My 10 Favorite Elton John Songs


Last month as a very late Valentine’s Day present (since I was away in London for Fashion Week), my husband fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams: to see Elton John live in concert playing some of my all-time favorite songs. Needless to say, he played everyone of my favorites except for one, but something tells me that I’ll be able to gone on without it like that ;) It really was everything and more, nothing really compares to his magnetism on stage. Why do I love this artist so much? Well, what’s central to the brilliance of Elton John’s art are the contradictions within the man. (We also almost have the same birthday, mine’s the 24th of March and his the day after.) He can kill you with the beauty of a tender ballad, then switch over with an intense blast of filthy rock and roll. He can dedicate decades of work to defeating AIDS, then engage in a public catfights with other celebrities through the gossip columns. So without further ado, here are (in no particular order) my top 10 favorite Elton John songs!


One of Elton John's best hard rock cuts, this song was banned on several radio stations, in the United States and elsewhere, due to the use of the word "bitch". “The Bitch Is Back” is a rousing rocker from John that doesn’t pull any punches with its feisty lyrics. The high-energy horns, female backup vocals and the clanging guitars are some of the best parts of the song. “The Bitch Is Back” (also from Caribou) was banned by some U.S. radio stations, but that didn’t stop the song from becoming a No. 4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.


Sometimes it’s an artist’s slightest work that maintains the greatest staying power. Which is not to say "Crocodile Rock" isn’t a terrific tune; just that its aspirations are small. It’s a song from the '70s that’s a pastiche and homage to all the '50s rock, pop, and doo wop that Elton John and his peers grew up on. From that perspective, it’s a rung or two above Sha Na Na. Here the devil’s in the details, like the whirligig organ that floats above Elton’s central piano riff, or the ascending guitar lines that underpin the chorus. Roger Ebert said that great parody becomes that which it parodies, which is a high-falutin’ way of saying that on 'Crocodile Rock,' Elton didn’t just imitate his idols; he equaled them.


Although it’s not quite fair, the eighties seem to be regarded as a “lost decade” for Elton John, at least when it comes to critical appreciation. Outside of his 1989 Sleeping With The Past album (the first produced after his recovery from drug addiction) and 1983’s Too Low For Zero, the decade yielded plenty of hits for Elton, but few of them memorable. (The less said about "Wrap Her Up," his campy duet with George Michael, the better.) Too Low, yielded our No. 9 Elton John song selection and this propulsive rocker, a staple of Elton’s live shows and another iconic song that has come to define the singer’s public persona. Weaving effortlessly between genres, "I’m Still Standing" is somehow both a full-out rocker and completely danceable, the wailing electric guitar and searing synth meshing with a bouncing bass line that’s almost disco-esque.


It may have been immortalized by writer/director Cameron Crowe in Almost Famous, but for Elton John fans, "Tiny Dancer" has always been an undisputed classic. It starts with that simple, beautiful opening piano riff, like the tinkling tune of a music box, and builds effortlessly into a full, warm sound – a chorus of voices, a relaxed acoustic guitar, Elton’s piano weaving its way around every note. Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics for his girlfriend at the time, and surely her face is lost to the mists of history; it’s the unforgettable images in his words, her dancing in the sand and those Jesus freaks "handing tickets out for God" that will endure.


You could write an entire separate piece ranking Elton John’s '70s albums, but one looms large above the others, if only by size and the weight of its many iconic songs: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." If Elton John and Bernie Taupin have created a magnum opus, this may very well be it. While Elton and his band hopscotch through the entire history of American popular music, Bernie crafts evocative words that look ever backward with nostalgia, wit, and occasional anger. This title cut captures those themes perfectly with the tale of a green young farmboy who finds himself trapped in the orbit of a world weary, powerful figure. There’s something almost Spector-esque about the sound Elton and his band achieve on this track, adding an extra halo of wistful yearning to the song.


“Your Song” (from John’s 1970 self-titled second album) was his first breakthrough hit around the world, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Your Song” is a simple, beautiful ballad that can apply to all kinds of love. It’s no wonder that it’s still one of the most-covered Elton John songs of all-time. And yes, I get teary-eyed every time I listen to it! A true gem.


