VEGAS!

Mike turned 33 on Monday and we celebrated the weekend with a group of friends in Las Vegas. I’ve been to Vegas once before about 4 years ago so was due for a trip back; a trip that started luxuriously because we splurged and flew first class. Holy leg room!

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Glorious leg room!!!

We arrived in Vegas around 10:30am and took a Lyft to the Mandalay Bay. Our friends Ben and Sandra had arrived a few days before so we met in their room to drop off our stuff until we could check in. Our other friends Lauren and Ian had also flew in that morning and were already there waiting for us. The gang was together again.

After a few AM tequila shots (#vegas) we headed to the pool. I couldn’t believe how crowded it was! Luckily we had access to a private(ish) pool that didn’t have as many people. We dumped our stuff on a lounge chair, piled on sunscreen, and got in for a dip. Lunch wasn’t that great. We ordered chicken tenders, fries, chips, and guacamole. I tried to get at least one green, healthy food in there with the guac but was still disappointed overall.

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Catching waves 🤙

After some time spent in the wave pool (endless entertainment!), it was time to check in. One of my favorite parts of vacations are hotel rooms. I love them! Mandalay Bay has pretty nice rooms so I was happy to get there and unpack. Then it was a quick shower and NAP TIME! A little sleep was much needed …especially with how late we ended up staying out that night.

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We went off the strip for dinner to a place called Marrakech that Ben has been to a few times. They serve a fixed 6 course fusion of Moroccan, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines. The night started with washing our hands in warm rose water and ended with Moroccan mint tea and a decadent banana, chocolate, and walnut dessert; shrimp in garlic butter, plenty of bread, hummus, and belly dancing highlighting in-between. Highly recommended if you’re ever in Vegas!

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NOM
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Mike and the belly dancer!

Stuffed and ready for more drinks, Mike and I spilt from the group and went to Fremont street, in downtown Las Vegas. Our first stop was Commonwealth for a round of cocktails. The bar had a pre-Prohibition feel with its dark ambiance and hidden nooks to sit in.

Something about Vegas made me uneasy at this point in the trip. Call it taking the “sin” in “sin city” too seriously but suddenly I wasn’t having the best time being there. Everything felt cheap and sad to me. I was having a bit of anxiety by the time we stopped at the next bar. We ordered beers and I tried to snap out of it but I was in a funk. I felt bad for being a drag during Mike’s birthday weekend but, luckily, Mike is the sweetest guy I know and took time to chat with me. I felt better after and was excited to meet back up with everyone to continue the night. Mike always makes me feel better.

We stayed at The LINQ for the next few hours; drinking, gambling (or, in my case, watching gambling), taking pictures, and laughing. So.many.good.laughs, especially between myself, Lauren, and Sandra (and a certain purple zebra #insidejoke). And the best part was everyone had won money by the end of the night!

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We left the casino around 3:30am (what!?) and I was like, I NEED FOOD NOW. Sadly, In n’ Out was closed (I was craving their grilled cheese on the secret menu) so we got food at the only place open in our hotel. Mike and I ordered potato skins to go, devoured them in our room, and went to right to bed (after I showered because, even drunk, I need to shower before bed!).

Everyone in our group slept in on Sunday and lazily met for coffee around 11:30am. Mike and I spilt banana bread that was more filling than I thought it would be. We all spilt up again after to do our own things before a fancy dinner that night. Mike and I ended up walking the strip down to The Venetian (a hot, long walk!) for a small lunch and round of $5 margaritas.

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The “Brooklyn Bridge” on our walk down the strip

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After that it was back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. The day flies when you sleep through the first half of it! Lauren made reservations at Bardor Brasserie for Mike’s birthday dinner. They had great cocktails (perfect for the birthday boy!), fresh baked bread to start, and really good food. Mike and I started with an endives, walnut, and blue cheese salad and each ordered a fish dish (rhyme) for our mains.

