DIY World Map

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 5 Comments

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Several people asked how I made my world map after I posted a photo on Instagram. Well...I can't take all of the credit, because I got the idea on Pinterest. I think this may be the most successful craft project I've attempted after finding it on Pinterest. And just know...if I can do it, then so can you.
What you'll need:
3 canvases (I used the ones that come in the two-pack at hobby lobby
World map (I bought mine ab Books a Million, but I'd imagine you could find them on Amazon as well)
Modge Podge

The hardest part is measuring your map and knowing where to cut it. For a reference, I cut mine along the 75 and 155 degree longitude lines. Leave room to wrap the map around the edges as well. You will also need to trim the top and bottom considerably. I lost Antarctica on mine...oops.

Once you measure and cut the map into thirds, the rest is easy. Spread a very thin layer of Modge Podge on your canvas using a sponge brush. Make sure it is thin and even so you don't end up with wrinkles like mine. Unless you want to go for the old, distressed look.

Finally, carefully lay one section of your map over the first canvas. Starting in the center, smooth the bubbles out of the map, working your way to the edges. I like to think of this process like putting a screen protector on your phone. Let your canvasses dry laying flat overnight.

If you love to travel, begin placing pins on each of the cities you've visited and watch as you see the world, on step at a time.

Because it's Monday

Monday, April 28, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 1 Comment

Monday, April 28, 2014

I have a love hate relationship with Mondays. On one hand, it's the end of the weekend and I hate to see it go. But on the other, I feel most refreshed on Monday morning after getting adequate sleep for the last few days. And then it's a slow downhill slide towards Friday. And then we begin the cycle again.

No matter your take on Mondays, whether you are for it or against it, here are two prints to download. Hang them up in your cubicle and make the most of your Monday.

download HERE

download HERE

Coffee Talk 14

Saturday, April 26, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I hope you are enjoying your weekend so far! Mine is being spent getting my hair done and waiting on the rest of my furniture to be delivered. Oh, and there is also lots of Mad Men being watched. Have I mentioned that I have a habit of not starting shows until their final season? It happened with Harry Potter (a book, but you get the point) and I didn't start reading the series until the fifth book came out and I found myself reading all five books within days. So I decided to give Mad Men a second chance, and it's amazing how watching more than an episode every few months can get you hooked on a show. And now I don't have to sit through months in-between seasons.

1. You might recognize a few of your favorite bloggers in the documentary "American Blogger." I'm excited to watch it, but somehow I'm more interested in the filmmaker's trip across the country to film it.

2. Z mixed two of my favorite things, blogging and magazine design, for a school project. And I'm a little jealous that I never thought of the idea in some of my classes. 

3. Mother's Day is coming up and she would love to receive this print.

4. Lauren shows off our my favorite crepe stall in Paris...which just happens to be next to my two favorite falafel stands. Go to both, and be sure to order a cup of the mint tea while you're at it.

5. Mackenzie does a weekend in Austin right. Her photos and itinerary is everything I would want from the lone star capital. Less "keep Austin weird" and more "eclectic j crew."

That's it for today. I'm off to work on designing my own prints to hang up. And who knows, maybe they will be up here for you as well :)

MOOD BOARD: Crystal Clear Waters

Friday, April 25, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 4 Comments

Friday, April 25, 2014

The sun is shining. All of my winter clothes are carefully tucked away in my spare closet. And now I'm left dreaming of getting comfortable in a little cabana tucked away by crystal clear waters, preferably miles away from shrieking children building sand castles and splashing in the waves. 

What is inspiring you right now?

Morning Routine

Thursday, April 24, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 8 Comments

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I am a creature of habit. I drive the exact same routes, wake up at the exact same time and listen to the same playlists over and over until I have the transitions memorized. Although I've been told people with entrenched habits and routines are more likely to develop alzheimer's, it isn't enough for me to give up the comfort of routine. 

I read this article about how people with strict morning routines are more creative. The habit frees up space in your brain for more interesting and important thoughts instead of "Will I shower or eat breakfast first today?" Also, you begin to crave the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a routine. It's actually quite fascinating.

My morning consists of quickly scrolling through my Twitter feed from the night before (even though I know "they say you shouldn't immediately grab your phone first thing in the morning. Whatever.) Showering followed by the top of the news cycle, typically Good Morning America, while I drink my coffee and eat breakfast (toast with jam and a banana.) Those 30 minutes could be spent under the covers a little longer, but that's the time that I begin to feel like I can actually take on the day ahead. And finally there is makeup, hair, picking an outfit, and packing up all my snacks for the office. And I'm off.

