Double Life, Double Fun

Can career and passion go hand in hand?

Not everyone ends up pursuing what they love as a career. Some have to work hard to manage a well-paid day job alongside their passion. Such dedication often results in getting the best of both worlds. These Riyadhis have learned the art of living a double life on the edge of sword.

Dr. Graffiti

mohammedalotaibi-artsandentertainment-doublelife-nf3After achieving his passion and lifelong dream of becoming a doctor, Mohammed Al Otaibi was looking for a way to de-stress. The stressfully long shift hours, multiple surgeries and delivering babies came with Ob-Gyn residency. That’s when art came into picture. “Art was a beautiful mistake.”

The idea first came to him when a friend challenged him to paint a face in three hours, while his friend would paint the same thing in 3D. Al Otaibi was impressed and inspired by his friend’s work that he decided to become an artist, too. He thought of it as a way to express himself. He also found it calming and a way to unwind after a rough day. He started with street art and trained himself via YouTube videos. After getting the hang of it, he upgraded his style by mixing street art with portraits.

“I’m all about ego. My art reflects that. It’s all about power for me.”

Most of his artwork is of wild animals. He incorporates a different technique to each artwork. Now, he is a dedicated doc by day and an artist by night.

Instagram: slickdesigns

Engineered Jeans

loai-jeenzy-artsandentertainment-doublelife-nf29Louay Helaby (software engineer) and his brother Maher Helaby (a marketing manager), were driven by the aim to be more in life. Despite the large age gap, both brothers shared the same love for fashion, especially jeans, as they owned about 150 pairs of jeans. They were picky and concentrated on the tiniest detail before buying a pair. Their shared fondness got them exploring the streets of Italy for advice and inspiration from one of the biggest denim brand: Diesel. It wasn’t long before the Helaby brothers started their own brand of jeans.

“Don’t wait for inspiration. Be the inspiration.”


Maher Helaby

With a motive to promote positive living through innovative jeans, they started JeanZee. They integrated multiple positive messages in the pockets of their jeans. Whenever you plan to wear your JeanZee, you can pick a positive message to keep you in good spirits through the day.

They wish to build a better tomorrow by contributing to the empowerment of youth through positivity, and also by helping the needy.

“We work hard to run our business because our day job has limited days. After retirement, I want to continue doing what I love. And there’s nothing more that I love than fashion.”

Instagram: _jeanzee


Unconventional Evolution of Abayas

And their current status.

Living in Saudi Arabia gives you a chance to participate in the most competitive Arab fashion industry: Abayas. They’re the official #OOTD everyday. We have an abaya for every occasion. It doesn’t matter what’s on the inside, as long as you’re wearing a pretty abaya on the outside.

What once started off as a long, black, voluminous robe is now recognized globally and redesigned by fashion designers. It took quite an evolution before we got to the shapes and shades we see today.

Legend has it:

Did you know in the 1970s – 1980’s abayas were not as compulsory as they are today? We’ll spare you the history lesson and talk about how we got here instead of why. Ever since abayas became mandatory, the garment faced a long list of yays and nays when it came to its designs.

There have been many rises and falls, and here are a few that we all remember:

The Shapeless One 1980 – 1990

scan0070The first abayas were basic, boring and plain. Highly monotonous, too!

Black on Black 1990 – 2003

scan0071The fashion of late ‘90s and early 2000s. Black lace, black rhinestones and even black sparkle was used on a – wait for it – black abaya.

Abayas for Weightlifters 2004 – present

scan0068The era of heavy embroidery or rhinestones was tough to handle.

Butterfly or Midnight Bats? 2007 – present

scan0067The era of butterfly abayas changed everything. This was one of the most popular trends in Riyadh.

Stiff Necks 2008 – present

scan0066The Chinese collar trend started around 2008-2009.

Sporty Casuals 2011 – present

scan0072The hooded abayas made life much better.

The Dementors

Do you remember those long hanging sleeves and the princess-trail abayas? Secretly, we were all annoyed when the sleeves dipped in our hummus before our bread could reach it.

The latest trend that we’ve embraced is the colored abaya. Our sister city, Jeddah, adopted the colored abayas trend long before we did, due to the culture of its inhabitants.

