Health, Beauty, Self Defence and Fitness



tilegroutTo go along with my early spring cleaning/organizing I wanted to tackle my grout! We have quite a bit of tile in our home. The bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry room. The house is 8 years old and I’m not sure if the tile was just never sealed or if it’s just dirty after all these years. Either way, I was going to rid it of the yuckiness!

I came across a Pin that did not link but had a grout cleaner recipe pasted with the picture. I decided to give it a try. I figured if it didn’t work I would just go to Lowe’s and buy a real grout cleaner.

I am so happy that I gave it a try! It actually worked!! And all of the chemicals I used were kid friendly so my kiddos got to help too…which they thought was so much fun!

  • 7 cups water
  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice (or ammonia - I am not a fan of this so I stuck with the lemon juice)
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or bucket
  • Use a toothbrush to apply to grout and scrub clean
  • Use a dry washcloth to wipe up excess

Lastly, I went over the grout with a grout sealer.


  • straightpathThe proportion of adults with a healthy body mass index (BMI) – defined as being between 18.5 and 25 – fell to just 34% in men and 39% in women during 2011.
  • There has been a marked increase in obesity rates over the past eight years – in 1993 13% of men and 16% of women were obese – in 2011 this rose to 24% for men and 26% for women.
  • For children attending reception class (aged 4-5 years) during 2011-12, 9.5% were obese.
  • Health outcomes

  • In 2011, 53% of obese men and 44% of obese women were found to have high blood pressure.
  • During 2011-12 there were 11,736 hospital admissions due to obesity – this over 11 times higher than during 2001-02.
  • Ibn Mas'ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

     لعن الله الواشمات والمستوشمات والمتنمصات والمتفلجات بالحسن، المغيرات خلق الله‏!‏ فقالت له امرأة في ذلك فقال‏:‏ وما لي لا ألعن من لعنه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو في كتاب الله‏؟‏‏!‏ قال الله تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏وما آتاكم الرسول فخذوه وما نهاكم عنه فانتهوا‏}‏

    Allah has cursed those women who practise tattooing and those women who have themselves tattooed, and those women who get their hair removed from their eyebrows and faces (except the beard and the mustache), and those who make artificial spaces between their teeth for beauty, whereby they change Allah's creation. A woman started to argue with him, saying: "What is all this?" He replied: "Why should I not curse those whom the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed and who are cursed in Allah's Book? Allah, the Exalted, has said in His Book: "And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad (P)) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)." (59:7) [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

    *Please click here if you can't see the above video.


    sisterparkThink nothing can be done about cellulite and stubborn saddlebags? A proven formula to iron out the creases is back - and it's better than before...Banish saddlebags: Through specific toning exercises and the right diet, you can shape up in just a month!

    Are your jeans feeling uncomfortably tight...? Would you do pretty much anything to get rid of your cellulite?

    Unfortunately, when women pile on the pounds, it tends to sit stubbornly on our hips, bottom and thighs.

    But the good news is that there is something you can do about those unwanted lumps and bumps. How does dramatic inch-loss in less than a month sound?

    Wendy Stehling, author of Thin Thighs In 30 Days — which sold more than 2.5 million copies in the 1980s — has updated it for today's woman.

    Though the basic programme remains true to the highly effective original, a handful of new exercises and the introduction of interval training in the Walk Out section will blast away cellulite more efficiently than ever before.

    Follow Wendy's expert advice and your thighs should feel sleeker and slimmer within days.

    'Because of our female ­physiology, wobbly, cellulite-ridden thighs, saddle bags of fat on hips and a dimpled, droopy bottom are the bane of most women's lives,' says Wendy.

    'In my experience, however, we can eliminate some of that unwanted fat and firm up things quite dramatically in a relatively short time with a focused diet and exercise.

    'You don't need to eat exotic foods, buy expensive miracle creams or even invest in a gym membership to see results. All you have to do is commit to my simple, proven, three-step ­programme for 30 days.'


    Get perfect pins: It's a walk in the park...

    One of the very best ways to slim your thighs and improve your general health and well-being is to get out and walk — briskly and regularly.

    It doesn't sound ­innovative, but did you know that with the right pace and route, walking can burn off more than 300 calories an hour?

    And when you use the correct technique, walking regularly really can tone bottom and thigh muscles incredibly quickly.

    To get the dramatic results that the Thin Thighs In 30 Days programme promises, you need to walk one to three miles, six days a week — ­follow the weekly walking 'prescriptions' in the 4-Week Fitness Plan (below).

    You also need to perform the ­simple — but hugely effective — Work Off exercise routine after each walk.

    Walk off wobbly thighs

    Decide on the routes you are going to walk. You need to map out a selection of 1½, 2, 2½ and 3-mile courses. To quickly work out suitable routes, go to Key in your proposed walk on a map of your local area and the site will ­calculate the distance for you.

    Alternatively, first drive or walk around your ­proposed route and use your car's mileometer, or — if you're on foot — a pedometer to ­measure ­distance. Include hills and inclines in your workout when you can for their extra fitness and toning benefits.

    Set aside at least 45 minutes (ideally an hour) every day for your Walk Off, but do remember you must include a rest day each week (I recommend Mondays). You can walk to work, pop out at lunchtime for a brisk stroll — whatever suits. Walking on a treadmill counts, too.

    Always walk in a pair of good-quality walking or running shoes that leave plenty of room for your toes.

    Walk at the pace that is right for you. If you're already pretty fit, alternate jogging and walking to boost your routine.

    Stretch your muscles thoroughly before and after exercising.

    Quicken your pace

    LUMPS AND BUMPS: 70 per cent of cellulite is caused by lifestyle; 30 per cent is genetic.

    Posture is important. Keep your shoulders back and your chin held high — look straight ahead.

    Walk naturally, but faster than you typically do, allowing your arms to swing.

    This is not a casual amble around the shops, so step up your pace ­several notches. Lengthening your stride will tone your inner and outer thighs more efficiently.

    If your legs become stiff during your walk or you become short of breath, slow down.

    If you become dizzy, stop immediately and regain your equilibrium. If you haven't exercised in a while, you may struggle at first, but don't give up.

    Just take things steady until you build up enough strength and ­stamina to up your pace a little.


    1. THIGH RAISE: Lying face down, raise your legs —from just above your knees — so your feet are a few inches off the ground (above top). Bend your knees, keeping them off the ground, and hold that position (above bottom). Start with five ­seconds and gradually work up to 15 seconds. Slowly unbend your knees and, with control, lower your straight legs to the ground, then repeat

    2. BYE BYE TO YOUR INNER THIGHS: Sit on the floor with your back straight, knees bent and legs wide apart.

    Place your left arm directly over your left knee, using your right hand to support yourself by your hip. While sitting straight, move your right foot to your left hand and hold for five seconds to start. Begin with five reps, then repeat on the other side.

    3. KICK-KICK: Sit straight, on the floor, with your right knee bent and left leg straight out (above, top). Lift up your left leg so that your foot is at least 6in off the ground (above, bottom). Hold for five seconds to start, then, with control, lower leg. Repeat on the other side.

    4. PONY KICK: Get down on your elbows and knees (above, top). Keeping your back flat, slowly raise your left thigh to about 45 degrees, with your knee bent and pointing your heel up to the ­ceiling (above, bottom). Hold for five seconds. Lower leg and repeat five times or more — before repeating ­exercise and same number of repetitions with your right leg

    5. BALLET THIGH: Holding on to a railing or the back of a chair, stand with both feet facing forward. With your chin up, move your right leg back with the toe touching the floor (left). Then raise your right leg back at an angle (not straight back) — lead with your heel, until your heel is 12in off the ground (right). Hold for five seconds, then lower leg and repeat. Start with five repetitions and work up to 20 or more. Repeat on the other side

    6. THIGH CHAIR: Stand about a foot away from a wall with your feet straight ahead. Slide your body down the wall, until you are sitting with your thighs perpendicular to the surface (pictured). Hold this position for between 30 seconds and two minutes


    Every day (except Monday): Walk for at least one mile at a brisk pace. On days when you have extra energy, add a hill to your walk or introduce ­interval training: walk at a fast pace for 30 seconds to one minute. Then slow to a brisk pace for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat for as long as you comfortably can.

    Follow each of your walks this week with this Work Off routine (outlined above). Repeat exercises one to four five times on each leg. Hold Ballet Thigh for five to ten seconds and repeat five to 20 times (do as many repetitions as you can comfortably manage). Hold Thigh Chair for 30 seconds to two minutes.

    Apart from on Monday, walk a minimum of 1½ miles every day this week.

    Interval train on Tuesday (alternating fast and brisk paces for 30-second to one-minute intervals) and walk up a hill five times in addition to your walk on Friday.

    After each walk, perform five repetitions of the Thigh Raise, eight repetitions of exercises two to four on each leg and hold Ballet Thigh and Thigh Chair positions for as long as you can.

    Walk a minimum 1½ miles on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Walk two miles (including one-minute interval training) on ­Tuesday. On Friday, walk 1½ miles and walk up a hill five times. Walk 2½ miles on Sunday.

    After each walk, do the Thigh Raise five times. Repeat exercises two to four up to ten times on each leg. Hold Ballet Thigh and Thigh Chair for as long as possible.

    Walk a minimum two miles on Wednesday, ­Thursday and Saturday. Walk 2½ miles (including one-minute interval training) on Tuesday. On Friday, walk two miles, and walk up a hill seven times. Walk three miles on Sunday.

    After your walks, repeat Thigh Raise eight times. Repeat exercises two to four up to 15 times on each leg. Hold Ballet Thigh and Thigh Chair for as long as possible.


    Tried-and-tested tips to help reduce your calorie intake:

    • Weigh yourself every week.
    • Eat when you are hungry. Never come to the table starving — you'll just over-eat.
    • DRINK plenty of water and stay hydrated. Water can help you feel ­satisfied and full.
    • Always sit down to eat — and enjoy your food!
    • Pick one food that is calorie-dense that you splurge on regularly (mine was desserts) — and stop eating it.
    • Check with your doctor before you begin any diet. Never eat fewer than 1,500 calories a day without being monitored by a physician.
    • Treat food labels with caution. Check serving sizes to see how many there are in the container — you might be eating four servings and not even know it!

    The diet part of the Thin Thighs In 30 Days regime is incredibly simple: you need to count calories.

    That's right, straight-forward calorie counting. No eating only a single food group, no crash diets or weird recipes to follow.

    According to a 2009 study by Frank Sachs, Harvard School of Public Health professor of cardiovascular disease ­prevention: 'Weight loss depends on cutting calories rather than any specific diet. ­People can lose weight eating the food they like to eat just by eating less.'

    So despite what other diets would have you believe, it really is that simple. Eat the right number of ­calories and you will lose weight.

    The Weight Off diet is designed to help you drop up to half a stone in 30 days.

    If you have more than a dress size to lose, you are best finding long-term ­support in a diet programme.

    So how many calories should you be eating? Once you start following the Thin Thighs Work Off and Walk Off programmes, if you eat the right amount of calories to maintain the weight you'd like to be (see chart below), you should lose weight.

    So, if you are 39 and would like to weigh 9st, you need to eat 1,900 calories a day. This is because active, strong ­muscles need more calories to keep them ticking over than inactive ones do.

    If you are fit and your muscles are toned, you'll be burning substantially more energy than an unfit, inactive person — even if you're just sitting on the settee.

