An Honest Year in WordPress 2015 Review

Desert wildflowers

2015 was a much slower year for me and WordPress, as my mother passed away December 2014. It was a very difficult year for me for many reasons. I’ve been re-evaluating my career and my role in the WordPress Community lately and what I want to see happen for 2016. I’ve been re-prioritizing the things that matter to me, which I have basically boiled down to: 1) Health 2) Family & Friends 3) Community, in that order.

You have absolutely nothing without your own physical and mental health, and it is something requires a lot of diligence and upkeep depending on the cards you’ve been dealt. I have found this year that you, yourself, have to care about your own health and take care of your own physical and mental well being, no one else can do it for you. You can not be there for anyone if you are not there for yourself. If you do not take care of your basic health needs, then you take a loss in every other area, and family and close ones will be hit the hardest.

This year, I also taught HTML and CSS classes to beginners on a regular basis with the Girl Develop It Los Angeles Chapter, co-founded by my best friend, Natalie MacLees. HTML and CSS are the languages which are the foundation of all web pages. I’ve been using HTML since 1995 and CSS since it was invented, so I am well-versed in both. I found teaching small classes extremely rewarding. I love the interaction and spark in a student’s eyes when they finally get it. In 2016, I will definitely be teaching as much as possible, and I may look at teaching on a more permanent basis.


In 2015, I traveled to Salt Lake City and Toronto to speak at their WordCamps, as well as a few local camps, including spending a week in Sacramento for their camp. I hate to admit, and I thought this would never happen, but I think I am officially burnt out on speaking and attending WordCamps, so 2016 will be a light year for WordPress events for me.

WordPress is an awesome tool, yes it is, but it is only a tool, just like your computer is a tool, your phone, the applications, etc. WordPress is only one part that can help you build websites. We don’t go around worshiping LAMP, cPanel, MacOS, or your FTP program, so why should we should we continually sing the praises of piece of software that allows you to create a website? Granted, WordPress is the best of the tools out there that can do this, but still, it is just a tool, like a pen.

What are your priorities? Are they inline with your focus and actions? What will you do different this year? Let me know in the comments below.


Upcoming WordCamp Sacramento: “Using CSS3 in WordPress” by Suzette Franck

I very lucky to have been selected to speak at the very first WordCamp Sacramento this year, right where my favorite cousins live! I will be giving my “Using CSS3 in WordPress” talk, which I also gave at WordCamp Toronto this October. However, this time, I will be adding more code examples and reworking my talk especially for the fine folks this upcoming November 7th! I am very excited for this WordCamp, especially since all tickets sold out in only 2 hours! It should be a fun, informative time for everyone!

Hey, but if you know CSS3 already, why  not learn some Sass? I did a introductory talk at Minneapolis WordCamp on this, which was recorded, and you may find embedded below from The session is geared for those CSS wizards wanting to get their feet wet with some Sassy good times:

I hope to see you at WordCamp Sacramento and if you go please stop me and say hello! 🙂


I’m Speaking in WordCamp Toronto, Canada!

I’ll be speaking October 3 in Toronto about Using CSS3 in WordPress! Stay tuned for more info soon!


“Suzette Franck: WordCamp Awesome Person #1” by Russell Aaron

Republished from Russell Aaron’s blog, which may be found at:

Suzette Franck is one of the first, of many, individuals I met outside of the Vegas WordPress Community. At the time, she was the evangelist for a company called Media Temple. This was before GoDaddy acquired the company in recent years. She has worked for some awesome companies and I’m completely jealous. No joke.

Suzette Franck: WordCamp Awesome Person #1

Suzette Franck has been to more WordCamp events, than any other person I know. She has spoken at almost every single one of them. She’s extremely knowledgeable in the world of HTML & CSS. HerWordCamp Talks are always packed with new users and advanced developers who need to learn a thing or two about becoming better with CSS.

When I first started writing my Gravity Styles WordPress Plugin, Suzette Franck was the first person I contacted. I asked if she had any style tips for gravity forms. I received an email rom her containing the style sheet she uses for styling Gravity Forms on her personal site. She gave me permission to use her style in my plugin. I mean, does it get any better than that?


I share a story with Suzette Franck

One time, we both were speaking at WordCamp Albuquerque 2013. We both stayed at the some hotel and even though we did not share the same ride from the airport to our hotel, we both had the same story. The shuttle bus driver asked us if we were fans of Breaking Bad. The show filmed in Albuquerque. So it wasn’t that weird to ask. He then asked us if we wanted to see the house that one of the characters live in. It’s a real house they film in. He then informed us that he lived close to the house. A little creepy to say the least.

I cherish every memory I have with Suzette Franck, and I look forward to seeing her at more WordCamp Events.

Read the full article here:


WPwatercooler #148 Coding and the Design Process

This week on WPwatercooler, we’ll be answering a viewer’s email about where to begin and best practices.

Mark Nottingham writes:

As someone who is learning WordPress, HTML, CSS and trying to learn some PHP to develop my own websites, I am interested in what you folk at WPWatercooler use in the main to develop your own sites and themes. I am guessing that you need to know HTML and CSS inside out, but what about PHP considering that WordPress is based on it? What about JavaScript, Jquery? Also what is your work process? Do you start with a Photoshop mock up and transfer that to web? Or do you just go straight to a theme? I would love to hear what you think.