Most of us have had experiences where a certain smell—a flower, freshly baked cookies or the salty beach air—floods our brain with memories of a distinct event or location that we associate clearly with certain emotions.
There have been scientific studies using a variety of approaches to back up this anecdotal evidence. One was a study led by a female scientist at Brown University in 2004. Dr. Rachel Herz and her team found that a group of five women showed more brain activity when smelling a perfume with which they associated a positive memory than when smelling a control perfume they had never before smelled. This is likely due to the brains anatomy and I am going to stop myself here before I embark on diving further into medical terms like the amygdala and hippocampus (hippowhatWHAT?).
I consider the sense of smell one of my superpowers. It is one of my strongest senses (which is somewhat of a nuisance when the scents in question are unpleasant and makes public transport a no go) but it also makes me somewhat of a perfume connoisseur. As a blogger I have the privilege to receive most releases before they hit the shop floors and whilst I sniff them all (and oooh and aaaah over the luxe packaging); I am loyal to a very few.
In general anything with undertones of clean laundry or baby-powder-resembling-notes goes down well with me. Florals aren’t my favourites – with the exception of the delicate frangipani (and if you ever go to the Maldives they will quickly become your favourite too). The same applies to orange blossom which again is related to a fond memory of a certain place. The orange blossom is hugely prominent in the Middle East (my home as of the last 12 years) and works on soothing aching tummies, flavouring trays of home made baklavas and symbolises purity when used in abundant wedding bouquets. I have also grown to be very fond of oud and sandalwood based concoctions – both ingredients with a heritage strongly tied to the place that I nowadays call home.
Chloé’s latest release: Love Story Eau Sensuelle (which is the third fragrance in the brands story line and the second in my collection) has French actress Clémence Poésy as the face of the campaign. It combines orange blossom with sweet heliotrope and velvety sandal wood and hence makes it into my top 3 daytime favourites. / XXX Teresa
I am genuinely happy to be back to the world of blogging! As you can see my latest post was more than 6 months ago, crikey! Then there was radio silence (although I was pretty active on Instagram and Snapchat whilst that lasted. Nowadays I stick to InstaStories; hungry for views and impressions as many influencers are these days).
The reason behind my blog hiatus is partially that for the longest time I was feeling rather stagnant in the overall of my ”fashion career”. I have pretty much achieved all that I inspired to achieve as a stylist – and whilst reading this if you catch yourself thinking *whoa, she hasn’t really done THAT much – I ask you to remember that these things are relative! Anyhow – in true Teresa style I am side stepping here. So where were we? Right, stagnant!
At the same token as a personal shopper and a regular consumer with a regular working persons income (this surely resonates with my Middle East based readers as we are daily exposed to shoppers with unlimited couture funds); I was very aware of the prominent gap between high street and high fashion. The idea to set up an online store (similar in format to the ever – so – brilliant Australian ”They All Hate Us” blog /store) was with me for over a year. One business plan, numerous Skype interviews with Important Finance People and one enthusiastic and supportive investor later I had the funds to do this right – with packaging, delivery, site design etc that are all up to my standards from day one of launching. You only get one first impression right?
I consider myself a very lucky girl and I can’t stop smiling whilst typing these words.
Right – the idea is that once a month I will upload a selection of items that I have perused the cyberweb to find for you. The pieces I have bought in are true to my personal style (although I have gone braver with colours as I dress mostly in beige and I know that the rest of the world does not LOL). At the same token the price point was very important to me – I do not aspire to compete with high fashion retailers for many many reasons. If nothing else, as I always say in my seminars, I believe that we live in what the experts refer to as the ”lipstick economy”. Females will remain females and hence they will never stop ”treating themselves” (treat yo’self being one of my favorite expressions haha) but studies show that we are a lot more reluctant to spending big. Call it situational awareness if you so wish.
*If you by any chance caught my talk at last seasons Fashion Forward (sponsored by Baume Et Mercier) you will remember me talking about this, complete with PowerPoint slides and other grown up stuff.
The items in my store will come in different EDITS as I call them – meaning occasionally I will pick them for the festive season or based on the theme. The idea is also that everything kinda sorta goes together so you will be able to buy a whole top -to – toe outfit. Through my blog and social media I am happy to illustrate how I think the pieces can be worn, being a stylist and all. Naturally you are able to buy them individually if you think that my suggestions are rather meh or waayyyyy too far out there.
WORLDWIDE shipping, FREE NEXT DAY delivery in the UAE *terms and conditions apply though but yes, mostly – and last but not least my very own special MARBLE BOXES that all the goodness will come in; (ones that are so pretty that you will want to keep them and use them for your knicknacks and in your sharpest Instagram flat lays I’d like to think) – these are all the final & significant touches I have been adamant about incorporating into the overall user experience.
