Category Archives: Favorites

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

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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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Remembering Basil Soda

Lebanon lost one of its talented designers yesterday with the untimely death of the multi-talented Basil Soda.

 

Basil Soda Red Couture Gown Basil Soda

 

Soda- who began his journey as a couturier in 2000-  always expressed himself through his fashion sense that was inspired by his love for architecture. This passion was always reflected in his designs’ fine cut lines and details., for his work always displayed a romantic yet mysteriously dark side.

 

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As the years progressed, Soda gained international recognition on the world’s hottest red carpets and dressed the likes of Katy Perry, Giuliana Rancic, Paris Hilton, Marion Cottilard, and Morena Baccarin, among others.

 

20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Red Carpet Morena Baccarin Paris Hilton

 

His beautiful creations were made available in Beirut, Hong Kong, Cannes, Dubai, Toronto, Taiwan, as well as other locations.

 

Yara in Basil Soda

 

The designer always declared that he wanted to provide women an escape from reality with his designs and he most certainly has! In memory of Basil Soda, designer, architect, artist, and dreamer..

 

Basil Soda

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The LUSH Experience: Creating a Fresh Face Mask for the Brand

I had the best time creating a catastrophe mask for Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics!

 

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Let’s rewind: Last Friday, I visited Lush in Beirut Souks to create one of the brand’s signature catastrophe blue-berry based masks. Mixing, grinding, and crushing the ingredients together was such a soothing experience, especially after a long work week!

 

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putting together

 

The mask is incredibly calming and perfectly moisturizes the skin. Packed with blueberries, calamine, chamomile, and almond oil, it soothes and softens the skin. You just need to smooth a generous layer onto your face, leave for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm water. It’s as simple as that!

 

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The best part is I packed and signed a few extra masks for all you readers to enjoy! All you need to do is head to LUSH in Beirut Souks in the coming few days and ask for your complimentary mask from Carmel + Vanilla for Lush!

 

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Many thanks to Mirna and Mavis from IPN for this super-fun idea and to Lina and the Lush team for being so welcoming!

 

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Don’t forget to follow Lush Lebanon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to receive all their fresh updates!

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Carmel + Vanilla is 2 Years Old!

Carmel + Vanilla turned 2 yesterday! It seems like it was just a few days ago that I found myself wondering whether it was the right time or not to start a fashion and lifestyle blog. It’s amazing how fast time flies, right? In retrospect, I’m so happy to see my young blog grow and expand to more readers as the days pass. So, to celebrate, I’m turning back time and sharing my favorite 5 posts fro the past two years with you. Read on to discover more!

 

Best and Worst Dressed and The Post that Started it All!

I’m beyond obsessed with E!’s red carpet coverage shows. Long before Carmel + Vanilla even existed, I used to tune in until 3.00 am to watch what my favorite celebrities wore to the red carpet. In fact, this blog kicked off with a Best Dressed post, following the 2013 Golden Globe Awards. Go down memory lane with me and read the post here.

 

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A Rewarding Experience and Giving Back at an Elderly Home:

Sometimes we get caught up in our issues and forget how truly blessed and lucky we are to have family and friends who are there to support us through thick and thin. In the summer of 2013, I visited an elderly home in Mansourieh in hopes of bringing smiles to those who might have lost hope in life. This day was truly inspirational and invite you to read about it here.

 

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Discovering Charbel Zoe and My Most Viewed Post Ever:

I remember that day like it were yesterday. On Thursday, June 12th, 2014- as I was in pain way over my head with a severe case of streptococcus- Jennifer Lopez appeared on TV at the opening of the 2014 World Cup in a drop dead gorgeous leotard. Who was the designer? I just had to find out! Turns out it was Lebanese newcomer Charbel Zoe and it wasn’t even the first time he collaborated with the hot Latina. This information inspired my most viewed post ever, entitled: 4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Lebanese Designer behind JLo’s Outfit at the World Cup Opening Ceremony! I’m thrilled to see how   mega successful Charbel has become, even opening his own boutique on Melrose last month!

 

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Dining in Style – Everywhere!

While having dinner at the Four Seasons in early February 2013, I decided to start a “Dining in Style” section on Carmel + Vanila. The culinary experiences that I shared with friends and family were largely documented on the blog in this section. Here’s to more yummy food in the coming year!

 

 

dining in style

 

Meeting an International Lebanese Designer: One-on-One with Rabih Keyrouz:

It was a dream come true! I couldn’t believe how down to earth and inspirational Rabih Keyrouz was. It was a delight and a pleasure to meet him over a signature cup of pomegranate juice in his atelier in Beirut in 2014. Read my interview with him here.

