Wanderlust Wednesday – 9/28


A change! Like Fall! Eh? Maybe that’s a stretch 😛

As much as I love warm weather, I also love cute socks and layers. That said – I’m so not ready to turn the heat on in our house! In other news, 92 days until Morocco. Maybe it’s time to start going through the ‘need to buy’ list I started making when we booked the trip. Pepto tablets and electrolyte tablets, I’m comin’ for ya!

Happy hump day 🙂


Happy Monday! 9/26

Apparently my brain was otherwise-occupado last week – I completely forgot to post both my Monday and Wednesday posts.

  1. My parents are visiting this weekend, we’re going to see Andy Grammar in concert, Joe’s mom is visiting next weekend, and then we’re going to Nebraska for a wedding! I really don’t think it’s possible for us to have an empty calendar for more than 7 consecutive days. But hooray for lots of things to look forward to!
  2. I’m loving the camera on the iPhone 7 – higher quality nighttime photos for the win. My aunt also gave both me and my sister Series 1 Apple Watches, and I’m finally wrapping my brain around all of the knobs and whistles. Favorite feature so far? The Find My iPhone button.
  3. Did you take the Patronus quiz on Pottermore? Joe and I both got Dolphin. Considering there are almost 140 different results – I’m pretty impressed that we got the same animal 🙂
  4. Today is my first day as a full-time employee at work (instead of contract) – benefits! PTO! Life is good.
  5. And now for your giggle of the day: A man bought a plane ticket for his doll, and someone live-tweeted it.

Hope your Monday is off to a fannnntastic start.


Claire Cooks: Carrot Ginger Soup

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to eat at Boma (at Animal Kingdom Lodge,) chances are you know how delicious their Carrot Ginger soup is…and if you haven’t? You’re missing out. Well, all of their food really. The Boma Coma is a real thing. An uncomfortably delicious, real thing. Especially when you ride Expedition Everest twice in a row directly afterwards. Heh.

This past August's Boma Coma. So delicious.
This past August’s Boma Coma.

Anyway. Now that I’m salivating uncontrollably, let’s get down to business.

I probably have an unhealthy obsession with soup. When I interned at Visteon, I got a bowl of soup from the cafeteria almost every single day…even when it was 95 degrees and we were eating outside. So good. While I would happily eat Boma food any day of the year, I figured the first week of Fall was the perfect opportunity to bring the Carrot Ginger soup back into our lives. And holy moley it turned out even better than I had hoped! Bonus? It was relatively easy to make – especially once I discovered pre-ground ginger in the packaged herb area of the produce section.


So easy, in fact, that I forgot to take pictures of the process. Blogger fail. Luckily I’m pretty sure this is going to be a staple in our household for the foreseeable future, so I’ll have plenty of opportunities to document it in the future!

Happy weekend!

Carrot Ginger Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: 4


  • 2 c. chunky cut carrots (I used about 5 medium-sized carrots.)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw.)
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. cornstarch slurry (1/2 c. cornstarch, 1/2 c. cool water - mixed.)
  • 1 c. shredded cheese (I used Costco's Mexican blend.)
  • 2 tbsp butter (I used Smart Balance.)


  1. In pot, cook carrots in water, sugar and ginger over medium-high heat. Let simmer until carrots are soft and liquid has cooked down almost all the way.
  2. Purée carrots in food processor or blender until smooth. (I included most, but not all of the semi-caramelized liquid.)
  3. Spoon purée back into pot, stirring in heavy cream and milk. Cook over medium heat until soup is hot and beginning to thicken.
  4. Bring to a boil, and add cornstarch slurry while stirring. Bring back up to a boil and promptly remove from heat.
  5. Stir in butter and cheese until melted. Add salt if you think it is needed (I like things a bit saltier) and enjoy!


Review: ARK Skincare

My parents instilled in me from an early age to take care of my skin – and while I haven’t always heeded their advice (and as a result, have had my fair share of sunburns) – I do my best to keep my face protected! Even if that means getting carded until I’m 40 and staying out of the sun basically the entire summer before my wedding 😉

Enter: ARK Skincare. ARK is a British skincare brand with products that treat skin by age and skin concern. For reviewing purposes, they sent me Age Protect Moisturiser and Pro Remove Pre Cleanse – and I’m obsessed.



First of all, I love love love that they arrange their products by age. As explained on ARK’s website:

There are two main transition periods in the aging process where there is a dramatic shift in hormone production and a significant change in the way the body functions: late 20s to early 30s and late 50s to early 60s. ARK has looked at the skin externally and internally during these periods, to create three age-specific product ranges, which support skin with the optimum level of nourishment and skin-perfecting ingredients.

