Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Desert Store - Still a Top Pick in the Haven

I think one of the difficult parts of being a Muslimah revert is adapting to a so-called Islamic dress-code that seems foreign, traditional and alienating. This does not mean that the traditional jilbabs and abayas should not be worn, but I can understand that they do look intimidating to those who have not had enough exposure to their appearance. Of course, by wearing clothes that are contemporary is allowed and encouraged should it make a Muslimah a more confident person and proud of her religion, provided they comply with the tenets of Hijab.

So, I would like to re-visit Desert Store. It is a great place to look for Islamic Clothing, since they have the whole range of must-haves here in the store. Their jilbabs and abayas are extremely contemporary, yet modest. They jive well with busy-women-oriented societies - take formal and casual approaches as and when they have to. I would guess you can mix and match with shoes and hijaabs for the look you desire.

Their abaya collection seems to have a predominently black theme, but which woman does not wear black? It looks professional, is gentle on the figure and is easy to match with shoes, bags and brooches. Having said that their subtlety in their designs give room for personality and spice. There are some really lovely embroidery.

I also really like their jilbabs. I think the right jilbab makes room for a Muslimah in the corporate world. They really do - find a neutral coloured jilbab with a smart button-down front, and you will see what I mean. They are really attractive in all Islamic sense.

I hope to see additions though in Desert Store. Their gown collection looks rather enticing for those all-female occassions, though I would not mind something in black there! I hope to see more hijabs. With the range of other clothing, a wider selection of hijabs would be a great complement to the store.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Pink for You, You and You!

Buy Or Sell Anything Pink.

Some girls go from hating pink to loving it. Some go from loving pink to hating it. Blame it on our hormones. So maybe you are saying you never liked pink or you have always liked pink. I guess it's really a personal choice.

That's probably why I love Pink Auction! Here is a playground for only the pink.

If you love pink, pick up some new pinky, lovey, jazzy, sassy and funky clothes / accessories / trinkets / toys / laptops / cameras and even shoes.

If you are far from the pink-lover, why not consider disposing off your pinks to Pink Auction. You may even make some cash from those who are deliriously in love with that colour! - Buy / Sell Anything Pink. Phones, MP3 Players, Straightners, Make Up, Hand Bags, Clothes, Baby Accessories, Travel Gear, Cars & Scooters, Shoes, Jewellery - Anything!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Medicine the Alternative Way

Do you believe in alternative medicine? I do. But somehow alternative and modern medicine have been at logger heads for longer than we know. It is quite ironic since once upon a time "alternative" medicine used to be the past's modern medicine. How else would have societies before survived without things like anaestheia and operation theatres. Ok, so that was random, but you get my point right?

Even modern medicine is baffled at times at how tranditional remedies are able to treat and heal ailments, speed up labour and subdue pain. Alternative medications can include the consumption of herbs, massage, exercise and even using our body to combat potential medical complications.

Allah says in the Qur'an that there is a cure for every illness and since the Qur'an is a book for all times, Muslims believe that civilisations living centuries ago would have their own set of medical practices that remedied ailments and saved lives. Undoubtly modern medicine has played a fantastic role in prolonging life expectancy and curbing illnesses through vaccinations and check ups, but turning to natural medicine should never be an option ignored.

Cancer for example, I am sure it can be prevented or at least one can try to prevent it. The risk of breast, cervical and ovarian cancer can easily be reduced through breastfeeding. This, in its own right shows Allah's manifestations through His messages conveyed through our biological abilities.

Just a thought! I am all for alternative medicine, especially where modern science leaves gaps in their literature.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Tips on Wearing Hijab

It can be tricky, especially if you are just trying out the piece of attire for the very first time. Here is an interesting way to wear your headscarf - it is simple and stylish:

For more tips and tricks and a bigger picture of the one above, click here!

Blue – The Colour of Fomality and Serenity

Blue is a popular colour in the office. It is formal and professional yet is simple and easy on the eye – without any fancy adornments. Blue attire is a popular colour as it implies seriousness without being overbearing or overly-intimidating as black.

Whether it is a pant-suit (with a long jacket) or a dark blue abaya, blue brings the aura of strict focus on work in the corporate environment. Whether you are amongst colleagues, networking with clients or participating in presentations, the colour will never fail you.

