Fall lovin’

When it comes to pizza quattro stagione is usually my go-to but in a non food-related sense the only stagione I need is autunno- autumn! In my ideal world it would be autumn every single day of the year. Perpetual Indian summer – crisp weather, sunny skies, vibrantly coloured leaves of saturated reds, copper orange and golden yellows, hearty soups, and pumpkin EVERYTHING – what more could you ask for?

Beautiful scenery on the I-90 en route to BostonBeautiful scenery on the I-90 en route to Boston
The first sign of fall in TorontoThe first sign of fall in Toronto

I’ve always had a certain fondness of fall, not just because of its associated beauty, but also because of all its related events. Back in my more youthful days (as I am now a haggard old cat lady, minus the cat) I always had so much to look forward to in the fall. While other people mourned the end of the summer I embraced what was around the corner: Birthdays galore, Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving, Halloween. I haven’t kept secret how much my friends and family mean to me so I think that fall holds a special place in my heart because I’ve always associated it with a time of reconnection. No matter where my friends and I are we can always count on October bringing us all back together for one event or another. And I mean, when these reunions are accompanied with things like pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and wursts you can see why I’d be on cloud 9, right? Now that I’m across the Atlantic and with friends having grown-up commitments (i.e. babies, babies, babies!) these reunions are a little more difficult to organize but it’s still nice to have the association, to reminisce, and to still be thankful of all that’s good in my life. I’ve noticed a spike in Skype calls and instant messaging lately, which goes to show that even if I can’t be somewhere in person I’ll try my damndest to ensure I connect somehow to continue on with tradition.

Oktoberfest 2007 funOktoberfest 2007 fun

Unfortunately, I currently live in a place that doesn’t fit my ideal October mould. I’m surrounded by nature, yet all I’m currently seeing is GREEN and BROWN! Trees here seem to go from a luscious spring green straight to brown…and skip all the magnificent and glorious colours in between!

Greenery everywhereGreenery everywhere – Oct 2014

I’ve been itching to whip out my camera to capture my highly anticipated fall pictures but I have yet to snap any pictures. It’s heartbreaking, really. And not only that, pumpkin treats don’t seem to be a thing here. *tear*. Thank goodness for Starbucks and its omnipresence because PSLs (that’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes for all you newbies) are the only thing that have been able to hit the sweet spot. I suppose the lack of fall treats is good for my wallet because anyone who knows me knows that as soon as you stick ‘pumpkin’ in front of something I’ll buy it. Pumpkin risotto…pumpkin soup…pumpkin pie…pumpkin beer…pumpkin ice cream. *drool a la Homer Simpson*.

Pumpkin e'rythang!Pumpkin e’rythang!
Giacomo's in North Boston - best pumpkin ravioli out there!Giacomo’s in North Boston – best pumpkin tortellini out there!

Anyway, for now, here are some throwbacks to more October-ish days!!!

Friends reunitedOctober babyfest = Friends reunited
Scary times HalloweeningScary times Halloweening
Roomie bday celebrations 2013Roomie bday celebrations 2013
Oktoberfest 2013 - chilling out with Hans and random dude.Oktoberfest 2013 – chilling out with Hans and random dude.
The shortie and I - Oktoberfest 2013The shortie and I – Oktoberfest 2013
Thanksgiving sister reunion!Thanksgiving sister reunion!
Thanksgiving dinner - with pumpkin beer, obviously!Thanksgiving dinner – with pumpkin beer, obviously!

Me, my Code Club, and I

I’ve been involved in the tech world in some way, shape, or form for a while now. As a Gen Y-er who’s active on every single social media platform available and can be found glued to her phone, it’s safe to say that digital is a big part of my life. M, who’s a programmer, has been urging (or nagging…or pestering…however you’d like to put it) me to learn how to program for quite some time. So while that got the ball rolling, it was my experience working as a marketer for a startup company that really pushed me to want to develop some, at the very least, basic tech skills.

You see, while I had plenty of skills in marketing, the skills proved to be quite futile when it came to marketing a software that I was not at all familiar with (“An IDE? Uh, whaa….?”). I had to work with developers on a daily basis and I was suddenly inundated with terminology that I’d originally left reserved for diginerds. Client-side and server-side? Git pull and commits? Apache and SQL? My acting skills sure improved as I pretended to understand various languages (JavaScript, Ruby, PHP) but did my programming skills improve? Not so much.

Needless to say, I’m no longer working at that company but my experience there did make me aware of how much I wanted to learn at least the basics of programming, as I’ve come to realize that I love the startup world. I love the innovative atmosphere, I love the collaboration and reaching for the stars attitude and there seems to be a different kind of work ethic in the startup world. I’ve done the big corporate world gig and it’s not for me. Being at a desk from 9-5 with a to-do list and constantly checking the clock to see when I can go for my lunch and when I can leave the office is not how I want to spend 1/3 of my day. But what do you need in a startup world? Programming skills.

What I realized I needed to do was to get out of the ‘I *SHOULD*’ mentality and undertake more of an ‘I *AM*’ mindset. So what did I do to alleviate my complacent ways? I started off by participating in tech meetups, and it was during these meetups that I met other females who were also interested in learning how to program. Like myself, they all had reasons why they hadn’t really started learning how to program yet (couldn’t find the time, didn’t have the resources, lacked the motivation) and that’s when the wheels started turning to form a coding club. I wanted to create a space where females who wanted to learn how to program could get together, use each other as a support mechanism and achieve their goals.

And bam, that’s how SheCodes: Bath was born. Yes, it’s for females. Why? Because guys already dominate the field. Guys don’t need a coding club – any meetup group involving programming out there is dominated by guys. I wanted to create something where females would feel comfortable attending…because, well, boys are scary!

Logo - created by Dodify's Maria QuilesLogo – created by Dodify’s Maria Quiles


The concept of the group is quite simple, really. We get together on a weekly basis and using Codecademy tutorials we’ve been teaching ourselves the likes of HTML, CSS, Python, Javascript, and JQuery. Everyone learns what they want to learn and the time spent in our little room is dedicated solely to taking in the information Codecademy has to offer us. Sometimes I let M come along as the class ‘tutor’ in case anyone gets stuck on something but for the most part, it’s just myself and my faithful club members, a cozy group of 5-6 people. I’m not expecting any nominations of being the ‘Next female to change the digital world’ or anything, but I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved so far. It may be baby steps, but hey, at least I’m moving!

The number of followers is more than double who I'm following - huzzah!The number of followers is more than double who I’m following – huzzah!