Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top 10 reasons Interior Designers Rock!

    So I was reading an article/blog post put out by IIDA headquarters concerning the common misconceptions about Interior Designers.  Within their post, they had a link to a previous post about the top 10 reasons Interior Desginers really are amazing!
    So if you are an Interior Designer feeling underappreciated or have been struggling to convince people that you do WAY more than just pick out paint colors, ait back, relax and read this top 10 list... It'll make you feel good!
1. You are a combination of engineer and artist. Not only do you take into account safety and economy when designing a space, but you also create an aesthetic that can comfort and inspire.

2. Your work improves the lives of others. You design for the homebody and the workerbee, in addition to the aged, handicapped, and infirm. Whether you add light to a dark interior or design a beautiful and healthy working space, you make a difference in the lives of others.

3. You are continually learning and seeking answers. You take CEUs, discuss problems with your peers and research materials. You know that the profession is evolving, and you’re evolving with it.

4. You don’t settle for the tried and true. You push boundaries and discover new and better ways of doing things. ( As myown personal aside... I had a professor in school, this cute little Asian woman, who would fondly say, "Emily, it's good, but think outside the box, outside the box!"  It was a great lesson for me to push the boundaries.)

5. You provide a service. You work with clients who typically have little to no experience in design, and you find a way to turn their ideas into a tangible reality.

6. You pay attention to details. Whether you’re picking which carpet to use in a hotel hallway or what color to paint a hospital wall, you make each seemingly small decision count for the client’s health and happiness.

7. You explore what sustainable design can mean in the home and workplace. You’re debunking myths and testing new products, and you’re saving clients money along the way.

8. You’re a problem solver. Each project you work on is a new puzzle with a new set of challenges. As the designer, you’re in charge of making it work.

9. You’re collaborators. You’ve learned the value and benefits of teamwork, and how to process and connect disparate ideas into a working whole. Even if you work alone, you’re never really working alone. You have a network of peers that you turn to for advice and support along the way. (I am convinced that this was the only way I made it through college, my classmates, friends and peers became constant sounding boards for bouncing ideas off of them to make it work!)

10. You work to change the public perception of Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator. You refrain from sighing when your colleague’s friend learns you are an Interior Designer and asks you to suggest paint colors for her son’s room, and instead patiently explain qualifications, certifications and scope of experience. You are more than just a reality TV design star. (There is always atleast one person who, will make some ignorant comment about Interior Designers and so I am constantly trying to correct them.  Can definitely get frustrating!)

   So I don't know about you, but that list certainly made me feel better!  If you feel like reading the whole article, Here's the link: 10 Reasons Interior Designers Matter!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


   These crazy poofs have become the Jewels in July (JIJ) signature accent piece!  They are super easy to make and add the perfect amount of color and fun to any space. 
   Want to know how to make them?  We actually got the idea from Martha Stewart!  Here are her directions... I wish I had taken pictures of us making them in the process but we were serioulsy time-crunched and so you get the directions from her, rather than me.. Sorry to disappoint!

  How to make POOFs!

Here's how they look in the space once we completed all of them... mind you, this is just a portion of them!
   You can make them of varying sizes, we made some little ones that created perfect accents on our auction items tables.  What do you think??!

   Try them, and tell me what you think!  An easy way to create some fun in a space!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Xtreme 10 = Xtreme Disappointment

   This weekend was the Xtreme 10 mile race in Waterfall Glen.  I had been looking forward to the race because I grew up nearby Waterfall Glen and as a child, we would go hiking in the glen.  It was always a wonderful excursion and tons of fun to see the Waterfalls.  My Dad ran the race last summer, and for whatever reason I was unable to do it last year.. can't remember why!   But he LOVED it and has pretty much talked non-stop about it for the last year, about how it was his favorite race and he loved the fact that they grill brats for everyone at the finish line.

    So this year I decided to do it with my Dad, I was excited but nervous because I'm a little bit behind in my training and have only done a 6 mile run up to this point.  This week in Chicago has been unbelieveably hot, naturally leading to a breaking point in the atmosphere.  Of course it decides to blow-up friday night into Saturday.  We had some CRAZY lightening and thunder friday night. 
    I woke up at 5:15am race morning and it was still raining and lightening.  My Dad and I and a family friend all made the trek down to Waterfall Glen, with it getting darker and more ominous the farther South we got!  OH NO!  It was actually pretty hysterical to see the number of runners that were still planning on doing the run!  Talk about dedicated runners!!!  The field and area had little streams of water running everywhere, some were pretty significantly deep!  Even after they announced that they might be calling the race, there was a lot of booing! I mean we were already there, already mentally prepared to tackle this race in these conditions.  I mean it isn't called the Xtreme 10 for nothing! Around 7am, they announced that they had to cancel the race, that the decision had been taken out of the race director's hands because of the extent of the lightening, stretching from rockford all the way to where we were in the lemont area! Supposedly it was only going to get worse!  Not sure that I believe it since this is what it looked like a few hours later, with the rain being completely stopped by the time we made it home...

   Looks like a gorgeous day to me!  Atleast we were able to still get our sweet shirts out of it!

    Hopefully better luck next year and no lightening to ruin the race!  But in this case it was definitely better to be safe than sorry!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jewels In July

   As I said before, my Architreasures event was this past wednesday!  For those of you who don't know what architreasures is... Take a look at their site: Architreasures They are an art-based community development organization that empowers individuals to shape their future and their communities.  It is a wonderful organization comprised of many Architects and Interior Designers all looking to help better Chicago communities.  We often work with inner-city kids to create positive outlets and a desire for community service.

  Our event location was at Room and Board in Chicago on the corner of Rush and Ohio.  I arrived over there at 12pm to unload my car, I was in charge of picking up the donated beer... 240 beers later!  From noon on, we were in crazy busy mode to set up the entire third floor of Room and Board.
Our jewel theme was a Sapphire, as well as out color scheme.  To create some color in the space we added Puffs of blue tissue paper!  I think they did the trick! What do you think?

    Unfortunately, I was so busy throughout the night that I only managed one picture!  This was still in the prepping stage, which is why it looked so empty.  We had probably 80-100 people, numerous silent auction items and many people to mingle with.  All in all, I would definitely say it was a success!  It certainly made for a long day though!   

    So if you are looking for a way to give back to your community, I strongly recommend that you look into either donating monitarily to Architreasures or donating your time to help out with some of the community projects!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chicago, My kind of Town!

   Good morning, my faithful readers!  Its a fabulous day in the city of Chicago with a few clouds in the sky, beautiful sunlight and about 90 degrees!  Does it get much better than that?  Oh wait... IT DOES!!!  For the first time in OVER a year I have the day OFF!!!  Now sure I took some time off when I was sick with the Swine flu back in October (not not technically diagnosed with that, my family doesn't seem to believe in visiting the Dr., luckily I have a very capable mom) and then took some time off back in march when my Grandma passed away but i don't really consider that time off.  Time off should be to do something fun, something that I want to do, not something I have to do or some obligation.
    So I know, a Wednesday, what a random day to take off... well not quite!  Today is my Architreasures event!  I know I have mentioned it in previous posts but never elaborated very much on it... I promise once I have pics from the event I will fill everyone in!  Now, my event isn't until 6pm, so why on earth did I need to take a whole day off?  Well, being on the fundraising committee I have to help set-up, and being that I work in the opposite direction of Chicago, I decided to take a whole day!

     So far it has been FABULOUS!  I came down with my dad this morning, we left around 6:15 so that we could come and run the lakefront before he needed to start work.  I have never run the lakefront!  I know that sounds crazy since I have grown up near the city and often do day excursions, especially in the summer, but it's true!  So we ran North along the lakefront so that I could see where everyone who seems to be a serious swimmer swims!  I was smart and put my swimsuit on so that before I came back to his office I could swim in the open water some!  Let me tell you... it is quite different from a pool!  So after about 4 miles or so my Dad headed back to his office and I headed for the water!  Brr... was it cold but it felt so good after feeling like I was boiling to death on the run!  Like I said, it was truly my first real experience with an open water swim, it took a little adjustment and I had to calm myself down a little because every time I came to get a breath of air, a wave would come and I would end up with water in my mouth!  But once I got the hang of it, I felt really good!  After about a 1/2 mile swim, maybe a little bit more, I climbed back out, threw my running clothes over my suit and ran back to his office, it felt so much better to run like that! 

    I came back and showered in the fitness center and now I will be heading over to my event in about an hour!  Man I could get used to working in the city!  If only I could find a job here!  Suggestions anyone?

