• Boston,  Joe & Rachael Projects,  Using technology

    My Skillshare workshop!

    Have you heard of Skillshare.com? It’s a super website operating with the goal of encouraging everyone to teach anyone about anything. It’s well designed, in all sorts of cities, and is connecting passionate folks to curious topics all the time.

    I love this idea. I frequently find myself hunting for people’s secret passions and expertise in conversation, but it can take forever to discover, even from your good friends! However when skillshare finally came to Boston, I was a little disappointed that none of the classes interested me. What could I teach and be excited about?, I asked myself.

    and I realized: all the little lists of things I’d wished I known before Lux came, the discoveries I made in the first few months, the many tips I’ve learned from my fellow moms, the useless baby stuff I gave away, the I-wished-I-woulda’s….that could be a class!

    And so:

    A one night workshop for expecting moms in Boston! Obviously I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m also excited! I would have loved something like this when I was pregnant, it will be a good way for expecting moms to meet each other (which is so important!), and (inspired by the methodology of the fabulous blogshop) I will have yummy snacks and delicious mocktails to make the class even more festive. If it’s as fun as I hope it will be, I’ll do another!

    Can I ask you a Twitter favor, dear readers? Would you minding tweeting about it (link: http://skl.sh/JP6pUr) even if you’re not in Boston? I have my postcards to pin around the neighborhood, the strangers I will ask to retweet, and other news-spreading ideas, but I’m firm believer in the serendipitous power of Twitter. I’d be so grateful!

    And what about you? What topic do you love to talk about with interested listeners? What would you like to talk a class in? If Skillshare isn’t in your city, you can still sign up and suggest your city next!

  • App Reviews,  Using technology

    Favorite Travel Apps

    We spent a long weekend in Philadelphia, meeting up with Joe’s family and several good old friends who have settled there. With just three days, we had lots we wanted to do, eat, and see! Here are my favorite apps that helped make a fantastic weekend:

    LevelUp. We all know the future is paying with your phone and leaving that silly wallet behind (except we would still carry our purses because we love them so much, obviously). If you too want card-free transactions, imagine having a baby in your arms and a diaper bag on your shoulder: Suddenly you want it 100x more, right? I love that LevelUp is a pay-with-your phone option at most of my favorite spots in Boston, and it is Philly too. Because they give you credit for your first visit to most places, my afternoon macchiato at the lovely cafe down the street from my hotel was free!

    LevelUp is in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Philly, San Diego, Seattle, and lots more cities! It’s a free app, but if you sign up with my code 65582, we both get a $5 credit. bing.

    Best Parking. Is there a more confusing nightmare than parking garage signage? I think not. Especially if you’re a deal hunter, a street full of  garages all offering different rates is terrifying! I used Best Parking (which is in loads of cities) to sneak out the best overnight rate near our hotel. It’s intuitively designed (it’s owned by a twenty-three year old!), and can use either your address or your location to help you find parking.

    Yelp-the Bookmark List. Don’t worry, I too have thoughts about how much therapy most Yelp users need. Especially when they use a restaurant review as a place to complain about their waiter. But! Yelp on your browser and on your phone make it easy to “bookmark” places you want to go. Then you can pull up the app and see where those places are on a map, and hunt them down.

    This is super helpful if you’re chatting with someone and they’re like, “oh try this spot! and check in there! and make sure you have oysters over there!” and the names are flying past you and you’re just nodding along, wishing your dictation secretary was around. And, not to be a complete nerd here, but the user experience on Yelp is way better than Google maps. For one thing, it searches businesses more quickly and more accurately. For another, the labels on the map are movable, so they don’t obscure whatever you’re trying to look at (hint hint Google Maps!).

    Venmo. Joe and I took advantage of the grandparents in the city and went out to all sorts of fun drinks spots with friends. But then the bill shows up at the end, and turns out everyone ordered different things: a salad here, a water there, three cocktails over here (who could have ordereed those??). Venmo makes it easy to let one person pay the bill and everyone else pay you back on the spot. Because we know those promises of “oh, I’ll get the next one!” never really work out.

    What about you? Any apps you’re loving on the go these days?

  • Cooking,  Darn Good Ideas,  Using technology

    Meeting a (food) blogger you admire

    When I realized I was going to be in Santa Monica for a week with free childcare (commonly called grandma) the first thing I though of was xobreakfast.

    Xobreakfast is a blogger that I’ve admired since I first read about her on the venerable pages of Wednesday Chef. I like her style, I like her breakfast love, I like her quirky puns, and I love her great taste in recipe development (her maple olive oil oatbread is the house favorite these days). I think the first thing I loved about her was her clever avatar:

    irresistible, no?

    Though I had piles of affection for this person, of course I’d never spoken with her, much less met her. But I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

    And she said yes!

    do I look thrilled? I was.

    Probably the best thing about meeting up with a food blogger is there’s no shame in emailing back and forth for weeks with our lists of where we think we should meet. L.A. currently has lots of coffee shops that are the best parts of “hipster” culture: obsessive about quality, beautiful architectural almost art-galleryesque interiors, articulate chalkboard menus, fair trade brews, carefully selected pastries…plus, and this was a big unexpected plus to me: patios with sunshine!

    We picked a place half way between us, The Coffee Commissary. We were partially convinced by the existence of a food truck name Eggslut that parked outside on week day mornings. In typical fashion, everyone on Yelp insisted that the baristas were jerks who refused to smile and acted like they worked as grim reapers in the evenings….though the Yelpers gravely admitted the coffee was delicious.

    But when we got there we found everyone all smiles and cordial explanations (possibly they were tipped off that two glamorous bloggers were arriving?). We both picked up salted caramel rice crispy treats, and I had to circle back halfway through for a cream biscuit with strawberry jam and creme fraiche.

    Noelle ordered the signature “slut” which was a coddled egg with pureed potatoes, chives and gray salt that came in an adorable glass jar.

    I brought her honey from the east coast. She made me granola. And we talked about…food! Cortados (I had never heard of these mini cappuccinos that were on menus all over LA), muesli, packing too many dishes to take to France, babies and boyfriends, eating too much when you travel to new exciting places, the strawberries at the farmers market, bread recipes….of course we knew lots about each other because we’d read each other’s blogs! It was so fun.

    It made me think of this quote on Swiss Miss recently:

    There’s something sacred about reading a blog post on someone else’s site. It’s like visiting a friend’s house for a quick meal ’round the breakfast table. It’s personal — you’re in their space, and the environment is uniquely suited for idea exchange and uninterrupted conversation. In many ways, we should be treating our blogs like our breakfast tables. Be welcoming & gracious when you host, and kind & respectful when visiting. – Trent Walton

    What about you? Is there a blogger who you’d love to meet in person? Would you be nervous to share how much you truly know about them, in conversation?

  • App Reviews,  Good design,  Using technology

    instagram: the Visual Twitter

    an instagramed photo of Joe's dumpster-dived globe. Our new nightlight!

    Are you all Instagram fans? It’s an app for sharing photos (and using interesting filters) on iPhones. I gave it a try a couple months ago, and didn’t quite catch on, but these days I’m addicted. There’s something very appealing about seeing tiny little snapshots of other’s daily lives. It’s my favorite app to check when I’m waiting for the T.

    If you’re on there, you can find me under girlpolish, and I would love to follow you back!

    postscript: Of course NYT wrote an article about it yesterday that I missed. Apparently there are 5 million+ users! I only follow 23…

  • Darn Good Ideas,  Using technology

    Saturday Reading

    You guys aren’t reading enough blogs, are you?

    If not, Say 100 has thoughtfully highlighted 100 tastemaker blogs, chosen for you by pros of their fields, in widely flung areas of technology, fashion, business, etc. A good idea. Check it out if only to shrug your shoulders with satisfaction that you’ve been reading those guys for awhile. (Is it a pity that “spiritual” is not a field? Or totally unrealistic to hope for?)

  • Using technology

    Queen Blogger

    I liked this article Queen of the Mommy Bloggers, which is primarily about Heather Armstrong and the business lifestyle behind her blog dooce. I’ve read dooce for awhile, never because it was a mom blog but because Heather is a frank, sarcastic, and cynical writer. My favorite things! She is dang good at what she does—making an income out of blogging, and she does well whatever subtle things she can to keep things fresh around the ol’ blog space. She also isn’t afraid of a some heavy photoshop-loving, and we all know how much readers like that. What about you, anybody else a secret not-mom mommy blog reader?

    Photo of Heather and her husband, from her blog.

  • Using technology

    admit it

    After reading a bunch of articles, twitter feeds and columns, I finally admitted it out loud: where is Bahrain?

    Just in case I’m not alone there, so you don’t have to do the humiliating google search as well:

    map from World Travels

  • Good design,  Using technology

    No News in the Newsfeed

    Wondering what happened to all those cool people you once knew on Facebook? Can’t figure out why your newsfeed doesn’t tell you when your brother posted a photo album? My mom enlightened me to this little change available at the bottom of your newsfeed. Their algorithm makes sense if you want to keep bumping into the same people again and again, but if you’re using Facebook to find out about interesting thoughts and ideas, it’s not quite working.