Category Archives: Chicago

Ameen Ceremony & Importance of Learning Quran

Happy Jummah/Friday!

Paki outfit couple peach blackBack in September the husband and I attended an Ameen ceremony for our nephew, however I wasn’t able to post about it earlier since I was busy.  Today being Friday, the day that is considered an Eid for Muslims is also a day that most Muslims take time out of their day to attend Jummah namaz/prayer in congregation, and read/listen to the Quran.  Thus, I thought today would be a nice reminder on the importance of learning to read the Quran, if you don’t already or trying to make reading the Quran and it’s translation a daily habit.  Of course, this is  a reminder to myself first since I am guilty of forgetting to do this even though I carry around my cellphone everywhere and it has a great Quran app.

ameen ceremony stage decor balloons

The backdrop was DIYed by my SIL she created it with fabric, the balloon columns were created by my BIL from Tampa.

An Ameen/Bismillah ceremony is a celebration for the child who has taken time to learn to read the Quran in Arabic.  For most kids this can take a few years to accomplish as this is a class they take concurrent with their regular studies.  You have to first learn the Arabic alphabet, then learn how different vowels/accents apply, learn to read Arabic words and then finally learn to read sentences.  As the child learns the basics, they are also taught the importance of wuduu, Islamic procedure of washing body parts before prayer and reciting the Quran, and short surah’s for everyday.

candy gift cards and gifts ameen

Candy, gift cards, and gifts for Islam/Quran related games

blue white gold balloon decoration

I’m my husband’s muse. But in reality this is the only overview of the decor without the guests. At this point we were adding the final touches to the decor. All decor ideas were of my SIL.

The Quran is made up of 30 books/chapters, has exactly 114 surahs, the longest surah is Al-Baqarah (the cow) which consists of 286 ayat/verses, and the shortest are found in the 30th chapter which are usually first to be memorized to be recited in daily prayer.

flower vase blue bismillah celebrationThe Ameen ceremony is a big milestone in a child’s life and is one of the best accomplishments not only for the child but also the parents.  The ceremony is thus an encouragement to other children and their parents to enforce the importance of learning to recite the Quran, and to become a life long student of the Quran.

Cholay and Coach clutch

There was lots of yummy food like cholay!

ameen islamic game

Here we are playing a fun game where we had to unscramble Islamic words using a number keypad.

Today more than ever we need to understand the Quran not just read it.  We are being questioned about what exactly the Quran say’s but don’t know how to refute misunderstanding. We need to understand the verses that are constantly misquoted and defend the true message of the Quran. I would like to end this post with a quote from an article I read today on MuslimMatters.org called Top Five Misquotations of the Quran.

The Qur’an is a message to humanity that repeats 114 times, “In the Name of God the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful.” The Qur’an instructs Muslims to show goodness to those who do evil (41:34), to speak words of peace to those who are hostile (25:63), to call to the way of God with wisdom and beautiful preaching (16:125), to treat peaceful non-muslims with the utmost kindness and justice (60:8), to be the best of people towards other people (3:110), and to respect freedom of religion (2:256, 10:99). There is simply no plausible way to understand the Qur’an in a manner bereft of mercy, compassion or peace. Any sincere and reasonable person looking at these passages must necessarily recognize that the Qur’an stands for mercy, not for destruction and violence.”

Here are a few more snaps courtesy of the husband.  Thank you so much for visiting and have a wonderful weekend!
peach black velvet paki oufithijab paki oufit|HOOTD deets|

Paki outfit – custom | Earrings – bought from boutique in Devon | Watch – Movado | Bracelet – Swarovski fidelity | Bag – Coach clutch (love this style and this) | Nail polish – Inglot (similar can be found here)

|Decor deets|

Decor idea & games thought of by my sister-in-law (mother of the nephew), backdrop fabric bought from fabric store, vases from Walmart, table linens rented | All balloon creations were created by my husband and his brother from Tampa, of Celebration Balloon -check out this post for ideas too |

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

*Any quranic/Islamic mistake or misquotation on this post is that of my own, Ayesha of AnUblog.com. Thus, all is for general purposes only, and to share decorating ideas.