In fact, blue is such an easy colour to wear at work, it would be highly unlikely for you to feel embarrassed if someone else is wearing a similarly designed outfit or hijab as you.

Blue also denotes serenity. You may be hanging out with your friends after work of enjoying a lazy date with your spouse. Blue communicates to your company that you are feeling relaxed and at peace at their presence. Blue has a distant effect on problems and worries and has the power to unclutter your mind.

Blue also represents the bright blue sky on a happy day and the vastness of oceans and seas. Appreciating the colour blue reminds us of the natural gifts that Allah designed specially for us – through His emaculate beauty and adornment.
Blue is an essential colour around the house to declutter the mind and unwind. Blue curtains, blue paintings, blue bedspreads all create the illusion of space and distance.

With peace and serenity in mind therefore, spending time in prayer is also useful when gelled with the colour blue. It is easy on the eye and can relieve you from your physical pains and aches through deep concentration on things that matter most.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Hijab Ban has been Loosened in Turkey

Shortly after the 1980 military coup in Turkey, the Hijab - the Muslimah headcovering obligatory upon all adult Muslim women, was banned for women engaged in any public facilit. This included public buildings, universities, school and government buildings - in short, Muslim women were not allowed to cover their heads once they were in the open. This contradicted violently with the tenets of the Islamic dress-code for Muslim women.

In 2002, Tayyip Erdogan was elected as Prime Minister. Pictures of him and his families graced international newspapers. His wife and daughters were seen to fully cover their awrah, with the obligatory Hijab in tact. Tayyip Erdogan that the "unfair ban will be abolished."

Recently, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP) opposition party have thrashed out a deal on a compromise head-cover to be allowed on campus after decades of an all-out ban.

Alhamdulillah, women now attending universities, will be allowed to tie a scarf that would cover their hair and head. Unfortunately the ban remains in tact for working women, the wrap-around head scarf and the face veil.

It has taken over 2 decades for Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, to allow some Muslim women to observe some form of Hijab. We hope that progress will continue and practicing Muslims in Turkey continue to fight on for their rights to modest attire through their constitution.

Monday, 28 January 2008

From Brother Suhaib's Blog

This is a message from Suhaib Webb's blog.
If you have an opportunity to adopt a baby who needs a loving family, please contact

Heather Van Brunt, M.Ed., LSW
Pregnancy Counselor
Children’s Home Society and Family Services
2230 Como Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
hvanbrunt@chsfs. org

Adoption was an integral part of life for the first Muslims during Prophet Muhammad's (peace and blessings be upon him) time. This was to safeguard less fortunate children and bring them up as vital participants of the future Muslim ummah.

Insha'Allah this baby will find a home!
Alternatively, shop for the Muslim baby. I am sure her or his mother would appreciate any help that will alleviate her burden. Before you do that though, you may want to contact Heather Van Brunt to request for her permission - just in case. She may give you alternative address for gifts. This is just a thought of charity. Taqabullah.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Does Anyone Need Glasses?

I don't wear glasses myself but my friends and family who do always find it difficult to get a decent pair of lenses and frames for a decent price. Not to mention that to maintain a pair of glasses costs money too.

Luckily I made a great discovery: Zenni Optical. If you are in need of glasses and sometimes find you fall short in that wallet / purse area, you may want to take a look at Zenni Optical USD8 Rx Glasses - meaning, as low as USD8.

Let me know what you think of this site and how you feel about the range of glasses they have. If you feel it is the best thing found, then pay them a visit - there is plenty of designs to choose from.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Beauty within Marriage

Among His signs is that He created for you spouses of your own kind in order that you may repose to them in tranquility and He instilled in your hearts love and affection for one another; verily, in these are signs for those who reflect (on the nature of the reality). (Ar-Rum: 21).

Marriage is such an important aspect of Islam that Muslims around the world look forward to marriage as a fulfilling journey in life. A lot of thought goes into search of a pious spouse - one who would always support you and make you happy & vice versa.

After a few months or years of holy matrimony though, it is not uncommon to fall into a bland routine of obligation. Especially with the emergence of tiny feet pittering and pattering around the house. Similarly, everything that was once exciting after the wedding has turned into drab and boring clothes, meals, outings and even quiet time together.

Giving your marriage an overhaul could be as simple as dressing up once in a while, a different hair-cut, some make up and a new perfume. Not only will your new look be appreciated by your spouse, it gives you a chance to buy something new for yourself and rejuvenate your own sense of beauty.

Marriage is beautiful but preserving the beauty within a marriage can sometimes be a chore so it is up to you to make it a pleasure. Making an effort to look good for your husband or wife holds many rewards and is a definite way of sprinkling some spice on marital bliss.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Spiritual Boost

Every once in a while we need a spirituality boost. Our imaan fluctuates. Some days we're jumping up and down ready for every prayer, supplication or dhikr. Other days are laced with lethargy and right-down laziness. Muslims are obligated to curb their imaan cycles from hitting bottom low to often. Do you? Do I? I guess that's for me to answer... but since we are all the same, our answers are probably the same, only the severity of the fluctuation differs.
Anyway, I found this site called Experiencing Psi -- Spiritual Consciousness.

It deals very much with the power of psychic or your sixth sense. I guess I would say I believe in those - since Allah Ta'ala speaks to us in His own ways - anything is possible. If you are interested in the powers of the subconscience and how you manipulate them to find inner peace and quiet, you should visit the site. There are some good articles there.

Like the post on telepathy. I was thinking about one of my closest friends/ whom I had lost touch with for over a year. I was at a shopping complex and nursing my son in a nursing booth with my head on the wall. Next door I could hear a baby chattering away with his mum. I thought to myself, "gosh, it would be nice if M was int he next booth - I have not seen her or her baby in over a year." I packed up once my baby was done with his afternoon snack and went off to look for the other members of my family.

Right in front of me was M with her baby. It was amazing, masha'Allah. She was not in the next booth, but she was around the corner. Could that have been telepathy?
I am sure some of you have had similar experiences - like when the phone rings, you have an inkling of who the caller is. I guess it is something like that.

I checked out the site and it does not weigh down on spirituality of any one religion. But as Muslims, (like other sites) use this one responsibly - remember it is Allah who determines our fate and our relationship with him surpasses any other beliefs - shirk is also a major sin, so remember to avoid that. Insha'Allah we will all be able to attain that place of ultimate peace and quiet in our lives!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Ya Allah, where is Sharlinie?

Sharlinie Nashar is still missing. She has been gone for 12 days. This is now the number to call 1800-88-LINI. She is 5 years old and is 1 metre tall. She has black hair and dark brown eyes. Let us pray that Allah will guide us to find her.

Her mother was on tv today. She has all this while been shielded from the press, as advised by Nurin Jazlin's parents. They fell prey to the media's vicious attacks and sensational stories when Nurin went missing and was found dead many days later.

Sharlinie's mother was visibly distraught when she told reporters:

"Please, if anyone has seen Lini. Please, if you have taken my daughter... please, giver her back. I miss her so much."

That was enough to set off my water-works even though I was in the middle of feeding my picky-eater toddler and trying to keep my monkey climbing baby who was wriggling out of his car seat. The tears just leaked out as both my kids went wayward with their own minds and little mits.

Later tonight while I was putting my babies to sleep I thought of Nurin and the pain and suffering she endured before her death. I thought of her parents and Lini's and the waterworks started up again. May Allah take care of them in their difficults times of need and may He protect all other families and their little children from the taunts of such heinous criminals.

A Muslimah's Reflections on Hijab

Every once in a while it is a good idea to remind one's self on the importance of Hijab. It can be only read through the Qur'an and Sunnah as to the beautiful directiv of Hijab upon believing men and women. Veiled Muslimah speaks soundly about the dress-code pertaining to Muslim women.
Masha'Allah, it is a beautiful read. Enjoy!

Sisters Winter Issue

I received my print copy today.

Did I ever mention Sisters Magazine is now in print? Masha'Allah, the magazine is gorgeous. I am so proud and honoured that Na'ima recruited me as part of the writing team. It is a blessing to be able to work with all the sisters involved and hold the final copy of all that nit and grit. But really, it is embalmed in tonnes of love and affection.

