December, 20 2017
London, The Friendly City

London has it all - culture, iconic landmarks, fancy restaurants and some of the most prestigious shops in the world.
I love this city because it has so much to offer, and it recognizes the importance of individuality. What is more, this metropolis is also known for its tolerant attitude towards minority groups, making it one of the most culturally diverse places on Earth. Intrigued? Read on to find out more about why you should visit this spectacular destination.

BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE

Londoners are generally an easygoing bunch who accept people for who they are; we embrace individuality. Just the other day when I was on the Tube there were people with different styles sitting and standing next to each other. Some were suited and booted, some opted for the bohemian style, two ladies were wearing casual clothes -- perhaps they were going to the gym. I also noticed a small group of youths wearing urban clothing and one guy standing near the doors had an impressively tall mohawk and tattoos on his neck, and no one batted an eyelash. In London, that's just the norm.

FABULOUS FOOD

London offers an eclectic mix of foods from countries all over the world. Here, I don't really have to venture far to satisfy my palate. Most of the time when I'm dining out, I opt for Mexican food because it's my favorite. While there are some great Mexican restaurants in London, one of the best has to be Wahaca Covent Garden. This restaurant is spacious. It has a great vibe and, most importantly, the food is delicious.

GREAT SHOPS

This fine city is home to Harrods, Liberty, Selfridges and more. I like to stroll down Marylebone High Street to fashionable Soho and the popular Covent Garden. This area is full of shops, boutiques and vintage stores that sell fashion and fragrance items. I often head here when I'm looking for a new outfit or niche fragrances.

Hipsters flock here in droves because it's the place to be. Music, fashion, entertainment, culture, creativity and intelligence are valued by trend-setters and locals alike, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Eat - Drink ... too many (nice, trendy and good) places

Sketch, 9 Conduit St, London.
Randall & Aubin16 Brewer Street, Soho, W1.
Rules, 35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden.
The Laughing Heart, 277 Hackney Rd.
Bocca di Lupo, 12 Archer St, Soho, London W1D 7BB.
Hoi Poi at Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High St.

Shopping

Liberty London, Regent Street, Carnaby W1B 5AH, London.
Covent Garden, www.coventgarden.london.
Conran Shop, 55 Marylebone High St.
Carnaby Street.
Mouki Mou, 29 Chiltern Street, W1.
Thethestore, 205 Hackney Road, E2.
69b Boutique, 69b Broadway Market, E8.
Aida, 133 Shoreditch High Street, E1.
Article, 61 Atlantic Road, SW9.

Sleep

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, 100 Shoreditch High St.
Haymarket Hotel, 1 Suffolk Pl, London SW1Y 4HX.
South Place Hotel, 3 South Pl, London EC2M 2AF.
Como the Halkin, 5-6 Halkin St, Belgravia, London SW1X 7DJ.
ME London by Melia, Strand London WC2R 1HA.



SOURCE:

https://www.wahaca.co.uk

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January, 20 2018
Beirut, Habibi Toi!

Once known as the Paris of the Middle East, Beirut offers a unique blend of East and West. Fashion, shopping, antiques, food and adventure are all moments away in this exciting city, which offers a seamless blend of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern culture. As you explore the winding roads and densely packed streets, the overwhelming feeling is one of positive energy and resilience.

The incredible architecture is more than enough to take your breath away, but buildings like the Sursock Museum have more going on inside than you might think. This renovated Italianate-style mansion is also home to hundreds of pieces of modern art created by Lebanese Masters. Stores like Artisans du Liban et d'Orient and Espace SZ by Sybille Tamer give you functional and trendy items to take home. From decorative backgammon to funky plexi chicha, you can find it all.

Go from the incredible Mount Lebanon with old growth cedar groves to the soft, sandy beaches of the Bay in just a few days as you explore everything Lebanon has to offer. Beirut is centrally located, so you can explore the entire country with just three days of travel. Along the way, be sure to dive into a few of the internationally known swimming pools at venerable local spots like the Sporting Club or Saint George Hotel. Beirut is known for its incredible beach and rooftop parties, so leave some night time slots open on your itinerary.

Delicious plates and fresh foods are a big part of the local scene. Lebanon's first farmer's market, Souk el Tayeb, may be new to the city, but the foods and goods on display are full of history and generations of flavor. After enjoying a day at the market, sit down for a meal at Motto or Makan. Both of these restaurants offer out of this world cuisine from a host of rotating chefs, and all at a customer-decided price point. You decide what your entree is worth when you dine. Unique experiences like this are part of the Beirut landscape.

