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Ivy Reviews: The Shogun Lounge

If there’s something I love more than shopping, its shopping and sushi together, in the same place. So after doing some heavy Christmas retail therapy at Dunes Verdun on Tuesday I headed over to dinner at The Shogun Lounge, my favorite sushi spot in Verdun located on the 1st floor of the mall.

Even Dogs Wanna Leave: BETA Launches Lebanese Expat Pets Program

It’s no secret many of us dream of a a visa to live and work abroad. Lebanese folks with dual citizenships are often seen as the lucky ones, and even a good catch if you’re looking to get married. This sad reality isn’t just for Lebanon’s humans though, it’s also applicable to Lebanon’s shelter dogs.

acoté Mar Mikhael Review

Mar Mikhael is in a phase where it’s almost saturated in terms of real estate and capacity, just enough to start revealing somewhat more unique concepts to stand out from the rest of the pubs and restaurants in the area. Acote is one of those places, and last weekend, I went there with a few friends to try the newly open gourmet sandwich place right next to Prune.

Why We Don’t Want Weed Legal in Lebanon (YET), Just Decriminalized (NOW)

I have been a very vocal advocate of decriminalization of marijuana in Lebanon for years. If not for my personal appreciation for the plant, for the extremely brutal, vicious, barbaric and sometimes even deadly reaction by Lebanon’s super corrupt judiciary and police force.

“Judge” (Savage Religious Fundamentalist) Bernadette Ojeil Embodies Everything Wrong in Lebanon


Bernadette Ojeil is a “judge” in the mu7asabeh branch of the Lebanese judiciary. Which means she doesn’t judge on court cases with us civilians, but is sort of an auditor that makes sure public spending is ok. Yes, already she’s a joke, given how corrupt and wasteful our public spending is.

The Past Weekend’s Playlist

I used to post track selections a couple years back here. Now, I sorta do that on Snapchat (@GinoRaidy). But, this weekend was so massive, it needs a blog post.
All Remains the Same (Kalumet Remix) – Agostino Maria Ticino is a gorgeous track. It never gets boring. Think: stuck in traffic on a rainy night in Beirut, on the way to a good party. Or better yet, you suddenly listen to it when someone plays it at a party.

Christmas 2014 Gift Guide For Him and Her

Each year I know many of us draw a blank when we think of all the Christmas gifts we need to buy. It’s getting harder and harder to get more original and special ones so I’ve complied a gift guide that may just give you some ideas of what’s new for both him or her. So if you’re someone’s secret Santa or you’ve got someone who’s quite hard to please here’s my 2014 list in no particular order and with varying budgets.

SerVme: Restaurant Reservations – Lebanese App of the Week

With almost 30 restaurants in Lebanon already on board, this streamlined, responsive app is the perfect reservation app I’ve used. Today, Lebanon’s fast becoming like the other parts of the world where you can do everything on your mobile through an app. From ordering cabs, to transferring funds, it’s all coming. So, it’s only natural to want to reserve for that date without having to call a 01 number and being put on hold and your name misspelled.

Pornhub: Lebanese Are Boobs People and Middle Easterners Love Feet

Everyone watches porn. Guys, girls, young, old. Is it good? Is it bad? That’s not really the point now, but the fact of the matter it is, and the metrics Pornhub have are always interesting to read. You can check them out here.
Most Arabs are Butt People, Except Lebanon and Egypt
Lebanese folks are boob people, according to Pornhub/Youporn’s insights. That might explain why the epidemic of massively grotesque fake boobs doesn’t seem to be letting up in Lebanon. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think plastic surgery is wrong, and I encourage it if it makes someone feel better about themselves. But, when the funbags become heavy enough to cause a herniated disk, no.

10 Gorgeous Johnnie Walker Fire Graffiti for Lebanon

So, I’m sure you all saw a photo or two on your newsfeeds, or on a billboard or LED screen somewhere in Beirut. I was lucky enough to be asked by the brilliant guys and gals behind the campaign to stand in the shot of my quote, and it was quite the experience.

Lebanese App of the Week: Tari’ak’s Realtime Traffic

Traffic is a daily disaster every Lebanese person grows up with. Eventually, we start understanding certain patterns on the routes we take most often. But, other times, we find ourselves venturing to parts we rarely go to, or can’t foresee an accident/tire burning/roadworks episode that causes even more traffic.

