Top 8 Restaurants for 2020

Sourced Photo

You voted – here are the top restaurants to watch out for this year.


Our New Year’s resolutions have been made and we usually feel ready to conquer the world this time of year. Since we are finally in 2020, it’s only fair to start it right with the top restaurant picks so you don’t have to go through crummy food experiences. According to the voices of our audience on social media, these are the top places in the Kingdom for your 2020 food checklist. The categories were divided into: Casual dining, Breakfast spots, Cafés, and breakthrough places that opened within last year.

Sourced Photo

Sourced Photo

Casual Dining

Uncle Khalil’s BBQ
It is a central Texas BBQ cuisine that only delivers to your destination. Although they don’t have a restaurant, Uncle Khalil’s BBQ has made its way to people’s hearts through their tummies and was ranked the top casual kitchen in Jeddah. Their slow cooked smoky meat brisket is the literal melt-in-the-mouth experience. If you’re asking, they receive orders through WhatsApp.

Mob: +966- 542808863
Instagram: uncle_khalils_bbq

ST. 56
ST. 56 was second on the list, making it a must-try restaurant for 2020. This Asian ‘street food on a plate’ concept has won the votes of many residents in Jeddah, being known for its exceptional shrimp noodles and boa plates.

Location: 7843 Ahmad Al Attas, AZ Zahra Dist., Jeddah
Mob: +966-542077601
Instagram: streetfiftysix

Sourced Photo

Sourced Photo

Breakfast

URB Kitchen
According to our Jeddah people, Urb Kitchen takes the win when it comes to the ultimate breakfast spot in the city. The ambiance is so friendly and comfortable it makes you never want to leave. Simple but diverse, their breakfast menu checks off all cravings that come to mind, while their coffee is remarkable, too. The eggs benedict and French toast are so filling, they are a must-try.

Location: 7051 As Salamah District, Zahran Business Center, Jeddah
Tel: +966-12-6393267
Instagram: urbkitchen.ksa

Sourced Photo

Sourced Photo

Café

Brew92 Café
Known for their creative coffee drinks, friendly baristas, and neat interior, this place radiates good vibes. Salted Cow Latte and Ice Pistachio Latte are the people’s top choices. You can smell their mouthwatering desserts the second you walk in. Make sure to try the lemon cake.

Location: Prince Saud Al Faisal, Al Khaldiyyah, Jeddah
Tel: +966-12- 6061142
Instagram: brew92cafe

Medd Coffee
Medd Coffee offers high-end coffee beans that are freshly roasted and brewed. The warm setting and simple wooden interior puts you in the relaxing mode you sometimes need. Medd is known for being the ideal reading destination. So if you want to catch up on your reading, you know where to go. Needless to say that if you appreciate good coffee, you will also enjoy this place, because their coffee is incredible.

Location: Beach Tower, Cornishe Rd, Ash Shati, Jeddah
Instagram: meddcoffee

Sourced Photo

Sourced Photo

Favorite Newcomer

Baco
Baco Restaurant was the top choice by our audience as it received remarkable reviews all around. Baco is an Asian-Mexican fusion concept that serves baos, tacos, and tapas. The food styling at this restaurant was very attractive that it made us try out the place instantly. Let us just say, the food is as striking as its styling.

Location: Boulevard, Ash Shati, Jeddah
Mob: +966- 500062142
Instagram: baco.sa

Editor’s Picks

Sourced Photo

Sourced Photo

Ash Café
For our editors’ pick, we selected Ash Café in Jeddah as one of our top coffee shop choices for 2020. Their coffee is made to perfection, you can taste the strong coffee in any drink you order, and that’s what we look for in a coffee house. The ambiance is cozy, the baristas are gracious and their drinks are divine. A definite YES from us.

Location: 3577 Quraysh, As Salamah, Jeddah
Mob: +966-541045110
Instagram: ashcafes

Sourced Photo

Sourced Photo

Black Cardamom
Their rich aesthetic surrounded by striking crisp greenery will put you in the right mood for their vegan signature dishes. This restaurant in Jeddah offers a variety of unique blends, scrumptious pancake assortments, and garden-fresh salads. Black Cardamom is a health-conscious restaurant that won’t leave you feeling guilty. It definitely made it at the top of our casual dining list.

Location: 8212 Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz, Al Andalus Dist., Jeddah
Mob: +966-553206187
Instagram: blackcardamomksa

Read More...

West to East

dsc_7601-copy

How Hamad Al Hawesh took on new challenges.


Graduating from civil engineering and breaking a cycling record across the Kingdom, Hamad Al Hawesh has proven to the young generation that with will power, anything can be achieved. Hamad lives for the thrill of extreme challenges, and this is why he took it upon himself to set a new record in the Kingdom for being the first Saudi to cycle from the West to the East in five days and 12 hours.

Hamad calls himself a Doer, he is not specifically a cyclist, rather, Hamad seeks extreme challenges that trigger his body and mind, and dares to take one victory after the other.

His belief that nothing is impossible with the right mindset supports Vision 2030 and emphasizes the power our minds have over everything.

