An Insider’s Reflections

*A little note before I begin, I’m speaking as a person on the inside of social media who manages to stay level headed and view things as an outsider, I am in no way passing judgement but merely stating what I see as a demise. That being said, I’m not here to please anyone, so if you’re unable to handle some straight talk, you’re on the wrong website, go back to your unicorn land.*

It was a day just like any other in 2013, after the birth of my daughter, where I had this uncontrollable urge to put my foot down against the monstrosity of conformity. I refused to raise my child in a world endorsing individuality but in reality heading towards the exact opposite. I’ve had a fire in me since I was a child, and growing up and even at work I was nicknamed “Che” because I always felt the need to question the status quo, to revolt against the system. The system in this case being social and not political. read more

The Fish House Intercontinental Dubai

Dubai Festival City has been dubbed a self sufficient “city within a city” and includes residential, business and entertainment developments gravitating towards the waterfront. The Intercontinental in Dubai Festival City stands firm facing the water and boasts a spectacular view of the bay as well as the newly opened seafood restaurant, The Fish House.

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Access to the restaurant is from the main lobby as well as from the promenade. I chose to experience the full hustle and bustle of the hotel and upon descending to enter The Fish House, I was led by the decorative bronze fish on the wall down the ramp to reach the indoor seating area. The color scheme is a soothing blue and white, reminiscent of Provincial France with a touch of modernity. The bay windows and doors across the floor welcome light to fill the space as well as make way to the terrace facing the iconic Ferris wheel. read more

Manzil Downtown Dubai

In a world full of standardized hotels and themes, stands one who stays true to the Oriental setting it is in and spreads the renowned Middle Eastern hospitality to international guests.

I had heard a lot about Manzil being the home away from home, and wanted to experience first hand what that meant. Being a solo traveler in a not so far away country, I didn’t expect to miss home this much, and I hadn’t realized it until I arrived and it hit me. I crave the familiarity of my country in my surroundings, and I was in awe of how Manzil brought the Arab culture closer to the rest of the world. read more

Tattoos Are More Than Body Art

One of the questions I get asked the most is about my tattoos, what they mean, whether they hurt or not, and how I chose my artists. Every time I decide on sharing their meaning and the inspiration behind each, I get held back by the fear of exposing my emotions too much, but then again if I can benefit only one person who is on the fence and needs some straight talk, then I’m all in.

To be very honest, the pain depends on your tolerance, expect the worst and you might be pleasantly surprised. If it’s a large tattoo the body numbs itself, hormones are released to make you relaxed and soon the pain will be pleasurable. But it IS after all, a needle constantly pecking on your skin, so expect some discomfort. read more

Paris Fashion Week 101

Life is all about making things happen, and for me, one of the things I had always wanted to tick off my bucket list was Couture Week. Not only as a blogger (4 years and counting), but for the child in me who used to look wide eyed at magazine spreads, watching Fashion TV, wondering what it was like to live that glamorous experience. I had shoved it aside because Fashion Week invitations are only for celebrities, magazine editors, fashion buyers and the likes, and it isn’t an event you can buy tickets to attend, but a highly coveted personal invitation must be in your possession. read more

The Great Friendship Purge Of 2017

A new year doesn’t mean too much to me, I don’t set new goals and I don’t force resolutions upon myself knowing I won’t keep them. However the fourth quarter of 2017 brought with it my first writing hiatus that lasted a few months, stemming from the lack of inspiration and the time I took off to do some soul searching. My online presence decreased, my Instagram posting became erratic, my rants on Twitter became nonexistent, I totally abandoned Snapchat, and I avoided polished Facebook photos that would eventually be the discussion of my entire friend community. read more

The Doers Club

I am known as Maria the style blogger, (or as many people call me “style me”) who is always attending posh events in the most casual outfits. “Don’t you feel awkward?”, they ask. “Kudos for staying true to your personal style!”, they say. And staying true is what helps me to not bend day in and day out as the influence of a certain sector of society tries to get to you, peer pressure style.

The only summer event that was true to itself, thus allowing all the attendees including myself to be bare and genuine, was the notorious Monday nights of food, drinks, friends and dancing, a.k.a. the Doers Club. What makes it so sought after? It is because amidst the cookie cutter events happening in the capital targeting the same circle, rises an alternative by Dewar’s that caters to independent creatives living true to their passion. read more

Off The Beaten Path In London

Upon returning from London a few months ago, I had shared a post summing up places to visit (click here to read) and I was asked why this city in particular left an imprint on my heart. No amount of storytelling will convey the charm of London and its eclecticism, however I dedicate this post to those who aren’t unlike me, literature buffs, music lovers and art connoisseurs who appreciate objects and places with soul.

Naji and I are huge detective buffs with Sherlock Holmes topping our list. Any fan of the TV series Sherlock will recognize Speedy’s Cafe as the local eatery right below the on screen version of 221 B Baker Street which in fact is located on Euston Street. I kid you not, we walked kilometers to reach the cafe on over 3 separate occasions and each time we found it to be closed, and as it wasn’t meant to be for us to have the recommended English breakfast inside, we had to be satisfied with a mere photo at the entrance step. read more

Influencers And Those Who Toot Their Horns

The term ‘influencer’ gets thrown around a lot, and although I’m not exactly sure how it came to exist, I know that a couple of years ago everyone wanted to be labeled an ‘influencer’ whereas today it is a shunned word. Why is it shunned? Because those who truly have influence in their field loathe being thrown in the same pod as the more recent Instagram ‘public figures’ glorifying their material possessions.

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But what is an influencer, really?

I personally don’t think it takes tens of thousands or even a million social media followers to make you an influencer. An influencer influences, no matter how small his/her reach is, if that person is able to change opinions and shape minds, then this is the category they fall into from tech gadget savants to beauty product experts. Influence isn’t a matter to take lightly, because with reach comes responsibility, but there are also major cons to this digital phenomenon. There is no denying that a great portion of the blogosphere has become a marketing strategy, and while it is never wrong to monetize one’s influence, there is a fine line between hoarding all the collaborations you can get, and being genuine. The majority of the audience are smart enough to differentiate between authenticity and paid content, but there are still fresher minds that are really influenced by a blogger they look up to, and if the latter is merely posting in return for a few bucks, this particular demographic will be falsely deceived in thinking the reviewed product is a must have and therefore will go ahead and buy it without the proper research. read more

Spellbound By London

London for me has always been a fairy tale city, from kings and queens to lords and ladies, for someone who pretty much lives in their head and daydreams of past centuries, I had it built up in my mind. That being said, I still never understood what the fuss was about in this present day and age and why those who visit develop a bond and a passion for this city. I was adamant on finding out firsthand, and after years of convincing my husband to join me in my adventure, he caved and we booked a ticket for London, and despite the fact that some tried to convince us to squeeze in Scotland and/or Ireland in the same trip, I was determined to make our long vacation dedicated to thoroughly exploring one city. read more