Introducing Day In / Day Out

I started this blog two years ago with a name I’ve never liked. I was ready to start posting, but a name that captured the essence of my blog and myself just wasn’t happening. So, I slugged it Infinite Lindsay, a safe (and, I thought, temporary) catch-all. Ever since, finding it reminiscent of some silly superhero, I’ve been unable to shake the image of a cartoon version of myself clad in spandex and a bright red cape.

Then last fall I got married—and a new last name. Suddenly, I had something. And today, you have Day In / Day Out. As it always has, my blog will continue to be a place where I share what I’m up to at home (Day In), whether that’s cooking, reading, or decorating, and where I’ve been (Day Out), be it Bali, Mexico, or exploring Atlanta. Though it doesn’t always happen, my aim is to share those stories regularly—day in and day out.

Thanks so much for following along!

Airport Outtakes: Doha, Qatar

Doha International Airport, Qatar via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comUsually when I blog about my travels it’s to share pictures of beautiful beaches, hotels, food, and the like. But I thought it would be fun to share a few outtakes from my trip to Bali last month, seeing as I spent nearly half of my 49-hour journey there waiting in airport lounges. Most notable was my 10-hour layover at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, which was unlike any I’d passed through before.

Exhibit A: This giant screen showing moving images of…caballeros.
Doha Qatar Airport via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Hands down, the oddest thing we saw was this 23-foot-tall teddy bear sculpture by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. It weighs 20 tons and was bought by a member of Qatar’s royal family at auction for $6.8 million.
IMG_4483
The airport also has a lounge designated specifically for members of Qatar’s royal family.
IMG_4485
It also houses a hotel for guests who can’t stand to pass the time with mere mortals in public. Joking aside, it’s pretty stinking convenient!
IMG_4487
There’s also a swanky pool, fitness center, and spa, which guests can use for a fee.
IMG_4499IMG_4492
IMG_4493IMG_4494
Squash before the next leg, anyone?IMG_4495
As I tend to do, I spent a respectable amount of time during my layover snacking. Since I’d flown Qatar Airways‘ Business Class from D.C. and would fly it again to Jakarta, I had access to its lounge at the airport. It houses two gleaming restaurants with self-serve food stations. I loaded up on tuna and bean salad, warm hummus and pita bread, and falafel with a delightfully spicy sauce, and washed it all down with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. (I had this exact meal twice during my layover.) Groggy and jetlagged, I didn’t explore every nook and cranny of the airport as I would have liked to—nor did I photograph the private shower room I took advantage of on my return trip—but it’s hard to think of my epic trip to Bali without visions of Hamad Airport popping into my mind. By the end of my long layover, it had become an integral part of the trip.
IMG_4472
What’s been your longest layover, and where was it? How did you pass the time?

