Malikah’s Mind – Ted Talks, Bad Gifts, and Juggling

Hello everyone!

Hope you’re doing well!
Finally had my last midterm and the last exam before finals! Just a little over a month until the April exam season and I’m so excited to be halfway done with my undergraduate!

Today, I have another REFLECTION post for you all. Yesterday, I attended the 2016 TedxMcMasterU conference. The theme was Metamorphosis: The Paradox of Change. I especially liked this topic because I thought it was very relevant to today’s world and life as we know it. Our surroundings are constantly changing and our mechanisms to adapt to such changes are very important.

Ted
Among the talented speakers, we actually watched two Ted Talks from past Tedx conferences. One of them was Stacey Kramer’s talk – “The Best Gift I Ever Survived”.

It’s under 3 minutes and it’s a must watch.
This video inspired me to write this post today.

Malikah’s Mind – Bad Days, Trusting in God, and Social Media

Hey hey everyone!

I hope you are all doing well and survived exam season! I’m sorry for not posting last week, exams have occupied my life right now and I also got sick these last couple days and hence I’m posting on Wednesday and not Sunday :$

Today I just wanted to have a life chat with you all. It’s pretty random and all over the place, and I’m not really sure where it’s going. I just wanted to open up and keep it real. Obviously, behind every blogpost, outfit, and instagram picture there is a real human being. I know, right! :O But actually, no matter how my life or anyone’s life looks on social media, I can assure you it’s not like that 24/7, or even some of the time.

Two weeks ago, right before exams started, I had stayed up to rewrite notes for 4 lectures because I saved over the file. The next day I went to school early for a class that didn’t end up being mandatory. That day also happened to be my 14-hour school day, and I also, for the first time ever, left my phone charger at home, and of course, I didn’t realize until my phone was at 50%. That same day, I heard about the new airstrikes in Syria and that my friend’s grandfather passed away. It was not one of my best days. I really just wanted to drop everything and leave. Run to my friends, and just leave that day at that. But then, for one second I called out to God and said “I put my affairs in your hands now” and almost instantly, a wave of relief overcame me. It was as if all my burdens had melted away. Everyone has bad days, and I’m not trying to say my “bad” day was worse than others, because everyone has their own trials and tests. In fact, this really wasn’t a “bad” day at all. But for one second, my world was spinning, and then it finally stopped.

The moment we “pass the buck” and our worries to God, wholeheartedly, it’s almost as if the world shifts to help you out.
Life isn’t perfect. God is.

5 Tips on How to be PRODUCTIVE!

Hey everyone!I hope you are all doing well!
So I have come to the sad realization that Summer vacation is slowly coming to an end 🙁
In less than two weeks, classes start and next week is the orientation week for the incoming first years at my university. Everything is starting up again so soon and the busy and routined life will once again be upon us all.This post was such a random idea but it turned out to be one of the posts I’m most excited about! One of the reasons for this is that the writing of all the tips was done in such a productive way. I literally thought of this idea randomly after doing some organizing on my phone and it was 2:45 am. I was about to go to sleep – lights off, glasses off, and my head already hit the pillow. But, I raised my head and grabbed my phone to quickly jot my idea down so I wouldn’t forget it. Just as I started typing, the ideas just flew out of my brain at 2000 mph and I wrote this ENTIRE post literally from this paragraph right til the last one! No kidding! You can ask my friend Fatima Najdi for proof, I was talking to her and told her this crazy story right then! By 3:07 am I was done with the whole thing!!

I was personally doing some of these things as a way to mentally prepare myself for school starting back up. For the next couple days, I noticed a change in myself so I thought it’d be beneficial to share! As this post originated with back-to-school in mind, some of the tips may be more suitable and geared towards school and studying. Although all the tips are general, some of the examples and details are more for students. I hope this is still beneficial to all and I could totally see this being applicable for working people as well!

