Wanderlust Wednesday – 3/30

wanderlust wednesday: do it
Cape Town, SA – 2014

Today I’m pulling a short excerpt from Outside Magazine’s 10 Ways to Raise Brave Girls article today, based on Caroline Paul’s new book, ‘The Gutsy Girl.’ Even though it’s about raising your children to be brave, I think it’s pretty fitting for our every day lives as well!

Break It Down

If your girl has a goal that intimidates her—like climbing a tree when she’s scared of heights—show her how to break it down into smaller steps. “A lot of girls are focused on perfection,” says Paul. “It’s that all or nothing thing. But you don’t have to be perfect.” If you get to the top of a steep hill on your bikes and your daughter balks, stop for a moment to ask her, “What do you think we should do about this?” Break it down into shorter, more approachable chunks and pretty soon she’ll be flying down the hill from top to bottom in one go. “Feeling scared is good,” says Paul. “After all, the bravest person is the one who feels afraid and does it anyway.”


Just Another Monday

It’s an awfully gloomy, cold Monday, especially compared to the the beautiful Easter Sunday we had yesterday – getting out of bed was hardddd today. Joe and I have been trying to pick something to do for our 1 year anniversary, and of course we don’t do anything half-way – so it’s a long, complicated process trying to figure out where we can go for a long weekend and get the best bang for our buck. I’m sure we’ll figure something out eventually!

  1. The Easter Bunny brought some yummy sweets from across the pond this year. It’s probably a complete coincidence that my parents just so happened to have layovers in European airports the week before Easter 🙂
  2. We decided to leave our door open a smidge for Barb to come into our room last night, to Joe’s chagrin. (Sort of. If he really didn’t want a cat in our room, the door wouldn’t have stayed open.) She did come in, and was actually pretty well behaved! Lots of meowing, but that seems to always happen when we return from a weekend away. Then I ruined all of the proud cat mom feelings by turning the shower on while holding Barb. 3 giant cat scratches on my neck later, I know not to do that again. Merp.
  3. The Detroit News featured my church on Easter Sunday – very cool to see those photos floating around the internet!
  4. I went to the mall on Saturday with a mission to get a pair of long, plain black  (work-appropriate) leggings, and a pair of Madewell jeans (movin’ on up in the world and slowly replacing my Hollister jean collection now that I have a bit of a butt. Hah.) — and I was very successful! I ended up with Zella leggings from Nordstrom (two thumbs up. They’re reversible with black on both sides…which I thought was weird until I spilled something on the leg the night I got them,) a pair of jeans from Madewell, and a silk top (also from Madewell) that thanks to sales and a $25 gift card I earned, ended up basically being free!
  5. I’ve started (slowly) getting social media up and running for the vodka company I’ve been freelancing for since August. You should follow their insta/facebook – it would be much appreciated! It’s fun but also super intimidating having full control over how the brand is perceived. Luckily I have a bunch of ideas floating around in this crazy brain of mine, but still – success or failure is basically all riding on me, eek!

Hopefully everyone had a great Easter weekend!


Product Rave: Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens

Alright, so full disclosure – these Papermate Inkjoy Gel pens would have never been on my radar had I not been given one at work (the company I work for owns Papermate.) That said, as someone who loves to write everything from to-do lists to penpal letters, I’m so glad I was introduced to the Inkjoy Gel pens. They’ve quickly become some of my favorites – yes, including the Japanese pens from Mochi Things.

Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens


I currently have 6 of the 14 total colors that these pens come in…which means my work notes, penpal letters, to-do lists, and planner will be quite colorful for the foreseeable future – sorry not sorry. The ink also dries very quickly, which is the biggest difference between these pens and any other gel pen on the market – thinking of you, lefties of the world! Heck, I smudge inks from regular ballpoint pens and I’m right-handed, so the lack of smudging is a godsend for me as well! (Plus if that doesn’t convince you they’re worth checking out… these pens just look so much nicer than their predecessors.)

FullSizeRender 25

The pens come in a medium (.7mm, what I currently have) and fine (.5mm) point – and even though I LOVE fine pointed pens, the medium point feels perfectly good to me 😀 Ahh. I’m pretty sure that Joe, my friends, and Snapchat followers think I’m ridiculous for how much I’ve been raving about these pens, but I really am as excited about them as it sounds. Can I give 3 thumbs up? Because I totally would.

Have you used these pens yet? Let me know what you think!


Wanderlust Wednesday – 3/23

wanderlust wednesday brussels
Brussels, Belgium. July, 2014.

I changed up my original Wanderlust Wednesday post for an image/quote a bit more fitting after the tragedy in Brussels. I took a day trip to Brussels from Den Haag two years ago, and even though the weather was pretty miserable, I loved every second of the trip. Waffles, chocolate, rabbit stew for dinner, I was a happy camper. Even better?  Belgium was playing in the World Cup the day we were there which made it especially exciting:)

Go Belgium! Sadly they lost that game.
Go Belgium! Sadly they lost that game.

Anyway. My thoughts and prayers are going out to the people of Belgium, and anyone affected by what happened. No one should have to worry whether they’ll make it home from their daily commute, or back from a trip abroad. That’s just not how the world works 🙁



Music I’m Currently Enjoying…

After hearing rave reviews of Spotify from a handful of my friends, coworkers, and fellow students while I was still in school, I finally decided to try the 1 week trial of Spotify Premium. I hateee being asked what kind of music I listen to or what genre is my favorite, because I really do enjoy a little bit of everything (with a few exceptions, of course,) and after a few days of using the app

Sooo, I decided I’m going to share 5 of the playlists I’m listening to right now, because I have a feeling it may surprise some people! I’ll probably try to keep this up as time goes on, though it may be a while before I move on from this list – there’s a lot to choose from!

See? I wasn’t kidding. Incredibly inconsistent with any particular genre. I like variety, what can I say? I love that you can save playlists or songs to your phone – it makes my car rides a bit better, I’ve been sad since losing Sirius. (Though I guess lately I’ve had the country radio station playing in my car. Country makes me think of summer! <3)

I’ll probably end up paying for the Premium version of the app once my trial runs out – everything is so easy! Do you use Spotify? What are your favorite playlists? Any recommendations?



It’s Oberon Day! And also Monday.

So if you’re in a part of the country/world that doesn’t have the yumminess that is Bell’s Oberon, you have no idea what I’m talking about. But in Michigan; and particularly Western Michigan/Kalamazoo, it’s practically a holiday. There are special donuts at a local donut shop, midnight release parties at various bars, and Bell’s was opening bright and early today – what’s better than a 9am beer?! (Certainly not this peach yogurt I’m currently eating with a fork, let me tell ya.) Oberon release day means summer is coming – despite snow being in the extended forecast… – and I suppose the fact that Oberon is tasty plays in to the excitement too 😉

  1. Perhaps most exciting of all (regarding Oberon day) is that one of my close friends from CCS designed a lot of this year’s Oberon artwork! Pick up a mini keg and you can see her work – I know I’m impressed! 🙂 Hooray for all of my CCS friends having jobs in our field; it’s not always that easy.
  2. Over the past few weeks I’ve been helping a friend plan an Amazing Race style birthday party for her husband, and it finally all came to fruition on Saturday! It all went off super well…except at Salvation Army where it was “all clothing is 99 cents day” – lines were outrageous. So a quick adjustment was made, and we continued on in our quest! I love planning things, and when that planning also includes writing out cheesy clues? Definitely a happy camper.
  3. I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually celebrated St. Patrick’s Day like a lot of other people do – it’s also my sister’s birthday, so until we both moved out of my parents’ house, that was the focus (plus I mean, we haven’t been 21+ for that long.) Last year I went to the bar next to school with one of my friends between classes and we got a green beer, but that was it. No going gung-ho with the whole thing – until this year. Being in a town with so many bars/breweries makes it quite easy to ‘celebrate’ – and that we did! Friday was a little bit rough, but it was definitely a fun night which culminated with games of Jenga and Uno at Arcadia. Come on, we’re not that crazy 😉
  4. I’ve been working my booty off between Newell and my freelance Vodka job, but it’s so exciting to see the Vodka company getting closer and closer to kick-off! I have a whole social media calendar created, and lots of photo equipment/props are coming in the mail – now we just need the government to approve the labels, and some actual product to consume! …I mean photograph. And then consume. It’s a good thing we have a pretty solid base of friends here – I’m not sure how much vodka Joe and I will be able to consume on our own!
  5. It’s Easter week! It’s still a little weird to me being home for Easter – up until my Junior or Senior year of high school, all Easters I can remember were spent at our Condo in Florida – I wish flights were less expensive so we could have taken a long-weekend family trip to soak in some Vitamin D! But a jelly bean hunt around our living room will be almost as good 🙂

Yay Monday! And DWTS premiere day! I usually only watch this on and off/if I’m bored, BUT my friend from the other side of the state is in Kzoo for work, so we will be watching it together since The Bachelor is over!

Review: Valentia Royal Rose Hydrating Serum

Disclaimer: I was sent these products from Valentia with no compensation other than the product to test and review. The following post consists of my honest thoughts & opinions about the product!

Our house is pretty dry (we really need to refill our humidifier…) and Joe and I often wake up feeling super dry/dehydrated which just is not pleasant. To try and keep my face from getting too dried out, I’ve been on the hunt for a nice nighttime moisturizer that 1) isn’t too fragrant, 2) isn’t goopy or sticky, and 3) actually…does something. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Wrongggg. So sad.

A little over a week ago Valentia sent me their Royal Rose Hydrating Serum to review, and I’m loving it so far! I’ve been putting it on right before bed, and my face isn’t feeling nearly as dry in the morning (though my throat and nose certainly do. Maybe now that I’m writing about it we’ll actually refill the humidifier) and it definitely feels just….better in the morning.

valentia serumAfter the Benzoyl Peroxide tragedy of 2016, I’ve been trying to take a bit better care of my face – more natural ingredients and less harsh chemicals, which is exactly what Valentia’s Hydrating Serum brings to the table. From their website:

“After performing extensive research into what skin care customers find most important, we found an overwhelming demand for skin care that is natural, free of toxins and paraben-free. Natural ingredients with an organic base have proven most effective at repairing skin damaged by sun or wind, preventing signs of aging such as wrinkles, dark spots, and reversing the effects of oxidative stress on the skin. “

valentia serumI really like looking at the ingredients of all natural products – basically just to see what I recognize, and I recognize most of the ingredients in this serum…I suppose that’s a good sign. Or maybe I just have a weird bank of knowledge. You be the judge.

  • Rose Damascena: One of the most nourishing and skin friendly natural oils, providing balance, moisture, and a variety of vitamins and minerals to the skin.
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B): This potent vitamin has been clinically proven to fade away hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and acne..
  • Rosehip Seed Oil: Naturally rich in Vitamins C & A, these essential fatty acids work quickly to lock in skin’s moisture.
  • Evening Primrose Oil: Provides light, non-oily moisture to the skin, never clogging or irritating the skin.
  • Bearberry: Reduces melanin production, thereby lightening the skin, revealing a brighter complexion.
  • Lavender: Heals the skin, treating pimples, wounds, and sores.

Really though, whether you’re looking to slow down signs of aging, or are just a 20-something like me trying to take care of their skin, I think this serum from Valentia has enough perks to benefit just about anyone.




ps. Fun Fact! Valentia was the Roman Goddess of healing, who relied on nature’s gifts to heal the citizens of Umbria.

Wanderlust Wednesday – 3/16

Lower Antelope Canyon, AZ

In August of 2012, my family took a trip out west, where I:

-Hiked The Narrows at Zion National Park barefoot (up a river.)

-Watched the sun set over Lake Powell.

-Stubbed my toe on a cactus while chasing jack rabbits.

-Squeezed (ish) through a crevice in the ground to get to one of the coolest places I’ve been in the US – Antelope Canyon. (Among many many other things.)

I took so many cool pictures in the canyon with assistance from our guide, who told lots of Navajo stories as we walked through the canyon…which subsequently resulted in me craving fry bread for the rest of our trip. As much as my wanderlust pulls me to other countries and cultures, sometimes the best adventures are a bit closer to home! 🙂

Also, on a mostly unrelated note: I thought this quote was especially fitting because mine and Joe’s climbing equipment is arriving today! Our 2 week trial period at Climb Kalamazoo is coming to an end, but it’s definitely something we want to continue – and new climbing gear will only make us want to climb more! Woohoo!



Has Daylight Savings Time made anyone else feel like they’ve been run into by a freight train? I woke up an hour past my alarm today – and luckily still made it into work “on time”…where I promptly dropped my phone on the concrete and spilled half of my cup of coffee (I don’t even like coffee, but needed that caffeine boost.) Yep, it’s definitely a Monday. Thaaaank goodness for concealer.

  1. It’s Pi Day! 3.14159….or 3.1416 rounded up 😉 Joe and I recently discovered a restaurant called Grand Traverse Pie Company and so far have loved everything we’ve tried on the menu (it’s kind of like an amped up Panera, that also serves pie.) Anyway – free slice of pie at GT Pie Co today with any purchase; maybe we’ll end up there for lunch! Though I’d really like a $3.14 slice from Sister Pie back in Detroit…mmm Salted Maple…
  2. My parents are out traveling the world right now (they just saw the Taj Mahal – so jealous) so Joe and I took their place at a Tiara Yachts event in Holland this weekend! We got to go on a factory tour (even though we’ve both done that before, it was still very cool to see boats in being built,) see some fancy new boats (one of which had a washer and dryer which I just think is excessive,) and eat yummy snacks – and got two Tiara Tervis cups! …which in reality will probably end up on the boat this summer, but we’ll pretend we’re fancy until then 😉
  3. After coming across this Topdeck blog post about what to pack for a trip to Morocco, I’ve started semi-shopping/mentally preparing to pack for our Morocco trip – sure we’re still 290 days out, but I’m finding good deals on maxi dresses, so I might as well get the most use of them as I can, right? (aka wearing them all summer.) I managed to pack in a weekender bag and a small backpack for our honeymoon, so I’m going to TRY to do the same for this trip; despite needing to pack for nights in the desert, a (winter) night in Frankfurt, and 4 extra days in comparison to the Nicaragua trip. At this point, I don’t think it’s gonna happen; a compartmentalized Vera duffle bag might be necessary.. (also let’s take a second to talk about the spelling of duffle bag/duffel bag. Which is it?! The world (and auto-correct) may never know.)
  4. Slowly but surely Barb is coming around to the idea of snuggling. After the Tiara event yesterday I passed out on the couch, and lo and behold, Barb came up and laid on the couch with me! It was very exciting. That is all.
  5. The Bachelor finale is tonight! WOoOoOo! I actually lost my bracket a couple of weeks ago (I think I accidentally left it at my parents’ house) – but I had Jennifer as the winner, and I thinkkkk Olivia as the runner up? With Caila in 3rd. So I was just very very wrong. That’s okay. Maybe I’ll do better for the Bachelorette? I’m not sure how I feel about Caila being the Bachelorette, but of course I’ll be watching anyways.
  6. Bonus addition for this week! After climbing and Bent 9 on Saturday, we came home to a little box waiting at our door, with no idea what it was (usually with packages one of us will be like “oh yeah! I did order something that was supposed to arrive soon!”) – so I opened it and was so pleasantly surprised! One of my best friends sent a cute little package from Greetabl – isn’t it adorable? There was also a Cabernet lollipop inside, which was super delish. I loooove surprises <3




ps. I’m going to start another “part” to my blog; Papyrus in the wild. Why do so many people use such a bad font?! It’s a mystery. I’ll be photographing and posting pictures on a….weekly? monthly? basis – basically whenever I have a small ish selection to post. That is all.

Recipe: Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

It’s been a minute since I blogged a yummy recipe – I guess work life has gotten in the way! That’s not to say we haven’t been cooking yummy things, they just haven’t made it onto the blog! Anyway. It’s starting to feel Spring-y outside, which I thought called for a fresh, yummy dinner….and to me nothing makes a meal taste fresher than fresh Cilantro! Or any herbs really. This recipe was super easy, healthy, and didn’t even require much cleanup because it is all made in one pan – it doesn’t get much better than that 🙂


The recipe only took 30 mins or so from start to finish, and we both loved how it turned out; it reminded us of meals we had on our honeymoon in Nicaragua, which of course brings back great memories 🙂 Joe doesn’t like cilantro, so he jazzed his bowl up with hot sauce and shredded cheese – he gave it two thumbs up! Anywho, on with the recipe:

Raw chicken doesn’t look particularly appealing.


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 can (2 oz) chopped green chilies
  • Zest from one lime
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and well drained
  • 2 cups minute brown rice (don’t use regular rice!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro



  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and saute until cooked through, about 6 minutes, adding in lighter portions of the green onions and garlic at last 1 minute of cooking.
  • Stir in broth, green chilies, lime zest, lime juice, black beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, add rice, fully immerse rice in broth, and allow to boil 20 seconds, then remove from heat and immediately cover with a lid. Let rest 5 – 6 minutes.
  • If liquid is still in the pan, return it to medium heat, cook and toss until rice has absorbed the remaining liquid. Remove from heat, toss in cilantro and let rest uncovered 3 minutes.
End result! So yummy!

Happy Spring….almost! We’ll just ignore the fact that the weather is calling for snow next Monday. (Recipe from Cooking Classy.)