    It's easy to keep track of the amount of calories you are eating each day. All you have to do is tot up the number of ­calories on the nutrition labels of the foods you are eating.

    But do remember that though a ­calorie is a calorie, whether it is in ice cream or vegetables, foods that are packed with lean protein (such as grilled chicken, nuts, fish, low-fat dairy products and lean red meat) and low in fat, added sugar and rich in fibre (such as ­vegetables, fruit and wholegrain carbohydrates) will fill you up for longer.

    And they will help to keep you healthier than a diet of cakes, crisps and chocolate.

    Source: Daily Mail.

    Allaah the All-Mighty Says (what means): 

    اللَّهُ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَصَوَّرَكُمْ فَأَحْسَنَ صُوَرَكُمْ

    وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

    "It is Allaah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling and formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allaah, your Lord; then blessed is Allaah, Lord of the worlds.” [Qur'aan, Surah Ghaafir [40]: 64]

    *Please click here if you can't see the above video.


    exercisesistersWe all know the importance of exercise; we've heard it many times through TV shows, blogs, books, our parents/friends, but have we considered how exercise is VERY essential to a productive lifestyle? I know from personal experience, if I don't exercise for a stretch of few days to a week, my productivity tends to drop. I tend to feel slower and lethargic :(

    Exercise is ESSENTIAL to stay productive. I cannot stress this enough.

    While bad health and disease is often beyond our control, we must take the precautions available to us to maintain our physical health. Our bodies are gifts from Allah, and we will be held accountable for how we use them.

    Furthermore, a Muslim should be able to defend his or herself from aggression (which requires physical strength) and should be prepared to struggle in the path of Allah, should the occasion arise. For this reason, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has said: "The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both." (Reported by Muslim.)

    "Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a diversion or heedlessness excepting four acts: Walking from target to target [during archery practice], training a horse, playing with one's family, and learning to swim." (Reported by Tabarani.)

    It should be kept in mind that the Prophet and the Companions were naturally physically fit. Life was tougher back then – long distances were covered on foot, men hunted and farmed their food to survive, and there did not exist useless recreations - like television - to produce laziness and waste many hours of otherwise constructive time. It was almost assumed back then that believers would be physically fit. It was not until later generations that the scholars encountered actual obesity and laziness.

    A Muslim man and woman is required to dress appropriately while exercising in front of others, being sure to cover his or her 'Awrah (nakedness) and to not wear revealing and tight clothing like spandex. The average gym these days entails mixed sexes in revealing clothing and loud music and thus should be avoided.

    Husbands and wives should try to exercise and play together. This is a good way of building love and happiness together. The Prophet's (peace be upon him) wife 'Aisha (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: "I raced with the Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and beat him in the race. Later, when I had put on some weight, we raced again and he won. Then he said, 'This cancels that,' referring to the previous occasion." (Reported by Ahmad.)

    So how can you get into the habit of exercising regularly?

    Set the days of week you'll exercise in advance when you plan your week: 3-4 days a week should be sufficient.

    Set the actual hours you'll exercise: Make sure you've specific times to exercise (ideally early in the morning when you have most will power!)

    Prepare yourself before the exercise appointment: Get your gym bag/gym clothes ready, decide which exercise you'll get done, call an exercise buddy, etc.

    Add variety to your exercise routine: It doesn't have to be the gym each time, it could be a variety of exercises.

    Try to aim for at least 75-150 minutes of intense to moderate exercise each week and that should keep your mind sharp, your productivity soaring and you feeling great inshaa'Allaah!

    smoklingharms{And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allaah is Most Merciful to you} [Soorah An-Nisaa, Verse 29].

    Deaths from lung cancer have overtaken deaths from breast cancer as it becomes the most lethal form of the disease among British women, new research has shown.

    Lung cancer kills 16,000 women a year in the UK, compared with 12,000 for breast cancer.

    The rise in lung cancer is attributed to the rise in young women taking up smoking the late 1960s and 1970s.

    The Europe-wide study shows that despite an overall decline in cancer deaths, mortality rates from lung cancer among women continues to rise across the continent, up seven per cent to around 82,000 since 2009.

    This year experts predict breast cancer to kill 88,886 women in Europe and lung cancer to kill 82,640.

    Professor Carlo La Vecchia, one of the study authors from the University of Milan in Italy, said if trends continue lung cancer will become the most lethal form of the disease in Europe.

    She said:

    "If these opposite trends in breast and lung cancer rates continue, then in 2015 lung cancer is going to become the first cause of cancer mortality in Europe.

    "This is already true in the UK and Poland, the two countries with the highest rates: 21.2 and 17.5 per 100,000 women respectively.

    "This predicted rise of female lung cancer in the UK may reflect the increased prevalence of young women starting smoking in the late 1960s and 1970s, possibly due to changing socio-cultural attitudes at that time.

    "However, fewer young women nowadays in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are smoking and, therefore, deaths from lung cancer may start to level off after 2020 at around 15 per 100,000 women."

    There has also been a steady reduction in breast cancer deaths across Europe in the last four years.

    Prof La Vecchia added:

    "This reflects the important and accumulating advances in the treatment, as well as screening and early diagnosis, of the disease."

    The study, published in the Annals of Oncology, looked at cancer rates in all 27 European Union member countries, as well as six individual countries – France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK.

    It looked at all cancers but focused on stomach, intestine, pancreas, lung, prostate, breast, uterus (including cervix) and leukaemias.

    The study found that an estimated 1.3 million people will die from cancer -737,747 men and 576,489 women- in the 27 countries of the EU in 2013.

    Though that number has increased since 2009, as there have been more cases in that period, the rate at which people have died has actually declined, six per cent in men and four per cent in women.

    Lung cancer is still the main cause of cancer death among men, with nearly 187,000 deaths predicted for 2013, giving a death rate of 37.2 per 100,000 men.

    Source: The Telegraph (13th Feb 2013).

    Mountain PathWeight Watchers is a well-known weight-loss program that many have used to successfully lose weight. Weight Watchers uses the PointsPlus program. Foods are assigned points based on their calories and nutrient values, and participants are advised to keep intake within a certain number of points each day. Weight Watchers works because it does not advocate crash dieting or restrictive plans. The program instead advocates that participants make lifestyle changes. You can lose weight quickly on the program if you make a goal and plan and carefully follow direction.

    Weight Watchers advocates safe, reasonable weight loss goals -- no more than 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. per week or no more than 1 percent of body weight per week after the second week of participation in the program.

    Step 1
    Sign up for Weight Watchers online. It's your responsibility to keep track of points and stay under your target.  If you choose not to go to meetings and join Weight Watchers online, an e-Tool can help you determine your PointsPlus Target.

    Step 2
    Eat foods you enjoy as long as you stick to your daily PointsPlus Target. PointsPlus Values take protein, carbs, fat and fiber into account. Weight Watchers also provides healthy recipes online. Keep track of points by looking them up online, using a phone application or buying a points calculator, a device that tallies points values that you can carry in your pocket or purse.

    Step 3
    Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Each has a PointsPlus Value of 0 (excluding some, such as mangos), so you can eat as much as you want and still stay within your PointsPlus Target.

    Step 4
    Cut back on processed foods, which have high PointsPlus Values. Examples of processed foods include canned foods, white breads, packaged sweets, sugary breakfast cereals and processed meats.

    Step 5
    With eTools, you can create an archive of healthy recipes, watch food preparation videos, track points values and chart your progress.

    Step 6
    Keep certain kitchen staples on hand. Weight Watchers recommends always having boneless, skinless chicken breast, unsalted dry-roasted nuts, frozen vegetables and dried whole-wheat pasta.

    Step 7
    Exercise regularly. Weight Watchers points out that the appropriate amount of exercise varies depending on your goals. For weight loss, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests exercising for 200 to 300 minutes per week, burning 2,000 calories. You can achieve this goal with 60 minutes of exercise, five days a week, burning around 300 to 400 calories per session. If you're not losing weight as fast as you'd like, exercise more intensely or for longer time periods. You can also watch exercise demos on the Weight Watchers website. If you go to meetings, ask a fellow participant if she'd like to be your workout buddy.

    Step 8
    Practice mindful eating. Focus on the experience of eating and enjoy your food. Don't feel obligated to clean your plate. Pay attention to certain emotions that may influence you to overeat.

    candle78As a Muslim woman who wears the niqaab (face-veil, headscarf, and jilbab), and after much research on the subject, I wish to increase awareness amongst sisters to take precaution in preventing vitamin-D deficiency. We may be at a slightly higher risk than others due to the lack of sun exposure because of the way we dress and due to the fact that many of us may rarely leave our homes.

    People who are mostly susceptible are those who stay indoors most of the time, wear sunscreen constantly, who are vegetarians who cut out all forms of meat including fish...etc, or live in a location that lacks sufficient sunlight sometimes up to 6 months during the winter months.

    Vitamin D keeps our bones strong, helps to prevent some cancers and benefits the immune system. Preliminary research suggests it may reduce the risks of breast, prostate and colon cancer. This vitamin is a hormone and is manufactured in the body. It helps the body utilize calcium and phosphorous and builds bones and teeth.

    Your body can only make vitamin D under the proper conditions. It actually does not take much to do so and will not compromise our lifestyles.

    It is recommended that you try to find a secluded place outdoors so that you can expose your face and hands to direct sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes only 2 or 3 times a week. (Remember too much sun is not good either and overexposure can lead to skin cancer). You will most likely manufacture enough Vitamin D to meet your needs and because it is a fat-soluble vitamin, you can store enough to supply you for days even months without sun exposure (according to many health specialists and Bill Sardi a health journalist and consumer advocate in CA).

    It is also advised to take a daily multi-nutrient that contains at least 400IU of vitamin D3 (look for the word "cholecalciferol" on the label). Try and consume more vitamin D-rich foods like fish (salmon, sardines and tuna), fish oils, eggs, liver, milk, bran cereals and butter (avoid using margarine, it's liquefied plastic). In doing this your skin, nerves, heart, hormonal system, bones, teeth and joints will benefit. This also helps minimize bone loss, leading to osteoporosis. Studies have also shown that consistent weight-bearing exercise also increases bone density such as jogging, walking, weight-training, etc. (i.e. treadmill's are great!)

    Rickets and Osteomalacia (adult form of rickets) is also caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. This is when the bones become increasingly soft making them brittle and more flexible causing deformity to the body. Symptoms can include pain in the limbs, spine, throat, and pelvis also amenia and progressive weakness.

    Vitamin D is formed in the skin by the action of short-wave ultra-violet light. Precursors of vitamin D in the skin are converted into cholecalciferol, a weak form of vitamin D3, which is then transported to the liver and kidneys where enzymes convert it to 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol, the more potent form of vitamin D3. Vitamin D precursors require cholesterol for conversion into the hormone-vitamin.

    Without adequate sun exposure, vitamin D precursors turn to cholesterol instead of the vitamin. Fat-soluble vitamin D supplements are available. Vitamin D3 is believed to exhibit the most potent cancer-inhibiting properties and is the preferred form of the vitamin. Evidence of vitamin D's protective effect against cancer is compelling and it may also go beyond cancer prevention and provide tumour therapy. Much has been made of pharmaceutical angiogenesis inhibitors- agents that help inhibit the growth of new, undesirable blood vessels that tumours require for nutrient supply and growth. Laboratory tests have shown vitamin D to be a potent angiogenesis inhibitor. Vitamin D also works at another stage of cancer development. Tumour cells are young, immortal cells that never grow up, mature and die off. Because vitamin D derivatives have been shown to promote normal cell growth and maturation, drug companies are attempting to engineer patentable forms of vitamin D for anti-cancer therapy.

