Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Derby Time Again...

Growing up in central Kentucky if there's one thing you know about it's horse racing. When I was a tiny kid I would carry around my toy horses and line them up and make them race around our coffee table. Thoroughbred race horses have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember, whether it was from family working with them or watching them on TV like I will be doing Saturday when the 140th Kentucky Derby will be aired. I never go to Churchill Downs to watch it in person, I'm definitely not the type that wants to sit around for hours and hours surrounded by drunk and obnoxious people even if it is to watch the horses run. At least at home you have a comfier seat, better snacks, and there won't be any drunk or obnoxious people, especially at my horse there's not even a chance that people of that sort will show up. Or at least hopefully not, since I do live on a race horse farm this time of year brings a lot of tourists that often loiter nearby because of this areas history of having so many legendary horses and Derby winners.

When I was young the day before the Derby was always special, it's called Derby Eve and all the big horse farms and Kentucky socialites would have massive themed parties all night long that would be aired on the local TV stations so the viewer's could see which celebrities were showing up to watch the Derby the next day and mostly to see the extravagant fashion that everyone would be wearing. Most people know about  the spectacular hats worn at the Derby but few ever stayed up all night to watch the themed parties. I remember one of my favorite ones having an underwater theme with massive ice sculptures of seahorses and Neptune and women dressed as fancy mermaids in evening gowns.

Unfortunately these parties have died down over time and become a thing of the past, although a few of the major Kentucky socialites still throw an annual Derby Eve bash it isn't covered on TV like it used to be nor is it a special classy event as it was in the past. Due to such a predominance of alcohol in Kentucky and the state being so well known for the types of alcohol it produces people are more focused on that instead of the real history that should be celebrated which is our Thoroughbred race horse industry. Many probably don't even know that the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep, can also be made without alcohol. Unlike most of my fellow Kentuckians I am proud to say I have never drank a glass of alcohol in my lifetime, I am living proof that you can respect your areas history and achievements but not be swayed by society to blindly follow every tradition that is set forth.

Although I will be spending my Saturday Derby Day in my pajamas studying for 2 final exams while I watch the races all day that lead up to the Derby and then the Derby itself it doesn't mean you have to! These fashion sets were inspired by the spirit of the Derby, the blanket of red roses the winner will receive, and the mint juleps (non alcoholic versions of course!).

In Case It Rains

Sometimes it rains on derby day and you definitely don't want to be stuck without an umbrella. Although women in this area carried parasols in the old days this floral umbrella is better suited for the task and just as feminine. For equestrian style boots like the ones in this set I recommend you skip the ones you see at your favorite shops in the mall and get some made by a real equestrian company such as Ariat, they will be made of better quality materials and Ariat's will literally last for years even with continued wear.


I love the Ariat sandals in this set, they look so comfy. I have a pair of Ariat sandals that I bought years ago that are made of leather designed to look like palm fronds, and although I love them the leather is stiff and it looks like Ariat has remedied this with their more recent sandals. this outfit has it all, the horses, the bling, and the big hat. I sooo want to try the LUSH mint julep lip scrub, it's definitely on my wish list.
Derby Eve

We all had jelly sandals when we were kids, I was surprised to see how much of a comeback they are making especially in this grown up jelly very of strappy high heels At least the modern version look like they have better insoles so that you won't have flashbacks of how sticky your jelly sandals made your feet feel as a kid. This maxi dress would be great with a drapey cardigan or even a button up sweater.
Derby Eve

I love pastel colors and mint is my favorite of the group. This dress is perfect and the cut reminds me of a Greek Goddess. I remember watching a Greek themed Derby party years ago but the dresses weren't as fitting for the Derby as this one.

mint Julep

I love how this dress offers great coverage of the chest area, pair it with a white fringed cardigan and a fancy hat and you can feel like Derby royalty.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring Time Green

Spring time is one of the most beautiful times of the year, it is excited to watch the grass turn green again and all the flowers start to bloom in magnificent colors. For me spring time has always been a great time to just sit outside and enjoy nature, although most of the time that entails me planting lots of new flowers in our yard and sowing seeds in our garden so that we can have fresh produce all summer long. Green the color that epitomizes spring and all the trees and plants around us coming back to vibrant life after the winter's ice and freezing temperatures are gone. Green is also a color that is easy to wear, and as you can see in the following fashion sets I have created that green can easily be incorporated into your wardrobe in it's various shades.

