International Friendship Day with Yalla Spree

In honor of International Friendship Day, which was on August 7th, I’ve partnered with Yalla Spree and Micaroon Makeup for the ultimate beauty giveaway. All participants receive a 20% discount, and 10 lucky winners will receive a goodie bag filled with some fabulous Micaroon products.

Yalla Spree is the UAE’s largest retail directory, offering everything from shop locations and reviews, to the hottest sales and bargains. I love visiting the many Dubai malls just to do some browsing and window shopping, but I was amazed at how many store locations I wasn’t aware of until I came across Yalla Spree. It’s also a great way to get updates on new items and special promotions that come up.

Macaroon Makeup just launched their liquid matte lipsticks, and this is the perfect opportunity to get your hands on some of their beautiful colors. To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is visit the Yalla Spree campaign page here and post a selfie telling us what your favorite color means to you. Tag your besties, share the love and show us your pretty pouts. Good luck babes!

xo Rania

“A friendship is a soul trapped in two bodies.”

Darling, You Were Made to Be Great

I know a little something about coming from a sheltered upbringing. I grew up in a loving home, my hand held tight with each step I take and my cocoon safe and warm. It’s true that we learn to swim better when we’re dropped in the deep end, with no floaters and only encouraging voices giving strength to our arms and legs. But what if no one tosses you in? What if you’re so lucky to have loved ones who can’t bear to see you struggle? Well for me, it left me afraid.

I questioned every decision I made, searching for validation from those hands that had always guided me, seeking comfort in our intertwined fingers. So I suppressed every fantasy, swallowed all my insecurities and watched the flame of adventure slowly burn out in my soul. I tiptoed in fear around my dreams, wishing I could believe in myself, hoping I could look in the mirror and see the little girl who wanted everything. For a long time I waited, but she never came.

I woke up one day, and just decided, I don’t want to feel this way anymore. So I set my hands free, broke ragged holes in my shell until my wings broke through and I let the fear consume me. This time the fear wouldn’t hold me back – this fear would wake me up.

I want you to know, you are not the sum of your shortcomings or failures. You are not just one thing – afraid, shy or inexperienced. You are not just a friend, a mother, a sister, a daughter, or a wife. You are not too old to change. You are not too young or too old to dream. It’s not too late to start over. Most importantly, it’s okay to be scared. Your fear doesn’t define who you are, because it only makes up a small part of you. The sun may shine brightly on a bed of clear blue, but when the moon shyly appears, it lights up the entire sky and awakens all the stars.

You are made of so many beautiful little pieces that make up a perfect whole, my darling. You were made to be great. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

xo Rania

Dress: Flynn Skye | Shoes: Aldo 

Photo Credit: Natelee Cocks

A Special Thanks to Comptoir 102 for allowing us to shoot in their beautiful space.

 

Cocoville Cafe in Dubai

With the heat escalating in sunny Dubai, we’ve been exploring indoor locations to shoot in, which is how we came across the prettiest gem that is Cocoville. When planning a lunch or coffee date with a friend, the number one priority is a tasty menu, but finding an instagram friendly spot is a major plus. Cocoville has all the makings of the ideal coffee shop. From the quaint white and mint walls, the coppery elements and cute chairs, to the marble white table tops and a floor to make you the envy of all the ‘from where I stand’ hashtag users.

CocovilleStriped Flounce TopFlounced TopWhite Checkered Skirt

I think my outfit matched pretty nicely with decor, and I’m just loving blue and white this summer. The striped top and checkered skirt combination is my personal take on mixing prints. The light was pooling in so beautifully, giving the space a homey and serene atmosphere.

Now back to the chocolatey menu. I am one of those people who discovered hot chocolate a little later in life, so I immediately became addicted to it and will drink it all year round. Cocoville’s specialty is mainly everything chocolate, with a variety of candies, cookies, truffles and chocolate covered everything. If you’re a fan of sweets and a bright sunny space, I think you should pay Cocoville a visit as soon as your next craving materializes.

