I remember when my father was deployed to Africa on a contract as a captain of a Russian commercial fleet. They were stationed in Sierra Leone in the 80’s and got pulled out of there when Blood Diamond Wars broke out.

Living in Siberia, he brought us things we have never seen before. Like a Coconut… Yah, I know. The whole family gathered around the kitchen table. We didn’t know how to open it. My grandpa nocked on the shell and said: I think its wood. So he took a saw out of his “home repair kit” and went at it. Then some liquid spilled out of it. I wasn’t crazy about the taste but many years later in the Carribbean I found out how hydrating coconut milk is for you. That was before the whole Coconut water craze going on in New York these days. Long story short – we cracked it open. Each one of us got a piece. My grandma as the matriarch of the family tried it first. We were all waiting in respectful anticipation. She looked at us and said: Tastes just like a carrot! I still laugh at this memory.

Next thing I saw from Africa were paintings my father bought from local artists and a collection of jewelry hand carved out of ivory. He explained that it is made out of tusks of elephants. I didn’t really comprehend the concept at the time.

And then there was a GARA. It is a dress native to that region and it is recognizable but a particular wash the local tribes use to paint the fabric. It has beautiful hand stitched ornaments around the collar. My GARA got lost in time and way too many moves from one place to another but when I was in Egypt, I saw dresses very similar to my exotic Garas. I picked up a couple. Since they are kind of baggy and loose and with my size 0 frame, I’m used to stitching, altering etc, so I fixed those dresses to fit me just right, hugging my waist and flowing down to the floor ever so gracefully. And funny story – I was on my way to see a friend of mine, who is originally from Lybia.Strolling down the streets of New York, I was gathering complements left and right on my exotic African dress. My friend also took immediate notice of my attire. I love this dress! – he said. I was like – yeah, it’s Gara. He said – No, this is not Gara. This is from North Africa, Like Marocco. I couldn’t believe he knew the difference! And he was right on spot.  My dress was a solid color, from Egypt, it didn’t have the GARA wash.



There are different schools about that. Some find this particular approach a bit out dated. Some say a woman should have a different scent for different occasions, seasons, moods etc. Jo Malone  introduced a whole concept of signature blending in different combos coming from their selection. You can layer their different scents and see what comes out of it in a surprise kind of way. Some other companies have small beautiques where they mix your customized perfume just for you, like or

I prefer the old school approach because I found my signature one in a very unusual way.

So here is the story of  my signature perfume:

Somebody gave this perfume to my aunt. She thought it doesn’t smell good on her and re-gifted it to my mother. My mother thought it was stinky and re-gifted it to me. I put it in my bathroom and used as a bathroom refreshener.

One day – poor and in College – my boyfriend was coming over. This was the last bottle of anything, so I sprayed it on my body. When my personal scent met that perfume – it was a beginning of a life long romance. My boyfriend stood in his trucks  when he came closer to kiss me. What are you wearing?! This is the most amazing perfume I ever smelled.

Ever since it had the same affect on men and women both straight and gay.

And it has been long discontinued. I scooped up last bottle at the Cairo airport. Ever since I order it on line on a web site that sells discontinued fragrances. It could be a cool recourse for you to look for something they don’t make anymore and make it your signature scent so you can smell like no other woman. Try and sites alike.

Cardinal rule: do not abuse strong perfume. I remember when in childhood my mom was using a perfume called POISON. The smell was so strong that it gave me literal headaches. Nobody likes to be imposed with a smell, especially a strong one. It’s as annoying as passing by a car with windows wide open blasting music and violating your ear drums. Maybe I don’t feel like being imposed with your love of hip hop or Salsa or your Russian disco?  Same with perfume. Seduce and intrigue, don’t violate people’s senses. How to intrigue and seduce with smell? Let me tell you…

I did a lot of research about how people feel more attracted to certain scents versus the others and I use it to my advantage. My biggest secret? You will be surprised. In high school I read a novel by a French writer Marcel Proust. He was writing for several pages about his childhood memories of returning back home from school and smelling his grandma’s freshly baked cookies. We all are psychologically susceptible to  fonder memories of childhood. Tried and true – people are more inclined to you, when you smell like grandma’s cookies! So look for scents that smell like honey and vanilla. Men will love you – that’s a given. You are giving someone their comfort zone of childhood memories. Next trick? Ok, I’ll tell you. Throw some citrus notes into the picture. Psychological studies show that men will perceive you fresher and younger when they smell citrus on you.

Next trick? Ok, one last one. That is my cheat zone from my signature perfume. Sometimes I like to wear my Dolce Gabbana pant suit. Power trip central accompanied by a tie. I put my hair up and spray men’s cologne on top of this ensemble. My first boyfriend used Old Spice and I fell in love with the smell by association. Now I’m into Club Man. It’s an old school all American cologne you can still find in Mom’s and Pop’s kind of drug stores. Try it! It goes with the Bond theme and gives you that extra kick of confidence.


