Monthly Archives

February 2016

Early Career

I spy Alison Spiess kicking some serious a**

What do you do after a week of being surrounded by women in tech at Grace Hopper? Well if you’re Beth, the answer is travel 2 hours to seek out another one! Alison did a semester abroad at the University of New South Wales, which is where I met her – she actually hosted my first ever Friendsgiving. Austin is a beautiful city, and I’m so glad I had Alison to show me around – I only wish it had been a little less hot!

Tell us a little about you.


I lived in Iowa for the first 22 years of my life where I got my bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. I moved to Austin 2 years ago to work at National Instruments and have stumbled upon an amazing team and a couple of cool managers. I love living in Austin. It’s such a funky town with tons of cool people, outdoor activities, music, and good food. I decided I want to stay in Austin for a good while longer so I’m in the process of buying my first house and enjoying doing all the fantasy interior decorating that goes along with it.

One of the first things I did after moving to Austin was buy a pair of rollerskates and join the Texas Rollergirls Recreational League. Austin is a huge city for roller derby, being the source of the modern revival in the early 2000s. I was drawn to it for being a kick-ass woman’s dominated sport where there is no shame in being who you are. Plus, beating up on other women (safely!) is such a thrill! Over the last 2 years, I’ve been working my way up into the Rec League’s most advanced level, Team Reckoning. Next year, I’m hoping to try out for Texas Rollergirls League proper, so be on the lookout for me!

Tell us about what you’re wearing.


Most of what I am wearing is second hand. The dress, the shoes, the vest, the purse, as well as all of the jeans I own. I found them all on different visits to Plato’s Closet. Thrift shopping is the easiest way to get exposed to a ton of different styles, especially things you wouldn’t normally pick up. It’s also super budget friendly, so I don’t feel bad buying something I’m not sure I’ll wear. The hat is from World Market where I stumbled upon it on my mission to get Tim Tams.


My coworkers joke that I own hundreds of shirts with cats on them. I’d like to use this opportunity to point out that I only own 3 cat shirts. I think I got this particular funky space cat shirt from the men’s department at Kohls. It pays off to browse different sections sometimes, you might just find something you like. The jeans are American Eagle, but I got them from Plato’s Closet along with the sandals.


My typical roller derby outfit is a baggy shirt (we LOVE this one), a pair of shorts, and a bright sports bra for a bit of pop. We practice in a warehouse so the hot summers can be brutal if you don’t have proper air flow and skin exposure. I caught this shirt during a sponsored SXSW party last year. I thought the sassy-ness matched my personality so even though it was far too large for me, I cut off the sleeves and repurposed it into a workout shirt. The shorts and sports bra are from Target’s activewear section. I bought my skates from the local roller derby shop, Medusa Skates, about four months ago. They are my babies.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?


I used to be a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Well, I still am, I love to be comfortable. You won’t find me torturing myself with heels for long periods of time, anything too tight, or bulky jewelry. The simpler the better for me. My style initially started developing in college when I was figuring out who I am. I started gravitating toward to a lot of muted colors and dark neutrals in solids or stripes. I think of it as sort of a laid back, moody, classic style.

The Austin mentality has really started influencing the types of clothes I’ve been buying lately though. People here are really down to earth and stylish hippy is big. I’ve been picking things that are bright, flowy, lacey, floral patterned, and great for warm weather. It’s different than what I’m used to, but I’ve been enjoying branching out and trying something new.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?


I think it’s important to remember when you’re getting into STEM that you have to be ok with failing sometimes. It’ll be difficult. Despite that, you shouldn’t forget to praise your own small successes and don’t let the mistakes get to you. I always have a hard time admitting when I don’t know something, but it’s important to remember that it’s impossible to know everything and no one can fault you for that. Don’t doubt yourself and don’t let other people dictate what you should think of what you’re doing.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?


My senior design project has to be it. My team created a home automation system that’s goal was to mesh different standards in an easy to setup and control platform. We covered the whole spectrum of programming from kernel and user-mode development, to web back-end, to web and mobile apps. I spent most of my time working on the web page which was something totally different than I had ever done. While I did learn a lot, I’m most proud of our team dynamic and how dedicated we all were to the project. I want to be that dedicated to every project I work on in the future.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?


Twitter – @alispss
Instagram – @alispss

Buying a house, kicking ass at roller derby, working at National Instruments and (not that she mentioned it) baking up a storm too! All that plus some great advice – reading this definitely has me inspired to kick my productivity up a notch, although I don’t think either of us’ll be brave enough for Roller Derby any time soon (not that Dona would let me anyway!).



Fashion Post

Some Valentine’s Day Drama

Here at Fibonacci Sequins, we’re all about recycling. After all, we’re Seattle-ites (sometimes). We have to pass the recycle test before we’re allowed to live here! (That’s not true, but it might as well be). We’ll come back to recycling in a minute.

For Dona, every day is Valentine’s Day.IMG_8285

Indulging in wine and chocolates? Daily sustenance! (What are we, barbarians?)

Wearing red on the regular? It’s a neutral!

Expressing her affection for the ones she loves?  Yes, every day!

Since every day is Valentine’s Day, why relegate wearing a good Valentine’s Day outfit just once a year?  Fashion is one of the biggest industries to cause waste in the world and we’re big fans of finding multiple ways to wear our fanciest and most casual pieces.   This red beaded vintage 20s flapper dress is no exception: perfect for both day AND night!

What? There’s no way you can wear a red, beaded flapper thing for work, you say? WRONG, we say!


How about with a boyfriend blazer (to exhibit some law & order in meetings), fingerless fuzzy gloves (to keep your fingers warm in the subzero office temperatures) and a scarf? So pro.

Dress is vintage from Pretty Parlour in Seattle. Something similar is here. The jacket is by Theory and the scarf is a find from one of the thousand plaid shops in Edinburgh.  The boots are the trusty Stuart Weitzman Highlands which Dona literally lives in (an almost duplicate one that all of our blogger friends love are these)  and the fingerless gloves are handmade in Seattle. IMG_8306

For an evening event, date night, girls night or just brunch, the white cape is the perfect topper during this chilly season. This specific one was was negotiated in a vintage shop in Paris many years ago but this one is quite awesome too. Dona is pretty proud she not only haggled en francais but also got a price 1/4 of what was quoted. Vintage AND haggling? Oh mon dieu!

If there’s anything Dona loves almost as much as her people, it’s haggling a great deal.

And Beth? How does she feel about Valentine’s Day?


Ah…Valentine’s Day. What better day for flower crowns than valentines day? Consider taking a break from indulging your inner ironic hipster and find a suitably revealing dress to pair with it.


Featuring the Microsoft Band of course, because how will you judge the quality of the date if you can’t keep constant tabs on your heart rate??


Dress: American Apparel. Shoes: Ecco. Flower crown: H&M.

Haha just kidding. This Valentines Day, show your distaste for american capitalism/consumer greed by going the full IDGAF. (PSA: Dona did not approve of Beth climbing up into this sketch fire escape thing)

Shirt: Forever21. Jeans: Dr Denim. Jacket: Carrie Hoxton.




Yes, sheis sitting on a barrel….because Valentine’s Day.



Happy Valentine’s Day friends. Thank you for showing us so much love this year! 


Dona & Beth



Harjyot Singh is an Artist in a Lab Coat

Harry is the third of our five Edinburgh students in this series. When Beth asked around at the CS events for who she should profile, the unanimous response was for this guy right here, so you can guess how much fun the shoot was! Read on for sentences like “So naturally I play Guitar for an Indie/Alternative Rock band here.” (Gosh, naturally!).

Tell us a little about you.


I’m from India, I moved to the UK about two years ago and I’m currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at The University of Edinburgh.

When it comes to how I spend my time, my hobbies are all over the place! I have been into music and art since I was 8, got into it because I was a very introverted child, spent most of my time reading (Still do, not often as I would like though) or picking up instruments! So naturally I play Guitar for an Indie/Alternative Rock band here. I like to believe that I fall somewhere between the artsy and nerdy types.

I’m also a lot into the fitness scene so you’ll always spot me either at the gym practicing for my upcoming kickboxing match or down by the canal trying to improve my rowing split (Dona’s gonna go ahead and act like she knows what this means)!

Tell us about what you’re wearing.


For my first outfit, I am wearing slim fit black jeans from Lee, A plain organic cotton t-shirt from h&m and some random overcoat I picked up at the thrift store.

For the second, the overall things are the same except the shirt – It’s a black Zara’s stretch shirt:For the accessories, I’m wearing Brown Chukka boots from topman. A Skull Bracelet from Topman, a Beads Bracelet from Topman, a Harley Davidson Belt…and some random scarf.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?


To begin with, when I was back in India, I never really paid attention to how I dressed or what I looked like. However once I got to UK, I saw how people expressed themselves with their clothing. I started exploring, and as a firm believer in the italian saying of sprezzatura, I really loved the elegance of 3 piece italian suits but also the care-free look of the street hipster style.

After that I filled my wardrobe with classic shirts, to a few plain t-shirts, venturing out to more unusual patterns/styles at times (once I tried to wear red trews – didn’t really go well!) and from there it has evolved into a mix of the two, where one side overshadows the other depending on my mood.

A thing I never really understood up until maybe a few months back is how important accessories are and how they can bring together a look! Belts, watches (I am quite proud of my collection), bracelets, scarves and boots, I have variety again for whatever goes with how I am feeling that day!

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?


Don’t let what people tell you deter you! You might find people who are better than you, know much more than you, or spend most of their time just doing STEM related things. Don’t let that make you think that you aren’t good enough!

Bring what you have to the field, give it your best, learn all you can. Remember this is a field of thinkers and innovators – we are artists in lab coats, everyone is bound to be beautifully different!

Oh, and don’t forget to live.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

I haven’t had a chance to really work on too many projects during my short term at university, but the one that comes to mind is GreatUniHack in Manchester, early 2015.

GreatUniHack  is a 36-hour long hack that I and some friends decided to embark on. After much debate we decided to build a simple client that allows you to summarize and forward your emails as text messages. We wanted the basic functionality of being able to send/receive, but we also added in some cool features like being able to see the trend of emails you receive.

The idea stemmed from recalling times we’ve had to monitor emails in a place without internet – I remember once my mother got really upset because I didn’t respond to her emails for a week…

The best thing about the weekend was that I was able to help make my teammates’ first hackathon experience a good one – it really made me happy to see that they learnt something useful and enjoyed it as well! The project won an award I think :)

Are there any misconceptions about STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?


I have often come across people who tell me I talk a lot for a computer science guy, and I think that’s a big misconception. No, we don’t all spend our lives in front of a computer screen, no we don’t all obsess over the same pop culture things (anime, star wars, etc pick your poison), nor do we wear the same hoodie to lectures for a week!

Everyone is different, what field you like to study doesn’t affect how you are as a person or what your interests are, people who are in my field can be interested in fashion or music or sports, and yes we are social (I could party better than the next guy haha!)

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

The best way to follow me would be to add me on facebook or follow me on instagram. If you want ridiculous selfies, my snapchat handle is harjyot7. You can find me on github too!

Gosh what a fun interview, and educational too – Beth learned a new word! (sprezzatura). 

To echo Harry;”Oh, and don’t forget to live.”

Dona & Beth