Category Archives: Diary of a Not-So-Single Girl In Beirut

Ivy Reviews: Yalla 3a2belkon

yalla 3a2belkoun

We hit up Empire Cinemas at Dunes Verdun to catch the much buzzed about newly released Yalla 3a2belkon on Thursday. I had two events that evening but I was happy to still be able to catch a movie that night, since Dunes Verdun’s cinema is the only one that runs across the 9:00pm segment which I personally favor since it’s not too early nor too late, so my night didn’t necessarily end after the show and I was still able to grab dinner afterwards. And let me tell you those leather seats at the cinema were like Lazy Boys, with two private arm rests and considerable leg space, we were sprawled across theater comfortably.


The movie comedically touches on a subject that I’ve discussed regularly on this blog and I know many ladies in Lebanon and the Middle East face in their thirties, societal expectations and the profound pressure on a woman to get married and start a family and how that, regardless of her career will be pedestaled as the sole indicator of true success in her life; hence the name Yalla 3a2belkon a traditional phrase most people throw around at most single people, predominantly women, at weddings which translates into -If god’s willing your next-in line!


Yalla 3a2belkon centers around the trials and tribulations of four friends and their pursuit of love with beautiful Beirut as the backdrop. First there’s Yasmina, played by in my opinion by one of the best and most underrated Lebanese actresses; Darine Hamze who left a lasting impression on me from her role in the controversial movie Beirut Hotel. Yasmina’s in a long-distance relationship was a mysterious handsome Egyptian man who’s relationship revolves around hot rompy weekend hotel sessions and who’s mother’s ( who embodies a very hilarious cliché ) main mission and agony in life will depend on Yasmina’s ability to find a man and produce children. Taline (played by Nada Abou Farhat who I also adored in the critically acclaimed play Reasons to be Pretty is not your average Lebanese woman, an outspoken, sexually-liberated art dealer, who treats men as nothing but toys. Layan, played by the writer and producer of the film Nibal Arakji, a fashion designer who’s in a vicious cycle dating a philandering married man with children. And finally, Zeena played by Marwa Khalil, a hopeless romantic doctor who will go on as many dates as she has to in order to find the love of her life.


I loved how the characters weren’t cast as your typically beautiful movie stars, rather they were relatable and could have easily been any group of four women in Beirut. The story sheds light on the hypocritical and judgmental Lebanese society, giving real insight into a number of issues and taboos Lebanese woman face.


And sure, the movie has been accused of taking inspiration from Sex and the City, but to be fair, almost every movie or series that focuses on women and relationships will definitely intentionally or not draw in reference from there, only because today Sex and the City has become the universal holy grail of our genre. Having said that, you can’t miss the conspicuous similarities between Nada Abou Farhat’s proudly- promiscuous character with that of the infamous Samantha Jones of Sex and the City both in personality and even fashion. And for someone who’s usually fed-up of our shameless borrowing of all things “Western”, I have to say, the big SATC fan in me was so pleased to see what the Lebanese version of Samantha would look like, only because Nada Abou Farhat hits this one right out of the ballpark. Her character was so shocking but she portrayed her subtly, none of that Lebanese over acting or cheesiness.

Whether you enjoyed the film or not, there is no doubt it’s one of the best and highest quality productions coming out of Lebanon.. From the screenplay, the meticulous sets and scenes to the intense character development. And it made us laugh, out load, something no Lebanese film has managed to do in a long, long time. I do however think the movie is a tad longer than necessary for a feature film, some scenes seemed to have dragged on unnecessarily.

Yalla 3a2belkon although fun and light-hearted is a strong film with a strong message and who’s strength lies in a powerful cast of 4 leading ladies who share so much chemistry on screen. Directed by Elie Khalife.

Yalla 3a2belkon is now showing Empire Cinema at Dunes Verdun. Book your tickets in advance at this number, 01-792123 and enjoy those seats. Parking is free in the center for moviegoers.

The 7 Highly Unprofessional Habits of Retail Employees in Lebanon

I don’t mean to start the new year with a rant but I’m afraid I must. We all know the Lebanese economy has seen better days, so it baffles me that customers are being treated like a nuisance. Yup, it almost seems as though shop assistants and at times assistant managers have left their basic training behind and instead decided to show us how they really feel about our business; not much. In fact, we’d be doing them a favor if we just got lost. If you’re shaking your head and thinking “oh no not MY business” think again. Everyone’s doing it from the largest retailers in the world to stand alone stores.


1) No greeting. Basic right? Gone are the days where the shop keeper or sales assistant would acknowledge you with a simple hello. Ironically, they now give YOU a look as though you’re the one who’s supposed to welcome them into their own store and that’s IF they’re not ignoring you.


