Our Experience In Amsterdam

 

September of last year (2016) I began to write this post on our experience in Amsterdam, and not sure why but I had complete writers block. I really couldn't figure out what to say and how to say it. Truthfully, I think it's because I came away from Amsterdam wondering if I loved the city or wasn't fond of it. There were parts I loved and parts I hated and goodness I just couldn't bring myself to finishing this post. Well, one year after our trip I finally forced myself to finish this post. It might not be my best work, but gosh darn-it it's finished finally!! Whoo-hoo! Well here it is, our Amsterdam experience --


In August we began our month long European adventure, starting in Amsterdam. This was our first time in Amsterdam and we really didn't know what to expect. Of course when you first think of the city, pot leaves and prostitutes probably cross your mind... at least they did mine, but I was sure there was probably much more to the famous city than that, so I was excited to explore it. Before our trip I did a bit of research on the city, just the basic things like what to see. You can find that list in my what to do and see in Amsterdam and Italy post

My favorite part of this city was the canals. The water was beautiful, they are surrounded by quaint buildings, and there are always boats passing along each canal. Like much of Europe, you can feel the history all around you in this city. Another thing I loved about Amsterdam was the beautiful parks. We walked through Vondelpark and Museumplein, but I know there are other parks around town we didn't get to walk through that were probably amazing too. It was so fun to see everyone hanging out in the parks, reading, having a picnic, napping, hanging out with friends, etc. It gave you the feel that the city is very community based and the locals seem to love it. 

There are so many famous art museums in Amsterdam. I'm not even a big art fan and I really enjoyed those. Seeing so many famous paintings in real life was such an experience to remember. You don't have to be an art junkie to know names like Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Seeing their paintings in real life was so impressive, these guys are clearly famous for a reason. Like I said I'm not big into art, but I had a wonderful time touring the Rijks Museum and would totally recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam. We didn't get a chance to go into the Van Gogh Museum but if we go back to Amsterdam I'll for sure add it to my list of must dos. 

Another thing I loved about the city were the I Amsterdam signs. It's such a blast to watch everyone gathering around the signs and taking pictures. We saw one of the signs outside of the airport and then another one right outside of the Rijks Museum. And of course, as typical tourists do, we spent a great amount of time taking tons of cheesy photos with the sign. I even got brave and climbed on top of the sign for a fun shot (which I can't find now to add to this post dang-it). 

We were surprisingly impressed with the food in Amsterdam. There was a restaurant that we went to twice while we stayed there at the beginning of our trip and then went out of our way to go back to the restaurant at the end of our trip before our flight back home. The name is Cafe De Klos and I'd 100% recommend it ( unless you're a veterinarian) and get the ribs! There's a photo below of the outside of the restaurant. 

My absolute favorite part of Amsterdam was the Anne Frank house. You grow up reading The Diary Of Anne Frank in school which totally pulls on your heart strings, but nothing can compare to touring the ACTUAL house that her and her family hid out in. They've turned the house into such an amazing museum to tour and walk through, loading you with history on the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. I've always found World War II to be one of the most interesting times to learn about in history, so that might be why I enjoyed touring the Ann Frank house so much, but I'd recommend anyone who visits Amsterdam to tour it. 

With all that being said, there are many things about this city I could do without. The insane amounts of bicycles that are everywhere left me stressed out as we walked around the city. When I'm in a new place I want to be able to marvel at everything around me, but it was super difficult to do so in Amsterdam without having bikes wizz past you and pretty much run you right over. Now, I'm sure there are some of you reading this and the bikes are what you love about Amsterdam, but for me I just thought it was a bit much. The idea of biking through one of the stunning parks sounds nice, but the city just seemed too hectic for it. I do love that the city has a fit culture though, that's awesome and I can respect that. However, I wasn't a fan of having to be on defense all the time so that I didn't get hit by a bike.

I couldn't write about Amsterdam without mentioning the pot and prostitutes. I'm of course not saying that is all the city has to offer ( because that's absolutely not the case ), but it sure is a part of the culture there and it's definitely something that is unique to Amsterdam. Let's start with the weed... I currently live in Denver and unless you live under a rock then you know that people smoking marijuana isn't a huge shock to us. I personally don't smoke pot, but it is legal here too. In Amsterdam if you want to find some weed, look for a "cafe" or a "coffee shop". If you're looking for a nice cappuccino or latte and you waltz into a coffee shop in Amsterdam, you'll be very disappointed. To be honest, this part didn't bother me about the city, I really couldn't care either way. But the Red Light District is another story. We walked through the RLD during the day and fairly quick, but we were curious about it and wanted to see it with our own eyes. Well, it really is all that you hear about. As a woman, seeing the women in the windows selling their bodies just made me so sad. It made me sad for them. How and why did they get to that place in their life where that seemed like the best option for them? I wondered if at night they go home feeling dirty, used and worthless. Or are they so numb to it that they go home feeling nothing? I couldn't help but think about all of this as we walked through the famous Red Light District, with a pit in my stomach from pure disgust. It makes me sad that people, tourists, come to this city purely for this. Because it's "Okay" in Amsterdam. No, it's actually not "Okay" anywhere. To treat women as though they are an item, a thing, and not a human being. It's not okay at all, no matter what city you're in. Okay well now I've gone on a whole tangent about prostitution which I didn't intend on doing. But gosh the RLD made me feel some type of way... 

