My Hijab Story

I see more and more local female celebs who were once quite “sexy” have started wearing the hijab. I even followed some of the celebs’ hijrah stories and was truly amazed, not just by their appearance, but also how they have totally changed and become better Muslimah – even better than those who have worn the hijab long before they did (that would be me). MasyaAllah! It just shows that the Almighty can give His hidayah to whoever he wants.

As for me, I started wearing hijab when I was 9 years old but only at school. It wasn’t until I reached the age of 14 that I started wearing hijab full time.

Well… I didn’t actually decide it myself; it was my parents. They had been telling me (and my sisters) since we were small, that once we hit puberty, we will be accountable for all our sins, bad deeds as well as good deeds, and that they will no longer be responsible for our sins. So on top of not missing the 5 daily prayers, fasting in Ramadhan and other do’s and don’ts, we were also told to wear the hijab. Being a good daughter that I was (I still am la, ok hehe), I obeyed them without any protest. It wasn’t that easy tho.

One of the biggest issues I faced when I first wore hijab outside of school was styling it! I had to ditch my skirts and dresses and switch to wearing only long pants. And because I was the eldest, I didn’t have anyone to turn to for fashion advice. I had zero sense of style and didn’t know how to dress up especially with hijab. My sister’s friends used to ejek the way I wear my hijab and called me “tudung empat segi” because of the way I shaped my tudung that made my face looked squarish. Pffft. But seriously, when I looked back at my old photos when I was a teenager, I would cringe. No wonder I sulked in all the photos. I looked hideous!

Trust me, I’ve tried and tested all sorts of hijab styles. There was even a time when I wore a floral tudung with a scarf ring down the middle – with a denim shirt and cargo pants. 8-O I don’t know what I was thinking! But oh well, we’ve all had our fashion disaster moment, no? Hehe. So yeah, that was one of my biggest struggle when I first started wearing hijab, which actually lasted for a decade! I wanted to cover up but didn’t know how to do it nicely… and I felt ugly. My self-esteem was at the lowest point at that time (didn’t help that I also gained weight!) and I felt selekeh all the time. I just wanted to be invisible!

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the hijab. I just hated that I don’t know how to look nice wearing it. And I feel offended when I was told that wearing hijab “tak standard and outdated”. Sigh.

As years went by; as I grew older, I slowly started learning how to improve my appearance. After more than a decade, I finaaally “mastered” how to wear the hijab without looking selekeh (took me so long haha). I also started dieting to lose weight (but umm well, I’ve gained them back after my pregnancies woohoo). Honestly I never thought of becoming a lifestyle blogger and that people would actually ask me for style and fashion tips (seriously, guys? haha).

I am no fashionista, but I still think that just because you wear hijab doesn’t mean you cannot look good. I still think that you can still be modest and look chic at the same time and just be confident with yourself. Looking and feeling good don’t always mean wearing fancy clothes, the latest bags and shoes, and thick, heavy makeup. Sometimes something as simple as wearing deodorant and nice-smelling shampoo can make a huge different.

I find that my head feels so much more comfortable and “lighter” in hijab when my scalp and hair are clean and smelling fresh. I love how Sunsilk Lively Clean & Fresh gives my hair that clean and fresh feeling because nothing is more annoying than an itchy scalp and hair full of dandruff – not even if you’re “free hair”.

 

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And because I wear hijab, I feel the need to shampoo my hair every other day to maintain the cleanliness and freshness. It makes wearing my hijab a lot more pleasant and I love when I get a whiff of that sweet fruity-floral smell of Sunsilk shampoo, even when I had my hijab on (yes, you can actually smell your own hair even underneath the hijab!).

Sunsilk Lively Clean & Fresh is actually co-created with scalp care expert, Dr. Francesca Fusco, and the shampoo and conditioner are enriched with Vitamin Citrus Complex that cater specially for hijab-wearing women to give that fresh, itch-free and sweet-smelling scalp, even after a long day or wearing hijab. It also helps to remove excess sebum to give a clean and fresh scalp.

