Monday, August 14, 2017

Travel Diaries: Toronto

As you know I recently traveled to Toronto, Canada. It was a short trip as I went for my friends wedding. I really wish had another day or two as I couldn't do everything I had intended but still had a great time! My favorite part about Toronto was how nice everyone was. Every single person we passed always said hello. I definitely would love to visit again. Here's a short recap of my trip :)

DAY 1
 
What I Wore:
 Tunic: Poplook // Slides: Windsor // Scarf: Hijab Vault


Where I Went: 
We first went downtown to visit the Ripley's Aquarium and the CN Tower. The Aquarium is perfect for kids and Safa really enjoyed this. We opted not to see the CN Tower but was a wonderful view from the outside. 

For dinner we drove to Mississauga to a new steakhouse called BlackStone Steakhouse & Grill. Let me tell how amazing this place was. The food, ambiance and customer service was impeccable. The chef himself thanked us for coming and was so sweet. Definitely recommend to eat here!!

DAY 2
Where I went:  
We visited the Toronto Zoo for the kids. It was huge and definitely would take a whole day to complete. We went for a couple of hours and did about half of it. If you have kids, I highly recommend it! Definitely bring snacks and food for the day. There are many picnic areas to sit and relax during the day. 

I surprisingly didn't take many pictures that day. I wore a long tunic from Zara and sneakers. I kept it casual and comfy as we walked around a lot!


DAY 3

Okay, brace yourselves. This day we did a LOT and obviously ate a LOT. I really would never get fit if I lived here!! 


What I Wore:
Black Top: Poplook // Pants: Zara // Jean Jacket: Target // Scarf: Hijab Loft

Where I Went: 
Kensington Market: Wow. That's all I have to say! There is so much to eat here and see. It had an eclectic vibe and cute vintage stores on every corner. Blue Banana Market is the perfect store for unique gifts to bring home .

Wafels & More: For breakfast, we fulfilled our sweet tooth a little early. Loved this cute place!
Burgernator: For lunch, we checked out the famous Burgernator. It was halal and service was fast. I opted for the chicken burger which was good but not the best I've had. Everyone loved their beef burgers and said it was totally worth it. I think we were so hungry we didn't even take any pictures, lol. There's also Top Gun Burgers and Dirty Bird (also halal) that everyone really enjoyed. 

Graffiti Alley: As you walk away from Kensington Market on Spadina, you get to Graffiti Alley. These alleyways were vibrant and filled with a amazing art. On the way we also walked through China Town. 

Here's the best crew ever! These are some of my amazing college friends that all travelled for our friends wedding. College memories continue on <3


Some other fun food places we had:

 
FIKA: Iced Coffee // Moo Frites: Kimchi Fries // Peace Treats: DREAM Milkshake

Organic Press: My friend got a watermelon smoothie that was so refreshing on a hot day. 

Other Places: I wish I had more time and I definitely would of checked out the Toronto Islands, the Harbor Front and the Distillery District. I was most upset about not seeing the Distillery District which is perfect for photo ops. Next time, iA. 


Hope you enjoyed, 
with love
sania<3

Monday, August 7, 2017

What's in Safa's Closet: 5 Must Haves for Toddlers

If I could, I would buy everything in the toddlers section for Safa. What isn't cuter than adult clothes in mini size? It definitely is easy to want to buy everything. I try mostly to only buy casual clothes for daily wear and buy one or two occasion outfits closer to the event. Safa is tiny and I never know what size she'll be in so I try to buy close as I can for the event. Only time, I'll buy in advance when there's a sale especially the Zara one! Anyways, here are my Top 5 must haves for Toddlers!!

1. Rompers
Romper: Zara // Sandals: Old Navy

Rompers and jumpsuits are the best!! Easiest outfit for toddlers. Just throw on one piece and a cute pair of sandals and you're all set. Most of Safa's nicer ones are from Zara and the more casual ones are from Old Navy. Below are some of my favorites!



2. Statement Dresses
Dress: Zara // Shoes: Old Navy
Statement dresses are also easy one pieces to throw on. The cutest are dresses that us adults could actually wear too. Especially this off the shoulder chambray one from Zara. 


3. Neutral Sandals
Sandals: Old Navy // Dress: Zara
To complete any look, you have to have cute shoes! As I do for myself, I also bought neutral ones for Safa. Babies grow out of shoes quickly and I definitely don't want to have to keep buy different colors of shoes over and over. The easiest to buy are these cognac color ones above, black or nude. These shoes are from Old Navy from the Toddler section. Safa FINALLY started wearing shoes and clothes from the Old navy toddler section which has the cutest stuff! I really had to control myself and not buy everything. 


