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100 Things that Made My 2017

Thumbnails of my top nine instagram posts in 2017I take the end-of-the-year recap post seriously, but to be honest, I could not stomach putting one together in my usual format. 2017 has felt like a year of private horrors to me, and I’m not interested in reflecting on how little I feel like I accomplished because my energy and effort were needed elsewhere.

But then I stumbled upon Austin Kleon’s 100 Things That Made My Year post, and thought, “Huh. I wonder if I could possibly come up with that many things.” Spoiler: You’re reading this post, so you probably already know that the answer is, shockingly, yes. So here we go.

  1. Diving into Rebecca Solnit’s work.
  2. Waking up 30 in Reykjavik.
  3. Waffles, Swiss mochas, and the secret pizza place.
  4. Roadside snuggles from some very furry Icelandic horses.
  5. Teaching women to code for Girl Develop It, both for the Philly chapter and for a pilot program in a prison.
  6. Shake Shack’s Chick’n Shack sandwich.
  7. #PabloHoneyCat and #HarperLeeCat.
  8. Chad and I reading my cousin’s poetry to each other one evening after I found her book at our local Barnes and Noble.
  9. The brick wall we had exposed in our house in January.
  10. Going to the gym more consistently than I have since high school.
  11. Introducing my brother- and sister-in-law to delicious Lancaster food at Luca.
  12. Working from the backyard.
  13. My new desk chair.
  14. Fun email newsletters — Girls’ Night In, The Ann Friedman Weekly, Tech Ladies.
  15. Coworking dates with Chrystina.
  16. Getting my first hutch (and first piece of Lancaster Craigslist furniture).
  17. Figuring out what plants work in this house. Goodbye succulents, hello pothos and philodendron.
  18. Surviving a challenging code test for an interview.
  19. The new Cold Specks album.
  20. Finding a blog that reminds me why I liked blogs.
  21. Friendly local baristas who cast sunshine into my day.
  22. Insecure.
  23. Gold Fame Citrus.
  24. The $5 zinnia bouquet lady at Central Market.
  25. Horse Fries. Cheeseburgers. The Wind Down, my new signature drink.
  26. Bull’s Head Tavern.
  27. The afternoon light in my office and the weird middle room on our second floor.
  28. An unexpected and subsidized trip to Spain.
  29. Drinking cafe con leche at a tech conference.
  30. Zalyndria Crosby’s keynote at ElaConf.
  31. Inspiring friends.
  32. Creeping through strangers’ houses during the Urban Living Tour in Lancaster city.
  33. Chad’s amazing-ridiculous quinoa burger at Brunchelona.
  34. Jars of bone broth.
  35. Croquetas, papas bravas, tortilla de patata, and… empanadas. We ate lots of empanadas in Barcelona. No, they are not Spanish, but there was a great empanada place in El Born. We stopped there probably once a day.
  36. Going back to that shoe store three times to make sure Chad had the right size. And the shoes we got there. And our interactions with the shop keepers.
  37. The Keystoner Amtrak Line.
  38. Hearing angelic female vocals and harp music in an alley in Barcelona and being pulled into a private house show.
  39. Our history lesson from the bartender in an empty cafe bar on the origin of the name for a ham and cheese sandwich in Barcelona.
  40. The feeling I had walking around Les Corts when we first got to Spain.
  41. Having my Spanish (mostly) come back to me.
  42. Smartfood white cheddar popcorn.
  43. The idea of a backyard cat salon. Now we gotta host some!
  44. Driving down the coast from San Francisco to Santa Cruz.
  45. Credit card points.
  46. Self-serve, self-pay roadside pie at a berry farm.
  47. Tall dried out reedy things along the road in California.
  48. The best random chai on Valencia Street.
  49. Cult-lady sack dresses with pockets.
  50. A brass coffee scoop.
  51. Seeing amazing people marry each other in a redwood grove.
  52. A relaxing chocolate.
  53. An illicit birthday cat.
  54. An opinionated but very cuddly AirBnB cat.
  55. Seeing Mallory Ortberg interview Tom Gault in SF on a whim because our AirBnB was around the corner.
  56. Drinking coffee on the deck in Soquel with lovely people, lovely hummingbirds, and a lovely view.
  57. The rollercoaster in Santa Cruz.
  58. Volunteering as a speaker mentor for ElaConf.
  59. Eating a large boardwalk potato.
  60. BarCamp 10.
  61. All of the ice cream in SF, with special shout out to The Ice Cream Bar.
  62. Drinking canned wine and lounging in the sunshine in Dolores Park.
  63. The realization that sometimes I am the strongest person I know.
  64. Becoming a hat lady.
  65. Wedding dress shopping with my sister and my mom.
  66. Hiking Twin Peaks. The view.
  67. Modeling for fun photo shoots.
  68. Resurrecting my GoodReads account.
  69. Reading for hours in the backyard.
  70. Being asked to contribute to The Human in the Machine.
  71. Rediscovering baths.
  72. The sunset at Natural Bridges State Park.
  73. Dinner at Porta in Asbury Park.
  74. The sweet corn risotto and stuffed squash blossoms at Luca.
  75. Trying to make pottery during my sister’s bachelorette party.
  76. Naps.
  77. The late afternoon light at my parents’ farm.
  78. The drive out of Reykjavik while the sun rose over the icy mountains and glazed the sky.
  79. Lancaster city being cute: The goat outside Central Market, the random alpaca in the alley before Christmas.
  80. Cozy weekend snows.
  81. Chad learning to play Sufjan Steven’s “Christmas Unicorn.”
  82. Chad waking me up by performing a Run the Jewels song: Wake up. Drink water. Smoke blunt. Clean, oil my Kalashnikov.
  83. Solitude.
  84. Grilled pizza.
  85. The realization that the love you need looks different than the love you wanted or pictured.
  86. The Bite Agave Lip Mask.
  87. My winter coat.
  88. Quiches from Oregon Dairy.
  89. Fine-tuning the number of fucks I give.
  90. Sequins.
  91. My calendar system.
  92. The summer pianos in Lancaster city.
  93. All you can eat empanadas at Flora’s.
  94. Honing in on a church.
  95. Mallory Ortberg’s Joan and Anna series.
  96. Fancy citronella candles.
  97. Experiencing the eclipse vicariously through Chad.
  98. Chicken fingers when I need them and the introduction to our neighborhood dive bar.
  99. Ellen Ullman’s Life in Code.
  100. Revisiting Needles and Pens in SF and being so thrilled that it’s still there ten years after our first visit.


If you’ve made it this far, thanks. This might be the last thing I post here before moving all these archives somewhere else that feels less…. on display. I’m not wild about having work stuff in the same space I want to be able to write in, and honestly, I think it deters me from posting sometimes. I’ve been thinking about moving stuff around for awhile, and it might be time. We’ll see what happens.

Happy 2018, y’all. I’m wishing you warmth, grit, and some magic for the new year.


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7/14/17 || It’s a good week

Cat with book in grass

This was definitely a highlight of my week.

It’s the weekend! To celebrate that, and my tentative (semi-regular?) return to this space, here’s good things from this week.

  • I’ve written before about the desire to be untethered, but also rooted deeply in a place. This appeals to the former, and brings attention to nomad women, rather than the usual tech bros in Bali or Chiang Mai.
  • I’ve been reading Sarah von Bargen’s blog since forever (or 2010ish?), and she’s always got good tips that actually feel accessible. These are the habits she’s cultivated that support her business and creativity.
  • A quick search revealed that I already linked to Joan Didion’s piece, “On Self-Respect.” But it was back in 2012, and I think we could all use a reminder of how brilliant she is. Has anyone read South and West yet? I’m hoping to get my paws on it soon.
  • A local photographer in Lancaster took the photo that is the prompt for this microfiction contest! Entries are due by July 21st.
  • I’ve mentioned Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead before. Chad and I go through it together around every New Year. She just released a companion, a mid-year check in workbook. I’ll be going through it soon, hopefully this week.
  • Bonus: I spent almost all of last weekend sprawled on a blanket in our yard, reading with the cats. It was glorious.

How’s your week been?


Backyard Cat Salon

Cat laying next to magazine

This is one of the cats we would hang out with.

We had people over the other night. We grilled hamburgers from my parents’ farm, and melted cheese on them. Cooper sharp. It’s the best. Chad grilled some squash and made a salad. I made dessert, which we didn’t end up eating. So now my house is full of dessert, which I don’t mind at all.

Chad had been wanting to do this the whole time we’ve lived here, over a year. I’m resistant. I’m anxious about hosting for a number of reasons. Maybe I’ll share more about that sometime. Chad would often want to text a bunch of people and see who was available. I told him I needed more warning. Plan something ahead, and add it to my calendar so that I had time to mentally (and culinarily) prepare.

It was fun! The cheeseburgers were delicious. Our guests brought some tasty wine and beer. The squash was somewhat undercooked, but whatever. I hadn’t really thought about where we’d eat, but it was a nice night so we stayed outside. We have no patio furniture yet, after over a year. Patio furniture is expensive but optional and house upgrades are expensive but not optional, and also I don’t know what I want yet. So we huddled around a makeshift coffee table in various folding and kitchen table chairs. It worked out. It was fine. Nice, even. And resulted in a potential new friendship.

