Style Sunday: Holidayin' at Holiday Inn

Sunday, January 30, 2011

You may have heard about Faith Friday replacing Fashion Friday. 
Now let me introduce to you...
 Style Sunday! 

Yes, yes, I've featured this dress before and I'm doing it again because I love its versatility.
Versatility is an important thing when it comes to clothes because that's what true styling is all about -
the ability to be dynamic and create different looks.

I'm holidayin' at Holiday Inn at the moment
therefore I went for the 'I'm-on-vacation-and-I'm-oh-so-sunkissed' look this time.
Oh and this is my debut in a square scarf!
I'm still trying to get the hang of it. 

I hope ya'll are having a good weekend.
Chinese New Year is coming up for Malaysians and most people are on holiday for a week! 
Us Malaysians are happy, festive people ;) 

Faith Friday: The Significance of Friday

Friday, January 28, 2011

Assalamualaykum and Jumu'ah Mubarak!

After doing some thinking I've decided to make some changes around here. Faith Friday will now take place on Fridays instead of Fashion Friday. Wait, wait, that doesn't mean I won't be blogging about fashion anymore. I surely will, inshaAllah. Keep your eyes peeled for updates on that.

Why the change? Well, after contemplating the significance of Friday in Islam I feel it would be better for me to honour this special day by helping to increase our remembrance of Allah s.w.t..

Did you know that Prophet Adam (a.s.) was created on Friday? And did you know that with the Will of Allah s.w.t., Judgement Day will also take place on a Friday? Think about it, even a chapter of the Holy Qur'an is named 'Friday' (al-Jumuah). That alone reflects how important today is.

Rasulullah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Friday is the best of days. It was on this day that Hadrat Aadam alayhis salaam was created, it was on this day that he was granted entry into jannah, it was on this day that he was removed from jannah (which became the cause for man's existence in this universe, and which is a great blessing), and the day of resurrection will also take place on this day. " (Sahih Muslim)

Rasulullah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Friday is the "mother" of all days and the most virtuous in the sight of Allah Ta'ala. In the sight of Allah Ta'ala it has more greatness than Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Ad'haa." (Ibn Majah)

Rasulullah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "The Muslim who passes away on the night or during the day of Friday, Allah Ta'ala saves him from the punishment of the grave. " (Tirmidhi)

SubhanAllah, shouldn't Friday be a day that is very close to our hearts and a day when we take great care of our worship towards Him? Even though it is only obligatory for Muslim men to attend the Friday congregational prayer, it is commended for Muslim women to also make extra effort to be close to God today. One way we can do that is by reading Surah al-Kahf and reflect on its meaning. You can even go on YouTube and listen to its recitation and read its translation. It's about 30 minutes long.  Seriously, what is 30 minutes out of your entire day? Maybe 30 minutes is a lot to you, which is good because this is one way you can make it even more worthwhile!

Rasulullah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "The person who recites Surah Kahf on Fridays, a nur will appear for him from below the arsh as high as the skies. This light will help him in the darkness of the day of resurrection. And all the sins which he may have committed from the last Friday till this Friday will be forgiven." (Hakim and Baihaqi, al Targheeb wa'l Tarheeb)

{The surah may be read during the night or the day of Jumu’ah. The night of Jumu’ah starts from sunset on Thursday, and the day of Jumu’ah ends at sunset. Therefore the time for reading this surah extends from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Friday.}

So what do you say? Are you with me on Faith Friday?

For more details on the virtues of Friday, visit SunniPath

The Secret Garden

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Summer brings out the best in New Zealand. 

Sunshine, cherries, apricots, peaches, oh and roses. Lots of roses. 

Not just any type of roses but the massive and irresistible ones. 

Our family friend in Christchurch has the most beautiful home garden I've ever seen. It looks like a scene from one of my favourite movies, The Secret Garden. Mum and I slept overnight before flying back to Malaysia last November so I took a few snaps of her garden the morning before we left.

Which reminds me, someone once asked me how I want my dream house to look like and I immediately said, "All I know is I want a garden with lots and lots of roses and have lots and lots of fresh flowers inside the house!" 

Yeah, I get excited about flowers. When I was 9 years old I wanted to be a florist. No surprises there.

