This year, my friends and I chose a Peruvian restaurant for our Birthday Iftar celebration. My friend’s husband’s birthday is on the 16th of July. My birthday falls on the 15th of the same month. So we’ve been doing a one day celebration with our groups of friends for the past two years.
Tesoro is a fine dining Peruvian concept located at the new Taj Hotel Dubai. The place has a very eclectic and modern feel to it. It’s also very spacious with a huge terrace overlooking the Burj Khalifah.
Thankfully, everyone had a great time and loved the tasty creations by the Chefs at Tesoro.
So, another year has passed. I’m 35, single and still looking for a suitable job or paid internship in Dubai.
I’m grateful for the good friends that I have in this magical city, and those who shared my special day with me.
I’m also blessed for being able to constantly learn new things and new ways to develop and grow – both professionally and personally.
I’m thankful for the experiences that I had and that I continue to have. Like doing random activities, meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures, and discovering something new along the way.
What’s my plan for future days?
Honestly, I think it’s time for me to be more self-involved and self-centered. Nothing can be more disappointing to a diva than investing time and energy into projects or people and not getting similar vibes in return.
Some people like to put their self-interests first, set their own rules, and then expect others to entertain them. Well, I can publicly declare that I’m not Mother Teresa and that I never will be!
When I give someone my time, it’s because I genuinely want to. But I also have realistic expectations to be treated in the same way!
Basically, it’s now time for me to focus more on my career and personal life. I need to eventually land a full-time role that I enjoy doing. I also need to find a loving and supportive partner.
As for this blog – a project that has been so exciting to work on, and very close to my heart. It was an honest representation of my life, my struggles, my dreams and aspirations.
The time for this website to end is getting near. But I have plans to start another blog with a different niche. You can stay updated with my news and new blog news by following me on social media:
My previous Top 10 List was about being raised by parents from the Gulf region. I come from a moderately conservative family. We are not liberal, but we’re also not extremely conservative or religious. Here’s a link for that post if you missed it.
Today’s list includes the top 10 things that I like about being a blogger. I started this blog in September 2012 to showcase my writing to potential employers. Now, it’s more of a hobby and sometimes feels like a full-time role!
I present to you the top reasons that keep me hooked to writing blog posts:
I can work from almost any location that I feel like working from. Writing blog posts can be done from the comfort of my bed, a cafe across the road, or even from the beach if I had the time and luxury of carrying around a laptop, and a beach bag full of beach essentials.
I can write posts at any time of the day. On most days, I have a couple of things to get done. So, blogging is something that might not come at the top of my priority list. That’s when I can write in the evenings – when most people are watching TV, reading, socializing, or out having dinner or drinks. This point can be a disadvantage to blogging too. But that will be discussed in another post 🙂
I get to do creative work, that I choose myself, without any supervision or editing from another party. Unlike working for a publishing house and adhering to certain rules and regulations, blogging gives the writer the freedom of expression and writing within their personal set of rules and limitations.
I get invited to review restaurant meals, spa treatments and other cool stuff. When I first started the blog, I was reviewing these things anyway, because I enjoyed it. After some time of hard work, the blog gained more followers and I started to get invites to review meals, and other stuff. The only issue these days is that, with my University course work, I don’t have the same free time I used to have when I first started the blog. That’s why, I don’t write as many reviews as I used to in the past.
Being a blogger means that I’m considered as a media person. This grants me access to events as press. It also allows me to network with other media professionals, and others from the media industry.
One thing that I really like about blogging is meeting other bloggers. Whether they are based in the same city, or on another continent, it’s always great to meet like-minded people. Most bloggers share many traits in common; they are interesting, determined and curious individuals. We love to learn new things, and we are pretty good in taking action.
Blogging allows me to share my thoughts, experiences, views and ideas with my readers. It makes me so ecstatic to hear that a reader found my post insightful, or that they learned so many things from it. It equally brightens my day when someone tells me that what I wrote resonates with their own experience very strongly.
