the doors of stone town.

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In Stone Town one of the first things you notice are the beautiful, brilliantly carved doors. Zanzibar was a stop on the spice route and a gateway to Africa and the Arab, Indian and Swahili influences can be seen everywhere you look. There were old doors for sale in some of the antique shops and I so wanted to one to use for a head board but cooler heads prevailed and we settled for a Zanzibari chest, carved by a lovely Mr. Al Tamimi. Here’s a couple of my favorites that I saw while we wandered through the narrow, meandering passage ways. I wish I could move to Stone Town and get lost there for a few years.

*ps the narrow passage ways made it hard to create good composition without a wide angle lens, so the doors are bit crooked, like the streets, and the tops may be cut off because of this. SOMEBODY deserves a new lens methinks!

low tide frolic: zanzibar.

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We just returned from a much needed (MAGICAL) holiday in Zanzibar with our friends Nick and Rachel. We spent some time on the beach and a couple days in Stone Town, (which I absolutely fell in love with). Our first morning when the tide was out we did a little frolicking (obv, I was wearing my 50′s high waisted bikini). P was a great photographer. We smashed champagne, got stung by jelly fish, went snorkeling, and had hours-long moonlit seaside dinners with lots of wine and Tanzanian beer. Lots more pictures of Stone Town and the sublime Emerson Spice Hotel to come!

diy: travel jewelry pouch

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A while ago I ordered Kathleen Whitaker’s staple earring from Pretty Mommy. It came in the most adorable little bag. I used the bag constantly to store my jewels while traveling, or working out or showering at the gym. I sort of ran it into the ground so I made some DIY replacements.

Materials:
muslin
red, black thread
needle
pins
scissorsblack cord
(optional) embroidery hoop

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scenes from joburg and the land of 10,000 lakes

I left South Africa for Minnesota for a couple weeks for work. Besides the weather and being away from P and my puppy it’s lovely to be able to see my family, college friends, and high school friends and their babies. I’m going to use one or two of Minnesota’s 15,000+ lakes to do my running around. I brought a long sleeve mositure wicking shirt and fleece just for this purpose but I hope the cold air doesn’t make my lungs burn and turn my lake running dreams into a nightmare. My South Africanized lungs will have some adjusting to do, but I hope they think the cold weather is a fair trade for the ¬†lower altitude.

diy: guestbook (expat necessities)

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Like expats everywhere we are lucky to get many visitors- our house is like a hotel with friends and family coming and going constantly, complete with busy seasons and once in a while double (or triple!) bookings. Sometimes it makes us sad to be far away but the adventures had with visitors more than makes up for it. I’ve been meaning to make a guest book to keep track of it all for years and I finally got around to it last week.

To make up for all the friends who came pre-book and didn’t get to write a note, we went back through P’s Google calendar and wrote a list of all the people who have visited us through the years. Going through the calendar was the best part of this project, we got to re-live memories like when we went to India for the holidays, met friends in London the next weekend, Minneapolis the weekend after that for a wedding, and then two weeks later a girl’s trip to Turkey. Living in Berlin was a wannabe jet setter’s dream. Also, I am a new evangelist for Google Calendars because without P’s use of it there is no easy way we would have been able to recall all of our past guests.

Materials:

1 blank book (there are lots of blank scrapbooking type books but scrapbooking makes me barfy-faced, so I found this at my favorite stationer’s)
alphabet stamps, ink
wax seal, sealing wax, candle
guestbook pen (optional)

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weekend away in Durban, photographed

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We had a lovely weekend in Durban full of Indian food, sea food, and photo oppors. I hustled to get some good shots for P’s article and I hope they will suffice. Since we live in land-locked Jozi, it was a special treat to be able to do my running along the ocean. They have a great wiiiide paved sidewalk next to the beach and it’s full of Durbanites working out. If I had an ocean to run next to on a daily basis I imagine I’d do a lot more of it. Life gets crazy over the next month for both P and me so it was nice to chillax together before it all blows up. This week I’ll be working on editing my photos for P’s article and chilling with the dog before we go on a hike for Easter (sadly, mini daxy puppies are not equipped for hardcore hikes).

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packing.

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This weekend I am headed to Durban with P to be the official photographer for an article he is writing. Woootl! We go away for the quick weekend a lot and so I’ve become pretty efficient at throwing together a bag. One thing that I can say about myself is that while I generally love the excess, I’m good at keeping my luggage to a minimum (I have gone on three week trips with only a rollie carry on).

My strategy, whether I’m going away for 2 days or 2 weeks, is to write up a list on my iPhone in the Notes app. I’m a pretty last minute person but if I have a big trip coming up then I can add things to my packing list as I think of them in the days leading up to it. This way, when I’m inevitably throwing things into a bag hours before my flight I don’t miss anything important.

Weekend Away Checklist:

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