I had the best time creating a catastrophe mask for Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics!
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!
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!
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!
Many thanks to Mirna and Mavis from IPN for this super-fun idea and to Lina and the Lush team for being so welcoming!
Don’t forget to follow Lush Lebanon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to receive all their fresh updates!
After a long wait and following Paris, New York, Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, and Shanghai, the Salon Du Chocolat finally hit Beirut today!
This infamous “chocolate show” kicked off earlier today in BIEL, with a one-of-a-kind chocolate fashion show. Models paraded the catwalk in delicious real chocolate designs that were created by different Lebanese designers (including Tony Ward) in collaboration with some of the country’s best pastry chefs.
The legendary salon will go on until Saturday and features premier world-class chocolatiers, including Lebanon’s very own Maya Maalouf Kanaan who was recently honored with the “L’espoir Etranger” award by Paris’ Salon du Chocolat. Read more about this here.
The Salon Du Chocolat is taking place in accordance with the 4th Beirut Cooking Festival (also in BIEL), both being part of the Beirut Gourmet Week. Make sure to drop by BIEL in the coming two days to savor the finest salty delights and sweet delicacies!
Brace yourselves: a three day holiday weekend is coming up! If you didn’t have time to plan a getaway, do not despair; there are plenty of fun-filled activities to do locally.
Visit a Winery
Whether you plan on going east or north, Lebanon is packed with breath-taking wineries! I visited Massaya earlier this summer and enjoyed an amazing sunny day with family. Their Sunday brunch is rich in traditional Lebanese delicacies and fresh produce. Dine on their wooden tables and enjoy their sumptuous open wine throughout your meal. After lunch, lounge on their lazy chairs overlooking the vineyards and mountains. The serenity and peaceful setting is literally an ultimate de-stressor.
Enjoy a Sunny Breakfast
Everyone who works knows that it’s almost impossible to squeeze a proper breakfast into a busy day. With sunny skies forecast for the weekend, why not head to your favorite spot and enjoy breakfast with friends or family? One my favorite places to have breakfast is the Latest Version Diner; while their menu is a simple combination of eggs, pancakes, and waffles, their portions are generous, budget friendly, and simply delicious!
If you’re a fan of Couqley (who isn’t?!), schedule a stop at their Big Breakfast formula on Saturday anytime between 10.30 am until 4.00 pm. Their special breakfast menu will set you back 38,000 LBP, but includes eggs, hash browns, waffles, pancakes, and bottomless coffee!
Head to the Beach
Our beach days are pretty much numbered now that it’s October. Take advantage of what might be your last beach weekend for the season and hit up your favorite resort. Now that schools are back in session and the weather’s cooler, you can comfortably lounge by the pool or at a sandy beach front until the sun sets.
Eat Ice Cream!
One of my best discoveries this summer was Helado- a small ice cream shop located in Jounieh. Their flavor options are endless and include Biscolatta, vanilla framboise, wine and vodka (seriously), and lotus (my favorite!). You really do not want to miss their ice cream before the season ends!
Fly with the Childrens’ Cancer Center of Lebanon
One my favorite organizations is planning flight tours over Lebanon this Saturday and Sunday. At 3,000 ft altitude, you will not only be looking over Lebanon’s breath-taking landmarks, but you will also be helping a child in need. For more information, click here.
Tuesday marked the boutique opening of one of my all time favorite American brands, Michael Kors!
You probably already shop Michael Kors in ABC Achrafieh and BHV CityMall, but this is the first stand alone full-fledged boutique for the designer in Lebanon, with a strategic location in Beirut Souks.
As an avid fan of the Michael Kors, I love the brand’s idea of Jet.Set.Go, that embodies effortlessness in a sophisticated yet accessisble all American style. Make sure to make some time to check out the boutique this weekend. Remember that a stand-alone location means more variety and a more relaxed and refined shopping experience, which we all crave when dropping a hefty sum on a designer item!