Hamad shared with us his incredible experience, from the mental and physical resilience to the tough challenges he had to overcome during his cycle. “Climatic fluctuation, inclines and declines, lack of sleep and my strict meal plans were some of the hardships I faced during my journey.” He would get only four hours of sleep per day in the trunk of an SUV as he had to cycle up to 17 hours in a row to reach his destination in Khobar in the deliberated time record. Hamad was only able to eat certain foods in little quantities so as to not upset his stomach during the cycle. With Hamad’s life motto “mind over everything” he was able to face the challenges and triumph over any doubts that crossed his mind.

“The toughest part of the journey was the incline of Al Muzahmiyya in Riyadh border as it took me 18 minutes to cross it as well as the incline of AlSayel road, as it was raining at the time and I really had to use all my strength.”dsc_7488-copy

Hamad didn’t particularly follow a training program for this challenge. He took us through his usual intensive workout that includes a lot of cardio, and his own style of training called “mix workout art,” which is basically training the body for better stamina under tough conditions.

Hamad said that remaining focused on his goal and setting his mind right has helped him not only on the road, but in his everyday life. “Once you lose focus, you lose a lot of your power. I consider it a key element of success, and without the mental concertation I had to practice, I would have not reached that far.” 

Hamad added, “Once you take yourself to an unusual and extreme level, God empowers your thoughts and your strategy to be a stronger person. I believe that keeping the faith is a vital component of the process.”

He also emphasized on the importance of “mind over everything.” After he reached 500km, his body started feeling tired and his brain would start sending him thoughts of doubt, but believing that he is destined to finish this journey pushed him to exceed his limits. “The last 70km were the toughest because I was really starting to crash and I had very negative thoughts, but having an unwavering soul is really what got me there.”

Hamad shared his gratitude for the people who have given him sustenance all the way. “During my journey, I had five supporters who were rotating in the SUV, giving me all the encouragement I needed. I would like to thank them for being my support system and helping me achieve my goal.”

Curious to find out what he is planning next, Hamad gave us a hint by saying that his upcoming challenge will definitely be extreme and diverse, highlighting “mind over everything” through a different technique.

Email: engalhawesh@gmail.com
Instagram: thesaudidoer

Read More...

Rising Above Ground

Sourced photos

Saudi DJs cast local sound cloud over MDL Beast.


The music scene in Saudi Arabia has been around for decades— although admittedly, most artists would have done it in past within the confines of their living rooms, bedrooms, and basements. At some point, that evolved into rare gigs in cafes and certain establishments or traveling abroad just to perform. So imagine how life-changing it is for talented veteran musicians to suddenly find themselves performing on stage and in their country?

DJ tarek anTabi

DJ tarek anTabi has been performing for over 20 years now and the MDL Beast event was definitely one of the main highlights of his career. His music passion goes a long way. “Since I was a toddler, I always loved music.  Luckily, when I went to Deerfield Academy, close to Boston, USA, they had a radio station and I had a 60-minute show that aired live on a weekly basis. The radio station used to get early promos only released on vinyl, I would play these records from time to time during my weekly show. This eventually got me intrigued, so when I went to Boston University in September ‘99, I bought a mixer and two Technics turntables and that’s where it all started.” DJ Tarek has performed in many cities including Beirut, Boston, Dubai, Miami, New York, Paris and most recently the MDL Beast event in his hometown, Riyadh. Tarek performed 3 times at the festival. He commented, “First, I got to DJ with my brother anTabi broThers. I played at the UG2 Beast, where I was slotted between Kerri Chandler and Matthias Tanzmann. On Saturday, I had the pleasure to play alongside the 9sicksick crew (Baloo and Ibz) on the Saudi Beast stage.”

Sourced photos

Sourced photos

DJ Adnan Z. Manjal
(A.K.A: AZM)

Born in Jeddah, DJ AZM’s plays house music with a touch of soul. The thriving DJ has over five years of experience in the field. The underground Saudi DJ gained quite the number of fans from the MDL Beast event, where he got to perform in front of thousands of Saudi and non-Saudi ravers. Adnan’s music passion stemmed from his childhood, where he used to create his own mixtapes as a teen and share it with his friends. The idea of sharing his music and taking people on a musical journey has been his passion ever since his childhood and as he grew he started learning the basic guidelines of DJing from other Saudi artists in the business. Adnan started off by playing in house parties for friends in Jeddah. In 2017, he moved to Panama City and now performs there. Given the opportunity to perform at MDL Beast was probably the biggest night of his career.

Pop Out Quote: “witnessing and listening to some of my all-time favorite DJs performing in Saudi Arabia was the most ecstatic experience. Of course sharing music that I love on the Saudi Beast stage with the audience was a spectacular moment.”

Sourced photos

Sourced photos

Nawaf Abusaba’a:

Listening to trance music back in 2005 inspired Nawaf to become a Dj. He started performing in Jeddah at private parties and abroad as well. To date, he has been pursuing his passion for around 8 years. Performing at MDL Beast instilled a sense of excitement and pride in this young Saudi Dj. To him, witnessing Dj Solomun perform at the Underground stage was unforgettable.

Sourced photos

Sourced photos

DJ Anmar Madani

DJ Anmar has been playing music for 22 years now. He is originated from Jeddah but lived in the US in the late nineties, which is where his gaze for house music initiated. Anmar shared, “It was in ‘98 in Portland Oregon, a friend of mine took me to my first rave and it was the first time I heard ‘House Music’ in its true form in ‘that’ kind of environment, and I fell in love.”

