Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Photos in an Exhibition

This post is about what I have been up to the past two weeks, and that is preparing for my very first photography exhibition. How exciting, right?!

I got inspired by an article I read online a while ago. The idea was to exhibit your photos in a public place instead of a rented exhibition hall. I really liked this idea, since it's my very first exhibition.

So all I need to do was print the photos, how hard would that be. Well, apparently, it's not as easy as you may have imagined. First there's the "theme" issue. Picking a bunch of your favorite photos randomly won't do. And I wanted something different, instead of picking a theme that involved lots of flowers.
After much consideration, I decided on a theme, but discovered later on that there are only three photos in my archives that fit the criteria and aren't flowers. If you're an artist or a photographer like myself, you would know how much of a pain it is to try to make something "artistic" and "unique" under pressure!
So, the theme had to be changed in order to allow more flower shots in.

Ok, so the theme is decided, the photos are ready, now I need to print them. Piece of cake, or so I thought.
I won't get into much details and write about the agony I went through, but I'll say that I was suffering. Finding the right studio to print your photos the way you want is not as simple as it should be! Maybe in a more civilized country it is.. but not here. (no offense)

Long story short, after a week of searching and going from one place to another, I printed the photos. I thought they would never get done in time, but alhamdulilah, I picked them up last night, and I'm lovin' them!!

 It all happened so quickly, I needed more time to advertise, but I wanted to do this before 2010 ends, and this weekend is my last chance. It has been like running a marathon this past week, I'm so glad this is over, and now I can rest and wait for Saturday to come.

So if you happened to live in Cairo, please stop by! Unless you're one of those online stalkers, then that certainly would be weird.

This exhibition is dedicated to all of you lovely people out there who have shown support over the past two years! And of course my very special family

Sunday, December 19, 2010


She was a young successful silver jewelry designer, married with two kids. She was the friend of a friend.
I didn't know her personally, but I got in touch with her a while ago via facebook, offering my services as a photographer to catalog her jewelry pieces.

A month ago, she was diagnosed with leukemia, three weeks later, she passed away.

It was a case of being here one moment, and gone the next. The news hit me hard, like a rock on my head, and for a second there, I felt like I was being introduced to the concept of death for the first time. I came to a sudden realization that, I too, could die any second! without warning, without feeling that "my time is drawing near".. without nothing.

I looked at my body, and felt my soul watching it, felt that my soul was a separate being, something living inside a machine or a device, and it could exit this device any minute, leaving it cold and useless.
I had a hard time sleeping that night. For some reason, I could hear the silence around me. My heartbeat sounded louder than usual, but not faster. My eyes were seeing things I usually don't notice in the dark. My feet were very cold, and I had a stomachache. I felt very much alive.
But was I ready?

People forget, they eventually get caught up in what we call "life" and forget. Until something like this comes their way, and reminds them that nothing.. is forever.

I hope this young woman's soul is somewhere beautiful, in a place where she feels at peace.

Monday, December 6, 2010


.. is how the world looked like from my window last night.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Random Thoughts of the Week #2

*My muscles surprised me by how cool they were after a two hour workout at the gym last night! Considering it was my first time ever..!! I thought I'd be in bed for two days due to muscle cramp!

*Dear Mr. fly,
You have made a really powerful enemy this morning when you woke me up at 7am with your buzzing. 
If you were a mosquito, your behavior could have been justified, but what on God's green earth do you want from me!?  

*We all know you're a busy person. Your schedule is packed. You barely have time to call friends and relatives and connect with them. You order take-away instead of cooking.. that's how busy you are. But I honestly believe you have enough time to actually pronounce words instead of their abbreviations!! Saying PB&J instead of peanut butter and jelly will NOT save you precious time you cannot afford to waste!! Nor will EVOO instead of extra virgin olive oil!! And saying BTW instead of by the way?!?! Really??

*Someone emailed me yesterday and told me that my blog header had a spelling mistake. Now I'm going to have to remake the header all over again.Yippee. Or.. I could  just leave it like that. Who cares really. 

*Thank God I'm not the only one who thinks Giada De Laurentiis is a phony and should be charged with fraud.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Cover for SISTERS

This is the new cover of SISTERS magazine.
Some voice inside me goes all "Oh! Look!! This is my photo!!!" every time I look at this!
Yes, I know, I should get over it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Commercials and Ads Are Evil

I don't really watch TV. Especially Arabic TV, and on the rare occasions that I do, it would either be National Geographic Channel, Jamie Oliver, or BBC's Top Gear (yes.. top gear). But.. you don't have to be a TV-aholic to notice the evil commercials and ads on there.