2) When the shop assistant tails you to fold and arrange the items you merely touch, but not once asks you if you need any help. In fact you almost hear her grunt in annoyance. She couldn’t give it two minutes until you were at least away from the stand to rearrange it.


3) The triumphant “we don’t have your size.” You could swear you almost see a smile. As though they’re relieved that they don’t have to lift a finger. No backroom double check or cross-sell. They may as well just tell you, “now LEAVE!”


4) The changing room assistant that demands you bring back all the clothes and hangers when you’re done. This has evolved from a courteous request to a conditional downright barking order. I like to catch them off guard by asking them if they would like for me to leave what I’m doing and help them hang and put the piles of clothes away.

angry funny

5) When you realize you have the wrong size and ask the changing room assistant to bring you the right one. She may as well just spit in your face.



6) The security guard who doesn’t inform you that he’s about to check your bag but simply signals you to open it up and then shoves his grubby hands inside as though he can find anything like that. I understand our security concerns but let’s take a moment to reflect on the effectiveness of this practice.


7) That moment when you just completed your purchase and don’t get a mere thank you. Instead, you’re the one thanking the cashier who remains silent at this point. And then you ask yourself, “Wait? Did I just thank them for allowing me to spend my money at their store?” Damn straight you did!

you failed

A Makeup Look By Yves Saint Laurent

YSL Makeup Ivy Says shoot

For a promo shoot of my Ivy Says NRJ Radio show, I was delighted to collaborate with the beauty team at Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) who created this day-appropriate soft winged eye and hot pink lip pair on me using some of the latest from the YSL Holiday 2014 Collection.

It was my first shoot wearing the foundation game changer; Fusion Ink Foundation which was applied with the also recently released Perfecting Polisher Brush, one of the most innovative softest and most lightweight formulas I’ve come across to date. The texture felt like a silk matte veil with an ultra-matte finish, somewhere between a liquid and powdered state. It gave me the ideal coverage for a day shoot sans the layered, heavy, cakey look that tends to come with foundation. They also highlighted my face with the iconic Touche Éclat which I reviewed here.

Ivy Says YSL Beauty Review look makeup

To draw the perfect winged liner, I recommend you use intense and carbon-black bestseller Eyeliner Effect Faux Cils. If like me, you get a little jerky when applying eyeliner, then the pen-like grip and tip on this will make your experience a less intimidating one. It’s also waterproof. They finished off my eyes with the award-winning Volume Effect Faux Cils Mascara in high density black which you can also view here

Beauty Blogger Lebanon YSL IVY

And finally, my obsession YSL’s Baby Doll Kiss and Blush in Fuchsia Desinvolte, read about this amazingly air whipped matte mousse and blush here.

Yves Saint Laurent Makeup Review

Shot by the very talented Patrick Sawaya.

Print Louize Sweater by Ted Baker

Sunglasses Prada- Minimal Baroque

Belt- Hermes

Ivy Beauty Blogger YSL Fashion

Yves Saint Laurent Makeup Step-By-Step Review

Beauty Review: YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation

Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes Mascara

Clarisonic Plus Review

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro

Essie Nail Polish

Benefit Gimme Brow Voluminizing Fiber Gel

Too-Faced Lip Injection Gloss

Christmas 2014 Gift Guide For Him and Her

Each year I know many of us draw a blank when we think of all the Christmas gifts we need to buy. It’s getting harder and harder to get more original and special ones so I’ve complied a gift guide that may just give you some ideas of what’s new for both him or her. So if you’re someone’s secret Santa or you’ve got someone who’s quite hard to please here’s my 2014 list in no particular order and with varying budgets.

sheen casio

SHEEN is Casio’s brand new watch for the ladies. The SHEEN series features exquisite materials such as titanium, ceramic, sapphire glass, leather and SWAROVSKI elements depending on a person’s style. I personally love it because it has that vintage classic Casio feel and can actually be dressed down or up easily with any look. You can find the SHEEN at all Sundial stores in Lebanon and win a gift here

The Comic Art of Guillermo Forchino

If you love comic strips and cartoons in a 3 Dimensional way, then you will love  The Comic Art of Guillermo Forchino.  These fully handmade and hand painted works of art are meticulous in detail with each figurine and scene telling satirical story complete with characters and a plot. It’s a collectors haven with different series (The Professionals, The Vehicles etc) and limited collections. I personally chose this hilarious rendition called “The PlayBoy” which tells the story of Calolo Oviedo who meets the young gold digger Delma and does the impossible for her to feel young and alive again. The Comic Art of Guillermo Forchino opened its first point of sale at Virgin Megastorelast month.

