Hari Raya in Malaysia and how it's related to...beavers?

So, since I've been seeing a non-Malaysian, I've started to see my cultural practices through fresh eyes. And since Hari Raya has just recently happened, this recent project I was on with my good friend Azaria has been released just in time to explain this very special time in Malaysia!

Those of you who followed me on Instagram will have known that I was working on something. This was it! Well, this and another thing, but I'll blog about the other one once it is out ;)

If you have friends from overseas who are curious about what Hari Raya or Eid is like in Malaysia, send them this Tourism Buzz episode by MyTourismTV, the video channel for Tourism Malaysia. You can find the episode at this link: http://mytourismtv.com/talkshow-1687.html

Oh, and watch to find out how beavers are apparently related to Hari Raya :p

Selamat Hari Raya from Adriana, Aqil and Afraz, and about 50 other members of our family ;p

Selamat Hari Raya, Eid Mubarak, Salam Lebaran and Happy Holidays! We opted for a purple theme for our outfits this year, with a little bit of green thrown in. My baju kurung moden was tailor-made and the kids' baju Melayu are from Omar Ali (sponsored by my parents, who bought all their other Raya clothes and even shoes this year. Thank you, Wan and Atok...we're so blessed). Speaking of my parents, this year, my parents hosted the first day gathering for our extended family. And it was a roaring success!

They say with this new hair I'm bound to have more fun...

...but generally I have tons of fun everyday anyway ;)

Introducing my new hair color!

This all started a few months ago when I became obsessed with having lighter hair thanks to this image on Pinterest:

It's not exactly blond. In fact it's purple, I think. But it got me to obsessed with the idea of having light-colored hair. I know it's a big commitment - I'm going to have to invest in touch-ups as soon as my roots start to show. Plus the ashy tone of my hair will fade pretty quickly if I wash it too often, unless I use purple shampoo, which I can't find anywhere here! (I'm already asking Dan to get it in Australia for me...one of the few perks of being in a long-distance relationship).

Speaking of Dan, he had no idea this change was coming, and when he saw it the first time on FaceTime...well, I wish I had thought to screen cap his face! His comment is that: it looks great on you because it makes you look more tan. As an Asian, I'm not sure how to take that...

As usual, credit for this new hair color goes to my stylist Jiro Lee at Miko Hair Galere. He's moved to their awesome new location at Pavilion, which also happened to have massage and nail services. One-stop shop for all my beauty servicing needs? Me likey!

Thank you, Pinoy, for the wonderful foot massage :D
I was kind of scared in the beginning because Jiro told me he had to bleach my hair D: I've had really bad experiences with bleach, including having chemical burns on my scalp. Fortunately, Jiro only uses ammonia-free bleach. It's really gentle so it takes aaaaages to bleach my hair but at least it isn't smelly and harmful to my scalp and hair!

Bleach! Luckily Jiro only uses ammonia-free bleach, so it's not smelly or harmful to my hair.

I had to take a picture of my hair post-bleach and pre-color. I look horrible!
After bleaching, the actual ash-blond hair dye was applied and I was left with awesome hair (if I do say so myself. So humble k). Overall I'm super happy with the hair. So far the color hasn't faded, and my hair isn't damaged. I don't know if I'll able to keep this up, what with the constant touch ups for my roots, but it looks so good I think I might be able to do it (again, very humble)!

So, what do you think? Is this an upgrade or a downgrade? And do blondes really have more fun??

4 Reasons I Love Drinking TruDtox During Ramadhan

Sponsored Post

I usually get gastric pains during fasting month because I eat irregularly and often times eat very little at sahur but way too much at iftar. Basically, I have really terrible eating habits during Ramadhan, including uncharacteristic cravings for anything deep-fried, really sweet or really salty. Fortunately, just before Ramadhan began, I received a pack of TruDtox tea to review. TruDtox has been so great for me because it allows me to indulge without feeling the effects too much. With the help of TruDTox, I'm happy to report I've yet to miss a single day of fasting due to stomach-related pains!

TruDtox is formulated by a Swiss nutraceutical company and is rigorously tested, approved and qualified. It is made of European Herbs and is certified as food by the Ministry of Health. It doesn't contain harsh laxatives (eg: Senna), so it really offers a gentle cleansing. The most important thing is, it is a made of 100% natural & organic herbs, floras and teas. No artificial colouring, bulking agents, pesticides, or caffeine here!

