I am so far behind…

I sorta, kinda, forgot my husband’s birthday. Among other things, I’ll have to be making up ground for that mistake and I’d to put together a fabulous post on my trip to Rome a week ago. Hang in there, followers…

In the mean time, check out Apple’s new diverse emojis:

http://thesource.com/2015/02/23/heres-your-first-look-at-apples-diversified-emojis/

diverse-emoji

States With the Best (and Worst) Schools

#8, represent PA! Although I’d never be happy with a B-, we’ve got an 88% graduation rate and our 6th highest for proficient 8th graders in reading or math!

24/7 Wall St.

178213764The United States has lost ground among developed nations in promoting quality education for its students. To counter this troubling trend, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association worked to create a state-led program called the Common Core State Standards. Common Core is intended to ensure that all American children receive a quality, rigorous education. Although education policy is becoming increasingly uniform across the county, state school systems are still far from equal.

Clearly, the stakes for students are high, and the U.S. still has a way to go to develop an education system that best-serves its children. Based on this year’s edition of Quality Counts, released by Education Week, the United States received a score of C for its school systems. Among states, Massachusetts had the best school systems in the country, with a grade of B, while Mississippi had the worst with a…

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technology cleanse

Ew. When my husband first referred to me taking a break from technology for a few days as a technology cleanse, I had gross visions of what juice and detox cleanses have been known to do to people. Ew.

Although my hiatus from technology wasn’t pure (and I did find myself under the weather, but we’ll blame January flu season for that), I still gleaned a little bit into what a less tech-filled life was like.

From Friday, January 2 until Sunday, January 4 I turned my phone off. I let some friends and family know via text message (oh, the irony) know what I was doing Thursday evening and if they really needed me to call my husband, AJ or to stop by my house. Half of them didn’t even reply (maybe because they thought my break started immediately or they didn’t care). I shrugged, continued watching Netflix and nodded off around midnight.


Day One

I’ll be the first to admit that when given the opportunity, I can sleep in like a teenager. Because I hadn’t worked a normal day in a while due to the holidays, I found myself sleeping in. It was blissful–not to mention the buzzing of my phone wasn’t in the background reminding me to join the rest of the world.

A pre-tech break planned brunch with a friend in Philly was first on tap. My husband used his phone to let her know we were on our way and as a GPS. I giggled because I thought the text wasn’t needed and it would be much more of an adventure trying to figure out where the restaurant was without GPS, but he wasn’t on a break–I was and I was sitting in the passenger seat.

The drive is about an hour and after my husband settled into his drive zone, I dug out a notebook and took notes. I’d pause every now and then and watch what we were zooming by. I felt oh-so-Thoreau. We made it to the cafe and had to wait for a table. I felt so free being able to chat and not worrying about who might’ve texted me or played me back in Trivia Crack.

After brunch and visiting a bit, we journeyed home and stopped at Victory Brewing Company for a tasting. Instead of playing on our phones like almost every one in the entire bar was, my husband and I enjoyed our flights by talking to each other, playing tick tack toe and the dot game. I felt so light.

We made it home and relaxed, eventually going for a long family walk. A friend had asked AJ if we wanted to meet them for dinner in Harrisburg so off we went to another part of the state. AJ had sort of become my personal assistant as I’m usually the planner. It was nice to relinquish control for a bit.

We had a fabulous dinner and journey home. Signing and laughing the whole way home.


Day Two

I spent some quality time in the bathroom the night before due to the flu. As I had no other plans or ways of making plans, I ran some errands stopped at the gym and came home. I showered, decided I actually wanted to take a bath, and read for majority of the day. It was heavenly. Oh yeah, I guess I did some laundry, too.

AJ, again, as my personal assistant, had set up plans with friends, down to when I’d get picked up (he had to work and would meet us later). It was like being a famous person.

Our dinner and game night was awesome and ended up lasting later than 1:00 AM. Good thing I didn’t do much during the day.


Day Three

I was finally not getting the urge to check my phone or do anything with technology. I had a goal of finishing a book today and making it to my parent’s house in time for a late holiday dinner. I also wanted to make peanut butter chocolate chip banana muffins and lunches for the week. Guess what? I did all of that and I’m convinced I got it all done because I didn’t have the constant distraction of my phone or iPad.



In conclusion, I’d like to try this again but in a more purer form. I think there is a lot to be said for the addictions a lot of people have to the devices in their lives. The fact that people hear phones buzzing or think they felt a vibration is only a small part of this phenomenon. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great things technology has offered us, but there should be a limit to everything, good and bad. I’ve heard the suggestion of only charging an iPad once a week–if the battery is dead and it’s not charge day, find something else to do or use. I’ve also heard of tech titans sending their children to schools that have no technology because “they’ve seen what it does to people.” There are so many studies out there, that I’d really like to delve a bit further into this topic. Here’s to a hefty goal for 2015.

Enjoy your technology, folks, just know when it’s time to shut down.

Cultivating your reading habit

There are very few people who can say they truly have a healthy reading habit. Let’s get on board in the new year and make reading a part of our daily lives.

International Librarians Network

The beginning of a new year is a time when many people make resolutions or set goals for the year to come. So we’ve dug out this post from Leo Babauta at  Life Hacker with 14 ways to cultivate your reading habit:

Somewhere after “lose weight”, “stop procrastinating”, and “fall in love”, “read more” is one of the top goals that many people set for themselves. And rightly so: A good book can be hugely satisfying, can teach you about things beyond your daily horizons, and can create characters so vivid you feel as if you really know them.

If reading is a habit you’d like to get into, there are a number of ways to cultivate it.

First, realize that reading is highly enjoyable, if you have a good book. If you have a lousy book (or an extremely difficult one) and you are forcing yourself through it, it…

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We’re all a little flaky…

The folks at The Book of Everyone have created a timely and beautiful site that allows you to have your own personal snowflake created. All you need to do is type in your name (capital letters make a difference) or any word you’d like and a snowflake will be created with beautiful typography. Feel free to share on social media or purchase a poster.

Make Your Snowflake

*This is not an ad for The Book of Everyone. I am solely reporting on a neat activity I found online.


On another note, I caught myself being a bit flaky this morning–and not in the “oh I’m a cute snowflake” way. In the “I just yelled at my husband because he couldn’t read my mind” way. It happens to all of us and I think a lot of us (by us, I may or may not be referring to women) experience an emotional roller coaster during the holiday season.

I’ll admit that I take on much more than I should, and it seems to double during the holidays (do I really need to make 12 different kinds of cookies?). But I think cramming all that I think I want to do causes a whole number of extra feelings that I forgot I had. Enter: stress.

Then there are all the holiday movies. Enter all those other emotions.

We’ve all lost someone, whether it was a month ago or fifteen years ago–whether that someone was a live person that loved us back or the someone was a character in a book that was a better friend than most.

We all wish to be around everyone we love at the holidays. It’s a tough time because when we glance around the table empty seats can be very noticeable.

I don’t want to be flaky. I don’t want to yell at my husband and I don’t have time to mope around (well, that was a little harsh and counter-productive). I also want to embrace the empty seats at the table because that means we loved someone so much that we miss them–that’s special.

Simply put, I’m going to curate information and enjoy the beauty in the tiny, little snowflakes.

Treasure

I’d say on a weekly basis, I have a good find. The good find might be a shameless pair of boots or an oldie but a goodie novel, but more often than not the treasure is technological. I can’t take credit on most of what I discover, but I can share it with the world. That’s the beauty of being a library. I can be a curator of cool things. Boo-yah.

Today’s treasure is brought to you by my husband as he was at an iPad workshop. ThingLink. I got so excited browsing what others were doing that I had to share this festive interactive image. Enjoy!

Because, because!

photo by Celine Nadeau

That has been my answer to anyone who wonders why I can’t take on even one more thing this week (and jury duty next week, really?).

Courtesy of PopSugar.com, I found a reading challenge for 2015 when I won’t look like I’m sick because, because!

Reading Challenge 2015

+A book with more than 500 pages

+A classic romance

+A book that became a movie

+A book published this year

+A book with a number in the title

+A book written by someone under 30

+A book with nonhuman characters

+A funny book

+A book by a female author

+A mystery or thriller

+A book with a one-word title

+A book of short stories

+A book set in a different country

+A nonfiction book

+A popular author’s first book

+A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet

+A book a friend recommended

+A Pulitzer Prize-winning book

+A book based on a true story

+A book at the bottom of your to-read list

+A book you mom loves

+A book that scares you

+A book more than 100 years olds

+A book based entirely on its cover

+A book you were supposed to read in school, but didn’t

+A memoir

+A book you can finish in a day

+A book with antonyms in the title

+A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

+A book that came out the year you were born

+A book with bad reviews

+A trilogy

+A book from your childhood

+A book with a love triangle

+A book set in the future

+A book set in high school

+A book with a color in the title

+A book that made you cry

+A book with magic

+A graphic novel

+A book by an author you’ve never read before

+A book you own by have never read

+A book that takes place in your hometown

+A book that was originally written in a different language

+A book set during Christmas

+A book written by an author with your same initials

+A play

+A banned book

+A book based on or turned into a TV show

+A book you started but never finished

Here’s to making it through the holiday season that taking on a reading challenge that rivals some of the physical challenges we’ll endure in 2015.

Season’s readings!