20 Facts About Me Tag

Hi all and happy Wednesday!

I apologize for the lack of posts these past several weeks. It really was not intentional, but God-willing things happen in life that we have no control over and they remind us to take a seat back and just be grateful for the situation we are in.  Instead of questioning why we are going through trials and tribulations, I feel that in my life I have always learned that there is always a blessing in every situation regardless of how tough it may be.

Purple Pink Tulips

I was tagged by a sweet friend, Shifa on Instagram, to do the 20 facts about me tag, and while I am a bit late in posting this I thought it would still be fun to share.  If you go through all 20 facts you will learn why I was on a hiatus from blogging.

20 Facts About Me & Things I’m Grateful For

  1. I am the third of four kids, and that in itself is a blessing. As the third child, I learned to be more independent and stand out in my own ways. Allah is the best of planners.

  2. I was born in Pakistan, and came to the USA at the age of 6. My parents, especially my mom, wanted us to grow up in the land of opportunities.

  3. My parents did not come with a lot but always worked hard to provide us with all we needed to live comfortably. My mom used to babysit in the beginning for a few years, and my dad worked at an aviation company. They used to give us weekly allowance, a few $ from each, to spend on anything we wanted. My dad actually had a bank aka envelope in his briefcase for each of us where he would write down what we asked him to save for us, what we asked to take out to buy something, and bonus was we never lost money. It was a great learning tool in many ways because it taught my siblings and me basic financial skills/lessons.

  4. I began kindergarten in the US without knowing a word of English. Now unfortunately, I speak English > Urdu but would like to make it more equal.

  5. My mom passed away from breast cancer when I was a teen. It made my siblings and I grow up nature > nurture, made us self-sufficient, stronger, and taught us to persevere through any trial and tribulations.

  6. I enjoy making desserts > other foods, as it was one the things my mom taught me, my first dessert with her was caramel pudding. I don’t enjoy eating other people’s caramel pudding—it just doesn’t taste as good as my momma’s.  My mom’s cooking > Others

  7. I have a bachelor degree in communications with a major in advertising and a minor in religious studies. To some respect, I feel I am still using my degree through my blogging, and religious studies helped me to appreciate all the religions of the world and see what binds us.

  8. I worked at an advertising/marketing firm for a few years professionally. I learned a lot about working in the “real-world.”

  9. I am quite creative, artistic and meticulously detail-oriented when I want to be. I have dabbled in drawing and painting, photography (even learned how to develop my own photographs), I completely planned my own wedding (helped my siblings with theirs), and have been a stylist to my family members.

  10. I met my husband through mutual friends, we did not like each other at first nor did we care to talk to each other, however as we started talking we instantly felt like we knew each other.  Lesson: give everyone a chance because you never know who you will meet.

  11. My husband is my soul mate and I have never met someone more kind-hearted, harder working, and more genuine than him. Alhamdulillah My husband > Your husband … hehe… May we all be blessed with wonderful spouses, ameen.

  12. I love Chicago more than I ever expected to love it. I loved it from the moment I stepped off the plane and began my newlywed life with my husband. It will always have a special place in my heart even if I move.

  13. Through blogging I have met some really fun people, designers such as Rebecca Minkoff and Manolo Blahnik, and have gotten to explore the city more by attending fashion events.  Blogging has helped me to step out of my comfort zone.

  14. I am currently in graduate school, with my husband being my biggest cheerleader – he pushes me when I’m being lazy about school, and supports me in all things that I love to do.

  15. I do visit Florida often, but I go to visit family not to be a beach bum or check out tourist spots since I lived in Miami for 20+ years. Miami is a beautiful city with truly one of the best beaches I’ve seen.

