It is particularly hard to work in an environment that doesn’t resemble you. Even though you still find colleagues with whom you develop affinities and become friends, the environment can still be bad for you. It usually is a bad environment when you feel like you don’t belong or like it doesn’t reflect your personality. Continue Reading “Cook Like No One is Watching”
The idea of turning 30 was devastating to me a year ago. It was all about being “out” of the twenty-something group, being “old” and entering real adulthood. Little did I know this was going to be the most enlightening age to me yet. On the 19th of August, a little over two weeks ago, I gracefully turned 30. What I thought was going to be shocking to me was actually smooth and soothing. Continue Reading “On Turning 30”
A few weeks ago, after watching CNNGo’s report on Beirut, I contacted Cyrille Najjar and asked if I could see him for a chat. He gladly accepted and it was fun to talk about food with such a talented Designer. Cyrille is the CEO of White Sur White, “a multi-disciplinary Architecture and innovation agency sitting at the intersection of architecture, technology, and materials”. Not only does White Sur White work on Architecture and interior design projects, but they also create products that go beyond beautiful aesthetics and target the needs of everyone from musicians, to travelers, to home owners.
We met in Cyrille’s office in Sodeco where the décor inspires designers to work creatively. The office is not too far from the workshop, which is in Ashrafieh as well and makes 600 square meters of space for infinite creativity. There, Cyril organizes workshops, sublets it for events by big magazines and companies and lets creativity unleash itself. Cyrille started by giving me a large idea of the projects and products he worked on and that came into life. He started by telling me about his passion for music (guitar to be more specific), how he worked on the design of music instruments and their customization for singers, dancers and musicians.
He adapted music instruments to the body moves of dancers, fabricated microphones for opera singers with the help of Corinne Metni, and helped a violinist make the most of his talent by creating a violin around which he would feel at ease.
A solar suitcase was also created by Cyrille to no longer count on the generator at home.He also created products for Mothercare, for Hemiplegics, for Haute Couture, Lighting and Kitchens. I suggest you daydream on this link to know more.
Cyrille actually started his career by studying law at USJ. After thinking about it, he realized he liked it, but loved the world of Design and Architecture way more, so he made the switch. He continued with a Masters in Interior Architecture at ALBA Beirut and went on with Product Design in the Royal College of Art in London. And because he wanted to teach younger generations what he learnt, he finished with a teaching degree at Central St. Martins in London. After teaching at ALBA, he is now happily passing on his wisdom to LAU students.
How does Cyrille get inspired? It’s a combination of desire and needs. Whether it’s his needs or the needs of his clients, Cyrille beautifully fulfills them. He created his own solar energy system at home because he needed it, he confectioned Avo’s violin because Avo needed it to show the world the best he could do. Most of the time, clients come to him with a need.
Which takes us to what Cyrille has to say on Design in Lebanon. For him, it’s more of a luxury, which has its beauty. But it will eventually get more need-oriented as this is what should be done in a country that has countless needs to fulfill.
About cooking and travel
Cyrille loves cooking and is a BBQ fan at heart. He’s not yet found a need to fulfill in this area and has currently all the kitchen tools he needs in his “vastly furnished” kitchen. For him, kitchenware has really evolved over time. Quoting Cyrille, we’ve been eating for so long that we’re fine! As for the dishes he cooks, he keeps things simple with meat, chicken, fish, pasta, etc.
When it comes to travel, he does that all the time, but there’s one thing he has not yet fulfilled when it comes to this area: the Byron burger in Lebanon 😉 As far as Cyrille is concerned, his favorite burger in the world needs to be recreated in his country. The subject of travel immediately led us to talk about the good food in the big cities and countries of the world: Paris, London, New York, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Belgium for beer only.
His guilty pleasure is British food! As much as it surprises people, Cyrille views British food as going beyond beans and sausages. For him, it’s more about the homemade and the comfort food for a cold British weather and lifestyle.
Cyrille is also a big Philosophy fan. His book pleasures revolve around Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger. When he needs something light, it’s comics he turns to.
Here’s a video of 10 fast questions with Cyrille Najjar for you to get a glimpse of one of Beirut’s most terrific Designers. Enjoy 🙂
Selling points: SMO gallery, Platform39, National Museum, Urbanista.
