All posts by Carmel+Vanilla

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Best & Worst Dressed at the Golden Globes

Lights, camera, awards season! The first official weekend of the new year brought along the Golden Globe awards; and while the weather is currently freezing in so many corners of the world, Los Angeles was its sunny self as Hollywood’s brightest stars came out to celebrate the best in TV and movies. Here are the night’s best and worst dressed:

Sophie Turner sizzles in Louis Vuitton! The Game of Thrones actress expertly combines shoulder pads, cutouts, and sheer in one stunning gown that show that she’s all grown up. Turner completes the look with Tiffany & Co. jewels and flat straight hair.

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

 

Heidi Klum‘s latest fashion crime comes in the form of this J. Mendel zig-zag black and white dress. The top part seems to be holding on to dear life, trying to avoid a wardrobe malfunction, while the overall surplus of sequins is nothing short of tacky!

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

 

Drew Barrymore gets it right in this whimsical Monique Lhuillier gown: the fit is flawless and the sparkly winged shoulders are a perfect compliment to the actress’ character.

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

 

Sarah Jessica Parker could be easily mistaken for a runaway bride in this Vera Wang collection mess. SJP- who usually gets it right- dons an unflattering full-on white satin gown that looks like it needs to be ironed for DAYS. Adding insult to injury is her (completely) out of place Princess Leia hair.

 

NBC's "74th Annual Golden Globe Awards" - Red Carpet Arrivals

 

Evan Rachel Wood gives us a lesson on how to wear a  suit to a high profile red carpet and end up on the best dressed list. The actress nails it in a perfectly tailored Altuzarra tux with an understated pussy bow double breasted white chemise.

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

 

Nicole Kidman looks all kinds of wrong in this fully embellished Alexander McQueen gown. I can’t seem to decide what’s worse: the multi-layered ruffled hem or the (extremely) outdated arm warmers!

 

NBC's "74th Annual Golden Globe Awards" - Red Carpet Arrivals

 

Last night’s Best Actress winner was breathtaking in Valentino Haute Couture. La La Land‘s Emma Stone was the epitome of glamour in a beautiful star inspired gown and Tiffany & Co. diamonds.

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

 

Chrissy Teigen misses the mark in this disappointing fishtail gown by Marchesa. The model could have done so much better than this greige meets bronze gown.

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

 

Amy Adams stuns in a fully sequined strapless Tom Ford column dress. The Arrival actress kept her hair simple and accessorized with Cartier diamonds for her walk down the red carpet.

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

 

Although Kerry Washington‘s makeup and hair were on point for the Golden Globes, her dress was NOT.  With the excessive gunmetal embroidery and awkward belt placement, this Dolce & Gabbana gold lace tea length dress has too much going on, not to mention those visible black spanks which are just tasteless.

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

 

Reese Witherspoon shines in a custom-made Atelier Versace sweetheart neckline lemon dress with a high slit and Tiffany & Co. jewelry.

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

 

Zoe Saldana hits all the wrong notes in a Valentine inspired Gucci gown. Too much fabric and a huge in-your-face lavender bow turned this look into an absolute disaster.

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

 

Kristen Bell  is chic and polished in a dangerously plunging Jenny Packham black dress. From the shiny all-over sequins to her tousled waves and not forgetting those drop dead gorgeous Harry Winston diamonds, Bell was undoubtedly the Globe’s Belle of the ball!

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

 

Blake Lively makes her post-baby return to Hollywood in an unflattering custom velvet Atelier Versace gown. The look could have been a winning one if it weren’t for the unnecessary gold sequined neckline and weird pockets? Even Blake’s enviable emerald Lorraine Schwartz cuffs could not save this look!

 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

 

 

All pictures are courtesy of People.com.

