This post was brought to you by Tasneem Naturel, but the images and opinions are my own.

Being a baby is a hard business, from upset stomach to tantrums to a scary event like cold, flu and cough, and more as they begin to explore. Not to say, lots of babies are suffer from dry and sensitive skin. 

Talking about skin... I am super picky about what goes on my skin, and of course, my children. I am addicted to checking ingredient list, not only cosmetics but literally everything. It became my habit. I just like to avoid ingredients that are harsh on skin and harder on the environment. You don't want to deal with irritation because of adverse allergy from the product, don't you? That is why I typically choose ingredients I can pronounce, and ingredients that I can readily identify. Invest in a brand that uses high quality, mild and effective ingredients!

Let me introduce baby balms from Tasneem Naturel, your natural first aid kit in a jar. They help to soothe and moisturise using only the safest, natural and purest ingredients, perfect for delicate baby skin. Check out the ingredients: carrier essential oil, beeswax, shea butter, Roman chamomile. Do you see anything remotely 'nasty' there? I certainly don't and that is just the first reason why I would buy these products again in the future and why I would highly recommend them to other parents and their children. It contains no chemicals, synthetics, fragrance, parabens or SLSs, so you can be confident your baby will not be ingesting anything nasty into their tiny body.

There are four types of balms:

TASNEEM NATUREL CF-RUB


Ingredients: Carrier oil, Shea butter, Beeswax, Lemon, Orange, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Cypress, Tea tree, Frankiscence.

It's always worrisome when my little one suddenly catches cold and becomes uncomfortable and clingy. But what is the safest way to treat my baby's cold, cough and fever naturally? The CF-Rub or Cough-Flu balm. It helps to soothe symptoms of flu and cough so that baby feels much better. Essential oils like carrier and eucalyptus essential oil are great for loosening congestion and mucous, make the cough more productive and fighting the cold itself. Lemon is a natural disinfectant, that is naturally anti-bacterial. It can help to ease anxiety and depression to the baby. While lavender really helps your baby to relax and quick relief. And if coughing is spasmodic, where your baby cannot seem to catch her/his breath, cypress is the best ingredient that helps to open the airways and make breathing easier.

Just apply the balm on the soles of baby feet, on the chest and back, neck, top of nose and temples to open up the nasal passages and relieve sinus tension.

TASNEEM NATUREL CALM TIME

Ingredients: Carrier oil, Shea buetter, Beeswax, Lavender, Orange, Mandarin, Geranium, Marjoram, Frankiscence, Bergamot, Roman chamomile.

Ever feel stressed out, tense or tight when your baby or toddler is having a meltdown? I do! As a new parent, getting my baby to calm well poses challenges for us. And if your baby deals with allergies, chances are you already know about just how much stress and sleepless nights can make things worse. It can influence the immune system in a negative way. The Calm Time was developed with my respect for the simple act of touch as healing, the powerful act of inhaling the calming and soothing properties of bergamot, lavender, frankincense and Roman chamomile. The combination of these three herbs is the best, effective natural herbal remedy that many parents love. My favourite reasons to use the Calm Time are:
  1. It helps calm the nerves, soothe mind and relax the body without any negative side effects.
  2. It helps with anxiety and mood for a very long time. For babies or toddlers who struggle with agitation, discomfort inflammation caused of teething, it can be a real help.
Apply it on pulse points (where your baby heart rate can be felt), behind ear lobes, at the back and on the soles of baby feet.


TASNEEM NATUREL SLEEP TIME



Sleep; young or old, we all need it. With a small baby, bedtime can be a little... challenging. One of my favourite ways to help him calm down and get ready for bed is with herbal balm. Using Sleep Time is a wonderful way to help restless babies drift off and get the healing sleep they need. Thanks to the purifying aromas and magical synergy of lavender and Roman chamomile combined with a light silky blend of carrier oil, ylang-ylang and cedarwood. It gently relaxes the body, help the brain function slow down, thus calms the mind and reducing stress. Skin is left feeling soft and hydrated too, thanks to the shea butter and beeswax. Unlike many over the counter drugs, this balm is not habit forming and does not leave your baby groggy in the morning. Rub in small amounts on wrists, behind ear lobes, temples and feet for those extra tricky nights when your baby is over-tired and teething, to bring beautiful dreams and a beautiful night's sleep. It's great to help calm.

TASNEEM NATUREL TUMMY TIME



Gas in a newborn baby is most often the result of an immature gut. It is very common that over 70% of babies get it. They are not born with the good bacteria that help digest food, and this causes gas. It affects both breast and bottle-fed babies. Crying and teething introduce more air bubbles into the stomach and/or passed on to the intestine. Not sure how to help when your baby is suffering from occasional gas pain or colic, constipation and bloated tummy? The good news is that, there is a way to soothe your baby. I have successfully calmed my baby with herbal remedies called the Tummy Time. It can be used as your next baby telon. This baby balm carries nourishing essential oils of warming ginger, relaxing peppermint and lemongrass, in a base of light carrier oil. It's a perfectly natural baby oil, approved by MOH - made for special time together.

Massage your baby tummy and on the soles of baby feet regularly with baby balm works wonders in reducing and preventing the gassy pain and bloatedness. This soft pressure can relieve discomfort, helping baby's innate digestion process and prevent gas because it helps your baby burp. And you will both enjoy the closeness of cuddles with a gentle massage that warms and relaxes baby.


Afterall, babies need to be held, carried, and touched by the parents. Love and hug them. This is without a doubt their most important ingredient in every one of products. There are made lovingly and designed to promote and enhance the health and well-being of our family on many levels. To be honest, I'm super psyched to have added Tasneem Naturel's baby balm products to my baby's daily usage. They became a part of my day, our nights and I saw how beneficial it was for my baby needs. Tasneem Naturel's baby balms are a must-have for your infant.

These products are approved by Ministry of Healthy of Malaysia (MOH).

"What is the most beautiful city in the world?" The answer is Istanbul. The city has never ceased to amaze me with the city's commanding views. Despite the fact that Turkey's capital is actually Ankara, Istanbul is without any doubt the heartland of the entire country - thanks to its cultural heritage and to its many activities to see and do. Once serving as the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires - all fought to claim the city's real estate as their capital. It stretches across a narrow strait that connects Asia and Europe, making it the only city in the world spanning two continents. The ticket to travel from Europe to Asia is cheap.

Tip #01: With Istanbulkart, it will take you everywhere - tram, bus, metro, funicular and ferry. Can be bought from roadside confectionery kiosks. It costs you 10 TL (refundable when you leave, as long as you keep the receipt). You can use one card for up to five people.

The most efficient and cheap way to travel in Istanbul by public transportation. We used bus and tram a lot!
You may be able to buy an Istanbulkart at commercial kiosk.
I traveled in Turkey from 6th April to 16th April, 2014. Starting in Istanbul, I went to Pamukkale, Cappadocia and back to Istanbul. Traveled on a relatively small budget, but still did all the touristy things like balloon rides, day tours  and shopping. The list of breathtaking photos here will remind you of the dazzling beauty you may have taken for granted - the impressive and magnificent architectures, a 8,500 years of historic sites, dining, top shopping, friendly people and exotic atmosphere all make Istanbul one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Wonderful 5 days itinerary is more than enough to explore Istanbul's top attractions which includes the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Galata Bridge, Galata Tower, and Basilica Cistern.

Tip #02: If you're planning on visiting museums, please buy the Museum Pass to skip the queue and also to save money. It costs only 85 TL (about 100 MYR) and is valid for 5 days.

Immerse yourself in Turkish culture at the Blue Mosque

A visit to Istanbul is not complete if you don't visit the Sultanahmet Mosque, the official name of the Blue Mosque. It's flipping magnificent. The most beautiful call of prayer (adhan) I listened to took place between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. One mu'addhin recite part of the call to prayer and then the second mu'addhin would respond from the other minaret. It was a magical thing to experience.

Visiting hours: The mosque opens an hour after sunrise until an hour before sunrise. Be mindful of prayer timings, half hour slots,, when tourists aren't allowed inside. Check here as the prayer timings change every day.

The Blue Mosque is stunning and mesmerizing, especially when viewed from its courtyard. It is the Blue Mosque's exterior that stands proud over the old city of Istanbul. 
The old repeating heavy wood doors inside the inner square of the Blue Mosque.
The unique Iznik blue tiles that decorate the ceiling and domes.
If you thought outside was huge, the inside was even more palatial and colourful. The walls covered in brightly 16th century Iznik tiles. The blue tiles that are surrounding the walls of the interior design are the reason for its nickname, Blue Mosque. Turkish people adore the colour blue. The chandeliers that gave the whole mosque an almost romantic ambiance.

Note: Do not wear tight clothes or anything that hugs your body. You will be asked to cover up. If you forget, though, don't worry - they have shawl and other stuff to borrow. Only worshipers can enter through the center doors (north entrance, off the Hippodrome). For visitors, please follow the signs.

Grab a seat at one of the park benches and just listen to the call of prayer and admire the monument. You will find cats almost everywhere here, begging for food. 
If you're a cat lover, Istanbul is the pace to visit. There are possibly over one million stray cats in Istanbul living together peacefully with stray dogs in the streets. 
The most notable features of the Blue Mosque is its six minarets. This is very unique, as most mosques have one, two or four minarets. The dome and the minarets can be seen from just about anywhere in the area.