 I don't know what these are called but I think they're absolutely stunning.
SubhanAllah, I've never seen the colour violet look so magical.

And there's BonBon! 
BonBon was initially 'Bonnie' because they thought he was a 'she' at first. 
When they found out his true, uhm, nature they felt 'Bonnie' wasn't quite right. 
So BonBon it became.  

Thanks for the Drama!

I decided to delete the post because Z F was right.


Just let it go. It's not worth it.

U have better things to focus on to; i.e your life which is way more interesting than this commotion.

u had an honest opinion & review, and people should respect that.

And the world would definitely be a better place to live in."

Thank you Z F!

And yes, my comments did reflect my personality.  I'm a direct and straightforward person when it comes to things like this. Why should people "attack" me on my blog just because I said I prefer one restaurant to another? There's nothing I hate more than discrimination and favouritism based on race. I will not support anyone or anything simply because of racial reasons because that is not the right way to success. I want my Muslim brothers and sisters, including the Malaysian ones, to succeed because of the quality of their work not because of loyalty or sympathy.

Besides, what happened to the notion of '1 Malaysia' where all races embrace one another and support each other?

Masha'Allah Muslimah: Feda Eid

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's not everyday that I find somebody who shares my passion for colours and all things creative.
To launch my new blog feature, Masha'Allah Muslimah, I chose Feda Eid. 
When I found Feda's blog @ Free Spirit Named Feda I was ecstatic.
Not only is this gorgeous Muslimah a super talented photographer,
she also has a great eye for detail when it comes to fashion and make up.
(Watch her make up video below)
Feda is an inspirational woman, mashaAllah,
and I think she should be famous!
So here's my humble tribute to her.

{Masha'Allah : An Arabic phrase that expresses appreciation, joy, praise or thankfulness for an event or person that was just mentioned. Towards this, it is used as an expression of respect, while at the same time serving as a reminder that all accomplishments are so achieved by the will of God}

To see photos of this look - Retro-Inspired 

Here are some of my favourite photos taken by Feda.
(Note: All images are copyrighted by Feda Eid Photography. Please do not use without her permission.)

{The Tribe}

To see more of Feda's work visit Free Spirit Named Feda

7 Reasons to Be Happy Even if Things Aren't Perfect Now

A little piece of inspiration I just had to share with all of you. 
It's written by Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha
Her positivity is truly uplifting. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”   -Unknown

Even though I couldn’t possibly care less about oil-based raincoats, I listened to him talk for about 15 minutes one rainy morning last week. This little guy, with his colorful button-down shirt and funny-looking hat makes my day most mornings. He works at the 7-11 where I get my coffee. And he always seems happy.

At first I thought he was just putting on a good face, making the best of a tough situation. After all, he couldn’t possibly enjoy working at a convenience store, right? Then I realized I was missing the biggest part of his appeal: he does enjoy his job, and that’s why he seems so happy—because he is.

Man that’s awesome. I aim to be like him.

My life doesn’t always look exactly like I want it to. I spend many days writing alone in my living room, when I’d rather work from a beachside office space I share with friends. I drive a beat-up old Toyota, when I’d far prefer something that doesn’t have roll-up windows or a cassette player.

But the world doesn’t change all that much if I have more money, a different space, a better job, or a nicer car. The wrapping paper is different, but the gift inside stays the same.

The way I feel about myself; how much I open myself to new people and experiences; how often I choose to smile simply because it feels good. None of these things depend on my life situation. Colorful shirt guy knows that. I suspect he knows these things, too:

{via weheartit}
1. Enjoying the present moment is a habit that takes practice. If you always look toward tomorrow for happiness, odds are you will do the same when you attain what you’ve been dreaming of. As strange it sounds, the ability to appreciate what’s in front of you has nothing to do with what you actually have. It’s more about how you measure the good things in your life at any given time.

Practice wanting what you have and it will feel even sweeter when you eventually have what you want. Look around—what’s in front of you that can enjoy?

2. Finding reasons to be happy now can benefit your future. Dr. Dacher Keltner of the University of California claims she can predict a person’s future by judging the strength of their smile. Researchers examined yearbook photos of 111 female students taken between 1958 and 1960. Subsequent tests revealed that the women who expressed more positive emotion in those photos became more mentally focused, had more successful marriages, and enjoyed a greater sense of well-being.

