Avoiding Valentine’s Day Clichés For Kotex’s TheMakeOver.me

V day cliche

I know a lot of us both in relationships and single are kind of over Valentine’s day. It can feel so outdated at times. So as one of Lebanon’s first online and radio relationship experts KOTEX has asked me to come up with some new ideas that could shake things up a little this V-Day .

Click here to read my guest post on TheMakeover.me and don’t forget to let me know what you think.

10 Reasons Why You Should Not Get Married

Divorce

1. You don’t trust each other, even when you’re together. This kind of relationship is toxic-trust me. You know he has a wandering eye but you’re hoping marriage will fix that, because then he’ll only be yours. Nice try… Why spend your life trying to catch him instead of just going with your gut?

2. You can’t agree on anything. You both thought it was cute when you couldn’t decide on which mini-appetizer roles to order, but it’s not that cute anymore when it involves life-altering decisions like whether you want to move to KSA or pull out a mortgage on a house.

3. You’re at that age where your parents would really like to see you married, so they’re putting on the pressure. And you want to make them happy and proud. So you keep ignoring the signs and just settle hoping it will all work out. You just gambled your life, good luck.

4. You’ve succumbed to life-altering decisions because you were over powered. And no I don’t mean you had a gun held to your head, you just couldn’t win the argument so you just gave in to your own unhappiness- for the next fifteen years!

5. You’ve spent so much time together already, sharing your life together doesn’t even sound that appealing anymore to you.  The spark is gone. That’s bad. No matter how long you’ve been together for, you should ALWAYS get excited at the idea of being together-and yes forever. So if that thought makes you queasy, think thrice. 6. You’ve spent so much time together, it’s only correct you do the right thing and tie the knot. Everyone is expecting you to, especially her parents. Otherwise, it will look like you just dated for fun and wasted her time. GASP

7. You already share an apartment, a car and the same friends what’s an official paper going to do right? Well, not if you’re not convinced he/she is your soul mate. Convenience will slowly evolve into burden and misery and only then you’ll realize what that paper really means.

8. You have totally different outlooks/lifestyles. While you want to save up for the yacht and cruise the Mediterranean, your partner wants to grow veggies on a farm and enjoy the simple life. While he wants to travel the world with his hot-shot consulting job you’re happy just having 3 children right way. You want different things from life – the sooner you come to terms with it, the less difficult you make it on each other.

9. You’re constantly trying to change each other. You think he can be more generous and he thinks you spend too much. It’s all fun and games when you’re just dating but unless you accept each other the way you are, your marriage will become a constant barrage. Throw some children in the mix and you can join the divorce statistics.

10. You want to get married your partner doesn’t. So you keep giving him/her the ultimatum until they give in. Is that really how you want to base your marriage, on blackmail? Think long and hard about it. Read More

How To Find Your Soul Mate

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

6 Reasons Why He Didn’t Call You Back

8 Reasons Why Arab Men Won’t Marry You

What Men Really Want- Especially Lebanese Men

The 6 Annoying Dating Habits of Middle Eastern Women

The 6 Annoying Dating Habits Of Middle Eastern Men

A Ballerina Bun by Tony Sawaya

For my final stop at Dunes Verdun as part of my Ambassadorship, I had the pleasure of experiencing celebrity hair stylist Tony Sawaya at his salon located on L1 floor right by Shogun Lounge.

tony sawaya dunes verdun beirut

Tony is the hairdresser behind so many of the designs and styles you see on some Middle Eastern stars, such as Najwa Karam, Maya Diab and Ahlam. I had an appointment on Saturday with the very humble man himself for a special event and was lucky to have him personally work on my hair. We wanted to do things a little differently and since I rarely put my hair up, I thought a messy high ballerina bun would be ideal for the outfit I had planned.

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Tony Sawaya Salon, is a breath of fresh air, with its sleek and super chic monochrome interior. I especially loved his wall of fame featuring some of his most renowned clients and a very glamorous corner where clients can have a one-on-one consultation with Tony, who actually specializes in re-looking.

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What I also love about going there is that you don’t have to go through any of the parking madness and valet drama like you would at most top tier salons, instead you just park your car at Dunes Verdun parking and you can access the place by elevator.

They started me off with a shampoo and quick blow dry, and then meticulously twirled each bunch until I had a head full of curls which reminded me of the 60’s pin up look. And that’s when Tony began to work his magic. First he parted my hair, and then tied it into a high pony tail. He then teased it until it had enough volume to be controlled and styled. I loved how he added his own twist to the ballerina bun, and how he used the sombre end of my hair as a final finish, to give it a colorful modern streak.

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Check out the final look and how I styled it with a black lace jumpsuit, my Farah Asmar Clutch and a classic winged eyeliner and red lip pair.

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For all your booking and appointments you can reach Tony Sawaya Salon at Dunes Verdun at +961 1 868656 – +961 70 868656m

Read Beauty Articles from Dunes Verdun

A Holiday 2014 Look From Dunes Verdun

Ivy’s Holiday Makeup Must Haves from Beauty Concept

New Year’s Eve Nails by Beauty Express

 

 

 

 

Eating Light At Zaatar W Zeit

Zaatar W ZeitAfter another fruitful shopping day at Dunes Verdun I was craving some Zaatar W Zeit. So I headed down to the food court located on B2 and there it was in all its glory. But I’m still on my post-holiday health and calorie conscious resolution and though I tend to associate Zaatar W Zeit with their signature Lahme B3ajjine Man2ousheh and my all-time favorite Halloumi Bacon I wanted to give their Redefining Light menu a go. So here are my light recommendations if you still want to enjoy this classic urban eatery without sacrificing on taste and pleasure.

Zaatar w Zeit menu

Now I’ve made it no secret that I’m a huge fan Quinoa Tabbouleh, ZwZ’s own twist on the classic Lebanese tabbouleh but with quinoa instead of burghol. And having never been a fan of the original version, it allowed me to enjoy this fresh and light mix of parsley, tomatoes and onions with just the right amount of my personal favorite super food, quinoa. Mind you, replacing ingredients on the very traditional and profound source of national pride; the tabbouleh was a bold move for ZwZ, but it works so wonderfully, especially with the dressing, which consistently contains the perfect ratio of oil to lemon, one of the pillars of a successful tabbouleh.

Zaatar w zeit tabbouleh

I wanted to add some protein to my meal so I went for the Chicken Light wrap, it also pays homage to our popular chicken and garlic pairing; strips of roasted chicken with tomatoes, lettuce and pickles in a light aioli sauce bundled in a wholesome multi-cereal thin dough. So even though you’re actually having some dough, it’s not much compared to the usually heavy white one. So you have it and you don’t feel so bad, in fact, you hardly feel anything, since it sits so lightly in your tummy.

Zaatar  W Zeit cheese

And finally, the Guiltless Kafta, a much lighter take on the popular Mighty Kafta sans the mayo and cheese and instead wrapped also in a thin brown dough and light mustard sauce. It hits the spot especially if you favor their delicious kebab mix and like the name suggests, it’s not accompanied with the guilty feeling you get after you finish the original.

Zaatar w Zeit sandwhich

But whether you’re looking to keep things light or not, I have to insist you give their miniature dessert cups a try, since the portion is a controlled one. I recommend the Strawberry Cheescake but if you’re a fan of something traditionally Lebanese then go for the Vanilla Custard; crème brûlée the ZWZ way, over a layer of strawberry syrup topped with caramelized nuts, an absolute delight.

Zaatar W Zeit dessert

What I loved the most is that the ZWZ at Dunes Verdun is positioned as an express stand, so you can actually have your sandwich wrapped and to-go if you want to walk around with it in the shopping center or outside, or you can catch a movie right after at Empire Cinema also on the same floor.

Rating: 4.5/5

Casper and Gambini’s New Menu

Cannelle’s Finest Desserts

The Shogun Lounge

Prune French Bistro

Métropole Brasserie

SUD

BarTartine

Couqley

Ivy Reviews: Yalla 3a2belkon

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Golden Globes 2015 Best and Worst Dressed

The award season is finally upon us! And if you’re reading this too then you know the only award we’re interested in right now is the one on the red carpet. It’s been a cold winter and nothing is going to warm it up like some Hollywood couture and this Golden Globes was no exception. So many stars made it out and everybody was happy to give this fashion game a shot.

Here are my best and worst dressed

Diane Kruger Golden-Globes-Red-Carpet 2015

If this were fashion class Diane Kruger would always be that student with the full score. She never fails to embody that quintessential old Hollywood look and she nailed it again this year in this light silver metallic Emilia Wickstead gown. It fit her like a glove from the waist up and flowed so majestically down to that subtle train. She completed the look with those retro waves and a very natural contoured makeup and nude lipstick as not to compete with the shimmers on the dress.

Alison Williams Golden Globes 2015

Allison Williams was a beautiful surprise in this ruffled chiffon red Armani Privé. The off shoulder dress as you can see is intricately beaded on each layer also in red stones. She kept this super simple and was right to do so with just stud diamond earrings and again some more retro hair which we will see a lot of this year. This is most definitely one of her best looks to date and puts her on the best dressed list for this year.

72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

How amazing does Emma Stone look this year in Lanvin! I have not seen anything like this from anyone on the red carpet for years yet she manages to bring just the perfect amount of glitz and casualness to this look. I LOVED the strapless silver beaded bodice and the cropped trousers and the dramatic satin over-sized floor length bow that brings this pantsuit together. Add to that her tousled short hair and the strong smokey eye and statement violet red lip color and you’ve got yourself a red carpet champion.

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Lana Del Ray probably watched way too much Little Mermaid over the weekend because she decided to go as Arielle. Her turquoise pleated dress looks like it came from the dollar store and hair reminds me of a terrible middle school hair style I was hoping to forget. All that was missing with was little crab Sebastian by her side.

Noami watts golden globes 2015

She has earned her ranks s ared carpet royalty and this year was no exception. Noami Watts turned heads in canary yellow number by Gucci. But it wasn’t just the dress that got us talking but the way she daringly styled it with this one-of-a-kind statement diamond Bulgari snake necklace. I don’t think I would have given a second thought to this look had it not been for this piece. It all came so beautifully together. And if that wasn’t enough she completed the look with a dramatic red lipstick.

amal-clooney-Golden Globes

She was on a winning streak with her flawless wedding week attire, but I guess fashion crimes can happen to the best people. Amal Clooney looked like she was attempting to channel her inner Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in this borderline boring Christian Dior Couture gown. But she managed to butcher it violently with these ill-fitted oversized white gloves that make her look like a little girl playing Cinderella goes to the ball. According to her husband George Clooney she sewed them herself. *face palm*

Juliane Moore

Julianne Moore brought the drama to the red carpet this year in this breathtaking Givenchy couture metallic beaded gown with a feather bottom and train. For her age, this gown was a huge risk but I’m so pleased she took it because she looks absolutely amazing. Her fiery hair was also perfection, the length and waves make me want to chop off mine too. And her makeup was also kept minimal. On my best dressed list.

KATE MARA GOLDEN GLOBES 2015

She usually brings so much fashion fire to the red carpet but sadly not this time. I wasn’t a fan of Kate Mara in this red Mui Mui dress this year. Although the bodice fit her nicely I’m afraid it was so meh on this usually dramatic dresser and the gold belt and ruffles reminded me of Santa Clause. Her hair added to insult to injury as I’m not sure what would prompt someone with that hair length to go for a half-up do. No major crime here but most definitely a fashion fail.

jennifer-lopez Golden globes 2015

 

Let’s talk about the vision that is Jennifer Lopez in this Zuhair Murad creation and mind you I’m not usually a fan of her obvious fashion choices. The dress from his Fall 2014 collection originally featured a plunging V-shaped neckline but leave it to Jennifer Lopez to give it that exaggerated cleavage factor. The gorgeous beaded gown featured a dramatic floor length cape that adds so much volume and drama. I would have loved to see this dress sans the thigh slit as I thought it was a bit of an overkill but all in all, this look is one of my favorites on her.

amy adams golden globes 2015

Here’s another lady who almost always gets its right. Amy Adams stunned in this custom made asymmetrical ultraviolet Atelier Versace dress. She accessorized it with Tiffany drop earrings and a diamond bracelet and kept her hair in a loose retro wave. Again the barely-there makeup look which was a huge trend on the red carpet this year.

helen mirren Golden Globes 2015

She’s 69, yet Helen Mirren was still able to look every inch the vintage Italian leading lady in this age-appropriate long sleeved Dolce & Gabbana dress. The neckline was encrusted with the fashion house’s signature stones and it hugged her amazing figure in all the right places and she paired it with big drop earrings. She also paid tribute to Charlie Hebdo with that pin broche on her right shoulder.

Felicity Jones

I love statement gowns that are risky without showing skin. That’s when you know someone really dared. And we owe it to Felicity Jones this year in this beautifully tailored Cerulean blue ball gown. I loved the full neck and structured feel of the dress, and she styled it impeccably with those vintage earrings and that side parted hairdo. Not anyone can pull this look off easily but she worked it.

Seinna Miller

I missed this lady and all the amazing trends she brings to the red carpet. Sienna Miller looked AMAZING in this meticulously detailed Mui Mui number. The crème silky creation featured a plunging neckline that connected at her midriff and the floral embroidery was an absolute delight to look at. But make no mistake, the only person that can pull this look is Sienna Miller especially with that ankle hemline but the bohemian princess does. One of my favorites of the evening.

Kerry Washington

At first, I had mixed feelings about Kerry Washington in this Mary Katrantzou off the shoulder gown but then I decided I don’t like it at all. Too many risks going on, mainly the awkward length, the pink and navy color blocking and the metallic texture. It makes this otherwise beautiful actress look short and frumpy and let’s not get started with the hair? What is going on there? You can’t pull the effortless bun on thick hair, it just looks unkept. I did however like her makeup.

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Wearing Elie Saab to the red carpet is a no-brainer and Kate Beckinsale dazzled in this sequin light Elie purple-gray gown. She looked absolutely effortless down to the smallest detail and I absolutely adored her over-sized effortless bun.

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Keira Knightley makes it on my worst dressed list in this Chanel butterfly print dress. To be fair I can’t imagine this dress looking good on anyone, so I’m not sure why the pregnant actress thought she can pull it off. She looks like she is wearing an Amish nightgown from the 20s and the final blow was that matchy-matchy giant butterfly bracelet she accessorized it with. Terrible.

2014 Golden Globes Red Carpet

Oscars 2014 Red Carpet

Emmys 2014 Red Carpet

2013 Golden Globes Red Carpet

Oscars 2013 Red Carpet

Murex D’or 2014 Red Carpet

Murex D’Or 2013 Red Carpet

2012 Oscars Red Carpet

 

 

 

Le Royal Beirut Spa, A Piece of Paradise

Lebanon is not the most stress-free of cities to live in- and that’s putting it mildly. So every month or two, I make it a point to treat my man and I to a spa day, where we both take a good hour or so out of our busy schedules to turn off our phones and brains and just surrender ourselves.

Le Royal Hotel and Resorts Spa Pool

My next spa stop escape happened to be at Lebanon’s luxurious hotel; Le Royal Beirut, a five star mammoth complex perched on a towering hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea just 15km from Beirut.

The award winning spa is not like many you’ll come across and an incredibly huge operation, stretching out over an astounding 3-floor complex covering 3.5000 m2. It also boasts a magnificent indoor swimming pool that’s looks like something out of a Roman fable, fit for royalty with botanical vines twisted across grandiose pillars looking out at the sea, surrounded by relaxing area to unwind after a treatment or fitness session.

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We were signed up for the duo Candle Massage, but first our lovely therapists escorted us to our changing rooms fully equipped with saunas and Jacuzzis intended to help us wind down before the treatment. Everything we needed was in our customized lockers waiting for us.

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After getting comfortable in our Le Royal robes, we made our way to our private massage room where the candle oil that would be used in our massage was melting into a perfect pool of massage oil and the entire area smelled of a natural fragrance that engaged our senses to the point of ultimate relaxation.

Le Royal Hotel and Resorts candle wax

The lights went off and the room was now only lightly dimmed by candle light, as our therapists administered a blend of soothing oils and warm waxes to deeply moisturize, nourish, soften and hydrate our skin. For the next 90 minutes we each drifted to our own thoughts and zen states, as our bodies released all the built-up tension and our therapists worked their magic.

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Following our massages we were offered some herbal tea in a very stylishly-tiled oval shaped relaxation zone as we watched other guests about to embark on similar treatments before we headed out for some more down time in the Jacuzzi.

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Le Royal Hotel and Resorts Spa Pool  ivy says spa

It comes as no surprise that Le Royal Hotel and Resorts Beirut was awarded with the title of 2014 Leading Spa Award as well as the certificate of Excellence from Travel Advisor. The place is nothing short of world class luxury and the staff leave a lasting impression with their attentiveness, professionalism, friendliness. This makes it on my top Must-Try Spa recommendations for 2015.

More Reviews:

Four Seasons Beirut Spa

Ivy Reviews Bioskinspa

Shiseido Day Spa

New Year’s Eve Nails by Beauty Express

Sombré Hair By Georges El Mendelek

A Night at O Monot Boutique Hotel

A Night At Monte Cassino Hotel