Archive for the 'Life' Category

Living Room Mood Board

Living Room Mood Board, originally uploaded by Refined Designer.

I created this mood board with a warm contemporary vibe being the target end result. My goal is to recreate this look in our living room on a modest budget.

Review of RealtorĀ® Doug Francis of Northern Virginia

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Where to start in the home-buying process?

This year my fiance and I made the decision to purchase our first home through RealtorĀ® Doug Francis of Vienna, VA. Initially, we didn’t know where to start in choosing a real estate agent, so we turned to a trusted friend of ours whom recently went through the house hunting process himself. He mentioned he had used Doug for his search and had nothing but great things to say; even mentioned how technologically savvy Doug is! Naturally, with our investigative instincts, we began our research at dougfrancis.com. We instantly knew that if this is a man who is willing to provide both buyers and sellers with an abundance of trusted online resources, then he must work even harder as an agent. From there, we made the initial contact.

The first meeting

Doug began our conversation by greeting us in a friendly manner and proceeded to define the role that he plays in our house search. From there he asked us our needs and wants in a home. We conveyed to him our wish-list as well as our desire to have a family, so that he’d have a clear idea of what type of home we wanted… it was comforting knowing that he seemed to know the right questions to ask. His ~20 years of industry experience certainly made us feel confident that we indeed made the right choice. He even recommended a fantastic lender to us in his network, so that we could secure financing. After all, he advises any home buyer to be as competitive as possible! (Take note: great advice…)

Looking at homes

Over the next several months, Doug took us around to dozens of houses in the Northern Virginia area. In each house he would point out the things to watch out for and the things to be appreciative of… a trait that is especially unique to Doug’s professionalism as a seasoned one-of-a-kind real estate agent. When spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home, we definitely didn’t want the truth sugarcoated, so it made it reassuring to know that Doug would be honest with us. It wasn’t all business. Every now and then, we’d have laughs over my disappointment at the lack of HGTV cameras in the houses we were looking at (buying a house is not like they show it on TV, by the way). He made the whole process fun, enjoyable, and headache-free. Of course, many people, including us, dread the paperwork side of home buying, but it was relatively painless. If we weren’t too sure of what the fine print meant, he thoroughly broke it down for us, thus allowing us to make a choice that was wise for us.

Bottom line?

You won’t be disappointed. Doug goes above and beyond what is asked for in his line of work. He is passionate, personable and listens well. He is meticulous with his research and delivers results — all his picks for us lined up with our budget, wish-list, and location. When paperwork or correspondence came our way from the seller’s agent, he was there to act as a liaison on our behalf right away. We didn’t feel alone in this process, and we have Doug to thank. If you are considering using Doug Francis as your buyer/seller agent, we highly recommend using him. Oh and us? He found us a beautiful home that we will love for years to come.

He has a Web site at www.dougfrancis.com. He provides you with first timer advice, do’s and don’ts, and handy links to the MLS searches.

Have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section!

[Photo] Tree railing

Tree railing. Photo courtesy of Design You Trust.

What a clever way to bring nature into your home: it’s a railing in the form of a tree and its branches. It certainly is a refreshing way to bring the beauty of the outdoors into your home. People brought up a good point, would this pass a building code inspection?

As seen on Design You Trust, extracted from Design Fetish.

Wireless Audio & Phone System for Bluetooth Hearing Aid Wearers

Streamer Device

Oticon ConnectLine system Streamer

Have a problem hearing your favorite TV show? As a follow-up on the wildly popular Bluetooth Hearing Aids post, thought the readers would like to know about a new product for bluetooth hearing aid lovers. Oticon has launched a new high-tech wireless device that helps hearing aid users sync up to their favorite technology. It’s called the Oticon ConnectLine system. Bluetooth technology has already been known for successfully syncing up to cell phones, music players, and PCs. However, the Oticon ConnectLine system now offers a solution for those who wish to stream audio from their TV and landline phones directly to their hearing aids.

Oticon ConnectLine Phone Adaptor

There are two components offered in the system: the ConnectLine Phone Adaptor and the ConnectLine TV Adaptor. Connecting these systems is a small device that the hearing aid wearer wears called the Streamer. The small device syncs with either Adaptor. For example, once the TV Adaptor connects to the audio output of a TV, the user can do a one-time pairing that allows the devices to connect. This in turn allows the user to hear anywhere within a 30-foot range, similar to how the iCom device works with a cellphone. Same method works for the Phone Adaptor.

Oticon ConnectLine TV Adaptor

The ConnectLine System currently only works with the following hearing aids: Oticon Dual, Epoq and Vigo Connect. For more information about the new wireless options from Oticon, visit OticonUSA.

I personally haven’t tried the system, but if you have, how is the sound quality? I’m curious if the streaming audio truly is high-quality without interruptions.

[VIDEO] A Glimpse into the Life of a Freelancer

A truly fantastic representation of how us freelancers feel when a client tries to take the cheap way out. It’s undermining to the individual and to the web industry. This video depicts various scenarios that all send the same message to each and every industry out there. Whether one runs a freelance business, an upscale dining venue or a music store, no one should have to expect to pay or earn less than the true value of a product or service.

Oreo Cookie Cake Pan

Picture 1

Oreo cookie lovers, rejoice! You can imitate the look (and taste, if you wish) of an oreo cookie with this cake pan. Available at Williams-Sonoma for $29.95.

Tumblr: A Place to Dump My Wedding Ideas

Apple Votive Candles

Apple Votive Candles

I’m always coming across things I love and gotta have, but most of all don’t want to forget! Thanks to a trusty coworker, she turned me on to Tumblr. Tumblr is a place that I’m using to dump all the photos, links, and blogs that I come across for wedding inspiration. Most of it is fall-inspired wedding ideas. Go on, have a look at my ‘tumblelog.’ Have any fun wedding or party ideas you want to share? I’m all ears!



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