Monday, May 22, 2017

an in-depth guide to Tulum: part one

Well our Tulum vacation has come to an end and we are pretty sad about it. We took so many pictures, acquired a whole lot of information and had a blast! We knew we would want to write a post about our trip when we returned, so we figured we should go ahead and give you all the information we have. Before we went we did a lot of research and honestly couldn't find answers to many of our questions. Don't get me wrong, we loved every minute of our trip and never felt like we were unprepared. We just thought it would be nice if we could give you all of our resources! Originally we were going to put this in one post, but it's a lot of information so we have separated it into 4 parts. (Come back next Monday for part two.)
So if you are planning a trip to the lovely beach town of Tulum, buckle up, here we go!

Knowing the Area

First things first, this map. This map would've been great to have while we were trying to figure out where to stay. It explains where everything is. It is a map after all. Casey and her mom had been to Tulum the year before and stayed in "Tulum" but as we found out, a lot of things are considered Tulum and those places are all over the place. Where they stayed (Dreams Resort) is not where you want to be, I promise. They did love their vacation that year, but knew if they returned that they wanted to stay where we stayed this trip.

The green on the map is the jungle, as you can imagine.  This is where you want to be. When someone says something is "on the jungle side" they mean on the jungle side of the main road. As you can see on the map, there is one road that runs straight through the jungle. This is the one and only road that goes along the beach and on one side you have all the hotels that are on the beach (the beach side) and on the other side you have more hotels and restaurants on the jungle side. It's a small road.
Before we went, "the jungle side" and "the beach side" seemed like they were different parts of town the way people talked about it. But they are actually just a couple steps apart. And when you are on the road you will think "this is strange because there is jungle on both sides." That is correct, but the side that has the beach and the jungle is the beach side.
Okay so the beach is fabulous, but it's not the only part worth seeing. The city part is also very important to experiencing Tulum to it's fullest. Look for "Tulum Pueblo" on the map. The town and beach area are really close to each other, yet they feel like completely different worlds.

There are two main roads that intersect so it's pretty simple finding things, but addresses aren't really a thing in Tulum. It's more like "pass the second speed bump and turn right." For real. We learned pretty quickly that you just really have to pay attention when looking for a place because putting an address in your phone isn't really going to help much. Especially with the internet/phone service near the beach. I mean you wouldn't even have an address to put in, you'd just have to search and hope that business is on google. This is only the case if you are driving- we rented a car (we recommend renting a car. It's pretty cheap- like $150 for a week). If you are using taxis, they will know where they are going and if you are biking, you won't be going fast enough to miss something...probably.

Other Random Tips

Exchange your money to pesos before your trip if you can. If you give your bank a week you can get the best exchange rate. If you don't do that, then just get money out of an ATM. We did this at the airport. You can use American dollars in Tulum but you will get the worst exchange rate that way and it's also a lot easier for people to rip you off- especially cab drivers. 

Be prepared to have spotty internet and phone service. Even at our hotel, it was in and out. We had better internet in town in our Airbnb. Embrace the disconnectedness. I'm not going to lie- that was one of the most frustrating parts. Also, add an international cell phone plan to your phone so you can use data when there isn't wifi. 

Things to remember before you head to Tulum:
1. Mosquitos and the protection against them will be a part of your life.
2. Sunblock will also need to be a part of your life.
3. The speed bumps are pretty disguised and plentiful.
4. A little Spanish will go a long way, although not required.
5. Seaweed could definitely be a part of your life. (We used these days to explore other areas.)

Okay this is a great start. Come back next Monday when we'll be talking about where you should stay!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

a brand for other brands

Hey guys! I just wanted to share some things Casey and I are currently talking about in our business. These are just thoughts and they may not flow perfectly, but I basically just wanted to talk it out with someone!

For a while now Casey and I have been talking about what Hey Wanderer looks like in the future. Since pretty early on, we thought that Hey Wanderer could/would be bigger than just kimonos. Don't get us wrong, we love a kimono, we love making one of a kind and custom pieces, we just think we exist for something bigger and/or different. (We also plan on always having kimonos!) We still really aren't sure of details, we are just feeling some things out of the moment, but Casey and I both have a desire to build up other brands and businesses. We are constantly wanting to hear what people have to say about our brand, people who aren't in it and who can just be an outsider looking in. We think about things like "Is our branding right? Does this photo go with our branding? Even though our branding is good, does it align with what we are selling?" If we think like this, we know everyone else does too. Well I'm assuming almost everyone else.
I'm not sure if you would call it a talent, a curse, or a blessing, but Casey and I both look at things and immediately see what is wrong. (Real life Casey called a church not that long ago to let them know that they didn't have their location on their website.) And besides this, we both really actually enjoy photos and editing and creating a really great photoshoot. Multiple times we have talked about just becoming photographers, because that is just a little more straightforward. Our work always seems like there are 128 different directions we could head in which means there are a lot of ways to fail. We realized that the thought of doing all these things for other brands seems appealing. As a small brand ourselves, we know how hard it is to get help without paying a hefty price. Most companies and agencies are built for medium to large companies. So we thought man, what if we exist to do all these things for other people? What if the things that we know how to do and that we have done for ourselves over the years could be something we do over and over again for our peers, favorite brands and business- big and small? 
Now we are at the part where we don't know where to go from here. I think we've agreed that we would just love to start working with some people or brands. I guess it may just start out like we are doing some collaborations. Here are a few of things that we are willing to do for people and businesses:
- Monthly Instagram plans
- Creative direction and complete execution of photoshoots of your product
- Weekly photoshoots for blog posts of IG of product or outfits 
- Simple analysis of your Instagram and branding
- Straight up running your IG
- and anything else you can think of that we know how to do!

Like I said, this is just where our heads are right now. We are still making clothes and doing wedding pieces. But now we are ready to think outside the box! So if you have any ideas or are looking to collaborate, send us an email! We are always open to any and all ideas and would love to get some things cooking for your brand.

xo, Savannah

Monday, May 1, 2017

before and after: downstairs bathroom

Guys. This is the tiniest bathroom in the world. Okay.... maybe not in the world. But it's extremely small. Like 37.5 sq. ft including the closet small. Here is another photo for reference...
It was definitely a tight squeeze. I'm not saying it is extremely spacious now, but it's a lot better. There were a lot of design problems in our bathroom before. The door opened inward and took up so much space. Trying to get to the toilet between the sink and the door was always a treat. Having a shower curtain closed off almost half of the space and the tile on the floor was broken and stained. There was a wall behind the door that was actually a closet that opened up into the room behind the bathroom. Plenty of things that needed an upgrade, but we knew this bathroom wouldn't be renovated for a while after moving in.
But then one day the ceiling fell in.
We apparently had some plumbing issues in the upstairs bathroom and it had been dripping into the ceilings below. One night we came home around midnight and the ceiling in the bathroom looked pregnant. There clearly was a problem, but we couldn't do anything about it that late at night. Around 5 in the morning the ceiling fell in. Cue bathroom renovation time!
The bathroom ended up having to be gutted. The floor had to be rebuilt. New walls, new window, new bathtub, toilet, sink, hardware, plumbing, tile, and the list goes on.

One of the greatest updates is that the closet now opens to the bathroom! We didn't have any hidden storage before, but now we have the cabinet under the sink and a whole closet. It's a tiny closet, but it's perfect. We searched for a sink that 1) had a nice design and 2) had a smaller depth than the one we had before. We wanted to open the space up as much as possible.
Our bathroom was like a dark hole originally. There was one light and a small window. Our goal was to have a brighter bathroom, which was not hard to do.
We got a new door which now matches our other doors in the hallway. The door now opens into the hallway which frees up some space in the bathroom. We thought this would be hard to adjust to, but it wasn't an ordeal at all.
In the bathroom before there was no outlet, so we definitely had to add one. We knew we wanted our hardware and shower head etc. to be gold. If you've ever looked for these things in gold, you know they are very pricey. Casey found the Delta Trinsic collection that has a color called "champagne bronze" and it was affordable and a gold-ish color that wasn't yellowy. We found a spray paint color that matched pretty well and we painted our mirror (because it was really yellowy) and soap pump.
Another favorite thing in the bathroom are these little nooks for shower things. Originally we had this three layered metal caddy that things always fell out of. Plus it was ugly. Every time I take a shower now I admire these built in shelves. Everything has place and nothing falls out.
The glass door was really important for this renovation. We wanted to make the bathroom seem larger and having a barrier, like a shower curtain, seemed like it'd be working against that. Plus we had the tile laid in this fun herringbone pattern and it needs to be seen. You don't want to do all that work and then cover it up! 
Casey's stepdad had put up a wood ceiling to close off what had fallen down. (After the plumbing had been fixed of course.) It had to be pulled down during renovation, but we decided to keep the same situation. It really adds character to the space.
Okay other favorite thing of the bathroom- the tile. This was THE biggest dilemma of the bathroom. The tile held up a lot of the renovations. Originally we wanted black and white tile. There weren't too many good options in black and white, but we found a few. When we finally decided on one it was this one but in black. Then of course, we couldn't get it for 8 weeks. We needed the tile ASAP so we had to choose between a gray color and this blue color. I feel very anti-gray in most situations so the blue seemed right. Everyone agreed that the blue would work great and it was settled. We also had to decide if we wanted light or dark grout. We had our tile guys special mix a gray that was the same darkness of the blue. We saw some examples of people using white grout and it really changed the design.

Anyway, here it is! I feel like we've been talking about this renovation forever, and it's finally done! And we love it. I'm going to try to tell you where everything is from below!

Things that came from Amazon- Cabinet knobs, mirror, bath faucet, sink faucet
 // Sink and cabinet- Ikea // Tile- Mission (via Stone Source) // Hand towel- Anthropologie // Soap Dispenser- Target // Light fixture  // Contractor- Justin Adams in Nashville 

xo, Savannah