Rocking out to: Absolutely nothing today!  Just soaking up the sounds of the city! I'm thinking I might be a city girl through and through! :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bad Economy

    As we all know, the economy is horrible, and has been for quite some time now.  Naturally to me, the part of the economy that hurts the most for me professionally is Construction and Home Renovation, etc.  Many of you have probably heard that the numbers have come out that show that home construction is the lowest it has been since October!  Can't believe it? Here's the article: Home Construction Sinks to Lowest Level since October

    This is devestating to me for so many reasons, but mainly because I have been clinging to this little ray of hope that the economy is slowing geting better and that I can land my dream Interior Design job, sooner than later!  I'm trying to stay positive and I hope that the economy turns around soon!  Statistically Home Improvements and Construction are what pulls an economy out of recession, but in this case it seems we are sinking lower...

Dear Economy, Please get better soon!

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Getting Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

    In the wonderful words of Sesame Street, that somehow after all these years, still pops into my head when the weather gets super warm is: "Hace Calor, Si Si Senor, Could fry an egg on the cement it's so caliente! Hace Calor, Si Si Senor, How about this weather it sure is Hot?!"  This song was playing over and over in my head while I was running this weekend! While I have been training for the Chicago Marathon, I have not been running nearly as much for training as I have formy last two marathons.  I'm taking a new approach, in hopes of staying injury free... we shall see how it goes!  Next weekend I have a 10 mile race with my Dad, so I wanted to get in a 10/11 mile run this weekend.  Sometimes it is much harder than it looks to actually be able to get out there and run, especially since my parents are in Rhode Island and so I have been watching 5 of my younger siblings.  The plan was to get out running at 6am, before my siblings were awake... well surprise, surprise, that didn't happen!  Before I knew it, the earliest I could get out was 12:30 in the afternoon! Looking at the rest of the day and what needed to be done, I realized that while it isn't smart to start a 10 mile run at that time of day with a temperature of 95 degrees outside with a heat index of 105, I knew that it was only going to get worse out!  So I tied up my laces, put on some sunscreen and started my trek!  The run went well for the first mile, I felt like I was running really slowly and when I checked it was an 8:30 pace for my first mile, I immediately paniced and knew that it was too fast for the temperature... sure enough, another mile in and I was dieing!  Not only was I melting in the heat, but I didn't bring a water bottle and for some unknown reason decided to try a new route... one without any water fountains! Stupid choice, I know!  After another mile or so, my run turned into a run/walk... By the time I got home, I felt so dehydrated and physically drained!  I was shocked that being out for only an hour could make me feel so utterly worn out! 
   So my tips are:
      1. DO NOT run when it is that temperature outside without constantly hydrating yourself!
      2. If possible be sure to NOT run during the heat of the day!
      3. It is important to wear sun screen, but apply the lotion and then wait 30mins before going out to run!  I didn't wait and after running for a while, I realized my sweat mixing with the lotion was making my skin look lotion white... not very attractive!

