Saturday, 20 December 2014

Movies in bed

The weekend is heaven-sent to every working person. I've always liked my me time but now I LOVE my me time. All of a sudden, little things like not setting my alarm clock for the next day or reading a book have become pretty exhilarating experiences and I've found new ways to spend my weekend.

I used to really dislike watching films because I'm such a fidgety person. I can't sit still for more than a couple of minutes without playing with my watch, looking at my phone or looking around the room. Watching a movie in the cinema is such a struggle unless I'm in the right state of mind.

Ever since I started working, I've to say, I quite enjoy watching films. It's a lovely little escape to a fantasy land for 2 hours. Well, I've rented 2 movies from iTunes and I'm STOKED to watch them this weekend while being tucked in bed.

I'm always very outdated when it comes to movies. I only watched the last Harry Potter film about 2 years after it was released. I did hear that 12 Years A Slave was an amazing film but never got around to watching it and I'm not too sure why.

If you're wondering why I chose those 2 movies to rent, I've 2 solid reasons: Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston. I think both of them are adorable plus I'm a massive fan of British actors and actresses in general; I can't help but admire how talented and intelligent they are. 

Most if not all British actors are trained unlike a lot of American actors who got discovered in a bar or shopping mall somewhere so they really are well prepped for their line of work. Plus, I'm a sucker for intelligent conversations. 

Go watch actors/actresses like Keira Knightley, Emma Watson, Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch answer interview questions on YouTube and be blown away by their responses. They're quirky, witty and sharp in their interviews; it's so refreshing to watch. Anyway, it's movie time for me. Happy weekend everybody!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Weekly Post-it #2

I think there'll be times in your life when you feel as if you're alone. Not lonely, alone. 

You want to pursue a career that no one in your family or your circle of friends is 
particularly supportive about. It doesn't have to be a bad career choice but for 
one reason or another, they're just not giving you the kind of support you need.

You don't get along with your friends in your class or your work mates. 

People just don't understand what you're going through and you end 
up having to deal with whatever situation you're in on your own.

Or perhaps you THINK no one understands what you're doing through
and that makes you feel like you're going through something alone.

Those are just some random examples. But you know what I'm talking about; it's when no one else is on the same page as you. I've learnt to embrace these moments however rare or regular they may be because trust me, time alone is good for you. Why? Because you learn SO much about yourself.

You also get used to doing things for yourself, something a lot of people struggle with. Sometimes we get so busy we forget to self-reflect and follow trends too much. There are some people out there who can't do anything without validation from someone.

It's as if their sole purpose in life is to please others. They become spineless when life forces them to make an important decision. I'm at that point in my life where I just dive into things. Sometimes we take too much precaution and end up watching opportunities go by.

It's also ok if not many people share the same interests as you. For example, if you're the only person in your circle who's passionate about the environment or something people find unusual—don't let it throw you off. Frankly, I don't know many people who are as nerdy as me but it's all good. ;p

And then, there are people who are afraid to be alone in terms of companionship. They jump from relationship to relationship and you start to wonder if the relationship they're in is even meaningful to them. To any teen out there, relationships are better off for adults who are prepared to commit to each other.

This is my personal opinion, people are bound to disagree. Immature puppy love don't last and can be emotionally quite draining. My friends are often surprised (or creeped out) by how nonchalant I am at being single when so many young adults are frantically searching for their other halves. I suppose they find the thought of being alone quite frightening. What if they're alone forever? Gasp. Shock. Horror.

Well firstly, it helps when you're 100% entirely emotionally dependent on yourself. That means when times get hard, you're the first person to console yourself. When you're down, you're the first person to pick yourself back up.

When you've succeeded in something, you're the first person to congratulate yourself. You feel proud of yourself; the person you want to celebrate with the most is yourself because—why not?! You're the one who put in the hard work. No one can acknowledge it better than you can.

To me, relationships are when 2 complete individuals come together to form a dynamic duo—NOT a half and a half. You can't be in one if you don't know yourself, what pisses you off, YOUR goals in life, what you enjoy doing, your shortcomings, etc.

It's important to work on yourself first. Imagine already struggling with yourself and having to put up with another person's shortcomings. Noooo way, man. Ain't nobody got time for that. I believe in having friends/partners who help you with your personal growth. If they can't, it's simply not worth it.

Btw, I'm not telling anyone to live in a cave and have no friends. What I'm simply trying to say is, it's completely ok to have brief moments or even prolonged periods of time when you're not quite on the same page as everyone else.

Life is short. Make it worth it. Don't rush into things. We're blessed with one life on earth, a functioning body and intellect. Everyday presents itself with a million opportunities to learn about life and yourself. Alone time is a HUGE privilege, believe me. Seize it!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Why I Love Anne Hathaway

Like most girls my age, we were first introduced to the talented actress Anne Hathaway when she first starred in Princess Diaries. No matter how old I get that movie will always bring out the teen in me. I stumbled upon this video on YouTube and I just had to share it plus it's been a while since I last shared a video. I admire those who are gifted with a good singing voice. Envious, in fact. If I could sing, I wouldn't stop serenading people. Anyway, enjoy!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Some self-appreciation

Today, my hands helped me press snooze on my alarm. They helped me take ablution for prayers. They helped me eat so that I can have the energy and nutrition for a healthy body. My eyes —although they need glasses—helped me read an interesting book. They helped me navigate to the bathroom, to my workplace. Today, my untoned arms hugged my little brother. They helped me carry my bags to work. Today, my mouth helped me consume food. Being a lover of food, I enjoyed the mixture of flavours in my meals. Can you imagine how dull our meals would be had we not been able to taste? Had we not been able to feel the different textures of our food? Can you imagine not being able to feel how smooth and fluffy our beds are after a long, hard day at work? Imagine not being able to dance to  our favourite song whenever it comes up on radio, imagine not being able to HEAR music. Imagine not being able to talk, laugh or tell someone about your day because you couldn't speak. How awful it'd be to not be able to smell your favourite scent. I for one, love the smell of roses, ylang ylang and hot chocolate. 