Anmar did his residencies in Portland and Eugene Oregon from 2000 till 2007. He has also played in Las Vegas, San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Salem, Roseland, London, Bahrain, Beirut, and finally Saudi Arabia. He identifies his music as westcoast/Chicago house, drum & bass, downtempo/hiphop. Performing at the MDL Beast event was a surreal experience for Anmar, he said, “playing the first Drum & Bass Set ever in Saudi was incredible, and being the one to introduce it in such a huge platform was very special. Im super grateful to have been given the opportunity to do so. Its one thing to play good music people know but it›s a whole different thing to play new music people never heard of and have them enjoy it the same if not more.”

Sourced photos

Sourced photos

Rio Rayan:

“Dreams can come true, and I am lucky and grateful to have been part of such a historical event.” These thoughts dominated Rio’s mind as he played his groovy beats at MDL Beast. The appearance marked his debut official public gig. It was exhilarating to him to be performing on such an enormous platform with friends and family supporting in the crowd. Before that, Rio mainly performed at private events and spent the majority of his time practicing and collecting tracks.

Read More...

A Beast to Say The Least

editeddd-2-copy

MDL Beast festival breaks records in Riyadh.


Riyadh hosted MDL Beast, the biggest music festival ever held in the Middle East from the 19th till the 21st of December 2019. With over 400,000 visitors attending the three-day rally, the festival scored soaring records in comparison to other international festivals.

With iconic international and local attendees such as Alessandra Ambrosia, Halima, Ed Westick, Negin Mirsalehi, Karen Wazen, Scott Disick, Sonam Kapoor, Elsa Hosk, Fatima Al Banawi and Alaa Balkhy, the festival was the biggest event of the year in the Kingdom and the Arab world.

MDL Beast’s multi-stage experience showcased more local and international talents. It was surely a festival for all the senses as the crowd enjoyed some of the most innovative, immersive experiences in world-class music, art, culture and gastronomy in one venue. dsc_8716-copy

All five stages – Big Beast, UG Beast 1 and 2, Down Beast and Saudi Beast – were nothing short of exhilaration and thrill. Thousands of people from around the globe gathered at Durrat Al Riyadh to rave and delve into the captivating electronic vibes with international DJ beasts taking over and giving them a weekend to remember. MDL Beast received a Guinness World Record for the “Biggest Stage in 2019”.

All stages were on fire the day of the opening as the Big Beast stage hosted worldwide DJ gurus such as Black Coffee, Tiesto, Martin Garrix, Marco Carola and SimiHaze, as well as international rapper Rick Ross. Nonetheless, the UG Beast 1 stage welcomed phenomenal DJs including Peggy Gou, Solomun, Vinyl Mode and Cosmicat. Other extraordinary performances led by Prunk, Carlo, Rio, SpceBoi and Anmarz, Tarek Antabi, Kerri Chandler and The Engineers were also showcased.

On the second day, the lineup included the prominent Steve Aoki, David Guetta, J Balvin, Fisher and CamelPhat. The last day also witnessed groundbreaking talents, like Afrojack, Amr Diab, Omar Basaad, Sebastian Ingrosso, r3hab and Salvatore Ganacci featuring Mariam Faris.dsc_9167-copy

Local Saudi Beasts including El Fuego, Nas-G, Dish Dash, Jeme and K.Led and Majid also got the chance to perform for the crowd at the Saudi Beast event on December 19th. They blew people’s minds away with elating music that frees the soul. On December 20th and 21st, Saudi talents including Shisma, Desertf!sh, A2B, AZM, Baloo, Vinyl Mode, Varoo, IBZ, Tarek and Tamer Antabi, Cosmicat, Hats & Klaps were present and alive at the stage.

Egyptian icons Amr Diab, Mohamed Hamaki and Amr Mostafa balanced out the weekend with Arabian rhythms and funky beats that matched the taste of our Arab audience at the event. Even the Western crowd got the chance to experience the authentic feel of Amr Diab’s magic as they grooved to the sound of Egyptian tempos.

Needless to mention is the extravagance of all stages, lighting and spaciousness. By the third day of the festival, MDL Beast organizers had to make more space for 20,000 extra guests as the number of attendees exceeded MDL Beast’s expectations. dsc_8589-copy

When the night is young and the day is lodged, you mustn’t forget to satisfy your stomach with delicious food just as much as you have satisfied your ears with impeccable electric melodies. This is why The Global Street Food Market, with 60 different food stands, was present at the venue, offering different cuisines to meet the needs of all the distinct taste buds that were present. DJ Steve Aoki opened his pop-up pizza place called Pizzoki and the Latin American MNKY HSE restaurants hosted full service fine dining experiences every night of the weekend.

The event was not solely about the music: an arts & cultures segment was present, where a series of incredible, immersive performances and visual spectaculars took place at the venue as well as street theatre performers who roamed the areas and interacted with the guests. Entertainment such as light parades and drumming troupes took place at the festival too. MDL Beast hosted a number of boutique shopping experiences for those who wanted to experience top class retail therapy while raving to the beats of their hearts.

