{Summer Reading} The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , | Be the first to comment!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

L
I want to start this review off by saying that if you are looking for a fun, lighthearted book to skim while lounging by the pool, then don't pick up "The Storyteller." If you have read any other of Picoult's books, you know what I mean. (Anyone remember "My Sister's Keeper"? They should have sold a box of Kleenex along with it.)

"The Storyteller" centers around one elderly man's wish for forgiveness. Joseph Weber has a long-buried secret that he has to get off his chest. He befriends Sage, a solitary baker who prefers the nocturnal schedule of baking bread and pastries for the early morning customers to dealing with people. After they meet at grief counseling, they strike an unlikely friendship because they both have baggage they would rather not share.

Joseph confesses that he was a Nazi soldier working in one of the concentration camps. Because he knows Sage is a Jew, he believes that her forgiveness of his actions sixty years prior can absolve his sins for the thousands of others that watched murdered. So what is Sage to do? Does she forgive this frail 90 year old man for the heinous crimes that he committed in his youth? I will not spoil any more of the plot, because there are several major twists and turns. 

In high school, my English class did a large unit on Holocaust history and read the classics, Night, Anne Frank, and watched several movies. Never have I read an interpretation from the point of view of a Holocaust survivor's grandchild (Spoiler: Sage's grandmother survived living in Auschwitz.) While not based on a true story, "The Storyteller" faces the issue of forgiveness head on.

Sage is faced with deciding to forgive Joseph, even though she is not the person who truly has the right to forgive; they are all dead. Joseph also begs Sage to help him die. He has lived a long life, survived cancer, buried his wife and believes that he is being punished by continuing to live. Sage is faced with a moral dilemma: Is helping Joseph die the same as what he did to countless Jews? Does he deserve to get his way? 

Have the tissues on hand for this one. The recount of Sage's grandmothers experiences in the concentration camp were the most difficult part to read, however knowing that she ultimately survives, makes it bearable. "The Storyteller" will make you stop and consider the limits of forgiveness and who has the right to forgive whom.

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On a MUCH lighter note, you should head over to Mish Lovin' Life and enter the giveaway that I'm participating in! Everyone love free stuff, am I right? Lots of gift cards up for grabs and even some ad space for the bloggers of you out there.

I'm one lucky duck

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| Be the first to comment!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Guess who is the lucky winner of this fabulous prize? 
You guessed it, this girl!

I'm almost positive that this is the first giveaway of any kind 
that I have ever won in the history of my life. 

Raffle baskets in elementary school? NOPE. 
Calling in to radio stations to win concert tickets? DEFINITELY NOT. 
The lottery? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?

I entered this giveaway hosted by Chelsea from Lost in Travels 
(and many more lovely ladies) on a whim. 

As you can tell by my photos, I am not the proud 
owner of a DSLR...yet. But I thought, why not support 
all of these bloggers by entering, out of 4,000 entries there is 
no way I am going to win.

So watch out blogging world, this girl is trading in her
iPhone camera and PC for a DSLR and Macbook.
Because apparently that is what all of the cool kids have 
and I am a complete technology follower. And proud of it.

I may have to wait a few months to make use
of my ONA bag and camera strap,
but they will be perfect to tote my camera around 
when I'm traveling. 

Thanks to all of the following ladies, I will put the prize to good use.


Day Trip to Atlanta

Monday, July 29, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , , , | 3 Comments

Monday, July 29, 2013


This weekend was spent at two Atlanta staples: The Varsity and Turner Field. No trip to Atlanta is complete without at least a pit stop at The Varsity. When my cousin and I were younger, my grandparents would drive us up in their van (complete with reclining seats and a table) and we would park in the drive-in area and eat in the car. When you are 10 and your dad doesn't normally let you eat in the car, that is the highlight of any trip. They specialize in hot dogs, onion rings and grease. None of this low-cal, health-conscious business. It is a favorite of all of the downtown business men in their white shirts. Surprisingly they never spill ketchup or mustard on them. That right there is an art. 

If there is one thing France taught me, it is that mustard goes with everything. This is the Grey Poupon of America. When in Rome, I guess. 


Let's talk about the best way to get to Turner Field. Because driving in downtown Atlanta as 50,000 people are trying to enter/exit the stadium is probably worse than pulling teeth. We stayed at the Hilton by the airport, rode the shuttle to Hartsfield-Jackson, bought a $5 round trip MARTA ticket, rode to Underground Atlanta then took the accompanying shuttle to the stadium. It might be a little extra time, but will save you the headache. And at 11 that night when you are trying to leave, you will be thankful that you don't have to think about the traffic.

