photos taken throughout the month of june, 2017.
maggie rogers’ “blood ballet” – this album has soundtracked the most difficult six months of my life, and has managed to comfort and inspire me in ways that I forgot music really could. it’s absolute genius. listen to it.
“coffee” and “slack jaw” by sylvan esso – these songs have been playing in the background since I moved to new york, and somehow capture the mood of the late afternoon buzz of the city.
“brand new key” by melanie – in july, my friend olivia and I drove upstate to bethel, new york to see the grounds where woodstock was held in august of 1969. naturally, we listened to songs played at the festival on our drive there and back and this song has been stuck in my head ever since.
“brooklyn baby” by lana del rey – this is a cheesy pick considering I just moved to brooklyn, but honestly I have been feeling lana del rey more than I ever have these days.
“home again” by michael kiwanuka – while the lyrics certainly hit a sore spot on my heart, this song has offered me so much comfort and is the musical equivalent of driving by the beach at golden hour.
alain de botton “the true hard work of love and relationships” (podcast from on being with krista tippet” – after going through a breakup, I’ve been pouring through tons of literature and media about love. there are some universal truths about love and life, and I was seeking a better understanding and a larger perspective on why we all keep putting ourselves through the insanity that is love and relationships. in this podcast, alain de botton speaks about love in very simple and realistic terms, and in a way that acknowledges how insane relationships can be and why it’s all in our best interest that we try and put our hearts on the line anyway.
“the unbearable lightness of being” by milan kundera – the first book I’ve actually finished, and loved, in a very long time. kundera captures so many facets of life, love, and the human condition in beautiful prose and effortless storytelling.
“you are here” by thich nhat hahn – I can’t describe how much this book put things in perspective for me, and opened me up to the belief that happiness is truly something that is accessible in every moment of every day. I won’t try to explain the sentiments expressed in this book because thich what hahn does such an incredible job laying out his way of thinking, which is mind-blowingly simple and incredibly powerful.
literally everything from the oh she glows vegan cookbook – I have been searching forever for a vegan cookbook that didn’t have tons of finicky and obscure ingredients. this cookbook is absolutely brilliant, as is the oh she glows blog, and has so many delicious and comforting dishes that are wholesome and healthy. favorites are the african peanut stew (I make a huge batch and eat it for a week) and fresh tomato and basil pasta, which I believe you can find the recipes for here.
to make-up with:
rms beauty – if you’re looking for makeup without the nasty additives found in most brands, rms offers a line of natural, vegan, cruelty-free alternatives. my favorites are the living luminizer and the eye polish in myth.
eyelash tinting – if you are prone to allergies or rubbing your eyes (me!!) and are interested in ditching mascara, then eyelash tinting may very well be for you! I’ve been getting mine done for over a year now, and it has been a game changer for me in regards to comfort (I can rub my eyes all I want!) and upkeep (no more racoon eyes). it’s fairly low cost and low maintenance, and worth every penny in my opinion.
paloma wool – one of my new favorite brands, designed and stitched in barcelona. they use unique textiles and colors, and their clothes have the most beautiful cuts and silhouette. on the less pricey end of up and coming indie designers, and just really lovely, high-quality clothes.
yoga with adriene (youtube) – for a long time, I have neglected my practice because I didn’t have access to a local yoga studio and lacked the patience and discipline required to follow a video practice. after seeing a few different people post about adrienne’s videos, I decided to give one a try, and was shocked to find myself absolutely blissed out by the end! adriene is the first teacher I’ve actually been engaged enough to follow through a practice, and she has so many lovely videos that picking one out is always a treat. personal favorites include her intro to yin and her meditation for inner peace.
going on dates with yourself – seriously people, I cannot stress the importance of dating yourself. this means taking the time to check in with your heart, mind, and body and nurturing the parts that are being underserved or forgotten by others and by yourself. take a solo trip to a museum, or buy yourself lunch at your favorite restaurant. you will thank yourself for slowing down and reconnecting, and will likely find yourself more relaxed and open.
wishing you a groovy late summer!
there are two types of tourists in amsterdam: the ones who fall in love with this little city somewhere between late afternoon bike rides through the vondelpark, sipping cappuccinos and forking into appel taart in sleepy canal-side cafés, and climbing the steep stairs to the annex at the anne frank huis. then there are the ones who spend their time in amsterdam popping in and out of its coffeeshops, bars, and nightclubs and who hardly remember a thing about their time spent here.
for those who fall into the former category, this guide will be more helpful for you than those who fall into the latter! my advice to all first-timers is to spend most of your time away from the very center of amsterdam. if you’re seeking to experience the city like a local, neighborhoods such as de pijp and de jordaan have a more “authentic” vibe and offer a wide variety of restaurants, markets, and shops.
museums and culture
if you’re planning on getting a taste of some of amsterdam’s world class museums, start early! the anne frank huis maintains a line out the door for the entire day, and from 9am to 3:30pm only those who made online ticket reservations are able to enter, so this is something to plan in advance or try your luck after 3:30pm when ticket sales re-open at the museum itself. the rijksmuseum, home to rembrandt’s “nachtwatch” and vermeer’s “milkmaid,” and the van gogh museum are also beautiful museums, but it is best to go as early as possible to get an unobstructed view of the works there.
if you’ve been to amsterdam before or are looking for alternative museum experiences, try the stedelijk which showcases modern and contemporary art, the FOAM photography museum, or the hermitage museum which houses exhibitions in collaboration with the hermitage museum in saint petersburg. the amsterdam museum focuses on the history of the city of amsterdam itself, while the red light museum is a more racy but similarly interesting choice for those looking for some unique stories to bring home. the nieuwe kerk often hosts exhibitions throughout the year, past examples including one ancient rome and on marilyn monroe.
spending hours traipsing through museums can certainly help you work up an appetite! for brunch, try lavinia goodfood, vinnie’s, or the breakfast club (try the buckwheat pumpkin pancakes!) which all have a variety of breakfast and lunch and vegan/vegetarian options. if you’re in the mood for coffee and quick bite, try caffè il momento in the jordaan, lot sixty-one coffee on kinkerstraat, the cloud gallery which serves as a cafe, a gallery, and a workspace on the nine streets, or toki off the bustling harlemmerdijk.
if it’s later in the day, try phutakun for what I believe is the best thai food in amsterdam, venus and adonis for luxury surf & turf, poke perfect for hawaiian poke bowls, or rose’s cantina for yummy mexican and cocktails. also, broodje bert is a super yummy stop for sandwiches and salads (try the goat cheese, honey and walnut!) and de bolhoed serves wholesome vegan and vegetarian fare, amazing desserts, and has a super cozy and eclectic vibe.
if it’s a saturday, you absolutely cannot miss the noordermarkt in jordaan. search for treasures among the stalls of locally made foods, antiques, vintage clothing, books, and nearly everything else under the sun. while you’re there, stop by winkle 43 for a coffee and a slice of their famed appel taart with whipped cream.
from there, head to the picturesque harlemmerdijk and spend some time weaving in and out of its wide variety of shops. for even more shopping, head to the 9 straatjes, or nine streets, district which is also known for its shopping, restaurants, and gorgeous canal views. if it rains or you simply want to sit, duck into the café de pels for a beer or a bite to eat. in de pijp, check out the eerste van der helststraat, and shops such as YAY health, anna + nina, and indianaweg 10 (my favorite vintage shop in amsterdam).
also, don’t forget to check out the de hallen! this former train depot is a gigantic dynamic space housing a food market, local goods market, café, work studios, and unique shops. grab a bite to eat at the foodhallen and then peek into the gathershop!
not that kind of green
in the summer, pack a picnic and take a bike ride through the vondelpark in the museumplein, the sarphatipark in de pijp, or the westerpark and relax amongst the leafy trees and ponds. in the winter, check out the horticus botanicus, amsterdam’s indoor botanical garden. if you’re staying for longer than a few days in the spring or summer, consider a night at a dutch bnb in the countryside, or go on a day trip to the keukenhof gardens to cycle amongst the tulip fields.
when the sun goes down
after a busy day of traipsing around the city, consider catching a film at the filmtheater de uitkijk, a show at the comedy club boom chicago, or a concert at the famous concertgebouw. if you’re looking for more of a night out, start with drinks at bar weber then take your pick of the many, many nightclubs that keep the leidseplein up all night.
tips and tricks
amsterdam is an incredibly dynamic and diverse city, but it is also very small, so instead of paying for expensive public transport passes, rent a bike or go by foot! with a bike you get a special kind of freedom and see the city in the most efficient way possible. oh, but please do be mindful of bike etiquette, locals take biking very seriously and there is literally nothing worse to them than groups of tourists on bikes!
some of the best experiences I’ve had in this city have been the result of aimless wandering. take your camera, grab some snacks from albert heijn and consider picking up a book at the abc bookstore and just enjoy being in this beautiful little city! you don’t have to go everywhere to see everything to truly enjoy amsterdam, I found that the hours I spent writing and reading while sitting on the canal in the jordaan were truly some of the most magical times I spent in the city.
