The W Hotel Amsterdam

When I had an extra night in Amsterdam, I didn’t know exactly where to stay in downtown Amsterdam, but after some research I found one. The other night I stayed in The W Hotel in Amsterdam, and it was such a cool experience, I had to dedicate a whole post to it!

First off, let’s set the stage. I am primarily a business traveller. As such, I usually stay in generic hotels that have little creative license in their decorations and all look the same. With the exception of the lobby, a Westin is a Westin.

This was an entirely different experience.

The Lobby at The W Amsterdam

The Flower Boxes in The W Lobby in Amsterdam

When I walked into The W Hotel the other day, delirious from little sleep, and ready for a day of wandering one of my favorite international destinations, I was floored by the ridiculously trendy lobby. Adorned with coffee table books, interesting light fixtures, flowers in boxes and unique seating arrangements, it felt more like a hip club than a lobby. The huge centerpiece fireplace adds a cozy feel to the modern interior, and while the inside is spectacular, if you take a look beyond the windows and you have nearly 360 views of the most storied landmarks in Amsterdam – Nieuwe Kerk and The Royal Palace. It is an intimate view you can’t get many other places in the city.

The Fire Place in The W Lounge in Amsterdam

The View from the Patio of The W Lounge in Amsterdam

Panoramic of the Nieuwe Kerk and the Royal Palace from The W Amsterdam

After check in (and thank you to The W for accommodating me despite my reservation snafu) the room was just as cool as the lounge, and totally different than any other room I have stayed in before. The pictures speak for themselves, but my favorite features were the rain shower, the bed (heart eyes emoji) and the blackout shades. The shades were so powerful that I slept that night and my alarm went off 12 hours later, I had no idea it was daylight outside! I was so confused.

The Guest Room at The W Amsterdam

The Guest Room at The W Amsterdam

The Guest Room at The W Amsterdam
The Blackout Shades at The W Amsterdam

The hotel is still under construction as they are finishing a second tower across the street in an old bank. While not completely open yet, I ventured over to check out The Duchess, a tea room. It is absolutely stunning in there. I wanted to move in and curl up in a velvet chair with a tray of treats immediately. The stained glass window in the dining area of the restaurant made it so bright and inviting! And the gorgeous faux flowers looked so real I almost didn’t know the difference. I will definitely be back for a proper high tea, one of my absolute favorite indulgences!

The Tea Room at the Duchess
The Tea Room at The DuchessThe Tea Room at The Duchess
The Tea Room at the Duchess
The Flowers at the Duchess

While the hotel is great now, it is going to be a knockout when it is all finished!

This post is not sponsored (only supported by my vast collection of hotel points) and opinions are entirely my own. Thank you to The W for a great stay! I’ll be back.

Road Warrior Files No.7: Long Flight Essentials

Greetings from Amsterdam!

I have done more trans-Atlantic flights in the last six months than in the past six years, and while I hate being seated for 6+ hours, there are some ways to make these flights much more enjoyable. Below are some tips for making a long haul flight more enjoyable.

Essentials for a long flight

Noise Cancelling Headphones

I didn’t think these were necessary when I first got them, but now I cannot imagine a long flight without them. They drown out the loud hum of the plane and I sleep much better in them than I did before.

iPad

I usually download some good shows on the Amazon Prime or Xfinity TV apps. If you didn’t know, Amazon allows you to download specific shows to watch offline. You can download ~10 at a time and this is an awesome perk of Prime. I also download some crossword puzzles on the NYTimes Crossword App to work on in the air. Also, there have been a lot of great movies on Delta Studio recently, including The Big Short and Spotlight – and as I am trying to catch up on my Oscar Nominees, I have devoured those.

Eye Mask

These usually come free in Economy Comfort, but I would bring my own if I was seated in another area. While the planes lights dim at some point, these make zoning out what is going on around you much easier. These are pretty cute!

Water Bottle

While you cannot bring the water through security, I bring an empty water bottle because you never get enough water on the flights, and staying hydrated is so important on a long flight. I LOVE my Swell Bottle (I have the 25oz) because it keeps the water really cold for the duration of the flight. Also, when the flight attendants come around with water, always grab extra! I would rather be overhydrated and have to get up to pee, rather than be dehydrated when I land.

Chapstick

Airplanes are so dry, and my lips always get super chapped on flights. I always have a chapstick on hand for reapplying during the flight. This is one of my current favorites!

Socks

My feet always swell during a flight, and I don’t like wearing shoes if I can avoid it. I usually bring a pair of thick socks to wear after take off. Plus, if you’re wearing thick socks, your feet won’t get cold during the flight and you can move your toes around more. These are my favorite thick socks for winter and flights!

Cashmere Scarf

I always bring a big cashmere scarf on the plane with me to use a blanket or as a neck pillow. Either way, the scarf always comes in handy during the flight, and I would rather wrap myself in my own scarf than a plastic wrapped synthetic blanket.

What are your favorite flight essentials?

Happy Travels!

 

Friday Finds: Puppy Essentials

This week’s Friday Finds are some essentials I have found necessary for our puppy, Baker.

Friday Finds: Puppy Essentials

The consummate planner, once I knew the date we would pick Baker up, I ordered a million and one things on Amazon. If we are being honest, some were a waste of money, but some have been huge hits. Below are some of the items that Baker loves!

Kong Toys

We love so many of the Kong Brand toys. The Original Kong, the Kong Pet Stix, their Squeaky Balls, the Wubbas are all huge favorites in this house. Also their Cozies are adorable and Baker snuggles with his moose most nights. The Kong toys are all super durable, and even with his sharp little puppy teeth, we haven’t had any toys rip or tears!

Dog Puzzle Toys

Baker is a smart dog, and loves a challenge. Like most puppies, he can be a pain in the rump sometimes when he wants attention. We bought these dog treat hiding toys (here and here) as a means to keep him occupied while we are cooking or working on other things. He loves them, and has quickly figured out how to master them. I also got a bone to hide soft treats in to take in the crate. This has been a life saver when I feel guilty about leaving him.

Snuggle Puppy

Baker is obsessed with this guy. We got it with him from the breeder and it was in his crate when I picked him up. Snuggle Puppy has a beating heart and Baker sleeps with him every night. He also shakes him around and plays with him all the time. He always goes to get him out of his crate when he wants to play.

Polka Dog Bakery

Feeding Baker treats he likes and are good for him has been a priority for me, and the Polka Dog Bakery makes it pretty easy. They have tons of healthy and fresh dog treats, and Baker just loves going. His favorite are the chicken little and lucky duck sfizis and the wonder nuggets!

Easy Walk Harness

We took Baker to puppy kindergarten when we got him, and our trainer recommended this harness to help with his pulling on the leash. It hooks onto the leash in the front, and there has been a marked difference in how Baker is on a leash now.

Right Size Kennel

We got a small kennel with Baker when he got here, and as he grew out of it, he got more and more restless at night and would wake up multiple times. Once we got him a bigger crate, we were back to sleeping through the night. We have liked the hard sided kennels because don’t make a lot of noise when he moves at night.

Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are just a few of the items we love for Baker and he loves back. Do you have a puppy? What are your favorite toys or treats?!

Friday Finds

Skinny-Taste-Friday-FInds

all photos from skinnytaste.com

This weeks Friday Finds are focused on some awesome recipes from Skinny Taste. Now that I am home more, I try to plan the weeks meals on Sunday so that I can go to the grocery store and buy everything to prepare for the week. It has made my life less stressful – no more heading to the grocery store after work – and it is nice to have a few options to start the week.

I love Skinny Taste, the food is always healthy and always remarkably delicious. It isn’t hard to find a delicious recipe on the site, and the cookbook is packed with all of the rockstars. I love the cookbook, and based on everything I have made to this point, feel comfortable that I could pick anything and it would be phenomenal.

These finds are some of the stellar recipes I have made in the past few weeks that deserve gold stars.

Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa

– This is a STELLAR dish. Crock Pot Killer. 9 hours without doing a thing? Yah, that kind of good. The pork falls apart and is incredibly flavorful, and I love mango/avocado salsas! This recipe is foolproof.

Zucchini Lasagna

– I LOVE a good lasagna, and this one is full of cheesy goodness. I didn’t even miss the regular pasta noodles. Not one bit. If you are trying to eat healthy but want something cheesy to satisfy a craving, this is the mean for you.

Baked Chicken Parmesan

– This Chicken Parm has been better than most I have ever made. It is incredibly easy and tastes incredible. I served it with Zoodles, a new favorite in our house. Tim requests those more than regular noodles. I love how crispy it came out and the cheesy goodness on top was incredible.

Hope you enjoy these three recipes! Give them a try!

In case you missed it! Crane & Lion and 1 Year Engaged and Counting