Monthly Archives: September 2013

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Top 10 Summer 2013 Movies & Updates

Happy Sunday everyone!

Bye, bye Summer and welcome Fall! Well, technically Fall started on September 22 but I was pretending it was still Summer, and also around that time I officially became uber busy with grad school. I’m loving being back in school and therefore apologize in advance for the lack of posts. I haven’t been able to even hang out with the husband (*tear tear*) because while it’s only been a few weeks of school it definitely feels like a lot more. I’ve already taken several quizzes and even my first exam this past week and two more are coming up. This is my first time in a quarter system and boy, does it go fast!

Enough about me and lets discuss all the amazing movies that came out this Summer! The husband and I were discussing which ones were our favorite and we were both quite surprised that we watched so many great movies. Our list of “watched” movies was longer but we narrowed it down to our 10 favorite.

These movies are in no particular order because the husband and I do have slightly different opinions on movies and which ones would rank top on our individual lists.

|Top 10 Summer 2013 Movies|

Ironman 3 (read our movie review here)

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The Great Gatsby (one of the movies I watched without the husband)

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Star Trek Into Darkness (read our movie review here)

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Fast and the Furious 6 (read our review here)

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Man of Steel (read our movie review here)

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Monster University (one of the movies the husband watched without me)

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World War Z

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Pacific Rim

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Wolverine (read more here)

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Elysium (read more here)

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If you didn’t get a chance to catch these while playing in theater then I’m sure they will soon be available to rent, if not already available on DVD/Blue Ray. We will definitely be adding these to our movie collection.

What were some of your favorite movies of Summer 2013?

Thank you for visiting & hope you have a very warm & cozy Fall!

A&U Cook | Best Boxed Chocolate Cake Ever!

Hello everyone!!!

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Hope you all are doing great! Today I want to share with everyone one of the best boxed cakes the husband and I have ever tried. While most bloggers will only share “from scratch” homemade desserts, I feel for the quick dessert fix or just to have the “semi-homemade” feel a boxed cake does the trick.

The husband is a big fan of cake, so we always have a few “boxed” cakes at home which the husband reminds on a weekly basis to make for him. So a few weeks ago I surprised the husband with Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate cake and it was the. best. cake. ever! We really had to resist eating this cake in one sitting.

It was quite easy to make, as are most boxed cakes–so here it goes! First, here is a picture of the box so you can find it at your local grocery store.

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You will need the following:

Water, 3 large eggs, vegetable oil (or substitute apple sauce for less fat), one small mixing bowl, one large mixing bowl, cake/cupcake pan, and measuring spoons.

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First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F, grease and flour the pan. Then follow the instructions on the back of the box which are in 3 easy steps.

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Stir contents of small pouch to make this fudgy mixture in a small bowl, and set aside.

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Then take the bigger bowl and mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.

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In the bigger bowl, mix in eggs, water, and oil. Mix everything together until it becomes a smooth mixture (you can easily hand mix the mixture).

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Pour the mixture in your desired pan, like so.

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Randomly, spread the fudgy mixture on top.

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Then spread it out, like marbling. But don’t overly spread it.IMG_1090

Put it to bake in your preheated oven. Baking time depends on the pan size you choose- about 30 minutes.

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Take it out, let it cool, put your favorite icing on top, and enjoy! IMG_1106

Believe us this is one of the best boxed chocolate cake, and you will enjoy every bite of it. Literally!

Thank you for visiting and have a great weekend!

Wear it Wednesday | Boyfriend Jeans at Halal Food Festival

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Happy Wednesday everyone!

A foodies heaven at Chicago’s 1st ever Halal Food Festival. Burgers, hot dogs, falooda, gyro’s, sweets, even music, henna booth, and snazzy Islamic clothing.