If You Like Change

If you want to change up your abaya look, we’ve got you covered. Lessen the chances of an abaya fail by checking out these designers:

  • The Abaya Factory

Ahmad Angawi and Zahra Al Sayed’s The Abaya Factory has modern transformable abayas keeping in mind the women who move in and out of the country often. They have come up with transformable abayas that can turn into a jacket. The Abaya Factory is a customizable Khaleeji object to link the Arab world to the west.

Instagram: theabayafactory

  • Designs by Ayya

Thuraya Albadr, a.k.a. Ayya, has taken the phrase, ‘the world is your canvas,’ literally. Ayya’s abayas have beautiful hand painted her artwork on them due to which each abaya is unique.

Colorful, different and elegant.

Instagram: designsbyayya


The Riyadhi Guide to Packing Right – Dude Edition

Because no suitcase is large enough to deal with mess.

There’s a lot to consider when packing for a trip abroad, like, the reason, duration, weather and the luggage weight limitation. Honestly, it’s quite easy to pack extra or less than needed and end up with a messy situation.

To avoid inefficient packing, here are ways to utilize the available space in your suitcase:

1. Pack Strictly

Decide your outfits. Pair your tops with the bottoms and mix n’ match to save on space. If you don’t think you’ll wear it, don’t keep it.

DR Tip: Pack three tops for every bottom. 

2. Roll Them

Instead of folding your casual tees, roll them. They occupy less space this way and don’t crease much. After folding your jeans lengthwise, roll it tightly starting from the bottom. You can roll your undergarments, pair of socks, chinos and shorts. Stack your rolls in the bottom of the suitcase and create an even layer.2

3. Formal Wear Rule

Most of the formals should be folded minimally and laid flat on top of everything. It’s preferred to cover your formals in a dry cleaning bag before folding, as the plastic prevents creasing.

It’s suggested to roll your thobe as folding it will create edges that are creased into the fabric. Or you can stick to the above rule of laying it flat.

DR Tip: Fold your blazer inside out. Any creasing that could happen will occur on the inside fabric.

4. Stuff Your Shoes

If you’re low on space, stuff your shoes with small or delicate items. You can stuff your shoes with rolled pair of socks to maintain their shape. You can also pack leak-proof toiletries or pack your hair ties and clips in a small pouch and stuff it in the shoes.

DR TIP: If the soles of your shoes are dirty, wrap them in a plastic laundry bag, dryer sheets or an old shower cap.pack

5. Toiletries in Travel Friendly Cases

If it’s a matter of a few days, transfer some of your toiletries like lotion, shampoo, conditioner, face wash and toothpaste in travel sized cases or bottles. Before putting on the lid, secure the bottle opening with a plastic wrap to avoid leakage.

Remember, it’s almost impossible to not end up with a bit of creasing on your outfits while packing. Following these additional tips may help:

  • Make sure things stay in place. Avoid movement in the luggage.
  • Pack heavy clothes like woolen/leather jackets at the bottom and lighter fabrics like linen at the top. Heavier fabrics don’t crease easy.


  • Mosafer
    Tahliya St.
    Souq Al Taibah
    Luggages, coat bags, etc.
    King Fahd Rd.
    Azizia Hyperpanda
    Lulu Department Store


  • For the Lazy but fancy
    L-Occitane Travel Kit
    Panorama Mall
  • For the Lazy.
    Tamimi Supermarkets
  • For DIY-ers
    Whites, Boots Pharmacy
    Travel containers


Economy Seat Pleasures

To make your economy seat feel first class

Being a last-minute planner, I know how chaotic travelling at the nick of time can be. The worst part: confined aircraft seats for the foreseeable future, where stretching is prohibited. My last experience in a cramped seat involved me using my brother’s laps as a leg rest and leaving him numb for the next five hours. Here are a few ways to combat the imprisonment if you’re a victim of last-minute booking:

Travel pillows/inflatable pillows


You can’t rely on aircraft pillows as they’re lesser than the number of passengers. Also, they are thin, uncomfortable and slip off. Good travel pillows are the ones that provide proper comfort and fit into your backpack without occupying too much space.



Investing in a leg rest can be quite a pain to the wallet and the storage space in your backpack. So, I tried using a well-structured cabin-baggage as my leg rest. Trust me, it’s the same. You can swap your cabin-baggage for your backpack for a lower rest. Use what’s available to your advantage.

