Thursday, November 1, 2012

a trigger sets it all off, but even after the biggest blow, the smoke will fade.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I completely forgot to share my MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Council) Ramadan blog post!

read it here :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012


So I'm kind of terrible at blogging nowadays... I've had RA training, and the start of school just this past week, so I've been a little (VERY) scatter-brained. Here's a piece I wrote about Ramadan: link.
and I got a tumblr, but I really don't think it will last very long... and I probably won't use it for real writing very much either, I was just always addicted because i love designing pages and making things look cute, and I always thought tumblr pages looked so put-together :)

so this is my real post of the day: :)
I was sitting in Jimmy John's early in the evening with a good friend of mine after a bike ride.
they have SUCH good tuna subs, btw.
they kept playing all of these GREAT songs. songs I hadn't heard in too long.
and everyone knows that feeling of hearing a song and being flooded with a million memories of the times you used to listen to that song, and the people you used to spend that time with...
there's just this trigger that's pulled, and something else sets in.
this summer when I was at home, I didn't see my high school friends but a few times because of internships/jobs in other states, long work hours, and vacations.
my brother was spending his weekdays working late, and my sister and brother-in-law's apartment was a 30-minute drive away, which wasn't so bad... but setting the table for 5 people instead of 6 is the strangest thing...
meanwhile, my younger brother continuously plays our home videos on the small tv in my old room... and now we're all doing our own thing, and we're all just so... grown up.
our home videos seem like they're a hundred years old because things are just so different.
this was my first summer where I really felt like I was just ALONE. and normally I wouldn't mind being alone because I mostly keep to myself, but to have the fact set in that nothing will ever be the way it was, SUCKS.
I hate that I probably won't ever have a summer with all the people I love together in one place for more than a few hours at a time.
and I hate that my high school friends have scattered and that playlist that was on at Jimmy John's was full of songs that my best friend from high school sent me FIVE whole years ago when we were just juniors.... and now everything has changed.
change is inevitable, but you can hardly prepare yourself when things just... fade.
and i'm away at school, and i feel like i'm missing so much.
i think change is the thing that i get most sad about...
“Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.” -J.D. Salinger, the Catcher in the Rye

Sunday, July 29, 2012

a warm gun

i'm so happy right now.
i want this feeling to last foreverrr.

my new place is perfect, the people here are perfect.
today i laughed until i cried... and i'm not talking about just watery eyes, i'm talking about the freaking Niagara Falls.
this usually only happens when I'm at my sister's house and she's doing this really awkward hilarious dance in her closet while picking out clothes. it's so strange, i love it. her husband thinks we're weirdos. which makes it even funnier...
Mariella and I were trying on these cut-out paper mustaches that I made, and random people in the room were laughing and it was making us laugh, and the mustaches would fly off, and we could only keep them there for a second before they flew away, which made us laugh even more...
and then the waterworks started, and i was drawing so much attention to myself because of my high-pitched giggly voice and Kyle was next to me pointing out that my tears were pouring down like he's never seen, and it was like he was talking to the entire room and the whole thing was just hilarious to me. And Mariella kept turning to me and laughing harder because of how ridiculous I was, and that only made me laugh more.

that was a terrible story.
i'm a terrible story teller.

but I don't care; i'm really happy right now.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

4th year

it's funny how when I was leaving school, I had my things packed up WELL in advance, and in the car the day before moving out...
when I'm leaving home, though... I leave all the packing until the evening prior....

...and the morning of...

i'm excited to be productive with my new internship, school work, my job as an RA, and my personal projects, and i'm super stoked about having a kitchen [and not sharing a bathroom with 40 other girls] for the first time in the three years i've been at school,
but i'm not at all excited to be away from family for another year...

i'm going to try my best to be a lot less anti-social than i've been lately..
wish me luck!


oh, and i'm not done with my Ramadan posts! oh, no. i've only just began! i have some drafts saved of some things i'd like to post... so they're coming. i just need to sit at my desk in my new apartment and put some more thought into it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


What was supposed to be a very long showing of spectacular fireworks in San Diego this past 4th of July ended up being one huge explosion when all the fireworks went off at once. It made for a really cool site.

