Places

PonceCity

Happy Tuesday, sweet readers! Today, I wanted to share with you one of the coolest places I’ve been to so far this year. Ponce City Market in Atlanta.

Housed in the historic Sears Roebuck distribution center originally built in 1926, Ponce City Market was inspired by Chelsea Market in NYC (the same developer, in fact) and recently recognized by The National Trust for Historic Preservation as “history in the making.

At the heart of Ponce City Market is the Central Food Hall. James Beard Award-winning chefs are working side-by-side with Atlanta’s up-and-coming makers and restauranteurs to offer everything from Georgia and Carolinas-caught seafood, to fried chicken and biscuits, cold-pressed juice, and killer Mexican. Just check out these tacos.

On the second floor, you’ll find Citizen Supply, an artisan marketplace that brings quality handmade and small-batch goods to Atlanta in a truly unique retail experience.

In 2014, Travel + Leisure listed Ponce City Market as one of the 25 “Coolest New Tourist Attractions.” I completely agree!

Planning a trip to Atlanta, you must add a visit to Ponce a City Market. Still in need of some travel tips? Check out a few of my favorites here.

Tuesday Travel

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Sometimes you just need a night away to reset… and that is exactly what we did this past weekend! When I saw the Lark Hotels had two properties in Portsmouth, I knew exactly where to run away for the night. Portsmouth, a quick 50 minute car ride from Boston, is a place I have spent many an afternoon but never an overnight. I certainly have been missing out. Here are just a few of my musts in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Stay

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The Hotel Portsmouth is a B&B dream. Built in 1881 by a wealthy ship merchant, this gem located at 40 Court Street showcases quintessential Queen Anne Victorian architecture. The mansion opened as an inn in 1985. Fast forward to 2014, the property underwent an extensive and historically sensitive renovation prior to its official opening at The Hotel Portsmouth. We stayed in a King Suite on the 3rd Floor with ample space. The bed was cozy, the pillows heavenly and the morning light perfection. And the nautical decor reminded me of my little island (the yellow phone almost came home with me). Our only complaint was that the bathroom was a little small for a suite.

The Ale House Inn is the second Lark property in Portsmouth. The next time we escape to “Live Free” land, we are staying here!

Eat

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Several former New Yorkers have made their way north to add a bit of edge to the food scene in Portsmouth and neighboring Kittery, Maine. My top picks include:

Row 34 – The sister restaurant to her namesake here in Boston. Their oysters are always delicious and the chocolate mouse for dessert, you can’t go wrong! Oh and the corn bread. Order the corn bread!

Bubby’s – A New York style deli in the heart of a historical port. The challah french toast was worth every sinful bite. My girl opted for the bagel egg sandwich, which was equally as good. Their whole menu is available for take-out too.

The Friendly Toast – A Portsmouth, New Hampshire institution. Luckily, their third location just opened around the corner from Melrose Place so it will now be our weekly breakfast spot!

Street 360 -While at dinner at Row 34 we kindly ask both our waitress and the host where to go for Sunday brunch. Without skipping a beat, they all agreed on Street. Sadly we couldn’t squeeze but it is on the top of our list for our next visit. Looks like Lena Dunham is a fan too!

Lil’s Cafe – Just across Memorial Bridge and the Piscataqua River is Kittery Maine, home of Lil’s Cafe, which proudly brews Maine’s own Tandem Coffee Roasters. With a wonderful selection of pastries, sweet treats and sandwiches, Lil’s is the kind of cafe I wish I had in my neighborhood.

The Wallingford Dram – A speakeasy in Kittery that should not be missed. The owner and founder hails from NYC, where he worked with Tom Colicchio at Craft and Frank and Frank behind Frankies 457 in Brooklyn. Having grown up in neighboring NH, he always knew he would make his way home. And how glad we are he did.

Black Trumpet – On my list for next time!

Shop

Gus and Ruby Letterpress – A dream of a paper shop that is near impossible to leave empty handed. I dare you to try!

Folk – Located right next to Lil’s cafe, this store is one not to miss. The curated collection of goods is impressive. Japanese writing instruments, Ace + Jig, and locally made ceramics. Folk is the place to find a gift for that someone special or you.