Exploring the ATL: Scott Antique Markets

Scott Antique Market Atlanta via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Just before we moved to Atlanta, a friend in Birmingham told me about Scott Antique Markets. My Mr. and I had signed a lease on an apartment with more style, character, and space than the one we were leaving, so we were eager to furnish it with pieces we truly love. This place sounded like the perfect resource. Scott Antique Markets are only open on the second weekend of each month, so we didn’t want to miss our first chance to check it out. On Saturday afternoon we decided to drive over to get the lay of the land, not really knowing what to expect and certainly not expecting to come home with anything. I ended up wanting so many things we saw, and we actually came home with two of them.
IMG_5632
In need of a rug for our dining room, we made our first stop at a stall selling antique Persian and Turkish rugs. So many shades of blue, red, green, taupe, and orange in a never-ending array of patterns. IMG_5638IMG_5637
After stopping at a number of stalls selling similar-style rugs, we happened on to this beauty. After a little negotiating with its seller, my Mr. managed to get the price down a couple hundred dollars—and it was ours! I was especially excited to claim it, as it resembled the rug in this renovated kitchen more closely than any other we’d found.   IMG_5636
Feeling a slight high from scoring our first investment piece as Mr. and Mrs., we mosied down another aisle, where I spotted this adorable writing desk. A desk was one of my top furniture priorities upon moving to Atlanta since, for the time being, anyway, I’m working from home as a full-time freelancer. I wanted to have a work space that’s stylish and inspiring, but my search for a desk had so far only taken me to West Elm, CB2, and Dot & Bo. I fell in love with this one, and after chatting a bit with its seller I learned that it had come from a home in Coral Gables, Florida, whose owner outfitted it with a whole assortment of mint-green pieces. IMG_5635
It was a little dirty and we weren’t sure that much of it would come off, so we left it there and decided to sleep on it. I couldn’t forget about it that night, so the next morning we went back—soapy sponge and towels in hand—to see if the spots would come off. They did, and the little mint table took on a whole new life. A bit of successful negotiating and we brought it home!IMG_5634
In addition to the desk, I was smitten by these chairs, which their seller said were painted by an artist on Cape Cod who was a protege of the folk artist Peter Hunt. (Damned if I can’t remember her name now!) I can picture them in a charming beach cottage but think they’d look equally at home in a rustic farmhouse. Or at my parents’ house, perhaps?
IMG_5652IMG_5653
Some of my other favorites included this hefty dining table with floating, swiveling seats…IMG_5639
… and this emerald-green chest (my guess: Chinese), which I now want to write a Missed Connections post for. I don’t have anywhere to put it (or, likely, enough cash to buy it), but it kind of took my breath away and I’m sad I missed my chance.IMG_5640
If you know me, you know how excited I was to see this sign. I stopped in for a chocolate-black raspberry custard combo, while my Mr. snacked on a bag of popcorn. IMG_5642
Then it was back to the floor for more browsing. I’m not a big fan of anything pink, but the tiny, uniform dots on this pitcher and its accompanying glasses made me swoon. I’d buy it for an evenin’ spent sippin’ sweet tea on the patio on a swelterin’ Georgia summer night.
IMG_5643
More rugs. The big one is the only black one I saw. With the pops of orange and red? So much drama! I also love the peach and blush-colored ones, like those two hiding in the lower right-hand corner.IMG_5645
As if one warehouse weren’t enough, Scott Antique Markets comprises two. We headed over to the second spot, which one parking attendant had told us sold more affordable items (in other words, “junk,” I thought). We were pleasantly surprised to find it loaded with bigger pieces, like beds, cabinets, dressers, and farm tables. Newer, maybe, but they were still beautiful and so well made. We did spot a handful of stunning antique pieces, like this long bench, which I like to think was a church pew in its past life…
IMG_5650
…and this super-skinny, low-slung one, which I desperately wish I’d scooped up. How cool would it be placed in front of our four-panel floor-to-ceiling sliding doors (they open up to certain death, as there’s no balcony to step out onto) lined with unruly plants in a variety of painted and patterned flower pots? I might have to track it down at next month’s market. IMG_5648
I’ve never loved grandfather clocks—there’s something a little too Alice in Wonderland about them for me—but I do appreciate them, as they remind me of the one that still stands in my parents’ living room. Not until this one had I seen one 10 feet tall. Mammoth!
IMG_5647
One stall in the second building sold beautiful, brightly colored window treatments and pillow covers. I loved this bright, slightly bohemian window panel. Very Anthro.IMG_2138
I was pretty excited to spot this guy. I’ve seen ghost chairs in a number of blogs I follow and I had long considered buying one when I eventually found a desk. With that latter task now completed, I took a test sit in this chair and found it surprisingly comfy. But at $195 a pop, I knew I could find it for less online. (I did, and it’ll be here tomorrow!)IMG_2140IMG_2141IMG_2142
Perhaps not for my own home, but I also loved these antique blue-and-white Chinese pieces. I’m fascinated by Chinese culture and love how intricate their artistry is. IMG_2144
This place was packed with plenty of tchotchkes, too… IMG_2147IMG_2146IMG_2148
…plus vintage cameras…IMG_2152
…and miniature baseball bats, which reminded me of going to Pirates games as a kid.IMG_2145
These chairs’ fun shape reminded me of PAC-MAN. With their weathered peachy-copper tone, I could picture them on a wood deck or stone patio facing a glossy, gleaming-white chiminea. On the other hand, the options would be endless if their new owner decided on a fresh coat of paint.IMG_2149
Silly, maybe, but this fish was painted crisp, bright white, and the “Got Fish” lettering was actually a blazing neon coral, which made for a really fun contrast. IMG_2153
I like to think this marching band hat is a vintage find from Marshall University, but with thousands of high schools and colleges out there, who knows? Any guesses?IMG_2151
I have a feeling Scott Antique Markets is a place we’ll visit often. If not to shop, then just to marvel at all its incredible, storied stuff. Have you ever been? What did you find?

Bali Diary, Part 7: Exploring Ubud

Ubud, Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
My last day in Bali started early and was easily a favorite. After breakfast at the Viceroy, we drove to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. We knew we were going for a trek through the paddies, but since we’d arrived at our hotel via flat roads with equally flat rice paddies on either side, I figured our “trek” would be a leisurely stroll along similar terrain. I was so wrong! Tegalalang Rice Terraces are deep, steep, and slippery. As you can see, they’re also stunning, and worth the trek to the top.
Ubud, Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
A few shops and cafes line the road at the top of the terraces. They don’t look like much from the front, but the views from the back are spectacular. IMG_5546 IMG_5547 IMG_5548
This was my first glimpse of the terraces, from a patio between two of the cafes. It was like peering down onto a movie set. P1010048
The greenest greens. P1010049
And so lush.
P1010050 P1010051 P1010052 P1010053
We got a preview of what we were about to face as we descended the first set of steep stairs down into the terraces. All thoughts I’d had of a leisurely stroll were dust. P1010054 P1010059 P1010060
Very young rice had been planted a few weeks before our visit. As our guide pointed out, it’s a nice time to see the paddies, as the water in the rice beds means lots of reflective views of the green grass and blue sky. He was so right. P1010062 P1010064 P1010065 P1010066 P1010067 P1010068 P1010069 P1010070 P1010071 P1010072 P1010073 P1010075 P1010081
Who do I give my application to?P1010089 P1010091 P1010092
I spotted this little temple on the back side of the terraces and loved how solitary it looked at the edge of the plateau, a peaceful spot to pray, think, ponder, or simply appreciate the breathtaking surroundings.P1010101 P1010102
Back at the bottom, we spotted some pretty little waterfalls…P1010107
…craned our necks to the tops of giant palm trees…P1010109 P1010110 P1010111
…and happened on to two sweet little kittens wrestling and tumbling around, not paying us much attention.P1010116
Then it was back up the other side…P1010120 P1010121
…where we crossed paths with this farmer. He trailed behind us slowly. I’m not sure if he was annoyed by us and wanted to make sure we were on our way out, or if we were just in his way and he was politely and slowly making his way around the terrace as we passed through.P1010122 P1010127 P1010128
A view of the terraces we had just summited, sometimes crossing wobbly, narrow wooden boards and slipping and sliding up and down dirt pathways. Not long after I snapped this, we saw another tourist take a full-body spill into one of the rice beds. P1010129 P1010130
We arrived at the rear of the cafes that line the street atop the terraces. P1010131 P1010132 P1010136
See what I mean about those views?P1010137 P1010139
From the terraces, it was on to central Ubud for a walk through its enchanting Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (which, if you’re a fan of The Bachelor, you saw on Prince Farming’s season a few weeks ago).
Ubud, Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
For as many tourists as there are wandering around their sanctuary and sticking cameras in their faces, these critters are pretty patient…
P1010153
…to a certain extent. After about 10 tries to get a clear shot of this guy, he let me know he’d had enough.P1010154
For the most part, they sit or wander around, grooming or waiting for someone to pull a banana from their bag. P1010157 P1010159
Eventually, their patience pays off. Score!
P1010160
This little one thought he’d take a turn with my camera.P1010168
Vendors at the entrance of the forest sell small bananas, and the monkeys can practically sense when you’re about to pull one out of your bag. I thought I was up for some monkey contact, but when one squirmed up my arm and panted hot monkey breath in my ear, I lost my cool—and my banana.P1010170
At least he was kind enough to stifle his laughter…P1010174
“Who’ll be our next vict—er, visitor?”
P1010183
With the Monkey Forest out of our system, we headed up Monkey Forest Road for a few hours spent shopping for sarongs, batik textiles, straw bags, and coffee.
Ubud, Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
This car. So in love.
P1010185
This shop was somewhat hidden, but it was easy to see it was something special. P1010187
Its tiny hostess was eager to pose. P1010188
Its shelves were stocked with table runners, blankets, scarves, wall hangings, rugs, and so much more, all with intricate patterns and rich hues, mostly in shades of blue.P1010190 P1010191 P1010192 P1010198
There’s a lot of beautiful, brightly colored art in Ubud. Sadly, too big to carry on.
P1010204P1010199 P1010200
For every boutique, there was a cute café to match, many of them with breezy terraces that would make for fantastic people watching.
P1010201 P1010202 P1010203
Apparently, this one was proud to have never hosted a certain A-list American playboy/actor… P1010205
…and serves its food and drink with a bit of biting humor.P1010206 P1010208 P1010209
It’s easy to see why some people come to Bali to outfit their homes…
P1010210 P1010211 P1010212 P1010213
This t-shirt pretty much says it all. P1010214 P1010215
The carved wood decorative pieces and furniture in Bali are so special. If not for this shop being closed, I probably would have brought home one of those benches. P1010216
This little shop dog is deceptively cute. He snarled and growled as he followed me to the front of his store but eventually let me peruse in peace.
P1010217
Then it was back to the hotel to shower, pack up, and head to the airport for the 34-hour journey home. Among all my travels —to Africa, South America, Europe, the Caribbean, and beyond—Bali, a tiny island filled with immense beauty, will forever occupy a special place in my heart.
Ubud, Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com