I was given a TruDtox 15 + 2s Gentle Detox Tea pack, and I had one cup of the tea every two to three days throughout Ramadhan. In the beginning I tried drinking it during iftar, but I found that it did give a mild laxative effect for me personally, so after the first week I started drinking it only during sahur.

After putting a teaspoon of sugar in hot water, I put the tea bag in.
Here's the tea just starting to steep.
And here's the tea half an hour later, ready to drink! Yummmm
What I usually do is put bit of sugar in hot water before putting the tea bag in. The tea is flavorful enough without sugar, but I used the tea as kind of a treat, so I liked it just a little bit sweeter. Since I need to let the tea steep for half an hour for it to be effective, I usually made the tea first before eating my meal, and then drank it after.

Here are 4 reason I love drinking TruDtox Tea during Ramadhan:
Please excuse my sleepy,
no-makeup sahur face

  1. It made me less bloated
    I can't be the only one who wakes up in the morning really bloated during Ramadhan. I know full well that it's because I'm drinking too much water before bed. It's important because it's the only time I can really hydrate, but darn it, I look like a balloon when I wake up in the morning! Drinking TruDtox really cut down on the bloatedness naturally - without having me pass gas, mind you ;)
  2. It made me "go" regularly
    Ok, this is a little TMI, but I have a problem with constipation. I try to eat lots of fiber and stay hydrated, but during Ramadhan I've kind of found that hard to do. I've found that after about a week of drinking TruDtox, I became really regular. 
  3. It gave me energy
    I know it says that there's no caffeine in TruDtox but I'm sure there's something in it that keeps my energy up. The days that I drink TruDtox tea for sahur are my most productive! The thing is, it isn't like a brief spurt of energy either - it keeps me going throughout the day.
  4. It's yummy!
    This was unexpected. I generally don't drink herbal teas because in my experience, they taste awful. In fact, when I received the box of TruDtox tea, I put in two teaspoons of sugar because I was afraid it would taste nasty. Suprisingly, it tasted really good!

If you'd like to find out more, be sure to visit www.truDtox.com and like their page at www.facebook.com/trudtox. TruDtox retails at RM29.50 for a pack of 5 teabags and RM88.50 for a pack of 15+2 teabags.

TruDtox is available in most leading pharmacies such as Caring, Watsons, Guardian, Alpha, Alpro, Healthlane, and Vitacare as well as independence pharmacies nationwide. TruDtox is also available online at www.hishop.my.

Note: This is a sponsored post, which means that I received the product in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

Breastfeeding Made Easy: 5 Ways To Deal With Relatives Who Disapprove Of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be an interesting and sometimes challenging journey. There are many people who are lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive, helpful, and loving relatives and friends who make the journey a little easier with their presence. Unfortunately, there are also many who are surrounded by people who make them feel discouraged about breastfeeding, pushing them to seek supplementary feedings for their babies - usually because they feel they aren't making enough - which in turn actually does decrease their supply. The sad thing is, this usually occurs at the very beginning of their breastfeeding journey, which puts mama and baby at a disadvantage from the start.

If you are pregnant and plan on breastfeeding, do not discount the effect that this pressure will have on your determination, particularly when you're not getting enough sleep and are recovering from birth. In order to help you deal with the situation, I've come up with a list of how you can deal with family members and friends who discourage you from breastfeeding:

  1. Find Support
    It can be very overwhelming when you feel like everyone around you is discouraging you. So in order to balance things out a bit, make it a point to surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people. Join Facebook Groups like The Breastfeeding Advocates Network and attend real-life breastfeeding support groups. Identify mom friends who breastfeed and let them know you need their support when the time comes - most of us are happy to help! Also - actually, most importantly - make sure your partner is supportive. Having a few people who can support you and encourage you when times get hard can make a BIG difference when you are feeling discouraged. There has been lots of research into the role of support in breastfeeding success, so make this a priority in your breastfeeding preparation.

    Attend a breastfeeding support group when you are pregnant and introduce yourself: "Hi everyone, I'm expecting my baby in December and my family isn't supportive of breastfeeding. I worry that this will affect my breastfeeding when I give birth. I hope some of you can offer guidance and support for me, because I know breastfeeding can be challenging sometimes. Thank you!"

