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).

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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”.

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

 

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My favorite one!

 

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Almost ready for the exhibition!

 

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Stella Stylianou

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

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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!

 

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Why I don’t shop in Bahrain anymore

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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.

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!

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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!

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Operation: Clean Closet

This morning I decided it was about time. Having been away from home for more than three months my closet was seriously messy. I felt embarrassed by just looking at it especially since quite often I am asked to organize other people’s closets. But usually this is what happens: you do other people’s closets and you finally end up not having the time to organize your own..

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This is just one fourth of my wardrobe, mainly everyday clothes. But still a lot of these clothes have not been worn and their tags are just hanging screaming: “Wear Me! Wear Me!” What a shame…
So I was sitting and watching all these labels and decided I should do something about it. I should start wearing these clothes, don’t you think? And even though I believe there exist more than enough OOTD columns out there, I thought I could be doing something useful to my readers: offer them some inspiration.
But first I will have to give this wardrobe a good shuffle.
Now, if you want to make over your closets visit Real Simple and get the inspiration you need to help you kickstart your project. Or you could simply call me in to help!
So there you go, soon I will be posting photos of my outfits. Pay attention!!!

Oman : a photo gallery

I’m back from our short trip to Oman and although I have a hectic schedule these days I still feel like sharing some photos with you as I believe a picture is worth a million words. Some of these photos you may also find on my Instagram account: idolimages
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The Beach at the Shangri-La resort
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View from Shangri-La’s Al Husn Hotel
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Al Husn Hotel private beach – exclusive to Al Husn guests
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Al Husn Hotel private swimming pool

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We had a great stay at Shangri-La Al Husn Hotel. Then we were taken fishing. We caught nothing more than footage in our cameras (editing project number 24 on my to-do list? bear with me please!) but we loved exploring the beaches.

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Our host saved the best for last: The revelation: The road trip to Jebel Akhdar (The Green Mountain), high up to 2,400 mtrs. And we were left speechless!
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A rose-water “factory” in the village of Sayk.
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The village of Sayk
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Swimming pool view of the Sahab hotel.
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Enjoying the view and some fresh air!
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Alila Hotel
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Alila Hotel
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Indoor pool at Alila Hotel
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Alila Hotel
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View from the special council for the people of the village of Al Roos
 That’s all for now and we are certainly going back to explore more of Oman’s beauty.
Oh! And I shouldn’t forget: a special thanks to my “panoramic view” photographer and of course to our host! (They know who they are!) xxxx
All photos were shot with iPhone 5S.

Red Bull Art of Motion a Greek Win!

“Be better than yesterday, worse than tomorrow”
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Photo: Redbull.gr

 

With this motto there’s no doubt 19 year old Greek free runner Dimitris Kyrsanidis will give us more exciting moments in the future. His performance at Red Bull Art of Motion in Santorini was very impressive and flawless thus secured him the first place in the competition. His tricks wowed the crowd. This boy wasn’t free running – he was simply flying.
Watch here for the best moments of the event. At 00:38 and 01:01 Dimitris Kyrsanidis jumps his magic.Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 5.54.39 PM
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Photo: Redbull.gr
Do you know what I loved about Dimitris, besides his immaculate technique and adorable baby face? He seems to have instilled years of Greek values and traditions in a fresh and powerful twist. He’s the new, unconventionally traditional guy, every grandma would love to have as grandson. Before he even started he wasn’t afraid to make the sign of the cross showing respect and trust in his beliefs. He competed exercising the athletic ideal of his ancestors: sport is not just a physical act; It is a complete way of life and it involves mind, spirit, culture, religion, education. It transforms not only your body but your whole being. It’s something more than the art of motion: It’s the art of living. You could clearly see these ideas manifesting in every move of this young man, from congratulating and discussing with his co-athletes to jumping and landing with such a steady force and grace, it was out of this world.
Dimitris welcomed victory in pure modesty. Like an Olympic athlete and at such a young age, he honored his family without even saying a word. They should be really proud of him as his participation in this competition reflected his wonderful upbringing. Congrats DK. Congrats to your family too. We will be following you.
It’s worth watching the full length video below with the Art of Motion semifinals and finals but you may as well just “jump” to 42:30 and 1:35:03 respectively, to admire Dimitris’ performance.

The Liebster Award :) Thank You!

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by beauty expert and blogger Maria Muekalia !! For amazing tips and fashion trends follow her NOW!!

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Thanks Maria, I’m glad to (finally) answer all of your questions:
When did you know fashion/beauty was your calling? – Since I was a little kid, about 9 years old. I remember my fashion mentor: auntie Eve bringing me all the nice stuff from her trips to Paris. I started making fashion drawings around that time. By the age of twelve I had made my first handbag out of an old pair of jeans and I was spending my pocket money to fashion magazines.
How long have you had your blog? – idol-image.com is up for the last 3 years. But I had experimented with other blogs before that.
Would you want to be a personal makeup artist or stylist? – I am a stylist and I do my friends’ makeup, among other things.
What is your favorite color? P!nk – now you know my favorite singer too.
What is your favorite quote? – Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. Aristotle.
Jeans or shorts? – Jeans in Bahrain, shorts in Greece (my legs tanned).
Business or casual? – Hmmm… smart casual.
Favorite makeup product? – Dior’s Rosy Glow
You’re on a desert island…what three items are in your purse? – My iPhone, my iPad and a solar powered charger.
Favorite fashion accessory? – Bag of course!
What is your dream job? – If I were reborn I would have become a musician.
Now it’s my turn! and here are my nominations:

Teen Diary

TheAwsomeDish

Let’s Take Flight

Fatima Qassim

Threads Luxury

Living Uncluttered

Kloidaskloset

A mom’s blog

NordicBalt Fashion

Rose Gold

My love, My life, My everything

 

Here are my questions you have to answer before passing your own questions to your blog nominations.
Rules (they exist so we can “break” them 🙂
Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
Answer the eleven questions set for you.
Nominate eleven bloggers with less than a thousand followers.
Write eleven questions for your nominees
Who is your idol and why?
What is your craziest ambition?
If you were an animal, what animal would you rather be?
Seaside or mountain?
Sprouts or broccoli? 
Are you a “feminist”?
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
What is the predominant color in your closet?
Where would one find you at exactly 12:45 pm on weekdays?
Which country is at the top of your “to visit” list now?
Money or glory?