in Home & Lifestyle, Photography, Travel

Cafe Zola, Amsterdam

 Today I’m traveling back in time, to May, when I was in Amsterdam.


Salad with River lobsters, Mango, and Wasabi Seaweed Crunch, Cafe Zola

While exploring the city one day, my best friend and I had lunch at the cutest little off-the-beaten path restaurant, Cafe Zola. I had the pleasure of conducting a mini interview with the Owner, Raily Bernardina.

Zola, established in February 2008, is named after the French writer, Emile Zola. The name was chosen because the streets in the area of Zola are named after Dutch writers, so Raily decided to go outside the norm. Of the location, Raily says “ Zola is a place that you normally do not find in the neighborhood. The reason for the location was because West is an upcoming neighborhood, young and international people are living over there. Most of the customers are locals or expats, you will not find many tourists here.”

The corner restaurant boasts an outdoor seating area and an upstairs, while still remaining quite intimate. The seasonal menu changes every three months, but according to Raily, there are some items that remain.  While there, my BFF and I split the Salad with River lobsters, Mango and Wasabi Seaweed Crunch, and a few of the bar bites; fried little balls filled with a shrimp mixture and tiny golden fried cheese sticks filled with a creamy, local dutch cheese. We also had a La Chouffe and Duvel, both of which are really good beers that we were excited to see on the menu. The salad was my favorite, I’m seriously still thinking about that salad. For lunch, the restaurant wasn’t crowded but it wasn’t empty either, a good mix of room and people. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was good, and the waiter was super sweet.  If you want a break from the touristy areas, and want to experience local culture in Amsterdam, head to Cafe Zola.

Cafe Zola

Where: Kinkerstraat 87, 1053 DH Amsterdam

What: Salad with Riverlobsters, Mango, and Wasabi Seaweed Crunch. It’s light and delicious, the perfect marriage of sweet and spicy.

When: Fridays. The restaurant turns lounge with a DJ playing eclectic, old school and club tunes.

Why: The food is delicious, the atmosphere is laid back, and the restaurant is filled with cute locals. Why not?

in Home & Lifestyle, Photography, Travel

Cheese Pretzels at Kamps, Cologne, Germany

Is there anything better in life than eating a cheese pretzel and drinking a cappuccino while overlooking a gorgeous cathedral in Germany?  Okay, a lot of things, but not when you’re on vacation.

The last stop along the Rhine River while cruising aboard the Avalon Panorama was Cologne, Germany, home to the Kölner Dom, a world heritage site cathedral and Germany’s most visited landmark. After exploring the city on a guided tour, my best friend and I were pretty beat (it was quite early in the morning) and with the weather in Cologne alternating between dreary and cloudy and actual rain, we decided the best bet would be to go to a coffee shop. Overlooking the Kölner Dom, Kamps is the largest craft bakery chain in Germany. The cute little shop serves amazing cappuccinos, brie sandwiches with freshly baked bread topped with mutant sized sunflower seeds, and of course, cheese pretzels. While in Germany, I developed a crazy addiction to cheese pretzels. I was on a mission, like Harold and Kumar, except I was looking for the most amazing cheese pretzel of them all. Sadly, I never found the holy grail of cheese pretzels, but I did enjoy a rather delicious one at Kamps. Between the foamy cappuccino, cheesy pretzel and amazing view, I think this may have been one of the nicest mornings on the whole trip. We really felt like we were experiencing Cologne the way it was meant to be experienced; sipping a cappuccino, having good conversation and being surrounded by locals.

OPI Gel Manicure in “Cajun Shrimp” with a Skyler Man Horned Black Stake Ring

in Home & Lifestyle, Photography, Travel

Hamlet Snapshot: Cold Spring Harbor, New York

A few weeks ago, my parents and I started a new summer weekend tradition where we take a day trip somewhere close to NYC. Although I live in the same city as my parents, it’s still hard to see them very often, so this has become a fun way to both spend quality time with my parents and get away from the city. A couple weeks ago, we hopped in the car and ventured out to Long Island, hoping to go to the Vanderbilt Museum. Unfortunately, we arrived kind of late, and didn’t feel like rushing around before it closed. Instead, we decided to check out a cute little main street that we passed on the way. That main street turned out to be Cold Spring Harbor, a hamlet in Suffolk County. The tiny little place in the Town of Huntington boasts a Whaling Museum, quite a few antique shops and the best fish taco (as rated by Newsday). Although we didn’t try said fish taco, at The Gourmet Whaler, my mother and father shared a couple scoops of their Butter Pecan Ice Cream, which they both said was very good. The little candy/ice cream/seafood shop also advertised a lobster roll that I will definitely try next time I’m in the area. Although very tiny, Cold Spring Harbor is a pretty cute little place to check out when you don’t want to go too far, but want to feel like you have.


P.S Over Memorial Day weekend, I took a little trip to Jackson, New Jersey to review the recently opened Green Lantern coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure. If you would like to read about my coaster riding experience, head over to, a one stop shop for news, reviews and money-saving tips from theme parks around the world.