  2. Prepare
    Speaking of preparation, you really must be prepared in order to breastfeed successfully. Even with all the support in the world, you are up for an uphill climb if your breastfeeding education only occurs after you give birth (trust me, I did that and wish I didn't!). If you are pregnant, prepare from now, and know that it is never too early. Read books, ask for advice from breastfeeding friends, and attend breastfeeding classes. And please don't just attend a birthing class with a couple of hours of breastfeeding lessons thrown in - that is NOT enough. Sign up for a real breastfeeding class run by Lactation Consultants or Breastfeeding Peer Counselors. Make sure you know for sure that formula companies are not sponsoring these classes! Also know that there are many online resources on breastfeeding, so the information is right there for you to discover. This page on Kellymom has great articles to get you started.

    Read at least one book on breastfeeding (The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding is often cited as one of the best), join at least one breastfeeding support group on Facebook, attend a breastfeeding class and have at least three breastfeeding friends who can commit to supporting you when the time comes. These won't take much time at all - a day to read the book, a few hours for the breastfeeding class, and mere minutes to join a FB group and introduce yourself. This is the very least you can do to prepare yourself.

  3. Practice Responses
    Once you've got the knowledge through all your preparation, this part is easy. Identify the "facts" that these folks try to convince you of, and practice some clear and polite responses. Some people really do mean well and are simply ignorant, and yet others just are not comfortable with breastfeeding for whatever reason and use ignorance as an excuse. No matter what type of person they are, keep in mind you are the one with the power of knowledge here. So practice what you would say to nay-sayers, and do it confidently and with grace.

    Relative: "Aiyo, two days already and you still don't have milk ah! See your baby keeps nursing and nursing. Better feed formula la, how can you starve your baby liddat??"
    You: "No lah Aunty, even though I'm not making milk, I am making colostrum. It's all the baby needs and can take in the first few days. I'm sure I'll be making milk in a few more days, though! But I need my baby's help to get there, so she needs to breastfeed as often as possible to get my milk in :)"

    1. Make your perspective clear
      This may seem a little passive aggressive, but the beauty of social media is that it enables you to share your views with the world. So utilize your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page to share share breastfeeding articles and links (like this post!). You can also place breastfeeding books or posters in full view when people come to visit. I know this seems like it's so passive that it won't affect anything, but at least some people might get the hint and avoid saying anything to discourage you. It also has the secondary benefit of further boosting your own confidence in breastfeeding, which in turn will convince these friends and relatives that you know what you're doing.

      Share this post all up on yo Facebook wall, girrrrrl!

    2. Smile and nod
      Sometimes there is nothing you can do but smile and nod. Make peace with this. When relatives offer suggestions that you know will affect your breastfeeding negatively, smile and nod and say "thank you". And then move on to the next topic. Even the most persistent person will stop once they realize their words aren't having much effect. When you feel the comments starting to get to you, go back to #1 on the list and vent to your buddies. It'll help keep you centered and prevent you from yelling at the person you've just told for the 100th time that you don't plan on letting your baby eat solids for at least 6 months.


      Friend: "You know, I fed my baby when she was 4 months. No problem whaaat??"
      You: "Oh, okay :)"
    Image Source: Babycenter
    Of course, the comments won't ever stop. In fact, for as long as you are a parent, people will question every parenting decision you make. Breastfeeding is just an easy target. Not just in the beginning either - I had the odd comment or two even after years of breastfeeding (usually related to weaning them, which truly is nobody's business but mine). Alas, many people genuinely believe they have a right to criticize or even dictate your decisions, particularly in our culture. Some even mean well, even if their advice isn't particularly great. But if you are steadfast and determined, and do the 5 things above, you can avoid having it affect your breastfeeding success and go on to happily nurse your children for as long as you bloody well want ;)

    Are there any strategies that you employed that worked but aren't on this list? Share some with me in the comments!

    Update on the book: It's going to print!!!

    I am SO excited to announce that my book is finally going to print!

    The good folks at MPH Publishing just sent me a digital copy of the layout, and after minor editing here and there, the book is good to go!

    To say I'm excited about this would be an understatement. I cannot believe this is actually happening. A part of me feels nervous, like there is so much more I'd wanna add or maybe there might be more changes I want to make. The other part of me is like, I really want to finally share this with the world!

    The nerves are very real, though. Every writer I've spoken to has mentioned that they worry about critics all the time. I'm no stranger to criticism, but I've yet to develop thick enough skin to really let it roll off my back without any emotion. That being said, in the months that I've had to prepare, I've really been consciously making an effort to view criticism as a positive and necessary part of growing. Plus, it'll give me more to work on for the second edition of the book...(Hey, one can hope! Law of attraction and all that, right??).