A few Badass women | Adonis Diaries

 adonis49.wordpress.comsource: adonis49.wordpress.com
The Brazillian women who protested against rape in powerful photos after 65% of respondents in a survey agreed that “if dressed provocatively, women deserve to be attacked and raped”.
via A few Badass women | Adonis Diaries.

Winter in Lebanon as not seen on TV

Picture via Al Jomhouria
I am loving these campaigns by LiveLoveLebanon and the Ministry of Tourism. This winter will be one of the best in years. Come visit Lebanon and enjoy it!

A Suggestion To Park Meter Lebanon

I spotted one of the Park Meter officer fining a car the other day and I bought from him a Park Meter prepaid card that you can use on machines. As I was giving him the money, he was complaining on how this car has been parked for more than 2 hours without a ticket and that its driver never showed up. Honestly speaking, I agree with the officer but I wonder why Park Meter doesn’t set up prepaid cards dispensers so that people can buy these cards when needed. Most of the time, people don’t have coins and supermarkets and small grocery stores get pissed when someone asks for coins.

Lebanese Minister of Transportation Wants To Ban #UBER

Update2: Uber Beirut confirmed that these claims are not true and that business is running as usual.
Mustapha shared me with me this morning an article from Annahar stating that Uber will be banned in Lebanon after complaints by the taxi syndicate. Uber Beirut launched back in July and has been offering an excellent service at competitive prices. I personally used it at least 6 times so far and I have nothing to complain about.

Lebanon Wins Galactic Discovery Competition – MENA Region

My friends from Uf Chou Laziz just informed me that they won the international Land Rover Galactic Discovery Competition for the Middle East North Africa Region! The winning team members are Wajid El Hitti, Sam Nassif, Samah El Hakim and Nicola El Hakim and they won a 6 days wildlife travel adventure to Botswana in Africa in mid-2015. The video was shot in Lebanon of course.
Congrats guys and I hope you go to space one day!

Beirut’s Municipality Has $800 Million In Surplus

Beirut’s mayor Bilal Hamad mentioned in an interview with Executive Magazine that the city has almost around $800 million in surplus and that they are spending money where it needs to be spent. Knowing that the interview focused on the mayor’s strategy to improve green spaces in 2015, it didn’t seem like a top priority for Hamad and I don’t expect to see any new parks next year in Beirut.
Here’s a summary of the interview highlighting the important points raised:

Remembering Gebran Tueni

Picture via sdaouk
Every year, we remember Gebran Tueni while Lebanon takes a step back in freedom and liberty. We need journalists like Gebran to influence the Lebanese youth and guide them in the right direction but unfortunately there aren’t any. We’ve lost la crème de la crème with Gebran Tueni and Samir Kassir and it doesn’t look like we will ever recover from this huge loss.

Don’t Mess With Lebanon’s Call Of Duty Clan

I am a huge Call of Duty fan and I’ve been playing it for years offline and online on my PS3 and PS4 (Advanced Warfare). I never joined any teams online and just played random games but it’s good to hear that we have a highly active and impressive online COD Lebanese clan. They’ve reached 3 times Maximum level in Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3, Black Ops 2 and Ghosts and they are the only Lebanese clan to win platinum division clan wars.

My issues with je ne sais quoi

Elle Decoration (of course)
One of the problems with moving abroad and immersing yourself in another language is that you forget how to say foreign words in English. I mean all those borrowed words that are commonly used in English. The English language has adopted loads of French words like “ambience”, “connoisseur”, and “rendezvous” (or even fake French words like “en suite”). I’m sure there are plenty of words from other languages that I’m less attuned to as well.

The Wall Street Journal Features Jbeil’s Christmas Tree

The 97-foot-high Christmas tree at the entrance to Byblos, Lebanon, north of Beirut, shown on Nov. 25. The tree is covered with 2,500 gold-colored iron leaves.
The Byblos Christmas tree was featured in the Wall Street Journal as part of Christmas trees from around the world, and not the most beautiful Christmas trees in the world. There’s no doubt though that the Byblos tree and decoration are gorgeous.
Check them out [here].

AC Milan Captain Franco Baresi In Beirut For The “Sports For Peace” Project

via @ACMIlan
Italian former captain Franco Baresi visited Beirut recently to kick off the “Sports For Peace” Project. I didn’t hear about it anywhere in the news here but I found this article in Italian that says that the initiative kicked off in March and that it reached almost 1450 Lebanese and Syrian aged between 6 and 17.

Desperate Massage Parlor Offering Manicure And Pedicure

I’ve seen at least 3 or 4 massage places opening in that same building on the Zouk highway. They were “Anti-Stress” before becoming “Massage” but I think they are still selling the same service (but with manicure and pedicure now) lol!

Linked In Now Open In Keserwan

Pass by and start building your networks!

That's Me in The Corner

(ink and digital color حبر ولون رقمي)

"ذاك أنا في الركن"

line from REM's "Losing My Religion"

Five Reasons Why SLCHI Is Funnier Than MafiMetlo

Every now and then, I watch some of the old SLCHI episodes and they are always funny as hell. Sadly though, I don’t remember the last time I’ve laughed that much on a MafiMetlo episode even though the characters are all (almost) the same. Knowing that I still consider it the funniest Lebanese TV show, here are five reasons why SLCHI was funnier:

Jazirat al Ahlam, new video art by Tarek Chemaly

Advertising heaven. Nothing but that. Young men
and women in ads, doing impossible things on the beach, bikini clad ladies and
rock solid muscled hunks in suspended lives. Soundtracked by the late Sabah's "Sa3at sa3at" (there are times) languishing tune which
celebrates those instances or serenity and farniente in our lives.

وراء كلّ اغتراب ناجح لبنانـــية | الأخبار

آمال خليل
ساحل العاج | في جولة زينات جابر على مزارعي ومنتجي «الكاكاو» في برّ ساحل العاج، بين سان بيدرو وسوبري والدلوة وديكوي وفافوا ثم في مرفأ أبيدجان، كان الجميع يظنّ أنها «مدام جابر». يبدون استغرابهم لصغر سنها بما أنهم يعرفون «المدام» منذ أكثر من خمسين عاماً. فتصحح لهم ابنة الثلاثين بأنها ابنة فريال السعيدي، المعروفة في قطاع «الكاكاو» بـ«مدام جابر»، نسبة إلى زوجها منذر الذي يعمل في شراء محصول «الكاكاو» من المزارعين وفي بيعه للتجار المحليين.

Christmas Village (عيّد معنا) In Achrafieh (Sassine Square) On December 13 & 14

Achrafieh2020 and The Municipality of Beirut are organizing a Christmas village on December 13 and 14 next to Sassine square. They will be transforming the area into a pedestrian Christmas village for everyone to enjoy and have fun.
The village will be open from 10am till 11pm. Check out more info [Here].

Lebanon Breaks A New World Record

I think a lot of contractors from all around Lebanon would feel offended after watching this report as two years is a ridiculous record. They are way too incompetent to finish things in two years only! Take for example the “genius” Fiat bridge separator which was finally replaced by a height limiter. Of course the contractor was smart enough to build a crappy height limiter that got wrecked the next day.

Lebanese Savvy Sisters Bringing Middle Eastern Chain Restaurant Semson To New York

Christine Assouad Sfeir and Carine Assouad are launching next year Semsom’s first outlet in New York City at 2 Astor Pl. This is their first venture in the US and will consist of a 1,256 square-foot space that will seat around 25 people. The plan is to open four more outlets in New York in 2015 and have around 200 locations across the US by 2020. This is a very ambitious plan but Christine is ranked No.19 on the Forbes list of the 200 most powerful business women in the Arab world for a good reason.

Dhour Choueir Celebrating Christmas

Bringing Muslims to sing inside a Church or vice versa is probably the cheesiest thing to do but it works every time in Lebanon. I have nothing against it of course and I appreciate such initiatives as it brings people from different backgrounds together but I think the Lebanese people should be the one teaching our Muslim and Christian representatives how to work and co-exist together. Muslims singing Christmas songs or Christians singing Muslim chants will not get us a president, nor a proper infrastructure nor a decent electoral law to name few.

What’s The Story Behind The Pie?

I spotted this cool pie in a random place on the street in Beirut. Does anyone know why it’s there or what’s the story behind it?