Surely that’s just the beginning of what Saudi has to offer when it comes to world-class events and entertainment. If you think you’ve seen it all, wait till you see what’s in store!

Web: mdlbeast.com
Instagram: mdlbeast
Twitter: MDLBeast

Read More...

Dealing with Addiction

dsc_7338-copy

Different types of addiction we tend to fall under.


Addiction is a wide spectrum of toxic behaviors that we sometimes are victims of. Most of us don’t realize we are addicted to several toxic habits in our lives, such as digital addiction, compulsive spending, unhealthy diets, or toxic relationships.

Occasionally, we even find ourselves hooked on the feeling of rage and anger, but we can’t quite fathom that fact. For our New Year’s resolutions, we decided to tackle some addiction habits to work on ourselves and gain a better state of mind. 2020, we are ready for you!

1- Digital Addiction

There is no doubt that the digital world has made our lives easier in many ways, but research suggests that our addiction to social media is in fact real.

Every new notification or text triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that drives people to seek rewards, therefore coming back for more. Research has also suggested that social media is associated with causing anxiety, depression and decreased marital satisfaction.

There are many ways to cut back on your digital dependency. You can turn off your push notifications for social media apps, switch to airplane mode while exercising to lessen phone distractions, or plan to completely ‘unplug’ for one hour a day. Gradually, you can switch off for a day.

Make sure you also have other distractions whenever temptation takes over, be it a magazine, book or even a walk to clear your mind. Don’t underestimate meditation and creating a sanctuary for yourself. It will help you center your focus and find your pace. We can always go to destinations with no mobile service to detox and just enjoy nature.

2- Toxic Relationships

Getting rid of toxic relationships that you are attached is easier said than done. Whether a friend, family member or significant other, toxic people can be really dangerous for our mental health. We usually know we are better off without them, but our hook becomes stronger than our instinct to look out for ourselves.

To liberate ourselves from poisonous relations, we have to acknowledge the toxicity. The sooner we realize the harm they bring along, the faster we can recover and move on. Setting boundaries is an essential part of the process.  Once you’ve made the decision to end a relationship, you’re responsible for keeping the boundaries clear, and most importantly, sticking to them.

Realizing it’s not your job to save someone will prevent you from so much self-damage. If things are dire for your friend, direct them to resources that specialize in their particular issue. Solving their problems is beyond your capabilities at times. Surround yourself with positive people and find alternatives to regain your
peace and wholeness. See what you like to do and fill your days with it. dsc_7348-copy

3- Compulsive Shopping

It might seem like a choice, but for many, compulsive shopping and spending is really an addiction. Psychologists define a compulsive spender as someone who puts so much time and effort into buying things and thinking about purchases that it impairs their life in a significant way.

To control your spending, you should firstly get to the root of the problem and try to figure out what the actual reason behind your compulsive shopping is. It’s usually a response to an emotional problem. Afterwards, you should destroy all your credit cards. Seriously, they are the source of all evil. Always pay in cash and leave your card at home when shopping, so you limit your purchases.

Of course, always track your spending. Writing down your spending is an important exercise as it helps you become more conscious of your spending and gradually helps you change that behavior. Set a budget for yourself and don’t carry more than you intend to spend. Usually, compulsive shoppers aren’t aware of the amount they put in during their shopping spree.

Take it from someone who’s been there, you should always wait for 20 minutes before buying that thing you are ‘dying for.’ After 20 minutes, we usually realize we don’t really need the item that much so we manage to fight off our urge.

4- Anger Issues

Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to extreme rage. It is a serious problem as many people find it hard to maintain or control their temper during certain situations. Although we can’t always change the things that bother us, we can surely learn how to control our reactions.

According to the American Psychological Association, there are three main approaches to dealing with bad temper: expressing, suppressing and calming. The important thing is to learn how to express calmly what it is that made us angry. Suppressing our anger can make us divert it elsewhere or even worse, turn it into inward anger, which can cause our health to deteriorate. Learning to calm ourselves, inwardly and outwardly is quite imperative. Letting our overwhelming feelings subside and calming ourselves can help lower our heart rate during angry moments.

We can try to calm ourselves by breathing deeply and refraining from talking or answering back in the heat of the moment. So we ultimately need to learn how to express, calm ourselves and not suppress our anger. Here are a few counseling centers that can help with anger management and/or other psychological assistance needed in Saudi.

Waad Therapy Center
Location: 7174 Al Amir Sultan – An Nahdah Dist., Jeddah
Mob: +966-591402043
Web : waad.sa
Instagram: waadtherapy

Maabar Social Consultancy
Location: Arawdah, Jeddah 23435
Tel: +966-12-6900888
Web: maabar.com
Instagram: maabarksa

Medicare Clinics
Location: Al Madhar Ash Shamali, Takhassusi St., Al Mathar Ash Shamali, Riyadh
Tel: 920005531
Web: medicare-clinics.com

Soundheart Counseling Center
Location
: Al Faisaliyah, Dammam, 32273

Mob: +966-597976747
Web: Soundheart.org
Instagram4soundheart

Read More...

The Techtile Experience

337355-pa01ds-130-copy

Tried and tested service apps to save your time.


