A Little Life Update

Monday, August 31, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Samantha and I leave for our week-long adventure in Germany and Austria on Saturday. We've been planning and dreaming about this trip in some form or fashion since graduation two years ago. The destination changed several times along the way and for the past year we have been working out all of the details and brushing up on our Hapsburg history. Part of the thrill of traveling for me is planning because extends the excitement a little longer. 

During our semester abroad, we did little planning outside of picking our favorite destinations and booking a place to stay. Other than that, we showed up, wandered around, explored, and did things as we stumbled upon them. Which was fine. But other than finding every gelato stand in Venice, I feel like I may have missed out a little or didn't fully appreciate what I was looking at because I had zero historical or cultural context for the area. 

For the most part, this will not be one of those trips. I would like to leave feeling like I saw and did everything I wanted to and it would be ok if I never made it back for a second visit. You can follow along on Instagram @jesskboyd

In other life news, I got a new job! This week will be the last at my current job, next week I'm on vacation, and then I start at my new agency right after I return. Needless to say, the next month will be chaotic. But in an exciting way. 

My newsfeed is filled with new moves and adventures. Many of the friends I graduated with are on their second city. At times I love that I've finally started to feel at home. I don't have to use Google maps every time I get in the car. I have my favorite restaurants and coffee shops. I'm comfortable. As nice as that sound, I don't want to grow too settled into a routine where I wake up in five years not realizing where the time has gone.

This is the time to explore, wander, dream, try new things and see new places. Although I won't spend a year biking from Oregon to Patagonia, I want to be conscious of not slipping into a rut simply because it makes me comfortable whether it eventually ends in a move and a leap of faith, or simply mixing it up more at home. 

What do you do when you begin to feel restless staying in one place too long? 

Floridian Stereotypes that May or May Not Have a Hint of Truth

Thursday, August 13, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Source: Roger Ahlbrand, CC-BY-2.0, via Flickr

1. We all go to Disney World every single weekend. Although it is centrally located in the state, I've yet to go once in the 1.5 years of living here and at $100 per person/per day I don't plan on it anytime soon.

2. And if we happen to not be at the happiest place on earth, we are at the beach. You can be at the coast within an hour or so from most areas of the state and can enjoy a beach day or weekend almost year round to avoid the crowds.

3. Flip flops and/or sandals are worn year round. I'm not a fan of the "sweatshirt and sandal" look. Plus I love booties and loafers too much to want to deal with sandals in the fall/winter.

4. It is overrun by tourists and snowbirds. This is more true farther south, but there is a sharp increase in northern license plates and RVs between January and May.

5. It is a constant vacation. If only. Living in one of the most popular tourist destinations, it's exciting to either plan short trips in-state or find a lesser-known city to enjoy a getaway. 

6. Coats are required if the temperature dips below 65. And if it hovers around the freezing point during the day, then everyone spirals into a minor panic.

7. All of the murder trials covered by HLN are in Florida. Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, and Michael Dunn to name a few. Nancy Grace should consider relocating from Atlanta to the sunshine state. 

8. The news is filled with bizarre stories that would only happen here. For example, the Florida Man Twitter handle.

9. Alligator sightings are a common, every day occurrence. This is one I try to avoid at all costs. Similar to comparing going into the ocean to going to the shark's house, going to the river/lake/golf course in Florida is similar to going to the alligator's house. 

10. There is a Publix on every corner. This is one I wish were true and with the amount of new stores opening, it is a real possibility. Publix truly is where shopping is a pleasure. And home of pub subs. 

Michelle of The Barefaced Chic

Tell us a little about you and your blog. 
The Barefaced Chic is a quirky, imaginative lifestyle blog that offers a slightly wacky sanctuary in a sea of sensibility. Its mission is to bring its a frequent dose of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, health, sound advice and laughs. And, in this sometimes cookie cutter world, the aim of The Barefaced Chic is to be the chocolate, raspberry crème brûlée!

With a no nonsense approach, within the features on this blog, mature women are encouraged to celebrate themselves, love their quirks and feel happy in their own skin: hence The Barefaced Chic.

It's creator, Michelle, is a massive advocate of living the life we are meant to live and ageing with attitude!

If you could eat only one meal for an extended period of time, what would it be? 
It would have to be lobster, of seafood of any kind - I think I may have been a mermaid in a former life :)

Any suggestions for TV shows to binge watch this summer?
I'm not a massive TV watcher, I tend to pop a DVD on when I'm in a 'slob in front of the telly mood'. The last thing I watched was Breaking Bad - I watched it end-to-end one long weekend.

