Capri, Italy

On day two of our Italian adventure, we went to Capri. Some people love Capri. In fact, many of my friends who have visited the Amalfi Coast recommended that we make the island of Capri our basecamp for the trip. While I found Capri incredibly beautiful, I also found it slightly more stressful than Positano, as the island was swarming with tourists. Massive cruise ships sailed in and out of the port, docking so thousands of visitors could climb ashore. To be fair, we were also four of the thousands :) but as Capri was an island, it felt slightly more cramped than in Positano, without a lot of free space to escape the rush. In Positano, our little square was quiet, but in Capri, it was hard to take a photo without hundreds of other people walking through the backdrop. That said, Capri had an extra dose of harbor-side magic that we did not find in Positano. While Positano is flanked by tall cliffs and colorful houses, Capri is more flat, even boasting of a small sand beach at the waterfront. The colors of Capri match that of Positano, with pasted rainbow houses and boats lining the shorefront and climbing up the hills.To get to Capri, we took the ferry from the harbor in Positano. There are many different ferry and tour options, and all run pretty regularly. If you know in advance that you would like to travel by boat to Capri or Amalfi, book your ticket ahead so you are sure to get a spot. For our day trips to Capri and Amalfi, we booked our tickets the night before, so securing a seat on the boat was not a problem. However, a lot of the smaller luxury boats and sails were already booked up, so if you’re looking for something a bit more intimate, I’d suggest reserving a few days in advance. Continue reading

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Summer in Maine, USA

As I’ve blogged about visiting Maine many, many times before (see here, here, here, and here – just to name a few!) I was less vigilant about whipping out my camera for the sole purpose of blogging this time around. I snapped a few photos here and there, but mainly to remember the moment or capture a smile – as most photographers would :) And so while I don’t have specific reviews or recommendations to post, I do have a great collection of Maine memories to share from this summer. IMG_8126From a photographic perspective, the highlight of the trip was getting to spend lots of time in Portland, Maine, which is a quick 15 minute drive from my parent’s country house. Portland is the biggest city in Maine, and (although I’m totally biased) it’s also one of the most beautiful. The small, harbor city is set on a hill and boasts of cobblestone streets, long wharfs, red brick buildings, and deep-blue ocean views. Continue reading

Christmas in Maine

How is it already January 15th? Time is soaring by and life in Amsterdam is slowly ramping up again after a long and leisurely winter hibernation in the USA. Last night was actually my first night alone in the apartment (so much catching up to do after two weeks away!) so I spent some time sorting through holiday photos, in addition to making a big pot of stew for dinner, unpacking my suitcase, and cooking heaps of bacon (I had an 8am meeting this morning and bribed the whole team with bacon – I know, I’m the most ethical and awesome Account Director ever). Bacon, suitcases, and stew aside, it was a nostalgic evening, as the holidays are over and everyone I love so much lives so far away. This especially sucks in the winter when the nights are long and dark and I accidentally cook too much soup. One girl can only eat so much soup!

Instead of sharing my holiday photos in posts like last year, one by one by one, I’ve just included a bunch of my favorite Christmas images here, all in one place. So let’s take a little journey through winter in the countryside of Maine :) First and foremost, check out Sox, my trusty 6am jet-lag buddy . .IMG_4907He’s the only one in the house who is up before 6am, and year after year he’s willing to hang with me in the living room until all the normal people wake up to start the day. Also awake at the crack of dawn is my best friend Casey, who has a newborn and therefore doesn’t really observe night or day.  Continue reading

Unseen 2014

Happy New Year friends! Gosh, I can’t believe 2014 is over. And what a year it was. I remember updating my Facebook status on January 1st, 2014 to simply say, “It’s going to be a good one.” And man, how right I was, but for all of the wrong reasons. I thought I was going to get married this year, have my honeymoon this year, and settle into married life. I had planned a wedding, and had a dream of how life would unfold over the next few years. Now, I’m so bad at dreams. To have dreams is to put your faith and heart into something that you know might not come true. I’ve absolutely given up on dreams – on trusting what I want to future to be. Although you’ll find me smiling 95% of the time, a thin veil of pessimism has crept into my life, and instead of focusing on the future, or what I want six months from now, I’ve gained the courage to say ‘fuck it’ and just live in the moment. This has been somewhat detrimental to my health (because short term decisions often lead to horrible hangovers the next day) but at the same time, I’ve grown more in the past seven months than I have in the past five years. I’m living in the now. I’m not dwelling on the past or trying to solve riddles. I’m not worrying about the future or where I should be a year from now. I’m simply being me in the moment, trying to find meaning in everything I do, and letting go of the fear that’s associated with the unknown. I used to have a timeline of how I thought life was supposed to unfold. I used to keep track of how much money I was spending, what I was eating, how much gym time I was managing to squeeze in. I have genuinely let go of all of these things, and I can honestly say, I don’t think I have ever been more healthy, happy, prosperous, or confident in my entire life. It’s like something has suddenly clicked, and instead of trying to be what I thought I should be, I’m just being me, and turns out that’s even better. So my goal for 2015 is to keep this momentum up.

Earlier this year, Sid Lee gave everyone at the agency a Japanese wishing doll (called a Daruma). Upon receiving the Daruma, we were asked to make a wish or goal and then color in one eye to symbolize our commitment to achieving the goal. My goal was to live without fear. I did not want to fear the future, speaking my mind, or living life, even though it all suddenly seemed so uncertain. When you feel you’ve achieved you’re goal, you’re meant to color in the other eye of the Daruma. I’m still working on letting go of fear. Maybe my inability to dream or envision the future stems from fear itself. And I can tell you, trusting (as I’ve mentioned before) is a HUGE fear I’m really working to overcome. On the other hand, maybe letting go of expectations is letting go of fear. And embracing the moment is an authentic coping mechanism to banish worrisome thoughts that stem from the past or the future. Regardless, (as you can see) I’m still working on it, and that’s ok. I know 2015 is going to be a brilliant year.

That said, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past 7 months (the first 5 months of the year don’t count as they were pretty much a wash).  Continue reading

Cookie Party

Note: Wrote this yesterday, forgot to hit publish! So . . . .

Merry (belated) Christmas blog friends!! I hope you’re all celebrating, eating, and enjoying the company of loved ones today. I’m currently sitting at the kitchen table in my parent’s house, drinking a Blue Moon and savoring the taste of home. Guests will be here any minute, and I’m surrounded by platters of Italian appetizers. But before I run away to change out of my slippers and put on my green suede heels, I wanted to share a few photos of an early Christmas celebration in Amsterdam. Last week I had a handful of awesome ladies over to decorate Christmas cookies.

IMG_4869Typically, I decorate Christmas cookies with my good friend Bex. But as Bex moved to San Fran at the end of the summer, I was shy a cookie partner in crime. So I invited friends from work and beyond over for an evening of mulled wine, sprinkles, frosting, and cookie fun-times.  Continue reading

Twenty-Eight at Spaghetteria

I have officially been alive for 28 years. I wanted to share something profound here – droplets of wisdom or wise old words. But today, I don’t feel like looking back. I don’t want to dwell on twenty-seven or twenty-six, twenty-one or the past. I am sitting here in a clean, ironed shirt, wearing red lipstick with pearls in my ears, and I just want to be. I want to experience the happiness that is pouring from my chest. I want to glow and grow, and hold the present moment in my heart. Birthdays are great because they give us pause to reflect – to establish our own personal resolutions. This year, I will live in the moment. I will not fear the future or hold on to the past. I will appreciate my surroundings, my friends, and the small moments that are often overlooked. IMG_3564Yesterday, my 28th birthday, was a day filled with countless honey-sweet moments. All summer, I’ve been inviting different girlfriends over for dinner on Wednesday night. I’ve coined the evening ‘Woman’s Wednesday’, and I’ve been lucky enough to share my dinner table with some brilliant ladies. As my birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, I decided it was fitting to invite a bunch of my favorite girls out for a big family-style Woman’s Wednesday dinner. Another favorite Wednesday tradition of mine is eating pasta. Growing up, my big Italian family would gorge on spaghetti and meatballs every Wednesday night, so for my birthday this year I asked the girls to meet me at Spaghetteria for massive plates of handmade pasta, crisp Italian wine, and deadly sgroppinos. Continue reading

A Taste of Home

I’m so behind on blogging. Like, embarrassingly behind. I have two more Maine posts, three London posts, a delicious Amsterdam restaurant recommendation, and a trip to the zoo to share. I am strongly determined to catch up. But at the same time, I appreciate the lag. Going through Maine summer photos in late September makes me smile. These memories are precious and I am glad to have cause to visit them again. I mean, just look at this dreamy lobster roll . . . . IMG_2258If that doesn’t make you lament summertime, I don’t know what will. Double drool. I’m going to try and wrap up the Maine posts in the next two days, so without further ado, here’s a very big and delicious taste of New England.  Continue reading

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

While in Maine, my mom suggested a family outing to the Costal Maine Botanical Gardens.

I’m sure I’ve made this apparently obvious over the past few years, but I LOVE flowers. I usually have a bunch of fresh peonies or ranunculus brightening up my indoor space, my balcony is adorned with white lavender and potted daisies, and I’ve been known to take road trips for the sole purpose of gazing at fields of tulips.

At the time of my mom’s suggestion, the Keukenhof was the only flower garden I’d ever visited. It’s one of the biggest and most beautiful spring gardens in the world, with a kaleidoscope of color, featuring more than seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. As the Dutch are known for their beautiful blooms, I was eager to see what Maine’s botanics had to offer in comparison.IMG_2025And so my mom packed us a delicious picnic lunch, and with my sister and gramma in tow, we hopped into the car for an early morning drive up to Boothbay, Maine. 
Continue reading

Beach Days

When I go home, I return to the sea. My mom taught me to love the ocean, and as a kid we spent our summers on the beach, splashing in the waves and slowly turning golden.IMG_0849When I’m at the sea, I feel free. I don’t feel alone. I feel like I’m connected to something, even though I don’t exactly know what it is. Continue reading

New York City Part 1

While B and I were in the US, we made a point of driving down to New York. B’s brother lives just north of New York City with his wife and kids, and we wanted to spend some time with them while we were in the States. After a few days of catching up and playing with the kids in their hometown, we decided to all take a field trip into the city. It was only a 45 minute drive, and contrary to my previous experiences of driving into NYC, we didn’t pass one toll, accident, or roadside hurdle!IMG_7776IMG_7781As we zoomed under the George Washington bridge, my heart started to flutter. I hold New York City in high regard. It’s home to Gossip Girl, Girls, and Sex in the City. I’ve seen Les Miserables and Lion King on Broadway in this city. I’ve watched Kings of Leon at Madison Square Garden. I’ve had some of the best drunken nights out with my girlfriends here and it’s THE place to come shopping. I made some amazing memories in New York City, and some amazing people have walked these streets. And call me American, but I love the opportunity and potential that lies on every street corner . . . in the ability here to find anything under the sun, meet the most diverse people, and walk in any direction to find an adventure. . . New York, I will live in you someday!IMG_7798But for now I will make due with the sporadic trip, taking photos of yellow taxis to remember their invasive color and harassive  nature. IMG_7816Our first stop was the Chelsea Market for a quick breakfast pick-me-up. IMG_7908As we had the kids with us (who are five and two), we had a very child-friendly day.
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IMG_7848We spent some time making wishes and throwing pennies into this bottomless fountain.IMG_7829 IMG_7851IMG_7850IMG_7853And then we wound our way into Sarabeth’s for some cookies and coffee. IMG_7858IMG_7859IMG_7864IMG_7880 IMG_7856IMG_7875Following our refill, we wrapped up and headed into the city streets. B’s sister-in-law suggested we walk along the High Line, as it offers some great views of the city and is a fun child-friendly activity.  IMG_7890 IMG_7900IMG_7922IMG_7925If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the top NYC attractions and it’s completely free! The High Line is an elevated train line that was was built in the 1930’s, running through Manhattan’s industrial district. Because the tracks are now obsolete, the High Line has been converted into a long, elevated park that runs through Manhattan and offers some stunning views of the city to the public. IMG_7935The kids love it because it gives them a birds eye view of the city. The tracks are filled with plants and the path is surrounded by art. The entire line is well fenced in, so the littles can run free and there’s no worry of them popping over the edge!IMG_7927 IMG_7928IMG_7970IMG_7977IMG_7949IMG_7937IMG_7936IMG_7939IMG_7982There are a lot of construction zones around the line, which the kids (especially my godson!) love to watch. It’s as if their big dig toys are positioned down below, building homes and creating foundations.IMG_8059IMG_8048 IMG_8039IMG_8046IMG_8031One of the reasons I love New York is because every shot is so real, so gritty, so beautiful. The sharp geometric lines and the bright neon city lights make for a beautiful urban landscape. IMG_8028 IMG_8027 IMG_8024 IMG_8011 IMG_8010 IMG_8003 IMG_7998 IMG_7997I’ve taken a billion photos from our day in the city, so I’ll leave the rest of the pictures for another day. But here are two more, and they’re some of my favorites – a skyscraper being built at the very end of the High Line. IMG_8065 IMG_8067Ohh New York, someday you will be mine! :)