Puppy Coming Home Saturday

I am so excited, because I am finally getting a puppy. He is 8 weeks old and I will be bringing him home on Saturday. He is a chocolate lab, and I'm naming him Rafe. Kevin has been out of town, which has left we with plenty of time to shop for pet supplies without him complaining. I am actually surprised by how stressed out I am about whether I will be a good Mom to this tiny little dog. I'm sure it will be fine, and I mainly just can't wait to get him and snuggle with him and pet him for hours on end. That's probably what I'll do all weekend, while I work with my Dad on building the gates in the backyard.

In other news, I just signed up for the Six Hour Startup Conference on May 31st. I'm looking forward to it on multiple levels. I haven't really gone to any kind of networking anything since I started working at Pelago, mostly because I've been so busy and when so much was under wraps it wasn't much fun not being able to talk to people about what we're doing. This conference will undoubtedly be more fun than the stuffy talks I attended for the Transportation Alliance, Port Authority, Seattle Chamber of Commerce, etc in previous work experiences. The speakers including Tony Wright, co-founder of RescueTime - who I have blogged about here, and whose product I still use daily. Most importantly, I am looking forward to meeting new people. I don't have a business idea to pitch, I am really more in information gathering and learning mode, so it will be interesting to soak as much in as possible and look to make meaningful contact with people that might be resources in the learning process or just interesting to befriend in general.

I promise, puppy pictures soon.


I Love My House

Its so important to like where you live, whenever possible. Here's where I live.
We moved here on Halloween last year. Kevin even went to Costco and got some king size candy bars (to match the size of the chimney?) but the kids never came by and we still have the candy bars somewhere.
I worked from home today, and it got me to reflect on how much I love my house and how happy I am to finally be living somewhere that is just so... me.


Mint.com - How Refreshing

Last night I finally got all of our household accounts updating in my Mint.com account and it was so easy!

I had been procrastinating really getting myself set up with Mint.com because, in my past experiences with Quicken and MS Money, the process could literally take days. Time spent digging up statements and account numbers and old balances, all in an effort to get everything organized enough to actually pull useful data. Then even more time spent categorizing all my transactions so that my trending and budgets would work.

There are many features that make Mint a joy to use, such as the ability to load multiple accounts at the same time. It is very accurate with the categorization of my expenses so I don't have to do much fixing, unless the credit card company or the vendor have something strange on my statement. My one complaint is the navigation of the site. When I deep dive into the details of a transaction from the trending graphs I can't use the back button to go back to the graph I was using before, which is usually a drill-down pie chart into one of the main categories. I have to go back through the "Trends" tab and drill down again. I find this to be time consuming and wasted clicks for me.

I got an email today from Mint.com offering me an RSVP for a private beta they will be doing soon that includes 401k, IRA, and other investment and savings accounts that they don't include right now. I'm looking forward to that. I also hope they will soon have more trending tools for the income side of the equation and not just the expenses. I'd like to be able to look at how our household income is trending over time.


Gift Cards Are The Way To Go

Today is mother's day and we gave my mom-in-law gift cards - and, as usual, she was thrilled! She has a very interesting gift-giving policy, which it has taken me about three years to finally begin to appreciate. Today I saw the light.

For every holiday, my mom-in-law tells all of us exactly what she wants as a gift. Not just an idea or a suggestion; no, she is expecting to get exactly the gift she has asked for no more, no less. If she doesn't get it, she isn't even that nice about it, and I've come to realize that this policy has existed in my husband's family for a long time and is seen as a rule. At first, I disliked it because I felt like it took everything that was personal and heartfelt out of selecting and giving gifts, not to mention fun. I mean, how many different ways are there to dress up an envelope containing a few pieces of symbolic plastic? Now, as I begin to accumulate well-intended clutter, I am beginning to see things from the other side more clearly.

Take Easter for example, where people often give cute bunny rabbit stuffed animals. Easter comes every year, without fail, and if someone gives me a stuffed bunny every year and I'm on of those insane people who feels like they can't throw anything away (read: my mom-in-law) then I am going to end up storing a lot of bunnies in my guest bedroom closet.

We've come into a culture of choice - where people like me can afford to buy their own luxury items and would prefer to do so. The best gifts I can think of are ones that are perishable like flowers, chocolates, food, and drink. Another great gift is experiences (movie/concert tickets, bed and breakfast gift certificates). These are the things that I don't tend to splurge on as much as I should with my hectic schedule.

So what does this mean? Why have we changed so much?


Go Play with Whrrl Right Now - New Features!!

This morning was like Christmas morning. I went to bed last night, but plenty of other people around the office were up all night working on the final touches of the latest and greatest version of Whrrl. I've settled in at my desk this morning and played with the new features, and I am so excited to tell all my friends to come on back and check it out all over again.

Don't miss these new details:

Quick and easy ways to indicate you have been to a place/event, or want to go. If someone says "I want to go to Red Door" and you view this note in your feed, you can indicate you also want to go in two clicks. From place detail pages, it is just one click.

7 new metro areas covered in that drop down menu on your profile page: Miami, Kansas City, Portland, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Denver

Tons of event data - movies, concerts, and more - as was mentioned in a press release earlier this week. I'm going to try and check out an event at the Seattle Public Library this afternoon for a little while, and maybe also go to a tasting at the Seattle Art Museum. I used to have to get the newspaper and go through it for worthwhile events, this is SO much better.

Disclaimer: I work for Pelago, the makers of Whrrl, so I am pretty proudly biased. Also, any opinions expressed in this blog are mine only and are not necessarily endorsed by Pelago. Check out the official Pelago blog