Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Agenda Beirut x Massimo Dutti or When the Shoe Heel Broke

Some people ask me how I manage to go to events and deal with my non-blogger life at the same time. Especially that I live one hour away from my university in Beirut (AUB) during traffic time—yes I drive—or 20minutes away by car when there’s no traffic.
The fact is, I’m always very well equipped—even for a normal day at AUB. Here are some things you could find inside my Fendi tote: Wet wipes, handkerchiefs, hand sanitizer, a nail kit including a nail file and a navy blue polish I guess, polish removable pads, Fucicort cream, prayer beads, my big Dior make up travel kit, an extra pen, my business cards most often than not, a colored lip balm, and, most certainly, a power bank that I never really recharge to use. As for the car, there is always a pair of heels in the trunk and a more extensive beauty kit on the including perfume and some weird stuff to have in a car that I’m going to keep for myself—if only you knew hahaha.
If I love one social activity the most, it’s got to be networking with people. I try to attend most events I am invited to unless it is irrelevant to my interests or it just not fitting in my schedule where university and studying must be the top priority. Two Saturdays ago—yes I haven’t been blogging much lately—I was attending a special styling session held at Massimo Dutti downtown. The event was curated by The Agenda Beirut, a lifestyle boutique academy, along with its associate lecturers Hadia Sinno, Mandy Merheb, and Bernard Jreissaiti whom are stylists and experts in the field of fashion.
That morning I had a workshop at AUB and I was planning to go back home and change my clothes after that I had to submit an assignment I was writing at Starbucks, in ain el mreisseh—a critique about Rawls and the economy of justice. Writing takes time so it took me a longer while than expected to finish off my homework. I was making some irrational and unfeasible time calculation that I could go back home, shower—what the hell was I thinking—dress up and drive back to Beirut to support the event.
Of course, I didn’t mention the shitty weather; it was raining like cats and dogs—lol it’s the first time I actually use this expression. I was shouting over the phone and my mom thought I was completely nuts to go back home. I drove out of the city’s downtown and it’s at that moment that I realize that if I wanted to attend the event I had to go dressed the way I was.
Luckily for me, I was wearing badges denim pants and I had unintentionally kept in my car a black see-through chemise that I bought a few days earlier—and I had a pair of heels in the trunk. I checked my purse to see whether I had the minimum makeup I needed to pep up my look.
I changed my shirt and I managed to make a simple wing eye liner in the dimmed lights of the parking from the ridiculous small mirror of the car. I kicked off my converse and opened the trunk to wear my beautiful pair of plexi heel. I made the first step. And that’s when I realized that the heel was broken. Under the heat of a locked trunk, the glue that had stuck together my plexi heel and the shoe had become vain. There was no way I was going to wear my converse, no way. I walked slowly from the parking until the shop—it took me about 10 slow and painful minutes. When I was walking, it seemed like I had a broken ankle or something. When I arrived at Massimo Dutti and came inside the store, there was a desk with a help and stairs that go upwards to access the shop. She saw the way I was walking and she asked me how she could help—she thought I had a broken ankle or something. I confessed in her what has happened to me and she advised me to get glue from TSC signature, a grocery store, 5 minutes away by walking with a broken heel—no way. I asked her if she had tape, maybe. She did not bother to look at first, and then when she believed that I was going to actually climb the stairs with a broken heel—thanks god no one was around at that time—she looked for tape in her drawers and found one. With the help of transparent tape, she wrapped up the heel with the shoe to put them back together. I put my shoes again and it was just perfect. The transparent tape did not even show above the plexi heel and the black patent leather pump.
I went up the stairs and enjoyed the event a lot. I watched the experts assist the clients with a styling session and we made jokes about my Cinderella heel case.
My phone battery was dead and the last time I spoke to mom, we were yelling “sympathetically” at one another—but I told her my plans of staying, fortunately. Probably she had called me back later and my line was unreachable. And most probably, she thought I was dead. With the way I drive and the shitty weather, I was definitely dead for her.

I was wearing pants from Zara, see-through blouse from GS, plexi heels from Marni x H&M, and Chloe bag. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Roadster Diner on Bliss

    I really can’t think of a starting sentence right now; my stomach is going to explode. I have rewarded myself tonight with a hearty meal at Roadsters—my favorite chicken tenders dipped in BBQ sauce and then re-dipped in a side BBQ sauce with slightly spiced curved potato dippers filled with melted cheddar cheese. I promise you that it is as appetizing as it sounds.