Thank you to the amazing team at BNL for the pictures
If you’re looking for a quick and relaxing summer weekend getaway, away from the hustle and bustle of busy Beirut, then let me introduce you to the newly opened Monte Cassino Hotel.
Last month, I was invited with select bloggers to spend an evening in the hotel to experience it. The property is located just a stone throw away from the Casino Du Liban, along the picturesque and iconic Jounieh bay. Featuring 18 suites, this five star boutique hotel combines elegance in its architecture and comfort in its hospitality.
Due to the packed Friday night traffic, I unfortunately missed out on what I heard was an excellent dinner at the hotel’s Tulip restaurant (note to self: try the much buzzed about steak on my next visit). I was-however- just in time for an evening packed with fun at Monte Cassino’s Sway Rooftop Bar. The venue is simply amazing: fresh drinks, great music, and a rooftop pool overlooking the Mediterranean. A few minutes later, the fireworks started, signaling the beginning of the Jounieh International Festival. We all enjoyed the show that was packed with an amazing fireworks display right from Monte Cassino’s decks as the DJ spun the hottest tracks.
My favorite part about staying in hotels is getting to sleep in a comfy squishy bed and let me tell you, this place did not disappoint. It’s not just that the bed was amazing, but the entire room was as well! My room was furnished using soft and modern hues, the perfect mix to provide ultimate relaxation. The bathroom incorporated a shower-tub combination and it was a delight to see that the hotel provides toiletries from The Body Shop!
The next morning, we all enjoyed breakfast in a setting overlooking the sea. It was just so relaxing to have a glass of juice or a cup of coffee whilst looking over the bay- definitely a recipe for a relaxing weekend!
If you would like to switch up your routine this weekend, why not head to Jounieh and give Monte Cassino a try? You can sample some fine food, party till the wee hours, relax in five star style, and the hit the pool the next day.
I remember the first time I visited Shake Shack in New York City; it was a freezing day in November and I waited for a full hour nearly 2 blocks away from the eatery to get in with my friends. At the time, I thought to myself: this wait definitely means that there must be some really good food in there! You see, for New Yorkers, Shake Shack is a phenomenal burger experience that gets you every time and keeps you coming back!
Luckily for us here in Lebanon, Shake Shack debuted late last year in Beirut City Center to more than positive reviews. A few months later, there I was at the restaurant’s second opening in ABC Achrafieh on a busy Thursday afternoon. The place was literally packed; everyone was enjoying their favorite item from the menu, from sumptuous burgers and hot dogs to fresh milk shakes (their strawberry milkshake is absolute heaven) to the signature concretes (the red velvet concrete is my new obsession)!
I was also lucky to meet Marc Rosati, who is Shake Shack’s Culinary Director. Marc is an absolute food genius who – in my opinion- makes the brand an absolute joy and inspiration to those coming to experience it. You can learn more about Marc Rosati by reading his interview with Blog of the Boss here!
Shake Shack is open in Beirut City Center and ABC Achrafieh L3. The eatery is planning several new branches in the coming months so stay tuned!
It was a sunny Tuesday in March. Shortly after 11 AM, I walked into Rabih Kayrouz’ Atelier located in the port district. As the doors closed behind me, the hustle and bustle of the city was drowned out and it was as if I were lifted into another world filled with color and life. In the distance, I spotted Rabih Kayrouz carefully selecting a skirt and discussing it with a lady, as if they were putting an outfit together. That’s just the person my one on one with Rabih proved him to be; attentive, meticulous, and truly ready and willing to offer his clients the absolute best.
Some time passed and I continued to observe Rabih do what he’s become so famous for. You see, just a week earlier the Lebanese designer presented what many would arguably declare his best fashion show to date, entitled “Barbès-Batroun”, at Paris Fashion Week. Everyone was talking about the FW 14-15 collection that simply put, is “Paris with a blend”.
I was taking a tour around the atelier when Rabih joined me. We introduced ourselves and we continued the tour. The displayed collection in the boutique is Rabih’s Spring-Summer 2014 line called “Ray”. As you can imagine, the colors, designs, silhouettes, and every single detail was impeccable. “Ray” is simply “concentrated sensuality, a motion that sometimes covers, occasionally not, suspends a dress or straps the body. So beautiful it makes your heart drum”.
After Rabih showed me the collection, he directed us to sit on a tiny staircase by the atelier’s entrance and that’s when the conversation flowed..
C+V: Throughout the design process, do you ask yourself: who is going to wear this item or what purpose does it serve?
RK : The process is a mixture of thoughts. There is a lot of soul in a collection that comes from within and represents something I want to express. That is the essence of what I do. Some people write or dance; I express myself through design. Every season and every collection represents a story that I want to tell. The essence of the story is to make garments that are wearable and that make women feel beautiful whenever they wear a certain item from my collection.
C+V: As an audience, we only get to see the finished collection, the perfect dress on a stunning model as she walks down the runway. How do we arrive at a point where everything is complete and perfect?
RK: It’s the job! You know? After 6 months of continuous work, you finally get to a point where everything is complete. Hundreds of people are involved in the making of a collection including the Maison Rabih Kayrouz team, the production and fashion show teams, as well as sound and lighting technicians. All these individuals share a common goal and work towards accomplishing it using the same inspiration and values. This collective effort allows us to present something truly interesting.
C+V: What do you consider to be your favorite and least favorite element in this entire process?
RK: I enjoy what I do incredibly, so if I had to choose, I would say that my least favorite part is actually my favorite; when you have this doubt that everything is wrong and will not work..then suddenly, this magic makes its way in and everything is just right and as perfect as it should be. I have to say that I do enjoy this moment, because I am sure that something wonderful will follow after!
C+V: If we were to talk about the SS14 “Rays” collection, what can you tell us about it?
RK: In this collection, I wanted to tell a story about light. Light is extremely inspirational to me, because if it weren’t for light, there would be no life. I chose different colors along with a variety of fabrics. As I said earlier, every element is carefully chosen so that a conclusive collection comes together, “Rays” is no different.
C+V: What can you tell me about FW 14-15 Barbès-Batroun?
RK: The collection is a story of two cities, Barbès and Batroun coming together in a mixture of prints and a rich blend of culture.
C+V: In your opinion, how does the European audience react to this culture blend?
RK: To me, Europeans seem to find culture blends inspiring. In today’s world, every country enjoys a culture mix, and I believe that fashion has to react and have a say in this. Since I spend my time between Lebanon and France, I find myself relating to this movement and I wanted to express it in the most authentic way possible.
And that’s exactly the type of person Rabih Kayrouz is; authentic and genuine!
It was my greatest pleasure to be invited to Victoria’s Secret’s opening in ABC Achrafieh on Wednesday, March 19th! A day before the official opening, the brand invited select media and bloggers to experience the iconic lingerie boutique firsthand.
As a huge fan of the brand and a regular client overseas, I was positively impressed with every little detail. The display is just amazing and the assortment is so rich! From underwear to clothing, bikinis to beauty essentials, PINK and sensational fragrances, the boutique is stocked with essentials to make every girl feel like an angel!
I specifically loved the huge video screens that play iconic footage from the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, including the 2013 edition that featured angel Candice Swanepoel wearing the 10 million dollar royal fantasy bra.
So, scratch your plans for the weekend and hit up the all new Victoria’s Secret at ABC Achrafieh with your girlfriends. Remember that you can always ask one of the VS bra specialists to help you find the perfect fit and the perfect bra for your shape and size, transforming you into a sexy bombshell!
Christmas came early this year for 8 lucky ladies who are avid fans of Vero Moda and Elle Oriental; the girls will ring in the arrival of 2014 with fabulous clothes and a full year of fashion thanks to VM.
