Long Time No See . . .

Hello friends, it’s been a while and I profusely apologize.

Life has grabbed me by the balls (figuratively speaking, of course) and I have once again been pulled in another direction.  For those of you who are wondering, I am once again flailing around in the working world.  A great job appeared as if from nowhere and I took it to avoid passing up an amazing opportunity.  I am working as a designer and home stager for a leading company in Toronto.  Yay!  It’s great experience and I’m meeting tons of people, but unfortunately it has dragged me away from The At Home Couple.

I do apologize for neglecting my responsibilities and as far as I’m concerned, as soon as the housing market slows down a bit, I will be back on the ball.  Most of my goals have changed again, which is frustrating, but getting back in there with Eli is really important to make sure we don’t loose momentum.  It’s crazy how life just randomly chucks curve balls at you and how you react to them can change everything.

Two months ago I was trying to figure out how I was going to break into the staging and real estate industry and make a name for myself, and now that’s exactly what I’m doing.  The downside of course is that it has eaten up ALL of my free time.  I am being bombarded by friends who want to know if I’m still alive.  And of course I’ve been neglecting my duties to Bleecker Street Media and theathomecouple.com.  It has gotten me down a couple of times, especially after a grueling 13 hour day.  I’ve found myself questioning my decision to take the job, and whether or not it is even a benefit.  When it comes down to it though, I love what I’m doing.  Whether it’s on my own or for a company, I am doing a job that I enjoy and that I am good at.  Who knows, maybe this is the kickstart I need to get out there on my own and run my own design and staging business.

So please bear with me and send me good vibes.  Hopefully this is a step in the right direction. 🙂



Mindless Distractions: Taking a Break From The Internet Marketing Game


Internet marketing causes insomnia.

I know there are more than a few of you out there who suffer from this addiction I have (financial and mobility freedom via making money online).  Some nights I just simply can not turn my brain off.  It’s almost as if when I lay down to sleep, my brain turns on.  Occasionally, in the midst of domain names, methods and tricks flashing rapidly through my head, I will hit something that is genius.

Most of the time it’s a pain in the ass and stresses me out.  I’ve never been a good sleeper – natural born insomniac.

When I know I need to get to sleep sooner than later, I will stop all work related stuff and randomly watch videos on good old YouTube to distract me, empty my brain and help bring me down.

Tonight was flipping through the recent hockey fights on HockeyFightsDotCom tube channel.

Say what you want… lol.. I’m Canadian, I love hockey and fighting is what we do when the passion is high or someone cheap shots a team mate of ours.  It relaxes me.


Wishing You All a Happy Holiday Season!

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holiday!

We are so so appreciative of everyone’s support and are so grateful for the people we have in our lives. It is the best gift we could’ve received. Thank you for patiently listening to our ups and downs and rants. Enjoy the food, festivities and fun with friends and family, and be grateful for the time you have together.

Big things are going to happen in 2010, I can feel it in my bones. Until then, eat, drink and be merry!


Starbucks, Metal and the Open Road.

This past weekend, Eli and I, along with two very good friends, embarked on a four day adventure from Toronto to Asheville, North Carolina.  We were visiting some friends, and most people found that bizarre; including the guard at the border.  Admittedly, thirteen hours is a long drive to spend two days, but we live on the edge.  We had our share of obstacles, especially with the detour off the interstate, but sometimes veering off the beaten path is the most interesting part of the journey.  And the weekend was most definitely interesting . . . ffff ….

Road-trips are a great way to travel and experience new and exciting places.  The great thing about traveling by car is that the journey becomes just as much a part of the trip as the destination.  The time flew by because we had fun and a wicked soundtrack.  Driving through different states or provinces provides a different perspective, and is definitely more intimate than say, flying.   We were able to experience some of the people and places we passed through.  (ps. loving the southern accent all over again.)  Although there is a downside and that would be the cramped quarters or being frozen to death every time someone put the window down.

I have to say that I am in love with Asheville.  What a great town!  Surrounded by nature, with the appeal of a small intimate town, but the amenities of a city.  We had such a good time there, I think there may be plans for a summer-time trip.  🙂  Here are some pictures of the journey . . .

The boys looking particularly bad-ass.
The boys looking particularly bad-ass.

I will admit that Metallica greatly enhanced the soundtrack to the weekend.
I will admit that Metallica greatly enhanced the soundtrack to the weekend.
You would think coming from the land of ice and snow that we would have anticipated the weather.
You would think coming from the land of ice and snow that we would have anticipated the weather.
Some unusual combinations.
Some unusual combinations.

Idyllic surroundings perfect for stirring up the Christmas mood.
Idyllic surroundings perfect for stirring up the Christmas mood.
Some kind of power plant in Kentucky . . .
Some kind of power plant in Kentucky . . . I just like how this one turned out.
Great statue.
Great piece in the park in Asheville.
Eli and I.
We don't get decent pictures to often, so this one is a keeper.