Tuesday Travel

Paris

I’ll be honest. I’ve had a few difficult days. January is always a hard month for me. The one activity that helps when I’m feeling blue is good old research. Travel research, that is. In May, my girl and I are off to Paris. My last visit was fall of 2011.  I’m guessing quite a bit has changed so I’m asking  for a little help. What are your must do’s for shopping, eating, museums, day trips, etc. I purchased this little guide to help but would welcome any and all recommendations. Merci beaucoup!

Image Credit: Pinterest 

Tuesday Travel

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With the new year upon us, my mind seems to be filled with wanderlust and dreams of faraway travels. We have a few trips planned but I’m hoping to add a few more to the list. This sense of wander was sparked by reading Wildsam’s secrets for the best trip ever. As you know, I’m a huge Wildsam fan so their advice is always sage in my book and thus I just had to share.

  1. Focus on the Neighborhood. And not so much on the hotel.
  2. Start on the flight. Start the immersion into your destination on the plane. This one made me chuckle as K and I watched In Bruges on our flight to Belgium.
  3. Become a regular. Find your spot and go more than once. You will fit right in.
  4. Rise, shine and run. In other words, be active and take in your new location on foot.
  5. Break the law {sort of}. Travel is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and say yes to new experiences.
  6. Leave Room for the Holy Spirit. Be open to opportunities and invitations you didn’t plan on.
  7. Bring a $50 bill. This allows you permission to treat yourself to something good.
  8. Talk to strangers. Locals really do know best!
  9. Eat dinner twice. This really doesn’t need an explanation, especially for me.
  10. Don’t go ice skating. If you aren’t a museum buff, don’t spend hours of your trip to Paris at The Louvre. Spend your trip doing what you love.
  11. Easy on the Instagram. Focus on the experience, not taking the perfect photo.
  12. Book the last flight home. I couldn’t agree more.

Where are your travels taking you in 2016? I’d love to hear!

Tuesday Travel

baltimore

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and were able to take a little time to recharge! We had a wonderful holiday in Baltimore. Before meeting K, I had actually spent quite a bit of time in Charm City as a dear friend lives near the old stadium. So to start off the week, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things in Bawlmer, hon!

Stay

Thinking back, this is the first time I’ve actually stayed at a hotel in Baltimore after nearly 10 visits. After two days with family, we treated ourselves to two nights at the Hotel RL, located in the historic Keyster Building in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The hotel lobby is reason enough to stay here, boasting a lounge, game room, coffee shop/bar and performance space. And the room, modern yet cozy. Our bed was heavenly and we didn’t wake up the morning after Christmas till 10 am (might have to do with our early morning Christmas day but…)! I’m told the pancakes in the morning are delicious although I didn’t get to try them myself.

See + D0

Baltimore is made up of eclectic neighborhoods: Federal Hill, Fells Point (once the nation’s second largest immigration port); Canton, Locust Point, Roland Park and Hampden (just to name a few). Get out and explore as many as you can. My favorites include Hampden and Fells Point.

Baltimore has a rich history too. Make sure to visit Fort McHenry, the Peabody Library and the flag house, where the star spangled banner was sewn.

One of my favorite activities to do in Baltimore is see a movie as they have some wonderful theatres. Check out The Senator, an art deco theatre with a single screen located in the Govans neighborhood. You will feel like you are stepping back in time. My other favorite is The Charles. The 108-year-old structures which house The Charles boast a rich history. Designed in 1892, the buildings were originally designed to be a cable car barn and a powerhouse. In 1939, the Times Theatre opened on the site as Baltimore’s first all-newsreel movie house. The theater was re-named the Charles circa 1959 and recently went through a major renovation.

And during the holiday season, you must visit 34th Street, or as the locals call it Miracle on 34th Street, which this year celebrated its 69th year. Some of the best Christmas lights I’ve ever seen!

Eat

The food scene in Baltimore is off the hook, as Guy Fieri would say. A few places not to be missed:

Artifact Coffee – A wonderful coffee shop with a yummy egg sandwich. Add the special snake oil hot sauce for a little kick!

Woodbury Kitchen – I would say this place put Baltimore on the map from a foodie perspective. Bringing the local ingredients of the Chesapeake to the table, WK is comfort food at its best. The fried chicken is the best! They have also launched a pantry line so you can take the tastes of WK home with you.

Parts & Labor – Part butcher shop, part hearth-fired restaurant, Parts & Labor is not to be missed!

Clementine – Every city needs a great breakfast spot. Clementine is Balto’s.

L.P. Steamers – The only crab shack you need to know about.

And, you must stop into a local grocery store and purchase a box of Berger cookies. A take on a New York style black and white cookie but better, I promise!

Photo credit: Pinterest 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Travel

Brooklyn

Oh Brooklyn… I certainly did fall hard for you last weekend and of course returned home and began the search for the perfect apartment in Carroll Gardens. While I don’t think a move is in my imminent future, today’s blog post is so let’s get to it.

Although it is not the largest borough of New York, Brooklyn is the most populated with over 2.5 million people and approximately 136 languages spoken. Walking the streets, you just feel the energy and the culture all around you. This was the first time I really explored Brooklyn. For a girl who loves NYC, I had high expectations for our Brooklyn weekend and nearly every one was blown out of the park. I didn’t want to cross the river to head to Manhattan once.

I have our wonderful hosts, with whom we traveled to The Catskills with, to thank for making sure our weekend was perfect. If you are addicted to Instagram like me, feel free to take a look at our Brooklyn adventure by searching #mrktbkvisit.

Stay

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The Wythe Hotel. I stayed here about six months after they first opened back in 2012 and I must say, it is just as good as I remember. K even said this may just be her favorite place we have stayed as so it is safe to say, I don’t think we will ever stay anywhere else in Brooklyn!

I booked the Historic Corner King for our one night stay (as we had saved a little $$ by staying with our friends in their new Prospect Heights apartment on Friday and Saturday night). We made it to the hotel a little before 2 pm, just in time for The Ides, the rooftop bar to open. It was a glorious, sunny day and we enjoyed cocktails and the amazing views of the city skyline. The Hibiscus Cooler was my drink of choice. We also treated ourselves to the cheese plate and dessert around 10 pm at Reynards, located in the hotel lobby. The tile alone is reason enough to go in my book. One new addition to the hotel offerings since my last visit is Marlow Goods. A beautifully curated shop including leather goods, rugs, bath products, clothing {including my favorite Ulla Johnson}, candles and jewelry. The perfect place to pick up a gift for a loved one and yourself.

Eat

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As with most weekend getaways, our itinerary revolved around food. A few places not to miss include:

Sisters – On our drive to our friends’ apartment we drove by Sisters and based on the facade along I said “we need to go there.” As luck would have it, Sisters was the site of our first meal in Brooklyn. Saturday brunch. I had the avocado toast {pictured above} while the rest of the table enjoyed the egg sandwich on a biscuit. Light and airy, Sisters is also a great spot for late night.

Poppy’s Pop-up – I’ve been admiring Poppy’s Catering on Instagram for quite some time so was excited to learn that their bi-monthly pop-up was taking place on the Saturday of our visit. Beet cured salmon with cream cheese  on multi-grain toast. Yes, please!

Grand Army – After exploring Carroll Gardens, the Brooklyn Bridge and walking through Dumbo, we needed some hydration. Grand Army is the perfect neighborhood spot to do just that. Their cocktail list is spot on, they do brunch till 4 pm and they have the most delicious ricotta toast with brussels sprouts. A must visit!

Emily – It’s like a thing that you have to eat pizza while in NY and Emily’s pizza did not disappoint. Although the wait for a table was nearly 3 hours, we were able to place a to-go order and enjoy Emily’s from the comforts of the apartment within 30 minutes!

Tilda All Day – Tilda’s could just be my favorite breakfast spot. The soft scrambled egg sandwich is delicious. Even better, they have a to-go case with the most delicious chocolate chip cookies so after brunch, make sure to grab a coffee and cookie to go.

