Stop Asking Where I'm From

Anthropologie Tries To Sell Us A Seriously Racist Candle Stick and Gets Called the F**k Out

Written By: humarashid - Jan• 11•13

Anthropologie tried to sell a really racist candlestick, with a figurine of a traditional “Mammy,” after it had predictably marked it up about 3000%, obviously. The candle stick has since been removed from the site, but Jezebel has some pictures up.

I saw this comment made by Rachel Stewart (of RachelStewartJewelry, which offers some really cute, unique stuff that you should probably check out) and loved it so much that I felt like sharing it.

She says exactly what I’m thinking, and it’s a great, succinct response to Anthropologie’s nonsense.

And if you’re looking at this candle stick and trying to write a comment about how ‘it’s not that bad’ and ‘what’s the big deal,’ just go away. There is no place for you on this blog, your comment won’t make it past moderation, and you will not be given a forum for your idiocy here. You’d be better off taking that time to educate yourself about just what role a Mammy played in her white household, and the harm that such racist depictions create.

“One Good Earl Deserves a Lover” – Sarah MacLean does it again!

Written By: humarashid - Jan• 08•13

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #2)One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading “A Rogue By Any Other Name,” which stars Penelope Marbury and is absolutely amazing, I couldn’t wait for the next book in the trilogy starring Penelope’s bookish little sister, Philippa. Sarah MacLean has a way with words, and her heroines are almost always irresistible (even when the rest of the story is … not that great).

This book did not disappoint. I wasn’t expecting it to be as wonderful as “A Rogue,” and I was quite surprised to realize that it almost was.

We meet Philippa in “A Rogue,” and learn that she is a studious (nerdy) young woman who is engaged to a rather dim-witted earl. It’s a good match, but those closest to Philippa worry that her fiance is all wrong for her. That concern carries over into “Every Good Earl,” and this time it’s Pippa who is giving action to that concern… kind of. (Although at this point I don’t think she fully acknowledges what a bad match this actually is.)

In the very first scene, she shows up in the office of Mister Cross, one of the owners of an infamous gaming hell, and asks him if he’d take her virginity and teach her about sex so that she can make the most of her sex life with her soon to be husband.

Though Cross refuses – vehemently – they do strike an odd friendship. Perhaps friendship is too strong a word. Basically, Pippa keeps pestering him in only the most adorable ways possible, and Cross tries to dodge her without trying as hard as he might have otherwise. And in the meantime, Pippa learns a great deal about relationships and men and romance and sex and, yes, even prostitutes.

While not a light-hearted romp, the banter between the characters is quite enjoyable and it’s impossible not to laugh along with Pippa’s antics as she unknowingly drives Cross absolutely out of his mind. And Cross is a wonderful hero in a very quiet, understated way. The scenes at the Fallen Angel are memorable and touching and exciting all at once, and their complicated relationship builds the tension higher and higher until MacLean resolves it beautifully.

I couldn’t have wished for a better story for dear, sweet Pippa. This was every bit as wonderful as I had every reason to believe it would be.

Many thanks to Avon and Edelweiss for the ARC!

View all my reviews

Mosque Arsonist-Terrorist Randolph Linn Says He Learned About Islam From FOX News

Written By: humarashid - Dec• 20•12

But don’t worry – FOX News totally isn’t racist, nor is it perpetuating racist beliefs. That’s just your super-sensitive bleeding heart liberal bias in action. Try to ignore it as best as you can, just as FOX “News” honchos ignore their collective conscience.


Muslims individually and generally, our religious and charitable organizations, and our civil rights’ organizations (most notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)) have been blasting FOX News and other similar conservative channels and pundits for injecting hatred and bigotry and xenophobia into the public discourse by propagating lies about Muslims and Islam, which have the effect of actually, physically terrorizing and victimizing the American Muslim population.


But as usual, the concerns of racial/ethnic/religious minorities only gain validity when White Folks voice those concerns.