Happy National Sibling Day!

National Sibling Day via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comI didn’t know the holiday even existed until I started seeing the hashtag circulate on Twitter and Instagram this morning. But, it just so happens I have an amazing big brother, so I thought it’d be fun to share a few of my favorite moments of us together, starting with the one above. It was Easter Sunday (I think—that would explain the outfits) at our old house, which we moved out of when I wasn’t much older than this. One of the things I love about my brother is that he’s a touch sentimental, and he dug this photo up from an album at my family’s house. It’s given us lots of laughs over the years, so he had it re-printed for me. To this day, it’s one of my favorite gifts I’ve ever been given. All of the cheeks!National Sibling Day via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comI know technology has gifted us with tons of ways to create a highly styled photo collage, but I’m a sucker for the kind of photos you hold in your hand so I rounded up a few favorites: mocking my scrunchie habit in my childhood bedroom; standing at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa; a family dinner the night of my college graduation; heading to a Red Sox game at Fenway; outside the Hütte restaurant in Helvetia, back home in West Virginia; at our parents’ house before my high school graduation (center); and walking with my Mr. to our wedding venue in September (that’s one of my my most treasured photos).National Sibling Day via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comThough not technically a fabulous photo in terms of composition or lighting, this is another one of my favorites because of the story behind it—what I think of as the happiness after the storm. Suffice it to say that my brother was the hero of my wedding weekend, taking care of every little detail, every loose end, and every little potential problem before it arose. And in the midst of a pretty major nervous meltdown about an hour before the ceremony, he was there to make me laugh and calm me down—to look out for me, just as he always has. Thanks in large part to him, it turned out to be the most joyful day of my life.

Happy National Sibling Day to all you brothers and sisters out there! I’d love to hear what makes yours so great!