Cafe Mogador – Located just two blocks from The Wythe, K and I had a delicious late lunch/early dinner at this spot. The cucumber/mint yogurt dip is to die for and the chicken salad with rice and salad was simple but perfect. I was licking my plate!

Do

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My favorite thing to do in any city is To wander. On our first day we walked nearly 8 miles. Pretty impressive, right? It also offset our weekend food and drink intake 😉

A few not to be missed Brooklyn activities include walking the Brooklyn Bridge, exploring Dumbo and capturing the iconic view of the Manhattan Bridge with the Empire State Building perfectly framed {as pictured above}. I also enjoyed strolling down Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights and popping into the shops. My favorites include Steven Alan Home and The Primary Essentials.

We are in talks about our next #MRKT adventure. Berlin, London, and Seattle are just a few places on the table. Do let me know if you have any recommendations!

Tuesday Travel

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Bull City. The New South. Home of the Blue Devils. It’s true; Durham is all of these things. Since I’ve never been to North Carolina, I had high hopes for our weekend getaway to Durham and I am happy to report, I was not disappointed!

Stay

We stayed at the hip 21c Museum Hotel located in the historic Hill Building {a 17-story modernistic skyscraper built between 1935-1937 and designed by NY firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, who also designed the Empire State Building}. This is the fourth location in the 21C Museum Hotel family, with the first opening up in Louisville back in 2007. The property hosts a free contemporary art museum, 125 well-appointed rooms and a beautiful restaurant on the first floor. Bonus, the rooms are stocked with our favorite Malin + Goetz products.

Our second choice was the recently opened The Durham Hotel. I’m told their rooftop bar is a must!

Do + See

Truth be told, the impetus for our trip south was to attend the 20th year celebration of the Duke women’s lacrosse program. That’s right. My girl is an All-American athlete whose name is forever etched into the walls at Cameron Stadium. Pretty cool, right? So, much of our first day was spent on campus at Duke. I am partial to my Mount Holyoke campus but have to say, Duke is beautiful. The trees, Gothic architecture, chapel. It’s all quite impressive. I had read about The Nasher Museum of Art but unfortunately we didn’t have time to check out the collection. But, we did get to see Krzyzewskiville, the tent city where students camp out for Duke basketball tickets. Now that’s what I call dedication!

Eat

In recent years, Durham has been named one of the tastiest towns in the South. Although we didn’t get to try every place on my list {Saltbox Seafood Joint and Pizzeria Toro}, we did manage to indulge is some delicious fare.

Cosmic Cantina – Every college town needs its go to Cantina and K swears that Cosmic Cantina has the best burrito. Now while I’m partial to my Bueno y Sano in Amherst, I must admit that Cosmic Cantina is quite good. The staircase on the other hand, beware!

Foster’s Market – A mainstay in Durham since 1990, Foster’s market is a dream gourmet market and cafe with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. I had the pimento cheese sandwich. Delicious!

Monuts Donuts – Yes, I had to find the local donut place! We ordered a half-dozen including plain glazed {perhaps the best glazed I’ve ever had}, blueberry cardamom, chocolate and apple cider. A Durham must!

Cocoa Cinnamon – We never did make it to Cocoa Cinnamon for an afternoon coffee but I really wish we did. On the list for our next visit!

Watts Grocery – A great spot for Sunday brunch serving Carolina classics like grits and big biscuits. My eggs were a little dry but the fresh squeezed O.J. and homemade english muffin made up for it!

For my first trip to North Carolina, I have to say Durham is one great little city. One that has great energy, gracious people and delicious food. While enjoying our final meal in Bull City, K and I joked about retiring to her college town. We shall see about that!

Tuesday Travel

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For the longest time, I thought New York City was the place I was suppose to be. A city where the streets will make you feel brand new and the lights will inspire you {name that song?!}. There is a pulse and energy to New York that always draws me in. As luck would have it, my big plans of relocating to NYC never did work out {life is all about timing}. Lucky for me, New York is a quick and easy weekend getaway from Beantown.

