Goodbye 2016…Hello to a Fresh Start

Blog, Motivation & Inspiration, Take a Chill Pill, Wellness

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a safe New Year’s Eve celebration. I know I had to get home before midnight, when drunk driving peaks to an all time high in the year.

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For New Year’s Eve I spent the night at a family friend dinner party as I stuffed my mouth with food. We ended up reaching my house at 11 pm, when my best friend came over and we walked around the neighborhood in our PJ’s to watch the fireworks. It’s become a tradition of sorts and I always wear my TMNT fleece onesie. Not only were we on a hunt for the radiant explosions of colors in the murky sky, but we were desperately trying to capture the fireworks on Snapchat and Instagram.

My neighbors were having a New Year’s bash in their backyard with the radio blaring and a parade of fireworks. My friend and I stood in their lawn, phones ready to Snapchat, as we danced and screamed along to the songs like the children we are in our hearts. I am pretty sure the party people heard us but as soon as someone began walking towards the front of the house, we bolted. Crazy, adventurous moments like these make up my highlights of the year. This exhilaration is what I look forward to in 2017.

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Here are my New Year resolutions:

  1. Be more compassionate, generous, and hopeful
  2. Spend more time with friends and family
  3. Be more consistent with YouTube, IG, and blog posts
  4. Hustle Hustle Hustle
  5. Work out everyday even if it’s just for 10 minutes
  6. Smile and laugh more
  7. Go on crazy spontaneous adventures
  8. Eat healthier and sleep on time
  9. Submit a short film to SXSW

Highlights of 2016:

  • Made amazing friends and memories 
  • First road trip and weekend getaway
  • Smooth transition after transferring colleges
  • Started YouTube channel; first 200 subscribers on Jan 1
  • My own radio show
  • Contributor for Elite Daily, MissMuslim, Society19 and Her Campus
  • Support from you all 
  • Landed an internship for Spring 2017
  • Cooked my first 4 course meal with friends
  • Arlington and Austin trip with friends
  • Toured a news station
  • Went to Canada
  • Atif Aslam and Sonu Nigam concert
  • Crashed into a hotel room with friends
  • All A’s in business
  • Awards for singing and writing

Downfalls of 2016:

  • Car accident
  • Rough times in my personal life
  • Crazy elections
  • Trump is president
  • Deaths of famous personalities and community members
  • Paris attacks
  • Terror in Aleppo and other countries

There might have been several terrible events that happened last year but don’t give up hope! Alhamdulillah (Praise God) for everything. Here is a video that will start off your new year with a laugh.

How was your New Year’s Eve and what were your highlights? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Instagram @rafafarihah 

The Average Black Girl

Motivation & Inspiration, Wellness

No one should be considered “average,” let alone an “average black girl.” For that matter, no one should be compared to a stereotype for any race. Each person is unique and special in their own way. Be proud of who you are and where your ancestors originated from. Strive to be the best representation of yourself and your role models, not some stereotype that misrepresents your individual character and personality. Some stereotypes may even be positive, but it’s not right to assume a person is something just because of the color of their skin.

I read in the news that Versace allegedly has a special store “code” that alerts the employees every time a black customer steps into the store. The employees say “D410” to each other when this happens so they can keep a close eye on the customer.

There was a recent viral video about a black woman entering Victoria’s Secret with her friend to shop for lingerie. Earlier that day, another black woman stole some merchandise, so an employee assumed they were in on the crime together and asked the customer to leave. However, she never questioned any of the white customers who entered the store. Unfair practices like these are what are reverting the social development of this country. This is the epitome of racial profiling.

Casual College OOTD

Fashion & Beauty, Motivation & Inspiration, Wellness

Nowadays, especially in the midst of election season, hostility seems to have taken over as the dominant emotion during social interactions. It’s important to use the Golden Rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. It’s okay to disagree, but do it respectfully because we are all entitled to our own opinions. I have a challenge for you. Make at least one person smile today by performing an act of kindness. It can be a big gesture, or even a tiny one.

I made a video of five things you can do to warm someone’s heart. Please like and share the video so we can spread the love with others.

Now let’s get back to the outfit of the day.

I like to look presentable wherever I go, and it’s not to please others. Looking good is one more thing to get out of the way, so people can focus on what I am saying. Isn’t that why we are encouraged to wear standard black suits to interviews? A shabby outfit should never be the reason you aren’t taken seriously. Besides that, I live and breathe fashion, so if I do look nice, it’s to express myself and give my life a pop of color.

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Shop my look

Plaid Shirt: Forever 21

Arizona Jeans: JCPenney

Converse: Journeys

Scarf: Get it on AliExpress here

So I changed up my makeup products because I needed a closer shade to my skin tone.

Concealer: Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer – Medium 29, $24

Eyebrow Liner: Walmart; Salon Perfect Brow Pomade- Dark Brown, $5

Lipstick: ColourPop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick – Trap, $6

Watch this tutorial to get my hijab look and check out ColourPop Ultra Matte swatches here! I swatched the ColourPop Metallic Lipsticks as well.