I still love fireworks.
a friend of mine changed her status on FB earlier...
"someone from Somalia asked a scholar,

'is our fast valid if there is no suhoor and no iftar?'"
be appreciative of all that you have, and be sure to devote much of your time to those who are less fortunate.
and remember the nations experiencing droughts and food shortages in your prayers!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Food for Thought: Hydration

Maher Hathout was such an inspirational man. When I visited him in Hollywood as part of a discussion on identifying as an American-Muslim, I wanted to write down EVERYTHING he said. And I practically did, all on an old bank envelope, the only paper I had with me.
Anyway, that's just some food for thought... since we can't have real food :)
I hope everyone's fast is easy and rewarding insha'Allah!
For more inspiration by Maher Hathout, visit his Facebook page, here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ramadan Kareem!

I got the idea from MPAC's Young Leaders Summit coordinator Yasmin Hussein to keep a blog about my experience this Ramadan. A bunch of the attendees of the three summits got the conversation rolling via e-mail, and we've decided to keep an American Muslim blog (with maybe a Canadian or two (;) about our experience during this holy month. Every year the site puts out a photo article called The Big Picture covering Ramadan around the world. I always saw these as beautiful photos and I was thankful that Islam was being shown around the world, but it was brought to my attention that the stories of Muslims aren't being told by Muslims. Where do you read about the American Muslims? I was featured in a local newspaper last year about my experience, but I don't feel like we were represented as well as we could have been (article). So our objective was to share our personal stories of how we fast. Each of us are from different parts of the US, and we each experience the days of Ramadan differently. To tell our story as best as we can, Yasmin divided the days amongst us, and we will be blogging throughout the month (link can be found via MPAC site).

Another initiative to share stories about our experiences is Breakfast at Night. Upload personal photos that you've taken during Ramadan and create new traditions amongst fellow Muslims. This is actually a really cool project, and I think that it's as beneficial for Muslims as it is for everyone else! It's like a looking glass into our world, which is -believe it or not- a very curious thing to someone who is unfamiliar with Islam.

Anyway, those are two cool things going on this month, among many others I'm sure.
I haven't done this before, but I intend on blogging about my experiences and new things that I come across. I plan on spending my days in reflection and really getting the most out of this holy month as I can. I don't think I talk about religion on my blog that often, but this is something personal that I would like to do, and inshaAllah we can all take something from it! I will be spending most of the month away from home, which as unfortunate as it is to be away from family, I really feel like I can get a lot out of it by being productive in reading and learning on my own. This is my first fall semester with a car on campus, so I plan on driving out to the not-so-local Masjid and praying Taraweeh every night! I think that's the thing that I'm most excited about. Ramadan feels so strange when you have no way of getting to a mosque to pray among other Muslims who spend their days fasting like you do.

EDIT: I also found some cool sites that offer some guidance during the month:
  1. Quran with spoken English translation. I like when the translation is audio, that way I can listen and understand and I don't have to be right in front of the computer the entire time, pausing the Arabic audio to read the English translation.
  2. Muslim Matters posts relevant lectures and good reads throughout the year, but they offer a special Ramadan series, as well as interesting opinion articles such as the recent one on the Dark Knight Dilemma.
  3. Youtube. There are about a billion videos about Ramadan and spiritual guidance. Always verify the reputability of the speaker, though. You don't want to waste your time, and you don't want to leave with false facts.
    "As helpful as the internet is, it could be just as hurtful when you don't check your sources" - Abraham Lincoln (SEE!?! You never know!)
  4. Blogs. There are one and a half + billion Muslims, and it's always nice to hear each others' stories and know that we're all working on the same thing. It's a great way to give and receive support. Plus, blogs are cute and fun. Check out one of my new favorites, Ramadan Rendezvous. Look through archives of older blogs to see advice or articles from last year's Ramadan. Ramadan lectures are almost always recyclable :)
RAMADAN MUBARAK, EVERYONE! And InshaAllah we will all benefit greatly from this month. Take advantage of it! I have a REALLY good feeling about this.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

stranger danger

I went to a BBQ party the other night, and I was half an hour late, but still the first one there -__- haha so I was sitting at the shelter bench, and this 30something-year-old man came up to me and started asking me all these questions about Muslim women.

