Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thrift Challenge No. 9: Autumn Plaid

For this month's Thrift Challenge, it's all about fall and cozy looks.  Katie challenged me to thrift this effortless plaid and blazer outfit from Make Life Easier. I challenged her to recreate another fall must-have; cozy stripes and distressed denim.

Plaid is a mega thrift store staple. I spotted tons of plaid button downs while shopping for this look but wasn't sold on any of the red ones I found. I used to have a shirt almost identical to this red flannel but I sold it at a vintage sale. So I opted for a green plaid J.Crew button down instead. I paired it with a blazer I already owned, one that gets a lot of milage for both work and play.

I love that the blogger in the original look didn't really accessorize. She kept it simple by making the plaid shirt the focal point of the outfit.  If you read this post, you will know I've been struggling with inspiration for fall. The transition from breezy maxi skirts to layering basic tees with scarves has been rough for me, so I need all the help I can get this season. This challenge did just that. It made me realize I've been thinking too hard about fall fashion and that it's all about adding a statement piece and working your way from there.

Instead of nude pumps, I went with a pair of thrifted booties and my favorite 1990s backpack purse. This outfit is laid back enough for the weekend yet also professional for a casual Friday look for the office.

I can't get enough of this shirt and pairing it with a navy blazer is just one of about a dozen different ways I can wear it this fall.
The Details: 
Shirt: J.Crew | Village Discount Outlet | $5 
Blazer: Already owned 
Jeans: Already owned |Old Navy |$20
Boots: Target | Goodwill in Canal Fulton |$5
Bag: Vintage | Goodwill on Waterloo Rd | $1.80

Now let's head over to Something to be Found to see how Katie distressed a pair of jeans and paired it with a cozy striped shirt! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

FAQs about Arab-Americans

I thought I'd switch things up a bit on Dina's Days to share a few frequently asked questions about Arab-Americans. This purpose of this post isn't to answer questions such as "are all Arab Americans terrorists?" because the answer is an obvious no. Rather, with 1.5 million self-identified Arab-Americans in the United States, this post is intended to serve as a catalyst for dialogue because I believe shared cultural experiences contribute to a sense of place and identity.

1. Who are Arab Americans? 
Arab Americans are U.S. citizens and permanent residents who trace their ancestry to an Arabic speaking place in the Middle East or parts of Africa.

2. Where do they come from exactly?
Many Arab Americans were either born in the U.S., have immigrated from or trace their ancestry to places including Algeria, Bahrain, Dijbouti, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Note, not all Arabic speaking citizens consider themselves Arabs. 

3. That's confusing. Not every Arabic speaking person is an Arab?
Correct. Just because someone from that part of the world speaks Arabic does not necessarily mean that they strictly identify themselves as Arabs. Many north Africans speak Arabic but do not identify as Arabs, or they may identify as Berber, African, and/ or Arab.

4. So all Arabs are Muslims then, right? 
Nope! This is a common misconception considering a large number of Arabs are Muslims, the Quran is written in Arabic, and the holy place for worship is in the Middle East. However, Christianity is widely practiced in the Arab world (Jesus' birthplace) so many Arab Americans you meet may be Catholic or Orthodox Christians. Also, there are large populations of Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, Indonesian, sub-Saharan African, and East Asian Muslims. So for example, if you meet a Pakistani Muslim, it would be best not to assume her or she is an Arab, because not all Muslims are Arabs.

5. What about Iran? Are Iranian people Arabs? 
No. Iran is not an Arab country and the Farsi language is not the same as Arabic. Iran is descended from the Persian empire.  Because many Iranians are Muslims, most people assume they are Arabs when in fact they have a completely different language and cultural history.

6. What languages are spoken within the Arab world?
Arabic is the distinguishing characteristic between Arab Americans. Note that there are many Arabic dialects including Khaliji (the Gulf), Levantine (Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian, Lebanon), and Egyptian (north African).The Arabic spoken on the news and written in books is called Modern Standard Arabic, or fusha in Arabic. This formal dialect is spoken and widely understood in all Arabic speaking countries. Additional languages spoken within the Middle East include Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Aramaic, Berber, and Kurdish.

7. What is the difference between Islam and Muslim? 
Islam is the religion and a Muslim is a follower of the religion. Think Christian and Christianity. 

8. Do I say Muslim or Moslem?

9. Do I say Ay-rab or A-rab? 
Arab. Ay-rab usually carries a negative connotation and is offensive to many Arab Americans.

10. What about Arabic and Arabian? 
Again, stick with Arab. Arabic is the name of the language. Arabian is an adjective, as in the Arabian Peninsula, Arabian prince or an Arabian horse.

11. Do all Arabs come from the desert? 
No. There are certainly many Arabs who reside in the desert but millions of Arabs live in cities. Sure, many Arab countries experience desert-like climates but don't assume every Arab American you meet came from the desert, lived in a tent or knows how to ride a camel. Many city-dwelling Arabs have never even visited the desert or ridden a camel in their lives. Also, many U.S. born Arab Americans may have never lived in their place of origin.

