The Art of Changing Perspective

The Art of Changing Perspective

A week ago I was basking in an uncharacteristically sunny February day and took a last minute adventure out to Port Townsend for a few days because it’s one of my favorite places to spend time with my camera. Port Townsend is one of my happy places.  It’s a small town with lots of boats and water and in some ways reminds me of my visits to New England when I lived on the East Coast. Monday morning roared to life. I was full of energy, up at 5:00am and on a 6:00am ferry so I could get to town in time to catch a little of the golden hour. I basked in the sun, walked along the marina docks and found inspiration from reflections.




I love the way reflections make you look at things differently. How the water becomes a mirror, but with gentle movement that softens the harsh “lens” we we normally see things through. Hard angles become soft, flowing curves. Gentle to the eyes and soul.




Reflections are a good lesson in changing perspective.




If you turn slightly, take a few steps to the side, look closer, or step back things change. 




You see more of one thing or less of another. Colors change. Shapes alter.


You have control of what you see by moving and changing your perspective.


Just like I did in the images above.

It’s Monday again and today, well, it’s not sunny.  I didn’t start the day with a roar. I’m not out surrendering to my wanderlust. I’m staring at a computer monitor. I’m restless. I need to change my perspective it seems to find the inspiration that is before me.

How are you feeling today? Is it time to turn slightly, take a few steps to the side, look closer, or step back to find some inspiration?


Life, photography…sometimes it’s all about the art of changing perspective.


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Ushering In A New Year Amsterdam Style

After my very long day in Haarlem on the week spent ushering in a new year Amsterdam style (read about my adventures on the Day Trip To Haarlem post), Mr. Visserplein was my destination and the Portuguese Synagogue which opens for one night a year to the public with a bright and beautiful display of candles.  An hour wait in line was worth it for this spectacular scene.




Beautiful, serene, shiny, magical. Thank you Amsterdam!

Monday was a busy and active day so I decided Tuesday was a good day to take a little break, which I did at CT Coffee and Coconuts in De Pijp. Coffee and Coconuts is a very popular cafe in an old theatre. Three stories of seating at tables, sofas, cushions and a continuous line for a seat.

After I got mine, I relaxed without technology and had some comfort food in the form of hot cocoa and the Dutch version of avocado toast. This avo addict loves her avocado toasts from Ask For Janice in London and London Plane in Seattle._MG_7686




Now I have an avo love in Amsterdam. Perfect! World-wide addiction options.

Wednesday brought nice weather which I took FULL advantage of and did a little camera walk through neighborhoods in the East.




I got a little friendly with this blue and yellow beauty.




I love the diversity of the bridges over the canals!

New Years Eve day was spent quietly reflecting and doing a little shopping at one of favorite Dutch fashion spots, Laundry Industry…sans camera in honor of my SCREAMING shoulder who BEGGED me to give it a break for the day.  Peace be unto my body today!

And before you know it…it’s JANUARY 1st! And, what a January 1st it was! THE most beautiful light I could ever ask for kicked on 2016 as I welcomed the New Year Amsterdam style. I’m taking it as a message for a bright and creative year! Check out these light gifted reflections.










In addition to light and reflections, it was fun and funky to see all the “leftovers” from the party the night before. Amsterdam knows how to ring in the new year…I’m pretty sure my EARS are still ringing from all the fireworks explosions! New Years Amsterdam style!

This is what the streets looked like the next day (and still today)…

Love Letter To Amsterdam





That pretty much sums up every part of Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve: fireworks, streamers, popping corks, toasting the new year Amsterdam style. A party tradition!

Oh, and speaking of tradition, I got to partake in a SWEET one in the afternoon.


Oliebollen and Appelfrappen, the traditional Dutch New Year’s snack. Where I’m from we eat black-eyed peas. THIS is a better tradition! YUM!! New Year Amsterdam style!

And, to finish out the first day of 2016 on a musical, adorable, and colorful note, I happened upon this entertainer navigating canals and serenading all.


Watch a full serenade on my YouTube channel! It’s worth the click over! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Before I hang up my….shoes…


 for the day. My LAST indulgence of the week was Dutch apple pie at Winkel in the Noordermarkt.


I don’t even know how to describe this pie.  Part pie…part cake…all parts YUM! Stop by Winkel for pie!

Thanks for a great week 3, Amsterdam! I love you!!






Amsterdam Adventure Day Trip To Haarlem

It was a busy week closing up 2015 and ushering in new year Amsterdam style and it included an Amsterdam adventure day trip to Haarlem. For many of you it’s the first Monday of 2016 and you may be resuming a routine of school, office…post-holiday “normalcy”. Since returns to normalcy can sometimes be challenging, I hope this Haarlem virtual tour is a fun way to get your week started!

I’m choosing to start my first Monday the way I’d like to start many more: in a coffee shop in Amsterdam working on my travel blog. I know it seems like my days of full of play and frivolity as you read along with me on the blog, but it also takes a lot of work to get the photos ready and assemble in a post! It IS work, TRUST me on this!

Work I LOVE of course!

Last Monday morning (after staying up late working on my last full blog) I got up early and jumped the tram to Centraal Station and got a ticket on the Intercity train to a new destination. Haarlem, I was coming at you!


A beautiful welcome to Haarlem in this lovely stained glass adorned train station as I disembarked and prepared for a walk around journey. I was starving by the time I got to Haarlem so on my walk to Grote Markt I stopped at Chocolate Company for a quick bite. You saw my 3 Steps To Win My Heart blog last week, this was actually from my morning hot cocoa and croissant breakfast in Haarlem.


Starvation averted and chocolate happy buzz on high, I walked over to Grote Markt and the spectacular Cathedral of St Bavo and surrounding architectural jewels._MG_7209



A little annual Christmas ornament selfie tradition with the cathedral in the background…




St Bavo is amazing on the outside and I had no idea the magic it held inside, but I paid my €2.50 walked through the vault-like entrance and quickly discovered.


Here are a few of my favorite cathedral treasures.




This is one of the newer windows at the cathedral and it is absolutely beautiful. The blues are rich and the red glows like fire when the sun comes through. I was fascinated by it and bought the book of how it was designed and created at the gift shop. I just couldn’t resist!


Can we talk about THIS amazement.  WAY overhead this caught my eye. Beautiful, just beautiful!


And this organ!




I mean, it’s just an ordinary, ornate, spectacular organ right?

That MOZART played on.


In the energetic presence of greatness I was! #sigh

On the other end of this massive cathedral was a serene and colorful little chapel alcove that was stunning and inviting.



I paid my €.50 and as I always do when in Europe I lit a candle. It’s something I do for someone who left my life much too soon.  He’s had candles burn for him across Europe. This year, unfortunately, I lit a candle for someone new who left my life recently. It seemed like a perfect spot to remember him.



As I sat on the chapel bench looking into this beautiful, colorful tapestry. I felt such immense gratitude for the opportunity to be where I am and the joy I get from sharing it with you all. Part of me wanted to sit there forever, so nothing would change. But, that’s not how life works and if I made the decision to stop and avoid change, well, ne’er another adventure I would see.  So up we go!



And, onward we go. Thank you St Bavo for a truly inspirational and beautiful morning in your architectural perfection and spiritual light. YOU are a treasure!!

Back out to the streets of Haarlem for a little touring around, I walk along…yep…more canals!




And, more COLOR! I love walking the streets and exploring. You find really interesting things and some great wisdom!




I’ll get “lost” in the streets of Haarlem happy place and eat fries with curry sauce to that (sorry, no pie)!


OK…can I just say that all fries and curry sauce are not created equal. I was STARVING after all this walking around and I was so excited to see a “walk up window” for fries. LET DOWN! I threw most of them away. SADNESS! #FryFail

Wandering a few streets in fry sadness and continued starvation, I happened upon the adorable cafe, By Lima, and away went my sadness! Magically replaced by more words of wisdom, a baked egg dish and winter thee.



Yeeeees! YEEEEEEES! Time machine! Y E S ! ! ! 



I REALLY want to stop back into this cafe before I head back to the States.  It was such a happy place!

I had somewhere to be that evening back in Amsterdam, so at dusk I headed back to the train station as my day trip to Haarlem came to an end. Along the way I was greeted by these lovelies again. WHAT ARE THEY?


