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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Breakfast in Berlin

There were many reasons to join Marlon on his recent business trip to Berlin. First of all, it was a long trip and I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of being a single mom for four days. Second: hello, it’s Berlin. Who can say no to Berlin?

Aside from being one of my favorite European cities—in case you haven’t noticed!—what clinched the deal was the feeling that I have friends in Berlin. From past experience tagging along on work trips before, exploring by oneself is fun, even liberating, but it can get lonely. Having local friends makes a world of difference. Company is great, and I get to discover places that I might not have found or chosen on my own.

This is how I found myself doing what seems to be a very Berlin thing: breakfast. With frühstück menus displayed prominently at many cafes, it seems locals are mad about breakfast. It’s a good thing I had some pretty cool Berliners to introduce me to this very Berlinische pleasure.

My first breakfast was with the lovely Lena from Mina Moka. She took me to her brunch pick for my Let’s Do Brunch series: 3 Schwestern in Kreuzberg.

Bethanien Mariannenplatz Berlin

Lena wrote her guest post on 3 Schwestern in the winter, so with summer in full swing, it almost seemed like a totally different place.

3 Schwestern Kreuzberg

We sat outside in the courtyard, basking in the warm summer sunshine, brunching on picks from the day’s menu and chatting about bloggers, travel, babies, Berlin… a little bit of everything. [Read more…]

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Sisters who rock

Sisters rock! Especially mine, who celebrates her 3xth 30th 26th birthday today!

My sister & I at ages 8 and 3, photo by Mom; then, at ages 25 and 20, photo by Anton Sheker

My sister’s name is Sheila, but she’s always been Ate (“older sister”) to me. My ate rocks, and she always has. At an age when most teens wouldn’t be caught dead with their baby sisters, she always let me tag along with her and her friends (she was 16, I was 11). She helped me jump over the fence at a Bon Jovi concert, brought me into the awesome universe of Robotech, let me wear her vintage 60s dresses from Bambang Market (in 1998 when nobody our age was wearing vintage), even introduced me to my first boyfriend (let’s say that was a good thing).

She took on huge responsibilities at an early age with no questions asked, and supported me throughout college while building a stellar career. She has all the classic big sister traits—good, sensible, successful and responsible—combined with the boundless energy and adventurous, fun-loving spirit of a younger sister. (Especially when it comes to a night of partying, when I become not just the older sister, but a total granny.)

My sister and I have shared everything from clothes to late-night conversations, to international mommy handovers and mad dashes through airports. She shares because she has a big and loyal heart, and I’m so lucky to be one of the people whom I know always has a place in it.

Happy birthday, Ate!

Speaking of sisters, let me leave you with some weekend reading from another pair of sisters who rock. Thea and Toni Neubauer publish sisterMagazine, an online mag for “active, widely interested and digitally living women.” Covering topics that range from food, lifestyle and fashion to technology, mobile developments and start-ups, sisterMAG is bursting with content and is beautifully designed to boot. You can see for yourself by browsing sisterMAG’s second issue right here.

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I met Thea and Toni briefly at The Hive in Berlin and was blown away by their style and smarts. So I’m really looking forward to meeting them again this weekend at the Meet the Blogger event here in Amsterdam.

I’ll be back after the weekend with details on Meet the Blogger and a week’s worth of posts on beautiful, beautiful Florence (yay!). In the meantime, happy reading… and happy weekend!

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