Category Archives: City Girl

Young, trendy, professional but mostly fun!

Rome! From the Eyes of an Architect’s Cousin

The cool thing about having a big family is that we can always find what we need amongst those surrounding us! Thank God I have a big family and a cousin architect… This cousin of mine lived in Rome for 6 months, so she suggested I also try to discover the modern-art side of the city! I thus ended up enjoying Renzo Piano’s Auditorium Parco della Musica (a multi-functional music amphitheatre recalling ancient greek and roman theatres) and Zaha Hadid’s Museum of XXI Century… They are both situated in the north of Rome where the 1960 olympic games took place.

But what I was most happy to see are two exhibitions that were, one showing Andy Warhol’s path, and the other Frida Kahlo’s life and its representation in her art.

frida kahlo quirinaleFrida Khalo’s exhibition in the Quirinale

Frida Kahlo in Quirinale Rome

The cool thing about my visit to the Quirinale is that we were there on the day of the commemoration of Frida Kahlo’s death (the 13th of July 2014).

Going Down the Stairs to leave the expo in the QuirinaleA Charming view of Rome, going down the stairs to leave the exhibition 

Piazza Del QuirinalePiazza del Quirinale

Frida Khalo’s life fascinates me because her immense love for her husband and for her art were the two main pillars that helped her go through her many sickness and handicapes. Whereas Andy Warhol holds a special place in my heart because of his ability to use simple and everyday materials and turn them into art pieces. He also sometimes reminds me of my brother with his multi-tasking abilities, his interest in many subject, and his pioneer spirit when it came to using computer programs for art purposes. 

Andy Warhol InspirationsBecause Warhol started as a commercial illustrator generating advertising materials, everything around him was an inspiration and a way to make money (which he believed was an art as well).

Andy Warhol in Pallazzo Cipola RomeElizabeth Taylor by Andy Warhol

My favourite part of the Andy Warhol exhibition in the Palazzo Cipolla was the area that showed all the polaroids he took of his friends, celebrities or faces he liked to keep a memory of these exact moments with all their genuine aspects. (I unfortunately have no pictures of it.)

Andy Warhol and Mao Tse TungMao Tse Tung by Andy Warhol

Cute Story: Hugh Grant bought one of Elizabeth Taylors’ paintings by Andy Warhol after two drunken days for 2 million Pounds, and sold it some time later for 13 millions. The artistic world thought he was an art connoisseur… He confessed being drunk that day! Anyway that extra alcohol glass made him 11 million pounds richer!

Artistically yours,

Soraya

PS: In both exhibitions we weren’t allowed to take pictures, I still illegally managed to take some with my iPhone !(A part of me feels bad for taking those pics, and the other part is happy they turned out ok and I can share them with you).

When In Rome… Dream!

(I write this post to share my trip with my two amazing cousins that recommended great places and to everyone that doesn’t have cool cousins who lived in Rome.)

I think that every Italian city holds in it 3 cities: (I) The historical city and the old town, (II) The new city, and the local’s lifestyle, (III) My (or your ) city… Because most of the Italian cities are sexy in my opinion, they look classical but yet have a modern twist, they are charming and inviting without being completed naked, they are generous but will never give you everything they have… They just have it!

And Rome definitely has it! Those I see often know exactly what I mean by “It”; for the others, I hope that this post will explain a bit what I mean by “It/She/He has it” and will help you organise your next trip to Rome…

