Amsterdam City Guide

Amsterdam City Guide, What to do in Amsterdam, Where to eat Amsterdam, A Weekend in Amsterdam, affordable things to do in Amsterdam, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

 

Amsterdam has been, unexpectedly, one of my favorite European cities so far. The vibe of the city is exciting & lively. You feel like a part of something just by wandering around the streets.

Unlike cities like Paris or Stockholm, Amsterdam is about immersing yourself in the crowd and experiencing the city vibe. There aren’t a million must-see monuments or world-famous sights. Time in Amsterdam is spent walking through the streets, picnicking by the canal, drinking beers at the local pubs and just taking in the exciting city buzz.

 

Where to stay

Amsterdam can be expensive. So to cut our costs a bit, we decided to book an Air BNB outside the city in Breukelen. Little did we know that the train to get into Amsterdam city costs $15/person round trip. So $30 extra a day just to get to the city. If we had known the trains would be so expensive, we would have put that $30/day towards staying somewhere closer. Once you’re in Amsterdam, you can walk everywhere. I would definitely recommend eliminating the extra cost of transportation and staying in the heart of the city.

 

Amsterdam City Guide, What to do in Amsterdam, Where to eat Amsterdam, A Weekend in Amsterdam, affordable things to do in Amsterdam, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

Where to eat & drink

 

Chipsy King

Muntplein 5, 1017 CK Amsterdam, Netherlands

The streets of Amsterdam are filled with fry shops. We tried a few and Chipsy King was by far our favorite.

 

Coffee & Coconuts

Ceintuurbaan 282-284, 1072 GK Amsterdam, Netherlands

Go here for the beachy interior & the coconut coffee.

 

Hiding in Plain Sight

Rapenburg 18, 1011 TX Amsterdam, Netherlands

Go here for the speakeasy vibes. Also, the bartenders are great. Order the Zombie cocktail – it’s an experience in itself.

 

Pancakes Amsterdam

Berenstraat 38, 1016 GH Amsterdam, Netherlands

Go here for the pancakes (obviously). They are ginormous and come both sweet and savory.

De Hallen

Hannie Dankbaarpassage 47, 1053 RT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Go here for the coolest food court in Europe. So much good food and drink under one roof – you’ll want to try a little of everything.

 

Sweet Cup

Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 93HS, 1017 NH Amsterdam, Netherlands

Go here for a homegrown cup of coffee. Off the main road, it’s a quiet place for some mid-day rejuvenation.

 

Hoppe

Spui 18-20, 1012 XA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Go here when your feet are tired and you want to people watch with a cold beer. We came here almost every afternoon.

 

Canal Picnic

There are cheese shops on every corner. Hop into one, sample a few kinds of gouda and get a sandwich to-go to eat by the canal.

Amsterdam City Guide, What to do in Amsterdam, Where to eat Amsterdam, A Weekend in Amsterdam, affordable things to do in Amsterdam, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

What to do & see

 

Walk around

Just walking around is honestly the best way to experience Amsterdam. I know it seems aimless. But walking around is the best way to immerse yourself in the vibe of the city.

 

Pedal Boat Rentals

You’ll quickly learn that Amsterdam is a city of canals. Renting a pedal boat is an affordable, fun way to see the city from the water. WARNING: These are harder to maneuver than they look. But worth it for the memories.

 

De Pijp

De Pijp is one of Amsterdam’s trendy neighborhoods, full of yummy food and great people watching. Head to Coffee & Coconuts or the Albert Cuyp Market for a fun afternoon away from the tourists.

 

9 Straatjes

We walked through these streets on the daily. You’ll find cute shops & iconic food wound through the beautiful canal streets in the heart of Amsterdam.

 

Free Ferry

From the central station, you can take a free ferry ride over to the NDSM wharf to see the more industrial, artsy side of Amsterdam. Once there, the Noorderlicht Cafe is a fun place to grab a beer and party with the locals.

 

My best piece of advice for visiting Amsterdam is to not have an agenda. There’s nothing you’re going to “miss out on” by not having a plan. Just explore, eat, drink and take in the atmosphere.

xx,
Ariel

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5 Things I’ve learned from my first year running a business

Your first year running a business, what you need to know during your first year of running a business, creative business tips, how to run a creative business, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

Today marks The Blog Stop’s one-year anniversary! Time has FLOWN by. I remember this time last year, locking myself in my office for days, making sure everything was perfect for the big launch. I had no idea what the next year would unfold or where it would take my business. It was a year of learning, growing and laying a foundation down for even more business growth.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty about what I’ve learned from this year, I really wanted to reflect on some of the year’s highlights. As far as I have to go, and as much more as I have to learn, I think it’s really important to identify the successes. They are often what give me the extra push to keep going & try things outside my comfort zone for the sake of my business.

 

Your first year running a business, what you need to know during your first year of running a business, creative business tips, how to run a creative business, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

YEAR-ONE SUCCESSES

1. Launching the blog design template shop

2. Publishing 22 blog posts

3. Tripling business revenue from what it was last year

4. Launching a website rebrand & relaunch

5. Quitting my desk job to run The Blog Stop full time

6. Booking my first styled shoot

Now, without further ado, here are the top 5 things I’ve learned from the first year running a business.

 

1. Just do you.

Run your business however you want. There are so many people out there who think they know how to run a successful business. And they are probably right and have experienced success from their methods. But this is your business. If you don’t want to focus on email marketing, don’t. If you don’t want to sell a digital product, don’t. If you don’t want to create a course, don’t. I started thriving & experiencing the most success when I let go of trying every business tactic out there and just started creating something I loved. A lot of my time was wasted by trying to make someone else’s strategy work for me when I should have just been pouring all my energy into the parts of my business I love.

Your first year running a business, what you need to know during your first year of running a business, creative business tips, how to run a creative business, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

2. Push yourself.

This has been my theme for the year. And for me, pushing myself has primarily looked like creating my own content. Aside from client mood boards, every single thing I’ve published or put out there this year has been my own content. It’s been VERY time consuming and has stretched me both mentally and creatively. But I can see how much my work has improved in this last year. The biggest growth takes place when we force ourselves to try new things and exercise skills we’re uncomfortable with.

 

3. Identify where you are already successful.

For me, this meant reaching out to ProPhoto. I’ve been working with them on client projects for years but had never even thought about asking them to add me to their designer network and sell my work in their shop. Because I’d already developed such a good relationship with them, they were excited to bring me on board and working with them is now my #2 source of revenue!

Where are you already spending your time? Who are the people you’ve already built trust with? How can you turn those relationships into something that will push your business forward in a new way?

 

Your first year running a business, what you need to know during your first year of running a business, creative business tips, how to run a creative business, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

4. Simplify.

When I first started The Blog Stop, I had dreams of selling courses, doing custom design work, hosting webinars, having passive products in my shop, the list goes on! A few months in, I realized that it was pretty unclear to an outside viewer what I could do for them. There were WAY too many options. In general, people get overwhelmed by choices. And if you have too many choices, they’ll most likely pick none. Give your client 2-3 price tier options and keep it at that. It will be less work for you and your future clients will have an easier time saying yes to working with you.

5. Take breaks.

This is something I had major guilt about this year. I would work really hard on a launch or project, completely burn myself out and quit running my business for a month. But I realized that breaks are ok. As long as the basic day-to-day pieces are in place (my website works, I’m answering emails, etc.) I don’t need to constantly be launching something new or making my business bigger and better. Yes, there are definitely times to go balls to the walls and do something awesome. But it’s ok to take time to rest, recoup and be inspired for the next great thing.

I can’t wait to see what year #2 holds. This has been a year of laying a foundation and I have so many ideas for where to take The Blog Stop next. I’m grateful for the neverending support of my husband, family and friends (both IRL and online). Running a business has required the most work of anything I’ve done in my life. But I’ve enjoyed (almost) every second of it and wouldn’t have done it any other way.

xx,
Ariel

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NEW! Customizable Blog & Website Templates in the Shop

Customizable Blog & Website Templates, modern blog template, modern website template, blog design, web design, modern graphic design, the blog stop, ariel garcia

 

It has been a dream of mine to launch a blog design shop. Over the years, I’ve spent a good chunk of time searching for the perfect downloadable, DIY, customizable blog design template. One that had everything I needed and could be easily customized, without having to learn how to code or higher a developer.

I’ve found little to nothing that doesn’t look like a template or allows for easy customizations – little to nothing.

This brand new corner of The Blog Stop is dedicated to just that. To offer beautiful, modern and easily customizable blog design templates for the blogger who wants to stand out. For the blogger wanting to express their aesthetic & passions visually for their readers.

 

Customizable Blog & Website Templates, modern blog template, modern website template, blog design, web design, modern graphic design, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

SHOP THE TEMPLATE HERE


HOW IT WORKS

Each template in the shop is completely downloadable, meaning you can purchase the design of your choice for instant download and get started!

These templates work with ProPhoto. ProPhoto is a WordPress theme platform that gives you complete customization control with zero coding required. You can just drag and drop new elements into your design, change the layout & upload your own images and graphics. Be sure to read more about ProPhoto on our FAQ page here.

 


Customizable Blog & Website Templates, modern blog template, modern website template, blog design, web design, modern graphic design, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

SHOP THE TEMPLATE HERE


I’ll continue to design & add new templates to the shop regularly.

In addition, you can now book the Bombshell Blogger package which I’ll be chatting about more in the coming weeks.

Be sure to head over to the shop and check out all the new designs!

>> SHOP THE DESIGNS <<

 


Happy blogging!

xx,
Ariel

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The most Instagrammable day in Copenhagen

The most Instagrammable day in Copenhagen, Copenhagen guide, Copenhagen city guide, Copenhagen, Visit Copenhagen, Travel Guide, One day in Copenhagen, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

 

Oh Copenhagen. My time with you was short but you were so beautiful.

As Levi and I traveled from Stockholm to Amsterdam, we stopped for one day to see the city of Copenhagen. I’m well aware that one day is not nearly enough time to experience a city, but in our eyes, it was better than nothing. Becuase our time was short, I tried to plan the day to perfection.

And it was!

We saw so many sights, drank good coffee, ate yummy food & took SO many pictures. I had more pictures from our one day in Copenhagen than our entire month in Sweden!

If your time in Copenhagen is short, these are the activities I would recommend for the prettiest, most photo-worthy trip! Because, pics or it didn’t happen, amiright?

 

The most Instagrammable day in Copenhagen, Copenhagen guide, Copenhagen city guide, Copenhagen, Visit Copenhagen, Travel Guide, One day in Copenhagen, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

 

Botanical Garden

Gothersgade 128, 1123 København, Denmark

The Copenhagen Botanical Garden was at the top of my list! Those domed, glass greenhouse NEEDED to be photographed. Our admission also gave us access to the Butterfly room, which was a fun surprise experience. The Botanical Garden exceeded my expectations & I’m so glad I got to see it in our short time there. Absolutely breathtaking.

 

The most Instagrammable day in Copenhagen, Copenhagen guide, Copenhagen city guide, Copenhagen, Visit Copenhagen, Travel Guide, One day in Copenhagen, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

Torvehallerne Market

Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København, Denmark

Next stop – Torvehallerne Market! This is the perfect place to grab lunch & snap a few pics after sweating it out in the garden. The market is indoor (perfect for a sunny or raining day) and you can find rows of food, coffee & flower stalls all in one room. I chose steamed buns from Lele Street Kitchenhighly recommend.

 

The most Instagrammable day in Copenhagen, Copenhagen guide, Copenhagen city guide, Copenhagen, Visit Copenhagen, Travel Guide, One day in Copenhagen, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

The Round Tower (Rundetaarn)

Købmagergade 52A, 1150 København, Denmark

The Round Tower is an old Copenhagen church at the center of the city. You can walk up the spiral ramp to the top to get a 360 view of the city. Be sure to pop into the church at the bottom level before or after you go up!

 

The most Instagrammable day in Copenhagen, Copenhagen guide, Copenhagen city guide, Copenhagen, Visit Copenhagen, Travel Guide, One day in Copenhagen, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

Original Coffee

Østergade 52, 1100 København, Denmark
Located at the top of the Illum department store, head to Original Coffee for some rejuvenation and a beautiful view of the streets below.

 

The most Instagrammable day in Copenhagen, Copenhagen guide, Copenhagen city guide, Copenhagen, Visit Copenhagen, Travel Guide, One day in Copenhagen, The Blog Stop, Ariel Garcia

Nyhavn Street

Just a few minutes walk from Original Coffee, you’ll hit Copenhagen’s famous Nyhavn street. Here you can pose your heart out with the color rows of buildings along the canal.

A there you have it – the perfect, Instagrammable day in Copenhagen.

xx,
Ariel

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Stockholm City Guide

Stockholm City Guide, Stockholm, Visiting Stockholm, Places to see in Stockholm, where to eat in Stockholm, where to fika in Stockholm

Stockholm was the first stop on our year-long trip around the world. We chose Stockholm because I have family living there and we thought it would make a smooth first location as we transitioned into this new lifestyle. It is also one of Europe’s northernmost countries and we decided we could work our way south from there.

From the minute we arrived, I knew I was in love. The colors in Stockholm are BEAUTIFUL. I was in complete heaven, surrounded by all the pinks, reds & browns. If I could choose a country to represent my visual aesthetic, it would be Stockholm.

We stayed in Stockholm for one month and were able to see & do so much during our stay.

Stockholm City Guide, Stockholm, Visiting Stockholm, Places to see in Stockholm, where to eat in Stockholm, where to fika in Stockholm

 

WHAT TO SEE & DO

Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s Old Town. Here you will find the iconic old buildings and streets that you picture when you think of Stockholm. This was by far one of my favorite places to explore & spend time. There are many beautiful doorways for photo-opts, shops & cute outdoor cafes. You can also find the world’s narrowest ally way or hop on a ghost tour of the neighborhood.

 

Sodermalm

Sodermalm is Stockholm’s trendy, hipster neighborhood. Here you’ll find quirky local boutiques, second-hand stores & the best food in the city. The buildings in this area aren’t nearly as beautiful as Gamla Stan, but I found myself heading to Sodermalm anytime I wanted a good meal or an exceptional cup of coffee.

 

Strandvagen

If you’re looking for a beautiful Stockholm photo-opt, head to Strandvagen street! This street is right on the water and houses rows and rows of beautiful apartments and homes. It’s also right on the water and you can take a stroll along the dock. You’ll get a nice view of the Grona Lund Amusement park and can treat yourself to a glass of wine at one of the many outdoor restaurants that line the waterfront.

 

Subway Art

This was one of my favorite things to explore in Stockholm! Many of the Metro (or subway) stations have really cool artwork displays. If you hop on the red or blue line, you’ll be delighted by the colorful stations to explore. My favorites included T-Centralen, Kungstradgarden, Morby Centrum & Brunkebergstunneln.

Fotografiska

The Fotografiska was by far my favorite museum in Stockholm. It’s right on the water and before you even walk through the doors, you’ll a beautiful view of the city. The museum itself showcases seasonal, rotating photography exhibits from photographers around the world. Each exhibit is presented with unique lighting, projections & music to compliment each photographers collection. When you step into an exhibit, you will enjoy a complete sensory experience while browsing some of the best photography work in the world. A must see in my opinion!

 

Modern Art Museum

The Modern Art Museum is a fun stop if you have time! It’s free (always a bonus) & you can see quite a few famous pieces from Andy Warhol, Picasso & Matise to name a few. For the price, it is a fun way to spend an hour or so of your time. It’s located on one of Stockholm’s many islands which we walked to from Stockholm City train station. It is a fun area to explore before or after your museum visit!

 

Vasa Museum

This was another top Stockholm museum for me. The Vasa Museum houses the famous Vasa ship from the 17th century. It sunk right outside Stockholm city and was resurrected from the water 300 years later. The ship is in almost perfect condition and is the most well-preserved ship from its era in the whole world. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of the free 30-minute guided tour to hear the exciting story of how & why the ship sank!

 

Rosendal Tradgard

Rosendal Tradgard is the place to go for beautiful flowers, rows of greenhouses, the most scenic cup of coffee & bees making fresh honey.

Stockholm City Guide, Stockholm, Visiting Stockholm, Places to see in Stockholm, where to eat in Stockholm, where to fika in Stockholm

WHERE TO FIKA

[ Fika ] a traditional Swedish afternoon coffee break.

Fabrique

Fabrique is home to some of the best pastries in Stockholm. And who doesn’t love drinking coffee from a green Acme mug? There are several locations throughout the city and you’ll probably find yourself making daily drop-ins.

 

Drop

Located in the hip Sodermalm neighborhood, Drop did not disappoint! They roast their own beans and Drop was one of the few places I could find cold brew in Stockholm. The coffee was great & the interior reminded me of an LA coffee shop.

 

Vete-Katten

Vete-Katten is a great place to go for a traditional Swedish fika! You’ll find delicious coffee & pastries and the perfect environment to rest after a long day of site-seeing.

 

Cafe Pascal

I loved this place! Cafe Pascal had great coffee, AMAZING sandwiches & a lovely ambiance. This is also where I had the best cinnamon bun in Stockholm.

 

Fotografiska

If you’re heading to the Fotografiska, make sure to hit up the cafe upstairs before you leave! You’ll find huge windows lining the walls, giving you a perfect view of the water and city skyline. Oh, and good food & drink.

 


WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

Greasy Spoon

Located in Sodermalm, Greasy Spoon was my favorite Stockholm brunch spot! The food was amazing & filling. I had bacon, whiskey pancakes that had to be the thickest, most delicious pancakes I’ve ever eaten.

Urban Deli/Takpark

There are a few Urban Deli locations in Stockholm, but we visited the one in Sodermalm. You’ll find a fresh menu filled with seasonal options. We also ended up visiting their location in the city for their Takpark rooftop bar. This one had SUCH a chill vibe and was the perfect place to hang out with friends as the sun set.

Cavabaren

Cavabaren was a recommendation from one of my IG followers and I’m so glad I went! Levi and I chose this place for our anniversary & enjoyed a bottle of cava and Spanish tapas. There were so many delicious things on the menu and I wish I could have tried them all!

Tak

Tak is another rooftop bar located pretty close to Stockholm City station. We were in Sweden during the World Cup and went here to watch the Sweden vs. England game. It’s a little on the spendy side, but a fun splurge if you want to spend a posh evening in the city.

Skroten

Located on Djurgarden (home to many Stockholm museums), Skroten is a little lunch spot off the beaten path. If you’re in the area seeing the Vasa Museum, Skansen or Rosendal Tradgard, be sure to stop in for lunch or a fika. Go early! They ran out of some of the lunch specials by the time we arrived.

Bun Bun

Another Djurgarden fave! Bun Bun is a food truck parked right outside the Nordic Museum. Specializing in Banh Mi, you can grab a sandwich and enjoy it in one of Djurgarden’s many beautiful parks!

19 Glas

19 Glas is a Gamla Stan bar we stumbled upon our last night in Stockholm. It felt like a right-of-passage to sip a beer in the Old Town, but many bars in this area are crowded and feel touristy. If you’re looking for a quiet, local spot to sit outside with a Swedish brew, 19 Glas is your spot!

Kvarnen

Kvarnen is a fun place for a traditional Swedish meal! You can order items like reindeer & Swedish meatballs. I also loved the interior and it was a lovely embodiment of hearty Swedish cuisine.


 

I loved everything about Stockholm – the colors, the people, the architecture. Definitely hope to go back one day.

On to Copenhagen!

xx,
Ariel

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Sweden Inspired Desktop Downloads

Free ipad background, iphone background, desktop download, the blog stop, Ariel Garcia, Swedish design

During our time in Sweden, I’ve been so inspired by the traditional and modern designs around me. It feels like everywhere I look, I’m delighted by the artistic elements of this country. Many homes are decorated with beautiful patterns and wallpapers while shops and restaurants hold unique modern elements. I love it all!

I’ve created a handful of free downloadable desktop background for your tablet & phone. These were all inspired by the art & design I’ve experienced while here in Sweden.

Free ipad background, iphone background, desktop download, the blog stop, Ariel Garcia, Swedish design

Free ipad background, iphone background, desktop download, the blog stop, Ariel Garcia, Swedish design

Free ipad background, iphone background, desktop download, the blog stop, Ariel Garcia, Swedish design

Free ipad background, iphone background, desktop download, the blog stop, Ariel Garcia, Swedish design

DOWNLOAD IPAD BACKGROUND 1
DOWNLOAD IPHONE BACKGROUND 1
DOWNLOAD IPAD BACKGROUND 2
DOWNLOAD IPHONE BACKGROUND 2
DOWNLOAD IPAD BACKGROUND 3
DOWNLOAD IPHONE BACKGROUND 3
DOWNLOAD IPAD BACKGROUND 4
DOWNLOAD IPHONE BACKGROUND 4

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