I love that blogging has helped me practice – and hopefully – improve my writing skills. I think most of all, it gave me the confidence that I needed to keep writing. It helped me stay focused on my goal of becoming a better writer and journalist.
It helped me build on my social and networking skills. I started to attend all kinds of events when I started this blog. This was mainly to meet new people and to generate blog content. It was very exciting to meet people from different backgrounds and industries. At that time, I was mixing with people from the fashion, arts, food or media industries. That fitted well with the blog concept, as I was writing a lifestyle blog that covered all these topics. Nowadays, I still enjoy attending random events. But due to my time constraints, I have to be more selective with the events that I choose to attend. Of course once I’m done with my course, I should be able to attend more events and network with people from various communities.
Being a blogger who doesn’t outsource anything to another party means that you need a set of multiple skills. I truly enjoy being the following:
The editor who comes up with the idea for the post.
The photographer who takes the pictures for the post.
The writer and editor who writes and then edits the words and images.
The marketing and PR person who promotes the blog.
The social media person who promotes the blog and the posts on social media.
The communications person who attends events and tells people about the blog.
The entrepreneurial spirit who constantly goes through ups and downs, but never gives up.
As you can see, blogging is a very fun and engaging way to communicate with others and express your feelings and thoughts through words. I love hearing positive feedback as much as I love hearing critical remarks. So feel free to leave a comment or not 🙂
The next post will be a list of the things that I don’t like about being a blogger. So stay tuned for that!
Till then, Have a wonderful weekend ahead. No matter how you choose to spend it!
If you need some introduction about life in the Gulf region, and a general idea of the social structure there, you can check out my previous cultural post, titled: The “Bubble” Life.
Today’s topic is somewhat relevant. It can also be considered more of a personal topic since I’ll be talking about my specific story.
Most Arab parents tend to be over-protective with varied degrees of controlling behavior when dealing with their children. You’d think that these strict and firm ways of upbringing would gradually lessen as the kids grow older, but the truth of the matter is that they never do.
Most Arab parents like to plan their children’s future lives, and be in control of their education, career, love life, marriage and daily life decisions!
Unless a daughter is married to another man and moves out of her parents house, she continues to live by the rules of the parents. No matter how old she gets, or what her status is (employed, jobless, student, PHD graduate), she is forever subject to the rules of the parents. And they are eternally responsible for her every move, decision, and personal freedom in general.
Of course, there’s always a positive side to every bad situation. Parents in the Gulf Region and most Arab countries also continue to support their daughters financially for as long as they have to. But that financial support doesn’t come without a price tag. It is coupled with the obsessive controlling behavior from the parents side.
My post is not meant to portray a negative image about the Arab or GCC culture. It’s more of a realistic explanation of my personal story and background. Since moving to the UAE in 2010, I constantly get asked by people from various expat countries about the method or way by which I am able to support myself financially, and that is usually followed by a certain amount of surprise and words like: “You are lucky.”
That’s why I decided to write a series of cultural, social and personal posts to clarify some aspects of Arab and GCC culture. I don’t mean to generalize though. I can only speak about my own personal experience and that of the society that I grew up in.
I also get asked about how we spend our weekends in the Gulf. Well, most of us in Saudi would either hang out with girlfriends at the local mall, cafe, or restaurant. We tend to spend some time at home too. We can have gatherings, dinner parties or house parties too! But, these would be exclusive to girls only. Since in Saudi and in most Gulf countries, the society is mainly gender segregated. You might ask, but who are you to talk about this lifestyle? Well, I grew up in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and I didn’t attend an International school. I actually went to an all-girls elite private school, where an Arabic curriculum was being taught. So I can say that I lived a traditional Arab lifestyle for the most part of my life…
I can elaborate about my life in Saudi in another post, but let’s get straight into the topic of this post. It all goes back to a quote that my dad made at one of his short visits to Dubai…we were talking about some general stuff, when he utters the words: “The way it goes is that one should only be going to work, and then straight back home.”