He asked me why Muslim women are so unapproachable... after he had just approached me. I asked him if I was unapproachable, and he said yes................ so I asked him how he approached me. He danced around the question, but was so keen on telling me over and over again that Muslims are so different from everyone else, and that it's clear that they're different. It was the oddest thing, but I completely understand an outsider's curiosity. To say that Muslims are different than anyone else is just complete bull. You can't tell what religion someone is by walking by them on the street unless they we're obvious religious attire, which they don't always do. He said he wanted a modest woman to marry, but Muslim women only want to marry Muslim men... He seemed to know a lot about Islam, but I hate when people say that one group of people is ALL a certain way. Like ALL Muslims are Arab, ALL Muslims are modest. Jesus' mother Mary, or Mariam, covered herself very modestly, even according to Christian beliefs, I explained. He wasn't disrespectful about it at all, and he seemed very interesting in hearing my perspective, which I obviously liked :)
The BBQ was so much fun, though. I brought a camera, but I left the battery at home in the charger -___- I was so angryy. So it wasn't recorded at all. But iA I'll remember it. I forgot to tell the physician about my memory problem though... typical.
Strangers seem to find me VERY approachable, contrary to this guy's apparent beliefs lmao...

But people have been pretty rude lately. Usually it doesn't get to me, or I don't even notice it but damn, it's been getting to me lately.
We don't have power, and a lot of our county doesn't have power, so there are lines everywhere and impatient people are ever so present!
go away, all of you.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

the orange line

i got proposed to on the subway yesterday evening................
i kind of knew what our conversation was leading up to... he just kept asking me question about myself. i didn't answer them very specifically, i know better now, and i was giving him short, closed answers. he was nice and everything but,
he needed a green card.
it was extremely awkward because we were sitting in front of one another for many, MANY stops. so it's not like i could escape...
i felt bad when it was finally my turn to get off... i kind of just said it was nice meeting him and ran off the train.

when i got off, i asked a stranger where a park was that i needed to get to, and he told me he would walk me there. his name was Steve and he was a lot less creepy than the last guy, so i took his offer and together we walked. i found out a lot about him, and i guess in turn he found out general things about me. he was so friendly! we were both in a rush and he made the fast-paced walk a lot less boring.

i have a serious problem with talking to strangers. i thought i was getting better about it...
i have a real problem leading guys on, too :/ i can't help my charm. KIDDING. but i'm just not mean enough.

i'm not telling this story to seem cocky, but i just needed to vent about it and remind people that GUYS ARE CREEEEPS (they don't know any better, is my excuse for their behavior). i have many more stories that you probably don't want to hear. even others that involve public transportation.. but there are some good 'mates' out there. so don't give up. but don't pursue impossible, either.

check out this website, Scars and Smiles which is the exhibit i visited last night. it was beautiful.

ya'll are going to be getting a LOT more posts from me now that i'm avoiding social networking sites...

so I've started filming for a music video (just as a practice project). it's going terribly! my actors (my brothers) are STUBBORN. i can't really blame them since i'm forcing them to become these characters for me when it's the last thing they want to do, but DAMN! can a sista catch a break?! literally. and my sister is supposed to be in it, too, but she doesn't live with us anymore! scheduling is shitty. and i want to have this video done before Ramadan starts because things slow down and i have to go back to school to complete one last year of something i'm not motivated to complete... :'( and i won't have my sister's dslr, and i'll have to borrow one from a friend or something... i hate asking for favors so i probably won't... and i'll be busy focusing on my job and academics.
i get so excited about my ideas for short films.. it's so weird. it's like that feeling you get when you're about to get on a roller coaster or see your crush. those butterflies. and my butterflies are dying because of how hard this project is becoming.
i've gotta keep my chin up. where are all the willing actors?? and once again -- if anyone has the recipe for time... i'll gladly take it.

i'm full of complaints tonight. i hate that.


Monday, June 25, 2012

the youth

I just got back from volunteering at a summer day camp at my masjid...
SO CUTE. I was helping out with the boys group, ages 7-9, and they were crazy. I loved it! I don't think I could ever be a teacher, but I love tutoring and being around the youth. When you're young and you have an older mentor to guide you through the tough times, help you out with school work, or simply encourage you, it is a HUGE deal. Especially for kids who aren't hearing those supportive words at home, you could really be doing something great for them. And when teens have someone older to look up to for guidance, it serves as a protective factor for them; they're more likely to care about their education and avoid negative outcomes (behavioral issues, etc.). I feel like as much as the kids are taking from us, we're taking from them. It's so rewarding to be around the youth and know that you're making a difference.
This is why I know I haven't completely wasted my time with completing my undergrad in social work. I've learned so many great skills and I'm able to give more back to the community through volunteering. Because of my background in social work and the knowledge I've gained in school, I understand a lot about how children are developing, what their needs are, and what things might set them back.
Although my focus is 100% film, I want to be a positive influence for the youth in everything that I do.