    So my dear sisters, it does not require a whole lot to avoid vitamin-D deficiency. Only a small amount of sunlight and/or vitamin D supplements are required. If you do not have the convenience of you own privacy fenced-in yard, try to find a secluded place to expose only your face and hands for about 15 minutes such as a park for example, where no one else can see you. Choose the least busiest time to go with a friend and ensure that it is safe.

    You do not have to compromise the wearing of niqaab in doing so sisters. Remember, even sisters who do not wear niqaab who live in locations such as Canada, Alaska, etc where you lose much sunlight or even work indoors most of the day should take these extra precautions in order that we may all help to keep our bodies healthy.

    gate-and-cloudsIt might seem funny to devote an article to sleeping. But think about it. The average person spends around eight hours of a 24-hour day asleep. That is a third of a person’s lifetime.

    Allah describes sleep as a blessing from Him. He says in the Qur’an: “And We made your sleep a rest for you.” [Surah al-Naba’: 9]

    “And remember when He made slumber fall upon you as a reassurance from Him.” [Surah al-Anfal: 11]

    “It is Allah who has made the night for you, that you may rest therein, and the days as that which helps you to see. Verily Allah is full of grace and bounty to humanity, yet most people give no thanks.” [Surah Ghafir: 61]

    Sleep is not only described as a blessing bestowed upon the people, but also as a testament to Allah’s creative ability. Consider where Allah says:

    “He it is who gathers up your souls at night and knows all that you do by day. Then He raises you up again, so that the term appointed for you (on Earth) may be accomplished. And afterward unto Him is your return. Then He will proclaim to you what you used to do.” [Surah al-An`am: 60]

    “Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, as well as (the souls of) those who die not, during their sleep. Then He withholds those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back until an appointed term. Most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” [Surah al-Zumar: 42]

    Yes, sleep is His creation, and it has its marvels. A sleeping person drifts away from his consciousness and reason, only to be fully restored to his rational faculties upon waking, refreshed and revitalized.

    A sleeping person can see the strangest and most amazing things, things that a waking person could never possibly see. Our ability to dream is another of Allah’s blessings, and another sign of His greatness.

    We can appreciate the importance of sleep if we consider that Allah guided His Messenger (peace be upon him) regarding the etiquettes of sleeping, like being in a state of purity and lying on his right side. (As for facing the qiblah, this is actually not established by the Sunnah.)

    Likewise, a number of remembrances and supplications are prescribed for sleeping. The Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed `Ali b. Abi Talib and Fatimah to say “Subhan Allah” 33 times, “al-Hamdu Lillah” 33 times, and “Allah Akbar” 33 times. He informed them that doing so will remove their fatigue and revitalize them, and said: “It is better than having a servant.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

    Our generation is sometimes accused of being “the sleeping generation”. Most of us certainly do not need to sleep more than we already do. Nevertheless, we must respect our need to sleep by observing the etiquettes and approaches to sleep that will maximise the benefit that we get from it. This, in turn, helps us manage stress and makes our waking hours more productive.

    It is a mistake to dismiss the importance of sleep. We all need it, and we all get our daily quota of sleep. Therefore, it is wrong that we make light of the subject of sleep and disdain reading or speaking about it, as if it were something superfluous.

    In order to sleep better, we should first relax a bit. We need to unwind from the pressures, worries, and distresses of the day. We need to end the day on a note of forgiveness and with a few moments of tenderness with our families. We need to recite our remembrances of Allah and rid our hearts of all our animosities. We should not lay our heads down on our pillows with resentfulness in our hearts and angry thoughts in our minds. We should make our last thoughts of the day positive ones.

    Hookah-Shisha-M-4010-Besides the overwhelming majority of scholars declaring it as haraam for the attached reasons, there are serious health implications. Check these health warnings from hospitals and councils and take heed dear Brother and dear Sister.

    Shaykh Abdul Majeed (Islam Channel and Luton Ghurabaa mosque) dealt with a possession of an individual. He spoke to the leader of the Jinn that were possessing that individual, asking why and where they possessed them.

    The Jinn responded that they possessed the person through shisha and that there were over 140 of them in his/her body. Jinn live in impure places and according to the Shari'i definition, tobacco is classified as impure.

    Stay away from these places, Muslim and Muslimah, for your health and Eemaan!!!

    Please read and forward the following leaflet and this article:

    {pdf= Leaflet Nov 2011.pdf|820|900}
    Download (right click & "save target as")

    twosistersshoreOne day a sister dropped by to pick up something and saw me dressed up with make-up and jewelry, so she assumed I was going somewhere. When I told her I wasn’t, the reason I dressed up surprised her. I told her, “Because it is about time for my husband to return from work.” She said, “You still get ready for your husband?” “Yes, what do you mean “still”?!” I asked. She said, “I used to do that in the beginning of the marriage and then I don’t it anymore.”

    Unfortunately this is a common scenario among many Muslim married sisters. In fact, one of the most common complaints husbands have against their wives is that the wives don’t beautify themselves at home.

    I have personally observed many Muslim sisters stop taking care of themselves once they get married. Some married sisters only dress up when they go out and while others don’t even bother with that. For some, abaya and hijab become a perfect “cover up” for outside the house and a t-shirt and sweat pants become the perfect lounge-wear for inside the house!

    Reasons Why Sisters Don’t Dress Up:

    I cannot generalize the reasons why sisters stop taking interest in taking care of themselves at home, but I want to highlight 2 main points:

    1. Once married to a practicing brother, sisters assume their knight in shining armor won’t be interested in their looks but, rather, in their imaan. They believe their beauty lies in their “piety.”
    2. Husbands don’t express their desire in seeing their wives dressed up. Or, when their wives dress up, they don’t bother to compliment them, which confuses the wife into thinking, “He does not care.”

    Beauty and Piety are Two Separate Characteristics:

    Let’s remember, piety may add to a person’s inner beauty which may reflect through physical appearance; however, they both are independent characteristics.

    There is no prohibition in looking good; in fact, to physically beautify oneself to please one’s husband and keep him happy is not only a praiseworthy act but also a means to earn reward from Allah azza wa jall.

    When the Prophet (sallallahu alihi wasallam) was asked which woman was best, he replied, “The one who pleases (her husband) when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command….” (Nasa’i)

    Hence, sisters, please on a daily basis before your husband returns home:

    • Take a shower (make sure you are not smelling like food)
    • Change your clothes.
    • Wash your face with cleanser/scrub.
    • Put light make up on. Please don’t use the excuse, “I don’t know how to.”
    • Wear some jewelry.
    • Show some creativity with your hair. Remember frizzy hair can be taken care of with gel, mousse, hair spray, hair straightener etc.
    • Use your perfume everyday and not only when you visit a friend.
    • Moreover, try to get a facial done once in a while. If you can’t afford to, there are millions of products available at very reasonable prices for home facials/deep cleaning.

    Dear sisters, abaya should not be used to cover up weight gain, and neither should the hijab keep frizzy/unkempt hair covered. I understand that a t-shirt and sweat pants are the most comfortable clothing but it needs to be changed before your husband get back home.

    hijabmaroonpurpleMuslims and their institutions are expected to become targets of harassment due to Islamaphobeia spreading in the West. Muslim women, especially those who dress Islamically, particularly need to be much more street smart and aware of their surroundings to ensure their safety in the wake of possible attacks against Muslims and Muslim-looking individuals.

    While it is necessary for the whole community to defend Muslim women, sisters must also take personal precautions when they go outside. Here are some safety tips that can help Inshaa'Allah:

    1. Always be aware of your surroundings

    This applies whether you are travelling alone or in groups. Don’t just focus inwardly on your thoughts if you are alone, or on your friends if you are together. Keep one eye out for your environment, looking out for suspicious characters, possible danger, etc. Also, don’t assume that because your area has been "safe" thus far, that it will continue to be so.

    2. Travel in groups

    "There is safety in numbers" is not just a cliche. It’s true. Make a point of travelling together with other sisters, whether it’s on public transportation, on campus, in cars, etc.

    3. Change the route you normally travel by

    If you’ve taken the same bus, train or highway to get to work or school, change your route. Even if it takes you a little longer, your safety is more important. By changing your route, you can avert possible attacks or harassment from those who know your schedule, method and route of travel well. Please note though that you should avoid short cuts that take you through unfamiliar or unsafe areas.

    4. Look confident

    Walk with a straight posture and your arms swinging by your sides. Avoid slouching or walking like a victim. This makes you an easy target for attackers.

    5. When riding by public transportation choose the right seat

    If you are riding by bus or train, do not sit on the window seat as you may be "blocked in" by a potential assailant. Always select the seat next to the aisle so that you can quickly leave if necessary. If you are taking public transportation alone after peak hours, sit as close to the driver as possible and/or choose the section of the bus/train that is most crowded. Try to get a seat near the exit as well.

    6. If you are driving alone

    Don’t think that if you are in a car, you’re safe. Windows should be up and doors locked even when driving to avoid unwanted passengers at intersections. When you are walking to your car, always have your keys ready, so that you can quickly get into your car. But don’t just get in right away. Always check your car before entering, especially the back, for any intruders.

    7. Never leave your car door unlocked

    Even if it means for one minute to drop something off in the mailbox that’s a few feet away, keep all doors locked. Attackers have been known to lie in wait for such an opportunity.

    8. Be careful in parking lots

    Always be alert in parking lots, especially when it's dark. Ask someone to escort you to your car. Between cars and inside cars, it's easy for someone to hide and wait until an unsuspecting person comes along.

    9. If you are traveling by taxi

    Always check the identification of the driver (usually located near the visor) and ensure that it matches the driver. Once inside, don't sit behind the driver as it may be easy for the driver to lock the rear passenger door. Always choose the adjacent seat. In addition, avoid flagging taxis. Always order taxis so the driver can be traced if something happens.

    10. Don’t use the walkman

    If you’re used to listening to your walkman while outside, drop this habit, especially in isolated areas. With your walkman on, you cannot hear the approach of a possible attacker.

    11. Note "safe houses" along your route

    Mentally note houses at intervals on each route you take that can be used as "safe houses" if you are attacked, such as shops or houses that you know to be occupied by a friend or acquaintance.

    12. When you make a call from a phone booth

    After dialing the number you wish to call always turn around so that you have your back to the phone and may see who or what is coming your way. You will then be able to tell the person to whom you are speaking that you may be in trouble and you may be able to use the weight of the phone as a weapon. The door of a telephone box could be used to wedge in the limbs of the attacker.

    13. Do not open the door of your home without checking

    DO NOT open the door to your home without first checking from a window, peephole or by asking and verifying who it is. Instruct children to do the same.

    14. Report any suspicious activity around your home

    If you see people loitering on the streets near your house, call the police on a non-emergency number and report it.

    15. Invest in a cell phone

    This is an invaluable safety device. Keep it charged, with you at all times, and keep emergency numbers on it. Also, keep it next to your bed before you go to bed at night. Cell phones were first popularized by women as a security device, business people came later.

