Richmond, my 2nd Home

Trips to Richmond are my favorite, as you know if you’ve been following my blog. Maybe I love Richmond excessively, which isn’t too healthy, but I lived there for four years so it’s definitely got a huge place in my heart. I visited in early April this year, and I want to share my good feelings and way more information than needed with you all. I’m trying to catch up in posting since I’ve been MIA for so long 😛 bear with me. bare with me. bird with me.
A morning run with my bff, Erin, at Hollywood Cemetery. It was my first time there, and it was BEAUTIFUL. She’s in the National Guard so she’s super fit, and I’m in the National Donut Club, which isn’t a real thing, so I’m super slow. Look how beautiful we look with no makeup on! Ahh, naturaaal. I love the feeling.
After our run/walk (lol because I’m awfully out of shape), we got made up to spend our day adventuring. Red is one of my favorite colors to wear, as many of my photos show. I’ll wear it every day, I don’t care!
I love her because she, like me, is down to look like a fool for our own amusement. We do the most ridiculous things together. She’s so down, I can’t even handle it sometimes. I’m like, “Erin, let’s make a movie!” and he response is always “HECK YAH!” Ahh, I’m so thankful for good friends. 
Lunch at Strawberry Street Cafe with the girlies. Mariam is too cute.

Nadiah and Sameen ready to chow down on brunch at the cafe :)) love them! 
I love Karl so much – he’s one of the most talented people I know. He does it all. He’s always there for me when I need a badass photo to be taken.

TORIAN is one of my favorite people at VCU. This time when I saw him, he literally made me cry my eyes out from laughing so hard at some pranks we did in our early VCU days. I think of him as a tough critic, but I value his opinion so much when it comes to art of any form, especially film.

Robalu Gibsun is my favorite poet in the entire world. He is the reason I first got into and started to love slam poetry. I just want to write down everything he says in my moleskin journal and keep it forever.
Jessika with a “k” was my resident and now she’s an RA :’) I’m so proud of her for her hard work to get the position and maintain it. She’s going places, and I can’t wait to see where. IGGY is my Social Work buddy for life, even though we both decided we probably don’t want to do Social Work for the rest of our lives. I met him the summer of 2009 during our VCU orientation. We sat by each other while picking classes for the upcoming semester and since then, we’ve slacked off in more classes together than you can think of before getting rejected together by Teach for America and deciding “F*** this Sh**”
this is how dorky I look when I laugh

Find me a reason to go back, please.

Weekend Reflection – Self Improvement

I’m on a serious mission. A lot of people wouldn’t guess that I’m really insecure because of how I interact with others and carry myself, but it’s true. My mission is this: to break free of my insecurities. It has proven to be quite challenging, but I’m going to push myself to avoid negative thoughts. While speaking to a friend, Rahmah Popal, at Jummah this past week, I was reminded that everyone faces these challenges, but it’s those who rid themselves of major insecurities who are really able to be free. The last time I had a deep conversation with her was almost exactly a year ago, and while she was convinced she had a greater purpose in this life, but had no clue which direction she was headed. Now she seems to have it all figured out (Mashallah!), and she really did inspire me to just keep looking forward and hold my head up high.

I’m a roller coaster when it comes to self-image; one day I’ll be completely happy and proud of myself, other days I magnify every flaw of mine and it really brings me down. Over the last couple of years I’ve become less social and I value privacy and exclusion more, which directly relates to how I see myself. And it sucks because I’ve actually felt myself changing year by year… There are reasons for the huge shift in my thoughts and behaviors; it’s because I lost trust in people who let me down and I fell into a state of what some of my close friends diagnose as depression. I’m not really sure if I’ve been depressed, but honestly the way I feel sometimes points directly to the illness. When I put my heart into making things work with others, I expect the same in return and I’m always disappointed… it fuels my lows. I spent every ounce of my love on another person and at this point, I’m all spent out. I’m tired of feeling worthless. I need to aim higher for me. I need to direct all my love inwards, towards my family, and most importantly towards God. Instead of my focal point being someone I love romantically, I’m working on developing a new center: my relationship with God. I’m not really sure how I’m going to do this, it’s much easier said than done. I will, though.

