Art Exhibition: I paint what I feel, I feel what I paint

Exceptional artist, brilliant mind and dearest friend Stella Stylianou paints what she feels and feels what she paints. The result: a world full of emotions, feminine and strong at the same time, a circle of beauties with seductive eyes, enwrapped in alluring mysteries waiting to be explored. If you happen to be in Cyprus this weekend you have to visit Stella’s exhibition and let your heart be charmed by her wonderful paintings.  Friday 8th to Sunday 10th of April at MS Viewpoint Studios in Nicosia. (Check below last picture for details on venue and timings).

dsc_0053_0
1914550_10153934019829976_684057480312767993_n

I have been watching Stella these past few months being in a creative frenzy and I love this girl’s energy. You can see what I mean by watching this time lapse video where she does her magic:

Art is food for the soul but it can get twice as beneficial when serving a good cause. For this reason Stella Stylianou has joined forces with Minus One, the music band that represents Cyprus in Eurovision Song Contest 2016. Both they support the “Wig Fund”, a program that helps provide wigs to cancer patients.

All proceeds from the painting #oils-1 will go to the “WIG FUND”.

11694922_10153960989519976_3541365921318378022_n
#Oils-1 : Minus One group members are shown on the girl’s beanie. Who’s gonna be the lucky person to have this painting?

 

12113382_10153960989529976_6196244715791330727_o
My favorite one!

 

12923124_10153670022702632_3435737187368088532_n
Almost ready for the exhibition!

 

823373_10151337122009482_879271885_o
Stella Stylianou

And here are the details of the exhibition. For Stella’s Stylianou past work you may check her website: stellastylianou.com 
945500_976271772451291_8928058838959917289_n

Idol Image Sale

It was about time I started spring cleaning my wardrobe! As I have so many things I don’t use or wear and my schedule is quite busy to organize a small bazaar, I thought it would be better to open an online shop. For the time being there’s limited stock, but I will be updating it frequently with new stuff. For now you can find bags, shoes, clothes and accessories from Balenciaga, Juicy Couture, Isabel Marant, Tory Burch and more!

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.37.33 AM

So please check my shop here: Idol Image  and should you find something that you really like go ahead and order it! If you have questions about an item or need more pictures or details you can email me at: idol@mail.com.
Prices are shown in Bahraini Dinars as the items will be shipped from Bahrain but once you go through the check out with Paypal the currency is changed and reflects the price in US Dollars.
You could also register in the shop, and who knows, a small surprise might be waiting for you just around the corner!

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 12.34.52 PM

Lessons Learned. A mum’s letter to her son’s examiner

IMG_1112
Dear Mr. Examiner, 
I didn’t know anything about you before you came to Bahrain as an examiner for the Rock and Pop examinations but I had to check out on your music, especially since you failed my son on his drums’ exams.
All I can say is I really admire your work, and in no way would I ever doubt your talent or question your qualifications as a drummer and an artist. While checking out for your works I really enjoyed your music and I declare myself a fan of jazz.
Unfortunately I don’t share all of my music preferences with my son. He’s much more into rock style. I believe you found out he’s more inclined to rock music if I can guess from your comment on his improvisation performance where you noted that “this was too much in rock style for the specific genre”.
I will put aside this comment although I would be interested to know from you, how wrong would it be for a 10 year old kid to play in “rock style” especially when taking a “Rock and Pop” examination, to result to a fail mark. I’m sorry but didn’t see any comments for this particular song on the technical aspects of his performance and I would say that such a comment pertains to the drummer’s personal style and the examiner’s own music preferences. But that’s just me, so please don’t take the words of an amateur drummer too seriously.
But to the point. My intention with this letter is to actually thank you. Thank you for failing my son. If anything, you have given him a valuable lesson. Not one in drums, but in life. You certainly have taught him that there is injustice in this world. That there are instances that even if we do everything right, something or someone might come along the way and turn things upside down. And this time, just this time, it happens and it won’t be our fault.
I know my son and I know he’s too harsh on judging himself. When I saw his report at first I was hesitant to let him know of his fail marks, afraid he would be deeply hurt and discouraged from picking up the sticks again, especially since he seemed so confident about his performance in the exams and very optimistic for his results, one of the very few times his perfectionist self was really satisfied since the day he embarked on his music learning journey.
Thank you for this slap. Oh, yeah, it did hurt at first. He did cry. He couldn’t understand why this happened. “Why”? “I KNOW I did well”. I knew it too. I was there. I listened. And with the poor sound isolation of the examination room and my tiny musical ear I knew he did great. He certainly didn’t deserve to fail.
So I had to tell him that out of a total of 14 candidates who sat the exams in Bahrain only 3 have passed. Which I guess it’s true. I had to remind him how irritated you seemed at the day of the exams and how we thought and commented on it to be your way of looking “cool” and “strict”. And believe it or not my son would want you to be strict. Very strict. With regards to his learning be it in music, history or science he demands from his tutors that they are strict with him, strict but fair too. He knows that only by challenging his boundaries he can be a better version of himself.
Anyways, as a last resort to console him I suggested we should watch one of his favorite movies, “Whiplash” for once more. That calmed him down and made him realize that whatever other people say about you, however they null your expectations and dreams, you have to “upbeat” them by trying harder and believing in yourself.
I can’t thank you enough for this lesson on injustice. Nevertheless, as a mum I also had to teach my son a lesson out of his experience. And my lesson had to do with people’s reaction to injustice. I had to show him that no injustice should remain in the dark. That when we see injustice we have to take all necessary steps to correct it and make sure it won’t happen again. That justice should at least be given a chance.
So I hope you don’t mind that I had to report to the examination center for an investigation on my son’s marks and inconsistent comments. Of course I had to put down all the details of the examination so I had to report that on that day you seemed a little “too” nervous. I didn’t mention that as per rumors you had some issues with your arrival or accommodation in Bahrain cause this would be simply gossip, but I had to mention that when it was my son’s turn to take the exam, and with a 30 mins delay, you sent him back out of the examination room and decided he would be examined last on the list on the grounds that he’s “left handed” and you needed to “save time”. I don’t know if being a left handed is considered an impairment to you, but then again in the next minute or so, you changed your mind and asked him back in, so luckily my son didn’t have to wait for another couple of hours for the 10 seconds he needed to place his floor tom and ride from right to left. That would be “unfair” for him waiting that long to simply fail, don’t you think?
I really felt obliged to return the favor back to you. So there you have it. My thank you and a lesson: Never underestimate a mum’s sense of justice.
Honestly wishing you the best of luck in your career,
A mum and (amateur) drummer.

