Ah, what better place to start my about my life style than while enjoying a nice holiday in Spain? When I first saw comments of people wanting to read more about me and my life I thought they had lost it. Then again, my life just so happens to be my kind of crazy so maybe it’s theirs (or yours) also?

So as of now I’m enjoying a nice cold glass of Horchata while sitting in a sunroom 3 blocks from the beautiful Mediteranean just South-west of Barcelona in Spain nestled at the bottom of the Penedès, Cava country. Down below, the local cafe is closing up and 4 gentlemen are finishing their game of dominoes. Today some grey clouds have come down from the mountains with the promise of some cooling rain. We already had a nice sunny morning walking around the beautiful city of Sitges and now is the time of the day to rest and have lunch (which is oddly enough dinner and dinner is actually a light lunch after 9pm). Internet can be sparse here so I thought it would be a good time to check out some photos and do a quick post on my dingy old laptop.

So far I’m loving everything about the Catalan culture. I am so lucky we are staying with local family friends who help us to speak and emerse in the culture here. And oh my word the food! In many ways, it’s probablly a good thing that my dingy laptop and internet are slow here. Knowing me I’d try and sneak in the time to work rather then fully enjoying myself. I have to say it’s been nice to just slow down and do basically nothing. I am doing my best to enjoy this time but am also looking forward to getting home and getting back to work! I left some amazing projects and shoots in need of editing back home!

The first day we arrived, it was during “seista” (not that I knew),  and I thought the whole city of Cunit was some what deserted or quiet. There were no open shops, or almost any that I could see of. Every where shutters were closed and metal garage covers were pulled down. We only passed one or two people on our way in. It had me thinking that maybe we were in a retirement village or a ghost town. After having  dinner and unpacking to settle in the whole city seemed to come alive. Stores appeared where before there had been none, cafe’s and bars opened, placing their tables and seats right out on to the street! More and more people came out, dressed up and began to shop or chat in the street. Kids and babies are out along with them playing in the street till well past 11pm which is the norm here to escape the heat. And to think all the bad looks I used to get when I had B out late back in Amsterdam!

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B and Yeya enjoying Siesta after a day a the the beach. Cunit looking deserted while everyone is inside resting.

It’s now occured to me that the reason people loose weight before going on vacation isn’t to look good but to compensate how much they are going to eat! Our “Yeya” as she is affectionately called seems to think we are coming from a 3rd world country by the looks of what she is putting on the table. And she is by far, a better chef then half of the restaurants I’ve seen here. But a week into our vacation we’ve gotten out and enjoyed some tapas, lot’s of Mojitos, and the Cava is continuously flowing. I’ve tried some of the famous Paella and delicous Higos negros fresh picked by Yeya’s son (I think it’s a type of fig?) Don’t even get me started on the watermelon or jamon! And I’m lost as to what it is with the Spanish and their dougnuts! Not that I’m complaining in finding grade A doughnuts and Dunkin Dounuts in down town Barcelona, but it seems every breakfast meal has dounuts and chocolate pastries, with chocolate milk on top! It’s got me craving some healthy granola or a smoothie, or my running shoes!

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One of the hot topics right now is the succession of Catalunya becoming it’s own state. I’m not one to get into politics or affairs that don’t affect me but it’s interesting to see the signs and here people discussing it everywhere. I personally am here relishing all the art and history! Whether it’s wondering if that statue paying homage to Christopher Columbus has him pointing in the correct direction, or where Don Quixote first saw the mediteranean sea in Barcelona. The 1900′s art nouveau architecture, art,  Antoni Gaudi, Santiago Rusiñol, and Josep Pujol i Brull have me swooning all over the place!

I’m mostly happy that my little guy is enjoying himself as well. We haven’t planned much and have been playing most things by ear. We’re always hunting a good play ground and little man loves the water and the beach! We’ve even found a cool beach bar that has trampolines and one of his favorite things to do is jump! He even did so well with flying! I’m really very impressed. Now if only this country had the one staple of his diet: peanut butter! Despite it’s few flaws of no peanut butter and too many doughnuts it’s really great and I can’t wait to come back to the NL refreshed, a little more tan, and ready to get back to what I do best! Miss you all and hope the weather and food are just as good where you are! In the mean time feel free to have a look at a few of my snaps:

 

Filled Under : My Life style

Back in the Fall of 2012, it seems the winds were stirring and blowing big business into, well something a bit smaller. Group founders Sharon Tanish and Marjolijn Hendriksen launched a facebook group that would soon become an online Bi-lingual platform for Amsterdam entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout North Holland. Fast forward to today and the group hosts a whopping and still growing 800 members, monthly meet ups and networking events, workshops, and it’s very first pop up showcasing in just a weeks time!

Amsterdam Small Business Network’s motto is “Shop small, shop local.” Because when you do this, not only are you getting quality and often hand made with love goods, but you are directly supporting individuals and families in your area! Not just a business with no name of face.

It’s funny to think a few years before that I sat just a couple of cubicles away in a large international company from one of the group organizers Sharon Tanish. We didn’t even realize until after we had both had become mothers through another parenting group. As if having a kids isn’t already a big handful, working, and playing house can be quite the juggle that both Sharon and Marjolijn seem to do with effortless grace. Really, we business owners know they work there busy beautiful behinds off! (am I even allowed to say that? Well I just did.)

It seems fitting that they would be my first post on Amsterdam Local loves, not because they were the first local business or thing I enjoyed while here in Amsterdam, but because I respect them so very much. They really practice what they preach. Being a small business owner it’s really important that we support other small business owners by buying, purchasing, and collaborating. There is just something about small businesses, whether it be your favorite diner, tea house, or place you get your nails done, that when you walk in they know you and they give you that special feeling. You know what I’m talking about. At least I hope you do. Really. Can you imagine a world that didn’t have these small gems in our culture? I just love all the variety and Sharon and Marjolijn are constantly stopping by store openings, choosing small businesses to buy quality gifts from. They even hired me to do there first round of portrait photos!

And of course one of my most favorite things to do, which is why I’m sure ASBN will continue to grow and be a success is that they know how to have fun!

 

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Amazing businesses don’t just happen. They aren’t magically born, or appear over night. They are made, build from the ground up. With hard work and effort. Where I come from they sometimes did something called a barn raising where the community would come out and would work together to erect a stable, strong, sturdy barn. ASBN feels a bit like that to me sometimes. No two are exactly alike, but they all need a little guidance in growing into their potential and a community of support. Here are 3 things I have personally learned (even though I previously knew but hadn’t yet clicked) from these 2 very lovely ladies:

1. When you put in the effort, put in the work, when you keep experimenting, learning, testing  you will eventually grow and you will become better. Sometimes we just need a cheerleader or a devil’s advocate to help along the way.

2.Failing is actually learning. Failure mostly happens when you step out into unknown territory and experiment with things – what you learn from this is invaluable. So yeah, failing is sort of awesome! (I think I need to start a club for this)

3.Love thy network. Stop trying to figure out what they can do for you but what you can do for them! (My own personal mantra I repeat in my head before meet ups- it usually gets returned 2 fold)

Want to see a few more photos from our shoot? I’d say “behind” the scenes, but I think that’s enough behind jokes for one post!

And of course don’t forget about their upcoming pop up event! Your’s truly is going to pop by to snap a few photos but has been too busy to set up shop this time around. Hope to bump into you and please say “hi” if you see me there!

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Filled Under : Read more

I was raised a small town girl despite coming from a big city. As if Amsterdam wasn’t already just a village it’s made up of some amazing small businesses that help to give my favorite city part of it’s special character. As a small business my self I love to highlight vibrant & colorful independent products, services, shops, and restaurants, that I know & love, as well as rising stars with serious potential. I love being part of an international community where passionate people infuse their business with creativity, love, and quality.

A bi-lingual space where Amsterdammers can support local purchasing, strengthen community ties, be exposed to the wonderful talent that Amsterdam holds and you can showcase the best of what your business has to offer to discerning Amsterdam customers.

Amsterdam Small Business Network - , http://www.020sbn.nl/

Filled Under : Local Loves

Busy as a bee working away on my website!

Filled Under : My Amsterdam

Ok, so I know I am behind on updating my blog post. I’ve been so busy working on projects and a new website (Eek!) but I have another lovely family photoshoot I just have to share! It must be that time of the year, all of these babies and bumps. I just love it! And little Miss Holland is receiving such a warm welcome with Big Sis and Bro watching over her. There is just something so special about holding a new little person’s hand and having them just hold it back. Let’s just say there was alot of hand holding during this session. I truly enjoyed photographing this lovely American Family and their new addition. Have a peek!

 

And the best part about this whole entire shoot is that I got to cuddle the little model herself! Can you believe I actually get paid for doing this stuff? I just love it so much. Then again it does have some work required, but I consider myself so lucky to wake up and get to do a job I truly love and enjoy.

Filled Under : Blog

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