by Ashley

Where I go: Bali.

When I get there, I always feel lighter, as if I’ve left all my stress behind on the plane. The smell of salt in the air and the feel of the sea breeze on my skin is positively intoxicating, and I love the way the waves sound crashing on the shore. The boy took me there for my birthday this year, but it’s always been a family favourite (we celebrated Dad’s 50th there with close friends and family a couple of years ago) and we’ve been going there since we were wee ones (back when my sister and I insisted on getting our hair beaded like Bo Derek every summer, I’m so very glad that phase is over forever).

Wearing: Sunblock. I wish I could say nothing else but I’m not as daring as that, so I try to get away with as little as possible. For the last trip I got this awesome (and cheap!) chevron print green-and-white bikini from ASOS, such a cheery colour, it turned out great in photos! (kind of like the illustrated one below) For these trips, I try to pack light, so I love cover ups that go from day to night like this feminine and super summery yellow maxi dress from 3.1 Phillip Lim.

Reading: All of the internet and more! on the wonderful little device called the iPad. Books, music, movies, teevee shows, newspapers, and blogs are all at the touch of your fingertips! Get it. It will change your life. I can’t go anywhere without it these days.

In order to get all of the internet and more in Bali, head to the Grocer & Grind for a tall glass of iced coffee and free wifi.

Watching: This gorgeous sun set at the original Ku De Ta. 10x better than the one they have here in Singapore. Book a bed and get there at 4 pm for sundown drinks with an unbeatable view.

Eating (and drinking): Sipping on a killer Cucumber-Elderflower Tom Collins. Another great drink at Ku De Ta is their Dark & Stormy that comes with home-made ginger beer.

If you’re hungry after your sunset cocktail, may I suggest that you skip the countless Italian restaurants lining the streets of Seminyak and suss out a place that serves up suckling pig, Bali-style. Babi Guling is pig, stuffed with spices, and slow roasted for hours on a spit over an open fire till the skin is crisp and golden-brown, and the meat is tender and succulent. If you aren’t hungry for this bit of deliciousness yet, I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re vegetarian.

Toting: My little skull roll-y has been lucky enough to accompany me on most trips since my college days, it’s been just about everywhere! Sort of wish I’d kept the stickers they paste on it whenever you land in a different country – but I couldn’t deal with how messy it looked after a while. It’s about to go into a well-deserved retirement, the wheels are rickety and the handle gets stuck (the last trip to Bali marked its long service award), so I’m on the hunt for a new trusty sidekick to keep all my precious belongings while I’m on the road. Any suggestions?

Trotting: Around in a beat up pair of woven leather sandals that I got years ago on sale! at Steve Madden. I remember lusting after the pair of Bottega woven sandals, knowing full well that I would never dish that kinda cash on slippers, so when I stumbled upon this pair at the store down on Broadway (between Spring and Prince) I bought them without a second thought. Some people love those super bling summer sandals, but in my case, comfort > fashion especially when I’m on vacation.

Loving: Summery shades on my fingers and toes! And actual shades on my face.

Manicures and pedicures are a must for summer vacations – don’t you dare let those calloused monsters out in the sunlight, they might scare the children, and they’ll definitely detract from your gorgeous new sandals. Go for broke with bright hues like coral and fuchsia and fire engine red. Currently on rotation: a pair of tortoise shell sunnies from Alexander Wang scored on super sale at Lane Crawford.

If you’re in Bali and your feet need rescuing, Bodyworks does a decent job.

Odds & ends: These lovely little wristlets that have been gifted from many of my loved ones are the perfect summer accessory and act as a little reminder of the people in my life when I’m wandering around the world. They add a little colour to any outfit and let you leave the jewelry at home. Turqoise beads from my favourite aunt, gold charms from Perlota given by C that are engraved with adorable and inspiring lines, leather and beaded wrist band from my sister.

Where I sleep: On the sumptuous sheets at The Kayana. This lovely little hideaway is just about as perfect as it gets for couples. It’s a little pricey, but if you catch it at a good rate on Agoda it is so very worth it. Individual villas, breakfast buffet delivered to your room, butler service and a bathroom that opens up into the private plunge pool. The best part? A maximum of 48 guests on the property at any one time.

What I bring: A good camera, failing that, I bring the photographer so that I can capture all the best and beautiful things that I find along the way and share it with all you fabulous folks!

Moisturizer and leave-in conditioner because there’s no better time to do a little rescue & repair work than while I’m sunning myself senseless by the pool. Tip: I wash my hair in the AM then slick leave-in conditioner from roots to tips, coating the tips in particular, then I twist it up in a bun before I get some sun. I swear the heat helps your hair soak up the good stuff in your conditioner.

My moleskin and I have been making memories since 2007, and it’s been helping me remember for just as long. This blog would be a sure-fail without it.

xx ash