    More that anything, though, I've written this book as a way to combat ignorance and misconceptions about babywearing in Malaysia, and also as a basic guide to a parenting tool that I feel very passionate about. There's not one person that I've introduced babywearing to that hasn't found it useful! I hope that with the book, the joy of babywearing can be felt by more parents and caregivers.

    Oh, and before I forget, I'm also very excited to announce that instead of "Adriana Thani's Guide To Babywearing", the title of the book will be "Babywearing Made Simple"...and it will also be the FIRST book in the Parenting Series by MPH Publishing!

    I'm super excited to start off the Parenting Series with a book about Babywearing, which is hardly a mainstream parenting thing. Kudos to MPH for having the guts to do things differently. I look forward to sharing more information about upcoming books in the series - I can't confirm anything right now, but I think advocates in the natural parenting community will be pleased with what's coming ;)

    My goodness, I can barely sleep these days I'm so excited! In the coming weeks, make sure you look out for contests and giveaways right here on this blog and also my other social media platforms (check them out in the top right corner of the blog, or just add @adrianathani on Twitter and Instagram). I'm also planning to have an awesome launch for the book, so keep an eye out for that as well.

    I can't wait to be able to announce that the book is out!

    Online magazines - inspiration on the web!

    It's been a few years since my last post about where I get inspiration on the web. Since then, a lot of my buds are on Pinterest and Lookbook, probably silently cursing me for introducing these time-eaters to them.
    Image credit: someecards.com
    So, naturally, I figure it's now time to share more inspiration on the web!

    My two favorites right now are Rue Magazine and Enfant Terribles Magazine. Yep, you read that right - they are indeed magazines! Just free. And not on paper. And not bogged down by pages and pages of advertising.

    Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE print magazines. In fact, they take up a lot of space in my home, because I hoard them. And I like the weight of a magazine in my hand, and the texture of really good paper (Frankie magazine being a favorite for this). But online magazines have the advantage of allowing me to read articles and look at awesome photos while under my blanket as I wait for my boys to fall asleep. I mean, real talk, right?

    I've found that I preferred viewing these magazines on the iPad. They're okay on my lappie, but I guess I like being able to read all magazines lying down ;p Plus the photos turn out stunning on the iPad, and frankly it's the visuals that draw my attention anyway (although the writer in me enjoys absorbing all the text as well). 

    These magazines also allow you to click/tap onto clothes, furniture, etc and take you directly to the website so you can purchase it on the spot! This also goes for social/contact links throughout the magazine, which is great if you're like me and enjoy discovering new, talented people. Anyway, here are two e-magazines I'm currently inspired by!

    Rue Magazine

    I've been reading this e-magazine for about 6 months now. The website itself has great editorial and Pin-nable images, but my favorite thing to do is flipping through the back issues of the magazine. There are lots of home decor inspiration, with a little bit of apparel and food ideas thrown in there as well. Most importantly, I love the aesthetic. Reading it feels light, bright, and incredibly stylish.

    What I like about this magazine also is that it features real homes by real designers. No show homes here! Here is a description of the e-zine according to the Rue Magazine website:
    We believe that a beautiful life is more than well-crafted design; it’s the laughter in the living room, the fragrance from the kitchen, and the way you feel when you slip into that fabulous frock. We're here to provide you with the resources needed to make that all your own. Founded in 2010, Rue has expanded from a bimonthly digital lifestyle magazine to your daily source for all things inspiring. Join us as we empower you to live the most beautiful version of your life.
    Read Rue Magazine here.

    Enfant Terribles Magazine

    I just discovered this magazine thanks to Michelle at DanceyPantsDisco (which, in itself, is a beautiful blog). Enfants Terribles Magazine was founded in Denmark, but it is truly international in it's editorial. The current issue even includes a shoot by a photographer mama in LA!

    The magazine is very whimsical, and features lots of children's apparel and gorgeous photoshoots. I like how they feature working mothers as their contributors - I found a bunch of bloggers, photographers, and illustrators through this magazine. Each issue has a theme, which makes the contributions that much more interesting. It's amazing how differently people view a single theme.

    I also love that it's a great outlet and platform to showcase the talents of some incredibly creative people. In fact, that was one of the principles the magazines was founded upon, according to their website:
    Enfants Terribles Magazine is the creative playground for handpicked creative souls from all over the world. We are building a playful and inspiring universe where you can always find an excuse to play.
    Read Enfants Terribles Magazine here.

    I hope you'll enjoy these magazines as much as I do! 

