How Rep. Ilhan Omar failed humanity with just one word

In the House of Representatives in the United States, members vote on a bill by either stating “aye”/”yea”, “no,” or “present.” To vote present means that the representative opted to not take a stance or side on a particular bill.  On October 29, 2019, the House of Representatives in the United States passed a resolution acknowledging the Ottoman Empire’s genocide. Aside from the Armenian genocide, the resolution included the Assyrian and Greek genocides as well. It was a vote with a  405-11 margin.

One of the eleven members that voted “present” or against that recognition was none other than Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. A shocking move considering that she’s only one of two Democrats to have voted in such a way. Even more shocking considering her unwavering demands for human rights in so many countries.

a woman wearing a blue plaid blazer with a blue head covering speaking at a podium
[Image description: A woman wearing a blue plaid blazer with a blue head covering speaking at a podium.] via Flickr
As an Assyrian, I was conflicted with emotions. While I felt joy that the House voted to pass the resolution, I also felt anger towards Rep. Ilhan Omar. Who knew that a simple word like “present” could have so much weight?

Her reasoning for the decision? The United States has yet to acknowledge its own genocide against natives. While I agree with her on that front, giving weight to one atrocity over another is not a solution. It is a slap in the face. As a former, avid supporter of hers – I feel let down beyond imagination.

The representative went on to defend her stance by tweeting:

The timing? We have waited 104 years for this country to acknowledge the genocide committed against us. 31 countries had acknowledged the genocide prior to this resolution. Tell me, Rep. Ilhan Omar, how much longer should we have waited for our turn?


I didn’t realize that genocide recognition is on a “first come first serve” basis. She has a platform. She has a voice. As a pastor of St. Sahag Armenian Church in St. Paul said: “It is discouraging [that a representative who serves many Armenians in her district] chose not to hear their voices. It goes against her work, as she claims to be fighter for justice, for doing what’s right.”

I could not have said this better myself. A simple yet strong message would have been to vote in favor of the resolution and then acknowledge the genocides that still need to be recognized.

She claims that the United States was using this bill as a political ploy. What she fails to realize is that this was the perfect time to submit this resolution. Amidst yet another Turkish attempt at ethnic cleansing, this time in Syria, it is time for the world to acknowledge these atrocities.

If I am being honest, I don’t buy her reasoning.  Let’s not forget that on the same day, Rep. Omar voted against a bill that would place sanctions on Turkey after their violent assault against Kurdish forces. The Turkish forces also laid siege against the Assyrian, Armenian, and Arab communities in Syria, killing many.

Her reasoning this time? Sanctions are not effective. Interesting, given the fact she has stated, rightfully so, that sanctions and boycotts should be imposed on Israel. I agree with the latter. Ilhan wrote in an opinion that sanctions:

“Hurt the people of the country – generally  the very people we’re purporting to help – without making a dent in the country’s behavior.”

She goes on to give examples of Iran and Venezuela and how the sanctions negatively impacted their populations. While I agree with this notion, the bill presented against Iran is not the same as the one being presented against Turkey. The sanctions being imposed on the latter are targeting government officials and their investments directly – not the populace.

Which raises the question – why the change of heart? I believe it is because of her undeniable ties with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In 2017, Rep. Ilhan Omar met with the Turkish President despite the already mounting human rights accusations placed against him. This was not the first, nor the last interaction between Omar and the Turkish government.

As a representative that claims she is for human rights, she has a responsibility. That responsibility is to be an advocate for the human rights of ALL PEOPLE. That means putting aside political ties and relations when it means standing up against crimes against humanity. This is something Rep. Ilhan Omar has failed to demonstrate at least twice since her election into office.

She has the voice and platform many of us do not. It is a shame that she is opting to not use it. It is even more shameful that she is opting to wear the all too familiar politician hat, rather than one of a true humanitarian for all causes.

Fashion Lookbook

7 fashion trends that need to die in 2020

2020 is just around the corner, which means Christmas shopping, resolutions, and jam-packed stores are well on their way. And while the ‘new year, new me’ mentality is still fresh in our minds, let’s direct that sense of renewal and change towards saying goodbye to some of fashion’s biggest sins from this past year!

I am all for self-expression, but there are some trends that really make me want to scream, “WHY?” and also, “HOW?”. The worst part is that these trends have gotten immensely popular, which is as concerning as it is surprising.

Here’s a recap of 7 fashion trends that emerged in 2019, but definitely should not make it into 2020.

