Travel Diaries: Tbilisi, Georgia

Our weekend vacation in Georgia holds such a special place inside my heart. It never fails to put a huge smile on my face. It's actually one of those "that time we went to this place" stories you would repeatedly tell your children and grandchildren for years to come. Everything about it is just pure happiness. :)

These photos were taken on the night before my birthday spent at the beautiful country of Georgia. We stayed at Courtyard by Marriott located right smack in the middle of Freedom Square in Tbilisi were all the happenings are. It was snowing all over and we discovered a Christmas-lit park during our stroll. It was magical.
It was fairly easy to walk around Tbilisi, all you need is a pair of trusty boots and warm layers of clothing. No need to take a cab really. There were lots of charming coffee shops, stores, and restaurants in the area. I was even crazy enough to eat an ice cream just because. I also appreciate that there were quite a handful of friendly people who volunteered to take some of our photos. Georgians are really nice and as beautiful as their country. I love them!
It's hard not to fall in love with the neoclassical and modern architecture of Tbilisi. Freedom Square, including the entire stretch of Rustaveli Avenue, is home to some of the most exquisitely endearing old buildings and monuments that speak volumes of their rich history and culture. Deciding to book a hotel at the very heart of it has got to be one of the best decisions we made for this trip. Imagine waking up to a view as gorgeous as this. What's not to love?

To say that it was a happy birthday for me would be an understatement. It's beyond amazing, and I'm really thankful for my family and loved ones for making this happen. It's truly a big world out there and as they say, the world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page. I can't wait to go on our next adventure! :)

More details of our Georgia vacation can be found on a previous post.


Travel Diaries: Singapore

We flew via Singapore Airlines on our flight back to Dubai a few months ago. But instead of waiting for eight hours inside their airport as originally planned, we decided to extend our layover in Singapore to three days so we can tour around the city and also squeeze in a short side trip to Legoland Malaysia. Luckily, my husband had a few high school friends based there who were very nice to show us around. It's truly one of the most memorable and fun-filled escapades we've had in a long time.

Singapore is such an idyllic, clean, safe, and modern country. It almost felt like a mini Dubai to be honest, only not as hot. Their people are very friendly and their tasty cuisine is to die for. Our friends treated us to dinner in Makansutra Gluttons' Bay on our first night and my babyfats seriously had a ball. Of course we tried their signature dishes such as chilli crabs and cereal prawns.
The days we spent in Singapore became a discovery of pure gastronomic heaven. I still crave for their delicious food to this day. It's really that good.

After picking us up from the airport, our amazingly cool friend Tim, accompanied us during our first day in Singapore. We immediately tried Singapore Duck Tours and also rode the Singapore Flyer to get a bird's eye view of the city. We temporarily forgot our fear of heights. It's so picturesque! 
Going around Singapore was very convenient thanks to their MRT. The nearest station was only a stone's throw away from our hotel. We stayed at Holiday Inn Express located in Clarke Quay, the riverside village which is like the center of  almost everything.
 The famous Merlion and Marina Bay looked beautiful day and night.

We capped our first night in Singapore chugging down a variety of drinks (Singapore Sling of course) and catching up with friends in one of the bars along a lively and beautifully-lit Clarke Quay. The Filipino bartender serving us even gave me another drink on the house and gifted me with a couple of super cute Singapore Sling souvenir keychains and fridge magnets. So nice!

Our entire second day was a day well spent around Sentosa inside Universal Studios Singapore and also the then newly-opened Madame Tussauds Wax Musuem. It was definitely so much fun to act like a kid again. We were so silly. We've taken so many photos that batteries of both the two cameras we had with us ended up dying.
Figured out how to get to Sesame Street of course!

I finally managed to force the husband to try a scary ride for the first time ever, Revenge of the Mummy inside Universal Studios (it was very scary in his books atleast). I actually made him think we were lining up just to get inside a mummy museum. Just imagining the shocked look on his face when he realized it's a rollercoaster ride is still making me laugh until now. I didn't give him the chance to back out of course.
We spent around seven hours inside Universal Studios before deciding to head out to Madame Tussaud's. It's located in Sentosa also along Imbiah Road. Again, we had to ride the train to get there.

We boarded the "Spirit of Singapore" boat ride inside the museum. It was quick but I found it refreshing especially that it was an extra hot day when we were there. The wax museum was newly-opened at that time so there weren't a lot of figures on display. Still, it was a nice experience.

Of course I got to hang out with my boys Leo and Tom and chitchat with Queen of Talk Oprah Winfrey, along with all the other stars (hello Audrey Hepburn) of Madame Tussauds.

We really thought that the almost three days we allotted was enough to see what this charming little city has to offer, but we were so wrong. It's not enough at all. There's so much to do and to experience. We seriously want to come back soon!


Friday I'm in love { AUDREY HEPBURN }

Hello everyone! It's my favorite day of the week! How's this Friday treating you guys? Mine is the freshly-brewed-coffee-new-book-loving-and-home-chilling kind and I'm enjoying it. Anyway, I chugged down quite a few cups of coffee yesterday, so naturally had a tough time hitting the sack last night. I decided to watch a movie instead of just staring at the dark ceiling like a crazy person.

I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's for the umpteenth time and now I'm back to being an obsessed Audrey Hepburn fan. Here's a collection of pretty Audrey finds online, because everyone loves her and I haven't done a Friday I'm In Love post in a long time.