Less than 30 minutes later, I’m back at Amsterdam Centraal Station with a warm welcome.

Love Letter To Amsterdam

Haarlem! A wonderful day trip experience full of beautiful architecture, canals, reflections, and quaint restaurants and shops. I definitely recommend you jump a train for a day trip to Haarlem if you visit Amsterdam. It’s a quick and easy train ride!

Back later this week on the blog ushering in the New Year Amsterdam style. And, I hope to get back to #LoveLettersToAmsterdam this week!

Happy New Year!


Amsterdam in Color


Week 2 is in the books as they say and it was Amsterdam in Color! The weather was…well…kinda horrible.  Unseasonably warm but not without very grey skies and an abundance of wind! So much wind, in fact, it made it hard to take pictures this week! Camera blur from being blown over by wind is not attractive.

So here we go from a few cloud breaks, semi wind protected canals, and a lovely Christmas morning in the park being grateful for “wildlife.”

I had a few errands to run over near Museumplein so I had a little photo fun on one of our sunnier days.


Festive candles from Riviera Maison to bring a little Christmas cheer to the apartment


Buskers entertaining the crowds on the green


Shaping up with my camera

On Christmas eve I did a little shopping on De 9 Straatjes, enjoying the views along the canals, and after sunset caught some of the holiday lights at the flagship De Bijenkorf department store on Dam Square.





I love a good out of focus sparkle


That is some festive Amsterdam in color! I was quite excited to find that one of my most favorite places in Amsterdam the Beginjhof, and also location of the English Reformed Church, had a Christmas Eve service in English. Score for the non-Dutch speaker! It was quite magical to have Christmas Eve in this special location with the moon glowing brightly above us as we all waited anxiously to enter.



iPhone photos don’t do it justice! But, it was dark and very crowded and my mind wasn’t on taking the perfect photo. 🙂

Christmas Day! Quiet and relaxing with some morning sun that I took full advantage of and headed over to Oosterpark for some time with nature and some exercise.  I mean, I haven’t been moving much…have I?



The park is full of interesting birds and art. I loved these faces on the bridge I crossed to enter the park. The red and green made for fun Christmas Amsterdam in color. Once across the bridge I was immediately greeted by these true Christmas morning movers doing their Tai Chi. Inspiring! They weren’t moving very fast, but they seemed to be faster than me on this lazy morning.


Moving on to birds aplenty! This park is full of them!  I’m not a bird fan most days, but today was different. It felt like a beautiful stocking full of God’s creatures.



WHAT IS THIS??? Amazing!  Beautiful! Mysterious! I LOVE the colors and the dramatic eye shading.



Oh heron! How I love you!! I spent a very long time hanging out here and slowly getting closer and closer. All the while talking and promising I would not do any harm. I love the way the coloring turned out. The blues and browns and textures.  And, those feathers! DIVINE!  Thank you my friend!


Oosterpark has quite a few sculptures. I loved the way the arms were seemingly open to receive. I felt very similar on this Christmas day far from home, but yet not…


As I was leaving the park, one of the trees gave me “the eye”…yep….

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and I made some art with new pastels I bought at Van Beek art supply store in the Jordaan. I picked red, gold, white and turquoise and this is what happened.



If you turn if vertical it rather looks like a blue heron, no? Art! Amsterdam in Color!!

Boxing Day was another windy day here in Amsterdam. I ventured over to the Jordaan to see if I could get some good boat shots and canal house reflections. Both hard to do in windy weather. Reflections were impossible. Boats were a little easier.









You know how I love my boat abstracts! Color…shape…water…texture…What’s not to LOVE?? Amsterdam in color of boats.

After walking the canals and playing boat paparazzi I stopped for some hot chocolate. Enjoyed on the roof deck of a house boat.


You now…just another afternoon in Amsterdam.

Before the sun started to set, there were a few other fun sightings around the Jordaan.


Bike and Doodle wall


OK…hairless cats (multiple) in a window…and they have their own social media presence and live cat cam. I don’t follow them…I’m pretty sure he wanted to eat me alive…The stuff nightmares are made of! I’m sorry…but those EYES!  AAAAHHHH!!!!


I always love finding a hidden “alley”, especially when they are THIS colorful!


The iconic bike chain and lock never looked so pretty


This guy! LOVE!! Pretty sure he’s scared of the hairless cat too!


Oh Amsterdam, your canals win my heart

My first sunset color! Finally, Amsterdam in color at sunset!




And somewhere in there I made it to the Noordermrkt…




Helloooooo beautiful!!

OK…that’s it!  Week 2.  A little light, a little Amsterdam in color, a little creature feature. Time for me to shut down and get ready for Week 3! The forecast calls for sun and that means I’m DAYTRIPPING! Can’t wait to show you my destinations on next week’s blog!  Until then, we’ll have our #LoveLettersToAmsterdam fun!

Color on!


Week 1 and Amsterdam Kerstmarkt Fun

I’ve officially concluded Week 1! Amsterdam Kerstmarkt can definitely be the theme for the week as I set out to search and discover Christmas Markets throughout the city! Not exactly the holiday markets I envisioned when I think Europe holidays but there were some fun finds and inspiration (read glûhwein, pancakes, waffels, and other not so healthy treats).

Here’s a rundown of the week. Oh, and you might want to settle in with a warm cup of your favorite thee, hete chocolademelk, koffie or Glûhwein, I covered a LOT of ground this week!

Tuesday early morning arrival at Schiphol Airport decorated with a holiday glow! Welkom!!


The rest of the day was a blur…jetlag..Commence with a long winter’s nap! Snurken…

WEDNESDAY…I woke up in AMSTERDAM!…It wasn’t a dream! Exploring over to the De Pijp neighborhood for a favorite broodbakkerij snack and the market for fresh veggies to stock the refrigerator.


More jetlag…more blur…more Winter’s napping.  I think it doesn’t help that it is dark at 4:30 PM. Test my genetics…I’m SURE I’m part bear. Should I add “Hibernation” as a skill set on LinkedIn?

THURSDAY! Amsterdam Kerstmarkt fun begins! First stop, Rembrandtplein…as you might remember from my #LoveLettersToAmsterdam post.


A little exploring and THIS…


You know “THIS”, right? If not, you should follow my social media more! ABSTRACT COLOR!

As for Amsterdam Kerstmarkt options…well, Rembrandtplein had a lot of really SWEET treats and a warm and cozy Glûhwein chalet that was pleasing. Not the market for holiday gift buying.

FRIDAY was an explore and connect day.





COLOR! and BOATS (boten!!)! before off to lunch at De Plantage, a lovely restaurant next to the zoo. I must head back and take a photo inside to show you the design. BEAUTIFUL! For now, my lemon chicken, tzatziki and pepper tartine.


It. Was. Delicious! And, LARGE so it was breakfast on Saturday with a soft boiled egg.  YUM re-do!

Speaking of SATURDAY…

More exploring and Amsterdam Kerstmarkt fun, starting with Museumplein Ice Amsterdam.






Yes, yes I do!


I also drink Glûhwein much too early at Kerstmarkts. That’s all I took away from this market. VERY small and mostly food. The longest line was at the pulled pork BBQ stand. Uhm….I’m from Texas. I didn’t come to Europe for BBQ! More Glûhwein, please? My holiday shopping isn’t quite working out as planned.  Anyone want a photo for Christmas?

Moving on to a quick detour through Vondelpark where I saw my feathered spirit friends again.



So much love here I can’t even put it into words!

Heron magic…Before another kind of “magic”.

Just on the other side of Vondelpark in a beautiful residential neighborhood is a little secret.


See those white flags and the arch?  Well, if you go in (and can find the right door to enter…especially if you don’t read Dutch!) THIS is what you see!


WAIT! WHAT?!?! De Hollandsche Manege is an equestrian center and I arrived just in time to see the junior riders all lined up to finish their lesson. A beautifully ornate riding arena hidden right here in the city.


Whatever BBQ at the Holiday Markt…THIS is where magic happens.


Getting ready to ride…and dressing to match your horse.  I can get into this equestrian “matchy” chic!

Feet a bit tired after many days of exploring I headed upstairs to the cafe for a sit and a refreshment (don’t worry…I didn’t order more Glûhwein).


NOW I’m feeling some holiday spirit! Gorgeous! Warm! Glowing!  THAT’s my kind of Christmas scene. I popped out to the terrace and enjoyed the traditional Fresh Mint Thee (oh how I LOVE this stuff) while watching the informal equestrian show.






FUN!! Dear Santa…can I have a horse…

Still on an Amsterdam Kerstmarkt mission, I headed to De Hallen Local Goods Market.



This Markt was full of holiday hustle and bustle! Shoppers on the move and Christmas magic from some local musicians (and waffle vendor…keep walking, Melissa!).


My favorite Markt so far! Ask my credit card bill! I can’t tell you what I got yet because my sister is getting a GREAT gift from a local artist. SO excited!! Maybe the guy in the brown coat was as tired as me? Or was thinking about his credit card bill…

We should talk about the food hall at De Hallen…UHM….LOVE!


It was beyond crowded and noisy on this busy day so I didn’t last long, but I’ll be back and I’ll share some goodies with you soon! What do they call foodies in Dutch? According to Google Translate, a Bourgondiër. Well, doesn’t that sound much more sophisticated???

OK…I’m still going…I think Saturday was the longest day ever! Now I’m getting why I was a bit tired on Sunday!

Depart De Hallen for WesterGasfabriek and De NeighborFood Markt..where I didn’t buy or eat anything! Clearly I was tired…


I did pop into Amsterdam Flavours, a new store and food venue event space.  I has a lovely conversation with one of the partners in the space who is a furniture designer.  His mom is one of the chef’s. Beautiful! Inspiring! I want to move here so I can go to pop up dinners here, take food styling classes, food photography classes…ANYTHING!! You’ll have to visit the website for pics.  I was too busy chatting to shoot any. #FoodiesUnite #PassionateDreamers #FlavorFlirt

Still going, I had a 7:30p dinner reservation over near Amsterdam Centraal at &samhoud Places. The Holiday Lights around the station were a beautiful start to my first dinner out.





I’d read about &samhoud Places restaurant and wanted to try it. There are two concepts Places, a pricey Michelin star restaurant and Street Food the less expensive bar area. Given my current sabbatical, I went for Street Food.  *sigh*




Of course I chose the Lamb Stew.  DUH! Again, if you didn’t expect this…you clearly don’t follow me on social media! And, you SHOULD!


And, here’s the stew!  WHAT?  This is unlike any stew I ever had.  And it’s NOT in a bowl.  Let me break it down for you…

Lamb, hardboiled eggs thinly sliced, radishes, tomatoes, hummus, and tahini resting on a flaky crust and topped with mint. OK, so this might not have been the stew I was expecting but it had a nice mix of textures. I enjoyed it, but it needed a little something more. I needed and wanted more flavor after a long day on my feet. I loved the space and the restaurant staff were fantastic and ever so friendly! Thanks for an enjoyable evening Street Food!


I was barely upright on Sunday and spent my day in my sneakers with one last Amsterdam Kerstmarkt trip out to Noord. This required a ferry boat fit for people and bikes, which is always fun. It also required a €7 entry fee and special coins for food purchases.

I paid the entry fee, thankful all the other Markts were free, and came out with a lovely Christmas gift for someone I love, thank you Lemon Poppy!

Love Letter To Amsterdam

On the walk over to the Markt venue I took a few pictures of a cool old car that happened to be dressed in Holiday red and has a “Christmas Tree” on its front grill…




And, that is it!  Week 1 roundup of events and sights. In case you wondered, here’s a map of my path and destinations, most of it walking. Oh my feet!  Maybe Santa should bring me some new feet…or more comfortable shoes!  Santa…

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 10.05.27 AM

It’s Monday morning and I’ve been up since 4 AM thanks to very heavy rains and wind. I think today might call for a day of rest and my art journal and oil pastels. I think I deserve it, don’t you?

Stay tuned for more #LoveLetterToAmsterdam posts and Weekly Roundups. This week, if the weather cooperates, I have plans for Amsterdam Centrum holiday lights, the Light Festival on the canals and Christmas Eve services in a wonderful little church in a “hidden” park that I visit every time I’m in Amsterdam. I was delighted to learn they have an English Christmas Eve service!