Green Rascal Design

They don't teach interpersonal things such as networking in architecture school. Either we're just supposed to know that stuff by nature, because we're so darn awesome at everything else, or it's assumed that interpersonal relationships with anybody other than our classmates are unnecessary and to be regarded with disdain. So since I started networking hard-core about 2.5 years ago, it came as a bit of a challenge.

If you're not an architect you probably don't know one, and it's unlikely at least right now that you'll meet one out networking. Even when I was being paid to network with architects it was difficult to find them - and I'm an insider! But if you are an architect, and finding it difficult to get yourself out there to drum up some business by making professional connections... you're not alone! Here are a few tips that I've picked up that might help you...

Today @letsblogoff asks... "Where is the edge of your world? Did you ever take a step beyond that horizon?"
There have been many edges in my world, and I woudn't be the person I am today if I hadn't stepped beyond them.

At first it seemed my parents were disappointed because I didn't just go off to the University of Minnesota like they'd planned, or like my older sister did. I wanted to make a smoother transition from high school to the big city, and spent some time at a community college first. It was great and I made one amazing friend for life there... And then I moved on to the University. It was big and scary, but that was really my first threshold to cross. I'm glad I took my time, though, because I was much more prepared for "the real world" where I was not a big fish anymore.

See, my life in a small town was pretty easy; I was smart - near the top of my class, and I knew who liked me and who didn't for the most part. (most people didn't like me.) When I got to Minneapolis suddenly I wasn't the top of my class anymore, and there were lots of people who pretended to like me but didn't or showed no interest but actually were very fond of me. It was weird. I struggled. A lot. But at least I had some constants like my friends who were nearby and my job that I loved.

Skip ahead 4 years, and suddenly I was in Philadelphia. I had secured a place to live and a job, but didn't know anybody here and was totally unprepared for the challenges of grad school. Not to mention losing who I thought was the love of my life to an accident while I was in transit from there to here... Man, I'd never been in such uncharted territory before. I made some mistakes and learned a lot from them. Went to a bunch of neat places and loved it. You've heard it all before.

Graduation brought another threshold...
Marriage brought another...

And then there was unemployment. In a city with a massive abundance of architects, what's one more architect to do? What a mess! So I figured eventually to try not working for someone else for a change, and ventured on over the threshold of entrepreneurship. I'm not sure I like this world, though. Not sure what the future holds.

Today I was planning on writing something a bit less emotional - not that there's much emotion in this piece, but I'm getting a bit upset thinking about how hard business is - this seems more relevant to lots of things that I've been thinking about lately. Listening to the Inspiring Women's Summit was enlightening. And I've been volunteering some time lately, which probably needs attention at some point here. Reading a bit about productivity this morning was another thing that led me to participate in the blogoff today. Anyway, I've been feeling a little like another threshold is coming or has been presenting itself for some time now... There is something I want to do, and people are telling me not to. frustrating!

This blogoff is a good brief opportunity to think about how far I have personally and professionally come, and for that I am thankful. It's always good to know the world isn't flat! See below for other people who've gone to the edge...
"365 Days with Nest. Meet the only thermostat that improves with time The Nest Learning Thermostat programs itself in a week and turns itself down when you’re away. Nest helps you understand how your home uses energy so you can save more." -
image from
I dig smart thermostats. And I dig clean looking home technologies. This Nest thermostat is affordable and sexy. (Yes, I said it's sexy.) It reminds me of the first iPod...

Now, I spent a short amount of time [6 months] recently, and then a semester back in grad school focusing on home technologies and what they can do. So I know a little bit about this stuff. There are lots of programmable thermostats... some learn, some you can control with your computer, etc.  and some do both... They're not affordable and sexy. Not in my opinion at least.
This IS. I mean, just look at it!
All these images are from their website, by the way.... which I've pinned on pinterest - and others have re-pinned! So I think they'll be successful.
Some specs: 3.20 inches in diameter, projection 1.44 inches from face of wall.
24 bit color display. WiFi connectivity!!! 5 year warranty. compatible with most HVAC systems - this is important. link multiple thermostats together for zoning. made of green stuff! (PVC free) rechargeable lithium ion battery.
They didn't pay me for being excited and posting this about them, and I haven't gotten any gifts. (though I wouldn't turn one down) I just wanted to be a little bit more well-rounded (no pun intended) than simply pinning on pinterest. Hopefully lots of people will consider changing to smarter home technologies if I keep sharing them!

as you were.
This outline was the basis of my webinar with Ladies Going Green on Vokle yesterday, 4-17-12... and I'm sharing it here because I wanted there to be a text to go with the video. Also, I'm not sure if the audio on the video was working...
Why is it important to improve the indoor environment?
  • Indoor air can often be more polluted than outdoors with things like pollen, mold, dust, dirt and chemical scents and cleaners. Typically air changes don't eliminate these things enough.

  • The things that make up our homes emit gasses from surface finishes like paints and sealants and glues that bond materials and pieces together.

  • We typically spend most of our time indoors, and so we're constantly being exposed to these gasses and microbes.
What can you do now to green your kitchen?

Faucet aerators reduce your water usage immediately for a few dollars
  1. screw on main faucet aerator is $2
  2. spray hose reduces water usage and increases pressure which cleans faster

Water filters provide cleaner, safer drinking water at a fraction of bottled cost
  1. pitcher types are very inexpensive, however try to find a glass one as plastics offgass
  2. 10 stage filters are best, $100 for countertop model or more for under-counter mount

Drain strainers prevent clogs, and associated harsh chemical use
  1. straining the food out of the water that goes down your drain keeps drains clean
  2. that stuff that gets stuck in your drain can attract molds and pollute your air
  3. the food you strain out can be put to good use, which will be covered later

Greener cleaning products and detergents reduce household chemicals
  1. 90% of the cleaning products in your house contain formaldehyde, which causes cancer
  2. products based on natural ingredients such as tea tree oil are just as effective and cheaper