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

Profiling New Global Fashion Icon: Lebanon’s Amal Alamuddin

amal george clooney

The world is smitten by its latest fashion icon, Amal Alamuddin or the new Mrs. Clooney. She’s managed to not only snag one of the most-coveted bachelors in the world but she’s also landed herself in the same ranks as some of the world’s fashion royalty and to get the nod from just about every usually unimpressed fashion editor out there.

Yes, Amal Alamuddin has given The Duchess of Cambridge a run for her money this weekend with the understated yet perfectly chosen elegant outfits she donned to her star-studded wedding week celebration in Venice. Thanks to her, Lebanon is back in the headlines for all the right reasons again and just about every Lebanese is trying to prove they are related to her.

But before we take a look at her flawless style here’s a little profile on her.

She’s 36, and although she is indeed born in Beirut from Lebanese parents she actually moved to London at the tender age of 2. Her father is a retired American University of Beirut Professor and her mother is a journalist. She’s an Oxford and New York University law school graduate and worked as a Barrister some controversial cases high profile such as the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Julian Assange extradition case.

Almost every paparazzo camped out in Venice as word broke out of her wedding to George Clooney. The tasteful celebrations were attended by some major A-listers but it’s safe to say that Amal stole the show with her refined fashion sense. The theme was chic romantic Italian elegance. She broke stereotypes and proved to many Lebanese women that you don’t have to wear the flashiest biggest shiniest revealing dress to look magnificent.

Here’s a closer look at the full series of high fashion outfits looks she wore to the entire wedding week

First Pre-Wedding Sighting

Amal channeled her inner Jackie Kennedy in monochrome striped Dolce and Gabbana dress, thick framed Prada Glasses and a vintage style hat box which actually served as a lovely purse.

amal in dolceamal in dolce and gabanna

First Post-Wedding Sighting

This was one of my favorite dresses she chose from Giambattista Valli Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Amal gave the world the first glimpse of her supper skinny long legs in this long- stiff hem-lined sleeved lace number with embroidered colorful flowers. She also chose the perfect shades to go with her outfit, these cat eye stunners by Heidi London.

Amal in Giambattista Valli Haute 2Amal in Giambattista Valli Haute

The wedding rehearsal dinner

Amal wore an Alexander McQueen scarlet waterfall dress with a black pattern from the design house’s Resort 2011 collection. Her signature big hair also made an appearance and she completed the look with simple pointy black pumps and a bold red lip.

amal in mcqueenEXC - GEORGE CLOONEY AND AMAL ALAMUDDIN IN VENICE!amal in mcqueen 3

 

Civil Marriage Ceremony

This sophisticated look Amal chose left me in complete awe. Most women would usually want to wear dresses for this occasion but not Amal, she chose this cream Stella McCartney trouser suit with a nautical strip and a matching hat. She kept her makeup soft and day-time appropriate and her coiffed hair looked gorgeous. This was one of my favorite looks by far.

 amalamal in suit

 

The Wedding Gown

amal with oscar de la renta fitting

And finally the wedding gown. Amal Alamuddin Clooney chose a dress by Oscar de la Renta from his fall 2014 collection. The ethereal and timeless  cream off-the-shoulder hand stitched creation came with fourteen yards of Chantilly Lace, an embroidered bodice and featured a classic circular train and a floor-length veil. She was reported to have worn pearl earrings with square-cut diamond accents from her parents by Lebanese jeweler Chatila. Amal’s hair? Again simple, as it fell on her shoulders. It did not in any way attempt to compete with the rest of her look, none of that chignon madness or diamond tiara’s you see at most Lebanese weddings. The makeup? As natural as can be, there was no dramatic fierce eyes or extra layers of foundation. As for George Clooney he looked dapper in a Giorgio Armani tuxedo and cufflinks gifted to him by Amal, which read “George” in Arabic.

amal and george clooney wedding photoamal and geroge wedding photo

think we are all looking forward to watch what Amal will be wearing next as the world awaits her honeymoon sightings and how she will fashionably evolve to embrace her new role as Clooney’s wife.