    16. Parking tips

    Avoid parking in areas that are not well lit. Where possible, park close to a school, a work entrance or in a parking garage that has an attendant. If you see a suspicious person approaching or hanging around near your parked car, turn around and go back to an area where there are other people. Try to get an escort to your car through the campus or job security or local police.

    17. Tell others about your whereabouts

    Parents, spouses, and friends should know where you are going and when you will be back, so that your absence will be noticed. Arrange a call-in system with a friend if you live alone, whereby you call when you arrive home.

    18. Trust your instincts

    If you are walking or driving somewhere and feel strange or scared, don’t ignore this feeling. Take extra precautions by walking a little faster to get to a more populated or well-lit area or change the route you’ve been driving on.

    19. If you think you are being followed, change your route and activity.

    You can cross the street, change directions, or enter a populated building or store. Do whatever is necessary to avoid being alone with the person who is following you. Inform a police officer or security official about the follower.

    20. Attract attention if you are in a dangerous situation.

    Get others to pay attention to what's happening to you if you are under attack or being harassed. You can alert others by honking a car horn or loudly describing what is happening.

    21. NEVER admit that you are alone

    If someone calls your home and asks if you are alone, NEVER admit it. Ask who the caller is. If they refuse to identify themselves, calmly hang-up. Instruct children to do the same when they pick up the phone. Keep the radio on in the house so that callers will get the impression that others are in the home too.

    22. Obscene phone calls

    If you receive an obscene or prank call, do not talk to the caller. Hang up if the caller doesn’t say anything, or as soon as s/he shouts obscenities. Hang the phone up calmly and do not slam it down. Note down the date and time of the calls. If they are persistent, inform local police.

    23. If you are a student

    Avoid studying in isolated classrooms in parts of the college campus that are not regularly patrolled by the school’s security officers.

    24. In large buildings take the elevator, not the stairwell

    Stairwells are usually quiet and dark. Most people take the elevator. But if someone creepy gets on, don’t hesitate to get off at the same time. Or, if someone is already on the elevator who you feel strange about, do not get on and instead wait for the next elevator.


    nightblackblueA woman who is being forced to commit zinaa (unlawful sexual activity) is obliged to defend herself and should not give in even if she has to kill the one who wants to do that to her. This self-defence is waajib (obligatory), and she is not at fault if she kills the one who wants to force her into zinaa. Imaam Ahmad and Ibn Hibbaan reported that the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever is killed defending his property is a shaheed (martyr), whoever is killed defending himself is a shaheed, whoever is killed defending his religion is a shaheed, and whoever is killed defending his family is a shaheed.” In the commentary on this hadeeth it says: “whoever is killed defending his family is a shaheed” refers to the one who defends the honour of his wife and female relatives.

    If a man is obliged to defend his wife and fight off the one who wants to rape her - even if this leads to his own death - then this obligation applies even more to the woman herself, who must defend herself and not give in to the aggressor who wants to violate her honour, even if she is killed, because if she is killed she will also be a shaheedah, just as her husband will be a shaheed if he was killed defending her honour. Shahaadah (martyrdom, the status of shaheed) is a high status which is only achieved by the one who dies in the way of obedience to Allaah and that which He loves, which indicates that Allaah loves this kind of defence, a man's fighting to defend his wife's honour and a woman's fighting to defend herself. But if she is unable to defend herself, and the evil aggressor overpowers her and rapes her by force, then she should not be subjected to any punishment (hadd or ta'zeer); rather, the punishment should be carried out on the evil aggressor.

    It says in al-Mughni by Ibn Qudaamah al-Hanbali:

    "Concerning a woman who was pursued by a man, and she killed him to protect herself, Ahmad said:

    ‘If she knew that he wanted [to rape] her, and she killed him to protect herself, then she is not at fault.'

    Ahmad mentioned the hadeeth which al-Zuhri reported from al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad, from ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Umayr, in which it said that a man had visitors from [the tribe of] Hudhayl, and he wanted [to rape] a woman, so she threw a rock at him and killed him. ‘Umar said,

    ‘By Allaah, there is no diyah for him ever'

    i.e., she did not have to pay the ‘blood money' for him. If it is permissible to defend one's money, which one can give away, then a woman defending and protecting herself and her honour which cannot be given away, is clearly more permissible than a man defending his money. If this is clear, then she is obliged to defend herself if she can, because letting someone overpower her [rape her] is haraam, and by not defending herself, she lets him overpower her." [al-Mughni, 8/331] And Allaah knows best. (Al-Mufassal fi Ahkaam al-Mar'ah, 5/42-43)

    Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Turuq al-Hukmiyyah, 18:

    "(Section) ... A woman who had committed zinaa was brought to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him), and he asked her about it and she admitted it, so he commanded that she should be stoned. ‘Ali said: ‘Maybe she had a reason.' So he said to her, ‘What made you do that?' She said,

    ‘I had a partner who shared livestock with me; his camels had water and milk, and mine had none. I got thirsty, so I asked him to give me something to drink, but he refused unless I let him have his way with me. I refused three times, but I was so thirsty that I thought I was going to die, so I gave him what he wanted, and he gave me something to drink.'

    ‘Ali said:

    ‘Allaahu akbar! "... But if one is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [al-Baqarah 2:173 - interpretation of the meaning].'"

    In Sunan al-Bayhaqi it says: "From Abu ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sulami, who said: ‘A woman was brought to ‘Umar who had been extremely thirsty, and had passed by a shepherd and asked him to give her something to drink; he had refused to give her something to drink unless she let him have his way with her. [‘Umar] consulted with the people as to whether he should have her stoned. ‘Ali said,

    ‘She was forced to do it. I think you should let her go.'

    So he did so.

    I say: this is what should be done. If a woman is in desperate need of food and drink from a man, which he will not give her unless she lets him have his way with her, and she is scared that she will die without them, so she lets him have his way with her, then she is not to be punished. If it were asked, is it permissible for her in this situation to let him have his way with her, or does she have to suffer [her hunger and thirst] with patience, even if she dies? The answer is that her case is like that of a woman who is forced to commit zinaa, to whom it is said, ‘Either you let me have my way with you, or I will kill you.' The woman who is forced to do this should not be punished; she can save herself from being killed in this manner, but if she bears it (i.e., being killed) with sabr (patience), this is better for her. And Allaah knows best."

    selfdefencePrevention Tips

    These tips are designed to increase your odds against sexual assault. The more you know about rape prevention, the better your chances are of never becoming a victim.

    • Know the facts about rape. Become aware of locations and situations where rape might occur and avoid them, if possible.
    • Consider your alternatives if confronted by a rapist. Practice possible responses so that you can recall them even under the stress of a real encounter.

    Safety at Home

    Many rapes occur in or near the victim's home. One of the best ways to prevent sexual assault is to practice good home security.

    • Install effective locks on all doors and windows - and USE them.
    • Install a peephole viewer in your door, NEVER open your door without knowing who is on the other side. Require salespeople or repair people to show identification.
    • If you live alone, use only your last name and initials on mailboxes and in telephone directories.
    • If strangers telephone or come to your door, don't admit that you are alone.
    • Don't let any strangers into your home - no matter what the reason or how dire the emergency is supposed to be. Offer to make an emergency phone call while they wait outside.
    • If you live in an apartment avoid being in the laundry room or garage by yourself, especially at night.
    • f you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry - don't go in! Go to the nearest phone and call the police or sheriff.

    Don't Walk Into Danger

    Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you-especially if you are alone or it is dark. Know where help may be if you should need it.

    • Whenever possible, travel with a friend.
    • Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.
    • Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace on the side of the street facing traffic. A rapist looks for someone who appears vulnerable.
    • Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys where rapists can hide.
    • If you think you are being followed, walk quickly to areas where there are lights and people. If a car appears to be following you, turn and walk in the opposite direction, or walk on the other side of the street.
    • If you are in danger, scream and run, or yell "fire."

    Car Safety

    • Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.
    • Always lock car doors after entering or leaving your car.
    • Park in well-lighted areas.
    • Have your car keys in your hand and check the back seat area before entering your car.
    • If you think you are being followed, drive to a public place or to a police or sheriff's station.
    • If your car breaks down, turn on your flashers, open the hood, attach a white cloth to the car antenna, and wait inside your car with the doors locked. If someone stops to help, stay in your car and ask them to call the police a garage or a tow service for you.


    Carrying weapons for self-defence is controversial and sometimes illegal. Be safe--for more information, contact your local law enforcement agency.

    If you are attacked...Remember, your main concern must always be your safety. No one can tell you whether you should fight back, submit, or resist. It depends on you and the situation.

    Keep assessing the situation as it is happening. If one strategy doesn't work, try another. Possible options are: negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming to attract attention, or physical resistance. You best defense, however, is to be prepared--know your options ahead of time. Your safety may depend upon your ability to stay cool and calm.

    sistersI am a professional, independent, Muslim woman. I give lectures internationally about self-esteem, and self-empowerment for women. I am known for educating Muslim and non-Muslim women alike on the importance of fitness and weight management for health. But for the duration of this “rant”, I mean “article”, I want you to put all that to the side. This one is purely about the aesthetics of being fit.

    Okay lets be real for a minute. I don’t care how many times a day a Muslim man goes to the Masjid and prays HE IS STILL A MAN. One of the reasons we cover as Muslim women is because we know that the women’s body is alluring to men. We cover because modesty of our bodies is a way of decreasing “fitnah” between men and women in society. We cover, not just in front of non-Muslim men but we also cover in front of Muslim men. So there is no doubt that Muslim men are treated as a “regular men” with desires.

    We are blessed to have men who fear Allah and restrain themselves, their gazes and their sexual desires until they get married. And to be honest, I am often irritated with Muslim women who take these God fearing men for granted. Too often we ignore their humanness to excuse our own laziness. We lay crutch on their fear of Allah and desire of the life of the hereafter, instead of trying to help make their life in this world pleasurable with beautiful women.

    “The UK Telegraph reported that scientists have found that the attribute that attracts men the most strongly to a woman is her hip-to-waist ratio—meaning they like women with waists that go in, and hips that go out. The researchers who conducted this particular study said the ratio that really gets a guy worked up is a waist that measures about 70 percent of the woman’s hips. In addition, the scientists noted that women with this specific hip-to-waist ratio drew men in, regardless of her breast size. Jessica Alba, Marilyn Monroe and Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio were deemed to have the “perfect” body by the men participating in this particular project.”

    Yeah, yeah,yeah, our husbands should love us for our inner beauty. But when he makes love to you he’s not loving your inner beauty, he’s making love to your body and that my dear is all about the pleasures of the flesh. And I don’t mean the extra amount hanging on your belly.

    Now I don’t claim to be an expert on men, but I do know this. If you have a husband (or want a husband) who is from a western country, ever spent time in a western country, or even a watching American TV and movies then he’s been exposed to the western idea of beauty. That is a woman who is hourglass shape with smooth, toned body. That doesn’t mean she has to be a size zero. That means no matter what size she is she needs to maintain a healthy weight and keep her body fit. Even men who like “big girls” don’t want “sloppy fat”.

