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Sultry Marrakesh

Marrakesh has been on my bucket list for a long time. It’s the kind of place that you just don’t know what to expect from when you get there. I was prepped by close friends that I will be hassled to buy things, I will be stared at and was told not to engage in conversations with the vendors. The simple act of politeness can get you back home with the carpet in hand.

Marrakesh has changed drastically, you will not find or at least I did not find any of the above mentioned to be true. I was amazed how this city can be so ancient yet so modern, so simple yet so complex, so pure yet so sultry and finally simply delicious.  The temptation of exotic smells that make you crave things like: Olives, prunes, dates, pistachios, almonds are constantly in the air. Of course I visited a handful of souks (markets) that are intertwined and you can get simply lost in them for hours. Here I purchased: a handmade bag for my summer outfits, bedazzled babouches or as we call them fancy slippers and of course lots and lots of handmade jewellery.

The easiest way to access Marrakesh, which I strongly recommend to you is via Paris. Sure you can find a few good museums and cafes there on the way to the exotic land.

Tip for the travellers. If you are traveling light or perhaps traveling in colder months and your outfit is just blah because you are all bundled up, remember to have one item that catches everyone’s attention. In my case I was bombard with complements on my funky pom pom shoes. They are sporty, yet they scream I am original and stylish. Another way you can bring pizzazz is with a nice handbag, I chose a vibrant turquoise Hermes to add some color into otherwise simple outfit.

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By |February 14th, 2017|BLOG|0 Comments

New York City in autumn

Despite a gruelling 22 hour flight, a trip to stylish New York has always been a highlight of the year. As you know, the never sleeping city used to be my home for almost 20 years. It never fails to impress me the speed at which the city evolves and reinvents itself.

This time I found an amazing deal on Agoda and stayed in my most favourite part of NYC – Gramercy Park. It’s all those quaint streets that lead from Gramercy park itself (a tiny park only accessable to residents) up to the New York University. The neighborhood is reminiscent of a sprawling, well-groomed park with its clean streets and carefully cultivated greenery. On this trip I discovered lots of new cafes and gourmet shops, my favourite breakfast joint that has the best lox on bagels and pastries.

The hassle and bustle of the busy city was needed to restart my engine and creativity. I made an observation that women in New York have become more casual. It’s more common to see leggings paired with sneakers or walking shoes than tight jeans and heels. New York has always been a city designed for walking, so it only makes sense when the fashion follows.

Here are a few useful tips for you to remember:

  1. Match your outfit to the occasion. Walking shoes good for walking and casual dining, change them for the sexy heels during dinner with your loved one.
  2. Walking shoes/sneakers don’t have to be boring. I invested in a pair with fur pom-poms and got tons of compliments.
  3. For fall, keep your face well moisturised and polished but go bold on a lip. My new favourite from YSL 205 in rich plum shade.

 

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By |December 1st, 2016|BLOG|0 Comments

Visiting Borobudur

September is an important month for Singapore. Grand Prix, the night race gets me very excited and in the mood for a good fun.

I look forward to the concerts, amazing parties and of course watching the race. However this year I wanted to do something cultural and out of town.

On Indonesia’s island Java, there is Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world. Constructed in the 8th and 9th centuries and abandoned around the 14th century, Borobudur was largely forgotten until it was rediscovered in 1814. It’s hard to imagine that this beauty was covered with dirt for so long. This temple is best visited at dawn when the sun is just slowly waking up and shining it’s rays on the stone temple.

I stayed in Amanjiwo, a part of Aman hotels. It was one of the most unique hotels I ever stayed in Asia. Enveloped by the rainforest of central Java, it’s a place for spirituality and relaxation. The majestic temple can be seen from almost everywhere in the hotel grounds.

I could not help myself to take these photos and share with you. It’s a shame that I could not bring the smell and sounds of this magical place. If you are ever in the area, it’s worth a visit.

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By |September 25th, 2016|BLOG|0 Comments

Looking sharp without a suit?

Probably the most common dilemma women have is this – “How do I look professional at work without wearing a suit?
Depending on your industry and in some industries it’s a requirement; we can wiggle our way around and still look pretty professional.Even if your position doesn’t require you to see outside clients, you are still making an impression on your boss or your potential future boss. While women may have more options about what to wear in the workplace, they also have more room for misstep. Particularly in the summer or in the hot countries, weather factor is what opens the door to a slew of potential fashion landmines for professional women, including spaghetti-strap tops and gladiator sandals, a hot-ticket item that should be avoided unless the dress code is so laid back that everyone, including your boss is wearing jeans.

