My FIRST Official Fashion & Beauty VLOG

November 30th – 2015 – Here’s my first official VLOG (video blog) of many more to come! I filmed this one quickly today while the boys were taking a nap. Hope it’s not boring! Don’t know why it cut out the way it did at the end, though- sorry!! To get more “Beauty and the East”, subscribe to my YouTube channel: samiraatash and follow me on IG/FB: @samiraatash

Afternoon in D.C.

Nov. 28th. 2015 – Today, we decided to take a last minute outing to DC. We heard about a place called City Center and thought it would be a good place to check out since we have a couple out of town guests here for Thanksgiving (my mom-in-law who came down from NYC and cousin from Germany). We met up near Chinatown and walked through the Center. The name “City Center” sounds so grand but it’s much smaller than I thought, but cute nevertheless. It’s a block or two of high end stores on the bottom level of new apartments and offices. Rumi enjoyed the water installation and huge reindeer which is sculpted out of twigs!

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Family pics

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I like walking through a city during the holidays and taking in the sights and sounds. We stopped by the Smithsonian art museum.
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Rumi, cousin Zara and me

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Sister Mariam, Zara and Rumi

The museum shop had the most beautiful peacock Christmas tree displayed. I love holiday decor – it makes me feel happy!

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Inside the museum there is a large indoor seating area that felt tropical yet holiday at the same time. It was nice to sit down and rest after chasing the boys.
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The twins didn’t enjoy the the old man paintings on the walls at the portrait museum – they cried upon seeing them- but they had a great time prancing through the water feature in the cafe. Thankfully, I brought a change of clothes!
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After the museum, we grabbed a cup of coffee, walked around a bit and then headed home. It was unusually warm in DC so it was a perfect day to enjoy the city!

An Egyptian Invention: History of Eyeliner

Over 12 thousand years ago, in early 10.000 BC eyeliner first appeared in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. There, both males and females of high status used eyeliner to better define their eyes and protect them from wrinkles that can be formed after constant exposure to desert wind, sun and heat. It was also used to protect from the evil eye.

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After the fall of Egypt, eyeliners fell out of the fashion in Europe, having little or moderate use during the reign of Greek and Roman empires. In Asia, eyeliners remained in use, but didn’t influence European fashion after it came out from Dark ages into Renaissance and modern age.

The moment that kick-started the era of eyeliners in the West came in 1920s after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. Worldwide coverage of this event introduced Ancient Egyptian eyeliner to the west, where it was instantly accepted. It fascinated people worldwide, especially American women. They had finally won the right to vote and thanks to the influence of actresses like Clara Bow, seemed to assert their independence more freely. Fashionable young women began to recreate the Egyptian eye by using eyeliner liberally. During the 20’s, women abandoned the fashion of Victorian era and embraced new fashion that was fueled by ballet, stage actors, Hollywood, musicians and photography.

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After the initial eyeliner use in the 20’s, the invention if liquid liner gave birth to several new fashion types that used eyeliner in new ways. In the 60’s, a heavy line around the eye was popular, which was dubbed the “cat eye”.

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In the 70’s the line became softer. In the 80’s, heavy Punk and Gothic fashion relied on dramatic eye effect, and eyeliner, eye shadow and mascara were some of their most used cosmetic products.

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In the 90’s and 2000’s, liner styles have seen a variation of influences from the 20’s – 80’s and it will be interesting to see what trends and direction liner goes to in the years to come!

Fashion Fact: Muslims Invented Buttons

I’d like to explore the positive influences the East has contributed to the West and remember a time when the two borrowed from and exchanged ideas with each other. An area that fascinates me is the historical influence of Eastern fashion on the West. Did you know that the West adopted the idea of buttons from the East? In the early Medieval period, European clothing was normally secured with brooches, pins, or laces (also known as points). Buttons were part of the Middle Eastern and Central Asian tradition of coats from an early date.

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The Moors wore long gown with buttons, but buttons were not adopted by the Spaniards until later. Buttons can also be seen in a Moorish ceiling painting in the Alhambra (c. 1354). By 1292, button making is one of the trades listed in a document from Paris, so by this date, buttons were beginning to come in to use in France at least.

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The sixteenth century was a period in which in both war and commerce the Ottomans were a crucial issue for the European powers. Henry VIII is known to have been taken with Turkish dress. He appeared dressed as a Turkish Sultan as part of a masquerade at an English court. Toward the end of his reign in 1542, Henry VIII posed for a portrait that is a striking comparison (apart from headgear) to that of his contemporary, Süleyman the Magnificent, but because of the pose even more dramatically resembles that of a later sixteenth-century sultan, Mehmed III.

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On sixteenth century European coats, rows of horizontal bands form distinctive closures not previously seen in European fashion. Comparable examples can be seen on kaftans from the late 15th century in the Topkapi collections. The Turkish examples use an applied flat silk braid joining the fronts with a button and loop; Henry’s more ostentatious Mannerist version is created in bejeweled gold, but braid equivalents were also being used. This type of closure first appears in European dress in the first half of the sixteenth century, and would become a staple of European fashion, particularly associated with military or ceremonial dress.

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However, it does not only appear as a closure on men’s coats. A portrait of Elizabeth I c. 1575 has a bodice closed with bands of decorative braid. When trade negotiations were concluded in 1581 between the Ottoman Empire and the English, the exchange of royal gifts included an entire ensemble of Turkish clothing sent by Sultan Murad to Elizabeth.

Got To Have It: Embroidered Military Jacket

I’m obsessed with this embroidered military jacket!image

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East-West Fall Fashion

Here I am mixing East-West fashion influences on a pretty Fall day: oversized embroidered scarf and culottes both by Free People. Peace and love!image