Text Blaze for Tech Tuesday

Remember when I used to blog every Tuesday and share a favorite tech tool?  Well, I'm back!  Or at least, I am back today with a tech tool I am l-o-v-i-n-g!  Plus, here's a sneak peak of my new home office.  We call my office space the Jen Den.  It's a mix of color (to inspire me) and natural tones (to calm me down).

Jen Den photo

Today's tech sensation is a Chrome extension which means you have to use the Chrome browser to enjoy it. If you are new to extensions, Chrome extensions are like mini-apps built into Chrome. I appreciate all the extensions I've downloaded so far via Chrome (eg: Text Blaze, Pinterest, and Rakuten - to name a few).  

Today's tool, Text Blaze, is a Chrome extension tool that you can use to quickly insert a snippet of text when you are using any web-based program (like email, Facebook, grading within an online course, etc.).  It's for those times where you find yourself repeating your typing over and over again and you want a snippet of pre-written text to insert instead.

Teachers, you will love this tool for giving feedback to students.  Everyone else, you will appreciate this tool, too. Here's how I use it....

I have a lot of people contact me at work about my college's coach training program.  I now have a snippet I use to answer them back.  I simply type /cto (which for me stands for "Coach Training Offerings" and with just those four keystrokes the following snippet/message appears in the email I am composing: 

Thank you for reaching out. Right now, our spring 2021 coaching courses are full; they filled up in under a week. We do plan to begin our coaching course series again this summer 2021 and fall 2021. If you mark your calendar and email me (say in mid-March), I can share the upcoming dates/times with you.


If you have more questions, please let me know.

Best,

Jen

See how easy that is!  Four keystrokes and I get that entire snippet of text above.  Since I write this standard email reply many times a week, Text Blaze is saving me time and brain power.

Here's another example.  With coaching clients, I often follow-up by email after a coaching session.  Here's the snippet I use for that.  I simply type /csfu (which for me stands for Coaching Session Follow-up) and the following snippet appears:

Hello - As promised, I wanted to follow-up with you after our coaching session. Based on our session....


What updates can you share?

What are you noticing?

What are you learning?


Curious,

Jen


See how easy that is!  Four keystrokes and my message is composed!


Go check out Text Blaze and see what you think.  A lovely colleague shared this tool with me.  The free version gives you up to 20 snippets that you can change as you need them.


Happy Tech Tuesday!


With love from the Jen Den,

Jen



Going to College Overseas

What is your opinion of earning an entire college degree overseas?  

Since one of my core values is growth, I am already enjoying learning about all the college/university options in the world since Miss O will be going to college in a few short years.  

Amsterdam canal photo

Delft, Netherlands photo

Riding bikes in Delft, Netherlands

When I was in high school, going to school for a degree overseas seemed like a bad idea - mostly because US degrees felt more credible.  Because the world is more globally-focused now, I'm learning that degrees from overseas are valued and the cost?!  Y'all, college/university overseas is so much more affordable from I am learning than attending a college/uni in the US including masters degrees!  Some degrees cost nothing for US students and others cost $4K-$12K for the year.  My mind is blown.  One year of studying in many US-based universities cost $25-50K.  Imagine getting your entire college degree for the price of one year of US study?!

First, I think you all know my family and I enjoy traveling overseas.  We haven't been to too many places, but we loved our weeks in Portugal, England and the Netherlands (photos in this post) over the past few years.  When the pandemic is over, we hope to explore more countries specifically Spain and Germany.

In the meantime, here are a few international college resources I am learning the most from about....

Beyond the States - This blog, consulting service and podcast are all very helpful.  Jenn (who started Beyond the States)'s son is studying in Rotterdam, Netherlands right now and she has literally made herself an expert on studying overseas.  Jenn is also living in Lisbon, Portugal, so her real-life experience is interesting, too. Check out Jenn's blog here, website here and podcast here.  I also follow Beyond the States on Instagram, too.

Private Facebook Groups - A fellow mom recommended I join a private FB group (or two) related to attending college overseas.  Y'all, I am learning so much from the posts I am reading.  Right now, I feel a bit like a voyeur because I have nothing to offer.  Learning-wise, it's so interesting to read about all the places US-teens are going to college overseas even during the pandemic.

