Monday, October 24, 2011

Studying the Urban Dictionary

I recently had the opportunity to show off some jewelry design concepts to a New York show room.  The target market was the “urban male.”  As the goods were being reviewed, the sales force commented, ”This is dope.” I’m thinking great drugs are involved. I know it’s not the eighties anymore but drugs can be useful. “We can ice this piece.” I’m thinking who doesn’t like a cold one. Now I am getting excited not only because I think they like what they see but also because drugs and liquid refreshments are on the table… figuratively.  And I was thirsty. The meeting ended on a high.

I was reliving the experience with friends and was soon set straight: dope evidently is “cool and good” all wrapped into one, and ice is “bling”. Who knew?

 Don’t get me started on Blingy Balls. I think we covered that subject. I can hardly see with these fake eyelashes on. I am now making a conscious effort to study the urban dictionary.  It is one thing to be left behind as the tech world explodes and you have the realization that your phone will always be smarter than you, but to not know the “lingo” of the moment leaves one out in the cold, which has nothing to do with ice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trends…it’s hard to keep up

There is a new jewelry trend out and about established from the popular reality TV show Basketball Wives. One of the wives made earrings as gifts for the other wives. They are hoops with sparkly style beads on them. You can Google the look. Very pretty.
 My store has been getting requests for “basketball earring” components. In other words they want to make their own. As the requests come in, notes land on my desk, “look into ordering this or that.”
The message I got to order the sparkly beads was….”we need blinky balls” OK I thought, let me Google “blinky balls”….well its true one learns something everyday….the urban definition of “blinky balls” is: one places their testicles on the eyelids of a significant other and the that person blinks his eyes as to allow a fluttering sensation. OK not what I was looking for. And I do apologize to my 2 ex husbands and current husband for not being aware of this treat.
Then I Googled “blingy balls”. An entire different explanation was revealed… Beads that sparkle with rhinestones or crystals or stardust. So if you feel the need to be in the groove come by The Bead Goes On…, pick out your hoops and “blingy balls” and be in the know.
I on the other hand I am off to buy false eyelashes….for Halloween of course.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Last Night in Bali

We successfully negotiated a bead deal with Carlston owner of “Coffee & Silver,” a restaurant on Monkey Forest Road that serves coffee and sells silver. How apropos!

The negotiations took place over a 3-hour period because the workmen were also present negotiating the removal of the old roof and taking it away. We were a bit concerned that no one was discussing what was replacing the roof! I believe that discussion would follow next week. I’m still not sure if I paid for the roof removal or the beads!

Carlston is Danish and serves Carlsberg. (It’s all fitting together now.) His establishment is so close to the Monkey Forest that on occasion a bold monkey will enter and order a Carlsberg…so the story goes. Nobody cards you in Bali!

It was our last night in Bali and I still hadn’t connected with my friend Meghan so we pulled ourselves away from Coffee & Silver and prepared to walk UP Monkey Forest Road. (Those of you who have been there can understand this feat!)

We met Meghan at Cinta, a fabulous restaurant owned and operated by a gal named Sally. Sally owns 5 restaurants in Ubud.  One is named Siam Sally and serves Thai food. Needless to say, I am jealous of her great name choice!

Several ginger mojitos later we found ourselves following Meghan to the top of Monkey Forest Road (seemed easier now) and on our way to her restaurant, Kafe.  If you ever get to Ubud you must go to Kafe.  A great place to hang out, eat amazing organic food and do a little shopping on the side.

I will give you one piece of advice: Do not try to drink out of the spoon that comes in your juice.  It may look like a straw but rest assured, it is not!

Monkey Forest

While spending a relaxing day with Lou Zeldis we lost track of time and missed our opportunity to bear witness to a cremation ceremony. We were treated to pictures and commentary from the man who’s uncle passed and who also makes the sarcophagus on our last night so it feels like we witnessed part of it!

The cremation ceremonies proceed throughout the entire town and end up in the Monkey Forest. Since I had yet to experience the monkey forest we woke up early one morning to act as tourists. And as some of you have seen from my facebook pictures – I loved the monkey forest!

You pay $1.50 to enter the forest and 3x that if you want bananas to feed the monkeys. We opted no on the bananas and just enjoyed wandering through the forest.

It was an incredible site to see the monkeys playing, eating, sleeping and fighting right in front of you. I bent down next to one monkey and he climbed right up onto my back! I wanted to take him home but Salai wouldn’t let me!

The temples throughout the forest, and throughout Bali, are incredible. The detail in the stonework and the massiveness of the structures are just amazing to see. I am glad we played tourist for the morning! I miss my monkeys!

Lou Zeldis and the Black Beach

Many of you are familiar with designer Lou Zeldis who splits his time between Indonesia and Santa Monica.  I was lucky enough to meet Lou at the Tucson show four years ago.  Today we got lucky again with a visit to his home and showroom in the center of Ubud.

His creations of jewelry, furniture and clothing are unique to what one sees everyday in Bali. He has established himself as an expat in Ubud, managing over the past 20 years to tap into the local talents of carvers, silver smiths and weavers.

Lou’s imagination and the artist’s talents make quite a team producing unique products not seen anywhere else. Walking into Lou’s home is more on the lines of the back room of a museum. There is so much to look at and dig through. Sensory overload short-circuits any budget you have proposed for yourself! 

Many hours later we took a break for lunch and went to an Italian restaurant called the Black Beach.  You must climb up 3 flights of stairs to get to this rooftop gem which overlooks the entire center of Ubud.  The bar on the second floor has a black sand floor.  Lou mentioned you could always tell when the bar has a good night as the black sand gets tracked up and down the streets!

And because I didn’t have any fish with me – I had to order off the menu. (maybe next time……)

The Beach

Although Ubud is not near the coast, it is not far away either. On Sunday we took a break from beads and went to the beach with Wayan and her family. They drove Amy and I to a very secluded portion of the coast called the “White Beach.” Most of the beaches on Bali have black sand - it being a volcanic island.

One had to know what dirt road to turn off from what village to arrive at this destination. Amy may be able to tell you but I do not know the way because I fell asleep. The secret will always be safe with me.

The beach was small, perhaps 300 meters, flanked at each end with cliffs. Small and hidden, the seclusion part was already wearing off. Industrious entrepreneurs had constructed grass shacks that were offering grilled fresh fish and cold ones as well as lounge chairs and massages.

The water was as blue as the sky and it was a pleasure to swim in the Java Sea. We bobbed up and down, contemplating life, and managing not to get smashed up against the rocks or stung by jellyfish. Another successful adventure!

When it was time to depart, Putu took off down the beach to negotiate dinner. He seemed to be gone a long time and it was dusk as we headed back up the dirt road. Wayan did not seem pleased as she was mumbling about the time wasted. I wasn’t paying much attention to the details because I wasn’t in charge that day. I didn’t know if Putu was successful or not hunting down the next meal.

Amy and I were always nervous about when we would have our next meal so we hinted that we should have dinner sooner then later. The hint was heard and we stopped in the next seaside town for dinner. As it turns out Puto had a successful fishing expedition.

Out comes 4 fresh fish caught not one hour before. We enter an outdoor but fancy restaurant. (Any establishment that has cloth napkins is fancy in my book!) Puto has the chef cook our fish as opposed to his.

Can you imagine walking into a restaurant state side and say “Hey, I brought my own dinner…prepare this please!” To top it all off they only charged $3.50 to grill them. Not each but for all 4! We did our best to appease the chef by ordering appetizers, salads and 2 bottles of wine.

Money Changers

The Indonesian Currency is the IR or Indonesia Rupiah. There are many zeros on the bills. Example 10,000 IR equals about $1.00. The 100,000 IR equals about $10.00.

It is very easy to become confused. Once you memorize the colors and sizes. Not all bills are green or the same proportions - the more valuable the bill the larger it is. This tends to make wallet designers crazy! Also drives tourist crazy, “How much is that? “Well that costs 2 small blue ones and 1 large pink one.”

One can change US dollars anywhere on the streets at “Money Changers.” These can be in an official carnival looking booth or inside a normal retail store. In Thailand changing money is a very official process with the changers behind glass and receipts being signed. Bali is not so official.

I had an unpleasant experience 6 years ago when I was short changed for about $50.00. This is when I realized that some of the moneychangers sidelined as magicians. They can make rupiah disappear before your eyes! More or less like 3-card Monte. If you are cruising the streets and comparing exchange rates and one changer has a better rate that is too good to be true, well that is just the case.

I had warned Amy to be watchful of moneychangers but we were sucked in to a better then average rate late one afternoon. You have to keep in mind that it is very, very, VERY hot in Bali and often hard to think straight. I’m sure we were hungry too!

This particular money-changer was offering 10,000 as opposed to 94500. It wasn’t too much higher so Amy decided she wanted to try. She placed her $100 on the counter and 45 seconds later the one million rupiah was counted, recounted arranged and rearranged as well as any street magician we’d ever seen. Amy even got to count it several times herself. But as the transaction was coming to a close Amy counted one last time and realized 300,000 was missing. The changer proclaimed his innocence stating that he was only taking his commission.

Thankfully Amy’s $100 was still sitting on the counter throughout the whole transaction. She grabbed her money back, I gave them a piece of Gladys and we went on our way. Even the ATM’s don’t ask for that steep a commission!