Ivy Reviews: The Shogun Lounge

If there’s something I love more than shopping, its shopping and sushi together, in the same place. So after doing some heavy Christmas retail therapy at Dunes Verdun on Tuesday I headed over to dinner at The Shogun Lounge, my favorite sushi spot in Verdun located on the 1st floor of the mall.

the showgun lounge dunes 9

There are many things I love about this place besides just the sushi. For starters, the authentic Japanese ambiance which has garnered its fair share of loyal neighborhood regulars who dine there on a weekly basis. The friendly waitresses are sharply dressed in beautiful traditional Japanese kimonos and the sushi chefs behind the bar look like a scene right out of Tokyo- a thing I really miss at the newer lot of sushi joints popping up all over the city. I also appreciated how knowledgeable and mindful staff were about the menu, walking us through our selections meticulously and most importantly, patiently.

the showgun lounge dunes 8

We began with the Crunchy Salmon Salad, this has to be by far one of the best I’ve had in Lebanon; diced generous chunks of salmon sashimi in a fantastic spicy mayonnaise sauce with flakes of crunchy panko topped with nori.

the showgun lounge dunes 7

But the Shrimp Tempura was beyond perfection, fried golden succulent giant shrimps fried just right. The combination of crunchy warm batter on the exterior with the soft shrimp inside dipped in the hallmark thin sauce, was absolutely delightful.

the showgun lounge dunes 5

Their sushi selection was quite original and since we were feeling experimental, we went for the Fuji Maki, something I hadn’t tried before; savory cooked salmon in a spicy sauce with rice, nori and sesame, which I totally recommend. the showgun lounge dunes 4We also tried the delicious signature and my personal favorite Shogun Lounge Salmon; a layer of rice and nori topped with smaller diced salmon sashimi bits. The Sheyen Special Maki did not disappoint, and although I’ve had shrimp tempura maki many times before, this one was actually topped with a thin slice of salmon sashimi which I thought added a lovely touch to this otherwise classic roll. Last but not least we had the scrumptious Shogun Maki a lovely mix of crab and shrimp.

the showgun lounge dunes 2the showgun lounge dunes 1

And of course no Japanese meal is complete without a wonderfully seared cut of tenderloin marinated in a teriyaki sauce to share. I like my meat cooked medium-well with just a hint of pink. The stir-fried spinach and fresh mushrooms were the ideal side dish for this plate.

the showgun lounge dunes 10

Price: A meal for two like this (20 pieces of sushi in total) with soft drinks will cost you an average of $65 per person which in my opinion is very reasonable considering The Shogun Lounge is considered an upscale sushi restaurant.

Verdict: You can’t go wrong. The place definitely continues to earn its spot as one of the most reputable and iconic sushi lounges in Beirut and the best part is if your friends don’t like sushi, they serve a full blown Chinese menu.


Casper and Gambini’s New Menu

Cannelle’s Finest Desserts




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

Ivy’s Holiday Makeup Must Haves from Beauty Concept

Beauty Concept Dunes Verdun Ivy Selection

No matter how much makeup I accumulate, I can’t seem to ever have enough. It could be five parallel degrees of one shade of blush or lipstick, but I’ll convince myself that they’re not the same, and end up with them all. No complaints there.

As part of my journey discovering the treasures at Dunes Verdun and to my delight, my next stop was at Beauty Concept. Beauty Concept is a chain of retail shops in the mall carrying more than 100 internationally renowned high-end brands we’ve come to love, with a variety of products including makeup, skincare, fragrance, and many more beauty products.


Their makeup artist and beauty adviser Jackie, was nice enough to get me all dolled up for a Saturday night out on the town. I wanted to go for a semi-light nuanced smokey eye look. So we decided to mix and match new collections and Jackie help deed me select the shades and formulas that worked on my skin type and tone. Here’s a what she used and a full list of  the latest must-haves for your beauty bag this holiday season.

Lancôme La Base Pro Hydra Glow. Nothings gets your face ready for flawless makeup wear like primer. Although I’m a fan of  Lancôme ‘s viscous wax-like primer, this one is refreshingly dewy, light and gives your skin the hydration it promises to. Just a small amount helped Jackie even out my skin tone so that the colors she applies are uniform all over my face.

Beauty Concept Dunes Verdun Ivy Says Selection 5. jpg

SHISEIDO Future Solution LX Total Radiance Foundation- this isn’t your average foundation, like most things from SHISEIDO it has a multi-functional skin care component, and works to lift, cover wrinkles and brighten your skin. I usually go dark with my foundation but Jackie insisted I try one as light as my face and I have to say I was sold. It gave me a radiant, uniform finish with medium coverage. The bottle design is also stunning.

