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. 🙂
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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!
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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!
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some hippos

some hippos


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porcupine!

porcupine!


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.
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It was a fun and fulfilling trip for Aisyah – she slept like a log on the way home. 🙂

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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 ooh..ing 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!
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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.

WOMEN:girls

womengirlsI was asked by my sister to write a 50-word ‘story’ about any women issues. She’s managing a portfolio called WOMEN:girls, a project launched in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2013. Some Malaysian female directors and writers have teamed up to direct a compilation of short films called Ikal Mayang and the theme is #tellingwomenstories. There will be a screening event and my story may be featured! 🙂 So watch this space for news on that.

Considering I am no writer,a 50-word essay is actually, the toughest thing anyone can do!
This is my story:

They say a woman’s hair is her crowning glory. However, a girl who dons the hijab covers her crown – then where would her glory be? I have no hair now, so to speak, but my view of beauty is beyond hair colour. Hindsight, glory then should not have been crowned on the head.

I dont think it’s great, but better try than never huh? *wink
BTW, you can also submit your entries at the facebook link WOMEN:girls. Come let’s join effort in celebrating this special day for women.

my comfort food for a cold night

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Last night I made beef stew for dinner. I got home late and it was a wet and cold night from the heavy rain the whole evening, which is perfect for a hot comforting meal like this. This is my version of beef stew, super easy and yummy (well, I think so!). Some friends asked for the recipe and I decided to share here. Enjoy!

Qahina’s beef stew.

Ingredients:
500g beef tenderloin, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Blender (10 shallots, 5 garlic and 2 cm ginger into paste)
2 red onions, cut into four
2 white boiling potatoes, cut into four
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots, diced big sized
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 red tomatoes, cut into four
5 cups water
2 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garam masala (Indian spice mix)
basil oregano
1/4 cup cornstarch (rough amount, to thicken)

Directions:
1. Shake up salt, pepper and beef in a plastic bag and leave to marinate for 30 mins.
2. Brown beef with olive oil. Keep the oil together with beef to be poured into pot.
3. Saute the paste, add garam masala and black pepper, then add the browned beef plus its oil.
4. Add onions, potatoes, tomatoes, celery and carrots into crock pot.
5. Stir everything well and wait for 3 mins.
6. Add water and simmer on low for 1 hour.
7. Turn off crock pot then add in cornstarch that has been mixed in a bit of cold water in another bowl.
8. Stir constantly while boil for one more minute before serve.
9. Serve with bread or rice.

my fab fashion haul – zig zag long cardigan

I wanted to share with you something that striked me today. Saw this great knee length cardigan at PopUp Showroom, my favourite boutique for lux items at very affordable price. They operate from home in Bangsar so it’s not known to many. The owner is a former model and she’s super sweet and knowledgeable about the latest high fashion stuff. I have gotten some really gorgeous MARNI and 3.1 Phillip Lims tops and pants from PopUp Showroom – so I checkout their facebook page from time to time. This one is pre-ordered and is almost mine!
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This is very Misonni-inspired! I love the zig zag design, a refreshing addition to my wardrobe apart from the now common stripes and polka dots print. Usually I’m a solid-colour garment type however of late I’m beginning to add prints into my collection.I saw something like this at Jaspal last December but couldn’t stomach the too bright orange fusion. This one looks very earthy, comfy and easy to pair with anything. Saw something similar on Rachel Zoe and I know very well I could rock it while playing with my own toddler! Cheh…
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Once I get my hands on it will post you some updates yeah! Cheers!

a new day in 2013

One thing I never thought I’d be doing after I’ve completed my degree was having my own business. I was very comfortable with the idea of teaching for the rest of my life. Sales, finance and marketing was never my forte, instead I get cozy with books, art and literature. I married a man with finance background and left him to handle all our accounts while happy enough to shop for him, with him, or for me! I was spoilt nonetheless. My salary was completely mine to spend while he minds all the housekeeping. He is after all, my Mr BIG. It was not until he was out of job two years back that pushed the brakes on spendings. The thought of earning more income creeps into my head. Our predicament gave birth to my sense of entrepreneurship however, I was not sure of what I wanted to make money from, apart from my day job as a teacher.

For two years I searched high and low for my niche. I’ve always loved make up, fashion and styling and decided to take courses on that. I don’t have any beauty or fashion background, but somehow, I have the flair of putting things together and making people look good. During the day, I teach, and at night after I’ve tucked my baby into bed, I will scour countless Youtube videos on makeovers and styling. My weekends spent on workshops and courses on image and professional etiquette. It’s the closest to my teacher’s heart – I get to teach others about the subject I love most! At first, no one seems to get the changes I’m going through; how does a school teacher gets transformed into a businesswoman – in image line some more, right? I’m blessed to have a supportive mate that allows me to be as how I wish, and listens to all my dreams. “I can’t make all your dreams come true, but we’ll walk it through together”, he said. His trust in what I’m doing fired me further. By the end of 2012, I managed to get all legalities and certification in order and I am now a certified professional image consultant. My company is called Mpower, which speaks for what I want to achieve; to empower people with their best self.

Hence my absence from here, way since. Now that I’ve got a lot of things sorted out, I do owe you an update on Qahina right? Thanks for coming back here to read this. Looking back, it’s crazy to think my new business venture could be a career change in the next few years! I don’t know – funny enough, they both blend well in my eyes – teaching and training. I don’t want to stretch anything too far yet – just living the moments. Wish me luck!