If you have not yet subscribed, because it was only on soft copy - you really do not have a reason not to now. Subscribe now! You will not regret it. There are so many articles on family values, personal development, Muslim communities, fashion, recipes, you name it.

If you are not a Muslimah, I would still highly recommend this magazine. If you are interested in Islam in any way, this can be a little snippet into the *mysterious* lives of Muslim women. You'll find it is not too far different from your own. :)

If you are a bloke wondering what on earth you're doing reading my blog, have no fear - you will appreciate this magazine. It's content and the advice, the graphics, the overall artistic value... if you have a special *sister* in your life, this would be the perfect gift for her.

My Ashura Porridge...

It does not look as good as the picture I pasted here. That was courtesy of one of those free sites.

But this is for Sister Maryam who has not had the opportunity to taste porridge. This recipe is different from the normal chicken / fish porridge I feed my kids and myself on lazy days. It is really called Ashura Porridge but the ingredients differ from state to state.

This is what my mum-in-law put into her Ashura Porridge.
(The picture below is also free and is not affiliated to my kitchen).

  • Sweet potato

  • Barley

  • Green peas

  • Sweet peas (are they one and the same?)

  • Chick peas

  • Kidney beans

  • Red beans too I think (are they one and the same?)

  • Bananas

  • Brown sugar

  • Water

As you can see from this post, I am not a very good homemaker. And from the confession, I am not ashamed to say - if you ever wish to visit - let me know one week in advance.

Maybe I will post my porridge recipes some time later :p (to redeem myself).

Keeping it Positive

Every year, for the past 3 years, I have made resolutions that I will be a more positive, optimistic person - generally, more likeable (even to myself) and motivated to look on the bright side at all times. But as the year wears on and events happen and rain pours down on me, I think... oh golly let's just go back to being my normal sarcastic, cynical self. By December I am always back to plodding along getting through the days, waiting for a fresh new start to motivate me into becoming this "better" person I am not.

I am all pro-positive thinking, but with so many problems happening in today's world, it is difficult to cope with adversities the way some people do. But since the world is make out of a vast number of speckles of different people, it is a good thing to read up on positive insights from around the blogsphere.

Like this, Diet Mind Spirit blog - I mean, basically, it is all coined into a nutshell that self improvement really comes from the mind. It is always mind over matter. If you are able to perceive everything as being positive or pincer-pick out the optimistic values of any problems, you would have a whole new outlook on life.

Idealistically the mind would be able to control the body. But if you are stuffing yourself with a bucket of fried chicken and thinking about how good it tastes without its consequences on your cholestrol then that would not work either. Somehow, the mind has to be generated to think of the long-term effects on the body. That is probably why I end up finishing a few barrels over the year.

It is bad not to be positive, it affects your body, mind and spirit all the time. It also erases gratitude and has a negative effect on your spiritual life, regardless of your faith. It also hinders the motivation to move forwards in achieving dreams.

Personal development is an integral part of survival in today's world. Complacency is a cancer of society and it has the ability to spread rapidly. So move forward, think realistically and always be positive!
I received one of those inspirational emails from a friend today and being the cynic I am, I was skeptical about many... but I loved this one:

Never laugh at anyone's dreams.

People who don't have dreams don't have much.

I am sure Cate from Diet Mind Spirit would agree. Dreams are the foundation of self-improvement.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Ashura Porridge

Apparently, there is such a thing. At least over here. It is customary for Muslims (in some parts of Malaysia) to convene at their local masjid and enjoy a bowl of porridge. It is called Ashura Porridge. I guess it brings Muslims together to do what most enjoy - eating.

Is that not cute? I have never heard of it before, but since I am at my in-laws' this Ashura, we will be trooping along to enjoy a bowl each tomorrow, insha'Allah.

For those who have fasted today, may all your sins have been forgiven. If you could not fast, click here.

It Does Not Mean You Do Not Care!

