Saks & the City

Have you ever walked into a fashion store and wished that it was your wardrobe? That wish came true for me yesterday!! Me & some other lucky bloggers got an interesting invitation from Saks M.E to design our own mannequins. And what a fun experience it was!! At first it was very challenging to pick an outfit out of all the gorgeous displayed items. But it got easier when i narrowed my options and decided to go for a simple outfit that represented me best. A pink, short Marni dress caught my eyes and i fell in love with it immediately. I wanted my mannequin to look elegant, not funky nor loud. And so the pink dress was the perfect choice. I started walking around holding the dress, looking for a matching bag, accessory and shoes. It was funny how everyone was telling me: That’s so you!! It was a good lesson for me to stop wishing to change my style and go for a new look. Because it seemed like i had my own look that i was known for. Even though it’s simple, it tells a lot about my personality. I tried to break the simplicity by looking for a funky accessory. I like the combination of pink and green and i had green in mind while searching for a necklace. It took me a while, but i found the perfect one! I failed to find green heels in the shoe section but i went for classic black heels to maintain the elegant look. Finding a matching bag was the most difficult part. I kept roaming around between Balenciaga, Bottega, Celine, and Mulberry but none of the bags complimented the look i was going for. I gave up and picked a pink Balenciaga. And so, my mannequin ended up looking exactly like me. Simple and pink with a failed trial to break the classic look, which was the green necklace.

For someone who finds her fun in writing and reading, fashion was a great way to break the routine and seek inspiration elsewhere. Thank you Saks for this great opportunity.

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When I Owned the World..

The discussion was over. I thanked everyone and got up of the chair that i was sitting on for an hour and a half. We gathered in circles to socialize, when suddenly, Khalid AlShaikh’s Atni Waad started playing in the background. I thought that i was hellucinating by hearing one of the soundtracks of my novel My Foggy Tomorrow right after the Book Club discussion was over. But i wasn’t. My cousin Narise played the song at the perfect moment in her Cafe, where we were having the book club. It was a Bahraini moment. A Bahraini book, a Bahraini cafe, and a Bahraini song.

The Book Club was the 3rd activity that was organized for my first novel My Foggy Tomorrow. The Book Launch was a dream, Bab Market was the fun part, and the Book Club was when i realized that i’ve done it!

I love the fact that my first experience with book clubs was to discuss my book!! I’m not a fan of book clubs as i don’t like committing to a certain book in a limited amount of time. But i think that i will change my mind about it after this beautiful experience. Every person that was present had his own opinions and views. Some opinions clashed, and some people argued, but that made me happy as i realized that I did it right. Because in fiction, no one is supposed to agree!

Most of the attendees, or maybe I can say all, were readers. And their input was extremely valuable to me whether i agreed with it or not. Sitting with them on one table and discussing my fears, expectations and what i hoped to deliver through this story was like living a dream. I can now say that i wrote a book. I can now feel it. Something that was only happening inside my head once upon a time, was being discussed by a group of people a few hours ago. Friends, family, relatives, other group members and people that i only met after writing this book were all analyzing some characters that I made up! Holding my book for the first time didn’t feel as good as today. Today, i felt like i owned the world. Because i touched people’s hearts with my story. Because i created a Bahraini book that is now being sold in Bahraini bookstores that barely sell any Bahraini books!

Serving your country doesn’t mean getting involved in politics. You can do it by simply being Bahraini, by being local, by being yourself. Do what you do best and market yourself. You will get endless support.

I’m speechless and i can hardly believe that all of this is real. But the only reality that i know is that nothing matters in this world more than being loved and appreciated by others. And for that, i am blessed.

Thank you all..

Quotes from today:

“I’m very happy that we have a writer in the family” Narise Qamber

“Your story is amazing and i’m very proud of you” Sana Qamber

“My favourite line was when she got two glasses & a bottle of ketchup!” Talal Al Absi

“I loved how the title of the story was a title of a chapter inside the story” Marwa Sharif

“Would you judge the author for having the guts to write about some culturally-unaccepted matters?” Dunia Mudara

“It was written from a woman’s perspective” Ahmed Taleb

“It exceeded my expectations” Mariam AlMannai

“It’s amazing how Marwan accepted Hadia as she was without being judgmental” Rana Rushdi

“I wanted to know how they got back together after Rashid’s incident” Rasha Yousif

“It was so emotionally exhausting, in a good way, that i just had to finish it to know what’ll happen in the end. I loved it.” Mai AlHamer

