What I Bought In Bali

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This trip to Bali was not about shopping.  It was a time and place to relax, recharge and rejuvenate but you know I can’t miss a chance to explore local markets and find unique global goods to bring home so I did pick a few items (wink, wink) while I was there.

We stayed in Ubud for our entire 10 day visit to Bali which allowed me days to scope out shops and markets, compare pricing and then do all my shopping at the end of our journey.  I’m going to share with you where I found the best deals and my top tips for shopping in Ubud.

Ubud is a haven for wellness, yoga and healthy living and a lot of the little shops on the main streets cater to this, selling bohemian fashion and accessories.  While I appreciated their offerings they reminded me a lot of what can be found in Los Angeles, where I live. I love to search out items unique to a destination when I travel and this wasn’t it.  I like to find items that are locally made, handcrafted and speak to the traditions and culture of the place I am visiting and the best place to find that is in the local markets, so off I went!

Ubud Traditional Art Market

Smack in the center of town, this market is full of a mix of local goods and touristy souvenirs.  There are stalls selling art, though a lot of it is the same so I am pretty sure it’s just reproductions. Not my thing.

You’ll also find stalls selling everything from masks and clothing to incense and handbags.  There is junk mixed in with some beautiful handmade items. You have to keep your eye out for magic and bargain hard.  If a seller isn’t willing to meet your price there are 20 more stalls selling the same items and you can get it elsewhere.  The amount of stalls selling the same items definitely puts the bargaining power in your hands.

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Straw bag mecca! I mean look at all those cool shapes!

 

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Colorful sarongs at the Ubud Market.

 

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I wanted them all! So hard to pick with so many shapes and designs!

At this market we picked up 3 of the straw handbags that I lusted after the entire trip, bags of incense and postcards (great gifts), some hand painted wooden bangles, a couple of Bintang beer t-shirts (husband’s purchase) and a few wooden masks.

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Incense, postcards, hand incense holder and oils I bought at a different shop.
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Hand painted bangles.
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My straw bag picks. 2 for me, one for my niece.
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Top: 2 Barong masks (He is the king of spirits in Balinese mythology, protector against evil spirits) Bottom: His and hers traditional painted mini masks to add to my collection from around the world.

Sukawati Market

We went to this market on recommendation from some locals and I really liked it.  It’s about 15 minutes drive from the center of Ubud and it just has a more laid back, local vibe.  One side of the market is more touristy with clothing, jewelry and wood carvings while the other side is definitely for locals with home goods, food items and daily offerings being sold.

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Wind chimes, puppets and small gifts.

 

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Wood carvings, masks and home goods of all kinds.
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Daily offerings in the making.
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Blessed block covered in offerings to the spirits.

We didn’t spend long here but I was able to pick up some sarongs and tops.  Keep in mind there are beach style, cotton sarongs which are cheaper and the more elaborately patterned, traditional sarongs that will cost you a little more.  I bought 5 of the traditional sarongs to give as a gifts and some for myself as well as matching cotton bolero style tops.

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Beach sarongs.
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Traditional sarongs in batik prints.
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A few of the sarongs and tops I purchased at Sukawati Market.

In addition to these two markets I wanted to tell you about a few other spots where I was able to get some great items while shopping in Ubud.

Andong Street

This is the street that travels from Ubud center to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. It goes on for at least a couple miles with both sides of the street are lined in shops selling all types of handmade goods.  You won’t find a lot of clothing, but home goods, furniture, interior decoration, lighting, shell items abound. The shops sell wholesale and retail and it’s a great place if you are looking to purchase larger items than need to be shipped home.

I was blown away by how many shops lined the street and the variety of unique designs to be found.  We came to this street looking for a bead shop, which we didn’t find but I did find a clothing store that had a small section of beaded pieces from different tribes in Indonesia.  I was in heaven as these were pieces I hadn’t seen anywhere else in Ubud.

I ended up getting a beaded collar necklace made on Kalimantan Island in Borneo as well as a beaded collar and belt from the Toraja Tribe on the island of Sulawesi.  These pieces are so special to me because of the time put into them and the tradition they represent.  They are my favorite finds of the entire trip.

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Stunning beaded necklaces and belt from Borneo and Sulawesi.  Similar pieces can be found at “Jolly Art Shop”, Andong Street, Ubud 80571m Gianyar – Bali
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In my negotiating for the necklaces I had him throw in the tote bag which I love. The small bag I picked up at the Sukawati Market.

Hanoman Street

This street runs from the Monkey Forest to the main drag in the center of Ubud and it is lined with tiny shops.  It was here that I bought my amazing shell collar necklaces, handmade kites, essential oils and beads for my sister.

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The options are endless for these shell pieces. Though not traditionally Balinese they are handmade here.  They make an insane piece of statement jewelry or beautiful decoration.
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These are the three shell necklaces I ended up purchasing.
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Lots of cotton clothing to choose from. I bought a bunch of wide leg jumpsuits, perfect for traveling.
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Handmade kites for my nephews. I loved seeing the kites flying over Ubud everyday.
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Handmade beads from the island of Java.  I bought these and other beads at “Palito Beads Shop”, JI. Hanoman, Padang Tegal Ubud, Gianyar – Bali.
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They also had an amazing selection of beaded belts!

Be sure to pick up some of the essential oils of Bali as well. Cempaka is a flower native to Bali and the essential oil made from this flower is the most divine perfume.  Wearing it takes me right back to Ubud.

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Cempaka Flower (photo credit: bibitbunga.com)
 Lastly, Bali is known for it’s coffee and teas so we of course wanted to bring some home.  As we do in many countries, heading to local grocery store is the cheapest way to stock up on items like this before coming home. There is a small grocery store on Hanoman street right next to the Dirty Duck restaurant and we bought a variety of coffee and teas for gifts and ourselves here.

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Sheena’s Sidenotes:

~ Bargain hard.  I was told merchants start their prices at 5 times the price they actually want.  We negotiated most items down to less than half of the asking price.

~ Compare prices. Remember, a lot of the vendors are selling similar items so if you don’t get the price you want, start walking to the next stall and more than likely they’ll close the sale with you.

~ Bundling items is a great way to negotiate a better price. I did this pretty much everywhere I shopped.

~ Small items like incense, coffee and essential oils make great gifts for those back home and won’t take up a ton of room in your luggage.

~ Use cash for shopping as it didn’t seem like most places accepted credit cards.

Have you been to Bali?  Tell me what you bought when you were there in the comments below!

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What I Bought in Panajachel

Panajachel is a small town, nestled on the banks of Lake Atitlan, just a few miles down a winding road from Sololá.  We stayed five nights at Hotel Atitlan which is a two minute tuk tuk ride from the heart of Panajachel.  Santander is the main street in Panajachel where you’ll find most of the shops and restaurants. Cars are not allowed (though bikes and tuk tuks are) which allows you to stroll the street freely.

The cobblestone street is brimming with shops of all kinds, selling clothing, paintings, shoes, jewelry and so much more. It’s a few blocks long and can be visited in a shorter amount of time, though we spent hours there over a couple days really enjoying the atmosphere and all the things to see.

You can take a break from your browsing and have a latte or a scoop of delicious coffee ice cream at one of the cafes or a full meal at the many restaurants that line the street. We spent our time not just buying but connecting with the artists and vendors, learning about the handmade items, about their families and Guatemala itself.   You can create the opportunity for learning and connection at any time, in any place if you allow yourself to be open to it. People want to share their stories. You just have to show you care enough to want to know them.

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I have been collecting masks from my travels over the last 15 years and I have come across these carved, bright colored animal masks a few times in different countries. Of course I was told they were made locally and I bought a few on my last trip to Isla Roatan.  Come to find out they are handmade in Guatemala!! I already had a small collection going so I added to it with the masks I purchased below.  They also had mini masks which I am going to use as ornaments on my travel themed Christmas tree.

I really love the bold colors and varied prints and patterns.  Each one is unique and a beautiful collection of them now hangs in my living room.

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Off of the main Santander street you will find all these little walkways, leading to more shops and courtyards with treasures to discover. Definitely take a look down these little off shoots as these vendors may be more willing to bargain as they aren’t on the main drag.  At the end of one of these little walkways is where I met Majuana and her sweet children.

We spent quite a bit of time with them, her eldest daughter translating for us, while she shared her shop’s blouses and belts with us. She taught me how Guatemalan women traditionally wrap their heads in the most beautiful way. We got so much joy out of connecting with them that we went back and visited them a few days later.

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These are a few of the stunning belts that I purchased from Majuana, that can also be used as head wraps.

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Along Santander you’ll also find many stands and booths selling traditionally beaded jewelry, from earrings to cuff bracelets to bold collar necklaces, the choices are endless.  Guatemalans truly have mastered the art of intricate design, bold colors and patterns and that beauty is reflected in all the items they create. My turquoise and copper necklace and earrings below are still one of my favorite purchases I made.

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Down another one of those side walkways was an open courtyard lined with shops on each side. This is where I found the most amazing Huipil (traditional woven Guatemalan blouses) shop brimming with every color and design you could imagine. Just when I thought I found the perfect one, I found another and another that took my breath away. Each region has a specific design and weaving technique that lets you know where it is from.

I spent a lot of time among all this beauty, not really wanting to decide on just one blouse.  Again, we had fun bargaining with the shop owner and came to a deal for the four blouses you see below. One recommendation I can give is to try them on for size. Many of them had small neck holes and my head didn’t fit through them.  A couple tops I bought were too small in the neck but I just let out the seam a bit and can now wear them.

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I also picked up a few woven leather belts and a super cool fanny pack (wait, do cool and fanny pack even go in the same sentence?) that I thought would be useful for future travels.

We visited Santander a few times in the five days we stayed on Lake Atitlan. Each time I discovered something new and it really is a pleasant stroll through the center of town.

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Sheena’s Side Notes:

~ Definitely pick up some roasted nuts from the gentleman selling them out of a wheel barrel. They were the best peanuts I’ve had and we snacked on them our entire trip. A decent sized bag was about $3.

~ Eat the freshly roasted corn from the grandma selling it on the sidewalk. I know, I was apprehensive to eat street food but covered in lime and salt it was so delicious and for less than $1 you can’t go wrong!! I’ve tried replicating it at home and it is not the same.

~ There are a lot of shops selling similar items, so bargain.  If you can’t make a deal, you’ll probably be able to down the street with someone else.

~ Beware of machine made embroidery. It is usually found on cheaper items, like bags.  The more you look around you’ll be able to spot it pretty easily. It does not have the fine workmanship of the handmade embroidery and the price tag will usually reflect that.

~ When you are buying, be aware that most items in Guatemala are made by hand, taking hours or months to create. This art is how people feed their families and make an honest living. Be fair in the price you negotiate so that everyone walks away winning.

~ If you follow Santander to end you will end up at a platform overlooking Lake Atitlan. It offers a stunning view of the vista and is a great spot to take photos. Below is one we took while there.

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Into The Arts – Casa Otomi

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Color abounds at Casa Otomi!
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I love the shape and brilliant colors on this one of kind bag!

Casa Otomi is an artisan company located in Coyoacan, Mexico that specializes in hand embroidered heirloom Mexican creations. From clothing and handbags to home décor such as pillows, bedspreads and tablecloths, each piece is made for those with discerning tastes for exquisitely crafted original art.

I fell in love with their beautiful colors and handmade details as soon as I laid eyes on them. I especially love the unique shapes of the pillows and handbags from Casa Otomi. The embroidered designs are crafted from original art created by owner and artist, Sandra Renteria. I asked her to share a bit more below, about the history of her business and the creative process involved in bringing these one of kind pieces of art to life.

Q: What is Otomi?

A: Otomi is an indigenous culture and an endangered MesoAmerican language. This particular cultural group is known for their Tenango embroidered pieces also known as Otomi.

Q: How did Casa Otomi come to be?

A: I used to own a Fair trade Folk art gallery for close to a decade. I have a passion for indigenous antiquities and spent my gallery years travelling the world and visiting global tribal groups as a personal passion and a means of survival. I have always envisioned myself living away from the crazy grind of USA life and was finally able to get away from the rat race. I wasn’t sure how we could survive in Mexico but I knew we needed to try. Casa Otomi came to be when I was interviewing for jobs in Oaxaca. As a curator for museum or gallery assistant, I was offered positions that paid about $6 dollars a day. Which, we could have lived on. But….I decided to try to work with the locals to sell their wares and see if we could make $12 a day. Abel, my partner, could also make $6. It was an uphill climb and we lived on rickety buses for close to a year to pull it off, but we managed to make our $12 to $15 per day and reinvested all of our money. We started with only $100. The first piece we purchased took close to two years to sell. Glad we didn’t base the future on that one piece. I noticed that certain pieces would not sell because of the figures, so I started drawing new contemporary figures and those pieces had wings. Now I see my drawings all over embroidered pieces all over the country. Quite surreal.