4. Jean Jacket
Jean Jacket, Shirt, Shoes: Old Navy
Though summer isn't over, jean jackets are a must for fall. They match with everything and are a perfect piece to keep warm on chilly nights. This one is a little older from last spring but I bought a new one recently for the upcoming fall season. 


5. Multipack Ponytails
Overalls: Zara // Shoes: Walmart // T-Shirt: Primark
Okay this one seems a little out of context, but it is the only way I know how to style her hair! Safa has really thin and silky hair so hair clips don't stay and headbands make her hair look super funny. So for now, the two pigtails it is! I got a 500 multipack and multicolor packet from Walmart. I usually end up using black so it just blends in with her hair. 


More posts on Safa's Style to come!! 
with love 
<3 sania

Saturday, July 29, 2017

My Fitness Journey: 5 Tips for the Beginning



And so it begins: My Fitness Journey. Lately, I feel its been really trendy to be "fit" but what better trend than being fit and health? For myself, I really just wanted to stop feeling so lethargic all the time and gain some energy. I also wanted to get back to my old body before I had Safa. All I can say, it hasn't been easy! I've been on and off about working out and eating healthy and I'm not going to lie even now I'm not perfect. I still have some sweets here and there and give into cravings. I'm still starting out and I know it will take time. I started working out consistently 3 times a week probably right before Ramadan in May. These past 6 weeks I've been working out 4-5 times a week. For the first time though, I truly enjoy working out and eating healthy. Why? Cause I'm seeing small changes in my body and in my mood. I see a lot of stories and people always show the after result. I wanted to share my whole journey. I wanted to share 5 tips that helped me start my journey and are keeping me going now. 

1. Find a Workout Partner.

For me, this was key and made the biggest difference. There are tons of apps out there, classes, websites, programs that you can do. What I needed was someone to keep me in check. I used to workout with my husband but since having our daughter we can't workout together :(. I was so lucky that one of my friends, Nilma (@nilma_husain) also just became a personal trainer. I know, not everyone is this lucky. If you can afford a personal trainer even 1 session a week, I highly recommend it. I was doing so many exercises with improper form even something simple as a squat. She really helped me fix my form, teach me new exercises and workout routines. 

2. Set (Realistic) Goals & Rewards!
This is something I learned from another friend of mine who does cross fit. You cannot workout without any end goals because you have no idea where you're going. My short term goal is to workout 5 times week (3 strength training sessions, 2 cardio). For lifting, I've been squatting 20 lbs and dead lifting 20 as well. My goal is to squat and deadlift my body weight. For actual weight, ideally I want to lose 15 lbs but I'm not focusing too much on weight but more so inches on my body. InshAllah I can reach it in 6 months!! Definitely set up rewards too when you reach your goals. Whether you lose 10 lbs, squat a certain amount reward yourself with a treat, buy something nice for yourself or eat at your favorite restaurant. Even every week if you've met your goal of working out such as 4 times a week, eat a small treat. 

3. Pick an activity you like.
If you hate running, don't choose running to lose weight! There are so many different types of exercises you can do to workout. I noticed I love lifting so increasing my weight gets me excited. For cardio I love cardio kickboxing, zumba, and dancing. Later as you get used to working out, then you can challenge yourself with different types of workouts. But in the beginning, pick something that makes you excited!

4. Plan your workout schedule.  
Plan! Plan! Plan! This is so important on a daily basis. On Sunday, I look at my whole week and I plan which days I'll workout and generally what I'll be doing (cardio, strength or recovery). I know for a factor Tuesdays I have meetings till late and I won't have a lot of energy to do an intense session. Instead I'll do a cardio or home workout. I also plan out my schedule each day. This also includes meal prep. I personally don't meal prep for the whole week but I will for two to three days to avoid eating out or giving into cravings when I'm super hungry.

5. Don't give up!!
Lastly, do not give up!! Sometimes its hard not see results right away. Believe me, I get it. But if you keep going your body will start to show small improvements. In the past two months I haven't lost weight in numbers but I have lost inches, old clothes are fitting me and I feel so much more energetic. 

