Experiencing a small part of the Emirates…

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Given all the media fuss in the last years, we are mostly inclined to think Middle East is this dangerous place, surrounded by dessert, and extremists. Well, the only exception has been Dubai, and that is due to its fast development and great marketing. And then, personally another exception was Lebanon as I met only cool and fun loving people from there… so, with these exceptions, there has to be more to overcome superficial misconceptions.

For me, this was my first time ever in an Arabian country – and I flew to Doha, Qatar for one full day, waiting for my connection flight to the Philippines. Qatar is one of the 4 countries belonging to the Emirates, along side Dubai, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

What is striking to see is that these countries were practically almost like built from sand…out of nothing in the last 100 years. Doha is a city sprung from the dessert with high buildings and a big gap between the richest and the poorest. It strikes you! Honestly, it has nothing particularly of an wow-effect, because the skyscrapers are less spectacular and far behind in beauty from the ones in Hong Kong (though the bay looks similar), people do not walk much on the streets, unless they are poor…or foreigners…but the regular Doha citizen goes around by car…weird enough for a developing country.

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In Qatar, it is either luxury or nothing. Our hotel room was the size of an apartment…though we thought we took a regular hotel. Oh no! Not in Doha – regular means grand!!! And then, you get out of the fancy hotel and there it is…poverty on the streets, cars with no doors…followed by a huge limousine…then another car filled with goats and so on…

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Doha looks like what we would definitely call in Europe, an industrialized city – it lacks green, it lacks life slightly, as people hang out inside, or at the luxurious malls (they even built a Venice like themes mall like in Las Vegas), and it lacks a touch of personality – the truth is that they try to make out of the weirdest, smallest or no value statue (recently made) a tourist point… a bit blunt…

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The city looks as if it is still under construction, with a twist of cream-grey color, cold at heart, yet hot temperature wise.

But the weirdest thing for a woman travelling there is the…culture….the fact that you see women all covered up in black walking around, hiding their femininity and acting modestly around their men. It kind of breaks your heart as a free woman. I was sitting in the restaurant and I realized how hard it must be to truly be a woman there: it is even hard to breath or eat through that black cover while the man can even take off his shoes, lay back and smoke shisha. The only advantage is apparently that you do nothing. Most of the women there have a Philippino nany, they shop around, read, take care of themselves…all with the cost of their freedom. .

However, the old city is beautifully traditional. It is called Souq and it is like a picturesque Bazaar, with small restaurants and caffes and traditional Arabian merchandize and spices. It does have a special touch, if you want to breath from the skyscrapers and under-construction buildings.

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I must admit I was not truly wow-ed by this city, but it was an interesting experience and now I am even more curious how Dubai looks like. I have a feeling I might find it a bit more spectacular.

All in all, Doha is worth a shot if you happen to have a stop-over there on the way to somewhere else. Give it a chance! 🙂

Pencil up your winter style!

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What I love most about the timeless classy pencil skirts is that they are so chameleonic in nature depending on how you accessorize them: be it a classic stylish office look with a shirt and a pearl necklace, or wear it with a pair of Isabel Marant sneakers and a sporty t-shirt, go for the cocktail sexy tank top, an oversized statement necklace and high stilettos or take it in the colder days with a fluffy pullover and high heeled over-the-knee boots. There are so many ways to play with a pencil, it is hard to get bored, and as a bonus you always have the feminine twist that it gives.
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Moreover, this item suits both girls with curves, making them look vintage and sexy, and the slim ones – for whom it makes some curves. Knee-skimming, the long length of the pencil conceals your thighs but it’s tight tailoring ensures you feel nothing less than incredible and attractive at all times.

 You can choose between the classical black ones (you can find a wide range on asos.com), or the edgy fashion must-haves at Zara or Moschino, who have added metallic and denim pencil skirts to their collections.If you really want to make a fashion statement, dare to wear the luxe leather, high shine ones from Topshop – my personal favorites actually this season.

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So give way to the hot new shapes and style, and PENCIL UP your wardrobe!

 

State it with a TEE TSHIRT!

