TDAA has taken a bit of a back seat these last few weeks as I’ve shuffled priorities to allow for one BIG priority – moving to a new apartment and moving in with my wonderful partner.  The way I see it, moving is a lot of work and it requires….

  • 4762000_l-man-covered-by-lots-of-cardboard-boxes-moving-concept-810x540blood
  • sweat
  • tears
  • stamina
  • creativity
  • existential dread
  • money
  • time
  • friends
  • trash
  • upper body strength

need I go on?  So if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, I bet you can imagine that I’ve been busy, but not too busy to think about systems and justice… and the justice system (go Mark Hasse for Hennepin County DA! and if you’re in MN, make sure you vote!!)

Without further ado…

img53cMy partner and I decided that in our shared apartment, we wanted to have a kosher kitchen.  There were a lot of reasons behind this (ask me if you want to learn more!) but the full story might fall outside of this blog’s purpose.  Once we made this decision, I went to work building a shopping list and a system for organizing and sharing our kitchen and apartment wishlist* and priorities (a great use of google sheets!).  We also used Pinterest to capture some decorating and organizing ideas,.

As our move-in day got closer, I doubled down on my research.  When Consumer Reports wasn’t cutting it (with detailed-enough reviews of the items we needed), I turned to America’s Test Kitchen.  For bakeware, I took their recommendations almost across the board, but for other things we needed, I corroborated their advice with other sources and my own preferences.  (For example, I WANTED a pie plate that had a rippled edge, something that they poo-pooed).

I want to leverage this research as a resource for other intrepid chefs and bakers, so I put in some extra work to make a spreadsheet that was readable, shareable, and hopefully informative.  I updated all of the links to get as close to the brand or manufacturer as possible (to make it easier to NOT auto-order from Amazon, not that other mass retailers are politically neutral.  Make the call that’s right for you however you online order stuff!)

Here it is!  The Spreadsheet Whisperer’s Kitchen Reccos and Reviews!**

*A note about the list – furnishing a kitchen is an expensive undertaking and we saved up for most of the last year to be able to do it.  There are certainly ways to do it for less $$ and definitely for (infinitely) more, or to spread it out over a longer period of time.  It’s a blessing that we had the financial resources to do this, and that’s not something that I take for granted.  Most of my choices were in the middle of what’s available, with a few special splurges and exceptions.

**None of these recommendations are sponsored!

Cooking for the week, not the weak

130805141052-eid-indonesia-food-offering-horizontal-large-galleryPretty much every Sunday (except when I’m travelling), I try to do a BIG cook-a-thon and prep breakfasts and lunches to get us most of the way through the week.  I’ve found that if I batch cook (that’s a term I learned in my cafeteria chef days!) 3 entire recipes, then we can cycle them throughout the week and have enough variety to keep me happy and enough protein to keep us energized.  Plus, that frees me up for evening activities, like organizing meetings, workouts, or relaxing.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a spreadsheet to help layout the weekly meal plan.  Here’s my first attempt!  I think I’ll continue to tweak it until we reach a comfortable, practical version.  We might even use the doc to help us with grocery shopping.  Time will tell 🙂  (As we like to say in the database world, systems are perfect until you introduce users!)

So what?

I will make one thing very clear… this is NOT a lifestyle blog!  I might never blog about food again (although, knowing me, I wouldn’t shake on it).  So, why am I writing about shopping and meal planning?  Because they are every day topics that we all deal with that itch my systems-loving data-brain.  Changemakers have to keep track of LOTS of information, including feeding movements, buying action supplies, discount shopping, etc.  A well designed spreadsheet can really help!  Maybe you can look at these spreadsheets and find some design inspiration.  Or food inspiration!  Take them as you will.

What else?

I’ve had some fascinating projects come up at work and outside… like:

  • Creating an email template with conditional language depending on what the recipient needs to turn in!  So instead of having 6 different templates, we can just have one that dynamically changes depending on some data inputs.  Neat, right?  You can do it in Conga or even in regular Salesforce email templates with the right fields and configuration.
  • Training two amazing novice volunteer grantwriters with the Earth Quaker Action Team!  And when it rains it pours… TWO funders came our way this week looking to partner with us in our work for a Green Jobs future.  Amazing!
  • Creating a proper folder hierarchy in Box.  In my job, we have integrated Salesforce and Box (Box is a cloud document storage solution similar to Dropbox) so that each of our records has a designated Box folder repository.  Very cool!  Except when the folders are jumbled!  We need to have a clear, consistent path from the “Root” folder down to the child-most folder.  For us that means, “Salesforce” > Organizations > [each organization has its own folder] > Opportunities [each opportunity has its own folder].  So what happens when folders or files show up in weird places, disrupting the hierarchy?  I’m finding out!  And boy, oh, boy… it’s a wild ride.

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