 

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A big thank you goes out to everyone who encouraged me to carry on and write on a continuous basis. Special thanks to Ralph who is my go-to blog tech-guru- I couldn’t do it without you!

Here’s to another year of blogging!

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Forever 21: Now Open in Beirut!

Finally! My favorite fast fashion store landed in Beirut on Saturday, January 17th!

 

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A day earlier, the brand invited media and bloggers for a private pre-opening which included a fashion show featuring several looks from the brand’s current collection.

 

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A little background info: Forever 21 was founded by Do Won Chang in 1984. 30 years later, the brand is widely present through more than 600 stores in the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, Russia, and the Middle East. Their design concepts mainly target bohemian, girly, edgy, and “now” girls.

 

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Don’t forget to check out Forever 21- now open at City Center Beirut!

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Beauty Essentials your Skin Needs to Survive the Chilly Weather this Week

With temperatures rumored to hit freezing levels this week, you’re all probably reaching for your thermal sweaters, wool trench coats, and furry boots.
However, as the days get shorter and your anticipation to go home, hug your bed, and wish you could hibernate until the storm is over, there’s one element that you should not neglect: your skin.

 

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The harsh cold is what often contributes to dry skin which in turns rids your skin of its natural glow. To fight this, here are a few beauty essentials that your skin will need to survive:

Your face:
If you normally moisturize your skin once a day, it might be a good idea to double up on your routine and apply your face cream twice (morning and night). A great moisturizer is Clarins’ Daily Energizer Cream which perfectly hydrates, reflects freshness, and provides your skin with a healthy winter glow.

 

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Your lips:
Your lips have probably been chapped for at least a month now, but harsh temperatures will increase the dryness and may even cause bleeding. Maintain your signature pout by using lip balm every 2-3 hours and patting your lips with a damp cloth throughout the day.

 

 

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Your hands:
Washing your hands (specifically with very hot water or very cold water) will cause them to dry in the days ahead. Invest in a good hand cream to combat the dryness: Bath and Body Works’ Warm Vanilla Sugar cream will give your skin a creamy feel, Clarins’ Hand and Nail Treatment Cream will soften your hands and strengthen your nails (tried and tested!), while the medicated Glycerodermine is perfect for overnight application. It would also be a good idea to moisturize after every hand wash.

 

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Your feet:
You may think that your feet are tucked away in warm socks and furry boots, but all these long hours will take a toll on them. Take off your socks before bedtime and let your toes breathe. You can also apply a designated foot cream-what better treatment for your feet than Scholl’s Foot Therapy- to combat dryness.

 

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Your eyes:
Work or university commitments will always require you to look presentable. In this case, water-proof mascara is your best friend. The cold weather coupled with high winds will cause your eyes to tear up; invest in a great waterproof product that won’t have you reaching for the nearest Kleenex. Dior has some of the best beauty products in the market and their waterproof mascara is a makeup essential that you will use until the last stroke.

 

 

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What are some of your favorite winter beauty essentials?

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Your First Look at Victoria’s Secret’s Fantasy Bras!

Following last year’s Victoria’s Secret fantasy bra worn by Candice Swanepoel, it seems to me that the lingerie giant was wondering how to top the 10 million dollar stunning bra and belt combination!

 

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How better to achieve this than through designing 2 multi-million dollar bras! Once again, Victoria’s Secret has teamed up with Lebanese jeweler, Pascal Mouawad in order to create not one, but two breath-taking sapphire, ruby, and diamond bras.

 

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The two sets- which will be modeled by Brazilian hotties Alesandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima during Victoria’s Secret’s upcoming London fashion show- each contain 16,000 gems along with 18 carat gold jeweled body pieces. The flawless pieces reportedly took more than 1,400 hours to create!

 

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Pictures are courtesy of People.com

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5 Iconic Handbags in Honor of National Handbag Day

In honor of National Handbag Day (which was marked yesterday), Carmel + Vanilla presents 5 of the most iconic handbags in history.

The Hermes “Kelly”:

Possibly one of the most iconic handbags of all time, this sublime piece was first introduced in the 1930s. The bag’s original name was changed to the “Kelly” in 1956, soon after Princess Grace of Monaco was spotted holding it to shield her pregnancy away from the prying eyes of paparazzi. This Hermes icon is one of the first truly modern bags and is considered by many as the “ideal day bag”. Want to own one? Then you better start saving! The Kelly’s starting price is USD 4,000 and goes all the way up to USD 16,000!

