verge of burning out, and I was slowly forgetting what I was chasing after to begin with.

Learning to balance out my life has been a struggle, but I finally feel like I’m starting to grasp it better. Working out every day for at least half an hour has kept me in check. Whether it’s after school or after work, I am now motivated to come home at a decent time to go to the gym so I can end the night feeling satisfied after a relaxing shower.

While I’ve been working on myself this past few months, I’ve been soaking up as much inspiration as I can to motivate myself to get back up on my feet and create content again.  Seeing courageous women making a difference in this world is what keeps me driven. Namely Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of recent the Florida school shooting, who is now the face of a national movement called “Never Again,” as a senior in high school. Hijabi YouTuber Dina Tokio released a groundbreaking documentary called “Your Average Muslim,” and Noor Tagouri, a hijabi journalist, recently released a three-part documentary series shining light on the sex trade industry in America. The teachers, law enforcement and healthcare workers who dedicate their lives to helping others, as well as the mothers who are raising the future generations, keep me inspired.

Not too long ago, women didn’t have the right to vote, get a credit card, or even use contraceptives. So much has changed since then, and with women fighting for their rights and for humanity, it’s possible that we can change much more. It’s important to support the successes of all these amazing women, because their success is not your failure. Empowered women empower women.

Indian Wedding Meets Natural Disaster

Self

The holidays are over and boy, I have so much to catch you up on. My three week trip to India for my uncle’s wedding was a memorable one to say the least. From enjoying a 5-day wedding in India to getting stuck in New York for three days because the airport shut down, I have had a crazy start to the new year. I’ve documented my entire trip in the vlog below, so I’ll just give you the backstory and tell you how my year went from 100-0 real quick.

The uncle who got married is my mom’s youngest brother, who lives in Canada. My grandparents live in Hyderabad, India and the bride lives in India as well, so we all flew there for the wedding. Indian weddings last about a week, so each day calls for its own outfit and jewelry, which you can see in my vlog.

I visit India quite often, but it’s not always fun. We mostly sit at home in my grandparent’s home and eat scrumptious food, but you can only do that for so long, till it gets boring. Friends would make the experience more exciting, but when I lived in India for four years during middle and high school, it was in a completely different state.

The wedding, however, made this trip exponentially better. This was my first family wedding in India that I’m old enough to remember. It’s also the last wedding that will happen in our close family until my own wedding.

All my favorite uncles, aunts and cousins came over to stay at my grandparent’s house and there was so much going on all the time, that it was difficult to be bored. Sure, the tiny apartment got stuffy with all these people going in and out, and sleeping on the floors and couches. But there’s something about family coming together from all over the world to celebrate a joyous event, that warms my heart. Almost like how it would be during a family reunion for Thanksgiving (but we’re brown, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving). We had two weeks to help with planning, find the perfect dresses, and treat ourselves with facials, manis, and pedis before the big week. You can watch all that fun stuff in my vlog.

Food Poisoning

The food was probably the best part of the trip (sorry, uncle). I had a feeling my four years of living there would give me enough immunity to eat whatever I wanted. Normally, it’s a requirement to get food poisoning as soon as you reach. But that didn’t happen, so I was taking advantage of it by binge eating all the local chaats and kulfis.  On January 2, my last day in India, I went to the annual Hyderabad exhibition, which is basically a carnival filled with food stalls, local shops and even rides. If you eat there as a foreigner, you’re basically asking for food poisoning by eating there. But I didn’t know that then.

I ate from 10 different stalls on my last day in India, and suffered the consequences when I woke up at 4 AM puking my insides out, on the morning of my 22 hr flight home. I was rushed to the family doctor and they ran an IV on me to get some glucose and antibiotics in my system.  I’ve only ever seen it in the movies, so you can imagine how cool I thought it was. After an hour of that, I felt like a new woman. Forget vomiting and nausea, I felt like I was active enough to run a marathon. We came home right after, spent 15 minutes gathering our luggage and went straight to the airport.

The ‘Bomb Cyclone’

I got accepted to the NPR Next Generation Radio weeklong boot camp, so my mom and I planned to come back home just in time to make it to that. I’d have two days to get rid of my jet lag.

On January 4, we landed in New York for one last flight to get home, but within moments of us landing, the airport shut down because of a ‘bomb cyclone.’ Don’t ask me what that is because I have no idea. New York was declared as being in a state of emergency. 4,000 flights got cancelled and to top it all off, they lost our four check-in suitcases full of clothes, jewelry and souvenirs from the trip. They said the next flight to Houston was on January 10, and that’s basically the end of my NPR program. With a 3 hour line to inquire about luggage and a 7 hour line to rebook a flight, he were stuck in JFK for 12 hours and it was chaotic. Think, natural disaster mode panic.