To make things clear, my dad is not a sociable person whatsoever. He literally practices what he was preaching in the phrase that I just mentioned. But that’s his choice, his life, his decision. And I don’t judge him for it, or wish if he would change it. Honestly I don’t.
But what I thought was hilarious and if I dare to say a bit insane in those words that he directed to me was this: If I choose to listen to his advise and to follow it to the nines, then how on earth would I possibly meet a potential partner?! 😀
I have somewhat weird parents. They have unrealistic expectations of the world, their own children and the people surrounding them.
They live in a bubble of their own creation, and they expect people, events, and everything around them to follow the rules of that imaginary and non-existent bubble. They live with the illusion that everyone and everything must match their own distorted image of the world surrounding them. They are extremely opinionated and will stick to their unrealistic and distorted views no matter what happens or what anyone tells them. They are also not open to hearing other views that conflict with their own. They will just cut you off, will stop listening and will not engage in any form of discussion. (That’s mostly my mom, although my father doesn’t like to listen to varying opinions either!).
They impose highly unrealistic rules, standards, and expectations on every life aspect you can imagine. These rules only exist in their “1960’s generation” heads.
This was only a brief and short explanation of my parents and the way they are. I can talk more about this topic in another post.
Now the problem is that these days, my University course requirements and blogging don’t leave me with much free time to go out and meet new people. So, instead of spending my evenings going out to night spots or events, I find myself sitting at Starbucks or on my bed writing blog posts! But that’s OK, because once I’m done with this course in two semesters from now, I should have more time to go out and mingle 🙂
Basically, I will make it my life mission to meet as many new people as possible. Truth to be told, it will take a lifetime for me to reverse my previously closed and restricted GCC lifestyle! I’m so glad to have the privilege to do that…and if you think I’m a super-lucky girl, just be reminded that each one of us has an equal amount of suffering. And that financial freedom and stability are not the only elements that guarantee a happy and peaceful life.
I hope that I could make part of my story more clear to some of you who might be intrigued to know. And for anyone interested in learning more about the Gulf region, its culture, and lifestyle, stay tuned to this blog…
So the plan was to take a creative photo with my new Nikon for this post, but because I’m tight on time and honestly too tired, I decided to just use an online image.
Many of you might be back from vacations or are close to ending your holiday season…but I am just about to start my summer getaway! It’s more of a mini getaway really – nothing major. I just need to take a break from the fast-paced life for a while…a break from social media, checking e-mails, running errands, thinking about what to have for lunch or dinner, and all the other nuisances of our busy modern society.
All I want to do is to read my books and magazines by the ocean, get pampered at a spa, and explore some new and exotic locations.
I wouldn’t mind meeting some interesting folks along the way too 🙂
Truth is, my blog turns two in September. I can’t deny that the journey resembles a roller-coaster ride. On some days, you’re ecstatic and doing fun stuff and on others, you feel like giving it all up. I get asked all the time about how blogging works and if I’m making any profit out of it. In my case, the main reason I started this blog was to create a portfolio for my writing to present to potential employers. It also gives me an opportunity to practice and improve my writing skills. Whether I generate any income out of it is only a small part of the equation. Mostly because when I decided to change careers from IT to journalism, my goal wasn’t to become a successful blogger! It was – and still is – to make a living out of writing. Basically to become a journalist.
So to all of you looking into starting a blog or who are working towards monetizing one, just make sure that you’re willing to be in it for the long run. Because it’s a long and challenging journey, that requires a lot of determination and a plethora of skills. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting and thrilling ride.
I won’t be blogging, tweeting, checking Facebook or e-mail for the entire time of my vacation. But it won’t be too long until I’m back with more innovative, interesting and insightful posts.
I wish all of you a lovely summer, whether you are spending it at home or have gone/are going away to a new and exciting destination.
Looking forward to telling you all about my holiday once I’m back.
Reflective Thought: Do you sometimes get the feeling that you just want to disappear from the face of this planet called earth? and possibly never come back?
