Weekly Wishes

Monday, June 30, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Last Week

Get a crash course on soccer/football/futbol terminology to sound like I know what I'm talking about during the World Cup. Team USA has survived to see another round of play tomorrow. Chants of "I believe that we will win" will be echoing from coast to coast.

Plant flowers. My mom brought a plant over last weekend and it is healthy and growing still! Let's see how long I can continue to keep it alive.

From last week, I want to organize my computer files. My desktop is now completely clear finally! Which obviously calls for a new desktop background. 

This Week

Pack for my #jessdoestexas weekend. It's great to be able to catch up with Samantha and Emily after graduation. Google hangouts and iMessage just aren't the same. How do you keep in touch with your friends after graduation or moving away?

Catch up on sleep. I've realized that it is getting harder to function on a typical college sleep schedule. Saturday was spent in bed with coffee and the Brazil vs. Chile game. I'm hoping to not repeat last week's mistake again. 

Invest in self tanner. I'm starting to think that I am the palest person in Florida. But for real. I've tried the mindset of "think of all the Hollywood stars that rock the flawless milky white complexion"but it's not working out too much.  

The Nectar Collective

Coffee Talk

Saturday, June 28, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 5 Comments

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Perhaps Sarah's nine beginning running tips that worked for someone who hates running will work for me. I would add to the list: ditch the white earbuds. I spend half of my time trying to put them back in while running. So annoying.

Stadtler Triplus pens were my absolute favorites in a lecture class when I had to take notes. Apparently they were originally designed for artists and drawing. I just used them to brighten my notebook. Oops.

I love a good grilled cheese any time of the year. This one with almond butter and figs is now added to my list to try. I can't imagine it would disappoint my sophisticated melted cheese sandwich palate.

If you have yet to read Jillian's blog, then you are missing out. If you want a good laugh, read her eight stages of muumuu addiction.

I may be a long ways from walking down the aisle, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy looking at pretty gold foil wedding invitations.

Maximize Your Time: Lessons Learned from Writing A Research Paper

Thursday, June 26, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 8 Comments

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I have a confession to make. The scheduling gods were looking down on me in school and I was able to avoid taking the one class in my major that requires a long-ish research paper. So I may not be the most qualified person to write the post below, and feel free to correct me if all of my advice is completely skewed or irrelevant. These things I know to be true: It is not wise to begin coming up with a topic/thesis two days before the paper is due, you have a 50/50 shot of getting away with slightly increasing the line spacing and spaces in-between punctuation

If I had had to go through this collegiate right of passage, I would imagine that these would be the skills that can be applied after graduation.

Importance of setting goals on multiple levels

The big picture is you have thirty pages to write. But a lot has to happen before that. When setting longterm goals or working on longterm projects, take the time to think about all of the smaller steps that must happen in order to achieve it. Learn to bite off smaller chunks so to avoid being overwhelmed and not writing it until the night before. 

Sometimes you have no choice but to camp out in the library

I was more of a study in bed or in a coffee shop kind of person. I can't count the number of times I stepped into the library for more than to print something off or make copies. But sometimes you need to work in a dead silent environment with no distractions and just get to work.

Take good notes the first time

One way to save time in any project is to take good notes the first time when reading through a lot of material or listening to a speaker. With haphazard notes, you will inevitably have to go back and reread it all. Especially if a lot of time has passed since your initial reading.

Your highlighting system is a secret code that sometimes you don't even understand

Just because the 24-count highlighter pack was on sale at Costco does not mean that you must use every single color at once. If you have to make a key to let you know what each color is referencing, then you've gone too far.

You can get a lot done in a short amount of time when you need to 

Even if it was not your intention to procrastinate, perhaps you had a short deadline to start with, you will amaze yourself how fast you can accomplish a task when under a time crunch. Without distractions or thoughts about what you want for dinner, all you will hear is the clacking of your fingers on the keyboard. 

Sometimes it's important to have a solid idea of what you want the final product to look like

Having an end goal in mind can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel and help propel you along. And other projects are a work in progress and evolve over time. If this happens to be the case, make sure you set aside enough time for changes, revisions and moving in a different direction.

Where do you get your news?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 6 Comments

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

So maybe reading the newspaper in bed with coffee even before you've taken the time to put in your contacts in the morning is a quaint thought. There are so many more alternative formats and outlets to get your news from today. We live in a 24-hour news cycle that never goes to sleep. You cannot pretend that you can keep up with breaking news in real time. You would never get anything accomplished. Whether on your phone on your commute to the office, or skimming through the headlines on your lunch break, how do you keep up with  current events? 

