Hello everyone! I’ve finally sorted through a bunch of photographs and made some time to pull together a few images from our Meet The Blogger event in Amsterdam this past Saturday. I have a million photos in this post to share, but there are nearly 200 more in this flickr album… First of all, it was a huge success and exceeded my expectations as I think was the case for all who attended. The space was packed with stylish, inspiring lifestyle bloggers from various parts of Europe so together we had over 120 (mostly ladies) gathered to listen to lectures, eat cupcakes and have a glass a wine but the focus of course, was to mix and mingle and walk away feeling confident and ready to take on the world! How did Meet The Blogger come to be? I’d had meet ups in Europe before in places like Berlin, Stockholm, London and Amsterdam but hadn’t hosted a meet up in awhile and wanted to do one again now that I’m living in Germany. I just needed a little push… And wasn’t sure where to even begin as I’m in the midst of so much right now in my life.
But then, out of nowhere, that push came from the lovely and organized Lise, who has a job in corporate by day but who blogs by night over on the Urban Style Vibes blog in the Netherlands, and she too was dreaming of pulling together a meet up for bloggers. I’d not known Lise until she contacted me so I had no idea we shared a similar dream to host a blogger’s event. She was a bit farther ahead in her dream than I, she already had chosen a name (Meet The Blogger) and talked about the idea to hold the first event in Stockholm or maybe Amsterdam. I guess we can call this kismet because she had heard about the launch of my book, Decorate, and so she emailed me to see if I wanted to get involved in something she had only just started to plan called Meet The Blogger. I had no clue what it was about, but she told me some of her ideas and then I shared some of my own and Lise had a logo created and started to set the whole thing into motion because I wanted to do another book launch party and a blogger’s meet up combined, only this time in Amsterdam since my book is sold there in English at the American Book Center.
Since then, Lise and I have talked a lot since February to work out how this event would run – it didn’t come together overnight! She was so easy to work with though at times it was tricky as we had to do everything by phone and email. That’s why when Lise flew up to London to meet me in person at the Decorate Liberty launch party in April, the whole idea of working with her made me much more comfortable. I thought it was very kind of her to connect with me so personally. While Lise and I were busy behind-the-scenes planning Meet The Blogger, we decided to pull in some sponsors so our guests wouldn’t have to pay for the event and we thought a goody bag would be a nice incentive to get everyone there – who doesn’t want free stuff?
As our ideas grew, Lise connected a fellow blogger, Janneke Romijn, who got involved — she happens to be a writer and publicist. Janneke is another amazing woman. I got to know more about her recently and she really inspired me with her personal story, she is such a determined woman and very strong and I admire this so much. So between Lise, Janneke and I this dream to host a blogger’s event started to take shape.
I worked on finding a location for the event, at first Lise found something outside of the city but my eye was on doing it in the city to encourage people to come. The location sort of fell into my lap because The American Book Center wanted to get involved and since they are friendly with Hotel V thanks to Rick Lightstone (Rick you’re the best!), they were able to get us that space for the event at no charge to us. Great!
Once we had the location it all felt very real and exciting and Lise and Janneke met with the hotel to work on the details while I made it my mission to tell everyone about the event so that we’d have lots of people invited and involved — who wants to host an event and have no one show up? So I literally told the whole entire internet. And people responded and before we knew it, we had sold out and had to actually turn people away as the space couldn’t hold everyone comfortably otherwise.
As one domino fell, effortlessly pushing the next, we started to pull together our sponsors. In the end, British designer Kelly Hoppen sponsored all of our drinks (sadly, she wasn’t there but her lovely publicist came) and Lily’s Cupcakes kept us all saturated in sugary sweet goodness. Flavourites came to talk about their blog and business and we had Dutch designer Mariska Meijers give everyone a lovely bookmark for their very own copy of Decorate (placed in our goody bags) and Dutch interiors magazine 101 Woonideeën gave everyone a few copies of their magazine and talked about the event on their blog too (here). The name tags that everyone wore came from Wolfie and the Sneak. The American Book Center gave away a few copies of Decorate and co-author Joanna Copestick, also attended which made me so, so happy as she was such a huge part of making Decorate come to life and though she’s shy about attending signings, I’m just so happy she flew in from London to be a part of it all. I even got her to sign some books with me not only at Meet The Blogger but at The American Book Center later that day.
I was personally thrilled to have VTWonen as an official sponsor, their editor-in-chief, Monique de Ruiter, attended Meet The Blogger and that really impressed me and I enjoyed meeting her very much. VTWonen so generously gave us our own photographer, Jurriaan Hoefsmit, for the day to shoot the event and they gave everyone a copy of VTWonen as well. They also announced the event in their magazine before the event and gave us a wonderful shout out on their blog yesterday, which we are so grateful for. My husband, Thorsten Becker, also took photos which was great.
The event was so wonderful, I really enjoyed meeting so many bloggers in this part of the world and it really impressed upon me the need to get bloggers over here together again in the future because they certainly are interested in these events and many asked us when the next blogger’s networking event will take place! That’s exciting! I’ll announce something on decor8 in the near future as I’m looking at BERLIN, GERMANY for an event in October and that one will really rock as I love Berlin and already have a few great sponsors on board for that one. Yay for bloggers in Europe, what an inspirational bunch of people who came out on Saturday, it was so encouraging and lovely for me but also for all – the buzz in the air was contagious and the vibe was so positive.
If you missed this event I hope that you’ll come out to Berlin in October for another blogging event to network and learn — the date will be announced on decor8 sometime this summer so you can get it on your calendar. It will also be in conjunction with Callwey Verlag, a huge German publishing house who will be releasing Decorate in German around that time with the title, Lust auf Wohnen, so I’ll have copies of it available in German at the next event which will be really fun for me to share!
By the way… I wanted to add captions to all of the photos with everyone’s names but I just cannot remember all of the wonderful people I met so I decided to not list anyone because some I do know but I felt like it would be unfair to list them without listing everyone. I hope that you understand. If you are shown in any of the photos above, please comment and say hello so people know who you are!
And well finally I need to point out the real reason behind a mix + mingle for blogger’s like this. I want people online to make lasting connections. I’m a connector, and through my online Blogging Your Way class that I teach along with Leslie Shewring and Thorsten Becker, I’ve always taught my students to not be scared of taking risks and to try to meet up with fellow bloggers in their own cities from time-to-time just to solidify those online relationships. I believe that relationships can only deepen when people take their virtual friendships offline for a bit to share, connect, laugh and run around with their cameras snapping a zillion photographs as you simply cannot get two blogger friends in the same room without cameras click, click, clicking!
I love sharing my book with everyone, I’ve had so many ask me to share it and sign their copies and events like this allow me to connect with people, which I love. It means a lot to me to be part of your life, offline too, as a personal friend and even a bit of mentor because I want to encourage women to just go for it when it comes to realizing their dreams and I want to help them to see a way out if they are currently stuck. So I hope this blogger’s event, the book signings that I do, classes that I teach both on and offline, continue to encourage and motivate people to connect, mingle, share and to learn and grow together.
To conclude this super long post, I want to thank all of our sponsors and also to my partners-in-crime, Lise and Janneke. I’m happy that together we were able to put Meet The Blogger into motion! We love you Amsterdam!
Update: A VERY special thank you to our volunteers for helping us to set up the event and for registering our guests as they arrived: Kate Baxter, Carole King, Jantine Vaartjes and Caroline Sleijffers.
I thought that today, because I’m still unpacking and settling into my usual routine, that I’d share a few postcards from Amsterdam with you. They are not really postcards, but shots that I took on my iPhone using Instagram and I decided to upload them to my MacBook so that I can share a few impressions with you now. I will talk more about Amsterdam and the amazing Meet The Blogger + Decorate book signing event there, and I have photos of me decorating the shop window at the American Book Center there as well as lots of photos from the event itself… but for now I simply want to share a few inspirational impressions from the road along with links that you may enjoy. Make sure you click on the music links below from my playlist, I have some fun videos for you to watch.
Me on the train and some shots of Amsterdam. I listened to Sia, Adele, The Smiths, Jordan Knight, Ellie Goulding, Florence & The Machine, Eliza Dolittle, BT, Amy Seeley and The Ting Tings on the ride there from where I live. It takes about 4 hours on the high speed train, a direct train from door-to-door, which I loved. When I think of that Amsterdam I imagine flowers, canals, train rides, bicycles and beautiful architecture. What do you think of when Amsterdam comes to mind? Now I wonder…
Here’s another view of the same waterway using a different photo filter. And then you can also catch a glimpse of the full house we had at the Meet The Blogger + Decorate Book event, it was packed! You can also see a spot where I enjoyed a smoothie break at Lite/Dark and a fabulous dinner with friends at Roots.
The Hotel V is where I stayed and where we had the event. The light looked like a disco ball above our bed, which made me smile just a bit as I have a thing for them. I really liked this corner ice cream shop but cannot recall the name of it but found it almost as sweet as the frozen pleasures that awaited inside… I ate at the Italian-owned Uliveto cafe shown above with all of the containers of olive oil against the wall on industrial metal shelving. In fact, I ate there several times, with friends and without, since it was 2 blocks from our hotel. And of course, to prove I was there in Amsterdam, you have a kooky self portrait. For fun, I decided to try to take one of myself that wasn’t posed or of me looking directly at the camera. It’s a challenge to look to the side and take a good photo of yourself, you should try it if you’re looking for a fun creative challenge, you’ll see!
Lots of people made my stay in Amsterdam special. I wish I had thought to use my iPhone to collect photos of all of them, and it inspired me to do that next time when I uploaded all of my photos from this trip and noticed that I didn’t photograph those I wished I had. The next time I travel I’ll make it a plan to photograph every person I share a meal with, everyone who makes an impression on me at all… because it’s the people who make a place and not the place itself. Nice cafes, pretty canals, gorgeous buildings may be what Amsterdam has but those things are not the soul of the city, or any city, but it’s those whom you mingle with while there and those who make an impact on you that forever shapes your view of a place.
Above you can see my sweet husband Thorsten with my friend Yvonne, Rick Lightstone from the American Book Center and my c0-author Joanna Copestick. I also spotted a hotel with a brilliant name, Thorbecke. I thought that if Thorsten Becker, my husband, owned a business, this could very likely be a great name for it. The place with the red awning was taken from my hotel window, it’s a pub called Cafe Kale (great food by the way and make sure to buy the local brew produced in a real windmill). I got to share meals there with my husband a few times and then, since Victoria from SFGirlByBay was in Amsterdam, we had drinks and snacks at Cafe Kale together as well.
You can see a glimpse of the shop window that I decorated with pages from Decorate. If you walk by the American Book Center in Amsterdam between now and mid July, you will see the Decorate window that I made. I hope you like it and I do hope that if you see it live, that you’ll tell me and even share a photo of it with me on my wall over on my Decorate Facebook page. It was my first window ever so I felt really shy about it but when I was finished I felt really proud of myself. Funny how that happens! I also enjoyed shopping at a beautiful interiors store called Nunc and of course, hanging out in cafes. Many of them. And aren’t the lights over the canal tunnels so lovely at twilight? I spotted a swan beneath the tunnel just seconds later… gracefully floating by creating ripple effects in the water that gave me a slight chill to see it. There is something so magical about swans, twilight, canals and twinkle lights and before that moment, I’d not known of that magic before…
Many other lovely buildings and shops that I visited, one shown above is Sissy Boy Homeland. I felt so charmed by the many streets of Amsterdam and while my hotel wasn’t in the best location to explore my favorite part of Amsterdam, the Jordaan, I made the best of it and tried to find things local to Hotel V that were nice still.
I didn’t get photos of Fifteen where I had lunch, but it is the restaurant that belongs to Jaime Oliver and the interior was quite nice and very large. Other links of places I’d visited: The Handbag Museum, Leuk (great clothing), DR Wonen and the Athenaeum book store with its tons of many amazing magazines! Of course, I popped into a million random places that I didn’t have time to snap a photo of, but when you’re traveling for mostly business it’s hard to spend that quality time shopping as one would like.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed a few of my postcards from Amsterdam today. When I travel I rely on my iPhone more and more these days to freeze moments in time into simple snapshots made pretty thanks to the Instagram app or Photo+ on the iPhone. It’s fun and effortless and well, it’s a nice way to remember everything you’d seen once you are back home and ready to blog your travels.
(images: holly becker for decor8)
Hello Friends, it is Leslie here with June’s edition of Color Me Pretty on decor8. I have been spending many hours recently tending to my little garden so I have fresh greens on my mind. I know, it seems you either love green for design or you don’t. However, I am here to give spring green, chartreuse, blue green and yellow a chance. I hope you enjoy this simple palette.
But first, here is where my inspiration began… in my very own flower garden at home here in southern California.
First, I thought it would be fun to do an arrangement of edible herbs from my garden. I picked sage, mint, thyme, rosemary, oregano flowers, cilantro flowers, arugula flowers and onion flowers for a little bouquet. I popped it into a glass jar and think it would be a sweet gift for my friend who enjoys cooking. The leftover sprigs went into some little vintage glass bottles. If it is summer where you are please take advantage of all the bounty at your farmer’s markets and stands. Make yourself an insanely large salad because it will taste extra good this time of year and pick up a bunch of herbs to enjoy in a vase. Mixing herbs with flowers can look beautiful too. Peonies and mint smell amazing together!
Then I felt inspired to pull together a mini mood board. On this small peg board I have a fun card by Cornelia O’Donovan for Pearl & Black, and some scrap pieces of fabric and papers. When using a limited palette like this it is nice to experiment with patterns. It is important to have both larger and a smaller scale patterns to create a sense of balance.
I pinned up some butterfly tags I made to spruce up simple wrapping. I used the large “Punch All Over The Page” butterfly punch by Martha Stewart. I have been seeing framed collections of “punched” butterflies that also look pretty and provide an interesting way to showcase paper scraps you may have!
I hope I sparked an idea or two for you to take away for a project you may be working on. Thank you for having me here. See you next month, – Leslie.
(photography + styling: leslie shewring)
I’m leaving in the morning to catch a train to Amsterdam and so I just want to wish you all a lovely week… I’ll be checking in from time to time when I can… I can’t wait for my book signing at the American Book Center on Saturday, June 25 from 5-7 pm and I’m very happy that co-author Joanna Copestick will also be present to sign and to hang out with me and meet everyone. :) And don’t miss the big Meet The Blogger party on Saturday afternoon (details here). It’s going to great to meet all of the wonderful bloggers (over 120 have RSVP’d!) and members of the press who will attend, including VTWonen magazine who will come to shoot the event – yeah!
I have to go get packed… but if you’re coming to join me then I’ll see you in Amsterdam! And for those who cannot make it, I’ll share photos of the event with you next week along with the shop window for Decorate that I made for the American Book Center. I hope that you will like it, it was a lot of fun to create my first window display for a shop so I’m looking forward to see what they think and also to get the reaction of their customers and passerbys but also to see what my co-author Joanna thinks as she has no clue what I’ve been up to in my crafty chemistry lab – ha! Exciting, a first for me and I love firsts.
Can’t wait to see you in one of my favorite cities. It’s been a few years since I’ve had a meet up in Amsterdam so I’m really looking forward to this. A big thank you to Rick, Lise and Janneke for effortlessly pulling everything together – it’s going to be fun to see how all of this remote planning works out – I love the internet!