amanda k brown

Archive for the ‘Words’ Category

Updates by month since the last post:

Oct.2011: S&S’s beautiful wedding! Awesome birthday party for G.

Nov.2011: Went to a professional conference. Got sick for three weeks. Got offered a job with a software company.

Dec.2011: Accepted the offered position, to begin in January. Spent Christmas holidays with Boyfriend, spent New Years with my family.

Jan.2012: Happy birthday to me! Begin new job. Got a passport. Adorable new short haircut (thank you Will). Went to the UK (awesome, btw). Pack. Pack. Pack

Feb.2012: Moved out of my old apt. (many thanks to those who helped)

Mar.2012: Learned how to make Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (happy st patty’s day!). Saw the Hunger Games!

Apr.2012: Paid taxes like a good little girl. Made cute chick deviled eggs for Easter.

May.2012: Met an adorable baby girl named Elizabeth (congrats Navos). Met an adorable baby boy named Joseph (nice to meet you Jophes). Happy Mother’s day, mothers! Slipped and fell HARD (ouch).

Jun.2012: Went to a doc because my neck still hurt after the fall in May. Started PT. Happy Father’s day, fathers! Happy birthday x 6. Went to Boston to apartment hunt.

Jul.2012: Happy 4th of July!/Amazing going away party (thank you everyone.). Drivin & Cryin with mix-cds all the way to Boston. Hello new roommate!

Aug.2012: Boyfriend visits. Vacation in Maine. Whale watching. Unpacking.Unpacking.Unpacking.

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And with that, you’re pretty much up to date–reader’s digest style. I’ve updated my 101 in 1001 goals list, and surprisingly I’m doing fairly well for being about half way through. I need to read a LOT more.

I also feel that this post needed pictures. Here’s one of where I work and got to eat lunch today:

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Updates by month

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If you’ve been living under a rock, Google+ is the baby of the social media family, which was launched almost three months ago. Tired Facebook users, mostly technology-oriented males such as engineers and developers, flocked to the new sharing model to see what she had to offer. Many pundits and social media enthusiasts wondered whether G+ could stand up to Facebook, or would Facebook be a concern at all.

Her sleek UI seemed to impress upon first looks. Boasting features like “Hangouts”, “Circles”, and “Sparks” certainly fueled desires for a fresh way to interact with peers, with more privacy than Twitter yet easier conversation sorting than Facebook allows.  An interesting thing about Google Plus–it’s both more and less open than it’s competitors. Google Circles allows you to share openly, but selectively. Twitter is pretty  much all or nothing. Facebook’s “lists” features helped narrow down security on it’s ‘open to users’ club-like philosophy and sharing selection of specific posts. Circles makes this even easier, by forcing you to categorize contacts as you first add them. This means re-categorizing will likely be frustrating later. But for now, great idea, right?

So far, outlook not so good. But Google isn’t giving up yet–it just released a Google+ API, allowing developers to connect third-party apps to its service. This is a critical move, as G+ has already fallen by the wayside. It’s worse than treading water–she’s barely gotten her feet wet.

G+ is the place people are going when they get too advanced/tired of Facebook. Facebook has shifted from an interactive social media platform to an overshare warehouse. From what I’ve seen, even most businesses use Twitter as their main media outlet, at this point. The more robust pieces (sweepstakes, games, pictures, and longer articles) are stored in FB and referenced via their Twitter feed. Twitter is, in my opinion, the premier vehicle for social media and information distribution. What G+ has the opportunity to do, is sidestep Facebook’s “extras” to streamline the information in a more concise, Twitteresque interface, without completely eliminating the ability to incorporate the richer stream of article snippets with pictures and video.

Biggest changes I’d like to see in their next round of updates:

  • Continue using the current tabular setup, but make the “Posts” tab as an accumulation of all post styles into one stream (Photos, Videos, Google Buzz, etc)
  • Allow auto-posting to and from other platforms (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook?
  • A way to group/search for conversation topics–something Twitter did well, and would do well with Google Buzz
  • Easier “Circles” mass edit
  • URL shrinking

Tech Timely had a good list of features to be desired as well. However, I fear too much of the background and color “customization” type features would lead to its downfall in a MySpace fashion if they don’t have constraints on layout.

All in all, Google has a chance to pull out of this ahead. But will they? Ideally, for my usage and preference, Google Plus will step up their game and marketing and take over a little more of the Facebook market share, and Twitter still hangs in there to keep everything else clean and concise in all its 140 character glory.

What about you? Leave a comment or join the Twitter conversation about what Google+ needs with #GooglePlusNeeds!

 

 The last thirty days, I made a commitment to myself to significantly reduce my caffeine intake. This was a goal on my list of 101 things in 1001 days. I added this goal knowing that caffeine was affecting my body in negative ways.

I was having major and frequent migraines that would last a full day, or even several days. I didn’t realize what was causing the headaches at first–I thought it might be my eyesight, or the long hours in front of the computer screen and reading, or not enough sleep. Before and during college I would drink cups of coffee, tea, and soda, and fall asleep  seemingly without any disruption. And even until a month ago, I didn’t drink caffeine heavily–typically only one or two cups a day, so the thought that it might be a dietary problem didn’t even occur to me. But after tracking my diet and habits in relation to my health, I realized it truly was a caffeine problem.

The migraines were completely debilitating. [Anyone who thinks they've had a migraine, hasn't. You know when you've had a migraine.] What I didn’t realize, was that my body ached from what I was consuming. Now, I have some joint issues–have since high school–but my muscles, my breathing, and my heart were being significantly impacted by the caffeine intake. This is not to say I didn’t expect some effects, since caffeine is a stimulant. I just didn’t realize how much it had been affecting my system until I cut it out.  My body certainly felt the effects of withdrawal.

With all of this in mind, I spent the last two months reducing my caffeine intake, and the last thirty days not drinking regular coffee, caffeinated sodas, or tea. I allowed myself decaf coffee about three times and mate once, which many argue technically isn’t completely caffeine free, but the caffeine is negligible and I didn’t notice any physical effects.

Overall, it was probably one of the most life changing goals I’ve accomplished. I’m less anxious, more even keeled. I feel healthier and more controlled–I don’t wonder whether I’m going to have a good weekend. I’ll probably continue drinking decaf coffee, because I like the taste of coffee and because coffee has antioxidants and nutrients that have health benefits, but keep the caffeine out. I’ll be glad to add tea back in, I’ve missed that more than anything, and it also has various health benefits. I don’t think I’ll add much of the soda back in that I cut out. I don’t miss it, and don’t crave it. If it’s served to me I’ll drink it, but likely won’t seek it out.  Honestly, a lot of popular caffeinated beverages have sugar, syrups, or extra calories that are also unhealthy. So cutting out, or at least limiting, these types of beverages probably has hidden benefits as well.

This is such an exciting change, I’d recommend anyone who has health issues, even seemingly minor aches and pains, cut out caffeine for a while to help determine whether that might be a contributing factor. But do your research, and make sure you “step down” from your dietary habits. Don’t cut yourself off “cold turkey”, since that can be difficult on your body.

A lot of updates have been in the works! I’ve had a packed few months, but it’s been amazing.

 

March Recap:

Two weeks were dedicated to staff interviews, which went well. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet new potential members of our team.

A trip to Texas made March even more eventful! Michael and I enjoyed a week in Austin, visiting friends and family. The time and energy they spent with us can’t truly be repaid, but we loved every minute and are looking forward to another trip there at some point in the near future.

March helped me cross off a few items on the 101 in 1001 list too:

9. Buy a car

35. Attend at least two professional conferences [1/5]

39. Networking.. [not complete, but improving!]

55. Attend a tweetup

84. Watch a sunset

 

April Recap:

In April I attended a friend’s party, chock-full of board games, good food, and great company. Some of the other guests I knew, others I didn’t. It was a perfect mix to get to know new people! This helped with goal 79. Play 100 Board Games!!

The rest of April was  split between Staff Orientation, planning for staff training and fighting with my dryer. Gearing up for summer is always busy, but we have an awesome team at work right now, so it felt easier this year than it has been in the past!

The end of the month brought concerts, finishing another 2 books on my reading list, and the 101st day of the 1001 journey. I’m relatively pleased with the progress, but disappointed that some items like, blogging and trying new recipes, have fallen by the wayside.

 

May Recap:

Finals and graduation, an anniversary party, and one birthday party. All of this made for a fun May! Two trips out of state–one to Illinois, one to Tennessee. Lots of time with friends and family. It was nice to see everyone, but I admit I’m looking forward to a slower week or two after a long month.

Work picked up this month as well. Clients started their arrival patterns, and training sessions put pressure on time. I think everyone, hopefully including me, handled it well though. Priorities rose to the top, everything else was taken care of in proper time. I love the busy season–there’s always something to be done. It’s tiring, but I like the full, productive feeling at the end of the day!

By the end of May, more 101 in 1001 items got crossed off the list!

-Books read has jumped to 8

-BofA savings moved to ING

-Watched a sunrise!

-Specified budget on Mint.com

-And with the first of June I made my last student loan payment!!!

 

I need to refocus which items I might be able to tackle in June and July, but so far so good! I hope to get back on track with the ongoing goals, like blogging, to stay active and keep my list up to date :)

It’s been a busy couple if weeks, and I know I’ve been gone. But have no fear! I have a retroactive post or two in the works.

To give you an idea, in the last two and a half weeks I’ve been in 5 different states, where I’ll add a sixth on Sunday for a professional conference! I’m excited for the trip, as our staff all prepares to head out, but I must say I am looking forward to some down time at home soon.

In the meantime, Japan is still struggling to keep everything in order. They need all the help they can find. All the same, they haven’t forgotten their children. Meet “Nuclear Boy”, and see the crisis from a child’s eyes.

 

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For your viewing pleasure this evening, we give you the Mississippi River!

More updates soon!

It’s been a great week! Valentine’s Day was just the beginning.

A friend  invited me along to visit potential venues for her wedding. I spent the Thursday and Friday with her and her family, debating on what might be a good fit. Of course we couldn’t end the adventure without trying on some pretty clothes for the affair! I enjoyed meeting her parents, and getting some much overdue time to catch up with her as well.

If that wasn’t enough, to make the week even better, what a gorgeous day today! The weather was perfect, all of the city seemed to be in a pleasant mood, and it’s a Saturday. I slept in, after an eventful and exciting week, enjoying the cool morning. What could make it better? Why, music in the park of course!

After lunch, the boy and I broke out the guitars and new ukulele for a trip to the park. It was a blast–and it looks like playing the uke won’t be so hard after all, especially with my [limited] guitar experience. Enough of the skills transfer. Unfortunately tuning is completely different, so the chords will take getting used to. But it should be a fun activity this spring!

How are you enjoying this weekend weather?


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2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Amanda has read 1 books toward her goal of 20 books.
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