The DIYZ app: A Kind and Confident Guiding Hand

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with the DIYZ® app. As always, all opinions of apps and companies that help me complete DIY projects are my own.

In the past, if I needed to do a home repair, I would turn to my grandfather for the how-to on any DIY issues I may have run into. Unfortunately, my grandfather has now passed away and I can no longer turn to him for DIY advice.

And there is a saying,

“If they don’t find you handsome, at least they can find you handy.”

Well, the truth is, I’m much more handsome than I am handy, so I still need a steady and confident guiding hand when I try to DIY. I don’t mean someone who will grab the tools out of my hand, but someone who will offer a kind word of advice or demonstrate a technique who is then willing to step back, hand me the tools, and let my DIY skills develop.

I decided that since May is National Home Improvement Month, I would complete a DIY project that I’ve been putting off for quite a while – replacing the stainless steel sink in my kitchen.

Since my grandfather is no longer available as a mentor for developing my DIY skills, what’s the next best thing? Well, I figured there’s probably an app that could guide me through my DIY project. And there is!

It is the free DIYZ app.

The DIYZ app is free from the Apple App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android and for a limited time, the video-chat feature is also FREE!

The DIYZ app features a large library of DIY projects – providing DIYers of all skill levels with step-by-step guides and segmented videos to tackle home improvement projects – even the installation of a stainless steel sink.

Yes, segmented videos. This is brilliant because when your hands are covered in grim, gunk or glue, you don’t want to have to fumble around to pause or rewind a tutorial. Pure brilliance.

Also, if you find yourself getting in over your head and you want (need?) a kind, non-judgmental word of advice, the DIYZ app allows users to speak directly with a Pro Advisor at the touch of a button via the video-chat feature.

However, users also have the option to disable video if they feel more comfortable. You can engage with a Pro Advisor over the phone, or send them photos in real-time, which the advisors can send back with their added notes or helpful hints to help keep your projects moving along.

#DIYZGuys

And similar to my grandfather, the DIYZ App can recommend the proper tools and materials to complete each project.

Seeing as I can no longer just borrow tools from my grandfather, I appreciate how the DIYZ app provides the option to easily purchase tools or additional materials directly in the app via Amazon.

Of course, perhaps the most important benefit of doing your own home repair, other than the feeling of empowerment you get from being able to do things yourself, is the savings you get from doing your own home improvement.

The DIYZ app demonstrates the value of rolling up your sleeves by comparing the cost to do-it-yourself, versus hiring a professional. And if you can save money by doing something yourself, with the support of a thoroughly vetted and experienced professional, why not?!

So I dove in, with the help of the step-by-step instructions provided in the DIYZ app and did it – I successfully replaced the stainless steel sink!

#DIYZGuys

Of course the first step, a step even I knew to do, was to shut off the water, disconnected the water supply tubes and then disconnect the drain.

#DIYZGuys

As I continued through the steps, once I got to step four I was grateful to be able to watch the short video of how to find the clips and screws that hold the sink in place. That made it easier when I when I climbed under our sink.

Once the sink was out, I then cleaned up the edge of the countertop where the old sink had been. I prepped the sink and counter for installation with the caulking.

I tend to hurry things along more than I should, so the reminder to use painter’s tape around the opening was a helpful tip and kept me from making a mess. Being proactive and eliminating the need for a major clean up later is the smarter way to work – a helpful reminder from the #DIYZGuys.

#DIYZGuys

Lower the sink into place, apply the little clips (supplied with the sink) to tighten the sink into place, wipe up any caulking that oozed out from the line between the sink and the countertop and, there I was, with a new sink in place!

Honestly, the clear and concise instructions outlined for each step on the DIYZ app – in a font even I can read – along with the short instructional videos for each step of the process, made my DIY project a snap.

Best of all, everyone is happy in our home, because we have a new, leak-free kitchen sink installed.

#liveyourbestlife; If You Can

Have you heard of the CBC Radio One show called “This Is That“? It is a radio show similar to the blog called The Onion. It is a satire.