 

Read More

Profiling Lebanon’s Next First Lady: Sethrida Geagea

Profiling Lebanon’s Next First Lady: Rima Karkafi Frangieh

Profiling Lebanon’s Next First Lady: Marianne Henry Helou

Royal Wedding:”Too Simple” In Lebanese Standards

Vintage McQueen and The Duchess Of Cambridge- A Match Made In Heaven

Angelina Jolie’s Wedding Dress- Who Will She Wear?

 

 

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A Night at O Monot Boutique Hotel

o monot

When it comes to hotels in Beirut, surprisingly your options are not as vast as one would expect from a country that relies so heavily on hospitality. You’d either have to check yourself into one of the usual larger five star suspects or take a gamble at one of the smaller less established “city” hotels with random, less comforting names that may leave you with a very bitter taste in your mouth, perhaps even literally.

Anyone who also travels to Europe frequently will truly appreciate the combination of location and trendy luxury. When you find a centered hotel that can actually offer both, you know you’re going to hang on it to it dearly. O Monot Luxury Boutique Hotel may have finally filled that gap in Beirut. It’s a true city hotel located on one of the most prime and convenient locations in the city, as the name suggests, Monot Street, especially for guests with limited time who don’t want to miss out on a thing. But it’s also a five star luxury boutique hotel, so there will be no need to compromise on service for location, whatsoever.

O monot hotel 2

The place looks like it has taken a page out of Architectural Digest, the optimization of space and design will have you appreciating it as soon as you walk in. Don’t expect any of that over-the-top middle eastern decadent glamor and crystal chandeliers O Monot’s lobby is all about the understated minimalistic modern elegance, decorated with rich natural materials earthy tones, and with meticulous attention paid to every detail.

O Monot 1

We were greeted by a courteous and well-spoken front desk clerk who gave us a quick tour of the hotel and showed us to our rooms. O Monot boasts 41 suites and we stayed at the very spacious and contemporary Deluxe Suite which came fully equipped with its very own Jacuzzi separated only by a glass wall with electronic blinds. The room was all-white and modern yet cozy and comforting.

O monot hotel beirut 4

o monot hotel 6

The string of LED lights under the bed gave it a floating illusion and its upholstered taupe leather back provided the perfect rest for some last minute-blogging before we headed up to the rooftop for dinner.

o monot hotel 7

O Monot’s Rooftop on 11th floor captivates. For starters the panoramic view is awe-inspiring, there’s no taking your eyes off the stellar chaotic urban vista that is so classically Beirut. But it’s the rooftop’s gorgeous setting that frames this scene so ideally. The zen furniture in light wood accents along with the purple and grey color combinations work so well with the background.  The laid back 5-seater bar facing the miniature turquoise pool help make this setting so earthy and intimate, almost as though you’re in your own private patio.

o monot hotel 15

A host of unfussy signature cocktails make their way to our table before dinner; with the Mojito and Margarita making lasting impressions. If you’re looking to enjoy a post-work sunset I definitely suggest you head there immediately.

The rooftop menu is mostly fusion food, with a creative variety of international favorites such as the marinated salmon with a side of greens, avocado and citron, the busy Thai Shrimp salad, the Filet de Boeuf with fries and a grilled seafood dish.

o monot hotel 11o monot hotel 10o monot hotel 9

The following morning we had breakfast at the serene restaurant on the 10th floor, which also boasted its fair share of the city’s views. After some sunny side ups, scrambled eggs and jam and toast we headed up to the rooftop again for some sun soaking.The pool was cool and crisp just perfect for a quick dip while we sipped on our morning orange juice.

o monot hotel 14o monot hotel 13. JPGo monot hotel 8o monot hotel 12

So whether you’re in Beirut for the weekend or got something special to celebrate or simply looking to kick back with friends over some sunset cocktails I highly recommend you head over to O Monot Luxury Boutique Hotel.

