Tag Archives: Holiday

Travel Diary | Cruise St. Thomas, USVI Port – 4

Hi loves & Happy Valentines day!

St. Thomas USVI cruise port

What a breathtaking, picturesque island!

Today I’m sharing with you our favorite stop on the Caribbean cruise, St. Thomas.  Oh my, was it alluring from every 360 angle.  We took loads of snaps on the USVI  because it was so scenic.  We definitely will love to visit this island again in the future.

iguana on st. thomas cruise

On our arrival, we were greeted by this fella’ and his friends since we were waiting for the shops to open. Quite friendly!

We arrived at St. Thomas early in the morning on Christmas day, and were worried that tours would be cancelled and stores closed, however since the “cruise ships” actually own the port areas they were a little late in opening but everything did run smoothly for the rest of the day.

St. thomas paradise point cruise

The husband and I with the gorgeous views. The yellow sticker was to show we were with the tour.

St. Thomas USVI cruise

Lush greenery and lovely scenery. Just imagine living in one of those houses on the mountains.

For our excursion on the island we decided to do a full island tour that included a gondola ride up Paradise point, then a tour up the mountains to enjoy the island from every angle.  The tour guide and the rest of the tourists were all friendly, but mostly elderly, however we didn’t mind since it was our first time on the island and still  made the most of our time there.

Paradise point st. thomas cruise

Paradise point gondola — how scenic!

St. Thomas USVI

Posing with the islands

Magen's bay usvi cruise

50 shades of blue on Magen’s Bay

After the tour through the mountains and picture-perfect views the tour guide asked if anyone wanted to stop at the shopping area, and since we still had a few hours before the cruise departed we stopped at the massive luxury shopping area to mostly window shop.  To our surprise most of the jewelry shops were owned by South Asians and we got to chit chat with them to find out they have been living on St. Thomas for most of their lives (how lucky, and they can visit the US anytime they want).

the shops St. Thomas cruise

The shopping area overview before our tour started

shopping area st. thomas

The famous shopping area of St. Thomas–had to check it out.

We had a great time on St. Thomas, and if we get to go back we are definitely going to check out the famous Magen’s bay, and St. John.  I highly recommend this island to anyone interested in beautiful views, luxury shopping and clean, natural beaches (my meaning of “natural” will be discussed in the next post about Half Moon Cay, Bahamas).

St. Thomas USVI cruise

Can’t wait to come back!

If you missed our previous cruise posts, check out part one, two, and three.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day & weekend.  And remember love day is everyday.

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Travel Diary | Cruise San Juan, Puerto Rico Port – 3

Happy Monday all!

My apologies for taking a hiatus after Grand Turk post, however I have been completely swamped with studies.  I know this is how it will be for majority of this year so please bare with me as I try to get new posts up slower than usual.

San Juan Port Cruise

Overview of San Juan right before entering the cruise port

San Juan Fort

View of Fort from our cruise

Puerto Rico, was a beautiful stop on our cruise of the Eastern Caribbean.  It had been a place I was wishing to visit and I was excited to find a cruise itinerary that worked for us with a stop at San Juan, PR.

San Juan cruise yacht island

Beautiful yachts and boats area next to the cruise port

For our excursion in San Juan, we decided to take a trip over to the rainforest, El Yunque. This excursion was almost 5 hours long since it took almost an hour to get to the rainforest from the cruise port. The husband and I enjoy nature and scenic activities, thus we thought this would be a fun way to explore a part of Puerto Rico that not many tourists may get a chance to explore. Also, we figured once we got back from the rainforest we would still have some time to explore areas of Old San Juan.

El Yunque Puerto Rico cruise

The visitor center area in El Yunque

El Yunque rainforest

A waterfall area in the visitor center

El Yunque rainforest puerto rico

Waterfall in the rainforest…can you spot Umair?

