The Buncombe County Master Gardener Volunteers website screenshot

Buncombe County Master Gardener blog recognized by NC State Extension award

One of my favorite non-profit projects of 2017 was rebuilding the Buncombe County Master Gardener Volunteers website. I was able to refresh the site’s look from a very outdated generic look to a fresher, more garden-y feel. Working with the wonderful women of the master gardeners has been rewarding in many ways, especially the ability to always ask them “What is this plant?!”

The blog is such a valuable resource for area gardeners. It is maintained by a small team of extremely dedicated volunteers who write detailed posts like clockwork. The volunteer writers explain everything from pest management, composting, weed identification, gardening on slopes, pruning trees, and everything else you can think of related to gardening in Western NC. The blog has gained thousands of subscribers over the years thanks to the hard work of the volunteers and their high quality, timely content.

This year, the blog was awarded in the Innovative Project category of the 2018 NC Extension Master GardenerSM (EMG) Search for Excellence!

Congratulations to the dedicated women and men of the BCEMG, especially Barbara Hayes and Beth Leonard, who have made the blog such a huge success over the years.

Here’s an excerpt from the award:

Congratulations! The Buncombe EMGV Blog placed 1st in the Innovative Project category of the 2018 NC Extension Master GardenerSM (EMG) Search for Excellence (SFE).

The EMG SFE is designed to recognize outstanding educational, group projects that result in significant learning. The team that reviewed applications felt the Buncombe EMGV Blog was extremely well-done, provides valuable and timely information to gardeners in western NC, and truly embodies the mission of Extension and the EMG Program.

Visit the Blog

Online Tools to save Time and stay organized

Here are a few tools that have saved me time, effort, and in many cases, sanity.

LastPass (Password Management)

If there’s one tool everyone with an internet connection should have, it’s a password management system. And no, I’m not talking about the notebook where you scrawl down your latest account login or even the massive spreadsheet you’ve been keeping since 1999. A password management tool like LastPass not only saves passwords for you – it can auto-fill them and even auto-fill forms so you never have to write out email address again. LastPass has been saving me oodles of time for over 6 years, and it’s free.

Ublock (Ad Block)

This does just what it says – blocks ads on webpages. Mosto f the time ad block is smart enough to block the bumper ads on YouTube. Want to support a certain site by viewing their ads? Disable ad block on that particular page.

OneTab (Browser Tab Management)

If you spend much of your day on a computer, chances are you have a bit of browser tab buildup. That’s right, I’m talking about the 87 tabs currently open in your browser (oh, maybe that’s just me!). Don’t lose your tabs ever again and keep them organized into groups, or tuck them away to clear the clutter. This little browser extension has made a big difference in my workflow!

JumpCut (Copy/Paste helper, Mac Only)

JumpCut allows you to see the last several items that you copied to your “clipboard” (the magical space where things go when you copy a piece of a text and get ready to paste it). This is super useful when you need to copy/paste lots of stuff all the time like me! This way you can copy several pieces of text in a row, and retrieve them in JumpCut.

Bear (Notes)

Everyone has their favorite note-taking app, and Bear is mine. Bear lets you write in markdown which makes it easy to write for your website and paste it in without losing formatting. It also syncs with all devices if you use the paid version (~$15/yr). I mainly like the way everything is tagged and organized, and it looks super clean. SimpleNote came close but I love Bear!

I’m always looking for little web helpers, and I’ll be sure to share them here. I hope these tools are useful for your online workflow!

Last updated: October 2019

WordCamp Talk on

My lightning talk from this year’s WordCamp “Email Marketing in a Flash” is now live on The talk is about 15 minutes with some Q+A at the end. If you’re curious about the basics of email marketing and what can make it so successful for business, watch this and tell me what you think.

Watch the recording

View/Download the slides to my talk here.
The cute icons I used throughout the slides are from The Noun Project, a great resource for icons!