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.

New York Bound and Newly Found

Self

First thing’s first, let’s talk about how fast this summer has swung by. Life took over and the next thing I knew, I hadn’t blogged in months. College has me back in the rhythm of things and this fall weather is looking oh, so good. Hold your horses. It’s not boot season yet, folks.

So what have I been up to lately? Don’t worry, I wasn’t just lazing around all summer long on my couch binge watching Grey’s, as tempting as that sounds. I wouldn’t be putting this baby on the backburner if it wasn’t something big. If you’ve been following me on Instagram and Snapchat (@rafafarihah), then you should know that I was spending my time as a news video intern at BuzzFeed New York. That’s right. New York City. You know, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of?

Farewell to Super Bowl Fever : 2017 MAXIM Party

Self

Did you show your patriot-ism for the Falcons last Sunday? Am I funny yet?

It was a one of a kind game, making history for the first Super Bowl overtime. As a Patriots fan, I was undoubtedly disappointed during the first half. I nearly gave up hope (until Gaga’s halftime performance of course), but when my Internet resumed to stream the game after a brief lag, I noticed the Patriots went from 12 to 20 on the scoreboard. Like I said, Gaga makes everything better. The Patriot’s comeback was mind-blowing.

I sat on floor in front of my LCD TV, legs sprawled out, moping till the fourth quarter while I snuck in whatever few homework questions I could during the commercials. Unfortunately, most of them weren’t even good. What I did notice was that many of them centered around the topic of inclusion and diversity. Budweiser, on the other hand, straight up made a commercial about immigration. Subtle much?

I have to admit the Skittles ad was my favorite, mainly because that was the only remotely engaging commercial that genuinely made me laugh out loud (and I don’t mean a courtesy chuckle).

Living in Houston, Super Bowl fever was prevalent in my life, whether I liked it or not. Super Bowl propaganda, radio promotions for free concert tickets, significantly longer commutes to college the week before, constant construction to widen highways and revamp the bridges are among some of them. The constant buzz about all eyes being on Houston was kind of empowering, though. When does Houston ever get this kind of exposure? The city officials even had the downtown homeless population relocated to the outskirts, to give tourists the illusion that downtown Houston is pristine beyond gentrification.

Now that it’s all over, it feels weird. What now? What happens on December 26 after you hype up the entire month for Christmas?

So I started my fellowship at Houstonia Magazine this past January. I absolutely love it because of all the new experiences I get, and interesting people I meet. One of these amazing events I was privileged to attend was the 2017 MAXIM Super Bowl Party on Feb. 4, which happened to be at a new venue around five minutes from my house.

I bought myself a Tadashi Shoji gown from Nordstrom Rack for $87 that morning. What I realized during the party was that there was an inch-long thumb tack embedded within the dress which poked out the entire night, scraping my arm. I now have a 2-inch scab by my left elbow. There is no way I am keeping this dress.

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The party was phenomenal, and probably my once in a lifetime experience being invited to a celebrity event as a member of the media. I had a press pass and everything, granting me access to every nook and cranny of the arena.  Even VIP backstage with free valet parking.

Six rounds of security checks and a metal detector separated guests from the party entrance as celebrities waltzed down the red carpet.

Singers, reality show stars, celebrity wannabes, and fans took to the Smart Financial Center, looking like a million bucks. You could see the fuchsia-lit stadium from miles away. Stunt motorcyclists flew through the air at the Monster Energy FMX Motorcycle Show outside the center, which had been transformed into a glamorous party hall. Models danced on illuminated platforms as waiters served light bites.

Famous faces we’d seen on TV and in tabloids stood inches away. Patriots cheerleaders walked out of their bus, posing in their cocktail dresses for the flashing cameras. Pop stars Fergie and Nick Cannon were there, as was Rocket James Harden and Dallas heartthrob Chace Crawford from Gossip Girl. Chace passed by me on the red carpet, as he avoided most of the media, keeping a low profile before hopping to another party with Fergie.

Even Ludacris made the bash. Some stayed only for a bit before hopping to other parties, while others spent the entire evening in their private suites. I spoke with Texans player Andre Hal and his girlfriend. I interviewed a Patriots cheerleader, former Cheetah girl Adrienne Bailon, Bow Wow, and even Olivia Caridi from the last season of The Bachelor.

As guests entered the grand hall, they were greeted with bright red lights, blaring music, lingerie models, and elaborate displays of macarons, cupcakes, and spiked ice cream. The Monster Energy Lounge and the open bar kept the audience in good spirits throughout the night. After crowds spent hours socializing, at around eleven, the performances got underway and everyone went insane.
Agile, graceful, acrobatic dancers hung from the ceiling on red ribbons as DJ Khaled dropped beats. DJ Khaled is cool and all, but a DJ can only entertain the crowd so much before he just gets boring, as he stands behind a booth for an entire hour scrambling to find a song we aren’t already tired of hearing on the radio. It got boring after 20 minutes, and I was left there swaying to the music for 40 minutes as I prayed for DNCE to swoop in to save me from my boredom.