 

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I no longer feel selekeh now; in fact I love my hijab and I feel confident donning it. It is a part of me and I would feel incomplete without it. My hijab is going to stay with me for the rest of my life, insyaAllah. I do admit tho, I am not a perfect Muslimah. Modesty is a never-ending journey and there are a lot of things I need to improve myself as a Muslim woman, and I hope God will ease my journey.

Sunsilk understands the challenges and struggles that hijab-wearing ladies are facing, and they want to encourage women to share their hijab journey in their digital contest on Facebook, Menemanimu Sejak Tahun 2000. The Grand Prize includes, RM20,000 cash prize for you to achieve your aspiration, as well as Sunsilk products and t-shirt with your tudung journey illustration. There will also be 10 consolation prizes – RM3,000, t-shirt with your tudung journey illustrations and Sunsilk products.

I’m sure every one of you hijab-wearing ladies have your own challenges and struggles that you faced in your hijab journey. Share it here and who knows you might win yourself one of the cool prizes!

For more info about this contest, log on to https://apps.facebook.com/sunsilkmenemanimu.

 



A Tiger Balm patch a day keeps the mosquitoes away

Ughh, I just hate mosquitoes. Especially when those bloodsuckers did this to my kids!

 

Sekali gigit sampai 4! And that’s not including the bites on their legs >__<

 

It’s very upsetting seeing my girls scratching their arms and legs and mengadu gatal. Usually they would scratch until they bleed and then it will leave unsightly scars. But it’s not just the scars that bothered me. I’m worried about Aedes and dengue, nauzubillah!

I am very positive that my kids didn’t get these bites at home because our house is mosquito-free. I can bet on that. I noticed they would only get those mosquito bites (or “mosquitorosis”, as Ayra calls it)  when they’re outside or at other people’s house, especially those with lots of plants and just won’t shut their windows even at night. Sigh… what am I to do. I mean, as a guest, I can’t just simply tell “Excuse me, could you close all the windows? Mosquitoes are getting in and they are feasting on my kids”. And I surely can’t tell my kids to stop playing and not go near the trees!

 

 

 

 

I actually want them to enjoy the outdoors whenever possible because my girls spend most of their time indoors. But can’t do that with a peace of mind, not with mosquitoes around.

What I usually do when we’re going out is slather insect repellent oil on their bodies and make sure they wear long pants and cardigan over their tops. But c’mon, this is Malaysia. Nobody, especially kids, can stand wearing cardigans for hours on a hot sunny day! And the insect repellent oil thingy only lasts for a couple of hours so it’s a bit of a hassle because I have to re-apply 3-4 times a day (I usually forgot to re-apply them).

Then I found out about this mosquito repellent patch by Tiger Balm. It’s a round patch with a unique formulation to repel mosquitoes and insects effectively, using natural active ingredients. It contains no DEET so it’s safe for children and even babies too.

There’s also mosquito repellent spray which comes in a small handy bottle. You can spray it directly onto skin or clothes, or both.

 

Each box comes in 10 individually-sealed patches like this so you can bring it everywhere with you. I have a few in my purse!

 

The patch has a sticky back so all you need to do is just peel the protective film and stick it on your child’s clothes. You only need 1 patch for your child (and 2 for adult). I think it’s a genius! Just remember not to stick it directly onto skin.

 

The patch has a strong scent but in a good way – it smells pretty much like the Tiger Balm ointment, which I really like. Didn’t bother my kids at all too. They even thought it was fun wearing sticker on their clothes! They call it “the mosquito sticker”. Hehe. Don’t worry, the patch is easy to remove and won’t leave any sticky residue on your clothes. You just have to remember to remove it before putting the clothes in the washing machine.

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing I like about this patch is that it lasts long. At the end of the day, I could still smell the ointment scent whenever I go near my kids, which must mean they are still repelling those damn mosquitoes. At least I can have a peace of mind and not be so worried about those bloodsuckers like I used to!