Today I found out that mixed kids are not as outnumbered anymore! We're takin' ovaaa! I met a little boy who is half-Pakistani and half-Chinese, and another little one who is half-Pakistani and half-Spanish (Spain). I got to speak a little bit of Spanish with that one :) And I'm sure there were a bunch others.
I introduced myself to the class, and I told them to raise their hands if they have any questions for me. They all asked normal questions like, "Where do you live?" and "Where are you from", while this one little trouble-maker in front just blurted out, "You're hot".

What are kids learning these days? hahaha I love these mischievous tykes.
I feel especially bad-ass when I wear my purple eyeliner...
which has been quite often lately.

i'm such a mean director...
i don't know how to get my siblings to act for me without yelling at them... 
and they're the only people around enough for me to ask.
too many people think my dream of working with film is a joke...

i hate myself lately, for my lack of self-restraint.
i just deactivated my facebook and twitter because i spend too much time on them... i feel like that's so sad. when i was at school, i kept my fb deactivated for most of the year because i didn't want distractions.
now i have what seems to be an endless amount of time, which i would really love to spend with my family, but our schedules are all different and crazy and we only have the weekends together. blehh.
i miss my non-related best friends... they're all so far away.
Funny Friendship Ecard: That moment when you hear someone else call your bestfriend their bestfriend and you are like... No.
my life

all of our summers together are over.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


SERIOUSLY THOUGH, the bride looks like a princess mashAllah.
The photos, as beautiful as they are, don't do her justice. Straight out of Bollywood, I swear.
This evening I went to my first henna party, or mehndi, and I LOVED IT. I'm trying to figure out how my wedding is gonna look like because I keep wanting to steal small things from every cultural tradition (Taco bar, Moroccan furniture, Pakistani dance, Afghan dresses, Arabic Music... I'm a complete mess of wants). It was so colorful tonight and the bride was GLOWING. She was so happy and beautiful mashaAllah. She's got one lucky husband ;)
On my invitation there was a small handwritten note saying "Ladies Only!", and from everything my friends were saying, typically the henna party is a women-only event. I wore black tights, a [VERY] short green dress -apparently everyone usually wears green or yellow, so I was happy I got the color right, very high black heels, and I had on my temporary scarf and cardigan. I didn't find out until I actually walked into the banquet hall that there were men there... I found some of my friends really quick and sat down. Are there usually men at henna parties?? I don't know. Everytime I got up (bathroom, food, talking to the bride) my dress kept riding up! Oh, hijabi problems. Next time I'll know to bring an abayah or something.
Anyway, the mehndi was fantastic. I was the only person wearing non-traditional clothing, but I'm pretty non-traditional, so I decided it was fine and everyone assumed I was Arab so it's all good. I should probably buy a couple shalwar kameeses (spelling?) just to have to prove that I'm half-Pakistani. Or I could just get my nose pierced... which I've sort of been wanting to do anyway, but my mom doesn't really want me to so I can't bring myself to do it.
At every wedding, women can't help but talk about who's getting married next, so that conversation started pretty early in the night. The other night my dad and I were walking through the grocery store and he was like, "Your sister was smart in getting married when she graduated... No pressure, but keep an eye out for someone you like...". Alright, Dad. My dad also uses our car rides from my university to remind me that it's not too early to start looking for someone I'd be interested in marrying. Alhumdulillah, I'm really open with my parents so I can just tell them about all the creeps at my school who haven't got a clue about how to approach a girl they're interested in.

