1.28.2015

bedside table books

In spirit of my word for the year, 'intentional', I want to focus more on the things that I thoroughly enjoy - that add something to my life. One of these things is reading more. As a child I read book after book after book, I never was without a story. By the time I entered college and academic texts and exams took over my life, reading for fun got pushed aside. After pages and pages of mandatory reading, more words were the last thing I was looking forward to at the end of the night. But if there is one thing I can do with full intention, it's reading: starting a new book, completely taken by a story and not being able to put it down, looking forward to that one free moment of the day when I can loose myself in the story once again - that's an intentional habit I want to get back into!

bedside table books


As I mentioned before, by the end of this winter I want to have finished three books. I'm going for twelve throughout the whole year! So what's on my bedside table until March?

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. A collection of writings by Marina Keegan, a twenty-one year old who tragically dies in a car accident just five days after her graduation from Yale. Her words capture the hopes, uncertainties and possibilities of a young generation, describing he universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. A dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years, the reader is introduced to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: a starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist, amongst others. Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of life while clinging to their improbable dreams.
I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brené Brown. A revealing examination of the painful effects of shame - through potent personal narratives and examples from real women, Brown identifies and explains four key elements that allow women to transform their shame into courage, compassion and connection. As a fan of one of her other books, The Gifts of Imperfection, a book I just can't wait to read.

I'm very excited to get started! What have you been reading lately?

1.25.2015

wanderings of the mind of an almost college graduate

When I was approached by The Ladders to spread some wisdom for a new generation of career-driven professionals, I got exited. For the past few years as an under-graduate and graduate student, my mind has been racing non-stop about the fact that after this, it’s time for the ‘real world’. But then it hit me that 2015 marks the year that I will graduate, get out there and will have to start looking for a job... And to be honest, I have no idea where to start!

Ladders Article - Hello Real World

When I started college, eighteen years old and fresh out of high school, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I didn’t have a particular life plan or a specific career in mind. I felt somewhat lost, but choose art history as my major because I absolutely loved it as a subject, and could envision myself doing ‘something’ with it for the rest of my life. A decision made purely out of passion. But after a while, the thought of graduating started to haunt me. Three years, and then what? What will I, my bachelor’s degree in art history and 80 of my fellow students with the same piece of paper do? Apply for that one job at a renowned museum or hip gallery? My whole life became preoccupied with studying and figuring out/worrying about ‘what I want to be when I grow up’. It became all about how to be successful and make money, that I actually forgot to enjoy the life I had right now. Everything I did became a way to enhance my future, something that would ‘help me later’ instead of actually enjoying the experiences I was going though right now. Friendships, hobbies and family were pushed aside and I hopped from lecture to lecture, job to job, all with just one thing in mind: finding out what I want to do after university. Because once you graduate, you have to have your life figured out, right?

After I received my bachelor’s degree, I felt in no way ready to call myself an art historian and step out into the real world, so the decision to pursue a master’s degree was quickly made. At that point, I was really set on continuing in the academic world, and I applied and got accepted in a research program, of which I am currently in my last semester. And it took me till now, after five and a half years of studying, to realize that I had my priorities all wrong. During those years of studying, working and stressing, along the way I forgot what I actually enjoyed doing, what I found important in life, and lost my passion for art history along the way - all because it became such a nerve-racking factor in my life, since I was so set on having it all figured out by the time I graduate.

And to be honest, even after all those years of working on my future, I still feel somewhat lost. I went from writing reviews to project-management in a museum to working in an art gallery to not knowing what I really want to do, career-wise. And I realized that that’s okay too - and it doesn't mean you failed. As I am currently living abroad for an internship, being alone in a new country has provided me with time to do some soul searching. By leaving work at work – something I find really difficult to do – and not putting so much pressure on myself, I slowly rediscovered my passion for art history and the things I cherish in life: friends, family, travelling, writing, being creative, learning new things and baking lots. Whereas I was so focused on finding happiness in a job t first, I now realize that there is more to life than just work. My definition of a successful life changed.

And that’s the attitude with which I’m stepping into the real world in six month, and a little wisdom I’d like to share. From kindergarten to graduate school, for almost twenty years there was someone standing next to me, ready to catch me when I fall. Now, just a few more steps and I’m out of the door, all on my own. And that’s a scary thought. But if those six years of college taught me anything, it would be that things change – dreams change, and that sometimes you should just go with the flow of life instead of trying to figure everything out into the last detail. I haven’t figured things out, but who does at 24 (honestly, who has life figured out at all)? Who has time to figure everything out when there’s so much studying to do? Now is the time to go on that adventure: take those languages courses or writing workshops you always wanted to do, but never fit in your curriculum. Go and travel through Europe for a month and discover new cultures. Apply for that master’s program or internship abroad – take the time to develop further. If we were done learning by the time we’re out of college, life would become rather dull. Take the time to pursue different jobs, find the one you can be passionate about, and don't forget to enjoy every single minute of where life takes you.

1.21.2015

a day trip herren and fraueninsel, germany

prien, chiemsee

Many travels await 2015, and a little day trip to the Herren- and Fraueninsel in the Chiemsee was the first. I love day trips, taking off to discover a new city or village, but bundling up in my own bed at night. The great thing about Munich is that there are so many places to go within a train trip of an hour or two. I had been wanting to go to the Chiemsee for a while to visit the 'Fairytale' King Ludwig II's castle, and finally travelled there last Sunday. From afar, the two small islands seemed ghostly, almost desolate due to the winter weather. Still covered in snow, both islands were perfect for a day of wandering through nature, visiting churches, reading books while eating apfelstrudel with whipped cream for lunch, touring the King's castle - which is a smaller and incomplete version of Versailles - and visiting an old monastery and modern art museum in one. All while hardly encountering anyone, other than the occasional begging duck.*

prien, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

herreninsel, chiemsee

herreninsel, chiemsee

herreninsel, chiemsee

herreninsel, chiemsee


*Side note: never send a message saying 'I was being followed' to your boyfriend, accompanied by a photo of a duck, then having your phone die and the photo never coming through. That might lead to your boyfriend calling your parents, your parents calling the police, the police searching on two islands and in two cities, and coming home to a million voicemails, text messages, red police notices sticking on your front door, a frantic mother on the phone and the officer laughing at you. Maybe. Just saying.

1.17.2015

four winter goals

four winter goals

I'm a goal-setter at heart - always thinking about what to do and accomplish next. Many Januaries have started out with endless, excessive lists with my plans for the clean slate that the new year brought. Looking back though, I never realized many of those goals. The list always backfired: by the time February came around, I was already frustrated and brought down by the fact that I hadn't lost those five pounds yet, read those ten books on my to-read list, or picked up running and was awesome at it. And I bet I'm not the only one disappointed in him- or herself by February, right? Starting out as a way to 'become happier', in a way this obsession with to-do lists and long-term goals seems to be rather self-destructive. Because, what is more toxic to the soul than the feeling of failure and disappointment in ourselves?

I wouldn't propose to set aside goal-setting completely - it's good to have a general direction in life. And as a big lover of lists, I just couldn't scratch that from my life. However, considering my personal goals, they tend to be all about the future, not about the now. And that's were I want to be: right here, enjoying the right now. I came across the Four Simple Goals project over at A Beautiful Mess years ago, which is about choosing four simple goals that will make your life richer and happier on a daily basis; activity based, not focusing on a result - sounds absolutely perfect! This year, I'm committed to fulfill four simple fall goals before the beginning of March:

Read three books. When I was younger, I devoured books one by one, on a daily basis. By the time I started college and academic texts took over my life, reading for fun got pushed back, spending most of my nights beat down in front of the television. This year I want to re-spark my love for books, and finish at least twelve by the end of 2015.
Four February Dates. Living 800 miles apart from the one you love is not always the most pleasant of situations. Though our relationship has not suffered under my absence, I want to make my month of return something special and give our relationship the attention it deserves with four memorable dates - because sometimes, you just need to stop ordering pizza and get out of the house.
Visit two new cities in the Netherlands. The beginning of 2015 marks the year in which I plan to travel and travel lots - as well as the last semester of free transportation in the Netherlands. There are so many lovely little dutch cities with rich histories, and many of them I have never visited before. Next to international travels, I want to discover my own country this year as well.
Take an online Photoshop course. Besides traveling, creativity is another important part of the new year. For years I have set creative urges to the side, thinking that 'I will never do anything professional with it', since I'm an art history major, or 'I'm not good at it anyway, so why would I?'. This year, I want to get more creative by taking those courses and workshops I was always to scared to enter - starting with (finally) taking that Photoshop course I have been pushing back for over a year now.

What are your goals for the next few winter months?

1.11.2015

slow sundays: oven-baked overnight oats

During the weekends, it's time to take it slow. Especially the weekend after the first work days of the new year. They were tough, but we made it! Which is why I took some time to treat myself to a more elaborate breakfast this weekend. During weekdays, when I'm rushing to put on some make-up, make a salad for lunch and pack my bag all at the same time, I opt for the easier kinds of meals. But Saturdays and Sundays call for something a bit more special. After seeing a recipe over at Yellow Lemon Tree and IkbenIrisniet, I thought it would be the perfect morning to make oven-baked overnight oats with apple and cinnamon.

baked overnight oats


Makes one bowl
200 ml almond milk (or milk of your choice)
40 gr oatmeal
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
25 gr raisins
Half an apple (or more, if you like!)


baked overnight oats


The night before, add the milk, oatmeal, salt, cinnamon and raisins together. Mix, and leave in the fridge overnight. The next morning, preheat the oven 200 degrees (c). Slice the apple in little pieces and spread out over the overnight oats, and leave it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Add some cinnamon, make a cup of tea, and enjoy your morning!


baked overnight oats

1.04.2015

new beginnings

Hello 2015! I hope you all had a magical holiday filled with family, friends and lots of cake – I know I did (perhaps a bit too much cake..). In the world of blogging, posts on the past year and upcoming goals have been gracing computer screens everywhere. The beginning of the New Year seems to instill a feeling of excitement, positivity and hope in many – but not in me. For days now, I’ve wanting to write down my plans and dreams for 2015, but something held me back. The idea of a new year, a clean slate, somewhat scares me, and anxiety shows its ugly face. So many dreams, so many hopes.. What if I mess things up? What if it will be just another year wasted, trying to live up to expectations that I'll never reach? How hopeful I am at the end of the year, the beginning of a new one has left me somewhat paralyzed to start. It would be so much easier to flow through minutes, hours, days and weeks without goals and expectations, without realizing that time is ticking by. The same routine, day in, day out, without a care in the world nor dream to realize – or to shatter. Life would be easy, but would it also be fulfilling?

Coming to my senses, I realized that that would be exactly the opposite of how I envision my 2015, or my life! Here and there, instead of making a long list of goals never to be ticked off, I’ve come across the concept of choosing a word to live by in the New Year. One word to define your attitude towards life for 365 days. Choosing one word for the year feels like a resolution small enough to achieve, and big enough to actually make a difference.. I quickly realized how I want to spend my days: intentionally. ‘Live less out of habit, live more with intent.’