Category Archives: Livables

Point One- Quick News Catch Up with Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me


There have been those busy weeks where I have completely lost touch with the news of the world. Listening to the news during commute time has been replaced with teleconferences, and scanning the headlines on my phone has been replaced with scans of my calendar to figure out where I need to go next and if I have time to get my third cup of coffee. Sometimes all you need is a Point One break- 0.1 hour or 6 minutes off from the billable hour to get a quick news catch up on what is happening in the world.

Catch up with the biggest headlines of the week and the craziest stories in a fun way by listening to the last segment of the NPR program Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me called Lightening Fill in the Blanks. Guests of the program are given a prompt with a word or phrase missing about the latest news. In the time it takes to walk from your car to your office, you can get caught up on the latest happenings and a few needed laughs as the guests make light of some of the more ridiculous news stories.

Point One- Simple Scrapbook Session

20150414_Double Duty

As a working mom, one of the things I frequently put off is organizing all our family photos and mementos into scrapbooks or albums. Like many people, I am guilty of taking countless photos and then doing nothing with them. I always vow to take time over the weekend to have the photos printed and organized, but with work and the hectic present, it can be hard to take a moment and appreciate the past. Sometimes all you need is a Point One break- 0.1 hour or 6 minutes off from the billable hour to scrapbook some family memories.

Thankfully there are products like Project Life and A Beautiful Mess Scrapbooks and photo printing/mailing services like Costco, Shutterly and MPix that make scrapbook sessions quick and effortless. I can just slip photos into the plastic pockets, glue ticket stubs to pre-cut paper inserts and scribble comments of my favorite memories. Simple scrapbook sessions are a great way to take a quick break from the billables plus cross something off your to-do list. Plus, if you’ve ever finished a scrapbook or photo album, you know how strangely satisfying it feels. 60 page merger agreement drafted kind of satisfying.

5 Tips for Working While Flying with a Baby

20150408_Double Duty

Flying with a baby is a challenge unto itself but trying to work during a flight with your baby is a true test of multitasking ability. With a little advanced preparation and a bit of luck, you can get work done with your little one in tow.

5 tips for working while flying with a baby

Tip #1: Leave Early and Work from Airport

Babies and billable work are both unpredictable, so I always aim to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours in advance and work from the airport if needed.

Tip #2: Invest in a Mobile Hotspot or Learn to Use Your Phone as a Personal Hotspot

Most airports have a free or paid wireless option at the airport, but I find that these are not always reliable or the speed is so slow with people passing the time watching Netflix that Citrix refuses to load. Having a mobile hotspot or using my phone as a hotspot is a good way to ensure I will have internet connection to fire off any important emails while waiting at the airport.

Tip #3: Use a Diaper Backpack and a Small Crossbody Bag

I opt to use a diaper backpack when traveling, as it’s large enough to fit all of baby’s necessities plus my work laptop. To make check in and security clearance easy, I use a small crossbody bag to hold my wallet, cell phone and boarding pass. I have never been stopped for having 3 carry-on bags (roller bag, diaper backpack and crossbody bag), but I always make sure the diaper backpack has a little extra space where I can stuff my crossbody bag just in case.

Tip #4: Sit in a Window Seat on Your Non-Dominant Side

I am right handed so I make sure I sit in a window seat on pilot’s left side of the plane so I can cradle the baby on my left arm with his head near the window. This protects the baby from traffic in the aisle and potential spilled drinks, plus allows me to hold a pen to easily mark up agreements during the flight.

Tip #5: Go Old School with a Pen and Paper

Working on a laptop is nearly impossible with a baby in your lap or even a small child next to you. There isn’t a lot of space in economy seating, plus baby hands and milk are a constant moving target. To make the most of limited space, I print out the agreements I need to review or bring a legal pad with me and do any revisions or drafting the old school way. Pen and paper are also easier to stow at the end of the flight when there is the mad rush to make sure the baby is feeding to protect their little ears.

Point One- Stair Challenge

Point One Stairs

There are those days where the work load is so heavy, that a trip to the gym just can’t be made. It’s those days in particular that I know a few minutes of cardio would make a huge difference in my productivity and my mood. Sometimes all you need is a Point One break- 0.1 hour or 6 minutes off from the billable hour to rev up the heart rate.

An easy solution is what I call the stair challenge where I see how many flights of stairs I can take in 6 minutes. Most days I use the internal stairs at a leisurely pace without changing out of my heels. Then there are the days where I lace up my sneakers and use the external stairs as my own personal Stairmaster. Either way, when I get back to my office I always feel better and I find myself looking forward to the next stair challenge day to see if I can make a new personal best.

Palo Alto Coffee Guide

Coffee Guide

Coffee is a priority for me.  A good cup of coffee can mark the start of a great day or provide a necessary afternoon pick me up. Here are my go to places in Palo Alto when I am in need of a caffeine kick.

Old Faithful Coffee Stop

When I am looking for a reliable pick me up, I turn to Philz Coffee. Philz has become a Bay Area staple and for good reason. The coffee is personalized, smooth and strong. The Philz in downtown Palo Alto has an order ahead option which means I can bypass the long line of fellow Philz devotees during the early morning rush. Favorite brews include Ecstatic Iced, Jacob’s Wonderbar and Itz the Best.

Best Iced Coffee

My favorite iced coffee can be found inside a running store. Zombie Runner on California Avenue sells not only running gear but some of the best iced coffee around. Their cold brew is made by chilling the coffee rather than adding ice to hot coffee which means not only is the coffee not watered down, but you get more of it.

Sit Down and Relax

Sometimes I like to get the first hour of work done in a coffee shop rather than in the office. Mornings like these call for a soothing espresso blend. Coupa Café in downtown Palo Alto serves coffee from Venezuela as well as Venezuelan chocolates and comfort foods. Favorites include their Venezuelan latte and Venezuelan style Americano, both of which go perfectly with an order of arepas (white cornmeal griddle cakes).

Cofee In a Pinch

For those moments when I don’t have a lot of time to spare but I am in desperate need of some coffee goodness, I head to the local McDonalds drive through. The coffee is quick, hot (although not too hot, thanks to some famous litigation) and in my experience, some of the smoothest large batch drip you can find. Although McDonalds has expanded their coffee offerings to compete with coffee chains like Starbucks and Peets, my favorite is still their basic black drip coffee.

Point One- Google Feud

Google Feud

We’ve all been there. Hours spent in front of our computer drafting or participating in a conference call. You need a break but the task at hand does not allow you enough time to leave your desk. Sometimes all you need is a Point One break- 0.1 hour or 6 minutes off from the billable hour to recharge and do something non-work related.

Google Feud to the rescue. In the time it would take to do a single time entry, you can play a few rounds of guess the search term before restarting the billable timer. Fair warning, the game can be addictive and leave you wondering what strange things you have queried into Google.

Double Duty- Teacher + Foodie

Pi Day 20150314

Who would miss the opportunity to combine a teaching moment with dessert indulgence? Not I. Especially not when it involves pie. For pi day, or super pi day this year, my husband and I took our son out to enjoy the great weather and a mini key lime pie. Although he is a little too young to currently understand what pi or pie is, it is never too early to start traditions, particularly those which involve celebrating a love of learning with food.

As a working mother who has many side interests, it can be a challenge to find the time to do all the things I love. Double Duty is a series chronicling my commitment to make the most of both billable and non-billable time.