Monday, December 30, 2013

7 Fail-safe Last Minute Ideas For New Year's Eve Loners

As the official post to mark the end of 2013, here is a list of things you can do on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, should you happen to be alone, single or just plain bored of the repetitive clubbing, party and alcohol-infused scene.

7. Learn to solve the Rubik's cube. You're going to have to actually get yourself one of those colourful cubes first. See how far into the puzzle you can go without checking for solutions online. It takes about an hour or less to master it. Too easy? Once you're done, try out any of the nifty patterns available online, like the matching cubes in the pic. Yea, I'm a total cube pro!

6. Stroll the night streets. Everyone else has probably either turned in for the night or is somewhere really far away having a good time while being least concerned about how you are feeling at this very moment. This also means that the roads will be relatively empty enough to enjoy a nice cool stroll outside with just your thoughts for company.
5. Try a new cuisine. Take your pick, eat it at a restaurant or slave over your kitchen stove and then eat it. And if you've done them all you could always...

4. Blog about it! Anything and everything. Be choosy. Tell the world about how after trying out every cuisine the world has to offer, the planet still disappoints or surprises you to no end.

3. Play with shadows. Switch off all the lights and sit in the darkest room with only a torchlight on and enact a shadow play with your hands. Let your hands do all the talking to each other and record it so that you can post it up on YouTube later.

2. Origami time! Yep, that's right. This could keep you up all night creating new connections in your brain instead of being pissed drunk like everybody else. Look up any of the many origami-related tutorials online and fold your way into oblivion.

1. Read a book. Not at home, of course. Remove yourself from whatever four-walled place you've been hiding in and read a book you've been meaning to for the past year. It's way better than reading indoors any day. The best part is that you'll probably be left to read in peace since everyone else is partying away or watching the fireworks display but you won't care because fireworks bore you to kingdom come.


Got some ideas of your own? Share them in the comments below for the rest of us.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

16 Book Titles You Should Have Read in 2013

There's a new year closing in on us and what do we have to show for it? Something or the other and some more than others. But let's talk book titles instead. In case you're wondering Paulo Coelho reading list is complete, no, it isn't. Who says you can't create another one to read side-by-side? Nobody!


Here's a list you should probably have read during 2013.You may find most of the titles mentioned popular already. Most of them are. In case you haven't, you'd better add these to your list for 2014.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a beautiful story about a young girl named Liesel finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others during WWII. Reminds you of a cuter and more interesting Robin Hood.

2. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight tells of a workaholic single mother discovers her only child has committed suicide and gradually unlocks the shocking truth of her daughter’s last days.

3. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner has a deadly maze riddled with killer creatures and a bunch of boys. Mazes with killer creatures are always exciting.

4. Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth revolves around yet another dystopian society with five factions and a courageous teen ready to change the future.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort has this man who gets ridiculously rich, wastes away his money on drugs and partying, until reality kicks in.Sounds like someone you know or yourself? All the more the reason t read it then.

6. Horns by Joe Hill is about a boy who mysteriously wakes up one morning with horns and uses his new paranormal powers to hunt down his girlfriend’s killer.

7. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole is comical and brimming with intriguing characters, odd situations, and a vulnerable mama's boy named Ignatius J. Reilly.

8. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp has got some dewy romance but makes the list because the movie version premiered at Sundance and received rave reviews.

9. Serena by Ron Rash follows newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton as they create a timber empire and ruthlessly kill all who fall out of favor. Nothing is more fun than a slew of murders to get to the top.

10. Enders Game by Orson Scott Card has an alien invasion and a gifted kid on the side of the good guys. Alien invasions are cool and as a reason should suffice.

11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a murder mystery with a killer plot twist to befuddle even the obsessed mystery book fan. Try not to get confused along the way. It can happen.

12. The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel is an adventurous story about a group of art historians and museum curators who risk everything to save works of art before Hitler destroys them.

13. If I Stay by Gayle Forman is about a 17 year old girl that has an out-of-body experience and has to make a life or death decision.

14. Carrie by Stephen King tells of a girls who discovers that she has telekinetic powers.

15. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is about a terminally ill girl who falls in love despite her odds.

16. World War Z by Max Brooks is a documentary styled novel on a zombie apocalypse.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Magical Christmas - Music Box Snow Globe

There are a few things I find worth collecting, music boxes and snow globes are among them. As luck would have it, I found two of my favourite things as one at a Marks and Spencer's store while shopping for winter wear (velvet is in, people). These snow globes, that also happened to be wind-up music boxes, were all lined up on a top shelf and simply couldn't be ignored.


I bought one that had a Santa, Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, a Christmas tree, a rat and a fox all dressed up in the usual Christmas colours, standing in the snow. When you wound up the the key at the bottom of the snow globe, they all kept twirling around and around with little snow particles drifting about as the music box played the tune of "Jingle Bell Rock."


Check out the video to watch Santa and his furry friends twirl about to the musical notes of "Jingle Bell Rock."


You can pick up your very own musical snow globe at the Marks and Spencer outlet at Deira City Centre, Dubai. Although I'm sure they might have them at their other outlets too. The snow globes are priced at 110 Dhs. each.

Happy Holidays!



Sunday, December 22, 2013

5 Reasons Pets Are Awesome For Your Health

Want your day to start special? Mine does. Everyday. It really helps if you're an animal person and if your building isn't kind enough to let you keep your own pets, like mine.

