Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fashionista's Review: Kuehpedia, Bringing the Groove Back to Old School Kopitiams

I had meant to write this post sooner but unfortunately Alexa had gotten sick right after we landed in KL and when she had left for Kuching last Sunday, I was swamped with deadlines and had to complete some errands before I leave for my Eid break. Alhamdulillah I had finally completed my work earlier today and now I am (almost) on Eid mode. I'll be singing Eid songs all the way to Kuching this Sunday, woot! woot!

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of breaking fast at Kuehpedia with my pal, Farhah. I've heard of Kuehpedia before (believe me, Kuehpedia has been trending on my Facebook timeline), but unfortunately, as I haven't been back to Kuching for a while, I had not had the chance to visit and try out the cafe. Luckily Farhah called us up for their breaking fast session and let me just say that it was absolutely awesome.

Don't believe me? Let me show you some photos just to show you how awesome Kuehpedia is:

They had a Ramadhan buffet promotion when I was there. I had all the traditional Malay food such as ulam, ikan tahai, sayur nangka, midin belacan and sayur keladi along with some of the modern Malay food such as butter chicken and daging masak kicap. Let me just say, they were all scrumptious. I loved every bit of them and I especially love their sambal belacan. It was the perfect iftar for me!

Some of the traditional cakes that we had. We actually had more but they made it to the tummy first before I managed to take a photo of them. And by the way, the fried fritters next to that Kueh Perahu is actually kurma goreng. Yummy!

Ended my dinner with a cup of teh tarik =).

Buffet spread.

Some of their buffet spread.

Buffet spread for the cakes. I loved the fact that they had loads of traditional cakes. 

Let me just add a few comments about their buffet spread before I show you some photos of the interior of the cafe. Firstly, I love the fact that they cook fabulous traditional Sarawakian food. Some of the food are not easily available in Kuching, such as ikan tahai, thus Kuehpedia definitely offers something unique to their customers. I also loved their traditional cakes. They are delicious and those such as kueh bongkol and kueh perahu were absolutely scrumptious!
The Ramadhan buffet were priced at RM30 per person (for adults) and RM15 (for children) which I think is an absolute steal with the array of food that they are serving. The place was filled to the brim with customers and they even had to reject walk-in customers because there was no more space, masha Allah.
Unfortunately, the buffet promotion is only available in Ramadhan (I imagine there will be a long queue for next year's Ramadhan) but after Eid they will be open for business as usual. I actually would love to try out their breakfast spread. Soon, Fareiny, soon =).

Here are some photos of the cafe:

Food and drinks counter.

Cafe interior. Photo courtesy of Kuehpedia's Facebook page.

Trinkets and cakes.

The Iban warrior. I absolutely adore this mural.

The set up at the first floor. Photo taken by Farhah. 

Kuehpedia has a private room available for private bookings and functions on their first floor. On the day that I came for iftar, they had a private booking where the guests requested to eat and sit on the floor (traditional style). Uber cool!

The first floor set up. Photo taken by Farhah.

Decor in the private room. Photo taken by Farhah.

Thank you Farhah for inviting me over and Kuehpedia is such a gem. I can't wait to come over again. 

Kuehpedia exterior. Photo courtesy of Kuehpedia's Facebook page. 

Kek Lapis Citrawarna. Photo courtesy of Kuehpedia's Facebook page. 

For now (until Eid), Kuehpedia will be focusing on their Kek Lapis business and those who are looking for cakes and other delicacies to be served to guests this Eid, do drop by and check out their selection of scrumptious cakes.

If you're wondering where Kuehpedia is, it's located at Wayang Street (not far from Medan Pelita, some locals used to call the building Star Cineplex). If you're unsure of where it is, feel free to call them at 010-9710606. 

For more info on Kuehpedia (and to be updated on their promotions) do follow their Facebook page [here]. Let's support the local industry (especially the yummy ones) *wink*.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The concept of Rizq in Islam

A few weeks ago I attended one of the Al-Maghrib courses (I've forgotten which course unfortunately), and this story have made quite an impression on me, so much that I've never forgotten the story ever since.

Once Saidina Ali a.s. was riding a horse to a place and when it was time for prayer, he stopped at a nearby mosque. He told a man who was standing nearby to look after his horse until he comes back from his prayer. After praying, Saidina Ali a.s. went towards his horse with the intention to pay the man 4 dinars for taking care of the horse but he found that both the man and the saddle of his horse was missing. He rode on his horse in search of the man and arrived at a market place where he found another man selling the same saddle which was stolen from his horse.
Saidina Ali a.s. approached the seller and asked him the price at which he bought the saddle. The seller told him that he had bought the saddle for 4 dinars. Saidina Ali a.s. narrated to his companion that it was his intention to pay the man 4 dinars, and that 4 dinars was the destiny of the man (i.e. his rizq) but he chose to obtain his rizq through haraam means.