  16. I now find romantic movies quite cheesy and almost unbearable to watch. My reality > Fantasy …Alhmdulillah

  17. I highly enjoy home décor and change up seasonally few things around the apartment. I dislike cookie cutter home décor. I feel a home should exude your personality, and have personal touches not a “model home” that any family will fit.

  18. At the end of Ramadan/July, I fractured my arm by falling while on the way to school. I’m still recovering from the injury, and thus was on a hiatus from blogging. Through this injury I have become quite ambidextrous.

  19. I have TY beanie babies and several other stuff animals that I’ve been collecting since I was younger, including those I’ve gotten from the husband and plan to keep them to decorate my future kid’s rooms with (inshahAllah).

  20. I am currently very much enjoying this blessed chapter of my life with my husband and grateful for it every day. Alhamdulillah.

paki wedding sari suit couple

Bonus fact | I have always appreciated 4 quarters > 100 pennies when it comes to friendship, and last month a true friend whom I met in the fourth grade found me through this blog! We hadn’t spoken for maybe five+ years and recently when we caught up it was like we never lost touch. Lesson: True friends are hard to find so treasure them and hold them tight.

Alhamdulillah, because there is always something to be thankful/grateful for.

Thank you to all my reader’s, family and friends who have wished me well, and requested I start blogging again because they were missing my posts. Especially, the husband, who never misses any of my posts.

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Flowers for Dreams Review + Perk for AnUblog reader’s

Hi all!

Flowers for Dreams bouquetI love receiving fresh flowers, and the husband even knows it makes my day when he comes home carrying a bouquet. While he never told which local florist he would use, several weeks ago I was curious when I hadn’t received a “just because” bouquet of flowers so he told me that all the local florist close to us have closed. He told me that there used to be a florist a block from us that closed down, then he found another place and that closed down so he hasn’t been able to figure out where to get me fresh flowers from.

F4D bouquet promo codeAround the same time, I discovered Flowers for Dreams, a local Chicago floral company that offer’s quality floral arrangements and is philanthropic! They have bouquet’s starting at $35, and deliver around the Chicago area or to be exact delivery 25 miles from the loop is free, yes FREE. F4D has a farm-to-table concept of delivering organic flower’s without all the fees because they don’t have a brick-and-mortar, and each purchase benefits a local charity. More reason’s to love them! You can email or call them up (855.212.8420) if you have an idea for a custom arrangement and they will create something just for you.

Flowers for dreams Chicago promo codeFlowers for Dreams sent me a complimentary bouquet for Ramadan and Eid since I’ve been all about decorating my home with beautiful things around this special season. And because they are such an amazing company with great customer service, and know that flowers make the perfect finishing touch to any decor, they are offering AnUblog reader’s a special discount of 20% off any order or subscription. All you have to do is just put in the code “ANU312” while checking out at www.flowersfordreams.com for 20% off! How great is that? The code is valid up until Sept. 1, 2014 so place your order’s for an iftari/Eid party, hostess gift, anniversary, birthday or “just because” surprise for your significant other.

Thank you Flowers for Dreams!

Hope you all are having a great weekend! Reminder, there is a huge Ramadan/Eid Giveaway I’m hosting. Only a few day’s left so enter ASAP. If you live in the USA enter here, and everyone can enter this giveaway! Good luck!

Umair’s sweetheart
Ayesha

*AnUblog was not compensated for this post. Only were provided the item for review. All opinion’s are of AnUblog’s author’s. Anublog.com does not share opinion’s of brands/companies mentioned.

Blue & White #HOOTD

Happy Monday!

Just doing a quick #HOOTD, I’ve been quite busy lately with school, and thus haven’t been posting as regularly. This blue & white outfit I wore a few weeks ago but never got around to posting the snaps. I hope you all enjoyed your Mother’s Day weekend, while I’m not a mother yet, it is important to remember that Mother’s Day is everyday.