One ad that seriously gets under my skins is the Fair&Lovely ad. More than one actually, they keep making new ones every season.

So basically this is how it goes in all of their ads. A girl with a natural olive complexion and dull hair (notice how this isn't a shampoo ad) is pictured as being miserable and unsuccessful in whatever she does. She starts using fair&lovely, and suddenly.. she gets the dream job, everyone starts liking her, she starts smiling, her hair becomes gorgeous, and lets not forget her confidence and self esteem!!!!
Their advertising line is "Say yes to life!". So unless you're very white and very beautiful (good looking is not good enough), you have no life. You're worthless.

Now please tell me... what EVIL is this?!

This isn't about a company that wants to make more sales, its about making women feel uncomfortable in their own skin, and when I say skin, I don't mean the layer of soft tissue that covers their muscles and what not, I mean making them hate their surroundings and blame their failure on their lack of  unrealistic-beauty that is shown in most ads and commercials.

This would lead them to use more of the products that are being advertised, which are poisonous and do more harm than good, live with an obsession of being beautiful (and I think we've all seen where that could lead), etc.. etc.. and therefore living an unnatural, unhealthy life, unable to focus on bigger goals. Not to mention the emotional struggle they have to live through when comparing themselves with the models of said ads.

Why I mentioned the Fair&Lovely ad is because it's extremely obvious, pardon me, but you'd be a giant idiot if you didn't notice.

 I don't understand why no one talks about this??!!! Where is all that talk about empowering women? Where are all those silly feminists? The women's rights activists? The WORLD?! And they have the nerve to call hijab oppressive!!!!???
People are either seriously blind, or they can see, but they don't really care.

I could write three more posts about how this particular ad can harm society, including how a husband would look at his wife after seeing the ad and despise her for not looking as attractive as the model. How women would get judged based on their looks.. etc. (yes.. some people can be that superficial, even if it was only deep in their hearts), but I'd leave that to another day.

P.S I hope no one felt offended by the word "giant idiot", that was a metaphor, and I don't mean "you" per se, I mean people in general. Besides, when one is ranting on their blog, they have the right to use such words.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Draft

I found this unpublished post in my drafts folder. I can't remember where exactly I wanted to go with this.. but I thought I'd share.

"Ever heard of the slogan "live the moment"? I'm sure you all have. Some of you might even use it. But have you ever felt it? Or lived by it? I hardly think so.
We live as if the present does not exist, as if we are living for the future, waiting for moments to pass so we could move on to the next. Hoping that perhaps future moments are the ones worthy of living for, but.. the cycle begins again."

Hmmmm.. I wonder what was I trying to say here...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Random Thoughts of the Week

*Why is it that the best ideas only come to me when I'm about to fall asleep? And for some odd reason, they don't sound as good as they did the night before?

*I just don't understand for the life of me why people here don't celebrate Eid the way they celebrate christmas, or even valentine, even though this is supposedly an islamic country!! No decorations in malls or hotels, no gift giving, no festive spirit, no greeting cards.. why?! While christmas, easter and other christian holidays get all the attention... does that make sense?

*Why haven't they invented a cleaning, cooking, laundry doing, dish washing, litter changing, cutlery polishing, robot yet? And a hair dresser too while they're at it. They have the technology!!

*Oh November!! I love you, your candy-blue skies, your fleecy white clouds, your peppermint-fresh breeze.. please don't leave me!! I will miss you so!!

*It's Eid tomorrow.. how did time fly so fast?!

Happy Eid everyone :)
May Allah shower you all with blessings, and may your dreams come true!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I knew it!! I just knew it!

So.. my theory proved to be correct. Even if you decided you want to live in a cat-free environment, the decision is not yours to take!!

It is not up to you to decide, it just simply isn't.
The little rascals would know you have a soft spot, and they sure do know how to take advantage of that!!!!
Those illegal immigrants have settled right in front of the kitchen door, and now they live there.
They're a family of four feral kittens.

