Surprise Cameras!

Last weekend I attended “Hack MS”, a hackathon aimed at reducing stress for people with Multiple Sclerosis. My mom has MS, so I decided to finally attend a “proper” hackathon (as opposed to hack days, givecamp, etc). I’m happy with the product I ended up with, and extra happy that my teammate was OK with releasing it open source… but overall I don’t think I want to do this again.

As soon as I got there, I was immediately asked to sign a video/photo release form, and it was pretty clear that there was no way to say “I’m not okay with this”. There was no explanation what the video was going to be used for, and everything screamed “marketing.” (I was too flustered to ask that night, but I did ask the next morning, and yes, it was for marketing- but I’m still not sure if it’s marketing for Biogen Idec or Hack 2.0)

I don’t particularly like to be on camera. I never know what I should be doing, I become immediately over-conscious of every movement I make, and I can’t focus on what I was just doing*. Not a great mindset when I’m trying to create a functional product in a day.

There are of course other reasons someone might not want to be on camera (detailed at Geek Feminism Wiki), and when it came down to it the photographer and videographer were definitely professional (I wasn’t followed around or anything). But it still made me uncomfortable, because in addition to how anxious it made me, I was also wondering how much focus I’d get as one of the few women at the event. Since I have no insight into how the organizers chose photos to use, I can only guess, but my photo did in fact end up on the website.

In the end, I left some comments and links in their post-event survey, so maybe cameras will be less prominent at the next event, or there will be a clear way to opt out.

* The only exception to this is when I’m giving a presentation, like at a WordCamp (or even the project presentations at the end of the weekend). There I’m already in the mindset for people watching me, and it doesn’t put me on edge the same way.


Champagne Jello Cups

Everyone likes a little Jello sometimes, right? There’s just something so fun about it.

They’re more fun when you step away from the uber-sweet Jello brand & make your own flavors… and everything’s better with a little booze, right?

(no, I’m not going to talk about the kind of Jello shots you make in college to hide the taste of terrible rum or vodka…)

These are champagne jello shots.

photo 2

I made them for a New Years’s party, and they were great.

I knew immediately that I wanted to serve them in tiny champagne glasses. After confirming such a thing existed (2oz glasses from party city, yay), I went searching through almost a dozen recipes. None hit exactly what I wanted, but in the end I mostly followed this recipe.

I was worried about them being too sweet and not bubbly enough, so I swapped out the sugar for a half-cup of ginger ale. This worked for me - since I didn’t plan on making the “jigglers” shapes, I could get away with adding more liquid.

My final recipe was this:

Champagne Jello Cups

  • Servings: 40-50 2oz cups
  • Time: 30min, overnight to set
  • Print


  • 1 bottle champagne
  • 1/2 cup peach schnapps
  • 1/2 cup ginger ale
  • 4 envelopes Knox gelatin
  • 1 small splash vanilla extract
  • Flat tray to set jello in


  1. Mix about 2 cups of champagne and 4 packets of gelatin together, and let sit for about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Heat mixture until the gelatin dissolves. This will smell pretty weird, but it’s not strong. Don’t let it boil.
  3. Add vanilla & take off heat.
  4. In another bowl, combine the rest of the champagne, peach schnapps, and ginger ale (I used the tray I was setting the jello in, since it wasn’t very shallow).
  5. Mix in the gelatin concoction, stirring gently to keep the mixture carbonated.
  6. Pour into your pan (if not there already), and refrigerate overnight or until set - I left mine at least 20hrs.
  7. Once at the party, I chopped up the pan into cubes and served them in the cups. We ended up with at least 40, maybe more? We kept refilling cups, and people kept eating them :)

It didn’t keep as much of the carbonated “flavor” as I was hoping, but the champagne taste was definitely there. I also bought a gold sugar I was going to sprinkle on for the sparkling texture, but in the flurry to get to the party, I forgot it. They were totally fine without it - overall a big hit.

I wonder what I’ll do for the next party?


What an exciting day!

  • I started my first day at Automattic! I’m on my support rotation now, but once I finish up I’ll be a Code Wrangler on VaultPress.
  • Umbra, a theme I developed that I’m really excited about, launched on
  • Another theme I worked on, Museum, was launched on! (You can also get it on
  • Flatfish, made by Michael Arestad, was launched on - the first published child theme of any of my themes :)

New (school) year’s resolutions

I always end up making “new years resolutions” in September. It was a habit that made sense to me as a student — “this semester I’ll actually get up early enough for proper breakfast!” was a common theme (one which almost never stuck past that first week, except for some reason the semester I had an 8am electronics lab). I’ve continued with this habit past college mostly because I’ve still been moving every fall— Sept ’12 I moved to Boston, and this August/September I moved to Cambridge (thankfully not on Sept 1st— never move on Sept 1 in Boston if you can avoid it). I also started at 10up a year ago (on wednesday, to be exact). So September’s always been more of a month of change than January — even the weather starts to change (more so than December → January in the northeast, anyway).

So I make my resolutions now. Read more