What this means is that your provisions (i.e. your rizq) have already been determined by Allah. You will get what Allah have intended for you to receive. However, it is up to you to earn your livelihood, whether the halal or the haraam way.

The concept of rizq in Islam is one of the most interesting concepts that I have ever come across. For one thing, rizq is not confined to only money, but also to good health, having children, a supportive spouse, a supportive family and many others. Rizq is made up of all that Allah has given you and the ability to be productive and beneficial in this world. Even the knowledge that you have is also rizq. One of the best rizq to have is definitely having your parents around, because they are your keys to Jannah. So if they are still alive, make sure to ask them to make loads of dua'a for you and use this opportunity to earn as much barakah as you can.

One of the funny things about rizq is that what you earn i.e. your salary/ wages etc, may not be entirely for you. There's somebody else's rizq in it too. That happens when you give out your money for charity, spend for your family and even when your money gets stolen, the rizq is not for you. It is only yours when you have consumed it, even the food that you eat can fall to the ground before reaching your mouth, indicating that it was not your rizq.

For those who are worried about their rizq, remember that Allah has written the portion that you will receive and indeed, that portion will reach you, just be patient and make loads of dua'a. And you can also practice reciting these two dua'as:

اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِي بِحَلَالِكَ عَنْ حَرَامِكَ وَأَغْنِنِي بِفَضْلِكَ عَمَّنْ سِوَاكْ
(Allaahumma-kfinee bihalaalika 'an haraamika wa aghninee bifadhlika 'amman siwaak)

"O Allah, save me from haraam and make the halaal sufficient and by your boon/favour make me independent from others".

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْبُخْلِ وَالْجُبْنِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ غَلَبَةِ الدَّيْنِ وَقَهْرِ الرِّجَالِ
(Allaahumma innee a'oodhu bika minal-hammi wal-hazan, wa aa'oozubika minal-'ajzi walkasal, wa aa'oozubika minal-bukhli waljubni, wa aa'oozubika minal ghalabatid-dayni wa kohrir-rijaal)

"O Allah I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, I seek refuge in You from hopelessness and laziness, I seek refuge in You from miserliness and cowardice and I seek refuge in You from overwhelming debt and from the force of men".

Both are dua'as to settle debt which have been taught by the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and are as narrated in Timidhi and Abu Dawood. 

May Allah relieve us from our debts. Ameen. 

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Monday, June 6, 2016


Today I read a very interesting article online [click here for the article] that asked four different women (with different income brackets) on how they spend their money. Their income ranged between $1,000,000 to one that is on the poverty line. There was a similar article on the spending pattern of four men with incomes ranging similar to the women. What I found to be interesting is their spending pattern.

The millionaire spends very little, so little in fact, if he or she wasn't a millionaire, they would become one simply by how little they spend and how much they save their leftover funds. In fact, the millionaire spends almost as much as the one on the poverty line. The main difference between them is the level of debt, the millionaire has very little debt while the one on the poverty line is struggling to pay his or her debt.

What I find to be interesting is that, in all the men and women interviewed, almost all of them are very aware of how much they spend, how much they save, and how much do they put away for retirement. It is quite humbling to find out that the millionaire only spends about $1,000 ++ in monthly expenses. Although in Malaysia, it would be almost impossible to spend as low as $1,000 per month in monthly expenses due to the difference in prices between Malaysia and the US, but I would have to say, it is doable (if you put your mind to it).

