Follow Friday: @BostonOnBudget & @alexisgrant

by Jess Faulk

This week I wanted to share with you two women that I have recently found on the internet who I think are amazing.  They are not only smart and resourceful women, but they are committed to sharing what they know with everyone else in the world.  Their entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring and I am amazed by what they accomplished once they put their mind to it.

@alexisgrant describes herself as “entrepreneurial writer and digital strategist, with a focus on careers and the workplace.”  I found her website when I was searching the web to help a friend try to figure out how much she should charge for her time as a freelance social media and newsletter editor.  It’s hard to know how much your time is worth and what the ‘right’ amount is to charge to make sure you are valued and still be reasonable.  As women, I think it is particularly hard for many of us to name our value, which is why so few of us ask for raises.  Alexis Grant’s site focuses on helping people live the life they want to live by giving career advice, and sharing an amazing amount of resources.   I was particularly impressed with her page on “Awesome Resources for Building a Business, Blog, or Brand

@BostonOnBudget was started by Kate in the summer of 2012 as a way to share with others cheap or free things to do around the city.  Her website is so extensive that it had everything from college discounts to what do do that is free this weekend.  She has clearly taken a hobby to the next level to help so many others.  If you live in or around Boston you should DEFINITELY follow Kate!

I hope you find these women as inspirational as I did!


Follow Friday: @BostonOnBudget & @alexisgrant

App Highlight: Key Ring

By Valerie Heruska

Recently, I joined Boston Sports Club. When I joined, and like other gyms that came before it, they gave me a pesky plastic tag to put on my keys. This tag has my barcode membership on it and will allow me access to my gym.

I hate plastic key tags. With a passion.

The membership coordinator who helped me out that day told me about an App for my smartphone called: key ring. He said that all I need to do is download it for free and them scan the barcode of my card. Simple.

I immediately went home and downloaded this app. Let me tell you: this app is amazing. Not only am I amble to put my gym key tag on there, but all my loyalty cards: ranging from grocery stores to clothing stores and everything in between.

The app is simple. All you do is scan the barcode and then tap add new. You search the list of merchants and then select the corresponding store. Bonus: you get coupons and fliers updated weekly. For example, CVS will add the most up-to-date flier and store deals on there. There are also coupons, and the ability to make lists.

Key Ring is a great app for anyone who has a ton of those pesky loyalty cards that are just taking up space in your wallet or on your keys. A disclaimer is that some scanners can only read the barcode if your screen brightness is all the way up. Other than that, the app is simple to use and a life changer.


App Highlight: Key Ring

Linkage Love: Email and Out of the Office

By Brenda Bethman

IMG_0647As you know from my last post, I have travel on the brain right now (even more so now, since I leave in 10 days). I’ve also been out of the office a fair amount during the last month or so due to illness and travel, so this article in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. Author Melissa Korn notes that despite a clearly-stated out-of-office message, some folks nonetheless emailed repeatedly during the time she’d stated she would be out of the office:

“I was horrified to see at least four or five notes following up on emails that had only been sent a day or two earlier–when my out-of-office response was already switched on. The senders knew I was out, yet they still felt the need to send another note, asking why I didn’t respond. One went so far as to send a text message to my personal cellphone after receiving my automatic reply, convinced that her news was too important to wait. (It wasn’t.)”

I also noticed this when I was out of the office with bronchitis in late April/early May. Despite an out-of-office reply that basically said “I’m sick and will read your email when I feel human again,” many students emailed daily with their queries. This also happened during spring break, with one student going so far as to find my cell phone number and texting me (no, that did not go down well).

Of course, part of the reason folks repeatedly email is because they assume that “out of office” doesn’t actually mean anything as many folks (like Korn did) continue to check their email when on vacation or ill, as this article on CNBC points out (“How the Smartphone Killed the Three-Day Weekend“).

To get around this expectation, danah boyd developed what she calls an “email sabbatical” and more folks are declaring “email bankruptcy” upon their return.

As student affairs professionals, it’s easy for us to lose boundaries as Stacy Oliver pointed out last summer but time off (especially after the craziness of April and May) is essential. Even I, notorious for my email habits, turned off last summer and this past Memorial Day weekend. The challenge I’m now finding is getting others to recognize that I really do mean it when I say I’m out of the office. But I’m hopeful that it will take as I prepare for my summer travels.