From the article:

“While positive emotion tends to broaden thought, negative emotion tends to narrow it and hold back development….The findings of Dr Keltner and his colleagues, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, are among the first to show that differences in the extent to which people express emotion may be stable throughout their lives and dictate personal and social success.”

3. Tuning into joy can improve your health, something that affords you many possibilities in life. Something that most people take for granted until it’s compromised.

Christopher Peterson, Ph.D of the University of Michigan—who has studied optimism’s link to health for over 20 years—shows optimistic people have a stronger immune system than their negative counterparts. This may be due to their tendency to take better care of themselves. Choose to be happy now and you’ll have more days of good health to enjoy.

4. Consistent, long-term happiness depends on your ability to notice and appreciate the details; you can hone that skill right now. Once you get everything you want, you will still be subject to life’s highs and lows. If you haven’t learned to enjoy the little things, your well-being will parallel your life’s circumstances. Every time something goes wrong, you’ll feel deeply unhappy (as opposed to disappointed but determined to make the best of things).

Think about the things that fill you with the most joy—spending time with your pets, listening to the rain, and running on the beach, for example. Focus on those things right now, and let them brighten your day. That way, no matter what changes, you’ll have a variety of simple pleasures to help you through.

5. Every day is a new opportunity to be better than yesterday; that pursuit can increase your self esteem and, accordingly, your happiness. I used to be obsessed with being perfect. If I wasn’t the best at something, I couldn’t sleep at night. Becoming great never felt as good as I imagined it would because there was always room to be better. I was constantly dissatisfied and disappointed in myself.

I now look at the things I do as opportunities to get better from one day to the next. It’s more satisfying to set and meet an attainable goal, like focusing better and writing an extra article tomorrow, than it is to obsess about perfection, stressing because I’m not a world-famous author.

By focusing on small improvements and mini-goals, you’ll naturally move yourself toward your larger dreams. And you’ll respect the way you’re doing things.

6. You can be who you want to be right now, no matter what your situation looks like. You may think life needs to change dramatically for you to be the person you want to be. That you can’t be giving unless you make more money. Or you can’t be adventurous until you sell your house. The truth is you can be those things at any point in time.

So you don’t have money to share. Be generous with your compassion, and listen when your friends have problems. So your house hasn’t sold, pinning you in one place. Create adventure in your day by trying new things and introducing yourself to new people.

You never know when your nows will run out—so ask yourself, “How can I be that person I want to be in this moment?”

{via weheartit}
7. Finding joy in the present moment—no matter how inadequate it may seem—makes a difference in other people’s lives. Though we all have different lists of dreams and goals, for most of us this is at the forefront : the possibility of living a meaningful life that affects other people for the better.

Happiness is a moment-to-moment choice, one that many have a hard time making. Other people will notice if you make that choice. And you will motivate them to do the same. As the research above indicates, this motivation has a substantial impact on their health and future happiness.

I know this isn’t your usual reasons-to-be-happy post. It didn’t start or end with “count your blessings” and I didn’t delve into your relationships or good fortune. There’s a very good reason for that.

I don’t think happiness is so much about what you have. What you have changes; your “blessings” evolve. Happiness is about how you interpret what’s in front of you. How proud you are of the way you live your life. How willing you are to enjoy simple pleasures, even if things aren’t perfect.

Though I have’t always done this well, today I choose to focus on the good—both in the world and myself—to feel happy right now. How will you tune into happiness today?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

La Tiare

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

There's just something about tiaras that mesmerise me.
*soft sigh*

for the

The Deal on Eyebrow Plucking and Shaping

Monday, January 24, 2011

{via Bold Natural Eyebrows}
Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullah,
Dear Shahirah,

What are your thoughts on eyebrow-shaping? Not to reshape, but to keep them neat and tidy.
                                        - H

Wa alaykummusalam warahmatullahi wa barakatuh H,

Thanks for your question. Here are my personal thoughts on this issue.

