How to Wear Brimmed Hats

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I’m a huge fan of the brimmed hat no matter the season, but Fall is the perfect time of year to try one out if you haven’t already. A lot of girls I know worry about wearing a brimmed hat, whether it’s because they don’t want to look witchy or that they will draw attention. First, witches did not trademark the brimmed hat, and unless you are wearing one with a pointed top, I think you will look just fine! Second, a little attention is nice sometimes, especially if it is for your fashion sense! So let’s try one on for size.

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Fall Trend: Over the Knee Boots

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Along with the infamous fur vest, over the knee boots are super trendy right now and I cannot get enough of them. Above are some inspiration pictures to help you style your boots! I love in the fourth picture how she has her boots styled with shorts, such a great way to transition from Summer to Fall. Who said shorts can’t be worn in cooler weather?

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Menswear Monday: How to Wear Plaid

Mens Plaid Guide

Be edgy:

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Be classic:

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Be bold:

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Be simple:

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No matter which man you choose to be, Fall is here and so is plaid. Challenge yourself. Try and insert a bit of plaid into each of your outfits. If you are a man willing to go big, start off with a plaid blazer or maybe even pants… you will be sure to turn many heads. If you aren’t as adventurous with your clothing, start with a simple plaid tie or bow tie and work your way up from there! There is a plaid item for everyone.

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Mandy’s Travelogue: Fes, The Sahara & Marrakech

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

After our far-too-short time in Chefchaouen, we took a 4.5 hour taxi ride to Fes. Our 4.5 hour taxi ride ended up including multiple stops by the driver to buy grapes off the side of the road, buy coffee, fill up a water bottle with water from a river to pour in the engine so it wouldn’t overheating, and even a stop to hand us over to another “driver” who would take us the rest of the way. The unpredictable taxi ride certainly foreshadowed the unpredictable nature of the rest of our time in Morocco!

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

We were relived when we safely arrived at our hotel for the night. The “driver” we had been switched to was a tour guide and insisted on having one of his guides take us around the maze like medina of Fes. We set our bags down and quickly met the guide, hoping to see some of the highlights of Fes and learn more about its history. Unfortunately, all we had was a pushy old man who only brought us into shops where he would get a kick-back if we shopped. It was a very uncomfortable and frustrating  2 hours and resulted in us having very little like or respect for the pushy people and culture of Fes.

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

Thankfully, we had less than 24 hours in Fes and the next morning we began our 3-day adventure with Rough Tours. Our guide, Muha, picked us up bright and early to begin the drive to The Sahara Desert. On our way we stopped in the largest cedar forrest in Morocco, also home to tons of Barbarian Apes. We took a little break here to stretch our legs and feed the monkeys peanuts. This was one of our favorite memories from the trip!

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

The trip from Fes to the Sahara was about an 8 hour car ride. It was adventurous! At one point, we stopped at Muha’s family home for mint tea and almonds. His younger cousin insisted on doing henna on my hands, which was neat to watch!

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

After this pit stop, we were finally getting closer to the Sahara. At one point during the last stretch of the drive, we got pulled over by the police. I was terrified. Our guide had just told us how corrupt the police were in the country and now we were in their mercy. Two of the police came up to Muha’s window and asked him for all of his paperwork. He handed them everything they requested, so I thought we were going to be in the clear. The police said ok to all of his paperwork and started to head back to their car, then turned around and came back telling Muha to get out of the car and come behind the vehicle to talk to them. My heart was racing like crazy. We were very close to the Algerian border, which currently has lots of terrorist activity. I held JD’s hand so tight and we sat so still in the back seat praying everything would be fine. Thankfully, a few minutes later, Muha returned to the car and we were free to leave. Later we found out that they had told him to come behind the car to insist he give them money. It was a scary experience and left us very thankful to live in the US.

The sun was starting to set and a dust storm was kicking up when we reached the Sahara. We were outfitted in headscarves then headed to our camp for the night.

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

Our night in the Sahara Desert was shared with 7 other couples from across the Globe. It certainly did not come anywhere close to “glamping” as we really did rough it, but it was a magical night. We stayed up until two in the morning playing traditional berber drums, learning silly Moroccan dances, making new friends, and laying in the softest sand on earth while we watch shooting stars fly across the sky. It was truly magical and a night we will never forget.

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

We woke up to watch the sunrise in the Sahara. We said bye to all of our new friends and they headed off on camels for their 1.5 hour trek back to civilization. Since my doctor wasn’t too fond of me riding a camel while pregnant, we took a 4-wheel drive vehicle back then took a short camel ride around the edges of the Sahara. We met up with Muha and began our 2 day trek to Marrakech.

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

We drove through some neat scenery including huge gorges, windy mountains, oasis’s, and villages of Kasbahs. It started to rain really hard and we began noticing a lot of the roads were flooding. In the picture above, the water to the left is usually a road/walkway! We were a little nervous that we weren’t going to make it to our stop for the night, but thankfully we did!

The next morning I woke up so sick. We had stopped at a little restaurant on our drive the day before and we were so cautious about what we ate, but somehow I still got sick. We took it slow that morning and I stocked up on crackers and water for our drive to Marrakech. Apparently the rain had not stopped all night and now the roads we needed to take were all closed. Our 5 hour drive ended up taking 9 hours. It was such a long day, but when we finally pulled up to P’tit Habibi in Marrakesh, we were thrilled!

The little hotel was phenomenal. Decorated so beautifully with equally impeccable service. We were one of two couples staying there, so we made ourselves at home and spent the evening relaxing and recuperating.

Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos Morocco | Saguaros & Stilettos

We woke up the next morning and had about 12 hours until our flight to Barcelona. The plan was to spend the day shopping in the Souks of Marrakech. Compared to the Souks in Fes, the shop owners were friendly and there were beautiful pieces everywhere! I was able to find large poufs, blankets, tassels, and a rug for the nursery. The prices were amazing. I literally shopped until I dropped (ended up fainting in a shop), so we called it a day and headed back to the hotel to rest up before our flight.

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We had so many once in a lifetime experiences in Morocco that we will certainly never forget! It took us out of our comfort zone (many, many times), but also left us grateful for all of the welcoming people we met. Would we go back? To Chefchaouen or Marrakech, in a heartbeat! To Fes? No thank-you.  It was a thrilling adventure and I am so thankful JD and I were able to experience every bit of it together!

Ps: I promise the fashion posts are coming back! One more travelogue from Barcelona next week, then we have some fun Fall Fashion posts planned! Thanks for hanging in there with my photo purging over the past few posts!

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Mandy’s Travelogue Part 2: Moroccan Adventures in Chefchaoeun

Chefchaouen Morocco It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly my love affair with Morroco began. Somewhere between learning about Moorish architecture in design classes, Moroccan poufs becoming popular in home decor, and Sex and the City 2 scenes being filmed in the Marrakesh Souks, I knew it was a place I needed to visit. After our fun adventures in Madrid, I started to get a little nervous about heading to Morocco. I was second guessing if my fantasies about Morocco were going to be a big let down and nervous to be going into such a different culture.

Chefchaouen Morocco

Despite my worries, we went along with our plans and took a quick 45 minute flight to Tangier, Morocco. Flying into Africa was beautiful. The coastlines and topography made for some great photos. Upon landing, we found a taxi (and experienced our first introduction to the haggling culture) and began the 2.5 hour drive to Chefchaouen.

Chefchaouen Morocco

As we drove into the mountainous town, the buildings began to transition from white-washed stucco to hues of blue. Chefchaouen is famous for the blue. In the 1930s, Jewish refugees settled in the area and painted the buildings blue as a reminder of Heaven. Although the town is now mostly Muslim, the tradition of blue walls, buildings and walkways continues.

Chefchaouen MoroccoChefchaouen Morocco

Chefchaouen MoroccoWe pulled into the parking area for the Medina, the central square of the town, and followed a luggage carrier through the winding alleyways to our home for the next 24 hours, Lina Riad. Upon walking into the small hotel, I was relieved. It was beautiful! We were greeted with the traditional mint tea and a few pastries filled with dates. Then we were led up to our room.

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Everything I had imagined for our time in Chefchaouen seemed to be falling perfectly into place. I could not wait to set down our bags and go explore. The detail in all of the doors, the chatter of locals, the smells wafting from little restaurants, and the colorful goods on display sparked all of my senses. A green door into a Mosque also caught my attention. It stuck out from all of the blue and had such beauty in the mosaic details.

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After walking around until our feet hurt, we headed back to Lina Riad for the evening. Lina Riad sits high up against the Mountain and has a spectacular rooftop deck. There were only a few other couples staying at the hotel, so we had the rooftop nearly to ourselves for hours. We sat on the couches and listened to Moroccan music from a festival playing in the distance. Apparently little baby was also into the setting, as we finally felt the first baby while we picked out baby names. It was a magical night.

Chefchaouen MoroccoChefchaouen Morocco

We started out the next morning with tasty crepes and breads at Linda Ryad. We had a long day of travel ahead of us, but wanted to make sure we had time to do some shopping before heading to Fes. We spent most of the morning at an amazing little co-op shop called La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin . It was like Lush on steroids. Incense, soaps, perfumes, lotions, spices, shampoos and more, all handmade, filled the two floors of the shop.

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Chefchaouen MoroccoChefchaouen Morocco

Chefchaouen MoroccoChefchaouen Morocco

After doing some damage at the soap shop, it was time to pack up for a 4.5 hour taxi ride to Fes. We left Chefchaouen with so much love for the kind people and beauty that the town was filled with. It had exceeded our expectations and ended up being one of our favorite places from our two weeks of travel. We left wishing we had more time to explore the town and eventually favoring Chefchaouen over all of the other places we visited during our week in Morocco.

Chefchaouen Morocco

If you ever have the chance to visit Chefchaouen, you must. The rest of Morroco ended up being quite a culture shock and a bit scary at times, but Chefchaouen was lovely and made our whole experience in Morocco worth it. Be on the lookout for a post next week on our time in Fes, Camping in the Sahara Desert, and Marrakech!

Happy Friday!

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