1. Boiler suits

A woman wearing a dark navy blue boiler suit.
[Image description: A woman wearing a navy blue boiler suit.] Via Amazon.
I feel like this trend is having an identity crisis. I don’t even think it knows what it is, let alone what it wants you to be when you wear it.

It doesn’t know whether it wants you to be  a skydiver, a member of a quarantine unit, the latest inmate on OITNB, or an extra on Top Gun whose 4-second appearance got cut out in post-production. Whatever the case, this look does not belong in your closet.

2.  Dad sneakers

Gray, white, and blue colored jogging shoes.
[Image description: Gray, white, and blue colored jogging shoes.] Via Amazon.
I get it, they’re comfortable. They make you feel like you’re walking on air. But – and I hate to be the one to break this to you – they don’t look nice worn with dresses, skirts, or any attire that is not intended for running. They don’t compliment the outfit at all.

Besides, they’re called ‘dad sneakers’ for a reason. Pass them on to your old man and move along.

3. Bike shorts

A woman standing with one knee bent wearing a white top, white sneakers, and gray biker shorts.
[Image description: A woman standing with one knee bent wearing a white top, white sneakers, and gray bike shorts.] Via Forever 21.
I don’t even want to know why anyone thought these would be okay to wear as an everyday look. They are not complimentary at all. Say it with me: in 2020, we save gym-wear for the gym!

4. Puff-sleeves or power shoulders

A woman wearing a pink puff-sleeved shirt with a python-printed pleated skirt and black open-toed heels.
[Image description: A woman wearing a pink puff-sleeved shirt with a python-printed pleated skirt and black open-toed heels.] Via SaksFifthAvenue.
Hi, the 80s called, they want their unnecessarily dramatic shoulder silhouettes back.

I never understood why or how the padded shoulder look made its way into the fashion world, both in the 80s and now. I also don’t understand why anyone would want their shoulders to look so puffy. It makes everything look so disproportionate!

 5. Birkenstocks

A woman wearing black jeans and tan Birkenstock sandals with orange nail polish on her toes.
[Image description: A woman wearing black jeans and tan Birkenstock sandals with orange nail polish on her toes.] Via Flickr.
Why are we even having this conversation? When did this become fashion? I feel like 2019 has turned into the year of wearing anything and everything that’s in your dad’s closet. Stop it!

6. Puffy, fluffy, or pom-pom sandals

A woman with toenails painted bright white is wearing sandals covered in fluffy yellow pom-poms.
[Image description: A woman with toenails painted bright white is wearing sandals covered in fluffy yellow pom-poms.] Via IvyRose.
Unless you plan on auditioning for Sesame Street as the newest Muppet, don’t do this. I don’t care how comfortable they are, these better be the first trend to die in 2020.

7. Cargo pants

A woman stands against a white wall wearing dark cargo pants with a white shirt.
[Image description: A woman stands against a white wall wearing dark cargo pants with a white shirt.] Via Flickr.
Yet another item we’ve taken from dad’s closet! One we should have left there. This style never belonged in any year or decade unless you were a member of the armed forces. May it die in 2020 once and for all!

Which trend is your most hated, and which is your – dare I say – favorite?

Culture Life

18 phrases only an Assyrian will understand

I think most people who speak a native language at home other than English can empathize with the fact that what we say in our languages, doesn’t always make sense when translated to English. When I was a kid, I didn’t really pick up on this idea of how things translate. Fast forward to adulthood and suddenly I am sitting at my kitchen table trying to explain to my American friend why “ash on your head” in Assyrian is a perfectly normal thing to say.

The Assyrian language is a dialect of the ancient Akkadian language and its culture is one full of rich history. Once a powerful empire, it now has no country of its own today. After the fall of the Assyrian Empire, much of the Assyrian population became dispersed throughout the Middle East. To date, Assyrian people are considered an indigenous group and often reside throughout the Middle East, Americas, Europe, and Australia.

The Assyrian language has its fair share of phrases and idioms that will make you laugh and scratch your head. Whatever the case, they add to the beauty that is the Assyrian culture.

The following are some of the most humorous Assyrian phrases that make absolutely no sense when translated into English. Let’s see which ones end up being your favorite:

1. Qitma brishookh (m)/brishakh (f); Ash on your head

a woman wearing a black gown and veil is sitting down looking into the camera while speaking
[Image description: A woman in a black gown and veil says, “I beg your pardon?”] Via Giphy
Let that sink in. This is typically said to someone that did something stupid or not wise. For example, if someone decided to take their car out and do donuts while blindfolded, you would say, “ash on your head.”