I think they came as a gift from God. Feeding them and caring for them (even if they just live in your backyard) is a blessing that I should be grateful for. I just worry about their future. Because I know that every cat-love story we lived did not end well. No happy endings.. (although Babyface and his family did end up in a loving home, the unhappy ending was on our side.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I've been adding new pages to this blog, and I thought it's about time I made an About Me page, so here it is.. the new page :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Babysitting With a Fun Twist

Babysitting isn't really my thing. I'm not really good with kids, I don't know why! I can't tell stories, sing songs, or play games.. it just isn't my thing, and to be honest I dread the idea of me having to do these things with my children one day. But maybe one would react differently with one's own children.. I like to believe that.

A friend wanted me to babysit for her the other day, and I gladly agreed. Her kids are the sweetest masha'allah, (maybe because they've been homeschooled? Ok.. go ahead and call me biased..!) but really, they are! With them I don't have to pretend I'm an 8 year old, talk like an 8 year old or act like one, (most people do that with kids here.. ) I can just be myself.

So instead of letting them watch TV or play some computer game, I thought we could bake cupcakes and take turns photographing them in different settings.
We made carrot cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.

We made little fondant flowers and carrots to go on top of the cream cheese frosting. 

Unfortunately, by the time they were done, it was already nighttime, and photographing the cupcakes in the garden (as I have planned) was out of the question.

The photos turned out really bad due to the dim lights in the kitchen. So I saved a few on the side, and photographed them the next morning.

Aren't they adorable?! 

 They were yum yumm yummy!!

Here is the recipe we used:


    * 2 ounces white chocolate
    * 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    * 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (liquid)
    * 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
    * 4 cups icing sugar
    * 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    * 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    * 1 1/8 cups white sugar
    * 1/3 cup brown sugar
    * 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 2 cups shredded carrots
    * 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
    * 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    * 1 cup chopped walnuts


   1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.
   2. In small saucepan, melt white chocolate over low heat. Stir until smooth, and allow to cool to room temperature.
   3. In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in white chocolate, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and orange extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Mix in heavy cream.
   4. Beat together the eggs, white sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl, and mix in the oil and vanilla. Fold in carrots and pineapple. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix flour mixture into the carrot mixture until evenly moist. Fold in 1/2 cup walnuts. Transfer to the prepared muffin cups.
   5. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks before topping with the icing and sprinkling with remaining walnuts.

I didn't add walnuts though, nor pineapples (pineapples? it just didn't make sense to me..)

If you try this, let me know how it turned out! Or maybe even take a picture?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gone Baby Gone

They're gone.. just like that.

They moved out this morning. I drove them to my friend's house, which is about an hour away.
It was an extremely stressful ride, for both them and me.They were meowing non-stop and trying to open the metal doors of the cages. If you have (or had) cats, you would know how stressful a car ride is to them, especially if it lasted for about an hour!

I won't get into the details of this very emotional trip from my house to my friend's, but I'll simply say it wasn't easy.

Now that I'm back home, everything around the house is reminding me of them. The white sofa in my bedroom Muthu used to sleep here, underneath the kitchen sink.. here's where I used to place their food, Babyface used to sleep in that corner, the balcony.. he used to enjoy sitting on the rail...
My throat is chocking, the waterfalls won't stop, and I just feel so numb.

I know they're being cared for, in a safe place, healthy and alright, but they're not here...!

My keyboard is being soaked with tears as I write this, so I think I'll just end this post, make myself a warm cup of cocoa, and go cry myself to sleep.

This is what my babies did on their first day in their new home..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Week to Say Goodbye

Less than a week, five days to be exact.

I knew this day would come, it was almost inevitable. The day when I would have to give my cats away.
I made a promise a while ago that I would not allow myself to get so attached to a cat again (ever again!), because I know we (as a family) could not have a cat (or a fur ball to be more specific) roaming around the house shedding hair in an environment where almost everyone is deathly allergic to cat hair! So imagine six.

We've had cats before, and lots of them! It got to a point where their number reached 36. But most of them were outdoor cats, with the exception of a few favorites, who were allowed inside the house (and when I say few, I mean about nine!), and that's when things started to get out of hand. My siblings and I were suffering, literally.

We moved from that house to the one we occupy now, and we had to find new homes for the 36 cats that were living in our garden. Some stayed, since they were used to living as outdoor cats in that area, and some went to shelters, and to new homes from there. It was really hard to part with them, hence the promise that I made.

But alas! If you are a cat lover, a cat is bound to find a way back into your heart, whether you like it or not!

