Monday, June 29, 2009

Miss Little Black Dress

Ladies, you've read the basic rule of fashion right? No woman should be without a little black dress. Every woman should have a simple black dress that transcends fashion trends. It should be that dress that can take you from casual to semi-formal to elegant. It can be dressed up or dressed down with accessories, clutches, and shoes. The LBD is a staple in your closet. Who doesn't have one?!

Last month, Centrepoint had their 50% off sale. Early this month, they dropped their prices even more. Who took home some loot from the sale month? I did! I scored three little black dresses that are simple, versatile, and very, very affordable.

Coco Chanel, I am channeling you in these sleek numbers:

Dresses from MS Essentials in Centrepoint.

Three LBDs.

Can you guess how each dress costs? SR20! Yes, you read that right. SR20. Who can even say no to these ridiculously low-priced dresses? And who says a woman should only have one LBD?! :P

Two of the dresses used the same sheath fabric while the third one is an eyelet dress. They're not too revealing which is great because I'm of the conservative kind. Teehee. I love sleeves (because I have huge arms :P) and I love lengths that sits comfortably a few inches above the knee. I know that black is such a neutral color but I think that's the beauty of these dresses. I can throw in whatever accessories and shoes that I want and get away with a pop of color for any occassion. I can also wear skinny jeans or leggings and still come away looking thinner than I really am. Hehe.

And for some more added color, I can just pick from among the scarves and belts I have stashed in the corner of my closet:

Eeny meeny miny mooooo!

Ladies, remember this: “When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Pink Tarha Goes To Dammam

If you haven't noticed by now, two of the PT girls are hands down lakwatseras (Sundrenched and moi). Apart from combing the city of Riyadh for the past two months, we've been planning on this train trip to Dammam ever since the year started (primarily because we wanted to experience the "train" ride). However, it was only last week when we finally got it out of our system.

Time and again, I would hear Sundrenched exclaim, "Let's go to Dammam!". But it was always like a yeah-whatever-moment. Until one day, we were scheduling our weekly activities for June and said, "Okay, we need to do this Dammam thing already. June 17-18 would be a spot-on day for us to go". So S did the research and two days before our scheduled departure, we purchased our VIP tickets at the train station. We left Wednesday afternoon for their 4pm trip. Check out the amenities and the view:

VIP sections boasts of their leather seats and more spacious space. :p That's what the train looks like from the window seat (upper right side of photo)

The traveling divas.

It's all desert baby. Magulat ka kung may makita kang dagat.

The trip takes around 4-5 hours with the train making a stop at Hofuf for another set of passengers (VIP section allows co-ed and families to travel mixed). It must be noted that the trip going to Dammam has you going backwards...meaning, you are seated facing the North but the ride is going towards the South (get my drift?). It may appear to be a little kick in the head for the sensitive ones, especially if you constantly have migraines, but I personally didn't mind. I mean, everything else in Saudi Arabia is backwards, why be surprised if their train does the same? They serve complimentary Arabic/Turkish tea with dates early on the departure and there are food carts that go through the coach every two hours. The food is nothing fancy at all. For all I know, our cafeteria serves better food. You've got water and a bag of chips as the best bet from that food trolley. I suggest you pack your own snacks. For S, she munched the trip away with a good book at hand.

Day 1: Hola Dammam and Corniche!

We arrived at the Dammam station half-past 9 and we waited for my dear friend Amir, along with his family, to pick us up. Amir is a good friend of mine from high school and his family moved to Dammam a couple of years back to set up a restaurant business (Their Filipino resto is called TFC: Tropical Food Center). They were extremely generous enough to offer their home to us during our overnight trip and props to Amir, for being an awesome host!

After dinner, S and I expressed our plans of visiting the Corniche early the next day but since Amir's dad would be unable to take us there the following morning, we decided to stake out the hotspot that very night.

According to Amir's dad, the shoreline of the Corniche has been constantly under development. I'd say they are doing a helluva job.

That's me with my friend, Amir and S posing on the other.

A beautiful cityscape behind us. Now with Kuya Rex, Amir's older bro.

One thing that really made a mark on S and I by the way was the WEATHER! When we first got out of the van to get a closer look at the water, we were attacked by the strongest humid air I could ever imagine! It was killer HOT! And we were absolutely melting at where we stood. I was strongly inclined to take my clothes off and jump into the water that very minute. But then again, my better judgment crept in (dammet). Anyhoo, we enjoyed scouting the sights, seeing restaurants and theme parks mushroom their way through the shoreline. The landscape was well-maintained and it would appear to be a favorite for families to hang out during the day with mini-playgrounds available for children to play at. Somehow, I thought it was better that we visited during the night because I cannot imagine the heat that it could further muster during the day. Photo-ops will suffer but then again, I want to live more than I want to have a good photograph. Perhaps during winter would be the best time to visit.