2. Brikhta hamamookh (m)/hamamakh (f); Congratulations on your shower or bless your shower

a man wearing a tuxedo holds a glass up while smiling
[Image description: A man wearing a tuxedo holds a glass up while smiling.] Via Giphy
You bathed – way to go tiger! What can I say, we are a culture that believes in positive reinforcement and affirmations. This phrase actually means that we hope your shower refreshed you. When you shower, you’re washing away the day so you should feel refreshed, clean, and clear of mind.

3. Saat’ookh patkha (m)/Saat’akh patkha (f); Your watch will open

[Image description: A man in a green coat says, “I give up.”] Via Giphy
I am 30 years old and still don’t quite get this one. This is typically said before the shower and Assyrian families say that you should take a shower to open your watch. I believe what it means is take a shower to change your mood or to clear your mind. Let’s just go with that.

4. Khilee libookh (m)/libakh (f); I ate your heart

[Image description: A woman in a black coat says “That is so beautiful!”] Via Giphy
Let me tell you something – you have never been loved if your significant other doesn’t tell you they want to eat your heart. Jokes aside, this can actually be said in different contexts. A couple can say this to each other. A parent to a child. Friends to friends. Usually it’s said when one person says or does something sweet, you will hear the other say something like I ate your heart. It is a term of endearment in most cases.

5. Avit baseema (m)/Oyat bassimta (f); May you be tasty

a woman sitting a table with a hat and black earrings with a black dress
[Image description: A woman sitting a table with a hat and black earrings with a black dress says, “You’re making me blush.”] Via Giphy
Sounds odd, I know. This is actually how you would say thank you to someone. Not that they’re actually tasty.

6. Lavit baseema (m)/Layat bassimta (f); Don’t be tasty

 a man laying on a couch talking on the phone
[Image description: A man laying on a couch, talking on the phone says, “That’s not nice.”] Via Giphy
This is precisely the opposite of the prior one. You would use this if someone says or does something that is displeasing to you. This  can be used in so many different situations from playful banter to being legitimately upset. It basically means, “no thanks will be given to you.”

7. Eedookh la maree (m)/Eedakh la maree (f); May your hands not get tired

[Image description: A man looks at both of his hands in astonishment.] Via Giphy
This is a really polite thing to say. You can say this to someone who has cooked a meal, after you finish it. You can also say it to someone that works with their hands like an architect or a builder.

8. Libee khleesele; My heart is squeezed

[Image description: A man in a navy blue suit, holds his heart and says, “My heart actually hurt when you just said that.”] Via Giphy
This is a very sweet comment. It is basically how you would say “I miss you” to someone. It means you miss them so much your heart feels like it’s literally being squeezed from the pain of being apart.

9. Doochtookh spikta (m)/Doochtakh spikta (f); Your space is empty

two women sitting next to one another, one is smiling and the other is eating
[Image description: Two women are sitting next to each other, and one says, “You missed me!” to the other.] Via Giphy
This is another phrase that is equally polite as it is nice to say to someone. You typically would say this if say you are having a get together in your home and your friend calls saying they aren’t able to attend. You would say this in the context of telling them you wish they were here because their lack of presence is noticeable.

10. Chooseeta mooteeloon brishe; They put a hat on my head

[Image description: A woman in a multi-colored sweater is holding a red funnel and says, “So I got this funnel, gonna tell you right now it’s a scam.”] Via Giphy
Boy oh boy have I been able to say this a few times in my life. You usually use this phrase when you have been conned or cheated. For example, say you go shopping and you get sold a product that is faulty, you would say they put a hat on my head. It is a way of saying they made me look foolish.

11. Qa tara tay qat jooyda shameh; Tell the door so the wall hears

[Image description: A man in a suit and blue tie says, “You might want to listen.”] Via Giphy
You would do this when you want someone to listen to you, so you speak indirectly to them by talking to someone else while being around the other person. So, for example, say you are sitting at the table and you say to your friend, “I wish someone would take the trash out” when in fact you want your husband to hear so he takes it out. You’re talking to the door so the wall hears.

12. In basmalookh (m)/In basmalakh (f); If it pleases you or if it cures you

a man sitting a desk wearing a suit takes his glasses off in frustration
[Image description: A man in a suit is sitting at a desk and takes his glasses off in frustration.] Via Giphy
This actually doesn’t mean either of those things. Shocking, I know. It’s actually how you would say please to someone.