And in a truly bizarre turn of events, American Muslims are gaining a helping hand from the terrorist Randolph Linn, the man who drove from his Indiana home all the way to the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo and set it on fire in a horrific arson attack that terrorized the Muslim congregation there as well as Muslims nationwide.


The federal judge that presided over the case said that domestic terrorist Randolph Linn was “no better than the terrorists or extremists” that he said he was fighting against.


Judge Jack Zouhary continued, “When you went through that door, you did not attack extremists or terrorists. Instead, you attacked the place where families come to pray. […] Ironically, it’s your own violence that was sinful and evil.”


Judge Zouhary asked domestic terrorist Randolph Linn (yeah, I will be repeating that phrase a lot, followed by his full name) if he knew any Muslims or if he knew what Islam is. Domestic terrorist Randolph Linn replied, “No, I only know what I hear on FOX News.”


I only know what I hear on FOX News.


I only know what I hear on FOX News.


I only know what I hear on FOX News.


I’m repeating that over and over so we can get a sense of how scary that phrase is. And it’s terrifying. Even if you’re not an American Muslim, that sentence should strike terror in your heart.


What is he saying?


He is saying that there is a TV channel. A TV channel that runs ‘news’ all hours of the day and night. He is saying that he watches this ‘news’ channel. He is saying that the things he saw on this ‘news’ channel made him drive across state lines (which is why this is in federal court). He is saying that the things he saw on this ‘news’ channel made him drive across state lines in order to set a house of worship on fire. He is saying that while he doesn’t know anything about Islam or Muslims, the things he saw on this ‘news’ channel made him drive across state lines in order to set a house of worship on fire because he hates Muslims and Islams.


I only know what I hear on FOX News.


It’s very simple.


There is a news channel that uses outright lies to tell people about something of which they had no prior knowledge, which causes them to violently hate said thing that they had no prior knowledge of, that drives them to try to destroy and possibly kill.


And that is fucking terrifying.


Remember when I wrote that long post about hateful Tea Party bigot, former Representative Joe Walsh, and how I blamed him and his bigotry personally for the spate of Islamophobic incidents around the country in which both Muslims and masjids were targeted with violence?


I blame the writers, interns, newscasters, producers, executives, advertisers, and fucking Saudi financiers at FOX News for the masjid fire in Toledo, and the other violent attacks on Islam and Muslims that take place with shocking frequency in this country. I blame them personally. I blame them for the violent hatred they inspire with their misinformation and outright lies about Muslims and the teachings of Islam. I blame them for persistently repeating the vile slander that Islam is evil and violent, that Muslims are terrorists, and that all terrorists are Muslim.


Pick up a goddamn history book if you’re even remotely considering taking any of that seriously. Or better yet, go find a Muslim and get to talking over a cup of coffee. We don’t bite, unless you’re a bigot.


Muslim leaders and Islamic organizations have always said that FOX News propagates this sort of hatred in the clueless lemmings that actually take that channel seriously. But their condemnation was rarely registered or reported on, and often summarily dismissed. (“Ugh, they’re just whining because FOX is talking about Islam and they don’t like what they’re saying. Get over it.” How many times have I heard that?)


Now, however, we have a great white savior who pleads our case very well for us. Thank you, domestic terrorist Randolph Linn! We have it straight from the horse’s mouth this time. He only knows what FOX News told him. He only drove across state lines to set fire to a masjid because FOX News scared the shit out of him.


To domestic terrorist Randolph Linn, this was an act of patriotism. He was protecting America from the vicious onslaught of Islam. “Fuck those Muslims,” he told his arresting officer when he was booked. He was keeping his countrymen safe from their violent, savage Muslim enemies, even when those violent, savage Muslim enemies are American citizens, Congressmen like Keith Ellison, soldiers in our armed forces, people that have also lost loved ones on 9/11, doctors that save lives at local hospitals, policemen that patrol the streets, hipster songwriters like Yusuf Islam, best-selling authors like G. Willow Wilson (check out Alif the Unseen), or criminal defense attorneys sitting at their desks somewhere in Cook County, who make a living defending people like domestic terrorist Randolph Linn.


