Backgrounds For An Organized Desktop

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 3 Comments

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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In my quest to reach desktop zero, I have also been in search of the best desktop backgrounds to serve as my motivation. When I was on student publications and the office was my second home and the 21 inch iMac pretty much served as my main computer, I was all about having a new, beautiful background every week. It was my thing. Sadly, people always asked if I had designed them myself and I faced this moment of conflicting emotions: one that they think I have enough graphic design sense to do this and two a sense to give credit where credit is due.

I say all of this to say that I like pretty things. And just as a clean desk top (the physical desk) with a few trinkets on it can spark creativity, I believe that a beautiful desktop background can have the same effect. Kudos if it is also functional and helps you organize your files or has a built in calendar. 

Most of these came from DESIGNLOVEFEST and Jenny Highsmith. They never fail to provide desktop downloads on a regular basis. 

Which one is your favorite? Which designer/blogger do you turn to to dress you tech?

Coffee Talk

Saturday, July 19, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Saturday, July 19, 2014

By now, you know my love of Loft. So of course when I saw Mackenzie's photos of the Lou and Grey concept store I was in heaven and planning a trip to Connecticut just to visit.

Do you not have a pretty well let area in your home to take photos of items/food/your cat? Samantha has a tutorial to make your own photo backdrop using colored foam board. 

You can now follow Casey's adventures in Florida. But with a change of scenery comes with making new friends. How do you start over after moving?

I love my DSLR, but sometimes all you have when the perfect moment presents itself if your iphone. Create bright and sharp iphone photos with these simple tips from A Beautiful Mess.

I wish I looked like this when I traveled. But I'll most likely stick with my nike shorts and tennis shoes look.

Maybe I'm late to the game, but I had been looking for a tutorial to make product photo collages for ages. Jennifer heard my pleas and answered.

Visiting Tantallon Castle was one of the highlights of my trip to Scotland. Thankfully Jamie posted pictures of her visit there so I could relive the experience.

10 Reasons I Think All Offices Should Have Designated Nap Areas

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 14 Comments

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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I would like to start this post by saying that I am not one of those people who suddenly discovered naps in college and realized what they had been missing their entire life. No, I have always been a firm believer in the power of taking a break, catching a few z's and powering through the rest of the afternoon. 

College was great because classes ended at 2 and there was the perfect amount of time before homework and evening activities began. Sadly an 8-5 office environment doesn't provide much in the way of nap time and/or place. A time or two I've thought about putting a blanket and pillow under my desk...only downside is they never vacuum under there and a lot of people walk by my cubicle every day so that could get a little awkward. 

Now onto my 10 reasons why offices should allow siestas:

1. Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep (aka the ultimate power nap) improves memory, alertness and energy. It's science, people. 

2. Italy and Spain shut down for a few hours in the afternoon. But let's not talk about how their economies are in the toilet and perhaps there is a correlation between siestas and a lack of productivity. 

3. All of the big tech companies have rooms of nap pods. Clearly this point cancels out my previous comment because tech companies are getting stuff done. If a new version of the iPhone can come out every year, then nap pods are doing something right in this world in the way of productivity. 

4. You won't have to feel guilty about eating a carb-loaded lunch. Have you ever made the mistake of bringing last night's spaghetti leftovers only to regret the decision a few hours later when the sleepy feeling that only comes from a full stomach sets in? Don't even get me started on bringing leftover Thanksgiving turkey for lunch. A nap is required afterwards; there's something in the turkey.

5. Everyone is then in a good mood. I would argue to HR that naps are a step in the right direction to improving employee morale.

6. They are stress relievers. Less stress = a more positive work environment

7. People are already taking 15 minutes for an afternoon coffee run, just let them take a nap and save the $5 on the venti americano.

8. Actually, naps are better than a cup of coffee. Caffeine can impair motor sequence and declarative verbal memory. 

9. Nap rooms and nap-friendly offices are great selling features if you are wanting to recruit people to work for your company. Most people are pro-nap.

10. You can save the time googling how to sleep with your eyes open. No more trying to fake it.

How To Not Be A Plant Killer

Monday, July 14, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 8 Comments

Monday, July 14, 2014

There's a natural progression in my opinion to taking care of things. First plants, then a pet of some sorts, and finally children. Although I know a lot of people who can take care of children, but are hopeless with foliage. 

What little I know about keeping a plant alive for more than a few days, I'll share with you. So maybe you'll be able to add a little life and color to your patio.

1. Know what direction your home faces. 

Either look to the sun or use the handy compass on your phone for this. Knowing if your space will get morning or afternoon sun can make a difference when choosing which plants you want. 

2. Make sure that your planter has a hole in the bottom for excess water to drain. 

You've seen on Pinterest where you can turn just about anything into an adorable pint-size (or quite large) planter, but you have to make sure to drill a hole in the bottom. And apparently you need a special drill for ceramics, FYI. If you lack power tools, it's best to go to the garden center and pick them out there. 

If you're like me, in an effort to make sure that they stay alive, you will most likely overwater them just to be on the safe side. Hence the drainage. 

3. Plant an herb garden to go along with your new found love of cooking. 

Why not get double the use out of your new hobby? Enjoy the aroma outside, as well as adding extra flavor to your meals at no additional cost. 

4. Know when to transfer your growing, healthy plants into a larger pot. 

If you notice any of the following symptoms, it's time to re-pot: stunted, deformed, pale and dull, top-heavy, generally declining, or water drains quickly through soil.

According to Google, you should move up pot sizes by only a couple of inches because, like when you move into a much larger house and automatically fill it with all of your stuff, the plant's roots will grow quickly at the expense of the flowers and leaves (which are what you really care about the most.)

What are some of your lessons learned when keeping a potted porch garden alive?

Coffee Talk: #PotterHeadWeekend Edition

Saturday, July 12, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 13 Comments

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Not going to lie, this weekend will mostly be spent on the couch in front of the TV switching back and forth between the Harry Potter marathon and the World Cup finals. Obviously this will give me an excuse to  make Quidditch references during the World Cup. If you have been living under a rock, ABC Family is FINALLY showing all eight Harry Potter movies this weekend! Coupled with the opening of Diagon Alley at Universal, Samantha booking her flight for Labor Day making our trip to the wizarding world official, you can imagine that I'm in full-on Harry Potter mode. Too bad it's a tad too warm to wear my Gryffindor scarf.

Now I'm reminiscing that one time that Harding had a Quidditch tournament and student publications was The Daily Prophet (see what we did there?). I rode my Swifter instead of a traditional broom and called it the Swift 3000. And this was the beginning and end of my athletic career.

So what if I've added the ingredients for frozen butterbeer to my grocery list tomorrow? It's necessary. 

And I may quite possibly be saving up to splurge on a wand at Universal so that I can cast spells throughout the park and unlock more secrets.

And can we talk about that 7.5 hour wait on Tuesday...I would like to consider myself a Harry Potter fan, but that is a little extreme even for me. In the time it took, they could have watched the first three movies before stepping onto the ride. It was definitely not for the faint of heart. Especially in the Florida humidity. That sounds like the worst.

Book Club: The Vacationers

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 6 Comments

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

There is a trend in books that make the every "summer must read" list. For the most part, they are page turners. Whether a murder mystery, a YA dystopian novel or a coming-of-age story, books picked for the beach typically don't have much substance. It makes sense though. Would you want to make your way through War & Peace lounging by the pool? Yeah, me neither. 

The Vacationers is said summer book. That the scenario is a family summer vacation only solidifies this. Overall, I thought it was a good quick read for a flight or long weekend, but if you are searching for the meaning of life, this is not the book for you. 

It moves quite slow and keeps rehashing each characters "problem" over and over without any resolution until the very end. The characters have all been seen before: the husband who cheats after 20 years of marriage, the wife who can't handle empty nest syndrome, the couple arguing over wanting to have children, the high school grad who wants to reinvent herself before college, and the 30-something man-child whose trust fund has finally run out.

Set on an island off the coast of Spain, The Vacationers can transport you to your own fictional seaside vacation without ever leaving your couch.

Let me introduce you to two of the lovely ladies hanging out on my sidebar this month!

 Meet Christina, a photographer and lover of road trips. Her travel posts make you feel like you are in the passenger seat right alongside her. She is also a runner, which unfortunately is not something we have in common no matter how many times I have tried to convince myself that I could be a runner. And if that isn't enough, she's also mastered the self portrait photo...I'm still working on that one.

Meet Jasmie, a fellow traveler, fur mama, and lover of Disney. Going on a trip soon and not sure what exactly to pack? She has you covered with her must have travel essentials; I second her choice in iphone batter backup and those stylish earbuds! After visiting Disneyland last year as well, I loved reading her recap of the happiest place on earth. I don't exactly have the small closet problem, since I take up both closets for myself, but if you are lacking space for your ever-growing shoe collection, Jasmine has the best tips on organizing your small you can make room for more purchases of course!

Weekly Wishes

Monday, July 7, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 5 Comments

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy Monday after a long weekend! I'm writing this from DFW because in true fashion I arrived 1.5 hours before my flight departs. Better to be early to snag a seat by an outlet than to be that person running for the final boarding call, I guess. 

In typical fashion, Samantha, Emily and I had a foodcation for my visit filled with lots of tex mex, falafel and down home cooking. The weekend was filled with a visit to the Kimbell art museum, the Fort Worth food truck park and the drive-in movie. 

It's so nice being able to catch up for the first time since graduation day in December. Somehow we're able to pick up right where we left off.

Last Week 

While lots of fun was had, an equal amount of sleep and naps commenced this weekend. I thought I would dread having to get up on Monday morning, but it's looking like it won't be such a dreaded experience. 

And the whole invest in self tanner didn't happen. I'm still the palest person in the sunshine state. Ironic, yes?

This Week

Begin going through my old posts to check for broken links, photos that aren't sized correctly and adjusting categories and tags. I've been putting off this tedious process for the longest time. I just need to sit down and actually start doing it. 

Any bloggers/ readers in Tallahassee or north Florida? Let me know! I still very much feel like I'm new to town. Maybe I should also take up a hobby to meet more people? 

Try the desktop zero practice. Similar to keeping your email inbox empty, desktop zero is all about keeping your desktop free of clutter. I'm sort of decent about keeping icons off of my desktop, but I constantly have dozens of tabs open and applications running that I may or may not use immediately. Just like keeping your actual desk clear, I guess keeping your computer desktop organized helps keep you focused? I'll let you know how it goes. 
The Nectar Collective