Live your best life!

Starting 2016, once a week I’m going to post my own tips and sharing on how to live your best life. 

The way you speak says a lot about you.

I always laugh when I hear how my little Aisyah converse with her friends, even her dolls. She channels me and the things I would speak to her of… like how I micro manage her here and there and it’s incredible to hear how big words can come from such a cute mouth! So its critical for me to watch what I say, or watch how others influence her speech. This observation also helps me control my temper and the vocabulary I use. It also alerts me of her surrounding. I’m not going to be a watchdog of some sort but if I could help it, will try to enable her to grow in a positive environment.Well, practice makes perfect!



Smart choices for 2016

When it comes to making choices, nothing good ever comes from a place of fear. There’s so much holding us back in 2015 that’s gone too crazy to even dwell in- the politics, crime rates, bad economy, war-waging terrorists, etc.. As a Malaysian I’m beyond disappointment at what’s current. However the most important thing is moving on for the sake of our children. For those who are not obliged, just the state of moving on to a better state of mind is sufficient enough.

I believe our brain works in two direction – one that prompts us to do what feels great RIGHT NOW and the other,  deliberates and nag into every impulse (hello, retail therapy and vacations!!) and HOLD back for second opinion. Maybe third. Personal finances is definitely not a comfortable topic to preach as we tie so much emotion to rewarding ourselves. But like Suzie Orman said, every choice in every day that helps me achieve $$$ is a choice to be kind and generous to myself.

So I agree with the above completely. It is that time of the year where making smart choices in 2016 is not about being fit for fashion or looking more successful than others. Its about savings accomplishments. And I wish I could be more honest in sharing my goals, challenges and having another person to check on me periodically without judging. And I would do the same too based on mutual concerns, without judging. Because we get all superficial when it comes to money, and we are not too kind sometimes. 🙂

I would now make a list of savings goals, set a commitment contract with myself… and search for a savings cheerleader. It would be really awesome to really set aside 10-30% a month from my paycheck. Well, yeah..

2016! Here we go!

How much has 2 years gone by? Let me count the ways…

First, I have evolved tremendously as a Mom; never thought I would cut out as those super mamas out there but day by day, little Aisyah is my great character coach, always. So am I super? No, I think the word super is deserving of those Maal Hijrah and Nobel Prize winners, so till then I’m happy to be “Mom, you’re my favourite family member” hashtag!

Second, my FB and Insta earned top priority  social media spot because I got infected by the “lazy-to-write disease”. I figured nobody blogs as much now but when somebody recently commented what happened to Qahina, tonight (out of all nights) I paid a visit to my old wordpress site and voila… they didnt shut it down??!!?? WordPress u rawkkk…

Third, Im still thrilled by beauty and fashion, hence I am now your favourite image coach (really? like since when, right?) I got certified as an image consultant, been training on etiquette and grooming, and if you look hard enough at Popular and MPH bookstores you can find me modeling in Sheila Wong’s 21 Days of Etiquette (yupp that tudung lady thats me). My siblings used to ask when are you going to be in print and I said .. there..

Fourth, Im still the same, I guess. The process of growing up isnt actually easy but Im glad the conscious heart is still beating alive for more life experiences! I just turned 38 2 days ago, not so young, but not too old for incredible possibilities! Maybe 2016 will be a new era of world domination for Qahina, who knows, but as long as I rule in my girl’s and husband’s heart, I think I’ll survive.

