A Father’s Day Reflection

I wrote this rant four years ago, when my little brother Samy first became a father. This father’s day, I think of my father and his father before him, and what they have done so that we can lead the lives we have today. I’m forever grateful to our fathers, our father figures and our single mothers for being there for us, always.

God bless you, on earth and in heaven, today and always!

Ms. Hala

Last night, I called Baba in Egypt to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. He was excited I called (because he forgot to tell me he was going to Egypt for the summer) because he had forgotten it was Father’s Day. Of course, we ended up having our usual political and religious conversation. I then spoke with my older cousin Mohamed, a father of five, whom I consider a father figure.

After all the phone calls last night between Egypt and California (my poor phone bill), I feel asleep in awe of how something as simple as a phone call can uplift someone’s spirits. I feel asleep reflecting on all the amazing fathers I know.

I had written on a similar reflection back in 2009, Praises for Fathers, the first Father’s Day after the passing of our Amuh Ibrahim.

This year, my little brother became a father for the…

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Iftar @ Streets of Arabia – A Snapchat Story

Streets of Arabia Ramadan Tent - Doha Marriott Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Inspired by the success of Street Food Doha, the lovely Doha Marriott is at it again for the second year with Streets of Arabia. Dishes from all corners of the region, such as Sudan, Morocco and Qatar, are the stars of the streets. I started with the Moroccan harira soup and was tempted to go for seconds but there was much to discover throughout the restaurant gallery turned street food galore.

Headed to Sudan for stew, Egypt for hawashy, Lebanon for grills, Qatar for majbous, Turkey for kavurma and India for dahi vada. I was not disappointed in the least bit! Desserts were good, the qatayef were a hit for me. I just wish they had them in serving sizes rather than “serve yourself” type setup, people get a little too excited around desserts. #JustSaying

Service, as always, was professional and friendly. I just wish some of the serving staff were more knowledgable of some of the dishes they were serving. The setup is simple, nothing over the top, but nothing plain either. It’s a very chill and casual space for iftar, my kind of chill to be honest. It’s so chill, even the famous Ramadan camels, Bashoosh and Sahara were just chilling in the warm breeze outside the hotel with their new baby girl, Samara. Yep, it’s a girl! Woohoo!

Iftar @ Al Jawhara – A Snapchat Story

Al Jawhara Oasis Ramadan Tent - InterContinental The City Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato For the third year running, Al Jawhara of The Intercontinental The City has been a hidden gem of the Ramadan season. Not a ridiculously expansive buffet, just the good stuff in the beautifully decorated hall.

The decor remains as the classic Arabian night theme. Seatings are set up nicely and rearrange accordingly, giving you space to move and every seat was a good seat to see the live band and tanora dancer during suhour. On the sides, you have tent like booth seatings and lit lanterns throughout the hall.

The service within the tent is very attentive, friendly and always with a smile. Management and marketing teams passed by to genuinely check on us, which did not just happen because we were invited guests but it’s consistent to how we’ve been treated as paying guests as well. I very much appreciate the consistency in the service provided.

For 195QR, you’re getting your money’s worth! Desserts was probably my favorite this time around, especially the fresh crepes with orange sauce which I topped with chocolate ice cream and nuts. Qatayef were made fresh as well and probably the best I’ve had in a very long time in Qatar. Last year, the freshly made shawarma wraps here was my favorite, done to absolute perfection. Sadly this time around, didn’t get my hands on the shawarma as it seemed to have run out on my two visits to the station.

Overall, I believe the buffet menu changes so you don’t necessarily get the same thing twice in one week. The only constant is the live cooking stations dedicated to pasta, shawarma and one of the dessert sections. Yep, there are two dessert sections!

I have to give them props for monitoring not only the food’s freshness but preventing waste. In speaking with the team, they noted that food was made almost to order (quantity to bookings with fresh additions as needed) to help prevent waste. Suhour was a la carte last year but by popular demand, the buffet is back but on a smaller scale to prevent waste. Kudos ICTC team!