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Next up was BRITNEY, BITCH! Lauren and I walked to Planet Hollywood to see Britney Spears at The AXIS &omg I loved every second of it. (We all know Brit lip syncs but I don’t care!) Of course Lauren and I knew every word to all of her old songs – I have to admit I didn’t know a few newer ones – and danced on booties off. Our feet were killing us by the end of the show but it was worth it.

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The guys and Sandra meet us after for a few last drinks and rounds of gambling. Unfortunately, everyone lost money this time around. And the tram closed before we thought so we walked back through 3 hotels. We were all in bed much earlier than the night before but still managed to stay out until 2am.

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Late night mirror selfies

Everyone left on Monday – Mike’s actual birthday* – expect for the two of us. We woke up around 9am and headed straight for the wave pool to kick of the day. After a few loops around the lazy river, we were back at the hotel getting ready and packing up. Post check-out, we walked to Mandarin Oriental for afternoon tea. Mike loves tea so I thought it would be a perfect birthday present for him. The tea lounge was relaxing but I thought our table was placed a little awkwardly right behind another table, which completely blocked the view of the strip.

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I ordered the Mandarin Orange Blend, a black tea, and it was really good! I’m typically more of a coffee drinker but this tea was bold enough to satisfy me. The food included freshly baked scones, tea sandwiches, and a pretty plate of desserts. Sadly, we didn’t eat a single dessert because we were too full (and, honestly anything sweet didn’t sound appetizing after so much drinking). We took them all to go but they melted quickly in the Vegas heat so we ended up throwing them away. 😦

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After tea, we walked to the Bellagio to check out the conservatory and botanical gardens, a display that seasonally changes. Next we walked through New York-New York for a slice of greasy pizza for me and a hotdog for Mike (hangover food!). Then it was  time to grab our stuff from our hotel and Lyft to the airport.

We recently both got TSA pre-check so security was a breeze. We also had first class status on the way home again. Extra legroom and free drinks, holler!

See ya next time, Vegas!

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Throwback picture of us at the Bellagio conservatory 4 years ago!

*Same as Beyonce’s, y’all

 

 

Yosemite 2017

There’s still dirt under my fingernails as I type this and I don’t care in the slightest. For the second year in a row, Mike and I joined in on an annual Yosemite trip our friend Ben puts together. (You can read about last year here.) We arrived in the early evening on Friday, greeted with beers from Ben. The great thing about Ben is he always has a beer specifically for you; an IPA for me, a wheat beer for Mike, etc.

After meeting a few new faces, we toured the grounds with our friends Lauren and Ian as it was their first time in Yosemite. It’s safe to say, Lauren and I talked about how freakin’ gorgeous the park is at least once a hour for the rest of the weekend.

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Driving into the park!
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Lauren, Ian, Mike and were I sharing a canvas tent cabin so we headed over to check in and drop off our stuff before dinner. Last year, Mike and I stayed in the Housekeeping camp with everyone but, this year, there were more people on the trip so we stayed about a mile away in Half Dome Village. The room was tiny (as to be expected) with 2 twin beds on one side (facing head to toe) and a double bed on the other. There was a shelf and some hooks but besides that, it was sparse.

It was a fine place to sleep in but campfires or cooking aren’t allowed there (what?) so really only suitable if you’re hiking all day and just need a place to sleep. Nonetheless, it worked out for us because we spent all of our time in Housekeeping with everyone else (where fires and cooking are allowed).

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Our cozy bed in Half Dome Village

Same as last year, each couple is tasked with making one meal during the trip for everyone camping. On Friday night the menu included chicken sausage with a nom orzo, cucumber, and feta salad. The orzo salad alone would make a great, simple weekday dinner. Maybe I will recreate it soon… stay tuned.

After dinner we sang songs around the fire; Miley Cyrus, Journey, and Whitney were all included on the playlist. At 10pm we had to move the party over to the amphitheater, where we didn’t have to worry about being loud.

Then, after a few ghost stories, it was a short walk to where we were staying for a restful night of deep sleep. (I think everyone sleeps better out in nature.)

We were back at Housekeeping early on Saturday in time for a chia pudding breakfast bar. I ate a lot of chia pudding when we visited Australia a few years ago and forgot how much I like it! Paired with fruit, nuts, and coconut shavings, we had a great vegan breakfast that kept me full for hours.

