Showing posts with label Lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lifestyle. Show all posts

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Resolutions

I know I'm way late to this party but happy new year everyone! We're already 15 days into January, can you believe it?

I've already taken a big step this year - I quit my day job and have moved into the freelance world as a Production Manager in media production. So, if you are ever looking for a production person, I'm it!

This is also the year I turn 25 (eek!). On that note, among other hopes and dreams, I want to add many small victories to my 2015. You know where I'm going with this - I have come up with resolutions which I totally want to see through (un)like every other year.

I'm putting it out here and in the universe to coerce myself into following them. So, in true new year tradition, here are my resolutions for 2015.


Do you have any resolutions for the year? Share in the comments below or tweet me @MonaGir. Lots of exciting stuff coming up on the blog this year - stay updated by liking the Facebook page for the Monalogues.

Mona xo

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. 

January

Started out my year in true beach bum fashion.



February

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



March

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



April

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



May

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

 

June

Joined in on the madness that was FIFA 2014.



July 

Melted in the Dubai summer.  



August

Experienced the gorgeousness that is Kashmir





September

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



October

Got my mind blown by the guys at Manganiyar Seduction.



November

Got my Moto 360!



December

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

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You know it's winter in the UAE when..

I feel that winter here in the UAE is basically what is spring season around the world. Beautiful cool breeze, blooming flowers, gorgeous warm sunshine.. it's truly a magical time. I can't help but smile even on a crappy day when I am outdoors these days. (I'm losing my edge)

Here's my take on when you know it's winter in the Emirates:

1. You experience the eagerly awaited sandstorm 


2. Weather reads below 35C. (Brace yourself for car dashboard/phone app temperature readings on Instagram)


3. Global Village is open for business! 


4. You see some seriously pimped out cars adorned in UAE paraphernalia. Yep, it's time for National Day alright! 

    

5. You see beautiful fluffy clouds in the sky.


6. You manage to have all your makeup (and face) on from point A to point B. 


7. You need to plan ahead to get space at a park/beach or for that matter, even make plans to go to a park/beach.


8. Your cold water tap is actually giving you cold water (and it doesn't matter)


9. Your steering wheel doesn't burn your hands.


10. Your shades/glasses don't fog up when you get out of a car/building. And you don't look like this. 



When do you know it's winter in the UAE? What's your favorite winter activity?
Leave a comment below or tweet me @MonaGir!

Mona xx 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Meet Illis

It's been over a year since we adopted doggie extraordinaire, Illis, from K9 Friends and words can't describe what an incredible change he has brought to our lives! He's been just the best, most wonderful, beautiful addition to our family. Here's Illis! (lots more where that came from - my Instagram)

A photo posted by Mona (@monagir) on

When we first went to K9, we met with doggies based of their evaluation of those that would be good for a family like ours who live in an apartment and don't have other dogs at home. Illis was the first doggie we met, a little old man with the most beautiful brown eyes. He's possibly between the age of 7 - 9 years right now, no official record of birth date.

We fostered him for a few months before the official adoption just to see if my family could adjust to having a pet in the house. But as you can imagine, Illis truly melted everyone's hearts and souls. We  decided to leave his name as is because he responds to it well.

Even after all these months, he still continues to surprise us every day with how well-behaved, kind, gentle, grumpy (good kind) and loving he is. The end of my every day is so much better knowing that I'm coming back to his waggy goodness.

A photo posted by Mona Girish (@monagir) on

K9 Friends is doing such a fantastic job in rescuing and taking care of abandoned dogs like Illis in the UAE for so many years now. They've just launched a campaign to raise funds for rebuilding their kennels. I'm donating as much as I can to do this campaign and urge you to do so as well.

Here's the link to their campaign page: http://bit.ly/K9Campaign

You can also help by fostering/adopting a furry friend and giving them a forever home. If you go on to the K9 Friends Facebook page, they have albums which feature puppies and dogs that are available for adoption. All the info you would need regarding the process for foster/adoption is available on the K9 Friends website.

Have your own foster/adoption story? Please share in the comments below and would love to see a pic as well! 

Mona xo

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September '14 Favorites


It's been a month since I launched this blog and I've received such a great response so far. Thank you to everyone who has shared, read and commented on this blog. (I mean it)

It's October already! One thing I'm thankful for is that the weather is going to get so much better very soon, so +1 for that. I thought it might be fun to do a monthly favorites post and so I did - presenting my September favorites!


