I totally love this idea. Connecting people via social networking AND spreading lovely holiday lights all over the place in sync.  Fantastic.

Visit CheerLights for the details. And, if you don’t have a strand of the CheerLights (like me), then get the Android App! (I will soon)

Maybe I need to learn how to build one of the actual strands…..

Since one of the many nicknames for my dog is Boom-Boom because of how hard she wags her tail against furniture and other objects, I thought this video montage of Steve Jobs was appropriate.

I have really only cried when two celebrities died: Roberto Clemente and Jim Croce. I was much younger then, of course, but while I have been saddened by the loss of a favorite singer, actor or other celebrity, I have not really been moved to tears in a long time until I heard this morning about the death of Steve Jobs.

I am an unabashed Apple fangirl and I have been since my first experiences with the Apple II during undergraduate school and the time that a friend brought over this new computer called a Macintosh..it was cute. Small. “Portable”. And this mouse thing was really something else. I was hooked and have been ever since.

Several models later, a few iPods, iPads and so on (except for the iPhone – never had that), I remain brand loyal and a big Steve fan. Yes, he has an ego. Yes, he sometimes pushes things that I don’t think are the best move but by golly, his vision wins and then all of the sudden we realize that we didn’t know we needed (fill in the technology here) but we certainly cannot live with out it now!

His vision of technology is one of beauty, simplicity, power, creativity and fun. How can you not love that?

Some things to share about Steve Jobs:

A nice video tribute from Gizmodo using the text from the Think Different campaign

Lovely tribute photo and text

An oral history interview from the Smithsonian.

11 Best Steve Quotes (via Huffington Post)

His Stanford commencement speech:


Image via Tom Davenport

I am continually inspired the more I read and learn from Brene Brown’s work on vunerability and whole-hearted living. Then, the other day, I was visiting her blog and noticed this badge:

I was intrigued. In a nutshell, Free-Range Social Media encourages you to share yourself openly, use others for inspiration but not for wholesale copying and not to hide behind the easy to use anonymity that many social media/networking sites allow you to do. You can read more at her FRSM page.

I have shared her TED talk earlier here and I just re-watched it yesterday. It really speaks to me and I think I need to watch it a few times a year just to remind myself of how I need to work on being open and honest. At the first part of her talk, she states that we are all hard-wired for connection. This is the same conclusion that the author of the common book we all read last year at my college drew in his book: The Geography of Bliss. It is all about relationships and connecting.

In this hypertexted/hashtagged world of social networking, I began thinking about how we connect beyond just the basic communication tools like texting, comments, email (oh so 2009) and so on. We also link to each other’s work, pass along URLs via Twitter, post YouTube videos on Facebook, etc.

Brene Brown also links to another person’s badge called Link with Love, which has this badge:



This reminded me of Alan Levine’s definition of “linktribution“, which I latched onto right away, of course, this approach’s definition is much more “feely” so it works on a different level, I suppose. It is about accepting responsibility for what you do online, respecting the intellectual property of others and yourself and protecting those rights.

And, it also seems to ring more true for the connections and relationships. If you choose to link to something, it makes sense to share it in the world appropriately and with respect to whoever created it. You would expect the same from someone else.

I think I have always tried to follow the precepts of the Free-Range Social Media but I will be aware even more.




I was quite taken by a story I heard while driving home this week. On National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, they shared a story about photo retouchers working on damaged photographs rescued from the tsunami that hit northern Japan earlier this year.

The sentiment by the main person profiled in the story really struck me:

“There’s always someone who’s got something to say about how thin someone is made or how flawless someone’s skin is and the effect it has on young women,” says Manson. “So when I set up the project, it was nice to think we could actually do something to help someone.”

As I work with technology and try to find ways it can help those I work with teach, work, live more efficiently and effectively, it can be easy to lose sight of how truly helpful a specialized skill like photo restoration can be and how truly magical the experience of gaining back something like a photograph that was considered lost can also be.

I know I will continue to work with technology and I know it will always be changing. What I hope will not change is my drive to find ways for it to help others make their lives better, provide happiness and simply feel good.

I haven’t had/taken the time to work on my contemplative photography but this view struck me walking into work yesterday morning so I tried to catch the morning sun shining while the moon was still there.

I have been reading about contemplative photography and I am intrigued and challenged to give it a whirl.

What started as a quick glance through the bookstore of the Shambala Sun has developed into much more of an interest. Basically, the practice takes photography away from simply subject matter and into the mind/body/spirit of the photographer so you are more aware of noticing the image, taking the image and creating the equivalent image in your camera to what you noticed.

Of course, the website, Seeing Fresh, explains is much better than I can.

I am part of a Flickr group for Shibui, which is a Japanese term referring to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty. And I can see a relationship between the two. I just want to bring in some awareness and mindfulness into my photography and I hope this might do it. I so enjoyed my Project 365 from several years ago and I guess I am ready for another photography experiment.

Stay tuned.

A friend bought a new car this week. Well, new to her. And, my “new” car is about 4 months old now. Made me think about the progression of cars in my life and I thought I would capture it here:

First Car: 1969 Plymouth Satellite (with a huge dent in the trunk lid) – we could cram 8 folks in there and make it to the Rocky Horror Picture Show during college. Great fun. This car is the one that taught me the importance of paying attention to the Oil Level warning light.