Loose and Warm Clothing


I cannot stress on how important this is. Flight-attendants can’t attend everyone at once. Chances are, by the time they get to you, there might be no blankets available and you’ll be left freezing. Wearing loose and warm clothes ensure comfort during the long travel hours.

Pack/Buy Your Meal

Little to zero effort goes in aircraft meal which is why it tastes like rubber with condiments. You can pack an easy-to-eat meal from home or buy snacks from Duty Free to keep you full through the flight.

Anti-Baby Headset


Babies aboard are like wolves; one baby’s cry leads to all babies crying. It’ll keep you awake and turn you lunatic. To avoid the torture, invest in noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones. It’ll mute the world, while you sleep or listen to your favorite tunes.


Sushi X Burrito, We Love How You Roll

Sushi and Burrito? Why not.

Sushi x Burrito is revolutionizing the sushi culture by combining Japanese cuisine with aspects of Mexican cuisine to create a giant sushi, a.k.a, a sushi burrito.

Visually, it won our hearts. A burrito sized sushi accompanied our GoT viewing night. It was big enough for us to not look for a second serving. If you, like us, don’t like missing a single scene, you’ve got to have this.

When it comes to taste, just like you, our schizophrenic taste buds wondered if this baby would satisfy our Mexican and Japanese cravings all at once.

Here is what we thought:

We’re actually glad that flavor wise, it stuck with good ol’ fashion sushi flavors. The Crispy Crazy Burrito was stuffed with fresh crab mix, tobiko, avocado, carrots and a lot more and was topped with their special “crispy and crazy” sauce. It is highly filling, too, and will definitely satisfy your taste buds and your stomach. Happy stomach, happy you.

Additionally, they have Crispy Salmon Burrito and Crispy Mix Burrito. Other than their sumo treat, they also serve some satisfying maki rolls.

Sushi x Burrito only deliver at the moment as they don’t have a sit-in yet.

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat: sushixburrito

Telephone: 0599843356


Young Achievers

These kids have more accomplishments to their names than our office combined!

Majd Asiri

1-2_majd_kids-who-made-saudi-arabia-proud_august_2017_riyadh_shThis girl’s passion has a thirst for success. Asiri learned the English language when she was 8 years old. Soon after that, she started tutoring her friends at home. Simultaneously, she started her YouTube channel, Alpha 71, to teach Arabic, English and Math. In 2015, at the age of 11, she became a speaker for TedX. Recently, she collaborated with King Abdulaziz University to give training courses. She has also given lectures in America and Malaysia.

Basil Alghamdi

2-2_basil_kids-who-made-saudi-arabia-proud_august_2017_riyadh_shAlghamdi is the youngest author in Saudi Arabia! He started writing creative stories for kids on his ipad at a very young age, which impressed his family and neighbors. Reading his stories gave his parents the idea of getting them published. Once they were successfully published, Basil became a sensation.  He was 8 years old when his first book, “Essam Electric”, was published in 2015.

Zain Samdani

3-8_zain_kids-who-made-saudi-proud_august_2017_riyadh_shAt the age of 18, Zain Samdani entered the Google Science Fair (2016). He was the sole representative of KSA and amongst the 16 global finalists. He created ExoHeal, an exoskeleton that utilized the concept of neuroplasticity to help patients with hand paralysis, stroke and muscular degenerative diseases, to regain their movement. In 2015, he won the “Sun Top Star of the year”, and in 2017 he represented Saudi Arabia as a scientist in the Adi Shankara Awards.

Khalid Al Qahtani

4-1_khalid_kids-who-made-saudi-arabia-proud_august_2017_riyadh_shKhalid Al Qahtani is the youngest ambassador of the National Project on Prevention of Drugs’ program at the age of 14. He took-up the responsibility of fighting against drug addiction. He believes that every citizen should work hard to create a healthy society. He wants to raise awareness amongst youngsters about the ill-effects of drugs locally and internationally .

Nadia Almutlak

img_6974-edited-1This 16-year-old represented Saudi Arabia in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in 2016 and came in third place. She entered the competition in the field of material science with her astounding research, Enhancing LiFi and Lighting: CsPbBr, Zero-Dimensional Perovskite and Quantum Dot Based Color Convertors. She plans on starting her own biotechnology business in Saudi Arabia, after attaining her master’s degree.

