Tag Archives: Travels

I’ll Be Your Mirror: Mirage Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Doug Aitken Mirage Palm Springs

I’d seen this mysterious mirrored house popping up in magazines and on my Instagram feed and I was intrigued.

The story behind Mirage is that it was created by artist Doug Aitken to resemble a typical suburban American ranch-style home with a twist. This style of house was common along the West Coast and popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright starting in the 1920s.

Both the interior and exterior are covered in mirrored surfaces and it sits atop a hill by itself, reflecting the endless desert landscape around it. When I arrived, visitors were gathered around in every corner, taking selfies and looking through the window-free openings.

Nubby Twiglet | Doug Aitken Mirage Palm Springs

There is no ideal time to view the installation — I went right as the sun was setting and was soon enveloped in darkness as the house reflected the stars and night sky.

Perhaps the most interesting part about finding Mirage is that there is no address. It’s located at the end of a long road in what appears to be a new housing development that was never completed. To find it, you can either use the coordinates (33°50’59.6″N 116°33’57.5”W) or directions provided on the website.

Nubby Twiglet | Doug Aitken Mirage Palm Springs

The installation will be staying up through October 31st so if you’re in town, add it to your must-visit list!

Learn more about the installation on the Mirage website.

Fear and The Mountain

Nubby Twiglet | Fear and The Mountain

Most of us have fears lurking just beneath the surface.

Some are totally rational.

But others? Completely irrational.

One of mine is extreme heights. When I’m in an enclosed space like an elevator, in a plane or taking in the view from the top of a tall building, I’m fine. I feel safe when there are walls, windows or a guard rail. But on the occasions when there’s not? I imagine myself looking over the edge, losing my balance and falling. Forever.

Fears can hold us back from living fully and enjoying once-in-a-lifetime experiences and that’s what bothers me the most. I don’t want to miss out because fear gets in the way, only to look back and wonder “What if I’d just tried?”

A few months back in Morocco, I was faced with my worst fear, made it through and am much stronger because of it. I hope this story inspires you to do the same.

Nubby Twiglet | Fear and The Mountain

August in Marrakech is no joke: the temperature on this trip wavered between 105 and 110 degrees every. We awoke early for breakfast and got ready for the day ahead: our Dar Jaguar itinerary mentioned that we’d be visiting a waterfall. I got camera-ready in a long black dress, false eyelashes and gold sneaker wedges and grabbed my purse. We piled into a big van, heading towards the Ourika Waterfalls in the Atlas Mountains.

As the van pulled up an hour and a half later, I hopped out, scanning the area for the waterfall. We darted across a rickety bridge and were told by a guide that the waterfalls were a 20 minute hike away. “No big deal,” I thought.

We weaved up the side of the mountain and soon, my nerves started kicking in. After awhile, there was no visible trail as a local guide led us over large rocks. By then, I’d turned into the annoying kid in the car on family trips that you hated sitting next to:

“Are we there yet?”
“How much further do we need to go?”

It had less to do with the hike and more to do with me: I didn’t have the confidence that I’d make it based on the height we’d climbed to. Damn irrational fears!

After climbing over more rocks, we were faced with the ultimate test: a metal ladder, completely vertical, was attached to the side of a boulder. To get to the next part of the hike, I’d need to climb the rungs one by one, then hit a foothold with one foot and reach out an arm to be hoisted up. If I missed it, I’d fall 20 feet straight down. Even though the group in front of us made it up easily, I imagined the worst.

I was shaking from fear and asked the guide if we could turn back. “Once you get past the ladder, we are nearly to the waterfall and the path back down is much shorter and easier. We’re almost there.”

Nubby Twiglet | Fear and The Mountain

Bottom line: this was it. There was no other way to go. I eyed the rungs, looked forward and stepped carefully, slowly, intentionally. I made eye contact with the guide at the top, gracefully hopped up and looked down: I’d made it. I was fine.

Shortly after that, we made it to the waterfall. Being thousands of feet up the side of the mountain, spotting monkeys and taking in a view I could only dream of put things in perspective: if I could do this, all those little roadblocks in my day-to-day life were minuscule in comparison.