Thing is, we may complain about how we look. We may look in the mirror and wish we had it all: a slim body, clear skin and stunning facial features. But I've learnt that a perfect body is one that is healthy and functioning well. Do you know someone who's ill? Who's bed ridden? Who's confined in the hospital? Do you know what they'd do to trade bodies with you? 

No doubt about it, We have made man and woman in the best of forms. (Surah At-Tin: 4)

Certain people can point out 'your flaws' but be grateful that your 'imperfect' body helped you live today. Not everyone has the privilege to live normally and enjoy all the things that you take for granted on a daily basis. If people can't accept how you look then they're just shallow.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Notes From My Travels by Angelina Jolie

Notes From My Travels is a journal written by award-winning actress Angelina Jolie, 39, during her visit to refugee camps around the world with UNHCR. The talented star is a goodwill ambassador to UNHCR, and was also recently presented honorary damehood by Queen Elizabeth II. 

When I posted the above picture on my Instagram, a few people commented and privately messaged me saying they never knew she had a book. Yes, it's one of those underrated reads out there but trust me, it's life-changing. In this book, she writes about her trip to Ecuador, Africa, Cambodia, Pakistan/Afghanistan and Colombia. 

In her introduction, she mentioned beforehand that she's not a writer and this was simply her journal but that's what makes the book so special. Her writing is raw and unpolished. It's effortlessly honest so you get to experience how she felt without any exaggerations.

The most common theme in this book is gratitude"I realize more every day how fortunate I have been in my life I hope I never forget and never complain again about anything," she writes. Not only was she grateful, she also mentions how grateful the refugees were with what little they had. 

Today when you grab your smartphone and get into your air-conditioned car to get to your air-conditioned office, remember that there are people who do not even have a pinch of what you have and yet they appreciate and embrace life more than you do. 
Taken by Marco Di Lauro during Angelina's trip to Afghanistan
In regards to God and religion, she writes: "You would think these would be the last people on earth to believe that, and yet you realize they have a deeper understanding because of all they went through." This is true, in my experience those that live in poverty and extreme hardship are blessed with profound wisdom.

They practise their faith with such love and devotion. They do not suffer from a holier-than-thou complex. They are loving and their hearts are brimming with gratitude. We can learn a thing or two on how to improve our spirituality based on their way of living.

Cambodia is where she met her adopted son Maddox therefore it's no surprise that she has a great love for that country. "These people live in such poor conditions, and yet they have such a beautiful spirit. Everyone is working, and their children all seem so happy," she writes. 

"Past the sadness and self-pity these people accept the reality of their lives and are grateful for all they have." How amazing is that? 
Taken by Marco Di Lauro during Angelina's trip to Afghanistan
During her trip to Pakistan, she met Afghan refugees and the women she met spoke of their lives before the Taliban. When describing Afghan women, she said: "Their eyes smile through their veils."

"I want to get a list of what the Koran actually teaches compared with the Taliban's interpretation of the Koran's religious laws and sacred teachings. I think that it is important for all of us to understand and know the difference."

I find it despicable when people oppress others in the name of 'religion'. The taliban, KKK, the Burmese monks persecuting Rohingya Muslims and ISIS all do this. It's cowardly. It's weak to want to control others due to your ego and prejudices and then hide behind the name of religion. I know that for many people around the world, their faith liberates and empowers them as it does for me.
Taken by Marco Di Lauro during Angelina's trip to Afghanistan
At times when I read this book, I couldn't help but weep. It's unfair that there are millions around this world with little to no access to clean water, food and have to flee their countries due to war. Angelina herself summed it up quite nicely: "The imbalance of funding in the world makes no sense to me."

But I suppose, despite lacking in wealth, freedom and basic resources, these refugees have something that a lot of free people do not possess. Their eyes twinkle with gratitude and their smiles are sincere. They know that life is valuable therefore they live in a way that makes life so much more meaningful.

"... if you've met them [refugees], they are also some of the strongest, most beautiful, most capable people in the world. Amazing survivors. 
Taken by Marco Di Lauro during Angelina's trip to Afghanistan
Angie's experience with the refugees was sobering but it did impact her state of mind. "The mind wants to forget because it hurts and weighs so much on the heart and soul." Now isn't that relatable? Unless you're incredibly lucky to have never experienced heartache, I can assume that we all know how it feels like to want to block out pain whatever the reason may be. 

I have the utmost respect for Angelina Jolie because humanitarian work requires a lot of emotional and mental strength. She left the comforts of her luxurious lifestyle to visit these places to spread awareness. 

As a woman we have our maternal instincts; I know it's hard for any woman to see others, especially children and women suffering. It's a natural inclination to want to protect and nurture others that are vulnerable. I think Angie took a brave step by visiting those refugee camps. 

Overall, this book is highly recommend to fans of the movie star and those who want to know more about what's happening in UN refugee camps around the world. All proceeds from this book are donated to UNHCR so you're helping the refugees with every purchase. So worth it. 

This blog post is 1 of 2 new series I'm putting on my blog called 'bookworm series' and the second one is 'hiking series' - check them out under the labels at the bottom of this blog. Since I read and go hiking quite often, I thought it'd be worth blogging about it especially since reading and hiking are two things that I looove doing. I honestly can't remember if I've ever reviewed or recommended a book on this blog but this post will definitely be the first of many. InsyaAllah!

Hope you guys enjoyed this first entry of the 'bookworm series'.