Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fashion Unconscious in Dubai

Dubai is known for its fashion consciousness. The closer you are to Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Road, or any swanky office, the more obvious this becomes. Even bloggers here love to talk about fashion. I do enjoy good taste in style, and i know there are other kinds of blogs out there, but they just don't seem to be getting as much attention as a fashion blog does. Fashion advertisements are plastered all over the everywhere of everything in Dubai. Oh, what's that you say? But Dubai's known for its fashionistas? Yea well, i'd like to believe there's more to Dubai than that!

So the question remains, is it alright to live in Dubai and be unfashionable? Don't strain your brain; of course it's okay! But are you someone who gets away with it? Do you think you've got what it takes to be fashion unconscious?

Let's find out. Below is a short personality quiz to help you decide. The scenarios include some everyday situations you may go through and you pick the options that make the most sense to you.

1. You're at a store in the accessories section looking for something to match a new outfit, you think...
a. Yes, that poppy-coloured bead necklace is somewhat what I'm looking for but I know I can find something better in that other favourite store I usually shop at.
b. None of these are the right colour. I'll just pick one that's close enough.
c. A simple pendant like the one I'm wearing goes well with everything. Matchy-matchy stuff can't be worn very often anyway.
d. Ugh, why am I here even? That new outfit has enough sparkles to blind someone anyway. Who needs accessories?!

2. You're at a fashion show. All that's running through your mind is...
a. This designer has done better during a previous season's collection. 
b. I love this designer and all his/her creations. I cannot believe I'm here, even!
c. Not sure where I'd wear one of those but at least it looks good on the models.
d. What is the point of this even? How am I supposed to do a feature on a designer who's stuff I could care less about?!

3. At a party, your close friend is wearing clashing colours from top to bottom. You wonder...
a. I should've been in charge of dressing him/her up. That tie just cannot go with those shoes.
b. How hideous! I'm just going to pretend I don't know him/her.
c. That ensemble doesn't look right. Let me go compliment him/her anyway. No point in ruining a lovely evening.
d. I can't find the sushi section. Where are they hiding it? Oh no! What if there's no sushi?!

4. Forty-five minutes remain before you head out for work. Your beauty routine is to...
a. Straighten or curl your hair and perfect your make-up routine.
b. Try out some new styles you saw on your favourite telly show. If it looks good on them it'll definitely look great on you.
c. Continue with your standard style with little tweaking. The rest of the time is spent planning out the rest of your work-day's schedule.
d. Spend fifteen minutes on exercising, another 10 on bath-time, five to get ready and the remaining fifteen is for catching up on the news or a book.

5. Your opinion of a good skirt is...
a. Should first and foremost be of the right hue to go with my silk blouse. Nothing too tacky.
b. Any skirt will look great on me. I enjoy trying new styles all the time.
c. It should flatter my body shape. Nothing too baggy or tight that could hinder my movements.
d. A pant. Skirts aren't friendly when i'm 'manspreading'.

Mostly As: You are a 'fashionista'! It's possible you may have never worked on a village farm feeding chickens, pigs, goats and other domestic animals.

Mostly Bs: You just want to be one of the effortlessly, best dressed. You believe that if others can do it, you can too; and you do. Rules are not for you!

Mostly C: You prefer functionality before fashion. Good books always inspire you.

Mostly Ds: Hi, I'm looking to make new friends and i think you might be the one.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hello Diva Cup, Goodbye Tampons and Pads

Whilst several companies in Canada, UK, Germany and South Africa are in the meantime offering this product (menstrual cups) it is still surprisingly little known. One reason might be that it is difficult for the companies to make much profit from this product as one single menstrual cup can last a girl or woman five years or longer. - Wikipedia

If for whatever reason, you're a girl who's squeamish about touching your own vagina, getting your fingers a little bloody or grossed out by the very concept of a menstrual cup in general, woman-up and read on anyway. Better yet, share this post with girls in your groups so they can clear their doubts, learn about how menstrual cups work, and decide for themselves.

