Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas shopping list?


Let's face it: shopping for the holidays is always a bitch! Actually, shopping for any occasion, any time of the year is definitely not the most entertaining activity. 

And here we go again, for a winter filled with events! I never know what to get and the fact that I start looking just a few days before Christmas certainly does not help my quest. 

So this year, let's try and plan ahead, shall we?

I was inspired by Lorena's Epiphany's different Christmas which encourages everyone to support local artists and artisans this holiday, instead of buying from big corporations. I usually buy some gifts from charities too and I'll keep you posted on that as well in another article. In the meantime...

Earlier, on this very space, we have had the fantastic opportunity to meet new talents, so why not take advantage of their unique creations which promise to dazzle the toughest of gift critics!

I cannot help but think of Bras for a Cause first since it is the event that introduced us to fantastic designers and hopeful creators this year. So get some fabulous and glamorous FOR HER, all the while helping a great cause. If you are still wondering where to find the Look Good Feel Good Collection, search no further, we have got all the addresses for you over here.

As a daughter, sister and more recently wife, I attest that shopping FOR HIM is a nightmare! He usually has a zillion ties, wallets, pens and watches and to make things worse, he buys his own gadgets all year long which means that we end up with no wish list by the time the festivities have arrived.

But how about personalizing a favorite piece of his or even better, creating and entirely new one? And what could be better than a piece of wood? Wood is tough, rough and raw. Just like HIM. Well you are in luck because I have got the thing just for you. Wood artist and painter Dyala Khodary has a magical touch for turning dull into excellence. Indeed, Mia's Easter boxes turned out amazing, but you can request just about anything at Double U As Wood. Right off the top of my head I would say a keyring which would never leave his side, a set of coasters to impress his mates at their next margarita night (I have mine and they rock), a wine rack to earn your parents' admiration the next time they come to dinner or even a bookshelf to make those annoying intellectual neighbors of his so jealous they might not survive until new year's.

Image by Double U As Wood

Something that works FOR HER and HIM is SmallPrint's silver jewelry. I had initially discovered them when looking for the perfect gift for my mom. Which we did: a fantastic pendant with Mia's footprint. Since then, I also made the cutest keychain for hubby's Father's Day. SmallPrint can turn just about any print (foot, hand, even lips and drawings) into pendants, bracelets, keychains or cufflinks. Fancy, right? And a treasure which will last forever.

Image by Grossesse En Blog

On the other hand, some things are made to please instantly. I am not saying you will not remember them forever, far from it. However, there is something special in turning a regular everyday moment into magic. And I think everyone can agree chocolate will do that for you. Usually men gift chocolate to ladies but let's face it, when we are dealing with delicacies like Hala Khodary's Chocolat Fée, then trust me both HER and HIM will be delighted by this sweetness in a box which incidentally can also be handmade and customized by Dyala Khodary.

Image by Chocolat Fée

Last but not least, are two talented designers who also participated in Bras for a Cause: Sana'a Habib and Janeth Manneh Hachem.

Sana'a has recently launched her jewelry line, El Sa's J which you can find on Facebook. Sneak a peak, but beware, you might get addicted.

Janeth, a designer, painter and an art broker is bringing to the region artwork from Latin America where she grew up and currently lives; check her online gallery at Artistika Matizes, you won't regret the detour.

Image by Artistika Matizes

I promise to tell you more about these two, and I have got some very interesting things coming up on this space on and by them so stay tuned. But in the meantime, feel free to browse their cyber spaces and look for some dashing and unique holiday gifts FOR HER and HIM!


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busy mamma


I've recently been busy with my Mamma's blog so feel free to swing by and take a peak. Fellow moms might like it as I'm meeting with fabulous local designers and introducing products for babies and parents both :)

Will be back over here soon! 

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

United Colors


Fashion label Benetton has launched its UNHATE campaign and as expected, the controversial subject is making headlines.

You can watch the film and download it along with the banners from their UNHATE Foundation website:

The campaign features prominent international figures and politicians, calling them to unhate

Considering the political climate in Lebanon, it is not surprising Made In Lebanon mimics of the campaign quickly emerged:

I am not sure who is behind these posters so if you know, please do drop a line in the comments section below so I can credit the designer. 

With all the buzz surrounding the fight between Mustafa Alloush and Fayez Cheker caught live on MTV Lebanon's BiMawdouiye , I'm surprised no one has featured them unhating yet ;)

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Saturday, November 12, 2011



A couple of updates on the last few posts:

RE : First Phoenician port in Beirut - Premier port phénicien de Beyrouth du Ve s. av. JC

The Lebanese online community has been upset over the discovery of the first Phoenician port in Mina El-Hosn under a construction site owned by Venus Real Estate Development in downtown Beirut. It appears this major historical finding cannot be saved. Like many of the ancient sites uncovered in that area, it will probably disappear under the wonderful face of modernity and "reconstruction".