An example from the show is when they “interviewed” an employee from Canadian border services who was going to teach border guards to be friendlier. Except that during the interview the guy who was going to do the training became increasingly aggressive with the interviewer. The Beaverton does a similar thing. Great entertainment. But you have to keep in mind that it is entertainment. Not news.

In the last little while I was listening to CBC radio and I heard a guest talking about people using the hashtag #liveyourbestlife. While I was listening all I could think was that I was suddenly listening to an encore edition of “This Is That”.

Anyway, apparently this #liveyourbestlife is a thing that yoga people use.

For example, someone will post a picture on Instagram of their perfectly toasted artisan bread with a perfectly ripe avocado perfectly sliced and perfectly spread across that precious piece of toast. And they’ll add the hashtag #liveyourbestlife

This is a thing. Huh.

The funny thing about what I heard from the guest on the radio was that the term ” live your best life” was beginning to make her uncomfortable. It was making her question her life!

Remember what I said about the show called “This Is That”? Seriously, I assumed I was listening to an episode of that show. But I wasn’t. She was for real.

She said that there is a backlash against saying or using the term “live your best life” because it was making people unhappy. She said how when she heard that phrase or read it online she would begin to question her life and the choices and she had made. She wondered if in fact she actually was “living her best life”.

What? Seriously, was she concerned that she wasn’t getting fair trade organic avocados for her precious toast?

Her comments stuck with me and made me think; did she have the same reaction when people told her to have a nice day? Did she question if she was actually having a nice day? Does the term “have a nice day” make her question her choices from the day?

Did she have the same reaction when people would say “take care”? Did she question how much care she was taking?

Seriously, get over it. Stop the over analyzing? Do your yoga. Eat your precious avocado toast. And accept the encouragement from people to be your best and do your best. This is not that so feel free to #liveyourbestlife

Vlog #8; Beautyrest Sleeptracker

My eighth vlog entry with some of that fancy editing like my friend Michael over on Beyond the Rhetoric does.

In this vlog post I discuss my favourite pastime – SLEEP – and how the Beautyrest Sleeptracker is making me more aware of the factors that influence my sleep.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign, but my opinions about my sleep, my wife being a princess (or not) and the efficacy of the Beautyrest Sleeptracker are all my own.

I Sleep To Be The Best Family Man I Can Be

Some people say that, “Not all that gets measured matters. However, “sleep” is something that can be measured and trust me, sleep really does matter.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

It was not until I had children that I realized how important it was to “measure” and “manage” my sleep and my sleep habits.

In the first two years of my children’s lives I was so sleep deprived that there were times I had to pull off the road and sleep for a few minutes in my car. I was so sleep deprived that I saw meetings and sporting events as opportunities to sleep.

My sleeping in staff meetings got so out of control that my colleagues held a vote while I was sleeping and elected me chair of the meetings; and trust me, being chair of the meetings is an “honor” nobody wants.

I was so sleep deprived that I didn’t even wake up when they changed the constitution of our organization so that I was elected chair for two years without a break.

After getting elected chair of the staff meetings I began to realize just how bad my sleep “hygiene” had become and I was reminded of Peter Drucker’s words, “What gets measured gets managed.”

Now that I am chair of the meetings I sleep to be alert and in control of myself and the meetings I attend – and chair. I sleep to be the best person I can possibly be for my work and perhaps more importantly, for when I am at home with my family.

Although my work is very important to me, the really important part of my life is my family: my wife, my children and my mother and my sister are my inspiration to be the best person I can be. And now I sleep to be best person I can be and to do that, I need to better manage my sleep.

To be brutally honest with myself, when I do not get a good night’s sleep, I am not a pleasant person to be around. I am snippy and … well, unpleasant.

So what can I do to manage myself better? Like other parts of life, I can now use technology to measure and manage my sleep.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

I recently received a Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor which has a powerful processor, highly accurate sensors, and an intuitive app that has integrated seamlessly with my bed – leaving my arms free of any gadgets so I can sleep in comfort while the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitors my heart rate and respiration rate to share a minute-by-minute snapshot of my time in deep sleep, light sleep and R.E.M. sleep.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

Beautyrest Sleeptracker generates data, personalized coaching tips and the individual sleep score for up to two people simultaneously, based on a variety of key sleep metrics – including sleep efficiency, progress toward sleep goals, how long it takes to fall asleep, how long users spend in each sleep cycle and how many times they were awake throughout the night.

Remember Peter Drucker’s words, “What gets measured gets managed.”

To that end the user-friendly app translates precise data into smart, actionable coaching tips designed to help you unlock a better night’s sleep and a more productive next day.

I am very much looking forward to seeing how my attitude during my “awake” hours change as I learn more about my sleep patterns from the data provided by the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor. Because as I said, #ISleepTo be the best person I can be for my family, and so that I can be the best chair my staff has ever had!!

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign, but my opinions on my sleep and the Beautyrest Sleeptracker are entirely my own.

Dr Ian Stirling on Polar Bears and Climate Change

Seeing as I live a pretty wild and crazy life, especially on the weekends, I decided to attend a lecture hosted by The Vancouver Institute that featured by Dr Ian Stirling speaking on the topic of polar bears and how climate change is impacting them.

polar bears

Dr Ian Stirling has been studying polar bears for 50 years and he knows his topic very well. He speaks in an easy to understand and very frank manner about polar bears and how climate change is impacting them.

It was interesting to note that most of the people in the UBC lecture hall had hair as white as polar bears. However, Dr Stirling did not see that as a “problem”. In fact, he emphasized that while elementary school age children are very powerful agents of change, he added in that the more elderly members of society can also play an important role in “saving the world for polar bears”.

Elderly members of society are better able to meet with politicians and bureaucrats and the people who make the policies that may save the polar ice caps and the polar bears.

Elderly members of society can make investment choices, choose what types of cars they drive, how often they drive, and they can control the thermostat in their homes. Dr Stirling said that as a matter of principle he keeps the thermostat set at 17 degrees in his home and if anyone is cold in the house, they are told to put on a sweater. Or another sweater. He said we all have small things we can do to slow climate change.

polar bears

As for elementary school age children – Dr Ian Stirling said that they get the problem – the polar ice around the Arctic is melting which means that polar bear habitat is shrinking. Very quickly.

In the last 30 years the polar ice around the Arctic shrunk from something like 8 million square kilometres to just under 4 million. It has shrunk by more than half in less than 30 years.

And kids get it; if there is less polar ice, there is less habitat for polar bears. And when kids get it, from a very early age they begin making changes and questioning the way that things are done. They are the future agents of change and disruptors of the status quo.

After Dr Stirling’s lecture and incredible slide show of images of polar bears, there was a question and answer session. He was asked if “polar bear tourism” is having a net positive or negative impact on polar bears.

He openly admitted that he does some work in the polar bear tourism field but he did say that all things considered, people coming to view polar bears is a positive because of the awareness that it brings to more people. He feels that the more people who are aware of the plight of the polar bears, the more people who will be advocates for slowing climate change.

The primary difficulty that polar bears are having is that they hunt ring seals from the polar ice. As I said above, the less polar ice there is, the less hunting grounds for polar bears. As a result, some polar bears have been exploring new food sources and one of those new food sources is the community of Churchill, Manitoba.

With the growing numbers of polar bears coming into Churchill, the conservation officers were having to shoot and kill the bears. They quickly realized this was not the way to handle the situation.

So now, rather than shooting and killing the bears, they are now being kept for months without being fed, in an old decommissioned Canadian Armed Forces base.

Huh? Yes! Polar bears do not need to eat for months on end (they can live for months and months off the fat that they build on their bodies) so they are kept, without being fed, in an enclosure on the decommissioned military base.

As the bears get to the point where they are going to need to eat to replenish their fatty layer, they are taken from the enclosure and transported further north.

This new system of “handling” polar bears that are coming into contact with humans in Churchill has reduced the number of polar bears being shot in Churchill from 30 down to one or two a year.

At the end of the lecture Dr Ian Stirling did emphasize that although it is getting quite late, there really is time to change the path that humans have taken the natural environment on.

Our choices do matter.