For the love of a Desert Safari

keeping warm with the fire

keeping warm by the fire

I just got back from a short trip to Dubai which was a pit stop on the way to Madinah and Makkah to perform Umrah. I traveled with my husband and 2 of our friends. We stayed in Dubai for 3 nights but it was a very short trip because we arrived Friday night and left Monday morning. In Dubai, our itinerary was jam packed with things to do because, well there’s so much to do! Dubai is such a new city. Everything is extra beautiful, extra over the top and extra lux. But my favorite parts of Dubai was the old city of Dubai- Dubai City of Gold also called the Gold Souq.

Dubai City of Gold

Dubai City of Gold

 

The old city of Dubai reminded me of Pakistan and the walled inner city by the Wazir Khan Mosque (I blogged about my trip to Pakistan and you can read all about it here) but a cleaner and safer version of it. It was 1 dirham (about 27 cents) to get there by boat and it was so enjoyable that we did it twice. The Gold Souq was a great place to buy souvenirs, clothes, and small odds and ends. Being a New Yorker, the feeling of safety you felt in Dubai was unparalleled; Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world.

couple selfie inside one of the shops at the Gold Souq

couple selfie inside one of the shops at the Gold Souq

 

The absolute highlight of my trip was the desert safari hands down. We booked it in advance through: beyondthedunes.com and it was a private tour. The rest of the tours are in groups. We thought it would be a great experience for just the 4 of us and the guide and it definitely was. We were picked up by Ahid himself. He was in charge of everything and he’s a one man show. The desert safari included everything. He does everything from picking us up, to sand dune bashing, sand boarding, to setting up the tents, and preparing the meals and setting up the fire.

ATVing- my first time

ATVing- my first time

Our first stop was the ATVing, then we did sand dune bashing with Ahid in control of driving and after that we did sand boarding. I posted a ridiculously funny video of me sand boarding and it is up on instagram. While sand dune bashing we saw Arabian Oryx which is a rarity. These animals were almost extinct and now there are only about 1100 living in the wild. We saw about 10 in the desert that day.

Arabian Oryx

Arabian Oryx

cartwheels in the sand are always necesary

cartwheels in the sand are always necessary

 

 

tents set up in the middle of the desert

tents set up in the middle of the desert

Ahid setting everything up

Ahid setting everything up

 

candlelight dinner

candlelight dinner

The dinner was perfection. There was spicy wings, chicken kebabs and lamp chops accompanied with humus and different sauces, salads, and bread. We devoured the whole meal which was so fresh and delicious.

all of use huddled by the fire

all of us huddled by the fire

It was slightly cold but being seated on the cushions by the fire, you could hardly feel the cold. I even took a nap under the stars in the night sky in the desert. It was so peaceful. If you are ever going to Dubai I can’t recommend this desert safari tour enough. Our entire trip was a hectic rush because we wanted to make ample use of our time and during the desert safari we were finally able to fully relax and enjoy the true beauty of Dubai and experience the desert as it should be enjoyed.

 

about to do a cartwheel, or just posing awkwardly

about to do a cartwheel, or just posing awkwardly

Outfit of the day (OOTD) details:

Khaki style pants in neon orange: Gap purchased on sale for $8

Jeweled velour hoodie: Express

Summer scarf: Loft

Shoes: Crocs, perfect for the sand because the shoes are completely washable

 

(All pics were taken with my Iphone so it’s not the best of quality but we didn’t want to be burdened with an actual camera in the desert. Also, I wish I took more pics but we were enjoying ourselves and the serenity of the desert that even these few pics I had to remind myself or someone else to take it.)

Thanks so much for reading. I’m so embarrassed that I have not blogged in almost 2 months but work and life has taken over the last few months. I’ve been extremely busy and I’m so sorry for the lack of posts. Last month marked my one year blog anniversary! I don’t believe its been an entire year. I really wanted to do a post on my reflections of the past year but this trip and work consumed my life the last few weeks and I truly just did not have time. My apologies.

 

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just me

just me

 

** Upon returning from my trip I saw that I hit over 3500 followers on instagram and I wanted to thank everyone for following, It really means so much to me. What a pleasant surprise that was. Xoxo

** I will be attending the IC NYU Gala this Sunday February 23rd. I hope you already purchased your tickets because there will be no sale of tickets at the door. You can donate here. I hope to see you there!