Here are some of my favorite compilations of the day's headlines: 

NYT Now App: I especially love their Daily Briefing in the morning, which gives you a quick overview of all of the major stories.

The Everygirl's "In the Know" column: Similar to the previous one, this column gives an overview of current events and why they matter. I especially liked reading their more in-depth summaries on large-scale events such as the crisis in Ukraine. Unforntuantely, sometimes you come into a story late in the game and have no context for the current situation. Their writers have a way of summarizing all of the moving parts in a way that makes sense. 

Twitter: You can never go wrong with creating a separate Twitter list for news outlets. You may want to take it a step farther and create one for local, national, entertainment and sports news. Following your favorite news outlets on Twitter is a great resource to read the headlines without visiting a dozen different websites. 

Finally, TheSkimm: Part news and part sarcasm, The Skimm is your snarky friend's take on the day's news delivered straight to your email inbox every morning. You will get all of the important information and the quippy comments are just an added bonus. Just try not to laugh too loud while reading it. You may get a few strange looks.

In case you're new around here: A look back at the archives

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 2 Comments

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stamp in my Passport has been around for over 1.5 years. It's crazy to think about sometimes. There are moments when I wonder how I haven't run out of things to write about in that amount of time. The other night I took a walk down memory lane and read back through the archives. If you haven't perused posts from a year ago on your own blog you should try it, you will stumble across fond memories, things you would rather forget and the occasional "what was I thinking when I wrote that?" moments. 

So I decided to condense all of the best moments of vintage Stamp in my Passport posts for you enjoyment. And partially so you won't start poking around on your own and find some of my "She really took time to type that out?" posts. 


Popular Culture


Coffee Talk

Saturday, June 21, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note. Some circumstances do not favor well with an emoji-filled text or even the best designed e-card. The time it takes to sit down, write the note, find and write a street address and rummage through your desk looking for a stamp speaks volumes. Oh, and it doesn't hurt if your note cards are pretty like these from Whitney.

Have you ever wondered how to combine photos an text in photoshop? Then Jennifer has the tutorial for you.

Are you one of those people who needs to get away from the desk to be reenergized? Then perhaps a workaway is the best thing for you. Some offices offer their staff one day to work away from the office. Whether it is from home, taking advantage of the wifi at you favorite coffee shop or outdoors in the park, sometimes you need a change of scenery. This is even better for those who have a long commute. The extra time spent closer to home can help work where you're productive.

Speaking of taking advantage of wifi...Starbucks will now be introducing charging tables for all of your devices. Not having a tangle of chargers and cords in the bottom of your bag can help lighten your load. Would these make you visit more, or stay longer?

Do you dine alone? Are you absolutely opposed to the idea? I'm on the fence on the issue. I will not not try a restaurant just because I don't have someone to go with at the time. But I mostly reserve my solo dining for lunchtime.

Planning a trip to the continent anytime soon? Then you must read these cheap air travel tips from Casey. #NordicAdventure may be a go thanks to the $700/roundtrip tickets from Orlando to Oslo on Norwegian. And did I mention it's also on the new Dreamliner? Yes, please. 

What you may have missed this week: 

Friday Favorites: Bedside

Friday, June 20, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 2 Comments

Friday, June 20, 2014

Even after my days in college when my bed served as a place to sleep, eat, hang out and do homework (and not necessarily in that order), I have always enjoyed working from the comfort of my bed. And if I'm going to spend a lot of time there, I might as well be surrounded by pretty things. 

Just recently I have upgraded my nightstand from my suitcase to a real piece of furniture. Progress people. 

Maximize Your Time: In the Morning

Thursday, June 19, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 15 Comments

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mornings are the time of the day that are most neglected. "Morning people" are either looked at with awe or confusion, because a lot of us wake up with just enough time to shower, get ready and get out the door. While I know that my peak performance is not before 7 a.m., I do enjoy mornings. If you would like to make more out of the time before your commute, here are a few suggestions. Sometimes it's not about waking up earlier, but taking advantage of the time you already have.

Limit your screen time

I'm still trying to break myself of the habit of scrolling through all of my newsfeeds before bed. The blue lights from your phone affect your quality of sleep. The same can also be said for checking your phone first thing in the morning. Make a habit of not touching your phone until your feet hit the floor. For two reasons: I'm sure it affects your brain in some way and takes up a large amount of time. You will wake up faster once you get out of bed than if you lay in bed an extra 20 minutes scrolling through everyone's late night instagrams.

