Calling All Yuna & Hana Tajima-Simpson Lovers

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dear residents of Malaysia, 
If you love Yuna and Hana Tajima-Simpson, you absolutely cannot miss this once in a lifetime event.
Save the date!
Now the million dollar question is...
What do I wear?

photos courtesy of StyleCovered

Lies Never Make Friends

Sunday, November 28, 2010

When I was in my late teens I had a best friend whom I was always with. We had a lot in common. Both of us were the youngest in our families, our fathers passed away while we were both 19 years old and we had the same obsession with fashion like most girls do. We met in high school where we were 2 out of the 4 Muslims there. Then we entered the same varsity together and became closer than ever before. Zaina* was the older one. She was beautiful and she knew it therefore she could charm her way into getting anything she wanted from people. I admired her confidence and her street-wiseness. Not to mention, I was also at the peak of my obsession with Arabic culture at the time so I learned a lot about it from her. However, Zaina had a big weakness - she was a compulsive liar and I mean a major, big time liar. She would lie about the simplest things that it wouldn't make sense for anyone to not tell the truth about these things so naturally I would believe her. 

One day, I couldn't take the deception anymore. I was so used to it I was able to tell when she was telling the truth and when she wasn't; and everytime she told a lie I would just pretend to go along with it just for the sake of our friendship. However, I reached a breaking point where I couldn't stand being lied to by someone I genuinely cared about. It was hurtful and disrespectful and I simply didn't want to be friends with her anymore. As much as I tried I just couldn't. Things weren't the same because I would doubt everything she told me. I would have to remember all the other details she told me in the past to make sure they all added up. In the end I decided it was too confusing and soul-draining because the trust was gone.

Today, Zaina doesn't live in New Zealand anymore. I've blocked her from my Facebook and MSN because there is no point in keeping in touch with someone I don't trust. I really hoped it wouldn't have to come to this as I am quite a soft-hearted person and I care about people, sometimes much too easily. However, my experience with Zaina has taught me to be careful with whom I choose as my close friends. 

Along the years I've come across other not-so-nice people and upon learning about their negative attributes I would pry myself away from such friends.  However, an episode similar to what I faced with Zaina happened recently and I didn't want to make a big deal out of it (as usual) so I pretended like I didn't know about her lies. Deep down inside, I was very disappointed. . . even more so with myself than her. My 'liar radar' was working just fine and I knew this person would be a risk but I chose to ignore the red flags altogether all in the name of friendship. I believe in kindness and giving people chances. I believe in helping others and I don't expect anything in return except for a very simple gesture called honesty. However, what happened recently made me realise how selfish people can be but it also made me appreciate all the wonderful people that I do have in my life and how lucky I am to have them. For quite a while I couldn't get over the fact that I had allowed such a thing to happen once more but then I realised that if it weren't for horrible experiences with people I wouldn't recognise a true friend the way I can today. I wouldn't have learned that sincerity and honesty are virtues I value more than anything else in a friendship. I decided it was time to let go of my distress and that it was more important to be the kind of friend I wish I had more of; one with an open heart filled with positivity, hope and earnestness.

What do you value most in a friendship and how do you tell if someone is a good friend or not?

*not her real name

Fashion Friday: Ethnically Speaking

Friday, November 26, 2010

Prints are definitely a hit this year and so far we've seen an upsurge of florals, abstracts, vintage polka dots and safari patterns. What's hot right now? Ethnic prints. I see them everywhere from dresses to shoes. As much as I love my florals I'm always keen on trying something new. There are all kinds ethnic prints to choose from: Indian, African, Oriental, Malay batik and Middle Eastern, just to name a few. If an outfit might be too overpowering for you then focus on having ethnic accessories. You'll look chic and unique, for sure!

The Friday Shop

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Salam all, 

I'm back in Malaysia for the next few months! I arrived on Friday night so I'm still terribly jetlagged and a tad disoriented. It's mainly because of the hot weather, I think. . . Okay who am I kidding? I miss New Zealand right now! I've become very accustomed to the laid-back Kiwi lifestyle. So much so, I take a bit of time to adjust to how hectic life can be in Kuala Lumpur. One of the things I miss about Dunedin is a bakery that I only recently found out about. It wouldn't be a big deal if it was opened everyday like any other bakery. This place is one of a kind. It is dubbed to have the best pastries in Dunedin but the catch is it is only open on Fridays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and you've gotta be there very early in order to grab the yummies.