I hope this helps you begin your fitness journey or keep going. InshAllah I hope I can continue and share my journey. After having Safa, I really wanted to be an active mom to one encourage her to be active and two to do all fun activities with her. If you have a family, it's awesome to workout together or just stay active. 

Good Luck!
sania<3





Monday, July 24, 2017

10 Summer Weekend Getaway Essentials for the Modest Woman

As I was packing for a recent trip to Lake George with family, I found it was hard to figure out what to pack. I didn't want to overpack or under pack. I knew we would be doing some activities but most of the time we would be lounging around. I still have a few more trips coming to Cape Cod and Toronto and figured I'd share what's in my suitcase! Besides your typical hijabi items such as hijab, loose tops, etc. I thought I'd share some of my essentials when traveling including some beauty ones. I am definitely no beauty blogger but like to pack what is simple and easy. Here are my Top 10 Summer Essentials in no particular order. Hope you get some inspo!

1. Culottes
Top: Poplook // Pants: Zara (Similar) // Scarf: Hijab Vault
Culottes/Palazzos, Wide-legged pants--whatever name you give it, these are a must have in your suitcase. There is no better way to beat the summer heat. Their loose, breathable and comfortable. These are from Zara from last summer season. They have similar ones now for even cheaper. I'm also in love with this top form Poplook. I love these tops because their modest and actually trendy.

2. Sunglasses
Sunglasses: Ray Ban Top: Poplook // Jeans: TJ Maxx // Shoes: Forever 21 // Bag: Target // Scarf: Austere Attire
Okay, I know this kind of a given. You can't go out without sunglasses. But this I just had to put on here. Also, don't get cheap ones. Get a good quality pair of sunglasses that go with mostly everything. I love the fun shapes they have so for those I'll get from forever or h&m because I know they're trendy and will only last a short while. I love these Ray Ban sunglasses. They're plain black and match with every one of my outfits. I don't travel without them!!

3. Signature Dress
Dress: Zara // Scarf: Hijab Vault // Bike: Shower Prop
Most of my suitcase will me comfy and casual and easy to wear. But I always pack one signature dress that is a little more special. It's not like this dress isn't comfy but is definitely the cutest item in my bag. It's even versatile to wear open with jeans or close it and pair with some cute heels. Zara has my favorite ones. Check out the post I did on summer dresses a few weeks back!

4. Lightweight Hijab 
Hijab: Hijab Loft // Top: Zara (Similar) // Jeans: Forever 21 
I have been searching high and lo for scarves that are easy to wear and comfortable. I don't even have to iron these. If you know me, I Iron everything! These new premium cotton scarves are so soft and easy to style. A lot of companies are carrying it. I have some from Austere Attire, Hijab Loft and Hijab Vault.

5. Midi Tops
Top: She In // Jeans: Primark // Slides: TJ Maxx // Scarf: Hijab Loft
As much as I love dresses, they aren't the best to wear all throughout the weekend. Midi dresses are so easy to style and perfect for the warm weather. My main issue is finding loose midi dresses. Many of them are fitted. These are key pieces for a weekend away as it doesn't really require much effort. Pair it with some cute jeans and slides and you're all set. She In has a variety of midi dresses with different colors, prints and styles. And hey, affordable too!

6. Modest Swimwear
Top: Dri Fit Old Navy (Mens) // Tights: Dri-Fit Tights
We cannot have a summer post without swimwear! I have a Burqini that I love for swimming. However, sometimes it's easier to wear regular clothes and also much cheaper. For the pool or even the beach I usually get dri-fit tights which you can find anywhere from TJ Maxx to Forever 21 to Old Navy. I love mine from TJ Maxx. I find there sizes to be more true-fit. For tops, I have not found any tops for women that are loose. So I get the dri-fit shirts from the mens section. I recently found one that I love from Old Navy. It even zips up to my neck which I usually wear with a turban swim cap. I personally like the swim caps better then any hijabs. It always ruins them after.

7. Sneakers 
Sneakers: Zara (Similar) // Top: Forever 21
I cannot stress the important enough of comfortable sneakers. You're going to be walking a lot! Do not bring cute flats that are going to hurt your feet. It won't be worth it. When I went to Spain I mostly wore my sneakers. Yes, it looked funny with some outfits but hey we were walking 7 to 8 miles a day! I did not want to be miserable with blisters on my feet. A cute alternative are these white sneakers from Zara. I love these for trips that we'll be walking around during the day.