It was Lula who started it, she was found wandering on a pavement by my mother at the age of three weeks, and honestly, who can leave a helpless kitten who has not yet developed hunting (or scavenging) skills and would therefore die of hunger? She was lost, and hungry, and missing her mommy! We looked for her mommy, but she was nowhere to be found, and so it was decided that she would come home with us.

Babyface then joined the family, since Lula was feeling lonely and in desperate need of a companion.

Having more kittens was not part of the plan. But we were too late, and Lula became pregnant before we even knew it.

The allergies were under control before the kitties arrived. But somehow it has developed into some sort of mutant monster that was getting out of hand!!! My nose (and my brother's as well) isn't functioning properly any more, I lost my sense of smell, due to it being blocked all day long. Even when it isn't, the strongest of smells cant seem to get recognized by my brain. Not to mention the asthma attacks, the constant sneezing, wheezing and coughing, etc.

And so came the decision to find a new home for the cats. Luckily, my friend (who is as obsessed with cats as I am) offered her house as a new home for them.

*sniff.. sniff*

They're moving out this weekend (insha'allah)...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Just Another Random Post..

Ever since my camera suddenly decided to rebel and go on strike about two weeks ago (although I've been very good to her!) I've been lacking motivation. My grandmother will be leaving for Toronto this Tuesday (insha'allah) and she's taking the camera with her to get fixed, I just hope I can find a way to get it back here as soon as possible. It has become a part of my life now, and dealing with not having it around for such a long time is going to be a bit difficult..

Enough about my camera, I'm sure it isn't really an interesting subject to read about.

Well, my mother and I attended this meeting organized by one of the (very few) homeschooling families here in Cairo. Me and my mother being homeschooling pioneers, since we started this before anyone had heard of it, we were the center of attention. Other families had children whose ages ranged from 12 to 2.

In the middle of the discussion, I was asked to share a bit of my experience, since I'm the only grown up there who went through homeschooling as a child, and so.. I began talking about some of the main points that I think were the highlight of our experience.

But somewhere, almost at the end of my "mini speech", I went from speaking constructive words that formed informative sentences that (I hope) made sense, to a blank sheet of paper that appeared in my head which resulted in me uttering nonsensical words that were not related, whatsoever, to what I was saying earlier! Or maybe they were, but the only thing they lacked was a sentence in which they should be in!

I have no idea what went wrong! My mind literally went blank!!!!

I am not really that good at speaking in public, although I did recite one of my poems to an audience of 40 once, and I did great, but that was a poem, and I was reading from a paper, no chance for words to run!
Or maybe I am? I'm just not used to it? Who knows.

All in all, I think the meeting went well. It's just great to finally meet a group of people who think almost the same way as we do, in a country where we're considered cuckoo heads..

Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm walking on.. errr.. fluffy pink frosting??

I came upon these photos while searching the blogger world for inspiration for an art project I'm working on.

Not exactly sure how to describe them.. simply magical would do for now!

On a side note, my DSLR camera is not working, and for that I'm feeling really frustrated. I've had it for almost a year, and I have no idea what went wrong! The shutter button is simply not responding!! For no apparent reason. I called tech support in Toronto, and they said I need to send it back to get serviced. Which means, I'd have to live without my baby for approximately three months, maybe more!

My old Sony compact camera would have to do for now, assuming the battery charger decides to start working properly again ( and it is so not doing that at the moment). Pathetic.. ain't I?

Anyways, I'll have to scavenge my archives for photos for my "color my world" project, so expect a post in a few days (inshallah).

Now.. excuse me while I go and resume my daydreaming... mmmm.. pink.. fluffly.. cupcakes.. marzipan.. sweet.. glittery gold.. bliss!!

Friday, September 17, 2010


I found this not-so-little spider by chance in my backyard this afternoon, and immediately ran back inside to get my camera! I tried getting closer as to capture all of the details on her legs and body, but I was extremely scared! She could be poisonous for all I know! My hands weren't stable as well, hence the shaky, unfocused photos bellow.


 While snapping away I started wondering how she would react if she knew I was photographing her! Would she pose for me? Would she shy away? Or maybe run back to her friends and excitedly tell them that her photos are going to be published on the world wide web for all the word to see! "I'm going to be famous!" (From what I know, spiders are usually solitary creatures.. but nevertheless)

But then I thought.. what if (in some way or the other) we (me and the spider) were able to communicate, would she be able to grasp the concept of "photography", or even try to understand, beyond her limited mind, the complexities of such a machine as the camera? How it works, how lenses work, the difference between a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens and a 50mm f/2.8 lens? What an aperture is? Or even try to understand who I am!! And why on earth was I looking at her with such interest!