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The Boldest Looks From The MET Gala 2016

The first Monday of May in New York is quite the big deal; A-list celebrities flock to the MET museum on 5th avenue and walk the annual MET gala red carpet in custom-made creations by the world’s most coveted designers. 2016’s gala was no different than others; on the contrary, with a theme entitled ““Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology”, we witnessed a sea of mirrored gowns that surely transported us to the future. Here’s a closer look at last night’s boldest looks:

Emma Stone debuted her darker locks in a striking white Prada gown with a gunmetal harness. The actress completed her look with Lorraine Schwartz jewels and Smokey eyes.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

Kendall Jenner was her usual stunning supermodel self in a custom multi-colored Atelier Versace dress. Jenner accentuated her look with white heels and a high ponytail.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

 

Kendall’s bestie- Gigi Hadid- also wowed in a gunmetal chiffon custom-made Tommy Hilfiger gown with an attached halter neckline. The model brought her best accessory, boyfriend Zayn Malik who turned heads in his metal armed custom Versace suit.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Blake Lively usually knocks it out of the park with her MET gala ensembles, however, last night was a different story. The pregnant actress does not impress in her pink Burberry dress with red flower embellishments; from her hair to her over-the-top Lorraine Schwartz danglers, here’s hoping that Blake’s fashion choices evolve as her second pregnancy unfolds.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Taylor Swift can’t seem to get enough of her new look; the singer sticks to her beach hair and wine lips for the MET’s red carpet event and dons a reptile print Louis Vuitton side cut-out halter dress. It’s safe to say that T.Swift can do so much better than this.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

 

In possibly one of the worst looks of the night, Madonna chooses to cover her nipples in black tape and show us her butt in a sheer black ensemble and over 400 carats of Neil Lane jewels. It’s time to act your age Madge.

 

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Naomi Watts knows how good she looks in metallics: the Aussie actress stuns in a strapless mirrored Burberry dress with embellished flowers and Fred Leighton jewels.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

 

Another red carpet, another shapeless matching getup for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

 

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

 

 

I’m usually not a fan of Kristen Stewart, but the actress surely impressed at this year’s MET gala. For her walk down the carpet, Stewart chose a laced silk Chanel dress with equally stunning sparkly boots. The actress ups her game with striking silver shadow and a blonde updo.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

A usual MET gala favorite, Sarah Jessica Parker fails in this custom Monse ensemble and mis-matched heels from her own line, SJP.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

 

Lady Gaga goes back to her early red carpet days in a flawlessly structured Atelier Versace onesie and matching metallic bolero with sublime detailing. Her lace-up platform boots should have stayed at home though.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

Emma Watson pushes her style in a pant/skirt combo by Calvin Klein Collection. The British actress completes her outfit with a simple black and white bustier and old glamorous waves.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

Karolina Kurkova stuns in her gray Marchesa dress that comes loaded with flower appliques and get this, the gown is embedded with IBM Watson technology (LED lights) that reacts to social media in real-time!

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

 

Kim Kardashian said that she felt like a “robot” in her metallic mirrored Balmain gown, but I doubt that a even a robot would want to wear this skin-tight over the top look.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

 

Rachel McAdams is simply lovely in her Valentino dress which featured heavy gold details and script embroidery all over the skirt. The actress completed her look with dark lips and a pair of Jimmy Choos.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Too much dress and way too many feathers; Rita Ora fails to inspire us with her custom Vera Wang gown.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

 

What could be better than Kate Bosworth’s sublime Dolce and Gabbana armored bodice dress? Her matching crown, that’s what.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Katy Perry takes costume galas very seriously it seems. The singer goes all out with an elaborate (that word could be an understatement) Prada gown accentuated with a Tamagotchi (boyfriend Orlando Bloom also wore one) toy and a fierce updo.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Cindy Crawford’s still got it! The ageless models sizzles in a liquid silver Balmain dress with structured sheer panels.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Nicki Minaj looks like she’s packed, taped, and ready to be shipped out in this custom Moschino halter dress, complete with buckle details and sheer gloves and skirt. #fail.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

I’m having a schizophrenic reaction to Miranda Kerr’s Louis Vuitton two piece outfit. On the one hand, it’s way too colorful and the mismatched ruffle is just tacky, but on the other hand, if anyone can get away with wearing this look,  it would be this Aussie model.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Note to Brie Larson: this is what you wear to a high profile red carpet event from now on. The Oscar winner makes up for her Academy Awards look by slipping into a breath-taking cut-out Proenza Schouler mirrored halter dress. Simply stunning!