So we started talking about marriage at the wedding, and then the topic of marrying someone who isn't Pakistani or Muslim came up. Whenever this comes up, I love hearing what people have to say because no one can tell that I'm a mixed kid, and that I'm kind of an expert in the matter. Basically the parents never approve when the potential spouse is not the same ethnicity as they are. This is something I need explained to me quite often. I understand that the culture might be different, but why not mix the two? You're creating your own family, and you're probably going to start plenty of new traditions anyway. I just think that diverse families are beautiful (I'm obviously very bias), and that bringing different cultures together is so exciting and creative. My sister married a Libyan man last November, and we really didn't know any Libyans before him so the culture was VERY new to us. They're happily married, mashaAllah, and they learn something new about each others' traditions every day. I love hanging out with the Libyans! They're a blast :)
I guess my story is a little different because we don't really have a strong culture in my house and it would be the easiest thing to take on a culture alien to what we know, whereas with two completely different backgrounds, there would be clashes. I really do think that upbringing is more important, though. I'm very open-minded. That may also be due to my social work background... but I welcome cultures with arms wide open.
Although your parents often times know best, if you love someone, and the only thing keeping you apart is the culture your family knows, throwing that love away seems like a silly idea. Maybe you all disagree? I want to know what you think!

I had to post a picture of my eye makeup that Samirah did,
even though you can hardly see it and this is just another picture of my face more than anything...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

bus ad fame

This month my face is featured on the side of a city bus! Cool, right? :) Check out all the information, here
This is a campaign by the Interfaith Council for Public Policy with the aim of bringing awareness to different faiths and religious wear. I haven't yet heard what the reaction has been, but I'm excited to hear what feelings these ads provoke. Three years ago the organization had Arabic words on banners inside buses, and then allowed for people to comment on their website, where they found out the meaning of the words ("Rock, Paper, Scissors" and "I'm a Little Teapot"). You'd be surprised by how offended people were when they saw the Arabic phrases during their commute without knowing the meaning. You can check out that campaign here.
Side note: the photo shoot itself was really fun! We walked around the downtown area and took pictures in some really cool places. Why they chose this one, I have no clue! haha

