Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Which way should it be?

Recently we went through some reshuffling in terms of seating in the office - we had a few colleagues joining the floor so we had to make space for them.

As the secretary was trying to finalize the seating quickly for new joiners on the floor I looked around and saw everyone making rounds-on-the-spot. So imagine me standing on one spot and twirling like those in the traditional musical box...

...but with a compass in my hand.

Everyone was looking for a good 'feng shui' and where their seats should face. Some used the compass to see where North was, some used the compass to see where the Kiblat (direction for prayers for the Muslims) was. Turned out the arrows were pointing in so many directions at one point, it was such a cute sight!!!

God definitely made space for everyone because every single one of us found a spot we wanted. As for me, I did not need to move. Maybe I should open up that compass to reconfirm... :))

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Khao Lakkkkk

So Aiman decided to take me away from work and fly me to Phuket for the loong weekend last weekend.

Sorry, no. Not Phuket. 

Khao Lak. 

MasyaAllah, it was too pretty there that I couldn't stop snapping photos of everything I set my eyes on. Even the fishes in their pond looked pretty! Unfortunately, the phone camera can never quite capture what we see right before our eyes. So I thought why bother, it's probably a sign for me to put my phone away and have some husband and wife time.

....FULL BAR WIFI at the beach?! Seriously?!

Aiman who?
hahahaha! Thank god I married someone who understands my crazy need to always have access to my phone. Once we went for Kim's wedding at Janda Baik, we were supposed to stay over. But we eneded up driving back down to KL that night itself after the reception because there was no network up there in Janda Baik! I know it's supposed to be romantic and all but...but...

Aiman knows I'm that psycho who needs to have access to my family 24 hours - even if I don't talk to them every minute, I know there is connection and I can call/whatsapp them anytime. Before boarding a flight, I'll be whatsapping with the family group chat till that very minute when they tell us to shut off our phone. With Aiman, every week when he's about to fly back to Johor for work I'll be on whatsapp with him till he flies off (well, not that he replies till the very last minute la) :P

Back to Khao Lak, we decided to stay at JW Marriot and my goodnees when we arrived we surely were treated like kings and queens. We got to the airport and the Marriot taxi was already waiting for us to take us to the hotel and on the way to the hotel the driver received a call from the receptionist who called to actually check if Aiman and I are doing ok. Service tip top! Mind you we have not even paid for the hotel.

Upon arrival at the hotel we were attended to from the checking in all the way till the room. The hotel was a PARADISE! I went ooh and ahh whilst the receptionist patiently explained to us that Marriot has the longest pool in South East Asia. So imagine, everything in the mega huge gorgeous beautiful perfect hotel is connected through the pool, no gate no doors whatsoever! How awesome is that?! It's like a gateless community but in the hotel. #jakun. Got to the room and the first thing we were shown was our room access straight into the pool - the drinks bar and jacuzzi was just a few backstrokes away. Spoiled much? *haihhhhhhh*
Each room came with a float and of course my dearest husband was kind enough to blow it up for me. We decided that the first thing we should do was to swim around the entire hotel. It has this unique thing about it where you basically get to see people swimming around at all times but at the same time you don't feel like it's crowded but instead you still get that personal-space-private feeling to it.
The beach area I was told was rebuilt post tsunami and MasyaAllah, everything about the beach was just so so so perfect. Yup, we could swim our way from the room to the beach area :P The beach was clean and just nice, not too crowded and well designed with the palm trees and comfortable beach chairs for us to just get some sun tan. Not to mention, there was also a restaurant by the beach that sells ice cream and shakes and pizza and salmon wraps and cold fruits and....full bar wifi.
All in all, I would so recommend this place for honeymooners! We literally did not leave the hotel. Well, there was no need for it though. Definitely going back there! :))

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Aiman is one who is very very (and I mean VERY) passionate about coffee. If coffee was human, he'd probably end up marrying each and everyone of those coffee beans. He's so passionate that he joins coffee-making classes and even bought himself a manual coffee machine to be used at home. Since then, goodbye 3-in-1, you've lost Aiman's heart to the coffee machine. 

I on the other hand have always loved the cafe-hopping-and-coffee lifestyle since my London days. Not quite a coffee drinker though, but I love everything about coffee - the aroma that wakes everyone up in the tube every morning, the sight of people having the happiest conversation over coffee and cake, my boss buying all of us coffee to prepare for when the market opens,  the gorgeous latte art on each coffee cups and the warm comforting feeling it gives out during winter. Everything about coffee and cakes are beautiful! :)

Put together, a day after Aiman's birthday few weeks back, he mentioned about opening a cafe of his own and I just happened to have a location in my head with a very excited eager tone. Few hours later, we went to sleep that night DETERMINED, MOTIVATED and with a name for our then only-a-dream Cafe. 

