Desired Destination: Morocco

01/10/2012 § 2 Comments

When the weather turns cooler, my wanderlust for warmer climates always picks up.  I’ve frequently forgone the usual trip home for Thanksgiving in favor of a long international journey somewhere warm.  Last year it was Argentina, two years before that I went to Egypt, and lately my mind has returned to North Africa.  Morocco has officially made its way to the very top of my Desired Destination shortlist somehow, fueled at least in part by the images and inspiration I have been collecting on Pinterest.

My trip to the Maghreb probably isn’t all that far off with flights hovering around $1,000 and no annoying visa procedure for US citizens, but until that day comes,  you can find me wandering among my pictures, wistfully wishing for the smell of fragrantly perfumed tobacco, oranges and coriander, the taste of mint tea and dates, the feel of crisp linen against my body and cool tiled floors beneath my feet, and the sound of the call to prayer at dawn and the souk at dusk.

The harbor town of Essaouira.

Dying to stay at L’Heure Bleue hotel in Essaouira…gorgeous!

Marrakech, the Ochre City.

YSL in Morocco.

YSL at home in Marrakech, what is now known as the Majorelle Garden.

Casablanca

All images via Pinterest.

Quite Continental Desired Destinations
~*~Travel Charmingly
~*~

Field Notes || A Long Los Angeles Weekend

29/04/2012 § 3 Comments

As I mentioned last week, I scooted off to Los Angeles to surprise my family and enjoy a long weekend in my hometown.  Armed with an exceptionally affordable rental car that I had to fill with exceptionally expensive gas, I bopped around from Manhattan Beach to Porter Ranch, and from Santa Monica to Downtown.  And while I will admit that while I am on the East Coast I frequently have moments when I miss driving, a few minutes of sitting on the 405 definitely cured me of that for awhile…but it didn’t keep me from visiting some great places.

Breakfast at the counter at John O’Groats, a westside institution.
Don’t miss their biscuits.

Drinks at the Beverly Wilshire.

Manhattan Beach.

Where the car is king, you can’t help having so many good sightings…

A very foggy Sepulveda Pass.

An evening in Beachwood Canyon with Lizzie: dinner at Franklin & Company,
browsing at Counterpoint Records, peeking in the doors of the Villa Carlotta.

Cole’s, originators of the French Dip sandwich.

Bourbon drinks at Cole’s with Nick.

Breakfast at the Fountain Coffee Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

A very stylish makeover, courtesy of my nieces.

An excellent travel companion: Bag by The San Fernando Mercantile Company

Field Notes || Argentine Polo Open

27/03/2012 § 3 Comments

Taken at the 2011 Argentine Open Polo Tournament on my trip to Buenos Aires.  The fifth-oldest polo competition in the world, the tournament was first played in 1893.  For more information, visit Asociación Argentina de Polo.

Rabbit Hole: Vintage Travel Posters

28/01/2012 § 1 Comment

In love!

A beautiful collection of vintage travel posters is currently available at Vintage Seekers.  To view and purchase these and more, head here.

Field Notes: Antiquing in Mercado de San Telmo

13/12/2011 § 5 Comments

Weekly on Sundays, the street Defensa in the neighborhood of San Telmo in Buenos Aires becomes a bustling marketplace where one can purchase almost anything.  Automobiles are prohibited, vendors set their stalls in the streets and enterprising young people rove the crowds carrying boxes of homemade empanadas for sale.  However, the most impressive attractions of the San Telmo market are the amazing antique shops and there are two in particular I wanted to share with you.

Gabriel del Campo (Defensa 1131 in San Telmo)

Gabriel del Campo was a rather surreal experience.  There were so many interesting and immaculate items — from dolls to furniture to fur rugs to an extensive collection of luggage and trunks — and they were staged so beautifully, it felt almost like a museum.  Albeit the kind of museum I wanted to live in.  And while the exchange rate is currently quite favorable, the shop is well aware of the high quality and value of their items.

