This Time Next Month

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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My countdown may have started a long time ago, but I would like to point out that in just one month I will be at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If this post is any indication, I'm a pretty big fan. Disney may be the happiest place on earth, but it doesn't have frozen butterbeer (or butterbeer ice cream...and yes I will be consuming all forms of butterbeer on that day YOLO).

Samantha is coming to visit for Labor Day for the occasion and I cannot wait to have someone to talk HP trivia with on the drive to Orlando. That's a sign of a true friend right there. 

I would like to point out that I am not usually a theme park person. Maybe it's because I've lived semi-close to Orlando my entire life, but my family has never taken a week off to traipse through a concrete jungle, wait in lines with wait times measured by the hour and eat overpriced food in a sea of strollers and screaming children. Call it cynical, but it's just not my idea of a good time.

However, this is the closest I will get to strolling through Diagon Alley and riding the Hogwarts Express so I think I will be able to suffer through it. I may not be an early adopter and had no desire to join the thousands waiting 7+ hours for the main attraction a few weeks ago, but I also don't know if I could have stood the suspense of waiting any longer than this to visit.

Forgive me if I come back shouting allohamora at my front door willing it to open. It's simply a matter of reliving my favorite childhood book. 

On a completely unrelated note speaking of books turned into movies turned into theme park attractions, somehow I don't think The Hunger Games will translate well into a family-friendly rollercoaster. Just throwing that idea out there.

My First Apartment: Porch Sitting

Monday, July 28, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 11 Comments

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. Can you believe that July is almost over? Madness. 

I wanted to take the time to give update on the apartment decorating. Lots of prints were ordered this weekend so the beginnings of a gallery wall are in the works. But until then, my porch. Which I love, even though I can only sit out there if I light a citronella candle because the mosquitos are the worst. The rug is the latest edition that I ordered from KellyAnn's. It's a fade resistant plastic material, perfect for hosing off.

Also, check out that healthy, growing plant. Six weeks and counting and only one near-death experience. I think the pride I'm feeling right is similar to what parents feel when their children are growing. Yeah, exactly the same feeling.

Friday Favorites: Daily Survival Guide

Friday, July 25, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 1 Comment

Friday, July 25, 2014

I'm on of those people who carries an abnormally large bag on a regular basis. Whether or not I bring my laptop with me, I still use my laptop bag as my carry all. I've been known to mistaken diaper bags for tote bags. Those came with some quizzical looks in the checkout line. 

Needless to say, I carry everything I need (and more) with me. I may talk about organization and simplifying my life on a fairly regular basis, but this does not apply to the pile of receipts at the bottom of my bag.

So what do I always have on hand? 

1. Notebook - For all of those ideas, partial lists and random musings, and half-written blog posts. Typing on my phone keyboard is a pain even with autocorrect (made more so by autocorrect, sometimes) so I keep track of things the old fashioned way. 

2. Kindle - I never know when I will end up having to wait for a long period of  time or find myself needing to fill 20 minutes. Now I have no excuse to knock books of of my "must read" list.

3. A scarf - For those days that the office is freezing.

4. A liter water bottle - I drink 2 - 3 liters of water per day. Having a larger bottle eliminates the number of times I have to walk to the water fountain to refill it. Ever since I gave up tea and diet coke (ok, "give up" may be a little extreme) and made water my main beverage of choice, I haven't had a problem getting the recommended amount per day. 

5. Larabars - To curb the hanger that sets in about 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. like clockwork.

6. Tinted lip balm - I received this lip balm in a Birchbox and absolutely love it. It's the perfect mix between a hydrating balm and a tinted gloss. With other lip products, I still had to use my trusty EOS underneath. This cuts out the middleman. 

7. Multivitamins - Because I never remember to take my vitamin in the morning, I tote the whole bottle around with me. And they may or may not rattle around quite loudly. 

What is in your daily survival kit?


Laura of Camis and Cushions

Laura lives in the UK and will be headed to university in a few months. What started out as a space for her to share her favorite fashions and home decor, has turned into a little bit of a mixture of everything going on in her life (and those are my favorite kinds of blogs because no one has just one hobby or niche) - see posts about being a novice hula hooper and crafting. She also loves hunting for a good bargain, as seen in her Steal of the Week posts. 

Follow along: Bloglovin | Twitter | Pinterest

Mia of A Swede Abroad

Mia is living the life that I live in my perfect dream world. She spent the last five years living in London and is now moving down under. Who else is jealous slash wants to crash on her couch on their next trip to Australia? And if that isn't enough wanderlust for you, just check out the list of all the countries she has visited here. Like most of us, Mia doesn't have a job that allows her to travel but just proves that if you love something so much you will find a way to make it happen.  

Follow along: Bloglovin

Backgrounds For An Organized Desktop

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 9 Comments

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

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| | 5 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?