Harry Nilsson did it with "Spaceman," David Bowie did it with "Space Oddity," and Elton John did it with "Rocket Man." Each song as about the new-at-the-time phenomenon of men actually climbing aboard giant machines and soaring upward beyond the veil. But while the other songs zero in on the strangeness of space travel, only Elton John and Bernie Taupin manage to capture the underlying sadness of drifting alone above Earth, so far from family and friends, looking back at a massive turquoise orb that just grows smaller as you float away. It’s that emotional undercurrent, that human element, that Elton and Bernie so often discover, and that makes their greatest songs so great.


It's mushy and a little maudlin -- but it's great, too, a dynamic gem that unfolds and builds to epic, horn-drenched proportions over its five and a half minutes. And it's hard to beat a backing vocal choir that includes Beach Boys Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston, Toni Tennille and Billy Hinsche.


Featuring guest harmonica from Stevie Wonder, "I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues" finds Elton John delivering a warm slice of '80s mid-tempo pop, aided and abetted by his own down and dirty piano skills. The man’s one of music’s greatest balladeers, but this is something different; this may be the closest he’s ever come to the straightforward soul music that’s one of his many influences.


The lead single from 1988's Reg Strikes Back is taut, spare and propulsive, with some of the most inspired piano playing we'd heard from John in quite some time. The song describes someone ending a relationship due to not feeling exclusive and important to their partner. The song was regularly played by John in concert during the 1990s, before he retired it in 2000… which is why this is the only song I did not hear play at his concert! A great break-up song, all about remaining strong!






Babushka Chic

The word, ‘babushka’, has its origins in Russian and means, ‘grandmother’. It also makes reference to the manner in which ladies in Russian, use this type of scarf, covering the head and knotting it under the chin. The last reference was taken to name the famous, ‘Lady Babushka’ who was suspect of recording the Kennedy assassination while wearing this garment. A trend that has come and gone, from Audrey Hepburn to the film, ‘Thelma & Louise’, to the Queen of England and even A.S.A.P Rocky, the rapper, has kept this style alive, even breaking boundaries which is something I definitely enjoy doing. And I really wanted to style this in a great setting instead of the usual street style photos we sometimes take. So continue reading to see the complete shoot along with where to shop the pieces in this look today!

I love a good rib-knit dress in a cotton blend. This one is great for spring. Small stand-up collar, short sleeves, and slits at sides, it’s movable and very comfortable. Since the the weather is not quite springlike here in New York yet, I layered the dress with a faux fur coat with contrasted cuffs to bring out a more Russian-feel to the look. I even wore sheer nude tights to also keep with the overall mood of this outfit. I also mixed with the stripe print with an animal one, as snake print anything is super hot in trends at the moment. Don’t worry, they’ll still be around this coming fall/winter as well.

These snake print booties are awfully comfortable too! Super sleek pointed ankle boots featuring exposed zip and sock style fit, you would think 4.5” in terms of heel height would be too much on the feet, but they’re so well-fitted, like a glove, makes it easy to walk around in. I wouldn’t say this if you’re on your feet all day, but for an afternoon or evening will do just fine. I like my shoes to be practical.

So I’ve mixed in animal print with stripes. You’d think I’d stop there, right? Nah. I love playing up on the beauty of print and patterns. There’s something about pushing boundaries like I mentioned earlier in today’s post, I find that when you do, in terms of fashion & style, you can really find out if these rule-breakers work or not. I wore a blue and white floral scarf around my head, a standard must in a babushka chic outfit. :) This scarf in the post is not intended to be a headscarf and is no longer in stock so I linked a very similar one that can definitely be intended for a headscarf/headwrap.

Other accessories featured in today’s look are a luxe burgundy crossbody bag and gold statement earrings. I hope you enjoyed this more stylized editorial shoot! I am working on doing more of this kind of content, but it takes more time, therefore, a longer waiting period. What did you like the most about this babushka chic look? The headscarf? Coat? Perhaps, you’re wanting to see a trend/concept on MaQ + Suz that you haven’t seen and would like to? Drop your messages down in the comment section below!






10 Ways to Be a Badass

Normally when one thinks of a badass, one doesn’t usually come across an image of myself but more so along the lines of ‘The Terminator’, ‘Rocky’… even Lara Croft. Or perhaps a pick-up artist or someone who is all about getting ‘ripped’. My physique is petite more than anything else. But it’s what you carry on the inside that truly resonates who you are. So after my birthday weekend, I had some reflections as to where I am in life and who I really am as well. And I can assure you, I’m one hell of a badass for many reasons. So continue reading to learn more on ten ways to be more of a baddie in your life as well!


As a trained figure skater, I was criticized on a daily basis (and then some) which became part of the norm in my childhood. Good and bad, the latter proved to toy with my insecurities for years. But what it has also taught me is discipline, perseverance and most importantly, the only competition that I’m up against is with myself. Do you really think, with the career I’m in now, that I’d have any real fighting chance if I spent my days trolling Instagram worrying about other people and what they think of me? I’d never leave the house! So throw caution to the wind in this case - once you really don’t care about what others think of you and are only worried about yourself, it is forever life changing. And yes, a complete badass in doing so!


We are human after all, we all become afraid of many things throughout our life. But it’s how we manage that fear is what counts. To lead an exciting life, one must be open to new experiences. Jump with a leap of faith instead of waiting for something to happen. You just got to go for it, remember that you are uncomfortable because you are simply traveling out of your comfort zone, which is a good thing. Overcoming fears equals personal growth, and badasses are far more capable than what they ever imagined to be. Better to have tried than not try at all.


Not to say one should be a doormat, but it never hurts to be kind. We are all in this together, meaning we are all going to go down just in different ways so while we’re here we should at least try to be nice to one another. Don’t get me wrong, once a boundary has been stepped outside of its line, I won’t be as cool. But to me, a badass isn’t a ‘mean girl’ or a beyotch with an attitude, but more so someone who is diplomatic, cool, calm and collective throughout many different scenarios. Treat others how you’d like to be treated. The cooler you are to everyone else, the cooler they’re gonna be to you.


Whether it’s for yourself or someone else, do it for the right reasons. Not for an ego boost. When you see someone being taken advantage of, abused, or wronged who may not have the strength to stand up for themselves, do whatever you can to help. Don’t go getting yourself into situations you can’t handle, but if there’s any opportunity to fight some sort of injustice before you, stand up and do something about it. Rise up for yourself because if you can’t do that, you’re not going to be able to help others either. But you’ll never regret doing either or the other!


Of course, it’s important to learn when to say yes but I believe it is even more important to learn when to say no. And rather frequently. You can’t please everyone, and even if you tried (which I have in the past) you will never win over everybody. Quickly saying yes to everyone and everything will consequently have you lose your focus and dilute your power. Be selective, take time in your decisions, and definitely be down to say NO AF. Lol.


If I have to endure one more conversation amongst ‘bloggers’ as to what I have in store for summer plans, future content ideas, etc; I’m going to die of exasperation. Less talk, more action. Like a writer, don’t tell me… but SHOW ME. One of the best ways to stay stuck in your life is to constantly talk about things and never take action. If you want to really change your life or achieve a big goal, then commit to being someone who takes big action and does something about it after rather than the other way around. It kind of coincides with #1 but it’s all about delivering what you plan on doing. GET IT DONE!


Life will try to beat you down, others will try and take what you have, and your own mind will tell you that you’re not good enough, but… guess what? The world doesn’t revolve around you and you have to maintain at not relenting. Don’t give up. Keep plugging away at it and go after it single-mindedly. Don’t let anything get in your away. Remember why you are doing what you’re doing and don’t let go of that.


Stay on your path and trudge forward with big strides, but be flexible and adapt to the conditions of the road. If you want to make the universe laugh, just tell them your plans. Things will go awry. If you’re too rigid, life will feel like it’s against you, so sometimes you got to adapt a little and go with the flow. Be like water, not cement.


It’s there for a reason, and believe me when I say this, it knows much more than you do! ;) If someone or something feels wrong to you, or a project just doesn’t feel right…listen to what your intuition is telling you. There’s a good chance that it’s right and you should at least consider what is going on. Don’t have a knack for it, or so you think? Meditate, take long walks, do things that will open your inner compass and guide you to do what is best for you.


We all have different sides to ourselves, but more so of what we project to the outside world, and then who we are - as in… who we really are deep down inside. In my profession, it’s easy to just think I’m this or that, depending on what’s in a person’s ‘about me’ page, outfit, tweet, and then some. None of this makes a person. What’s in your heart and what actions you take definitely take hold over who you truly are as a person. And it’s all about being able to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and be very accepting with yourself. Because if you can’t even face yourself, how do you really know yourself? Be happy knowing your true self, a badass at heart all the way!