(Wouldn’t it have been just a terrific stroke of irony if one of the attorneys on his defense team had been a Muslim? Fuck those Muslims, indeed.)


FOX’s audience generally knows nothing about Islam, becomes indoctrinated with lies and racist beliefs while watching FOX programming, and then some people in that audience take it one step further and act on that fear and on that misguided, misinformed rage to terrorize people that they claim are terrorists.


And make no mistake about it: Randolph Linn did terrorize people. People like him terrorize American Muslims every single time they shoot air rifles at masjid security guards, or hurl pork products onto the masjid compound, or throw homemade acid bombs at the masjid wall while at least a hundred people are praying inside, not even two feet away, which happened several times at my old Islamic school, or try to snatch hijabs off the heads of Muslim women.


They make American Muslims feel like we don’t belong here. That just by having the audacity to exist in this country, we are affirmatively inviting violence upon ourselves. That our beautiful Arabic names, the clothing we sometimes wear, the multitude of rich, poetic, lilting languages we speak, the color of our skin, the fact that we touch our foreheads to the ground five times a day, our love for a shepherd in seventh-century Arabia, and our belief in the God of Abraham  — all of these things are an attack on the American people and they are justified by hurting us and destroying our places of worship.


The majority of Americans don’t feel this way. That doesn’t matter. Enough psychopaths like domestic terrorist Randolph Linn do. And they make us fearful for our safety here. They make us look over our shoulder when we walk into the masjid. They make us tense when we venture out in public with our hair tucked under a silk veil. They make us reluctant to speak our Arabic words in prayer and greeting, words that are firmly engrained in our speech and our thoughts.


They make us feel like no matter what we do – no matter how educated we are, how wealthy we are, how involved we are in our towns, how much we give to our community, how well-spoken we are, how charming we are, how much we love the Sox or hate the Packers – we will never, ever belong here.


I’m always told that the majority of Americans don’t feel this way, so I shouldn’t worry about the psychos like domestic terrorist Randolph Linn. I understand the well-meaning intentions of those who urge me to let it slide right off my back.


But they’re wrong.


This misguided exhortation exhibits the privilege of a people who are secure in their cultural/racial/political domination and hegemony. It is very easy to be a white person, who is not institutionally or systematically oppressed by any other racial or religious group, and to tell minorities to just let it go.


But the reality of it is not the same. For racial/ethnic or religious minorities, we don’t have the luxury of being able to ‘let it go’ and accept that only a small portion of the population wants us gone, or dead. For one thing, minority groups do not occupy the same position of power that white people in America do. There is no way around that. And there is no way to cogently deny that.


More importantly, though, what this argument of letting it go does is confuse the issues. If someone calls you a fucking jackass for being a Packers fan, you can let that slide right off your back. If someone calls me a raging bitch for not backing down on something, I can let that slide off my back.


But if someone takes offense to your very existence in such a way that it inspires them to commit serious acts of violence … how do you let that slide off your back? You cannot. It is an attack on your beliefs, your identity, and your very person. Vandalism of a church, while horrible in general and upsetting to me personally even as a non-Christian, does not carry the same threat, nor does it come from the same place of power, as an attack on a masjid, particularly by a white person.


A white person in America carries in himself a position of power and dominance that does become very threatening when he commits even a micro-aggression against any minority group, including something as seemingly innocuous as asking to touch a Black person’s hair or announcing that he’ll call you a truncated, Anglicized version of your beautiful cultural name because he just can’t pronounce it the way it is meant to be said. And when a white person, who innately carries that power and dominance around in his very being in our political and social system here in America, commits an even more horrifying act, like a lynching or targeted arson, the sense of intimidation and fear felt by the minority group is immediate and raw and powerful.


Islamophobia does not exist in a vacuum, hanging out by itself in a neat little compartment for People Who Hate Islam and Muslims. Islamophobia is so closely tied up to notions of colonialism and whit e supremacy that it’s impossible to extract. And that is precisely why Muslims nationwide feel terrorized by an attack on a masjid in Toledo, Ohio, because the message is very clear.


