An Evening of Art at the Brownbook Headquarters



When I saw an announcement on the Brownbook magazine facebook page about an event that they were hosting at their office in DIFC, I was determined to attend.

Brownbook is a magazine that covers a wide range of topics within its Middle-East region focus. As stated on their web site: “Brownbook takes on the task of reintroducing the Middle East to itself.”

The event consisted of two parts: one was the outdoor screening of the Brownbook Urban Series. Which is a showcase of video documentaries about prominent and inspirational individuals from the region. The second part involved a talk about an artist’s work and a presentation of his pieces.

As I was walking into the office, I almost tripped on the cable that was at the entrance to the ultra sleek and modern interior of the Brownbook office…I guess I was too excited to be that close to my dream career in lifestyle journalism! I loved the minimalistic approach to the design of the office. As well as the canvas paintings reflecting the UAE’s culture, decorating the walls.

What I didn’t predict was the fact that there was no one from the magazine team attending the event! Please correct me if I am wrong.

At the beginning of our meetup, we did a round and introduced ourselves and gave a bit of information about what we do…and as the majority of the attendants were from the art industry or somehow related, I found myself in an unforeseen situation. Not that I didn’t want to be there, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting an evening of pure art discussion.

Although I didn’t get to network with anyone from the Brownbook team (or any other publishing professionals), I am glad that I attended and that I can say that not only have I been to the magazine’s urban and cool office in DIFC, I have also had a discussion about art at their conference table 🙂

Now since my dad is in town, this happy go-lucky story must have a different twist to it. When I told him about my evening at the Brownbook hosted art discussion, his reply was: “so it was useless.” Or something similar.

I explained to him that he does not see the long-term vision of this event. The fact that I went out there and made an effort to attend an event and networked with others, and exchanged some business cards is a valuable experience in itself!

That although this time I didn’t get to meet any contacts from the industry that I am trying to get into, I must keep moving and continue what I am doing. Maybe on another occasion, I will meet a valuable contact or source of information that will lead me to the next step in my journey.

My dad was always obsessed with results. Unfortunately, that’s not the way that life works. It’s not magic! you have to put in a lot of time and effort in order to get the tiniest result. That’s when he said: “yes, it’s a mature market here and the competition is big.”

While my dad is focused on the destination (me getting a full-time role at a company), I have learned that I must enjoy the ride and take the time to go through every experience and develop and grow and learn from it.

I believe that the journey of self-development is an endless one. Whether you are working on your career, relationships, finances, or any other aspect of your life…you must continue to put in the right amount of time and effort if you want to improve your life and personality.

I am highly grateful for the opportunity that I have to experience a new way of life, to meet new interesting people, and to continuously develop and grow as an individual.

We all have personal spaces and limitations that we set for ourselves sometimes that could use some expansion. So get out there and make an effort to break a personal boundary at least once a week. You will be delighted by the freedom and positive energy that will replicate itself back on you.






My Chilled December Beach Day



I was chatting with a lady from my building’s floor who had just gotten back from a day at the beach, when I realized how big a deal it was that I haven’t been to the beach in the two years and almost nine months that I have been in the city. Our chat took place some time in May if I’m not mistaken. She was greatly surprised when I had told her that I had never been to the beach since I moved here, but have been to it in the past during vacation trips to Dubai. I explained my current beach apathy by the fact that I grew up in this region, and have always had the luxury of the beach (although rarely went to it even in Saudi), and so to me, going to the beach didn’t sound like a newly exciting way to spend my day. I was never fond of the heat, or the warm sun rays, or the usual humidity associated with this region’s weather.  Most of us GCC nationals are strong fans of the cloudy and rainy London weather. Whenever I tell a British person this fact, they consider me mental.

So when I found out from a friend that the next day (my planned beach day) stood a chance of rain, and when I heard on the radio that the weather forecast was cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms in the evening, I feared not! You would think I would consider changing my plans and postpone my long-lost beach day? Of course not. To me, the cooler the weather is, the merrier. Who wants to melt in the Dubai sunshine heat? Not me, I assure you.

The weekend day spa package I opted for meant that I could easily spend the whole day at the recent winner of the 2012 World’s Leading Family Resort award, five-star beach resort; Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa.

My spa package included a 60-minute massage, a complimentary lunch buffet, and pool and beach access…as was noted on the resort’s web site. When I called to book my eccentric beach day, I was delighted to find out that I also get to use the wet facilities (steam room, jacuzzi, sauna, and experience showers).

I arrived to the beach at 10 am and chilled on the sun lounger while taking in the tranquil and beautiful view around me. I went to ask the lifeguard about the safe swimming area, not knowing that the water would be too cool for a swim, and that the most I would do was walk along the shore and get my feet washed up in some cool sea water.

After reading a few pages from my book, and getting a few rays of sunshine and vitamin D, it was time to head to the spa. As the ladies timings were from 9 am till 2 pm. Once inside the wet facilities room, I immediately jumped into the jacuzzi. I just love hot tubs! It’s been a very long time since I’ve soaked in a hot tub, and the water temperature in this jacuzzi was just right.  I had stayed there for about 25 minutes or so before reading the guidelines board on the wall that clearly stated: recommended maximum jacuzzi time is 15 minutes!