Facebook page: here
We all spend half of the week planning the weekend, from where to eat to which group of friends to hang out with. On Friday, a feeling of happiness envelops us and we feel on top of the world. Saturday is the best day of our lives, but then, like a bullet in the head, Sunday night hits us. This feeling of having to go back to school on Monday morning never leaves us, even as we grow older. After brainstorming ideas to overcome the Sunday blues with Jean and Fadsfood, we came up with a list of things you can do.
How to overcome the Sunday Blues
1) It all starts on Friday. Do not get blinded by your TGIF joy and write your Monday to-do list on Friday. That way, you can have fun and disconnect all weekend knowing that everything is written down and tucked away.
2) Do not schedule any meetings for Monday, leave them for Tuesday thus giving yourself a day to collect your thoughts after the weekend.
3) On Sunday night, organize sunset drinks with fun friends. You’ll see that everyone has to work the next day and that you’re not alone in this world.
4) Avoid going to the movies on Sunday afternoon or evening. It will immediately trigger the Sunday blues feeling.
5) Do not leave the beach early. Instead, enjoy the sunset and plan a nice dinner by the sea. That will also allow you to also avoid the traffic jam and all the negative thinking you might end up doing in the car.
6) Prepare your outfit and work kit on Sunday night instead of running around on Monday morning. Knowing you’re all set for the next day will make you feel a lot better.
7) Plan to jog on Monday early morning and focus on it as the first thing you’ll be doing on that new week.
8) Move your Sunday family lunch to Saturday and spend Sunday with friends somewhere far from the city.
9) Plan a gathering at home on Sunday night and cook for some friends while sipping drinks on the terrace (or balcony)
10) De-clutter. It’s the principle of removing unnecessary and unused items from an overcrowded place of work/living/etc. If you remove one or several items that you have not used for a long time but that you were still attached to, trust us, you WILL feel relieved (as small an action as it sounds).
There will be more tips on the subject as time goes by and as we discover new ways to fight this feeling. Meanwhile, please do share with us how you do it! We’d love to hear!
Don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips: #breadonbutter
A few days ago, Alisha Haridasani, writer at CNN, published this amazing article about our beloved city Beirut. Through tours guided by pure Lebanese food and art activists, a wonderful video was made (you can watch it on this link).
Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk el Tayeb and Tawlet Souk el Tayeb, is the first guest shown in the video. Since I’ve already met Kamal and had conversations with him, I enjoyed his tours around Souk el Tayeb (the only Saturday market in Beirut), Bourj Hammoud and Le Professeur for a nice foul breakfast. His message is clear:
Make Food, Not War.
The next guest is Rosalyn Ghubril from Zawarib, who I also met a few years ago as part of my job at the time. Rosalyn takes us at Platform 39 with Cyrille Najjar (learn more about what he does on this link) and at Brut L’Atelier, Mar Mikhael, where contemporary artists work on their creations.
A great part of the video is where we follow Mashrou’ Leila, Lebanon’s favorite indie-pop band, around the AUB campus – one of the fewest green spots left in Beirut. I love the portrait they made of the city: surrounded by water, Beirut is full of micro-communities with different identities and codes, pushing you to be a bit more tolerant and willing to negotiate. They also say that it is the most interesting time for music.
To sum up, Beirut is very small but also very diverse. There is incredible room for improvement in Food and Art, so let’s take advantage of this and put our ideas into life.
and don’t forget to tag us if you try our recipes and tips #breadonbutter
Most of the people I know enjoy food more when it’s expensive. But see, life is all about perception. We perceive things and come up with our own truth. This infographic was sent to me a while ago and I thought it would be interesting to share.
It explores the psychology behind our perceptions when it comes to food. For example, you’ll see how lobster went from a prison food to one of the most luxurious and expensive dishes we can now order. You’ll also get an insight into marketing tricks such as how including ‘ancient grains’ can increase the price consumers are willing to pay, and how we gain more pleasure from wine we’re told is more expensive.
Value is in the eye of the beholder. But what influences the beholder in their perceptions? This infographic looks at the psychology behind our perceptions, noting trends, marketing practices and differing generational attitudes.
Since price positively influences perceptions of quality, and inversely influences perceptions of value, how do sellers of mundane products use history, story, exclusivity, and implied scarcity to change our appetites?
What do you think about this?
All Winter, we’ve been running home every night to finally get in bed and start new episodes of The Mentalist. I know the show’s been on for 7 years but we decided to view it all in one shot. A few days ago, we reached the final episodes (very very sad I know). To our surprise, 2 episodes take place in Beirut (not sure if Patrick Jane actually came to Beirut but there were shots of our beloved city in the episodes). Not so surprisingly, it wasn’t the Beirut we know that was shown in The Mentalist. We would’ve expected more from Patrick and I must say we were disappointed. I didn’t make much of this and quickly forgot it, maybe because we became used to this bad portrayal of our country in the media. But then Jean sent me this post and it brought on new thoughts. How can we possibly change the perception of our country in the media?
1- Rely on some of the Lebanese bloggers. The internet is powerful and can convey information faster and more efficiently.
2- Expats, we know the nice job you’re doing at educating the ones who don’t know about us so thank you.
4- Photographers and videographers, use your connections and present your work (including photos of the real Lebanon) outside the country.
We must fight this ugly image and show the positive side of Lebanon. Of course, I am not saying it’s flawless but picturing it like a battle field is the other extreme.
What do you think?
and don’t forget to tag us if you try out our recipes!
In August 2012, inspired by many readings and travel photos on the internet, we took the decision to do it. Backpack in the true sense of the term. Choosing the destination was a piece of cake as Sri Lanka had been on my mind for literally a decade. Listening to stories and having Sri Lankan food had been one of my favorite activities for a long time and it was time I saw the real deal. Planning the trip was no trouble at all as there was no planning to be done. Just booking the ticket sufficed.
After carefully organizing our gear and packing the least of things in our backpack, off we went. You can view our whole trip on this link and this link, but now, I want to share what I learnt while backpacking to Sri Lanka.
I knew backpacking was not going to be easy and that there were going to be moments where I’ll be longing for a proper bedroom and shower, but boy did I learn things: about myself, about Jean, and about the world. Basically, I completely changed perspectives.
When you head to the unknown, that’s when you discover what you’re truly capable of. You discover to which lengths you can go, how much you can take – physically and mentally. I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t sometimes cranky and hungry, hot or tired, neither am I going to pretend I wasn’t scared of nature and what I saw. But I learnt my limits and how to overcome those little fears that creep in uselessly.
When we live in a comfort zone, we get used to having everything easy. No insect here to bug you all the time, you rest whenever you feel like it, you don’t have to climb a mountain if you don’t want to. But there, I had to. Not only because I was in the middle of a mountain and couldn’t take the same way back, but also because in my head, I couldn’t not do it. I had to, to prove myself I was strong and in control of my feelings and actions. While we were climbing the famous Ella Rock, known to have the most breathtaking view on top, I reached a point where I literally broke down. The level of hiking difficulty suddenly became too much to bear, but yet again I was so close to the goal. That’s where my mind took over. Had I come so close to the best feeling of being on top of the world, only to stop and go back? Never would I have thought I would continue and get there. But I did, and that’s one of the dearest life lessons I hold on to now. It is actually true that when you feel like giving up, when times become just too tough to bear, the goal is just a few miles away. Never give up, even if you think you can’t move on anymore, the truth is: YOU CAN.
I also learnt to let go of small things and go with the flow, because life is much bigger than the small of you really. I overcame my fears of nature (except cockroaches – go figure) and the unknown and saw how it’s all a matter of mindset.
I learnt about people and different cultures. I saw that people you never even thought of meeting one day would come in your path for a reason, either to show you something or teach you something. I also learnt a lot about my husband, surprising things that made me sure he was the one I could spend the rest of my life with.
Finally, I learnt a lot about myself, what I truly love and what I truly don’t, and about the length I would go to to save something I love or to get it.
And most of all, you learn that life is just: Perspective, perspective, perspective! Switch your perspective and you’ll open the door to complete happiness. I guarantee it 🙂
Have you ever been backpacking? I’d love to hear about it.
We constantly read about the benefits of different types of food for the skin and for the mind. We even get old tips for soft hair and skin that often include mixing eggs, avocados and olive oil. Amazingly, Lush puts them all in differently shaped products and allows you to benefit from the goodness in a “lush” (i.e. luxurious) way 🙂
I had heard of Lush before and how cool it was, but it wasn’t until last summer in Rome that I started using their products properly. It was so hot that a nice bubble bath at the hotel was due every afternoon.
