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
- Daily sites I visit: Twitter and Facebook, though I only post on Twitter daily. I joined Google+ but don’t do much there, and I still use Flickr though not much socially. LinkedIn is still my choice for professional networking.
- New & interesting: I joined Pintrest which I think is a really interesting visual bookmarking & curation platform. I also love seeing how people pin photos from Ms. Adventures in Italy and the comments they leave to themselves – a little peek into their own lives. Path is getting a lot of attention post re-design but I haven’t joined as of now.
- Done with: I joined Diaspora (the open-source social network platform) in 2010, and I deleted my profile in 2011. I removed myself from a lot of other sites and newsletters I wasn’t using.
- Domains I have active websites on: 9 – all using WordPress – I moved my tech blog When I Have Time to WordPress.com from self-hosted, launched my healthy living site, Food Blogger on a Diet, on WordPress.com, and started using a simple mobile blog on WordPress.com for photos that I Tweet on Twitter. World Nutella Day continues to blow up bigger every year (it’s one month from today!)
- RSS Feeds – Still more than 400 feeds, and I continue using Google Reader to manage them (I can’t quit you!) I delved heavily into the Healthy Living blog scene (it’s really busy and rocking!) and continued to add sites of strong women in business/tech/other areas.
- My Popular posts on Ms. Adventures in Italy: The 5 most popular posts published in 2011 on this site were: Flourless Nutella Chocolate Cake Recipe for World Nutella Day 2011, Gluten-free Food and Restaurants in Italy, No oil, sugar, or butter Microwave Chocolate Happy Birthday Cake, How to Order an Italian Coffee in Italy: the ebook on Amazon Kindle!, and Maritozzo – Sweet Bread Rolls filled with Whipped Cream.
Photography, Video & other Tech stuff:
- Tech Blog: My tech alter-ego, When I Have Time, had a good year – 6 popular posts published in 2011: Productivity on your Android Mobile – 10 Tips & 40+ Apps, No offense, I don’t want to be friends on Facebook, Baker Ebook Framework: Publish for the iPad using HTML5, How to Use WordPress as a Website (not Blog), My Ignite at LeWeb 2011 – The Future Way of Working: The Distributed Company and Tools for Entrepreneurs: Create. Collaborate. Communicate.
- Camera: Still using my Canon 7D – I feel more comfortable with it and as part of using it more often, I just ordered a Banana Hammock from Crumpler.eu so I can stick it in my purse/backpack with a single lens and be ready!
- Lens: No new lens purchases in 2011, but I think 2012 is when I will get a better zoom or a wide angle. I still use my 50mm 1.4 all the time as well as my zoom 28-135mm travel lens and the 85mm lens. For a wide angle, I’m eyeing the 10-22mm, the 17-40mm, or my dream lens 16-35mm.
- Quick shots & video: I don’t really use the Canon PowerShot SD750 7.1MP much – I use my Android Nexus S phone (whose camera is not great but works) for quick shots and I’m using Kodak PlaySport for video (especially underwater! Kauai was fun with it)
- Other toys: Finally joined the smartphone crowd with a used Nexus S. I almost bought the iPad 2 the day after it came out while in Austin but decided not to and still use my iPad 1 every day (but I’ll be paying attention to the iPad 3 prob coming out in a few months). I bought an iPod Nano in late 2010 and I’ve used it almost every day in 2011 – love the ability to clip it on.
- Backing up Data & External drives: This continues to be the most important part of my regime – backup! I am still employing the 3,2,1 method – 3 copies of everything, 2 onsite, 1 offsite. For the onsite, I have a new Western Digital MyBook 3TB (that’s 3 Terabytes! woo), and for offsite/cloud backup I switched to Carbonite from Mozy. (Read more about How to Backup Files using Online and Offline Software on my tech blog.)
- Lists/organization: I switched my To-Do list-mania to Wunderlist from Remember the Milk. Totally recommend checking them out. (Read about my holy trinity of productivity: How I Organize my Email, Lists and Brainstorming: My Holy Trinity of Productivity)
- More photography & tech gadgets!
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 blogs started: 1 – Food Blogger on a Diet. Some popular posts from there: Review: Nike Training Club App for iPhone, Traveling? Pack Food in your Suitcase, Getting back to breakfast, Peanut, almond, sunflower seed: nut butters – I love them all!, Runner’s withdrawal, concurrent strength training
- Weight lost: A lot. I’m very pleased with my progress. I may share some numbers in the future, but for now, I’m just happy with the effort I’ve made and how healthy & in shape I feel. I’m not on a diet…I’ve made a lifestyle change.
- Number of trips to the emergency room: 1. I arrived in the US in March with a pretty bad ear infection (oops, I guess that’s why I had no appetite for 2 weeks prior) and urgent care had to take care of me.
- Recouping some free time: after 3 years I stepped down from organizing Girl Geek Dinners in Milan and let someone else take the reins. I think they’re doing great, and I’m excited to have a little more time for myself again.
- Some healthy living gadgets I covet!
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!