My favourite day in Rome started at Campo Dei Fiori where I bought truffles and balsamic vinegar. We then walked to Piazza Navona (that was sometimes used for water games back in the days when the three fountains flooded) to enjoy the colourful street paintings and get charmed by artists; and entered San Luigi Di Francesi to admire a Caravaggio painting.  The idea was then to have a coffee in the famous Cafe Eustacchio, but for whatever reason when walking pass it, we weren’t particularly attracted by it and decided instead to stop by the Terrace of the Grand Hotel Minerva to take some pictures… Next stops were the beautiful Pantheon  (that has the second largest Duomo in the world), The San Ignazio Church and the Door of the Chiesa de Gesu (unforunately the church was closed). By then it was time to stop for a Roman lunch… We then took the long way to the restaurant and passed by the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II (Vittoriano). Roscioli is where my mum and I shared, on a small charming table, two glasses of Roman wine, yummy Italian carbs and, an hour and a half later, the desire to go back have some rest! (Even though if you go there I recommend you postpone your siesta a bit; the Via Dei Giubbonari is full of cute small italian boutiques that looked worth discovering…)

Thank God I have an energetic mother because after this long day she agreed to spend the night in Trastevere and watch the FIFA soccer game (for the 3rd position) in the Isola Tibernia where we stayed with friends for less than an hour in a charming open bar until it started pouring rain on us! It was worth the laugh and we gentily pitied those that were calmly enjoying the open cinema =).

Campo Dei Fiori Market Pasta RomeCampo Dei Fiori Market – Colorful pasta – Cute for kids

Da Vinci Experiences RomeExperiencing Da Vinci’s Inventions 

Navona PiazzaPiazza Navona 

Walking to the Pantheon RomeWalking to the Pantheon – Vespas and Roman art

View From the Terrace of the Hotel Miverne RomeView From Grand Hotel Minerva

San Ignacio Ceiling RomeSan Ignacio Ceiling

Walking in Rome, BeautyWalking in Rome…  Everything is beautiful 

Walking in RomeWalking in Rome

II Vittoriano RomeMonumento a Vittorio Emanuele II

Roscioli Restaurant Via Dei Guibbonari RomeRoscioli Restaurant – Vie Dei Giubbonari

Feeling when Walking in TrastevereTrastevere Vibe

Isola Tiberina Where I watched the FIFA game for the 3rd placeWhere I watched the FIFA game

I need to get back to work, hopefully tomorrow I will be able to post pictures of the rest of my trip!

Regretting I didn’t have my camera with me, I send you lots of warm bacis,

See you tomorrow,

Soraya

Piccolo Portofino, Grandi Ricordi

Since I am in a vacation mode and that my Portofino group has reactivated itself, I will share with you a trip I decided to keep secret for some time; not because I don’t want to share it with you but because it was so good that it’s hard to put in words (or even in pictures)…

Last year I found myself with 7 others girls (Lebanese and French) and a charming crew on a beautiful sailing boat! We did not know each other well, some of us had even never met before. The best part of it is that at the end of this lovely week-end I thought: This trip was adorably messy in a Lebanese way, impeccably chic in a very French way and amazingly beautiful in an interesting Italian way!

Before we started the trip, the charming cousin made sure to introduce us to each other, right after she continued with a “Linguini ala vongole is typical from Genoa” suggesting we don’t loose anymore time and go straight to share food and wine =) , and obviously no one complained…

( Genoa (along with Milano and Torino) is considered one of the main industrial cities in Itlay. If you have the chance to go from Genoa to San Fruttuoso by boat you will see the different naval infrastructure and industries. )

Before going to San Fruttuoso

Our week-end thus started stared with a yummy tummy and great vibes… After I discovered we had two birthday girls with us, different characters, lovely love stories, too many cloths, not enough sun screen, stupid magazines, two big cameras, one charming model, one great photographer, amazing ladies and tanning oil, we were all set!

