About Jen Nelson (jkhnelson.com)

Writer and professional traveler. Enjoying beach days with our dog Daphne, SoCal life, garden parties, and baking with my pink mixer.

So Long, Farewell

If you haven’t heard, I’m moving the blog to it’s own hosted site. Owning my own Internet real estate will be a challenge, but a fun one. I hope you join me over at www.jkhnelson.com. If you’re signed up for email updates from The Peony Papers, you can sign up at the new site in the left navigation bar. So click here and enjoy my new adventures!

So Long, Farewell from Iain Gall on Vimeo.

Because No One Can Pronounce Peony

So here’s the big announcement, well actually two.

Number 1: I am moving.

Not literally, but the blog. I’ve taken the plunge, bought some Internet real estate and a hosting service, and I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to make the whole thing look good.

Where am I going? www.jkhnelson.com

But why? You may ask.

First, I’m still working to figure out exactly what my blogging career is going to focus on, and my new address gives me more flexibility.

Second, it allows me to create an online portfolio under the same umbrella so I can work on building mad skills.

Finally, while I adore the ten or so of you out there that actually read this blog, now is a good time to move if I want to try to grow a bigger audience. If I wait it’ll just be more painful. So here I go.

Number 2: I have a new job! My new post is at a design and consulting firm working with clients who need to train their employees on just about anything. I’ll be doing all the creative work plus a lot of client-relationship management. Thanks Heather and Kristin for giving me a great head start. Once my first project goes up, I’ll be sure to share, since it’s all about me.

Check out a slice of my new desk! Yes, that is a Sticky Fingers magnet.

I’m sure you can all guess the reasons why I’m excited, and if you want to know more, feel free to send me a note.

So head over to the new blog and let me know what you think! It’s cleaner, more streamlined and should be kicking out content a bit more regularly. Check out the first new post TOMORROW. I’d love to get some feedback! xo

A Bite of Monday

Happy Monday!

Things have been crazy. I have a big announcement out tomorrow and lots of fun things to post about. We’ve been busy going to DC and North Carolina, plus apple picking and meeting James van der Beek at Oktoberfest. Once I can find my SD card with the photos I can start sharing.


Like this Snow White moment I had tasting apples. This one was delicious.

If only I had a photo of Daphne finding an abandoned baseball hat in the road and carrying it over a quarter of a mile on our walk this morning. She was determined to hang onto it, until she found a leaf.

I have really loved writing a little bit and exploring what I want this blog to be. Being able to write anywhere (like in the parking lot at this moment) and learning that my posts don’t have to be long, just meaningful have been the two biggest lessons I’ve learned.

So stay tuned for lots of excitement!


Blue or Green

Most things about me are pretty obvious. I’m 5’10”. I’m blonde. I now need glasses to drive (thanks road trip from Colorado to Pennsylvania). One thing I never know how to answer is, “What is your eye color?”

“I don’t know,” I usually say, “you tell me!”

I come from a fair family. With a bit of Irish, Swedish, and Slovakian you could say my kids are destined to be beach blonde their entire lives. And I guess you could say my eyes are going greener as I get older, like my mom’s.

So why is it so hard to pin it down? Because we’re not Kelly green or emerald greens. We’re the green of the sea coming into a Caribbean island. Or the green of a Robin’s egg or a Tiffany’s box (well, maybe that’s a stretch).

Well, maybe not such a stretch. But as much as I’d love to put ‘Tiffany Blue’ as my eye color, I don’t think the DMV will go for that. So are they blue or green? I don’t know. But I do know I wouldn’t change it for even the best vampire eyes:

Endless Summer Prep

Sitting out in the grass playing with Daphne, I had a moment. I realized that I would soon have to put away my flip flops and Lilly Pulitzer dresses for the winter. My Briar skirt has become one of my favorites, even though I bought it on a whim.

With its light and airy coloring and flexible fit, it’s easy to sit higher for a teeny waist look or lower for a more work-appropriate length. I’m not normally a fan of the (gasp!) elastic waistband, but this skirt is definitely an exception. The only thing it’s missing is pockets.

Paired with a custom button down I had made in SuZhou, pearls, and blush pink ballet flats, I could easily walk from my cubicle to happy hour. Instead I enjoyed a warm evening with my puppy.

The 30 Day Fit Model Challenge

In 31 days we are leaving for a vacation at Club Med in Turks & Caicos. While we’re there ,the resort will be setting up for a semi-pro volleyball tournament, and we are welcome to play with the players who are practicing beforehand. This means I have 31 days to try and get in a little better shape. Enter the 20 Day Fit Model Challenge.

The Challenge consists of three parts:

  1. The 300/30 Day Ab Challenge
  2. 30 minutes of running/jogging/intervals a day
  3. 3 things I/you want to improve about my/your health regimen

The 300/30 Day Ab Challenge has been making the rounds on Pinterest, and I’ve finally tracked down the orignal blogger who created it. After trying the exercises once, I never seemed to get into a committed routine. This way I have some accountability.

Fair warning, the exercises are not all easy and several bloggers have said that it took 3-4 days before they were able to complete the whole set without wanting to die. That’s why I’m starting on a Friday.

Part two is getting in a little bit of cardio every day. My mother gets up at 6 am for a 3 mile walk with her girlfriends every morning. Not only does she get in great gab time, but that brisk hour is keeping her fit, trim, and active. My ultimate goal is to go for a 30 minute walk with Daphne every morning then do 30 minutes of hard cardio at the gym in the evening, mixing in yoga classes etc when I can.

Part three is not about physical fitness, it’s about creating your model life. A couple years ago I made flossing daily my New Year’s resolution, and I’ve been a floss machine ever since. This part of the challenge is to do something that will better your overall health and wellness.

Mine will be drinking 100 oz of water every day, spending an extra 3 minutes on my beauty routine in the morning and the evening, and not eating sugar/candy/baked goods. Maybe I’ll have a bite of cake on Adam’s birthday, but otherwise I’m cutting off the sugar.

So keep your eyes open for updates, hopefully I can really dedicate to this plan, and it will give me more energy, more strength, and clearer skin.

If you’d like to join the challenge, leave comments below!

The World’s Largest

I subscribe to TravelZoo’s Top 20 weekly travel deals, and one caught my eye this week.

$899 — Balcony on World’s Largest Ship, plus $350 in Extras
Source: CruCon Cruise Outlet

When you click on it, the deal is for passage on TWO different ships, the Allure and Oasis, both on the Royal Caribbean line. Technically the Allure is two inches longer, though both ships have identical superstructures.

There have been a lot of world’s largest over the years, and you have to wonder when do we run out of room to grow. Here are few of my favorite world’s largest.

World’s Largest Easter Egg: Argentina
Can someone tell me how I can get this 27-feet-high, 8800 lbs egg into my house please?

World’s Largest Bottle of Wine: Italy
30 vineyards donated their entire 2009 vintages to fill this 510-liter bottle last year. I’m pretty sure I know a few good sorority girls who could help me polish it off.

World’s Largest Pinata: M&Ms
Cee Lo Green helped smash the world record for the largest pinata (now 46 feet tall) at the M&Ms celebration for Pretzel M&Ms last year. Really I just want to know where all the bags of candy went…

Now here are a few you can actually go visit:

World’s Largest Crossword Puzzle: Ivov, Ukraine
The squares look blank during the day, but the answers light up at night. Hunt around the city for the answers to clues then come back after dark to check how you did.

World’s Largest Chair: Manzano, Italy
This little town is in the heart of Italy’s hand-crafted furniture market. At over 60 feet high, this chair is almost twice the size of its American counterpart – a 33-foot tall office chair in Alabama.

World’s Largest Swimming Pool: Algarrobo, Chile
This nearly 20-acre pool sucks water directly in from the sea using a computer-controlled suction and filtration system and is bigger than 20 Olympic-sized pools. I think even Michael Phelps would get tired after swimming its 1,013 meter length. It even shows up on satellite.