10th Annual BarCamp Philly: My discussion on Self-Care

Here is the slide deck from my discussion on Self-Care at BarCamp Philly

It was less of me talking at them, but more of a discussion on how we can be more aware of our well-being, protecting our minds and our bodies from the effects of being sedentary. We know what we should do, most of the time but it’s up to us to make time and take time for ourselves.










Suggestions for Coding Exercises

Photo of a wall with 2 clocks and a sign that reads, Ask more questions.

Someone posted a question in a Facebook group I belong to. She asked,

Does anyone have a set of favorite coding exercises that they do every day?


So many great responses were given, I had to share them (and save them).

One fellow mentioned that he practices CRUD each day.

One thing I am doing to help PHP concepts stick is by building forms. Form building in any language incorporates CRUD (create, read, update, delete) and doing it on a regular basis will help you gain knowledge of use of things like arrays, global variables, and building databases in MYSQL.


I’m saving these here for future reference. I don’t know about the validity of any of the services, but I’ve heard about quite a few and they are pretty solid from what I hear.

The more you code, the more you retain.

I’ve had a very productive Fall learning about Web Development

I’ve been a very busy girl this fall. Immersing myself into all things web development has all but consumed me. I’ve gained a few pounds, missed several workouts and my meal prep is all but non-existent. However, don’t pity me, be happy for me! I’ve been getting busy, learning so much about so much, I don’t know where to start.

I guess starting at the beginning of the semester is a good place.

This fall, I took a Usability and User Experience class. We learned theory of UX, lo-fi and hi-fi prototyping, colors, story boards, icon design, user testing, onboarding, style guides and so much more. Our final project was an app rebranding for a bike share company.

The instructor, Michael Estok, was a joy to learn from. He works full-time as a freelance UX designer in the Philadelphia area. I took this class because the one I wanted to take wasn’t being offered, and I’m very glad I did.  He made UX approachable, fun, social and less of a mystery. I’m not the design-y type, but he encouraged and pushed us all into making some pretty cool projects.

App loading screen

Loading Screen

Here is my final project.  I passed the class!

Also on my schedule this fall was classes with GDI. I’m a member of Girl Develop It Philly and I TA’d my first class this fall. I also took a few classes with them. I took Intro to Git & Github and HTML/ CSS 202: Flexbox Layouts.  I met some nice ladies and was introduced to Github! How DOPE is that!

I also gave my 1st talk!!! I attended BarCamp Philly and threw my hat in the ring to give a talk. Thanks Michael for bringing it up just 2 days before. I faced a room full of people who came to hear me (ME!!). My topic was called, ” If you sit at a screen all day, what is your self-care regimen?”. If I was going to say anything, it was going to be something that is familiar to me.  I was nervous, chatty, but the group was fun and very engaged. after 45 minutes, I survived! We came up with a great list of things we could all do to raise our wellness IQ (see below). At the end, we stretched.  The sounds and groans of stiff bodies warmed my heart! They listened and even learned a thing or 2.



Self-Care Regimen

While this was going on,  I also signed up for Coursera’s Full Stack Web Development Specialization online. With a 6 course program at $79 per course, I needed to make sure I did some coding while I waited for my next CS class to come along.  I liked that it was project based. I had to turn in something each and every week along with reviewing the code of 3 or more other students in the course with me.  I took the HTML, CSS and JavaScript course first. It was interesting. I  made a few simple projects and even learned a few things. The most recent class was Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools. Before this class, I’d never used Bootstrap! Where has it been all my life. I’ve heard the term used and I never ‘got it’! I am truly a convert. What a quick and easy way to get a site up and running FAST & RESPONSIVE!

HTML, CSS and JavaScript Certificate

Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools Certificate

I’m taking a week off to decompress. The next course is Front-End JavaScript Frameworks: AngularJS.  Let’s see what unfolds.

During the week off, I’ll be clicking around JavaScript30, knocking out some of those projects, or at the very least, looking at some really cool code. Also, checking out this course on Udemy, JavaScript: Understanding the Weird Parts.  Yeah, right.. week off!


I found out the course I really wanted to take next semester isn’t available. I just signed up for a class at the local community college to take Java I.  I’m considering getting my Masters in Computer Science, but since I was a business major, I have quite a few prerequisites to make up.

  • 1 year of Java
  • 1 year of Calculus
  • Data Structures
  • and many more

Classes I need to take before the Masters in Computer Science

I’ll putz around the next year or so and decide what’s next. In the meantime, I have so much learning to do. Let’s see what unfolds.

Here are some links we covered in UX



Using A Learning Path on Lynda.com

As a developer in training, I sometimes question if I’m learning enough, am I focusing on the right concepts, what else should  I be learning? I’m question myself a lot right now. Should I focus more on CSS or practice my JavaScript?

I learn better with a goal in mind something tangible that culminates at the end. I started looking for a learning path that I could follow and get some time behind a keyboard, with a more structured plan.

Lynda.com Learning Path

In steps Lynda.com’s Learning Path: Becoming a Front-End Web Developer. I started watching a great overview video by Ray Villalobos. This really opened my eyes to what I should be focusing on and gave me a very clear path on what I should be learning and why.

With such a thought out and well detailed learning path, I can direct my learning in a much more wise and efficient manner. I’ll be sure to post my progress and keep you posted on what I learn.

Happy Coding! and remember… Code Everyday!

You can try Lynda.com for free for 10 days and plans vary from 19.99 a month to over 29.99 a month, depending on the plan.

Background Images that Pop

If you’re looking for a subtle, clean background image for your web site, look no further than SubtlePatterns.com .


I am working through a tutorial on CodeSchool via Pluralsight and in the video, the instructor put up a note about this site. I’ve used it before, but I’d forgotten about it. Subtle Patterns is chocked full of very modern, clean and dare I say, subtle patterns you can download for FREE!

Image Samples


There is even an extension you can purchase to  feed all the available patterns into Photoshop automatically.


Check out the site for a vast array of inspiration.

Deciding how to bone up on JavaScript before next semester

I’m going to start by saying, there are not enough hours in a day to do EVERYTHING I love to do. That being said, I have to carve out time to bone up on JavaScript ahead of the next class in the Web Design Professional Certificate program I’m enrolled in. I know my skill set is woefully lacking in JavaScript and addressing it now is my goal, ahead of classes starting in the fall.

If I lived in San Francisco, I’m sure I’d be taking the coding bootcamp at HackReactor, pretty darn sure! As I’m reading their blog, I came upon a post about preparing for their code challenge during the first part of their admissions process.

You’ll want to know what an object, function, and array are, and you should be able to create a basic version of each one. CodeAcademy and many other sites provide sandboxes to write code and see what it does.

Now here is something I can sink your teeth into and use as hard metrics in determining if I’m ready for JavaScript. As luck would have it, I’m making my way through the JavaScript Track on CodeAcademy and I just picked up the Eloquent JavaScript book mentioned in the post.

Finishing the JavaScript track on CodeAcademy (25% complete), along with taking the JS 101: JavaScript for Beginners class with Girl Develop It and getting a few PluralSight and Lynda.com videos in this summer may be just what I need to learn more about it.

Lynda.com Online Courses

Learning Tracks at Lynda.com

Where can you get free stock photos?

I LOVE UNSPLASH to the nth degree! Their  photos are my wallpaper on every computer I own. I get a new photo in each new tab I open in Google Chrome and I use them in my web assignments and I even used on for the header image on this blog.

Unsplash Chrome App

I noticed that I didn’t add any links to free stock photos on my Helpful Web Links Page. I could only think of unsplash,  yet I know I’ve used others in the distant past. I found this blog post from pin in Pintrest named 21+ Free Stock Photos, by A Problem Like Maria. After checking it out to see if it was legit, I’m going to share a few with you here.

She has curated this list and has even updated it. If you’re looking for a site that provides free stock images, you might find it a site that suits your needs. Although free is good, if you find the perfect photo and you have to drop a few bucks for it, it’s totally worth it.