We’re the generation that surf the internet for basically any life necessity. However, mobile apps make our internet experience more gratifying. There’s an app for any thought that comes to mind nowadays. The app world transcended convenience and left us no room for real life trial and error. Even before you try the app, you check for feedback and comments to make sure the app is practical. That’s where we come in. We tried and tested a few service apps that’ll make your life easier.

unnamed-copy

AVOKADO

Avocado delivers vegetables and fruits right to your doorstep. The quality of their goods puts them as their customers’ top choice. The app is user friendly. You select the quantity and type of good you desire then press the checkout button to proceed with your order. It asks you when you prefer to receive your order, then provides you with your total payment and your set to go. We were surprised by how neatly our goods were packaged, and how punctual they are. The entire experience was spot on. Fruits were freshly handpicked from the wide range of local and international certified farms and suppliers. Compared to other grocery stores, the price is a bit above average but totally worth it for us.

RANKING /5

5 Overall rating
5 User friendliness
5 Visual appeal
5 App speed
5 App navigation
5 Service
4 Delivery time
5 Customer service
4 Price range

1200x630wa-copy

Matic

This is your one stop shop to all home cleaning services. Initially a Dubai service app, Matic made its way across the Kingdom and has been saving people’s time ever since. The App’s quite self-explanatory; you either pick a house cleaning package or you choose the single visit option. You can choose multiple cleaners at a time, if you desire. The packages vary, you can select the one that best suits you; for example, you can pick a package that consists of 12 visits or more. Each visit is 4 hours long, and the services are prepaid online. After you select the time of the visit, the app informs you that the cleaner may come either an hour before or after the chosen time so you’re prepared. The app also notifies the customer that a woman must be present during the visit. It’s a little overpriced in our opinion, as they charge 40 SAR per hour. However, the cleaners are very professional and efficient.

RANKING /5

4.5 Overall rating
5 User friendliness
4 Visual appeal
5 App speed
5 App navigation
4.5 Service
4 Delivery time
4 Customer service
5 Price range

246x0w-copy

Mahara

Mahara is a maintenance service app in Jeddah that helps you book your needed appointment in minutes. Instead of asking around and making awful maintenance choices in your house, use this trusted app that provides you with reliable local professionals who get the job done right. This is how the app works: after you choose your location, you get to choose your required service (A/C, Electrical, Painting, Plastering, Pest control, etc.) The cost depends on the type of service you choose. The good news is that it’s not an overpriced application and you will not get ripped off when you use it. The downside for us was that they take cash only. However, the overall experience and quality of the work was excellent. Finally, you will insert the preferred date and time in order to choose your Maher, the local professional you will seek the workers from.  Et voila!

RANKING /5

5 Overall rating
5 User friendliness
5 Visual appeal
5 App speed
5 App navigation
5 Service
5 Delivery time
5 Customer service
4 Price range

npgpinwx_400x400-copy

Mrsool

Mrsool is a delivery app in Riyadh and Jeddah that picks up your order and delivers it to you. It’s easy to follow the app’s steps. You pick your restaurant, write down your order in detail then simply place the order. Another great advantage is that you can deliver packages or personal materials wherever you wish. The most entertaining segment for us is the bidding part. Many drivers bid a number for their delivery fees and you get to pick the lowest price. Sometimes even, the same bidder will bid twice when you reject the first amount they put in. It gets really exciting, trust us. After you’ve chosen the winner, you select when you would like to expect the order. If you choose within an hour, they regularly deliver right away. It’s a very convenient app. We highly recommend it.

RANKING /5

4 Overall rating
4 User friendliness
3.5 Visual appeal
4 App speed
3.5 App navigation
4 Service
4 Delivery time
4 Customer service
3.5 Price range

246x0wj-copy

Balsam

This beauty care app sells practical and cost friendly products you’d find in a pharmacy. The app is divided into skin and body care, hair care and baby care. Under each category is another list of care products. For example, under skin care lies mask selections, serums, facial washes and lip care products. Their edge is that they sell products with a reduced price compared to what you’d find elsewhere, and they deliver right to your doorstep.
The app works Kingdom-wide, so wherever you live, they got you covered. The app only works in Arabic, so it’s a bit challenging for English speaking residents. However, the product is delivered within three days and you can pay on arrival, with an extra 10 SAR delivery fee or purchase by card. Balsam helps you take care of yourself without the hassle of searching for the perfect product in so many different places.

RANKING /5

4.5 Overall rating
4 User friendliness
3 Visual appeal
3 App speed
4 App navigation
4.5 Service
4.5 Delivery time
4.5 Customer service
5 Price range

Read More...

A Brave New Saudi: Ziad Al Najdi

brave-new-saudi-copy

A close look into Ziad Al Najdi’s pioneering journey.


Embracing entrepreneurship is not an easy path to take. But Ziad Al Najdi, inventor of the Nadie product and having his own organic farm project in Riyadh, did not succumb to life’s hardships, and held his ground in the face of adversity.

Growing up, Ziad and his father found their passion in nature. Ziad loved to observe and study God’s creations, whether animals, insects or plants, and discovered a love for learning. “When I reached adolescence, I fell in love with science books. I would often ask my father for cash to buy more books, not candy. I was reading about everything from biology and chemistry to history.”

