Holiday Gift Guide with Global Style

With 260 people entering the giveaway here last month, it’s high time for holiday gift ideas with global flair. Because the holidays are already crazy — why not make it easy to find unique gifts? Maybe something different than what everyone can find at Target and Amazon? Well, Novica brings a whole world of handmade goods to your doorstep, so you have easy access to a lot of unique gift ideas.

And until the end of the day today (midnight Pacific time, Nov. 23) Novica has coupon codes for $10, $15 and $25 off. The best news is, you can use all codes! Novica says you can place up to three separate orders to use all the codes.

Novica Coupon Code

Again, those codes are good through today only. Novica regularly runs discounts and sales so if you miss ordering today, watch their website for savings on your holiday shopping.

Gift shopping at Novica is a good way to help support artisans around the world, such as Yuni Kristina who designs and makes Indonesian batik silk scarves:

Novica Indonesian Batik Silk Scarf

She creates batik shawls and scarves in many more colors and designs – check them out:

Novica Indonesian Batik Scarves

If you know someone who needs a special place to store jewelry, this reverse painted glass jewelry box is a beautiful place for jewelry to rest. It’s hand-painted by Asunta Pelaez in a traditional handicraft from Peru:

Novica Peruvian Jewelry Box

In addition to precious little boxes, Asunta also paints mirrors, trays, coasters and small tables:

Reverse Painted Glass at Novica

From Thailand, jewelry artisan Tiraphan Hasub makes beaded necklaces, anklets and bracelets with big personality, such as this turquoise-hued necklace:

Novica Turquoise Color Necklace from Thailand

Here are a few more of her many designs available at Novica:

Thailand Jewelry from Novica

Much of the U.S. has already had cold winter weather and with an entire winter season still ahead of us, maybe people will appreciate some extra throws to keep warm? Here’s an alpaca blend throw blanket woven by W. Rojas Yuri on an Andean handloom:

Alpaca Blend Throw Blanket

I have an alpaca throw blanket and I can tell you, if you want to keep warm, it works!

A thoughtful gift would be to fill a decorative bowl with some food or spices, and tuck in a special utensil. This little floral plate made by Diana Dewi from Java looks like tea time to me:

Floral Plate from Java

Light up someone’s life with a candleholder, like these soapstone globes with Indian jali-inspired shapes. The soapstone is hand-carved by Gulam Rasool, who learned marble sculpting from his father:

Soapstone Candleholder

He carves many other shapes in similar jali style – elephants, boxes, vases, bookends:

Soapstone Jali

If something here didn’t catch your eye as a gift you need, Novica has more than 30,000 products from artisans around the world, so surely there is a gift for nearly everyone there.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of compensation if you purchase after clicking the link. This helps me pay for costs to keep this blog running for you. I post affiliate links when I’ve purchased from the company myself or used the product myself, and can confidently share the company or product. Affiliate links are rare here!



Moroccan Mint Tea Glasses

Some of us became addicted to the ritual of Moroccan mint tea in Marrakech last week. If you don’t want to go all the way to Morocco to get mint tea glasses (although I recommend that you do!), you can easily find these jewels online.

Many years ago, you could have bought Moroccan mint tea glasses from a candle catalog we had back in the 90s. I wish I’d kept a set for myself! We sold the glasses with natural mint scented votive candles. Here’s a photo of the glasses from our catalog:

Moroccan Mint Tea Glasses and Indian Temple Door

I styled the tea glasses on a little Indian tea table that I sanded down to remove dark stain (so the tea glasses would “pop” visually). My mother-in-law happened to be in town at the time, so I took her red sari and paired it with an old Indian temple door to make an exotic backdrop. She was more than a little surprised with what I did with her sari! This was my favorite all-time shot over about four years of running that catalog. You’d never know this photo was not in an exotic setting in Delhi or Mumbai. It was set up in a corner of our living room in a boring feature-less white condo in Novi, Michigan. So I’ve loved global decor for a long time.

Let’s look at some tea glasses available for you today. My favorite are these colors and design from Viva Terra:

Moroccan Tea Glasses from Viva Terra

Those colors would go so well in my dining room.

These strong jewel colors from are bold enough to elevate mint tea drinking to a special celebratory event:

Moroccan Mint Tea Glasses from JustMorocco

If you prefer a more subtle design, how about these delicate henna-inspired glasses from Not on the High Street:

Moroccan Mint Tea Glasses from Not on the High Street

I could see green and gold ones like these (or red and gold) as holiday candleholders for decoration, if you don’t think you will drink mint tea. These are from Moroccan Prestige:

Green and Gold Moroccan Mint Tea Glasses from Moroccan Prestige

This gives you an idea of what these glasses look like, if you haven’t seen them before. There are hundreds of designs and colors to choose from. Just Google “Moroccan mint tea glasses” in Google Image and you will find an endless supply.

Now what you must see is how to make Moroccan mint tea and especially, the impressive way they pour this tea in Morocco!

Pouring Moroccan Mint Tea

I wonder how much they practice and how much they waste to learn to pour like that. Because these glasses are tiny!

Moroccan Pattern Mixes

If you like global style, you’ve probably seen many photos of the sights of Morocco on Pinterest, Flickr, traveler blogs or the famous My Marrakesh blog. Of course there are the big sights that everyone photographs. But each person might photograph things differently at these places. Different things catch our eyes. What caught my eye were the mixes of patterns. Small scenes. Little snippets. Now that I look back over photos, those are my favorites. Instead of an entire door, I want to drink in the detail of part of the door. Because it’s easy to whiz by and not take a moment to stop and appreciate the close-ups while there. Here are some Moroccan pattern mixes …

This was captured my first night in Marrakech:

Marrakech Door in Souks

That first night I bravely forged ahead into the souks by myself and quickly got lost. After walking what felt like 20 miles, I eventually found our riad again. I wasn’t sure where to go, but I knew when I was going in the wrong direction. Finally after asking people and a guy on a bike watching out for me (and never asking me for any money), I found the Jemaa el Fna and the familiar lane to our riad. Whew! After that I made sure to notice more “visual bread crumbs” instead of gaping at the tile patterns and all the stuff hanging around.

This next one was photographed by Melanie Royals of Royal Design Studio, who hosted our Paint and Play trip. It’s layers of patterns from a Moroccan pierced metal lantern and a wood screen in Le Tanjia restaurant:

Moroccan Lantern and Screen Patterns

These are painted doors in our riad, Maison du Tresor, and tiled floor. The door and floor work well together:

Maison du Tresor Painted Door and Tile

This tile and carved marble is at Bahia Palace. I have a lot more photos from the palace to share in a future post:

Bahia Palace Patterns

A mix of patterns at the Saadian Tombs:

Saadian Tombs Patterns

I love this motif at the entrance to Dar Moha restaurant. I want a stencil of this!

Dar Moha

Do these pics all look fuzzy to you? They look fuzzy to me. For someone who’s so visual, my eyes are really bad! So I’m not sure if they really are blurry or I’m having a bad eye day like some people have bad hair days.

Between the chair, the chest and the rug, this is a lively pattern mix in Mustapha Blaoui’s shop. I’d be very happy if my house looked like this:

Patterns in Mustapha Blaoui

Spotted on a wall in the souks. Love this:

Scene on Marrakech Souk Wall

More Marrakech pics and posts coming soon!

Marrakech Souk Shopping

I can’t remember the last time I shopped in a mall, like you know, the Great American Shopping Mall. Where everything is so shiny and new and machine manufactured and perfect. I’d far rather be where I’ve been the last few days – walking a souk like the Marrakech souks. Have a look …

Marrakech Souks

Marrakech Souk Jewelry

Marrakech Souk Lanterns

Bone Platter in Marrakech Souk

At first in places like this, your eye won’t know where to focus. It’s dripping with stuff. But go in and take a look and you will find fascinating things, like the platter above:

Souk Shopping in Marrakech

The lady who is attached to this arm bought a bunch of these enormous tassels:

Tassels in Marrakech Souk

And of course, the impossibly stacked spices:

Marrakech Spices

For the occasion, I wore what I call the “souk necklace.” I made it to look like something you’d find in the souks of Damascus (when it was safe) or Delhi or Jordan. Instead, I found the pieces of this necklace at Michaels and Etsy, and I strung them all together, and all together they make me think of a souk souvenir:

DIY Souk Necklace

I don’t know that there will be a lot of nomadic decorating going on though – I think I am here looking for something else other than a “shop till you drop” experience. What I am looking for I am not really sure. But I do believe that what you can learn about yourself when you travel is far more valuable than the stuff you can buy.

Although I did find this really cool brass faucet and it would look great in one of the India pied-a-terre’s bathrooms, whenever we get around to finishing the place. It’s exactly the look I’m going for – the Can’t Find It At Home Depot look.

Brass Faucet in Marrakech

I did not get the faucet though because what do I know about plumbing? And especially, plumbing in India. Absolutely nothing. Other than water flows through it. We are already the owners of four toilets for a place that has two bathrooms! But that is another story for another day …

The Royal Mansour

Tomorrow I’m on the way to Marrakech! So excited. I’m going on Royal Design Studio’s “Paint and Play” Retreat in Morocco. If you like what you see here in the coming weeks, you can go too! There will be more trips to Morocco in 2015.

One place we’ll see is the Royal Mansour. Check out these photos and then I’ll tell you more about it, because you shouldn’t have to wade through a bunch of words first.

Royal Mansour in Marrakech

Glimpse of the Royal Mansour

Marrakech Royal Mansour

Royal Mansour Bathroom Tile

Royal Mansour Patterns

Royal Mansour Tile

Royal Mansour Morocco

These scenes of rooms are stunning. But so are the little details. Here’s a snapshot of a tassel by Slim Paley who wrote a gorgeous post about her visit to the Royal Mansour. A tassel? Ha, big deal, you say? Well not at the Royal Mansour. They do their tassels like this:

Tassels at the Royal Mansour by Slim Paley

And, this blue moment she spotted there:

True Blue Moment at Royal Mansour by Slim Paley

A pattern mix on the floor, via Slim Paley’s blog post:

Royal Mansour Pattern Mix via Slim Paley

Is this place for real?!? Soon I shall see for myself! I won’t believe it until then.