Duolingo
Duolingo makes it super simple to learn basics of languages such as English, Spanish, Danish, Irish, French, Dutch, German, Italian and Portuguese. The interface is almost like a game and while that's fun, it's also addictive. There, you've been warned. Try it out - it's free and available for iOS, Android and there is a web version as well. 




Red Shoe Trekkie
Movie reviews, recipes, travel
I came across this fairly new blog (based in the UAE) through Myla (Find Me A Break) and really like what I've read so far. He/she is only a few posts old but definitely go check it out.




Organix Tea Tree Mint Shampoo
This shampoo is the bomb (dot com). I have super greasy hair and this product really keeps my hair fresh and alive all day. It also leaves a nice minty tingly feeling on your scalp (which I'm clearly into)
Available at Life Pharmacy and Carrefour

Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution
So, I don't really face major acne problems but as and when I do, it's dark spot central (for many many weeks). I bought this product about 2 months ago and have been religiously applying this every night. I have seen a great change - visible reduction in dark spots and evened out skin tone. I have combination skin and this product has worked well for me. I have seen otherwise for those with dry skin.
Available at Kiehl's Dubai Mall 



Wasl Square, Al Safa, Dubai
Love: Cozy interiors, great staff, lots of peace and quiet 
Place for: Meetings, working, reading, coffee with friends 
Recommend: Eggs Benedict, Pomegranate Fizz



This is the Instagram account of Emirati artist, Hedaya Al Rahmah. She has great pictures of some really cool fashion and art pieces (some of which she designs) among other things, total eye candy on my Instagram timeline. 

Tweet me @MonaGir and let me know what some of your favorites are from last month! 

Mona xo

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why road trips are the best

With Eid holidays just around the corner, I thought it was only fitting to do a post about road trips!
Here's why they are pretty freaking awesome.

Waka Waka

Music makes most things better and road trips are no exception. My family and I have done many road trips over the years and being road trip veterans, we know never to trust radio. We always had that one cassette/cd to sing our hearts and lungs out to. But on our last road trip in India, we ended up with only the Fifa World Cup 2010 album. Behold many many hours of 'Waka waka eh eh' and 'When I get older, I will be stronger..'. Ah, good times (and also features in my nightmares at times).

Below is a playlist with some of my top road trip tunes:



Hey, look - food!

While food is a featured favorite in our daily lives, it truly becomes a highlight during a road trip! So there come the numerous pit stops at petrol stations/cafeterias to reload on snacks, drinks and whatever else anyone can chow down. No rules, no diet when you are on a road trip. Lays Chips is our traditional warm-up snack followed by everything else from Burger King to our South Indian packed lunch staple, curd rice and pickle. Below are couple of my many checkins at random cafeterias during a road trip:




Hey, look - at everything!

Your vacation starts as soon as you are in the car - so, the same Sheikh Zayed Road that you truly detest and curse while driving to work magically transforms into a wonderful stretch of concrete when you're road tripping. You see the same old bits and pieces in a whole new light. 'Look at that tree', 'Look at those camels!', 'Look at that other tree!', 'Look how beautiful this patch of grass is' - sound familiar? All of us become mini-tourists and it's wonderful. No doubt that there are lots of blurry pictures of far away things to accompany this! Yay, camels!



Let's go to this random castle

There's always that one intriguing sign board that tempts you into a detour! Whenever we go down to Fujairah, we have always somehow ended up at some unknown fort or wadi because we spotted a sign. While sometimes it pays off - that's how we landed up with Wadi Wurrayah - sometimes it's just some fort of which the highlight is some broken pieces of pottery from 10 years ago or something. (fun, you know, if you're into that)



Countries & Antakshari

Car games are a no brainer for road trips. Countries is one game that we still play where someone starts off with a country name and then the next person names a country with the last alphabet of the previous one. The game I most definitely dread is Antakshari which is basically the song version of countries. We've also done our fair share of 20 questions and charades!


Remember the time when..

It gets quite challenging to find time for friends and family sometimes. Road trips present a  great opportunity to bring people together, share some jokes and make some memories. It is very little about where you are going really, everything that happens in between is what makes it so fun. So, make the most of it and enjoy the drive.





What's your favorite part of a road trip? Or do you hate them? Let me know below in the comments section or tweet me @MonaGir. Have a lovely Eid everyone! Avoid the mall stampede - go shop online :)

Mona xo

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to keep track of TV shows

It's TV season! Shows are making their way back for fall (still summer here unfortunately) and it looks like it's going to be a pretty entertaining season. So, goodbye productivity.

Being someone who watches one too many shows (there, I said it), it's a challenge to keep track of show schedules and before I know it, spoilers are EVERYWHERE.

