UBER Beirut and Why I’m Never Taking A Taxi Ever Again

dana uber ivy says

I’ve been obsessing over UBER all weekend, making random people download the app, for two good reasons: the concept is brilliant and the service is practically flawless.

When I first heard about Uber coming to this city after being in more than 70 countries including KSA and Dubai my first thought was yeah right, it’s not like we don’t have enough cabs in Beirut. And I’m always skeptical about a technology orientated service in Lebanon in general. But here’s the common misconception, Uber is not a taxi company, it’s actually a private chauffeured car service that allows you to arrange every little detail of your ride though the mobile app.

How it Works:

It’s 7:40 pm and I’m at Pacifico in Monot having some drinks. I’m supposed to meet a friend in Deek Duke Ashrafieh at 8pm. But I’m really not in the mood to go through the hassle of getting on the phone and ordering a Taxi and giving him detailed directions and then unknowingly waiting for his “missed” call and passing on the phone to someone so they can give the right directions. And…and… and… Oh and one more thing, I don’t have any cash on me.

Uber cuts to the chase, the app allows you to pinpoint your location on a map and in a matter of seconds you will spot the driver closest to you on the screen. You will be able to view his photo and his vehicle model and make. It will show you exactly where he is and how long he needs to get to you. In fact you will be able to track him on a map as he approaches you. So you know exactly when to meet him outside. The app will even send you a notification once he’s arrived.

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Why I love it

First, it’s cashless. For someone who’s always out of cash, I can’t tell you how convenient and fast it is for me to just hop in and out of a ride without a money exchange. That and the fact that you know you’re getting a standard rate, no rip offs or extras depending on the driver’s mood. All you need is a credit card that will automatically be charged when the ride is complete. The prices are seriously competitive with an average ride in Beirut costing you around $6 to $7 only, so you’re basically being charged by kilometer and minute. If you’re traveling with a friend who’s also registered you can pick the Split Fare option, where the app allows you to both share the cost from your accounts.

fare breakdown uber

Safety

After a night out until 3am we need a ride home. In a matter of minutes, a driver in a Volkswagen Passat arrived to pick us up and drop us home safely for just $6. No waiting on the road, no drunk driving.

uber 3am ivy says

It’s not a Taxi

What makes this service even more brilliant is that fact that the cars are not branded, so you don’t get the taxi ride feel, but rather, you get picked up by a private luxury car with an elegantly dressed and well-spoken driver who greets and drives you to your destination.

ivy says danna uber 2

Don’t forget to use my promo code “IvySays” to get $25 credit of your first ride here’s how

ivy says uber promo code
 

 

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Fashion Report: Emmys 2014 Red Carpet Best and Worst Dressed

Januray Jones mad men

Always one to make a dramatic statement on the red carpet January Jones donned this fiery strapless Prabal Gurung gown which on its own with those heels are smashing. And though I love her for always being experimental I’m stunned by how unflattering and greasy those messy and uneven bangs look on her. In fact from her neck upwards her head looks like it could be Photoshopped on.

Claire danes in Geivenchy

Another red number for the night with fashion darling Claire Danes who never ceases to turn heads on the red carpet though I’m not exactly sure why she’s still relevant. This red laced sheer paneled Givenchy is gorgeous especially with the edgy neck embroidery though it falls frumpy on her waist. Love the back-swept hair and striking lipstick.

 

robin-wright-

I just love tuxedos on the red carpet and it takes a real mature women to pull it off (think Tilda Swinton and Sharon Stone) and still get all the attention. House of Cards star Robin Wright (Claire) turns heads in this backless cream Ralph Lauren Collection tuxedo-jumpsuit and her signature slicked back hair.

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Lena Dunham- I really don’t want to talk about it.

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Screen siren Natalie Dormer stunned in this color-blocked J. Mendel Resort 2015 gown. It fit her like a glove and showed off her gorgeous figure though I don’t think orange is particularly her color. Still it was a refreshingly different look we haven’t seen much of.

Lizzy-Caplan

One of the best dressed of the Emmys was Lizzy Kaplan (remember her from Mean Girls?) girl brought her A-game to the red carpet in this monochrome satin cut-out ballgown by Donna Karen Atelier. Her hair and makeup did not compete at all with the dress and all in all she looked so effortless.

