Life Update: Photoshoots, Kuala Lumpur, The Gili Islands + more!

We hit our 1 month mark a couple days ago, and I honestly can't believe we've been in Bali this long already! On one hand it feels like we just got here, and on the other it feels like we've been away from our friends + family for an eternity... I think it's safe to say that I finally feel like we actually live here now, rather than still fighting that feeling like we are on vacation, and any day now we will pack up our bags and fly back home. My whole life I spent my vacations at the beach. Sun, sand, and waves meant time to relax and step away from reality... I only dreamed of what it would be like to actually live at the beach, and for the last 9 years of living in NYC, my life couldn't have looked more opposite than it does right now. However, I am quickly realizing it is such a different world living somewhere vs. visiting somewhere. A new and different world that I am getting used to, slowly but surely. 

I've finally had my moments these past couple weeks of feeling homesick. I knew it would happen sooner or later, and I'm sure it will come and go many times as we are away this year. I am learning to embrace these feelings face to face rather than try and act like they aren't happening. At first I felt guilty for feeling homesick. And a little embarrassed, to be honest. How could I actually feel homesick!? I live in freakin BALI for crying out loud. I am literally living my dream, on the most beautiful island, full of sunshine, fresh air, sunsets, and epic views. This is what I've always wanted! But even so, I think it's okay to feel homesick, too. Embrace it, and then snap myself back into reality. When I miss walking down those crowded streets of NYC, I'll go for a run on Batu Balong Beach-- full of interesting people watching. When I miss the 'holiday' moments like pumpkin carving and seeing the leaves change, I'll grab a coconut at the nearest beach hut ((even better if they carve a heart at the top of it!)) and watch the sunset over the water-- watching the colors change from cool pastels to vibrant pink and orange. When I miss bundling up for a cool fall day, I'll wrap up in the few layers I have and ride further north in the mountains to feel the temperature drop 20+ degrees... then quickly turn back around because I'll realize how much I actually hate being cold, haha! The important thing is, I'm learning to actually allow myself to feel, to process, to think beyond my current circumstances, and mostly to be patient with myself. Who knew I needed to work on patience after living in NYC for so many years?! ;) 

ALIGHT. Enough about how I'm feeling... let me update you guys with the fun stuff-- some of my favorite moments that have happened since my last post! 

1. FLY YOGA! I had so much fun trying out fly yoga at Desa Seni! The spunky Spanish yoga instructor I had was hilarious, beautiful, and super motivating. The location itself was so calming + dreamy, and hanging upside down actually felt so freeing! You have to really trust those thin ribbons that you are hanging from... which was pretty exhilarating if you ask me. I'll be back, for sure! ((PS- you can't really see the ribbon in my pic, but I promise it's there, haha!!))

2. Photoshoot for ROVE! I was so happy to be able to model for ROVE's newest Greece-inspired collection coming soon!! I collaborated with this brand when I lived in NYC, and was so happy to finally meet the gorgeous + inspiring designer herself, Carolin. Her label is based out of Byron Bay, Australia but she does her production here in Bali. We shot at this really cool location called Panama Kitchen & Pool, and it literally felt like we were in Greece! I loved every minute of it!! Especially bc the photographer wasn't so bad to work with either... ;) 

3. Photoshoot for Birkenstock Australia! Zach and I had the opportunity to meet some amazing women from The Lifestyle Edit, which is based in Australia! They were in Bali shooting for several different brands for their online publication, and asked us to model for their Birkenstock shoot. We were shooting several looks all day in iconic spots in Seminyak, including this new, really cool Restaurant/Bar/Pool called Cabina! I can't wait to share all the photos with you guys as soon as they are released!! :) We had so much fun with this shoot and loved working with TLSE team!

5. Visa run to Kuala Lumpur... Our trip actually started off pretty terrible, but ended up being pretty great! First of all, we did not officially get our visas. Which was the whole point of the trip, considering we flew in one day and out the next, ha. So yes, we have to go back in a month to try again, because even though we work with an agency here in Bali and were told we just needed to go to the Indonesian Embassy to "pick up" our visas, that actually means arrive at 6am to wait in line so you can hopefully be seen that day ((they only see a certain number of people per day and when we went, had already reached their quota at 10am!)). Also, it apparently takes 2-3 days to process which we didn't know either. AH! So that was super frustrating and felt like a waste of money, except we ended up being rescued by our friend Rayna from NYC! She is from Malaysia and connected us to her good friend, Jonathan, who showed us around KL and made our trip worth while. We walked the streets of Chinatown, visited several gorgeous temples, and even had time for some of KL's famous Roti found in Little India! ((I had to take a gluten pill for that... but so glad I did, haha!)) All in all, we made some pretty great memories and know what to expect for out next time around. 

6. THE GATE! We made it to the insta-famous gate, from Handara Golf Resort & Spa! First of all, how funny is it that this iconic gate is actually at the entrance of a golf resort?! Ha! So this location is one we have had on our Bali bucket list from quite some time, and were finally able to take the day trip up north to see it for ourselves! It was just as gorgeous as I imagined, and we had so much fun hanging out here, getting some great photos, meeting other people doing the same, and watching the sunset. However, the drive up here is just under 2 hours from where we live in Pererenan, and the last half hour or so is going straight up a very windy mountainous road. As usual, the further up you go, the colder and colder it gets and by the time the sun set, we were both freezing!! Not to mention how much wind you feel when riding on the motorbike. I came up up the mountain wearing shorts and a tank, and left wearing my shorts, with a maxi dress on top, and then a t-shirt, a button-up on top, and THEN wrapped up with a sarong haha! It was a funny site to see for sure! ((You probably had a good laugh if you follow my insta stories because I shared this hilarious OOTD moment!)) Note to self/anyone else who wants to go see this gorgeous gate: Bring warm layers for the ride back! You won't regret it! 

7. Three Words: BALI. BIKE. RENTAL. By now you've heard me mention riding our motorbike time and time again in these posts, and that's because it is a huge part of our life here in Bali! It is our way of transportation, and is much more time efficient than riding a car. For the last month, we've had the honor of riding a few different bikes from Bali Bike Rental, and could not have loved collaborating with them any more than we did! It is so important to have a good and safe bike here in Bali because so many of the roads are super dangerous with random holes and are extremely narrow. Driving can be a little nuts. The guys over at Bali Bike Rental have made us feel safe + secure, and even provided a storage container to go on the back of our bike when we needed it for our trip up to Ubud! Whenever you make it out to Bali, definitely rent your bike from these guys. I cannot recommend them more highly! 

8. New friends + new adventures! If you know us at all, then you've probably noticed that both Zach and I are pretty spontaneous people and we love nothing more than meeting new friends! Last week both of these two truths collided when we met Helen and Nikita from the Ukraine! This adorable blogger couple lives in Bali, and right from the start, they are the kind of people that make you feel like you've known them for ages! They are genuine, authentic, and super refreshing to be around. This explains why after connecting via Instagram and meeting up for dinner, we were totally down to crash Helen's birthday trip to the Gili Islands when they invited us! I'll share more about our trip in a separate post, but this spontaneous weekend trip was definitely a highlight worth mentioning!! :) 

Despite the rollercoaster of emotions I've been riding lately, I am so incredibly grateful for the life Zach + I are making for ourselves. It looks different than anyone else's that I know, which sometimes makes things difficult because I feel like we are blindly blazing our own trail, but I wouldn't have it any other way! We try our best to stay grounded and keep Christ at the center, and honestly without faith, I couldn't do it. Living a life that is suitable for YOU is so important. No matter what anyone else tells you and no matter if it feels scary or even a little crazy at times. Make sure to always stay on your own path, all the others are already taken anyways... so why not make your own?! 

I hope you enjoy this post + all the photos! I love getting feedback from you guys, so please share any thoughts/comments below! And let me know if you even like these 'Dear Diary' posts, ha! Staying connected is what this is all about!! :) Love you all! 

Xo- Tara

PS- Shop exact + similar looks below! :)