As some of you might recall I had my last exam on a Thursday and despite feeling and looking like a zombie I was absolutely determined to wake up at 6 a.m. to go there. I invited one of my awesomest friends, Lamya, to go on this 'adventure' with me (anything that involves trying new food is my idea of an adventure). We picked her up slightly after 7 a.m. and off we went to the Highgate Bridge Shop a.k.a the Friday Shop which is nestled in Roslyn Village. 

The bakery serves delectable French pastries by Chef Jim Byars who worked alongside Albert Roux in London’s legendary Michelin starred Le Gavroche restaurant. We arrived at 7.30 a.m. which I thought was pretty early then but later found out that if I wanted to see the entire variety of croissants, pastries and tarts I would have to be there by 6 a.m.! We walked in and I took a good look around the quaint, little bakery. The decor is minimal but it didn't matter because the centre of attraction is undoubtedly the drool-worthy food in front of us.

I was tempted to buy everything because of all the rave reviews I had heard. I spotted the divine-looking chocolate tarts and just when I was about to place one in a paper bag I got distracted by everything else in the shop. So guessed what happened? I forgot all about them and left the shop without buying at least one! I was so gutted when Lamya told me that they tasted heavenly. Yes, heavenly. We're both so in love with this bakery that we've already made sleepover plans at her place so we can go every week next year. As disappointed as I was I still felt pretty happy with what we brought home because everything I bought was ah-ma-zing! I couldn't believe that I didn't hear about this place before and that I had lived in Dunedin for 6 years without these pastries that were baked to perfection. 

This is just half of what I bought that day.

clockwise: Apricot Danish, Apple Puff Pastry, Almond Custard-filled Puff Pastry

Strawberry Tart

The Friday Shop also sells prepared dishes such as chicken in basquaise sauce, navarin of lamb, galantine of chicken, macaroni of salmon, leeks and mushroom, but I don't think they are halal. I'm not really complaining because I have more of a sweet tooth than anything else. I'm so happy we have this gem in little ol' Dunedin. I would love to have my very own Friday Shop someday. Who knows, who knows. . .

Eid Mubarak

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dew drops on a blushing rose, Eid ul-Adha morning

Eid Mubarak my lovelies!
Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha. 

I'm sorry for the silence. I thought I would be able to relax after exams but boy, was I wrong. I've been up to all sorts of things. One of my dearest friends, Nourah, had her first baby 3 days ago and my bestie, Amina, is back from Wellington for good. It was her birthday yesterday so we had dinner at Chloe's and then watched 'Four Lions' at the cinema. A hilarious movie by the way! And as you know, we celebrated Eid ul-Adha today and as the cherry on top the ice cream, I'll be hopping on a plane back to Malaysia for the summer holiday very soon. Chloe is moving away too so I've been making sure I spend time with her before I leave. So, really, I'm not exaggerating when I say I need my beauty sleep!

I just wanted to wish you all a very happy and blessed Eid. I have heaps to tell you when I blog next time. Until then, take care and behave yourselves!


Fashion Friday: Monochrome

Friday, November 12, 2010

Because you just can't go wrong with black and white.

Juma'ah Mubarak

Done and Dusted

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guess who just finished her last remaining exam for 2010?

That's right, moi! 

I feel like a brand new person. No more exams, no more assignments, no more reports. My academic year is done and dusted. It's not that I don't like studying but I feel a great sense of relief at the moment. The world is my wonderland for the next few months. I only had 2 hours of sleep last night so I came home straight after my morning exam and it's amazing the things that you notice when your mind is in a clearer state because the moment I arrived home I was in awe of the view that I saw in my backyard. 

What I love most about living in New Zealand is the crisp and clean air that's so refreshing it's almost intoxicating. And I love opening my door to find a field of cheerful daisies growing in my very own lawn. I'm happy. I just am. 

