Category: wedding

The Internet ROCKS.

The Internet ROCKS.

I swear, I don’t know what I’d do if we’d never come up with this whole interconnected awesomeness thing.

I re-launched my business earlier this year, which involved picking a new business name. It was incredibly hard to come up with a name I liked that was also what my business needed, and I was so much better at it when I had help from lots of Twitter and ADN friends. People were so generous and pragmatic and willing to share their expertise. Plus, I found a couple great blogs with loads of helpful naming advice. I wasn’t able to shell out for those experts like I hoped to, but they were still incredibly supportive of me, and I know I’d go to them if I had to name a more grown-up company with a proper budget in the future. I learned so much about this entire naming field that I didn’t even know existed when I named my thing this time around. Which is clear, because that name and URL sucked, and they’re much better now. :)

IMG_3978Since the big rename and relaunch, I’ve predictably had many woes getting the technical details of my new website together, not to mention the graphical stuff that just totally loses me. My husband Grant has been my biggest helper in the graphics department, but the amazing Berklee has been a close second. He’s been ever so generous with his time and energy, throwing business card ideas and mockups at me faster than I can download the files. This was the final design*, in case you were wondering, although I plan to change the “consultant” terminology to something that better encapsulates what I actually do. (“Coach” is the closest I’ve got right now.)

Bryan Redeagle of Capsule DX offered to help me with web stuff, and he was so appalled by some of the shoddy code in my former theme that he just full-on wrote me a new one, all custom from scratch and designed to fix exactly the stuff that was frustrating me. He never charged me a penny, because we worked out a special deal, but mostly because he’s fucking awesome and he honestly just wanted to help (and wanted code to shine like all perfectionist programmers do). I can’t thank him enough, or recommend his work loudly enough. I’ve never gotten this level of service out of anyone I’ve hired for any project, except for the amazingly affordable florist at our otherwise overpriced wedding. Most of you who know me know that praise does not come from me unless it is sincerely deserved.

Marie of Code it Pretty has also been a very generous donor of her time and expertise. She already generously writes a blog that just helps people figure out frustrating web crap, and she’s so cool about chiming in when I have something tricky to solve. And oh, remember when I wanted to make that app? Well, it’s still in the works; I’ve had to kind of put it aside in favor of earning money via my main business. But Marie is weighing in about user experience and will probably help with an Android port someday.

Martin and Doug and some other generous folks all piped up wanting to assist me, which is fan-freaking-tastic and also incredibly generous. (Oh, and I never would have gotten in touch with them if it weren’t for Rob Rix by way of The Modern Scientist, who connected things via Twitter, and whom I met via Keith Bradnam whom I originally connected to because of some Marco or some 5by5 thing.) Oh, and I’m totally going to connect with Brandon Wright to make completely different apps down the road, because we just find each other awesome to work with and he reached out to me because of Quit.

Dude, even my ergonomics are improving, not as much as I’d like but still some. Fellow standing desk enthusiasts, from Lex Friedman to Kelly Guimont have chimed in about footwear and other tips for making my home work setup more reasonable, and Twitter-whining about various aspects of it has often produced helpful results. The most helpful thing of all, though, was a visit to the Fully showroom in Portland. I urge you to set up an appointment if you’re near there. Either way, some of the best recommendations  and price quotes I’ve gotten were from them, and of course I discovered them online.

Oh, and you know how I suck at being new to Mac? Well, of course loads of people have helped me out with that. Heck, Paul Holbrook sent me a PayPal contribution towards buying the damn thing because he could tell how badly I needed to switch, and Michael Clifford straight up bought me a license for Moom because he knew it would solve my problems. Oh, and the fantastic Jean MacDonald reached out, helped me get settled with some fantastic software, and has generally been insanely helpful and fun. So all those folks and everyone else I’ve mentioned and then some have just been so full of great links, tips, and advice. Let’s see, what other resources have I fallen in love with online, thanks to Internet connections? Mixergy. Marie Forleo. Heck, even Jenna Marbles inspires me. Laura Roeder. So many more I’m forgetting. But I never would have found any of those sources on my own!

And how did I forge most of these connections? Why, by listening to shows on 5by5 and communicating with that network’s general audience. A huge chunk of my most interesting Twitter following also grew out of me baiting Marco Arment into retweeting something useful or funny or silly or random I posted, and then following every single person who favorited or retweeted whatever that thing was. And you know what? That strategy has put me in touch with some of the coolest Internet pals I’ve met to date. I’ve had great conversations with many a jackal, and I’m also launching a podcast soon with Kai Davis and Chris Zaborowski.