Also, today is the last day to enter for the emerald ring giveaway. If you haven’t entered, hurry and do so here.

Me and the bean ootd

|HOOTD|
Scarf/Hijab – random old | Maxi dress – Target | Pants – local boutique | Necklace & Belt – Ann Taylor | Shoes – Nordstrom Rack (don’t recommend) | Bag – Rebecca Minkoff MAB | Chain bracelet – Forever 21 | Trench – Express

blue maxi dressWhite scarf blue maxi jewelry details

Thank you for visiting & good luck on the giveaway!

Umair’s Sweetheart,

Ayesha

Macy’s Secret Garden Event

Happy Monday everyone,

A few weeks ago Macy’s was having their Spring time Secret Garden event, where they had a special garden beautifully set on one of the floors, and floral decor throughout the store. To celebrate the secret garden event they had several events planned, from cooking demos to art classes to fashion shows. I attended one of these events with my friend, Fatima, and it was hosted by local blogger Graham from Glossed and Found.
alt=It was a garden tea party themed event that was beautifully planned. They severed hot lavender tea, tea sandwiches, had a candy cart, models showing off Spring looks, make-up booths giving tips, a flower crown DIY station, and a beautiful backdrop made entirely of flowers where a professional photographer was snapping photos of the guests (I’m still waiting on receiving those snaps, as they were gorgeous and I didn’t take any personal ones). After the fun event we headed up to the actual garden to check out the amazing botanical display. Here are some snaps from the day.

mayc's modeled outfits spring 2014

How gorgeous is this?! Let's all take a moment to imagine us throwing a beautiful garden party with this decor!

How gorgeous is this?! Let’s all take a moment to imagine us throwing a beautiful garden party with this decor!

The detail and thought that went in to creating this table --simple breathtaking!

The detail and thought that went in to creating this table –simply breathtaking!

Garden pics

hijabi outfit blue and yellow|HOOTD|

Scarf/Hijab – random old | Yellow top – Joe Fresh x JCPenny | Pants – Loft | Shoes – H&M | Bag – Rebecca Minkoff MAB | Necklace – Charming Charlie | Chain link bracelet – Forever 21

Enter the latest jewelry giveaway here. Only one day left!

Spring is finally springin’ so go out and enjoy your day!

Launch Party for Sparkle and Sophistication #SSLaunch

Hi all!

S&S jewelryLast Saturday I was invited to one of the chicest parties in town! Sparkle and Sophistication’s fabulous launch party was thrown by the beautiful local jewelry designer, Nusrat Siddiqui. Local Chicago bloggers and tastemakers were invited to style and model for the upcoming look book for the jewelry line. During the media party we all enjoyed sweets, sips, and got primped for the photo shoot. It was a great day to spend mingling with fellow fashionistas, and got inspired by how each of them styled the sparkly pieces from the Sparkle and Sophistication jewelry line.

Fatima & I doing our HOOTD

Fatima & I doing our HOOTD

With the lovely designer, Nusrat

With the lovely designer, Nusrat

What were my first impressions of the jewelry? I loved most of the pieces! Seeing the pieces up close you can truly appreciate the hard work and details that Nusrat has put into each piece. My favorite would have to be the My Love bracelet and The Empress necklace, both of which I styled in the pictures below. All the pieces are very well made, the claps are very user friendly, many of the pieces feature sparkly swarovski crystals, and the delicate necklaces are of quality –perfect for layering or even on their own. If you want to know more about the jewelry you can visit Sparkle & Sophistication’s FB fanpage.

Photo shoot and styling

Photo shoot and styling

ChicagoMuslimBloggers.com, a blogger community I co-founded with Fatima, features an exclusive interview with designer Nusrat and several more behind the scenes snaps. Check it out here.

|HOOTD|

Hijab/Scarf – random old | Shirt dress – Bar III | Pants – Asos | Jewelry – Sparkle and Sophistication | Bag- Rebecca Minkoff MAB | Shoes – Sam Edelman

Have you entered? if you love jewelry then you will love the latest giveaway–enter here!

