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?

My Valentine’s Day was postponed, since my Valentine was otherwise occupied by work and class. But he’d been telling me for a couple of weeks that there was a surprise! That started with an M…

As it turns out, said surprise was mmmmmmmmmusic!

After a nice dinner at an Indian restaurant, we went to a music shop in the area, which reminded me how much I’ve missed my guitar. We played the pretty, expensive guitars. Then we drooled over mandolins, steel guitars, and banjos. And finally left the store with a ukulele.

 

That's me.. with a Ukulele

 

Hey. Don’t judge! When I can play some sweet Hawaiian tunage, you’re going to be completely jealous. If I’m lucky.. I can be as good as this kid! But I’m not going to hold my breath on that ;)

 

The Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend I…

  • Made tamales
  • Rode in the car. A lot.
  • Celebrated a birthday!
  • Watched the Super Bowl (Congrats Packers!! Lame ads. Entertainment fail.)
  • Made a pizza (yum)

It was certainly busy–but a lot of fun!

Having been Super Bowl weekend, I should make some cliché parallel between the football game and goal setting and how far I’ve come just in the first month of 2011. I’m going to skip that and let you pretend I did. Instead I’ll just jump right in…

It seems that I can cross a few more things off the 101 in 1001 list–particularly #91 ! I found out today that my little sister has started her very own list :) It looks like there may be a few others joining us as well. I look forward to reading everyone’s ideas!

For my goal updates: I’m on book 4 for the year, which is a good pace, since I’m starting to slow down a little as work picks up. Posting here has been pretty consistent, and I’ve averaged a little more than a post per week. Pacing new recipes might be a little tricky. I cook now and again, but not always something new. I’ve identified resources for almost all of my goals, but a few are still outstanding, so I can’t cross off goal #7 just yet.

I need to take more pictures, or 5 of my goals will be difficult to accomplish! I’m debating whether I should pay for another year of Flickr pro, or just use the basic account. I’d have to make it worth the money.

Financial updates: With tax season here, it’ll be a good time (and motivation) to get my files in order in the next couple of months. Mint.com is helping me watch my budget–not very well, yet, but after a couple of months I think it’ll be “smarter”. I’ve made more payments against my student loans, too, and I’m well on my way to meeting my June deadline! This is probably the goal I’m most excited about at the moment, since it will impact almost everything else–budget, credit score, potential future loan and insurance rates. You know how it goes.

I did write a hand written letter last month, which felt awesome. I love getting mail, so I love thinking someone else might have a better day when I send mail. I would love to find myself in the habit of sending snail mail. This goal should help develop that habit! If you leave me a comment or message through my blog, I’ll mail you a hand written letter too–even if I don’t know you. Why not? Don’t believe me…try me!

That’s all for now folks–until next time, keep on keepin on!

“This activity forced me to focus and be honestly introspective.”

How I did it: I considered where I’d be in 1001 days (just three months shy of three years). I told myself this was a goal I wanted to complete, and now that I’ve done it I’m glad that I did.I had to be honest with myself, and consider where I would be at that time. What new goals I might want to be reaching for. I aimed to make the letter current now, but also relevant for the time I’d be opening the letter to reread it.I wanted this letter to act as a reminder of where I am now, so when I get to the end of this 1001 days I can take a look at my progress, and see what I’ve learned, but also assess what I have yet to learn or accomplish.

Lessons & tips: I wish I’d had pointers to set my mind at ease when I did this exercise. Hopefully this will help someone else:

  • Relax: It may feel awkward at first, like you’re forcing yourself into forward thinking that you’re not prepared for. Shake that feeling, and imagine you’re writing to a friend you don’t know very well yet.
  • Determine your purpose: Consider what kind of letter you want this to be. Do you want to remind yourself of who you were? Is there somewhere you want to be in three years, that you want to make sure you keep in mind?
  • Just Write: Once you get started, the rest won’t be as hard as you might think. Let your mind wander in a stream of consciousness, like a conversation. It’ll turn out alright. Remember, unless you give it to someone else, you’re the only person reading this anyway! It’s not as though you’re going to embarrass yourself in public by doing this activity.

Resources:

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Envelope
  • Location for finished letter

Find a place for your letter, where you won’t forget it. If you’re tracking your progress in a journal or blog, or on 43Things, you might want to make a note of where stashed your letter. Three years is a long time to remember where you put something!

It took me 1 day.

It made me Thoughtful


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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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