July 2017

This month for The Hill I wrote a lot about John Kelly – 5 random facts to know and hopes for his tenure as White House chief of staff – about politicians at San Diego Comic Con (although attending is still on my bucket list) and a Maryland restaurant’s new burger mocking Donald Trump Jr.

And then I reported some stuff.

Unlike Obama, Trump Is Getting Little Love From The District’s Restaurants
DCist – July 28, 2017

Former President Barack Obama liked to eat out—everywhere from fancy sit-down restaurants to Taylor Gourmet.

Jill Stein looped into widening investigation of Russia and Trump Jr. connections
The Hill – 07/22/17

Third party candidate Jill Stein was a surprising addition this week to investigators casting an increasingly wide net in the congressional probe into Russian interference in the presidential campaign.

After White House communication team shake up, Trump still tweeting
The Hill – 07/22/17

President Trump took to one of his favorite communication tools again on Saturday in a vociferous storm of tweets that seemed to make clear his new communication staff will not be tamping down his use of Twitter.

Bipartisan beer caucus hops into debate over tax reform
The Hill – 07/20/17

A surprising cause might play a role in bipartisan tax reform later this year: beer.

 

April 2017

In other updates, I relocated this month back to Washington, D.C. where I will be an editor at The Hill newspaper. I shared my thoughts on returning and the 2017 White House Correspondents Dinner over at Medium.

Self-Care Doesn’t Mean Self-Centered
Relevant Magazine – April 17

“This should be required, for life,” the woman next to me declared to the rest of the locker room.
I went to a hot springs for New Year’s Eve. It wasn’t easy to get there, and it wasn’t a cheap overnight trip, but I did it because the week around New Years has been difficult for me the last two years. I needed to be somewhere new doing something I enjoyed.

Feb/March 2017

This spring I’ve been spokesman more often than I’ve written. But also! I held a baby bear and wrote about it for work.

My church taught me that my virginity was ‘lost’. But I am re-choosing abstinence.
The Washington Post – February 15, 2017

I am not ashamed of my sexual experiences.

That is a revolutionary statement for an unmarried woman raised in evangelical churches at the height of “purity culture,” when the definitive book for teens to read was Josh Harris’s “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” I’ve had sex, and I’m not married, and I am not ashamed.

And yet, for now, I’ve re-chosen abstinence.

January 2017

I’m light on content this month! I did also contribute to the list of Denver’s best new bars in the February issue of 5280 Magazine.

8 ways training for a triathlon made me a better dater
Washington Post – January 31, 2017

To prepare for a sprint triathlon last year, I got a coach, signed up for a gym with a pool and threw myself into training. It became a daily framework and began to overlap with the rest of my life. Swimming was my weakest sport. I wasn’t about to drown, but six months before my race, I was still just flailing around.

Which, if I’m being honest, is also a fair summary of my dating life.

December 2016

This month, I also contributed a book idea (SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal) to Christianity Today‘s list of 21 Books Worth Giving as Christmas Gifts.

‘La La Land’ Dances Between Love and Calling
Christianity Today Women – December 14, 2016

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing.”

Hollywood takes a different stance. On-screen love stories bring us dramatic clichés: happily-ever-afters, grand gestures that save the day, and sobbing protagonists railing against whatever tragic external obstacle drove them apart.

Don’t Miss: Denver’s Jerry Thomas Celebration
5280 Magazine – December 12, 2016

If you’ve never tried it, this week is the perfect time to taste and explore genever, a malted, juniper-forward, neutral grain-based spirit known as “the granddaddy of gin,” or sometimes as Holland or Dutch gin. Avanti Food & Beverage, Guard and Grace, Mister Tuna, Williams & Graham, the Way Back, and the Terminal Bar in Union Station are all offering special genever-based cocktails December 12 through 16.

November 2016

8 Expert Pie and Beer Combinations
5280 Magazine – November 2016

Could there be anything better than the profusion of pies at Thanksgiving? We’re glad you asked, because it turns out that craft brews and pie can be symbiotic dessert partners: Beer has residual sugars that often pair better with seasonal slices than most wines. “In pie and beer pairings, take into account three things: harmonies, flavor elements, and intensity,” says Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Boulder-based Brewers Association. What does all that mean? Similar flavors in the pie and beer result in harmony. Fruit or floral notes in an IPA would work well with a fruit pie; a nutty brown ale would pair best with a nut or spice pie. Flavor elements are factors of taste that include aroma and mouthfeel. Intensity means the richness of the pie and the alcohol content in the beer.

Soak, Explore, Repeat
5280 Magazine – November 2016

This summer, Colorado’s tourism gurus designated a 720-mile circuit of 19 naturally heated soaking spots as the Historic Hot Springs Loop. Of course, nothing goes better with hot than, well, cold. To that end, we’ve put together five hot springs and winter adventure combinations in some of our favorite locations.

Why is Blue Apron single-shaming me? Meal kits don’t work for solo chefs.
The Washington Post’s Solo-ish – Nov 1

The plastic containers of meals, such as steak frites and coconut-poached fish with bok choy fried rice, are piling up in my fridge, and they are a little too fancy to pack for work lunches, where they would suffer the fate of the microwave.

Oscar Watch: La La Land’s Director Damien Chazelle & Star Emma Stone on Their Moving Musical
The Credits/Where to Watch – Nov. 7

Oscar-nominated writer/director Damien Chazelle set out to make a genre film with La La Land. Inspired by classic song-and-dance movies such as Singin’ in the Rain and Swing Time, he wanted to create an old-fashioned musical but “keep it grounded” in realism and contemporary Los Angeles.

How Arrival’s Production Designer Created an Alien Language
The Credits/Where to Watch – Nov. 7

Oscar-nominated production designer Patrice Vermette was tasked with creating an alien language for the new movie Arrival — and although he started by studying the languages used in other films about alien invasion, he ended up “reverse engineering” the language that Amy Adams uses to communicate with the invaders in the new film (in theaters Nov. 10). Vermette took a feelings-first approach to crafting the alien language by thinking about what it said to the audience without words.

From Storyboard to Screen: Behind the Scenes of Disney’s Moana
The Credits/Where to Watch – Nov. 21

Disney is in on the joke about “princess movies” in the new animated feature Moana (in theaters Nov. 23). In the film, a road trip by sea in which a young Polynesian woman named Moana leaves her island home to find the demi-god Maui and return a lost object to its right home, there is more than one joke about the title character’s princess credentials.

Women Afield: My First Pheasant Hunt
Colorado Outdoors Online – November 16

The first time in my life I’ve held a shotgun is also the first time I’ve hunted. On a cold and clear morning in November, I joined thirteen other women for a Women Afield pheasant hunt organized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

October 2016

One of my articles this month made a grown man cry. I’ll just let you guess which one it is.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail didn’t cure my depression—but it did change my life
Quartz – Oct. 5, 2016

For five minutes late on a Friday afternoon, I was completely lost somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. I could not see or hear my friend Ruth, who should have been just behind me on the other side of the ridge. Or the ridge before that. I had crossed a lot of such ridges, thinking I would catch sight of the lake just over the next one.

A (Road) Trip Back in Time
5280 Magazine – October issue

With all the new construction in Denver, it’s easy to forget that Coloradans find value in old things, too. There’s no better time to remember than this month, which marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and the creation of the National Register of Historic Places. (Locations designated as historic places are eligible for preservation grants and tax credits.) The register lists notable sites such as Pikes Peak and the Stanley Hotel plus many lesser-known—and thus, less crowded—landmarks worth a visit. We’ve sifted through more than 1,500 Colorado properties and districts and charted your four-stop journey through the past—no DeLorean necessary.

5 Local Beers to Seek Out at GABF
5280.com – Oct. 6, 2016

The Great American Beer Festival is once again upon us, running from October 6 to 8 in downtown Denver. As you walk inside the Colorado Convention Center, pretzels draped around your neck, you might be awestruck and even overwhelmed by all the boozy options that await you—more than 3,500 brews, to be exact.

DenverStartupWeek.org

Assumption: DenverStartupWeek.org is not user friendly

Problem statement: Users need better navigation on DenverStartupWeek.org in order to increase attendance


standing-man-holding-a-book_318-62741
Who uses DenverStartupWeek.org?

  • Tech curious, early(ish) adopter
  • Reads Wired, NYT, keeps up on some tech theory
  • Not a browser; looking for something specific quickly
  • Job seeker or career climber
  • Uses tech/software/internet in daily work

Interviews:

Ramsay

  • Problem: navigation, finding specific courses, hard to/understand find tracks
  • Observed while watching use: a lot of scrolling, “where did that drop down come from”
  • Possible solution: key on same page

Jessie

  • Used to apply for sponsorship, couldn’t check status of application
  • Site didn’t recognize her (no history)
  • “Nearly impossible to find anything” 

2016 website (UX/UI Design by Guiceworks):

screenshot-2016-09-22-at-7-21-17-am screenshot-2016-09-22-at-7-21-35-am menu

Lo-fi Prototypes:

Airline customer service experience

Client: Hypothetical
Student exercise at General Assembly User Experience Design Bootcamp (October 2016)
Teacher: Amara Hulslander, Amazon.com

Users: Frequent travelers
Persona: “Frequent but harried traveler”
Travels 6-12 times per year divided between business and personal reasons 25-35 years old
Lives in or near city
Employed FT
Has had bad customer service interaction(s)
May have rewards program through work
Lacks time – expects to find information fast
Wants to control own schedule

Interviews:

Mike

  • Most recent flight (DIA to Seattle via Delta): Good experience because of minimal interaction with airline
  • Avoided customer service
  • Checked in online
  • Most recent bad flight experience (DIA to Nicaragua via United): Flight canceled
  • Waited in line at customer service desk, received no explanation
  • Could not get through to customer service phone line

Andrea

  • Most recent flight (DIA to Arkansas via United): Chose airline because of points program through work
  • Made reservation on website in order to better compare flights/price
  • But used app at airport after checking in
  • Frustrated by having to use multiple tools to accomplish one task

Problem statement: Regular traveler needs a way to interact with customer service with minimal frustration because s/he is currently avoiding customer service interaction.

Assumption: Lack of communication prevents Regular Traveler from becoming a loyal, repeat airline customer.

Flow chart:

img_20161009_111619768

Original wireframes (used Marvel App):