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Chia bar!

Next up was a hike to Lower Yosemite Falls, although I didn’t make it into the water. The waterfall was much more active this year and the midst was doing a fine job at keeping me cool. Unlike last year, when it was scorching hot up there – with a barely there waterfall flowing – and getting in to swim was a lot easier.

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Hiking boulders
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Lower Yosemite Falls up close and personal 🙂

We enjoyed a spread of sammies after our hike and then walked straight to the river for an afternoon of drinking, playing games, and floating. It was nice not being on a schedule or worrying about what time it is. For a type A+ person like myself, disconnecting from the grind of planning is a nice change of pace every now and then.

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heyooo

Saturday night was spent making dinner, drinking wine, and playing more games. It was our turn to cook for everyone. We stayed simple with a salad, pasta, and breadsticks.

Nature, friends, vino, and carbohydrates is a good combination, if you ask me.

We ended the weekend at brunch at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Call me a food snob but a traditional breakfast doesn’t do it for me anymore! Where’s the avo toast or poached eggs on bruschetta?! ..Not at the Majestic. I ordered scrambled eggs with hash browns and ham and it was meh.

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Brunchin’
Lucky for me, before brunch, Lauren ordered me an iced almond milk latte so, at least I had some millennial, boujee-ness going for me. 😉  Nothing says friendship like knowing someone’s coffee order!

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Stunner ❤
Everyone packed up and left after brunch but Mike and I stayed to bike around through the park. First we rode up to Mirror Lake. This place was gorgeous, although the sand rocky and the water freezing. Then we headed to the Swinging Bridge for great views and the start of a bucket list next year:

  1. Jump off Swinging Bridge
  2. Rent a raft to float down the river (we saw a lot of people doing this on our ride)
  3. Claim a spot at Mirror Lake; bring wine + friends; have a picnic

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Mirror Lake

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Toes in water

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The Swinging Bridge and a view of Lower Yosemite Falls
It was getting later and hotter in the afternoon so we left shortly after checking out the bridge. On the way home we stopped for Mexican, about a hour outside of the park. It was a hole in the wall place that we ate at a few years ago with my family after horseback riding in Yosemite. Good patio? Great food? Check and check. I think we’ll be making it a tradition to eat here every year.

We also stopped at an off the road fruit stand closer to home and I got 2 organic zucchini and 2 huge nectarines for $3. Such a good deal. And, by the way, if you haven’t sliced and froze nectarines to eat as a summer snack or dessert, you’re missing out!

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Until next time… ✌️

[Get Away] Clear Lake

It’s Friday! But I’m bringing it back to last weekend when we took a mini get away to Clear Lake. We stayed at our friend’s Lauren’s parents lake house for a weekend of sun, swimming, food, and fun. (rhyme)

This is our second trip up to Clear Lake this summer, with significantly better weather this time (although, I didn’t mind a cozy weekend at the lake a few weeks ago either). Lauren, her boyfriend, Ian, Mike and I left on Friday evening after a quick dinner at BierHaus. The lake is only a ~3 hour drive from Mountain View and we were lucky not to hit any traffic. We arrived at the house around 10:30pm and after quickly catching up with Lauren’s parents, retired to our room for the night. Lauren and her family are gracious hosts and let Mike and I stay in the other master bedroom the house has, complete with en-suite bathroom, a king size bed, and access to the deck with a beautiful view of the lake. I sleep like a royalty every time we go!

On Saturday we had a quick breakfast of bagels, melon, coffee, tea, and booch before taking the boat out on the water. Mike and Ian did a bit of wakeboarding and Lauren water skied. I stayed on the boat and was the Flag Girl; which means anytime someone is in the water and they aren’t being pulled by the boat, the flag has to be in the air to signal to other boats one of our people is in the water, watch out.

Sounds easy enough but there were a few times when I was too absorbed in watching that I forgot to hold up the flag when someone went down. Luckily, Deb (Lauren’s mom) is a pro and would remind me every time.


