Cuyana + Bali Culture

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With a car packed of Cuyana’s summer collection, Anastasia and I headed out to discover the island of Bali. The first thing that hits you when you travel to such far-off lands is the culture – so different from your own, you notice the ways in which people move in and out of their day to day lives, what they surround themselves with, learning about traditions you’ve never experienced before. Our local guide was named Wayan, the name given to all first born sons in Bali. He joked with us, saying we shouldn’t call his name out loud in public because half the people around us would answer!

Visually, what struck me first were all the beautiful temples, rising behind stone walls and lined with colorful ceremonial umbrellas used in the Hindu religion. As I was speaking with Wayan, he explained to me the beauty of the Hindu religion with their traditional ceremonies dating back hundreds of years, how karma works for the Balinese people and the importance of family whom for the most part all live together in a multi structure compound with their own family temples.

But that was just the beginning of our cultural discovery… below is the story of our model and muse taking summer’s fruit and tasting the love and life of Bali ~

(click on any image to view larger)

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All over the island you found these beautiful and colorful umbrellas outside homes and temples – the pure shades of white and yellow symbolize dedication to the Hindu religion and the different manifestations of God.

Anastasia wears Cuyana’s cool stone silk sleeveless dress and yellow gold hammered circle necklace  and ring

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Throughout our time in Bali we would come across these ceremonies happening in the streets, everyone dressed in white singing and playing music.

The tropical fruit was amazing, so much flavor and things we have never seen before such as mangosteen (MY FAVORITE) and salak which skin peels apart like a snake! literally!

Anastasia wears Cuyana’s classic panama hat with navy band, simple white tee, and perfect leather tote in caramel

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Money, money, money! I love foreign currency! My favorite is South Africa’s with all the beautiful animals on it. Here they use the Indonesian Rupiah where $10US is about 12,000IDR…. which means when we first landed, our $300 in local currency was 3 MILLION rupiah. I never felt so rich! We also found our money went a lot further in Bali than in Tribeca: a massage in NYC costs $100 an hour while a massage in Bali cost us only $20!

Above: Cuyana’s dual color wallet & gold circle ring

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Anastasia with her camera in Cuyana’s cotton oxford dressleather tote in caramel & gold circle ring on Jalan Kajeng, one of the popular shopping streets of Ubud where you can buy sarongs, wooden statues and Balinese textiles such as we did from Threads of Life.

Below: typical road side gas station, island style.

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My new favorite cafe in the world is a little two story place in Ubud called Kafe. We ended up going back a couple of times…the juice menu was INSANE, all made to order, all organic. It was just the kind of place you could sit for hours, eat organic everything, find a local yoga class from the flyers on the wall and catch up on summer reading.

Anastasia wears Cuyana’s silk sleeveless blouse in turquoise, golden tag cuff and matching leather wallet

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OK. So Bali is a major part of the book and movie “Eat, Pray, Love“. The first night together on the island everyone was talking about going to see a healer. For Anastasia he said there was nothing to be healed, only everything to be experienced; that she hadn’t know the true feeling of love yet.

Below: Anastasia wears Cuyana’s perfect summer tee

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Nothing goes more hand in hand with culture than food. It is, in my opinion, the greatest definition of a culture: how you nurture and share, where it comes from and how it’s farmed, the flavors and its geographical spices. What you eat says so much about what you believe socially, politically, religiously and environmentally. We found this great Indonesian restaurant called Warung Palau Kelapa with their own organic garden and dishes like “Fried fermented soybean patty served with sambal dadakan (freshly made chili sauce)” or “Rice served with sayur lodeh (a combination of Indonesian vegetables served with fragrant mild coconut soup and traditional spices), accompanied by fried beancurd and bakwan jagung” and of course chicken satay on lemongrass skewers. Above, Anastasia tries the local flavors in Cuyana’s summery white tee.

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In the heat of the afternoon, wearing white was the best option and also matched the white ceremonial garbs we saw so often. Anastasia in Cuyana’s cotton oxford dress in white and gold asymmetrical earrings

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We will talk more about the light of Bali in an upcoming post about the natural wonder of this island, but as Anastasia headed to check out one of the temples I couldn’t get over the glow of the morning light and the way the moisture in the air makes it sparkle. Wearing Cuyana’s silk sleeveless blouse, golden hammered circle necklace & ring and leather toteCuyana_Bali_Culture_38 Cuyana_Bali_Culture_039

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Above: Anastasia, in Cuyana’s silk sleeveless shirt dress, wanders into an art gallery in Ubud which is thought of as the cultural centre of Bali. Here you’ll find endless handicrafts, paintings, sculptures, woodworking, local fashion designers, workshops and galleries from modern art to traditional Balinese.

Below: All over Bali on stone walls, outside and inside temples, and in front of almost every entry way you’ll find these flower offerings to the gods. A beautiful and constant reminder that you’re not alone.

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Below: A look that’s a bit more formal between the golden painted woodwork and changing the styling of Cuyana’s silk sleeveless dress from day to night with a heel and gold hammered circle necklace but never leaving the vein of summer in ease and wanderlust… we reflect on the culture we just experienced and look forward to the nature to come….

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Bali Water // Bali Nature // Bali Instagrams