Red Monochrome Outfit

Happy Monday, guys! I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for spring! Which is why I can proudly say this will be the last ‘wintry’ post of the season! Decided to spice things up and bring you a full red monochrome look, where I’m literally decked out in nothing but the bold color aside from my sunglasses. I loved styling this so much, I’m considering doing another monochrome look for spring. Would you guys like to see that soon? In the meantime, check out this look to get your heart pumping with spring fever! I can feel it in the air, the warmer season is just around the corner! So say one last goodbye to the teddy coat trend. :)

I definitely took this cozy teddy with me across the pond during London Fashion Week as it was still pretty chilly. Thankfully wore it on the most rainy day where I was also quite sick. (See the look HERE - where I resemble V8 juice LOL) Don’t you love pieces from your closet that feel like a blanket? Ultimate comfort! The Karen Red Teddy Borg Longline Coat features teddy borg material, longline design, long sleeves, collar and button up detailing. It’s quite versatile in terms of styling. Easily could be paired with jeans and a t-shirt, or a LBD, and more! If you live in colder areas in the states, I highly recommend this coat as you can wear it a lot more before putting it away until the fall season. Most teddy coats are of neutral/beige tones, so I love having a more vibrant-colored one. The coat definitely stands out amongst a crowd!

To go with the red teddy coat, I styled it with the Maya - a large shoulder bag in a red design with a lightening bolt press stud. It has a chain strap and front flap to secure valuables. Their Paul's Boutique logo is embossed on the front. What I love most about this bag in particular is it’s size. It has so much space you can fit a laptop, phone, battery charger, notebooks, and more! It’s perfect for every day. Other accessories include red Chelsea boots from Teleport Shoes and my favorite Korean sunglass brand, Accrue.

Last but not least are a pair of red skinny jeans. Even wide leg trousers would go well with this look, so long as it is still red ;) What do you guys think of this red monochrome outfit? Would you have styled it in a different way? Perhaps with some red sunnies? Love hearing your feedback - drop those comments down in the section below! (End of post) Have a wonderful week and I’ll catch you all back on here very soon! xx






The Most Stylish Trench You'll Ever Own

When you think of Spring what is your number one go to kind of outerwear? For me, they are trench coats. One of my favorites to wear, I appreciate when a design is fresh and fun, like the star of today’s blog post. The cut is a bit different while maintaining premium quality, it has definitely become my favorite jacket to wear come this season. I’ve already worn this beauty across the pond during London Fashion Week in a very British street-style look (see HERE) but in today’s look I went for a more minimal chic vibe, one that can be easily re-created. So continue reading to see more of this spring wear outfit (who else is just as excited for warmer weather?!) and to learn more on why this is the most stylish trench coat you’ll ever own.

The calf-length trench coat from H&M is in thick, woven fabric made from a cotton blend. The details are the best: Collar, buttons at front with decorative buttons alongside, and concealed inner button. Long raglan sleeves with wide, tapered tab and button at cuffs. Wide welt side pockets, belt loops at back, and adjustable belt with covered metal buckle. High slits at sides. (my personal fave) Pleat at back with concealed tab and button to adjust pleat opening. Lined at top. This trench coat would be perfect with jeans and a white tee for a more casual look, but I went for a little more of a polished look.

I styled the trench coat with a high neck ribbed knit top and skirt co-ord with a beautiful pair of leather and suede tall black boots. Handcrafted and made in Italy, the tall boot by Sclarandis has a three quarter inside zipper, on a medium chunky wood heel and a touch of cushion to soften your step. They’re quite comfortable and super stylish. Perfect for transitional weather aside from the fall/winter season, in this look I think it flatters the legs well with the length of the skirt. The black matching set is from SHEIN, you can get 15% off your purchase until the end of March by using my code 1suzan15 before checkout. Their clothes are very affordable and super cute in terms of fast fashion.

This mini version of the Lantern Bag is designed to fit just the essentials - keys, lipstick and a big screen phone. You can carry it by the top handle or go hands-free with the shoulder strap but I love it with the strap, it is more practical while running around town. Crafted from croc-effect calf leather, and suede interior, it is one of my favorite bags the past couple of months. The brand, mlouye, has an assortment of other colors and textures when it comes to the lantern bag. If you’re looking for a refreshing take on handbags, you need to check them out!

I hope you enjoyed this brief outfit post! Be sure to check out my latest roundup of beauty favorites (see HERE) as well as all of my fashion month content from NYFW & LFW. Be sure to find direct links to the pieces from today at the beginning and end of this post. Got a question? Want to leave a message? Drop those comments down in the section below! Happy Hump Day, everyone :)