    If you live in a western country and your husband ever leaves the house for any reason then he sees, half dressed non-Muslim women every single day, who are attractive and seductive. Then he comes home to a beautiful Muslim a sweat suit claiming she has to be comfortable to vacuum the floor and change a diaper. And like a God loving man, he probably doesn’t say anything because we have somehow perpetuated this myth that a Muslim man is somehow less holy if he wants to see his wife in something sexy. Even worse, we have perpetuated an even bigger myth that wanting to be sexy is somehow haram, or imitating the non-Muslim. “HOGWASH, HOGWASH, HOGWASH”

    jilbabwalk Being sexy is an essential part of being a woman. There is nothing haram about embracing your femininity, feeling desired, and wanting to be wanted. These things are not contradictory to be a Muslim woman, they are in fact the very foundation of our principles of modesty. We teach our girls to cover because “Allah said so” when in fact the commandment to cover is not without reason or foundation. Once a Muslim woman understands and embraces the beauty, sexual power and strength of her femininity then she better understands why covering her physical beauty is that much more important. She knows that withholding the power of her sensuality, allows the power of her mind and her personality to shine that much brighter. You cannot know the full essence of being a Muslim woman until you get to know all the powers we hold.

    In the privacy of our home we should be the epitome of our husbands’ desires, satisfying his spiritual, emotional AND physical needs. We need to get off our butts and make the effort to lose weight and get in shape to make his life easier and more pleasurable.

    We quote all these aHaadeeth about pleasing our husbands when they suit us. But when we want to pass by the Hogendaz aisle then we have selective memory. We want to please our husbands until it means we don't have to sacrifice our time, energy or effort on anything that we don’t want to do, like exercise or diet. I for one feel sorry for the man who has to come home everyday to find his wife in a sweat suit, Abaya or her “comfortable” clothes. I feel even sorrier for the woman he’s coming home to, because she has not gotten over herself to think about her husband.

    The bottom line is this. All Muslim women need to get in shape for their husbands or future husbands. Because it is with this that we will help our husbands lower their gaze and guard their modesty even more. Yes every Muslim woman should have a pair of “skinny” jeans because they are a reminder how fit or fat you are. And every Muslim wife should treat her husband to watching her fold clothes, vacuum the floor and washing dishes in her skinny jeans. — And if it’s a girl, name her Mubarakah.

    May Allah forgive me if I said anything wrong and guide us all to the Straight Path – Aameen.

    sistersmaghribtimeAre you overweight? Then you probably want to lose some weight. It is obvious that you’ll burn body fat by increasing your metabolism. But be sure that what you burn is fat, not muscles.

    Some Statistics

    After age 25, the average person in America gains one pound or more a year, which means at the age of 50 an average person is 25 pounds or more heavier than he or she was 25 years ago.

    As you age your metabolism is slowing down, causing your body to burn less fat.

    Without exercising regularly, the average American loses a pound of muscle each year.

    A minority of Americans exercise in a significant way, which means less than 50 minutes of exercise per week. Two out of five Americans do not exercise at all.

    Motivations for weight loss

    Most people’s primary motivation for weight loss is to improve their appearance.

    Other motivational factors are the many health benefits of proper nutrition and regular exercise.

    Why obesity is dangerous

    Reduction of excess body fat plays a vital role in maintaining good health and avoiding disease.

    Medical evidence shows that obesity poses a significant threat to health as well as to longevity:

    Excess body fat is connected to:

    • heart disease
    • cancer
    • diabetes
    • gall bladder disease
    • gastro-intestinal disease
    • sexual dysfunction
    • osteoarthritis
    • stroke

    Why is excess body fat linked to heart disease?

    About 4/5’s of deaths caused by heart disease and cancer, are linked to life-style factors, inactivity included.

    Your heart has to work harder to pump blood to the lungs and to the extra fat throughout your body. Therefore it takes more energy for you to breathe. This extra workload might cause your heart to become enlarged and high blood pressure and life-threatening erratic heartbeats might be the consequences.

    Overweight people often also have high cholesterol levels, making them more likely to develop arteriosclerosis. When blood vessels are so narrow that vital organs like the heart, kidneys or brain don’t get enough blood, this becomes life-threatening.

    It might go without saying, but the narrower the blood vessels become, the harder your heart has to pump, which results in increased blood pressure… High blood pressure itself poses several health risks, like heart attack, stroke and kidney problems.

    Does excess body fat cause cancer?

    In general, research has linked cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) to excess, actually as a storage place for these.

    Excess fat has been linked to a higher rate of breast and uterine cancer for women

    Excess fat has been linked to colon and prostate cancer for men.

    How is excess body fat related to diabetes?

    There is a delicate balance between the relative amount of body fat, the level of blood sugar and the hormone we call insulin.

    Excess blood sugar is stored in the liver and other vital organs, and converted to fat as soon as these organs have got what they need of it.

    The pancreas of overweight people often produces more and more insulin. The problem is however, that the body is not able to utilize this to regulate it’s blood sugar levels.

    This poor regulation of blood sugar and insulin causes an inbalance in the system, which results in diabetes. This disease may in it’s turn cause heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, and death.

    How Reducing Body Fat Reduces Disease Risk

    At an American University, researchers studied a sample of people following a certain weight management program. This study showed

    • decreased HDL cholesterol levels
    • decreased triglyceride levels,
    • decreased blood pressure.
    • increased waist-to-hip ratio,
    • an active lifestyle can slow or stop the disease process for most people, even those with a history of heart disease in the family.

    Other studies have shown that programs that includes

    • regular physical activity,
    • low-fat diets
    • stress reduction
    • reverse heart disease processes.

    while other studies shows that reducing body fat through an active lifestyle and low fat diets mean reduced risk for

    • prostate cancers for men,
    • breast and uterine cancers for women
    • non-insulin dependent diabetes for both genders.

    So, what shall I do?

    You have to change to a new lifestyle, by committing yourself to a long term process that gradually will lead you to a healthier life. This process requires persistence and patience, especially in the beginning. If you stay persistent, your new lifestyle will automatically take over, and it will become natural for you. This process will contain

    • moderate, long term fat loss
    • aerobic exercise
    • strength exercise

    Here is the benefits 90 percent of overweight people following this advice has gained:

    • improved heart function,
    • improved blood pressure,
    • improved glucose tolerance,
    • improved cholesterol levels,
    • lowering requirements for medication,
    • eight times less likely to die from cancer than the unfit,
    • 53 percent less likely to die from other diseases than the unfit
    • eight times less likely to die from heart disease than the unfit people.

    But, how can I get started?

    The first phase in such a process has shown to be the hardest – it is here most people drop out. The longer you stay in the process, the more likely you are to succeed. And trust me; after you – by means of persistency and patience – have passed this critical start phase, the fun and excitement you gradually will experience will make the change well worth the effort.

    You must make the decision to commit to this lifestyle changing process.

    If you ever feel tempted to skip it for a day or even give up, confront yourself with your commitment, and go on.

    How to stay motivated?

    Allow plenty of time for the changes. You should give yourself several years for the changes to take place. If you do so, your body will adjust comfortably and the probability of maintaining this healthy lifestyle permanently, will be higher.

    Following these steps at your own pace will help you lose weight, get healthier and be ready for spring when those jackets come off!

    beautifulpurpleStep#1: Drink Up!You’ve heard it before: we should all be drinking at least 8-10 cups a day. But are you doing it?

    Are you spacing your water out through the day?

    Water will keep you filled up, energized and running efficiently. Lack of water can slow the metabolism and make you confuse thirst for hunger. If there’s one step that’s easy to make on the road to weight loss, it’s to drink more water.

    Step#2: Move, Move, Move

    We all know we should probably log more minutes on the treadmill or elliptical machine. But what about building more exercise into your daily life?

    What about taking the stairs at work or at the mall? Or taking five minutes to dance to your favorite song? Every little bit helps with weight loss so get out there and move!

    Step#3: Eat Dessert

    We love dessert. In fact, dessert is usually our favorite part of the meal. It’s logical and natural to want something sweet to balance off that extra cheese lasagna or that chicken and broccoli casserole.

    But what about having a bowl of sweet red strawberries instead of those brownies? What about sliced apples with cinnamon instead of chocolate chip cookies?

    Look for ways to build in fruit for dessert instead of sugary snacks and you’ll save a load of calories without feeling deprived of that sweet taste.

    Step#4: Cut down where you can

    Ok, so you don’t want to deny yourself the cheesecake or your favorite burger. You have to eat that birthday cake or sample your Aunt Mathilda’s famous chicken pot pie.

    But do you really need to finish it?

    Start cutting back on portion sizes now, not denying yourself, but doing what you can – and you’ll find it makes a big difference calorie-wise in the long run.

    Step#5: Challenge yourself

    There are some days where the universe is with you. You can go without that chocolate bar, you can drinks lots of water and you actually want that salad for lunch.

    Recognize these days for what they are – a chance to leap ahead in your weight loss goals and make up for the times you feel you’ve blown it.

    Run with it for as long as you can. Challenge yourself to make the healthiest choices possible and soon you’ll be feeling so good about these choices, you’ll want to make more.

    So there they are: 5 Steps Towards a Better Body. While you may not lose ten pounds in one week following these steps (on the other hand, you might…), they’ll definitely get you started on the road to weight loss, without feeling deprived or hungry.

    Following these steps at your own pace will help you lose weight and get healthier.

    mirror1. Keep your face clean. Whether or not you have acne, it's important to wash your face daily to remove impurities, dead skin cells, and excess oil from the skin surface. Use warm, not hot, water and a mild facial cleanser. Using a harsh soap (like deodorant body soap) can injure the already inflamed skin and cause more irritation.
    Avoid scrubbing your skin harshly with a flannel, exfoliating glove, or loofah (a coarse-textured sponge). Gently wash it with your clean hands or a very soft cloth. Always rinse well, and then dry your face with a clean towel. (Throw the towel in the laundry basket, as dirty towels spread bacteria.)
    2. Moisturise. Many topical acne products contain ingredients that dry the skin, so always use a moisturiser that minimises dryness and skin peeling. A gel-based moisturiser usually works well for oily skin. If you have dry skin, try a moisturising cream or lotion. Combination skin may need two products (cream or lotion for the dry section; a gel for the oily part). Always hydrate your skin with water before you moisturise it.
    3. Try an over-the-counter acne product. Topical (those applied to the skin) acne products may contain ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, an antibacterial agent with a drying effect, or salicylic acid, an agent that exfoliates skin and gets rid of bacteria. Start with a small amount at first. Then increase or decrease the amount and how often you apply it, depending on how much peeling or drying you have. Use these ointments with caution if you have sensitive skin. Benzoyl peroxide can cause redness and scaling of the skin. It can also bleach your clothes, towel, and hair.
    4. Use makeup sparingly. During a flare-up, try to avoid wearing foundation, powder, or blusher. If you do wear makeup, wash it off at the end of the day. If possible, select oil-free cosmetics without added dyes and chemicals. Water-based cosmetics are available. Read the ingredients list on the product label before buying.
    5. Be careful about what you put on your hair. Avoid using fragrances, oils  and harsh chemicals on your hair. These ingredients can drip on the face, blocking the skin pores and irritating the skin. Stick to a gentle shampoo and conditioner. Oily hair can add to the oil on your face, so wash hair often, especially during a pimple outbreak. If your hair is long, keep it pulled off your face.
    6. Keep your hands off your face. Avoid touching your face or propping your cheek or chin on your hands. Not only can you spread bacteria, you can also irritate the already inflamed facial skin. Never pick or squeeze spots with your fingers, as it can result in infection and scarring.
    7. Avoid sun exposure. The sun's ultraviolet rays can increase inflammation and redness, and some oral and topical acne medications may increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight. Whether you have spots or not, always apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Look for a non-acnegenic sunscreen to decrease the chance of new spots. Again, always read the ingredients on the product label to know what you're putting on your skin.
    8. Feed your skin. Most experts agree that certain foods, like chocolate and chips, do not trigger pimple outbreaks. However, it makes sense to avoid greasy food and junk food and add more fresh fruit and vegetables and wholegrains to your diet. Some studies show that eating foods high in vitamin A and beta-carotene may boost your immunity and skin health. Carrots, sweet potatoes, melon, apricots, kale, and spinach are all high in beta-carotene, the type of vitamin A produced by plants.
    9. Exercise daily. Regular exercise is good for your mind and your body, including your skin -- the body's largest organ. Working out reduces anxiety and boosts blood flow throughout the body. When you exercise, avoid wearing clothing or using exercise equipment that rubs on the skin and may cause irritation. Also, avoid wearing hats, goggles, or helmets that cause you to sweat excessively, as this can irritate the skin and increase bacteria. Always shower or bathe after exercise.
    10. Relax! Experts believe that our emotional state is related to all aspects of health, including skin function. Some studies link stress with the severity of spots or acne. Take time to understand what happens when you get stressed. Also, try to work out what's causing you to feel stressed. Find effective ways to deal with stress before it builds up and causes a breakout.

