Category Archives: technologies

Workshopping.

Oh man.   Happy Sunday, kittens.

I know we were on vacation this week, but there is nothing quite like being at home, right?  We had a fairly busy slate of activities on Friday and Saturday, but today, I finally had a day to relax.

In case you were wondering what I consider a relaxing day, it involves: Prepping breakfast for the week, prepping the meat for Monday night’s dinner, listening to the Sarah R. Bagley podcast with guest Brigid Schulte, cleaning the kitchen and the master bathroom, working out, writing my vacation blog posts and going out for family dinner.

So you know, pretty much the usual.

If I may be so honest, the last eight (seriously, eight) weekends have been absolutely packed full of things.  They have been packed full of wonderful, perfect adventures but as I’m sure you know, that can get to be a lot when it is back to back to back to back.  Once upon a time in August when all of this went down in the calendar, I took one look at Halloween Weekend and wrote “see no one, do nothing.”  Seriously.

So today was a glorious taste of what next weekend and the month of November could feel like.  I cannot wait.

From the department of things that are 100% First World, we got the iPhone 6 this weekend and my 2015 Whitney English Day Designer arrived.

Organizing

To discuss the iPhone first, (1) Yes I got gold, (2) now I know that I am matching one of the Kardashians in this regard, (3) none of my cat pictures transferred to my new phone from the cloud and this was tragic.  My last three phone transfers were extremely disruptive (Razr to BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Curve to DroidX, DroidX to iPhone 5) so this was a breeze in a lot of regards.  During my BlackBerry to Droid transition, the first phone I was issued had a faulty microphone and my phone number didn’t transfer for a week so it was basically like living back in 2000.

Enough about that.  On to fancy paper calendars.

I really liked my 2013 Erin Condren Life Planner.  I LOVED my Erin Condren Life Planner in 2013.  But the 2014 edition?  Was crap.  The day columns were noticeably smaller and more problematically, the laminate on the cover was awful.  Awful!  My planner sees the inside of my purse and my desk/our dining room table.  I would say this means that I use it regularly, but don’t expose it to untoward elements or especially heavy usage.  The corners of the laminate began peeling open within several months.  I know.  The Day Designer is sort of a beast, but I think the amount of space (page/day) will be helpful for 2015.  Also, there is this whole section in the front for strategic visioning/branding/goal setting that I am really excited to use.  I think it will be a good intention-setting tool for the new year.  You know?

I’m going to pop offline now because I’m so hoping to get to bed early tonight (fingers crossed!) but I can’t wait to share our vacation adventures/photos with y’all this week!

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Glittering

Week two of tasting for Minnesota Beer Month with the MN Beer Activists is up!  So click on over if you want to taste through some hoppy beers from Mankato Brewing, Fulton and Flat Earth!

We got new iPhones today.

It doesn’t seem like it has been two years since I sobbed hysterically to Verizon customer service, telling them that people in third world countries had it easier than I did when it came to getting new phones.

Mind you, this was after going five days without a phone number.

But, it was.  That was a dark time.  How far we have come.

Anyway, look.

I was excited about All Of The Things, really.  But the sparkle cover REALLY caught my eye.  Because I’m nothing if not magpie-like in nature.

Marcus’ reaction to all of this was that if he knew that all I needed to be happy was a $12 bedazzled phone cover and not a new phone entirely, he would have picked one up for me ages ago.

Ladies, I think we can all agree that it’s NEVER that simple.  But glitter always goes a long way.  Or in my case, the longest way.  I can’t stop staring.  It may rival the mirror as my favorite thing to look at. 😉

Other things to note: Yes, I guess I am a white iPhone person.  I didn’t know that until Marcus called me at work and barked out Black or White? without any introduction and I was forced to make a split-second decision.  Yes, this is the equivalent of performing brain surgery in my world these days.

I Face Timed with Lindsey tonight.  It’s the first time I’ve ever done that, and the first time that we’ve ever video chatted, actually.  It was wild.  Yes, I realize it makes no sense that I waited to video chat with her until she returned to MN.  Don’t overthink it.

The front-facing camera is OUT OF CONTROL.  My biggest issue with the DROID X was that it was such a pain to try and get a steady shot if you were self-portraiting.  This is a plague no more.  I apologize in advance if you get bombarded with snaps of me.  I couldn’t even help myself if I tried.

Are you obsessed with your phone cover?

Snap-takers: What do you use to edit your photos?

Don’t forget, #BeerWeek is ON!  We have Anne’s Pumpkin Ale and Pretzel Caramels, Lauren’s Pale Ale Shrimp Po’ Boy, Madeline’s Pumpkin Beer Bread, Kirsten’s 5 Minutes with a Home Brewer and Jeanne’s Dark Chocolate Espresso Stout Cake with Caramel & Kahlua Whipped Cream.

Potpourri!

Kittens, I am SO about 10 seconds away from pouring myself into bed.  Please just bear with me.  If I can finish this post without falling asleep on the keyboard, it will be a win for all of us.

Pillows and comforters await…

1.  Because I know you all care, once again I’ve changed the wallpaper on my phone.  The other wallpaper was just too…July.

I decided that at least this pays homage to the tiny weaver who has taken up residence in our basement.

Yes, seriously.

Marcus found one of the webs last weekend when he discovered that they managed to build it to span our entire basement.  How this is even possible, I’m entirely unsure.  Regardless, he tore it out.

But when I was running on Monday, I spent 100% of the time watching the little guy go-to-town on the rebuild.

It was simultaneously revolting and fascinating.

2. On Wednesday, I snapped-up a ticket to the Minnesota Blogger Conference.  The first 100 tickets disappeared in less than 20 minutes, so I was really thankful that I was able to get in right at 9 AM when they released the first batch.

I have no idea of what to expect from this year’s conference.  I know that last year, I was SO overwhelmed.  I had just made some big decisions about The Blog, so in some ways I felt like I was really ahead of the curve and in other ways I was in way over my head.  Plus, not only was it my first time out in the wild real life with other bloggers, it was my first time at a conference.  Period.

Go figure, right?

3. My dresses came, and they’re 11/10.  I don’t want to say that they’re better-than-expected per se, because that makes it sound like I’m selling them short.  More appropriately,  I was blown out of the water.

And I absolutely don’t regret buying two.

When I went over to The House On The Hill to pick them up, I got the biggest kick out of the fact that Mom already knew what designs I had on them without me uttering a peep.

Just you wait and see.  It will be a Katacular spectacular.

4. Confession: Tonight I cut open my bag of Angie’s Kettle Corn feed-bag style to get at the bits at the bottom.  RIP Kat’s Dignity, 8-18-11.   I’m pretty sure it’s gone for good this time.

What’s the least dignified thing you’ve done this week?

Have you ever been to a conference for bloggers?

Mother Nature vs. Pop Culture

Before we get down to business, a few of you have been asking about what kind of planner I carry.  I got a myAgenda by momAgenda.  If you want to see a snap of what it actually looks like in the flesh, check this post out.

I got the desktop size, which is an absolute beast.  So if you were to size-down (provided your handwriting isn’t especially loopy) I’m sure you would be more than happy.

So, there’s that.

Confession: When I found out that the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills would be coming back in September, I practically jumped for joy.  I missed those girlfriends.

They keep it real with their Calypso-St. Barth’s frock/tunic arrangements, spa days and the glasses of wine that they NEVER seem to finish.  Toss in a pair of Kendra Scott earrings and they’re ready to roll.

They keep me grounded, kittens.

And after that brief wave of jewel-toned nostalgia, I realized that September is almost…uncomfortably close.

The light is starting to change, for crying-out-loud.  My evidence?

An epic craving for canned pumpkin.

Yes, I have a giant can stashed away in the pantry from last fall.  No, I won’t be taking it out just yet.

I feel like we’ve only just entered the part of the Minnesota summer where we can FINALLY eat our own sweet corn like it’s going out of style (it is).  I refuse to give that up.  You have nothing on me, Mother Nature.

But it’s kind of on the same level as that one time last March where I couldn’t stop eating sweet potatoes.

Not good.