Alia. Aiman. That makes up our company name - ALIAAIMAN VENTURES

First letter of our names combined - A and A. 

Follow us on instagram at @doubleacafe to check out how we're progressing! 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

3rd National Aspiration and Leadership Symposium 2015 (#NALS2015)

Last weekend was my first time speaking in front of 1,600 young student leaders at the National Aspiration & Leadership Symposium (NALS). When I first got invited to speak at the event, I was shocked. I thought maybe they were actually looking for a different Alia Ishak. I had a look at the list of speakers, YB KJ, Dato' Seri Hishamuddin, Saiful Bahari Baharom and....they definitely got the wrong Alia!

Jokes aside, I was impressed from up on stage seeing the number of young leaders who made time on Saturday to attend NALS. Their level of energy was just amazing! Reminded me of YCM and I guess that's probably what the speakers usually feel. Proud to see so many enthusiastic young blood ready to learn, feel motivated and get inspired to rule the world!
On the panel with me were Michael Teoh, Rahman Hussin and Rizmel. So you can see the demographic of the session - political leaders (Rahman and Rizmel) vs non political leaders (Michael and I). We had to share our thoughts on Credibility in Youth Leadership. Whilst Rahman's and Rizmel's were more skewed to the political goals, Michael and I touched more on the corporate and entrepreneur side. 

I shared my thoughts about the importance of having Integrity, especially when working in a Banking and Customer Service sector as well as my experiences as a student leader in UKEC and Chairman of YCM. I've always believed that you have to do what you love, only then would you wake up excited, eager and happy to go to work every single day. When you're happy, every negative becomes a positive. Additionally, to do more than just study whilst you're in University - be proactive, get involved and boost up that CV of yours. 

My experience working in London tells me that paper qualification for Asian students doesn't really mean much because everyone scores string of As these days! What can differentiate you is your extra curricular and how those experiences further build your character. These value-added characteristics are what (potential) employers look for in a person. 
All in all, I had a priceless experience speaking with the very energetic and inspiring line of youth leaders moderated by the ever so cheerful Danni Rais. I'm not a fan of politics, not a fan of even talking about politics (I will become that person who will question you whichever party you are for, just because haha!), but I have to give it to Rahman and Rizmel - they shared some very crucial points about doing something you are passionate about and going down to the ground and getting your hands dirty. 

I've learned that it doesn't matter who you work for, what is important is you have to always make a conscious effort and have the best of intentions in making sure you do things the right way and InsyaAllah you will go far - (slowly but) surely. Religion has taught me that Allah SWT will always know your truest intentions. Humans tend to always remember that one bad thing but have less capability in acknowledging the good and right deeds that you do. Just do good (deeds the right way) anyway. Allah SWT knows all your intentions :) 

Once again, thank you for the very kind invitation NALS! I had a blast with the 1,600 attendees :)))

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Happening Today!

3rd National Aspiration & Leadership Symposium 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Leadership - Just a random thought

I get inspired very very easily.

I love seeing people achieving success just by doing things the right way. I love seeing people doing work happily. I love seeing teamwork and cheerful team working together. How long it takes to achieve something doesn't matter (of course unless you have a deadline then that is no exception), what is important is doing things with the highest level of integrity and passion. No doubt we've seen people get away with doing things the not-really-right way just because - just because they may be related to someone. Just because they may hold a certain position somewhere....

...And nobody does anything to stop it. Sometimes not because you don't want to, but because you cannot do it alone. And well, you probably have better things to do than to battle and tell someone not to do something wrong. 

By something wrong, I mean doing something unfavourable intentionally.  

Over the weekend Aiman and I had a random conversation about leadership and we agreed that sometimes, people do things just to gain popularity and attention, without thinking of the implication to the wider group.

When heading  YCM previously, I did feel that if anything happens to YCM internally and externally, no matter whose fault it is, it will always be MY FAULT. Why? I was then the Chairman. I was the face of YCM and I am called a Chairman for a reason, and that includes the responsibility and accountability that I need to take if anything ever went wrong. I was taught a lot about leadership then. It is more than just a title, and if it is the title that you are chasing for, then don't. Believe me, staying home with people not knowing you because you are not active is much much much better than being a leader for designation sake and is not ready to take accountability and responsibility.