I feel like I need to widen this blog’s image format to 800 pixels wide so you can truly see the details! Like my eyes are straining, I want to see more more more!

Aren’t the tiles breath-taking. And all the patterns that somehow work together without fighting each other. The strength of the symmetry.

There are over 50 multi-story private riads at the Royal Mansour. Like, entire little homes, not rooms. And all the riads are connected by underground tunnels for service staff. It’s owned by the king of Morocco and was built by his artisans, so if it feels more like a palace than a hotel to you, you may be right. It’s definitely luxury but if you cannot afford to stay there, you can stop by for a drink or meal, or the spa, and enjoy the public areas.


Senegal Style

What? Senegal style? I know. I hadn’t ever given much thought to style in Senegal. It’s not like bookstore shelves are lined with books about this style. But earlier this year, while I was looking for a free award flight to Marrakech this week, one of the return trip routes went through Dakar. I didn’t choose that option. But I thought about it. Still thinking about it. I did call United Airlines and ask if I could change to that routing. But no go, nothing available now.

Darn. Because I need a bit of adventure in life right now.

I racked up 80,000+ award miles on United flying to places like Austin, San Antonio, Portland, Washington DC, Newark, San Diego, Nashville, Houston, Minneapolis, Harrisburg, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Baltimore, Columbus, Toronto, San Francisco. Ping-ponging through the air, all over North America. There’s interesting things for travelers in all these places. But still, none of them are … Senegal!

So what’s in Senegal? Let’s find out …

You will find bold, colorful confident style in Senegal. Photo by FireflyUSC on Flickr:

Woman in Senegal by FireflyUSC on Flickr

Or this “Fashion in Dakar,” photographed by Sibylle Bergemann:

Fashion in Dakar by Sibylle Bergemann

How about this color combo, captured by ElectricSprout:

Senegal Color

No words I could write would add to this image. It’s the French-Senegalese Alliance in Senegal by architect Patrick Dujarric:

French-Senegalese Alliance in Senegal by architect Patrick Dujarric

My sister-in-law teaches French at the Alliance Française in Chennai, India!  But their building, while nice, looks nothing like this!

From Elle Decor France, here are tabletop patterns inspired by Senegal style (as Senegal is a former French colony):

Senegal Style Tabletop

That scene is inspired by the bold West African wax print fabrics like this one from Senegal, via Goree Shop Chicago, which imports goods from Africa:

West African Wax Print Fabric from Senegal via Goree Shop Chicago

This colorful chair with personality PLUS, sold at Anthropologie, is made in Senegal:

Anthropologie Chair Made in Senegal

Are you smitten with Senegal style now too? You can find plenty more on this Pinterest Board:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Senegal Style on Pinterest.



Opium Bed Style

Normally I would tell you to not get involved with anything related to opium. Except when it involves a table. A table styled like an opium bed.

The opium bed style is from Asia, and you would find these style of beds in opium dens in China and Southeast Asia. Beds were available for reclining in a way that a writer might try to romanticize with words like “lanquid.” I am  not sure I’d romanticize smoking opium! But nowadays tourists like to collect the opium pipes and other paraphernalia when they travel to the Golden Triangle of opium dealers around Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Travelers have exported the look of entire dens, like this brocaded French opium den of the early 1900s, set up by people who returned from the Indochine colonies and brought their addictions back with them.

French Opium Den of the early 1900s

The reality is obviously far less beautiful. Like this opium den in Manila which is really sad.

I am only addicted to the style. I love those curvy table legs. And in fact I did bring an opium bed table back with me from Thailand! Way back in 2001. Please don’t think it was an extravagant thing to do. It cost us only $100! That is, folks, only $7.69 per year so far, for a large teak coffee table.

We ordered it custom made, about 3 feet by 5 feet, by a lady near Chiang Mai. We got to see it being made, under a tent on the family’s front lawn! It cost only a small fraction of what American retailers charge for a large teak table (including shipping) and we felt good about our money going directly to a family. Here it is in our living room:

Opium Coffee Table

Chinese Style Opium Coffee Table

Those are from a post from a year ago that gave you a peek into our living room. After almost 13 years, the table is a bit scratched and needs sanding and restaining, but I still love it and use it almost daily.

Can I entice you with more opium tables?

Opium Table

Opium Bed and Thai Style

Here’s an antique Chinese opium coffee table from Mecox with nice old details, as it should as it’s from the late 1700s:

Antique Opium Coffee Table from Mecox

Here’s an opium table from Golden Triangle in Chicago:

Opium Table at Golden Triangle

While it has a distinctive shape, this table can fit in many decor styles. It can be elegant and sophisticated, like in the photo above. But with woven cane in the middle, it is more casual. Paint it white and it can fit in a beach house. Could you see one in your house?