The Qur'an warns strictly of the care facilities that one has to provide for their parents, especially as they move on to the old sensitive age. This includes financial support, shelter, medical facilities, continuing education (especially religious education), a sense of belonging and plenty of love and care. Sounds like taking care of your new-born does it not? As my husband says, as we grow older, we tend to grow younger - not in a good way but physically, mentally and socially we are unable to do most of the things we were able to do when young. Sounds about right, does it not.

Most Muslim families have their parents live with them once they reach a certain age - it is an honourable thing to do, to take care of your parents - should anything happen to them, at least you are there and readily available to jump to their needs.

I once spoke of this to a non-Muslim friend who was having difficulties coping with her grouchy, diabetic and extremely stubborn grandfather who was spending his cranky days terrorising her working mother, instead of his own son. She was so flabberghasted that she wanted to shift him off to a home. Our Muslim friend disagreed, saying that it was their duty to take care of him, regardless of his attitude.

When they finally asked me what I thought, they were shocked to know I sided with my non-Muslim friend. My opinion was this, both his son and daughter-in-law worked long hours, and the 6 grandchildren who stayed with him either worked like their parents or were studying vigorously in school / university. He was left at home everyday, with a maid who did not speak the same language. He had a strict diet that he refused to follow and was generally grouchy and temperamental.

What he needed was this - a place to socialise with plenty of cheerful peers, avenues to exercise, medical care provided by personnel he could not bully and he needed to get out of the house. This was for his own good as well as the family's.

Personally, I think care homes are good for the elderly, all for the reasons above. At this age, they are free from any burdens of cooking and cleaning and working in general and they should be allowed to kick with buddies of their generation with a glass of milk and diabetic cookies, do some light exercise in the park and have professional people look after them. They should also be given their own time to reflect on life and read the Qur'an as often as they like. I'm not saying we should discard them completely - if it is possible for them to come home and sleep at home, then by all means, pick them up after work. The point is, they would not be alone at home during the day. It can be lonely for them, and sometimes depressing if everyone is rushing about, in and out of work, school, clubs, sporting activities, music classes. It happens - life goes on for the next generation and it is within their duties to make the best of their lives too.

Loving your parents does not mean you have to keep them bottled up in the living room the whole day - it is much like your children, you have to let them off to pre-school one day, just for the sake of getting up and about, out the house and learning something new in this unlimited world of wisdom. It is also a time for them to make friends and talk to other people. The elderly need that too, especially if a spouse has passed on - moping around at home can lead them down memory lane's more painful trips.

If you are concerned about sending your parents off to care homes as you should be, take time to do some research on the different types of care available. If you parents have conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, take time to look around for care-providers that will help them with their medication. Check if you can send your parents to homes for day-care only, much like pre-school, if you do not want them lodging there permanently. Also ask about the activities they arrange - like exercise and other social activities that will benefit your parents. If keeps the mind and body fit at all times. If you still have qualms about homes, you may want to consider bringing care into your home - that is also a viable option, though without the social aspect.

If you are living in the UK, bettercaring provides a whole list of caring homes for the elderly, that way you would be able to contact them directly and even pay them a visit, with your parents to check out their facilities and meet their people. It would be worth a search, in my mind.

Most homes provided that. Bettercaring will help you with all your questions if you are looking for options that will help your parents through their later years of their lives. They should happy years and they deserve that - it is part of caring for them.

I don't think my friend ever desposited her granddad into a home - as she put it. The facilities do not really exist in Asia, and besides the norm would be to keep your parents in your own home. I know many Muslim families here though feel there is a need to change. My mum-in-law mentioned that a few friends of hers put their heads together and rented a small house for all their parents to stay together. There they set up all the facilities for them to live comfortably and hired an Ustaz (religious teacher) to sit with them and read the Qur'an and tell them religious stories - just to remind themselves of the importance of being a Muslim. On the weekends, after five days of activities and pot-luck meals, they all return home to their families with a bundle of stories of their own to share with their kids and grandkids.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Do you have a Shirtdress?

This must be the perfect piece of attire for the modern muslim woman who spends most of her days outdoors. I found the piece while browsing around Her Modesty.

I think it looks chic, classy and extremely comfortable. Best of all, it covers well and can be worn with a long skirt or trousers. It is also extremely versatile and you would fit in well, whether at work or running to the grocery store.

