Writing

2016 Goals

I’ve already made the claim that 2016 is my best year yet.

I am simply speaking it into existence.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that when I am determined to do something, I make it happen. At the end of every year, I set personal goals for the new year – and this year I am publishing them. I am putting my personal thoughts and goals out into the world for people to see. This takes a lot of courage on my part… If I don’t accomplish them, you get to see me fail.

I am okay with failing. I fail frequently. It strengthens me, allows me to learn from my mistakes and helps me figure out what works and what doesn’t. Not only do I fail at something once, I fail at it multiple times – sometimes over and over, until I get it right or gain something from the experience.

In 2016, I plan to…

Start More Weekend Projects

I plan to set aside time to hammer out experimental projects that can be completed over the course of a weekend. They won’t be perfect. They may not even be good. But working on small labs will allow me to toy around with new tools and build out more of my ideas.

Get Better at Self-Care

As you may know, Twitter is one of the fastest ways to access breaking news. This is not always a good thing. Whenever I receive a push notification with a name as a hashtag, I can almost guarantee that another black life has been lost. There are times when I can handle using social media and times when I cannot. As much as I’d like to engage in these conversations, it is oftentimes mentally draining and exhausting. When I am unable to handle these discussions, I vow to take a step back and power down.

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Write More

I started a 3-month winter writing challenge with my friends over at Blavity where we write weekly, share our drafts and publish on our own schedule. I am using the challenge as a way to make writing a part of my normal routine. It has allowed me to reflect on things that I’ve learned, share my thoughts and helps keep me motivated.

Reclaim Healthy Routines

Earlier this year, I was in the gym faithfully everyday following work. I cycled to/from work to see that I was active in more way than one. Since relocating, I haven’t cycled nearly as much and I have yet to join a new gym. My eating habits took a turn for the worse as well. I’ve been doing far less cooking even though it is something that I love to do. Meal preparation and homemade lunches will be first to make a comeback.

Refresh My Website

My current website gets the job done, but let’s face it, it looks like Craigslist. If you happen to stop by again in the future, it’s possible that you’ll notice new features here and there. I’ll be redesigning my site in the open with weekly sprints, making changes and updates as I see fit until I am happy and fills me with excite.

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Speak at a Conference

I’m pretty terrible at public speaking. At least for the first 10 minutes or so. But once I’m warmed up, I feel at home. I’ve done a fair share of teaching workshops and courses, but I have yet to take the leap to write a presentation for a conference. To ready myself for speaking at a conference, you’ll likely catch me at local meetups presenting a similar talk to gain feedback. Sorry not sorry.

Stop Freelancing, Completely

Yes, you read that right! Freelancing has been great, but in order to further optimize the use of time (and brain power), I will no longer be working on projects that are not of the essence. I have a few active commitments that are fine candidates for the use of my spare time – and that’s how I’d like to keep it. To prevent overcommitting, I am closing the door completely.

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I am excited to see what the new year brings. To 2016 and beyond!

Gradient Text, Borders and Backgrounds for Buttons

Working with Trillectro has resulted in the use of a lot of gradients. After exploring a few different button styles, I came up with a good solution for gradient ghost buttons with gradient text. To make my life easier, I created a couple of Sass mixins that would allow me to reuse those styles throughout the project when needed.

When creating a class for gradient text, it is best to apply it to a <span> tag so that the gradient is clipped only to the text itself. The pen below shows how those styles are used.

I created a gist to host the mixins along with simple directions on how to use them.

These mixins are best used with Autoprefixer or your favorite postprocessor for cross-browser compatibility.

Enjoy!

On Good Starting Points

I oftentimes find myself wondering where to start when I am interested in learning about a subject or adding something new into my daily routine. Whether its my intention to try out a new framework, start a book or get back in the boxing gym, there is a constant internal battle of when or how to start. I begin to overthink what it is that I want to accomplish, making the thing more intimidating than it actually is. Don’t allow your search for a good starting point hold you back from starting something today.

If you find yourself struggling to figure out where to start, remind yourself to:

  1. Think in sprints.
  2. Don’t look a week ahead, look at the now.
  3. Create small, actionable to-do lists.
  4. Be precise. Generalities create larger tasks.
  5. Spend less time organizing and more time doing the thing.

Searching for a good starting point will stop you from starting at all. The best starting point is personal accountability and actionable tasks – no matter how big or small.