So now, I use this website called Sidereel to keep track of my favorite TV shows. They have a little tracker on there to which you can add the shows that you follow and it'll generate a weekly calendar showing you which shows air when. You can also access this info through the Sidereel app (available for iPhone and Android) and you even get badges based on TV habits!

Apart from that, they have general TV updates, show developments, news on shows getting cancelled etc. They also give recommendations for new and upcoming shows that you might like which is a great way to discover new ones and make sure you really get no sleep at all. You're welcome!

My picks for this season

 

Grey's Anatomy [Drama - Medical]

Oldie but goodie! Now entering into their 11th season, it'll be without Cristina, one of the main characters that exited the show last season. We'll see how they are going to fare without having her on the show. Below is the preview for season 11:



The Mindy Project [Comedy]

The first episode of Season 3 was enough for me to keep watching for the rest of the season and that was because of this man. Enjoy.


 

Scandal [Drama - Political]

All time favorite - go watch! Below is the promo for Season 4:



The Amazing Race [Reality - Travel]

They've revealed the teams for Season 25 and it looks like stiff competition. Watch it below! Can't wait to see where they are headed this season.


 

Parks and Recreation [Comedy]

Bummer that they are heading into their final season with just 13 episodes but definitely looking forward to it! My favs on the show are these two:



Flash [Drama - Scifi/Fantasy]

Marvel comic book series that's debuting this fall - the story behind Flash! Really excited to catch the premiere - preview below!



That's it from me! How do you keep track of your shows and what are some of your favorites? Tweet me suggestions @MonaGir or leave a comment below!

Also, you can keep track of my posts by subscribing below! Promise not to spam.

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Mona xo

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 things that need to be in the UAE

With the news that Panda Express is launching in Dubai, it got me thinking about what I'd love to see here in the UAE. Here's my wishlist:

1. Chipotle Mexican Grill

For those who know me personally or even follow me on social media, you all know that Chipotle is the love of my life. Chipotle is a Mexican fast food chain based in the US and with branches in Canada and Europe.

They have something called a 'Burrito Bowl' which is basically paradise. They freshly add ingredients based on your preference - it's like Subway but for Mexican food. I cannot wait till Chipotle makes its way to Dubai. Until then, my semi-Chipotle fix is Taqado who have something similar called the 'Burrito Box'.


2. Netflix

Netflix is an on-demand internet streaming service for movies and TV which is especially perfect for marathon-ing/binge watching TV shows. While I know there are 'special' ways to be able to access Netflix here and that it's available also if you have Apple TV, I wish it would be legally available here.

No commercials, episodes play back to back.. what more is there to life?



3. Food Trucks

I absolutely adore food trucks. There's a great sense of community, you end up trying new things as there are always different ones coming to your area and it's a quick, cheap bite. Especially in Dubai, where one after another upscale restaurant is opening, I think this would be a great change of pace.

I know a few launched here in the UAE but it seemed to be more for parties than just regular life. I would love to see some of them funky looking trucks rolling around here!



4. Staples

Staples is basically stationery Disneyland. And who doesn't love stationery?! The smell of freshly sharpened pencils, smoothness of ink on paper.. ahem. I think I need help.

Dubai is really in need of a top notch stationery store and while I make do spending hours at Modern Stationery sniffing organizers,  I really hope Staples is looking for a giant warehouse right now to open here. Can't wait.



5. Primark

Love a good bargain? Enter Primark! Primark is a value clothing retailer based in Europe and is the place for cheap & cheerful fashion. The stores are chaotic and pretty much survival of the fittest when it comes to hunting down the good stuff.

Come to the UAE, please? I could use a break from all the luxury fashion brands opening here. (#FirstWorldPains)


Let me know what you wish would come to the UAE, we can share notes! Tweet me @MonaGir or leave a comment below!

Also, subscribe if you like what you've been reading so far (subscription box on the right) so I can keep you posted every time I do a new post!

Mona xo

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Online shopping - UAE edition

Online shopping is slowly but surely making its way into the UAE and I couldn't be happier! I'm basically the laziest person I know and this makes my life infinite times easier (read: don't have to go into another gigantic mall)

Lots of new local online stores deliver for free, usually within a couple of days and that leaves me time to deal with other pressing matters such as who's dead on Game of Thrones today.

While there are many international websites that deliver to the UAE, it's quite tricky because of the postal services here (unless you Shop and Ship) and also it takes quite a while to get to you.

