All about Crafts!

So my sister suddenly decides to start scrap-booking, and being the perfectionist she is, she looks for crafts stores in Abu Dhabi (Other than Jareer Bookstore)  and asks for my artistic help! :) Now if it were anything else, I wouldn’t have been too keen about it, but when it comes to artsy crafty stuff, always count me in.

So we set off on our artventure. See what I did there? ;P No but seriously, we had a tough time going out and about looking for trinkets and supplies, but oh how much it was worth every minute of our time!

Our first destination was Crafts Corner, a place literally built specially for scrap-booking! Look at this piece of work :)

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And this is the back room!

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Honestly we found so many cute things from mini frames and decorated paper and paint and glitter and those 3D objects/flowers you can use for all your scrap-booking needs! You can also find normal art supplies, I got this really pretty gold acrylic paint and a small bottle of some pearl glue that works like a glitter glue. Squeeze, and you have a pearl! Will blog more about those next time.
And the lady that worked there was so sweet she even gave us a special tip about scrap-booking. How many times have you looked at a decorated piece of tissue and loved it’s design? I have, and I’m not kidding xD Now you can easily put it to use (other than blow your nose in it).  Just iron it on a piece of “Freezer Paper” and once it sticks, use it however you like :> Make a card for someone or use it as scrap-booking paper, you come up with the ideas! Neat, eh? They provide classes for such things as well!

*Check the store timings because it closes kinda early :) 8:00 PM on normal days and 2:30 PM in Ramadan*

The next place was L’Atelier des Arts! Name kinda hard to pronounce if you haven’t taken French but trust me, the place makes up for the tongue twists :P Sorry about the low-resolution there, click on the image to view it better!

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Much bigger than Crafts corner since its not only specialized in scrap-booking but houses all of your art needs. I hadn’t known this place until a day ago and let me tell you, it’s my sanctuary right now. They provide Copic Markers and Polymer Clay (Which is very hard to find here) and many many beautiful types of paint and varnishes etc. It is however, a little expensive, so unless you can’t find the items for cheaper prices somewhere else, it’s the place for you. Oh and they also provide art classes, so if you’re interested, contact them :D In fact, one was going on in the middle of our fits of excitement, and we might have disturbed them xP

I had such a great time that day and I’m definitely planning on paying both shops many many visits in the future! What other art/crafts stores do you know of? Share them below!

Thanks for reading,

Reem AlHashmi

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Monthly Finds: June

Good Afternoon!

Today’s blog post will contain random items and stuff I found over the coarse of the previous month of June and a little of July. I’ll call it “Monthly Finds”? Sounds good to me. I might do this every month, depending on if I actually find stuff worth telling you about, or I might not. We’ll see what happens.

Let’s start with…

Shoes ♦

These babies are all from New Look! And surprisingly they’re comfortable! I haven’t actually worn them too much yet, but they’re not those hard aching cardboard kind you find in usual clothing stores that sell shoes. So cute, aren’t they?


Books 

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Not very new, but I got my hands on 2 novels: Galagolia by Dubai Abulhoul (Which I’m planning on reviewing after reading) and Paper Towns by John Green. And I also got myself a new flaming red Moleskine Agenda. No big deal :P

Video Games ♦

50950Good God I love this picture ffff ಥ_ಥ

If you know me, then this is obvious. One of the all-time best video games I have ever played was Naughty Dog’s newly released action/survival game, The Last of Us. I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful that game was. I myself hate the action genre (Yes, I hate COD) whether it’s a movie or a game. But this game is so story driven and dramatic and the action just makes it even better! I was so emotional after it had ended that I wouldn’t dare rate it lower than a 10/10. I know you’ve probably heard or read this already, but the graphics are exceptionally amazing to the fact that my dad loved watching me play because it was “like watching a movie” to him xD Recommending this to….everyone lol. Except kids though.

♦ Attire ♦

I’m only going to be sharing those that actually win my heart xD Look at this beautiful cat sweater! A gift for a friend with the same exact cat but with much more beautiful eyes ;) I’m a sucker for anything cat.


And this is the back ♥


I love that “messily done” look it has :P

That’s all folks! Stay tuned until next month’s Monthly Find!