After a while out on the lake, we headed back to the house. We grabbed an array of tubes and one particularly giant swan and hit the lake again; jumping off the dock and chilling out but avoiding the seaweed (lakeweed?) at.all.costs.

Starving after all of our activity we headed inside for a nom lunch. Deb put out a delicious spread of shrimp, chicken wings, avocado, local tomatoes, bread, and black bean and sausage soup. I wish I’d snapped a picture but hunger took priority.

We let our food digest and then it was back out on the boat. This time, for tubbing! Lauren and I were scared to go with our S.O.s, in fear that they would think it was funny to push us off, so we insisted on going together. The boys went first and it was pretty funny seeing how small the tube looked under these 2 grown men.

Lauren and I were next and, omg, what an adventure! We basically just screamed the entire time, hoping not to drift out of the wake; where there are rollers that either send you flying or catching air and slamming back down on the tube. It sounds aggressive but it was fun! After we each went individually, Lauren’s dad expertly driving the boat each round.

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Wearing goggles to protect my contacts😛


We watched the sunset with glasses of wine and bottles of beer on the deck. Then had a delicious dinner of fish tacos and black beans. Dinner was later and I didn’t stay up much for much longer after, exhausted from all of the time spent in the sun and water.

The next morning we got up early and took the boat to breakfast. I wish I could commute everywhere by boat! There’s something v meditative about being surrounded by water.

Breakfast was delish but the service was soo slow. Like, they didn’t charge us for our drinks it was that slow. Oh, well. We packed up and headed back right when we got back. Making record time on the way home too.

Bali: final days

Read about the rest of our trip here, here, and here.


Thursday started with more smoothie bowls and a surfing lesson! …A surfing lesson for Mike anyway. (I’m a nervous beach-goer and SUP in Australia a few years ago was my limit for ocean activities.) I sat on the beach with the intention to read while Mike was in the water. Instead I chatted the whole time with a mom whose daughter was also taking a lesson. I later learned that her daughter competed in the Rio Olympics as a swimmer for Australia. Pretty cool!


After about 1 1/2 in the water, Mike’s lesson was done and we went back to the house for a second breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast. Since we were getting up so early, second breakfasts become a regular on this vacation.

A while later we collectively decided we could go for a massage (keeping with tradition from New Years Day when we were all in Santa Rosa). Spa treatments are cheap in Bali. We paid about $15 for a hour massage. After our relaxing massages, we were back in the pool to play volleyball. 

Sometimes I’m a bit of a joy kill when it comes to playing games… it’s not that I don’t like them but it takes me awhile to get into it.  I think because I much prefer conversation or reading, like the wise old soul that I am 😉 

I was going to tap out of playing because I had my contacts in and didn’t want to deal with taking them out to play. Instead Mike’s brother-in-law threw me a pair of googles to protect my eyes (lol) and started throwing the ball towards me. Of course it was a lot of fun! Almost too much fun as we stayed in the pool for a lot longer than expected.

We had planned to go to dinner at Old Man’s for Mike’s dads last night but we got there too late and it was crowded! (Which was a bummer because everyone had gone when we were in Ubud and really liked it.) Instead we ended up at the place next door which turned out to be great!

We sat up on a high deck, overlooking the beach. There were dimly lite orange and yellow lanterns everywhere, giving it a very whimsical feel. The place wasn’t crowded, which was surprising because the food was so good. I ordered the Australian cheeseburger with a side of corn and it was probably the best meal I had in Bali (aside from The Shady Shack).

The next day, our last full day in Bali, was filled with favorites from the trip. Mike and I woke up early and set out for first breakfast. I had avocado toast and an iced coffee with coconut milk. An ideal breakfast combination, in my opinion.

We had second breakfast back at the villa a while later. Then more pool time. I can’t remember exactly but I think a few Bintangs were consumed at this point too. Coffee chased with beer? Talk about vacation mode.

Lunch was at Taco Casa for more of their strawberry sangria and nachos! After drinking and eating, we all appropriately took a midday nap. Mike’s sister and company flew back to Australia that night but not before a last round at The Lawn. We went back in the afternoon for a drink, some apps, and a dip in their pool (how genius is it to have a pool at the restaurant?). Then we took our last family walk on the beach back to the villa.

Silliness at The Lawn

A few hours later, everyone was packed and ready to go home. With all of the company we had that week – not to mention, the giant house we were staying in that was now quiet – it felt pretty lonely for just Mike and I to be left.

So, we quickly reapplied bug spray and headed back to The Lawn for dinner (The Lawn isn’t paying me for this post, I swear hah). We ordered cocktails but probably should have skipped them because we were both already so tired. It was approaching 9pm, which was around our Bali bedtime. lol

After dinner, we walked back to our empty villa and went straight to bed. We woke up the next morning with the intent to enjoy all of our Bali favorites one last time. After smoothie bowls on the beach, we walked around the main strip before it got unbearably hot. Which wasn’t long after…

We wanted our last meal to be at The Shady Shake but, unfortunately, they were closed. Instead, we got avocado toast to-go and ate it back at our villa by the pool. We still had a ton of Bintangs left and thought, why not? We popped two open and the second they got warm, we opened another bottle. What else are you supposed to do with 2 people and half dozen beers? 😉

We finished the last of our packing, drank the last of the beer, and then it was time to go. Our transport picked us up and a hour later, we were at the airport, ready to embark on the 18 hour journey back home.

Airport adventures…

Our Hello Kitty themed airplane 😂

 

 

Ubud: an overnight trip

You can read about our first few days in Bali here and our day trip to Potato Head Beach Club here.


Mike and I spent the night in Ubud midway through our stay in Bali. Ubud is where the “love” happened in Eat, Pray, Love and where the movie was filmed.  It is about only about 50 miles from Canggu – where our villa was located – but word on the street was that traffic getting there would be terrible. So we wanted to leave early; which wasn’t a problem since we were waking up around 7am every morning. 

After a quick banana bread and smoothie bowl “brekky” (as many Australian tourists call it), we were en route. As it turned out, it was the full moon ceremony that day and we were to Ubud exactly a hour. I’ve always loved a full moon…

The scooter ride there was fun! I had relaxed into being on the back of the bike and tried to enjoy the scenery more. It was also a nice relief from the heat because of the breeze. In Udud we stayed at the Organic Farm Villa at the Moksha. Check in wasn’t until 3pm or 4pm but we arrived around 11am. I thought we would just leave our stuff at the front desk and go explore the city but they surprised us and said our room would be ready in half hour. 

While we were waiting by the pool, someone brought us out some sort of basil drink (we dubbed it the Basil Refresher) that I believe was just basil and ice blended together with maybe some honey and lime? Delicious! I’ll have to work on recreating it now that it is warmer in California.

These blessings are everywhere in Bali and we saw one being placed while we were waiting for our room

Once we were unpacked, we hit the streets of Ubud. We quickly realized Ubud is where the shopping is at. There were so many stores with so many cute things! It was actually a little overwhelming… If you’re going to Bali and plan on shopping, I would do some research before or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll abandon ship pretty quickly. I didn’t do much shopping but, out of necessity, I bought a few shorts (and a dress and a romper, if I’m being 100% honest…) because it was so damn hot there and I had regrettably packed a long, flow-y dress for the next day. I’m not kidding, this California summer dress is a winter Bali dress. You DO NOT need layers in Bali.

We stopped for a lunch of salads and beer and then continued down Jl. Monkey Forest (the main street in Ubud). Along the way, we popped in for gelato. We stocked up on more bottled water and sunscreen at a connivence store. And finally, the allure of a mister drew us to stop at a street side cafe for mojitos and a side of French fries.

Sweaty babes!
After a lot of walking, we opted to go chill by the pool instead of visiting the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, like we originally planned. Although while we were swimming, we started to regret the decision. Don’t get me wrong, the pool was nice (especially in the heat!) but part of the reason we came to Ubud was to see these epic rice fields everyone kept talking about. (When asking for recommendations before our trip, multiple people told me I had to visit Tegalalang.) We had a cooking class scheduled for the next morning at 9:30am but, not wanting to miss out, decided to go to the rice field before.

