WORK HARD & BE KIND

WORK HARD & BE KIND

BACK TO SCHOOL!

Salam!
This post is going to be everything school! From study tips, the perfect study playlist, the perfect outfit, and the perfect duaa, I have got you covered!

real talk:

The first thing I’d like to remind everyone that motivation always has to be refreshed and renewed. I read somewhere once that motivation was like a shower. We take showers, but we get dirty, and so we have to take them again. That’s how motivation is – we buy new stationary, or hear a inspirational story and we feel energized and ready. But the responsibilities pile up, and the precedence we give schoolwork stops, and can eventually cause a unhealthy cycle. A tip of mine would be to follow a study Instagram or blog. This will give you daily, or weekly inspiration and hopefully motivate you!

Something that I’ve been trying to learn, and a tip I have is that sometimes we really need to get real with ourselves. There will be times that you feel the stress and build up of school on you, or the list of tasks growing but nothing getting completed. The BIGGEST tip that I can give is that self-discipline (when it comes to studying) will never be obtained in the future, it will ONLY be obtained now.

tips:

For this post, I tried to collect some of the best tips out there and I genuinely pray that anyone reading this has a year of success and opportunity.

here is a google docs that I found full of study tips!

here are some study tips that I picked out from Pinterest! I think these are the best ones, but I will link my Pinterest down below.

  • Study less, but study better. How well you study is NOT determined by how long you study. Five hours of studying while being on your phone, isn’t studying, its five hours of being on your phone. If you are distracted, your studying will be vague and broad, and you will be wasting your time. The most important things are to prioritize, set realistic timelines, and to try to reduce all distractions when studying. A good way to do this is by making detailed to-do lists, or keeping a planner.

Studying English:

  • Don’t read everything, but read as much as you can. Being able to fully understand what you read, rather than reading and having a broad understanding is way better. When you are reading for a class, ask yourself the questions, it will keep you engaged in what you read, and will give you a greater understanding.

Studying Math/Science:

  • Practice everyday! Do a little everyday. There is no need to overwhelm yourself, just practice practice practice. Make a cheat sheet, do all the steps in a problem, study the small concepts – it will help makes the entire corse easier.

 PLAYLIST

This a study playlistsI found on Spotify that I find myself listening too:

The one I created:

Outfit

For this post, I was styled by my friend Haneen Muhyeddin. She picked this outfit out for me, and I absolutely loved it! I am a true believer that if you go to school looking good, you will feel good, and that will result in you doing better in class. This outfit is perfect for school because it is simple, cute, and modest. It is comfortable, but the tatreez top gives the outfit a little extra personality, and makes it my own.

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IMG_0263.JPG    Photos taken by Sarah Muhyeddin

DUAA

Last but not least, you can’t study without Duaa. Here are some duaa links below:

I hope this post inspires you all to work hard, study strong, and overall motivate you to make this school year a success!

It’s finally Eid! After thirty days of tirelessly fasting Ramadan has come to an end. Eid is always a bittersweet moment, the bliss of not hearing “not even water?” again, but the sadness of knowing we will have to wait another year to witness this month over.

This Ramadan I definitely learned a lot! Not necessarily about Islam, but about myself (see previous post).

I wanted to share three things that I hope to remind myself for the next year, and I hope they will help you too. 🙂

1. “My life is a struggle between my need for acceptance, my fear of rejection, and a desire to not care at all.” This is a quote that I read, and it resonates with me a lot. Something that is hard on anyone is when people hate you because of certain things that you love about yourself. One thing that I pride myself with is that I know a lot of people, and I’m an easy person to have a conversation with. Hearing things like “she’s too out there” is something that really hurts me! It is not easy to let what others say about you not bother you. For me, what I hope to take away from this month is just accepting that no matter what, people will always disagree or hate, even on the things that we love about ourselves. It’s important for me that I recognize my strengths as a person, and use them to thrive.

2. The second thing I hope to take away from Ramadan this year is being content with my own self. Loneliness is something that I think everyone struggles with. What I’ve learned from good friends of mine is that the most important thing in love is to not waste our precious time waiting on someone who may never show up. I aspire to be the girl who goes to the movies alone and has a lovely time with herself, and even though it will take so much time to get there, when I finally achieve this self-love I know it will be great!

There is a poem from the book Milk and Honey that I really love,

“I do not want to have you

To fill the empty parts of me

I want to be full on my own

I want to be complete

I could light a whole city

And then

I want to have you

Cause the two of us combines

Could set it on fire”

I read this poem almost two years ago when I bought this book, and only really realized the meaning of it this ramadan.

3. The last thing that I will talk about in this post is that IT’S OKAY TO CUT TIES! “You’re so nice” used to be something that I took as a compliment. It still is, just depending on the context. Sadly, being nice and people taking advantage sometimes goes hand in hand. What happens in a toxic friendship is that one person is not as invested as the other. I just left a really toxic friendship, and even though the person is great, us together as friends wasn’t great. It takes courage to leave, because it means cutting out a large part of our lives. If a friend tries to control you, or makes you feel bad about yourself, they are NOT your friend. Allah tells us how important our friends are, and even though we sometimes try to fight out, our friends really do shape who we are. In one of my first posts I talked about how you should always try and stand with the smartest person in the room, and try to be their friend. Why? Because you are bound to learn something from the smartest person in the room. All relationships are investments, and when you look at the world like that it really changes your point of view.

I hope all of our fasts, duas, and good deeds were accepted this month. I leave you with one last thing, and it something I tell myself everyday. If Allah is the most merciful, most forgiving, who am I as his creation not to forgive?

 

even in my dreams I can’t win – a ramadan reflection

even in my dreams I can’t win –                     a ramadan reflection

I thought long and hard before writing this post. It’s a very personal one, and it’s not a topic that people often talk about. When I started my blog, I made a promise to myself that I would talk about the good and the bad, because that’s the only way I can stay authentic to myself. I hope this post finds whoever is reading it well.

A couple nights ago I heard a story about a Quran teacher in New York who molested four of his female students. Imagine going to learn Quran, but getting molested instead? I’ve been thinking non-stop about this story, but in a weird way it has brought me comfort.

The story itself isn’t what comforted me. What happened is absolutely disgusting. However, knowing that even the most “religious” of people, someone who has memorized the Quran and knows it well enough to teach it, has demons and skeletons, too. This Ramadan has been especially difficult for me because there is this constant feeling of guilt that stays with me. All of the mistakes I’ve made, all of the things i’ve done, they all stay with me. It sometimes makes me feel psycho just thinking about everything, and I get angry. Angry at myself, but also angry at God. I ask myself questions like why did this happen? Why to me? Why was I put into this situation? And even though I know it was a test, the feeling never leaves me. I get so angry that I just want everything to stop. To make it stop I have to forgive myself, and even though in my mind I have, in my heart I know I haven’t.

For me, I think the hardest thing in Islam is to obtain true Taqwa. Taqwa is when you see a path filled with thorns, but you still take the path, you just dodge and pass over the thorns. We, as Muslims and as human beings, always WANT and TRY to dodge the thorns, but sometimes it is inevitable.

The biggest thing that I wanted to work on this Ramadan was setting myself to a higher standard. I know what I want, and I’m determined, but I often find myself slipping. When Ramadan started I wrote down goals that I wanted to accomplish, and I have not accomplished any of them. I keep giving myself excuses for each goal, and even though I know that they are silly and unreasonable, I still accept them from myself. Ramadan hurt me this year because it showed me just how flawed I am. I’ve learned that it’s my personal nafs that is the monster, not always the shaytan, who I always blame my sins on.

Even though the start to my Ramadan has been rough, I hope to end it right. For me, coming to terms that expectation to achieve an extraordinary spiritual high this month is unrealistic for me. Understanding that I won’t be getting epiphanies on the regular, and knowing that my struggle is REAL and VALID is how I hope to end this Ramadan. I hope to end it by knowing that the habits I’ve built over the past 19 years in life are not going to be broken in 30 days. I hope to end Ramadan by forgiving myself, others, and starting fresh with my own relationship with myself. The entire dynamic of Ramadan changed for me this year. It’s not just about how many Juz I read, or how many nights I pray Qiyam anymore. It’s about learning to invest in myself, it’s about discovering what forgiveness is, and about acknowledging the flaws of my nafs.

flowers and tassels

flowers and tassels

Today I was feeling bold with my outfit. I have had these two items just sitting in my closet waiting to be worn, and today was finally the day I put them on! Together! This dress is a little out of my comfort zone, but I bought it on a whim from H&M because it was on sale, and who doesn’t like a good deal!! This fifty dollar dress was only fifteen dollars! It has a V-neck in the front, so I turned it around and wore it backwards. This is something that I LOVE doing because it makes it so much easier to style a hijab without worrying about any chest area showing. The statement necklace that I’m wearing a beautiful tassel one from Francesca’s. Right when I saw this necklace I knew I wanted to have it!! However, I had some difficulty trying to style it. The necklace is a little longer, which I usually like, but it wasn’t laying right on my chest. My mom gave me really good advice, and that was to double the chain around my neck twice, kind of like a choker. It made the necklace move up higher and it was comfortable to wear too! Mixing patterns isn’t something that I always do, but I thought the color of the tassels really complimented the dress’s flower, and decided to put them together. Everything else I wore was really neutral, with navy shoes, dark jeans, and a white cardigan. I think this helped even out my outfit so that it wasn’t too overpowering. Even though it’s a little different, I felt comfortable the entire day.

 

NINETEEN!

I turned 19 on the seventeenth of May, and had a small get together at my house to celebrate the occasion. My entire party was made up of different DIY ideas that I saw on pinterest and youtube. I threw a very last minute party, and I invited everyone just two days before! The theme of my party was ice cream, with ice cream pool floats, a ice cream pinata, and cooler of ice cream sandwiches for dessert! I am super blessed to have been able to spend this day with family and friends.

Everything I used to decorate was stuff I already had or from target!

The first thing that I started to decorate was the outdoor gazebo that my party was going to be held in. A fun way that I decided to spice up the dull brown, was by adding pink streamers to the sides and putting fake flowers through them! It was such an easy way add some color to the setting!

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The next thing I did was I made sure the pool was clean (it didn’t last long with all the wind and leaves) and I blew up some ice cream shaped floats and put them into the pool. This was such a simple way of making the entire scene flow! Since I was having an outdoor party I wanted it to all look nice and correlate.

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Next I went back inside the gazebo and started decorating inside. This was the finished product of how it looked! I made a DIY balloon train, and stuck fake flowers on and in-between the balloons (the same ones used in the streamers). Keep reading to find out how I got all of these balloons to stick together!

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DSC00042As crazy as it sounds, after I blew up the desired amount of balloons I wanted, I sewed them together.

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Once I had a good amount of balloons sewed together, I started using duck tape to put more balloons on top, to create a more 3D look. DSC00025

The next thing that I did was I started to cut some pink fabric that I wanted to use for two different things. I bought plastic champagne cups that I wanted to tie fabric around into a bow, but I also wanted to tie some to the 19 balloons that I had. The balloons didn’t actually float, so I had to duck tape them to the gazebo. The fabric was added just for show and to create the allusion of real floating balloons.

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Now back to the cups, here and the cups before and after the bow: DSC00024

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The bow really makes the cups look more girly and a lot nicer then just being plain.

The next thing that I worked on was setting up the food. I didn’t have a whole ton of food at my party, but just the basics. I used a pink table cloth from target to create a brighter look, and the rest was just plain and simple! The white cooler in the middle is where I put the ice cream sandwiches. I also bought a pink stand from target that said “BAR”, and put it in front of the cooler, with the idea that it was an ice cream bar.

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A little extra piece that I added was this “Advice for the 19 year old” at one of the side tables. It was really fun reading what everyone said at the end, and I recommend having this at any party you have! It is so versatile and you can make it say whatever you want.

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If you’ve come this far I would like to say thank for reading my blog, and being a part of this. It really means a lot. I hope you learned something new, or got inspired.
Love, Noor 🙂

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Validation is for Parking

Validation is for Parking

This post was inspired by a book called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Klein. 

Silence. It is a beautiful, but also disastrous thing. Think about it. When you meet someone who is quiet what do you think about them? You might think they are shy, or depressed, or that they are awkward. Silence gives people the space to make assumptions about who we are. This leads to the question: why are we quiet?

I think the reason we are quiet is because we are scared we won’t be accepted. We are afraid that our work won’t be good enough, or what we have to say isn’t smart enough. I think sometimes we become so obsessed with finding ourselves to start our work, that we sometimes never start. For example, my blog – I put myself out on the internet not only because I have something to say, but so I can find something to say. My work is my writing. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to put my work out to the public, but I know that this is the only way to get better. I think I am obsessed with the idea of validation, but I think the best thing to remember is that validation is for parking.

A powerful quote to me is, “Find the most talented person in the room, and if it’s not you, go stand next to him. Hang out with him. Try to be helpful.” I love this because it applies to everything. Talent comes in every shape, form and color. It is so versatile and endless. Even if a person’s talents are not the same as you, you can learn from them. But, remember to be around people who will be honest with you. We can all use critique, and we need people in our lives to help us, because without it we won’t grow.

The last thing I want to say is to remember that nothing is original. Everything in this world was a stolen idea from something else. For me, I know that sometimes I discourage myself because I think that I am unoriginal. Believe me, remembering that everyone has a mentor, and everyone takes ideas from someone else will really take a chip off your shoulder. There is a funny saying that goes, “complain about the way people make software by making better software” said by Andre Torrez. This means, to me, that when we do choose silence, we should use it to create. To learn something new, to explore, and prosper.
-Noor

The Walled Off Hotel

The Walled Off Hotel

Banksy is a British street artist who recently opened The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine. In the hotel, the walls are decorated with Banksy’s own works of art that are supposed to highlight the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The hotel is also known to have the “worst view in the world” because all of the windows show a direct view of the apartheid wall that stands tall in Palestine.

As a Palestinian, I’ve always liked Banksy’s work, and I’ve always thought it was very cool. But it will never show the real Palestinian struggle – and that is why I am writing this post today. I hope to shed some light on why supporting Banksy and his work in Palestine is disastrous.

First, I do not support this hotel. I understand that by creating it the POSSIBILITY of dialogue between both sides could start. HOWEVER he is normalizing the war – the Palestinian and Israeli conflict is more than pillow fights between two soldiers. It is bloodshed, the diaspora of an entire people, and for some, the belief that Palestinians are not people and do not exist. He is profiting off the oppression and occupation of the Palestinian people. He has been asked to leave Palestine MULTIPLE times and he doesn’t. To clarify my point here is a conversation between a Palestinian man and Banksy that was posted on the Banksy website:

Palestinian man – you paint the wall, you make it look beautiful
Banksy – thanks
Palestinian man – we don’t want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall, go home

Palestinian families around the world have been faced with colonization and displacement, ESPECIALLY the families who continue to hold their ground back home.