13. Keesee qarta mikhyala; My stomach got a cold

[Image description: A woman in a grey sweatshirt says, “Oh, my God. I just got hot. Yeah, my pits are sweating. My stomach hurts. Oh, my God!”] Via Giphy
Yes, in Assyrian even your organs can catch colds. You usually say this if you ate something bad or if you have the stomach bug.

14. Aynookh chpeenena (m)/Aynakh chpeenena (f); Your eyes are hungry

a woman wearing an orange coat and a woman in a black coat are facing a window while one holds her eyes
[Image description: A woman wearing an orange coat and a woman in a black coat are facing a window, while one yells, “No, my eyes, my eyes!”] Via Giphy
You would normally say this to someone that wants to eat more but isn’t necessarily hungry. They are looking at the food and contemplating if they should grab another plate, but they’re really full.

15. B’cheela biyee la qashik; Don’t look crooked at me

a woman dressed in a furry red dress with her black hair up stares into the camera with a stern look
[Image description: A woman dressed in a furry red dress with her black hair up stares ahead with a stern look.] Via Giphy
In other words, don’t give me attitude.

16. Laa sharshiyet (m)/Laa sharshiyat (f); May you not get tired

a woman sitting at a desk wearing a plaid coat necking her nec
[Image description: A woman in a plaid coat, sits at a desk while stretching her neck.] Via Giphy
This is a very polite phrase to say. You typically say this to someone that comes home from work or someone that has been studying all night. It’s a nice way of saying I hope the day did not tire you.

17. Rishookh shakheenileh? (m)/Rishakh shakheenileh? (f); Is your head hot?

a woman is angry and clapping her hands repeatedly in the face of another woman
[Image description: A woman angrily claps her hands repeatedly in the face of another woman.] Via Giphy
No, this has nothing to do with having a fever. You say this to someone that wants to pick a fight or is picking a fight.

18. Khool ikhreh; Eat poop

a woman wearing a headscarf and indian garments is speaking to someone
[Image description: A woman wearing a headscarf and orange kurti says, “Let me know if you want crap. Eat dirt or eat crap.”] Via Giphy
Yep that’s right. It’s a more aggressive way of saying shut up in Assyrian. You can say this in two settings: 1) someone that ticks you off and you want them to shut up or 2) to a friend in a joking/banter kind of manner.

Skin Care Lookbook

6 soothing products to ease your skin into winter

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Snow, hot chocolate, ice-skating, Christmas shopping, and so much more to look forward to! But while the holiday season is amazing, it can be a bit harsh on your skin. Having to transition from warmer temperatures to hand-numbing cold can do a lot of damage, which is why it’s important to incorporate skincare products that will keep your skin looking and feeling soft, smooth, and youthful, regardless of the weather.

Here are 6 products, listed in order of application, that are winter skincare must haves! While these products can and should be used year round, these particular versions are best suited to harsh winter weather.

Note:  I have very sensitive skin and have tried many different types of skincare routines over the years until I found one that was best suited for my skin.  I have combination skin, so I tend to get oily in my T-zone area, while the rest of my face is relatively dry. As with any skincare product, you should consider whether or not the product will work for your skin specifically before using it, and always do a patch test in advance!

1. Toner

Toner is a multi-purpose product. It takes away any excess dirt that might be left over after washing your face, while also adding pH balance, hydration, and clarity to the skin. I typically apply my toner with a cotton pad and wait one minute before moving on to the next step. It’s important not to use toners that have alcohol or astringents in them as these ingredients tend to dry out your skin!

A clear bottle with a red cap and a label that reads 'facial toner'.
[Image description: A clear bottle with a red cap and a label that reads ‘facial toner’.] Via Amazon.
My favorite toner is the Thayers Witch Hazel Facial Toner in Rose Petal. It is completely alcohol-free and infused with aloe vera, which gives your skin the TLC it needs and deserves!

2. Essence

There is some confusion in the beauty world as to what the difference is between toner and essence. Essence originated in Korean skincare and is intended to add moisture into the skin prior to applying any other products. It is supposed to give you a flawless base to work with and you are supposed to apply it after toner.

Typically I apply a little bit of essence into the palms of my hands, then gently dab the product into my face in an upwards, pressing motion.

A clear bottle that has red writing that reads 'SK-II'.
[Image description: A clear bottle that has red writing that reads ‘SK-II’.] Via Sephora.
My go-to essence is one by SK-II. It’s pretty pricey, but worth every dime! You’ll notice a difference in your skin within a week!

3. Serum

A serum is intended to apply moisture to the face prior to using moisturizer. Think of it as a layer of protection on the skin to ensure that all of that moisture is locked in place.

