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Giveaway winners + survey results!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in my first-ever reader survey!

When Marlon, who works in market research and helped create the survey, said we should aim for 50 responses for a valid survey, I was doubtful—it’s a long survey with many open-ended (a.k.a. essay) questions. But we got 52 awesome responses. Hurray! 

As promised, I drew two winners at random to receive this bag of goodies from a few of my favorite shops.

Birthday giveaway

Congratulations to… JL and Jeni Villaraza! I’ll be in touch soon to arrange shipping.

Aside from announcing the winners, I also wanted to share a bit about the results of the survey.

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Birthday giveaway + reader survey!


Tomorrow, October 26, is my birthday. Yay!

As he does every year, my amazing hubby has been dropping hints about his birthday plans for me. If they involve good food and time with the two loves of my life, I’ll be more than happy.

I don’t have any deep, philosophical musings about turning 32. I just want to enjoy what I cherish most: my home and my family. I could do that any day of the year, really, but tomorrow I will savor it, and be grateful for it, just that extra bit more.

What I do have is a birthday request.

I’ve been feeling the need to add a little zing to my blogging routine and freshen things up around here. I’m putting a lot of thought into the blog these days to make some new and exciting things happen… soon.

Now I’m going to go out on a limb and do something I’ve never done: get you involved. Yes, you, my readers! I’d love to know your thoughts on some blog-related matters, and well, just get to know you you a little bit better. I’ve been blogging for so long, I feel a bit embarrassed that I never had the courage to do this sooner.

So for my birthday, would you click here to answer a short reader survey? You’ll make me super happy!

Birthday giveaway

To say thanks and to make it fun (it is my birthday after all), I’m giving away a few goodies from some of my favorite neighborhood shops.

I will choose two readers at random, who will each win:

  • a cool Aztec print notebook from the whimsical design shop Rare Bird,
  • a 4R-sized recycled leather envelope from leather goods and accessories boutique Cellarrich (one reader will receive a deep purple version, not in photo)
  • a hand-set, letterpressed card from Typique, a wonderful traditional printer that’s had the same address on the Haarlemmerdijk since 1967 (a real Jordaan treasure!),
  • all enclosed in an I Love Tea canvas tote bag from Tea Bar.

Click here to take the reader survey and join the giveaway. Both survey and giveaway will be open until November 8, Friday.

I’m really looking forward to your answers. Thank you in advance!

I’m NOT going to The Hive

They’ve already started to arrive: the 250 bloggers who will be part of The Hive, a European blogging conference being held in Berlin this weekend. I was at The Hive last year, and I loved it.

This year’s Hive is bigger and better, with a fantastic lineup of speakers and workshops, sponsors like Etsy, Airbnb, Canon and Pantone and more, and a vibrant community of attendees who are self-organizing their own meetups, dinners, trips and tours outside the conference.

The Hive Berlin welcome posters

All of which makes me heartbroken that I’m going to miss it.

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Liebster Blog Award

I returned from Granada to find the nicest email from Gudy Herder of Eclectic Trends, who guest blogged here about brunch in Barcelona. She nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award, a blogger’s way of saying “You’re one of my favorites! Good job!” (Liebster is German for “favorite”). Thank you, Gudy!

With the Liebster Blog Award comes 11 questions from Gudy, and the duty to pass on the award to blogs with a relatively small following. So here goes…

*where do you live?

Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

*cat or dog?

Cat! Rogue is our favorite souvenir from Singapore.

*what do you love about blogging?

I love documenting my life, sharing good things, and telling stories. I love searching for the right words to capture a mood or feeling, and knowing that those words land somewhere. Only recently did I really get into the social aspect of blogging: the fun of connecting with friends all over the world.

*what is the most embarassing situation you ever had?

I’ve had many, but the one that comes to mind is when I was running down a slope towards the cafeteria in my high school. My best friend and I were holding hands and she was running too fast for me, so I let her go.

Then I rolled—yes, rolled—down the slope and landed flat on my face in front of the whole school! The previous weekend, I had just won a school pageant so all eyes were on me. Or at least it felt like it. I wanted to disappear.

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Do not disturb

Sorry for the blog silence this week. There’s been much to write about—Open Monument Day, our first house-hunting tour, and the discovery of a neighborhood that I just might be in love with… and I’m frustrated that I can’t seem to find the time or energy to do it.

I’ve been busy with an unusual amount of work the last two weeks. Not complaining… income is always a good thing! When I’m not working, I’ve been sleeping a lot because I’ve been feeling under the weather on and off since last week. It’s more than a little frustrating to not be in control of my body and energy, but I’m trying to remind myself that duh, I’m pregnant! And that makes taking care of Little Mango’s housing situation (a.k.a., myself) my first priority.

Today I’m finally going to the midwife to get a quick checkup just to make sure everything is okay. Then it’s another busy weekend, with a few more apartment viewings and a free trip to Inside Design Amsterdam (!). So I know I need to get as much rest as I can now to avoid being a total zombie on Monday.

So, I’m offline for now. Be back soon!

Meet the Blogger Amsterdam

Have you ever heard or read something that was so inspiring, so perfect for that point in your life, that you just had to write it down and look at it again? Maybe even print it out or stick it on your wall?

That’s how I felt about quite a few things I heard at Meet the Blogger, a gathering of over 100 interiors and lifestyle bloggers in Amsterdam last weekend. The main agenda, of course, was blogging, but the real highlights for me were bite-sized pieces of advice that could also apply to any area of one’s life… the kind of life lessons that deserve to be pondered, printed and yes, maybe even stuck on a wall.

Since we could all use some inspiration now and then, I’m taking my Meet the Blogger notes out of my notebook and sharing them with you in a way that I hope you’ll find inspiring too. Feel free to grab these “notes” from here or from Flickr—just leave me a comment to say thanks, if you do!

Find your passion-Frida Ramstedt

As keynote speaker, one-woman empire Frida Ramstedt of Swedish interior design blog Trendenser shared the lessons she learned along the way in her rise from average student to blogging millionaire. Her first step: finding what she was truly passionate about. (And it wasn’t what she was studying in university.)

Not certain where your heart truly lies? One simple thing you could do, Frida suggested, is to ask yourself this question.

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The Hive Berlin: blogging, inspiration & passion

The Hive Berlin was last weekend, but I’m still buzzing. The first conference for European bloggers was appropriately named—it was a hub of constant activity, where a swarm of hardworking individuals gathered to produce some pretty sweet results.

There’s something special and powerful about a place where something is constantly being created. If the Betahaus had a counter ticking off every new idea born, friendship made, artistic creation produced and skill acquired at The Hive, it would have broken down this weekend.

Even breaks were not really breaks, but pockets of energy and opportunity. (The funky coffee cups may have helped!)

Meeting creative, inspiring and passionate individuals was a major highlight. I think this photo I took of vlogger Amy from Diamond of Tears captures the personality of The Hive attendees: unique, creative, tech-savvy, in constant flux between real and online life. .

As you’d expect in a roomful of creative women, there was no shortage of stylish details. One could do entire posts just about what the attendees wore (as I’m sure someone will!).

The meat of the weekend was the lineup of talks and workshops by some of Europe’s top bloggers. It was hard not to get overloaded (with information) and over-stimulated (by inspiration).

We’re all stimulated by the talk. No, really.

It’s also hard not to get intimidated when it hits you that there’s still so much you don’t know… about something you’ve been doing for years! After taking a few days to absorb everything, here are my own Hive highlights and why they stood out for me.

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Heading to The Hive

Guten abend from Berlin!

I think I’ve just died at the hands of a mean, mustachioed margarita-mixing hipster with a heavy tequila hand. Before my soul leaves my body, I want to share what I’m up to this weekend. It’s also the reason I’m in Berlin, and why the new and improved Currystrumpet absolutely (die die, as they say in Singapoh) had to be launched this week.

That would be The Hive, a first-of-its-kind conference for bloggers in Europe. Founded by three like-minded (and brave!) bloggers from Hamburg, Amsterdam and Prague, The Hive is meant to be a place for Europe-based bloggers to meet, share ideas and learn from a great roster of speakers, many of whom are blog celebrities in their own right. It takes place at the Berlin creative hub Betahaus this weekend.

I signed up for The Hive in February; I didn’t think much about it, I just did it. Only after registering did I even begin to think about how I would present myself and my blog. It soon became clear to me that I needed to overhaul my blog before I could feel right about putting it out into the world—much like cleaning up before inviting guests over.

I’ve blogged for years, but kept it pretty low-key. No self promotion, no Facebook page, no networking. The Hive marks the first time I’m going to actually, physically put myself out there and introduce my blog to complete strangers, many of them far more successful/inspiring/professional/______(insert adjective here) at blogging than I.

So I am feeling both excited and nervous. Wish me luck. And have a happy weekend, wherever you are!

Currystrumpet on Bloglovin

I know some of you followed the old blog on Bloglovin. Well, now you can follow this new blog with Bloglovin, too!

New year, new pages

Last fall, I enrolled in Blogging Your Way, a blogging e-course by Holly Becker of Decor8 and Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint. The four-week course was packed with information and inspiration; months later I’m still digesting everything! It sparked ideas for new projects, new directions and even a new blog (stay tuned!), but also made me think about this old blog in a new way.

When I started blogging seven years ago, the blogosphere was very different. A blog was an online journal, a diary. If you had a lot to rant about in real life, your blog would be full of rants. If you had nothing going on in your life, your blog would be full of meaningless blather. The average blogger didn’t give much thought to presentation and promotion back then. It was always about what you had to say.

Things have changed. Today, blogs are carefully curated, prepared, promoted—ironically enough, whether or not you even create your own original content. There are simply things you need to do, that I hadn’t been doing. Some things make perfect sense to me; other things, like reblogging and reposting, just… don’t (yet).

So consider this a bit of housekeeping that’s been long overdue. I’ve put some new things in place, first of which is the About page. Even if you’ve been reading my blog for a long time and feel you know me pretty well, read it anyway! You just might find out a few things you don’t already know about me. Like what the heck a Currystrumpet is, for example.

It was hard to write an About page for myself! To describe myself as a “lifestyle” blog or a “travel” blog would have been very neat and handy, but I don’t think I quite fit into either of those categories. Still, I’ve written something I’m happy with, and that I think sums up me and my blog pretty well. Holler if you agree!

It was fun choosing a picture. This was taken shortly after my 30th birthday, in Istanbul. Our host Suzan had this gorgeous traditional Maltese balcony with a leather wing chair that just screamed to be posed in.

The second new addition is the Welcome note on the right-hand column, essentially a shorter version of the About page. Below it, you’ll now find links to my Twitter and Pinterest accounts. Follow away!

Finally, I’ve organized my Blogroll and moved it to a separate page. I’ve realized that I have a) so many fun and interesting friends who blog, and b) great blogs that I’ve discovered but kept to myself. So starting this January, I will feature one blog per month from my Blogroll as my “blog of the month.” Just sharing the love, y’all.

Do you like the new About page and the “blog of the month” idea? What kind of things do you want to see more of on this blog in the New Year? Hit the comments and let me know.