  1. Make sure all your clothes fit you well. The shoulders of a dress or blouse sit right where it should be, the ham of the pants is not too short of too long dragging on the floor, and of course the garments are in tip top shape and cleanliness.
  2. You can get away wearing a fitted pant with a lovely silk blouse and sweater wrapped around your shoulders. Make sure the blouse is tucked in so your look is sharp and not sloppy.
  3. Accessories but don’t overdo it. If you wear a colorful chunky necklace, leave your earrings and scarf at home.
  4. Pay attention to the shoes. I think closed shoes look so much more professional and classy. Again depending on your industry you can play with colorful shoes at work and keep the rest of the outfit simple and clean looking.
  5. A well-cut sheath dress with a statement necklace will always be a classic and never feel overly stuffy.
By |April 26th, 2016|BLOG|0 Comments

Fun in the sun in the Maldives.

It’s becoming a tradition for our family to spend Lunar New Year in the Maldives. Not a bad tradition to have, and it beats spending February in cold New York.
This time my husband decided to surprise our family by booking a place we did not know about. So far so good, I love surprises. The problem with surprises is that you cannot do your own research and prepare for unexpected. Unlike other hotels we have stayed at, Ayada was very remote. Set in the relatively unexplored Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll in the south of the country just a few kilometers north of the equator, it took an international flight followed by a domestic flight and a boat to get there. Depending on sea conditions, the boat ride could take significantly longer and cause some discomfort to all but the most battle-hardened seafarers. I certainly didn’t foresee that and truth be told it wasn’t the best start to what I have come to expect of a few days in paradise. Once there however, Ayada delivered on all points. The island had amazing snorkeling, great restaurants, and lots of water activities for restless children. The staff was superb, being attentive without necessarily being overly visible and in your space. I was glad that I packed some nice clothes and accessories as guests generally dressed-up for dinner, respectful of the resorts dress code that I would describe as a combination of relaxed casual yet refined. For the Lunar New Year some guests made a real effort to stand out dressing very festively, which was really great to see.

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By |March 12th, 2016|BLOG|0 Comments

Art Stage Singapore 2016

Singapore is never short of colorful and exciting events. This one in particular I anticipate all year long. It’s the annual “Art Stage Singapore”. In short, it’s the leading Asian art fair connecting the world to the best of Asian contemporary art. Galleries from all around the world bring their best work to showcase. Its sheer size attracts the world’s most influential private art collectors, corporate buyers and VIPs.

And where there is a VIP there is always a good reason to dress up. This year I noticed a few new artists. One of them particularly caught my eye with his cubism and Picasso inspired works. Yuroz has a beautiful gallery in California but happened to be present at the exhibition. Having learnt that he was originally from Armenia, we eagerly exchanged a few phrases in Russian and exchanged cards. You never know when an artist might need a personal stylist. :)))

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By |January 28th, 2016|BLOG|0 Comments

A trip to “The End of the World”

So here we are at the end of the world, New Zealand. To be honest when my husband booked this trip I was not that excited. Always being a city girl, to me 10 days spent hiking and biking in the South Island sounded less than perfect, but boy I could not have been more wrong about this trip. It is a beautiful country and truly worth the long-haul flight to get there. Arriving in Christchurch on New Year’s Eve was interesting – it’s a city that is still rebuilding after the devastating earthquake in 2011 when over sixty percent of the downtown buildings were damaged beyond repair. It did not take long to learn that Kiwis are some of the nicest and most hospitable people I have ever come across. They exhibit a genuine sense of hospitality and it made me realize how fast paced and aggressive life can become living in a big city. From a  personal style perspective New Zealand makes good use of its domestically produced materials. I saw a lot of marino wool (despite it being summer), often combined with possum fur. Simple sweaters, scarfs, beanie-hats, and gloves were easy to find, as were traditionally crafted leathers. The outdoors plays a major role in Kiwi life, and styles also reflect that. Lots of sports equipment, work-out gear fashioned after designers such as Stella McCartney.

During 10 days that we spent in South Island we visited: Christchurch, Queenstown and traveled to the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Here we stayed in the most beautiful place – Grasmere Lodge http://www.grasmere.co.nz/location . You could find lots of books about adventures at Grasmere in the library and the tradition of welcoming guests in the large comfortable lounge.

