Morocco: Day 2

Short update today, because it’s after midnight (HAPPY NEW YEAR!) and we have an early start tomorrow.

Perhaps most amusingly, our guide gave us all Moroccan nicknames. Everyone got pretty ones meaning things like queen and born on an important day, and then he gets to me. “La-bee-ah.” Labiabwith a slightly different pronunciation. Yup. He says it means something along the lines of “woman who visits small villages and makes carpets” and I’m not about to Google anything even close to Moroccan labia so…I’m going by either Claire or Bia. Hopefully it’s at least spelled differently.

This morning we took a tour of some historically important locations in Marrkesh: the Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, and Bahia Palace, ending in Djemaa El-fna, where a man in the square promptly attempted conning Joe into almost holding a monkey in a diaper. For money, of course. There were also snake charmers. Definitely an interesting place, but you have to look like you’re on a mission and know what you’re doing or else you’ll be hassled (I use that term loosely) by people trying to make a buck off the tourists (well, a dirham I suppose.)

Oh! And would it really be a guided tour in a foreign country without a stop in a shop or two where the guide clearly gets commission for any purchases made?! We were lucky enough to be stuck listening to a schpeal about argan oil – all products made by women who essentially were negatively effected by divorce (there’s a word I can’t think of that they used. You get the idea.) Then we were basically closed into a souvenir shop where we all felt super awkward and made it clear we had no plans of purchasing anything. Ah, travel.

After wandering the souks for a new wardrobe for the Australian in our group (her luggage got lost,) we had a prix-fixe New Year’s Eve dinner with SO much delicious food. It was too cold to actually be on the rooftop, but took a quick look out there afterwards – lots of people in the square, presumably getting ready to celebrate?

We made our way back to our hotel and went across the street, hoping that the posh, European looking café would have a bottle of wine we could share before heading to bed. Despite what the online menu said, we had no such luck and drank virgin mojitos and coladas before heading back to our hotel’s bar to split a 110 Dirham ($11) bottle of wine!

Tonight’s Moroccan television pre-bed movies? The end of Anastasia and Zombieland. Works for me!

Wifi will be spotty (or perhaps non-existent) for the next 4 or so days, but I’ll post another update when I can 🙂

Happy New Year!

xx Claire (Bia)

(Also it is now 1am. Oops. Luckily I have 7 hours to sleep in the car tomorrow.)

Morocco: Day 1

Running on very little sleep and not a ton of food (I chose sleep over lunch on our Frankfurt to Marrakech flight) we finally landed in Marrakech around 1:30pm! We boarded the FRA>RAK flight from the tarmac, after a bus ride through at least half a mile of airport land. We just kept going and going and going. Anyway. I think I’ve only ever boarded a plane from the tarmac once before, so that was kind of fun. We also de-planed directly onto the tarmac in Marrakech, and walked into probably the most beautiful airport I’ve ever seen! So much woodwork and patterning. ?

Passport control and customs were a breeze (though I wish my passport stamp was darker…) but then…our Topdeck driver was nowhere to be found. Eventually Joe found him, but he was just holding what seemed like a xeroxed copy of the Topdeck logo. Now, I will fully admit that I have an overactive imagination when it comes to things going wrong, but between this trip and our honeymoon (where the same thoughts ran through my head during airport pickup,) as we walked to his (unmarked) car, I had fully convinced myself that our driver wasn’t legit and was going to sell us into the local sex trade. And of course had already started working out escape plans. Do you know how easy it would be to print off a copy of the Topdeck logo and impersonate a driver!? Like I said. Overactive imagination. And maybe a little bit of anxiety. In any case, we DID make it to our hotel! All potential crises averted. 

Oh – on our drive I noticed that almost everyone was in puffy jackets. It was almost 70 degrees out, and I was sweating in my jean jacket. I guess when it gets up to 120 degrees or more in the summer, 70 seems a little chilly. 

Anyway.  Our room was ready upon our arrival, and despite a few dark hairs in each of our beds (eh, what’re you gonna do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯A little icky, but no biggie) we promptly rested our eyes for a while! In separate twin beds. Might have missed putting a “we’re married” memo somewhere, but it’s all good. 

Fast forward: we met up with our guide for the next 10 days – Ibrahim if I’m remembering correctly – along with two of the 4 other people on our trip! Joe is the only male. Ibrahim lives in the Atlas Mountains. 