I hate that you exist.


I am destroying your place of worship because I want to destroy you.


I only know what I hear on FOX News.


And I hope that you now understand, if you didn’t before, why Muslims are so terrified when we hear of these Islamophobic incidents, and why we along with rational, well-educated people everywhere are so vehemently against the unapologetically racist and fear-mongering bastion of white supremacy that is FOX News.


Domestic terrorist Randolph Linn was charged with one count each of intentionally defacing, damaging, and destroying religious property, using a fire to commit a felony, and using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence. He has been sentenced to twenty (20) years in federal prison and will pay restitution for the masjid that he destroyed.


Sunday Check-In

Written By: humarashid - Dec• 09•12

I’ve decided I shall get back into blogging here – bringing with me more of my traditional fashion-y posts, some editorials, more book reviews, and let’s see what else – and this is a good way to jump in.

  • Obsessing Over: This awesome blue dress I got from Nordstroms. It’s gorgeous. And I look gorgeous in it. It looks FABULOUS with a blazer and heels, and it’s what I wear to court sometimes. I got the same dress in black, too, so, yay, double the gorgeousness. 
  • Working On:  A plan for more legal blogging. I’m a criminal defense attorney, which means I have a wildly interesting job and can tell incredible stories (well within ethics rules, obviously, about confidentiality and the like). I want to be able to share some of the awesome stories from my day, because there are so many people who supported me during my journey to become a lawyer, so many people who are so thrilled for me, and I want to include them in this.
  • Thinking About: Whether or not I’m ‘too intense’ or whatever. I have had it made very plain to me that I have scared off some truly wonderful people (okay, fine, I’m talking about men) due to how … passionate I can be about certain things. I’m just an intense person sometimes. I care about a lot of issues. Some of them, very deeply. I talk very fast. I make grand statements, often tongue-in-cheek, or for the purpose of being challenged so I can refine the thought. (I treat casual coffee dates as symposia, I suppose, and this turns people off?) I’m very straight-forward. I laugh loudly. I’m well read, on certain topics, and I don’t mind brandishing that knowledge to make a point. (I’m an idiot when it comes to many other things, so whatever.) I’m just a very intense person, and I do include the negative connotation in that. I’m thinking about whether or not I need to change this about myself, or if that would be selling out to patriarchal ideals of silent women (which includes being overly sweet and conciliatory, beyond my nature to do so), and how I might go about improving myself without selling out, as I see it.
  • Anticipating: Getting in bed and snuggling down under my blankets. I absolutely LOVE my bed and my warm blankets.
  • Listening To: Nothing. I have no music on, no audiobook on, no podcast on. I’m just listening to my mother cursing quietly as she grades some exams.
  • Drinking: Apple cinnamon tea.
  • Reading: Just finished reading Do Not Interrupt: A Playful Take on the Art of Conversation by Stephen Kuusisto. It was okay, not that great.
  • Wishing: For peace. Not even world peace or anything super cliche like that. I’m just wishing for peace in my mind, in my thoughts, in my heart. The moments when I feel that peace are truly wonderful.
  • Loving: My yoga pants that I’m wearing right now. They make me look like a Victoria’s Secret model. I look at my reflection in the mirror and think, that can’t be me. <3

I’m going to do this every week, because WHY NOT.

Why not, indeed.

Comparing white gemstones

Written By: humarashid - Nov• 13•12

So, who’s wanted to know more about diamonds and comparable white gemstones? And not about conflict diamonds – although it’s important to know about that as well, and there are plenty of good sources that don’t involve Leo DiCaprio with a bad accent, preening for an Oscar – but about the actual composition of the stones and the differences between them?

If so, I have you covered with this infographic.

Call me a newb, but I’ve never heard of Moissanite. If you said the word to me yesterday, I would have thought you were offering me a fancy pastry and would have accepted happily. Upon being handed a white gemstone, I would have then exclaimed, WHAT THE HELL I CAN’T EAT THIS.