I hope you love amsterdam as much as I do and feel free to send me an email or a message on instagram if you have any questions!
“no river” by esme patterson – I heard this song for a few seconds while flipping through instagram stories, and I’ve been listening to it every day since while eating breakfast and planning my days
maggie rogers’ EP “now that the light is fading”- a bit electronic, and a bit folk, maggie’s debut EP is the kind of music that makes me feel both good and level-headed and a tiny bit nostalgic. honorable mentions are “dog years” and “alaska”
“I had a real good lover” by the shouting matches – just listen to this one, it’s been keeping me company while I write in the evenings
amélie – one of my favorite films, which I decided to rewatch on a whim over winter break and I was surprised by just how much it affected me. the dialogue is in french and very quick and the imagery is a whimsical parisian dream. if you’ve heard about and never got around to watching it, I recommend that you do so soon
the crown – this series is really, really well done. I love watching things about the various european monarchies, but what is really intriguing about this is that it follows the real story of elizabeth II’s reign quite closely and recounts the events with amazing sets, costumes, acting and videography
to read and to follow:
just kids by patti smith – honestly it took me over two months to finish this book, but by the end I was very happy to have kept committed to it. written with effortless candor, smith recounts her decades-long friendship with the late photographer and artist robert mapplethorpe, examining their artist-muse relationship and devoted friendship against the backdrop of the grunge culture in new york city in the 70’s and early 80’s
“modern love” the podcast – hollywood actors read personal essays of “love, loss, and redemption” written for the new york times’ modern love column. these stories often keep me company on my metro rides to school and on my walks around the city, and I can genuinely say that tuning in makes my day better
homemade chia pudding – so listen, I have a vicious sweet tooth. I’ll sometimes have spurts where I’ll crave sweet stuff like 4 – 5 times a day, which is definitely not sustainable if I would like my pants to continue to fit. my solution to this is the chia pudding that I make by mixing 3 tablespoons of chia for every one cup of dark chocolate soy milk, and a squirt of agave. left overnight, this stuff becomes a fun pudding-like texture which you can top with whipped cream (coconut or otherwise) and can be mixed in a blender if the seeds or the texture freaks you out. it’s also very cheap to make and chia packs a lot of healthy fat and fiber, so it’s not too sinful!
to make-up with:
rosehip oil – this stuff works like magic for my skin, with both healing and moisturizing benefits it helps tackle everything from dullness and acne scares to dry spots. I have a little pump bottle from aura cacia that also packs in vitamin e, which I use about three pumps of morning and night on a clean face
denim flares – I say this modestly, but this was another trend that I was somewhat embarrassingly “ahead of” like not wearing them before it was cool, but wearing them before it was accepted as a trend and I got some looks….that being said, if you’re bored with the skinny jean silhouette and haven’t embraced the mom jean trend, flares are an opportunity to add some comfort, funk , and some major jane birkin vibes to your wardrobe
going to markets – this is pretty much my favorite thing to do year-round, but in amsterdam the markets continue through the winter and encourage me to get out of the house and face the cold. it may take some willpower, but once I make it outside and find myself amongst loaves of freshly made bread, bustling locals and their dogs and babies (!!!), and troves of antiques, I never regret it
taking the time to write – it doesn’t matter if you think you are a bad writer, or if you’re unexperienced, or if you feel you have nothing to write about. take some time to sit down in front of a piece a paper or your journal and write down something about your life right now. how do you feel? did something remotely interesting happen on your way home from work? was your weekend wonderful, horrible, or just a normal one? take a minute to write it down. your future self will very likely enjoy going back through your writings, and you might find yourself thanking you for it
morning & afternoon: having flown into bucharest very late in wednesday evening, we didn’t arrive to the hotel until early on thursday. we tucked into bed around 2am, and didn’t emerge from our room until mid-morning. we awoke to snowy conifers outside our window and the kind of sweet silence one rarely encounters in city life. we had a breakfast of coffee and vegetables on toast, which did not exactly suit my american sweet-tooth palate, but offered a glimpse into romanian cuisine. we then took a drive soundtracked by the one scratchy radio station we could find through the mountain town of poiana brasov, and through the countryside to bran, where the historic bran castle is perched high amongst the snowy mountains. there we wandered through the passageways and gardens of the 14th century castle, said to have inspired the fictitious castle of bram stoker’s dracula. the winding towers offered us a gorgeous view overlooking the village laid out below, draped in the afternoon’s sunlight and snow. while it is not nearly the most grand castle I have seen, its quiet and simple charm served as a relic of a bygone era.