opuim by ysl

The recently released Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent is one of my favorite fragrances to date, derived from its 1977 classic Opium perfume, this one highlights the dark and mysterious side of the brand and trust me when I say smells just as good as it looks.  It has notes of coffee, pink pepper, orange blossom, jasmine, vanilla, patchouli and cedar and is one of those fragrances that lingers even after you’ve left the room.

moto 360

The MOTOROLA Moto 360 Smart Watch. This was supposed to be a birthday gift for my man, but getting my hands on one was more of a challenge than I had imagined. It was only released in limited quantities online initially and sold out in a just a few hours and hasn’t made it to Lebanon quite yet. It’s actually a surprisingly stylish smart watch that syncs with your Android device to become a second (touch) screen where you receive emails, whatapps and all sorts of cools apps. Better yet it takes voice commands so you can even reply to conversations by simply talking to your watch. My man’s smitten and I’m coercing him into writing a detailed review here after he’s spend some more time with it next month.

lacoste show 2

Since I was a merely a toddler, Lacoste polos have always been a classic staple in my closet. But to be honest, I rarely ever wear them during the winter as I’ve never bought a long-sleeved one. Lacoste Lebanon recently held a Winter 2014/2015 fashion show I attended with some friends and we all wore these new Stretch Knit Long Sleeve Polos which I’ve come to love under sweaters in this crisp weather. You can visit them at their ABC Ashrafieh branch to find this style in many colors.

octop 3

Meet OCTOP- 3, a smart new floor and table lamp design as part of prominent architecture and design firm id.beirut’s  2014 collection and their quest to add some light and warmth into our houses. I love the innovative and modern take of their unique designs and you can find this fixture and more at their showroom.

share a coke

One of the best campaigns of 2014 is Coc aCola’s Share a Coke campaign that allows you to customize your own can of coke. I think most of us have by now received one or sent one to a friend. And it just happens that the colors go perfectly with Christmas theme. My #BFFB Najib from Blog Baladi surprised me with this cute one that symbolizes our friendship. This would make the perfect secret Santa gift.

Absolut Vodka

I love how ABSOLUT VODKA gets so creative with it’s bottle designs and this season is no exception.Take a look at the Andy Warhol edition out now. The iconic Warhol first created original artwork for ABSOLUT in 1986, and this design was inspired by that painting.  It’s the perfect bottle to take along to the endless dinner gatherings and pot lucks this Christmas. I was lucky enough to get this lovely kit and you can win your own here’s how






A Holiday 2014 Look From Dunes Verdun


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, December. It’s also very much the time where shopping becomes the season pastime and our outfits start reflecting the joy, mood and festive spirit of Christmas. And with all the events taking place around town I headed to Dunes Verdun to prepare two looks which could perfectly reflect my current mood holiday season. So if you’re still trying to decide on outfits or looking to treat your loved one to a lovely gift this year here is the first outfit from my fall winter 2014 selection.

I enlisted the help of my dear friend and talented fashion photographer Patrick Sawaya who also helped style me this feature and took these shots.

For the first look we wanted to find the perfect little black dress inspired holiday outfit that can work for anything, an office Christmas dinner or a party, so we choose this lovely pencil/chiffon polka skirt from GS Stores, with a simple black crop top with lace (which we tucked in). Patrick choose these statement pair of monochrome heels and this box lips clutch also from GS which he thought would give this look a pop art feel.


I paired them with these new Tom Ford clear glasses (I’m obsessing over) available now at Hallak Opticians in Dunes Verdun and Patrick accessorized the look with this jeweled pink gold earrings, a gold, silver and pink gold trio of bracelets and a gorgeous statement ring from La Nina.




7 Things I Did In My 20s and Don’t Regret

I quit

1. I grew up convinced I was going to climb the corporate ladder all the way to the top. I even took that route for 5 years until I realized that fancy tailored pant suit and designer eye glasses that make me look much wiser are not going to make up for the fact that I was dying a slow death trying reach indicators with cut-throat competition at an organization that couldn’t care less about me as long as I delivered. So I quit. With no plan in sight or job lined up. I just served my notice packed my box and went home. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made in my life.


