necessities for your outdoor office

Posted in Blogging, Career by
I recieved products from NuShield and CoolerPad for review. All opinions are my own.

my outdoor office

Summer, summer, summertime. Just because you still have to go to work (which is totally unfair) doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the sunshine and weather. We have a great patio at our apartment and I couldn’t resist the urge to move my office outside this season. There are definitely some necessities you need specifically for an outdoor office – here are my must-haves for making the move away from the desk!

A Great Table: I have this set from Target – it even fit in my Ford Fiesta! I definitely recommend getting an umbrella, even if you don’t opt for a set like this. It will help to have something to hide some of the reflection on your screen (and give you a place to sit in the shade when the temps get too hot.)

An Eye Saver: Speaking of screen glare, something that has been a total game changer for me is the NuShield Dayvue Antireflective Screen Protector. It has solved a problem I didn’t even really know I had. Initially, I got it to help with the glare I was suffering with outside. Basically, I was only able to work outside in the mornings, and the sun was so harsh by the afternoon that even the umbrella couldn’t do enough. With this film, it’s possible to read my screen more easily outside and inside. Until I put it on, I didn’t realize how often I was squinting at the screen, causing tension and headaches. It was an easy application and though it suggests having someone help out on standby, I was able to apply it well on my own. You can even see in these photos how well it’s working: before I put the film on, and after!

Something To Keep Splinters At Bay: Since you’re likely spending a lot of time outside, your toes will want to stay comfy too. Outdoor rugs are great and really trendy right now. I got one that matches the color of the patio set, and I think Dani is just glad I didn’t outfit the patio with astroturf. (Even though I really want to.)

SPF… A Lot of SPF: With the extra time in the sun, you’ll want to be sure to keep your skin safe. My favorite facial sunscreen is still Block Island Organics facial moisturizer (yep, I’m still loving it.) Your body needs to be covered, too – Sun Bum is my favorite sunscreen for its cool coconutty scent.

Laptop Air Conditioning: Your body isn’t the only thing that will heat up outside. Computers are also susceptible to heating up. I recently upgraded to a Cooler Master Notepal after using the ultra-slim model for years. It’s an external fan that will help keep your computer from overheating, helping with ventilation and even adding some ergonomics to your keyboard. Keeping your tools in working order is important in keeping the outdoor office working! I personally prefer the ultra-slim model because the Notepal doesn’t have anything to stop the laptop from sliding forward – it’s better for lap use vs. flat surfaces.

Bug Repellent: I like to work into the night (and even if I’m not typing away, I’m probably out there with my nose in a book.) The bugs around us aren’t too bad, but I like a citronella candle on deck just in case they get overwhelming.

Water, Water, Water: Even if you don’t feel it, you’re going to be sweating in that heat. Stave off dehydration or sunstroke by staying ahead on your H2O. I like Hydroflasks – they really do keep your water cool, even in 80 degree heat. If it’s hard for you to remember to drink a specific amount, get a Nalgene bottle and mark off times so you’re sure to be drinking throughout the day. Or, take a page from Dani’s bullet journal and add a water tracker to yours!


Snacks: The best part, right? Keeping your body full is just as important as drinking enough water. Fruit salad is my favorite summer snack. A charcuterie board and cheese plate is also a really great option! Protein is also super important for energy – I really like paleovalley’s meat sticks and, of course, Justin’s Nut Butters.

Do you work outside in the summer? What do you bring to your outdoor office with you?

July 12, 2017
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best hair products for blondes

Posted in Style by

best products for blondes

I love being blonde. It’s become part of my identity, and I love it, but it sure is expensive to stay blonde. Not only are the regular salon visits pricey, but upkeep afterward can get up there in price too. It’s worth it to me, though, to extend the life of my blonde and push it as long as possible before going back under the dye cap.

I’ve been dyeing my hair for more than half my life (woof, I’m old) so I have more than a few tips and tricks to maximize that dye job. Let’s roll tape on the best hair products for blondes!

Best Shampoo for Blondes

Unite Blondia Shampoo: This is a new product for me. I picked up a travel bottle at the salon on my last appointment because I had two trips coming up and didn’t want to fuss with pouring my existing shampoo into a travel container. The instructions say to only leave it in your hair for up to 60 seconds, so I got super pumped thinking it would tint my hair lilac if I left it on long. I paired it with Aveda’s Blue Malva conditioner, and it did take out the yellow that was starting to shine through. My friend said that it had that nearly-purple tint too, so mission accomplished! (It smells like grape, so if you’re scent-sensitive, skip on down the road.)

Jhirmack Silver Brightening Shampoo: This is the lowest-price shampoo I use, so it’s become my daily shampoo. You can get it at drugstores like Walgreens, and it works pretty well! (It’s cheaper in-store than on Amazon, too.) I tend to use it more after a few weeks post-dye when I’m washing my hair more than once a week. This has been my go-to shampoo for about four years and I keep coming back, even after trying out more expensive products. I think that says something.

Drybar Blonde Ale Brightening Shampoo: I decided to try out this fancy shampoo on the last Sephora VIB sale. It’s lightly scented but not too overpowering. It works fine, but I hate the bottle. The push-top doesn’t open very wide, so it’s tough to squeeze out enough product. It’s alright, but there are other more cost-effective options that work just as well (in better packaging.) I did try the matching conditioner as well, but I still like blue malva and Joico a lot more.

Kevin Murphy Blonde.Angel.Wash: A stylist friend of mine introduced me to Kevin Murphy a few months ago, and I’ve tried it a few times. I like it a lot because it doesn’t get overly bubbly – it definitely is a wash, more than a shampoo, and it hydrates hair really well. I like it, but can’t justify the cost.

Lush Daddy-O Shampoo: I love the smell of this shampoo from Lush, but I didn’t feel like it actually worked all that well. I had really high hopes, but my hair still looked a bit yellow-y after use. Don’t get me started on the companion conditioner bar either – I would scrub and rub it into my hair, and still not feel like I had even gotten any in or on my locks.

Bedhead Dirty Blonde Shampoo: Oh, memories. This was the first purple shampoo I ever used. It’s not too pigmented, so if you spend serious money coloring your hair, I’d opt for a different choice. If you’re a natural blonde just hoping to pull out some of the yellow from hard water, this is a great (and inexpensive) choice.

Tigi Catwalk Fasionista Violet Shampoo: I picked this up during an Ulta hair care sale. It’s very bubbly and soapy – it has a nice scent, but I don’t love it. Honestly, I think that the Jhirmack shampoo is better than this one. It’s inexpensive, but still not worth it.

best products for blondes

Best Blonde Conditioners

Aveda Blue Malva Conditioner: Don’t let the price tag on this one give you a heart attack. It really is worth it. Douglas J Institute has been my go-to salon for over five years, and I held off on buying any of the pricey products for a long time. In December 2015, though, I caved. I got the best dye job of my life and the stylist sold me on this conditioner. It’s the best thing I’ve ever put in my hair. It makes it feel super healthy, has that light Aveda scent, and really brightens and tones hair. I use it once or twice a month. I definitely recommend buying directly from Aveda, either online or in a salon, and joining the pureprivilege program to collect points. You can also get 15% off your first order online! I’ve not tried the blue malva shampoo, but I’m sure it works just as well.

Joico Color Endure Conditioner: This was an impulse buy when I was between blue malva treatments but my hair was starting to feel really brittle. It hydrates really well, and it’s sulfate-free, which helps keep your color healthy. It’s a great, inexpensive option to keep in your shower.

It’s a 10 Miracle Blonde Leave-In Conditioner: This is a summer gamechanger for me. Since I love being outside (no surprise) my hair cooks a little fast. (By cook, I mean drys out, obviously.) I’ve never tried the regular It’s a 10 formula, but this blonde one is a must-have. It helps with frizz, detangles, and moisturizes, and also helps to protect your color against the sun. When I first started using it, I noticed a marked difference in the brightness of my color!

best hair products for blondes

Other Hair Products To Use

Invisibobble Hair Ring: I got these in a Sephora value set, and holy, cow, you guys. These are the best hair bands ever – especially for working out. I used to use the Scunchi hair ties with the rubber, but they always stretched out and hurt my hair when pulling them out. The Invisibobbles don’t move at all, and the coils don’t leave any “bend” in your hair either. This was the only hair tie I brought to Memphis, I had it in and out of my hair over the course of four days, and I made a blowout last the entire time because there was no crease or anything in my hair. I can’t recommend or talk highly enough about these!

Wet Brush: I ordered a wet brush on a whim a few years ago, and I can’t imagine using any other kind now. It’s built to not pull or snag your hair, which keeps it from getting frizzy or frayed. This paddle version is my new favorite.

Dry Shampoo: When you aren’t washing your hair often, dry shampoo needs to be used religiously to keep your head feeling fresh. My favorite is Batiste’s Brilliant Blonde because it blends in super easily, so you don’t have to brush it in too much. (Ouai has a dry shampoo foam that I really love too, but it does take a bit of working in, depending on your tone.)

Alligator Clips: I like these for styling out my hair. They’re what cosmetologists use in salons – they don’t pull too much on your hair, and you can section it out really easily. (They’re also great for just easily throwing your hair up to get it out of your face.)

What do you think are the best products for blondes? Do you have any holy grail hair products?

July 10, 2017
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Something new!

Posted in Personal by

If you follow me on Twitter (which you should, I promise I’m really fun,) you might have noticed a slight change in the last few weeks – I changed my username to @desidoesthings from @anortherngirls.

When I started this blog over five years ago, I couldn’t pick a name. This isn’t unique, and I think every blogger knows the pressure of picking the right name right out of the gate. I have to say – I feel like I failed at that. I’ve never loved A Northern Girl – sure, it’s who and what I am, but it doesn’t have a nice ring to it. It’s not catchy like Making Sense of Cents or Helene In Between or Venus Trapped In Mars. I never even really made a proper logo for it (though I do love the clean lines of Futura Medium that has served as the header all these years.)

A few weeks ago, a stroke of genius finally grabbed me. You probably know that I launched a food blog earlier this year (come join us at Desi Does Pizza!) and I recently registered a domain name that would serve as a landing page for all my projects. But I loved that name so much, and I love this blog so much, that it finally occurred to me: www.desidoes.com is what this blog was destined to be all along.

Desi Does feels much more personal – it’s about me, and a better reflection of what this blog is. Whether I’m sharing my blogging and remote work experiences, trying new products or experiences, or traveling, it’s all what I love to do – and what I love to write about.

What does this mean for content?

I’ll still be following the same posting format and content: lifestyle Mondays, blogging Wednesdays, and travel/location independent Fridays. I’ll just be doing it under a new name – one that feels more like me.

I do hope you’ll stick around and consider signing up for the mailing list! If you have a moment, I’d also love your feedback on this reader survey as well. It will help me make sure I’m providing the content you’re looking for!

How did you come up with your blog name? Did you go through several before landing on one you love?

July 8, 2017
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7 companies hiring work from home employees this month: july 2017

Posted in Career by

It’s July! It feels a bit like summer is halfway over, doesn’t it? It hardly seems fair. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it’s time to lay off the job search, or that companies aren’t hiring. Here are seven jobs you can apply to right now – many of them with no previous experience working remotely, and applying your already great skills!

Finance Customer & Employee Support Representative at Remote Year: Remote Year is a company that I’ve showcased here before, and they’re growing rapidly. If you feel comfortable managing financial questions from customers and employees, this job’s for you – you don’t even need a finance degree or experience!

Fan Happiness Associate at Gametime: If you live in a few specific states, Gametime is looking for you! Providing support for their customer service team and keeping customers happy, they’re hiring for a few different shifts. Positions start at $15/hour, full time with benefits available.

Customer Support Specialist at Boords: If you’re looking to break into the tech industry, working for an SaaS is a great introduction. Boords is a storyboarding product that’s two years old, and looks to be expanding! They note that having excellent communication skills is desired, as is customer-facing job experience in the past.

Account Migrations Specialist at Convertkit: ConvertKit is a mailing list service built for bloggers, by bloggers. If you subscribe to any mailing lists (including mine!) there’s a good chance that you’ve at least received mail sent by them, if you aren’t a blogger yourself using their service. They’re hiring an account specialist to help new users migrate their existing mailing lists over, so check out a free trial, add it to your resume, and apply.

Customer Champion at Zapier: Zapier is a great company with a great reputation, continuing to grow exponentially. They’re hiring a support specialist with working hours that are outside “normal” North American business hours, which is great for a digital nomad (or American night owl.)

Technical Writing Lead at GitLab: GitLab has one of the best company cultures in tech, and they’re looking for a new lead for their technical writing staff. In this role, you’ll take charge of help articles, tutorials, and the knowledge base, while managing other writers and collaborating with the marketing and sales teams to ensure all information is accurate.

Game Day Monitor at MLB Media: If I knew anything at all about baseball, I would be on this job so fast. Get paid to watch games, make sure streams work, and keep up with what’s happening where? If only it was hockey… Apply now – they’re hiring more than one monitor, but it’s certainly competitive!

If you’re looking for freelance writing jobs, check out this post with tons of websites that pay for your submissions – or check out Contena, where you can search hundreds of new, legitimate writing and editing jobs every day.

Be sure to sign up for the mailing list to be notified when the ultimate resource for finding work from home jobs and companies that hire distributed workers is available!

July 7, 2017
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50+ free stock photo websites for your blog or business

Posted in Blogging by

stock photo websites

My last post on places to find gorgeous stock photos for free was really successful, so it’s clear that there’s a demand for these kind of resources! I’m back today not only with more websites to try out, but also a freebie that will share even more places to find free stock photos. Here are some of my favorite new discoveries!

And if these aren’t enough, check out these other photo and graphic resources:

Gold & Berry: The aesthetic she has is gorgeous, and I love the glittery gold features she includes. She also includes a .psd file with drag and drop assets, so you can customize the look of the photo!

A Prettier Web: That ban.do planner from last year is super cute, so I’m glad that it gets featured in so many stock photo collections! This one is no different. Perfect for entrepreneurs or bloggers, this pack features photos that are great for different types of posts or products.

50 free stock photo website resources

Shafaq Omair: Similar to Gold & Berry, Shafaq’s photos focus heavily on the black and gold, which is such a nice combo. Her photos are also really feminine, which make them perfect for female entrepreneurs. As soon as you sign up for the mailing list, you’ll have access to the library, which contains many different photo packs.

Ashley Creates Things: It looks like Ashley is no longer an active blogger, but her pretty stock photos are still accessible. Several different options would be great for a wide variety of businesses, from home design to getting beach ready!

The Pattern Library: It’s not a stock photo website in the strictest sense, but they provide patterns that can be used as backgrounds for websites or even in marketing graphics! Or just scroll through their library – it’s surprisingly relaxing to watch the images fly by.

Like these? Sign up for the mailing list to access the full list of more than 50 free stock photo resources (that’s hundreds of free images for your website!

July 5, 2017
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