This collection of rare Audrey Hepburn photos and some that were taken even before she became famous
This quote is true

These pretty Audrey Hepburn prints done by Emma Block

Watching this movie classic over and over and over again
This famous Audrey Hepburn quote that's been doing the rounds online

Audrey was a vision in a 50's wedding dress

These photos basically scream reading is sexy

And of course this lovely photo of Audrey and me at Madame Tussaud's Singapore last year

Do you have a favorite style icon? 

Hope you all enjoy this fabulous weekend, pretty ladies! 
Stay happy like my girl Audrey. :)


Best Summer Reading List

Hello everyone! August is almost around the corner and can I just say I would really miss the month of July like crazy? This has been one of my most favorite months ever for a number of good reasons. Ramadan being on top it, because it essentially meant shorter office timings, lighter work load, more quality family time, and reading (lots and lots of reading) in this part of the world. Seriously,  I have read the most number of books the past month and my dorky little bookworm heart couldn't be more glad. It's an incredible new record for me!

It took me some time to finally manage to narrow down this list to only six books. My initial plan was only five but the other book just had to make the cut. It would be a shame not to include it. So here's my list of Six Best Summer Reads in no particular order.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt is a very recent purchase. I've mentioned on a previous Wishlist Wednesday post how much I've been lemming to get my hands on this book for the longest time, so imagine my joy when the friendly people from Borders Ibn Battuta told me that they managed to get me a fresh copy. The internet is brimming with positive feedbacks for this book and now I just couldn't agree with every single one of them. I still have a few chapters left to read to be honest, but I've already cried major buckets for this. That has never happened to me before, so it truly deserves to be on this list. It's so beautifully written. A real must-read!
Fangirl has solidified my growing love for writer Rainbow Rowell. Her books have really captured a huge chunk of the most booknerdigan recesses of my heart and brain, it's ridiculous. I seriously wanna be BFF's with her so bad. She's like a girl after my own heart and I feel like I can hang out with her inside a coffee shop all day, without being bored. I think I'll even enjoy just hearing her talk all day. This novel was such a charming read. Feel-good and relatable with some of the most endearing book characters ever! I said it once and I'll say it again: Rowell just made it to my auto buy list of authors. Love her to bits!

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, I Married You For Happiness by Lily Tuck and All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven were admittedly mere book cover buys. I was such a typical magpie when I saw these books on shelves. Just had to grab them because they look so beautiful and I gotta say it was worth it.

All three books shared the same melancholic, depressing and heart-wrenching theme that got me hooked until the last page. I even found myself pausing in between chapters just to stare silently outside the window to sigh and think about all those little (and even big things) that make me sad, make my heart break, and make my tears fall. I know. I'm a freak like that, and I love it.

Lily Tuck's novel in particular got me so bad maybe all for purely sentimental reasons. I was a tearful mess just after finishing only the first paragraph. Only! If you've ever lost a loved one or someone very close to you, you'll know what I mean. Tuck's writing style is flawless and she made me remember the kind of writer I forgot I wanted to become when I was a little girl. Her words are intricately woven, it's almost poetry. Brilliant book indeed!

We Were Liars almost didn't make this list but I just had to include it because E. Lockhart nailed the ending like how a winning author should. The ending was incredibly thought of eventhough her writing style was just all over the place. I've never been this annoyed reading a book because it took some time getting used to her style of words (or metaphors). What was real and what was just on the main character's head got so complicatedly messed up, it's not funny anymore. I'm no longer sure if the book's stupid or plain genius. Got caught in between, so I just had to mention this book.

So there, my top summer reads!

I will be disgustingly occupied next month for sure so I don't think I can read as much books. Still on the look out for amazing books to read though, so let me know what books you've read or been reading lately. 

It's so much fun being a book dork!


Wishlist Wednesday

The beautiful month of July has finally started, which means almost half of Ramadan is gone. But it also means the beginning of an end for me. By next month I'll be starting a new role in a new company and I still don't know the word to describe exactly this in-between phase I'm going through right now. Bittersweet maybe?

It's Wednesday and we're off to an Iftar with friends tonight, so while I wait for the sun to set and in the wonderful tradition of Wishlist Wednesday, here's a few of the pretty things I seriously want to snag (or experience).
The bookworm in me is in serious overdrive these days. I've been reading nonstop and it's awesome. Our reduced office timing because of Ramadan allows me to finally catch up with my reading goals this year. Speaking of books, the Harry Potter Paperback Box Set is a dream. I need these books in my life, so I can pass them on my children. Would you believe I succeeded in devouring the entire series by just borrowing copies from friends? 

I'm currently finishing Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before on my iPad so I can get on the second book from the series (which I already have) but I'm not enjoying the story. I guess nothing beats the look and feel of an actual printed book. Also on the look-out for a copy of Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I've read so many good reviews on this book and would really love to add this to my collection. The blurb looks promising.

My heart still beats for this gorgeous green bag that's been discontinued for atleast a year. Kate Spade should really bring back this fun color to their Maise bag collection. And don't you think this Modcloth Indie Darling Dress in Ivory goes well with a green bag? This number is perfection.

I've been obsessing over Korean series and music a lot for the past months, it's not funny anymore. Oh, Park Chanyeol, you're messing up this married woman's feelings like crazy. Can someone take me on a trip to Jeju Island like right now? Please? Maybe I'd eventually get over this fanatical phase once I've been there. Maybe.

It's almost Iftar time! Hope you're all having a blessed Ramadan wherever you are in the world. Hope all your wishes come true. Let's do good this July!

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