Salalah, Oman

When a client booked me to cover her brother’s wedding in the Sultanate of Oman, my heart did its happy dance. For several days.

It truly felt like ages since #RimaTravels
The fun doubled because this trip was work + pleasure and thank you lord for an amazing associate photographer and a friend who turned out to be an expert on Salalah, Oman and literally made this trip three times more fun.

We stayed in Oman for three days and after the wedding day, we rented the car and explored Ain Garziz, climbed the stairs on Ain Razat, the beautiful Al Mughsayl Beach, Sinkhole Shaat, watched camels on the roadside, serene views of palm trees along the beach and roads, did my silly dance on top of the mountain and of course drove for miles and miles to find the much needed dose of my Karak Chai.

I hope you enjoy Oman through my lens.
To follow along my journey (and travels), you may watch my stories on Instagram and/or on SnapChat { RimaHassanPhoto }.

Cheers to many many more adventures!

Love,
~ Rima (The Explorer)

Santorini, Greece

Ever so often my heart wants to explore new places.
Travel gives me power, imagination, hope, memories, and of course photos. Since the island of Santorini had been on top of my list for quite some time, I felt so privileged to be able to go explore it (#RimaTravels finally!).

Santorini is what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island and created what we now call Caldera. The white houses with absolutely gorgeous background of blue sky and water were incredibly calming and exactly what I need after working non-stop for the past eight months. The cherry on top of the icing was that I got to meet (again) one of my favorite photographers – Vangelis – and his family whom I proudly call friends. Make sure you check out his work. He’s exceptionally talented.

Through photos, I had a good idea that the island had lots of stairs but no one warned me that there were a kazillion stairs everywhere. I was also surprised to find that people there are obsessed with donkeys’ milk. They have donkey milk soaps, donkey milk moisturizers, hand lotions, etc.  Jokes apart, the absolutely breathtaking views of this island made me realize that if you are or have been wrecked, don’t let the past destroy your beauty. Bounce right back up! If you need extra energy, you might want to consider donkey’s milk.

Following are some of my clicks from this trip.

 

Oh and here is a short video from the trip.

Do let me know how you liked Santorini through my lens.
Oh and also share if there is a place you recommend for me to go next ❤

Love,
~ Rima (The Explorer)

P.S. Follow along my future journeys on SnapChat { RimaHassanPhoto }

 

Happy New Year – 2016

2015 – My oh my…. (phew)

This past year has been nothing short of a blessing.
The journey wasn’t a carved straight path. And it definitely wasn’t all happy-happy. I cried a few times at the verge of giving up, missed a few goals, stayed up late half the year to keep things on track, tried to avoid blunders (okay I wasn’t 100% successful in that but the key word is tried 😉 ),  but celebrated each failure.

I am proud to exceed my goals of weddings this year, booked weddings that felt right, got to meet amazing couples & some extremely creative wedding industry vendors, completed my lens kit, extended my team, the blog-visitors increased exponentially, and I explored 4 new countries with 10 destinations in 5 international trips throughout the year *high five*.

I feel so grateful for experiencing life in so many new ways & also feel overwhelmed by how gracious God has been. I can’t thank HIM enough.

I am so incredibly excited for what 2016 has in store. The calendar is filling up with fabulous weddings, new business ventures, goals to be achieved, and dreams to be chased. I feel a stronger desire to be a better wife, daughter, friend, and artist.

Thank you so much for being a part of journey. I wish you a super Happy New Year – 2016 – from the bottom of my heart. May it be filled with joy, love, peace, & success, ameen.

Cheers to a Fearless & Fabulous year!

What Goes Around, Comes Around!

I have looooooove/hate feelings for travels. I absolutely love exploring new destinations but hate packing. Don’t mind long flights but hate jet-legs. Always return back home with fresh mind and ready to conquer the world but also suffer with post-travel depression. Especially when it involves meeting family during the travels.

As I returned back to Dubai from USA two days ago (and still trying to fix my sleeping schedule), I have been dearly missing my family, friends, and mostly my nieces & nephews aka Monsters, Inc. Long night conversations with my sisters, mom’s delicious food, hugging little nieces & telling them stories, laughing with best friends on old jokes, hustle-bustle of NYC…

This trip made me realize (yet again!) how strong of a support-system and backbone my family & friends have been in making me who I am today. They always support me to turn my can’ts into cans and my dreams into plans. They still forgive my mistakes, give best advices, push me to go farther, dream bigger, help me be a better person – both personally & professionally – and give me the light of hope in the darkest of nights. They are my dream anchor.

