monthly roundup no. 5: august 2017

Posted in Living by

It’s August. Are we serious?! How did this happen? I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.

Meanwhile, Dani has been planning our autumn hygge for months. Frankly, I find it rude… but I’m a little ready for some PSL in my life. And those Michigan autumn leaves. Yes, please.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle – dealing with some mental health stuff, trying to date (it’s awful, and I’m not going to do it again), and planning out the next few months of almost non-stop travel saw me needing some serious down time. Things that landed in my queue this month mostly revolve around travel, tech, mental health, and pizza… like that’s any surprise.

Strategies for Coping With Anxiety: Full disclosure: little self-promotion here, but I wouldn’t share it if I didn’t think it was relevant. I started working with If Me, an app that helps people share their stories with trusted allies, contributing to their blog. This was a very popular post on my own blog, so I thought it might be useful to share even more tips.

The Best Places for Females to Travel Solo: It turns out I had a whole pile of extra overtime to use up, so I’ve been thinking for the last two weeks about how I can use it up and where I can travel. Pile that on top of having recently read What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman, and once again, travel is the only thing on my brain. I’ve really wanted to go on a solo trip for a long time, but I do worry about safety. I tucked this article away to consult in the future!

The Mighty Ducks Filming Locations: This might not be useful to anyone but me, but I booked a trip to Minneapolis in a few months, and you can bet I’ll be hitting up as many locations on this list as are still standing.

I Got Ghosted On by a Woman I Was Into. Do I Have to Move On?: I saw a dude, and I really liked him! A lot! And then we made plans to meet up, and he dipped out. So for a few days, naturally, I wallowed and read articles like this. But this did help me determine that he needed to be called out

Dress Code: A few weeks ago, I went to a meetup of Chicago-based bloggers. One girl was wearing bracelets she designed which have codes engraved in that unlock coding lessons online. I love the concept, and I want one badly – maybe as a reward for myself when I finally do go off to dev school.

Feels Like the Weekend: One of my Nashville buddies moved out to LA to act (he’s amazing!) and he’s in this Funny or Die sketch. It’s funny and almost too real… especially the family political views thing.

Quit Your Job And Live Abroad: 8 Places So Cheap You Might Not Need To Work: I’m not necessarily itching to dive into that ex-pat life just yet, but if there’s a place cheap enough to live without working, it’s probably a pretty inexpensive place to visit as well!

August 25, 2017
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doing Chicago: true crime tour with Vimbly

Posted in Travel by
I received a free tour from Vimbly for this review, but all opinions are my own.

Vimbly review

Vimbly is the fastest way to book thousands of activities, classes & date ideas – their website displays available activities and times, and allows you to book tickets directly on the website. It’s easy to share a link with someone else to plan out an activity. There’s even a “Bucket List” feature that lets you bookmark things you might be interested in checking out later!

The coolest thing about Vimbly is that it’s sort of a one-stop-shop for tourists and residents alike. They have the traditional sightseeing tours, but they also have things like jiu jitsu and dance classes, pizza and dessert making lessons, and escape rooms.

Vimbly also features free events – I’m heading to this brewery tour at Lake Effect Brewing Company with a girlfriend tomorrow, and I would never have thought to look out for that before!

In case you do book something with Vimbly that you don’t love, their Handshake guarantee means that they’ll issue you a refund if you’re dissatisfied. How’s that for customer service?

For this tour, Dani and I opted for the True Crime and Serial Killer tour. Given that we went on a haunted history tour in June, this should not be a surprise.


This tour was even more fun. The scene was set as soon as we arrived – the bus was playing spooky music and the tour guide, Eric, leaned in as though I was giving him the password to get into a speakeasy.

The first spot we went was Washington Square Park, which was one of John Wayne Gacy’s hunting grounds. Eric also told us that the park used to be called Bughouse Square because a psychiatric hospital used to be nearby, and they used to be called bughouses.

Another really cool thing about booking tours in your own city with Vimbly is that you learn about other cool events in your city. At Washington Square Park, we saw flyers for the Newberry Book Festival. Neither of us had heard of it before and you can bet that we skipped on over to it a few weeks later.

From there, he continued to talk about other Chicago serial killers as well as Gacy. He and Jeffrey Dahmer used to be regulars at L&L Tavern, which is a bar that Dani and I visited after seeing My Favorite Murder live for that reason. We started heading over to the Logan Square Office Max, which is an area I know pretty well.

Eric told us about the Ripper Crew, which I’d never heard of. I definitely had no idea they happened in an area I’m so familiar with.

From there we headed back toward Lincoln Park and drove past the site where the Sausage King of Chicago killed his wife before driving over to the Congress Hotel. We’d been there on the first tour as well, so it’s definitely a known spot to visit if you’re a crime enthusiast in Chicago!

I definitely recommend using Vimbly in your own city, or for checking out things to do on your next vacation!

August 11, 2017
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how to use basecamp to organize your blog

Posted in Blogging by

Basecamp is a project management software, and using something like this isn’t just a good way to organize your blog or business. It’s also a good tool to have on your resume – especially if you want to transition to a remote career. Many companies use this to organize projects and tasks within the organization, and you can make it work for your own business as well. Here’s how I’m using it for the Desi Does empire!

basecamp

The first screen displays your “Teams” as well as your “Projects.” I use two different teams – one for Desi Does Pizza ideas, since it’s less structured than my business here. I use the second one to manage communication or plan out any ideas I might have for guest posts or social media help. The “My Stuff” section of Basecamp lets you easily see your outstanding assignments, quick links to your most used parts of Basecamp, tasks that are due, and things you’ve recently worked on.

how to use basecamp to organize your blog

You can sync Google Drive files or even create a doc directly on Basecamp. I love this because I can just note down any post ideas or start to draft a post.

My favorite part is the option to create project templates, so every month I can easily duplicate my content calendar project.

In this project, I have my schedule of what’s getting posted when, and in the Docs & Files section, I upload the related assets to each blog post. I do this in case I’m out and about and want to be able to easily retrieve any photos if I want to put together a quick social media post.

The best part of Basecamp for business, in my opinion, is the To-dos section. In this section, I have a To-Do card for each day that a blog post will be published. On that card, I break down the process: writing a post, editing a post, taking and editing photos, etc. It may seem basic and obvious, but if you like checking things off, it’s a really great feature.

Checking off and seeing what I’ve already done and what’s still coming up makes it super easy to follow a process and not feel overwhelmed. Here’s a deeper look at the card for last week’s Best Self Co. giveaway post (which is still open for another week!)

Basecamp’s flexibility makes it perfect no matter how big your blog or business is. You could even set it up for your daily tasks or freelance writing. It might seem like a lot of setup, but investing time into setting up templates for your routines can be a huge timesaver in the long run. It might even save you from forgetting simple marketing tasks that you should do weekly!

How do you organize your processes? Do you use a project management tool like Basecamp?

August 9, 2017
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7 companies hiring work from home employees this month: august 2017

Posted in Career by

This month’s remote job roundup is support and content heavy, as normal – with a few big name companies included. You might not even realize that places like Snapchat or TED hire remote workers, but they do – and they’re hiring now! Update that resume and dedicate some time this weekend working on your job search!

Operations Manager at The Engine Room: Here’s a secret: I’ve always wanted to work in operations. In high school, I would think and think: “what kind of job organizes things? How can I spend my life getting people where they need to go?”Tour managers, for sure. Event planners? When I moved to Virginia and worked at the arena, I learned about the operations department. Their entire jobs are dedicated to strategizing and planning. If this is something you enjoy, this job with The Engine Room might be for you!

Customer Support & Happiness at Later: I just read a book about women in technology that talked a lot about working at a startup. I’ve never had the interest, but this customer support opening at Later isn’t strictly service. You’ll be doing technical writing, triaging bugs, and working with the engineering team to work on a new product.

Operations Support Specialist at Karat: Karat is a company working to ease the hiring process in engineering. They’re looking for some evening and weekend support on their operations team – you’ll be developing communication protocols, assisting on interviews, and working to ensure quality. Operations Support Specialists also provide customer support, addressing any questions applicants have. This is a great opportunity for anyone with some HR experience who is looking to go remote! 

Copy Editor at Snapchat: Yep, you can work remotely even for companies like Snapchat. This part-time contract position for a copy editor sounds really fun, and requires evening and weekend availability to cover the current entertainment news. You’ll be creating copy and editing graphics and filters for their Our Stories feature, and collaborating with the Content team to provide marketing assets that are pitch-perfect and on brand.

Marketing Manager at Code HS: If you’re passionate about technology and education, you’re probably familiar with Code HS. It’s an organization that makes it easier for schools to teach coding, with full curriculum and support. They’re looking for a marketing manager to spread the word through traditional routes, and favor those with a technical bent due to the nature of the product. If you have a blog, that includes you!

Customer Support Specialist at FormAssembly: Customer support jobs typically have the lowest barriers to entry for someone who is just starting a career with a remote position. Nearly everyone has some kind of customer service position on their resume, whether it’s in retail, serving, or a summer job at a golf course. FormAssembly gets great reviews from employees, and could be a fun and friendly place to start your new remote lifestyle.

User Experience Designer at TED: This job requires a bit more prior technical experience than I typically share here, but it’s such a cool one I couldn’t resist. TED Talks is looking for a new designer for user flows, UI mockups, running usability tests, and more. If you have a web and graphic design background, this would be an awesome chance to work at a really fun and influential non-profit!

August 4, 2017
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using Best Self Journal to reach your goals & giveaway

Posted in Living by
Best Self Co. provided a sample for review and giveaway, but all opinions are my own.

If you’re like me, you have some big goals. Whether it’s running a marathon, going back to school, starting a company, or even starting a blog, it can be really hard and intimidating finding a way to make those dreams a reality. A few months ago, I discovered Best Self. Their planner/journal is created specifically to help users reach their dreams by breaking them down into smaller goals and actionable steps. That way, your big dreams feel more attainable (and you’ll be more likely to work toward them!) I thought I’d give a preview of what my Best Self journal looks like as well as a look at my routine and how I use it.

best self review

The package itself comes with the journal, as well as a pen loop and Wall Roadmap to mount so you can always keep your eyes on the prize. By putting your goals and steps up on your wall, preferably in a place where you see it most often, you’ll stay even more motivated to work hard every day. It’s dry erase, so you can even use it over and over.

Inside the journal, it’s packed with resources and advice on how to create goals. It can be harder than you think if you’ve never really set them before! You’ll learn about the 20-Mile March, and how Best Self’s 13-Week roadmap helps you achieve these goals. They’ll also point you to online resources for even more support, like a Facebook group of other users, and a guide on how to create good goals. In your journal, you’ll establish three main “result goals” which you’ll break down further. Best Self has you note the reasons that achieving these goals will improve your life, and you’ll also sign a commitment to achieve your goals. These are powerful psychological methods to motivate yourself.

The actual daily layouts are built to plan your day in a way that help you learn how to schedule your tasks in ways that work toward your goals. They also include places for morning and evening gratitudes. Practicing gratitude has many scientifically proven benefits, and it will put you in the right mindset to kill your goals. Sometimes it’s harder than others to find things to be grateful for, but if I can find six things every day, so can you. Even if it’s something as simple as the choice to take a shower every day (#RemoteWorkPerks.)

best self journal

Now that I’ve gotten into a routine after about a month of use, I’ve finally settled into a routine that works for me. I spend about thirty minutes a day with my journal. In the morning, I’ll wake up and write down my gratitudes. I’ll also write down my targets for the day. I’ve color coded each of my three result goals, so I try to have one target a day for each goal. At night, I reflect on the day, update my lessons learned and wins, and lay out my planned tasks and activities for the next day. That way, when I wake up, I don’t have to think – I’m already set up for success.

best self daily planner

During the day, I check off my progress, add things to my to-do list, and track my food (since that’s one of my action goals.) Tracking wins is fun too, and sometimes I run out of space. When you really focus on positivity and gratitude, you start to realize how great things are.

Since my goals are all color coded, that’s how I try to break down my day. You’ll see three to four colors (sometimes I’ll track work tasks in a fourth color here) in my daily spreads, and I try to add a reminder of what I’m working hard for in the My Goal section. Plus, one of my favorite parts of the journal are the inspirational quotes throughout. On each page, there’s a bit of inspiration and advice from people who are successful in their own rights. It’s helpful to have reminders on the bad days. Going forward, I’m also going to include a self-care line here. Planning in self-care is a great way to ensure that you’re going to do something for yourself every day.

best self weekly tracker

Best Self Co. was also generous enough to send over a journal for a giveaway, and I’m really excited to share this amazing productivity tool with you! Enter below, and share with us in the comments what your goals for the year are, or how you use your journal or planner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 2, 2017
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