No paper, lots of problems

I have to write Imandatory #7, it’s due tomorrow and all I have is a blank page and a blinking “|” (you know what I’m talking about – the thing that moves you when you type, haha)

I seem to get the best ideas when I’m driving – which is annoying because I can’t type or write them down, and when I get the chance to, the words and sentences don’t line up the same way. Infuriating!

Hopefully posting up Imandatory Reads #3, #4, #5 and #6 will give me the boost I need. I hope you guys who are reading these for the first time, enjoy them! Reading them in newspaper format is a lot different (and better, for me personally!) than reading the online versions. As always, thank you for your support and love!

3) My Hair Lady 13) My Hair Lady 2

Posted in Imandatory Read | 3 Comments

Blue-sy Monday

I am trying to be a part of the 5AM club. I have decided that 2017 is the year where I make this habit a reality – it’s a lot harder than I thought. Last night I thought I’d be able to jump out of bed at 5AM, but when Taylor Swift sang “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play” – Ashraf turned her off and buried me under the sheets. Totally his fault.

So the day didn’t start off how I wanted it to, but Alhamdulillah I’ve been very productive today! It’s been a bit blue and slow, but I’ve ticked so many things off my list!

One of my to-do things is uploading last week’s Imandatory up on here so you guys can take a bit of a peek. I’m working on article #4. Article #3 has already been submitted (my editor likes it!) and I have to submit photos for it. Going to Mims’ after work to get some of the photos I need. I’m planning to leave right at 6PM and do food prep for the week, wash Ashraf’s white shirts in bleach,  organize my desk and find someone to help me put up my whiteboard (more on that later).

Have a great week everyone!

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Posted in Imandatory Read, Self Development | 3 Comments

Say Hello To The “Imandatory Read”

Be honest – who can’t pronounce it properly? Or do you need a split second before saying it to be sure?

I’d like to put it on record that I checked with at least seven people before deciding on naming the column “Imandatory”. I wanted my name in it (a bit into myself eh?) and thought a play on words would be nice. Mims and Moo came up with a ton of suggestions and I really liked Imandatory.

Do you get it though? I want the column to be a “mandatory read” for you – something you have to read all the time (or every two weeks) – and my name is “Iman”, so all I needed to do was pop an “I” in front of “mandatory” and that’s it!

So start off by saying my name “ee-mun” and add “duh-toh-ree” and you got it! Imandatory! Meh, we’ll see how long we go with this.

I’ve gotten some very kind and sweet messages of support and congratulations, I just want you to know how grateful I am for this overwhelming response! I never imagined people would even realise I had a column (but when someone who has 800K+ followers posts about it, you’re bound to get a reaction, haha)!

My journalism professor for International Affairs in third year, Professor Cohen was a columnist in the Ottawa Citizen. He wrote about the world, politics and current affairs. I used to think he was so cool and I would imagine what it would be like to be able to write about anything you want, and have people actually want to read it.

Well Professor Cohen, I hope I made you proud.

Okay sure, my content is not as serious as the global status quo, the impending pressure on international security or why America chose who they did – but I still hope he’s proud of me! Hahaha.

I was blown away when I got the offer from the Editor of Flair. Really? Me!? I’m just, Me!

But she told me I could do it, and I thought it would be a great way to gain more experience and to try out something new. Also I wanted to make the little journalist in me feel fulfilled and finally get to see her name in black ink. Plus my dad makes jokes about paying for journalism school and not seeing me on the news or in print  -_-

I guess I am on TV (in a different capacity) and in print (also not under the hard news section, oh well) so Papa’s jokes can now die.

The Imandatory Read comes out every two weeks in the Flair section of the News Straits Times – and for all my wonderful friends abroad who aren’t able to get a hard copy, you can read my “maiden article” here – and I’ve also uploaded the scanned versions below.

Thank you again to everyone for your constant support. I’ll repay you by blogging more.

Wait, maybe I should not make promises I can’t keep, haha. Okay, I’ve got to write a few articles now, deadlines are coming up! Love you guys!

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Posted in Imandatory Read | 7 Comments

I Hate This Funk

Tonight I am feeling a mish mash of feelings. I am annoyed, sad, frustrated, confused and a whole cocktail of other negative emotions.

But the worst part of it all is I don’t know why I feel this way. Is it because I’m annoyed Ashraf would rather play his video gamed instead of hang out with me? Is it because I know I have to wake up early tomorrow, or simply the fact that I’ve reached my cookie quota for today and I’m dying for a bag of Famous Amos.

I don’t like negative feelings. They’re alright once in a while because balance is important – but I hate being in a “funk”. If I knew what was bugging me, I’d do something about it and resolve my issue, but I’m at a loss … I’m annoyed that I feel this way.

Iman is not positive all the time.

I’m going to sleep this off, and hopefully tomorrow morning will be much much better.

Posted in Self Development | 3 Comments

We’re Going To The Beach!

We’re sitting in a pretty bumpy plane heading to Male. Male is the capital city of Maldives. Yes, Maldives is big enough to have a capital city.

Girl Boss and Man Boss are in Tokyo for a work trip and it was “too expensive” to bring me along. I secretly think Man Boss is trying to phase me out of their trips so they can make it more romantic #thirdwheelproblems They’ve been on four trips without me – how is that supposed to make me feel?! Who’s going to iron their clothes, carry her bag and make sure they have all their limbs?! drama lebih

Anyway, they’re gone for the whole week and the last time they left me I was bored out of mind. There’s only so many times I can clear my inbox in a day. 

Lightbulb: take the week off! People assume that if they’re gone, I don’t work, but far from the truth, I’ve been at the office sorting mail and “boosting morale” on all their previous trips.  But this time I felt like I was due for a bit of break. 

This job takes a lot out of me (dedicating your life to someone else does that!) and I don’t want to burn out, though it feels like it sometimes! So I cashed in some of my untouched annual leave, visited AirAsia.com and decided to go somewhere we’ve never been before!

Ashraf recently finished his Masters and starts his new job in October inshallah so this trip is a nice break for me, and a fresh beginner for him before he starts his new adventure. Fine, these are just lame excuses for a trip.

I’ve never done something as impulsive as this before and it seems sort of surreal to not have to “ask permission” from my parents or worry about having enough money to go – you just have to dive in and make it happen. We just casually told them that we’re leaving for a few days, and I shifted around some of our budget to make it work. Being married is awesome guys, you can do (almost) anything you want! I highly recommend.

So the plane ride is 4.5 hours, and we’re more than half way through it. I splurged on the hot seats (big spender) and bought a bottle of water for RM 3. I’m tired of reading my book, my mouth is dry from eating too many sour skittles, I have a bit of a stomach ache, my phone died, Ashraf’s laptop only has Batman cartoons and thriller movies, and I just want to get there already!

I can already imagine the ocean and the palm trees and all the sunblock I’m going to have to slather on myself. We’ll be arriving at 8PM though so I hope the ferry that needs to take us to our hotel will still be operating. If not, we’ll figure it out. It’s an adventure!

Okay, I’m going to play the jumping dinosaur game on the google page that comes out when there’s no internet – you know what I’m talking about. See you in Male!

Posted in Marriage, Travel | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Lace Dress

I recently posted a short snippet of our wedding video on my Instagram.

This wasn’t the original video we had made. Our wedding videographer, Jubsi put together some great clips but it wasn’t really “us”. They shot some amazing footage and were kind enough to give me the raw clips.

Last week, I passed them to Moo, my little sister and said “you know what to do”. She has this weirdly cool way of putting together videos and I’m a huge fan of her editing style. When she showed me what she had come up with, I instantly wanted to share it with everyone!

Within the hour, I got a few sweet comments about how much some people liked the video, and a few people commented on the dress I wore for our nikah. So I think it’s finally time to tell you the story of the lace dress.

I didn’t know what to wear for the nikah – do I wear a baju kurung? Should I get something made? Do I rent an outfit from a bridal shop? I was confused and browsed Pinterest for inspiration and guidance. I settled on the idea of a slinky dress but was still open to other options.

