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

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

Dream Pup

B and I have been gushing over dogs for the past two years. We can’t have pets in our apartment, so for our next move a dog-friendly place is a must. Almost every night we walk to the park and watch the dogs play. It’s actually kind of creepy. B really wants a Staffordshire Bull Terrier while I’m a fan of bulldogs. I blame this guy:

23N1 Yes, it’s the Poky Little Puppy. He was one of my favorite childhood storybook characters. And I’m pretty sure he might actually be a beagle, but in my child’s mind he was always a wrinkly little bulldog. I’ve always wanted my very own little Poky Puppy, and my animals Pinterest board accurately reflects this dream. I just can’t help pinning all of the super cute bulldog pups I see! Here’s a little teaser of my dream dog, who will just have to live on my Pinterest boards until I can welcome him into my home.

Aren’t these guys just the cutest!?

To be honest, I would probably settle for a Dalmatian, a Collie, a Setter, or even a cute little mutt. But as we’re dreaming, I might as well be honest and tell you that a wrinkly little bulldog is top of the list.

Fluff Muffin

I’d had another post in mind for today, but then something amazing happened . . . I met two of the most adorable kittens ever, Malcolm and Crumble. Say hi!

IMG_5395These two little balls of fluff stole my heart, and our new friendship warranted an immediate blog post!IMG_5398Crumble is the ginger tigress on the right with stunning green eyes. Malcolm her naughty brother. IMG_5400Look at that cheeky grin!IMG_5387Crumble loves to hug, kiss, and squish her brother. IMG_5418Both Malcolm and Crumble are Norwegian Forest cats. They may be cute little balls of fluff right now, but in a few months they will be tall, strong forest cats who love to climb and play.IMG_5419But in the meantime, their cute pink button noses, tiny whiskers, and silky soft fur just make you want to scoop them up and hug them forever and ever.IMG_5403 IMG_5413Harriet and Dan are lucky enough to be the parents of this adorable duo.
IMG_5411 They’ve said that Malcolm is quite the sassy cat, where as Crumble is much more lady-like and polite.

IMG_5431IMG_5422I don’t think this face looks mischievous at all!IMG_5425In fact, both kittens were quite docile while we were there, and dozed like babies all afternoon. IMG_5430

IMG_5454IMG_5449IMG_5452IMG_5456Even when we picked up little Crumble, she just kept right on sleeping!
IMG_5457 IMG_5459IMG_5458IMG_5461 She woke up momentarily when she noticed a spot on her brother’s head that required a bit of cleaning.IMG_5467And then of course went right back to sleep!IMG_5471Ah, the life of a cat!IMG_5440IMG_5477IMG_5441IMG_5437IMG_5474I have very bad case of kitten envy. Malcolm and Crumble are gorgeous! Luckily, Harriet and Dan live right in the neighborhood, so hopefully there will be more kitten fun to come! x

Doug the Dog

This past weekend, my super cool friend and upstairs neighbor, Shawn, was doing a bit of puppy sitting. The pup’s name was Doug. Doug was a super hungry, rambunctious little dude who wanted to dig his cute button nose into absolutely everything. On Saturday morning, Shawn brought Doug down to play. He quickly claimed the couch.

IMG_5062 And then the table.IMG_5041And then the entire neighborhood! King Doug watched over his realm . . . IMG_5036Which is apparently quite a  tiring job! So after about ten minutes of skittering around on the coffee table, he decided it was time for a little rest. He watched us go about our Saturday chores with a cute little grin on his face. IMG_5051But soon Doug got bored of hanging out in the apartment and asked if he could go outside. We kindly obliged, and strolled through the neighborhood, stopping for a coffee and croissant at the end of our walk. We kept a careful eye on Doug, who in turn kept a careful eye on our croissant!
IMG_5070 IMG_5072We had bought some afternoon treats, but Doug had other plans. There would be no leisurely coffee-sipping that day. IMG_5073Because Doug wanted a treat as well, and let this be known. Again and again and again. IMG_5074After several loud yelps and quite a big of begging, we decided to try another tactic. We abandoned the coffee shop and met up with B, who agreed to help us tire out little Douggie. We walked around the park again and again, until Doug was absolutely pooped – literally and figuratively.IMG_5081IMG_5080At the end of our journey, we made a small pit stop, and tried a new treat-tactic. Instead of dinning out, we stocked up on as many goodies as our arms could carry. IMG_5102 We made it home with beer, wine, gum, pound cake, and enough Haribo to see us through a small nuclear holocaust. IMG_5103After an evening of Haribo and giggles, we took Sir Douglas on one final, epic walk. It was absolutely freezing so we alternated between jogging, walking, and shivering!IMG_5149Doug loved it!IMG_5151 IMG_5160At one point we came across a row of cars covered in ice. Like popsicles in a freezer, we decided it was time to turn back to the apartment!
IMG_5155 We said a final goodbye and goodnight to Doug, our fun weekend buddy! Hopefully he’ll be back for another visit again soon! x

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

Feathers

I love The Notebook, but I may be a bit biased. You see, my name is Ali. So in all of those steamy, heart-throbbing scenes between Noah and Allie, I can simply close my eyes and imagine that Ryan Gosling is talking to me. Pure. Bliss.

My favorite part is when Noah unabashedly exclaims, “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird!” I can’t help but to respond out loud, passionately screeching at the screen, “Yes-yes-yes-yes-yes!” Yes, Ryan, yes. Let’s be birds and fly and have a cozy little nest where we live and play and raise a happy little bird family. True lovebirds!

While my Ryan Gosling crush may be fleeting, I’ve always had a thing for birds. I simply adore them all – swans, elegant owls, dark ravens, proud peacocks, even pigeons! And so when I saw Chris Maynard’s beautiful bird photography, I was immediately smitten as a sparrow.

chrismaynard1

In Maynard’s work, the subject becomes the medium, and the medium then becomes the subject again, as he skillfully transforms bird feathers into tiny, intricate bird cutouts.

chrismaynard2

I truly admire the time and finess it must take to create each detailed piece.
chrismaynard4

And I especially love the round about subject-medium relationship. The feather is the bird, and the bird is the feather. A true chicken and egg piece of art!

chrismaynard5 Maynard’s work depicts growth, transformation and beauty in a truly pure and unique form.
chrismaynard7

There is something so whimsical about a feather, so magical about the art of flight. 

chrismaynard10

I’m quite inspired by Chris Maynard’s work, and might try something similar in my next design exploration. Until then, x