Monday, March 18, 2013

How I Wore it: Navy Tweed and Pink!

It's no secret I love pink, so imagine my pure delight when I saw this brand new jacket hanging in Banana Republic yesterday!!! It's pink, it's tweed, it's lined in a fun striped fabric.  And the styling possibilities are endless. 

Today's combination is a navy tweed pencil skirt and a cream shell:

Friday, March 15, 2013

How I Wore it: Casual Collection

Friday is officially jeans day at my office and I love to take advantage!!

Mint and Gray (my new color combo obsession!)

Jeans - Paige Skyline Boot Cuts, Button down - Gibson (via Nordstrom); Jacket  JCrew knit blazer

Chambray, Coral and leopard

Jeans - Paige Skyline Straights, Chambray - Old Navy, Cardigan - Old Navy, Boots - Tory Burch

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

South East Asia - Indonesia (Bali)


For every single thing that Lombok wasn't, Bali was.  I absolutely loved my time on the island of Bali.  We ended up with 2 full days, and I easily could have filled up a week with the beauty of this amazing island. 

We decided for our first day to book a private car and driver to take us around to a few highlights and a super delicious dinner at an uber fancy tasting menu restaurant.  Using Frommer's travel guides I selected Amertha Dana as our car/driver company.  This may have been the best decision of this trip!  We were fortunate enough to have what I would label as the best driver ever.  And I'm pretty hard to please so you know he was amazing. 

Our tour of Bali began with a stop at a fabric shop specializing in hand made batik. We got to watch the artists create the prints, then we shopped a little :-) I got a beautiful silk scarf, a skirt, and we picked up 2 prints for the house.

We had a stop at a silversmith where we learned about the process of fashioning chunks of silver into very exquisite jewelry ( and of course I left with a bracelet!)

The next stop was a very large and ornate temple which was just gorgeous. One really remarkable thing about Bali was the abundance of religion. Hindu families have family temples, and go to the community temple together. We were lucky enough to be in the temple at the start of a celebration and saw people coming in with their offerings.

Just driving through the towns and villages here was a sight, one stand out thing I noticed was there was a lot of art happening all around you. There were wood carvers, painters, jewelry makers, batik painters, and everywhere you turned there were gorgeous things to bring home. It was very hard for us to not have the 6 foot tall stone carved Budda shipped to our house.

Bali also puts you in pretty close proximity to nature. And by nature, I mean monkeys.

I suppose you can avoid these guys if you want, but we're brave and went to monkey forest. Literally a forest full of monkeys. And not just any monkeys, but big hungry aggressive monkeys. So what did we do there? Well, what any tourist would have of course! We bought a bag of bananas and created a monkey stampede. One particularly large monkey actually climbed up the husband, and no, I wasn't fast enough to take a picture before our driver saved him from the monkey.

Next up was a stop at a family run coffee plantation, these are abundant in Bali, and the all serve the famous kopi luwak coffee. We each had a sampling of coffees and teas which were delicious. We actually got the chance to visit 2 of these family coffee plantations, because a stop was included on our day 2 tour as well (more of that later).

After our coffee stop we continued on to our ridiculously amazing dinner at the tasting restaurant Mozaic. Everything here was beyond delicious, the service was impeccable, and the ambiance, well, let's just say we were eating dinner in an incredible outdoor garden.  We enjoyed a 9 course tasting menu with a premium wine pairing.  I have never experienced anything so good.  Seriously.   We have already decided on a return trip to Bali and a stop here will definitely be in the plan!!

Day 2

Our second day was  We planned an excursion with some of our cruise critic friends which included a short stop at another coffee plantation, a drive to the top of a mountain where the views were breathtaking....

Told ya. 

We jumped back in the van and headed down the mountain about 20 minutes and hopped on bikes (!) to take a few miles of scenery via bike riding.  Our guide was amazing, he owns the company and was very attentive to all of us, as was his crew.  This is among my don't-miss-tours in Bali - Halo Bike Tours, and another one I will be doing again when we return.  

Along the way we learned about how rice paddies are planted, grown, attended to, and cultivated, and got some beautiful pictures along the way

After our bike tour we went back to the owners home for some interesting insight on life inside a Balianese life.  His wife also made us the MOST AMAZING buffet of Indonesian food.  It was to.die.for.  And the whole family was so nice and welcoming it really made the day extremely special.  

We visited so much in our 2 days, but really both of us could have been so happy touring this beautiful island for at least a week.  There are so many things to see and do, the shopping, hiking volcanoes, bike tours, Tannah Lot, the Northern Vistas (beautiful northern country), waterfalls, the elephant park..... I could go on and on, just trust me, it's amazing and you should go.  And things here are pretty inexpensive, we passed real estate lots on the beach, each was just under 2 acres and priced at the rough equivalent of $2,000 USD.  I promise if I had my checkbook with me when we passed that sign you never would have seen me again.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How I wore It: Collection of Wearables

In my attempts to bring you a full travel review on our trip to Asia, I have been seriously neglecting my how I wore it style posts!

Here are a few looks from the last month:


Skirt and Shell - JCrew, Cardi - Nordstrom, Belt - F21

Black and White

Dress - WHBM, Cardi - Banana Republic, Shoes - Tory Burch

Closer up of  Shoes because they are Ah-maz-ing:

Shirt Dress (my new must-have for Spring!!! ... and summer... and fall...)

