Human Design, Generators/Manifesting Generators & How it Applies to The Actor

Recently, I was introduced to Human Design. As someone who has always had an interest in philosophy, astrology, metaphysics and even the occult, I was shocked I hadn’t heard of it before.

I have numerous books on astrology and birthdays, numerology and I even possess a tarot deck. It’s not that I believe these things to be the answer to life- no- just, some kind of guiding tool to give us answers about ourselves or things happening around us; a system to provide sometimes painful truths that we may be otherwise opposed to learning about ourselves and our environment.

Since Human Design and its’ creator, Ra Uru Hu are not listed very descriptively online, I can summarize the system by stating simply that it is a personality analyzing theorem that aims to provide you with insights on how to better live your life, or more accurately, to be your ‘truest self’.

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MA FOR SCREEN Royal Central School for Speech and Drama Audition, San Francisco

Ramen Bowl at Wakaba Sushi & Noodle, San Francisco Airport

I know, the photo isn’t much. But- This may be the tastiest, most deliciously nourishing and emotionally fulfilling ramen bowl ever. I normally go a day without eating for important auditions. Mostly because I like the way I perform on an empty stomach, but also because the general hit-or-miss way food settles (or doesn’t settle, lol) in my tummy leaves too much room for worry. So, at 7:00pm at the San Francisco airport, after fasting with coconut water all day, finally, hot and spicy sustenance greets my empty belly.

There is a certain whole-ness after finishing an audition that you worked damn hard to prepare for. And then again, a part of you while not performing feels empty once again; nothing else to work towards, no other pending auditions on the horizon, just the waiting game. This is when the questions begin: did they like me? Did I mess anything up? Will they call me? Was I horrible? Am I crazy? And so on, and so forth.

Whether or not I am accepted into the school’s program, today was exceptional. And, despite what I had read or watched online, and as a result of that, what I had prepared for, it was an easy going and relaxing day. Nothing like what I expected!

So, without further ado: here is a little insight into the American auditions for the Royal Central School for Speech and Drama in London!

I arrived to the San Francisco airport around 11:00am, and there was a question and answer session hosted by CSSD starting at around noon at the audition location, 30 Grant Ave at the A.C.T Rehearsal Studios, so I wanted to head straight there. I took a Lyft; the driver, a Russian guy visiting San Francisco for the first time, and a rough-looking DJ with dreadlocks would be my companions for the following 30 minutes. We had both pleasant and strange conversation up until we arrived to my drop off point, where they all wished me luck and drove off.

The A.C.T. Studios were located in a central area and were easy to find. The studio itself was not in the greatest condition. The rented 8th floor of the office building seemed to be stuffed full of creative agencies, theatre groups, acting coaches and related industry folks- not one of which had any flair for decorating or cleanliness, but I digress.

I was checked in by Daniel at the front, who was sitting at a makeshift table surrounded by Royal Central pamphlets and bags. I was given the heads up about Daniel in advance, from my representative at admissions in London, Dominic Tulett. Daniel was very friendly, and informative. He checked me in and ushered me upstairs to a waiting room.

At first, I was surprised to see so few people. I had heard about auditions in London being for hundreds. But upon arriving upstairs, there were only several others waiting with me. Maybe ten in total. I was early, so I didn’t let the lack of people calm my nerves entirely.

The waiting room was pleasant enough, and full of great, warm San Francisco light so we all sat peacefully enjoying the sun and waiting for questions to begin.

Just when I was mellowing out, a swarm of young looking folks emerged from another room- and I remembered, there must be other programs auditioning today and not just the MA for Screen. I was right, as everyone settled in I overheard they were the BA Acting and BA musical theatre groups.

Now, someone had recommended to me previously that I ought to audition for multiple categories (I’ve been chatting with a sweet girl named Erin in New York about her CSSD experience, and this had been her advice), and I had thought about it. But, at the end of the day I am a screen actor. Television, films and commercials are what I’ve always done, and I didn’t want to misrepresent myself. I have dabbled in theatre, which I may dabble in again some day, but it is not my primary focus. If I had auditioned for the BA Acting and been accepted, I probably would have declined. So, I stuck with my original plan.