 Stay

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The Marlton Hotel – K and I stayed here over the summer and absolutely fell in-love with this chic hotel nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village. Although the rooms are small {we stayed in a Queen Deluxe}, our bathroom was insane with a big tub complete with Cote Bastide products and plush robes. And the lounge in the lobby is the perfect place to meet friends for a pre-dinner cocktail. I guarantee we will be staying here again.

The High Line Hotel is also on my list of places to stay. The location is ideal and they have an Intelligentsia coffee truck outside. I’m sold!

Do + See

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Whitney – You must visit the Whitney’s new home in the Meatpacking District. Designed by Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, this space is breathtaking and the views of the city well worth the price of admission. Plus, the art collection is insane. I suggest starting on the top floor and working your way down.

The High Line – A park like no other. This nearly 1.5 mile park, built on a long abandoned railway in Chelsea, is a delightful combination of wild, natural foliage, original and restored rails, breath-taking views, benches, and areas to relax. A New York City must!

Eat

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Many of my trips to NYC are planned around where I’m eating. Some favorites include:

ABC Kitchen – My absolute favorite spot in the city. The carrot and avocado salad is a must! Their sister restaurant ABC Cocina is on my list for our next visit.

Craft Bar – Located around the corner from Tom Colicchio’s Craft, Craft Bar is my go-to for a late afternoon bite and cocktail.

Jack’s Wife Freda – If you’re on Instagram, I’m sure you have come across a photo or two of this delightful cafe with two city locations. The poached eggs with grilled tomato and haloumi cheese is delicious! And be sure to check out their sugar packets. The cutest!

The Butcher’s Daughter – A vegetarian and vegan haven with a yummy juice bar next door. Their patio in the summer is where you want to be!

Clinton Street Baking Company – Blueberry pancakes is all you need to know… Oh and go early!

Dough – In my opinion, the donut has replaced the cupcake craze and Dough has some of the best. You must try the hibiscus.

Maman NYC – The cafe of my dreams. The blue paper coffee cups are just the icing on the cake at this quaint French cafe.

Haven’s Kitchen – Cafe, cooking school, event space. Haven’s Kitchen is not to be missed.

A few places on my list still to try: Russ & Daughters Cafe, Egg Shop, and Cafe Clover.

Let’s hear it for New York! 

Found

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I have a confession to make… I think about planning weekend getaways at least once a day. And on Fridays, this obsession is even greater as a weekend is upon us. And so today I thought I’d share my favorite travel guides and this week’s found item, Wildsam Field Guides, which The Wall Street Journal claims are “for the tireless seekers of the authentic.” Guess that’s me!

K and I bought our first Field Guide for our trip to Austin last fall and read it cover to cover {and sadly left in our rental car}. What I love about these guides is not only the design {perfect size to fit in your tote}, but the content includes a mix of prose and personalities, historical tidbits and local interviews. With each page, you feel like you are getting insider advice from a dear friend as these guides tell the true stories of a specific place.

Guides are currently available for Nashville, Austin, Detroit, San Francisco, New Orleans and Brooklyn. Word on the street is that a Charleston guide will be released later this fall. Planning a getaway to any of these fine locals, I highly recommend picking one of these up. Not only are they are wonderful resource, but the collection makes a beautiful little vignette on a bookshelf!

And wondering where the name WildSam came from? Go to your bookshelf and refer to Steinbeck’s East of Eden. The world was peopled with wonders.

Enjoy this weekend, dear friends!

Tuesday Travel

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Amsterdam. The final stop of our European adventure and the place that may have just stolen my heart. Known as the Venice of the North, Amsterdam is a city inhabited by more bikes than people. Can you believe that? K and I toured the city on bikes our final day and it was unreal how many bikers we had to compete with. What did I love most about the city? The air. It was just delightful. I think it’s due to the fact that the majority of the city is below sea level. It fondly reminded me of my island air. There is so much to see and do and eat in Amsterdam and I fear that K and I didn’t even scratch the surface. But, our favorite spots are below.

Stay

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We went back and forth on where to stay in Amsterdam. A house boat, a hotel, a city flat. In the end, we decided on this sweet canal house in the historic Jordaan neighborhood, which we found through airbnb. And what a terrific experience we had. I know several people have had varying degrees of success with this service but we lucked out. My one word of advice would be to read the reviews and all of them.