So here is to a good beginning, a better diet, and constant motivation to benefit others in whatever way I could. Lets always make an option to be happy, and to be stylish, wherever you go!


never too late

I’ve always wanted to play the piano as far as I could remember, however, I didn’t have that luxury when I was a kid because my dad was in the army and we moved every year or so. Well of course all sorts of excuse followed suit then.. until my husband gave me a piano as a gift for giving him a baby. Well, I hinted to him all throughout maternity that it was a dream to play the piano for our baby so when I got my gift a few months after lil’ Aisyah was born I was over the moon happy! It was an emotional gift, because it reminds me that it’s never too late to realize any dream, even as silly as learning how to play the piano after you’re 30. 🙂
Finding a tutor and accommodating my time for lessons in between my full time job as wife mom and career woman is excruciating! I managed to slot in a session every Wednesday then I skipped it too many times due to meetings and workload it was pointless to pay for my absence. Hence I quit for a while and the grand upright remained like a white elephant in our living room.
However, one day, as I was stuck in a traffic jam, I saw a small signboard advertising a piano tutor’s number by the roadside. I called for appointment and that was the beginning of an almost 2 year relationship with my tutor Alicia. I am a very slow learner. I could not memorize notes to save my life, but Alicia was patient and we work through songs that I like so it keeps me motivated. The time during lessons was quite painful, because I’ve never felt as dumb as I feel when I’m learning piano, but when Alicia left after class, I would carress the ivory keys and remind myself, I must be able to play so I can show my child what determination means. Sometimes my lil’ one will play with me too, we will compose silly songs together, or she would accompany me and drum along with the tunes I play.
My wish is one day, both of us can play good enough so we can play side by side, like the ivory and ebony keys on our piano. 🙂

frozen dinner to the rescue!

I don’t always have time to cook, especially when work finishes at 5pm and traffic going home would hold me back about an hour or so (this is Kuala Lumpur traffic mind you!) so it sounds handy and sensible to have frozen food waiting at home to be pop into the microwave. After all, Mr Husband prefers frozen dinner than dining out on weekdays having to compete with traffic, rude waiters, bad weather, queing while paying bills, yadayada…

 Therefore, Sunday has become my marketing day plus ‘cook-a-storm’ day! I have become quite a master at whipping out 3-4 dishes in 2 hours (if you’d like to know, Malay cooking is the most tedious, messy and long winded of ALL recipes!). Being a stickler for nutrition – I made my own frozen meals! bahhh… allow me to emulate the perfect working mother? hehhe
I made these today:
frozen1Beef curry, butter chicken and sardine in chilli paste.
Making my own frozen meals is really a bargain, after I did the math. The above just costs RM45 for 5 dinners, well, veggie not included but I assume I would spend less than RM150 if I cook in than dine out for the whole week. Plus, I choose my own preferred ingredients and cooking method. One thing I noticed is that meat seems to take well to being frozen rather than fish and veggie. My fish and veggie dishes would then require to be cooked and eaten instantly.
Here’s some tips on how to store your frozen food:
1. The containers you use to store your meals in should be both microwave- and freezer-safe. Both glass and plastic may work well, if they meet these standards (all glass and plastic containers are different). Another option is large freezer bags. Certain foods will freeze well in a bag, and can then be defrosted in the refrigerator, placed in a microwave-safe container, and then reheated.
2. Before portioning out cooked food into containers, allow it to cool completely first and always leave extra room at the top of to allow for expansion of the food during freezing.
3. Make sure food is wrapped well and/or covered with air-tight lids to prevent air from getting in.
4. Foods with high moisture content (such as soups) tend to freeze better than drier foods.
5. Don’t turn your food into a mystery science project. Use a permanent marker to label each dish with a name and a date. For maximum quality and flavor, use each meal within a couple of weeks.
6. Just like in a store, rotate your stock so that the newest meals are in the back and the oldest are in the front for easy access.
7. Vegetables should be slightly undercooked to prevent them from becoming mushy when you reheat them.
8. Be careful about bacterial contamination. Completely cool hot food before freezing it to prevent the growth of bacteria. Bacteria can grow when the outside of food freezes while the inside remains warm.
9. If you’re not sure a meal will freeze well, cook and freeze only a small portion the first time. If the quality is okay, then go ahead and freeze more in the future.
10. As a general rule, fruit and vegetables will stay freezer-fresh for around eight months, fish and shellfish for up to six months, and meat and poultry for three. Trust your instincts and throw out anything from the freezer that smells or tastes “off.”
11. Don’t re-freeze defrosted foods because the taste and texture will decline and you could be risking bacterial contamination.

