The Allures of Amsterdam

I've just returned from a remarkable few days in Amsterdam where I visited with my Mother and Sister. Much of my Mother's family history hails from Holland, thus it made our trip all the more special. Below are just some of the highlights, and I must credit my sister, Caroline, for masterfully orchestrating all of our experiences - every meal, adventure and moment was carefully curated from her own prior travel and research.

Every time I am on the airplane en route home from any travels, I make a list of my highlights while they are still fresh and fragrant in my mind... Below are some of the highlights that stand out from the few days in the divine Dutch city:

A building lushly covered in ivy and classic.

A city where there are more bicycles than was particularly fascinating to see parents with their small cherubs in tow, confidently riding throughout the city running their errands - even the smallest of children did not wear helmets! It's fair to say the bicyclists rule the road.

Hollyhocks & green lacquered doors were in no shortage. Every exterior door was handsomely painted with seductive, glossy paint. Needless to say, I am now coveting Hollyhocks in a whole new way!

Climbing roses and a potted boxwood flirt with the senses of any passerby. 

Tall & lean doors painted in the infamous dark green at the Hortus Botanticus.

Lush, aromatic jasmine decorates this exterior, this time, the doors painted in a Chinese lacquered red. 

The greenhouse at Restaurant De Kas, a chic garden conservatory where all ingredients are grown on-site. A "must visit" in Amsterdam.

A plump squash growing in the greenhouse at De Kas. Restaurant patrons can tour the greenhouse before or after dining, where they can view the ingredients served in the respective courses.

Garden tools at De Kas are primed and ready to harvest vegetables, nasturtiums and herbs for the chef's dishes.

Edible flowers at the Noodermarkt...presented next to a sea of luscious berries (not pictured) we bought & promptly ate. A great deal of the dishes we enjoyed were beautifully presented with varying kinds of edible flowers...true inspiration for summer cooking!

An exquisite sampling of a collection of antique French and Italian gilded gold mirrors at Anouk Beerents. Upon their monthly acquisition by the shop's proprietor and team, they are restored and preserved, accordingly.

@cheesebycarol (my sister, Caroline), outside of Kaaskamer Van Amsterdam, where she procured fine Dutch cheeses and accoutrements for her evening cheese platter, truly a work of art!

The Pulitzer Hotel's divine salon boat, built in 1909, was the perfect vessel for touring the canals. An open bar made the exploration more fanciful!

Until next time! Putting my passport back in its safe home and getting back to work! #CandCConsulting.


That Perfect Summer Isle

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image4An adventure this weekend reconfirmed my notion of summer. Cuttyhunk, in my opinion, is the epitome of an idyllic summertime landscape. Cuttyhunk is the outermost island of the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts, just 1.5 miles long, who plays host to 52 full-time residents and a bounty of boaters and island hoppers in the warmer months. There are hardly any cars on the island, but plenty of golf carts driven by those carefree inhabitants. Rugged rugosa shrubs scatter the perimeter of the picturesque harbor and beaches, and historic homes dot the lush hills. Any spot on the island offers a special vantage point, whether it may be sand, architecture or a glimpse of the nearby Vineyard Sound. The surrounding waters have been known for shipwrecks and a plethora of striped bass for eager fishermen. Above are a few captures from the excursion.

Girl Crush 3.0: Mimi Thorisson

544674755c1237d92c4f89f8_mimi-children-medoc-france allm carrotsoup-710x1065 choufarcie-710x1065Mimi Thorisson-2 Mimi Thorisson-3 Mimi Thorisson-4 Mimi Thorisson-5 Mimi Thorisson-6 Mimi Thorisson-7 Mimi Thorisson-8 Mimi Thorisson mimimimigaia-710x478 plenty-710x476 snack4-710x484 sole2-710x1065 sorrelsoup1-710x480 I discovered Mimi Thorisson on Condé Nast Traveler's Instagram page. It didn't take much to lure me in; her style and essence is elegantly chaotic, defined by a landscape so pure and bountiful. Mimi's reality is in fact particles of my own fantasy I dream of living; she has made the bucolic an active ingredient in her own life.

Mimi and her Icelandic photographer husband, Oddur, left Paris to live in the countryside of Médoc, France several years prior. At the time, they were seeking more space for their growing family (now comprised of seven children and 15 dogs). The region of Médoc, wrapped in a blanket of some of the world's most expensive and prestigious wine villages, is a six-hour drive from Paris, a landscape that will taunt even the most urban dwelling soul. After settling in to their stone farmhouse, Manger began to take greater shape. Manger is Mimi's labor of love, a blog that has flourished greatly since its inception that chronicles her family's life, largely centered around the seasonal foods that come from their surroundings. Each photograph, taken by Mimi's husband, is handsomely furnished as if each one were an invitation to Mimi's table in France. Manger has quickly snowballed into the success of Mimi's French TV Show, La Table de Mimi, and her new cookbook, A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse (it debuted last fall).

A writer from Condé Nast Traveler wrote a piece on the french beauty after visiting her home, describing her farmhouse as a 'Rembrandt still life.' As evidenced by the photographs above, Mimi's life is full and vibrant. It is certainly one to envy but perhaps one that proves following your heart can lead to all the satisfaction one could dream of, Rembrandt-esque, indeed.

Le Postcard

lepostcardStephanie Steinman (above) has created Le Postcard, a site that profiles the travel habits of wordly influencers. See below for a sneak-peak. lepostcard1Jessica de Ruiter dishes on her farm life in Canada. She feasts on river trout with her family and relies on the property's well water to keep her skin glowing...more here.

lepostcard2Jeanann Williams heads to Greece for a girls trip with her teal luggage et al...more here.

lepostcard3How of my favorite jewelry designers in one of my favorite locales: Aurélie Bidermann plays in Positano...more here.

lepostcard5Sabine Ghanem heads to Harbour Island with her lover and friends. See what she did aside from the reggae and snorkeling....see here.

meredithmelling-550x550Meredith Melling opens up about how she pines for Pringles in hotel mini-bars and how she dreams of a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tennessee... (that makes two of us)!

Jakobs of Gotland

JakobsExt4 JakobsExt5 JakobsInt1 jakobsInt2GotlandCoast2 JakobsInt3 JakobsInt5 JakobsInt6I think I've met my match. My trip back east allowed me to relish in many simple pleasures I missed. As I return to my routine, I find myself day dreaming of another escape. This restored farm house on the Swedish island of Gotland is nestled among 2 acres of green gardens, a bike ride away from the sea and thoughtfully dusted with beautiful interior pieces in true Scandinavian style.  Known as Jakobs of Gotland, this property is available for rent by the long weekend in winter, or week in summer.

Naturally, my stay at Jakobs has already been sorted out in my head. I have visions of reading on the terrace in a white chemise, only glancing away to watch the branches on the trees sway in the morning breeze. In the late afternoon, I'll bike ride to the sea for a long swim before supper, returning to visit the sauna in the barn. Then, I'll retreat to the garden to pick herbs, flowers and produce for supper outside and dine with acquaintances I've met in the nearby town of Visby. When the laughter and dim candlelight subsides, I'll retreat indoors for a glass of scotch or port, my eyes fixated on the glow of a hearty fire...It seems every day at Jakobs is a verse out of a pastoral poem.

Learn more about Jakobs of Gotland here and be sure to see Net-A-Porter's feature as well! Owners Anna and Andi are lovely as ever and available via email to address your inquires.