On our way to Portofino we stopped by San Fruttuso… In its underwater, at 17 m under sea-level you can find a bronze statue of the Christ. It was placed after the first italian scuba diver died there in the mid 20th century. We didn’t have the chance to see it, we only stopped by the Abbey of San Fruttuoso; we enjoyed its structure, a small walk and the view form up there…

The Abbey of San Fruttuoso

We then continued to Portofino where we stopped for a simili-photoshooting session, walked to Castello Brown, savoured multiple beach bellinis at the piazzetta, walked passed the pretty boutiques (I liked the selection they have, hihi), and sat down to stare at the fashionable women and their Italian men… 

On our way to Portofino

Kids Games are the best…

Colorful Portofino

It seems he found his love in Portofino ;) 

The cousin then gave a short crash history course, and sooner then expected, it was raining over us in Santa Mergurita… Still we all insisted on having an italian ice cream and on trying to catch a perfect jumping picture… 

When in Italy…

Our failed jumping picture. We had a better one, I can’t seem to find it ;)

Happy Rainy Days

Santa Marguerita

View from the Cathedral of Santa Marguerita

And as all happy things, this week-end passed too fast…

I hope we all will be back soon to taste again the exquisite food we had and share smiles and laughters… After all, how can we settle for a less-than-average jumping picture?! =)

A million baci (s) to the cousin and everyone,

Soraya

Arrivederci Italy

Let’s Dream and Travel…

Today I had a long conversation with a close friend on what’s up… Together we dreamt of travelling the world, trying new food and crazy sports. We said we’ll discover a million new things, talk to a thousand different people and travel, travel and travel…

So this short movie is for you… =) Travel Love

I hope tomorrow you’ll wake up and tell me “Let’s go”…

Sweet Dreams,

Soraya

Thursdays with Bouchra: Caroline Seikaly Wedding Dresses and a Pleasant Surpirse

Bouchra, I think you are doomed! Even when it’s not planned you have to see me on thursdays… =)

So yesterday as I went with my mother to a small even she was really keen on going to I bumped into Bouchra again. Bouchra is a PR/press/corporate events organiser in Beirut. And as you may already know I’ve been attending her events for the past two thursdays… So yesterday as I saw her in a super cute event organised by “A Whole Lotta Love” for their launch I saw Bouchra’s happy face! “A Whole Lotta Love” is a wedding/event organisation company full of charming ideas and a super cute way of looking at things…

But, when I saw her, I remembered I haven’t shared with you the pics of my last Thursday with Bouchra. The famous Caroline Seikaly (who designed many dresses for Madonna and the pretty black lace dress form the movie Black Swan) was exposing her new bridal collection for this summer…

Caroline Seikaly ‘s First “Princess Wedding Dress” for this summer’s collection

Caroline Seikaly is very famous for her lace and the femininity of her dresses

Caroline with her Spring/Summer 2014 collection

See you next thursday…

Kisses to all,

Soraya

Thursdays with Bouchra: Ideo Parfumeurs

I am now getting ready to meet Bouchra in Gemayzeh in the “Atelier Blanc”, a charming bridal boutique. It then occurred to me last thursday she made me discover the “Ideo Perfumeurs boutique”… And since on my bed side right now I have a beautiful book entitles “Tuesdays with Morrie” I smile and found this title for my post! =)

Ideo Parfumeurs wide choice of interesting perfumes

Ideo Parfumeurs is an adorable place in gemazeh. It’s specificity is that you can ask for a customised perfume based on your own skin smell and preferences! I found this super cool… Still, you can always choose from the wide variety of perfumes they propose! My favourites ones are the Lavaneder and Misk, but I am sure you will all find your little heavenly smells there….

Warm Welcome with a Perfect Breakfast

Ideo Parfumeurs Choices

Warm Kisses,

Soraya

My Talented Lebanon in the Important Paris Fashion Week

I write to you this with a belly full of exquisitely yummy stuff, listening to the timeless Ray Charles and with a proud smile thinking of my amazing compatriots who manage to make a name for themselves and Lebanon during the enchanting Paris Fashion Week and on the international fashion scene…

Today was a day full of surprises and happy faces… Rabih Kayrouz’s show was fantastic. The pieces he proposed have a refined french cut, a charming feminine texture and something of Beirut, a something I can’t explain not because I don’t want to, but because it is impossible to put words on this little-charming-something-from-beirut. The closest comparison I could find to it is the taste of lebanese milk ice-cream in a 3-star-Michelin star restaurant… (as odd as it may sound).