Before writing this, i posed a few questions to a handful of girls; if they've heard of the cups, ever used one and if not, would they want to try.

While most of them had read about menstrual cups, for many, the very idea grossed them out. Some wondered about the kind of gymnastics that would be involved, others asked if it's uncomfortable, a few were really keen on trying it out but said the cups weren't easily available.

So this is for everyone who's still deciding if a menstrual cup really is worth it or not. For the shy ones, anonymous commenting is available for any further doubts. Comments are moderated.
What is that Diva Cup thingy in the image about?
It is a medical grade, silicone-based menstrual cup you insert into your vaginal canal to collect menstrual fluid. There are many other brands in the market.

Whaaa? And how was it?
It's actually quite safe to use. There's little to no discomfort. I experienced a leak once because i didn't fit it in right. The rest of the time, everything was peachy. The instructions that came with the box are very helpful on how to correctly wear it and take it out. It's expected to last me five years or longer and is easy to clean. The box also comes with a little breathable pouch to store your cup.

How did you find out about these things?
I read an article about menstrual cups about a year or so ago that mentioned the Diva Cup. This led me to the original website and negative user experiences on forums. Why read those? Because they tell you if it's a user's mistake or a product error.

Was the hunt for a menstrual cup easy?
I did an online search for the  Diva Cup in Dubai and found an old Expat Woman thread that said a store stocked it. So finally, hubby drove me to the store, i bought what i needed, and we left. Easy-peasy.

What made you try one?
Having a cup in my vagina didn't disturb or faze me and i did thorough research on the product and its reviews. It's safe, economical and is eventually biodegradable. What's not to like?!
But where do you get them?
Dubai folks can order the Diva Cup online from the links below. There are two models to choose from, A and B for AED 160 each. 

The only problem is...?

Calculate how much you spend on buying your favourite brand of napkins for five years, compare it with the cost of buying a single menstrual cup and maybe some liners and figure things out for yourself.

Tips for new users?
  • Always wash your hands and the cup in warm water with mild soap before you insert the cup.
  • Once the cup is inserted, clean up around your vaginal opening with a damp tissue or napkin to prevent staining your undergarments. Or wear a liner.
  • You don't have to wait for 12 hours to pass. Empty the contents of your cup in a sink or toilet bowl every 6 to 8 hours during the day when period flow is heavy before you leave it in for the night.
  • If you're on your heavy flow days, wear a napkin or liner at night till you get used to the cup.
  • Leave the cup in boiling water for 5-10 minutes before storing it for your next cycle.
Links you should visit

Monday, March 16, 2015

Road Trip to Fujairah

One lazy afternoon, stocked-up with four store-bought peanut packets for snacks, we set off on an impromptu trip to Fujairah. The emirate is separated from the rest of the United Arab Emirates by a jagged strip of the picturesque Hajar Mountains; truly, a more welcoming and breathtaking sight from the usual Dubai skyline we're so used to. Driving down a highway laden with dancing swirls of sand and silhouettes of mountains against the sky really set the mood for the day. Reminded me of drives along the NH17 from Bombay to Goa.

Once in Fujairah, you'll notice local taxis are delicious looking with their creamy, lemony butterscotch-like colour. The place is quiet, like some dusty old town straight out of an old movie scene. Keep your eyes open for roundabout centers that have some seriously beautiful art.  

Khor Fakkan, Khor Kalba, Al Aqah and Snoopy Island are heard to be way more scenic than the beach near Fujairah corniche. A wildly desolate, windswept beach in the late afternoons, you'll find joggers sweating it out and we even spotted a few barbecue pits around too. Aside from the odd picnicking family, the place is pretty deserted. Perfect for the hour long walk taking in the scenery.

There are scores of shells in all shapes and earthy hues scattered across the sand and the water is vividly blue. You can take a dip, though you do so at your own risk as there are no lifeguards around.

