Review: The Girl on The Train

the girl on the train

Rachel takes the same train to work everyday. She watches one couple in their backyard, Jess and Jason, as she calls them. She imagines their fabulous life together, a life that is infinitely superior to hers.

But one day Rachel sees something she doesn’t expect. The next day, Megan aka Jess, goes missing and Rachel thinks she knows what happened.

She goes to the police with the information, and before she knows it, Rachel is tangled up in an investigation that somehow leads back to her.

(more…)

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Recipe: Sugar Cookies with Butter Icing

Sugar Cookies with Butter Frosting

So 3 years ago, I posted my first recipe here. Back in those days, I was mostly blogging about books, writing, and other random things. I was just getting into baking blogs and discovering the art of sharing recipes online, when I decided to share this recipe online.

If you go back and look at the pictures of those Sugar Cookies, you might laugh. I certainly did. The pictures are atrocious. The writing is sloppy. The instructions are messy. With that being said, the cookies themselves are amazing.

Sugar Cookies with Butter Frosting

Someone once described them as ‘cupcakes in cookie form’. The process can be a bit tedious, but the end result is delightful. These cookies are a classic and can be made any day. But whenever you do make them, they make that day special.

My brother recently got a DSLR camera so I decided I needed to make something special in order to test out his camera. And what better recipe than these cookies, the first recipe I ever posted on my blog, almost 3 years ago exactly?

Sugar Cookies with Butter Frosting

This recipe was due for an update anyways, so I decided to give the cookies a makeover so you all could make them easily. Check it out! (more…)

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Recipe: Shrimp Enchiladas in Jalapeño Cream Sauce

Shrimp Enchiladas in Jalapeno Cream Sauce

So I just got called a ‘culinary artist’ by an old friend in the comments of the instagram picture of this recipe. Guys, let me tell you something: I am not a culinary artist!

I was super flattered to receive the comment, but I wanted to tell you all that I am by no means an expert. I like to think of myself as a mad scientist when it comes to cooking. I make a mess and I sometimes look crazy doing it. I sometimes use measurements, but usually I don’t because I like to use my own gauge for things. Sometimes things turn out well (and I blog about them), but sometimes they don’t and I try again.

I love to cook, but I’m still learning. So use these recipes with that in mind! With that being said, let’s talk about these Shrimp Enchiladas in Jalapeño Cream Sauce.

Shrimp Enchiladas in Jalapeno Cream Sauce

Can we just talk about the sauce first? The sauce is to die for, guys! I am currently obsessed with fresh herbs. I never really used cilantro or basil in my cooking before, but now I just can’t get enough of the fresh taste they bring to dishes. There’s fresh cilantro in the cream sauce, along with jalapeños, which just matches so perfectly with the crunchy, shrimp filling inside.

Baked until the sauce is hot and bubbling, these enchiladas are best eaten on a cold, Winter day when you’re craving something warm and comforting. And what can be better than a dish served straight out of the oven?

The best part is that you can prepare the enchiladas in advance and refrigerate. Then all you have to do is pour the sauce on top, bake for half an hour, and voila! A comforting and yummy meal is at your table. So what are you waiting for?  (more…)

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Hello December

So it’s been almost a month since I last updated, yikes! After quitting my job at Chapters last month, I thought things would be nice and slow and relaxing, but they definitely haven’t been!

I’ve been listening to the new Taylor Swift album pretty much on repeat. And when that wasn’t enough, I went out and bought the physical album because it was that awesome (don’t judge me). The last time I bought a physical CD was back in high school and it was Hilary Duff. -_- It’s such a fun CD to listen to, and totally takes me mind off wedding jitters (who needs nerves when you’re jamming to Blank Space?!)

I also got back into reading! In my last few days of work I bought a few books and in my attempts to start reading more ‘adult fiction’, the first title I selected was Bone Season. It’s too bad that it didn’t end up being the best book, but it did get back into reading! It started off strong, but I lost interest pretty early on. There was just way too much to keep track of and I had to force myself to finish it by the last third. But I’m glad I’m done, because I can finally start to tackle some of the books that have been on my shelves for months. Some examples include: Alif the Unseen, The Name of the Wind, Cress, and Longbourn. What should I read next?

