Travel Wise: Grippy Socks

plane landing

When Adam and I were lucky enough to be upgraded to business class last year we received little Tumi travel bags. They were full of flight necessities like tissues, sanitary wipes, ear plugs and an eye mask. Inside, there were other little luxuries like hand cream, lip balm and these genius grippy socks that I’ve used for every flight since. Unfortunately, I left them on the plane when we returned from the US last month and I’m on the hunt for another pair.

The grippy socks were a revelation. My feet are always ice pops and they get especially cold during flights so it’s nice to have an extra-warm layer around my toes. The grips are important, though, so don’t overlook them. Thankfully, I’m very flexible so I often put my feet up on the back of the hand rest in front of me (careful not to let me toes or feet creep onto the actual hand rest). It’s like a seated fetal position and it helps me get sleep on the long-haul flights. The grips keep my feet from slipping and waking me up while I’m getting those critical hours of rest.

Here are a few options if you’re looking for something similar:

If you go to Bar Method classes then you may already have a pair or at least be familiar with these kinds of socks. Here’s another use for them!

I want to start a new series here where I share some of my favorite travel tips and products. We’ve done a lot of international flying, as well as domestic, and I’ve honed some of my traveling skills over the years. I know what I like in my carry-on and have a few tricks for getting around the airport. I feel like I’m still learning though so I’m open to all your suggestions and tips!

(image via goop)

Happy (early) Birthday!

IMG_2824Well, we’re nearing the end of my distrustfulness. Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago whether or not my birthday on Sunday is a milestone one, and I answered yes, though the truth is probably no. It’s my twenty-ninth.

I really liked being 28. I kinda thought it was the perfect age. When I was 11 I thought that 29 was old and I would be married with a dozen kids and teaching third grade. I’m very happy to be married and NOT teaching third grade, and Adam please don’t ask me to have a dozen kids. I can’t do it!

The point is, now that I am 29 I realize how young 29 really is. Being this age is fun! I still feel 23 most of the time (except when it comes to recovery time…) and I’m pretty happy about that. The thought of turning 30 makes me a little nervous mostly because I’ll now be identifying with an entirely new group of people and responsibilities. It’s also what makes me scared of becoming a mom: joining a new group of people who are intimidating and focusing on aspects of life that are so different from my daily experience. Women’s magazines don’t make this any easier, dividing clothing, make-up, and sometimes entire approaches to life into expectations for your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and so on.

But age is just a number, right? A state of mind. Still, inching toward the end of this decade, a decade of incredible life changes, growth, fun, and love, feels like a slow loss. Of youth, some innocence, endless trial-and-error, and a good dose of whimsy. I’m not suggesting that these suddenly disappear when the clock strikes midnight on your 30th birthday. Certainly not. I have friends who are in their mid- or late-thirties who still feel 28 (something to look forward to), and a lot of their attitudes haven’t changed. But their expectations, pressures, and concerns have. And I feel like I’m prematurely mourning the loss of the carefree nature of my twenties: the permission to be a little crazy and weird (and, if we’re honest, selfish) and have that sort of be okay with everyone. Because, hey, she’s only in her twenties.

I’ve got some good ideas for 29, though. I gather it will be a fun and exciting year. Or at least that’s my hopeful prediction. Thoughts are things, right?
IMG_0202Adam and I will be celebrating this weekend either way! We’re going to a fancy dinner tomorrow night at a lovely French restaurant we went to last year and I’m looking forward to the dim lighting and delicious food. Our friends Laura and Gabe arrive on Sunday and I can’t wait to pop some champagne and celebrate with them. They’ll be here for a few days and I’m excited to show them around Bern.

What are you up to this weekend? I hope you get to spend some time with friends—this is a popular Friendsgiving weekend—and family. They are the best people.

