Posts Tagged 'Washington D.C.'

Announcing launch of Refined Designer


On Sunday, February 15th, 2009, Refined Designer was launched. The website features a collection of web design projects that I have completed for clients over the years.

You can check it out at:

Bluetooth Hearing Aids | Phone & Music

Evolution of the Hearing Aid

Evolution of the Hearing Aid

My entire life I’ve had hearing aids and I’m only 22. So, no, hearing aids are not just for the elderly. When I was younger, I believed my hearing aids were something to be ashamed of, but I have eventually grown to embrace them as a lifeline and as a part of who I am. I am not the girl with the hearing aids. I am the hard-working, talented woman who happens to wear hearing aids. It’s important that people realize that individuals with a disability are not stupid, incapable, or dumb. Unfortunately, I’ve encountered people who treat me as though I am.



I recently purchased new hearing aids (For the record, hearing aids are not covered by insurance and I am seriously considering lobbying against this in Washington, D.C.), which came with an optional add-on device called an iCom. This iCom is what you see in the picture above. It is a device that you wear around your neck that allows you to program multiple bluetooth-equipped phones. Thinking this was too good to be true, I tested it on the iPhone. Sure enough, I was able to send and receive calls hands-free without the phone (after dialing the number, of course), as long as I was inside a 30-foot radius.


Video iPod

Feeling empowered, I moved on to test the music adapater. The adapter connects to any music device with a headphone jack, such as an iPod. The hearing aids make a signaling sound to let me know that a device is connected wirelessly. I can control whether or not the music plays either through the device itself, or through my iCom with the simple press of the square button. In addition, the hearing aids work with FM radio, although, I have to admit I haven’t tried it yet. All in all, a pretty cool breakthrough for hearing aid technology.

Technology is taking a step in the right direction. If people without hearing loss are already hooking up their phones to a bluetooth device, doesn’t it make sense to build a hearing aid with the same bluetooth technology? It happened and I can’t wait to see what will roll out next. My hope is that the iPhone will be bluetooth-compatible with the music (apparently it’s not, right now). Does anyone know of a bluetooth-equipped phone that will play music?

Interested in finding out more about these hearing aids for yourself, a friend, or a loved one? Check out Phonak’s Exelia website. You can also read more about hearing loss at or (in English or Espanol).

Pre-Inauguration Day at the Vienna Metro


Today around 1pm I took I-66 into Falls Church, VA. With the orange line being parallel to 66, I can see each metro stop. The first stop we passed on the orange line is at Vienna. The line to enter the metro was so long that people were standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the long corridor that hangs over the highway. On the way back from Falls Church at around 3pm, the line had extended past the entrance of the metro station and wrapped into the parking lot area. Sheesh. All I have to say is that I’ll be eagerly watching the Inauguration tomorrow from the comfort of my own couch.

Car Review: 2009 Toyota Camry


I’ve been borrowing my mother’s car for the past two days while my car gets worked on at the shop in Delaware (tax-free). She is the proud owner of a 2009 Toyota Camry. Wow. Just wow. This car is wonderful. I am in love with how smoothly it drives. I also realized that much of my stress driving in the D.C. area stems from my current car, a 1998 Honda Accord EX. To compare a 2009 model with a 1998 model is kind of unfair, but I will tell you what I love about the Camry:

  • Smooth ride. Great and fast acceleration in 0-60 seconds. This is especially important when I’m merging on to major highways in D.C. (or anywhere for that matter).
  • Comfortable driver seat. I do a lot of distance driving, which pains me in my current car. I am shorter, so my legs don’t rest comfortably in my Honda. However, the Camry’s power seats allow me to find the sweet spot for maximum comfort.
  • Keyless remote entry. I’m still getting used to this one. As long as I have the key buried in my purse or pocket, I can walk up with my hands full and instantly get in the car. The doors unlock when you stand near them and even automatically open for you. Okay, not really. But, I love that you can walk up in the freezing weather and not have to stand there for an extra minute searching for the key.
  • Instant start-up. Once I’m in the car, I still don’t ever have to pull my key out. I can start the car with the push of a button, just as long as my foot is on the brake.