I do try to keep track of how much I am spending in a month. My main issue is commitments, i.e. I have too many bills to pay for, hence, what I need to do is to identify whether I need a certain service or not. As I am currently living in KL, let me give you an example of my expenses here in KL:
1. I do not have a tv (for the reason that I hardly ever watch tv) so I do not have any subscriptions to Astro, Netflix, Iflix or whatever cable tv.
2. I have a broadband connection with and that is only because my mum requires internet at home (for when she comes to visit, which is quite often). If it was up to me, I could live with just my mobile data and my plan is to terminate this connection once it expires next year (by that time, most probably I would be back in Kuching for good anyway).
3. I paid off my car and so far there's no plans to get a new one.
4. I have one credit card. I used to have two, but I've terminated one of them last year. My current plan is to go for debit card but so far I haven't made that transition. Inshaa Allah next year.
5. I have three mortgages. Two properties are being rented out and is giving me a little bit of income (although not as much as I want them to) and I am staying in one of them. I chose to buy a studio when I moved to KL for the simple reason that it's cheaper to buy (monthly instalments are lower than monthly rent) and I could always sell this apartment once I leave KL (so far there are no plans to sell but we are thinking about setting up an Airbnb business, but that too, is not fixed).
6. I do have a personal loan which I took before I started my PhD. I had to take the loan because I really wanted to further my studies then and I hadn't gotten a scholarship yet. When I got my scholarship, I used the funds remaining from the personal loan to pay as downpayment for my third property. I must admit that taking a personal loan is among my biggest regrets because I think I could have survived without it and yet, now I am paying for it. So, no more personal loans for me in the future, inshaa Allah.
7. Monthly expenses: Petrol (around RM50 or RM70 a week), Food (around RM100 - RM140 per week, it could be more if I go for fancy lunches and dinners), Toiletries and miscellaneous (around RM100 - RM200 per week, it could be more if I sign up for running/ join other activities), utility bills and maintenance fees (RM400 - RM600 per month) and insurance/ takaful for me and Alexa (RM350 per month). I calculated roughly on the minimum side I would have about RM1750 monthly expenses, right?

I don't know whether my current monthly spending is too high or too low, but according to my own calculations, it's quite reasonable. Indeed I do feel that I would prefer to pay lesser bills but so far, I think I have minimised what I can.

So, what gets me into trouble with spending? A few years ago, the main culprit used to be traveling. I used to travel two to three times a year and although by itself, one trip is affordable, but when you have too many trips in a year, my travel budget would be eating into funds which I am supposed to use for other purposes and this contributed to an increase in my credit card debt. I have since reduced my traveling plans while I reorganise my budget and have started to only travel by cash (i.e. pay my flight tickets, accommodation, and any other spending all in cash).
Another big culprit for me is shopping, and perhaps it's the lure of online shopping as I do not go out very often (I currently have very little spare time and I only go to shopping malls if there is a need for something). I have discovered that I have a certain weakness for instagram posts and there are so many beautiful not-to-be-missed items out there. Realising this weakness of mine, I've decided to unfollow some instagram accounts (prevention is definitely better than cure), and go through a mental list in my mind if I want to make a purchase. E.g. let's say I see a pretty dress (I currently love the designs by aere and love-to-dress), I would make a mental note in my head counting the dresses that I have and whether there is a need for a new one. And considering the size of my wardrobe, usually there is no need for a new scarf/ dress/ sandals/ running shoes/ handbags/ running gear etc.
Another spending trap would have to be food because we Malaysians are notorious foodies. However, since I have no time to eat out, so far that is not a problem for me.

So, I'm going to throw out this question to you: 

How's your spending like? 

For me, I know I don't spend a lot really, simply because I do try to rationalise whether what I intend to buy is a need or a want, and usually it's a want. Before I make that intention to purchase, I evaluate:

1. Do I need new shoes?
I have 2 flats, 2 sneakers, 1 jogger, a pair jungle-trekking shoes, 2 sandals and 2 flip-flops, and these are only from the ones I have in KL, not to mention the ones in Kuching.

2. Do I need a new scarf?
I have been eyeing a scarf from dUCk for a while now but haven't made committed to making the purchase simply because I know I have too many scarfs and I have changed my priorities in spending.

3. Do I need ... ?

In my case, it's apparent that in most cases I don't.

So do you have trouble in your finances? 

If you do, my first suggestion is to evaluate your spending pattern. Try to let go of what you do not need. Earlier this year I reduced my phone plan with DiGi and went for a lower bill which suited my needs, and let go of my Maxis broadband for the iPad. Is there a service that you only occasionally use? If you could live without it, then let it go.
For most people, their biggest spending could be bills (then minimise where you can), food (homemade food taste better and are healthier, believe me), travel (we have plenty amazing destinations in Malaysia for us to visit), or even kids (instead of spending money, spend more time with them by bringing them to the library or the park).
If you find that you have too many commitments, although it is recommended to repay the ones with the highest interest, I would recommend (based on my own practice) to repay the smallest amount due. If you have money owing to friends and families, do repay them first because, their dua'a (when you've made payment) could open doors to bigger and better rizq. And then move on to the next one. Identify your weaknesses and address those weaknesses. Have a support partner which would knock some sense into your head and be realistic with yourself.

Always remember that the life of others should not be a benchmark of how you live your life. We see beautiful photos and glamorous lives of celebrities and public figures, and all praise be to Allah for enabling them with more than what they need. But we may not necessarily need to wear what they wear, eat where they eat, drive the car that they drive etc. We attain happiness by being who we are and becoming a better version of ourselves.

If you need to spend, spend more time investing in a better you =).

Have a blessed Ramadhan.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista