Saturday, August 16, 2014

SHOPPING: Boutique Muscat

I finally had a chance to drop by Boutique Muscat in Jawahrat Al Shatti Mall yesturday. Sadly, before leaving the house for our breakfast at D'Arcy's and swing by the BM locale, I broke my phone.
10:00-11:00 am brunch at D'Arcy's---highly recommended
Boutique Muscat opens 10:00am-9:00 pm on Saturday (closed friday) so if weekend boutique browsing is your thing, this makes the perfect quiet morning (followed by vanilla milkshakes at D'Arcy's if you didn't spend everything you have at BM;) )
I know. Again. That's why I buy cheap phones y'all. So... instead of just hopping into the shop I visited the cellphone repair shop upstairs as well which was.... depressing. Screen was smashed so all these photos are from Boutique Muscat's instgram page. However... good news is, now that the phone is toast, I finally found a cover for it... Yeah. Like I said, depressing.
I really, really wanted to go, because I heard they stocked Sadz design purses, but while I didn't see any of those lovelies, I did crush on a hand embroidered cushion (with a hot pink Arabic coffee pot my two year old daughter would love to see in her room) and some t-shirts by fyunka and tshirtswag, along with a crescent moon necklace and Arabic calligraphy butterfly ring...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

KHALEEJI DESIGNER ABAYAS: Arabesque Sheila & Abayas Spring 2014 Collection

The first two abayas pictured {above and directly below} are my favourites from the Arabesque website of the Spring 2014 collection. Very classic, and very modern...Peices that could never fail to work their way into one's wardrobe and endure there ever so long the laundry or drycleaner allows (my one Arabesque peice endured a tragic fate at the hands of an evil drycleaner).

However, I have been noticing the coloured-panel trend taking over everywhere in linen and suiting fabrics. And as slow as this trend has been mounting, I have even spotted coloured abayas here in Oman, in demure shades like grey, navy blue, and brown. Of course, in an Arabesque abaya, the highest quality linen alone will be used (you would expect nothing less from a designer who previously interned at Chanel) so that one needn't worry about looking worn out and weary (and worst of all-rumpled and maternal---like some poly jilbab-wearing Auntie) while braving this trend through an Arabesque purchase.

I should visit the store now that my passport issues have finally been resolved... As I've always wished to interview this particular label's designer about her work:

As always, the shoot has been wonderfully styled (though I personally would like to see a new face for the campaign model perhaps) and I know, the accessories have been carefully selected by the woman behind the brand--- Judith Duriez . I find that unique in Khaleeji design, as usually, everything is a replica of a replica or something so in your face that it lacks true elegance. It can be stylish, beautiful, exquisite, cute, wild, or cool, sure, but elegance is far more rare. There is a certain je ne sais quois about the styling in Arabesque Sheila & Abaya campaigns...that make the label enduring and edgy at the same time, and of course, inspiring, despite the more conservative route of cuts and embellishments.
Arabesque - Sheilas and Abayas with a French Touch ----check out their website.

KHALEEJI DESIGNER ABAYAS: Arabesque Sheilas & Abayas Fall 2013 Collection (better late than never)

I really don't know what happened, but I personally disliked the leather the way it was done on Arabesque's Fall/Winter 2012-13? collection so I couldn't bear to post about it, and somehow, I accidently stopped following the brand's pages despite having been a loyal fan for years... However, I did remain hopeful for the next season (which I missed).

It (2013) didn't disapoint and, beter late than never, I'd wear the almost honey-comb embroidered number above forever. Exception of the leather collection, there is something just so classic about this label, that makes something from 2005, seem as wearable as something from 2014. That is saying something, when usually, I change my taste in abaya cut and design on a quarterly basis.
Arabesque - Sheilas and Abayas with a French Touch ----check out their website.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

KHALEEJI DESIGNER ABAYAS: Haal Inc. Winter 2014 Collection

Everyone who knows me knows I love the casually chic abayas by Haal Inc. . They are just... so cool. I believe this stems from wearability. And comfort. I mean, most abayaat are so darn dressy that they remind me of couture gowns. Which is well and all, who doesn't love evening wear and glamour 24/7, right? But I mean, what am I going to wear to the store or to the beach? I feel stupid parading around like a fashion show at the mall (I know most Khaleeji women don't but it simply isn't my culture to be all done up for the mall). Haal Inc. provides an answer for that. Their abayas are the jeans+a t-shirt for the abaya-wearing crowd. 'Nuff said.

Here is the latest collection from the Saudi label:
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Sunday, August 10, 2014

OPNO's thoughts on Salalah's Khareef Festival thus far

Khareef (falll/the monsoon) festival is on now in Salalah and the Dhofar region of Oman. Practically everybody I know is there (or is just coming back from there). Salalah is beautiful this time of year and thus recieves more visitors at this time of year, than Muscat Festival ever does...

So why is government provision for this event so poorly... designed?: bathrooms are few (and disgustingly kept) or non-existant beyond hotel facilities... the festival events could be more... The music was FAAAAAAAAAAR too loud to actually be safe for the eardrums from a safety perspective at many venues... and made shopping and seeing the events of the festival a bit unpleasant.

Other than that, everyone reports having wonderful a week, and getting their 'green' eye-candy fix for the season. People have brought back the oddest assortment of souvenirs, from cotton abu thail and bukhoor [the usual] to bullets and coconut trees (the whole tree)... I think for me, photos are enough.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

RESTAURANTS IN OMAN: Dallah

One thing that I need right after sunset is coffee (Omani coffee to be specific). One problem of life in Muscat for me is, we often go out after Magraib prayer and it is hard to find Omani coffee (so usually I settle for espresso which is a might too dark for my evenings). However, at Muscat Grand Mall I recently tried the little Khaleeji-esqe "Dallah" and got my 'qahwa' fix, along with a few casual cuppas of Kuwaiti tea for those less caffiene-addicted than myself. Right after Magraib it was the perfect place to sit, though any time later than that it seemed to be too busy for the conversations I like to have wildly over qahwa. Prices are a bit steep for qahwa (which almost any Omani household should offer one for free;) )but the decor made me not care about that in the least.
What drew me to Dallah at the first was the gorgeously traditional counter (studded wood like a Mandoos box, and palm frond weave). I made a mental note to myself, if designing a hotel reception desk for a historical restoration project... this could work.
 My husband also had the 'kunafa' but he didn't enjoy it... too crumbly he said. I wouldn't know. I am not a fan of Arabic sweets myself beyond Frankincense icecream ;). However, the Kuwaiti tea and Omani qahwa hit the spot. We haven't tried much else yet, and I admit to be easily satisfied when it comes to drinkable coffee so...
 Have you tried other desserts/items off the menu at Dallah? What did you think?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Eid Al-Fitr in Oman, 2014

The authors of this blog have written about Eid customs and what Eid-al-fitr is before on this blog. See this post for details: http://howtolivelikeanomaniprincess.blogspot.com/2011/08/eid-ul-fitr-3-days-after-ramadaan-what.html.
Also, our own photographs and stories of previous Eids are contained in these posts:
There are probably more but I am feeling lazy today, personally. I am also feeling lazy to narrate my last Eid, but needless to say, it consisted of the usual: getting up before sunrise, dressing in new clothes, shaking numerous hands, eating harees, children collecting candies, toys, and Eidyia, my husband shooting his rifle on the roof to make all the women jump in the afternoon, eating far too much beef and goat in the form of Omani shuwa and mishakeek and visiting all our relatives (which means, eating far too many chocolates, and dying of fruit, nut, and caffiene overload). All in all, I had a good time this year, managed somehow to relax and find a few moments of privacy (which are rare during Eids). Instead of a long-winded explaination of the abbreviated but aforementioned events, I'll leave you instead with my random photos;). InshaAllah, enjoy: