Hidden Gem of Amsterdam: Toastable

After strolling through the Bloemenmarkt early in the morning, I needed some coffee to get me through the rest of the day. I was instantly attracted to Toastable because of their cute, cheery sign greeting me at the door.

Amsterdam's cutest cafe

I ordered a cappuccino to-go, although my cousin and I ended up spending quite some time in this quaint cafe. Wood tables, pink peonies in glass bottles, white walls, and a decadent gold-framed mirror. If I lived in Amsterdam I could easily spend hours in this light, airy atmosphere.

best coffee in  Amsterdam

While I only came in here for a cup of coffee, I later found out that they sell all varieties of grilled cheese. I mean who doesn’t love grilled cheese? If you stop here, try the Gorgonzola toastie for me; I couldn’t help but eye up all the delicious options on their menu! I highly recommend stopping in here for a quick bite to eat and a cup of coffee before being on your way to explore the city.

Amsterdam's best coffee

Being a blogger, I can’t leave a place this aesthetically pleasing without having a little photoshoot!

Check out my Amsterdam Guide for more recommendations when visiting this city.

Finding Happiness in Simplicity

I think we can all agree that our fondest memories are always those shared with the people we love most in life. These memories can range from a family vacation to a day at the beach to one’s favorite holiday. I often find that my most treasured memories do not have to be in a special place or at a special time but with someone special. When you are with a person that simply makes you happy just with their presence, the world of possibility to make an unforgettable memory automatically opens up.

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My cousin, and my best friend, recently visited me for a Saturday while I was living in the city. I often find that I don’t have to plan out concrete things for us to do in order to have an amazing time, especially in New York, because, lets be honest, everything is pretty amazing.

Naturally, we ate our way through the day, walking our way to different neighborhoods. We began with Good Enough to Eat in the Upper West Side, a block down from where I was living. This has been on my list of restaurants to try for quite some time now, especially after walking past long lines of people every weekend morning. We didn’t even have to wait in the line since I volunteered my butt to be burned on the metal chairs that were heating up in the hot summer sun. The things I will do when I am hungry! Needless to say, you can never go wrong with a biscuit and a well-cooked omelette (one with white cheddar and granny smith apples in this case!).

After browsing through a few book stores, riding the Subway downtown, stopping at Mount Sinai for band-aids for Natasha’s feet and sipping on drinks in the East Village, we managed to end up in the Lower East Side/Soho area. While I often pass this quaint blue building, seeing people chomping down on corn, I had not tried it for myself before this weekend. Natasha and I always joke that you can only eat corn on the cob around the person you feel most comfortable with. Let me tell you ladies, not a pretty sight! This has to be a given, but if I boy wants to take you to Cafe Habana on a date, run the other direction. Or maybe just suggest another restaurant.

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Sprinkled with cheese and zested with lime, this corn is a delicious summer treat to share with your best friend. We ate ours out on the street, taking in the buzzing environment, but there is also a sit-down part of the restaurant right next door.

Since we were in the area I stopped at Sunrise Mart, a convenient store carrying all kinds of Japanese goodies, to buy my favorite lychee gummies. Natasha and I may or may not have eaten an entire bag each while watching the sunset… They really are that good!

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My favorite summer activity is watching the sunset. It may seem so simple but it always gives me an extreme wave of happiness and love for life. It is crazy to think that everyone in this world sees the same sun every day and watches it come and go at different points in time. The sun and each day is something we are all guilty of taking advantage of. How often do you stop to appreciate the sun rising and the opportunity to start a new day? Or watch the sun setting and reflect on the day that just passed?

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As I sat in Hudson River Park, with my favorite city of skyscrapers and bustling lives behind me, I watched the sun fall over the horizon, closing the wonderful day I had just spent with my cousin. Life can get hectic. We all have jobs. We all have needs. We all have goals. I get it, it’s hard to balance all of these in one 24-hour day. In order to appreciate and enjoy these days, however, we need to stop and take in the natural beauty of what is happening in the world we live in.

The Red Store: A Gem of the Jersey Shore

You drive off the main road leading to the beach onto a smaller road winding through a hidden residential neighborhood. After passing a quaint church and children playing in a park you will find a little red corner store buzzing with the locals of the surrounding area. Here you will find fresh-pressed juices, farm-to-table ingredients, and a solacing environment all in the heart of the Jersey Shore.

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The fresh juices (The Red Juice, Fresh pressed apple juice, Florida Orange Juice) are some of my favorite items this restaurant has to offer. You can order them at a smaller counter by the door when you are on the go or enjoy one while waiting for your meal. In addition to the juices, they also sell smoothies (Banana Nut Smoothie and Strawberry Milk) perfect for the health nuts like me. These smoothies are delectable yet contain only natural sweeteners like honey and almond milk, a perfect alternative to the deceiving smoothies that are packed with artificial sugars.

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You can even watch them blending and juicing all of the fresh, local ingredients right in front of you!

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Once I find a meal I truly enjoy I am guilty of ordering it every time I visit that restaurant; The Red Store is no exception to this. I always order the ABLT, which is avocado, apple wood smoked bacon, baby arugula, and tomato jam packed on a buttery croissant. I obviously opt for no bacon, since I don’t eat meat, but I can only imagine how delectable it tastes.

Even thinking about the tomato jam has me drooling. It tastes a bit like tomatoes but has a sweetness to it that this fruit does not normally have. Each fresh ingredient that is added to this sandwich makes all the difference. You can even add an egg to it for some extra protein!

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What is the perfect ending to a Sunday brunch? A foaming cappuccino of course! This one has a kick that definitely reminds you of its espresso content, waking you up for the long beach day ahead. The Red Store ships in all their coffee from Brooklyn’s Gotham Coffee, so you know you are getting nothing but the best. After all, being a biased New Yorker I believe everything from New York City is of the finest quality.

The next time you are down the shore, make the trip south to Cape May to taste the one-of-a-kind drinks and dishes The Red Store has to offer. We can only handle so many stacks of pancakes and fried crab cake sandwiches before we need a fresh, authentic meal.