Anyway, I was just thinking about gemstones the other day, and that’s why my eyes were particularly drawn to the diamond and zirconia bars in this graph.

It’s no secret that emeralds are my favorite stone. I’d love an emerald on my engagement ring, if I ever marry. But, see, the thing is, I’m kind of … well, I’m not klutzy, but sometimes my perception is a little off. I’ll walk from one room to the other and just slam my entire arm against the wall by accident. And emeralds are pretty fragile stones – I feel like one or two good smacks against the wall or a marble countertop and that stone would crack the culprit on Psych.

(Dule Hill is awesome. Watch Psych!)

So I figured, no, I’ll have to go with a harder stone, because I know me and I’ll be devastated if I somehow crack my engagement ring, because it was a meaningful token given to me by someone who will presumably be important to me. If he exists.

So I got to thinking about it. I love sapphires, and diamonds are an obvious choice for engagement rings. But … I know me. Do I really need a diamond engagement ring?

No. No, I do not.

I know how much stones of differing sizes cost. And if I’m getting engaged, I’m pretty sure I’ll have a good idea of how much my guy is ponying up. And, I don’t know, wouldn’t that money be better spent on the actual wedding? Or not spent on the wedding, but on a down payment for something important? Or partially given to charity or something?


Plus, being a Muslim obviously plays a part in this. I’m not saying Muslim women don’t or shouldn’t have diamond rings. They do, and they should if that is what they want. But for me, the contradiction, the cognitive dissonance between praying five times a day and wearing a huge, costly rock on my finger would be a little too much to handle.

Which is why I was kind of eyeing the CZ bar graph. It holds up quite well against diamonds, I think, and the other stones. Would I mind having a CZ ring? Maybe a little, but I think I’d talk myself into not caring. I honestly think that I won’t mind at all if I get a pretty CZ ring. It won’t matter to me that it’s not a real diamond. I won’t lie and tell people it IS a real diamond. Because I don’t want something that ludicrously expensive resting on my finger, and I don’t think I can stay humble if it’s sitting there, sparkling at me all day. Yes, I realize that sounds insane. But that’s where I am as a person.

And seriously, CZ holds up quite well in this graph.

Enough talking, more looking at gemstones! Huzzah!


Business Casual Superstar #504: A Pretty Fall Outfit, Complete with Leopard Print!

Written By: humarashid - Oct• 12•12

Yikes, but I’ve been gone a while, huh? I don’t know, sometimes it’s just hard to work up the motivation to post. Back in law school, this was what I did to relieve some stress and work out my creative muscles, which were at risk of severe atrophy. (It turns out you cannot include sarcastic quips in legal briefs, nor can you use emoticons or creative Interwebz-isms like “you guise.” I consider this the chief flaw in our legal system and am alarmed at what this means for America’s future.) Nowadays, though, I have other creative pursuits to, um, pursue. As you can see, from my repetition of the word pursue in its different forms, my writing has suffered. Well. My blog writing.

Brian Tannebaum rejoices, but don’t pay him any mind. He is still coming to grips with how enraptured he is of me. (We’re best friends, you know.)

But I’m back today with an outfit for fall. Is anyone else bummed about the drop in temperatures? Normally I look forward to fall, since it’s basically my favorite season, but this year, I don’t know, I’m not feeling it. My toes are basically ALWAYS cold, even on 100+F days in summer, and they seem extra cold these days. So, I don’t know, I’m kind of wary of the way the temperature has been dropping. No one’s toes should be this cold all the time, guys.

Regardless, fall is settling in despite what my toes have to say on the matter, so I figured I’d might as well stop resisting and start dragging my clothes out of various 18gallon storage containers stacked in the basement. Naturally, this is a whole to-do, as I do not have much space in my closet left, as prime real estate there has long since been usurped by the 18 different blankets I keep on hand just in case my toes get even COLDER at night and I am forced to layer up even more. I wish I were kidding. I am not. There are like 18 blankets and comforters stacked up on the floor of my closet. Even in the summer, I slept under a (thin) comforter.