A few weeks ago a girl interviewed me for her research about the Muslim community in Dunedin. She mentioned coming across my blog prior to meeting me and one of the questions she asked was, "How do you do it all?". She was referring to me being a student, the female president of the MSA and not forgetting a blogger (albeit not a very good one lately) all at once. Honestly, I don't know! All I know is there are always  things that need to get done and I'm always pushing myself sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Despite realising that I only push myself even further and by the end of the last week I was just so tired of it all. 

Tired of the stress, tired of all the dramas surrounding the people in my life. I felt like I was losing myself - that fire was gone, there wasn't even a spark. Then I received an e-mail that truly humbled me. It was from a complete stranger who happened to be one of my blog readers. The fact that she took a few minutes out of her day simply to convey words of kindness to a person whom she had never met really touched me. Thank you, Nur, for your lovely email. You say that I've inspired you so you should know that you've inspired me too. And thank you to everyone else who emailed me recently, inshaAllah I will start replying you all soon.

This sleepy and exhausted girl is off for now. Good night! 

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No... it's Mozart in Spandex!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Interesting piece of news story I had to share with you all. Recent results of a rather musical experiment held in a New Zealand mall has proven that music has the power to positively affect people's behaviour in public spaces. Christchurch City Mall has been playing classical music such as the likes of Mozart since mid-2009 and crime rates in the area has decreased significantly.

Anti-social incidents (average per week)
2008  - 77
2010 - 2

Drug and alcohol-related incidents
2008 - 16
2010 - 0

Troublesome customers
2008 - 35
2010 - 0

Not only has it reduced crime rates but the mall now attracts a wider range of patrons. Très cool. I wonder what would happen if malls in Malaysia were to do the same? Me thinks it would definitely get rid of the mat rempit problem that we have. If that doesn't work, then maybe it would be time to bring out the big guns, the real WMDs: Holy Qur'an recitation.

*mat rempit = the Malaysian equivalent of boy racers except they ride motorcycles and are infamous for loitering around malls and being a public nuisance. (There's even a Wiki entry on them!)

Fashion Friday: Lola

Friday, November 05, 2010

When I first saw this scarf I was automatically reminded of Lola by Marc Jacobs so I decided to create an ensemble inspired by Lola.

 This 100% silk scarf from Demure Look is a gorgeous shade of purple and as you can see, it has a very pretty sheen to it. I love the fact that it's simple but at the same time totally lush and absolutely perfect for special, glamourous events. It's also very light and easy to style. I can't believe I didn't check out silk scarves earlier and now that I know how beautiful they look I definitely need to get more.

Good thing Demure Look is giving a 10% discount to its customers. All you have to do is enter the word 'SILK' at the online checkout on their website. They have a range of beautiful rectangle and square scarves that I want to get my hands on. I think it's about time I started trying square scarves. Those Turkish hijabis are totally rockin' em!

Have a beautiful weekend everyone.

Apple Strudel Muffins

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I finished my second exam today! How did I celebrate? By making a batch of these babies! If you have a couple of apples lying around the house and feel like baking something simple, try these light and easy yummy muffins. 

What you'll need:
makes 12 large muffins
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs medium-sized eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups of shredded apples
(adds extra moist and flavour)
1 cup of chopped apples

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

How to do it:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Shred and chop the apples. Keep them aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
4. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. 
Add in the apples and gradually blend in the flour mixture. 
5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
6. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. 
Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees Celcius and bake for 20 minutes;
or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
Allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. 
8. Cool on a wire rack before devouring them.

Bon appétit. Sahtein. Selamat menjamu selera.

Recipe adapted from here and slightly modified by yours truly.

Actions Loved by Allah s.w.t.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A little boost for those who are struggling with their prayers.
Set realistic goals for yourself everyday. Two words: baby steps. 
(We've all been there!)

A reminder to those fortunate enough to still have their parents.
Parents aren't perfect but that doesn't mean they don't love you.
Be kind. Show them some love and appreciation.
Today could be your last day with them. You never know. 

A motivation for everyone who is struggling with something difficult. 
Every great and meaningful accomplishment is the result of dedication and hard work.
Whether you are letting go of the past, sticking to a healthy diet or learning a new surah;
don't give up.