Beat Menstrual Pain with Yoga

I still remember the day when I just got back from my recent Europe trip. Felt good to be home and meet my girls whom I missed so much… but man, I had never felt so exhausted – all that walking around 3 cities (everyday, from morning till late night) and the 15-hour flight!

My neck and back felt like they were tied in knots and my legs were mildly swollen from sitting too long in the cramped airplane seat.

And to make it worse, I was having period pain.

I wanted to go for a massage so badly, but I remembered I had a yoga class with Whisper so I thought, “ok yoga first, then go for massage”.

So off I went to the yoga class, still jet-lagged and aching.

The yoga class was held at mYoga in Plaza Damas. As I walked inside, I was greeted by them and a few came up to say hi. And then we were all led upstairs to a big room with mirrored wall.

 

Nice meeting you pretty ladies! I felt a bit gloomy in my dark outfit >_<

All set on the yoga mat. Let’s do this!

The yoga instructor introduced herself and then explained how yoga can help ease menstrual pain. Talk about perfect timing!

Just so you know, this is not my first time doing yoga. But it was my first time in months! Hehe. I forgot how good it felt to stretch. I felt like all of my muscles were loosened and relaxed.

Yoga also focuses a lot on deep breathing and this actually helps boost circulation because it increases oxygen flow to tissues and alleviate discomfort induced by cramps.

 

 

Ok, deep breath….

 

I could do this…but it only lasted a nanosecond! :P

Now that’s more like it

With my blog reader who won the quiz, Suhaila. Thanks for joining me doing yoga! (Mawar, where were you?!)

Even tho it was just a one-hour yoga class, doing simple yoga poses, I was sweating buckets like I just ran a marathon. And surprisingly, my body felt a lot better that I forgot about going for a massage – seriously! All that twisting and bending and stretching must have restored my muscles or something. And my period pain… Wait, what period pain? For a moment, I even forgot I was having period, thanks to Whisper Cottony Clean Long/Heavy Flow pad. It’s comfy and gentle enough to your skin as it’s made of soft cotton top sheet. The blue lock core helps to absorb even large amount of menses and locks it away from the surface so you won’t feel so “leaky”, if you know what I mean.

We even got a goodie bag filled with different types of Whisper pads to suit our needs – Cottony Clean range (superior protection and soft to the skin) and Ultra range (high-absorbency).

Thank you Nuffnang and Whisper for this opportunity. At least now I know how to make period pain more bearable!



That Time of the Month

Cramps, bloatedness, lower back pain, headaches. Sounds familiar, ladies?

Yep, it’s that time of the month – period, or Aunt Flo, Miss P, or whatever you call it.

We women are surely special beings, aren’t we? God give us strength to endure the things that men can’t – menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth. *flex biceps*

Some women hate having period; what with the cramps, heavy flow, pimples… and not to mention, the dreaded PMS a.k.a pissed-at-men syndrome (I still love you hubby) that occurs days before Aunt Flo even showed up. Really guys, we’re not making it up. PMS is real, ok.

But truthfully, I think having period is a blessing. Sure it can be painful and uncomfortable, but it is a natural process that normal, healthy women experience and is actually your body’s way of telling you that your reproductive system is working properly, so I’m okay with that. In fact, I’d be worried if my cycle is irregular or if my period didn’t come at all (unless of course during pregnancy). Love it or hate it, period is going to be with you for a significant amount of your life so you better not complain about it!

The first couple of days are usually the most challenging time because that’s when you have the heaviest “leak” and experience painful cramps at your lower abdomen and back. Some say that once you’ve given birth, you won’t get period pain. Well hello, I still get period pain even after 2 kids! -____- But thank God there are actually ways to make period pain more bearable, like taking suitable medication if your cramps are so painful, eating the right food (red meats and dairy only make cramps worse) (I totally Google that), and of course wearing the right pad.

 

Wearing the right sanitary pad would make a huge difference. There are variety of pads designed for different flows and stages of your period so the best way to know which product works for you is to know the type of flow you have – light, regular, heavy, very heavy.

