Things I loved in 2017

This may have been a largely garbage year, but there are some things here on the internet* that I loved.

  • Brandless. I’ve been saying forever that if generics with the cool minimalist packaging were actually good, I’d be on that in a heartbeat. Enter Brandless: an online grocery delivery company dedicated to ending “Brand Tax.” Everything is $3. Everything. And it’s really good! Go try the Organic Black Bean and Corn Salsa. You’re welcome.
  • The Abnormal Beauty Company. Dude. You have got to try this. Skincare for under $10? That’s as good or better than the pricey stuff? I am in love. Plus the packaging is cool, the site is informative, and the shipping is fast.
  • Amazon’s Echo Dot. I got one of these for Christmas and I am drunk with power. ALEXA, LET’S TAKE OVER THE WORLD. AND ALSO PLAY ME AN AUDIOBOOK.
  • Girlfriend Collective. I got a pair of these amazing leggings in a leap of trust while they did their introductory “only pay shipping” deal. It took months for me to get them, but when I did – holy wow. I never thought I could love a pair of leggings as much as I love these. Sadly, they’re now out of my price range, but I live in hope of clearance sales.
  • One Page Love. When I need inspiration for website design, this is my go-to site. (Also, I end up signing up for so many new services based on their landing pages, it’s kind of ridiculous.)

Now that I look at my list, I begin to understand why my bank account is so anemic. Still, go. Shop. Be merry.

*While the internet as we know it still exists.

Book Review: Touch

touchJump jump.

Are you losing time? Kepler can transfer consciousness by touch, and the only way you’d know is if you realized a block of time had passed that you had no memory of. Kepler’s not the only one, and not all of them treat their host bodies with respect. When one of Kepler’s favorite hosts is murdered, Kepler jumps into the murderer’s head – and from there, a story unfolds that’s equal parts unique and disturbing.

North’s storytelling is strong, and Kepler in particular wrestles with some heavy questions of morality. I especially loved that Kepler’s gender is never revealed. A ghost takes on the gender of the body they’re inhabiting, suggesting some interesting takes on nature vs. nurture.

The secondary characters are less enigmatic and by extension less compelling. Mustache-twirling evil is only entertaining if it’s done for camp; in a story as morally ambiguous as this one, it seems a bit out of place.

(BTW I’m endlessly amused by the question on Goodreads that asks if this is a “clean” book. I mean, what even is that?)

*I scored this title from Netgalley in return for a review.*

Oh Look I’m Allergic To Not Eating Donuts*

*Or carbs. Whatever.

It’s almost a week into the Whole30 thing and I’m still chugging up the hill going I think I can, I think I can (actually it’s something closer to I think I…what? since I’m SUPER SPACEY right now) and when I got out of the shower this morning I noticed that I have a rash. Now you’re saying lady, you ALWAYS have rashes, and about this you are not wrong, but this is a NEW rash, a DIFFERENT rash, and thusly of course I consulted Doctor Google, who told me it’s a side effect of not having carbs.

Yes. I am allergic to being healthy.

There’s apparently not a ton of information about this online; the dude who wrote the blog post I linked to above started his own site, The Keto Rash, to help people identify it and find treatments (the simplest of which is to eat more carbs).

SO! Damned if I’m going to let the Whole30 get the better of me, so I’m going to try adding more potatoes to my diet (because mmmm, potatoes) and if that doesn’t work then apparently I will itch for the next 23 days.

And then on Day 24? I am having a donut.

But I Love My Junk Food

SO, I totally failed at Holidailies. I did ONE post. One post, in which I was all “Hey guys, totally doing this,” and then…nothing.

But that is the past. Who can even remember that far back? Now we are in the distant future of 2016, the year of flying cars and jetpacks and me, doing Whole30.

What is Whole30, you ask? I will tell you. It is crazy torture a test of endurance relentless self-flagellation a dietary reset of sorts, in which test subjects participants eschew delicious inflammatory foods such as dairy, grains, legumes and sugar. For 30 days.

Let me say that again: no bread. No pastries. No BUTTER. No party-sized bags of peanut M&Ms eaten by the light of the iPad when I should be sleeping. (Which…is possibly the reason I undertook this whole endeavor in the first place.)

So far, it’s actually going relatively well, fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc. (Well, except for the part where I couldn’t figure out breakfast on the first day and ended up a twitchy neurotic blood-sugar disaster. But, again: the past! Who remembers such things?) We’re cooking a ton, and our intake of greens has increased exponentially. We’re trying out new recipes, which is fun – my Pinterest account hasn’t seen this much action in months. And I have it on good authority that at some point I won’t feel like murdering someone for a donut. Win/win!

Chime in, y’all: have you done Whole30? How did it go for you?

Holidailies. I’m doing it. My friend over at mamazing inspired me, so I’m going to steal borrow her idea for an intro. Besides, it’s been so long since I’ve blogged here even I don’t remember who I am anymore.

So! Some things about me:

  • I like cats.
  • And sleep.
  • I used to be a lot smarter.
  • I write HTML & CSS for a living.
  • Coffee is good.
  • I really want another tattoo.

Back when my first kid was wee, I jumped on the mommyblog bandwagon. He’s almost ten now. TEN. This seems impossible. I’ve got a two year old now, too, so theoretically I could enact Project Mommyblog: The Sequel, but who has that kind of energy? Mostly I just want blog entries to appear of their own volition, using correct grammar and crediting themselves to me. This does not seem like too much to ask.

But this month, I will actually write them. Probably. As far as you know.

Getting Campy

After almost a decade of parenting, I finally managed to get on top of summer camp signups.* The big kid’s going to learn web design, how to be a ninja, zip lining, windsurfing, and skateboarding. I only know how to do one of those things!

To someone who grew up the way I did** this seems like a CRAZY amount of organized activity, but the list of things we didn’t do is even longer. I got everything registered in, what, March? And already stuff like LEGO camp and Animation Camp (Animation Camp, you guys!) were entirely booked up. And then there were all the impractical to get to but so freaking cool things like Circus Camp and Ride Your Bike Around The City camp and a bunch I can’t even remember now because SO MANY CAMPS.

I never went to summer camp when I was a kid, but my husband has stories about sleep-away camps where they played around on jet skis*** and learned to do gymnastics on the backs of moving horses, so.

I’m just hoping that once the web design camp is done I can put the kid to work. Unpaid internship, here we come!

Skate Park

*Well, for one of them, anyway. Rory was supposed to do swim this summer. Sorry, second child! I promise I won’t write about it in your baby book! Ha ha, just kidding, you don’t have one.

**Euphemism for dirt poor.

***This story is almost hilariously traumatic; ask him about it sometime.

I Try Out Period Tracking Apps So You Don’t Have To

My smartphone is finally fulfilling its destiny.

I enjoy not having to remember things. It frees up valuable brain real estate for things like daydreaming about abandoned amusement park vacations and learning javascript. My phone keeps track of phone numbers, birthdays, my next meeting, the day’s weather, and how many steps I’ve taken. So why shouldn’t it track my menstrual cycle, too?

I’ll tell you why not: most period tracking apps SUCK. I can only assume the the predominance of flowers and the color pink means that they are aimed at a target market that is not me, and not just because I’m in my forties. I’m a designer. I cannot use an app that looks like a unicorn threw up all over it.

Happily, in the time between getting pregnant, having a baby, and finally getting my period back after a year and a half (thank you, breastfeeding), the selection for period tracking apps has expanded to include things that don’t make me cringe. Some of them don’t use pink at all!

I chose four free period tracking apps to try out; two are ad-supported but offer paid versions that are presumably ad-free.

(I have Things to Say, so this is going to be a long one.)  Continue reading I Try Out Period Tracking Apps So You Don’t Have To