El yunque rainforest puerto rico

Serene water area in the rainforest

After almost 3 hours in the forest we left without covering much ground. We found out that some areas of the rainforest were restricted to tours on buses. Thus, that was somewhat a disappointment, however I had gotten a headache from being on the bus therefore I was happy to head back to Old San Juan and explore on foot.

streets of San Juan

Colorful buildings of Old San Juan

old san juan

Another shot of the beautiful streets and buildings

The cruise port was walking distance to Old San Juan where we were able to see the beautiful brick streets and colorful building that I have admired from pictures for many years. This area is quite small and of course, touristy. We had about 2 hours left before our cruise departed the island so we made the most of it by walking around the local shops. We did want to check out one of the forts on the island, however we weren’t sure if we will be able to make it back in time so we resisted that urge and admired the forts from afar.

old san juan

Island overview from Old San Juan. In the background are the mountains where the rainforest was, and the cruises were docked where the ocean is.

For the 8 hours that we were on the island, we were still able to explore a lot since we got to see new San Juan on our bus tour, along with some of the rainforest and the beauty of old San Juan. It was a nice long, somewhat exhausting day but it was worthwhile. Our tour guide was friendly, but very talkative to the point where he was talking about personal stories that I didn’t feel fit the mood of the tour. I would definitely recommend checking out El Yunque rainforest if your are in Puerto Rico as it has beauty that can’t be found other places.

If you missed part 1 on the cruise, and part 2 on Grand Turk do check them out. Thank you for visiting, and have a great week!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Travel Diary | Cruise Grand Turk Port – 2

Hi all,

blue beach island

Island overview of Grand Turk right before our ship arrived at the port

Grand Turk, of Turks and Caicos island was the first port on our cruise itinerary.  I had heard so much about these islands that I was so excited that it was going to be one of the ports on our holiday cruise.  This island, however was quite small– which was a disappointment, and if we didn’t have two excursions planned for the day I’m pretty sure we would have headed back to our ship stateroom after a few hours on the island.

cruise beach tourists

Cruisers heading into the island

We booked all our excursion through Holland America after our first day on the ship. There was an informative meeting held by the on-board excursion staff who helped us decided exactly which excursion’s we would like to do on each island. We decided to book through the cruise and not on the island mainly due to security of knowing they were Holland America approved, we would get English speaking tour guides, would be “mostly” on time, and HA keeps track of feedback from cruisers.

turks and caicos island beach holiday

Downtown Grand Turk –quite small!

As soon as we got off the ship everyone lined up by where their excursion was departing from, or headed straight to the closest beach. We weren’t there for beach time so we didn’t even bother going to the beach.

boat beach blue water island

Heading on a boat to our semi-submarine excursion to see marine life

In order to get to our submarine excursion we had to first take a short ride on a small boat. I was so thankful that I took my motion sickness medicine before getting off the ship otherwise I would have been sick the whole time and it would have been such a waste to not enjoy our semi-submarine excursion.

semi sub truks and caicos boat

Our yellow submarine!

The staff of the semi-submarine excursion were courteous, polite, informative and funny. The staff emphasized safety since many of the tourist on the excursion were elderly, thus nothing was hurried. The actual semi-submarine was quite small and could seem claustrophobic for some. The windows to look out to the marine life were also small and we weren’t able to take great pictures, however we still had a great time since seeing the marine life of Grand Turk is one of the highlights of the island.

grand turk semi sub scuba diving

The captain of the submarine decided to scuba dive with the marine life

IMG_5600

Here is the captain showing off his scuba diving skills by making these bubbles

The underwater marine life was beautiful to watch, we got to see so many beautiful coral for miles, lots of different fish and sea creatures, and there was even an area in the ocean that takes an immediate dip/edge of ocean where you can only see darkness since no natural light reaches there–kinda scary.

coral reef blue sea

Beautiful coral reef– pictures don’t do justice.