Kate-Mara-2014-Emmy-Awards

Kate Mara sashayed her way down the red carpet in this ethereal and quite complicated white J. Mendel gown but she still managed to look effortless. I love the combination of the chiffon layers with the dramatically beaded top and strategic cut-outs. She matched it perfectly with those lovely monochrome Charlotte Olympia platforms. Lovely!

Julia Roberts

I’m grateful to Julia Roberts for finally trying and getting out of that vicious frumpy cycle, I also want to commend her on the new hot bod she’s been rocking. Having said that I don’t think this beaded Elie Saab Couture mini was the way to go. The dress in itself is stunning but would have been more suited for a younger actress, it just seemed a little out of place for this seasoned Hollywood veteran. And those Louboutin peep-toe pumps were way too chunky. Still a huge improvement from last year.

Halle Berry

Another Elie Saab creation makes an appearance at the Emmys this time on Halle Berry in this powder purple halter chiffon dress. Though this is a new look for her I’m not sure she looked so effortless in it, as it just seemed like she wasn’t quite in her element since she almost always wears figure-hugging dresses and shows way more skin but I guess that’s what happens when you get of your style comfort zone.

sofia vergara

Two words for this look; Mermaid and déjà vu. Sofia Vergara manages to wear yet again the same style with a different color, this time it’s a white Roberto Cavalli with silver embellishments. Yes we get it she has the most celebrated curves in the industry and good for her to know what works on her body type and run with it but she may as well just start recycling dresses because this is becoming way too redundant. I’d love to see her step out of her comfort zone for once on that red carpet.

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Gwen Stephani is a rock-star and it shows in every fashion decision she makes. This silver metallic number by Atelier Versace with plunging square cut-outs may not be as formal as one would expect to an Emmys Red Carpet event but still I’m really feeling this look on her. Her slick straight hair complements it perfectly and I’m happy to see she ditched the crimson lipstick for a change.

camilla alves

Camila Alves killed it in an intricate white mosaic Zuhair Murad gown from his Ready-to-Wear Collection. The gown is a masterpiece with its sheer details and shapely form. Hands down this is one of my favorite looks from the Emmys.

sarah paulson emmys

Yes I know I’m constantly complaining that not enough fashion risks are happening on the red carpet but there is no risk here, just a doomed scenario. Sarah Paulson looks like she got caught in a fishing net loaded with crabs that or someone who hasn’t had a wax in years. The Armani Prive dress certainly got a lot of attention but definitely not for the right reasons. Sadly this will go down as one of the biggest red carpet fails of all times though Kim Kardashian’s couch dress still reigns.

Kerry Washington

I really don’t understand this Prada gown on Kerry Washington with a thigh high split and shimmery navy skirt. I don’t care about the details everyone is swooning over, the fact is it’s not a flattering cut or color and there’s just way too much going on there and her choice of pumps only worsened the disaster. Fashion felony for sure.

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Omg it’s Queen Cersei Lannister! Lena Heady looks every inch the edgy bad-ass in this asymmetrical Rubin Singer dress and cute pixie cut. She actually looks less intimidating then her Game of Thrones character though she’s decked in black.

 

What do you think?

 

Read More Red Carpet Reports

MET Gala 2014

2013 Golden Globes Red Carpet

Oscars 2013 Red Carpet

2012 Emmys Red Carpet

MTV Video Music Awards 2013

Murex D’Or 2013

The MET Gala 2012

2012 Oscars Best And Worst Dressed

 

 

 

How NOT To Lose A Guy In Two Dates

Dating and fishing are more similar than you think, to get them hooked you gotta have the right bait. The time between when you meet a guy and your first few dates can be critical. If some guys have been pulling a disappearing act on you then you need to follow the directions below.

 

1) No kissing on the first date, no matter how strong the sparks are even if it’s a good bye I had such a great time peck. As much as you want to believe you’re both on the same wavelength he will judge you and wonder if this is a frequent habit of yours.

no kiss

 

2) The same goes for the second date. No pecks, no monkey business, just one long lingering hug if you absolutely must.