I did follow the rest of the health and safety guidelines for the other facilities though. I went into the steam room for around 5 – 10 minutes, then took an experience shower (which is a blast of ice cold water hitting your body from all sides in addition to a big shower burst from the top). The very-aptly named experience shower will truly give you an experience that you won’t forget! The sudden and strong bursts of cold water would lead anyone to scream their heart out…while I on the other hand, simply got into a spell of loud giggles and laughs. I must say it was an extremely enjoyable and memorable experience 🙂

After the experience shower, I went into the sauna room and carefully closed the door behind me. Then I started having terrifying thoughts of being stuck in the high temperatures and dying from suffocation because I couldn’t manage to open the securely-closed door! This meant that my sauna time didn’t last long as I wanted to give myself extra time to figure my way out in case I got stuck in the heat and humidity. After that, I went into the steam room once again since it was recommended that you repeat the steps three times…with an experience shower after each heat treatment.  I only repeated the cold blast shower once, at the end of my fun spa facilities experience.

By the end of this amusing pampering experience, I was starving and so ready for my package-inclusive lunch. Although there was only one type of soup available at the buffet, there was a huge variety of food to choose from for the main course. A burger station, a Thai curry station, and my favorite: an outdoor barbecue station with all types of seafood and meat.

After my heavy lunch, it was time for me to hit the sands again. I went for a brisk walk along the water in an attempt to help my body digest the heavy meal I had just gulped down at the spa’s restaurant. And to be in a better state and mood for my one-hour European massage treatment.

Needles to say, the massage treatment done by my super friendly therapist was one to match the spa’s first-class quality level and exceptional service.

Adding to that ultra-soothing and relaxing massage treatment, I was directed to a lounger seat facing the beach and offered my tea of choice (chamomile) and a selection of cut fruits on a stick.  If that wasn’t enough, a highly comforting warm pillow was placed around my neck and shoulders for an added touch of luxury and comfort.  As I drifted into pure relaxation and meditation mode, it was already past sunset. I was greeted with darkness as I made my way out the superb spa. I had even missed the locker deposit staff’s shift, and their window was now closed! Thankfully, I managed to get my stuff out of the locker and collect my deposit from the hotel’s reception.

I still had an hour before one of the pools closes! the water was heated and I still had access to my locker. The only set back was the fact that I had just done a muscle tension relieving massage and didn’t want to risk any harmful effects caused by the bad combination of cool breeze and my warm body which is covered in oil and tension-releasing massage gel.

As I felt the relatively warm pool water with my hands and grooved to the funky 80’s music coming from the nearby night spot, I made a note to myself that I must make another trip to this stunning resort and beach, which makes for an outstanding mini getaway from the hustle and bustle of the daily city life.



























Soulful Jamming Under the Stars…


Having grown up in this region, I have always been a huge R&B and soul music fan. So when I heard that Macy Gray; the super cool American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, record producer and actress is coming to town, I was ecstatic and made a trip to the other end of town to get my tickets before they were sold out, and to guarantee my attendance.

The venue was packed with fans of the singer or folks simply wanting to have a good time in the garden where the stage was set up. Me and my friends were lucky to find a place to sit near the stage and shared a delicious and juicy burger and hand-cut thick fries. The weather was pleasant for a night out and the atmosphere was just right.

Macy entertained us with her usual slick groove and ultra cool vibe. She and her back-up singers were simply fabulous…they put up a casual, yet highly fascinating performance, filled with soulful moves and creative ways to engage the fun-loving crowd.

Famous for her deeply appealing witty style and character, the singer graced the stage in beautiful outfits. One of them a sparkly sequined red dress from the 60’s era. The second was another charming vintage number with chiffon and a stunning layered puff to it.

After performing a good number of songs, Macy and her band said their good-byes to us, leaving some of us wondering if this was a joke and the rest screaming out for “more”, before she came back on stage once again to perform her famous international hit single “I try”. The hit sparked a huge burst of life and energy in the crowd, as we were all singing along to the top of our lungs:

I try to say goodbye and I choke
Try to walk away and I stumble
Though I try to hide it, it’s clear
My world crumbles when you are not here

You can sing along too by playing this link:

To Macy – the soulful diva with the warm distinctive voice – and her lovely band:

Thank you for the epic performance, positive vibe, and most importantly; for the powerful and strong messages supporting world peace, love and personal freedom.





Organic Therapy



I was getting a manicure at Nails; an organic beauty salon and spa conveniently located on the other side of the road from where I live…the nail therapist suggested that I go for the November promotion of a full body scrub and half or full body massage for a fairly reasonable fee. It was the perfect therapy following my dad’s visit and our usual running around the malls, restaurants, cafes and this time, exhibitions!

As I went into the dimly lit treatment room, the therapist held a chart with different colors to me and asked me to choose the color that I disliked the most. After a quick glance at the cards, I chose a bright yellow. I always hated the color yellow. It tends to get on my nerves! My lovely therapist then explained how that color represents the element that my body needed the most at this very moment! Yellow was meant to heal the stomach and it is the color of emotions. She later rubbed the oil from that element onto my hands and I was laughing shortly after that. That’s when she said: see, now you are happy 🙂

The white oil scrub from organic French brand Eminence was used and applied in a gentle scrubbing motion all over the body. As we all know, a body scrub specifically helps in getting rid of ingrown hairs, as well as the obvious skin regeneration benefits.  Once the polishing was done, I was directed to a modern shower just a hop away from the massage bed. Where I took a quick warm shower in preparation for my soothing back massage. I went for the half body massage only, which is what I usually request whenever I decide to go for a massage treatment anywhere. The therapist applied just the right amount of pressure; strong yet soothing and relaxing. A quick scalp massage was the perfect addition to the treatment. All I could think of during the session was that I must go back for another massage treatment since it was so comforting and since I always suffer from tight knots on my back that don’t seem to ever disappear!

After my highly rejuvenating and gratifying therapy, I headed to a nearby Starbucks for a light tuna sandwich and a decaf Caramel Macchiato.  All in all, I’d say I had a pretty chilled and rewarding afternoon/evening.