Our first excursion was about two hours long, thus we booked an ATV adventure tour around the island a hour after. With the ATV tour we were able to check out the “land” portion of the entire island without having to walk around, and it was fun driving an ATV for the first time.

atv adventure cruise excursion

Getting ready for excursion #2 on Grand Turk

Here is Umair getting information for our ATV adventure tour.  This tour was suppose to start at 11am, however it ran late since only two other couple’s were signed up and I guess the company was waiting to see if anyone else wanted to sign up before we went on the tour.  What made the ATV company then start the tour (30 minutes late) was the fact that the cruise excursion staff kept checking in on each excursion staff on the island to make sure they were on schedule (another reason to book through the cruise).

island tour

Island lighthouse we saw on our ATV island tour

cruise beach

Here I am in my “fancy” orange vest we had to wear for the ATV excursion

island tour cruise

The sun was bright! We could hardly keep our eyes open to pose.

beach island shells

Beautiful full size conch we saw all over the island

The ATV island tour excursion was great because it was on a ATV and we had fun driving it around the island, however the tour itself was mediocre since we quickly realized that it is a very small island with “downtown” being the hotspot for the island. On the ATV tour we drove 360 around the island, driving on the left side (British system) and staying mostly on the street thus it being a “street tour” rather than an actual sightseeing tour which we thought the island offered. It wasn’t the tour companies fault it is just how the island is laid out–the main attraction being the ocean life/beach, not the actual island.

island excursion

There had to be the ATV shot, of course!

marine life island

Tentacles of a jellyfish–how amazing. On one of the stops in our ATV island tour we stopped by at an area where we got to see some marine life up close.

live marine shell

This was the first time we got to see the animal living inside the conch shell. Some of our fellow cruisers said they had eaten it many times and enjoyed it. I don’t know about that, but it was fun to see up close.

sea life marine

Sea urchin–how cute!

During the tour we made a few stops along different “hideaway” beach spots which weren’t fancy or clean like the actual downtown beach, however during these spots we learned a little bit more about the history of the island and got to see/touch some sea creatures up close.

grand turk marine life animal

This is a brain coral with a interesting looking starfish on top of it.

The ATV tour guides were friendly, had great humor, spoke proper English (with slight accent), and made an otherwise boring island tour actually something enjoyable. However, if we were to re-visit this island we wouldn’t take or recommend any “land” tour.

beach life island vacation

Serene blue ocean of Grand Turk

Last week I blogged about our overall cruise experience on Holland America. If you missed it you can check it out here. Next blog post will be on our second port stop, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Happy New Year!

2015 new year sparkler firework

Created with sparklers by my cousins, sister, myself and the husband on the camera side

Hi all & happy first Wednesday of 2015!

I’m back from my vacation and feeling refreshed to start the new year.  January for me is the transition month especially since in Chicago it is one of the coldest it makes me want to stay indoors, cuddle up in a fuzzy blanket, and then February is truly when the year begins!  However, staying in is not a option since my classes for the new quarter started this week and my husband is back at work.

Ft. Lauderdale cruise port

Ft. Lauderdale cruise port

We went on a seven day eastern Caribbean cruise which disembarked from a Florida port so it worked out in our favor to also visit family for a few days. This was the first time the husband and I vacationed on a cruise.  It was a great experience that we would highly recommend to those who love having prepared food always available, not having to plan an itinerary for vacation and disconnecting from the world wide web since internet service is not readily available.  I will share more about our seven day cruise in upcoming posts where I will try talk in detail about each port we visited, excursions we did, and what we liked/disliked about each island.

colorful flowers

Fresh flowers to welcome in the new year

On New Year’s eve we decided to do a small bbq with my Miami family. We cooked up some yummy hot dog’s (Chicago style, of course), beef burgers, delicious chicken tikka and bihari kabab– which didn’t turn out as great as we wanted but of course we still ate it all up. After the bbq we did our own firework show where we created fun words/shapes with sparklers. Here are a few snaps from the night.

halal chicago style hot dog

Yummy Chicago style hot dog’s with some chaat masala

halal bbq burger

My dad’s colorful plate

bihari kabab on skewers

I took charge of putting the bihari kabab on the skewers, however got the marination done with the help of my SIL

fries with chaat masala

No bbq is complete without french fries with chaat masala

mint cilantro chutney

My SIL created spicy cilantro and mint chutney to accompany our chicken tikka and bihari kabab

fireworks

Our firework for the night

excited for fireworks

Me excited with fireworks

A & U heart sparklers

Isn’t this adorable? I created the A, Umair did the U, and my sister helped with the heart

sparkle written with sparklers

Sparkle bright my loves! 2015 is yours to make as you wish!

Thank you for visiting and being part of this blogging journey with us.  I truly do appreciate each and every visitor to the site, and read every comment left after each post–those totally make my day!  Umair and I wish you all a healthy and blessed 2015.

Thanks to my sister for taking some of these awesome snaps!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Travel Diary | Colorado – 2

Us at Vail Village on New Year's Eve.

Winter love at Vail Village on New Year’s Eve.

Peace be upon you

This is a continuation of travel diary from Colorado (more snaps in last post). This post will feature our wonderful time in Vail, where we spent New Year’s Eve, and breathtaking snaps from Garden of the Gods which was in Colorado Springs.

Walking around Vail Village

Walking around Vail Village. It was a beautiful mix of Disney World and Swiss Alps.

Vail was full of skiiers!

Vail was bursting with skiers!

Us going up the mountains in Vail on a scenic gondola ride.

Us going up the mountains in Vail on a scenic gondola ride.

Beautiful mountain scenery

Beautiful mountain scenery

Panoramic view of the breathtaking mountains in Vail.

Panoramic view of the breathtaking mountains in Vail. (click to enlarge)

Taking in the view before tubing down the mountain.

Taking in the view before tubing down the mountain.

This tubing area was located at 10,000 ft. elevation.

This tubing area was located at 10,000 ft. elevation.

An ice skating rink in Vail Village

A pretty ice skating rink in Vail Village

Enjoyed walking around to take in the dreamy views

Enjoyed walking around to take in the dreamy scenery

Lots of tourists & shops in Vail Village

Lots of tourists & shops in Vail Village

Garden of Gods

Garden of the Gods

Breathtaking red canyons. It's hard to believe that these canyons are so close to snow covered mountains. (click to enlarge)

Breathtaking red canyons. It’s hard to believe that these canyons are so close to snow covered mountains. (click to enlarge)

IMG_1973

SubhanAllah – how pretty!

Kissing Camels

Kissing Camels

In front of Kissing Camels

In front of Kissing Camels

If you look closely you will see two men, one is on top of the canyon and the other is hiking up. Kind of gives you a perspective on the size of the rocks.

Us posing with the formation Three Graces

Us posing with the formation Three Graces

IMG_2022

Just beautiful!

IMG_2034

Courtesy of the husband for these candid shots!

IMG_2042

How amazing are these! Called Cathedral Spires

Just being silly!

Just being silly!

How amazing are these Siamese Twins

How amazing are these Siamese Twins

The Siamese Twins beautifully frame Pikes Peak-- look closely behind us

The Siamese Twins beautifully frame Pikes Peak– look closely behind us

This rock formation wasn't mentioned on the guide, however to us it looked like a praying man. What do you think?

This rock formation wasn’t mentioned in the guide, however to us it looked like a praying man. What do you think?

Thank you visiting!

Celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr 1434 H

Happy Monday everyone!

20130812-112053.jpg
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and all my Muslim family & friends a great Eid weekend.

20130812-124831.jpg
The husband and I headed over to Suburbs on Wednesday night since Eid had not been declared and we figured it would be best to be ready for either Thursday or Friday Eid.

