Happy New Year!

As we wrap up the Holidays and begin 2019 I wanted to take the time to say…

Hello, Thanks, and Happy New Year!

It has been a while and I hope that everyone has had a fantastic 2018. The holidays always make me reflect on all that I have to be thankful for - amazing family, friends, and the best customers an artist can ask for! I hope you and your families had a very Happy Holiday and that you will have an even better New Year!

I truly appreciate all of your support over the past (almost) decade and I thank you for your patience as it has taken me (almost) a whole year to send an update since moving to Bali. It has been a wild ride over here and I have been soaking up every minute - hence my lack of communication!

Most of my time here in Bali has been spent working at John Hardy, TRAVELING, surfing, exploring, gathering inspiration and working on my next collection. Living in Southeast Asia has been amazing! Bali has such a rich culture and outstanding natural beauty that it has been difficult to sit down at the workbench for hours on end. There is so much to see and do, and not enough time in the day! That being said…

My new collection is very much ‘in progress’ and unfortunately I don’t have any physical jewelry pieces to show…YET. However, there has been A LOT of inspiration and ideation happening and now I just need to sit down at my new workbench and get to work! For those who are interested I am anticipating presenting this new collection in

Summer 2019

Thanks again for your continued support,

Alex

An Egyptian Christmas

Happy Holidays! This year I decided to stop in Egypt on my way back to the US for the holidays/work. I have always wanted to see the pyramids and I secretly (or not so secretly) wish I was Egyptian, so this was a trip I couldn’t resist! I started off my trip in Cairo to see the pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx and made my way south to see Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel to visit numerous temples and tombs covered in hieroglyphics and stories of the past. Egypt is a beautiful place with such a fascinating history and culture and I hope to visit again!

Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx

The pyramids at Giza are for the Kings Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. Within each of the Pyramid complexes there was a Mortuary Temple, and up to three small Queen’s pyramids. Though it is difficult to tell in photographs Khufu’s pyramid is the tallest. His son, Khafre, was entombed in the second tallest pyramid and the grandson of Khufu, Menkaure, in the smallest pyramid. The Egyptians believed that the son(s) of the king should not surpass their father, which is why Khufu’s pyramid remained the largest. The Egyptians believed in the afterlife and thus the need to preserve the body after death through mummification. Along with the tomb and body of the King, inside the pyramids were goods, riches, and sometimes food that the King would need in the afterlife.

Saqqara

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This is the first pyramid ever created. It was designed by the King’s architect, Imhotep, who was well respected. The pyramids at Giza were created afterwards and were updated to have flat sides instead of a stepped surface.

Luxor - Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings is an area on the West Bank of Luxor where many of the Kings of ancient Egypt were buried in tombs carved in the rocks. Above is Ramses III’s tomb as well as Tutankhamun’s tomb and mummy! Tutankhamun was 18 when he died, and his tomb was discovered almost fully intact by British Egyptologist, Howard Carter, in 1922. Tutankhamun’s innermost coffin seen above is solid gold and currently in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Colossi of Memnon

These two statues here known as the Colossi of Memnon represent Amenhotep III and are 60 feet in height. They are located on Luxor’s west bank and were built as the guardians of Amenhotep III’s mortuary complex, which was located behind the statues at one point in time.

Temple of Queen Hatshepsut

Queen Hatshepsut is the only known female ruler of ancient Egypt. She came into power initially as the regent for Thutmose III, who was quite young at the time, after the death of Thutmose II. Research has shown that she was well loved and ruled for about 20 years until her death, the cause of which is unknown.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Luxor’s West Bank

Luxor’s East Bank - Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple

Temple of Edfu

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The Temple of Edfu is one of the most beautiful and well preserved temples in Egypt. It is also known as the Temple of Horus, who was the god of protection. Edfu is located next to the Nile river in between Luxor and Aswan.

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel consists of two temples built by Ramses II- one in honor of his favorite wife, Nefertari. Abu Simbel is located in Nubia in southern Egypt close to Sudan. In the 1960s the temples were both salvaged from the rising waters of the Nile river and moved to their current location and reassembled - an amazing feat! The seated statues of Ramses II are 20 meters in height, and the temple was dedicated to the supreme god, Amun Ra, who was believed to be responsible for all life on earth. On two days out of the year - February 22 and October 22 - the full length of the temple is illuminated by the first light of the morning sun, including the shrine in the innermost sanctuary.

Temple of Philae and Kom Ombo

Egyptian Museum

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Rags to Riches

This is P-Coo (or P-Coop). I found her roaming the Bali streets in pretty bad shape and decided I needed to help her out. In Bali the first born child is named Putu. As many of you know I am obsessed with my family’s dog, Cooper (Coopie). So I decided to name this sweet angel Putu Coopie, or P-Coo(p), since she was MY first “child/love” in Bali. As much as I want to keep her, I would love to find her a forever home with a family who is able to treat her like the princess that she is and play with her all day and night. Being that I work during the day, I am unable to fulfill this role. However, if I can’t find a FANTASTIC home for her then I will be keeping her. Let me know if you know of anyone in Bali who wants to shower this little gal with unconditional love!

Tulamben

Situated at the northeast coast of Bali is Tulamben. There are breathtaking views of Mount Agung as well as excellent diving close to the shore. Just off the coast lies the USS Liberty shipwreck, which is home to around 400 species of reef fish and is covered with healthy corals. You can also see the great barracuda and large bumphead parrotfish swimming around the wreck in the early morning hours. There is a vast array of nudibranchs and other tiny creatures ideal for macro photography. Over the last few months I have been really enjoying underwater photography so Tulamben was a really fun experience!

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MALAYSIAN BORNEO - Orangutans, Elephants, and Monkeys Galore!

Wild orangutans can only be found on two islands in the world - Borneo and Sumatra. So visiting Borneo was definitely on the ‘to-do’ list! While I was there I saw orangutans in the wild, as well as in the Orangutan Rehabilitation Sanctuary in Sepilok. These orangutans are considered semi-wild since there are no fences, but the sanctuary does provide food on a feeding platform if they want a tasty snack. The word orangutan means “man of the forest”, which is fitting since they share about 96% of the same DNA as humans.

Also in Borneo are the Borneo elephant and the proboscis monkey. I was lucky to see both species while cruising down the Kinabatangan River, as well as some baby crocodiles, birds, and a bunch of silver leaf monkeys!

Cambodia

I decided to stop in Cambodia on my way from Bangkok back to Bali, and it did not disappoint! While there I visited the typical touristy places such as Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Bayon, and Kampong Phluk ( floating village). Of these my favorite was Bayon with all of the carved stone “mosaic” faces - so cool! However, the most profound experience was visiting Wat Thmey in Siem Reap, which is a small memorial and pagoda that houses some of the remains of the people who lost their lives during the tragic Cambodian genocide.

During the Khmer Rouge era from 1975-79 somewhere between 1.5 - 3 million people were murdered in Cambodia in what is now known as the Cambodian genocide. Aiming to create an agrarian socialist society this new government led by Pol Pot forced the urban population to move to the countryside to work on collective farms. Poor conditions, lack of medical treatment, starvation, and exhaustion led to countless deaths in addition to the mass executions carried out by the regime. The areas of execution are known as the “Killing Fields”, the largest being near Phnom Penh, which now has a monument to remember those who died and also serve as an educational tool. It’s important to remember the past in order to prevent history from repeating itself. This was a sobering experience but well worth it. It is hard to stomach that this actually happened.

 

Angkor Wat

 

Ta Prohm

Bayon

 

Kampong Phluk

Wat Thmey

Phare - the Cambodian Circus

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a little gem of an island southeast of Bail. You can easily get to the island by ferry and it’s only a quick 45 minute ride. I had a fantastic time cruising around the hilly island on my motorbike. The island is mostly covered by lush greenery, local houses, and winding roads so you can really appreciate the natural beauty. There is great diving off of the coast where you can swim with the Manta Rays and even see the elusive Mola Mola (sunfish) if you’re lucky! Unfortunately I haven’t seen one yet but hopefully next time. I did see all kinds of fish, coral, and nudibranchs! A few turtles made an appearance along with a banded sea snake and octopus, too!

West Bali National Park - Menjangan

Situated on the West side of Bali lies a National Park and an island called Menjangan. It is known for its tranquil beauty, roaming barking deer, and the fantastic underwater diving! During a night dive you can see the vibrantly colored Mandarin fish and during the day there are corals, fish, turtles, and more!

Let's See the Dragons!

