Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014: My year in review

For the first time in a while, I feel like a year has gone by in just the right speed. Lots of stuff went down this year, so thought I'd give you guys a peek! Here's my 2014 in review. 


Started out my year in true beach bum fashion.


Treated myself a glorious spa day and learned the importance of switching off (strictly for survival purposes)


Enjoyed some truly gorgeous displays at the Dubai Festival of Lights, below was one of my favorites!


Caught my first live sports game at the Indian Premiere League T20!


Completed a year of having this beautiful little old man dog.



Joined in on the madness that was FIFA 2014.


Melted in the Dubai summer.  


Experienced the gorgeousness that is Kashmir


Launched this wonderful blog which I'm so proud of. Thank you to everyone for the love, shares and cares.


Got my mind blown by the guys at Manganiyar Seduction.


Got my Moto 360!


Launched my very first blog giveaway and inching very close to 10,000 views on the Monalogues. How frigging exciting is that?!

And with that, we bid adieu to 2014. This will be my final blog post for the year, so wish you all a very merry Christmas and happy holidays!

See you all in 2015!

Mona xo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Favorite Apps of 2014

Pattrn (Free, Android)

If you like switching up your phone wallpapers every once in a while but can't be bothered to look through millions to find a new one, this app is perfect for you! Pattrn has a huge collection of wallpapers and based on one you choose, it'll change your background daily/weekly with similar colors/patterns. Fun, right?  

    Image source: Droid Life

Chronos (Free, iPhone and Android)

This HAS TO BE my favorite app for this year. What Chronos does is basically log your life automatically - where you go, how much time you spend on the road, how long you sleep, exercise or socialise etc (kinda creepy right?). You don't have to enter in any information, it works with your GPS to detect places. At first, you may need to assign places such as home, work, gym etc but that's about it.

The app quietly runs in the background and doesn't affect your battery too much. At the end of every week, it generates insights for you on your activities for the week. This helps you understand how you can optimize your time better and get more things done.

The iOS version is fully featured and gives you insights on your activities that you can view from your phone. The Android version works as a data collector that just runs in the background and collects information you can review in info-graphic form on your computer or in the weekly email they send out.

  Image source: Chronos

Cal (Free, iPhone and Android)

Cal is a beautifully designed calendar app. The interface is pretty smooth and it integrates with your Google Calendar, iCloud etc. You can view your days by swiping left, view the full month by pulling down on the dates and add events by clicking the plus sign on the top right. 

Overall, it's a simple app to organize your life. It syncs up with their sister to-do list app, Any.do, which is also pretty clean and straightforward.

Image source: Nextweb

Quiz Up (Free, iPhone and Android)

Quiz Up is a seriously addictive trivia game. What sets this app apart from other trivia ones is that you can choose from literally hundreds of different topics to be quizzed on ranging from TV shows to geography to general knowledge and many more. 

It's updated quite regularly which, for me, is the best part. You can challenge friends or you get matched with a player (read stranger). Go get addicted!

Image source: Android Authority

Lift (Free, iPhone and Android)

Lift is essentially a self-help app. You set habits you want to introduce into your daily life into Lift and every time you accomplish your goal, you check in on the app. In that way, it helps you track your progress. 

Whenever you add a certain habit, you'll see how many others are trying to accomplish the same and how many times they have checked in.  This community also supports you by giving props for every small victory you have and also sharing tips on how they accomplished their goals. 

Popular habits include drinking more water, reading twice a week and meditation. There's also some adorable ones such as call mum and dad, read my kid a bedtime story and tell my wife that I love her (aww!). You can choose from the many habits on the app or create your own.

I really feel that this app serves as a challenge to yourself to make that change you always wanted to. It's the perfect time to try it out especially with the new year around the corner!

  Image source: Forbes

Hope you find these useful! What are some of your favorite apps from this year? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @MonaGir.

Also, only ONE more day left for your chance to win the Entertainer Mobile Dubai 2015!
Enter now: http://bit.ly/1rS739K

Mona xo

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

4 things to do this winter

It's now safe to say that we've finally settled into winter as we know it, here in the UAE. Time to soak in the wonderful weather! There's always the beaches, the parks and the desert but here are some more activities that are perfect for this season.

Movies Under the Stars

When: Every Sunday 8.30 PM onwards (Oct - March every year)
Where: Pyramid Rooftop Gardens, Wafi City

Who doesn't love the sound of this? It's a cozy little setup - they have beanbags all around, you can order popcorn/nachos and even some drinks if you like. This is a free event, so make sure to get there early as it fills up quite quickly. Here's the movie schedule until March 2015: http://bit.ly/MoviesUnderTheStars

Dubai Christmas Festival

When: 11 - 13 December from 4 PM to 10 PM (11th), 3 PM to 10 PM (12th and 13th)
Where: Dubai Media City Amphitheatre

Dubai's very own winter wonderland (apart from Ski Dubai) is really what the Dubai Christmas Festival is. There will be a Christmas market, carol singing, festive food and drinks. They've also introduced some new activities this year such as a Christmas cookery workshop, Christmas craft theatre and a fun fair! Tickets are priced at AED 55 per adult and AED 25 per child.

Eat, drink and be merry

1. QDs at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club

One of my all time favorites for shisha, drinks and a view. It gets quite crowded over the weekend but otherwise, you should be able to walk in and find a table.

2. Kan Zaman at Heritage Village

If you want a little taste of old school Dubai, head down to Heritage Village. Kan Zaman has some good Lebanese food which you can enjoy with the view of the Creek.

3. Irish Village

Irish Village is a no-brainer for winter in Dubai. There are lots of festivities around this time of the year and apart from that, great live music, good food and vibes all year around.

4. Barefoot Lounge at Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa

Barefoot Lounge is a great place to relax with some food, drinks and shisha near the beach, very chill.

5. The Backyard BBQ

When: Saturday, 20 December, 12 pm onwards
Where: Emirates Golf Club

All you have to do is turn up with your picnic mats and meat/veggies and they will take care of the rest. There will have fired up grills ready for you at the venue along with music, drinks and also a kid zone. Tickets are priced at AED 70.

Shop outdoors

1. Urban Market

When: Saturday, 13 December from 11 AM - 8 PM
Where: Al Serkal Avenue

Spend the day at the Urban Market with some live music, food from the Good Vibes market's selection of food trucks and festive treats, some designer fashion/accessory pop-ups and a painting studio. Freshly Ground Sounds will also be performing from 12.30 - 3 PM. Free event.

2. Souk Festive Market

When: 17 December to 27 December from 3 PM - midnight (weekdays), 1 PM - midnight (weekends)
Where: Madinat Jumeirah

The Souk Festive Market will have a selection of food and beverage stalls among festive attractions such as a traditional North Pole train, Santa's Grotto and a Reinder Rodeo. Free entry for all.

3. Ripe Market

When: Every Friday from 9 AM - 2 PM
Where: Zabeel Park

Pair gorgeous weather with a park and the fact that you can find everything from your fresh produce to jewellery, arts & crafts and household products here - it doesn't get any better than that. Make sure to get there early as it gets busy. Free event.

4. The Farmers Market on the Terrace

When: Every Friday from 8 AM -1 PM
Where: Jumeirah Emirates Towers Ballroom Gardens

This is your stop for fresh local organic produce straight from the farmers! There's also local coffee artisans, organic breakfast items and much more. Free event.

So, there you go, those are my picks for places you can go/things you can do this winter. Let me know what some of your suggestions are in the comments below or tweet me @MonaGir.

Mona xo

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giveaway: Entertainer Dubai Mobile 2015

It's December - my absolute favorite time of the year. The weather is just so perfect, it's so close to Christmas time and there's definitely some magic in the air.

So, I thought that this would be a great time to add to the cheer and do a holiday giveaway! It's my first giveaway and I wanted to make it super special by offering all of you a chance to win... the Entertainer Dubai Mobile 2015!

Let's chat for a second before I get to the details - I have been using the mobile version of the Entertainer over the last year (thank you, Grace of Sandier Pastures) and have saved close to AED 4500 this year!

For those of you who don't know, The Entertainer is a discount book/app that has over 2000 two-for-one offers across categories such as dining, leisure, entertainment, wellness and hotels across 23 destinations and 16 countries worldwide.

I especially love the mobile version as I can see what offers are nearby on the map and even search for offers by area/mall/cuisine etc. The app is very easy to use and one subscription can be shared across multiple devices.
To further sweeten the deal, they also update the mobile version with additional monthly member offers! You can download the app here and give it a spin using their 14-day free trial.

Now for the giveaway - if you're interested in winning a free one from yours truly, below is all the details on what you need to do. The entries for this giveaway will close on 18 December 2014 and the winner will announced shortly after. The subscription will be available to use from 2 January 2015.

Good luck!

Mona xo

*This is not a sponsored post/giveaway

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