Please share your thoughts on this, if only to confirm my sanity level :p
If you’re not following my blog’s Facebook Page, then you might have missed our first fashion photo shoot. You can still browse the photos of my collaboration with Le Monde Des Petites from the album posted on my Facebook Page. While you are there, you might want to hit the “like” button to stay updated with the latest posts from this spontaneous and crazy lifestyle blog 🙂
Let’s have a look at the photos from our second style photo shoot, with details of the fashion brands worn by the model – the writer of this blog 🙂
My dad was in town, and for a belated birthday gift, I asked him to get me some charms for my brand new Pandora bracelet – which I recently got as a birthday gift too! Since I love a bit of a vintage style in almost everything, I chose a retro theme for my charms and made my selection from their uber cool oxidized charms collection.
The angel-wings ring is from O’ De Rose and it matches almost anything that I wear. It’s a very playful and everyday accessory that you can wear with almost any outfit – even with a casual T-shirt and jeans.
The metallic-studded sandals I am wearing are from a recent collection at River Island…
This exotic and multi-print day dress is from Warehouse. It’s a great summer essentials timeless piece to wear for a day at the beach club or a day out with the girls for lunch or coffee. So simple, elegant, and extremely comfy and light for the hot summer months.
This fabulous and original sequined clutch bag is a piece that I got a while back from the renowned Zara. It’s so versatile that you can wear it to a night out with friends, a day out on the beach, or even to accessorize a basic outfit at a media networking event! Now how’s that for multiple ways to wear a pastel-sequined Zara clutch bag? 🙂
Sadly, my friend Julie from the blog Le Monde Des Petites is leaving Dubai for good soon. So this photo shoot was only our second style shoot together, and also the farewell meeting for us. That’s the thing with this city, it’s so transient that you constantly find yourself meeting new interesting and genuine people, connecting with them on various levels, and then saying your good-byes when it’s time for them to move to another expat destination or back to their home towns! But, because we must always look at the bright side of every situation, the good thing about this is that I get to have friends at different cities across the globe, who I can visit when I travel 🙂
Thank you Julie for the lovely times we shared, despite them not being too many…I wish you all the best in everything and I look forward to seeing you again – hopefully soon! XXX
When I first decided to change careers from IT to journalism back in 2008, I had no idea about the way to get there. I didn’t realize that it would be a completely different route to what I was used to, or to how I eventually got my IT job. Doing things the hard way – without anyone to guide me, assist or support me – I must say that I learned the lessons in the best way possible: by trial and error.
Comparing my previous career and work experience to what I do now is a very hard task. They’re two completely different fields and work environments. But, I will give you a brief idea to help you understand and maybe get inspired to make a similar change or adjustment to what you currently do.
I had a degree in Business Information Systems from the University of Bahrain. And after working in IT support for around four years, I decided to quit my job and pursue my passion: writing. I was 28, a year later, I moved to London to take a foundation course with London College of Fashion. After completing one term of A-Level equivalent and intensive study, I decided to move to Dubai to start interning for publishing companies in the hopes of landing an editorial role along the way…It’s the year 2014 and I’m still working towards that same goal that I had aimed for when I moved here in 2010. Except that these days, I have learned so many lessons along the way and I would like to share them with anyone who is working towards a similar goal or is looking into becoming a creative professional and earning a living out of it.
1. Start doing the creative work
While it might work otherwise in other industries – get a degree then apply for a job. In the creative industry, it’s the other way around. You must start by doing the work that you aspire to get paid for. Since employers will only hire you after they have seen your actual work and how you can add value to their organization and goals. Plus, doing the actual work will greatly help in improving your skills and expertise.
2. Do unpaid work
Freelancing and offering your services for free is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a great way to build your portfolio – because you will need one in order to get paid for your work. So keep doing unpaid work for as long as it takes to get paid for your work and to be accredited for it.
3. Work 24/7
Working in a fun and creative environment is a good thing, but you must be prepared to work without taking breaks. Fixed working hours aren’t part of the game. There’s always something new to learn, some project to work on, a new and exciting idea to consider…The cool thing is that you get to be your own boss and you can manage your time according to your personal preferences.
