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 😂

 

 

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. 

 

The Happiest Place on Earth

The S.O. and I took some time off last  week and headed to southern California for a long weekend visiting friends and exploring Disneyland! We left around 2pm on Wednesday and drove to Chatsworth, where our friends Gary and April moved a few years ago. It was so good to see them again, even if it was only for one night. We were able to see their new house, have a few beers, and entertain ourselves with the face swap feature on snapchat.

On Thursday morning we woke up early to beat the infamous LA traffic and get to Disneyland on time. I snagged a cup of coffee before we left Gary and April’s but we didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast. Instead of overpaying for food in the park, we stopped a few miles before our hotel and got breakfast croissants at a little one-off coffee shop. Our intention was to go to Subway but found this place instead and, wanting to support local businesses, decided to eat here.

We stayed at the Carousel Beach Inn  right across from the park entrance. The hotel wasn’t anything special but it was about a 10 minute walk to Disneyland. The lack of amenities (no WiFi or breakfast!) was doable given the great location. Besides, when you’re at Disneyland, you’re really only in the hotel to sleep and, believe me, sleep comes hard and fast after 12+ hours of walking.

Mike and I got the 2 day park hopper tickets ($$$$) and started our adventure in Disneyland. Growing up, I went to Disneyland often with my mom, grandma, and grandpa but we only went to California Adventure  once; so Disneyland is really the beating heart for my childhood memories and nostalgia.

IMG_20160414_133856
The main entrance!
IMG_20160414_133901
The photographer wanted us to “stare into each other’s eyes” and I was barely able to keep  it together…
IMG_20160414_133904
Secretly giggling at the awkwardness

Needless to say, like most of the population, I was pretty stoked to be starting the day in the happiest place on earth. (If only it wasn’t so crowded…) We walked to Space Mountain* first to grab a fast pass and were completely overwhelmed with how insane Tomorrowland was. Star Wars has taken over. We made an agreement to spend as little time as possible there.

IMG_20160414_094625
Waiting for our first ride!

Luckily the rest of the park wasn’t as crowded. We were able to ride Pirate’s, The Haunted House, the Matterhorn, and a few others before going back to use our fast pass on Space Mountain. Space Mountain was my favorite ride when I was little and it didn’t disappoint now being 26 years old!

IMG_20160415_192726

IMG_20160414_112110
Outside Club 33!
IMG_20160414_124506
Star Tours

After riding rides all morning, we were ready for lunch. We made our way to Harbour Galley and shared a shrimp salad, a lobster roll and a giant iced tea. Theme park food is often unhealthy and caloric but I’m always starving! A salad would not hold me over (plus, most of the time, the salads aren’t actually even that healthy…) so I love that  Mike is willing to split things with me! This way we are able to at least get some vegetables but also splurge a bit. Win-win.

Next we went to explore California Adventure and I was pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable it was! I thought I was going to want to stay in Disneyland the whole trip (possibly clinging a little too hard to some childhood memories!) but it was well worth it to pay the money and go back and forth between the two parks.

Added bonus:California Adventure has alcohol.

IMG_20160414_143846
Beer sampler
IMG_2109
Making sure all is well with work!
IMG_2110
Mike and his brew

For dinner we went to Downtown Disney and sat outdoors at a place called UVA Bar. We split an order of the calamari to start. I ordered the mushroom flat bread pizza, opting for a vegetarian meal because of the ham I had on my breakfast croissant, and Mike order the lamb burger with spicy Greek fries. The food was so good but we needed to eat quickly in order to ride the Tower of Terror one more time before closing.

IMG_20160414_211018
Leaving CA Adventure 

After a long day of a lot of walking, riding, screaming, eating, drinking, and plain ol’ Disney magic, it was time to go back to the hotel and sleep.

On Friday we were at the park before opening, deciding to start the day in California Adventure to capitalize on the Starbucks there. Armed with my iced coffee and spinach and feta egg white wrap (a go-to breakfast for me when I’m traveling), I was ready for another round of  Tower of Terror.

IMG_2114
We are in the front row on the left. I look like I’m going to puke and Mike is playing a prank.

We went to Cars Land after and rode Radiator Springs Racers, which was definitely my favorite ride in California Adventure.

IMG_2116IMG_2120IMG_2119

After a few other rides we grabbed a beer and sat down for a while. Mike had his step tracker on his phone and it calculated we had walked ~29,000 steps on Thursday and ~36,000 by the end of Friday.

Another round for us!

IMG_2123
Cheers!

By chance, while we were there, the Food & Wine festival was going on so we were able to try some really good beers and small plates. We snacked on chicken and 4 cheese mac and cheese and some fried artichokes while people watching.

IMG_2122

After our light snacks, we went back to Disneyland (a lot of park hopping comes with the park hopper tickets!) for more rides and lunch. Having eaten (mostly) vegetarian throughout the day, I was ready for some meat during lunch! (Weekatarianism isn’t really a thing on vacations…) We stopped at Bengal Barbecue for chicken and bacon wrapped asparagus skewers and split a jalapeno stuffed pretzel.

Towards the end of the day, we had our fast passes lined up perfectly and spent a fun 2 hours running through the parks to make all of our rides on time.

IMG_20160415_175143

After our last ride on our fast pass binge, we went to downtown Disney again for dinner. This time opting for a little fancier eatery and dining at House of Jazz. I ordered the Gulf Shrimp Pan Roast, which came with (more) artichoke hearts, andouille sausage, tomato veloute and Cajun rice. SO GOOD! I love New Orleans inspired food.

And of course we couldn’t resist the Beignets for dessert!

IMG_2128
Look at all of that powered sugar!

After dinner we went back to Disneyland to finish out the evening. We rode Big Thunder Mountain (one of my favorites!) one last time before the park closed and we went back to the hotel for another deep, deep sleep.

IMG_2132
The castle. (And all of the people.)

On Saturday we woke up early and drove to Orange County to visit some very good friends of mine. I met my friend Sam in college, who was living with her aunt Robin and uncle Tony. Robin was expecting her first baby and I was looking for a job! Having experience with kids (my mom owned a home daycare and I started babysitting when I was 13), I started watching Robin and Tony’s son (and a few years later, their daughter) every week for over 2 years.

I spent basically every day with Sam and her family and love them like they are my own. Sadly in 2009 they all moved down to southern California and now I don’t see them nearly as much as I would like to.

Sam had a precious, pretty, perfect  little baby girl in March and I finally got to meet her sweet little self. It was so good to end our weekend with such close friends.

IMG_20160416_191037
Beautiful like her mama!

Overall, we had a great vacation – a perfect couple of days spent away before I start my new job next week!

#VegOut!

*I know it has been renamed Hyperspace Mountain but I disagree with changing this classic coaster’s name so will continue to call it by the original.

 

 

Food Crawlin’

This past weekend was full of favorites for me and Mike. We spent the weekend at Resort at Squaw Creek in North Lake Tahoe. We stayed at this resort for the first time last year and got upgraded to a “fireplace suite.” Whoever upgraded us should get some sort of promotion because the resort has become a home away from home for us during the past year! And – not to be bougie – buuuuut if we had stayed in a regular room* that first time, I don’t think the weekend would have made such a lasting impression on us. Now, we splurge for the suites and, let me tell you, having a fireplace (and a stove, a toaster, a master bedroom and 2 TVs) in your hotel room, never gets old!

11411998_10155772283830414_5364679835982125706_o

Aside from staying at the resort, we partook in a pretty amazing food crawl. If you don’t know what a food crawl is (like many of the waiters and waitresses who wanted to be sure we only wanted a salad… for both of us… to split…), it’s when you “crawl” from eatery to eatery having your appetizer, salad, soup, entree, dessert, etc. all at different restaurants. Food crawls are great because they allow you to sample a lot of different foods, especially on vacations when there are so many restaurants to try! (Note, they do get a little pricey with the tipping included at each new place but I think it’s worth the experience.) 

We started at the welcoming event the resort offers on Friday evenings with beer and app samples and then went to the pub located on the property. Here we each ordered a cocktail and decided on the pretzel bites with jalapeno cheddar (for me) and spicy mustard (for Mike) dipping sauces. From past experience (you might remember when I wasn’t eating meat in March and ordered these same pretzel bites for dinner), I know these are delicious so it was hard to get just the half order but we knew we have to save room for the rest of the evening!

IMG_0913

IMG_0916 IMG_0919

IMG_0920

Next we took the free shuttle service to The Village and stopped at a bar(?) called 22. If I’m being honest, I have to say this was my least favorite stop on the crawl. We split a steak salad with fennel and beets. I enjoyed the salad but the atmosphere, in my opinion, was lacking. It felt a little old world and stuffy… (and I thought it smelt weird but Mike didn’t feel the same so, who knows?) After our salad, we went to another pub (this one Irish) and ordered the potato skins and sliders which were so unhealthy and full of fat and cheese and calories amazing! We ended our food crawl with a pear tart at a pizza place (not photographed) and a nightcap back in our suite!

IMG_0925
Lunch trio!

The next day, we took the tram to the top of the mountains where there was a pool, hot tub, cafe, bar, and a mini-museum from the 1960 Olympics that were hosted at Squaw. At the cafe we split 3 appetizers (another good way to try a lot of different things!!); the bruschetta with an avocado drizzle, a flat bread with spinach, figs and a balsamic glaze, and BBQ wings. I had higher hopes for the flat bread and the bruschetta – which were both just okay – but the wings were the bomb.com and Mike gave me the last/uneven extra one so ya know, I fell in love with him all over again, type thing.

IMG_0928
Cheese and meat eats

For dinner (I fell in love, yet again;), Mike treated me to a fancy-schmancy steak dinner at Six Peaks, the resort’s restaurant. We started with a cheese and meat sampler that I could have had all to myself and called it a meal. We also ordered/split (do you see a common theme here?) a rib-eye and a fillet with truffle mashed potatoes and asparagus. Seriously. So. Good. And last, but not least, we ended the night with my FAVORITE chocolate covered Oreo’s with mini M&Ms on top (I don’t even like Oreo’s in real life, but put me on top of a mountain, charge me Mike $4.50 per Oreo, and #bliss).

So, to recap, obviously my attempt to stop eating meat during The Veg Voyage has been derailed (steak salad and wings and rib-eye, oh, MY!) but you know what they** say………………….. Oreo’s are vegan.

#VegOut

♡ Ashley

*#barbaric – JUST KIDDING!

**”they” being HuffPo