A Lush bath bomb thus became a basic need. I was so fascinated by their mechanism that I started researching it and found out that all their products were made of food! Everything is carefully concocted in the Lush Kitchen in the UK (click here for more details about it and watch the video below). Chamomile, bananas, blueberries, cinnamon, and endless other ingredients are used to make you feel pampered and revitalized.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a bathtub at home. I’m hoping to have one soon, so meanwhile I take advantage of bathtubs in hotels whenever I’m on a weekend away or on a trip somewhere. I did exactly that a while ago at Byblos Sur Mer (check out the post here). I used the moisturizing star and the Tisty Toasty bath bomb, then applied Popcorn Lip Scrub before going out.
Breadonbutter Tried and Tested Lush products
The cinnamon shower gel that really keeps you warm during winter and the Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly, which is a fun shower gel and soap.
The moisturizing massage bars and soaps: bear, vanilla and star – moisturized skin guaranteed.
All kinds of bath bombs: I just love the feeling of throwing food into the bath tub and watching it fizz away. My favorite one was the tisty toasty (a romantic rose scented bath bomb) where you can then watch chamomile flowers float in your bath and open up, Granny takes a dip (for a revitalizing bath), Butterball (for a moisturizing relaxing bath that smells of delicate vanilla), and Twilight (for a relaxing lavender scented bedtime bomb).
All of the Bubbleroon bubble bars, made of a blend of essential oils that make everything better.
Popcorn lip scrub: for those who constantly have chapped lips and need to have them soft before applying their red lipstick on.
And for men (also tried and tested), the macaroon shaped shampoo bar is great for making their hair grow and shine : it’s a spicy, stimulating bar that’s especially good for fine or thinning hair. They just have to rub it straight unto their wet hair to create a creamy lather, then wash and rinse. Check out this link for more information about it.
You can follow Lush on Instagram on these accounts: @lushlebanon @lush @lushkitchen
Are you a Lush fan?
Yesterday, an article about Lebanon came out in the Telegraph online. In it, Victoria Moore writes about how Lebanese wine is booming and calls her readers to try it.
During times when the Lebanese are famous for being porn stars, or when the only news we hear all day are the bad things happening around us, this is good news indeed!
The last sentence says a lot:
It’s time to recognise the new Lebanon. The king is dead; long live the king.
You can read the article on this link.
I’d love to know your thoughts 🙂
- Are you a foodie? Food editor? Recipe book collector?
- Do you enjoy working on teams with common objectives?
- Do you have a communications and/or marketing background?
- Do you have proofing and/or editing expertise?
- Are you computer savvy?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, this exciting opportunity is for you.
To join in the commemoration of AUB’s 150th anniversary in 2016, the WAAAUB Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Alumni Chapter is sponsoring the compilation of a WAAAUB Mediterranean Cuisine Cookbook.
In the last months of 2014, AUB Alumni received an email calling for their expertise and participation. When we saw the word “cookbook”, there wasn’t even a mere moment of hesitation, so yes Breadonbutter will be part of this really cool project!
The great thing about the WAAAUB Cookbook is that recipes will be submitted by AUB Alumni and friends. Recipe contributors will be encouraged to include their name, city and state/country for publication as well as a short introduction, age-old wisdom, or personal story behind the recipe.
The Cookbook will be available for sale in June 2016 worldwide, providing an opportunity to celebrate history, culture, tradition and a great cuisine.
· Committees of Volunteers were formed in December 2014, but some committees still need help so there’s no harm in sending an email anyway!
· You can start submitting recipes as of now – the deadline being March 2015
· Cookbook available for sale June 2016
All further details can be viewed on this link.
Are you a member of AUB Alumni? Will you participate?
A while ago, I was sent one of the spiciest most delicious sauce I’d ever tasted and was asked to film myself having a spoon of it. It was all part of the new Fedex campaign that came out a few weeks ago, just in time for the end of the year.
In the video (below), you have Llewellyn Clarke, a chili sauce maker and charismatic gentleman. And you have the chili sauce, a red pepper blend with a touch of fresh thyme. You can read a little about his sauce and how great it is (and how great he is) here.
AMV simply sent me a bottle of Chili sauce, and in return asked for a short film clip or photo of me tasting it. The ad is now live in the UK, France, Italy and most of Asia.
You can watch the film here and all of the selected reaction videos are in place on this campaign page as well, Breadonbutter’s included (search for Lebanon)! Enjoy!