For the love of HijabFest

(This post should be properly titled: For the love of HijabFest and Getting Over My Fear Of Public Speaking but I decided due to the longevity I wouldn’t use that as my title. But that’s exactly what this post is)

Hijabfest

Hijabfest

New Brunswick Islamic Center (NBIC) hosted its first ever HijabFest in New Jersey this past Sunday. I was invited to give a small presentation on modest fashion. I agreed. I thought it would be more of a workshop on the side and I didn’t realize I would be on stage front and center. One of my greatest fears is public speaking. I despise it. I get nervous, start sweating, stammering, shaking etc. It’s not a pleasant sight to see and it’s quite embarrassing actually. Some people are scared of heights, bugs, spiders, whatever it may be and public speaking is it for me. Friends and classmates can attest to this fact and they all say it’s the strangest thing because it doesn’t fit my personality at all. For whatever reason, it is what it is. I decided not to cancel after realizing I would be front and center because I had already given my word. I debated taking drugs to calm my nerves but I don’t like taking prescription drugs unless it’s very necessary and so I decided against it. (OTC drugs are a different story. If you have a minor ache, pain or fever take a Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Or take two. You will feel great afterwards)

Upon arrival, Hijabfest was a sold out event (it sold out a few days before the event) and the entire area was buzzing. It was a smaller venue so it was pretty full to capacity. There was a great fashion show from some of the designers there. Each designer showcased 3 looks. I captured a few of them but it was hard to because I was running in and out because I had to make arrangements for my presentation. Some of the designers at the event included: Kotton Love, May Ade Designs, True Faith Apparel, Bulbul, Laila’s Collection, Unique Hijabs, and Amirah Couture. I especially loved the jilbabs from Bulbul, the scarves from kottonlove and I loved the variety and affordability of the hijabs at Al-Mujalbaba.

There was some enlightening speeches which were great everyday reminders. It was a well thought out, well organized event and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

 

Uniquehijabs and their models

Uniquehijabs and their models

 

designer and her models

designer and her models

 

Kottonlove and her models

Kottonlove and her models

My presentation was scheduled for 3:45 and at about 2:30 I met backstage with my models, one of them being my sister. I was going to present 4 outfits and 2 hijab tutorials. I got all the girls dressed in coordinating outfits and hijabs from my personal collection. Then it was showtime. I was shaking, my heart was beating through my chest and I couldn’t even stand. I took a seat behind stage while I was being introduced. My sister and all the models were so supportive and told me to relax and calm down and breathe slowly. That helped a bit. I wanted to turn around and run (just kidding?) but obviously I knew I couldn’t. So there was no turning back, indeed it was showtime.

Prior to HijabFest, I went over what I wanted to say a few times and I went over it with a friend the night before. I didn’t write anything out because that tends to make me more nervous. So I just winged it. No papers, no index cards, no cellphone and I just did it. I was nervous and my voice did stammer at times and when it was done I realized my presentation was 20 minutes long! It was so much easier than in school because this wasn’t a report and I wasn’t getting a grade on it. Also, I was doing something I take pleasure in so that must have made it easier. I was thoroughly impressed with myself. Alhamdulilah. I may have overcome one of my fears in doing something I enjoy. How wonderful! :)

I met some great girls from NYC and NJ. I added some backstage pics with my models and some pics during the presentation on my instagram account @sanahrashid. You can check that out here.

 

here you can see the beautiful flow of the dress

here you can see the beautiful flow of the dress

My Outfit Of The Day (OOTD) details:

Maxi Dress: Loft. I bought it on sale for $28. It has a flowy fall and a black braided rope tie as a belt.

Turtleneck: H&M

Jersey Hijab wrapped like a turban: purchased at ISNA convention

Summer scarf: Loft

Beaded matching brace cuffs: Arden B

Bag: Rebecca Minkoff with rosegold tone hardware and spike details

*This is one of the first times I have experimented with mixing 2 different prints. If they are of similar colors you can totally do it. I think it perfected the outfit by giving it a casual trendy look. What are your thoughts on mixing prints?

hijabfest

hijabfest

 

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For the love of Vegas

me in Vegas

me in Vegas

For the love of Vegas. May I assume your initial reaction? A little hesitant. Maybe some confusion and maybe some agreement. Some of you are probably thinking what is a girl like me doing in a place like Vegas where alcohol, gambling and clubbing/partying is rampant especially since I don’t partake in any of those activities. And this can be one of the reasons why I haven’t been to Vegas before. But there is so much more to Vegas than what I listed above. There are tons of shows, kid friendly activities, shopping galore and amazing dining options! Whats not to love?!

me with a turban style hijab

Me with a turban style hijab. My face is very oily as per usual, my apologies. This was from dinner at AquaKnox

This past Memorial Day weekend my husband and I went to Las Vegas with my kids and my brother in law. We met up with a few friends who were staying for the weekend with their families as well. Saturday night was the first time I wore my hijab turban style inspired by the gorgeous Nura of @nuralailalov. I loved it. This turban style is so fun and different. Saturday night dinner was at AquaKnox which is in the Venetian where we were staying for our trip. I had the crab stuffed maine lobster. And that was easily the best lobster I’ve ever had. The dining options in Vegas are out of this world. So many fine dining options. NYC definitely still has the best restaurants, but Las Vegas has a lot of them as well like: Mesa Grill, Serendipity3, Sushi Samba, Tao, Nobu, Grand Lux just to name a few. After dinner, we went to catch a cirque du soleil show- Mystere.

