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A Caravan Hotel Room at Huettenpalast Berlin

If you’re into the whole caravan trend but still don’t consider yourself outdoorsy enough to actually rough it by staying in one surrounded by night noises, then perhaps you should try camping indoors at the Huettenpalast hotel in Berlin developed by Silke Lorenzen and Sarah Vollmer. The concept itself is so genius, you could really do a lot with this idea. Instead of checking into a hotel and disappearing, you can socialize with others outside of your camper while still being indoors. Ha! So cool. Check out these great rooms within rooms… There are cottages too!

Huettenpalast Berlin

Huettenpalast Berlin

Huettenpalast Berlin

Huettenpalast Berlin

Huettenpalast Berlin

Huettenpalast Berlin

Instead of your standard hotel room, Huettenpalast recycles camper trailers and refurbishes and fits them to an indoor space for 40-60 Euros a night! If you’re a social traveler who wants to meet new friends and enjoy the great indoors, then this just may be the hotel for you.

Would you stay at Huettenpalast? Thoughts?

(images: huettenpalast)

Posted in travel on August 12, 2011
decor8 great.ly shop

Creative Flats

Goodness! I have so much to write about this week that I almost wish I had a team of writers that I could just assign all of these stories to because it’s hard to cover all of the stuff that I’ve been finding lately. I’m so inspired by a lot at the moment, my cup is flowing over. I think it has to do with summer and all of the people I’ve been meeting on my recent trips  – and even here in my own city there is so much to explore and do that keeps me energized to write. I’m going to keep you busy for the next few months with all of my finds so I hope that you enjoy what I have to share in the weeks to come. Are you ready to drool over this amazing business idea and these great flats? Because the company I’d like to share is called Creative Flats and the concept is brilliant.

Creative Flats

Though these flats are only based out of Montreal (too bad I don’t visit there each year as I once did when I lived stateside), the idea of having creative, beautiful resting spaces on vacation, a home away from home, isn’t a new idea but also isn’t so common even despite all of the traveling that creative people do to promote their work or to simply gain inspiration.

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

Creative Flats

The idea behind Creative Flats, which launched 11 years ago, is to serve style conscious clientele who want to stay in high-end beautiful apartments vs. cracker box ho-hum hotel rooms for the same price. Creative Flats is owned by decorator Nathalie Bouchard and stylist Annie Horth and together they bring that Nathalie/Annie charm to each apartment for a stylish, authentic and even home-y feel. I love how they mix objects from different periods and how detail-oriented they are. They’re a little Domino meets Vicente Wolf which is the best of the best really. Clean, modern, fresh.

I just stayed at a hotel and though it was nice, there was no attention to detail, security or comfort. I think the idea of Creative Flats is a great one – you have your own apartment, you can enjoy space to spread things out, everything is taken care of for you so you are completely comfortable. The more I travel, the more I crave comfort and convenience. I want extras, in fact, I expect them if I’m paying a good amount for the room. I want to enjoy beautiful surroundings but even more, I want to feel secure and taken care of and though it seems odd to say this, I want to feel like I am a special guest – I like that.

What do you look for in hotels and apartment stays away from home? Have you ever stayed in an apartment vs. a hotel? I have a few times, and some were hits and others definite misses or shall I say, “Run Screaming!” misses because they were that horrible. I wonder what your travel experiences have been most recently at hotels and apartments? Care to share?

(images: creative flats)

Posted in travel on June 29, 2011

Meet The Blogger Recap

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.

MTB

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

MTB

MTB

MTB

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.

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

MTB

MTB

MTB

MTB

MTB

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.

MTB

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

MTB

MTB

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

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 SneakThe 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. 

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

MTB

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

Meet The Blogger/Decorate

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

Meet The Blogger/Decorate Mix + Mingle

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.

MTB

MTB

MTB

MTB

MTB

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.

Meet The Blogger/Decorate

Meet The Blogger/Decorate

Meet The Blogger/Decorate

MTB

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.

(Photography: Jurriaan Hoefsmit, Thorsten Becker and Holly Becker.)

Posted in travel on June 28, 2011

Postcards From Amsterdam

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.

Amsterdam Impressions

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…

Amsterdam Impressions

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.

Amsterdam Impressions

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!

Amsterdam Impressions

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.

Amsterdam Impressions

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…

Amsterdam Impressions

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)

Posted in travel on June 27, 2011

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