The Wine Box in Athens

IMG_1107 (1)Some friendships are like good old wine. You keep your precious bottle hidden in some cellar, away from light, gathering dust but never forgotten. You know its production year, what is made of, where it’s coming from yet you anticipate for the time that you will finally blow the dust off the bottle and open it to pleasantly surprise you with its taste.
Being away from home for all these years, it wasn’t easy to maintain contact with all of my friends. The only means I had to get a glimpse into their lives was social media. From time to time I would see pictures of their holidays, weddings, celebrations, new starts, I would read their profile updates, political views, jokes and my reaction would be a “like” on their posts or a comment at best. But a “like” or a “comment” is a poor substitute to verbal and eye to eye communication and recently I found myself determined and committed to meet at least one of my old friends in every visit to Athens.
I had been promising Alexander that I would visit his wine store The Wine Box since the day I found out about it. And I finally did it! It all started with a call from my side changing my voice and asking him for the biggest and most expensive champagne bottle but I couldn’t hold myself for too long and burst into laughters… Eventually, over a glass of fine wine we made up for all this time each was “lost” in the adventure called life.
The Wine Box is an exceptional cellar for wine enthusiasts where they can find everything from rare selections from around the world to wine glasses and bottle openers or assortments for gift baskets like fine chocolates or extra virgin olive oil.
IMG_1104 (1)
Suggestion for a basket with cookies and “Lithino”cretan olive oil
I mostly like red wine so here are Alexander’s suggestions:
La Bernardine – Chateauneuf du Pape – M. Chapoutier 
OIKONOMOY – Sitia – Domaine Economou – Ziros Crete 
So when you are in Athens drop by The Wine Box at Xenokratous 25, Kolonaki or order your gifts or favorite wine online at www.wine-box.gr. Also make sure to follow their Facebook page as quite often they organize wine tasting evenings where varieties from all around the world are introduced by wine experts.
Until I open my “next bottle”… Cheers!

 

Why I don’t shop in Bahrain anymore

about-02
It has been a long time since I visited any of the big shopping malls in Bahrain. And today I was reminded once again why I haven’t done so all this time. You see, I happen to travel a lot and get informed on the latest fashion, products and/or prices. I always look for the best quality and price and I value customer service relationships a great deal. I talk with shops’ representatives all around the world and I have gained their trust and respect as they have gained mine.
Unfortunately, except for a couple of businesses, this is not the case with Bahrain. The last few years the products’ selection is minimal and in fashion it happens that all you can find on the shelves is last year’s stock often with a “New Collection” price tag. Few months ago my friend bought a pair of Valentino pumps at 50% off, a 50% off that was actually the original price in any of the big online shops. I was surprised when once I went to Saks to buy a pair of jeans and they only had to show me TWO (yes only TWO!) brand codes. I have quit long time ago shopping clothes for my kids in Bahrain since the day I discovered the US prices were instantly transformed into BD, tripling them compared to the US: Bye Bye Tommy Hilfiger, Juicy Couture, GAP, see you online or when i visit the US.
Other times you may find newly released electronic gadgets are insanely expensive, like when the new iPhone 5s was introduced and the golden colored one cost 150 dinars more than its silver version in a non Apple-approved shop in City Center. Or you may find that the expensive watch (i.e. Cartier) you intend to buy as tax-free (supposedly there is no tax in Bahrain, right?) costs more than in any other decent jewelry shop in Europe where a generous tax is imposed…  And let us not talk about the prices in the supermarket or the trick of “.. oh sorry! the price has changed and the tag is still not updated” if you ever spot the difference.
So what’s going on?
Profiteering to the point of disgust.
Ok. I can understand that the market of Bahrain, being it small, cannot absorb the aftershock of a global financial crisis thus the limited variety in their imports. Businesses are afraid to be exposed and they have right. What I don’t understand is their obsession of profiteering even in such market conditions when their actions can only guarantee further loss in the long run. Let me explain.
This morning I went to i-Machines to look for an original iPad case for my son. My jaw dropped when I saw the price, especially since I had checked before with Apple Store in the US:
Bahrain price: 50 Dinars meaning approx. 133 dollars with today’s rate according to xe.com.
How much does the exact same case cost in Apple store?
US price: 79 Dollars. YES 79 Dollars.
Do the math yourself adding boldly the shipping cost to Bahrain (that’s what they always provide as an excuse for the high prices, they cannot blame “taxes”cause there is supposedly a free-trade agreement between US and Bahrain) and you see there’s still a big price difference. You don’t have to be a genius to figure it out. The same profit margin seems to apply for another couple of items I checked  with the store (mini iPad, earphones etc).
Needless to say I left the store empty handed. Then I thought I might check for a mascara. During my recent trip to Greece I forgot to buy my mascara from the beauty store and didn’t have the time to get it from Athens airport too so I thought I will get it in Bahrain. Ha. Wrong.
I went to Debenhams and asked for my usual Yves Saint Laurent one (Baby Doll). The lady told me it was 21 BD. I wasn’t sure how much I had paid for the exact same mascara in Athens before – certainly much less- but as I needed it now I thought ok, I will get it. So I took it to the cashier where I was asked 22 bd. I told the cashier that the sales lady told me 21 and then I showed her the tag on the mascara packaging clearly stating 21 bd. She told me she was sorry but in her system the price was 22 bd. Once again I left empty handed and my issue was certainly not the 1 bd increase from the sale point to the cashier…
By the way 22 BD = 58,3  USD, 53,48 Euros or 41,17 GBP with again today’s rates from xe.com.
Soon after I came back home I double checked the price of the mascara:  32 Dollars in the US, 25 Euros in Greece, 25 Pounds in the UK.
Honestly I can’t think of a reason why a mascara would cost DOUBLE its price in Bahrain.
What these local businesses don’t get is the fact that consumers in today’s world KNOW and if they don’t know, they certainly have the way to FIND OUT. Almost every consumer has access to the internet today. Big brands with international presence usually apply a universal price with small -if not tiny- fluctuations that reflect any taxes/dues or shipping costs. Anything way above this “universal” price is a rip-off and I certainly don’t want to be passed for a fool. So what can you do?
  1. Be an informed consumer rather than a compulsive one. If you find something you really like in a shop in Bahrain check its price online yourself or have someone else check for you.
  2. Except for items considered “dangerous”, most of your finds in Bahrain can be shipped from online shops abroad straight to your door. In fact there are few shops that offer free express shipping and shops that even deduct the VAT when shipping to Bahrain from Europe. Others include any dues in your total so you don’t have to pay anything for customs’ clearance in Bahrain.
  3. Shipping from US is tax free and there should be no import dues in Bahrain. Unfortunately this does not apply for shipments from Europe. There is a minimum amount set by the customs authorities and when exceeded there are dues based on the cargo type charged to the receiver. (I have tried to find what this minimum is with no success so far, it’s up to the customs’ officer interpretation of the law I guess – sorry for being sarcastic!)
  4. When the online shop doesn’t provide shipping outside of their country you can open an Aramex Shop and Ship account, have your items shipped to your mailbox in the US, UK or any of the big shopping hubs where Aramex provides service and then have your items shipped at a fee to your door. It’s not cheap but it can be proven cheaper than buying your find in Bahrain. Mind you that Aramex recently updated its policy to include the shipping of perfumes in their service. With regards to a mailbox service abroad I personally prefer Borderlinx mainly because of it’s association with DHL who are superfast but also because they offer free repacking of multiple shipments into one to cut-off the shipping cost. Additionally with their concierge service they can buy for you in shops that do not accept foreign credit cards.
  5. If you don’t feel like doing any of these yourself but still want to shop without being ripped off, appoint someone to do them for you. At a small fee a personal shopper can help you with all your needs however small or big and save you time and money. You can email your inquiries: idol@mail.com.
I’m all ears for your stories of shopping horror!
Update1: Please check my comment below as some people seem to have been annoyed by this article.
Update2: In my recent trip to Dubai I have checked the price for the mascara both in Bahrain airport and Sephora Dubai. The price is around 16 BD so Debenhams is more expensive by a whole 6 dinars (aprox. 15 USD/
EUR). Just for one mascara.

