Tag Archives: 2014

Travel Diary | Eastern Caribbean Cruise – 1

Hi all,

Cruise mojito wrap maxi dress hijab

Vacay has to begin with a mint mojito in hand!

Over the December break the husband and I went on our first ever cruise together to the Eastern Caribbean.  We sailed with Holland America’s ship Nieuw Amsterdam, and traveled to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay ports over 7 day’s.  The cruising experience was quite relaxing and worry-free for us that we felt our vacation was well-spent. We would definitely love to sail to other ports in the future and try out other ships.

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Oh & a pina colada too!

Holiday cruise hijab red maxi skirt chambray

Walking around the pool area while listening to live steel-drum music

cruise lunch sea view Holland Amercia

Lunching at the buffet-style dining “The Lido” while enjoying the sunny ocean view

Here are some snaps from our “cruise day’s” which included two formal nights, shows, and special decor since the cruise took place during the Holiday’s.  Our first night on the cruise was spent trying to figure out how to navigate around the ship, figure out the dining areas, showroom, pools, etc.  It is quite amazing how much there is to do indoors that we almost had to make an effort to go out on the ship’s deck to enjoy the sunshine/pool areas.

Holland America cruise afternoon tea

Enjoying afternoon tea with the husband. It became a tradition for us to enjoy tea everyday at 3pm. So fancy!

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam captain toast

Captain’s welcome toast and first formal night

Caribbean cruise formal night

My dashing husband getting ready to eat some yummy food!

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Carefully deciding between all the entree options

muslim couple on holiday cruise

The happy couple! We ate at the Manhattan Dining Room for our formal dinner’s

We decided to sail with Holland America mainly due to the fact that it fit our dates of travel, ports we were interested in, fit our budget and lastly was geared more towards adults/couple/mature cruisers rather than families/kids/college crowd.  The Nieuw Amsterdam ship is well-kept, constantly cleaned/maintained, is one of the newer/renovated ships, and what we truly appreciated about the ship was that majority of the staff on the ship was Muslim!  It was so nice to arrive to our cabin on the first day to be greeted with “as salam u alaikum” by our room steward, and then throughout our days on the ship to be greeted in the same manner by several workers several times a day.  In addition, whenever we wanted recommendations on what items were “halal” they always gave great suggestions.

Nieuw Amsterdam NY theme atrium muslim couple cruise

NY themed atrium and holiday decor that was not over-the-top-in-your-face

Holland America cruise review

The carpet in the elevator changed everyday so we made it a habit to take a picture with it everyday

Our room was cleaned several times a day, all our important papers/itineraries would be set out during the turn-down service, we never had to complain about getting extra towels/toiletries, nor did we have much trouble with our order during dining regardless if we went to the buffet or sit-down dining rooms.  At times at the buffet if we arrived late some of the items would not be available but there were always other choices for us to try.  As far as the food goes, it was decent American food, with huge salad bar, sandwich station, burger’s, entrees, desserts, to so much more that there were stations that we never even got a chance to try.

sting-ray towel animal

A towel animal was left every night during turn-down service along with the itinerary for next day

holiday cruise outfit hijab

Waiting in the Blues lounge for the live music to start. This became our go-to place after dinner every night. It was one of our favorites on the cruise.

Nieuw Amsterdam blues lounge

One of the live performer’s at the Blues lounge who was amazing along with the band!

Holland America recycled percussion show

Recycled Percussion was a great interactive show that was performed live one of the nights

cruise recycled percussion show

Umair was called up on stage during the show to “monkey” around

They had a few paid dining rooms, which we didn’t opt for trying out because we felt satisfied with the “non-paid” options, however one of the paid restaurants, Tamarind, had complementary lunch everyday so we did try that out one day it definitely was a nicer experience with a modern fixed menu.  The items on that menu were not items you could have gotten at the non-paid dining.

cruise muslim couple outfit

2nd formal night photo-op

cruise hijabi outfit maxi

Photo-op session before lunch at Tamarind’s bar area

Tamarind cruise lunch

Fancy salad for lunch at Tamarind

One of the port days we had early morning arrival, thus requested room-service for our breakfast.  We had filled out the menu the night before, and then selected the time slot we wanted delivery and our food arrived in the morning during that time.  We did hear of complaints from a few cruisers that they were not happy with the room service because it was quite delayed, and the items that they requested didn’t arrive, however that was not the case for us.  Room service is my jam!

hijabi cruise outfit maxi dress

Ocean breeze and the endless sea

We booked a window cabin that had a partially obstructed view, and while it was obstructed the window was a floor to ceiling window that allowed plenty of natural light to come through and gave us enough of a view to know when we were arriving land.  Our cabin was quite spacious with a king size bed, plenty of closet space, sitting space with small sofa, chair + table, and even the bathroom was decent size with vanity space for our toiletries.  Our cabin was located mid-ship on deck 4, where I felt would be the most comfortable to not feel motion or lots of noise.  While I did take motion sickness tablets the first day I didn’t feel the need to continue taking them throughout the cruise.