Marvel at the detail in the Hagia Sophia

The gorgeous Hagia Sophia, formerly Church of the Divine Wisdom, was built as the center of Byzantine faith in 537. The architectural wonder has a long history which has seen it go from Christian (Orthodox and Roman) cathedral, to the predominant mosque after the Ottoman's conquest of Istanbul in 1453, and now it's neither since it got turned into one of the world's most popular museum by Kemal Ataturk. As a museum, symbols of the Muslim and Catholic religions can be observed. The exterior may not seem too impressive and you might get confuse the Hagia Sophia with just another mosque in a city which has hundreds, but once you're inside, you will be in awe - take a glimpse of heavenly domes and amazing ancient golden mosaics.

Tip #03: There can be long lines for the ticket window. The Museum Pass is a good way to skip the queue. And be prepared for experiencing this beauty with loads of other people. Plan for at least one hour to explore all it nooks and crannies.

Walking distance to the all historical sights from the Blue Mosque.
The four minarets were added at different times during the Ottoman period: Sultan Mehmed II, Sultan Beyazid II and Sultan Selim II.
The entrance into the Hagia Sophia. Ever play Assassin's Creed? You might remember this in Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
Visiting hours: Tuesday to Sunday, Summer between 09:00 - 19:00 hours / Winter between 09:00 - 17:00 hours.

From the moment you pass through the massive door, which was once reserved for the exclusive use of the Byzantine emperors, you're realize you are somewhere quite special. I can feel the life within the walls. There is a crumbling faded beauty here. It's spectacular every time you see it and from whichever angle you look at it. When you go inside, you feel like you travel in time a few hundreds of years back.

You will find a mihrab, placed offset at the end of the apse, that marks the direction of the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam. Since Hagia Sophia started out as a Christian cathedral and converted into a mosque, they could not change the orientation of the church, which is why the mihrab is not symmetrical to the rest of the structure. On the right of the mihrab is the minbar, a pulpit from which the sermons are given by an imam.

The tall freestanding stairways is called minbar. The mihrab (hidden) is located on its left.
Two of the calligraphic roundels. The low-hanging lights in the main hall add a glowing brilliance to the room.
The interior was enormous with the massive Hagia Sophia dome. It is the second largest in the world. The first is the Pantheon in Rome.
Do not miss the upper gallery as you get closer to the famous huge dome, a number of shiny Byzantine mosaics (though none are whole or complete) and Islamic calligraphic. You need to walk up as they have are winding hallways to take you to the second floor of the Hagia Sophia. I did sweat! It's amazing to think of the millions and millions of people who have walked these halls. A spiritual exercise, I guess.

On the second level, we found three mosaics with two being in a very good shape. This mosaic is called the Deesis with Christ as a ruler, the most famous of Hagia Sophia's mosaic and it shows Christ flanked by Virgin Mary and John the Baptist in worshiping attitude.

Note: No camera flash is allowed. It causes damage, particularly to pigments and fibers of the mosaics.

The Deesis mosaic.
The Comnenus mosaic with the Virgin Mary is standing in the middle, holding the child Christ on her lap.
I knew the building was huge, but I didn't fully grasp that until we were on the second level.
Two building, two religions, hundreds of years, one history.

Have you visited this magnificent structures before? What was your experience? Share your comment below and join me in Facebook.

For the first time in my blog's history, I'm bringing my love for fashion as a content feature. I always believe being stylish does not just stop at living spaces (interior design) and food. I support at the idea of looking good in all aspect of one's life, because personal style is as important as home style. 

So, I have been tracking down a pair of jackets... my search has just ended today with some of the wonderful piece of women jackets from Zalora Malaysia. There are so many ready to wear women jackets that could make their way to my wardrobe. Smart suiting, lots of colour tones. But my most favourite has to be that denim jacket. Love it so much! With the movement of the 70's coming back, we are seeing more and more denim worn on top rather than just on the bottom. It can be paired with almost anything, making it a must-have piece.

"The first key to styling a denim jacket is to find a great jacket." So, here is a round up looks of denim jackets to hopefully inspire your decision.

I like to have a few different ones in my closet, varying both in washes and styles. But a classic denim jacket has been an essential part of my wardrobe for as long as I can remember. I cannot imagine trying to dress without it... This is my all-time favourite denim jacket, and the perfect outfit is to go country! I know, not everyone is a fan of dressing like a cowgirl, but there is a really stylish way to pull this look off. Try wearing a pair of high-waisted denim skinny jeans, with your clean white sneakers, and adding a plain white t-shirt. You will not disappoint yourself or your friends when they see you. 