Until next time,

Reem AlHashmi

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Owning Wild Animals

In today’s post, I would love to open the subject of owning wild animals. I’m sure many of you own your little pet monkeys, or have a relative that owns a cheetah cub or know a friend who happens to have a pet snake. It’s rapidly becoming very common in the UAE and other GCC countries, and as much as they can be irresistibly cute and fun to own as pets, many people do not acknowledge the danger it poses on both owners and animals :(

**I would really hope to enlighten readers with the information I’m about to provide, and I ask you to really give it some thought before disagreeing or turning away.**

On the animals:

1) You’re taking them away from their homes, their natural habitats. Just imagine a baby lion cub taken away from its mama, you don’t know how they get from Africa straight to your homes, so it’s possible that that’s the case. Not only are they separated from their mothers who instinctively know how to provide the best care for them when they’re young, but their whole environment changes into something completely different. That also means their diet is also altered. Some of you might say “But I walk my lion..”, “I take my chimp to our huge farm every week”, “I feed my cheetah the best kind of meat there is!”. No matter how you try, the human alternatives owners try to provide will never compare to the actual wild. A huge fenced cage isn’t going to provide the open space for a leopard to run in, frozen chicken and meat can easily be favored over by the thrill of hunting real prey, and trees in farms or homes will never be anything like the ones monkeys climb on in the jungles and forests.

2) Medical Challenges. Your local veterinarian will most likely not be able to diagnose your animal when it suddenly falls ill, and even when it does, it’s incredibly expensive. These wild animals can also get sick from the different climate/environment they’re introduced to, and unfortunately, some of these animals die. I’ve heard a close relative of mine owned a baby cheetah who used his claws as defense from a child who kept on harassing it, and it was taken to an irresponsible vet who de-clawed* it and boom. It died.

3) Contribution to Animal Extinction. Ever had this particular animal you’ve always fantasized of seeing or holding? My list could go on forever: Pandas, Koalas, Tigers and Pandas, and did I mention more pandas? xD Even though they’re not owned as pets since they’re already extremely endangered, the more you adopt a wild animal species, the greater the risk of it becoming endangered and then later on, extinct in the future. Think about it, no more big cats, wolves, chimps. Not in your local zoo nor anywhere allowing outside access. Meeting your dream animal would be impossible. You don’t want to contribute to adorable animals dying out forever right? I hope not :P

And on the owners themselves:

1) They’re wild. You don’t say, right? They’re called “wild” for a reason! They’re built for the tough life, growing up to be independent, and in some cases, hunters. Even if you raised your wild animal from a young age, and it has grown up with you and in your environment, it will still preserve some behavioral aspects and instincts that it needs for..well, the wild. It will hurt you, your kids and other loved ones. If domesticated animals are capable of doing that from time to time, then what do you think wild ones would do?

2) They’re not affectionate. Different than the first point. Wild animals are not used to human contact, and no matter how many kisses and hugs you give, its possible that it doesn’t have the darndest idea of what you’re doing to it xD A leopard won’t randomly come lie next to you in bed or sleep on your lap or anything. It just doesn’t happen :o

3) Again, they are hell expensive to own and care for.

In the end, there are solutions to every situation. And in this case, we can leave it to the domestic animals to provide for our need for a loving pet :)

“God made the cat in order to give man the pleasure of caressing the tiger.” – Fernand Mery

The meaning of this quote is quite obvious. A cat is capable of filling in the role of a tiger raised as a pet. Domestic animals are basically the tame versions of their wild ancestors. Domestication was a process carried on through thousands of years, so let’s give our ancestors some respect and make use of their idea!!
Want a tiger? Get a cat. Want a wolf? Get a puppy. There’s also hamsters, rabbits, ferrets, and even birds who will love you more than a wild animal would, so love them back! Do your research, find the pet that wins your heart and please adopt from shelters and kennels before resorting to pet shops and pet stores. I will provide a list of shelters that provide a great range of animals at the bottom of this post, so please have a look at it if you’re thinking about getting a pet :)

Honestly, I know this sounds overly-dramatic, but one single pet can change your life. …but make sure that pet is domesticated xD I hope this post benefited you in a way, and if you were supporting the ownership of wild animals, I hope I was able to change your mind if not a little bit. Please spread the word & share with your friends and family. Be the voice of the wild animals and help fight against this act!

Thanks for reading! :)

– Reem AlHashmi

*De-clawing is the removal of a cat’s fingernails. Ouch.

Adopt your pet from these options:
Feline Friends (Abu Dhabi), Feline Friends (Dubai), Animal Action Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi Animal Shelter, K9 Friends

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On Local Businesses!

In today’s topic, I’ll be discussing a practice that has slowly been rising and spreading quite a lot over the past years: local businesses. I’m not talking about those big companies run by a huge team of employees that are set up by locals, but I’m specifically referring to those small businesses run by the youth sector, at home, online, at their small premises, etc.

