So this is my first blog post since I’ve rebranded and it’s quite exciting! Today I want to talk a bit about why I rebranded as well as the reason behind the name I chose. I’ll also be including some information on what you can expect on this new blog.
First of all, for those who didn’t know, my previous blog was called Stardust And Lipstick. To explain fully, I have to take you back a few years. See, as a kid, I absolutely hated reading. I didn’t understand the appeal one bit. As I got to my tween years my teacher (shout out to you for being da BOMB) told me to read the Harry Potter series. I was very uninterested, to say the least. She brought the books to school nonetheless and lent it to me, saving me a trip to the library (which I dreaded). I honestly thought reading was “uncool”. Sigh. I was a weird kid, guys. Really weird. Anyway, after reading the first chapter of the first HP book I was hooked! Since then, I’ve fallen in love with reading and a few years later I started keeping a journal. I really enjoyed writing and loved how “free” I felt – being able to express myself through pen and paper.
Years passed and my fondness for writing increased by the day… when I was 14 I went through some incredibly traumatic things in my life and I was never the same… I was later diagnosed with anxiety and depression disorder and it was incredibly difficult – especially at that tender age – to navigate my feelings and where my life was going. I never shared this with you guys in the past because I was scared. After being diagnosed by a therapist I was bullied and made to feel bad for having these disorders. I lost many friends, and for a kid at the age of 14, it is very confusing. I felt like I did something wrong. I felt that what I was feeling was wrong, and in turn that made me very scared to tell people about my disorders. I feel so vulnerable writing this but I really want to share a little bit of my backstory with you guys.
I’m not writing this for pity or anything like that, simply so you – my loyal readers – can understand me a little better. Long story short, my therapist suggested I try and find a hobby as a healthy “release” or “safe space” to help me cope, especially as a teenager. At 16 I started playing around with makeup and I fell in love with it. I started reading articles in magazines/online and watching many YouTube videos to teach myself some tips and tricks. At that time I had tried scrapbooking and sewing as a hobby but it just didn’t stick. Another year or two passed and seeing as I knew quite a bit about makeup then, I thought to myself “well, why don’t you start a blog? You love makeup and writing so how cool would it be to combine the two and start a blog?” I remember feeling so chuffed with the idea and a few days later, I was trying to come up with a name. After some thought, I chose Stardust And Lipstick.
I knew absolutely nothing about blogging or taking proper photos but when I wrote my first review on a Beauty Treats blush palette, I was so very proud of myself. I had so much fun making notes of how the product wore throughout the day as well as photographing the product for my post. I fell into a bit of depression again and only wrote my second blog post 7 months later. After receiving some likes and comments on both those posts I was stunned because I didn’t think anyone even knew about it. I honestly didn’t even know how WordPress worked and my only reader (that I knew of) for months was my mom. I loved the fact that people read my posts and to them, I was only known as Aisha, a girl who wrote about makeup and beauty, not Aisha the sad teen who needed therapy. It made me feel so “safe”. When everything got too much for me I would just sit down and write. I really enjoyed it and started posting regularly in 2017, when I learnt a bit more about WordPress and how it worked. That is why I started blogging. As a “release”. As an escape and a safe place for me to unwind.
None of the other things I tried as a hobby stuck but somehow blogging really did. I didn’t do it for the PR/freebies or anything like that. I didn’t even think people would subscribe to my blog let alone send me things. My blog also really helped me gain confidence. I am an introvert and a few years ago I wasn’t even able to make a voice note for a family member on WhatsApp – I was that shy. Since blogging, I slowly came out of my shell and made some Instastory video’s speaking about certain products/things, and that really helped boost my confidence. Today, I am able to “mingle” with strangers if the situation calls for it. I still find it scary and uncomfortable sometimes, but the fact is that I can do it. So yes, I am very pleased and proud of myself for how far I have come.
In December last year, my family and I went to Saudi Arabia for Umrah – a spiritual journey much like a pilgrimage. It was so amazing to just focus on my spirituality and take a break from everything else. When we returned home things felt different to me. I no longer wanted to do things that weren’t beneficial to me. You see, in Islam wasting time is considered a sin, and I felt like my blog was taking up a lot of my time – time I was wasting. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it but I wasn’t motivated to keep going. I felt that there were so many amazing beauty bloggers out there already, I really did not have to stress myself out to upload content. The beauty blogging niche was filled, and I didn’t have to feel pressure to contribute. I thought to myself that I really wanted to write about beauty is Islam but that people already knew about it.
Months passed and I came across a YouTube video by Jackie Aina, doing a full face of makeup using Muslim owned/halaal beauty products. I read some of the comments on Jackie’s video and it occurred to me that many Muslims aren’t aware and don’t even think about halaal makeup as it’s not a topic that is discussed openly/regularly. I realized that there isn’t a halaal beauty niche within the blogging community – at least not in South Africa – and I wanted to change that. I really want my content to be beneficial – even if it is just to one person. And so, the wheels were set in motion and I decided to rebrand. It was extremely hard to find a name suitable to the content I wanted to create yet still something I loved and adored. I went through five other names but I didn’t really love any of them. I was at my wit’s end until one day we were on the road and I was thinking of things I liked that I could use as a blog name. I love flowers so I thought about roses, orchids, cherry blossoms but none of them sounded right to me. A lightbulb just went off in my head and I yelled “BLOOMING!”. My sister asked what I was on about and I told her I want my blog name to start with the word blooming. I really wanted to incorporate some Arabic as well and had another lightbulb moment which led me to choose حيا (hayaa), which means modesty in Arabic.
I fell in love with the name because to me it also speaks of how we all have the potential to bloom into more modest/better versions of ourselves. And here we are! My rebrand was set in motion and has been completed. I am really stoked about it. I will still be posting my regular reviews but I will also be writing about halaal ingredients in makeup, if it is permissible to wear makeup, lash extensions, pray in makeup etc etc as well as just general Islamic topics that were requested by some of my followers on instagram. I also want to write about my anxiety and depression in the hopes of helping others who felt as bad as I did when I was diagnosed years ago. Is there anything else you guys want me to include? Please let me know. I am very excited about this new chapter and I pray Allah (God) makes it a success.
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