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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

GlamBox + The Face Shop UAE

GlamBox has partnered with The Face Shop UAE to bring out their first all-natural box for November '14. I was invited to the announcement event at St. Tropez Bistro (Mall of the Emirates) and was quite excited to have a look at their beauty and skincare products!

GlamBox is a monthly subscription box that delivers a selection of beauty samples to your doorstep. I've been a subscriber for over a year now and have discovered some great products through them! (and I also love receiving mail!)

The Face Shop is a Korean brand that specializes in beauty and skin care products for women, men and even children. They have separate ranges of all-natural products based on your skin type/needs - mango seed for dry skin, chia seed for oily skin and white seed for uneven skin tone/brightening.  They also had a special sun care range that would provide the right kind of protection for your skin type.



Apart from the variety of all-natural face masks, they also had some interesting nail packs and foot masks/patches on display.  


Some of their packaging was so cute - look at how adorable these hand creams are! They have a very light texture and smell delicious.


We received a tube of these daily perfumed hand creams in the GlamBox goodie bag, can't wait to try that out. I definitely foresee them being a handbag staple!


Here's some more adorable packaging - their blush and eyeshadow products! I tried out some of the eyeshadows and noticed that the pigmentation was quite low - I had to pack on quite a bit to achieve an effect. So, keep that in mind if you're looking for something strong.



Overall, it was a lovely afternoon spent with GlamBox and The Face Shop UAE! The event was well organized and I really had the opportunity get to know the products and the brands.
Image Map

They have stores across the Emirates, so find the one closest to you using the store locator and go check out some of their products.

For you GlamBox subscribers, you'll be getting some samples very soon in your monthly box. If you're not a GlamBox subscriber as yet, subscribe now using the code 'THEFACESHOPUAE' and the first lucky 20 subscribers will receive the Face Shop box along with their first box!

Let me know what are some your favorites!

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

5 online tools to make your life easier

Today is the day I pay tribute to those basic functional websites that I use on the daily which save me so much time and energy. Thank you for existing. Hope this helps you too!


Cloud Convert

Cloud Converts helps online convert all sorts of audio, video, image and text files into whatever format you could possibly need it in. This has proven very helpful for when you can only upload certain types of files onto certain websites and you also can tweak settings if you're looking to reduce file size.


Small PDF

Most company emails have a email attachment limit of possibly 1 or 2 MB and thus I always find myself trimming PDFs down. SmallPDF reduces the file size without losing quality of images or anything else in it. It also has options for converting various formats into PDFs and splitting and merging PDFs.


Savefrom

Savefrom allows you to download videos (or just audio from videos) which are on Youtube, Vimeo etc. This option works out great especially for presentations where you want to show some reference videos so you don't have to worry about buffering or connecting to the Internet.


Clipconverter

Another option is Clipconverter which allows to download just a certain section of the clip from Youtube, Vimeo etc. for your use. This really helps if you have a slow internet connection and just need a portion of a super long video.


PDFescape

I honestly detest the whole printing a form, writing the details, scanning the same form dance. So this website helps just typing straight into a PDF and also adding images (if you have your signature scanned already) or even freehand signatures (I've mastered these) onto the document. Saves me a bunch of time!

What are your top go-to websites to get work done? Let me know below in the comments or tweet me @MonaGir!

Mona xo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tips from a new blogger

I'm brand new to blogging and so far, it's been such a wonderful experience. (yes, all rainbows and unicorns)

I wrote my first post on April 4th 2014, deleted it and then spent the next five months basically grueling over every little detail. It was basically just lots and lots of productive procrastination.

It finally got to a point where I wanted to stop thinking about what font my commas need to be in and just get out there. And here we are! 

So, in honor of this being my 8th post, I wanted to share some tips from my experience as a new blogger.

Growing and learning

There's quite a learning curve to blogging and I'm still figuring all of this - what to blog about, how frequently, how to photograph products and so much more.

During this early stage, what has helped me is:

- Keeping notes on my phone of things I want to blog about - this has proved to be extremely helpful.

- Sharing my drafts with some friends and family to get a fresh perspective on it - sometimes, you miss some obvious mistakes or don't make sense at all (teehee)

- Reading many many blogs, understanding how they work and looking for inspiration here, there and everywhere. 

While this is all some serious stuff, remember to enjoy this process and don't be scared to put yourself out there. Don't worry about having it all together right off the bat and be open to learning at every stage. 

All in good time 

It's crucial to keep your mind in the game and concentrate on putting out genuine content, especially when starting off. In time, views, readers, sponsors etc will come to you. Until then, do it because you want to and not because you might get free things/fame/fortune out of it.

The same goes for getting discouraged when you don't see enough traffic for whatever reason - all in good time. I'm in the process of learning about blog networks and link parties which are a great way to get to know some new bloggers and also get traffic on your blog.

It also helps to be active on social media and interact with other bloggers out there. I also keep up with this one group on Facebook called Dubai Bloggers to discover local blogs and share my posts as well.

Last but not the least, talk about your blog - don't be shy to share it with friends, family and people you meet (I'm still getting there!)

Optimize, schmoptimize

SEO is my personal Everest. I managed to dodge this as long as I could because it confused me but now have found some great resources to start me out:

7 Basic SEO Tips
SEO Checklist
SEO for Wordpress (found this while I was still deciding on what platform)

To .com or not to .com

So, I started out with a .blogspot.com because I wasn't sure how this was all going to go down (and this is normal). And now, I switched to a .com! It's official - I've DTR-ed.

I'm glad I did it - one because I didn't want to lose this domain name and two, this is it! Teeny tiny footprint on the internet, how exciting! I registered my domain name with GoDaddy and it's all thanks to this wonderful blog post that everything is actually working.

Blogger vs. Wordpress

I played around with both platforms and I found Blogger much easier to use. Though I do feel like I'm most likely to shift to Wordpress in the long term, I'm happy with Blogger for right now. So that would be my advice for someone starting off: Blogger is much less overwhelming.  It's also simple enough for even a newbie like me to mess around the HTML.


Hope this helps you shake it off and do it already! Link me below if you're a new (or seasoned) blogger - would love to check it out. And of course, if you have any tips/tricks for me, please do share.

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
 
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