If you've been a reader for a while you know that I absolutely love Halloween but for some reason this year I'm totally not in the Halloween spirit and it's five days away. I don't have a costume. I haven't watched a scary movie all month. I don't know what's wrong with me.
I mean, I have plans for Halloween. Day's throwing a Halloween party and then we are all supposed to go bar hopping but I'm still not feeling it. I need to do something.
So I'm turning to you guys to try and get in the spirit. What are you going to be for Halloween? Do you have a movie recommendation for me? Did you find some awesome decorations for your home? Have you gone to an amazing haunted attraction? Lemme know.
Hopefully I'll buck up and get my shit together by the end of the week.
And here's the part about Amsterdam. Remember, I was in Amsterdam so there may or may not be parts of my travel tale that I leave out...
Day Five - Monday, September 28th
As I mentioned in my post about Iceland, this day was a partial travel day. We woke up at like 3:00AM to get the last of our things ready and be picked up at 4:30AM for our forty-five minute drive to the airport.
At the airport we did all the normal airport stuff. In addition we ate overpriced breakfast, I bought European beauty products from Duty Free, etc. And by 7:40AM we were on our way to Amsterdam.
Fast forward three hours... We arrive, make our way across the airport and wait for our ride to drive us to the apartment we rented on Airbnb.
Like in Iceland, once we arrive we picked out rooms, found a grocery store to buy food and just chilled at the apartment until it was time to head into the city center (The apartment we rented was about fifteen minutes by tram outside the middle of the city) for our first tour in Amsterdam. A private Red Light District Tour given by Mark (or That Dam Guide).
Mark spent the next two hours teaching us about the history of the Red Light District, telling us stories from his time living in the area, etc. It was super fascinating. I highly recommend the tour if you're going to be in Amsterdam. Mark is so knowledgeable and passionate about the preservation of the area, it makes the tour that much better.
By the time we were done with Mark, we were wanting to get back to the apartment because it was getting late. But before jumping on the tram we stopped off at a falafel place with the weirdest dude behind the counter. The falafels were good but not worth dealing with that strange strange man.
As soon as we were done eating we escaped the place as he was distracted by other potential customers and got our tram.
Day Six - Tuesday, September 29th
We woke up early-ish and headed into the city center for yet another tour with Mark. This time we were going on a general three hour walking tour of the city where we learned some history, as well as awesome places to eat, etc.
Again, Mark was amazing.
Once we finished up the tour we decided to go check out Vondelpark (Which is a big ol' park) and the Van Gogh Museum. Both were beautiful.
While we were visiting the Van Gogh Museum there was (And it's still currently going on until January 17th 2016) an exhibit called "Munch : Van Gogh" that shows the parallels between the two artists' works. It was really neat to see their work side by side and to see pieces like The Scream, Vampire II, etc. because I wasn't expecting to see them.
By the time we found the tram that would get us back to the area our apartment was in we were all pretty hungry, so we decided to check out this Thai restaurant around the corner from where we were staying called Thai Tiger. The food was really good but the service was shitty and they told us we couldn't have glasses of water unless we bought other drinks but then they charged us for waters anyway. It was just weird.
When we finished there we just went back to the apartment and started playing Exploding Kittens, followed by a very interesting drinking game. Day Seven - Wednesday, September 30th
Since we drank so much the night before we slept in before heading to The Pancake Bakery to try out Dutch pancakes. Unfortunately we didn't really care for them. C'est la vie.
After our disappointing breakfast we went to meet up with our guide (Whose name I cannot recall for the life of me right now) from Those Dam Boat Guys for a canal tour of the city and to begin celebrating Rob's birthday.
Two hours later we found ourselves in a bar around the corner from where we were dropped off trying to figure out where to go for dinner. Eventually they decided upon Café de Klos a little place that apparently has the best ribs ever.
When we were done eating we just decided to find a bar and wander around a bit before going to a show. After the show we popped into another bar as we decided what to do next.
We couldn't think of anything to do so we just went back to the apartment to chill.
Day Nine - Thursday, October 1st
and Rob decided to go off and do their own thing, so the rest of us
decided that we were going to do various randomness around the city. So
myself, Justin and Erin walked through an outdoor flea market and then
we hit up the Artis Royal Zoo (Which is one of the oldest zoos of mainland Europe).
After finishing up at the zoo we met up with Day (Who somehow snuck into the zoo) and had lunch at Café-Restaurant De Plantage. We followed lunch up with some beers at Brouwerij 't IJ, which is a brewery and bar inside of a windmill.
Once Justin and Day had their fill of Brouwerij 't IJ's
beer selection, all of us minus Day headed into the city center to pick
up some souvenirs. After picking up everything that we needed for our
various family members, Erin hopped back on to the tram, while Justin
and I went to Café Bern for dinner.
After dinner we went back to the apartment and again we just hung out.
Day Ten - Friday, October 2nd
our last full day in Amsterdam Justin and I decided to wake up early to
go visit the Anne Frank House (Which if you decide to do while you're in Amsterdam, and you really should, you either need to try and get tickets online or go an half an hour before it opens in the morning because the lines get crazy there) before meeting up with the others for a
four hour bike tour of the countryside with Mike's Bike Tour.
After getting our bike on, we wander around a bit trying to figure out if we wanted to eat or drink or whatever. So we bounce from bar to restaurant to bar until we decided to go to In de Wildeman, a bar that was featured on an episode of one of Anthony Bourdain's shows that serves 18 beers on draft and 250 different types of beers on bottle -- Justin and the boys were super happy.
Several hours, a bunch of beers and an interesting conversation with a gentleman from England later we decided we could not live off of beer alone and we needed to find something to eat. Eventually we ended up at an Italian restaurant that was pretty good but I can't remember the name of it for the life if me.
When we were finished stuffing our faces we headed back to the apartment to do some packing and such since we were leaving the next day.
Day Eleven - Saturday, October 3rd
I woke up way earlier than I should have so that I could shower and repack my suitcase before everyone else was up -- I have slight OCD and have to repack my suitcase or it drives me crazy.
One by one everyone else got up, showered, packed, etc. And then almost all of us helped clean up the apartment before we were picked up to go to the airport.
Like I did in Iceland, I bought makeup from Duty Free and BSed until it was time for our flight. Fast forward three-ish hours and a bunch of episodes of Gotham (2014-Present) and we were back in Iceland. While there we picked up some last minute souvenirs, some really shitty pizza and waited for our flight back to New York.
Fast forward six-ish hours, more episodes of Gotham (2014-Present), the movie The Butler (2013) and we were back in New York. And can I tell you, it was colder in New York than it was in Iceland. But I was happy to be back home.
So yeah, that was the rest of our trip. We had a great time and I cannot wait for my next adventure.
Last week while I was sick (I had a wicked cold with a crazy sinus headache almost all of last week) I put a bunch of books on hold and here are the ones that just came in...
"Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home" by Emily Schuman In Cupcakes and Cashmere at Home, Emily Schuman expands on the personal lifestyle advice that her fans loved in her first book and on her popular blog, with a focus on interior design and entertaining at home. The book features never-before-seen content and explores Emily’s accessible design philosophy for decorating and creating a fashionable personal space. In addition, the book includes DIY design projects and party planning ideas. Emily shows readers not only how to create space that is inviting, but also how to welcome guests and entertain in their homes with ease.
"Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.
Aliza Licht-global fashion communications executive, AKA fashion's favorite 'PR girl' and former Twitter phenomenon-is here to tell her story, complete with The Devil Wears Prada-like moments and insider secrets.
Drawing invaluable lessons from her experience, Licht shares advice, inspiration, and a healthy dose of real talk in LEAVE YOUR MARK. She delivers personal and professional guidance for people just starting their careers and for people who are well on their way. With a particular emphasis on communicating and building your personal brand, something she knows a thing or two about, Aliza is your sassy, knowledgeable guide to the contemporary working world, where personal and professional lines are blurred and the most important thing you can have is a strong sense of self.
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• • • • • • "The Paris Style Guide: Shop, Eat, Sleep"by Elodie Rambaud In this sophisticated insider’s guide to the best of Paris shopping, Parisian native and resident, stylist and interior decorator Elodie Rambaud provides a personal tour of the city, pointing out choice boutiques of every kind, mapping out the best shopping routes, and listing not-to-be-missed destinations in every quarter. With this book in hand, every dimension of Parisian shopping and the best of daily life is at your fingertips, from flea markets to artisan workshops, from bustling cafés to little-known gardens.
Inside you’ll find:
An extensive list of more than 200 shopping destinations of every kind: trendsetting décor and antiques sellers, local green markets and gourmet food shops, craft suppliers and couture ateliers, and everything in between
The address, telephone number, and website for every listing, as well as the closest metro station
Valuable travel advice, including recommendations for hotels, cafés, bars, patisseries, festivals, salons, and markets
Beautiful full-color photographs of every shop or location and comprehensive illustrated maps of the city, along with suggested itineraries
Whether you’re traveling to Paris or want to explore what it has to offer from home, this gorgeous volume enables you to experience the city like a native Parisian.
For some reason I haven't done one of these since July (Even though I've put books on hold for myself and read/listen to several books), so I don't remember the last book I posted about but I promise to have my thoughts on these.