My Apartment: The Renovation

I started this post with the intention of giving you a home tour. I was going to take you through the kitchen, and then in the next post chat about my living room. But as I got writing, I realized that there were so many other things that happened before I got into the design phase of creating my apartment. So first, the prelude to my home design, is the purchase and renovation of my apartment, which was perhaps the biggest undertaking of my life! So, here’s the background on my apartment’s design – the struggles of buying a house in Amsterdam, the logistics of moving in Holland, scraping out an entire run down apartment, and starting anew. And spoiler alert :) it ends like this:On March 1st, 2017, I got the keys to my new apartment. Well, my old-new apartment I should say, as by the time I got the keys, the space had already been well-lived in for more than 70 years. The apartment was a ‘new build’ (which in Amsterdam basically means anything built in the past century) with huge windows in every room, high ceilings, a small front balcony, and lots of potential . . . which is a nice way of saying . . . . it was bad! Continue reading

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Summer Excite

For the past three months, I’ve been pinning my favorite summer photos, collecting ideas and inspiration for a warm weather vacation. B and I have two awesome holidays planned for June. One involves approximately thirty friends, one birthday, dancing, drinking, and an epic Belgian mansion. The second is much more relaxed and romantic, and will be spent in the French Riviera with my one and only. While I’m looking forward to both adventures, planning the latter is solely my responsibility. Here’s a sneak peek at some of my inspiration for the trip:

We have no concrete plans yet, but Cannes will be our home base, and there will be at least a handful of mandatory lazy beach days.

I’ve heard an excursion to Ile Sainte Margeurite is a must, and am looking forward to the boat ride out to the island, hiking, swimming and a picnic in the sun. I’m contemplating a day trip to Antibes to visit the Picasso museum, and I think we’ll also head over to Nice for a day as B has spent a lot of time there and is eager to show me the ropes.

But what am I looking forward to the most? 
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The lavender fields.

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We’ll be traveling at the tail end of June and have planned an overnight in Marseille, followed by an excursion up into the Valensole Plateau, just as the lavender and poppy fields come into full bloom.

I’ve never had a proper holiday with B – only trips to the States or the UK to see my family or his. We’ve done a weekend here or there, but never anything for a substantial amount of time, and in the sun to boot. June cannot come soon enough!

Do you have any recommendations on must-do things while visiting the French Riviera? x

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

When I was a kid, my mom would leave little  ‘I love you’ notes in my lunchbox. Oh to be young, careless, and unconditionally loved!

Mom was always thinking up fun things for our family to do – from road trips to finger painting, she made sure my sisters and I were trying new things, seeing new sights, and enjoying our childhood to the fullest. I went to Disney World, got bed time stories every night, and always had a snuggle buddy during scary thunder & lightning storms. I took so much for granted. Rides to swim practice, family dinner at the table every night, help with homework. . . . my mom was spectacular, she was truly born for the job. As a teen my mom was my confidant, and now as an adult, she is one of my best friends.

If your mom is as special as mine, you probably want to show her. Which is why I’ve started thinking about Mother’s Day gifts, as I’ll need to pop my ‘thanks’ into a mailbox in the next few days. Luckily, I have a huge collection of Pinterest favorites to choose from. If you’re short on ideas, here are a few I’ve had my eye on:

If your Mom likes to be pampered, this Owl Soap, Lip Balm, and Nourishing Serum is the ultimate Mother’s Day gift set, – and it’s so adorable! Similarly, Paul & Joe have some beautiful Color Powder Sets which would make a lovely addition to any Mom’s dresser. And to hold all of her favorite jewels, I love this Eva Table Mirror on Joss & Main. Potpourri, a pretty scarf, colorful jewelry, or a lux makeup bag are also thoughtful gifts for the beauty-queen Mom. The ultimate pampering-present is a gift card to the spa – this one is my Mom’s personal favorite!

If you’re Mom is super domestic, this is the most happy cleaning device I have ever seen. I know it’s a dust pan, but seriously, just look how happy it is! Pair this Mint Smiley Dustpan with an iTunes gift card so Mom can rock out while she tidies, and maybe throw in some chocolates too, just for good luck! A pretty piece of pottery is always appreciated, and a nice cutting board is timeless! You can make mom a table-top herb garden, or just buy her a lovely pot so she can do her own gardening. And this is my all time favorite gardening hat. Seriously the cutest mom-hat ever!

If you’re a crafty kid, you could bake Mom a cake. Breakfast in bed never goes out of style, and lunch in the garden is equally dreamy! This DYI tote bag is so cute and is a homemade gift that’s not too homemade looking. Gifts dont have to be expensive or complex, and small gestures, like this homemade mobile, are gorgeous, inexpensive, and so heartwarming for Mom! Every year I get ambitions and want to make Mom personalized  soaps, candles, fragrances, or coasters – but never seem to have enough hours in the day!

Good luck in your gift hunting! And just remember, if all else fails, give Mom a card or even just a little ‘I love you’ in her lunchbox. It’s the small things that matter, and your appreciation really is the best gift! x

Bar Carts

You know you’re a big kid when you lust after home decor. Fresh linnens, delicate chinaware, statement artwork – things I never would have pined over five years ago now have a prominent ranking on my lust-list. I blame Pintrest for fueling my nesting addiction. Most recently, I’m obsessing over bar carts.

Am I too young to have a bar cart? Possibly.

Do I drink enough alcohol to have a bar cart? Probably not.

But I love the idea of having a little hostess cart on wheels – something to roll around and offer your guests colorful straws and exotic liquors from. I’ve been collecting inspiration for my own bar cart, which I am intent on creating this summer. Here’s a snapshot of my inspiration:

Delft

I live in the land of Delft. Tourist shops are littered with royal blue and white trinkets, and upscale china boutiques sell beautiful, authentic handmade Delft pieces. I’ve been craving a bit of Delft in my life. In fact, I’ve had these sheets on my spring wish list for the past three weeks. They’re beautiful and airy and incredibly Dutch.

They’re also from Ikea, which means they’re super affordable. But kind of a pain in the butt to obtain, as this means taking a train trip outside of town, winding through a museum-like, industrial sized retail store, and eating a nasty Ikea hotdog that I will inevitably be unable to resist. . . because it takes so damn long to get through the store, and I’m always starving by the end!

Anyways, this post isn’t about Ikea, or hotdogs. It’s about beautiful Delft colors, which have been trending on my personal Pinterest page. So kick up your feet, relax your mind, and feast your eyes on some Delft. Bon appetit!

Smiles

The month of March is almost upon us, and I have a confession. I’m absolutely dreading it. March is my least favorite month of the year. While I crave flowers and sunshine, March insists on frost and slush. March is an absolute tease. After a long winter of waiting, in March, the sun finally peeks through the clouds. The weather gets warmer, the birds start to chirp, and the flowers begin to bud. And then all of a sudden it’s snowing again and the flowers die and you’re stuck wearing a light weight coat because you foolishly packed away your cozy winter jacket a bit too soon. Damn you, March, every year! My March blues are already setting in, so I’ve come up with a list of home and self improvement projects to keep busy with over the next month. I’ve also booked a trip to London which I am sure will also help considerably. But in the meantime, for a few smiles, I’ve put together a random library of adorable animals for those bitter March moments. So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite cuties from around the web. Feel free to come back over the next month whenever you need a smile! x

Crisp White

There’s something about the color white that makes me smile.

White is clean. It’s empty, it’s open. It’s like a fresh start or a blank canvas. Some of the best things in life are white. A cold glass of milk served with warm cookies, freshly fallen snow, my grandpa’s lovely hair, and crisp clean linnens. Not to mention the softest sand, expensive china, frilly lace and pearls.

Perhaps it’s frosty February that’s making me lust after white – over the past few weeks I’ve been collecting crispy white photos on my Pinterest boards. Here’s a little sneak peek of my collection.

If you like what you see, you can follow all of my Pinterest photos here.

x

Valentine’s Day Eye Candy

If you haven’t noticed already, I’m quite a girly girl. Everything in my world is pink and rosy, and if there’s an extra side of hearts, lace, and frill, I’m smitten. To celebrate romance, I have a few Valentine’s Day posts up my sleeve. But before you get those, I wanted to share a few inspiration photos from around the web. Most of these pictures are snagged from my pinterest. They represent a collection of gifts, clothing, decorations, date ideas. . . . really anything associated with Valentine’s Day and this season of love. So feast your eyes on some delicious candy, and check back in the coming days for some love-inspires updates!

My Maine Wedding

Yesterday I came down with an awful, achy fever. I’ve been alternating between too hot and too cold, and my muscles feel like they’re having a drunken, raging dance party without me. Walking is a painful chore, so all day I’ve been confined to bedrest. Which is horrible, because a) I haven’t had to take a sick day from work in 3 years (there goes my awesome record), and b) I absolutely hate doing nothing.

I’m a wicked multitasker. At work I write e-mails and listen to music and browse Facebook all at once, and to be honest, this is the most efficient way for me to focus. I always listen best when my hands are moving (hello chronic doodler) and my mind can pointedly wander (still in the room) as opposed to aimlessly wander (down the road at Starbucks).

Anyways, today sucked because I suck at doing nothing. I alternated between sleeping and internetting and catching up on Girls. Sounds luxurious but it was horrible. The one good thing that came out of today was my new tumblr blog. I’m planning a wedding and I wanted to be able to keep track of my ideas and likes visually.

And thus My Maine Wedding was born. It’s really just a digital photo scrapbook, and will hopefully help me make some decisions on colors and themes and all of that girly wedding junk. Here’s a little taste of some of my favorites that are on the site so far. 

If you like what you see, you can find more photos I’ve posted here. I’ve been super digitally productive today (as I’ve been cuddled with my laptop in bed for the past 11 hours), but hopefully I can keep up my wedding scrapbook even once I’ve beaten this nasty cold. That said, I think it’s time for more honey lemon tea and some chicken noodle soup! Until next time chickies. x

PS. While most of the photos I post are mine, this is just a random hodge-podge collection from the net.

Free People Amsterdam

Christmas is over and we’ve had our token winter snow. Yet the nights are still getting colder, and the days don’t seem to be getting any longer. Usually my winter blues don’t kick in until the end of February. However, I am currently hunkered down over a melting candle and a hot mug of ginger tea, wishing for the sun. And Free People aren’t helping. I stumbled across their January catalogue on Pinterest and I haven’t been able to stop flicking through.

I’m day dreaming about what to buy first, fantasizing that it’s me, peddling around in a light, airy dress, sunshine on my back. I had already decided to do a blog post on their new 2013 collection, when I realized, these photos are taken in Amsterdam!! Those bridges! That lamp post! That’s my city! I knew I could picture myself in this editorial, on that bike all too well.

City aside, I am absolutely doting over this collection. I really admire people who can look put together and falling apart at the same time, and Free People have mastered this trend. Those ripped jeans, that slouchy sweater. . . paired with the most delicate floral or elegant sunnies I have ever seen.

I think I’m ready for summertime, but first I think I have to stock my closet with Free People goodies. Whose with me?!