Home Is Where My Computer Is

Wherever your computer goes, is where your home is.

Home is where the computer is.

What does the idea of home mean to you?

I’ve been living in San Francisco for nearly 6 years. During that time, I’ve lived in 5 different neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and personality. Renting and sharing apartments with roommates has been a shift in my home life. When you’re renting, you might be taking a chance on the home dynamic that you live in.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m living in someone else’s space; other apartments I’ve lived in have truly felt like my own.

Additionally, frequent work travel has meant that I’m often not home at my apartment in San Francisco.

Where does my sense of home come from?

It’s no longer a question of having most of my possessions and the four walls of a building around me. Instead, home is where my computer is.

A computer isn’t just a piece of hardware: it’s a portal to the outside world, a connector and vital toolbox which allows you to access vast amounts of knowledge, entertainment and communication channels. From email, to Skype, to YouTube and synced Evernote notes, wherever my computer goes, that is where my (temporary) home is.

What does home mean to you?

Confidence: The Top 3 Things To Focus On

How do you appear confident on the outside even if you are not feelin’ it on the inside?

The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network in San Francisco recently held an event featuring Lisa Rowland, a consultant with SpeechSkills to give a 2 hour primer called, “The Credibility Code.” In these 2 hours, Lisa shared tips and tricks to appear confident through adjusting body language.

Lisa Rowland of SpeechSkills speaks to a crowd.

Lisa Rowland of SpeechSkills speaking to the audience.

Here are Lisa’s top 3 things to focus on for increasing how confident you appear:

  • Posture (Stand up straight, keep your head level and point your nose directly at your listener)
  • Voice (Articulate clearly, keep your pacing relaxed, speak with optimal volume – not too loud or too soft, though most of us could stand to speak a bit louder)
  • Eye contact (Hold eye contact for 3 – 5 seconds per person when speaking to a group of people and keep your attention forward)

The workshop was great; I came out of it being more aware of the way I hold myself and the way that I communicate others. I’ve realized as well that I may have habits that take away my credibility and make me appear less confident, even when I am feeling confident internally, and have been able to correct some of these.

Lisa Rowland

Lisa Rowland of SpeechSkills – thanks Lisa!

Part of being a working professional, in any industry, includes instilling a sense of trust and authority into the clients or stakeholders that you work with. Whether you’re an optometrist, sales person, sailor or line cook, confidence is key.

A huge thank you to YNPN and Lisa Rowland for making this happen.

What have you learned about confidence in your life? Are there any tricks you’ve learned to make you appear (and maybe even feel) more confident? 

Let me know if you notice any difference in the way people perceive you with any of the tips above. 



Jen Burstedt

Fancy Technical Footwork – Comments Work Again

After some troubleshooting on the backend with my hosting provider, DreamHost, I am once again able to view comments.

Today’s blog post is a little short – some personal goings-on in my life have made it such that I’m going a few too many places at once. But, I’m adjusting and figuring out what is most important, and soon enough, everything will be in order again.



Jen Burstedt

Travel Story: The Fan – London, 2011

Sometimes the most hilarious memories come from ordinary events in an unexpected place or time.

I had traveled to southern France for a work conference a few years ago. As part of this trip, I was able to spend a few days in our company’s London office. In addition, because I had friends in London, I made it a point to stay the weekend as well in order to spend time with them.

Imperial War Museums

Outside of the Imperial War Museum in London – one of my touristy stops while in London.

My two English friends, a wonderful young woman (G) and a great guy (N), had been close friends my final year of college, where they were studying for their year abroad. Skype and Facebook had allowed us to keep in touch, and so when I had this opportunity to be in London, I jumped at the chance and made sure that I had free time during a weekend when the two of them would not be working.

During the weekend I spent with my friends, we relaxed and were able to simply do everyday weekend activities – which was an absolute joy to me, since I was already exhausted from the long flight across the pond.

On the Saturday morning of my stay, N’s mom had organized a raffle and rummage sale through her church, so we were invited to check out the sale.

My friends and I decided to buy tickets for the raffle, as it was a good cause, even if we didn’t win. We put in our 1 quid to pay for the raffle… Lo and behold, an hour later, when raffle winners were being announced, it turns out that we each had won something.

Guess what I won? Something that I definitely would not be able to take in my (already over-stuffed) suitcase back to America with me?

A desktop fan. Though I would not be needing it (or ever using it), it provided a great memory and laugh every time I think about it.

Jen and the desk fan.

A photo of me and the fan that I won.

Have you ever gotten a gift or won a prize that was so inappropriate or useless for you that it was hilarious?


Jen Burstedt

Regrets of the Dying: My Reflections

Deeper than my usual blog post and a slightly somber note to start out the week, I felt compelled to share and add a few reflections of my own.

Bronnie Ware, an Australian blogger, wrote an article about the top 5 regrets of the dying. It’s a summary of reflections and lessons learned by others, and it was so good, I’m sharing it on my blog.

Here’s where you can find the article.

Snowy trees

The core theme of the regrets, from my perspective: do we reflect enough about what true authenticity means in our lives? Are we honest with ourselves and others in all senses of the word?

Our own dissatisfaction and unhappiness are brought on by ourselves. In viewing this in the positive sense, Ware is basically saying the we need to:

  • Being honest to acknowledge who we are
  • Being honest to acknowledge what makes us happy
  • Being humble to know that the office – or our business, or work – will always be there if we need it, but shouldn’t take the place of relationships with others, and that our absence from these places won’t stop the world from spinning.

Wise words, Bronnie Ware.


Are you living a life that you think you’ll be happy with when it reaches its conclusion?


Jen Burstedt

If At First You Don’t Succeed… Run, Run Again.

Today, I woke up, put my running clothes on and reflected on my lessons learned yesterday from my failed attempt to run the long run I had planned on as part of my half marathon training.

I ate 3 pieces of toast with butter and drank half of a bottle of water. I answered a few emails as I waited around my apartment for an hour in order to let my food digest. I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes today which had held me back yesterday.

With this preparation, I left my apartment, with only a key to the front door and my iPhone on me.

As part of my warm-up, I started running up the first big hill on Guerrero Street, heading over to a corner near Dolores Park. I stopped as I reached the park, stretched for a bit, then officially started my run.

I ran, conservatively at first – an 11 minute 30 second pace, then picked it up as I got to Golden Gate Park. Running through the park, past the Conservatory of Flowers, roller skaters, Lindy hoppers and bison, I made it to the ocean – and back.

Final numbers? 10 minute 36 second pace for 10.65 miles. Success.

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

A shot of Ocean Beach, taken from my run today.

Today was a good day for a run. I felt tired but victorious at the end. Although yesterday was definitely a miss, today I got back on the saddle again and had done what I had originally set out to do.


Jen Burstedt

I Failed: A Long Run Gone Wrong

I hate to admit it when I fail, but as I’ve gotten older and experienced times where things hadn’t gone the way I planned, I’ve learned: failure is a part of life. You can read about the concept in books, see it played out in movies, hear about it from the advice of your elders, but until you’ve paid that bank fee for an overdrawn checking account or skipped out on interview preparation and subsequently bombed the interview, you’re learning lessons in the abstract.

Raffles Hotel in Singapore

If I hadn’t failed my interview with Google at the end of college my senior year, it’s hard to say if I would have ended up at Bracket (UBC) traipsing the world and staying at places like the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

Instead of viewing failure as a personal character flaw, what if, instead we saw failure as:

  • An opportunity to improve
  • A wake-up call that things are not going right
  • As a new beginning in our lives

Today, I failed miserably in my plan to run, despite all of the planning, preparation, sleep and intention that I had to go out and accomplish it.

I’m training for a half marathon (13.1 miles), which means that I need to make time for incrementally long runs each weekend up until the time of the race. I’ve done 5 half marathons prior to this, so I know about the basic concepts: develop a training schedule, (generally) stick to it, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep, stretching and food. Following these principles has been enough to keep me going in the past.

Today, I was supposed to run 10.5 miles.

Before leaving the house today, I had a thought, “I should drink some more water.” I kept thinking, “I should have something to eat.” Instead of listening to these thoughts, I ignored them, started out on my run into the rainy Saturday.

Even when I started off, I was weak. My legs felt tired and I felt hungry, a kind of hunger that I couldn’t just forget about by jogging it off. I tried to push forward, convincing myself that I would be able to push through the run.

After the one mile mark, I couldn’t believe the slow pace I had already – much slower than usual. I was dragging myself, unhappily, through the hills of San Francisco.

I was running up a hill that leads to the Golden Gate Park and couldn’t go on any longer, so I stopped. Not even 2 miles, said the distance reading on RunKeeper, my running app.

Finish line.

The stopping point for my run – 1.8 miles in, I decided to call it quits.

What did I do wrong? How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again?

  • Drink enough water the day before and the morning of
  • Eat food 2 hours – one and a half hours before running (I’ve found that eating 2 pieces of bread at this time gives me enough time to digest before the run)
  • Eat consistently and decently the day before (with an ultra-light menu of food the day before, this also impacted how I felt when I went out to run)
  • Stretch! Especially using The Stick on tight muscles

For me, it was frustrating that I had been the own cause of my failure in this case. But, it was a lesson in self-care: I know it’s important for me to eat regular meals and make sure I eat enough (a problem that I never had until I started running half marathons).

So, I will be out there again tomorrow morning, this time a little better prepared for success after my recent failure.

What is a major setback or failure that you have had recently, and what lessons did you learn from it to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes next time?
Jen Burstedt

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