Front button fastening with chest patch pockets and side insert pockets, perfect during those cooler days

I don't get excited about clothing pieces very easily. A piece has to be very special to find a lasting place in my fashion heart. So why is it then that I fell madly in love with this oversized denim jacket? It reflects the essence of my character - adventurous, uncomplicated, a little boyish and incredibly cool... just like me ;) It is one of those clothing pieces that I can wear feeling 100% like the real Nisa. To be honest, I've been searching for the perfect ones for ages. So I was beyond excited when I found one at the women jackets section at Zalora Malaysia. Curious about the best way to style an oversized denim jacket? Just roll up the sleeves and experiment with it - wearing it off your shoulders or in place of a top, like your fashion girl, Rihanna. The sky is the limit. The oversized look makes this easy outfit a little more interesting. Just go for casual over a sweatshirt and a button down, with a big comfy scarf, skinny black jean, add a novelty bag or a backpack, and you're good to go!

Keep things super basic by wearing your jacket over a white tee

Embroidery and/or embellished denim jackets are a definite must have. There has never been a better time to inject some flamboyance and colour to usher in the new warmer months. Wear them for vacation, hit the festivals, anywhere... injecting colours and pattern will excite any wardrobe and give new dimension to your style. I suggest a footwear in patterned designs or a pair of stiletto pumps to pair with your jacket - it will be fun and not an overkill.

Add patches to your denim jacket to create a new feel

So, what sort of jackets person are you? Hope you guys will find inspirations with my feature. Zalora Malaysia should be a platform to express who you are and what you love. So, if you don't have one that you're absolutely obsessed with, get one now at women jackets at Zalora. If you already have a classic one, try changing it up with a distressed one, a moto style one, or an embellished one. Several of these are on sale, but regardless, they are all great price points. So what are you waiting for? Go spruce up and style yourself today!

Images from Zalora Malaysia and Style Slicker

Malaysia, tanah airku.

Malaysia's Independence Day is just around the corner. It's going to be Malaysia's 60th anniversary of its independence. Are you excited about it? I am. Let's take a short break, maybe a minute or two, and ask yourself... "What does being a Malaysian mean to you?". You may be surprised of your own response.

What being Malaysian means to me?

If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you that I am a harsh critic of Malaysia. However, what they and many people might now know is that, that criticism comes from a love of this country. I love this country so much so when I see us making mistakes, I get frustrated because I know that we can do so much better. I like the fact that as a Malaysian, I get to be exposed to many hundreds of different cultures from all over the world every time I go into a large city (this is especially important as I am rather fond of food. Well, most Malaysians are born foodies. We 'eat first, think later' kind of people). Malaysia has some of the best food in the world and is home to some of the best variety of fruits! Where else can you get durians? But the thing I like most about being Malaysian is the diversity. Talking with someone I don't agree with and finding a common ground that we can both agree on about said issue, and I like the fact that this is the principal that our political system is based on. The diversity helps us to learn tolerance, acceptance, and fellowship. The diversity is what makes us strong as people. 


Is the Malaysia perfect? Hell no. No country in the world is. We have tons of problems ranging from political to economic to social, but the thing is that, if we work together with open minds, we can come up with fantastic solutions to our problems. I still think the positive aspects of Malaysia far outweigh the negatives. We have had a lot of shortcomings and failures along the way, but together we can make Malaysia, and the world a better place.

Choose your favourite local brand here: http://www.lazada.com.my/malaysian-brands

I will choose, BONIA. It has always been one of my favourite bag brand, without question. BONIA offers fine leather accessories as well as non-leather fashion item both ladies and gentlemen.


This BONIA Black Caelia backpack is the perfect size! A casual smart and functional bag. Love all the details. It's very light-weight and comfortable to carry when walking long distances. Interesting way to introduce a touch of brand elements in the design. Best of all, the backpack retails for a very reasonable $MYR 1,609.00, which in my opinion is a good investment for classic style in full calf leather.


A reddish brown tone BONIA satchel is crafted with longer handles (can shoulder sling easily), comes in a handy size, add bag charms to further enhance the appeal of the bag, which is absolutely gorgeous. To sweeten the appeal, the bag gets complimenting gold tone hardware which adds a welcoming touch of luxury. Costing only $MYR 1,109.00 in Lazada. This affordable luxury with many mileage to make the investment even more worthwhile.

I have more in list, but I think I will stop here. Have a good August ahead and Happy Merdeka, y'all!

By the way, in conjunction of Merdeka Day, Merdeka! Merdeka! Sale (http://www.lazada.com.my/merdeka-sale/) will take place from 25 August to 31 August (where you can find special discounts up to 80%!). It is an initiative by Lazada team to bring Malaysians great deals on local products on this Merdeka month. Come check it out!