A Facebooker has posted an updated photo of the port, with the bulldozers waiting right by it:


RE : Nadine Labaki's "Where Do We Go Now?"
Nadine Labaki's "WHERE DO WE GO NOW?" is officially the Biggest Arabic speaking film released in Lebanon  
by FRONT ROW FILMED ENTERTAINMENT on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 8:17amSource 

BEIRUT. November 12, 2011. 
After 9 weeks occupying the # 1 position at the Lebanese Box Office and pulverizing blockbusters such as Johnny English, The Adventures of Tin Tin, The 3 Musketeers, Tower Heist, The Rum Diary, The Ides Of March among many others, Nadine Labaki's "WHERE DO WE GO NOW?" has now reached over 226,000 admissions finally dethroning the local hit "GHANNOUJET BAYYA" (208,657 admissions) and entering the TOP 4 ALL TIME LEBANESE BOX OFFICE HIT under James Cameron's "TITANIC" and "AVATAR", and Mel Gibson's "THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST". Labaki's Oscar hopeful is still running in Lebanese, Jordanian and Syrian theatres showing minor signs of drop and is now setting its sight on Mel Gibson's phenomenon. "WHERE DO WE GO NOW?" just opened in the UAE and Kuwait and on the 30th of November, the film will open in North African territories (Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) as well as in Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Now we go ... to the movies


As you already know we've managed to squeeze an evening at the movies when hubby was here. I'm not going to get into the whole "Parents Vs. Movies" debate. It's a loosing battle. The purpose of this post is not to rant anyway (thank God!) but rather share one interesting and moving evening with all of you.

I couldn't ignore the nominations, awards and praises bestowed upon this piece and the artist behind it, which all speak for themselves, and loud enough might I add and which left me with the highest of expectations. 

To be honest I refrained from reading anything because I intended to experience the film with a fresh eye. And I'll grant you that same courtesy, don't worry. Which means I won't bore you with my critique of the movie. There's a plethora of very pertinent (I'm sure) reviews out there on the net. 

So why even write this post, you may ask?

Well first of all, to tell those two or three people who haven't yet watched "Where Do We Go Now?" to make the time. For a very simple reason: it is a simple, beautiful, sensual and genuine poem on Lebanon. 

If this film were a woman, it would be Nadine Labaki, simply. And just as a quick reminder for those who may not know or have forgotten, here's what the woman looks like. Convinced yet?

If not, let me just add the following...

"Where Do We Go Now?" tackles issues that are still relevant to our people, our nation and probably the entire Arab world today more than ever. 

But it is also and above all an ode to Humanity. Mankind. 

And probably the most flattering compliment to religions and faith. The true value and intent of religions and faith: Love. 

Nadine Labaki makes a commendable effort to shed light on human relationships, how easily ignorance and fear can turn the kindest and the closest of human beings into mortal enemies and most importantly how when we focus on the truth and tolerance, life wins. Because there is no escaping death. So the lesson undeniably remains life, the great measure it takes when faced with the end, and by extension, what we should do with it.

As with "Caramel", the cinematography is wonderful. Beauty is everywhere even in the simplest, poorest or sickest of places. Even in death. And the music, which becomes a character in its own right, is absolutely perfect. The poetry it brings is so intrinsic to the characters, the places and the story that it doesn't feel like an artistic addition. It is simply a part of life. A natural element of reality.

Everyone should take a glance at that reality. At beauty. And at love.

The promise was kept: I laughed. I cried. And days later, I find myself still immersed in that universe which is really only an innocent wish for a better world. The desire. The hope. The humble prayer of a people who have nothing else to lose and everything to win.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Film Quotes


And I don't mean from the movies. 
I mean at the movies.

I have to start with a shocking observation: Dunes looks like a nursery. An overcrowded playground at best. Indoors. With echo. Lots and lots of echo. ow. oww. owwwwww.

It's always scary being surrounded by an army of 15 year olds. They are loud. They push. And worst of all, they giggle. All the time. Oh Lord, the giggling. It can scare the fiercest of us. 

At first I was shocked. Where did all these kids come from? I'm never surprised meeting them at Concorde, but I always remembered Dunes as being for "the grown ups". Then it hit me: I too was 15 when I first started to hang there! 

As you can imagine, the scariest reality bite (even more frightening than a 15 year old giggling) took over: They are not too young to be there, I AM FREAKING OLD. 

