I can’t wait to tell you about my recent journey to Amsterdam. Would you like to travel to this lovely Dutch city with me today? Please, be my guest. Here’s a recap of my adventures in Holland. At least the Friday evening part. I may have to wait until Monday to share the rest…
Okay, first let me say that I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I arrived last Friday. You see I had arranged to go meet with my friend Danielle and do some shopping for my apartment. Then as our plans were confirmed, I decided that since a few decor8 readers heard I was going to be in town and they wanted to hang out with me, that it would be really fun to meet them so I decided to blog about a small meet and greet. You know, nothing formal, just dinner and drinks. So last Friday evening a small group of peers — bloggers, blog readers, designers, creative types — joined me and my husband for dinner and drinks at De Kroon. In the end, we had 25 show up, between 8-10 per table (3 tables) and wow! What a great night! Would you like to see a few photos?
All I kept thinking before the meet and greet was that I’d arrive in Amsterdam wildly enthusiastic about meeting people and no one would show up. I was nervous to meet people who read this blog, I sometimes feel like in person I won’t ‘measure up’ to whatever image people form in their mind as to what I’ll be like. Of course, I don’t let stage fright stop me, but it was definitely in the back of my mind. I think that it’s part of being human, we all wonder how others will perceive us especially when one takes a friendship from the internet to the real world. In fact, I’m willing to bet that others felt much like I did as they entered De Kroon but you know, we all walked through those doors, cast our fears aside, and my goodness what a great evening we had. I felt completely comfortable with everyone there. Some I’d known already from following their blogs, so it was just as exciting for me to meet them in person as it was for them to meet me. I felt such enthusiasm, warmth, and an overall gracious spirit — all were super appreciative that this event was planned and that they could participate. We even had a few editors show from one of the Netherlands top decorating magazines, 101 Wohnideeen, and they arrived with a huge bag of magazines to share with every person in attendance. They also brought back issues and gave those to us as well so I now have about 6 issues to look over. What an honor to have these ladies attend!
Yvonne from Yvestown (left) and me on the right.
I was over the moon to see how many showed up, and eagerly, each enthusiastically introduced themselves and took a seat next to complete strangers chatting and becoming quick friends. The vibe was very positive, the energy level was high, and the result was better than I had imagined. I have to thank everyone reading who attended for making my visit to Amsterdam so very special and memorable.
Danielle from The Style Files and I.
Who showed up? Danielle from the Style Files (blogger and Le Souk owner), Emma from Emmas Designblogg (all the way from Stockholm!) and her friend Per, Pia Jane Bijkerk (amazing stylist and blogger) and her partner Roman, Sia Grafica (lovely illustrator and blogger), Fab fashion designer Riley Salyards from Jackson, Johnston and Roe, Yvonne Eijkenduijn with the lovely home from Yvestown and her husband Bo, Femke de Bont and her boyfriend Peter, Claudia Brown from the Sofa Blog, Ingrid Quinn (not a blogger but a blog reader and soon to be in Sri Lanka as Women’s Advisor to the UN), the very dear Jane Schouten from All the Luck in the World and her lovely daughter, Two editors from Dutch decorating magazine 101 Woonideeen magazine (Ann-Marie Ross and Kim van Rossenberg), Nina van de Goor from Nina In Vorm (blogger and ceramicist who also has a great house), Erika from Miko Design (you must visit her etsy store), Dane from Leilialoo, and a few others that I didn’t have an opportunity to exchange cards with (or meet) so I’m very sorry for that if you are reading. Please comment and let me know who you are if you’re reading this. :)
Other than drink and eat, we chatted about design, art, culture, entertainment, decorating, and of course blogging! Our favorite subject of the night. My hope is that these ladies will form a little ‘creative girls’ night out now and then to keep the lines of communication freely flowing because it’s not only motivating for creatives to get out there and meet people but it can stimulate new ideas and alternate ways of thinking. Sometimes we get so holed up in our ateliers or offices working primarily alone on our projects of blogs that we can lose touch. I can go for several days without leaving my house! This isn’t good and I’ve come to realize that I need to get out more and meet some of my online friends and have these much-needed exchanges with them. If you are a blogger and have local readers, I encourage you to arrange for ‘real life’ meet and greets in your city because it can be a lot of fun to take these relationships from virtual to real time. Go for it! Who knows what can happen. I met Danielle in 2006 and Emma in 2007 and we’ve remained friends ever since, all because we took our online friendship into real time and it really worked out nicely.
So after this fun evening that ended pretty late, we went back to our hotel called NL Hotel (13 room boutique hotel on the edge of the Jordaan district around the corner from The Frozen Fountain) and called it a night. The rest of the weekend (up until Monday evening) was spent shopping, taking a canal ride, and enjoying the Fall-ish weather that was a bit moody but overall nice, cool and crisp.
Next let’s talk about some of the shops that I visited and a few good restaurants that I highly recommend. But this part has to wait until Monday because I’m ready to say goodbye and start my weekend. I have a flea market to hit in the morning, so I need an early start. Until Monday then! Have a lovely weekend!
(images from anne-marie ross, me and others from my cutie husband thorsten)
OK Top Design watchers – who caught it last night? If you didn’t, don’t worry, Bravo airs all of its shows about 500 times per week, but if you want to be surprised, DO NOT CLICK ON THE COMMENTS SECTION HERE; we will be talking about the final results!
So, one theme for the night was “sad dorm room.” It’s amazing how much a dorm room resembles a 12′ x 14′ bunker, except for that most of them are even smaller than that. Haven’t the contestants seen those rockin’ Target ads where the two new roommates throw their room together while dancing? Maybe some of them needed to dance more while accessorizing. My favorite part of the show was the FLIRTING between Wizit and Nathan. Wizit is a funny bird, Nathan is a pessimist who I actually really like. He obviously suffers from low self esteem, or high overestimation of his competition.
I thought Natalie and Theresa’s room was not a “zen den” at all, and they get major points taken away for using the word “zen.” I would NEVER chillax in there, because the decor would give me a migraine. Did Natalie steal that word from Jamie Kennedy? Todd was right on (he always is, have you noticed?) when he advised them with the old Diana Vreeland quote about taking one thing off, except they needed to take 30 things off. While I’m at it, Andrea and Eddie get points taken away for saying “bring the outdoors in,” and while I have been keeping an open mind with Andrea, she said “my husband is Rick Schroeder” AGAIN and she put a picture of him in her room, so sorry Andrea, I’m over it. Shazi and Big Daddy get points taken off for saying “spa-like.” These people clearly watch too much HGTV.
I want Eddie to win the whole thing so that he can become a judge in the future. He’s hilarious and totally on point, well, except for that preschool classroom “Tree of Life” mural. When he said that Jennifer and Robert’s room looked like “tribal meets Cape Cod,” I about fell off the couch! That was exactly how my first-year roommate and I started out, only it was more like Malcolm X meets Laura Ashley. Anyway, I just really want to take Nathan, Big Daddy and Eddie to Mary’s in East Atlanta to sing karaoke. I’ll make sure none of them are sporting plumber’s crack when they do. C’mon editors, did you REALLY have to include that?
So, enough from me, what did you think? Did the correct team win (I think NOT)? If not, who did you like them best? What did you think about the people who were sent home? Oh, I’m dying to talk about them and how one of their faces got redder and redder as the judging went on, but I won’t spoil it! Have you EVER considered putting fruit on a wall? Do you like it when people stage a space that includes full place settings on the table? I’ve been to a friend’s house where she does that and her wedding gift stuff is all set out but never used and is covered in dust – it’s totally bizarre! Anyway, in the 30 minute planning session, what issues would you have addressed before devouring fabric samples? Which contestants addressed the issues the best? OK, and probably the most hair-raising issue to discuss, AGAIN…
Not just Kelly – did Jonathan just go see Get Smart? What’s up with his outfit? He needs to take a few style cues on Brad from The Rachel Zoe Project.
(image from bravotv.com. As I go to post, they don’t have anything up from episode 2, so I had to take screen shots from one of their short videos.)