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I have been craving chocolate... craving for a while now. Not a bar or two. Not even a cake or an ice cream. A wicked craving. Shut myself away from the world, witting with knees folded on the couch, my favourite music playing in the background, a rich, luscious, sinful dessert in my hands, savoring each mouthful. I always want chocolate. It doesn't matter if it's day or night, hot or cold. Chocolate and I have a pretty special thing goin' on. It's no secret that a brownie is a decadent, molten chocolate indulgence that will satisfy you even in chocolate-emergency situations. They can be so easy to whip up in no time flat and everyone loves them. Total dessert win. 


You see, I have very high standards when it comes to homemade brownies. I want them to be like the box mix - the dense, moist and fudgy texture is not all different from what you can expect from the boxed mixes. It gets better too because they are homemade. They need to be thick too. And since we're using cocoa powder, they aren't overly sweet. I was able to fine-tune the brownies so that the middles were softer and moist and the tops were shiny and candy-like. The recipe is pure gold. Well, I cannot guarantee success because unfortunately, brownies are just one of those desserts that are difficult to master.


Biting into these is pure R-rated heaven.

This is by far my favourite brownie recipe and I am happy to share it with you today. These homemade fudgy brownies are thick, chewy, fudgy and made completely from scratch. You'll never need a box mix again!


HOMEMADE FUDGY BROWNIES
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter
1½ cups granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
1⅓ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, cold
¾ cup all-purpose flour
5 oz roughly chopped dark chocolate cocoa (54-70 percent cocoa)

Instructions:
  1. Position rack in upper third of the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit.
  3. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on each side.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Mix in both sugars, the cocoa powder and salt with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. The mixture should be lukewarm before adding the eggs. If not, set aside to cool slightly. To test, a clean finger should be able to comfortable stay in the mixture without getting burned.
  6. Vigorously stir in the vanilla and eggs. Once the batter appears shiny and the eggs are blended in well, add the flour and mix just until the flour has disappeared. 
  7. Briskly stir in the chopped chocolate and spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 38-43 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges slightly moist with batter.
  9. Allow brownies to cool in the pan placed on wire rack. Life the parchment paper and transfer brownies to a cutting board and cut into 16 equal squares.
This recipe is adapted from Handmade Baking by Kamran Siddiqi. Kamran is a genius when it comes to chocolate. Check it out if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth or visit Sophisticated Gourmet for more goodies.

Notes:
Whisk your butter and sugar really well.
Beat in your eggs for a good minute. This step is crucial for that crackly top.
Do NOT over beat your batter once the flour and cocoa powder are added. That creates air in the batter which will give you cake-like textured brownies. 
You may use foil liner instead of parchment paper. Just lightly grease it with oil.
I have used dark brown sugar. You may use sugar of your choice.
If sugar granules are large then after measuring, you may pulse it in your blender and use.
Store brownies in a cool dry place for up to 2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Hope you like this recipe as much as I do. Now, go satisfy your craving and get to baking!

If you like this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #panphila - I love to see your creation on Instagram!

Images via Bakerella

Well, here is a link I just found while Googling the web:

Just wanted to share this with my brothers and sisters out there who may not have had the best Ramadan but will use that to make this next year a million times better, inshaAllah. I haven't gotten around to reading the entire thing although I like what I read in the first few sections. Hope it helps in some way.

The beginning of my Ramadan was amazing. Unfortunately, it ended on a semi bad note. The day after Ramadan is so... weird. A whole month of unimaginable blessings has slipped through my fingers. It's as if the entire world assumed its position back to where it first began. It's as if everyone suddenly went back to who they were. The entire atmosphere is so off, everyone is so different. I have tried my best to fast and pray, but I still feel I could have done so much more. How fascinating that we go to bed and awaken back to the same people we regretted once before. How fascinating that we have so easily reverted back to our old behaviours, our bad characters, our bad manners and it's not to say that everyone is so, but... is it that easy to just forget that we spent 30 full days of complete servitude and complete remembrance of Allah in our every dealings?


I have realized that focusing on my breathing during prayer and focusing on each and every single word really does center my soul with the universe and it keeps me grounded and connected to the roots below my feet. The bowing and prostration in Islamic prayer has so much meaning and significance. For example, it humbles you because you are submitting to a greater being. And even when reciting Qur'an, focus on your breathing, on your words, on the sound and surely, you will move yourself. I have been on the same surah for about 5-6 months now. I'm not in a race to finish the Qur'an. And I realized that Ramadan is not about finishing the Qur'an. It's about trying to understand it better. It's about knowing our flaws to work on them for the rest of the year.

I know my flaws. I'm still on my journey to my spiritual center everyday. I see them even clearer with everything that recently took place in my life, and well, I can only hope for the best and remember to breath and think of Allah when I feel that I'm at a breaking point. I ask Allah that we all maintain the firmness that we have acquired during Ramadan and to maintain our consistency of doing good and leaving off the evils. I seek refuge in Allah from the rejected shaytan and from his whispers and from my own nafs. I aks Allah that we all improve and become the best of people; in the eyes of no one but Allah. May He keep us on the continuous path toward self-improvement.

