Casper Meets Wendy

New theme alert! My old website was overkill now that I’m no longer developing full-time and teaching workshops on the side. I’ve cut down on a lot of commitments so I wanted to pare back my website too.

I had a clear vision of a simple theme that put my blog front and center – a cross between Casper and Independent Publisher. I wanted to stick with WordPress but everything I found in the themes directory would’ve required lots of tweaking. Eventually, I gave up my search and decided to stop being lazy and write my own theme.

It was a good excuse to play around with _s (which I used as a starting point) and to get my hands dirty again. These days, I don’t write more than a few lines of code at a time so it was nice to break in a new code editor (Atom – which I love) and get back on the horse.

The theme is on GitHub, should you want to use it in your own projects. It’s been tested somewhat thoroughly but I make no promises of updates or support. Use at your own risk!

The Best Things I Read This Year #2

The upside to over-traveling is that if you do your laundry before you leave one city, you can just wear other clothes for the three days you’re back home, and then you’re ALREADY PACKED for the next trip. Score!

In related news: I am a ridiculous person who scheduled five trips in one month.

I’ve spent most of my train rides and airport downtime revisiting all the great things I read this year to make a reading list you can use during your own holiday travels. So open a bunch of tabs, flip your phone to airplane mode, and do not recline into your fellow passenger’s small sliver of remaining personal space. (Don’t be dick this holiday season, y’all.)

Just like last year, I kept a running list over the last twelve months and then slashed said list in half. All of them are available online for free and my attempts at categorization are kind of a joke. Enjoy!

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Renting from Lumoid

Freelance photographer is not a hat I wear often enough to warrant really nice gear. I do wear it enough to have a few nice lenses, but I haven’t splurged on a telephoto lens yet. I rarely need one for the events and lifestyle stuff I shoot and even the cheap ones aren’t all that cheap.

When I was hired to shoot a conference that required some long-distance shooting, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try renting from Lumoid.

Here’s what I found!

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Teach What You Know

The biggest hurdle I run into as the teacher lead for Learnapalooza is overcoming imposter syndrome with potential teachers. I’m constantly approaching awesome, talented people and hearing, “That’s great but I don’t know anything worth teaching!” or “I’m not a teacher! I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

It’s so frustrating.

Not just because we lose out on awesome classes, but because I’m a selfish person who wants to learn ALL OF THE THINGS. And when people when insist that they don’t know anything worth teaching, we all loose out on their expertise.

So, let’s all get on the same page right now: You know valuable things. You do not have to be a teacher to share those things.

Someone, somewhere, is currently thinking, “I really wish I knew how to do [the thing you know ALL about].” And they do not care if you have a Bachelors in Education. They just want you to share what you know! That can mean putting together a talk, writing a blog post, or even hosting a workshop at a festival like Learnapalooza.

And none of those things have to be scary! (A little nerve-wracking, sure. But never scary!)

Self-selected learners—the people who read educational blog posts, show up to Saturday workshops, and take online classes for the fun of it—are the easiest people to teach. They want to be there! They are excited to learn!

The real question for most people isn’t, “Can I teach this?” but “How do I teach this?” and “Where do I start?”

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Stock Photos That Don’t Suck

Let’s talk about stock photos. Specifically, where to find stock photos that don’t suck.

The photos on your website are so important.  It doesn’t matter how good a writer you are—people can take in an image faster than they can read a paragraph and skipping photos altogether isn’t an option. So the photos you pick need to be good.

Not all photos are created equal! There’s a fine line between “fuck it, ship” and “this isn’t doing me any favors.” The ones you choose say a lot about you, the quality of your work or product, and even your ideal audience.

Splurging on a few hours of a freelance photographer’s time is one of the best investments you can make in a new website. But of course this isn’t possible with everyone’s timeline or budget.

Enter stock photos!

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