Welcome weekend

It’s that time again, the weekend!  I’m so ready for a lazy weekend at home after traveling so much this month.  However work calls.  On Saturday the school where we teach is hosting an open house so we’ll have another full workday.  I was no stranger to six day weeks when I was in the catering world.  It’s nice that they come along a lot less often in the teaching world, but they’re definitely exhausting regardless of the industry.

The following weekend (Halloween!) Joel is heading to Jakarta for a meeting so I’m tagging along just for funs.  I’m looking forward to exploring Tanah Abang a little more.  It’s the largest textile market is SE Asia.  Really all I want to get is some tassels, but there are about 40,000 vendors so there’s a lot to look at.  Also on my list, delicious, gourmet coffee drinks and maybe getting myself a little present at Goods Dept.

If you’re reading this and you have a relaxing weekend planned, tell me about it in the comments so I can envy you.

PTX Studio weekend vibes

Honeymooners in Bali

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

We did it!  We honeymooned in Bali and it was awesome.  Most people assumed that after moving to Indonesia, Bali would be my getaway, but even though it’s only a one hour flight away it took me over a year to get there.  I think we purposely avoided it because it’s so touristy.  Also Joel had already been many times, so we when we started planning our getaways we tried to find destinations a little more off the beaten path (which we definitely achieved by going to Karimunjawa!).

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

Wanting to start our honeymoon off with a bang, we booked a room at Ananta Legian Hotel which is located right in the middle of the action.  Legian is an area between Kuta and Seminyak, two of the most high traffic neighborhoods for tourists.   The streets are lined with restaurants of varying cuisine and shopping from posh boutiques to overflowing stalls of bargain necklaces and pom-pom shorts.  Yes, I quickly broke down and wrangled myself a pair of pom-pom shorts and OMG they’re the most comfortable thing ever.

PTX Studio in Bali, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

Ananta Legian fit the bill perfectly!  With a room on the first floor we could stumble out of bed to the sparkling pool complete with swim-up bar.  We had high expectations of making the three days in Kuta our party time before heading up to the serenity of Ubud.  However we failed pretty hard at staying out past 9:00pm.  We’re morning people through and through, so we were up with the birds each day to lounge on the beach or check out the attractions.

At the top of our sightseeing list was Uluwatu Temple, a Hindu temple built on the top of cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean.  We went on Sunday morning and the lines of worshipers dressed in white were long and dotted with brightly colored baskets of offerings.

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

The line of temple goers extended down quite a few flights of stairs.  The tourists stayed mostly on the outskirts, walking the path along the edge of the cliff taking selfies.  We were warned about monkeys in this area; they’re very comfortable around people and enjoy stealing shiny things likes sunglasses and earrings.  But we didn’t see a single monkey and I was a bit disappointed.  Little did I know later in the week I would be getting my fair share of monkey sightings.

PTX Studio in Bali, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Bali, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

After Uluwatu it was time for lunch and Jimbaran Beach was on the way home.  It’s small a cove situated just north of the airport that’s lined with umbrella covered tables.  The restaurants are far from fancy, but they serve up delicious, freshly caught seafood at a fraction on the price of the overpriced resorts.  Feeling like honeymoon ballers, we splurged on the platter that included lobster, shrimp, crab and clams.  It came along with soup, rice, greens, two beers and watermelon for dessert.  It was more than enough for two and set us back about $45 USD.  Not too shabby and quite refreshing after a sweaty morning searching for monkeys in a mountain temple perched above the sea.

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

The next day we hopped a taxi to to the Potato Head beach club in Seminyak.  It’s definitely one of the higher end beach clubs (there are so many!) and it didn’t disappoint.  There’s a restaurant, bar and pool overlooking the beach.  With a reservation you can rent giant chaise lounge by the pool.  We saved on seating by getting one of the free sofas, so we could spend on fancy cocktails.  As the skies darkened, we hightailed it outta there and scored a cab seconds before the rain.  Bali rain is a lot like I remember of Florida from my childhood holidays.  It’s sunny most of the day until about 4:00, then for a half hour the skies open up and soak everything in their path.