Thank you for visiting!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Wear it Wednesday | Leopard Print & Blue + Giveaway

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Leopard ScarfEven though it’s April it’s still quite chilly here in Chicago, as you can tell by the picture above. While the temperature is way better than negative degrees, the husband and I want it to be sunny everyday. I think this is one of my first HOOTD photo shoot for this year outdoors! Kinda crazy to realize that but I’m sure I’ll be able to do more of these HOOTD post’s now with the weather warming up.

Love necklaceThis HOOTD of the day started around the high-low black dress (a key piece), and the sparkly love necklace I’m wearing (related to the giveaway today). After deciding on the first two pieces I wanted to add a pop of color that is where the bright blue pants came in, and lastly when deciding on a scarf I went with leopard as it’s now considered a neutral and the print I’m wearing actually has hints of blue in it. I love how easy it is to pull a look together once you have one or two pieces to start off from and then just build the rest of the outfit around it.

Coat and treesThe sparkly love necklace I’m wearing in this HOOTD, was sent to me by a wonderful Etsy seller, Annika Lofberg. Annika owns the shop Glamorous Sparkle and specializes in pretty handmade bracelets, necklaces, and earrings that can be customized for a special occasion. She uses Czech glass beads in many of her creations, and because she is amazing she is offering one lucky AnUblog reader a bracelet of their choice from her Etsy shop. Yes, ANY bracelet you like from her shop. A few of my favorites here, here and here. Enter the giveaway through the rafflecopter widget below, read terms on widget, open worldwide! Additional entries can be earned everyday by tweeting about the giveaway until the giveaway ends (just remember to fill the widget).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The love necklace Annika sent to me was beautifully packaged, and is well made. At first the size of the pendent through me off, however once I wore it I actually liked the size because most times when I wear dainty necklaces they get hidden with my head scarf, and if you have been admiring those trendy necklaces with large font’s but are wondering how it will look on you then I think a pendent that is about 2″ will be a better alternative.

IMG_2676|HOOTD deets|

Scarf/Hijab – Phillip Lim x Target | High-Low top – Forever 21 | Pants – Target | Shoes & Coat – Steve Madden | Love Necklace – c/o Glamorous Sparkle | Crescent Necklace – old | Bag – Rebecca Minkoff MAB

Live What You Love

Live What You “Love”- mantra for my life! Alhamdulillah (All thanks to God)

Thank you for visiting and good luck on the giveaway!

March on Women | Meeting George Kotsiopoulos & Swarovski Event

Hi all!!
20140317-101910.jpg

If you didn’t know by now it’s Women’s History Month and I’ve been celebrating all month long — here are some posts (here, & here) if you missed them, plus there is a giveaway which you can enter here!

Some FYI for Women’s History Month– proves why it’s important to celebrate achievements of amazing women.
womens history month-rebecca-cohen-cartoon-vitaminw.co-REVISEDA few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending an event at Swarovski in Chicago Michigan Ave. where George Kotsiopoulous from E!’s Fashion Police was promoting his new book, Glamorous by George: The Key to Creating Movie Star Style. It was a fun event to browse Swarovski’s collection, mingle with guests while enjoying some sweets, sips, and chat with George who made his way around to guests of the events to sign his new book and take photos. George looked handsome in his suit and amazing tweed tie, of course.

20140317-102215.jpg 20140317-102233.jpg

20140317-102256.jpg20140317-102302.jpg20140317-102406.jpg

When I got the chance to chat with George I asked him what key advice would he give to women styling their outfit everyday and here is what he replied,
1. wear pop of color, 2. some bling/sparkle, 3. attitude!, 4. a beautiful smile – which he told me I already had. Yay!, 5. and a great handbag –then glanced at my outfit and told me that I was already doing all. Double yay!

