Coffee Talk

Saturday, May 31, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 8 Comments

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sometimes you just need a venti iced Americano to make it through the day. 

I can't wait to try this recipe for shrimp tacos from honee bee. When in doubt around dinner time, just throw whatever you have on hand and roll it all up in a tortilla and nine times out of ten you are going to have a masterpiece on your hands.

Don't you just love these weekly planner pads? They're the perfect motivation to get organized and stick to all of your lists.

Rachel has outdone herself again, coming up with 15 more blog post ideas if you're facing writer's block. Be prepared to see many of these prompts showing up on here in the near future.

Job hunting stinks. And that whole "You need a job to get a job" saying is accurate more times than it's not. Not going to lie, I'm glad I'm not having to constantly tweak my resume and ask redundant questions at interviews. Jillian has a humorous take on the whole convoluted process.

On that note, here are 10 tips for job hunting. And if you can't find the job you like, follow all of the other post-grad entrepreneurs and create your perfect job. You have to somewhat enjoy what you do with one-third of your day, and while I crave stability too much to strike it out on my own, more power to you.

30 before 30: Purchase furniture with no assembly required

Friday, May 30, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 9 Comments

Friday, May 30, 2014

I decided to revisit my 30 before 30 list that I made on my 22 birthday in January. You know, just to make sure I haven't accomplished anything without even trying. I know have one item to cross off my list not even six months in. Success? I think so. Now only 29 more to go. Some of them may take a little a lot of planning and coordination. 

Visiting a continent other than North America or Europe? Well... I did spend the better part of a night researching cruises to the Antarctic. You read that right, the girl who barricaded herself in her apartment rather than attempt to walk across the iced over parking lot after falling multiple times? Yes, she considered visiting a continent that is completely ice. Maybe it's the summer heat getting to me, or maybe I've lost my mind. But at the time it sounded like a genius idea. Until I saw the 23 day itinerary and $12,000 price tag. After that I decided I'll settle for St. Luica and call it a day.

Back to what I've actually done...purchased furniture with no assembly required! And it also came with people besides myself and my dad to transport, carry up the stairs and set up. My desk and patio furniture came in boxes, but screwing in nuts and bolts with a hex key (what my dad referred to the makeshift screwdriver that comes in the assembly kit) was still my speed of DIY.

Is college paying for essentials or lavish amenities?

Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 10 Comments

Thursday, May 29, 2014

It's no surprise that student debt is at an all time high. And while I do not regret the loans I took out to attend Harding, after reading this article on USA Today College I had to take a moment to sit back and wonder what we're paying for, and what is the deciding factor when choosing a university. 

Upscale dining options (which, unfortunately Harding was sorely lacking), movie theaters, state of the art workout facilities, dorm rooms that are nicer than your parents house and perfectly manicured lawns are becoming the norm. In fact, some schools are spending millions of dollars because the facilities, not the academics or student life, are the main deciding factor when recruiting freshmen. 

Now, I conveniently lived in a newly renovated dorm and/or apartment three of my four years. I lucked out. But the other university I was looking at had all of the bells and whistles that grab a 17-year-old's attention. At that age, I wasn't thinking about the extra $10,000 a year I would have to pay for that all-you-can eat cereal bar.

It makes me wonder if we put lavish amenities as a top priority in other areas of our lives. Do we have to have that designer bag, which the label clearly visible for all the world to see? Or maybe it's taking selfies at all of the 2014 must-visit destinations to prove how much of a globe trotter we are?

Maybe it's time to step back and look where our money and priorities are focused and ask ourselves, "When I'm still paying for this 10 years later, would I still make this decision/purchase?"

Book Club: Mastering the Art of French Eating

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 2 Comments

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

If there is one thing that is almost as good as eating French food, it would be reading about French food. For all of those foodie travel lovers out there, this is a must read. Ann Mah is a diplomat's wife who treated her few years stationed in France as a culinary adventure. She did not shy away from the pork fat, smelly cheeses, and questionable sausages that are staples in regional French cuisine. She went on a culinary pilgrimage throughout the French provinces with the goal of getting to the heart of such dishes as steak frites, anduillete, fondue, boeuf bourguignon and buckwheat crepes.

Similar to another American diplomat's wife, Julia Child, Ann finds comfort and belonging through cooking and learning about France through dishes. She interviews and learns from chefs whose recipes and methods have been handed down from generations. 

While I had not heard of half of the dishes Ann journeys to find, nor would I honestly care to try them, I am fascinated by her time in Paris and France. In my opinion, she talks about Roquefort one too many times for my taste. And anyone who truly loves Roquefort (whose mold can only be grown in certain caves, yes, caves) and Camembert, well, I have to question her sanity. 