To be completely fair, the indoors pony rides might not have helped the whole situation. Yes, they have ponies indoors now. 

Rest assured, they are mechanical ponies and not intended for the cool 15 year olds. But it means that now, Dunes is also a fav' hang out for those 3 year olds and up! 

They even have a specialized one-stop-shop that creates activities, birthdays and whatnot just for them! I must mention the teddy bears horror show which they also provide. You start by searching three huge bins for your favorite "empty" shell of a teddy bear which looks, well, dead. Skinned to be precise. Then, a nice man will fill it up with... filling stuff. And here you go, your brand new resuscitated BFF. Stuffed. In front of you. Gives a whole new meaning to the words "stuffed toys". Enough to give those kids a lifetime of nightmares and provide a sustainable market for all those shrinks out there, for an entire century!

But I digress, so let's leave the youngest and their dead toys alone and go back to the subject of this post: Quotes, Or The Amazing Movie Theaters Things.

Story 1:

Unlike common practices in other countries, in Lebanon you have the opportunity to select the seats of your preference as you buy your tickets. It's not on a first come first seated basis and it can be nice considering how close the screen is to those first 10 rows! So we arrived 45 minutes early to purchase our tickets and ended up finding a full house (very happy to see that considering I am a fan of the movie, but that's for another post). Seeing as there was only two of us, we could manage to find a couple of seats on a decent row, somewhere in the middle of the theater. And luckily enough, they were the first two seats.

Then the waiting began. We killed our pop corn way before we made it to the movie, and just walked around the (really tiny) place watching little kids in cow boys hats, riding teeny weeny ponies on wheels. Cute, I must admit. I immediately jumped to imagining Mia on one of those. Priceless!

About 20 minutes before the show, we got in front of the theater door and decided to wait there so we could enter immediately as my pregnant back was starting to kill me. I was really itching to ask the ushers to let me in so I could rest but I refrained. After all, everybody had to wait and a few minutes weren't going to change the course of my world. And anyway, we all know no one's allowed in while the cleaning crew's at work.

Slowly, more people started to gather around us, and these days, I'm becoming a little claustrophobic, especially with all the winter germs and people coughing and sneezing. Make it a crowd of 15 year olds coughing and sneezing and you have the perfect recipe for a panic attack. 

But I kept my cool somehow (surprisingly). 

Then, super hunky boys dying to impress sexy girlfriends started to go in the theater, one after the next. And one after the next, they were asked to get out. 

But we weren't really surprised. We were actually waiting to see when the dance would start. Because it's a rule. It's absolutely not possible in this country to go to the movies and not find at least one or two smart asses trying to sneak in before the opening time.

About 5 minutes before the doors opened, the head of ushers came to me and said "You look exhausted. We have a special case here, Ali, take the lady to her seat". 

I was shocked. So kind and helpful! 

Of course, one of the 15 year old cool boys didn't like it and made a smart comment. I didn't hear what exactly but I know the usher looked at him and said "What? You too? Not comfortable enough? Do you also need to rest?" Needless to say he didn't impress his girlfriend much, trying to compete with an old pregnant lady!

Story 2:

Two women got in and the usher directed them to their seats. We didn't really notice where but we know they decided to ignore him and sit on the row right in front of ours:
Woman 1: Let's sit here. 
Woman 2: These are not our seats.
Woman 1: It's OK, we'll pretend we didn't know and if someone comes and requests these seats, we'll go back to ours .
Hmmm.... No comment.

The usher who came back was not as comment-free: 
Usher: "These are not your seats. 
Woman 1: We'll sit here for now. If someone comes and requests the seats, we'll move. 
Usher: Someone will come. 
Woman 1: Are you certain? 
Usher: Yes, someone will come. Return to your seats.
(No please, no thank you. Made my day!)

And as they walked to their assigned seats, 
Woman 1: Julie made the reservations. She chose those seats.
I was waiting for Julie to come and get an earful from that charming lady but it appears poor Julie is some kind of personal assistant or something because she never made it to the theater.

Those two sophisticated film lovers on the other hand, did make it to the seats... right next to ours! 

I could not believe my eyes. Why make all this fuss if it is to sit in the immediate next row?! I thought they were somewhere down the theater, stuck in front of the screen! Well, no.

Now brace yourself for what's coming next. 

Don't say I didn't warn you. 

Because it's going to hit you like a bomb. 

Wait for it. 

Here it comes:
Woman 1: Pfff. We're used to VIP seats in Dubai, now we have to settle for these?
Ok bitch! You no likey? You leave. God knows I could have made it without your stinky perfume that got me sneezing the second you passed in front of me!