20140317-102340.jpg

Ayesha, your glam jacket matches my gloves!! (referring the the cover of the book)

I’m excited to finish reading Glamorous by George over the mini school break I have coming up. If you want to upgrade your style, then check out George’s new book for practical style tips.

20140317-101950.jpg 20140317-102006.jpg

HOOTD || Hijab/Scarf – random old | Blazer – Zara | Striped tee – Loft | Pants – Forever 21 | Watch – Brina box | Bracelet & ring – Swarovski

(I apologize for the low quality snaps as these were taken by my iphone 5)

Have a great week, stay empowered & remember to enter the giveaway!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

March on Women | Ann Taylor & Marie Claire Own the Room Event

Happy Friday everyone!

March is Women’s History month, and March 8th is International Women’s Day–in honor of this women empowering month AnUblog will be featuring women empowering messages, and giveaways (Monday 3/10 first giveaway).

I recently attended an event hosted by Ann Taylor, and Marie Claire magazine with my friend Fatima.  Own the Room was the theme of the event and had a panel featuring Marie Claire’s Director Lea Goldman, Marie Claire’s Merchandising Editor Madison Shoop, and personal finance, career expert and author Farnoosh Torabi.

Marie Claire magazine

The panel highlighted empowering message for women most important being women should invest in themselves & others will invest in them!  Farnoosh Torabi author of When She Makes More mentioned how many women are now the breadwinners of the family, and how they are more educated because careers that are on the rise are more women driven.  Lea Goldman discussed ten tips on how women can own the room, my favorite was “never underestimate the power of great accessories.” Madison Shoop shared her fashion picks from Ann Taylor and emphasized on buying separates that can work in multiple outfits.  Here are some snaps from the event.

20140307-105911.jpg

Author of When She Makes More, Farnoosh Torabi

Author of When She Makes More, Farnoosh Torabi

Marie Claire’s Features Director Lea Goldman

Marie Claire’s Features Director Lea Goldman

Marie Claire’s Merchandising Editor Madison Shoop

Marie Claire’s Merchandising Editor Madison Shoop

Guest enjoyed sips, sweets, browsed looks by Ann Taylor, and mini makeovers by Trish McEvoy for updated head shots by onsite photographer to use on professional online profiles. Attendees of the event will also receive a copy of the book When She Makes More when it releases May 1, 2014.

Here are some outfits featured by Madison Shoop, and a few looks featured around Ann Taylor store.

Fatima and MeIMG_2332IMG_2333

Have a blessed Friday & stay empowered!

Tempting Tuesday | Manolo Blahnik S/S ’14 Collection & Meeting Mr. Blahnik

Happy Tuesday everyone!

February has been a exciting month! Not only do the husband and I share our birthdays this month, there is love day in between, and this year I had the pleasure of meeting the amazing shoe icon, Manolo Blahnik, it was definitely the icing on the cake.

Look at my grin!

Look at my grin!

How could I have resisted once I found out Mr. Blahnik was visiting the windy city? I fell more in love with his shoe collection right after meeting him and finding out he’s quite witty and personable–he was like an old adorable grandpa! Here are a few snaps from the memorable event. Manolos in every color–heaven! Below are some of my favorites from his Spring/Summer 2014 Collection.

I attended the event with my chic friend, Fatima, and spend the evening getting to know a few local Chicago bloggers. All in all a great fashion event.
IMG_2215

“Look at these shoes – are they just not decadent and beautiful!” demanded Manolo Blahnik at the unveiling of his spring/summer 2014 collection. Yes, Mr.Blahnik I completely agree! One in every color, please.


Photo credit for S/S ’14 collection: Vogue.com

Thank you for visiting and do let me know if you have any favorites from Mr. Manolo’s collection!

%d bloggers like this: