The Colors of Portugal

The bright and vibrant colors of Portugal make it the perfect summer travel destination. Patterned tiles cover the buildings lining the narrow city streets, making every walk an experience.

Colorful Alfama buildings

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Alfama, Portugal

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My Daily Commute in Pictures

Every time I walk from Old Street station back to my flat I think how lucky I am to be in London in this beautiful neighborhood. While this may not be everyone’s idea of beauty, especially those used to the more traditional London, beauty is all in one’s own perception. Here is my daily commute through Shoreditch in my eyes:

Shoreditch photography

Shoreditch building photography

Shoreditch street shot

Shoreditch street art photography

Shoreditch graffiti art

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The Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam- What to See, Eat, Do

I can officially say I have found the next European city that I long to live in. Amsterdam, you have my heart.

This past weekend my cousin Natasha and I ventured on a train from London to Amsterdam. When you first exit the station you see the beautiful Amstel river in front of you and a path buzzing with bicycles. Even knowing that it is the most bike-friendly capital in the world, I was still shocked by just how many bikers there really were!

Amsterdam is a fairly small city, making it perfect for only a day and a half long trip. Surprisingly, we were able to do most of the things we wanted to, although I would be happy to aimlessly walk along the canals for days.

To See…

Amsterdam canal

Yes, the canals are just as breathtakingly beautiful in person as they are in the pictures. There is something about each street being lined with water that makes the city like a fairytale land. I know I am happiest when I am by the water, so it makes perfect sense that Amsterdam is the happiest city in the world! I suggest enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and sitting along the edge (or if you’re scared of water, on one of the bridges).

Amsterdam tulip market

If you are a flower lover like myself, you must visit the Bloemenmarkt, a flower market floating on one of the canals. They display the most beautiful blooming tulips you will ever see. While I unfortunately didn’t get the oppurtunity to make it to the Dutch countryside for the tulip fields, this was a great alternative.

Amsterdam flower market

My favorite shop was one of the last ones in the market. The ceiling is adorned with delicate bouquets of pastel-colored flowers. If I live in Amsterdam someday my apartment will always be flourishing with an assortment of flowers from this market.

Iamsterdamn sign

The I amsterdam sign has to be the most Instagrammed spot in the city. While I think the sign is quite touristy and overrated, I still recommend visiting the surrounding area. The sign is located by a bunch of beautiful museums, this stunning fountain, and a luscious green park.

To Eat…

Coming to Amsterdam I was most excited to eat the waffles; and let me tell you, they did not disappoint. The first thing I ate after setting foot in the city was some stroopwafels. These are a traditional Dutch dessert consisting of two thin waffles with a layer of gooey caramel in between. They are addicting, beware!

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While the stroopwafels are an amazing treat, my favorite thing I ate in Amsterdam had to be the Milka chocolate-covered waffle. Milka chocolate alone tastes amazing, so just imagine adding a warm waffle and homemade whipped cream to the mix. I’m surprised I remember it as well as I do being that I devoured it in a matter of minutes. Waffle shops are everywhere in the city, and in my opinion, all equally as yummy.

GG's brunch boat Amsterdam

Hands down my favorite part of the trip (even if you include the part where Natasha spilled an entire mimosa on me), G’s Brunch Boat is a must-do while in Amsterdam. Not only is the food amazing, but you get an extensive 2-hour tour of the canals. My cousin and I were huge fans of the music they played- everything from Rihanna to modern remixes to throwback songs, the playlist was on point.

Amsterdam pancakes

Another traditional Dutch food that I had to try while in the Netherlands was poffertjes, or as I like to call them, mini pancakes. You can order these fluffy pieces of goodness with all sorts of toppings like bananas, strawberries, nutella, or whipped cream. I always opt for the simple cinnamon and sugar. Just like the waffles, you can find Dutch pancake houses all over the city. Be sure to stop in one for a sweet snack!

If you are looking for a nice lunch spot with a stunning view of the canal, check out Schreierstoren (or VOC Café). It is right by the train station, making it a convenient choice for your pre or post travels. I even ate next to an adorable Doodle named Cookie which was a huge bonus in my book!

For dinner be sure to check out A Fusion, a Japanese restaurant conveniently located by the Red Light District. If you are looking for something outside all of the bustle of the city center, try Mexico Boulevard for some yummy mexican food and a great service experience.