Makes perfect sense, right? I think so.

Okay, let’s talk about the moisturiser. Which I’m spelling with an s because it’s coming from England 😉 Obviously.



  • it isn’t a regular pump bottle
  • it’s hydrating without feeling greasy
  • it has soothing ingredients
  • my face feels happier!

Maybe Don’t Love So Much:

  • no SPF!

Really that’s all. If this moisturiser also included SPF, it would be my favorite ever, without question. The pros absolutely outweigh the cons over all, but as a brand that’s all about protecting your skin, I was surprised by the lack of sun care!

And now for the Pro Remove / Pre Cleanse product! Which I definitely thought was Pro Remove Pro Cleanse until 3 minutes ago, but that’s alright. This stuff is kind of super awesome.

This innovative product is the first step in our powerful cleansing routine. The multi-fruit lipid blend dissolves every last trace of daily grime, excess sebum and make-up – even waterproof mascara – while nourishing and soothing skin with a blend of natural ingredients.

Reading the directions is important with this cleanser/makeup remover – you first apply it to your face without water. I didn’t follow the directions the first time. I was just too excited, okay?!




  • ingredients that fight acne, and sensitivity
  • removes waterproof mascara
  • doesn’t leave my skin feeling too dry
  • I don’t have to scrub hard to feel like it’s working

Maybe Don’t Love So Much:

  • it stung my eyes 🙁 but that’s my fault.

Whew. Lots of goodness. ARK also has a variety of serums should you prefer to treat your skin by specific problem rather than age. I don’t know about you, but my eyes are drawn to the anti-redness serum. There’s only so much concealer can do! 😛

Anyway, I’m looking forward to continuing to use these products as a system to keep my face looking and feeling its best – especially as we start getting into the cooler/dryer months. Thanks again, ARK!


Work Hard, Barre Harder

…or in my case lately, barre not at all.

Other than visiting PBGP every chance I get, I haven’t stepped foot in my studio here in Kzoo in over 2 months. Between buying a house, moving, freelancing, starting some home improvement projects, and then getting brought onto a time-intensive project at work, any free time I have is spent sitting on the couch doing as little as humanly possible. And I’m not happy about it.


But as I was thinking about what to write for this post, I realized (with Joe’s help) that I’d been incorporating some Barre movements into my every day life without even thinking about it!

Calf raises while waiting for food to heat up.


Plank pulses while setting tile.


Tucks while stopped at red lights. (This one doesn’t get a GIF. Too awkward.)

And I’m sure there are so many other things I do without even thinking about it that are helping keep my body toned while on this unintentional Barre-hiatus. In fact, I’m pretty sure my twice-daily bout of sneezing is equivalent to at least a 35 second plank 😉

And more calf raises.


Really though, I find myself doing calf raises ALL the time. Waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for a conference room to open up at work, waiting for a table at a restaurant…basically any time I’m waiting for anything.

That said…nothing beats that hour to myself in the studio. If I was able to find time to go to PBGP during senior year finals, while planning a wedding, and preparing for a trip to Paris – I can find time now. Heck, my body and brain could especially use that hour when I’m feeling overwhelmed with everything else going on.


Plus, lets be real. Living in a city that’s known for its beer could turn into a real problem. Real fast.


So what’s the point of this post? Other than me rambling/convincing myself it’s time to go back to Bent 9. That it’s easy to incorporate small bits of exercise into your daily life? Maybe. Or maybe that we should be more mindful of the importance of that hour to yourself, for yourself. Maybe it’s not an hour. Maybe you practice yoga instead of barre.

You decide 🙂

Muchas gracias to SimplyWorkout for the Barre Vibes tank and ombré sticky socks seen in this post. If you haven’t checked out their website or Instagram, you’re missing out on some great stuff!


Wanderlust Wednesday – 9-14



iOS 10 Sticker Fun

So I’ve had iOS 10 since July, but with the official release came a bunch of stickers to use within messages…and needless to say, I’ve been enjoying them to their fullest extent. Sure, maybe it’s overkill, but LOOK HOW CUTE.2699dcc2e3e49aec6f871e811b8eb9af-sticker 72853cacce2c6a99fb12082f63f3960d-sticker-2

Okay so maybe spending $2 for a “Disney Cats & Dogs” sticker pack is a little much. That said, I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of my phone in the last 12 hours than in a while. Totally worth it.


But really! Think of all the awkward situations that you can now get out of with the help of an Elmo shrug GIF or cute kitty! 😉 Anyone else having fun with the stickers yet?


Happy Monday – 9/12

cat gif
It’s been a rough (read: long) couple of weeks at work. This is literally the only thing of substance on my phone from the last 7 days. Hi Barb!

When I decided to do a “Happy Monday” post, I had initially intended for it to be like…happy things in the news. Clearly it’s more of a “here are personal things for me to be happy about” – but hey, whatever gets me through the week, right? Maybe I’ll slowly try to start a more generic look at these happy things out in the world angle. Thoughts? Comment and let me know! In the meantime, on with regularly scheduled programming.

  1. Friday = new phone day! Here’s hoping it survives a weekend without a case. Unless Casetify ships my new one reeeeal soon.
  2. Friends are visiting this weekend! To be quite honest I had completely forgotten about that discussion we had, but I’m looking forward to an opportunity to show off our new house! Even if we don’t quiiiite have all of the furniture yet. That’s okay 🙂
  3. Old houses come with problems – that’s a given. Luckily we’re going to start the process of getting all that taken care of tomorrow morning! Helloooo 6:30am wake-up call.
  4. Our Morocco trip is officially paid off! (We had previously only paid the deposit.) 108 days to go! (15 and a half ish weeks, in case you were wondering.)
  5. Only a few hours (?) until the rest of the iPhone-owning world has iOS 10! I’ve had the beta version for maybe..2 months now? But there’s only so much fun I can have with it on my own. Here’s to fun iMessages with my friends 😉

Oy. Time to finish some logo-work and hit the hay. Happy Monday, y’all!


Review: Farmacy Honey Potion – Hydrating Mask

Very rarely have I gotten Joe involved in blog-related shenanigans, but a couple weeks ago we had fun filming a video “review” of Farmacy’s Honey Potion hydrating mask! I always appreciate having a reason to break out the nice camera 😉

Review: Farmacy Honey Potion – Hydrating Mask from Wanderings of Claire on Vimeo.

My happy face at the end says it all, right?! My face has definitely felt more moisturized after using this mask – but I did have to figure out how to actually use the product before experiencing those results. Hence the more instructional video rather than a straight up review. That said, let’s rewind a bit.


I’m all about the unboxing experience, and definitely think this mask’s packaging is worth mentioning. It felt like a premium product from the moment I took it out of the box it was shipped in, and that feeling of being a high-quality product continued as I actually began to unbox the product itself. So good. Oh, and the lid of the glass container is magnetic, which keeps the little metal scooper from getting lost. Brilliant if I may say so myself!

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 6.29.10 PM

Buuuut this is where things got tricky for me. Should I use the scooper to apply the product to my face? Should I rub it in, or leave it kind of gloppy? How long should I leave the mask on? Directions were nowhere to be found, so I just ran with my gut. Unfortunately, after winding up with a gloppy smattering of honey potion on my face, it was pretty clear that my gut was wrong. 

I rinsed off round 1 of mask application, applying a smaller amount with my fingers for round 2. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t work out significantly better! The mask got warm as I smoothed it onto my face, turning white with time…instead of slowly dripping off in globs. I can’t wait to use the mask once it’s a bit cooler out; I can picture the warming sensation feeling so nice on a cold day!

Did I mention the mask is all natural? Here is a description straight from Farmacy’s website (where I also just discovered some directions, fancy that!)

An intensely moisturizing combination of honey (a natural humectant used since ancient times), propolis (a healing antiseptic found in beehives) and amino acid-rich royal jelly, it enhances skin renewal for a younger appearance. 

 This super hydrating mask with natural honey sugars is rich in amino acids and essential B vitamins.

It gently warms and transforms into a rich cream as it’s massaged into the face, soothing and revitalizing the skin. 

The ingenious magnetic spatula attaches to the top so you’ll never lose it.  

Needless to say, once I figured out the right way to put the mask on, I was sold. After rinsing the mask off about 10 minutes later, my face felt so smooth and moisturized; I can only imagine how great my face will look and feel after using the mask continuously.

Thanks, Farmacy, for providing this mask for me to review!!


Wanderlust Wednesday – 9/7

When was the last time you did something for the first time

Wanderlust Wednesday posts are alive and well, y’all! And only 113 days until Morocco! I have a feeling that trip will come up quicker than expected. I also learned the other day that flying scorpions are a thing in the Sahara Desert. But supposedly they don’t actually do anything with their stinging mechanism? Here’s hoping we don’t have a recreation of our rainforest bungalow bug experience…? AND hopefully I get my renewed passport back soon! (My mind has been so preoccupied that I sent it the first time without a check or signing the application. Oops.)

Also that quote is apparently from a Drake song. Don’t judge.