A trending must-have accessory for many young women this season seems to be a bearded hipster man! Beards which were favored by men in the late 19th century had gradually given way to mustaches in the early 20th and then to a no facial-hair clean look which symbolized the 20th century modern man. However as with all things post-modern, bohemian and fashion you go back to earlier forgotten trends to stir the pot… and so facial hair is back from New York to Beirut and with it an entire industry of facial hair grooming is booming! As usual, leave it to the Lebanese to take a trend to the next level: in Beirut these days you can have your beard degradée or with a ombré effect and some men are even having facial hair transplants to join the hairy club! So how do you tell apart a hipster beard from a religious beard? particularly the long Victorian preacher-style beard that some hipsters go for ?!? Hipster bearded men often sport other anti-convention hints, a carefully crafted non-challant look, tight pants and often a mix of flashy expensive fashionable items (e.g. new shoes, large bag or sunglasses) with simple items (e.g. a white, black or plaid shirt). One place you’re not likely to be confused is the Mar Mikhaël street in Beirut where you will be be surrounded by the latest beards sipping on the latest beers!
Let me know what you make of this trend? Would you date a hipster bearded man or ask your man to grow the extra facial hair in 2015?
With its hilarious knock-offs (think Canal street with a Lebanese touch), to fruit colors that will knock you off your feet, to colorful characters of all ages (think old men sipping Turkish coffee & smoking shisha at local cafés with the colorful Hamra-shopping local fashionista walking by) Hamra street (Hamra means in English the red one) may be shunned today by the Beirut fashion snobs as a destination for the masses, but I certainly recommend a stroll through it to tourists as a way to get a more local feel of west Beirut and a taste of a stretch that has not wavered throughout all the Lebanese turmoil as one of Beirut’s main commercial streets. You’ll note that there is an efforts being made to bring back some lost glory and prominence to Hamra and that it certainly looks nothing like its dodgy depiction in Homeland.
Whether directly from a chimney, a street vendor or even the oven, roasted kastana (arabic & greek for chestnuts) are guaranteed to transport you to cosy land, bringing back fond memories of prior times you gathered around a chimney with family and friends and most importantly they will warm you up!
As I’ve already discussed in a previous post about nuts, chestnuts are also a great source of fiber which lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. Kastana is a great option for an afternoon snack on a cold day and complements an afternoon tea very nicely.
While people often go for the marron glacé version during the holiday season, i’m not a fan from a nutrition perspective as they’re pumped with sugar (but I won’t deny that the marron glacé deserts can be quite delicious, so perhaps limit those unhealthy versions to very special occasions (e.g. over the holidays in a bûche de Noël / Yule log)). If you’re really looking to try a healthy variation from the classic roasted version, remember that chestnuts can be eaten raw – they will have a different texture (crunchier / harder) and the taste will be a bit stronger, but I find they make a great addition to a drink (warm or cold).
Of course, for the ultimate experience, you have to pop on this tune while you enjoy your kastana!
So had to rush to the mall today for some last minute Christmas shopping to tick ✔️ all the boxes left on my list… all while still having to deal with my baby’s separation anxiety! My 8 month old won’t leave me alone these days not even for a 5 sec streetstyle pic! (more on that challenge with baby soon…well that’s if she gives me some time to type it up!)