Favorite Novelty Twitter Accounts

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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.

August Small Goals

August Small Goals

I feel like summer just started, and here we are. I’m not too upset about it being August already. After the crazy heat waves we’ve had, I won’t be sad about lower temperatures, but I’m suspecting we have several more months of summerish weather anyway.

This was what I wanted to accomplish in July. It didn’t go very well.

1. Have an excellent time traveling with friends for the first time. DONE! I’m so sad this is over. It definitely did change the dynamic, but it was so fun to have a larger group and go on a trip with these particular friends.

2. Finish the bedroom. Definitely not done. As we got into it, we decided we’d need new windows, the trim needed to be scraped and sanded, and Chad decided to demolish this half-assed shelving unit that was attached to the wall. I’m hoping windows arrive this month and we can knock it out. Turns out this one isn’t a small goal at all, but rather the carrot on the end of a stick.

3. Meal planning. Done-ish? I got started on this in a fit, making a giant batch of turkey fried rice and another giant batch of cilantro lime rice to eat with chicken throughout the week. I don’t know what it is, but I tend to be kind of all or nothing on the food production front. I’ll spend an entire Sunday afternoon making a bunch of different things to eat throughout the week, and then I’m all cooked out for awhile. I’d love to manage this in a more sustainable way.

4. Start learning D3.js! Also done-ish! I’m not doing D3 yet, but I did start working through Data Visualization with JavaScript, which I bought with a gift card that I won at Write/Speak/Code. I like it because it takes you through a bunch of different libraries you can use for data visualization, so by the end I’ll have been exposed to D3, but also have exposure to a bunch of other less complicated options, too.

5. Post here regularly. Not done. Chalking this one up to travel and the reentry to real life. Punting to August.

On to the next.

1. Finish the bedroom. Ugh. Will I ever be done with this.

2. Finish chapters 1 and 2 of Data Visualization with JavaScript. These chapters are hefty, y’all.

3. Buy some coasters. I’ve never had coasters, and since all my wooden furniture is second hand, I haven’t been too precious about keeping it pristine. The refrigerator we have now has an ice dispenser in the door, so I’ve been drinking lots of melting ice, with is also condensating all over my coffee table and nightstand. I also have this huge mental block around coasters. They’re not totally necessary, so what if I spend money on some, but there are other ones I’d rather have instead? Do they all have to match? Why is this such a weird and big deal for me? (I’m now realizing I have similar feelings about buying coasters and getting a tattoo. That’s totally unreasonable.) I think I’m going to buy this set from Ugmonk to get started. It’s been on my wishlist for years.

4. Work on an ebook idea! I’m not ready to share more about this one yet, except to say that it came out of some feedback I got on a last-minute talk I did a few days ago at the Philly ‘Burbs WordPress Meetup.

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.

Home Buying Story

backyard fireplaceI had to keep so much quiet during our home buying adventure that I wanted to circle back and memorialize the abridged version here! It started as a slow, casual slog, but ended in a whirlwind.

We’d been casually dropping in to open houses in Lancaster City now and then since mid-November. I’d see something that was about what we were looking to pay and within a reasonable walking distance to the middle of town, and we’d plan an afternoon drive from Philly to Lancaster.

It started as just a thought. I didn’t have any solid plans or timelines. Our apartment in Philly was fine. We were steadily increasing our savings. The first house we saw didn’t have a yard, just a concrete strip. It was newly flipped, but large given its relatively small city footprint. The no-yard thing was a total dealbreaker, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about this house all. the. time. I think it’s just because it was the first place I ever pictured myself buying. It’s easy to fixate on your first, y’know? We saw a couple others, but nothing that seemed like the one. I turned on Zillow alerts and started getting emails about houses as they came on the market. One Friday in early February, a house listed as a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, for not a ton of money, dropped into my inbox. It seemed like a good possibility, but my in-laws were coming in to Philly to visit that weekend and we hadn’t officially been working with a realtor, so it seemed like going to see it immediately wouldn’t work out. I was pretty sure that given its location and price, I wouldn’t get a chance to see it before it sold.