A clear bottle with a red label that says 'REVITALIFT' on it.
[Image description: A clear bottle with a red label that says ‘REVITALIFT’ on it.] Via Amazon.
My favorite serum by miles is Loreal’s Revitalift. I thought all the hype online was exaggerated, but boy does this product deliver! After using it for 2 weeks, I noticed my skin was a lot smoother and healthier looking. It also gives the skin a glow that is much-needed during colder months.

I apply a drop to my fingertips and rub them together. Then, I proceed with tapping the product into my face.

4. Moisturizer

Moisturizer is a huge step in making sure your skin doesn’t dry out during harsher seasons. Add this to your skincare routine and see the difference unfold before your eyes!

A blue container with a white lid.
[Image description: A blue container with a white lid.] Via Amazon.
I have used many different moisturizers over the years, but the one I keep going back to is Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost water gel. The formula is so lightweight yet efficient, and gets the job done without making you look like an oily mess. I like to apply a small amount into my hands and then gently dab it onto my face and neck – don’t forget the neck!

5. Oils

If you have oily skin, you might think putting oil on your face is a recipe for disaster. On the contrary, applying oils to your face will prevent your skin from over-producing its own oils. One of the best oils to use in winter weather is Rosehip oil.

A brown bottle with a red label that reads 'Certified Organic Rosehip Oil'.
[Image description: A brown bottle with a red label that reads ‘Certified Organic Rosehip Oil’.] Via Ulta.
My personal favourite is the Rosehip Oil from Trilogy. There is a reason this oil is a must have for the Duchess of Cambridge – it not only provides the moisture your skin needs, but tackles issues like acne and scarring. It’s also a proven anti-aging remedy for keeping your skin silky smooth and youthful!

6. Sunscreen

I will admit I used to skip this step in its entirety. Having read so many pieces on the importance of adding SPF to your skincare routine, I decided to incorporate it and it has made all the difference!

A white container with red and black writing on it.
[Image description: A white container with red and black writing on it.] Via Amazon.
I love the SPF by eltaMD because it is incredibly lightweight and doesn’t have that odd smell many SPFs carry. It also does wonders for sensitive skin that cannot handle strong scents, like mine. This SPF adds the sun-protection your skin needs while also delivering moisture.

Fashion Lookbook

Why Tehran and Istanbul are the fashion capitals of the future

When you hear the phrase ‘fashion capital’, you might immediately think of Milan, London, Paris, or New York. After all, some of the most iconic fashion designers of recent times – Coco Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger, Alexander McQueen, and Gianni Versace, to name a few – have emerged from or are strongly affiliated with these cities. 

But there are two cities that are strikingly fashion forward, yet rarely recognized for being so: Tehran and Istanbul. Seemingly different, yet similar, these two cities have one pursuit in common: the breaking of stereotypes through self-expression. 

[Image description: A woman wears a red headscarf and stares into the camera.] Via Milad Shams on Unsplash.
When I traveled to Tehran for the first time, my trip gave me a brand new perspective on what the words ‘fashion statement’ really meant. In Iran, what you wear is more than just the brand name. Your style is a gateway of self-expression and individuality, an attitude that allowed me to embrace my truest self through my wardrobe.

Islamic dress code has in many ways inspired Iranians to create newer, more intricate ideas that fit into this framework for women and men alike. Iranians have mastered the idea of turning a simple look into a unique, chic style tailored to one’s individual personality. Many shop owners travel abroad to different countries, finding the newest, most fashion-forward trends to bring back home. In some cases, sellers open boutiques, called mezon or maison, in their own homes, where they sell only the latest trends. Here, you will find styles that are not yet on the market in many countries, but have been introduced only in cities like Paris or Milan.

Iran has its own set of designers and taste-makers that are redefining street style and Islamic or modest fashion.  For modest, yet fashion-forward styles, designers like Naghmeh Kiumarsi are setting the standards. Breaking free of the traditional black or blue chador, Naghmeh incorporates rich colors, like deep maroons and emerald greens, to pull off a sophisticated look. 

Another designer, Shadi Parand, ensures that her customers have a one-of-a-kind outfit, as she never makes the same design twice. Shadi incorporates traditional Iranian prints and integrates them into more modern styles. She also designs looks that are to be worn both indoors and outdoors.

Recently, Tehran has revamped the tried-and-true trend of pleated skirts paired with traditional loose coats by adding patterned head scarves with just the right pop of color that are tied or arranged in a number of different styles. It should be noted that these styles are complementary for both Muslims and non-Muslims, such as myself, and allow us to access the fashion world and the latest trends on our own terms.

