Monday, December 28, 2015

Hands-on Christmas Dinner 2015

Christmas eve was always hosted in my house since the time I was born.
Family getting together was not the only part of my excitement this day.
It was not only about the presents either.
As a kid, it was not only about getting permission to sleep at 2am as well, (after playing with my new karaoke Singstar playstation CD).
As an even younger kid, it was not about getting scared by Santa Claus either, (yes haha! I actually once ran away and hid in the toilet when my grandpa, disguised in the silly big fat man, knocked on our door. I was about 5 years old) or driving my Barbie in her new plastic pink “Ferrari”.
It was not about getting surprised again when opening up the presents, (because we already knew exactly what we had asked for Christmas).
Of course, it was about all these memories.
But what Christmas means to me is even beyond that, it is a lot about my Mom’s homemade Christmas dinner and the full day of preparations, the supermarket shopping during the couple of days ahead, the arguments we had about the turkey weight to check if it was enough, etc.  My mom researched, drafted, and created the recipes ahead of weeks and designed the decoration as well! For instance this season, my mom decided to ditch the traditional Christmas decoration and decided that it will be some kind special…
Back home from a party late at night, passing by the living room on my way to my bedroom, I discovered, agape, the funeral of the grandiose Christmas tree my mom has ditched for 14 small trees, standing naked of any lights and Christmas decoration and filling up the vast empty space. Her Christmas ambition was a forest and not just a tree.

My mom cooked dinner herself for the entire family with the help of her elves every Christmas eve.
When I was younger, my mom would let me take charge of the appetizers as I took pride in contributing to her perfectly conceived and tasteful menu.
As I grew up, along with my siblings, my brother, almost 18, started to take last-minute cues from the supermarket and my sister specialized in cooking the turkey with mom.
Later in the early evening, the rest of the family, the tetas and the aunts would come a bit earlier to help finish up the last details. Then, an inter-generational girls talk involving the grannie and the 7 year old cousin who sneaked in the kitchen to grab a glass of water, would kick out any men who entered the kitchen.
With time, I have come to cherish and appreciate those precious moments.

As for my mom's exclusive Christmas dinner menu, there was two salads as usual, a cheese platter and a charcuterie platter, some foie gras biensure, caviar toasts, salmon verrine cups, and a Buche de Noel cake that no one is ever able to eat following the big turkey main dish.

Foie Gras with fig jam and some brioche bun slices.

Raw salmon verrine cups with cream, avocado and salmon eggs.

Charcuterie Platter: parma ham, iberico ham,  lomo ham, bresaola, Salami (sausage) rosette, smoked turkey,pepper salami, salami brie, smoked ham, (and spare me your processed mortadella sausage)

Mini buttered toasts topped with caviar and lime.

Fresh Gambas marinated in honey, wine, ginger, garlic, onions, and pepperbell.

Fresh Salmon marinated in Soy Sauce, honey, garlic and ginger.

Turkey with a honey orange and ginger sauce.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

BDL Accelerate 2015 Day 2

BDL Accelerate is the conference to attend for entrepreneurs, wantrepreneurs, web developers, techies, to learn from and connect with success stories from all over the globe. The international speakers are carefully handpicked and the panel talks and presentations are invaluable.
The conference, curated by the Central Bank of Lebanon or la Banque du Liban, aims to boom the startup ecosystem in Lebanon and accelerate positive change. I am already a big follower of BDL Accelerate since its successful first edition, but this year I also attended as community developer for MakeSense in Lebanon & the MENA region.

On day 2, I stumbled upon the stand of RagHunter and finally met one of the founders of this badass online fashion magazine, Sereene Abbas. Our conversation lead to an unexpected discussion about the future of my lifestyle blog, practical blogging, photography tips from a smartphone (yes, seriously), Ivanka, and "being real".
Sereene confirmed and validated the need to keep going with my blog and really be myself, which in that case would be integrating my career lifestyle into my interests in fashion and food.
I aspire to be a leading business woman who's in tune with the latest fashion updates and top culinary experiences (popular or fine dining), so why not blog that? Let's say this blog post is a pilot sample of what 's to come in a couple of months, a rebranding and a stronger comeback for la capricieuse in a more grownup format.

Here, I was wearing a Joe wrap chemise I bought from NYC, leather pants from the limited edition of Isabel Marant x H&M, a snakeskin printed blazer from Sinequanone, and white & black Stan Smith Adidas sneakers.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Updated myself

[past 2 am. mood]

i still feel change is happening.

i still love this page, but i want it to be better eventually.

and i want it to be more adapted to the new me.

so i'm planning a new capricieuse with a rather business mind and a cooler blog in a couple of months.

i went to paris for a month (big deal, no, i still want to be in Lebanon even though paris lightens up my eyes) for a job training! (oh what a fool, you did not post about paris on your blog!) 

no no, i diid take lots of pictures,

and i have been to this like cazy restaurant on the rooftop of Centre Georges Pompidou that overlooks over all paris. i should share with you the pictures some time! Le Georges, that's the restaurant and so far my favorite in the world, i guess. You have Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower on one view. sick!

what about the outfits? no i didn't really ask people to capture me, felt like a hassle to ask.
But one of my favorite outfits was pairing up my black culotte from Zara with a trois-quart tweed-like shirt with silvery army socks and leather Nike running shoes.
i'm also quite happy of my over-the-knee Stuart Weitzman highland heels purchase.

i should train my new housekeeper (yes we all have housekeepers in Lebanon) to take pictures.

when i have the time...

right now I'm really focused on change.

But you can still check my instagram page @ak_elsa or @capricesdelsa which is updated really often.

If you want to see my face even more often, try Snapchat (I'm an addict). i guarantee you will have your dose of Elsa.

i will be back tomorrow maybe, when I meet up with my friend for dinner and he will make me feel bad for not blogging for such a long time.

i promise that work doesn't stop before 7-8pm in paris...
and then you've got a life or you just want to sleep.

i will catch up on you, 

Meanwhile, check out I am currently developing the community in Lebanon and the Middle East region and encouraging social entrepreneurship.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bar Jamon, Mar Mikhael

I had the chance to taste the refined Jamon ham in Lebanon, just before I am traveling to Madrid in a couple of weeks with MakeSense for the SenseCamp in Madrid!
Bar Jamon is located in a cozy and friendly managed spaced, right next to A cote in Mar Mikhael.
It offers a wide variety of Jamon, including Jamon Iberico, Jamon Lomo, Jamon Serrano, and Chorrizo.

What I loved most about the place is that you can have a dessert from A cote, and I would advise the Cheesecake with a strawberry sorbet ice cream scoop.
If you want to eat a bite, go out, and spend quality time with your friends or family, Bar Jamon is the perfect spot. You can sit inside at the bar or even choose to sit at A cote’s seating area.

We ordered the Artichoke and Manchego Salad, the Gambas al Ajillo, the Sobrassada with goat cheese and honey, and una tabla de Jamon (Iberico, Lomo, Serrano, Chorrizo). We satisfied our sweet tooth with a Cheesecake from A Cote.

There is also a selection of wine on the back of the menu.

Loved the garlic and parsley seasoning with the shrimps.

Smashed ground pork sausage on a toast with melted Goat Cheese. YUM! I think it is my favorite item of the menu.

Artichoke and Manchego Cheese Salad. Not bad.

I'm not a fan of cheesecake usually but I decided to give it a try, I loved it but I insist on the Strawberry sorbet ice cream scoop!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Garage Clothing Contest

   I had the pleasure to work with Garage Clothing for a contest to my readers in Jordan. I discovered not only timeless college style basics but also vivid and uniquely designed ponchos. Garage sells items that are easy to wear and style and fits our urban lifestyle and routine.

   I send my congrats to the winners of the Poncho and the hooded plaid shirt, Leila and Sarah. You can always check my Instagram for updates! @ak_elsa 

   Tomorrow, I am giving away my last favorite pick, which is a dress! I will keep the dress a mystery until later today when you can check the giveaway item here on their website.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Indie Reopening Season 2015

The sexiest and most hip lounge in the city is back! Indie Beirut reopened its doors yesterday night with internationally acclaimed DJ Nora En Pure.

The interior of the lounge is illuminated with industrial inspired chandeliers and spotlights. My favorite piece of décor is perhaps the entrance, a neon quote lay on the wall to caution the party poopers: "If you don't belong, don't be long!" 

We sat on a table near the DJ and enjoyed finger-licking food including the usual tasty mini burgers. Personally, I fell in love with the Crispy Burrata, a creamy mozarella wet crunchy toast topped with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and olive oil. I was also happily indulging in a dessert, late at night, at a time when my mom would usually tell me "Non Elsa, pas le soir (not at night!)" with no remorse or guilt at all! I'm talking about the Pain Perdu à l'Orange topped with Vanilla and Caramel ice cream scoops. 

For this occasion, I was wearing a Snakeskin printed silk shorts overall from Sinequanone and nude lady peep Christian Louboutin heels. I was also holding a red Balenciaga clutch. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Divvy, Mar Mikhael Beirut

Nested in the heart of the popular street of Mar Mikhael, Divvy is located a few steps away from the intersection of a downward perpendicular road right after Happy Prince. 

Divvy celebrated a succesful year since its launch a week ago with an annoucement I am looking forward to, the opening of a new branch in Dbayeh.
The restaurant concept is based on sharing fun moments while sharing food, be it with friends, family, or a special someone. In fact, Divvy focuses carefully on its customers experience, as soon as you sit, the waiter gives you a card where his favorite menu items are noted. 

The interior design of the place perfectly suits the mood for sharing, the dim lights provides a cozy and relaxing ambience. 

The things that you must absolutely not skip at Divvy are the appetizers. 
The Brie and Blueberry are my favorite and I am really craving them right now while I'm writing! I just love the hot and melted Brie cheese paired with the sweet taste of Blueberry.
The Tacos and Guacamole also taste good and I believe are great for sharingbetween a  group of friends or family members.
Finally, the Buffalo Chicken Tortilla are mildly hot. For those who don't like spicy food, those are okay!

As for the hot platters, I advise you to order the same number of platters in total as the number of people who are sharing if you want to feed yourself properly.
My favorite dish is the Mongolian chicken with its particular caramelized hoisin sauce and bean sprouts.
I also loved the Teriyaki Beef Skewers with a well-seasoned tender meat.
Nothing particular about the Beef Tacos, but those are great for sharing among up to 5 people.

My heart had skipped a beat already twice but I'm not sure if the dessert was the best part. Perhaps it was because of the initiative that for ever dessert order, one thousand Lebanese Lira is given to Himaya (Fighting Children abuse) NGO.
 And perhaps it was also because of  the Nutella Lava Fondant Cake that I ditched for an Oslo Ice Cream. It was quite filling and extremely delicious.
The Cheesecake tastes good but I'm not a fan generally speaking.

Divvy is definitely a top-rated restaurant in one of beirut's most quiet and serene spots during the day and loudest at night, either way it is perfect timing for lunch or dinner and you must try it asap if you havent already. Cheers!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Salon Du Chocolat 2015 Prelaunch


   Last year I was astounded by the success of Le Salon du Chocolat with the stands, both b2b and b2c brands showcasing high quality products concerning everything chocolate, the cooking corner with live lessons from the finest chefs of the country, and the fashion show with completely eatable dresses made out of chocolate. If you want to feel nostalgic about last year, check out the post here.
   This year, I had a “gourmande” honor to be invited to the prelaunch dinner at O Monot boutique hotel in Achrafieh, at the end of rue Monot. The ambiance near the pool was really chill, and the rooftop was beautifully illuminated with Beirut’s city lights.

   On that occasion, I decided to wear the faux-leather culotte (short wide-leg pants) I recently bought from Zara, with a striped crop top from Topshop, a long silk perfecto jacket from Joseph, and the heels I cannot stop wearing from Vince. (oh and mini Marcie Chloe bag!) To pull off your own culotte style, consider wearing something tight on top to keep your figure flattering. You can add a close-fitting jacket to frame your allure as well. Don’t forget to wear heels to add some height to an otherwise “gone wide”, even wild, silhouette.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

When Shorts and Long Sleeves Meet

   My favorite time of the year is definitely when shorts and long sleeves meet. As Fashion week is headed to Paris, the layers have been adding up despite the Spring/Summer 2016 collection currently showing. When the weather turns cool, the first layer you should add is up top, not down below.

   This post is a compilation of inspiring effortless outfits that you can easily recreate. Sometimes it is just as simple as throwing on a blazer or a slouchy sweater. Other times, a splash of vibrant colors or a particular print revive your basics instantly! Leave your thoughts in the comment box below!