Are there any cute cafes or restaurants in Dubai you love to visit often? I’m always looking for new places to try and would love to hear your recommendations!

xo Rania

Cocoville Cocoville DubaiCocovilleCocoville

Flounced Top: Berksha | Checkered Skirt: Namshi | Wedges: New York & Company | Bag: Aldo | Hat: Mango.

Photography by Natelee Cocks.

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Vaniday App UAE

If you’re living in Dubai – or the UAE in general – then you already know there is an endless supply of salons at every corner. I find that once I have a place and person I like and am used to, I keep going back to them. When the ladies at Vaniday app approached me about testing out their app and reviewing it, I was so excited to discover a new place to try and get out of my comfort zone. I was absolutely shocked at how many salons there are around that I never knew existed and proceeded to book at Essentials Salon Dubai, mostly because the interior looked so quaint and serene. Luckily my experience there was wonderful and now I have a new badge under my ‘favorite salons’ belt.

The great thing about the Vaniday app is you can search for places by services or location and it includes reviews to help you choose. There are often discounts and promotions available through the app, which is an additional perk to booking through Vaniday. I like making bookings online rather than over the phone so I can figure out the best date and time while seeing the available options infront of me, and to be able to make changes or cancelations later on if need be. The only difficulty I faced was that I was unable to book multiple services at once, but other than that I found this to be a fast and easy way to make appointments,  while discovering new salons in my area and even choosing s preferred stylist or nail therapist. Have you tried the Vaniday app and if so, what was your take on it?

xo Rania

Vaniday app

Salon Booking App

Vaniday UAE

Photography by Natelee Cocks. Dress: Chicwish.

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Wanderlust Collection

In December I shared with you a post called Wanderlusting with my friend Sara Japanwalla who gave me the full scoop on her latest venture into fashion design. She has finally launched The Wanderlust Collection, which captures the essence of each beautiful city (Paris, Venice and Santorini) on a canvas of wearable art for different tastes. Sara is an innately talented artist and now she has proven that she knows what looks good on women. The pieces range from playful midi skirts, capes and dresses all in a flattering scuba material. I got to work with a team of amazing ladies to create an editorial photoshoot for the collection, and we each were able to showcase our unique styles and how we would wear the outfits. Since the general vibe was colorful, fun and slightly retro, we decided to go for vintage hair and makeup. Some of the pictures were shot at Magnolia Bakery at The Beach in JBR which really was the icing on the proverbial cupcake. I don’t really like to play favorites, but the Paris Midi Skirt I got to model felt like it was made just for me because it really fit like a glove. I think The Wanderlust Collection has enough variety of prints and styles that work for different body types and will appeal to anyone with an affinity to something bold and cheeky. You can see the pictures from our photoshoot below, and I highly recommend you head to the Sara japanwalla biddi store and get yourself a wanderlust piece for the summer! I would love to know what you thought of our shoot and which outfit is your favorite.

xo Rania

The Wanderlust Collection

Venice Printed Cape

Wanderlust Collection

Scuba Cape Venice Print Skater Dress Paris Canvas SkirtWanderlust Collection Dubai Fashion Designer Dubai Blogger Shift Dress Santorini Style Canvas Skirt Retro Midi Skirt Venice Midi Skirt

Photography by Mrunmayi Pandit.

Hair and Makeup by Nina Ubhi and her team from the Nina Ubi Beauty and Hair Institute.

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Afternoon Tea Dubai

A while back, my girl Rhiannon of Bride Club ME and I decided to collaborate on a project again and we put together this fun Ladies’ Afternoon Tea Dubai.  There’s so much to do in this city and that could be quite overwhelming, but I love the idea of celebrating a birthday, bridal shower or just some bonding time doing something simple yet out of the ordinary.

Afternoon Tea Dubai Afternoon Tea Dubai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We started our morning getting pampered at Be Bar Blow Dry Bar in Jumeirah. The space is clean, relaxing and filled with light just how I like. The stylists are extremely skilled and professional, knowing exactly what suits us best. We decided to go for a 50’s pin up look for our hair and makeup, but with each of staying true to our personal style. Our makeup was done by Hayley Di Rito, who looks like an actual living pin up doll. I’m normally not adventurous in the hair and makeup department and I like to stick to my usual look, but the results turned out romantic and elegant so I will be trying new things more from now on.

Pin up styleAfternoon TeaThe whole experience was so relaxing and smooth. We were spoiled with sparkling juice, popcorn, gummy bears and warm cappuccinos while getting our hair done. I noticed that all the stylists have the same technique so you’d always get the desired results.

Afternoon Tea Dubai Be Bar Salon Dubai

50s pin up Bride Club ME Vintage Waves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dubai Fashion Blogger

Our next stop was to the Hamptons Cafe next door, which is a quaint place with all the rustic, beach-side New York elements that go along with it’s name perfectly. We shared a lovely deluxe tea for two complete with warm scones that crumble, sweet yet gooey macarons, soothing jasmine tea and most importantly the perfect company for such a day. We caught the golden light just before sunset on their rooftop seating area which gave the photos a warm and authentic feel.

Hamptons Cafe Dubai Afternoon Tea Dubai Hamptons Cafe Afternoon Deluxe Tea Hamptons Cafe

 

 

We really enjoyed our day together and all the amazing ladies who worked with us to create this special Afternoon Tea Dubai. If you’re looking for a new salon to try out then I highly recommend you get a blow out at Be Bar and try it out for yourself, and then head over to Hamptons cafe for brunch because they have exceptionally good food and coffee. Like I said before, sometimes it’s best to seek out all the out of the ordinary places that are filled with all the right little touches.

xo Rania

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Dubai Fashion Blogger Afternoon Tea Dubai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography: Nabeela Huda

Makeup: Hayley Di Rito

Special Thanks to Be Bar Blow Dry Bar and Hamptons Cafe Dubai for their hospitality.

Logic of Love

I’m not one to take Valentine’s Day too seriously and my husband and I rarely make a thing of it, but this year I took it as an opportunity to slip into a pretty blush dress and do a photoshoot alongside my dapper hubby. We got so lucky with this beautiful pink sunset and a nice breeze and I fell in love with how natural the pictures turned out. We often take our loved one for granted especially when you’ve been together for so long (it’s been 13 years for us and you can read about our love story), but for me that means a great deal of trust because you’re wholeheartedly giving your soul to someone believing they will cherish it forever. The only logic of love is that it has no logic or explanation, it just comes like a streak of wind and sweeps you off your feet. Once your toes find the sand again, you’re hopefully left with a companion who adores your imperfections, wants you to fulfill your dreams and puts a smile on your face.

Logic of Love

Asos Lace Midi Dress

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“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” – Blaise Pascal

Photography by: Natelee Cocks

5 Ways to Choose Happiness

Regardless of your age, wisdom comes from experiences and moments that challenge you to question everything around you and luckily I’ve had an abundance of those. Sometimes our goals seem so far out of reach, our bucket lists are overflowing and it might feel like a tight ceiling is boxing us in. Well there’s no magic button to make our lives better, and you have to consciously choose happiness on a daily basis and never stop trying to make improvements.

Be Yourself.

Your journey is unlike anyone else’s and there is no one is like you. Accept your flaws, appreciate your strengths and don’t change for anyone. It’s important to learn from our mistakes and make use of constructive criticism. With that said, there shouldn’t be pressure to fit into a box that society created for us. Once you love yourself, everything will start falling into place.

Do What You Love.

Whether it’s a dream job you haven’t pursued yet or a hobby you don’t have enough time for, do things that bring you joy. When you have something to look forward to, you’ll get to appreciate each day as a blessing and opportunity. You might say you’ll get to it eventually, but there’s no time like the present. It’s up to you to make it happen, so throw caution to the wind and make a move.

Stop Procrastinating.

We all do it. We’re juggling so many responsibilities and wondering where the time has gone. We keep waiting for the perfect time to go bungee jumping or to take that camping trip we’ve discussed since we were in high school. The tides are changing and it’s time to sail. Responsibilities will get bigger and deadlines will come closer, so don’t take this moment for granted because once it’s gone you won’t get it back.

Travel Often.