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Kate Hudson disappoints in this super busy Atelier Versace white gown with a tiered and sculpted bodice and long train. The actress redeems herself (kind-of) thanks to her 8 million dollar Lorraine Schwartz jewels.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Solange Knowles is playful in this #Lemonade pleated dress with an inverted neckline and thigh-high matching boots. Classic Solange and on point with the color to support big sis Beyoncé.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

Alicia Vikander has too much going on thanks to her Louis Vuitton dress. The design house’s latest muse groups patent, sequins, and patchwork all in one LV mini and yet, the disaster seems to come in the form of Vikander’s unfortunate red hiking boots.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

 

 

Dolce and Gabbana’s #ItaliaIsLove can easily be changed to #ZoeIsLove, for Saldana is the epitome of glitz and glamour in a flawless Dolce and Gabbana multi-colored feather trained extravagant gown.

 

"Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala - Arrivals

 

 

As if Beyoncé needed more press this week! Queen B was the talk of the MET thanks to her latex or Slaytex- as many called it- gown by Givenchy. The puff sleeve nude beaded gown sent the BeyHive (and the Twitterverse) into a frenzy and expressed a lack of care that Jay Z couldn’t make it. This was Beyoncé in all her glory and she emerged a winner, as usual.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's COSTUME INSTITUTE Benefit Celebrating the Opening of Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Arrivals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York, America - 02 May 2016

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Best & Worst Dressed At The 2016 Oscars

For film’s biggest night, Hollywood’s brightest and boldest actresses brought out their best designer duds for a walk on the red carpet. Here are the best and worst looks from Oscar Sunday.

Naomi Watts is stunning in this Armani Privé blue and purple scale patterned strapless dress. The Aussie actress ups her game in a drop-dead gorgeous Bulgari diamond necklace and matching clutch.

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Saoirse Ronan may not have won the Oscar, but she sure was a winner on the red carpet. The Brooklyn actress wows in a custom-made Calvin Klein emerald sequin dress and matching Chopard emeralds and diamonds.

saoirse-ronan

 

Lady Gaga impresses as only SHE can! The singer sticks to her unique roots in this Brandon Maxwell white jumpsuit complete with a sweetheart neckline and full train. Gaga adds over 8 million dollars of Lorraine Schwartz diamonds to complete her flawless look!

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Olivia Wilde is another stunner in white; the actress takes the plunge in this plunging Valentino Haute Couture number. Wilde kept her makeup and hair simple and accessorized her look with a statement necklace.

Olivia Wilde

 

Julianne Moore ditched her go-to Givenchy for this custom Chanel Haute Couture black dress with embroidered straps. Last year’s Oscar winner was mesmerizing thanks to an addition of Chopard diamond earrings and cuff.

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It’s so good to see Tina Fey finally end up on a best dressed list! The funny actress stuns in a royal purple Atelier Versace strapless gown and matching statement Bulgari diamonds.

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Another red carpet, another sizzling appearance by the one and only Margot Robbie. The beautiful actress is reminiscent of an Oscar statue in her snake skin gold Tom Ford gown with plunging neckline and matching Forever Mark diamonds.

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Rachel McAdams hits the mark in her impeccable August Getty Atelier gown! From the train to the open back, and not forgetting her flawless Piaget drop earrings, the Canadian beauty was surely one of the night’s best dressed stars.

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Olivia Munn is classy and elegant in her tangerine one-shoulder Stella McCartney gown. She accentuates her look with a matching lip and Forever Mark jewels.

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Jennifer Lawrence decided to take a walk on the wild side and step out of her comfort zone in this nude and black lace Dior gown. The actress completed her look with a fresh face and a blunt straight bob.

JLaw

 

I’m undecided about Cate Blanchett‘s gown choice for last night’s awards. The actress’ seafoam green Armani Privé gown has too much going on thanks to the multidimensional appliques all over. At least her breath-taking Tiffany & Co. diamonds saved her!

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Kate Winslet looks like she went for a dip in the ocean right before the Oscars and then put on the first gown she saw hanging in her closet. Everything about this look is a disaster; from the careless hairdo to the liquid silk lamé custom Ralph Lauren gown, Britain’s English rose could have done so much better than this!

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Another red carpet, another disaster for Heidi Klum. The supermodel fails to impress in this over-the-top cleavage baring one shoulder lilac Marchesa number with one too many floral embellishments.

Heidi Klum

 

She may have taken home the Oscar for best actress, but even that can’t save Brie Larson from this Gucci disaster. The actress is a mess in this custom-made royal blue spaghetti strap gown which featured too many out of place skirt details and an oversized silver belt.

Brie Larson

 

 

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One-on-One With The Cheesecake Factory’s Lisa McDowell

The Cheesecake Factory, the American award-winning casual dining restaurant, has finally made its much-anticipated debut in Lebanon! After months and months of waiting, TCF finally opened its doors on December 1st, 2015 in V Verdun.