My toes are cold, guys. I’m starting to think this is not as normal as I had hoped it was.

For some reason, I felt compelled to do something today involving leopard print. This could be because leopard print scarves are just a fun accessory and most of us have one lying around somewhere that we grab when we’re in the mood. It could also be because I had a dream last night in which I killed a leopard with a spear and skinned it, Mowgli-on-Shere-Khan style. The way Kipling wrote that scene has haunted my dreams since I first read it when I was ten. Literally! (Haunted my dreams, that is.)

…I’m starting to think *I* am not as normal as I had hoped.



Regardless. Leopard print scarves!

Straight Leg Dress Pants ………. $27.98
Mossimo Scoopneck Sweater in Green Curacao Heather ………. $17.99
Avila Black Flats ………. $30.99
Leopard Print Scarf ………. $19.90

All right.

First, the pants. Simple enough. Grab a pair of black dress pants. If you don’t already own a pair or two or half dozen, you can snag this (tummy control?) pair from Macy’s, on sale for under $30. This is why I love Macy’s: they ALWAYS have a sale going on, and that’s awesome. Who doesn’t like saving money? Especially on things that are working wardrobe staples like black dress pants?

Second, the shoes. I’m sure we all have a pair of plain black leather flats. However, it’s rather difficult to find decent leather flats when you’re working with a $100/outfit budget like I do for these posts. To that end, I found these black flats at 6pm, for about $30. Not bad at all.

(Can we just talk for a second about how hard it is to buy decent flats? I went shopping last week – WHICH I HATE – and went from store to store finding flats that weren’t ugly and didn’t cost a ridiculous amount and weren’t hideously uncomfortable. I got so frustrated after two hours of wandering that mall – malls are awful – that I just spent my Shoe Money on cookies instead. Ugh.)

Anyway, I knew I was going to use a leopard print scarf, and let me tell you, there are plenty of options available if you’re looking for one. And they come quite cheap, too – I found a couple at stores like F21 and Charlotte Russe for, like $10. I liked this one from Express better, though. It’s marked down from $35 to just under $20, so, yay, I saved you some money again. You’re right, it IS awfully nice of me to do so! I’m basically the best person on the planet. I know, I know.

(Also, there are some butt-ugly-pug-fugly leopard print scarves out there, too. Beware and steer clear. I wouldn’t use those ones to line the bottom of a bird cage. On that topic, how neat are African grey parrots? Those little guys are unreal. If I didn’t hate birds so much, I’d be a fan. And for the record, my hatred of birds is fear-based. When I run for office in the future, I don’t want my weasel of a future opponent to use my position on our avian friends -frenemies, really- against me.)

I wanted a really bright, fun sweater to go with the scarf and the very neutral, toned down pants-and-shoe combo. Originally, I wanted a bright, slightly warm emerald color, but it’s hard to find precisely what you’re looking for every single time when you’re working with $100. I finally settled on this sweater from Target, and I love the color. Very pretty, and generally flattering, I think.

You guys have to take my ‘flattering’ remarks re: colors with a grain of salt. When I look at colors, I automatically judge whether or not they’re good on MY skin tone. And you can see my picture in the sidebar – most colors look good with my skin. (Thank you, thank you. It takes away some of the sting of living in a racist society and belonging to a shadeist culture. Not all of it, but a very small amount, so there’s that.)

So, if you are extremely pale, I’m sorry, but I’m not all that up on what colors will look good on you. I mean, I *generally* know what will look fine on you, but when it comes to certain shades like this one, I will have no clue. You are probably so pale that I cannot even conceive of your level of whiteness. This is frequently my problem with @BobBlahBlawg. He is just so … so pale. It’s alarming. Sometimes I have to wear sunglasses. Like, it’ll be an overcast day, and he’ll start whining about getting sunburned, and I’ll be standing there agog like, WHAT IS YOUR LIFE. I honestly cannot even conceive of his level of whiteness sometimes. If he wanted to wear a seafoam green sweater, for example, my mind would not be able to compute how that would look on him.