 

Note: I’ve been to Al Jawhara Ramadan Tent a few times over the years, both as a guest and customer. My opinions on my blog and social media are strictly my own. Please contact if you’d like permission to share/repost this content.

Iftar Tasting @ L’auberge – A Snapchat Story

L'auberge - Warwick Doha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato In case you missed it, here’s my Snapchat story from the Iftar Tasting at L’auberge in Warwick Hotel Doha.

Throughout the month of Ramadan, L’auberge will be hosting an Arabian iftar with a Turkish flair. Have to say my favorite dish was the chicken maqluba and of course the dessert selection by renowned Egyptian pastry chef, Amin Wahba. Do not miss out on his famous feteer or oum ali, made fresh every night. #YumminessAchieved!

 

Note: I was a guest of L’auberge but my opinions on my blog and social media are strictly my own. Please contact if you’d like permission to share/repost this content.

Not Just Anyone, An Ode to Mommies

As it’s Mother’s Day back home in the states, I came across this post I wrote a few years back for our mommies that I had to repost.

Ms. Hala

Not Just Anyone
An Ode to Mommies
By: Ms. Hala

She’s one of those people that really molds you into who you are. Or maybe it’s because somehow you’re existence has molded her. Some say it’s the best feeling in the world after all the pain. I say, I’m not half as strong as she is to ever be there.

She’s beautiful, oh so beautiful. She’s so gorgeous, it’s criminal! Like seriously, it’s gotten us into so much trouble!

It really is like when Frank Sinatra sings, “when she smiles, the whole world smiles”. And God forbid when she weeps, it’s just a sad, sad place. You want to do anything to make it all better just because you can’t bear her sadness.

She ignores me when she’s focused on playing games on her iPhone. She’s such a gamer, I can’t attempt to compete. All my friends are her friends on Facebook because…

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Ladies’ Night @ Trader Vic’s – A Snapchat Story

In case you missed it, here’s my Snapchat story from last week’s Ladies’ Night at Trader Vics!

Trader Vic's - Hilton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato In case you didn’t know, every Wednesday night is Ladies’ Night at Trader Vics, Hilton Doha! Unlimited drinks and bites for two hours for 100QR! Even us hijabis and/or non drinkers can join in on the fun!🍹

You can read my review on Zomato and watch the full Snapchat story below!

 

Note: I’ve been to Trader Vic’s for Ladies’ night a few times, both as a guest and customer. My opinions on my blog and social media are strictly my own. Please contact if you’d like permission to share/repost this content.

10 Reasons Why I’m Still Single

How can the amazing that is Ms. Hala still be single, you wonder? Peeps, I’ll give you ten reasons why I’m still single!

In the last few years, I’ve decided to date more seriously, keeping an open mind as I’m in a good place in my life now to be in a serious long-term relationship. I haven’t seen much difference in the dating scene be it back home in California or Qatar to be honest. Maybe I’m doing it wrong?

Call me picky. Call me stubborn. I don’t care! I may be ready for a relationship but I’m not settling to just be in a relationship. There has to be a set of realistic standards and if those aren’t met, then it’s simply not meant to be. #SorryNotSorry

In my community at least, relationships need to be taken a little more seriously than just the idea of a relationship. It’s not about one’s status, changing your social media profile picture or having that big fat Arabic wedding. At the end of the day, it’s about two people sharing commonalities, compatibility and love. It’s about two people supporting and carrying each other through life’s good and bad. It’s about two people sharing the rest of their lives together. And I want that or nothing at all. I’m content with staying happily single despite what many in my community have to say.

