The Power of Music Therapy

fantasy, Fashion, Life choices, Style, Uncategorized

Before you begin reading this article, it is not about finding a solution to your insomnia, now that that’s out of the way today, we’re going to be talking about empowering your senses while you sleep, through the power of music. Don’t believe it? Read on..

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(All images with the exception of the one above credited to Tim Walker) As most of you that follow me on social media know it’s been quite a trying time between building my fashion company, Avastave and look for a full-time job, and even if your sister-friend(me) doesn’t show it, it is often draining, demotivating and downright depressing.

Tim Walker for VOGUE Italia

When you go from having a full time job to having to peace-out at home for three months, it can get quite tiresome-fast. But, as with my earlier post on licenses I will stress that not having a job, doesn’t define you, especially if you’re working towards it and have goals, these goals are for you and you alone, they do not need to be relayed on to friends, family or your followers. Somethings should be private. But all of the #caucasianAnxiety caused by these changes in my life have left me feeling physocologically and emotionally drained which is where healing music comes in.

Tim Walker for W Magazine

According to Physcologytoday, music not only helps to reduce heart rates, blood pressure and cortisol levels but also aids the social functioning of people with schizophrenia. Pair that with music that has a positive message which is used in music therapy, and you get reduced anxiety, depression and even chronic pain. Typically, I wouldn’t read into it too much but when I happened to fall asleep listening to a composition by YellowBrickCinema – Relaxing Music on Youtube, before bed one day, I truly understood its impact. After weeks of feeling like my body was weighed down, that particular morning I got out of bed feeling fresh, rejuvenated and optimistic. No joke, it was like a new day with new possibilities and every door is open to you, now I’m not going to fib and tell you that those feelings of negativity weren’t somewhere in the back of my mind but I did not wake up thinking about them, they were more a part of life as opposed to ‘my life’.

Tim Walker

In the following few days I alternated between the channel above and Relax Music Channels’ ‘Music To Heal Female Energy’ and woke each time to find myself feeling calmer, more positive and content with the efforts I’m putting into make things work in my life. In fact, I’m listening to it right now and it’s already made me feel waves better than I did this morning! If you don’t believe me, give it a try because this three hour track can mean the difference between you and some severe bouts of depression.

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Formal Attire

Black Tie, Fashion, Fashion Business, formal, Life choices, Style, Twenties, Uncategorized

We’re all familiar with the term ‘classic’, i.e a classic suit, classic style, etc. But, what happens when the need to please society interferes with our ability to pioneer our own style?

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(Image: Alexander McQueen) I’m a firm believer in dressing for the occasion, but I am just as keen on dressing for myself. Let me explain, a black-tie occasion is no place for jeans or tank tops, it is to be met with a certain level of class and dignity. However, in recent times all previous notions of what defines class has been called to question, leaving us with a multitude of confused attendees to said events. I think any dress code should be respected and much like wearing shorts and flip-flops to bars or brunches, I’d say opposing this is not only a sign of disrespect but a blatant disregard to the tradition of fine dressing. There’s a fine art in honoring dress codes while standing out of the crowd, and here’s how you do it.

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(Image: Tom Ford) A black-tie affair to me simply means a suit and tie paired with a great pair of shoes. And on receiving news that a rather exciting family wedding will be taking place this October, I walked into my closet and acknowledged ( to feign surprise would be an outright lie) the lack of suits. You see, to me suits always signaled the triumph of convention, and conventional thinking was always associated with the anti-lgbt movement.. ‘a man must dress like a man’ and so on and so forth. Yes, I own informal jackets but that is about it. As I have always stated that sexual orientation shouldn’t play a part in the way we dress, I admit that my initial thought process was a bit hypocritical, though whether I am convinced on my own stance at this point is yet to be determined. The point remains that suits today are not what they were ten or fifteen years ago. In fact today we have the embellished jacquards of McQueen and the slick velveteen’s of Tom Ford and with the removal of any specific laws of dress we are free to choose any of them for any given occasion. The art however is directly linked with your understanding of ‘black tie’ and any other dress code, ‘formal’ for example will always mean good trousers, covered shoes and no T-shirts, yes we occasionally see that one person who appears to have missed the memo but they do carry it off and so can you.

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(Image Tom Ford) You see, working within the context of a black tie theme gives you plenty of room. No one said you have to look all masc-for-masc in your graduation suit or even stuffy in a sad conventional ( I shuddered again) suit + tie combo. Log onto Pinterest or Vogue.com and you’ll see that sleek evening jackets appear in embellished variations, while exaggerated bow-ties have made a significant come back and in my opinion have made ties seem like the joke by example. There’s also a prism of colour to choose from, why do black when lilac silk emphasizes your toned physique so much better? In fashion as in life, the best thing to do when faced with an obstacle is to take a step back and observe it, in this case staying true to yourself while dressing within a formal dress code might be your Rubix cube but observing that it does not, by any means enforce your choice of suit style, accessories or for that matter even colour is  your solution. So, the next time you’re invited to a special black tie affair, have some fun with colour, choose trousers that have a satin stripe down the side paired with pink Gucci loafers and a Saint Laurent tuxedo blazer or go all-out in a head-to-toe in block colour. There’s always a way to stay true to yourself but it often requires a little compromise. So, am I team suits? As of today, I’m fairly excited for my custom Avastave version, that’s for sure.

Teen Movies

Fashion, Fashion Business, Life choices, Style, Twenties, Uncategorized

Do you have a copy of Mean Girls saved on a hard drive somewhere that you watch at least every six months? Do you inadvertently choose that feel-good movie of teenage angst over that documentary on Sea Gulls that you know would probably make for better conversation? Well, if you do then you are an eternal optimist, and here’s why.

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(Image Handsome Devil) The subject of most teen movies is often about overcoming hurdles whether it be physical or emotional and often the lead character and friends comes out the other side, a little scathed but the better for it. If you pay close attention, by revisiting these teen movies and their various scenarios you learn something about yourself. You begin to notice how as you grow older you start to roll your eyes when the lead quarterback asks out the nerdy girl, friends are loyal to a fault and you even start to look at your phone when you know the movies nearing a happy ending. Am I wrong?

Most of us have become so averse to the thought of things simply working out that watching it on screen often makes us question the authenticity of the film itself. Now I’m not saying that every teen movie deserves an award or that every one of the scenarios isn’t cringe worthy, but if you’re like me you know why you watch them. They help you imagine a childhood you didn’t have. Schooling in the Middle East followed by high school and university in the region never fulfilled me. Because even though at a point I learned to be outwardly proud of who I am, I never had that it-moment, that teen movie moment where the one person that I liked turned around and said ‘Hey, it’s tough but I love you too.

Mean Girls Movie

(Image Mean Girls) That’s a pattern that’s followed through into my late twenties, I rarely fall but when I do it’s often for the ones that don’t know themselves. Some teen movies still give me that sense of elation that you felt when you saw your crush walk through the door or that moment when you realize being who you are is okay. These movies also serve to diminish our growing sense of doubt and cynicism with their positivity. How many people do you meet today that tell you they still believe in true love? As most of you know a few months back I released #TheLoveProject for my brand Avastave, which showcased people from various walks of life talking about what love means to them which was a learning experience for me. No matter how cynical you are it pays to be aware that love, even in the smallest form can change your very core. Now, when I say love I don’t mean that being single or alone is negative, in fact you could love various other things just as much as you love your partner but, you have to love. Because, love keeps you alive in a time when the world is shrouded in so much fear and doubt.

Wild Child with Emma Roberts

(Image Wild Child) So, if you’re broke at the moment stay in this weekend, pop in a good old teen movie, have a cry, multiple sighs and a lot of laughs and remember to be that kid who believed in love, because that is the person you were before the world forced you to change.

What’s with the Junk?

Fashion, Life choices, Uncategorized

Take preconceived notions of the perfect family or perfect relationship out of the equation and ask yourself, if sex wasn’t that important, who would you be attracted to? In a time when people are more experimentative than ever, why do our physical compulsions govern what truly holds a relationship together?

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(All imagery Tom Ford ad campaigns through the ages)

There is greater meaning to be found in a stranger’s soul than in their beds. But often times that little voice in our heads is quick to jump the gun between our heart and our loins with the proclamation – Yes, he/she is attractive! It would be a lie to say physical attraction isn’t important, especially when you’re young but with time comes the realization that the finely decorated outer shell can only mask its inhabitant for so long.

If you take a moment to remove the urges of your physical being and see someone, man or woman, is it possible you could learn to love the person within? We are allowed to write our own rules, as witnessed by the rising number of couples that are engaged in Triad-relationships, involving two partners and altogether comprising of three, that make the relationship. We are so stunted by thinking of our future in the standardized and force fed context of the two parent white Pickett fence module, that we have programmed our minds to disprove any alternative way of life.

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How can we proclaim to be a progressive society when we are still holding onto ancient ideologies? Approach life with the simpler notion, that everything has a purpose. Death, life, sex, romance, anger, positive and negative are all part of the same coin. But, to let one just one element of our physical being sculpt the shape of our futures, is truly committing a disservice to ourselves and others. They say sex sells and it does because the act of sex itself is still considered taboo, it panders to our simplest needs and primal urges but leaves everything else in the shadows.

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Men are capable of being friends with women without society demanding they have a sexual past, present or future. Sometimes the best relationships in life come from appreciating the beauty in others that aren’t evident to the rest of the world. Picture yourself seated in a massive cinema with the rest of the world, translucent tubes emanating from your tinted helmets and connected to the large screen that is feeding you all this collated data. Now, take a breath and remove your helmet. What you are feeling is relief, relief in the fact that from here on out you can live and love whomever you choose.

Men like cars, women like dresses, every man must work and every woman must bear children. Rules and stigmas created by a misguided society influenced by a multitude of factors. But in 2017, when so much of what we’ve learned about ourselves has undergone a thorough analysis and caused an avalanche of change, why are some things harder to shake off than others?

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The past two weeks have been a blur. With no day job to encompass my time I’ve taken to hitting the gym full-speed, tiding up the flat and being more attentive to my laundry ( you think clothes in a walk-in clean themselves?) and of course, this blog. I find myself slowly nearing that person who I use to be, one that wasn’t as cynical. Having a full-time job in a place like Dubai is devastatingly exhausting, and attending it often leaves other areas of our lives sparse. But what is the alternative? You certainly can’t pay rent without money and you most certainly can’t get money without a job. Which brings me to my next question, are we as people, so desperate to have a set of rules in our lives that we are willing to sacrifice our happiness for said-rules? Are we so afraid of creating a life that has not been tried on before?

I believe a certain level of discipline goes a long way. But what happens when we are born into a society that dictates a person’s value through the accumulation of possessions, titles, jobs, clothes, etc? We are trained to look down on boyfriends and potential partners who don’t have career goals but are finding an alternative way to live their lives and stay happy. Is that kind of happiness any less-sweeter than the kind that material things bring?

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I recently told someone that ‘Material things aren’t important to me’ to which they masked shock, and said ‘Really, you?!’ to which my response was simple, ‘liking pretty things doesn’t make me materialistic’, I don’t judge people for how they live their lives – or where they live their lives. The prettiest clothes can often mask the ugliest personalities and the most successful humans are often the unhappiest. We are so desperate to distract ourselves from many of the issues in our personal lives that we throw ourselves into work and accumulate things and people that have no real-value, and in the end who does it benefit?

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I believe that success is measured by you. Your success could be raising five kids with a partner that is never at home, or back packing through Europe and waiting tables or even taking night classes to better your English, each is a success within its own right. The choices you make every day to better your life are your successes, not your bank balance. So the next time someone tries to make you feel guilty for travelling your own path be content in the knowledge that you are living this life for you, and much like couture, it only needs to fit your body.

The Age of Distraction

Fashion, Life choices, Uncategorized

For those of you who aren’t aware of Italian millionaire Gianluca Vacchi, hop onto Instagram and you’re welcome! Mr.Vacchi is constantly seen partying it up with exotic super models or cruising through azure waters to private island parties in one-of-a-kind yachts, when he isn’t working on his Men’s Health worthy physique that is. Oh, and let’s not forget his Dj-ing gigs across some of the world’s party capitals like St. Tropez and Ibiza. Mr.Vacchi has the life most people can only dream of, and his 11.1 million social media followers (yours truly included) can attest that his life, is something we enjoy keeping up with. So, what happened when news was released last week that the millionaire has assets seized worth 10.5 million Euro in debt?

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Google his name now, and you’re flooded with parodies, tweets and various columnists talking about his ‘demise’ from social stardom to public joke. Why? All because this man, who was a consistent source of entertainment and some might even say ‘inspiration’ was suddenly rendered human? Because he was touched by the dreaded four letter word that has touched so many of us? Debt, is no laughing matter as I’m sure most of you know first-hand, it can destroy families and cripple relationships not to mention the physiological effects on a person’s character. Why then did a giant portion of all these followers and admirers quickly light their torches and blaze Twitter in a series of memes, gifs and other toxic rants?