    While spots are normal during your teenage years, it is important to learn some daily self-care steps to manage skin problems before they get more serious. If in doubt, check with your GP to see if further treatment is necessary for preventing or stopping spots.

    procrasToday's topic is about something we don't really want to talk about. It's about.... PLUCKING EYEBROWS

    This is a topic we just want to avoid or hope it would go away Although, not thinking about it does not mean  that the Hukum (order) isn't there.
    And you know what? It is sad to say that 90% of our  sisters are guilty of doing it.
    But dear Sister, have you really thought about it? What does Islam  REALLY say about shaping the eyebrows?
    It says in "Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen":
    Plucking of women's eyebrows is not permissible. The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) cursed the one who does it. It is haraam and is not permitted.
    The  evidence:
    1) Abd-Allaah ibn Masood said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah  (pbuh) say: Allaah has CURSED the woman who does tattoos and the one who has  them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows and the one who has it done, and the  one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of  Allaah.
    (Bukhaari, Muslim)
    2) Removing or plucking the eyebrows implies changing the creation of  Allaah, as Allaah tells us that the Shaytaan said: .....and indeed I will order  them to change the nature created by Allaah." [al-Nisa:119]
    Can you do it if (you think) it makes you look ugly?
    Allaah is  Wise in what He decrees for His slaves.Some people are beautiful in appearance  and some are not; the entire matter is in the hand of Allaah. It is essential to  be patient and seek reward with Allaah, and not to transgress His sacred limits  for the sake of one's own whims and desires.
    What about hair on the face (like chin, upper lip,etc.) and the rest of her body?
    There is no sin on a woman if she removes hair on her upper lip, thighs, calves and arms. This is  not part of the plucking that is forbidden. It is one of the things concerning which Sharee'ah did not say anything, so the ruling is that it is permissible, since whatever sharee'ah did not say anything about, in the Qur'aan  or Sunnah, is allowed.
    "What is Halaal is that which Allaah has permitted in His Book, and what is haraam is that which Allaah has forbidden in His Book,  and whatever He has not said anything about is allowable. (al-Tirmidhi-hasan)
    What about plucking the hair BETWEEN the eyebrows?
    The Ulama tell us that it is  permissible to pluck it, because it is not part of the eyebrows.
    Can a  woman do it if her husband asks her to do so?
    It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daaimah:
    It is not permissible to remove the hair of the eyebrows  because this is the plucking for which the Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) cursed  those who do it, and it is a kind of changing the creation of Allaah, which is  the action of the Shaytaan. If a woman's husband tells her to do it, she should  not obey him,because it is a sin, and there is no obedience to any created being if it involves disobedience towards the Creator. Rather obedience should  only be with regard to things that are good and proper, as the Prophet (pbuh) said.
    OK, I am not plucking it. But, can I shape it, cut it, etc.  ?
    Shaykh Ibn Jibreen said: "It is not permissible to cut the hair of the eyebrows, or to shave it, reduce it or pluck it.This is not the matter of  beauty, rather it is altering the creation of Allaah Who is the Best of  creators. A warning has been narrated against doing that and the one who does it  is cursed; this implies that it is forbidden.
    So, this is it. 
    The evidence is clear. There is no difference of opinion  among the Ulama about it.
    Plucking your eyebrows is HARAAM..... Plain and Simple
    No "ifs" and "buts" about it.
    The Prophet (pbuh) said it....the Ulama explained  have been informed about it.
    And you have been WARNED.
    Now, it is up to you to decide.
    Do you want to be the one who "listens and obeys"?
    Or are you going to be like the one whom Allah describes...... "And when Our Verses are recited to such a one ,he turns away in pride, as if he heard them  not--as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful  torment."  (al- Luqman:7)
    Read the above Ayah carefully. Surely, YOU are NOT going to be that one. Then, give it up, my dear Sister. It's simply not worth it. You look beautiful even if you didn't pluck your eyebrows. I Promise You. Don't be the one whom Allah curses.
    Imagine! ALLAAH'S CURSE!!!!
    Just think! How can anyone expect goodness and success in this life OR in the Hereafter if Allah's curse is on them?
    O Allah.... save us from Your  Curse and guide us to the Right Path. Aameen.

    hairingrownAn ingrown hair is a hair that curls back on itself and starts growing back into the follicle, or a hair that fails to grow out of the follicle and stays embedded in the skin. Ingrown hairs can affect the face, neck, legs, or any part of the body. They are usually just minor irritations, but can be painful or unsightly. Moreover, if they are left untreated, ingrown hairs can become infected. Unfortunately, while ingrown hair is more common with people having curly hair, almost everybody will get one at some time, and if you shave regularly, you may have to deal with ingrown hairs quite frequently. Got one now? Follow these instructions to get rid of it, and keep it from coming back.

    1. Exfoliate the area. Twice a day, scrub the ingrown hair gently. This will help to remove any dead skin cells, dirt, and oils that might be trapping the ingrown hair. It can also physically nudge the tip of the hair out of your skin. You want to exfoliate enough to achieve this effect, but not so much that the ingrown hair starts to bleed. It's very difficult to remove an ingrown hair from under a scab. When in doubt, exfoliate more gently but for a longer period of time. Try to hit the ingrown hair from a variety of directions.

    2. Apply a dab of acne medication. Ingrown hairs are pretty similar to pimples, especially when the ingrown hair is accompanied by pus. Apply benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid several times a day for a few days. This, combined with daily exfoliation, is often enough to remove the ingrown hair, since swelling will be reduced, giving the hair more room to grow out (rather than in).

    3. Apply a warm, moist compress to the area for a few minutes to soften the skin. Just wet a washcloth with hot water, wring it out, and press it against the ingrown hair. When the washcloth cools down, run it under hot water again. If you can see the ingrown hair embedded in the skin, this treatment will soften the hair and bring it closer to the surface. If you can't initially see the hair, leave the warm compress on until it rises to the skin's surface. If you apply the compress for ten minutes and you still can't see any sign of hair, you're not going to be able to remove it yourself, or it might be something else altogether.

    4. Use a sterile needle, tweezers or a rotable medical device for ingrown hairs to gently tease the hair out of the skin. The warm compress should have brought the hair to the surface--don't dig for the hair if you can't easily get at it. Don't pluck the hair out completely if you can avoid doing so; just make sure that the ingrown end is out of the skin. It may take a little time to coax the hair out: be patient, and do not cut the skin.

    • Sometimes you'll see a loop of the hair close to the surface of the skin. This means that the tip of the hair has begun growing down into the skin. If you get a needle in the loop and tug lightly, the end will often come loose.
    • If you choose to use tweezers, remember that tweezers can be bought either pointy or flat-tipped. A pointy-tipped pair may cause less damage to the skin around the hair if used carefully. Another choice might be to use a rotable medical device for ingrown hairs which does not damage the follicle or the surrounding skin.

    5. Wash the area around the (formerly) ingrown hair with warm water and a moisturizing soap. Apply an antiseptic to provide extra protection against infection. Avoid wearing tight clothing on that area, and exfoliate regularly to prevent new ingrown hairs. You may wish to apply a daily topical solution to prevent any further ingrown hairs from developing.

    I've tried them, and I'm here to share my experience!


    pinkflowersgreenleavesThis is how I began eighteen years ago. Ah, thirteen...wanting to use Dad's razor and shave cream. Of course, I already had soft, smooth legs -- I just didn't realize it. I had no idea that young that shaving hair actually makes it thicker, courser, and darker. And so, shaving is a vicious cycle. You want smooth legs, so you shave. But then it just grows right back worse than before, and you have to shave it again the next morning. Ever hear of 5 o'clock shadow? Women who shave get that on their legs, too.

    I didn't know any of this for years, so I just kept shaving, and shaving, and shaving. Years of nicks and cuts. Although, the worst was at first -- in my first few years of learning how to master shaving. (Beware, teens -- if you're not careful, you will shave skin off your ankle bones and knees!) I still have a few scars. But I thought this was the only it was part of my daily routine.

    Out of all the razors I've tried (everything from plain old Bic, to Venus, to my boyfriend's Mach 5), my favorite was always Daisy pink disposable razors (made by Gillette). They are very affordable, and despite their "disposable" status, they can be used many times. They are very sharp, but made well enough that I can shave quickly without cutting myself. Essentially, I get a very close shave for a great price.

    After you have a great razor, the next vital item is a great shaving medium (gel, cream, etc.). There are tons of options out there, but the ones I always liked best were the gels. I've used, and liked, almost all scents and types of shave gels by Edge, Gillette, and Skintimate -- though my favorites are always the ones for sensitive skin. I've never tried Aveeno, but I hear they make a good one, too.  I would have gone with an organic option (like Aubrey Organics), but I had not yet discovered the importance of organic-living back when I was shaving.

    Now, if you have never shaved...good for you! Your leg hairs are probably soft, light, and not-so bothersome. If you have shaved, you know what if feels like to go to bed at night with sandpaper legs that poke each other because you went one day without shaving...and so you have to shave every day to keep stubble down, which is a royal pain. Are you sick and tired of shaving every day? Have you considered other options? Are there other options? Yes.....there are!


    I've only done this once, at a "professional" salon. But once was enough for me -- because I spent like $50, and the girl did a crappy job! Not only did she rip my hair out SUPER fast (which didn't provide me a chance to breath off the pain between rippings), but she left tons of little hairs scattered all over my legs. She was supposed to tweeze any remaining hair...and she did tweeze a few...but then she said, "OK, you're done!" And when I got to my car (after paying $50), I noticed all the leftovers and spent the next 20 minutes tweezing them out myself.

    You can buy waxing kits and do this yourself at home, too. I've never tried it because I heard it was very messy and hard to clean up, so I can't offer any advice on this one. But I can tell you about sugaring at home, which is very similar to waxing.


