I was only slightly disappointed to discover that Style & Class has nothing to do with helping me become a true lady. Instead, this meetup in Vancouver brings together designers and developers who love to make the web look and function better. I talked myself into going because I only dabble in these topics, but I am perpetually curious about how to get better.

Their first conference took place on Saturday and, if you didn’t know better, you would could never had guessed that this was their first event larger than a meetup. It was head and shoulders above many of the events I have attended in the past couple of years. Here are a few details from that conference that I want to remember, and that everyone else should be aware of.

What Made the Style & Class Conference So Good?

  • More than 50% women speakers. It can and should always be done at every conference. Here’s why I feel this way: I can very clearly see when it’s a women on stage and I will identify with that speaker. It’s very important to represent as wide a perspective as possible. Next time, I would love to see how representation of different races of designers and developers.
  • It started at noon on a Saturday. Not 8am after a party that went into the wee hours the night before. I think it’s a part of that bullshit macho culture to party hard all night and then make it a point to show up in the morning. I found it very thoughtful and showed that the organizers respected everyone’s time.
  • Every speaker presentation was interesting, rehearsed and had beautiful slides. Designers sure know how to give a presentation!
  • The chosen venue was appropriate – comfortable seats for everyone, darkened theatre room and yet you could still use your phone, or even laptop, if you wanted to capture notes or tweet.
  • All the profits from the event are going toward Ladies Learning Code! It’s a perfect partnership that is surprising, but shouldn’t be. When will it become normal for everyone to care about little girls having the same opportunities as little boys?
  • Fantastic flow to the day – just enough time to chat with other attendees before and after the event, with a solid 45-minute intermission in the middle. I also enjoyed being able to grab dinner before the after-party started 2 hours after the end of the conference.

We had a doorway jumper, a jumper with some sort of figure, plus an exersaucer. The doorway jumper was a total waste of funds at my opinion. I had been scared LO would likely click the entranceway figure and LO just drooled/nibbled all around the front. This baby jumpers buying guide was AWESOME making for plenty of giggles, on the other hand your woman outgrew it around only a few months. The particular exersaucer was excellent also and that we became plenty of work with outside of it. Your woman in fact outgrew the jumper quicker. We all never used some sort of walker. We only placed some weighty books inside of a washing laundry bag and let her push this about the house. Your woman was taking walks through 9 months.

This is a secret recipe for pulling off a flawless event, but it’s certainly a start, and a good reminder that the magic is in the details. Nothing can beat a homemade delicious tortilla. In the event that you've never used a tortilla press before they are simple to operate plus inexpensive. That they are a good accessory for ones kitchen. This best tortilla press buying guide is incredible. It really is heavy. stunning plus can the position like simply no other. I'll state of which making tortillas with this press is a joy. This computer hardware of which props up major wooden in concert is definitely calibrated to make sure people just have to press once and also you receive an possibly tortilla. My business is fairly deeply in love with the following thing.

But, what did I learn? I have a couple ideas for taking this blog where I want to take it. Namely, I’ll be starting with a content analysis before the new year. I’m going to figure out what content I already have, and what content I need to create, to match the branding ideas I have. Then I’m going to go in and clean up the bit of mess I’ve made in the CSS stylesheet this year while improving the readability of the site – particularly the line heights and the fonts. So excited!

None of the approaches to personal blogging that I have tried have worked yet. For them to work I would have to be writing and publishing on a consistent basis. I have tried to publish twice a week, which usually works for about 1 week, and I have tried once a month, which quickly turns into never. Very well, realizing your own condition, we've for you many astounding merge dragons cheats which any time employed, may be exceptionally very helpful that you can advancement from the game. These cheats and hacks are likely to be you actually saviors in this particular exclusive world. Thus put on your video games truck caps and start the particular journey. This Game Hack is employed to get resources in game. SAO integral factor android hack is actually coded by way of extremely famous game cracker. Our hack tool does not need private data on all.You only need to provide username in addition to the online hack will add free resources to your current or your friends account. This hack is cost-free and online you don't need to download anything. As well ninja voltage unlimited shinobite may be accessibility from any OS and system To generate videos from android or iOS devices or perhaps PC. Game Generator does never call for any kind of particular approval on the cellular this makes this coin dozer ios hack one of that kind. Each of our program won't ever store your information on all. Graphical user interface is extremely simple to use in addition to this castle crush hack apk is invisible therefore put find ban.We revise this hack every day or two to maintain it operational to get users.

I have attempted to theme my months with catchy names and the hope that I would have an easier time of coming up with ideas. But, a lack of ideas has never been the problem. I have more than enough ideas – ideas about what circumstances will help me write, when, where and how. Ideas about how to structure my blog, what kind of writing process to use, and how to gather research. Half-formed ideas that are wasting away in WordPress drafts and Evernotes.

No, the problem is not a lack of ideas. The problem is a lack of writing.

The problem might be the phrase ‘personal blogging strategy’ itself. I can spend hours creating a calendar of wishful blog post titles. I can even get started on the outlines for posts with a solid idea of what I want to write. But without sitting down and writing it all out – everything else is just bullshit. That’s how I feel – walking around, pretending that I’m a writer, while being too scared to actually write anything.

