The short days this time of year are so not okay with me. Dark by 4:30? Not only is it a total downer and energy sap during one of the busiest times of year, but it’s also making it extra tricky to take a decent photo of anything. And we do a lot of photography at Whimseybox, so it’s a juggling act to get everything we need to finish done during the hours the sun graces us with light. I also have a theory that since we have the mountains just feet away to our west that the short days are even shorter here, because the sun doesn’t even have to go below the horizon, just behind the mountains.
Also, the darkness is a total hazard… last week it made me RUN OVER A BRAND NEW COMPUTER MONITOR. Still in the box. Brand new, just carefully shipped from (I imagine) Asia to some Amazon warehouse and then delivered by our friendly UPS guy to me. And then, because I bought it to use at home, on Wednesday night I gathered up the monitor, my computer bag, Radish and a few other things and clumsily walked/was dragged down to the car after a long day at work. Radish does not love getting in the car (that’s another story) so set down my monitor, tossed my bags inside the car and went about the normal routine of bribing her with tons of treats to stay still so I can lift all 50+ lbs of her up into my car. I was in a hurry (of course) so we could make it to the meeting point to pick up our MM Local Harvest Share before it ended at 7pm. I don’t even need to explain what happened next, right? I managed to get Radish in the car, close the door and jump in myself. Throw it in reverse, backup about 2 feet and suddenly feel something go under the tires. ARHG! I stop, jump out and see my front wheel sitting squarely on top of the monitor box. I jump back in the move the car while saying lots of mean stuff to myself in my head. (“So careless!” “This is why you can’t have nice things!” “Did you seriously just DRIVE OVER A BRAND NEW MONITOR what is wrong with you?”) But believe it or not by some miracle of styrofoam and engineering the monitor is totally fine. I’m using it right now! Bravo ASUS for making an affordable and durable monitor. You know just what this girl needs.
#radishdirago and I on a hike this weekend
We’re heading into a super busy season at Whimseybox and right now my laptop is basically within reach at all times. This weekend I was thinking about how many of the services/programs I rely on daily that I hadn’t heard of or didn’t even exist 5 -10 years ago. It’s crazy! I wonder what things will look like 5 years from now… but in the meantime here’s how I/we work:
- Asana – Thank the heavens for Asana which is our go-to task management system. At this point, we could barely function without it. It’s lightweight but powerful – a super effective combination. (Also, free!)
- Hipchat – It’s our company chatroom, used to pass along links, ask quick questions and, of course, share silly stuff. Super handy, and we have fun with all of the silly emoticons. Actually, Patrick has whipped us up a few of our own including our faces and a can of Diet Coke!
- Private Wiki – This is a new campaign I’m on. While we have a lot of info in Asana, the wiki is great for ‘how to do whatever’ type stuff and for keeping helpful links all together in one place. It’s like our company manual. (We use Mediawiki and I’d like to brag that I installed it myself, despite being a little afraid and a lot confused in the process.)
- Picasa – I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again: Picasa is my go-to girl when Photoshop (or GIMP) aren’t required. Fast, easy + free, just like I like it!
- Powerpoint – Lately I’ve been spending more and more time in Powerpoint. Sometimes it’s for actual presentations, but I also find it handy for whipping up quick inspiration boards, mocking up new website pages and other silly stuff.
- Dropbox – Of course. What did we do before Dropbox? I don’t even know.
- Spotify – Basically all the time, except when I’m home watching something on Netflix. Also, pay the money to get rid of the commercials, it’s totally worth it.
- Boingo – After years of resisting it, I signed up for Boingo a while ago and lately I’ve spent a lot of time in airports and on the road and it’s been great. I know a lot of airports like DIA have free limited wifi now, but when I’m stuck for hours I need the real, reliable, full speed version to be productive.
In the other category we have:
- Google Apps – Man, I want to like you but I just can’t. The spreadsheets in particular drive me crazy.
- Company Blog – We used to have an internal company blog, but it’s fallen by the wayside. I still think it’s a good idea, maybe we’ll come back to it again when we’re larger.
Any great tools I’m missing? I’d love to hear about them!
Halloween is around the freaking corner, and at Whimseybox we’re super freaking psyched. In particular, Crafty Ali is a Halloween genius and has been whipping up tons of awesome projects. Here are some of our favorite Halloween must-makes!
Oh hey, yeah, this blog still exists. I’m on a plane (on the Internet! In the sky!) heading back to CO from a short trip out to BlogHer Pro in San Francisco. Here are some of the highlights:
- I spoke on a panel about Productizing (sounds fancy, no?) which basically is about how to turn your blog into a business. Alongside me were Jadah of Simple Green Smoothies and business coach Tara . They are awesome + it was such a pleasure to get to meet them and all of the conference attendees!
- One of the conference sponsors was Motorola and last night they held an even where Guy Kawasaki spoke and at the end they gave us all new MotoX phones. For me, this is amazing timing because I was going to buy a new phone this month, and actually planned to finally switch from Android to iPhone just… I dunno, cuz. But now I’ve got a shiny new white MotoX that works/has memory/isn’t cracked and my Android fandom is renewed.
- Today I learned that when you plug your earbuds into your iDevice you can use the volume button on the earbuds to trigger the shutter on the camera. Did anyone else know that? So cool!
- An unsolicited plug for BlogHer conferences (in particular the content-specific ones since I’ve been to a couple but never the main BlogHer) – props to the BlogHer team for putting together an incredibly professional and well-run event. These ladies are masters of the details that make for a great conference experience and it’s such a joy to go and connect with other like-minded women. Something I was thinking about on the way to the airport is that the last BlogHer I spoke at was BlogHer Handmade in 2011 and I went home and had the idea for Whimseybox the very next week. I don’t think that’s a coincidence – attending conferences opens my mind to new ideas + possibilities and I already think this one may result in an equally large impact on my life/business. (No details yet!) If you’re thinking about attending one, you might be interested to know that they just announced that BlogHer ’14 will be taking place in San Jose in July 2014!
And here are a few other things:
- I can’t stop listening to Royals. ♬Tigers on a gold leash… we don’t care! ♬
- Southwest is my airline. I’ve had a couple of trips go haywire over the last few weeks and every time I remedied the problem myself by buying a new ticket on Southwest. (Peace out Frontier + United.) Also, tonight the SW flight attendant used his cell phone to play the Jeopardy theme song over the loudspeaker while we were boarding to hurry people up
- Radish is like ginormous. Not even a case of kennel cough (huh?) could take the wind out of her sails. Pics soon!
- At SFO there is this ‘French’ cafe/bar right outside of the security checkpoint in Terminal 1 that has this sandwich made from a super skinny green olive baguette and salami that will basically change your life. I had one on my way in yesterday and another on my way out today. (Even though it meant putting an olive and salami sandwich in my luggage ew while passing though security…)
Stay tuned for a bunch of can’t miss Halloween projects! It’s good to be back
Whimseybox has a new look! We’ve updated the homepage so that it now shows a feed of the latest projects, products from the shop and blog posts. I won’t rehash all of the features, but you should totally go read about them here. Team Whimseybox is really excited about the new look because the previous homepage had been bothering us for a while. While there was tons of fresh DIY content going up all over the site constantly in the blog, on the projects page and in the shop, the homepage always stayed pretty much the same snoozefest. Now you can easily see the latest + greatest plus favorite and follow the stuff you love.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look back at how the page has changed since launch in December 2011. Here’s what it looked like this morning before Patrick pushed the update:
And courtesy of the Wayback Machine, here’s what it looked like in September of last year, right after we finished Excelerate Labs:
Ignore the goofy cut-off text, that’s just a bug in my web browser that’s driving me crazy. Here’s the site at the beginning of last summer, the very first version of the Ruby on Rails site that Patrick put up, building off of the work that a great Rails contractor Jesse Wolgamott had started-
Before that it was a WordPress site that I designed that looked like this -
And here’s the very first version, which had the original video for Whimseybox on it.
Lots of changes in the first 20 months, and even more to come. I have to laugh when I look back at the initial site, it’s just so different from where we are today, but I’m really glad I started there because it was the first step on this journey!