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About me

Paris, Amsterdam and Finland (Where I’ll be this June)

Photo I took of the Eiffel Tower from a boat ride in the canal

I was three years old the last time I visited Finland (my parents homeland) so that doesn’t really count.

All my sisters have taken trips with my Mom since then, so I decided it was high timeI take a trip with her too!

This June, we are going to Amsterdam for another Tony Robbins event. Since we are going all the way there, it made sense to plan a trip nearby.

The last time I was in Paris was in 2016. Here’s a photo of me and Elizabeth Ambler one of my fabulous True Colour Experts who happened to be there too, travelling with her husband:

Elizabeth Ambler, True Colour Expert | Maria Killam

I can’t resist taking photos of flowers and adorable dogs!

Terreeia has never been to Paris, so that’s where we are going for 8 days before the course starts in Amsterdam (which is 5 days).

Amsterdam | Viator

Then we will spend 2 days in Amsterdam, what should we do?

It’s unfortunate that we’ll totally miss tulip season there (below)!


After that, I will meet my Mom in Finland for 2 1/2 weeks, I’m very excited!

Finland | Land of the Thousand lakes

My Mom was born in this house:

And here’s she is with her sister (below):

My Mom Hellen (left) her sister Seija (right)

My SOLD OUT Toronto Specify Colour with Confidence workshop starts Monday! There are still spaces left in all 4 of the remaining courses this season, Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston and New Jersey.

And did I mention it snowed here last night? I did not bring the right shoes for this cold Spring weather.

I would love any tips on places to see in Amsterdam!

Related posts:

Finnish Karjalan Piirakka from my Mom

What Trait do you Love About Yourself that Came from Your Mother

Sometimes I am My Mother



  • Nancy says:

    That’s awesome enjoy your time in Paris and also with your mom !!!

  • Cheryl says:

    The Anne Franke house is amazing. You can buy tickets online ahead of time to avoid the lines! Also, a canal ride tour gives a good view and history of the city. Rent bikes – even though bike riding with the million local bike riders seems daunting at first, we never saw any accidents, caught on quickly to the rhythm and routes, and bikers have the total right-of-way! One grocery store only took only credit cards, not cash. And a trolley to the Albert Cuyp Market was so fun – an open air market to stroll around.

  • Jeanne Gregory says:

    Maria, I’d recommend the Van Gogh museum and the Ann Frank House. And it is important to book tickets in advance. Have a great trip.

  • Renee says:

    You MUST see the tulips!!!! It is truly a flower-lover’s paradise.
    P.S. Can you blog about lamp shades? I’m serious! Color, size, shape, what to match. Please & thanks.

  • Jeanne Gregory says:
    We had a very memorable Indonesian dinner at Max Amsterdam.

  • Marta Self says:

    Sounds like a fantastic trip of beautiful sightseeing and precious family time. Have fun, Maria and Terreeia!!! If you have a chance, visit Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam. It is incredibly touching!

  • Linda Trammel says:

    Enjoyed these photos. I’m so glad that you still have your Mother and can do things with her. Our Mothers are not always with us as long as we want so I’m hoping you will take advantage of being with her every minute that you can. Enjoy your trip! I am a little jealous but maybe some day!

    • Looks like a fabulous trip. Adore that photo of your mom and aunt! Glad you are spending time with people you love. I agree with the above comment. All the time I spent with mom was precious and not long enough. Compounded with my sister’s frontotemporal degeneration affecting her language and communication, it shows how we should be thoughtful with how we spend our time.

  • Cathy (TCE alum) says:

    Hi Maria,
    Yes, total shame you will miss the tulips, it’s a bucket list must – next time. I thoroughly enjoyed a tour through Rembrandt’s house as well as an afternoon spent tooling around in Vondelpark, the city’s oldest and largest public garden. Recommend having an impromptu picnic lunch along a canal and make your way to the park for an afternoon to nap/stroll/bike ride (easy to rent) with an ice cream treat thrown in. We also rented an airbnb houseboat instead of a regular hotel because why not? Ha! You can stay in a “normal” hotel any old place, houseboats are the thing there so when in Rome…

  • Lisa says:

    In Amsterdam, u might be interested in seeing the world’s largest handbag museum. It’s in a historic canal house with many floors. It has a darling cafe overlooking a beautiful garden.
    If you want to tour Ann Frank’s house, be sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time online. Unlike many other historic sights, they do not sell tickets at the house on the day of the tour

  • Susan J says:

    So cool to check out your roots! Am currently working on building a family tree from not a lot of info…have ancestors from Bessarabia now part of the Ukraine (formerly from Germany) in the 1800’s so far. Very interesting to know where we come from. Sounds like it will be an awesome trip!