SHISEIDO Sheer and Perfect Compact Foundation- I loved the feel of this uber light powder compact foundation with a sheer soft finish that works as the perfect complement to set foundation and even skin tone and absorbs all grease and shine that comes with hours of wear.

Beauty Concept Dunes Verdun Ivy Says Selection 4

SHISEIDO Smoothing Lip Pencil- here’s a secret I’m a HUGE fan of lip liners, but subtle blendable ones that can really give your lips a natural contour. SHISEIDO was not kidding when it named this one smooth because this is by far the smoothest and most hydrating lip liner I’ve come across to date. And the shades are simply ethereal! The only down side, is it doesn’t last as long as you would hope it would so keep it in your bag.


Lancôme Grandiôse Mascara deserves all the hype and I have to admit I was skeptical. It’s actually the first patented wand, that works to cover every single lash no matter how small. If long- and I mean REALLY long lashes are your thing, you will not be disappointed. I had to get my friend to touch my lashes to prove I wasn’t wearing any falsies!

Beauty Concept Dunes Verdun Ivy Says Selection Lancome

Beauty Concept Dunes Verdun Ivy Says Selection

Chanel Camelia de Plumes Highlighting Powder is part of the brand’s Holiday 2014 Limited Edition Collection inspired by Gabrielle Chanel’s original Fine Jewelry creations, It’s a sheer silver and gold illuminator that Jackie demonstrated can be used on cheekbones, decollete and even shoulders. Definitely a collector’s favorite and perfect to gift this Christmas.

Beauty Concept Dunes Verdun Ivy Selection 2

Les 5 Ombres de Chanel Oiseaux de Nuit — The Chanel holiday eyeshadow palette Jackie used features winter shades: a frosty white, a grayish lavender, dark purple with a satin finish, black with a frosty finish and a very subtle gold. We used all the colors for this smokey eyeyh


Beauty Concept Dunes Verdun Ivy Says Selection 3

I loved this look and I hope you do too. Let me know if you have any questions about any of items we used. If you like this look and would like to recreate it head on down to Beauty Concept in Dunes Verdun and let them know you want the Ivy Selection!

Happy Holidays!

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




My Sombré Hair By Georges El Mendelek

Ivy Says Georges El Mendelek  Sombre hair

His father may be one of the most renowned names in Haute Coiffure but the apple sure doesn’t fall far from the tree with Georges El Mendelek. He’s built quite a reputation for being picky with his exclusive list of clientele, and his signature touch does not go unnoticed with official hair styling gigs at Mission Fashion, The Miss Lebanon Franchise and MTV shows. To top it all off earlier this year he’s been named an ambassador for beauty giant-L‘Oréal Professionnel.

Ivy Says Georges El Mendelek  Sombre hair 4
I first met Georges El Mendelek in Paris and was immediately drawn to his refreshingly “new school” take on hair styling. It was at a time where I was coming out of a couple of bold color stints and the awkward growing-out stage of a very short haircut and had decided to stop dying my hair all together and simply grow it out. But lately my hair has been turning up quite dark and dull in photos and as a result made me look washed out.

So I decided to enlist the help of Georges. He recommended low-lights in the form of sombré hair, yes that’s sombre not ombré . Essentially it involves adding a more subtle and blendable graduation of lighter toned shades into the hair, giving your look a more vibrant feel without the worry of re-growth and maintenance.
But this isn’t just any sombré, it’s George El Mendelek’s personal twist on this L’Oreal F/W 14/15 It Look which involves separating and tying hair into more than 20 bunches (as opposed to just 4) and then soaking the end of strands with L’Oreal Professional’s Infinie Platine as a base.

Ivy Says Georges El Mendelek  Sombre hair 5

When the color settles, strands are then toned to a more wearable and warm shade of caramel and honey. All the while hair is still in bunches. The results are astounding; a gradient melange of what looks like naturally sun-beached hair. None of that dramatic color-cut off that comes with ombré,

Ivy Says Georges El Mendelek  Sombre hair L'oreal
I loved this look because it added a much-needed kick to my look without seeming too striking, a look that can also work in a professional setting. I’m also secretly looking forward to having my hair blend in with my fur jackets this winter.

Ivy Says Georges El Mendelek  Sombre hair L'Oreal 1
So If you’re like me and want to give your hair a breath of fresh air this season without going all the way and avoiding hours of upkeep then I recommend you get your hair professionally Sombréd by the creative genius Georges El Mendelek.

Ivy Says Georges El Mendelek Sombre hair