Photoshoot: TS Summer Essentials

[trip style = any]

Right before the stork delivered Baby Styler 8 months ago, I launched the Trip Styler Store. It was kind of like having two babies at once, except one got WAY more attentionmy wee wanderer, of course! 

The store, focusing on wearable lifestyle finds hand-sourced from coordinates as far as Morocco, Mexico and Bali, embodies the true spirit of trip styling: Getting deep with a destination, and doing so in style. 

So often I see the world's top fashion and home publicationsthink: Nylon Magazine, NET-A-PORTER, People StyleWatch, Canadian House & Homefeaturing similar goods to those curated for the store, which got me excited to showcase our limited-edition bounty in a lifestyle shoot. 

And, since I wear at least one find from the TS Store dailyI always buy one extra for myself to road-test ithere's a selection of our hot-weather haul, perfect for summer. 

Happy browsing!

Bali bag trip styler store
Trip Styler Store Shoot
tulum white beach bag trip styler store
tulum brown bag trip styler store

Note: All prices listed in CAD

[photos by @heatherlovesit for trip styler]

Travel Beauty :: Kahina Giving Beauty

[trip style = sightseeing]

Editor's Note: This is the fifth post in a multi-part series on Morocco with a focus on beauty---something Moroccan women have been perfecting since the dawn of time. Lauren, our travel beauty expert, is always on the lookout for the best in beauty. This line of Morocco-based products is her newest obsession, to the point where she's seen a noticeable difference in her skin. For a look back at the rest of our Morocco series, see Savoring the SaharaCasablancaLa Gazelle d'Or and Dar al Hossoun hotels in Taroudant.

A family trip to Morocco is what first inspired Kahina Giving Beauty's founder, Katharine L'Heureux, to create her gorgeous line of holistic, organic skin care. Named after a Berber queen and prophetess, Kahina is also a symbol of empowerment and a heroine for the Berber women. The line is infused with nourishing organic argan oil, used by the Berber women in their daily beauty rituals. In addition to Kahina's beautiful collection, the brand gives back: A percentage of profits are donated to support programs that improve the lives of the Berber women. Read on to discover more about organic argan oil---Morocco is the world's largest producer of the elixer---and Katharine's love for Morocco.

Lauren: Tell me more about your first trip to Morocco and how this inspired you to create Kahina Giving Beauty.
Katharine: My first trip to Morocco was in September of 2007 with my parents. We went with a tour company, Heritage Tours, on a ten-day excursion that took us from Casablanca to Meknes, Volubulis, Fez, the Sahara, Ourzazate and Marrakesh, where I first discovered argan oil in the souk. The Berbers are the indigenous people of North Africa, living throughout Morocco and practicing many traditional crafts, each specific to their region or village. While I came across many Berber women on the trip, it wasn’t until I decided to go back to Morocco to source ingredients for Kahina the following January that I encountered the Berber women extracting argan oil.

L: How were the Berber women using argan oil? How is it created and processed?
K: Most women in Morocco use argan as a massage oil in the hammam, and use the culinary version as a cooking oil, particularly in the argan region of Morocco. The nuts of the argan tree are cracked by hand by the Berber women by hammering them between two rocks, a practice that has been used for centuries. Inside the nut is a tiny little kernel, called the almond. At Kahina, we cold-press the kernel by machine to extract the oil and ensure the purest end-product. It takes one woman eight hours to crack the nuts for a single liter of oil and it requires approximately 26 kilos of fruit to get enough raw material for one liter of oil.

L: What's so amazing about this ingredient?
K: Argan oil is a multi-purpose wonder. It balances oily and dry skin, promotes healing, minimizes and prevents fine lines, restores elasticity, and visibly improves skin texture. Argan oil is extremely rich in Vitamin E---it contains four times the amount as olive oil---and the hard-to-get omega 9 and omega 6 essential fatty acids. The beauty of argan oil is that it's so easily absorbed into the skin, you never feel greasy. This is due to the high concentrations of squalene in the oil, which is present in our own skin. What I love most about it is the multitude of ways to use one single ingredient. I use it on my face, my body, my hair and my nails.

L: How did this ingredient inspire you to create a line of skin care?
K: I was looking for an organic skin care product that really worked and loved the results I experienced with argan oil. From there, I started slowly by importing argan oil first and sharing it with my friends. After hearing their rave reviews, I decided to take the next step to create the line I was looking for---simple, natural, organic, effective and beautifully designed. When I got to know the Berber women who extract the oil, I decided to highlight them throughout the core of the brand.

L: How often do go to Morocco?
K: I try to return two to three times a year, but it is getting more difficult as the demands of running the business become greater.

L: What's your go-to Moroccan dish?
K: My top meals are the simplest ones cooked in someone’s home---Moroccans are incredibly hospitable. I love a traditional chicken tagine prepared with olives and preserved lemons, yet my favorite meal is fresh grilled fish from the market with lots of Moroccan spices, followed by sweet mint tea.

Kahina Giving Beauty products can be found online at and other retailers. Check out their website for more information.

[photos via Kahina]

Morocco :: Casablanca

casablanca mosque Hassan II[trip style = urban + sun]

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to enter our contest for a one-night stay at the OPUS Hotel in Vancouver, it closes TODAY at noon PST.

In mid-December I found myself in the exotic embrace of Morocco's eye-catching escapes. My eight-day jaunt satisfied almost every trip style from spa to surf, starting in Casablanca and veering from the Western Sahara to the Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic shore. The journey was fortuitous given my obsession with North African design, and my September brush with the Morocco pavilion at Epcot, where I wished upon a star I'd get to visit soon. {Careful what you wish for!}

Spoiler alert: Aside from a few travel lifestyle bits, Morocco's going to take center stage on Trip Styler during February.

On December 9th, 2013 my flight landed in Casablanca---the country's hub for most international flights---just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. Given the rise-and-shine hour, I dove into the local time zone with abandon. No dither-dather; my meeting with Morocco's major metro was only a day.

When I stepped out of the airport, the air was crisp. The light chill---similar to a late-September a.m. on the West Coast---woke me up. Coming to, I spotted my name on a signboard in front of a Mercedes van. From this moment on, the trip was guided by in-the-know locals from Heritage Tours who schooled me in Morocco 101.

During the 30-minute commute into the city of five million, the landscape turned from rural to urban. Early on we shared the palm-lined highway with a boy guiding a horse-drawn carriage filled with farming supplies. This was my first clear picture of Morocco's culture: a country where cosmopolitan and classic meet in the middle.

Once inside the concrete-clad port city bordered by a sweeping beach, we hit Monday morning rush hour and inched into the inner plazas where modern Euro-style trains buzzed about, and the time-crunched workforce played human Frogger over eight-lane expanses. I wanted to bottle the enigmatic energy and take it home.

Trip Styler Tip: Casablanca hosts major hotel brands, as well as beautiful boutique properties like Le Doge, a 16-room Relais & Chateaux property, and the smallest hotel in Casablanca {every room is different---I love the Josephine Baker and Earnest Hemingway rooms}.

Casablanca casablanca airport arrival Disembarking the plane at sunrise

mosque hassan II exterior Mosque Hassan II, the most important living and breathing monument in Morocco capable of holding 25,000 worshipers inside and another 80,000 outside. The French-design structure rides the wave of traditional and fantasmic topped by a retractable roof and lit by almost 60 Murano-made chandeliers. Cool-to-the-touch white Carrara marble serves as a foundation throughout, while humidity-absorbing pillars made with limestone, black soap and egg yolk form the interior structure.

interior moque hassan Mosque Hassan II

interior moque hassan Mosque Hassan II

mosque hassan tour guide Mosque Hassan II

casablanca square trip styler Exploring Place Mohammed V

casablanca rooftop view A Casablanca rooftop vista

le dodge hotel casablanca Regal staircase at Le Doge

le doge josephine baker room Josephine Baker room at Le Doge

[photos via @tripstyler---except hotel room via as a guest of Tourism Morocco]

Morocco :: Dar al Hossoun

[trip style = budget conscious + sun]

{Editor’s Note: Over the holidays we’re pressing pause on our inflight schedule after a busy year traipsing between cities like Palm Springs, London, Miami and Morocco. We'll resume our regular Tuesday/Thursday route January 7th. Until then, look for updates on Trip Styler’s Instagram and Editor’s Diary. See you in the New Year, and from all of us on the TS crew, happy holidays wherever your journey takes you.}

I've been a Moroccan design lover since I was old enough to flip through the pages of Vogue Living Australia. When I visited last week, my eyes and my lens were blinking at snap speed processing the colors, textures and shapes that have made Morocco an Elle Decor darling.

While my trip took me WAY beyond design---4x4ing the Western Sahara, sipping vino in wine country and visiting an argan oil cooperative---I wanted to whet your palate {and your palette} with some fabulous interiors I shot at Dar al Hossoun, a French-owned, 16-room garden lodge in Taroudant, Morocco. Rooms start at $150 a night and include WiFi and breakfast. At this price, you can live the Elle Decor dream.

PS. I had a half-day snafu with my camera's SD card, so all of these shots were taken on my iPhone 5.

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[photos by @tripstyler]