Spring Fever

I know I'm not the only one that enjoys curling up in my bed with my laptop to do my homework while drinking hot chocolate or vanilla chai. Spring time is also a good time to get your skin in better shape by using facial masks so that your skin can feel renewed for the new season, it is also a good time to invest in a couple good face and body exfoliators to slough off the dry skin that happens so often in the winter and colder weather, my favorite is the micro-derm exfoliating peel scrub by philosophy that can easily be found in shops like Sephora or online from the philosophy website.

Spring Brights

Spring fun

I love how this long cardigan looks very much like a farasha abaya, such an easy way to cover your arms while still wearing a fun outfit. That is one of the first reasons that made me fall in love with abayas, I could wear the clothes I already had and just use the abaya to cover myself instead of trying to put on 3 or more layers of clothing and then checking and double checking to make sure none of my arms or chest were showing, whether my top was loose enough and long enough to cover down to my thigh, whether my pants were loose enough, blah, blah, blah. Wearing so many layers of clothes is not practical for me, it is restricting, can get uncomfortable, plus in the summer it is hot where I live and 3 layers of clothes in the sun when it's 100 degrees F just does not work. Also I so love the t-shirt in this set, I would totally wear this outfit to a classic car show!

Comfy in Lime

Betsey Johnson is a great place to find spring jewelry in bright colors like the lady bug jewelry in this set.

Happy Flamingos

Another great cardigan that offers almost the same coverage as an abaya. The black cardigan with the bright clothing underneath is so playful and fun. I adore the sunglasses in this set, they totally remind me of the old Batman TV show I watched as a kid where Eartha Kitt played Catwoman and drove around in her little Cat-Car hahaha!

Spring Florals

Dolce & Gabbana make many items in beautiful floral prints, I guess because all Sicilian women love crazy loud floral fabric! Floral and pearls, what more could you want? This would be perfect to take along on a trip to Sicily, can't you imagine wearing this while looking out into the Mediterranean sea while you stuff yourself with bruschetta and pasta?!?!?

Seeing Green

I love this Ombre green Kaftan, just a subtle hint of color to makethe print look more alive. The clutch is fascinating, kilim type prints and tassles are always a winner.

Spring Time Emerald and Pearls

Round chair oh how I covet thee, if only I lived in an area where I could have outside furniture like that. Where I live the chair would get soaked in rain and ruin quickly. loving the Kate Spade telefono Italian phone case, if only they would make as an s4 case I would be happy.  If you know me you know that i love tassels and I think this silver tassel necklace would be adorable against the emerald green of this kaftan. This look reminds me so much of Gardenia flowers, it would be great for an evening home cooked meal served in a garden with candle light.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Al Karam Qadri Collection

Al Karam Qadri is a fashion house that offers abayas, jilbabs, beautiful jalabiyas, shawls and more. Their designs range from simple day wear to exquisite evening looks.  They were founded in 1927 in Nablus, Palestine. My personal favorite are the jalabiyas they offer from Syria and Jordan, the designs and styles are traditional yet have a modern edge with the inclusion of bright colors and intricately embroidered textures. I love the floral abaya in the last 2 photos of this post, so girly and perfect for spring. I imagine wearing it while walking through meticulously groomed botanical gardens in an exotic locale with the scent of fresh flowers all around, that would be a splendid day indeed!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What Defines you?

I've always been a fan of Bob Dylan, of course my favorite song by him is "Sara". A line from that song always stuck in my head, 'So easy to look at yet so hard to define'. Every day we are examined based on how we look and given many attributes by those who look at us, some attributes may be true but often they are very false because people judge us without knowing us. How many times have you heard stories or gossip about yourself that was totally false? More than once I'm sure. Those false stories and gossip are almost always caused by the negative attributes people have created for us in their minds.

