Ivy Reviews: Cannelle’s Finest Desserts

Cannelle review Ivy Says beirut

When it comes to local patisseries-shops Cannelle is an institution. Not only has it mastered the art of the classic French pastry it’s also managed to add its own signature touch along the way.

I had the pleasure of doing a confectionary tasting tour at their lovely branch in Dunes Verdun last week. And although I didn’t grow up in Lebanon I am very much aware of the iconic status this establishment holds on many people’s traditional Sunday lunch or dinner tables. When your aunt asks you to pick up a cake from Cannelle, you just do as she says, no questions asked.

Canelle Macaron Beirut

I was lured in by a trail of aroma lingering in the mall. For a moment I just stood and stared at the marvel of fresh puff pastries, croissants, crèmes, chocolates, macarons. It was more difficult to choose than I thought.

The lovely ladies walked me through two of the house favorites. First the timeless Macaronade aux Fraises, a true work of art involving two layers of the same marzipan used in Gâteau Succès , filled with a generous layer of glazed strawberries and topped with all sorts of red berries and fine sugar icing.

Cannelle Macaronade aux Fraises

Cannelle’s second classic is the infamous Gâteau Maison, also known as the Gâteau fondant au chocolat. If you’re into rich, intense dark chocolate mousse then you will love this cake, I especially enjoy this one with an all-natural vanilla bean ice cream.

cANNELLE Gateau Maison 1

And of course I had to try the macarons. It was a little larger and less compact than the ones I’m used to but this almond flavored marvel left quite the impression on my taste buds. I loved their carefully selected colors and flavors and I thought they’d make a lovely gesture to take along when invited to brunch.

Cannelle Lebanon 2 macaron

Next I picked out my own little dream team. I choose them according to the meticulous craftsmanship that so obviously went into preparing them.

Cannelle review Beirut dunes

I was drawn to this picture perfect Eclair à la Framboise and how wonderfully the berries were sandwiched between two layers of my favorite cream puff dough and rose crème.

Cannelle Eclair Framboise Beirut

I absolutely love tarts so I chose two. First the bestselling Tarte au Citron, a perfect combination of sweet and sour, with a delectable lemon crème on a pâte brisée or shortcrust pastry. As well as the poised Tarte aux framboises with actual raspberries on a bed of delicate gelée.

Cannelle Lebanon Tarte au citronCannelle Lebanon tarte aux framboises


Take a look at this beauty, a fluffy caramelized chunk of apple sits atop an iced pâte d’amande also known as Marzipan base.

Cannelle Dunes Verdun Tarte Pommes

I was absolutely taken by the Cannelle version of the Choux à la Crème, a circle of light Choux pastry with one of the most fluffy dreamy whipped vanilla flavored Crème Chiboust I have ever had, and believe me when I say I’ve had my fair share of these in France. This pastry is one of the most underrated classics but remains my favorite to date.

Cannelle Beirut Ivys FavoriteCanelle lebanon 1

Verdict: it’s no wonder Cannelle has been able to stand tall amongst the momentary French patisseries sprouting all over town. This classic refined house remains a true Lebanese icon that is resilient and able to maintain its iconic status regardless of time and competition while continuing to bring us some of the best in French desserts.





The Ivy Says Radio Show on NRJ Lebanon 99.1

Ivy Says on NRJ Lebanon Dana

It’s official. I’m proud to announce that this Wednesday the 12th of November marks the first episode of my new radio show IVY SAYS on NRJ 99.1

This has been under wraps for a couple of months now and I’m absolutely delighted to join their amazing team and be a part of this leading station in Lebanon and internationally.

I have a super fun show prepared for you and we’ll be tackling some topics that you’ve come to love on this blog, from celebrity gossip and fashion disasters, satirical listings about anything and everything Lebanon, dating advice, hit music and much more. I’ll also be featuring a super interesting round up of Instafamous guests from Instagram and the social media sphere.

So whether you’re stuck in traffic or at home don’t forget to tune in at 7pm every Wednesday.

For sponsorships, giveaways or to be featured as a guest you can email me at tell.ivy@gmail.com

I also wanted to thank a very close friend and top Lebanese blogger Najib from Blog Baladi for surprising me with an amazing post titled 10 Reasons Why I Love Reading Ivy Says. He’s a leading example how us bloggers should embrace and support one another. Check it out HERE

top reasons why I love reading ivy says by blog baladi

Next week I’ll be posting the full shoot I did for the show’s promo with the talented up and coming fashion photographer Patrick Sawaya with makeup by the Yves Saint Laurent beauty team.

Ivy Says on NRJ Lebanon Dana

One Year After #IVYsBigReveal and A New Ambassadorship











Ivy Reviews: Casper and Gambini’s New Menu

Casper and gambini Dunes Verdun Ivy Says 1

I feel confident referring to Casper and Gambini’s as an institution in Lebanon today. It’s mastered the art of consistency and has managed to strike the perfect balance between wholesome high-end cafe cuisine and excellent service. So this post isn’t about how much I like Casper and Gambini’s that’s already been established, rather it’s a review of their recently launched new menu.

I visited Casper and Gambini’s at their Dunes Verdun branch for the first time and I absolutely loved lunching on their bustling patio. I worked out quite the appetite on a photo shoot that day and managed to wolf down the grissini and their traditional complimentary labneh balls drizzled with thyme as I always do.

Casper and gambini Dunes Verdun Ivy Says 1 Crusted Eggplant

The first new item my friend and I chose was the delectable Crusted Eggplant Parmesan and when I say delectable I mean so good you may want to have one as a starter and another as a main dish. Casper and Gambini’s put their own twist on this otherwise classic dish by crusting the actual slices of eggplant with Parmesan and then lightly frying them. On top sits a generous helping of melted mozzarella, basil and a fantastico roasted tomato sauce. As I cut through the arrangement the ingredients blended together so harmoniously. This one makes it on my very highly-recommended list.

Casper and gambini Dunes Verdun Ivy Says 1 crab sandwhich

To counter the calories of the Eggplant Parmesan we had the crab bites, essentially made up of two portions of a mayonnaise-based mix of shredded crabmeat served on a thinly sliced toasted white bread and a side of green house salad. If you’re calorie counting then this dish is a good light and fresh option on their list of starters.

I knew I wanted a sandwich for mains but the new additions left me confused, how was I supposed to choose between a Philly Cheese Steak or a Chicken Quesadilla sandwich? Our waiter sensed my predicament and passionately recommended I try their Provolone Steak Sandwich, or what I now would call the most valuable player of the group. Be warned, this is not your average sandwich, this is a game changer.

Casper and gambini Dunes Verdun Ivy Says 1 steak sandwhich

Picture this; slow-grilled Australian beef medium cooked with a pink center, crisp smoked bacon, melted provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and horseradish mayonnaise all inside a fluffy freshly baked cheese-flavored ciabatta The sandwich was soft enough to bite through while holding everything together so well, none of that soggy falling-out business. The flavors did a little dance in my mouth as I struggled to finish the mammoth thing. It was challenging. But legendary.

Casper and gambini Dunes Verdun Ivy Says 1 steak sandwhich 2

My friend opted for the Gourmet Mini Sliders which I have to say are as creative as it gets. Three mini burgers, the first a Mediterranean one with Halloumi cheese, a classic with provolone and a fiery Mexican one complete with avocado cream, mango and Emmental cheese. I favored the halloumi one and my friend raved about the Mexican.

Casper and gambini Dunes Verdun Ivy Says Burger slidersCasper and gambini Dunes Verdun Ivy Says 1 Halloumi burger

Price: On the higher end of the scale for a daytime cafe/restaurant; 2 appetizers, soft drinks and two mains for 97,000LL.

Verdict: Five star hotel service and a new menu that deserves all the hype. Casper and Gambini’s is revived and raising the bar.

More Food Reviews

IVY’s Best Burger Search Continues- Casper & Gambini’s

Frosty Palace

La Petite Maison Beirut

La Plage

La Serre Bistro Dubai

Sydney’s at Le Vendôme Beirut

Prune French Bistro

Métropole Brasserie






One Year After #IVYsBigReveal and A New Ambassadorship

ivys bid reveAL It’s been one hell of a year for me.

On August 13, 2013, and after more than three years of blogging anonymously, I started toying around with the idea of revealing my identity. The thought seemed far-fetched. I was safe behind my computer, almost untouchable, but I knew it was a false sense of security I was latching on to, and eventually if I wanted my blog to grow and expand my collaboration portfolio I need to come out of my comfort zone.

I remember having a drink with Fida Chaaban RAGMAG’s Editor in Chief at the time. I told her about my idea of staging an event behind the reveal. Her eyes lit up. She disappeared for a couple of weeks. I thought she had forgotten about it. Silly me, thinking people would care. She called me a couple of days later asking me for a guest list. For what? I asked. For #IVYsBigReveal she exclaimed.

Fida ran the idea by Roula Nahas, BestSeller Regional Marketing Manager and PR Queen. Roula immediately threw her weight behind it. VERO MODA and RAGMAG would stage it. Next, Beirut’s finest luxury boutique hotel Le Gray jumped on board, they presented us with their entire Rooftop and one of their opulent executive suites. And an amazing list of sponsors followed, Chopin Vodka, Pommery Champagne, Label 5 Whiskey, Bourjois and Beirut Nightlife.

150 of the city’s finest gathered to participate in one of the most-buzzed about fashion events of the year. I could feel the energy as both Roula and Fida accompanied me to the rooftop. And just like that I took a deep breath and stepped on stage. I spotted some familiar faces in the crowd smiling at me, faces I had known online for years but never met. The rest of the night was a big beautiful time lapse, selfies and cocktails and fast chats and dancing. #IvysBigReveal trended for 3 days. I did the right thing.

You can watch the #IVYsBigReveal  short video by BeirutNightLife right here

vero modaVero Moda (2)ivysbigreveal

A little over a year later and here I am. I’ve collaborated with many amazing brands including GAP, Adidas, ChouChic.com, Bassam Fattouh Cosmetics, Maggi Arabia and was even invited to have my own segment Talk of the World on MTV Season 6 of Talk of the Town.

dana khairallah gap ivy says styldbyGAPMaggi Arabiamaggie arabia dana khairallahDana Khairallah for Bassam FattouhELLE Ivy Says feature Dana Khairallah

Today I’m also happy to announce my new title as Brand Ambassador for Dunes Verdun, one of Lebanon’s first and most iconic malls that today serves as a landmark. Follow me as I bring to you my experiences and shopping adventures in this diverse yet cozy mall and share with you all my amazing finds from dining,to beauty, fashion and entertainment.

I also have one more exciting piece of news to share with you very soon!





Yves Saint Laurent Makeup Step-By-Step Review

A month back, Yves Saint Laurent invited me to their beauty counter at ABC Ashrafieh for a makeover and to test out some of their makeup collection. I was already obsessing over their Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation which I reviewed here back in July so I knew I was in for a treat. Here is the final look. You can follow the steps below to achieve it

YSL Ivy Says Dana Khairallah makeup look

YSL Ivy Says beauty review


Step 1: Forever Light Creator CC Cream in Apricot

It was early during the day and their lovely artist wanted to give me a fresh-faced daytime appropriate look and so she started it off with Forever Light Creator CC Cream as a base, or what I like to personally call, the CC Cream of all CC Creams, which essentially works as a tinted color corrector that over time works to improve stuff like redness, fine lines, enlarged pores and most imperfections you want to hide. It doesn’t need to replace your foundation especially if you’re not big on daily foundation use as a lot of my not-as-makeup-obsessed friends are ; but still want to sport an even skin tone with a healthy radiance, then you will enjoy the medium coverage of the Forever Light Creator. I’m loving the golden glow of the Apricot shade but if it’s a rosy radiance you’re after then you should try out Rose shade. And did I mention the impressive SPF 35!

Ysl CC Cream and Touch eclat

Step 2: Couture Palettes in Afrique

Next I was excited to try out YSL’s much talked about new line of Couture Palettes in particular #3 Afrique, which has gotten raving reviews from the beauty community. It’s a combination of 5 warm toned, plum, bronze, and rose eye shadow shades in diverse textures metallic shades that when layered (from the crease all the way to the inner corners of your eyes) give them intense dimensions. This super bendable set of shades is definitely a beauty staple for any season.



She completed my eyes with the award-winning Yves Saint Laurent MASCARA VOLUME EFFET FAUX CILS in high density black. Let me tell you this one’s really racks up the volume and made my lashes significantly thicker after the second round. I’ve been wearing it regularly and I have to say, it’s been exceptionally clump-free and smooth on my lashes. I’ve also tried way too many mascaras lately that separate so it was a nice change to experience thick fringe lashes for a change. I also recommend this one in the deep purple shade.

Step 4: Touche Éclat.

Of course no makeup session at YSL is complete without the cult classic (gold pen) which I’ve been a big fan of for years now the Touche Éclat. This has been a miracle worker in my makeup bag ever since I landed my first job. And although I’ve been using Touche Éclat to add light to the entire area under my eyes, usually as a final step or for the really early morning meetings with the boss, you’ll be surprised to know it can be used as a highlighter and illuminator along your entire face such as your nose and that area over your eyebrows to lift them up and most recently I’ve been dabbing some on my cheekbones for some extra radiance.

Step 5: Baby Doll Kiss and Blush

Baby Doll YSL Kiss and Blush

And finally she completed my look with my latest obsession to date the YSL’s Baby Doll Kiss and Blush. It’s an air whipped mousse that works on both your lips and cheeks to give a flirty pop of color and eventually turns into a stain. At first glance you would think that the formula was a super lacquerish one but it magically forms a velvet smooth matte finish that sits so beautifully on your lips and sports some serious staying power. I just love how it also gives my cheeks a very blendable warm flush. For the day time she used the golden-orangey Corail Affranchi on me but I’ve been using the Rouge Effrontee which is basically this gorgeous reddish-fuchsia color and I just love how buildable it is, so it works both day and night. I haven’t been this crazy about a lip product since I discovered Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro.

For the first time last month I decided to work on my own makeup for a friend’s wedding and here are the results. For this look I used the CC Cream, Touche Éclat and the bronze and rose gold eye shadows from Couture Palettes  on my eyebrow bone for blending and highlighting.

YSL Ivy Says makeup look

More Beauty Reviews Below

YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat Foundation

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Compact Foundation

Clinique Moisture Surge

Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Eyes Mascara

Clarisonic Plus Review

Ivy Reviews: Miss Manga Mega Volume Mascara by L’Oréal

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro

Essie Nail Polish

Benefit Gimme Brow Voluminizing Fiber Gel

Too-Faced Lip Injection Gloss

Bassam Fattouh Cosmetics Tints Collection




20 Signs You’re Dating An Arab Girl


1. She’s the jealous type. The last time a hostess smiled and greeted you at a bar she threatened to “cut her”

shut up

2. The first thing she’ll ask you when she’s sees a pretty girl is “do you think she’s pretty?”


3. Yet  she’s self-obsessed. You never knew someone could love themselves so much.


4. She’s constantly complaining. About anything and every little thing. Her life is a series of endless rants.

eye roll

5. You’re constantly reminded that she’s better than you and that you  should be grateful she chose you.

get a life

6. Calling her “not nice” would be the understatement of the year. The girl makes Cruela de Vil deserve a halo.

not dealing with your bullshit

7. According to her and her mother, everyone is jealous… of her.


8. She’s more judgmental than your 80 year old aunt.


9. Yet she’s a major hypocrite. Apparently nothing applies to her.


10. She hates all her friends. But they have no idea.

stabbing you

11. She hates all your friends. They noticed.

dont care really

12. According to her, if  you really loved her like you said you did, then you would give her all your passwords.


13. Tantrums are like second nature to her. She has no problem throwing them anywhere.

flip out

14. And just when you’re about to win a point, she wins by crying.

cry baby

15. She’s constantly bragging about how all the guys want her hand in marriage.


16. But the minute you threaten to leave her she’ll blackmail you with suicide.


17. Part of loving her, means that you get to spend your entire income on her. Every month.


 18. She’s always at war with someone.


19. She basks in other people’s misfortunes. You’ve never seen her happier.

happy happy

20. Yet, somehow she’s managed to convince you to make her your wife.


Read More

30 Thoughts Every Arab Couple Has Before Getting Married

What Men Really Want- Especially Lebanese Men

20 Problems Every Girl Will Face This Summer

The 6 Annoying Dating Habits Of Middle Eastern Men

8 Reasons Why Arab Men Won’t Marry You


6 More Arab Crimes Against Beauty



Preowned Designer Resale, The Secret No One Wants To Share

pink vintage chanel bag

A few years back it was practically unheard of for Middle Eastern women to buy second hand luxury goods, the mere act in itself fell somewhere under a category of honor crimes. But as the word vintage began to take on a new, more attractive meaning, suddenly pre-owned items didn’t feel like such a shame after all. The idea of owning a piece of history like a vintage Chanel Flap bag, Birkin or Cartier Love bracelet has now become a source of pride. Not to mention that fact that you can now actually own a Birkin for $10,000 instead of $20,000. Online designer luxury resale and consignment stores have been around for years but as of lately the boom has been astounding. And it works for everyone, women can now make a small return on selling their unloved designer items instead of letting them collect dust in their closets and others who can’t or would rather avoid hefty retail prices can still wear the designer models they love.

But here’s where things get tricky. Although many of the websites and stores claim to have in-house teams of luxury experts and seasoned inspectors who meticulously authenticate each item, there has been the occasional claim that a few have been passing of counterfeit goods as the real thing. That’s why it’s really important you do some research before you decide on who you’re going to choose.

So I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list for you of both consignment and  luxury resale stores in the Lebanon, the Middle East and internationally in no particular order which I recommend.


1. Garage Luxe

garage luxe lebanon

The leading store of its kind in Lebanon, Garage Luxe isn’t exactly an e-commerce store just yet (their website is under construction) though they do showcase most of their new arrivals on social media platforms including their Facebook page and Instagram. So when you see an item you like you can simply send them a message via Whatsapp/call/ or email them and book a private appointment, yes private, to ensure their client’s anonymity and comfort they don’t accept walks-ins and you’re free to browse around at your own pace. You’ll just have to be a little swift as things tend to get sold faster than you can imagine.

2. Washed and Found

Washed and Found

It’s been reported that Washed and Found were actually the first of their kind to brave the stigma and set up shop in Lebanon and that’s why I included them here. You can purchase their items online and they deliver to both Lebanon and worldwide but they’ll also be happy to welcome you by appointment. You can also fill out a consignment form to sell your items and they’ll contact you in 3 days. The prices are very competitive but they also have a somewhat of a miniscule more out-dated collection as compared to the rest on this list.


3. The Closet

Ivy's pick- purple clear

the closet online shop uae


The Closet is renowned as one of the leading consignment stores in the region for pre-owned bags and accessories and also has one of the highest resale rates and one of my personal favorites. They have a mammoth collection that includes many current models and not just the classics you see everywhere and they are popular for picking items in fantastic condition. They also offer new handbags for sale. The Closet also has one of the largest vintage Chanel bag collections you will see on any online resale site and they’re super quick to answer any inquiry on Whatsapp. You can also visit them at their boutique in Dubai at Jumeirah Centre. Keep up faster with them on Instagram.

4. OMG Fancy That

omg fancy that

Having been established in late 2013, OMG Fancy that is slowly gaining traction in the UAE although their social media presence is weak. Louboutins, Valentinos and YSL Tributes are just a few of the many shoes you can find at OMG Fancy That’s site. This Dubai-based business established by two young entrepreneurs only collects  high-end  brands and has even developed an app that can help you stay up to date with all their new arrivals. They deliver worldwide.


5. The Real Real

The real real

This online consignment marketplace for luxury goods is one of the most recommended  in the world, with celebrities like Jennifer Garner and Whitney Port having sold some of their designer items here. You won’t see any of those old raggedy boring models as the items are curated by some of Hollywood’s best stylists and its not just high-end, you can also find other medium range items from Tory Burch or Alice +Olivia. But you can’t browse unless your sign up. The Real Real have put their expertise into a mobile app that will also allow consumers to monitor the resale value of a designer good before even buying it! They currently do not ship to Lebanon.

6. The Fashionphile

The Fashionphile

A veteran in the secondary market for luxury resale, The Fashionphile has one of the most extensive collections online, what I love the most about them is how detailed they are about the condition of each item and how easy it is to browse their website. You also have a section where you can search by style. Although they don’t ship directly to Lebanon they actually partnered with MY USA who can provide you with a US shipping address or you can ship them to a UAE address.


Taxes and Custom “Clearance” Fees

luxury taxes

I’m constantly asked about shipping to Lebanon and import taxes on luxury goods. Yes, you get charged ridiculous sums of money by what is considered VAT and an additional custom clearance fees on any luxury item. Let’s just say its Lebanon’s way of deterring you from shopping abroad.  The amount can vary, but I’ve once had to pay $90 dollars in taxes and clearance fees on a $100 item. So be warned.