On my way to the metro near my place there is a little fish shop where two little cats sit and sunbathe right in front of the shop. Sometimes I pet them if I'm not in a hurry. There's also these adorable black cats in an alley before the metro entrance who are extremely friendly an love to be fed and petted should you stop to say hello. Caressing their soft and warm fur is such, sweet, pleasure.


Once I get off at the metro near my office there's a lot of greenery and more pets bounding, skipping and strolling about with their owners. Most of them are these cute and fluffy little toy dogs with so much love and happiness glowing right out of their fur.

Not all that convinced you need to have a pet or should pet a friend's pet dog or cat?

1. A growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with “furred animals”, whether it’s a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals — will have less risk of allergies and asthma.
2. Your pet dog, cat, rabbit or fish are great for making love connections. Forget Internet matchmaking, a dog is a natural conversation starter.

3. Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog or petting a purring cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.

4. Walking a dog or just caring for a pet; for elderly people who are able, can provide exercise and companionship.

5. They're good for your heart. Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmassy Trinkets For Christmas

Christmas is coming! While most of us are busy or done with Christmas decorating, gift shopping or playing carols all day, all hubby and I have managed to do is survive through the work week anticipating our recuperating periods over the weekends.
 


Of course, that didn't stop me from picking up a few sparkly trinkets that spell Christmas in bold red and gold. So even if you aren't able to go all out for Christmas or even if you are, know that these beauties will look great on you either way.

I found these pretty earring sets at the little Claire's outlet on the third floor of Deira City Centre, here in Dubai. They're having a sale on Christmas trinkets that you shouldn't miss on your next trip. The glittering earrings I bought there come in affordable prices and for each set of earrings or neck pieces you buy, you get the other set for nothing. A Christmassy deal breaker, indeed!


Happy Shopping!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

3 Reasons Deira Fish Market is Worth a Visit

If you've been living in Dubai for long enough you already know you can fetch fresh fish at a decent price at your local supermarket. You probably do this because, like me, the fish market is a bit too far away to bother spending the minimum taxi fare. Unless you're stocking up for the month. Then it makes sense.

But for all its worth, the Deira fish and fruit market makes for a great visit at least once a month. Here's why.

Have Your Fishy Purchases Carried For You
Are you a lazy person who wants someone else to do all your carrying for you? Great! You can now hire someone to carry all your vegetables and fish parcels for you for a reasonable price. Back in Bombay you'd have to be content with just bringing along your servant/maid. You don't really have to be lazy, though. If you need to buy more than a few kilos of fish, it's actually advisable to hire one of the guys with their trolleys to save you your energy while you...

Bargain Your Way to a Great Steal
Yes, you can bargain here too. No fixed prices. Pick a price you think the fish you want is worth and the fresh catch of the day could just be yours. But if they're selling for a price that's too low to believe it's only because the fish is getting stale and you seem dim enough to take it off their baskets. Be warned, anyone who follows you around with a tray of really low-priced fish during break time (2pm to 4m) isn't to be trusted.



Get Your Fish Cleaned, Cut and Filleted by Pros
Working class folk like ourselves do this because it's so much better than having to spend those extra few minutes cleaning or chopping up fish and then having to scrub the cutting board clean. A few Dirhams extra could help save some time once you're back in the kitchen at home. You don't have to look too far to find one of these guys, ththough. They've probably been tailing you since you bagged your first purchase of the day.

5 Fish Shopping Tips
- Never agree to the first price. It's a margin the sellers use in case you bargain. Makes for great profit if you don't.
- Keep valuables safe. You never know who wants your smartphone or stray currency notes sticking out of your back pocket.
- Walk away from the price till they bring it down to your level.
- If it smells funny, don't buy. Obvious tip, but some sellers can be really convincing.
- If say, the stall you're at isn't selling mackerels, ask them where you can find some. They can be helpful too.


Hope these are reasons enoughg to get you to visit your nearest fish market over the weekend. Or act as a reminder that you need to re-stock. Even once is worth the trip. Plus, the floors are cleaned at regular intervals too.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gobble up a Lindt Chocolate Bear

Berry the Bear with his felt buddies
After years of ignoring the rows of specially wrapped Lindt chocolate figures at the sweets section in malls I finally gave in. Snugly covered in delicate gold foil was a bear that was meant to be disfigured and devoured.


Berry the Bear loses his hearing
The taste was as heavenly as any Lindt milk chocolate should be with all the melt-in-the-mouth moments you could dream of.


I could only document the joy so far until finishing up the bear seemed way better than having to stop to click more pics of every bear part bitten off. Between my hubby and me, we finished him up good.


The only preserved remains of the bear is the little red collar ribbon he arrived with and the heart pendant stringed with it.


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Book your Tickets! Chicago - The Broadway Musical Live in Dubai


"Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a story of murder, greed, corruption and violence, exploitation and treachery, all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts."
 

That's right! Winner of six Tonys and a Grammy! Longest running American musical in Broadway history! Chicago, The Broadway Musical on fame, fortune and all that jazz, is coming live to Dubai.

 

Set in the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago follows the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife by day and cabaret dancer by night who maliciously murders her lover when he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she cleverly dupes the public, the media and even her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her crime into a barrage of sensational headlines. Think it sounds like today's headlines? You're not alone.

  

Even if you haven't seen the Oscar Winning film, though it really would be a plus if you did, you'd still want to experience the show live on stage.

Chicago will play from December 19th, 2013 to January 3rd, 2014 at the Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre.

Like me, you can book your seats through www.PlatinumList.ae. Ticket prices start from AED245 and onwards. See you there!