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
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 🙂
As I sit to write this post while sitting at my favorite cafe, I can feel the rapid pulse of my heart beat as I place my left index finger on the side of my neck. Yes, I’ve always been a weirdo and I tend to do silly things in public too!
Where have I been?
I must start by apologizing for not writing in such a long time. As many of you know by now, I have just started an undergraduate journalism course at a University in Dubai. Since I’ve decided to put this degree as a priority, blogging had to wait until I had the time for it once I was done with my assignments, University hectic commute and daily house errands.
I’m glad that I took the time off (unintentionally) though, as the break allowed me to reflect on my blogging ways and revise my strategy a little bit…well, more like go back to what I was doing when I first started this blog a little over a year ago. But I’ll leave that for you readers to discover 🙂
The Killers at Sandance Gig
At the time of planning this post, I had just gone to The Killers concert at the ever-popular Nasimi Beach and so this topic was in my notes for this blog post. The ironic thing about this show was that my British friend Lianne had told me about it way back in Ramadan…and when I told her that I wasn’t sure of who ‘The Killers” were, she played a music clip from her phone with one of their famous songs. For some reason, I assumed that “The Killers” were a British band and that I would be having an authentic British experience with a group of cool Brits (my friend Lianne and her friends).
Then while standing at the show with my new cool group of British expat friends, I explain my excitement to one of the members of the group, only to find out that The Killers are actually an American band from Las Vegas, Nevada!
That didn’t change the thrilling factor of the experience. As I still managed to have a great night with my British friends. Plus, being a fan of indie/alternative rock music meant that I still sang along and enjoyed most of the songs that were played that night. The Killers’ music style reminded me a lot of the band Green Day; one of my favorite bands that I used to listen to as a teenager.
When I first started my course at University, I was trying my best to keep the blog and my usual active lifestyle going as much as I could. This however proved to be so draining as the semester went on and we started to have assignments to hand in. As much as I enjoyed attending all sorts of social and work related events and meetups, I now realize that I must keep it to a minimum if I wish to maintain my sanity and health!
It certainly isn’t an easy task trying to juggle all of the following at the same time:
Attending University classes and working on assignments.
Attending main social and work related events and other meetups.
Going for blog reviews, topics and writing posts.
Updating my Facebook Page (glad to discover scheduled posts!).
Following the world news and current affairs (on TV and radio) to be able to get at least one answer right at the Media Law and Ethics weekly news quiz :s
Attempting to read my current book on successful blogging.
Catching up with friends and making sure that I don’t disappear from the real world 😉
In a desperate attempt to save what’s left of my pride and self-integrity…
I will no longer push myself to attend social or work related events when I’m not in the mood for it or lack the required energy and stamina for socializing in a decent manner with other individuals!
I will put working for my journalism course first and everything else will come after that.
I will not bother much about giving my business card to new people and telling them about my Facebook page. Mainly because most will only store the card somewhere and will never put in the effort to type the name of my Facebook Page in the search box to check it out.
I will pay more attention to spending time with friends and the people who matter.
I will allocate more ‘me-time’ and try to relax with much-needed spa treatments and movie nights!
My Halloween Weekend
I plan to spend my long weekend doing low-key activities namely: lounging by the beach and reading, going to the cinema, having dinner with friends and getting a rejuvenating massage.
I will not dress up for Halloween or attend any parties…because I’m too tired to go shopping for a costume or dress up for the occasion! Yes, as you can tell I am seriously exhausted and could use a short break from an active social life.
Since this post is dragging for too long, I decided to leave some other topics for next time.
In the meantime, you could participate by telling me the following:
Do you sometimes feel like you have no control over your life? and that no matter how hard you try, things are just getting chaotic and messed up?
If so, what techniques and methods do you follow to get you back on track?
My blog will be moving to a new domain name soon. As you all know, it’s essential to have a (.com) domain name in order to be taken seriously in the business world. And although this blog has been standing strong all this time without any sponsorship of any kind – and will continue to do so with your support – this step must be taken sooner or later for the blog to be more successful and reach a greater amount of readers.
I promise that it won’t be long. The new site should be up and running within a week or so. You can also look forward to more interesting reviews and posts.
If you liked what you’ve been reading so far, then I would like to ask you to follow my Facebook Page by “liking” the page on the following link:
That way, you will stay updated with my news, and be in the know once the new site is launched.
I also have a private photo shoot scheduled for tomorrow and I will be posting the photos from that shoot on my Facebook Page. This will give you a closer look of who is the author behind this blog and a short bio about myself will be shared along with the photos.
Thank you to every single one of you for supporting this page and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Thanks to Sandier Pastures helpful and entertaining posts, I found out about The Ultimate Blog Party. Which is basically a virtual gathering for all types of bloggers from around the world. It’s an opportunity to meet new bloggers, discuss relevant topics, and of course drive more traffic into your blog. The party also includes online live events on Twitter and Google+ for any one interested to join. The first step in joining the blog party is to simply write a party post about yourself and your blog, and then add the link to the list of blogs under the matching category for your blog topic.