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Having visited The Cheesecake Factory numerous times all over the United States throughout the years, I was thrilled to finally see it opening in Lebanon. So imagine my excitement when I found out that I would be interviewing the company’s Vice President of Global Development, Lisa McDowell.

I met this amazing lady right before opening night, as more than 250 permanent employees were gearing up to host a bevy of eager diners wanting to discover what The Cheesecake Factory was all about. What unfolds is a story about inspiration, passion, and a unique culinary experience only The Cheesecake Factory can provide.

 

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Carmel + Vanilla: Why is it important for the Cheesecake Factory to open in Beirut?

Lisa McDowel: You know we’ve been planning this since day one when we chose to come to the Middle East and one of the key cities was Beirut. I think the key here is that people like to gather, be social, and dine together. Food is all about celebrating and communicating and Lebanon likes to do that, right? You see families, big groups, youngsters, just basically a lot of unity, and that’s what the Cheesecake Factory does really well. We’re all about providing that right kind of atmosphere, from the beautiful building to the great food, finishing off with a great dessert, and not forgetting all the efforts of our fantastic servers. Our staff is here to host you and that’s what we do well. So to sum it up, it just feels like a natural fit for us to be here in Beirut.

C+V: What do you think the Overtons (original founders of The Cheesecake Factory) would feel now that their restaurant is all the way across the globe in Beirut?

LMD: You know I think they would be so proud of the fact that we held on to the quality and standards which they set forth. Their son, David, has been the pinnacle in our organization and he’s really driven in terms of quality, execution, follow-up, and the ‘why’ behind it everything we do. More importantly, the Overtons would respect how much we take care of our guests and how much we understand that purpose. They would be really proud because what they instilled and created years ago is still what we’re doing today, and we try our best to make them proud everyday.

 

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C+V: The Cheesecake Factory was named as one of Fortune magazine’s 100 best companies to work for, for the second consecutive year. Why do you think so?

LMD: Well it starts with that foundation that everybody likes to be proud of where they work. You like to proud of the product you serve, what you represent, the values you share with that company, and you continue to strive to take care of the people who take care of others.
So, for example, our servers take care of our guests. Our managers take care of the servers and staff, and as management, we take care of our managers. Those elements have been the foundation of our organization from day one; I just think that now we’re being recognized for it. I don’t think it’s anything different since the inception of the brand.

C+V: So, can we expect to see this award being granted to The Cheesecake Factory for a third year?

LMD: Oh I wouldn’t doubt it one bit. We would strive to only be that good and continue to be so.

C+V: Why is important for the Cheesecake Factory to have over 200 items on its menu?

LMD: It’s such a big menu, isn’t it? Well it’s this large because we understand the complexity of the fact that what we do is what makes us successful. So everybody sitting here tonight gets whatever they feel like: you can have something from our SkinnyLicious (low-cal) menu or something with a little Latin flair- nachos or tacos. I can have a pasta, a sandwich, a burger, or a steak- you name it! So there’s something for everyone here and that really is a big part of our success. Anybody can dine here and the best part is that you can dine the way you want; the portions are so generous that you could share, take home, or just eat what you want. This is the uniqueness of The Cheesecake Factory.

 

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C+V: What is you personal favorite dish?

LMD: I love the Cajun Chicken Littles (my personal favorite as well). I also love the Miso Salmon- which consists of a beautiful bed of fluffy white rice topped off with a miso glazed filet of salmon and some sake butter and finished it off with steamed snow peas. The whole combination is magical!

C+V: What can a customer expect on their first visit to the Cheesecake Factory?

LMD: Our mission is to make sure that you would have an amazing food, beverage, and dessert experience and that you would be in awe of your surroundings, from the architecture to the warm cozy environment- we want you to soak it all up. We want you to feel the positive energy and realize that this place a great space to gather. At the end of their first experience, we want people to say: ” I need to come back because I couldn’t take it all in the first time”.

C+V: Why is the lighting so dim at a the Cheesecake Factory?

LMD: We try to create an ambiance. There’s a science to our lighting strategy. We have lights for different settings; lunch, dusk, and dinner. Dinner is cozy, we like to see a warm glow on everyone’s face- enough for you to read and see your food, but one that creates an atmosphere that’s warm, cozy, and inviting. This makes it feel like the place to be for each individual table.