You take on the positions because you want to make good, happy, positive and  great changes or even share happiness through your high-integrity actions and you know you can. Not because you want people to know you. The more people know you, the more haters you'll have too btw. And if you are not careful with your actions, that so-you-think-is-glamorous position will bite you back hard.

 First rule of leadership - everything is your fault.

(Even if it was your inefficient staff or even the cat who stepped on that computer keyboard and accidentally sent a deal-breaker email).

If you can accept this, you are ready for the (popular) designation. It's a lot of hard work and very little hours of sleep mind you.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

#aliaaiman: Our little baby

No, I am not pregnant.

As I am typing this, Aiman is fast asleep next to me and a little feverish after our final event, slightly less than 24 hours ago. Last night was yet another amazing reception that went very well, which also marked the end of our one-month wedding saga, we're one month old today Alhamdulillah! :)))

Happy one month sayang!
Ever since Aiman and I got married, we have been discussing crazy ideas to motivate and further improve ourselves - as a couple. Somehow rather, marriage has changed us both a little, if not drastically. If previously we both took on roles as Chairman of YCM because we had crazy ideas to contribute back to our Corporate Malaysia, we now feel the desire to do something, together.
What I love most about being married is because the both of you will start understanding the crazy side of each other. We both can be so crazy with each other that the crazy random ideas we have during our random chats sometimes translate into adventures that we want to explore - no matter how crazy (or sometimes impossible) it may sound.
One weekend last year, we had this random idea to start something together. Of course not knowing if it was possible or not la. We're no guru in new startups, we've only run YCM if anything and that probably gave us the confidence to kickstart something. After all, you never know if it's meant for you until you give opportunities a try. We actually started off talking about Plan A and before we knew it we were thinking of next steps and what is required in order to make this random idea work.
Of course soon after (probably right the next day) we forgot about it and was so caught up with wedding preparations.
But hey what do you know, in January and in between our 2 receptions, on my birthday and after many thoughts and months put into this
we finally registered our little baby, our little company.
May He continue to guide and protect both Aiman and I in exploring this crazy world.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Becoming an Aiman by the day

Brad Pitt once said that "a woman is a reflection of her husband".

I'm starting to believe that it's so true. If previously I used to get annoyed that Aiman whatsapps me using a lot of emoticons (and confusing me about how he exactly feels about something because I always ask "what does that emoticon supposed to mean?"), I now find myself using those silly yellow-round-I-cannot-read-what-emoticons-mean-smiley faces. Somehow when you use it often, you'll have this little secret chemistry going on with the emoticons. Haha! 

Seriously? You're angry? Nahhhh....That's cute. 
How am I supposed to take him seriously?!

And then...I never used to drink coffee much. However slowly now, I love little shots of caffeine that is carefully engineered into a cup of loads-of-chocolate topped with a pretty heart shaped latte art all done by my very own barista (when he's around) - my husband. So spoilt that I can no longer go out to drink coffee prepared by anyone else. Unless I REALLY need that dose of caffeine.  

They're small changes that I never realised until it became a habit. On weekends, I can spend so much time in the kitchen with Aiman watching youtube videos on how to make perfect latte arts and drinking up all the mocha that he makes! He'll make so many cups of mocha just so that he can practice his latte art and I will just sit down like a good wife and enjoy every single cup of it. 

Afterwards, we'll just spend time climbing up chairs and moving curtains to get natural lightings in to capture the best picture, and just start laughing at each other for being so kiasu. From making a perfect latte art to taking a perfect picture. 
So perfect :)))

Saturday, 17 January 2015

NIVEA In-Shower Skin Conditioner

I once wrote about being brave in taking on new opportunities - even if you're not sure whether you'll make it through to the end. Cause sometimes, certain opportunities come only once. 

So a couple of months back, I was called up by the Production house and was told to come for casting for NIVEA advertisement. Didn't think much about it nor did I ever thought that I will be selected. Never in a million years. All I remembered was there was no pressure during the casting and so I was more confident than ever during the whole session. Plus I had nothing to lose :)

Came shooting day, I remembered we were all working so hard through the day which started at 6.30 am and only ended at about 2.30 am. My goodness, hats off to all those product ambassadors and actors and actresses! IT IS CRAZY HARD WORK! At one point, all I could hear was 



....and that went on for about 70 plus takes? Nearly gave up, but thank god for an amazing working team that was with me till the end :))))

Never ever think that someone else's job is easier than yours. It's never true. Not even half true in fact. But well, I survived and I can tell you this, I HAD AN AMAZING TIME! It was all so priceless and fun and a lot of hard work from the very beginning, but they were all so worth it. Plus, I really could do with the smoother softer skin prior to my wedding, so thanks for prepping me up before my wedding NIVEA!