I LOVE  rainy days, hence my happy existence in the rainy atmospheres. Apparently there is a word for people like that – have you ever herd of “a PLUVIOPHILE”? According to Collins dictionary: ” It’s a lover of rain. Someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days”.   Sometimes there are words in other languages that are completely untranslatable into anything else. Here is where I’m going with this. There is another word –  a German word SCHADENFREUDE. I will break it down for you. “Schaden” means “PITY” and “Freude” means “JOY”. It’s the feeling of joy at somebody else’s misery. Tell me, you haven’t been quilty of feeling SCHADENFREUDE at least once in your life. I rented my apartment because of shadenfreude and rain has everything to do with it. My apartment has a hudge floor to ceiling window in front of a bath tub and when I was renting it, I imagined myself sitting there on a rainy day, in a bubble bath, with champagne in my hand, looking outside at all these peo[le running around with umbrellas – Ella, Ella, Ella… But if you don’t have the comfort of sitting in a bath tub on a rainy day – this kind of situation will call for for an umbrella. So lets make the best of it and see what happens.

You can tell a lot about a person by what kind of umbrella they opt for.


Sometimes I just sit in a cafe with a hot cup of chocolate looking outside at the variety of those.

Here comes a 9 to 5 office mouse with no personality. Her umbrella is from one of those guys who pop out of nowhere all over the streets screaming: One -for -TRI -DALLA, two- for- FIVE -DALLA! Those don’t even hold in New York winds.

And then there are artistic personalities / fashionistas sashaying through the puddles on 4 inch heels with the Reds and the Pinks and the Blues that match their purses or gloves or belts to tie the look together. I call them my rain candy. On a gloomy grey street full of black umbrellas, its great to see something shiny and bright – a pop of color. Remember that yellow umbrella from “How I met Your Mother” that became the leitmotiv for the whole series.

You can always tell a finance guy’s umbrella before you can even see his suit. You would not necessarily call his look uneventful. It’s conservative, solid and expensive with a heavy wooden handle.

Trivia moment: Did you know that the World’s most expensive umbrella costs … Wait for it… Wait for it… – $50,000.00 from Billionaire couture Umbrella. Followed by Swaine Adeney Malacca Umbrella coming at only $1,270.00 and the two poor relatives of Burberry Nubuck Ostrich handle Umbrella – $850.00 as well as falling into the last but not least place is SwaineAdeney “Whangee” for $760. Yep, speaking of SUCCESSORIES!

My umbrellas are nowhere close to those prices but I have a beautiful collection with some stories attached to it.

My first apartment in College had an umbrella in it. The apartment belonged to an older lady who lived there since 1920’s. She passed away and I was the first tenant to move in and inherit it. Old, vintage, beautiful. That piece has seen some rains witnessing some history over the years. Now it is accompanying me as life flies by.

Another beloved piece I picked up in Monte Carlo. I was vacationing there with my girlfriend. One day we were walking down the street in pouring rain and we saw this really old couple. One of those who have been married for 50 years and still love each other. They were hugging on to each other under one big red umbrella. And on the umbrella it said: “It never rains in Monte Carlo”. So cute and funny. Had to get one for the memory of it.

Purple umbrella with artistic irregular angles and hand painted flowers. I only saw that kind of design being sold in Greece and I scooped one up.

I still have a beautiful parasol I brought from China many years ago. It was such an exotic rarity that made women come up to me and ask about it everywhere I went in the streets of New York. And then one episode of Sex and the City turned it into a cliche pretty much overnight. Now you can buy them all over China Town.

My last acquisition was an upside down umbrella.It’s black on one side and bright pink on the other. It opens in a reversed way so you don’t get wet stepping out of a car. You avoid that split second of stepping out in the rain before your traditional umbrella opens up. That one moment of exposure to moisture is enough to ruin your ever so perfect hair.

And I don’t know about you but with me it’s always a Murphy’s law. As soon as I spend an hour on a curling iron – it starts raining and an immediate need for an umbrella arises. It reminds me of guys saying: Look at this rain! And I just washed my friggin car! Lol

To finish up my story, find an umbrella you really like. To pick one I suggest for you to play a little fun game – ask yourself a question: If I was an umbrella, what would I look like? And see what pops up in your mind or what calls your name in the store. I do that when making my selection of pretty much anything – like at the cosmetic counter I will ask myself: If I was a lipstick which one would I be? And I won’t let aggressive sales people tell me what lipstick I SHOULD be.  You will know what situations this little psychological trick is applicable to, so you can hear your inner voice.

