Outfits for Occasions: Spring Florals

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Hello lovelies, and happy spring!

I’ve been MIA for a while, but I’m glad I took some time away from the computer to recharge and spend time with family. Today’s post is fashion related, since I haven’t done one of those in a while! Today’s outfit is one that can be worn for a special occasion or just on a day where you want to dress up! Now that the weather is warming up a bit dresses are perfect. I love florals, but instead of wearing bright florals I thought mixing dark with florals would give it a more dressed up look, perfect for evening events! For this outfit, I paired the dress with a black cropped blazer & some black wedges.

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floral maxi dress  floral maxi anthropologiefloral maxi anthropologie   What I’m Wearing:

Maxi Dress: Anthropologie, Black Blazer: Target, Scarf: Kashkha (Dubai).

Hope you all are having a wonderful week! Thanks for reading!

Safiya xx

Eating Healthy On-the-Go

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Hello lovelies,

I apologize for a delay in new posts. Today I decided to post on a topic I’m finding relevant in my life. As I’ve talked about before, eating healthy and having a balanced lifestyle is really important to me. While it’s easier to eat healthy when I’m at home and I can cook my own meals, sometimes life gets busy and there isn’t time to meal prep and take a whole meal with me on the go. For days when I’m on the road and out and about, I rely on having healthy snacks with me to tie me over until I get home and eat, or until meal time. It’s so easy to stop over at Starbucks and get a muffin or drink when you’re feeling hungry, but having healthy snacks ready to go instead provides you with energy and nutrients instead of a sugar crash! Here are some of my favorite snacks to take on the go:

1. Lara Bars

Lara Bars are a fruit and nut bar with natural ingredients. I love them because they taste good and aren’t filled with additives! My favorite flavors are apple pie, cherry, and peanut butter chocolate chip. I used to eat granola and protein bars but I found that they had a lot of extra ingredients in them so now I stick to the more natural stuff! They are so simple that you can make them yourself, all you need is some dried fruit, nuts, dates, and a food processor! I’ve tried to make them before and I was surprised how easy it was.

2. Nuts

My favorite nuts to eat on the go are almonds. I make sure to measure out a small handful in a ziplock baggie so I don’t go crazy eating them. They are healthy but like other healthy fats, are best in moderation! I usually eat them plain and unsalted, but when I want something more flavorful I’ll get the chili and lime flavored almonds from Trader Joes, they are crazy good!

3. Fruits & Veggies

Fruit is easy to take on the go and a good light snack. I’ll usually pack an apple or throw some berries or grapes in tupperware. I avoid bringing bananas since they bruise easily. I also LOVE apple chips which are apple slices that have been baked. Sometimes I’ll also bring carrots or cut up veggies as a snack to eat with some hummus if I know I’m planning to eat it soon. If you do want to eat snacks like berries or hummus later on in the day, make sure to pack them in an insulated lunchbox or cooler so they don’t go bad!

4.  Granola & Yogurt

If I’m packing a cooler or know I’ll be eating soon, I’ll bring some yogurt with me. I love coconut yogurt, and greek yogurt as well! Granola is an awesome topper if you eat plain yogurt and want added flavor, and you can find granola packets at a store or make some yourself!

5. Smoothies/Juices

If I’m eating breakfast on the go, I’ll bring a smoothie or juice in a container to drink on my way out! If you want some ideas for smoothies and juices I posted some recipes on my blog! I’m also a big fan of Suja juices and smoothies, which are organic and do not have preservatives. They tend to be pricey, so I will buy them occasionally when I find them on sale at Target!

If I am really starving and I have to stop over at Starbucks for a snack I’ll usually pick up their protein box or a wrap.For drinks I’ll get either an iced coffee (they started serving coconut milk!), unsweetened green iced tea, or a dirty chai latte for a treat!

I would love to hear what your favorite healthy snacks are for on the go, let me know in the comments below!

Safiya xx

Je Suis….Safiya

With everything that’s been going on in the news lately, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences as a Muslim American. Most of my childhood, my identity was something that I did not question. While I do have one vague memory of ‘being different’ as a child because I didn’t participate in Halloween or Christmas arts & crafts in Pre-K, most of my childhood I spent surrounded by Muslims, people who ‘were like me’. The privilege of attending a private Islamic school in California from kindergarten through fourth grade meant that for most part I was not forced to confront my identity. In my mind, we were all ‘normal’. We all prayed together after lunch, we all celebrated Eid and made paper lanterns, and most of us had Arabic names. Even outside of school, my Girl Scouts troop consisted completely of Muslim girls. In fact, I don’t remember having a single non-Muslim friend before going to public school in the U.S. during my junior year of high school.

