California here I come

Friday, August 23, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | 6 Comments

Friday, August 23, 2013

I am on my way to Anaheim this afternoon to attend
the Society of Professional Journalists conference.
Barely four days into school and I'm hopping on a plane.
This is perfect.
Besides free trips to Disneyland and visiting Hollywood,
I will hopefully learn a few things to take back to my job
as web editor for my school's paper.

So maybe I would like to have my Laguna Beach/ The O.C. moment.
Is there anything wrong with that? I think not.

Here are a few songs to get you in the west coast spirit.

Also, any must-sees or must-eats in the area would be
greatly appreciated. Because I would not hate it if
this trip turned into a foodcation.

Too Cute Puppies + GIVEAWAY

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| 6 Comments

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

If you are ever flipping through the channels and you do not want to watch Real Housewives, Nancy Grace or To Catch a Predator, and you find that Animal Planet's "Too Cute Puppies (or Kittens)" is on be prepared to watch eight episodes in a row. It's that addicting. How can you resist watching a litter of puppies or kittens grow up from one week old to ten weeks and going to live with their new families? I was watching it with Dixie the other night and when the newborn pups would squeal in hunger, her head would pop up and she would look at the TV screen. Which really surprised me because I thought she didn't have a maternal bone in her body. (I've seen her try to push a sick puppy off of Dixie's couch.)

I've decided that it would be my dream job to write narration for this show. Just like Meerkat Manor, they make up storylines and personalities for each puppy or kitten. It goes a little something like this: "Winston is the adventurous one of the pack. He leads an expedition into new territory, the bookcase. But after one wrong turn, he has had enough excitement for one day and cries for mom to come to his rescue." (If you're reading this, Animal Planet, I accept the job to write for Too Cute Kittens and Puppies.)

Of course I had to pay special attention to the episode featuring Doxies. Did you know that Daschund is German for "badger dog?" Before they were known as wiener dogs and raced in "bun runs" they were useful and burrowed to hunt for badgers. I wonder which they would prefer...

But my favorite episode had to be when the litter was introduced to their family's goat, Pipsqueak. Apparently they pups did not like to be greeted with a head butt. 


August Sponsor Giveaway
Postcards from Rachel: 1 month "Postage Stamp" ad space
Lost in Travels: $10 Starbucks gift card
Treasure Tromp: Ad space
Simply by Serendipity: $25 design credit & ad space
Living in Another Language: Ad space
Northern Belle Diaries: $20 design credit & ad space
Side Street Style: Ad space
Rainstorms & Love Notes: 2 months ad space
Stamp in my Passport: $10 Amazon gift card
La Petite Lulu: Ad space
Girlfriend Jill: $10 Starbucks gift card
Life of A Sports Wife: 3 face scrubbies from Pearls N Stitches
At Home with the Hinkleys: Ad space & $10 Amazon gift card
Something Charming: $25 Etsy gift card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Weekly Wishes No. 1

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | 6 Comments

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I am linking up (better late than never) with Meylssa and other organized/goal oriented ladies to share my weekly wishes. I would like to think that I am an organized person who likes to have an end goal in mind, but to be honest, during the school year my one goal for the week is to make it to the weekend. Which, let me tell you, is a horrible goal because time goes by too quickly and you have nothing to show for your week.

1. Update my resume. I decided to attend the Society of Professional Journalists' conference in Anaheim, CA this weekend. And while I have no interest in a career in journalism, you never know which execs you will have the opportunity to schmooze.

2. Organize my planner. I am making the switch to Google Calendar to keep track of all my assignments and meetings. Between classes and two jobs, I don't want to let anything slip through the cracks. I have always been a firm believer in a written planner, and I will still use mine for daily assignments and to-do lists, but this semester I am switching to digital because I always have my phone with me. Do you have another calendar app that you use? I'm all ears on this front.

3. Step away from the television. The fall tv season is still several weeks away and I do not need to watch reruns of Barefoot Contessa and Real Housewives. Now all I have to do is find something to occupy those extra hours in my day. 

What are your goals for this week?

The Nectar Collective

School is back in session

Monday, August 19, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| 5 Comments

Monday, August 19, 2013

School is back in session and I think the only people who are excited are stay at home moms who finally get to have the house to themselves again. For the rest of us, flashcards, highlighters and sticky notes will become our best friends and companions during long study sessions. So why not surround yourself with beautiful school supplies? I am a fan of paper products and new pens so buying school supplies makes up for the homework and tests part of class.

With these products, you will always be organized and homework won't seem like a chore. Who knows, they may even cause a spike in your GPA, which will certainly make your parents happy. Is it too much of a stretch to say that purchasing a fancy agenda and the best pens for yourself will ultimately make you parents happy? Either way, Monday mornings are always brighter with a glitter coffee travel mug. Knowing that I get to carry mine if I go to class makes waking up bearable.

For your back to school listening pleasure:

We're Going to Be Friends by The White Stripes on Grooveshark

Here are a few of my favorite things:

Life Lesson: Beware of Sliders

Friday, August 16, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | 4 Comments

Friday, August 16, 2013

Have you heard about the new band of thieves that is coming to a gas station near you, sliders? While you are pumping gas, trying not to spend more than $30, street youths are silently opening your passenger door and swiping your purses that are more than likely sitting in the passenger seat. And all of this in a matter of seconds. What can you do to prevent becoming the next victim of "sliders"? Lock your car door while pumping gas. It's a simple enough solution. If someone is willing to take the time to jimmy open the locked door while you are standing two feet away deserves to be apprehended and taken to jail. This new trend is something to be aware of, especially if you are past the age of having your dad pump your gas.

I also want to address the other misconstrued slider in your life: the extra-small hamburger that have been taking burger joints by storm. As per my cupcake rant, I just see sliders as a small, and not better, version of a regular-sized hamburger. I mean really...less meat and more bread makes for an unhappy Jess. I feel like I am getting ripped off. Even though they make you feel like you are getting more for your money by giving you three for the price of one. I'm calling your bluff, sliders.

In conclusion, always be on your guard when it comes to sliders, whether they are the next pump over or at Chili's.

You can read my first "Life Lesson" post here.

Lost in Translation

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| 2 Comments

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A German trying to rationalize the American expression "party pooper." Be prepared to laugh so loud that your boss comes in to see what's so funny that you have to show them this video then you have a bonding moment and then you are given the afternoon off. So maybe that is a best case scenario, but you should watch it anyways if you haven't already seen it. 

What I really want to know is why this guy is filming himself in his car with his seat leaned back farther than a rapper with swag. I mean really. Are you hiding from the government because your visa to become a music icon is about to expire? 

But it got me thinking: What other American phrases would seem strange to foreigners? Feel free to add ones you think of. 

+Raining cats and dogs
+A little bird told me...
+A piece of cake
+To tie the knot
+Wild goose chase
+Wear out your welcome

Pit stop in Tupelo, MS

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Before Graceland, the King lived in a shotgun home in the poorest areas of Tupelo. Did you know that Elvis was a twin, but his brother died during childbirth? Or that his dad went to prison for forging a four dollar check?

After three years of driving through Tupelo , mom and I finally pulled off Highway 78 and went to visit Elvis' birthplace, which has a wonderful museum and park. His home is nothing spectacular at all, unless you compare it to Graceland and see the poverty he came from. They also moved the church that Elvis sang in when he was young to the area. Did you know that the only Grammys Elvis won were for Gospel songs?

While in the gift shop, I asked one of the ladies where the best place to eat in Tupelo was, because there certainly wasn't any options in sight of the highway. She told me of Johnnie's Drive-In, which is practically part of the Elvis tour because he ate there a lot. When in Rome, right?

We even got to eat in the Elvis booth. While the food is not great, even by diner standards, there is memorabilia lining every inch of the small dining area. Also, if you decide to order a hamburger and are asked if you want an all meat or a dough burger, answer all meat. Apparently dough burgers are ground beef mixed with flour and water and then fried. They say it is a specialty there, but I'm not buying the hype. I may have been sucked into the tourist trap, but I am going to stay away from a fried doughy hamburger.

This is the anniversary week of his death and hundreds or thousands of fans make the pilgrimage to Memphis and Tupelo to pay their respects. I was the youngest there by several decades and was severely lacking in Elvis t-shirts and jewelry.

If you find yourself driving from Memphis to Birmingham, I would recommend stopping at least once. The home is only one mile off of the highway and it is a very nice place to stretch your legs. To get in the mood, turn on the Elvis Pandora station and work on your dance moves. Rhinestones and fringe optional, but encouraged.

Look away, Dixieland

Monday, August 12, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| 4 Comments

Monday, August 12, 2013

As you are reading this post, I am driving somewhere between Phenix City, AL and Searcy, AR. And let me tell you, besides Birmingham and Memphis, there is not a whole lot else on that road. I know of one exit that has a Wendy's and a gas station and that is the one stop I make. Dear future 1-22 corridor, you need to up your game in fast food and gas stations to make bathroom stops. Can I get a Chick fil a perhaps? Or maybe even a Panera? A girl can dream I guess.

There may not be Chik fil a sauce and waffle fries along the way, but Elvis' birthplace is. Every summer I say that I am going to take a quick drive through Tupelo to take a look at the shotgun house. I'll let you know if the fourth time is the charm .

To get you in the spirit of the King, here is the precious video that is taking Youtube by storm of Ella Mae singing "An American Trilogy" to her dad on the way home from daycare. My favorite parts are when she keeps saying "Hey, daddy!" and toward the climax when she says "Get ready!"

So, so long Georgia. I will trade in my pines, peaches and pecans for rice fields.

HP Quote + Liebster Award

Friday, August 9, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| 1 Comment

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's Friday, y'all! Congratulations you have survived yet another week. And to make it through those final hours before your weekend shenanigans begin, here are some wise and encouraging words from JK Rowling and Dumbledore. This just makes me want to speed read through the entire series this weekend. Don't think I can do it? Challenge accepted...another weekend. I will be spending Saturday packing my car up to drive back to Arkansas Sunday afternoon. For the last time. Crazy right? It seems like just last summer that I was spending every other afternoon scouring Target's college dorm section buying entirely too many storage boxes. 

I am more than ready for this semester to get rolling. But I think this time I am going to keep a running tally of how many times during visitation days people ask me if I am a perspective student and if I need directions anywhere. I know I look like I'm 14, but no, I'm not in highschool and yes, I know exactly where I'm going. I've been going to the same buildings for three years.


On a more exciting note, I would like to thank you to Lauren from Boston Sweet Tea Party for nominating me for a Liebster award! (Which the first time I read it said "Lobster" award and was thoroughly confused.) The Liebster is a blog award where bloggers nominate fellow up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. I shall add this to my collection of participation awards from T-Ball!
1. Link back to the person who nominated you. 

2. List 11 facts about yourself. (which you can find here.)

3. Answer the 11 questions posted by the person who nominated you.

4. Nominate other blogs with 200 followers or less.

5. Ask 11 new questions for the nominee-blogs to respond to.

My answers
1. What is your biggest fear?
Driving over a bridge and then drowning. Or just drowning in general terrifies me.
2. Why did you start blogging?
I started this blog with my roommates and fellow HIP-sters, Samantha and Emily, back in October to chronicle our past and future travel adventures. But school got in the way, we got boring and then I decided to pick the blog back up this summer.
3. What is your favorite holiday?
My birthday: January 15. Cash/check/credit accepted.
4. What person in your life makes you laugh the most?
Samantha K Tosh. Especially our long text convos about Nancy Grace, Brody Jenner and House Hunters International. 
5. Do you prefer the mountains or the beach? 
I love both but the beach is my favorite. I do not have the driving abilities to navigate the mountains on my own.
6. What's your favorite food to order for take-out?
I don't really order take-out.
7. What's your dream job?
Being a travel writer for a magazine. Getting paid to travel would be the icing on the cake. Or working with Birchbox or Warby Parker (love them.)
8. What's your one guilty pleasure?
Desserts of all shapes and sizes. But I'm not really guilty about them. Sorry I'm Not Sorry.
9. Where is your favorite place that you have ever visited?
It's a tie between Nice/Cannes and Edinburgh. Even in the dead of the coldest winter on record, the French coast was perfect and in Edinburgh I got to see the ruins of Tantallon Castle, which was mentioned in the movie Tristan + Isolde :)
10. What is your favorite comfort food?
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and mac-n-cheese and fried okra
11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Are you still writing your blog?
Right now I couldn't tell you where I will be in 5 months so let's not jump the gun. But I would like to think that I will still be writing, if not this blog then at least writing in some way for fun, but I would love to see Stamp in my Passport continue on.

Jess from Foreign Room
1. Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
2. If you could only eat one food for the rest of forever, what would it be? 
3. What is your favorite reality television show? 
4. If the world were ending in 24 hours, what would you do (besides spend time with loved ones)?
5. Favorite book? 
6. What did you want to be when you were little?
7. Have you taken the Meyers Briggs personality test? If so what is your type?
8. Where is your favorite place that you have visited? 
9. Did you move around growing up?
10. Who is your role model? 
11. Where you excited for the first day of school or dread the end of summer?

Life Lessons: Beware the National Bank of Egypt hacking your debit card

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | 2 Comments

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

As I slowly transition to the real world, I thought it might be helpful to share a few wise words along the way. Because surely I'm not the only one faking it until I make it, right?

So for the first life lesson: monitor your bank account on a regular basis. And by regular basis I don't mean only before major shopping trips like I did. I thought I was being responsible checking it before major purchases to make sure that I don't overdraft for the third time. Oops.

Last week on a whim I decided to make sure things were spick and span before going to bed and what do I see but a pending transaction for $1.43 to NBE donations. What is NBE you ask? Well after googling it I found out that it is either the National Bank of Egypt or the National Board of Echocardiography. Neither of which I would support with my hard-earned dollars. So obviously I spend the next hour convinced that any minute now the Egyptians or echocardiographers were going to drain the rest of my checking account, but thankfully that didn't happen.

Anyways, after a trip to the bank I found out that someone in California had been swiping my account for the past month to see if it was valid but not charging money to it, so I had no idea things were about to get serious. And if this transaction had gone through they would have moved on to a larger amount. Well DAR EL ORMAN, you messed with one smart cookie who foiled your financial plan. After cancelling the card and ordering a new one and filing a dispute with Regions, all is well.

Moral of this story: monitor your bank account every day or every other day or else the Egyptians or echocardiographers will steal all your money.

For the new faces around here

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport|| Be the first to comment!
There are a lot of new faces around this here blogland and I thought that maybe you would want to know a little bit more about the girl behind Stamp in my Passport. Oh, you could care less? Then don't let the door hit you on your way out. I kid, I kid. But really, I am so excited that you have taken interest in my tiny space on the interwebs. PS: I stole this idea from Erin from Two Thirds Hazel. That girl is crazy hilarious.

And because there is some unwritten rule that posts should have photos, because clearly humans can't read without pictures anymore, here are some photos of my awkward/normal face. It doesn't get more real than this. Apparently I thought that I was cool? 
A: Attached or Single? Single and ready to mingle. 

B: Best Friend? Samantha, Emily, Haley, Hannah, Kristi.

C: Cake or pie? Pie. Frosting is way too sweet for me and I end up taking most of it off cake anyways. Perhaps I'll have wedding pies? Maybe? Is that weird?

D: Day of choice? Saturday and Sunday because they are prime brunch days. And brunch is my favorite meal.

E: Essential item? iPhone. It gets me through so many awkward situations waiting to meet people by pretending to be busy.

F: Favorite color? Emerald. Pantone and I,we think alike.

G: Gummy bears or worms? Worms all the way. The red and yellow combo are my absolute favorites.

H: Hometown? Valdosta, Georgia.

I: Favorite indulgence? Spa pedicures.

J: January or July? January, duh, it's my birthday month.

K: Kids? Big fat goose egg right here. Currently I consider children as germ carriers. #SorryI'mNotSorry

L: Life isn’t complete without? Laughing until you cry at least once a day.

M: Marriage date? That's hilarious. I'm in what seems to be the minority at my college by not getting married before graduation. 

N: Number of brothers/sisters? Only child and I wouldn't have had it any other way. 

O: Oranges or Apples? Apples to eat and oranges to drink. But this is a pretty boring question if you ask me.

P: Phobias/Fears? Driving over a bridge and drowning. Drowning in general. Watching Titanic and Pearl Harbor are torture for me. Somehow I enjoy cruise ships for some strange reason? Can't explain that one.

Q: Quotes?
R: Reasons to smile? Alarm clocks for coffee pots. Because I don't know if I have enough hand-eye coordination before my first cup to navigate the filter and measuring.

S: Season of choice?  Fall so I can make use of my scarf collection which is a little out of control. What can I say, I like to make sure that my neck is always warm. Also, I never had fall in Georgia. Sometime around January it all of a sudden got cold. And by cold I mean 40 degrees. 

T: Tag 5 People. This survey is for everyone. Seriously, was this question taken from Myspace?

U: Unknown fact about me? I lied about winning a shetland pony at the county fair.

V: Vegetable? Are sweet potatoes considered a vegetable? 

W: Worst habit? My television selection. Real Housewives all day, every day.

X: Xray or Ultrasound? Whatever gets the job done.

Y: Your favorite food? Impossible to answer. But probably the steak frites from Le Relaise de l'Entrecote. The green sauce is HEAVEN.

Z: Zodiac sign? Capricorn. But since I am not a gypsy with ten strands of beads around my neck and gazing into a  snow globe, I don't understand the fascination with zodiac signs and horoscopes. 

And there you have it, friends. I hope you have learned a little bit more about me. Feel free to comment and let me know a little bit more about yourself! 

Snail Mail Collective

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Melyssa from The Nectar Collective and Chelsea from Lost in Travels have outdone herself this time by organizing the Snail Mail Collective, which paired bloggers and nonbloggers from around the world, to get to know each other and where each other are from/living. At the end of the month, you send your partner a small token representing your hometown/residence and a postcard.

I was paired with Alex, a teacher living in Hawaii who is in the process of moving to South Korea to teach with her husband. She is also a Georgia girl and studied abroad in London during college, so we had a lot in common. Except for the whole finishing school and living in Hawaii part, I wish I would have followed her on that one. She writes about places of interest in Hawaii to visit, and I cannot wait to follow her adventures in South Korea that will begin in the next few weeks.

She received over 30 leis at graduation and sent me one to represent Hawaii and I love it!

Weekend at St. Simon's

Monday, August 5, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 2 Comments

Monday, August 5, 2013

Even though St. Simon's does not have the white sandy beaches and clear(er) water of the Gulf, only having to drive two hours and not having to deal with hoards of drunk frat boys make it a winner in my book. It's the perfect place to go to get away and unwind.

My daily schedule this weekend was as follows: wake up, walk on the beach, lay by the pool, go to lunch, nap, lay by the pool, dinner, walk on the beach, get ice cream, watch the Braves continue on their winning streak. It was just what I needed to mentally prepare to go back to school. 

This time we decided to try new restaurants. I highly recommend Skipper's Fish Camp in Darien. It may be a farther drive, but it's on the water, away from the crowds and has the best seafood. We also went to Southern Soul BBQ, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It's in an old gas station on the traffic circle and if you aren't paying attention, you will miss it. 

Every time I leave the island, I spend too much time looking for the perfect beach house to rent next time. How perfect are these houses on the water? 

And now for the pictures...

How was your weekend?

Just a mini version of cake + A GIVEAWAY

Sunday, August 4, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 5 Comments

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Vacations are always short lived and I end up having to spend the next week transitioning back to reality. What do you mean that I don't get fresh seafood and a walk on the beach every night? But more on that this week.
The main reason for this blog post is the giveaway that Melyssa and fourteen other lovely ladies (including myself) are throwing. Who doesn't want gift cards to Amazon, Etsy and Starbucks? Fall is hopefully right around the corner, which means you have lots of cardigans, scarves and pumpkin spice lattes to purchase.

But before we get to that...a semi-rant on the whole cupcake empire that seems to have swept the country by storm these past few years.

Pros of cupcakes: For a single person, I would much rather be tempted by just one cupcake at a time than a whole cake staring me down every night waiting for a break in my willpower. You also have every flavor combo under the sun to choose from. I am now a maple bacon convert; it's like having pancakes with bacon and dipping everything in maple syrup. What's not to love about that? Also, as an iffy-chocolate lover, cupcakes allow me to get what I want while not raining on all of the chocoholics' parade.
And now for the downside of cupcakes...

Let's start with the price. Because for the price of ONE cupcake, I can purchase a box cake mix and frosting and have a nice large cake for myself and several others. Also, their cake to frosting ratio is extremely off. I know all of the artistry that is associated with cupcakes lies in the frosting, but seriously, I would like to not be in a sugar coma or become a diabetic. And finally, I'm going to steal an argument from Kevin.

And now for the fun part! May the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


1. The winner will be contacted by email within seven days of the contest's end.
2. Winner must respond to that e-mail within 48 hours. If they don't respond, a new winner will be chosen.
3. This contest is open internationally!

Toes in the sand

Thursday, August 1, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , | Be the first to comment!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I'm off to the beach this afternoon. 
On the agenda: 
pool lounging, beach walking and seafood eating.
I wouldn't have it any other way. 
Except that I am 100% going to go on a kayak tour of the island
next time I'm in St. Simon's. 

Next week be on the look out for lots of food reviews.
That's what vacations are all about, right? 
Or, as I like to call them, FOODcations. 

{One of these days I will tell you about the ultimate foodcation
that was Spring Break 2013 NYC.}

What are your weekend plans?

Follow me on instagram @jesskboyd for a play by play.