When you finally find that umbrella you like, try not to lose it (or buy two just in case). Couple of times I had guests over at my place and it started to rain. After it was time to call it a night and we said our good byes, they started casually strolling towards my umbrella stand and picking up random umbrellas (including my collectables) saying: Can I borrow this?  You know that if someone asks you to borrow the umbrella – you will never see that thing again. I was like a Godzilla emerging from the water in slow motion screaming: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Put my collectibles back! I travelled the World for them. You guys are taking the little black ones – One for TRI DALLA, two for FIVE DALLA!


What SHOED a Girl Have Done?

I want to Carrie myself through life one Bradshoe at a time…

My heels are too high to be going in a wrong direction… vs Sometimes a path less travelled is gonna require a pair of running shoes

Cinderella trivia story for you guys.  Whitch shoe did Cinderella lose when running away at midnight – a left one or the right one? Guess what,- trick question –  back in the days they made both shoes the same. !

My shoe collection is up to my kitchen cabinets. Yep, my guests are rather surprised by Gucci and Prada and Fendi heels  in my kitchen when looking for a glass or a plate. I opted for eating out in favor of extra closet space…

There is a system to my Maddeness. Yes, Steve Madden being the beginning of my collection and where my unconditional love for shoes began. The first two illegal paychecks I have saved while working in restaurants first year college when I saw a pair of his his boots and finally went for it. I couldn’t sleep at night till I made enough to get them.

As I mentioned, by now I have more shoes than I can squeeze into my apartment. Each pair is unique and completely indispensable. They come from all over the World. Let me tell you about some of their stories…:

I categorize my shoes by the mental chart of a cross between the height of the heel and the comfort level.



Unfortunately I fell for one too many “unwalkables” – read: CL’s and alike. I think if Christian tried to walk in his own heels, he would kill himself. What is so beautiful about a certain trip and fall? You can’t even walk gracefully.

You are like a pony trying to learn how to walk.


I  basically tripped on them and my boyfriend had to carry me home. Next time I will just take a comfy heel and paint the sole red with a nail polish… The “Unwalkables” look like to die for but you are also putting yourself at risk of actually dieing in them… I also think that extremely high heels with a hidden platform on top of it – it is not sexy. It’s vulgar.

Have you ever wondered who invented heels to begin with? High heels are designed to create an aesthetic illusion of longer, more slender legs. High heels come in a wide variety of styles and the heels come in different shapes like stiletto-pump-block tapered, blade and wedge. I don’t care for the specifics for as long as they are tall, beautiful and hopefully walkable. On the opposite side of the spectrum – low heel shoe is supposed  to be about 2.5 inches. I wouldn’t be caught dead in these unless I was a court assigned lawyer  or an 80 year old lady.

Speaking of court – I heard that heels were invented in Italian court by Catherine De Medici in 16th Century, during European Reneaissance, the high heel became a status symbol of a higher class. they also said – she was kind of short… She is believed to wear them under her dress to impress the French when she was about to marry the future king. However surprisingly, it was originally the Egyptian warriors that came up with the idea of high – heeled sandals so they don’t have to step into the blood of defeated warriors. By now heels run so high, Im stepping in my own blood wearing them.

Yep. Then King Louis XIV of France decreed that only nobility could wear heels, and only the members of his specific court could wear red ones. Hello, Cristian Louboutuin of Ancient times! 17-th Century portraits of King Louis depict the various intricate heels worn by him and they were often decorated with miniature battle scences. – Get me a pair of those! I want red heels with battle scenes!!!

And then you have the “I’ll meet you half-ways” It means: “So I truly intend to do a fair amount of walking before you have to carry me home

And if in unfortunate situation of a lack of the knight in shinning armor at hand – Duane Reade/RiteAid/Walgreens is right there for a pair of flip flops.


Next better thing is the beautiful but comfy. Wearing those -you feel like you can cross the World. One step at the time. I have Prada boots for winter and stilettos for summer as my classic “Go To”


Blue Flamingos

Birds of Feather Flock Together

And why to avoid mainstream fashion. 