2. On my recent trip to Dubai this weekend, an obnoxious girl yelled out “how does it feel like to still live in a third world country.” She had a silly smirk on her face as she said it as though I should be embarrassed. Oh but I’m not. You see I was born in the UAE and lived in Toronto for six years. Lebanon was the last piece of the puzzle for me, the uncharted territory I always wanted to experience as home and did in 2009. Yes, it’s more unstable than a hormonal teenager, and yes every year the country collectively goes through an existential crisis where we wonder if we’re going to be able to remain a country, but would I trade that in for anything in the world? No I wouldn’t. I LOVE Lebanon every underdeveloped third word inch of it and I can ski and swim in the same day. Beat that bitch.


3. For me, food is happiness. In my gluttonous mind people who don’t allow themselves to enjoy it are miserable deep down. I’ve gotten my fair share of scornful looks as I ordered a burger and fries while thinner girls were having brown bread and salads. Sure, I could have been more careful and as a result gotten a sizable gap thigh. I didn’t. Because my body was not meant to look like Kendal Jenner’s, its allowed to go through some changes and I’ve let it. It doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy it means I’m happy and more importantly, full.


4. I used to have relationships with people who I’m not sure liked me or that I liked. Still for some reason we were hanging out of habit. They would throw some shade and I would hear about it and wouldn’t be bothered to confront them. I finally made the effort to cut them out of my life. It was so freeing. I no longer felt guilty for not liking them all that much and we rid each other from negative vibes. It’s a win win.

ahlam tawashteeny

5. I always wanted to cut my hair super short but would chicken out every time. In 2011, I chopped off my locks which almost reached my elbows. It looked great for five minutes after the blow-out and then it was a hot mess. I couldn’t style it at home myself and the growing out phase was gruesome. It took two years to grow back but I can safely say I no longer try on short wigs every time I come across one. I’m over it.

short hair dont care

6. I got married at 25. I know parents did it at 21 but for my generation, that’s young. Was I scared? Of course. Was he scared? You bet. For many marriage seemed like an end, a very “serious” commitment and there was always the fear of missing out. The responsibility of running an actual household on our own while a part of us still wanted to drink ourselves silly until the wee hours of the morning seemed like a paradox. It’s not any of that. It’s synergetic. I’ve never had more fun in my life. My only advice- marry someone who can make you laugh till your guts hurt.

happily ever after

7. Text book recommendations dictate a certain protocol about how we should conduct ourselves. For example, when you get interviewed you usually wait until you get the call because calling in for a follow-up may make you come off as desperate. My pride and fear of rejection would at times get in the way of accounts/opportunities I really wanted. Scrap that. 2 years ago I took the decision to be proactive about all my goals and put myself out there. Does it work? You have my word. Finders are keepers. You want it, GO GET IT.

go get them


More from Ivy Says

20 Signs You’re Dating An Arab Girl

30 Thoughts Every Arab Couple Has Before Getting Married

The Ivy Says Radio Show on NRJ Lebanon 99.1

One Year After #IVYsBigReveal and A New Ambassadorship

9 Arab Crimes Against Beauty

20 Problems Every Girl Will Face This Summer

7 Things Not To Do At Weddings This Summer

16 Signs You’re Dating An Arab Man

1) He likes to take the role of your goon in public. A mere glance your way from another man could escalate into an Animal Planet fight scene, thick manes and all.

animal planet

2) You no longer have any more male contacts on your phone book except maybe for your hairdresser and doctor.


3) Meanwhile, his ex is now one of his closest friends and no, you don’t get to have a say.


4) He’s well into his mid-30s and doesn’t see why he needs to move out of his parent’s house. Ever

tv and popcorn

5) Most of the qualities he seeks in his ideal woman involve housekeeping.


6) It doesn’t matter how hairy, overweight and unattractive he is, he still deserves a supermodel.

supermodel 2

7) He could have been the next Ronaldo, but daddy pushed him into Engineering.


8) He has a special budget allocated each month to keep his beard in control.


9) You’re almost certain he showers in cologne, his scent remains in a room half an hour after he leaves it.


10) In his head every woman he dates is dying to marry him and if she doesn’t then she must be a skank


11) His life plans: marry “good” wife, produce male heir, take over family business.


12) He’ll gladly marry a gold digger. It’s flattering.

gold digger 2

13) Reaching out for the bill on a date is equivalent to spitting in his face.


14) Getting behind the driving wheel is the most emasculating thing you can do to him.

I drive

15) 50% of his brain shuts down when he spots a blonde.


16) And if his parents don’t approve of you there’s no way he’s EVER going to marry you. oh no



20 Signs You’re Dating An Arab Girl

30 Thoughts Every Arab Couple Has Before Getting Married

9 Arab Crimes Against Beauty

20 Problems Every Girl Will Face This Summer

7 Things Not To Do At Weddings This Summer

Join the Fight Against Tattooed Eyebrows