What’s Under Your Abaya?

It’s been two weeks since school has started for my eldest son, Humza. The routine is set and I have a better grasp on our schedule. However I feel bad about one thing in particular and that is the lack of effort that I put in getting dressed nicely in the mornings. My son goes to an Islamic school and so its very convenient for me to just throw on an abaya, drape over a head scarf and drop him off. I’ve never been the one to be very conscious of what I wear on a daily basis, but as my schedule gets busier and busier its just getting really bad I’m almost scared that someone is taking secret footage and soon I’ll find myself on some reality show!

The problem is not the abaya itself but in my case it is the laziness and halp hazard attitude that is creeping up in the way I dress on a daily basis. In conversation with friends and other moms I have heard that they too use the abaya as an excuse to be in pajamas while dropping off their kids and doing other errands. The abaya is loose, modest and covers the extra weight you may have gained. But I think that I and many other girls are doing a disservice to themselves by using the abaya as an excuse to be lazy and not take care of ourselves.

I have seen women who wear the abayas as part of their everyday wear who wear it elegantly and with beautiful headscarves and look very put together. I on the other hand wear the abaya like a sweatshirt  which is easy, convenient and requires virtually no effort. The problem with this is that it becomes a cop out for me to not dress up nicely even when i’m at home with my family. I have two young kids and  sometimes I wonder if it is even worth dressing up nicely because they will stain my shirt in five seconds anyways.

So why should I care about what’s under my abaya and also care about how I look. If im wearing an abaya with pj’s  then it looks sloppy and a hijab thrown over my head tucked under my chin also looks incredibly messy.  As Muslims we should take care of our bodies, be clean and look put together. Whether we wear an abaya or not we should look our best and utilize the clothes that Allah has blessed us with. It doesn’t have to be the most trendiest outfit (then again why not?) but we should take pride in the way we look and carry ourselves. Also as Muslim women who dress modestly we have an added responsibility whether we’re aware of it or not.  People see us and form an image. If they see a Muslim women wearing an beautifully ironed abaya and a neatly wrapped hijab they will see a confident beautiful Muslim Women which is going againt the image portrayed by the media. As Muslim women we are easily recognized and become ambassadors of our faith therefore it is essential to take pride in how we dress.

Anther thing that I am guilty of  is that the abaya gives me enough room so that I don’t necessarily feel bad about the flabby arms or the expanding wasit line. If that weight gain is not really obvious to me than that makes me  feel more content and doesn’t give me a reason to excersice and control my diet or improve my lifestyle. In other words the abaya has become an excuse for some women like myself to let ourselves go and not focus on our apperance and without realizing it were using religious modesty as the excuse.

I think as women we all want to look our best and be attractive but we let those things take a backseat when we have kids and other responsibilites. We should remember that dressing up for our spouses is a form of Ibadah and is a very important part of our marriage. For the outside world we dress modestly but at home our husbands see a different side of us. Most of our husbands are working in various corporate offices in which they interact with women who are dressed and made up from head to toe. Therefore as their wife we should be dressed nice and greet our husbands with a warm smile.

As Muslim women we understand that our beauty is for our family to see, but that being said we are also required to have a pleasant and neat apperance for when we are in public. So whether your an casual abaya wearer like me or a daily abaya wearer, lets take those extra minutes tommorow morning to see what are you wearing under your abaya?


 *Featured Photo from http://www.emaan.com.au/store/index.php/children/girls/abayas/formal/rashida-abaya-green.html





Beauty Bits: Chapped Lips!

Whether it be winter or summer my lips are always chapped! I decided to do some research and figure out WHY lips are chapped, and HOW to relieve them.”Lips are mucous membranes, so they have very thin surface layers of skin,” says Los Angeles dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of Southern California (USC) Medical Center. When compared to the skin on the rest of your face, Wu says, lips are the most vulnerable to drying out. In fact, research shows you lose up to 10 times more moisture through your lips than you do elsewhere on the face or body.

Here are a few tips and remedies I found, some of them I have tried and found to be useful.


1. Don’t lick your lips: It’s a natural instinct to lick your lips when they are chapped.  This makes the situation worst; Our saliva further dehydrates the skin. It also contains acids to break down food which can cause irritation to our lip skin.