Let’s take a look at the pros first. Since part-time jobs are limited, if not nonexistent, in the UAE, especially for teenagers and young school/college students, setting up these small businesses is a great substitution. It is their opportunity to express independence and management skills, and create their own source of income. Even if people don’t look into it, but it actually prepares them for the big world, where they will have to deal with and communicate with various types of people, at work or in their daily lives. Plus, it looks great on CVs.

However, this isn’t an educational blog, it’s a personal one, and so it’s now time for the cons, things that have been bugging me for quite some time now, and not just from my experience, but from other people’s as well.
In the past, I used to have a good perception of Emirati businesses. They can be trusted, they’re professional etc. Unfortunately, I have realized now that many of them have proven me wrong. And it’s time to address such issues! Be aware that this is my own view on such businesses, and my personal opinions, so yes, you might not agree and yes, it doesn’t apply to all of them.

Recently, I have purchased a pet ferret from an Emirati online petstore, owned by an Emirati animal lover. Contact me separately if you wish to know who the seller is. I’m going to be reviewing this store as well as use it as an example for this topic. Let’s rewind to the beginning of the week: Monday, 13th of May. The 16th was my friend’s birthday and the pet was supposed to be her gift. I contacted the seller by whatsapp and informed her I would like to reserve it and have it delivered by Wednesday, a day before the birthday. All was well until Wednesday actually came around and there was no sign of the ferret…nor the seller.

I had contacted her before 3:00 PM in the afternoon which was the delivery time we had decided on and a little while later. No replies. It is 5:00 PM and then later 7:00 PM and still no reply from her. At that moment, I was starting to get fed up. I’m sure there’s probably some law against the number of times I called her, but still no answer.  And what threw me off the most was the fact that my texts were read, but no replies were made. Now why did I keep on pursuing her instead of just ignoring you ask? It was because I really wanted that gift for my friend. Otherwise, I would have ignored by like, 4:00 PM xD But ugh you don’t know how dumb I feel  for being that desperate. Lesson learned. At the time though, not just yet. When it looked like a hopeless case, I contacted other businesses for a substitute ferret, and actually found a couple dealers that were very cooperative and nice.

By 12:00 AM midnight, she replies. And what was her excuse? She forgot her “business phone” at the office and the reason why my texts were read was because it was with her friend the whole time. Seriously? Not only did she completely ignore our deal, but she didn’t even make the effort to at least contact me any other way to inform me of the situation. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if the friend actually answered one of my calls and told me about it.

Later on, long story short, I discover the pet isn’t even with her but with someone else who was the previous owner but had complications with the pet and decided to sell it back through the online store. I did my research and thankfully managed to contact the girl who was extremely sweet and made sure the ferret came home to me safely, all the while, the seller over on whatsapp didn’t utter a word. The ferret (along with pellets, food, cage, toys, shampoo, blanket and treats all thanks to the previous owner who was responsible) arrived on Thursday afternoon. Just before the party. If it wasn’t for the previous owner the pet would have probably not even arrived. And I had to pay an extra 200 AED for delivery that I wasn’t even informed about.

Now with that story aside, this is why I think local businesses should be your last resort when purchasing anything. First, they show no incentive for providing good service. They already have a substitute source of income, aka mommy and daddy, so one or two unsatisfied customers isn’t a huge deal right? Second, their prices are so over the top it’s not even funny. I die a little inside each time I see a purchase being made when it could guarantee a life-time source of happiness for an African family. What is it they’re trying to do? Become a famous prestigious brand like Louis Vuitton or Chanel? That takes years and years of hard work that’s not over the internet. I’ve been to Michaels, I’ve been to AC Moore, and I’ve seen how little it takes to make some items sellers provide for outrageous prices. You’d be astonished.

And then here’s the solutions I can provide for those who truly care about what kinda businesses they run.
1) If you’re an online business, check your email, phone, website all the time. Yes you’re human, but you’re a human who chose an online business so stick to it. It’s a package deal.
2) If you make no contact with them face-to-face, and won’t present a bill/receipt, always inform them of everything about the product their purchasing. Price, delivery cost, location, description about it, anything! Anything that is related to the product, we want to know it.
3) Maintain a professional entity. Obviously, don’t be rude, be the opposite instead. Treat your customers right and show them their time and money is important.
4) Just because you’re local, doesn’t mean you’ll become any less if you decrease your prices to a reasonable value. I promise!
5) If there happens to be any complications, inform your customers beforehand. It is more professional and more often than not, they won’t even mind.

Again, I don’t refer to all the local business, but the many experiences I have witnessed. In the end, some of them are quite good, but it takes some looking into it before one should decide on a potential seller. Kinda like eBay.

That will be all folks! Thanks for reading! Let me know what you guys think :)

– Reem AlHashmi

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