    Have you heard of Nads? That's what I'm talking about. Sugaring is when you put a super-sticky substance on your legs (instead of wax), rub a cotton strip over it (just like you do with waxing), hold the skin taught, then RIP the cotton strip off really fast in the opposite direction of hair growth (just like with waxing). Opposite direction of hair growth simply means, if your hair grows pointing down, then you rip the cotton strip in an upward motion. On the contrary, when you apply the sticky substance (using a tongue depressor, or plastic spatula) you apply it in the direction of hair growth (if hair grows downward, apply it with a downward swipe). Recap: Apply sticky stuff in downward motion, rub on cotton strip, hold skin taught, and rip off fast in an upward motion.

    I tried Nads. It worked great, but I always needed more cotton strips than they provided -- so I bought some similar cotton fabric at my local fabric store and cut it into strips. It worked just fine.

    One day, while researching homemade beauty products, I encountered a recipe for "homemade Nads" (homemade sugaring substance). It was so easy to make: 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice -- microwave for 1 minute, stir well, then 30 seconds more, stir well, and another 30 seconds, stir well (2 minutes total). Allow to cool enough so it won't burn you! But not enough that it gets so thick and sticky that you can't even apply it (if it cools that much, just re-heat it for another 20 seconds and stir). It will take a while to cool down...try 5-10 minutes, then test it.

    Some tricks with sugaring are:

    1) Find a good consistency (not runny, but not overly thick... just perfectly spreadable). It will be too runny if it's too hot, and it will be too thick if it's too cool.

    2) Don't apply too much. You want a semi-thin layer, but not too thin, and definitely not too thick. If it's too thick, it won't rip out any'll just rip off the cotton strip and leave a mess on your leg. And if it's too thin, you won't efficiently rip out many hairs. You will have to experiment at first to find the perfect balance, but you'll figure it out quickly.

    3) Don't rip the strip off too fast after applying. In my experience, if you wait at least 10 seconds while firmly rubbing the strip on, it gives the substance a little time too cool down, which I think better grasps the hairs. For me, it's more effective this way. But don't wait too long, because if actually hardens, you may rip off a layer of skin.

    Once I discovered sugaring, I did it for a while. But the downfalls are that it's very messy, time-consuming to prepare, very time-consuming to clean-up, and worst of all -- you have to allow your legs to get hairy again in order to sugar (because the hair needs to be long enough for the substance to grab on to, just like with waxing). The results of sugaring are by far better than shaving -- legs are smooth and hair-free for weeks! After you rip the hair out, it grows back much slower, softer, thinner, and lighter in color. But I didn't like having to let my legs get hairy in order to sugar again. That is why I was extremely happy to discover epilating.


    This is my current FAVORITE method for hair removal. I had heard about it here-and-there, but wasn't really sure about it. Then one night, I was watching Late Night with Conan O'Brien and I heard guest Heidi Klum talking about epilating her legs with a Braun SoftPerfection epilator (I think she's a spokesmodel for it). I was interested, and I ended up buying one on eBay for like $50. (I have since learned that they sell on for cheaper). I received it, I tried it, I LOVED it.

    It hurt really bad the first few times (no different than waxing or sugaring). But the good thing about epilating is you can do it any time you want. You don't have to wait for your hair to get long! And it has the same effects as waxing and sugaring, where your hair stays gone for weeks! Basically, you epilate. Then maybe a week later, you epilate again...just to get any of the hairs that were too short to get the first time, which have now grown longer.

    If you want to maintain your perfectly hair-free legs, you just epilate every week (or even every few days, if you'd's really up to you). And the more you epilate, the less and less it hurts because you totally get used to it -- unlike waxing and sugaring, which you can only do every month, so you had a month to get not used to it.

    Now, when I researched epilators (and I did...I did not just run out and buy the Braun Silk-Epil SoftPerfection epilator just because Heidi Klum uses it), I learned that some people have had bad experiences with epilators, such as getting loose skin stuck, or ripped off. There are some epilators that come with a "reverse" feature for this reason. My Braun Silk-Epil doesn't have that as a "feature," but it does simply move both directions manually (when you move it with your finger), so I'm not worried about getting anything stuck. I read that it's mostly common to get skin stuck when you have loose skin. I learned to avoid this by holding the skin taught, to get rid of flaps and wrinkly areas -- such as around the bikini area, or in the armpit. I would suggest that even if you think you don't have loose skin, still hold your skin taught...just in case.

    I have never gotten anything stuck, but I have irritated my armpit by epilating when it was too hairy. What happened was, I used my boyfriend's electric hair buzzer to simply "buzz" my thick armpit hair short -- but that still left me with a thick patch of short hairs. Because I had so many hairs so close together, I should have shaved first -- because when you shave, not all of your hairs grow back at the same rate. So this way, I would have less hairs to epilate the first week, and then I could've epilated the rest of the hairs (the slower-growing hairs) as they continued to grow in the next week, and the next week after. So...shaving can still come in handy at times -- like when you are epilating for the first time, of perhaps neglected epilating for a month or two.

    I have now used my epilator many times since I bought it nearly a year ago. Personally, I have not had any problems (except when I didn't pre-shave my bushy armpit that one time). I got used to the pain in one month, and can epilate in a matter of minutes. To mainting hair-free legs, armpits, and bikini area, I only need to epilate once a week. And if I forget? No problem, because the hairs now grow back so soft, thin, and light in color that even if I do have hair, you can't easily see it! It's awesome.

    Depilatory Creams or Lotion

    I have tried this, too -- but only Nair brand. You simply rub it on, wait 10 minutes, then wipe it off with a washcloth. And it works OK, but it burned, made me itch, left my skin irritated, and furthermore -- it only gets rid of surface-level hair, so you can still see little black dots where the hair shafts are. That alone should be reason enough. But the reason I refuse to use this stuff is the CHEMICAL SMELL...and thus, the chemicals. I feel toxic when I use this stuff. I've tried three kinds by Nair -- Nair regular depilatory lotion, Nair sensitive depilatory lotion, and Nair Pretty depilatory cream (which was supposed to be peach scented, and supposed to be gentler on skin). Well, they all stunk bad -- even the one with supposed peach scent -- and they all irritated.

    Now, if you like the smell of chemicals and you don't mind them soaking into your body, then this might be worth a try. I knew a man who swore by depilatory lotion. Personally, it just isn't for me. The chemical smell, and knowing it's soaking into my body, is too much to handle.

    Overall, I think epilating is the best option because:

    It's super easy! Just plug in, and start epilating.

    You can do it as often as you want to keep legs 100% hair-free (unlike waxing and sugaring), but

    You don't have to do it every day! (unlike shaving)

    Your hair stays gone for weeks! (unlike shaving)

    One epilator costs as much as one professional waxing (cost effective)

    One epilator costs as much as a nice razor with refills cartridges and a few bottles of shave gel (cost effective)

    You don't have to worry about nicks and cuts! (unlike shaving)

    You don't put chemicals on your body! (unlike depilatory lotions and creams)

    After a few uses, epilating starts to become less-and-less painful (unlike waxing and sugaring)

    It's quick! You can epilate in a matter of minutes, and usually no longer than 10 (unlike waxing and sugaring)

    And there's practically no clean-up! (Unless you want to vacuum real fast, because the hairs get pulled out and fall to the ground). You should blow/brush the hairs off the epilator, and wipe it with an alcohol wipe to keep oils and bacteria off, but that only takes a minute.

    With regular use (once a week), the epilator works just fine!

    I hope this helps! Take care.

    hairI wanted to tell you about my first attempt at epilation. If you've never heard of epilation, let me explain...

    Epilation is a method of hair removal which removes hair at the root, for example waxing or plucking. I'm going to try using an epilator. This is a machine which looks rather like a ladies' electric razor, but instead of the hairs being sliced off, they are plucked out, usually by a system of rotating discs.

    Sounds painful? Hmm, let's see. I've always shaved my legs, usually with a wet razor, and I've never been brave enough to try waxing. I avoid pain whenever I can. But I am fed up with shaving. Even one day after shaving, I feel stubbly and horrible. There's got to be a better way.

    Which Epilator?

    I read several customer reviews on Amazon before choosing my epilator. There are lots of different epilator types to choose from, and many have various gizmos which claim to reduce the pain factor.

    In the end I went for the Philips Satinelle Soft. I think it was the word 'soft', which described my personal level of toughness and resistance to pain that helped me to decide on this one.

    Well, being a self-confessed pain-o-phobe, I expect you're wondering how I got on with my epilator. I had not shaved for several days when I tried it out (a mistake I think - see my first timer tips below). I chose a time when the rest of my family were out (apart from my teenage daughter who also wanted to try it out).

    The model I chose had a kind of massage roller (to "relax the skin" and "ease sensations" - I took that to mean kill the pain). It also came with a guard which you can clip over the head to cover some of the discs (so for sensitive areas you're not plucking out too many hairs in one go). Another feature I liked was that it had two speed settings, with a slower speed for more sensitive areas (or all areas in my case).

    In fact, after my first try with the epilator I didn't use the guard. I also realised after I'd finished that I had accidentally set it to full speed instead of using the gentler half speed, so I've stuck with full speed ever since. Maybe we don't really need those gizmos and they just help persuade us to give it a go?

    Epilator Tips for Beginners

    • Try to have no more than two days' hair growth when you first try the epilator. This will mean that not all of your hairs will be long enough to be grasped, resulting in less pain!
    • Epilate every two to three days at first (same reason as above). Then once you are used to it, you can extend the interval between epilation sessions.
    • Plan your first try at epilating when you don't have to expose the epilated skin for at least 24-hours, just in case you have a reaction.
    • Stretch the skin with your 'spare' hand while you epilate. This makes the hairs stand on end so they are grabbed more cleanly.
    • Try sprinkling the skin with talcum powder before epilating. It helps the machine to glide more smoothly.
    • Moisturise after epilating (wait until you've finished, so you don't get your epilator all slippery).
    • Only use the epilator on your lower legs at first, where your skin is less sensitive. Later you may be brave enough to try it under your arms and even your bikini line.
    • Exfoliate your skin regularly. Waxing, plucking and epilating weaken the hairs and sometimes they are too feeble to penetrate the skin when they regrow. Exfoliating will help them to break through and avoid causing problems.
    • Consider buying a cordless epilator, particularly for when you're away from home.
    • Most importantly - it gets easier every time! Don't be put off if you don't enjoy using the epilator the first time. It really does get easier and easier until it's no more of an incovenience than shaving, and you won't have to do it so often either.
    sugar-waxYou will need:
    • 2 cups sugar
    • ¼ cup lemon juice
    • ¼ cup water


    • Cook until mixture reaches 250° F on candy thermometer.
    • Wait until cool enough to put on skin (test carefully...).
    • Tear a cotton bedsheet into strips 3 inches wide or so, and about the length of your leg.
    • Spread sugar very thinly (back of a flat butter knife works well) in a stripe down your leg.
    • Press a fabric strip firmly over the sugar, down your leg. Run your hands down it a few more times.
    • Pull fabric off, from bottom to top of leg.

    Note: make a batch of sugar ahead, store in fridge, and reheat when needed.

    Fabric strips are washable and reusable, of course.

    toothNot caring for your teeth could lead you to suffer - along with three out of four adults - from gum disease. September is National Oral Health month, and we mark the occasion with our DIY oral health routine.

    With three out of four adults suffering from gum disease in the UK, coupled with the current shortage of NHS dentists, brushing, flossing and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash is vital to keep your teeth in top condition.

    Oral hygiene at home

    "Whether you've had professional treatments or not, caring for your smile at home is important," advises Dr Andrea Ubhi, Dentist of the Year 2005/6.

