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spring favorites

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It can’t just be me – this winter felt, again, like it would never end. (It was so bad that this weekend, in late April, there was a snowstorm in Chicago that closed the airport, meaning we got “stranded” in Minneapolis.) I’ve been very glad for the brief moments of respite from the bitter cold and snow, and equally happy to find projects, games, and products that have made being stuck inside feel a little less-bad. Here’s what I’m into this season!

Uniqlo drape pants: Holy cow fam, I just discovered Uniqlo. Who was keeping them a secret from me?! I’ve long needed to replace things that I wear every day, like sweatpants and slippers (working from home has its own wardrobe, too.) When we stopped in a few weeks ago, I ran wild. I got two pairs of these drape pants, and I’m essentially living in them now. Perfect weight, light and flowy, stylish and comfortable. I love them!

Crocs Strappy Sandals: When a friend got married this spring, I realized that I didn’t really have any dressy shoes anymore. I saw these recommended by a one-bag traveler for their comfort and versatility, but by the time I got them in the mail I’d found a different pair of shoes to wear. After missing the Amazon return window I finally opened them and tried them on, and they feel like you’re walking on clouds – plus they’re really cute, and look nothing like Crocs!

Sadie by Courtney Summers: I had been in a real reading slump after reading a lot of non-fiction books about technology – I was getting too depressed and upset to finish them, and if I have an “active” book, it’s hard for me to start something new. Knowing that I’d probably get through a YA book in a few sittings, I overcame my aversion to starting something new when something is in progress and OMG. This book is totally worth all the hype it has gotten. I stayed up late finishing it one night, and have been thinking about it ever since. (If you’ve read it can we PLEASE talk about the ending??)

Superhi: This year, I finally decided to get really serious about learning code properly rather than the hack-and-paste strategy I’ve been going with for the last few years. Superhi is the first online course I’ve found that really works for the way my brain learns. I’ve tried Skillcrush before, and a few others, and I could never stick with them. I’ve taken three course so far and recently purchased another bundle to work through over the summer!

Notion: Everyone is singing the praises of Notion lately for organization, and I have jumped on board. The first time I tried it a few months ago I was overwhelmed by how flexible it is, but it didn’t take too long to get it set up and migrate a lot of my life over into it. Evan and I keep our schedules, our shopping list, and a sort of ‘future log’ in it, and I’m using it to track everything from code classes to essay ideas and research.

Llamanoes: Growing up, we played a lot of games, and in an effort to get away from screens and my phone, I’m working on playing more. These Llamanoes are ADORABLE and a fun game to play with kids because it’s super easy. If you’re more into adult games, we just picked up these plastic playing cards after a disastrous meeting between a bottle of water and a deck of cards.

I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson: It takes kind of a lot for me to opt in to new shows, but one particular review made me move this up in the queue pretty quickly. And with good reason – it’s probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in the last ten years. The episodes are short, between 15-20 minutes each, with three or four sketches in each. This is my style of comedy – taking things too far, making people uncomfortable, the darkest of the dark.

What are you into lately? Anything I should check out?

April 15, 2019

monthly roundup no. 7: march 2018

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It’s the end of March which means spring is officially here. That means it will finally get warm… right? RIGHT?! This long-lasting chill is making me crazy. Going through my Pocket this month shows me that I’ve been really career-minded lately, and this link round-up post is pretty indicative of that. Read on for some great resources to check out to build your employability and get organized (and also get clean teeth with really cute toothbrushes)!

Signature is one of my new favorite blogs, and their Memoir Writing Guide is awesome. I don’t have any grand plans to publish my own memoir, but past therapists have given me exercises to write about traumas and tough memories – this guide helped give me some more prompts on how to get started on this, and I love writing exercises.

I’m not a hypochondriac (said every hypochondriac ever,) but my family history of cancer has given me some pretty severe anxiety. Any weird ache or pain or ailment or symptom and I’m convinced that I’m the next in line for chemo. This post from WBUR on onco-anxiety – this specific fear I have is actually so common that it has a name – helps me realize that it’s a pretty valid fear for many.

Marisa Mohi is a Twitter friend-of-a-friend with a fantastic blog and super cute Etsy shop. I’ve been gearing up to clean and reorganize my office for literal months – this post with ideas on desk organization for creatives is what has finally gotten me off my butt to get moving.

Marlow is a new business and employment blog, but they already have promise. This article on expanding your network was really helpful – I’m very guilty of being a bit narrow-sighted in thinking that since I’m so happy in my current job that I don’t need to put effort into my career or brand (not to mention I get pretty nervous and awkward at networking events.)

Google’s Digital Garage is a really great free educational resource to work on your employment skills. I’ve been doing some of the digital marketing activities here, and they’re super useful! If you’re looking to career shift or even just build on your current job skills, it’s a really nice resource.

I’ve been a very long-time fan and reader of The Billfold, and current editor Nicole Dieker launched a podcast last fall called Writing & Money. I’ve ramped up my freelance pitching game lately, and this podcast has really helped me feel confident in pitches and stories! < If you have a LinkedIn profile and use any kind of software in your job, you could earn Starbucks or Amazon gift cards for adding reviews to G2 Crowd. They do apparently have a limit so even if you use a seemingly endless amount of programs, they’ll eventually put a cap on your rewards, but I used my Amazon gift cards from them (in conjunction with the ones I’m still loading up on from Swagbucks) to score some sweet new workout wear and running shoes. 

The Student Loan Refinancing Blueprint: I’ve been thinking for awhile about refinancing my student loans. This post from Comet broke down a lot of the remaining questions I had and helped guide me through which of my loans (if any) would be good candidates for refinancing. I also found this student loan spreadsheet from Student Debt Warriors which made me confront all my outstanding debt and really break it all down – something I’ve pushed off and ignored for years.

And now for something completely different, BF subscribed us to Quip a few months ago. I’ve never had an electric toothbrush before, so it’s a whole new world for me, but I really love the toothbrush and the toothpaste is super good. The brush has a built-in timer with notifications every 30 seconds so you know when to switch sections of your mouth, and my teeth are the cleanest they’ve ever been.

Do you read a lot of business or employment articles? Share your faves with me – I love to read career-related posts!

March 30, 2018

how to use basecamp to organize your blog

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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!


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

Get Organized With Trello!

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elieve it or not, I’m an organization freak. I am married to my planner, I keep a rough schedule at my fingertips via Google Calendar, and I’ve tried out more to-do list apps and schedulers than I can count. Recently, I was introduced to Trello, and it’s everything I wanted and more from a scheduler.

IMG_0911.PNGIn short, Trello is “the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything.” Since I downloaded it, I really have been using it for everything – blog management, work projects, daily to-dos, grocery lists, on and on. It’s available for computers as well as mobile devices, which makes it easy to keep track of your boards wherever you are.

Each board is made up of Lists, which you can then add Cards to. Then, for further organization (and what makes it better than a normal to-do list) you can add more information under each card, including checklists, attachments, due dates, color-coded labels, and comments. You can even add other users to each card, helping to facilitate communication across organizations or teams.

For my blog Trello board, I have lists of post ideas, and as I write and schedule the post, I drag the card over to the “done” list so I know that it’s no longer pending.

trello boards
I also have a Card where I’m managing all the things that go into a blog redesign and launch (complete with a colorful header to inspire me as I’m staring at code all day!)


Right now, in addition to work and blog projects, I’m working on boards to organize my upcoming move this summer, as well as planning out activities for my mom’s trip to Nashville this summer. Trello makes it easy to keep all relevant information in one place, allowing confirmation attachments to be added to cards, as well as links to purchase tickets or manage reservations, and even image uploads (I’ve been screenshotting Google Maps and uploading those images to the Cards.) Since all this information can be viewed on mobile and stored on your phone (no hoping for cell service up in the mountains,) Trello is definitely trumping Pinterest as my preferred method of vacation planning.

IMG_0917.PNGIf you’re interested in trying out Trello, please consider using my referral link! This post is not sponsored in any way – I just really love this app.

How do you organize your life? Are you primarily digital, or do you keep everything written old-school (like me!)

March 26, 2015

2015 planner picks

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2015 planners, agendas, calendars

One of my favorite parts of the end of the year is shopping around and looking at the pretty new planners that are coming up and dreaming of ways I can organize my life. Since college, I’ve used the same planner (the Moleskine Weekly Planner) but that never stopped me from looking and lusting. This year I did pull the trigger and buy a new one, but before I reveal The One, I thought I’d share some of the other contenders!

Day Designer: this thick spiral bound notebook features a hard cover with thick black and white stripes. Join her email list to get a preview of the daily pages, which include a priority to-do list and hour-by-hour blocks to plot your day.

May Books: I’ve reviewed May Designs before, and I really like them. I considered getting one of them for the new year, but wasn’t sure they’d offer enough space for me.

Sessa Vee: Her printable planners are absolutely gorgeous. Pretty, florally designs and extremely functional. Ultimately I didn’t go with this one because after waffling back and forth and back and forth again, I decided against doing a three-ring binder for portability reasons.

Kate Spade: I would have gone with this one if it had been in-stock at the kate spade website where it is $12 cheaper, but these sell out fast. I love the gold dots, and the hard cover keeps the spiral from being exposed and getting tangled up on things in your bag. It also opens so that the pages lay flat, which is awesome for writing and keeping things organized.

And after all that, the one I said yes to: the 2015 17-month planner. (This is an extremely popular one and the design I originally wanted, a cover that reads “I am very busy.” is sold out everywhere. The linked website is actually the only webstore I found that still had either design in stock!) It has a lot of the features I loved about my Moleskine (pocket on the back cover, ribbon to cord off pages, and elastic band to keep it shut) as well as things I always wished for in my red beauties – tabbed months and full page calendar views, for example. (If Hattan Home still has it in stock, use code “OINKOINK” to save 10%!) It’s also the most affordable on the list, clocking in around $20 pre-discount.

Inside, it features colorful illustrations, fun messages to cheer up dreary days, and suggestions for weekend activities – “dye your hair pink” and “bake a pumpkin pie from scratch” are two of my favorites!

I’m only sad that I didn’t get this planner a few months ago so I could have been using to to its maximum, but I’m excited to jump in now.

How do you organize your life? Are you a physical planner person like me or are you all digital?

December 3, 2014