For all that this sleek and sexy car does, I only wish I could have one now. It even comes in a Hybrid, which would be ideal for my commute into D.C. (Hybrids are exempt from the HOV law — Check to see if your state is on the list). Sure, I’ll give some other cars a chance, but I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

5 Reasons Why the Metro is Annoying


Okay, I have come to the conclusion that riding the Metro is utterly annoying. Here’s why:

  1. You’re not in control of your commute. The waiting time in between transfers is unpredictable. Obviously, during rush hour, there’s a shorter wait time. With rush hour, I’m not a fan of standing around scheming about how I’m going to knock over everyone in my way. It’s really not fun when you’re packed on an outdated metro car like a pack of sardines. Sometimes, there’s the occasional breakdown, which can set you back.
  2. Germs. I’m not a germophobe, but I do like to be conscious of my surroundings. I try not to touch a door handle or pole unless I need to prevent myself from flying into someone’s lap. Not to mention, there always that one person who’s coughing incessantly. Gross. Don’t even get me started on flu season… see article.
  3. Metro car operators. It’s the most uncomfortable ride when your life is in the hands of a jerky metro car operator. (By the way, did you know they make up to $100,000 a year?) Yesterday, the operator came to a slow, jerky stop. Each time I thought the car was stopping, it picked up again only to stop again suddenly. Talk about a headache. Continue reading ‘5 Reasons Why the Metro is Annoying’

A Glimpse at Obama’s Inauguration


Thanks to @marklemunyon, he posted a link on Twitter that got me thinking about the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama. I’ve been scouring the Internet for a taste of what’s to come:

D.C. Officials Considering Opening Bars 24-7

The D.C. Council is considering legislation today that would allow bars to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. — three hours longer than current regulations allow — and remain open 24 hours a day from Jan. 17 through 21 to serve crowds in town for the inauguration.

The bill, offered by council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), is up for a vote at today’s legislative meeting.

“This is absolutely a unique opportunity, and we want our night life to participate in all of the activities and events during the Inauguration,” Graham told Post reporter Hamil R. Harris today… see Washington Post article.

Metro Plans for Inauguration Weekend

Capital dome with flagMetrorail will operate rush hour service for 15 consecutive hours (4 a.m. to 7 p.m.), will stay open for two extra hours (until 2 a.m.), offer free parking at its facilities and will be one important transportation alternative for people who are planning to attend the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

Metro officials expect extremely crowded conditions on Inauguration Day. Metrorail stations and trains will be packed as people head to the Inauguration, and expect to see even tighter conditions afterward. Expect the crowds to be huge with hundreds of thousands of people expected to be in the nation’s capital not only for Inauguration Day, but for the days preceding it as well… see Metro website.

Banned from inauguration: strollers, umbrellas

Continue reading ‘A Glimpse at Obama’s Inauguration’

September 22nd, 2008: 6 sites I visit for web design inspiration

It’s not unusual for me to browse the web for inspiration when I have a new project that comes across my plate. Here are 6 places I go on the web when I’m looking for inspiration, articles to read, and a place to connect with other designers. I wouldn’t mind networking more with people in my field of work. (Thanks to coworkers and friends for passing on some of their favorites)

  1. DC Design Babes — A Washington D.C. organization founded by two web chicks who seem to really focus on facilitating connections with other area designers through monthly meetings. (see website)
  2. Refresh DC — Another D.C. area organization dedicated to keeping the industry connected by providing a place for people to share industry happenings. (see website)
  3. Cameron Moll — A well-known Utah-based designer/speaker/author who blogs frequently. I think it’s cute that he gave his wife a little “corner” of his blog. (see his website)
  4. 19 Things Not to Do When Building a Website — Probably something every web designer and developer could benefit from reading. (see blog post)
  5. You The Designer — This website nails it. I’ve always been a fan of web (and print) posts that list things as opposed to laying out the nitty gritty in a long article, something I *try* to achieve in my own blog posts. It’s easy to read in terms of scannability and gets right to the point. Websites with thumbnails and photos are a bonus. (see website)
  6. Smashing Magazine — The best for last. A “weblog” that gives a place for designers and developers to head to when they want to keep up with the trends of the industry, such as brush sets, sample CSS code, and tips on designing across platforms.  (see weblog)

Redskins won!

Yay for the Redskins’ defeat over the Saints, 29-24. Marcus is convinced that he’s going to convert me to a hardcore Skins fan. He got me my first football Jersey, which is uber cute because it’s designed for girls. He figured I should get #53, Marcus Washington in Burgundy of course. I hate to admit it, but I think he’s slowly suceeding in his mission 😉 Next Sunday I’m going with a few of our friends to the Redskins vs. Cardinals game. Should be thrilling as I’ve never been to a football game in my life. Pathetic.

I’m also extra excited because Marcus just got off work a whole lot earlier than we anticipated, so we’re headed out for some margaritas with his roommate 🙂 I’m in the mood for a mango marg on the rocks with extra salt, but I don’t think the restaurant we’re going to serves those. Way to put a damper on my craving. Grr. What’s your favorite kind of margarita?

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