Another new shop for me, Maison NL. Maison NL is a concept store in Amsterdam offering a well curated selection of speciality products ranging from fashion pieces, home accessories, jewelry to gifts for your little ones. This store is packed with gems. Honestly, I typically would not spend so much time in a store that is covered floor to ceiling with merchandise. But I found myself eyeing things left and right. A great place to buy yourself or someone else a gift. Super fun to browse with a friend!
Welcome to Bellerose. A Belgian company that offers stylish, well crafted, and playful basics for the whole family. I love that the branding is subtle and not obvious. The store itself is worth the experience. The environment is welcoming, warm, and encourages you to wonder around. The store is spacious which allows the clothing to be well displayed. There is no clutter, no over packed shelves, and every garment is visible. I enjoyed just being in a peaceful space and easily could have made some purchases:) but I didn’t.
The first day is typically a fight for me to stay awake. But not this time. I am traveling alone to Amsterdam to celebrate one of my dearest friend’s birthday. So no time to nap! I must enjoy every minute of my visit! I never get bored with Amsterdam. I fall deeper in love every visit. Sitting in cafes with friends and strolling the streets is my favorite way to spend my days. It is day one and I’m off with my girlfriends!!
Coffee and jet lag go great together. So Bocca, a new coffee spot for me was the first stop. The space is bright, inviting and they serve a great cup of coffee. I also popped into a favorite store of mine, Spiegel Amsterdam. It is Dutch design shop that sells only products made in Holland. The perfect place to shop for gifts for yourself and others.
My girlfriends and I continued strolling with no signs of jet lag (shocking for me and I felt amazing)! Perhaps keeping my caffeine consumption in the mix was key. I was introduced to another fab and hip coffee shop, Toki. Loved the vibe! I wasn’t sure if the coffee was going to match up to the coolness. After a few sips, I was wondering if we would be able to come back!
An amazing afternoon with my girlfriends. Fell in love with another new shop, Papabubble. A delightful candy shop that makes their own hard candies on sight. The name alone makes me smile. We were lucky enough to catch lollipops in the making (which also came with some sweet sampling). I had to buy a few treats for my son:). The final stop of the day, the Conservatorium Hotel. The Conservatorium Hotel is a stunning hotel located in the Museum District. It is an architectural gem. The hotel has a beautiful, bright, and inviting lounge to enjoy drinks and nibbles. We sat and laughed while sipping vino!! A perfect start to the week!
Fact: The jet lag is kicking in and I am seeing doubles as I type. Good night!
Funny how something unexpected can spark your style creativity. I am inspired by the Japanese styled Kit Kat packaging. It is no secret the Japanese have killer style and a killer eye for every little detail. I’m becoming a fan of adding some pop of color to my style. I am raiding my closet and playing with new and old pieces. It is my new challenge, making old feel new again! Get ready for occasional posts focused on my “closet style”. To keep your real estate, you must be worn!
Blouse: Loving the green (thxs Kit Kat box for the reminder)! This is an old blouse purchased from a small shop on The Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes) in Amsterdam. I remember purchasing this top before motherhood (12 years ago, yikes!) thinking it was feminine with the ruffles while falling in love with the deep green color. It is now a vintage Luella blouse. Paired with a high-waisted denim.
Slides: I took a risk last winter on a these Tomas Maier slides. They were a final sale purchase off Net A Porter . I bought them thinking they would become my indoor house slides for when we had guests over. They fell into the closet vortex. Welcome back! They made their reappearance during a family celebration we hosted for my father in law’s birthday.
isostilo style: I tend to wear a simple everyday uniform but I like to hunt for timeless pieces that I can pull out for those fun occasions.
Nothing makes me happier than hosting a party. I have learned over the years it is the gathering rather than the actual meal that brings happy smiles. I always try to create an easy prep ahead menu. My goal is no cooking once the guests have arrived. I want to have fun too! We just celebrated my father in law’s 85th birthday. It was truly a lovely evening with family. Here is a peek at how I tackled the night.
In my past life, I worked for a gourmet shop. I learned every aspect of the business. At the time I never knew how useful working a barista bar (my love for a cappuccino began here), cooking in a kitchen, cutting fancy cheeses, to catering parties would stay with me. What I learned is so valuable. Planning ahead is critical. So I spread my planning over a few days. The menu is simplified. It is not a time for me to get fancy or try anything new. During our time in Amsterdam, we hosted parties all the time. Learning to be simple always delivered happy results.
The party was on a Friday night. The weekend prior I came up with my menu and planned out the two days leading up to the party.
Wednesday: Grocery shop, make bolognese sauce (requires patience but worth it), call in catering order for appetizers.
Thursday: Find a window to flower shop, set up space, hang my Dutch party flags ( bought these for my son’s 1 st birthday and I hang them every year for his birthday), wash and clean veggies for roasting.
Friday: Prep salad greens, roast veggies mid day, and place platters in their spots. Everything done by 3:00 so I can head out to pick up Aleisi and the catering.
What’s left: Music playlist! Cook pasta (task given to my husband), toss salad and arrange veggies 15 minutes before serving.
FYI: Whatever you serve or plan, remember that guests are thrilled to be invited and to have a night off:) Pizza and friends is always a winner and I often take this option.
Give this bolognese recipe a try. I make mine with all beef and add 1 cup of milk before step 3 (which is a recommendation from the original recipe from the restaurant Al Forno) This restaurant is a MUST if you find yourself in Providence, Rhode Island!
Look at what the snail mail just delivered to me. I can’t recall the last time I received an unexpected package in the mail. I will say it was so heart warming to receive an out of the blue gift from a friend. She had given me a little heads up but I had no idea what would follow. A small box from M.Flynn, a local jewelry store located in Boston’s South End, had landed on my doorstep. I opened it up and a huge smile came over my face and the thought bubble of “wow, she really thinks I like this guy!” The bracelet read to me as ASIF which is my husband’s name. Ha! But it is meant to read AS IF. I’m a bit slow on the draw. My new piece of arm candy will be worn proudly all the while thinking of my husband and a sweet friend! The thought of someone thinking about you when you’re not in their company is such a wonderful feeling. Here’s to friendship!! xo
Sometimes you just have to think ahead to get beyond cold days! I’m referring to warmer temps, longer days, and strolls around the city. The sun may come out to play and I am dreaming about running out the door with less layers. Here are my lighter days ahead wardrobe picks.
Classic drapey oversized button down from Madewell
adidas tracks, simple!
Proenza Schouler slips on, When is Spring?!
Trying this out! EVERYDAY OIL
Silver knot tote from Loeffler Randall
Anna Sui making it easy
Odeme’s pop with Sorbetto, has me thinking of a sorbet
Nice to have, right? Odeme’s compact mirror
Mission: To find products to help reverse the aging process (hence the oil)
Goal: To age gracefully in the most natural way. I just received my new EVERYDAY OIL. Let’s see!