I was surprised to hear that shortly after the BA auditions were held, our attention was called and Daniel had a list of call backs. Some names were called, not many. Maybe ten out of 30-35 applicants. Everyone else could go home! That really got my nerves going, and I was reminded of the brutal Disneyland Princess auditions back in Los Angeles. A hundred girls in a room performing in front of each other and being cut and asked to leave immediately mid-audition. I had been prepared for this style of audition, mentally, just in case, but had hoped I was wrong in that preparation.

A short Q and A took place for people beginning to arrive for later auditions (it was about 12:30pm at this time and my audition was at 3:30pm). I listened in, several good questions were asked about life in London, housing, program schedules, etc. Though I had had a list of questions prepared, I found myself being silent and taking it all in.

Those that made the call back list would be staying to Audition until 1:45pm, so their group and new arrivals waiting for a later audition mixed together. In the mean time, some people ran next door to grab Starbucks or snacks, I walked around to practice my monologue.

To my shock-and delight, however- another Portland based actress arrived! I was completely surprised for some reason, although I don’t see why that is. I suppose I just didn’t think anyone else had this on their radar. But, it was great to see a familiar face and eased my nerves a bit.

I noticed that only one or two other people seemed to be going over their lines, which was definitely a surprise. At any audition normally, there’s a gaggle of individuals tucked into corners all throughout the facility interior and exterior, madly talking to themselves facing walls and so on and so forth. I was trying to decide if it was because everyone was so prepared, or they were too young to know how to use their time well (LOL). Hard to be sure. I can say for sure that no one seemed nervous, and that there was a general air of quiet comfort in the room that both puzzled me and made me feel relaxed.

It felt like waiting days, but when 3:30pm finally rolled around, it was time for my audition group. A sweet older British gentleman called us in to studio 9B, and I looked around and realized that there were maybe 12 of us in total! Far less than the BA group. We were told to circle up, and that the group warm up would begin. So, the other Portland actress and myself hustled into a circle ready to take our direction.

The warm up was interesting and nothing I had done in acting classes previously. We started by walking in circles at different speeds throughout the room, not making eye contact. We were then told to label our speed any number between 1-10, and that when he gave us a new speed to adjust accordingly. We went from casually moping about the room to buzzing across like jets. Next, anyone could yell out a number. And then we were supposed to greet only the person on our right side, and then we couldn’t even make eye contact on the left side, all while maintaining whatever speed was shouted out.

While we worked on those other elements- each of us were supposed to throw our arms back, make an “AHHHHH” noise and fall backwards, expecting to be caught.

I was first to do this, and it felt great. I threw my whole weight back not really knowing what to expect, and the entire room came to my rescue. This went on for maybe 15 minutes or so.

The next activity started as another circle, where we received a word, “bip” and carried the word along with an arm motion to our neighbor to the right. It all started easy enough, but other elements were soon added. To learn to trust our instincts, we were given a second word, “bop” and told to stay put. A choice had to be made within a beat, and we all tapped our feet for guidance. The “bip” would continue the circle, the “bop” would stop it and put it back in the other direction. We soon added several other words that had us all confused, rambling, shouting, laughing and jumping up and down.

By the end of the activity, 30 minutes had passed and we were all warm and loosened up. As I had read, I thought the next step would be to have us each audition our monologue of choice. I had expected this to be done in front of everyone, and was so excited to hear otherwise: we were to wait in the hall as they called each one of us into a room privately.

Because of the nature of film, I do think this is the better method. Although you do perform in front of a room of other actors and crew members, you don’t perform in front of masses as you would in a theatre preparation course.

So, we all sat down patiently and waited. It was about 4:00pm by this time, and we were given an order so we knew who was going directly ahead of us which also helped for mental preparation. Again, no one seemed nervous. I pulled out my lines and ran them over in my head several more times.