 

USA Kelly Rainier Engagement
Princess Grace of Monaco photographed with the Hermes “Kelly” bag.

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The “Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag”:

Generally labeled as way ahead of her time, Coco Chanel didn’t want to carry a bag by hand anymore and created the strap instead. This accessory accompanied the introduction of the Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag in 1955. This iconic bag provides instant sophistication and poise and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. These days, this high-end piece is available in a variety of colors and retails at a starting price of USD 2,700.

Fun Fact! Rumor has it that the bag’s zip compartment was used by Coco Chanel to hide her love letters.

 

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The Hermes “Birkin”:

Hermes makes the list again with the signature “Birkin” bag that was first introduced in 1981. Inspired and named after singer Jane Birkin, this iconic bag is similar to the “Kelly”, but larger in size. Want to include it to your wardrobe? Well brace yourself; the waiting list to own a Birkin is up to SIX years! A new Birkin will set you USD 13,000 back, while a pre-owned one retails for about USD 10,000.

 

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Jane Birkin poses with the Hermes "Birkin" bag
Jane Birkin poses with the Hermes “Birkin” bag

 

The Dior “Lady Dior Cannage Tote”:

While on a trip to Paris in the 90s, the late Princess Diana fell in love with this handbag. Since then, this iconic bag became known as “Lady D” or “Lady Dior”. “Cannage” refers to the type of stitching that makes the bag look the way it does. Today, Dior introduced a smaller sized version of Lady Dior and added a shoulder strap for better support. The massive French house’s iconic bag retails for about USD 2,500. French actress Marion Cotillard is the face of Lady Dior.

 

Princess Diana took her Lady Dior everywhere!
Princess Diana took her Lady Dior everywhere!

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The Louis Vuitton “Speedy”:

Though introduced in the 1930s, the Louis Vuitton “Speedy 30″ had a surprisingly youthful look and is still widely popular nowadays. The bag is also known to be reliable for travel and is widely accepted as an “affordable” luxury item. Starting price is around USD 1,000 although special editions can cost up to USD 2,500.

 

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Audrey Hepburn poses with her customized Louis Vuitton Speedy
Audrey Hepburn poses with her customized Louis Vuitton Speedy
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15 Years of Posh & Becks

It’s been 15 years since Victoria Adams married David Beckham, becoming Mrs. Victoria Beckham, and leading the genetically blessed twosome to take the world by storm with their football/pop star combo. The Beckhams are practically royalty- to the extent that they were once dubbed the most famous “brand” in Britain. They always seem to make a splash in every single country they set foot in, and with Victoria’s current A list fashion designer status, this couple shows no sign of slowing down.

So, in honor of Posh and Becks’ 15 years of togetherness, here are 15 takes of their major fashion moments together!

 

Victoria and David were snapped on one of their first dates together in 1998. Take a look at David in sandals and what looks like a sarong wrapped around his waist- what a far cry away from his major fashion moments!
Victoria and David were snapped on one of their first dates together in 1998. Take a look at David in sandals and what looks like a sarong wrapped around his waist- what a far cry away from his major fashion moments!

 

 

Posh and Becks gave a new meaning to "all black everything" by slipping into his and hers matching Versace leather body suits in 1999. You really just can't turn your head away from this fashion crime!
Posh and Becks gave a new meaning to “all black everything” by slipping into his and hers matching Versace leather body suits in 1999. You really just can’t turn your head away from this fashion crime!

 

 

WE'RE ENGAGED! A few days after their engagement, Victoria flaunts her major sparkler while wearing a black fur coat, as David looks on- also in matching black. Look how young he was!
WE’RE ENGAGED! A few days after their engagement, Victoria flaunts her major sparkler while wearing a black leather fur trim coat, as David looks on- also in matching black. Look how young he was!

 

 

David and Victoria said "I Do" in a lavish ceremony that took place in 2000. Victoria wore a custom made strapless Vera Wang design and accessorized with a mini tiara. Once again, David was Victoria's perfect match in a cream colored suit.
David and Victoria said “I Do” in a lavish ceremony that took place in 2000. Victoria wore a custom made strapless Vera Wang design and accessorized with a mini tiara. Once again, David was Victoria’s perfect match in a cream colored suit.

 

 

A few months after tying the knot, Posh and Becks stepped out in another matching outfit, even going as far to sport big diamond crosses. The pair casually showed off their toned bodies and seemed to really be enjoying married life together!
A few months after tying the knot, Posh and Becks stepped out in another matching outfit, even going as far as sporting big diamond crosses. The pair casually showed off their toned bodies and seemed to really be enjoying married life together!