Day 2: Daytrippin' and Malling
S and I woke up to the idea of visiting the largest mall there is in the Eastern Province. Since we knew that the hot weather will get the best of us, what better way to escape its wrath than by going to the mall? Amir hooked us up with a taxi and off we went to AlKhobar's Al Rashid Mall. We took pictures of the streets of Dammam along the way and wondered, where are all the people? Hehe. Compared to Riyadh, I don't see any Afghanis or Pakistanis hanging out on the sidestreets. Most of the time, they're just empty. Hmmm, maybe they're all at the beach? :p

Taken while we were in the cab. We also spotted the Mall of Dhahran along the way. Does this mean we were at Dhahran too? :P

We arrived at Al Rashid Mall and maaan, it was HUGE! S and I were like Hansel and Gretel, lured by the delectable treats in the evil witch's house! We spotted stores that weren't available in Riyadh and those were the ones we hit. There was FOREVER21 (now that experience will be relayed in a separate post), Popeye's fastfood chain (there used to be a Popeye's in Riyadh when I was younger, but I wonder why it disappeared?) and the Le Royale Cake (where a certain friend of ours begged us to get her some bread from their bakery).

Sights we hit at the Al Rashid Mall

The mall was a delight to visit. For me, it felt like I was in a mall in the Philippines with the atmosphere being more lax and open. The food court was noisy and crowded with males and families sitting together in one area. You would have seen a sparkle in my eye as I gazed the surroundings, almost surprised that such a scenario can exist inside the Kingdom. We bought a lot of pastry items from Le Royal Cake as pasalubong for our families back in Riyadh and ended up waiting for our driver to pick us up at 4pm.

Self-timer: S and I enjoyed a cool, caffeine drink at the Ladies' section of Al Rashid's Starbucks while waiting for the cab.

Ma'asalama Dammam!
We came back to Amir's house at around 5pm to get ready for our train trip back. Our train leaves at around 7pm and we neded to be there at least an hour before. It seems to be a quick trip ain't it? We've had a blast, mostly because of our stay with Amir and his family. If it weren't for them, we probably wouldn't have enjoyed our visit as much. (Coz you know, me and S just originally planned this whole trip to be a back and forth just wanted to experience the train, that was basically what we wanted) So had Amir not offered, it would have been far less exciting than it was. So a big big, BIG THANK YOU AMIR! *air kisses* The Pink Tarha Team is grateful. *bows*

Here are some of our photos before leaving Dammam. Did I mention that we were in VIP class during our trip? :D Posh kung posh.

Our pretty travel bags sat with us at the Al Rehab lounge, where VIPs are seated while waiting for the trip. (The blue floral bag is Sundrenched's, from Mexx and the hand-painted pink floral is mine from Accessorize)

Bye Dammam! We had fun!

The trip back made more sense now. We were no longer going the opposite direction. And, we finally checked Dammam off our to-do list? What's next? Perhaps Bahrain this coming Eid? I've heard of talks of maybe London? hahaha. For sure, it will be out of the country na next time. Unless someone invites us back to Dammam for a re-run. :)



Saudi Railway Services
Daily Trips to RUH-DAM, DAM-RUH
Must purchase tickets at least one day before.

Riyadh Railway Station

Malaz, Riyadh
Tel: +966-1-473-4444
Reservation: 920008886

Rates (one-way) per classes of seats:
2nd Class (Al-Qafela): 60 SAR
1st Class (Al-Taleaa): 75 SAR
VIP Section (Al-Rehab): 130 SAR
Check more specific fare rates and reservation terms and conditions here.

Trip schedule:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SALE Alerts and more

It's the end of the month, sahod na naman and I'm sure hindi lang coincidence na nagsusulputan ang mga red signs all over.
Well people, this is just to let you all know that MNG has put on the '50% off' signs on their windows since last weekend, as tipped by Sundrenched and Eyecandy who 'saw the signs' in Al-Rashid Mall, Al-Khobar. We have this common knowledge that when Mango starts their sale, everyone else follows. So what's to expect after this? More stores in red of course, until August! Warm-up pa lang 'to.

Oh btw, Debenhams is 50% off too. Just a tip here, Riyadh Gallery just recently opened a huge Debenhams outlet. You may want to check out that first. LOL.

