A Romantic Evening at Casa di David, Amsterdam

I’m writing this post while soaring on an airplane towards Italy. I’m turning 30 this weekend and wanted to celebrate three centuries of life surrounded by friends and the Italian countryside. Although I grew up in the US, my family is very Italian, and so my birthdays were always accompanied with big family dinners and a spaghetti and meatball feast, typically followed by Italian pastries (supplied by my Grampy), gifts, and many well wishes. I know good Italian food. I have so many wonderful Italian chefs in my family, and I have also ventured over to Italy on many occasions to take in the scenery, the culture, and above all, the cuisine! When in Amsterdam, it’s hard to come by a decent Italian meal. There are many restaurants offering Pizza (and don’t get me wrong, some of these joints are fantastic!) but there are very few locals that are comparable to the real Italy. img_7271Casa di David is on my list as a  ‘definitely yes!’ when it comes to Italian dining in Amsterdam. A few weeks ago, the boy and I were lucky enough to snag a front-of-the-house table on a dark and dreary summer evening. And so we stayed dry inside, sipping wine and twirling fresh pasta around our forks in the candlelight. Continue reading

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A Night at Zoku, Amsterdam

I have a confession. . . . I am a nomadaholic. I get such a rush from hopping on a plane, traveling to a new destination, and exploring the unknown. Put simply, I am addicted to travel, and I have built my life around this passion – I work at Booking.com as a Brand Communications Manager, where I spend my days creating travel ads and content. I live in Amsterdam, a hub for European exploration. I write for multiple travel publications around the web, sharing city tips and helping others plan their adventures. And of course, I love spending time writing here, at Amsterdam & Beyond, my beloved travel journal :) Because of my passion and lifestyle, I can usually be found boarding a plane at least once or twice a month, whether I’m traveling for work or for leisure. I’ve flown with dozens of airliners, and have stayed at hundreds of hotels (part and parcel of the job!) But recently I stayed at a new kind of hotel, one I had not come accross in my adventures before.IMG_5798

Zoku is located in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic eastern Canal District, on the Weesperstraat (very close to the Amstel). While most hotel rooms are built for sleeping, Zoku’s loft designs shift the focus from the bed to the living space, with a four­ person table that can be used to work, dine, entertain, or just hang out. As a business traveler, this is a dream come true! No more awkward, cramped, late-night meetings around a bed! As a travel writer and marketer, I was invited to spend a night at Zoku ahead of their grand opening, along with a few friends. Continue reading

Visiting the Tulip Fields in Holland

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you might have noticed that my travel schedule has been (for lack of a better a phrase) pretty f*cking hectic lately. In April I had guests or work travel every week, with the exception of one stunning long weekend, right at the end of the month. My boyfriend, who I had been neglecting due to work obligations and guests, sweetly suggested that we enjoy the long weekend together. And so I took a red eye back from NYC, napped for a few short morning hours, and packed yet another bag. Thankfully, we had decided to forgo planes and enjoy a mini-European road trip, with an overnight in Antwerp, Belgium and some spontaneous pit stops along the way. Road trippppp! :)IMG_5592Springtime is my favorite season in Holland. In the spring, the weather is often warmer and more reliably sunny than in the summer, and!! you have the tulips. Miles and miles of endless colors paint the horizon, as Holland’s flagship crop begins to bloom. As Kai had never seen the Dutch tulips in all their vivid glory (which I’ve done before, many times! here and here) I suggested that we take our first road trip pit stop in Lisse, where the rainbow-colored tulip fields are both abundant and magnificent.

If you are also interested in visiting the tulips in Holland, here are some tips on when to visit, what to do, and how to get there (along with some photos from our adventure!) Continue reading

Easter in Texel, The Netherlands

Usually I spend the long Easter weekend in London (see here and here) but this year, I decided to switch it up. I’m headed over to the UK for the Royal Ascot in June, so I’ll still be seeing all of my London friends then, on a slightly belated schedule this year :) And to be honest, I’ve been traveling so much for work as of late, the thought of cramming all of my belongings into yet another suitcase, braving Schiphol, and hopping on an airplane in my downtime sounded tiring and unappealing. And so as the long Easter weekend slowly crept up, I decided to stay local. IMG_4586Luckily, my guy friend ;) was also stark on plans, and so we started toying around with the idea of taking a road trip up to Texel, an island in the north of Holland marked by endless dunes and white sandy beaches.  Continue reading

Jordaan Food Tour, Amsterdam

A few weeks ago, Eating Amsterdam reached out and asked if I would like to join in on one of their food tours. Typically, I would not think to hop on a food tour in my own city – I’ve been forking my way around Amsterdam for the past five years, and by now I’m well acquainted with all things edible and Dutch, ranging from raw herring to my beloved stroopwafels. However, when I checked out Eating Amsterdam’s website, I noticed that they had a Jordaan Food Tour, which sparked my interest, as I’m not nearly as familiar as I’d like to be with the food scene in the Jordaan. As a de Pijp local, I thought it would be fun to discover the culinary gems of another neighborhood. IMG_0387Fast forward a few e-mails, and I’m booked into Eating Amsterdam’s 4-hour Jordaan Food Tour, featuring a guided walk through the Jordaan neighborhood and a substantial meal in the form of a dozen delicious Dutch tastings.  Continue reading

Fall in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is stunning in the fall. A light haze has set in above the city, complimenting the earthy hues that mast Amsterdam’s cobblestone streets. Golden sunlight slips through the trees, and sparkling shadows are cast along the canals. There’s a buzz in the air as people scurry a tad bit faster on bikes and scooters to avoid the city’s new, frigid state. 
IMG_0345I truly can’t believe it’s mitten weather again already, but this past weekend, an undeniable chill arrived in Holland. While summer is my favorite season, the cold air of fall makes my lungs feel alive again. And so while the foliage slowly dies, I’m awakened by chilly fingers and crisp oxygen in my chest. On Saturday, following a leisurely brunch with my girlfriend Sophie, I decided to take a long stroll around the city to enjoy the autumnal sunshine and capture Amsterdam’s golden glow with my camera.

Here are a few photos from my walk :)

Continue reading

Baby Goat Farm, Amsterdam

We all have a happy place. My mom’s happy place is on the beach, toes dug firmly in the sand. My Dad’s happy place is on the family room couch, eating Cheez-Its and watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees on TV. My little sister Jess finds bliss while cruising around in her car, classical music blaring. And my sister Liz comes alive in the front of a classroom, with dozens of young, eager eyes following her lessons. I guess you could say I’m a bit of an odd ball, as my happy place just so happens to be a goat farm.

Last summer was tough. I went through an intense breakup, and settled into life alone in Holland. But in all actuality, I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded by wonderful friends who felt like family – who encouraged me to try new things and embark on new adventures. About a year ago, my dear friend Bex, having also recently experienced the woes of heartbreak, took me out to her happy spot – Amsterdam’s (well, Amstelveen’s) very own goat farm. IMG_7819The goat farm is located in the Amsterdam Bos, and is referred to as the Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve (say that in Dutch ten times fast!)  Continue reading

Cirque Éloize, Amsterdam

Last week I was invited to the press opening of iD, Jeannot Painchaud’s fabulous Cirque Éloize extravaganza. The show is a mix of circus arts and urban dance, brought to life by a talented and energetic cast. IMG_7754The show was at The Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam, which was actually built in 1887 to be a full-time circus building! Continue reading

Vintage Kiloshop in de Pijp, Amsterdam

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. IMG_6390Kiloshop 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, Amsterdam

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.IMG_7024 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