 

3) No dates under short notice, even if you’re in your PJs watching Ashra Abeed Zghar gobbling away on a sandwich your teta made for you. Why? Because you are a busy lady and most of all unavailable, unless he gives you heads up at least one day in advance. At the least…

tv and popcorn

 

4) Don’t let him pay for everything. If he insists on treating you to a fancy dinner let him. But you get the drinks later. Men want to know that you’re not just a free rider that wants a man to “take care” of her. Show a little Beyoncé.

beyonce

 

5) Don’t WhatsApp all day. Remember how only years ago he had to actually send a well-thought out SMS to make conversation with you and then wait patiently and unknowingly until you replied. Yeah well WhatsApp killed that. Again you are a busy unattainable lady who doesn’t have time to waste precious time in meaningless conversation all day. Stay mysterious and save the long chats for dinner.

 

6) Socialize with his friends. Like it or not he will be asking them for their opinions of you as soon as you head to the washroom so make sure they have good things to say about you

friends

 

7) Do not I repeat do not post a photo with him on your Instagram or Facebook platforms. That can be interpreted as a public unilateral announcement of your dating status. Stay on your game, you do not want him to think he’s out of the woods just yet or that you don’t have any other potential suitors.

30 Thoughts Every Arab Couple Has Before Getting Married

The 6 Annoying Dating Habits Of Middle Eastern Men

The 6 Annoying Dating Habits of Middle Eastern Women

8 Reasons Why Arab Men Won’t Marry You

5 Reasons You’re Still Single; The Arab Men Edition-Part I

 

 

Ivy Reviews: Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes Mascara

ivy says lancome review

When it comes to statement lashes, Lancôme is the authority. I’ve been a big fan of Lancome Hypnose Drama for years but this was my first time trying out the new Hypnose Doll Eyes and I wasn’t disappointed.

Mascara is one of the best pick-me-ups when it comes to makeup, it can make even the most tired of eyes look wide and awake with the least possible effort. And it’s celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Miranda Kerr who have really put the term doll eyes in every girl’s beauty radar, we all want those dramatic false-looking fluttery lashes that trended in the 50’s.

ivy says reviews lancome hypnose doll eyes 2

If you’re in the market for a high-end Mascara then here is why I suggest you go for Lancome’s Hypnose Doll Eyes:

The Formula: Surprisingly light and by that I mean it doesn’t feel heavy after two coats, though one was more than enough for my medium-length lashes. It’s a lovely intense black shade that glides on effortlessly but dries relatively fast and can really hold a curl to give you that super wide-eyed look.

The Brush: One of my favorites so far, it’s a cone shaped bristle brush. I usually have trouble making sure my inner eye lashes get their fair share of formula so the super pointed tip really gets the job done and ensures every lash is generously coated, extensively separated and lifted.

Volume: Mascara’s that give you Doll Eyes aren’t primary supposed to give your lashes volume they’re supposed to elongate, separate and lift up. So if it’s just volume you’re after then this one isn’t for you though it will still give shorter lashes a fuller illusion.

Length: Amazing. Because what it essentially does is group your lashes in bunches and curl them up hence the name Doll Eyes.

Staying Power: I wore this one for 6 hours straight and it didn’t flake or scatter. In fact it didn’t want to come off at all.

ivy says reviews lancome hypnose doll eyes

I paired this look with Lancome’s a super moist shiny L’Absolu Nu in Rose Veil. Lightweight, sheer and long-lasting are a few my favorite things about this Lipstick. The shade is such a soft feminine summer-appropriate color and I will be visiting Lancome to discover some more colors from this range.