DNCE came on at midnight and got the crowd screaming along to hits “Cake by the Ocean” and “Toothbrush” while tossing them everything from DNCE “currency” and roses, to beach balls and sex dolls. Yes, it was weird. I was front row in the VIP section during DNCE’s performance. Joe Jonas (aka my crush since the 3rd grade) held my hand twice during his brief performance. Just when I thought I died, I was reincarnated, and died again the second time. Ok I’m done fangirling.

Maxim Super Bowl Party - Inside

Me awkwardly staring at my phone despite being beside the love of my life.

Travis Scott ended the night at around 2:30 as the partiers roared along to his hit “Antidote.”

Follow me on IG @rafafarihah to see my interviews and photos with some of the stars. I will have a MAXIM makeup tutorial video out tomorrow on my YouTube channel.

Check out my original Houstonia article here with a video of the event.

6 Things Anyone Who Moves A Lot Knows

Self

As a child, I was raised by parents who decided to move around every one or two years, whether it was because of a job far away, or shifting from an apartment to a suburban town home of our very own. Some people say “Oh I am sorry. That must have sucked,” but in retrospect, you think it was pretty awesome to get cultured in so many ways. Sure, it was stressful at first but I learned to adjust.

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If you were one of those kids, you definitely relate to the following list:

1. Everyone assumes your dad was in the army.

And when you tell them he wasn’t, you have to sit through an entire conversation explaining why you moved so much, and how it really wasn’t as bad as they presume it to be.

2. Everywhere you travel, you will have a group of friends close by.

Going to Austin City Limits music festival and you need a place to crash? No problem! You know your bestie from high school goes to UT and she can totally hook you up with a place to stay.

3. You know how to determine which friends are keepers.

With the number of people you have met, you already know which guy is the jerk just by looking at him. You also know which friends are worth hanging on to for life. #squadgoals for real.

4.  College was an easier transition for you than it was for most people.

New place and new friends? You got this! Talking to people and starting fresh is your forte. You probably even have the emotional strength of a Scorpio and emanate confidence to all your peers.

5. When people ask you where you’re originally from, you tell them the place you lived longest or the place you lived last.

Be honest, your answer to this question changes a lot but who is there to check? I think it’s pretty awesome saying you are from New Jersey, Texas, and India.

6. Your personality is a combination of fragments from all the different places you lived in.

You wouldn’t have been the person you are today, even if you hadn’t lived in one of those areas. You got your accent from Kentucky, a huge appetite from Texas, your love for rap music from New York, and met your soul mate on a mission trip to China. Say what?

Goodbye 2016…Hello to a Fresh Start

Self

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 Day After the End of Time

Self

It was December 21, 2012. I woke up at the dusk of dawn hyperventilating from a nightmare, my body aching with shooting pains accompanied by the sensation of my brain throbbing against my skull. Apart from my own discomfort, something was terribly wrong and my conscience was not permitting me to believe otherwise. The city of Los Angeles was in turmoil knowing all the prophecies of doomsday associated with the date 12.21.12 but my family did not raise me to believe in such notions. I was a firm believer in science. Then why was I feeling this way?

I went about my normal day trying to remain oblivious to the local gossip, refusing to worry about something I knew was not going to happen. The more I went along with this attitude, the stranger the events seemed to me. At noon, I could hear the tides of the Hermosa beach in front of my home crashing vigorously as the ground began to tremble and break in ripples like an unsteady pond. My parents and younger sister began shrieking my name. Our first instinct was to bolt outside before our abode crumbled to pieces on us. Upon reaching the beach, we met with a tide higher than anything I had ever seen, enveloping us with a shadow so dark as if it were about to consume us. My family and I held hands and prayed. Whatever happened, we would be in it together. We thought there was no possible measure we could take, but to wait for the colossal tsunami to hit us while we still had our dignity and solidarity.

I knew what was about to happen. This was no ordinary earthquake on the San Andreas fault. The Mayans were right about their Mayan Long Count calendar and I was a fool. This was the last earthquake, larger than any Richter scale could measure. This ‘earthquake’ would wipe out all life forms as we knew it. But this didn’t happen quite as it should have. Here I am telling you my story. My family and others somehow managed to make it out safely. No life would be worth living without them, and they are my saviors.

We are survivors.