Balinese chicken and rice for dinner

The following morning we woke up before the sun and took our scooter to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. This was probably my single favorite hour of our time spent in Bali. The ride there was cool and traffic free. We read online that the field opened at 7am and that it is a nice place to have a coffee. We arrived at 7am sharp but none of the cafes were open. Oh, well, we thought as we trucked down the steps hidden within the cafe paths. You can see Tegalalang from the road but nothing prepares you for it’s beauty until you get down those cafe steps.

I can only describe the rice terrace as a dream. It’s so gorgeous, it almost doesn’t seem real. I felt like I had fallen asleep and was magically transported to this lush, green oasis. I was practically euphoric. The delicate blades were about knee high and still had dew on them. Mike and I giddily walked down into the belly of the terrace and then up to the other side, in awe the whole time. The scenery was breathtaking and a romantic place to be with your love. Especially because, aside from a man in a speedo, chopping away at some of the blades (assuming he lived or worked there) and a man jogging up and down the fields (talk about a scenic run!), we were happily the only visitors there.

Putting off going to the rice terrance until the morning turned out to be the best decision because it wasn’t scorching hot yet. There isn’t really shade and you’ll want to walk around. I definitely recommend hitting this gem up in the early hours!

We made it back in time for a quick but indulgent breakfast on our patio. 

Next on the agenda was our cooking class at Casa Luna. My former dance teacher, Sarah (founder of Bali Body Pilates), recommended taking a cooking class here and I jumped at the opportunity. We went on Wednesday so the menu included:

  • Balinese chicken satay
  • Beans in coconut milk
  • Lawar
  • Corn fritters
  • Gado-Gado
  • Fragrant yellow rice

The class was great; it was interactive and informative. Our instructor was friendly, funny, and knowledgable (pretty much everything you want in a teacher!). The food was, of course, NOM. Although we used shrimp paste, which I wasn’t the biggest fan of but Mike didn’t mind. They also served a refreshing homemade hibiscus iced tea, made in house with nothing but hibiscus flowers and lime. #allaboutit

The cooking class lasted the majority of the day but we made a point to quickly stop by Monkey Forest (self explanatory!) before leaving. We were probably the worst visitors though, deciding that the monkeys were actually frightening. You could buy bananas to give to the monkeys (which we did) but they get aggressive when they see you with one. Instead of letting them crawl up us, Mike and I developed a tactic of just chucking the banana away from us (mine usually paired with a squeal, let’s be real). Anything to keep the monkeys away! 🙈

We scooted home after and luckily, again, arrived back in about one hour. It was nice to get away for a mini adventure but I was happy to see Mike’s family again. We joined them for happy hour on the beach and, over Mai Tais and bottles of Bintang, told them about our Ubud adventures.


Check back for a final recap of our last days on paradise island, coming soon!

Potato Head Beach Club

Read about our first few days in Bali here.


On Monday we woke up early and went straight back to The Shady Shake. I’m telling you, this was my favorite place in Bali and I could have eaten here everyday for the rest of the trip.

For breakfast, I started with a iced coconut milk cappuccino. Bliss! It was the perfect combination of creamy and coffee. I also ordered the tomato and avocado toast topped with poached eggs and a side of gluten free bread.  (The bread turned out to be so dense and filling, I skipped the eggs.) Mike ordered a drool-worthy smoothie bowl and an iced matcha green tea latte.

Gimme dat bowl

We had to be back to our villa by 9:30am because our scooter rental was being dropped off then. Traffic and driving in Bali seems insane. Before we went, I read on Natalie Dressed that there were scooters everywhere. Although I was excepting the crowded, slightly chaotic, streets, I didn’t anticipant actually getting on a scooter myself. My adventure-loving man had other plans…

Mike was really excited about the idea of renting a scooter to drive us around on and honestly, at first, I just didn’t want to let him down. I hesitantly agreed to the scooter and followed through with getting on the back of the bike with a when in Rome mentality backing me. Plus, the fact that Mike has his motorcycle license from before we started dating put me more at ease.

