• Magic and the Holidays

    Can you believe it has been decades since the Harry Potter movies and books were released? I have so many happy memories related to that IP it’s crazy, but this Christmas I was able to add one more.

    A few things you should know about my family and the holidays, first we don’t really do the whole gift thing. We’ve all done really well for ourselves and have what we want and need in life so instead we donate to charities for each other. Of course, there has to be “something” to unwrap so we’ve been playing Dirty Santa with funny small gifts for the past few years to comply with the seasonal consumerism. [More]

  • Ditch the Trainings, Team Build Through Board Games

    Even though I grew up with three siblings it was like pulling teeth to get anyone to play board games with me as a kid. Thankfully, that’s changed now that we’re older and the selection of games to choose from is nearly endless. Card games, cooperative games, free-form story games, we’ve really come a ways since the days of Monopoly and Clue!

    There are some games with widely accepted benefits. Chutes and ladders, for example, has been shown to increase a child’s ability to count and understand numbers. But why stop learning just because we’ve grown up? [More]

  • Happy Halloween!

    Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s filled with imagination, creativity, and it’s truly as much or as little of a day as you make it out to be.

    As a kid I gravitated toward some classic costumes (bats, cats, mermaids, etc) but what made them special was the amount of craftsmanship my mom put into each one. As an adult, I’d like to think I put that same level of love into decorating for Halloween and planning fun activities to do with family. (We’re a little old to be trick-or-treating sadly…)

    Jumping topic only slightly now…an article I read recently noted that my generation was less religious than any previous generation and, maybe more interesting is that…60% believe in New Age concepts like tarot, horoscopes, and psychic readings. [More]

  • The Contagion Piggybacking on the Pandemic

    While everyone has adjusted to life in the era of Covid-19, there’s another contagion piggybacking on the pandemic…burnout. You’ve probably noticed it in your workplace and you’re not alone. The added stress of kids going back to school (or not?), working from home (possibly with a spouse), and trying to remember to wear your mask everywhere despite perhaps peer pressure has taken a toll on the mental state of everyone.

    Unfortunately, you don’t have to be a parent or working from home to feel the impacts of these situations because burnout is contagious. [More]

  • Vacation Destination: Alabama

    When you think of a vacation dream destination, Alabama is probably doesn’t make the list. However, about 3 years ago my sisters and I planned a trip to Alabama with some excitement. The idea was that our sister stationed at the Navy base in Pensacola, FL could join us easily and we could all cross another state off our list to visit. We had mapped out tons of places we wanted to visit, but the trip fell through at the last minute.

    Fast-forward to 2019, it was apparently a busy year for all of us as we approached Fall realizing we hadn’t even started to plan our annual Sister Trip. [More]

  • A Quick Train Trip to Chicago

    There are few cities with such varied culture, deep history, and international renowned as Chicago. From where I live you can take an overnight train trip and be in the famous Union Station by morning. (And yes, you should totally reenact the scene from The Untouchables here…or at least I did haha) I’m a huge fan of travel by train and with Chicago so close, there’s really no excuse not to visit.

    My sisters and I planned another one of our trips here specifically because there were so many things we wanted to do. [More]

  • A Taste of New York Chips from Western New York

    New York Chips vs Saratoga Chips for Best New York State Chip
    It’s been some time since I posted and while I’ve thought of a number of different things I wanted to write about I haven’t found a lot of time to do so. I recently bought a house, moved back from California, started working on a startup, and in my spare time I’ve learned to code. Needless to say, busy.

    That being said, I can’t ignore anything related to small businesses in New York. If you don’t know, New York Chips are the potato chip that’s 100% made in New York. The potatoes are grown, processed, and packaged right here in Western New York. [More]

  • Developer Week 2017 in San Francisco


    This was my first time attending the Developer Week Conference and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I attended a handful of talks and walked around the show floor and was overall pleasantly surprised.

    I should start off saying that I’ve always found virtual reality (VR) to be a bit too gimmicky. Often applications that are released are focused around video games. While that may be fun I’ve never understood why Silicon Valley has been so in love with the technology until now.

    Two specific events at this show helped me to make the jump from VR skeptic to VR advocate. [More]

  • TCM Falls Short with Streaming Video Service FilmStruck


    I need to confess, before I signed up for FilmStruck I already had it in my head the kind of glowing review I was going to write. I was going to talk about how FilmStruck was going to run away with a bunch of Netflix customers, but then I created an account. I used my computer and while it wasn’t a horrible experience I did take note of the bulky join flow they had.

    “That’s ok,” I told myself. “It’s just a join flow. Not everyone’s spent years optimizing those like me!” [More]

  • 42 USA: The Free Coding College


    The past month I’ve been learning to code in Silicon Valley as part of the application process for the no-strings-attached free-tuition school called 42. If you’ve been following my twitter, you might have noticed one or two posts about the application tests and process. The owner of the French telecom network free founded the college in Paris, and this year they opened their second campus location in California. The college has no teachers, no accreditation, and has just started to build it’s reputation, but the draw of a free education that leads to a good paying job seems to be attractive to people from all walks of life. [More]

  • Toss Your Soylent Snack Bars


    So remember when I reviewed Soylent 2.0  and talked about the companies energy bars? As it turns out you might not want to eat those after all.

    The company has vaulted production of the bars and has told anyone who still has some to throw them out. Customers around the country have been complaining of gastrointestinal distress after eating just one bar. Finding yourself stuck to a toilet for the day probably negates any time savings you got from eating a bar instead of a full meal.

    The company hasn’t explained what went wrong with their snack bars yet. [More]

  • The Ringing Rocks of Pennsylvania

    ringing rocks campground Pennsylvania

    It’s important to try and get your outdoor activities in before winter when you live someplace like New York. Naturally, this means camping in the beginning of fall! My youngest sister had pointed out that just outside Philadelphia there was a cool phenomenon known as The Ringing Rocks. In typical Kohl-sister fashion, we decided that planning a last minute trip over the weekend was do-able so we packed our things and headed out for the keystone state.

    We decided to tent camp at a campground called, The Ringing Rocks Campground, mostly because it was close to our destination. [More]