I've never plucked my eyebrows because I don't see the need for me to do so. Make up artists have told me that I should because neatly plucked eyebrows would frame my face in a better way but I believe in this: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. There is also a hadith which says,

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Allah has cursed the Washimat and the Mustawshimat, the Namisat and the Mutanammisat, and the Mutafallijat for beauty, who change what Allah has created." 
{Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, and At-Tirmizi}

The Washimat are the tattooers, and the Mustawshimat are the people who are tattooed. The Namisat pluck the eyebrows to straighten them or to make them thinner, and the Mutanammisat are the people whose eyebrows are plucked. Some Muslim scholars apply this prohibition of plucking the hair to all the facial hair of the woman. The Mutafallijat for beauty are the peoples who widen the gaps between their teeth for the sake of beautification.

"Some scholars say that shaping the eyebrows or trimming them falls under the same rule. However, other scholars consider shaping eyebrows or trimming them to be permissible. They say that the prohibition in the above hadith specifically refers to plucking eyebrows, and it is prohibited because it is akin to mutilation, and also it is more likely to result in defaming one’s face.

(Have you seen how some women over-pluck their eyebrows? You just wanna reach out to them and say, "Honey, I'm sorry but that just looks so wrong.")

As opposed to this, shaping the eyebrows if they are excessively long or thinning them if they are excessively thick, is enhancing Allah’s creation rather than mutilating it. Its analogy, therefore, is to trimming the mustache or cutting hair, and so on, which are not only permissible but may also be recommended. In light of the above, according to these scholars, it is considered permissible to shape or trim one's eyebrows if they are excessively long or thick for the purpose of appearing neat and tidy." (source)


"As for removing the hair from between the eyebrows, it is lawful, because it is not part of the eyebrows.
What is prohibited is an-Nams, which denotes removing the hair of the eyebrows by plucking in order to make it thin." (source)

"God is beautiful and loves beauty." {Sahih Muslim}

From this hadith I've extracted the idea that Allah s.w.t. wants us to feel and look our best (inner and outer beauty). It is encouraged for us to be clean and look presentable. It is also permitted for us to fix a bodily defect or abnormality which can get in the way of us leading healthy, normal lives. For example, the use of braces to straighten one's teeth is not prohibited. What Allah wants us to avoid is vanity. 

"Eat what you feel like and wear what you feel like. 
But avoid two things: extravagance and arrogance (and vanity)." {Sahih Bukhari}

Raina Hein proves that natural, thick
eyebrows are beautiful.
{via Flickr}
This hadith is addressing our consumption of material things. What we eat and wear is the epitome of our nafs (worldly and bodily desires) and what Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was basically trying to say is, "Do what you want, just don't over-do it". In other words, we are allowed to fulfill our desires according to Islamic guidelines but an obsession with our nafs can be a great distraction from our true purpose in life. We live in a time when everything is about the image we choose to portray and the brands we consume to make a statement about ourselves. I think many of us are guilty of this and don't you agree that the pursuit of society's approval can really take over our lives to the point that we're willing to compromise our moral and religious values thus forgetting what truly matters?

Trends come and go. We can see that with fashion. As Heidi Klum famously says, "In fashion, one day you're in, the next day you're out." In that industry people, especially women, are like clothes. They are dispensable. Therefore, love fashion if you want but don't get too caught up in the industry's ways because it promotes a very superficial way of life.

Perhaps the plucking of eyebrows could be a sign of a woman paying too much attention to her physical appearance and ladies, we all know how easy this is to do. By all means, look after yourself - internally and externally - but don't let your physical beauty become the 'be all, end all' of  who you are as a woman because that mentality is the leading cause of anorexia, bulimia, depression and low self-esteem.

Alright, back to eyebrows again. I know there are differing opinions regarding the plucking and shaping of eyebrows but at the end of the day they're just eyebrows. They're not worth too much fuss or argument. I think, as Muslims in the 21st century we've got bigger fish to fry. 

I hope that answers your question, H. You already know this but I'll just say it anyway, Allah s.w.t. knows best! 

Zam Zam Arabic Restaurant

Sunday, January 23, 2011

There are 2 types of cuisines I simply can't get enough of.

Arabic and Japanese.

I was craving Arabic food a few days ago and I managed to coax the family to try this new Arabic restaurant in Shah Alam last Thursday night. I know all the best Arabic restaurants are located in KL city centre but that's like 40 minutes from our house and we only go there once in a while when we really have to. The traffic jam in KL is always horrendous unless you're driving around at midnight, so... yeah it ain't happening!