Light up your apartment

This has to do with your circadian rhythms. Just as you are supposed to sleep in a completely dark room, you should also turn on the lights or open the blinds when you get out of bed. This tells your body that it is time to wake up. If you're anything like me, you would rather shower in the dark than face the blinding light in your bathroom. Although your eyes are still adjusted to the dark, turning on a light will make such a difference trying to wake up. Half the battle of gaining an extra few minutes in the morning is not spending them in bed.

Complete a simple task

This applies to either your morning routine or once you get to work. The day before, I look at what I have left to accomplish and set aside one task to work on once I get in and to have finished within a short amount of time. Once you cross one item off, moving on to the rest of the day's assignments seems more bearable.

Pick out your outfit

I need to take my own advice here. Standing in front of your closet trying to find something to wear that is also the elusive "business casual" can be daunting. Especially if you haven't done laundry in a few weeks. Inevitably the outfit you plan in your head will be missing an item or two that is in the hamper. Or your shirt won't be ironed. Or you can't locate the skirt that you could have sworn didn't make it into your last Goodwill donation. Don't just plan out your outfit in your head; assemble all of the pieces and make sure everything is ready for the morning. 

Create a morning routine

You may remember my post a few weeks about the importance of creating a morning routine. Having a set order not only helps you get to work on time, but also gives your morning some structure that will hopefully carry on throughout the day.

Book Club: Looking for Alaska

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 1 Comment

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Have you finally stopped sniffling after watching TFioS? You know, they say that love story might define our generation, or maybe the next generation. Because it takes a lot to top Allie and Noah. But that is neither here nor there. 

I was stuck in a John Green mood and kicking myself for never having read any of his other books. And Looking for Alaska came highly recommended by just about everyone. 

While slow in the beginning, Looking for Alaska had just as an emotional ending, if not more, than TFioS. I hate to say it, but knowing that I was reading a book about teens with cancer, I knew that someone had to die. But I was completely caught off guard with this one.

Set in a boarding school in the suburbs of Birmingham, a group of outsiders takes one more into their fold. They are bound together by a love of pulling the ultimate prank and a deep distaste for the "Weekend Warriors" (aka the kids who lived close enough to leave the non-air conditioned dorms for the comfort of home on the weekend)

I'm constantly amazed at Green's ability to create characters who are complex and have flaws. The groups' fatal flaw is that they were too wrapped up in their own lives, dramas and situations that they failed to recognize the struggles of the others until it was too late.
And then you have the search for the Great Perhaps. Everyone can relate to that feeling. If you are honest with yourself, there have been many occasions where the thought or idea of a person or event in your mind has surpassed the person or event in real life. Knowing that you want to live a full life, make a difference, be remembered, but not knowing what exactly that looks like in reality can lead you to pass life by without a backwards glance. 

Realizing that the search for the Great Perhaps may seem exciting, but is ultimately futile is a hard pill to swallow at any age.

Weekly Wishes

Monday, June 16, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you enjoyed your weekend and treated your dad to a great Father's Day, even if it was letting him have control of the remote to watch his favorite sporting event and not HGTV or something with a housewife. 

Last week

The DIY project list didn't happen and is on the back burner, which means that there are no trips to Hobby Lobby or the flea market in my near future. 

I wanted to not go out to eat, which I succeed at. So much so that I had to go to the grocery store on my way back into town last night because I had nothing for breakfast or lunch today. 

Finally, I wanted to organize the files on my computer. Which also didn't happen. 

This week

1. Get a crash course on soccer/football/futbol terminology to sound like I know what I'm talking about during the World Cup. I don't know what it is about international sporting events that get me really excited, but between the Olympics and the World Cup, I condense all of my sport-watching into those events. Perhaps it's because they only come around every two-four years? Also watching the World Cup makes me wish it was more like Quidditch. Anyone else with me on that?

2. Plant flowers. My porch is in need of a little more color. Plus, I want to prove to myself that I don't have a brown thumb.

3. From last week, I want to organize my computer files. It is going to happen. This weekly series helps hold me accountable to get things done because I would hate to come back here next week and admit that I spent all of my time on the couch with nothing to show for it.

The Nectar Collective

New blog design color inspiration

Friday, June 13, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 5 Comments

Friday, June 13, 2014

I tried, but I can't keep it a secret any longer. Stamp in My Passport is in the process of undergoing a facelift. As we speak, Amanda is working her design and coding magic and is going to make this blog of mine look better than a Real Housewife who has just returned from a botox party. 

After a year and a half it is time for the pink to be retired. That was one of my requirements, no pink. I say this after just purchasing neon pink shorts, but that is neither here nor there. 

Clean, crisp, simple, modern were the words to describe my design style. And I can't wait for you to see the finished product soon. As for color, it's dark and dramatic greys, navys and greens on a blank white slate. 

I probably stare at my blog more than any other person and there's nothing better than a new look for inspiration. It's like when you were in school, and every August you had the opportunity to reinvent your look. 

But have no fear, the content will most definitely remain the same. My musings on life, travel and the pursuit of coffee aren't going anywhere. If that's ok with you, of course. 

And now that I have rambled on long enough, enjoy your weekend!

How to beat summer blogging burnout

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 9 Comments

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Whether you have been blogging since the days when of Live Journal and Xanga, or if you are new to the online community, you will inevitably find yourself suffering from summer blogging burnout. During the summer you want to do anything else but sit behind a computer screen. You will either be too busy to keep up, or you read about everyone else's vacations and compare yours (or lack thereof) to theirs. It happens. So what can you do about it? 

Go on a hiatus. 

It's ok to take a blogging summer vacation. Enjoy yourself, collect your thoughts, make memories and come back fresh in September with the perfect "What did you do this summer?" post or series, just like when you were in school. If you choose this option, just let the world know and don't go MIA. Taking a break is better than thinking you should feel guilty for ignoring your corner of the internet. 

Write about a new hobby. 

Have you taken up cooking? Graphic design? Knitting? Is this what has consumed all of your energy and excitement? Share it with the world. Chances are there is someone else out there with the same interests and will benefit from the information. Share how-tos along the way as you learn. 

You don't have to have scheduled during your vacation. 

Don't feel like you have to pre-write posts to fill the void while you are off galavanting with friends and family. And definitely don't feel obligated to spending your nights in the hotel room frantically typing. If you don't want radio silence, reach out to other bloggers to guest post. Especially if you are new, this is a great way to make new friends.

Writing Prompts and Ideas

Psssst. This post came from a series of writing prompts. If you need more ideas to jump start your creative process, you can get started here and here as well.

Don't lose sight of why you started blogging.

The moment blogging becomes a chore or something that you feel like you have to get done or you just want to check it off your list for the day, then it's time to take a break because you are doing it wrong. Your readers can tell when your heart isn't in it anymore. Whether as a creative outlet, a way to work on your marketing and social media skills or to share knowledge of a topic, you probably had some reason behind hitting publish the first time. Don't loose sight of that. And just have fun with it.

Sponsor Spotlight: Sarah of Sky Envy

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 1 Comment

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

If you haven't kept up with Sarah's blog, then you are missing out. 
Her travel posts make you want to hop on the next flight out of the country
and follow in her footsteps. 
From Peru to Italy to Russia, she has traversed the whole globe.

P.S. She wants to revisit and live in Paris so we're kind of soul sisters in that regard.

1. As someone who loves to travel, and has seen a lot of the world, do you like to have a home base to come back to that feels settled or do you enjoy moving around? 

Like I said in the blog, I have moved to over 10 zip codes now in the last 4 years but those are all just temporary addresses. My family lives in Los Angeles, California and still consider this my home. Moving to another place to start a new job and meet new people is always exciting, yet I find myself longing to go home to LA every once in a while. In fact, since being back in Southern California, I have been coming home every weekend and every chance I get. And when I am coming back from an overseas trip, that feeling when you see Los Angeles skyline as the plane lands in LAX doesn't get old. Coming home always make me feel better and secured and I love that I have a place to come back to.

2. Your photos really make me feel like I am visiting a city or site right alongside you. What kind of camera do you use to take photos when you're traveling? 

First of all, thank you for your kind words, I'm still a novice with photography and still learning but having people appreciate the photos I took really means a lot. I was using my Sony Point and Shoot T70 camera and an entry level dSLR, a Canon Rebel XSi. Now, I am using my Nikon d7000 with a 35 mm and 18-55 mm lenses and my trusty iPhone. 

3. Along the same lines, do you ever have to find a balance between photographing a trip and really living it and taking it all in yourself? If so, how do you find that balance? 

This is a good question and truthfully, it is hard to balance. I always liked longer trips because it will give you the opportunity to take more photos and then live the moment. When I only have a short stay at a new place, I usually see the sites and take photos. However, when I know that I have a more time to explore, I leave the camera at my hotel and just appreciate and experience what is in front of me. I make sure I bring my iPhone though to document those moments. 

4. If you could revisit one place again, where would it be and why?

I want to revisit most of the places I've been to but the top on my list is Paris. In fact, I want to live there for a few months if given a chance. I know it is such a predictable answer but Paris had always been my dream and I am interested in learning more of the language and culture.

Weekly Wishes

Monday, June 9, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 11 Comments

Monday, June 9, 2014

Thank you for all of your encouraging words last week! It's nice to know that I'm not alone in questioning why I spend my time writing about my life and random thoughts on the Internet for all of the world to potentially read. In a perfect world this would be my space to share all of the amazing travels that I go on. But I haven't quite worked that out yet. So in the meantime I will write about my other hobbies and passions: books, organizing and decorating. I hope that's ok with you :)

And as for #jessdoestexas...there is now fondue, food trucks a drive-in movie and an art museum featuring lots of impressionists thrown in for good measure.

You all also had wonderful suggestions for summer nail colors! I didn't have a chance to purchase any of them, but it's happening. And soon.

This week's wishes

1. Make an organized list of DIY projects that are in my skill level. Remember my DIY world map canvas? Well, that may be pushing my abilities. Are there any craft projects that you have tried and succeeded  at?

2. Not go out to eat. My freezer and fridge are full, yet there is something about getting take out that is so appealing at lunch or on my way home after dinner. Perhaps it's the fact that I can eat in the container that it comes in so not only do I not have to cook, but I also don't have to do dishes. Bonus points if they include plastic silverware as well.

3. Organize my pictures and files on my computer. While my desktop is fairly clean, the initial folders are a hot mess express. If it weren't for the ah-mazing search feature on finder or the fact that I usually take the time to name my files, I would be completely lost and overwhelmed.

The Nectar Collective

Coffee Talk

Saturday, June 7, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 8 Comments

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Any fun plans for the weekend? I'm about to join the masses of weepy girls who have seen The Fault in Our Stars. I've read a few reviews so far and I'm fully prepared to have the sniffles afterwards, which is saying A LOT because I do not cry during movies. Call me insensitive, but it just doesn't usually happen. Dog movies being the exception because even though I always prepare myself beforehand for the family pet's ultimate end, I still tear up every time. 

In case you are taking a personal day and laying in bed all day, here is some reading material to keep you company.

I absolutely love scarves, even in the summer. Here are three ways to wear them that you wouldn't expect: as a head wrap, picnic blanket and tote bag!

You may have read on Monday that I was in a blogging rut. Well, these prompts from Kenzie were just the inspiration I needed for new content. If you are in that rut with me, check them out.

These frames from West Elm are a must for anyone wanting to frame prints on the cheap. Personally I don't want to pay triple for a frame what I paid for the print. 

Wanting to do something a little off the beaten path while in Provence? Why not head to the countryside and channel your inner Van Gogh with a little painting and picnic session?

Travel and coffee are two of my favorite things of all time. So of course I love Rachel's travel inspired coffee station

A new month, a new desktop wallpaper. Here is a collection to brighten your screen.

Summer Reading

Friday, June 6, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , , | 6 Comments

Friday, June 6, 2014

In high school, I was one of those kids that looked forward to receiving the summer reading assignment. I rushed to the library, checked the books out, devoured them and had the papers written within the first month of summer. Perhaps I also wanted to get it out of the way so I could move on to my own personal summer reading list. There is something about long days spent by a pool or on a porch that makes me want to get comfortable in a lounge chair and get lost in another world.

On my list for this summer:

Looking for Alaska by John Green

With The Fault in Our Stars coming out this weekend, I'm in a John Green mood. And everyone has told me that Looking for Alaska was their favorite of his.

Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I couldn't get enough of The Secret History, also by Donna Tart. Mystery, murder, prep schools and teenagers with trust funds make for some of my favorite reading. Goldfinch is another book that has been on almost every "must read" list lately. I've heard that it is a little tedious to get through and it most likely not a pool read.

Longbourn by Jo Baker

This is the Upstairs Downstairs version of Pride and Prejudice that tells about the orphaned housemaid in the Bennett household. I will not pretend nor get my hopes up that this will live up to Pride and Prejudice, but it's nice to read about one of my favorite stories from a different point of view.

For previous book reviews and recommendations, click here.

Maximize Your Time: Tools of the Trade

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 13 Comments

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

You may remember a time a while ago when I gave my sage advice on time management and productivity. At the time, I was going to school full-time as well as working three part-time freelance jobs. And I still managed to go to bed before midnight. Clearly I was doing something right.

While I no longer have extracirriculars tugging my in every direction, I thought I would share a little bit more on the topic for those of you who are still in that boat.

Computers and smartphones can be the best thing and the worst thing that can happen to productivity. On one hand, you no longer have to write correspondence by hand and mail it by carrier pigeon. On the other... those Buzzfeed articles aren't going to read themselves. Why not put your phone and computer to work for you again? Here are my top apps/tricks to find the time to plow through your to-do list: 


StayFocused is an extension for your Chrome browser that you should install right now. You select the sites that you need to stay away from (Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Buzzfeed, etc.), set a time limit or block them between certain hours of the day. This last option would work great if you work from home and do not want to be tempted. They even give you the option to block the Chrome extension page so you can stop turning off StayFocused; think of this as disabling your alarm's snooze button. 

A Master List

Whether you keep this on your computer, phone or the old fashioned way with pen and paper, keep one notebook or folder with all your to-do lists. Do not have sticky notes strewn everywhere with all manner of ideas you have ever had throughout the week. Something will inevitably get overlooked. Have your grocery list, errands, and reminders all together. Evernote is a great option if you want to keep your lists digital. 


It syncs to your mac, iphone and ipad. My favorite feature is setting up multiple calendars. I have one for personal, one for work dates I may need to remember outside of the office, bills and blog posts. If you have several kids this is a lifesaver; give each kid a separate calendar and you can easily differentiate between Sally's soccer practice and David's dentist appointment.

Local Grocery Store App

I shop at Publix and can't get enough of their store app. My favorite function is selecting my regular store, entering my grocery list and getting a breakdown of what items are on each row. No more crisscrossing the store looking for flour or salsa. And if you shop at various locations across town, you won't feel lost. This can easily cut down 20 minutes or more walking up and down every aisle making sure you haven't missed an item.

Sleep Cycle

I downloaded this app several weeks ago and am waiting for a weekend to calibrate the settings. The premise is based on your REM cycle. Most of us do not set our alarm based on when we are in a light sleep, instead we determine how long it takes to get ready and wake up accordingly. For this app, you set the latest you want to wake up. Through the morning, Sleep Cycle tracks your body movements in bed because you start to toss and turn more as you are coming out of deep sleep. The app's alarm will then go off at that point. There is a 30 minute window of when the alarm will go off. In theory, you will wake up more naturally and feel well-rested. I'll let you know how effective it is after I test it out.

Past time management topics include: 

What is your most meaningful vacation memory?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 2 Comments

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Is it possible for anyone to pick just one favorite vacation memory? I know I would have to spend all night trying to decide, and there would be multiple pro-con charts made, but I can share one, or two, meaningful vacation memories. 

The first would be family vacations at St. Simons Island (you can read more about the last trip there here). I am always torn between wanting to do everything I possibly can and wanting to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet while on vacation. The best part about St. Simons is that I've done everything there is to do there before so I never feel obligated to fit an agenda-full of activities in. I easily fall into a routine with my parents of waking up, walking on the beach, eating breakfast, going to the pool, eating lunch, going back to the pool, napping, going to dinner, walking on the beach again. And repeat two or three times. It's perfect. 

A weekend filled with fresh seafood, shopping in downtown at the same dozen stores and a place to recharge and regroup is a perfect way to start, or end, the summer.
The second vacation memory I would like to share would be the group dinner at Quartino on the student publications trip to Chicago. Good friends surrounded by family-style plates of Italian food in a never ending fashion was perfect. Even if we didn't make reservations, had a two hour wait and didn't sit down until 9:30, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Mar of T.O. and Fro

Follow along: Bloglovin | Twitter | Instagram

1. Tell us a little about you and your blog. 
My husband is a professional hockey player, so we are constantly on the move to and fro, always landing back at home base in Toronto (or t.o.). Kind of a play on words.

2. If you could eat only one meal for an extended period of time, what would it be? 
I'm a cheese monster so I think I would be happy with bread and good cheese. Throw in some wine and I'd be a pretty happy camper. 

3. Any suggestions for TV shows to binge watch this summer?
Stanley Cup playoffs anyone?! Other than that, we're on a total Netflix kick right now so I honestly don't think I could tell you the "cool" shows to watch this summer.

4. Any upcoming travels/adventures on the horizon? Anywhere you are dying to go?
June is going to be a busy month for us! In a few weeks we're going canoe camping in northern Ontario at Algonquin Provincial Camp. Then towards the end of the month, we're heading back to Alaska to visit friends. On the way home we'll be making a stop in Seattle for our friends' wedding and our 1st anniversary.

What you should be reading: 

Christina of Route Bliss

Follow along: Bloglovin | Instagram | Twitter

1. Tell us a little about you and your blog. Hello, I'm Christina of Route Bliss. I'm a thirty-something girl living in the Lone Star State who frequently daydreams about upcoming travels and contemplates moving to the mountains on a regular basis! While I've been blogging for over a decade now, Route Bliss itself has only been around since the Summer of 2013. RB (as I've dubbed it) 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!).

2. If you could eat only one meal for an extended period of time, what would it be? Hmmm ... hamburgers or salad. I can tweak them to make them a bit different so that I don't burn out on eating the same thing over and over!

3. Any suggestions for TV shows to binge watch this summer?Honestly, I haven't been watching a ton of television lately. I have a huge Netflix queue of stuff on cable that I don't have access to I want to see what the buzz is about. First up is Copper ... as for network tv shows, I need to catch up on the episodes I missed of Castle from this past season and I might watch some reality tv (Big Brother or the Bachelorette).

4. Any upcoming travels/adventures on the horizon? Anywhere you are dying to go?My big trip for the year that was set in May was cancelled, so just a few weekend trips scattered over the rest of the year to look forward to -- couple trips to Little Rock to photograph my BFF's engagement portraits and attend her wedding + maybe a weekend trip to Caddo Lake later this year once the fall foliage is in full force. I was looking forward to my trip to Big Bend ... and I'd love to go somewhere with mountains (i.e. Colorado preferably) if I could work it out!

What you should be reading: 

Megan of The Artistic Brunette

Follow along: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

1. Tell us a little about you and your blog. 
My site, The Artistic Brunette is all about empowering young people to live a successful, creative life. The mission of AB is to “empower, encourage & inspire individuals to live a creative life!” What do I mean by a ‘creative life’? This type of lifestyle is full of possibilities. This gives you the ability to try new things, see the world, define your career path and become the best YOU. Want more about me? Check out my blog rundown. (http://theartisticbrunette.com/2014/05/28/ab-got-a-total-makeover/)

2. If you could eat only one meal for an extended period of time, what would it be? 
I could eat anything chocolate until the day I die!

3. Any suggestions for TV shows to binge watch this summer?
This summer, I really want to re watch Once Upon a Time, New Girl and How I Meant Your Mother on Netflix!

4. Any upcoming travels/adventures on the horizon? Anywhere you are dying to go?
I just got back from an amazing trip to Scotland, Ireland and England. Because of this, future adventures will be closer to home! I plan to goto Portland and Florida at the end of this year. I AM DYING to goto Bali.

Weekly Wishes

Monday, June 2, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 14 Comments

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Monday! I hope your weekend has been swell and you are easing back into the requirements and demands of everyday life slowly.

Two weeks ago I wanted to give an update on the apartment settling in process (check) and try at least one new restaurant (check...sort of). You can find the apartment update here, in case you missed it last week. And I have now found my new favorite coffeeshop to work at. Redeye coffee is the perfect mix of great coffee, a spirit of giving back to the community and a place that is perfect to set up shop for the afternoon. The fact that I'm writing this post here on Saturday is proof enough that it's a perfect productive atmosphere. 

On the agenda for this week: 

1. Some serious blog soul searching. If I'm being honest here, my heart hasn't been really into blogging for the past few months. Call it a lack of inspiration, a lack of direction, or a lack of time, I want to rediscover the joy that came from sharing bits of my life on the internet for all the world to read. 

2. It's now a month until I go to Texas to celebrate America's birthday. Be prepared for #jessdoestexas to fill your Twitter and Instagram feeds. I'm going to be in Ft. Worth for the weekend. Any suggestions?

3. I'm on the hunt for a go-to summer nail color. What are you wearing these days?