Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall in Paris

My parents live in Paris so it’s become a home away from home and September is definitely a wonderful time to visit with perfect weather, the leaves are starting to turn but it's still warm! There is excitement in the air, everyone is back from holiday and I arrived the day after the "la rentrée" week, when both school and work started up again.

Most days on my trip began with a run in the Luxembourg Gardens, a beautiful garden surrounding the Senate just a few minutes walk from their place in St. Germain.

Luxembourg Gardens in September
On an evening walk wearing Comptoir des Cotonniers sandals

One of the first things I noticed in Paris this time was the men's street style. I saw some great outfits and some really stand out shoes!

Pop color mens shoes from Finsbury

On this trip, I spent a lot of time seeing all the creative art Paris has to offer. I love this mobile at Le Musee Des Art Decoratifs. The museum has an eye catching shop, filled with modern art inspired design.

Avant garde placemat
Le Palais de Tokyo is one of my favorite museums in Paris. With it's regularly rotating exhibits and interactive layout, Le Palais de Tokyo is always fun and engaging.

Exhibit by Korakrit Arunamondchai at Le Palais de Tokyo 
Tianzhuo Chen at Palais de Tokyo
Patrick Neu wine glass installation at Palais de Tokyo
Henrique Oliveira at Palais de Tokyo
Patrick Neu at Palais de Tokyo

A real highlight at Palais de Tokyo is Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's row boat installation. Guests ride a row boat through near darkness and explore the landscapes of the installation while ghostlike holograms are projected on the walls. It's kind of like an art exhibit and theme park ride in one!

Boursier-Mougenot's installation, photo from weburbanist.com

I love the golden gates and foyer of the elegant Petit Palais

Spiral staircase in the foyer of the Petit Palais

La Maison Europeenne de la Photographie is holding a Lanvin exhibit to coincide with Paris Fashion Week. The exhibit focuses on everything that goes on backstage to produce a fashion show.

All the hands needed to get a model ready for a couture show 

The dresses on display are designed by Albar Elbaz from the fabrics of past collections and purposely left unfinished

Lanvin butterfly dress
Now, I can't wait to go back to Paris for Christmas!

Silver boots by Anonymous Copenhagen

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bali: Paradise at the End of the World - Part 1

At the end of August, I was fortunate to take a life long dream trip to Bali, leaving only a day after my wedding on the East Coast. Although Bali is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world, it is also its unique culture, food and spirituality that draws people from all over the world and all walks of life. After the widely successful film Eat Pray Love, Bali has gained even more international attention for those looking for adventure and beauty. 

After a long flight to Indonesia, with a stop over in Hong Kong we finally arrived to paradise. Our first stop was the small fishing village of Jimbaran, not too far from the International airport. 
We stayed at the luxurious Ayana Resort and Spa Bali, a stunning hotel with wonderful dining, various infinity pools and a private beach. The service was impeccable and we had a perfect time relaxing and enjoying the spa and famous Rock Bar, hidden in the cliffs with views of the ocean perfect for sunsets.


We also made a small excursion to the local fish market, rising early to watch the fisherman on colorful wooden boats bring in their morning catch to sell it at the market.

Our next stop, just an 1 1/2" drive from Jimbaran, was the central city of Ubud. This is a must see for anyone traveling to Bali - it is the cultural hub with many local markets, vibrant city life, temples and museums. You can take cooking classes, walk through many art galleries and boutiques, tour the rice paddies or enjoy dancing performances. There are so many things to do and see, you can easily spend a week in Ubud alone.

We stayed at the beautiful Kupu Kupa Barong Villas and Tree Spa by L'OCCTIANE, a serene tree top hotel with private villas near the city center. We had a wonderful 3 floor tree house villa with a private plunge pool overlooking the jungle below. The staff was incredibly accommodating and friendly and the hotel includes breakfast, free yoga classes, afternoon tea and shuttles to the center of Ubud.

Ubud is a wonderfully rich city to explore. Local food markets are filled with vibrant colors and new exotic foods. Offerings to the Gods are made several times in Bali culture, which are filled with flowers, food and other gifts. These offerings line the streets and are placed in front of homes, stores and restaurants. 

One great experience is a class with Lobong Cooking Class, where you are taken through a village market and then prepare a 8 course Indonesian meal in a family's home. You are introduced to new and fresh ingredients and cooking techniques while making new friends and enjoying the meal together at the end of the class. We also took a class in downtown Ubud making a Tumeric tonic as well as scrub, body oil and face mask.

Ubud is also known for its famous rice terraces, both beautiful and vibrant. Rice paddies are commonly farmed in Bali as many other South East Asian countries but are easily accessible and walkable from central Ubud. They are a wonderful thing to see and experience. We also had a fun time checking out a Monkey forest, walkable from downtown Ubud. There are many temples and ancient bathing fountains in this park all habitated by monkeys that are friendly enough and use to tourists.

Shopping is a excellent part of the Ubud adventure, whether you want Batik tapestries or sarongs, wood carvings, mother of pearl kitchenware or exquisite traditional jewelry, there is something for everyone in Ubud. Haggling with local vendors is expected, so its a great way to get a bargain.