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chasing Dreams

Umar, Mom, Khalid, Dad and me
(Samirah stayed at home with her hubby)
Daytona Beach, FL
Pops & me at Lake Okeechobee (2nd largest fresh-water lake in the lower 48 states)
Mom and me in Melbourne, FL
Hotel chillin'
driving forever... needed some photos with Umar
Miamiii rainbow the evening before I left to LA :)
"Rainbow!? That's a sign that wolves are getting married" - my dad
(right) Headed to Hollywood, CA! Luckily I was seated next to a really awesome guy named Marcelo from Uruguay
and we had PLENTY of things to talk about. I hadn't been on a plane since I was 10 and I had to ask him if every single small uncomfortable shake was normal or not. He liked me, I'm sure.
I was accepted into the MPAC's Young Leaders Summit and able to finally explore my secret dream of becoming a filmmaker.
Gilligan's Island was filmed right outside of this building!
We actually rode the elevator with the president of CBS on our way out! SO HAPPY :)
Tiffany Smith-Anoa'i (l), me, and her assistant in front of the Laker's court behind the CBS building
During sports entertainment broadcasts, athletes could come out here and have some fun while waiting for their interviews!
Tiffany is a hero. She's the VP of Diversity and Communications at CBS, and she makes sure that diverse groups of people are represented in the network's shows, and she speaks up when she feels that they're not. She was so supportive of our group, and I never even knew a job like hers existed. I already was feeling like there wasn't a lot of diversity in TV.. imagine if she wasn't there!
If I ever move to LA (inshaAllah), then I really hope I'm outside of LA
or I have a bike and I'm fit enough to get to work and back 0=)
lunch at a delicious Mediterranean place with Abdallah Omeish, a award-winning documentary filmmaker (Libya: Through the Fire and Occupy 101). His job is exactly what I wanted to get into, if I ever got into filmmaking. I wanted to bring awareness to social injustices happening internationally. He gave such great advice about starting up. All he had was a camera and the passion. With that, he created something so meaningful, people actually paid attention and found his cause worthy, which means the world! Side note: his siblings and my sister & brother-in-law know each other!
(L) We met up with Ajmal Zaheer at the LA MPAC office, who is a writer, director, and co-founder of Exxodus Pictures (Check out the trailer for his new movie, Jinn, here). He really inspired me because he told us about how being a filmmaker was ALL he dreamed about since he was five years old, and I was scared as heckk because it's not something I was so certain about very early on, and I've never had as much passion as he has. I told him all of that after he spoke, he sat down with me and told me that it's not the end if I have some feelings of uncertainty. I've got to experience it before I decide. And he talked to me about many more things, and I felt really supported. Out of everyone, he seemed like he wanted us to succeed more than anything.
(R) Ahmos Hassan is actually the first person we met when we got to the hotel in Pasadena. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Chariot Management, Inc., which is a diverse management company for the entertainment industry. He's been in the business for a very long time, and offered us some great advice about how to break in. The key is to network, and to be likeable. Out of everyone, Ahmos Hassan and Abdallah Omeish were the two people that talked about their faith in the business. Hassan told us about many opportunities he turned down because they weren't moral according to his values as a Muslim. I thought that it was so encouraging to hear this because it's obviously a very tempting business. He was also helpful in clarifying the roles of people behind the camera.
(L) We met with Asif Ali, a stand-up comedian and actor (Goatface Comedy). He's been on so many networks, and he has even traveled the world doing what he loves. The thing I loved most about him was how family-oriented he is (his brothers and friend were there with us), and how down-to-earth he is (he laughed at all my jokes, which I'm happy about!). He was so willing to help us out, stay in touch with us afterwards, and just spend time with us casually over dinner. I really respect his passion and drive for what he loves, because, as I've learned, you need an immense amount of both to make it in Hollywood. It was so cool to hear his perspective on the typical portrayal of the South-Asian in comedies; the nerdy foreigner who can't get any girls. He talked about how he'll never take a role that portrays them negatively because it will never reverse the public's ideas about the community as a whole.
(R) When I was applying for the summit, I kept thinking back to all the silly videos I made with friends throughout high school, and how I spent hours cutting clips and putting them together to keep and look back at my different experiences. So I wanted to be an editor. We got to have dinner with Ayser Salman, an editor who has worked on a number of big-name films' trailers and music videos. I was so thankful to have had the chance to talk to her and ask her ten thousand questions, which believe me, I did. She talked about how much love she has for what she does, even after having been in the profession for many years. She was such an amazing woman, and I really appreciate her advice! She was so willing to stay in touch with us as well, and she was so supportive of each of us.