20130812-125456.jpg
At 10:45 p.m. Wednesday night Chicago Hilal committee announced Eid to be on Friday based on no moon being sighted and then literally 30 minutes later they retracted the statement saying moon was sighted in some areas and therefore Eid-ul-Fitr will be on Thursday! Alhamdulillah the joys of moon sighting. We were reminded in the Eid khutbah (sermon) that we are constantly being tested and it is only Allah(swt) who decides what is best, and in this case what day was best to celebrate Eid this year.

20130812-114236.jpg
It was a beautiful sunny day, and we spent most of the day eating and catching up with family and friends.

20130812-114447.jpg

|HOOTD deets|

Our outfits were both from Pakistan including most of the accessories except some jewelry which were given to me as gifts.
Ayesha’s shoes- Pelle Moda from DSW

What did you do this past weekend?

Thank you for visiting!

Follow our blog with Bloglovin

© 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

Fashion Show Style | Making the Look “Modest” Part II

Happy Wednesday everyone!

As promised this is part II from Macy’s American Icon’s fashion show I attended last week. If you missed part I or want to see the looks click here.

Sorry again for somewhat blurry pictures. The captions give my review and feedback on how to make the look “modest.” If you enjoy these inspirational pictures then please comment below. Enjoy!

This fun tie dyed maxi dress is already perfect for modest wear.  Just add a long sleeve outerwear!

This fun tie dyed maxi dress is already perfect for modest wear. Just add a long sleeve outerwear!

While this looks needs a lot of adjusting to become "modest" what I love is the camo print.  This look needs a longer yellow top covering the midriff and instead of camo shorts just switch out for pants.

While this looks needs a lot of adjusting to become “modest” what I love is the camo print. This look needs a longer yellow top covering the midriff and instead of camo shorts just switch out for pants.

I love the pop of yellow in this look and the tie dyed inner shirt which gives this look more unique.  The only thing I would do to change this look is add shirts that are longer and jeans that are looser.

I love the pop of yellow in this look and the tie dyed inner shirt which gives this look more unique. The only thing I would do to change this look is add shirts that are longer and jeans that are looser.

 

Love the outerwear jacket on this men's look.

Love the outerwear jacket on this men’s look.

What a great ladylike look for a picnic or just strolling an outdoor market.

What a great ladylike look for a picnic or just strolling an outdoor market.

Love the denim top, I would just adjust it so the midriff region doesn't show.

Love the denim top, I would just adjust it so the midriff region doesn’t show.

This is a great running errands look, the white can be switched for a long sleeve tee and it will become modest.

This is a great running errands look, the white can be switched for a long sleeve tee and it will become modest.

A perfect night out with the girls look! If the jeans look to body hugging then they can be switched for ones  to your comfort level.

A perfect night out with the girls look! If the jeans look to body hugging then they can be switched for ones to your comfort level.

A basic but well put together look.

A basic but well put together look.

Loving all the chic white and black looks.  A black long sleeve tee can be added under the tank or a blazer for more coverage.

Loving all the chic white and black looks. A black long sleeve tee can be added under the tank or a blazer for more coverage.

Maxi dresses are so simple but great for warm weather.  To this look a long cardigan can be added or just a black long sleeve tee.

Maxi dresses are so simple but great for warm weather. To this look a long cardigan can be added or just a black long sleeve tee.

Another great ladylike black and white look.

Another great ladylike black and white look.

A nicely detailed little black dress! A blazer can be added with some nice black leggings to finish off the look and make it modest.

A nicely detailed little black dress! A blazer can be added with some nice black leggings to finish off the look and make it modest.

Men's suit for any occasion is always a good idea.  What is great about this suit is light grey color with black dress shirt underneath.

Men’s suit for any occasion is always a good idea. What is great about this suit is light grey color with black dress shirt underneath.

Thank you for visiting!

Follow our blog with Bloglovin

© 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.

Fashion Show Style | Making the Look “Modest” Part I

Happy Monday everyone!

