Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Design Fun & Contest Results

I was actually pretty happy to have made it into the contest at all in the first place. Then I was THRILLED to make it into the voting rounds. Then I was ecstatic to get past the first round and into the final 16 in the western division - and beyond ecstatic to place in the final 8 in the West. So when I didn't advance to the final 4, I was not devastated. Just happy to make it as far as I did.

I had a couple of weird queries from people yesterday though - one was "why do you care? I don't get it - why does it matter?" - let me see if I can clarify. the grand scheme of the world, you know world hunger, global economic crisis, and ethnic cleansing - this contest definitely doesn't' even make the list of what 'matters'! But on the other hand:

I feel like our environments, our homes are both a reflection of us and a place to seek solace from all of the above mentioned world crises. So in that sense, it matters. At least to the people in my house. Also, it's a sort of a hobby of mine and it's always nice when someone tells you that maybe you did a good job - especially if those are people who don't HAVE to tell you that you did a good job - like a magazine editor in California who looks at design all day. Also I really believe the world would be a better place if we all lived in a space that made us happy.

And the trip to New York would have been nice too! So there you go, my reasons.

Okay, so I am on a kind of design roll right now - not that I've actually done anything to the house, but I would like to get a new laundry room (well, not new, keep the one I have, just improve on it greatly - see the previous entry, I think I'm going to try to replicate the one with the blue tile walls) but also we have been planning for months to turn the old studio into a new walk in closet - a HUGE walk in closet! (YAY!) So....

I've really researched closet design online. And there seems to be a few choices - you either pay someone like California Closets to come and do a sort of boring/looks the same as every other closet/design or you can spend a ton of money on Italian closet design companies or you can do it yourself at home depot and end up with something semi-lame OR you can get the Ikea Pax system. From what I've been reading, people really do love their Pax systems. Yes it's a do it yourself and yes, it's Ikea (which means lots of diagrams with arrows and random Swedish words) - but Ikea is like the King of Scandinavian design on the cheap - and honestly, most of the time, the design is really good. There are a few Ikea things I would not recommend (their floors being one) - but I have to say I have truly loved my kitchen cabinets.

If anyone has thoughts to share about closet design I would love to hear what you have to say. Here are a few samples of the Pax system:

In addition a couple of things I know I want in this new closet are a cool light fixture - at least a cool little chandelier:

But maybe even some of these bubble lights I've been crushing on lately, but have no where else to put them:

Then I'm going to need new paint in there - and I think I want it bold and opulent - I am thinking either bold red (as many other walls in my house) - OR going with a red/orange - and if I do the red orange I may skew a little of my bedroom towards red/orange accents as well (while keeping the green walls) or I could go crazy and do Fuscia pink like I've always wanted (I have always wanted at least ONE room in that color and a closet seems like a possible place to try it out):

To top it off I need a tufted bench in the center of the room:

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What the heck IS apartment therapy anyway?

The first time I heard Apartment Therapy mentioned was out of the mouth of Ryan Brown - those of you who watch Flipping Out (one of my favorite shows) will know who I am talking about. If you don't watch that show, Ryan is a very talented designer. He does things like this:

Anyway, I love Ryan's design and he mentioned in an interview that design doesn't have to be expensive or inaccessible. He said he often gets inspiration from people who may not have the resources he has, but who manage to create interesting design on a budget. And he mentioned that he looks at a lot of websites for ideas and to just stay abreast of trends, etc. Apartment Therapy was one of those websites (and I have a link to Ryan's blog on the sidebar and on his website he has links to a lot of blogs which deal with design so if you are interested, go check those out).

Apartment Therapy really started as an idea website for cool urban design on a budget. Originally, they mainly featured apartments, and they were New York based (and really, who DOESN'T live in an apartment in New York?) - the website grew and they've expanded into several markets and areas - they now have groups in LA, DC, Chicago and Boston. The cull ideas from all over and present them on the website. So it's just a really GREAT idea site. They also do house tours, which are a fun way to see inside someone's home. Originally most of those house tours were just regular people who had managed to create something great on their own. Now they sometimes feature the occasional celebrity - I think Padma Lakshmi's house was on there last week.