4. Take notes of your ideas and put them into action
Whether it’s your next blog post, photo shoot, short video, web site design, you need to keep coming with fresh and new ideas. Most importantly, put those ideas into action by implementing them into that blog post, photo shoot, video or web page.
5. Love what you do
Any entrepreneur will give you this advise really. You must do what you do with passion if you want to get to anywhere. The monetary return will not appear in the first stages, so you must do what you love in order to have the passion to keep doing it even when the going gets tough and when you are not making any profit out of it.
6. Network, network, network
One of the essential elements of the creative industry is networking. Find out about relevant events and make an effort to attend them. Not only will you learn more about the market, you will also meet new people who share your interests and passions. Building positive and meaningful connections with others in your industry is vitally important.
7. Have casual meetings with like-minded people
Whether it’s over coffee, lunch, dinner or even breakfast, meeting with others from similar industries is a great way to share ideas, discuss various topics and maybe learn new tips and market information. Supporting others in their own career goals is always a great way to build positive and healthy relationships with others in your industry. The road is always more entertaining when traveled with others.
8. Work in creative hubs and open spaces
Whether you choose to work from your local neighborhood cafe, head to the nearest spot of big chain coffee shops, or collaborate with others at one of the work spaces in town, it’s always better than working from home. Being a creative professional – especially when writing – can be a lonely experience. So surrounding yourself with others in an open and busy environment is the best way to go. You will also feel more motivated to work in an environment where everyone around you is working in front of their laptops or doing some sort of productive work.
9. Read, learn, study
Taking a short course or working towards a degree in your chosen creative field will only add to your knowledge and build up your confidence. If you can’t afford a course, simply read online articles about your topic or any topic for that matter! Staying updated with what’s happening in your industry will help keep you ahead of others and boost your knowledge levels.
10. Never give up!
Reaching your goals in the creative industry and getting paid for your work could be an extremely lengthy process. It could take years before you could get published or be taken seriously by potential employers. But the trick here is to never give up and to continue working hard towards your goals. Even if no one reads your blog posts, supports you or what you’re doing, or thinks that you have great ideas, you must stay fixed to your target and aim to achieve it no matter how challenging things get. Keep reminding yourself of why you chose to do this in the first place and how long it took you to get to where you are. You must fuel yourself from your own energy, ambition and inner power.
When I’m not blogging, commuting to the other end of town to attend a lecture at University, working on my school projects, complaining about being single to almost anyone who would listen, or doing anything that will add some value to the world and the human species, then I can be found doing something of major relevance: day-dreaming about being a house-wife who spends the day trying out different recipes, watching repeats of cooking TV shows, going for Pilates, yoga or other fitness classes, catching up with friends, and writing on this blog in the evenings.
OK, maybe my life isn’t that far fetched from my imaginary one…the point is, that I absolutely love and truly enjoy doing my own thing! Ever since I was young, I would plan out my day into different slots – each with a type of activity. At the time, they could be things as silly as watching a certain TV show, or doing rounds around the house! Yes, I used to be a very weird teenager 🙂
Hopefully, if I continue to work hard towards my dreams, one day I will meet prince charming and those day-dreams of mine will become a reality 😀
I would still like to write my biography though….so that would be one activity that I would dedicate some time for 🙂
Enough ranting about my life, let’s move on to talking about this recipe post…
As many of you know, I was feeling a bit under the weather last week. And since I live alone, I decided to cure my cold and make myself a home-made soup from scratch! I must admit, I do feel much better now, especially after trying to eat more freshly made salads at home and try to eat less at restaurants.
My previous recipe post – if you missed it – was for a super healthy and nutritious smoothie. You can check it here.
I got the recipe for this tasty and wholesome soup from a food blogger’s web site. You can get the ingredients and the recipe from her blog here.
I’ll take you through the steps of when I made the soup with pictures.
