sisterMAG Blogger Feature: Urban Island

Oh hey look, I’m in sisterMAG! What a great way to start the week.

Issue #14 of “the journal for the digital lady” is all about Islands this summer, and celebrates the Urban Island for those who spend their summer holidays in the city. I’m part of a sisterMag blogger feature that highlights what summer is like in the “urban islands” of Barcelona, Hamburg, Essen, Munich, Vienna and of course, Amsterdam.

Amsterdam canals Instagram

Spring with the famous Dutch tulips in full bloom is great for visiting Amsterdam. But for me, summer is the best time to actually be living in Amsterdam. Because Tala doesn’t go to school yet, Marlon and I like to travel off-peak, during the months of April to June and early September.

That leaves the summer for discovering my adopted city: fighting for tables on packed terraces (and discovering new ones), feeling more like myself by wearing sandals and skirts, biking in the sunshine, seeing the canals by boat. I actually feel cheated when we’re away during the summer and I find out that Amsterdam’s been having awesome weather. When the sun’s out in this city, I often feel thankful for my life here, and feel that there’s no place I’d rather be.

I’m happy to be celebrating my favorite season in Amsterdam by being part of this issue of sisterMAG. You can read Issue #14 right here—skip ahead to page 195 for the Urban Island section, or take your time and savor the whole magazine. It’s fab summer reading. Enjoy!

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Rested, refreshed and ready to blog

I’m back!

Riga and Jurmala Instagram summer

I’m back from a two-week trip to Latvia, and a quickie city trip to Vienna just before that. Now I’m happy to say I’m not just back from my holiday, but I’m back to blogging, too. Thanks for waiting for me, encouraging me, and maybe even missing me!

Time away from the computer has done me good. I managed to accomplish an important career milestone (landed my first Dutch client!), enjoy the beautiful summer we’ve been having in Amsterdam, allow thoughts (future ideas for blog posts?) percolate in my head. I’ve had time to read, rest and refocus. And of course, travel.

Travel is such a re-energizing force for me. I enjoyed my Latvia trip so much, and feel so inspired to share more about this underrated travel destination. Because I traveled to Latvia to spend time with dear friends from back home, this trip also allowed me to reconnect with a part of me that I left behind when I moved abroad seven years ago.

Finally, choosing to travel at a slow, relaxed pace gave Marlon and myself the space to savor long conversations and comfortable silences, to talk about our future and dream together. This is exactly the kind of thing that keeps us going.

And these are the exactly the kinds of things that keep me going (and writing): music, friends, food, travel, laughter, love, life. So I’m back. I’m not hopping back onto the relentless hamster wheel of the editorial calendar, but I’m back and I’m here to stay.

In my next few posts, I will share about my time in Vienna, Riga and the Baltic coast—and perhaps a few things I’ve realized along the way. Time to get writing!


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When blogging fatigue strikes

Getting over a blogging slump

You may have noticed that it’s been quiet around here lately. You may have also noticed that the blog’s been sporting a new look, but that I haven’t said anything about it yet.

I suppose I wouldn’t be a blogger if I didn’t get to the point where I wanted to stop blogging. I’ve been blogging since 2003, and I never really thought it would happen to me, but here it is: the dreaded blogger’s fatigue. Perhaps it’s inevitable in a blogger’s life, like a rite of passage.

For the last couple of weeks I haven’t even wanted to look at my blog. I’ve ignored the drafts on my editorial calendar, the folders of carefully selected photos on my desktop, the unwritten posts from New York, which was three months ago. It’s not that fun things haven’t happened to me in the last few weeks, or that I haven’t had great ideas; I just haven’t wanted to write about them.

What’s really sucked the soul from my blogging self is that my redesign didn’t end the way I hoped it would. After finishing my new logo and branding, and putting up a basic, functional blog in time for The Hive, the U.S.-based designer I hired just… disappeared. POOF! With a few hundred dollars of (fully paid) design work left to go.

No response to emails, no updates on social media, total radio silence for more than a month. (As a professional providing a service to a paying client, can you really ignore them for a month?!) I tried to be understanding and accommodating; I was actually worried, until I discovered that her LinkedIn profile was deactivated about a week ago. That sends quite a different message, doesn’t it?

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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!
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