Fridaaaaay! Links

We were supposed to be in North Carolina this weekend, but we monkeyed with the baby’s schedule too much the last couple of weeks, triggering an unpleasant “NO!NO!NOWAY!BURNITALLDOWN!” phase. We decided sad-little-baby and incessant-screaming air travel was not our jam.

Fortunately, our friends just returned from a year-long around the world trip and are flying in from Oregon, so this weekend we’ll demand vacation slides over hot toddies. Sunday is bacon and fried potatoes with old friends while our toddlers play adjacently. Our friend Nelson is also having a thirtieth birthday, and directing his first film this year! So we’re pretty excited for him.

Good stuff I found this week:

Marshmallows blooming to Dixieland Jazz!

Are you a Creative Business Lady who should own this vintage suit with bonkers fluffy collar? Probably.

I have decided to call this Weed Hooters via kottke

Sweet sneakers and snow boots.

I just ordered my first month of vitamins from Care/of. They send you individualized daily packs of vitamins, and this is exciting because I take many vitamins. Collating them every day in the presence of a curious toddler is the Russian Roulette of Lysine overdose scenarios.

Good mom skill to have up your sleeve.

This Tiffany Interlocking Bangle is so ’70s Jackie Kennedy.

How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs

The Finnish have a word for getting drunk at home, alone, in your underwear. Americans call it Valentine’s Day.

Have a happy weekend! Turn your eyes from the news for a few hours, my friends.

Some Lovely


Last July I started using my Instagram account to keep a gratitude journal. It’s really nice. Recommend.

Everyone wants to talk about how technology and social media are screwing us all up. But whatever. I think the Internet is such a good place, the funnest place!, if we’re cool about how we use it.

Anyway, I wanted to say “try this!” So I thought it would be good to start a group hashtag. Today I went back and tagged my posts #somelovely. If you already keep an Instagram gratitude journal, or you feel like playing along now, I hope you’ll add #somelovely to your posts too, so we can all get a little shot of vicarious happiness.

A few favorites from my account this year.

Lovely Things: Overdoing it on the wreath. Saying yes to every cashier who asks for a two dollar donation to anything that might make the world nicer. Hank singing in the living room, reaching for all the notes in the Moana songs.

Lovely Things: After a year or so in hiding, Hank is letting me take his photo again. Ozzy clanging on the toy store’s baby piano and stopping short at the train table. Reading A Wrinkle in Time.

Lovely Things: Cozy hat. Shaved legs in clean sheets. Toenails finally grew out after I clipped them too short. Ahh.

Lovely Things: A sweet, tired baby whose face reminds you what it actually feels like to need a nap. Watching the leaves unfurl in your tea. All the laundry done, and folded, and put away.

Lovely Things: A kid who just smacks his forehead and starts over when he flubs one of his Christmas pageant lines. All the scuff marks under his classroom desk from trying to balance his chair on the back two legs. Asking if he can hold his baby brother in his lap to share class party treats.

Lovely Things: Nothing on the calendar. Floating daisies in a puddle. Changing a poopy diaper in a public restroom, only to realize you have zero fresh diapers, then making it back to the diaper stash in the car without incident.

Nice, eh? Go get yourself some good feelings. And thanks for being around.

Apps that Help Me with Habits and To Do Lists

My perfect daily schedule would be a glass of wine every night and an otherwise open calendar. But I’m pretty into my kids, and my husband, and my work, and my health too — and all of that requires some day-to-day maintenance.

I’m terrible at it.

One of my goals for this year was to get better at life maintenance by sticking to a routine 80 percent of the time. I’m already a list maker, but I finally figured out that I feel a greater sense of accomplishment, and am more willing to do repetitive tasks, if I break my lists up into categories. Otherwise my tasks never end, and neither does my work day.

For the last few months, I’ve tried dozens of habit and to-do apps, and hoooo-eee! Most of them are ugly and frustrating. Here are a handful I’ve found that are pretty and functional, and how I’m using them.



I start my day with my most crucial health habits, because those are the most likely to fall by the wayside. Streaks tracks how many days in a row you’ve done something, and how often you do it. It only lets you have six goals, and once you’ve checked all of them off for the day, the icons turn gold. So satisfying.



I’m ramping back up with work, so MinimaList is where I keep internal projects I want to check in with every day. It lets you schedule repeat tasks, and set a timer that blocks you from phone distractions while you’re working on one.



Teuxdeux is my priority list for non-habit tasks, stuff I need to finish in the next few days. I try to limit myself to five tasks here and work through them before I add more. I’ve been using Teux Deux for years, it’s a super simple, pretty to do list. I find it’s really flexible and can be hacked for whatever type of list I want to keep there.



I’ve mentioned Balanced before. This is where I put life-maintenance and repetitive tasks for personal goals, like learning French. You choose your icon and color, how often you’d like to complete a task, and list as many tasks as you like. It also tracks how often you complete things.

Productive looks and works exactly like Balanced, it’s pretty much a clone, but it lets me keep a second list that’s more oriented toward my life after work. This is where I put tasks that help me maintain relationships, like playing games with the boys, or making plans with friends, and reminders to do some of the things that make me happy, like reading or doing something on my Life List.



Things is a to do list based on the Getting Things Done methodology, which is a great organization system for all the ideas and work you want to record. You can use it on your phone or desktop, and it has all the list making functionality I’ve ever needed. It offers an Inbox for collecting tasks before you organize them, lists for Today, Next, Scheduled, and Someday, plus a Projects list that allows for sub-tasks that step you toward project completion.

I mostly love Things for the projects feature, but this app is where I do my thinking and planning, and how I save ideas for later. I don’t necessarily interact with it every day anymore.

If you use and love an app I didn’t mention, please let me know. I’m always tweaking, and I find that using a fresh app can keep me motivated to do things I was procrastinating over before.

Post to Mighty Girl. Check.



If you’d like to learn another language in your (limited) downtime, the Duolingo app is incredible. It has quick, simple practice sessions that let you accumulate the basics fast. You can set it to how many minutes a day you want to practice, and it tells your percentage of fluency at the end of each practice session. It front loads the commonly used words and phrases, so I’m at 14 percent after only two weeks. So motivational and gamelike, try it!

(Thanks, Swissmiss!)

Balanced App

Hi, this isn’t an ad.

Have you heard of Balanced App? If you’re trying to form a habit, or achieve a goal that requires repetition, try it. It’s simple, and lovely, and I want to kiss its little digital face.


Selling points:

• It does not pressure me to seek Facebook validation every time I floss my teeth.
• It’s easy to input daily, weekly, monthly, and annual habits.
• It does not suggest I meditate whenever I open it.
• It offers simple metrics for each habit, and the overall list.
• It does not auto-Tweet when I lose weight.
• The text does not remind me of someone on cocaine.

But perhaps most importantly, the interface does not make me recoil. Balanced is beautiful, straightforward, and intuitive. You will like it.

Ask Brad About His Kids Onstage!

How does he balance work and family life? Are all his kids by the same mother?

Brad is speaking at AdobeMAX, and I’ll be there too. Are you going? If so, hooray! We’ll see you there.

Brad has two labs, if you’d like to sign up. One is Monday at 5 p.m. If that’s full, the other is Weds at 1:30 p.m. He also made the Target Mobile app, so he’s doing a case study on that Tues at 8 a.m. I’ll arrange for donuts, because ooof. There should be around ten of us. I mean, come on.

Anyway, if you’re going, please come say hi. And remember to ask Brad how he finds time for it all.

Bradley. How do you do it?

Google Translate Blows My Damn Mind

Brad is an app designer, and he’s very excited about it. One of our main topics of conversation is amazing apps I should be using so I can experience the future as it unfolds. Most recently, Google Translate had my jaw unhinged.

Holy crap, this is like living in an episode of Star Trek. The app supports 90 languages, though Cherokee is still in development. Obviously, you can just type and the app will give you a written translation on your phone, but it also does a couple things that made me tear up:

• It translates signs in real time for six languages. You hold your camera up to a sign, the translation appears on your phone. It looks like you’re just reading the actual sign, which is magical. You can also take a photo of the sign to translate it in 36 more languages.

• You can speak into the device, hit a button for what language you’d like to translate to, and the app speaks for you in the native language of whomever you happen to be addressing. What?! What.

It’s been around for a while, but the voice tool is new. If you haven’t already, go play with it. It would be incredible for letting babies hear a wide range of foreign accents while they can still encode the sounds and more complex language rules. Also fun when you’re tipsy. Here it is, Free for iphone and Android.

The future! Neat.

E-Bikes, I Want One

Bosch sponsored this post, but the enthusiasm is mine.

A few months ago Bosch sent me to The New Wheel to borrow an e-bike for the day.

I’d never heard of an e-bike, but they’re bikes with electric motors. Riding one is a lot like riding a regular bicycle, you have to pedal and you still get exercise, but you can set the motor to give you a boost when you’re climbing a hill, or getting tired from riding a long distance, or coming home from eating a lot of pasta.

None of this meant much to me until I was climbing vertical San Francisco hills like Wonder Woman on an adrenal high.

Guys, I have worn some adventure helmets in my day, but this was incredible. I don’t even like to walk up those hills, but biking up made me feel like I should be holding a tiny parasol and waving at passersby.

We biked places I would never take a regular bike — over massive hills in Pacific Heights and out to the Golden Gate bridge, up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower, and right through the nightmarish traffic on Fisherman’s Wharf. We even climbed the massive Potrero Hill to see the city lights. In 15 years living in the city, I’ve never seen as much of it in one day. It was so much fun!

This guy wrote a piece on Medium about why he sold his car for an e-bike, and I was doing the same calculations in my head as we rode around.

Karen, who owns The New Wheel with her husband, loaned us the bike and led the way. She told me that lots of their customers are buying e-bikes to replace cars — new ones run about $3,500 and up.

While we rode around, Bosch asked me to catalogue some of my favorite places in San Francisco that are harder to access by car. So check that out if you’re interested.

And if anyone ever asks you if you want to try an e-bike, do it. And then keep it.

Humin Beta

Update: I’m out of invites, but if you’d like to join the beta you can request an invite direct from Humin.

My friend Lane Wood, who spoke at Camp Mighty last year, is helping make an app I think you’ll want. It’s called Humin, and it takes the contacts section of your phone and adds some of the info and functionality of a social media platform. So now my contacts look like this:

Humin pulls down a photo, employment background, any meetings you have on your calendar with this person, mutual friends, work experience and common friends at those companies, and educational background. I’ve learned a lot I didn’t know about friends, just by opening my phone to call them, and Humin has even alerted me a couple of times when friends are in from out of town. So neat.

I’ve found it indispensable enough that I replaced my contacts app with Humin, so now I make all my texts and calls through the app. It’s exponentially more useful, and frankly prettier, than my old contacts.

If you’d like to try it, request an invitation to the beta right here, and I’ll email you one. Let me know what you think.

How Grieving is Shifting in the Face of Technology

Do any of you remember when Twitter was young and John Mayer was one of the first celebrities to sign up? I followed him for the hell of it, and then freaked a little when I realized I’d started to care about him. I know it’s morbid, but one of the first things I thought was that it was going to be weird when he died.

For years, I’ve wondered what it’s going to be like when these thousands of people to whom we’re connected start to age. Not only will the rate of deaths increase, we’ll have so much material to review to keep those memories alive. It feels to me like the first generation of Web natives might be headed toward a grief overload.

I wrote up an essay about it on Medium: Grief Capacity, Mourning in the New Century. Have a look and tell me if you think the idea of grief overload is nutty, or whether it’s something you’ve thought about too.