So to embrace the last month of summer, I sourced  new wallpaper for my phone.

I know most people do something a little bit more low-key.  Like tan.  Wear swimsuits.  Mow the lawn.  Eat popsicles.  Make popsicles.  Seek shelter.

I needed something that came with a little less commitment.

As it turns out, less commitment actually looks a little bit garish.

But I’m still obsessed.

I will say that even though Dandelions are Hell On Earth as far as keeping a well-manicured lawn, the way their seeds waft around at the end of the summer is one of the prettiest sights.

You know, once you get over the fact that you’re basically watching an invasion take place.

Have you had any unseasonal cravings lately?

I’ve also been dying to braise various cuts of meat with a ferocity usually reserved for buttercream frosting.  Where on earth is my head at, right?

What shows are you looking forward to watching this fall?

I’m also looking forward to the return of Boardwalk Empire on HBO as well as the beginning of a few new shows on the Food Network.

Wedding Wednesday

It’s so hard to think that four weeks from now, I will be sitting at home, having finished my last day of work before the wedding.

Actually, it’s really not that hard, it’s more surreal than anything else.

Things last week?  Not so wild.  Things from here on out?  All wild, all the time.

So, effective immediately, I’m turning over my life (and any hope of making plans beyond running after work and eating a proper dinner) to making it through these last four weeks with my sanity intact and some semblance of a sense of perspective.

Snafus

So I’ve been writing my thank you notes at work, right?  And so I left a stack of addressed, stamped envelopes on my desk to polish off over my lunch hour.

Which was great, except for the fact that our over-eager postwoman decided that they were fair game.

Thankfully, they were only for my bridesmaids, and she only took the one she deemed “sealed” (it was absolutely not).

So, Linds…When you get home and there’s a really cute envelope waiting for you in your mailbox, just know that the only thing you’re going to find inside is a hot pink Post-It note that says “Champagne Glasses.”

Love you SO hard.

Honeymoon

Ohmigod, we are getting close.  This week we booked our flights from Paris to Marseilles and back again, which was the last thing that was really looming over our heads.  Originally, we were planning on taking the train, but this ended up being $100 cheaper and MUCH faster.

That means that the ONLY thing we have left on our To Do list is booking a hotel room for the night we’ll be in Marseilles…

…And sourcing some Euros.

…And renting an international smart phone (apparently the DROID is a non-option)

…And making photocopies of our passports, one of which may or may not feature a blonde, makeup-free, 17 year old that looks nothing like The Most Current Edition

Otherwise, we are absolutely good to go.

By good to go, I do not in any way, shape, or form mean that I have spent any time mentally preparing for the ordeal that is Packing (though I have mentally prepared myself for Not Buying Anything at the Louis Vuitton Flagship on the Champs-Elysees).  Considering the fact that I pack a giant duffel bag for a weekend with the family at the cabin, I have no idea of how I’m going to determine what a well-edited wardrobe for two weeks in Europe looks like.

Pray for me, people.

Blog Admin

I realized today that with only a month left until the big day, I needed to get my act together to make sure that y’all aren’t left with two-and-a-half weeks of dead air.

I know I don’t talk about the actual act of blogging very often on The Blog, but truth be told, unless something deadly-fascinating happens during the week, I usually have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to share with you a day or two before it actually gets posted.

I know…I KNOW.  It all comes out 😉

To make a long story extremely short, if I want to make sure that you all have interesting stuff to read over your morning coffee and give you more to chew on on than the odd inspirational quote or picture, then my ducks need to be in a row.

And I pinky swear (scout’s honor!), I won’t subject you all to two and a half weeks of Wordless Wednesday-style posts or Pinterest-inspired extravaganzas.  One can only handle so much of that, really.

If you had to choose five pieces of clothing to bring to Europe, what would you pack?

Black Dress.  Metallic Flats.  Leggings.  White T-Shirt.  Pashmina.

God, maybe I am learning how to edit myself.

Bloggers, when you’re away from The Internet, do you line up guest posters?  Post in advance?  Post from your destination?  Stay silent for a few days?

If we weren’t leaving the country, I would definitely try to post a daily snap with some commentary or something of the like, but obviously in this situation, y’all are just going to have to close your eyes and imagine me looking out over the Mediterranean Sea.

Back Ashore

image

I had this grand vision where Marcus and I were going to take just TONS of snaps and I would barely know what to do with myself, trying to sort through the best of them.

In the end, we only took about 10 on our own and I particularly loved this one because I never thought that we would end up in a pink and green polo (or Polo in my case) situation.

But it did and there we were.

And now we’re at MIA and I’m hacking away on my DROID, which is obviously The Ideal Typing Arrangement.

The Bahamas were fun in the sense that I had never been. But having spent a disproportionate amount of time in the Caribbean relative to other vacation spots, I have to say, they were lacking a lot of the Glory and Splendor that I’ve come to expect from Paradise.

Verdict: If you’ve never been, you’re not missing the party.

I did end up wearing seven of the eight dresses that I shoved into my suitcase in a frenzied fit of over-packing.  As superficial as it sounds, it was really pleasant to have a dress for drinks and a dress for dinner. Someday, in a different world where I’m no longer a Career Woman, this will become a way of life.

Presently speaking, my poor body is oh-so-excited to return to a normal eating and exercise schedule.

I didn’t put on my running shoes once, and not-so-miraculously, my legs didn’t fall off.  We walked the boardwalk in Miami Beach, swam for hours on the ship and trotted all over Nassau. Marcus invoked the “No Elevators On Board” rule, and so we walked up and down stairs until I thought my legs might actually fall off.

Because cruise ships are the epic realm of over-indulgence, I ate and drank what I wanted, didn’t eat what I didn’t love and managed to make it off the boat without needing to be rolled down the gangplank. 

Lesson: I need to give my body more credit.

And, as relaxing as this vacation was, I’ve got to say that I’m truly thankful that I have the entire weekend ahead of me to get my life in-order.  Especially since I think tomorrow will include a trip to Urgent Care to address the souvenir sore throat/quasi-ear infection arrangement I seem to have found myself with.

Joy.

Do you give your body enough credit?

Have you ever gotten sick on vacation?

Potpourri!

Friends, tonight I’m beyond scatter-brained.

Enter: Potpourri!

In spite of the Excessive Dryness that’s all but destroyed my mitts (we’re talking Lizard skin, the likes of which I’ve never seen before), I’ve been enjoying Excellent Hair for the last week.  If you take nothing else away from this post, do some deep conditioning on the weekends.

Trust me, it helps.

Drugstore Divas: I use the kind sold by Fructis.  It comes in a green tube.

This morning, a co-worker was having a real downer of a day (or more like the culmination of a real downer of a week), so I hopped-to and quickly actioned this sort of arrangement.

You might think it clashes, but 1. You can never go wrong with a single-initial monogram as a design concept. 2. The snowflakes make it seasonal.

In the professional sphere, it’s essential to be able to make fast work of a piece of heavy printer paper and a set of highlighters.  Aesthetic is secondary to spirit.

But when I’m not speed-creating Hallmark originals, aesthetic is everything.

Yes, y’all called it.  It was time for another wallpaper-change on my phone.  Mother nature says no to aqua blue in the winter.

Red berries.  How seasonal.  I should probably be focusing my efforts on finding something tropical for the new year.  But I’m trying to live in the present.

The present means things that Cardinals and Chickadees might feast upon.

No, I’m not attempting to make my phone into a bird feeder.

But if anyone’s looking for an un-tapped market on Etsy, feel free to hit that one.  My gift to you.

After addressing the most important issues of the day, I ventured to Sao Thome.

It’s been a few days and these little squares were singing their siren song to me from the pantry.

I’d love to say that I picked this bar because I’m really fascinated by the region that it originated in.  But really, I had no idea of where Sao Thome was until I checked it out on the little pamphlet-map.  Apparently it’s on the western coast of Africa?

Go figure.

You learn new things every day.

Have you ever rocked the highlighter-card before?

Thursday, 12/16/10: Longest Thursday that felt like a Friday ever?  Or longest Thursday that felt like a Friday ever?