Well, here it is now! I do sound somewhat like a chipmunk. And every time I hear myself.....*cringe*

Monday, 12 January 2015

Magical - #aliaaiman2015

Prior to my solemnization, I remember feeling anxious at random times. It wasn't all the time but when it hits me, I remember asking myself if I am ready for marriage. I was so certain that when Papa gave me away, I would cry buckets. 

Guess what happened? It was like a solemnzation I've never seen before - everything on schedule, things were on time as per by-the-minute itinerary and everyone was just so calm and composed that when Aiman finished doing his 'lafaz', the jurunikah went straight to the Dua and before we knew it everything was done and we were already husband and wife. It almost felt like we were executing the Annual YCM Summit. I believe Aiman and I were beaming from one ear to another instead of feeling sad. 

To be honest, it takes a while to feel like a married person. The first few days of being married felt like we were still dating (unless someone starts referring to you as a Puan Alia)! In fact on one of the days, I was at my parents house whilst he was at his.  

Being married has a very magical feeling to it. You get to really know a person better because you start living with them. Believe me, I never knew Aiman was very entertaining, he would sing and dance for me! He was probably too shy to show that side of him to me when we were dating, just in case you know.

You start appreciating the little things they do for you like making me a cup of Mocha just the way I like it - single shot with more chocolatey taste. No guys, he doesn't do 3-in-1, he bought one of those complicated coffee machines and becomes my personal handsome barista every morning! 

You wake up seeing the same person you saw when you went to bed the night before - it feels complete in some magical way. In our case that's the usual for us only on weekends since we both work in different states on weekdays :)  Constantly feeling thankful and blessed are part of the marriage package too! If I knew it was going to feel this magically-great, I definitely would've told Aiman to propose earlier :D

Saturday, 10 January 2015

2015 - A New Beginning # aliaaiman2015

2014 for me, has been a very good year, Alhamdulillah.

Mostly for the new opportunities and experiences I've had :) YCM was just so amazing, and exploring what is outside there away from work can be rather refreshing too! I've come to realise that sometimes, things can be much better outside your comfort zone, especially when you give something new a try. Did my first shoot for advertisement this year as well as a lot more photoshoots and TV appearances. Have to say, they were really fun experiences!

Additionally, after coming back from London, YCM has allowed me to widen my network so much in Corporate Malaysia - which I am and will forever be very grateful for.  I've come to realise that the dynamics in Malaysia when it comes to professionalism can be very very different compared to abroad. But hey, all is a stepping stone I guess.

For now, what's most important is for us to continue to pray that He will protect us, InsyaAllah. 2014 has been great and filled with loads of ups and downs, all of which have shaped me to become a better person. I'm very very thankful. To move on to 2015 now.

I'm surely starting my year on happy feet alright - with a Prince Charming, my best friend and ex-fiance.

A husband :)
# aliaaiman2015

Saturday, 29 November 2014

YCMS Next Week!

I've never in my life felt this extremely busy that I've lost all patience for people who tells me "Sorry I cannot do this, because you's bedtime" at 9pm. That's really just asking for it. 

But that aside, having deals landing on my table is all great whilst I also try to catch up and learn new things at a bullet-train-in-Japan kinda speed. That, on top of YCM summit next weekend and a wedding to to attend in a few weeks! Gosh! 

Good stress. Good stress. *chants to myself*

I'm forever doing something that when I have that 5 minutes rest, I feel restless not doing anything. A little lost too, weirdly. Let me try to explain this - a resting period is exactly when I take myself away from doing A and do B and C instead. Rest = doing something else and not what you were doing just a while ago, technically still doing something. 

I know I rely a lot on adrenaline these days and at some point wish for time to stop for a while to let me sleep. But I know I'm going to miss (in fact crave) for this busy time in the future! :))))

Anyhoooo, Just in case you guys don't know about this, it's next week, so head on to our website and register if you want to reserve a seat!  

Sunday, 19 October 2014


Sometime back, Aiman showed me some fancy cakes on an Instagram account under the name @gulabakery. So I started following it and every time Gulabakery posts up a photo, it's always so mouth-watering. 