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As soon as we entered the indoor festival, the aroma, the full-house, the many booths was overwhelming so we took a quick tour to see everything before settling on this yummy Mediterranean lunch from Taza Café.
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Few minutes later we really wanted to try Mr. Broast so the husband quickly grabbed a few zinger burger’s from the booth because they were selling out like hot cakes burgers.IMG_1403IMG_1380
I had to take a picture of Max’s Chicago because they are my favorite for Chicago style hot dog’s. I’ve tried several items from their menu but their halal hot dog made me a hot dog aficionado.
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For dessert we settled for delicious pistachio kulfi for the husband and I from MMM’s Gourmet Ice Cream.
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Now to the main dish, my hijabi outfit of the day. I knew dressing comfortably would be key for this weekend event. I wore my new favorite boyfriend jeans that were perfect for the festival. Not only are they super comfy and non-restricting, but should definitely be a staple in a modest dressing fashionista’s closet. I’d been looking for a perfect pair of boyfriend jeans for several weeks now, and a lot of them were “fashionably” ripped – making them not modest or were not flattering for my body type or weren’t the type of wash I was looking for. Luckily I stopped at Old Navy, I haven’t shopped there for a long time since it’s usually a hit or miss type of store for me, and I found a vintage wash, fashionably-scuffed-up-but-not-ripped pair that fit me how I imagined boyfriend jeans should fit. I also found my “shine bright” statement tee from Old Navy plus a few other hit finds.
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Aside from the food booths, My Halal Kitchen was present with her recipe book, I wanted to take a picture with her but unfortunately she was quite busy when I stopped at her booth. IMG_1393
Lastly, the husband and I bought some Islamic Swag statement shirts. His is “I’m fly coz my imaan is high” and mine say’s “Islam – all the cool kids are doing it.” We love supporting Muslim business’ and who could resist awesome Islamic wear? Check this local Chicago store out online and as they say “Wear your imaan on your sleeve.”IMG_1409IMG_1412

After the halal food festival, we took a detour and hung out with MJ!

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Boyfriend jeans are great and I will keep my eye’s peeled for different styles and washes as I fade out the skinny jeans from my closet.

Have you found a great pair of boyfriend jean’s? or visited any fun events lately? I would love to know.

|HOOTD deets|

Hijab/Scarf- H&M | Trench- Express | Boyfriend Jeans & Shine Bright Shirt- Old Navy | Bag- Zara | Shoes- Prabal Gurung x Target

Remember- shine bright!

Until next time, have a great day!!!

Fashion Events | Bloomingdales, The Everygirl, & Melissa + Karl Lagerfeld at Space 519

Hi Everyone!

Fun, fashion, accessories, handbags, ice cream cone shoes, and even voodoo dolls! Yup those were basically what last week’s fashion events consisted of. Of course, I attended with Fatima, from Lace, Pearls and Chocolates, and both events were luckily at 900 N. Michigan. We attended the events after our busy day at school, thus the outing helped us refresh!

We first checked out the re-opening of Handbags and Accessories department at Bloomingdales which was hosted by The Everygirl. There was music, along with lots of baubles, sunglasses, handbags, photo booth, and even some extreme makeup artistry.

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I failed at taking photo booth pictures, this was the only decent one. Later we met the sweet Alaina Kaczmarski, one of the co-founders of The Everygirl.

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We then headed to Space 519 to check out the new Melissa + Karl Lagerfeld collection. The ice cream cone shoes and accessories were fun, but we loved the cute Annetta & Karletto sweatshirts the most.

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|HOOTN deets|

Hijab/Scarf- Navy Hoojab Pearldaisy | Hi-low Top- Bar III | Pants- Loft | Bag- Zara

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!

Weddings are Ohh So Beautiful

Hi Everyone!

A quick post sharing some pictures from a recent wedding/Valimah we attended of a good friend.

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Centerpiece and apple cider. We were waiting for a toast but then just used it as a prop.IMG_1266IMG_1277IMG_1307  A picture with the beautiful couple and my family. IMG_1325IMG_1327IMG_1249

|HOOTN deets|

Hijab/Scarf- Navy maxi hoojab from Pearldaisy | Headpiece/jewelry- Sparkled Hijab and Accessories on Facebook/Instagram | Outfit & Statement Ring- from India | Shoes- Steve Madden

Thank you for visiting!

Movie Review | The Muslims Are Coming

Happy Sunday!

Laughter is always the best medicine, but does it help the Islamaphobia cause? The husband and I watched the new slight documentary The Muslims are Coming, and we were confused at first, at times annoyed, laughed out loud, had aha moments and even cried a little (or only just me not the husband). The movie has limited release and is currently running in Chicago for a few more days at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

The film documents a tour Muslim comedians organize for free to reach out to non-Muslims in major and rural cities to address Islamaphobia. Some of our favorite parts of the movie were when the comedians set up booth in different cities to play “Ask a Muslim,” “What Religious Scripture is it” and “Hug a Muslim.” Some jokes and clips from their tour are also documented, however don’t expect to see the entire comedy tour in this movie. If you consider yourself to be a prude just be cautioned of sexual related jokes in the movie. Other than that, we recommend seeing The Muslims are Coming and give it an overall rating of 8.5/10 (because it was actually funny, and we love supporting positive Muslim causes/business’).

Get more information about the movie on their website.

Have a great Sunday!