And, of course, Quit. Most people who are bothering to read this know that I’ve called in to that show a good number of times, and that I’ve finally taken my online dating coaching business full time thanks in large part to the nudges I’ve received from Dan Benjamin, and to the inspiration that a number of shows on his network have provided. I continue to seek ways to make it more sustainable thanks to his relentlessly business-minded approach. And, of course, his shows inspired me, but so do the connections I’ve made from listening to them and appearing on them. I even got one (just one so far, but still) paying client who heard me first on Quit! Altogether, the social aspects of the Internet and of 5by5 in particular have skyrocketed my own success and happiness and ability to easily and quickly find affordable and effective solutions to at least 75% of my tech problems on this earth.

Lastly, I made many of these connections happen because of my own output, lest you think it’s ALL just Internet magick [sic]. I made them because I was open to socializing with people and learning new things. I was willing to put myself out there even when exhaustion or shyness or House of Cards would rather prevail. I followed up on leads, wrote things down, Skyped/FaceTimed/GooglePlusHung my little heart out, learned a bunch of new stuff, flared up my tendinitis, lost sleep, called 5by5 and waited on hold for hours, checked my email/DMs/etc., read, wrote, retweeted, subscribed, shook hands, followed back, spent money, and generally put myself out there and followed up on shit. But that effort has been so incredibly rewarding, and SO much easier than it would have been without all this great Internet infrastructure.

So to my friends and family members who don’t get why the Internet is so important to me and why I sometimes can’t stop checking my iPhone, well, you’ll probably never read this anyway so never fucking mind. But the Internet rocks. :)




*Special Business Card Footnote: Futura on the front, since I know .05 people are going to ask, and a weirdly condensed Franklin Gothic Medium on the back logo. Vistaprint; wouldn’t use ’em again; saving up for proper letterpressing but first things first financially, thanks Dan. Going with a press guy in Chicago who can paint the edges red too because OMG sexy. Curt Stevens of Lithocraft if you need ANYTHING printed in Seattle; tell him I sent you. Avoid Allegra Graphics in Greenwood no matter how good a deal you thin you’re getting; you’re welcome.

On being female and tall

On being female and tall

There are very few bad things about being a tall gal. But this is one of them. THE GAPS! The gaps that can occur between sock and legging, between glove and sleeve, and especially between waistband and shirt hem. Those are horrible things to experience, especially on a cold and windy day such as today. UGH. I had to bring auxiliary socks in to mitigate such a disaster. (Much better now, see?)

What are the few other bad things about being a tall female, you ask? Well, as a 5'11" woman, I shall tell you. Bumping your head more often than you’d like; being too tall for the men or women you’d like to date, and having to put up with their insecurities about your height until you finally find a keeper; being a wuss in heels because you wear them less often and are therefore unconditioned to the pain they inflict; having your head/shoulders stick way above the other members of your dance circle in a club, thus making you feel even more self-conscious than usual; a tendency to develop shoulder-slump-related spinal misalignments; having to pay more for extra length in trousers and wedding dresses and winter coats; never finding a computer monitor stand and/or task chair and/or desk that quite fits your ergonomic needs; never ever being able to find over-the-knee socks or boots that truly are; not being able to even consider most miniskirts unless you wear fully opaque leggings underneath; constantly feeling bad for whoever is behind you at movies/shows; riding Mexican buses which are designed for people shorter than the average Mexican citizen, who is in turn shorter than the average US citizen, who is in turn shorter than the average “tall” US citizen; occasionally being mistaken for a man in certain outfits or contexts; uncomfortable clown syndrome any time your car gets delivered to you from any valet anywhere; having to cram your legs or dangle them awkwardly in the aisle when occupying nearly any US bus seats, unless you manage to get the inner/window seat, and even then ow; everything about all affordable airplane trips/always having to factor in the cost of the extra leg room upgrade; occasionally intimidating insecure men whose approval you need during job interviews; being able to see right over the stalls in some awkward bathrooms with ridiculously short doors (usually in fun but seedy bars); friends setting you up with or assuming you would enjoy the romantic attention of otherwise obnoxious men based solely on their similar height.

What are some things that are pretty darn awesome about being a tall lady, you ask? Being the one to always have to get things down off shelves for people (it sounds annoying but it’s actually kind of a little usefulness/power trip); being able to see almost no matter what at concerts/movies; having a built-in excuse not to wear high heels like all the other ladies when getting fancy; justification to shell out for the extra leg room that everyone would like to have an excuse to pay for on planes; totally pulling off maxi dresses, long gloves, really long scarves, and tunics/caftans, when your shorter counterparts usually fail to do so; justification for dropping money on certain pricey bespoke items like knee-high leather boots that actually go up to your knees; being able to spike volleyballs even when you have no real athletic ability; slight inherent HORSE advantage; justification for doggedly seeking a taller mate, as opposed to those 5’2″ girls whom everyone thinks should be less whiny about how they only like men who are six feet or taller, because come on, princess; built-in limits on shopaholic tendencies for items like boots and trousers and tights that are too short at most retailers; plausible claim of Viking heritage; slightly less likelihood of being mugged or harassed or otherwise targeted as a weak female who can be bothered in a rough part of town; feeling like part of a secret superior superwoman club whenever you meet other tall women.

How can you support your local tall woman? Don’t give her too much crap about wanting to date a taller man; put up with her incessant whining when she wears heels; don’t get bent out of shape if she suddenly towers over you because she chose to wear heels since she hates feeling left out of the Fun Shoe Club the other 364 days of the year; think twice about personality and general likability before you try to fix her up with just any old tall dude you know; and go ahead and ask her to retrieve something for you from the top shelf or place that star upon the top of your Christmas tree. Better yet, ask her quietly if she can tell whether you’re going bald or have any gray hairs on top. She’ll probably feel special and she’ll probably tell you the truth, but gently, because she likely appreciates that only she can provide the specific insight you need. Win-win.

Miss Manners is back on top!

Miss Manners is back on top!

It’s no secret that I’ve reacted poorly to the occasional advice column in the past, including one by Miss Manners herself. But I’m happy to say that I found her most recent column to be right on the nose. Particularly of note are the comments about eating soup with a fork, and making sure wedding gifters get their proper note of thanks. (Now, if only we could find out who gave us our breadmaker!?)

Left, NO! Right, YES!A dear recently engaged friend got a book of Miss Manners wedding etiquette (likely this delightfully-titled number), and she reported favorably on the strict rules with delightfully snarky explanations and commentary. I wish I’d known about this volume during my own engagement! Instead, I was going off a fun but outdated borrowed copy of Emily Post’s general etiquette from the 80s (with fun tips like how Grant should undoubtedly wear “a cutaway with tails” — thanks Anna!) and a TERRIBLE modernized version of the New Post Regime’s wedding-specific tips, which was filled with helpful bits such as “Some couples like to start a cash registry!” and “Some couples choose to notify guests via e-mail!” and other such clear, thoughtful statements on how to avoid any modern wedding faux pas. (Please note my sarcasm. That book was incredibly stupid and useless and had lots of advice for how to have a tacky, inappropriate wedding that would offend every guest over forty. To be fair, I won it at a wedding venue open house, so at least I didn’t lose any money!)

Aaanyway. I’m rambling. Go Judith. And please, breadmaker-givers, fess up already!

Maple walnut ice cream (no chunks!)

Maple walnut ice cream (no chunks!)

The other day I tasked my husband with buying “Organic Grade B Maple Syrup, but only if you can find it for cheap,” and he came home with this enormous jug for something like $12. Yahtzee! Clearly, I needed to use it for everything. Including ice cream. But while maple walnut was the first obvious choice, I wasn’t so sure about that…

See, thanks to growing up with my nut-obsessed dad, I finally developed a taste for the flavor of nuts, even though I didn’t care for the texture as a kid. I’ve figured out how to tolerate the texture as a grown-up  — both the texture of nuts themselves, and the fact that chunks of nut would ruin for me the texture of an otherwise perfectly creamy and smooth dessert (think fudge or ice cream). However, I generally prefer to avoid them unless I’m having a weird protein craving.

Hence, I desired to make maple walnut ice cream that tasted like maple walnut, without actual pieces of walnut in it. I remembered that I had come across a recipe that involved simmering the maple pieces in milk and then straining and using that milk to make the custard, so I decided to do the same. I Googled around and loosely based my concoction on this recipe, but I swapped around the proportions a bit. Here’s roughly what I used:

1 1/2 c 2% milk, non-homogenized (this may have been a mistake)
1 cuppish chopped walnuts, covered in butter and sea salt and toasted in the oven for a while
3/4 heavy cream, which I whipped and folded in later
4 eggs, separated — I used the yolks in the custard but beat the whites and folded them in later

Well, I didn’t read the recipe so closely, and I wound up combining the maple syrup with the milk and walnuts to simmer. (Fun fact: if you Google “Does maple syrup curdle milk?” the first hit is this. Confusing, yet helpful.) That was an awful, ugly, curdled-up mess! But I managed to salvage it somehow, though the ice cream had a weird texture in which the fat sort of stood out from the other liquid. I think this is a function of both the curdling and the fact that my milk wasn’t homogenized. (I’m trying to only buy the hippie milk in the glass jars on which you pay a deposit, but I might reconsider for certain purposes after this adventure!)

Either way, it all turned out OK in the end! (And I’m omitting photos of the nasty curdled nutty mess because it looked kind of like someone threw up in a saucepan.) Thank goodness for eventual ice cream success — and no added sugar!

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I decided to host Thanksgiving this year with my mum, hubby and five friends — this would be the first time we cooked for anyone else since our July wedding! Eek! It was a wonderful affair, though — I got to use literally every single wedding/engagement gift we had received, and all the foods turned out delicious (if not perfect). This post is hecka long and detailed, so read on if you’re brave or hungry!

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More bedspread fame

More bedspread fame

Remember when I was wigged out that Sun and Jin from lost had the same exact bedspread as us? You know, like two posts ago? Well, we got a new one for our wedding. And ANOTHER SHOW STOLE IT.

To be fair, Rubicon went with the lighter gray color, whereas ours is a dark charcoal gray. But still. Do we have excellent taste, cheap taste, mainstream taste, Hollywood taste, or what?

When we eventually get an Arco lamp (and we’re GETTING ONE, GRANT) things will really heat up. In addition to Tony Stark’s living room, that thing has shown up in Mad Men, Gossip Girl, and who knows what else. Guess we really are just mainstream — either that, or good design is timeless and conforms to wildly varying tastes. GRANT.

Ten reasons I haven’t blogged lately.

Ten reasons I haven’t blogged lately.

1) I got married. That was kind of busy.

2) I have a new job. It, of course, takes up a lot of my time, passion, energy, and tennis elbow quotient. But it’s loads of fun! I’m the French Linguistic QA Specialist at NCsoft, and I primarily focus on French-language text in Aion, a Korean-developed MMO.

3) I’ve been consulting more, helping people write ads or tweak their profiles. Check out my consulting page at for more info, but basically, between that and my full-time day job I’ve had less leisure time and less inclination to blog.

4) I’ve been blogging elsewhere. Namely, at, about beauty. Occasionally at my lovebl.og. Not nearly enough there.

5) I’ve also been Tweeting elsewhere. Mostly @heliotro_pe, sometimes @loveb_ug, and rarely @ginnielizz.

6) I went to Japan, which required the learning of some Japanese. And because of #2 I’m also learning some Korean. And we’re also learning some Brazilian Portuguese for a friend’s upcoming wedding in Rio. Whew!

7) Oh yeah, I changed my name. (See #1.) That was kind of a pain in the ass, truth be told. All done now, hence the new URL!

8) The aforementioned tennis elbow. It sucks. It makes typing and mousing lots really, really hard.

9) I’m trying to work on a book relating to my consulting practice (see #3), but #8 is obviously interfering. While there are entertaining tools to help with this, they don’t work so well on the go!

10) Turns out I only had nine reasons. :)

Aah, Choo!

Aah, Choo!

I swore I wouldn’t wear heels at my wedding. I SWORE. I didn’t want to be any taller, I didn’t want to be uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to trip when I walked down the aisle or danced with my dad. But guess what?

JIMMY CHOOS AT THE RACK FOR $100. Beautiful, delicate off-white silk strappy delicious sandals with tiny brilliant rhinestone buckles. Somehow miraculously available in an elusive size 42, and marked down from $499. And in pristine condition. WHO CAN BLAME ME?

Now I’m going to be a walking/stumbling cliché of all the stupid mistakes brides make.  I’m going to trip and fall and twist my ankle; my heels will sink into the soft ground/carpet and get stuck or dirty; and when I inevitably get too uncomfortable and change into shorter comfier shoes at the reception, my dress is going to be too long.  Alas… the things I do for, um, Choo.

Wedding B(r)ands

Wedding B(r)ands

Found out a great way to permanently recognize your union the other day.

1) Put on your engagement/wedding ring after washing hair.
2) Hold the dryer in the ring-free hair, and use your ringed hand to finger-comb hair while it’s drying, taking care to expose the ring itself to the stream of very hot air.
3) Eventually, the metal will heat up so hot that it will burn the skin underneath it in a perfect circle.

Cheaper than a ring tattoo, and quicker too! Possibly not less painful, but hey — 2/3 ain’t bad.