As you all know, Aiman's love for coffee is quite cray. So being the good fiancé that I am, I'm always up to accompanying him cafe hopping but I'll end up either having tea or most of the time I'll end up ordering cakes and desserts. So when Gulabakery started conducting baking classes for public, Aiman decided that we should give it a go.

...and that was exactly what we did! I have to say, Nani (our host and our teacher) was just so so so amazing! The energy she has to constantly bake everyday and conducting classes every weekend and on top of that attend her Uni classes every other day is just impressive!

When we first arrived at Nani's house we thought "homaigoddddd. Her house smells so heavenly!! Like a chocolate heaven", coz some brownies were fresh from the oven and were there for us to just gobble em for breakfast. You have nooooo idea how yummy it is, it feels like dropping on a soft couch right after a long day's work. Yeah, that great! So moist. So chocolatey. So so so yummy!

Throughout the 6 hours, we baked 4 cakes, 7 batches of brownies, learned to make chocolate ganache, swiss meringue buttercream and butterscotch topping. I thoroughly had a great time learning from Nani. Man! If I don't wanna do banking in the future....perhaps baking could be a good alternative. 
Our final product - the Devil's chocolate cake. 

Well, I've half a massive-cake and a whole batch of brownies left. Gonna fatten my family and colleagues up!

Here in this video I was caught....well making sure the taste is just right for the cake. 
Nani is fourth from the left

Loved that Aiman and I went for something adventurous like this together. Looks like our birthday cakes in the future are quite sorted, right sayang?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

aliaaiman - Hammy's Emcee the P Ramlee

A couple of weeks back, Tony woke me up on one of the mornings to insist that I quickly get a ticket for P Ramlee the Musical (coz he's acting as P Ramlee of course!) and I never thought that tickets were gonna get sold out so quickly.

Gosh, it got sold out like hot croissants in Paris! This is one Superstar who carried P Ramlee's character like a pro, you were so amazing Tony! Thinking back, I was so so privileged to have had the opportunity to work with  him when we performed for Dreamgirls the Musical back in 2011. There is something very unique about him that this humble superstar, and that is he never fails to give away this genuine happy vibe every single time I see him. And seeing me every single time was like every hour every single day for 4 months during those show time days, bless him.

I rarely see him, but when we do meet it's like we've just seen each other yesterday. He used to think I was forever-happy for some weird reason and could never understand why I had big smiles all the time during rehearsals that he nicknamed me....Hammy.

Today, every time I see him, he'd shout " Hammy!!" with the biggest smile, often hugging you so tight whilst lifting you up in the air and with the happiest energy and I so love him for that - It magically makes me feel special in some ways. You did many of us proud with your passion and skills in performing arts Tony and I hope our people would open up their hearts of heart to appreciate this in Malaysia. I've gone through the performing arts days and I can tell you, our people are not as cultured (in performing arts) as you think they are. P Ramlee was a fraction of how much Malaysians never took performing artists seriously until they are gone.

Well for now, I have to say if you've not watched P Ramlee the Musical, they've extended their show for another day due to the crazy demand so make sure to check out for it! Believe me, it's so worth it. I love musicals and theatres in general, but watching your friends perform up there makes it even more special to watch.

Well done dude, Hammy's so proud of you! This is also the guy I've asked to become the emcee at my wedding reception. 
Additionally, the cast for the restate of P Ramlee were just beyond amazing and I have never felt more proud than I did today to see so many of my friends up on stage! Ruzanna, Iedil and Ben :) And oh, have you guys heard of Nadia Aqilah? She played Saloma and MasyaAllah! She was such a star!! She played the character so so amazingly well :)))
This up and rising Superstar, a big favourite in my family for we go a long way back to those Uni days when he used to be the one making sure I was never homesick and would on some days come over to my place with Pizzas after classes. You're truly a gem Iedil, love you like big big time! :)
So much love with my theatre-loving girls :)

Monday, 6 October 2014

Me Time

Over the long weekend, I had some good 'me time', doing everything I wanted to at my own time my own way however I want it to be. It actually feels really good :)

Doing new adventurous things like how I used to with different people, and meeting new faces, meet, making new friends! There was something about it that made me really really happy and weirdly gave me some thought about whether I'm a changed person, because everything felt familiar whilst I did it. Only that I no longer do them often I guess.

So here's to planning for more adventurous things to do for myself and whoever is up to joining me!

Bubble Football
Flying Fox
Travel out of the country maybe? 

Bring it on :)