2. Don’t peel/bite off skin flakes: Picking on the skin can worsen the problem by causing severe discomfort and bleeding. Even worst, cracked lips can be exposed the dirt and bacteria thus possibly causing an infection or cold sores.

3. Balm: Obviously we all carry some sort of balm or chap stick on us, but I didn’t know that it is important to put on a thick layer to protect our lips from the brutal weather.

4. Balm up at bed time: Dr. Wu suggests wearing a thick layer of ointment before going to bed.  Most of us sleep with our mouths open, causing our lips to dry out.


1. Honey & SugarTake a drop of honey with some sugar and rub it onto your lips before going to bed. When you wash your lips in the morning, it will wash away the dead skin.

2. Balm & SugarSimilar as the one above, put on a thick layer of balm and then rub on sugar. After a few minutes take a tooth brush and brush your lips.

3. Coconut Oil: After a lip scrub, apply on coconut oil.

4. Vaseline & Honey:  Apply a paste of vaseline and honey for 10-15 minute, remove it by dipping a cotton swab in warm  water.

5. Cucumbers: Rub a slice of cucumbers over your lips. This provides moisture and nutrients to your lips.

Let us know if there are any other solutions you know to chapped lips!

Something to unchap about….


MAC Makeup Artist Shares Her Secrets

[Dina Adam has been a make up artist with MAC since 2011. She is a new mommy and has a Biology and Fine Arts degree from the American University in Cairo, Egypt.]

Makeup and art are totally synergistic, for me it is an extension of artistic expression inspired by trends on the runway, cultures from all over the world, and everyday life. By colour, contrast, shadows, composition and lighting. Makeup is art! I  have a B.A degree in Fine Arts, so whether I draw, snap pictures or paint faces it is funneling my energy on a canvas. And in this case it happens to be face. I was always interested in color,in makeup, fashion and trends.

I remember that I bought my first MAC product in 2000 in Dubai, it was an eyebrow pencil called ‘Eyebrows.’ Later in 2002 I started youtubing tutorials like many of us and practicing on myself. I was so inspired at how easy it was for me to switch from using a paintbrush on canvas to a brush on my face. I have been with MAC since 2011 and I still remember how estatic I felt when I was approached for the job at MAC. If you are a makeup buff then you would know that it is really hard to get into MAC Cosmetics, so I was so lucky and humbled to be chosen and my journey with MAC began!

Here are 5  of  my Must-Have MAC Products – (Things I cannot live without!)

1. Fix + (Skincare /Toner) – I am all about glowy, luscious, dewy luminous skin enhancing products! This is one of them! An aqua-spritz of vitamins minerals, infused with a calm-the-skin blend of green tea, chamomile, cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, green tea, chamomile, cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, energizing scent of Sugi. Adds radiance and finishes make up. Spray it on. The skin drinks it up. I love sheering out foundation (cream/liquid) by spritzing Fix + on a Pro Performance sponge and blending it out with concealer onto skin. It leaves a seamless, velvety hydrating flawless finish. If you like that JLo glow, then this is a must have for you!

2. Pro Longwear Concealer – The secret of the universe! It’s amazing how some of this creamy yet opaque concealer underneath the eye can completely transform and uplift your look from tired – to photo ready! This tiny 0.30 oz bottle will last you at least 7 months if not longer when used properly with a brush (I recommend the #224 or #252). It is one of our longest lasting product – it really does have a 15 hour wear without creasing – with a matte natural skin like finish. It’s perfect for concealing dark circles or discolourations on the face. Add a few drops of Lustre Drops or a Cream Colour base to give that area a luminous highlight or a ‘wet look’. If you have a more textured skin surface add some Prep + Prime Highlighter using a #190 brush and pulling the product on the highest plains of your cheekbone.

3. Mineralize SkinFinish Natural – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. These are baked, paraben free skin tone powders that can be used on its own as a sheer coverage foundation, setting powder, or a bronzer/contouring product to give shape and structure to the face. Believe me when I say I use it for all of the above! I have quite a few in different shades that resemble the shadows and highlights of the structure of your face. The greatest thing about this product is the fact that it is designed for all skin types, even if you were slightly on the drier side (like myself) then this is perfect for you. The light reflecting particles makes it have a lustre satin finish and unlike most powders this does not leave that ‘powdery’ layer, in fact, it provides a beautiful soft focus effect without mattifying the surface and melting cream and liquid foundation into the skin. Buff the product in by using a #130, #187 or #188 (duo-fibre) brush.