Ivy Says reviews Lancome beauty Lipstick

Verdict: Lancome yet again hits this one out of the ballpark with Hypnose Doll Eyes. If flirty doll eyes are your thing then you need to try it out.

ivy Says Dana Khairallah beauty review Lancome Doll Eyes

More Beauty Reviews

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Miss Manga Mega Volume Mascara by L’Oréal

A Day At La Plage

la plage pool

Most of us would make the hour plus long traffic-ridden stressful commute to either Jiyyeh or Batroun to enjoy a serene sun-soaking therapy session by the sea. But if you’re behind on your tan because you’d rather get pasty-white instead of going through the nerve-racking trip, then La Plage is your perfect alternative.

la plage beirut 1

La Plage sits amidst the hustle and bustle of Ain El Mreisseh and embodies the posh lifestyle Lebanese are known to sport. Throughout the years it’s managed to stand strong as one of Beirut’s classic “see and be seen” venues, where the cities ’sexiest and toned bodies donning designer bikinis come to escape while still being in the center of it all. The place is not large but definitely adequate enough to give it an exclusive and cozy relaxed feel. A condensed pool and swim-up bar greet you as you walk in while a DJ Booth is strategically placed corner-side. If you’re like me and appreciate your space then I suggest you opt for the pier front lounge-area where you can stretch out on a full corner sofa and sun-bed with friends and enjoy unparalleled and unobstructed views of the Mediterranean.

La Plage boasts a list of fresh fruit cocktails and exotic punches which serve as the perfect refreshments. My personal favorite had to be the Fresh Coconut, which also included Lychee, Malibu, Rum and Coconut Cream.

la plage 4

After some intense tanning we made our way to La Plage’s Seafood restaurant situated only steps away from the pool and deck but visibly separated to ensure privacy, since it is also open to the public and not just beach-goers.

When I’m lunching by the sea, I have a classic selection of dishes I usually order especially when the spot serves Lebanese mezza and seafood combined. So we started off a crisp fresh bowl of the iconic Fattoush, a hearty bowl of hommos and juicy stuffed vine leaves.

la plage seafood 6

I’m usually on the fence between Shrimp Provençale or fried ones, so we had both. You can never go wrong with a garlicky, lemony dish of fresh shrimps or a Fried shrimps rolled with vermicelli dough dipped in cocktail sauce.

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As you’ve probably noticed by now I also have a thing for a golden portion of batter-coated fried Calamari with some Tartar Sauce.

la plage calamari

For mains we shared a lovely dish of barbequed veal on a stick, which were as soft and tender as can be, smeared on the outside but pink and juicy on the inside.

la plage veal

And of course no Lebanese multi-course meal is complete without a mammoth portion of fresh fruits which really complemented the day so well.

la plage

Summer days are numbered so make sure to head down to La Plage for some good beats, great cocktails, fresh seafood and one of the primest tanning spots in the city.

My Top 12 Favorite Things This Summer

8 Things To Avoid Doing At The Beach This Summer

20 Problems Every Girl Will Face This Summer

A Night At Monte Cassino Hotel

A Sunday Lunch On “The Terrace”

La Petite Maison Dubai

La Serre Bistro Dubai

Sydney’s at Le Vendôme Beirut

Prune French Bistro

Métropole Brasserie

SUD

BarTartine

 

30 Thoughts Every Arab Couple Has Before Getting Married

princess grace

1) We need to look like royalty.

2) Do we really have to invite the company driver to our wedding party too?

3) Our wedding is going to be one of the most different and coolest weddings EVER!

4) Wait, does a single rose really cost $9?

5) Dried flowers are the new trend, everyone’s doing it.

6) So we just like go home together after the wedding party, no eyebrows raised?

wedding night

7) Maybe we should just sell a kidney. Who needs both anyway?

8) Marriage is so overrated. Let’s just date forever.

9) No but we’re going to remember this forever it should be worth the fortune.

dont care

10) What do you mean honeymoons are not a month long?

11) If my boss doesn’t let me take all those days off I’m just going to quit.

12) What if there are strippers at the bachelor’s party?

13) Why are we fighting so much, should we even get married?

CRY

14) How the hell did we go from 200 guests to 450?

15) Would he get pissed if we didn’t invite him?

16) We haven’t seen him for years anyway.

17) But I wanted to put MY friends on that table next to the dance floor.

cant take it anymore

18) There’s no way in hell we’re getting a smoke machine. ( Books smoke machine next day)

19) Will people get bored if we don’t hire Ragheb Alama?

20) Wait HOW MUCH does this cost again?