Im sure most of the people we passed on the way up viewed this expedition as just another day. For me, it was a big shake-up in the best possible way. Since my time on the mountain, I’ve had plenty of bad days at work: mis-printed files, cancelled projects, stressful deadlines, you name it. The difference is that when those things happen now, I think back to that day I unexpectedly hiked up to 8,000 feet and made it.

Nubby Twiglet | Fear and The Mountain

Fear is a funny thing. It can slowly build into a big monster and hold you back. Life doesn’t care what you’re scared of. When you least expect it, you may find yourself in circumstances where you have no choice but to overcome it. And, you will.

Once you’re on the other side, you’ll realize….it wasn’t so bad.

The payoff from that is immense.

You’ve released the invisible shackles.

And then, you can do anything.


For more Morocco posts, check out The Mini Guide To Marrakech, What I Wore in Marrakech and The Week + Links in Morocco.

Photos by Shell De Mar Photography.

Special thanks to Dar Jaguar for putting together this epic itinerary and listening to my whining on the way up. Haha.

The Mini Guide to Marrakech

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

The first time I visited Marrakech two years ago, it was a quick stop-over tacked on between flights from Rome to London. I had no pre-conceived expectations whatsoever because I knew very little about this magical Moroccan city.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

Honestly, I prefer to avoiding studying up so I can experience a new locale for the first time with fresh eyes. I did just that with Marrakech and within a day, was in love with the city. Marrakech is refreshing because it’s big on tradition and doesn’t feel overly Westernized.

The Video

There’s a wonderful feeling of immersing yourself in a new culture, language and way of life that allows you to strip away your everyday routine and experience something completely new. After just 3 days in Marrakech that first time around, Kat, Gala and I knew we had to find our way back so we worked out a custom itinerary with Lucia of Dar Jaguar that allowed us to experience everything we either missed or overlooked during the previous trip.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

I usually show up to a new city without set plans. There may be a few shops, cafes and sights on my list but overall, I tend to just wander, which can be both good and bad. This trip was the exact opposite with a set itinerary…and I highly recommend it.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

Before I share some of the things we did, if you’re thinking of visiting Marrakech, read these quick tips first.

Don’t forget to….

1. Carry cash. Only some booths in the medina accept cards and anyway, with cash you can barter more easily. The good news is that if you do run out of Dirhams, there are money exchange places and ATMs around, especially near the town square.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

2. Always barter. I am used to paying the exact price I see on an item but this is not the case at all in Marrakech! Prices are usually inflated because you’re actually expected to barter.

3. Bring comfortable shoes. Whether you’re shopping your way through the souk or hiking up the side of a mountain, comfy footwear is a must.

4. Pack modest clothing. In general, Marrakech is not the place to show a lot of skin. It’s a conservative place but also very, very hot the time of year I visited so there’s a definite balance to strike. In 105 degree weather, I didn’t wear long sleeves but I did stick to long skirts and dresses. It’s always a good idea to pack a light scarf in your bag to throw over your shoulders if you begin feeling self conscious.

5. Drink plenty of water. When traveling, it’s an easy thing to overlook while you’re excitedly exploring. At least one person in our group got heat stroke…so play it safe and lug a bottle with you.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

6. Try the local cuisine. Tagine is one of the most common meals in Marrakech and consists of a slow-cooked blend of meats and spices in one pot. The good news is, it’s pretty easy to find vegetarian versions as well.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

7. Bring an extra suitcase. I’m totally serious. Shipping can be exorbitant and trust me, you’ll find at least 20 magical carpets and lanterns to lug home. The shopping in Marrakech is on another level so don’t even bother holding back. I bought colorful handmade leather slippers for less than $10.00 and a hand-woven wool blanket with massive pompoms for less than $40.00. There are treasures scattered across thousands of booths!

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

8. Do a lap around the souks before making purchases. It’s easy to get caught up in a bartering session without seeing what else is out there. By then, you’ve blown your wad of Dirhams only to find something even better. Take it slow and take notes.

9. Take photos of signs. The paths inside the medina can be extremely confusing. Many don’t have signs at all. The first few times, making your way through can be really intimidating so we learned our lesson and took quick snaps at main areas to reference on our way out.

10. Find free wifi in the town square. Cell service is super expensive in Marrakech so when we were out for the day, we searched out cafes with free wifi and surprisingly, many had it. My favorite place was Nomad.

11. Watch out for scooters. The pathways throughout the medina are super narrow but that doesn’t stop mules, motor scooters and pedestrians from sharing the tiny spaces. Stay alert!

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Out & About: 10 Corso Como

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

When I asked for recommendations on what to do in Milan a few weeks back, the answer was nearly unanimous: visit 10 Corso Como. So, that’s exactly what I did.

Before we dig into what this place is all about, let me just say that there’s no way to do it justice in a blog post. There’s just too much to take in and I didn’t have a ton of time (you’ll need a minimum of an hour to get through all the complexes). With this being my first visit, I was a bit overwhelmed at the scale and detail of it all but I hope this gives you a taste of the brand.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

10 Corso Como was founded by Carla Sozzani in 1990, an Italian gallerist and publisher. She started small with an art gallery and bookstore but the cult secret spread fast and the brand quickly grew to include a boutique, mini hotel, restaurant and rooftop garden a few years later.

Carla’s love of design is immediately evident in every detail, down to the printed materials. As you walk through, it becomes almost comical when you realize how many variations of cards, menus and sugar packets there are. Trust me, this wasn’t everything! There’s an on-brand design for everything you can imagine. Artist Kris Ruhs has truly created an alternate, pop-centric universe.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

The complex is a bit hard to spot as you stroll down Corso Como and I nearly missed it. The entrance is covered in greenery and the tiled sign is fairly high. The mystery is part of the fun, though because as you enter the courtyard, you can’t quite tell what you’re walking into.

Is it a clothing store? A restaurant? A hotel? As you start exploring, you realize it’s all of those things…and much, much more.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

My favorite part of 10 Corso Como is the boutique. It feels like a show of tightly curated art installations where everything happens to be wearable AND for sale. There’s the in-house line featuring hand-illustrated patterns covering everything from perfume and shirts to tarot cards and pins.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

Then, there’s a killer selection of avant garde men’s and women’s designers, an area dedicated to the best shoes and finally, jewelry and accessories sprinkled throughout. If you’re in Milan with a stack of cash to burn, this is obviously the place to do it.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

The attention to detail trickles down to the restaurant. I ordered a coffee….and it came out with a specially wrapped chocolate and a basket of branded sugar packets. There’s a fantastic selection of organic, healthy options on the menu, too which is nice when you’ve been traveling across Italy, gorging yourself on pasta all week. Oh come on, I can’t be the only one!

This is a place where the art crowd and who’s who in Milan gathers. Everyone that was seated around us was stylishly dressed and if people watching is your jam, you know where to find it.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

I had to take a selfie to remember that yes, I was really here and yes, this place is real.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

In an age where everything can be ordered with a click of a mouse on Amazon, where everything feels rushed and lacking in imagination, it makes me happy to know that places like 10 Corso Como still exist.

Details do matter.

So does art, design and fashion.

I’m so glad there’s a home for it to all thrive.

Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Hello from Milan!

Before I arrived, I asked around about what to do during my visit and Bar Luce was at the top of everyone’s list. After stopping by this morning, I can see why.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Commissioned by Prada’s art foundation, the cafe was designed by Wes Anderson in an effort to recreate the atmosphere of a typical cafe that existed in the 50s and 60s in Milan. The baby pink juke box plays classic 50s tunes, the bow-tied waiters offer impeccable service and the coffees and tarts are out of this world.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Even though Anderson is famous for his meticulously detailed film sets, he wanted the space to feel like a functional real-life hangout. Of Bar Luce, he said, “While I do think it would make a pretty good movie set, I think it would be an even better place to write a movie. I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in.”

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

The tables have formica tops and the soft colors throughout mimic the same palettes that were popular during the time period. I walked in shortly after it opened at 9 am and the two other people that sat down were older locals who were reading the paper alongside their morning coffees. Surprisingly, the place wasn’t overrun by tourists at all.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Even with all the design-focused details and a famous pedigree, Bar Luce feels cozy, functional and welcoming. If you’re going to Milan, this is a must-visit.