The shirtdress works perfectly for those who do not have access to abayas and jilbabs - or for those who just do not prefer to wear one-pieces, whether at work or out on chores. Imagine it as a long top that does not display your precious curves but allows you to move freely and quickly when on the run. I am guessing it is also easy to slip on and off when moving in and out of your house.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

This is Sharlinie Nashar - Have You Seen Her?

If you have seen this girl, please contact RakanCop at 603-21159999. The man on the left is the sketch of the suspected abducter.

She has been missing for over a week now and we are worried that her fate will be the same as Nurin Jazlin's.

Please make du'a for Sharlinie (Nini) and her family, for them to be strong under these difficult circumstances. Please also remember Nurin in your prayers, as well as her parents and sisters.

Relinquish Yourself From Debt NOW!

Muslim Matters blogged on something important a few days ago. DEBT! We all are acquainted with the pains and bruises that debt can cause us. Especially for Muslims, and I think, other faiths of the book, interest is gravely prohibited, whether we are a borrower, lender or privy in any way to an interest-based contract - it is a grave disobedience to one of our religion's directives to "not take interest" (Prophet Muhammad's (peace and blessings upon him) final sermon).

There are plenty of financial consultants, websites, help-articles, magazines, books and even tv programmes available to educate and help debt-ridden members of society to get back on the right track - back into the green. Advice usually revolves around the importance of using only cash when spending. Avoiding interest at all costs definitely helps save money and reduce stress and tension in the household.

However, there are times when one, Muslim or not, may need to apply for credit cards and / or personal financing. As a responsible Muslim, it is important to exhaust all options in searching for Shari'ah compliant instruments that avoid the concept of interest. The best way to do this is to become educated on the different forms of financing there are in the market. Learning and shopping around will deter rash decision-making that can lead to unwarranted stress and rising credit problems.

So whether you are a fresh graduate looking to build a future or someone with bad credit loans, Bad Credit Offers is a consultation web-site that is geared in easing the stress of debt. Firstly, they have shopped around for credit cards and financing options that will mitigate the risk in falling the red. Education is the other element of this credit service. By helping their customers understand their spending habits and eventually their credit standings (through their consultative services), you will be able to pro-actively curb the risk of over-spending in the future.

Over all, they are really looking into helping those who are struggling with credit problems with alternatives to consolidate their debt into one single source and provide steps in repaying the loans / interest at the soonest. Muslim Matters stated that 43% of Americans are spending more than they can earn - that is a serious responsibility issue.

However, this does not stop those who are already in the green from learning about how money works. We can never be to careful when spending our salaries, especially if a credit card is at hand. One too many swipes of that piece of plastic can push you over the edge when the bills arrive.

Managing money is really mind over matter - it is pure discipline and to arrive at that mind-set, it is best to educate yourself on the options there are in the market for financial help; your own salary and how to apportion it on necessities; and finally how to avoid over-spending, since this is the main cause of debt in the first place. But no matter how many web-sites you visit or how many books you buy, at the end of the day, it is up to you to take control over your cash outflow and to be responsible and honest with yourself and your family before matters get out of hand.

Sometimes it is easier said than done. But insha'Allah, if there is will, there is a way to get back into that green zone of comfort.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Buying Medication Online - only for responsible shoppers

Shopping online can be fun. It can a breeze for those who are looking for hip and happy apparel and accessories. But there is also the market of serious shoppers - and by serious I mean those who are shopping for necessities - like medication.

I never had really thought about purchasing medicine online. Somehow, you would always visit your physician or tinker by the pharmacist. But I guess an online pharmacy sounds viable. It would actually save time on the road and in queues. It would also save money (if you are looking at transportation costs). But online shopping does that and online pharmacies are now available to ease your chores of the week.

I mentioned being a responsible shopper when it comes to buying prescribed medicine through the internet for obvious reasons. Though Buy Online Pharmacy provides a questionnaire to ascertain the viability of your medication, it is really up to the consumer to be honest with him or herself before purchasing and ultimately consuming the medication.

But the good thing about a store like this, is that it houses a range of medication that treat a wide range of ailments such as muscle pain, headaches, anxiety and health conditions that affect both men and women. Prices seem to be competitive too with guaranteed overnight shipping.

