Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mom Day and Schedule Troubles

    There's nothing like spending some time with mom one on one, have her just for me, lunch and shopping included. This was just two days before I go back to AUB and start this crazy week. I'm having troubles with my schedule. On one side, there's this gorgeous teacher who's very chilled out and doesn't give assignments, but, his class is at 8 am and he doesn't correct exams although he claims to have a very high, if not the highest, average of all sections. On the other side, there's the coordinator of the course, much older, gives lots of assignments and is stricter, but, the class is at 12:30 pm and I have more of my friends in this class. It's an easy course they say, so is it worth it to do all the assignments? Or is it worth it to wake up too early? Later today, when I asked at the student services, they did not allow me to change sections anymore. So one tip for you indecisive people like me, let time deal with your choices if you can't make them!

    On Mom day, I was wearing a beige Massimo Dutti V neck knit, Diesel jeans, vintage necklace, Burberry scarf, Chlo√© cross bag, and black heeled Repettos!

 
   
Mom peekaboo

I ended up buying this black sheer dress from Bebe in the background, for partying purposes!


 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Easy Highlight and Contour

Contouring and highlighting are not only becoming a trend in make up but they have always been an incredibly important know-how. For me, this realisation first started with pictures on Instagram, and then, I always wondered “but how? I don’t want to make myself look like a silly clown”. A few days ago, I watched a video that I can’t find anymore. The make up expert in the video was using MAC products and I kind of liked it. Personally, I consider MAC products of great quality/price. You buy MAC, you offer yourself high quality at a still affordable price, comparing to Bobbi Brown or Chanel. Also, I decided to buy the contour and highlight palette to learn it. I visited the new stand of MAC at ABC Dbayeh, which is now the largest stand there, and I asked for help. I ended up with a great make up session where the brunette sales woman applied make up on my face meanwhile teaching me the right way to do it. Then, I bought the products she used that I don't have already at home. It was a good experience and I also advise you to let the helper try on the products you want to buy on yourself, first in order to make sure it is what you really need, and second, to perhaps learn a few tricks. 
What I learned during the make up session and through this video sums up here, in a few points(if you know this already use it as a recap):
  • Contour and highlight cream or powder is actually foundation. Therefore, you can use foundation instead.
  • Choose the colors of highlight/contour as lighter/darker than your skin tone by 2 or 3 tones.
  • It is better to use cream than powder and then lock in the foundation by applying a neutral finishing powder that matches the color of your skin. You can also use Les Meteorites from Guerlain instead.
  • Contouring on the jaw bone is only for those who have a double chin and need to make their figure look slimmer.
  • Essential highlight parts: T-zone (forehead, nose, upper lip, chin), eye circles, smile wrinkles. 
  • Essential Contour parts: just below cheeks (it's the sunken part of your cheeks below where you apply the blush ), around the forehead, and on the nose sides going up to the eyebrow.
Brush 227 (above) is for applying the foundation with precision. Brush 130 (below) is for blending it all on your face, it is currently unavailable onstore in ABC Dbayeh branch so I need to look elsewhere.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Maison Bazaza

That day I had lunch with Tamara at Bar Tartine, we went afterwards to visit our teacher of Esmod, Hussein, who opened his couture house recently. It was by pure coincidence that Tamara, one day, sends me a screenshot of his Instagram. In his account that already counts more than 2,000 followers, Hussein posts pictures of himself, the fancy interior design of his showroom, as well as his beautiful creations. Looking through more of his pictures, I discovered that he made the dress of a friend for Le Bal des Debutantes. I was able to reach him through her and I let him know that we are going to visit. Of course, he remembers us--I was the cheeky one to always tease him in class. When we arrived at his atelier, which is next to Sodeco Square, Hussein greeted us warmly with a big smile on his face and let us in his beautiful self-decorated "Art Nouveau" space (I still remember that he was wearing a cool grey padded sweatshirt). We came in, we sat, and we chatted for a while. Hussein also showed us the other rooms of his atelier; there is one for designing and the other I guess it is for trying out the clothes.

That day, I wore the short sleeved Isabel Marant x H&M tshirt,Young Wilderness "Hipsters" legging, Zara sheepskin coat, and Superga black platform sneakers. Accessories: Pandora charm bracelet and rings, Gemayel gold heart bracelet, Mac Design silver skull bracelet, and Gucci watch.