After the rain we headed to the beach.  We’re not the surfing type and the riptide was pretty strong so most of our beach time consisted of people watching from our loungers.  Every thirty seconds someone comes by selling hats, glasses, jewelry or foot massages.  The sellers are generally friendly, pleasant and not too pushy, but it starts feeling depressing when the peddler is a six year old girl hawking anklets.

The flip side of the beach is the dogs that joyfully bounce in and out of the surf.  In Java we only see sickly-looking, street cats, almost never a dog.  Bali dogs are plentiful and look generally upbeat and healthy.  Surprisingly many of the street dogs had collars.  We asked one of the locals and it seems that most, even if they don’t have a proper home, at least have a family or two that make sure they’re fed and happy.

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

After three days it was time to head inland to the jungles of Ubud.   As we drove away from Kuta I thought maybe we were making a mistake by leaving the beach, but it took about ten minutes in Ubud for me to realize I was dead wrong.  More on that soon!

PTX Studio in Bali, Indonesia

Prambanan Temple


PTX Studio at Prambanan

Our favorite Java travel destination-Yogyakarta!  Jogja, as it’s known in these parts, is a cultural mecca on the southern coast of Java that’s full of history and surrounded by temples.  On our first trip to Jogja last year,  Borobudur won out as our top temple to visit and we were not disappointed.  I would say it was spiritually moving, but I think the heat distracts my brain from having any kind of heavy, divine thoughts.  Nonetheless, we loved learning the history of the structure and we were flattered by the minor celebrity status that we received as the token white people.

Having conquered Borobudur meant that we would move down our list of Must See Temples so this trip we would be taking on Prambanan.   Also a World Heritage Site, Prambanan was constructed in the 9th century and is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia.

PTX Studio at PrambananPTX Studio at Prambanan

It’s also worth noting that Boys II Men had a concert at Prambanan last August.  While  scooting through Semarang Joel pointed out a billboard advertising the concert and I nearly fell off the bike.  My devastation set in when I realized that the show had taken place the previous weekend.  Motown Philly was an important piece of artistic expression of my youth and being able to relive that as a grown-ass-adult in Indonesia would have been a juxtaposition of earth shattering proportion.  I die a little inside every time I remember my shitty timing; but I did my best to put that out of my mind as we made our way around the complex.

PTX Studio at Prambanan

They’re really bringing together the old and the new with the Instagram frame out front.  I think this scene makes it official that Instagram has taken over the planet.

You can see from the piles of rubble on the outskirts of the complex just how devastating earthquakes are to ancient temples.  Mount Merapi is just a stones throw away and erupts regularly so the region definitely has it’s far share of tectonic drama.  Rumor has it the master plan is to rebuild it all gradually and there were some areas under construction.  But the piles of bricks go on and on so rebuilding will be slow and arduous.  I don’t envy anyone facing that task!

PTX Studio at Prambanan

Just after I mentioned to Joel that I was so happy people were respectful of the ‘no climbing’ signs I saw this little girl having her photo taken on the ledge.  In her defense, she didn’t climb up, she was gently placed by her daddy.  As long as she’s not pushing bricks off the edge, I think they’ll let her slide.  And it pales in comparison to the American National Park vandals making the news lately.

PTX Studio at PrambananPTX Studio at PrambananPTX Studio at PrambananPTX Studio at Prambanan

There is little shade inside the complex unless you’re in the shadow of a temple.  Even arriving at 8:00am didn’t save us from some pretty severe sweating.  We knew the drill since our visit to Borobudur was similarly scorching, so we were prepared with lots of water.  We took a short train ride around the Prambanan complex that offered a reprieve in the way of a small breeze.  The scooter ride home was nice and windy too.

PTX Studio at Prambanan

Our weekend solidified Jogja as my number one Javanese city for sightseeing, maybe even my favorite spot in Indonesia.  We’re headed to Bali next week for our honeymoon so we’ll see if it can steal my heart away from Jogja.  Even visiting during the height of tourist season, Jogja felt as authentically Indonesian as ever.  We’ll see if Bali can say the same!

