Archive for vgordon

Have you tried Canva?

My favorite new tool is Canva, a graphic design tool that makes it super easy to create images for social media, flyers for sharing, and cards for printing. You can choose from free or $1.00 templates, photos, or icons to create images or PDF’s that you can download or save in your design stream.  Check out some of the images that I have created to publicize our Pet Therapy Study Break, Afternoon Tea, & other messages for Twitter and Facebook posts. One nice feature of Canva is that you can choose the size of your image to fit perfectly into posts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram as well as headers for social media and email. Canva also offers helpful tutorials on design plus inspiration from cool designers to follow on Instagram. Join the over 2 million members on Canva and start creating your own super designs.


GOOD LUCK2sunshinegood luckMolly3

5 Tips for a Happier 2015

Happy 2015!

Besides watching “happy” videos, here are 5 tips for a happier new year:

Simplify decisions  Create routines to simplify the decisions that don’t matter to you. Follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs and President Obama by simplifying your clothing decisions with a uniform (grey suit or jeans and a black turtleneck) or just a few clothing choices that suit your style. Or simplify your morning routine by eating the same breakfast every day or packing the same lunch. Try these simple steps to reduce your decision fatigue so that you’ll save your willpower and energy for the decisions that really matter to you.

Log out It’s difficult to stay focused on a task if constant distractions lure you away. Improve your chances of getting things done by batching your work and logging out of email, Facebook, and Twitter for set periods of time. Close your browser and set a timer to work on only one thing for 45 minutes and see how much more you can accomplish without interruptions. When you do log back into email, spend 30 minutes deleting, responding or filing mail and then close the program till you check it later in the day. Need convincing that interruptions have a detrimental effect on the quality of your work? Studies show that constant interruptions zap your productivity so get more done by batching similar tasks and reducing distractions.

Clear out clutter It’s a great feeling to get rid of clutter. It’s frees up your physical space and gives you more room mentally. And it’s rewarding to know that the stuff you don’t need can benefit others. Clean out your closet and donate clothing and accessories to the Suits 4 Success drive or other worthy organizations. Help with the School of Public Health’s Pathways project by bringing in your unopened toiletry samples from hotels. Use freecycle to share things you no longer need as part of a 40 day de-cluttering challenge. Clear out clutter at work as well. Consider unsubscribing from email lists, sending fewer emails, and printing fewer documents to clear out clutter in your office. And enjoy the new space you have when you have fewer things.

There is always, always, always something to be thankful for

(Photo Credit: Pretty Organized)

Develop recharging routines We all need recharging. Develop habits that “sharpen the saw” and renew your well-being. Stop eating at your desk and use your lunch break to take a walk, listen to music, or socialize.  Sign up for a class or program (at the Campus Rec Center, Organizational Learning or Development or UAB Employee Assistance and Counseling Center) that expands your knowledge or develops new interests. Spend time noticing and acknowledging all that you have to be thankful for and take time to recognize and thank the people that are part of your life. Need inspiration? Visit Three Beautiful Things or join the #365grateful project. And while you’re recharging, make a routine to recharge your phone, tablet or computer.

Recognize that perfection is not attainable Do you suffer from perfectionism? You’ve heard the expression that “perfection is the enemy of good” but what can you do to combat this tendency? You can try stepping back and looking at the big picture to develop a proper perspective. You can divide projects into smaller goals to maintain momentum and set time limits for tasks to avoid obsessing over minor details. You can make peace with the fact that making mistakes is part of the process and that perfection is not attainable. And you can be happy that you’ve achieve some good things in the process.

Does sex matter?

Learn about sex and gender differences from The Science of Sex & Gender in Human Health online course


“Sex…is an important basic human variable that should be considered when designing and analyzing the results of studies in all areas and at all levels of biomedical and health-related research.” —Institute of Medicine, Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?

Learn all about sex and gender differences from this online course developed by the Office of Research on Women’s Health, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health and the Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Three free courses are offered:

  • The Basic Science and the Biological Basis for Sex- and Gender- Related Differences
  • Sex and Gender Differences in Health and Behavior
  • The Influence of Sex and Gender on Disease Expression and Treatment

Each course includes 5 or 6 lessons and takes about 5 or 6 hours to complete.  New users must register for access to the courses.

The course was developed for researchers, clinicians, health care professionals, educators, and students who wish to gain a basic scientific understanding of the major physiological differences between the sexes, the influences these differences have on illness and health outcomes, and the implications for policy, medical research, and health care.

Continuing Education Credit

Eligible candidates can earn continuing medical education (CME) credit, continuing nursing education (CNE) credit or continuing pharmacy education (CPE) for successfully completing Course 1, Course 2, or Course 3.

Learn more

about research and resources in sex and gender differences at UAB and beyond in our Women’s Health Resources GuideThe guide was developed as part of the “Women’s Health Resources Dissemination Outreach Project” through funding provided by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

More information on NIH’s requirement that drugs be tested on animals of both sexes


7 ways to make your (finals) week less stressful

1. Find a stress buster event on campus near you

Take a break from studying and join Campus Recreation, the Counseling and Wellness Center, and the Student Nursing Association for our FREE Stress Buster Program!  Enjoy chair massages, blood pressure screenings, yoga classes, and stress relief handouts. There will also be free blue books, scantrons, and stress balls!

Free Massages* & Blood Pressure Screenings+

  • M // APRIL 21 // 4-6PM // (COMMONS)*+
  • T // APRIL 22 // 11:30-1:30 PM // (LISTER HILL)*+
  • W // APRIL 23 // 11-1 PM // (COMMONS) + (no massages on this date)

Free Yoga in Studio 1 of CRCT

  • M // APRIL 21 // 4-5PM (KAITLYN)
  • T // APRIL 22 // 12:15PM-1PM (TERRIE)
  • W // APRIL 23 // 4PM-5PM (IHSAN)

2. Take a humor break

Basset Hounds Running

Image source: Buzzfeed Bassett Hounds Running







3. Drink some tea – we’ve all heard that tea drinking is good for you but another benefit it provides is a chance to stop what you’re doing and take a break.  Afternoon tea is a Wednesday tradition that Lister Hill Library has been doing for several years – we know it’s popular with students and it’s been great for us too!  We enjoy hearing what you think about services and resources at the library so stop by, have a cup of tea (and a scone) and tell us what you think!  Wednesdays from 12:30 to 2:30

4.  Go outside – take a walk around the block or just sit outside on the green or at a table on the plaza for 15 minutes.  Turn your phone off and enjoy a few moments to feel the breeze, listen to birds, and breathe.

5. Speaking of breathing, if you don’t already meditate, try spending time each day sitting quietly.

6. Make a list – If you have lots on your mind, it often helps to write down your TO DO list so you can stop worrying that you’ll forget something important.  While you’re making lists, write down what you’re thankful for – it will help to keep things in perspective as you juggle a busy day.

7. Find more helpful hints at Lifehacker, The Joy Diet, & Zen Habits.

365 days of thanksgiving


(Photo Credit: Rustiqueart on FLICKR)

What do you appreciate most about Thanksgiving?  Time off from work or school to spend with family or friends?  Turkey & stuffing or pumpkin pie? Family traditions around football or shopping? The thing I like most about Thanksgiving (besides pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream) is the focus on being thankful. It’s a holiday that reminds us of everything we have — enough food on the table and someone to enjoy it with. This is not to dismiss the losses many of us feel during holidays but sometimes these losses can remind us how important it is to appreciate what we have while we have it.

I always plan to celebrate #30daysofThanksgiving but somehow the beginning of November catches me by surprise. This year I’m trying a year of thanksgiving beginning on the 28th.  I’ve found helpful advice on creating a habit of gratitude from Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits, Robert Emmons’ Greater Good posts (and his book Thanks!) and Neil Pasricha’s The 3 A’s of awesome.

There is always always always something to be thankful for

(Photo Credit: Pretty Organized)

Here is some of the advice I will try to follow:

Paying attention to the present moment — this means not living my life on autopilot but noticing the cool clouds, great song on the radio, or cute babies in line at Publix.

Counting my blessings — this means counting all of the things I have to be grateful for — from waking up each morning to the warm water in the shower to the food I eat — and not taking them for granted. (Creating a ritual for this activity is helpful –whether it’s each morning with coffee or before a meal or at bedtime — in this case autopilot in the form of ritual is good!)

 Writing down what I’m thankful for — I’ve seen this advice in several places and have tried it on and off.  I’ve had friends post their daily lists on Facebook during November and been inspired by strangers’ lists on blogs like 3 Beautiful Things.   According to this article on keeping a gratitude journal, it’s actually more effective to do this once or twice a week instead of every day.  If you can’t do it every week, you can do it once a year — our Christmas card includes a hand written list of all things we’re thankful for as a border for the picture of our kids (and sometimes dogs).

Saying thank you to others —  telling my family thank you is something I try to do every day but I know I’m not as good at this with my coworkers or friends.  To be effective, the thank-you needs to genuine and specific. With all the cool thank you cards out there, there’s no excuse not to send a thank you note to someone who has been a help. And sending a hand written note really stands out in the world of emails and text messages.

Giving others something to be thankful for by being kind or patient or extra encouraging to someone I know.  I’ll be more mindful about giving my coworker or child my full attention and find time to share something funny or uplifting with a friend. (If you’re my coworker or child reading this, feel free to remind me if I fall short : – )

Need inspiration? Check out this TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg on Nature.Beauty. Gratitude or Neil Pasricha’s The 3 A’s of awesome.

Thank you for sharing any comments or tips you have on practicing gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!  Valerie

(Photo Credit: Louie Schwartzberg)

(Photo Credit: Louie Schwartzberg)

NIH Research on Women’s Health

Women's Health ResourcesHave you ever searched for women’s health information and wondered whether your search results were reliable? Up to date? Complete?

Have you ever looked for research on health topics and wondered if the findings applied to women as well as men?

Women’s Health Resources is a gateway for the latest health & wellness information and sex & gender differences research. The portal is the product of a partnership between the National Library of Medicine Outreach and Special Populations Branch and the Office of Research on Women’s Health as part of the National Institutes of Health.

The Women’s Health Resources gateway can be used to improve your research and teaching activities and locate information on health topics for women.

Women’s Health Resources provides a wealth of information. Unlike other websites that may specialize in either peer-reviewed research or only consumer health information, the Women’s Health Resources portal gathers dynamically-updated peer-reviewed journal articles, clinical trials, and consumer health information into one place.

The Women’s Health Resources portal places the women’s health information into categories:

  • General
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Substance Abuse
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Bone and Joint Health
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
  • Diabetes
  • Exercise and Fitness
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Diseases and Disorders
  • Menopausal Hormone Therapy
  • Mental Health
  • Military and Women
  • Nutrition
  • Reproductive Health
  • Safety and Wellness
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)
  • Violence and Abuse

The Women’s Health Resources portal also presents women’s health information based on the National Institutes of Health’s overarching themes of the priorities for research in women’s health:

  • Life Span
  • Early Years
  • Gender Identity
  • Caregiving
  • Reproductive Life
  • Senior Life
  • Health Disparities/Differences and Diversity
  • Sex/Gender Determinants
  • Interdisciplinary Research

Lister Hill Library is publicizing the Women’s Health Resources portal as part of the Women’s Health Dissemination Outreach project.  Find out more information on Women’s Health Resources by visiting the Lister Hill Library Guide or the Women’s Health Resources portal page.

Sex & Gender in Human Health

We all think about sex but how often do we think about it from an academic point of view?  How much do we know about the science and biological basis for sex/gender differences?  Do we know how these differences affect health and behavior? As students, educators, researchers, clinicians, and healthcare providers we need to understand the impact these differences have.

Get a refresher on this important information in The Science of Sex and Gender in Human Health online curriculum.


This free online series is a collaborative project presented by the Office of Research on Women’s Health, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health; The Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Lister Hill Library received funding from the National Library of Medicine to promote Women’s Health Resources and The Science of Sex and Gender in Human Health.

The first course, The Basic Science and the Biological Basis for Sex- and Gender-Related Differences, includes the following six lessons:

  1. Understanding the Importance of Sex and Gender in Biomedical Research
  2. Legislative Process Framework
  3. Cell Physiology
  4. Developmental Biology
  5. Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics
  6. Clinical Applications of Genomics

The lessons of the second course, Sex and Gender Differences in Health and Behavior, include:

  1. Clinical Research Methodology
  2. Endocrine Effects on Immunity
  3. Drug Therapeutics during Pregnancy
  4. Understanding the Importance of Sex and Gender in Mental Health
  5. Autoimmunity, Autoimmune Disease, and Sex Bias
  6. Sex and Gender Differences in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Each lesson can be completed in less than an hour and includes a quiz at the end to test your comprehension.  After completing each course, you are eligible for a Certificate of Completion and CME credit for physicians.

Find more information on Women’s Health Resources by visiting the LHL Guide on Women’s Health developed by SoPH Intern, Niki Agho.


Tech Tune-up: 50 sites (Part 1)

Here are the 25+ sites that I presented at the Tech Tune-up on 4/24/13.   Michael Fitts will be posting his list as well. Hope you enjoy visiting these sites! — Valerie Gordon

p.s. Do you have suggestions on other types of fun classes you’d like to see at Lister Hill?  An Evernote Users Group?  Lifehacker Happy Hour? Productivity Tips & Tricks?  Post your comment here or send a suggestion to

Tech Tune-up:  50 Sites (Part 1)


  1. TechLister
  2. Profhacker
  3. Study Hacks:
  4. Becoming minimalist
  5. Yarny:

Plus old favorites: Lifehacker: & Zenhabits:

Home & Garden

  1. Apartment Therapy:
  2. Gardenista:
  3. A way to garden:
  4. Ikea hackers:
  5. Take them a meal:

Plus old favorites: Houzz & design sponge

More design

  1. Polyvore
  2. The sartorialist:
  3. I love typography


  1. Road trippers
  2. Birmingham Library Pinterest Page
  3. Storyverse
  4. IMDB: Downton Abbey:

Plus old favorites: AirnBnB & Yelp  & Tripadvisor


  1. Open Culture
  2. Sulia
  3. What NYPL is reading:

Plus old favorites:  Stumbleupon & reddit


  1. Catalog living
  2. Zoo borns
  3. Soulpancake
  4. Funny or Die:
  5. LetMeGoogleThatForYou:

Tired of the same old type?

I’ve been fascinated with fonts for a long time. Long ago, I was actually a fan of Comic Sans, something most people won’t admit in public. (Read more on the font that everyone loves to hate.) Since then my taste in type has improved. I dream in Helvetica and speak in Century Gothic. I’m fond of Modern type but allergic to Jokerman. For my birthday, my husband ordered this book for me and I was happy!


Are you tired of the same old type? Wish you had some new fonts to spice up your documents? Visit, and to find a wide variety of retro, script, decorative or contemporary fonts. Be sure to read the fine print about how these fonts can be used.  Want some more inspiration?  Check out these blogs: You the Designer, I love typography, and From up north.

Wish you knew more about type? Find some (80, to be exact) great tutorials on typography at Creative Bloq including A Crash Course in Typography by Cameron Chapmon and Principles for Combining Typefaces. The examples of successful design are especially helpful.

Want to see how much you’ve learned? Try the Font Game (available for iPhone and iPad for $1.99) or I Shot the Serif (free online). Let me know how well you do!

New Year’s Resolutions: Find Balance


Here are the resources presented in the first class in the New Year’s Resolutions series.  If you have other suggestions for apps, websites, or books, we hope you’ll share them in the comments section.

Simplify – Decide what’s important to you

How you spend your time is how you spend your life
The Happiness Project
37 days
Steve Jobs How to Live before you Die
Rescue Time
Hours Tracker Free

Figure out what you can reduce or eliminate
Zen Habits
The 4-Hour Work Week
Screen Free Week

Decide what routines or habits will help you simplify
Simplify your work and other books by Elaine St. James
Remember the Milk

Be present
The Amazing Power of Being Present
Three beautiful things


Practice gratitude
The Joy of Appreciate Living
The Gratitude Journal

Give to others
Do One Nice Thing
29 Gifts
CSW Suits for Success

Serenity to Go
Free UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center meditation podcasts
Universal Breathing
Resource Center Meditation, Yoga, & Tai Chi

Get help keeping your resolutions