Last week was quite a busy week for The Pink Tarha. Monday was the craziest day but in a crazy good way. We were informed that we won the Best Website Promoting Tourism at the Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards a few days before the awarding ceremony but we didn’t announce it just yet because we didn’t have a proof of our win, haha! We waited for May 11 for the awarding ceremony at the National Museum. While R was accepting our trophy and certificate, I was on a car somewhere in the ring road on my way to the King Khaled International Airport (the truth is I didn’t know if I will scream or cry with joy when I saw the photos of our trophy… surreal!). I wanted so bad to be at the awarding ceremony but I also have another Pink Tarha achievement” to go to. I was being whisked away by the Apparel Group to attend their one day womanhood celebration in one of the busiest and prominent cities in the world… Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The days before my trip and the day itself was a blur. Everything was happening so fast and simultaneously that I was nervous, excited, happy… and most especially, I feel really blessed. Receiving an award and given the opportunity to go to Dubai by a huge company? Eh di wow, kami na! Haha!
I said everything was happening fast… not so fast because the infamous Fly Nas struck again. Our flight to Dubai was late for one and a half hour! I was afraid they would eventually cancel it (like what they did to our flight from Jeddah to Riyadh in 2013) but thankfully, it was just really delayed. We arrived in Dubai around 8:30 in the evening and the lines at the immigration was so long! Hordes of tourists suddenly decided to go to Dubai all at the same time! Haha! We reached our hotel around 10:00 pm and I was tired but I’m still actually looking for something to do other than stay at the hotel. I was billeted at the Emirates Grand Hotel in one of their deluxe rooms with a living room, kitchen, bedroom and two bathrooms. Wow! I was too tired to go out of my room again (and it wasn’t as if it was inviting enough) but I was also hungry so I went out for a late dinner with the PR team of Apparel Group at Zoroob, a hip Lebanese restaurant a few blocks away from our hotel.
Sleep came easily and fast and the next thing I knew I was already dressed up to go to the Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa (okay it wasn’t that easy: I had to drag myself out of the soft, heavenly bed, take a shower, put on a semi formal get-up and makeup, walk in heels, and finally, head to the breakfast restaurant for some coffee.. all in under an hour).
We were a bit early in the venue but there were a lot of people roaming around the Armani Ballroom already. There were staff of Apparel Group, media invitees, and bloggers from the GCC. I felt really honored to be chosen as one of the KSA bloggers who will see the event. It was just funny that when I introduce myself to people as a “blogger from Saudi Arabia”, their eyes all go huge and they begin questioning my sanity. “What do you blog about in Saudi?” What do you there?!” “There are bloggers in Saudi?!” Kulang na lang, “YOU HAVE A LIFE IN SAUDI ARABIA?!” Hahaha! I just smile at them and hand my business card. “Please read The Pink Tarha so you’ll know what Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is about.”
Anyway, the event itself is centered on the new Spring/Summer 2015 collection of the brands of the Apparel Group. There were booths around the ballroom which we can visit so that we learn more about the brands. I gravitated towards the brands that are not yet in Saudi Arabia like cosmetics brand Glossip, beauty and wellness brand Bottega Verde, and apparel brand Dune. Apparel Group also handles familiar brands like TOMS, Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. It is the company that carries ALDO, Nine West, Charles & Keith, Anne Klein, etc. in the UAE but they’re not the one handling these brands here in Saudi Arabia. They do handle Nautica, Cath Kidston, Calvin Klein, and Athlete’s Co. here. Oh, and Tim Horton’s too.
It was so much fun getting a makeover at the Glossip station while waiting for the event proper to start. Makeup artist Safa Bejaoui lined my eyes with their waterproof eye liner. Thank goodness she put that on me because I honestly am such a klutz when it comes to eyeliner. Either I smudge it before I can even go out the door or I poke my eye and go out teary-eyed. She also applied a lipstick that’s great for dry lips. There were stations for neck and feet massage (badly needed because it was such a long time since I wore heels), white henna and nail art, and fashion illustration. It was such a great event for women. I enjoyed the side activities so much.
The event proper was hosted by the beautiful Shereen Mitwalli. She called on Sima Ved, vice-chairperson of the Apparel Group, to give a message to the women from all over the GCC who graced the event. She is the embodiment of woman power (thus the event’s hashtag #CAwomanpower) and I heard she has inspired a lot of women in Dubai to pursue their careers and goals in life. After a quick message, the fashion show started on stage with models wearing a mix and match of the Apparel Group’s brands. It went from casual to semi-formal to formal. We had a look book where we can see the brands where the items came from. We can also encircle looks that appealed to us the most.
The fashion show was followed by a quick break. People lined up for Tim Horton’s coffee and Baskin Robbins ice cream and shakes. Then an introduction of Bottega Verde came next. A representative from brand who came from Italy explained the roots of Bottega Verde and its commitment to natural ingredients and effective results. Well-renowned Italian dermatologist Dr. Berardesca checked out the faces of some guests on stage and recommended the products they can use from the brand’s line. Dr. Berardesca can be consulted at the Bottega Verde booth. Well, I lined up for that and he said my skin is quite oily and he suggested the Ialuron Plus serum which contains pure hyaluronic acid. Sounds fancy so I got a bottle! Haha! (Review in our Beauty Bets soon.)
We got personally introduced to Ms. Sima Ved and I could only compliment her with the event. It was her idea after all. Another fashion show happened after lunch and again, it went from casual to semi-formal and formal. It was such a joy watching the models strut the collections on stage. I think I started daydreaming and imagined the event being held in Riyadh, haha! Oh well, we can dream right? One day, some day.
After the afternoon fashion show, I had to say goodbye to my lovely hosts so that I can go back to hotel, get my weekender bag, and rush to the airport. Yes, I only had a day in Dubai. Actually, it was shy of two hours to be called a full day but I already saw, met, and learned lots. I was given this opportunity and all I could do is make the most of it. It felt good to be a pampered woman when it comes to beauty and fashion, haha!
Everything was such a whirlwind that when I got back to my room here in Riyadh, I was already thinking of the pile of things I had to do the next day. Like Dubai never happened. But then it did and I am grateful to the Apparel Group especially to Mr. Sudarshan Singh, marketing manager of Apparel Group Riyadh, for making this trip happen, and Ms. Corrina Campos, senior PR executive of Apparel Group in Dubai for the warm welcome.