1) Set Yourself Up for Success
In whatever way you can – always try to set yourself up for success! Sometimes, you just need to take a quick minute to lay things out so you can see them better and they’re more spatially organized. Having things like books clearly displayed will give you more motivation because they seem easier to tackle. For example, any time I need to clean my room, I take all of the things that are scattered around on my drawers and desk that need to be put away and put them on my bed. By removing the mess from all over my room and concentrating it in one area, it makes it easier for me to see what needs to be done. This takes two minutes to do but helps me so much and makes me a lot more efficient.
This tip also applies for picking your outfit out in the morning. I know this is very redundant because it’s always being said, but it actually is really helpful. By taking out one minute the night before to take  a shirt out of your closet, you could save up to five or ten minutes in the morning, which we all know is precious when it comes to sleep :’)
tip 1 - success
2) De-Clutter
Speaking of cleaning my room, organizing your room and your computer can be very beneficial to improve your productivity. Our surroundings have a great influence on us.
Organize your files on both your computer and your phone and do this before school so it becomes a habit!
For example, I take screenshots on my phone or take pictures of my computer screen for future reference when I’m doing my work. To make life easier – I make an album on my phone so I can easily access these pictures when I need them for class and they don’t get lost in my personal pictures.
Now I know this may seem ‘extra’, but really, it takes a second to do and could be helpful. You don’t have to go all out by making folders for your applications (yes, to me that’s going all out LOL) but if you use your phone for more than just calling/texting, it’s worth the 5 minute investment to organize it a bit. Hey if it wasn’t for me deleting some old pictures on my camera roll at 2 am, I wouldn’t have even thought of this post idea! So basically, it works!
tip 2 - declutter
3) Establish a System
Decide upon a system for how you’re going to take notes for each class and then stick with it for the semester. Obviously change it up if you find that it doesn’t work but test it out for long enough that you know you’re sure.
Also, be realistic and don’t over-aim for yourself.  Yes, it’s good to have goals for back to school, but you don’t want to set up a system that doesn’t work for you and then you’re lost. Then, you’ll get unorganized and end up with a mess near exam time. Therefore, establish a system and look into what classes you’re taking and what you’ve heard about them in terms of lecture style and professor preferences. This way, you can appropriately choose something that works for you and the style of the course.
Now, if you’re feeling it, you can even make templates for note taking. Last year, I noticed that my some of my notes didn’t end up being as helpful as anticipated. Hence, I’ve tried to prepare two possible note-taking formats that may help me for effective studying.
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Template 1 – Made on Excel
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Template 2 – Made on Word
tip 3 - system
4) Any Spare time is Useful time
Okay okay, don’t get me wrong here! Obviously take breaks and relax, but if you know you’re going to have a large time gap between a class and a meeting/event – decide what work you can slot in for that time. Then ensure you have the necessary tools/materials to be able to do the work. Even if you do a little bit of work, it still helps in the grand scheme of things.
Now I know being in the library 24/7 gets a little saddening, so change up your location! Do some studying in the Student Center so you feel like you’re in the midst and middle of all the action and buzz, but you’re also getting work done. Or if you just have an hour between classes and getting to the library is far from your current location – just work from wherever you can, even if it means looking over some slides on your laptop or writing things down in a planner.
Also, grab a friend! Even if you’re both doing work, it’s always better to have company as long as you don’t get too distracted of course.
If you aren’t one to get car sick and have a comfortable and long bus ride – use that time to catch up on taking notes or listening to lectures. This is basically my life every day, twice a day! Preload a lecture so you can listen and type notes. Even if you can’t do that, you’re not up to do that much work, OR your commute isn’t that long, you can always re-listen to an older lecture. Or that day’s lecture so you can solidify concepts and catch on anything you missed.
Or if you’re in need of some relaxation, have some shows ready or keep an alarm and plug in headphones for a snooze. Hey! Even that’s productive because you won’t have to nap when you get home!
tip 4 - spare time
5) Recognize the times you’re most productive and the times you’re less efficient/more likely to get distracted 
Identifying these times in your day can be super helpful. For me, I feel like I’m most productive in the morning so after Fajr to about 8:00-9:00 am and then 1:00-2:00 am. Sometimes even at 3:00 pm. The times I’m more likely to procrastinate or not feel like doing any work is from Noon-2:00 pm and then 6:00-7:00 pm. By knowing this, I can schedule the things that are more difficult and more dreaded for my productive time periods. This way, I’d already be more motivated to get them done and can complete them with more ease, because I’m naturally more productive at that hour. I can also give myself breaks at the times I know I’m not going to get anything done. I’m basically killing two birds with one stone with that 😉
tip 5 - breaks
As you can see, I talked a lot about scheduling and being organized. My planner and phone/computer calendar are my best friends and I utilize them to their full capacity.  It’s obviously great to have a routine and plan things out, but to be honest, this all sounds so harsh and rigid. And it really is when you come down to it. Yes, no doubt that it’s helpful and beneficial to do these things in order to get work done. But all work and no play is quite boring. So make sure to take some time to RELAX and let loose! Forget the rules for a bit and just hang out. That in fact will make you more productive LOL. So basically I’m saying to let go of the rules that make you productive so you can have a break, but by relaxing you’re actually going to be more productive LOL. See everything works out in the end!I hope this post was beneficial! If you’d like to see more of my posts, add your email to our mailing list to get HijabiHeroes posts straight to your inbox! Also, Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram to see more HijabiHeroes!

