Let’s Do Amsterdam!

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!!

First Stop, Bocca! Liquid Fuel Is Needed
Flat Whites All Around
Spiegel Shop
Get Your Dutch On!
Dutch Objects
How Can I Fit This Vase Into My Suitcase?
Dutch Objests
The Sweetest Handmade Pieces
Sweet Pieces
The Donut!
Dutch Bikes
Your Bike Says It All!

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.

Fresh Juice Break. Seriously, How Cool Is This Space?!
Shops Of Amsterdam
Window Shopping
City Sights
Leaning In!
Friendly Bugs
More Coffee Please! Toki Time
Happy Place
Getting Our Buzz On

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!

Perfect Timing For This Activity
I Am Not A Tourist:)
Bikes, Boats, Flowers and My Old Street, Lauriergracht
The Best Park To Exlore
Conservatorium Hotel
Skins Cosmetics, Your Senses Will Love It!
Conservatorium Hotel
Last Stop!
Convervatorium Hotel
Sipping and Smiling

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!

isostilo style

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!

isostilo style
Kit Kat Inspiration!
My Indoor House Party Slides
Ruffles For Anytime
Bring On The Closet Challenge

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.

Party At Home!

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.

Meat Sauce
Make Ahead Bolognese
Roasted Veggies
Roasted Veggies (carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, and beets) Ready To Be Plated
Party Prep
Side Dish Platters Ready
Party Prep
Appetizer Platters Ready
Power of The FLowers
Gathering Fresh Flowers The Day Ahead (my favorite task!)

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.

Easy Snacks
Tip: Take Cheese Out A Few Hours Before Serving
Pre Dinner FInger Foods
Had A Little Help From My Local Cheese Shop, Formaggio KItchen
Kale Salad & Those Make Ahead Roasted Veggies
Table Runner Decorated By The Grandkids
Party Decorations

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.

isostilo style
MY Old Blouse and My New Neon Pothos Plant Are Ready To Party!

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!

Sweetest Surprise!

Wearing It Proudly
New Arm Candy

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

Bracelet:  Venessa Arizaga

Lighter Days

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.

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!

Can’t get enough of: Track Pants

white button down from Madewelladidas track pants, slip on shoes from Proenza Schouler, Anna Sui headband, LR handbag, Odeme beauty items, EVERYDAY Oil

Crocs And Chocolate Oh My

Say what (I need another coffee for this one)!  Balenciaga and Crocs?!  My dad has been rocking the Crocs for years.  So I am trying to get my head around the fashion hype over the $850 Balenciaga Platform Crocs (apparently already sold out).  Only available in two colors, pink or sand.  BTW this is not a first for Crocs to have their dubbed up footwear strutted on the runway.  The last two years Christopher Kane led the way with them.  Is this cool or absolutely ridiculous?  Maybe a fashion hack is an option if you can’t get your hot little fingers (not possible) on them at Barneys, Saks, and other high-end retailers.  Best of luck!

Balenciaga X Crocs (pic from Vogue)

Read the Vogue article here or read on about my new tasty indulgence, Royce Chocolates.

I do not have much of sweet tooth.  I prefer savory.  But my husband was away and sweetly came home with a gift for me from Japan.  The package had me interested.  He handed me a neatly folded, cool, subtle silver package with a tiny Royce’ sticker that closed the package.  Inside were two beautiful boxes filled with tiny squares of chocolates.  I eventually took a nibble and thought at first I would share them with my chocolate loving husband (I was also thinking this was a gift to himself).  Lets just say I WILL NOT BE SHARING.  The tiny golden square dusted with chocolate melted in my mouth.  Boxes are hidden and I am keeping an inventory.




This high quality, indulgent chocolate was founded in Sapporo in 1983.  The art of Japanese chocolate must be experienced and now Royce’ chocolates can be ordered online in the U.S.  I just learned that I can visit their Boston store for a quick shopping pick me up!  But for now I will savor every nugget of heaven.  Here is another Valentine’s Day gift idea:)