Sunday, November 21, 2010


Sometimes i think that if you want to sell something to somebody in the Middle East you only need 3 things:

1.  whatever it is you are trying to sell

2.  hot glue gun


You take your rusty-trusty glue gun, hot glue a pound or two of crystals onto the goods - et voile!  Done and done! 

Well, at least that was an idea behind "Swarovski Elements" promotion - or how they prefer to call it "an initiative". 

Back in October of last year,various Middle Eastern and some European designers - Christian Louboutin among them - were invited to incorporate crystals with their creations.

The results of this collaboration, which includes everything from crystal adorned false eyelashes to tea cups to yachts, were then compiled into a fashion/lifestyle collection named "Jawaher". 

Coincidentally, "Jawaher" means "precious stone".

Naturally, Jawaher was launched in dazzling-bedazzling Dubai first and then in London. 

Check it out below:

Pix are from

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beyonce Does Middle East

Well, Sasha Fierce is bringing her House of Dereon Shoe Collection to the Middle East.   

I guess selling "affordable line" to Wall-Mart and temporarily tattoos to bunch of underage fans did not pan out the way Mama Knowles hoped. 

House of Dereon is partnering with UAE-based Level One, who will be marketing and distributing for them. 

Level One was responsible for bringing and marketing Sketchers over here and they did an awesome job - Sketchers are extremely popular among Dubai's ankle-biters; my own kids would not wear anything else but them.

Beyonce and Tina Knowels are shooting to start selling by the end of the year first in crazamazing Dubai and then in Lebanon. 

My personal opinion:  these shoes are not good.  Some of them are taking fugliness to the whole new level, some are just poorly and lazily designed and all of them are unoriginal.  I understand that rabid fans and wannabes will snap up anything by their fave celeb, but Beyonce should just get a little more expensive and talented designers to make them' shoes.

Gwen Stefani did it.

Good luck to Sasha Fierce, me thinks she'll need it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco

Let me tell you, Royal House of Morocco is just a treasure trove full of breathtakingly beautiful women!

Princess Lalla Meryem is a daughter of a late King of Morocco and sister of a current King.  She is Princess Lalla Salma's sister-in-law.

Princess Lalla Meryem was born in Rome in 1962; in 1981 she graduated with the bachelor degree and immediately was appointed by her father to a position with the country's Army Forces.

In 1984 she married some big-wig's son - rumour has it it marriage was arranged by her father in the interest of the country.  Not surprisingly, the marriage ended the same year her father, King Hussein II  passed away.

The 15 year long marriage resulted in a birth of two children - gorgeous Princess Lalla Soukaina and Prince Moulay Rachid.

Princess Lalla Meryem is on the board of a slew of local and international charities with concentration on women and children's issues.  She holds a post of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and bunch of other important positions in her country.

She is also a very stunning woman.

Riva Fashion

Riva Fashion is a very popular in the Middle East  fashion brand.  The "Design Concept" page on it's website gives one an impression that Riva Fashion is Paris-based and even calls it "European brand".

In fact, Riva Fashion is a Kuwaiti based business and i don't know why they are pretending otherwise. 

Clearly, this brand caters mostly to the Middle Eastern women with it's brightly colored outfits, large accessories and modest cuts. 

I think Middle Eastern fashion brands should be proud of who they are and not try to pass themselves for something else.

Riva Fashion is a very strong presence in the region - it has 4 stores in Dubai alone, 19 total in the Gulf countries.

Check out this collection that hit the stores in 2010. 
Like much?

Pix from

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Chances are, if you have little kids you bake cookies.  If you are gastronomically ambitious then you bake them from scratch.

If you'd rather spend quality time with your kids doing something else, you probably use prepackaged dough.

I bake cookies with my kids all the time.  We run  - with the different degree of success - through quite a few cookie recipes. 

We did Martha Stewart oatmeal and dried apricots cookies, we did numerous chocolate chip cookies, we did the inevitable gingerbread man cookies (kids did not like them), we did italian ricotta cookies (my personal fav) and on and on and on.

This recipe comes courtesy of my good friend Crystal M.  Crystal lives in Texas with her husband, two wonderful children, scary-ass tarantula pet and couple of sweet dogs she fosters and adopts.  She can give any ol' Pioneer Woman run for her money with all her wonderful cooking, baking and crafting. 

Crystal, i told you 100 times - start your own business already!  You are the most creative person i knew in Texas! 

Now let's get cracking them eggs; the recipe is below.

 You will need:

* 1/2 cup all purpose flour

* 1 teaspoon baking powder

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

* 1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar

* 4 large eggs

* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

* 5 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend.
Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water.
Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes.
Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes.
Cool on sheets.

Pic via

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dubai Brides

I wanted to write about weddings in Dubai, but then this place is such a multicultural hotspot, that it's hard to pinpoint commonalities.

According the the religious or cultural preferences, some weddings are gender segregated and some are fun-for-all type of parties.

I heard that Emirati weddings are quite epic affairs, with thousands (!) guests attending; Europeans, i imagine would go for the smaller gatherings, however lavish they might be. 

Indian weddings tend to be celebrated over a few days (at least for those who can afford it) and they are very different from the others in many aspects - from bridal wear to ceremonies.

But you know what?  Dubai loves it's brides. 

It caters to their every whim and desire; it creates perfect backdrop for their wedding pictures and at the end it presents their fathers with obscene bill.

There are several big bridal shows in the city throughout the year.  If you are a groom or a father of a bride in Dubai, then i don't envy you - these shows are devastating for your bank account.
Everything, form hand-made Swarowsky crystal adorned invites to 9 tiered cakes to deliciously crazy bridal dresses are there to turn any sensible girl into an insane Bridezilla.

Here is what was offered on one of such shows:

Pix via TheBrideShow Dubai

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