Faisal Al Saif

img_6961-edited-1After being inspired by his physics trainers, this youngster was on the journey to represent KSA and make his country proud. Al Saif won the first silver medal for Saudi Arabia in the International Physics Olympiad in 2016, at the age of 18. In the same year, he represented Saudi Arabia in the Gulf State Physics Olympiad and won the gold medal. He trained hard with the organization, Mawhiba, for four years to reach where he is now.


Harry’s Gives Us Some Serious Italian Vibes

Harry’s Pizza is more than just a pizza… it’s a sensation of flavors.

Harry’s Pizzas are an amazing way to upgrade Netflix and Chill nights. The restaurant is inspired by the historical original pizza founded in Venice during the early 1930s and they offer delicious, hearty and classic Italian pizzas and calzones.

Their pizzas are made using the freshest ingredients and they prepare them in one hearty size. The use of different cheeses like Italian burrata cheese, buffalo mozzarella and ricotta cheese elevates the flavors of their pizzas. For a lazy evening, you can have the spinaci pizza, which consists of spinach, mushrooms and ricotta cheese. Or for a slightly healthy take, go for the burrata pizza, which has burrata cheese, cherry tomatoes and basil. They also have their own special drink, Bellini, a sparkling peach drink.

Harry’s pizzas and calzones are affordable as they are priced at SAR 29. Currently, they offer only pickup, as they don’t offer dine-in. You can get it delivered to your place via an app called ‘Jahez App’, and in the near future, they plan to start delivering. At the moment, there are four branches of Harry’s Pizza in Riyadh.

We can’t wait to try the other mouth-watering pizzas on their menu, like Quattro Formaggi, Pollo and Buffolo Mozzarella. You can select and order your favorite pizza through their website and pick it.

You can select and order your favorite pizza through their website and pick it!

Stay tuned for their new special pizzas coming soon to the menu.

Harry’s Pizza

Contact Number: 920004682

Instagram: harrys_pizzasa
Twitter: harrys_pizzasa


Salt & Pepper with Chef Huseyin

Life of an expat chef in Riyadh.

At a certain point in life, we have all wondered what it’s like to live a chef’s life. Surrounded by food 24/7, enjoying the 5-star life and having the opportunity to meet and cook for the popular celebrities! But, is a chef’s life really one big dessert platter or are there other steamy, spicy courses added to this meal?

To find out, we met a Turkish chef, Chef Huseyin. He is the Chef de Cuisine of Azure restaurant, an Aegean-inspired cuisine, at Hyatt Regency. He has been living in Saudi Arabia for 10 months now

Chef Huseyin gave us a taste of his life in Saudi Arabia. Keep reading to find out the ingredients of a chef’s life:

How do you find life in Riyadh?
I like my life here. I learned a lot after I moved to Riyadh. Initially, I was new to the rules of the place and I found it really hot here, especially the water. I can’t take a shower in the morning during the summers. *laughs*

But then, I started observing and learning the way Saudis lived their life and adapted the same. Riyadh has brought me closer to my religion. I love how the stores in the malls close during prayer time; this pushes us towards prayer and doesn’t let us miss it.

Is there any Saudi celebrity whom you’d love to cook for?
I would love to cook for the king. It’s my dream. But, then I’ll be very nervous.
What would you cook for him?
Ah. He’s such a special person. I haven’t really decided what I’d cook for him, but, I think I’ll cook a beautiful Aegean meal. I’ll pick a simple dish that’ll highlight the taste of the fresh fish, using minimum spices… just like the Aegeans do. I hope he’ll like it.
Pick one: Comfort food or fancy food? Which one would you go for?
Whatever my stomach asks for. I’ll stick to healthy alternatives. Maybe a vegetable or lentil soup. It is really healthy for your body, especially if you have it for breakfast. Very beneficial.
There’s a surprise family/friend gathering at your place. What would you cook? Think fast!
I would cook chicken with cream sauce or maybe salmon… because my wife loves it and she would want to eat that.
What’s your favorite cuisine?
I have a soft corner for Aegean cuisine. I love how simple and healthy the food is. We only use salt, pepper, a little cumin and olive oil or butter to prepare the meal. This ensures that the meat isn’t overpowered by the spices. It smells and tastes so good.
Is there a Saudi meal that you love?
I love lamb ouzzi. It tastes absolutely amazing. It’s not too spicy. It’s made perfectly. The first time I eat it, I liked it very much.
Is there a Saudi or an Arab spice that you can’t live without?
I don’t normally cook with lots of spices, but, I like cumin powder.
What are your thoughts on the popular diets that people follow?
Oh, I don’t mind. No problem. Let them diet. As long as they’re eating healthy.
Are you on a diet?
No. *comical smile and bursts out laughing*
What is your advice to people when it comes to food and healthy eating?
Okay… I have a few pieces of advice to share… I personally follow them, too, and they are very helpful:

