Coffee Talk

Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 2 Comments

Saturday, August 30, 2014

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I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the long weekend! As you are reading this, Samantha and I are on our way to Orlando (you can follow along with the adventure here).

I never tire of the preppy-meets-feminine touches of Mackenzie's apartment. Can't wait to see more updates as she settles in to her newest abode.

Breakfast lovers rejoice! Chickfila is debuting chicken and waffles on their breakfast menu! The downside is it is only in selection locations (Tallahassee not included, unfortunately...) Want to see if your area is lucky enough to enjoy the savory/sweet treat? Find out here.

In case you are having a rough week, here are photos of a baby squirrel falling asleep after having a meal. On a side note, I had never seen baby squirrels before, even though they ruled my campus and truly thought it was their home and we were just visiting.

You know you live in a grown-up apartment if... Love this list. I meet a few of the criteria (owning a desk, having a dedicated space to eat and actually hanging up art on the wall with nails and not thumbtacks.) What about you?

Great advice from Jackie on how to pair down your wardrobe. Don't let items you have like and rarely wear take up valuable real estate in your closet. You should be excited every time you pick out an outfit so only keep pieces that are truly special or are the most versatile basics that you can wear forever.

Oh, Nashville. You really one of my favorite cities. And quite possibly you will count me as one of your residents one day. I especially love seeing you though an Aussie's eyes. Thanks Sophie for sharing photos of your visit!

Also, through Tuesday all ad spots are 25% off with code TWENTYFIVE. Get yours before it's too late!

Book Club: If I Stay

Thursday, August 28, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 5 Comments

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I want to preface this review, by making it clear that this book is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars. Disregard any comparisons between the book/movie. It's not even close. And if you begin reading it expecting to uncover John-Green-words-of-wisdom then you are gong to be disappointed.

The book is based around the question posed to the main character, Mia, as she's on the brink of death "Does she want to continue to live, or go on?" Her parents and brother have just died in a car accident, so learning to live a life without them would be immensely difficult. However, she's on the edge of the rest of her life, has friends and family who don't want to learn to live a life without her. And Adam. I won't give any spoilers to how it ends in case you haven't read it yet. 

I think the book would have been much better as an extended short story or a novella. While reading it I kept feeling like the characters were running in circle, debating the same pros and cons to living/dying over and over again. The story is told through flashbacks that introduce you to the people who mean the most to Mia: her parents who are the punk to her classical, her much younger brother who breathes new life into the family, her grandparents, her best friend Kim who seems like more of a sidekick for most of the story until it's almost too late, and finally Adam, her soon-to-be-famous musician boyfriend whose life is moving in the complete opposite direction as hers. 

Music plays a key role in the lives of all of the characters. Mia stands out from her friends and family for her love of the cello, which is a stark contrast to the speaker-blaring cares-to-the-wind punk rock that is the center part of everyone else's life. Mia thinks that she can only perform alone, practice alone and develop the passion of hers alone. She looks to the others performing together, bonding over a common passion and spurring each other on to play better and is a little jealous. She thinks that she doesn't quite fit in. The turning point comes during a front porch jam session when her friends and family insist she join in and Mia finally realizes that her two worlds can coexist just fine and she is not an odd one out. 

All I will say about the end is that it is abrupt. There is not further explanation about everyone goes on with their life. Many questions are left unanswered; there is no epilogue. Overall I thought it was an interesting read, especially to make you think about whether or not you were put in the same situation, if that was a possibility, what would you choose to do?

Language Barriers When Traveling

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , , , | 7 Comments

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Unfortunately, the assumption that Americans only speak English and expect everyone else to do the same sort of applied in my case when I studied abroad. I knew zero phrases of French before I stepped on the plane and was armed with my Rick Steves' phrase book that I was hoping would help me communicate just enough until my French lessons began. 

If you are visiting an area that speaks another language and are a picky eater, it is important to learn the names of foods that you like and don't like. Samantha and Emily hated fish with a passion. They made up a little reminder "poission = poison" so they knew to avoid it on menus.

You'll also find yourself doing a lot of pointing and gesturing. Because somehow these generic sign language moves transcend language and culture. Most of the time.

Also, in France, they start counting with their thumb on their fingers. So let's say you pass by a bakery (there is literally one on every corner so take your pick) and you want two almond croissants. You step up to the counter, butcher "deux croissant amande" so for good measure you hold up your second and third finger to emphasize that you want two. Well, it's your lucky day because you will most likely be given three (you should have held up your thumb and second finger...does that make sense?) Anyways, in this instance having three almond croissants instead of two is a great thing in my opinion.