Hope it is not too late to wish you all Eid Mubarak! Thank you for the support. Don't get so caught up in the celebration. Remember, what brought you to the celebration.
Image via Flickr

Just recently, this new cartoon was advertise on some other channel. Being the child at heart that I am, I eagerly tuned in and I shall forever remember the day I first laid eyes on this masterpiece. Introducing Burka Avenger, Pakistan's miraculous ladybug, who, like her American counterparts, leads two lives! This cartoon is magnificent for so many reasons. By day, Jiya is just a "mild-mannered school teacher" at a girl's school in Pakistan. By night, however, she is a badass superhero who is always there to save Pakistani girls from the members of the aggressively conservative, anti-literacy Taliban.

This is probably the most amazingly beautiful thing I have ever seen. This needs to be spread everywhere. I only watched the first episode but all in all, it was pretty good. The animation is kinda hard to ignore, because it's super uncanny, but even then it has its moments. The best part of all is the message though, and it's a wonderful one. This not only shows the struggle young girls in Pakistan face on a daily basis with illiteracy and education, but it can also teach any and everyone that the problem is not people of Muslim faith, but the extremist groups (Taliban, Al-Qaeda, etc.). This looks like the starts of an enormous wave of understanding that could change the terrorist stigma placed on the Muslim faith.


This women doesn't do violence even if she has been portrayed as a superhero. Burka Avenger literally and figuratively fights the Taliban with the books and pens (non-violently!) which I think we can all appreciate. "She doesn't punch. She doesn't hit. She doesn't kick. She doesn't shoot anybody. All she does is clonk people on the heads with books or throw pens. There's an underlying message with that: the importance of education and the pen is mightier than the sword", says Aaron Haroon Rashid, the creator of the show. This is no ordinary cartoon. Jiya and her students are seen battling issues like pollution, child labour, polio vaccine, discrimination and violence! 

As a Muslim, I can honestly say that this will really help Muslim children who watch this, particularly the young girls who are self-conscious about wearing burqas and hijabs, and, of course, it's also great for the spreading awareness about the dangers of illiteracy. I really like that they are intentionally using the burqa as a unique symbol of heroism. What a way to take back something used to oppress so many women.

I wish more people knew about this awesome cartoon. I wish more people recognize the effort some amazing people are doing to promote culture, education, respect and fight against ignorance and terrorism. 

So yeah, the heroine the world absolutely must see. If you haven't seen it, you are missing out on some awesome. Definitely check it out!

Watch the first episode of Burka Avenger now.


Well, here goes nothing and my kettle is boiling. I've had the need to say this for a while and because the amount of people in this situation has increased, I figured it was the time to finally let all my thoughts out.

This year, I have counted beyond my ten fingers of the many people or shall I say, "lucky-no-longer-forever-alone" couples. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact, I think that love has been in the air for quite some while. However, to state the obvious on what has been on my mind is this: is it love or is it temporary love or is it love, even if at all?

See. The thing is, you can be so completely in love with someone, and still know they are not the right person for you. Just because you have love someone, does not mean it's the type of relationship you necessarily need, and the sooner you listen to what your head/heart/gut is telling you and end it, the sooner you can start to heal; the more time passes, the more trapped you will feel because of the longevity of the relationship itself. It can become a really toxic thing. 


Aside from all of this, I don't want to seem like I am a Negative Nancy. I wrote this for the soulful purpose. Sometimes you make difficult choices that hurt others. But you make them because they are the right choices and they get hurt because you were damn strong enough to do what they never expected of you to do. And sometimes that hurt is mixed with a little bit of pride and a little bit of happy as well. It's okay to walk away from a relationship that does not help you grow and mature as a person and don't let anyone make you feel guilty, or miserable, because you ended a relationship you knew wasn't going to work.

Bear in mind that you are, potentially, worth more than that. So, go make that right choice.

"You might have loved and lost once, but that does not mean you cannot love another."
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By the grace of Allah, another month of Ramadan is around the corner. It starts on Saturday, 27th May in all countries of the world, inshaAllah. Are you ready? I love Ramadan - the lights, the quiet nights, the long days without food and water. It is a time of peace.

It's such a beautiful month where we try to get as close to our Creator as we can and we want to take as much advantage as possible. Seeking repentance asking for forgiveness from others for any wrongdoings you may have done, checking your ego, cut out the bad habits and improve or establish the good ones. Give to a charity with a cause that is close to your heart, but make it so that your left is not even aware of your right hands deeds. The lectures, tranquility, getting back to the Qur'an and understanding it with reinforced vigor. Refraining from food and drink from dawn to dusk teaches us self-discipline and sets an example for just how much self-discipline humans possess. The community around you, all doing it for the sake of finding peace amidst the chaos.


Every year, people resolve to make Ramadan meaningful, to dedicate a major portion of their time to ibadah, to stand the nights in prayer, to come out kinder and purer Muslims. And every year, without fail, they witness the days of this blessed month slip by with little to no progress. Until the month ends and they wonder: What went wrong? This is exactly what happens when people enter Ramadan with little preparation. They start with a bang but within a few days, they run of fuel and are forced to fall back into their normal routine with feelings of guilt and grief. So, do not waste it as a another month. Welcome it like an old friend and ready yourself, try and make it your goal to keep the good habits you have picked to stay with you after Ramadan.

If you don't have a goal for Ramadan, you're wasting your potential. Make a goal to strive for, even if you don't reach it before the end. InshaAllah, we will meet our goals.

Oh, I wanted to remind you guys that there will be people that fast because of social pressure, people that fast, pray and read Qur'an although they aren't very religious for the rest of the year, and people that have trouble fasting because of mental or physical complications - be a bit more tolerant and mindful. I just want to let all my non-Muslim followers to be aware and respectful of your Muslim friends and their practising of their faith. Please do not judge them. To my Muslim followers, it will be a trying and testing month but Allah rewards those who have patience. Remember to use those precious few hours we have after iftar to hydrate and eat energy fueled food as much as you can. And have faith in your Creator for hardship is followed by ease.

Last but not least, may your Ramadan filled with peace, harmony and joy. May the divine blessings of Allah protect and guide you.

"Oh Allah, grant us Ramadan. For we are in desperate need of your mercy."
RAMADAN MUBARAK!
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Growing up, I was told countless times to be patient and slow down. Whether it was my dad telling me to speak slower, or my mom yelling at me for eating too fast. But as a naturally impatient person I am, I always want to get things over with as soon as possible. I would feel so annoyed whenever people got in my way. I could never stand to wait more than a few minutes before feeling irritated at how long they were taking. Thoughts like "Why is this so slow?", "Why can't this be faster?" or "What's next?" are more than familiar to me.

What is patience? I like to start with the dictionary. "Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, difficulty, or annoyance without getting angry or upset." Patience is one of the most interesting traits a human can possess. While we are waiting for something, we go through so many cycles of emotions. We are perhaps angry for waiting too long, annoyed, frustrated, impatient, breaching insanity... I cannot recall a single day in my own life when at least one of them did not make an appearance. 

All the while not understanding the valuable lessons behind what we are waiting for. While we wait, there is this maturity and understanding that goes along with preparing us for what we want, and what we are waiting for. There is this sense of calmness that bestows us and trains us to be more patient, to be patient better, to appreciate patience and what it reaps. When we spend our time contemplating how long we have been patient and the fact that we have been patient, it takes away from us actually being patient. To be patient is not just to wait. It's not just to remain quiet. It's not just to abstain from complaining. Being patient is putting your trust in Allah. It's expecting that what you are waiting for is good for you, it's to know that you just may not get what it is you're waiting for; but you will get what's best for you.


Patience trains you and teaches you to place your trust in Allah. It teaches you that all these extra-curricular emotions of anger and frustration and annoyance only take away from the value of patience. They take away from your sanity. They take away from your trust in Allah.

Tawakkal. Place your trust in Allah. That is patience. Patience is trust. We can transform impatience into patience. It's well-worth the effort because being patient is a way of treating ourselves with compassion and it also helps us calmly accept things as they are... and that, always feels good. I hope you found this entry helpful in cultivating the virtue of patience. Know that patience is already inside you. You don't have to intentionally enforce it on yourself. What you should do is to address the broken beliefs that are making you impatient. When you do that, patience will become effortless virtue. One step at a time. Measurable progress. A little bit of patience can go a long way.
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I had survived the first poop post c-section and lived to tell the tale.

Here is the story...Before I had kids, my close friends loved to fill my head with horror stories about childbirth and life after having a baby. But none of them mentioned what it's like to poop after you've had a C-section. Your abs have been split open and sewn back together and this causes a problem when you have to strain to push a rock out of a hole the size of a Brussels sprout. Seriously, it can be brutal for many women. It is just as hard if you have a C-section as it is if you have vaginal birth. Really, taking a satisfying dump was not something I thought about often before my pregnancy... I was not prepared for hell. Why would I? Because I was more concerned about being able to nurse and take care of a new baby. But I was wrong!