Fortunately my instincts were spot on and Mike was great at driving the scooter. I felt safe with him driving (even the few time I squeezed him tightly when a car or other scooter got a little close for comfort). After our first right turn (which were the hardest because you have to cross both lanes of traffic since they drive on the other side of the road in Bali), Mike was zipping around like a local!

We took the scooter to Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak. It was only about 30 minutes away but hard to miss. We drove by it a few times before finally locating it, which isn’t the funnest thing to do your first time mastering a scooter but again, Mike was a champ.

When we walked into Potato Head, I was like, honey, I’m home! It had all of the elements of a perfect vacation day for me. There was a huge infinite pool overlooking the beach. On one end of the pool was a swim-up bar and the other had a section where the water was ankle high that you could lounge on. There were day beds poolside, a few bars scattered around, and big, open areas to sit and eat and drink. The club was casual with a hint of luxury. It felt secluded but not snobby. Perfection!

And a perfect day it was.

We started the day in the bar with a round of cocktails. We also ordered “chips and guacamole,” forgetting we were in an Australian influenced country. When our order came out, Mike and I smiled and shook our heads, realizing our mistake of ordering French fries chips and guacamole instead. Oh, well!

After our snack, it was pool time! (Side note: the day beds are available first come, first serve. We arrived around 11am but it was already too late to get a bed. You have to be there right when they open to score a bed. We put our names on the list – #14 in line! – anyway and ended up getting a bed around 4pm that afternoon.)

The water in the pool was nice and the view of the beach wasn’t hurting anyone! About a hour or so in we decided it was time for another beverage. Since Mike was driving the scooter back, we kept in PG. I ordered a watermelon juice (YUM! I can guzzle watermelon juice down faster than you’ve ever seen) and Mike got a quintessential island-vacay drink: coconut juice in a giant coconut.

We splashed in the pool a little bit longer before stopping for lunch. I ordered nachos and Mike got a crab sandwich. Both were great! (I was surprised at how much Mexican food I ate while in Bali but this California girl is not complaining!)

We walked down to the beach after. The water was warm and gorgeous. We entertained ourselves by watching for these tiny crabs that come out of little holes on the beach. Here and there, you’ll see a ball of sand thrown out from the hole and you know a crab is in there, digging his home deeper.

I also haggled for the first time while we were on the beach. There was a lady selling traditional sarongs and I knew I wanted one for myself and a few other people at home. I had read online not to go into haggling without knowing how much you will pay before. I quickly set a number I was comfortable with in my head and walked up to her. After a little bit of negotiating, I walked away with my sarongs at the price I set.

We were about ready to leave back to our villa when called for a daybed. So we had one last (virgin) drink and didn’t regret leaving a little later (even with the traffic we hit on the way back). Having a daybed the whole time would have been great. It’s comfortable and convenient to get out of the pool and just go plop down on your bed for a rest or to read. If we’re ever back in Bali, we’ll be sure to get there right at opening.

There was a lot of traffic on the way back to the villa, which made for a more stressful ride. But once you’re on the open road, it’s quite peaceful scooting around all of the rice fields.

Although, nothing could prepare us for the best, most beautiful rice field we were about to discover… Stay tuned for our two day adventure in Ubud coming up!

Bali!

“Morning!” He said, with his mouth half full of breakfast bites. The older Balinese man was sitting outside a small convenient store we’d passed dozens of times already that week on our walk into town.

“Morning!” We replied, matching his enthusiastic greeting.

He gave us a thumbs up and a toothy grin in return. I smiled back.

It was our last morning in Bali and the heat hadn’t become unbearable yet. We were on our way to get smoothie bowls – a nice morning ritual we developed there – to take to the beach.

We arrived in Bali one week and one day prior. The island of black sand beaches and warm ocean waves. Congested streets with scooters and small cars beep-beeping everywhere. Kombucha tea and stray dogs on every corner. Seemingly endless organic food and tap water you’re warned not to drink. Hot. Humid. Lush.

