Bali Packing List

Bali Packing List
1 month countdown until we leave for Bali! I am beyond excited to say the least! We hope to spend a few days in Uluwatu – exploring different surf breaks and zipping around on motorbikes. Then upwards and inwards to Ubud – jungle trekking, hanging with monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest, a sunrise hike, swimming in waterfalls, walking along the rice fields, coffee tasting at plantations, cooking lessons and much more. The last leg of our trip we’ll be spending time in Canggu to meet up with some friends who live there. Surf, surf, surf, snorkel, explore cafe’s, babi guling shacks, fruit markets and then… doing absolutely nothing 🙂 I can’t wait! I’ve heard Bali is paradise on earth. Here is a packing list I put together for a 2 week trip.
Bali Packing List
1. Sleeping case. Perfect for those hotels with questionable/no blankets.
2. Playing cards. It’s a looooong flight. Dan and I like to play cards to pass the time.
3.SD card adapter. I use this to transfer my pictures from my camera or GoPro to my iPhone or iPad. Super useful! Bring and SD 32GB or bigger to take lots of pictures and videos.
4. Camera. I use the Canon Rebel T3. Durable and easy to use (bring your charger too).
5. Passport, wallet (cc, cash in both currencies home country and Indonesian rupiah), money-belt, travel docs, important papers, copies of passports, international drivers licence, itinerary, phone numbers and medical information in case of an emergency (and in case your electronics run out of juice/ are stolen/ break)
6. Day pack.  Canvas bag that is easy to roll up and stick inside your larger pack. Something smaller that you can use during the day while you leave your bigger pack locked up at the hotel.
7. Flashlight and extra batteries
8. GoPro for capturing water pictures and videos (bring your charger too).
9.Travel Pillow. Great for the airplane and your lower-end hotels that don’t provide pillows.
10. Small thin towel that will dry fast.
11. Mini speaker for playing tunes in your room or at the beach.
12. Digital waterproof travel watch with multiple alarms for catching sunrise hikes and waking early etc. This one has multiple time zones so you’ll know what time it is back at home. Pretty cheap too!
13. Hat
14. Sunglasses and/or Rx glasses
15. A few dresses: Tobi olive & toast knit dress -I like this one for the beach. It has a cute low back, but still modest enough for a cafe or Tobi Magdalena black shift dress – perfect for a night out at Single Fin or Kubu. Tobi has a bunch of cute affordable outfits. It’s fun to pick out a few for a trip.
16. A few blouses, bodysuits, tops (mixed up). I  like this this Alley Rose Ribbed Bodysuit. Remember to cover up if you’re visiting a temple or a sacred place. This suit is best for lounging by the pool or around your hotel or rental home.
17. Cover ups. Thin shawls or light kimonos to cover your shoulders. It will keep the sun off as well as the mosquitoes.
18. Tanks for the beach. It can get hot and humid so a comfortable tank is perfect for keeping cool. Oh and undergarments. You can’t forget those! I’d say bring 1 weeks worth and do laundry half way through.
19. Flips, flats and one pair of sneakers and socks (for riding your motorcycle or scooter).
20. Mosquito net to keep the mozzies at bay. I’d also suggest bringing insect repellent with deet
21.Calculator for those moments that you don’t want to use your phone –> calculating currency exchanges. Double check everything and learn how to haggle.
22. PJ’s or 2 or 3 shirts that are comfortable to sleep in
23. Shorts about 3 pairs  – 1 jean, 2 lighter material
24. Long flowy pants. Similar to the Thai style. 1 or 2 pairs
25. Sarong. Keep it in your day pack and whip it out if you need to cover your legs while visiting a temple. Also great for the beach and around the house.
26. Swimsuit (2 or 3)
27. Backpacking Pack – Store everything in this baby!
28. Hairbrush, clips, pins and bands
29. Earplugs earplugs earplugs! They will be your best friends – the only way you’ll be able to sleep on the airplane or in the jungle. Those cicada bugs party all night long.
30. It’s a 10 – hair detangler. A bit of splurge and one of my luxury items, but boy does it do the trick.
31. Shaving razor
32. Carmex is the best for lips and errrr your nose! OK this might be TMI, but the inside of my nose gets super dry on long flights (hurts to breathe through it), so freshen up in the bathroom – put a little carmex on a Q-tip and coat the inside of my nose. It works wonders me…feels so much better for hours. OK done being gross.
33. Eye drops
34. Make up essentials (concealer, powder, eyebrow pencil, tinted lip balm, waterproof mascara, bronzer) toiletries (mini shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, paste, floss, face wash, face cream, nail file, feminine products, small Dolce Mia Tuberose lotion – smells so good, any personal products you’ll be needing.
35. World power adapter
36. A scarf! One of my favorite items…so useful! Use it as a blanket, a head cover, a towel or tie-strap etc.
37. Jacket with hood. Semi-waterproof for staying dry on land and toasty in the plane.
38. Multi tool knife. Don’t pack this one in your carry-on! Leave it in your checked bag. Comes in handy while traveling…cutting food, ropes, getting out splinters, protection etc.
39. Tissues (for your nose and…your bum). If carrying your own T.P. Roll is too big, then take a bunch of these tissue packets with you. T.P. is not always available in every bathroom so bring your own.
40. Basic first aid kit,  hand sanitizer, band aids, tape, scissors , alcohol swabs, iodine, gloves, Rx medication, Aspirin, Imodium, Pepto,  tweezers, extractors, tourniquet etc.
41. A Pen (and small note pad while you’re at it)! You’ll be scrambling to find one when you fill out travel forms.
42. Not necessary, but I love bringing watercolor brushes, pencils or a mini brush kit to paint in my travel journal. A bit silly but it’s something that makes me happy!
43. Travel Journal. I love writing down bullet points, ideas, things we did, places we visited etc. you can make it as elaborate or simple as you want. It’s fun to look back on.
44. Sunscreen! Put it on everyday!
45. Chargers. FOR EVERYTHING! iPhone ✓ iPad ✓ camera battery ✓ music speaker ✓ gopro ✓
46. Phone. Preferably with wifi capability or a travel plan. It will help you plan your trip along the way.
47. Travel lock or bike lock. If you’re planning on using a lock on your checked baggage, make sure your locks are TSA approved. I usually like to bring a bike lock with me so I can lock up my scooter, or lock my bags in a closet when we’re out and about etc.
48. Travel Mug. Great for keeping drinks hot or cold. Fill it up after the security check in the airport.
49. Dry bag and ziplocs. I like to bring a bunch of bags with me to help compress my clothes in my backpack. They also come in handy when you want to organize clean vs dirty for laundry day.
50.Wet Ones anti-bacterial wipes.

Other items that could help you out.

clothesline or rope( if you plan on doing your own laundry), scissors, small sewing kit, zip ties…
Bali Bali BaliBali Bali
Picture credit: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)

British Virgin Islands
The 3rd and final post of the BVI trip — I blame the severe lateness of this post on Captain Evan for holding his BVI pictures hostage….and maybe me for being a bad blogger. But guess who just gave me a little sailboat memory stick full of priceless pics!? Thanks Ev and Monica. These are amazing! And without further ado…here are days 7, 8 and 9 of our British Virgin Islands Trip. If you are new to A Bit of Bees Knees and want to catch up, here are parts One and Two.
Day 7
We sailed away from Norman Island that morning and started our way to the east side of Jost Van Dyke for the Bubbly Pool. I woke up to the rocking of the boat and Enya’s Caribbean Blue being played on the loud speaker. My jam! I climbed out of the bedroom hatch and a plate of eggs Benedict was waiting for me. The Wannamaker’s don’t mess around – vacation perfection. We moored the catamaran and motored the dinghy to the dock. The hike to the pool is about a mile, it’s fairly easy, but beware of the poisonous plants along the trail. If you stay on the path you’ll be fine. It’s a wildly fun spot (I wouldn’t suggest it for the kiddies), at high tide it can be dangerous, so make sure you don’t go beyond the funnel or stay high up on the rocks if you want to venture further. When a big wave rolls in, it will burst through the narrow passage leading to the pool. There are a few rocks that you can hold onto while the wave passes overhead. Please be careful that you don’t let the current pull you out to sea. Hold on tight! It can be a blast if you’re smart about it.

Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Doing what I do best ^^^
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
After the bubbly pool we crammed everyone into a dinghy and ventured out to a little island called Sandy Spit  (18°26’59.83″N 64°42’31.46″W) just off Jost Van Dyke. The whole island is less than 1/2 an acre with a ring of white sand, a few plants and palms – the most picturesque deserted island you could ever dream of.
Sandy Spit, British Virgin Islands
^^^ Dan jumped out of the dinghy and swam the rest of the way. He wanted the island all to himself .
Slightly ecstatic crew 😉 Funny thing… we meet a group with @natgeocreative on assignment in the BVI’s at Willy T’s the night before. Nat Geo’s can party ;)! They followed our route a day later and took some fantastic pictures of the island from above. Check them out here.
That night we moored off Jost, made garlic shrimp for dinner and sipped on OJ, cream of coconut and rummmmm to our hearts content.

Day 8
We sailed to Great Harbor on Jost Van Dyke for ice cream and walked the beach, put our reservation in for Vinny’s that night. Then sailed to White Bay just around the point, swam, checked out The Soggy Dollar, napped on the boom (Ry’s favorite sleeping spot) and watched the sunset. We sailed back to Vinny’s and had conch fritters for dinner. I wrote our names inside the E of “Be Happy Don’t Worry” on the back wall of the restaurant. Lots of visitors leave there mark here – for future travelers to read or with hopes to revisit someday. We danced the night away at Foxy’s and enjoyed our last night on the boat.
White Bay, BVI
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
^Bruised up, bit up by skeeters and still loving every second.
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands | White Bay
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Day 9
We woke up early around 6:00AM to sail back to Soper’s Hole on Tortola to return the boat. We grabbed some coffee and breakfast at D’Best Cup Coffee Shop and stocked up on Harbor Market’s ginger hot sauce and fresh nutmeg for family back home. We took a ferry back to St. Thomas for our flight to NYC for the weekend before flying back home to California.
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
^^^Dan walking the streets of Charlotte Amalie. Lunch at Glady’s Cafe –  stewed oxtails, w/ peas, rice, plantains and sweet potato.
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
Sailing the British Virgin Islands (Part Three)
The last hurrah. I could get used to vacations like this. A once in a life time trip with the best crew of buds.
Daniel BVI
What a fantastic trip! We prepared to switch weather from 85F to 35F and population from 10 to 8,500,000…off to NYC for a few days! Bye bye BVI’s you were so good to us!

Indian Butter Chicken

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Last week marks 1 year since our wild trip to India! I’m hankering for another adventure! We’re currently hashing out the details of our next trip (new destination). I can’t wait to share it with you when everything is finalized! For now, I’ll spend today reminiscing about this magical place. I give you Indian Butter Chicken at it’s best!  It’s just like the one we had in Delhi! So many lovely spices.

6 tablespoons butter (cubed)
2 lbs chicken breasts (cut into bite size chunks)
1 sweet onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (pressed)
3 tsp garam masala
2  pieces Cassia Bark (regular cinnamon sticks will do just fine too)
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
14 oz tomato sauce
2 cups cream
salt & pepper

  1. Use 2 tbsp of your butter to brown cubed chicken in a skillet. Cook until the outside is golden and the inside is still pink. Scoop out the chicken into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using the same skillet as before, add another 2 tbsp of butter to the rendered chicken fat. Add diced onion, and cook until caramelized. Add all the dry spices, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute until the spices become aromatic. Add tomato sauce. Stir. Stir. Stir.
  3. Let simmer for five minutes before adding the cream. Stir again. Add the partially cooked chicken and let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Cover with lid (that sauce will stain)!
  4. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Serve over jasmine rice, top with fresh cilantro

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A few of my other posts from India if you care to read more…
How was India
How to Book a Rice Boat
Kolkata and a Beautiful Indian Wedding

Valentine’s Day Edition: Ladurée French Macarons

Ladurée French Macarons
A few years ago, I posted a recipe for Ladurée macarons that seemed to be a big hit with readers. I thought making a special Valentine’s Day edition would be fun. Same recipe with a cute Valentine’s Day Twist. Just grab some edible markets from Amazon and turn these classic treats into a special Valentine’s Day dessert.

This is a macaron shell recipe from Ladurée — the crème de la crème of macarons in the world! And I whipped up the filling recipe myself…

Makes approximately 50 macarons
Bake at 300F
Macaron Shell Ingredients
2 ¾ cups + 1 tbsp (275 g) fine almond flour
2 cups + 1 tbsp (250 g) confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
6 +1/2 egg whites (room temp)
1 cup + 1 tbsp (210g) granulated white sugar
3 drops of whatever food coloring you desire
Directions for Macaron Shells:
1. Combine the ground almond flour and the confectioners sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles a fine powder {do not over mix or you will end up with paste! Nooo!}. Sift through a sieve to remove any lumps.
2. In a large bowl {I use my KitchenAid}, whisk 6 egg whites until foamy. Once they are frothy, add a third of the granulated sugar {precisely 83.3 oz}. Whip until the sugar has dissolved. Add another third of the sugar. Whip for 1 minute. Add the last third of the sugar and whip for one minute. Egg whites should be glossy and hold soft peaks. Using a spatula, delicately fold the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar into the whipped egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 egg white until just frothy. Then add it to the final mixture, folding gently to slightly loosen the macaron batter.
3. If you only want to make one color of macarons, then add your desired food coloring to the batter bowl. If you want multiple colors, divide your batter into separate bowls and add coloring to each. Try not to over mix.
4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag {you can also use zip lock bags with a cut corner}. Pipe small macaron rounds 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto a  lined baking sheet. I like to line mine with a silpat or this fancy macaron mat. Parchment paper will also do. Lightly tap the tray on the counter to release any air pockets. Allow the macarons to sit uncovered for 10 minutes, so a thin dry coat forms on the top {you should be able to gently touch them without the batter sticking to your finger}. Now they are ready for the oven. Only bake one tray at a time. Bake at 300F for approximately 15 minutes or until they form a smooth shell and little foot.
*You can prepare the next tray while you wait for the first batch to bake.
5. Ok here is where you’ll need to be extra patient. Wait until the macarons have completely cooled before peeling them off the mat. If they stick, they are not ready. * My method {because I’m impatient} to speed things up, try placing the hot baking sheet on top of cold damp dishtowels. This can cut your waiting time in half!
Macaroon Filling Ingredients
8 tbsp jam
4 tbsp soft butter
splash of whipping cream
Fills approximately 50 macarons
{If you want to make different flavors on a smaller scale just measure 2:1 ratio for jam and butter}
Macaron Filling Instructions
Easy part!
1. You can use any flavor you want. For these macarons, I made different flavors for each color — peach, strawberry, blueberry and chocolate. Mmmmm. My friend gave me some amazing homemade jams that I mixed with butter and a splash of whipping cream.  Your measurements will vary depending on how much filling you want for each flavor. Just mix jelly, butter and whipping cream until you reach a semi-solid consistency at room temp. This one is pretty hard to mess up.
*I used Nutella for the chocolate hazelnut filling.
Good luck my friends!
Ladurée French Macarons
Ladurée French Macarons

Fiddle Leaf Fig Inspiration and 15 Pretty Planters

Fiddle Leaf Fig
I have a love/hate relationship with these green beauties. I love them and they hate me. 😉 No really. I’ve had three plants now and they keep dying, despite my tender loving care – scheduled waterings, a sunny spot next to the window and a gentle leaf polishing with coconut oil. I’ve tried everything. Maybe it’s my house…maybe it’s not enough sun. Who knows? Some day I’ll figure it out, until then these pictures will keep me dreaming.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle Leaf Fig

And here are some fun potting ideas too! I stick mine inside a ceramic pot and woven grass basket at home. These cute planters extend beyond the fiddle leaf fig…think snake plant, cacti, rubber trees, palms etc. There are lots of indoor plant options that would look stunning in these pretty planters.
Pretty Planters
1. palazzo marbleized planter / 2. glisan hanging planter / 3.fiddle leaf fig ceramic planter / 4.cement planter / 5.brass planter /  6.riviera pineapple copper planter / 7.mamba basket / 8.drum white planter/ swirl planter  / 10.drip pottery / 11.zen white planter / 12.napa round planter / 13.conway basket /14.Joya Basket / 15.danube planter grey marble

Pictures: grancedore, theinspiredroom,  dominoheatherkincaiddomino 2