our morocco itinerary

morocco guideIf there’s one thing I learned from our trip to Merida last year, it’s that I can’t handle super-packed itineraries. I don’t get necessarily cranky about it, I just basically shut down to the experience and instead find myself merely showing up for the checkmark. So for visiting Morocco, I wanted to be sure we spent quality time in each city, watching the people and hanging out, rather than racing off to various tourist destinations. This meant not going out into the Sahara on camels or driving out of Chefchaouen to go see a waterfall. We missed seeing some things this way, but in return we experienced much more of the cities.

This itinerary is not for everyone. If your travel style is go-go-go, I guarantee you will hate this. But if you love to explore cities on foot and simply soak up the experience, try this itinerary out.chefchaouen itinerary
Chefchaouen

Riad: Dar Zambra

Visiting Chefchaouen first was a stroke of genius on my part. It’s Morocco on training wheels–if we went to Fez or Marrakesh first, it would’ve been a huge shock to the system. The city is a very manageable size, things are slower, and everything is just low pressure.

We spent four nights here so that we could get over jet lag without feeling the compulsion to achieve a lot. Plus the first day was heavy on travel: arrived in Tangier in the morning then got straight into a taxi for a 2.5 hour drive. Having the luxury of time to simply relax and enjoy a view was essential.

Our riad was completely lovely and affordable. We loved heading up to the terrace after a hot day in the medina. The views were incredible. fez itinerary
Fez

Riad: Les Oudayas

Fez was a great primer for Marrakesh. Stepping off the bus, we were completely overwhelmed. Finding our riad was another stressor. But once we did, we realized what a complete oasis it was.

Our stay here was short, with only one full day in the city. We walked around and around the medina and chased after rumors of alcohol in a hotel that overlooks the city. marrakesh itinerary
Marrakesh

Riad: Le Jardin d’Abdou, El Fenn

We took the train from Fez to Marrakesh, which is a 7 hour journey. We stayed at two different riads: the El Fenn, a splurge, and Jardin d’Abdou, an affordable riad that’s quite a bit further from the medina center. Given the chance to do it again, we would’ve spent all four nights at the El Fenn. The location was amazingly central, the service excellent, and the riad itself was jaw-dropping beautiful.

We stayed at Jardin d’Abdou first and that night we went out to La Mamounia for dinner, an absolutely palatial (in size and style) hotel. Utterly posh. One of Kirk’s coworkers was on our flight to Milan (where we transferred flights to Morocco), and we realized we’d both be in Marrakesh at the same time. So we met the coworker and his wife at La Mamounia, where they were staying on their unofficial honeymoon. Yes we crashed someone’s honeymoon.

The dinner was spectacular and such a welcome relief from days and days of tagine. We ate outside with views of the hotel’s gorgeous garden, had the most over-the-top mint tea service, and spent a ton of money. So worth it.

Marrakesh will get its own post soon, but if you have the opportunity to stay at the El Fenn, do it! Our hotel costs, when averaged out across the whole trip, were $125/night. I know that’s not completely budget-friendly, but so many of the in-country costs are low (cabs, food, and museum entries are all very inexpensive) that I think spending a bit extra on riads was worth it.

So that’s my low pressure guide to visiting Morocco. Enjoy!

my pinky-pink entry

pink stripe entryI wasn’t terribly convinced by the stripes when I first painted them–they were feeling a little ho-hum and like I just discovered design blogs yesterday. Which is a completely irrational thought, let’s be honest.

Then I got around to painting my credenza (which has been red and then black in past lives), added a mirror, and bought a very fetching vintage lamp. Oh man, those things made all the difference. I still want to eventually wallpaper this space, but as an in-between design? I’m happy with it!

So now it’s firmly established that there is a pink thread woven throughout the apartment. Some people need their black; I need my pink.

Resources

feminine sconces

JOSETTE SCONCE

Josette Sconce – Shine by S.H.O

I have been lusting after romantic, girly sconces for months. It’s silly since I don’t have any immediate need for wall lighting and yet, here I am.

My favorites are the not-super-functional ones–sure they put off light, but they don’t provide meaningful light like a library sconce or swing arm lamp. These aren’t work horses; they’re just really pretty and lovely.

veronica sconce

Veronica Sconce – Matthew Studios

crystal floral sconce

Aerin Lynn Wall Light - Circa Lighting

lucitesconce

French Orange Lucite Sconces – One Kings Lane

So if you’re working on a romantic powder room or a super glamorous entry design, consider these, won’t you?

happenings around the house

pink popsicle paint

Last weekend my husband was complaining about the look of the kitchen. The room was painted a very institutional semi-gloss beige and the walls looked perpetually filthy. I don’t do much cooking, so I’ve been happy to ignore the room, which is easy given that it’s a galley kitchen closed off from the rest of the house. But I was in a chipper mood that Saturday I guess, because I flipped open my Farrow & Ball paint brochure, picked out a green, and marched myself down to Benjamin Moore to get the color matched.

While I was there, I picked out a gloss paint for my entry credenza. I ended up going with Pink Popsicle, which looks quite awesome with the living room wall color and a potential wallpaper for the entry. farrow and ball arsenic

As for the kitchen, things are looking better but some details are missing. We’re switching out a light fixture and possibly the cabinet hardware, so enjoy a close-up of our dumbwaiter and freshly-stripped knobs. The room definitely looks better, but it’s nothing mind blowing.painted lamp

In the living room, another piece of the puzzle came via Etsy: a hand-painted ginger jar lamp with spot-on colors. With a bird!

june 2014

kate spade madison aveJune is a big month around these parts. We have our anniversary, my birthday, the anniversary of my accident. And then, of course, it’s the beginning of summer, replete with outdoor lolling and lazing. Every week we manage an excuse to celebrate something–behavior I don’t think we’ll outgrow once July starts.

For my birthday, I did one of those things people expect you to do all the time if you live in NYC: taking a day off to go to the museum, shop, and buy expensive pastries. I went up to the Met to see the Charles James exhibit, then walked down Madison for window shopping (and a little real shopping). Ultimately I did skip it out on the pastry portion of the afternoon–I walked by Laduree but it felt like a silly thing when really I just wanted a good piece of cake. So down to Momofuku I went.

Now that I’m 28 with easy access to midtown Manhattan, I think it’s time I start doing that once a month. Seems right.

hydrangeas jack vartanian rings momofuku birthday pottery barn trip upper east side shopping