8. Mini Backpack
Bag: Vera Bradley // Pants: Uniqlo (Similar) // Jean Jacket: Forever 21 (Similar)
This is kind of a given for travelling. Since having Safa, I have to carry a giant bag. I recently switched over to a backpack as its easier to have my hands free. I love these Vera Bradley one. You can really find them anywhere form Forever to TJ Maxx.

9. Face Spray
Mario Badescu
This just deserves its own spot. My sister gave this is part of a gift for Mothers Day and it is the best! It keeps my face hydrated. I like to spray it before and after applying makeup and even before bed. In the summer it gives a nice glow.

10. Quick Makeup Routine 
1. Tinted Face Cream 2. Concealer 3. Bronzer 4. Mascara 5. Eyebrow Mousse 6. Lipstick
Lastly and most importantly: a quick makeup routine! When I travel during the summer, I do not want to lug around a giant makeup bag. I have a quick makeup routing just requiring 6 items that are perfect for a clean summer look. First, I recommend a tinted moisturizer with SPF, that way you don't have to put on sunscreen and makeup--yay! I love Bare Minerals Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream. It's super light, creamy and provides amazing coverage. I then apply Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer to even out my skin tone and cover up those dark circles. Sometimes , I'll usually apply a light bronzer or blush. I usually will use a cheaper drug store brand like Revlon or Maybeline. For blush, my all time favorite is Nars in Orgasm. For my eyes, Ill apply a few coats of Mascara. These days I've been loving Maybeline's Falsies Mascara. For my eyebrows, I fill in my eyebrows with Tarte's Eyebrow Mousse and an eyebrow brush. I cannot leave the house without doing so! Lastly, I usually wear a light pink or nude lipstick. These days I'm loving Bare Minerals Radiant Lipstick in "Love". All of this usually takes me 10 minutes. I'm no makeup expert but this is what I found works for me!

I really enjoyed writing this post and sharing my tips. Hope you found this helpful :)

with love,
sania

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cozy Chic Living Room




I know I've been saying a post is coming for my new living room decor. It's finally here! We recently moved to a different apartment nearby and I wanted to change up the decor. We still have our same black sectional which I love and don't want to give up. I changed the color scheme and some other details. It's still a work in progress but here is the latest. 


Sectional: Macys // Marble Table: Article // Shelves & Floor Lamps: Target // Gold Tray: Home Goods // Rug: IKEA
In my previous apartment we had mostly IKEA furniture. We were on a budget and got simple white furniture from IKEA. This time, I wanted to get some spotlight pieces. Like this AMAZING marble table from Article. This was definitely a difficult buy cause of the price but totally worth it! I decided to do these shelves instead of a gallery wall cause 1 my friend suggested it and 2 it was much easier then hanging so many frames up. We needed lighting as the apartment has no ceiling lighting so I opted for this gold three headed lamp from Target. I love rustic and gold accents together. I added some rustic accents with the coffee tables' legs and the frame shelves. For gold accents, the lamp was a perfect addition along with a tray from Home Goods. I continued the gold accents on my bookshelves below. 


 

One of my pet peeves about bookshelves is clutter! It should look neat and clean. Not all of us have only books with white covers. An easy fix is to get these magazine holders and boxes and store everything in there! All of the organization items are from, wait for it.. IKEA! So cheap and efficient. I put all of our books in the magazine holders. In the boxes I stored others tuff like laptops, chargers, etc. On the bottom shelf I got this cute basket from Target and have our prayer rugs and scarves inside. Oh and these bookshelves are from IKEA as well. There are some cool hacks if you don't want to spend a fortune on shelves. Check them out on Pinterest. 

Magazine Holders: IKEA
Boxes: IKEA
Basket: Target (Similar)
Black Shelves: IKEA

The accent pieces are from different places like Target, Home Goods, IKEA, TJ Maxx, etc. A lot of these pieces were actually from the clearance section. You don't have to spend a lot to make it look good. My favorite piece is that white pineapple though from TJ Maxx..how cute?!

Hope you enjoyed my cozy living room. InshAllah more to come with the dining room, kitchen, pantry etc. :)

with love,
Sania





Monday, July 10, 2017

8 Modest Dress Picks for the Summer


Summer is finally hereeeeee! I totally have a love/hate relationship with this season. I love the beach, dresses, ice cream, carnivals and the list can go on. I do however hate the super hot weather and humidity that comes along with it. This is why I have made a list of my top summer dresses for this season!! When it's this hot, I do not want to wear multiple layers. I always try to find one piece dresses that are long sleeves and floor length or at least midi length! Here are my top 8 favs!