Last Wednesday, Carmel and Vanilla was invited to attend a brunch held in honor of these eight lucky ladies at Cherry on the Roof Top located in Le Gray. And if you think the event was just your average brunch, think again. Sure the food was flawless and the drinks were fresh, but the Vero Moda team- headed by Roula Nahas- made sure to add their personal touch in the smallest of details. There were cupcakes personalized with the names of the winners, small glass jars filled with healthy bites, and individually wrapped cupcakes which literally tasted like heaven!
A dedicated beauty team from Bourjois was also present along with a makeup consultant who offered the ladies and myself some beneficial tricks that will surely come in handy during the holidays! Personal stylist Roula Kehdi was also there to give her tips on dressing for your body type and perfecting your style.
However, the most touching part of the event was when Roula gave an inspirational talk advising the winners to love themselves and make a wish for 2014 by blowing off the candle flame from each personalized cupcake. The ladies were finally encouraged to work hard to make this wish come true in the new year.
Following the event, I visited Vero Moda in Beirut Souks with Rachel from the VM team and we browsed through the new winter collection, which is just amazing! I’m sure you still have a few last minute gifts on your list that need to be bought, so be sure to head to your nearest Vero Moda and select your favorite items. While you’re at it, check out their newly introduced Noisy May collection!
A big thanks to Vero Moda and Roula Nahas for such an entertaining and fun filled quality brunch. Cheers to so much more success in 2014!
Today’s post is not about a fashionable night out nor is it about a recent event I attended. Today’s post is about the 20 lovely people Ralph and I had the great chance to meet at an elderly home over the weekend.
Let me explain more; Ralph and I have been wanting to volunteer at different charitable organizations for a while now, and decided to start out at an elderly home. So, on Saturday, we packed up a few rotisserie chicken with French fries, hummus, and some ice cream and headed to “Mahabba wa 3ata2″, located in Mountazah, a small town just outside Mansourieh.
We arrived shortly after 12 PM and were instantly met with smiles and welcomes. Let me tell you a little bit about the people we got to meet:
Roger (the most talkative of the group) lived in Belgium for 10 years; he is an expert in antiques and even has an original portrait of Napolean. But of coarse it is now in his family home in Belgium, where his brother and sister live with their children. He is well traveled and speaks 4 languages. Why is he in an elderly home instead of being surrounded by family? He does not say.
George was a wealthy man from Aramoun; as a passionate agricult, he planted and looked after countless pieces of land in his village. Following the death of his brother, his nephews made him sign papers declaring him unfit to manage his estate, took all his assets away, and put him in the home. Although his health is failing- partly due to an amputated leg- his nephews have never paid him a visit throughout the past 4 years he’s spent at Mahabba wa 3ata2.
Nadwa’s brothers and sisters admitted her a little over 2 years ago; she is very silent and smiles shyly when someone talks to her. Jammoul sits quietly in her wheel chair; she is calm throughout the day, but suffers from screaming episodes throughout the night.
Despite all these stories, it’s not all pain and sadness at the home; Roger and his friends Karam and Joseph (who is 93!) have a daily date at 8:30 PM with Hareem El Sultan (they are currently hating on Sultana Khadijah) and were avid fans of Splash. Sophia likes fashion and always has perfectly manicured nails (needless to say I loved her ). Elias likes to play Tawleh and is sometimes joined by neighborhood kids for game in the afternoon.
Throughout the day, I realized something: these Tetas and Jeddos do not need our money and they most certainly do not want our pity. They just need someone to talk to. They’ve been abandoned and hurt by their nearest and dearest, that even a stranger’s smile now means the world to them. Ralph and I spent the day having lunch with them, talking to them, playing cards, and making them feel cared for- Ralph even showed each one the town they’re from on Google maps and taught them how to zoom in and out on and iPhone. In return, they gave us their biggest smiles, thanked us for putting food on their table, and promised to keep us in their prayers every night.
I didn’t take any pictures throughout the day, but Ralph managed to take a single shot that pretty much summarizes it. This is Rose; she told Ralph that she toured the world before finding herself in this home a few years ago. Rose may have had sad eyes, but she gave him her biggest smile to prove that despite all the hardships, she is truly trying to be happy where she is.