Speak to you soon!

Malikah

~Where Style and Modesty Save the Day!~

Malikah’s Mind – 10 Things I’ve Learned from Blogging

Hello Hello everyone!

I hope and pray that Mahe Ramadhan is going well for you and that these fasts are nice and easy 🙂

I want to start a new series on my blog (this seems like an every post occurrence LOL) called Reflections. During this holy month, I’ve had the chance to think and ponder about life – where I am right now, perceptions, judgments, the works. As writing such thoughts down helps me dwell on them and work to improving myself, I figured I’d make a new series for it! Because nothing makes me happier than a new series on HH :’)

Back in May, I wrote a post called Finding Myself, which was about my experiences at a leadership/self-building retreat and my takeaway thoughts. This post also works perfectly with this series so I’ve added it there as well 🙂 You can find all the posts in this new series under the “Reflection” tab on my website menu.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about Blogging – how I’ve changed since I started blogging, what I know only because of blogging, and how my blogging style has changed since I started. Hence, I formulated my thoughts down into a list of 10 things blogging has taught me.

Here goes:

1. Commitment and Dedication

Sticking to a posting schedule isn’t that easy. You have to generate new content regular and have the necessary tools to make a blogpost. Blogging is something quite personal, and thus, you have to keep up with something on yourself and be accountable. No one is going to breathe down your neck telling you to write a new article, so it’s up to YOU to keep it going. My summer posting schedule is 2x a week – Mondays and Thursdays, more or less. It’s not easy, but I’m glad I’ve made it a specific and time-bound goal for myself, which makes it easier to follow through and accomplish (Shoutout to the retreat I attended from the Finding Myself post – we had long sessions about writing SMART goals 😉 Thanks!).

2. Social Media Marketing

Believe it or not, I’ve actually learned a thing or two about marketing on social media networks. I’m no where near an expert or claiming to be one, but you just happen to learn things when in practice. The greatest social media marketing knowledge I’ve gained through blogging is for Instagram. There are many bloggers on Instagrams and some self-proclaimed Instagram bloggers (their Instagram is basically their blog – not sure how that works because blogs require writing, but hey, you do you hehe), so you need to stand out!
I’ve learned some tips on how to gain more exposure on Instagram:

  • Post frequently, as in DAILY – If you don’t, people will forget about you
  • Post in the evenings – More people are on IG in the evenings when they’re away from school/work
  • Use Square Photos – Although useful apps like InstaSize add a (white) border to a non-square photo to fit the IG square box, it’s better to use fully square photos.
  • Use Hashtags – People will often scroll through the photos of a hashtag, so it’s good to use them!

3. Community and Sisterhood

Despite the fact that the Hijabi blogger niche is getting saturated, I always feel that there is a sense of community and sisterhood between us bloggers. Sometimes, it can get overwhelming to see so many other bloggers, but no one is your competition. This is one thing I love about blogging! For example, I’ve made a couple of blogger friends just by knowing them from Instagram. I feel like we are so close because we always comment on each other’s pictures and tag each other when we see new giveaways! :$ It’s so nice to have this community of likeminded individuals spreading their love for Hijab and Islam 🙂
Shout out to my girls – Fatema from StyleByFJ, AModernHijabi, and Fifi_Hijabista! Lots of love <3

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4. Be YOU!

Focus on yourself. This is major. If you always look at others, you’ll get too caught up with something that isn’t you. Remember, something that works for others, may not work for you. Likewise, something that works for you may not work for others. We are all different and have our own styles – celebrate this!
Being comfortable and confident in your own skin isn’t always easy, but it’s the best thing you can do for YOURSELF. Blogging has taught me that. I can’t change who others are, but I can change myself and work towards constantly improving my own character – and that’s what matters.
And once again, thanks to Fatema from StyleByFJ because we’ve talked about this a couple of times 🙂 You inspire me so much Fatema <3

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5. This is not a 1-woman show

You will need help. I do need help. Blogging isn’t something you can do on your own. Often times, well all the time, I need someone to take my pictures for me or give me feedback on my posts. I definitely need help when it comes to filming my youtube videos. It’s better to admit this fact early on and accept and not misuse the help that you are given.
Shoutout to my brother Imran and my parents who are normally given the task to take pictures for me on a daily basis, and my two best friends Nida and Kulsoom who also take pictures for me with their nice DSLRs and help me film my videos!

6. Be Thankful

Speaking of needing help, be thankful to everyone who’s aided you along the way, in one way or another! Be grateful and appreciated to your helpers, family, friends, supporters, and even to the person who likes your pictures/statuses here and there. I would be no where without these various and numerous people in my life – so THANK YOU SO MUCH! <3
#alhamdulillahforeverything #alhamdulillahalways (#2 in practice ayyy)

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7. Your Imagination has no Limits

Thinking outside the box – it’s not easy but it has to be done. Blogging has helped me think of new things with an open mind and broader view. It has forced me to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. For example, with my HOW TO STYLE: Plaid Shirts post, Plaid shirts aren’t really anything special. They’re pretty basic to be honest. But they’re a great staple and favourite and I wanted to share the many ways you could wear them. I am constantly compelled to take the lame/quirky/weird/funny/cute things that interest me and make them into something that is more general for a larger audience.

8. Technology is Amazing – and Complicated!

Operating a website is definitely not what I thought it would be. As much as there’s so many amazing and cool things you can do with your site, there’s also equally as many different codes, numbers, symbols, applications, and shortcuts you have to figure out. Again, not claiming to be an expert, but by using the WordPress platform for my blog, inshallah I’ve gained some transferrable skills that will be handy in the future. Also, I’ve learned some things about video editing for my YouTube videos and Graphic Design for when I make pictures and images like the “10 Things I’ve learned from Blogging” one at the beginning of this post!

9. Genuine is my Favorite thing Ever

Throughout my blogging journey, I’ve learned who the ‘real’ people are in my life. I’ve also realized that you don’t need to talk to someone 24/7 to know that they support and care for you. So many people have told me they like HH or they read one of my latest posts, and these may be people I barely talk to. But those are the people I know would be willing to help me if/when I need it. Now this may sound selfish, but it’s so true. I’ve come to meet some of the most genuine people ever since I’ve started. There’s the people who have stuck by since the start and aren’t going anywhere, the people that always like every single HH post/status, the people that always send me their ootd pictures on Snapchat or a picture of a new thing they purchase because they know I’d get excited, the people that always call me HijabiHeroes because they know how much I love it :’), the people who ask me for style/outfit advice and know that I appreciate it way more than they do, and the people who trust my tips and actually try them out. I can only type out Thank you a million times and in a million different ways, but you have no idea how much you all mean to me. HijabiHeroes is my dream come true and the people who support it are my favourite people ever <3 <3 <3

10. Passions can make for Wonderful things

Last but not least, I’ve learned that having a Passion for something is truly amazing. Passion determines success. With passion, you have drive, motivation, endurance, ambition, commitment, and steadfastness. When you are passionate, you are willing to go to the ends of the earth to get what you want. How inspiring is that.
But most importantly, through HH, I’ve learned that you CAN take your passion and direct it to something meaningful. Maybe a career in fashion may not be the most suitable for me and my life, but, it doesn’t mean I have to give up or push aside something I love so much.
It’s not just a love for fashion –> It’s helping others. I’ve transformed my everyday love to something so meaningful to me. I love helping others and being able to inspire people to love the Hijab and get closer to the Almighty through modest, yet stylish, dressing is the best thing in the world. Passion

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Thank you all so much! I know this was quite long, but I appreciate you sticking around!