klos restaurant amsterdam
rijksmuseum
AMSTERDAM VACATION

Overall, as I reflect on our time in Amsterdam, looking at pictures and reminiscing about all that we did, I'd say it was a great experience. Even though the city might not be my all time favorite destination, I still really enjoyed exploring the Netherlands for the first time and I'm so glad we made a stop there. If you've been to Amsterdam, comment below with your thoughts on the city. I've met so many people who absolutely love the city and I'd love to hear why! 

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10 Tips For Traveling While Pregnant

Since travel is such a huge part of our lifestyle and passion, it was only natural that I took a few trips during my pregnancy. This baby bump has been on 9 flights total in the last 9+ months. During my first trimester I was in Las Vegas (not really a pregnant woman's dream destination), second trimester I went to Arizona two different times, and third trimester I went to Maryland and then Florida. Each trimester my traveling experience was quite different, since each trimester you feel different from the others. Overall I'd say traveling while pregnant isn't too shabby, and I'd encourage any woman with a healthy pregnancy to continue with their travels and enjoy some adventure before your new baby enters the world. 

The toughest things I noticed during my pregnant travels was nausea in the first trimester, feeling exhausted easily in each trimester, and being an emotional mess in the third trimester. No joke when my husband dropped me off at the airport for me to leave for a two week trip without him in my 31st week of pregnancy, I was balling like a baby and was a total emotional wreck. Even though traveling while pregnant isn't always the easiest thing in the world, I'm so glad I took each of these trips. I created so many amazing memories with my baby boy in my tummy. Memories that I'll cherish forever. In my second trimester I got to walk stage with my husband at a business event and share our story in from of 10,000 people. At that same event I got to feel him kick up a storm while my favorite mentor spoke from that same stage (he seemed to love this guy as much as Nick and I do). Then just weeks later I got to share my story with a few hundred entrepreneurs during a 45 minute segment, feeling empowered and facing my fears of public speaking with my baby right there with me. Third trimester I got to take our son to the beach for the first time, relaxing by the stunning ocean in Maryland and then in Florida. I got to walk the entire board-walk that I grew up visiting with him in my belly. My grandparents who live in Maryland got to see my pregnant belly. My best friend who lives in New York, while we were in Florida she got to feel Giulian kick and she teared up with emotion. All of these memories are so special to me, to know that while I was growing our son we went on all kinds of little adventures together, and already have created so many memories as mommy and baby. One day I'll be able to tell him about everything we did together while he was growing in mommy's tummy. 

Memories were not the only thing created on those trips, travel tips were too. Each trip I took little notes in my phone every time I came across something that helped a ton during my "pregnant travels". Some of the tips were created from things I thought of prior to a trip that actually turned out to be helpful, and of course other tips were birthed by a "dang I should have done that differently" moment. Regardless, I think I've got ten tips that will help some pregnant ladies out with their travels! Lets get into it...

Las Vegas, Nevada 8 Weeks Pregnant

Las Vegas, Nevada 8 Weeks Pregnant

1.)Bring Healthy Snacks & Preggie Pops To Help With Nausea

When I was 8 weeks pregnant and we took a trip to Vegas, I had some difficulty with nausea. I luckily had a pretty smooth first trimester, I didn't get sick too often, but when nausea would hit it was no fun. Having healthy, high carb snacks on me at all times was such a big help. Every time I would get nauseous I would just snack on some crackers or something to help settle my tummy. Preggie Pops were also a huge help for nausea. 

2.)Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated during pregnancy is always important. Make sure to bring extra water bottles with you on the airplane, since these days they are stingy about everything on flights and you don't need to ask the stewardess to keep refilling your tiny cup of water. 

3.)Protect Yourself Against Getting Sick

Being sick with a bad cold during pregnancy is not fun at all, trust me I know. I was sick about 5 times throughout my pregnancy. They say when you are pregnant your immune system is suppressed, which means you can catch things easily. To be proactive, when I traveled I would bring a ton of items that kept me from catching things. Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and Kick Ass Immune Drops were my go to items for helping me to not get sick. 

Phoenix, Arizona 22 Weeks Pregnant

Phoenix, Arizona 22 Weeks Pregnant

Ocean City, Maryland 31 Weeks Pregnant

Ocean City, Maryland 31 Weeks Pregnant

4.)Allow Time For Rest

Pregnancy is no joke, you are creating a human, so of course you are going to get a bit more tired. You can balance rest and taking care of your body with fun and adventure while you travel. It's important to allow for some down time so you don't over do it and cause stress to your body and the baby. Aka don't be embarrassed to sneak off and take a nap. 

5.)Second Trimester Is The Best For Traveling

Most women experience a boost of energy during the second trimester, and that was true for me. I enjoyed my second trimester trips much more. The nausea was gone, I had a bit more energy and my belly had popped but wasn't so large to where I was extremely uncomfortable. The second trimester is from weeks 13-28, if you are taking a "baby-moon" that'd probably be the most ideal time to go. 

6.)Airline Regulations

Every airline is different of course, but most won't let you fly after you are 36 weeks pregnant. Check with your airline before booking tickets to make sure everything will be okay. 

7.)Request An Aisle Seat

It shouldn't be shocking news that pregnant women pee a lot, that's sorta a well known fact. The aisle seat is definitely  a good idea if you'd like to avoid dirty looks or grouchy neighbors. My flight home from Florida I got a window seat and had to ask the man and his daughter to get up multiple times on the 4 hour flight. Luckily they were super sweet, but I should have requested an isle seat just out of courtesy. 

8.)Pay To Check Bags If Traveling Alone

It is suggested that pregnant women don't lift things over 25 lbs, which I know not everyone agrees with, but that's what "they" suggest. Jut to be safe I personally think it's best if you check your bag if you are pregnant and traveling alone. If I am traveling with Nick, I have him help with my bags, but when I traveled alone I checked it just so I wouldn't get exhausted walking through the airport with a bunch of luggage. I usually use a duffel bag when I travel, but during pregnancy I switched to using luggage with wheels just to make it easier through the airport and everywhere else. When I was traveling alone, I asked someone to help me grab the luggage off of the carousel, the man who helped was super nice and said his wife is pregnant too so he totally understood. 

9.) Wear Comfy Clothes & Shoes

This one is especially important in the third trimester, but comfy clothes during pregnancy is key. There is no way I was about to rock heels in my third trimester during my trips. This doesn't mean I only wore yoga pants and sweats, I would wear jeans, cute tops and tons of maxi dresses, but they were all comfortable. Make sure to pick extremely comfortable outfits and shoes for your flights and travel days. 

 

10.)Listen To Your Body

I honestly think this is the most important thing a pregnant woman could do while traveling. Listen to your body, if you are feeling tired- sleep. If you are feeling dizzy- sit down, drink water and eat a snack. I'd also say listen to your gut feelings. For example, when I was in Miami, Florida my friends rented a yacht and were going to be out on the water all day. Of course it sounded like a blast, but I didn't want to risk being in the sun all day and overheating. I also didn't want to be in a situation where I could get a bunch of bug bites, with the whole Zika Virus thing. So I decided to stay at the house, take a stroll to the beach, read a book and just take that day to relax. At the end of the day, the health of you and your baby is most important and no adventure is worth putting that at risk. 

 

Miami, Florida 32 Weeks Pregnant

Miami, Florida 32 Weeks Pregnant

I hope these pregnancy travel tips helped you. I can't wait till our son is here and I can share tips on traveling with a baby! That'll be a few trips away before I can write any post like that, haha I've got a lot of trial and error to do before I'll be a "travel with a baby pro", but someday. If you've got awesome tips for traveling during pregnancy, comment below, I'd love to know! Thanks for reading, make sure to subscribe and stay connected. 

 
 

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10 Instagram Accounts That Inspire Female Travelers

Instagram is one of my all time favorite social media platforms. I am such a visual person and I love the stories that can be told through images. I truly believe Instagram is one of the most inspirational places on social media. I go there for style/fashion inspiration, motivational quotes, blogging inspiration, home decor ideas, recipe ideas and of course my all time favorite thing to look at on Instagram is the travel photos. Taking creative travel photos has become such a huge part of our culture and the millennial generation. We all seem to love sharing our pics as we explore, travel and embark on new adventures. Well, at least I do. I love sharing my travels and adventures and I also love looking at everyone else's. Travel photos are beautiful, inspiring and give me bite from the travel bug. 

