November 23, 2016

Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront Phase One Launch

Friends and loved ones know me for two things: my passion for travel and my eye for beauty. Sandwiched between them is that love to share with others these two things.

When I received an invitation to the launching of Phase One of Mina al Sultan Qaboos (MSQ) Waterfront  in Oman, these three things went berserk. Although the idea of me going to another country for a short period of time, without my family, and with strangers waiting for me there seemed surreal, I rejoiced in the idea that this won't happen if it's not meant to.

Passion for Travel 

It is this passion for travel that made me pursue this rare chance of sponsored trip to Oman. Though I'm already accustomed to Arab culture, I still searched exhaustively for what I can do there, specifically in Muttrah where MSQ Waterfront will soon rise.

The Port Sultan Qaboos area in Muttrah
Oman is called the Jewel of Arabia because of its natural beauty. I had been tantalized by the images of Muttrah alone: its turquoise blue seas, white sand beaches, and an almost endless range of towering hills and mountains. But I soon found out that exploring a place's natural beauty and delving on its cultural heritage - are not enough. I should also be keen on knowing what that place will be in the future. And that's what I found out from Omran, the master developer of MSQ Waterfront.

Expected to be completed in 2020, the $390M mixed-use waterfront project will transform Muscat's old port area into a 64 hectares major tourism-based development, while maintaining the historic character and cultural identity of Muscat and Muttrah’s waterfront community.

The MSQ Waterfront project will also provide a pedestrian friendly lifestyle community, enrich the lives of local community and will boost Oman's tourism industry over the next 20 years and beyond.

James Wilson, CEO of Omran, commented, "With its proud maritime heritage combined with innovative initiatives including Fisherman’s Wharf, waterpark and a terminal to enable direct travel to Iran, I have no doubt that the development will quickly become one of the top waterfront and tourism destinations in the region, as well as a center for excellence in areas such as education, the arts, culture and sports." Isn't that something worth waiting for? 

Eye for Beauty

Now that I think you had enough of Muttrah's future, let me tell you about what really made me decide to come to Oman. I fell in love with its beauty and that's just online! I reveled in Muttrah's stunning landscape and local architecture. I fell in love with the idea of seeing these beauties in person. As a graphic designer and a photography enthusiast, I knew something fascinating awaits me there. And Muttrah and MSQ Waterfront's launching didn't disappoint me.

Let's start with MSQ Waterfront's brand mark. I have developed brand identities for different companies when I worked for a design agency here in Riyadh, and I know a well-thought-of brand when I see one. The brand mark of MSQ Waterfront is one of them. The modern Arabic calligraphy which says Muttrah follows a sweeping view of the bay, corniche, and the MSQ Waterfront (see master plan below). Symbolizing the mountains and the sea, the vibrant colors also connote energy and celebration.

And the launching? It was a blast! You know something ambitious is going to happen to Muttrah if you base it on this launch. I never expected to attend an event this big. And I'm forever grateful to Omran and their PR agency for inviting me!

Hosts of the MSQ Waterfront Phase One Launching

The brand’s promise, Inspired by our memories, made by our moments, is Omran’s commitment to preserve the heritage of Muttrah while regenerating it into a lively world-class waterfront destination where people can meet, be entertained and be inspired.

And true to its promise, I was already inspired by my experiences in Muttrah — and impressions of a world-class waterfront destination — to draw and paint again. I confess that I haven't painted in years and Muttrah must be so captivating that it roused my lost love for telling stories through drawings.

Though it was that passion for travel that led me to explore Oman and it was that eye for beauty that made me fall in love with its splendor, it is this reinvigorated appetite for adventure that made me look forward to spending an exciting weekend at the MSQ Waterfront in the future.

November 13, 2016

Saudi Women Show 2016

Being a graphic designer, I love fashion. I love anything that touches on color, variety and beauty. I'm always inclined to check what's in and what's new. But believe it or not, I don't patronize it. I mean, I don't buy clothes just because they're on trend. I don't put on this lipstick color even if it looks good on others. I just love looking at vogue dresses, make up and accessories. Or how women carry themselves on these fashion stuff.

That's why I love to go to exhibits focusing on beauty and lifestyle. So when the company I'm working at participated in the Saudi Women Show 2016, I grabbed the chance and headed on to Four Seasons Hotel where it was held.

I thought it's all about fashion but it showcased clothes, jewelries and more. It highlighted almost everything a woman is concerned about: beauty, health, food, business, tourism, hobby, etc.

The Kingdom Ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel.

Many Saudi women attended the event. I am so clueless how much is the entrance fee for this event because my boss just gave me a complimentary invitation.

This is the booth I liked the most. I love makeup, especially nude ones.

I believe Saudi women like this accessories. Yes, they're all beautiful and creatively crafted. But I prefer the simple ones.

Free skin check-ups of a body and skin care clinic.

Protein shakes, low-fat cookies and other snacks are offered by iDiet.

Wedding and events photography and videography.

For the disorganized mom like me: a perfect storage system.

So colorful handmade home decors.

Fo more details on the next Saudi Womens Show, click here.

August 23, 2015

dip n dip: A Chocoholic's Delight

And so I missed blogging for months here. That's because I found another job which lets me work long hours, and sometimes on odd hours. If you were to ask me, I don't like that. Who would? But when you are an expat trying to seize the opportunity in a country where women doesn't have that much chance of being hired  - you would just take things as they are, and see the brighter side of life.

Aside from the long hours, the new job gives me stress. Stress I've never experienced in years. There was even a time an Indian colleague asked me to smile because he told me I haven't even projected a happy face  that day. And on times like these, I'm famous for bingeing on food to relieve stress. I indulge on something sweet every time.

It was for all these excuses that Fred gave in to my whim to try dip n dip in Riyadh Gallery.

February 14, 2015

Almarai Dairy Farm and Factory Visit

Whenever I chat with my friend based in Abu Dhabi, I always ask her what she will cook for an upcoming occasion, and she would promptly send snapshots of dishes I only dream of cooking. And when I posted the photo of my husband and me on my Facebook account, with a short "A trip to Almarai Dairy Farm" caption, she later on commented that she and her partner like Almarai products especially the yoghurt and fresh milk. That's when I realized that although we're miles apart, my friend and I still have something in common: we enjoy the same brand of milk and juice drinks.

January 22, 2015

Wadi Hanifah in Winter

If only I could freeze moments, I would freeze Sunday's 11th birthday celebration on the first Friday of this month and Gabby's 13th this coming Sunday. But I couldn't. Time seems to pass me by so quickly that I didn't even notice that just ten more days, it's already February.

January 10, 2015

Hannah's Beach Resort, Pagudpud

Happy and blessed New Year to all!

I was on the verge of ending this blog last year because my life as a working mom hinders me from posting as often as I want to but then I remember why I started Pixels for Four. I wanted to chronicle our stay here in Saudi Arabia as a family and someday look back to those moments with pride. So here I am. I don't have the almost mandatory year-ender post for bloggers because it would be unfair to post pictures of places I haven't fully told you about. Believe me, they are a handful. But what I have is still the desire to have our experiences archived like our trip to Baher Villas in Al Khobar which is the most popular post here.