[Image description: Two women in pink and blue coats and sparkling heels walk along a street in Istanbul.] Via negativespace.
Istanbul is equally unique, but for a different reason. Istanbul is on the cusp of the Middle East and Europe. Because of this, it has become noted for its unique take on fashion that is influenced by both East and West. 

In 2018, one of the more prominent fashion shows, MAGIC, held its annual show in Las Vegas, where Istanbul was named as a fashion capital for the first time. There, prominent Turkish designers showcased their newest designs for the American public. Designers from the most notable fashion capitals, like Milan, London, and Paris, have implemented Turkish designs and ideas into their own collections.

Designers like Zeynep Guntas moved to Milan to pursue her fashion line. Zeynep hand-paints all of her clothing, which has grown in popularity in Milan, especially as streetwear. Turkish designer Bora Aksu has grown rapidly popular in London, where he incorporates designs tailored to a more European style. Another Turkish designer, ERDEM, is based in Canada. He creates chic evening wear that is elegant and unique with intricate patterns.

[Image description: A girl in a red sweater and black headscarf is seated on a bench with her back to the camera.] Via Erfan Amiri on Unsplash.
As of late, Istanbul has shifted from mostly purely European styles to integrating more modest looks that incorporate Islamic values and Turkish culture. One notable modest fashion line is  Modanisa, which aims to produce more modest interpretations of the latest fashion trends. 

These designs not only have an ‘East meets West’ element, but also recapture a global discourse that has historically been dominated by the Western world. In a day and age when there are many misconceptions about the Middle East and Islam, designers in both Tehran and Istanbul have been working to break free of stereotypes. They also give new meaning to what it means to be fashionable or on-trend.

Not only are both cities fashion forward, the designs they produce appeal to a large, previously uncatered-to audience. This has allowed them to practice self-expression without compromising their values or preferences. This open-mindedness, creativity and innovation make both cities worthy of being the future fashion capitals of the world.


10 of the most heartwarming wedding traditions from around the world

Wedding season is here again, and with it comes non-stop action and excitement for brides, grooms, and everyone else that’s a part of such a momentous occasion – not to mention many wedding traditions!  If you’re a bride to be, you’ve probably glanced over many a wedding magazine, and Pinterest is probably your new best friend.

However, wedding planning is often as exciting as it is draining. One thing that might help when it feels like you’re running out of ideas is exploring wedding traditions from other cultures. Random as it may seem, cultural traditions can help give you inspiration for your own wedding, especially regarding what meaning and mood you’d like it to embody.

The cross-cultural wedding traditions on this list will make any girl swoon – from sweet well-wishes to the couple from guests to a literal knife dance (yes, really), there’s a little bit of inspiration here for every kind of couple. 

1.  Henna night, Turkey

[Image description: Bride is celebrated during henna night.] via Shutterstock
[Image description: Bride is celebrated during henna night.] via Shutterstock
During a Turkish henna night, known as Kina Ginesi, the bride has henna placed on her hands prior to leaving her mother. The bride wears a velvet dress and a veil and is surrounded by her female friends and family members.

While the bride sits and has her henna done, the other women sing sad songs around her. The idea is to make the bride cry before she leaves home, and once the women succeed, they each put henna on the bride’s hands and then on the hands of the bride’s mother and other guests.

While this tradition may be seen as sad to some, it commemorates the beautiful bond between a mother and a daughter.  As someone who is super close to her mom, this one gives me the feels for sure!

2. The couple’s entrance, Assyrians

[Image description: Assyrian wedding entry with woman and man seated on chairs.] Via Unsplash
[Image description: Assyrian wedding entry with woman and man seated on chairs.] Via Unsplash
I might be biased when I say this, but Assyrians really know how to throw a wedding. My favorite part of an Assyrian wedding has always been the entrance by the couple – not only is it a beautiful site to see, but it’s so much fun!

Prior to the couple entering the hall, families, and friends gather near the entrance doors. As the couple proceeds into the hall, family members and friends dance and sing in front of the newlyweds. Women often wave their yalikhta or dancing veil around the happy couple, and the touching moment displays the happiness of the couple’s family and friends for their union.

3. Zaffe, Lebanon

[Image description: Man and woman dance in the Lebanese wedding tradition.] via visualizepictures
[Image description: Man and woman dance in the Lebanese wedding tradition.] via visualizepictures
I’m not even Lebanese, but I don’t have to be to love this tradition. Typically, the zaffe takes place at the respective homes of the couple. Drums are played, zaffe dancers perform, and friends and family partake in the celebrations.