And the best news is for the guys out there. A huge H&M store will open in Granada Mall on August 8 and will be stocking their men's line. Sa wakas, hindi lang kami ang maswerte.

Well, the cycle continues...

Happy weekend everyone!


Search for the Mismatched Shoes

Inspiration came at last! Sorry for the lack of entries for the last few weeks. But then, we have all been delighted to read about Sundrenched and Eyecandy's adventures...
My love for shoes (or stuff for that matter) go through phases. One of which I have gone through was the patent-shoe phase, wherein I have been on a buying frenzy on anything patent and shiny. The rest I will be sharing in future entries.
I recently had this phase on searching for the perfect mismatched shoes. There's something about having mismatched things that look quite interesting. Maybe it's the idea of giving identity or individuality to pairs. Gone are the days when twins need to have the same outfits.
Read on and check out my best finds:

Means 'mini chocolates', are simply sweet stuff on your feet with their attractive colors and fun designs. They sport the classic Mary Jane-style and are made of fabric. These are handmade from Venezuela and can be ordered online. Downside is, fabric shoes are dirt magnet. And none of my fabric shoes have lasted a year. But then so what?!

Camper Twins

I was drawn by these shoes when I first saw them. They are called the 'Napa Pau Camafeo' from the Camper Twins edition of Camper shoes from their 2008 Autumn-Winter collection.

As one who never owned a pair of Camper's before, I have ignored them for the longest time since they are way above my shoe budget. However, this particular pair caught my eye and I admit that I regret the fact that I am quite late in finding out about these shoes. The cameos (shoe clips) which give the pair their identity, are removable. After searching every online store, still no luck for me in finding the right size. Anybody who finds these in a size EU38, give me a buzz.

Own anything mismatched? Share yours with us. Just don't tell me it's you and your spouse. LOL


Fun, Cool, Hip Asian Food

Food again? You're right! Another food entry from The Pink Tarha Girls and we will not get tired of posting entry about food. Medyo matagal nga ang interval from our last food post eh. Kamusta naman? Busog kaming lahat nung isang gabi eh! :p

First, we wanted to greet our pretty precious friend Jamila [in Arabic the name means “beautiful”] a happy happy birthday. Shukran, girl! ♥

We went to Zyng Asian Grill the other night to celebrate the Jamila's birthday. Nag blow-out po kasi siya. Zyng is located at the Localizer Mall along Al-Tahliya Street, Riyadh. It is the first branch to open here in Riyadh but it has other branches in Jeddah, Dhahran, and even Bahrain. I remembered months ago that our boss wanted to try Zyng's food in the office. Unfortunately, Zyng does not deliver.

Zyng Asian Grill

Back to the birthday feast, the resto was closed for prayer when we got there so we lounged around their zen-styled patio area. How we wish their sprinklers work during that time. It's getting terribly hot in Riyadh.

Al fresco dining for the guys.

Zyng opened around 7:00 pm. It was my first time there and I could not help but be enticed by the ambiance of the surroundings. It's almost peaceful and meditative. Kasi kami lang ang tao sa loob! Zyng combines the modern ambiance and coziness of a usual Asian resto.

Stripped to its essentials.

The minimalist design of the place sets off the Asian flare. The blackness of the tables and chairs is highlighted by the brightness of vibrant green pillars. Japanese lanterns that give off a dim light accentuate the green ceiling. A huge, heavy curtain separates the indoor bachelor area from the family area. Cubicles has ample seating for 4-6 persons each properly seated on black leather sofas. Hindi ba pwedeng nakasalampak na lang sa floor ala Japanese?!

Cooked right here!

The service is friendly. We even get to watch how they prepare and cook our food. Did I just mention food?! Okay, let's go to the food. I'm sure you're all waiting for it. Ang masasabi ko lang, nalasing kami sa kabusugan!

Appetizers pa lang, ulam na busog na kami. The appetizers served delighted and prepared our palate for the main meals. We ordered:

Tom Yum with Shrimp
A Thai savory soup flavored with exotic Thai spices and herbs with citrus flavorings.

Vietnamese Beef and Noodles‭ (‬Pho‭), ‬SR35
Thin slices of seasoned‭, ‬teppan grilled beef with onions‭, ‬scallions‭, ‬and rice noodles in a Vietnamese broth flavored with star anise and cinnamon‭.‬ This bowl of noodles is good for 6 persons.

