September 2018 archive

MAISON&OBJET Honors 6 Lebanese Designers (You Really Need To Know)


If you love design and you’ve never been to MAISON&OBJET, you’re really missing out. I mean, really missing out. I don’t go to most American design shows anymore for a few reasons. With a New York home base coupled by my media access, I’ve seen a lot of this stuff before the general public. More importantly, the majority of design and decor coming out of the U.S. the past few years is everyone’s ever-so-slightly tweaked version of “what’s trending” stateside. Essentially, it’s all the same stuff. It’s boring, less relevant and one step away from tacky.

There are exceptions to my massive generalization, of course. Kelly Wearstler, Miles Redd, Martin Lawrence Bullard (um, not American) and Jonathan Adler are just a few major talents  that come to mind. You have incredible artisans, craftsmen and designers throughout the U.S., but very little attention is paid to them beyond the high design circuit. Instead, we are in a sea of cliché patterns, shapes and finishes that you can find at Target or Home Goods on a good day. Design Bloggers (does that even still exist?) and influencers-whose primary job is commentary-are revered more than the actual designers themselves. It takes courage to design something. You never know how it will be received, but you do it anyway. It is a long process of education, experience and labor. Simply commenting on what someone finds “so pretty” or Instagram worthy is neither journalism nor design. I don’t see a lot of courage in that.

Yeah, I totally went there. Let’s move on, shall we?

In stark contrast, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the U.K. and Lebanon are designing rather than manufacturing and could give a shit about Blogueuses. France has a large Lebanese community and many of them are separated by six degrees or less from the Armenian community. Since I am French-Armenian (by way of Marseille) and the majority of my paternal family lives in France, I am very familiar with the design scenes in both France and Lebanon. I’ve been chatting up Beirut for years, but since many Americans have a paltry understanding-or more appropriately, misunderstanding-of Lebanon and it’s people, they have remained somewhat under the radar. France, on the other hand, has taken notice. Bravo, France!

This year Maison & Objet awarded six Lebanese designers some well deserved props. The annual ‘Rising Talents Awards‘ is a platform that promotes young designers by giving them a chance to exhibit their work for an international audience. This month, it was Lebanon’s turn to present its talents. Yella!

Carla Baz, Caramel Studio, Paola Sakr, Anastasia Nysten, Carlo Massoud, Marc Dibeh  are talented, cutting-edge and fabulous. They represent the future of Lebanese design.

Here’s some of their work:

Carla Baz is French-Lebanese, has a Master’s in Product Design for the Luxury Industry from ECAL Lausanne. In London, she trained with  Zaha Hadid Architects and went out on her own shortly thereafter- a move swiftly rewarded by the Boghossian Foundation. Armenians know good design, thankyouverymuch.  Image: Borgia Candelabra product by Bonadea. Photo © Bonadea; website:

Caramel Studio – Karl Chucri and Rami Boushdid met at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts in Beirut. After earning their master’s degrees in Europe, they reconnected in Lebanon and founded Studio Caramel in 2016. Their dual architecture experience has clearly influenced their approach to furniture design, usually with a nostalgic nod. Image: Mirage music box, photo courtesy of Caramel

Paola Sakr studied product design at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, but talented in other disciplines that are evident in all of her work. This multidisciplinary approach to design is both innovative and artistic. “Impermanence vases”, Collection of 7 concrete vases made of abandoned pieces and material scraps, photo courtesy of Paola Sakr. website:

Anastasia Nisten – Born in Ottawa, Canada, Anastasia Nysten grew up in Finland, France and Lebanon. After studying Industrial Design at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, she started her career with Karen Chekerdjian. Shout out to my fellow Armenian designers! After spending a few years in London working with Michael Anastassiades, she opened her own studio in 2015, making her mark in Beirut and Dubai.  image: Troll chair, courtesy of Anastasia Nisten; website:

Carlo Massoud   After graduating from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts and ECAL Lausanne, Carlo Massoud moved to New York, joining Nasser Nakib Architects to oversee bespoke furniture design for their top clients. His projects fluctuate between functional and artistic, often containing political messages. Image: Mar Mikhayel, photo © Filippo Bamberghi. Website:


Marc Dibeh – After studying at the École Nationale Supérieure de Paris Val De Seine, Marc Dibeh returned to Beirut to pursue a Master’s in Product Design at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. After working alongside Marc Baroud for three years, Marc opened his own studio in 2009. Still collaborating today-Dibeh’s Wires series took him to DesignMiami in 2013.  Image: Camille Cake Stand, from ‘a narrative selection of stolen products’ ; photo © Marco Pinarelli. Website:



Gros Bisous/Bacheegs,




Fork It Over: Karl Lagerfeld + Christofle Cutlery Collab Launches In Paris Next Week

Karl Lagerfeld for Christofle

Karl Lagerfeld can now make an appearance at your dining room table. Sort of.