Gianluca Vacchi

Because people are quicker to celebrate the fallen than they are to award the victor, ‘knocking someone off their pedesta’l is a phrase for a reason. Mr.Vacchi, is the heir to the IMA group which specializes in industrial packaging and pharmacy, which according to The Independent is run by his cousins and pays him 5million Euro a year. He is an heir, meaning his family worked twice as hard to ensure their empire meant its future generations wouldn’t have to worry about something as ephemeral as money, bipolar bosses and paying rent. Doesn’t that buy him the right to live however he pleases? Why does the thought of someone else being happy affect us so? Why is it we can’t simply be happy for someone else’s success? These are the real questions, because at the end of the day, Mr.Vacchi will no doubt bounce back from his debt, but if you’re one of the people mentioned about who participated in this public shaming, what does it truly say about you?

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In a time when Youtubers and bloggers are earning millions and overnight sensations are common place, there is room enough for everyone at the top. If you have a dream- make it happen. Whether you’re in finance, business, design etc, you are the creator of your own destiny and only you can affect its outcome. I’ve always believed that the success of a fellow entrepreneur or the net worth of a social media has no effect on my life. Because I have my own plan and path to travel. Money and success are the product of hard work and playing your cards right, but envy will only stunt your growth and cost you your eternal happiness.

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So take a moment today, to scroll onto Mr.Vacchi’s page and be inspired, because that life you want, whether it’s partying in Ibiza or buying another summer home, is really achievable and social media should serve as you inspirational tool as opposed to a hindrance. At least, that’s what this little writer believes..

Gianluca Vacchi and Social Media

Fashion, Fashion Business, Life choices, Uncategorized

The Passenger Seat

Fashion, Life choices, Uncategorized

I am a proud 27 year old non-driver. Why? I’ve just never been into the vroom-vroom engine sound or found a burning desire to get behind the wheel. Some of you are most probably thinking I’ve never tried it, I have, in fact I spent a $1000 dollars going for the first half of my lessons and never went for the final, meaning if I ever do decide to pick up driving again, I have to ‘cough up the dough’, so to speak.

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But with driving being considered the gateway to freedom for most teenagers and adults, one has to wonder, in a tax free city like Dubai where you can catch a taxi or a VIP Uber in less than a minute, how relevant is the ability to drive for the modern man? And how is said ability a reflection on our masculinity?

I remember never being into toy cars or action figures the way most little boys are, I also remember vowing to drive the moment I turned 18, though clearly my views changed as I grew older. Primarily because I like doing things in my own time. But how often do you get the ‘oh you don’t drive’ look from family and friends? in my case way too much! I do think in most relationships there is this unspoken rule that if my man can’t drive, what kind of man is he? Several girlfriends of mine have cancelled potential dates or tapped BLOCK, the instant they discover that a potential partner doesn’t carry that little card. This reinforces a misconstrued notion that men are the ones with the power and simultaneously cracks the fine veneer of modern feminism, why should I drive when my man does? If it is okay for a woman to take that stance, then why not a man? We wouldn’t bat an eyelash if a woman says she doesn’t drive but god forbid a man says the same. Most men themselves are also just as quick to question another man’s success by his inability to drive.

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The double standard exists, but I’m sure most of you would argue that most men love cars and love to drive and that my sexual orientation is said-reason for my disinterest. I beg to differ, in fact I love a good Lambo, or a classic Rolls-Royce, but that doesn’t mean I’m clambering to get my license to drive one. And yet I’m constantly being judged for it. You can see people assume you’re entitled or full of it the moment you say you don’t drive, but the reality is owning a car is just as expensive. Petrol, SALIK( Electronic Fee Barriers In Dubai), servicing and tire changes all accumulate to a pretty hefty amount.

So why is it so baffling to fathom that a successful man with a budding career would opt to choose a fine air-conditioned, leather fitted interior of a Lexus or hop onto the tram, as opposed to having to deal with traffic and crazy drivers after a hard day’s work? Because the same majority that believe women shouldn’t work after marriage are the same people that believe all men should know how to fix broken TV’s and overheated engines while vigorously avoiding the kitchen; because that of course is a women’s domain.

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In a time when new job titles are being created to accommodate the electronically savvy and luxury cars are just a tap and swipe away, why are men still held to this antiquated ideal of masculinity? The reality is a growing number of men today can’t change light bulbs or intrinsically know what’s wrong with a car and that’s alright because being a man is about so much more than your ability to navigate metal on four wheels, and if you’re surrounded by people that think otherwise all you need to do is shift gears.