So the idea is still accessible design that you don't have to break the bank to achieve.

They have a process whereby you can submit your house for a 'home tour' feature. Shortly after I submitted mine they got back to me and said that my house would be featured. They asked for additional information. Later they suggested entering the color contest - and that's how I ended up in the position of asking folks for votes every day!

My home tour has not been featured yet because of the current contest. I expect that will happen sometime after the contest is over.

The other cool thing is that they feature certain homes in their print format.

And so the other exciting thing is that since Apartment Therapy is perused by other design venue's regularly, the chance of being picked up for a feature in other design magazines (especially local design) is also good.

I have no training as a designer. But I've always loved design and I really care that my home reflects my personality and makes you feel comfortable and happy. I'm always changing things and I'm always on the look-out for a new idea. I always have a little mental list of things I want to change or make better (which seems like a rather endless list by the way).

Partial Current List:

Get a laundry room that is more functional and prettier
Create a giant walk-in-closet where the studio used to be (make it cool!)
Complete all the details in the back yard addition

Apartment Therapy gives me design inspiration and ideas for some of these things - for instance here photos of laundry rooms to die for:

Will my laundry room ever look like those? I doubt it! But maybe I can get a little closer!

Anyway, now you know a little more about Apartment Therapy and why I love it - voting on my room continues today. I'm the underdog so I appreciate EVERY SINGLE vote I can get!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Yep, It's time AGAIN....

New voting again today. I'm getting closer to the Western division finals - ALL the competition is so tough at this point! I'm going to be so lucky for every vote I get! Won't you please be one of those votes?


You are awesome! Thank you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

PLEASE vote for me....24 Hours only!

Yes, I'm asking for votes again. Today is the new voting day - 24 hours only. I'm competing against a girl in Denver. So today it's just between me and her. She has a lot of support among her friends and family. Her room has an indie vibe that appeals to a lot of people. I need your vote! (unless of course, you'd really rather vote for her...go ahead...I'm an understanding friend like that! I'll still like you!)

Here is the link:


(you will have to sign in - if you haven't registered an account yet, I promise it's super simple and fast to get one - all they need is your email and they will not send you obnoxious emails unless you want them to do so - I PROMISE!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Elder Hays is Serving In Sliven

We got our first email from Holden this morning from Bulgaria. He's serving in an area called Sliven.

He sounds like things are going really well! If you want to read his letters - I'm posting them on his mission site HERE

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Voting On THURSDAY!

Okay so the semi finals start this week and I did make it - just barely, I'm 13th out of 16. During the first round of semi-finals I compete against this girl:

Now this has like an indie kind of vintage vibe - plus it's like an artsy little loft space and so it could be tough for me to beat - she got 206 votes in the first round and I got 139. SO I REALLY NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET!

As a reminder, these are my submission photos:

If you voted in the prior round, you can easily vote in this round because you're already signed up for an account, you just have to sign in - and then hit the little vote button. If you didn't vote before, it really just takes a second to get registered, all they ask for is an email address and a password, they send a confirmation to your email and you are good to go! Not hard at all!

I realize my chances of winning this whole thing aren't that great - there are a lot of other really awesome entries. But it would be fun to go as far as possible!

I'm sure I'll be obnoxiously reminding everyone on Thursday, but for now, just make sure you are registered and get ready to vote - once voting opens on that day there will only be 24 hours that you can vote for me.

THIS will take you directly to the voting page -

THIS will take you to a form to sign up to register an account


PS - more good news this weekend - Kirk had two paintings chosen for a show at the Herberger in January! Super Exciting!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Elder Hays is now in Bulgaria!