It really is up to you to determine your level of comfort when buying prescribed meds online. Since the website is managed by licensed physicians and pharmacists, you can always contact them unlike physical clinics and stores that operate only during business hours.

Modern Mama, Modern Baby

If you are a fan of contemporary art, you have to check out this site. Modern Nursery is just brimming with modern ideas for your baby's life. I really had to share this store with you and have half the mind to add it to Hijab Haven's Muslim Baby enclave.

It's amazing. I love the furniture and the toys; the books and all the interior decor.... meal time at my household would be a real waste if we did not use any of this funky high chair collection. Though I do find this uglydog doll rather disturbing - it is far more suited to a wonky teenager in those weird hormonal years. But you never know, there may be little tikes who appreciate toys like that one.

But my favourite pieces of furniture are definitely ones that can store all the clutter. STORAGE! I know it's impossible to have everything in hiding, but if I ever had a chance to design my dreamhouse, all the walls would be built-in cupboards.

Anyway, if you are shopping for your baby, remember to check out this page. There are clothes, toys and Muslim dolls. I'm glad Barbie is being outshone in the girlie market - I used to have plenty of Barbie dolls growing up - I guess I was unlucky that Leen was not around yet. In fact, I might have even preferred the ugly doll set available at Modern Nursery. Who knows?

Monday, 14 January 2008

Islamic Bouitique - A Store Review

Shopping for clothes that comply with Islamic requirement can sometimes be a chore, especially when you are living in the West, and the range of longer, larger, less fitting clothings are sparse. Even in Asian countries, where fashionable attire can be a hype, Muslimahs often find it taxing to find a decent outfit that will comply to their requirements to cover when outdoors.

That is why I started this site - to help Muslimahs in the West find their outdoor abaya, jilbab, hijab and even their pair of black socks. LOL.

One of the first stores I was attracted to was Islamic Boutique, due to their range of Abayas. You know you would be comfortable donning an Abaya outdoors, and their range of designs, fabrics, colours and matching Hijabs provides for the Muslimah who is always on the run.

Today I was dawdling through the store and found their Auction Page. It is powered by eBay and it is great to browse through. Buying new clothes can be expensive, plus, shopping online with all that shipping costs can really bite into your budget. The alternative is to auction away at eBay!

I am pretty sure Islamic Boutique will surprise us with more designs and fashion statements for the Muslimah outdoors in 2008. I think alot of sisters enjoy trawling through their shop. Insha'Allah we will be able to find inspiration from within their philosophies.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Australian Branch, Australian Pricing?

More on the shopping cart software. I came across this website, which is effectively the same site I spoke of two posts before. I guess this is their Australian branch. Since, geographically I am definitely closer to the land down under rather than the States, I thought I would consider this site over the former instead.

After all, it still has all I need. A whole suite of services customised for the novice web designer / programmer. The complete e-commerce software would allow Hijab Haven to proudly present it's new store to it's shoppers. Apparently, their award winning shopping cart software will allow premium services to my valued customers - YOU! I am only looking forward to servicing my dear Hijabi Sisters out there. And my other Sisters who are also in the same boat as I am, I am more than happy to provide information such as this on my blog.

So I guess the only issue here would be the pricing - the only difference between the Australian site and the American one. Unfortunately, this is where things go awry. I ran a quick check on the exchange rate today, and I noticed that USD1 is equivalent to AUD1.12. So I was expecting the prices to be rather similar to the exchange rate.

This was not the case, I found that A Shop Commerce is using an exchange rate of USD1=AUD1.45. Perhaps this rate was correct prior to the recent deterioration of the US greenback - I do not know, but the difference is rather substantial, and I am sure that Aussie service providers can undercut this price by far. The only other difference I can think of with regards to this discrepancy in pricing is the the transfer of technology to Australia. I'm not sure - but it is a site worth to look at - it gives a picture of what service providers need to emulate in order to attract businesses big and small.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Meltdown Mania with Baby Bumps

Nope, no baby incognito but the ones that are out, up and about have been rather down and lowly lately. It's the weather - my kids are unwell and I feel upset by default. There has been non-stop wailing and screaming with meltdown climaxes that take place ever 3 .6 minutes. I feel so exhausted but I am pretty sure other mothers can empathise.

