Father’s Day in DC

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Vintage Afghan Style (Part 2) – The Afghan Coat & Rock-n-Roll

If you know vintage fashion, then you’ve definitely seen the Afghan coat, one of the biggest fashion trends of the late 60’s and 70’s. Made out of sheep or goat skin on the outside and soft fleece on the inside, the coats were embroidered with fine silk thread in different floral or geometric patterns. It made its first appearance in the West onto the London fashion scene in 1966, just as fashion was becoming more influenced by Eastern looks. Craigs Sams was an English entrepreneur who imported the coats from the Ghazni province and sold them to London boutiques including Granny Takes A Road Trip. One day, a band named The Beatles visited the shop and emerged wearing Afghan coats. Once they were photographed in them, it set off a worldwide trend that continued through the 70’s (even today, you can see variations of this boho-chic coat on the runway and the streets).  The coats were so popular that rockers David Bowie and Eric Buron wore them on their wedding day.

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il_fullxfull.293638979il_fullxfull.674662426_5mzwJust a few different original Afghan coat looks

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John Lennon wearing an Afghan coat (now in the Julian Lennon collection)

 
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Introducing: Beauty and the East by Samira Atash

October 21st, 2015: VERY EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!!! For those who have followed my work, I was designing clothes in NYC for almost 10 years and for a few years, created & produced an online show called Beauty and the East TV where I featured entertainment stories that united cultures. After having kids and opening FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar, I put fashion & media projects on hold yet chronicled my fashion/style/mom journey with a new blog a couple years ago. Between juggling two salons and three kids, I didn’t always have the time to post as much as I wanted to. But in the past few years running FLOW, I’ve realized how I’ve missed design/styling and want to get back to what I’m truly passionate about. I am now looking forward to combining my LOVE for fashion with the beauty industry & FLOW!!

I’m excited to announce the launch of Beauty and the East by Samira Atash: a blog about style, beauty and lifestyle inspired by my ‘Silk Road’ cultural roots and global influences. I’m drawn to tribal-bohemian-vintage styles and the bold patterns, embroideries, textures, prints and vibrant colors of Central Asia & Middle East (my previous fashion collections were inspired by the tribal embroideries of Afghanistan). I will also explore and introduce to you ancient and exotic Eastern rituals to spice up your beauty routine. I love organic/natural products, being a mom to my three little ones, music, social causes & pop culture. What to expect in the blog:

– Fashion & style with a bohemian/tribal/gypsy vibe
– Beauty/style trends & rituals inspired by Central Asia & Mediterranean culture
-Organic products, beauty tips & trends
-Hair & makeup styles/tips
-Fashion, beauty & home DIY & tutorials

Even more exciting – many people ask me “where can I buy what you’re wearing”: now you can shop jewelry & fashion on my new SHOP page: an online boutique of jewelry, accessories, clothing and beauty products with a tribal & global vibe!! With designs that appeal to free spirits, items are inspired by culture…capturing the bohemian spirit of the Silk Road, a bit of Mediterranean aesthetic, and a whole lot of soul. The boutique includes brand new and vintage designs from around the world. Some items are from my past collections & personal closet! Click on the SHOP link above!!

Get ready to see Beauty and the East by Samira Atash collaborate with FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar through photo shoots, editorials & events to come!!

I’m VERY excited about this and can’t wait to share the looks with you!!!

xo,
Samira

FLOW at the “Beyond the Little Black Dress” Fashion Show in Washington D.C.

On Friday, September 24th, 2015, FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar was the exclusive hair and makeup sponsor for the “Beyond the Little Black Dress” fashion show in Washington D.C. at the Dupont Circle Hotel. The event was organized by the Alliance Française de Washington and showcased local and international designers and artists to benefit the AFDC’s cultural programs. The fashion show was a huge success and in the audience were socialites, diplomats, DC fashionistas and more. The Ambassador of France and Monaco were also there!

My team of FLOWistas arrived at 2 pm, and were on schedule to complete hair and make-up for 22 models by 6:30 pm. I created a spreadsheet based on the designer’s line-up and the model board given to me. Some of the models included Miss DC United States, Ms United States, Miss Teen United State, Ms Delaware and other beauties. We started half an hour late, but managed to get through the looks by the time the show started. Some of the looks were smokey eyes, red lips, up-dos, half-dos, wavy hair, braids, natural looks, etc. Everyone was happy! As the exclusive sponsor, FLOW was recognized widely at the event. In the VIP bags, we tied together a FLOW coupon and cute little beauty gifts with a bow (make up brushes, beauty blenders, manicure sets!). Our logo was also displayed on the step & repeat board, in the program menu and mentioned on stage many times.