   Roadster Diner can definitely be considered as a success story in Lebanon. Contrarily to what some American friends believed when they came to Lebanon and before they actually tried Roadster, they thought that it was like that kind of regular cheap diner fast food place. What they discovered instead was a quality meal that they could just not get enough of during their stay in the country.
   We cannot deny that Roadster is a Lebanese success story. They have spread across the country with multiple spots with the first branch in Souk Byblos (Jbeil) soon expected to open and, surprisingly, one in Zeytuna Bay (announced the 20th of November on its Facebook page). Their processes are standardized, their customer service is irreproachable, and their customers are always coming back for more. All of that is part of the reason why I hadn’t mentioned them on the blog; there is no or too little room for criticism.
   Recently, Roadster Diner opened its doors on Bliss Street hoping to attract AUB university students or students from IC school—Challenge accepted and met. Roadster on Bliss Street is pretty spacious, counting an area with couches and an area with tables, as well as an outdoor place available for smokers.
Although its prices are arguably slightly higher than the daily average spending of a university student for one meal, Roadster is full at lunch time. Likewise, you can’t show up at 1 am and be guaranteed that you are going to have a place to sit. Also, there are no reservations, Roadster works on a First Come First Serve (FCFS) basis. Thankfully, my break on Tuesdays and Thursdays starts at 11am until 2pm; my friends and I go there around 12:15 pm, before peak time, to find a good place to sit and enjoy lunch.
   Yet, competition on Bliss Street is fierce with food spots closing and opening quite often. Despite that, some snacks and restaurants have established their presence on this Lebanese F&B Wall Street close to AUB. They have committed themselves to provide efficiency, minimized order waiting time and either a leading price or better quality for a fair price for an exigent student with limited resources—time, most certainly.  
   Most of these food spots on Bliss Street provided some solutions for breakfast, including: Mankouchi, sandwiches, wraps, crepes, croissant, cakes, waffles, etc. Roadster is more lunch and dinner driven but it does actually offer a minor menu breakfast choice including pancakes—that people orders as a dessert alternative usually. It was a smart move for Roadster then to launch a wider breakfast menu for its Bliss branch to just welcome all students at anytime in order to retain its customers.
Following their opening, I was invited at their opening party where they served free food and got a band to play. I was also invited earlier to the Insta-meet-up to try out their entire breakfast menu. Their new breakfast menu extends to croissants, sandwiches, eggs and omelets to pancakes and cakes!
   I personally fell in love with their Brie and goat cheese club sandwiches, definitely a must-try—I’ve seen a lady order the sandwiches for dinner how yummy they are! I loved the pancakes as well with the chocolate and the nuts. What I liked the least was the cinnamon cake but this actually goes down to taste preferences since not everyone is a fan of that.
   To sum up, I think that the new breakfast menu is a worthy and successful addition to Roadster’s main menu. If I had any comment about Roadster in Bliss it would actually be about the speed service. In fact, when you go for lunch and it’s very crowded, the time it will take you to get your order is 20 minutes minimum which is more than double the average time (7 mins) it will get you to get anything from Bliss otherwise, (restaurant and snack).  At Roadster, I wait for my food about 20 to 30 mins and then I finish my dish in about 15 mins. I also feel that they should hire more qualified waiters (they are currently looking to recruit more staff for the Bliss branch btw) or train them better; during the first week, the waiters seemed pretty overwhelmed and weren’t really performing at the standards of Roadster in general. I discussed this with some friends and we all agreed that they could have used Zaatar w Zeit (ZWZ) amazing staff for a while or train theirs there because they both belong to the same holding company, or so I believe.
   Overall, this downside doesn’t really represent a problem for Roadster, I am practically sure that this is being taken care of.
Roadster also planned a fun night after a week that it has opened in Bliss, a cool night with the restaurant favorites in mini bouchées and a live playing band!
 “Together Forever”—that is Roadster’s motto.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sundaze outfit

You’ve got to live up to your mom’s expectations on Sundays. I think she has the veto right to decide which outfit you’re going to wear for lunch. I mean I’m not happy when she tells me that she doesn’t like my outfit and then I have to change it, (decision made by a slight hangover mind of Saturday night). But, Sunday is quality time with my family and you have to agree with everything either parent or sibling has to say. Done.
Fortunately, she didn’t say anything when I wore this beautiful checked black and white skirt and see through black chemise from GS stores—yeah, who said puffed skirts are for little girls?! And to complete the outfit, I added a vibrant colorful jacket and clutch to give this otherwise lazy morning a pinch of fun!
If you don’t usually play with colors and wear, for most of the times, monochrome colored outfits, I advise you to try adding a touch of vibrant color in just one element or accessory to pep up your style!

Blouse and skirt from GS stores, Boots from Chinese laundry (all available at GS stores); miumiu jacket, and Saint Laurent Paris clutch.

Every year,when winter comes closer, one rose or two blooms in my garden. As a kid, my mom would let me take it, but now I think that it is just too beautiful to take it away.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Aishti Fall/Winter Fashion Show 2014

The cold season is getting closer and closer here in Lebanon. Jackets have become the inevitable companion to go out and the cozy mood to chill at home besides a chimney has kicked in. That was also when Luxury retailer, Aishti, came to celebrate the season with a fashion show of the Fall/Winter collection and an art exhibition featuring young artists. I sat front row and shared all my favorite pieces off the runway on my blog Snapchat, (you can follow me at “prettycap”). Among my favorite items was this hooded fuzzy yet chic snow-white cape by Saint Laurent Paris.

Credit: Net-a-porter

On this occasion I chose to play with the little side details to impress. I was wearing a long T shirt from Alexander Wang’s collection for H&M, a Zara skirt, Ash shoes, and Chloe Paraty bag.