We left the airport hangry and disappointed. We couldn’t rebook the flight, and they told us to call customer service to find out the status of our luggage. The only thing we knew was that we had to take an hour long taxi ride to stay with my cousins in New Jersey, for who knows how long. These are the same cousins I stayed with during my summer working for BuzzFeed New York. I had no idea I’d be seeing them again this soon, but it was a pleasant surprise to both of us. After staying there for two days, which mainly consisted of my mom and I being on the phone for hours on hold with different airlines.

Ultimately, we found a flight the next day to Austin, and our family friends were graciously kind enough to pick us up and drive us home to Houston, which was 3 hours away. We got our luggage a week later, and I made it the night before my NPR program, which was absolutely amazing. The point is, it all works out in the end.

Black Friday Deals and Steals

Fashion

Thanksgiving is coming up and as much as I’m looking forward to cooking up a feast for my family, I’m especially excited about the Black Friday shopping. There are so many trends I’ve been eying at Zara, Forever 21, and more. Although many stores mark up their items before adding on a “holiday discount,” some sales are just too good to pass up.

Boohoo

 As if their clothes aren’t cheap enough, Boohoo is offering 60% off its entire store on Black Friday. You can get most of the tops, dresses, and jackets for $10 or less. Definitely a steal!

Shein

Shein is one of my favorite online stores. Starting Thanksgiving Day, Shein is offering 60% off its entire store, along with a BOGO 99% off deal for some items. Make sure to snag their tops and sweaters for $5-$10!

10% off if you order using a new email

$10 off orders $79+ (USE CODE LIS10)

$15 off orders $105+ (USE CODE LIS15)

$30 off orders $200+ (USE CODE LIS30)

Zara

I’ve always considered Zara to be the store that blends with my sense of style but it can be a little pricy when it comes to their long sleeve tops and dresses. If you’re like me, now is the chance to snag your favorite items!

Ruffles, sequins, trumpet sleeves, and beaded sweaters are definitely in right now. Although Zara has STILL not yet officially announced their Black Friday Deals this year, the store has historically been known to have 20-30% off the entire store. It’s safe to assume that will be the case this year too.

BH Cosmetics

If you haven’t bought yourself their 120 Shade Eyeshadow Palette, you need to get on that now. Super pigmented, these crazy colors in the Second Edition palette give me life. The entire store has sales up to 75% off so now you can get the palette for as low as $10.

ColourPop

If you’re looking to color your life, look no further. Colourpop Cosmetics is offering 20% off everything in its lineup. The flash sale starts Thursday at 10 am PST and goes on for 48 hours.

On Black Friday, it’s launching “Take Me Home,” an exclusive palette for Sephora at only $12! ColourPop is also offering BOGO on all Liquid Lippies on November 23 and November 24. Or you can hold out until Cyber Monday when the entire site is 20% off.

$5 off with email sign-up

Nyx Professional Makeup

From November 24 to November 25, take 30% off your entire purchase both in stores and online. Go get yourself Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipsticks! The In Your Element Shadow Palette consisting of three-element palettes is pretty neat too.

E.l.f

Your favorite drugstore brand is offering a whole 50% off online from November 24th through November 28th. Half. Off. Everything!

Payless

50% off the entire site and store. Payless stores are closed Thanksgiving Day. No coupons accepted on 11/23

BOGO 50% off (USE CODE DRESS20)

A’Gaci

Up to 70% off storewide. Their over-the-knee boots are way better priced and of much better quality than I have seen elsewhere. Go get yourself a pair!

30% off (USE CODE BFRIDAY30) Expires 11/28

20% off (USE CODE FRIENDSGIVE20)

20% off with email sign-up

15% student discount

Forever 21

Extra 50% off (USE CODE EXTRA50) online only on 11/23

10% off with email sign-up

10% off first order (USE CODE BXX526PMXH)

 

Here’s a list of codes you can try on online orders (I can’t promise they’ll work):

BXN0Q49771

BXX74NLYYF

BXMS6H3DMD

BXVHG1MS5M

100LF19SF5

10HDVVX6KL

BXT7YHMFP0

BXMQQRDGFJ

This is a collab with Rasmin from The Lipstick Pantry. Go check out her blog for the other half of the list of Black Friday deals!

 

Watch my lookbook and shopping haul from last year’s Black Friday shopping :

 

 

 

Culottes + Metallics

Fashion

Hello friends! As the holidays approach quickly, the year is coming to a close end, but I am in no way prepared for a brand new year. Sometimes I wish the holidays would never end. I love the pretty lights and decorations everywhere, and let’s not forget the sales. There are so many new trends this fall and I am definitely splurging this Black Friday to snag myself some statement pieces. This fall, we have vintage looking fur coats, knee length boots, metallics, velvet, belted coats, and the color red trending.

Since metallics are my absolute favorite, I’ve come up with your next go-to look.

