Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crunch Time: Countdown to the STL 1/2 Marathon!

     It is official, we are getting down to the wire for the STL 1/2 marathon!  On monday, we received our bib numbers!!! WOOHOO!!!  My Dad, sister, Uncle, two Cousins and I are all running it! My sister, who lives in STL has been after all ofus to come down and visit her, for forever.  Not that we haven't visited her in her three years down there, but nonetheless, she is always on our case.  So she sent out a a group invite on facebook and we had quite the response. 
   Now we are about a week and a half away and I couldn't be more stoked!  Training, never seems to go as planned but I managed to crank out an 11 mile run with my Dad.  I have to admit, I never thought I'd manage to get my Dad into running but somehow it happened.  It has been an awesome experience to be able to train with him, a great bonding experience. 
    Fun pictures and race information will certainly follow the weekend's events!  Chck ut the website o fnd race informaton!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meet Louis Sullivan

   Louis Sullivan was a famous Architect who has greatly influenced Chicago's city-scape!  He was born in Boston in 1856.  He studied to become an Architect at MIT for a year and then continued his studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.  Then he returned to Chicago and partnered with Adler, until Adler retired in 1895, their partnership lasting approximately 12 years.  Another famous Architect who worked with the pair until he branched out on his own was Frank Lloyd Wright.
    Sullivan believed that Arcitecture and design should represent the spirit of the time and the needs of the people.  His designs often used geometric forms.  Some of the buildings that you Chicagoans might recognize are:  
The Auditorum Building

Carson Pirie Scott Building

               Schiller Building

 and the Stock Exchange Building!   
He also designed the Wainwright Building in STL, the Guaranty building in Buffalo, NY and  many others.
    He died in Chicago in 1924.  He is ofeten referred to as the Father of Modernism and is credited as the creator of the modern skyscraper. He is known for coining the phrase, "form follows function", which places the emphasis on the demands of the practical use of the space as opposed to aestetics.

Lesson: It is important to study the history of Architecture and design to learn about these amazing Architects and Designers to appreciate where we came from and where we are going!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Stretching: To do or not to do?

  As any athlete knows,  there is the age old debate over the importance of stretching.  To stretch before working out or to stretch after working out or even during your workout?  Recent studies suggest that stretching before doesn't necesaril prevent injury or muscle soreness.  In fact it is believed that it doesn't even prevent serious sports injuries.  So why do it?  Well, really you don't have to.  Instead you should do a warm-up and cool-down.  A warm-up combined with stretchng has some unbelieveable results.  If you warm-up yuor muscles by completing a short jog or some other cardio and then stretch your muscles you get an increased range of motion!
   If you are injury-prone, like I seem to be, then it is believed the best way to prevent injuries is to actually limit the amount of stretching before exercising and increase the warm-up time.  Some of the benefits of a warm-up include:  increased muscle, body and blood temperature, improved range of motion, blood vessels dialate and more efficient cooling.
    A great warm-up for a runner is to jog for a while and to add a few sprints into a routine to make sure that all the muscle fibers are engaged.

Today's Lesson: Just remember that stretching a cold muscle increases the risk for pulls and tears! So DON'T DO IT!!!
Rocking out to: Runaway by Love and Theft

Friday, March 26, 2010

Last but not least... Traditional!

Now I know that I have a few traditionals out there, so hello to my anxious traditional readers!
If you are a traditional, you know that you like your space to be comforting, calm, orderly, predictable and classic.
When picking out our colors, you would select neutrals and mid-range tones. The trim and molding throughout the space would typically be painted white, to help give off that "clean" appearance. You like darker stained wood for cabinets, hard wood fllors, etc. The favorite fabrics tend to be florals, plain colors - nothing too bold and bright, muted plaids and understated stripes!
All the pieces of furniture match and go together, they are considered "classic" pieces and might even feel a little outdated, but don't worry, they aren't! When looking at the architectural details you like the smooth, soft edges and gentle curves. Nothing sharp and abrupt!
Motto: Traditional doesn't mean old or outdated, remember it means comfortable and relaxing! It is characterized with classic pieces that have withstood the test of time for a reason!
Currently Rocking out to: Ain't that a kick in the head by Dean Martin - an oldie but a goodie!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


For many of you, the retro part of the quiz probably stuck out like a sore thumb. It is a little easier to define and to see the differences between the Retro style and Contemporary, Modern or Traditional. By definition the Retro style is any decorating theme that is influenced by trends and styles from the past, specifically the 50's, 60's and 70's.

The retro style can be described as having a fun and lively feel that is loud, busy and funky. The space that you are designing or decorating will have bright colors, wild designs and an overall sense of flair. When picking out colors you would lean towards the "avocado" green, "mustard" yellow and combinations of black, white and red with touches of purple and "hot" pink! What fun color options!

The main accents that are used in the space are throw rugs and very abstract pieces of art that are very bold! Texture is another huge part of this style. The more texture, the better! Shag carpeting, smooth vinyls, texturized wall paper, if it can be texturized then it can be used!

Motto: Have fun with it, nothing can be too crazy or off limits!

Currently Rocking out to: Everything by Michael Buble! :) He's a HUGE favorite of mine!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Hello to my modern style people out there! This style is very popular for some people, while others see it as cold and minimalist (only having what is necessary). It is often described as clean, with streamlined furniture. Characterized by smooth polished surfaces, strong geometric shapes and asymmetry - an unbalanced space.

If you like the Modern style the you tend towards neutrals, often white walls and tone on tone color schemes. You would pick materials and finishes that are sleek, smooth and polished such as finished concrete, granite, chrome and stainless steel.

