The Keukenhof, Holland

I’m sorry for going quiet these past few days. There are ebbs and flows in blogging, and this past week has definitely been a photo-taking, e-mail-answering, event-attending week. So I neglected the blog space slightly, for which I am sorry! To make it up to you, I would like to share the most colorful post of all time :) One of the reasons I’ve been preoccupied lately is because I’ve had a slew of guests visiting over the past few weeks. First my two best friends, Katie and Amie, came to town. Then my Mom. And then two good friends from college. So now springtime is coming to a close, and I truly feel like the past month has flown by in a blur. I took two weeks off from work, and there have been numerous long holiday weekends this month as well. As you can imagine, with so many guests, I’ve been constantly on the go, super social, and doing tons of cool things in and around Amsterdam! One sunny day while my Mom was here, we headed over to the stunning Keukenhof to admire the endless flower gardens (I’ve mentioned the Keukenhof before here, in my Amsterdam city guide!)
IMG_7168I really have no words that could compare to the beauty of the Keukenhof . . .  Continue reading

Museumplein is Under Water, Amsterdam

Last night I got a text from my friend Jess at 11:45pm that read, “Meet me in Museumplein in 5 minutes.” It was late and I was already in my pajamas, but Jess and I often hang out at unconventional times (Sunday night cups of tea at 10.30pm are kind of our thing), and to be honest, I didn’t have much else on my Tuesday late-night agenda other than sleep. So I threw on my Chucks and grabbed my camera, intent on photographing the cute Miffy Bunnies currently residing in Museumplein. Little did I know, something a way more photo-worthy was in store. As I rolled up to the Rijks, the sky was illuminated by a blanket of blue.
IMG_7299I called Jess right away, wondering where she was and what the heck was going on! Apparently, the Rijks has just purchased a new painting, titled ‘De doorbraak van de Sint-Anthonisdijk bij Amsterdam’ which roughly translates to ‘The breakthrough of St. Anthonis Dike in Amsterdam’ which was created by 17th century painter Jan Asselijn. Continue reading

The Best Nachos in Amsterdam

A few months ago, I got a major craving for nachos. Unfortunately, Mexico is quite a ways away from Holland, so there are very few Tex-Mex or authentic Navajo joints sprawling about the city. Luckily, I’m a member of the Sid Lee Supper Club, and therefore have several culinarily inquisitive friends. Together, we decided to embark on an epic Mexican adventure – a quest to uncover the best nachos in Amsterdam. We famed our escapades the Nach’yo Average Pub Crawl, and mapped out several local Mexican haunts to visit around the city. Armed with score cards and sombreros, we kicked off our escapades on a sunny day, in search of crispy chips, melted cheese, and cool, creative toppings.IMG_6865

We planned to visit six spots around the city that served nachos – de Biertuin, Agabi Santa Maria, Cafe Harlem, Los Pilones, Waterkant, and Cannibale Royal. Some we’d been to before, some we’d heard good things about, and others we’d found on TripAdvisor.  Continue reading

While Mom Sleeps

Right now my mom is sleeping on the couch beside me. It’s the first time she’s come to visit me in Amsterdam (and holy cow it’s been FIVE years) so I’ve pretty much been over the moon these past few days. Prior to Mom’s visit, I had two of my closest girlfriends in town, also visiting from Maine. So I’ve taken quite a bit of time off of work lately, for a stay-cation, which I’ve never done in Amsterdam before. Every day has felt like a Saturday, with shops open, cafes buzzing, and warm weather slowly creeping into the city. As I haven’t done a personal ‘how are you feeling’ post lately, I thought I would catch up with you now, mid-spring adventure time and before the summer really kicks off. 3bdc13c07d14676f612bc6cdc1827232

So, how is Ali? Continue reading

Southend-on-Sea

Nat is one of my awesome UK girlfriends. I’ve told you about her previously, when we popped into Granger & Co and caught up over scrambled eggs and strong coffee. She’s a doll who has been a good a friend since we both worked at a summer camp in Maine, way back in the day! As she now lives in the UK, I wanted to squeeze in some Nat time on my most recent London trip. Turns out, Nat had a rental car for a few days over the long holiday weekend, so we booked in a mini road trip to the seaside.

When I go to London, I rarely escape. I love eating out, fancy cocktail bars, a billion shopping options, and of course soaking up as much friend time as humanly possible. I’ve never really ventured outside of London to see the likes of Windsor or St Albans, both of which are on my bucket list. This time around, Nat suggested we head over to Southend-on-Sea, an adorable seaside town in Essex, England. It’s a short drive east from central London, and boasts of the longest ‘leisure’ pier in the world. IMG_6604The sky was grey, which in my opinion only made the day more beautiful – I LOVE taking photos when the sky is overcast. Also, turns out there was a big motorcycle convention in the Southend that day, which meant lots of big burly men walking around in leather (and women too!) and loud motorbikes screaming in every direction.  Continue reading

Brick Lane Colors and Tacos, London

After the long holiday weekend, most Londoners returned to business. However, I had Tuesday off of work (three days in London is never enough!) and so I decided to roam the streets of East London with my camera, doing some vintage shopping and eating copious amounts of street food along the way.IMG_6660

Brick Lane got its name in the 15th century, when brick and tile were manufactured from local deposits. Today, Brick Lane is populated with a large Bangladeshi community and is THE place to go to in London for a mind blowing curry. The area is also world-famous for its graffiti. It’s clear to see that from the local shops, markets, and colors that Brick Lane is an art and fashion hotspot in London.  Continue reading

The Breakfast Club, London

If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably noticed that I was chillin’ in London Town last weekend. When B and I were together, we would go to the UK every Easter. We would see friends in London, and then train it up to Leicester to spend Easter Sunday with B’s grandparents. It’s crazy to think that less than a year ago, B and I were engaged and both of his grandparents were alive. Now none of these things are true, and it’s almost spring again. The trees are blooming and the sun is out late. I feel like this quote by Ernest Hemingway sums up the change in seasons, and my re-birth into a new life . . . .

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason. In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.” 

This spring I’m feeling especially fresh and triumphant. I’ve made it through a long, icy winter, and am now rejoicing as the earth unthaws beneath my toes. My trip to London was the start of a new season where gloves were shed and I feasted with friends (I actually ended last summer in London, so perhaps kicking off a new season in London is becoming a tradition!) I took a bunch of photos to share on the blog (London is just so colorful), and I wanted to start with perhaps the most delicious set, taken at The Breakfast Club with Madelien. Feast your eyes on this:

DSC_1810

Continue reading

Sofar Sounds, Amsterdam

I very selfishly don’t want to tell you about Sofar Sounds. Each month, Sofar Sounds host secret living room concerts. The gigs are intimate and the musical acts are fantastic, so as you can imagine, the waiting lists are long! Unfortunately, the more people I tell about Sofar, the more people I have to fight for a spot on the guest list. So while it’s in my very best (selfish) interest not to tell you about Sofar, the concept is such a gem, I would feel guilty not reporting back on my new favorite Sunday evening activity.
IMG_6463If you like beer, making new friends, sitting cross-legged on a stranger’s floor, and rocking out to live music, I guarantee you will love Sofar Sounds too!

Continue reading

Baked, Amsterdam

2015-03-Baked

I did not take this photo, it’s from the Baked website: http://baked-restaurant.com/

I want to caveat this entire post by telling you that I’m not your cliché Amsterdam tourist. I don’t spend my weekends in coffee shops, I can’t remember the last time I went to the Red Light District, I’ve never seen a sex show, and I most definitely could not stomach a whole weed brownie. Aside from the occasional white wine or vodka soda, my vices are quite limited, and while I love Amsterdam’s liberal mindset, I very rarely indulge in the leniencies allowed. However, on occasion, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presents itself . . . and in this instance the opportunity was an invitation to Baked, a fancy six-course tasting menu served with lots of love and a sprinkling of drugs. The Baked website will tell you that this dinner is a ‘tasting trip’ where haute cuisine meets natural highs ‘from Marijuana and Hashish to more esoteric psychoactive ingredients such as Syrian Rue, Magic Truffles and Kanna Extract’. Do I know what all of these things are? No. Was I intrigued? Ohh yes! Several of my colleagues were also interested in becoming gourmet psychonauts, and so last Saturday night a big group of us booked in for an out of this world // mind // body drug dinner extravaganza. Continue reading

Baked Macaroni n’ Cheesecake

There’s really nothing I can say or do to prepare you for this blog post. It’s cheesy. It’s bacon-y. And it’s probably the most delicious one-dish-wonder you will fork into your mouth this week. Saliva glands, prepare! I proudly present to you, in partner with my hungry stomach and my fat-kid imagination, baked Macaroni n’ Cheesecake:Macaroni and CheesecakeBefore I dive into the recipe, I want to tell you how this cheesy brainchild was born. I invited the girls over for a roast on Sunday, and promised them, well, a roast. However, the night before I drank just a littlleee too much, so instead of a pan roasted chicken and baby rosemary potatoes, all I could think about were carbs. And bacon. And cheese. And so I walked through the grocery store, collecting my hungover cravings. By the time I got to the checkout counter, it became apparent – we were having mac n’ cheese. But as this was Sunday dinner, I had to try and make it a little fancy, right? So I whipped out my bundt pan, buttered her up, and took your standard macaroni and cheese to a whole new, fancy-pants level! Continue reading