This got me thinking even deeper. What if, there are things in this universe our limited human mind could not possibly, in any way, understand? No matter how much it was explained to us? Simply because our mind is not equipped to process such information..?

People assume they have unlocked the secrets of life, that they have reached a certain level of civilization and knowledge, therefore are able to judge what is right from wrong. And when they're faced with divine rulings from The All Knowing that organize our lives, and shape our personalities to make us better people, they flatly refuse to acknowledge them, call them outdated and oppressive! Why? Because they did not "make sense" to their limited human mind, just like "why that giant creature holding that big black box-like object in her hand is staring at me with such interest" would never make sense to our creepy crawler friend.

Humans can be such strange things...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Now here's a great ad!

Don't you just love this!?

I know I do! ♥

Monday, September 13, 2010

Afternoon Naps and Watermelon Juice

Watermelon juice? It sounded a bit odd when I first heard of it a few years ago, but I like trying new things so I tried it.. it was ok, but it lacked flavor.

So, I woke up from an afternoon nap yesterday, my throat was parched, and I was in desperate need of anything refreshing. I ignored my thirst, and pushed the thoughts of a cold glass of water away. But then I remembered that I was not fasting.. why am I torturing myself!? So I headed straight to the refrigerator, and to my surprise, found and nice big watermelon! And since I was extremely thirsty, I thought, hey.. why not.

Here is the recipe I used:

A few slices of seedless watermelon (depends how much you want to make, and if you couldn't find seedless watermelon, just remove the seeds)

A couple of ice cubes

Three mint leaves

A pinch of salt and pepper (yes I found that weird as well.. but they say it enhances the flavor)

Two tablespoons icing sugar (more or less.. depending on how sweet you want it)

And..a capful of orange blossom water,
I added this myself, it wasn't included in the recipe.
Syrians use orange blossom water with almost everything! Even drinking water! It has such a nice distinctive flavor that I really love..

That's it! Just pop all that in the blender, and give it a nice blend.
This was definitely much better than the one I tired a while ago, I think its because of the orange blossom water and the mint leaves..

One thing I should have done though, is strain the juice. It had so much pulp in it as you can see. But the bottom part was great!

Just use a small strainer, place it on top of the glass and pour the juice in.. enjoy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Color My World: White

I got the inspiration to do a color themed photography project from the "Little Brown Pen" blog, her photos are really inspirational! I'm thinking maybe.. a weekly project?

Next up.. yellow!! 

P.S. is it just me.. or is this blog slowly (but surely) turning into a photo blog? 

P.SS I cheated this time, used some of my old photos (sue me!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eid is All About Baked Goodies!

I know this is a bit late.. but Happy Eid everyone! Hope you had a great time!
This year Eid was a bit different, since my grandmother is here visiting. We spent about four days before Eid baking. She usually makes traditional Syrian Eid pastries every year. They're known as Ma'amoul. They're cookie-like, with pistachio filling. If you haven't tried them before.. I'm telling you, you're missing out!

They're not that hard to make, nor time consuming, but since we made 27 dozens, some for neighbors and some for relatives, it took us about four days! It was fun though! I decided to take photos of the whole process, now that was hard! Keeping your camera away from grease and butter, but at the same time handy for the next shot, not so easy..! and a bit annoying as well.

My grandma making the dough

preparing the pistachio filling... mmmm me loves pistachios!

cutting the dough into equal pieces makes the process much easier

aaaand... the stuffing begins

after the cookie has been stuffed, it gets pressed inside a shaping mold.. this is the fun part!

the cookies are then tapped onto the kitchen table with a sharp hit.. gave me a headache!

onto the baking sheet.. and into the oven.. yay! we're almost done!

icing sugar sprinkled on top! hmmmm.. reminds me of November's first snow fall!!

I knew you would want to see how it looks like from the inside.. so I took a couple of bites! (how very nice of me.. right?)

into the gift box they went.. farewell my lovelies! it was nice knowing you!

wrapped and ready to go!!
don't worry! I saved a couple dozens for myself! (as if you should really worry! lol)

So, as you can see, that is how we spent most of our Eid.
The prayer was lovely, held in the mosque's garden, as usual.

