On the Road Again

For the next two weeks, I’m packing my life into a 3×2 ft suitcase. When I leave for a trip like this, I always wonder: if everything I ever really need is in this bag, why is my home always such a mess of all the other stuff I own? I leave vowing to clear out the miscellany when I return.

This week, I’m heading to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend AltSummit, a sort of conference for bloggers. The timing is ideal. After 10 years of blogging, I took a 2-year hiatus. I gently set aside my beloved Metro(poetry)lis and picked up the reins here at 18th and Columbia. I was a different kind of blogger and that demanded a different kind of blog. This has also coincided with the opportunity to helm Threespot’s company blog. [Go ahead, ask me which one I’m more nervous about.]

During the second week of travel, I’m heading down to Norfolk, VA for work. We’ll be near the beach, but unlikely to visit, so I’ll be sending my missives from the inside of a hotel room.

The good thing about travel is after living your days all from the inside of a 3×2 ft suitcase, you come home, sigh, and say, thank goodness I have so much life beyond this little rolling box. And you look at the dog that you’ve missed and the partner that you’ve been miserable without and all that damn stuff you’ve accumulated and vow to never, ever leave it all for that long again.


 

The Good Shit

 

Life and Thyme

Image via Life and Thyme

Let’s be real for a second. You’re in the middle of a city you don’t know and you *really* need to use the bathroom. Where do you go? If you’re like me, it’s to the nearest Starbucks, which boasts relatively clean bathrooms, iced coffee and now free mobile phone charging. The future is here, ya’ll.

Life & Thyme has a sexy tutorial on how to make a killer cup of  coffee using an Aeropress. And while we’re on the subject of coffee, can someone please sherpa me these adorable little iced coffee cartons from Blue Bottle in NY/SF?

If you’re looking for a book to read that comes from beyond the Young Adult section, why not enjoy one of these recommendations from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? My beloved Jane Austen makes the list, but so do a number of other books that might surprise you.

“Whenever José is in town, I know I’m going to do two things: drink too much and spend a lot of money.” I’ve had the pleasure to see/meet Chef José Andrés a few times. He’s a really good guy. Like a really, really good guy. This story proves it.

Next time the asshole at the bar won’t leave you alone, tell him to call you at 669-221-6251. Then get as mad as I am that this has to exist.

Alright ya’ll, let’s go.

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What I’m Wearing To AltSummit:

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It doesn’t matter.

Next week I’m heading to #AltSummit. I’ve got all kinds of feels about this ya’ll. I advocated for AltSummit as part of my professional development plan at work because I had hoped to meet a community of digitally savvy people with which to have real conversations about the role of blogging, the business of self-publishing and why it’s so damn cool to be a writer in the 21st century. Instead, the Facebook group has largely involved conversations about what to wear to the dinner parties and the right hand-crafted, letterpress [insert-other-crafty-word-here] business cards to bring. People are getting weird about business cards. It’s making me cynical.

And then of course there is the really big issue: Salt Lake City isn’t a coffee town. Luckily my buddy Cameron has plyed me the names of two legit coffee shops: Jack Mormon and Nostalgia Coffee. You’re welcome, AltSummit.

Despite my initial misgivings about the vibe at AltSummit,  I can’t wait to meet my feminist lady crush, Meg, from A Practical Wedding (Which, P.S., I’ll never stop name dropping the fact I was cool enough to once appear on her blog).

Tweet from @practicalwed

Because this happened one time.

Martha Stewart will be there, and for whatever I feel about craftiness and homemaking, she’s still a dynamo in her own right.

I’m optimistic that once we arrive, it will be less about vintage shoes, golden barrettes or how much we spent on our business cards. Instead, I’m betting it will be about inspiration, education and camaraderie. I’m just betting.

Reads for Bloggers

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A Brain Vacation

You guys, I’m exhausted. My body is screaming for a vacation and I’m not even kidding. But I have also never been so engaged in work, so completely in love with the process. Sometimes my brain aches with trying to wrap my mind around all the learning I’ve been doing lately. But if you ain’t learning, you ain’t growing, aimiright?

I’ve been taking a few mental breaks when I get home the evenings, putting on the television and just letting it speak to me. I just finished the fourth (and gulp, last!) season of Luther. Idris Alba is beautiful, obviously, but its Alice Morgan that is so dazzling. She’s reckless and dangerous and absolutely thrilling. I want more femme fatales on television–and I’m not talking about the whimpering Kerry Washington of Scandal. Sigh.

Isn’t she lovely?

A few nights ago I was in a very different mood and watched The Spectacular Nowwith Shailene Woodley. I know folks are caught up with The Fault in Our Stars, but this movie was so raw and before you know it, you’re transported back to all the awkwardness of adolescence and completely grateful that its over. If you want to take it back even further to the pre-pubescent angst, then it has to be Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. Spectacular indeed.

If TV and film aren’t you thing, no worries, I’ve got your moody podcasts covered too. This week’s 99% Invisible was an introduction to the Song Exploder podcast and god, it was so good. In this episode, they break apart the sounds and story behind the House of Cards soundtrack, which actually had some pretty substantial changes in Season 2 that I’m absolutely sure no one noticed. It’s so haunting and there is incredible depth to the stories the producer wants to portray in a short title sequence. And the best part? A tiny clip of an earlier Song Exploder episode that was all about my beloved Postal Service’s “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.”  You’re welcome for that.

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A Digital Tonnage of Reading

Man, today is going to be kickass. How do I know, you ask? Because there is just so much goddamn possibility in a Monday, you know? Enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get to the good stuff.

I mentioned I’ve been reading–on long train rides for work, or just before bed, I’ve been trying to make my way through this list of slightly more than 100 fantastic pieces of journalism cultivated by inestimable

If (slightly more than) 100 articles feels a bit overwhelming, why not start with this worthy list of 17 essential short stories written by women? Oh god. Even just seeing the cover for Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery makes me shiver with teenage anxiety. Jhumpa Lahiri’s piece from Interpreter of Maladies was one of the first truly grown up things I remember reading. You’re welcome.

On a lighter note: I basically kind of hated Tumblr when it first came out. It didn’t really feel substantive, you know? But I can really get behind the fact that it’s a free platform of which my nonprofit friends can take serious advantage. Tumblr put together a whole mess of tips about “Tumbling for Good,” and that’s something I can get behind.

Food (for Thought)

God, this pear and nutella bread from Indigo Scones makes me weep.

Nutella Pear Bread | Indigo Scones

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Hitting the Books

I’ve been all sorts of moody, so I’ve fallen in love with reading again lately. Luckily this seems to be a good thing.

What have I been reading, you say? Well, I’ve been going through a phase where I feel like I need to catch up on the books people said were great. Even if they happen to have been great 20 years ago. The whole time you’re really just hoping they hold up to the now distant hype. I just completed The Shipping News and The Handmaid’s Tale, the latter which was so epic in a sci-fi, post apocalyptic way.

I’m currently working my way through Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, while also trying to complete The Goldfinch. That’s making for some weird dreams. I’m also actively avoiding these books about dying teens that everyone seems to be reading.

So, what’s on your reading list? What should I pick up next?

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Apps that Changed My Life

I’m not going to lie, one of the best things about working for a digital agency is taking advantage of our collective interest in being early adopters. My colleagues are often using smart tools long before they make it the popular market.

In my time at Threespot I’ve been introduced to a number of apps that change the way I work. I’m sharing them here because I want them to be around and to iterate and that means I can’t be the only one using them.

One Tab

Do you seriously have like 20 tabs open right now? One tab takes all those glorious little bits of internet ephemera and puts them on a single page. God, I love the Internet. (Sorry Safari and Firefox users, this extension is for Chrome only. Don’t even talk to me if you still use IE)

CloudApp

You remember having to FTP image files? Or worse yet, emailing them to yourself? What bullsht. Drag images to CloudApp and they automatically give you a sweet little link to share with others. An easy peasy way to get your images to others.

Draft

As a writer, I’m obsessed with Draft. It’s such a clean space for getting your ideas on virtual paper. And the Hemingway mode (no deleting…not even for misspellings) helps you focus on the message and all those little red squiggly lines. Seriously. I use Draft to journal, to sketch big ideas or to write whole pitches.

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What You Missed

You guys, I owe most of this week’s links to the lovely Rachael King (whom I only know from Twitter, but can still verify that she is indeed lovely).

This Medium post from Airbnb co-founder Brian Cheskey talks about the value of not fucking up your workplace culture, that is if you’re lucky to have one. I work in a pretty damn drama-free office. I can’t even tell you the layers of infinite anxiety that are relieved by this.

Quartz has some killer tips on how to structure you work day and they’re doable. Although they suggest waiting awhile after you’ve woken up to have coffee. Not doable.

This Songza playlist of Acoustic Pop Songs is blowing my fking mind. Mostly because I have a secret affection for Acoustic Sunrise and now I don’t have to wait until the crack of dawn on Sunday to access my slow jams.

Let’s do this.

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