What could I possibly be scared of, you ask? I’m afraid that I will pour my heart and soul into creating something, only to realize that it’s not good at all. I don’t actually feel this fear everyday because I, as a human, have a lot of built-in defences to protect myself from admitting that. My actual excuses, ones that I give to myself and other people, are a good place to start with removing the safety net of my inaction.

My Excuses for Not Writing

  • “I don’t/didn’t have the time”

    This might be my most used up excuse of all time. Who can argue with it? We’re all so busy that most people can sympathize with letting things fall to the wayside. But here’s where it gets tricky – smart people never understand how I couldn’t have time for something that I have deemed “most important.” Instead, how about I try telling the truth: “It isn’t/wasn’t a priority.” I don’t say that because it’s heartbreaking to hear myself say that about writing. But, for a long time, it has been true.

  • “It’s not just something you can turn on”

    I think that this excuse has a long history among creatives who were billing by the hour. For me, it’s something I say to release myself from putting any intention into writing. Like a scarf caught in the wind, I’m at the mercy of my creative urges, just praying that I will gently settle into the perfect writing conditions. I don’t think it’s laziness, because I have literally cleaned the house top to bottom to procrastinate writing. It’s that it’s not easy to do. Sitting down to write amidst a world full of distractions requires discipline, focus and routine.

  • “I’m working on something else”

    This excuse usually fools others because the others things I’m working are tangentially related to writing. Fixing up the design of my blog, reading books, or watching documentaries are common “impressive” ways to procrastinate. All of these things are extremely valuable and essential to my creative outlet, but I’m abusing my interests and hobbies. All of the tasks I mentioned are only useful if they contribute to my creative outlet, not take away from it.

The Blogging Strategy that Worked

The Artist's Way by Julia CameronSince writing this post I’ve read a book that changed my life. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron was recommended to me by a librarian who noticed my interest in the craft of writing. He cautioned me not to be thrown off by the book’s sub-title (‘A spiritual path to higher creativity’).

Since then I have encountered a least a dozen other fans of this book. I was meeting my friend Humaira at The Minimalist’s book tour and she had the book in her purse! While waiting in line, 3 other people commented on their love for the book.

Well what did the book teach me? It revealed long-buried reasons for my creative block – things people said to me as a child that I took for gospel and held in my sub-conscious well into adulthood. How my creativity was languishing in many other aspects of my life, not just writing. What else?

  • Morning pages are the cornerstone of creative recovery. Cameron prescribes 3 pages of writing every morning, before your ego wakes up, throughout the course of reading the book (which should take 12 weeks). I still write the pages now, which average about 1,000 words most days, and the effect of journaling every day is invigorating.
  • Artist dates are what Cameron calls a date with your creative self, which she suggests should take place at least once a week. Some of my own have included bike-riding to the beach to watch fireworks, wandering around a bookstore for hours, and buying a new notebook and pencil crayons. Doing those things you find most therapeutic is like fuel for your creativity.
  • Exercise is key to controlling stress. When stress takes over it becomes impossible to justify an artist date or sitting down to write. How can I possibly be so selfish in such a time of strife? But, I found that writing and exercise are two sides of the same coin. They both need to be present in my life in order to control stress and live to the best of my ability.

I fully recommend this book to anyone that loves to create. You will dig up some painful memories from the past, and you may come to the realization that you are your own worst enemy, but you will be better for it. You will be a better writer, a better blogger and a better person.

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{This post is the 2nd edition of The Newcomer’s Guide to Vancouver Startup Community, which I wrote in Nov. 2012. A lot has happened in a year, so there are a few tweaks to the format. The original guide drew it’s inspiration from A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Toronto Startup Ecosystem and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Boston Tech Community.}

As always, I hope that this guide helps anyone new to Vancouver, new to a career in startups, or with a new-found vigour for life.

Startup Guide

Let me know in the comments if I have missed any great Vancouver startup resources – and I would love to add them to this post.

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Don’t miss out on fantastic writing on the Internet just because it was published on the weekend! Check out the links below to some great reads to ease back into the work week.

The British amateur who debunked the mathematics of happinessby Andrew Anthony

Oddly enough, Gottman, the psychologist whose research showed that divorce could be predicted by a 0.8 positive-to-negative behaviour ratio during arguments, couldn’t understand the math behind a hugely popular psychology article, which claims a 2.9 positive-to-negative emotions ratio as the basis of human flourishing. But, it took a part-time, retired psychology student to bring the bad mathematics of happiness to wider attention. Interesting read, which reveals the state of positive psychology right now.

Further Reading: Bright-Sided: How positive thinking is undermining America by Barbara Ehrenreich

How the Simpsons have secretly been teaching you mathby Indre Viskontas & Chris Mooney

Mathematics was a hot topic this weekend! Simon Singh, author of the book The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, uncapped a fountain of mathematical references and surprises in each Simpsons episode. Not very surprising when you consider the amount of Simpson’s writers who are also mathematicians!

Darkness in August by Buzz Bissinger

Tells the story about the circumstances surrounding the killing of a young Australian baseball player in the small Oklahoma town of Duncan. Bissinger paints a bleak picture of class segregation, racism, and poverty that is all too common. Whatever the motivation the killer(s) had, it’s clear that this story started a long time ago for everyone involved.

Happy reading!

Essay HeaderNothing could have emotionally prepared me for skiing in the Swiss Alps. I’m well aware of the privilege of travelling, even to cold places, but I needed more than gratitude to pad my ego during a Christmas trip to St. Moritz, Switzerland.

St Moritz is a lavish ski village, about 3 hours drive north of the Zurich airport. Standing outside the Kempinkski Hotel, you are surrounded by summits on either side, invoking a sense of sublime that hasn’t been felt in centuries. It was cold, but not for the overly-packed, and it came with all the comforts of a 5-star destination.

It wasn’t as cold as Saint-Anne, Quebec, which I visisted during the Great Road Trip of 2010 (Ontario > New Brunswick > Ontario > Quebec > Ontario). It was my first attempt at skiing outside of Blue Mountain in Ontario, and the elements were not going to take it easy on me. After one easy ride down the mountain I was frozen to the core and itching for apres. After a full-blown temper tantrum, followed by sliding down the mountain on my ass, I was hanging up my skis for the remainder of the trip. This was the moment I realized that skiing, a completely non-sentient, sometimes enjoyable activity, had unearthed the darkest realizations of my id. Skiing had gotten the best of me.

A couple of years later, during Christmas 2012, I was in Whistler, not far from my home in North Vancouver. After only 2 half-days of professional ski training, I was whizzing down slopes with a blue-dot, a far leap from my days of sticking to the ‘easiest route.’ More than technical skills, I felt that my short stint in training equipped me with the proper mindset: fall, get up, dust yourself off, keep going. I ended up with the best vacation of my life.

As I stood at the bottom of St. Moritz’s Piz Nair, 3,000m above me, I knew that I was tackling a much different beast. Whistler had not prepared me for the Swiss Alps, which I so strongly believed in that moment. But, my ski gear was on, and I was travelling up the gondola, so the only way down was strapped to a pair of skis. Everything went smoothly at first, up a gondola, then onto a chairlift, then it was time to ski. Ski down a short run, get on another chairlift – up to the top. Piz Nair is the highest summit in the St. Moritz ski village. From there, you are greeted by a large goat statue, gifted with a stunning panoramic view, and served hot chocolate and schnitzel.

St Moritz Piz Nair ViewThen, respite was over. It was time for paralysing fear. I stared down the run in front of me. It was a metre across sloped gently downward, before curving around a hairpin turn and continuing to parts unknown. On my right side was a wall of snow, while on my left side was a cliff of snow, again to parts unknown. I skied slowly, started to pick up speed, and stopped. I was trembling, but other than that movement, I was completely still. I couldn’t do it. Images of falling over the snow-cliff, prompted images of starting an avalanche, only to be buried alive 100 feet deep.

After a solid 10 minutes of simply standing, I built up the courage to continue down. I had to; save an embarrassing trip going the wrong way on a chairlift, I had no other options. I didn’t feel that I had the skills to navigate the advanced terrain. Whether I was lacking in technical ability, or just mental strength, was impossible for me to discern in the moment.

The rest of the trip down the mountain was white-knuckled, sloppy skiing – the worst kind. I fell more times than I cared to count, and right at the end of the last run, I was faced with a sheet of ice that banked right and paralleled a small river, before crossing over a bridge. I couldn’t handle anymore terrifying scenarios, so I kicked off my skis and started to slide. A women skied over and began talking fast in German, before switching to English in order to tell me that I was in a dangerous spot and she would carry my skis down the small hill for me.

I had reached the bottom of the mountain without a shred of pride or dignity left. Skiing has the uncanny ability to push me to the limits of my ego. First, I’m scared, then I’m angry, then I’m embarrassed, and then I’m over it; those are the stages of ego death by skiing. It’s not the first time it has happened, but will it be the last?

I’m left considering whether I will ever ski again. Like most people, I hear that voice in my head urging me not to give up. Is that my ego? The part of me who cares whether people think I’m a weakling who gives up easily? Or, is that a healthy ambition that desires adventure and adrenaline? All I know is that ego has no business on a mountain.


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3am and still staring at the dark ceiling
Tarot: The Hermit
A dark cloud above my head, filled with all the things I didn’t get done that day, is a bedtime staple of mine. It’s hard to sleep when all you can think about is not having enough hours in the day to get everything done. Saying “I didn’t have time” is my favourite excuse for not accomplishing my goals and dreams.

That’s just an excuse though, it’s not the real reason why I’m not getting anything done. The only reason that something didn’t get done is that it wasn’t prioritized above other things that day. That’s when it hit me.

In just the month of October I have had 14 coffee meetings and attended 11 events, two of which were full-day affairs. Factor in travel, the amount of time that it takes to schedule meetings, and the downtime I require after a heavy dose of socializing, and I can see that a significant portion of my working days are going toward lunches, co