 

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C+V: In your opinion, is the customer always right?

LMD: We value and practice this. We always want to please the guest; it’s our number one goal because our guests come with expectations and we want to exceed them each and every time. So when you ask me ” are they right every time?”, I say they’re right in expecting what they expect and we should be able to honor and deliver that everyday.

C+V: How important is constant employee training for an international company and how do you keep it interesting to keep employees engaged?

LMD: You know you need a little bit of everything. The environment we have is unlike any other restaurant. Just now here in Beirut, we have over 280 servers. We brought 60 trainers and we have plenty of corporate support staff. We teach our employees how to do everything from scratch and then ask them to repeat what they’ve learned several times. Repetition will make you good at what you do and improve your craft. All our trainings are hands-on, side by side and you get to practice all the time. You read, study, and practice. And most importantly, you constantly get feedback.

C+V: What attracted you to The Cheescake Factory?

LMD: It’s the energy, this unique opportunity that allows me to part of this chain, where you see people become a part of a second family, the Cheesecake Family. The energy in the restaurant business is very dynamic. It’s never 9 to 5, you never watch the clock. Time goes by so fast and you go ‘where’s my day gone?’. There are so many entities, because you deal with people, products, as well as the every day life of a guest, so it’s never boring.
I’ve been in this business for so long- particularly at the Cheesecake Factory. Being here allows me to grow with the world in a sense that if trends/foods/you name it change, The Cheesecake Factory will do it too. We just never sit around and watch opportunities go by. We never stay stagnant. If you work in that kind of dynamic, where you continue to learn and grow, that’s what makes it worthwhile and keeps it challenging.

 

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C+V: Describe the Cheesecake Factory in just three words.

LMD: It is magical. You can’t get it anywhere else. You can’t replicate it; it simply cannot happen. It just comes together: the food, the ambiance, and the smiling guests.
You know we’ve got over 40 signature desserts. What other restaurant can you think off that has this many? Just seeing that Cheesecake fridge- I don’t know what else can put a smile on your face!
Then just looking at the menu and all those ingredients required to make all those items come together, and then not to mention our specialty cocktails which are made from scratch. All I can say is that the Cheesecake Factory is a well-orchestrated restaurant that brings the magic!

The Cheesecake Factory is located at V Verdun, Verdun. It’s the most wonderful time of the year to grab all your family and celebrate at this “magical” place!

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Fireworks Ahead: The Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra 2015

The time has come for our annual rendevouz with the unveiling of the Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bra for 2015! The lingerie-maker once again turned to Lebanese jeweler, Mouawad, to design and execute yet another bra and belt masterpiece set, that will be shown during Victoria’s Secret’s fashion show this year.

 

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Following last year’s two breath-taking sapphire, ruby, and diamond bras worn by Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima, 2015’s  multi-million bra centers around a firework theme, and features diamonds, blue topaz, yellow sapphires and pink quartz and is set in gold. And like all pricey VS fantasy bras, this flawless piece costs a whopping USD 2 million!

 

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And who might just be the lucky supermodel who gets to parade the catwalk wearing this year’s fantasy bra? As it turns out, Victoria’s Secret tipped veteran angel, Lily Aldridge for this role. The model- who has walked for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show 6 times already- will slip this beauty on when the label tapes its annual fashion show in NYC next week.

 

Dessert

Dining In Style At Pasquale

It comes as no surprise that the Grand Hills Hotel is the place to be this season. The Fall weather is absolutely the perfect time to take a stroll in this extravagant village that boasts the world’s largest presidential suite and offers more than breath-taking views of the Lebanese mountains as well as the mesmerizing Mediterranean Sea.

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The Grand Hills Hotel is also home to the county’s newest Italian restaurant, Pasquale. The eatery has just recently opened and features truly authentic Italian delights and specialties that aim to satisfy every Italian food lover’s appetite. Pasquale boats  spacious indoor seating, but we chose to sit outdoors among the Fall trees as soft Italian music played into the background on the first day of November.

 

Pizza

Soon after, our waiter came with menus and started making suggestions to assist us with our order. Following a brief discussion, we decided to share the Pizza Funghi as a starter, and surely, we were not disappointed. This pizza is truly by far one of the best I’ve had in quite some time and featured what can only be a homemade tomato sauce with heaps of tastefully melted Mozzarella.