evening: on our way back, we stopped in the charming town of brasov for a late lunch and to explore the streets as the sun set. we dined in a traditionally romanian restaurant, and isaac tried some particularly interesting local delicacies with subsequently made away with both of our appetites. in an attempt to recover from the traumas of our meal, we perused a number of artisan shops and and devoured traditional chimney cakes called kürtőskalács, a name which I cannot pronounce, but can promise are delicious topped with nuts and caramelized sugar.
tired from our day of exploring and our travel the night before, we ventured back up the winding roads of the mountain and took in the views of the city illuminated by the sunset in a soft golden light. after dinner and drinks in the hotel, we retired early to rest up for our day of skiing to come.
friday & saturday
the next two days of our trip were filled with skiing, lazing about the hotel in bathrobes, and snacking on more kürtőskalács. we spent time catching up on reading and sleep, and I took to the slopes for the first time in years. the view at the top of the mountain was breathtaking, but I was unable to capture it on film as skiing is not the best sport to take along a film camera. on friday evening, we ventured back down the winding mountain-side roads to brasov for dinner at a quaint local spot called bistro de l’arte, where we ate winter apples with cheese and I drank rosemary scented cocktails as a pianist plinked keys in the background. the city was very cosy at night, with its warmly painted buildings dimly lit by the shadowy light of the street lamps.
what I enjoyed about romania was the simplicity there. it was easy to get lost in the views and enjoy our time convalescing as time seemed to slow ever so slightly. having never been to eastern europe or anywhere remotely close, I saw for the first time a part of the world I had only seen and heard very little about.
last year was one of unease for me.
It was half spent in america, the other in europe, and I was increasingly aware of my absence from which ever place I wasn’t in. searching for a home and stability at this age seems impossible, as the notion is fleeting due to the fact that these are years in which life must change in order for growth to occur.
these are a different kind of growing pains – not quite palpable but seemingly ever-present. they seemed to follow me from place to place, from month to month. not quite allowing me to ever feel truly comfortable, as I was bracing the whole year for my world to be abruptly flipped on its axis.
I swear time sped up last year, and as adulthood comes barreling towards me, I have for the first time tried to tune in into how I am living my life. it is no longer so much of a question of what I’m doing, but if what I’m doing is worthwhile and makes me happy.
I wasted a lot of time last year worrying about things so distant and irrelevant, things that often never even happened or problems that I never needed to address. you can make yourself dizzy with thoughts of whens and what-ifs, and it’s really better to focus on what you can actually do. what can you actually work towards. what you can actually change.
In november I started writing a book. who knows if I’ll finish it, and even if I do, if it will ever see the light of day. but you know what? it doesn’t matter if any of those things do or do not happen because writing is what feels good right now, and being a writer is one of the many things that sounds good right now. that’s all I can really hope for at this point in my life.
I’m not saying that you should base all your decisions on what feels good…many, many, things worth doing and decisions worth making are neither easy nor do they particularly feel good. what I’m saying is that you should go full force after what you want, after what you dream about, after what you idealize, because I don’t want to look back and think about the what-ifs.
wishing you a happy new year!
I can lay all the mornings spent with him out in front of myself on the floor, all sun-streaked and rainy
my hair knots up in the back, I presume it battles with my pillow while I sleep
searching for home in the shallow depths of my coffee at the cafes I have haunted day after day
minutes, hours all ticking away on the little brass timepiece I bought from a street market in copenhagen
plane tickets and tubes of lipstick and books I’ve bought but haven’t read a word of
tears and tears and tears, it feels as if there is a black hole inside me, pulling me into oblivion
I don’t know where I am supposed to be or where I will be once I orbit the sun again, what is it to be only one year older
and then, the sound of a camera shutter closing and the smell of the perfume I still wear
“I wish I had a river I could skate away on”
around town, up and down streets made familiar by the years and through intersections and on avenues that I am a stranger to
staring in the mirror for hours wondering what kind of impression I leave on the people I will only ever know in passing
words and words and words, what will I do with my life? there is sugar spilt onto my saucer in sweet crystalline constellations
I’ll fall asleep at 11:20, and the world will softly shift while I dream
bon iver “22, a million” – bon iver finally released some new music after nearly four years, and considering the fact that I became a fan in 2012 right after the initial break-up, getting my hands on new music from justin vernon and his band has been pretty much the highlight of the year
joni mitchell’s “blue” album – purchased on vinyl and played to death, the kind of sweet and sentimental, folksy music that never gets old
john mayer “love on the weekend” – mayer’s return to pop was announced on twitter earlier this year, and this track is the first to be released that is evocative of some his most beloved tunes from the early 2000’s but is still reminiscent of his more recent albums
fleetwood mac – another vinyl purchase that led me back into a world of music I often neglect, there is something so timeless and just plain cathartic about fleetwood mac
good girls revolt – literally the best show I’ve seen in ages concerning the representation of women (it passes the bechdel test within the first half of episode one!!), telling the story of a group of women who work for a prominent magazine in the early 70’s
westworld – if you don’t live under a rock you have probably heard about this show. I am notoriously picky about the genre of sci-fi, but this one is a winner for me as it is incredibly well done and never fails to surprise
to read and to follow:
this should be written in the present tense by helle helle – one of my favorite books that I read in 2016 because of it’s way of communicating the mundane elements of life
@sarahkbenning – self determined “contemporary embroidery” which is so beautiful
bluets by maggie nelson – an all time favorite of mine that i’ve recently revisited…it’s a poetic exploration of the color blue in all it’s literal and metaphorical forms…it is nostalgic and quick witted and brilliant
@kellymaker – gorgeous artwork that is so unique and celebratory of the female form
shearling – it’s getting cold here in amsterdam, and this week I realized that my cotton/wool coat was no longer cutting it so I popped into my favorite vintage shop and picked out a gorgeous vintage shearling coat that’s timeless, trendy and warm…additionally, buying fur second hand allows me to enjoy what already is on the market rather than fueling the fur market and fast fashion
levi 501’s – mom jeans and other vintage cuts have become staples in modern wardrobes, and there is something that I love about going back to basics with fashion. jeans that are well-made, flattering, and wallet friendly can be difficult to find, but the hours spent scavenging second hand bins to find the perfect vintage denim are hours well spent in my opinion
rouje – a parisian brand that I’ve been following on instagram…centered around cool girl cuts and silhouettes with some really beautiful dresses and tops
to make-up with:
becca highlighter – I have the cream version in “opal” and it’s become a staple in my daily routine…a swipe on my cheekbones, eyelids, and brow bone and I’m glowy as ever and ready to go
serums – kind of like vitamins for your skin, best used after cleansing but before thicker products like moisturizers, balms and creams…can be used to target a specific ailment (dryness, acne) or to just enhance your skin…my favorites being the super bounce serum from glossier with hyalourionic acid and the niaminicide and zinc serum from the ordinary, and the midnight recovery concentrate from kiehl’s
overnight oats – easy, quick, healthy, and cheap are the key elements I’m looking for in a breakfast nowadays, and overnight oats check all of those boxes easily. I fill a mason jar about 1/3 of the way, add a teaspoon of chia seed, agave syrup, and a healthy amount of cinnamon and then fill to the top with soy milk. I stick my concoction in the fridge overnight and in the morning breakfast is ready to go! I like to mix in a spoonful of chocolate hazelnut spread for chocolatey oats or chopped banana and walnuts for a healthier start to the day
veggie bakes – literally chopping up vegetables and drowning them in spices, herbs, and olive oil and sticking ’em in the oven…later paired with brown rice and sometimes beans for a healthy, filling, and cheap dinner
play records – isaac gifted me with my coveted record player for our one year anniversary, and I have grown really fond of the concept of “putting on a record” which kind of lends itself to filing your life and your space with more music in addition to the fun of scavenging markets and record stores for a new treasure to spin
listen to audiobooks – between lectures, assignments and an seemingly endless stream of articles to read, using my spare time to do anything other than watch gilmore girls is uncommon…however I have been able to incorporate new material into my day in the form of audiobooks…which has allowed me to become immersed in stories that I don’t have the patience to sit down and read at this time in my life (currently, war & peace)
here’s to saying goodbye to the fall and hoping for a cozy and gentle winter