Wear it Wednesday | A little Leopard at the Art Institute of Chicago

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Happy Wednesday!

The husband and I visited The Art Institute of Chicago last week by taking advantage of the free admission on Thursday’s for Illinois residents. It was the first time we were visiting and weren’t aware of the massiveness of the museum. The free admission hours are from 5-8 pm, and since we arrived after 6pm we scanned around the galleries mostly. But I plan to visit their new exhibit on Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity. Enjoy our day in pictures!

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Hijabi outfit of the day consisted of black, red, gold details and a little leopard. I have worn these pieces separately several times but I’m always a little hesitant to wear this leopard bag because I think it’s too much animal print. But I love animal print, and do consider it a neutral so will have to incorporate more leopard in my outfits.

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Of course, being silly with one of the paintings. I didn’t notice at the time but the lady in the painting is wearing red and black headscarf too!

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I was loved the fact that there were ipad’s in some of the galleries that gave detailed pictures and information about the pieces. In the bottom picture, I was amazed at how high the jousting stick really was. It was even hard to capture it in the full picture.IMG_1152IMG_1155IMG_1158 
This gallery featuring armory was probably the husband’s favorite area since he said the pieces were “real” as apposed to the paintings. IMG_1161IMG_1166IMG_1170
I was in awe after seeing Claude Monet’s self-portrait as his paintings have been my favorite for many years. Especially the water lily paintings in the next few pictures.IMG_1175                   
Seeing the paintings up-close in person is so different than seeing it online or in a picture, you truly see the detail’s and admire the work even more. IMG_1182IMG_1184IMG_1188IMG_1190IMG_1206IMG_1216IMG_1221IMG_1228
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There are a lot of beautiful paintings and galleries with every type of art imaginable at the museum, and spending a whole day to admire everything The Art Institute of Chicago has to offer will be well worth the time especially if you appreciate art.IMG_1245

|HOOTD deets|

Hijab/Scarf- unbranded | Blazer- Alcala’s boutique (local) | Top- Nordstrom rack | Jeans- The Limited | Bag- Maxx New York (old from QVC) | Necklace & bracelet – H&M | Shoes- Sole Society

I hope you enjoyed our day in photograph’s and remember leopard is a neutral so do try it out!

Have a great Wednesday!

Tempting Tuesday | Wish(Lust)ing & Fall ’13 Preview

Hello everyone!

Fall transitioning is in full swing in Casa a la AnU. The husband and I started Fall/Winter shopping early this year so we can shop around to buy wardrobe essentials we need and actually love. Last year we inadvertently waited till end of the year to shop, and I had a hard time finding essentials I loved!

This year I’ve hauled for Fall quite a bit already but still looking for a nice detailed black (faux) leather jacket, booties preferably in brown/tan family, some over-the-knee-Stuart’s Weitzman 50/50esque boots, sequined or statement sweaters, (faux) leather gloves, camo/utilitarian jacket or vest, a perfect black coat, and berry color winter coat.

This is my mood board wish(lust) which I’m taking inspiration.
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For more information on the items featured on this mood board check here.

InStyle magazine’s Fall ’13 Preview event at Topshop, which I attended last week, also gave me fun inspiration. Stylish bloggers, and InStyle editor shared their picks for Fall. Leather, camo, chunky sweaters and fun prints (floral & leopard) were some of their picks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take many pics because my hands were constantly occupied with yummy mocktails and the gratis September InStyle magazine. Regardless here are some pics with stylish Carly Christman, Jenna of Chi City Fashion, Hunter Style, Dana Avidan-Cohn of Instyle, and Fatima my blogger friend.

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|HOOTN deets|

Hijab/Scarf- unbranded | Faux Leather Jacket & belt- Target | Top & Midi Rings- H&M | Skirt- Express | Flower Ring- gift | Necklace- Forever 21 | Bag- Lucky Brand

What are your Fall ‘13 wish(lust) items? I would love to know!

Thank you for visiting!

Be Happy. Be Bright. Be You.

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Happy Monday everyone!

A little over a week ago we saw Cirque Shanghai at Navy Pier. The husband and I thought it would be a fun event to check out and visit Navy Pier this Summer. There were drums, acrobat’s, bicycle stunts, comedy, dancing but I don’t remember any dragon’s even though the name is “Dragon’s Thunder”- unfortunately no pics of the show. Therefore this is our day through pictures.

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Our baby pineapple. You will now see a series of snaps featuring this yummy baby. Why a pineapple? Well because 1. we thought it would be delicious to drink a virgin pina colada in a pineapple, 2. we thought we would test our focusing capabilities/skills of the new DSLR using the pineapple as a prop and 3. virgin pina colada in a pineapple costs $13 at Navy Pier! Which we thought was a bit much thus, the obsession with the pineapple! Yes, we are silly like that.        
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Of course a couple selfie before the show.

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And the infamous pineapple returns.IMG_0884  
We rated the show as average. The highlight of the show has to be a 5 motorcycle cage stunt, and then some balancing acts. Other than that it is a fun show for kids (or kids at heart), but don’t go if you are expecting a Cirque du Soleil type production because it is no way near that.IMG_0892  
Since no pictures were allowed during the show these are some after the show snaps with our baby, I mean our pineapple for photos! Yes, we took care of that pineapple throughout the entire show just to pose with it.            IMG_0906

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We strolled around the Pier to capture some fun pics of moi, of course. IMG_0921                        
The day’s outfit was white linen pants, striped tee, my new favorite pink boyfriend blazer, yellow bubble necklace, my leather tote bag which is big enough to carry our DSLR, and metallic cap-toe flats. I’ve been loving black and white outfit looks, and have been wearing the combo in a lot of my outfits and will continue to do so because I’m a rebel, and so I have always thought the rule “no white after Labor Day” was quite silly.   IMG_0924                          
We love these night snaps the husband took. This next one is one of our favorites!IMG_0948IMG_0952 
After dinner, I sat down near the river waiting for the fireworks show to begin while the husband experimented some more with the camera. As soon as he captured this next shot he was quite pleased with himself and came over to show me grinning ear to ear. IMG_0964 
Doesn’t it look beautiful? Quite like a postcard.IMG_0975 
We finally figured out how to focus on a specific object while everything in the background is blurred. Basically, this is what we set out to learn and were trying to accomplish with the pineapple baby.IMG_0978 
If you have never been to Navy Pier, definitely plan to go on a Saturday since there is always a scintillating firework show accompanied with music which makes the fireworks more enjoyable and romantic to watch.IMG_0993IMG_1025IMG_1028 
It was a lovely day spent with my love. And I’m so happy that we get to capture beautiful day’s like this with our new love to share with all of you.IMG_1033IMG_1049 
We hope you enjoyed our day through pictures. Remember – Be happy. Be bright. Be you.

|HOOTD deets|

Hijab/Scarf- Target | Boyfriend Blazer- Zara | Striped Tee & White Linen Pant- Loft | Shoes- H&M| Bubble Necklace- Charlotte Russe | Bag- Lucky Brand | Rose Ring- BP Nordstrom

Thank you for visiting & have a great week!

August Favorites

Hello everyone!

Here is our monthly favorite from August. I know it’s a little late but at least it’s only the beginning of September, and I enjoyed creating a favorite list last month so had to continue.

Favorite Hijab/Scarf– A simple black unbranded scarf that I dressed up and down throughout the month. See more pics of the hijab here, here, and here.
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Netflix TV Binge– Orange is the New Black. We finished watching season one and can’t wait for next season to premier.
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Favorite Movie– The Wolverine & Elysium both movies were thumbs up for us. Especially Elysium which had a very futuristic yet, original concept.

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Flowers of the Month – Fresh flowers from Whole Foods they were so aromatic that even the husband noticed.

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And these beautiful beauties the husband surprised me with (local florists).

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Makeup Beauty Product- MAC lickable lipstick & Benefit Watt’s Up. The lipstick is such a fun color that I layer with mahogany lip liner from Mac and usually a light brown matte/semi matte shade.
The Watt’s Up highlighter I’ve been using for a couple of months and can’t get over how perfectly it works.
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Favorite Food– Catered food from Usmania restaurant and local cook at the family Eid party we attended. You can check out pics from the party here.

Favorite Dessert– Chocolate chip cookie pizza from Lou Malnati’s. We’ve had this dessert a few times before and it’s always a favorite.

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Favorite Hijabi Outfit Of the Day– Check out outfit post here.
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Favorite Couple Shot– Taken during the family Eid party. See more fun pics here.
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Favorite Couple Moment– Going to Navy Pier on the cta to Cirque Shanghai, the husband turns around and tells me “you dazzle me.” I thought it was cute and told him I’m making a mental note to use that sometime.

Shopping Haul Favorite Find for the Month– Clear clutch from Forever 21

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Wishlist Item Haul– DSLR Camera the Canon EOS Rebel SL. We finally took the plunge and joined the DSLR bandwagon. We couldn’t be happier with our new baby!

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Thank you for visiting and please share some of your favorites for last month.

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