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an arabian adventure

Dubai was a whirlwind- our mother-daughter trip was just five nights- but it was such a gorgeous place to explore. Whether created by man (as so much of it is) or Mother Nature, the UAE took my breath away over and over again.

On our first day, we hired a driver to take us all over the city.  We spent the morning at the Dubai Museum, then began to explore the different neighnorhoods.  We visited the mosque, the souks, and headed out onto the Palm. The hotels and estates were positively palatial.  Not going to lie, the giant buildings on man-made island had my mother slightly concerned we were going to collapse into the sea.

Just a herd of  24k horses, nbd.

Jumeirah Beach was sunny and so hot, but I was catching on that triple-digit temps were the norm. The Burj al Arab is even fancier on the inside than it is on the outside- its notoriously the priciest hotel in town.

David didn’t come on this trip with me, and we all know he’s the superior photographer.  Try as I might, I couldn’t get the whole Burj Khalifa into the frame.  I didn’t fret though, because we were headed in to go right to the top of the tallest tower in the world.


We whizzed on up in a high speed elevator to find an actual birds-eye view.  We could see all of Dubai, and it looked positively miniature.  I’m normally scared of heights, but this felt super safe!

The entrance to the Burj Khalifa is in one of Dubai’s enormous malls, so we spent the rest of the day there, wandering along among the more than 1200 stores and 250 restaurants.  That da,e lunched at Eataly and got pastries at Maison Kayser.

We made sure to stop by the Dubai aquarium, too! The penguins and hedgehogs were some  of my favorite exhibits, and the tunnel through the shark-and-ray exhibit was so cool.  I did find it strange that artificial animals were intermingled with live ones in the habitats, though.  I’m not so enthused by that kind of falseness.

We did a dhow dinner cruise for dinner one night,  which was fine. I don’t love the tour group experience, which is pretty common in Dubai.  The food was decent and our table mates were very sweet. The coolest part was seeing the whirling dervish.  He whirled for nearly 15 minutes, and just watching made me dizzy- he was going too fast for my camera!

We also went on a desert adventure. This was another tourist-type excursion, but I greatly preferred this one. We raced through the sand dunes like they were a roller coaster, pausing for a falconry display, to see some wild animals, and to watch the sun set over the Arabian desert.

We explored the dunes, and mama got to ride a camel- ✔️✔️ to making that bucket list moment happen.  She’d been talking about it since we decided to go on this trip! We also got mehndi and watched bellydancing during dinner under the stars.

We hired a driver again to take us out of Dubai proper and into Abu Dhabi to go to the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, and it was my favorite part of the trip.  The mosque was a marvel to see and explore- large enough to hold more than forty thousand visitors and worshippers, just marble and gold as far as the eye could see.  It was absolutely magnificent in every way- I only wish pictures could do it justice.


All visitors have to wear traditional Arabic attire to visit the mosque. I’ve gotta say that I give all the credit in the world to women who regularly wear an abaya, because it was sweltering under all that fabric.

It was so lucky that my friend Genevieve was in Dubai at the same time! We had a lovely lazy day at Nikki beach, and I was able to join her and the Nudwear fam for some amazing dinner dates.  There’s nothing like having another blogger babe around when you have a picturesque poolside location.

We took a (very long) red-eye home on Emirates, which meant we were able to make one more stop at the Mall of Dubai.  We filled up at the food court, and watched the giant fountain show, which is even more incredible in the dark of night.

I had many people express concerns about us traveling as two American women to Dubai, especially in the current political atmosphere.  That was completely unnecessary- everyone we met or interacted with was so kind and helpful.  Frankly, I more often feel unsafe here in the US than I did there.

This is just of few highlights of our trip- I shared lots in real time on insta stories.  I did get a lot of questions about what products I brought and used in the punishing heat, so I wanted to share a little bit about that with y’all. I used a one-two punch to keep my makeup in place, with Smashbox Primerizer before sunscreen and then makeup, and finished everything with my warm weather obsession, Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF 50 setting spray. Despite the humidity, the long flights still parched my skin, so I used Ahava dry oil body mist the whole trip- it’s not the least bit greasy which l I love.  To supercharge my night cream (currently Sunday Riley Tidal), I added a squirt of Nip + Fab bee sting fix repairing shot for some extra nourishment.  The only shadow palette I brought was the Huda Beauty Rose Gold, so I did a lot of pops of shimmer on the eye and longwear statement lips (I brought some Mac retromatte liquid lips and and Urban Decay Vice) and kept a super portable Pixi quick fix blotting powder in my purse.


Xx Ravayna

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