Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 by Allison (Bali, Photography)

I’m afraid all my great plans and intentions to blog about my recent trip to Bali sequentially are out the window. (I still haven’t even completed the posts from my FIRST visit.)

So now you get whatever you get… :)

And today you get a peek at some of the critters I met in Bali. Let the photo-fest begin…

My favorites are the frogs. I adore them. They sang me to sleep each night, and their random croaks always made break out into giggles.

We’d spot them on the steps, in pots, on leaves in the garden – and on the windows every evening. Aysia would dance and point whenever she saw one.

Ashley spotted this guy on one of the carved heads overlooking the swimming pool. Long live the frog king!

They’re just really cute. Especially this tiny guy, who joined me in the swimming pool.

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Posted on Jan 1st, 2013 by Allison (Bali, Family/Friends, Funny Stuff, Travel)

While doing a little shopping in Ubud, Bali last week, Emily, Kennedy & Marie got a bit bored and restless. I made what turned out to be a brilliant suggestion: stand in the window and act like mannequins, being as still and quiet as possible.

They were delighted and took this charge very seriously – much to the curiosity and amusement (and sometimes amazement) of passersby… many of whom stopped to snap photos.

At the second shop, there was a small ledge outside where the girls could stand and pose above the sidewalk. Kennedy persuaded the shopkeeper to allow them to model some of her clutches.

What do you think – do they have a future in modeling or as mannequins? :)

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Posted on Dec 30th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Reviews/Recommendations, Travel)

Bali is a wondrous place… especially if you’re into pampering and massage.

A fabulous local massage therapist makes house calls and charges 150,000 Rp (about $16) per hour. I enjoyed a reflexology session last week.

For Christmas, my kids decided to treat me to a pampering spa experience, and selected Sedona Spa in Ubud.

Brandon dropped me off this morning and I was led through this flower-covered arched path to my private room – the Gardenia.

I was in heaven even before I got on the table.

While water gurgled, birds sang and meditative music played in the background, I received an incredible one hour massage. This was followed by a stimulating coconut body scrub… and then a coconut milk body mask.

Are you jealous yet?

As I showered off the scrub, my attentive Balinese therapist was preparing my flower bath (she was a little surprised when I asked for cool water, not warm) – along with fresh ginger tea and a fruit plate to enjoy.

I generally I prefer showers to bathing. I find I get bored soaking in hot water – and most tubs are rather uncomfortable for me. But this was an experience and a half, and one I’d like to have again.

The deep tub was so comfortable, the water cool and refreshing on a hot Balinese day – and the luxury of bathing with flower petals made me feel like a goddess.

I sipped my tea (and took a few photos), and swirled the flowers in the water with my toes. I wanted to stay in that tub for an hour :)

When my flower bath was over, I was given a sarong to wear and led to the salon where I enjoyed a hair cream bath, scalp massage, hair steam treatment and neck/shoulder massage…

And because my facial skin is so sensitive I opted out of the facial and asked for a foot massage instead… and it was a good choice. He accompanied me to the shampoo bowl and back, so my feet and legs were being nearly continually massaged for another 45 minutes. Oh happy, happy feet.

A manicure and pedicure topped off the treatment and I felt like a brand new woman. And by now, the hot sun had made way to a thunderstorm which nicely cooled things down a bit.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Wow – how much did that cost!???”

Any guesses? If you guessed $300 you’re wrong. But that would easily be what you’d pay for an equivalent treatment in the states or Europe.

$200 you say? Wrong again. $100? Nope.

The grand total was approximately $50 US for 4 hours of heaven. If you don’t count the $1800 airfare to get here, that’s a bargain. Even WITH the airfare it’s a bargain – and one I’ll take advantage of again.

Thanks Brandon, Jennifer & Ashley. I absolutely loved my gift. Next time, let’s all go together!

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Posted on Dec 25th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Family/Friends, Music / Entertainment, Travel)

Spending the holidays in Bali with all my progeny… we wrote this little ditty on our drive home from White Sands Beach yesterday (our Christmas day). Enjoy!

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Posted on Mar 21st, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Spiritual / Religion, Travel)

I’ve been in Bali almost two weeks, and have had so many rich experiences. You’re probably thinking that nothing could equal my birthday surprise, but you’d be mistaken…

Balinese practice their own unique form of Hinduism. There are over 11,000 temples and more than a million Hindu shrines on the island. My son Brandon will be writing a bit about this on his blog soon.

We expressed an interest in learning more about the rituals and meanings that are such an integral part of Balinese daily life – and so the language school arranged something very special for us.

Along with our tutor, Daniel, to translate, we were going to not only observe, but participate in the Melukat ritual. We had no idea what that was, or what we’d be doing, but we were excited.

Appropriate attire (sarong, belt and sleeved shirt) is required within the temple, and our wonderful staff shared their own sarongs, belts and a beautiful kebaya (top) for Jennifer to wear. We were told to bring a change of clothing, since we may be getting wet.
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Posted on Mar 18th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Travel)

As you know, I was invited to spend my birthday at a lovely villa in Bali.

After a 23 hour journey, including layover in Taipei, I arrived to this lush, green island and was welcomed by my son and his family. Except for 9 month old Aysia, who burst into tears as soon as she saw me.

We’ve spent a lot of time relaxing in the pool and in the house, talking, a little time sightseeing, and have been enjoying every minute. I love this opportunity to reconnect with my sweet family. And I’ve been taking a lot of photos for future posts.

You’d think that just being in Bali, relaxing at a villa where all the meals are fresh prepared, all my needs are attended to, a gorgeous pool outside my door and a glorious view of the valley would be enough of a birthday gift, wouldn’t you.

What more could you ask for?
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Posted on Mar 16th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Reviews/Recommendations, Travel)

My birthday was so spectacular that it is taking me awhile to get through photos and videos to post. So in the meantime, I thought I’d share one of my new food discoveries here in Bali.

While in Costa Rica last year, I discovered my love of a good mango. Mangoes were so plentiful and fresh – I just couldn’t get enough. I purchased a few from my local grocery store in the states, and they’re okay, but just not the same as a fresh, ripe from the vine mango in Costa Rica.

I was hoping I might find similarly fresh and tasty mangoes in Bali, but it is not their season. Instead, I was served an interesting fruit I’ve never tried before – fresh mangosteen.

Pretty purple/red on the outside – white, juicy fleshy sections on the inside. The texture of the fruit is kind of like the soft areas of a honeydew. Or maybe a bit like a peach. But the taste is different than either…. it is reminiscent of many fruits – but hard to describe.

It was very good, different than I would’ve expected. When we stopped by a farmers market the other day, one of the vendors offered me a mangosteen ‘gratis’, in hopes I would purchase more. One bite and I was hooked!

It was even sweeter and fresher than the mangosteen I had eaten for breakfast the day prior. I purchased 5 and paid 5,000 Rupiah. That may sound like a lot, but it’s only .55 cents – basically 11 cents each. I think they often sell for over $3.00 EACH when imported into the states (if you can even find it).

So mangosteen is the new mango. And now I’m going to go to the market and buy more!

Have you ever tried fresh mangosteen?

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