Once inside the room, I auditioned my monologue of choosing in front of two Royal Central faculty members while being taped. After reciting the monologue one time, I was given a specific direction and the opportunity to recite again- with direction normally opposite of how we originally performed. I always think of this as a chance to see how well a talent takes direction, and can go with the flow. On set, the director often bumps heads with actors who aren’t working with their ‘vision’ of how a scene is to be performed. Granted, most of the time it usually ends up that the actor gets a take that he or she likes, and the director gets the scene that he or she had in mind, and it comes down to the editors to pick their favorite option (unless the director is wildly opposed to having it any other way- which can also happen). So, I find this exercise especially pertinent to real world situations.

After the two monologues, the tape was turned off and a series of 8 questions were asked. They emphasize that this is your opportunity to share your strengths, communicate your goals and best represent your personality, so they encourage taking your time and providing thorough answers. Although I don’t recall the exact 8 questions, they were similar to the following:

1. What is your previous actor training?

2. What is your reason for wanting to go to Royal Central?

3. What films or performances have you watched recently and what was great about them?

4. Are you involved in film in any other capacity; such as producing, directing or editing?

5. Have you ever worked on a film set or worked as a professional actor?

6. Would you plan to stay in London after completion of the program or head right back to your home country?

7. Do you have any financial support such as family, student loans, FAFSA, etc?

8. Have you trained with any acting coaches, if so, who?

At the end of these questions, I was asked if there was anything else I wanted to add. I relished in the opportunity to express how serious I was about my training, how no other film program worked quite as well for me as Royal Central, and put a special emphasis on my plan for staying relevant in the film industry while living in London for a year as well as paying for the full program, my cost of living and related expenses.

I felt happy and relaxed at the end of my audition. Walking out of the room felt like a massive accomplishment in and of itself- and thus- is another reason why I would recommend it to anyone interested.

Auditioning does get easier. The more you know yourself and your drive to succeed intensifies, the more you accept that you walk into the room either prepared or not, and that ultimately who you are and who they perceive you to be cannot be altered. I chose to walk into the room prepared, but the other elements of that experience can not be changed. Whether they accept me, whether they like me, is all out of my hands.

So, of course the freedom of having a clear mind afterwards is the most enjoyable part.

Considering this was my first college acting program audition, I think it went well. It was a rewarding experience regardless of the outcome, and I hope anyone who is taking college level training seriously has the opportunity to audition for Central; it was truly a delightful experience.

Thanks for reading- and to all of you- good luck!

With Sincerity,

Tunes Travels: Amsterdam πŸ‡³πŸ‡± πŸ‡³πŸ‡± πŸ‡³πŸ‡± πŸ‡³πŸ‡±


We arrived in rainy, wintery Amsterdam late afternoon on Wednesday Dec. 6th. After a couple missteps on local transit- one train took us to Haarlem thanks to some bad direction from the local information booth director- we arrived to our adorable hotel- the amazing Max Brown! It’s beautifully decorated and the front staff are amazing. The common room and breakfast hall are Christmasy and warm, with libraries and a candy bar, and areas to lounge around. Our hotel room is kitschy and cute, complete with a basketball πŸ€ with hoop, bag of local candy already picked up for us 🍭 and top floor views of the museum district! I find myself glad that we chose this location, you can practically see the Rijsmuseum and the Diamond Museum from our window.

We immediately got some rest and didn’t wake again until 10pm, but we weren’t going to let that stop the adventure from beginning! Off we went! There are some late night eats near us, including a favorite we discovered in London, Wok to Walk: After which, we made some fun new friends at the local gelato shop πŸ˜‚ and Russell was invited behind the bar to scoop his own, which was hilarious and I thought I captured it all on video only to find that I grabbed 3 seconds and somehow quit filming. Ugh! πŸ™„ Oh well.

We got a good lay of the land on our walk, and headed home to try to sync up with the local time and go to bed.


