It’s a new year and, like everyone else, I’ve been reflecting on how to make this the best year yet. I’ve just returned to Dubai after a 16-hour Emirates flight from LA, a journey which never bothers me. It’s a rare opportunity to disconnect and catch up not only on sleep, but on my own thoughts. Even though I’ve lived in Dubai for the past two years, whenever I return to LA my friends welcome me home. It’s still so hard for many of them to fathom that I now live on the other side of the world. After all, how do we define what makes a home? Is it our loved ones, the friends we keep or the comforts of our everyday routines? Or is it a state of mind? For me, it’s all of this and more. This trip back was fun and productive as I got to squeeze in a few meetings before the holidays and spend time with my friends – something I’ve come to cherish even more now that I live so far away from so many of them, and now that we are all so busy going in different directions.
This New Year’s Eve was extra special as we took a departure from our usual tradition. Because of my work with Kim, she and I have spent the last seven New Year’s Eves hosting an event ringing in the new year in a Vegas nightclub. Don’t get me wrong, celebrating New Year’s Eve in Vegas was always fabulous and a ton of fun, but it was also work. Along with the fun came massive amounts of planning and logistics. So when we decided to keep it low-key with only close friends this year it felt extra special. A few friends, including Kim, Kanye, Kylie, Caitlyn, and of course the little ones, all gathered together at Kourtney’s house to ring in the New Year. What a difference only a few years can make. Ask me a year or two ago, and I would never have expected to feel so content, watching the kids sneak into the kitchen for more cookies as we played a competitive game of Taboo. I can’t help but laugh about the disconnect between what is expected from celebrities and what it’s really like. Yes, there are lavish parties, beautiful cars, clothes and general fabulousness, but remove the spotlight, and those celebrities are real people, doing real things. Like playing one hell of a game of Cards Against Humanity, for example. A million people and more know what ‘breaking the internet’ means or have an opinion on Kim’s dress from the Met Gala, but how many know that she is hands down the best Cards Against Humanity player of all time? And let me tell you, it doesn’t matter who she plays against, if it’s a game, chances are she’s going to win.
Aside from New Year’s Eve, I spent a lot of my time in LA making the most of the things I don’t have access to when I’m in the UAE. While Dubai has a lot to offer, there are some things that I still can’t get here, so I stock up in a big way whenever I go back to the States. I buy out Tarte concealer, Stila black eyeliners and Le Labo Musc 25, my staple perfume. Every day in LA I indulged in my favourite 50 Shades of Green juice from Kreation and happily ordered almond milk lattes from Bouchon or Alfies (almost nobody in Dubai serves almond milk with coffee). I binged on Hot Pilates, Soul Cycle and Postmates (a delivery service that will literally bring you any food from any restaurant). Ever since moving, it seems as though there is always something that I miss. When I’m in LA I miss my local Dubai routine, like going to Tasha’s or Home Bakery or jumping in the car for a 30-minute ride to the desert, or cycling in Nad Al Sheba with my Dubai crew. Then I get back to the UAE and I’m craving my LA go-tos (just try ordering an almond milk latte in Jumeirah without getting lost in translation).
Because of this, I’ve come to see the notion of home as something that you truly have to make for yourself. I consider myself at home wherever I am. I’m so lucky to have such incredible friends on speed dial (although the lack of FaceTime in the UAE kills me) and to have two different lifestyles that I love dearly. But don’t think I won’t be making enquiries into getting SoulCycle and Postmates to come to Dubai.
This article appears in the February Issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia