2011 Year in Review: Sites, Tools & Statistics

Past editions of my year in tools, sites & statistics: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006. My 2011 Year in Review in Pictures.

2011 was a great year for me, really. It was the year that my body caught up with my mind in terms of happiness. Here are some sites, tools, and statistics from my 2011 – think of it as my personal report card but also my personal recommendation list of tools/software/stuff I’m using all in one in the areas of Social Networking & websites, Photography & tech gadgets, Ebooks & reading, Healthy living, Travel and Charitable giving! Add your own recommendations in the comments.

Social Networking, Feeds & My Sites

Photography, Video & other Tech stuff:

Reading and Ebooks

I’ve always been a voracious reader. Now I read more books than ever – though I stopped keeping track of them in my little spreadsheet.

  • Books (new) read in 2011: Um, yeah. I bought 155 ebooks in 2011. I have a good record at finishing books I buy, so let’s call it 130 new books read (and I re-read older books, too). My favorite time to read is before bed – the iPad’s backlighting is great for this (iPad wins over Kindle here)
  • Ebook reading devices & Apps: I use the iPad as my main reading device, and sometimes switch to my Nexus S Android phone, and my page position on a particular book is synced across them via the Amazon Kindle app. I also use the Stanza app for my reading, but since Amazon bought it and subsequently stopped development, I’m looking for something new.
  • Me, Ebook Publisher: I also published another ebook, this time available through Amazon! How to Order an Italian Coffee in Italy is doing well – pick up your own copy! My other ebook, 101 American Foods to Try in the USA is still available and free.
  • Book tracking: I signed up for Good Reads but really appreciate the recommendations and lists the most rather than for my own tracking.
  • Ebook Advocate: I have been digital for 6 years now and have never regretted it – I wrote a Guide to Ebooks on my tech blog, When I Have Time, for those that are new to ebooks or are interested in getting started!
Healthy Living
I think this needs its own section – it’s that important! Do you give health its own section in your life? :)

Travel and Moving Around

I was super lucky to have traveled so much in 2011, a lot of it for work, and I honestly hope it continues…indefinitely.

  • Tracking travel with online sites: Still using TripIt with its great forward&track it capability, but I’m missing Dopplr’s statistics.
  • Flights taken in 2011: 35. Most flights in a short period – 3: MXP – JFK – DTW – AUS. And 6 hours later, two more flights AUS – DFW – ELP.
  • Cities lived in: 1 – Milan, Italy.
  • Countries visited: 6 – US (2x), France, Spain, Hungary, London/GB (2x), Kenya.
  • U.S. states visited: 5 – California, New Mexico, Texas, Hawaii, New York.
  • Longest trip: coming back from Kenya to Italy on New Year’s Eve – the result was tragic, went almost 48 hours without sleeping and was really destroyed when ushering out 2011. Method: Bus + Airplane + Train.
  • Train rides: Several crazy day trips, including one to Venice and one to Rome. The Frecciarossa trains in Italy are getting faster and better (and more expensive) – I can get to Milan from Rome in less than 3 hours (compared to 4.5 when I first moved here).
  • Years with a car: 2 (previously was 6 years without a car). I still need to get my Italian license, that’s going to happen in 2012!
  • Other travel gadgets I recommend!

Fundraising, Donations, and Supporting Causes

  • Working with causes, powered by Social Networks and Bloggers: I wish I could have done more this year – there was no Menu for Hope, but I participated in the travel blogger-run Passports with Purpose which raised more than $80,000. I also donated to Creative Commons.
  • Supporting entrepreneurs & ideas – I am still re-investing my initial investment with Kiva – I’ve now made 13 $25 loans to different entrepreneurs, all female. I’ve also made some investments with Kickstarter which are fun projects (I love the photography and food ones), and I made a donation through DonorsChoose.org for educational projects.

Note: I have an Amazon affiliate store – many of the links in this post have an affiliate link to the Amazon site in case you are interested in buying that product. I will get a small percentage of the purchase price if you do (4-6%) and I thank you for helping support this site and my writing. Otherwise, feel free to plug the name of the product into Google and buy it somewhere else!

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  1. says

    Nice roundup, as always; I turned to Bluefire for my epubs when Stanza went down in Amazon flames. I like it well enough though it took me ages to find the orientation lock (it’s right there in settings, but I always had the iTouch turned sideways and you have to scroll down to see that particular setting. Duh.) ;) Buon 2012!

  2. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @Michelle – I hadn’t heard of Bluefire! Going to check it out. I have also heard of Megareader as an alternative.

  3. ibelly says

    Nice list, good tips to be taken from it, hehe. Good to see you’re also on Kiva, I’m getting close to my 30th loan, it’s amazing how far $100 can go, then again, I once saw a profile with well over 3000 loans!
    2011 was the year where I discovered who was behind World Nutella Day, lol, but also where a change of heart occurred with Nocciolata ;)

  4. says

    You continue to be amazing! I love the photos, the food, the travel, and more. I have such fun on your site and with my toes barely in the blogsphere water, perhaps I will use some of your tools to go a bit deeper into the pool.

  5. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @ibelly – 30 loans! Awesome – I’ll get there, I think. I wish we had a little more interaction with the people we’re loaning money to (like Kickstarter) on Kiva, though.

    @Charlie – Thanks for the kind words! Dive deep into the blogosphere, there’s so much to discover :)

  6. says

    Buon anno felice Sara! You are a busy gal! I am happy to report that I got Word Press savvy toward the end of 2011 and transported my blog to a self hosted site! Love being master of my WP domain! Thanks for the inspiration! Hope your 2012 is off to a great start! Look forward to staying in touch this year. Un grande abbraccio!!! Melissa

  7. says

    Interesting! You make me feel I have so much to learn. I think I have the capacity, but still need to join up all the dots! My blogs are oh-so-simple and I really need to crank them up, plus set up a web page as my debut novel is about to come out. Argh!

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