Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday: A place to code home

I’m finding so many amazing websites these days that I have to share yet another!
As a woman thinking about a career change, it’s hard not to think about taking a dip in the coding pool. When I say coding I mean getting into software programming, which means learning lots of different computer language like HTML, CSS, Java, Python, Ruby, and more.
I’ve always been at least slightly interested in delving into one of these languages. When I was a mere Freshman in college, when creating your own blog site was becoming all the rage I actually took the time to learn quite a bit of HTML. Somehow, I got scared of what “coding” meant. Plenty of people were doing computer science, but they were all guys and at the time it didn’t occur to me that maybe they knew something I didn’t and that was that the next big thing was actually the computer industry.
Okay, I could have flipped open any magazine that was talking about up and coming businesses, especially being brethren of the Silicon Valley, but it just didn’t occur to me what a big market it was going to be today. And so… I got an English degree.
I actually love my English degree. It’s taught me how to speak more clearly, form my thoughts into coherent sentences, spell lots of big words that I may or may not ever use, and writing is definitely the one thing I do every single day of my life.
            Well enough talking. The site that I found is Code Academy. It is a free interactive site that feels a lot like a game and gives you a lot of the basics of many coding languages. It’s so fun that it makes me want to go back for more!
            Currently I’m easing myself back into HTML because it’s been a long time. It’s really easy, but I don’t want to skip any step and find myself lost.
            Will I ever actually use any of the programming languages that I am going to try learning?
            Who knows! My hope is that I will learn something new, I’ll have more to include on my resume, and perhaps it’ll lead to some new occupation in the future. If you are anyone that has been interested in at least trying out coding, this is the site for you! It’ll give you a taste of code and you can decide from there if you want to pursue delving further into the muck!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Whoa Wednesday: A website that brings a generation of teen women together

Tavi Gevinson

The other day I found this site: Rookie Mag. I didn’t find it by looking for it because I’m not sure why I would have looked for it in the first place. I found it because Gawker highlighted a video by founder, Tavi Gevinson doing a TED talk on Still Figuring it Out, which you should probably watch. What’s special about Tavi is that she not only prepared this almost 8 minute talk discussing female power, oppression, obsession, and confusion, but she did it and she’s only a teenager.
Tavi is a fifteen year old sophomore that started a magazine called Rookie magazine when she was fourteen to create a space for young girls to talk, converge, celebrate, write, and showcase their feelings about becoming a woman.
In Tavi’s first editor’s letter to her burgeoning audience of teen girls she informs them what the magazine is about.

“I don’t have the answers. Rookie is not your guide to Being a Teen. It’s not a pamphlet on How to Be a Young Woman. It is, quite simply, a bunch of writing and art we like and believe in.”

She further goes on to state in her talk that the magazine isn’t created to “give girls the answers” it’s actually created so they will “give themselves permission to find the answers themselves.” I honestly can’t think of anything more admirable then creating a space for young women to choose to “not” identify themselves in any one real way and to let themselves question for as long as they can, need, or want to until they find the answers they’re seeking.
It seems there is often a rush to grow up so fast, to understand who you are, how to get a boyfriend, how to fit in, how to be popular and this site teaches girls that there’s no one way that you need to be, no set of “things” that you need to have. The ideas of what it is to be a teenage girl are scoffed as mere presuppositions of an old archetype that should be thrown out. Being a teenage is “complicated.” Any person that’s ever been a teenage girl knows that there is no end to the complications that arise from feeling like a confused, hormonal, estranged, deranged being with no idea how to correctly navigate the world.
            I am now 33, which means when I was a teenager when the internet was just really getting a foothold on the market. I remember thinking... omg, imagine the things you can do with the internet, like talk to people across the country and some from other parts of the world! At the time I was using a slow dialup connection that often took a couple of minutes to connect. Pages back then often took minutes to load, but I didn’t care. I would wait the long minutes and log into any number of AOL chatrooms just to get the experience of talking to someone who wasn’t from where I was from, which was a young and newly booming Silicon Valley.  
            So now there are young girls who look at the internet and don’t just think that they can perhaps talk to someone across the world, they find ways to engage the world! I am so in awe of young women like her, the same way I was in awe of my friend Zeena who started a local zine when we were the same age. It excites me that this young woman is doing global outreach to other young women. If you are a woman, a man dating a woman, a man that has daughters, a man that wants his sons to understand women, then you should take the time to look at this site and send it to others.
            Seeing young women express themselves without worrying what someone will think of their quirks, their intelligence, their nerdiness, their beauty, their disregard for fashion, and anything else is truly what gives them so much strength. I must say, I am extremely excited to see what this next generation of women brings to the table; it’s going to be hawt.

Friday, March 15, 2013

First Friday: My first podcast ever goes live!

Last month I decided to do a series of interviews with people about their First Love and today I am releasing the first installment with my friend Nick!
I decided to name the podcast Durtee Lawndree in line with my blog, because it exemplifies exactly what I want my blog to be about and that is people "airing their truths." I had a great time talking with everyone and am super excited about releasing future episodes.

What I've learned through this first podcasting process:

#1. Interviewing is a learning process and I can only get better
     For those of you that know me, you probably know that when I start talking I can definitely hold me own, but when it comes to sitting with someone, asking questions and speaking with them, my nerves get a little itchy and inflamed. For this first session I had set interview questions because of this fear, which I think worked well for me. My hope going forward is that when I sit down and interview I will be able to sense the interviewee a little better and formulate questions as it goes along.

#2. Editing is a learning process and I can only get better
      I've pretty much only used my Garage Band and some Pro-Tools for light music editing, which means I have never been in the position of splicing and dicing a whole conversation.
For this first interview I cut almost 45 minutes down to about 20. It hurt my soul to take out huge chunks of conversation that I thought were interesting and funny. However, I knew that I needed to shorten a lengthy conversation that did encounter some stumbles as well as had information that wasn't necessarily relevant to our conversation.
This part of the editing process reminds me of when I'm editing my own writing and I think... this part is so intriguing and well written and I have to throw it in the garbage. Sometimes I can save the writing for later, but sometimes I can't because it would be too disjointed as its own.

#3. DON'T Interview at a super loud venue like... a coffee shop
      When I was scheduling times with people to meet there was no part of me that realized I needed to account for noise level. This is obviously the mistake of a beginning podcaster. In my mind, cafes are quiet and that's why people are always there studying, right?
In reality, cafes are quite loud with the bustle of the baristas making drinks, flipping book pages, conversations, spoons in coffee mugs, all stuff I realized is white noise that I drown out while working on a project. At least I know I don't have ADD.
Since at this point I don't have a real mic and was using my handy iphone mic, I don't have very much ability to isolate the conversation from the other noises, though I did use a variety of techniques to minimize it. I'm looking forward to getting a mic at some point for this project, but until then it's gonna be up to Carmen, my iphone, to help me with the interviews.

#4. Patience
      As with any new skill it does test a little bit of patience. Editing itself is not all that hard, but getting to know short cuts and accidentally pressing the wrong one, deleting a section and not noticing till later is a little trying. As I edited, things ran more steadily and the process became a little faster. There definitely are still elements that I have to learn like making cuts and transitions a little more smooth, but I'm sure that will come with more editing experience.

#5. Podcasting is really fun
      Though I write a lot and I have finished writing products, I realized there's nothing quite like having a finished sound product. Strangely it felt like I'd accomplished more in this 25 minute segment than in all the thousands of hours I've done writing throughout my life. I'm still not sure why that is.

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, want to be interviewed, want to give me free editorial tutorials, have a mic you want to donate or anything else is on your mind, email me:

Now here's the podcast!
If your browser has trouble loading the podcast go directly to Podomatic and listen from there.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tasty Thursday: I suck at cooking but I do it anyway and so should you!

Most days the idea of cooking a meal is daunting and a chore. It's something I very much want to love, but when I look at a variety of ingredients my mind doesn't automatically figure out how to pair them.
For those of you that have friends that cook, as I do (I even have a friend that's a chef), it's often hard to relay to them your excitement about being a good cook while realizing you're terrible.