After his father passed away when he was 14, Ziad was left alone to plan his future. He would sell chickens at a local bird market for money. “Other times, I would sell homemade scientific instruments to students at school. They improved in physics and I got paid. Win-win!” Al Najdi shared. Simultaneously, he started learning how to code.

Being the first member to join a university in his family, Ziad was put under a lot of pressure majoring in finance at the King Fahd University. He struggled with depression while trying to focus in college, but remained determined. “I wanted to do something to channel my emotions more positively; I started learning to play the guitar. It was such a powerful way to express what I feel. Playing guitar saved me,” Ziad shared.brave-new-saudi-2-copy

Ziad pursued finance as a career. “My first job was at Ernst and Young as a financial consultant. That exposed me to the world of business. I also got into electronics and designed a system to control my entire room using my voice. I called the system Samantha. She controlled the lights, TV, my calendar, and more. I programmed Samantha almost from scratch, with minor help here and there.”

A few years ago, Ziad was introduced to the Gum Arabic substance at work when he once got a terrible food poisoning. His coworker told him this substance made of snake oil is high in nutrients and does wonders to the human health. At first, Ziad was skeptical. He needed scientific proof.

After conducting a lot of research, he discovered that Gum Arabic did contain nutrients and benefits that no other known natural food has. “Studies revealed many health benefits, starting from colon health to the immune system. Studies also highlighted the benefits for kidney and colon diseases, as well as relieving constipation.” He added, “We had a vision to create an amazing product for the people, and we’d soon name that product ‘Nadie.’ We had to believe in ourselves, our products and brand with every progress.”

“Two colleagues and myself started working on the idea of creating a product that contains high-quality Gum Arabic in very convenient packaging. It had to be clean, organic and most importantly, people should know about it.” Ziad was responsible for the scientific aspect of the project, and together they started learning how parts of the human body works and started conducting every scientific study about the Gum Arabic they could find.

“We went to great lengths trying to source the best quality Gum Arabic in Sudan and tested many samples, often to be disappointed with the quality. We wanted the best, and once we found it, we designed Nadie. It contains Gum Arabic that meets all the standards that were set by the European Union.”

The Nadie is a white powder supplement that is good for multiple usage. You can drink it by dissolving it in water or you can add it onto your foods and drinks, such as in a smoothie or on a salad. Ziad emphasized on how the Nadie can be more beneficial to your health than other drug store supplements as it’s completely organic and contains all natural ingredients.

Ziad then ventured into the world of farming. His lifelong passion with his father finally turned into reality as he now owns an organic farm in Riyadh. Ziad wasn’t a fan of purchasing vegetables from stores as he said that due to picking the vegetables too early, it made them taste bland and poor in nutrients.

“What you find at the supermarkets are modern versions of our ancestor’s vegetables that have been bred to have certain desirable traits, like long shelf lives, a good appearance, heavy production, and pest resistance,” he explained.

“We wanted more people to get their hands on these amazing vegetables. We started to research this further and we bought a farm. It is not easy to plant and grow crops in Riyadh’s weather without the use of pesticides. But we are determined to find a way; we want to do it organically.”

He faced quite a few challenges along the way. “For Nadie, we faced many difficulties in learning how retail works and how to let people know we have something special. Hot weather, strong winds, and salty water were setbacks in the farm; we are working on a method to use solar power to desalinate the water.”

Next up, Ziad is planning to offer more superfoods and bringing the farm to full production with organic dates and heirloom vegetables, and growing 50 or more species of fruit.

Email: ziad.alnajdi@gga.sa.com
Whatsapp: (+966) 0555142365
Twitter: @GenuineGum
Instagram: @zaiooodx

Read More...

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

dsc_6154-edited-amal-copy

Uncomfortable conversations at the office bring us together, I guess?


Not all heroes wear capes, some follow office dress code and go by the name ‘Human Resources.’ We all have a love/hate relationship with HR and we know it. They force us to follow office regulations and more often than not when we aren’t on our best behavior, we end up not getting our full salary. Ironically, it always comes to our surprise at the end of every month, although we already know that we weren’t following protocol, but we like to blame it on HR, don’t we? However, this time we decided to focus on why we appreciate HR so much, because let’s admit it, they save us from many uncomfortable conversations we try to run from concerning some fellow coworkers. Here are some sore topics we usually don’t have the guts to say, but have to address one way or the other.dsc_6137-edited-copy

Tackling hygiene issues

We’ve all been there. We’ve had that one employee who doesn’t take care of his/her hygiene and therefore makes our stay at the office agonizing. It’s a very sensitive topic to tackle because let’s face it, we can’t just go up to a person and tell them they reek, it’s not proper etiquette.  An HR Manager from a reputable multinational in Jeddah shared with us his encounters regarding this matter and here’s what he said. “You’d be surprised at how many hygienic complaints I receive from different departments. I usually instantly send an email on the importance of maintaining hygiene.” But sometimes an email doesn’t work as well as we think. He continued, “I’ve done several workshops and requested certain people’s attendance so they know how to take care of their hygiene.” This is usually awkward because it discreetly discusses the elephant in the room and we hope they can take a hint.