Well folks, have fun trying your own frozen meals and stay healthy!

Ash …shoes!! Bless me. :)

Wedge sneakers have literally littered the fashion scene since last year with Isabel Marant being the pioneer designer. I did not come into grasp that I need anything sneaker-ish until my toddler starts running around like crazy all over public places and Im chasing her in sky high heels! It’s not practical at all to be dolled up when you have your little one with you – unless you have an entourage of nannies ala celebrity to mind your child. So all that hot mommy stuff doesn’t apply to real life (well, at least not mine) unless probably, you sport these shoes:
ashshoesMiranda Kerr just look super in them – but Miranda Kerr looks super awesome in just about anything with that long legs! hahha
Lucy Liu also looked snugly in these:
lucyliuThese are not exactly sexy but it looks comfy. I want a pair so I ordered for my own fab ASH wedge sneakers
I chosed black because its unassuming and it even if it goes out of fashion it’s not too noticeable – plus I could wear it with just about anything. Well of course, I wont be wearing these shoes for a real run! I still have my trusty Nike to do that job.
You can check them out at PopUp showroom page. I got it at quite a bargain.

a trip to Malaysian National Zoo

I took my little one to the National Zoo today. We didnt plan it – just thought it’ll be nice to bring lil’ Aisyah somewhere other than the mall. The last we took her there was last year – so a trip to the Zoo is pretty much our annual affair!
It was pretty quiet when we got there. Most KL-lites took off to their relatives and of course the non-ending sales at the malls for Chap Goh Meh (Chinese New Year’s end festival) . Other than that, the zoo has been receiving a lot of flak for unkempt condition recently, hence less visitors! However, it still offers the rare and very much needed natural respite for urbanites like us. I wont mind going to the zoo again because each time I went there’s always something different to look at. 🙂
Entrance fee is RM30 each (3 adults and a toddler). And I paid parking RM6.50 for four hours. Snacks and ice cream about RM50 for four. All in all I spent RM150 for the whole experience. Beats shopping!
I had on my running shoes because I know it will be a walkathon all over! The zoo is huge.. one of the oldest in Southeast Asia and they keep expanding!

some hippos

some hippos



It was a very hot day so we got dehydrated real fast. By 1pm lil Aisyah got cranky and restless so we decided to go home. Didnt managed to cover a lot of animals because we stopped at each post quite long – my girl gets pretty chatty with each one! It was funny watching her talking away like Dr Doolittle.
It was a fun and fulfilling trip for Aisyah – she slept like a log on the way home. 🙂

a gold chain for my baby

I’ve been holding my wish to buy my 4 year old toddler a small gold chain, due to the rising price of gold (it’s RM187 per gram to date). It’s better to just save the money in her saving accounts instead! However, it’s very customary for Asian moms to give gold to their daughters, and by coincidence today, a friend brought some jewellery from Kelantan for view. Of course, the ladies began and aahh.. ing at every item! I wasn’t interested at first, but the chance to purchase some Kelantanese gold is too good to pass up. Kelantan is a state in east coast Malaysia and the goldsmith’s craftsmanship is very much admired because it still keeps to traditional Malay designs, plus the price is relatively cheaper albeit its superior quality! I saw the prettiest chain for my girl – well made, durable and in my choice of gold (22K) and length. The heart-shaped charms are just too sweet to resist!
When I put it on my daughter’s neck just now, my heart leaps with pride. I cant afford to buy her gold every time, but when I do, it’s like passing a secret treasure for her to cherish when she grows old. 🙂

gorgeous hijab style from Indonesia

Love this video on the many ways how to wear hijab (shawls for Muslim women) from Indonesia. There seems to be variations on how each Muslim women from different countries wear hijab – of course the basic rules of covering the aurat (aurat means covering the neck, chest and whole body except for hands and face) is observed, however women from different countries styled it differently. I will be featuring hijab styling videos which I find interesting and fashionable from time to time. Enjoy this one yeah.