What about you? How do you turn off? And get others to respect your boundaries when you do?


Linkage Love: Email and Out of the Office

On My Radar: A Few Tech-Related Items

By Anitra Cottledge

I’m still feeling fuzzy from the semester and its ending, and am just getting around to my usual routine of clicking around the intrawebz. A few technology-related items that caught my eye:

  • I’m Out of the Office. No, Really. I Am. – This article poses the question: “Is the out-of-office message meaningless?” Not to me. I don’t have a problem not checking my email when I’m away from the office. I used to have my email synced to my phone…for about two hours and then I just wanted people to pelt me with an endless stream of gummi bears.
  • #Hashtags: Facebook’s missing link to pop culture – So Facebook is missing out on cool points because it doesn’t have a hashtag mechanism? I suppose this is true. One part of me says, “What the big deal? I use hashtags on Facebook anyway, even if they aren’t live.” But then again, hashtags are useful on Twitter, particularly when you’re trying to follow a conversation. Then again, I don’t use Twitter in the same way that I use Facebook, so I’m not sure that I would want the same hashtag functionality on Facebook as I have on Twitter.
  • Tools for Displaying Tweets at Your Event – Some new and useful tools that could come in handy for those of us in Student Affairs, who tend to plan lots of programs and events, and may want fresh ideas about how to integrate technology into our programs.
  • Facebook Rape Campaign Ignites Twitter: Boycott Threats From #FBrape Get Advertisers’ Attention – When Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of WAM (Women, Action, & the Media), Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, and Soraya Chemaly, feminist writer and activist, write an open letter to Facebook asking that it take action on “pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about.”

What are you reading?

On My Radar: A Few Tech-Related Items

Follow Friday

by Kristen Abell

As someone who has been on the interwebs for a while now, I have a few people that I follow/read/converse with that I want to share with you. For previous #FF posts, check out my blog on content curation follows and strong women follows.

Today, I’m going to go a little more random (are you really surprised?) and highlight a few folks that I follow without rhyme or reason – um, except I do have reasons, which I’ll list below.

First of all, if you haven’t checked out Hyperbole and a Half, you are totally missing out. This is an incredibly written and illustrated blog by a woman that struggles with depression, and she nails it every. damn. time. She doesn’t always write very often – hey, when you’re struggling with depression, who feels like writing? – but when she does, it is awesome. Well worth a read if you have a chance. Or even if you don’t.

Another extraordinarily creative blog that blends illustration and writing is Sue Caulfield’s One Doodle at a Time. I love both Sue’s art (seriously, I’m going to have to buy a piece from her some day) and the way she uses it to draw parallels to her life or to her work in student affairs. Simultaneously creative and insightful, Sue’s work is definitely something to check out.

If you haven’t connected with Kelley McCarthy on Twitter or elsewhere yet, I can honestly say you are missing out. Kelley is a first-year professional that doesn’t just use Twitter to share information but also to really connect with the people she follows and who follow her. I feel extremely fortunate to have developed enough of a relationship with Kelley that we’re on texting terms, and I’m currently in the process of teaching her about some “old school” music faves of mine (who knew I was old school, right?). But what I appreciate most about her is her unfailing support and frequent check-ins – even if it’s just to say “hey” or “hope you’ve had a good day!”

Who are you following?

Follow Friday

Highlight a Woman: Lisa Endersby!

By Kathryn Magura

I seem to be highlighting a lot of awesome people through this blog lately, which just makes my top Strength of Individualization immensely happy. This week I have the pleasure of writing a Highlight a Woman post, and the first thing I did was search through all our previous highlights to make sure I would highlight someone who has not been mentioned here before. To my surprise, the one and only Ms. Lisa Endersby has never been featured in this series! Whelp, that glitch is about to get fixed!

How do you describe Lisa? Not sure there are words that can give Lisa’s energy justice. I first connected with Lisa via the #sachat community on Twitter, and was immediately struck by two things: 1). Lisa’s ability to reach out and engage with a variety of people about any number of topics. and 2). How much fun Lisa has in everything she does.