It was a tiring, but fun event. We worked hard, we delivered amazing looks, and FLOW’s visibility in the DC area is only growing! Here are just some of the pictures from the event taken – professional pics and video are coming soon!

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Beach Style

We just spent one week at Bethany Beach with a few of our friends and their children. We rented a beautiful home that has been featured in several magazines – it was so serene and only a few steps from the beach. I planned on taking more pictures but things were more hectic than I thought  (going to the beach with two little one year olds was a lot harder than we anticipated – packing all the gear felt like a move!)

I love a bohemian, relaxed, colorful look at the beach. I’m not about to wear a bikini (never liked to!), and love vibrant cover ups, hats and big glasses. Here are some of the looks I wore:

I found this cute red embroidered caftan at Marshalls! Not even sure what brand it is and don’t even care – it’s so comfy and I adore the embroidery. it was the perfect beach cover up. I paired it with a striped straw hat, oversized glasses and a handmade turquoise necklace I picked up from a jeweler at a flea market years ago:
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Feeding the boys snacks on the beach:
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On the boardwalk carousel in BCBG:
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I’m loving these silk print pants lately. I wear them a lot! I also picked up these Steve Madden gladiator sandals on sale and wore them the entire time:
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In a TIBI terrycloth beach cover-up:
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Tea Time!!

My family are avid drinkers, as are so many from Eastern cultures. As far back as I can remember, tea (chai) has been the cornerstone of our meals and gatherings, especially as an offering for guests.  I don’t recall a day where tea wasn’t part of the daily conversation when around the family.   A few years ago, my sisters and I were planning on opening a tea house in NYC. As part of planning for the business, I went to a huge Las Vegas tea convention and became certified in tea!  I learned about the different types of tea, how to steep it for maximum flavor, how tea is harvested, and how the tea market is growing, especially in the States.  We didn’t open the chai house for  a variety of reasons but I’ve been trying to incorporate tea as an offering at FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar. In fact, I am going to expand the selection of teas and offer clients a selection of tea, presented in a bamboo tea box.   I’ve been drinking coffee lately, and while it gives me that temporary boost I need throughout the day, I don’t like the side effects such as my moods crashing, headaches and bloating. So the past few days, I’ve turned back to the comfort of tea and have chosen a tea that is relaxing and healthy.  Here’s to tea time!

 

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I love this little tea pot. You can place a tea bag or loose tea inside the netting and steep some delicious tea for one or two!

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Organic Baby Formula: U.S. vs. Europe (My Experience)

Ok, so this isn’t a post about nursing vs. formula being better. With Rumi, I nursed her exclusively for 19 months. I thought I would do the same for my twin boys but have experienced some unexpected challenges with doing so (including the fact that they are voracious eaters!) so I need to supplement with formula. I have spent some time researching the best organic baby formulas in the US ( organic is a better choice than conventional formulas that have genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs), milk from cows that were likely treated with antibiotics or artificial growth hormones, and oils that were processed with the use of neurotoxic solvents like hexane.).

I’m not a medical doctor nor am I giving medical advice and I’m not getting paid by any company to write this. This is the information I have found on my journey that I think could be useful to other parents! It’s a long post, but I think the information can be useful. During my research, I was shocked to learn that in the US there are only 3 manufacturers of organic baby formula, and they are owned by pharmaceutical companies (connect the dots)…. and what they put in the formulas isn’t pretty. Given all this appalling information, I realized that the infant formula lobbyists in the US make it hard for European organic formula brands to come on the market here (the European Union is much stricter about what goes into foods – why wouldn’t they be? Since the government covers healthcare, wouldn’t they want a healthier population? Things that make you go hmmm, right?)

I have chosen the one organic formula brand that, in my opinion, is the best: HIPP Organic baby formula. It’s a German formula manufactured in the UK. I have found it on Amazon (they come in various stages for your baby). The only issue is that it could take 2-4 weeks to ship. I ordered it a few months ago and it took over a month because US Customs held the order from coming in (and even opened some of the boxes!!). I reported this to Amazon, they gave me a refund , but I had to use organic US formula during the wait which made my twins gassy, sick and even smelly (one of them smelled like cat litter, I kid you not!) And when I tried to re-order the HIPP from Amazon, I was surprised that they no longer had the Stage 1 formula in stock! I had to order it at a higher price from a company on EBay, and am waiting for it’s arrival.

