Projects and Inspiration

Book Reviews

Getting Inspired: In the Company of Women


I’m drinking up In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney. It’s a collection of interviews with a ton of women, but it’s real talk about building a business and the creative process. Actual questions: “In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself up? and “What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?”

Here are some of my favorite answers.

Name the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned in running a business.

“Most of the time things won’t turn out the way you expect, and that’s usually not a bad thing. Don’t let go of your goals, but let go of your expectations.” — Elise Kornack, Chef & Restauranteur

What is your personal or professional motto?

“Be relentless, be ambitious, be excellent.” — Roxane Gay, Writer & Professor

What quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?

“The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.” — Amy Poehler (from Veronica Corzo-Duchardt, Graphic Designer & Artist)

What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?

“I eat two breakfasts. One sweet and one savory.” — Gauri Nanda, Product Designer

Pretty sure I’ll be adopting that last one ASAP.


Makey Makey Piano

Makey Makey piano: where a fifth is a literal leap.


  • Makey Makey Classic
  • Computer
  • Copper Tape
  • Aluminum foil
  • 11×17 paper (6 sheets)
  • Black construction paper
  • Double-sided tape


  1. Each 11×17 sheet becomes one of the keys. I used aluminum foil to make a large conductive area, and copper tape to connect the foil to the alligator clips.
  2. Set the six keys in a row, and tape to the ground. Add black construction paper to represent the black keys.
  3. Connect to the Makey Makey using the alligator clips, and load the the Makey Makey piano app. If you have never used Makey Makey before, the How To page is a great introduction.


  • It did work with shoes on, but there was more wear and tear on the keys.
  • A lot of kids wanted to just use their hands.
  • It’s a big leap to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.


Instant Replay

Jake: But Miss! She pushed me first. I want you to review this.

Fictional Jay Bilas: The librarians are going to the instant replay station to see who pushed whom in violation of the library’s policy.

As a reminder, the library’s behavior policy bans disruptive and unsafe behavior, including hitting, pushing and shoving. This should be an easy decision, but let’s check in with our expert, former Head Librarian Joyce, in New York.

Joyce: It should be a fairly simple decision in terms of whether or not the action violated the policy, but it’s hard to say whether Sarah pushed or shoved Jake. That could affect her ability to further appeal this decision but both parties should be sent home for the day.

Jay: Thanks, Joyce. Back to the Head Librarian in the library for the call.

Head Librarian: After reviewing the incident, there are two penalties here. On person #1, a one-day suspension for pushing. On person #2, also a one-day suspension for pushing in the library.

The penalties do *not* offset, and all parties need to leave for the remainder of the day.

Jay: And there you have it. Let’s take a look at the teen section to check in on today’s Minecraft scores.

Book Reviews

The Year of the Audiobook: 2015 in Review

On my running “Best of” List, I had:

  • 6 audiobooks
  • 3 picture books
  • 3 YA fiction (plus one audio)
  • 3 adult nonfiction
  • 1 middle-grade fiction
  • 1 adult novel
  • 1 graphic novel

I didn’t listen to audiobooks before the past two years, so it’s amazing to see it have such an impact on my reading life. It really changes the relationship I have with a book – it’s a completely different reading experience.

Before starting the list, I want to clarify that these are the best books I read during 2015. Not all were c2015 — some were published in earlier years.


2016: RISE and FLOW


Are you a resolution maker? A mantra-setter? Or something else altogether?

A few years ago, I was introduced to the idea of picking a single word to direct my year. It was instantly the perfect choice for me, and it’s the culmination of reflecting during the New Year’s season.

So what to pick? Last year, I made a change at the last minute. I loved SHAKE — and I definitely did a lot of shaking things up last year — but I ended with STRETCH. Stretch myself mentally, stretch myself physically (in short, more yoga!), and stretch myself professionally. I learned a lot, I did my first yoga teacher training and started taking multiple classes every week, and I did all sorts of new things at work. It was a good year.

For 2016, my first word is:


Rise up above my perceptions of myself, rise above gossip, and continue to rise up in my yoga practice.

But in an amazing yoga workshop yesterday, I found word #2: FLOW.

Yes, there’s yoga in that word, but more importantly, I need to go with the flow. Let the world flow around me. Ride the waves.

And by doing that, I can RISE in 2016.

What word are your channeling in 2016?