Needless to say, she weaves her newfound culinary knowledge with her memoirs as a diplomat's wife whose husband is then quickly sent to Iraq alone for a year. Many of us, alone in a foreign country may stick to what we know, but Ann channels her inner Julia Child and learns to perfect boeuf bourguignon instead. 

Coffee Talk

Saturday, May 24, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I hope your long weekend is off to a lovely start. If the drive home was any indication, many of you are flocking southbound to Florida. Enjoy time on the water, cooking outside and the not-so-official start to summer.

Need a little reading material while lounging on a boat deck? 

1. Taylor's description of an American summer according to Pottery Barn is hilarious and witty and brilliant. "And miniature penant flags for condiments? LOVE IT. That's just American is what it is. We love condiments and we love mini flags. God bless." Go gather all of your red, white and blue pillows, lanterns and decorative oars to prove how much you are American. USA! USA! USA!

2. I am on the hunt fora pretty jewelry stand. Who knows, maybe I will end up making my own? Any excuse to search antique stores for china plates is fine with me.

3. Did you see Lauren's gorgeous photos galavanting all over Paris in a sea of tulle?

4. This apartment tour is the epitome of bachelorette pad, with no shortage of blush, gold and sparkle. 

5. I can't get enough of these red loafers. While I am thankful I now live in a state where sandals are acceptable footwear on 90% of occasions, sometimes you need a pair of flats.

Farmers Markets and Produce Stands

Thursday, May 22, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 3 Comments

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's that time of the year. Where everything is freshly picked close to home and not shipped in from halfway across the world. Of Saturday mornings spent at the farmer's market, followed by Saturday afternoon drives to the peach orchard for the best homemade peach ice cream you've ever tasted. Food is lighter, less cooked (aka less time having to cook) and you always have sweet snacks on hand that don't leave you feeling guilty after eating the whole carton. 

Grab your market tote and a cup of coffee and see what you can find. The best part of farmer's markets is that you can usually learn a few tricks on how to pick the best fruits and veggies and what exactly to do with them once you get home. 

Weekly wishes for the remainder of the week

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 2 Comments

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is it a thing to be fashionably late to making weekly goals? Can I not feel guilty about not having big plans and goals knowing that 2/3 of the week is already over? I say yes.

If you're following me on Instagram shameless plug then you probably noticed that I'm not living like a squatter anymore! And that I can cross one item of my 30 before 30 list: buy furniture that requires no assembly. So now that I have the basics, and have a few things hanging on my walls, the real fun can begin. Feel free to share your favorite places to find decorative items/prints/etc. Oh, and don't say Ikea, because the nearest one is 5 hours away, and a furniture warehouse store is not worth that kind of drive. 

Also, I want to try one new restaurant per week, at least for a while. I went to two last weekend, so maybe I will let those count for this week. Someone who prides herself on being a fan of the foodcation can't be lulled into eating out at the same three places at home all the time.

Finally, I want to enjoy the long weekend. My days of having a summer break are over for good until I retire. So I should start making the most out of whatever vacations I can get. 

Coffee Talk

Saturday, May 17, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 2 Comments

Saturday, May 17, 2014

This is the time of the year, the brief time, in between pollen season and the oppressive heat of summer. So I am going to take full advantage of it and I hope you can do the same. Unless you are living in part of the country that is still seeing snow. And if so, then I am quite sorry. So I hope you are able to take the time and enjoy your coffee and reading out on the patio.

1. These prints combine some of my favorite things: travel and design. The shapes of cities series turns iconic skylines into graphic art for your walls.

2. Along with the outdoor theme I have going on, enjoy these stunning National Geographic photos.

3. It's never too early to set your DVR schedule. While you are taking a summer hiatus from tv, you have the perfect time to binge watch completely new shows. But don't miss a beat when all of your favorites return in the fall. 

4. Harry Potter fans rejoice! Our favorite series is continuing on in film. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will come out Nov. 18, 2016. And of course it is going to coincide with another blockbuster we are all waiting for, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Figures. Don't retire your robes and wands just yet, you'll have yet another premier to wear them to. 

5. A point system for making your way through your book list? Yes please! Kaysie has just the system to make a game out of reading.

6. Are you swimming in student loan debt? GradSavers is a program for you to do small tasks for businesses (writing tweets, blog posts, doing research, making lists, etc.) in exchange for credits/money that is paid directly toward your student loan. Want to get started?

Coffee Shop Manifesto

Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 2 Comments

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Do you love laughing at all of the hipster stereotypes? Then Portlandia is the show for you. Seriously. It's hilarious. Especially on a rainy Saturday afternoon. You start watching it and then all of a sudden, 4 hours have passed and you don't know what you've done with your day. But it's worth it. Trust me. 

One of my favorite sketches is the Coffee Shop Manifesto. The baristas of Portland gather to write a code to protect their noble profession. Some of the rules for patrons include: no talking at the counter, no cell phones, no bathroom before you order and no asking questions about the menu. 

I frequent a lot of coffee shops. So I thought, would would I add to that list?

1. Stop uttering "small, medium, large" Unless you say you would like to biggie size your latte. Because that is completely acceptable. 

2. Please, let's play Iron & Wine, The Civil Wars and The Avett Brothers on repeat all day every day. (That is only slightly sarcastic because I wouldn't completely hate that playlist.)

3. A latte isn't complete without a barista's signature artwork. Without it, how am I supposed to Instagram each and every one of my drinks?

4. Never do away with the bottomless cup of coffee. There are some of us who are too cheap to pay for Internet and still others who are attempting to write the next great American novel and need a place to set up shop. 

5. If your menu is 2/3 flavored lattes, you're doing it wrong. I'm all about giving the people what they want, but try and make some black coffee and espresso converts out of them.

6. Every coffee shop must have at least one old comfy couch that looks like it was salvaged off the side of the road. Bonus points if you actually did pick it up on the side of the road.

Sponsor Spotlight: The Mosby's in China

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I can't wait to introduce you to Heather and Zachary. 
While they are teaching English in China, 
they are taking advantage of all the country has to offer. 

From travels to the sometimes awkward moments 
of living in a completely different culture, 
you will feel like you are right next to these two
every step of the way.

1. Tell me a little about you and your blog. 
Sure! I'm Heather and the husbands name is Zachary, and we have a ridiculously cute golden retriever named Chara! Collectively we make The Mosby's of The Mosby's in China. Like Ted Mosby in How I Met Your Mother, yes.  We live in Qingdao, China where we teach English to 250+ munchkins and really just live a totally normal life in China. A totally normal life here looks like dodging old ladies hawking loogies, surviving with our conversational Chinese, wearing face masks sometimes and climbing the mountain in our back yard, to list a few. It may not seem normal to some but it has become the norm for us and we love it! Our blog is a place to document our life, my thoughts, and some other good stuff along the way. 

2. You've been able to see a lot of China and Korea through working. Do you see yourself staying there for the near future?
Ya! We've lived in China the past 3 years, in two different cities, and lived in Korea, outside of Seoul for a year before that. We've been blessed to see and live in some pretty cool places! In all of our moves and the "renewing of the contracts" time that happens every year at school's in Asia, we have prayed for God's vision and direction for us and our future. For now, we are in Asia. Next year, we will possibly be somewhere else in Asia. And the year after that, who knows! We are taking each year at a time! 

3. Why did you decide to start blogging? What is something you have learned from this experience? 
Originally, when we first arrived in Korea 4 years ago, we started the blog to keep connected with our parents. The first year it was Zachary's thing. I had little patience for the uploading of pictures or sitting down for so long! Zachary would post once a month or so. We didn't know anything about blogging! All our pictures are awkwardly spaced and size small! We didn't even know how to make the pictures bigger! While I am no blogging professional, I do like to think that we've come a long way with our blog. At some point in Dongying I just fell in love with blogging! I found a friends blog from high school, The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart, I read some and just thought, "Wow! These blogs, they're more than blogs! They're creative outlets!" And I love a good creative outlet, so, The Mosbys in China blog as it is today was born and I fell in love with the whole process. 

4. How do you handle living so far from family and friends?
I'm terrible at this really, at the keeping in touch through Skype and emails. Crazy though, since I love blogging! But mostly, how I handle living far away, is that I just really invest myself in where we are. We have tons of amazing friends here. We have a great church. We have Chinese families that have become like our families. We host parties. We have people stay with us. We explore and travel. We've also made a home here and I think that makes all the difference.

5. Do you have a favorite moment or experience while living abroad?
You know, sometimes my favorite moments are the simplest of moments like laughing with my Chinese students at our house after school while playing UNO or walking our dog in the midst of the beautiful cherry blossom trees with Zachary. It's just those small moments that really make the days, you know? I will say that our hike to the top of Tai Shan and watching the sunrise the next morning was pretty up there. Also, during our first real vacation this past winter to Thailand we took a road trip and that was pretty awesome, too! 

6. Anything else you would like to add? 
Get out there. Experience things. Enjoy life. It's a gift. You don't have to take a plane to experience something extraordinary or different than the day to day norms. Explore your city. Find those places that set your heart wild and go there with people you love. Also, if jumping on a plane is your thing, you could totally come visit us in China!! :) 

post signature

Two of my favorite things

Monday, May 12, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 4 Comments

Monday, May 12, 2014

All fonts are available on Font Squirrel or Da Font

Free fonts and coffee. 
I can't think of a better combination. 

What are some of your favorites? 
I'm always looking for my latest obsession. 

Because somehow, when in doubt, 
I always default to Champagne & Limousines. 

Are you one of those people who has memorized their
list of favorite fonts? 

If so, then we can be best friends.

5 reasons I'm glad I graduated in December

Friday, May 9, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 6 Comments

Friday, May 9, 2014

It's a little crazy to think that I have been out of school for an entire semester. I half expected to still be sleeping in my childhood room at this point and just "figuring it all out." But thankfully that isn't the case (Or at least the whole sleeping in a twin bed part.) I'm sure my parents are thrilled about it as well.

Graduating in December and not May does have it's perks though. Like:

1. You don't expect a job immediately. You have to enjoy Christmas break, right? No one is hiring a week before the holidays. Start fresh in the New Year. Or better yet, why not wait until mid-January when all of your friends go back to school? 

2. Fewer graduates to compete for said jobs that aren't available at the end of December. I graduated with 400 in my class as opposed to 950. You can do the math. 

3. Fewer graduates means a shorter ceremony. Let's face it, they can be a little dull. Especially for your family who has to come. At least you can cheer on all of your friends, they have to sit and listen to a long stream of names being called just hoping that they don't doze off during the .2 seconds it takes for your name to be called and you to walk across the stage. Also, is this a good time to talk about the parents taking photos on their iPads? Just stop, please.

4. There are more full time jobs available as opposed to internships. Companies love the summer when they can hire seasonal labor, and if it's not a great fit, well then they can say sayonara in September and be no worse for wear. 

5. Graduating in December means you are either finishing early, or took a victory lap. So you either saved a couple thousand dollars, or were able to defer your loans for five more months while also stretching out your glory days just a little while longer.

In all seriousness, the one thing graduating in December didn't have was the majority of the people I entered college with. To those of you graduating tomorrow, I wish you all the best. And I know you all will do great things.

Airbnb: Live like a local when you travel

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 17 Comments

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

FYI this is not the Airbnb apartment I stayed at. But how cute is it?
Airbnb is under fire from the hotel industry. And honestly, I think the hotels are throwing a hissy fit because now they have competition. If anything, they should learn from the popularity of Airbnb and consider lowering their rates in popular urban areas. Maybe then they would take back some of their business. But what do I know about this?

I've only had one experience with Airbnb. And it was wonderful. I would never have been able to visit NYC for a week if I had to pay for a hotel room. FOr $90 per night (divided 3 ways) I got an 800 sq ft one bed/one bath apartment with a terrace. Can you give me that Marriot? I don't think so. While I ended up staying a little farther out of town than I would have liked, I was still close to everytihng I needed. My host actually lived in the building and was available to answer any questions that came up and even met us at the subway stop to make sure we were able to find the building ok. The apartment was spotlessss and the kitchen came fully equipped to make meals. Since it wasn't someone's actual home, it had the perfect amount of lived in vs. clutter.

Given the opportunity, I would find a place to stay through Airbnb, no questions asked. And here's why:

It allows you to visit urban areas without paying a fortune on lodging. 

When you are traveling, do you want to spend the majority of your money on a hotel that you sleep and shower in? Or do you want to spend it on visiting attractions, or more importantly to me, eating at really good restaurants. That is a no brainer to me.

Like I mentioned earlier, this should be a wake up call to the hotel industry. 

Hotel prices in popular destinations are outrageous. And, before, they could get away with highway robbery because they didn't have any competition. We live in a free market, and I understand why they see it as a little unfair that Airbnb hosts are not subjected to all of the regulations as they are, but I think this is the time for the hotel industry to rethink their age-old business model. 

You get to live like a local and experience real neighborhoods.

I stayed in Washington Heights. Which is not a tourist attraction by any means. But it was interesting to see how New Yorkers really live. Not everything is the upper east side or the village (as much as I wish it was...) Since I had a kitchen I was able to cook a few meals and order Chinese take out on a few nights it was too rainy and cold to want to stay out.

Finally, the hosts are able to make extra money. 

If you are willing to live with strangers for a short period of time or are willing to let people take over your apartment while you're out of town, then this is genius. If you are able to rent out your apartment while you travel, you may just break even and travel for free. 

What are your thoughts on Airbnb vs. the hotel industry/cities wanting more taxes? It resembles a David vs. Goliath match up to me.

Writing Process: Typing away in semi-coherent sentences

Monday, May 5, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport|| 7 Comments

Monday, May 5, 2014

Writing is part of my 8-5 job. So by the time I come home at night (yes, I am one of those who typically doesn't write the next day's post until the night before) I want to write about what I want to write about. Therefore, my topics tend to be a little more on the scattered side. From travel, to recipes, to stories current events and design, I cover a little bit of everything here. I write about anything and everything that is on my mind at the time. And if you've stuck around reading this long, it must not bother you too much. 

Charlene, a fellow Harding alum blogger, invited me to share thoughts on my writing process and why I write, and while my process is much on the lax side, I thought I would share a little with you.

What editorial calendar?

So it's safe to say that I don't have an "editorial calendar" like all of the other popular kids on these here interwebs. I do have my trusted notebook to jot down all of the random ideas that pop in my head, typically when out for a walk or at 3 a.m. There are dozens of post ideas or the starts of posts stored in there. Some won't make it off those pages. And that is probably for the best.

Quality vs. Quantity

I know that I do not have the time, nor the ideas, to post every day. And instead of babbling on like a crazy person, wasting your time and mine, I write when I have something to say. Whether it's information, humor or a different point of view, I'd like to think that my blog is adding something of some value to the Internet.

One in a million?

Do you remember the writing prompts you were given in school? I loved listening to everyone's essays because even though we were all given the same topic, our varying life experiences colored the answers differently. So while I write on the same topics covered by thousands of other writers sitting behind a screen, typing to their hearts content, life makes my writing just different enough to stand out. My blog may not be one in a million, and if that was something I was truly interested in, I would be writing about how to play the ukulele. Although there are probably more than one ukulele enthusiast sharing their tips and tricks to playing a tiny guitar.

Train of Thought (but edited a touch)

Like I said earlier, I write for a living. Which means that I also edit for a living. And I've been known to get into my fair share of grammar debates (which I don't hate.) However, I'd like to think of my blog more as my train of thought, but edited slightly. I can't turn off my the editor in me. I can't write without at least skimming for typos and incorrect capitalization. But I don't take the time to create an outline. Sometimes I think I know where I want a post to go, but while I'm in the process of writing it, I end up somewhere completely different. And that is a beautiful, and sometimes confusing, thing.

What about you? Why do you write? Do you have a process set in stone, or are you a fly by the seat of your pants writer? 

Coffee Talk

Saturday, May 3, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| | 2 Comments

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I hope you are not drowning under a sea of rain, or being blown away by storms from this week! Why is it that about this time every year there is one storm system that wreaks havoc across a large part of the country? 

For your morning (or afternoon, or night) reading pleasure: 

- Have you realized that the students entering freshman year of high school in August were born in 2000 or 2001? Where has the time gone? I for one feel sorry that they missed all of the gems of growing up in the 90s.

- If you aren't able to watch the finale of your favorite tv show or can't watch the big game on live TV, have no fear. Twitter has a mute function for you to block tweets for particular accounts for a specified length of time. Why didn't I know about this when Scandal was on?  

- I absolutely agree with Megan's reasons why you should intern with a nonprofit. Especially if feeling like you are making a difference/doing something that matters or you want a vast range of experience in a short amount of time, then consider interning (or working) for a nonprofit.

- How pretty are these lemon blueberry bars? Now I'm just looking for an excuse to make them.

- When in Ireland, I wish that I was able to fit a trip to the Cliffs of Moher into my itinerary, however it just wasn't an option. The main reason I wanted to go was so I could quote The Princess Bride constantly. Also, can I be honest here? It wasn't until I read Casey's post that I knew the rock and cave Harry and Dumbledore go to in search of horcruxes was also the Cliffs of Moher. But now I I hope you won't hold this against me.

What you may have missed this week: 

Friday Favorites: Loft Love

Friday, May 2, 2014 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 5 Comments

Friday, May 2, 2014


I have a confession to make. About 90 percent of my closet comes from LOFT. And of course I have the rewards card. And let me tell you, I rack up those dividends like no one's business. I know store cards go against every financial guru's advice, but the amount of money I save makes up for it in my opinion. Plus I always pay off the card balance while I'm in the store, so it's a win win situation. 

If you haven't checked out their spring/summer collection, you're missing out. Unfortunately their most recent sale ended last night (hence my shopping spree) but I'm almost positive there is another one on the horizon very soon.

Here are a few of the items that I scooped up from the clearance section.