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Possible dream wedding dress! One of my shortlisted looks.

So Mims and I shopped around. We thought we’d be thrifty and buy something nice but cheap from H&M. They have so many nice white boho style dresses! We did get a very sweet dress from there, but didn’t end up wearing it (I wore it for my berinai brunch instead, haha).

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Cute boho-esque dress from H&M

After trying on so many white, taupe, off-white, pearl, beige dresses, I fell in love with this gorgeous slinky dress from Ms Selfridge at ISETAN. It was fitting to the body, had amazing beaded detailing, felt like the ‘right kind of heavy’ when you held the material and glittered whenever it walked – I was sold! The only con – it didn’t have sleeves and there was huge cutout to show off your sexy back.

I.Did.Not.Care.

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The Ms Selfridge dress! Yes, that’s my best attempt at photo-shopping out aurat.

We bought it and after gliding around in it at home we decided to secure all the beads on the dress by re-sewing on the beads. For weeks Mims and I sat in front of the TV, went through and tightened all the beads with extra strong thread, fixed the spots that were missing a few beads and knotted everything up nice and tight. We finally completed the whole dress after a few weeks (it’s a lot harder than you think!) and went to a tailor. He said he would put in chiffon sleeves that matched the champagne colour of the dress and close up the hole in the back. Awesome, cool, thank you Mr. Tailor!

We went to pick it up five days before the nikah and when I tried it on I burst into tears. He had spoiled my dress. All he did was was cut  cloth into a basic shirt top and tacked it into the dress. I looked like a blinged out milk maid. I cried, I was so confused and angry. I didn’t want to pay him for the crappy job he did. How could he do this to me!?

Instantly Mims went into problem solving mode and took me back to the mall and we had to start the hunt all over again. I couldn’t get over my beaded dress and refused to look at anything. Everything looked so ugly! Nothing would ever come close to my champagne Ms Selfridge dress!

She made me try on a lace dress in Parkson that was way too big. “I hate it, I can’t get married in this.” Yes, 25 year old Iman threw a tantrum in the middle of the department store and a few ladies stared at my bridal meltdown. I sulked for a few minutes and Mims told me to get a grip. We have to find something and move on with life, she said #toughlove

We found a simple lace dress and decided that it was good enough. I didn’t want to get married in “good enough”, I deserved more than that #dramaqueenmuch

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Not happy about this dress – can you tell?

Our neighbour came over and said that she’d help us take the dress in a bit around the loose areas and sew on some lace beading on the sleeves and waist. When I went to try the lace dress on the day before the nikah, I thought “okay, not so bad lah. I could get married in this.” I still didn’t love it, but it was something.

The morning of the nikah, I got my make up done, put on the dress and veil, and went off to the hall. I got there, everyone was waiting, Ashraf came, he said the right things, and then I became his wife. I don’t remember the lace dress, I don’t remember the heartache of looking like a bedazzled Dutch Lady mascot, I don’t remember the agony of finding the right thing to wear.

All I remember was Ashraf and how happy I felt. I only think about the lace dress when I go down to get a pair of shoes from Mims’ closet and I see it hanging there, and when I watch our wedding video.

Lesson: it really doesn’t matter what you wear, all that matters is the man you’re going to marry. And as cheesy and stupid as this sounds, it’s completely true. Yes, you still have to look good, but you won’t die if you don’t get the first, second of even third choice dress. So don’t stress over it too much k!

Posted in Malaysia, Marriage, Self Development, Wedding | 6 Comments

Hearing Impaired

My ear popped.

I was at my in-laws for buka puasa two weeks ago and as I was lying down to give our nephew a kiss, I heard the loudest POP in my right ear. And then, silence.

Actual silence. Then our nephew whimpered a bit and I realised I could hear out of my left ear, but my right – nada. Nothing. NOTHING. I wasn’t freaked out by the ‘not being able to hear’ part, because honestly my ears get blocked quite often (once in Ottawa, my ears were blocked for almost a whole summer, and then they just randomly fixed themselves one morning, weird) – I’d say like twice a year for a few days?