The iconic designer has teamed up with French brand, Christofle on a limited edition cutlery set as a part of their Mood collection. In a not-often-seen departure from their Traditional European Luxury vibe, the capsule pays (a slightly edgier) homage to architecture and Art Deco,  with details throughout. Each 24 piece set is housed in either a shiny steel or black lacquer finished egg, numbered and bearing the engraved signature of Karl Lagerfeld. Taking it even further, each piece is stamped with his logo, in case you forgot.

It’s hard to overlook the irony of a logo stamped cutlery collection, given his widely known aversion to women who like to eat and fashion “vulgarity”. Um, remember those comments he made about Adele? *Cringing*  I know, I digress.

From a design perspective, the look seems fitting, given Lagerfeld’s love of Art Deco furniture, cultivated by longtime friend and legendary French designer, Andrée Putman. The streamlined aesthetic is in everything he does from clothing to accessories and now forks and knives. Priced at a cool 2490 Euros, The buyers will likely be a garden variety of Chinese logo lovers, Saudis who can burn $100 bills for firewood and collectors.

Available for preorder on The collection launches exclusively at the Christofle store on Rue Saint-Honoré and the Saint-Germain KL boutique on September 25th, followed by the worldwide launch October 1.

I don’t think of this as a “Must Have” Luxury. At all. But, I do love design and  “off-brand” collaborations. It will be interesting to see how this performs.

What do you think?

“Mais Oui!” or “Fork you, Karl?”  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Gros Bisous,



How To Throw A Football Party For The Girls

Football isn’t just for the guys. We ladies like to get into the action, too. This season, why not plan a girls-only football party? Beer and greasy food aren’t your thing? No problem, we can get in the spirit in a way that fits our own style.

So, what’s the difference between a football party for the boys and one for the girls? Well, a little ambiance, of course. Here are my easy and fun tips for foods, drinks and decorations that’ll give your game day a bit of a girly twist. Because, really. 


Your girlfriends are going to expect something a little fancier than nachos made with microwave cheese or Papa John’s delivery. You can transform the usual manly eats-aka carb loader diet killers- into delicious (and daintier) finger foods. Stir up some turkey chili served in shot glasses, mini tacos, low-fat dips, turkey meatballs and crudite. Dare I say, even a salad?

Have fun with it, too. Try a seasonal pumpkin turkey chili, mini English muffin pizzas or just ask your friends to bring appetizer-sized versions of their favorite game day munchies. Can somebody say, Trader Joe’s?

I love a football-themed dessert. You can try these super cute nut football helmets. If you prefer to stick with what you know, you can just use football-themed toothpicks, straws and napkins. My friend, Tara is the Baking Queen. In my house, we know the food is ready when the smoke alarm goes off or flames start shooting out of the oven-whichever comes first. If your baking skills, like mine, aren’t quite ready for Pinterest, fret not. Supermarket bakeries will always have cute football cakes for you to choose from rather than having to bake your own. Know your strengths, I say.


For most people, it’s not a watch party without alcohol. I kind of agree, truth be told. But that doesn’t mean you have to serve the same swill as the boys. Opt for a selection of great fall beers, wines (or even bubbly!) and have a tasting during halftime. I also like rimming glasses with colored sugars and flavors that coordinate with the theme. Now, that’s my kind of Fantasy Football!

You can also skip the beer altogether and serve a single signature cocktail. You can “serve [the drink] two ways in the colors of the teams playing, it’s easier than having to create a number of different cocktails and buying the ingredients for each libation. I’m a big fan of the Signature Drink route. Plus, nobody wants to play bartender all day and too many choices can be too much work. Keep it simple.

Champagne Tasting??


When it comes to parties, what separates the women from the boys is often just a bit of attention to the little things. And perhaps, their ability to eat forty-seven wings in the span of an hour without gaining any weight and/or projectile vomiting.