Fair warning, knowledge of this stress-free method is spreading, so make sure that you get there early.  
My parents and I sat on the third base line, which means no afternoon sun. And in the South in the late afternoon, that is priceless. Unfortunately we were surrounded by Cardinals fans, who after shelling out over $100 on food alone, went home disappointed. I even taught the two kids in front of me to do the tomahawk chop. Needless to say, their dad wasn't too happy about that. 



Oh, hello Waffle House in the stadium. Friday was their first night to be open and they are the only WH that isn't 24 hours. Baseball games are not just for hotdogs and popcorn anymore. Fans want waffles and their hashbrowns scatterd, smothered and covered, and WH answered that call. I refuse to pay $5 for a waffle, so I got my WH fix the next morning for breakfast. 

Which brings me to a rant about the price of food at a ball game. I thought movie theaters were a racket, but they got nothing on sporting complexes. 

Coke: $4.75. Hot dog: $6. Popcorn: $5. Watching a man hand a $10 bill for his beer, expecting change, and finding out it actually cost $10.25: PRICELESS.

Moral of that story: Eat before the game. Better moral of the story...get bumped up to the executive level of the Hilton and take advantage of the free hors d'oeuvres for dinner.  

This is what 50.000 people looks like. That is than the population of Valdosta, which kind of blows my mind. 

Saturday morning was spent at Tangar Outlet mall. Outlet shopping should be a sport because it can take a lot of perseverance and stamina if done properly.

How was your weekend?

Grab your sunnies

Friday, July 26, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | Be the first to comment!

Friday, July 26, 2013

1//2//3//4//5

I was a working girl this summer, 
which was fine because you can only watch 
daytime television and lay by the pool so long
before getting cabin fever. 

The problem was the lack of time for a proper vacation. 
I started my internship at the Chamber of Commerce 
less than 48 hours after I arrived home from school. 
Which mean that I lived out of my suitcase for at least a week.

Now that my internship is drawing to a close next Wednesday, 
my parents and I are getting our beach vacation.
Keep your fingers crossed that this tropical storm dissipates
because right now they think it is going to be hitting the east coast 
next weekend, right when I want to catch a few rays at St. Simon's Island,
a sleepy barrier island community that is my favorite to visit. 

My must haves for next weekend: 
+the maxi dress I bought earlier this summer 
+Essie polish in Fuji
+A pool read: Grace's biography will be perfect
+Coola face sunscreen
+Warby Parker sunglasses 
(In a perfect world. I'll probably stick with my trusty Target shades.)
+Neutral sandals

------------------------------------

Right now I'm en route to Atlanta to watch the Braves play the Cardinals.
I've never wanted them to win a game so much.
Have a fun weekend!


We Took the Road Less Traveled

Travel Bucket List

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , , , , | 6 Comments

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


If money and time were of no consequence, where in the world would you travel? While I may be landlocked in the US for the near (and far) foreseeable future, my traveling alter ego would be a globe trotter. You better believe that she would easily fill up her passport before it is time to renew and have to ask for another one. (Side note: How does that work? Not like I will ever be in the predicament. But just curious.) This alter ego of mine would also have the art of packing down to a science. No more experimenting with the zip-lock bag method, or the roll-and-stuff method. No, she would know exactly how to pack for three weeks in a carry on like everyone says you can do. She would also have a sixth sense about where the hidden gem restaurants in a new town are. 

My travel alter ego would have stamps from: 

1// Russia: After watching Anna Karenina I fell completely head over heels in love. And throw in the Winter Olympics in Sochi in January, I'd say Russia is looking pretty good right now. I am an extreme Olympics fan. During the London games, I would watch three simultaneous events on my tv, computer and phone Minus the fact that they are hiding an American seller-of-intelligence-secrets in their airports. Russia might not like America, but I still want to visit. Don't worry, I'll practice my accent, call everyone Vlad and they won't know where I'm from.

2// Highclere Castle: Home of Downton Abbey and the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Interesting fact: the 5th Earl of Carnarvon sponsored Howard Carter who discovered King Tut's tomb. Currently, there is an Egypt exhibit in the cellars of Highclere. Count me in. 