It was really great to escape for a few days.  Life has been hectic . . . and it still is.  Hope everyone is coping with the hustle and bustle of the season, Merry Christmas and/or  Happy Holiday!


Square: The Payment Game Is About To Change For Offline Businesses

Surfing around Twitterland can be quite educational – not to mention the fact that you’re getting real time info from some of the webs most influential movers and shakers.  Keeping this in mind, I stumbled accross a tweet from Kevin Rose, who was replying to Jim (creator of Twitter) about a website called SquareUp.com.

As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges faced is implementing a transparent, efficient and accurate payment gateway.  In the world of offline business – where physical products and interaction are the name of the game – this becomes even more crucial.  Enter Square: A new technology which allows business owners to accept card-based payments directly from a mobile device – so long as it has an audio jack.

I can’t even begin to describe the feeling running through my veins right now.  Not that I would ever have any use for their products and services, as 100% of my business is virtual and online, but that’s besides the point.

I am a junkie for innovation, creativity and overall awesomeness – and I am officially (with zero credibility) claiming Square to be the most groundbreaking start up for 2010.

I have a really good feeling about these guys!

Please head over to Square and see for yourself.



No Thanks to Toronto’s Crystal Bath

Hi all! I hope that all of you who were celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend had a fantastic time!  There is nothing better than spending time with family and loved ones, while stuffing your bellies with great food.

Although most of you were giving thanks this past Friday, mine was spent dealing with an unbelievable headache!  I have never in my life experienced such poor customer service . . .

As some of you may or may not know, I am a starving Interior Designer by trade.  My current project is a bathroom remodel that I am doing in my childhood home. (I will post pictures as soon as it is complete.)  The supplier for the floor and vanity is a company located in east end Toronto, called Crystal Bath, located at 2839 Kingston Rd.  I can’t even tell you why things went sour, but what happened on Friday when we went to pick up our product, was surreal.

The owners of the company, at some point, decided that we were “difficult” customers, and took the route of treating us like criminals.  When I asked where all the animosity was coming from, I was told that we asked too many questions.  I have worked in the customer service industry for my entire working career, and I have NEVER penalized a customer for “asking too many questions.”  Isn’t that the whole point of customer service?  Especially when the customer is paying over $ 4000 for their product?

The owner took the initial measurements for the vanity, which was wrong, as she took them before the bathroom was even demolished.  So to avoid them being built at the wrong size, I called to correct her.  When our floor was going down, not only was the installer unprofessional by hitting on me, but he did a lazy job of installing the tile.  We have a very talented general contractor in our family, and even he said that the installer/company took the shortcut in installing the floor.  The threshold they sent was the most insignificant piece of marble I have ever seen, and when they were questioned about it, informed us that we had laid down the incorrect sub-floor.  But where was the information from them regarding the proper preparation for the floor?  There was none.  There were no specifications for anything.  They made no attempt at communicating with us about what was required on their end for the floor to go down correctly.  I have worked in the flooring industry, and we ALWAYS provided the customer with such information and specifics to avoid these problems.  But apparantly, it was our fault.

The kicker was picking up our vanity on Friday.  Not only did they refuse delivery, forcing us to take time out of our day, rent a truck and drive from the west end of  the city to  the east end, but they didn’t even communicate the final payment method.  All of a sudden our cheque wasn’t good enough anymore and she needed either a certified cheque, credit card or cash.  At this point we are in Scarborough with a rented truck and they won’t take our payment.  When we told her that a credit card was out of the question, she insulted us by insinuating that we didn’t have the money to pay and that our credit card was “antique”.  The tension could be cut  with a knife, and in an attempt to be diplomatic and open the dialogue to get to the source of the issue, I asked her what the problem was.  She ROLLED HER EYES AT ME, and basically told me that I know nothing because I worked for IKEA.  In addition, she interuppted me, yelled at me and spoke right over me, I couldn’t get a word in edge wise.  She spoke to me as though I were 12 years old.  I have never been so insulted as a customer, but also as a person.  Not only do I have more design education then her, but I have had other work experience than IKEA.  Let’s not even get into the fact that IKEA is a world reknowned company that makes more money when they’re closed than her dinky operation  . . .

My point is that I have never received such horrific customer service and in all my experience, I have never been witness to such appalling customer service.  This is the way they run their business.  I could not imagine ever treating our customers and clients this way.  I could not even imagine treating another human being this way.  How is it possible to make it in business by insulting your clients?  It makes my blood boil that she thinks this is the way to treat people.  It makes me even more angry that there are probably people who have received this kind of treatment and just accepted it.  It is not right and they need to know it.  I am writing this for all those living in Toronto, avoid Crystal Bath for your bathroom or kitchen renovations.  This company does not recognize the investment required to have these projects done and are not sensitive to the needs of their clients.  Clearly, in their eyes, there is a fine line between being a valued customer and a criminal.

I apologize if it seems I am ranting, but I had to get this off my chest.