I decided to take a little trip to see the Komodo Dragons at Komodo National Park in May 2018. This island is an island off the coast of Flores. Exploring Komodo National Park was one of the most exciting trips I have taken and it was only 5 days! There was so much to do and see. I started off on a boatel (boat hotel) called “Le Pirate” where I snorkeled and paddled around “monkey island”. Next was a liveaboard trip exploring the islands of Rinca and Komodo to see the ancient Komodo Dragons and meet the locals in a fishing village. Also hiking up Padar and catching the sunset and diving with sting rays, sharks, turtles, majestic manta rays, and fishes galore! Some of the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen underwater - an explosion of neon! Next was watching the “flying foxes” (large fruit bats) take to the sky in the thousands at sunset - a ritual done every day from the protected mangroves to the island of Flores in search of food. There was also the ‘pink beach’ which got it’s name from the tiny pieces of red coral that mix with the white sand to create a beautiful pink hue. An unforgettable adventure!

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Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island

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The top deck of Le Pirate Boatel. This place was super cute and I loved the bright colors!

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View of the sunset from my room on the Boatel - no filter applied. To the left is “Monkey Island”

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Fishing Village on Rinca Island. Loved the vibrant colors and friendly people!

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The view from the top of Padar Island. Not the easiest hike up there, but well worth the view.

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Diving in Komodo is really beautiful! Really amazing colors and rich biodiversity!

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Diving with Manta Rays! I was lucky to get super close to this guy, who was just lounging around

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The flight of the “flying foxes” from a Mangrove Island to Flores in search of food. These are large fruit bats and they fly by the thousands every day during sunset.

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A Pink Beach on one of the islands off of Flores. There were actually many pink beaches that we came across, but this one had the strongest pink hue. The tiny pieces of red coral mixed with white sand are what create the pink color.

Bangkok

Around 6 times per year I travel to Bangkok for work. It is a bustling city with great food and excellent Thai massages! The views from the hotels aren’t bad either.

Living the Bali Life

In February 2018 I moved to Bali to work as Design Director for John Hardy. Bali has been such an adventure and I love the lush environment and rich culture. The architecture, design, and landscape of Bali is really interesting and inspiring and the waves aren’t so bad either! I have spent a lot of my free time exploring the island as well as the surrounding islands and other areas in Southeast Asia. Below are some photos of my travels in Bali!

The streets of Canggu in Bali. This is the area where I live in Bali, which has quickly become a tourist ‘hotspot’. There is an eclectic mix of locals and foreigners and a ton of great food, fun, and waves to be had for all!

The streets of Canggu in Bali. This is the area where I live in Bali, which has quickly become a tourist ‘hotspot’. There is an eclectic mix of locals and foreigners and a ton of great food, fun, and waves to be had for all!

The Kapal Bamboo store on the John Hardy Compound where I work. Kapal Bamboo’s design mimics a boat and the name actually means “Bamboo Ship” in Bahasa Indonesia. This structure is made from Bamboo and is a true architectural masterpiece! I took this photo before sunset during a ‘firefly dinner’. As you can see the candles light up the night as fireflies do.

The Kapal Bamboo store on the John Hardy Compound where I work. Kapal Bamboo’s design mimics a boat and the name actually means “Bamboo Ship” in Bahasa Indonesia. This structure is made from Bamboo and is a true architectural masterpiece! I took this photo before sunset during a ‘firefly dinner’. As you can see the candles light up the night as fireflies do.

The architecture in Bali is a beautiful mix of clean geometric lines and extravagant organic sculptures. I have found this to be really inspiring as I design my next collection!

The architecture in Bali is a beautiful mix of clean geometric lines and extravagant organic sculptures. I have found this to be really inspiring as I design my next collection!

Surfing at Batu Bolong in Canggu, Bali

Surfing at Batu Bolong in Canggu, Bali

You can’t beat the food in Bali! It is the land of all things organic and even the vegan food is insanely delicious. This is a yummy dish from the Avocado Factory in Canggu, which overlooks a rice field.

You can’t beat the food in Bali! It is the land of all things organic and even the vegan food is insanely delicious. This is a yummy dish from the Avocado Factory in Canggu, which overlooks a rice field.

My new monkey friend enjoying some corn at Padang Padang Beach. These little guys are feisty!

My new monkey friend enjoying some corn at Padang Padang Beach. These little guys are feisty!

This is Karma Beach on the southern coast of Uluwatu. Uluwatu has some beautiful cliffs, clear waters, and some great waves!

This is Karma Beach on the southern coast of Uluwatu. Uluwatu has some beautiful cliffs, clear waters, and some great waves!

A Balinese Ceremony procession. The women are carrying fruits, flowers, and offerings on their heads during this procession.

A Balinese Ceremony procession. The women are carrying fruits, flowers, and offerings on their heads during this procession.

Tegalalang Rice Field in Gianyar, Bali

Tegalalang Rice Field in Gianyar, Bali