Chillin’ at a #BeachBar #JerseyShore #Brigantine @Visit_NewJersey (at Laguna Bar and Grill Brigantine New Jersey)

Chillin’ at a #BeachBar #JerseyShore #Brigantine @Visit_NewJersey (at Laguna Bar and Grill Brigantine New Jersey)

Beach time #JerseyShore #Brigantine #offthebeatenpath #travel @Visit_NewJersey (at Brigantine Beach)

Beach time #JerseyShore #Brigantine #offthebeatenpath #travel @Visit_NewJersey (at Brigantine Beach)

#JerseyShore #Brigantine #LaborDayWeekend @Visit_NewJersey (at Brigantine Beach)

#JerseyShore #Brigantine #LaborDayWeekend @Visit_NewJersey (at Brigantine Beach)

Happy to wake up to this! Good Morning from #Brigantine #Beach #JerseyShore Only 5 mins from #AtlanticCity @Visit_NewJersey #offthebeatenpath #travel (at Brigantine Beach)

Happy to wake up to this! Good Morning from #Brigantine #Beach #JerseyShore Only 5 mins from #AtlanticCity @Visit_NewJersey #offthebeatenpath #travel (at Brigantine Beach)

The Benefits of Traveling with Reversible Clothing

I had the pleasure of traveling to Asheville, North Carolina with my friend Jia Li, the brains behind the fashion brand, Jia Collection, that features very stylish and reversible and convertible clothing.

Reversible and convertible clothing are pieces that can be worn several different ways - inside out and backwards to achieve different looks. 

Let me tell you that Jia’s reversible clothing is amazing. It makes packing so much quicker and not having to check in a bag makes things so much easier. I was able to fit 2 of her pieces plus 3 pairs of shoes, a pair of jean shorts and a leather skirt plus all my toiletries into my carry-on!

For my weekend trip to Asheville, I brought 2 Jia Collection pieces with me. 

The CAREEN reversible dress 

Hanging out at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Photos by Jia Li. 

The EDITH reversible pullover

Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photos by Jia Li.

4 outfits with 2 pieces! I love it.

What I really love about Jia’s clothes are not only are they chic, sophisticated and stylish, they are also made of very breathable material – using high quality yarns made of silk, viscose, cotton and linen – making them really comfortable to wear.  The fabrics of her knits were surprisingly light and quite cool to wear, even in warmer temperatures.

I loved her stuff so much that I took more of her pieces on my trip to the Dominican Republic - they were still very comfortable to wear, even in the tropical climate.

 The Limited Edition MADELINE reversible dress - a great day to night dress!

Hanging out at Natura Cabana Boutique Ecolodge in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.  Photos by Daniel Para Mata.

The ABELLE reversible sleeveless top (white with blue stripes on the other side)

Brugal Rum Distillery Tour in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  Photos by Daniel Para Mata.

My favorite LBD (Little Black Dress) is also from her collection - This convertible GIA dress can be worn three or more ways. So technically, I have THREE black dresses in one!

Gia convertible LBD dress from Jia Collection.  Photos of Patricia Serrano by Raymond Patrick.

I LOVE having Jia’s very unique, beautiful reversible, convertible designs in my closet. I know that these classic, multi-functional pieces are going to be in my closet (and with me on my travels!) for a very long time. 

Sign up on the Jia Collection signup page and get 10% off all orders right away as a VIP member

BONUS! Get an additional 25% off ALL ORDERS using the promo code FRESHTRAVELER during your check out until September 15th! (9/15/2014). FREE SHIPPING on all orders within the US. For information on international orders click here.

Click here to browse all the clothes in her collection



Recovering… at the #rooftop of #hotelempire #nyc w @danpm82 @angelikmesa ;) (at The Empire Hotel Rooftop)

Recovering… at the #rooftop of #hotelempire #nyc w @danpm82 @angelikmesa ;) (at The Empire Hotel Rooftop)

Happy birthday @danpm82 @merfdez & @gonzalitogm #nyc #rooftop #party #dj #worldmusic (at Tower 31)

#iwanna @lwoysterco #nyc (at L & W Oyster Co.)

#iwanna @lwoysterco #nyc (at L & W Oyster Co.)

#mayaangelou #quote

#mayaangelou #quote

My stay at Eco Resort Natura Cabana in Cabarete, Dominican Republic

So many shades of blue! #myfavoritecolor #caribbean #caberete @naturacabana #beach #sunisshining #theweatherissweet

On a Caribbean island that is famous for their all-inclusives, I wanted to get away from all that as much as possible and really get back to nature, and at Natura Cabana Boutique Hotel and Spa, I was able to soak in all the shades of blue of the Caribbean, as well as all the greens of the boutique resort’s flora and fauna. I really enjoyed staying at this rustic eco-friendly hideaway tucked in-between the Dominican North Coast town of Cabarete and Sosua, located in a private residential area away from the tourists called Paseo de Sol. I highly recommend it to all who want to really get away from it all and truly rejuvenate.

Happy in my #cabana @naturacabana only has 10 #eco cabanas #green #travel #ecotravel #sustainable

They are in the process of installing solar panels as their main electricity source, but this is not completed yet. 

There is an organic garden at Natura Cabana, where they grow all the herbs, vegetables and some fruit that is used in their open air restaurants - Karaya and Natura. They recycle everything that is organic to use for compost in their garden. 

During my lunches there, I found their food super fresh (the fish freshly caught & the vegetables are from their organic garden) and very delicious. My favorite dishes from their open-air restaurant Karaya were the Seafood Ceviche and the Shrimp Satay. It went so well with my mojito, which was also very refreshing and just what I needed.

Lunch at @naturacabana #delish #shrimpsatay & #seafood #ceviche #organicfood #freshseafood #mojito

I really loved the rustic Robinson Crusoe atmosphere of Natura Cabana. All of the 10 bungalows are built with stone walls and thatched roofs and there are no paved roads on the property.  You really feel like you’re in a secluded little paradise. Although there is no air-conditioning (most eco-lodges don’t have air-conditioning because it uses up a lot of electricity), you’re not exactly roughing it.  It’s really a luxe little paradise - they even have L’Occitane natural beauty products in their bathrooms.

Happy to see that @naturacabana #ecolodge has @LOCCITANE #naturalbeautyproducts in their bathroom & My patio at @naturacabana has a #swing that goes quite well with my #Madeline #reversibledress by @jiacollection

I really loved the zen vibe of their open-air yoga pavilion. You could tell that a healthy lifestyle is greatly encouraged here.  All of this really makes a difference for me and this is why I think that Natura Cabana was a great space to contemplate, rejuvenate and get away from all the stresses of daily life.

OM… #yoga @naturacabana #ecolodge #green #namaste

I took a class with Clara de Freitas,, who was simply amazing. Her yoga classes were heart-centered. After chatting with her before classes, I learned that she had discovered yoga in 2003 after she was in a severe car accident. Since then, she’s been fully committed to healing the body and mind so the students can develop their connection with their hearts, their truth, and expand the highway to universal wisdom and peace that lies within each and everyone of us.  

Another reason I like Natura Cabana is that they use an energy saving eco-filtration system made by a local company called Ecoserve for their water so that their tap water is drinkable (although it is not recommended to drink tap water in DR). They have also installed a Mineralization System for their pool that minimizes the amount of chlorine that they need to put into it, so essentially you’re swimming in healthier waters. Less chlorine that won’t damage your skin or your hair. 

This is what #relaxation looks like @naturacabana #ecolodge #cabarete #dominicanrepublic

A family-owned business, the owners of Natura Cabana also support the Mariposa Foundation, a local school for girls, in the form of monetary donations, as well as in the form of prizes (stays at the hotels, or restaurant, spa etc) at their fundraising gala events. 

I really love the origin story of Natura Cabana. it was initially the home of a Chilean couple and their two daughters who immigrated to the Dominican Republic. The land where the eco-resort now stands was a complete jungle, and to keep with their eco-friendly practices, the trees that were cut down to make room for their house were the same ones used in the construction of their home. 

Pablo Garimani, the husband and the father of the two daughters who left Chile behind, was also the architect of Natura Cabana, and tried as much as possible not to interfere with the natural surroundings, but to incorporate it into the design of the resort. 

For example, in the bungalow where the reception is located, you can find a hole on the ground and the roof so that a palm tree could continue growing in the same spot.  Another bungalow (named Coral) was build around a natural coral that was left intact.

Pablo’s wife, Lole, is also very into natural medicine and organic healing practices. And her influence can be seen in the resort - from the Buddha Path that leads to the organic garden where herbs and vegetables are grown to the zen-ness of the yoga pavilion and the organic spa. You can get a treatment with local Dominican mud with natural healing and rejuvenating properties.

The growth of the eco-resort was very organic as well.  After the family’s house was built, they built a guest house for friends and family visiting from abroad. Eventually, they started renting it out to friends of friends and when the demand became higher, they were inspired to build several more - including two restaurants.

On the last day of my stay at Natura Cabana - I had a relaxing beachside massage on the hotel’s private beach, as I listened to the waves - real ones, not the ones played from a CD.

What a lovely end to this sweet adventure. And with that, I advise you my friends, to venture off the beaten tourist path to discover what you may not be able to read in tourist guides. I assure you that it is well worth it. 

And to quote that famous poem by Robert Frost,

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—    
I took the one less traveled by,    
And that has made all the difference. ”

Post-lunch activity #massageonthebeach at @naturacabana #ecolodge #cabarete #offthebeatenpath #privatebeach #dominicanrepublic

For more on my travels in Cabarete & the Dominican Republic, check out my FRESHTRAVELER GUIDE to Cabarete, Dominican Republic 

Natura CabanaPaseo del Sol # 5, Perla Marina, Cabarete, Dominican Republic