Metallics

Matte colors are so basic. In order to create that little pop in your outfit, you need something that stands out, and that’s exactly why I love metallics. You can tuck in this long sleeve metallic shirt with palazzo pants, bell bottoms, slacks, jeans, you name it. Don’t confuse metallics for glitter. Glittery tops can look cheap and tacky. The metallics I suggest investing in, are the tops with metallic threads so you won’t leave a trail of glitter behind you. Metallic leather purses are so gorgeous. It’s the statement piece everyone needs.

IMG_4518

IMG_4519

Top: Metallic Top from H&M

Similar: Michael Kors Metallic Crew-Neck Top at Macy’s

Blazer: Longline Open-Front Blazer at Forever 21

Culottes

Culottes are basically palazzo flare/fancy pants that end at your ankles. Just the right coverage if you’re into modest fashion, and it doesn’t have you tripping all over it while you’re climbing stairs. And now, you can actually show off your pretty shoes. Culottes are all over the runways during NYFW. Pair them with metallic oxfords, grey oxfords, or even strappy heels like I did.

IMG_4542

IMG_4517 2

Bottom: Culottes from Shein

Purse: Mini Borough Crossbody from Coach

Shoes: Ankle Strap Heels from H&M (in stores only)

Similar: Faux Suede Ankle Strap Heels from Forever 21

IMG_4508

 

If you haven’t caught up with my latest video:

 

Post Halloween Health Hacks

Lifestyle

So Halloween happened, and I’m sure we all went a little crazy with our candy consumption. Or was that just me?

New York had me overeating and trying all sorts of local foods, but anyone who knows me knows I always watch what I eat because I’m a health freak. I came back to Houston about three months later, and had ten pounds added to my body. Sure, that sounds normal, but you have to know that I have been the same weight for about four years now. To see that three months changed all of that, really made me reevaluate my eating and fitness habits.

I haven’t kept up with a set workout schedule since my senior year of high school. That needed to change. College happened, a part-time internship on top of that, along with a two hour daily commute. You can see how my day flies by. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years being a workaholic, it’s that health is wealth. There have been times during finals week where I’d get so bogged down that I’d barely eat one hearty meal that day.

No matter how busy you get, always make time to eat healthy and workout at least twice a week. 

So here is my declaration of leading a new lifestyle and I’m going to show you what I’m doing. If you guys have any tips or suggestions to any improvements I can make, let me know in the comments!

1. Have hearty breakfasts and light dinners. We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Since dinner is the last thing we eat, it’s better not to fill yourself up with fatty or oily foods since you don’t have much physical movement after that.

2. Eating in moderation is key, but I took it a step further and started guesstimating my calorie intake so it’s about 1900 calories per day. If you eat that Kit Kat, you’re going to have to compensate somewhere else in your diet. I try drinking an entire 0.5 liter water bottle before each meal so I don’t overeat. A lot of times, our body thinks it’s hungry, but it just needs water.

3. Green tea is my best friend. I used to keep it in a thermos and drink it after every meal, but lately I just drink it after dinner so it increases metabolism.

4. Take a quick walk after every meal. My goal is 300 steps. It’s a random number, but it seems to prevent food coma.

5. Eat and sleep at normal times and stick to your schedule. Once those two systems are in whack, it just ruins your skin and you tend to feel more groggy and grumpy overall. If you have that much work to do, wake up extra early since that’s when your mind is freshly woken up.

6. I do a few stretches and jumping jacks to wake myself up. You can add a caffeinated herbal or black tea to your routine if that helps. I used to be a crazy coffeeholic but I can’t consume it without like six packets of sugar, and we all know that’s inviting so many future health problems.

7. You just have to make time to work out. I can’t always make it to the gym, so I spend 10 minutes every morning doing intense moves inspired by my favorite fitness guru, Cassie Ho. She posts all her ‘Blogilates’ videos on YouTube and each one targets a different part of the body. Just 3-5 minutes long each, her short videos are just what you need to quickly squeeze in some exercise in your day. Trust me, it works because you will be sore after five minutes. These morning workouts will definitely get you pumped up for the rest of the day.

I know that’s a lot of information, but this is what works for me. If any of these tips interest you, I suggest taking it one step at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself.

And now, onto my fall retro-inspired look!

img_4543-2.jpg

Shop my look

Bell Sleeve Dress: JustFab

Lipstick: Sephora Collection Cream Stain Liquid Lipstick – Coral Sunset, $14

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 10.58.33 AM

Thong Sandals: Wet Seal

Patterned Bell-Bottoms: Rue 21

IMG_4544

In case you missed my 2 minute Halloween comedy sketch, here it is!

Retail Therapy for Couch Potatoes

Fashion

Hello friends! So I mentioned my love for online stores Shein and Boohoo in last week’s post. Now it’s time for a review. And no, this post is not sponsored.

Honestly, I was pleased with every item I purchased. The material was comfortable and the designs came out as pictured on the site. The sizing was surprisingly accurate as well.