Bali Diary, Part 6: Viceroy Bali

FullSizeRender-1
All the activities and golf-cart rides we enjoyed at Ayana and RIMBA were great, but I had been counting down until it was time to head north to Ubud. I was ready to shed resort life in favor of something more intimate. With its 25 villas tucked away on a hillside, staring into the tops of palm trees in Ubud’s Valley of the Kings, Viceroy Bali hit the spot.
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Entering the Viceroy’s lobby was like walking into a wormhole to some glamorous era in the past. IMG_5073
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comIMG_5075
I couldn’t get enough of the palm tree-covered hillside that faces the hotel. This is the Bali I’d been dreaming of. IMG_5078
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comIMG_5085IMG_5086IMG_5087IMG_5088IMG_5092
IMG_5483IMG_5484
I always get a little thrill opening the door to a hotel room for the first time. I can’t remember the little ritual ever making me want to cry, but that’s practically what happened here.
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com IMG_5103 IMG_5104 IMG_5105 IMG_5106 IMG_5111 IMG_5112 IMG_5113
IMG_5120 IMG_5121
Can you see what I mean? IMG_5123 P1000918 P1010019
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
I suppose there’s something a bit emotional about someone handing you the keys to a corner of paradise as special as this one and saying, “It’s yours to enjoy.” IMG_5098
This beautiful carved door on my patio connected my villa to the one next door, but since I didn’t know my neighbors it was just a piece of art to me. IMG_5127 IMG_5133 IMG_5137
I loved how the light on my patio changed throughout the day. I know this because I spent every hour of the day that I could in my plunge pool or reading in that little sala. IMG_5415 IMG_5416
Mornings were misty, and I loved sitting in my sala watching the mist burn off and the sky turn blue. IMG_5419 IMG_5428 IMG_5434 IMG_5437 IMG_5438 IMG_5443
Something about the depth of the valley mesmerized me. It felt mysterious and comforting all at once.  IMG_5445 IMG_5447 IMG_5449 IMG_5452 IMG_5454 IMG_5459 IMG_5463 IMG_5472 IMG_5475 P1000900 P1000907 P1000909 P1000913
As I mentioned in my previous post, tourists are confined to their hotels on Nyepi day. I read online somewhere that lots of tourists actually avoid visiting during Nyepi because they don’t want to be stuck in their rooms for a day of their stay. Crazy! Waking up at leisure, making a cup (or three) of espresso and sipping it in my sala as I tore through a suspenseful book, and feeling absolutely no pressure to be anywhere or do anything was the best use of a day in Bali that I could think of. It felt so restorative and it gave me time to sit and recall the incredible sites of Nyepi eve the day before.P1010012 P1010013 P1010014 P1010015 P1010016 P1010018
The most energy I had to muster on Nyepi day was dragging myself to the spa for an oxygen facial, then to CasCades for a ridiculously good lunch.
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Here I sat with an iced ginger tea waiting for my spa treatment and feeling extremely grateful for my state of affairs.IMG_5480
After my facial, I wandered over to CasCades for lunch.
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
I don’t know what they put in this simple garden salad, but I had three while I was there. Crazy good.
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Not to be outdone by this bowl of pillowy feta ravioli, smothered in green goodness—and edible flowers! P1010028
Viceroy Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
I ended my stay with a full belly and a singing soul. Suffice it to say, Viceroy Bali stole my heart.  FullSizeRender

God Bless Food Bloggers

Favorite Food Bloggers' Recipes via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Maybe our move has zapped us of the energy required to go out and explore Atlanta’s restaurants, or we’re feeling conservative with our cash because of moving costs, or maybe we’re just busy. Whatever the reason, it feels like we’ve had a pretty good run of cooking at home lately. My husband likes to improvise more than I do (I’m not much of a risk-taker in the kitchen), so when it’s my turn to cook I usually comb through my Digg Reader account or Pinterest boards to find recipes by my favorite food bloggers. We’ve had some great dishes lately—relatively easy, simple ingredients, and veggie-friendly—so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

These citrusy-savory roasted sweet potatoes by Renee Kemps (pictured above).

These modified banh mi, these BBQ tempeh sandwiches, and these Busy Lady Rice Bowls, all by my new hero, Laura, author of The First Mess.

Miso-glazed grilled zucchini from Foxes Love Lemons.

And because I can never have enough zucchini, these grilled cheese sandwiches by Jessica at How Sweet Eats. (I made these with a pot of roasted cauliflower soup for my family’s Christmas lunch.)

I’ve been eyeing a few new recipes, too, including these summery egg-and-asparagus sandwiches from The Kitchn (how pretty would they be wrapped in brown paper and twine for a picnic?!)…

This recipe for Sautéed Eggplant with Honey and Thyme by A Spicy Perspective…

And this spinach salad, which my mom recently raved about, by Josh and Maria of Two Peas & Their Pod (my go-to site for any occasion that calls for cookies).

What goodness have you made lately, and which food bloggers’ recipes do you love?

Bali Diary, Part 5: Celebrating Nyepi

Nyepi celebration in Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
After four nights at RIMBA and Ayana, it was time to head north to Ubud for the last leg of my stay in Bali. I was giddy to get there not just because Ubud is the artistic and cultural center of the island, but because it’s where we’d be witnessing a cultural celebration unlike any I’d seen before: Nyepi.