PTX Studio at Prambanan




Back at it!

PTX Studio in Singapore

Well I said I wanted to blog more then I didn’t post anything for a month, but I swear I have an excuse and that excuse is my computer died.  It was a sad, sad day, but my last MacBook was probably about eight years old so it was time to upgrade.  Lucky for me I had a trip to Singapore lined up to renew my work visa so I stayed an extra day to do some computer shopping.  I came home with a new MacBook Pro and I couldn’t be happier.  Let’s hope this one lasts another eight years.

I stayed at Porcelain Hotel in Chinatown where I stayed on my first trip to Singapore last year.   It’s inexpensive, incredibly convenient and my room was a beautiful, stark white cocoon.   This trip I got upgraded digs due to two separate reservations being made for my trip (standard room booked by work then a suite secured by me for me).  I politely declined paying extra to upgrade for the two nights that my work had booked, but they upgraded me anyway probably to save themselves the labor of cleaning the extra room had I made the switch.  It was a pleasant and welcome surprise.

PTX Studio in SingaporePTX Studio in Singapore

During my last trip, I discovered the neighborhood of Telok Ayer and made good on my promise to do a little exploring in the area.  Of course returning to my favorite coffee spot Free the Robot, then meandering around to photograph all the buildings on the surrounding streets.  My next trip itinerary will hopefully include the Red Dot Design Museum that I discovered but didn’t have a chance to visit.

PTX Studio in Singaporetelok-ayer-blog

Since Joel and I have different visa renewal schedules we still haven’t had the chance to visit Singapore together.  I think I’ve had enough solo exploring having gone alone four times now.  We’re looking a possibly December during our holiday break so we can finally visit Har Paw Villa which we’ve been saving for a couples trip and maybe even squeeze in a romantic dinner.

PTX Studio in Singapore


Doubling up on trips to Deception Pass

PTX Studio at Deception Pass, Washington

Whether you’re driving over the bridge or speeding beneath it in a motor boat, Deception Pass offers amazing views.  I had been here once many years ago, but it was just a very quick detour on the way back to Seattle from Orcas Island.  I’m so glad I got to go back on this trip and funny enough, I got to go twice.  On our RV trip to Port Townsend we went over the pass heading to the Coupeville ferry.  We were on a tight schedule due to ferry reservations, so Joel and I just hopped out with Blanche and met his parents in the parking area on the other side of the bridge.  With clear, picturesque weather, it was a great day to snap some quick pics from the top.

PTX Studio at Deception Pass WashingtonPTX Studio at Deception Pass Washington

Our first stop turned out to be super handy because I picked up a brochure about a Deception Pass boat tour which we ended up doing with my parents when they arrived later in the month.

PTX Studio at Deception Pass, Washington

Visit number two was a leisurely one.  We had about an hour to kill before we had to board the boat so we took time to explore not only the bridge, but the beaches inside the park.  And my mom had plenty of time to do what she does best- pictures!  Doesn’t she look happy down there?!

PTX Studio at Deception Pass, Washington


When we arrived there was a thick fog (known euphemistically in the Pacific Northwest as the ‘marine layer’) in the distance that amazingly cleared completely in the hour we spent at the beach before our boat tour.  Thanks nature!  The newly crystal clear skies gave way to a gorgeous view of Mount Baker from the boat.

PTX Studio at Deception Pass, WashingtonPTX Studio at Deception Pass, Washington

The hour-long cruise offered plenty of wildlife.  Joel worked on the Victoria Clipper for many years, so after hearing his tales of frequent whale sightings, I was hopeful we’d catch a glimpse of one of the three local and transient Orca pods that frequent the Salish Sea every summer.  Unfortunately, the whales weren’t out and about, but we did see lots of birds and some really adorable seals doing their seal thing.

PTX Studio at Deception Pass, WashingtonPTX Studio at Deception Pass, Washington

Both trips made me thankful to call the PNW my past and future home.   Just after we left the US my in-laws took Joel’s sister and niece on a camping trip to Deception Pass Park.  Seeing their photos when we were just getting back to Indonesia (and back to work!) gave me a little post-vacation blues, but in no time at all we’ll be back in Washington with years and years to enjoy this wonderful part of the world.

PTX Studio at Deception Pass, Washington

It’s official

PTX married!
Photo by our super awesome photographer Vera Pash

Sooooooo much has happened in the last week and a half, but most importantly Joel and I tied the knot in Seattle on the Virginia V Steamship.  It was a gorgeous day, a whirlwind of friends and family and one damn fine party if I do say so myself.  (I planned the whole shindig, so that’s me giving myself a little pat on the back.)

I have a zillion photos of our time in Washington, but on the eve of our flight back to Indonesia my Mac power cord died.  I’ve been cripplingly without a computer for half a week- I know #firstworldproblems.  I have folder after folder of raw images that I need to review and edit, but we just arrived back home to a new school year and a completely unorganized new house.  We have a lot on our plate this month!  But I do want to really, really try hard to be a more regular blogger.  It might not happen, but at least I have goals right?   So hopefully I’ll see you again here soon.


Port Townsend Weekend

PTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WA

Pacific Northwest!!!  There is nothing more perfect on this Earth than a PNW summer.  I am so happy that Joel and I got the spend the whole month of July exploring all the little towns around Skagit Valley.  Our first excursion was to head up to Port Townsend in Joel’s parent’s RV and stay at Fort Worden for two nights.  I’m not a fan of camping, but after this trip I discovered that I am all for RV living.   Joel’s parents Tim and Kirsten drove while Joel and I lounged on the bed with Blanche checking out the scenery.

PTX Studio in Port Towsend, WA

From there house on Camano Island, we drove over Deception Pass to Whidbey Island and ferried over to Port Townsend.  It’s a short two hour trip with sweeping Salish Sea views the whole way.  We walked around Fort Casey while we waited for the ferry from Whidbey to Port Townsend and I took the opportunity to get some family shots.

PTX Studio in Port Towsend, WAJ+A-Fort-CaseyPTX Studio in Port Towsend, WA

We did a little exploring of Port Townsend, of course visiting the Indonesian furniture store, then headed out to Fort Worden to set up our campsite.

PTX Studio in Port Towsend, WAPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WA

Not having previously seen An Officer and a Gentleman (which was filmed at Fort Worden), I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The grounds at Fort Worden are vast and beautifully manicured.  Joel grew up coming here for family reunions and camping weekends with his folks, but there was still so much more history to learn about the grounds.  It was so beautiful I almost regretted planning our city wedding.

PTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WAPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WA

Our morning walk options were endless with trails, beaches and forts.  On day we took the high road through the fort overlooking the beach, the next day was the low road to the north beach.  Blanche and Henry (the dogs) enjoyed each and every path as long as they could follow the family closely.

PTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WAPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WAPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WAPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WAFog-blogPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WASpencers-walk-blogPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WAPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WA

Joel and I explored the fort area during the afternoon.  I’m sure he would have preferred to take me down there at night to scare the shit out of me, but I know him too well and I’m not falling for that.  It was spooky enough during the daytime!

PTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WAPTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WA

My first foray into RVing won me over.  As I mentioned I’ve been an anti-camper for many, many years and I’d been told time and time again that I was just camping incorrectly.  Now I realize that everyone was right all along- I was camping without an RV which is just wrong in my opinion.  A big thank you to my in-laws (because I know they read this!) for showing me the light and taking Joel and I on this awesome vacation.  I can’t wait to do it again next summer!

PTX Studio at Fort Worden in Port Towsend, WA

First stop Raleigh, NC

PTX Studio in Raleigh, NC

The first leg of our trip is complete.  We spent a great week with my family in Raleigh, North Carolina.  We went on a tour of Historic Oakwood Cemetery with my dad’s Rotary club.  Joel loves history and anything spooky so it was right up his alley.