"Oh it's easy, you just put spice 1, spice 2, and ingredient in a bowl, mix them and voila!"

Whatever, friends that know how to cook; this is not what happens in my world. In general I'll add spice 1, spice 2, and ingredient and it turns into some either extremely bland yet colorful dish or an extremely over-spiced, palette confusing mess. Just like outfits and color coordinating I have no idea how to mix and match ingredients.

I've been told multiple times that I don't need to know how to mix ingredients, it's all about just mixing it up and trying new things and seasoning it to my taste.
The fact is that I don't even know what that means. If I don't know even the very basics of cooking beyond the difference between dicing and chopping then how am I supposed to move forward? Where do I go from here? Why even keep cooking?

Well, I've decided instead of listening to all that totally wrong advice for me from people who actually know how to cook that I would listen to myself. If I don't know how to pair things well, then I am just going to follow recipes exactly. When I say exactly, I mean down to the last grain of salt - sea salt that is.

Last night I decided to prepare a dish called Vegan Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup that I found on I chose this recipe because I knew that I had lentils and coconut milk in my cupboard, the only ingredient on the list that wasn't at my house was the cilantro, so this made it a cheap meal for me. However, for you, I decided to calculate the price per serving just in case you are wondering.

I try to find the best deals when shopping and so I tend to shop around, though do a majority of my shopping at Trader Joe's and Madison Market Co-op near my house. There were some things I didn't add because I'm assuming that you have some basic staples like oil to cook with, salt, sugar, and water. Usually these products are bought in bulk and so the cost is fairly negligible.
Below you will find the cost of the product on the left, on the right you will find a note if it was changed or if I am noting how it was purchased. 

Recipe for 12 Servings  (I was making the dish for my band)
($0)1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil      I used Coconut Oil because I don't use Olive Oil for cooking -ever
($.50)1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder   purchased in bulk section at Co-op
($0)3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
($.89)1 1/2 onion, chopped
($.79)3 carrots, peeled and diced              I included the full bag cost
($.50)3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated       Uwajimaya 1.79lb 
($.50)3 garlic cloves, chopped                  Madison Market 1.99lb       
($0)3 teaspoons salt
($0)1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
($.99)1/2 cup tomato paste                     
($0)10 1/2 cups water
($1.98)1 (22 1/2 ounce) can coconut milk   Two 14oz cans - Used Light Coconut Milk
($1.86)3 cups red lentils                              Madison Market   1.86 per lb
($2.58)1 (22 1/2 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained (chickpeas)   Two 14oz cans
($0)1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
($.79)1 1/2 to taste fresh cilantro (for garnish)   Bundle for .79
($.39)1 1/2 to taste lime wedge (for garnish)  Bought one from TJ's for lime wedge and lime juice
Total: 11.77  

Additional Garnish: Avocado  (1.50)

This makes each serving approximately .98c   I did not make note of what things were organic or not. I buy some stuff organic and not others depending on my checking account. This is a fairly low cost meal, but I know people that can do it for cheaper and it can definitely get pricier by buying everything organic. This is a great recipe if you want a lot of meals to come out of it.

The original recipe says 1 serving is 469.5 cals per serving. I'm pretty sure that is reduced because I used light coconut milk but I didn't calculate it. 

How did it turn out?
It was amazing! Apparently following a recipe really works wonders, who'd have thunk? My band mates loved it and so did my roommies, so I think that I actually accomplished something.A step in the right direction.
I don't know if I'll ever be an excellent cook, but I certainly can follow a recipe like a champ and so I'm just going to continue doing this. I'm going to attempt to cook at least one new meal a week, so stay tuned for those. In the meantime if you can't cook like me, there is hope!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tame Tuesday: Why I didn't go out last night and liked it

Seattle is a place where there are always things to do. There are literally at least five shows that I could hit up on any given night, a few friends that I'd love to see, a bar I'd like to try a new drink at, a new restaurant opening on the hill that wants for a yelp review - well not by me because I hate writing those damn things, but at least a restaurant I can tell I should eat at yet last night I decided not to do any of those things and stay home.