Keep updated with all things HijabiHeroes on Instagram and Facebook!

Lots of love,

Malikah

~Where Style and Modesty Save the Day!~

Malikah’s Mind – Finding Myself

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all doing well! Sorry for not posting anything last week! My goal for the Summer was to have 2 posts a week but things didn’t work out as planned and I also was busy prepping for a retreat this past weekend! I attended a 4 day leadership retreat and hence, I wanted to share some thoughts that really resonated with me.

Through the short four days, I learned a lot about myself. Going into the retreat, I thought I really knew what I wanted to achieve in life and what my goals are. I really wanted to focus on how to become a transformational leader, not just a transactional leader. With that, I wanted to have more confidence in myself, in terms of my competencies and abilities. In reality, I had a different experience. Yes, fortunately, I did accomplish these objectives to an extent, but I ended up learning a lot more.

I actually knew or at least knew of many of the people that attended the retreat, so naturally, I had certain expectations or judgments about them. Boy, was I wrong. And sorry for that! The retreat really forced us to talk about quite deep things right from the get go. In the various workshops, we discussed about our goals, ambitions, values, fears, judgments, personalities, regrets, and dealing with change. It was quite intense. But it was only through such conversations about these concepts that I saw everyone in a different light. I didn’t see the image they portrayed outwardly, for who they seem to be, or for who their friends are. I saw them for 100% them.

This made me realize that our perceptions really do affect our decisions and behaviour towards people. This seems like a well-known idea and a bit of a “duh” moment, but I didn’t realize it until I had the opportunity to talk to people about more than just the surface-level.

Talking about my goals, values, and personality to others helped me realize the sincerity of my actions and how to really step forward to be a positive influence for others. The activities we participated in had an impact on me that transcended to even the free time and outdoor events. For example, when we went canoeing in the gorgeous lake, I noticed that every time I pulled the oar up from the water and into air, some water would drip down from the oar. These couple of drops would then cause much larger ripples in the larger body of water. At that moment, I recognized that I want to be those drops of water. Yes, they are small and stem from a larger force, but, they still had a substantial impact on the greater environment around them. I don’t necessarily have to make a huge change like bring world peace, but I just want to make a lasting impact on others that will really help them. I want to help others be happy. I want to help others achieve their goals. I want to help others reach their greater vision.

At the end of it all, I was able to learn more about myself through my interactions with others. I encountered many people who had different ideas than me. They either had a completely opposite opinion than me, or their perspective was one I had never considered before. These are the people that intrigued me and the people that I just wanted to talk to for hours. I tried to make any encounter with them so I could have a conversation and just listen. Thank you for dealing with me and allowing me to ask you a bunch of questions. I think you know who you are 🙂

I wanted to take a second to thank some people for helping make this experience one of the best:

Facilitators – Thank you for pushing me to realize my own thoughts and not relying on others. You all were so genuine and helped me delve into myself instead of going straight to others for help.

Angels (Leadership Coaches) – Even though I didn’t talk to all of you, the ones I talked to really helped me a lot. Just you being there and letting me talk was very appreciated! Your advice is priceless to me!

People I questioned and had longer conversations with (LOL) – Thank you for letting me ask you questions about your goals and values. I know it may have been uncomfortable for you to share, but I sincerely valued every second of our conversations and am honoured that you trusted me.

Friends, New and Old – Thank you for being there for me and sharing your thoughts, experiences, laughter, and yourself with me! I hope we can stay in touch and I look forward to creating new memories!

Sorry this post is a jumble and not very well organized. The structure represents my thoughts right now. Hence, I named it Finding Myself (I wanted to name it Finding Yourself to make it general but one of the guiding principles of the retreat was to speak in the “I” so you can be accountable for your ideas and not assume they are everyone else’s as well. I had to take ownership for my thoughts so I changed it lol).

Thanks for reading and I hope by sharing my experiences, it can help you, even in the slightest way.

Lots of love from HijabiHeroes,

Malikah

~Where Style and Modesty Save the Day!~