(Photography credit: Ken Kochey and Katarina Grip-Höök’)


PRIVATE via Instagram

image image_1 image_2  image_4 image_5 image_6 image_7 image_8  image_10 image_11 image_12 image_13 image_14 image_15One of my favorite subjects on Instagram is Giancarlo Giammetti. Giancarlo is known by many across the globe and perhaps most well-known for his long-time relationship with partner Valentino Garavani, the man behind the Italian powerhouse that is Valentino.  Giancarlo, who has been quoted saying that his life truly didn't start until meeting Valentino, (they met by a chance encounter in a Parisian nightclub in the 60's), is equally responsible for much of the fashion house's success.  Although the duo sold the brand in 1998 to Italian conglomerate HdP, Giancarlo and Valentino continue to reign over the kingdom of high fashion and the colorful social circles that follow. You can find the duo in an array of fabulous locales, surrounded by what they refer to as their "tribe" a group of beautiful, well decorated (famous) friends who join on their travel adventures (typically à la Valentino's yacht T.M. Blue One), from the Adriatic Sea, to beach clubs in Southern Greece, to couture fashion shows in Paris, and then some. In the past year, Giancarlo was the particular interest of the international press when he changed his Instagram account from private to public while subsequently releasing his book “Private: Giancarlo Giammetti”, a remarkable 12 pound memoir with a look into the fanciful world that is his own reality.

She's a 10

IMG_8852IMG_8879IMG_8862I've posted on the Sea as a Cure before, and I'll say it again: it does marvelous things for the soul. One of my most favorite aspects of living in San Francisco is the access to beautiful landscapes. I love weekend adventures and this past weekend didn't fall short of that fondness. It wasn't my first trip to Pt. Reyes, but it certainly took the cake for being the most impactful. Point Reyes is located in Marin County just shy of 30 miles west-northwest of San Francisco. The region is bounded by Tomales Bay on the northeast (home to some of our country's best oysters), and Bolinas Lagoon (a popular surf spot) on the other side, southeast. A majority of the land is protected as part of Point Reyes National Seashore and interestingly, bounded to the east by the San Andreas Fault. The landscape will captivate even the most discerning discoverer.

I spent my Saturday grinning ear to ear on Pt. Reyes' South Beach dodging the powerful waves, a product of the seriously dangerous rip current the beach is notorious for. It was my first daring swim in the Pacific since moving west and as I sit here writing this post, I wish I could teleport back to that moment. Nothing makes me happier than salty hair, sunshine and being with the ocean. Post-swim, My Mother and I basked in the sun with wine and sandy newspapers, with the alluring landscape around us....Heaven!

Take Note: City Stay

image(1) image(2) image(3)image(4)When accommodations were impossible to come by during the America's Cup, I took note of Jackson Court, where my friend's Mother stayed during her visit to San Francisco for the races. Thus, when my Mother visited this past weekend, she stayed at Jackson Court for the first time. The inn, a historic brownstone mansion from 1900, is perched atop Jackson and Buchanan streets, prime Pacific Heights territory. Nestled among the tree-lined street, the inn is a rather attractive specimen that will greet you with an arched entrance and lush courtyard that will make you feel as if you never left home. I personally think the inn is perfect for parents or in-laws visiting if you live nearby. (Above some photographs snapped by yours truly). See more, here.

Questionable Pizza in Positano

positanopizzaplaceOne of my favorite go-to blogs is called This is Glamorous, founded by the ever so chic London-based Roséline. Currently, she showcases photographs for travel inspiration (see here), and the one above gave me pause. I couldn't figure out why, but then quickly realized it is a restaurant I went to with an old friend in Positano. We were so tired from a day of travel along the Amalfi Coast and ventured down the hill with his family for a late dinner. We quickly ordered a plethora of pasta, pizza and wine. Among one of our choices was the "American Pizza" which our waitress was making a great case for without providing us with much detail. When it arrived, we had a good laugh as the pizza essentially consisted of marinara and cheese, with sliced hot dogs and french fries on top. Needless to say, we didn't know if we should be flattered or offended, but it was hilarious. Of course, we ate it in its entirety. Ciao for now!