Niuew Amsterdam window cabin

Our room for the week

Holland America cabin

Opposite view of the room with closet, vanity + sitting area

Today’s review was mostly about the ship and overall experience.  In later posts I will share snaps of our time in Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.  In addition, talk about our excursions and what we thought of each island.

cruise food veggie curry

The last night of our cruise was “international cuisine” night so Umair ordered the veggie + tofu curry – not bad!

Last year for our December break we visited Colorado, and despite the cold we had a great time with all it’s picturesque beauty at Rocky Mountain National park, Loveland skiing, and Vail for New Year’s eve.  Check out our gallery here until you wait for part 2 of our cruise snaps.

Thank you so much for visiting and do let me know places you have cruised to or if you are planning to take  a cruise soon in the comments below!  I read each and every comment.

muslim couple holiday cruise

Last night on the cruise in the Manhattan Dining Room

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Memorable Quotes | Best of Oscars 2014

Happy Monday everyone!

Yesterday the husband and I watched the 86th annual Academy Awards. I for one love watching the red carpet live to see the dresses and all, then might watch the Oscars–this year was no different. Ellen Degeneres hosted keeping it funny like her usual self, and then we’d switch back and forth to watch the premier of The Voice.

In my opinion, all the “trending” actors & actress’ were spot on with their choice for outfits and accessories, no major blunders–accept for Jennifer Lawrence falling–once again. And a list of best dressed can be found on a million places online along with a list of winners for the night–I won’t be critiquing that.

The acceptance speeches were what blew me away. They were inspirational, genuine, and perfectly delivered. While I don’t look up to celebrities as heroes or role models, I will say they might have done a thing or two right in order to be successful and be where they are today. Here are my top favorite acceptance speech quotes from Oscar 2014 winners. Moral of the post–Believe in yourself!

1. Lupita Nyong’o |

When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.”

Lupita Nyongo in her beautiful "Nairobi blue" custom Prada dress.

Lupita Nyongo in her beautiful “Nairobi blue” custom Prada dress.

2. Matthew McConaughey | Thanked God, his family and his hero–who is himself.

My hero’s always 10 years away–I’m never going to attain that. That keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

Matthew McConaughey looking dashing in his white tux from D&G

Matthew McConaughey looking dashing in his white tux from D&G

3. Cate Blanchette |

Perhaps those of us in the industry clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche — they are not. Audiences want to see them, and they make money. The world is round, people!”

Cate Blanchette looking stunning in her Armani Prive illusion gown.

Cate Blanchette looking stunning in her Armani Prive illusion gown.

4. Kristen & Robert Lopez |

This song was inspired by our love for you [their girls], and hope you never let fear or shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are.”

Songwriters for Frozen, Let it Go.

Songwriters for Frozen, Let it Go.

Photo credit Getty image

That’s all for today. Have a wonderful Monday and week!

Food for Thought Thursday | Modesty in High End Designers

Hello everyone & happy Thursday!

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Today for Food for Thought Thursday I will discuss high end designers. I know all of us have window shopped and browsed online collections from Chanel, Gucci, Georgio Armani, Burberry, Christian Dior, Prada, Valentino, etc. because we’ve all lusted over their beautiful fabrics, designs and coveted many of their collections at one point or another.

As you all know here at AnUblog we are all about modest fashion. Soon after I moved to Chicago I found myself window shopping high end designers on Michigan Avenue and admiring all the chic ladylike collections. Regardless of which high end designer I admired I noticed they focused highly on clothes that showed little skin and modest fit while being nicely tailored. When I browse these designer collections I visually imagine how easily they can be transformed into a hijabi outfit by simply adding a head scarf/hijab or coat or slim pants/leggings/etc.

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I was visiting one of my favorite blog’s and style inspiration Style Pantry where Gucci’s 2014 Resort Collection was featured and again I couldn’t help but admire all the ladylike modest outfits. At times when we think of high end fashion we associate it with snobby or stuffy personalities, yet all these well dressed men and women adorning luxury designers look very polished and chic. While it’s impossible for many of us to wear head-to-toe designer and it is also harder to maintain many luxury items, why not just take inspiration from these designers rather than high street fashion?

High street fashion which is readily available to all of us, are very pocket friendly, and many times (stores like forever 21, H&M and Zara) are known for creating dupes of items from high end designers, however mainstream fashion still isn’t modest fashion, and very easily can a modest fashionista get overwhelmed at a high street store feeling like there is nothing chic and ladylike to wear.

My personal opinion is there is more to high end designer than just their high price tags or it could be that there has been a major shift into more ladylike fashion and it will eventually trickle down into mainstream fashion- just like every other fashion trend (or maybe I can be hopeful.)

What are your thoughts on this high end vs high street fashion?

Thank you for visiting!

P.S. All photos were taken by me,Ayesha, when I visited LA back in 2010 with my family.

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© Ayesha and Umair and AnUblog, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ayesha and Umair and www.AnUblog.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All opinions expressed are solely of Ayesha and Umair of www.AnUblog.com.

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