The Middle East has long been known for its uncertain political climate, but the people of Beirut are firmly grounded in growth paired with a respect for history. Enjoy a small slice of everything the Mediterranean and Middle East have to offer with a Beirut holiday.

Eat

Le Chef, Gouraud Street, Gemmayze.
Mayrig, Armenian Lebanese Cuisine, Pasteur Street, Gemmayze.
Onno, Badaro Main Street.
Cafe Em Nazih, Pasteur Street, +961 1 562 509.
Makan & Motto, Mar Mikhael, +961 70 954 057.
Enab Beirut, Armenia Street Mar Mikhael.

Shopping - Culture

Sursock Museum & Store, +961 1 202 001.
National Museum of Beirut, +961 1 426 703.
Rana Salam Studio, +961 1 446 216.
Atelier S/Z by Sibylle Tamer, +961 3 727 929.
Artisans du Liban et d'Orient, +961 1 362 610.
Cynthia Raffoul Jewelry, info@cynthiaraffoul.com.

Sleep

Airbnb, www.airbnb.com.
Saifi Suites, www.saifisuites.com.
SmallVille Hotel, www.thesmallville.com.
Royal Tulip Ashrafieh, www.royaltulipachrafieh.com.
Albergo Hotel Ashrafieh, www.albergobeirut.com.

 

 

 

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November, 20 2017
Lyon, The Capital Of Gastronomy

Food lovers everywhere, feast your eyes on the French capital of gastronomy: Lyon. This stylish city is rich in history and culture. The beautiful old Lyon, a UNESCO world heritage site, lies between the hills of the Fourviere and Croix-Rousse.
Here you will find traditional taverns, impressive architecture and an alternative music scene. So if you fancy experiencing good food in a modern, creative city with the dynamism of a former industrial hub, then look no further.

A RIVAL TO PARIS

Lyon has evolved into a sophisticated city that now rivals Paris. Yes, the French capital has the Eiffel Tower, marvelous museums, a well-known cathedral and numerous fine cafes, but Lyon has most of those things as well. Granted, it doesn't have the iconic metal structure, but it does have a stunning cathedral, museums, galleries, good food, fine wine, music and is also home to Europe's largest urban project, La Confluence.

IMPRESSIVE LANDMARKS

While visiting this exquisite city, you should make time to experience La Confluence. These environmentally friendly buildings sit on a tongue of land between the rivers Saone and Rhone. La Confluence has been described as a "smart city," as it produces more clean energy than it uses. If you like the art of gentrification, then this modern landmark is a must see.

OUTDOOR MUSIC

The Nuits de Fourviere music festival is a popular event during the summer months. It attracts music lovers from far and wide, and with acts like Bjork, Sting and Lou Reed, it's not hard to see why.

FINE DINING 

Nobody does cuisine better than the French, and this hub has a range of fine restaurants to satisfy even the most refined pallets.

If you find yourself in the 7th arrondissement part of Lyon, you will be surrounded by bistro-type restaurants that offer a selection of foods. Fancy flammekueche anyone? If you're not quite sure what this is, it's a sort of Alsatian pizza, or perhaps you have a sweet tooth. In that case, how does banoffee pie sound?

Craving something a bit more exotic? Then head to the 6th arrondissement where you will find Chez Terra, a popular Japanese restaurant. The menu here is a little bijou, but everything is delicious.

If you want to enjoy the attractions of a big city without the long queues, then why not visit this gem of a city?

Eat ... too many places!

Les Halles Paul Bocuse.
L'Art et la maniere, 102 Grande Rue de Guillotiere, 69007.
Le Kichen Cafe, 34 rue Chevreul, 69007.
Cafe Sillon, 46 Avenue Jean Jaures, 69007.
Bouchon Thomas, 1-3-6-8 rue Laurencin, 69002.
Les Apothicaires, 23 rue de Seze, 69006.
Sebastien Bouillet, 15 place de la Croix-Rousse, 69004.
Le Garet, 7 rue Garet, 69001.

Shopping - Culture

Musee des Confluences, 86 quai Perrache.
La sucriere Lyon, 49-50 quai Rambaud.
Musee d'Art contemporain de Lyon, 81 quai Charles de Gaulle.
Musee des Beaux - Arts, 20 place des Terreaux.
Nyacklyon boutique, 7 rue August Comte, 69002.
Heureux comme un Prince, Men Concept Store, 41 rue de la Charite, 69002.
Influence Concept Store, 43 rue August Comte, 69002.
Maison Mathuvu, 43 rue de la Charite, 69002.
La Croix Rousse food market, every Saturday Morning.