Reason #1: Exhaustion 
When I was younger, I thought this was a lame excuse for staying in.  
"Sleep is for the dead!"  "YOLO!" "Life is something that happens when you're not asleep." 
What do I say to those sayings now?    Nonsense! Tomfoolery!

I think we know by this point that sleep is actually essential to living, to being productive, to being healthy, to not wanting to punch out your coworkers the next day, and to not getting tired hunger (the omg I'm so tired that I need to shove a gallon of sugar via as many donuts as possible into my body so I stay awake, paired with a little sugar infused coffee).

I love resting and sleep. I love the way it feels to get in bed and curl up with my laptop and watch a good episode of Scandal or Lost Girl, a semi decent book, or using my phone to play sudoku or solitaire as I prepare for slumber. Then I enjoy those last moments right before sleep while I complete Pranayama breathing exercises for extra relaxation. I drift off into the other world my mind creates. While I'm there I sometimes get to fly, eat glutenous dairy covered pizza's, and I do the splits. It's a great place that I hopefully get to inhabit for 7-8 hours every night.

That place is amazing and I know that while I'm there I'm also helping my body detoxify and rejuvenate after the hard day I likely just put it through. It helps keep me from getting multiple colds per year like all of my friends suffer from as they push their bodies to maximum limits.
This could just be my almost 33 year-old self finally understanding the importance of something so important, but I personally think that it's okay to stay in now and say yes to numerous hours of beautiful sleep.

Reason #2: Accomplishing tasks I've been procrastinating on
How many things do you put off because you'd rather go get happy hour or dinner with friends? There's a bar or club that you just have to go to because they're having a 70's, 80's, or 90's dance night?

I've been known to forego tasks or projects without a hard deadline by believing once again that yolo is in effect and that I need to have more friend time, because being social is shown to be good for your health too. What I realized last night is that a project I'm working on that I had a soft deadline of March 1st, was never realized because I've been busy, busying myself everywhere else.

Last night I decided to dedicate a few hours to finishing up said project - my first podcast ever.
Part of my hesitation when it came to finishing up this project was partly due to there being so much other stuff I could be doing and part came from realizing that I would have to be learning a whole new skill set. Once I immersed myself in the project, I realized the skill set is not actually hard to learn and I very much enjoyed sitting, re-listening, and piecing together the interview I did almost a month ago.

Reason #3: Self Time (Relaxation Time)
This is self explanatory. In a day and age where we feel like going, going, going is the definition of  productivity, even though there are enough studies that tell us this is UNTRUE, it is important to have some self care time.
Some people equate self care time with spa, bath, relaxation time. For people like my roommate and many friends it means sitting down and spending time with a guitar or instrument of choice and playing or writing music.
It could mean journaling, it could mean cooking a meal, or anything that is ultimately very relaxing for you and gives you a chance to feel re-energized.

I should say here that I know a few people who are very re-energized when hanging out with groups of people (those darn extroverts), so if you know that being around people is your thing, spend time with them. I would try to find arena's that are not alcohol centered like playing sports or seeing a sporting event, dinner parties, dancing. The reason I say not "alcohol centered," is that generally, even when it's relaxing you and you're having a good time, it's not relaxing for your body to drink alcohol and that is key here.

Your body has a hard time resting, recovering, and repairing while it is detoxifying alcohol in your system. It's of utmost importance to clear this toxic substance from the body as quickly as possible before doing anything else like caring about your immune system, your digestion, or your motor skills. It takes the liver approximately 1 hour to metabolize 1oz of alcohol. That's not bad you say? Well that would be true if all of us were just having about an ounce of alcohol when we're drinking. The standard drink has between 1-2 ounces of alcohol depending on what you're getting. If you're drinking more than one or two then you're setting your body up for a lot of extra work.
When you have that hangover feeling in the morning it's usually because your body is either super dehydrated or it's having a hard time clearing the alcohol from your system. Either way, tiring out the body consistently is not a good thing in the longterm. To read exactly why hangovers happen, check here.

Reason #4: Catching up on Chores
Most people hate chores, though... I did once have a roommate that really enjoyed washing dishes. For those of us who would rather watch grass grow than scrub the toilet, sometimes we just need to set aside some home time for it.
If you live alone - do it for yourself. Having a clean space tends to make people feel more positive and productive in the long run.
If you live with roommates - respect your roommates and get stuff cleaned. If you don't have a cleaning schedule, now might be the time to implement one.
If you have a family - You're likely not reading my very singles oriented blog, but I'm sure you're cleaning all of the time, maybe don't use your very precious free time for chores. 

Reason #5:  Catching up on your favorite TV shows or your favorite stupid pet tricks
It's okay to sometimes watch your favorite shows. I lived with a lot of TV guilt for a long time living in Seattle. I had so much guilt that I eventually just got rid of owning a TV altogether, which has actually been a great thing. I don't have a TV on in the background anymore to distract me, I can't just sit on the couch and become a cushion like I used to. Now I have to be much more intentional about my viewing choices because I watch online. My favorite thing is that there are a lot less commercials inundating me about fast food, something I hate!
Pick a show or two that you're okay to committing with (if you want to). Don't apologize to me or anyone else for actually liking television, it's not one of America's favorite pass times for nothing. Take one or two hours a week to enjoy these shows. Talk to your coworkers about them around the... are there water coolers anymore? Let's say copy machine, I'm sure you are there more.

Bonus Reason: Save Money
Luckily in Seattle there are tons of free things to do, but sometimes it's hard to get groups of friends to do those free things when costly things like dinner and drinks sound so much better. Pocket some of that money by chillin' at home an extra night or two a week. It's okay, watch that money add up to extra cash for that vacation you can actually take because you stayed in.  

It's okay not to go out. I enjoy it on the regular and even if no one is "seeing" me living, I know that I am.  If you need someone to know you're doing something fabulous in the privacy of your home, that's what social networking is for, go ahead and tell the world! Or at least tell all 564 of your friends!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A week gone!

I've been gone for a week working on a new blog. It is the complete opposite of this blog, meaning it's fairly simple and presents its whole self at face value.
I tend to get a bit wordy here, thus the descriptor of Durtee Lawndree. I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging as of tomorrow.
Please feel free to visit my new blog Fine on Pine. Submit content, peruse the fineness!
Let me know your thoughts!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feel Me? Friday: 5 Things You Should Do this weekend

It’s almost SXSW and you know what that means?
I don’t care.
I’m sure all the bands leaving for their tours to go down to SXSW are totally worthy bands, are going to have a great time, and hopefully make some useful contacts, but as for me, I’m going to be up here sitting in my bed likely watching another episode of Scandal or Grey’s Anatomy because Shonda Rhimes is a genius.

On that note, if you’re like me and not prepping your bags, instruments, or your liver for what’s to come in Austin this year, these are what I recommend you do while chillin’ in the Pacific Northwest this weekend. Remember I am not The Stranger or Seattle Weekly.

  1. If you never go out, go out. If you always go out, go out.
Idea A: Local Radio Station Hollow Earth Radio is putting on their 6th annual Magma Festival, a “forum for underrepresented sounds and perspectives.” Every weekend for the entire month of March Magma Fest will be dishing up a variety of new and emerging artists via their local space on 20th and Union and at other venues around Seattle.
Why go to this? My band NighTraiN was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play for this festival in 2010 and we loved it. We felt supported by our local community and I want you, local community, to keep supporting lovely community based projects.
I know a lot of you have already supported KEXP during their pledge drive this last week, but go the distance and really get into the scene by helping out a very small local station on the way to getting its wings!

Check out the schedule for the whole month by going to:

If this doesn’t sound quite right to you, just open up The Stranger to music listings, close your eyes, get your pointer finger ready and let it fall. Go to whatever random venue your finger points you to. Not that I don’t love the recommendations, but there’s a lot out there to hear and you might keep hearing some of the same old sounds if the only thing you do is trust rec’s.

Idea B: I’ve heard some people don’t like shows and that’s okay. Guess what? There are a million other things to do in Seattle including, but not limited to:*
1.      Visual Arts – Is there ever a day in Seattle when an art show is not going on? I just told you to pick up a copy of The Stranger, so open it up and check out what venues are near or far from you and go to one. Go by yourself or with a friend. I prefer to go with friends because we can discuss how we feel about pieces and then get sloshed on some wine and snacks later.
2.      Theater or Film – Once again, check your local arts listing. I’ve heard good things about I Won’t Be Ignored at Erickson Theater and La Boheme at McCaw Hall. I’ve yet to get to any theater productions as of late, but perhaps I’ll take my own advice and get to something soon.
3.      Dinner and drinks with friends – When isn’t this a good time. I really want you to see your friends and you want to see your friends too. What’s keeping you from getting out there? Seattle is filled with amazing restaurants and it seems the food scene is only slated to increase. You should start experimenting with new restaurants now before you find you can’t catch up to the endless supply as good eateries and food trucks become ever more abundant.

* Don’t have any money? Don’t make that an excuse. Seattle is a lovely place to live because there are lots of free and low cost things to do. Not only is there first Thursday, a free art walk downtown, but lots of other neighborhoods also host their own throughout the month.
Check Seattle Artwalks for more info

  1. Take at least 2-4 hours of you time.
I don’t really feel like I should be telling you this, but as a reminder you need some you time.
I know sometimes it’s hard to get in this time. You’re busy, so very very busy. I want you to ask yourself  “what am I busy doing?” “Is there anything that’s not necessary?” “How can I re-plan my day so that I have a little extra me time?”

A few ways to get in extra time are pre-planning meals, getting up a little earlier, working it into something you’re already doing, rethinking how you view the things you’re already doing, stop incessantly checking your phone, email, facebook (you know how much time you waste doing these things).

What does “ME” time look like? It looks like you doing something that you want to do. If that means going to brunch with friends, relaxing and reading a book, taking a nice hot bath, watching a movie you’ve been meaning to get in for awhile, going to a car show, writing a song, starting your novel, etc. Take this time to really focus and say, “this time is for me, I’m going to use it to appreciate and pamper myself.”

I have a friend that has made it a point to pamper herself every single day, something I always aspire to, but don’t always achieve. What pampering to her means is if she doesn’t have a ton of time at least getting something small in. 1. Spending an extra 10-15 minutes giving herself a small facial. 2. Using the Steam and Sauna rooms at the gym after a good workout. 3. Taking a bath instead of a shower  4. Meditation  5. Writing in a journal. 6. Getting a massage (when more time and money are available) 7. A nap

*Hey Moms out there. I’m not forgetting you. It is very difficult to get some quality me time when you’re a mom. From talking to other mom friends, the best way to get this quality me time is to setup times when other moms will take your kid(s) and switch off every once in awhile so that you’re not paying the steep prices for child care and you’re both getting the benefits. Let me know other ways you’ve found to get in more spare time!

  1. Do something for someone else without expecting anything in return
Want to feel a little better about life and yourself? Do something for someone else without expecting them to do anything for you. This means not keeping a mental tally of this or any other thing you’ve ever done and asking for something later, tomorrow, next week, or years down the road.

You can do this in multiple ways:
1.      Do something sweet for your partner – make breakfast, take them out, make a special “Saturday Card” (cards aren’t just for birthdays and holidays anymore).
2.      Do something special for your friends and family
3.      Volunteer
4.      Smile – this goes a long way here in dreary Sea town.
5.      Let someone tell you their story
6.      Think of more!

  1. Don’t check the weather report
Just don’t check it because you already know it’s going to depress you. You already know it’s going to be cloudy and possibly raining, so just make sure to be ready for that, wherever the weekend takes you.  

  1. Wake up appreciating being alive
You’re alive and if you’re reading this blog you’ve got access to a computer and you’re literate, at least partially. Be grateful that you have all of this because you are seriously doing better than 90% of the world. Maybe you don’t make tons of money, but can you feed yourself? Clothe yourself?
Just take a moment to realize how great your life is. You might forget it afterward, but at least you’ll have had this moment.