Our Weekend in Amsterdam



IMG_0733It’s hard for me to imagine a European city I love more than Amsterdam. It has incredible culture, remarkable architecture (oh, how those buildings lean!), friendly locals, and an increasingly diverse and delicious restaurant scene. Let us not forget about those bike lanes; I’m in love with them. I suppose the weather could be a bit more reliable but if that were the case we would literally all be living there and it wouldn’t be quite as comfortable.

We had a great, breezy weekend there full of strolling and eating. A lot of Europe has been experiencing an “Indian summer” so we were there at a great time. It rained a couple times, but we heard it was relatively warm compared to what it’s usually like, and walking along the canals was really lovely.







IMG_0745After Adam and I checked into our Airbnb we immediately set out for De 9 Straatjes–The 9 Streets–a great shopping and dining neighborhood. When we arrived at the southern edge of the area and took one look at the shopfronts and signage, Adam rightly declared that these nine streets have more cool in them than the entirety of Switzerland. It was fun to be surrounded by good design and more current styles.

We made our first stop at Café de Pels, a typical brown cafe. It’s a cozy spot perfect for fueling up before shopping. We had sausage, mature cheese and beers, but I can also recommend their bitterballen since we went back on Saturday and had them as an appetizer. HOW did I not know about bitterballen and where can I get a good recipe?!


IMG_0736We did lots of meandering and even picked up a couple of souvenirs. Phil’s flight landed in the evening and we met him for dinner at Wolvenstraat 23, an Asian place with funky decor and cool tunes.

The next day Phil had to work (whomp whomp) so Adam and I headed out toward the Jordaan neighborhood, which is where we stayed last time we were there. I’d highly recommend it as your destination because it’s so quaint and homey.








IMG_4717We stopped in Typique, a letterpress shop along Haarlemmerdijk, itself a great street for shopping and dining. We met René, the artist and craftsman and ended up coming home with a beautiful monotype of the Dutch seashore. It’s a special reminder of our trip and we both think art makes a great souvenir.

On the next block over we stopped for lunch at Restaurant Teun. I opted for a giant salad and mint tea to help offset the cheese, beer, fries, and other delicacies from the trip, but everything on their menu looks great. It’s also a hotel if you’re interested in staying in the area.

IMG_4725After walking, walking, walking, and a freak rain storm in the afternoon we met up with a couple of friends of mine from college at Café Pieper, another brown cafe that was just two blocks from where we were staying. It was established in 1665 and still retains all the charm of the 17th century. Great beer, low ceilings, wood everything, and a friendly bartender. It was perfect!

We then walked over to Café George for dinner before our CHVRCHES concert. It’s a New York-style French brasserie that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day from 11-11. We managed to squeeze in for dinner without a reservation, but I would recommend trying to reserve a table if you can. It was quite full when we got there and still bustling when we left for the show. Our concert was awesome, by the way. The band put on a great show and we had loads of fun dancing and being crazy. It was very sobering, however, to walk out and immediately find out about the tragedies in Paris. Indeed, I shudder thinking about how we had just been in a concert hall, where the same thing that happened at Bataclan could have happened to us. It’s yet another reminder not to take our liberties and freedoms for granted.





IMG_0786The next morning we had plans to visit the Rijksmuseum, but sleeping in came in first on the priority list so we went out for brunch instead at…Café George. I’m not kidding! We had just been there but it was so, so good and we are always looking for brunch spots since they are an anomaly here. We had fresh fruit, eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, and a croque madame, all very delicious.

We did finally manage to get over to the Rijksmuseum, which is just a tram stop or two away from where we had brunch. It’s a beautiful collection and we did the multimedia tour which helped make sense of it all. We spent about two hours there but I could easily see how might find yourself for an entire afternoon. Adam especially likes the Dutch masters so it was great to see so many of them together.


IMG_4748After a quick rest at the apartment we went to Brouwerij’t IJ, along with everyone else in the city. It was completely packed but it’s no surprise given their great selection of beer and snacks. It was pouring outside at this point so the outdoor seating was no longer an option, but I imagine it’s always this full during the early evening hours. Go for the beer and stay for the grillworst and mature cheese.

For dinner that evening we went to Restaurant de Struisvogel, which is in the basement of a shop in the 9 Streets neighborhood. It’s a teeny tiny place—only 34 seats—so reservations are essential. Everything here was so yummy and comforting, and I loved the ambiance. There’s something so cozy about a tiny bistro with wooden tables and chairs and dim lighting. How romantic for the three of us : )

Amsterdam, we love you! It is such a magical city and I’m always delighted to visit. One of these days we’ll finally go when it’s truly warm outside…

Have you been? What did you think of it? Next time I’d love to see the Van Gogh museum and actually make a visit to Keukenhof, the tulip fields.

P.S. Part 1 and Part 2 from our trip last year.

Tuesday Book Club: What I Know For Sure


Last year my mom gave my sisters and me a copy of Oprah’s book What I Know For Sure. It’s the perfect nightstand book. The book is divided into main categories like Joy, Power, Connection, and Resilience, and those in turn are divided into smaller sections—sometimes a paragraph, sometimes four pages—that were once columns in her magazine, O. You can easily pick up the book at night, turn to a page at random, and read a small, thoughtful chunk. I read it this way over the course of the fall and I just finished it this weekend, though I imagine I’ll continue to pick it up over the years.

I understand that Oprah isn’t always relatable. She’s one of the most wealthy people in the world and has a lot of extravagancies that go along with that type of lifestyle. It feels a bit counterproductive to talk about discovering a new level of humility while flying in your private plane to your secluded house on the beach in Hawaii. But I do believe she is coming from a place of immense gratitude and perspective so I choose to look past those minor contradictions.

Instead, I’ve dog-eared a few pages in her book that have resonated with me, especially in light of the heartbreaking events of this past weekend. This is exceptionally lovely:

“When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another…the only thing that will have lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us.”

I try to cultivate an atmosphere of love around me. Adam and I must say “I love you” twenty times a day, and I don’t think I’ve ever ended a conversation with my parents that didn’t end with the same sentiment. In fact, when we were in the US a few weeks ago, I was talking to my mom about how affectionate we are as a family. We always hug and kiss before leaving the house (even if it’s just a grocery run!) and give yet another hug and kiss when we’ve returned. We can’t be stopped! I show love in many ways, but none feels more comforting to me than physical affection. As I grow up and mature and change I hope I continue to foster relationships that imbue a sense of light and love.

Furthermore, tis the season for gratitude and thanks and I really like her thoughts on saying thank you:

“Being grateful all the time isn’t easy. But it’s when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you: perspective. Gratitude can transform any situation…It’s the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life…Here’s the gift of gratitude: In order to feel it, your ego has to take a backseat. What shows up in its place is greater compassion and understanding. Instead of being frustrated, you choose appreciation. And the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for.”

That last line is so brilliant. An open heart to gratitude and grace is so leveling, so humbling. I have so much to be thankful for and I try to acknowledge those feelings in a variety of ways: giving to others, appreciating what I have, showing love to my family and friends, and simply saying thanks.

Recognizing what we have and being grateful for even the smallest things (warm coffee in the morning, a particularly beautiful sunset) prepares us to thankful for more significant things (a place to sleep at night, a family in whatever form it takes for you). We can think of gratitude as a muscle: the more we use it, the stronger it gets, and the more likely it is to help hold us up when we’re feeling low or helpless.

I really enjoyed What I Know For Sure for its maxims and revelations, but I like how I’ve started to think about things that I know for sure about my own life. It feels like a way of living and understanding myself that is such a privilege. What are values that I hold sacred? How do I want to treat others? What matters most to me? Oprah’s book has been a good reminder to live an others-centered life.

How do you create a culture of love and gratitude in your own life? What books have helped shape or enhance your perspective?

(image by Natalie Norton for The House That Lars Built)

Off to Amsterdam!