In short, Nyepi is Bali’s Hindu new year celebration. It goes something like this: On Nyepi eve among massive crowds of revelers, locals—many of them kids—parade 20-foot-tall grotesque goblins, called “ogoh ogoh,” into their villages’ center (in Ubud it was a giant soccer field) to attract evil spirits. (Meanwhile, bands playing Indonesian gamelan music at top decibels lend a chaotic and sinister feel to the festivities.) The ogoh ogoh are then judged (the winners receive bragging rights only) and, ultimately, set on fire. The following day, Nyepi, marks the start of the new year and is observed in total silence and under heavy restrictions: no electricity, phones, or entertainment; no travel, even on foot (tourists are confined to their hotels, and the island’s airport shuts down!); and no cooking or eating. Thus, on Nyepi day, the evil spirits attracted by the ogoh ogoh the previous day are said to be unable to find anyone to terrorize. Confused and bored, they move on from Bali for another year.
IMG_5145
Makes our booze-soaked, ball-dropping, Auld Lang Syne-singing tradition feel a touch lame, no?Bali's Nyepi celebration via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comIMG_5147
On our drive up to Ubud, the road was lined with villages preparing ogoh ogoh for their respective marches into town, with each village marching in at a designated time. Closer to Ubud, we stopped in one village square to see a whole bunch of the ugly ogoh ogoh on display…IMG_5150 IMG_5152 IMG_5153 IMG_5158 IMG_5160 IMG_5161 IMG_5163 IMG_5165 P1000927 P1000928 P1000930 P1000931
After some window shopping in Ubud and a cold Bintang at a nearby bar, it was showtime. The parade route was packed with a crazy mix of people—locals and tourists from every corner of the globe. The ogoh ogoh were guided onto the field, but in some cases not before getting tangled in power lines or nearly blocked by tree branches. IMG_5221 IMG_5228 P1000967 P1000972 P1000973 P1000975 P1000977 P1000981 P1000986 P1000992 P1000995 P1000997 P1000998
Onto the field they go!P1000999Bali's Nyepi celebration via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com IMG_5234 IMG_5242 P1010001
As if all this weren’t enough, as a bonus, I experienced Nyepi in the village of Nagi in Ubud, where locals have their own tradition—that is to say, bare-chested young males setting heaping piles of dry coconut shells and fronds on fire, then throwing the smoldering debris at one another in a flashy, fiery display of toughness (or perhaps psychosis). Bali Nyepi celebration via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com IMG_5257 IMG_5265 IMG_5267
A huge crowd assembled to watch—and, ostensibly, to text pictures of the ancient tradition to their friends. IMG_5269 IMG_5324 IMG_5326
When it was Nagi’s turn to send its ogoh ogoh into town, kids were gathered and given torches to light the way. Pretty sure this would never fly in the United States, but hey—when in Rome… IMG_5360 IMG_5362 IMG_5380 IMG_5383
Off they go, into the night, leaving an impression this wide-eyed reveler won’t ever forget. IMG_5409 P1010007
Have you ever witnessed a foreign culture’s major celebration? Tell me about it in the Comments section!

Bali Diary, Part 4: Rock Bar


Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comEasily one of the highlights of my stay at Ayana Resort was having cocktails and watching the sun set at Rock Bar. Before I visit a place for the first time I like to read about it as much as I can, so I’d seen plenty of pictures of Rock Bar and it was one of the things I was most excited about seeing on my trip. Rock Bar is built into the side of a cliff above the Indian Ocean, and patrons reach it via an “inclinator,” which is more or less a mini-funicular (that’s the jumping-on/off point, below). A DJ blasted pop music, and stoic but smiling servers shaded guests from the blazing sun with umbrellas and kept a steady stream of cold towels and drinks flowing. The sun was boiling hot against the rocks and we were all a sweaty mess, but with heart-stopping views in front of us we couldn’t have cared less.Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com  Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comThere were separate patios where people could snack, sip, and enjoy the view privately. Happily, as hotel guests, we were able to set up shop on this one for the evening.Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
I took a million pictures of the view below. It’s what I image a bar at Jurassic Park would’ve looked like. Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Eventually the sun dipped below the horizon and everyone could finally put away their umbrellas. Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Perhaps the only people who had a better view than those of us at Rock Bar was the couple dining privately on that jetty you can see a little ways off in the distance. It doesn’t get any more romantic than that.  Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comFinally, when it was dark enough, Rock Bar’s bars were lit up, creating a ghoulish green glow against the black night and water. 
Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
These folks had the right idea—watching the sunset in their bikinis from Ayana’s Ocean Beach Pool, which abuts Rock Bar. 
Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.comFollowing our sunset cocktails, we headed over to Kisik for a glorious fish dinner… Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
…and continued to snap pictures well past dessert.Rock Bar Bali via www.infinitelindsay.wordpress.com
Where’s your favorite beach bar? I can’t imagine there’s one out there with a more gorgeous view than Rock Bar, but if so, I’d love to hear about it! 