He added, “I’ve even had to sometimes address a person directly, when all else fails, because it’s more awkward if a team member goes through it alone.” We assume that’s when silence speaks louder than words at the office afterwards. It’s dreadful, but someone’s got to do it, right?dsc_6210-edited-amal-final-copy

Turning down a requested salary increase

It’s awkward enough asking for a raise, but being the person who has to turn down that request sounds excruciating. A multinational HR Manager told us that this is one of the most uncomfortable experiences he’s had to go through at work. “I like to keep it as formal as I can, even when sometimes they deserve the raise, it’s not always my call to decide,” he said. “I usually say due to budget constraints we can’t do so at the moment, but I suggest analyzing their performance and seeing where they can improve for further notice,” he added.

We also asked some employees what it was like being on the other end of that conversation and they all shared one feeling: awkwardness. One employee told us the conversation she had with HR the other day and how well it didn’t turn out. “I had to ask for a raise last month and this is what I said: I was wondering if there are upcoming plans to increase my salary as we’re entering a prosperous new year.” She chuckled in embarrassment then added, “After I left, I asked myself why I chose to use the word prosperous and why didn’t I just directly request my raise?” We know what that feels like. It’s much harder than it seems.dsc_6145-edited-amal-copy

That one person who never pays their lunch

In almost every office, we have that person who doesn’t pay back their lunch. It gets pretty awkward because workplace relationships are sometimes fragile. We spend more time with them than with our own friends, and ironically we’re not that close sometimes. Out of many annoying habits some coworkers have such as microwaving their fish plate and talking loudly on the phone, never paying back their lunch takes the cake.

Thinking of what to order for lunch is one of our main inspirations at work. Food motivates us all, so why burden us with financial concerns when we literally only want to enjoy the meal we ordered and paid for? Letting it slide a couple of times is one thing, but sometimes it can mount to the point where buying lunch becomes an expectancy rather than a favor or gesture. First you can start by saying “It’s fine I got lunch today, tomorrow is on you.” If they don’t take the hint, then build up the courage to have “the talk” with them and speak up frankly, because it’s not being stingy or anything, but we all have duties and responsibilities that don’t include paying our coworkers’ lunch every time.

Refusing an “inshallah” deadline

How do you refuse an “inshallah” deadline by one of your teammates? In Arabic culture, inshallah is usually just another polite way of saying no. We can all plead guilty to that statement at a certain point in time. We asked our Editorial Manager how she deals with these situations and her answer was quite direct. “If they pull the ‘inshallah’ card on me, I say yes of course inshallah, but it has to be sent to me by this specific date. If it’s not submitted by then, I give them another close deadline to it, and if that still doesn’t work, I re-assign the work to someone else and give them a warning. Nobody got time for that!” So if you’re ever put in this situation, that’s one way to do it.

Now it’s your turn! We want to hear out an awkward situation you encountered with a coworker before. Let us know if you went through something similar or if you’ve had an even more cringe-worthy moment in need of sharing. send us your response on social@destinationjeddah.com  and we’ll feature the most interesting ones on @destinationksa.

Read More...

Practicing Resilience in A Workforce

sakan-final-edited-copy

How to let go of anxiety when it comes to your work life.


Sometimes you’re lucky at a job you love. Other times you’re looking for the next big move. On a more challenging event, you find yourself stuck at a job you revolt and can’t find the right time to call it quits. We are all victims of mental drainage when it comes to the stress work brings along with.

We talked with Dr. Modia Batterjee, a Certified Resilience Practitioner, a health and wellness educator and the published author of “Redefine your Bee-ing,” where she enlightened us with how to handle our work lives with less anxiety. Dr. Batterjee has her doctorate degree in Health Administration.

  1. Undermining your capabilities

We have all underestimated our capabilities on many occasions. But how do we get out of this ploy? “I do my best and ask for honest feedback from people I trust. I take their suggestions seriously and try to improve myself,” Dr. Batterjee said. We have to acknowledge that there is always room for growth, as Dr. Modia believes. She added, “As long as I am getting positive feedback I keep going. My story with the radio is a prime example of me underestimating my talents. I never thought of myself as a radio personality, but the director at the radio saw something and insisted that I have the talent. I also try to learn as much as I can and improve a little bit every day.”

  1. Underestimating change

We, humans, are always a work in progress. Sometimes, we have the tendency to underestimate how essential change is in our lives. Dr. Batterjee shared with us some techniques on how to ground yourself and cope with change.

“I use nature to ground myself. I like to sit in my garden and make sure I am barefoot to help myself feel attached to the earth. This practice is called “Earthing”. It helps a person feel connected to nature and recharge positive energy. That helps me get perspective and realize that life is all about change and that it is something to look forward to.” Dr. Modia also shared a different perspective about change. “I have learned that in change there is so much potential. Change can be really exciting. It is similar to an update in technology as it’s an opportunity to fix bugs and make things work better.”

  1. Knowing when to cope and when to walk away

We tend to stick to jobs that are no longer beneficial to us just because of how much time and effort we’ve invested. You should always listen to your gut feeling when you’re trying to make a life altering decision. “I usually let my intuition guide me on when I need to walk away. The biggest indicators are when I begin to feel like I am going against the grain and need to invest too much energy on getting myself motivated.”

