Monday, February 10, 2014

How happy are you in your relationship?

Happy February!

Received this interesting bit of graphics from Happify and thought it was just perfect Valentine's Day fodder. To those in a relationship, there are some good tips to boost your happiness scores. It's pretty obvious and common sense ... but some times these simple gestures can be easily forgotten.

So take time to say pay each other compliments, stay positive and do fun things together. Click here to view a larger version of the graphic.


Friday, January 10, 2014

What a year it was!


Busy, busy was the word for 2013.

I migrated the site from Blogger to Wordpress and spent a few months in living hell, fire fighting server issues and inching up Wordpress' steep learning curve (for a non-techy like me). But I foresee smoother days ahead. Fingers crossed.

Thank you for hanging in there with me as I tweaked, prodded and improved the the site. Some recent changes include:

> Changing the way the search results were displayed. No more pop-ups. Yay.
> Restoring missing posts from May to July 2013 which were not migrated from the first install. The hacks are now back to their rightful places. However, I wasn't able to import over the comments. Bummer. But I am not giving up yet and will still be looking for a solution to this.
> Server down issues. I will be migrating the site (again!) to another host in probably a few days. It has CDN and all that fancy stuff. Hopefully, the new host will deliver faster loading times and better browsing experience for you.

Still on my to-do list (and the most requested feature) is to reinstate chronological order of hacks. That will come back in 2014. For. Sure.

And now ... on to more exciting stuff. The last few days, I have been knee deep in hacks - reviewing and shortlisting my top 10 favourites for the Hack of the Year 2013! What a phenomenal year. Lots of interesting entries and my heart is rent with having to omit so many from the list. The list should be done in a day or two ... so look out for it. And if you have a favourite, do leave a comment below so that I can consider it.

Thanks again for your support, whether you are a first-time visitor to my site or a long time friend. You've made 2013 an awesome one for me and IKEAHackers.

Keep hacking!
Jules

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Recipe to try: Rhubarb-Lemon Balm Spritzer

I received this in the mail from Emily D. and my curiosity was piqued. Maybe because I drank my first ever Lingonberry drink a week ago. Yes, after all these years of frequenting the IKEA cafe, it never caught my eye. But that day, maybe the queue was extra long, and it was hot and I was bothered and the berries aligned ... so I gulped down the tiny UHT pack of Lingonberry along with its sugary empty promises. (I can hear my trainer screaming now. No carbs!)

Nonetheless, the humble berry has received a nod from Dr Oz and can be paired quite successfully with other drinks for extra fizz.

So I may pick up the Saft Rabarber on the next trip. And I have a great excuse, now that I have this delicious recipe from Emily D. It's perfect for hot summer days (which I have all year round, another perfect excuse.) Cheers!

The Rhubarb-Lemon Balm Spritzer

Photo: Emily D

See the Rhubarb-Lemon Balm Spritzer recipe.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My hunt for a new patterned rug finally over!

I have this cream colored rug for close to 10 years now. Lately, it was beginning to look blah and I was having geometric dreams. Inspired by what the bold (with steady hands) have done, I contemplated painting it using stencils, painter's tape or even sharpie. I can hack it, definitely, but there is a bigger issue - size that is.

The rug has always been a little too small for my living room dimensions. I made do, but was never satisfied. And you know how that feels.


See what I mean?

In the meantime, while hunting for patterned rugs, the ALVINE RUTA caught my eye. I like the yellow, a colour I am beginning to love a lot in recent days. (It's such a happy colour, like a ray of sunshine indoors) Then, at the SALE - I saw it and - dum dum dum dum - it was reduced. ALVINE came home with me!

When I spread out all of its 5' 7" x 7' 10" glory in my living room, the size was perfect but it didn't look quite right with my furniture placement. There are some "rug rules" it seems. (Here too, if you are into that sort of thing) But for me, it's just gut. Sofa legs on or off, 2 legs in or out - it's not an exact science - you'll know when it looks and feels right.

Here's how it looked in place of the cream rug. No can do.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Tic with me please

This hot pink IKEA clock has been with me for years now (its name escapes me) and it is still my favourite tic toc. A few weeks ago, it died on me but I was reluctant to let it go. I can be a sentimental, that way. Nifty fingers got to work and a heart transplant from a $1.99 RUSCH later, I managed to get its little heart ticking again. A happy day it is when I can salvage stuff.


Now I am wondering what to do with the RUSCH shell. Maybe an airplant terrarium? Thinking... thinking ...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's getting hot in here

It seems like I've been twiddling my thumbs since my last post. Noooo....

I've been working like crazy and some how updating Jules' wasn't very high on the priority list. I took a long hard look at my scope of work and decided that my personal blog should be what it is - some thing I write for fun and when I have something I say. With no pressure to update. 

Now that I've got that off my chest ... onto the exciting stuff ... the IKEAHackers site makeover. It's a major one, I tell you and I am pretty stoked.

The site has been looking rather blah for a long time now, mainly due to my limited skills. This time round, I engaged the services of a pro and he's been cranking some cool ideas and interesting stuff for me. I can't wait for the big reveal, which I hope will happen some time in June (or early July, I hear him pleading now).

Here's a sneak peek.


There is still lots to do - mainly the categorising and labelling of hacks. Plus lots of rethinking of the hack submission process, search function and community/social aspects of the site. It is major, as I said.


Yup, that's the illustrated "me" on a mission. Hacking is serious business. Yeaah.

While I'm tweaking under the hood, if you have suggestions and ideas, please comment below or drop me a mail. As always, my goal is to make IKEAHackers the best that it can be and I welcome your input.

Don't be a stranger. Comment away now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Change #1: Unprocrastination

Photo: Themetapicture.com

I was given a copy of "52 Changes" by Leo Babauta, a fellow LifeRemixer, so I did some reading over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Truth be told, I was a little skeptical and was ready to pass the book off as some new year feel good thing. After all, I was on the resolutions treadmill for years ... getting all psyched up before the year end, making an impossible list of goals ... only to forget them by the end of Jan.

That said, I do want to see some changes in my life. Making a list of lofty goals didn't work but perhaps tackling small changes on a daily, consistent basis is what I needed to see these changes established in me. 

Which is where this book comes in. It's a simple one. Leo outlines 52 changes you can make in 52 weeks. He breaks down the changes into small achievable steps that you can practise and create the change in you.

Some of the changes tackled are:
#2: Unprocrastinate
#7: Most Important Things (MITs)
#12: Pay a small debt
#22: Let go of a vice

And some fun ones like
#11: Floss
#16: Eat some veggies

You don't have to do all 52 changes - just the ones that resonate or go create your own. So I thought, why not? Let's experiment and see if I can make a simple change and more importantly, make it stick.

I didn't have to go very far into the book. Unprocrastinating was my first pick. I am so easily distracted by all sorts of "busy" yet unproductive work that I often delay doing what I need to do till late at night or the next day. I know if I don't procrastinate, the payoff will be huge. That seemed like motivation enough.