Whisper now offers another alternative besides the Whisper Ultra; it’s the new Cottony Clean. The shape of the pad is designed with circles of protection for all-sides leakage protection, with a soft cotton top sheet that is gentle to the skin for more comfort.

Doing light exercises can also make you feel better. Honestly, I thought women should stop exercising when they’re having period especially during heavy flow days, but turns out, light exercises like yoga and simple stretching can actually alleviate period pain.

For that, Whisper is organizing a Yoga class with bloggers on the 17th of May 2014 at mYoga Plaza Damas, and I will be joining it. Best part is, I get to pick 2 of my readers to join!

If you’re interested to join the Yoga class with me, simply fill in this slogan at the comment section:
“I would like to join the yoga class with Iza because….”

I will pick 2 of my favorite slogans and will announce the winners soon, so stay tuned!



Convenient Moisturizing with Rinse-off Body Lotion

I saw this on my Instagram feed some time ago and I literally laughed out loud.

Soooo true.

One time, I thought of pampering myself with at-home spa treatment while my girls were busy building a Lego house. I figured that should keep them busy for a good 20 minutes. I went to the bathroom and started with facial first – cleansing oil, cleanser, scrub. Then I took a shower and began to shampoo and condition my hair. While waiting for all the goodness of the conditioner to absorb in my hair, I applied some facial mask. I was just halfway through applying the mask on my face when I heard a knock on the bathroom door. It was Raina.

“Mama, what you doing? Open ye doooorrrr” (open the door).

11 minutes, guys. That’s all she’s willing to give to me. And I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet!

I should have known tho. Taking a shower is already considered as a mommy’s luxury and there I was, trying to “upgrade” it for at-home spa treatment! Haha.

You see, when you’re mom, showering simply means brushing teeth, cleansing face, cleansing body, rinse off and nothing else. No scrub, no loofah, no pumice stone, no bath salt. Shampoo is only for when my hair gets greasy. Lotion? Only when my skin gets really really dry because it can be quite time consuming to wait until the lotion is fully absorbed.

When I heard that NIVEA has come up with a rinse-off lotion, I felt like one of my wishes came true.

 Behold the first rinse-off body lotion, Nivea In-Shower Skin Conditioner.

Yes, sometimes I find myself wishing that applying body lotion would be easy and fast, just like using shower gels. My skin needs moisturization so badly but I just couldn’t be bothered to apply lotion every time after showering. In fact, I’m not the only one. 70% of Malaysian women do not apply body lotion every day because they don’t have the time to sit around waiting for the lotion to dry off (we’ve more important things to do) and some don’t like the sticky residue following moisturizing especially in the hot weather. This rinse-off body lotion by NIVEA is the solution. The unique water-activated formula is designed to be used after shower gel, which leaves the skin feeling hydrated and silky soft instantly.

It comes in 2 variations: Sea Minerals for normal skin and Almond Oil for dry skin.

 

I love the clean fresh scent of the Sea Minerals and I use that for my body. I use the Almond Oil for my feet because I have very dry feet.

 See? It looks just like normal body lotion

 

I’ve been using this rinse-off body lotion for a few days now and I’m super loving it. You use it the same way like you use a shower gel but it doesn’t replace your shower gel. You still need your shower gel ok. Think of it as a conditioner for your body. Like your hair. After shampooing, you need to apply hair conditioner right? Same goes to your body. So what you do is, cleanse your body with a shower gel as usual, rinse off, apply the NIVEA In-Shower Skin Conditioner (while still in the shower), rinse off and towel dry. You can get dressed immediately. Having a clean and well-moisturized skin under 5 minutes, I can totally live with that! It’s totally a beauty savior. I feel like my skin is smiling and thanking me!

You can watch this video for some In-Shower experiment that involved a beauty queen and a hunky host *ehem*.


Check out NIVEA Malaysia Facebook page for more info and a free NIVEA In-Shower Skin Conditioner trial pack. You can even make a pledge with NIVEA and stand a chance to win a full year supply of the In-Shower Skin Conditioner with your 3 BFFs!