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Quilted Koala

Tips for the Best Shopping in Marrakech Souks

Posted by Stephanie Oppenheim on

You need to take a deep breath. Seriously. Even if you consider yourself a seasoned shopper, the sights and sounds of Marrakech can be overwhelming. I couldn't wait to visit the market in the old city (Medina). And it was total sensory overload. I tried not to make eye contact with any of the snake charmers (or snakes) that sit outside the covered souks. There was shopping to be done after all.

Here are my tips for the Best Shopping in Marrakech Souks:

1.  Take it all in. As you walk through the Market (referred to as the Souks), there's so much to see. There are also bikes, motorcycles, donkeys and aggressive stall owners to contend with. I knew we would be there for two days, so I knew that I didn't have to make any decisions on the spot. If your time is limited I still suggest walking around first, have a cold drink and then go back.  I couldn't get over the light fixtures -- although in the end we didn't bring one home -- but they're beautiful. Sometimes just taking it in is just as satisfying. Okay -- not exactly the same.


2. Negotiate. Luckily I was with someone who enjoys the art of negotiating. Not my favorite thing especially when it gets heated. For $10 more -- why all the fuss?  What we learned is that the price you should go to is usually half what the owners first offer. And then you can go from there. I really didn't love being followed by one owner that really wanted me to buy his pillows.

3. Go to the Petite Boutiques at the Souk Cherifia off Rue Mouassine (conveniently located below my favorite restaurant in the Souk, Terasse des epices. We found that this area is owned predominately by one family and we loved them. You'll pay a little bit more here but it's less pressured than most of the shopping in the souk. I was so happy we found this area. They carry much of the same products as you'll find elsewhere -- it's just calmer.


 4. Wear comfortable closed shoes. At the last minute I threw a pair of espadrilles (Sam Edelman) into my bag and I'm so glad I did. They had a little platform which took me off the ground and kept the dirt off. It rained one of the nights we visited the Market and I was especially happy to have them on. David also wore his AllBirds the entire time we were in the market. I tossed my espadrilles before we went home (I needed the extra space for our purchases) and they were really dirty. David, a true AllBirds convert, looked forward to throwing them in the wash when we got home.

5. Bring Money. You'll need to have local currency (Dirham) in most of the souk. In the  Petite Boutiques at the Souk Cherifia we were able to use a credit card. They only take Visa or Mastercard, not American Express.

6. Keep your bag in front of you. I never felt unsafe in the Souk but you have to be mindful of where you are and the people around you.  It can get really crowded so take care that your money is safely tucked away.

Quilted Koala's Stephanie Oppenheim with Mini East West Bag in Flax


For shopping, we brought our Large Zippered Tote for carrying our purchases. And I wore our Mini East West Bag in Flax - it snaps closed in three spots and I used the zippered pocket for my money and credit card.



Shopping info:

Quilted Koala Large Zippered Tote in Blush Camo $168 

Quilted Koala Mini East West Bag in Flax with Peace Sign $84

Tan & Cream Striped Strap $20



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Five Secrets to Getting into Shape Both Physically and Mentally

Posted by Stephanie Oppenheim on

The fall always feels like a new year to me. Time to get myself back into a healthier workout routine and get my house in order (who wants to do that when it's a beautiful summer day?)

Here are my five secrets to getting into shape both physically and mentally: 

1. New Sneakers.  Okay, so I'm not in 7th grade but a new pair of sneakers always gets me back into the spirit of working out.

2. Wear Real Pants. Do you ever put on workout leggings and then never quite make it to gym? I do -  more than I'd like to admit.  Real pants keep you honest.

3. Snacks. 3pm comes and I'm in need of salt or sugar (or both). I'm still working on this one, especially when I'm on deadline for something. Eating a real lunch and having a healthier snack at the ready keeps me away from the peanut m&ms (most of the time).

4. De-clutter.  It's no accident that Quilted Koala started with boxes and bins. I'm big on putting things away. Having a clutter free space makes me so much calmer. (Caveat -- if you have young kids at home, this is impossible. Give yourself a break. You'll come back to this when they're older.)

5. Enlist a friend or two. It's so much easier to get into a good habit when it's something fun to do with friends. Team Koala is thinking of trying Orange Theory next!  We also do weeks of step challenges with our Fitbits. I never win, but at least I'm moving more than if I was just in it alone.

To help get you in the mood, we want you to get a new gym bag. We have lots of great choices. Use Code FITNESS to save 60% on our small quilted or kanvas duffels. Offer valid until 9.13.17. 

Have a secret you're willing to share -- post your comment below!



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