What DID freak me out was the ‘pop’ sound I hear. Imagine a firework going off in your ear, that’s what it sounded like. LOUD.

I told Ashraf about it, and we both thought it was just another ear episode and it would unblock on its own, but after a week I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore. I started getting massive headaches that would just linger around my temples and a ringing sound in my ear that just wouldn’t stop.

It’s so annoying not being able to hear. I had to actually turn my left ear towards someone if they were speaking to me from the right. Some friends at work would even come up real close to me, and move their mouths silently as if they were talking, just to annoy me (you know who you are). Being a part of conversations were hard. Answering questions were tough because I wasn’t sure what they were saying!

I worked at the store for a day to help with the Raya crowd. I was helping someone in the changing room and I thought she asked me “Do I look good?” I was about to nod enthusiastically (because she really did!) but something in my gut made me say “sorry, could you repeat that?” – and then I figured that she actually said “Do I look fat?”

Can you imagine if I had actually nodded!? I would’ve been fired. She would’ve yelled at me. It would’ve been bad…

So all that to say, after intense nagging from Mims and Ashraf basically having to drag me to the emergency room, we got a diagnosis. I had an ear infection and a ruptured eardrum.

HOW does someone break an ear drum you may ask? I have no idea.

I don’t listen to excessively loud music with my earphones, no one has hit my ear before, and I haven’t been yelled at recently. The doctor at the emergency room gave me antibiotics and ear-drops that would last me a week and sent us along.

“THIS IS IT,” I thought,”I’ll be able to hear again!”

Big lie – the medicine provided no sense of relief whatsoever and I was still walking around reading lips for another week.

The second day of raya was the worst. I couldn’t help but break down crying in the car on the way to Ashraf’s aunt’s house. My ears were swollen, I couldn’t hear at all and I was just so frustrated.

Ashraf decided to go back to KL immediately; so we drove from Singapore all the way back to the emergency room. (Tip: when your husband is exhausted from driving, find Kevin Hart comedy videos on YouTube and rig it to your car speakers – works like a charm. Ashraf laughed so hard during the last two hours of the journey)

We got the emergency room and saw other people who were also in their baju kurungs and raya clothes. A very nice doctor looked into my ear and said “oh boy, that looks quite bad” – no kidding. The antibiotics obviously didn’t work so she gave us a referral to see an Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) Specialist. We saw him the next day and he took a little peek in my ear and said, “girl, you got glue ear.”

I beg your pardon?

He took a fancy looking stick that had a camera attached to the end and manoeuvred it through my ear, and suddenly we were looking at my eardrum on the screen. It was SO cool (other than the ear wax that was chilling there, but you know what I mean).

Doctor Koh explained that I had phlegm behind my eardrum. Usually taking medicine would drain it out, but by this time my ear had been in this condition for two weeks so the only option was from him to drain it out.

Excuse me?

He had to do a ‘minor procedure’ to fix me. He put numbing cream in my ear and let it sit for an hour, and then I was invited on to his chair where he basically made an incision in my eardrum, drained/sucked out the phlegm and then inserted a little tube (or ‘grommet’ as they say in the medical world)in the incision. He left the grommet in my ear and said it’ll drop off within 6 months as the cut closes.

Grommet Insertion

Yes, I’m walking around with a tube in my ear! It’s so tiny, but if you put a flashlight at my ear and peek in, you can see it!

The procedure went fine. But it was a little scary because I could hear everything. EVERYTHING. If I thought the POP was loud, this was worse. 20 minutes of non stop fireworks and drills going off in my head, add that to the feeling of deep digging in my ear (like Q-tipping, but going even farther than you KNOW you should)

Alhamdulillah the procedure went well and even though it didn’t give me ‘instant relief’ like Doctor Koh promised, I still felt 50% better. I even swore to Ashraf that I had super hearing for a while – “did you hear that car go by?” “did someone just cough three rooms down?” “I can hear my heartbeat!” – he was not impressed. Boys.

Posted in Health and Wellness, Marriage | 5 Comments