The 4 of us and Ibrahim walked to the newer section of Marrakech for dinner, where we people watched and stray kitties came up to our table begging for food. It took a lot of self control to not give the kitties lots of snuggles. I promptly informed the table that I have 3 old phones set up in our house to allow me to check in on Barb. Resident weirdo, checking in! ?

Joe and I ended up paying the equivalent of $9 (90 Dirham) for a very filling dinner of pita, meat (beef) tagine, chicken tagine, a bottle of water, a bottle of coke (sorry, dad!) and some after dinner tea. Can’t beat that!

Now I’m laying in bed watching The Dark Knight Rises – its in English – with lots of vehicle noise, drumming, and the occasional clip-clopping of horses pulling a carriage. Doesn’t get better than that! (Well, one one bed instead of two would be nice, and I’m not quite as sleepy as I’d like to be, but you get the idea.) 

Tomorrow is  New Year’s Eve! We have an early start on Jan 1, so I’m not sure we’ll do anything too crazy, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it is celebrated in Morocco! Ibrahim said the Berbers won’t be celebrating the new year for 13 more days – not sure why that is. Maybe we’ll find out!

Goodnight! (Somehow it is already 11pm. Oops.)

Ps. Sorry for any weird formatting. Doing this from my phone 🙂

xx Claire

Wanderlust Wednesday – 12/21

Getting your flight home cancelled? Sucks. Getting stuck in Atlanta for 20 hours? Sucks. Missing a day of work? Also sucks. BUUUUT, there were also a lot of things that didn’t suck about our unplanned 36 hour trip back to Kalamazoo from Vermont, and I wrote them all down! Gotta stay positive 🙂

1. You don’t feel as bad about spending way too much money on wine from the airport wine bar.
2. You get to see things like Sunday night African weddings, and end up having a view into the banquet hall from your hotel room. That sounds creepy.
3. Sleeping in on a work day!
4. Soup paid for by the hotel bartender. Some people get free drinks, I got free chicken noodle soup. I’ll take it.
5. The hotel shuttle driver singing along (rather poorly) to Pat Benetar and AC/DC.
6. The Delta Sky Lounge lady in ATL letting us into the lounge despite me forgetting my AmEx – I must have had quite the look of desperation in my eyes. (We had a 5 hour wait…)
7. Free spring rolls from PF Chang’s in Detroit. Must have been that look of desperation again.
8. The Detroit Delta agent bringing out snacks after yet another delay.
9. 3 year old Annabelle. A sleep-deprived toddler can provide lots of entertainment (including shouting “I pooped!” right before take-off.)
10. Barb not dying after fishing out and consuming a Cookies and Cream Hershey Kiss.

Now Joe and I just have to work on condensing 4 nights of ‘to-dos’ into 3 and give Barb some extra lovin’ before we head back to Detroit for Christmas! Whee! (And I still need to do a post for the last 10 Bachelor girls. Whoops.)

PS. A week and a day until we leave for Morocco. What!?

Wanderlust Wednesday – 12/14

morrocan proverb

16 days until we leave for our trip. Where did the time go?! Yesterday we received information about where we’ll be staying, so of course I almost immediately plugged it into a little 8 page booklet along with other important information. I swear, the only time my Type-A personality comes out is when I’m planning a trip. Could be worse, I suppose. Anyway. When I was figuring out as many details as possible, I came to the realization that we’re going to be spending a lot of time in vehicles, which means I need to stock up my Kindle! (And find it. But I’m sure it’s around somewhere.) I think I have a couple of unread books already on it, but I thought I’d share the 3 books I just purchased! (And a verrrry short synopsis.)

Lab Girl cover photo Hope Jahren

  1. Lab Girl – “An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world.”A gentleman in moscow book cover amor towles
  2. A Gentleman in Moscow – “He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to. From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.”sisters one, two, three nancy star cover art
  3. Sisters One, Two, Three – “After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.” (I got this one for free through Amazon Prime.)the magician's lie cover art greer macallister
  4. The Magician’s Lie – “The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.”

Yay! All that’s left is….actually packing. Why is it that that’s always the hardest part? Oh well. Happy hump day!

Bachelor Casting – pt. 2

Let’s get right into the swing of things! (But in case you missed part 1, you can find it here!)

Danielle M. She kind of looks like Scarlett Johansson (and yes, I had to google the spelling of Scarlett’s name.) I like her already! And it looks like we’re starting round 2 on a good note; no mention of dolphins anywhere in her questionnaire! …oh. Sad. Found this season’s sob story. Her fiancé passed away. She’s also not as young as a lot of the other girls; I think she’ll end up going pretty far!

Dominique. One of her favorite movies is Titanic, which is another recurring answer. I can’t say I would list that in even my top 10. To each their own, I suppose. (Well, to each the same as at least half of the other girls, but you get the point.) She also mentions Chipotle burritos multiple times, and that’s totally something I can get behind.

Elizabeth. Okay, she has (Liz) next to her name. Why not just go by Liz in the Bio then? Especially if that’s what she’ll go by on the show. I don’t get it. Huh. And she’s a doula! I’m sure they’ll make a big deal about that, since she’s not a model, RN, or small business owner. (Am I the only one having flashbacks to ED specialist, Evan?) YES. Liz is the realest of the real so far. She admitted to picking her nose while in her car and being a Belieber. You do you, Liz.

Elizabeth. Ah, now I understand why Elizabeth #1 is going by Liz. It all makes sense. “Where do you meet guys? … I’d prefer to meet through mutual friends or in front of millions of weekly viewers. :)” So good. She knows how absurd the whole premise of this show is. Hmm she also has misophonia, or the fear of sound. (More specifically, “ a condition in which negative emotions, thoughts, and physical reactions are triggered by specific sounds.”) Interesting. I’m sure the producers won’t play that up at all.

Hailey. Can we just pause for a second to think about all of the different ways people spell the name Hailey? Too many. Ooh, she’s Canadian. Think they’ll play it up as much as they did Daniel? Probably. She loves 90s Sheryl Crow. Ya know, she totally looks like she’d love 90s music. In fact, she kind of looks like she’s just straight out of the 90s. “Only children are strange.” Well – tell us how ya really feel, Hailey! Hah. I don’t think she’s going to last too long. (I don’t have any reasoning behind that.)

I’m kind of bored by this middle group of girls. As hilariously un-diverse as the dolphin gang was, at least they had interesting answers! I’m a little bored. But I’ll keep on keepin’ on – full steam ahead!

Ida Marie. I can’t decide if I like Ida Marie’s shirt of not. On the one hand, I think it’s pretty unique and something I’d like to wear. But on the other hand…it kind of looks like you could make it for $3. The world may never know. I also half expected her to be ex-Mormon or ex-Amish. Sorry for making judgements on your name, Ida Marie!

What is your favorite all-time book and why?: I need to read more books.

Who is your favorite author?: Again, I need to read more books.

I wonder if these questionnaires consist of like…25 questions, and the producers just choose the most interesting answers. Oh jeebus. If Ida Marie could be any fruit, she would be a strawberry because “they are sexual and taste great with wine.” Just…no.

Jaimi. She has a “symbol of her initials” as a tattoo. Does that just mean…her initials? She also can apparently bench press men with her legs. That’s what she’d do to impress a guy. Wouldn’t that just be a leg press? Details. I wonder if she’s actually done that, or only leg pressed the weight of what she thinks a guy would weigh. Ohhh oh oh. I hope she leg presses Nick during her limo exit/introduction. That would be hilarious. Annd nope, she lost me. She is a “Pesco-pollo-lacto-ovo-paro-tarian.” Is it really easier to say that than “I eat fish, birds, and animal byproducts like milk” ?!?

Also, I’m only HALF WAY through the list of girls. This is absurd. I may have bitten off more than I can chew. Oh, but it’s after 5 now. Time to pour a glass of wine. But really. Only half way. Why so many!?

Jasmine B. If I had nothing else to do in my day to day life (and wasn’t married, or attached to anyone in any way) I would be a flight attendant like Jasmine B. I would probably be a little bit miserable – so many grumpy people – but just think of all the places you’d get to visit! Annnnd her favorite author is Steve Harvey. Really?! There are so many great authors out there and you choose this guy.

Jasmine G. Jasmine has a tattoo on her inner lip. If my reading comprehension is on point, it’s a sorority tattoo. Dear sister, I greatly appreciate you not getting your letters tattooed on the inside of your mouth. Unless there’s something I’m unaware of. Annnnd apparently we’re starting a new trend, at least with the Jasmines; admiring people that probably shouldn’t be admired. She would like to be Guy Fieri for a day. Alton Brown, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Symon…..if you’d like to be a chef for a day, there are WAY better choices. A lot of people also would like to be Olivia Pope from Scandal. I’ve never seen it, but I guess she’s pretty BA?

Josephine. Josephine’s occupation is “Unemployed Nurse.” At that point wouldn’t you just pick something like “Dog Walker” or “Aspiring Dolphin Trainer”? I would. Unless she’s hoping to get a job out of this, in which case – good luck, chica. Oh. And she’s not 5’7″, not 5’7.5″, but 5′7.75“. That .75” is super important, obviously. Omg. Okay. So when I first saw her picture, I thought ‘Jew nose‘ to myself, but wasn’t going to type it since that’s a little mean. But she IS Jewish! So I feel a little less bad.

Kristina. Well. Shoot. Kristina’s bio got heavy reeeeal fast. She’d like to know if her biological mother thinks choosing alcohol over her kids was worth it. Womp. Ohmygosh, and a fictional character that isn’t a Disney character! Kristina is an individual! 😛 (She would like to be Fiona from Shrek, in case you were wondering.)

Lacey. Lucky (?) number 20! Okay and I like her already. She would eat a meal with Shakespeare, JK Rowling, and Joe Jonas. That is quite an excellent selection of people. Wow. And she has 2 degrees and knows Arabic. You’re too good for this show, Lacey!! Well, everyone is, really. But especially you! I can’t decide if I want her to do well because she’s awesome, or if I want her to get out early so she can do something more with her life. We shall see!

Annnd with that, we have 10 more girls to go! That will have to wait for another day. This is hard work! 😛

Bachelor Casting – pt. 1

Guys guys guys, the casting list for the upcoming season of The Bachelor was posted today! I thought it would be fun to write up a blog post as I read through the list of  this season’s cast. But I also have things to do, so I’m going to do it in a couple of chunks. Here are the first 8 of 30! (30!? That’s more than usual. There is also more diversity in the group this year – way to go, Bachelor franchise!) And before you judge (though I’m sure some of you already are…and that’s okay,) I am fully aware of how awful this show is. Just go with it, okay? 🙂

Alexis. Her occupation is listed as ‘Aspiring Dolphin Trainer.’ Welp. Starting this season off with a bang. Also, she’s 23. I’m officially of the age where I’m older than most reality TV stars. Well, maybe with the exception of some cooking shows. There’s still a chance! She can’t live without her fake eyelashes? Where do they find these people? I can say with confidence that I’ve never used fake eyelashes in my 26 years of life and I’ve turned out just fine.

Angela. Okay so far I’m sensing a theme. If she could be any animal, she would be a dolphin. I didn’t mention it, but Alexis said she’d like to be a dolphin too. I mean, I get it. Dolphins are pretty cool, I’m just surprised there were two dolphin lovers in a row is all. If she never had to drive herself anywhere, she’d be very happy. I feel ya, Angela. That’s why you’ve gotta find a hubby who likes to drive! Huh. And she licks the popcorn bag. I can’t say I’ve done that, but I imagine it would taste like popcorn butter. I’ll take it. I like you, Angela.

Astrid. Okay first off, Astrid, you’ve got a cool name. Her bio says she’s 5’7.5″ – obviously that half inch is very important to her! Annnd ohmygod we have another girl that wants to be a dolphin. Her reasoning is the best so far too, (and by best, I mean probably the worst…) “so I could rescue lost sailors and swim in the ocean doing tricks.” Do dolphins even rescue sailors? Maybe she’s thinking of mermaids, and by rescue she means drag down to the bottom of the ocean. Maybe. Annnd she can’t live without her ‘lashes’ either. Are dolphins and fake eyelashes the new Pumpkin Spice Latte/leggings and ugg boots or something? Geez. Nexxxxt.

Briana. It might just be because I’ve been listening to the Moana soundtrack for a couple of days straight, but I’m now replacing the name Moana with Briana in my head. Briana, make way make way…Briana it’s time you knew – the village of Motunui is all you neeeeed…. Okay sorry. Back on topic. Briana has nice arms. It also kind of looks like this was the 426th photo the Bachelor team took, and she was kind of forcing this smile. NO FREAKIN WAY. She also wants to be a dolphin. They must have all gotten together and discussed their animal of choice. Another trend is answering the fictional character question as wanting to be Ariel/the Little Mermaid. I don’t get it.

Brittany. Okay I actually don’t even have anything amusing to say about Brittany. I think I’d be friends with her. She seems too normal for the Bachelor franchise, which means either a) she won’t last long or b) she has a crazy side that doesn’t really show in a short questionnaire. Time will tell.

Christen. Huh. She’s a wedding videographer. That job sounds way too stressful. And she has “the life of Jesus in symbols” as a tattoo on her wrist. I can’t even comprehend what that would look like. I imagine we’ll see it on-screen at some point. Lol. She would break into the White House and observe from a storage closet if she could get away with it. I have a feeling that would actually get quite boring. OH thank goodness. A break in the dolphin trend. She’d like to be a wild mustang! You seem alright, Christen.

Corrine. I feel like if I wrote YA fiction, the snobby girl in my book would be named Corrine. I’m not quite sure why. Let’s see if my preconceived notions of the name match up with her answers! ..annnd surprisingly nothing really stuck out to me. She would be a cheetah, so at least we’re continuing the downward swing of dolphins? She also owns her own (online) business, so that’s pretty cool. Unless she just sells ItWorks! or LulaRoe or whatever. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Danielle. She has a butterfly tattoo on the back of each ankle. Wouldn’t that hurt? Why 2? Why butterflies? So many unanswered questions. Her reasoning for wanting to be a fox is pretty on point; “they are responsive, sometimes cunning and adaptive.” I like it. Annnd I just choked on my water from chortling. Do people actually use the word chortle? Anyway, the most outrageous thing she’s done…”I climbed up on a cliff and swung from a rope on top of a waterfall jumping into the water. The sign said “Locals Only,” but we did it anyways.” That ending. I can’t even.

I’m going to aim to have another chunk up tonight, but no promises.




All photos courtesy of

Happy Monday! 12/5/16

Where did November go?! Holy moley. I’m trying to get Joe to finish up his last 3 days of thankfulness, and will post an update on that in the near future. They’re both rather amusing. I still have so many reviews planned among other posts…so here’s hoping life calms down a bit soon and I can get back into the swing of this whole blogging thing! But in the meantime…it’s Monday, and we could all use a little happy 🙂

  1. It snowed yesterday! And while I guess that’s not really something to be happy about (at least for me) – it gave us a good kickstart for getting our house decorated for Christmas! Plus we’ve been pretty lucky weather-wise, so no snow til December is alright I guess. Joe and I both also had our holiday parties over the last week – Gatsby 20’s (ish) theme for mine, and ugly sweater theme for his. All good things.
  2. I got a massage on Friday after work (quite possibly the quickest 30 minutes of my life.) The fact that November went by in such a blur should speak to why that was needed. Sometimes ya just gotta treat yourself! Anyway, my upper back is knottier than..gosh I don’t know. Something really knotty. Has more knots than a sailboat? Who knows. You get the idea. When my masseuse had all but given up on one knot in particular, she brought out a silicone cup (similar to the cupping mechanism people like Michael Phelps use) and began suction cupping my neck/shoulder area! Good news: I definitely feel like the big knots have been broken up a bit. Bad news: I not have a fairly large, circular bruise, requiring scarves for the next few days. Here’s hoping it’s gone before….
  3. …the Detroit Historical Society Ball! I’m using Rent the Runway for the first time ever, and getting my hair done. I love having a reason to dress up – especially when the dress code is black tie!
  4. Apparently more people in the 16-34 age demographic are watching Planet Earth II than the X Factor (in England.) I used to watch Planet Earth (and similar shows) while pulling all-nighters for school, so I’m especially excited to learn that there’s a second ‘season’ of Planet Earth. With music by Hans Zimmer! It doesn’t get better than that.
  5. Just LOOK at this cat shelter outside of Atlanta. I had a hard time sewing my ugly sweater with Barb around, much less doing a whole yoga class with her around, but I looove this idea. Especially since the $20 class fee goes straight back to the shelter. So good.

So there’s your warm fuzzies for today! I’m thinking after the new year (after we return from Morocco) this will turn in to all good news stories instead of tidbits about my life, though I’m sure friends and family reading appreciate those tidbits as well. Maybe I’ll wiggle those into another post!

Happy Monday!

ps. Has anyone seen Moana yet? I’ve been listening to the soundtrack all day and am quite fond of it!

pps. I’m working on (somewhat) last minute gift guides – keep a eye out if you’re struggling to find something for those important people in your life!