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As I am preparing for a long vacation, I was trying these days to plan some outfits, and then I remembered a small obsession I had with tee t-shirts, that somehow I felt like bringing back for this trip. I started three years ago with the Chanel tee t-shirt – a beloved one that I combined in several ways with shorts, skirts, legging, and then I moved last year to the YSL t-shirt for my trip in Hong Kong.
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I accessorize that one with a leather jacket and necklace with white rocks. This is what I love about these t-shirts. They are so simple, yet you can transform them into a fashion statement and accessorize them in different ways for different looks.

Don’t judge me, because we all know that the humble t-shirt is the go-to item in every woman’s wardrobe. It’s our hero piece, able to mix and match itself with every shorts/jeans/skirt and suitable for almost any occasion.

I haven’t been too keen on logo/slogan t-shirts as I always thought they made me a) look like a teenager (hahaha yeah, NO THANKS); b) feel like a fake groupie/hipster; c) look like a try-hard (if that is even a word?! – whatever, you know what I mean).

But then a few years ago I saw them being worn by blogger and famous trendsetters and BAM – I saw inspiration! My theory on logo t-shirts went out the window and I am now officially obsessed. And therefore, I just purchased the Celine TEE TSHIRT for my new trip – the white one as I am a brunette :).
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If you ask yourself, how to wear it? The tee can be worn with many styles, dress it down with some jeans and a leather jacket or dress it up with a black skirt and a statement necklace. I prefer to combine the two, a statement necklace with big white stones, or golden/silver chain one, a leather jacket, and some jeans. The higher the contrast the more interesting the tee becomes. 
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I will post soon some pictures with my new Celine tee, so you could see what I mean. 🙂

 

The Fendi Bag Bug: love or hate?

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I have noticed an interesting turn towards animals in the last year for the fashion designers and the last hit from Fendi was one of the most surprising. When I first saw the Bag Bug, I was like, this is a no-no for me, but then there is something nonconformist about it that accessorizes a blunt outfit and somehow it is a daring fashion statement, so I decided writing this post.

The latest cult accessory – the Fendi Bag Bug. It is hairy and feathery, has eyes, ears and comes in a multitude of bright, attention-grabbing shades like royal blue, emerald green and strong pink. Childish some may say, outlandish and fun for others, these daring handbags have more in common with funfair toys and animals, or The Muppets than with the posh language of luxury. Yet, Bag Bugs have quickly caught on and are now being worn by real trendsetters worlwide, from Vogue Japan’s Anna dello Russo to Solange Knowles and Brit supermodel, Cara Delevingne, who carry and love them like pets.

Personally, I think the Bag Bug is Fendi’s most hilarious design to date and seems to fly in the face of conventional luxury design, which turned lately towards the classic, the timeless and the minimalist. The designer’s inspiration apparently came the tropical birds in Brazil, with beautifully colourful feathers and plumes.
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I was pretty amazed to read about the success of the Bag Bug which comes on a wave of animal-influenced design that has invaded fashion right now. Animal motifs (owl shaped backpacks, jewelry, hoods and hats with ears, jumpsuits with paws and tails) have been hot sellers. Hair accessories, shoes, ready-to-wear and jewelry are all under the influence of the animal bug.

Moreover, animal shoes are also influenced by this trend with Charlotte Olympia, spreading the trend of her Kitty embroidered velvet slippers that are now a bestseller in her collection of heels, and Marc by Marc Jacobs issuing a sequel to the mouse flat in the shape of owl-embroidered espadrilles.  At Moschino, there are bears decorating ear-phones and floppy-eared rabbits on the back of Samsung Galaxy cases. Miu Miu has picked up the trend too  for Spring/Summer with fox and cat print tea dresses, while Prada came out with colorful print leather bags decorated with peacocks.

Honestly, I am still looking for my Bag Bug that would suit me; however, for those that dare to wear, it is a slap in the face for the conventional fashion! Which feels damn nice, I may say! 🙂

Why the Little Black Dress never goes out of style

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The little black dress seems to be a bit of an enigma. It is both one of the blandest elements of a woman’s wardrobe – as the default option when stuck for what to wear for an occasion – and a stubbornly  timeless, persistently revisited icon. Essentially a simple black cocktail dress that some regard pure elegance and others blunt dark wear. However it may be, there is a fuss surrounding it that in the end is fascinating given that it has past the test of time.