So, here’s a brief about me and my blog:
My name is Nada, I’m originally from Saudi Arabia and I live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I started this blog in September of last year and I have been blogging regularly since then. I like to consider myself a lifestyle blogger. I mainly write about daily life events and stories. Mostly, I cover various types of events taking place in my city; Dubai. These events could range from art or fashion exhibitions, live music shows, publishing related events, or self-development seminars and talks.
The main reason I started this blog was to advance my writing skills and add more credibility to my CV and profile as a writer. I have been on a long journey to change my career path and shift my entire life and lifestyle for the past five years and this blog reflects this journey and my thoughts and trials and lessons learned throughout it. My main goal is to become financially independent as a writer and a blogger. Since I love what I do and I want to continue writing for the rest of my life! Through blogging, I also get to attend a lot of interesting events and meet great and exciting new people.
I always felt like I was a creative person, and working in IT support when I was living in Saudi Arabia surely didn’t match my creative flair. Nor did my college major in Business Information Systems. But I believe that it’s never too late to chase your dreams and follow your passion. Even if there are many obstacles along the road and unexpected challenges.
My journey started when I moved to London to take a course in Fashion Media and Communication at the prestigious London College of Fashion. Followed by moving to Dubai three years ago, where I continued to pursue my new career path and aim for an editorial role in publishing. I’m still working towards that goal in addition to my new-found passion: blogging. Ideally, I would like to get paid for what I write in both my personal blog and in print. I’m not sure how long the road ahead of me is, but what I’m certain of is that I’m enjoying every second of my journey and learning experience.
On a more personal note (yes, believe it or not; the above wasn’t personal enough!), I’m also enjoying the simple freedoms that my new life in Dubai has to offer. Growing up and living most of my life in Saudi, to relatively over-protective and controlling parents meant that I had to argue and fight my way into many simple things. And believe it or not, I still do! Yes, the fight to be free is an endless one when you are Saudi. But at least these days, I don’t have to convince my parents to go to a music concert or party. I can simply buy my tickets and head to the venue!
Although I call myself “The Rebellious Saudi Diva” on my about page, most people around the world will understand that the description is only relevant to my personal background and Saudi culture.
I think I’ve said enough about myself and my blog for now. I hope that you will find my posts interesting and entertaining. And that you will continue to support my journey by following my blog and liking my Facebook page (the link can be found on my blog’s home page)!
This is a picture of me at Tiesto’s recent concert in Dubai:
I had done the photo shoot for this article and had answered some questions about myself and my blog a few weeks ago. And for the past three weeks or so I had been getting Gulf News newspaper every Saturday to check “The Weekend Tabloid!” supplement for the article that I would be featured in. Today, I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor for my cold and general fatigue minor illness. My plan was to later head to the nearby grocery store to get some stuff and the paper where my article might be published, since it was Saturday.
I was sitting at Starbucks having a grande mint tea (in an effort to prevent further developments of my sudden weakness). I was actually feeling tired, and disappointed that the mint tea bags used for my tea were the type that you could get at your local supermarket and not the same one I had tried the last time I ordered a mint tea at Starbucks. So there I sat, contemplating the inconsistency of service in restaurants and other service providers in general in this country. But I can’t complain much, as I am from Saudi where the service is even worse and the consistency almost non existent. I was just not feeling too well and upset that the tea I had been looking forward to all day turned out to be just a commercial brand off the shelf. I was also thinking to myself that I should go up and speak to the barrister and voice out my concern about the tea bag used in my tea. But I just couldn’t be bothered. Then I was sitting there talking to a friend on the phone, who wanted to meet up. I explained to him how I had pending work to do. More specifically, blog posts that I need to write. I told him how I still have posts about my two last days in Hong Kong that I still didn’t get the time to write about. Yes, my Hong Kong trip was last Christmas and I still haven’t finished writing about it!
His answer was a simple: “well, you don’t have to write everything in detail. It’s not like you’re making money out of it.”
That statement brings us to the core of this post. As you can see in the above image that the headline of the article that I was featured in reads: “Blogging pays”. And although I have not reached the point in my blogging journey that started last September, where I can say that I have generated income from my blog, I must admit that as long as I enjoy doing what I’m doing, and that I have the luxury to practice my passion and do something that I genuinely love for a living, then I’m sure that the material gain will follow at some point in my journey.
Right now, I am exploring my new found love of blogging and enjoying every minute of it. So as long as I feel rewarded in a spiritual way, then I will continue doing what I love doing best. Because I believe that the knowledge and life experiences and lessons learned from my journey are much more valuable than any monetary income or revenue.
So after that phone conversation, I get up to check today’s paper for the article that I would be featured in – one of those Saturdays – and to my surprise, I see my picture on the cover of the paper! later on, I see it on the cover of the issue of the weekend supplement as well! I quickly snap some photos before running back to my place to post them on my blog’s Facebook page. Which I highly recommend that you “like” if you still haven’t done so. I do post various stuff on that page, apart from my blog posts. So you must check it out and see for yourself.
You can read the full story by following this link: