Posts Tagged ‘horses’

The Selman Marrakech: Stylish Moroccan Paradise

Black and white tiling is one of the main motifs in the hotel’s decor

Editor’s Note: Anastasia Chernykh lives in Ukraine and is the social media manager for My Life’s a Trip. She’s also a great photographer. Anastasia joined me on my recent trip to Marrakech and stayed for two nights at The Selman. I asked her to cover the hotel for the blog. Here is her report. – Jen

When you come to Marrakech for the first time, it is definitely a must to stay at riad (the one I stayed in was pretty nice), but Medina can be really overwhelming for a visitor. And if you get tired of the crowds it’s time to check out another traditional Moroccan option- a palace hotel. A short taxi ride brought me from the madness of the old city to stylish and calm oasis which is Selman Marrakech.

Selman Marrakech is one of the newest hotels in a city, opened in May 2012 and already won Villegiature Awards as the best hotel in Africa in 2013. The palace hotel, created by French architect and designer Jacques Garcia, is a perfect extension of the Red City from outside and a real work of art from inside. Plush interiors, black and white mosaics, dark marble, purple curtains, Persian rugs and of course hotel’s highlight – photographs and paintings of horses hanging on the walls throughout the property.

Dark & Chic at Selman Marrakech

I stayed in a deluxe double room which was a great combination of traditional decor and modern technology with a framed mirror slash flat screen TV, full mini-bar, coffee machine and signature Marrakech’s ochre colored furnishing.

The king sized bed was extremely comfy. The spacious bathroom with a separate shower (wow that water pressure!) just made a perfect ending after another full day of exploring Marrakech.

Left: working and sitting area  Right: Selman’s welcome amenity, complete with local wine

King sized bed and sitting area in the Double Deluxe Room

Bathroom decorated with zellige tiles and black marble

The ground floor room came with a private terrace facing the garden. Soft chairs and glass tables with palm trees reflections made it the best working place I could imagine (thanks to a free in-room wifi too).

Outdoor Patio of the Room 110

Green diversity at Selman’s Garden

The heart of the property is the tropical paradise with 80 m long pool surrounded by palm trees, snow white sunbeds, beach cabanas and jasmine flowers. Pool Bar offers drinks and snacks for guests until the sun goes down.

At the end of the pool there is one of the three Selman’s restaurants, Pavilion, which serves lunch (and has a Sunday brunch complete with an equestrian show) Dinner and breakfast are served at Le Restaurant Selman located at the lobby.

Selman’s main pool is one of the longest in Marrakech

Le Restaurant Selman

Pool Bar  is open for guests until the sunset

The most beautiful (living) thing you can see on a property, which makes Selman so special- horses. Pure bred Arabian as well as local Berber horses are housed on the hotel’s grounds. They are part of the private collection of the Selman’s owner, Abdeslam Bennani Smires, who breeds Arabian horses. Some of them can be seen in the Jaques Garcia designed paddocks near the pool. The horses are friendly and highly photogenic!

Selman Marrakech

KM 5, route d’amizmiz+212 524 45 96 00

Room rates start at 4,000 MAD ($477.62)

Special rates at the Selman can be found here.

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Check out my Glamping HipStop Piece in the October 2013 Foodie Issue of SNAP

The Dining Pavilion at Moonlight Camp

I’m very excited that my glamping story about chef Dale Levitski’s Last Best Supper at The Resort at Paws Up is featured in the new October 2013 Foodie issue of Snap Magazine. Snap is a digital magazine that explores global guide culture, music, travel, food and trends. Shooting this story with Hipstamatic’s Oggl app was really fun and, truth be told, a bit challenging during the cattle drive. Fortunately my horse Colorado was a real pro and didn’t mind when I paused for a few photo opps.

You don’t need to use Hipstamatic or theOggl app to check out Snap– you can also read it online here.  The images in the magazine are stunning and I’m honored to have mine featured the the Foodie Issue, along with some other great food porn (including some rather photogenic pisco sours).

The October 2013 Foodie Issue of Snap features a foodporn cover shot by David Loftus

The hardest part about this assignment was figuring out which images to send to the Editors at Snap. In this post I’ve featured a few bonus images for my blog readers. I hope you enjoy reading the Foodie issue as much as I enjoyed this assignment.

You can also find a great selection of glamping destinations around the globe at If you’re afraid of tents they have some great alternative lodging options including cabins, yurts, huts, teepees and Airstreams.

Trying to keep my horizons straight while on horseback was humorous.

Rainbow Carrots at the Missoula Farmers Market

Left: Fresh mint at the Farmers Market Right: Grilled Corn at the Paws Up Chuckwagon Dinner

Huckleberry Lemon Drop Martini at Tank

Left: Chef Dale Levitski’s homemade rabbit-filled pasta   Right: Pretty Pears in the Paws Up Cook Shack

Long table set for dinner with flowers from the Missoula Farmers Market






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The Paws Up Chuck Wagon Experience: Foodie Al Fresco Fun

Montana’s answer to Uber: Cowboy Steve with draft horses Pete and RePete

When the weather is nice, it’s always fun to dine al fresco, especially when you’re in a setting as picturesque as the site of the Chuck Wagon Dinner at The Resort at Paws Up. Guests ride on a horse-drawn wagon through the scenic Montana wilderness to the banks of the Blackfoot River, where they dine at picnic tables.

Left: The Blackfoot River Right: Draft horses Pete & RePete

The Chuck Wagon dinner is a great way to casually meet other guests and enjoy an evening of good food and entertainment. It’s also an experience that appeals to guests of all ages– I dined with a 4 month old and a grandfather in his 70s. It’s hugely popular for those families doing the multi-generational vacation thing. 

The Paws Up Chuck Wagon Site

There is plenty of fine food prepared on a open flame, including grilled chicken, corn, tri-tip and Tomahawk Chop. Of course western staples like baked beans, cornbread, and baked potatoes are served. For dessert, there was a mixed berry cobbler made with the local fave, huckleberries.

Music & Cowboy Poetry are part of the Chuck Wagon Experience

Local beers from Montana’s Big Sky Brewing company Moose Drool and Scape Goat Pale Ale are on hand for washing it all down. Or you can have lemonade or sangria if you prefer. During dinner guests are treated to music and cowboy poetry which is good fun (if you missed my post about cowboy poetry, you can read it here).

Riding in style to the Chuck Wagon

Grilled corn goodness

Baked beans with loads of bacon

For a film geek like me, it’s hard to not make a Blazing Saddles reference when you show a pot of baked beans. Chef Buckley’s were fit for foodies– easy on the stomach, delicious, and had a nice kick of cayenne and loads of bacon-y goodness.

Left: Huckleberry Soup slash cobbler  Right: Mixed vegetables

Chuck Wagon decisions: Tri-tip or Tomahawk chop?

Chef Buckley getting ready to serve at the Paws Up Chuck Wagon Dinner

Chef Buckley’s tri-tip was tasty

Much thanks to the Resort at Paws Up, who generously hosted my Chuck Wagon experience while I was on assignment for


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Arizona’s Rancho de la Osa- a Mobile Photo Essay

The Cantina or Blue Building at Rancho De La Osa. The margaritas start coming at 6 pm.

I spent a few days last week joining my brother, sister-in-law, and three nephews at Rancho de la Osa, a guest ranch about 90 minutes outside of Tucson in Sasabe, Arizona.

While I was in Auntie mode (not travel blogger mode) and intentionally didn’t bring my Canon DSLR for the trip, I did shoot some mobile photography during my stay. I found the Rancho’s high desert scenery paired nicely with hipstamatic‘s new Silver Lake HipstaPak (the Mabel Lens & Dixie Film combo).

I did notice the combination didn’t hold up as well during midday- when the shadows and contrast got harsher, the Mabel + Dixie combo got too washed out. During those times I switched to shooting with ProCamera, 6×6, and Thirty Six.

Hipsta scenes from a Dude Ranch

Some of the charming folk art on the Rancho de la Osa property

I’m not sure a trip to the American Southwest is complete without some dried chili peppers

I was particularly smitten with these horse saddles turned into bar stools

I loved the collection of western art and whimsical rubber ducks bathing in the courtyard fountain

Western Details inside room #18

Rancho de la Osa is the real deal– John Wayne and slew of other western stars stayed her back in the day. Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell bunked in room #6.

Like all good dude ranches- days are centered around a morning and afternoon horseback ride. The horses are all very sweet. I particularly liked the communal cowboy boots in the tack room. Guests borrow a pair in their size for their stay.

This longhorn skull made it impossible to resist a little Georgia O’Keeffe hipsta homage

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#FriFotos ‘Faces’ of Montana: Bruce Anfinson & The Last Chance Ranch

Last week I honored to be invited on a press trip as visiting writer and photographer to Helena, Montana as a guest of the Helena Chamber of Commerce.

While Montana is best known for it’s glorious National Parks, Glacier and Yellowstone,  I was very interested in exploring what the state capital of Helena had to offer. I met more than a few friendly faces during my few days there, and I’ve decided to focus on just one in honor of this week’s #FriFotos.

One of my favorite experiences in Helena was meeting Bruce Anfinson of the Last Chance Ranch. I meet him on a tour of the Blackfoot Brewery in Helena, Montana. Bruce was friendly and fun to chat with. His broken in cowboy boots let me to believe he was a rancher of some kind. Bruce described himself to me as “pretty good with horses, a guitar, and food.” Bruce has a great face, I loved photographing him. He told me I’d get to know more about him soon.

The next night, he let me right shotgun as he drove a team of draft horses to the Last Chance Wagon Ride Dinner.  This was my first Chuck Wagon experience, and I really didn’t know what to expect.

 At Blackfoot Brewery

This is the first portrait I took of Bruce, when I met him at The Blackfoot Brewery in Helena. I highly recommend the Blackfoot Cream Ale, and found myself highly amused by their Blue Collar Bitter.

 Bruce playing the guitar

Bruce playing the guitar at the Last Chance Ranch

 Bruce smiles

Bruce has a great face. His eyes crinkle up when he smiles.

 Bruce Pours Cowboy Coffee

Bruce is a hands-on kind of fellow. Here he’s handling Cowboy Coffee service all by himself!

 Riding Shot Gun to Last Chance Ranch My view on the wagon ride

Riding Shotgun to Last Chance Ranch while Bruce steers the team of draft horses.

 Bruce at the Wagon Ride

Bruce at the Wagon Ride

Bruce was indeed good with horses, his acoustic guitar, and food (prime rib, amazing horseradish, and off the hook huckleberry cheesecake that shockingly not heavy). Attending Bruce’s Wagon Ride Dinner was a really fun and truly Montana experience. It was fun to ride on the wagon pulled with draft horses and take in the with beautiful Helena scenery. Everyone else seated at my communal table was good company. The food was indeed tasty.  It was an evening of fine food, new friends, good company, and great local entertainment and songs about Montana that were both entertaining and well performed. Bruce has a great face, I loved photographing him.

If you’re in or around Helena, I highly recommend the Last Chance Ranch Wagon Ride Dinner. It’s a uniquely Montana experience and really a good time. Wagon Ride Dinners cost $75 which is priced at a reasonable considering it’s a fine meal and an evening of live entertainment and a wagon ride. You can find out more about the Last Chance Ranch Wagon Ride dinners here.

 Draft Horses at the Last Chance Ranch

Draft Horses at the Last Chance Ranch

 Last ChanceRanch Staff

Last ChanceRanch Staff

Last Chance Ranch dinner

Last Chance Ranch dinner

 New Friends at Last Chance Ranch

New Friends at Last Chance Ranch

 Huckleberry Cheesecake  Last Chance Ranch vase

Huckleberry Cheesecake and Vase at Last Chance Ranch

 Tipping Tree Last Chance Ranch

Tipping Tree Last Chance Ranch

 Bus to Last Chance Ranch

Bus to Last Chance Ranch


I would like to thank Mike Mergenthaler from the Helena Chamber for being such an amazing host.

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