Ahhh, the movies right before the actual movie: always the best shows ;)

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Premier port phénicien de Beyrouth du Ve s. av. J.C.


J'ai appris cette nouvelle il y a deux jours sur Facebook et il me semble nécessaire de partager l'article ci-dessous paru dans Libnanews hier. 

Une pétition a été lancée par l'Association For The Protection Of The Lebanese Heritage. Retrouvez-les également sur Facebook et prenez le temps de signer ici s'il vous plait.


Mercredi, novembre 2nd, 2011 | Posté par redaction

Très peu de Libanais ont appris au début de la belle saison, de sources médiatiques, qu’un port phénicien a été découvert dans la région de Minet-el-Hosn au centre-ville de Beyrouth, dans le terrain 1398, situé derrière l’Hôtel Monroe. De telles d’informations dans notre cher pays des cèdres passent – si elles sont toutefois divulguées – quasi inaperçues, et ceci pour plusieurs raisons : citons entre autres l’absence d’intérêt aux nouvelles d’ordre culturel, historique et archéologique, de la part du public comme des médias, et notamment, depuis la genèse de la catastrophe nommée Solidère et consort, raz-de-marée progressif et ravageur faisant écho au tsunami (naturel) destructeur de 552.

Il est quand même passionnant de savoir qu’il existe encore des spécialistes qui entreprennent des fouilles et qui déterrent des trésors archéologiques dans ce minuscule pays, à une époque où le patrimoine est incessamment enterré par la décadence et la nescience. Cependant, l’histoire au Liban nous a habitués à ce que les réjouissances suscitées par de tels évènements soient promptement étouffés par les « briseurs de rêves » déterministes et mercenaires. 

En effet, une agence immobilière dénommée « Venus Real Estate Development Co. » souhaite ériger trois grandes tours sur le terrain 1398, projet qui s’étendrait sur 7510 m², et dont les frais s’élèvent à 500 millions de dollars américains(1). Bref, un projet titanesque dans lequel un nombre ridicule de Libanais serait à même de se payer un appartement (dont la surface varierait entre 250 et 650 m² en plein cœur de la capitale où les prix sont inimaginables). 

Depuis plus de cinq mois, une équipe de la DGA, dirigée par l’expert Hicham Sayegh, suite à des fouilles dans la région, a effectué moult découvertes archéologiques considérables dans la capitale, dont deux canaux parallèles creusés dans le roc, qui font partie du port Phénicien du Vème siècle av. J.C., d’où le nom de Minet el Hosn (Port du Krak, de la forteresse). Il est judicieux de préciser qu’une telle découverte met l’accent sur le rôle phare du port de Beyrouth durant l’ère phénicienne et romaine. 

Cependant, les archéologues ne sont pas tous d’accord sur la datation de ce site. Selon les quotidiens libanais An-Nahar(2) et Al-Akhbar(3), la majorité atteste l’hypothèse avancée par Sayegh, dont Martine Francis-Allouch, archéologue terrestre et sous-marine, Eric Gottwalles, spécialiste en archéologie marine, Janine Abdelmassih, archéologue et conservatrice, Anis Chaaya, chercheur en archéologie médiévale, et une archéologue de l’université roumaine de Jasi. La conservatrice du musée archéologique de l’AUB, Leila Badr, affirme ne pas avoir vu ce port, mais indique qu’il est toujours interdit au public ainsi qu’aux archéologues de visiter tout site découvert au Centre-ville de Beyrouth. Le principal archéologue qui réfuterait l’hypothèse de Sayegh est Hans Corverz, connu dans les sphères archéologiques pour sa « loyauté » aux entrepreneurs de Venus Real Estate, ainsi que Solidère et consort. Petite piqûre de rappel, Hans Corverz est conseiller chez Solidère, et a dirigé une centaine de fouilles qui n’ont été ni préservées, ni archivées, ni publiées. 

Venus Real Estate s’appuie sur le constat de Corverz pour dépouiller son terrain de toute valeur historique et archéologique, afin de poursuivre son chantier promoteur de la civilisation du béton. Le député et chef du PSP Walid Joumblatt avait indiqué, suite aux rapports de Venus Real Estate, que ces déclarations sont futiles et qu’ils (VRE) seraient prêts à tout et n’importe quoi pour avoir la main sur quelques mètres carrés de plus. 

