dress - Celine
photography - Paul Versluis
dress - Celine
photography - Paul Versluis
High Atlas Mountains
Morocco has always been a dream of mine, ever since I was a child and read books about far away places up until last year when I finally finished The Alchemist. Northern Africa is what long lost adventures are made of... from wandering nomads crossing the Sahara Desert to ancient spice markets and tales of sheep herders crossing the Straight of Gibraltar in search of gold. I finally thought what am I waiting for?!? Book your tickets Amy! I booked our plane tickets through Lisbon (out of nyc... the cheapest flights) which turned out to be a saving grace when our flights were delayed 24 hours allowing us to spend the layover in Portugal. Another spectacular spot I can’t wait to return and spend more time exploring. Touching down in Marrakech was no doubt one of the most exciting moments of my life and to be able to share the experience with my youngest (4 years old) made it all the more fun. We began at Ryad Dyor in the famous Medina for a couple of nights and it’s hands down one of my favorite spots to date. We ate our way through the narrow streets (we ate at mainly local spots and it was all DELICIOUS) and into the famed Souks for shopping and exploring. We were carrying more than our weight in baskets and rugs by the end. We wandered the YSL museum, where Stella almost knocked down every mannequin in a domino effect. Most places do not serve alcohol which I thoroughly enjoyed, it made for a relaxing child friendly environment that doesn’t consist of tourists getting drunk and acting like fools (no offense tourists). The next leg of our adventure was by far my favorite, the Wild Morocco tour through the high Atlas Mountains into the Sahara Desert. I was a bit unsure of the nearly 10 hour drive with a 4 year old, but we chose to break up the drive both ways and stay in old Kasbah’s en route. First up was Kasbah Ellouze in Ouarzazate, near the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou. This was a French owned Kasbah with a pool and breathtaking views in every direction and the BEST home cooked meal we experienced. There were tiny stores with special finds that had to be 1000 years old (so LEGIT vintage) for just a few dollars. We explored ruins close by and got to pet the local donkeys and camels before taking a dip in the pool to cool off. The next day we headed to the desert for 2 nights of Glamping. The Sahara was every bit as magical as I expected, if not more. The sunsets, the family style meals, the sand boarding and camel riding. It was all absolutely perfect and we were in heaven. One thing I have to say about the Moroccans, they LOVE children and Stella couldn’t have had more fun listening to music and playing with everyone (even the camp kitten). We were sad to say goodbye to Boo Boo (he was in charge of the camp) but our next stop was Kasbah Azul for more home cooked meals and even a Hammam/Mud Bath. Everywhere we turned there were more farm animals and magical spots awaiting... if anyone questions the child friendliness of Morocco, look no further. We headed back to Marrakech to stay outside the Medina for our last 2 evenings at the Amanjena. I have to say, it’s an absolutely stunning resort and very photogenic but in no way did it compare to the specialness of staying at ancient Kasbahs and a Ryad in the Medina (just my personal opinion). Morocco was one of the most amazing, breathtaking, kindest and soul changing places I’ve been yet. The people, the food and the earth itself feel other worldly and I cannot wait to experience it all over again one day. Thank you Morocco ☀️🙏🏼☀️
Eat - Nomad Terrasse Le Mederse
I only needed to hear 3 things before becoming a fan of Firminio.... 1. Italian 2. Bags 3. Female owned and operated. Not only do I like what they stand for as a company, in all honestly I truly love the simplicity of each piece and their accessibile price points. In an era of overpriced bags that are about 1/2 the cost of my first car, I couldn’t be more excited to finally find a high quality bag that doesn’t break the bank. The Paola Classic is truly that... a classic backpack that can be worn everyday. It’s great for ladies (or gents) on the run, travelers and even new parents who don’t want to carry the dreaded “diaper bag”. With belt bags dominating fashion feeds all over the world I loved finding the Gioia, a versatile “fanny” pack that can be casually tied around your waist or worn crossbody with a chain strap. If you are looking to step outside the boundaries a bit but still want a timeless style then the VO.2 is your girl. She’s classy and put together, but a bit more unique and architectural with the walnut handle.
Read more about Firminio here and their journey to bring classic yet affordable bags to a shoulder (or waist) near you.
Photos by Paul Versluis
Iceland was one of the most epic yet peaceful road trips of my life. You couldn’t quite figure out where you were half the time... an odd mixture of Mars and Ireland with a dash of Scandinavia. During summer the sun barely sets (around midnight and rising at 3am) which led to extended days of adventuring, ending in slaphappy giggles. There was a surprise around every corner, whether it was a herd of galloping ponies, a waterfall or a goat planting a kiss on your lips... you never were sure what was about to happen next. The one thing I knew for sure was it would be the next greatest thing to happen to us on this journey into southern Iceland. We started in Reykjavik at Kvosin hotel before heading south on Ring road to take in every site and sound possible. The waterfalls aren’t far from the road, including just a short one mile hike to Seljavallalaug (a thermal hidden pool in a valley) which I highly recommend. We saw Gullfoss, Skogafoss and Svartifoss (attempt to say without giggling) and numerous ponies waiting for pets and pics along the way. Arriving at our halfway point in Vik we made it just in time for a sunset picnic... 11pm... at Reynisfjara aka the Black Beach. It was magical and breathtaking sitting there beneath the black columns of stone while the waves pounded near our feet. We stayed at Icelandair hotel, which you will find what lacks in accommodations and food is made up for 10 fold in scenery. We set out the following day for more adventures at the Jokulsarlon glacier and Diamond beach (the majestic black sand beach with large glaciers washed ashore that resemble diamonds). Don’t forget to stop for a quick hike up Svinafellsjokull to see the glacier and another stop to see the Solheimasandur plane crash... which sadly we missed due to intense wind/cold and traveling with a 4 year old. The next leg of our journey was heading inland to an amazing airbnb in the golden circle where we could ride horses, relax in the hot tub and eat fresh bread and tomato soup at a local greenhouse. They also had plenty of hot springs nearby and goat/sheep farms where the goats are more than friendly (see above). We never wanted the sun and fun to end... but alas... we needed to sleep!
P.S. we did the free stopover on our way to Europe... be sure to book bags or prepare to pay the price. Also... save ur sheckles for overpriced apples and hotdogs.