Friday, April 27, 2012

{4 Reasons I'm Really Excited for The Weekend}

Happy Friday everyone! I am very excited for this weekend for a multitude of reasons…

#1 We get Henry back today! If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know he’s been gone at a doggy training camp for three weeks. That’s a really long time to be without your child – errr, I mean dog  :)  – I can’t wait to be reunited with him!
#2 I’m getting my hair done tonight! This is kind of a silly reason to be excited for the weekend – but it’s been 4+ months and my hair is in desperate need of some TLC. It’s the first time I’ll be trying out a Dutch salon, but fellow expat bloggers Jeanelle and Ellen both approve of my new stylist – Walter – so I’m feeling pretty confident!
#3 It’s my birthday on Sunday! I’ll be celebrating my 26th on a very special (and wild!) holiday here in the Netherlands called Queen’s Night. We’re having some friends over for drinks before we head out on the town to celebrate both my birthday and the Queen’s birthday!
#4 It’s a three day weekend! Wahoo! Queen’s Day falls on a Monday this year so we get the day off work. Now, how anyone makes it into work on Tuesday I’m really not sure! On Queen’s Day, the day after Queen’s Night, all the Dutch people deck themselves out in orange and party all day long. I’ve heard it’s quite the ordeal and I’m excited to finally experience it for myself.
I’m looking forward to a fun and exciting weekend! What are you up to? I’d love to know!

I'm linking up with Ellen from Company of Clever today!

{Queen's Day photo by Merlijn Hoek, all other photos ©  Liz Denfeld}

Thursday, April 26, 2012

{Recent Reads: Part II}

If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the hunt for a good book. I’m constantly asking friends, family + coworkers for reading recommendations. As I mentioned in mylast “Recent Reads” post, with two hours of commuting a day I’ve been reading a ton more than I did when we lived in Portland. I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve read since my last post and also tell you about my new favorite site (nerd alert!) Goodreads. It’s an amazing site where you can rate books you’ve read, keep a list of what you want to read (and even put them in order!) and keep friends up-to-date on what book you’ve currently got your nose in :) I highly recommend the site!

So, here are a few books I’ve devoured recently:
The Guernsey Literary & PotatoPeel Pie Society: Longest, weirdest name for a book, right? While the title doesn’t scream “Read me!”, I couldn’t recommend this one enough. It’s unlike most novels in that the entirety of it is written as a series of letters. I didn’t think I would be into it, but I was pleasantly surprised that I actually loved the style of the book – it worked perfectly for the plot. It’s set in post World War II London & Guernsey (one of the Channel Islands, now of course on my travel list!). The story is a little complicated to explain, so hop on over to Amazon if you want a detailed plot description. I’ll just say that I highly recommend this read!

Lunch in Paris: This book really surprised me. It started out as an enchanting non-fiction story of romance and food set in Paris. It had my mouth watering, ready to pack my bags for a trip to Paris (luckily we already had one planned). As the book goes on it becomes much less a love story and much more about life as an American expat in France. I related so much to this book and found myself constantly nodding at all of the author’s observations, frustrations and experiences living abroad. A huge added bonus is the book is filled with recipes inspired by the author’s years in Paris – I have about 15 I’m planning on making! Definitely another great book to add to your list.

Heaven is Here: Do you all read the blog Nie Nie Dialogues? It’s a hugely popular blog I’m sure many of you know. I am not a die-hard reader, but like to keep up on posts every few weeks. Stephanie Nielsen (the blog’s author) and her husband survived a horrific plane crash in 2008 and this book is all about her life before the accident and how her family, friends and faith got her through the toughest times in her life as she struggled to recover after it (80% of her body was severely burned). It’s a heart-wrenching story, much of which I read with my mouth wide open in awe. I felt so inspired and grateful for life as I read each page. It was a great read and one that reminds you to cherish each day – each mundane task – a lesson always worth revisiting.

The Bungalow: I read this book a couple of months ago while winter was raging in Amsterdam and all the canals were frozen over. I had heard about the book because I follow the author, Sarah Jio, on Twitter and decided to read the synopsis. The second I saw it was set on the island of Bora Bora I decided to give it a try – I was dreaming of a book to help me escape the bitter chill outside! It’s a story set in 1942 about Anne Calloway and what happens when she leaves behind her brand new fiancĂ© to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the island of Bora-Bora. It’s a love story and a mystery. A super enjoyable read that will whisk you away to the South Pacific.

So, that’s it for now. I have four more to tell you about soon. If you want to keep up on what I’m reading – feel free to check out my Goodreads page!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

{What I'm Learning in My Twenties}

I'm over on one of my favorite blogs today, Fairy Tales are True, sharing some lessons I've learned in my 20s! 
Click on over there if you're interested in hearing what I have to say :)
{Photo taken by Corey in Uruguay - Winter 2009}

Monday, April 23, 2012

{Pinch Me, I'm in Paris!}

One of the biggest lessons I've learned about life abroad is that it is just that... It's still life.
Work is busy, your husband gets stressed juggling work, school & you, your house is a mess, you are too tired after a long day to figure out what to cook for dinner... 
On Friday night last week I was feeling so mentally, emotionally and physically drained from a long work week and from saying bye to my Mom, I was almost feeling sorry for myself that we had planned yet another weekend away. 
But then I realized we're going to Paris. And in the wise words of Audrey Hepburn: Paris is always a good idea.
So in my exhausted and disheveled state of mind, I packed a bag and got ready for a weekend jaunt to the city of lights.