Thursday Dec. 7th we woke around 7am and went straight out to breakfast bar for the buffet and found delicious breakfast items of all kinds of fruits and jams, cucumbers and tomatoes, Dutch cheeses, hard boiled eggs, breakfast cereals, probably about 7 different selections of breads including Christmas fruit cake, deli meats, a latte/mocha coffee machine and fresh squeezed orange and apricot juice. One of our favorite bread types of all time was even there, and it’s relatively hard to find- a dense, thinly sliced and fragrant pumpernickel. Needless to say, we enjoyed breakfast QUITE A BIT.

After breakfast, our goal was to get out into the Rijksmuseum, a top reason for our Amsterdam visit.

Amsterdam has incredible museums, and a huge Rembrandt and Van Gogh collection, naturally. I couldn’t wait to see it.

Here are some of my top selections from our visit. Highlights include the loveliest painting of Mary Magdalene by Carlo Crivelli, one of Van Gogh’s Self Portraits, a beautifully intricate doll house for a wealthy orphan girl and the stunning 1800’s library in tact with collectible historic books:

On the walk back, we grabbed some lunch at Wagamama’s (another spot we first discovered in London and love!) and headed home to nap. Here’s a couple shots of the city on our way home.


Friday, Dec. 8th. Russell and I are so excited to visit the Anne Frank house today! Waiting in line, hail begins to fall that later turns to snow.

When researching this trip, I was actually clueless as to the fact that Anne and her family had moved to Amsterdam in the 1940’s before settling into their infamous attic home for two years before being found out by the Nazis.

We weren’t allowed to take photographs once the tour began, but we snapped some while waiting in line when hail began to fall:

I was very surprised to see the livable space they created for themselves above the workshop Anne’s dad, Otto had managed below. We walked behind the hand-built bookcase, and up the steep staircase that was almost entirely vertical, to enter their quarters guided by an audio device. Her room was adorned wth photos of starlets and cute images from magazines that she had collected before the days of the Jewish persecution, which made her all the more relatable as a young teen girl like any other growing up in the world. I was surprised to learn that Anne had always wanted to be an author, and even wrote her diary with the intent to publish. The fact that she re-wrote several portions to better her writing and that she had such a vision for her future at that age was amazing. It’s astonishing to think that she accomplished all of her dreams, even though she died in 1945 and in such a horrific way.

We were able to snap this shot of the layout of the Anne Frank Home below right when entering the exhibit. Only the back two levels were in use by Anne, her family and the two other families it served. It was perfectly concealed for two years, with a fully functioning warehouse operating every day during normal business hours, during which Anne and her family had to speak in whispers and could barely move throughout the house. The plumbing line and water was directly connected to the lower levels, so to avoid being found out they could not run water, prepare food or use the restroom properly.

Afterwards, we continued on our walking tour towards Rembrandt’s house. I wasn’t previously that big of a fan of Rembrandt, but his mark on culture, his art and his gift of teaching students has left me very impressed and I now find myself very drawn to his works. His beautiful home encompasses these elements of his life, and was incredibly charming and kept furnished in the exact style he originally chose.

We stopped for coffee at a cute Cuban cafe near the canals and Amsterdam central. Christmas decorations light up the streets and soon snow begins to fall! I can’t wait for this Sunday when Christmas markets begin!

Next up- when in Rome, err Amsterdam- do indulge in their famous home beer- HEINEKEN! Somehow, it just tasted better here πŸ˜‰ 🍻

All of the restaurants, bars and shops are decorated beautifully for the holidays. It’s almost like they’ve all been done by a professional, and it’s absolutely stunning. Shops are small and each have winding staircases leading up to second floors, and sometimes even third, fourth and fifth floors.

And then, we are hit with a light drizzle of SNOWWWWWWW! ❄️ ⛄️


Saturday, December 9th was casual. We initially had decided to tour the Van Gogh museum, but got to the line and put two and two together… Saturday, the busiest day of the week for touristy activity, paired with the sleet, hail and cold outside had made the museum lines ridiculous. That’s ok though, as we have all week long to come back! So, we decided to play it by ear and do some antiquing in a cute little antique row.

I found the surprise of my life when we discovered a beautiful rare third edition copy of Charles Dickens’ book, ‘A Christmas Carol’, still well bound and in tact, with stunning glossy images and an autograph by poet Lionel Johnson from his personal collection! We couldn’t resist, and as a Christmas present to me, Russell bought it! 😍

I’ve been thinking of acquiring one of these since watching the latest film, ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’, which tells the story of Charles Dickens and his process in creating the story and how his characters came to life. But, upon learning of a $20,000 first edition for sale on EBay, I realized I would very likely never own my own copy.

I must say that I don’t think the antique shop owners knew quite what they had in their store-Just read about the potential value of this book, here:

Since our book is dated 1843, and is the third printing, it would have to have been done between December 19th (the date the book was initially printed at 6000 copies), and December 31st, right before the new year. As many as 7 editions were already printed by May of 1843.

I’m excited to have such a rare and historic item and I look forward to getting it appraised!

After finding the book, we proceeded to gush over it for the remainder of the afternoon and evening. We enjoyed coffees, a nice lunch and a nap to stay out of the chilly weather.

Tomorrow- Christmas markets begin!

πŸŽ„πŸŽ… ⛄️ ❄️ 🎁


Sunday greeted us with snowfall! Today, Russell wanted to go do a jiu jitsu open mat so we walked in the snow to Oud-West district to Amsterdam BJJ.

I stayed inside at a local coffee shop and read the Gentlewoman magazine while he was away.

I was very excited about the three Christmas markets today, but unfortunately after finally getting to one in Rembrandt Park through slushes of wet snow which was soaking through my non-waterproof shoes, the market was a disappointment with not much going on.

The park was stunning in the snow, however! Actually I’m realizing now that there was a huge lack in photos due mostly to the weather, unfortunately. I spent most of the day holding both hands tightly around my scarf protecting my face from the wind chill.

At this point I was tired and cranky and desperately needed to warm up, so we hopped on transit to head to China Town to visit a Thai restaurant called Bird, which had been recommended to us by one of Russell’s new Amsterdam/Jiu Jitsu friends; he said, after living in Thailand for several years, and coming to try this food, it was by far the best he’d ever heard! As huge Thai food lovers, we had to check it out.

No disappointment there!

It was in a very fun part of town just past the Red Light District and the food was some of the best I’d ever had- Thai or not!

All in all, it was a very low key day of exploring the city like a local! I hope the Christmas markets next weekend will be better and that we fit the time in to see them! ‘Til tomorrow!


Monday morning continued to drizzle a mix of snow and rain creating a precarious amount of ice on the road… but we made it to Frans Halsstraat where I was meeting a new friend in person that I met on one of the Amsterdam Creative forums on Facebook; Anastasia Andreeva, from Russia originally but a most recent expat out of New York, a hair and makeup artist currently attending school in Amsterdam at United Pop. We both love fragrance and travel 😊 She did my hair and makeup for a few photos.

Her and her boyfriends apartment had a beautiful balcony and rooftop terrace, and we spent the day with them just enjoying good music, chatting and having tea.

Here are a few shots of her home and balcony:

I’m glad we had stayed inside for most of the day. It continued to snow and snow and snow!

When everyone got hungry, we walked a short distance to a local Thai place and then had drinks together afterwards and talked well into the evening.

(Sorry for the blurry photo!)

Tomorrow, we are still hoping to enjoy the Van Gogh museum but want to play it by ear. The weather is clearing so getting around shouldn’t be much of an issue. Also, the Efeteling Theme Park keeps calling to me, but until I know I can enjoy it all day long successfully without weather or jet lag issues- we’ve been putting it off. The train ride there and back will take approximately 2.5 hours each way, so we need to be able to power through that AND the full day in the park as well. Hoping for Friday, which is expected to be warmer and partly sunny! For now, enjoying taking it day by day without hustling through the city like a tourist with a time limit! 😊


Amsterdam, a city under construction. You can see here the fascinating repairs being conducted on one of the canals! πŸ‘†πŸ»πŸ‘†πŸ»πŸ‘†πŸ»

These are the sights today as we cruise the city, and we finally made it to the Van Gogh museum as well!

Unfortunately, they didn’t allow photos inside (I took a couple anyway 😎), so I can’t share too much by way of images. I can say, I’ve always been drawn to Vincent Van Gogh, who despite having a deep appreciation of life, culture and people, was deeply troubled. He seemed like such a kind soul, a very feeling man. The closeness he shared with his brother Theo was aspirational to me, and they shared hundreds of letters back and forth throughout their lifetimes, essentially communicating all of their thoughts to each other. After Vincent took his own life by shooting him self in the chest, his brother Theo died only 6 months later. Very tragic.

Theo’s wife was owed most of the credit for making Vincent Van Gogh the artistic legend that he is today. If it weren’t for her drive to do expositions of her brother in laws work’s after he passed, he may have been simply forgotten…

The above image of ‘almond blossoms’ was drawn for Vincent’s nephew, and is one of my favorites!

Later, we enjoyed a beautiful farmers market with all kinds of colorful and beautiful foods, fruits and clothing.

And more shots of the incredible city and canals:


The past couple days have been spent casually; relaxing, sleeping in and being lazy. We discovered the best little jewelry shop in all of Amsterdam, with amazing vintage gems and an impressive collection of Rose Cut stones (I have a special appreciation for very well done rose cuts). I am crazy about this one:

The benefit and curse of a longer trip like this is that you undoubtedly get wiped out at some point. Fortunately, we had the time to take a mellow couple days- without feeling rushed- because I wanted to be extra rested and caught up with the time zone to properly enjoy EFTELING THEME PARK!

So, this is something I’ve been looking forward to since booking this trip. Before researching Amsterdam, I had never heard of this park- ‘Holland’s Disneyland’. After learning more, I was delighted to discover that Walt Disney himself was said to have been inspired to create Disneyland based on his visit to this park!

Be prepared for Efteling photo spam!

The trip to Efteling is rather long- one hour by train and another hour by bus- but the time flew by. We passed scrawling boggy landscapes reminiscent to me of a London countryside. Cows, horses and sheep hang around large green fields near cute village homes. 🏑

Much to see on the way to our destination!

I think going into this, I had pictured Efteling as a low budget wood-shrouded park with fairytale structures and some funky park characters roaming around. More carnival-like than anything. It doesn’t help that there is very little information about the park online, so when you try to do some research you cannot find much. I purposefully tried not to learn more than I had to, so that I would be surprised. If anything, I had no idea the park would be so charming. Although Disneyland has Efteling beat in the ambiance department, (I’m partial as someone who was born in the states and was raised with Disney), so many other elements of this park are entirely on parr with Disney to my complete surprise! Walking in, you can already hear the music pouring out of the speakers all around you- sparkling, magical- just like Disney. A massive entry point for tickets and entry cue signals the beginning of your adventure, and makes for a great photo op!

I was particularly struck by the little jester character, who like Mickey Mouse, becomes your little mascot and gets familiar with you throughout your time at the park. You’ll see him and his ‘bride’ around frequently, and in rides as well, and there is even an entry clock where he stands on top pointing you the way- much like the statue of Mickey and Walt holding hands in the center of Disneyland.

There is a general timeless vibe throughout. Something a little more classic and less trendy, as you traipse through the little cobblestone streets and happen upon giant open fires and stalls selling hot chocolate and hot wine.

The theme is less of the ‘what’s hot at the moment’ feeling that you get at Disneyland, who jumps on every new film and dedicates entirely new structures and characters frequently to adapt with their changing audience of the newest generation. The Efteling feels unchanged since the 50’s, and really transports you in time.

Shop windows move and display elaborate scenes, some full of candies and foods or miniature stories and themes.

The park is gigantic and much larger than Disneyland- with water and trees in every direction. You can see how large the Anderrijk land is behind me and across the water, which houses the Fata Morgana ride.

Fata Morgana might be the most Disney-ish of them all, featuring a canal boat ride through a forbidden city full of music and animatronic ‘peasants’, and is almost scene by scene a match to Pirates of the Caribbean!