Ulysses Facebook Page - This is another consulting service (like Beyond the States offers).  A fellow FB parent recommended it to me.  I have not explored them deeply yet, but I just started following their Facebook page to see what I can learn.

International University Admission Guide - This free guide is packed full of information.  I highly advise it as a read.

I'm curious....what are your thoughts about completing a college degree entirely overseas?  What other resources should I explore?

Excited to learn more,

Jen



Favorite Home Finds During the Pandemic

As most of you already know, we moved during the pandemic.  Here are some of my favorite pandemic home finds that are bringing immense efficiency and joy to my life....

Jen Home Finds Favorites

Ready for them?

Tip trays for the bathroom and kitchen. You install these yourself following the package instructions.  We have tip trays now in our kitchen and main bathroom to hold things like kitchen sponges, our toothpaste and floss, etc.  It also makes your countertops less cluttered feeling.

So, I don't have to use so many cleaning liquids around our house, I just wet these and use them.  They are reusable, so you can wash/dry them with ease.  

I am such a fan of "S" hooks in every closet.  I use them for hanging belts, my purse, backpacks, masks, hats, you name it!  This pack includes six hooks.

Be honest....how often do you bring your cell phone into the restroom?  If you do, you will appreciate the clever design of this TP holder.  We have it in the bathroom right by my home office.  Ha! 

We do not have cable at our house because we have Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Apply TV.  So, that we can still clearly receive the local HD broadcast signals for ABC, NBC and CBS (plus other local signals), this very thin antennae does an amazing job!  Gone are the days of bulky antennas. This one is almost paper thin and super easy to install.

The real MVP of our household, our Eufy robotvac!  I cannot believe how much Eufy picks up.  I think she is the hardest cleaner in our household.  You can also communicate with her by the Eufy app.  Look for her to go on sale!

After Eufy does her job, this steam mop is easy to use and super-cleans the floors!  I am always disgusted by how dirty the steam mop head gets after cleaning.  The good news:  You wash the mop heads in your washing machine.  Hurrah!  I love reusable cleaning stuff.

We've become kind of lazy (or efficient) over here.  Mr. UpCyclist has installed motion sensor lights in our walk-in pantry, storage room and main bedroom walk-in closets.  At first, I was like, "We don't need those."  But, now, I am a true motion sensor light believer for small spaces.

Speaking of lights, our new place has a ton of light switches (that we do not want to be motion sensor-abled).  We use this old-school labeling tool (remember this gadget from the 70s and 80s?) to label which light switch works which light.  This gadget is fun to use, looks totally retro and comes with two tape rolls in red and black. What a bargain!

Not everyone is an Alexa product fan; we are.  We have several of these smart plugs throughout our house.  During Christmas time, we put all of our indoor and outdoor holiday lights on smart plugs and would just tell our Echo to "turn on the outdoor lights" or "turn on the Christmas lights."  Specifically for outdoor use, you need this smart plug as it is weather friendly. 

What's your most appreciated home find?  Message me in Facebook or Instagram to let me know.  Because of the crazy spam this blog has been receiving, I've turned off the commenting feature indefinitely.

With efficiency and joy,

Jen





Graduation Subway Art 2021

 Every year since 2017, I think, I've uploaded a graduation subway art image for others to use for free.

Graduation Subway Art 2021

And, every year since 2017, some lovely blog reader has emailed me asking when I'm going to upload the current year's subway art. 

Not this year.

I'm one step ahead.  Graduation subway art for 2021 is here! You can either right click and save the image above.  Or click here to download the PDF version of it.

Either way, the subway art looks great framed, as a notecard, a big poster or be like my sister; blow up the subway art for the side of your barn!

Graduation Subway Art Barn

Enjoy and congratulations to your graduate(s)!

Jen


Pep Talks Free Download

Pro-tip....If you don't read Elise Joy's blog or follow her on Instagram, I highly recommend her.  She is a small business owner, author, DIY-er, podcaster, blogger, and very thoughtful parent.  I appreciate how much she gets done and how much she lets go off without guilt.

I also subscribe to her newsletter, too.  Design-wise, it's always so pretty and she includes free gems in it, like this pep talk.  Why not take a highlighter and highlight the pep you need for 2021?

Here are Elise's links:

Blog

Book

Business

Podcast

Instagram

Go check 'er out,

Jen