After over a hour in rush hour traffic (which takes on a whole new meaning in Bali but more on that later), we finally arrived at the villa we were staying with Mike’s family. We dumped our suitcases in the living room and drenched our skin in bug spray. I changed from LuLu leggings to shorts and we were out the door to dinner.

The entrance to our villa

The humidity in Bali is no joke. The short walk to restaurant was sticky as my body tried to adjust to the new climate. But when we arrived at The Lawn, an open beachfront eatery, I finally felt like I was on vacation.

We caught up with Mike’s family over cocktails and dinner. Then, later we all sat outside near the pool for a nightcap. It was the perfect start to our holiday!

The next morning we woke up earlier than expected but jet lag has no rules. The villa we were staying in had staff who graciously cooked us breakfast every morning. But first, coffee.



Mike, his dad and I walked up the street to Mangsi where I ordered an iced coffee. There was’t anyone in there but us and it was taking ages to make. I mentioned to Mike that maybe I should have ordered something on the menu instead of asking for an iced coffee. The two guys working there seemed a little confused about my order. I saw them take out a cocktail shaker and gave Mike a worried glance… Little did I know I had nothing to be worried about! My iced coffee turned out to be one of the best I’d had. 

After breakfast, Mike, his sister and I headed to a Hatha yoga class at a studio nearby called The Practice. We thought the class was only a hour but realized after it was a hour and a half. It went by so quickly though and the studio was gorgeous! I loved practicing there. The instructor did a nice job of mixing movement with mediation. In my opinion, she didn’t overly concentrating on only breathing and just siting there. I’ll admit it, I am a bit of a vain yogi and care more about my flow (and toning aspects!) than the mediation.

“yoga accepts and yoga gives”
Post yoga pic
After yoga, Mike and I went for lunch at Little Flinders. Mike’s family had been there the day before for lunch and everyone liked it. There were so many cafes to try, recommendations are key! We both ordered salads and Mike loved his but mine was just okay. I still think it’s worth going and checking out though.

We met everyone back at The Lawn a little later for a round of drinks. This is the only day we had rain while we were in Bali. I have to say, I actually didn’t mind it but I’m almost always a sucker for rain.


After drinks we opted for a casual dinner at a pizza place near where we were staying. Surprisingly (idk why I assumed pizza in Bali would be different than pizza in the US; neither are Italy!), the pizza here was really good. Sitting outside and munching on slices while sipping beers was a nice end to our first full day in Bali.

The next morning there wasn’t a rain drop in sight and it was HOT. After breakfast, we all walked to a local market nearby.  On the way there Mike and I spotted a kombucha place and stopped to buy a guava booch. It was so good and a much needed refreshment! By the time we got to the market, I was sweating like I’d just finished an intense workout. I bought a couple bracelets and a cheap, cute dress while we were there but it was too hot to stay for long.

Instead we opted to go back to the house and get in the pool! Sweet relief from the heat. After splashing around for a while, a few of us walked up the street for a mid-afternoon snack at Taco Casa. Here we ordered the best sangria and nachos to split.


Dinner that night was at The Shady Shack, by far my favorite place we went to in Bali. The Shady Shack was a quick walk from where we were staying as well (a huge benefit of our airbnb was the location!). They serve only vegetarian food. Nom. We sat outside among the trees (and shade during the day) at a big wooden table. Mike and I split an appetizer that had different dips (including hummus, a carrot dip, and another that I can’t remember), crackers, and a variety a vegetables. For my main, I ordered zucchini noodles with spinach – although, truth be told, the appetizer would have been plenty of food.

The desserts all looked drool worthy but we were stuffed. All the more reason to return to The Shady Shake before we left; which we did, multiple times…! After dinner, it was time for bed. The sun went down around 6pm there and we found this often made it seem a lot later than it actually was. It become a routine to be in bed by 9pm and up around 7am. Although, because there was so much beauty to see in Bali, I didn’t mind one bit!


Check back to read about our day at Potato Head Beach club.