Make sure to request on my Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/Facebook any other makeup swatches/tutorials you want to see or other OOTD ideas you want me to try!

The Origins of Halloween

Motivation & Inspiration, Wellness

It’s Halloween! This is the perfect way to start off the week, so get your costumes on and bring the pumpkins out. But did you know what the origins of this “joyful” holiday are? Nothing but eerie.

Regardless, Halloween happens to be at the top of my Favorite Holidays list. I try not to think too deeply about the way it started because most people just go for free candy and because it’s fun to dress up for a night. Tonight, I plan to visit a haunted house and go trick-or-treating. Look forward to a jack-o-lantern photo tomorrow, but bear with me since this will be my first time. For those of you going out, please stay safe, watch out for clowns, and always check your candy first.

What do you think about Halloween?

I went to a Halloween party on Friday and I have to admit that getting ready was my favorite part of the night. I did both of our makeup. We went as the possessed cowgirl and a broken doll. Scary, huh?

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Acid Attack Victim Models at NY Fashion Week

Motivation & Inspiration, Wellness

Meet Reshma Qureshi, a young 19-year-old who survived a harrowing experience that she will never forget.

In 2014, as Reshma and her elder sister walked to school in their hometown in Uttar Pradesh, India, her brother-in-law and his friends grabbed Reshma and poured corrosive acid on her face in an attempt to avenge a family dispute. That’s not the worst part. The two sisters were wearing burqas, so Reshma was accidentally assaulted instead of her sister. Regardless, since when has this been a way to get payback? The wounds were not limited to Reshma’s facial skin. They were visceral. The poor girl lost an eye and was literally scarred for life, in the worst way imaginable. 

Initially a vulnerable, depressed, and suicidal girl, Reshma was found by Ria Sharma, founder of the non-governmental organization “Make Love Not Scars.” Ria’s compassionate personality and genuine interest in impacting lives was enough to help Reshma discover a newfound perspective on the beauty of life. Now, Reshma is a confident young woman who strives to ensure this injustice is not done with anyone else. She is no longer afraid to roam the streets without covering her face with a veil. Last week, Reshma was told that she will be walking the ramp in New York’s Fashion Week. Her reaction was poignant and absolutely priceless.

Acid attacks are widespread in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Columbia, etc. Every day, at least one girl’s life is ruined, or worse…is killed by these devastating attacks.

Why would someone commit such a horrendous act, you ask?

A majority of these perpetrators are uneducated men who:

  • Think this is a great tactic for revenge
  • Cannot take no for an answer by a girl they wish to pursue
  • Can’t deal with the fact that their wives are more attractive than them
  • Need to take anger management classes
  • Have to learn about a virtue called “forgiveness”

With concentrated acid being widely available to the common person for less than $1 in these countries (for cleaning purposes), we need to act fast to mitigate (if not eradicate) the situation. Please sign this petition to ban the sale of acid to just about anyone on the street.

Find out more about Reshma’s story in the video below.

*This video may be a little hard to watch, as the images are a bit graphic.

Are You Afraid of a Little Meat?

Motivation & Inspiration, Wellness

No need to be scared of halal meat. Don’t worry, halal meat in no way funds or sponsors ISIS and neither are any of us halal meat-eating muslims pledging allegiance to them by eating this healthy meat. Halal meat is simply cut in a way that provides minimal physical and emotional pain to animals (hence, no other animals must be present while the butcher slaughters their friend). Draining the bad blood (preach, T-Swift) from animals rids them of many diseases that we may potentially ingest otherwise.

Halal meat is required to be slaughtered for consumption, which means you can’t just pick up roadkill somewhere and serve that on a platter. And don’t fear the “prayer” that the butchers read. It’s not some kind of black magic voodoo. They just bless the meat by saying “God is great” and then thanking God for his wonderful creations and the food he has provided us. It’s kind of like saying grace, but to bless the entire process of making the meat until (and after) it reaches your super markets.

Being scared of halal meat makes you as ridiculous as this woman here:

Simone Manuel, the “Black Swimmer”

Motivation & Inspiration, Wellness

Simone Manuel has made a remarkable achievement this year after becoming the first African-American woman to win an Olympic individual swimming event. What is amazing is that I went to high school with Simone two years ago. She graduated a year before I did. Although I did not personally know her, the fact that a normal teenager from a community I am from was able to reach such great heights, shows that any amount of dedication and perseverance can help you achieve your dreams.

It’s a shame that many undermine her strenuous training and stamina by placing her on a pedestal for being a “black swimmer” who won a gold medal. I mean of course, it is a step in the right direction, just like having our first black president, and maybe someday we may have our first female president. It’s okay to acknowledge it once. But giving her so much attention solely on the fact that she is black, seems like a slap in the face for the work she has done, just like any other competitor.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Her Formula for Awesome

Culture, Motivation & Inspiration, Wellness

I recently had the privilege of meeting renowned Australian TED Talk speaker, Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Looking at that gorgeous feature photo of her, what kind of person do you think she is?

An oppressed woman trudging through the world wearing colorful scarves to alleviate her every day pain of being a woman? Is she a musician? An artist? An activist?