You can ine your table with AstroTurf, draw yard lines with fake snow from a can or chalk-you can pick it up at Home Depot super cheap- and add small to midsized floral arrangements in sports themes, like this one from

Football Flowers


Use black and white striped napkins to match the refs’ uniforms.

Pin name cards to small Nerf footballs for each guest.

For fun photos after cocktail hour, hang a yellow banner behind your table and have a Football for Dummies on display (could come in handy for those rule debates!). Also get some megaphones and a set of pom-poms for props. Cute, right?

Women CAN rock a football party!

Who’s your team?? #godolphins!



For more ideas and daily inspo, make sure you check out my Instagram feed!


I moved to Miami in the spring of 1992. The first hurricane I ever experienced was Hurricane Andrew, just a few months after we arrived from New York. I was a young girl in a new city who knew nothing about hurricanes and thought everyone was just a little bit loco running around buying up everything in sight at the local Publix Supermarket. Water, batteries, gas, dry goods, you name it.

And then the storm came.

It is a day I will never forget, nor  the months that followed. I have never forgotten the fear, either. By the grace of God or some other powerful force, I was spared the atrocities that affected so many others. But I learned a lot.

Mostly, I learned that you should never mess with a hurricane, you should never underestimate its wrath.

The hurricane will win.

Here are simple, easy tips I learned in my 15 years in Miami. They can help you stay safe and then help you bear the inevitable inconveniences that a hurricane brings to the table.

Listen To The Warnings!
If you are told to evacuate, heed the warnings. This is non-negotiable. If we learned anything from Katrina, certainly this would be it.

Have a Hurricane Kit (and no, it’s not too late)
Cash, batteries, flashlights, battery operated radio/television, bottled water, toilet paper, non-perishable foods such as cereal or crackers, canned goods, a can opener, a small cooler, candles and diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food if you have small children. If you take prescription medicine, make sure you have extra on hand. This is especially important for people who are elderly or have medical issues that require a little extra care. It could be a few days before you can get to a store.

Freeze Up
Put your refrigerator at the coldest setting. Fill your bathtub with ice. Set your air conditioner really cold, too. This way, if you lose power it takes much longer to defrost and ruin everything in there! Make sure you buy a lot of food. It’s always better to have more than you need. Cans of tuna, bread, snacks and other non-perishable items.

Charge Up
Fully charge ALL of your electronic devices and then fill up your car with gas. You can always charge devices in your car.

Secure Important Paperwork
Place all your important papers in a secured plastic bag, box or even better, a small safe. Identification is difficult and time consuming to replace so be sure to include social security cards, birth certificates, titles or deeds to property, as well as your hurricane insurance policy, should you have one. Special family photos like wedding albums, baby pictures should also be considered.

Go To Home Depot
Plywood is a coveted commodity for those of who decide to stay. Boarding up windows that will take the brunt of the wind and rain is a wise decision. If board is not available, protect your windows from the wind by criss-crossing them with layers of duct or packing tape. This will be enough protection for light-to-medium winds. If you need plywood, go to your local Home Improvement store asap. Trust me.

Don’t forget your pets! I have had two dogs throughout every major hurricane in the past 15 years. They get scared, just like we do. Keep this in mind and give them some extra TLC. Dogs are especially intuitive to weather conditions and might get more freaked out then you. They also get hot. Ice, water and extra treats and cuddles are a must.

Prepare For Loss of Power
Assume the power will be lost. It might not happen, but assuming you will lose power will prepare you much better. You will be hot, sticky and pissed off. Water, a bathtub of ice, lots of beer, wine and/or hard liquor usually helps. If you have kids, you’re kind of screwed. They get really bored really fast. Board games, books, and a fully charged iPad with tons of movies are your new BFFs.

Stay Inside!
Don’t go outside. It is hands down the dumbest thing you can do. I cannot stress to you how many stories I’ve heard through the years of people getting struck by a tree, a down wire, flying debris. Stay inside, stay inside, stay inside! When you go outside after the storm, assume ALL WIRES ARE LIVE WIRES! Thousands of people have been electrocuted after major storms by touching live wires. When walking your dog, make sure you have them on a tight leash and monitor where they go.

Be A Good Neighbor
After the storm, check on your neighbors. Sometimes, a pack of D batteries is all it takes to make someone else’s day.

Good luck and stay safe.