 

Chicken

 

As for the main courses, we ordered the Gnocchi Al Sorrentina – which was exquisite, the Risotto Porcini, and the baby chicken with potatoes and vegetables. All dishes were perfectly cooked and full of flavor.

 

GnocchiRisotto

Although we were stuffed, we couldn’t resist but share the chocolate dessert specialty at Pasquale. Three layers of thin chocolate bars were pressed together in between rich creme chantilly and hazelnut that provided the perfect sweet ending to a great experience.

 

Dessert

Meal for 3, with drinks: USD 120.

Special thanks to our waiter Paul, who was knowledgeable as he was courteous!

Miss

5 Things I Loved From The Miss Lebanon 2015 Pageant

It was another eventful occasion for LBC’s Miss Lebanon as the network broadcast the pageant for the 20th year in a row on Monday, October 12th, 2015. 14 contestants from all over the Lebanese territories paraded around Casino Du Liban’s Salle Des Ambassadeurs for over two hours, until Valerie Abou Chakra was crowned as the new Miss Lebanon 2015 right before midnight.

I’ve heard a lot of feedback about the event, be it both positive and negative, and yet, nonetheless, there are so many awesome things that caught my attention and here are some of them!

Call It A Party

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I loved the live DJ set that was included in the swimsuit competition section of the pageant. It gave a younger and lighter feel to the overall atmosphere of the night as the beautiful ladies stunned one after another in red one-piece swimsuits.

 

The final question was chosen via social media

Val

In the digital age, it’s nice to know that audiences can have an added value in live telecasts. Although the question sourced from the audience was quite a predictable one, it’s still refreshing to feel that people’s opinions count and this can pave the way for a more creative approach next year.

THAT Crown!

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For this year’s crown, the Miss Lebanon organization selected Yessayan jewelry to carefully design the diamond studded stunner. The flawless piece was truly the icing on the cake that cemented Valerie Abou Chakra’s status as Lebanon’s reigning beauty queen!

The Set

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LBC knew that this was its 20th year hosting the show and what better way to show off what they’ve got to celebrate than with a state-of-the-art set designed by the famed Yara Issa El Khoury?

Nadine Njeim

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Has there ever been someone more beautiful than Miss Lebanon 2004, Nadine Njeim? 10 years following her reign, Njeim proves that she is still as stunning, classy, and poised as ever!

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The Best Dressed Stars At The Emmy Awards

Sunday night saw the return of awards season as Hollywood’s brightest stars came out to celebrate TV’s biggest night. Here are the best looks from last night’s show.


Metallics was a huge trend with several ladies opting for it. One of these stunners was none other than Scandal’s Kerry Washington who wowed us with a Marc Jacobs metallic gown that was actually just shown at the designer’s NYFW show last Thursday! The actress added Harry Winston diamonds and simple Casadei sandals to complete her look.

kerry-washington

Another big trend on the carpet was the use of chains in some gowns. One of the actresses who opted for it was the ever-so young Taraji P. Henson. She chose a custom-made black dress by Alexander Wang that featured lace and cutouts. She completed her look with Neil Lane diamonds.

taraji-henson

Lady Gaga surprised everyone as she walked the red carpet in her simple designer duds thanks to a drop dead gorgeous elaborate black gown by Brandon Maxwell with a structured hip embellishment. Her sleek blond tresses were on point as were her Lorraine Schwartz diamonds!

lady-gaga

Sarah Paulson is a vision of monochrome black and navy in this Prabal Gurung number. We love the off-the-shoulder neckline which the actress is working with ease along with her severely straight hair and Rauwolf clutch.

sarah-paulson

It’s such a relief to finally see Ariel Winter looking her age at an awards show! The Modern Family actress wore a red Romona Kaveza gown with an interesting asymmetrical neckline to the Emmy’s. Her flowing natural black curls and natural makeup are just perfect!

ariel-winter

Jamie Alexander brought a rainbow to the carpet in the form of this stunning Armani Privé gown. The actress seems to be well connected with the brand, as this gown still hasn’t even seen on Milan’s runways! Completing her look were sleek slicked back hair and Baccarat jewels.