The architectural details of the space are very geometric and angular. To accent the space, artwork is crucial, but instead of florals and still lifes, they are typically striking shapes and forms which are often called out with a spot light, to give more emphasis to the piece.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Contemporary Style

Ok, so if you were the Contemporary style on the quiz, here is what that means for you!
You like to keep up with the current styles. You love an environment that is comfortable, welcoming, clean and uncluttered. Simplicity and subtle sophistication is what you long for in design!
When choosing colors you tend to lean towards neutrals, black, and white all with bold color accents! Stay away from dark colors, the lighter neutral colors help to make the space seem clean, comfortable and always in style!
If you could you would live off the philosophy of the famous Architect and Designer Mies Van Der Rohe: "Less is More". Simplicity is key, you don't want too much clutter in the space!
The main architectural detail and distinctive element in Contemporary design is the line, it is see in the architectural details, high ceilings and the geometric shapes!
Currently rocking out to: Your Love is My Drug by Ke$ha

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Cleaning

So, the first day of Spring was this past Saturday, and ironically it was snowing here in Chicago, therefore it seemed like the perfect day to do some intense Spring Cleaning. In addition to just wanting to clean, my brother is moving to Arizona, and needs some items for an apartment. I had an apartment in college so I have all the necessities sitting in boxes in the attic since I moved back home after college. I'd been waiting to go through all my boxes becauseI just knew that once I opened them there would be an explosion and craziness! Sure enough this is what happened:

I promise my room never EVER looks like this! It took all day to clean my room, but the final product looks amazing! One HUGE garbage bag later and I had gone through everything!

Need some storage ideas? How about these: Have a lot of magazines like I do? I have a lot of running magazines and Architectural Digest. After trying to figure out what to do with them, other than just stacking them in my closet. These awesome containers can be found at the container store or at Ikea, etc. These great decorative boxes are excellent storage containers because they can sit on shelves an not look out of place while storing anthing from bills to stationary, or whatever you need to store! They come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Again they can be found at many stores such as the Container Store, Ikea, Etc.
Try it yourself! Need other storage options? Just ask!
Motto: Everything has a place and everything in its place! It is important to clean out the different items you have been storing and throw away. It is a great cleansing feeling and it very beneficial!
Currently Rocking out to: Need You Now by Lady Antebellum

Friday, March 19, 2010

What's your style?

Most people fall into one specific style. Their style might overlap with others but primarily they are in one category. So what's your style? If you don't know, here is a simple quiz/questionare to help you figure it out! Take a moment and see what style you are!

1. When picking out paint colors, do you lean towards:
a. neutrals, black, white, all with bold color accents?
b. neutrals, tone on tone, white?
c. bright, vibrant colors?
d. neutral, mid-range tones?

2. To describe your life and current living space would you say:
a. it is clean, un-cluttered, welcoming and comfortable?
b. has a minimalist (reduced to necessary elements) feel, a little colder, sleeker?
c. it is fun, lively, loud, busy?
d. it is calm, orderly, predictable?

3. What kind of lines are most appealing to you?
a. vertical and horizontal lines
b. geometric shapes, angular forms and lines
c. no defined lines
d. smooth, gentle curves

4. What kinds of fabric are you drawn to?
a. whatever fabrics are currently in style
b. tone on tone, or smooth like leather
c. anything with texture, bold and vibrant
d. florals, plain colors, muted plaids, understated stripes - nothing too bold!

5. Favorite types of accents in a space:
a. less is more - main accents are found in the architectural elements of the space
b. artwork with striking shapes and forms
c. throw rugs, vintage pieces from the 50's, 60's and 70's
d. classic pieces that might even feel outdated

Ok, the quiz is over, YOU SURVIVED! Now count up how many you have of each letter...

Ready for the results? (Drumroll)

If you selected more A's then your style is: Contemporary
If you selected more B's then your style is: Modern
If you selected more C's then your style is: Retro
If you selected more D's then your style is: Traditional

How did you do? Did you get the results you expected? If not, don't panic, many styles can cross over each other. This quiz just helps you to determine what your "base" style is for decorating and designing a space!

Stay tuned, the next few posts will be to describe each style and provide some tips concerning each style!

Motto: Best way to design or decorate is to determine your style. You will be happier with the outcome in the long run!

Currently rocking out to: Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Design Challenges

In college, during the Spring semester of my Senior Year, ISU participated in a design challenge put on my the Retail Design Institute. Each year RDI puts out a nation-wide competition, for students to participate in. 2009 was for a 45,000 sq ft grocery store, very little criteria except that it was for higher-end clientele and that we had to use an existing space.

Here is the floorplan:
The aisles all point towards the center of the store which has a circular travel center. Since the customers had more money, I knew that they were the type of people who would be able to take trips and vacations.
This is a view from the entrance, looking back into the store, with the travel center right in the center of the store, providing a focal point and leading the customers to the Travel Agent and different vacation destinations. This image was created using SketchUp a free Google download. If you want to do 3d modeling I suggest this program!

This is a view of the customer service area, as you can see destination pictures can be seen all over the store. Bold, rich colors were used to attract the customers to the different areas. Each area such as the Bakery, Deli, Etc. was a different color, to attract the customer's eye.
Once the project was finished we had a panel of judges that came in to judge our projects and to determine the top 10 students to send their project on to the national competition. I was chosen! WOOHOO, while I didn't win the competition, it was a great experience and I learned a lot!

Moral of the Story: A little determination, perseverance and design inspiration goes a long way! Don't be afraid to think outside the box!
Currently Rocking out to: Shark in the Water by V.V. Brown