Dress - Tory Burch Blythe Dress, Cardi - JCrew Jackie, Boots - Via Spiga

Sunday, March 3, 2013

South East Asia - Indonesia (Lombok & Komodo island)

Our second, third and fourth stops on the cruise were in Indonesia, a great country full of culture, art, and beauty.


Lombok featured sketchy safety rules, scammers, and children taught to beg and stick their hands practically in your pockets for cash........

When we set foot onto lombok that's when the adventure really began. I hadn't made any definite plans here because nothing struck me as overly interesting for a day long activity. I did hear about a great beach so I figured that was a safe bet for the day. As soon as we got off the ship the taxi stand was ready to help get a driver. The price was a very unfortunate $80 per car USD. For a country with an exchange rate of 9,000 to 1 USD, this is astoundingly high.

We ended up finding another couple with the same plans as us and shared a ride to the beach, we discovered they were part of our cruise critic group also so it turns out we "knew" each other. This made sharing the ride far less sketchy and off we went.

What happened after was basically this: after the driver spent 1.5 hours trying to kill us we arrived at an alley with a dumpster at the end, we walked through the alley to a 15 foot wide strip of sand that sloped down into dirty water. Walking further we found a sheraton hotel which was actually great. We ended up exchanging use of their beach chairs for purchasing lunch on the resort. Then, all of the cruise ship excursions dropped 100's of people off on this tiny beach, they overtook the Sheraton, Sheraton flipped out, cruise ship people wouldn't leave, so we packed up and got lunch which was unbelievably good at an outdoor bar/restaurant on the property.

View from Sheraton's beach:

After our lovely (?), relaxing(?), day on the beach we head back to the ship where the driver tries telling us two things first that the cost is $80 per couple, and second that the cost together onto the dirty beach was $40 a couple. Then the children swarmed us digging in pockets and asking for money. We paid $80 to the driver left him stomping his feet in the parking lot and split.

Komodo island

When I first saw Komodo on the itinerary for this cruise I was all "yay the dragons, we can see them, so cool" half way through our trip I was trying desperately to remember who else has our life insurance information.

When we pulled up to komodo (do you pull up to island on a ship?) first impressions were how pretty and lush the island is. Since there are only a few hundred inhabitants here (because who in the hell wants to share their island with 2,065 carnivorous lizards?!) the island is very undeveloped. We get off the tender boat, meet our guides and off we go. ......

Now being from the safety regulated USA I assumed that viewing the dragons in their natural habitat meant one of 2 things 1) they enclose the humans on some sort of viewing platform or 2) the dragons are acclimated to humans because they are around all the time and the dragons don't see us as dinner. I also wrongly assumed it had to be relatively safe if they were dropping 2,300 passengers off during the cruise.  Additionally, I felt relatively comfortable with my back up plan for being on an island with carniverous lizards, and that was, of course, that I only needed to outrun 1 other cruise ship passenger.

Our guide grabbed a stick that was about 6 feet long with a forked end and we took off behind him.  Thinking back on this moment I probably should have asked a few questions about this stick, but I digress.  We finally come up to a clearing with 4 lovely sunbathing lizards hanging out, reiterating my safe feeling of acclimated dragons.  Afer getting some pictures of them, we followed our guide ino the woods for some lecture on the dragons and the island.  As you can see below we got pretty close to these guys. 

As we are listening to our guide a group of cruise ship people came running up behind us yelling "the dragons are coming, the dragons are coming!!"  our guide continued to lecture us on the native trees to the island or something until he noticed this angry guy coming up through the woods right at us

He wisely told us to turn around and get moving.  quickly. 

After continuing on our tour and meandering through the island a little, we encountered the most absurd thing I have ever witnessed, of course I shouldn't have been overly surprised.  We were lined up in a group of about 40 people along the trail, and across the clearing another 30 or so people were grouped together.  There were 5 guides kind of hanging out in between us.  Almost silently a large, angry dragon started creeping out of the woods, completely unnoticed by pretty much anyone until it was about 50 feet away from a person.  This naturally prompted the person to freak out and start screaming.  This immediately sparked a response from the guides, one of which was to run like hell in the opposite direction.  The remaining guides started poking at the mean angry big dragon with their little sticks (so THATS what the stick are for!!), when the guides figured this method wasn't really working so well, one of them came over to our group lined up on the trail and told us to run for the bridge.  Now, I do not need to be told more than once to run away so off I go toward this little 1 1/2 foot wide bridge.  Myself and another like minded girl from our group reached the bridge first.  When we got there, we ran into 2 women blocking the entrance to the bridge, wide eyed with cameras out.  We told them to move so, you know, we don't all get eaten.  There response to us "but we're taking pictures!!!!".  SERIOUSLY.  Ladies, there is a very large very angry very meat eating lizard less than 50 feet away from you, MOVE.  We basically pushed them away, got on the bridge, and made the immediate decision to leave the island. 

Even though this was a pretty dangerous little excursion I'm glad we went, we had an adventure, lived to tell it, and have no desire to ever go back. 

In the space of a few hours we saw a dragon sprint (I'm not even kidding they are very fast), were told to either turn around an move quickly or to run away from dragons, watched a deer get attacked, and almost became dragon dinner.  So it is without much regret that I say goodbye ugly, drooly, angry carniverous lizards.