    "First of all, you need to brush your teeth twice a day morning and night for around three minutes, using a fluoride toothpaste. Definitely don't scrub or you will wear the surface of your teeth away, so brush in circles or shuffles, or use an electric toothbrush which will do that for you - you should aim to clear away 100% of the plaque from your teeth twice a day for best results," says Dr Ubhi.

    After brushing, you should clean between your teeth. Dr Ubhi recommends using either dental floss, dental tape, or interdental brushes once or twice a day to ensure that you are removing the maximum amount of food debris and plaque.

    "The best way to floss is to get a length of floss or tape and roll it up between your two middle fingers, then use your thumb and your first finger as pincers so that you actually control it really well and don't slip and damage the gums.

    "Between those two hands leave about two inches of floss free, pull it to one side and slide it slowly between your teeth, making a C-shape on each side of each tooth," she recommends.

    "After flossing you need to be rinsing your teeth and gums with antibacterial mouthwash for around 30 seconds. Some clients ask me whether or not they should use alcoholic mouthwash but it really doesn't matter. For me it's about the efficiency of the mouthwash, and it is in contact with the teeth and gums for such a minimal amount of time that I don't think that it's a big deal - certainly not compared to drinking alcohol."

    If you suffer from bleeding gums or gingivitis, Ubhi says one of the best treatments is the Chlorhexidine group of mouthwashes, although she warns that they should only be used for short periods of time.

    "They can stain your teeth brown so you should only really be using them for a 30 day course, preferably just when your dentist prescribes it," she says.

    Teeth trends

    While no one wants a mouthful of stained yellow fangs, the dazzling smile beloved by minor celebrities is also on its way out.

    "Many clients looking for a brighter smile are now requesting a more natural shade of white," Dr Ubhi says.

    "Last year in the world of cosmetic dentistry, we witnessed a definite trend towards the LA power smile or, as it was termed in the States, 'West Coast White'. Celebrities like Halle Berry and Jessica Simpson are typical examples.

    "We're now seeing a move away from this look as people opt for a more natural shade. In the US it's being described as 'East Coast White' in honour of the New York stars leading the trend - think Uma Thurman or Scarlet Johansson.

    "But whichever look you opt for, the most important process for maintaining the brightness and whiteness of your smile actually takes place in your own bathroom rather than the dental surgery," she adds.

    Some common myths

    STOP FLOSSING IF YOUR GUMS BLEED: "If people start bleeding from their gums they often stop flossing or brushing because they think that it's bad for them," Dr Ubhi says. "In fact, bleeding gums means that you should actually do it more often, so make sure that your routine is really thorough and the bleeding should stop within a few days."

    BRUSH YOUR TEETH BEFORE BREAKFAST: "Some people say that you should brush your teeth before breakfast to remove any bacteria that has built up overnight but, in my opinion, you're definitely better off brushing them after breakfast to make sure that you remove all of the debris," Dr Ubhi advises.

    BRUSH YOUR TEETH STRAIGHT AFTER EATING: "The worst thing that you could do is to brush your teeth straight after eating or drinking something acidic such as citrus fruit or fruit juice, because the acid actually softens the top layer of your teeth and by brushing you are actually scrubbing that bit off. Always wait half an hour before brushing so that your teeth have remineralised," Dr Ubhi says.

    GUM DISEASE UNCOVERED: Gum disease is caused by plaque and symptoms include swelling, soreness or infection of the gums and tissues supporting the teeth. If left untreated it can cause teeth to become loose and fall out.

    Most people suffer from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, although it can never be cured, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.

    To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day by brushing, flossing and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash. If you begin to notice blood on your toothbrush when you clean your teeth, you should visit your dentist for a thorough check-up as soon as possible.

    Smile statistics

    • Nearly half of all adults have moderate periodontal disease, with 5-10% of cases being severe.
    • Smoking is responsible for 50% of all cases of gum disease in the UK.
    • Nearly three-quarters of adults in the UK have visible plaque and calculus.
    • The average time spent brushing is 46 seconds.
    • Only 2-10% of patients floss regularly and effectively and most cannot or will not floss on a daily basis.

    tearsHave you ever wondered why so many people who were bright and beautiful as children, however, as they grew older their innocence and beauty eluded them? Well, wonder no more – Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) explains this phenomena to us:

    “The person who is righteous and honest, his honesty is manifest from the radiance on his face, and his honesty can be known from the glow that is on his face, likewise the (opposite for the) sinful one and the liar. The older a person gets, the more this sign becomes apparent. Thus a person as a child would have a bright face, however if he becomes a sinful person, adamant on committing sins, at the older stages in his life, an ugly face would manifest that which he used to internalise, and the opposite is also true. It has been narrated that Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said,

    ‘Indeed righteousness illuminates the heart, radiates the face, strengthens the body, increases provision, and produces a love in the hearts of the creation for that person. Whereas sinfulness darkens the heart, greys the face, weakens the body, and produces hatred in the hearts of the creation for that person.’

    It is possible that a person may not intentionally lie; he may even be a person who makes great effort in 'Ibaadah (worship) and has Zuhd (abstains from pleasures of this life that are lawful). However he has false, incorrect ‘Aqeedah regarding either Allaah, His religion or His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or His righteous servants. And what is on the inside affects what is on the outside. Thus, this false, incorrect ‘Aqeedah that he thought was true and correct reflects on his face, and his face would be dark in accordance with the level of falsehood he possesses. As it has been narrated that ‘Uthmaan ibn Affaan (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said,

    ‘No one ever hides evil within themselves except that Allaah makes it manifest from his facial outlook and the statements his tongues utters.’

    Hence some of the Salaf (pious predecessors) used to say,

    ‘If a person of innovation were to dye his beard every day, the dye of innovation would remain on his face.’

    On the day of judgment this would be very clear as Allaah says, “And on the Day of Resurrection you will see those who lied against Allaah their faces will be black. Is there not in Hell an abode for the arrogant ones?” [Sooratuz-Zumar, 39:60]

    He ta’ala also said, “On the Day when some faces will become white and some faces will become black; as for those whose faces will become dark (to them will be said): "Did you reject Faith after accepting it? Then taste the torment for rejecting Faith.” [Soorah Aali-Imraan, 3:106]

    Ibn Abbaas and others have said regarding this verse,

    ‘The bright faces will be of the ahlus-sunnah (people of the Sunnah), and the dark faces will be of the people of bid’ah (innovation) and division.’”

    Reference: Aj-Jawaab as-Saheeh’ (Vol.4, pg. 306-307).

    tabarruj1- To beautify your eyes, lower your gaze towards strange men, this will make your eyes pure and shiny.

    2- To beautify your face and make it shiny, keep doing Wudhoo' minimum five times a day.

    3- To have attractive lips, always mention Allah and remember to speak the truth.

    4- As for blush and rouge, "Modesty" (Hayaa') is one of the best brands.

    6- Now about your hair, if any of you has a problem of hair split ends, then I suggest "Islamic Hijab" which will protect your hair from damage.

    7- As for jewelry, beautify your hands with humbleness and let your hands be generous and give charity to the poor.

    8- To avoid heart disease, forgive people who hurt your feelings.

    If you follow these advices given to you by the Creator, you will have a beautiful and attractive inner and outer appearance.

    Hookah-Shisha-M-4010-As if our youth didn’t have enough distractions and bad habits readily available to pick up, we now have the hookah fad. Step aside cigarette smoking, there’s something cooler in town (for our youth to destroy their bodies with)! Different flavors, different settings, a “Muslim export”… how cool is that? Actually not cool at all. And what’s worse is that some Muslims are actually promoting this lifestyle.

    First the ground rules: Most scholars now agree that cigarette smoking is haram, i.e. prohibited for Muslims due to its harmful effects on the human body, which directly go against an injunction in the Qur’an:

    “And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you. And whoever commits that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into the Fire and that is easy for Allah” [Qur'an 4:29]

    “And do not throw yourselves into destruction.” [Qur'an 2:195]

    So, this post is not going to detail issues about cigarette smoking, because not only is cigarette smoking far less socially acceptable, but many Muslims recognize that it is haram (forbidden), even if some are stuck at the makruh (disliked) mistake. Initially, when the harmful effects of smoking were not proven scientifically, scholars hesitated on giving the haram ruling, and instead considered it makruh. However, one would have to be sitting in a cave not to now KNOW and RECOGNIZE the direct link that exists between cigarette smoking and extremely harmful effects to the body, including lung cancer.

    Muslim scholars in the past differed in opinion regarding smoking because of lack of evidence relating cigarette smoking to disease. Those who considered Makruh (a hated act) regarded this lack of evidence. But since 30 years ago the evidence clearly demonstrates that smoking is injurious to health. The majority of Ahl Sunnah wal-Jama’ahJumhur (majority) have clearly stated that smoking is Haram.

    Muhammad Afifi also provides a collection of statements of scholars from a wide spectrum of methodologies and madahibs. In this online booklet, Muhammad Al-Jibaly describes many of the reasons for its forbidden status.

    We all know that Satan is such a wonderful con artist. He loves to deceive people. If he can’t get things one way, he uses another. Since cigarettes were becoming harder to sell, Satan is now selling hookah smoking full-force.

    Folks, read my words carefully: hookah smoking is in fact MORE dangerous and harmful than cigarette smoking, because you inhale more nicotine via this method. Don’t believe me? Then read what this lung specialist from the prestigious Mayo Clinic has to say:

    There is a myth that hookah smoking is safer than smoking cigarettes because the hookah smoke is filtered through water before it is inhaled. But recent studies have found that hookah smokers actually inhale more nicotine than do cigarette smokers because of the massive volume of smoke they inhale…

    According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) advisory, a typical one-hour session of hookah smoking exposes the user to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette. Even after passing through the water, the tobacco smoke produced still contains high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). [More info here]

    Here is more information from American Cancer Society:

    Hookah is also called narghile (nar-guh-lee) smoking. It started in Asia and the Middle East and involves burning tobacco that has been mixed with flavors such as honey, molasses, or dried fruit in a water pipe and inhaling the flavored smoke through a long hose. Charcoal is usually used to heat the tobacco mixture, which is known as shisha. Hookah smoking is usually a social event which allows the smokers to spend time together and talk as they pass the pipe around. It has recently become popular among younger people in Western countries.

    Hookahs are marketed as being a safe alternative to cigarettes. This claim is false. The water does not filter out many of the toxins. In fact, hookah smoke has been shown to contain concentrations of toxins, such as carbon monoxide, nicotine, “tar,” and heavy metals, that are as high or higher than are seen with cigarette smoke. Several types of cancer, including lung cancer, have been linked to hookah smoking. Hookah is also linked to other unique risks not associated with cigarette smoking. For example, infectious diseases including tuberculosis (which can infect the lungs or other parts of the body), aspergillus (a fungus that can cause serious lung infections), and helicobacter (which can cause stomach ulcers) may be spread by sharing the pipe or through the way the tobacco is prepared.

    BOTTOM LINE: If smoking cigarettes is harmful and haram, then hookah smoking is only worse.

    So, whoever is thinking that they are safe with hookahs as opposed to cigarettes are only fooling themselves. It is especially sad to see this trend catching on fire in the Muslim world. In my trip to Pakistan, I noticed how this has become the “cool” alternative thing to do!

    Let’s do whatever it takes to halt this phenomenon, especially in preventing our youth from picking up this harmful/haram habit. Spread the word!