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As I sat in front of my laptop trying to make a schedule for edits, album deliveries, scheduling meetings with prospective clients, and replying back to emails & inquiries, I am extremely glad that I made the trip. Because at the end of the day, I can always come back on schedule, the edits, emails, meetings will always be there but the chance of meeting the family on the other side of the world might not be.

If you are a work-a-holic like myself, take time out today and call your family/friend or a loved one. You never know how much it might mean to someone. Surround yourself with positive people who will make you better and try to be someone else’s dream anchor….

Remember – what goes around, comes around!

Amsterdam – The City of Bicycles

It wasn’t long after I realized its a Big World out there & felt the urge to explore more, my husband and I had a chance to go on a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam – the city of bicycles. By spontaneous, I mean we booked the tickets in the afternoon and flew the same evening. With least expectations and not a set in stone itinerary, unpremeditated trips turn out to be the best.

For Amsterdam, the city with 780,000 people & over 881,000 bicycles, extensive canals, amazing museums, even more amazing public transport, and not-so-amazing-drug-dealers, I chose to do a black & white series of photos for this trip. Hope you enjoy them.

Amsterdam_Dubai_UAE_Photographer_Rima_Hassan

Science Center Nemo

Science Center Nemo

Amsterdam_Dubai_UAE_Photographer_Rima_Hassan Amsterdam_Dubai_UAE_Photographer_Rima_Hassan

Street Musicians

Street Musicians

Palace on Dam Square

Palace on Dam Square

Apartments & Restaurants by the Canals

Apartments & Restaurants by the Canals

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Palace

Palace

Streets of Amsterdam

Streets of Amsterdam

Extensive Canals

Canals

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Keep Exploring!

~ Rima

15 Reasons Why I love Dubai

Every time I visited Pakistan from USA, my uncles used to ask me the same question repeatedly. “What do you like better – Pakistan or USA?”

When I got married and moved to Dubai, the question remained the same with the addition of “What do u like the best – Pakistan, Dubai, or USA?”  My patriotic heart screams ‘sab se pehlay Pakistan’, the head shakes & my brain smirks with the thoughts of USA, but my answer is always the same – DUBAI!          

Although I dearly miss my family and cousins in Pakistan, and friends from college, university, and mosque in USA – I have to admit that Dubai has won my heart and following are 15 personal reasons why I love Dubai.

  1. HALAL FOOD! (yes, in big bold+italic+underlined capital letters). Born a foodie, I can dine out or order something to be delivered, tension-free.
  2. Best of both worlds i.e. a perfect mixture of Pakistan & USA. You can easily find Ragú and Shan masalas in the aisles of any grocery store. From Khaadi’s shalwar-kameez to Forever21, you’ll find everything in Dubai.
  3. Easy access to the rest of the world. Countless airlines fly to all parts of the world and reach any destination in no more than 13 hours (including USA).
  4. Winters. If I were given a choice, I can spend allllllll the winters in Dubai for the rest of my life. Lots of outdoor activities and dinning out in beautiful weather, Dubai’s winters are like Paris (on desert).
  5. burj_khalifa_Dubai_UAE_why_i_love_dubaiSelf-Made. Dubai might seem artificial to many people but you have to give credit to the people and government for their efforts for building an artificial paradise on sand.
  6. Dream cars, signature brands & authentic restaurants. Although I’m not a crazy-car-junkie but I have never, ever, seen as fastest, most expensive, beautiful cars in the whole wide world as I have witnessed in Dubai. You’ll know you are in Dubai when you see Police roaming around in Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, and Aston Martin. Ohhhh Yeah! As far as brands and food is concerned, simply goto the world’s biggest mall – The Dubai Mall – and be in awe.
  7. Big grand weddings. If you want to witness the grandness of Dubai’s weddings, go look through the wedding photos I photographed.
  8. Women facilities & Safety. You may go out in jeans, skirts, shalwar-kameez, or abayas, no one cares. I love the women’s only gyms, clean separated public bathrooms and mosques for ladies in the malls.
  9. Tax Free! The salaries, shopping, dinning, etc are all tax free. Don’t get your hopes too high, everything is pretty expensive here but if you are a bachat-pack-person, you will survive just fine! I also have to mention that Dubai’s money has lots of barakat (or may be I’m one of the bachat-pack)
  10. Crowd. I love love loveeeeeeeee the diversity in Dubai. You’ll find here educated, humble, helpful, and people of all races, accents, and colors (except for purple).
  11. Architects’ dreamworld. From the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, sail like 7 star hotel Burj-ul-Arab, to the twisted building (that I don’t know the name of) in JBR – Marina, Dubai has some fascinating buildings and the number is consistently growing.
  12. Free home delivery service (I can write an entire blog entry on this). Imagine calling the grocery store 5 times a day for 1 lemon, 2 tomatoes, and chocolate and all these are delivered to your apartment. For FREE!
  13. My apartment. The place I call my very own home. My dream come true!
  14. Maids!!! A shout out to Dilwara (my maid). I adore you!
  15. And last but not least, muslim showers in the bathroom!!! I don’t know why some racist would name the hand showers ‘muslim showers’ but I had to convey the point. I mean, Pakistan is still in the Lota-mode, USA doesn’t have those, the entire Europe didn’t, and even Turkey didn’t have those. I almost hugged the hand shower when I came back home after a month.

