Post filled under : Local Loves

  • November 18, 2013

“I never thought I’d be sitting in a bar after 2am, surrounded by really cool strangers, sipping booze from a tea cup!” Wait. Did I just say that out loud!? I couldn’t help but shrug and lifted my glass to a “Cheers” with my fellow drinking companions. Thankfully they did not leave me hanging.

The “birds and the bees” was one of the cocktails I had recently photographed and it tasted splendidly! I sat drinking in the nostalgic vibe of the bar along with my cocktail. It was something wonderful, something you can’t really find now days but was reminiscent to the feeling you get when you sit down to watch your favorite old movie. As I looked around it reminded me of a montage of several of my favorite old movies depending on the present constitutes and their moods and drinks. It made me laugh to think what a cocktail could say about a person’s character and taste. The guy in the corner was a Humphrey Bogart. His accomplice an equal alpha personality was definitely a Betty Paige. I wanted to peg the ex-Ad guy next to me as a Mad men but I really had the feeling he was setting out for more of a Rum Diary adventure or perhaps Jack Kerouac. I was living in the land of Audrey but noted my best friend right beside me was just short of 2 cross dressing men to make it into “Some like it Hot”. I’m sure she had a hot water bottle hidden in that giant purse somewhere.
The Birds and the Bees

If you’ve followed my work then you already know what bar this is. If not, you will find it hiding in plain sight, tucked away on the corner of a side street just a block up from the Gassan Diamond factory around the Waterlooplein.

Hiding in Plain Sight is by far the best bar I have ever been to in Amsterdam. I knew it the moment I walked in to shoot for my friend and amazing Chef Fong from Kitchen Seductions as she paired up for a dinner cocktail night. Despite wearing my mom jeans which surely I thought would have put me out of place, my inner gypsy hipster New Orleans lovin self was screaming “Lucy! I’m home!” And I really felt that way because the owners and staff made me feel that way. You see, they and I had something in common. We all love a really, truly good drink.

HPS doesn’t boost pent house views, or massage chairs, but they have some serious passion for great tasting drinks and the knowledge behind making those “blow your taste buds, befuddle your mind” delectable cocktails. The high spirited but cozy atmosphere and cool jivey tunes of the Swing time Gypsy Band or one of their famous themed events certainly don’t hurt either. Please don’t get me started on their Boozy Brunch. Nothing can be said short of very positive expletives. It’s hard to believe that they just celebrated their first year anniversary last February. I’m looking forward to another year of exciting cocktail photo shoots and events. HPS feels like it’s already a Dutch institution but I believe the fun has only just begun.

Check out a few more Vanitas from the last drink menu:

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Filled Under : Local Loves , My Amsterdam

Before there was photography there was art. Drawings, painting, sculpting. Some days I think we live in such a camera obsessed world that we forget to actually take the time to lower the technical gadgets between our faces and the world and just see what’s really all around us. That’s one of the things I love about Joseph Segaran, but I will get to that later. When I met Joseph it was actually at an ASBN networking event. I took an instant like to him. He’s super friendly, funny, with a great smile. As a creative mind myself, I loved his drawings and paper cuts. They are all done by hand, no rulers, and no room for mistakes. His drawings are structural with an attention to detail and his lines give to just a little whimsy that really captures the city of Amsterdam. And his paper cuts are well, so bold if I may say, that I have a hard time deciding whether I like the paper cuts or drawings more. What’s not to love?

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You see, I like to look at ceilings (apologies for the short tangent that is Melody’s mind). The simple fact that people can live and work under a ceiling for 5, 10 years and never actually take a moment to look up completely boggles me. Are you looking up yet? One of the things I loved about Joseph on our shoot is that I kept catching him looking up. He thought I was busy setting up camera equipment but I caught him looking up sneaking a peak. I loved the wonder in his eyes like he’s seeing something for the first time all over again.

 

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The next thing I loved about Joseph was his super trusty pen cups. No seriously. It’s another thing we had in common and I believe how you prefer your working utensils can say a lot about you (I too favor a mug for pens). It was actually a reminder that in today’s digital age where art and everything are becoming more digital that it’s easy to forget what’s real. But Joseph and his art is as real as it gets and he brings a fun twist of that special old school feeling. His artworks really tell the story of a building and a whole city. And did I mention that he does custom work! It’s such a wonderful way to commemorate a place where you lived or a great gift to give a special colleague to remind them of where they worked. I’m so lucky to have gotten to know the guy behind the art and to have photographed him. While we’re on it, check out those peepers! He’s got some serious brows on top of the windows to his soul wouldn’t you say? I honestly don’t know how I get so lucky in having such great looking clients.

Be sure to check out Joseph’s website and follow his work on facebook. His daily drawings are super entertaining and he’s one Amsterdam talent to keep an eye on as his works become more published on books and famous buildings!

Filled Under : Read more

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