  • Amber says:

    Hi Maria and greetings from Australia. I enjoy reading your posts. I am also heading to France soon – my first trip since discovering the joys of interior design 18 months ago. Do you recommend any decorating shops in Paris that might be worth a visit?

    • Maria Killam says:

      I would go to the Flea Markets, that’s the best thing to do in Paris for home decor! Maria

  • Susan says:

    I love Amsterdam! If you can get tickets, it might be too late already, The Anne Frank House, is the most moving experience. The Van Gogh museum is amazing. Last time I was there the I Amsterdam Card included admission. It’s worth the purchase price just to skip the ticket lines. Also included on the card is the Rijksmuseum. There’s good shopping near the palace, and always something interesting going on in the palace square. Have fun!

  • Carrie TCE, Dallas ‘18 says:

    You should go to the Anne Frank House, the Rjks Museum, and Van Gogh Museum. Those to me are must sees for Amsterdam.

  • Rosanne says:

    Are you interested in family history? Since you’ll be in Finland, it would be so neat to do some family history research ahead of time, find out where your ancestors lived, married, and are buried, then go visit! Maybe you/your Mom already have some of this information? When my son traveled to the UK a couple of years ago, he did this, and got to see the ancestral home that is several centuries old. It was very meaningful for him, and gave him even more of an appreciation of who and where he came from. Good luck!

  • Elizabeth Ambler says:

    Don’t forget your passport when you go shopping in Paris!

    That was a fun time we had together.

  • Tpi says:

    I got excited there for a minute, thinking this meant that you would be running a workshop in Europe!!! Oh well… maybe another time. 🙂

    A place in Amsterdam I couldn’t recommend more (also because it’s small so easier to navigate your way through) is the Van Gogh museum. I was never a fan of his prints but his artwork up close is breathtaking. My tip is to book online in advance and that the weeknights are less crowded. The Anne Frank house is also worth a look (same tips about tickets and times). On a nice day the tourist boats that take you around the canals are also a good way to learn about the city.

  • JoAnn says:

    Tickets to Anne Frank house are limited, available only online, and sell out immediately. Buy them the second after noon they become available two months in advance of your wanted tour date or you won’t get one. Last summer I didn’t.

  • Margaret Haveman says:

    I missed the Anne Frank house, but was able to go to the Corrie Ten Boom house in Haarlem. The Ten Boom family hid Jews from the Nazi’s and have an incredible story to tell. You have to wait in line to have a tour which is by donation.

    • Lisa Simopoulos says:

      I was going to recommend that as well. The Hiding Place is one of my all time favorite stories about people completely and wholly loving other people- no matter what the cost. I so would love to go see it as well! on the bucket list for me :).

  • Karen Parcher says:

    I have always enjoyed your articles and I’ve learned so much from you! I wonder— do you screen out negative comments?
    I find your stories about your travels and other luxuries to be quite elitist. I cannot afford to spend over $2,000.00 on your classes, plus food, lodging and airfare. You also recently posted a few comments about your 7 figure salary- that would be something we all paid for. Are you trying to show that we can have the same success too? Maybe, but a lot of your readers are hard working mothers that don’t have the time or money to dump their careers and start decorating.
    It would be kind to keep your expensive vacations and other splurges to yourself. I for one would rather keep my money and pay for my own vacation, even though I doubt I’ll ever make it to Italy, France, or Finland!

  • Amy says:

    We spent a week in Amsterdam last summer visiting my stepson who is living there while getting his PHD in genetics. He loves living there, goes everywhere by bike, definitely recommend renting some bikes, although they are serious riders! Highly recommend the van Gogh and Rembrandt museums. Do a boat tour or even look into staying on a houseboat. As a design obsessed tourist I enjoyed just walking around and exploring the town, tons of charm. Really great food everywhere we ate. My kids liked Amsterdam more than Paris or Rome!

  • Lucy says:

    Yes Amsterdam is a beautiful place to visit! Be sure to see the windmills and do take a cruise around the canals to see the many houseboats that people actually live on. There are so many parks also to visit.. You will love it! We sure did! The architecture and history is something to read about in your spare time! What a great trip for you!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    So you’ll be celebrating your birthday there? How exciting! I can’t wait to see your IG pictures.

  • Jeanne Gregory says:

    I really enjoy reading about your travel plans (packing and carry-on luggage tips!) and seeing pictures of the awesome places you’ve visited on your work and personal vacations. After following your blog for years, I know I’m not alone in feeing ike you are a friend. Thank you for sharing your adventures!

  • Marta says:

    From someone born and raised in the Netherlands: 1) The Rijksmuseum 2) Van Gogh museum 3) Rembrandt House 4) Canal Tour 5) Portuguese Synagoge 6) Hortus Botanicus (Botanical Gardens) and yes, 7) you can go to the Anne Frank House because of the history but there’s so much more to Amsterdam then the Anne Frank House.
    For shopping: go to Dam square area and also ‘the 9 streets’ (negen straatjes). Definitely rent a bike.
    O, and don’t mistake the bike lanes for sidewalks. You’ll get some angry looks. Ask my American husband how he knows.

  • Nan Parker says:

    Maria, I’m so happy to hear of your travel plans to Paris, Amsterdam and Finland! Reading through the recommendations from previous comments sounds like you’ve gotten super advice. I’ll follow along on IG~can’t wait. ? Nan

  • nirma says:

    Hi Maria-What a fun trip! We were there last June. It was a bit chilly and rainy.
    The tickets to Anne Frank House open up 2 months ahead so do check and buy them as they sell out quickly. The church next door, Westerkerk is a worthwhile place to visit. Anne Frank would have heard the daily bells from her attic hideout. It is ruggedly beautiful and has a sweet gift shop. There is also a climb to the top but we did not make that.
    The Rijksmuseum is a must and if you son’t have time to go thru the entire thing, they have a wing called Dutch Masters so they make it easy to see some of the very important works. Piet Mondrian is not exhibited there so you have to go look for him. If you don’t have time to go to the Van Gogh Museum, he is exhibited here as well.
    A GREAT Italian restaurant with the freshest ingredients-make reservations when you get to Amsterdam- is Ciro,Passami L’Olio. Address- Tweede Helmersstraat 3. Not too far from the Rijksmuseum. Try to sit outside and people watch.
    Enjoy! Amsterdam has some of the kindest, most helpful people we have met in Europe!

  • Theresa Ullerich says:

    I recommend the Anne Frank house and the Rijkuseum. Highlights of my trip a few years ago.

  • Annette says:

    I’ve been to Amsterdam and can honestly recommend visiting the Anne Frank House (historical). Get your tickets on-line a day or so in advance to avoid a long and outrageous line. We also very much enjoyed visiting the Van Gogh Museum, and the Rijksmuseum for the Dutch Masters’ works. If you have time, it is nice to take a boat ride on the canal. Be very careful walking around since the bicycles have the right of way and will mow you down if you are in their way!!! Bells warn you constantly.

  • Candice Hill says:

    Hi, Maria and Terreeia(and Hellen)…Have a wonderful time on your trip!!! It sounds really great!!!! Love, Candy ?

  • Johanna says:

    Have a fun trip to Europe! I’m from Finland and was super surprised to see you’re coming over 🙂 hope you get good weather! If it matches your schedule, you should check out the Asuntomessut in Finland. (Every year a new suburb is raised in some Finnish town, and for a month everyone can come and look at the houses, interiors, yards and everything.) Tervetuloa Suomeen ja mukavaa vierailua! Tykkään blogistasi, olisi kiva lukea ajatuksiasi suomalaisesta sisustuksesta myös!

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