Prepping for Morocco

When I was 20, I created a “30 Things To Do Before I Turn 30” and promptly lost it. whomp whomp I found it again this November and decided to cross a few things off before May.

At the top of the list was travel – Egypt, Morocco, Greece, the Scottish Highlands, Salem, MA… Though I couldn’t make all of those happen in 6 months, I booked a trip to Morocco! As you read this, I am in Marrakech.

If you’re anything like me, you like to do a bit of preparation before any major trips. I thought I’d share what I did to prepare, in case it is helpful for anyone else.

Booking the trip

This was the easiest part, surprisingly. I had been fascinated by the National Geographic Journeys for a while now and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try one out. They have two main levels of travel – casual and premium. Casual has more relaxed travel (read – no 5 star hotels!) while premium is a more luxury experience.

Since I am headed to Morocco for the sights, not for the hotels, I booked a casual journey. This is the exact journey I’m taking. It includes all hotels, some meals and all in country travel.

That just left booking my flights and securing travel insurance. I opted to have the National Geographic tour operators book my flights, since that would ensure an airport transfer to the hotel. Could I have saved a bit of money booking it myself? Probably. However, the rates were comparable to what I found on my own and the ease made the extra few dollars an easy choice.

Learning

I prefer to go into a trip having read something about the area. It means I have something to “remember” as I am on a tour and I’ve found I get less overwhelmed by all the new sights and sounds when I have some idea of what to expect. The added benefit is that I can enjoy more of what is around me since I’m not on sensory overload!

For this trip I read two memoirs about buying and renovating houses in Morocco. It’s important to note that both of these are outsiders representations of Morocco, not someone who is from the area. I attempted to find a Moroccan’s story, but couldn’t find any that would arrive in time.

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The Caliph’s House by Tahir Shah

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A House in Fez by Suzanna Clarke

 

Packing

Packing for this trip was the most stressful part — by far! The tour company requested that we bring only a backpack and a small daypack. Having successfully traveled to Paris and London last spring in a carry-on made this slightly less nerve-wracking but I wasn’t sure the size difference between my Away carry-on and a backpack.

Continue reading “Prepping for Morocco”

Christmas 2012: Beauty Wishlist

Now that I’ve shared the books that I want and the books that I recommend, I thought I’d move on to some beauty products I’ve had my eye on all year.

Bioderma Crealine H20

1. Bioderma Crealine H20 (Travel Size):

Since I saw Lisa Eldridge talk about this product in her skin care favorites video, I knew I had to have it! I recently bought the full-size version for home and I’ve been loving it. It’s the only makeup remover I’ve ever tried that doesn’t’ feel greasy and leaves my skin feeling clean. It’s a godsend when I’m too sleepy to take off my makeup and just want to crawl into bed. Unfortunately, the full-size version is just too big to haul around on trips so I would love to have the mini version!

PINCEAU FOND DE TEINT ESTOMPE No7 Blending Foundation Brush

2. Chanel Blending Foundation Brush:

I’ve been on quite the Chanel beauty kick lately and this brush would be the perfect
way to apply my new foundation! It’s fluffy, dries quickly after cleaning and gives a really natural finish to the skin.

Urban Decay Naked Palette

3. Urban Decay Naked Palette:

This little palette has made the rounds on the blogosphere (and youtube) for over a year! The colors
are the perfect neutrals to make any eye color pop and with it you’d never need to buy eyeshadow again!

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4. Clinique Even Better Eyes:

I’ll admit my under eye circles are something of a doozy — without concealer I wake up looking like I had a hard night at the wrestling ring the night before. I’ve used the Clinque All About Eyes Serum since I was in middle school but their new product promises even better results. Santa, please?

Caudalie Serum

5. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum:

Though I am still too young to go crazy over anti-aging serums, I would love to begin working a basic serum into my nighttime routine. This one promises to fade dark spots and keep them from coming back — music to this former acne sufferer’s ears!


Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream

6. Elizabeth Arden 8-hour Cream:

This one is a cult-classic and I hear it’s definitely worth the hype! A moisturizer that smells divine, absorbs well and softens even the driest skin. It comes in lip, hand, body and face versions — gotta love multipurpose products!

Deborah Lippman Happy Birthday

7. Deborah Lippmann Glitter Nail Polish in Happy Birthday:

I’ve loved this polish since it launched a few years ago but I still haven’t managed to get my hands on a bottle! It’s a great glitter with multi-colored dots — perfect for a birthday party or new years eve.

Check out my other gift guides:

Books on my list

Books I recommend

Apartment Tour: Part Two

Just like I promised, here’s part two of the tour of my new apartment.

Just off of the living room is my little dining room.

Table and chairs: estate sale with DIY seat cushions


Sideboard: Ethan Allen Sale (similar)
Silverplate tea set: estate sale (similar)
Wine rack: Pottery Barn (similar)

I’m in love with my great kitchen, so clean!

Next up is my bedroom. I wanted to be able to use the grey color scheme from my old room but with a more sophisticated flair. I think it turned out pretty great!
Prints: Etsy (1, 2)

Since I’m here to attend graduate school, a desk was a necessity. Unfortunately one bedroom apartments don’t offer too much in terms of office space! Here’s my little office nook for homework and such.

Here’s a view of my porch from the sidewalk.

…And another view so you can actually see the furniture!

So what do you think?

Similar posts:

Apartment Tour: Part One

Apartment Tour: Part One

Even though this blog primarily follows my literary adventures, I wanted to share what I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. When I returned from the NYU Publishing Institute in NYC I packed up a UHaul and moved to Chapel Hill, NC. Though it was a whirlwind of packing and unpacking, I’m a bit more settled now and I can’t wait to show of my new digs!

Alexandra’s apartment 1

I’ll start the tour with my front door. I love that it is all mine!
Door mat: Homegoods

My entryway is not very grand but I love my pew (similar), map of Paris (similar) and Kings & Queens of England print (similar).

My living room is the first thing you seen inside the front door.
Chairs and bench: Target (1, 2)
Coffee Table: Ethan Allen (1)
Candles: various (similar)

The Big Comfy Couch!
Couch: Ethan Allen* (1)
Throw: Pottery Barn (1)
Tray: Pottery Barn Outlet (similar)

This is just one of the bookshelves but my mom did such a great job arranging the books I had to show it off!

Alexandra's living room table

This is another one of our DIY projects — would you guess that the table is actually plywood?

Shopping Bag Art

Here’s the best part of the living room! I found a great DIY on pinterest and made it happen.

*Bought during closeout sale at very steep discount

Next up: the dining room, porch and bedroom!

Tuesday Tales

Spring break is already nearing its end and I feel as though I’ve hardly done anything! This week I’ve attempted to study studied a lot for my comps. I’ve made so many study guides (Women in …., Race in …., Publishing information for…) that I’m not sure I will have time to study them all! Unfortunately even after having put all of this work into studying I don’t think that I am at all prepared for this test.

When not studying I’ve spent my time searching for apartments at my potential graduate schools. I haven’t the foggiest how to go about an apartment search so it’s mostly me searching google and hoping for the best. I head to the Syracuse admitted students visit day at the end of this month and hope to see some apartments in person while I’m there. Fingers crossed that blundering about leads to some good results!

Unfortunately, apart from the studying and apartment hunting I haven’t really gotten a whole lot else accomplished. I had high hopes of reading a great deal for fun over my break but, as usual, I have more books in my bag than I have time to read.

Here are a few instagram pictures of what I’ve been doing this week:

Pedicures with mom to start off spring break!

Rainy day reading at Barnes & Noble.

A movie trip to see The Artist.

Cirque du Symphony at SkyPAC.

Apple Crisp from Rafferty’s.