Dr. Batterjee also explained that to cope with coworkers we don’t necessarily favor, we have to try to understand what causes them to behave a certain way. We can also cope with tough situations by keeping a healthy distance and not taking matters too personally. If you are passionate about your work and feel like it’s purposeful, you must put your full focus on it and not waste time on distractions that take you from your path.

  1. Giving yourself a break

“The moment I find myself feeling exhausted and uninterested in doing my work, I know that I need a break. Over the years I have learned to pace myself at work; I take mini breaks from daily tasks, and mini vacations during the week.” Dr. Modia says that by doing so she avoids burnout and is able to focus better. Don’t underestimate a small break every couple of hours, it does wonders to your productivity level.

  1. Learning to stop overthinking

Who else doesn’t get the sleep they need because their brains won’t stop thinking? Guilty as charged. Dr. Modia described overthinking by saying, “it happens when a person is stuck in a certain neurological pathway of thinking. This pathway is usually placed in fear and uncertainty which stimulates the primal brain of the need to survive.”

Here are a few methods to overcome this tiring habit. The first is to have awareness. “Learn to be aware of it when it’s happening. If you find yourself doubting or feeling anxious, take a step back to observe the situation and think about how you’re reacting to it.” Dr. Batterjee continued, “in that very moment of awareness is when you can stop overthinking and switch from survival to strategy.” Another tactic is to try not to think of what can go wrong, as that creates fear. Keeping an open mind helps us think of the potential possibilities that could go right.

  1. Brushing off your mistakes and moving on

It’s important to use your mistakes as learning experiences. As soon as you understand why you made this mistake, you’ll feel free and be able to move on without hopefully falling into the same trap again. Dr. Batterjee said that the only way she has learned to move past her mistakes was by forgiving herself for not knowing better and trying to rectify the wrongdoing.

Read More...

A Close Look Into The Impactful Journey of Life Coach Layal Taher

img_20190124_165552

Born and raised in Saudi, Layal Taher is an international, trilingual Life Coach, Speaker, and Writer who always aspired to make an impact.


Layal moved to the United States of America to pursue a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management from the Ivy-League Cornell University in New York, before which she completed a collegiate summer school program in Harvard University studying Master’s level courses in psychology, understanding human behavior. Upon graduating, Layal moved to Dubai where the diversity of her career path began.

In Dubai, Layal was the executive Strategic Development Director in one of the largest events companies in the region called Design Lab Experience, since events management was always a passion of hers growing up. Nonetheless, that didn’t last as long as she had envisioned. Somewhere along the way, her passion started to shift back towards human behavior, and it was time for the psychology part of her career to kick in. While she was working in a company that was transforming the events industry, Layal was seeking to make a different transformational impact by guiding individuals towards their own purpose, clarity, and success. She felt that was her true purpose and so she went pursuing it. img_20190123_162511

That moment Layal realized events management was not for her was during a beautiful, grand wedding in Dubai that was in the works for months. The wedding was a stunning masterpiece, and while Layal admired its creative brilliance, she didn’t experience the reactions to the event that made her feel like that was her purpose. She was meant to create differently, to create positive change in individuals’ lives on a personal level. Her move to quitting her job was a choice to listen to her heart.

“After leaving my job I spent some time exploring and I went back to that passion for human behavior and explored positive psychology, which is the dynamic part of psychology leading human behavior towards growth and flourishing. So instead of Post-Traumatic Stress, we learn how to guide individuals towards Post-Traumatic Growth,” Layal shared.

During her time off, Layal read over a hundred books and watched thousands of videos about the world of positive psychology and self-development. She was overwhelmed with all the information that was accessing her brain. That’s when Layal redirected her path towards coaching and started training under different schools of thought on an international scale to become a valuable member of that industry. Successfully, Layal studied Strategic Intervention under Tony Robbins, trained under the Co-Founder of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) in London, and learnt Co-Active Coaching from the oldest and largest coaching school in the world – CTI. She also achieved her coach accreditation from the ICF as a globally certified coach.img_1296

Layal works with people to guide them towards how to design their lives and future backwards, meaning to envision how you want your lifestyle to be 20 years from now and what needs to be done today in order to get there. She also helps them understand who they are and move from where they are to where they want to be.

“Sometimes, you feel like you are drowning in the ocean and all you can see is water. As a Coach, I am standing on the beach with a different perspective to guide you back to shore or to swim to wherever you want to go,” Layal commented.dsc01008

Layal continued, “My company is registered in Dubai, an international hub that is close to home and at the same time has a diverse community that allows me to work with my growing clientele from over 29 countries worldwide.”

Layal works with her clients as whole individuals in any and all areas of their lives. She added, “I offer one-on-one coaching anywhere around the world either in-person, through video-calls, or phone. I love working with people intimately to guide them as they need. I choose to coach the person not just the problem, because if you coach a specific problem then you are not tapping into what’s causing it in the first place.”

Layal also designs and facilitates workshops and programs worldwide on a range of self-development topics. So if you are looking for a life coach, we certainly recommend Layal Taher.

Web: www.layaltaher.com
Email: connect@layaltaher.com

Tel: +971 50 852 9251

Read More...