Sur le plan politique, Salim Wardé, alors ministre de la Culture, avait classé une partie de ce terrain sur la Liste Officielle Libanaise des Monuments Classés et Inscrits Monuments Historiques et Sites, et déclaré le 4 avril dernier qu’il est interdit d’effectuer tout chantier ou travaux sur ce terrain sans l’accord de la DGA qui y est tenue de contrôler tout projet, ainsi que les matériaux utilisés pour la construction. Cependant, profitant de la période transitoire avec le changement gouvernemental, et dès l’avènement de Gaby Layoun à la tête du ministère de la Culture, Venus Real Estate a dépêché un document à Layoun proposant le déplacement de la totalité des blocs de pierres formant le port phénicien afin de les mettre dans les jardins du futur projet, précisant que ces blocs devraient être coupés afin d’atteindre un poids variant entre 5 et 8 tonnes pour faciliter leur transfert vers les espaces verts du projet. Ils proposent même d’organiser une cérémonie parrainée par le ministre de la Culture au cours de laquelle il mettrait l’accent sur « l’importance historique » de ces (débris de) pierres … coupées. 

Récemment, la banque Al Mawarid (4), a annoncé avoir conclu un accord de syndication avec quatre banques libanaises afin de financer l’agence immobilière Venus Real Estate. Dans le cadre d’une cérémonie tenue à l’Hotel 4 Seasons à Beyrouth le 26 octobre, la banque Al-Mawarid, Jammal Trust Bank, la Banque Libano-Suisse, la Fenicia Bank et la First National Bank, ont consenti un prêt de 28,000,000 de dollars américains à la VRE, estimant qu’une telle initiative aurait pour but de promouvoir le secteur financier au Liban, et solliciterait d’avantage d’entreprises et d’investisseurs à participer activement à la croissance économique du pays. Vive l’économie et les carnages culturels si les choses seraient ainsi … 

A l’heure actuelle, le ministre Layoun a démenti les propos diffusés par certains médias affirmant qu’il aurait donné son aval sur le projet suggéré par Venus Real Estate, et a indiqué qu’un comité formé des experts Albert Naccach, Samir Chami, et Hassân Sarkis, devrait prochainement se prononcer sur la datation du site en question. 

Dans l’espoir que ce premier port phénicien découvert à Beyrouth ne subisse par le sort des centaines de découvertes archéologiques détruites par les bulldozers ou enfouies à jamais sous des tonnes de bétons pour l’édification par Solidère et consort de centres commerciaux et de tours résidentielles hors de prix qui seront tous achetés et habités par des groupes ou particuliers étrangers notamment du pays du Golfe, nous ne pouvons que lancer un appel pour la sensibilisation des Libanais et Libanaises pour la sauvegarde de leur patrimoine historique et culturel gravement en péril, et les susciter à développer leur mémoire connue pour être excessivement courte afin de suivre toute affaire de ce genre et d’exiger de leurs représentants au sein de l’Etat des comptes et des rapports scientifiques et précis, ce qui limiterait en partie, les atrocités, le vandalisme et les crimes contre leur patrimoine national. 

(1) Selon le site de l’agence immobilière Venus Real Estate. 
(2) An-Nahar, article du 8 avril 2011. 
(3) Al-Akhbar, article du 21 octobre 2011. 
(4) Selon un communiqué de presse publié par ASDA’A Public Relations. 

© 2011 Libnanews. All Rights Reserved.


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Useful Numbers: SOS Médecins

English ✮ Français

With what's been happening to Mia since Monday night, I thought it might be useful to mention SOS Médecins' numbers on this blog as well:

SOS Médecins Lebanon 
Tel.: +961 1 344444
Mob.: +961 3 344444

 SOS Médecins Dubai 
 Tel.: +971 4 4275000
 Mob.: +971 55 3804196

Avec ce qui arrive à Mia depuis lundi, je me suis dit qu'il serait utile de partager les numéros de SOS Médecins sur ce blog également:

SOS Médecins Liban 
Tel.: +961 1 344444
Mob.: +961 3 344444

 SOS Médecins Dubaï 
 Tel.: +971 4 4275000
 Mob.: +971 55 3804196



Red Cross / Croix Rouge: 140

Police: 112

Civil Defense / Défense Civile: 125

Fire Brigade / Pompiers: 175

Information: 1515

LibanPost: 01 629 629
Airport: 01 629 369
Hamra: 01 354 706
Ashrafieh (Ogero): 01 20 20 19
All Branches 

Allo M3allim: 71 770730 - Link
Allo M3allim is a one-stop service station for all house work: Air Conditioning and Heating, Electricity and Electronic Appliances, Plumbing, Windows and Frames, Carpentry, Masonry, Painting, Upholstery, Solar Systems, Computers and High-Tech Products

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