Everyone was fascinated by this collection… and I loved this bordeaux long coat… One of my favorite pieces!

I then spent a fashionable afternoon at the Tranoi Exhibition where I saw 3 of my favorite designers exposing there… Johnny Farah (for who I have a not-so-secret-anymore-crush),  Rania Farsoun (she is a real artist) and Madame Reve (you have probably seen me a million times wear their necklaces)! I felt proud for Lebelik, happy for myself and excited for Lebanon.

Johnny Farah beautiful leather at Tranoi

Rania Farsoun, Feminine Jewellery in Tranoi and on Lebelik.com

Madame Reve, My type of Necklaces =)

But fashion week isn’t only about stars, trade shows and fashion shows, it’s a lot about up-and-coming treasures and professional showrooms, it’s also about beautiful materials and charming silhouettes, but I think it’s mostly about making people (mostly-women) happier and prettier… And that’s exactly what I felt when visiting Karoline Lang’s racks in her showroom and when asking Maria to try on (for the pleasure of my eyes) different outfits from Rani Zakhem’s Fall-Winter 14-15 collection!

Karoline Lang’s dresses make women dream… It’s like taking the charm of a disney princess and putting it in a sexy woman’s body! It’s cute, it’s feminine, it’s sexy and fresh!

The pieces are magical but my phone ran out of batteries… It’s the only picture I have of Rani’s amazing collection! Here is a glimpse of a navy blue matching pants and blazer! His collection is mega-professional, and amazingly designed for women like me who like to feel light and pretty at friends weddings!

I also had the pleasure to spend time with my talented friend Joanna Dahdah. She is an amazing jewellery designer and a great friend… We shared warm asian food, a hot tea, long walks, intense talks, smelly taxi rides and interesting walks through tons of cloths and jewellery. She wasn’t exposing this year in Paris. But she definitely is part of the up-and-coming elite of the jewellery designers.

Joanna and I after a long day during Paris Fashion Week! click here for her website

And because everywhere I go I take a small part of the people I love with me, I thought of the talented Sarah Melki a million times in Paris, the city where we shared a million stories and laughters! 

This is for you, Sarah! 

And because Lebanese at the french fashion week is not only about Lebelik, I would like to invite you all to also pass by  Christina Debs’ space in Tranoi, that of Nada Samaha, Joanna Laura Constantine, that of Sarah’s Bag, Rosy Abou Rouss’ stand, Nour Hammour and Jojoba’s! 

Let’s not also forget that a lot of people don’t work in fashion! And thank God for that, because usually they are better food partners… I therefor discovered this week-end a gastronimical restaurant, “Kei”. The food there was magical! It’s exactly what I would have wished for, a Michelin-star Japanese chef cooking light french surprises! I enjoyed a carbs-full-brunch at “claus” while waiting for Garance Dore’s guests to arrive, drank great wine, cheered with bubbly champagne chosen with love, and talked with my great friend and partner way after my eyes closed, until my mouth could no longer move!

PS: Don’t forget you can follow Elie Saab’s show live tomorrow on this link. I am sure you will be transported into a royal world!

I am thankful for all those how helped me end this post with an honest smile,

Bonne nuit et a bientôt,

French kisses to all,

Soraya

When You’ve Been Away for a While…

When you’ve been away for a while and have done a million pretty things it’s hard to figure out what to write first and how…

So here I am wondering if I should first give you the recipe of this yummy corn soup,

or tell you about my beautiful Christmas vacation in Beirut and Paris.

Also, on the 13th of December (that’s how long I’ve been off =( )Lebelik was part of an event: The “Beirut Port District” Christmas Event, which turned out to be a great success. I also tasted great food in “Le Quizieme” in Paris, danced to fun music with people I had missed like crazy and saw beautiful things (on all levels)…

So since I’ve been wondering for some minutes now, I decided to share pictures and comment on them instead =).