We headed to Culver Studios to meet Ted Humphrey (center, left) and Leonard Dick (center, right) are award-winning TV writers and executive producers. They actually played us a few clips from the show that they write for now, The Good Wife, and I was surprised at how accurately they portrayed events like the Arab Spring, and how realistically they referenced Muslims. For this they were awarded at the MPAC's 21st Annual Media Awards Ceremony. We didn't have a lot of time to ask them questions at the end, but I made sure I asked at least four thousand questions when we were walking to the exit. It was cool to hear about the behind-the-scenes of a TV set in comparison to the film sets we heard about with some of the other speakers. These guys were awesomeee; loved them!
Early afternoon with Sameer Gardezi! He has written for the award-winning show Modern Family, Outsourced, Aliens in America, among others, as well as his own NBC award-winning comedy short, Equal Opportunity. He was really realistic with us and talked about how hard he had to work to be where he is, and gave us a really good idea of what a writing room is like. After talking to him, I really became interested in writing. He also talked about how being a minority has affected him, which as really cool because people will turn to him to get advice on how to depict a South-Asian character and he'll be able to throw something at them that they would have never even thought of without his perspective. I loved the idea of that and how important it is to have a diverse group of writers (age, gender, ethnicity, EVERYTHING). So awesome.
Our last visitor was David Brenner and his family. Brenner is a very well-known editor for films, and is currently working on Superman: Man of Steel. Heard of it? Thought so :) You can see the rest of the films he has worked on here (although that's not him in the picture.. that's the comedian who shares his name). Besides the fact that he's worked on so many epic movies, he was such an amazing person to hear from because of all the detail he gave us. He took us through his day-to-day schedule as an editor, and he told us specifics about software and programming tools that he started with, and where he went from there. Yeah, I went in there wanting to learn more about editing, but I didn't think I'd learn as much as I did. Both him and Ayser Salman gave me such good advice and notes to look back on when I start to create my own projects. I really respect these editors. And Brenner's family was really cute mA!
THE GIRRRRLS: Ghezal, me, Sulayha, and Sofie<3
We were at a mosque in Southern California, CLEARLY turning heads because of my need to take the picture.
This was after hearing from Maher Hathout inside the masjid. His official website can be viewed here. THIS MAN. He was so amazing mashaAllah. He didn't talk a lot about film-making specifically, but more about our role as American Muslims and what that actually means. He talked about achieving our dreams and being confident in who we are as people, with our faith as well. He talked about the route of art and a little of how public opinion is shaped by media. My notes from his talk are scribbled on a bank envelope, and I wrote down so much of what he said because he was so clear and sure of himself. For example, when he spoke about forming our own opinions and making our own decisions, he put it this way, "When people tell you how to think, you are surrendering your greatest gift from God." I thought that was just perfect. I wish I could just write down everything he said because I think everyone could benefit from hearing him speak. Go to his website. Check out how he's committed so much of his time to the Muslim community and the community as a whole.
I'm so thankful we got to visit the masjid. It was so diverse and beautiful. This might be my community one day :)
(L) We also got to meet Lena Khan, an independent filmmaker, at the MPAC office. I love her! She was the first hijabi in the industry that we got to meet (and the only one that I know of... although I don't know too many people in Hollywood), so I really valued her advice about "breaking into" the business. She was a winner of a film contest, which she talks about here (seriously, watch it), and she has worked on a number of music videos (Maher Zain & Kareem Salama, YESS), as well as a project that she is working on now, The Tiger Hunter. I thought it was interesting to hear her story because some of her work is actually guided around faith and the portrayal of Muslims in the media. She also made the famous "Land Called Paradise" video, which I actually didn't realize up until this very moment. All Muslims know the video, and I'm pretty sure we're all thankful for it. Anyway, she was awesome. I really hope to meet with her again in the future :)
(R) I GRADUATED FROM THE SUMMIT! Graduation night was amazing. We had good food catered by the hotel and served by Arturo, our new friend who we loved! I accepted my certificate from the MPAC president, Salam Al-Marayati, and got to have dinner with Yasmin Hussein, Deana Nassar, and other key leaders in the Youth Summits at MPAC. 
Feeling on top of the world with Yasmin Hussein, the MPAC Young Leaders Summit coordinator :) We got to see the Hollywood Hills and all of LA from above. I could definitely call this place home one day iA.
I'm so, so thankful for having attended the summit, and I've decided that I want to be in the business of film-making. I love everything about it, and I feel like this has just given me the confidence to at least get out there and try by creating projects of my own and writing short scripts to begin with. I think film is such a creative way of changing public opinion, and I feel as though by being successful in the industry, all of these amazing & accepting individuals have really played a key role in doing so. Each of them has especially motivated me to chase after the dream that I once saw too unrealistic to pursue.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When you start caring what people think of you,
you begin to lose yourself.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