Today, Chad is in New York. It’s been a really beautiful day. Kind of hot, but it’s cooling off now. I’ve been enjoying the solitude. I kind of want to go to First Friday in this cute little city, but I kind of want to sit quietly in my backyard and drink wine with my cats. I said so on Twitter, and asked if anyone else would want to also sit quietly in my backyard and drink wine with my cats. But it turns out most people in Lancaster are not on Twitter and thus will not see my open invite.

I think it’d be delightful to have an unplanned Twitter cat salon, as Lauren put it. But it might not be able to be unplanned, or organized via Twitter.

So. Does anyone (please no rando internet creeps, though) want to sit quietly in my backyard and drink wine or La Croix with me and my cats at a mutually agreed upon time in the future? Conversation optional. Feel free to bring a book. Maybe there will be dessert.

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March Small Goals

photo of plants on a small tableUhhh, February was too short for this. It felt really unproductive in the home/personal department, though I’ve been busy with work stuff.

1. Make the plants beautiful. Almost. I got new hangers to replace the plastic ones from the greenhouse, but that’s as far as I got.

2. Spend an hour every weekday learning. Document it. This one is kind of hard. JavaScript30 tends to take less than an hour, and there have been days when I just haven’t been able to fit it in, usually because I’m figuring something out (read: learning) on one of my work projects. So, done-ish, I guess?

3. Make this cake.  Nope. It got too warm and springlike to be eating things like red wine chocolate cake. For VDay, we got fancy takeout pizza and watched Westworld. It was perfect.

4. Make a plan for Chad’s birthday. Done! We are staycationing. I will probably still be working. He got a Nintendo Switch and is planning to spend his 30th birthday perhaps the way he spent his 12th (just kidding, I have no idea). Playing Zelda.

5. Get some frames. Nope, despite my planned stop at IKEA on the way to Philly. Once I got to IKEA, I wandered around looking at plant pots and feeling like there was something I was forgetting. Surely I didn’t drive all the way there to look for a large snake plant? Frames totally escaped me until I was back home that night. Whoops.

So, for March.

1. Make the plants beautiful. Maybe grab some new ones if the greenhouses are stocked and I can find a free weekend.

2. Have a fun and productive mastermind weekend with Chrystina, Sarah, and Sara this weekend. We’re hanging out in Lancaster and Lititz, eating and working and talking about blog/creative stuff this weekend!

3. Start taking evening walks… Daylight Savings Time!

4. Get some frames. There is, unfortunately, more IKEA in my future.

5. Reorganize my office. It’s easily cluttered, filled with dying plants, and I currently do not have a designated spot for books. No good.

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3/3/16 || It’s a good week

flowers blooming out of season

Oh yeah, remember when this happened? I wish it would’ve lasted.

This week’s good things are comprised mainly of stuff I found on the internet, but also a couple other things.

  • This Twitter bot tutorial is really easy to follow. I’ve been thinking about making a Twitter bot for fun. I really like that this particular tutorial links to helpful and fun bots and makes a note of the ethics surrounding bots.
  • How to Survive the Next Four Years Like a Frenchwoman had me LOLing on the couch. “Don’t splurge on every knickknack that catches your eye! French women have an inborn talent for recognizing quality and buying things that last. Like a copper I.U.D., which will see you through to 2021.” Also, don’t forget to eat enough yogurt. I endorse the eating of all the yogurt.
  • I’m almost certain that Laura Turner crawled into my brain and wrote this essay: “There is no honesty for me outside of admitting that I am an anxious person, anxious to please and anxious to hole up at home and avoid all expectations, just as I am anxious to exceed them, anxious for you to find me charming and anxious to avoid all the consequences of being imperfect.”  Tbh, it made me anxious that I’m not writing, at least in a sustained and significant kind of way. I have so many feelings about writing. Ugh.
  • I’ve probably seen this before, but I rediscovered The Millions’ Forty for 40: A Literary Reader for Lent this year and I’m hoping to get caught up this week. I’ve been way too steeped in the internet (read: Twitter) in recent years, and I really am happiest and most myself when I’m a little truer to my bookish nature. Few things make me happier than a literary Lent or Advent calendar jawn.
  • My copy of Hello Web App came in! I’ve been meaning to buy it ever since I met the lovely Tracy Osborn at ElaConf in 2015, but picking up learning Python again hasn’t been immediately relevant to the work I do day to day. But I’m gonna mix it up and go through it with a friend who’s interested in learning web development.
  • Nothing gets me high on Philly like Ignite. We went in to Philly for Ignite 19, and it was so good to see hang out and catch up a little with some Philly favorites. Also, the talks were on point as usual. You can check out the Technical.ly recap here.

So yeah, it was a pretty good week! What’s good with you?