Take every opportunity to visit new places. Traveling and learning about new cultures enriches the soul and broadens the mind. Breaking our routine is necessary to keep us energized and motivated, and there’s no better way to do that than by packing a bag and jetting off to somewhere we’ve never seen before. A new adventure has the potential to alter our perspective and leave us with a positive outlook on life.

Surround Yourself With Love.

Quickly after your college years you learn the true meaning of everlasting friendships, and that handful that stuck by through everything become more like family. There’s nothing as important as nurturing the relationships in your life. Call your friend who lives far away and catch up, visit your parents whenever you get the chance and by all means don’t cancel on an event because you’re just not in the mood. Fill your life with loving relationships and show your loved ones how much you care, you’ll both be better for it.

5 ways to choose happiness

Photography by: Natelee Cocks.

 

Christmas Gift Guide

It is literally the most wonderful time of the year, and I am so excited! If you’ve been following along for a while then you know that I live in Dubai with my husband while my parents, siblings and most of my cousins are in Michigan. Thankfully my parents in law and some of my relatives live nearby, but I can’t help but get super home sick around Christmas time. I used to get an early head start on Christmas shopping in the states because there are so many amazing sales going on in November, but I am slightly behind this year. I’ve been racking my brain for the best gifts for all the pretty ladies in my life so I put together an amazing last minute Christmas Gift Guide for your benefit as well.

Gift Ideas

Christmas Guide Guide

You can never go wrong with some makeup and I fell in love with this Charlotte Tilbury Mini lipstick set which would make a great stocking stuffer. If you’d like to splurge for your mama, sister or mother in law then Tom Ford’s Black Orchid is the perfect winter scent. One of my favorite things to give or receive is a cozy and adorable Pajama set like this one from Wildfox Couture especially when paired with a pair of Fuzzy Slippers and an Oversized Beanie. For the savvy business women in my life, I’d choose this beautiful Rebecca Minkoff Business Card Case or a funky Stella McCartney Gold Lips iPhone Case. Finally, a darling pair of Kate Spade Studs or a Dainty Necklace would be a timeless piece for any beauty you know. I hope this Christmas Gift Guide helps you out during your last minute shopping, and you can always forward it to your loved ones as a wish list! *wink*

xo Rania

Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas Gift Ideas

Photography by: Enchante Portrait Couture.

Wanderlusting

I always tell you about the endless state of wanderlusting I live in, and so I decided that the best place to start exploring is my own city. I’ve been dreaming of an english style picnic, and was so delighted when I discovered Mushrif Park. The cute little windmill, the leafy trees and german style ‘houses’ seem almost conjured up from my dreams. This was the perfect location for a picnic with my friend Sara Japanwalla who is a fellow blogger, incredible fashion illustrator and a budding designer.

Wanderlusting

Dubai Designer

Sara started off as a textile designer for a bridal company when she decided to go off on her own and become a designer. Shortly after creating an online portfolio of fashion illustrations and paintings, her career as an illustrator took off in Dubai and she became recognized in the industry for her work. She partnered with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Van Cleef and Arpels and Graff diamonds. Sara was also shortlisted for Maserati and Ermengildo Zegna’s ‘One of 100 Creatives’ from around the world, where she was featured in a limited edition coffee table book. Recently she wrote and illustrated her own children’s book for Bloomingdales Dubai, which takes you on a ride along the wild imagination of a little girl who’s love of fashion is insurmountable.

Sara’s illustrations and her own wanderlusting ways inspired her next project of a bespoke limited edition collection of clothes. The concept behind her designs is creating wearable art and transforming everyday garments into a walking canvas that tells a story and transports you to another place. Her pieces are artistic, intricate and whimsical yet come in feminine silhouettes that are flattering and elegant. Sara is in the midst of finalizing the collection and they will be ready to order within the next six months. For the meantime, enjoy a sneak peek of a couple skirts from the collection and our beautifully styled picnic.

xo Rania

Wanderlusting

Wanderlusting

Fashion Illustrator

Dubai Picnic

Dubai Photography

Dubai Photography

Picnic in Dubai

Dubai Picnic

Whimsical Skirt

Wanderlusting

Dubai Fashion Bloggers

A Special Thanks to Paula Scalco for the beautiful photography.