Trends | Leather and Lace: A Match Made in Summer Heaven

 This season has seen so many trends share the fashion spotlight; from florals, to stripes, to lace, and even leather! Yes, leather has managed to become a staple in the Spring/Summer collection of many designers and several high street brands.

 

Katy Perry in Tadashi Shoji
Katy Perry in Tadashi Shoji

 

Alessandra Ambrosio in Zuhair Murad
Alessandra Ambrosio in Zuhair Murad

 

A constant trend in Winter fashion, leather has been incorporated into shorts, pants, and flirty little dresses that have gained fashion critics’ praise worldwide. But the use of this material went further this season and we saw a harmonious combination of leather and lace and the result proved that opposites really do attract; leather is strong and fierce and lace is soft and delicate and the blend of both fabrics has created some amazing outfits, many of which have been displayed on the red carpet by A list celebrities.

 

Eva Longoria in Emilio Pucci
Eva Longoria in Emilio Pucci

 

What do you think of this trend!

 

Jennifer Garner in Valentino
Jennifer Garner in Valentino

Trends | Wanted: Valentino Patent Leather Slingbacks!

If you like keeping up with the latest shoe trends your favorite celebrities are adopting this Summer, then you would know that everyone from Vanessa Hudgens to Kate Moss are obsessed with Valentino’s patent leather rockstud pumps!

 

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The sexy pumps feature a pointed toe design, tonal pyramid stud detailing, and caged T-straps. The design is so popular that it is now considered an iconic item in fashion’s trendiest capitals and Valentino has even put out a similar design in the form of ballerina flats.

 

Eva

 

These trendy pumps are available in black, nude, pink, and Valentino rouge. Check out all the celebrities who have been spotted rocking these sexy heels!

 

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Images are Courtesy of The Daily Mail and Google

 

Spotted | Marisa Miller: Beautiful and Blue at the ESPYs!

Sheer panels have been adding a sexy touch to many outfits this season; from big designer names to high street brands, the trend has been one to watch this Summer.

Marisa Miller aka Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl and former Victoria’s Secret angel hit the red carpet for the ESPY awards in this stunning cobalt blue Catherine Malandrino dress featuring sheer panels and blue leather.

 

Maria

 

The model let the dress make a style statement by shying away from accessories and opting to add a pair of simple, yet killer nude Louboutins.

 

Marisa M

 

What do you think of Miller’s look? Are you experimenting with this trend?

LB & RA’s Day Out| Rewarding Experience: Giving Back at an Elderly Home in Mansourieh

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 :D ). 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.

 

photo (20)

 

 

 

 

Dining in Style | Exploring a New Side of Mar Mikhael at Sud

In the mood for something different this past weekend, my friends and I decided to head to Mar Mikhael in search of a new food experience. What we ended up finding truly surpassed our expectations..

Walking through Armenia Street, we discovered a tiny staircase right after Tartine Bakery (note to self: must visit soon!) that really ended up being the stairway to heaven. At the foot of the last step, we were delighted to find a charming courtyard; this courtyard- known as La Cour Saint Michel- houses 3 establishments: Bar Tartine to the right, Sud, to the left, and a Lebanese restaurant called Studio 43 that is yet to open.

 

Sud

 

 

Outdoor

 

After going back and forth between the restaurants, we decided to have lunch at Sud. The place has an amazing outdoor area, but since it was pretty hot, we opted for a table indoors. The indoor seating area is also pretty nice, having simple yet impressive decorative items here and there and we could still see the view of the courtyard through the glass windows.

 

Bread

 

Our waiter emerged with menus for food and drink. The menu is a mix of items inspired by the south of France, Italy, and a few Spanish cities. We were starving so we directly ordered the first appetizer on the menu called Goujounettes (I’m still dreaming of its taste until this moment!). Goujounettes are basically strips of chicken that are battered in cornflakes and fried to perfection. What I loved about the strips was that they did not have any excess oil so you could really taste the chicken and the seasoning. Accompanying this dish was a delicious dip made with tomatoes, herbs, and pine nuts.

 

Chicken bits

 

Following this appetizer, we dug into the nicoise salad- unlike any other I’ve tasted in Lebanon. First, the portion is pretty big and can easily be split between 2-3 people (my friend actually had this salad as a main dish and was full!). The tuna is raw but tastes fresh and the vegetables are leafy and colorful and mixed with just the right amount of dressing.

 

Nicoise

 

As for the main dish, I chose the penne Alfredo with cream and rosemary. I loved that such a simple dish can take on a new taste just through the addition of a simple ingredient like rosemary. My boyfriend went for the grilled chicken breast that was served with French portobello mushrooms and fries.

 

Pasta

 

Chicken

 

Overall the food was more than delicious. We loved how generous the portions were while still being budget friendly. I loved the colored water cups- a fun change from the usually boring plain glass ones found at most restaurants. The service was friendly, although the waiters do seem to be anxious at times with the clients, but this is maybe due to lack of experience.

 

Indoor

 

The setting is just amazing; you would never think that you’re in the middle of a busy city in a crowded street. The furniture, the colors, and the atmosphere allowed us to spend most of the afternoon at Sud without noticing that all this much time flew by.

 

windows

 

Sud also has a rooftop terrace that promises one a kind cocktails in a cool outdoor setting, and that’s exactly where we’re going next time :)

 

Outdoor seating

 

Sud is located up a stairway just after Tartine Bakery. Walk-in or reserve on 01 560 900.

 

Trends | Elie Saab Haute Couture AW 2013

I never find the right words to describe Elie Saab’s collections. This is not because I cannot express myself, but because it’s hard to find new synonyms for the words “perfect”, “flawless”, “stunning”, “amazing”, and the list goes on. His collections are always the talk of the town- and I’m not only referring to Beirut here. From the breath-taking gowns to the models, their hair and makeup, every detail is given special attention.

 

ESred

 

The Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2013/2014 show 2 days ago was no different; Saab showed another flawless collection for the upcoming Fall season in Paris consisting of dark tones mostly. The designer kicked off the show with several dark burgundy gowns and gradually moved on to blues and emerald .

 

blue

 

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Grey and ivory also made an appearance, along with light pinks and some very attractive earth tones. As usual, the Saab sealed the designs with his signature intricate embroidery and belted defined waists.

 

grey

mix

 

When it was time to show the bridal gown, 3 models walked behind the bride delicately holding her grand veil and brought the captivating show to a close.

 

Wedding

 

 

I can’t wait to see several of these designs on Hollywood’s red carpets! Can you?!

 

 

All Images are courtesy of the Elie Saab Facebook page.

Trends | Nicole Kidman: Femme Fatale for Jimmy Choo

When Jimmy Choo’s creative director Sandra Choi announced actress Nicole Kidman as the brand’s face for Autumn/Winter 2013, no one expected the outcome to be this sexy and sultry.

 

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Kidman stars as a sexy femme fatale who appears to be strong and completely in control. Adding much appeal to her look, is a short red wig that is seen in all the shots as well.

“There is a feeling of a quiet eroticism in the collection, and this concept was brought to life by Nicole’s magnetic presence in front of the camera,” says Jimmy Choo Creative Director, Sandra Choi. “Her character portrays the multi-faceted qualities of the Jimmy Choo woman for this season – strong, sexy with a beguiling sense of mystery.”

 

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But enough about Nicole. Let’s talk about the shoes; I want the red cutout booties and the silver studded pumps and the over the knee boots (I can just smell the leather). Needless to say, the entire collection is on my wishlist, as I’m sure it’s on yours!

 

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For more, check out the short film from the campaign here!

 

Images and excerpt are courtesy of People.com