How To Fall in Love with Amsterdam in 72 Hours

Bikes and Canals in Amsterdam
After 72 hours together, I can officially say I'm enamored with Amsterdam. This is how I fell in love with the Netherlands' capital, and how you will, too.

Oh, Amsterdam. You’re like that friend in college that was always asking me to hang out, but I was always busy for one reason or another. I had a feeling we’d get along; it was just that glitzier cities like Rome and Hong Kong were calling my name more loudly. When I finally came to visit you, however, I couldn’t believe we hadn’t been together sooner.

I fell in love with you, Amsterdam. Hard. Yes, you helped me to understand my Dutch heritage a bit better, but you also surprised me in the most unexpected ways. Your picture-perfect canals. Your relaxed, blue jeans attitude. Even your damn maddening bike lanes won me over in the end.

Though I was uncertain at first, after three days together, I can officially say I’m enamored. This is the true saga of how I fell in love with the capital of the Netherlands in 72 hours, and how you will, too.

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The Heineken Experience: Or, How I Found Beer Nirvana in Amsterdam

Love beer? If you're in Amsterdam, you've got to take the VIP Tour at the Heineken Experience. Dutch beer, cheese, and good cheer - what more could you ask for?

The moment my parents returned from their trip to Amsterdam last spring, they eagerly regaled us with tales of their Dutch adventures. Though they spoke about the usual suspects — the Anne Frank House! Museums galore! Rijsttafel! — I was shocked to learn what topped their list of Amsterdam favorites: the Heineken Experience.

As a beer aficionado with Dutch ancestors, I knew immediately that I needed to visit the Heineken Experience on my March 2017 trip to Amsterdam. Would it be touristy? Cheesy? I didn’t know, but I didn’t care; I was in.

It took zero effort to convince fellow travel blogger Ashley to visit the Heineken Experience with me (probably because we have some serious beer telepathy going on). Turns out we had the best ‘dam time of our lives there. Here’s why.

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Where to Drink in Sacramento Right Now

Sacramento, California's capital city, has a surprisingly robust bar scene. From craft beer to cocktails, here are my favorite watering holes in Sacramento.

I’ll be honest: when one of my best friends told me that she was moving to Sacramento, California’s capital city, I immediately thought, That’s too bad — you can say adios to great food and drinks!

As a California native, however, I should have known better. Sacramento has been called “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital,” and with good reason. The region’s 1.5 million acres of regional farmland and Mediterranean climate, among other things, make it an agricultural powerhouse.

I recently explored Sacramento as part of a visit to my friend’s new digs in February 2017. Though my main goal was to explore Lodi’s excellent wine country, I was caught off guard by how much I genuinely loved Sacramento’s bars and restaurants.

Some stops I made were intentional and others accidental, but they all shared one thing in common: the caliber of the drinks was top notch. Here are my favorite places to grab drinks in Sacramento.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: What I’ve Learned in One Year of Blogging

Nearly a year ago – on April 4, 2016 – I unveiled “It’s Five O’Clock Here,” my travel and drinks website, to the world. At the time, I had no idea what kind of impact it would have on my life, but I knew that I had to press that “Publish” button or else I’d never know if I could hack it at travel blogging.

What a difference a year makes. I’m currently en route to Boston as I type this, gearing up to visit Amsterdam and Belgium. I won’t be alone: Ashley, the hilarious travel blogger behind My Wanderlusty Life, will be throwing back a pint or two of beer with me. Still, it’s odd to think that a year ago, I had yet to meet her for the first time on a “blogger blind date” in Boston.

But that’s how travel blogging works. It keeps you on your toes, your fingers glued to a coffee mug in one hand and your camera or laptop in the other. You’re always on the hunt for that next topic or idea for a new post.

Despite this, the rewards will come. You will feel more creatively alive than you have in years. You will have complete autonomy of—and accountability for—your work product. Plus, you never know who will enter your life and when; I’ve been astounded by the number of incredible people I’ve met through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook before we met IRL.

As with everything, though, I’m not always looking through rose-colored glasses. There are days—though thankfully they are fewer now—when I struggle to get work done and toss my computer (OK, my notebook, actually; computers are @#$!ing expensive) at the wall.

So today, let’s pull back the curtain on travel blogging. I’m here to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly—or, what I’ve learned from one year of blogging.

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Why Lodi Needs to Be Your Next Wine Country Destination

Have you ever gone wine tasting in California? Check out the wineries in Lodi. They're the Zinfandel Capital of the World!

Spring is nearly upon us, which means it’s wine tasting season! Granted, you can actually go wine tasting year round, but now is generally the time I start daydreaming about driving around wine country and checking out vineyards with unbeatable views and delicious pinots. In previous years, I’ve toured Sonoma, Long Island, the Finger Lakes, and Paso Robles — but this year, I headed somewhere new: Lodi.

And you know what? After spending time there, I’ve seen the light. (Or at least the sunlight filtering through rows and rows of old vine zinfandel grapes.) I’ve become an official lifelong #LodiWine fan. In fact, if I wasn’t headed abroad soon, I’d be back in town for their ZinFest in mid-May.

But what wine does Lodi specialize in? And how the heck do you even get there? Patience, Vino Jedi. Here’s everything you need to know about why Lodi needs to be your next wine country destination.

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Where to Drink in Hawaii Right Now

Looking for the best places to drink in Hawaii? We've found spots serving cocktails, wine, and beer. One spot even overlooks a volcano!

Picture this: you’re sitting on the beach in Hawaii in your comfy lounge chair. You’ve got Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” in hand, your SPF 50 sunblock applied, and your sharpest Oakleys on. What’s missing from this picture? Why, a cold beverage, of course. You need to get a drink in Hawaii, stat!

Only problem is, where do you even start? The hotel bar is always a safe (and, let’s face it, usually lazy) option, but if you’re reading this post, you probably want something that’s a cut above a typical piña colada.

Not that I have anything against piña coladas… oh wait, I do. I’m allergic to pineapple, so that’s never happening. I’m pretty sad about that one. But I digress.

If you want to find a drink in Hawaii that will rock your world, read on to discover some of our favorites.

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Five O’Clock Fridays: Green Monk Fizz

Here's the secret recipe for the Green Monk Fizz cocktail from Garfunkel's in New York City!

In the “Five O’Clock Fridays” series, we’ll highlight a particular drink we’re loving right now. Depending on where we stumble upon this brilliant beverage, we’ll either provide a recipe to go along with it, or provide tasting notes and point you to where you can purchase it. Today’s edition: the Green Monk Fizz!

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Pretty in Pink (and Red): Delicious Valentine’s Day Drinks

In the mood for love or hanging out with your BFFs for Galentine's Day? Check out these pink and red drinks that are perfect for Valentine's Day!

I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s Day usually sends me into a tailspin of stress. I always want to find the perfect grand romantic gesture, something that would have Lloyd Dobler — John Cusack’s character in Say Anything — nodding in approval.

Of course, this mostly revolves around upping our food and drinks game, not holding up boom boxes playing Peter Gabriel songs (though Mr. Five O’Clock does think it’s romantic when I sing to him, which happens maybe once a month). Sick of buying champagne every year, then, I decided to mix things up and seek out some creative pink and red drinks for my valentine this February.

Whether you’re in the mood for love or hanging out with your BFFs for Galentine’s Day, we’ve got you covered in the Valentine’s Day drinks department. Read on to see our colorful roundup of cocktails, wine, and beer!

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Love Icewine? You’ve Got to Visit These Niagara Wineries

The Niagara region in Ontario, Canada is world-renowned for its premier icewine. Here are the top Niagara wineries you need to put on your itinerary!

Ahh, dear, sweet icewine. It’s one of those dessert drinks that leaves you feeling like you’ve tasted the nectar of the gods and are experiencing life fully for the first time.

I kid, I kid. (Well, somewhat.) Truth be told, though, icewine is pretty darn fantastic. The Niagara region in Ontario, Canada is world-renowned for its premier icewines, which is why we were so excited to fly out in January 2017 for the annual Niagara Icewine Festival. After a full weekend sampling icewines ranging from the traditional to the groundbreaking, here are the Niagara wineries you need to put on your itinerary for your next trip.

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The Perfect Brooklyn Cocktail Bar Crawl

We've created this nifty Brooklyn cocktail bar crawl itinerary for everyone out there who wants an amazing cocktail without the hassle of taxis and trains.

Manhattan, you’ve got some grade A competition when it comes to cocktail bars. Sure, you’ve got Dead Rabbit, Death & Co, and Raines Law Room. But sometimes, I just want to be able to walk for three minutes to get to my next bar instead of schlepping my stuff 20 minutes on the subway, you know? That’s why we’ve created this nifty Brooklyn cocktail bar crawl itinerary for everyone out there who wants an amazing cocktail without the hassle of taxis and trains.

It’s Five O’Clock Here: making your bar planning as easy and fun as possible. Oh man, that sounded way too cheesy.

Read on to discover where you should go next time you’re in Brooklyn, NYC’s coolest borough.

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