Totally Fringed

Proenza Schouler unveiled their new collection of totes out of which the fringed version in aloe green and black really stands out.
My eyes see “waves” of contentment as the fringe trend will stick around for some more since its recent comeback.

IMG_0540.JPG

Good for my Juicy Couture fringed suede boots I hadn’t worn for a long time.
IMG_3480.JPG
And I think Rebecca Minkoff’s fringed suede backpack was an excellent choice.
Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 2.26.06 AM
Fringed Leather Skirt, Jem and the Holograms available at Shopbop
From skirts to jackets and ponchos to scarves, I like every little trim… What about you?

A treat A day with Moleskine

Yeah!
My new year’s diaries, just arrived in the mail and I simply can’t wait writing on them.

 

This year it was the Little Prince, for 2016 I chose Peanuts… Isn’t it cute?
But to be honest I’m quite intrigued to get my hands on the Starbucks collection which is available in South Korea! Flying to Seoul next week, hopefully before it’s out of stock…

 

starbucks_2016_698.jpg
Photo Credit: moleskine.com
If you are a Moleskine fan like me you can order your supplies online here. Be sure to check everyday until Christmas for they hold special treats on their holiday calendar…
Now, if you would like to see what Moleskine diaries look like and how cool they are, check my video review below.
xxx

 

Tripping to Paradise

Paradise does exist. It’s a tiny little dot laying in the middle of the pacific ocean. Mortals call it Maui, Hawaii. I’m back in town but I left my heart there.
What to do… Life is a beach.
Maui’s beauty is irresistible and our stay at Alejandro’s studios in Haiku- Pauwela was beyond enjoyable. You definitely have to visit the island at least once in your life and if you finally do, check with Alejandro for your accommodation. His profile on Airbnb is found here.
Aloha! 

VIVA icflix !!!

Do you enjoy watching movies? Do you have a favorite show which you wouldn’t miss at any cost? Are you a  Bollywood fan or a Jazwood enthusiast? Well, I have good news for all of you!

VIVA-BAHRAIN_Facebook

VIVA Bahrain, the Kingdom’s most innovative telecom provider, has partnered with icflix, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading online streaming service, to bring us the ultimate digital experience: access to unlimited premium movies, TV shows, cartoons and documentaries, from literally ANYWHERE and for only 3 BD per month!
Yes, you read right. 3 BD per month! That’s even less than the cost of ONE ticket to cinema! Plus, with your icflix subscription you can be granted access on up to FIVE different devices! mmm.. that means like getting… five tickets for the price of one for as many movies, shows, cartoons you wish in a month!
If you are a VIVA user like myself, here’s how you can grab this amazing offer:
You’re all set!
Once your subscription is activated, you will be granted immediate access to a wide selection of Jazwood, Hollywood and Bollywood content as well as to kids’ award winning programs which can be played on up to five assigned devices, so you can watch your favorite movies or shows from your smartphone, tablet, computer or smart TV anytime, anywhere. Arabic, French and English audio or subtitles are available on option so you can get the most out of your  icflix  subscription. The 3 BD fee is charged directly on your post-paid bill or prepaid credit with VIVA so you can enjoy watching without worrying about anything, plus your first month is FREE!!
So what are you waiting for? Go for it as I did! My kids already watch their favorite show from their iPads and they love it!
VIVA icflix!

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

#ootd: Geometry Patterns

IMG_0439

In the mood for celebrating our friend’s birthday. I even sang “Happy birthday mr. President” for the birthday boy 🙂
And since I received tons of questions about my outfit, here it is: Dress by Juicy Couture. Showstopper heels by Taylor Says. Rose gold bracelet made by me and my fitness tracker (I will be writing about in another post): Misfit Shine.
As for the amazing Taylor Says heels for which I have written in the past, here’s some of my favorite pairs out of her new collection:
Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 6.38.36 PM
Fire Cracker – $179.99
Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 6.38.13 PM
Jubilee – $119.99
Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 6.36.43 PM
Decklan – $149.99
With their buy one, get one 50% off offer and free international shipping I dare you to just walk away!
I’m sure you won’t let this chance… walk by.