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.

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

And we’re back

SO, I finally stopped tinkering with poking at fucking up updating the theme.*

I consistently underestimate the amount of time and mental energy it takes to do a redesign. This is because it is usually around 1am when it occurs to me, and the part of my brain that deals with things like decision-making and impluse control conks out around 11. (This is also the time when I tend to place orders for new shoes.) I go “BORED NOW. Mess with code?” and then realize I a) have taken the theme apart beyond all repair and b) will be required to sleep at some point long before I have finished the site. Oh and c) did not make a backup of the original theme so must put up maintenance splash page. WHICH IS WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE ALL THIS TIME, in case you weren’t following. (Note: it is not WordPress’ fault that the maintenance plugin got disabled. I needed a screenshot of the plugin-disabling process for the book** and I didn’t want to disable all the plugins on the companion site because I had JUST gotten them looking the way I wanted them to. So I used this site for the screenshot because it’s not like I was doing anything ELSE with it. Then I forgot to re-enable the plugins. That is my epic tale. It’s a lot to take in. It is all right if you need a moment to process.

Anyway, so. Enough about the redesign! Unless you want to tell me how awesome it looks, in which case, carry on.

*(I did this, in part, because I realized I’d disabled the maintenance screen plugin at some point so the site was showing up completely unstyled – horrid blue links and all. It’s like it was naked.)

**What? Book? YES. The new edition of the WordPress Visual QuickStart Guide is IN PROGRESS and will hit shelves IN OCTOBER and you can PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW if you are into that sort of thing. And have I mentioned how lovely you look when you pre-order things?

Changes are afoot

OK, so my test revealed that I somehow borked the Woo Tumblogs plugin I was using, in that it doesn’t play nicely with my custom “tumblogs,” and anyway I should set up all my custom sections as taxonomies ANYWAY since that would be the right way to do it. Also maybe I should set up post formats. Y/N?

Which is a long-winded way of saying the site will look wonky for a while.

In which we learn just how sleep-deprived I am

My WakeMate came in the mail yesterday.* What is a WakeMate, you ask? Well. It’s this thing, you see, and you wear it while you sleep, and in the morning you can see exactly how restful your sleep actually was. Also it keeps track of your sleep patterns and the idea is that it can tailor your wake-up time to your sleep cycle so you wake up feeling all chipper and refreshed.

Also, it’s very stylish and I think I will wear it during the day as an accessory.
WakeMate armband
(I kid.)

I was super excited to try it out since I wake up every morning feeling like I got run over by a truck. Sleep is supposed to be restful, right? I mean, I’m not a morning person under the best of circumstances, but between Not So’s insomnia and the kid leaping into bed with me every morning to snuggle (have I mentioned just how many elbows and knees he has?) I feel like I’m trying to sleep on an amusement park ride.

Anyway, so. I’ve tried tracking my sleep using things like YawnLog, but it’s hard to be objective about things like sleep. I’m pretty sure, for example, that the nights when I’m like I totally didn’t sleep AT ALL I probably did sleep, some. Maybe.

But the WakeMate will answer the question once and for all.

(Have I mentioned how much I love gadgets?)

I set up the app on my iPhone, which was pretty easy.

There was a certain amount of turning things on and off (and having to go to a specific page on the WakeMate site for instructions, since the little card that came with the device was somewhat exceptionally vague – probably because there are different instructions for each gadget you can sync it with) but once I got it all charged up and discovered on my phone’s Bluetooth I was ready to go.

Then I just had to, you know, sleep.

Here’s where I’d start talking about how my night went, but it would be a lot easier for you to just, you know, look at the chart:

Yes. In fact, I slept like crap. Sure, I was in bed for 8 hours and change, but it took me 23 minutes to fall asleep! And I woke up 24 times in the night! No wonder I feel like a zombie.

The device itself was remarkably unobtrusive. I barely noticed the wristband while I slept and there were no incidents of me yanking it off and throwing it across the room (which was a thing that happened to my retainer in high school, about which I apparently harbored extreme ill will).

I can’t wait to find out how I do tonight.

*Do I seriously have to mention every time I post about a product that I don’t do sponsored posts? Seriously. People do not give me things. And if they did, trust me, I would state that upfront.


I’ve been searching for a way to carry around my iPad without looking like a complete tool, and I think I’ve finally found a solution that’s both practical and freaking adorable: the iPad Clutch from Happy Owl Studio.

Looks like a cute little purse, right? BUT THEN:
the iPad Clutch, open

iPad Clutch, half closed

*Happy Owl Studio is not in any way sponsoring this post. Although if they wanted to send me swag, I certainly wouldn’t turn it down. Hint.

i’m a winner

ipod touchIt’s a well-known fact* that I never win things, but the other day that all changed: I won an iPod Touch (and 5 WPTouch Pro licenses) from Brave New Code!

(Of course I immediately entered every contest I could think of, just in case I was temporarily, what do you call it, lucky.)

The iPod itself came all the way from Canada. Did you know that they put French directions in Canadian iPods?

ipod touchI’m seriously in love with it. Seriously. And unlike the Android, there are TONS of great kid apps that Ellison has decided mean it should belong to him. Not a chance, kid. (Except that he’s so cute all curled up on the couch with his little tech gadget, just like mommy and daddy.)

So, yes. I am a winner. I win things.

*Not actually a fact.

new url! and stuff!

OK, so, I got a new domain name. I’m sure I’ll have something adequately witty and enchanting to say about that at some point in the near future, but for now I just wanted to reassure my viewing public that yes, you’ve got the right site, and no, I didn’t bother to change the theme yet, okay?

So yes, there’s that. And also, I will.