Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Glamorous Art Affair

Standard
A Glamorous Art Affair

Glamorous arty types gathered at DIFC’s Gate Village for a fabulously fun evening merging art, design, music and cuisine in a contemporary urban environment.
I had never seen the DIFC Gate Village so packed with people like on that night. It was the perfect night for people watching. As everyone was dressed up to the nines. From artists to guests to passers-by. My friend was not able to grasp anything with the huge amount of people in the area. She was having a “sensory overload” as she described it.

Guests were seen admiring the art pieces at the renowned art galleries, sampling the gourmet food and desserts on offer, or networking and chatting with friends.

A Brazilian band on drums livened up the night with their cover of Shakira’s “waka waka” hit song. They even asked guests to join in and try their drumming skills for some added fun and amusement.

Having had a filling dinner prior to the event at “The Noodle House” with a friend didn’t stop me from accepting an invitation from a new friend to join her at the classy French restaurant “La Petite Maison”.¬† After all, how could anyone resist a dinner invitation to world-class eateries accompanied by a charming opportunity to catch up with great friends?

Leaving you with some snap shots from a vibrant and colorful night at DIFC; the beating heart of Dubai’s art scene.

London Meets Dubai in a Japanese Backdrop

Standard
London Meets Dubai in a Japanese Backdrop

At the iconic address of One Sheikh Zayed Road, a blend of fashion and design students, tutors and their friends met at the prestigious Okku restaurant. The networking event marked the start of the University of the Arts London’s short courses program in Dubai this October and next January and May. It was also a get together event for all the alumni students in the region.

My undying nostalgia for London town and my deep desire to network, were great motivators for me to make an effort to attend the event although I wasn’t feeling at my best on that day.

As I was waiting to catch a bus to take me to the nearby mall to get my hair done, I met a lady who shared my job struggle story. We decided to walk together to the mall, since the driver was nowhere in sight…That’s when I found out from her that she was going for a job interview at the mall but was suspicious and a bit afraid as to what to expect. Later she told me how she was physically visiting random commercial towers in Dubai in the efforts of meeting with employers and submitting her CV. On that same day, she had been to the airport free zone doing the same thing. She was on a visit visa to Dubai, and had no time to waste. She had heard of many stories about ladies from her country who had flown to Dubai for short periods of time in search for work, but were not successful and had to go back to their homes eventually. She also mentioned how her brother thought that she was courageous for trying in more assertive and unusual ways.

For me, trying to personally submit my CV to companies had been a thing of the past. Now though, I am practicing my usual wit in the form of attending random events and networking with strangers!

The University alumni reunion was no exception. I specifically felt my bravery as I stepped into the restaurant full of random faces standing or sitting in groups and conversing over drinks. I was alone and it was up to me to start a conversation with an anonymous person or group of people. I would say I did pretty well and managed to network with a few people and make a new friend who shared my struggle to make her way in the fashion world. I of course was more focused into publishing and lifestyle journalism.

Since I only had a light salad for lunch that day, the eggplant and salmon fillet hors d’oeuvres that were being served weren’t enough to fill my food deprivation and I ordered some pieces of baked salmon sushi rolls later that evening.

Finding the individual from the University that I was advised to contact upon arriving at the event wasn’t a piece of cake, or in this story – a piece of sushi roll! But I managed to locate her by the end of the night. It turned out that she was the alumni director from Chelsea college of design. However, she did introduce me to the marketing person from London College of Fashion. Whom I had already exchanged e-mails with prior to the event to inquire about a communication short course being taught in Dubai. The course is scheduled for next May and I plan to take it.

Yes, even after all this time trying to make it in the magazine editorial world, and not quite landing a full-time role, I am still determined to make it, and will not let go of my dream career or listen to everyone’s suggestions to try other fields. Mostly including my dad’s.

We all know that achieving any dream or goal is not always easy. The journey will be long. There will be numerous obstacles of all types and sizes. But the most important aspect of the road to achieving your goals is the learning process and the development and personal growth that comes with it.

My parents and the people around me might not see any results, and would think that I am simply wasting my time and energy. But I look at it differently. I look at the countless ways in which I have developed, and the amount of things I had learned along my journey.