12. What exactly is the hijab and why do women chose to wear it? 
This is a religious practice and not a cultural practice. The hijab is the covering of a woman's head and / or face. This form of modesty is practiced in the Muslim faith. Many women find the hijab to be very liberating.

13. Are women required to cover their faces and hair in all Arab countries? 
No. Remember, this is a religious practice and not a cultural practice. So, going back to question number 4, remember not all Arabs are Muslims. That means that not all Arab women wear the hijab or niqab. Secondly, some Arab countries are more conservative than others like Saudi Arabia where women are required to cover in public. Whereas, surrounding countries like Jordan and Lebanon, do not. Lastly, it is important to note that covering is not observed by all Muslims, it's a personal and private choice a woman makes. Asking a Muslim Arab American why she does not cover her head may be offensive to some women.

14. Are marriages arranged? 
Rarely. It is common for families to recommend someone from another family but Arab Americans don't view this as arranged marriages but rather more of a traditional form of courting.  It is not uncommon for traditional Arab families to arrange marriages but this is not the norm for U.S. born Arabs.

Have a question? Leave us a comment! 

Thank you to everyone who sent in pictures for our Arab American collage! 
Song: Aatny Al-Nay (Give me the flute) by Fairouz

Monday, September 22, 2014

Leopard & Denim

I've been really struggling with fall inspiration lately so this trusty outfit is always my go-to. I took this outfit with me on the episode of New Day Cleveland as part of the "thrift store staples" feature. Both leopard print and denim jackets are timeless and work for practically anyone. I wear this to work with black pants and then swap the slacks for black skinnies for play. Best part is that both the jacket and shirt were $1 each. I'm really digging deep for fall inspiration this season so expect to see a lot of fall outfits in the several weeks. It will be more of a project for me to remix my wardrobe and utilize accessories and staple pieces as the focal point. What are some of your go-to looks for fall?

The Details:
Blouse: thrifted, $1
Jacket: thrifted, $1
Pants: Target 
Shoes: thrifted $3
Necklace: Rings & Tings

Friday, September 19, 2014

City Spotlight: Taco Bajaa Fresh in Akron

Between the handmade neon food posters and the flattened cardboard box door mat, what Taco Bajaa Fresh lacks in ambiance makes up for in flavor. This hole-in-the-wall type restaurant located on Akron's west side is the most authentic Mexican eatery in the city, hands down.  The simple menu is complete with flavor-packed tacos, burritos, fajitas, guacamole, and more. The tortilla chips aren't your average Mexican restaurant chips, they are fried on the spot and arrive to your table hot, crispy, and perfectly golden. The barbacoa tacos are my favorite, and at $1.50 - $2 per taco you can afford to order one of everything on a 'hangry' day.

Taco Bajaa Fresh
1444 Copley Rd
Akron, OH 44231
No website available
Carry-out available, no deliveries
Parking is limited in front of the restaurant on Copley Rd so pull up around the corner on Valdes for additional parking.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Devil Wears Prada Halloween Costume

Whether you’re looking for a pre-made costume or hoping to piece one together using second-hand clothes, Goodwill is the place for all of your Halloween needs. Second-hand and vintage clothes make excellent Halloween costumes because the creative possibilities are endless! Vintage clothes are true to the time period so your costume will look more authentic and nobody will have the same costume as you.

I’m a huge fan of literal costumes. My ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ costume is one of my favorites because it was one of a kind and ridiculously easy to put together. I didn’t want to buy a typical devil outfit because that would have been boring, so I opted for a full-length, red vintage dress from Goodwill and ironed on the word ‘Prada’. I added a belt, the typical devil accessories (also from Goodwill), red vintage shoes, and voila! I was done.

Keep these items in mind while shopping at Goodwill for great costume ideas:

  • Prom dresses
  • Wedding dresses (consider dying one black for a zombie, Addams family or wife of Frankenstein look)
  • Vintage embellished dresses
  • Overalls
  • Lab coats
  • Men’s suits & blazers
  • Military and utility pieces
  • Trench coats
  • Hats
  • Uniforms
  • Sports apparel

A few great thrift store Halloween costume ideas:

  • Einstein: grab a gray sweater, white button-up shirt, and tease a gray wig
  • 1980s Aerobics Instructor: neon bodysuit, leggings, and sweat band
  • Billie Holiday: embellished dress, flower, microphone
  • Loofah: make a few DIY alterations to a full tulle dress or skirt in a bright color, add a white rope to the top.
  • Rosie the Riveter: chambray or utility uniform shirt and a scarf. Attach a yellow foam board with the words ‘we can do it’ to your back with rope.

These are just a few of dozens of ideas! What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

This post was originally featured on the Goodwill Akron blog.