I finished Basic Javascript!

rocket science

Woo hoo!

This one was a doozy. I really struggled with the majority of this section, and had to find help online to do many of the lessons.

difficult but i got the skillz

One thing I really noticed with the structure of the lessons in this section was that they gave way less helpful info when introducing the concepts. fCC is really trying to make their coders independent and resourceful and that intention came through in this section.

I do feel that a lot more could have been explained, or elaborated on, or perhaps just reworded, to make it clearer what we were supposed to do. A few times when I googled what to do, it was actually much easier than I had thought based on the wording of the lesson.

Anyway, there was a LOT of cool stuff in Basic Javascript. Too diverse to mention it all and give even an accurate summary of the section. So I’ll just list a few favorites:

  • I like If/Else If statements
  • I like bracket notation and indexes
  • I like functions
  • I like the strict equality operator (because it feels silly to type === and have it actually mean something)
  • I like for loops (even though they were some of the most difficult lessons!)
  • And I really like inverting regular expressions (like using \S to find all the non-whitespace characters in a string)

I really feel accomplished after finishing this section. Partly because it was a big section and took a long time. Mostly because it was hard and I did it anyway.

Pushed through resistance and completed jQuery


I felt some resistance to starting this section. Partly because I didn’t understand what the first lesson was called (“Learn how Script Tags and Document Ready Work”) and par– actually, no, that was the entire reason.

jQuery is getting into stuff that I’ve only messed around with in the past. So the majority of it was new to me. And newness is scary, thus resistance, etc.

But this section was pretty easy and had some really cool things in it. Things like selecting all the buttons on the page and making them bounce up and down. On an actual website, these features are more annoying than anything else, and I instantly was reminded of those obnoxious ads on the sides of websites I go to to watch Pretty Little Liars.

But these little parlor tricks made the section fun nevertheless.

You can also change the CSS of an element by using jQuery, which is much more likely to be useful in the real world.

jQuery was a pretty short section to soon it was time for my first challenge in Basic Front End Development Projects. I was so excited and ready for this!!

The first project is to make a tribute page. It was pretty simple since I have been using HTML and CSS for years and that’s basically all this was.

The next project is to build a personal portfolio webpage. I already have this website, so I have chosen to skip this project for now. But I do have revamping plans for this site, so at some point I’ll finish the challenge naturally.

Next up is Javascript, and I think I can handle it!



Other people’s definition of success


For awhile I’ve felt that I don’t resonate with the typical definition of success. It doesn’t make my heart feel anything when I hear it described. In fact, some of the material excess described makes me feel uneasy when I hear people fantasize about it.

I don’t need to be rich.

From a young age I’ve always been able to distinguish a need from a want. I know that when it comes down to it, we need very little to survive and even to thrive. I also understand that our material desires stem from an emotional lack somewhere, and I have the foresight to know that a new handbag will only be a temporary fix at best.

I’m good with my pennies, thanks

Anyway, I bring this up because I was reading an article in my Medium Daily Digest called “5 Things I Had to Give Up to be Successful“. The first thing the writer says he gave up is Other people’s definition of success.

He talks about the standard agreed-upon version of success that society has, which is especially propagated during college. But “by this definition, I was a complete failure.” And boy can I relate to that.

He goes on to say,

“At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives.”

This issue of defining your self-worth by how “successful” you are plagued my 20’s. And really, it wasn’t until I sold out and “got a real job” that I finally felt the shame dissipate. But I wasn’t happy. Isn’t it possible to live a life filled with an abundance of happiness and also a complete lack of shame? Cause that’s what I’m looking for.

I also totally resonated with his point that “Even as entrepreneurs we have collectively agreed that fame and fortune are the markers of success,” because I know I’ve felt shame when comparing myself to my other freelancer friends who are out there hustling in their own way.

i now go beyond other peoples' fears and limitations
We have these “Power Thought Cards” by Louise L. Hay in our staff bathroom, and this one was up today. Perfect.

So what do I actually want?

The answer to this could easily be 100 more blog posts, but in short: I want enough money to live the same frugal and minimal lifestyle I live now, with enough extra that if I wanted to splurge, I could. I want enough extra money that I can invest for retirement. And I want enough extra money so I can travel. But that’s it.

And aside from money, what do I want? I want a family. I want to get married and have children and I want to nurture that family. And I also want to maintain independence and work on my own projects and goals. I want to continue to progress. I want to prioritize family and friends and in-person experiences over digital ones. I want to prioritize my health.

cute little fam

And that’s it in a nutshell.



What goes on at an fCC meetup

Today I went to my first freeCodeCamp meetup, and it was great! We met at our local collaborative working space, and sat in the conference room. The Colab had tea and coffee available for us so that was a nice perk, too. It was stormy out today, and with the windows open we had a pleasant breeze and background rain to listen to.

We chatted a bit about why each of us is interested in learning to code, and about the various benefits for future job potential. Then we did a couple pomodoros of individual work on freeCodeCamp. I started the Javascript section and got a bunch done! I haven’t worked using pomodoros in awhile, and it was nice to be that focused.

On breaks, we shares updates about which sections we had just been working on, and asked for help if we needed it. We were all at different points in the course, so some stuff we talked about I could relate to as I’d already done it, and other stuff was a glimpse at the upcoming sections for me. It was cool to see each others’ progress and just to know that there are other people in my town who are doing the same course as me. It definitely motivated me to keep going!

And on that note, off I go!

The Colab keepin’ it real



Bootstrap: a conversion story


Well that was fast! I just finished the Responsive Design with Bootstrap section on freeCodeCamp and I had to double check that I actually completed all the lessons.

Let me tell you, Bootstrap is super easy to use! It’s so intuitive and simple. It’s great! It also offers some really cool stuff.

Things that were new to me:

Wells. You can give a div a class of “well” and it gives it a look like there’s depth to the div. Super fast styling!

Font Awesome. Font Awesome is a library of icons that you can add to buttons (things like a thumbs up, or a cute little paper airplane for submit buttons). All you do is add Font Awesome to the top of your HTML and bam, you have access to the library.

paper airplane

Things that were not new to me:

The general concept of responsive design. I’ve been doing that for awhile already and after a long time of NOT doing it that way… let’s just say I would never, ever go back.

grid layout

Creating divs with class “row” and using a grid. I’ve been using Foundation, not Bootstrap, for the last few years. That just happened to be the responsive framework I chose to learn, and I liked it so I always used it. But I like Bootstrap and that seems to have a few more features and also it seems to be the trend, so thanks to this section in freeCodeCamp, I’ve now converted.

That’s all for this week! Happy coding, friends.

The first five hours

The first week of something new is always exciting. So let’s just jump right in to what I want to share about my experiences so far with freeCodeCamp.

By the way, if you missed last week’s post, I shared a bit about my past design experience which led me to this point.

Brownies have always been a favorite of mine…

I love this brownie points system. I love anything gamified. It totally works on me. I love seeing my brownie points rack up and I especially love that a friend of mine has 122 and I only have 37 at the time of this writing. That type of competition pushes me so far forward and I just KNOW I am going to catch up to him and surpass him. I can’t wait.

I love how short the lessons are. They are literally one page. And some of them are so quick, it’s hardly a new lesson. FCC really takes to heart the idea of small, simple steps leading to greatness.

mountain man

As I mentioned in my first post, I already had some design experience, so the HTML and CSS isn’t new for me here. It’s serving as a great review source though.

Other courses I’ve done (without naming names) have started at the top of an HTML document, teaching you the DOCTYPE before learning what a tag is. After DOCTYPE, you learn how to link CSS, without knowing what CSS is. By the time you get through meta tags and into the body, you’re questioning why you wanted to code in the first place.

I appreciate that these lessons start and end with the basics. They leave out the nonsense and get you typing out code that has a visual effect you can see in real time.

hex code chart
How many times have we seen this chart?

Also, I’ve always loved hex codes. When I got to that lesson (and remembered that hex codes were a thing), I felt this happy nostalgia. I think because back when I first learned HTML back when I was like 11, I had so much fun playing around with the colors. I’ve always just really, really liked hex codes. Sounds silly, but in the chance that a reader out there has as irrational a fondness as I do, I wanted to mention it!

And on that note, who else learned HTML from Neopets?

Looking forward to the lesson on Bootstrap next. I’ve always been a Foundation girl myself.


Hello, handsome new blog!

Greetings, readers! And welcome to my web development blog.

I’m one week in to freeCodeCamp and I’m really excited to share my thoughts with you so far. But first, I figure I should catch you up with where I’ve been and how I’ve gotten to this point.

I started learning HTML back in the early 2000s. Then I added some coding and some photoshop in there. But it was all just hobby stuff. It wasn’t until about 2009 that a friend came into the bar where I was bartending and asked me if I’d ever thought about doing web design. It was this conversation that I credit to starting me down the road as a professional web developer.

I did freelance here and there for awhile, but struggled a lot, being self taught and having gaps in my knowledge. I was so eager to start making money that I decided to forgo devoting time to learning, and just jump right in with client work. That went okay, but it was insanely frustrating coming up against roadblocks and needing outside help to solve them. Finally, the frustration was too much for me and I stopped designing altogether.

Fast forward to this year, which I’ve spent working as a teacher’s assistant in a Montessori preschool. It has been incredibly fun, exciting, fascinating, adorable, hilarious, and hug-filled. But I’ve also gotten sick five times in eight months, I’m exhausted, and I’m just not earning enough to be where I want to be in terms of my financial future. So with a lot of hesitation, I think this will be my last year. And back to web development it is.

I’ve always had a lot of fear around web work. A lot of worry and shame and fear of failure. A lot of frustration, too, and anger and resentment. But all of that is because I didn’t do it right the first time around. I put myself out there before I was ready. I needed a stronger foundation of skills – more than just a strong knowledge of HTML and CSS. That isn’t enough anymore. A designer needs to be a developer these days. And she needs to know how to code.

So this time, while the fear of failure is still very much there, and the memories of the seemingly impossible bugs to fix are still fresh in my mind… I feel at the same time relatively at ease about the endeavor. Because I know it will be better this time. My approach will be all different. My mentality will be all different. And hopefully, my results will be very different.

old way vs new way

The old way was the reason I struggled so much. I put so much pressure on myself to be a successful web designer, without nourishing myself — neither in terms of growing my knowledge and skillset, nor in terms of my personal life and keeping a healthy work-life balance.

The new way is the reason I will succeed. I will have patience. I will respect myself no matter what. And I will remember that if I keep learning, I will keep improving. And with improvement comes new opportunities. And opportunities lead to success.

And that’s why I’m so excited about freeCodeCamp. Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll share with you all my thoughts on the first week!