Seared Salmon Sashimi‭, ‬SR32
Marinated sashimi seared rare and thinly sliced with wasabi‭, ‬ginger‭, ‬and ponzu dipping sauce‭.‬

Sumo Platter‭, ‬SR35
Assorted egg rollz‭, ‬crispy gyoza‭, ‬crispy shrimp‭, ‬and crispy tender chicken served with sweet chili and tangy soy dipping sauce‭.‬

For the main course, Eyecandy tried the Pad Thai and Thai Coconut Curry Chicken while Jamila ordered the Sesame Beef and Brocolli. They ordered their meals extra extra spicy. Tapang! Kailangan talagang pausukin ang mga tenga! I asked our server, Kuya Rene, to make my Mongolian Beef mildly spicy kasi hindi ko talaga kayang kumain ng maanghang! Sundrenched had the moderately spicy Korean BBQ beef.

Pad Thai‭, ‬SR30
Thin rice noodles with bean sprouts‭, ‬tofu‭, ‬carrots‭, ‬egg‭, ‬and peanuts in a spiced sweet and sour sauce‭.‬

Thai Coconut Curry Chicken‭, ‬SR48
Spiced red curry with red and green peppers‭, ‬onions‭, ‬and fresh basil served over wide rice noodles‭.‬

Sesame Beef and Brocolli‭, ‬SR48
Sliced and grilled with yakisoba sauce‭, ‬sweet red peppers‭, ‬and onions garnished with toasted sesame seeds‭. ‬Served with steamed jasmine-scented rice‭.‬

Mongolian Beef‭, ‬SR48
Seasoned beef‭, ‬sliced and grilled‭, ‬in a mildly spiced sauce with snow peas‭, ‬baby corn‭, ‬carrots and water chestnuts‭.‬

Korean BBQ Beef‭, ‬SR45
Traditional bulgogi‭; ‬tender seared sliced steak served with kimchi‭, ‬sweet chili cucumbers‭, ‬and jasmine-scented rice‭.‬

Our choices of drinks: iced tea and colas.

The food is good! Our only complain is that there was a shortage of rice noodles! They used Udon noodles for our dishes. And we thought "Zyng is noodles" according to their menu. And they used frozen shrimps! For the indecisive, you can take on their "Tour of Asia" three-course meal. You get to choose your starter, entree, and dessert for 75 riyals. Or you can try their "Asian Market Bowl" where you mix and match your protein (beef, chicken, shrimp, etc.), noodles (ban pho, cantonese, lo mein, udon, etc.), rice (jasmine or basmati), and sauces (peanut sauce, yakisoba, schezuan, kung pao, etc.). Leave your bowl of ingredients to them and they'll cook and deliver your masterpiece.

They also gave us complimentary tea! Zyng Chai is a befitting end to our meal.

Try Zyng Chai
The magical fusion of tea, non-fat milk, honey, and exotic spices.

Surprisingly, we had to decline dessert because we're too full! We even had to take a break from eating just so the food gets digested first. No avail. We're still full hours after that meal.

Zyng Asian Grill lives up to its name. It's really a new experience in Asian casual dining. It offers carefully select viands popular to China, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore at very affordable prices.

Salty, sweet, sour, and spicy? Which Zyng are you? Find out one of these days. :)

Zyng Asian Grill
Al-Tahaliya Street, Riyadh

(beside Localizer Mall)

Tel No. +966-1-453-0000

*Description under each food item is from the Zyng menu.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hawks of the Peninsula

On my way to the Riyadh Centre from the airport when I got first got here, I saw a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane inconveniently parked on the side of the road. (I'm sure you've all seen it.) WTH is that plane doing there?! Na-miss ba n'ya ang airstrip?! I asked the father about it and he answered with a shrug and a "Malamang nag-emergency landing. Nawalan ng gas kaya ayan, pinabayaan na lang nila d'yan." For a moment, I believed him and I put the issue aside. You know, because I was this gullible first timer sa Riyadh. A year after, I learned that fathers do tell jokes in odd ways. Argh! (Segway lang: Happy father's day papa! You're the best, even if you're corny at times, hehe.)

The SA plane you see is part of the Saqr Al Jazeera Aviation Museum which houses the Royal Saudi Air Force's military planes, helicopters, fighters, bombers, and missile launchers. (Saqr Al-Jazeera means Hawk of the Peninsula.) There's more planes on the vicinity if you only look closer. This is what Eyecandy and I did one Thursday afternoon... inspect the planes closer, ride 'em, and fly away! Just kidding about the fly away part. :P

The plane that launched a thousand speculations.
Where did this come from and how did it get here? Unfortunately, we do not have the answers for you. We just know that this plane is one of the first few models of Saudia. Kasi sabi nga ni Eyecandy, naka-RGB pa raw ang kulay nito. Hehe. Malamang gawin daw syang restaurant in the near future. Nice concept.

