Introducing Our Guide to Sayulita!

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If you’re looking for an epic way to clear the winter blues, consider jet setting straight for Sayulita. It’s surprisingly affordable (check out this poolside VRBO villa!), a short flight away not to mention incredibly beautiful and full of creativity that forever changed our perspective on handmade goods.

We’ve created a downloadable Guide to Sayulita to make the trip enjoyable at every turn — best places to stay, eat, shop and enjoy a drink. Here’s our inside scoop to Sayulita with stories from favorite moments, items we brought back — and a recipe to our go-to best Mexican cocktail (no matter the weather!).

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Quickly, we learned the Sayulita artisans are not only talented — but endlessly patient. These gorgeous macrame masks had a high price point because they can take more than a WEEK to craft. Each stitch is handmade and the entire mask is covered in intricate, gorgeous designs.

We snapped these photos outside the local shop, Evoke the Spirit, and wished we had time to sign up for a class — next time, we’ll work that into our agenda. Also — invest in a mask! Every time we think of this day, we regret not bringing back more and they’re stunning art pieces!

A highlight of our trip was the Saturday market in the center of downtown Sayulita! Be sure to plan the trip around shopping this expansive market, it’s where we found all of our best handcrafted items. Artisans come from all over Mexico to sell their work at this market — from pom pom strands to otomi (traditional Mexican embroidery) to straw masks.

No joke, we immediately bought up 60 strands of pompoms from white to bright, multicolored strands to turquoise and brown — we fell in love with them. Just to give you a glimpse: we were dying laughing trying to make a path in our hotel room — we had so many bags of pompoms we could barely walk through our space.

We’ve loved working these pieces into clients home such as this little girl’s bedroom in Davidson, where our last multicolor strand was just the think to make her window more playful. The straw mask added some personality to the open shelving in a client’s Uptown apartment — it was so him and the perfect finishing touch.

We don’t just love the items in client’s designs — but we designed our personal spaces with these items in mind! In Kell’s living room, you can see that this corner includes a hammock handmade in Sayulita, a bright cactus planter we picked up at the Saturday market — and a mask handmade in Sayulita. Not only do these pieces add personality, but they give Kell a reminder of our adventures, and to keep a global, creative perspective. Our spaces are curated with things we love and items that evoke inspiration.

A BEST memory of Sayulita was the hammock. Kell landed in Sayulita with the goal of finding a black hammock for this corner and NO LIE — every local artisan we talked to told us that there was not a single strand of black string left in the town! We didn’t give up. By the end of our days in Sayulita, EVERYONE at the market knew who House of Nomad was because we were the blonde duo who kept asking for the black hammock. On the last day, one of the vendors met us with a black hammock they had just woven. So — she is extra special piece!

A trip to Mexico would never be complete without some mezcal! We stumbled upon Cava, where we did a trio mezcal tasting — and that’s when our love affair with mezcal got deep. There are days we will just dream of these modern bar stools, the warm Sayulita wind pouring into the restaurant and the kick in our favorite mezcal cocktail.

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It’s absolutely delicious and they even passed along our favorite pineapple mezcal recipe from the trip! It is not only refreshing but has a good kick to it! If you can’t fit in a trip to Sayulita, at least make this drink for a wintry Charlotte day and help you dream of warmer days. Cheers!!

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Pineapple on Fire

  • Mashed pineapple

  • Chilli Serrano (2 slices)

  • Coriander

  • Lime

  • Salt

  • 1 shot mezcal

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A First-Timers Take on Thailand

Kel and I have just gotten back from Thailand. Jet-lagged - yep, a little sun burned - and inspired - oh, you bet!

I have never been to Asia (minus our honeymoon in the Maldives which I was told doesn't count, OK fine). Kelley and her husband Brad along with my husband Diek have spent a whole lot of time in Asia so everyone was excited for me to experience it for the first time and laugh at me along the way.

Thailand is one of those places that you experience sensory overload in the best way -- the people, the food, the shopping, the experiences -- it's all amazing! If you want to have a cultural experience, relax, eat amazing food and shop, this is your spot.

See below for our itinerary and my first-timer learnings. Please feel free to reach out with any questions if you ever decide to visit. Travel is our favorite thing and we are more than happy to help!

Itinerary:

Bangkok: 2 nights, 2 days + 1 day, one night on the way back

  • Checked out the temples - Wat Pho (where the leaning buddha is) and the Grand Palace

  • Did lots of market and shop shopping

  • Checked out food markets

  • Had cocktails at Sky Bar 

  • Ate at Gaggan  

Hangin' at Lebua Sky Bar

Hangin' at Lebua Sky Bar

Last night at Gaggan!

Last night at Gaggan!

Temple Time!

Temple Time!

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Where do we get our hands on this tree!!??

Where do we get our hands on this tree!!??

Dreamy details

Dreamy details

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Suhkothai: 2 nights, 2 days (plenty of time)

  • Took bikes to visit the ancient city (go early -- it's hot!)  

  • Visited markets

  • Ate at local restaurants

  • Saw lots of amazing pottery  

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Pottery heaven...

Pottery heaven...

Our friends at Ganesha Gallery 

Our friends at Ganesha Gallery 

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Koh Tao: 5 days, 6 nights

  • Went snorkeling

  • Rented scooters and checked out the different beaches and bars (High Bar for the win)

  • Ate amazing food (favorites: The Gallery, Su Chili, Farango, Fizz)  

  • Lots of massages

  • Cooking class with Joy - she is amazing! info@thaicookingkohtao.com  

  • Checked out! This is the place if you want to check out - for real. Its a beach bum's paradise!

Cocktail time at Fizz 

Cocktail time at Fizz 

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We love Joy!!

We love Joy!!

Spring rolls and drunken noodles!

Spring rolls and drunken noodles!

The makings of spring rolls!

The makings of spring rolls!

Totally screamed when we ran into this!

Totally screamed when we ran into this!

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What I learned:

The people:

They really are that nice. Some of the most friendly people I have ever met; they always have a smile across their faces.

Food:

Eat the street food. Before a trip I typically scour Trip Advisor and read up on the best restaurants to eat at. No need for Thailand. We had some of the best meals ever at some of the local spots and markets we stumbled upon. I will dream about all the fresh spring rolls and noodles. Take a cooking class! This was one of our favorite things and not overrated at all. In Bangkok we were lucky enough to get into Gaggan which was quite the experience in itself and highly recommend.

Drinks:

Drink the Chung. It's the local light beer and they go down easy. Also with all the fresh fruit we didn't have one bad cocktail. Lots infused with lychee, lemongrass and mango.

Sunscreen:

Lather up. I got so burned on my bike in Suhkothai without it. The sun comes through that haze and it's serious -- so use it.

Bug spray:

They bite. These mosquitoes are another level, make sure you bring or buy spray.

Clothes:

It's freaking hot. We were all over Thailand and it was just hot. Pack for easy and breezy -- no need for layers the time of the year we went. As you can imagine, I overpacked with kimonos and hardly wore any. Plus the shopping is amazing and you will want room for it all.

Massages:

Some of the best ones I have ever had. They are super cheap and just be open minded - this is not your American spa. These places are set up all over and generally are open floor plan - Kel and I laughed our way though our first one for sure.

Shopping:

Oh man. Where do I begin? First off, if you see something you love but think you may see it elsewhere -- stop that, buy it! We did this a few times and then had to retrace steps or try to find elsewhere which is just not worth it and stressful if you are crazy shoppers like us. Everything is so affordable! While you are there, look for baskets, pottery, clothes, jewelry, textiles. We didn't do Chang Mai this trip which seems to be the best place for textiles. Guess we will just have to go back!

What we found by place:

  • Bankgkok: there are great shops and markets. Shops offered a more curated experience where we were able to find better quality traditional Thai hats (at Thai Home Industries), clothes (Lofty Bamboo!) and jewelry. There are bead and jewelry shops all over and you are able to negotiate prices and find really nice things. At the markets we were able to find some embroidered goods which we totally regret not buying more of (next time!). 

  • Suhkothai: pottery. They are known for pottery in this region and it is soooo beautiful and intricate. We were lucky enough to bring home lots and meet the artist himself and his lovely family. Their home/studio is called Ganesha Gallery.

  • Koh Tao: beachy vibes for days. Amazing clothing options in the local shops and we were lucky to stumble upon a cart full of baskets! The locals use these baskets to carry things and most importantly fish. We mailed home a giant box full of them! Say a little prayer that the deliver some day, we hope to do a insta contest for them :)

Bottom line - take the trip, deal with the jet lag and experience Thailand for yourself. You wont regret it, we promise! Next on the list for us? Sayulitas! With our first sourcing trip under our belts we are ready for some serious shopping in Mexico with pom poms for days in March. Don’t worry we will be sure to keep you updated on insta @houseofnomaddesign