Tag Archives: study abroad

Where I’ve Been World Map

8 Jul

I’ve had this project in the works for nearly two years, yikes! The family of one of my best friends growing up kept a map on the wall with pins of all the places they’d been. I always thought it was really neat, but as a 15-year-old I hadn’t been enough places to warrant a map. Now I’ve been a few places, and as I was putting pins in the places I’ve been I honestly couldn’t wait to add more!

This is a pretty cheap project. (Prices are estimates because I bought everything a year or more ago.)
World Map $6
Foam Core to fit your map and cut to size $5 (40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby and trimmed $1 at their framing counter)
Spray Mount $7 (at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby use a 40% off coupon)
Map Pins $1.50 (use a coupon again)

All of that comes out to under $20, and the spray mount which is the most expensive item will still have plenty left for another few projects.

worldmappins2I’ve actually made a few of these because the first one was ruined when my apartment roof leaked, I made Nate one (and really owe him another because I tried to make it without any help), and I made this one for myself. So a few tips:

-Have a friend help you! It’s not possible to wrangle a big poster over sticky spray mount without messing up and getting bubbles in your poster.
-Follow the spray mount instructions. Do it when the weather is right, and shake it the full amount of time recommend.
-Use something to squeegee the poster down and eliminate bubbles. Hands don’t work very well, but the edge of a binder or book works great.

worldmapI’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out!


5 Years Ago – Australia

8 Nov

I returned a week ago from a little vacation to Hawaii, so I figured I’d better finish up the last two posts about my study abroad in the Pacific Rim before I have another set of Hawaii pictures to share!

Today I’ve got pictures from the two weeks of my study abroad spent in Australia. You can see all the other posts about my Pacific Rim trip here. We spent Thanksgiving in Australia and it was a funny feeling, as a child of the Midwest, to be celebrating Thanksgiving, looking at Christmas decorations, wearing summer clothes, and spending afternoons sunning on the beach.

Cairns fruit market

Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef

View of the Harbor Bridge and Opera House from a ferry

Opera House at night

A show at the Opera House

Koala at the wildlife park


5 Years Ago – New Zealand

6 Sep

Today I’ve got pictures from the two weeks of my study abroad spent in New Zealand. You can see all the other posts about my Pacific Rim trip here. I did some basic color correcting on these, but looking through all my pictures I was remembering how perfectly postcard picture everything in New Zealand looked. Green grass, bright blue sky, and snow topped mountains – it was breathtaking.

Christchurch Cathedral

Just outside of Christchurch – Lyttelton Harbour

Some of the girls in my group at a scenic stop on our drive

Franz Josef Glacier

Ferry ride from Picton to Wellington

Wellington Parliament “The Beehive”


5 Years Ago – Japan

4 Sep

I mentioned the other day that it’s been five years since I left on my study abroad program to the Pacific Rim. If you missed it you can find pictures from our first stop, China, here.


Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome


Golden Pavilion

Summit of Mt. Fuji

Mijo Castle

My Japanese Host Family

Mito Art Tower

5 Years Ago – China

1 Sep

I’m feeling a little bittersweet today because five years ago I embarked on my first trip abroad. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years, but at the same time it seems like a lifetime ago. I know I’ve already blogged about my photo book that I made earlier this year, but I thought it would be fun to pull out the pictures again and post a few from each country. Enjoy!


Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City

Great Wall of China

Summer Palace

Canal at the Summer Palace

Chinese Acrobatics Show

Riding Bikes on the Xi’an City Wall

Dual Purpose Clothing

6 Aug

When it comes to dressing myself I’m pretty boring. Most of the clothes I buy are a solid color or if I’m feeling adventurous striped. I counted one time and I think I had 20 or 30 striped shirts. While I’ll probably still buy them in solid or striped I’m fascinated by items that can serve a dual purpose.

Before I spent my semester abroad my Aunt and Uncle gifted me with a pair of these fancy convertible North Face pants. I’ve got them in khaki, and while they do look a bit like tourist clothes they were perfect for my months in the Pacific Rim. They kept me warm in our cold classroom in China and while climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan and zipped off to keep me cool in the hot weather of China and on the beaches of Australia. The biggest plus though was how fast they dried. On my trip last fall to Europe I even took them along because I planned to do some sink laundry, and I knew these would be dry the next morning.

So anyway I’m always keeping an eye out for a piece of clothing like these pants where you can pack one item, but really have a couple. Nate has me hooked on Steep and Cheap which is this site that sells one deal at a time for about 20 minutes or until the item is sold out. I haven’t bought anything off of the site, but I did see this Patagonia Lithia skirt which I ended up buying a couple days later off of 6pm.com. The best part is that it’s a skirt or a top! Mine just arrived in the mail and I can’t wait to try it on.











I’ve found a couple of other similar items that I’m keeping my eye on too. Patagonia’s Kamala Skirt which turns into a dress and Horny Toad’s Wind Skirt which is reversible!

My Pacific Rim Photo Book

16 May

In the fall of 2007 I went on a study abroad program that my university offered to the Pacific Rim. A group of 29 of us traveled to China, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii, and a lot of us took pictures the whole way. The school had a Smug Mug account set up for us and upon returning to the states we could pay $25 and get CDs of everyone’s pictures (9 of them!). I honestly don’t think in the nearly 5 years that I’ve had those CDs I ever looked at them. Pretty soon after returning home I did print out a set of my pictures for a large collage frame, but that’s about all.

I printed one of those nifty photo books earlier this year for a trip I took to Europe (more on that another day) and loved how it turned out. I decided making one for my study abroad would be the perfect way to pull together pictures from my three months in the Pacific Rim.

I purchased a Groupon deal for a 20 page Shutterfly book. I don’t know how I thought I was going to fit 3 months of traveling into only 20 pages, but let me tell you that would’ve been a very difficult task, and I decided paying for the extra pages would be well worth it! My book will not arrive for another week probably, but until then you can check it out online. It mostly goes in the order of my trip, and I even found the emails I wrote to my family and friends back home. They make me a little embarrassed, but reading them again reminded me of a lot of things I’d forgotten about, so I thought they’d be a nice addition. Enjoy!

As for my review of Shutterfly: I really liked that it was web-based because I could work on my book anywhere as long as I had internet connection, and it didn’t matter if I was using a MAC or a PC. Being web-based did make it run a bit slower than it might have being on my computer, but I’ll take the slowness if it means I have better access.

Their program was pretty intuitive and I figured everything out pretty quickly. The page layouts were very customizable, and I liked the alignment and spacing tools that are offered when you customize a page.

Although I have Photoshop on my computer I found myself wishing Shutterfly had a built-in editor. It had a very basic one that would do red-eye (didn’t work on the one picture I tried though) and a few effects (black & white and a couple of others), but I really would’ve liked one that just enhanced the colors with the click of a button.

I’ll have to give a final report once my book arrives, but the creating process was overall successful!

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