The grand entrance
I'm not sure how this works for bachelors but families came and roamed the museum the day we were there. There were also students, probably coming for their school field trip. We were in one of our company's fun bus tours. Thank goodness for social clubs.

A third of the plan
The building which is standing just behind the airplane from the side of the road is only a third of the grand project for this place. The triangle structure and the half-moon building are yet to be built. They will be done inshallah.

A whole new world.
Sinong Wright brothers?! Actually, sa flying carpet nagsimula ang lahat eh. Ika nga ni Aladdin "Come on down / Stop on by / Hop a carpet and fly / To another Arabian night."

Tour guide, tour group, and tour eyecandy.
There's a person that will give you a walkthrough but he's speaking in Arabic so our own tour guide needed to translate. Soon after, most of us lost interest in listening so they just let us roam around the place on our own. Note that Eyecandy is wearing her pink tarha! :P

Green is in!
Ganda pala ng green sa plane at sa uniform noh. Green is the royal color of Saudi Arabia. Sinong nagsabing standard sa royalties ang blue?! The plane you see here is used by the Saudi Hawks in their aerobatics show.

Mayday! Mayday! (film presentations)

Creativity in the sky

There were areas to view 5-minute films showcasing the best of the Saudi Hawks, the Air Force's aerobatics team. Ang astig ng formations at colors na ginagamit nila. Amazing ang skills ng mga piloto. There was also a videp on how the Air Force do their rescue operations. Interesting malaman kung pano ka maghahanap ng tao na nawawala sa gitna ng disyerto.

Flight with the king.
This is the Douglas C-47 Skytrain (Dakota) given by Winston Churchill to King Abdul Aziz. It started its operation in 1945. We thought it was a reproduction because we highly doubt this thing could fly based on how flimsy the aircraft looks. Apparently, it's the real deal. We boarded the plane. In fairness, the stuffy feeling and the heavy atmosphere has never left this plane no matter how long this has been retired.

More planes used through the ages by the Royal Saudi Air Force.

And now we fly...
Eyecandy and...

Sundrenched reporting for duty!

Bakit ba hindi kami naging piloto?! The planes are not only available for viewing. They're also available for boarding! Unlike some museums where you can only gaze at the stuff displayed, the museum here is sort of interactive. Eyecandy and I had a blast taking turns in the cockpit of this rescue helicopter. Kamusta naman, pilotong naka-abaya! Hehe. That doesn't look too astig but so what?! :P If there's a female Saudi pilot, we'll be so darn proud!

Sa outer space naman!
There's a corner devoted to spacecrafts but it is yet to be fully developed and completed. Para kasi s'yang afterthought lang. :P There are pins and souvenirs commemorating the journeys of Arabs in space.

Zero gravity.
There's a flight simulator but it's not yet working. Wish pa naman naming ma-experience ang space... at gumaan. Better luck next time. Hopefully, by the time we visit the second time around eh open for public na ito.

We went out of the main museum building to check out the bigger planes. The huge expanse of land is home to several military aircraft and an airbus.

Slow down, construction going on.

Slowing down air traffic
After we stopped traffic in our tour of Riyadh, we're stopping air traffic naman! A huge plane along with some other little ones are parked at the back of the museum grounds. Sarap magkukuha ng photos dito.

This is how you stop an aircraft.

Air angels.
Eyecandy is partial to the smaller planes while I love the huge airbus! Hehe. Before we went out to check these babies out, there was even a sandstrom but nothing can stop us from inspecting these planes closer. Aba eh, sayang naman ang pagkakataon!

There you go. The two hours we allotted for this trip was well worth it. There's even free brochures and booklets about the museum. What better way to unwind than being gone with the wind on these air babies. Royal Saudi Air Force, fly high!

Saqr Al-Jazeera Aviation Museum
Opening Days: Tuesday-Sunday
Opening Hours: 9:00am-12:00nn; 4:00pm-9:00pm
Visiting Fee: SR10 (adults) / SR5 (kids)

PS. We've made a Multiply site for all the other photos that our blog entry can't accommodate. There are a lot of photos we take from our trips so we're putting them on photo albums at the just in case you're interested to see what we saw. Hep, before you click that link and go to our site, it's still under construction. We'll post an entry if we're done uploading and updating it. Thank you, thank you.
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