Here’s to aiming higher – because we all deserve a little lot of self-love. Join me in battling insecurities.

This Moment, and Every Moment

sometimes, I like reminders.
this is me reminding myself how important this moment I’m living in is.
I am blessed to be witnessing the right now, and I want to take it all in.
Each moment I experience is a chance for renewal and revival,
a step closer to overcoming life’s obstacles, and a step further away from ignorance and naivety.

Opportunities

For years I admired the beautiful building at the White House from the outside. This year I’ve gotten the chance to visit the Eisenhower Building twice – the first to meet Muslim women leaders from all over the country and participate in a workshop about film and media, and the second as a staff member at Islamic Relief USA, to photograph a meeting with government officials to discuss collaboration between nonprofits and governmental programs/resources to aid those in need. I admire those who dedicate every day towards humanitarian work. I’m so proud to be a part of such an amazing nonprofit. After graduating from VCU (the one true love of my life), I struggled, as many young graduates do, to find a job that I loved. Almost a year after graduating I got hired and I couldn’t be happier. So far I’ve been to Arkansas to photo-document our organization’s response to the tragic tornado that hit, I’ve been to many governmental buildings, I’ve met celebrities and humanitarian heroes, and I’ve even presented in front of an audience of over 700 people! Get involved and make a difference in whatever way you can! It’s such a rewarding feeling and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll develop skills and be granted opportunities because of your skillset. I’m so thankful, alhumdulillah every day.

the Eisenhower Building at the White House
this is fun, but nobody’s life is perfect. i mean, look at my untucked shirt!

DC Cupcake & Macaron Tour

Earlier this summer my friends and I made the AMAZING decision to take a tour in Georgetown, DC… Not just any tour… a Cupcake and Macaron tour! It was delicious to say the least. We enjoyed learning little bit about the history of the old city of Georgetown, and tasting the newest trends – which were REALLY delicious. We went to 7 different places and my favorite of all was the Earl Grey macaron from Macaron Bee. To learn more about this experience, click here.

Meeting up for the DC Cupcake and Macaron Tour – Hungry, and so ready!

First stop – SPRINKLES Cupcakes!

At Thomas Sweet we stuffed our faces with amazing fudge

a sweet tooth satisfied makes for smiles all around

Macaron Bee! This was the first macaron I’ve ever tried… and it was amazing. I decided to try Earl Grey because it was such a unique flavor for a dessert, and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made in life.

Olivia Macaron

a mint flavored macaron? Yes, please.

We were given a sweet welcome at the famous Dean & Deluca

The Nation’s Capital!

Yes, please! (except no, because we were stuffed with sweets at this point)

Naema and Nabiha trying to figure out a (real food) lunch spot

being serenaded while walking down the street… what a privilege!

The infamous Georgetown Cupcakes from the TV show. The line was out of the shop and up the hill as it always is, but our tour guide rushed in and got our batch, which we quickly devoured on this last stop of the tour.

ending the afternoon with the best of foods – BURGERS.

Beaches and Dreams

Earlier this summer I went to the beach with some friends… it was the best beach trip I’ve ever been on! I’ve had bad experiences as a hijabi – not knowing what to wear that wouldn’t draw too much attention or that would be comfortable to swim in and quick-drying. This time before we went, we made it a point to take a shopping trip the week before. We got silky leggings and long tops and went on our way 🙂 I didn’t feel self-conscious at all and that’s because the company was so amazing. I didn’t care so much for the beach before, but I’ve found a new love.

I OWN THE BEACH, SUCKAS!
POCAHONTAS PANCAKES
Mohammad after lunch, ready to surf the waves
LOVE THESE GIRLS. Coworkers/Friends/Homies
my standard don’t-give-a-shit pose
Mazin flyin’ high on the shore
I ran into Saira and Sara, my two college friends, while at Pocahontas restaurant! SMALL WORLD, INDEED. They tried to hug me when they were soaked and my clothes had already dried. Eep!
Trying to get a bird’s eye view of the sand 😉