“I hate Marwan” Fatima Al Ansari

“You made me travel with them to different cities” Pakiza Abdulrahman

“I wanted to meet the author after reading the story” Mariam Al Awadhi

“The language was simple and beautiful” Ameera Nooriddin

“Look at the story as if you’re reading it chapter by chapter. As this is how it was written” Khalid Mohammed

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Gudaibiya Road & the Lost Glory

Driving through Gudaibiya road today I got flashes of how this road
used to be back in the 80’s and 90’s. It was, and still is, one of the
liveliest roads in Bahrain. Always busy with people running their
lives and endless low-end shops & restaurants with bright signage that
blinds the eyes.

 Al-Hadi Mall (Dasman/Daiso now) was located in the very beginning of
this road back in the 80’s. It was one of the few malls in Bahrain
other than Sheraton and Yateem Center. It was the place to be. With a
small restaurant in the middle that served the best Club Sandwich ever
and Al Ahram music shop in one of the corners where I got my first
Fairouz tape from. We used to run around from a boutique to the other
and all around the fountain while our mothers shopped. I will never
forget the low ceiling part with a sign saying: “watch your head”.

Between the mid and late 90’s my memory goes back to two houses where
I spent a lot of my time with my friends. The Saffy residence and the
Bastaki residence. My best friend used to spend her Thursdays in her
grandfather’s house, Ishaq Saffy, which was located right in the
middle of that road. It’s where we used to meet and then walk around
the fabric shops, the tailor (Methaleya), and a small shop that sells
buttons and linings (Tarrada). The road was busy with expats, but
there were some Bahrains too. Nowadays you hardly see any.

Two of my friends used to live in Al Bastaki residence. It was located
in an alley off the main road. This house witnessed a lot of our
gatherings, parties and sleepovers. Sadly, the Bastakis moved out, the
tailor shifted to Bu Ghazal, and the Saffy residence was demolished.

Guadaibiya Road is now officially a zone that is occupied by expats.
Many old shops are still standing and being run by Asians. All of them
are low-end shops that are boutiques, restaurants, cold stores,
studios, florists, fabric shops, fruit stalls, salons etc. Ramada
Palace hotel was recently built there and it is adding a new vibe to
the road. Mostafa bin Abdul Latif’s office is also still located there
and I really hope that it doesn’t shift. It is giving the road an identity of
what it once was.

Before the 80’s this road was a local residential area. With time,
Bahrainis moved out to other quiet areas, other cities, and Gudaibiya
was history. I love how it’s still vibrant with the same old touches,
the same parking problems and bikes parked randomly on the pavement.
The chaos makes living there very tiring and stressful. But it is nice
to pass by from time to time and remember the old days. The glory days of
Gudaibiya.

I am proud and I love the fact that my first home was there. An
apartment that I can still smell, in Gudaibiya..

Jan 2012

29, Glorious 29

–    That Cozy Se7oor: I looked around at that transition moment at 12 mid night when my 28th year ended and my 29th started. I was surrounded by my best friends, feeling the warmth of their company and laughing about our wrong choices of Lebanese food in Abdelwahab restaurant. My phone started receiving continuous greeting messages, statuses were updated with birthday wishes and my face was suddenly in many friends’ Display Pictures. I love attention. And at that moment I was the center of attention and I loved being under the spotlight for no reason except for being born 29 years ago, on that day. And the picture was complete with Fairouz playing in the background. Her songs are the soundtrack of my life.

–    It Got To Be 2011: On my way back home I passed by Ras Rumman to see Police Jeeps parking and few policemen surrounding the area. I turned my head right to see that typical view of trash and bricks all over the entrance that was caused by rioters. 2011, the year of endless riots stamped a reminder on my 29th birthday.

–    The Bike Revolution: Driving through the neighborhood after 1:30am, I saw a boy riding his bike. I usually feel jealous when I see people riding bikes in the city when I only get to do that around the beach house. But this time I felt proud of myself for trying and learning how to ride a bike recently. I smiled all the way back home.

–    The Kuwaiti TV Commercial: After having 3 Safi fish and a huge plate of rice for fu6oor at granny’s I was feeling so heavy that I couldn’t lift up the newspaper to read it. And just when everyone was seated in the living room to watch el Camera el Makhshosha, my aunt Shaikha walked in with a cake and that candle that is more like a firework. Some started singing happy birthday, some didn’t really care (jafaf), while my aunt was complaining about the firework candle suffocating her while carrying the cake. Sitting next to my cake, I started taking pictures with my phone, my aunt kissed me and broke the jafaf, my grandma was so touched that she started crying as usual and I turned to her and kissed her, family members in the background doing different things, someone pouring tea and someone making fun of the drama. All that and my dad was video taping the scene with his iphone. A typical Kuwaiti TV Commercial.