I also finished marathoning Gossip Girl. Again, don’t judge me! I started it merely out of curiosity more than a month ago and it was so addictive, I kept going! There were so many things wrong with it, so it was more of a guilty pleasure than anything else.

But what I spent the bulk of the month doing was preparing for a party that my parents threw for me just last week. I had a vision for the party and tried to organize it the best I could to make it happen. There were a few setbacks, like my dress not fitting properly and the banquet hall screwing up with some of the decor, but alhamdulilah it went well for the most part. There were some emotional speeches and moments, and it all just made me realise how lucky I truly am. :)

Anyways, I’m hoping I can update both my blogs a little more, start skipping again, and get back to eating healthy. Those are my goals for this month…what are yours? Hope you all had a good November :)

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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The End of an Era

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So yesterday was my last day at work, and what I like to think of as an end to an era.

Can an era be only two years long? Apparently it can, because as I hugged one of my managers goodbye at the end of my closing shift last night, that’s exactly what it felt like was ending as I walked towards my car.

Like many bookloving Canadians, I grew up dreaming of one day working at Chapters. As the only large bookstore chain in Canada, it was my favourite place as a kid. I still remember spending all of my Eid money on books every year and then making my list for the next year. I still remember the excitement I felt when my mom drove me to the store and let me browse the shelves.

Two years ago when I first applied to work at Chapters, I applied for any and every job that was available. The one that I ended up getting was a stocking job and started at 5 AM. I still remember the sense of excitement that filled me, regardless of the early start, when I found out I got the job.

While the 5 AM shifts weren’t exactly ideal, I was still filled with wonder and awe at the idea of working where I’d always dreamed of as a kid. Naturally, my wonder quickly disappeared and was soon replaced by being jaded, as the love of books became secondary to so many other things.

During my year at teacher’s college when I was just always stressed, work ceased to be a place of joy for me and just another place of stress. I no longer worked 5 AMs but did the same job on the weekends, because I was in downtown Toronto everyday. I was constantly tired and being around books didn’t give me the joy it always did.

Flash forward to the end of teacher’s college. I decided to switch from tasking (the stocking job) to a sales job. It looked like a lot more fun because I would actually be able to share my love of books and stories with other people, instead of just stocking the shelves.

Work became a place of escape at this point as I struggled to find my next steps after finishing a gruelling year of teacher’s college. I rediscovered my love for children’s books and bought every kid I knew my favourite books.

Over the past few months, I ceased to find joy in work again since my personal life became quite busy. As thoughts of my wedding consumed my mind and wedding preparations took over my life, I stopped reading and buying books obsessively.

After I gave my two weeks notice, I began counting down my days to my last day because I just had so much to do and couldn’t wait to be done. But last night, as I walked through the empty store for the last time at 10:30 pm, I wished that I had enjoyed it a little more before leaving.

As I walked through the Teen section, my favourite section, straightening up piles of books and shelves, I was struck by the fact that I had been so lucky.

As a kid, I had always wanted to work at Chapters. And my dream came true. Alhamdulilah.

We are often so obsessed with the dreams that don’t come true that sometimes we don’t appreciate the dreams that do (even the small ones).

Despite how hectic my personal life was in the past two years, despite how stressed out I was, I now realise that I was living my dream. And for that I’m grateful.

Even though I was counting down to my last day, I now realise that I’m definitely going to miss being around books and book-loving people all day. There are friends I made there that I normally wouldn’t have, just because we bonded over our mutual love of stories and books. There are moments that happened there that I will never forget, like meeting author Morgan Rhodes. And I definitely can’t forget about missing the wonderful discount I got!

It was a wonderful opportunity. Now onto the next adventure!

Thanks for reading,

Ikhlas

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