The second we touched down I got giddy butterflies. Sure I had to wake up at 4:45 and I needed a cappuccino stat, but we were in PARIS! As we walked up the stairs of the Metro to street level, my eyes met the gorgeous quintessential Parisian architecture I hadn't realized I missed until right that second. I spent the weekend in awe of the charmed life we live. What amazing memories I am making with my husband. We will surely look back on this time in our lives and remember it as some of our best years and times together.

Here are some iPhone photos from our weekend. As for the "real" photos? Well, they'll have to get in line behind St. Andrews, more Edinburgh, Barcelona, Amsterdam with my Mama and the Keukenhof Garden :) Will I ever catch up? Stick around and watch me try!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!!
Have you all been to Versailles? Holy smokes. Absolutely breathtaking. Words and photos really can't do this place justice. You just have to go and see it for yourself - incredible!! We will definitely be back.

{Photos by Liz Denfeld}

Monday, April 16, 2012

{Bye, Mama}

Well, that’s it. My mom’s two-week trip has come to an end. I dropped her off at the airport this morning and it was really, really hard. Harder than I was expecting. I was holding back tears as I took the train into work. Then as soon as I walked into the office I couldn’t hold back anymore and a rush of tears and hopeless sighs came flooding out. It was more than a bit embarrassing, but what can I say? I just can’t believe that her long anticipated trip is over and I won’t see her again for four months. I think tonight I’m going to take a bubble bath and read my new book. Hope that will help cheer me up.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. It’s kind of ridiculous (and intimidating) how many photos I have to share with you from the last few weeks. I can’t wait to go through them all and get them up on the blog!  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{Back From Barcelona}

We spent the long Easter weekend (we got Friday + Monday off & I took Tuesday off, too!) in Barcelona with my Mama. We met up with Nicole every day, enjoyed disgusting amounts of tapas and sangria, soaked up the sunshine (albeit a little chilly at times) and saw some incredible sights. It was a trip I will never ever forget. Having so much one on one time with my Mom is so special and I am cherishing every moment. I am not rushing to upload photos and blog this week as I am trying to soak up her last few days in Amsterdam. She takes off Monday, so I hope you guys can hang tight until early next week when I'll be back with photos from Barcelona (and I still have some from Edinburgh and St. Andrews to blog - I'm so far behind!). Here are some iPhone photos in the meantime! Have a great rest of the week :)
 *last three photos by Nicole!

Friday, April 6, 2012

{Welcome Story of My Life Readers!}

Just thought I'd extend a warm welcome to any new lovelies hopping over from Jenni's amazing blog, Story of My Life. I thought I should give a proper introduction so you know what my little blog is all about! If you want to know more about us, check out my "About Me" page & the links for our wedding, engagement photos and proposal story on the right hand side of the page. 
And if you still want more, I'm kind of a social media addict, so you're in luck. You can find me on:

Thanks for stopping by!
{wedding photo by Jill Thomas, all other photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

{Enjoy the Ride}

Can you believe it’s already April? I feel like I’ve been wishing time away this entire year waiting for this month. My mom was coming, it’s my birthday month, we’re going to Barcelona and Paris (again!)… But now that it’s finally here I can hardly believe it. How have we already been in Amsterdam 8 months? Corey started his last term of the year this week – that’s crazy talk! Time is just flying by at rapid speeds. We have so many exciting things planned both in the near and distant future that I find myself constantly wishing time away. I’m always ready for the next exciting thing to happen – the next trip, the next visitor, the next big life milestone. It can be hard to be present in this moment and appreciate the here and now. So I guess this is just a little reminder to myself to slow down and enjoy the ride. After all, today is our only guarantee. We might as well savor it!
{Photo © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

{50 Tulips}

This weekend we spent nearly the entire two days cleaning our apartment top to bottom in preparation for my Mom’s arrival! When we were almost done I looked around and thought something was missing. Some fresh flowers! I decided I couldn’t think of a better way to make my mom feel welcome in our place than with fresh Holland tulips. Luckily we live ridiculously close to the famous floating flower market in Amsterdam, so we hopped on over and picked up 50 tulips for €12.50! The bunch was so huge we now have tulips scattered throughout every room in our apartment. It’s so lovely! I'd say that was money well spent.
{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Monday, April 2, 2012

{Sponsor Spotlight: Always a Blogsmaid, Never a Blogger}

While I'm out frolicking around Amsterdam with my Mama, I wanted to introduce you to one of my lovely sponsors, Cassie! Hope you all had a great weekend - I'll be back here tomorrow!
Hey y'all! I am Cassie from Always A Blogsmaid, Never A Blogger
I am so excited to be one of Liz's sponsors. 

I bet some of you are wondering what is the deal with my blog name.  
The name is a spin-off of Always A Bridesmaid, Never a Bride.  
Well, once you begin reading my blog you will see how my life is full of friends but no boyfriend. 
And I am okay with that for right now.

Liz asked me to basically write what my blog is all about. 
But here's the thing: my blog is random.
I never know what I am going to write about until I sit down in front of my 5 year old laptop.

So please come visit my blog and if I make you laugh once, 
make me 2 promises?  

1. Become my follower.

2. Leave a comment

I will be the happiest person ever.

Hope to hear from you soon.