Queenstown, although a whopping 5 hours drive from Grasmere lodge was an experience that I will never forget. Before you even get to Queenstown you are constantly stopping for a snapshot of the breath-taking views. One of my most favorite spots was the Blue Pools,which has become world-renowned as a must-see highlight in this wilderness region.

It features a carefully maintained gravel path and boardwalks that wind through a native silver beech forest and lead to a swing bridge strung high above the Makarora River. The views back to the mountains of the Main Divide are absolutely breath-taking. The glacier-fed water in these deep pools is the colour of deep azure blue, and so clear that you can see right to the bottom, making the resident brown trout look like they are suspended in the air.

 

I can’t wait to explore more of New Zealand on my next trip. Stay tuned for more.

With Love,

Julia

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By |January 14th, 2016|BLOG|0 Comments

Top 3 sites for online shopping

More and more women prefer to shop online! Let’s be frank, how can we possibly resist looking at all those beautifully presented clothes that are already styled according to what goes with what and for the right occasion? Categorized shopping like: destination wedding, power dress for work, and the denim shop are easy to understand. The guesswork is taken out of the equation. All we have to do is browse, choose, pay and check out. The whole experience beats going from shop to shop in the hope of finding what you are looking for.  Just like many women I also prefer to shop online if I know exactly what I’m looking for. Here is my list of preferred online retailers that I often browse through with my morning coffee.

www.TheOutnet.com – It’s a sister company of Net-A-Porter.com. Clothes that sell here are often at a deep discount, but may be last season. Look for timeless pieces/wardrobe staples.

www.Matches.com – The flagship store is in London but why fly all the way there if you can shop online? This retailer often carries hot new designers as well as the trusted ones we all know.

www.Yoox.com – Another great online-only retailer that recently acquired Net-A-Porter.com. They often have amazing deals on my favorite designers. Sometimes the savings can be better than shopping at the Club21 mega sale in Singapore, but sizes may be limited.

By |November 1st, 2015|BLOG|0 Comments

UGGS are back in style

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I admit that I do miss winter sometimes. All those lovely wintery clothes  that you can layer and of course the boots that vary from high heeled leather ones to uber soft and comfortable to walk around in like UGGS. Speaking of UGGS they are back in style. I don’t think they ever left the fashion sceen at all.

In 1978, a young surfer from Australia took a trip to Southern California with a bag full of sheepskin boots and the beginnings of a lifelong endeavour. It was there that the UGG brand was born; the brain-child of Brian Smith, who wanted to capitalise on the casual lifestyle and relaxed crowd that the Californian beaches were renowned. Fusing Australian craftsmanship with a laid-back Californian approach proved a winning formula and the boots were an instant hit and began to far out reach the humble seaside beginnings.

By the late 1990’s the classic boots were an international success. The meteoric rise of UGG meant that the range quickly expanded to include a variety of footwear, accessories and apparel cementing the brand to iconic luxury lifestyle status. In the early 2000’s, UGG Australia began to take New York City by storm. The brand that began with sheepskin boots for the active outdoors soon became a symbol of style and luxury, appearing in Vogue and worn by many iconic celebrities. The brand began to offer varieties of colours and styles to expand the selection even further. Once seen in New York, the rest of the world soon followed.

 

By |October 29th, 2015|BLOG|0 Comments

A quick trip to Barcelona

images-2Every once in a while my mom and I like to spend a few days away together. We don’t manage to see each other very often, as we live on the opposite side of the world, so when we do get together, we like to meet somewhere special. Our most recent rendezvous was in Barcelona – a magical city, where I came back full of inspiration.
So what inspired me on this trip? Of course, the famous buildings by genius architect Antoni Gaudi whose whimsical building design is interwoven in fashion on the street. His unique approach to the Art Nouveau movement generated some of the most creative buildings in this Spanish region known as Cataluña.

I noticed that fashion on the streets of Barcelona is very similar to those of the building designs: lots of ruffles, images-1fringes, edges, curves and a slight bohemian take on things that reminded me of 70s styles in the States. Most restaurants in Barcelona are tapas style that implies casual dressing with a twist. Leave your evening cocktail dresses at home and bring boots, skirts with rushing, blouses with ruffles and pin your hair with flowers.

 

By |October 18th, 2015|BLOG|0 Comments