I hope you’ll like it…

At Bouyouti – Around a charming fire and warm people, I had a great lunch!

Louise happily enjoying her brunch at Liza’s Restaurant in Beirut (opened in November 2013 =)

Preparing for Lebelik’s Space in the “Beirut Port Disctrict” Christmas Event

We sent personalized invitation cards to all our loved guests =)

The event turned out to be a great success thanks to my favorite DJ (Priscilla), our great designers, friends, customers and fans.

The Photobooth also added a lot of interaction and peps to the event…

And the candy bar added a sweet touch to this fashion event.

I was wearing these earrings, done especially for me by “Joanna Dahdah” (definitely one of my favorite Jewelry designers)…

Right after the event, next day in the morning we had to go back to doing our day-to-day work, especially that Christmas time is one of the busiest for everyone… I love, and think I will always do, preparing Lebelik gift boxes…

I also attended the funnest Christmas Party in Beirut. It had a cool theme “Hawaiin Christmas”. I unfortunately have no other picture of this amazing night! I wish I could show you what I was wearing and how beautiful it was… It’s my only regret of that night!

So, after having enjoyed yummy food during the christmas season, and after having happily worked on a lot of Lebelik stuff during this period, I was happy to go meet my charming friend, be young (-er ;) ) and stupid again and share long stupid laughter with Venezuelan Rum… =)

(Small parenthesis ;) :I love flea markets)

So after all this exciting period, it’s time to go back to a healthy routine. I started painting again and having a work routine that I enjoy…

I will be back soon with Paris Fashion Week updates…

I wish you a happy year and good news on all levels,

Love,

Soraya

Mind-blowing Irrealistic Museum – MIM – This is Eye Candy!

From my Instagram… But for better pictures, click here

It’s because I don’t know how to translate “Sobhan el Khalek” (سبحان الخالق ) and because a “Big Thank You Kiss” is not enough that I write this post today!

On Saturday night I was honored to be invited at the opening the beautiful MIM Museum. I don’t think anyone knows why “MIM” (in Arabic, it’s the letter “M”)! Some say because it stands for Minerals and Museums others try to find logical links between this letter and some names, nouns, minerals and/or places. But the truth is I don’t really care why “MIM” but what I do care about is for you all to stop by this beautiful museum in the new Building of  the  University USJ on Damascus Street. You will be able to admire more than 1400 Minerals (Precious and Semi-precious stones) from 60 countries.

It’s a bit like traveling to the stone age ;) haha (silly joke).

This collection, which is today considered as one of the world’s most admired private collection, is today available to all! Mr.S.E (He’s so discreet that I don’t know if I can name him or not; but then again I wish I could write it in bold. But let’s call him Mr.S.E  for now) has built up his collection with a lot of passion and dedication since the late 90s. He mentioned he always liked chemistry, the earth, these pieces and his country Lebanon.

Earlier this year, I was one of the lucky few to have had the chance to visit the museum with a guided tour by Mr.S.E. himself ;) before it’s official opening.

Last but not least I would like to share with you my favorite moments of this opening ceremony:

. The standing ovation of everyone sitting there to Mr.S.E’s speech

. The short movie that was displayed on the walls of the University (a sound and light type-of-movie). They named some of the stones’ origins and ended with “Destination Beirut”.

. And of course walking around these amazing pieces.

Kisses to all,

Soraya

PS: Now it is proven: diamonds are not only girls’ best friends =)

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00

Copenhagen, 4 Days of Civilisation, Eye Candy, Danish Art Galleries and Molecular and Street Food

Amazing Tivoli in the Heart of the CityKids games are fun

Pretty Tivoli

The Tivoli Gardens Boys: On special occasion, boys from 8 to 16 dress up in uniforms resembling those of the Royal Danish Guard, give concerts and make parades

Copenhagen, This is the Typical Entrance of Tivoli Gardens

But when going to Copenhagen I did not know I would be accessing Tivoli Gardens from this door

Copenhagen amazed me a lot in so many different ways: (1) Their definition of comfort and luxury is very different than that of other cities in my opinion, (2) they have yummy street propositions and very good healthy molecular food restaurants, (3) everyone is good looking there and looks super sporty and healthy, (4) the city is the utmost representation of civilization and human development… only to name a few of the city’s characteristics that made me want to write this post.