Of course, some Instagram accounts have more travel inspiration than others, and I truly think I follow some of the best! The Instagram accounts that I'm listing in this post are my all time favorite. I love scrolling through each of these IG feeds, following these women's travel journeys and getting inspired to travel more myself. I hope you enjoy the list of my favorite female travel Instagrammers, they genuinely are my favorite!


@theballoondiary 

This has got to be one of the most creative IG accounts that I've come across. This girl carries a pink balloon around with her and the balloon is in all of her shots. She is living in Paris, so a lot of her photos are taken there. Her pictures are stunning and have a romantic, girly vibe to them. The only bummer about this account is that she speaks French, so I am unable to read most of her captions. Regardless, her photos tell a story in themselves and her account is worth following whether or not you speak French. 


@theblondeabroad

I have watched this account go from medium/small to enormous! This girl's Instagram and her blog are one of my favorites. Kiersten, the girl behind The Blonde Abroad, is a full time travel blogger. She seems to travel a ton and I love following along on her adventures. Her photos are bright, colorful, girly, high quality and sprinkled with a bit of fashion/style inspiration too which I love. As I am writing this she is currently in Morocco, and now I just have to add it to my bucket list! Not only does her blog and IG account inspire me to travel more, but it also inspires me to stretch my creativity with my own blog. It inspires me to want to pursue blogging even harder, and push myself to be a more creative writer, photo taker and story teller. 


@passionpassport

This account is a collection of photos that are shared from other people on Instagram. If you use the hashtag #passionpassport, you can be featured on their account which has over 800k+ followers. Passion Passport is more of a community of travel Instagrammers. It's a great way to find new travel accounts to follow. They only pick the best of the best photos to share, so the feed is always perfect and beautiful to scroll through. It's basically travel inspiration overload!


@wearetravelgirls

We Are Travel Girls is similar to Passion Passport in the sense that it's an account that shares other IG accounts photos when they use a certain hashtag. The hashtag to be featured by this account is #wearetravelgirls. It's basically a fabulous group of women sharing their love for travel wthin this little community on Instagram. This is the ultimate account to follow if you are looking for female travel inspiration. All of the photos are of women traveling the world. They are inspiring photos that make me grateful for travel and grateful to be a woman. I definetely hope to one day be featured by their account. #GOALS


@darlingescapes

Once again, this is an account that features other accounts. Their hashtag is #darlingescapes. This account reminds me so much of the We Are Travel Girls account. It features photos of women traveling. All of the photos are bright, colorful, girly and full of life. I notice that I am drawn to accounts that are brightly colored, that's totally my favorite style of IG account, especially with travel photos. I like for the blue ocean to pop in the photo! You'll notice my account is fairly similar in that way. 

Chase the fun. || 📷via @choosingchia || 📍Bali || #darlingescapes

A post shared by #DarlingEscapes For Feature (@darlingescapes) on


@sheisnotlost

Another amazing community of female travelers. I can't get enough of accounts like this! 

🌎 @nomadicfare is Not Lost 🌎 in Page, Arizona #sheisnotlost

A post shared by @sheisnotlost on


@katie.one

This girl is quite the Instagrammer. Her photos are stunning and her adventures are inspiring to say the least. She definetely motivates me to get better at taking creative travel photos. Her account also includes amazing photos of food, drinks and outfit inspiration during her travels. 


@haileydevine

I not only love her Instagram account, but I follow her and her husband's YouTube channel and blog too. This account is one of my favorites because they travel as a family. Hailey and her husband Brad have two little girls and they take them with them all over the world. That is what I want for my own family, so it's super inspiring to see a family making it happen and continuing to travel after children. I love how they include their kids in just about everything and keep their lives fun and active even with two kiddos. It's so inspiring. 


@finduslost

Obviously I am married, so I don't do a lot of solo travel. My #1 favorite travel buddy is my husband. This Instagram account is of a couple traveling together, I connect with them a ton since my spouse and I share a passion for travel. Their photos are stunning, the girl has super cute style, and overall their account just makes life look perfect. Very inspiring. 

• windmill views from inside a windmill ※

A post shared by TRAVELERS • Selena + Jacob (@finduslost) on


@thetravelnova

This girl takes such stunning photos! They, like my other favorite accounts, have a very girly flair. She posts a lot of photos of her travels around Asia, Africa and Europe. Her account has a professional photographer vibe. She's super talented. 

Travelling with the little ones: it's not so bad trying to get the baby to sleep when you get to do it here.

A post shared by The Travel Nova | Thanh (@thetravelnova) on

Thanks for reading! I hope you found some travel inspiration and maybe some new IG accounts to obsess over. Make sure to subscribe below for more travel posts and inspiration. 

 
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