For example, a diminutive woman with an accent that sounded like she was from Hong Kong was noisily admiring a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk that was almost as tall as she was.  When she asked the price, “18,000” was the answer.  “Pesos?” she asked, which would have been a little over $4,000.  “No, no.  American dollars.”

For those of us who are not on Ralph Lauren’s scouting team and find ourselves without their unlimited funds, rest assured that Gabriel del Campo is an inherently satisfying exercise in antique inspiration and it is definitely worth a look around.  Who knows, you might get lucky...

Antigüo Balcón (Defensa 961, Location 90, in Antiguo Mercado de San Telmo)

On the other hand, the tiny and adorable shop Antigüo Balcón, was a completely different — but much more lovely — experience.  Run by owner Abel Neira for over 20 years, the shop is a dizzying jumble of all sorts of odds and ends and hidden treasures.  Mr. Neira seems to somewhat specialize in a few types of items — namely cameras, musical instruments, fans and telephones — but truly, there is a little bit of everything crammed into this tiny space.

Mr. Neira was a delight to speak with.  As he pointed out small treasures my untrained eye might have missed, we chatted about my trip and the best places to go in the city — quite like visiting an old friend with an amazing collection.  At Antigüo Balcón, unlike at Gabriel del Campo, you can find amazing things that won’t require a second mortgage — or a first one for that matter — and you will consider your time with Mr. Neira as an added bonus.

Abel Neira, owner of Antigüo Balcón.

Related: Field Notes: Buenos Aires, Argentina

New Addition: San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. 16″ Tool Bag

27/11/2011 § 5 Comments


I’ve not returned from Buenos Aires just yet, but I thought I would do a brief post from the Southern Hemisphere on what’s turned out to be my favorite travelling companion from the past few weeks.  In October, I posted about my trip to the Rose Bowl Flea in California to visit The San Fernando Valley Mercantile Co. and meet founder Warren Schummer.  Aside from having a lovely visit, I also put in an order for one of their handsome 16″ tool bags.  I was very pleased to receive it before I jetted off for South America and it’s been absolutely great on the trip.

Large enough to fit a MacBook Air, several guidebooks, a Louis Vuitton Pochette, Kate Spade Lacey wallet, a Nikon D60 (and its bag and cords), a few other bits and bobs, and somehow still fit under the seat in front of me, this bag is made for travel.  With a firm board bottom and metal feet, it also keeps its shape beautifully when not quite so fully stuffed.  I especially liked the detachable shoulder strap, which I usually wore cross-body to keep my hands free.  It definitely came in handy while rambling around the antiques market of San Telmo in Buenos Aires, where the photos were taken.

The leather was quite blond when I received it, but after only a few weeks it’s already aging nicely.  I’m definitely looking forward to years of use from this handsome bag — and of course, many more trips around the world with it.  If you’d like your own bag from this very limited run, all completely handmade in Southern California, head here.

You’ll notice two small alterations on my bag, courtesy of Warren: the addition of a small snap at the top to keep it securely closed and — and! — my monogram just below that.  If you ask him very very nicely, he might be able to fix yours up as well.

Don’t forget to also check out the rest of The SFV Mercantile shop here, as well as the store blog, and Warren’s awesome Vintage Workwear blog.

All photographs courtesy of Erin Rickards, who is a great photographer and even greater friend, but sadly is without a website.  She did just start Instagramming, though.  If you’d like to follow her there, her username is @ericka22.

LIFE Archives: Nasser’s Egypt

04/02/2011 § Leave a comment

Captured by LIFE photographer Grey Villet in 1963

LIFE Archives: The Orient Express

01/02/2011 § 3 Comments

As captured in June 1950 by LIFE Photographer Jack Birns…

To read the article these pictures were originally shot for, in the Sept 11, 1950 issue of LIFE magazine, head here.

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