It all started when we checked in at the Nimb Hotel. (Probably the best place to stay in Copenhagen). The entrance is simple and a bit minimalistic, it’s kind of small as well… But on the way to the room I realized how big the hotel was… Actually what you see (picture above) is the back door of the hotel and the hotel’s garden is actually the Tivoli Gardens.

On my way to the room

So after we discovered the discreet and amazing charm of the hotel, we went on a ride to Louisiana… Louisiana is maybe 30 minutes away by car from Copenhagen center. We ended up with a driver than knew more about the world’s history and culture then any guide I’ve ever spent time with. He was the type of driver/guide we always wish for and rarely get, his voice had the perfect tone, he didn’t over speak, had all the information we wanted to have plus some cute stories about his country, the Danish royal family and Louisiana and played calm jazz music.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art was called after the owner’s three wives. They were all named Louise. (I absolutely love this name). It is today a milestone in Danish architecture and the most visited museum in Denmark. It’s permanent collection of contemporary and modern art is very interesting. Also, exhbitions are regularly held. When we were there Yoko Ono’s art was exhibited (not my style but I was still happy to see it).

On the way back we took the Clumpen Borg road. It’s a high end seaside area. I recommend this ride to everyone.We also toured a bit the city (we were with the cool driver/guide, we had to enjoy it to the max), were disappointed by the little mermaid, smiled to the bicycle riders, admired their culture, cheered at the IronMan athletes and headed back to the hotel! Just in Time for diner =)

I had a list of restaurants I would have liked to try, here it is:

- For diner, trendy fusion/molecular: Radio, Geist

- For diner, trendy, not so molecular:  Kong Hans Kælder

- For diner, interesting food: Relae, Amass

- For diner, a great experience of food and luxury: Geranium

- For drinks: Ved Standen

- Noma restaurant! According to several guides the best restaurant in the World. I wonder how they classify this. We didn’t have the chance to have diner there, it was fully booked 5 month ago.

We only tried some, but I think all these places are definitely worth considering for diner in Copenhagen.

But what is also worth indulging are these little magical all-carbs-all-sugar wonders you find everywhere on the streets…

Danish waffles on a stick

I write on an empty stomach… Thus the long food talk!

But apart from the yummy food, there are a lot of nice places/boutiques/areas that I really enjoyed:

- Georg Jensen Boutique on Amagertorv for jewelry and home furniture

- Illums Bolighus on Amagertorv for home furniture and fun accessories

- Royal Copenhagen Flagskibsbutik (flagship boutique) on Amagertorv as well for porcelain and some home furniture

- Designers Boutique Charlote Eskindler for inernational a bit arty-high taste in fashion

- Day Birger and Mikkelsen, a Danish fashion brand I liked

- Wood Wood for international fashion but with a very danish buyer ;)

- Munthe Plus Simonsen, a danish fashion brand worth looking into

But of course during every shopping and galleries day you need a food stop :) (again the empty stomach speaking). So I propose you stop by either Lagkagehuset for a typical danish pastry or have a healthier lunch at Victor (a danish brasserie. I had a tasty fish that day).

All this food talk made my tummy speak even louder, I therefore have to stop here, but promise to be back very soon…

Lots and Lots of Love,

Soraya

Ps: Some extra pics:

Lego pieces sold separately, only in Copenhagen :)

Small chocolate factory and shop

Copenhagen Lifestyle

Why Peter Pan did not want to grow up

Freeze these Rocks! It’s smarter than ice cubes I think