Maybe my comfort zone could use a little more expansion. Maybe that’s when I will reach my goal. When I do though, it would be through the long and proven track. And I would have an equally long and solid story to support my accomplishment.

Who knows? maybe I will be the famous author of the best-selling book: “How to Make it in Dynamic Dubai; a Step-by Step Guide” ūüôā
Have a look at some pictures from my nostalgic night or what I like to call: a piece of London in Dubai.

 

 

 

Fashion, Music, and Silly Camera Poses

Standard
Fashion, Music, and Silly Camera Poses


It was an ordinary day that involved plans such as “supervising the cleaning lady”, grocery shopping, and re-heating yesterday’s lunch! But just as I was about to iron my clothes for my grocery shopping errand, I received an invite text from Topshop. The invite was for the J.W. Anderson collection launch and the event was being held at the Dubai Mall store on the same day.

Considering that the event was on the same day, and I hadn’t added it to my diary, I was thinking a lot before I decided to go. Eventually, I thought to myself that I must get out there and network. And that this event will be a good opportunity for me to meet new people and make new contacts.

As I walked towards the spacious Topshop Dubai Mall store, I could hear DJ beats coming from inside…The DJ played commercial pop hits throughout the event, non-stop.

In the first hour or so, we got to meet and have a chat with other guests. As well as have an exclusive look at the young designer’s new collection.¬† At the style workshops later that night, the speakers explained to the guests about the designer and the outfits.

J.W. Anderson is a 27 year-old British designer. His outfit creations can be worn by both men and women. Which I found to be very evident in the design and cut of the shirts and jersey jackets. His style inspirations come from the pop and youth sub-cultures. There were some sixties-inspired ensembles among the collection too. What defines Anderson’s designs is his “print on print” style. Which in my opinion is a very funky and unique way to dress up. I personally loved his use of vibrant and bold colors on tops and other pieces.

The fashion crowd had a great time posing at the photo stand while holding signs that promote the store and the innovative designer.

I will leave you with more pictures from the event….

Celebration of Life with its good and bad – I guess

Standard

 

Many times, we take our lives for granted, and immerse ourselves in sorrow and self-pity and other negative emotions. Forgetting about the most important blessing: the privilege to be alive and in good mental and physical health.

I was delighted to be invited to my first charity event in the UAE, and even more happy since I would be going with my motivational and inspiring and sweet next-door neighbor.

I was told to wear white, as the theme for the year was angels and halos and purity. But when I went shopping for a dress, the dress that grabbed my attention and gave me the feel of a charity-related event came in two colors only: light jade and pale pink. Unfortunately, there were no sizes of the pink number. So I had to go with the jade one.

At the ball reception area, we took a look around at the different jewellery and items displayed. My neighbor met a few people she knew. Having lived in Dubai all of her life, she obviously has a big social network. The majority of the guests were wearing white…many had wings attached to their backs.

That image made me decide to make an effort to dress in-line with the theme at next year’s ball.

As we sat at our designated table, the event started with a number of speakers and slide shows explaining the success and impact the charity has contributed to cancer research organizations in the UAE and the UK. There were tables with the donation amount figures and totals. We were all happy to know that we could help, even if it’s just by a small contribution.

A three-course meal was served at our tables. And although neither I nor my neighbor and her relatives could make out what the appetizer dish was, the main course and dessert were fabulous.

There was an auction on some signed tennis rackets and other one-off items. Which I thought was interesting. Especially the way the dealer was auctioning and speaking. You could tell that he was a trained professional in his field.

This was followed by a raffle prizes draw. Naturally, I didn’t win anything. But I was ecstatic to see the lady from our table dancing as she went to collect her golf game prize voucher.

There was live music for a while, that to me and my neighbor, lasted for a little longer than it should have. We were bored by that time, and I was anxiously waiting for the DJ to start playing!

Luckily, the DJ was worth the wait. He played mostly mainstream and club hits. And even mixed in some Gypsy Kings and I found myself swinging my pleated dress to the music in so-called Spanish dance moves.

From all-time favorites like “I will survive” to an Arabic beat dance track, me and my neighbor had a great time on the dance floor, and continued dancing the night away with other guests and the rest of the party crowd.

