Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Lavish" by Yasmin Al-Mulla

I introduce you to one of my sweetest blog readers, who specializes in crystallizing almost everything using Swarovski crystals, Emarati accessory designer, Yasmin Al-Mulla. Lavish is her first earring collection. 

Yasmin had an eye for drawing and creatively playing with crystals at the tender age of 13, and with that she got her motivation from her family and friends to start her business by participate in Dubai Women's College bazaar in December 2008. She strives for uniqueness in her designs, by that she would just create one design only. If a customer requests the exact same piece, she would provide them with new ideas or other stunning designs.

This talented young woman does not consider her talent as a means to gain profit but to share this gift. Yasmin believes in what the the Cuban poet and writer José Julián Martí Pérez said: "Talent is a gift that brings with it an obligation to serve the world, and not ourselves, for it is not of our making."

"What I am and where I am today is the result of the full support that I received from my family and friends whom really appreciated and valued my talent and abilities, no matter how much I thank them it never seems to be enough.." said by Yasmin Al -Mulla.
For more information and if you wish to contact Yasmin for requests or inquiring join her facebook page: Yasmin

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Emarati born Sultan Al-Darmaki, put his skills in style to use by teaming up with the manufacturers of Gucci and Fendi to launch his own UK-based Middle Eastern luxury shoes brand, called DARMAKI.

Have a sneak preview of what is to be expected of his AW11/12 which will be launching in January 2011 plus showing in Paris Fashion Week in March.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another Designer Xmas Tree

I'm very fascinated with the artistic point of view of fashion designers creating Christmas Trees.  Earlier this month, a Christmas Tree was revealed in Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Cambodia.

The man behind it is Cambodian-based designer Eric Raisina, whose fashion has graced the runways of Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix among others.

What's fascinating about this particular tree, is that unlike the uniqueness of John Galliano's Claridge's tree, this one is symbolic of Cambodia's life and culture.  It is made entirely of fishing tools, an important part of Mekong River's people daily lives, like fishing nets, bamboo rods , and baskets.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Travel Advice: L'Hotel - Bahrain

Most of my Bahrain visits, all of which were made in the 90s, lasted very quickly. Usually I go to the country by car from Saudi Arabia. The only time which I have stayed for more than a day was during high school, when we went with the class and stayed at the Sheraton, which has a new extension of a small luxury brand mall, Moda Mall now.  In last year's one day trip our schedule was solely made up of shopping its main malls. So nonetheless, my trips weren't that fulfilling.

In our recent trip though, we stayed at the L'Hotel, my second choice accommodation after Al-Areen Resort, which is where I'm dying to stay at if the weather was warmer. L'Hotel is a 5-star boutique hotel. I loved the lobby area especially, the bedrooms were not too shabby, although I think they could have done better with the design. It would take less than 5 minutes to drive to Al-Seef , Al-Aali Mall, and the restaurant area there. La Chocolat cafe is even closer to the hotel. We thought the hotel staff were really sweet and helpful during our stay. The hotel is known for one of its restaurants, the Lebanese L' Sultan. Sadly, we didn't have the time to check it out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Burst your Bubble

I have come across this a while ago and thought it would be interesting to share. Its called the Cristal Bubble. What do you think? Would you consider staying in a crystal clear see through bubble for a night? I would! Just as long as its somewhere with gorgeous scenery just like in the pictures.

It is even possible to check in into a Cristal Bubble bed and breakfast in the south of France! Bathrooms are found separately in a small wooden hut near the bubble.
 A more intimate version with an extra small bubble room for more privacy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Money Growing on Trees

The most expensive Christmas tree was unveiled today. Yup you guessed right. Its found in the UAE, Abu Dhabi specifically, and yes again its in non other than Emirates Palace Hotel.

The 13-meter faux tree is worth $11 Million. Why? Because its decorated with 181 jewelery and precious stones. They're aiming to go into the Guinness Book of Records with this massive tree.
(Photos: AFP)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Travel Advice: W Doha Hotel & Residences - Qatar

After leaving Rome, we had to stay for a night in my favorite hotel brand, W, in Doha, Qatar, because of our transit flight. We thought it was the best accomodation we had since our trip began. I really wanted to stay for longer and try their restaurants and check the place more. If I ever go back to Doha, I won't think about trying any other hotel. Amazing service, great and helpful staff. They have made our one night stay worthwhile. (The room looks much better than it does in the pictures).

Love the cool hip atmosphere. When you enter the building you hear loud house and lounge music, its like you're sitting in a lounge plus the lights are dim!
"Living Room" in the Lobby
 I spy with my little eye "Cupcakes"!
 Complimentary M & M's
 Um Ali dessert

Friday, December 10, 2010

Travel Advice: Chocolate and Candy - Rome

For those 4 people who contacted me for information on Rome, Italy, this will be the last post. I have one more post but it won't be written anytime soon. I hope the posts were helpful and please feel free to contact me for more inquiries.

These are some of the goodies I got from Rome, Italy. If you come across them, get them for yourselves or as gifts for others.
Baratti & Milano's Signature Chocolates
Nutella Snack & Iced Tea Drink 
Orange-Flavored White Chocolate

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Travel Advice: Coffee and Cioccolato on Condotti - Rome

I have gone so fast through my Roman experience in this blog and have made it as brief as possible. In my Gelato post I talked about cafe Giolitti, which is a good place to relax in while roaming the streets and mazes, just as long as you're ordering coffee.

Caffe Antico Greco is one of the most popular cafes in Rome. Situated on Via Dei Condotti, Rome's mini version of Sloane Street, and very near the Spanish Steps. So If you're planning to go shopping on this street filled with expensive brands, pop by for a cup of coffee and dessert, or in my case  cioccolato con panna (hot chocolate with cream). It is a very heavy hot dark chocolate but it does taste really good. The cafe is a tourist haven and the waiters take time to notice you exist but that's the case with all customers as we have noticed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Travel Advice: Pizza & Pasta - Rome

La Montecarlo Pizzeria
A very very very popular place for pizza. Beware of ques and go early. Amazing pizza, and their spaghetti bolonaise is really good too. They are good examples of the ideal pizza and pasta, the way the pizza is baked and the pasta is cooked. Extremely fast service and a good one too. Notice the awards in the second picture.
Other places you should pass by:
Da Baffetto: another popular place very known for its pizza (dinners only)
Via Del Governo Vecchio 11
Dar Poeta: pizzeria in Trastevere area. This area is known for having the best restaurants to go to for dinner. (dinner only- reservation)
Vicolo Del Bologna 45
Gusto: go to their pizzeria for a quick lunch while your shopping in Via del Corso and Via Condotti. There's also Gusto Al 28 for a more formal menu.
Piazza Augusto Imperatore 28
Da Nino: Classic place near the Spanish Steps I haven't been to, but I hear its good. (reservations)
Via Borgognona 11
Baby: very posh Michelin-starred restaurant in Hotel Aldrovandi (reservations)

Most restaurants are closed on Mondays, so ask the concierge and book ahead.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New From Popbar

I wrote a post last summer, introducing the launch of this new popsicle venue based in New York. Now its gone mini with their miniPops. Made especially for order. I think its a terrific idea. If I was there, I would make an order and choose all flavors with different dippings to try for myself! *sigh*

London's Latest Designer

One of London's newest fashion designer is Felicity Brown. She has designed for Alberta Ferretti, Lanvin, Mulberry, and Loewe.

Brown has another smaller brand called Felicity Brown no. 23.

Harvery Nichols- London, UK.
Liberty- London, UK.
Al Othman- Kuwait.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Under the Sea XMAS

For the second year in a row, Dior's designer John Galliano, created a Christmas tree for London's luxury boutique hotel Claridge's. Given the name "Under the Sea" it was revealed in the hotel two days ago, November 26th. Not your average Christmas tree, I would say, it is so Galliano! If you're planning on seeing this piece of art, it will be on display until January 5th, 2011.
                                                   Last year's magnificent Christmas Tree

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eighty 6 Bistro's Relocation

For you die hard Eighty 6 Bistro eaters like myself, I wanted you to know, that their Avenue's venue will be closing on December 1st. Don't fear, for they will be relocating to another place with a great new decor.

Heart! Its my favorite restaurant! And it should be yours too. We were just wondering the other day, that its such a shame that its always so quiet when the food was one of the best we ever had. And its location was probably the thing that made people not know about it or go to it. So I'm glad they're moving.