Airport OOTD

Fashion, Self

Hey guys! As you all know, I went on a trip to Canada recently for Eid and had a wonderful time exploring. I went sight seeing, food hunting, shopping, and more. You can follow me on Instagram @rafafarihah to watch all the cool videos I posted while there. I even brought back Canadian candy and made a YouTube video of it! I put so much work into my videos so I would really appreciate if you all Subscribed 😘

Anyways, on with my OOTD at the airport:

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Normally I look like a bum at the airport, but this year, I reinvented myself and started dressing up more often. I was going for a laid back and comfortable look, which is why I chose the joggers (basically cute sweatpants) and a light knit shirt with long slits. I have to admit, add a touch of leather to any boring outfit, and it becomes street chic. If you buy anything from my look, do invest in a quality faux leather jacket and pointed faux leather flats (which are about $10 sometimes if on sale). These two items will make any ordinary outfit go from “Okay” to “Wow!” And sometimes…we all need a little “Wow!” in our lives.

Shop my look

Top: JCPenney

Navy Faux Leather Jacket: Forever 21

Joggers: Charlotte Russe

Pointed Faux Leather Flats: Forever 21

Scarf: Get it on AliExpress here

Faux Leather Purse: Commercial Street, Bangalore, India

Concealer: Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer – Deep 34, $25

Foundation: Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation – Warm Nude 30, $10

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

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

Watch this tutorial to get my hijab look and check out ColourPop swatches here!

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!

A Movie Kind of Day OOTD : The Purge

Fashion, Self

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL!!

https://www.youtube.com/c/RafaFarihah

Hello folks! So today I decided to have a little fun since I get Friday’s off from summer school. I am currently enrolled in an English course and a Statistics course for my Business and Journalism majors. Unfortunately the only time available for my English class was an 8 AM. Woop-di-do! There is no beating this Houston traffic, so I leave my house every morning at 6:30 AM to get to college on time.

Anyways, my younger sister and I went to see The Purge: Election Year.

Now let me put this out there: if you cannot handle graphic elements like fake blood and scary masks, then this movie is not for you. The main concept of this movie is that there is a new and evolved America where there is one day (a few hours of one specific day, rather)  when crime is legalized. People bottle up all their anger and hatred so they can kill and release the tension at once. The rest of the year, anyone who commits crime is executed without trial. There are definitely many cringeworthy moments in this film that make you ask yourself “how can people be so disgusting and hateful enough to kill each other?” But then again, open up a newspaper. Just kidding, who reads those anymore. Pull up google news or CNN on your iPad and what is the first thing you see? Go on, do it.

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Terror attack. Power. Seize Control. Killed. Terrorist. Thief. Brawler. Path of Horror. Chaos.

All these words highlighted on the very first posts of this news outlet. Not going to lie, horror is one of my favorite movie genres to watch. Maybe even my go-to. That doesn’t mean I am desensitized to pain and violence. I just tell myself it is fake and go for a little scare, that’s all. We watch action movies where people jump off of buildings and run through glass doors and come out completely unharmed, with hardly a visible scratch. That isn’t realistic either but we still watch them, not thinking of the impact if a person did that in real life.

Going back to my main point, I tried to watch this movie just like the hundreds of other horror movies I have seen, but this one was a different experience. The crime rate throughout the world is at an all-time high. Hearing of all the terror attacks happening makes it harder to enjoy these scary movies with the simulated spewing blood and shrills in the background. As people shot each other because of petty arguments in the past over money, power, and beauty in this film, I could not help but picture the starving Syrian refugees and the innocent people who lost their lives in Istanbul, Baghdad, France, etc. It is like a nightmare come true.

My heart goes out to all of those who are grieving, sad, ill, or going through hardships. But there is no excuse for murder. By all means purge. Not by killing someone, but by forgiving.

Here is my OOTD:

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Shop my look

Top: Forever 21

Jogger Pants: Charlotte Russe

Thong Sandals: Wet Seal

Scarf: Get it on AliExpress here

Shades: Forever 21

Crossbody Purse: Walmart

Concealer: Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer – Deep 34, $25

Foundation: Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation – Warm Nude 30, $10

Lipstick: ColourPop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick – Bad Habit, $6

Watch this tutorial to get my hijab look and check out ColourPop swatches here! Subscribe please and share my YouTube link. 

 

 

 

 

7 Weird Hacks Everyone Needs to Know

Self

Hello my loves! In case you don’t know, I just started my own Youtube channel and spent days filming and editing my latest video. This video is for everyone to enjoy, even if you happened to just stumble upon this site.

Life can be a little cloudy at times, so I am sure none of you will want pass up an opportunity to learn hacks to make life easier, and have a little laugh. I upload videos every Wednesday and I promise there will be something for everyone. PLEASE PLEASE SUBSCRIBE and make a girl happy 😃

Make sure to give this video a thumbs up and comment!