HMM

21) Our friends better make it to Zaffeh practice.

22) Will people be able to tell that the cake is fake?

WEDDING CAKE

23) Everyone better rent white cars.

24) Is this thing really happening?

25) Are we allowed to get wasted too?

WASTED

26) Are people going to think our wedding wasn’t big enough?

27) Your auntie wants us to invite WHO?

aunt

28) Let’s just got to Italy and get married. ALONE

29) Can’t wait till it’s over we just wanna be married.

30) OMG WE’RE GETTING MARRIED I LOVE YOU SO MUCH CAN’T WAIT TO SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH YOU HABIBI WE ARE GONNA BE SO HAPPY TOGETHER

staying home

Read More Here

7 Things Not To Do At Weddings This Summer

8 Things To Avoid Doing At The Beach This Summer

20 Problems Every Girl Will Face This Summer

The Lebanese Celebrities Wedding Album

The Lebanese Politicians’ Wedding Album

 

 

 

 

A Night At Monte Cassino Hotel

Out of the hundreds of hotels that have set up camp in the Maameltein and Tabarja area, less than a handful are actually decent enough to recommend, in service, quality and reputation. So when Monte Cassino invited my man and I to be amongst the first guests to stay at this hotel which opened its doors back in June, we were taken aback by the grandiose establishment situated only a stone’s throw away from the landmark, Casino du Liban.

monte cassino 9

Monte Cassino is a luxury boutique hotel in Tabarja with an exterior that somewhat resembles a private Italian villa, with impressive pillars and a renaissance feel to it. The hotel boasts 12 opulent suites overlooking the magnificent Jounieh Bay with unobstructed views reminiscent of the Amalfi coast; steep green mountainous terrain and tranquil turquoise waters. Each suite is exquisitely designed for both comfort and convenience and also features its very own Jacuzzi either within the lavish washroom or right in the center of the suite. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that toiletries included one of my favorite ranges from The Body Shop.

sway rooftop Monte Casinomonte cassino hot tub 5monte cassino balcony 2monte cassino body shop 4

After checking in to our room we made our way down to the Tulip Lounge for some fine dining. We kicked things off with glass of Chardonnay and a sumptuous dish of Beef Carpaccio on a bed of rocca with a lemon mustard dressing. I especially enjoyed the breaded calamari on some hommus, which I thought was a rather lovely twist to an otherwise classic dish. For mains I had a divine cut of Filet Mignon cooked to seamless medium-rare with a side of grilled vegetables and some splendid potato gratin. I also got to taste the orange salmon with a side of fluffy Basmati rice which I would recommend if fish is your thing.

monte cassino filet 7monte cassino tulip salmon 6monte cassino dinner

We enjoyed more drinks on the lobby terrace before heading to Monte Casino’s new rooftop, SWAY, an effortlessly chic bar, lounge and pool area with a magnificent unrivalled 180 degree view of Jounieh and its surroundings. Just then the much –anticipated annual firework show began to mark the commencement of the Jounieh International Festival and let me tell you, we never before had the chance to experience it from what felt like a front-row seat. The rooftop began to get busier as more guests arrived and the DJ began playing some of the season’s hottest tunes as we were offered more drinks and danced the night away under the stars.

monte cassino sway 1ivy says dana at monte casino

Following a great night’s sleep we had a continental breakfast in a glamorous area which happened to be my personal favorite, furnished in chic denim 50’s style. Most of the guests headed back to the rooftop pool which is open all week for those who want to soak up the sun.

monte cassino dining 3

There’s no doubt Monte Cassino will be at last upping the game in Jounieh, bringing much-needed elegance, standards and all-star service to a mediocre area that is seriously lacking in all three. All the while remaining effortless and elegant with none-of-that over-the-top tacky nonsense. It’s a true boutique hotel with a unique character that if remains meticulously managed at the same level will be raising the stakes.

More Reviews:

A Sunday Lunch On “The Terrace”

The Roof, Four Season’s Über-Fabulous Lounge

Sydney’s at Le Vendôme Beirut

La Serre Bistro, Vida Downtown, Dubai

La Petite Maison Beirut

Shiseido Day Spa