In childhood I read a book about this Paradise Island where Blue Flamingos live.
 It completely captured my imagination. I wanted to go there so much!
Foolishly I tried to look for them. I wanted to visit that magic island. Turned out that apparently I had better chances of being born than ever finding that place.
Flamingos are Pink – the dictionary stated. So there are no Blue ones?  Oh well, I was reading a fairy tale after all.
Why did I believe in Blue Flamingos’ Paradise Island?
Flamingos are graceful.
And Pink…
 With a hint of awkwardness to them.
Like me.
If only they were Blue.
Like me.
Sometimes your wishes are lost in the abyss of non existence, I guess.
Somewhere in the corner of my room there was a little cricket playing a tiny violin. He wanted me to cry him a river…
In return I wanted to find a piece on discovery channel about sarcastic insects that can not swim, so he can drown in that river of tears of mine.
In my tiny little life, all I wanted was love larger than anything
Our Mothers -What are the chances?
Between hitting puberty and reaching menopause you could make an omelette from all those eggs that could have been fertilized.
Not to mention our Fathers’ countless spermatozooms that managed to see the light of the day.
Or go places…
Gazillions of them forced into a pointless exit, Encouraged to take a long walk off a short pier.
Why are they called spermatozooms by the way? Such a long word for something that has a shorter life span than the time it takes to say it’s name. It must be the tail……..
What were my chances of winning this lottery of life? How did those two meet each other in order to create me?
Somehow I have been given a chance to exist instead of being torn apart between a tampon and a sock.
I was wondering,
 If I had to compose a resume out of my life’s experiences so far, what would I write as my qualifications in order to apply for the extension of my being?
What IS my experience in the living department?…
 I know how to breathe, I know how to move, eat, speak,
How to sleep
Even with someone…
I seem to have all the basics covered.
I do not specialize in being happy with a 9 to 5 office job and shopping
at Costco on the weekends as a highlight of my existence.
Every night I cover myself with a blanket of dreams
Sliding hopes
Under my pillow
I should have ambitions
But I seem to suffer from a complete  lack thereof
It seemed to me like our insecurities push us towards wanting to prove ourselves to people who don’t matter.
In that case I thought I would be better off spending my time and energy on searching for Blue Flamingos than achieving hmm,
what again?
And for what reason?…
By then,
I also thought that I had better chances of finding those fairy-tale birds than finding love
On January 23rd, 2012 Blue Flamingos have been discovered in the Isla Penzon Archipelago.
 What do you know…
They exist.
I exist.
Miracles happen after all.
Maybe love is somewhere out there existing as well…
“I want this World to keep amazing me.” – That’s the objective I would put on my life’s resume.
References are Not available upon request! Lol
My favorite dress in the world is not even a dress. Its a beautiful baby blue silk night gown. Here is where I decided to take my first unorthodox approach to fashion.
I bought it in Italian lingerie store and I felt bad to wear it to bed… Cause it would get wrinkled and all! So I wore it outside and stopped traffic. Conservative but flowy and shiny. Think outside the box sometimes and look like every man’s dream when he meets you while he is awake.
Coming back to the beginning of my story – be that rare Blue Flamingo in a flock of pink ones next time you buy clothes. We are all born unique and let us dress as such. Don’t repeat what I call a “cookie cutter” pattern. Looking like one of the many in the mainstream crowd is so Blah… Stand out holding your head high.
! This piece is my tribute to True Love, Blue Flamingos and Miracles.

Hail to the FURious


Now that the winter is here and the temperatures are dropping lower and lower –  I would like to address the obnoxiously luxurious comfort and warmth of wrapping yourself in a Fur…

You may disagree, you may hate the concept but being born in Siberia and all… For those of you, who are not aware, it is one of the coldest places on Earth.

When a snowstorm hits you in the face, you are in serious trouble. Unless you have a FUR to protect you…

Over there – We don’t do it out of fancy. It is a matter of survival. If I have to choose between Me or the Mink – I choose ME.

When  I saw a campaign: “I’d rather go naked than wear fur! –  I have a message as well –  Leave your comfy home in California and try going naked in Siberia! In January! Hahaha!!! I challenge you to stand behind your words. You Will NOT survive. If you do, I will never wear fur again. If you had to choose between YOU and the MINK in the snowstorms that make your car liquids freeze – I’m pretty sure you would opt for your own survival.

These are the origins of my fur coats. Before meeting  the designer Christos Dovas, my Siberean furs were functional, plain and generic… I didn’t think much about them. They were supposed to keep me warm. Who knew that there is fashion that can go with the functionality and unbelievable warmth of it. Here it is:

style FJ-105 Marmo

“Made out of the most luxurious, finest and richest silver fox, lining of silk charmeuse and label bearing embroidered signature Christos Dovas New York.

For the woman who is loving and dazzling, haute couture fascinated with glam and plenty of charm.

made in New York by hand”

Christos Dovas


Christos Dovas turned out to have true talent, love and flare to turn basic survival instinct  items that I grew up on, into a fashion beauty. I can sing him praises all day long.
Christos  Dovas at work in his New York studio

Siberia can claim a Worldcup in drop dead temperatures, but here in New York, the winters get ever so harsh as well. My fur transplants from Siberia have been protecting me from the harsh cold and windy weather that makes your nose wanna fall off your face.

Some may call it a sinful pleasure, others would call it a muchly needed and very desired necessity. Before encountering his designs, I never thought that feeling of warm can look so good!

Question of the day: What keeps you warm during long cold winters?