It’s a problem, and sometimes I fear it imperils our friendship and tears at the very fibers of the rich tapestry that is our eternal bond of not being able to stand each other.

I have completely forgotten what I was talking about.

Whatever. Here’s a picture of Mister Rogers and how much he doesn’t curr.


Book Review: “When Buddhists Attack: The Curious Relationship Between Zen and the Martial Arts” by Jeffrey Mann and Patrick McCarthy

Written By: humarashid - Oct• 08•12

When Buddhists Attack: The Curious Relationship Between Zen and the Martial ArtsWhen Buddhists Attack: The Curious Relationship Between Zen and the Martial Arts by Jeffrey K. Mann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“When Buddhists Attack” is an excellent examination of the complex relationship between different forms of Buddhism, focusing on the more mainstream and accessible “Zen Buddhism” and martial arts.

Naturally, this is a rather esoteric subject, and one might expect that this book is geared toward an audience that is already at least somewhat familiar with the subjects of either Buddhism or martial arts. Not so. Mann and McCarthy do a wonderful job of laying a thick, solid foundation for his readers. The author explains his own connection to the topic, which is something I’ve always felt goes a long way in making an informative, nonfiction book engaging and accessible, adding a personal touch that readers can appreciate. He discusses the basics of Buddhism, and then the different forms it takes, from the conservative Buddhist forms to the more commercial, accessible and easily recognized Zen Buddhism (and how it differs from our common social perception of it, what with $19.99 Zen gardens with motorized fountains that you can buy at Target).

He delves deeper into his chosen subject, Zen Buddhism, and explains it in detail, including quotes and stories from its main texts and most revered practitioners, as well as his own experiences in Buddhist monasteries, studying, for example, the fine art of sitting. (I’m entirely serious, and not at all mocking him or the concept – the discussion on sitting was one of my favorite parts in the book because I never really appreciated just how much went into the simple act.)

And then the author delves into his thesis: the complex, intricate relationship between Zen and the martial arts. It’s a thorough examination of the intersection of two seemingly contradictory ideologies, but upon reading the book, it becomes quite clear that they actually fit together in a seamless way that may seem counterintuitive at first glance.

When Buddhists Attack is an excellent examination of the relationship between one of the world’s most popular ideologies, and martial arts. McCarthy and Mann have crafted an engaging, accessible, and yet still thoroughly scholarly work.

View all my reviews

Book Review: “Three Schemes and a Scandal” by Maya Rodale

Written By: humarashid - Sep• 26•12

Three Schemes and a Scandal (The Writing Girls, #3.5)Three Schemes and a Scandal by Maya Rodale

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

“Three Schemes and a Scandal” is a Writing Girls novella by Maya Rodale, a tangential break from this warm, fun series. It stars Charlotte, the sister-in-law of Writing Girl Sophie, Derek Knightley’s resident Duchess.


Business Casual Superstar #503: Inspired by Taylor Swift

Written By: humarashid - Sep• 11•12

LOOSELY inspired, that is. So the thing with Taylor Swift is that now that she’s dating Conor Kennedy or whatever (he’s 18, she’s 22, she’s working her schedule around his winter break). And what I’m kind of hung up on … has anyone else noticed that all of a sudden she’s really pulling a Jackie O with her fashion? It’s kind of bizarre. But Taylor Swift is someone that I would generally describe as bizarre and creepy and off-putting, a perpetual girl-woman stuck at the mental age of 13 who seems like a narcissistic, slut-shaming emotional trainwreck, so whatever.

Let’s knock off her outfit! But only kind of. Not really.

She looks okay, I guess. I don’t really care. I can’t muster up enough energy to say much about this. All I knew was that I liked the red dress idea, because I just like red dresses, and I didn’t want it to be so campy and matchy-matchy.

So I mixed things up a little bit.