I heard about a new place which just opened up in Shah Alam. It's called Zam Zam Arabic Restaurant. The place looked nice from photos and they serve over 200 authentic Arabic dishes, of course I had to try it out.

Casual dining downstairs

Formal dining upstairs

Fattoush: Roasted pita bread salad with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, mint, olive oil and lemon juice

Wara' 3ainab / Mahshi: Loooove this. I always crave it especially during Ramadhan. 
I bought a massive 1 kg tin of wara' 3ainab last year so I could have it for suhoor everyday.

Shakshouka: Tried it for the first time. Don't be deceived by the photo because it was yum! Who thought a mix of eggs, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and  spices would turn out so good? 
Perfect for a cold winter's day. 
Note to self: Must learn how to make this.

Vegetable soup: Light and tasty

Chicken Mandy: A family favourite so we ordered the family version! We also ordered the lamb mandy, which is my favourite actually, but I was so engrossed in eating I completely forgot to take a photo of it. 

Chicken mandy with laban (yoghurt) on the side

 Arabic chai with peppermint

Baklava: Really, really sweet but I love me some baklava anytime

Basboosa: It was a little on the dry side but delicious nevertheless.

Cream caramel pudding: Not an Arabic dessert but I think they added an Arabic twist to it by putting some cardamom in it. It was very creamy and satisfying. 

I have no complaints about the food at this restaurant but the service wasn't top notch. The food didn't take a long time to arrive but the waiters, who were all Arabs by the way, were so busy they wouldn't have given us the menu or taken our order unless we actually called them out. We had to be quite "aggressive" to get their attention. Otherwise, the ambience was nice, food arrived quickly and everything was very affordable. The chicken mandy for 3 people was only RM 54!

If you live near Shah Alam, and you like authentic Arabic food and don't want to go all the way to KL city for a taste of the Mediterranean it's worth giving this place a shot. 

Zam Zam Arabic Restaurant
Oasis 9,
Jalan Tengku Ampuan Zabedah F 9/F,
Section 9,
Shah Alam, Selangor.
(They do catering as well)

Superhero Won't You Come Save My Day?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Everybody has someone whom they regard as their hero or heroine.
Someone they can turn to in times of need.
Someone who is their rock. 

Can you guess who my hero is?

Find out here and read what other people have to say about their own superheroes! 

I'm a Good Person But I Don't Pray 5 Times a Day

Friday, January 21, 2011

...does God even care?

If He doesn't need us then why must we pray to him all the time?

Is performing the fardh prayer 5 times a day too much?

Is it enough to only be a good person? We donate generously to charity, practice good manners, help the needy, etc. but is it enough to be morally good while we neglect our religious obligations?

Is it fair for a good person to be punished by God? How do we define a 'good person' anyway?

Watch the video for answers.

A good reminder for everyone including myself because I had the same questions too. As always, Allah s.w.t. knows best.

Fashion Friday: Somewhere in Between India and Malaysia

At the streets of Jalan Masjid India (Indian Mosque Street)
My Taiwanese friend, Carolyn, was visiting for a few days so I took her around KL city.
We took the same Marketing paper last year in NZ.
I wanted to show her local spots filled with cultural elements instead of 
bringing her to generic malls. 

I love Carolyn's harem pants!
They're like a cross between Arabic and Indian harem pants.
She bought them from a boutique in Melbourne.
I'm tempted to have one tailored just like that but slightly longer.

Lunch: I ordered cheese naan, chicken tandoori and mango lassi
Carolyn had chicken briyani and the famous Malaysian teh tarik

  This was a few days before the Hindu festival of Thaipusam (which by the way, took place yesterday) and we saw rows and rows of shops filled with traditional Indian clothes

Exotic glamour: I have a penchant for glittery Indian clothes and jewellery

Bollywood dresses for little girls. How cute are they?

 This is what happens when you go out with a hijabi. You end up buying scarves! 

 We also stopped by the National Mosque and I prayed Asr there.
Malaysia is very multi-cultural and multi-religious, which is pretty cool.

 I always love how peaceful it feels in a mosque