Rocking Out to : Taylor Swift - Our Song

Friday, July 16, 2010


    In AutoCAD there is a command called Wipeout, where it essentiall wipes out an entire area, like it never existed.  It is a pretty neat command because you can easily see what a space would look like without that wall or without that column... not that as an Interior Designer, I would ever get rid of a column, but you know what I'm saying!  So this command essential wipes out the work done in that area.  I've only used it a few times and I only use it because the plans at work go between A&E and Store Planning, so I can't delete whatever I want to the actual building plan without A&E doing it and sending me a new building plan. 
  In many ways this command is similar to an accident or a wipeout in everyday life.  A few weeks ago, my Dad and I went for a long bike ride and then we were gonna go home and go for a run.  He seems to have jumped on the triathlon bandwagon, even if he hasn't signed up for one yet.  But that morning at 4am or so a storm rolled through and so it was wet out.  While it was done raining and the sky was clear by our 5:30am ride it was still slick.  My Dad has been trying to figure out a path from our house to a biking path in Aurora and then to bike up to my grandparents cottage in Wisconsin, approximately 80 miles!  So instead of going our usual route we did some back roads, etc.  But he had had a stressful week and was exhausted and just didn't have the gas to really book it like we are used to, so after 6 miles or so he was ready to head back home.  I had planned on doing over 20 miles and then going running so I wasn't ready to go back with him.  Mistake #1...  We got to the usual bike path, he went one way and I went the other, but I made sure to tell him that I didn't have my cell phone, yep that was Mistake #2... I'm sure you see where I am going with this... After doing another 6 miles or so, I was ready to head back home, would have put me at exactly 20 miles, with time for a run.  So since my Dad wasn't with me I could go my more normal pace abt 20mph. (Disclaimer: Not that he normally slows me down, but he was really exhausted that morning, so our speed was abt 15mph).  I was on my way back home and I came around a few curves that I could feel myself slipping a little... You'd think I would have realized that the curves are slick and to slow down...but I didn't!  WIPEOUT!  One second I was riding my bike and the next second I am sliding on my right side down the pavement!  THANK GOD, no one was coming the other direction around the curve...would have ended really bad! So I got up, my legs shaking like crazy, I rammed my elbow into the ground, so naturally its bleeding, my ankle is cut and I can tell that my hip and upper thigh is gonna look pretty bad when I take off my biking shorts (and yes I own a pair of the padded bike shorts, what of it?!). My biggest concern despite the blood trickling down my arm was my new bike!  The chain was off, I slid on the right side with the derailer and the tape on my handle bars were all ripped and my gear shifter was no longer sitting straight on my handle bars but curved in at an odd angle... Immediately I begin to think, CRAP what am I gonna do!?  So since I had no choice, I fixed the chain and hoped back on it to ride the last 5 miles home... SLOWEST ride of my life!  I got home and cleaned myself up, bandaids all over and huge bruises, probably a sprained elbow but I was too stubborn to go get x-rays, much to my parents dismay!  I took my bike in for a check-up and they straighten it out and put some new handle bar tape on and it looks good as new...sorta...  But I've realized... I respect my bike... before, when first bought it, I was terrified of my bike, I felt like I was going so fast and since its a road bike compared to my Mountain bike, I didn't feel as stable.  Now I realize I am terrified of my bike all over again!  Sure it hasn't stopped me from going on those weekend rides with my Dad but I certainly am more cautious!  Its like my AutoCAD wipeout, I feel like I'm starting from scratch all over again.  Atleast now I know where I came from, I guess Im not as afraid as I was before, but I now respect the power of the bike!  No slick roads for me again, if I can help it!  But I'm so glad that I've gotten back on my bike and not let the injury and fears keep me from riding!  It's funny, numerous people asked me what happened and I said I had a bike accident... yeah, everyone thought I was talking about a motorcycle... Nope sorry guys, just my bicycle! LOL!

Moral of the Story: A wipeout, be it in AutoCAD or life, brings you back to square one.  It's all a matter of what you do after the wipeout!  We can't let fear rule our lives, so we start over, scrape ourselves off the pavement and keep on trucking!

Rocking out to: Hold On by KT Tunstall

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Race Day Anxiety

   For any runner or triathlete there is a certain amount of anxiety, nervousness, stress and excitement that comes with Race Day!  Some people have it more tame than others, but I find it truly amazing how it can affect your race results.  You know the feeling, butterflies in your stomach, queasy with moments of shear excitement.  We even all know the negative side affects of this nervousness, we can loose sleep resulting in a lack of energy or we can even make ourselves sick.  None of which is good for race day and meeting our goals!  So what can we do?
   Now I've certainly not mastered these tips but have found that they help!
      1. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT go into race day blind! Now what does that mean?  It means do a practice race day, down to the time you wake up in the morning, to what you are going to eat, to the exact time you are going to start to run.  When you train occasionally like this, race day doesn't feel as daunting!
      2.  Make sure you get lots of sleep the week before your race.  For some people no matter what you do, the excitement and nervousness make it impossible to get a "Perfect" night's sleep, so as long as you are "storing" up sleep and getting a few extra hours the week before and the week of the race you should be fine!
     3.  If you are prone to getting a queasy stomach because of nerves, eat items that are easier on the stomach to digest, this way your stomach won't feel so helter-skelter!
    4. Most importantly: REMEMBER IT IS ABOUT HAVING FUN!  For us "amateur" athletes, we aren't training for the Olympics, we aren't training for nationals or some other big sporting event where it can make or break our career.  Ultimately it is about us having fun and meeting a personal goal that we have set for ourselves!  There is nothing easy about running a marathon and maybe even while you are running you are questioning your sanity, but all in all it is about you finishing and being proud of yourself for what you have achieved! 

Today's Lesson: Nerves are OK, just make sure that they don't negatively impact your race day results!  There are so many outside factors that we can't control, so let's control what we can!

Rocking Out to: Senor by Dierks Bentley