At one point, when me and my neighbor were taking a break from all the dancing at our seats. A good song was playing, and I went to the dance floor alone because she still wanted to rest. At that time, another guest happened to be dancing solo on the floor as well.  Surprisingly, he was impressed by my unclassified dance moves and later presented me with a white rose at the end of the evening, as me and my neighbor were waiting for her car to arrive.

All in all, it was a fun evening of pure joy and laughter. And a significant reminder to enjoy every single day of our lives. With the good and bad that comes with this game called life.

Living the Dream ahead of its realization

Standard

I’ve always believed in living out your dream as if it were a reality, in order to eventually achieve it…So I was naturally delighted to find out that my strategy was mentioned in the book I’m reading: How to get from where you are to where you want to be….Yes, I’ve been reading the same book for weeks…I actually don’t get the chance or free time to read much. Since I spend most of my free time working on “trying to get from where I am to where I want to be”!
Keeping in line of following the book’s advise, and wanting to get my hair trimmed at a salon that happened to be located in the area I am targeting for employment, my plan for yesterday involved spending part of my day (well, most of it, since I didn’t leave the house till around 2) at Dubai Media City.

My first stop was at an uber cool hair salon located in stylish office buildings, that made me feel like I was in London! The salon was on two floors (the top one for ladies), and had large windows with a lovely view of the surrounding garden and modern buildings. The walls had a brick theme, which added to the London feel of the neighborhood.

After my nostalgic hair appointment, I headed to a new Sushi place that I had read about on my secret sources web site, and decided to try their shrimp California rolls. The food was not bad, but the place had a relaxing vibe to it, and made me want to just sit there for the rest of my day, except that it was empty and I knew that I couldn’t afford to waste my valuable time hanging around at a secluded joint in the heart of Dubai Media City.

So, I got up and was considering finding a local Starbucks to try to network with the media crowd. But the place was a bit of a walk and I had to meet my friend who happens to work at the city’s biggest publishing company soon. After asking for directions, I was happy to know that I was just a block away from Dubai’s renowned publishing house.

After a lovely tour at the multistory office with my high-school friend, we sat at the roof terrace and had a chat that was a symbol of what our lives had come to at this stage: we were both going through a lot of challenging times and had no moral support or someone who understands to talk to. Therefore, the conversation we had was a combination of isolated rants on different topics coming from each one of us, which didn’t necessarily follow any rational sequence. The one hour we spent talking flew by so fast and neither of us had a chance to express a mere 10 % of what was going on in her world!

Yes, the dilemma that comes with being single in a city like Dubai. As we said our good-byes, I promised my friend to visit her again soon and continue my stories of trials and tribulations. I guess she doesn’t have an option but to listen, or be stressing about work, as she confessed she was!

Today though, I attended my first proper event in the effort of putting my new strategy into effect: attending events and networking!

It was a fashion and art event in association with one of the biggest publishing company’s fashion titles. My illustrator friend had invited me as a guest, and I couldn’t help but jump at the occasion of being at a magazine-related event. The event involved the shortlisted illustrators drawing a fashion-related sketch of a model and hand bag. Listening to the guest speaker David Downton, who happens to be a visiting teacher at London College of Fashion took me on a trip down memory lane back to the days when I was taking my Fashion Media and Communication course at the same college’s London campus.

My London days will always be memorable to me…but now I am in Dubai, and I must focus on staying in the present moment. With all its great challenges, fears, and endless hardships.

As the event came to an end, I came to know from the presenter that she is an editor at an interior design title from the city’s biggest publishing house. Unfortunately, not having any business cards left in my purse meant that I didn’t have a good way to approach her or present myself. I also had already tried to approach the company’s HR department and individuals many times for the past two years and more, but with no luck.

But when I told my new friend from the event, she offered to give the editor the card that I had given her, and we both went looking for that potential contact, who we later found out had made a quick disappearance from the location. I assured my friend that it’s fine, I am attending another event tomorrow. This time though, I will make sure to carry a stack of business cards in my clutch bag!

I find it strange the way Dubai has become an International city that resembles New York and London, where it is highly challenging to get into the publishing industry or any other industry for that matter.

Mainly because I grew up in the Gulf region, and to me, it was always a laid-back, easy-going place….where we didn’t need to work super hard to get anything in life. Or maybe that was just living in Saudi!

Oh well, it is time for me to sign off now…and go fill my clutch bag with my newly created business cards….