Component-based vs. Utility-class CSS Paradigm

Currently I’m working on rebuilding our front-end to be able to support enterprise clients, as well as giving it a fresh coat of paint while we’re at it. It’s definitely a blue-sky kind of project, which are always my favorites.

Of course, before you start tearing apart a site to rebuild it, you need to spend some time in the old code-base to see what we can re-use and any lessons learned that you need to take into account for the new site. It’s always interesting to get dumped into a new code-base. It’s a lot like living in someone-else’s house or driving someone-else’s car. You get to see all the little quirks and routines that make perfect sense to the actual owner, but just look incredibly strange to an outsider until their reasoning is explained.

One of the little quirks that I ran into was the utility-class CSS structure that was being used, as opposed to the component-based CSS structure that I’m personally used to. I had read about utility classes, but I had never actually seen them used in the wild before. But like anything new, I gave it a month or two to prove itself, but in the end I really disliked working with them so we’re going forward with component-based CSS for the new site.

But don’t just take my word for it. Read through the list of pros and cons that we considered, and do your own research before you choose one paradigm over another.

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Style Remix: Sleeveless Button-down Shirt

I’m a big believer in the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Since I basically live in button-down shirts during the fall, winter and spring, of course my go-to topper is a sleeveless button down shirt for the summer. My favorites are from Everlane, J.Crew and Modcloth. Here’s a few ways that I’m remixing my button-downs this summer for work, play and everything in-between.

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Summer Sun Protection PSA

Summer is finally here! It’s so cold and dark for most of the year here in the Northeast that everyone gets slightly hysterical the moment warmer weather comes around. I’m so excited for lots of trips to beaches and parks, rooftop drinking, and Sunday afternoon field hockey games.

I’m definitely not much of a sun worshiper, but since all my favorite things to do during the summer involve being outside I do try to protect myself. Especially since my family has a history of skin cancer, and I’ve had about five questionable freckles removed since I was sixteen. So sun protection is a subject that I can be a little evangelical about.

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A Culture of Busyness


I started a new job a few months ago. While there were plenty of reasons to move to a new place, one of the perks was definitely that my commute suddenly became 30 minutes shorter. Couple that with having the cash to move to a gym down the street from my work, and suddenly an hour and a half opened up in my day! If you’ve ever changed your schedule and realized you have an extra hour that you didn’t have before, you know how exciting this was. I had so much time for activities! It basically felt like this:


So of course, like any sane person I decided to revel in that extra hour, sleep in a bit, maybe idly read or do some other relaxing activity right? 

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10 Brands Made in America

10 Made in America
Polina Skirt, Vivian Chan $168 / Wrap Cardigan, Alabama Chanin $90 / Coppename Point Silk Scarf, Slow Factory $175  (Made in Italy, but still a great company) / Anita Leather Skirt, Dolores Haze $345 / Kimono Indigo Grid, Upstate $290 /Rose Amos Top, Bon George $73 / Stripe Georgia Dress, Elizabeth Suzann $195 / Noe Dress, Sonnet James $98 / Grey Stripe Tank Top, Brook There $44 / Baleen Rose Gold Earrings, Craft & Culture $24

For more local designers, please check out my other favorite designers that manufacture in America. Who are you favorite local designers to shop? 

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Learn How to Code: part 2

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to start or continue to build your programming skill-set. While I certainly can’t speak for backend and data science, I thought I’d share some next steps to take if you’re front-end development. If you’re an absolute newbie, check out the post that I wrote last year on learning how to code. I still stand by all the recommendations I made on how to start to learn coding, but thought that I’d flesh them out a bit and write about some next steps to take once you’re no longer an absolute beginner.

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Talking About React, Design, and Shenanigans

I recently recorded a talk for the Bitly Tech Podcast. Sean (one of our senior back-end developers) and I had a few beers and discussed what I’ve been working on lately, my background, and just our general opinions on the state of the web at the intersection of development and design.

So if you ever wondered what I sound like in real-life you can listen to the podcast on our website here  or download the podcast from iTunes here. All I can promise is that there is a lot of joking around (I think we’re hilarious), just a little bit of kvetching, and a lot of Sean talking about “back in my day…” :)

Hope you guys enjoy it as much as we did recording it, and be sure to check out the other podcasts done by our other awesome engineers!

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The Reading List: loved, hated and currently reading

Everyone seemed to enjoy the round-up of my favorite classic science fiction books, so I wanted to make sharing what I’m reading a more regular thing around here!

A little background on me: I consider the e-reader to be one of the great inventions of the 21st century, I often swap paperbacks with my friends and family, and I belong to a few different bookclubs just to keep myself open to new genres and authors and to force myself out of my literary comfort zone.

Also, confession time: I use Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk as a barometer of whether we will probably be close friends or not. If you’ve read the book and loved it, we have a similar outlook and sense of humor and will probably get along famously. If you hated it or don’t get it, obviously we can still be friends, but I’m still going to judge you slightly on your taste in reading material. Does anyone else do this or is it just me?

Anyway, onto my bookshelf! I’d like to share what I’ve been reading lately that I’ve loved, hated, and is currently in my purse/on my shelf. Obviously these aren’t “good” or “bad” books, just that I personally loved or hated them, and if you have similar tastes you might feel the same way.

And if you completely disagree with me, well, you’re probably one of those people who hated Invisible Monsters :)

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