كلام النّاس لا بيقدّم ولا يأخّر” – جورج وسوف”
“People’s talk makes no difference” -George Wassouf

Still need a reason why I’m still single? I’ll give you ten reasons why I’m still single.

usapassport10. The Blue Passport: Can’t we be seen for more than where our families gave birth to us? This is quite the conundrum for many of us multicultural and multi-lingual children of immigrants. Even as an expat in Qatar, I’ve been asked out by some that flat out told me they were interested in my blue passport, but not a mention of my brown eyes. I have really beautiful brown eyes. #JustSaying

9. Two Birds, One Stone: Speaking of holding the “right passport”, when you want to be with me because they’ll get both the passport and -fill in the blank with a sexist term-, it never has and never will be flattering, period. The worst I’ve heard from many Muslim men? After our first interaction, he can hit two birds with one stone being with me, and I quote, “passport and halal sex.” OMG, I’ll marry you and help you achieve your bird stoning goals. #Sigh

8. No Style, No Class: I prefer my men with some sense of style. Fitted suit, crisp thob or a clean pair of jeans and a shirt. Sadly, that isn’t always the case. Fake tans, globs of hair gel and skinny jeggings that are not cute on a dude, period. And for the love of God, why do dudes wear capri/flooded pants? Those are MY pants dude! #StopIt

7. Too Pretty For Me: Speaking of style, call me shallow but I’m not interested in a guy who is way prettier than me. He can’t have better hair, better shaped eyebrows or a firmer butt than me. I don’t mind if you get a mani/pedi and your hair did but it can’t be better than mine. I want to be the pretty girl in the relationship here. And let’s be real, I can’t be in a relationship where I’ll constantly be jealous of my pretty man, with his amazing hair flicks and that toned ass.

6. Cash Money! Bling Bling!: For whatever reason, people have the impression that I’m oh so rich. Alhamdulillah, I’m financially stable but I’m so far from deemed rich. We haven’t gone on two coffee dates and you’re already asking me to borrow money? Dude, you need to go and reevaluate your life! And men that are rich think that’s how to seduce me? You trippin’ booboo because if that’s all it took, I would’ve been hitched to any of the rich monkeys that have crossed my path a long ass time ago!

5. Not Muslim Enough: I’ll never forget the first time this happened to me. Long story short, weird dude proposed marriage and I refused. He then stated that he was proposing out of the goodness of his heart because I will not go to heaven unless I marry him because I wasn’t Muslim enough. What the hell does that even mean? Ever since I’ve had this statement said to me over the years. Not 100% Muslim when in jeans and hijab. Not 100% Muslim when in mixed groups. Not 100% Muslim when you’re friends with non-Muslim. These dudes think that by faith guilting me, I will succumb to their odd advances? I’d rather be a bad Muslim than with you! #JustGoAway

4. To Be Pro-Choices:  I’m not interested in having children. If it happens, it happens but I have the right as a Muslim, as a woman, as a human being to my own personal preferences. People simply need to learn that they have the right to respectfully dis/agree. Yet men and some of their very involved mamas have had the audacity to tell me, “Oh, you’ll change your mind as you get older.” “How selfish can you be?” “Why would you deprive him of his right to be a father?” Really? Really?

3. Cultural Misunderstanding: “Is that your Egyptian or American talking?” “You’re only saying that because you’re American.” “See it’s because you’re Muslim but in my American culture…” Huh? Why do people think I switch between either of my multi-cultural globetrotting mentality as deemed convenient? Especially in this part of the world, both American and Arabs, expats and locals, have a hard time grasping the idea of being multicultural individual. You must pick one, you can only be one or the other. I’m the best of all worlds, it’s part of being human. I’m not either or. No one is.

2. Closed Palate, Closed Mind, Closed Heart: Speaking of cultural understanding, the world is so grand, how can you not take it in and appreciate it all? How can you not care to see the world? How can you hate on someone simply because they are different than you? How can you eat the same thing every single day and yet hate on other people’s foods? Stop this closed-mindedness, it’s the 21st fucking century! I just can’t deal with those who have tunnel vision and don’t go beyond their bubble.

SoGorgeousSoSillySoOMG1. Because This Is Me: As my bio states, I am simply amazing! Why would I change that? I will not change me. You will not change me. I come as is. So gorgeous, so silly, so OMG! Plain and simple. So either accept it or stop talking and keep walking, booboo! #ByeFelicia

Can you relate peeps? Share your stories in the comments below.