IMG_2839What are you up to this weekend? Adam, Phil, and I are off to Amsterdam today! We really are the Three Musketeers, and I must say I do like traveling with these fellas. We’re celebrating our birthdays, all three of which are just around the corner. If you recall, we went to Paris two years ago and Strasbourg last year, so I am happy to continue the tradition of a weekend away to ring in our birthdays. We chose Amsterdam specifically because CHVRCHES is playing there tomorrow night and we’ve all been wanting to see them since their first album came out and this happens to be our best chance. I don’t know what kind of life this is where we can zip over to Amsterdam to see a concert, but I like it : )

Since we got back from the US last week we’ve had the best weather. Adam even had a chance to smoke ribs this past Sunday in 65-degree weather, full sunshine and everything. It’s been such a lovely change from a usually dreary November. Here’s to hoping it lasts a bit longer.

I hope you have a lovely weekend despite fewer daylight hours. It feels a bit jarring now to have the sun set around 5:00, but I secretly love how cozy it makes everything feel. (Remind me I said that in January, mmkay?) Until Monday here is a condensed version of this week’s internet:

A song for the weekend. We’ll be jamming to this tomorrow night!

Just in time for trips this holiday season: how to be a gracious overnight guest

This portrait session with a twist was a hot topic over coffee yesterday morning. Does it demonstrate true artistic expression, or does the experiment rely on stereotypical portraiture tropes?

I would love this wallpaper on the big blank wall in our guest room/office. A girl can dream…

Currently reading this novel and loving it

Thinking about trying this stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving (you know me and caramelized onions). We’re hosting friends this year!

What are your random turn ons? Mine are watching Adam read and catching his eye from across the room when we’re at a party. Swoon!

We watched the first episode of Master of None on Netflix this weekend and really liked it. Have you seen it? Here’s Aziz Ansari on acting, race and Hollywood.

“Freakiest atmospheric happenings”

This greeting card made me laugh

Birthday shoes. Thanks Adam!

“But to let the question of parenthood sit on the horizon, just waiting to shake up your life? To try to pretend you don’t care? To not think about it, to ‘be chill,’ to avoid the subject and focus on anything else and say that you’ll cross that bridge when you come to it, if you come to it? I felt the same pressure, too, to treat a huge thing like it’s nothing, and I am declaring it ridiculous.” Me too! Thoughts on being baby curious : )

Tuesday Book Club: Bring Up the Bodies

henry8walkerWhile we were in the US I finished Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel’s sequel to Wolf Hall. In her author’s notes, Mantel explains that these historical novels are not about Henry VIII or his scandalous marriages, but about Thomas Cromwell, his trusty advisor. According to historians, these novels contain a bit of reimagining on Mantel’s part, re: characters vs. their real-life counterparts, but they are entertaining and engaging nonetheless. In fact, Bring Up the Bodies, despite its violent and well-known end (beheadings for everyone! even Queen Anne!) was funny and surprisingly suspenseful.

I challenged myself to complete these two Man Booker Prize-winning books not because they are difficult reads, but because they are unlike what I normally pick up. I’m not big on dynastic dramas, though I’ve just started Downton Abbey on Netflix so perhaps my tastes are changing. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed these books, but that may be more to do with Mantel’s skill than the subject matter. I should probably read more of her oeuvre to settle that particular score.

For those not familiar with the royal family the above video nicely sums up 1,000 years of history along that incredibly complicated family tree. It is at times comical, with England and Scotland sharing a king at one point, and the astute observation that “not every child matters” when it comes to offspring and their contested legitimacy. It’s worth a watch simply to allow your mind to be boggled.

It makes me want to watch the Elizabeth movies since Bring Up the Bodies leaves off with a tiny Elizabeth in a precarious state of unknown. Will she eventually be queen? Since her mother was beheaded as a traitor, will she now be a bastard of the king’s? I’ve seen The Other Boleyn Girl which hugely dramatizes the events in Wolf Hall, and it was entertaining if not entirely accurate.

Have you read any of Mantel’s books? Are you a historical fiction fan? If so, what are you reading? I’d be interested in exploring this genre a bit further with the right read…