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After starting them on the US formula, one of my babies also broke out with excema on this face and legs. In a panic, I also ordered another brand from the Netherlands called Kabrita Gold (infant stage) which is a goat based formula. Goat milk closely mirrors the milk of humans the most. It’s a good formula (doesn’t smell or clump up) except it does have syrups in it but it’s a better option than anything on the market here. This has arrived and my babies are loving it. They sell the toddler formula on diapers.com and I was able to get the infant stage on a site called SuperFoodsUK. It’s not cheap but I would rather pay a bit more for a high quality organic formula that won’t make my babies sick and cut out other things in life I can live without.

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I will continue to order HIPP until the US formula industry is not controlled by lobbyists and pharmaceutical companies, who in my opinion, have a stake in making our kids sicker….

THREE U.S. ORGANIC BABY FORMULA MANUFACTURERS

1) One manufacturer is PBM Nutritionals, owned by Perrigo, the world’s largest manufacturer of private label (store-brand) over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. PBM makes organic formula for its own Vermont Organics and Bright Beginnings brands. It also manufacturers organic formula for Hain Celestial’s Earth’s Best brand, Whole Foods Market’s 365 Organic brand, and Walmart’s Parent’s Choice brand.

2) Similac Organic is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. Abbott, a major manufacturer of pharmaceuticals in the U.S., introduced Similac Organic in 2006.

3) Finally, Baby’s Only Organic is developed and marketed by Nature’s One. Nature’s One markets Baby’s Only Organic formula as a “toddler formula” rather than an infant formula (according to the company, this is done to encourage breastfeeding until age 1). Its products meet the same nutritional standards that the FDA sets forth for infant formula.

INGREDIENTS IN MOST U.S. ORGANIC BABY FORMULAS

These companies are trying to mimic human milk but are adding:

1) sweeteners (mostly corn based) instead of organic lactose sugar (The European Union banned sugar-sweetened infant formula in 2009, due to concerns with rising rates of childhood obesity and the possibility that overly sweet formula might lead to overfeeding)

2) Palm oil which creates soaps in your baby’s gut! Since palmitic acid from palm oil is not absorbed properly, it means overall fat absorption is lower in babies given formula with palm oil. Bone mass is significantly lower in babies given formula containing palm oil, perhaps because the calcium in the baby’s intestines turns into “soap” rather than reaching the baby’s growing bones. And the “soapiness” in the intestines also leads to hard stools. Sadly I have found that most organic baby formulas, including Hipp and Kabrita, list palm oil in their ingredients 🙁

3) Synthetic DHA & ARA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid, and ARA is an omega-6 fatty acid. Both are naturally found in human milk, and DHA is a component of brain and eye tissue. But the DHA and ARA added to most brands of infant formula are extracted from factory-produced C. Cohnii and M. Alpina—specific strains of algae and fungus that have never been part of the human diet, let alone the diet of infants. When the C. Cohnii and M. Alpina oils first appeared in infant formula, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received dozens of reports from physicians and parents who noticed diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal distress in infants given formula with these oils—symptoms that disappeared when the infant was switched to the exact same formula without these additives. When the USDA received legal complaints against the unapproved use of C. Cohnii and M. Alpina oils, a Washington lobbyist with the powerful law firm of Covington and Burling convinced USDA officials to open a loophole in the organic standards, which would allow the formula manufacturers to add the unapproved ingredients without facing enforcement action. While the USDA has since admitted that this was inappropriate, the agency has failed to take enforcement action and continues to bow to pressure from the infant formula industry. Kabrita lists DHA and ARA on its packaging, but after reading the ingredients, I did not see C. Cohnii and M. Alpina listed.

4) Carageenan. The US food industry, including the infant formula industry, has responded for decades by claiming that carrageenan is safe. It is prohibited in infant formula—conventional and organic—in the European Union. Carrageenan contributes no nutritional value or flavor to formula, or other food, but is added to stabilize ready-to-feed formula. Adding carrageenan means parents or caregivers do not have to shake the product before feeding it to the baby. The alternative is to put a “shake well” label on the bottle.

5) Synthetic Preservatives & Nutrients (two synthetic preservatives: ascorbyl palmitate and beta-carotene. Synthetic nutrients: lutein, lycopene, nucleotides, taurine, l-carnitine and l-methionine.)

Rumi Rose

My little Rumi loves dressing up and showing her latest outfit. Hmmm…I wonder where she gets that from?   I love the vintage feel of her new hair cut, her flapper-like pose and the overall energy of this pic.

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Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! Hope it’s full of giggles & smiles!

xo,

Baby Nik
Baby Zaki

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