My gosh it is hot out today. The weather in Amsterdam is quite smoldering, and although we have air conditioning and heaps of sunlight pouring into the office, I can’t help look out the window and lament sitting at my desk, because, damn the sun looks fantastic out there! This hot weather is reminiscent of St. Tropez, minus the pool, beach, and fancy-pants room service. Day 1 in St. Tropez was filled with excitement and formal activities, but day two was completely unplanned and laid back. Continue reading
While I love blogging, my day job is also pretty cool. I work at a global advertising agency called Sid Lee (some office photos here), where we make ads for clients like Facebook, Red Bull, and Absolut. Advertising is very much a work hard play hard industry, and the brands you work with often contribute to the overall culture of the agency. There are countless late nights and busy weekends, but on the flip side, at Sid Lee, there are also expensed dinners, cool colleagues, agency parties, and many, many Absolut cocktails. Recently, to say ‘thanks’ for a long year of hard work, the Sid Lee Amsterdam team was treated to a long weekend in paradise. I briefly mentioned our travel regime in my previous post – our airplane left Schiphol at 6am – which meant we had to meet in the airport lobby bright and early at 4.15am. Of course I pulled an all-nighter (I was THAT person at the airport) and stumbled through security and found my seat on the plane in a tipsy, blurry haze. After a few hours of dozing on the plane, and then on a bus, we arrived in St. Tropez. Continue reading
The past 10 days have been a total whirlwind. Friday the 12th was my (amazing, cool, super sweet) friend Kira’s birthday. It was a hot night, and so we ate popsicles and danced outside until it was dark, and then danced some more inside until the sun came back a few hours later. I love summertime in Amsterdam, and how many lucky hours of sunlight we get here! I had a super early 6am flight Saturday, and made it home from the birthday-dance party just in time to catch a 4am cab to the airport. I would rather dance all night than sleep for only 4 hours. The feeling of waking up with only a half-night’s sleep makes me sick to my stomach. Thankfully, I was able to recovered from my all-nighter with a solid nap on the plane, followed by a second bus-doze. After 6 hours of nap-traveling (while others drank beers and did fun awake things), the entire Sid Lee Amsterdam team arrived at St Tropez in France. I’ve been to the south of France for holiday before (read here, here, and here), and truly believe it’s one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in Europe. The Sid Lee crew spent the entire weekend, all of Monday, and half of Tuesday out of the office, soaking up the sun, eating seafood, and relaxing on the beach. I have ample St Tropez photos to come (perhaps the first double-post of this summer!?) but let’s stick to the ‘busy’ storyline for one more minute. Upon our return, work was insane. Although we only had 3.5 days in the office, there were 5 days worth of work to be done. By the time Friday arrived, I felt physically and mentally exhausted, and fell into bed early after a lavish Chinese dinner (I can never resist a good Nam Kee session) Then this past weekend I went camping in Belgium (probably no blog post on this as I illegally camped in a national park – ha!) and now Monday has come and gone and I’m taking a moment to pause, thinking . . . *wow* where has June gone?!
Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to the past few days, hence being light on the blogging. But now, let’s get to the meat of this post! A few weeks ago, I noticed an adorable new vintage shop on my street, and so I took it upon myself to investigate. Kiloshop Amsterdam is a new(ish) ‘vintage by the kilo’ shop in de Pijp that not only sells vintage clothing, but also has a beautiful indoor hang-space where you can sip coffee and eat croissants in a bath of natural sunlight. Continue reading
Little Collins is my favorite brunch spot in Amsterdam. Instead of sporting your typical pancakes and bacon, their menu features a delicious range, from traditional to trendy, with items such as thick, homemade sausages and mouth-watering sweet and sour pork belly. Their meals are hearty, filling, and quite honestly, served by some of the nicest wait staff in Amsterdam. Little Collins is located a block from my flat in de Pijp, so I end up sipping mimosas on their terrace in the sun at least once a month (twice if we’re being honest). I’ve never blogged about Little Collins before, because they’re such a ‘usual’ on my brunch-list. In my mind, they’re a delicious and reliable Sunday spot – not a new and newsworthy experience to share. But my blasé perception of Little Collins is incorrect, as they truly do serve some of the best brunch food in Amsterdam. Continue reading
Four years ago, I read a fantastic book series by George R.R. Martin. I was immediately enthralled with the characters, the fictitious lands, and the juicy plot lines. I started scouring online forums for spoilers, theories, and other fan fiction. To say I was a Game of Thrones geek would be an absolute understatement. I was Daenerys Targaryen, Robb Stark, or Cersei Lannister, pending the day and my mood. Never did I imagine I would get to see some of my favorite characters come to life on HBO.
At first I resisted watching the TV series. I’d read the books and didn’t want to fumble through inaccurate plot lines and poorly portrayed characters. But come the third season, I could’t resist. I didn’t have to backtrack, because, hey, I’d read the books! And George R.R. Martin had made it abundantly clear that The Winds of Winter (the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series) would not be coming out for quite some time, so I needed a Game of Thrones fix in between reads. Truth be told, HBO did not disappoint. The acting is superb, the costumes and set designs are mind blowing, and the plot lines are equally alive. So when HBO asked if I wanted to attend the Game of Thrones Exhibition in Amsterdam, my answer was not ‘yes’, it was ‘HELLLLS YES!’
The Game of Thrones Exhibition is an international, traveling event, featuring costumes, props, and interactive installation. Continue reading
This past weekend, something exciting happened. My Dad sent me random, cryptic texts, asking me to call home. My phone had been dead for 15 hours prior, so I had a mild panic attack when I plugged it in and saw I’d missed my Dad’s numerous attempts to contact me. I called home right away, but turns out, my panic was in vain. Instead of professing bad news, my Dad asked if I wanted to visit home this summer, as he had an offer for a free ticket in July (it rocks to have a Dad with a gabillion air miles!) Of course I said yes, and so instead of visiting New England’s beautiful fall foliage in October, I’ll now be joining my family at home in Maine for the 4th of July (which is one of my favorite holidays!) My mom and I immediately started planning day excursions and fun overnights, which of course made me reminisce on last year’s summer trip home. Before I knew it, I was clicking through old blog posts of Peaks Island and Ferry Beach, craving Maine sunshine and salty air.
Amidst all this travel excitement, KLM reached out to me, and asked if I’d be interested in promoting their Flying View competition. Continue reading
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!)
I really have no words that could compare to the beauty of the Keukenhof . . . Continue reading
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.
I 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
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.
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
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.
So, how is Ali? Continue reading