Make Your Own Scene

Andy Warhol Museum: A bike in front of a wall covered in flowers

I snapped this at the Warhol Museum when we were in Pittsburgh last month.

I’ve really been thinking about Austin Kleon’s post, Find a New City, which I also included in the last Lunchtime Reads link roundup. In it, he references Patti Smith saying that New York has priced itself out of being an option for young, creative people who want to do something weird and potentially not lucrative. His and Patti’s advice? Find a new city. One where the rents are low, and you can afford to live while still having time to work on whatever it is that gives you life. “Stay out of debt, live somewhere cheap, make something happen.”

I recognize that I’m privileged enough, especially working in tech, to know that I could move to New York or Austin or Portland or Nashville or Seattle if I wanted to, but we chose this. We chose owning property for a fraction of what it would have cost even in Philly. We chose to be near farmland, and a little nearer to family. We chose this sweet little city that often feels more like a neighborhood to us, post-Philly. We chose this as home for now.

It’s got me wondering what it would look like if I made my own scene here in my new little city. I think it seems like a worthy goal, but I am a little hesitant as the new kid in town to roll up and declare myself a scene maker. It’s more my nature to lay low for a bit, meet interesting people doing interesting things, and see how I can be a complement to what already exists. And, since Lancaster has officially been declared the new Brooklyn (in the New York Post, so take that for what it’s worth), maybe the scene has already been made, and I just need to find it and find my place in it.

Of course, there are some things that aren’t here that I wish were here, and I could help shape. There are generally no more than two women at any given tech meetup, for example. While I do think we’ve done a good job of making lots of loose connections and casual friendships in the past five months, I still want to meet some more people and spend time with the people we know already. Finding besties is hard as an adult. Maybe impossible?

I think part of it is that people outside of major cities don’t tend to live on the internet as much. For example, there are People to Follow on Twitter and People to Follow on Instagram in Philly. I haven’t figured out who those people are here, and the scant research I’ve done on this so far has yielded the fact that it might not be so much of a thing in Lancaster.

P.S. New York friends, I don’t think I’d say Lancaster is the new Brooklyn. It’s its own thing, for sure. But the quality of food and life are incredibly high, and the level of pretention is still incredibly low. Please come visit. We can walk to all the best restaurants in 15 minutes or less. There is no sweating in the subway stops. I only smell that eau de metropolis on the very hottest of days. It’s pretty charming, really.

Coasting Along: A Pretty Coaster Roundup

Pretty CoastersOne of my small goals for August was to find and buy some pretty coasters. Somehow, I’ve gotten to be almost 30 years old having never owned a coaster. I was pretty sure which ones I would buy last month, but that didn’t stop me from going on a cute coaster hunt, just to be sure I’d settled on the ones. Or rather, the ones for now. Because these cute coasters make me want to own more than one set. Which ones were my favorites? I’ve rounded up a few to share here!


Concrete + Copper Coasters

chewywowbe kiwi gold coasters

Kiwi Gold Coasters

Pretty Coasters - Kelly Green Woven Coasters

Kelly Green Woven Coasters

Rose Gold Slate Coasters

Rose Gold Slate Coasters

White Stained-Glass Hexagon Coasters

White Stained-Glass Hexagon Coasters

Punctuation Coasters

Punctuation Coasters












I’m realizing that my taste in coasters is pretty neutral, but with some interesting visual element thrown in, like the gold-dipped concrete coasters or the white stained glass hexagon set. Those rose gold painted slate coasters would be a great complement to a slate cheeseboard without being too matchy-matchy.

I ended up ordering that last set of punctuation coasters from Ugmonk, and I already placed them strategically around the house! The ampersand is on my desk, ’cause it’s my favorite. They totally speak to my inner punctuation nerd and former copy editor’s heart. If you love them too, or want to check out any of Ugmonk’s other beautifully designed products, this link will give you $15 off your first order, and it’ll give me a $15 credit, too. Win win! Be sure to check out the current collaboration with Square One, a coffee roaster and shops with a few locations, based here in Lancaster!

P.S. The sweet little cow glass pictured above is part of a set my sister gave me as a wedding gift, but I just spotted them on Amazon too, if you’re in the market for your own!

Lunchtime Reads 9.9.16

lunchtime reads 9/9/16It’s been too long since I’ve put together a Lunchtime Reads roundup post! I’ve been hoarding links, but haven’t been great at sharing them. Or anything really. I guess that’s a natural byproduct of buying a house, moving cities, and dealing with both wonderful and unfortunate life stuff. So anyway. Here we are.

“Our current age rewards fractured identities: The more you can do, the better. What have you accomplished? What do you have to show for yourself? What books have you published? Do you have children? What are their grades? Do you have hobbies? To be a productive American in the 21st century is to be split into your discrete parts and analyzed for efficiency all the way down the line.” Laura Turner, Learning to Love My Anxiety

“The secret to satiation, to satisfaction, was not to meet or even acknowledge your needs, but to curtail them. We learn the same lesson about our emotional hunger: Want less, and you will always have enough.” Jess Zimmerman, Hunger Makes Me

“There’s lots of talk about how the internet is making it possible to live anywhere these days and do their own thing. But I think people my age and younger forget the fact that people made their own scenes even BEFORE the internet.” Austin Kleon, Find a New City

“We start to believe that we need to escape to another country and live in a refurbished RV in order to explore. We start to credit these unrealistic, far off adventures as the only solution to our wanderlusts… But I’m ready to embrace a change of heart… Let’s stop the ideology that adventure has to happen in these lush, fabulous moments. Let’s live and love local.” Laura Gingerich, 5 Reasons to Love Living Local These sum up almost exactly why we decided to buy a house in Lancaster City.

“One successful entrepreneur, in a rare moment of vulnerability, recently wrote that he burst into tears in a small suburb in Japan watching families ride their bikes together in a park. It struck him that this simple, mundane pleasure was something he would never know again.” Mark Manson, The Dark Side of the Digital Nomad


September Small Goals

September 2016 Small GoalsAugust went super fast. It started off with me falling down our stairs and injuring my tailbone (on our wedding anniversary, to add insult to injury). From there, we attended an old friend’s beautiful wedding, started getting quotes for a new boiler, road tripped to Pittsburgh to go to Abstractions, and spent a day in Belleville making and canning salsa. I also explored some new upcoming work projects and clients.

A review of August’s goals:

1. Finish painting the bedroom. Ugh. Done! I am so thrilled to be able to say that we finished painting the bedroom and I wrapped up painting the living room last night! No more dirty, ugly walls! More on all of this soon!

2. Finish chapters 1 and 2 of Data Visualization with JavaScript. Nope. I did get a little farther, but I’m wondering if I should read to understand broad concepts instead of doing every single example the book provides. I want to make significant progress in September.

3. Buy some coasters. Done! I stalled almost all month on ordering them, cause I had a hard time paying as much as I did for them, including shipping. But I’ve wanted these particular coasters for so long and I liked them more than any of the others I saw, so I pulled the trigger. I love them. More on these soon.

4. Work on an ebook idea!  Done-ish? I submitted a lightning talk proposal to WordCamp US based on this ebook idea.

5. Post here regularly. Nope.

So on to September!

1. Get through chapter 3 of Data Visualization with JavaScript.

2. Have a new heating system installation underway. Literally two weeks after closing, our boiler busted. So that’s approximately an $10,000 problem that we’re forced to deal with now before fall comes. I’m not thrilled. I’d way rather put that money toward other things, but staying warm is really important. Time to book ALL the web projects.

3. Hang art in the newly painted living room and bedroom! I’m excited to take stock of all of the art we have and maybe mix it up a bit as far as what pieces go in what room.

4. Dig out my calligraphy stuff and spend a few minutes playing with it a few times a week. I’m registered for a handlettering class at PCAD starting next week, so I feel like that will be motivational.

5. Post here regularly. Take time to write, photograph, and share. I want this space to be a community and a record of the story I’m living, more than it has been lately.

Favorite Novelty Twitter Accounts

Heart Eyes Emoji Cookie

Emoji cookie courtesy of the Slack party at Google i/o!

I’ve been thinking of writing this post for awhile, but hesitated because I thought it was kind of dumb and self-indulgent. Who would possibly waste their time reading a list of my favorite novelty Twitter accounts? And then I realized that I’d totally waste my time reading someone else’s list of these. So here we go. Everyone’s got their favorite novelty Twitter accounts. Here’s a list of mine.

@ManWhoHasItAll | Man Who Has It All — Extra-facetious social commentary on how we treat professional women. These tweets have got me howling at my desk on the regular.

@GoatUserStories | Goat User Stories — This will mostly only be funny if you’re in the web development/UI design/product management world, but cute goat pics and goat puns are universal. The woman behind this account was at Write/Speak/Code and I fangirled a little. Also, she’ll be at Abstractions this week, with stickers!

@KimKierkegaard | Kim Kierkegaardashian — Need a little philosophy with your pop culture? Whoever’s behind this has got you covered, and will have you in stitches. I just really wish that Kim Kierkegaardashian were a real person in this world.

@SunofSeldo | Here Comes the Sun — This one’s on a bit of a hiatus right now, because yay summer! During the winter, this account tweets how much closer we’re getting to daylight savings time. Super helpful if, like me, you just can’t deal with winter darkness come February.

@EmergencyPugs | Emergency Pugs — This needs no explanation.

@PepitoTheCat | Pépito — Some person in France hooked up a motion sensor camera and set up a bot to tweet a photo of this cat every time it exits or enters through its cat door. I’ve considered unfollowing, as it’s pretty uneventful — literally a cat’s comings and goings — but there’s something soothing about knowing that Pépito gets home safely at night. Apparently almost 14,000 people agree with that.


What are your faves? I wanna hear about them! Also, Twitter is still my favorite. You can follow me there at @_lisli.