This is all very exciting Lovelies and I cannot wait to get started. As I am typing this we are 24 h from launching and I haven’t slept for 2 days! / Good night! / Teresa
This Ramadan marks my 12th year in the UAE and yet again I am reminded of how much I enjoy this time of the year. Dubai life is known for being fast paced and these spiritually significant days allow for everyone to slow down, reflect and rediscover our fair city.
Iftars are a must to experience – thoroughly curated, culinary vibrant they are a beautiful way to connect with friends and family. Whilst simple in nature the dishes traditionally served are something I reminiscent for months and months that follow. Being somewhat of a fitness / wellness advocate I normally don’t include kunafe in my weekly meal plans. During Ramadan however this glutinous gooey cheesy treat is like the proverbial bucket of gold at the end of the mythical rainbow.
Ramadan dressing revolves around modesty and good taste. Kaftans are a fool proof way of ensuring that you’re comfortable, culturally appropriate and on trend. With its nudge towards folklore through intricate beading work and embroidery, they are my preferred item of clothing that later during the year gets reinvented as resort wear. As homes get adorned with lights in anticipation of Eid Al Fitr, I invite sequins and cracked golden leather into my wardrobe. The N° 21 mules are the Holy Grail of Instagram footwear, frequently seen on street style icons all over the globe.
Aquazurra can do no wrong and these brocade pumps, with their homage towards ethic footwear, work wonderfully well with a monochrome ensemble but would also stand their ground when matched with geometrical patterns – after all dis the season to embrace minimalism with open arms. Lastly – our very own Dubai made All Things Mochi has launched a collection of handmade espadrilles exclusively for Level. They are as comfortable as they are fun.
All the footwear can be found on Level Shoe District – website and the physical store at The Dubai Mall.
As you may have seen on Instagram I recently came back from a trip to Paris. During that time I did a fair amount fashion week related activities but I also had heaps of “me time” to do exploring and wanderlusting and creating Instagram content.
I will only be mentioning names of venues (anything else would take me a week haha). They’re all tried and road – tested by me personally so when you google them they take you to the Google Map pin. Don’t you just love technology the days *she said sounding like a really old person.
Right – first things first.
Accommodation: I used Trivago.com to book my hotel (it was a self sponsored trip so I looked for something cheap(ish)). I looked for something that was new, had good reviews and was walking distance to the central parts of the city. I ended up at Hotel Le Malown in the 8th arr. (right next door to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. (http://www.lemalown.com/en/).
The hotel turned out to be a GREAT find! The rooms were tiny but I was’t really going to be spending any time in the room apart from the zzzz. Crisp white sheets and beige walls (none of the dated plush velour nonsence many hotels in Paris insist on), little balcony, friendly staff, bargain rate of under 500 aed / night and a location that allowed me to walk everywhere plus take the metro from the Opera station which connects all the metro lines going through the city. Score!
This leads me to the next discovery:
Could this be the best (free) rooftop for aerial views?
Both these shots are taken at the rooftop floor of Printemps – free for public access as a little lunch cafeteria / coffee house is located up there.
Save your calories for ground floor however: thats where Cafe Pushkin is located. Hands down prettiest cakes in Paris if you ask me.
Walking distance from the hotel, opposite the Opera is Cafe De La Paix – excellent for a Parisian croissant / espresso breakfast.
As you can see I threw all gluten caution to the wind. Parisian bread is just the tastiest though!
Another breakfast place often voted the best bakery in town is Du Pain et Des Idée (easily allocated on google maps as is everything else I mentioned). Noone speaks english and there are no tourists and it’s just warm, authentic and wonderful.
For more restaurant options I recommend:
Miss Ko – Nearby the Champs Elysée on Avenue George V. Very hip crowd, the the affordable sushi is AMAZING, and at night the music is great. The decor with Japanese murals is photo friendly bonus.
Alcazar Restaurant – This restaurant just re-opened after a major refurbishment and is one of the most popular places in Paris at the moment. Très Instagram friendly.
Les Bain Paris – It’s a bar/restaurant with amazing truffle popcorn accompanying the drinks. The interiors are incredible, and the staff actually isn’t arrogant (very rare for a trendy place in Paris). Dior hosted their perfume launch party here last season, and in general, it attracts a fashion-forward crowd. Downstairs turns into a nightclub in the late hours for Parisian style debauchery (there is even a small pool in the middle, a’la a 1970s Saint Laurent party)
Hotel Costes: It’s expensive and smoky and yet all kinds of wonderful. Crammed with good looking / influential people, with the worlds most instagrammed french fries and every single dish on the menu is a taste experience. I would know, I ate there daily for a week and tried one of everything in a tres indulgent manner.
Nearby (3 minutes walk) is the infamous Colette department store where you dive into a world of all things eclectic and edgy. I get my fix of newly released sneakers, Byredo and Diptyque products in limited editions and cute electronic gadgets from there.
Otherwise my shopping go to district is Le Marais – brimming with vintage stores, cheap eats, French designers like Sandro, Maje and Zadie & Voltaire (with selections far better to the Dubai ones sadly) as well as the newly opened Anine Bing store.