  1. Have a good lentil soup or vegetable soup for breakfast. It is beneficial for the body.
  2. Try to have 200gms of yogurt daily for a happy, healthy stomach. Yogurt will aid your digestion.
  3. Avoid things that’ll make your stomach feel bad.
  4. Use minimum spices and stick to the basics like salt and pepper to get the real flavor of food.
  5. Eat whatever your body craves for, but make sure it’s healthy.
What’s the best part of being a chef?

SET THINGS ON FIRE! Haha! I get to use the hot section. That’s my thing. I use the grill, oven, fry… set fire. It’s exciting and exhilarating.

I like using the knife, too. *Shows his scars on his hands, happily*. The chefs in the kitchen also have fun by scaring their fellow chefs with the hot pan or spatula.


Koshari.Ko Brings You The Best of Arabian Cuisine

When every koshari is foolproof.

Koshari.Ko has upgraded their kosharis to a whole new level. Their customized kosharis cover the popular cultures from around the world to suit everyone’s taste.

With the perfect blend of spices, they have created innovative platters, while still maintaining and respecting the original recipe. Their original koshari was simple, great and would take you back to the first time you tasted it. It’s made the same way locals would make it and like it. The additional condiments like vinegar and chili increased its delicious factor.

If you have unconditional love for shawarma, you should definitely try the shawarma koshari. This koshari combines the two favorite dishes of the majority and makes one dish that has a bang of shawarma spices. And when the mint sauce was added to this koshari, the tastes elevated and made it even better!

DR Recommends: You’ve got to taste it to believe it!

The butter chicken koshari is for those who love south east asian food. The aroma of this dish will get your mouth watering. If you’re new to koshari, we recommend that you start with something that your taste buds recognize and love.

Besides koshari, there were plenty other items on the menu like the cheesy macaroni béchamel and desserts like the Arabic creamy bread pudding, Om Ali.

Koshari.Ko helps you discover and try the wonderful Arabian dishes. Try it for yourself


Nando’s New Branch: Bang of Flavors!

Nando’s had their dry-run night on July 9th, at Tahlia Street. The restaurant is as fancy, cozy and enrapturing as ever. The Afro-Portuguese themed yellow-red interiors (and music!) will grow on you and you’ll soon find yourself grooving to the music while waiting for your order to arrive.

Everything from their welcome drinks till their desserts captured our taste buds and senses. Let’s just say that the course started off with a whiff of mouth-watering flavors lingering in the air, which will leave you feeling more impatient than you’ve ever felt. Madeira Red: a sweet, fizzy, pomegranate lemonade was an exotic and really creative red drink. It was tropical in taste and the addition of pomegranate seeds made it visually pretty and enhanced the flavor up a notch.

If you find yourself confused on what to order, then start your meal with the famous Nando’s wings. The juicy, fall-of-the-bone meat will get you addicted to it. When it comes to main, you’ve got to try the Espetada Carnival, without further thought. This main is heaven in plate. It comes with two sides of your choice and the most tender boneless chicken on a skewer. The best part? Spice things up according to your tolerance meter!

To add a little more sweetness to up your personality, try out their delicious desserts. The Choc’late Lovin Spoon Cake is one of their best desserts.

Don’t miss out on Nandos. Try it soon!

DR Recommends:

  • Caesar Salad
  • Wing Roulette
  • Espetada Carnival
  • Chicken Breast Burger
  •  Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Carrot Cake
  • PERinaise

[Photography credits: Zahra Anwer]