What do I love to use for my blog, to travel and to shop online?
There’s quote I read somewhere..
Find 3 hobbies you love..
One to make you money
One you keep you in shape..
And one to be creative.
By now, I’m hoping you’ve read a couple of my posts and should know that I’m a stickler for research and only recommend things that I’ve personally experienced and love using. So in no particular order, here are couple of things I love and use for my blog, to travel, staycate (?!?), eat out and most importantly – to shop.
1. Food – If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life it would be Sushi (with salmon and avocado please). The best sushi I’ve had in Dubai is at Toshi, Grand Millenium, Dubai. PS – they don’t pay me to endorse them. If they did, I’d be a millionaire!
2. Blogging – If you want to start your own blog, here’s a list of sites and plug ins I use to run Hotch Potch.
Namecheap – Before you start your blog, you need to think of a name for it. To know if your preferred site/blog name is available you need to visit a domain site and search for it. Namescheap, as the name suggests is a super afforable site to buy a domain and it’s where I purchased my domain hotchpotch.me from.
Site ground – I know most people recommend way cheaper hosting sites but honestly when you’re starting a new blog you want to invest in a hosting service that ensures your sites is running smoothly, loads quickly, is secure and has excellent customer service in times of need. They’re super quick in resolving downtimes thanks to their 24/7 customer service which is the primary reason you should buy them over cheaper hosting sites. Been using their start up package which costs me AED 14.50 (USD 3.95) per month for over 2 years now and have no complaints. Learn more.
Genesis Framework: Hotch Potch runs on WordPress on the Genesis Framework which basically helps you design your blog. I only got on to Genesis recently as it is a bit expensive but its the best investment I’ve made. It’s like inviting someone to an unclean home and expecting them to have a good time. A good framework is like housekeeping, you need it to ensure your site looks good and people keep coming back for more. If you’re using Genesis, you also need a inbuilt theme to go with it. Hotch Potch runs on Simply Pro by Bloom – I love its simplicity and clean design.
WP Engine + Genesis Framework – If you prefer buying your hosting and the Genesis Framework then you can check out WP engine – they have monthly package for $31 with 3 months free if you pay them for the entire year. What’s more? The Genesis Framework comes free with the package which is pretty much a win win.
Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office : I love Photoshop and Powerpoint to create graphics. Yeah yeah, judge me all you want for talking about Photoshop and Powerpoint in the same breath but I alternate between both programs based on the task at hand. Also, both people have access to Powerpoint than Photoshop..so there!
3. Travel – I enjoy travelling and love researching endlessly for hours on end for restaurants, hotels and the best flights. For me, travelling and exploring the world has really helped open up my mind and there are a couple of sites that have helped along the way.
Tip: If you’re for a place to stay, my best tip is to check out the same hotel on multiple sites. Reason being different sites register properties with different profit margins. Also, if you’re starting your hotel search, best to book it the day itself as surge pricing may kick in when multiple people check out the same hotel at the same time (which will invariably happen if you’re travelling in a group)
Airbnb.ae: If you’re the kind of person who prefers living in a home instead of a hotel room then Airbnb is the site to visit. When I search for a place on the site, I usually look for a home in the center of the city to ensure places of interest are easily accessible by foot. Click here for free AED 92 off your first booking.
Booking.com: you can find amazing hotel deals on booking.com. I always compare Airbnb, Booking.com and Agoda prices before booking anything!
Agoda: I use Agoda when I’m travelling in Asia. The site is amazing and has a lot of insider deals that you can unlock once you sign in.
4. Health & Wellness – I think I went a little crazy when I discovered iherb.ae a couple of years ago. The site specializes in health products so imagine my shock when I could buy the same brand of vitamins at 1/3 the price (even if I paid USD 8 (AED 30) for shipping). I’ve bought random thinks like raw honey for USD 7.5 (AED 28) to sheet masks for USD 3 (AED 10) each to magnesium oil for USD 7.4 (AED 27) amongst a host of other things. Someday I will posts pictures of my cart – it’s embarrassing how much I splurge on that site. Use the promo code LCW996 at check out to get a discount off your purchase. Once you sign up, you get a code of your own which you can pass on your friends and family.
Word to the wise – Be forewarned you might get addicted. Before you make a purchase, please check out the review section for each product. They list the most useful and most critical reviews which helps a great deal. Ensure you speak to a medical professional before making any consumable item purchase.
5. Clothes & Makeup – Asos is the Kendall to my Kylie (can’t believe I used that analogy!). The site has an amazing collection of bags, shoes, clothes, makeup and even special occasion gifts (which has been a life saver for me in times of need). They have discounts to upto 70% during holiday seasons and sales throughout the year. Bought this lovely pair of shoes for USD 30 (AED 111) and I pretty much live in them. BEST PART ABOUT ASOS – FREEE RETURNS:)
Word to wise – The only thing you should know about me is that even though I look for deals, I like to invest in quality products. Its hard but its not impossible to find things that both look good and are affordable. I think it needs to be told that just because ASOS is an affordable site doesn’t mean their clothes are of poor quality. The thing about ASOS is that you should know what you’re buying before you do. For eg: when it comes to simple cotton t-shirts, I buy the ASOS private label t-shirts as t-shirts are meant to look a bit worn in so I’m fine if the quality is a bit compromised. However, when it comes to work wear or party wear I stick to brands I’m familiar with like Mango, Blank NYC, Only. Please avoid buying cheap, silk tops as the thing with silk is that it looks cheap when you haven’t spent a lot of money on it.
Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, so we may get a commission if you choose to use these companies. Having said that, Ive personally used all the sites mentioned above and endorse them on a personal level. Thanks for supporting this blog.