Q: What made you get into the world of textiles?

A: As a collector, the easiest pieces to drag around the world are canvases-unstretched and textiles. The textile world is bliss for me. My daughter was raised taking naps on top of textiles in bazaars all over the world. It’s all she knows. It’s natural to her. Now she is 14 years old and she runs the tally and books when I buy. I point, drool, stare and grab. That’s what I do. Abel inspects. Serena runs the numbers.

Q: How long does it take to make a single blouse or dress?

A: This depends on the piece. We have some blouses that take close to a year to make. They are hand laced, embroidered and crocheted. For these pieces we have close to a 3 year pre paid order wait. Collectors are quite serious about these heirloom pieces. I have two of them. I wear each one weekly. It’s my standard uniform and I love how they feel so I understand. The piece you are wearing is a lot quicker. It is embroidered only one side and the fabric is hand-woven. These pieces take a few months. QUICK!! Ha…in the world of handmade that is speedy.

Q: How is the art of embroidery learned?

A: I think it’s something everyone is born into. It used to be a vanishing art form. Since we started the prices have gone up 200 to 400% and that’s pretty incredible. In fact our new collection is currently at a pause. The embroiderers have demanded a 100% increase and I’m at a loss. We are scared we cannot afford it. We have agreed to 20% and now await the results. It’s odd to be on the other side of things. It’s terrifying and also kinds exhilarating to see how they are empowered. It’s a double edge sword that I just deal with on a day to day basis. I used to freak out, but now I see that we manage despite it all.

Because of the increase in prices, groups have formed all over the country and we are able to get embroidery work faster that we used to be able to. Of course, now that the prices are soaring, it’s becoming a more desirable profession to enter. It’s a rare career that allows you to stay at home with the littles and embroider when there is down time. Most of the women who work for us embroider about 1 to 2 hours a day. After chores, food and everything is done and they are relaxed and the embroidery circle is pulled out.

Q: How does sharing this art form and handmade work with the world affect the local community?

A: I feel like we are empowering women and now men are entering the art form as they are seeing fiscal results from a more “feminine” position. It’s become a family venture for everyone. As I explained above, embroidery prices are soaring and we are along for the long haul.

Q: In sharing Mexican traditions and art with the world, what do you want people to know?

A: I think it’s important for people to separate the difference between exploitation and teamwork. Although we appear to be a large company we are a 5 person team with hundreds of embroiderers. We cannot change the lifestyle that we lead because our sales are getting stronger. We have people to invest in, we cannot invest in material possessions and luxury items because if we do, our network dissipates. Remember, we used to live on $12 a day. Obviously we no longer live on that salary but we have not forgotten how we started. At all. But still…It’s important for us to explain how we function to people so that we are better understood.

We have become the “bank” for many of these artisans and although it used to be stressful, now we understand our role and position. I’ve always been a champion of the underdog and have always believed in the principles of fair trade, but now I don’t just believe in the them-I embody them. Any time something within our community base goes wrong, we feel it. We are constantly being asked for loans and advances and we give until it hurts. We now survive on sheer volume. We sell the absolute highest quality for the lowest prices possible. We have markups as low as 30% on many of our pieces in order to keep a continuous ebb and flow. We could make higher markups on these pieces but it means we would have to lower our quality standards and we have no interest.

Most of our clients are repeat clients who are in awe of our quality. If you go to our Etsy store you can see our 5 Star rating. Not easy to do these days. People are more discerning than ever and expect quite a bit from their online orders. We jump thru hoops for our clients, but we always put our team first. We know that we cannot live without our clients, but we will not rush our embroiderers or put undue stress on anyone demanding things of us that we cannot provide. A client can come and go but our team is here. This is our daily life. We eat with them, we hang out with their families, we are them. They are not an email from hundreds of miles away that will push us to create under a pressured boiling pot. We live and create in Mexican time and amazingly, most of our clients are willing to wait for our pieces because of the quality that we produce. Once things are in our hands, we work in first world time. But….that moment can take a year or two of hard work to get to us.

It’s been a roller coaster ride and a beautiful woven dance that we live in. Each day brings us high highs and low lows, but this is our life. This is currently who we are. We have been approached by a couple of large companies that have tried to buy us out, but we have refused. After our meetings, we have noticed that they expect embroidery teams under factory conditions pushing and creating on slave labour levels and we would not succumb. As a stay at home mom, I value the importance of being home when my daughter gets home from school and being available at all times to her. Every piece that you see in our shop has that same energy around it. A family member working from home being able to greet their kids when they enter from school or wake up from a nap. There is no price for that feeling and that luxury. We have built an entire brand on that philosophy. Stay at home moms and dads.

 

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Beautiful Handmade Table Runner
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One of the many pillow designs available in her shop!
Below is a dress and blouse from Casa Otomi that I had fun styling! They are super comfortable and by request, Sandra is working on having larger sizes available for her customers.  Both of these styles are now available in her Etsy shop in a variety of colors.
Disclosure: I was gifted this dress and blouse from Casa Otomi in exchange for me styling them. I chose to write and share more about the company as my goal with this blog is to honor the work of artists around the world and share their stories with you!

Global Gift Wrap

I have always had an affinity for stationary, wrapping paper, note cards and ribbon.  I love dressing up my gifts as much as I love dressing myself up.  I try to make the outside of a present just as beautiful as the inside and I love using decorations on a gift that are multi-purpose. You’ll see what I mean below.  I love to tailor the gift wrap to the person I am presenting it to, whether it’s a child who loves lizards or my friend who swoons over floral prints.  I like my gifts to be as unique as the people receiving them.

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I let my creativity lead the way when wrapping gifts and while I love traditional holiday paper and colors, I love incorporating global elements into my gift wrapping.  I am a globetrotter after all!  Below are some ideas that may inspire you for wrapping gifts with a worldly flair.  All items (paper, ribbon, tags, decorations) were purchased at Micheal’s Craft Store, unless noted otherwise.  I shopped the $1 section by the registers and the paper was on sale, 6 sheets for $1.  You can create unique wrapping without breaking the bank!

Don’t limit yourself to traditional wrapping paper. For most of these gifts I used scrapbook paper.  There are endless colors and patterns to choose from to create a special package. They are decent sized sheets but you may need to buy multiple sheets depending on the size of your gift.

MONET’S GARDEN

This large floral print is reminiscent of  a bountiful French garden.  The chartreuse ribbon pops beautifully against the deep purples of the paper.  The doily inspired gift tag keeps with the feminine vibe of this wrapping and the flower is actually a pin/clip that can be worn in the hair or on a lapel. It’s an added bonus gift for the recipient!

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SOUTH OF THE BORDER

This is inspired by the bold colors and patterns of fiesta, down South! The paper is playful, the detail on the ribbon adds to exotic flair and again, the flower is reusable.

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EXOTIC JUNGLE

I fell in love with this paper! Beautiful greens in a striking snake skin print.  I paired it with iridescent ribbon and added cobalt blue gem stickers for that extra bit of holiday sparkle!  This is the gift wrap for the person who stands out in a crowd!

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ON SAFARI

For the lover of Africa and animals, this gift is wrapped in animal print collage paper from www.bagsandbows.com.  I used twine for a natural looking ribbon, added reeds and a carved wooden giraffe from Kenya (you can find similar pieces at Cost Plus World Market).  The giraffe is an added gift!

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JAPANESE CHERRY BLOSSOMS

Head to Japan to gaze upon the blossom covered trees with this soft and delicate gift wrap.  I paired it with a sheer floral print ribbon and a vintage looking tag.

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PARIS CHIC

This gray-scale print reminded me of wallpaper you’d see in a chic Parisian apartment.  I paired it with contrasting double ribbon and added a small picture frame as the name tag.  You can use it to write a message or the recipient’s name and they can use the frame afterwards.  These frames came in various colors and shapes and are a wonderful alternative to a traditional name tag!

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HONG KONG NIGHTS

This small gift bag is a fun way to gift something small or maybe a gift card, say for an Asian restaurant or tai chi lessons.  I love when the gift wrap hints at the gift that lies within.  You can find these bags and many other great themed favors and decorations at www.OrientalTrading.com.  I added contrasting red tissue paper, ribbon and chopsticks to finish the look.

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MADAME BUTTERFLY

This super sparkly glitter to go box is a fun, unexpected shaped container to put a gift in.  It is so showy on its own that I only added some small ribbon ties and an equally sparkly butterfly to the handle. The butterfly has a clip attached on the back so it can be used in the hair.

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ALL WRAPPED UP

This last one is inspired by the Korean tradition of wrapping gifts in “Bojagi” scarves.  You can use any scarf (a longer one works best) and wrap it around the box and tie in a knot or bow – instant gift wrap.  The best part is the recipient gets a scarf to wear in addition to whatever you put in the box.  You can find a variety of these scarves at www.bobowrap.com and they also provide tutorials on how to wrap them.

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I hope these ideas have inspired you to think outside the box when it comes to wrapping your gifts. Get creative, use unexpected materials and surprise people!

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Wishing you a world of wonder this holiday season!

~Sheena

DIY – Global Inspired Pumpkins

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To kick off the month of the October and in the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to share my take on decorating pumpkins.  I am not a big pumpkin carver and this year we will actually be on vacation during Halloween, so I thought I could paint and decorate pumpkins instead of making Jack-o-lanterns.  This is a great way to get in the holiday spirit early, as painted pumpkins last a lot longer than carved ones.  With my travel spirit in mind, I decided to create global inspired pumpkins from different locales and cultures.  On Sunday, we had a great family pumpkin painting day and bbq with my siblings, nieces and nephew and my Pop.  Here are a few of my creations with tips on how to create a few of them.

First I gathered supplies and a lot of pumpkins!

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Painting Supplies: Paper plates for paint, brushes, marker, paint, tape, stencil and doily
Painting Supplies: Paper plates for paint, brushes, marker, paint, tape, stencil and doily

Decorating supplies: River rocks, feathers, sequins, twine, mesh, glue gun with glue sticks

**I need to note, after painting all these pumpkins I realized that a primer and a sealer would have been useful as the paint did chip on the pumpkins once they were dry.  I recommend adding that to your supply list before you start.**

The first pumpkin I created was a tribal inspired motif that reminded me of Africa.

Step 1: Draw a wide stripe on either side of the pumpkin.
Step 1: Draw a wide stripe on either side of the pumpkin.
Step 2: Paint stripes white and the remainder of the pumpkin purple.  You could use any colors that excite you!
Step 2: Paint stripes white and the remainder of the pumpkin purple. You could use any colors that excite you!
Step 3: Cover border of stripes with black border.
Step 3: Cover border of stripes with black border.
Step 4: Paint repeating diamond pattern on the entire width & length of each stripe.
Step 4: Paint repeating diamond pattern on the entire width & length of each stripe.
Step 5: After adding yellow accent color to design & the stem, use hot glue gun to attach river rocks and cowrie shells.
Step 5: After adding yellow accent color to design & the stem, use hot glue gun to attach river rocks and cowrie shells.
Tribal Inspired Pumpkin
Tribal Inspired Pumpkin

The second pumpkin I decorated was inspired by India and all the lovely embellishments they have on everything!

Step 1: Paint the entire pumpkin black and the stem gold.
Step 1: Paint the entire pumpkin black and the stem gold.
Step 2: Use a stencil or a doily and sponge gold paint on to the pumpkin, transfering the design to the pumpkin.
Step 2: Use a stencil or a doily and sponge gold paint on to the pumpkin, transferring the design to the pumpkin.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 all over the pumpkin.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 all over the pumpkin.
Step 4: Use hot glue gun to attach sequins.  I added extra painted details once the sequins were attached.
Step 4: Use hot glue gun to attach sequins. I added extra painted details once the sequins were attached.
Indian Inspired Pumpkin
Indian Inspired Pumpkin

My dad created this tropical pumpkin with only a sponge paint brush.  He used the flat part of the brush to apply the overall color and the tip of the brush to create the sunset and palm trees.

Tropical Inspired Pumpkin
Tropical Inspired Pumpkin

Travel is my passion so the last pumpkin I created was of course, the globe!  I layered 2 different blue colors on the pumpkin with a sponge brush, as the base, and then free-handed the outline of the continents with a marker, using a map as reference.  I painted in the continents with a small brush and sponged green paint over the russet color to create depth.  Lastly, I added white for Antarctica.   I dig how it turned out.

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Globe Inspired Pumpkin
Globe Inspired Pumpkin

I hope you enjoyed these easy pumpkin decorating ideas and that you share them with family and friends!  Most important, I had a blast spending the day with family, being creative and festive and I wish the same for you in the coming months.

Global Inspired Pumpkins by IAMSHEGLOBAL
Global Inspired Pumpkins by IAMSHEGLOBAL

Feel Good – Nubian Heritage Soaps

My mom has been a masseuse and healer for many years, so I grew up using essential oils to heal scrapes, relieve stress and ease aching muscles.  To this day, I try to use natural oils for my body, from my sugar scrubs to my lotion.  Today, I wanted to share with you one my favorite products that I fell in love with a few years ago.  Nubian Heritage Soaps are the most delicious soaps made from all natural ingredients and essential oils.  They come in 13 different flavors, all of which are divine and I always find it difficult to choose which one I want to use.  They are rich and moisturizing from the oils used and the natural ingredients like cranberries and orange peel act as exfoliants, leaving your skin super soft.

The combinations like lemongrass & tea tree with orange peel, coconut and papaya, olive and green tea and goat’s milk and chai are so scrumptious you may want to eat them rather than bathe with them.  They even have a Ivorian Cocoa Butter that smells just like chocolate!

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You can not go wrong with any of these flavors.  If I have to choose one as my favorite, it’s the Carrot & Pomegranate with Cranberries! With that combination, I needn’t say more!

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Nutrient-rich carrot seed oil, ground pomegranate and cranberry seeds are blended into our moisturizing carrot & pomegranate shea butter-based soap. Vitamins A, E, and F, minerals, moisturizers and anti-inflammatory Calendula extract feed the skin, clear pores, improve skin tone, and help rejuvenate mature and dull skin. Calendula extract’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties help subdue and alleviate skin irritation.
These soaps are wonderful way to treat yourself and make a great pampering gift! They can be purchased at Whole Foods or on VitaminShoppe.com.  Enjoy your week ahead and be sure to do something for yourself to feel good!

Handmade in Jamaica

I love to shop when I travel.  Exploring the local markets and quaint boutiques for authentic items is one of my favorite activities.  I love the hunt, learning the stories behind the items, meeting the artists who craft them and most of all being able to bring back a tangible part of a far off place. I find all kinds of treasures when I travel and in this section, “Travel Treasures”,  I will share with you my unique finds.

I have traveled to the Caribbean many times. Sometimes for a week’s stay on one island and other times island hopping on various cruises.  I love the Caribbean.  The azul waters, the swaying palm trees, the warm trade winds that feel like a lover’s embrace. The jovial energy, the jammin’ music, the vibrant, sun-kissed people of the islands, all make me love traveling to the Caribbean.

On a trip to Antigua I picked up these beautifully scented travel candles from Starfish Oils.  They are handmade in Jamaica, with yummy scents like Sweet Jamaica, Love and Tranquility, all of which take you instantly to a hammock on a Caribbean beach.  I purchased all three scents and I didn’t burn them for years.  I wanted them to last forever. I would open them and take a whiff and be transported to the islands.

Photo credit: www.flightcentre.com.au
Photo credit: http://www.flightcentre.com.au
Photo credit: Starfishoils.com
Sweet Jamaica Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com
Photo credit: Squidoo.com
Photo credit: Squidoo.com
Photo credit: Starfishoils.com
Love Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com
Photo credit: travelagentcentral.com
Photo credit: travelagentcentral.com

 

Photo Credit: Starfishoils.com
Tranquility Candle
http://www.Starfishoils.com

I did eventually burn them and they smell wonderful.  The small sizes are great for traveling or for giving as gifts.  They are sold individually for $12.50 for the 8 oz size or they have a set of all three scents for $24.00.  You’ll find them for sale on different islands but if can’t make it there, you can order online at www.starfishoils.com and they will ship to you.