To Do…

You can’t go to Amsterdam without exploring some of its deep history. I recommend paying a visit to the Anne Frank House. The stories that have been created in the house are tragic but powerful. Visiting the house and experiencing the exhibit makes you really think about life and what is important. As Otto Frank once said, “To build a future, you have to know the past” (1967). This should be reason enough to pay this piece of history a visit. Be sure to buy your tickets online beforehand so you don’t have to wait in line.

Anne Frank House cafe

The café at the end of the exhibit is a beautiful place to have a cup of coffee or enjoy lunch. Light floods into the all-glass walls, making it a brilliant space to work or enjoy with friends. The far side of the café overlooks the canals, giving you a picture-perfect view.

fashion blogger amsterdam

After touring the Anne Frank House, we headed to the Van Gogh Museum. This is the one museum in Amsterdam that I knew I had to visit. If you didn’t know, Van Gogh was actually born in the Netherlands, and you can see this inspiration in some of his pieces.

I have always admired Van Gogh’s artwork and his passion (or madness) for the work he created. The museum walks you through the story of his life and the different paintings which he made in different periods of his life. It is mind-blowing just how many pieces of his they have and just how different a lot of them are from the typical Van Gogh pieces that we are used to seeing.

Vondelpark Amsterdam spring time

This is Vondelpark, the park located by the Van Gogh Museum and Iamsterdam sign,  which I mentioned earlier. If you are as lucky as we were and are blessed with sunny days, spend an hour or two in the park. The energy of the locals here is contagious; kids are running around and people are playing fetch with their dogs. You could even bring some cheese (which Amsterdam is actually known for!) and champagne to the park and have a small picnic!

I am already counting down the days until I can visit this city again… or move there, if I’m lucky. It is so much more than everyone makes it out to be. Experience it for yourself and let me know what you think! Look out for an Art Guide to Amsterdam, coming soon. Until then, follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures of this beautiful city.

Street Art of Alfama

Art truly is everywhere you look… It just depends what you are looking for. I see art in the the literal sense, through murals and paintings, but also in people and places. Lisbon, as a city, was a work of art in itself.

Aflame street art

Two friends enjoying lunch on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I quickly fell in love with the bicycle, flowers, and painting of the woman with the traditional Portuguese guitar.

Aflame street art

This alley was my favorite discovery I made while wandering the streets of Alfama. It was covered in plants and random colorful collages. There was also a back and white cat sitting on a chair, bathing in the sun. I think he appreciated the artwork just as much as I did!

Aflama street art

The contrast of old and new. Who is to say that one is more beautiful than the other? Although I do wish I knew what the graffiti says.

Aflame street art

A graffitied truck parked in front of an exquisitely built building- the perfect contrast.

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Pure poetry.

Aflame street mosaic

Aflame street graffiti

Most people choose to just look at the view of the city, I choose to look at the graffiti surrounding it as well.

Aflame street art tile mosaic

Hand-painted tiles on the side of a building that highlight the Portuguese lifestyle in Alfama.

aflama art coffee and red wine

My three favorite things- coffee, wine, and paintings!

I am always mentioning this, but, art is what you make of it. Start opening your eyes to view everything you see as its own work of art. You never know what you will learn to appreciate in the process.

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Hidden Gem of London: Daunt Books

Literature has been a major theme of my new year. After all, I did set a resolution to read a new book each week, which I will be filling you in on at the end of each month. Naturally, I am always looking for a new book to pick up and dive into next. 52 books is a lot of books! Can you even name that many books you have read over the course of your life? I’m not sure I even can.

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I stumbled upon Daunt Books one day after venturing off of Marylebone Road where my University’s campus is situated. The surrounding area is bustling with small cafes, boutique shops, and, of course, this fabulous book store.

Best London Bookshop

The first thing I was attracted to was the large window in the back of the store, lined on both sides by upstairs railings. In this room, each bookcase showcases a different country and travel guides to visiting that country. The perfect shelves to browse while planning a European adventure! I must say, the atmosphere is truly unlike any Barnes and Nobles at home (sorry!).

Best London Bookshop

Aside from the unique beauty of the store, each book itself is a true work of art. I was able to find some of my favorite books lining the shelf, all of which had cover art that I had never seen before (Michael Lewis’s books included). Despite popular opinion, I am a firm believer of judging a book by its cover. The outside is an art entirely separate from the words inside the pages, and it deserves to be treated that way.

As an art and book lover, I highly recommend stopping in this shop while venturing through the neighborhood of Marylebone in London. Not only can you find an endless amount of inspiring and well-written literature but also individual works of art in the form of cover pages.

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