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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High Fashion Halloween

Fashion, formal, Life choices, Style, Uncategorized

For us ordinary fashion folk Halloween is the equivalent of the Met Gala, meaning anything and everything goes regardless of gender. Which is why today on Life&OtherStories I thought it important to feature a few images that provide the ultimate inspiration for ideas that combine both fantasy and function. Most people think its about gory makeup and disjointed body parts but the truth is you can still look bomb as hell in something you probably already have in your wardrobe, so without further ado lets get started.

Balenciaga cloak

It might look pretty simple but imagine this head to toe white Balenciaga cloak with Dr.Martnes and a old kitchen knife?

Fur Vintage

Make a statement on your opinion of real fur and purchase a discount version on Ebay, dab the edges in red paint and you’ll truly show up those fur wearing monsters!

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Tim Walker for Another Man Gucci

 I mean, forget crypt keepers of yesteryear, the new age guardians of the underworld wear Gucci ponchos and have scalps studded in half pearls. You can get the exact look with a little imagination and a trip to the haberdashery. Hot glue can go a long way!
Vogue Italy

I’m sure most of you are aware of this iconic shoot from VOGUE ITALIA that focused on a culture obsessed with plastic surgery. What a fantastic idea, imagine a body-con dress and your face tightened up in band-aid with super plump lips. J’ADORE!

VOGUE NIPPON 2014 Alexander McQueen

A McQueen moment is an absolute necessity! Give the girls mermaid fantasy by hunting through sales racks for sequined separates then stitching them up into a kimono-sleeve coat which you can belt, paired with sequinned lids and sequinned hair you’ll be coming for the light!

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.

Tom Ford

(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.

Positively Fabulous

Fashion, Fashion Business, Life choices, Style, Uncategorized

(Dedicated to Roxanne Pickett) There’s an undeniable power between what we put on our bodies and the way we feel. Some feel undefeatable in a custom made Armani suit while others feel untouchable in a one-off bomber jacket by Louis Vuitton x Supreme. Everyone has a preference, but today’s post is about how to utilize your favourite pieces to exude positivity while repelling that bad juju.

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As I mentioned above everyone’s style choices differ but what generally works for me is statement jackets. As a man living in the Middle East, your style choices are limited, even ripped jeans can be quite problematic (if you’re on the wrong side of town) but regardless of people’s opinions you can always push fashion boundaries with jackets because they are typically cut in traditional styles.

For example; I recently purchased a faux leather motorcycle jacket in a holographic finish from Forever21’s women’s section, but due to the cut of the jacket which includes no pointed bust seams or other overly feminine details, it could very well be a men’s motorcycle jacket. How does it help me stay positive? I haven’t officially worn it yet but its reflective finish makes it a statement piece; an unconventional look that sets you apart from the crowd. Through my experience I’ve learnt that you are always at your happiest when you dress for you, never blend in when you were born to stand out. You get the gist, so let’s move on to jacket style number deux, the satin bomber.

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Bomber jackets have become a must-have in every man’s wardrobe and if you’ve purchased one, the likelihood of you purchasing many a variation of the style is inevitable. They complement everything and all occasions. Look for luxurious textiles such as durable satin, embroidered silk and jewel tones such as emerald, turquoise or ruby. These easy-to-wear jackets can also be paired with a formal shirt, tailored trousers and brogues for job interviews. Especially if you want to tell your potential employer that you are anything but a basic candidate. The cut of bombers, which appear with heavier padding in winter versions and light-lining for summer is also complementary on all body types, which automatically embeds a sense of confidence to your psyche. No, the jacket doesn’t look tight, it just looks damn good on you! Purchase one in a regal colour tone from HM, ZARA or Gucci and you’ll be set for the season.

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The Key to Positive Clothing? my final piece of advice I can give you when it comes to bringing positivity your way is to always embrace your unique sense of style. Some might think it’s crazy and others might think your pioneering a movement but the bottom line is what you put on your body should always be the best exemplification of YOU. The men’s sections in most stores often bore me, I’m not looking to dress like an extra from Farmville, and I’m glad for it! My dying breath will never be used to say I haven’t explored my limits because much like with my style, I will try everything once.

Life is about exploring every possibility, loving blindly, taking risks, climbing mountains, it’s an adventure and you are at your most positive when you know that you are living every day to the fullest. Yes, there will be negativity, no matter what you wear or how much you earn, life is a medley of emotions and vibes, both positive and negative, but it is precisely this unpredictable nature that keeps urging us forward, reaching for better things.

And if I had to pick a jacket style for number tres, on this post it would have to be a faux fur. Nothing says, ‘I’m here-I’m fabulous- bow down’ like a fabulously oversized faux-fur jacket, and yes- the bigger the better!

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