There are all of the fairytale elements in the Fairytale Forest, with all of the characters you already know and love such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Pinocchio and Little Red Riding Hood; and then there are the Dutch additions that Americans are a little less familiar with such as The Little Red Shoes, Donkey Lift Your Tale, The Naughty Princess, The Wolf and the Seven Kids, The Six Servants and so many more. The winding walkways and displays of folklore seem to be endless.

One disappointment, which may have even added to the charm a bit, was that all of the rides were in Dutch. A bit of English was normally thrown in, but the bulk of the story was always told in Dutch and therefore we missed out on some it. Dutch is much easier to read and understand then it is to speak and pronounce so surprisingly, we could get the gist of most things fairly well.

Speaking trash bins encourage children to enjoy ‘cleaning up’ as they shout ‘PAPIR HEIR’; Once you plop the trash into their mouths they will say ‘thank you’, or ‘that’s delicious!’

The food was also some of the best I’ve ever had in a theme park… you can buy spirals of fresh cut potatoes boiled in oil to make chips on a stick, and then sprinkled with a topping of your choice- BBQ, cheese, salt or sweet and sour.

Speaking of sweet and sour- the Dutch have a taste for one particular thing that Russell and I found completely nauseating- a salted candy that’s normally paired with either mint or licorice and a candy shell. It tastes like salted dried bugs and is normally hidden- under a layer of candy shell, or as I found out the hard way, tucked into the center of a seemingly innocent lollipop. 🀒

Winter Efteling at night was truly magical, and the park decor was enough to warrant the cost of the visit alone (which, by the way was only Β£31.50 with our Holland passes!). Fog effects pumps out over the water, and twinkling lights illuminate in every direction. There is even an ice skating rink! We even discovered a peacock roaming the grounds, and of course cats, squirrels and other birds. All had feeding stations that were filled to the brim with yummy delights and seemed well taken care of.

The day ended with an incredible water show called Aquanura with lights, fire and of course spectacular Efteling music!

All in all, it was an unforgettable day full of magical nostalgia and splendor. I hope we are able to make the journey back to the Netherlands to visit again some time!


We are on the hunt for a new bag today. My vintage Samsonite finally buckled on me. Instead of finding a bag, however, Russell discovered a men’s vintage clothing shop and splurged on two new gorgeous jackets- one in brown and one in beige.

We have a couple tickets left in our Holland Pass (something we purchased before-hand that ends up saving you some money when visiting museums and attractions in Amsterdam), and decide to visit the famous canal-side house on Keizergracht 672, now the Museum Van Loon but originally the home of painter Ferdinand Bol (who studied under Rembrandt). It was a gorgeous home, with a selection of Bol’s paintings in an exhibit in the back.

Next up, and I’m so glad we decided to do this one, was an all-you-can-eat Dutch pancake canal cruise! With the lights lit up all around the city, delicious savory and sweet pancakes with all the toppings you could ever want, it was perfect. Plus, we later discovered, the business was owned by our server and we felt great supporting him.

Finally, no trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to the infamous Red Light District! There were fun bars placed strategically around nude entertainment halls, and girls for ‘sale’ lit up in the windows- which, surprisingly, was not as odd as you would think. We discovered all of the details about the life of a prostitute in the Museum of Prostitution, which was entirely engaging and super informative. Interestingly, if you ever see blue lights while walking around any sex district, just know that it means you are getting a transgender person. πŸ˜‰


We were very sad to leave Amsterdam, and were struck with a surprise at the airport: all flights in and out of Iceland were to be canceled due to a mechanics strike. What a shock, as we were provided with a sheet of paper from IcelandAir instructing us to hop on a shuttle to a new hotel for the evening. I must say, they made the whole thing very enjoyable by providing a luxury suite, three meals and shuttles anywhere we needed to go. We took advantage of one final day in our beloved city, toured the streets a last time and visited our favorite vintage shop (a 1970’s Coach bag πŸ’Ό and some Kashmir sweaters came home with us 😜).

We will always love Amsterdam during the holidays, and will remember it fondly dusted in white, powdery snow. My greatest hope is to return, and soon! β™₯️

Until next time….