Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Amsterdam Guide


Last weekend I took my first adventure of the year in the form of a quick jaunt to Amsterdam! It was my third trip to the Netherlands and by far my favorite. Joey and I spent 4 days walking through the canals, eating stroopwaffles, and exploring all the quirky shops - it was deeeelightful. I've said this before, but there's something so calming to me about re-visiting a city I've already explored. I feel like the pressure if off as I'm normally very go-go-go when I'm exploring somewhere new and I don't want to miss out on anything in case I don't end up coming back! That being said, this trip I got to do SO much (funny how that works) and I now have a crackin' list of recommendations to share with you all. It's a combination of insight from all of my trips, and I can say with complete certainty I would go back to every single one of these places!

A QUICK disclaimer - I don't party, so these recommendations are not for those of you wishing to get #turnt, but if you're looking for a list of recs for a lovely city break, I got you!


See: 

Jordaan is arguably the most beautiful area of Amsterdam. It has all the picturesque post-card Dutch facades and is home to soooo many cool shops, restaurants and cafes.



Similarly, I liked De Pijp - it's no where near as pretty as Jordaan but it's super vibrant and has a more local feel, you won't find as many tourists roaming around!

The Red Light District is probably the most famous area of Amsterdam, and though I will say it's definitely NOT for everyone, it has an incredible history and I really loved doing a walking tour of the area.

If you love museums like I do, the Moco is one of my favorites in the whole world! It focuses on modern contemporary art and is located in a gorgeous old townhouse. They have a permanent Banksy exhibit that is incredible, I've also seen a Salvador Dali exhibit they housed and on this past trip they had a Roy Lichtenstein exhibit that did not fail to disappoint! 



I didn't think I'd like the Rijksmuseum so I put off visiting it until this last trip but oh - my - god  - that was a mistake. It is mind-blowing. It's basically the Dutch version of the Louvre. If you love art and history you'd be seriously missing out by passing it up.

Also, it has a library that made my heart stop:


& the coolest part is that people actually bring their computers and come work here! Most inspiring (but potentially distracting?) space EVER.



Shop: 

The Albert Cuypmarkt runs every day except Sunday (weird I know, since most markets run exclusively on Sunday) and has everything from piping hot Stroopwaffles, to clothing and accessories, to plants - even weekly groceries! A treasure hunters paradise and a wonderful place to people watch.

In terms of trolling actual stops, the best streets are Haarlemmeestraat and Harlemmerdijk. They are both in the city center, directly parallel to each other, and chock FULL of cute independent trendy shops that you won't find on the high street.


I also really enjoyed Magna Plaza for shopping, it has a mix of indie shops and high street retailers, plus it's just a really gorgeous building!

For an excellent food shop my go to is Albert Heijn. It has sooo many good snacks, smoothies, juices, and dips AND it's a chain so it's located all around Amsterdam! Another fave is De Avondmarkt (the Night Market) which is just...insane. Any time between 2pm and midnight you can waltz in and find alllll the chocolate (Tony's Chocolate is a Dutch staple and a must-try!), all the alcohol and sodas, and piping hot HOMEMADE PASTA - ready to eat. It's fat kid heaven.

Speaking of food...


Eat: 

Stach is a chain that is just...perfect. Amazing coffee, sandwiches, baked goods, chocolate, cold drinks. A great place to perk up upon arrival in Amsterdam!


Not to mention all their chocolate has the cutest packaging:


Their peanutbutter popcorn flavor is my fave! Sounds weird but I promise it will give you life!

Scandinavian Embassy is rated THE best coffee in Amsterdam and I can see why, it was delish. Their food also looked amazing and their space is very cute, but alas, the queues for a table were not so cute. Go during a weekday, otherwise get a coffee to go!

If you want to sit down and be cozy I would recommend Monks Coffee Roasters a LOT. Amazing space, amazing looking food, and the coffee was A+


I also enjoyed C&T Coffee and Coconuts. It's much bigger than the last two so getting a seat could potentially be easier and the space is excellent!

That being said...after ALL that coffee talk, I think my favorite was Toki. It's much quieter and has the coolest cups ever:


Can you guys tell I'm very much a cafe dweller? 

Moving on to places where I can recommend more than just coffee and treats, Mook is my FAVE for pancakes. The Dutch are known for their creative pancake creations and Mook's are just divine. Note: they are NOT traditional dutch, they're fluffy, but trust me when I say you've never experienced pancakes like this before!

Corner Bakery is a firm blogger favorite and when you walk in you can immediately see why - it is SO cozy and cute and their food is very trendy and Instagrammable. Plot twist - it's actually good too! It's a very quick walk away from the Moco and Rijksmuseum so a great place to pop into after a day of museums.

The Breakfast Club....ohhhh this place. By far my favorite. It's just plain yummy. Not much more to say about it. They have multiple locations, please do yourself a favor and visit one!



You CANNOT leave Amsterdam without stuffing your body with deep fried goodness from FEBO and Mannekenpis Frites. They are national treasures and vegetarian friendly! (Pro tip: ALWAYS get frites with fritsauce. It's life changing.)



To finish off the food section I have to give a shout out to Dutch Homemade. Their macarons are maybe the best...I've...ever had!?  Is that crazy to say having lived in Paris? Just try their 'Dutch Cookie' flavor and tell me you don't agree.


Stay: 

Okay so, I felt weird not including this section but truthfully my first trip I stayed in a (horrible) hostel, the second I was in an (underwhelming) hotel and third trip I was lucky enough to stay at a friends apartment.  So the true answer is - I have no vetted recs for this category! However, if I ever get the opportunity to visit Amsterdam for a fourth time I'd want to stay at Pulitzer Amsterdam or the Kimpton de Witt. I've been inside both of them and they are both dreamy and well located.



Amsterdam is known for, well...a LOT, but if that stuff isn't your jam don't let it intimidate you!! That aspect can be easily avoided if you so desire. It's a lovely city and has something for everyone!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Galentine's


Controversial thought: I love Valentine's Day. I'm fully aware it's a consumer-driven holiday meant to drive sales post-Christmas, but I am the type of person who will take any excuse to be festive. Besides, it's a holiday that celebrates love and affection, which is a wonderful sentiment and something the world can always use more of. Of course this has the ability to make people feel extraordinarily lonely (which I can easily understand) but even when I was single I would take the time to treat myself on Valentine's Day. I'd happily buy myself chocolate, new lingerie, or even just have a nice long bath. Self love doesn't need an excuse but when love is the theme of the day why not take the opportunity? Likewise, I looooved going out with my girlfriends on Valentine's Day. Galentine's is PRIME. Truth be told there's been PLENTY of years where I had way more fun celebrating with friends than I did celebrating with a partner (sorry lads, but it's true) 

This year I felt inspired to create a bit of a gift guide for in honor of ValGalentine's Day. A list of festive treats that I think would be lovely to treat yourself or your Galentine/Valentine to that isn't your typical flowers/chocolate/perfume. My last gift guide was two Christmases ago and it's one of my most popular posts ever, so I hope you guys enjoy! 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A dream 2018


I realize this post is up a bit late, but please forgive me. They say you should start your year off the way you intend to go on, and in my case that was being extremely jet lagged. Obviously being a complete potato for the first week of 2018 was not ideal, but I guess if I spin it from a positive perspective, jet lag is a sign of having traveled, and traveling is definitely always a goal!

I for one am welcoming 2018 with open arms. 2017 was very, very hard for me and strained my mental health more than I anticipated. In retrospect, some cool things did happen - I got to travel quite a bit! I started the year in San Francisco, followed by Los Angeles (including Disneyland!), Las Vegas, then back to Dublin where I traveled to Edinburgh (twice), Kerry, Amsterdam, Norway (for the first time and I am in LOVE), back to San Francisco (and a trip to LA...again), then back to Dublin with a trip to London, Galway, Boston, New Hampshire and Maine to close the year out before heading back to San Francisco again for the holiday season. Phew!

Those travels truly saved my year, and I could NOT be more thankful that I had the means to do it. And I know what you're thinking - "uh, that sounds like a great year!" but in terms of personal growth, health, achieving goals and feeling accomplished - that stayed at virtually 0% until the veerrrry end of the year when I finally (FINALLY) found a new job. So at least my year ended on a high note!

To start 2018 off right, I wanted to create a list of goals/things to do for each season. I'm a serial list maker, and I find when I post a list publically I am WAY more likely to hold myself accountable for checking it off. Cheers to new beginnings!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fall Beauty


'Tis the season for coziness and lord knows my introverted ass embraces all opportunities to stay at home wrapped in a blanket, surrounded by candles and plenty of pumpkin-flavored treats. But on the odd occasion that I do leave my house, I have a few special treats that I use to keep me feeling festive and I'd like to share them with you!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New Hampshire Foliage


Long time, no blog. 

I have no excuse really, besides feeling completely uninspired lately. It happens every once in a while! Truth be told I don't think I've been completely cured of it but alas, I figured I was overdue a blog post, especially since I've done a bit of traveling! 

A couple weeks ago I flew to Boston to see some of my favorite people. We took a road trip on a lazy Saturday into New Hampshire to see the White Mountains - and by "to see the White Mountains" I really mean - FOLIAGE. New England in the Autumn has been high on my bucket list forever, and oh my sweet baby Jesus it did not disappoint me. I was completely floored, driving along Kancamagus Highway with my mouth open like a derp the whole time because I actually could not cope with the colors. Spectacular.