Since our plan to visit the place was completely out of the blue we made very few stops for pictures, but it did give us more time to enjoy the view with fewer distractions. We plan to make another trip to see some of the more popular sights in Fujairah. Definitely recommend seeing the place for yourself if you live in the UAE.


Araceli Gallego, a popular fashion blogger I follow, recently wrote about her own little trip to Fujairah's Snoopy Island. A really nice post and the stunning pictures of Fujairah's local sights on her blog are worth having a look at.

Do you know of any places in and around Fujairah you'd like to recommend visiting? Let me know in the comments below; who knows it could be that one place that makes our next trip even more exciting and all the more memorable.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Life before and after the Ford Fusion

A Ford Fusion recently drove into our lives. While i prefer public transport in Dubai, driving around and about makes so much more sense for hubby who frequents areas in the city and neighbouring emirates. It not only made his work-life easier, our lifestyle has immensely improved too.

This is what life looks like in Bitstrips and how owning a car makes all the difference.

And here's what the Ford Fusion looks like with Fujairah's mountains creating a gorgeous backdrop. New post on the trip should be up next week.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Short Story: After the Beef Ban

The corridors are dimly lit, there's plenty of rubbish strewn about and suspicious looking stains adorn the walls. Could be blood, could be paan, didn't matter. It wasn't the kind of place you'd go to if you didn't know where it led. I knew where I was headed and eventually you got used to these sort of things growing up in Bombay. The real heroes needed me and a little dirt along the way ain't no trouble. Besides, once you're in the business you don't exactly leave midway and I wasn't going to let these guys down.

Who am I? I'm just a delivery boy, a tiny part of a secret network; an important piece of a crazy jigsaw puzzle being solved by only those who know how.

Where am i going? Where Zomato can't lead you. A place where only a select few are invited. It's one of those places where only the needy and the greedy show up. No regular Rams, Shyams or Haris ever stepped foot here. One thing's for sure, got a nice fat wallet on you? You may pass. That's your only ticket to a taste of the good stuff. And no, we don't take cards. Plastics aren't accepted here, they tell stories and no one in their right mind would try using one at a venue like this either. Nothing but cold, hard cash.

Climbing down these dusty old wooden stairs is always amazing. It gets cleaner on the way and even the aromas float around inviting you deeper down. Way better than any of those regular, heavily taxed, fancy restaurants on the surface. Sounds great, right? Not that we're worried about being discovered, we've got our own hungry friends in high places; and guess what else...they're the ones funding and protecting us.

All this secrecy didn't always exist before, you know. There was a time when what we do now was perfectly legal. Nobody had to go to jail, basements were used for other unmentionable activities, tens of thousands weren't jobless, everyone burped and all was good with the world. Then suddenly, with one unsuspecting March came that dreadful beef ban; the very one that would change the diets of so many, like it did for so many other states. Canned beef from anywhere else was considered contraband. At first, beef sales rocketed so shops could get rid of all the remaining stock, but then came the cravings for the tender, sometimes chewy, beef delicacies and something had to be done about it. Some gave in, evolved and stuck to a diet of white meats and the occasional mutton meal. Not everyone though; where there's hunger, there's a hot steaming plate of food somewhere else waiting to be paid for and relished.

Down below, in one of the old building's four-floor basements is where retired chefs rule the kitchens just like old times. Is it really worth the risk? Decide for yourself. A single chef's apprentice earns in a day far more than what your friend in that famous international call-centre in Malad makes in a month. Imagine what they're paying the chefs! For me, the choice wasn't hard. I could finally afford to relocate my family in a snap and live in a place where beef isn't illegal. If you were given the same opportunity, you'd jump at it too even if it took you an extra minute to think about it.

Well, here we are, and here's where I leave you. Not that you'll ever know where here is. I'd stay and chat, but I've got some fresh and tender cuts ordered specially for a spicy beef curry, a few beef steaks and some nice juicy beef burgers waiting to get in some starving rich folk's mouths.
Inspired by the recent beef ban announcement in Maharashtra.