(photo of Elder Hays with his MTC companion Elder Spencer)

Tuesday Holden was able to call us from the Salt Lake airport before boarding his plane to head out on the long trip to Bulgaria. Flight/travel time is 29 hours. It was so great to be able to talk to him. We were able to conference call in Noelle too and I let the kids wait to head to school until after the call was over. He was very excited about getting to finally go to Bulgaria after his 2 months in the MTC. He really did love the MTC though and he loved his companion Elder Spencer. He said that he and Spencer felt like that had been friends forever even though they just met 2 months ago. That even though they are very different in a lot of ways, they just totally got along.

He talked a lot about things they had been told about the Bulgarian people or what to expect on his mission. He said that there are times when you might be the only members (almost) in a pretty big area. The missionaries are often called to be Branch Presidents of the areas where they serve because there are not enough members to hold those callings all the time. The Bulgarian people have trouble with the idea of becoming baptized, even when they have felt the spirit, read the Book of Mormon and believe in what they have read. They are very attached to the idea of being Orthodox - when the church split originally between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox church it was the Bulgarians who were all Orthodox and so it is a big part of their cultural identity. Asking them to become a member of the LDS church is like asking them to not be Bulgarian anymore. The two things Bulgarians are most proud of is their alphabet and language (St. Cyril started the Cyrillic alphabet which is the alphabet both Bulgarian and Russian use) and their Orthodox religion. The only problem is that many of them who consider themselves to be Orthodox, never go to church at all and are, in fact, actually atheist. So it is an interesting dichotomy.

When he finally had to get on the plane he said that he might be able to call us from JFK in New York, but he wasn't sure. So we waited around by the phones all afternoon and finally, he was able to call for about another hour. They had stayed up in the MTC all night the night before leaving and so you could hear in his voice how very tired he was becoming. He was trying really hard to stay awake so that he could sleep when it was night time in Bulgaria and attempt to get adjusted to Bulgarian time (they are 10 hours ahead of us). The time with him on the phone seemed to fly by so fast. We all had questions for him - it feels like, even though he is able to email every week and send letters, the communication is hard because you never quite feel like you get the whole story or he forgets to answer questions you ask in your letters - so it was really nice to be able to talk to him and have an actual conversation.

Finally he had to get on the plane.

I was so pleasantly surprised yesterday morning to get another phone call from him! His mission President had each of them call their families to let them know they arrived safely in Bulgaria. I was able to talk to him for maybe 5-10 minutes. He was still exhausted. He said he had slept maybe 4 hours total on the planes. He flew from JFK to Vienna and then they had a couple of hour lay-over until they could fly to Sofia, Bulgaria. He estimated he had been awake about 60 hours at that point.

He said President Roth and his wife were very nice. President Roth is from Austria and so English is actually a second language for him. Holden said he speaks very fluent English but that he occasionally would use a word and then ask them if there would be a better word that conveyed his meaning more - like he used the word 'concentrate' and then Holden suggested 'focus' in the context is was being used and he said "Thank you! That is the word I was looking for".

Holden said he spent some time getting know each one of the missionaries individually so that he could get a feel for their personalities, strengths, language capability, etc. and then make assignments to new companions accordingly. They would be staying in the mission home (which is the former Cuban Embassy) overnight and then the next day they would be going to a park where the mission was actually dedicated and they would be praying there in the park to consecrate their mission. From there they would meet their companions and travel to their new areas.

They had already been to a park shortly after getting there - they were actually taken to a park and practiced street contacting, which is a lot of what they do in Bulgaria.

I asked Holden if it looked roughly the way he imagined it would or seemed from his the photos he had seen of it before. He said "yeah, kinda except it looks a little more bombed out than I thought it would - but it's COOL!"

One thing I think a lot of people don't understand about Holden is the more it seems different or interesting or totally unusual or not the norm or something he hasn't experienced before, the more excited he is about it. He is looking to have an adventure on this mission. To him, that's part about what is exciting about going somewhere else. So he was not disappointed that it looked bombed out - that actually made it more interesting to him. He said the housing is soviet bloc style block after block after block of it. He said it sort of looks like they said "we need a box to keep to all these people in" and they just built a concrete box. Later someone threw a bomb at the box and broke the windows. But the people still live there. He said there are stray dogs everywhere. We had heard that before - that there are a lot of stray dogs everywhere, that the woman all look like models and the men all look like Italian maffia. He said the stray dog thing at least is very true. He said they do not look like the stray dogs in Mexico (those of you who have been to Mexico know that there are a lot of stray mutts - stray skinny mutts - roaming the streets of Mexico) but he said these looked more like people's pets. He said there was a stray Chow Chow in the park - so it almost looks like people just decided they couldn't feed their dogs and just turned them loose.

We do know that the maffia does control quite a lot there. Somehow the church has managed to have a good relationship with them. Holden said that they were told that the maffia like that they the missionaries are well dressed.

He had to get off the phone, they were going to be having dinner and going to bed soon (it was about 6:30 pm there at the time I talked to him - I was thinking they probably let them sleep longer than a normal night on that first night to try to get them rested after that long travel).

The other thing was he was super confused about what day it was. Since he hadn't slept it was all very confusing to him. He said he felt like he was missing an entire day somewhere. I said something like "Yesterday you said..." and he said "YESTERDAY!" "What do you mean yesterday? wait? What day is it there?" - he was having a hard time wrapping his head around it all. He said it felt like he had talked to us from Salt Lake 2 days ago, not yesterday. Hopefully they let him have enough sleep that he is less confused about what day it is!

We love him, we miss him, but we are so excited for his new adventures!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


So for one more week Apartment Therapy will be posting new entries in the Color Contest. I am pretty sure I will at least make the next round. Which means that on the 19th I am going to REALLY need your help to make it any further! There will only be 24 hours of voting once they post the next round! If you haven't helped me thus far it's too late - the first round of voting was only open for 48 hours. I'll give you fair warning before the next round. If you haven't opened an 'account' w/ them yet (you have to register in order to vote) let me just say that HONESTLY it only takes a second. Here are my biggest competition in the Western Region so far:

So what do you think? My scores right now put me in the middle of this group (4th) - and with one more week to go I'm going to be lucky to hold a spot in the top 8 (they are choosing the top 16 to advance, but there is a power protect advantage to being in the top 8).

If you were voting on this group which ones do you like best? I'm really curious - keep in mind it's a 'color' contest.

I'm very interested in your opinions!

Monday, October 05, 2009


A few weeks ago I was excited to discover that my house was going to be featured on Apt. Therapy, my favorite design website (I've mentioned it many times here on my blog) - The date for that tour hasn't been scheduled yet, but today they told me that one of my rooms was in the running for their Color Contest 2009 - First prize is a design shopping trip to New York City! I'm so EXCITED!!!! Please consider going to the page and voting for me, voting is only open for 48 hours! The link is HERE.


Wouldn't it be a totally awesome job to be a curator? I would sooooo love that job. Over the years I've been clicking the 'favorite' button on Flickr to save a space for the photos that I really love. These are other people's photos, not mine - but they are things that I find inspiring in some way - the image itself, the colors, the mood, the tone - sometimes they've inspired me to do something myself - take a similar photo, use that color in a room in my house, etc. Anyway, I just realized that I can share them in a slide show with you if you care to look. They probably say a lot about what interests me visually.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Lovely Things

I was just going through a bunch of my old flickr photos and thought I would post some of my favorites.

Blue & White Hilary

roxanne's best smile

Hollie XI

Skye Laundry

Blue Orbs

Favorite Jordan

1301 Sun



Sole Jordi

Christmas Break at the Zoo in SD

California Leaves


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