So, without further ado, for those lazy and impatient people (this is a safe place), here are some great local UAE online shopping websites that I stalk on a regular basis:
 

Clothing and Accessories

Sivvi: Features bold, vibrant collections from brands such as Sam & Lavi, House of Hackney and many more. A personal favourite!

Namshi: Pocket-friendly. They also have a plus-size range (albeit not that great) and a separate sports shop.

Fashlink: They carry many local designers - definite +1 for that - and global luxury brands.

Landmarkshops: Huge collection across Babyshop, Splash and Emax brands.

Boutique 1: Already quite a popular store for lifestyle and luxury fashion, also online!

West LA: Sunny LA fashion right here in Dubai now online - very shabby chic.

Monroe and Me: Super quirky online boutique for women.

Redbananas: Very cool Korean and Japanese fashion pieces for men and women. They even do same day delivery!

Shemovesonline: Interesting collections of dance and active wear for women. They have a plus size range as well!

Michelle Belau: Wonderful Peruvian women's fashion label, great modern sophisticated fashion.

Food

TavolaGreat range for bakeware, tableware and homeware.

Greenheart UAE: Organic fresh produce delivered to your doorstop. What more do you need?

Secret Fine Foods: My favourite gourmet grocer - great meat, fish and dairy products!

Organic Foods and Cafe: For all your organic needs - this is it!

Earlybird: For your everyday groceries and household items. I know there are lot of neighborhood grocery stores that deliver if you order over the phone but here you can order items that you would possibly get at a hypermarket like Spinneys.

Trolley: Another option for your online supermarket.

Electronics & Office Supplies

JadoPado: Very reliable online store for electronics with super awesome service. Best part for me - they have an option for JadoPado Shield warranty for products which even covers water damage!

Quickoffice: Great option for all your office supplies. Next day delivery.

For Moms & Kids  

Mumzworld: For mother, baby and child! You're welcome.

Dbbabies: Baby boutique store. They offer same day delivery as well.

Blush and Bloom: Maternity boutique, lots of goodies for to-be moms.

For Pets

Dubaipetfood: Everything you could possibly need for your pet - find it here!

ABVC Pet Shop: Another option for your pet needs - they have great discounts! 

Fun Stuff 

Wamli: Your one-stop shop for all things quirky - definitely one of my favourites!

Modvito: You'll find fancy grooming tools for men and some seriously cool gadgets. (and more)

Little Majlis: Online boutique marketplace to find handmade and artisan products across categories from artists in the GCC. So many adorable items in here!

Ideyna: Another marketplace for handmade products and they also do real cute DIY posts on their blog (Imma sucker for DIYs)

YouGotaGift: As if gift cards weren't lazy enough presents, now you can buy them online! Though I'm not a huge fan of giving gift cards, this site has great choices for gift cards from places such as Virgin Megastore, SensAsia spa, Chilis etc.

Dreamdays: Gift vouchers for experiences in the UAE. You can buy vouchers online across categories such as water sports, spa experiences, getaways, adventure activities etc.

Desertcart: They stock things that you usually find in the US, really good if you want those specific cosmetic products that are only available elsewhere in the world.

Ikea: You can shop online for IKEA in the UAE! They have a minimum for free delivery but you can also order lesser and pay a delivery charge. Great way to shop for the smaller things without having to make the trip!

Mixed Bag

Souq: They have a wide variety of items you can usually never get anywhere else but you need to be quite cautious as they are all independent sellers. Customer service is so-so.

Tejuri: Electronics, fashion, health and beauty products and more under one website. Great customer service.

Aido: Another website for electronics, fashion, health and beauty products and more under one website.

Dobazaar: My first stop for books - always discounted and great customer service. They also sell perfumes and have a sports shop as well.

Alshop: And yet another one for electronics, fashion, health and beauty products and more under one website.


Hope this helps, let me know if there's any awesome ones I missed! Also, would love any feedback on my little newbie blog.

Mona xo

Saturday, September 6, 2014

New blogger on the block

Hi there! I'm Mona and welcome to my blog.

I'm a 20 something Indian, living in Dubai. I work in Film/TV production and in my spare time, I like to vegetate, annoy my dog and explore anything new/old/exciting/shiny happening around me.

This blog is about all things Dubai, interesting (and sometimes not) people, places, things, events and whatever else finds me along the way.

This has been a work-in-progress for so long and it's really great to see that I made out the other end (after much cribbing and procrastination, cc: sister, parents, friends, stranger on the road, anybody really)

If you liked what you read and are curious, come back (do it) and see what really happens here.

Meanwhile, comment below, say hi, tell me about you!
 
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