It wasn’t that my parents were opposed to me having non-Muslim friends; as many of you know part of my extended family is Catholic. I just grew up in an area with a large enough Muslim community that I was never forced to look elsewhere for friendship. I may have made a few non-Muslim friends during summer classes at the local pool and community art classes, but with my Muslim best friend from Kindergarten at my side, no one else could compete.

Then one day when I was in second grade, things changed. It all started with a phone call my mom got while driving us to school one morning. Suddenly she turned around and told us that school had been canceled. I watched the devastation of the plane crashing into the tower on TV but could not understand what was going on, nor the consequences. After that, the title of our school was removed from the front of the building, as it had the word ‘Islamic’ in it. We were taught in school what ‘code red’ was, and what to do in case of an emergency. I remember a few incidences that occurred after that, where our safety as Muslims in America was questioned. However minor these aggressions were compared to the experiences of other Muslims in the U.S., the still were enough to put my family at unease.

The summer after fourth grade my family packed up all our stuff and said goodbye to our friends. We moved to Morocco and stayed there a month, and then we moved to the United Arab Emirates. A safe, family-friendly, majority Muslim environment. While the first year I struggled academically at a school that taught almost all its subjects in Arabic, but once I moved to an American curriculum school I felt more at home. Everyone spoke English, and I was the only American kid which made me unique. We moved to Dubai, changed schools a few more times, but it was never too hard to make new friends again, readjust to a new setting.

While many friends back home (especially those going to a public school) faced the repercussions of 9/11, I was distant from that reality. I was surrounded by people who accepted my identity for the most part. I was surrounded by other Arab and Muslim kids, we had Eid off as a holiday, and we got off early from school during Ramadan. Wearing the scarf was an easy decision for me to make, considering a large portion of the female population wore one. Fast forward six years later, and my family was moving back to California in the middle of my junior year of high school. For the first time in my life I went to public school.

Now, I was excited to attend public school. I would have never guessed that I would experience culture shock in the country I was born in. After all, going to a public school in the Bay Area, California, the student population was pretty diverse. There were a bunch of girls who wore hijab and there was even a Muslim student club. As the year progressed, I started to make both Muslim and non-Muslim friends. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was different, and I didn’t fit in. I was used to going to an all-girls private school where everyone was Muslim, instead of being the only Muslim girl in most of my classes at public school.

While going to college and making friends with people of all different backgrounds made me feel more comfortable about my own identity (as I reflected on in this post), I still often wonder sometimes if my experience as an American Muslim today would be completely different if I had been raised my whole life in the U.S. I am thankful, especially today, for each non-Muslim person who chooses to get to know me and sees me as more than just my religion and a bunch of stereotypes.

Safiya xx

Side note: I was pleasantly surprised by an article on Variety the other day that addresses the issue of Muslim’s lack of representation in the media and how it relates to people’s attitudes about Muslims living in the U.S.

What’s New in 2015

Can you believe its Jan 20th already? The first month of the new year has flown by! I decided to take some time to reflect on what I hope to achieve in 2015. I’m not one to have resolutions that are a vague and hopeful promise to myself, instead I take time out at the beginning of every year/month/week to plan out my goals.

While I’m not planning to share all my goals in this post, one thing I wanted to share is that I decided to start a YouTube channel! For years now I’ve wanted to make videos/vlogs and upload them but I was always to intimdated by the thought of putting myself out there. Since starting my blog almost a year ago, I realize how much I enjoy sharing and connecting with others. So I decided to take my blog to the next level and add vlogs! Below is my first video:

In terms of posting on my blog and YouTube channel, I am planning to post 2 videos a week and publish blog posts at least 4 times a week. I feel like I haven’t been consistent with posting, so I definitely want to get better at that! As usual, I’m open to any suggestions about topics to post about.

One thing that I have started since the New Year in order to meet my fitness goals is to start hiking 2-3 times a week in the morning with my roommates. Although I always hate the sound of my alarm going off at 6:45 in the morning, the views are stunning and the fresh air energizes me! I’ll probably upload a blog sometime soon of my hike to share the experience with you all!

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View of the city from Griffith Observatory

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Morning fog 

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Hiking to the Griffith Observatory

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week, can’t wait to get some feedback from you all on ideas for my YouTube channel!

Safiya xx

Reflecting on 2014

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As 2014 draws to a close and 2015 is on the horizon, I can’t help but think about how much of an amazing year it’s been, and how fast it’s gone by! I decided to dedicate this post to the awesome times I had in 2014, and revisit some great memories:

January 2014

January was the first time I modeled/walked in a professional fashion show for Fashion Fighting Famine, an organization that fundraises money for local non-profits by putting fashion shows on in California. I got to wear a traditional Moroccan dress (which was awesome since I’m half Moroccan), as well as a Kaftan. It was a great experience bonding with the other girls who were modeling and working on the show, and it taught me to walk in heels! When the opportunity first arose to apply I was unsure, since it seemed like something a little out of my comfort zone. However I’m super glad I did, as I am a firm believer in doing things that scare you sometimes!