That's about it! And as the Syrians say "kel seneh w ento salmeen!" (translation: may you be blessed with every passing year.. or something like that..)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it.. huh?

We passed by a nice steep hill that overlooks the city of Sheik Zayed while driving to the grocery store this afternoon, and for a split of a second I thought to myself OOOooohh this would be great for tobogganing, I'm so coming here in the winter!!! But then I remembered, I'm in Egypt..

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Cats?! .. EWW!!!"

Is it normal for me to feel offended when someone tells me they don't like cats? Or better yet, they HATE them? (while putting so much emphasis on the H)!
It's just that I'm really sick of people responding with "Uh.. cats?! I hate 'em!" and "Seriously? You have 6 of them?! I can't STAND them!" when they find out I have 6 cats!

You wouldn't go up to a parent and bluntly tell them that you don't like other people's kids! Or that you find their kids really annoying! So why do people think it's OK for them to speak to me about cats in such a manner? A simple "I am not a cat person" would do, if it is of utmost importance to them that I know they don't really like cats!
And I seriously don't understand why they consider it a horrible thing to be living with cats under one roof. I'm sorry but I'm really fed up with getting these same responses with every single person that I meet!!!

We as humans (AND muslims) should have enough room in our hearts for all of God's creatures!
It is your problem (and loss) if you don't like cats, but at least you should not HHATE them.. sorry if I sounded offending with my last sentence, but those people never gave a damn whether their hateful comments were offending or not, so why should I..

I just had to write this post, despite me being VERY busy..

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Ramadan Journal- Day 4-19

Keeping a Ramadan journal seemed like a very good idea at first, but apparently, it isn't.
I'm finding it really hard to squeeze "posting an entry a day, AND a photo" into my schedule. So I guess I'll see you in 11 days!

In the meantime, check out Unique-Muslimah's photo journal, and Umm Travis' (from the Tea Break Thoughts blog)  Ramadan journal :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cover Girl!

I was contacted by Na'ima B. Robert, editor-in-chief of SISTERS, a magazine for muslim women, a few months ago, they wanted to use one of my photographs for the cover of their Summer issue! I was thrilled really, for someone to show interest in my photography means a great deal, but to have one of my photographs on the cover of a glossy magazine, well.. it's a great achievement! (at least for me..)

When we spoke on the phone, and she found out that I've been homeschooled all my life, she wanted to interview me about my experience as a homeschooler as well. Apparently, homeschooling is becoming a new "hit" among many Muslim mothers, and a lot of people are considering it as an option.

This is a photo of mine as well

You can read the article here.

The magazine came out about three weeks ago, click here if you want to get your own copy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Ramadan Journal- Day 2 and 3

Due to lack of sleep, and some other thing I'm sure you won't be interested in reading about, I missed yesterday's post.

The past two days taught me that things don't always go according to plan. Actually, they always NEVER do.
I have been planning to do certain things this Ramadan, starting from day one. I set a schedule for myself, I'm going to do this and do that, I never came around to doing any of what I've planned on doing.
I know.. Ramadan just started, and I've still got about 27 days to go, but still, I feel a bit disappointed.

I have a feeling the coming days are going to be different though..

On a side note, my grandmother is here visiting from Toronto.
Gramdmas are such wonderful things! They are truly a blessing! Having them around makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, they bring such beautiful, bright cheerfulness, and make home feel more "home-y"!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Ramadan Journal- Day 1

I was in the middle of writing this post last night when the electricity blacked out, and the post wasn't saved. So I called it a night and went to bed, in the hope of retrieving some of the words I wrote from my memory in the morning.

It was an extremely hectic day yesterday. The kitchen was such a mess, there were piles and piles of dishes from the day before heaped on the counters. Grocery that needed to be packed in the cupboards, and a floor that desperately needed a good ol' scrub! A nightmare.
It was left up to me to clean all this mess before Iftar (sunset, when we break our fast) and those who know me well, know how much I love cleaning.. I'm a big fan of cleaning (since you can't hear those words being said in a sarcastic way, I thought I'd mention that I'm being really sarcastic here..).

So, on the first day of Ramadan, my whole afternoon (and part of the evening) was spent scrubbing away in the kitchen. My plans of reading a chapter of the Quran and taking advantage of the blessed day to do something constructive all went down the drain.

A day gone to waste. The first day of Ramadan gone by without me doing anything significant, learning something new, or gaining any spiritual growth. Nothing..