1. Stripes Floral (Zara)

This is my favorite out of all of them. Zara always has the best long sleeve maxi's. They are a little steep in price but always worth it. I wore it to a bridal shower and plan on wearing it this summer. You can wear it as a dress, a cardigan or even with jeans. 


2. Beach Stripes (She In
I'm in love with this stripes trend this seasons. Wear it with this belt or your own funky belt. Pair it with a fun hat and you're ready for the beach!
3.  Bohemian Green (She In)

 
This is perfect for a night out. Comfortable especially for those hot summer nights. Pair it with heels and bold lip!
4.  Floral Fun (Zara)

 
Another Zara favorite. I really love all their dresses. Can never go wrong!

5. Abstract White (Forever 21)

I recently saw this and Forever and almost bought it of myself. I then realized I have similar pieces so I held off. If you don't have a white bohemian dress, definitely invest in this one!

6. Ruffle Wrap (Target)
 
I'm really tempted to get this and I just might. This is super classy and would look amaze with simple strap heels, black hijab and a red lip!
7. Beach Blue (Target)

 
I've had this for a while and finally will be able to wear this at the beach this coming weekend. Look out for it on my insta;)
8. Flowy Floral (Windsor)
 
Lastly, my sis rocked this beautiful dress. This is perfect for any bridal or baby shower you have to attend this weekend!

Hope you liked my picks! Can't wait to see everyones looks!
<3 sania


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Getting your Kids in the Ramadan Spirit

1. Start Young

This is the most important way to get kids, even toddlers in the Ramadan spirit. If you don't start young, you can't expect kids to just know how to fast, pray or know their Deen. Expose them to Quran as soon as they are born. When you pray, lay them down in front of you. As they get older, they will be already familiar with it. I know sometimes it is tough especially for us moms to focus on our prayer if there is this super cute baby in front of you. Sometimes my husband and I would take turns so we could focus on our prayer. Honestly, after a while you just get used to it. Safa only at 18 months old will take out her small prayer rug and stand and even do the hand motions when saying Allahu Akbar. She's learned how to say Ameen and make dua. And whats one of her favorite fruits? Dates! She loves them and asks for them all the time. We didn't start in Ramadan though, we started as soon as she was able to chew them. As a child I did not like dates because I wasn't exposed to them till Ramadan so it was really unfamiliar. I wanted to change that for Safa. We didn't do anything special. We just exposed her since she was a baby!

2. Read
Find as many Islamic books as you can and read to them! Again, from a very young age. Last year we got many books as gifts for Ramadan and Eid and those are her favorite ones. Especially the Golden Lanterns. She's memorized every page. My favorite part about reading this book is when Safa points to the page with a mom wearing hijab and says "Mama!" It's so heartwarming that she can find herself and her family in a book. Something, that we didn't have as children. Here are the books we have so far! 
The Shapes of Eid, According to Me
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
It's Ramadan, Curious George!
Rashad's Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr!
Lailah's Lunchbox

3. Decorate the House
During Ramadan and Eid, decorate the house! Get them excited for Ramadan and Eid. As a child, I always loved how pretty Christmas time was because of all the beautiful decor everywhere. I'm sure we all secretly wanted a tree to decorate. I definitely see families now decorating for Ramadan and Eid. There are more companies now that have specifically decor for Ramadan and Eid. Safa is a little young to get excited for Ramadan but I still love to decorate. As she gets older I'll definitely be adding a 30 day calendar with rewards to encourage her to fasts. But we have a while for that!

    

Some of my favorite companies: 


4. Take them to the Masjid

My parents made sure to bring me to the masjid since I can remember. Quran classes, Sunday school and Jum'ah are all a part of my childhood memories. When we moved form New York to New Jersey, the first thing I did was go to the local Masjid and find YM. It was my safe place, it's where I made my first friends in NJ and who, I still hang out with 12 years later! You want to make the masjid your childs' community. You can't take them when they "have to go" and expect them to love it. Like I said, start young!

5. Be a Role Model. 
 
The most important tip of all. Be a role model. Kids learn all through example. No matter what you say or how many times you say it, they will follow exactly what you do. If you show your love for Ramadan and worship, your kids will too. Always remember though, they are kids. Make it light and easy for them. You want them to want to pray and fast because they love to not out of fear of being punished. 

Hope these tips were helpful. 
Ramadan Mubarak!!