January 28, 2013

Lazy Weekend

Christian and I just had the best lazy weekend. Although we got to do a few things like walk through the Albert Cuyp market on a snowy Saturday and eat Dutch poffertjes (mini pancakes!) for lunch, we basically got home on Saturday afternoon and spent all night and all day Sunday in our pajamas (the only effort made was by Christian to get fresh bread to go with homemade chicken noodle soup). Here are a few Instagram pics from our lazy weekend.

We now have a newfound love for lazy weekends...hope yours was a good one too! 

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See? Lazy weekend and our bed looking quite cozy...

January 24, 2013

Snow Day!

Last weekend, Amsterdam was covered with a blanket of snow. Thinking it could be the last snow for the Winter (and I'm pretty sure the canals won't be freezing over like they did last year...awww), Christian and I jumped at the opportunity to walk around the city and escape into a cozy cafe for some lattes. It actually doesn't snow that much in Amsterdam...it usually sticks for a few days then the rain comes and washes it away. Amsterdam is beautiful in the Summer (when it doesn't rain) and in the Fall when it's decorated in colorful leaves, but when snow flurries arrive it's absolutely gorgeous!

I wrapped myself in my new cozy scarf from Jeanelle and we hit the streets. Sights of a snow-covered city with bitter cold wind sweeping snowflakes through the air reminded us of the first few months of Winter we spent together in Finland. Which was perfect timing because It just so happened to be 6 years since we met in Finland.

Thanks for the snowy Finland-esque anniversary, Amsterdam :).
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January 21, 2013

6 Years

This week 6 years ago I met a funny Dutch guy in a snow-covered town in Finland. Each day since has been a dream. While we first started off as exchange students with a crush on each other, it instantly evolved into love that endured across the globe and eventually led to my move to Amsterdam, countless memories, crazy holidays together and realizing that we couldn't live without each other (well that realization happened almost 6 years ago too! We knew early on). 

While this week is our week (we never really set an anniversary date)...this year is also our year. In 9 short months, we will be getting married!

I'm very lucky to be able to spend my life with this guy :).

Here's a small trip down memory lane...

{Sledding in Lappeenranta, Finland, where we were exchange students in 2007}
{Our first weekend trip together to Helsinki}
{Croatian island-hopping in 2012}
{Weekend stroll around Amsterdam a few months ago}

January 10, 2013

A Canal-side Christmas Toast

As a California girl living stateside, I spent most of my days wearing rainbows and soaking up the sun. Meaning that when it got below 75 degrees (about 20 degrees C), I was cold. These days though, I wear flats in the winter when it hovers a few degrees over 0—my cold radar has definitely changed. Lately it has actually been kind of “warm” in Amsterdam. Warm being about 50 degrees F (5-6 degrees C). My dad thinks I’m crazy. 

Being that it was so “warm” outside on Christmas Eve, I pitched the idea to Christian to find a pretty canal and watch the lights flicker off the water. In the summer, this is hands-down my favorite thing to do—sit on the side of the  canal, grab a bottle of wine and enjoy the view. A couple of years ago, it snowed on Christmas Eve (but I do love a white Christmas!) so this year we just had to take advantage of this “warm” evening, albeit a bit windy. Christian was up for the idea and it was Christmas Eve afterall. We poured a couple of glasses and toasted to the next year to come. 

This hour of dangling our feetsies over the side of the canal marked the most romantic Christmas Eve we’ve had to date. To add to the romanticism of the evening, we made a bunch of appetizers and watched The Big Bang Theory--Christian's obsessed. Girl gets canals, boy gets science geek comedy...clearly a win-win :). 

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas Eve!

January 7, 2013

A Small Surprise in my Christmas "Sock''

One of my favorite Christmas traditions back home is digging through my stocking on Christmas morning. My mom is a master stocking-stuffer and everything she puts in it is perfect and usually leaves me saying 'how'd you know I needed this?!' Hence the master stocking-stuffer title. 

A Dutch Christmas involves no such thing. So Christian quickly caught on to this thing he calls a 'Christmas sock.' This year my mom even mailed us 2 mini stockings stuffed with some goodies (Christian was overjoyed that his contents included mini packs of Milkduds...his favorite American candy). Over the past few years, Christian and I have sworn off Christmas gifts and instead we fill eachother's stockings, which usually involves a few small things here and there.

This year I was in for a treat. Christian put a brand-spanking new (12-24mm f/4) lens in my stocking! I gasped because I knew lenses weren't cheap but he said he knew 2012 was a tough year for me, so he had to splurge. With all of the crazy travel plans coming up over the next couple of years, this lens will be perfect for landscape shots (can't wait to use this little baby in Iceland). 

With a new lens in hand, we headed towards the canals to try it out. It was a very special Christmas Eve, walking around beautiful Amsterdam (even if it is a little grey) with my love in one hand and with my brand new lens in the other, I was one smitten  gal.

January 1, 2013

Here's to 2013!

{Our gorgeous pics from Liz}

Yay 2013! I am so excited for this year. So what's in store for us?

-We kicked off 2013 with Christian's twin brother and his wife in a small Amsterdam bar flowing with beer inside and fireworks outside.

-It's my birthday in just a few weeks and I'll celebrate with Christian and friends all weekend long--pubs, cocktail bars, brunch, lunch, wining and dining!

-One of my best friends who I met in Amsterdam is moving back to Europe from Australia to live in London...not until she spends a week in Amsterdam with me first. And I think I'll be a regular on Easyjet's Amsterdam-London route :).

-My twin sis is throwing me a bridal shower Cali-style in February. She has a gift for throwing great parties...I can't wait to see what she conjures up! 

-I've missed my best friend's birthday for 4 years (shameful) so this year I'm making up for it...I'm treating her to a week in paradise and we're jetsetting to somewhere tropical and sunny.

-In May, Christian and I will join my mom and older sister for a long weekend frolicking around London, my mom's favorite city. Then we have a week in MY favorite city--Amsterdam :).

-In June, we're roadtripping around Iceland for 10 days with our favorite travel buddies Denis & Emma (past trips with them include Greece, Croatia, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam!).

-In July, we'll be international wedding hoppers--we're heading to some friends' wedding in Poland then will fly to Cali to catch another friend's wedding in San Diego the next weekend.

And the best for last is--we're getting married this year!

But all the fun doesn't stop there, we've got HUGE plans for the end of the year...and we are so stoked about it

What fun things do you have planned this year?