My Morocco trip pt. 1 // Essaouira

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This post has taken me quite a while to put together, I had so many photos to go through and a lot of experiences and impressions to write down, but I am finally ready to share the first part of my Morroco trip with you guys. My little sister and I were invited on a press trip by The Moroccan National Tourist Office (along with 8 other bloggers) to experience beautiful Morocco on tightly scheduled trip last month. We were in Morocco less than 4 days, but still managed to experience both the coastal city of Essaouira and the famous city of Marrakech. It was such an intense trip because we not only had to experience two new cities in 3 days (we spent the last day traveling), but also because we experienced the whole thing with 8 complete strangers – it was absolutely amazing though! I had the best time and couldn’t have asked for better travel companions or a better guide – our guide Mohamed was so incredibly kind, caring and funny, he definitely helped make the trip as unforgettable as it was!

We started our trip by flying from Copenhagen to Marrakech where we were met by Mohamed and our driver who took us on a 3 hour drive to Essaouira, a city by the coast, where we would spend the next day. While we were all incredibly tired after a very early flight and while another 3 hours in a bus did not seem optimal, then it was actually the perfect way for us to really experience Morocco and see it all instead of just seeing what it is like in the larger cities. I loved getting that extra insight, haha even though I might have nodded off once or twice ;) Morocco is a country in great growth and while it is in many ways a modern country, then there is still a lot of poverty and a more old-fashioned way of life. It is for example still very common to use donkeys and horses as means of transportation and a lot of work is still done by hand without any use of technical aids. The contrasts were fascinating, you could see a young man on the street dressed in traditional robes with a donkey loaded with goods standing right next to a young man fashionably dressed in modern brands with his new iphone in hand. I love experiencing and learning about new countries and cultures, especially when it is as fascinating, colorful and full of contrast as Morocco.

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How photogenic is this place?! I have to be completely honest, my image of Morocco before actually going there mostly came from bloggers and their perfect colorful instagram photos, so I was first a bit surprised to find that even though there is a lot of beautiful places in Morocco, then most of the places we went were a lot more plain, beige and dirty than expected. That is, until you enter some of those quite plain looking buildings and find some of the most beautiful and colorful places I have ever been! I mean the Moroccan craftsmanship is absolutely exquisite and next to none, I don’t believe that I have ever seen such attention to detail. I had a hard time hearing what our guide was telling us about this as there was a lot of streetnoise, but from what I were able to hear it is important in Moroccan culture to be modest and not show off your wealth, which is why you really cannot judge a book (or a building) by its cover in Morocco! We entered some very plain looking buildings only to find the most exquisite stores or restaurants, it was exciting to never really know what to expect and then to be so pleasantly surprised by some of the most gorgeous restaurants with the most amazing courtyards I have ever seen or the most colorful stores filled with antique treasures! I am dying to go back and explore more of this enchanting country, it is nothing like anywhere I have ever been before and I understand why people keep coming back for more!

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It was obviously not all plain and beige from the outside though, while many of the beautiful places are modestly hidden behind walls, the medinas in both Essaouria and Marrakech were full of colors from the gorgeous produce, herbs, spices, handmade ceramics, paintings, clothing and the beautifully vibrant doors that are often painted in bright blue or green colors. Haha I don’t believe that I have ever photographed so many doors before!

I brought home some absolute treasures of colorful hand painted ceramics, traditionally handmade silver jewelry, spices, Moroccan tea and argan oil that I cannot wait to show you guys! We didn’t have much time to shop so I didn’t even get my hands on half the stuff I had planned to bring home, but that just means I will have to go back again soon right?! ;)

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A little sneak peak at some of jewelry my sister and I bought in Essaouira, I will try to find the name of the shop for you. The people working there was just the sweetest, the prices were beyond fair and the profit went to a good cause – as I recall it was so help the physically and mentally disabled in the local community. I will reach out to our guide and get the name, it is definitely worth a visit if you go to Essaouira.

..and please excuse my chipped nail polish, we were out discovering all day and I was just too tired to fix it at night when we had a little time off at the hotels. Hah I will sadly never be that perfectly put together kind of woman, but I have come to terms with that ;)

img_1613 img_1614There were so many kats and kittens everywhere we went, My little sister and Anthony (and myself) where on a constant journey to “catch’em all” or well to pet them all – I think we managed to get through quite a fair amount ;) It was heartbreaking to see the condition some of the cats were in though, like the little kittens in the photos above, I wish we could have done more for them. There were a lot of fat, fluffy and healthy cats as well though and you cannot judge people who are having a hard time providing for themselves that they do not have the means to take care of stray cats as well + we did see a lot of kindhearted people in the medina providing water and food for the neighborhood cats. If you know of an organization that helps cats (and other animals for that sake) in Morocco then please let me know, I would love to support it.

img_1569 img_1568img_1571 img_1570 dsc_6483A couple of snapshots of the beautiful beach, harbor and seafood of Eassaouira. The beach was amazing and apparently great for surfing if you are into that – I have an out of control fear of sharks so I kindly refused the offer, but we saw a lot of surfers catching some quite impressive waves.

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The restaurant where we had lunch the first day – Taros Café – it had an amazing (very photogenic) decor and delicious food. Their deck is absolutely perfect for watching the sun go down over the water.

This was all for now, but I will be back with part two next week! In the meantime please ask away if you have any questions about Morocco and our trip or if you want some tips and recommendations :)

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My LA food guide

My LA food guide

After spending two whole months (October and November) in Los Angeles last year I got quite familiar with a lot of amazing places to eat and as promised I finally have my post with recommendations ready for you! I have to say that there are sooo many amazing places we didn’t try (I already have such a long list for our next visit) and we tried so many meh (as in not in any way share worthy) places as well. We didn’t have a car during our stay (none of us have drivers licenses), which meant that we often just went to restaurants and cafés that were close to where we lived or whichever area we were exploring that day. It was rare that we would splurge on an Uber to go to a place to eat unless there were other things in the area that we wanted to do as well (we pretty much used Uber everyday though, cannot recommend it enough!), so that is why the list isn’t longer. I will update it the next time we go to LA though, let me know if you want me to share the list of places that I want to go – most of them are recommended by amazing readers, so I think it’s safe to say that it’s probably some pretty drool worthy places ;)


Restaurants, Cafés and more:


Café Gratitude
Café Gratitude is definitely one of my absolute favourites! It is a vegan place (and organic, yay!), but do not let that scare you if you are not vegan (I’m not either) or haven’t tried vegan food before. Haha I can recommend their super delicious “cheese”burger (top right photo) if you’re a bit skeptical of vegan food and do not want “bunny food” ;) Their food is absolutely amazing though and they have so many different options that there should be something for everyone – my little sister who wasn’t too keen on eating at a vegan place at first absolutely loved the place! I really liked the decor as well, it was minimalistic, but cosy – quite scandinavian actually. Café Gratitude has 3 different locations, but I have only been to the one in Venice Beach, so this mini review is based on that one :)

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro
Sage is another of the vegan places we went to that I really loved and that I think other non-vegans would love as well. The place is located in a gorgeous New York’ish building and the inside is chic, modern and quite NY as well. They have so many options to choose from on the menu and everything looks amazing and the things I tried definitely tasted amazing as well! Their raw desserts are absolutely divine!! It’s in Echo Park so it was really close to where we live and it is 1 minute from both Lassens and Angulus salads that I recommend below.

Angelus Salads
Okay this one is probably my absolute favourite out of all the places in this post, it was definitely the place I went to the most times! Angelus Salads kinda looks like a junkfood place from the outside (and the insides aren’t much better, their decor is not what makes this place included on the list), so it actually took me quite a while to give this place a try even though it is located in Echo Park where we stayed. When I finally discovered that this place isn’t a junkfood place, but the most amazing smoothie and salad place, then I was SOLD! This is where I bought all the amazing superfood-filled smoothies, acai bowls, pitaya bowls and yummy salads that I constantly posted on instagram and snapchat while I was there! I absolutely LOVED the watermelon salad with mint, feta and balsamic vinegar + the acai and pitaya bowls, seriously so good!! And the best part is that you can add your superfoods of choice to the smoothies (they pretty much had all my favourites!!) or you can “build” your own smoothie, which is always great if you crave your own personal favourite flavour combo :D

Zinque
Zinque is this really chic bistro and wine bar that has an amazing vibe, serves delicious food and where you get the best and kindest service – we always felt so welcome and well taken care of even though we crashed there for hours to have a working lunch or breakfast. It also has a great patio with light chains that I think would be the most amazing place to dine in the evening (we only went there during the day when it was light) + you can buy lots of delicious fresh pressed juices to go. I think there are several locations, but we went to the one in the arts district in DTLA.

Pump
Okay so this place I am actually not recommending for the food (it was okay, but nothing special), I am recommending it for the ambience – we were seated outside under the trees and the decor and the vibe of the place was just amazing! It is hard to describe, but this place is seriously something special (check out the photos right here), it almost felt a bit magical to dine in those settings or maybe I just had too many of their amazing cocktails ;) Haha while we definitely tried quite a few of those delicious cocktails, the place really was amazing though and the service was impeccable as well. We will definitely be going back there all dolled up (like the first time) to enjoy the ambience, the amazing cocktails and to rub elbows with some celebs – yep Lisa herself was there + a couple of actors/actresses ;) Haha the whole celeb thing is usually not something I care much about, but this place really gives you the LA/Hollywood experience and I think it is so much fun to be a part of for a night!

Bricks and Scones
This is such a great place to go to get work done, they have a nice patio where I loved sit and work on the blog (free wi-fi), but if you really need to concentrate and work/study, then they even have a study at the top floor where talking isn’t allowed and where everyone gets their own desk and lamp – how great is that?! :D Regarding the menu, I really like their smoothies (see the photo in the bottom right corner), salads, sour dough sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies, but I have to admit that I didn’t try their famous scones ;)

The City Tavern 

We hung out in DTLA quite a bit and FIGat7th were one of our go-to places since there are a lot of stores, restaurants, City Target (!!! best place ever!!) and much more in one place = super practical when you do not have a car + the Regal LA Live cinema (LOVE going to the movies) were in walking distance. In the bottom of FIG7th you find the City Tavern and while it is apparently mostly a place for beer enthusiasts and I do not like beer, then it is still one of the places I want to recommend because they have the most amazing veggie burger and brownie, we had the same thing all 3 times we went there, it’s that good! ;)

In N Out
In N Out is a fast food burger place, but it is nothing like McDonalds etc. – the food is made fresh right in front of you in the open kitchen and you can really taste that the quality is so much better! It is still really cheap though, I think we paid $3 for a burger. The selection is really small, but there’s a lot of “secret” things you can order that aren’t on the menu – like animal style fries, so good!! I had heard sooo much about In N Out from my little sister (she went to school in SF for a while), so my expectations were quite high, but I was not disappointed!


Fresh produce, grocery shopping, superfoods and more:


Lassens
Lassens is probably the only place we went to more often than Angelus Salads, this place is pretty much heaven for health nuts! They had the largest selection of superfoods I have ever seen and so many different all natural skincare and beauty products + they also had a large selection of organic produce and pretty much all the groceries you need + those you did not even know you need (or that I even knew existed, seriously this place has everything!!) and the best part was that you could mix your own lunch/dinner boxes with salads, warm food etc. (perfect when you’re too lazy to cook, see the photo on the bottom row in the middle) + get freshly made smoothies/juices AND they had the most amazing vegan cakes and desserts, sooo good!!!!

Farmer’s markets
While places like Lassens are absolutely AMAZING, then they’re also quite expensive so I can really recommend going to farmers markets to buy fresh produce as it will save you some $$$ – especially if you buy in bulk. Just look up which farmer’s market is closest to you, they’re all over LA, so you should be able to find one in the area where you stay.

Small ethnic grocery stores
I’m sorry if the term ethnic isn’t correct, but as you know english is my second language and I’m not quite sure what to call these little gems. Whatever the right term is you have to check out your local “ethnic” grocery stores and by ethnic I mean for example asian or hispanic grocery stores – they are amazing!! You will find so many products and produce that you have never seen before and the prices are the best, everything is SO much cheaper than elsewhere!!

Target
I LOVE Target, as in LOVE IT!! Haha whenever I go into Target (even if I just need some almond milk) I come out with at least 4 full grocery bags, I mean this place is the best! You can pretty much find everything you need (and I mean EVERYTHING, not just food, but also clothes, beauty, furniture etc.) and even more that you do not need, but will end up buying anyways ;) I wish we had Target in Copenhagen! Target is more of a naughty food heaven – especially if you’re European like myself and not used to all those delicious (and unhealthy!) American options! – but they do have a growing organic selection and they are slowly starting to get more of the healthier options in general.

Whole Foods
Whole Foods is kind of a must if you’re a health nut in LA, but I gotta admit that I didn’t really shop there much, since there sadly wasn’t one nearby and we didn’t have a car, so I went with Lassens as mentioned above instead. 

For more LA food recommendations make sure to check out this post by my fellow BD blogger Josefine from The Fine, she definitely knows whats up ;)

A quick update from Los Angeles

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Hello lovelies! I just wanted to stop by and give you a quick update here from Los Angeles. We arrived yesterday after almost 20 hours of travelling (those last 5 hours were killer!!), so there isn’t that much to tell yet, but I have received a bunch of questions from some of you asking about the trip, so I though I would write a quick post for you.

I am travelling with my little sister Laura and we will be staying here for two months. We are actually just here on vacation, though I know many of you thought it was for a job since we are staying here for so long. We both really like the city and have considered moving here in the future (or maybe to NYC), so we thought we would go on vacation here for a longer amount of time to get a better feeling of what the city is like and to have the time to properly explore it + meet up with friends and fellow bloggers etc. and maybe even travel to some other cities like San Francisco as well.

Since we have only been here for a day we haven’t really done much yet, we’re super tired and jet lagged after travelling, so we just spent the day exploring the neighbourhood and shopping for some essentials. We found this amazing store called Lassens aka. HEAVEN (!!), they basically have every superfood imaginable and in 437483762 different variations!! And they had so much organic produce + groceries and everything health food related as well, seriously I’m in love! Haha I have never seen so many goodies in one place, I have to go back tomorrow to buy some more things (you can see all the things I already bought over on my snapchat mokai_giraf). I bought the salad (you can mix your own), green juice and medjools in the top photo from there, so good!

I also went to my first ever farmers marked, it was really tiny and I already had my hands completely full with the stuff I bought at Lassens, but I absolutely loved it and I managed to buy some berries and admire all the beautiful locally grown produce – I am definitely going back there next friday (sadly it’s only once a week)! Haha I know that I am such a geek when it comes to these things, but I have always wanted to go to a farmers marked!

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All of these photos are taken in the lovely Echo Park that is located really close to where we live, we plan on going there to run and do some little workouts (maybe from Kayla Itsines BBG), but also just to relax and enjoy the lovely surroundings + there is free wifi, so we might actually be able to blog and such from there as well – how amazing is that?! :D

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Are any of you lovelies out there from LA? I would love to hear your advice on what to see, what to do, where to eat etc. – please share in the comments :) And if anyone wants to meet up, then please send me an email (amillionmiless@gmail.com), it would be so much fun to be able to meet some of you!

We have both been to LA before, so we have already seen a lot of the touristy stuff, but there’s still a lot of places that we want to go + we still haven’t really seen that much of LA yet apart from the absolute must-sees, so we still have so much exploring to do!

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