My two posts on the first two visits to the restaurants, just in case you missed the reviews:
Eighty 6 Bistro
Second Visit to Eighty 6 Bistro

Travel: Gelato - Rome

I mentioned earlier, how you can never have enough gelato in Rome, Italy. They're so delicious, and even though it was winter, you saw people rushing to the gelato cafes or walking around holding a gelato cone or cup like it was summertime. I for one is an ice-cream person, a passion I renewed for the past 2 years. But gelato is something else. I've been to lots of their cafes, but sadly didn't get the chance to take notes with the names or take pictures. But I've got three places, a must and are famous for being the top gelateria in Rome.

Della Palma
A gelateria plus a candy shop located near the Pantheon. This place is huge compared to other gelaterias we've been to. It has been recommended to us by an Italian we met there. He said this is the place to go for the best gelato and that this gelateria had 100+ flavors! Its true, the gelato fridge displays went on forever, I had to walk for a while to make my choices. If you think this name rings a bell, New Yorkers/New York goers, its because they have a branch in The Big Apple..
My flavors: Dupplo, dark chocolate/orange, and vanilla.
For those of you who don't know what dupplo is, its a Kinder bueno-like chocolate.  It is so good and very heavy, I have to warn. And just in case you were wondering, they do have a bueno flavor.
Location: Via della Maddalena 20/23
 Gelateria Del Teatro
I have learned about this through the LUXE Rome pamphlet. A 5 minute walk from Piazza Navona. Marking it in the map, and following directions was not easy for this quiet little gelateria. We got ourselves lost, it was dark, and the alleyways and streets were semi-deserted, plus the area was for pedestrians only. I ditched the map, we walked around randomly, thinking of ditching the idea of checking out this place. Then, Viola, we found it. If it wasn't for the gelato cone picture in the street, no one would find this shop. Flavors in display were unique.
Flavors: Lemon cheesecake, Sicilian almond, pure chocolate, and apple/cinammon.
All these flavors were good. The lemon cheesecake did taste like lemon infused ricotta and the apple/cinammon tasted like apple crumble.
Location: Via Di San Simone 70.
Now this place is pretty famous, and even though I had the cafe name on my list based on reviews I have come across and from what I have read in my city booklets, a lot of people told me to try it. It's located near Via Del Corso, you will actually see their sign on Piazza Colona (located on the Via). When we arrived, it reminded me of Laduree, very classic and vintage looking. Once you go inside, there's an endless que for the gelato. I took a ricotta tart, chose a table outside, and waited in line. It was so crowded I did not have the chance to look at all their flavors, there was not a lot of them. Finaly saw people from our part of the continent there! Once I got back to our table, wanting to enjoy the weather, the most abnoxious waiter told me no gelato cup eater should be seated! I looked around quiet true everyone was standing and pissed at this stupid rule! I told him I had a tart plate. He shruged and said in Italian, that just drinks were allowed. I'm pretty sure the tart was to be eaten in the table otherwise they wouldn't have given me a plate. But he was ashamed when I mentioned the tart and being the arrogant man he was said "no". We were really angry I grabbed the tart for "takeaway" and we left giving him a dirty look. An American who've been told the same, mentioned something like, what kind of a country is this, that whenever they ordered they are always told not to sit!
Flavors:  Chocolate, crema (vanilla), and riso (yes, that's rice and its so good).
Location: Via Uffici Del Vicario 40
A gelateria, I haven't had the chance to, but is worth a visit:
Gelateria San Crispino. They have unique flavors like ginger and honey. Closed on Tuesdays.
Location: Via Di Panetteria 42

Friday, November 26, 2010

Travel Advice: My Stay at Leon's Place Hotel - Rome

Our second hotel. Created by Hotel Philosophy, the brand behind Maison Moschino in Milan.

Leon's Place Hotel is a design boutique quiet hotel set in a hundreds' of years old palace. Peaceful and very trendy. We loved everything about this 56 room hotel. The decor was impeccable, and inspirational. The lobby area centered with a velvet black swing coming becoming one with the huge crystal chandelier adorned with black feathers. Long velvet dark colored draperies. A contemporary theme made out of blacks, light greys, silvers, and purples. Sweetest staff. Great breakfast buffet in its eclectic fuschia colored restaurant. Large iPad-like screen in the reception area.

The only con to the hotel is its location. You need a taxi to go to other places in the city. I imagine the Spanish Steps' area to be approximately a 30+ min walk from the hotel. It is located in the Via XX Settembre, a very elegant part of the city, where you will find luxury hotels like the St. Regent Hotel close by.