So there I was, standing in the kitchen, with soapy foam all over my arms, hot water streaming down the kitchen sink, with the sound of forks, spoons and knives clinking so loud it started to echo inside my eardrum, and  I wondered, surly there must be something to be learned from this..

What, you may ask, would scrubbing a bunch of dirty dishes teach you?

Well first of all, that you shouldn't leave dirty dishes over night, they will stink so bad and make it harder for you to wash...
No, I kid.. but seriously though..

It really taught me that if you do something for the sake of God, even the hardest of tasks will turn out to be surprisingly easy and time will fly by without you even noticing.

Why would someone do the dishes for the sake of God? For a few apparent reasons. Here are three.

1- Cleanliness is next to godliness. Or, to phrase it Islamically, cleanliness is a part of one's faith, as prophet Mohammad peace be upon him said.

2- It could be considered as an act of "helping others", which is highly valued in Islam, especially during Ramadan. Who am I helping here? My family members, mainly my mother (yes, I still live with my family..)

3- Being alone in a place, doing something that does not require brain power gives you a chance to reflect on things, to try and look at your life from a different angle, a more positive angle. To count your blessings and give thanks for them.. etc.

Turned out it wasn't a wasted day after all! Dirty dishes or no dirty dishes.. there is always a thing or two to be learned from everyday life activities!

Thanks to Bobo (my little bro) for modeling in this photo, and the previous one :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

هلا رمضان!

So, today was the first day of Ramadan!! I was looking forward to this day for sometime. I know.. who doesn't? But somehow this time feels different. For some odd reason I feel more mature this Ramadan. I feel more aware of how much of a blessing this month really is. More grateful for this opportunity to cleanse my soul and strengthen my relationship with my creator.

So I've decided to create a mini to-do list to keep track of things I want to accomplish during this month. So here goes!

1- read a chapter of Quran a day

2- complete my Ramadan reading list

3- pray taraweeh everyday

(I know, you must be wondering "Three things? Thats it?!" but believe me, they're a handful!)

One other thing that I wanted to do was keep a Ramadan journal, where I'll list one thing (or several things) that I'll learn everyday. I think this will be a very encouraging project, since I NEED motivation in order to be productive.

So watch this space! (if you're interested, that is..)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DIY Room Makeover..

I've been going through a very "unproductive" phase lately, a "stuck in a rut" sort of situation. So.. what better way to remedy this than a room makeover? Change always leaves me feeling fresh and productive. All I needed was a visit to the local hardware store, a few buckets of paint, and some creativity! No.. I didn't repaint the walls, just the bookcase, and dressing table/shoe closet thingy. I chose white because I wanted the room to appear bigger, and white does that..
Plus, its always nice to wake up in the morning and feel the whole room welcoming the new day with its bright cheerfulness. The walls are a very pale shade of pink, which I thought would look nice with white.

Here is a before and after photo of the dressing table/shoe closet.

I also painted the mirror frame white, it was brownish red, my least favorite color!

The bookcase.


Painting was the easiest part! Sanding? Well.. that wasn't so easy!


The poster on the wall is a present from my very talented friend :) its one of her photos printed on canvas. It's really nice to have pieces of original artwork on your walls, instead of some poster you got from IKEA..

I had so many seashells lying around, so I thought why not go for a seashell theme?
Some of those seashells were gifts from a friend, some were ones that my sister and I collected from Ain Sokhna beach, as well as Marsa Matrooh a few years back.

I broke this photo holder by accident a while back, I thought about throwing it away, but decided against this idea.. it might come in handy someday.. and it did! I removed the pink paint using sanding paper, and glued three seashells on, it looked even better than it did before it broke!

The rose photo on the right is mine, while the sea at sunset (or was it sunrise? I'm not sure) is my friend's.

One other thing I did to save space, and organize my "very messy" jewelry box was an earring chandelier. My jewelry box was always such a mess, I would have to spend a considerable amount of time looking for the piece of jewelry that I wanted to wear, so an earring chandelier sounded like a very efficient time saving device!

..and it was! No more having to rummage through piles and piles of sparkling objects to find the wanted earring! I also made a necklace stand, but forgot to photograph it..
This chandelier was actually a candle holder, it was golden, I used a sliver spray paint to make it silver.
A close up

the photo on the right is the only photo I took of the necklace stand

So if you're feeling depressed and in desperate need for change, I strongly recommend a room makeover!! It didn't cost much either!