–    Precious gifts: Three of my favourite people made my night by giving me precious gifts that will last for life. They made me feel extra special and lucky. Yes, I felt lucky. I feel lucky. I am a lucky 29 years old lady.

–    The Last Scene: I never thought that being in a room with three 2-months old babies would be so much fun. I’m not a big fan of kids. But when three of my close friends gave birth to three adorable babies a couple of months ago I started feeling the motherly love. Every time I carry one I get a very warm feeling and my heart gets filled with love. That’s how my day ended, carrying baby Shaikha, dancing for baby Khalid, and making fun of lazy baby Rashid.

And that was the kind of birthday that I will never forget.

24-8-2011

UOB.. Memories of the early 2000s

My old friend Nawaf took me 10 years back in time when he reminded me how much i used to love the song “Ghareeb” in UOB..now i’m stuck there:


Remembering the drive to UOB every morning in my Golden Bora, listening to all kinds of mixed tapes (especially A.Karim A.Qader) & parking in the “cool” parking area!


Remembering the walk to the business building carrying the heavy books & hiding from the security lady who always comments on my clothes!


Remembering how we used to dress up on SMW because the uni is too busy & be casual on UT because it’s almost empty.


Remembering skipping lectures, going for a drive in Riffa & having 6an6a chicken sandwich


Remembering laughing out loud in that very small corner upstairs near the stairs that was enough to fit all the “cool” business students!


Remembering that very famous sarcastic e-mail that i wrote & was widely spread around. Random people gave me thumbs up!


Remembering my very favourite Dr. Sameera Al Khazrajy. Her lectures were my favourite


Remembering the huge National Day celebration when the King came & i was the one who offered him a trey of chocolate 😀 


Remembering how all students used to go to Seef for lunch every Wednesday and Chili’s for dinner every Thursday (parking crisis).

Sunrise with Barry White..23-11-2009

My day starts at 7:30am, that’s when the alarm rings and I open my eyes. I change, have my cereal quickly while reading the news paper and head to work. I spend over 9 hours at work. I leave the office after 5:30, when it’s already dark outside. The only time I get to see the sun is when I walk to my granny’s for lunch, a 3 seconds walk!  After a long working day I go home and work out for an hour. Sometimes I jog, sometimes I do yoga, aerobics and exercises of that sort. After I shower I sometimes go out for a social obligation, or have dinner with friends, or have a society meeting, or stay home reading and watching episodes (always the best option).
By the time I get to bed I’d be exhausted. I immediately fall asleep the moment I put my head on the pillow. Usually, I go to bed at around 12 mid night and wake up at 4:30 to pray then I go back to sleep. But this was not the case today. When I went back to bed after praying, I picked up my phone and checked the recent updates. One of my contacts wrote something with the words first and last. And when I put my phone aside to sleep, the intro of Barry White’s My First, My Last, my Everything started playing in my head. Who can sleep with such tempo in his head?
The song kept on playing and I was moving my feet and head as I lay sleepless on my bed. I don’t know if it’s a fact or if it’s just me, but I always get the most accurate, creative and clear thoughts when I’m half asleep!!  I felt like a 100 wire was connected to my head, each had its own topic but Barry White was present in the background all the way.. my kind of wonderful, that’s what you are…(8)
 
The sun started to shine. My room has an issue with curtains. I always end up having a curtain that SUCKS the sun light and throws it up in my room!! A couple of months ago I spent a fortune on a new curtain and STILL, my room is brighter than the outside! The sun light had hit my eyes and I heard something moving outside my room, the maid was awake which meant that it passed 6 o’clock. My precious sleeping hours were passing by while I spent it singing with Barry White who decided to come back from the dead to keep me awake! You’re my reality, yet I’m lost in aaaaa dream (8)
It then hit me that I’m not going to Europe this winter. It’s good that I’m breaking the routine, but there are certain things that I’ll miss. But who knows? I might wake up one morning and decide to go. Just like I did many times before. You’re the first…you’re the last…my everything (8)
The song started to fade out and I finally fell asleep. And what a nap I had! I saw a horse getting killed infront of me. Then some buildings started blowing up one after the other while I stood in queue in Starbucks. And finally I was followed by an ostrich! I was running and the ostrich was running after me when I heard the sound of a PING. I kept my eyes closed and wondered who’d PING me at this hour. I closed my eyes tightly trying to go back to sleep when the alarm rang. DAMN IT. It was 7:30 already. I slept for like around 10 minutes?!  I was so tired and my eyes were not seeing clearly that the word DISMISS looked like a German word and I was wondering how the language set up in my phone got changed!
I dragged my heavy body out of bed, and guess who was back? BARRY WHITE. We got it together didn’t we? (8)
HAVE A GOOD DAY 😀
23-11-2009