(This is a very long post. I attached outfit of the day details to each day.)

from Saturday night

from Saturday night after the show

Saturday Outfit of the day (OOTD) details:

Jersey hijab: hijab-ista

Black turtle neck shirt: h&m

Blazer: BCBGmaxazria also worn in my first ever post which you can check out here. I also wore this blazer to my mini Jersey getaway and you can read that post here.

Pants: Gap- true straight pants. These are just like my favorite black pants except in a different color. For detailed review check out my post here.

Printed neck scarf: White House Black Market

Spiked shoes: Vince Camuto and these heels are beyond comfortable. Purchased on sale at Last Call by Neiman Marcus for over 70% off. I now own 3 pairs of this shoe in 3 different colors. Ha!

Handbag: Chanel

my delish lobster

my delish crab stuffed lobster from AquaKnox

On Sunday morning we got breakfast buffet at Caesars Palace and it was better than our previous mornings breakfast buffet from Wynn. Caesars Palace had slightly more halal food options. It seemed never ending. After that we went to Mandalay Bay because they had an aquarium. The kids enjoyed it so much. It’s not large but it has tons of sharks and a stingray petting section. The aquarium was set up beautifully with all the details and statues. It reminded me of the aquariums at Atlantis but much smaller scale. Below are pictures from the aquarium and my simple daytime no makeup look.

sunday daytime at the aquarium

sunday daytime at the aquarium

sunday daytime at the aquarium

sunday daytime at the aquarium

 

kids in awe by the sea creatures

kids in awe by the sea creatures

my eldest son and I goofing around in the gift shop. shark biting love!

my eldest son and I goofing around in the gift shop. shark biting love!

Sunday night was our second show and we watched Le Reve. It was amazing. Probably one of the best shows I’ve watched. It had less stunts but it had a story line and it was fully entertaining. I love these shows by cirque du soleil because I feel like they are a circus and broadway combined. In the evening I wore the same outfit, but I just put on makeup and I wore matching wrist cuff bracelets.

by the gondolas

by the gondolas

Sunday Outfit of the day (OOTD) details:

Silk shirt: Hale Bob purchased at ruelala.com for $40. I love this shirt. I love the rust orange color, the loose fit and the long length of the shirt. I wore it high low style by tucking it in, in the front. I often tuck shirts in if the pants have pleats in the front. It emphasizes the shape of the pant and allows you to see the front pleats. This top also comes with a neck tie and goldtone hardware closure.

Paisley printed pleated pants: Loft

Shoes: Boutique 9 purchased at Bloomingdale’s

Handbag: Rebecca Minkoff purchased at Bloomingdale’s

Matching wrist cuff bracelets: Arden B

Monday morning was checkout and that’s when we drove to the Grand Canyon. It was a long drive, about 4 hours each way but it was worth it. The Grand Canyon is breathtaking. I wish our trip wasn’t so short so we could have spent a longer time at the Grand Canyon but we had to leave to catch our midnight flight back to NYC. Attached are OOTD pics from the Grand Canyon.

Welcomed to the Grand Canyon

Welcome to the Grand Canyon!

what a view!

what a view!

 

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

 

 

me

me

 

Monday Outfit of the day (OOTD) details:

Long cotton printed top: Derek Lam for Kohls

Pants: Gap- True straight

Belt: Cole Haan

Shoes: Boutique 9 purchased at Bloomingdale’s

Handbag: Kate Spade purchased at Katespade.com during their surprise sale for an outstanding price. If you are not signed up for Kate Spade’s emailing list you MUST do it ASAP because they notify you of their surprise sale which has the items for drastically reduced prices. I’m in love with this green color- and it’s the It color of the season.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

 

more grand canyon

more grand canyon

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Sorry for the major delay in this post. Some fun posts are on the way and I will be putting up a hijab tutorial within a week or so because I have gotten so many requests, so stay tuned! Feel free to share and comment below! Thanks! Xoxo

It's Grand alright!

It’s Grand to say the least!