I wanted to be in the desert for my birthday. The profound silence, the shimmering sand dunes, the mid-night sky, the colors that change throughout the day. It intrigued me!! Even though going to the Sahara is completely impractical, I was willing to bear the 10 hour drive (each way) across Morocco to get there. The Agafay desert (rocks not sand) lies a mere hour outside of Marrakech, but I envisioned riding camels high along the tangerine dunes while watching the sun slowly set. Unfortunately, my desert dream — was more like a desert disaster — so here are things I wished I’d known before I booked this extravagant excursion.
I’ve always been interested in Moroccan decor! The bold use of color, exotic tiles, and bohemian textiles. On a recent trip, I saw all of this inspiration in person. I studied how they used color and natural materials to make a space feel cozy and inviting. Every courtyard and Riad had it’s own unique style, and I was excited to SEE it ALL!!!
Morocco looks magical in photos, the African light, intricate tile work, desert colors and exotic architecture. Travel articles (here) praise the food and popular bloggers (here) post enviable pictures. Personal friends have raved about it and I even had a friend who lived there after college. So why was I disappointed?? Were my expectations too high or has it changed over the years? I’ve never felt like “prey” like I did in the Medina of Marrakech. So I wanted to pass along a few tips.
I admit that I’m a little OCD at times (OK — mostly) and I feel best when my house is neat and clutter-free. Not only does clutter have it’s own energy (that weighs you down) but excess “stuff” makes house cleaning more burdensome. This is especially true in the kitchen. I like my counter tops free of gadgets (no bulky coffee machines or mixers). If I can’t find storage for it under the counter, then I’d rather live without it. My refrigerator is also neat and clutter-free. I avoid buying in bulk by shopping more frequently. Not only for fresher vegetables, but for a less crowded fridge that’s neatly organized.
You KNOW celery juice has gotten trendy when the local health food store charged me $8 for a 16 oz cup.…um….no thanks!!! I think I’ll make it at home!!! Problem is…..I don’t have a juicer!!!! I considered buying one on Craig’s list until I learned how EASY is is to make celery juice at home using my ol’ trusty (barely working) blender and a nut milk bag……Yippee….
Since I believe drinking celery juice is one of the healthiest habits you can have, making it at home is a huge TIME and MONEY saver (although I saw organic celery priced at $4.99 a bunch…how crazy is that?).
I recently walked 200 miles of El Camino de Santiago in Luxury. Many pilgrims lug (I mean carry) their belongings and sleep in albergues (hostels). Instead, I used RAW travel to transfer my luggage and pre-book the nicest hotels for me. Hard core pilgrims may feel this way is “cheating”, but the Camino is about spiritual contemplation, and I do that better when I’m well rested and wearing clean clothes.
To be perfectly honest, when I first saw this raw applesauce recipe, I thought it couldn’t possibly taste good…I mean celery and raw apples???? Weird!!! I’m naturally skeptical so my “we shall see” attitude kicked in….. Well, I am happy to admit that I was WRONG!!! This simple raw applesauce recipe turned out delicious and not just because I was doing the liver cleanse. Nope!! I’m still whipping up this delicious applesauce after a workout or for a nourishing snack.
In his amazing book Liver Rescue, Anthony Williams suggests that most people are chronically dehydrated which affects the liver. When I read these words, I was sure he was talking to ME!!! As a runner and avid exerciser, you’d assume I drink a ton of water, but I don’t!!! I forget to hydrate because I don’t get very thirsty. I also embarked upon a low carbohydrate diet last year and dehydration is a known side effect. Therefore, I’m probably adding additional stress to my thirsty liver. This book has motivated me to hydrate better with water and this tasty light, coconut water based hydrating smoothie.
Indian food has always been a comforting staple in my life. I was raised on 6th St and 2nd Ave across from “Indian Row” in NYC. On special nights, my mom would take us to our favorite dark restaurant 3 steps below street level. I remember walking through the jingling bell door, hearing the exotic music and smelling the foreign spices. There’s more:
If Disney created a “Mexican city”, it would be San Miguel de Allende! The colorful colonial buildings, blooming Jacaranda trees, immaculate churches, narrow cobblestone streets, and spotless parks — it’s so pristine that it almost feels fake!!! The weather was perfect in early April when we arrived. We couldn’t help but slow down from our normal pace. We poked around, lingered in cafes, sat on park benches, napped in the afternoons, sipped cocktails at beautiful rooftop bars, and listened to mariachis swoon beneath the moonlit sky. Aside from taking in the city itself, San Miguel is known for it’s talented artists and musicians. This means you can find vibrant cultural performances, live music and inspiring art. It’s no wonder San Miguel de Allende attracts so many expats!