Thursday, June 14, 2012


Last month when I started working at Switch Up Web, I began to teach myself Wordpress.

Wordpress is a popular blogging platform and Content Management System (CMS). At first I was reluctant, my background is in hand coding and I couldn't see how a heavily template-based platform could ever look fully custom. I had heard good things but I mostly dismissed them as the ravings of people who are afraid of code. Now that I am a (lightly) seasoned Wordpress person, I can confirm that those good things I heard are true.

In addition to being easy to use from a programming standpoint, Wordpress is also easy to hand off to a client. The 'Dashboard' allows you to set how much access you want to give to certain users. Have a client who shouldn't go near the back-end? Just reduce their user permissions. If someone needs a content change on a page, they don't need to call you at 3 o'clock in the morning, they can do it themselves. It requires a computer skill level about the same as using Microsoft Word.

I am officially a convert.

If you are interested in getting started with Wordpress, you can download it here:

To help you along, here's a list of my current favorite plugins:

WooCommerce - An excellent shopping cart that allows integration with PayPal and many other popular payment methods.

ContactForm7 - Simple and straightforward contact form that inserts into a post or page via a shortcode.

RegenerateThumbnails - Automatically resizes images in your Media Library when you make an update to image sizes.

EventsManager - Organizes upcoming events and allows people to register for them and buy tickets.

MeteorSlides - An easy to manage slideshow that allows for linking to a specific page or post.

Get-a-Post - Allows you to use shortcodes in theme files to pull in a specific post.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Today was the most amazing day I've had since yesterday! Let me tell you why:
It's officially the end of the quarter, no more classes until the Fall for me. Normally, this would make me sad because I always miss the novelty and curious spirit of the classroom environment.

Yesterday was a great day because I got to see final portfolio presentations from a group of students who have been taking my classes for over a year. To see the progression in technical skills and in confidence was just amazing. Truly the most rewarding thing about teaching is seeing the change you bring in the lives of others (it would be nice if the pay was rewarding too, but that's a story for another time).

About a month back when I knew that I wouldn't be able to teach over the Summer, I started to think about other ways that I could keep from getting incredibly bored; a common problem when you consume this much caffeine. And a thought occurred to me...'Why not let others teach me instead of me teaching them?'

Yoga was my gateway drug. I began attending a class through my gym and loved the way it made me feel. When my Sister offered me Zumba I thought, "Why the heck not? I'm already doing yoga."

My first Zumba class ever ever in the whole history of time was this morning. Zumba is an aerobics/dance class and is awesomely fun. The class we went to was a drop in class at The Warehouse next to Gonzaga and I would totally recommend it to any ladies who want a new fitness challenge. I would also recommend it to guys, but I didn't see any in the class, so it might be awkward. I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a workout it truly was. And, as my sister Jen pointed out, it's not the kind of aerobics class where you keep wondering how much longer you have to keep doing something. The pace is great and the moves are interesting.

After Zumba I briefly rested then set off to Minnehaha for a top roping class. I've been rock climbing indoors off and on for a few years now but have never been climbing outside. Part of the reason for that is that I didn't know how to safely set up ropes. After today, thanks to Rick at Mountain Gear, I feel completely confident. Climbing outside today was a great experience and I can't wait to get back out again and again all Summer.

Next weekend I have signed up for a motorcycle course through Spokane MotorSchool. I'm excited to say that by this time next weekend I will officially be a licensed rider.

It's such a trip to be on the other side of the classroom again, letting other people teach me new things. All Summer I will be looking for other classes to attend. I'd love to hear recommendations (either here or on Facebook) that anyone has for classes I should take or events I could check out to learn new things.