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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Summer of Wanderlust – India Inspired Look Book

To describe India in a few words is like trying to put the universe in a box. It just can’t be done.  To do it justice, one must visit and immerse themselves in the cacophony of sights, sounds, smells and colors. It’s brilliant and jarring, chaotic and magical.  In my two visits I have only scratched the surface of its mystery.

These looks are inspired by many of the pieces of jewelry and clothing I have purchased when traveling to India and also by the easy, comfortable way I would dress when I am there.  Light layers, exotic prints and bold colors are the heart of Indian design and they are the center of this look book!

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{Pants/Michael Kors via Macy’s, Top/Sandals/Ross, Necklace/Handmade by me, Bracelet/Santee Alley, Bag/I bought in Jodhpur, India}

India

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{Pants/Necklaces/Bangles/I bought in India, Shoes/Ross, Blouses/Thrifted, Ring/Thrifty Upenyu on Etsy}

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{Dress/Single Dress Plus, Top/The Plus Bus Boutique, Shoes/Lola Shoetique, Ring/Target, Earrings/Vintage}

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India Skirt

{Skirt/Necklace/Bought in India, Blouse/Shoes/Thrifted, Ring/Earrings/Santee Alley}

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Summer of Wanderlust – Morocco Inspired Look Book

Only two weeks left in our Summer of Wanderlust and I’ve left some of my favorite countries for last.

This week’s look book is inspired by Morocco.  My husband and I took a private tour by car through the vast landscapes of Morocco in 2006 from the forest through olive groves to a night spent in a Bedoin camp, watching the sunrise in the Sahara Desert.

Buying rugs in the desert, drinking mint tea, getting lost among mounds of spices in the markets of Marrakech, eating our share of tajine, covering my hands in henna, discovering beautiful details around every corner, meeting amazing artisans, uncovering hidden courtyards.  It was a magical journey and I can’t wait to return.  Until then, I leave with a little Moroccan inspiration.

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{Kaftan/Ross, Sandals/Target, Bangles/From India, Earrings/Macy’s, Necklace worn as a headpiece/Santee Alley}

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{Pants/Love Culture, Kaftan/Thrifted, Sandals/Marshall’s, Necklace/Macy’s}

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{Dress/Depop, Scarf/Worn as a belt/Target, Red Belt/Made in Morocco (Thrifted), Necklace/Bought in India, Shoes/Forever 21}

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{Kaftan/Querist Vintage on Depop, Heels/Michael Kors, Bracelet/Necklace worn as a headpiece/From India, Earrings/Santee Alley}

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Summer of Wanderlust – Hong Kong Look Book

Sixteen years ago for my honeymoon I went on my first big international trip to Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong.  That trip forever changed the trajectory of my life and ignited a desire to travel the globe that is everlasting.

This look book is inspired by the details of Hong Kong, the place where my ultimate journey began.

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{Top/Jacket/Jewelry/Thrifted, Pants/INC International, Shoes/Santee Alley}

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{Dress/Gwynnie Bee, Shoes/Target, Bag/Bracelets/Earrings/Umbrella/Thrifted}

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{Vintage Housecoat/Long Beach Flea Market, Bag/Belts/Thrifted, Earrings/Purchased in India, Bracelet/Old, Shoes/Michael Kors}

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{Skirt/Last Chance, Top/Chico’s (Thrifted), Earrings/Necklace/Purchased in India, Fan/99 cents store}

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Summer of Wanderlust – Bali Inspired Look Book

Bali is an exotic and tropical land with deep cultural traditions.  While I have yet to visit I am inspired by the intricate details of its temples, colorful ceremonies and the spirit of the Balinese people.

These looks are inspired by the traditional batik and lush landscapes found all over Bali.  They are my modern take on fashion inspired by Balinese elements.

I’d love to hear if you have been to Bali and what your favorite memory is!

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{Pants/Michael Kors, Top/Thrifted, Bangles/From India, Shoes/Lola Shoetique, Hat/99 cents store, Earrings/Necklace/Santee Alley}

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{Dress/Belt/Shoes/Thrifted, Durry Bag/Bought in India, Long Necklace/Bought in Romania, Short Necklace/Santee Alley}

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{Sarong worn as a dress/Victoria’s Secret, Shoes/Belt/Thrifted, Bag/Claire’s, Earrings/Bought in India, Mixed Bangles/Thrifted, Ring/Santee Alley}

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{Dress/Kimono/Umbrella/Thrifted, Belt/Target, Necklace/Sistas Jewelry, Ring/Tenzin Beads, Bracelet/Earrings/Macy’s, Heels/Nine West}

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I hope that you are enjoying your summer, whether you are traveling or livin’ it up at home! Be sure to stay tuned to the blog because next week I’ll be sharing all my Southwest adventures from last week from shopping tips to folk art festivals to hidden gems you can’t miss!  Until then, have a great weekend!

~ Sheena

 

 

Be Your Own Canvas

“I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Fashion is art to me.  It’s one way I express myself, my creativity and the things that inspire me. I think of my body as a canvas that I can layer color, shapes and textures on in an interesting way.  I don’t take it seriously and I think that’s why I have so much fun with it.

I recently thrifted this multi-colored top which looks like brushstrokes of paint and after playing around with what to pair it with I decided the perfect contrast would be the opposite of these brilliant colors: black and white.  I really love how this outfit came together.  It made me feel like my own work of art.

Does art inspire your wardrobe?

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{Top/Thrifted, Pants/Lane Bryant via The Plus Bus, Belt/Bought in Mexico, Heels/Prabal Garung for Target, Hat/Target, Clutch/Querist Vintage on Depop, Bracelets/Santee Alley}

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The Grass Is Always Green

“The grass is always green where you water it.”

This green inspired outfit is perfect for celebrating Earth Day. In honor of preserving our planet, almost every piece in this look was purchased at the thrift store. Refashioning clothing items helps with waste, allows you to be creative with your style and the treasure hunt is tons of fun.

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{Dress/Top/Handbag/Thrifted, Belt/Puma (worn backwards), Heels/Santee Alley, Bracelets/From Philippines, Necklace/Bought in China (worn doubled over)}

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Where Does Your Wardrobe Take You?

The colors are what got me with this skirt.  While I don’t have a lot of florals in my closet, the feel of this skirt reminded me of traveling.  It’s lightweight, flowy and of course colorful.  It made me think of strolling local markets or dancing the night away under a far away sky.  I love how fashion can transport you, even if you never leave your own backyard.

Where does your wardrobe take you?

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{Skirt/Blouse/Shoes/Belt/Thrifted, Necklace/Gift from a friend, Bracelet/From India, Bag/I Bought in Mexico, Hat/I bought on a cruise}

Black and White

I live for color.  Ever since I started traveling and saw how other cultures embrace every color of the rainbow, my wardrobe has slowly become a sea of color awash in patterns.  You’d be hard pressed to find anything sold in there these days and I love that.  It pushes me to get more creative with my pattern mixing.

With my love of color on full display, it’s ironic that my favorite color combination is black and white. I am so drawn to the graphic quality of this combination, no matter what the print, I’m hooked. It captures me from across the room and while I try to fight the urge to add “more” black and white to my wardrobe (“you have enough Sheena”, says internal voice of reasoning) the collection of this striking combo continues to grow in my closet.

This look is dedicated and inspired by my love of all things, black and white.

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{Jumpsuit/Ross, Kimono/Thrifted at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, Necklace & Bracelet/I bought in India, Shoes/Marshall’s, Green Belt/Puma Outlet, Ring/Thrifty Upenyu}

Show Them The Way

How you dress is a form of design.  While in school for interior design, I learned your eyes will travel where they are lead and you show them the way with color, pattern and texture.

Mixing prints in fashion used to be SO intimidating to me until I realized the same tricks used for interiors could be used in an outfit.

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At first glance, looking at the leopard print on this top and the psychedelic ikat print of the skirt, you wouldn’t think they’d go together. But by using the same color palette throughout from my earrings and necklaces (top of my body) to my bracelets (mid body) to my shoes (bottom), your eye seamlessly travels without anything being jarring as it all keeps within in the same colors.

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I tried a plain brown belt and to be honest it didn’t add anything to the outfit, so for an additional layer of interest I went with a belt and bag that have a similar pattern and texture.

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This simple trick of using like colors and textures or patterns throughout will always create a cohesive look. Above all, wear what makes you happy!

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{Skirt/Alfani, Shoes/Nine West, Both Thrifted from Goodwill. Belt/Target, Bag/Buffalo Exchange, Shirt/Forever 21, Mixed Bangles from Kenya & India, Spike Necklace/ Sistas Jewelry, Other 2 necklaces/Santee Alley, Earrings /Thrifty Upenyu}