I’m very excited to be involved with the first ever WordPress.com Growth Summit, a two-day conference taking place next week, over August 11-13. The event features blogging, business, and creative tracks, with over 50 speakers from around the world who use WordPress in different ways: from web development pro Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks, to Smitten Kitchen’s food blogger extraordinaire, Deb Perelman, to wellness expert Millana Snow, who ran an incredible 1000+ person breathwork workshop at our company meetup last year. Live demos and Happiness Bars for personalized technical support round out the program.
Our amazing Events team at Automattic has planned the conference so that everything runs twice, to accommodate folks in just about any time zone – and the sessions will be recorded, too! (They’ve been learning a lot while organizing this event, and shared some of their insights in a recent post.)
I hope to see some of you there – and I’m pleased to provide a discount code for 20% off the registration fee: Kathryn20
Along with the home baking phenomenon I’ve noticed during the pandemic, I’ve observed another trend among those of us privileged to be staying home. There’s been an explosion of nostalgia, whether it’s digging up and scanning old photos, or reconnecting with older memories in other ways.
Thinking about this gave me the idea to share a memory of my own.
In 2019, I took a big break from public speaking at conferences. I’d decided that outside of my job itself, the entire year of my sabbatical would focus on taking care of personal things. While a lot of what needed to be done wasn’t fun at all, I was determined to get on stage at least once for something that was unequivocally fun. And I did.
In October I was thrilled to nab a spot in the Montreal edition of a show called Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids. It’s a super entertaining event and podcast, in which people read stuff they wrote as young people, whether a journal, a song, a poem, or in my case, a teenage diary. Here’s the podcast version of the show, in which I recount my high school grad-night antics. In case you want to skip ahead, I’m on at 24:00.
Two weeks ago, my colleague Marjorie asked if I’d be interested in helping run a webinar for small businesses, with tips on getting the most out of their website. She knew I’d done a lot of public speaking and thought I might be interested. Even though we wouldn’t have a lot of time to prepare, it took me all of three seconds to accept.
Fast forward to yesterday, when my colleague Steve Dixon and I presented a one-hour online workshop called Optimize Your Business Website: Secrets from Web Design Pros. Topics included essential pages for business sites, layout templates, the WordPress block editor, and what it takes to optimize a site so it’s both easy to find in search engines – and easy for visitors to use. We also looked at how to make sure your site is both accessible and mobile-friendly, along with a few different ways to take online bookings and payments.
The video is already up on Automattic’s YouTube channel, so feel free to check it out:
When I wrote my last post about the magic dough, I certainly wasn’t anticipating the current epidemic. You know, the global baking epidemic?
I don’t know about you, but my social media feeds are full of homemade chocolate-chip cookies, lemon bars, and carrot cakes. Dutch ovens stuffed with loaves of no-knead bread abound. People are whipping up impressive-looking cinnamon buns and drool-worthy biscuits – and my co-worker’s daughter even made churros.
My own frying pan was crowded with cinnamon-raisin English muffins last Sunday, filling my flat with a magical scent. Caramelized onion and artichoke heart pizza with a magic-dough crust made for several savoury meals.
Thanks to the global pandemic, home baking has exploded among the quarantined, the self-isolating, and both veteran and newbie remote workers. People are keeping their kids busy with sprinkles, while others knead out their stresses.
What is it about baking that’s so comforting in the Weird Times (officially so named by my team at work) that we’re all living through? There is clearly something comforting about baked goods that you’ve made from scratch. It reminds us of normalcy and past celebrations, it warms our bellies, and our hearts. It reminds us how lucky some of us are to be safe in our homes, able to create something delicious out of a few ingredients.
On the downside, hoarding flour – as with toilet paper – is definitely a faux-pandemic-pas. Please be kind to your fellow bakers, and leave some for the rest of your neighbours!
Have you noticed unusual baking activity in your part of the world? I’m interested in hearing about it.