How about the beautifully taupe Aesop store with pump flask testers on the street? Or mixing your own Le Labo scent with a customized label – all these can found on the streets of Marais. In general: if you’re looking for anything specific there are plenty of Time Out style articles that provide deep insight in the topic (such as vintage shopping which many might be into). I myself am not (strangely enough as it’s kinda expected from a fashion blogger). I like my things brand spanking new and still smelling of the fancy box they came in. 😀
On the topic of shopping and fancy boxes: the worlds only Louboutin beauty store (with the lipsticks and the nail polishes and oh the lipsticks, I am so in love with them all) is located in a covered passage close to Palais Royal. It’s called Galerie Vero-Dodat and is a beautiful old space with black and white floors. The Louboutin head office is located there so many ladies with red soles will swish past you when you’re around.
Across the road is my favorite breakfast place in the whole wide world called Claus (also on google maps like everything else). I was told that Claus himself was an ex high fashion PR executive that got tired of the fashion PR-ing game and launched the finest fanciest breakfast joint of them all. The male waiters will charm the crap out of you and you can have all day breakfast with a side of bubbly. Booking is essential or else there is a 45 min waiting list. Daily.
For a morning of indulgence treat yourself to a one time breakfast at The Peninsula Hotel. It oozes luxury, serves the best Raspberry Brioche in town and has unparalleled Instagram values. It’s simply exquisite.
I could go on and on and on and if there is anything else you need to know just drop a comment below!
In the meantime: don’t overplan. Make time to do nothing – Parisian style. One of the nicest things about Paris to me is the sitting outside in a bistro (with none imposing a minimum spend or forcing you to commit to dining whilst there) and breathing in the atmosphere.
Skincare is one of my favorite topics – I try to (more or less successfully) aspire to have skin so good that make up is a fun bonus and not a daily necessity.
Now to be very honest with you (I like being able to be honest with you); a few things have to be mentioned before I venture out onto the ”product territory”.
No product will work if used half heartedly. No matter the price tag. If you (like me) occasionally forget to cleanse before going to bed (and don’t get me started on the instant wipes that do very little else but move the dirt around); no miracle cream will work to it’s full potential. It’s only when I became religiously strike on the good old daily cleanse / tone / moisturize that I noticed a positive difference.
The cliches are cliches for a reason – in other words sleep matters. Drinking sufficient amounts of water matters. (I personally also find that Bikram yoga gives me a long lasting glow. There are no scientific reports that I can wisearsedly quote here (neither do I want to), but all the sweating and the moving and the hydrating afterwards always makes me feel ”pure” skin-wise.)
I use Botox twice a year. It obviously prevents the wrinkles from appearing (I started with Botox at the age of 32 as a preventative measure) but it doesn’t mean it secures a good complexion. I still feel obliged to mention it as I don’t want to be “selling you” creams when in fact I also use the heavier ammo.
The proverbial ‘eat your greens’; is a big one – every time I go on a cleanse I bathe in compliments on the clarity of my skin. I don’t really believe in cleanses to the extent that they’ve been declared a magical cure of illnesses, obesity and fatique BUT they do mean that for whatever period you’re on them you stay away from nasties and get a fruit and veggie fix that many of us are in deficit of. If you apply that into your daily habits the results should mimic the one of a cleanse.
Now let’s talk lotions and potions and creams.
I am currently using a lot os Shiseido. Yes – they were gifted to me in exchange for a review but so are many many other products (and I am being transparent, not Braggy McBrag here). I have chosen to stick to theirs because I like that they are not overly fragrant (why add ingredients that have no purpose but may end up irritating your skin); that the brand invests in a lot of scientific research and really goes deep on a cellular level with their products. They agree with my skin and if I stick to the: A.) Gentle Cleansing Cream B.) Future Solution Softener C.) Future Solution Radiance Serum and D.) Bio Performance eye and face cream my skin is balanced, moisturized without feeling oily and radiant with or without make up.
I treat myself to weekly face masks – when pottering around the house or listening to music. Aesop makes a GREAT cleaning Primrose / white clay one and NUXE has a lovely soothing balm called Creme Fraiche De Beaute.
For night I love Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate and I know other bloggers have raved about it too.
Since I recently discovered that I have pigmentation spots (and I have never suffered from those before but I am taking a lot of hormones related to female troublezzzz) I also added a Dark Spot Solution from Kiehls into the mix.
Household ingredients like Kefir and Coconut Oil make for great moisturizers – our mums were onto something with the unknowingly holistic approach to beauty.
Last but not least – SPF is essential but surely you knew that already? I seriously see a big difference between myself and my sun worshiping friends who are a lot younger. I don’t want my décolletage to look like a leather purse when I am 50!
Feel free to recommend a good / non greasy facial SPF inn the comments below or on social media; I am currently on the lookout for one. Big hugs X