When your bowels have been out of commission for a week...I'm sure you can imagine what your first poop is going to be like - it's like giving a second child. My first post-birth poop came about a week after I had my surgery. Fast and furious, my intestines squeezed and twisted as they tried valiantly to push stones as hard as coal through my gut. Literally, a soda can sized and shaped poo came out of me. I thought I was legitimately going to die - it left me with a level 4 anal tear. Then the toilet clogged because of my crazy giant deuce and I tried to plunge it (my husband and I still joke about me clogging the toilet with the first brick). I remember feeling shaky, sweaty, trembling mess, crying with half-numb legs and proclaimed, "I did it! I finally did it!" Sweet release. So glad that it was done. It felt like I was pooping glass. That was a special form of torture. No one ever offered me stool softeners... and it didn't happen once but I had trouble going for few weeks until my body return to normal.

And that's motherhood in a nutshell.


To all soon-to-be mothers, you need to prepared for those after-birth gems. Your Hershey highway is about to have a colossal traffic jam. If you had an emergency C-section (like me), you may have had a few anal fissures or hemorrhoids that can make going a serious major pain. It can be very painful for quite some time until you finish healing. Is there anything you can do about it? Yes, thankfully.

  1. Take your post-op medication  - use it. But of all things, make sure the stool softener is at the top of your list.
  2. Do not do it alone. As uncomfortable as it may be, wait until someone else is in the house with you to attempt your first poop. There is a good chance the baby is going to wake up and no one tend to the little one while you take care of business.
  3. Eat the right foods and stay hydrated. Stick to fruits and vegetables. Your body needs all the vitamins and nutrients it can get right now. Oh, and eat prunes because it helps to alleviate constipation after a cesarean delivery.
  4. Move. I know, it is the last thing we feel like doing. But according to the doctor, moving around restores circulation, helping to pass gas and move food down the pike. If it hurts too much to walk, ask for more pain relief.

Every mom has endured that gritty, painful first poop after a C-section. You're not alone and you will get through it. When friends ask me what it is like to have a C-section, I tell them that the recovery is no picnic and that they should really hope for a vaginal birth. But honestly, it's not the worst thing. There are a couple of advantages, namely no episiotomy pain and a few more days in the hospital before you're on your own with a newborn, haa! Anyways...when you look at your baby, it doesn't matter how he came into this world... just that he's here and he's healthy.
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For those of you that read my posts, you may have noticed that I haven't posted in a while! Alhamdulillah, I was pregnant with a boy on 25th of March, 2017. I was extremely lucky in the circumstances. My baby was planned and dearly wanted. Honestly, being a mom is awesome!

So, these past few months have been hectic. Between the start of the pregnancy appointments, chasing after our very active and playful kitty, and my pregnancy exhaustion, I haven't gotten a whole lot done outside of work. My house is a mess, I haven't been able to blog much, I feel like I've hardly connected with my husband, and I haven't talked to my family. I went to bed most nights by 9 AM and had no motivation to use my weekends for anything other than rest. I didn't have any sickness, or even a hint of nausea. Everyone was really surprised that I dodged the bullet, hah!

But alhamdulillah, I had (have) a beyond-supportive husband who cleaned up everything, and retained his good humour even when the only conversation I would have with him for days at a time was him to do laundry and buy us food. I had a wonderful workplace that bend over backwards to make sure I was as comfortable as possible, but they didn't allow me to leave early though :(


Anyways, as the title said, I didn't give birth vaginally. He was born via emergency c-section due to footling breech in labor. At 10:07 pm on Sunday night, our first baby boy entered the world. My body was nauseated and shaking so badly from the labor plus the recent c-section meds, that I wasn't even capable of holding my new baby. Because I had just had major abdominal surgery, my epidural had worn off, and I had compression devices to prevent post-surgery blood clots... I basically couldn't move. And because of my c-section, I could barely sit up in my bed, let alone get up to look at or hold my baby. Apparently that's fairly common with c-section deliveries. Finally, after what felt like forever (less than 24 hours), I held my baby in my arms for the first time. He was warm, squishy, snuggly and amazing. However, over the course of the next 24 hours, I discovered that I was pretty much useless when it came to baby care. 

Sometimes I felt like my body had failed me. Like I was a failure. I worked hard to have a healthy pregnancy and set myself up for a beautiful birth. I did everything right, but things didn't go the way I planned. I took a path that I didn't want to take - it was not easy. It took me bravery to undergo a major surgery for the sake of our baby. I took a path that meant more pain, more courage, and more recovery. But if I had to do section again, I would in a heartbeat because it is sacrificial. I will always carry the scar. It's my battle wound which I will always remember my story and those memories will always be inscribed in my heart. 

If you're a mama who has had c-section, or you know you will have a c-section for an upcoming birth, let me tell you something... YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE!

And to my husband, thank you for being a part of the parenthood tribe. Thank you for your deep sacrifice for your wife and our little munchkin. I love you so much  It has truly been such a wonderful journey for both of us.
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