Postcards From Amsterdam

I thought that today, because I'm still unpacking and settling into my usual routine, that I'd share a few postcards from Amsterdam with you. They are not really postcards, but shots that I took on my iPhone using Instagram and I decided to upload them to my MacBook so that I can share a few impressions with you now. I will talk more about Amsterdam and the amazing Meet The Blogger + Decorate book signing event there, and I have photos of me decorating the shop window at the American Book Center there as well as lots of photos from the event itself... but for now I simply want to share a few inspirational impressions from the road along with links that you may enjoy. Make sure you click on the music links below from my playlist, I have some fun videos for you to watch. Amsterdam Impressions

Me on the train and some shots of Amsterdam. I listened to Sia, Adele, The Smiths, Jordan Knight, Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Eliza Dolittle, BT, Amy Seeley and The Ting Tings on the ride there from where I live. It takes about 4 hours on the high speed train, a direct train from door-to-door, which I loved. When I think of that Amsterdam I imagine flowers, canals, train rides, bicycles and beautiful architecture. What do you think of when Amsterdam comes to mind? Now I wonder...

Amsterdam Impressions

Here's another view of the same waterway using a different photo filter. And then you can also catch a glimpse of the full house we had at the Meet The Blogger + Decorate Book event, it was packed! You can also see a spot where I enjoyed a smoothie break at Lite/Dark and a fabulous dinner with friends at Roots.

Amsterdam Impressions

The Hotel V is where I stayed and where we had the event. The light looked like a disco ball above our bed, which made me smile just a bit as I have a thing for them. I really liked this corner ice cream shop but cannot recall the name of it but found it almost as sweet as the frozen pleasures that awaited inside... I ate at the Italian-owned Uliveto cafe shown above with all of the containers of olive oil against the wall on industrial metal shelving. In fact, I ate there several times, with friends and without, since it was 2 blocks from our hotel. And of course, to prove I was there in Amsterdam, you have a kooky self portrait. For fun, I decided to try to take one of myself that wasn't posed or of me looking directly at the camera. It's a challenge to look to the side and take a good photo of yourself, you should try it if you're looking for a fun creative challenge, you'll see!

Amsterdam Impressions

Lots of people made my stay in Amsterdam special. I wish I had thought to use my iPhone to collect photos of all of them, and it inspired me to do that next time when I uploaded all of my photos from this trip and noticed that I didn't photograph those I wished I had. The next time I travel I'll make it a plan to photograph every person I share a meal with, everyone who makes an impression on me at all... because it's the people who make a place and not the place itself. Nice cafes, pretty canals, gorgeous buildings may be what Amsterdam has but those things are not the soul of the city, or any city, but it's those whom you mingle with while there and those who make an impact on you that forever shapes your view of a place.

Above you can see my sweet husband Thorsten with my friend Yvonne, Rick Lightstone from the American Book Center and my c0-author Joanna Copestick. I also spotted a hotel with a brilliant name, Thorbecke. I thought that if Thorsten Becker, my husband, owned a business, this could very likely be a great name for it. The place with the red awning was taken from my hotel window, it's a pub called Cafe Kale (great food by the way and make sure to buy the local brew produced in a real windmill). I got to share meals there with my husband a few times and then, since Victoria from SFGirlByBay was in Amsterdam, we had drinks and snacks at Cafe Kale together as well.

Amsterdam Impressions

You can see a glimpse of the shop window that I decorated with pages from Decorate. If you walk by the American Book Center in Amsterdam between now and mid July, you will see the Decorate window that I made. I hope you like it and I do hope that if you see it live, that you'll tell me and even share a photo of it with me on my wall over on my Decorate Facebook page. It was my first window ever so I felt really shy about it but when I was finished I felt really proud of myself. Funny how that happens! I also enjoyed shopping at a beautiful interiors store called Nunc and of course, hanging out in cafes. Many of them. And aren't the lights over the canal tunnels so lovely at twilight? I spotted a swan beneath the tunnel just seconds later... gracefully floating by creating ripple effects in the water that gave me a slight chill to see it. There is something so magical about swans, twilight, canals and twinkle lights and before that moment, I'd not known of that magic before...

Amsterdam Impressions

Many other lovely buildings and shops that I visited, one shown above is Sissy Boy Homeland. I felt so charmed by the many streets of Amsterdam and while my hotel wasn't in the best location to explore my favorite part of Amsterdam, the Jordaan, I made the best of it and tried to find things local to Hotel V that were nice still.

I didn't get photos of Fifteen where I had lunch, but it is the restaurant that belongs to Jaime Oliver and the interior was quite nice and very large. Other links of places I'd visited: The Handbag Museum, Leuk (great clothing), DR Wonen and the Athenaeum book store with its tons of many amazing magazines! Of course, I popped into a million random places that I didn't have time to snap a photo of, but when you're traveling for mostly business it's hard to spend that quality time shopping as one would like.

I hope that you've enjoyed a few of my postcards from Amsterdam today. When I travel I rely on my iPhone more and more these days to freeze moments in time into simple snapshots made pretty thanks to the Instagram app or Photo+ on the iPhone. It's fun and effortless and well, it's a nice way to remember everything you'd seen once you are back home and ready to blog your travels.

(images: holly becker for decor8)