 

 

A few years later, David and Victoria brought their A game to Buckingham Palace on the day David was given the title of "Officer of the British Empire". The best part of this entire look has got to be Victoria's extravagant fascinator!
A few years later, David and Victoria brought their A game to Buckingham Palace on the day David was given the title of “Officer of the British Empire”. The best part of this entire look has got to be Victoria’s extravagant fascinator!

 

 

2 kids and a move to Madrid later, Victoria ditched her long hair in favor of this short blond bob. The now ex-pop star's husband looked dapper in a gray suit as the couple embraced their new life in the Spanish capital.
2 kids and a move to Madrid later, Victoria ditched her long hair in favor of a short blond bob and cleavage-bearing outfits. The now ex-pop star’s husband looked dapper in a gray suit as the couple embraced their new life in the Spanish capital.

 

 

A few months later, Mrs. Beckham showed off a fresh pixie cut and went back to her dark roots, as she and David continued to rule Madrid!
A few months later, Mrs. Beckham showed off a fresh pixie cut and went back to her dark roots, as she and David continued to rule Madrid!

 

 

The couple glowed at the 2009 Vogue party in Milan! Victoria stunned in a plunging red dress while her man accessorized his suit with a grey scarf (in true Beckham fashion)
The couple glowed at the 2009 Vogue party in Milan! Victoria stunned in a plunging red dress while her man accessorized his suit with a grey scarf (in true Beckham fashion)

 

 

Upon moving to Los Angeles, the couple landed this sultry W Magazine cover.  The publication featured a selection of provocative poses for the sexy pair.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, the couple landed this sultry W Magazine cover. The publication featured a selection of provocative poses for the sexy pair.

 

 

Giorgio Armani must have taken note of the couples' W cover! A few months later, both Victoria and David were featured in the brand's futuristic underwear campaign targeting men and women.
Giorgio Armani must have taken note of the couples’ W cover! A few months later, Victoria and David mixed business with pleasure and were featured in the brand’s futuristic underwear campaign targeting men and women.

 

 

While pregnant with daughter Harper, Victoria and David attended the British Royal Wedding in London. David looked sharp in a tux while Victoria glowed in a minimalistic gown from her own line and matching fascinator.
While pregnant with daughter Harper, Victoria and David attended the British Royal Wedding in London. David looked sharp in a tux while Victoria glowed in a minimalistic gown from her own line and matching fascinator.

 

 

No better place to be seen than at the Vanity Fair Oscar party! While still living in L.A. in 2012, the couple attended the lavish after-party looking like movie stars! Victoria wowed in a military inspired column gown from her design while David was his handsome self in a black suit an bow tie.
No better place to be seen than at the Vanity Fair Oscar party! While still living in L.A. in 2012, the couple attended the lavish after-party looking like movie stars! Victoria wowed in a military inspired column gown from her line while David was his handsome self in a black suit and bow tie.

 

 

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Ever since her birth, the couple have been photographed carrying little Harper around the world's most fashionable capitals. There's no doubt that they both look effortlessly chic while doing so!
Ever since her birth, the couple have been photographed carrying little Harper around the world’s most famous capitals. There’s no doubt that they both look effortlessly fashionable while doing so!

 

 

The beautiful family attend the Viva Forever musical in London late last year. Victoria stood out in yet another ensemble from her design and stunned as she proudly looked on to her husband and three boys- who were all dressed in suits.
The beautiful family attend the Viva Forever musical in London late last year. Victoria stood out in yet another ensemble from her design and stunned as she proudly looked on to her husband and three boys- who were all dressed in suits.

 

 

A LOVE LIKE THIS! David and Victoria clearly proved that 15 years is nothing but a number when it comes to the love they share at this year's MET Gala!
A LOVE LIKE THIS! David and Victoria clearly proved that 15 years is nothing but a number when it comes to the love they share at this year’s MET Gala!

 

Here’s to many more fashionable years of Posh & Becks!

 

 

 

 

 

All pictures are courtesy of Google.

the angels

Favorites | The Angels are (Finally) Landing in Beirut on March 20th!

It’s the event of the year!

In a video announcement posted on YouTube, angels Candice Swanepoel and Karlie Kloss revealed that the first full fledged boutique of every girl’s favorite lingerie brand will open in ABC Achrafieh on March 20th , 2014!

 

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Victoria’s Secret is finally coming to Lebanon! #GetExcited!