February 2014

In February I turned 21, and was super surprised by a -yes surprise- party that was thrown by my wonderful friends and family. I still can’t get over how they kept the whole thing under wraps, and they even got my entrance and reaction on camera! I was so happy to spend an afternoon with amazing people in my life that I am so grateful for. My winter quarter of my senior year was a crazy time, but it was also an amazing time making new friends and growing from my new experiences.

March 2014

March was the month I decided to do another thing that I was nervous about- starting a blog! Although I had wanted to blog for a while I always got caught up in the details…what website to use, what I should blog about…on and on. One day I decided to just do it (Nike’s awesome slogan) and I was shocked by the amount of support I received. Although I blog just for fun, it’s great to see that there are people who enjoy reading what I write. March was also the month I went to LA for spring break with a bunch of wonderful people, and I knew then that I really wanted to move to LA after graduation. Being in LA before my final quarter gave me the motivation to power through my last 10 weeks of my undergraduate career, and it was definitely worth it!

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April-June 2014

April through June was an exciting time as I got to direct and work on my documentary that I had been planning for some time. Although the experience was nerve-racking at times turning the camera on myself, I was able to live my dream of making a documentary, as well as discuss with my family the impact my Mom’s transplant had on us all 3 years ago. I am planning on having a trailer out by January, which I will post on social media for everyone to see! Graduation was another exciting moment, and definitely a time of celebration. It was bitter-sweet to leave a university that I had grown to love after three years, as well as all my friends I had made, but looking back I think I enjoyed my time there as much as I could. I was also greatly humbled to receive an award from my department, and to have graduated with honors. Hard work pays off!

June-November 2014

Summer after graduation was an awesome time relaxing, spending time with family and friends, and starting my first few gigs as a Production Assistant! It was a blast getting to work on various productions, and it made me realize how much I love working on set. When fall rolled around I knew it was time to make the move, as hard as it was to say goodbye to friends and family. It has been a roller coaster of emotions at times, but as I’ve mentioned in my previous post, Los Angeles is starting to feel like home.

December 2014

December has been an amazing month so far! I moved into my apartment with a couple friends, and I’ve had the chance to explore Los Angeles and meet some amazing creative people! I’m also working on some projects that I’m super excited to launch soon, more details to come! All in all, it’s been an amazing year and I’m grateful for every moment of it!

Safiya xx

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(Some shots I took of the beautiful holiday lights in Newport Beach)

Snapshots: A New Place Called Home

As some of you might know, I recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in filmmaking. It has always been my dream to move to LA after graduation and try to ‘make it’ in the film industry, as competitive as it is. So in September, I packed a suitcase, created a six hour playlist, and headed down to Southern California. While I didn’t plan on visiting Northern California for a while, I ended up spending the past few months jumping back and forth from CA to The Bay for work, feeling torn between two places I love. It hasn’t always been palm trees and sunshine, but I’ve come to learn a lot about what it means to be a 20 something transitioning out of college into ‘the real world’. Now that I’ve settled in Los Angeles, I finally feel like this is a place I can call home. While part of my heart will always be in The Bay Area, each day here brings new surprises about this city full of dreams.

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Since I haven’t blogged in a while, I figured I would do a post updating everyone and sharing photos. As you also might have noticed, I changed my blog from a .virb site to a .wordpress site which is easier to use. I’ve also created a website which is in the works, I can’t wait to unveil my project soon!

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I’m a sucker for designs in my coffee. 

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#SweaterSelfie??

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Breakfast = Coffee & oatmeal

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Café

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There’s nothing more calming then drinking tea at the beach.

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Sunny skies 

Leave me comments below on what you would like to see next on the blog, & I’ll get back to posting regularly!

Safiya xx

Outfit of the Day: Floral Cardigan

Florals will always be a favorite of mine, they brighten up any outfit! Here is a quick look at my outfit today. I love that this floral cardigan is so versitile, you can wear it over a dress or skirt, with jeans, or with palazzo pants! Today I’m wearing them with a white t-shirt, some jeans, and flats. Simple!

Safiya xx

Cardigan: Nordstrom Rack. Tshirt: H&M. Jeans: American Eagle. Flats: DSW. Purse: JCPenny.

(Originally posted on Sept. 24, 2014 at simplysafiya.virb.com)