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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
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monthly roundup no. 10: february 2019

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It’s that time of the month again where I clear out my Pocket articles and share some of my favorite articles I collected this month. It seems like I’m tending more toward technical-type investigations lately, which makes sense as I continue through my Superhi course. This is the first bootcamp I’ve found that really works for my teaching style, so if you’re a highly visual or design-oriented learner, I can’t recommend them more.

Since that kind of reading isn’t for everyone, I’m sharing some of my favorite entertainment write ups from the month. Lizzo! Laura! Roller coasters! More crummy musician men! It’s all here for you today.

It’s Just a Matter of Time Until Everyone Loves Lizzo: If you aren’t listening to Lizzo yet, what on earth are you doing? Her music is super feel good, and she’s unapologetic from everything from her body to her self-love. She’s the baddest ass flautist I’ve ever seen, and I just hope to someday feel about my self the way Lizzo feels about Lizzo. And also the way I feel about Lizzo.

The Spectacular Failure of the World’s Only Hard Rock Theme Park: This hits on two of my biggest interests: abandoned things and theme parks. I had no idea that there had even ever been a Hard Rock theme park, let alone that it had been in South Carolina of all places, and this thorough tour through its history was fascinating.

After many many years, favorite blog The Billfold is closing. One of my 2018 highlights was to finally be published there, and I’m very sad to see it go. Despite the popularity of other money sites, none of them are as personal as writers and articles were here.

On Dermatillomania: Laura Stevenson is an amazing songwriter and singer, and her jams have been there for me through some of the ugliest of times. She penned this essay on self-harm for Talkhouse, and I’m glad that she was able to share her experience so it can potentially help so many others. (Big ol’ TW on that if you’re susceptible to self-harm.)

13 Reasons We Type in Lowercase: I type almost exclusively in lowercase. At work, I type lowercase in our Slack channel, but it’s hit or miss everywhere else – Basecamp and Github see varied cases, I guess depending on the day. I’ve always thought it was mostly for speed – not hitting the “shift” key does save a little bit of time, I suppose – and, probably, a little bit of laziness.

Ryan Adams and the Betrayal of Teenage Girls: At this point it’s little shock when a powerful man’s abuse comes to light, and while I don’t think that Ryan Adams was a surprise, reading the NYT article with the women he abused hit very close to home. Mandy Moore’s quote at the end of the piece is something I think I’ve said verbatim about my abuser in the past. This Buzzfeed piece is just one more illustration that this is not isolated – it happens everywhere, to almost every woman.

I think capping it off with something happier would be nice. A friend of a friend wrote Hymns for Druggie Party Kids awhile ago, and it was recently published. It’s a great piece on how music can find you when you need it most, and it of course features my favorite band, The Hold Steady.

Any articles you particularly loved this month? Share them below!

February 21, 2019
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tidying tech: digital spring cleaning

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Spring is here, finally. In addition to cleaning the house, purging the closet, and other seasonal cleaning, it’s also a good time to do a cleanout of your digital life. It’s easy to let things pile up in your email, on your phone, or in your download folder, which slows down devices and can even affect things like data safety and security. This type of tidying is probably my least favorite thing because I’m notoriously awful at emptying my inbox. While taking breaks from the physical aspects of spring cleaning the apartment, here’s a list of spring cleaning tasks for your digital life as well!

  • Clear tabs in your browser: That’s a live look at what my browsers look like at any given moment, and to be honest, this is a look even after I’d closed out of many. If you’re a culprit of this too, take a second to close anything you opened to read later – I like to use Pocket to save those links – and close out anything past or completed. Take a minute to go through your browser extensions as well. If there are any you aren’t using actively, removing them can speed up your browser and even protect your data (unsupported extensions can be hacked. Keep your information safe by revoking access to unsecured apps.)
  • Clear your saved bookmarks: I can’t be the only person who has managed to import decades worth of bookmarks from computer to computer. Most of the things in my bookmark menu are not only not anything I need to use anymore, but they probably aren’t even live websites anymore. Time to clear it out and make things I actually use regularly more accessible.
  • Hit Inbox Zero: For years, inbox zero has been my white whale. I aspire to it, and I can never quite get there. I use Unroll.me, but even my daily Rollup is a mess (not to mention the thousand or so mailing lists I haven’t rolled up yet.) Merlin Mann first popularized the Inbox Zero practice, and his way of thinking about inbox and email is helping me archive and clear out the junk.

While you’re spring cleaning, think about doing a quarterly review as well!

  • Delete old files from the cloud: Google Drive, Dropbox, pCloud, and other cloud services are great for backing up files, but harder to keep organized. In looking for a copy of my resume to update the other day (holla promotion, not-so-holla hunting down a current resume) I was faced with some that are over ten years old. Time to clean out all the old versions, past cover letters, and archive the college assignments you don’t need anymore.
  • Update your resume and portfolio: After locating your most current resume, take a look at it to make sure your duties are accurate for your current job and make any changes to your portfolio. You never know when you’ll need to brush it off, and there’s nothing worse than needing a presentable resume and having to rush around to update it.
  • Empty your downloads folder and recycle bin: In my job, members often attach files that I have to download for review – and I never remember to clear the folder on my computer. Check through your downloads, properly save and archive those you want to keep, then recycle the rest. Like the recycling bin in your house, clear that out as well.

What steps do you take to clean your home or digital life? Is spring cleaning something you look forward to, or do you dread it every year?

March 21, 2018
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monthly roundup no. 5: august 2017

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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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top 5: my favorite iPhone apps

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My phone has long been an extension of my arm – I use it for everything, whether I’m checking my email in the morning, running through Timehop for some laughs, or cataloging ideas in Notes or Evernote. Over the years, I’ve found some apps on my phone just can’t be removed – no matter what, I just can’t quit them. Here are my favorites!

Hoopla: I’ve talked about Hoopla before, and the love hasn’t left yet. Hoopla offers not only audiobooks, but also eBooks, albums, and movies as well. I haven’t checked out the music or movie options yet, but Hoopla is 100% the reason I hit my book goal last year – in December, I was frantically flipping pages through books in the app to hit my goal. I also really love Hoopla as compared to some other similar services because it seems to offer a wider variety of books. It syncs across devices so you can move from desktop to phone and back and never lose your place!

Duolingo: I started using Duolingo a few years ago when it first launched to brush up on my German and learn some Spanish basics, but I fell off the wagon pretty quickly. A few weeks ago I wanted something that felt productive and remembered Duolingo, and I dove back in. I want to go back to Europe in the next two or three years, so I’m committing to sticking with it this time. There’s also a web-based version now, if you prefer a bigger keyboard and screen when studying. They have plenty of different languages, so check it out and add me as a friend!

Read more…

February 27, 2017
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