3 // Greece: I have gotten it into my mind that the best way and only way I want to see the Mediterranean is by cruise, you can read about Casey's Mediterranean cruise here. Think  about it, the boat is like a floating hotel that you don't have to arrange. There are no train tickets to purchase. Your excursions can be planned if you want, or you can explore on your own. Granted, I will not be cruising on a Carnival ship no matter how much of a discount they offer. After all of those disasters, I understand that cruising has a bad reputation, but I have been on two Disney cruises to the Bahamas and they were wonderful.

4 // Bali: I watch a lot of House Hunters International. There I admit it and I'm not ashamed. Sam and I even will have whole text conversations about families and how obnoxious they can be, especially when they are looking at flats in Paris. Secretly we are jealous of them. But back to Bali...It is EXTREMELY affordable to travel there once you fork over the price of the plane ticket. You can live like a king for pennies a day and many of the people buying vacation homes were able to afford maids. Add in lush jungles, pristine beaches an a unique local culture and I am a happy camper.

5 // American road trip:West coast I'm coming for you. My cousin is graduating from college in Malibu in May, which sounds like the perfect excuse to load up a rental car and cruise down the 101. Actually this sounds like a brilliant plan for non-alter-ego-traveler Jess so I'm going to get the ball rolling on this plan.

6 // Finland: I read in the Wall Street Journal about these igloos that you can stay in that have an open ceiling so you can watch the Northern Lights. How amazing would that be? Don't worry, they have thermal panels to make sure you stay nice and toasty while watching the show. For more places to view the Northern Lights, read the article here. I'm kind of obsessed with the Nordic countries in general. I would finally have an excuse to wear all of my fair isle patterned sweaters, scarves and socks. Trust me, there are a lot of them in my closet.

So now I will ask you, what is on you travel bucket list? Any ideas on how to turn them into a reality?

Why Americans love the #royalbaby more than North West

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 2 Comments

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


One of the main questions arising after the Royal Baby media frenzy is: Why do Americans care so much? We moved to an mostly uninhabited land, fought off diseases and fought a revolution just to get away from the monarchy. Are we going soft? Do we want to go back to those days? 

Reasons why Americans care so much about Will, Kate and their son: 

1. We love a Cinderella story. Kate is living out every girls fairy tale of marrying a prince. She came from a "working class" background (which gets me every time because her family has millions, but I guess not even that can buy you a title). We love watching the fairy tale romance evolve and, unlike many royals in the past, Will and Kate look like they truly care about each other.

2. The news needs a positive story every now and then. Fires, floods, earthquakes, murders, the miserable state of the economy...this is the meat of the 24-hour news cycle. The royal baby is like a breath of fresh air.

3. Kate stands in complete contrast to the sorry state of American celebs. Yes, I'm talking to you Amanda, Lyndsey and Kim. Don't think that you having a baby will bring joy to the world like the birth of His Royal Highness. Not gonna happen. When American celebrities have a baby, they decide to sell its photos to the highest tabloid (eh hem...Tom and Katie, I'm looking at you). Even if such a thought crossed the mind of Will and Kate, they would donate all of the proceeds to a charity that, not only do they support monetarily, but also visit and spend time at.


***
On a side note, my family was living outside of London when Princess Diana died. Remember the photos of people camped outside waiting for her funeral procession? My mom and some of her friends were in that crowd. Sadly, I was five at the time and wondering why the funeral took precedent over my cartoons. How little I had my priorities in order then.

Also, am I the only one who is secretly hopes that they hold the baby up like Simba in The Lion King when they introduce him to the world at Buckingham? 



DIY Spa Treatments

Monday, July 22, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 1 Comment

Monday, July 22, 2013

In a perfect world, I would take weekly trips to the spa and live in a white terrycloth robe and slippers. Since this is not a perfect world and I am sporadically employed right now, I will have to put said dream on hold. 

Have no fear, because the internet is full of DIY spa treatments and the following ones are tried and proven by yours truly. Why not have a grown up spa girls night in? Instead of painting your nails with every color of glitter polish and giving "makeovers" you can actually try and benefit your skin.

Who knows, maybe with the money you save on a trip to the spa, you can splurge and get the white robe, because I think it really makes all the difference. (See my post on wanting to live in a white robe, like Rachel Zoe here.)

1. Brightening Toner



1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
2/3 cup Witch Hazel
Plastic bottle



Mix ingredients in the bottle. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Pat face dry. Apply toner with a cotton ball, sweeping upward and outward over your face and neck. Apply moisturizer. 



2. Body Scrub

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil 
(if you like, you can add vanilla and honey)


Mix ingredients together. Use in the shower and rinse. 


4. Listerine Foot Soak

1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup Listerine
5 cups warm water


Let your feet soak for about 10 minutes, or until the water starts to become cool. The dead skin will practically fall off and if you have a pumice stone, you can do some damage to calluses. 


What is your favorite at-home spa treatment?

Summer is for binge tv watching

Friday, July 19, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 3 Comments

Friday, July 19, 2013

Because I didn't want to spend another watching #RetroMTV's marathons of Laguna Beach and The Hills, I was bound and determined to find another show  to indulge in. Why do the networks think that the summer is the time to take a hiatus from new episodes is beyond me. Summer is when I have plenty of time to watch two (or three or four) hours of television at a time. The fall and spring? Not so much.

On the agenda this summer: Parks and Recreation. I will forever be sad that I didn't start watching it back in 2009, but don't worry, I have been making up for it the past few weeks. 

So I thought that I would give a {SHORT} list of my favorite quotes thus far. For the record, Aziz is by far my favorite character (behind Amy, obviously). In the words of Chris Treager, Parks and Rec is LITERALLY my favorite show right now.

“I strapped an MP3 player to one of those floor-cleaning robots. Call him DJ Roomba. Little guy cruises around and plays music. What’s hot, DJ Roomba! DJ Roomba, tearin’ it up! "




Tom explains Apps and Zerts. Also, chicken parmesan is chicky chicky parm parm. LOLZ.

                                         



Seriously, Jerry is the WORST.


AND THEN THERE WAS JEAN-RALPHIO. 


Well I hope that you have also found your perfect 
summer binge tv show, 
because summer is almost over. 

If you haven't, there is always The Hills 
on every weekday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on MTV. 
No one will judge you for watching it, I promise.
Especially not me.

Put your best foot forward

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 2 Comments

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I have never had the patience to wear heels
and I was always the first person to pack a change of shoes
for fancy occasions. And most of the time 
I had changed even before we were done taking pictures. 
Whatever...standing in one spot for what seems like eternity 
is killer on your ankles. Sorry I'm not sorry. 

Any way...
I was so glad years ago when flats 
came back into style. Sky-high heels will outlive all 
of our strained joints, but maybe my
faithful relationship with flats will postpone 
the inevitable day that I must switch to orthopedics.  


And who couldn't resist these cat and mouse flats? 

Whatever your footwear selection, 
make sure to put your best foot forward. 

Adventure outside the city limits

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| Be the first to comment!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


If you know me, then you know that I am a city girl through and through (or a yuppie girl as Uncle Si would say.) So when my parents decided that they wanted to drive 15 miles out of town to Morven to go to Pike's Landing catfish house, you would know that it would not be a good idea for me. 

To start with, I was the youngest person there by about three decades. Which means that you have to get there by 4 p.m. if you don't want to wait an hour to eat. Since I am not 80 years old and was busy Saturday afternoon, we didn't make it there until 5. Big mistake. 

While waiting for an hour, my dad and the man sitting beside me had an intricate discussion about the inner workings of irrigation systems and how all the rain we have been having is the best thing for farmers. (Even though it has severely cut into my pool time.) This man also didn't trust the automatic shut off valves on the systems and said that you shouldn't run your irrigation systems between 4 and 10 p.m. because those are beak household hours. Don't even get me started on the use of pivots. I know what too much. 

And when it comes to Southern seafood, I thought I would make a list of all of the items I don't like: 


+cheese grits
+restaurant coleslaw
+fried fish with the bones and fins left on (I don't want to work that hard to eat my food)
+mullet
+mullet gizzards
+bream
+pearch

So I ate my grilled shrimp, hushpuppies and sweet potato fries and counted down until I could venture back to civilization. It is a whole different world in Morven and one I would like to avoid, unless going to get peaches.I happen to like being a stone's throw away from my neighbors and have a wide selection of dinner options. 

Vizify graphic bios

Monday, July 15, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| Be the first to comment!

Monday, July 15, 2013


If you spend as much time on social media as I do, then you should head to Vizify and create your own graphic bios. What is Vizify you may ask? Well it combines two of my favorite things: infographics and social media and summarizes all of the highlights from your platforms. It links to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Foresquare accounts to pull info. Cool, huh? You can view my Vizify bio here, also don't forget to view my Twitter video.

One of the infographics is about the words you tweet the most and when you tweeted about them. Ovbiously #HIP2012, #THELINK and #SB2013NYC made the top of my list. 

And if I was interested in spending the rest of my life in a classroom or had moved around as a child, then my education page might be more impressive. 


If you are using social media to promote your blog/business/professional life, it might be a great idea to include a link to your Vizify profile on your email signature. It gives people a great overview of what you are all about.

{Restaurant Review} ZaZa in Little Rock and Conway

Friday, July 12, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| Be the first to comment!

Friday, July 12, 2013


To read more of my columns and articles from Harding's The Bison newspaper, click here.
Whether you are in the mood for pizza, salads or gelato, ZaZa will satisfy your taste buds. Chefs John Beachboard and Scott McGehee wanted to open a restaurant that served Napoli-style, wood-fired pizzas, fresh salads and homemade gelato at an affordable cost in a casual atmosphere. 
They are committed to serving only the freshest ingredients and, whenever possible, buying their ingredients from local farmers who practice sustainable agriculture. According to their website, the chefs at ZaZa are convinced the best-tasting food is grown and harvested in ways that are ecologically sound by locals who care for the land. 
With 14 pizzas and 12 salads to choose from, deciding what to order may take some time. A great way to sample a variety of the menu is to go with a large group, order several pizzas and try a slice from each. If you are planning on ordering gelato for dessert, then a pizza will feed two.
Try the prosciutto-arugula pizza with cherry tomatoes, arugula, prosciutto, parmesan and San Marzano tomato sauce. If you are feeling adventurous, order a fried egg on top. Adding a fried egg to your pizza may seem like a foreign idea, but the added flavor makes all the difference.
Another pizza worth tasting is the Italian sausage topped with house-made Italian sausage, garlic, caramelized onion, bell pepper, arugula, fontina, parmesan and San Marzano tomato sauce. The Italian sausage pizza more closely resembles what you may find on an American pizza; however, the fresh ingredients and wood-fired texture of the crust sets ZaZa’s pizza apart from the competition.
If you want a healthier option, try one of ZaZa’s fresh salads or create your own. The Petit Jean Ranch, with romaine, spinach, ham, bacon, green bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and mozzarella, is always a crowd favorite. Feeling creative? Choose from a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, cheese, protein and salad dressings to create your favorite salad. 
Save room for dessert. Gelato is prepared in house daily. The flavors vary from day to day and may include pistachio, raspberry, peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, lemon and vanilla. If you cannot decide on just one flavor, you can order a mixture. Raspberry and lemon is always a refreshing combination.
The Little Rock location opened in 2008 and is located at 5600 Kavanaugh Blvd. Because of the success of the Little Rock restaurant, Beachboard and McGehee decided to open another in The Village at Hendrix in Conway in Oct. 2010.
Menus are available online, but pizzas generally cost around $12, salads around $8 and gelato around $4. 
The next time you are in Little Rock to go shopping, see a movie or attend a concert, check out ZaZa for fresh salads, authentic wood-fired pizza and homemade gelato. 

I break for birds

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| 1 Comment

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Just a little something to make today a little brighter.
Like Jess Day, I also find non-dessert people fundamentally strange
and hate pant suits.

I think I could get used to this work three days- take a four day weekend
schedule that I have going this summer. 
I'm adding that to my list of job requirements. 
I'll let you know how successful that search is.

Also included in the list is: 
+espresso machine
+free snack stations
+siesta hour(s)
+non-business professional dress code

I think I may have just described a grownup version of kindergarten...
sans espresso, obviously.

Up on a soapbox

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!
Day 14: Get on your soapbox and rant about something

What do Paula Deen and Alec Baldwin have in common? She made a racial slur during a police deposition 31 years ago after being robbed at gunpoint and he wrote a homophobic tweet last month because he thought the paparazzi were harping on his wife for tweeting during James Gandolfini's funeral (as it turns out, the reporter mixed up time zones...whoops). The comparison really stops there because Deen has lost the majority of her butter empire while Baldwin got no more than a slap on the wrist. While both were definitely in the wrong, shouldn't they receive the same "punishment" from society and the media? Why wasn't Baldwin the leading story on every news program for weeks? Why didn't all of his endorsement deals go down the drain? 

I'm going to be joining the media industry soon, and often sing their praise, but they dropped the ball on this one. Good Morning America anchors kept asking "Why isn't Baldwin receiving the same treatment as Deen?" And to that I say, "You are the one who keeps dragging Deen through the mud, why don't you do the same to Baldwin. The ball is in your court."

Lessons learned from these scandals: 
1. When you find yourself on the wrong end of media attention...hire the real Olivia Pope from day one. Deen reportedly hired Judy Smith after realizing that, while her sons may know their way around a deep fryer, they know nothing about public relations and crisis communication.

2. If you want to become a public figure, every word you have ever said will come back to haunt you. Especially today, when everyone's thoughts are immortalized in texts/tweets/posts. Before tweeting, think "Will I want E! News discussing this thirty years from now?"

3. If you are Alec Baldwin, you can do what you want with little or no consequence. 

Sorry I'm Not Sorry

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | 1 Comment

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 13: Issue a public apology

Why yes I did just title a public apology
"Sorry I'm not sorry."
Is it contradictory? 
Perhaps.
But that's life. So you should start getting used to it. 

So here it goes.
Sorry I'm not sorry I:
+hashtag verbally and in text.
+lied and said I was allergic to chocolate as a child {just didn't like it.}
+laugh during movies. loudly.
+couldn't care less about football.
+prefer Aaron Tveit to Eddie Redmayne.
+am on my way to becoming an extreme couponer. 
the proof is in the pudding.



And on a completely unrelated note...
This website has the best desktop wallpapers. 
They're so good, you might be motivated 
to organize all of the icons on your screen
to see the wallpaper better. 


Not that I spent the past hour doing that or anything.


What do you miss?

Monday, July 8, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | Be the first to comment!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Day 12: What do you miss?

A few months I would have said hands down that I missed my time in Paris. It took me a long time to drag myself away from reliving those three months over and over in my head. I hashtaged HIP2012 long into 2013. I spent countless hours trying to figure out a way to move back to Europe. And this blog was originally started to chronicle the highlights of those 90 days.

I eventually had to tell myself that while I would always enjoy the memories and lessons learned abroad, it was time to live in the present.

So I would say that I miss the memories and adventures that could have happened while I was wishing I was anywhere other than where I was this past year. My head was constantly either in the past, thinking about lunching in the Latin Quarter or day trips to Versailles, or in the future, dreaming of life after graduation. There was little time spent focused on the present, on the now.  I went through the motions of school, but sometimes it felt like little more than that. I didn't reach beyond my comfort zone and enjoyed the familiarity of complacency.

Who knows who or what was waiting just outside of my tunnel vision? So embrace the joys and challenges of today because you can't repeat the past and you are not guaranteed tomorrow. 

Rainy summer nights

Sunday, July 7, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 9: show a photo from a moment in your day. 


I'm at my grandparents house this weekend, which means that their cat Patches is going to sit on my lap as long as I will let her. And maybe a little longer than that. It's like she knows that I am allergic to her. 

Nothing like a rainy night sitting with a cat. 

Happy birthday, Merica.

Thursday, July 4, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| 1 Comment

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Was anyone else a little bit 
irritated at the #Merica trend at the London
Olympic games?

Just me? 
Ok, that's cool.

I hope you are celebrating in style
and getting as much lake time, BBQ and fireworks
as you can on this very special day.

No matter how much I would like to move to Europe, 
and that is one of my top goals, 
there is nothing like living in the good ole' U S of A.

A penny for my thoughts

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day 8: A piece of advice you have for others. Anything at all.

I was reading Melyssa's post yesterday about the life lessons she has learned from her dog.
And it got me thinking: What has Dixie taught me? 

Besides being attuned to the sound of the electric mixer and carving knife, Dixie is extremely
set in her ways and her routine. She is most happy when everyone at home is sitting in one
room and being relatively quiet. She cannot stand when dogs, children, bikes, mailmen drive past the front window, which she stares out all day, every day. And she can't do any tricks, to the despair of the girl who lives next door. {She once asked if she could take Dixie to show and tell at her school to do tricks.}

So while Melyssa learned valuable lessons from Monja, her dog, Dixie is a source of what not to do.

Don't become set in your ways. Be open to new people who may walk into your life. Mix things up a little bit. Enjoy the noise and the chaos that can come from an upset routine. Trust me, it will do you some good. Who knows, maybe in your spontaneity you will learn enough tricks to be invited to show and tell.