Both the bride and groom dance around the drummers, with family and friends joining in. It’s a fun and celebratory tradition that’s guaranteed to get the party started at any wedding.

4. Knife dance, Iran

[Image description: An Iranian knife dance takes place] via Fiona Hall Photography
[Image description: An Iranian knife dance takes place] via Fiona Hall Photography
There’s everybody else’s version of cutting the wedding cake, and then there’s the Iranian version. Known as raghseh chagoo, this tradition begins when a female family member or friend begins dancing to a Persian tune whilst holding the cake knife in her hand.

In true Iranian fashion, the women dance gracefully despite having to hold a knife in their hands throughout the routine. The couple then has to give her money in the hopes of earning the knife.

The woman may accept the money and then proceed to give the knife to another woman. This continues until a female relative or friend feels the bride and groom have earned the knife. It’s a unique way of celebrating the cutting of the cake and is super fun to watch.

5. Kanyadaan, India

[Image description: A bride’s hand is seen being placed on top of the groom’s hand.] via Giphy.
As a daughter, the thought of being given away is an emotional one. In Indian culture, the Kanyadaan is the process of the father giving away his daughter. During the Kanyadaan, the father of the bride takes her right hand and places it on top of the groom’s right hand. This act is the way the father asks the groom to treat his daughter as an equal partner.

After the hands are placed on top of one another, the mother of the bride pours holy water on top of both hands. As people chant during the ceremony, the water soaks through the bride’s hands and into the groom’s, signifying unity.

6. The wishing tree, the Netherlands

[Image description: A Dutch wedding tree, filled with wishes] via Shutterstock
[Image description: A Dutch wedding tree, filled with wishes] via Shutterstock
Some cultures have a wedding guestbook signed by well-wishers that couples can have as a keepsake, but the Dutch go above and beyond in this respect. In the Netherlands, there is no wedding book. Instead, there is a tree that guests adorn with well-wishes for the bride and groom.

Friends and family of the couple write down their well-wishes on small note cards or leaflets, while the tree is typically placed adjacent to the couple’s table.

After the notes are written and collected, they are given to the couple to read aloud, after which the couple ties the notes onto the tree with colorful ribbons. It’s a lovely way of wishing the couple a lifetime of happiness from the people that matter most to them.

7. Releasing doves, Philippines

[Image description: A couple holds a pair of doves.] via Shutterstock
[Image description: A couple holds a pair of doves.] via Shutterstock
Throughout history, doves have been symbols of peace, so it should be no surprise that they are often released during weddings. In Filipino tradition, the bride and groom release a pair of doves, one male, and one female.

This is seen to symbolize unity, prosperity, love, and peace within the marriage.

8. Giving the bride a pair of lovespoons, Wales

[Image description: A pair of lovespoons for a Welsh  couple] via Shutterstock
[Image description: A pair of lovespoons for a Welsh couple] via Shutterstock
The history of lovespoons alone is enough to make you swoon. Historically, lovespoons were carved out by a man and given to the woman he loved, and the spoons would usually be decorated with intricate designs symbolizing the love between the couple. The woodwork was also important to the father of the bride as it symbolized the groom’s capability to provide for their daughter.

Today, Welsh couples are gifted lovespoons by friends and family. The grooms may also gift these spoons to their brides-to-be before the wedding or in some cases after the marriage. The token of love is not just a display of creativity, but also a beautiful way to express one’s love.

9. Unity bowls of rocks, Australia

[Image description: An Australian wedding ceremony might feature the tradition of a unity bowl.] via Pinterest
[Image description: An Australian wedding ceremony might feature the tradition of a unity bowl.] via Pinterest
Prepare yourself for the waterworks. In Australia, the friends and family of the happy couple fill a bowl with various stones. At first glance, this may seem a bit strange, but the meaning behind the tradition is genuinely touching. The stones vary in color, with each symbolizing the color each family member or friend brings to the lives of the couple.

At the end of the wedding, the couple is given the bowl full of stones. The bowl serves as a symbol of the love and support that the couple has from their friends and family. It’s a lovely way to include your friends and family in one of the most important days of your life and serves as an important reminder of their love and support.

10. Bringing the flames, South Africa

[Image description: A display of a South African fire ceremony] via Shutterstock
[Image description: A display of a South African fire ceremony] via Shutterstock
This tradition is incredibly beautiful and touching. In South Africa, the parents of the bride and the groom carry firewood from their own homes to the home of the couple. There, they begin burning the wood in the hopes of igniting the flames of the new home.

What is important about this tradition is that the firewood that is brought over by the parents is a symbol of the flames from the couples’ childhood homes and the continuation of that warmth and light into their new homes and lives.

In other words, this touching tradition reminds newlyweds that home is not too far away and that the feelings of comfort and security from their childhood homes are with them always.

Makeup Lookbook

10 last minute Halloween makeup looks for anyone who still doesn’t have a costume

It’s the spookiest time of year again! Halloween is just around the corner, pumpkins are having their yearly moment and children’s blood sugar levels are spiking. Halloween and I have always had a love/hate relationship – every year, I plan the perfect costume, my busy schedule results in me frantically doing last minute shopping, and in the end I’m left wondering whether it was all worth it. I know I can’t be the only one, either. Let’s face it, a lot of us are really busy and while we want to partake in Halloween festivities, life and work usually get in the way. There is, however, a solution to all of our problems: Halloween makeup.

[Image description: A girl wearing sugar skull makeup and a black hat looks directly in to the camera.] Via Unsplash.
As people are packing stores looking for the perfect costume, you can opt for an easier, more affordable way to achieve a Halloween look. Sure, costumes are great, but sometimes all you need is the right makeup look to be just as spooky or cool.

Luckily, with the help of some of YouTube’s most trusted makeup artists, you can get spooky in a snap.  Below is a list of 10 Halloween makeup tutorials that will help you pull a last minute look together in no time.

Look 1: The Sugar Skull

This look has been my go-to for a while now, and I’ve always received loads of compliments on it. Word to the wise: you may want to trial this the night before, just in case. It’s a lot easier than it seems though, trust me!

Look 2: The Cat

Another Halloween makeup look that I’ve done before, this one’s not only adorable, but is also incredibly easy. You’ll be surprised by how many people think this look took you longer than it actually did.

Look 3: The Comic Book

This comic book look is as fun to look at as it is to create. If you want to kick things up a notch, add a colorful wig to the mix and bust out your inner Archie character in this creative Halloween look.

Look 4: The Witch

The Wicked Witch of the West look is a go-to for a reason. This Halloween classic never gets old, and it’s a relatively simple one to pull off. All you need handy is some green body paint, or even just some green eye-shadow. For those of you that want to stray away from the green witch look, there are other equally wicked alternatives that you can find here.

Look 5: The Clown

Although the finished  look is absolutely terrifying, putting it together is surprisingly easy. To top it off, majority of the makeup products used in this tutorial can be easily substituted with products you already own. This Halloween makeup look will have you looking equally spooky and cool.

Tip: The white contacts worn in the video are optional, and the look works just as well without them!

Look 6: The Unicorn

I haven’t tried this one yet, but my goodness, isn’t it pretty? My inner child is leaping for joy just looking at it. While it seems more complicated than it actually is, this tutorial will have you looking like a mermaid-unicorn hybrid in under twenty minutes.

Tip: If you want to achieve this Halloween makeup look, but don’t want to over-spend, consider using dupes – anything by NYX is a great option!

Look 7: The Mermaid

One of my favorite things about this tutorial, aside from the fact it’s a mermaid, is that it uses affordable makeup. Majority of these products can be found at your local drugstore! Also, who doesn’t want to be a mermaid? And remember, you can customize the mermaid look any way that you want.

Tip: I do advise what she suggests – using the fishnet stockings – as they will bring the look together a lot more easily.

Look 8: The Deer

I actually tried this look last year and fell in love with it. It’s easy to do, the finished look is super cute, and I promise you’ll get lots of compliments! Also, it’s more skin friendly for those with sensitive skin.

Look 9: The Scarecrow

This is such an easy look to accomplish. You can legitimately swap any and all of the products she uses for dupes that are more affordable. And once you’re done, you’ll be left looking like the most adorable scarecrow in the world.

Tip: The actual tutorial starts at 1:10!

Look 10: The Zipper

I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’m dying to. It’s a relatively simple Halloween makeup look that requires little effort, yet looks amazing. You can also swap the colors she uses and create your own unique version. If the rainbow look isn’t your thing, fret not! There are loads of other alternatives for this look!

Tip: Liquid latex is not for all skin types. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to skip this look or find a product that is more sensitive skin-friendly.

Bonus: Scar from The Lion King

For my Disney lovers! Find your inner evil lion and give this Halloween makeup look a try. Then do some vocal exercises and a quick run through of ‘Be Prepared’ and you’re ready to go!

Tip: The actual tutorial starts at 2:10!