Bali Diary, Part 3: Ayana Resort

IMG_4933
For the third and fourth nights of my visit to Bali, I moved over to RIMBA’s sister property, Ayana. Ayana is the hub of the resort, with several pools, restaurants, bars, and activities to pick from (a tram runs frequently between Ayana and RIMBA, which makes it easy for guests to go back and forth to each). I was lucky to stay in one of Ayana’s private villas, which, if you ask me, is the way to go here if you can swing it. With my villa, I was issued my own private butler and a designated cell phone so I could ring him anytime I needed something, like a golf-cart ride to dinner (or rescuing from a giant insect that took up station in the middle of my living room floor). How posh!P1000862
Villa guests at Ayana check in at a separate lobby, which is tucked away on a hilltop in the trees. At this point, if you’re not bursting with anticipation of what villa life here has in store, you’re not human. P1000863
My private villa! I probably took 30 pictures of the carved blue doors alone before ever setting foot inside. They made my villa feel so hidden and special, like some kind of incredible surprise was waiting on the other side.  P1000880
Those are indeed pink swastikas on the doors, but in ancient Asia they held a far different meaning than the one they took on in Europe much later.
IMG_4917 P1000898
My bath was filled with rose petals when I arrived. I never got a chance to use it but loved seeing it every time I walked in. P1000885
Ah, the pièce de résistance—my crazy-beautiful backyard. Would you ever want to leave? I didn’t.P1000889 IMG_4816
Eventually, I managed to peel myself off my private patio long enough to explore the resort… 
IMG_4527
…starting with its swimming pools. IMG_4528IMG_4530IMG_4622IMG_4625
This one was lined with private cabanas that would’ve made perfectly suitable guest rooms, in my opinion.IMG_4626P1000761
Selfie sticks are a bona fide thing among tourists in Bali. They. Were. Every. Where.P1000763
Happily, so were these fragrant flowers.
P1000786
When it was time to get serious about swimming, I rung up my butler for a ride to Kubu Beach, Ayana’s own private beach. He dropped me at the beach’s access point, and I descended 197 stairs to what I’m pretty certain is the most gorgeous little beach I’ve ever seen. Ready?
IMG_4934 IMG_4935 IMG_4936 IMG_4937 IMG_4939 IMG_4940
That spot below, where all the little heads are bobbing around, is my new favorite place on this planet. That little corner of the Indian Ocean is warm, clear, and so comfy. I’ve always loved being near water but have never cared much for getting in it, but this spot is an exception. The only thing that eventually lured me out was the promise of a picnic lunch. IMG_4941 IMG_4942 IMG_4943 IMG_4944 IMG_4945 IMG_4946 IMG_4947 IMG_4948 IMG_4949
If there’s one thing I needed after a day of slothing and sunning at Kubu it was more R&R, so I headed to Ayana’s spa for a few hours in its Aquatonic Pool. I didn’t get any pictures there, but rest assured it was a highlight of my stay. Ever been to an aquatonic pool? I think it actually qualifies as some sort of workout.
IMG_4631
IMG_4632
The spa is a little jungle oasis of its own. So peaceful!IMG_4633
The rest of my stay at Ayana consisted primarily of shoveling delicious food into my face at Padi, Dava, and Kisick restaurants, but my favorite dining experience was a poolside cooking class with Chef Suryana, who taught me to make gado gado, my new favorite thing, and nasi goreng—Indonesian fried rice—which made me homesick for a certain restaurant back in Boston.
IMG_4760 IMG_4762 IMG_4764 IMG_4772
Gado gado. And gado-damn, was it delicious. IMG_4773
It’s easy to over-indulge at a place like Ayana (and I did, happily), so I jumped at the opportunity to take a sunrise yoga class overlooking the Indian Ocean. I’m still somewhat of a newcomer to yoga, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so focused and relaxed in a class. It’s hard to find anything to worry about when you’re here.
IMG_4913 IMG_4908
That’s not quite all I have to say about Ayana. Stay tuned for one more post about an extra-special spot at the resort…