Hacking My (Dot) Life

Stuck like Taffy on Teeth


I’ve spent most of this weekend working on this problem. And yes, I’ve looked up the answers and I still don’t understand HOW some people came up with the answer because in my head, it doesn’t work out how it’s working out for them.  I don’t even KNOW how some people came up with their answers, it’s like… they know more Javascript than the level they’re at on Freecodecamp and just seem to plug things in.  I’m trying to use what I’ve learned from FCC and trying to figure it out, and it’s just NOT.  I think I need to take better notes || complete the sample review after the learning few learning lessons. That last sentence was a programmer joke , “||” is programming for “Logical Or ” Operator.  I think that was my first programming joke, but knowing myself, I probably got it wrong (like my grammar in this past sentence).


I decided to do 20 hours a week of FreeCodeCamp. I calculated how long it would take me  to earn  the Front End Developer Certificate at this rate and I should be earning it by August 26th of this year.

That’s my goal. I just want to complete it and have something to show for my efforts. Tonight I wanted to do just 1 Pomodoro, because mentally, I just didn’t want to code.  Five Pomodoro’s later and I reached the Boolean section in the Javascript portion.

Will stop here for tonight. I don’t want to go overboard and get burned out.

Going to go to sleep while I read Jon Duckett’s Javascript and jQuery. I think I’m having a hard time understanding to program because I don’t understand terminology. I can follow the examples just fine but if it weren’t for them, I couldn’t do the example just by reading the terms.

Things you should check out that were discussed tonight:

Hour 2: WireFraming, part 2

If you’re just tuning in, I’m making my friend, Stacy, a website and I’ve assigned myself a project I call “The Project“, where I follow DevTips’ Travis Neilson’s Web Design Walkthrough in the hopes of making Stacy a cool and informative website.

I’m now working on Hour 2: Wireframing.  I was going to break this hour into two blog posts, but it might take three, we’ll see.

I decided to use my hour long commute to work (thanks MTA) on the actual wireframing based on last night’s discoveries.  I started off playing around with mobile design, as that’s our main concern based on our target audience.  I came up with a few ideas:

I want the site to look interesting, but at the same time, I don’t want to fix what isn’t broken.


I was a bit stressed out because there’s only so much you can do to make your site stand out and be a little different from other mobile sites.  I then did a few desktop sketches, which I seemed to enjoy a bit more because there’s more real estate to work with on a monitor screen.  I remembered that overall, we want it to not be cluttered, which made me realize that’s why the mobile wireframing was hard for me.  How do you make such a small screen NOT seem cluttered?  I’m determined to accomplish having a tidy, clear, and uncluttered site.


So far, what I do know is, that I would really like to learn a new skill while working on this site. I’m thinking that’ll be Sass. Because, I want to be sassy.  No, I’m just super curious to why people refer it over bootstrap.

I’m leaning towards the first two ideas, however, I see Javascript and lots of jQuery in my future.

Hour 2: Wireframing, part 1

If you’re just tuning in, I’m making my friend, Stacy, a website and I’ve assigned myself a project I call “The Project“, where I follow DevTips’ Travis Neilson’s Web Design Walkthrough in the hopes of making Stacy a cool and informative website.

I’m now working on Hour 2: Wireframing.  I decided to break this hour into two blog posts. As I followed Travis’ tutorial on this video, it felt that because he was very familiar with his client, aka himself, I still needed to do some research.

In the first couple of minutes of Hour 2, Travis summarized who his client is and also his audience. I know Stacy’s target audience are teenage students, doctors and clinicians/potential people that would like to contact her for speaking engagements.  Teenagers are her main target so I have to make sure that I can make something that’s not cluttered, will attract a young audience, be informative and have all the information that her main audience will need as well as her secondary audience (again, clinicians and speaking event coordinators).

I had asked Stacy to describe what she liked/needed and she was kind enough to send me examples of four websites she liked. I noticed a pattern  between them all: They were very direct, informative, and eye-catching while three of the four were uncluttered.  The fourth website was a bit cluttered, however it was due to it being very informative and everything was laid on one page.