Let the Celebrations Begin..11-Feb-2010

No matter how old we get, we can never forget the joyful memories of Eid back when we were little. Every single detail about Eid used to be exciting for us; the new clothes, the blow dried hair, the 3eedia, the nuts, the visits and the hinna. I remember how I used to count down the days and wake up on Eid day thinking wow, it’s finally Eid.

Unfortunately, all those joyous feelings started to fade away with time. Nowadays, people think of Eid as a very heavy day which we’ll have to spend wandering from one house to the other, kissing people and eating fattening meals & sweets. We tend to travel in Eid to avoid all that hassle. I don’t think that it has anything to do with age since the new generation is feeling the same about it. And back then, our parents and grandparents used to be as excited as we were about it.

It’s very heartbreaking how we don’t get pleasure from the two Eids that Islam granted us as a reward for our worship to Allah. I look around at other religions and cultures and it’s pretty impressive how they create an attractive image of their occasions. Colorful Christmas trees and cute Easter bunnies. And it’s not just the image that attracts; it’s how deep and devoted they feel towards it. We leave our homes in Eid while they fly back home for Christmas. 

Ramadan is the only time for us Muslims to experience something of our own style. Cultural habits and religious practices are strongly implied in that month. In Egypt, streets are beautifully lit with lights and lanterns and packed with children and adults all night long. Luckily for us, my mother does the same to our house. She decorates the fence with lights and hangs a huge lantern by the entrance every year. If every house did the same, can you imagine how beautiful the streets would look? Sadly, we Arabs lack that passion that westerners have. We have a rich culture and a beautiful religion but we’re so ignorant. The least we could do is brand our occasions in a simple and creative way like: Sell Eid/Ramadan greeting cards that are modernly designed, branded food packages (Eid candy for kids, Ramadan treats on the shape of hlal, cupcakes with traditional flavors, etc), and funky wallets or handbags for kids for their 3eedia.

I’m sure that if we search around we’ll find many of those products available. But under a very, very low profile. We need to feel the spirit. We want to see colorful posters on the roads and fun ads on TV. We have to be surrounded with the theme to feel it.

I know several Muslims who celebrate Christmas. They decorate a tree and exchange gifts. It’s very attractive to do so since our markets get filled with Christmas products every year. But do any of us know any Christians who celebrate Eid? I’m sure not. And why would they if WE who are meant to enjoy it find it dull and boring?



There is no shame in looking up at other cultures and admiring their ways of celebrating their occasions. It’s very inspiring and there might be some hidden lessons for us as Muslims. A good example is Thanksgiving day in America. It’s so beautiful how you get to realize the things you’re blessed with and share it with others. It’s a main core in Islam to be thankful for god and be content, but are we? Not at all, we always want more and we only appreciate what we have when we lose it. We don’t have to celebrate Thanksgiving, but why not get inspired from it and learn to be thankful to Allah?

New Year’s is another example. Many extremists think of it as a bed3a and many see it as just another normal night. I personally think that it’s much more than that and I’m not talking about celebrations. It’s amazing how our days form months and how those months form years. It’s a beautiful way to measure our time as living human beings on earth. And by the end of each year we get a chance to look back at what we’ve achieved and what we want to achieve in that brand new coming year. I see it as a refreshing chance to wrap up the past and start over. 

There is something new in everything we see around us and everyone we meet. And as Muslims we have a message to deliver to the rest of the world. A message that reflects how lenience and miraculous Islam is. And the easiest way to do that is by expressing our devotion through spreading joy and fun in those special days. Let’s not allow any extremists to limit our creativity in creating that attractive image. And instead of walking around London wishing that Christmas was our thing, let’s aim for a day when they’ll walk around our streets wishing that Islam was their thing.