Thursday, February 5, 2015

January '15 Favorites


The Skimm
These days, we are exposed to a crazy amount of information which makes it quite difficult to sort through all the news (or even read any of) and get to the important stuff. The Skimm helps with just that. It's a daily email newsletter service that reads through all current topics/news, simplifies it and sends a daily update to your inbox in a fun, very easy-to-read format. Best of all, it's free!


Above
Sofitel Dubai Downtown

Love: Uninterrupted views of Burj Khalifa, fancy but with a no nonsense vibe
Place for: Date night, a chill evening out
Recommend: Falafel sliders and making a reservation (especially for the weekend)



Forest Essentials Advanced Soundarya Age Defying Facial Serum with 24K Gold
Forest Essentials is a luxury Ayurveda brand based in India. I bought this product on my recent trip to India and it's been working wonderfully for me. It's 100% natural, helps eliminate fine lines and pigmentation and the packaging is just gorgeous (I just had to say that, total sucker for packaging). I've seen a very noticeable reduction in pigmentation and my skin feels a lot more hydrated, so two thumbs up! Their products are not available in stores in UAE as yet but they do offer international shipping.


I'm a big fan of online shopping and Boohoo is my most recent haunt. They have a great selection of styles which are quite young and fresh and they have a plus-size section as well which runs up to size 24. The above two dresses are part of my January haul - I'm totally big on prints.


This game has ruined my life but I'm honestly hopelessly addicted. I'm not usually one to play games on my phone but this one sucked me right in. The basics of the game is joining dots as you can tell but oh, it's so much more than that. Give it a go and let me know how you get on, I've just made my way up to level 56!
Free, Available for iOS and Android


Scented candles are a no-brainer - they make the atmosphere so much more relaxed and calm, which everyone could use especially after a work day. My current favorite is the Ginger Lime candle from Pure Candles Dubai. All their candles are made of soy wax and are eco-friendly, made right here in Dubai. 


That's it for my favorites from January! Tweet me @MonaGir and let me know what some of your favorites are from last month! 

Mona xo

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

5 things to do when you start freelancing

I've just recently started out as a freelancer in the video production world and so far, it's been an interesting ride! I'm learning a lot, meeting a whole bunch of new people and spending time trying to perfect a work schedule. While I add some method to the madness, I wanted to share some of the tips I've picked up along the way, especially for when you're starting off!

Promote shamelessly

While self promotion is hard, it's the only way to survive in the freelancing world. Make sure all your profiles are up-to-date and listed wherever possible online, so people can find you with a quick search and see that you're open for business. Nabbesh is a great resource for freelance jobs in Middle East across various fields of work.

Card up

This is an oldie but a goodie - business cards are so important for when you meet that random person who you have absolutely no common connections with. Business cards give them something to remember you by and hopefully when projects pop up, they will dig it up and contact you.

Spread the word

The best way for you to get started is to spread the word amongst your circles - both close and extended. You never know, they may as well be your first clients or know someone who is looking to hire a freelancer. Another way to spread the word is by attending relevant networking events and joining Facebook groups related to your line of work. This way, you can also stay updated with current and possible future opportunities directly.

Adopt a discipline

When you begin freelancing, you experience this whole new sense of freedom and flexibility in terms of work/play. It's almost too easy to take a quick nap or binge watch TV shows before you realize that you've wasted a whole day (or more). It's really up to you to stay motivated!

Clients still work normal working hours so it would be wise for you to work the same hours so they can reach you easily. So, make sure to set those hours for yourself and actually work during then. The same applies to knowing when to stop working, don't exhaust yourself. (workaholics, take note)

Switch up your work areas

Most freelancers usually work from home and though it's convenient, I think it's important to get out of the house and work at a different location once in a while, just for the sake of your sanity. A change of scenery will give you a break and possibly some much needed inspiration.

Hope this helps. Most of this is still work-in-progress on my end, so wish me luck. If you have any input for me, please do share in the comments below - I could definitely use some tips! 

Mona xo

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

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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