Last week I attended an event hosted by Macy’s which showcased the quintessential American fashion designers, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Levi’s. With Memorial day just a week away and 4th of July just a little over a month away, I thought this fashion show gave great inspiration on how to style for the upcoming holiday’s.

Following the fashion show I mingled a bit with the hosts, Daniel Musto and Anne Vincent. Daniel is the celebrity stylist for Fashion Star and Anne is Market Stylist for Vogue. I asked Daniel to help me pick out some fun tops and he enthusiastically walked around Macy’s with me to help me choose a few tops and then even give me some styling tips. While he is great at what he does and had some great pairing suggestions, I realized that it is very true that most designer and stylist get very confused when it comes to hijabi fashion styling. As we started to walk around Macy’s picking out tops I mentioned that I can wear almost any top, even sleeveless, however I would need to know what color long-sleeve tee or blazer/outerwear to pair with and at that point I got the feeling that he seemed a little confused as to what I meant. Nonetheless, he was a sweetheart and I still picked up good styling suggestions from him.

Now for the best part, I will share the looks from the fashion show and give tips on how to make each look more hijabi friendly which to me is synonymous with being ladylike.

The show featured about 26 looks for both women and men, thus I will be breaking this post into two parts. The second part will be posted on Wednesday. Read the captions on each pic for my tips (sorry in advance for somewhat blurry pic, as it was hard to capture the models on the runway.)

American Icon Fashion show hosts, Daniel Musto and Anne Vincent

Macy’s Iconic American Fashion show hosts, Daniel Musto and Anne Vincent. Isn’t Anne’s look so perfectly ladylike?!

 

IMG_0878

Look at those fun boat shoes! I doubt Umair will ever be willing to wear such a pop of color.

White pants/leggings can be added for leg coverage to this denim jacket and dress.

White pants/leggings can be added for leg coverage to this denim jacket and dress for the modest look. And tank/cami for extra coverage up top.

 

Love the shoes & bag!

Love the shoes & bag!

 

IMG_0885

I’m digging this light colored/weight blazer!

The short skirt can be switched out for a slimmer maxi skirt or even white trouser pants.

The short skirt can be switched out for a slimmer maxi skirt or even white trouser pants.

 

Love this look because it's already very ladylike!

Love this look because it’s already very ladylike!

 

The shorts in this look can be swapped for some printed pants or just jeans.

The shorts in this look can be swapped for some printed pants or just jeans.

 

This shoe pic is an example to show how you can incorporate some pop of color like orange.

This shoe pic is to show how you can incorporate some pop of color like orange.

 

Blazers for men are essential to  pull together a look.

Blazers for men are essential to pull together a look.

 

The dress colors are beautiful and can be modest by adding black leggings and long-sleeve tee or blazer.

This beautiful dress and can be modest by adding black leggings and long-sleeve tee or blazer. Look at those killer heels!

 

Very ladylike look! For more coverage on the hands just add a coordinating long sleeve tee.

Very ladylike look! For more coverage on the arms just add a coordinating long-sleeve tee.

 

Just add a blazer/long-sleeve tee to make it modest and some leggings.  Love the mirror image print!

Just add a blazer/long-sleeve tee to make it modest and some leggings. Love the mirror image print!

 

Add long-sleeve tee, slim pants/leggins for extra coverage.  Another beautiful mirror image floral dress!

Add long-sleeve tee, slim pants/leggins for extra coverage.

 

Full look

Full look of the beautiful dress with the shoes.

 

Men's look with scarf that can be used with other outfits.

Men’s look with scarf that can be used with other outfits.

 

Great back detail on the jacket.

Great back detail on the jacket.

 

Replace the shorts with red denim pants, and put on the denim jacket for the modest look.  Love the boho vibe of this outfit.

Replace the shorts with red denim pants, and put on a denim jacket for the modest look. Love the boho vibe of this outfit.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this fashion inspiration & remember to visit on Wednesday for part II.

 

Follow our blog with Bloglovin

© 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.

 

%d bloggers like this: