Saturday, February 28, 2015

Strolling Around in Paris

   I was happy in Paris because it wasn’t as cold as in NYC; besides I was even happier because I escaped the terrible storm in Manhattan end of January and I arrived in Paris just in time when the weather went okay again. I could actually wear nice clothes without freezing instead of wearing whatever you need just to stay warm—pajama mood.
   After my lunch at L’Avenue, there was less than an hour left until the boutiques close down for the day. Rana and I went to Christian Louboutin and we actually waited in the queue outside. We were the last ones to be admitted in. A woman arrived just after us and she was not let in, there would not be enough time to serve her. She got mad and started begging them saying she came because they sent her for a shoe size that wasn’t available in Les Champs and she knew what she wanted. “You don’t pity me?, she said, I’m a pregnant woman!” You have no idea how much I hate the women who victimizes themselves because they are pregnant. That’s not what ladies do and that's not a woman. She was eating a cupcake wrapped around with foil paper, speaking loud and was not polite enough. If anything, she didn’t help her case; she didn’t get in. 

   I was wearing a knit from GS stores (Lebanon), black suede pants from Zara, a hairy knit jacket from Babel Fair (NYC), Nike Airmax, with a Missoni M knit scarf, and a grey bejeweled beanie from Club Monaco (NYC). I was holding the Marcie Mini Chloé bag. 




Thursday, February 26, 2015

Restaurant L'Avenue, Avenue Montaigne Paris

   Restaurant L’Avenue on Avenue de Montaigne is at the crossroad of Les Champs Elysée, or just as they call it, “Les Champs”, in Paris. It is also not too far from Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré where all the most prestigious luxury fashion houses have “une addresse”.  

We have restaurant L’Avenue in Beirut, Lebanon, so I was eager to try it in Paris to see how different it is. Well, it wasn’t much different in terms of the atmosphere and the people. Everyone was dressed and groomed very chic and I could spot a couple of Lebanese tables.

That day, I woke up at noon because I was still very jet lagged from NYC; I slept in the flight the eve of my first day in Paris. I was so shocked that my unconsciousness was not loud enough to wake me up earlier and have me enjoy the city!

 Originally, we planned to go to Ferdi, a very reputed restaurant near La Place Vendome. It turned out that it serves lunch only at particular timing of the day so if you ever want to lunch there you should probably make reservations to be on the safe side. L’Avenue is a crowded restaurant during the fashion weeks in Paris so I must say it was a miracle to find a place with no reservations. If you are lucky, you can spot celebrities there.

We arrived at L’Avenue at around 3pm and we sat there until 5pm more or less. You could spot me at a table of around 8 girls all dressed up to the nines. I was hanging out with Rana and her friends, (you can check out her blog here btw!).

For appetizers, I shared the Burrata Truffle with Rana; the aroma of black truffle was a bit strong for her but I liked it with the soft creamy texture of the cheese.
For the main course, I ordered the Risotto aux Gambas and I fell in love with the careful blend of the rice creamy texture and the distinct flavor of the Gambas with the crisp of caramelized chips. The portion size was not french-small, it was just enough for a hungry person considering I had appetizers.
I also tasted the chicken thai spring rolls with a lettuce leaf dipped in its amazing sauce. Apparently, the soupe a la tomate (tomato) or the vegetables soup is really good too.

It was a late lunch but we were very hungry, Rana and I had not eaten anything from the time we woke up. The service was fair: the waitress was nice and very welcoming but the service was slow. The food took more than 20 minutes to set on the table and we were all so hungry. I indulged in the perfect French pain et beurre while waiting impatiently.

We stayed there from 4 pm until 6pm and I was beginning to get too excited to leave and do some shopping. I was so sad that I could not wake up earlier that day. Overall, the food was delicious and I will definitely come back after that I try out the ones I haven’t been to yet. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Legends by Bilal Barrage Haute Couture SS 2015

   By the time I showered and dressed up at the hotel, (I was betting to get my hair done and makeup on backstage). I did not have a French line Sim card so my friend Rana and I took a random cab on our way to Rue Saint-Honoré, where we thought the haute couture event was being held. The French cab was happy driving around and have his meter jump up. The drivers finally let us check our email for the invitations and we headed to the Cercle de L’Union Interalliée, but Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré!

   And one thing about the French taxi, once it drops you, the driver will always tell you, “The place is behind” (even though it could have very well stopped right at the door). Time after time, I started noticing that it was very intentional. They want to add a few “centimes” to the meter fare. How inconvenient if you have to walk or cross the street with high heels!

   I watched the models rehearse for the show and the wall of photographers on the opposite side. By the time I was done with the hair and makeup upstairs, the runway was very well surrounded with a stylish and well-dressed crowd. The collection was interesting in the cuts and choice of fabrics; I had a crush on a couple of dresses that you can see below. 

The cut is just super sexy and avant-gardiste!

   The haute couture show was concluded and celebrated with an after-party at VIP room in Rue de Rivoli. I went to my friends’ hotel to hang out a little more as we are used to stay up very late in Lebanon. On my way back to the Best Western, I was impressed again by the Tour Eiffel. Typical Parisian night!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Project Paris

"Why did you start a blog?" That is one of the most recurrent questions I got during the most recent interviews. I have to tell you that it is not because everyone has a blog that I am doing that. Not at all. Not even a tiny bit. Besides, blogging wasn't already big in Lebanon back when I started.
I was in my teenage years and fond of fashion. I collected the Teen Vogue issues as soon as it launched. My younger sister used to read the well-established blogs when they were still in their early rise in the US or in France. I could better identify myself as a blogger than a reader. And I thought that it could be a extensive portfolio about my interest and knowledge in the fashion industry. Honestly, I thought I could include it in my CV and receive job opportunities if everything goes well.
I'm a big dreamer. So I dreamt about attending the fashion weeks and working in fashion marketing... I got there, or at least, almost.
My trip to Paris wasn't planned that much in advance. At first, I was only stopping in Paris back from NYC and on my way to Beirut. Then I made some change of plans and I decided to attend the haute couture show of a very talented and a dear designer friend, Bilal Barrage. (I will post about the show soon)
I arrived in Paris a Sunday morning and check-in at my hotel room was late for 2pm. I got annoyed to see everything closed, which I wasn't used to it in Lebanon and even in NYC. I was hungry so I walked down Rue Rivoli, which is at the crossroad of Rue du Pont-neuf where I stayed at the Best Western Hotel. I had a brunch at a random café called "Le Café de la Comedie" near Le Louvre museum because it had "la wee-fee" wifi. It didn't work out though and I asked the waiter  for help, he replied with something I still can't get over with, he said, "I can't do anything for you. I'm not a technician, I'm just a waiter". I hated that place, even if there are a lot of places in Paris please make sure you don't run into this one! I had a tasty quiche lorraine and a jus d'orange frais but it wasn't about the food, the service was shitty. The owner of the place was shouting all the time and she did not contribute to a good atmosphere at all. 
 I had to check my phone so I got back to the hotel from Rue Saint-Honoré and stayed at the Lobby until I checked in. 
I was so excited for the Haute Couture show later that night! 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Old Buildings are Beautiful

   Being talkative and sociable by nature, it is very easy for me to engage in a conversation with someone particularly if the person seems to be approachable. On my way back to Beirut from Paris, I met Riccardo who is a UN Electoral Team Communication expert. We chatted for a couple of hours when I would rather not be forced to listen to the macho douche bags sitting next to me whom are coming up with lame jokes. The next day, I had the pleasure to meet up with him again and have a walk in the small streets of Hamra and a short visit of the AUB campus. He said, “I love old buildings” while looking up at the rusted balcony balustrade of some old tired buildings in the commercial neighborhood at the corner of Bliss Street. I was surprised to hear this coming from a foreigner.  I mean I always wondered what it would feel like for a foreigner to come to Lebanon—well okay we are not arguing about the having fun part—and have no exquisite architecture for the eyes to see and delight. Besides the high new modern buildings in Beirut, there is the old and badly maintained buildings or the far more polished Beirut Souks that was recently built with a nostalgic twist to Lebanese architecture. There is nothing more beautiful than the marble and stone structure of the buildings in New York City and even the many architectural style eras that has witnessed Paris from the Romanesque style of the Church in Saint-Germain-des-Pres to the Gothic Cathedrale-de-Notre-Dame and the 20th century Louvre’s glass pyramids. I am thinking about these old buildings in Hamra or around Beirut city… not old enough to be called a monument if it had potential. Perhaps, this was torn down by the civil war long time ago. I am not speaking of the age-old Roman Hippodrome or the Roman bath relics either... Just old buildings but not thaat old.
 Why old buildings are beautiful? I was perplexed. I asked, “You don’t think that old buildings are… “Ugly”? “No…” “But look at the infrastructure it’s even really bad”, I said pointing towards the electricity cable hanging from the balcony. Riccardo’s answer was pretty much convincing; he said, “I like old buildings because I see potential for renovation. And renovation is beautiful, you fix something that is broken or tired and you give it back value … progress is continuous it is not a process that stops... a city that has perfect new buildings does not mean it reached a high position and it stops there.” 

   On the next day, I chose to walk back from my bank to my house in Jounieh—and that was a walk of about 20-30 minutes. I did not let the cab wait for me (my car was at the garage). I enjoyed this walk, it was as if I was still strolling around in NYC or Paris, and I gazed over the old residential buildings with a new perspective. I thought “old buildings are beautiful”. There is nothing shameful in old buildings in fact, they are just like wilted flowers waiting to be watered and revived again.