Indigo Rush: Discovering Sustainable Textiles in Bali

While staying in Ubud, Bali for more than two weeks, I enjoyed finding hand-dyed indigo garments here and there. They were certainly standing out from other pieces at local boutiques. The blue color was vibrant and the texture of the natural fiber pleasant to touch. 

The process of turning green leaves into brilliant blue dye through fermentation dates to ancient times. It’s performed in India, Southeast Asia, South America, Japan, Europe as well as West Africa. Natural fabrics made of linen, bamboo or cotton are used for this process, as synthetic fibers do not have pores to hold on to indigo. The marriage of natural fabric and non-toxic dye is an example of a beautiful sustainable textile.

If you are in Bali, I highly recommend that you keep an eye out for these vibrant blue pieces. They are little bit more expensive than other textiles but totally worth it. You may also check out my favorite stores, such as Ikat Batik and Manik Bali in the heart of Ubud, or look at my picks on Etsy.com:

1. Organic Hand dyed Indigo Blue Alpaca Yarn

2. Indigo Pigment for Natural Dying

3. Indigo Linen Shawl

4. Indigo Batik Cotton Dupatta

5. Indigo Wine Gift Bag

6. Indigo Block Printing Kit

7. Indigo Beach Bag

12 Travel / Style Essentials for your Trip to Bali

Spending a month in Bali was the experience of a lifetime. It’s a fairy tale-like island with inspiring art, yoga retreats, a thousand temples and breathtaking waterfalls. It will always have a special place in my heart.

I prefer practicality and value versatile pieces when I travel. Lots of solids, bright shawls & coconut oil are always in my suitcase. I also shop for local crafts and textiles while traveling, so my suitcase is usually half empty with a room to bring things back.

Certain things I’m listing here are available in Bali’s local stores and markets; however, if your time is limited and you’d prefer to be prepared, you may find these tips particularly useful. 

Lightweight Tees & Leggings

Before throwing tees & leggings into your suitcase, check out the label that indicates the fabric content. Make sure that it’s made of natural fibers. Lightweight cotton or lycra blend clothing is ideal for a hot, humid climate. 

Mosquito Repellent

Bali is known for many insects, including dangerous mosquitoes. Avoid their bites! I purchased my mosquito repellent in Bali. It has a pleasant orange scent. Lemongrass and tea tree oil are also natural mosquito repellents. I added them when customizing argan and jojoba body oil at one of the local shops. When indoors, I also use natural mosquito repellents, such as sandalwood incense sticks and oil.

Blotting Papers

High humidity is no friend to my combination skin; therefore, I like using blotting papers every few hours or so. Mostly over my T-zone where I get shiny. These papers also quite effective with keeping my phone screen clean.

Coconut Oil 

Why bring tons of beauty products when all you need is coconut oil? This oil is so versatile. It can be used as a makeup remover, sun protection agent, hair conditioner and even deodorant. Coconut oil also is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and moisturizing benefits. 

Sandals and Sneakers.

I like both sandals and sneakers to have some sort of Velcro fastening. They are so convenient when going to yoga studios, swings, waterfalls and massages.

Cotton Shawl / Poncho / Scarf

Bali is about trips to waterfalls, beaches and pools. I find a poncho or shawl made of cotton or linen or a blend of both is a good investment. It can be used as a towel and provide protection from the sun. You’ll find plenty of these around the island, including beautiful handmade batik pieces. 

Swimsuits

Bring 2 swimsuits. If you are size L or larger, I recommend that you bring your own swimsuits to avoid spending time hunting for them. Local sizes run significantly smaller and size L, the largest size available, is equivalent to American size M. 

Sunscreen

No comments needed. You will need at least 30 SPF for adequate protection. 

Linen / Cotton Shirt Dress 

A solid shirt dress made of natural fibers is very useful when travelling. It can be a stylish dress or amazing beachwear. Wear it with various belts, jewelry and accessories. 

Light Raincoat / Parka 

During the wet season (October through May), occasional rain showers are quite common and it’s always great to have a very light parka or raincoat. In Bali, plastic ponchos are sold everywhere. Most of these are not durable and are not made with eco-friendly plastic. Rather than acquiring new plastic, bring your own raincoat. 

Full-length Statement Kaftan

I loved having my full-length statement kaftan when traveling to Bali. It was a perfect piece to take my outfit from temples to the beach.

Reusable Water Bottle 

Bring your own reusable water bottle, especially if you practice yoga. I purchased mine at one of the local yoga studios. I use it for cold distilled water and my favorite honey-lime-and-ginger tea.

Sweet California – Part 2

The most striking part of Monterey and Carmel Bay is its phenomenal photo-worthy landscapes, filled with mountains and abundant plant life.

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Carmel Bay, is a resort town, just 15 minutes away by car from Monterey. It is a unique natural wonder. The town is also rich in vintage and bohemian boutiques, which will satisfy any shopping connoisseur, who loves the California, laid-back style.

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Galerie Blue Dogn opened by cajun artist,  George Rodrigue in 1991.

Galerie Blue Dog in Carmel-by-the-Sea opened by Cajun artist, George Rodrigue in 1991.

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At the end of the trip, my friend gave me a peach. She added sarcastically, “It’s a good one. California peach; only for California people…The ones that are transported for commercial purposes never taste alike.”

And thanks to my friend, I’ll never forget that taste. I can still taste its melting texture and phenomenally sweet flavor.

Later on, I discovered that the ripe peaches are too delicate and bruise easily. Therefore, they are picked green in order to transport them to different states. So, they end up never ripening well.

And here I am, back in New York, with a longing to visit the West Coast again.

Have you ever experienced the same thing? Do you very often, no matter where you are, want to be where you are not?

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Spice Up Your Outfit with a Thai Bag

Isn’t it the best after a long day at work or school to find something new, fresh, at a great price? Something exquisite made by artisans from the other part of the globe?

I just discovered a fabulous gem on etsy.com store, Thaihandbags. It offers a terrific variety of colorful handbags featuring the traditional craftsmanship of Hmong women artisans from the Northern Thailand Hill Tribes. Hmong means “Human Being” or “Free People” in the Hmong language. A few centuries ago this ethnic group who have origins in Siberia have migrated south. Today the Hmong live in mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.

The online store’s selection includes chic iPad cases, beauty bags, hill tribe cushions, yoga bags and many other unique accessories. The pieces feature an exciting splash of color, fun, playful pompoms and exotic embroidery that will spice up any boring outfit.

What is really amazing about this store is that it also offers DIY sewing materials, so you can create your own handbag or design a fantastic gift for your friend or family member.

In case you decide to purchase a purchase a piece from this store, use the coupon ONTHEEDGE to receive 20% discount.

All best,

Lena

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Sassique Giveaway: Bally Leather Cable Pouch

A fast life pace requires organization.

Imagine this scenario. You’re rushing. You end up pulling cables out of your purse and the rest of your belongings with them. Think about it. How many times have you lost or broken your earbuds?

 

I was excited to receive Bally leather travel pouch from a style curation social media platform for fashion enthusiasts Sassique (the big thank you!)

It is a perfect solution for my gadgets. I didn’t know what the company was going to send me, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to open a package and discover a nice cylindrical piece made of a fine soft leather. Simple, yet elegant, this piece fits nicely into my lifestyle.

 

 

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Traveling? Five Reasons to Hire a Personal Shopping Assistant

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  1. Shopping is time consuming. If you are on a business trip, the professional meetings and projects remain a top priority. You have to use the time wisely. Instead of spending time researching the city’s best local shops, you may take advantage of the local personal shopper assistant-concierge. He or she can help you find gifts for your six wives or find a chic pair of shoes for your upcoming happy hour.
  2. You travel alone and have plenty of time. Find a companion who has a great eye for style and is knowledgeable about city’s best local shops. Such an assistant will take you on a voyage of unique, fun shopping excitement and ensure that you have an overall enjoyable experience in the city. Such shopping assistants are typically very knowledgeable about designers/brands. They will help you in finding the right product; in addition, they will prove to be a great educational resource regarding  designers and the history of fashion and style.
  3. You are going through a major change in your life. Occasionally, we all do. This is life. Whether it’s a career or personal life transition, you may want to update your wardrobe as well. New life. New you. Choose an assistant you can trust. A person with whom you can relax and share your struggles. A new image can make a magical change in the way you perceive yourself. Forget about the trips to psychologist. Go on a shopping tour.
  4. You’re an entrepreneur and looking for wholesale opportunities. Time constraints continue to press you. You don’t know the city. In this case, connecting with the right personal aide could save you time and money.
  5. Some personal shopper assistants serve as incredible problem-solvers. They could be interpreters to assist you on your travel. In case an airline looses a piece of luggage, a personal shopping assistant can be a lifesaver. Some of them extend their services beyond just shopping. Whether it’s sending your dress to local tailor to fix a button or finding the right business meeting site, they are a treasure trove of information. They ensure that your trip remains efficient and effective.


High Line: A Hidden Runway In New York City

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Culture Melds

Every country, as every individual, has its unique personality. Every culture has flaws and fascinating attributes we can learn and adopt.

I was always sort of a sponge. I absorbed these values quickly. Of course, they were positive values, the type that make you search deep within yourself, question, grow and develop as a person. It became a habit that comes with the experience of traveling and living abroad. You are becoming like water— flexible and adaptable.

When I lived in Italy, the most important thing I learned was to stay in the moment. In the United States, one is forced to think about tomorrow. Sometimes, you simply forget to live. Working hard to accomplish your dreams is important.

Still, 30 years from now, you want to say: “My life was so interesting. Yes, I went through ups and downs, but all those events made me that beautiful and strong person I am today. ”

We must learn to enjoy the present. When did you last spend time with your friends? When was the last time you tried doing something new?

When I studied in Italy, I met many interesting people. Suddenly, my world burst forth with color. I started to appreciate the quality of food, the quality of communication, the quality of family relationships. I wore bold, rich colors like Italian girls.

Interestingly, the Italian’s love for these colors are rooted in the images of the Harlequin, a comic servant character from the Italian Commedia dell’arte and its descendant, the Harlequinade.

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The Harlequin represents the lively, younger generation of the Commedia. In the minor intrigues he is associated with, he has a satirical voice. Clever, but somewhat buffoonish, he is known for the bright diamond lozenges he wears.

And because of a 16th century clown, I was inspired to incorporate bright, bold colors to my wardrobe.

I’m on my way to Festa Italiana to celebrate Italy and her culture, and especially, her fashion. By the way, what are your thoughts on wearing bright colors?

admirationphoto by flickr user The Purple Pants

skittlesphoto by flickr user The Purple Pants

11 Via Montenapoleone, Milanophoto by flickr user Dimitry B.

le vicine di casaphoto by flickr user Fabiana

Trip To San Francisco

Place We've Rented Through Airbnb.com

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Golden GatePlace We've Rented Via Airbnb.com The Great Ideas TodayDavid Hume, Treatise Of Human NatureThe Timetables Of History Place We've Rented Via Airbnb.com Place We've Rented Via Airbnb.com Asian Art Museum, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, San-FranciscoAsian_Art_Museum_San-FranciscoAsian Art Museum, San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

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Japan Town, San Francisco

Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

 San Francisco Bay

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Place We've Rented Via Airbnb.com

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.