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” 
― Dita Von Teese

When people encounter us they use our direct definition to define us, meaning they judge us only on what they can physically see about our appearance and characteristics. This is where identity scripts come into play. An identity script is how we or others think we should look, behave, believe, and even dress. We commonly refer to this as people judging us based on our looks or where we are from. We truly do not realize how important of a part identity scripts play in our daily lives whether they are created by us or others.

A man remarked, “But a man likes his clothes to be nice and his sandals good.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance is refusing to acknowledge what is right and considering others beneath one.” (Mishkat al-Masabih) 

Our personal identities don't really change in some ways as we grow older. The books and activities that interested us when we were children may still interest us today. As a kid I would stay outside in my tent all day long reading Jack London novels, National Geographic magazines, and making crafts. Today that still sounds like a pretty fun day to me. Activities we enjoyed with our families such as fishing are also equally as enjoyable once we become adults. These things play a part in building our character, but their are also parts of our identity scripts that change over time.

When a person accepts Islam a big part of their identity script changes. They shed away all the years spent in their former religion and adapt to incorporating Islam into their lives at a pace that may be alarming to tohers. Islam is a total way of life. It guides us on how we should worship, dress, speak, interact with others, and even eat. Based on the direct definitions and identity scripts created by others it can become difficult for reverts to wrap themselves in Islam the way they want to and feel that they should.

A big hurdle can be the differences in the way individuals practice Islam. Because of the identity script one person has made of how a Muslim should be practicing they can wrongly accuse a good practicing Muslim with a heart of gold of doing something blasphemous. Identity scripts like these created by ones personal opinion without guidance from the Quran and Sunnah are great injustices and could possibly discourage Muslims from doing great things. I have personally been told that I don't act like a Muslim and that I know nothing about Islam. In fact I do, I just don't act in the way of that person's opinion  because I choose to follow the Quran and Sunnah instead of blind traditions that may not be connected to Islam at all.

“If a man addresses his brother as, ‘O’ Disbeliever’ (Kaafir) it returns to one of them;
either it is as he said or it returns to him.”
Sahih Bukhari 10/427 and Sahih Muslim 60, Narrated by Ibn Umar

“Ignore the critics… Only mediocrity is safe from ridicule. Dare to be different!” 
― Dita Von Teese

“I like the idea of being whoever I want to be.” 
― Dita Von Teese

The identity script of any Muslim should of course incorporate the Quran and Sunnah but should also involve a knowledge of the history of The Prophet, the people that lived in his area, and his upbringing/way of life before and after The Quran was revealed to him. It is through learning these historical cultures, peoples, and practices that we can get a more in depth understanding of Islamic society. By becoming interested and taking part in learning and adapting these things into our lives where applicable it can really mess with the direct definitions that others have of us and incite them to send a barrage of insults and ridicule our way. 

Many reverts face the identity script from others that they cannot wear an abaya, and since it can easily be seen in the Quran and Sunnah that believing women would draw their cloaks over themselves or wore cloak like outer garments any Muslim that wants to cover herself in that way has a right to do so. Because a revert may be from a different country or background that those born to Muslim families, those who were lucky enough to be born to Muslim families can be very defensive about everything related to Islamic society and culture. They are so steeped in their personal traditions that they may not be able to change their direct definition or identity scripts of how they view reverts. Once they have their opinion made about you it will never change. Some may even view the reverts interests and actions as weird and offensive. 

There is no way to change how someone views you or wrongfully perceives who you are without even having a conversation with you. The main thing is to work on your personal identity script to fully involve yourself in Islam and incorporate it's practices into every part of your life. When people encounter you their direct definition of you may not always be the truth about you but through your actions and speech at least one person's definition of you will be "That is a good Muslim'. As long as you can back that statement up with your actions that's what counts.