I wanted to start my wireframing by really concentrating on what engages a teenager.  It’s been about a decade since I’ve been one (okay a little more than that), and to be honest, I have NO idea where teens hang on the internet nowadays. So I did a search on sites frequented by teens and according to Statista the top 5 places teens frequent on the internet in the month of February 2016 are Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Kik (messenger).

my old stomping grounds circa dialup:

The first thing I noticed as I was looking down the chart is that most of these aren’t just websites, they’re apps. I then realized that most kids’ connection to the internet isn’t like when I was a teen. They’re not on dial-up, hoping no one calls their house (landline) and disconnected from AOL. They’re out and about, living their life. logging in and sharing through mobile devices.

I then decided to check out a few actual websites on my computer that are targeted at teens. I came checked out SeventeenJ-14, TeenVogue and TeenTech.  With the exception of Teentech, the other websites were pretty simple. And looked kind of… meh. Which shocked me a bit as these are MAJOR companies.  I then checked the same sites on my phone (Galaxy Note 3, if you wondered) and it made a world of difference. The sites are ALL designed to be responsive and they all looked very nice.

I checked out a few other sites and it was the same across the bored.  Even the sites that were targeted at a niche teen market, no mater how crappy the desktop design was, the mobile/responsive version looked at least 50 percent better.

I then decided to check out the four sites Stacy had liked online (none of which are targeted at teens) and none were responsive.  They still looked great, just as they did on my computer, but made for navigating so difficult, despite my phone being basically a midget tablet.

I haven’t even really started wireframing yet, I already see that I need to come up with something that works and looks GOOD on both mobile and desktop devices.  I think I’ll be having a lot of fun coming up with different design concepts for this site.


Hour 1: Discovery


If you’re just tuning in, I’m making my friend, Stacy, a website and I’ve assigned myself a project I call “The Project“, where I follow DevTips’ Travis Neilson’s Web Design Walkthrough in the hopes of making Stacy a cool and informative website.

Travis spends the first two videos (total of a little over 45 minutes), just speaking and wireframing and brainstorming and you walk with him through the process, it’s amazing.  The third video is just the visual designing process, for which he made 2 videos.

The first video is over two hours long and you can see in DETAIL what his process is, another is under 10 minutes and it’s the quick version.  I saw the first half-hour of the first video and the full short video.  It’s hard when you have an active kid running around, but trust me, I WILL be watching that two hour video, soon.

In his first video in the series, Hour 1: Discovery, Travis asks the following questions:

  • -Who is the owner?
    • What is important to me?
      • What are they trying to convey? What do they want to share?
  • -Who is the audience?
    • What is important to me?
      • Why are they visiting this page?

I saw his process was similar to how I started things when I first got my friend Stacy to tell me a bit about her project.  I asked her what message she was trying to convey and who was her target audience. :Let’s answer the questions:

  • -Who is the owner?
    • Stacy: Speaker, Teacher, Author
      • What is important to me?
        • 1.  Helping others by speaking about my personal journey with Bipolar Disease and DBT.
        • 2.Share about my (Stacy’s) experience so that others going through it know they are not alone and it is treatable.


  • -Who is the audience?
    • Students, doctors, prospective boards that might want to hire her for speaking engagements.  The target is mainly students, who in Stacy’s case tend to be teens. They’re our main focus group.
      • What is important to me?
        • 1. Easy to discover (borrowed this one from Travis).
        • 2.  Learn about bipolar disorder and DBT treatment.
        • 3. Contact Stacy

Next we move on to what we need in order to address  Stacy’s needs and the needs of her audience.  Here’s our list to help meet our needs.

Features Stacy needs (in no particular order):

  • About
  • Information regarding the classes she teaches.
  • Information regarding DBT/  link to DBT website)
  • Videos where you can see her at speaking engagements
  • Stacy’s book, “Loud in the House of Myself” (page or link to purchase her book.) and latest book.
  • Contact info and links to social media.

Next post: Hour 2: Wireframing.

Moving on up…

Apartment hunting, moving, and settling in to my new place while implementing new routines have consumed up most  of my time the past few weeks and again, my little blog went without updates (but never forgotten).

I’m still slowly working on the plan to design a web site based on the DevTips walk-through. See previous post for all links, as I just noticed the time and I have to get to sleep!

Once I find my notes which, by the way, I’ve redone TWICE, I’ll write out episode/hour 1. I keep putting them in a safe place to protect them during the move and end up hiding them so well that I don’t remember where I placed them and I haven’t come across them in my unpacking.  I’m seriously taking my time unpacking.

I’ve noticed that lately I’ve been telling more people I am a newbie coder/web developer and EVERYONE seems to want to work with me.  They haven’t seen my work, they just want me to build thir stuff, because they don’t know.  It’s scary bt liek a friend I was talking to today said: just jump in. Being scared is good, it makes you real, and human. It makes you WANT to take this more seriously because you don’t want to let others down. Just jump in and do it.

Now that I’m seeing how much free time I have in the evenings, I’m jumping in and restarting FreeCodeCamp.com AND  freelance web design AND be a mom AND have a full time job unrelated to tech AND start 2 companies with friends. Overzealous? Nah. Taking on too much? Nah. I need to get this empire started and take over the world. #girlpower

Because time, it’s not on our side

Things that seem like they’ll be a 5 minute task turn into hour long ordeals. I think I’m pretty much done with the first version of my client’s site, which should’ve been done last Monday. We’re already visualizing where she’d like to take the site and what it will to look like.

The one main thing I’ve taken from this first site is that when you take over a project for someone else you should communicate with the client as much as possible when you initially take over. Last night was the first time I really communicated with the client and saw where they’re head is and what their ultimate goals are.  It’s really motivating to me to see what people are working on, hear their passion and what they want to share with the world.  It makes me want to help and make their vision come to life.

The Project

I hate that I feel guilty about not writing more often. I think about this blog CONSTANTLY, but feel bad because I should be working on someone’s site, or doing a tutorial or helping someone else with something or taking care of something else and I just can’t do it anymore.

I’m convinced I have not finished other tasks because I have all this stuff I want to share and can’t because I feel guilty putting this blog first, even though that’s just want I want to do.  So, despite finally getting a little time to work, I need to put this first, because in the end a happy developer equals a happy worker.

Two weekends ago I discovered DevTips on youtube.  It’s crack, go watch.  At one point I wasn’t even watching,  but listening.  I was working on a site and folding laundry and dealing with my son and this guy, Travis Nielson is such an eloquent speaker.  He’s real, funny and relatable.  He used to be a salesman and now he’s a poscaster, writer , coiner of the phrase “full-process designer” and on top of that, a husband and dad.  This guy is living the dream.  From the youtube channel I followed him on his twitter and discovered his podcast, TravandLos which he co-hosts with his friend Carlos “Los” Montoya, another designer (and Hispanic, representing).  Los is like the big philosophical zen older brother you wish you had.

My obsession with DevTips is a mild crush compared to my instant love of this podcast.  Their tagline reads that it’s  “about being a healthy and productive professional in todays creative economy” but in actuality feels more like life advice on how to become a better, more rounded uman being.  It’s funny, insightful, educational, makes you think, makes you inquire and self-reflect on not only your career but your life as a whole.  I recommend that you go and check it out ASAP. It’s become my FAVORITE podcast of all the ones I listen to.

I’ve downloaded all the episodes and have heard most of them.  The ones I’ve heard and liked I’ve listened to a few times and it’s only been 3 days  since I’ve been listening.  Heck, I’ve been listening DURING work.  It’s so positive and inspiring. I would liek to get into episodes and give you clips but I have more I need to write about and not enough time prior to bedtime.  Just check it out, you won’t regret it.

So, taking a step back and going back to DevTips: As I was watching/listening to these videos I checked out the videos list and saw that there’s a playlist on DevTips called “Design and Code my Personal Website“.  In this series Travis walks you through his process on how he basically comes up with designs. It’s just the thing any person that wants to design and wants to see the creative process needs.

I was so inspired by just watching the first 2.5 videos that I got an amazing idea for a personal project.  My friend Stacy heard I was tinkering with making websites and we somehow got to talking and I told her I would  revamp her site.  I’m really bad (or should I say good) at procrastinating and aside from a wireframe and taking down notes, I really haven’t gotten started. I figure I still want to work on this site, and Bless Stacy for not finding anyone else to work on her site,  I decided I would follow the DevTips’ series and use it’s lessons to create Stacy’s website. Best part: You all get to see the process.  I figure that I’ll do a post per lesson.

I’m really excited to go through this process and see how I feel as I go through with it.  I’ll be starting this weekend, because who really cares about Valentines? I love myself so much I want to gain new skills and make something cool all at the same time.