This past winter, Lisa had the opportunity to to speak at a TEDx event in Toronto. If you have not had a chance to watch her talk, I encourage you to spend the next 14 minutes watching this video:

“How will you dare to teach today?” SO GOOD!

Lisa prides herself on being a life-long learner, and I think this spirit of learning is infectious to all who have the chance to interact with her. I encourage you to spend some time reading through Lisa’s blog and taking some time to learn from a talented Student Affairs professional.

Highlight a Woman: Lisa Endersby!

Linkage Love – 10 Tech Crafts to get Creative With

by Jennifer Keegin

Like most of us, graduation has come and gone recently and now we have some breathing room. Maybe. Just Maybe – you have time for some TECH CRAFTS. Here’s a list of some great craft type items that you may feel compelled to work on this summer.

  1. Make fonts from your own handwriting.
  2. Add Pinterest mouse over buttons to your website’s photos.
  3. Create your own wallpapers for your desktop and laptop. Consider making an organizational wallpaper and share it with our readers.
  4. Wrap your phone charger in cuteness.
  5. Friendship Bracelets meet tangle-free headphones. Or just wrap your cords to make them cooler.
  6. Turn your cell phone photos into tiny Polaroid photo magnets!
  7. Make your own charging cell phone holder out of a shampoo bottle.
  8. If you can sew, make a circle zip earbud pouch keychain. Then make one for me.
  9. Cross-Stitch yourself a phone cover.
  10. There’s even a tech case kit for kids (or adults who like owls) to make.

Till next time – have fun crafting. Share with us any cool tech craft type projects you are working on this summer!

Linkage Love – 10 Tech Crafts to get Creative With

Festivals and Concerts, Google Calendar Sharing:

by Jess Faulk

For the last seven summers that I’ve lived in the wonderful city of Boston, I have sought out every free festival, movie, and concert in town and logged it into a Google calendar.  I just can’t stand the idea of something amazing (and free) happening and me not knowing about it.  Seriously, I get upset when I find out after the fact that I didn’t know about some awesome event.

For those of you who have read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, you probably recognize me as a Maven.  The person who takes it on as their personal responsibility to gather massive amounts of information and then pass on knowledge to others.  Each May, I pull up every bit of information I can find from web and print sources and feed them into a public Google calendar and share it with the world.  I have 50+ Google subscribers.  I share the calendar widely, hoping that the information I pull together benefits others.  If I can’t make it to a wonderful event, I really want other people to!!

Boston Summer Calendar

How to make your own calendar:

  • To make it easier to share, I set up a for my annual Boston Summer Calendar:

  • In the “description” section of the event, I copy and paste whatever information I find online.  Ideally, a short summary of the event itself.  I also copy and paste the link to event itself if possible, and if not available, a link to the source where I found the information.

  • When possible, I put in exact times of the events so someone can easily see whether they will be able to make it to multiple events in one day.

  • In the “title” area I write in a dollar amount if it is not free and if the title is short enough, the city or suburb where it is taking place.

  • Because I am a movie buff, I also take the time to plug in all of the best summer movie premieres too.

This year, I am taking my information gathering to a new level.  I have made a public Google document which lists all of the websites I used to gather events.  Not only will this make my job easier year after year, but it allows folks to go deeper into any of the venues or city sites that they are interested in.  You can see my source listing (50+ sites) at

Amazing things happening in your city this summer?  Then take some time while watching a movie (or two or three) to fill up a public Google calendar and share the wealth of knowledge.

Festivals and Concerts, Google Calendar Sharing:

Follow Friday: Laura Lambeth

By Kathryn Magura

Hello everyone! It is my pleasure to have the first post in our new “Follow Friday” series. Through these posts, we hope to introduce you to  people on Twitter who inspire us, blogs that influence us, or things that we like that we think you may like too. 🙂

For the inaugural “Follow Friday” post, I would like to recognize someone I first met when she was a Student Affairs graduate student, but am fortunate to now be able to call my friend, Laura Lambeth.

Laura epitomizes an authentic Student Affairs professional in my mind. Laura is kind, funny, caring and sincere. When you read her tweets, you get the feeling that she is an impassioned learner who enjoys giving back to her community. I don’t remember how I first came to follow Laura back when she was a graduate student at Texas Tech (it probably had something to do with #TallPeopleProblems), but I remember being impressed that a young professional seemed so incredibly wise beyond her years.

After graduating, Laura took a position with the University of Washington Housing and Food Services, and I was excited to learn that she would be moving back to my corner of the country. Soon thereafter, I actually got to meet Laura in person (or IRL, as we say on the internet) and she was just as amazing in person as she is online (except for taller). Laura and I got to hang out at the NWACUHO this past February, and had the opportunity to truly get to know each other better. It was a wonderful experience to meet someone first via a social networking community, and then be able to meet them in person and be able to call them your friend.

If you want insights on working with college students, with a dab of wit and humor, I recommend following Laura Lambeth on Twitter.

Follow Friday: Laura Lambeth

Best Practices/Making Life Easier: Travel Apps and Tech

By Brenda Bethman

It’s finals week here at UMKC. Combine that with what has become a fairly intense travel schedule, and I’ve got summer travel on the brain. This summer, I’ve got three trips coming up — taking students to St. Louis in May, a seminar in Germany in June, and a vacation in Wisconsin in July. Arranging and keeping track of all the details for those trips requires some assistance from technology, so for this edition of Best Practices, I want to highlight the apps I use to keep track of everything, as well as a couple of non tech helpers I use to make travel easier.

Apps and Websites

First the apps and websites — when making reservations, I rely on several sites for researching prices and then booking flights, hotels, etc. For flights (and more), I like both Expedia and Travelocity, and use both their websites and apps. I’m also a big fan of, as I find their recommendations and reviews to generally be solid (I found two of my favorite places to stay in Frankfurt through

Hands down, my all-time favorite travel app — and the one that truly does make my life easier is TripIt. Available as a website, iPhone/iPad, Windows, Blackberry and Android apps, TripIt is the one-stop shop for storing all your travel information.


TripIt Welcome Screen
TripIt Welcome Screen

TripIt syncs between the website and my iPad/iPhone, so I always have the information for all my upcoming trips available. You can also set it up to auto import from an email account or simply forward emails to an address that then imports the information into the appropriate trip or creates a new one. TripIt will accurately import from most major airlines, hotels, etc., as well as OpenTable reservations. For some smaller companies, you may need to manually add the information. Since using TripIt, I no longer print out and carry a bunch of paper confirmations — it’s all on my phone.

TripIt also syncs with other travel apps and websites, including FlightTrack Pro, GateGuru, and TripDeck (just to mention a few). There’s calendar integration and social sharing (in case you want your Facebook friends to know your comings and goings) as well.

My other go-to travel apps (both of which sync with TripIt), are FlightTrack Pro and GateGuru:

Track your flights and find something to eat with travel apps
Track your flights and find something to eat with travel apps

As its name implies, FlightTrack Pro tracks your flights for you — need to know if your flight is on time or delayed? What gate it’s at? Just check the app and all the information you need is there. You can import flights from your TripIt trips or add manually. GateGuru is an airport directory on your phone, so when you’re delayed at that airport you’ve never been at before, you can find the bar closest to your gate (or food, or shop to pick up that last-minute souvenir for the folks at home). GateGuru also has reviews and has saved me from bad food on more than one occasion. Recent updates have added the ability to integrate with social media as well as the ability to check in on Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare from the app.

Organizing Your Tech

As I’ve mentioned here before (see here and here), I tend to travel with a fair amount of technology, which unfortunately means carrying a lot of small items (cords, chargers, dongles, etc.). Recently I’ve found two items that make traveling with all of those small items a LOT easier: Tom Bihn’s Clear Organizer Pouches and their Travel Tray. I use the pouch to carry all my cables and chargers, and the travel tray to get my phone, jewelry, etc. through security without losing things and as a place to keep loose items in the hotel room (again without losing or forgetting them).

Tom Bihn Travel Tray (in purple, of course)
Tom Bihn Travel Tray (in purple, of course)

The travel tray, in particular, really does make my traveling life much easier. I only wish I’d bought one sooner.

What about you? What tech or non tech essentials do you use to make traveling easier? Let us know in the comments!

Best Practices/Making Life Easier: Travel Apps and Tech