Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Morocco – Fes

Full frontal assault is all I can say about Fes. I would never go to Fes first while visiting Morocco if not already a seasoned traveler; with 9000 streets in the 1200 yr old Medina alone, and 1000 of those dead ends, it is impossible to know your way, even for those with great direction. Naturally, the defense-minded urban planners of the medina knew what they were doing and so we were constantly hitting dead ends, maps were useless (who can fit 9000 streets on a map?), confirming and re-confirming, and still getting lost.


Our first day we spent in one tiny corner of the medina, circling around and around, yet never passing by the same shops as the streets were so numerous. We were lucky enough to happen upon a delicious little patisserie where we took refuge from our lack of direction to have café au laits, banana smoothies, and gallete au morrocain (marzipan filled crisps). Thus fortified, we managed to successfully haggle for several pairs of fashionable babouches (leather slippers) from a lovely man, Ahmed, who we found deep inside the slipper souk. Having successfully found our way back to our riad, we went to sleep dreaming of tomorrow’s shopping adventures.

Naturally, nothing is as easy as it sounds. Having realized that we had spent our first day literally going in circles (yet never rounding back again) we decided to go in the opposite direction the following day. This was a lucky move. Going right instead of left rewarded us with ceramic sellers, Bedouin blanket weavers, and the elusive copper sugar pots (you seem to love them as much as I do because they're almost sold out!). The latter we mistakenly did not buy (which we made up for in Marrakech), but we spent a lovely afternoon haggling with the Bedouin blanket weaver. After our deal was done, he offered us homemade lunch and tea. It turned out to be the best tagine we had all trip!

Afterwards, we went back to the ceramics dealer to test out our (by Moroccan standards) unpolished bargaining. I fell in love with these pedestal soap dishes, buying all he had, which, as is the case with most of my purchases, turned out to be only 12. Ryan and I ended our trip in Fez at the lovely, albeit touristy Clock Café where we ate our first really good Moroccan meal: camel burgers and pickled veggies on the side. Yum! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Broken Hearted

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One of my favorite quotes from American novelist, satirist and journalist Chuck Palahniuk.
And sometimes, my heart is your piñata.

Textiles // 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 //

Monday, February 11, 2013

Family Love

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For some of us, when we're younger, we want to be so independent that we fly away from our families as soon as we can. You'd rather hang out with your friends than your mom. You'd rather meet strangers at a bar than go to another family get together. But when we get older, start having families of our own, and see all our friends make that evolution from me to us, you see the power, the strength and the love of family. So this year, don't forget to call your folks, your kids, or whoever you happen to call family, and tell them you love them. So much.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Travel in Pairs

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One of my favorite ways to share the love on Valentine's Day is forgoing traditional gifts  and taking a romantic day trip for two instead. We throw a few essentials into our bags, pack a picnic, hit the road and enjoy the excitement of not knowing where the day will take us. Out of our regular routines, these trips are just enough to refocus on each other. There is no competition to see who loves who more; there is only the joy of being in the company of the one you love the most.

1 // Clouds over Ireland  2 // Artisan Batik  3 // African Baskets 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

One for You, One for Me

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In the next few days, we'll be talking about ways you can share the love.
And not just the love that Cupid's arrows shoot. First up, friends!
My friends and I share pretty similar tastes, from our clothes
down to the kitchen sinks we buy. Then again, that's why
you're friends, right? A lot of times when I'm in that
shopping mood, I buy two. One for me (of course)
and one for my bestie. Then, surprise!

1 // Sister-friends Kristie & Emilie  2+3 // Ikat Blankets

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bedouin Sugar Pots

Bedouin Sugar Pot pictured here with Turkish Tinned Copper Tea Pots and other Loaded Trunk finds.
 Each time I travel to a new country, there seems to be one item that calls to me. In Turkey, it was the tinned copper; in Vietnam, it was the tribal art; in India, it was the kantha blanket; now, in Morocco, it is the Bedouin sugar pot.

Sugar Pots in Marrakesh
I first spotted them in Fes, but hesitated to buy them. Once I left Fes, I knew I'd made a mistake. I scoured the markets of Marrakesh until I found as many as I could carry. I love the beauty in which these are crafted for such an everyday item: a sugar bowl. These little pots make a great addition to any breakfast table, and even carry over into dinner parties, to be filled with nuts or olives.

Sugar pots come in varying sizes and at first I wondered why. They couldn't all possibly hold sugar, could they? After a visit to the museum, I saw that the larger pots held tea and fresh mint, while the smaller ones contained sugar. As the photo above shows, the sugar pots are part of the tea service ritual. Isn't this such a nicer way to present and enjoy your tea when you have guests?