There were three hotels that K and I fell in-love with during our research and thus we decided to check them out by indulging in afternoon cocktails. The Conservatorium Hotel has a beautiful bar area and is a close walk to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum and thus the perfect spot for a post-art cocktail. The gin and tonics are served in red wine goblets and are delicious and a little dangerous. The Hoxton, which opened this past July, is certainly the place we will stay on our next visit. The bar scene, decor and location make it a dream place to stay. Sadly, we didn’t make it to The Dylan, but their outdoor terrace looks insane for drinks.

Eat

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The food in Amsterdam is one of the reasons why I loved our time there so much. Great cafes, little bakeries, a restaurant in a greenhouse… the dining possibilities are endless. Our favorites include:

Kantijil – I enjoyed my first Indonesian meal from Kantijil. A little tip. They have a take-out spot behind the main restaurant and thus we decided to grab food to go to enjoy our first dinner at home in the canal house.

Winkel – The best apple pie!

SLA – If I could have brought a cafe home it would have been SLA. Meaning lettuce, this “green” cafe offers delicious salads, juices and soups.

Pancakes! – What waffles are to Belgium, pancakes are to Amsterdam. And Pancakes! is the place we were told not to miss. I tried the traditional bacon and apple {pictured above}. So good!

La Perla – Hands-down, the best margarita pizza I’ve ever had. Period.

De Bakkerswinkel – Great lunch spot. I recommend the toast with pea pesto and old cheese. Perfection!

Pluk – A sweet little juice bar in the Nine Streets area of Amsterdam.

De Kas – I had the most beautiful meal of my life here. And the setting, equally as beautiful. An Amsterdam must!

BUFFET van Odette – A charming cafe offering breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Foodhallen – Amsterdam’s version of Chelsea Market. The coolest part? They have a bike garage so naturally we had to ride our bikes here.

STACH – Gourmet food store, cafe and home to a brownie dipped in chocolate. It was so good, we went twice!

Vinnies – There is an old Dutch expression that “loves goes through the stomach” and Vinnies shows this through and through. We had our last breakfast at this neighborhood cafe and the eggs were sinfully good.

Do + See

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There are 75 museums in Amsterdam. K and I made it to three. But, I think we picked the not-to-be-missed ones. A visit to the newly restored Rijksmuseum is a must. Close by is the Van Gogh Museum. As luck would have it, on our walk from the Rijksmuseum to the Van Gogh Museum we stumbled upon a kiosk selling museum tickets. So, we purchased our tickets and followed the blue path over to Van Gogh. Thank goodness we did as the line to get in was insane. Speaking of line, the Anne Frank House is not to be missed but I recommend going around 6 pm. We only had to wait about 40 minutes.

You must, must, MUST ride bikes in Amsterdam. We were a bit intimidated by the sheer volume of bikers and thus decided to take our bikes to Vondelpark. I highly recommend.

Many asked and I am happy to report that we didn’t tour the Red Light District or a local coffee shop. Since I’m no longer in college, thought it was best!

Shop

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K and I had a blast walking around our neighborhood and the historic Nine Streets to do a little shopping. And let me tell you, that shopping in Amsterdam is some of the best. Our favorite shops include:

Restored – A shop filled with gifts for you and your loved ones. I fell in-love with a wallet here that I didn’t buy but may just need to call to have them send it to me.

Six and Sons – A wonderfully curated selection of clothing and accessories for women, men and the home. I picked up a pair of Danish sunglasses here that I just love.

Hutspot – Amsterdam is all about this pop-up stores and this is certainly one not to be missed. A barber shop and cafe make a great addition to this pop-up featuring new and interesting brands, designers, artists and entrepreneurs. A must in Amsterdam!

Sukha – This shop takes merchandising to a whole new level. The hanging tent bed above it just one of the many displays that will make this a shop you will never want to leave. A must in Amsterdam!

Pieters Zoon – Although this is primarily a leather goods store, K and I found a wonderful throw and picture frames that journeyed home with us. And the shop owner was just the sweetest thing!