How I feel about my trip to Florida and Hollywood... I can barely contain my excitement! :)
hehehe :)
I'll be uploading photos as soon as I get back! You know I'll take plentyy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You're the Most Incredible Thing

spending some time by a lake near the mountains after a great picnic with old and new friends.
I want to wear maxi dresses every day.
the view from our picnic was beautiful!
The Tea Bazaar in Charlottesville, VA. Such a cute little shop!
The workers that night were terribly rude, though!
Girls night with two of my loves, Doha and Anfal.
One of the many libraries at UVA... I loved them! Especially the 'Harry Potter' room!
Gelato shop with Zaneera & Kairshma after my finals week.
We covered that entire wall with mostly-pleasant chalk art.
baby shower for Zainab! :)
Amna and Mariam made this whole party happen. Kudos to them, and congrats to the mommy!

Barbequing and making s'mores on the grill after a tough semester :)
we're kind of dangerous.
After three years of living on the top floor - 18th - of my residence hall,
the housing manager let a bunch of the RAs on the roof for a view of the city/campus!
Third night home, had to see my favorite friends. Lincoln being one of them ;)
These are two of my very best friends. Don't know where I'd be without them!
Zaid can do some serious multi-tasking!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Cheap Inside Magic
I love this.

Monday, May 7, 2012

here comes the sun

There is almost nothing better than spending the last day of my junior year in undergrad with great company and delicious Thai food (Pad See Eew, Panang Curry). Thai iced tea is my most favorite drink in the entire world.
I know nothing about basketball (Celtics Jersey), except of course for my own university's team.
via Shiza's iPhone :)

I also got to spend the past few days after my finals with some of the families that I interned with. The children are so sweet and I'm so thankful to play even the smallest part in their lives. All we've done is paint pictures, paint faces, get in touch with their loved ones back home (central America & the Caribbean), celebrate a mother's birthday, put together puzzles, discuss Obama's local presence, and pamper the mothers by painting their nails, among other things. It has been so nice to relax and spend time with them before they head home to their countries, and before I head home to where I've left my whole heart; my family.
I feel so accomplished with all that I've done this past year, even though it wasn't my favorite. I hardly spent any time with friends, but I was so involved on-campus and in the community, and I was MUCH more motivated in school somehow, and for all of that I am thankful. I'm completely determined to make this summer, and every season after it, the best times of my life;; complete with friends and family, who are the only ones who could make my seasons so.


Friday, May 4, 2012

no such thing as coincidence

I saw this exact image on a billboard this morning.
And I found out yesterday that I'm going to Hollywood this summer inshaAllah :)
What have you always dreamed of being but never thought it possible?
pshht. nothing's impossible.

How will I get to Hollywood? MPAC Hollywood Summit.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Untie me, I've said no vows

I find a fatal flaw In the logic of love
You want to fight for this love

But honey, you cannot wrestle a dove

So baby, it's clear



Friday, March 23, 2012

I dreamed that they hadn't yet left, and they were waiting for my goodbye.

Friday, March 9, 2012

la perdida

my heart hurts <3

today was the first time I've ever dreaded a long drive alone.
it gave me way too much time to think about things that I need distracting from.
and driving with blurred vision from my teary eyes probably wasn't the safest thing.

I hardly even knew this little girl, but the bond that her mother and her had was something I will always remember. I'm grateful that I got to witness such love. They had such a profound impact on me in the few hours that I got to spend with them, and it's the strangest thing. I don't think I've ever had to deal with something like this before.

Thank goodness for supportive friends and family. If I'm having to cope like this, I can't imagine what the family is going through. Or maybe that's my problem, I emphasize with the family so much that it hurts as if I was part of her family.

I can't handle death.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


a very sweet little baby girl, who I couldn't help but fall in love with, won't see tomorrow.
rest in peace, sweetheart.
you were the light in your mother's eyes, and you will be deeply missed.

إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

(Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un, 'Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return'.)

I guess that's all there is to say.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Help, I'm alive.

  Women and men alike should watch this complete documentary. I especially recommend this for parents. It's sad to see how misrepresented we are in this male-dominated society. Really. And I honestly felt even better about covering up (hijab) because I'm disgusted with how women are seen as objects. I know that this isn't a new issue, but it's something that I've been reminded of and after viewing this documentary tonight, I feel a new sense of empowerment and I hope to be a role model for other girls to become more comfortable in their skin and to pay less attention to societal expectations of them.
  Girls, young women, and adults should take leadership roles in their communities and educate others about the issue at hand. Even doing something as little as stopping someone when they say something that is degrading to women, whether it's guys talking about girls, or girls talking about other girls. Girls are VERY tough on girls, and that's something that shouldn't be overlooked. This isn't something that affects one person; this is something that every woman and man is dealing with, whether they know it or not. This is today's society, and although it's hard to escape the ideology set in place right now, I feel strongly about the near future with more motivated, educated, and strong women stepping into leadership roles.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

a month in photos

I haven't blogged in a very long while... here's a few pictures from the past month or so...
on top of the world :)
I took a couple of children from my internship to see the view of the city they're staying in from above. They loved it.
the Cathedral by campus has a sense of humour :) Well, I thought it was clever.
Delicious homemade brunch at Sal's...
Crepes at Sal's house! YUM. Plenty of toppings to go around.
so yum
fresh chicken salad sandwichesss
pasta salad, all homeade by Sal! she's the best.
MY BABYYY<3 Alley Baba! (yes, it's spelled like that). Sal's cat. I'm in love.
I'm a little allergic, but I really wouldn't mind having a couple pet cats running around. Especially ones as chubby as this babyyy. I love him!
I decided I needed to take more photos, and started with things around my room...
Indian Tapestry
sketch books and bookends: "Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you"
the Holy Quran
an old, used prayer rug is a sign of strong faith.
Spread the Word: A bulletin board I made for my residents
The only reason I wasn't completely against this year's day is because I actually got stuff! haha
You may end up saving the day. The view from my pillow.
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