1980 Plymouth Horizon – with awesome louvers on hatchback. Thanks to hail damage during a tornado in South Carolina, I paid college tuition that year with this car

Volkswagon Dasher Wagon – loved it! I could fit my entire life into that station wagon. Looked a lot like this one:
Image: ‘Volkswagon Dasher

1984 Volkswagon Rabbit – equally loved it. Sunroof that cranked open

1990 Geo Prizm – I liked the scientific name

Acura Legend – bought from my parents. Fun car to drive

1998 Honda Civic – the purple juicebox

2010 Honda Insight – my current car which is a techy-feely dream.
Image: ‘Gone ~ Econ

Well, since the end of the world as we know it might be tomorrow, I thought I had better share the experiences of remodeling the kitchen over the past 2 years.

Why 2 years? Good question! After the mortgage was paid off (yay!), we decided that it was time to update the kitchen and we could save up for each part and not go into debt to do the job.

Many brainstorming sessions, dreaming up ideas over coffee in the morning and flipping through design books and magazines and watching HGTV for hours, the ideas started bubbling up to the top as well as a determination to follow two “rules” as much as possible:

  • Rule 1: Use local businesses
  • Rule 2: Be as sustainable and green as possible

In addition, we wanted to be as fiscally responsible as possible but not choose cheap simply for the cost.

So, first up, cabinets and the flooring.  Many kitchen remodeling shows start with the studs on the show ripping everything out to the studs in the house. The cabinets were in fine shape so it seems wasteful to trash them simply to replace them. New hardware and paint has really spruced them up and filling in the small grooves on the doors that gave them a country feel before painting put them back into a more sleek line that I liked.

However…since this entire project was kickstarted by a leak under the sink that resulted in a slow softening of the wood under the sink cabinet and into the kitchen itself, we knew we had to replace that cabinet. And, this was the first place where we didn’t really follow the rules (what? already?) but we did take advantage of zero percent financing and bought energy star appliances and the replacement cabinet from a big box home improvement store. We did add three more cabinets to the kitchen in the process to give us hidden space for recycling, storage for baking supplies and a bit more storage for keys and so on. We also splurged on a new door with better insulation and a window to allow for more natural light.


Cork or bamboo was our first instinct for flooring but a very nice salesperson at Broadway Carpet told us that they were both too soft for kitchen use, in her opinion. We figured since she was losing a sale but was being honest, we needed to heed that. I had wanted REAL linoleum based on a suggestion from my sister but I couldn’t find that locally. A trip to Asheville, North Carolina to the green building store, Build it Naturally, provided us with Marmoleum in a nifty click to install system and so we were off with our Sahara floor and an inset of blue for a “rug” under the table.

While the floor and new cabinets were going in, I tackled my own personal project – a wine rack made completely from found materials around the house. I gathered up scraps of wood from past projects and dug up all kinds of fasteners and devised a holder that would fit in the “dead” space between the end of one cabinet and where we wanted the return on another new cabinet to be. The results can be seen here:

I also repurposed a knife holder from the side of a rolling butcher block island and hung it up between our cabinets and the new refrigerator to fill that space and provide a needed knife storage area.


Then, we had to decide on countertops. Working with Southern Kitchen, we met Karen, our wonderful designer. The original choice was a gorgeous cobalt blue Ceasarstone, which is a crushed quartz eco-friendly material. However, to save up for the project took over a year and by the time we went back to order it, the color was no longer being made! Boo!

We had to setting for our second choice, this time by Silestone – Stellar Marine in their Stellar best kitchen knives series. Lovely sparkles inside the blue. We used Stone Creek Surfaces our of Louisville, TN as our installers and they were great. Project was on time, installers were professional and they even figured out a way to keep our smaller than usual (24″) dishwasher in place.

So, we went from this:

with makeshift countertops on the new cabinets and old formica on the existing, to this:


Fast forward from October 2009 to this week, and that bring us to:


Going from three lights (two ceiling fixtures and one over the sink) to eleven should make things brighter, right?

After finding a fixture that we loved at a local store (who shall remain nameless because of their TERRIBLE customer service), we had to turn to Ebay for the fixture as it has been discontinued for a long time. So, thanks to the reuse culture of Ebay, we found the fixture and then turned to Schoolhouse Electric for the fixture to hang over the table. Schoolhouse Electric is a small company out of Portland, Oregon that uses handblown glass globes based on 150 year old molds to match the fixtures in schoolhouse from long ago. We went with one of the Black Line shades to call out the lovely black display cabinet we have in the room

Throw in four new can lights using dimmable CFL bulbs and some Xenon undercabinet lighting and we are good to go. Thanks to Angler Construction for the wonderful installation job.

So, now, all that is left is


We actually already have the tile having worked with Donna, a wonderful designer at Tile Sensations. We bought a warehouse overrun (yay, more reuse and a bargain) and then augmented with a lovely glass tile in green that will be the accent over the stove and sink. That installation will happen soon and I will post some photos when it does.

Stay tuned!

Thanks to Alan Levine aka CogDog (who I get to meet next week at ITC eLearning 2011!), I have fallen for Pummelvision, which takes the last 2000 photos in our Flickr account (or DailyBooth Dropbox Facebook and Tumblr) and makes them into a movie that is then auto-magically (if you give it they keys) to YouTube or Vimeo. Sweet!

As they say, your life flashes before your eyes and I see that I have been some places (or at least I only upload photos of places i have been). Give it a shot if you take shots. I might have to revisit my Project 365 set and give that a whirl as well.