PTX Studio in Raleigh, NCPTX Studio in Raleigh, NCPTX Studio in Raleigh, NCPTX Studio in Raleigh, NC

Other than cemeteries, we took some nice walks in downtown Raleigh and Pullen Park.  I somehow managed to take almost no photos in Raleigh.  We also went to the wedding of two of my best friends and I think I took under five photos.  That’s my typically my photography style, but I guess I was feeling especially camera lazy.  Despite the lack of photographic evidence, it was a great week.   We got to Washington two days ago and I’ve already gotten back into the camera spirit.  I saw a mini donkey farm this morning and let’s face it, there’s nothing more inspiring than mini animals.  Washington pictures coming soon.

PTX Studio in Raleigh, NCPTX Studio in Raleigh, NC

Oh yeah, and we’ve been reunited with BLANCHE!  She’s excited to be back in daddy’s arms again.

PTX Studio in Raleigh, NC

Our wedding vacation begins!

PTX Studio Semarang, Indonesia

It’s here!  Our wedding vacation is finally here!  We’ve been anticipating this trip for quite some time, but it doesn’t feel real quite yet.  The past week has been a whirlwind- the last week of school/work, moving into our new house and prepping to leave the country for six weeks.   Tomorrow we fly to Jakarta for three days.  Friday we make our way to Raleigh to visit my family, then yet another flight to Seattle where we’ll spend all of July.  We’re also packing in two huge wedding weekends, first my best friends (and bridesmaid) Melanie and Chase in Raleigh, then our wedding in Seattle.  It will not be the most relaxing vacation of my life, but no complaints here.  I can’t wait to see my family, my friends and my Blanche!  I’m also excited to be reunited with wine, brie, fancy olives, drinkable tap water, Netflix and weather under 80 degrees, but the best part will be making this handsome dude my husband.

PTX Studio Semarang, Indonesia

Ikat explorations in Troso

PTX Studio in Troso, Indonesia

We’re getting down to the wire; just two weeks until we go back to the US for over a month!  But that’s not stopping us from working in some last minute travel.  We first heard of Troso when we went to Jepara in January.   The small village is just south of Jepara and is known for it’s production of woven fabrics.  The main street was lined with stores full of gorgeous, colorful ikat and songket textiles, but we wanted to go deeper than just shopping.  I had recently connected with an ikat seller on Instagram and asked if we could visit their studio.  They were gracious enough to oblige us and that’s how we came to meet Mario and his uncle, Pak Aman.

PTX Studio in Troso, Indonesia

We followed Mario down a dirt road just past their impressive neighborhood mosque.  Connected to Pak Aman’s home is a small, covered, outdoor workshop set up with multiple looms.  He gave a detailed, step-by-step lesson on the dying and weaving process, starting with mapping out the initial design with ink to wrapping the threads tightly with plastic as to resist the dye.

PTX Studio in Troso, IndonesiaPTX Studio in Troso, Indonesia

The plastic bindings create intricate patterns, then the threads are removed from the frames to be dyed.  We were impressed with Pak Aman’s extensive knowledge of each motif and where it originated, whether it was from Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi or Sumatra.  Pak Aman’s family has been weaving for five generations, so he’s had many years to soak up knowledge of dying and weaving.

PTX Studio in Troso, Indonesia

The home’s kitchen floor served as the spooling area with a machine that spins the dyed and dried thread onto spools, then they’re loaded onto the looms.  There were more looms than I anticipated, probably a dozen between the two studio rooms he showed us, but with each piece taking a month to complete you have to have quite a few irons in the fire so to speak.

PTX Studio in Troso, Indonesia

Mario was nice enough to let me have a go at the loom, I would definitely need a few lessons before I felt comfortable at the helm.  Joel was actually the more natural weaver which was a pleasant surprise.

Amanda weaves! PTX Studio in Troso, Indonesia

With so many amazing patterns it was hard to pick just a few to bring home.   Even though I couldn’t take them all, my ikat stash is getting pretty extensive (photo on the right below).  It’s a good thing we’re moving next week and I’ll have lots of home goods needs so I can start putting these beauties to work.

PTX Studio in Troso, Indonesia