I loveeee Dubai. Every bit of it. Next time you are in town, holla!
Let me know where you are from and what the city is like. I may visit it next time! 😉

Missouri Part 3 – Botanical Garden

‘April showers bring May flowers’ but you’ll find mother nature awfully kind to Missouri’s Botanical Garden because I found gorgeous flowers there even in the beginning of April. It was my first time visiting a botanical garden, everrrrrr, which made it a lot more fun to go around, witness, smell, & photograph the beauty of nature in the form of beautiful, unique, (and weird) flowers/plants. Even the leaf-less tress were so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist capturing their photos.  This is my last post of Missouri because I will be visiting & photographing New York City tomorrow but I just had to share some of the photos from the trip.

 

Be like a flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it – Imam Ali

 

I’ll write/share photos of NYC but until then, keep spreading the colors of love!

Missouri Part 2 – The Cave State

Missouri is also known as the Cave State.  Always inspired by nature, I knew I had to go visit the caves.  Beneath the fertile rolling hills of the Meramec Valley, lies a complex of mineral formations and color as rare and unique as they are beautiful, Missouri’s buried treasure. These jewels of nature which took thousands of years to grow, are preserved in the spectacular sights of Meramec Caverns. It was fun to learn how the ancient limestone “Wine Table” and an entire 7-story mansion were built….all underground. We witnessed both the rarest and largest cave formations in the world. 

I will see you with another colorful blog post soon.

Have a great weekend!

– Rima

Missouri Part 1 – The Gateway Arch

This is my third trip to Missouri, the Cave State. I flew alone when I visited my in-laws last two times. This trip is special because my husband came to USA for the first time. I’m enjoying looking at things through his eyes. Also, I got to see/do a lot more fun things such as visit the Arch, Bison Park, Duck Park, Creve Coeur Lake, Botanical Garden, Meramec Caverns, and the highlight of the entire trip as of yet is {family bbq} Zip-Lining.

Although Missouri’s weather changes even faster than New Jersey, the day we visited the arch was cloudy but gorgeousssss! With Mississippi river flowing on one side, the arch will leave you in awe. Following are some of the photos of the massive 630 feet high beautiful structure made of steel and concrete, costing $13,420,168.

More adventures from our Missouri trip will be up on the blog soon. Until then keep exploring!

– Rima

Remember where you came from…

I still remember the 1 hour 20 minutes train ride to university.    
I used to study for exams, read books, listen to my iPod, and watch other passengers get on & off the train trying to figure out where they might be coming from, where they are heading to, and how their day is going.    

Switching two trains and then walking to Rutgers Business School was a 5 day routine for me.  It was scary at first, but then became second nature. I still remember the smell of the waiting area, the timetable of my trains and which train will leave from other platforms (thanks to my friends who accompanied me while we ran after classes to catch our trains).

Newark_penn_station Newark_penn_station Newark-Light-Rail-Station

The entire take-the-train-then-switch-to-another-one taught me a lesson:  Always Remember Who You are and Where You Came From. Also that You Are Meant for Great Purposes. If you can’t remember where you came from, you can’t figure out where you are heading! The truth will set you Free!