4. Haute & Naughty Mascara -After priming the lash with ‘prep & prime Lash,’ coat on a few layers using Haute and naughty. If you want the volume, curl, length, definition and drama then this bad boy is all you will ever need. This 2 in 1 wiper mascara gives you the option of creating a natural lash or more of that va-va voom falsies we all die for! ‘Haute’ being lengthening and ‘Naughty’ with more volume. Another great thing about this is the fact that it has conditioning ingredients that wont dry up your lashes to that crispy ‘spidery’ odd look; its water and smudge resistant..and clumps no more! The way the bristles are designed to hug every tiny lash thats usually left behind and grabs and coats the others with a nice semi-glossy finish!


5. Tools – Here are few that I love:

#130 Short Dual Fibre Brush – This is your perfect go to 1 buffing face brush. Great for primer application; liquid, cream or powder foundation (buffing, sheering, blending and stippling/layering coverage onto skin), contouring, highlighting and those who are savvy can actually apply cream blusher aswell. Like I said, its your 1 basic brush for your face! It features a combination of natural bristles and synthetic fibres, which makes it a great tool to pick up different textures and emulsions onto skin.

#224 Blending brush – Technically alot of users think this brush is specifically designed for the eyeshadow area period, but you can use this brush for blending eyeshadows; the application & blending (any texture) of concealer (the buffing motion gives you that smooth-airbrush seamless quality); a more defined ‘hollow’ contour of your cheek area and around the nose (which is also a Fall 2012 trend).

Pro Performance sponge – Gotta love my sponges! This dual ended sponge is absolutely practical for blending and moving cream, liquid, gel foundations and concealers on the face. Forget your fingers or sharp-edged triangular sponges, these application methods waste make up and can leave visible streaks. This patent-pending elliptical shape makes application foolproof by allowing you to access hard-to-reach areas with stunning ease (tear duct, around the nose etc). Its suede texture is sensual to the touch and its unique curves fit the contours of your face, leaving your make up dazzling and undetectable.


A Morning with Modern Mary


Abeer and I had the opportunity to visit Seema Sahin’s Boutique in Tysons Corner a few weeks ago, we were excited to talk with Seema to see how she manages her modesty clothing line as well as her family life with two young kids. While we chatted we got a chance to try some of her custom designs. Pictures and interview below:


BB: How did the idea of  Modern Mary come about?

SS: Giving women the chance to express themselves while being true to their identity. Finding modest fashionable designs in mainstream clothing stores is not only limited, but can pose a challenge for many women. It can be challenging finding styles that express their cultural heritage, American identity, and at the same time being true to their faith. I wanted to create a hassle free shopping experience for these women, offering them a fashionable alternative that already fits with the guidelines of their faith. What motivates me is trying to reconcile these three forces and translate them into my design.  Creating modest designs is one thing, but there is a certain flair to my designs that makes it stand out and appealing.


BB: How did you take the initial leap from an online based business to having a  boutique?

Modern Mary’s Boutique in Tyson’s Corner, VA

SS: I wanted women to have a fun and comfortable shopping experience. The only way was to bring the designs to them. I knew that an online store was not enough, which is why I decided to open up a boutique. The Boutique offers our customers an exclusive shopping experience without compromise to privacy and comfort. Modern Mary’s boutique is a first of its kind, catering to the Muslim market. Modern Mary’s boutique opened its doors to the public December 2010 outside of DC in the Northern Virginia area. Modern Mary’s full collection can be viewed at the boutique by appointment only. Custom evening and bridal wear available. We offer complimentary fittings when creating a custom design.

The designer of Modern Mary, Seema with her model


BB: Any advice for Muslim entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting their own business?

SS: When starting a business, it’s more than just pursuing a passion. Yes, you have to be passionate about what you are doing, but you also have to be persistent, willing to learn, and ready to play various roles. I can’t run a business by just designing- I had to learn to be a manager, bookkeeper, marketer, etc. Most importantly put yourself out there. It’s all about networking… network, network, and network! Let everyone know who you are and what you andyour business is about. There are many groups that you can join or attend (both Muslim based professional groups and non-Muslim professional groups). Take advantage of those networking opportunities because you never know what relationships you will create that would benefit your business or company.


BB: how do you manage it all, your family, household chores, family obligations? 