Finally, while you may have a grand idea of visiting every country in Europe at one time, but be prepared for a language overload. After accidentally speaking French in Italy, and Italian in Switzerland, it might be easiest to try your hand at English and hope for the best.

We truly live in a global society. Whether you're travelling for fun, or working in a global company or organization, interacting with others who speak a different language is inevitable. Don't let a language barrier prohibit your information from reaching people across the world. Go a step beyond Google translate and instead opt for a translation service, such as Smartling, run by humans and not computers.

Have you had any language mishaps either while traveling or at work? How did you handle them?


The Jessa Olson Blog

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Meet Jessa (formally of Life of a Sports Wife). Similar to me, she spent some time in Arkansas. There is something about everyone around you shouting "Woo Pig Souie" that automatically gives you something in common. More than our shared time living in The Natural State, we are also baseball fans (her husband works for the minor league team) and I suppose I will forgive her for wearing Rangers attire. Jessa is also a runner and is constantly sharing tips for you to become a runner too. It's yet to work for me, but I always love the motivation! New to her corner of the internet? Get a crash course here

Blog Hop: Behind the Scenes of Stamp in My Passport

Monday, August 25, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 7 Comments

Monday, August 25, 2014

The lovely Caity of Where the Heart is and  Monica of The Travel Hack nominated to take part in this blog hop, and I rarely ever turn down a writing prompt handed to me. It's a chance to share a behind the scenes look at where the blogging magic happens. Although I don't have a cute fur baby like Monica to grace the my workspace, I'll go ahead and share it anyways. 

Q1. What am I currently working on/writing?

I'm not going to lie, this space has not bee one of my top priorities lately, but that is going to change. I've missed it. Between writing for work and for this space, sometimes it feels like I have used up my word limit for the day by the time I make it home. Am I the only one that feels this way? 

There are a few trips on the horizon to Orlando with Samantha (T-minus six days until your newsfeeds blow up with dozens of photos of me drinking butterbeer. Still working on a hashtag for the trip...any suggestions?) and then to the beach later in September after the crowds have calmed down, but before the madness that is Georgia-Florida weekend at St. Simons.

Q2. How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

This is a great question! The hilarious part is that I'm not quite sure what genre Stamp in my Passport falls into besides the general "lifestyle" category. I wouldn't say that this blog has gone though a slight identity crisis, but it has been an adjustment. The bank account doesn't want to keep up with all of the travels I want to take to have something to write about. To supplement that, I fill the space with snapshots of my life and my sometimes off-the-wall take on situations. 

Is it a travel blog? No. It's more of a stream-of-consciousness blog. Some people like it, some don't. I share what I love and what inspires me. And sometimes that is all over the place. But since this is first and foremost for me, I'm ok with that. And I hope you are, too. 

Q3. Why do I write what I do?

I touched on it in the previous answer, I write about what inspires me and is at the front of my mind. Time and time again, I am amazed that complete strangers from all over the world choose to read what I have to write. Thank you for that! 
Don't let the desk fool you, I mainly work from my couch or bed.

Q4. How does my writing process work?

I was tagged in this blog hop a while ago and focused on this question and described my writing process as "typing away in semi-coherent sentences." I keep a journal with me almost all of the time to jot down post ideas as they come to me. Sometimes I will flesh the ideas out, and sometimes I simply leave the topic to elaborate on once I sit down behind the computer when the pressure is on. Then I like to spend part of the weekend while watching Netflix to finalize which post ideas I want to include in the upcoming week. If I'm feeling really ambitious, I will also take photos to go along with them. If not, it's to the archives or Death to Stock Photo for me. Finally, either on the weekend or sometimes the night before I will put my fingers to the keyboard and type to my heart's content. And voila! I hit publish. And hope that people will read it. 

To continue on with the fun, I nominate: 

Sara of Bristol in My Pocket She's a Texan living in England. Feel free to join me in living vicariously through her posts.

Christina of Route Bliss I never tire of Christina's mix of posts on travel, photography and real life. 

Aubrey of Adventures in Aubreyland I think the reason that I love Aubrey's blog can be summed up in her page titles: Travel, My Cats and Where to Eat. These are three of my favorite things too.

Coffee Talk

Saturday, August 23, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 3 Comments

Saturday, August 23, 2014

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I have a sixth sense when it comes to scrolling through my Bloglovin feed to find posts about Paris. And I  read This week I'm living through Amanda from Rhymes and Ribbons' post.

I went though a phase where I wanted to Instagram every single meal I ate. Not in a "I want to show you how I can stick to a diet and eat like a rabbit" way, but more in a "I want to remember what dishes I enjoy at a particular restaurant" way.  In case I ever want to take up my food photography, I will be turning to this post from Emma of A Beautiful Mess. I love that she shows comparisons of the first food photos she took and recent ones. She's learned a lot over the years, and we can too!

I still haven't quite settled on a beauty routine and am still trying out different products to see what suits my skin best (which can vary from week to week unfortunately due to stress and diet.) Kasi from Birch Juice shared her morning skincare routine, which is three steps and completely doable for anyone. I hate when people have a 10 step routine because i know I would never take that much time/spend that much money on products.

I don't know about you, but traveling alone sounds like the worst kind of vacation to me, and not just for the "Taken" situations I envision happening. Amanda from Living in Another Language shares her reasons why traveling with someone (a significant other, best friend, family) is better than traveling alone. I couldn't agree more.

Looking for design inspiration for your apartment or a weekend project? Here are ten. 

Do you also sleep with one foot outside the covers? There might be a scientific reason for why this seemingly strange sleep habit helps us fall asleep faster.

In case you missed my previous post on my thoughts about T Swifts new video "Shake it Off." This is a turning point for all awkward dancers out there; perhaps there is hope for us yet.

Has T Swift Now Made Awkward Dancing Socially Acceptable?

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 5 Comments

Thursday, August 21, 2014

If you have yet to watch T Swift's new music video "Shake it Off" then stop what you are doing and watch it. And then read this hilarious Buzzfeed article with 27 gifs of her awkward dance moves. If you need a Thursday pick-me-up to carry you on to the weekend, then this is it. I think this is going to be the song that will be blaring though rolled down windows until it gets too cool.

The question on everyone's (who lacks any sort of rhythm at all) mind is: Has T Swift now made awkward dancing socially acceptable? And now for my commentary:

1. Angry ribbon twirling is an olympic sport I could excel at. That and speed walking, but that is a different conversation for a different time.

2. Perhaps if you make awkward faces to go along with your crazy invented moves people will get the hint that you're just going to do you and they won't pass judgement. Perhaps they will laugh with you and not at you? The jury is still out on that one. 

3. When in doubt, do the Travolta like you just don't care.

4. Since when did crazy finger movements become a dance? Maybe that is something that would benefit from my years spent in band.

5. FYI to all you girls out there thinking you can "twerk"...Taylor's rendition is really what you look like as well. Hate to break it to you.

6. Is interpretive dance going to be making an appearance at proms across America?

So besides writing about travel, writing about pop culture ranks pretty high up there in my book. Entertainment Weekly is one of my favorite magazines and who can't resist the riveting newsworthiness of E! News? What do you think of a regular pop culture feature on Stamp in My Passport? Is it something you would be interested in? Because I'm simply here to give the people what they want :)

Coffee Talk on a Monday

Monday, August 18, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 1 Comment

Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Monday! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and if school is starting back in your area (they are in mine) I hope your Monday morning commute didn't take extra long. This weekend I went to Jacksonville for a shopping weekend at St. Johns Town Center. It's the perfect set up: hotel, all my favorite stores as well as restaurants all within walking distance of each other. There's no real need to drive anywhere else. Saturday shopping days are made better when you can take a nap in between rounds one and two. 

Since Anjali took over on Saturday (if you missed her post on her favorite trips in Europe, you can find it here), I thought I would push coffee talk back until today, because I just couldn't wait to share some of these posts with you. 

I never tire of reading about other's trips to Paris, see Whitney's here. I love comparing what they ate, saw and did to my experiences. Sometimes they're quite similar and I can completely relate and others, I take note of for my next visit. 

The ladies behind The Everygirl outdid themselves with their office styling with PB Teen. Can I have all of the items, please?

Long bobs are now all the rage with the a-list stars. Sometimes I tire of wearing mine simply straight. Love these ideas to mix it up a little.

Danielle's collection of neutral clothing and accessories have now made it onto my list of must-haves. 

Bedside tables can be a challenge to keep pretty and not simply a catch all for all of the items you want to have close to you in bed so you never have to get up. I love Stephanie's styling, but I'm curious to know if her bedside tables always look this picture perfect on a daily basis?