Tag Archives: egypt

Tailored Tivoli

One of my favorite designers, the UAE based Eman Fathy, recently sent me a package of goodies, including the quirky, fun, and bold skirt below and other amazingness that you’ll see more of in the future for sure (a fab heavy crochet lace maxi skirt and ethnic-style coin belt will be up with my next ootd). What is unique about Eman’s designs is that she is no stranger to fusing the traditional handicraft look – coins, cotton, heavy bedou style embroidery, bold colors, and folkloric patterns and symbols – with a more refined touch – tulle, lace, etc – for a unique and eclectic modern Middle Eastern style. What can I say? I love almost everything she does, and there’s a big chance you will too, if you’re into that stuff! More than anything, I highly recommend her belts and clutches for a dash of boho chic to any ordinary outfit. Check out her Instagram here and Facebook group here.

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Update: As expected, I received a lot more mixed reactions to this outfit than I usually do, especially on my Facebook page. I realize the combination and colors are unusual and not for everybody. I personally still love the outfit and as I responded on my page, fashion and personal style is all about having fun and feeling fabulous and so I encourage doing what one thinks is cool regardless of potential negative reactions đŸ™‚ Still, I always appreciate your feedback, guys!

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What I’m wearing: Scarf: Egypt, leopard print peplum top: River Island, black chiffon shirt: Vero Moda, rainbow colored maxi skirt: Eman Fathy, clutch: Francesca’s, velvet flatforms: H&M.

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Vacay Time

The last time in my life when I went for a sun-and-sand style vacation was more than 12 years ago with my mother. I’m just much more of an adventurer/city girl, enjoying ancient and not so ancient ruins and monuments and the hustle and bustle of world capitals. Thus, I was more than a bit skeptical about going to El Gouna (a resort by the Red Sea) to chill for some days. Hmm, scratch the above 12 years.. I did in fact go to a Gharda2a/Hurghada  resort some 7 years ago but I fled back to Cairo after only a couple of days, feeling totally claustrophobic and out-of-place in that small tourist town filled with mildly lobster-colored, relaxed people. In any case, I decided to give it a fresh try since Cairo was a bit crazy and since I didn’t get to travel for the Eid holidays like I planned to.

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Me watching the sun set over the desert from a hilltop

Not a bad decision! Apart from El Gouna being a magnificently beautiful place, and the company being the best I could hope for, the clampdown on the Rab3a and El Nahda sit-ins started the night after we arrived, making Cairo more chaotic than what was previously the case (and lamer too, because of the 7pm to 6am curfew). 4 days of fun, sun, water, activities, and delicious food went by in no time, and I can strongly recommend it for anybody out there. Egypt has so much unused potential, wallah!

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Day one (the day of my arrival) was spent familiarizing ourselves with the huge resort property, eating some of the best seafood I’ve ever had – seriously, grilled shrimp and lobster has rarely tasted that good (oh and the dessert? We had to order one of them multiple times), and philosophizing while counting shooting stars on the beach (it is magical; I managed to count 5!). Day two was a little more active, as we, after having enjoyed the beach for a while, went racing in the desert. Magnificent scenery, random camels, and freshly baked bread with tea in the dark made it a memorable activity, despite some technical problems. Of course, the news from the capital as the day went on (especially upon our return – the 4G isn’t great in the desert) were quite distressing and thus caused us to have a quiet, reflective rest of the evening.

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One of the best things about this trip, however, occurred on the second full day. I’m not a too-shabby horse rider – in fact I feel the freest racing people while on horseback, feeling the wind in my hijab as I gallop past whoever is in my way. It has always been a small-scale dream of mine to ride a horse in the shallow water by the beach right before or at sunset. And guess what? I can cross that dream off my list. Elhamdlilah. It was also a great satisfaction for my competitive spirit to beat whoever present – guides and others – galloping back through the desert. A hearty and surprisingly well-made late Moroccan dinner in the marina was the end to our day as I – exhausted as I was – started dozing off after finishing the meal.

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Galloping in sunset in the desert, pre-sunset on the beach behind a guide, and getting ready for the whole thing at the desert stables (bottom left).

The last full day started early. I would go snorkeling for the very first time in my life – yay (I mentioned I’m not a beach-and-sun kind of traveler)! We went by boat to two different locations, and spent a couple of hours in the water in total, discovering the beautiful and diverse corals and colorful fish of the Red Sea. If you haven’t done it already, you should. It is a must.

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My modest but stylish Madamme BK swimsuit pre-snorkeling in the Red Sea – still the most beautiful Muslim swimwear out there.

What could possibly be better after three days of activities and with most my muscles aching? A spa treatment! I spent a whole three hours getting pampered at what the hotel claimed is the biggest spa in Egypt. Mmmmm. It was so worth it.

Sadly, my time in El Gouna came to an end the next day, as it was time to return to closed-down Cairo. I did manage to sneak out during curfew time for sushi, but my vacation was dearly missed only few hours after its end.

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Glitter and Lights

A very, very belated Eid saeed to all my lovely readers out there who do not follow me on Instagram or Facebook (I’ve already wished you a happy feast there). Since I failed to wake up super-duper early to manage to catch the Eid prayers in any masgid in Cairo (they’re at 5-or-so AM there which means way after fagr and way before it is healthy to get up and out of the house, as opposed to America’s comparatively comfy 9AM prayers), I tried to dress up a little to still get that Eid feel.

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My outfit was not the most convenient choice for the activities of the day. Although we started relatively light, hanging out at a coffee shop in decent El Maadi, things would soon take a turn for way dustier areas. Again, being the addicts of cheap, dirty kebda (liver) and sogo2 (spicy sausage) sandwiches we are (another reference to this addiction is to be found in the previous post), we just had to get food from an infamous place at share3 Muezz (a historical street by the El Husein or Khan el Khalily district). Taking the sandwiches to-go, we sat in a cafe in el husein eating them with some delish mint tea, to the sound of oud music. Not bad at all. Upon leaving and walking the narrow alleys back to the car, we found a couple of camels and horses for the residents’ kids to ride on (which I of course had to pose with).

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(Upper left: one of the slim streets off of share3 Muezz in decked out in all its sha3by charm, upper right: posing with some flowers prior to going out, lower left: My friend Bahaa is not only a computer genius; he also has one of the coolest hair styles in Cairo, lower right: one of the awesome, decorated camels of share3 Muezz)

We then went to Masr el gededa for some fresh juice (kiwi, yay!), after which we ended the evening in another sandwich store in another dusty area, Ramsis. My previously off-white maxi skirt had definitely done its duty sweeping the streets of Cairo that day.

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Square zebra print scarf: H&M, sequin blazer jacket: Mango, chiffon shirt: Vero Moda, zebra print belt: River Island, off-white maxi skirt: Zara, clutch: vintage, accessories: H&M

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Catching Up Big Time

I’m back in the US with a pretty stable internet connection, which means you will be seeing a lot of posts from my last weeks in Egypt (I know, I’ve been really bad with updates as I’ve been without internet on my computer for a while – check out my Instagram for more timely material). I’ll start with five outfits representing what I wore for the last days of Ramadan, with details posted below each picture. As I’ve noted in previous posts, Ramadan in Cairo is full of social activities and fun, and these last days were no different. As I spent the last part of my stay in Zamalek there were a lot of outings by the Nile, whether an after-iftar farewell party on a feluka on the river with some of the awesome start-up people there, or more calmer, good-quality dining on its banks. I also managed to get some really sha3by activities down, going to the famous El Brins in the populous district of Imbaba for an unforgettable meal (really, I never knew something as simple as rice could taste that good) as well as conducting some late night kebda (liver) and sogo2 (spicy oriental sausage) sandwich hunting close to Tahrir square. How I miss you already, ya Masr.

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Crinkled head scarf: H&M, neck scarf: Egypt, baggy geometric print maxi dress: Stradivarius, fringed bag: ASOS, ethnic embroidered belt: Urban Outfitters, shades: Urban Outfitters, shoes: Club Aldo (Egypt).

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Multicolor printed scarf: Zara, crinkled neck scarf: H&M, chiffon shirt: Vero Moda, neon shirt: Bershka, polka dot palazzo pants: Forever21, accessories: River Island

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Headscarf: Vida Hijabs, denim shirt: Ebay, sleeveless mixed animal-floral print shirt: Vero Moda, gladiator belt: ASOS, maxi skirt: Stradivarius, clutch: vintage, accessories: Ebay, Icing

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Peach scarf: Ebay, neck scarf: H&M, sleeveless pastel python print blouse: Mango, pastel python print pants: Mango, necklace: H&M

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Scarf: Norway, floral dramatic sleeve blouse: Boohoo, denim wrap belt: taken from denim Vero Moda harem pants, maxi skirt: Zara

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Ramadan Around C-town

One of many reasons why I love Ramadan in Cairo is the many social events – iftar with friends and friends’ families, dish party networking iftars, and and after-iftar/sohoor events (as I’ve mentioned earlier, there’s no place like Cairo by night). Especially the startup/entrepreneurship community are good at these latter ones and so I’ve made it to quite a few of those, meeting some of Egypt’s bright, young minds. Among other cool community iftars, a vegan/vegetarian one at Bikya book cafe in el Maadi was very different affair as Cairo is probably not the easiest place for people avoiding meat.

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(What I’m wearing: pleated scarf: H&M, neck scarf: Forever21, chiffon shirt: H&M, embroidered/beaded tank top: Pull & Bear, lace tiered maxi skirt: Urban Outfitters, belt: ASOS)

What I also appreciate is the sense of community across the society this one month, evident in the free juice, candy, and dates handed out along the streets as the call for maghreb gets close. Even in the poorer, slum-like areas, people would graciously hand you small plastic bags of tamr hindi to break fasr on, something that came in handy while on the autostrad running late on my way to one of the above mentioned  events (see the below; we actually had a 5-minute stop in this run-down area)

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Lastly, but even more importantly, I love the late night tahajjud prayer, and I’m so happy I have friends who are able to convince me to tag along sometimes. Few things are more beautiful than worship with a Nile view. It is my hope that you all get to enjoy your last weeks of Ramadan, and make the very best of its awesomeness. I certainly will.

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(Picking out a quick sohoor before tahajjud with a dear friend in Metro market, Zamalek)

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