Orange layered tunic, $59

SS: It’s an everyday challenge! Being able to balance the role of being a mother, a wife, a designer, and an entrepreneur is not easy, and I’m still working to achieve that balance. Alhamdulillah, my passion for designing is what keeps me going. It’s a combination of time-management, organization, communication, and accommodation. Time management- balancing my time with the family and my business; Organization- otherwise nothing will get done! Communication- scheduling with my husband, or family members to watch the kids when I have an event, or need to be at the boutique; Accommodation- life happens, and need to accept that not everything will go according to plan—I have my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, but here I am pursuing a career in fashion design. Thankfully I have a great support network I can turn to when seeking help with taking care of the kids and other family obligations.


BB: Can you share your first runway experience with us? How did it feel seeing your clothes on the runway?

SS: My first major runway show was at DC Fashion Week Fall 2011. My designs were featured in their International Couture Collections show. Seeing my designs going down the runway and hearing applauds from the audience, not only was it amazing but a surreal moment. Being able to transform an idea into a vision, it’s truly rewarding. Fashion shows bring your designs to life. I hope to continue to watch my designs going down the runway.

Modern Mary Custom Dress, $128

 Like what you see? Check out Modern Mary’s designs:













What Woman Really Want…

Ramadan is half way through, thought we’d help you find some great gift ideas.Here is our Eid 2012 Gift Guide for the Women in your life

The Trendy Gift

Peep toe Sandals, $89


Studded Bangle, $32.90


Michael Kors leather watch,$225



The Colorful Gift

Green purse with shiny gold details, $19.80


Stone Ring, $65

Stone Ring

Colorblocked Apron, $32


The Pampering Gift

Luxurious Hand Cream Set, $30

Hand Cream

Aveda Spa service, Prices vary


The Beauty Gift

MAC lipstick set, $39.50

Lipstick Set

Salvatore Ferragamo perfume, $98


Benefit makeup set, $45

Makeup Set

The Thoughtful Gift

A subscription to a magazine is always appreciated


Haute Hijab-Bora Bora Scarf $35


Beauty Bits: Face Masks

I can never find the perfect face cream or moisturizer.  I’ve tried all brands  from St. Ives to the higher end brands such as Origins and Clinique.  After many trials, I’ve realized all the best facial cleansers are right in my kitchen.

Here are a few of my favorite mask remedies:

1. Homemade Rose Water: Rose water is excellent for cleaning dirt/oil and impurities off the skin. Soak a cotton ball in the rose water and wipe your face to purify and tone.

Rose water is also known to cool and soothe tired eyes.  Soak cotton balls with rose water and place over eyes for 15 minutes.

*Recipe for homemade rose water: Now when your husband gets you roses, you can use them to make your own rose water. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add 12 large rose petals and remove from heat.  Leave to steep for a full 30 minutes.  Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed glass bottle.  The rose water will remain good for up to 3 days.

2. Really Rosy Face Mask: Soak rose petals in two tbsps rose water for 10 minutes. Drain.  In a separate container crush the petals with the back of a small spoon.  Mix 1 tbsp yogurt and 2 tbsp honey.  Apply to face and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

3. Banana Face Mask: Your skin will have a healthy glow after applying this tropical mask to your face.  This mask is designed for all skin types.

Mash one half of a banana, mix in a tablespoon of orange juice and a tablespoon of honey. Apply to the face and keep the mixture on for 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and then moisturize.

4. Lemon Egg White Mask:  The lemon juice serves as a bleaching agent for minor facial discolorations, while the egg whites help sop up extra facial oil, while healing and rebuilding skin with their protein-rich content.

Crack an egg and remove the yolk. Beat the egg whites in a shallow bowl.  Cut a fresh lemon in half and squeeze into the bowl, mixing it in with the egg whites to form a dense paste. Apply to a clean face and allow to dry 15-20 minutes. Rinse face and pat dry with a towel.

5. Refreshing Green Tea Mask: This gentle face mask will help remove toxins from your skin, as well as leaving it silky smooth. 

Mix three tablespoons of mayonnaise with one heaped teaspoon green tea leaves. Apply evenly to the face, avoiding the delicate eye area, and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse the mask off, then dry and moisturise your face.

Something to experiment about….
1: Sisters Magazine
2: Sisters Magazine
3. Marie Claire

4. TLC
5. iVillage