Sleep

Villa Maia, Boutique Hotel, 8 rue Pierre Marion, 69005.
Cours des Loges, 6 rue du Boeuf, 69005.
Novotel Lyon Confluence, 3 Rue Paul Montrochet, 69002.
Mob Hotel, 55 Quai Rambaud, 69002.
Okko Hotel Lyon Pont Lafayette, 14 bis du General Sarrail, 69006.
Hotel Carlton Lyon MGallery, 4 rue Jussieu, 69002.



SOURCES:

http://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/lyon-outshines-paris/index.html

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/aug/24/lyon-france-alternative-city-guide

https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2014/10/la-confluence-in-lyon-europes-biggest-urban-development-project/

 

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March, 22 2018
From First Love To Last Love

Luca Guadagnino's most recent film, "Call Me By Your Name," paints a picture that practically throbs with all of the angst and emotional intensity of first love. Complicated by the fact that the romance is between two young men in Italy during the early 1980s, the central conflict is an often unwilling attraction compounded by societal strictures that question the morality of queer love. As these two young men overcome their fears and anxieties in a rush of emotion, first love is explored.

FLEETING FIRST LOVE 

Elio and Oliver may be in love, but the very nature of their relationship is almost doomed from the start. Elio is a young 17-year-old, while Oliver is a 24-year-old professional, working for Elio's father. The setting could not have been worse for a lasting romance, but that doesn't minimize the fervor of what the characters feel. When the inevitable end occurs, Elio confronts the pain that comes with the end of a relationship and the relief of living life without lying about his desires. Oliver bows down to the societal mores of his American family and leaves his lover behind to go home to his female fiancee. While doomed before it began, this love story showcases a story that many can empathize with, regardless of sexual orientation.

CREATING A SENSORY EXPLOSION

The incredible beauty of the setting shows a lush blend of plant life, smoky fireplaces, and rich food and alcohol scents. But, sitting in a theater doesn't bring those scents to life. Dive deeper into the story by engaging on multiple levels. A woody cologne that has some clean pine notes can make the outdoor scenes more evocative. As Elio grows and matures throughout the film, I like to find a scent the incorporates a more musky smell to bring life to the romance and leave the lighter scents of childhood behind. At the end, incorporate a smoky scent that references the warmth of a fire in winter and fighting off the cold of a love story that ended.

REBIRTH, RENEAL AND NEW LOVE

When finished with the story, I find a reminder that it was a single chapter in a young man's life helpful. Moving back to fresh and growing scents can help brighten my mood and prepare me for the next step: finding a new love. Hopefully, lessons learned and ready to find a lasting love, the next chapter will detail a lifelong commitment.

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February, 20 2018
Louvre Abu Dhabi

The New Art and Culture Destination

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, an international art and culture museum, is a newly established facility located in Abu Dhabi, UAE. First opening its doors on November 11, 2017, the highly anticipated opening came a decade after an initial agreement between the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Abu Dhabi government was made. This agreement, in which the French museum granted use of their namesake to Abu Dhabi, paved the way for the development of the diverse and innovative hub of art and culture. The building, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, hints at the priceless gems hidden inside with its masterful, floating dome-like structure. In fact, visitors who traveled from around the world to attend the sold-out opening day event listed the building itself as one of the most fascinating highlights of the museum.

Inside of the museum, some of the world's most renowned art connoisseurs were delighted to discover one of the most expansive and multifarious art collections in existence on opening day. With a mix of international works, arranged chronologically and thematically, experts agree that the Louvre Abu Dhabi offers an impressive glimpse into world history. Separated into 55 different areas, many have described the museum as a mini-city which features collections of the greatest art from all civilizations under one roof. Exploring each global exhibit one by one, visitors describe a feeling of traveling through time, and around the world, at the same time. Beginning at the start of humanity and eventually ending up in the modern world, the Louvre Abu Dhabi exposes the similarities and differences between societies and cultures. In the end, however, visitors discover that the museum has unveiled a bigger picture, which inevitably showcases the beauty and complexities of human nature.

Not limited to one region, culture or media format, the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum is rapidly becoming a hotspot for art and culture enthusiasts of all backgrounds. Whether travelers arrive in Abu Dhabi with an interest in architecture, modern paintings or an appreciation for the beauty of nature, they will find much more than they are seeking at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.



SOURCES:

https://www.louvreabudhabi.ae/

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2017/11/the-opening-of-the-louvre-abu-dhabi/545333/

https://www.cnn.com/style/article/louvre-abu-dhabi-museum-opening/index.html

 

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