1st, the ingredients:
This is what the soup looked like while it was being cooked 🙂
Et Voila! A healthy and tasty home-made soup 🙂
Having coconut milk in soup adds a new dimension to the flavor. It also gives the soup more richness and so it becomes more filling and could also replace a meal.
If you don’t like the taste of coconut milk in soup or in food in general, then I would suggest that you simply skip that ingredient and just make the soup without coconut milk.
I’m really excited to try out more recipes (that include solid food!) when I get the chance. I also plan to get my friends involved and have them make their favorite home-inspired dish or appetizer. So, stay tuned to the blog and the Facebook Page for more ideas, inspirations and healthy lifestyle posts 🙂
It’s been a roller-coaster ride with this blogging journey…with so many ups and downs. But I think that I’ve finally reached a decision about what I don’t want to continue doing on this blog. Unless I get invites from friends, I don’t plan on doing as many reviews as I did in the past. A change of strategy can’t be a bad thing, right?
I might write another post about what I plan and don’t plan to do with this blog. But for now, let’s try to keep my last reviews as honest and positive as possible.
For those of you interested in knowing how blogging works in this region, in the beginning you don’t really get any invites to review anything. So in my case, I was doing most reviews on my own expenses. Why? I simply enjoyed it, writing is my passion and blogging helped me improve my writing style and build up an online portfolio.
How did I get to review Sushi Art? I simply won a Facebook Competition with a prize of a Black Box Deluxe worth 395 AED 🙂
Note: No one asked me to review the restaurant. I voluntarily chose to write the review.
This was sometime in December of last year…but soon after that, I took a month’s break from blogging. Then I got busy with other reviews and invites and I didn’t have the time to write this post until now!
As you can see, accepting invites to write reviews can sometimes be time-consuming and hectic. Especially when combined with a full-time journalism undergraduate course! So, It’s time for new challenges and other types of blog posts.
What’s in the Black Box Deluxe?
The Luxe Black Box includes 54 pieces of mostly cooked sushi rolls. These are:
2 pieces jalapeno sea bream sushi
4 pieces scallop yuzu sauce sushi
4 pieces salmon sushi
4 pieces cucumber cheese tulip
4 pieces lox & cream cheese sushi
6 pieces French touch rolls
6 pieces shrimp spring rolls
6 pieces maki like tabbouleh
6 pieces shrimp tempura rolls
6 pieces dynamite rolls
6 pieces chicken Caesar rolls
How much does it cost?
For more information, check out Sushi Art Dubai’s web site here. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Some of you might remember the first meeting I had with this wonderful group of ladies. You can read all about it here if you missed that post.
This month, I had the honor to be invited to the group’s third networking event which was held at the newly opened and uber cool Cargo restaurant and lounge. The theme for the evening was a Valentine’s one, and we were all dressed in red to match the warm and lovely occasion. Despite not having a single red-colored outfit in my overly packed and cluttered wardrobe, and not having enough time to shop prior to the dinner, I managed to get my hands on a cute flower hair pin…I also put on my party-mode dark red lipstick and matched that with a “perfect red” shade of nail polish 🙂
Cargo is an Asian fusion place with a cool industrial-look modern interior. The restaurant is located at the third floor of the Pier 7 complex at Dubai Marina. This means that you get a panoramic view of the marina promenade and the surrounding area from the spacious terrace. What I liked about Cargo is its contemporary and eclectic edge. It’s not your typical Asian eatery; the place offers a super chilled and hip vibe…where you can enjoy tasty Asian fusion dishes while unwinding after a long day at work.
It’s also a great place to catch up with friends or go to for a romantic and casual dinner.
Just like our first event, The Committee Dubai members had a fun night out catching up and discussing all sorts of topics. The meetup also gave us the opportunity to network with professionals from media-related industries and bloggers.
I’m truly honored to be part of this group of dynamic, independent and intelligent women. The Committee Dubai is hosted by the lovely and sweet Anita Buys.
Signing off with some photos from our Valentine’s dinner at this Asian fusion hangout with a twist…