Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Looky Nook!

on Pinterest via SF Girl by Bay
Yesterday it was 78°F, the sun was shining, and I was covered in a light sweat during my mid-morning walk. Today, the temperature has dropped at least 30 degrees, the world is gloomy and wet and it's the absolute perfect weather for writing about warmth, our theme over here on The Loaded Trunk for the usually bitter-cold month of January.

One of my favorite architectural details in a home is a nook. Whether it's a breakfast nook, a reading nook, or just a small hideaway space, these compact, unusual spaces are a wonderful way to keep warm and transport yourself to another time and place, just by climbing in and tucking into it.

Here are some fantastic nooks I found on Pinterest. I was drawn to ones that had wood elements, rustic but not wood cabin, a comfy looking mattress to sit or lay on, good lighting whether from a window or overhead lamp, built-in shelves to place a mug of hot tea or glass of wine, and a curtain to draw some privacy for my perfect getaway.

via buchardtsmagasin // Source: The Ung-Project
photo by Cindy of Zach Aboard
via We Heart It // Photo source unknown
Source unknown
Ranch designed by William Sofield // Photo by David O. Marlow // via Architecural Digest

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Love Affair With Roma

On The Way To Morocco We Stopped In Rome
I haven't been to Roma for over eight years, but have reminisced over the food and wine since. While planning a buying trip to Morocco with my daughter Ryan, we found a great flight via Alitalia and jumped at the chance for a 3-day stopover in Rome. We had one plan: to eat and drink ourselves silly before embarking on a more rugged adventure in Morocco.

We found what turned out to be a rather dumpy, but magnificently located apartment (via Airbnb) just at the top of the Spanish Steps. Upon our arrival and equipped with suggestions from friends and TimeOut Rome, Ryan and I immediately set out to find lunch, deciding on Gino alle vicolo Rosini, a little trattoria well-known to the parliamentary crowd. We found it with little trouble and arrived well before opening time and found ourselves on a little stroll around the neighborhood before venturing back at one o'clock. We got lost and ended up walking into the Pantheon. That’s the beautiful thing about Rome, around every corner lies an ancient ruin or palace, so getting lost is fun.

By the time we ended up back at Gino’s they were packed and had a two-hour wait. Instead, we made reservations for the following day and went off to another recommended trattoria right by the Pantheon, Armando al Pantheon. Also, too crowded, we made a reservation at Armando for the following day. Starving and frustrated at our poor luck, we finally ended up at a little pizzeria near Piazza Navona – all Italian clientele with decent pizza and great wine by the carafe.

Finally satiated, we realized better planning was necessary for the rest of our stay. We went to all the restaurants where we wanted to eat and made reservations. Apparently, when in Rome before Christmas, one must reserve to eat out and these places weren’t even fancy places, but small cozy trattorias serving amazing food, house wines, and easygoing service. By the end of our third day, we realized that our sightseeing consisted of walking around looking for restaurants to eat at and cafes for espresso. That was just fine with us since we’d accomplished our goal: eating bowls of supremely al-dente pasta, roasted meats, and carafes of great Lazio whites and reds.

Our Favorites in Rome (be sure to book ahead for both lunch or dinner):

LUNCH  We were the only tourists in these places.

Gino in vicolo Rosini – near Parliament building
Filled with parliamentary workers, talking heads, and local regulars. We witnessed one old lady stuff a roll with cheese, wrap it up in a cloth napkin, and stuff it into her purse – she was a regular whose table had been reserved all afternoon!
What we ate:
* Artichokes alla Romana (marinated in olive oil and parsley, a Roman classic to die for)
* Spinach Ravioli in simple red sauce
* Tonnarelli (typical Roman pasta) with bitter greens
* Rabbit stewed in white wine – so yummy!
* Puntarelle (salad of winter chicory dressed in anchovy sauce) – also to die for!
* Poached Pear in red wine

Armando al Pantheon – just off the Pantheon
What we ate:
* Artichokes alla Romana
* Gnocchi alla Gorgonzola
* Oxtail alla Romana

Giolotti – near Gino in Vicolo Rosini
* Famous for Felato. We had the quintessential flavors – nocciola (hazelnut), pistachio, dark chocolate.

Hosteria Romana – just behind Piazza Barberini – we ate here twice!
Lovely servers, great graffitied walls, good reds and whites by the carafe.
What we ate:
* Mixed Antipasti
* Artichokes alla Romana
* Tonnarelli Cacio and Pepe (ate this twice, a Roman classic, great!)
* Roasted Pig: amazingly crispy skin, fall-off the bone meat
* Roasted Lamb: fall-off the bone meat, yum!

Matricianella near Parliament as well
Knowledgeable server, great affordable wine list.      
What we ate:
* Artichokes all Romana and alla Giudia (fried as a whole blossom-amazing!)
* Rigatoni with Oxtail: really, the Romans know al-dente….soooo different than American al-dente, which seems mushy in comparison.
* Polppetine (meatballs) with shaved black truffles and arugula
* Ricotta Cake – a Roman Jewish classic
* Server suggested a great bottle of white: Grechetto (from the Orvieto growing region in Lazio – province of Rome)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Staying Warm

Blankets large

Even though we've had an unseasonably warm winter in our neck of the woods, the cold is slowly creeping in. The best thing about the gray skies and frosty mornings of winter is bundling under layers and layers of blankets, your face slightly cold, while the rest of your body is tucked in warm and cozy.

Blankets are some of my favorite things to buy on my travels. Our newest group from Morocco come in a variety of great neutrals but are by no means boring! Full of texture and pattern, they'll make your bed look so fantastic, you'll want to jump right in and be lazy all day.

Handira are hand woven blankets made from 100% sheep's wool and often decorated with sequins. If you are into tribal or Bohemian textiles with a story and a purpose these wedding blankets made by Berber women are it. The long loose ends were left on the shawl's reverse side to create warmth and insulation for the Berbers, who live in the mountainous regions. The colorful bands of wool are often kilim weaves, related to the traditional colorful flat-woven rugs of the region. These have become a popular accent around the house. They look great at the foot of the bed or over a daybed. Use them as floor coverings or as wall art.

For a bit more color and pattern, check out some of our other beautiful blankets. Stay as warm as you can this January! Don't forget to follow us on facebook or twitter to be the first to know when new items available.

2013 Resolutions


After returning from an intense trip where I also picked up a cold, I thought, I don’t have time to think of any New Year’s resolutions. I’m trying to capture all the moments from Morocco before I lose any ideas and working hard to photograph and describe all the new products for the shop site. My brain was hitting the ground running and I had to screech on the brakes to take some time to do some inner searching about how I wanted 2013 to be better, for myself and for my business.

My resolutions always begin with get organized, get fit, stop procrastinating, pay attention more, be a better listener, yada yada. But really, all I want to do each year is forge stronger bonds with my friends and family.  As for work, I want to be even more thoughtful about what I purchase – both personally and for The Loaded Trunk – specifically purchases that have a less negative effect on our environment. Spend more time thinking of where things come from and who is helped by my purchase.

As I’m always distracted by those bright, shiny objects, I am also resolving to stay focused and blog more consistently. I can’t wait to share more stories about my travels and all the wonderful the thing that end up coming home with me. Happy New Year to all my readers around the globe. Here’s to more exciting adventures in 2013!

Last Minute Gifts


Just a few last minute gift ideas for all my procrastinators!

pillow // necklace // scarf // slippers // blanket