2014 In Review

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 8 Comments

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 was a year of firsts: first job, first apartment, first time living by myself. This time last year I had just moved back in with my parents after graduating and thinking about how the upcoming year was wide open. I moved to Tallahassee in March and have loved every minute of it. I visited Samantha in Texas, we roadtripped to Orlando to hang out in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, and spent a few weekends in Jacksonville and St. Simons Island.

I'm still in the process of decorating my apartment, but after a few months of sleeping on a mattress on the floor, it's coming along nicely. I also hopped on the modern calligraphy bandwagon, and although I haven't been doing as much lately, it's one of my 2015 goals to start back up again. 

And now for a walk down memory lane: 

Blogging: A Look Back at 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 was an exciting year on Stamp in My Passport. I splurged on a custom blog design from The Suitcase Designs and couldn't be more happier with it. I surpassed 500 followers on Bloglovin and made so many friends through hosting the Tourist in Your Hometown series (plus I learned of so many things to eat, see and do when traveling across the country.) I absolutely cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for this blog! For now, here is a look at my favorite posts from this year.




Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 1 Comment

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from Dixie and me! May your day be filled with laughter, joy, family, friends and (in your fur baby's case) lots of treats from the table. Enjoy!

Christmas Time is Here: A Playlist

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 1 Comment

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The official countdown to Christmas has begun. The week is filled with driving around looking at Christmas lights, drinking warm drinks sitting next to a twinkling tree. There is an obscene amount of baking going on and the house will have a permanent smell of cinnamon for weeks to come. If, like me, you are enjoying these last few days before the holiday in the office, then the break room is filled with everyone's favorite snacks and Christmas cards are constantly being circulated through inter-office mail. 

Say what you will about the hyper-commercialism of the season, but still at the heart of the it is spending time with those who matter most. Whether you are in the office, driving, braving the crowded airport terminals or sitting by a fire, enjoy this Christmas mix in the background. It's full of all of my favorite classics, 90s hits and folksy tunes.

Friday Favorites: Datebooks

Friday, December 19, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 8 Comments

Friday, December 19, 2014

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

I am a pen and paper kind of girl when it comes to keeping to a schedule and to-do list. When I say "I'll pencil you in" I would like to actually do just that instead of type it into iCal. Call me crazy. My planner is used as an all-in-one and includes blog post ideas/schedule, appointments, travel dates, to-do lists, meal planning and grocery list. For me, keeping all of this in one central location is crucial instead of having lists, sticky notes (both  the paper and digital kind) scattered to and fro. I will admit though that I do additionally put important appointments and dates, the kind that require reminders, on my iCal. That way I can quickly scan through the notifications panel on my phone in the morning and have a quick snapshot of major events for that day.

What I look for in a planner/agenda: 

1. Month view and week view: I like to put what weekends I'll be out of town on the monthly view as well as longer events to get a quick overview of the weeks ahead. The weekly view then becomes my daily to-do list, etc. 

2. Medium-large size: For everything I try and write in my datebook, a pocket size won't make the cut unless I don't mind getting carpel tunnel from writing so small. 

3. 17-month academic length: Some habits never go away, but for some reason I still associate August with picking out a new planner rather than starting fresh on New Year's. Perhaps this will change as time goes on?

4. Finally, it should be pretty. It's always sitting out on my desk and almost always in sight, so might as well have something nice to look at. My favorite trends right now are gold foil, kraft paper and oxblood. I also love the Lilly Pulitzer artwork on the month divisions.

Book Review: The Goldfinch

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 6 Comments

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Goldfinch was all anyone was talking about this summer. After reading The Secret History several years ago, I knew that I would devour The Goldfinch the same way. The plot starts out quite slow, and it was a struggle to make it halfway through, but after that I couldn't put it down. The main character, Theo, is one of those people who just can't seem to catch a break. First he loses his mom in a tragic accident, then is forced to move in with his addiction-laden father and his girlfriend until a few years later, his father dies as well. Boris, one of Theo's only friends, is his source of joy and trouble.

Donna Tartt is a genius of weaving several storylines together and ultimately tying them up in a nice bow at the end. Theo's life takes him from an NYC prep school, to Vegas, back to New York and then abroad. The one interlacing feature is the painting, the goldfinch. It is Theo's last connection to his mother and he brings it with him everywhere for fear that he will lose her for good. But the criminal underworld of art theft is not for the feint of heart. 

More than a simple mystery-thriller, The Goldfinch is also an excellent character study. It centers around three groups of people in Theo's life who couldn't be more different from each other: the Barbours, a WASP upper east side family that briefly takes Theo in after his mother dies; Theo's father and his Vegas crowd full of gambling, drugs, and a lack of parental care; and finally Hobby and Pippa, who share a connection with Theo to the tragic afternoon Theo lost his mother and who ultimately take him in during his adult life.

What were your thoughts of the book?

Jasmine of A Pinch of Jasmine

Introduce yourself and tell us a little about your blog!
Hi, I'm Jasmine from A Pinch Of Jasmine. I'm a twenty-something lifestyle blogger who enjoys sharing how to enjoy life while tackling every obstacle of work and school. I'm a proud puppy momma to an almost two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Winston. Things I love? Anything floral, gold sparkle, food, yoga, Disney and, of course, my other half, my boyfriend. 

Do you love decorating for Christmas? What are you decking your tree with this year?
I love decorating for Christmas. This year, I'm focusing on gold for the Christmas tree. 

What is your idea of the perfect Sunday?
My idea of the perfect Sunday is: church, farmer's market and a movie.

I wish I knew how to ________ .
 I wish I knew how to: cook. I am slowly learning, but I am nowhere near being able to say, "Yes, I can cook." because I can't. Not yet.

Follow along: twitter | instagram | pinterest

Christina of Route Bliss

Introduce yourself and tell us a little about your blog!
I'm Christina, the girl behind the scenes at Route Bliss. I'm a 30-something single wannabe vagabond whose practicality and realist side keeps her planted in East Texas. By weekday I write lots of reports at my job as well as daydream frequently where I want to travel to next, ways to motivate myself to getting fit for health and happiness's sake, and experimenting in the kitchen to make my favorite not so healthy foods healthier. I also like to take lots of photos of pretty things, furry critters (aka canines and felines), and beautiful destinations.

Do you love decorating for Christmas? What are you decking your tree with this year?
Once the tree is up (my least favorite part since I have to unsmoosh branches from being in storage), I enjoy the rest of the process. My tree is travel themed this year with ornaments and other mementos I've converted into ornaments from destinations I've been to over the last several years.

What is your idea of the perfect Sunday?
Sleeping in, catching up on some reading or going for a run/hike on the trails at the local arboretum; reality is that doesn't happen often! 

I wish I knew how to ________ .
Craft-wise, knit or crochet. I lack the coordination :( Talent-wise, to wink. I kid you not, I cannot wink to save my life!

Follow along: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

What you should be reading: 

Coffee Talk

Saturday, December 13, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 3 Comments

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Warm sweaters, thick socks and scarves can only be made better when they are all in mixed-matched fair isle patterns. They make for perfect lounge wear that you aren't embarrassed to answer the door in. 

Chrismas decor can sometimes overwhelm small spaces. Find the compromise between bah humbug and SANTA, HE'S MY FAVORITE! with these holiday tips for decorating a small space.

Looking to create a centerpiece for your holiday table? Try recreating Laura's table setting.

I love book and I love London, so it's no surprise that I will love Natalie's "10 books to read if you love London."

This is the ultimate gift guide for the T Swift fan in your life (or for yourself, if you are said T Swift fan) complete with polaroids, long bobs, and red lips. 

I took a walk down memory lane while reading Jamie's post about her trip to Paris. Le sigh. I can't believe it's been almost three years since my semester abroad. That means I'm overdue for a return visit, right?

Traipsing around castle ruins is one of my favorite activities. Wales' largest castle has now been added to my list to visit.

Since Dixie is not a fan of sweaters or full costumes, perhaps she would wear a festive holiday collar?

What you may have missed this week:
Destinations to "Skip Christmas"
My new favorite resource for planning foodcations

But First, We Eat

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , , | 6 Comments

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I am a firm believer in the foodcation (as proven here and here). Before going on vacation, some ask friends, family, and Twitter what are the best places to stay, or see, or experience. I am more concerned about where the best places to eat are. Good weather and a full stomach are almost always going to ensure that your vacation is remembered as a good one. You can explore a city or a region through their local eateries. You see how people really live, work and play instead of being surrounded by other vacationers or passers-through.

We've all been there. Sitting in a car in a semi-deserted parking lot trying to decide where to eat. There's a group and some of you are on the verge of hanger. You must make a decision ASAP or you might not all be friends by the end of the night. At this point you are tempted to google the nearest Panera or Chipotle and call it a night, despite the fact that you vowed not to eat at places you have back home.

And this is where my new favorite foodcation planning tool comes into play. The Besty helps people all over the world find the best restaurants and food. You can create a profile and share your favorite restaurants, both local and from your travels, and also search based on location or food type depending on what you're in the mood for. The interface and feel of the website is much more streamlined than Yelp and Urbanspoon. The recommendation feature is also helpful. Have a foodie friend who never steers you wrong at dinner? Follow them on The Besty (or encourage them to join) so you can stay up-to-date with where they've been eating lately.

Want to keep up with my foodcations? Follow along here :) 

When you are traveling or looking to try a new restaurant in town, what is your go-to source of reviews and recommendations? 

Skipping Christmas

Monday, December 8, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 10 Comments

Monday, December 8, 2014

Did anyone else read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham? (You might also know it's movie counterpart, Christmas with the Kranks, but trust me, the book is much better.) While I would never go to the lengths that they did to avoid all of the holiday's traditions, buying a tree from the Boy Scouts' annual sale, sending cards, decorating the house and spending time with family and friends, sometimes we tend to get wrapped up in the material side of the holiday and end up more stressed out than if we had ignored it altogether. 

Sometimes it might be nice to get away on a Christmas vacation away from a relative's house so no one feels obligated to clean, cook dinner every night and the number of guests to bathroom ratio is much more manageable.
Photo via Stowe Mountain Lodge
If I were to skip Christmas, I would pack my bags and head to Stowe, Vermont to be guaranteed a white Christmas with no chance of wearing shorts while eating Christmas brunch, which is very likely in South Georgia or Florida. Stowe's Mount Mansfield is the highest peak in Vermont and is a draw for winter sports lovers. However, the charming town is also where the von Trapp family made their home after leaving Austria, which is much more appealing to me than a dozen feet of fresh powdered snow. 

I would stay at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, perfect for everyone in the family from the most avid skier to the spa connoisseur. It has ski-in/ski-out access, breathtaking mountain views, day spa, two restaurants and excursions to Montreal and guided Stowe tours of Stowe, in case you get bored on the mountain. 

If you were to "skip Christmas" where would you be off to?


I'm so excited to be co-hosting the Week's End link-up with Elizabeth of Oak & Oats! Every Monday, Elizabeth hosts a link up called Week's End! It is a place for you to link up your favorite post from the week and meet new bloggers. It's all about community and what we can all learn from each other! 

If you are wanting to join the co-host line up, you can sign up here and use code: WEEKSEND for 25% off any Oak + Oats packages.

Hi I'm Jess from Stamp in my Passport! A 20-something doxie lover who spends her time in search of the perfect latte. When I'm not downloading my favorite fonts, I am planning out my next great adventure.

1. Link up ANY POST from last week!
2. Make sure it is a POST and not your BLOG URL. We love your blog but we want you to share a post.
3. Click on one, two, three, or more posts and LEAVE ENCOURAGING COMMENTS. The whole point of this is to find new blogs, make new friends, and all that good stuff! You MUST read the post right before yours and comment.



Saturday, December 6, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The countdown to Christmas has begun! Parades, tree lightings, wreath making and gift giving. Are you as excited as I am? Grab an extra-large coffee and enjoy all of the festivities.

Working on a gallery wall or want to dress up your office on a budget? Maiedae shared their favorite free download prints.

Amanda's travel playlist is the perfect background music for your next long-haul flight or road trip.

Give me all of the cozy, warm plaid.

Are you a fan on The September Issue? Then you will love BBC's 3-part documentary behind the scenes of Tatler. You can find episode one and two here.

Need to set the mood for your Christmas party? Here are two playlists from Lulu & Georgia and The Everygirl to keep your guests in the festive spirit.

Not quite ready to look like a sparkler in a head to toe sequined holiday dress? I am in love with this skirt, sweater, scarf combo that is the perfect compromise.

When you have had one too many turkeys or hams, try this panko crusted honey mustard salmon.

Friday Favorites: Stocking Stuffers

Friday, December 5, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , , , | 6 Comments

Friday, December 5, 2014

I've jumped on the bandwagon. I've taken my Christmas wish list off of it's Pinterest board and am sharing it as inspiration for all of you still on the hunt for the perfect gift for that friend who has more gold in her life than Versailles. Bonus? All items are under $35 so you can keep a little gold (or green) for yourself.

Cest la Vie Print - Rifle Paper Co. - $24
Bird Print Socks  - Anthropologie - $15 (For that friend who's life motto is "put a bird on it")
Bow Necklace - Etsy - $14
Gold Monogramed Mug - Anthropologie - $10
La Vie Boheme Phone Case - Society6 - $35
Colorblock Pouch - J Crew Factory - $24.50 on sale
Cord Taco 5-Pack - This is Ground - $29
Cold Cup Tumbler - Starbucks - $19.95

P.S. I won't tell if you won't if you decide to do a little online shopping for yourself as well. #treatyoself is still relevant in December.

Think Before You Post

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 7 Comments

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

In college, I took a class on "preparing for the real world." This included information on resumes, portfolios, selecting insurance and a retirement plan, etc. One piece of advice that was constantly reiterated is to be careful what you post on social media because your future employees will check your accounts during the job application process. This advice primarily applied to hiding photos from the weekend. 

Once you land a job, the same advice can still apply. What you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. can negatively affect your employment. Cases like the woman who was fired because of an offensive tweet while flying to South Africa, or more recently the GOP aide who is resigning due to a Facebook post criticizing President Obama's daughters.

Both of these examples are from public relations or communications professionals and I have a hard time believing that they would advise a client or their company to make the same remarks. When working on someone else's communication strategy you tend to either overanalyze everything you say in your personal communication and are hypersensitive to how comments will be received by those around you, or you become too tired thinking three moves ahead and you let your guard down.

Although there is debate as to whether blanket bans on negative social media comments about workplace conditions being unconstitutional, it is a good rule of thumb to keep complaints about your boss, your company and your coworkers off of social media and to find a different means of addressing your concerns. Also refrain from posts about drug use (you would think this would be a given), poking fun at tragedies and racial slurs. 

Once it's on the Internet there is no taking it back. Use the same diligence keeping your social media profiles clean during your job hunt long after you have landed your job. 

Do you know of anyone who was fired due to something they posted on social media? Have any tips for thinking before you post?