Op-Red Columnist Dress from ModCloth ………. $47.99
Levity High Heel Pumps in Navy ………. $29.94
Silver Plated Ring ………. $12

I stuck with the red dress, but I went solid instead of printed. Basically, I just like the retro feel of a lot of the ModCloth dresses, and this one caught my eye instantly. The other option was a $30 printed red and white dress from Old Navy that actually surprisingly resembled the one Taylor had on, but I don’t care for Old Navy much. It makes me feel heavy and tired. I don’t know what it is, but I seriously avoid setting foot in that store like the freaking plague.

I definitely didn’t want to do a red shoe, I wasn’t keen on a black shoe, I wasn’t particularly moved to do a beige shoe (anyone who calls that shade “nude” is asking to be slapped hard across the mouth – by me), and so I finally landed on a navy shoe. BECAUSE WHY NOT.

Why not, indeed.

I would have been happy with a purple shoe, too. I love purple and red combinations. Sometimes to my peril.

Anyway, so I picked this navy shoe with the bow and the turquoise on the toe, and then felt like I wanted a turquoise-ish ring to play with that. But I had only $22 left in the budget, and do you know how hard it is to find a decent turquoise ring for that amount? The ones I saw were so … gaudy. PASS.

But then I saw this ring, a silver plaited one with a glass bead held in place by two wires, and, I don’t know, I just love it. It’s so funky and unique and pretty, and I love that color. It doesn’t match the turquoise precisely, but I don’t care. I just love the look of it.

I don’t know why I said this post was “inspired by” Taylor Swift. It’s so far from her outfit that I shouldn’t have characterized it that way. Ah, well.


Business Casual Superstar #502: Haughty, but Socially Conscious, Cosmetics!

Written By: humarashid - Sep• 10•12

I don’t talk about makeup enough on here, do I? I get questions about makeup, but that’s like asking Nic Cage questions about how to be a well-adjusted, totally-not-creepy person. I suck at makeup. I’ve gone 26 years without wearing it regularly – I basically only wear makeup to weddings. In law school, I slicked on some eyeliner a couple times. (Those instances always prompted @BobBlahBlawg to ask, “Who are YOU all dolled up for?!” Ugh. He is just without exaggeration the worst person to ever walk this planet.)

But I’ve been trying, and I’ve been getting better at it. I can actually use (severely) tinted moisture (seriously, I cut tinted moisturizer with an equal amount of face cream, so it’s only 1/4 foundation). And I can use mascara, obviously, and since I got a fancy pedestal mirror with 5x magnification, I can put on eyeliner whenever, and not just when I have my contacts in! (Seriously, have you ever tried to put on eyeliner while wearing glasses? Disaster.)

So while I’m nowhere near qualified to tell you nerds anything about makeup aside from my bare bones, super simple routine, I can always share some awesome makeup deals. And that’s what I’m doing today.

Today’s find is Haughty Cosmetics, and I’m kind of really digging them. They’re a down-home, American start-up founded by Michelle Edwards, and 50% of their profits are aimed at stopping domestic violence. What’s not to love about that?!

(Note: Remember, women, children, AND men can be victims of domestic violence.)

They sell mostly lip gloss, but also have makeup tools available as well. I’m going to share some examples, including lip glosses I think will look good on me. Because let’s be honest: I don’t care what color looks good on you. I care about ME.



I look so good in red. You guys don’t even know. :|

I also look good in this color.

Oh, God, I look so terrible in this color, though. It’s awful. On me, that is. Not on you. It’d probably look nice on you, especially if your skin is fairer than mine? Maybe? Ugh, don’t ask, when it comes to makeup I’m clueless and when it comes to White People’s Makeup I’m doubly clueless. I do enjoy putting mascara on Bob BlahBlawg while he’s passed out, though, and painting his toenails, so that’s something, I suppose.

Proceeds go to Becky’s Fund and Leave Out Violence (LOVE). Edwards uses all-natural ingredients as she whips up these glosses in small batches, and none of the products are tested on animals. (YAY!)