Is it all about the iPad?

This video is so me. My father-in-law shared this funny commercial with me. While it is not the epitome of my marriage there are many striking similarities with Emma and myself. I have an iPad, an iPhone, and laptop, and yet I prefer paper in so many ways. Yes, I am hard-core about my iPhone. It comes with my everywhere, and I do know why I held on to my flip phone so many years ago. I was against a contraption that did all these things. I did not want to jump ship and get onboard. And then I did, and never looked back. With the exception of a few things.

I am a post-it whore. I should probably buy stock in 3M. I use them constantly at work and at home. A note app is great when you want to track a list of things, and when it pings you, but sometimes having that little sticky post-it on your phone that you touch and feel and have as a reminder is way more in your face then that note app you have to open and remember to check. I still have yet to find the perfect app that does exactly what I need, and so I resort to post-its. I am sure 3M is grateful.

Next, I am old school because I still read books from an actual paper version. I have tried to read from books on my iPhone or iPad and it just is not the same. Sure when you are traveling or on the go it is way more convenient, but there is something real about holding that book in your hand, being able to tell how far you have to go, or how much you have left (especially when it is a really good book). There is just something so sterile about reading a book on an iPad. Which is why I loved this line from “Sex and the City: The Movie” with Carrie and Mr. Big:

Mr Big says: “Are you the last person in New York still taking out library books?” Carrie says: “I love the smell. Mm.”

Ah, I am not one for the smell, or the treasures (usually a bit gross) you find in a book, but I love to know the adventure it has been on. How many times someone dropped it in the bathtub (curled pages), when someone loves the book (dog eared pages), a note or receipt someone left behind, and so many other oddities that tell the path that book has been on.

So when I watched this quick ad for toilet paper, I thought touche when I saw the ending!

Random recipe: Chocolate Chess Pie

My mom was not always the most amazing cook or baker, but somehow I have childhood nostalgia for a few recipes we made as kids. My mom’s recipes had a bit of an early burial. After college my sister purchased a used laptop. This was back in the day when a laptop was as thick as a brick, and cell phones were used in cars for emergencies and also looked like bricks. Not long after she purchased the laptop she decided to transfer all of my mom’s recipes over to the laptop and get rid of the paper versions. Made sense at the time right? Not until the laptop died and she lost everything on the hard drive. This was before we had a zillion ways to back up a computer.

It was a sad day. Over the years I have thought about that laptop and all the recipes we lost. I still have some of my mom’s cookbooks, but the recipes on index cards, worn and used are long gone. A few of the recipes I remember and have not tried to recreate, but there was one particular recipe that I have tried countless times to recreate with no success. I have tried to remember the ingredients and put together what I think were the amounts, and I have tried to find a recipe on the Internet with similar ingredients, with no luck. I have had runny finished products, nasty tasting ones, and ones that were just boring. Chris has given up on me finding it. I am relentless. I will try until I find it.

Recently I found this version on Design Sponge. Still not my absolute favorite but it gets closer to the real deal. We were lazy and purchased a pie crust rather than making it from scratch. For the full recipe click the link below (pie crust included). We also just used ice cream rather than their whip cream. To me a good Chocolate Chess Pie should be served warm with cold ice cream to make the pie congeal. A bit like a warm brownie and ice cream. If you have your own version, let me know – I will try it!

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Chess Pie (From Design Sponge)

Pie Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

In a medium bowl, stir together both sugars, the cornmeal, nutmeg and cocoa powder, mixing until completely combined. Stir in the vanilla, butter, eggs and evaporated milk and mix until fully incorporated. When ready to bake, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the pie and cool for at least one hour. Serve with ice cream.

Business Casual?

What is business casual these days? Last week I spoke at a conference in San Francisco. The dress code was business casual and I had to spend time on the Internet exploring what that really means these days. If you work for a company that does not dress up, what does that mean when you have to take it up a notch? Business casual does not exist for me. Every day is casual. So when you are in a situation where you might be interacting with customers, vendors, clients, or partners what is the true meaning of business casual?

From what I can tell it means no jeans. However, is that really true? With today’s tech world, are jeans still out of the realm of business casual? I barely had an outfit to wear to speak at the conference and I realized I went from working from home for so many years (and basically living in my pajamas and sweats) to my current company which is very laid back. Why should I add outfits to my closet that I will never wear? I know the origins of business casual are probably not much different then “casual Fridays” — a chance to dress down and be more relaxed. In my mind everyday is “casual” Friday. Yet, my terminology for business casual is not in the traditional sense. My version of business casual equates to: “Am I comfortable?”

Yes, I am not a traditional one. Going from my early career where I had to dress nice (and no, I no longer have any of those clothes) to spending almost a decade hoping that I had showered before Chris came home. I would roll out of bed and immediately go to my laptop instead of acting like a normal human and actually getting dressed. Why should I have when I saw practically no one all day? When you spend most of your day as the voice in a grey conference room speakerphone in the middle of a long table 3,000 miles away from your house to now, where I have a lot of work outfit options. I can be comfy and I can dress nice, so what is the 2015 version of business casual? Has it changed too much? Have we evolved and become a more laid back society? Or do lawyers and Wall Street exec’s still dictate the definition of business casual?

So I ask you, what does it mean to you?

Work In The Office or At Home?

Working environments. A friend recently shared this article from The Christian Science Monitor called: “Why America loves its office culture.” After graduating from college I worked in an office, then we moved to Portland and I worked from home for nearly a decade. I am now working in an office again. Which do I prefer?

I like both options. Working from home I would roll out of bed in my pajamas, make tea, and rev up the laptop to start my day. I always wanted to get up and do all these things before I started my day, but for some reason I was like a magnet to my laptop. I found my mornings were usually those of the liquid diets. After my tea, I had a green smoothie, and after that coffee. By then it was lunch time. I have to say I was VERY productive working from home. Which is interesting because this article just came out from Fast Company titled: “Working From Home Makes You More Productive.” There are some interesting statistics in the article that companies should look at to see if telecommuting should be an option for employees when possible.

Now I am up at 5:30/6:00 am and have my green smoothie, post my blog, check emails, and shower and am off to work. I like my morning routine. I am not sure why it was so hard to get up and have my own “personal time” routine when I worked from home. I guess it was easier to roll over and close my eyes again and again since I did not have to worry about traffic. Or, a shower.

That is my morning routine. You care right? So what I loved about working from home was how much I was able to get done. I was never one to do home stuff or watch television. Everyone always asked how I was able to stay focused. I always had so much to do that I never had time to think about distractions from home. I loved the quiet and the focus I could have in my own space. But. Yes, there is a but. I missed being around people. Sure I would often be on conference calls all day long, but it is just not the same.

Now that I am back in an office I love the interaction and face-to-face time with other people. I love the people I work with, everyone is so interesting, intelligent, and I learn so much from them every day. The hardest part for me is since part of my job involves writing, it is at times hard to find the quiet mental space to write as I was more easily able to do when I worked from home. It is a balancing act in the fast paced world of the office.

Both have its pros and cons. Many people also have the best of both worlds. Some have days in the office, and days at home.

What is your preference?