Any upcoming travels/adventures on the horizon? Anywhere you are dying to go? 
I am incredibly lucky as I travel a huge amount for both business and pleasure. I don't really tend to like the 'norm' so sitting around the pool in the sun is not really my style. For my honeymoon four years ago my hubby and I packed up our MX5 and drove across France, Spain and Portugal with nothing booked. We almost slept in the car a few times, but it was one heck of an adventure. I'd love to do something similar just across Spain, or maybe drive Route 66.

Get to know Michelle more: 

Why Home Offices Shouldn't Be in Close Proximity to Netflix

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Your workspace can make or break your productivity. Too cluttered with paper and half-thought-out ideas and you may end up abandoning it in favor of another more zen spot. On the other hand, if your desk is too sterile, all inspiration is stifled. 

WeWork inspired this post to discuss the things that I love about my current work space, I started thinking about how my mini alcove is a far cry from the home office of my Pinterest dreams. However, I love the clean, simple lines of the desk and that the space is open and bright. When I first moved in the idea was to keep the surface pristine, however there are now piles of books, notecards, mail and pens stacked in a semi-coherent order over most of it. Note to self: never underestimate the importance of drawers. 

Although i have a desk and chair, I almost always end up with my laptop sitting on the couch or, if I need to spread out, the dining table. I've thought about if I would be able to work from home. from this apartment. And while i enjoy my space, my bed is only five steps away and so is my TV and Netflix so i think the temptation would be too much. 

As much as I love my apartment, I enjoy working away from home. Should I ever decide to take a leap of faith and freelance or start my own business or telecommute for a company, I would look into renting a shared work space, at least a few days a week and especially if it affords a place to meet with clients. WeWork has beautifully designed co-working locations in major cities across the country designed for startups, freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses. Whether you need a place to mix up your routine a couple days a week, or a conference room to host meetings with your growing team, they have something for every up-and-comer. 

And if Samantha would get her way and convince me to move to the Lonestar state (not that I don't want to on my own!) then i would definitely consider snagging a seat in the WeWork studio.


Don't Be the Obnoxious American

Monday, August 3, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | Be the first to comment!

Monday, August 3, 2015

When out of the country, no one wants to be the obnoxious person who has to secretly hope everyone they come in contact with either speaks English or can translate a crude sign language system. Most people have the best intentions to travel equipped with a few key phrases (particularly "do you speak English?") in the language of the land they are visiting. 

If you are visiting multiple countries on your adventure then the goal becomes much more far fetched. Before traveling from Paris to Italy for spring break, I had just felt comfortable with basic conversational French. The idea of Italian phrases was too much and even common greetings and words that are almost identical in Spanish escaped me. The silver lining of that experience was that a lifetime of eating a American/Italian restaurants sort of prepared me to navigate the menu, which if we're being honest is the most important lesson.

A year ago I had the best of intentions of knowing much more than the basic German for Travelers. But, alas, one month out and I'm doing good to count to ten. Slowly. As the realization began to sink in I frantically started flying through Duolingo lessons and daily Coffee Break German sessions hoping to get a crash course in language learning which has never been my strong suit. Instead of Spotify, I have German radio turned on in the background hoping that something will sink in.

Do you have any tips or resources for learning the bare necessities for vacation? 

Five Podcasts for Your Commute

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport|| Be the first to comment!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I'll admit that I was a little late to the podcast bandwagon and didn't really start listening until Serial, but I can't get enough of them now. Whether I'm on the road and am tired of music, or at the gym, or at home wanting a little background noise, I enjoy that they require more concentration than listening to music, but still allow you to occupy your time with other things. 

No matter your interests, there is a podcast out there discussing it in detail and they're a great way to delve into a subject more. Here are just a few of my favorites that I listen to weekly.

Look Like a Local

Everyone who loves to travel, wants to explore a new city like a local. No one consciously sets out to only bounce from one tourist trap to another. Look Like a Local is a travel podcast that takes you across North America (and now Europe). They interview local residents of travel destinations to find out where the best places to eat, see and hang out are. It's great to skim through and find episodes about a destination you are about to visit, or if you are looking for inspiration for your next weekend getaway.  You might remember this podcast from when Jackie was a guest and shared her favorite spots in NYC. 

Coffee Break German

In my now frantic quest to learn enough German to not embarrass myself in a few weeks (can you believe it?!), I stumbled upon the Coffee Break German language learning podcast. I enjoy the format and being able to hear natives speak to get a good feel for the accent. The podcast is produced by Radio Lingua and they also have lessons in French and Spanish. To get additional lessons, you can sign up for a paid subscription.

Real Simple - Adulthood Made Easy

Being an adult is hard. And one of the twenty-something editor, Sam Zabell, at Real Simple is on a mission to take the guesswork out of transitioning out of college and helping other twenty-somethings win at real life. Topics include: taxes 101, cooking for one, meeting people in a new city, apartment hunting and negotiating your first salary. Each week, Sam talks with experts to help answer all of her questions along the way.  

Mystery Show

Mystery Show is a new podcast about mysteries, hosted by Starlee Kine (you may know her from This American Life), and is a must-listen for Nancy Drew fans. All mysteries are listener submitted and the only rule is that they cannot be solved simply by Googling. I love that Starlee takes you through her entire thought process bouncing from clue to clue and that she is also interested in learning more background about the people she interviews along the way. In some of the episodes, I've been a little more interested in their stories than I have been in solving the case.  


And finally, Serial, the podcast that made podcasts cool again. If you haven't listened to season one already, you should stop what you're doing and listen. I can't wait for season two this fall and (hopefully) season three in the spring. Serial follows an entire true story each season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many twists and turns, and the listeners are figuring out what is happening right along host Sarah Koenig. I'm not sure how much of Adnan Syed's success in his fight for a new trial can be attributed to the popularity of Serial and the real questions and mistakes brought up in his first trial, but it was fascinating to watch it all unfold. 

Coffee Talk

Saturday, July 18, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Want to keep up with current events but don't have the time? The Everygirl has you covered with five easy tips, from finding your favorite news roundup (mine is theskimm) to combining unbiased sources with more opinionated sources for a well-rounded view on what's going on. 

Are you trying to balance working full time with freelancing? Scheduling and blocking off time (and being realistic about how long things take) is crucial. Kelsey shares her scheduling method to make it all work so you're not spending all of your time working.

Bored of sandwiches every day at lunch? Try these three lunches and be the envy of the office break room.

Planing for #GermanyAustria2015 has been going on for almost a year and these tips will help when researching a destination so you don't have to worry about missing any of the cool spots.

A whole week of meals made with quinoa. Still a little skeptical that I wouldn't get sick of the grains after three days.

Summer Reading

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | 8 Comments

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The concept of summer reading is much more appealing after high school. Although I admit that I was the student who finished the assigned reading and essays well before the halfway point of summer and enjoyed it. Call me crazy. So far this summer my taste in books has been all over the place: from Amy Poehler's laugh-until-you-cry-from-laughing memoir and Cheryl Strayed's much more serious and motivational memoir, to the latest novel from Grisham (I think it's the latest, he just writes way too many) and a unique world history overview.

Confession time. Other than her time on Weekend Update, Mean Girls and Parks and Rec, I didn't know much about Amy Poehler's career. And I was one of those people who read through it thinking of Leslie Knope writing it, even though that's just a character she plays. But any book with a guest chapter by Seth Myers is a book worth reading in my opinion and I enjoyed the mix of memoir and comedy, although it was no "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me." (Side note: Mindy's second book, Why Not Me, is coming out in September and I cannot wait.)

I went through a major John Grisham phase in high school. As in I've read every single one of his books and am now in the habit of automatically reading the next one year after year. Gray Mountain focuses on the coal mining industry in Appalachia and the severe impact it has on the environment as well as the economy and the people of the region. In true Grisham fashion, there were many ethical questions and law practices raised as well as seedy characters typical of small-town justice. 

Months after the movie was released (on DVD) I got around to reading Wild. It was all everyone could talk about and perhaps my expectations for it were too high, but I was underwhelmed by it. It was a powerful story knowing that it was true, rather than fiction, but it would have been just as powerful without all the mentions of her toenails falling off. 

And finally, A History of the World in 6 Glasses, which I highly recommend to anyone who has a love of history and how interconnected social, economic and political factors are. From prehistoric times to present day, Standage sums up the major high points of history as affected by beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee and Coca-Cola. While I was in college, the International Programs office organized two summer trips based on this book following the history of tea (traveling to Boston, China, India and London) and coffee (traveling to Ethiopia, Turkey and Paris).

What's on your must-read list this summer?