 
 
 
 

A picture of Hussein's past collection
 



Here, I'm hugging the talking white teddy bear
 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bar Tartine, Mar Mikhael



 

   Bar Tartine is a restaurant facing SUD, behind the street of Mar Mikhael and at the very top of the stairs to the left of Tartine Bakery, which is next to Blackrock Steak Lounge.
So far as I know, I would definitely choose Bar Tartine for a breakfast or a brunch from all the competition (It opens at 8 am). Yet, Bar Tartine is also a good choice for lunch or dinner, as it serves a variety of dishes other than sandwiches, like pizza, soup, and steak, as well as burgers, fish, and pasta (It closes at midnight).
Main dishes, burgers, fish and pasta
Main dishes, burgers, fish and pasta
Main dishes, burgers, fish and pasta

   I first knew about Bar Tartine through the pictures on Facebook shared by friends. They were pictures of well loaded and heavenly decorated sandwiches with a hearty bread, slices of anything, perhaps lettuce and avocado, or french cheese, accompanied by meat, eggs, tuna or poultry...  already mouth-watering just by sight.

   It's not until a couple of weeks ago, a few days before Christmas, that I got the chance to eat there. I was with my friend Tamara I met at Esmod this summer. While I was waiting for her, I managed to find a place to sit indoors--the terrace was fully occupied. Since Tamara has already been there, she could advise me on what choice to make. Finally, I chose the Seared Tuna Wasabi Sandwich, which turned out a pleasant risk, not unbearably hot by the way. Tamara had a tomato soup instead. There was no way I pass on dessert because I could bet it was the best part of it all--and I wasn't wrong. So I had for dessert both a vanilla eclair and the mellow chocolate cake all for myself.  Surprisingly, I was able to finish both so much it was delicious.

   Besides this, the service was really charming. When I came in, I had my new camera (coolpix S9500, I love it because it's small) and I was snapping pictures of the room for my review, I'm going to say, a bit indiscreetly. Then, when the waiter cleared the table for me and I sat waiting for Tamara, I saw the waiter opening a chat with a young woman across the room. He was throwing occasional looks on me, perhaps the subject of their conversation. The waiter looked a bit frustrated and the woman was nodding her head. Then, the woman turned and looked at me with a huge smile and she was walking towards me. "Are you a photographer?" "No, I'm a blogger". She nodded back and she showed me her beautiful sincere smile on her face again before she disappeared. On her way back, she spoke to the waiter again. He showed up at the table several times after that asking us if everything was going fine. He was so anxious every time he came to us and Tamara would make fun of me, she said I scared the waiter because I was judging. I was laughing but nothing evil, really. Everything was almost perfect, if I don't want to give it a full mark. I'm definitely coming back soon to eat there, and try different things from their menu! I have been thinking a lot about the Camenbert Kumquat lately!

Good food, happy face!
I remember the bread was a bit hard to cut and in particular the extremities, I would suggest them to toast it less. Everything else was positive. For instance, the side salad is actually goood and I wouldn't leave it just like I would do with coleslaw and mayo at a diner or fast food restaurant. Eat the whole thing!
The Mellow Chocolate cake is actually made with dark chocolate, but it didn't bother me since the chocolate wasn't bitter at all. It was rediscovering dark chocolate. However, I think that Bar Tartine should mention that the chocolate in the cake is dark because what most people would expect is sweeeet milk chocolate instead--There's not much description for the dessert on the menu.
Nevertheless, what I loved most about this dessert is the consistency of the cake; at every bit, it melts in your mouth.
A fluffy eclair puff pastry, just slightly crispy on the outside, a natural vanilla flavored pastry cream, and strawberries (I love strawberries!)
Grains of vanilla are visible in the pastry cream, a wink at the premium quality of products that Bar Tartine offers.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Visiting LAU Jbeil

   I'm kind of living an amazing summer holiday in winter. In fact, it is the first year that AUB (American University of Beirut), where I study, links the Christmas holidays with the end-of-semester holidays. Result, we have over a month of vacations! The spring semester starts in two weeks, it's not like I miss college, or I might, but anyway that's not my point here, I went to visit my unlucky friends who are still in the midst of their final exams at LAU (Lebanese American University). We spent the whole day there, mainly at their spot that they call Jacuzzi (at AUB, there's a similar place where we hang out too, but we call it the zoo).
   That day, I stole my sister's black bf jeans from Zara (now she's going to find out about it) and I wore with it this exquisite Isabel Marant for H&M belt. I matched the lower outfit with a Gap knit kind of sweatshirt, black heeled Repetto flats, and Marc by Marc Jacobs bag.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

SUD Restaurant, Mar Mikhael


 Last sunday, I went with my whole family to try out SUD, a restaurant hidden behind the street of Mar Mikhael. In fact, to go there you need to go inside a deadlock, up the stairs, face up Bar a Tartine, and voila, look left! SUD has an indoor seating as well as a  covered outdoor space that stays open for the winter season.

 

   To make a reservation, call +961 (0) 1 560 900 / +961 70 790 001.

  As for us, we waited 15 minutes at the bar, before we get a table outdoors. We ordered a couple of Tapas (starters) including Crevettes Terre-Mer (shrimps with Chorizo), Croquettes au Jambon (Ham balls with Bechamel sauce), Olive Farcies, Poivron Farci (Red pepper bell stuffed with goat cheese).
I ordered a Steak Tartare "peu relevé" (slightly seasoned) for the main dish. I don't know if the waiter had taken proper note of this remark, but I was served a really hot tartare. Even my mom who is the one who tried to get me used to spices felt it too. Too hot, and you can't enjoy the texture of the raw steak. Too hot, and it dominates the other savours of the tartare. Too hot, and it will be hard to finish off your dish.
The service was a bit slow but nonetheless, hearty. The manager was around and seemingly present--I'm not sure if I had seen before, a manager that involved in accomplishing his job. When we came in, he was at the door welcoming customers. Likewise, the service was almost perfect and got even better at the end when I refused them to serve me another Steak Tartare, because I was already full and it's a waste of food. Yet, I was still impressed by their move since barely any restaurants offer to change you the platter besides apologizing. But they knew I was still going to remain unsatisfied, so instead, they did not take account of the dish on the bill. How courteous of them, SUD has really an irreproachable customer service. And in marketing, I learned, the ones with a good customer service leaves you with a better impression after solving for a mistake than if nothing has happened. It is true in this case.
Therefore, next time, I will not only be paying SUD a visit for its delicious food and correct prices, but also, for its warmhearted greeting and care that adds a great deal to its success and continuity.


 
 
 
 

The "Poivron Farci" with goat cheese and Vinaigrette sauce were my favorite Tapas. Yumyum!



Expected the shrimps "Terre-Mer" to be hot because of the Chorizo, but not at all, it was perfectly seasoned. My sister finished off this tapas by dipping the bread crumbs into the sauce, she loved it!



 The "Croquettes au Jambon" with the bechamel makes it a bit bland, suitable for someone that stays on the safe side of choosing food.



The bit deceitful "Steak Tartare" with, by the way, amazing french fries, just the way I like them!




 The "Bar en croute" fish that mom ordered and spilled over her Gucci leather bag and stained. If this ever happens to you, you can save the bag by applying baby powder on the blotch for some time, until it disappears. By the way, mom liked the fish.


  
My least favorite part of the meal was this dessert, Profiteroles Mediterrane, when you're used to pastry cream made with chocolate you can't appreciate much when it's done with cocoa. Yet, the profiteroles were great, slightly crunchy and like a bun on the inside. I have the knowledge to judge it since I already cooked this recipe.
Instead, my brother had a Pain Perdu and it was much much tastier. Unfortunately, we couldn't share because it only serves one.




Sunday, January 5, 2014

Girls Late Brunch

Yesterday, Saturday, we were invited at my friend Manu's house for a brunch at noon. We all came two hours late because we caught in a web of NYE's bad habits of sleeping and waking up really late. The alarm wakes me up at 10:30 am but there was no way I could get out of bed... until 12 something. I got out of bed and I had a lot to do between preparing the milkshake I had put in mind to get and taking
a shower. I lost my pants that I had in mind to wear so while looking into my mom's closet, I found something even better. I ended up wearing her Isabel Marant x H&M pants with a Zara kaki long sleeves top and Massimo Dutti knit cover-up. I slipped my feet into my Repettos and ran out of the house carrying my new Marc by Marc Jacobs bag and the Milkshake bottles to the car!
After quite a heavy brunch, we shared the epiphany cake into six parts in advance to the tradition held on the 6th of January. Yet, like every year, I ended up being the queen too. I was bragging about it even before finding out. I was the one to cut the cake but it has nothing to do with treachery because, then, to be fair, Manu has asked her housemaid to give us the parts just at random. With that, I ended up winning. What's meant to be is meant to be. And fate doesn't cheat.
Later that day, we met up with some other friends at Starbucks, Kaslik, and it is where I took the pictures for the outfit!