It is a good thing that these meltdowns have just been taking place at home. I always feel bad for parents who have to deal with the mayhem when in public. It is like everyone is ready to judge you, unfortunately "everyone" in this context are the public without children. It's normal. I get it all the time.

I have nothing against the general public who have not come to insane decision of having kids. It's true, sometimes I envy them. Care-free lives, movies any time of the day and night, naps any time of the day and night, baby-free mugs of coffee, long showers, proper meals, proper sleep. But I know of those who wish for kids and would trade their care-free lives for a day of my crazy one.

I know when my kids finally weather the weather, they will be back to normal. I will still remain the sleep-deprived writer with half a novel to my name. I will still be diapering and washing sippy cups. I will still be cooking 24 hours a day for them and eating left overs. I will still watch Sesame Street and wonder if Elmo will help me potty train my daughter. All that is normal and I am thankful for that.

Last night when my son's fever was at its highest, I was at my most afraid. Anything could have happened. All I wanted was for him to grow up into a good Muslim boy. I was hardly thinking of a care-free life - I was hoping for more responsibilities - enlightenment that he would get better. Alhamdulillah, all of us pulled through despite going white in the face. It was horrible.

Insha'Allah after this round of antibiotics he will be back to his bubbly self. I have no reason for envy - I have to weather this weather.

Hijab Haven's Own Shop?

Friends and loyal customers have asked me whether Hijab Haven would start producing their own merchandise. Currently, it is mostly a shopping mall with great shops from around the internet. Sure, there are plans for Hijab Haven to come up with its own brand name! I have searching around for tools to create Hijab Haven's online store.
I know other sisters have really successful online stores they can share with the world, so I was browsing around looking at how they operate and see how I can incorporate their tricks in Hijab Haven. I guess it is useful to learn something new every day. I remember when I first set up Hijab Haven as what it is today, my learning curve was extremely steep.
Anyway I was shopping around for some ecommerce software to help spur my new goal in setting up an online store unique to Hijab Haven. I mean, for someone with no e-commerce experience this can be rather daunting. I just know I need a whole system that can facilitate transactions with a shopping cart. So I was glad to find some interesting packages that have helped amateurs comme moi. A Shop Commerce for example, seem to have all it takes to set up an online store easily.
If I were to go ahead and set up my store I would need a reliable service provider as I would want to be one for Hijab Haven's clients. Hmm... you are my client, what do you think? Anyway, the store allows easy payment transactions - I know it can be a pain when shoppers are trying to shop and the stores do not allow payment modes of their choice. Furthermore, their shopping cart software and customisable designs are attractive. Besides, they allow a free trial. That's always a bonus.
Well, those are my aspirations for Hijab Haven. Insha'Allah things will develop in the right direction. I look forward to looking into A Shop Commerce. I am a novice with alot to learn. Hopefully there will be opportunities for me to be taught!

Resolutions for the New Year!

Now this is the real new year. Insha'Allah it will be full of blessings as last year was. This year I hope to look forward to bigger plans for Hijab Haven. Insha'Allah it will sprout a new look with more stores for you Hijabi shoppers to browse from the comfort of your own home. Also I am looking forward to providing a whole new lease of positive living for everyone out there. We know Islam is a complete way of life so I hope to pounce on every opportunity to allow knowledge (of any sort) to become part and parcel of the Hijab Haven blog. :)

Hope you keep reading. Something might just shout out to you!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Creative Stress Curbers

You know stress just mounts as we get older. And I mean we, because this new year, like any new year, each and everyone of us will be getting older. Insha'Allah, wiser too. I am sure we all find solace in the Qur'an and our daily prayers and quiet time and spirituality should always come to the rescue in time of need. Some alternative activities to de-stress can also be those that exploit your creative side.

They can be like planting flowers, cooking a gourmet meal, writing that overdue novel or painting. All in which there are blessings if we have the right intentions. I know I have a half written novel in my pen-drive and its fading plot in my mind. Insha'Allah I'll see more of that this year, the same I will see more of the Qur'an this year!

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