I'm more of a morning person than a night person. And thankfully I was able to work out a work schedule of 8:30 to 5:30, which, (one) allows me to miss the worst of the traffic, and (two) gives me a little extra "me" time when I feel the most alert and productive.

Even in college I took the extra time to wake up a little bit earlier to develop a routine instead of racing around trying to look as presentable as possible before my first class. Perhaps you love working out first thing in the morning. The key to making that happen is by ingraining the action into your morning sequence that you don't have to even think about "where are my shorts? socks? tennis shoes?" Or maybe mornings are your time to write and spark your creativity. Whatever it is, by doing it in the same order morning after morning, you'll have more brainpower to think of the exciting things in life.

What about you? Do you have a routine set in stone or do you begin your day however you feel like it at the time? 

Weekly Wishes No. 21

Monday, April 21, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 6 Comments

Monday, April 21, 2014


I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. Mine was spent back at home making use of my birthday gift to get my nails done. Best two hours I have spent in a while. I also went to the new Mexican restaurant by my parent's house, ordered the tortilla soup, and was unpleasantly surprised when they brought out a watery-brothy soup that was like the evil twin of tortilla soup, which I just assumed was tomato based. Wrong. So wrong. Note to the chefs, broth and tortilla chips do not mix well. It was a mushy hot mess. But the fish tacos were spot on, so they made up for the horrible soup. 

Last week I had a lot of things that I wanted to check off my list, such as read this month's book club selection. And well, last night when I went to download it on my Kindle I discovered that it is the only book not available as an ebook, so I'm off to pick it up after work tomorrow. I also wanted to go to bed earlier, and besides Thursday night when I just had to watch the Scandal finale, I think I did a good job with that. I also made an appointment to get my haircut next weekend and worked on editing some of my older posts to make sure the formatting and links are all up to speed. 

And on to this week: 

Find a dentist. And sign up for dental insurance.

Thankfully I can stay on my parent's primary care plan, and just have to get dental. But the whole insurance process kind of baffles me. So I'll be calling around hoping that someone on one of the cheaper plans is currently accepting new patients. 

Find out where the nearest hospital/ER is to my apartment. 

After a brief stomach pain, that in my mind just had to be an appendicitis (for the record, I wasn't sick, I just had one too many spoonfuls of cookie butter), made me realize that I'm not 100% sure where the nearest hospital is. I know it has to be close because there are a lot of doctors and nurses in my building leaving at 4:30 a.m. for work. But I thought about it, and in a state of emergency, I don't think I would be able to navigate myself using my phone's GPS. And I don't know my neighbors well enough to ask them to drive me. So I should probably work on this.

Friday Favorites: Olivia Pope Quotes

Friday, April 18, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 2 Comments

Friday, April 18, 2014

I'm writing this before the season finale airs so to not be tempted to, or accidentally, give away any details about last night's episode. I know that once a season ends, I go through some serious Scandal withdrawals. So much so that I always end up starting back at the beginning and watching all the episodes. In my opinion, the first season was brilliant and the show is slowly going downhill, but I'm invested in it, so of course I'm going to stick it out until the end. I the only one who is getting extremely fed up with the Olivia and Fitz tension? Because I'm over it. So over it. 

If you find yourself wondering what you will do in these next few months without our favorite lady in the white hat (and impeccable white suits, coats and gloves), here are my favorite quotes from my favorites at Pope and Associates.

My First Apartment: Before

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 12 Comments

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I thought I would take the time to give you a little glimpse at my apartment prior to moving in. And by glimpse, I mean this is everything, because it's tiny by non-metropolitan area standards. But that's just less to clean, right? 

Weekly Wishes No. 20

Monday, April 14, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 5 Comments

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Monday! I've started to realize that I only do Weekly Wishes posts when I can tell you that I successfully completed everything that I set out to do. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not sure.

Two weeks ago, I wanted to walk every night and free up space on my phone. And although that pesky red notification circle is still on my phone telling me to update my software, I did enjoy the spring nights. 

This week: 

Read this month's book club selection. 

I slacked last month, and I think I may be on a probationary period with Samantha and am on the verge of being kicked out of book club if I don't start taking it seriously haha. Duly noted. Need something to read, too? Join in with this month's pick "How to lose friends and alienate people."

Go to bed earlier. 

Last week was spent flying through the Divergent series (all three books) and since they are so fast paced, I could never quite find a good nightly stopping point. After telling myself it's no big deal, by 3 p.m. I am regretting my decision. 

Find a hair stylist in town.

My long bob has grown out and is at that awkward length of flipping out on my shoulders. I've held out for two months to get it trimmed, but it's time to get it back under control. Cross my fingers I'll find someone who can handle a basic trim. I thought that was a guarantee, but after a very bad experience at school, I am very hesitant to let anyone new touch my hair.

Begin cleaning up my older posts. 

In the beginning I thought it was clever and interesting to center all of my text, but now it's just hard on the eyes to read. So cleaning up the formatting, making sure all photos are linked, and adding SEO when possible. My goal is three posts per week, so this is definitely an ongoing project.

Add categories to my sidebar. 

I've been meaning to organize my posts for ages. Most importantly, grouping all of my travel, life lesson, recipe and design posts so they are easily found. I've started writing a little bit of everything, which I like because I don't just have one passion or focus, but depending on what you are interested reading, I want them to be easier to search through.
The Nectar Collective

Coffee Talk vol. 13

Sunday, April 13, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying your weekend so far. Saturday was spent binge reading Allegient (yes, I know I'm behind this trend, and I hate to admit it. Mixed emotions about the conclusion, but I'll save that for another conversation), finding a short cut from my apartment to Chipotle and browsing for the apartment. P.S. cross your fingers that the rest of my furniture will be delivered by the end of the month! Then the days of sleeping on a mattress on the floor will be behind me.

And now for a few of my favorite posts from this week: 

1. You know my love for House Hunters. It is one of those shows that I can watch for hours on end and not even realize it. All my knowledge of real estate comes from Susan Whang. So of course I love Katie's spoof "The Style Dunce's Official Guide to Apartment Hunting: From an Expert on House Hunters Who Remembers when Suzanne Whang Was Still Hosting."

2. Pretty downloadable/printable card from Victoria at Oh So Pretty.

3. Tired of stalking every grocery store in your area in search of girl scouts selling cookies? Why not make your own dulce de leche samoas at home and avoid the condescending looks when you buy 10 boxes.

4. I'm in love with these illustrated custom family trees.

5. Is your desktop in need of some spring color? Why not try one of these desktop wallpapers on for size? 

6. Jackie's NYC studio apartment is everything and more that I would hope for in a small space. You've probably seen it all over Pinterest. And now it's been featured on Apartment Therapy. Congrats!

7. Wise advice from LC on how to ask for what you want. I always find myself turning my requests more into questions and in an effort to make what I want actually sound like something the other person wants and suggests, I usually end up beating around the bush too much. 

8. My colored skinnies from Paris bit the dust along time ago and I've been meaning in investing in more colored pants. I'm loving these red ones, especially paired with white converse. If I had known that converse were making a comeback, I might have saved mine from high school. oops. 

Last minute birthday gift ideas

Thursday, April 10, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 8 Comments

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Image via O'Malley Photographers for Style Me Pretty
What would you do without Facebook reminding you of people's birthdays? If one has snuck up on you. Don't fret. Depending on how long you have to get a gift, from mere hours to a week, I have a perfect gift for the birthday girl

Day of

IOU one fabulous night out.
This is a great option if a friend's birthday falls on a weekday. Acknowledge it, and let her know that you have something extra-special up your sleeve. Whether you organize a spa day, or take her to hear her favorite band, an IOU is an acceptable placeholder.

Dinner and splurge on dessert (candle optional).

Is there a new restaurant you two have been dying to try? But maybe it costs more than an outfit from Target? Go for it! Treat yoself...and more importantly, treat the birthday girl. And get dessert while you're at it.

Treat digital e-card.

And for those friends who do not live nearby, why not send them a dressed up e-card? Add photos of the two of you and make a promise to meet up in the near future to celebrate properly. Although I am still a fan of snail mail, waking up to a pretty e-card in my email inbox isn't such a bad way to start the day.

Three days before

Put together an at-home manicure/pedicure kit.

This is especially thoughtful during the spring and summer. Gather sugar scrubs, thick lotion balms, a pretty nail file and an assortment of polishes. Wrap them up in a box that can double as a storage container and you're set.

Anthro coffee mug and/or jewelry. 

You can never go wrong with an Anthro coffee mug, or their jewelry. Or one of the many colorful books that look just as good on a bookshelf as they are being read in your hand.

Five - seven days before

Instagram prints.

This might take a little bit more effort and shipping time. Gather Instagram prints of the two of your or places you've been together, have them printed or made into magnets. If you want to go above and beyond, swipe her phone for a little bit to have her own photos made into prints. They work great when grouped together in a gallery wall.

Monogrammed stationery. 

There is nothing more classic than monogrammed stationery. And nothing says "I'm an adult," like it either. Who knows, maybe you will even get a thank-you note written on your gift. I like this one, this one and this one

Print of her favorite city or vacation spot.

It's no surprise that Paris still holds a special place in my heart. But maybe your friend is far from home and a little homesick, so you find one of her hometown. Or maybe she loves Italy as much as I love France. A little something to look at everyday reminding her of a time or a place that she has been or is dreaming of going is a thoughtful gift. If Paris her cup of cafe au lait (see what I did there?) then I recommend Anna With Love's recently re-opened photography shop. I'm still trying to decide which ones I want for my apartment!

Book Club: Gone Girl

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 7 Comments

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Have you ever had one of those moments when you read a book, or watch a segment on the news, and think to yourself: man, I'm glad I don't have their life. Well, that is how I felt after reading Gone Girl. If you haven't read it yet, I highly advise you to download it or pick up a copy. It's even one of those books that you can pick up months later and read again and still feel connected to the plot because you've forgotten how it ends. Anyways...the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking to myself "I hope I don't end up married to someone who would fake their own murder just to get back at me and who is that psychotic." But then there were other moments where I had to give Amy credit for being so throughough and methodical in her planning. Was she completely crazy? OMG yes. But her persistance deserves to be recognized.

Also, I LOVED the not so subtle references to Nancy Grace and 24-hour news coverage of missing persons and their trials. I remember following the Casey Anthony trial from start to finish and it made me reevaluate my perception of guilt and innocence. Because for most of the book, you really do believe that Nick killed his wife. All of the "evidence" points to that conclusion and it's always the husband in these cases. Then I realized just how much the media affects our views in these cases. In the case of Casey Anthony, after months of hearing about the Google searches, choloroform and not notifying the police about her missing daughter, I decided in my mind that she was guilty. How could she not be, right?

I say all that to say, if you love a book that will leave you on the edge of your seat and constantly turning the page into the wee hours of the night, then Gone Girl is the perfect book for you. I look forward to reading other book by Gillian Flynn in the future.


Christina of Route Bliss

Brief description of you/what you blog about:
Route Bliss is where I share my love of travel and photography as well as what I'm learning on my journey to healthier living (adapted recipes as well as running and fitness tips and grumblings!).

Spring is here! What is your flower? And do you have a green thumb? If so, any gardening tips for the rest of us?
As of late, I'm loving ranunculus blooms. I wish I had a green thumb, I manage to keep cut flowers alive longer than plants with roots still attached!

What you should be reading:

Want to know more? You can follow Christina through her blog, Instagram, Bloglovin, Google+. 

Stress Free Travel Tips

Monday, April 7, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 7 Comments

Monday, April 7, 2014

stress free travel tips
Let's face it, traveling can be exhausting. When I went to NYC for spring break last year I felt like I needed an extra week to rest from the trip. At the time I thought that I had to squeeze every last possible sight, activity and restaurant into four days or else the trip wouldn't have been a success. I didn't want to get on the plane back to school telling myself, "oh I really wish I could have done ..." And you know what? I did not feel that way at all. With a lot of preplanning and thought beforehand, I knew how to best maximize my time in the city, and while I may have been exhausted afterwards, I was never stressed. 

How did I do it? And more importantly, how can you do it? 

Do the bulk of your planning before you begin the trip.

Do your research. Prioritize what exactly you want to do and see so that when you are in the midst of your travels, you make sure that, if all else fails, you see what you came to see. If you are going to be in a large geographical area, it's not a bad idea to look at a map and make a loose itinerary based on location and proximity of destinations so you are not backtracking all over town.

Keep your tickets/money/passport/ID in a front pocket for easy access.

It's the worst feeling being in airport security or about to board the plane and realize that your ID or ticket is in your purse, which is inside of your  carry-on, most likely buried at the bottom. And you end up being that person who holds up the line and practically has to unpack just to locate it. Don't be that person. Keep items that you need to reach easily in a front pocket of your bag to avoid the sighs and frustration of your fellow passengers.

If you have an itinerary, budget relaxation time. 

You're on vacation, first and foremost. Unless you happen to be traveling for work, but for the sake of argument, let's say you are on vacation. So make sure you aren't under the delusion that you will be able to go full steam ahead ten hours a day, every day. Make room for breaks or naps. 

Know your personal schedule.

Are you a morning person? A night owl? If you can't really function or be around people before 10 a.m., don't think that you will suddenly be gung-ho for a sunrise hike. Know what time you function best, and plan to do the bulk of your activities then.

Google maps app will be your new best friend.

Do you remember the days of Mapquest? Oy vey. One wrong turn and you should just go ahead and chuck those directions out the window because they are useless. Now the Google Maps app makes fining your destination a breeze, whether you are driving, walking or taking public transportation. While I'm still partial to my Garmin when I'm driving (I think it gives better rerouting directions), I constantly turn to Google Maps to help me locate restaurants and shops.

Know that you can't see everything a city has to offer in one visit.

You are going to have to prioritize to some extent. And the best part is, you can save a few things to do to give yourself an excuse to visit again. 

Don't get hangry. Always keep snacks with you.

And finally, the best way to avoid being stressed while traveling is not not let yourself reach the level of hanger (anger that is a direct result of hunger.) It happens to the best of us, and will absolutely drive your travel companions crazy. Do everyone around you a favor and keep snacks on hand. I'm partial to Larabars or other types of dried fruit and nut combinations. Or clementines. I always had a clementine in my bag in Paris, it was perfect for eating while walking.

April is Stress Awareness Month and the folks at Dropcam are working to compile a list of the best tips to reduce the stress associated with a big trip. From how to travel light to what to check before you leave the house, they want you to share your tips. Compile your own stress-free checklist and email the post to

Coffee Talk vol. 12

Saturday, April 5, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 2 Comments

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Saturday morning is being spent catching up on this season of Real Housewives of NYC because somehow whenever I'm flipping through the channels, Millionaire Matchmaker is ALWAYS on Bravo and when I stumbled across Ramona and Sonja and their antics, I knew that I had to get comfortable and stay awhile. 

And now for a little weekend reading over your second (or third) cup of coffee. 

1. Speaking of coffee, Megan of Freckled Fox shared her secrets to making the perfect French press. And starting with Lavazza grounds doesn't hurt either. 

2. I can't get enough of these passport wedding invitations, perfect for a destination wedding. 

3. Taylor's 21 struggles of being a blogger will have you rolling on the floor. To hashtag, or not to that is the real question. 

4. If you are one of those people who is always giving your pup people food (Dixie's preference is lemon Oreos) then you should try making these homemade dog biscuits for your fur baby. 

6. No matter what your dreams and goals are, sometimes you need some encouragement and a push in the right direction. These three insights about pursuing your dreams are a wonderful motivation.

What you missed this week:
A playlist for front-porch sitting
My thoughts on travel pr
Weekly wishes

Friday Favorites: Weekend Porch Sitting

Friday, April 4, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 1 Comment

Friday, April 4, 2014

Congratulations, you have made it to the end of another week. I hope you enjoy your time off, relaxing, perhaps in a chair on your porch with mason jar in hand. And the perfect accompaniment? A blend of banjos, fiddles and twangy vocals in the best possible way.

Travel Public Relations: I would rather be on the other side of the pitch

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 2 Comments

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In school, I shook my head at the people who thought public relations was just like LC's life on The Hills, or even worse, Heidi's. They thought it was all parties, fashion shows and meeting famous people. In their mind, pr girls ran around the city with a latte in one hand and a cell phone in the other. In their mind, it was a hectic, but glamorous, profession. 

And here is the part where I admit that I viewed travel pr through the same rose-tinted glasses as those girls viewed fashion pr. I believed that because I love to travel, to write about the places I visit, and love to communicate that I could have the best of both worlds and get paid for something that I loved.

And this was far from the case. Travel pr, for the entry level people, is not a jetsetter lifestyle. There aren't exotic locations and experiences to write about. Someone else tells you how wonderful and splendid the resort or spa or restaurant is and expect you to gush about it as if you just returned from a week-long vacation at said location.

I am thankful that my delusions were brought back to earth before I created a life plan in my mind along that trajectory. After a few months sending out hundreds of pitch emails to travel writers and editors, I realized something. I would much rather be on the receiving end of those emails. 

And while I don't envision myself joining the ranks of thousands of other aspiring freelance travel writers and bloggers waiting to be given free trips and inside access to soon-to-open resorts, I know that I would much rather plan my life around being able to fund said trips and writing about them for free than being confined to a desk imaging how pristine the beaches are and desperately trying to convince someone to visit somewhere I haven't been myself.