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One actress who does not make the best dressed list often, is Claire Danes. However, this year, the Homeland actress was flawless in this purple chained Prada gown that is clearly flattering her figure and is a perfect match to her blond tresses.

claire-danes

Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland brought glamour to the carpet in a custom-made Zac Posen burgundy gown. The off-the-shoulder meets inverted neckline complemented the actress’ body and her Lorraine Schwartz diamonds made her shine even more.

sarah-hyland

Sofia Vergara was radiant in her champagne colored St. John strapless gown. The soon to be wed actress kept her hair naturally flowing and added bling from her go-to jeweler, Lorraine Schwartz.

sofia-vergara

All pictures courtesy of People.com

Kale & Quinoa Celebration

For The Love Of Bread & Friendship: Savoring Bar Tartine’s New Menu

What started out as a small bakery on Mar Mikhael street has turned into another Lebanese success story! Bar Tartine has literally taken over peoples’ hearts in a very short time frame, making it one of the country’s most popular eateries to date. And why not? The food is great, the service amazing, and the tastes and flavors are always consistent.

A member of the group that manages Zaatar W Zeit and Studio Beirut, Bar Tartine welcomes you in three perfectly selected locations: Mar Mikhael, ABC Achrafieh, and Dbayeh. And since the eatery is part of a mother company that is constantly looking for ways to reinvent itself, Bar Tartine decided to re-engineer its menu and invited selected bloggers to savor these new items last night in their branch in Dbayeh.

 

Farmhouse Kale & Quinoa Celebration

The newest locale enjoys a perfectly spaced outdoor garden- a great setting to schedule a lunch or dinner with friends when the weather gets cooler. The interior is cozy and you are directly welcomed with smiling waiters who are happy to walk you to your selected table. The evening kicked-off with a round of fruity Prosecco cocktails; I had the peach flavor which was perfect, but was told that the strawberry was just as good. As it turns out, you can enjoy these fruity Prosecco cocktails everyday in August starting 5.00 pm in all Bar Tartine locations, so make sure to book an afternoon with your friends for a tasting!

Soon after, the new menu items started coming in: The Kale Quinoa Celebration salad is more like a flavor celebration for your taste buds; kale and quinoa come together in a perfect mixture and are fused with hints of cranberry and topped with a large grilled chicken breast, a great dish to have as a full healthy meal. Another great dish was the Couscous Freshness salad. I am usually not a fan of couscous, since I feel that it’s really dry, but the rich dressing and carefully selected spices make this salad a winner! The Kale Avocado Rolls are a must-try: the two ingredients are seasoned and rolled in green cabbage and are accompanied by a dipping sauce for you to enjoy!

Couscous Freshness

Next came the three new pizzas, all with a homemade dough as their base: the chicken picante features cheese, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini. For olive lovers, the goat cheese feast has a tapenade base sauce and includes goat cheese, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and sprinkles of pine nuts. The spicy alfresco was my favorite; if you’re into spices then you will love this rich blend of Italian sausages, olives, mushrooms, and wild thyme.

 

Spicy Alfresco Chicken Picante Goat Cheese Feast

Sandwiches followed and gave vegetarians a reason to smile: the veggie symphony is a winner with a rich mix of eggplant, beetroot, avocado, and arugula all sandwiched between two slices of brown toast. At the other end of the spectrum, the chicken provolone was juicy as it was hearty and was complemented by a generous side salad.

 

Veggie Symphony Chicken Provolone

Bar Tartine’s new menu drops today across their branches in Mar Mikhael, ABC Achrafieh, and Dbayeh. And if you happen to be craving some bread or late night desserts, Bar Tartine offers a 50% discount on its bread and pastries as of 9.00 pm every night. See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

BHV

#IAmWhatIAm With BHV Lebanon

Imagine a world where you could be anything you wanted to be. What could be better, right? Well now you can thanks to an amazing initiative by BHV Lebanon!

 

Lara

Join BHV Lebanon and myself in this inspiring campaign that aims to support Lebanon’s youth by asking them to speak their minds. I chose to be summer, but you could choose to be free, happy, excited, or state your opinion about the things that matter to you the most. The instructions are pretty simple:

  • Create a short video and express yourself in 10 to 15 seconds
  • Upload the video to your Instagram page- make sure your account is not a private one
  • Don’t forget to add the hashtags #BHVIAmWhatIAm and #IAmWhatIAmWithLara

The lucky winner will be treated to a styling and photo shoot session with BHV and myself. Make sure to upload your videos before August 7th!