I am beyond excited to share an exciting series I've been working on for you all. As mentioned before in my newsletters and on the blog, The Smiling Sweetheart was created to give you guys a dose of coffee, music, and a whole lot of personal style. But, even more than that it was created to help young women accessorize their best selves both externally and internally. I wanted to use this platform to reach out to other women in the blogging (and non-blogging) community who dedicate their craft to helping a variety of women (and/or men) be their best selves. With that, I welcome you to the "It Starts Within" Series. A series highlighting women of all backgrounds bringing you their tips and tricks on feeling good, fostering a happy mind, and most of all, embracing every single thing that makes you, YOU.
First up, let's meet Siddeeqah Shaikh, the founder of Curves and Cravings, an inspiring fashion blog for modest plus size women of all ages. Siddeeqah shares her passion for stylish plus size modest wear with the world. She believes that it’s important to celebrate your curves and satisfy your cravings. Fun Fact: Siddeeqah's favorite food is burgers and fries.
The Smiling Sweetheart
I gotta say, Siddeeqah, when I discovered you on social media I was so excited to see another Muslim girl killing it out there in the world of curvy-girl blogging. What essentially motivated you to start Curves and Cravings and what’s your main mission behind it all?
I started Curves & Cravings because I saw the rise of the modest fashion blogger on social media. They made dressing fashionable look fun, cool and most importantly modest. They inspired many women to express their creativity while maintaining their modesty. However, among these fashionistas, there was a very noticeable gap that wasn't being fulfilled - that of the plus size modest blogger. Especially not one that wore the hijab, the way I do. It wasn't really being catered to and I wanted to change that.
So, sometimes I get up in the morning and I don’t want to leave the couch. Do you have days like that? And, if so, how do you get yourself off the couch and put amazing things out into the world?
This is something I struggle with every day. I'm the kind of person that always has to push myself to be productive. It's not something that comes easily for me. I tend to veer on the side of being a thinker rather than a doer, meaning ideas usually come easily to me, but actually putting the thought into action is tough. In order to overcome this, I have to create a schedule for myself that I can look at consistently. This constant reminder forces me to get things done. I also break down projects into individual tasks. That way, I'm not overwhelmed by a huge task, which can lead to abandoning a project completely. Launching Curves & Cravings took a lot of time and effort, and I used these techniques to make sure I launched my site by a set date and that it was a successful launch.
Sometimes the negative thoughts about how we see ourselves and how we assess our own beauty come in. How do you deal with these thoughts? Do you have a series of affirmations or words that you use to get yourself back into a confident groove?
Being overweight in a society that praises perfection can be hard. As you scroll through Instagram, regardless of who you are, it's easy to become self-conscious and deflated. I have struggled with my weight for a long time and this year I realized that it didn't matter what weight I was, I never enjoyed my body. I just focused on how far I still had to go to attain the ideal. Now I realize how fruitless that was. It's okay to have goals and to aspire to be better, but it's also important to love where you are in the present. So I always remind myself to celebrate my body and appreciate my blessings.
Do you have a strategy or a thought process when putting together outfits for your blog?
My aim for my outfits is to be modest, affordable and that expresses my own personal style. I want women to take inspiration from my outfits, while still being able to tailor it to their own specific needs.
You remind your readers to “celebrate your curves and satisfy your cravings”, what is your own personal favorite way to do so?
I celebrate my curves by wearing clothes that make me feel good, and by not apologizing for my body, but for loving it. People are so focused on where they want to be, that they forget where they are. I make sure that I appreciate where I am right now, every day. I satisfy my cravings by doing things I love. It's not about what you're cravings, it's about indulging in the things you enjoy, even if it's just for a little bit.
"People are so focused on where they want to be, that they forget where they are. I make sure that I appreciate where I am right now, every day."
Do you go after certain articles of clothing that augment a certain idea or message?
Yes, I definitely lean towards certain types of clothes. Since I wear hijab, it's important to keep to a modest lifestyle. I usually wear shirts that are longer or loose fitting sweaters. If I wear a dress that is knee-length, I will always pair it with a pair of comfy, opaque leggings.
Say there is a girl out there who is in high school and dealing with some of the things you overcame, what would you say to her?
I want her to know that it's so important to learn self-love because it's much easier to go out into the world and own it when you love who you are. There's a lot that you can achieve, but you can't let the negative thoughts in your head hold you back. The only person those thoughts damage is you. It took me a long time to figure that out, and I wish someone had told me that way back when.
Years down the line, what do you want Curves and Cravings to be doing?
My goal for Curves & Cravings is for it to be the go-to destination for all plus size fashion conscious women who dress modestly. I want to build a brand so that it becomes synonymous with body positivity and modesty. Eventually, I want to create a fashion line aimed at modest plus size women.
Find Siddeeqah On Social Media
Her Blog: Curves and Cravings