More Beirut Hotspots Here

A Night At Monte Cassino Hotel

A Sunday Lunch On “The Terrace”

The Roof, Four Season’s

Sydney’s at Le Vendôme Beirut

La Serre Bistro, Vida Downtown, Dubai

La Petite Maison Beirut

Shiseido Day Spa

Bioskinspa

 

 

6 More Arab Crimes Against Beauty

mole

Back in March I waged a full out war on the 9 crimes against beauty that have given us terrifying reputations and landed Arabs on some of the world’s most notorious beauty faux pas lists. Prior to that I launched the Online Petition Against Tattooed Eyebrows to counter the growing  pandemic of creepy crawlers taking over our Lebanon.

Sadly there still exists a long list of atrocities in the name of beauty and fashion that need to be address. Thank you to all those who have joined the cause, we may have won the battle but the war is not over my friends.

 

Exhibit K: Porn Star Nails

french nails beauty crimes

If the dramatic gel half-white half-transparent nail wasn’t tragic enough they had to slap on those nasty embellishments. Let’s be real, no nails ever looked like that naturally, nobody is buying it. The French manicure was initially meant to be classic and subtle but leave it to us Arabs to take it to a whole new level. The entire look screams slutty and those razor sharp edges are a serious hazard. Do yourself a favor and soak them off.

Exhibit L: Matchy Matchy

It pains me when I hear a makeup artist or a sales assistant utter these words “what color is your dress?” Because what they’ll do next is attempt to match your eye shadow, lipstick, blush, nails, clutch, shoes and bra strap to the damn outfit. Color coordinating is one thing but looking like you’ve been hit by a fuchsia hurricane is not a very flattering look for anyone. This may have been a trend in the late 90s but I have never seen a people collectively hang on to a style so dearly.

matchy machty

Exhibit M: Double D’s

I’m all for plunging necklines but I’m not a fan of racks on display. When you’re able to rest something on your cleavage or worse, lose something in there then it’s time for you to reconsider your shirt’s style and bra size. You can be the smartest candle on the cake and still be treated like a bimbo if you insist on covering up only half of your breasts. And if you’re small and skinny then D Cup implants are not for you. In fact implants are so passé, proof to that is Victoria Beckham got hers removed and she looks more stylish and better than ever.

Exhibit N: Extensions

long hair arab beauty crimes

There’s a very thin line between long hair and tacky long hair. Sure the belly dancer looks sexy when her hair bounces on her hips but take her out of her context and she’ll look like a hobo. Nowadays most hairdressers will spend an hour on a woman’s hair and another on her hair extensions which is hanging right next to her. The entire scene is disturbing. Arab woman have some of the thickest most beautiful voluminous hair and yet they still think they need more? Go figure…

Exhibit O: Hooker Heels

arab style heels

I heart heels. But I heart heels to dinner and I heart heels to weddings. I do not heart 9inch heels at 7am in the morning, unless you’re in that line of business. So when I see a bank teller or a notary public wobbling in sky high open-toe stilettos I don’t think they quite understand how inappropriate and out of place they look. It’s like they’re trying to prove some kind of point which is beyond me.

 

Exhibit P: Face Paint

arab style makeup

We are notorious for this. How much we love to use every single color in the eye shadow palette. How much we love our foundation, our compact powder and our bronzer. How much we hate to blend.

 

 

9 Arab Crimes Against Beauty

Join the Fight Against Tattooed Eyebrows

30 Thoughts Every Arab Couple Has Before Getting Married

8 Things To Avoid Doing At The Beach This Summer

20 Problems Every Girl Will Face This Summer

7 Things Not To Do At Weddings This Summer

Arab Celebrities Separated At Birth

Murex D’or 2014 Best and Worst Dressed by Ivy Says

 

 

 

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.

photo 3

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
 

 

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

 

 

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.

la plage seafood 8la plage seafood 7

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