    Obsession Of The Week: My new rescue kittens!

    So this weeks OOTW is coming in a bit late, because...well, because my obsessions are keeping me pretty busy.

    If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know what I mean.

    If you don't follow me on Instagram (which you should totally do, btw), then I'll explain here:

    I rescued these kittens!

    I went to a nearby commercial area on Thursday and, as usual, I was greeted by this large blond male cat. But as I sat in the car, our helper Leslie pointed out that there were also some kittens near my car. So I got out to check them out and move them away from the car parking area.

    This is what greeted me: two kittens, eyes completely shut due to infection, walking onto the road. This is a fairly high-traffic commercial area, and there is no doubt in my mind that they would have been run over if I didn't take them. So I did. There was no mama around, and their condition indicated that they weren't being taken care of (a mama cat wouldn't have allowed that much gunk to get stuck on her kittens' eyes).

    I happened to have this plastic drawer thing in my car that contained some origami paper for a recent school event, so we used it to hold the kittens as we headed home. These two barely made any noise, or any fuss at all. They were that weak.

    As we headed home, we noticed my aunt driving in front of us. As a cat owner herself, I knew she could help. And she did! Thanks to her, I managed to get some cat food and a carrier to bring them to the vet in (this was early in the morning, so the vet wasn't open). At home, I put them in the carrier with food and water, but all they did was sleep :(
    At 10am, I took them to the vet. They had a cold, were covered in fleas, and possibly had worms in their little bellies. And their eyes...their poor eyes...needed a lot of cleaning. Meanwhile, I was freaking out and trying to get someone to adopt them - I knew that if the boys set eyes on them, they would want to keep them...and I didn't want to have to take care of two sick kittens! So I went on all my social media platforms asking people to adopt them or at least foster them. Of course, it was way early in the morning, so I didn't get a lot of responses. But credit goes to my neighbor Namie and the Bukit Jelutong account on Twitter - they really stepped up!

    Anyhow, long story short: they required a lot of care (they needed eye drops and meds twice a day, aside from keeping an eye on them to make sure they eat and drink enough, and also check their poo for worms...which actually happened). So I knew I couldn't just paw them off to other people (pun totally intended). So in our home they stayed. And after the boys saw them, in our home they will remain ;)

    The boys named them the next day. The black one is Astrid, and the stripey grey one is Elsa. For those that don't watch a lot of animated films, these two Nordic names are based on two strong, independent characters from How To Train Your Dragon and Frozen respectively. Let's hope these kitties reflect their namesakes' best personality traits!

    They've now been with us four days, and are in almost-perfect health. Their eyes are pretty much all better, there are no more worms in their poo, they have put on quite a bit of weight, and are very energetic kittens. Afraz said it best on the second day they were here: "Mama, they look like real kittens!". Hahaha. They have very distinct personalities, which you can see in the video below. Elsa's boisterous and wild, while Astrid is a total lap cat. But they both can play fight and knock around perceived threats (read: balled up paper and our feet) with gusto.

    I do feel blessed that these two came into my life. My allergies haven't been acting up as much as I thought it would, and the boys are SO happy. I look forward to cuddling them (though I don't look forward to giving them medicine before the cuddle session). My parents were the real heroes in this story though. When I told them my plan to send them off for adoption, their words were: sure, but if you find no one, then we are destined to keep them, and that would mean they are a Ramadhan gift from god - pretty sweet sentiments, methinks!

    I've still been searching for a mama cat in the area where I found them, to no avail. I've also heard that there's a third kitten, but couldn't find any. There is construction work in the area now, so it's likely that they've been scared off...but I will still try to find their mama and little sister or brother.

    P.S: I SO foresee lots of posts about them from now on!

    Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad!

    Both my parents' birthdays fall on the same month (Mom's is on the 23rd, Dad's is on the 29th), so I'ma just consolidate both birthdays in one post...just like we did with their birthday dinner :p My poor dad's birthday fell on the first of day of Ramadhan, so we celebrated early the weekend before my mom's birthday.

    This year, she chose a classic spot to have the dinner - Coliseum Cafe! Anyone who has lived in Malaysia would know of this joint. It's an institution! I've been going there since I was a kid. In fact, it's been around since 1921...so it's really already been there since my grandparents were kids. I remember going to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman specifically to have steak there at least once a year, since it was such a pain in the butt to reach there and to get parking as well.

    Waiting for our private room to be ready - be sure to call ahead for bookings!