I was curious when did the term ‘little black dress’ was born, when did it all started and who started it. Apparently, it was in 1926, in an American Vogue illustration of Coco Chanel’s first black ‘Ford’. Vogue editors had named the dress after the era’s democratic black Model T automobile, predicting that the straight, long-sleeved design in unlined crèpe de chine accented with four diagonal stripes would “become sort of a uniform for all women of taste.” And they were soooo right!

For Chanel, black was the definition of simple elegance and, ever disregarding of conventions, she helped bring the color into everyday wear.

To put it differently, three decades earlier, John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Madame Gautreau, better known as Madame X, in a black dress had provoked outrage in Paris. The jet-black look, with its straps and plunging décolleté, was considered indecent. In this case it wasn’t anything about the style, or the flash of naked shoulders, that upset a public used to ‘modern nudes’.  Apparently, it was the DRESS that caused distress. And so it started – the little black dress – an attention grabber!

A stylist said “When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.” And so, embraced as an icon of French elegance in the 20s, the little black dress nearly 90 years on is still going strong, with a family of icons still fuelling its myth. Notably, there is something about the slim sleeveless black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s that continues to fascinate generations. Accessorized with black elbow gloves, a pearl choker, dark glasses and a cigarette holder, on Hepburn the gown was simply flawless. The dress was bought in an auction in 2006, for $765,000.

Deceptively simple, the little black dress, with its morphing silhouettes and features, can be seen as a marker of shifting social codes. In time, the little black dress has managed to adapt to all of the socio-political changes. Designer Miuccia Prada said: “To me, designing a little black dress is trying to express in a simple, banal object, a great complexity about women, aesthetics, and current times.”

From the wearer’s point of view, nothing is more flattering and versatile than the little black dress. Offering new personalities in the shape of the neckline or sleeve length, it smoothers contours, serving as a frame to exposed areas of skin –  marking discretly the curves. It has been regarded as “an iconic, magical garment as it enhances a woman’s features and erases imperfections”.

The little black dress will be always interesting to designers because it is a wardrobe classic that we can experiment with and twist. The cut and the volume form the foundations, with the fabric bringing it to life. It’s a real creative exercise!

So, the little black dress is a must have, chameleonic item, never going out of style in your wardrobe – play with it, and look effortlessly fabulous!

Communication, effort & understanding

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In order for a relationship or any bond to work successfully it needs communication, effort, and understanding. You have to know how to meet somebody half way and compromise. My way or the highway is the lonely way.

Don’t ever get so comfortable that you start allowing what’s convenient to replace putting forth effort. Taking the “when it happens, it happens” approach can really disappoint you when “it” never happens how you wanted it too. If your heart wants a successful love in the future then you have to leave your pride in the past. Don’t cheat the progress of your relationships now based on what failed before. Don’t get so hung up on what failed in previous situations that you can’t see what’s working in your current situation.

If you want somebody’s time, love, or attention you’re going to be required to earn it and prove that you deserve to keep it. Different doesn’t always mean better, but if you never try something new, you’ll always have the same old complaints.

COMMUNICATE when you have problems and put effort forth to solving them.

UNDERSTAND that everybody shows the way they care in their own unique way.

ACCEPT that what you’re used to may be different from what they know how to do.

Everybody communicates and responds to problems differently, so don’t automatically assume you’re on or off the same page. Talk things out and deal with the situation at hand. And you shouldn’t have to bring up the past to prove a point – this is for example one part I am bad at, but trying to control! People will make mistakes and they will make bad decisions. You just have to decide what you can and cannot deal with.

If you don’t want to communicate, then you’ll welcome assumptions. If you don’t put in effort, then you’ll welcome distractions. If you’re not understanding, then you’ll welcome unnecessary frustrations.

Focus on what’s important, solve problems when they’re relevant, don’t dwell, and move on with love without holding back. 🙂