That Saturday, I briefly mentioned something about the house to my in-laws, who promptly volunteered to take a look at it with us if we could get a viewing scheduled. We’d met two realtors we liked during the open house visits, and I had to decide which of them would be most likely to be reading and responding to email on a Saturday to get us a next-day showing on a Sunday so we could follow our in-laws out to Lancaster on their way back home.

I picked the right one. He got us into the house on Sunday, and let us know that we wouldn’t be the first to see it, nor would we be the only ones looking at it during our time slot.

I’ll stop here to say that I am usually someone who can see the potential in things. But because I’ve never bought a house before, and I had no prior knowledge of how much work changing things would be (When I was 2, my parents hated their ancient farmhouse, and for good reason, so they knocked it down and started again, and thus I grew up in new construction.), I thought I wasn’t interested. The floors were rough (but wood!), the upstairs layout was strange, there was some suspicious wiring. My in-laws, however, have been buying and selling houses their entire adult lives, and are intimately familiar with the level of difficulty involved in various home improvement projects. They’re not flippers, but they know how to love a house well enough to make some money when it’s sold.

We went out for brunch with them after leaving the house. I gave it a solid “meh.” They were pretty excited about it though. The stuff I was mostly meh on was cosmetic or moderately-to-easily fixable. They talked us through all the things we could do to both enjoy the house more and increase its value over time. By the end of the conversation, I was neutral to positive on the house.

Chad and I drove back to Philly, debating and dreaming the whole way. That night, we made a bunch of lists — lists of all the features we’d ever want in a house or a new city, lists of the pros and cons of leaving Philly, lists of the pros and cons of buying versus renting, lists of the pros and cons on this particular house. And the house won. I was starting to picture myself in it and all the things we could do to make it feel like ours.

About four phone calls to the in-laws later, we emailed the realtor back to tell him we were interested. Our offer was submitted that Monday, two days after I casually mentioned it to my in-laws, and one day after we saw the house.

But someone beat us to it. The sellers had until 5 pm that day to decide if they would take the first offer. I made my peace with letting this one slip by. It came out of nowhere, after all. I hadn’t been actively looking for it. There’d be other houses. Easy come, easy go, etc, etc. But then the sellers declined the first offer. Ours was next in line, and they accepted.

So, four days after seeing the listing on Zillow, three days after mentioning it to my in-laws, two days after seeing it in person, and one day after submitting our offer, we’d bought a house. Contingent on inspection, of course. Subject to negotiation. But we’d done it. It was, tentatively, ours. Cue the freak out.

July Small Goals

July Small GoalsI can’t believe it’s July already. We’re halfway through the 2016, and I’m halfway through 29. All y’all have 6 months to put me on your “30 Under 30” lists. Get to it. Anyway, this is what was on deck for June:

1. Start painting the house. I think this will start helping me feel like it’s really mine. DONE! I had a color consultation with my sister’s friend’s sister (follow that?) who does design consults through the local Sherwin Williams, so now we have paint picked out for the whole house AND I started painting what is now the most offensive room (now that that formerly green and orange attic is finished) — the front room upstairs that will become our bedroom when it’s done.

2. Soak up as much knowledge and wisdom as I can get at Write/Speak/Code. DONE! Write/Speak/Code was the most actionable, useful, and arguably best conference I’ve ever been to. I’ve been meaning to write a reflection and recap about it, but for now I’ll say that I’m very glad I decided to attend this year.

3. Pick a mattress to buy. This one’s kind of in progress. I picked out a conventional mattress at a local store, but we’re also considering trying out a Wink. Do any of you have the Wink? I like to feel like I’m sleeping on a pile of pillows, so memory foam and latex aren’t that appealing to me. Soft mattress recommendations only, please.

4. Test out our backyard fireplace. DONE, as evidenced on Instagram, and above! I’m looking forward to roasting marshmallows over it soon.

5. Map out an editorial calendar for the Town Dish and this blog. Done-ish? I’ve got lists of posts to write but haven’t scheduled them all yet. I’m going to try batch writing this month and see how it goes. Here’s to a return to regular posting!

Not terrible for feeling like this month was about two weeks long! Now, on to July:

1. Have an excellent time vacationing with friends for the first time. I’m curious about how this will change my travel style and the dynamic that Chad and I have developed over the past 9 years since our first major trip together. Also, Iceland. My favorite.

2. Finish the bedroom. This requires finishing the paint job, actually purchasing the aforementioned mattress, and probably getting new windows installed. Hopefully before leaving for Iceland. Sigh.

3. Meal planning. Lame goal, but I’m tired of suppertime sneaking up on me without having any idea or motivation to start cooking when I’m already hangry. Also, after eating breakfast and lunch at the amazing Urban Outfitters cafeteria practically every day for the past two and half years (I know, shame on me), I’ve gotten out of the habit of feeding myself. Dumb. Time to get back to it.

4. Start learning D3.js! At Write/Speak/Code, the New York Times Engineering team was one of the sponsors, and it felt like there were a few former journalists turned developers in attendance as well. I found myself super jealous of them, and a little sad that I’d fallen out of that world after leaving my very short-lived post as an editor at a small-town newspaper. I feel like learning to make fun interactive data visualizations will help scratch that itch and potentially be useful for applying what I’ve been doing as a developer to what my natural interests have been my whole life. I’m planning to check out this book to get started.

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.

On Moving, Traveling, and Being Present

Harper Lee Cat in the Yard

Harper has been enjoying our new yard!

I’ve been living in Lancaster City for two full months now. It feels both much shorter and much longer than that to me though. Similarly, we’re quite solidly in midsummer, yet it feels like the summer just began. I’m fairly certain that’s because I haven’t really been here here for a lot of that time.

I’m certainly not complaining about the amount of travel I’ve been doing, but it does make it hard to establish oneself in a new place. My goal was to show up here, throw myself into everything Lancaster, make new call-up-at-a-moment’s-notice friends for impromptu backyard hangs, set up coffee dates with Lancaster folks from Twitter and Instagram, jump into the tech scene, and just generally announce that I AM HERE LET’S BE FRIENDS.

Except I haven’t been here. And when I have been, I’ve been working on, well, work, or working on the house, which is a whole other series of posts unto itself. We’ve barely scratched the surface of all there is to be done in the moving-in, fixing-up-the-house department.

I’m noticing a pattern about what happens when we move to a new place.

When we moved to West Chester, Chad actually moved two and half months before I did. I’d travel down on the weekends, but I was loathe to quit my job and so I procrastinated joining him there.

When we moved to Philly, Chad was commuting to Manhattan every day, and I was commuting to the western suburbs. I got home in time to make supper before he walked in the door, devoured it, and then crashed so he could get up the next day and do it again. We were so excited to finally be living in Philly, but had no time or energy left to throw ourselves into getting involved right away.

And now, during the past two months we’ve lived in Lancaster (and now three months since becoming homeowners!), we’ve collectively been to the Bay Area twice, Chicago, Chapel Hill, and back to the farm for a family reunion.

I never mean to busy myself so intensely during times of deep change, but somehow it seems to happen pretty regularly. I don’t think I’ve been doing it on purpose, especially since I had all of this travel lined up before we closed on the house, but I am wondering about how it’s become so much of a pattern, even if it is unintentional. And, to be frank, sometimes periods of big change are just weird. Both good weird and bad weird. So sometimes it’s nice to be too busy to think.

On a smaller scale though, I have been less than stellar at being present. Always thinking of the next project, the next trip, the next thing to tackle. Maybe it just becomes especially apparent during big transitions. I’m hoping bringing some self-awareness to this area will help going forward and motivate me to appreciate and be where I am right now.

I got a Lancaster County library card this week, both because I’m in need of a good summer read (got recs?) and as a small act of ingraining myself into this place.

What do big moves look like for you? Do you accidentally over-busy yourself or do you manage to be where you are?