Konmari.

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I am obsessed with the Konmari method and I've seen great results so far by following the book. One thing I've been working on within myself for awhile now is organization. Being a tidy person has always been a struggle for me. I think it was more rebellion when I was growing up and living at home. The rest of the house was put away but when it came to my room, that was my identity, my own little world that I could leave how I wanted so I usually opted for untidy. When I moved out this continued and I was too busy being my twenty-something self going to school full-time and work full-time so my car and home were filled with papers, water bottles, etc. When I had free time I was out partying, not tidying up my spot, no way!

Raul and I started dating and then that trumped everything as well, I am a clean person, don't get me wrong. The clutter piles would just always come back because I didn't want to make the decisions and actually deal with the item. I either left it for later or kept it stored for whatever reason. Now fast forward to two kids later and wanting to time manage, I don't want to spend my time reconciling piles of any kind. The worst thing ever is to have the weekend arrive and we are spending the whole weekend cleaning up the house from top to bottom. No thanks.

I highly recommend getting the Konmari book and following the steps if you have come to a point where you just have too much stuff and you need to know how to pare it down. It's a journey but you see quick results. Marie Kondo sets the expectation of 6 months but it doesn't take long at all to feel a difference.

Let me know your thoughts and if you have the same struggles too.

Organization Tips Part 2

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IMG_1142

Hey there.  Time for Part 2 of my lessons learned organization tips.

  • Mail Station – We used to have a pile of mail and that turned into a pile of mail for me and another pile for my husband.  Then if we weren’t able to get through our little piles and we picked up more mail, there was another unsorted pile for each of us.  It was a mess.  So I bought this vertical file from the Container Store and we have the following folders:
    • Incoming – rarely use but it comes in handy when there is a stray pile and you just want to get it off the counter
    • Outgoing – rare again, I like to act on whatever needs to go out as soon as I get it.  Or it gets taken directly to the car or my purse so I have it on me to mail when I’m out and about.  We only have one place that needs a check, everything else is auto-pay baby!
    • Stamps/Labels – lifesaver, they are all in one place and easy to find
    • One folder for each of us, even the kiddo - perfect so we each handle our own mail.  Addy's wellness check paperwork and other things go in there and then we go through the folder together.
    • To File - Remnants of our mail that needs to be filed and we don't have time right that second.  Usually I just like to put those items where they need to go so it doesn't pile up at all.  I am a pile killer in training.
    • To Pay - rare again, just use this as a home just in case.
  • “Everything is impossible until it is done” – Nelson Mandela. - This is my favorite quote at the moment.  I am turning into a project manager extraordinaire and I am tackling everything as such.  One of the things I hate is working all week and then cleaning up all weekend.  No thank you.  So everything is tackled in bite size chunks and manageable pieces.  If I have a free moment to clear out the sink of dishes and put away the clean ones, just take the time out and do it.  If I keep this up through out the week, when it is time for the weekend it is 85% chill time and that is key to recharge and get some rest.
  • Meal Plan first, grocery shop second - Both of us don’t like the “What’s for dinner?” question so we figure it out ahead of time and go from there during the week.  Salmon is a given so one day is taken care of, we have a Trader Joe’s (yes!) and we’ll get frozen meatballs, marinara and angel hair pasta for another easy meal. So on and so on.  Has worked wonders.

I have an iPhone and I am a sucker for a good app.

  • Mint is AMAZING.  I tried the budget method of different folders and loads of cash, didn’t work.  But this app is the best, you just plug in your accounts and set up budgets.  Then you maintain categories for everything, it lines up with your budgets and you can let this beautiful interface show you trends, savings, etc.  It is wonderful!
  • Wunderlist – I can make my own lists, which I only do right on the fly, like a mall trip or an art store trip when I inevitably forgot to buy Cerulean blue watercolor paint.  Always happens.  Or you can make team lists where 2 or more people can read/write to a list.  We use it for grocery shopping so we can “watch” the other person shop and quickly add something to the list we might have forgotten.  It’s so futuristic, love it.

Organization Tips Part 1

I've mentioned before that organizing doesn't come easy to me.  It is not natural, always a work in progress over here.  This is a little long so I broke it into two parts.  I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

  • Put it back – I’m getting better about having a place for everything and when I’m done, I put it back.
  • Like with Like – I am grouping things together like a mad woman.  All hair stuff in one drawer.  All lotions, body butters and bath stuff in another drawer, etc.  All baking stuff in one drawer, all of the rare cooking utensils in one drawer and so on. This makes such a difference in efficiency for me and other helpers in the kitchen that aren’t even familiar with ours.
  • Using lazy susans in the cupboards for spices and alphabetizing them.  Could sound crazy to some but it helps a. lot.
  • Clearing off and wiping down the bathroom counters every night
  • Having as much as you can containerized.  In my purse and extra bag I have all of my on the go art supplies in a zip pouch, on the go beauty items in a zip pouch, etc.  Pouches are perfect for grabbing and taking to meetings, love.  In my extra bag I carry another zip pouch (I know) with more beauty stuff, my sketchbook, iPad, agenda etc.
  • Mani/PediBox- I use a hobby box from the Container Store that is actually for crafts but works perfectly for everything needed when painting your toesies.

What works for you?  Let me know, I could talk about this stuff all day.

Girl Crush - Kate Spade.

Kate Spade Rose Agenda 2014

Kate Spade Rose Agenda 2014

In my ongoing quest for getting everything in order, I bought an agenda.  A real, tangible, velvety separators, college ruled and beautiful script filled rose Kate Spade 2014 planner.  It took me a good 20 minutes before I could write in it.  I was frozen just like I am with sketchbooks.

So so pretty.  I have resolved to have one spot for all of my plans, to dos, thoughts, "mind flies", etc and this is it.  I tried the digital thing and it only took me so far but I can already tell that this planner routine looks promising.  Before I made the plunge I researched how to even use one and I found this excellent article which was originally about kids using planners but then there was a link that gave some back story/help so us adults can get familiar with the idea first.

Man, it is just so pretty.  My girlie side is showing.

It's all a blur.

Hi, it has been forever and a day.  November and December are both a blur.  January is time to sit down and take in everything that happened.  The trip to Vancouver was so much fun!  I miss Tom Horton's Gingerbread White Hot Chocolate and how everything was covered in moss.  I have a new realization about how much I love the sun.  We were there for seven days and for six of them there was no sun.  Just clouds and me getting frustrated with getting the correct exposure so I could really capture the trip.  But then I got some perspective and just enjoyed the company and cherished the memories in my mind.  I'm working on my photography workflow + Lightroom so I'll have some Vancouver trip photos up soon.  My little 19-month-old girl has a site of her photos over here.

2013 was a good year overall, can't complain much.  My main goal was to get better with organization and I think I accomplished it.  I learned that organization has a learning curve and I had to just stop and think about how I want to spend my time.  Major things that have been working for us is having a mail center in the kitchen.  It's a vertical filing bin that has a folder for each of us and our mail gets sorted and put in the folders so they stick out.  Then we know those items are unread.  We both handle our own mail and any junk is immediately shredded/tossed.

Next was finishing up organizing the kitchen.  Last year on New Year's Eve, I was organizing the pantry.  I couldn't stand it a second longer so I took everything out, put it in piles of baking, grains, snacks, etc and piled it all back in...neatly.  For the most part we have maintained it so I'm pretty proud about that.  So over the year we kept putting like with like.  IE. The drawer on the left of the stove is all baking utensils.  The bowls and pans are in the lazy susan to the lower left.  All of the tea, coffee and baking cocoa stuff is in the upper left cupboard above the stove, etc.  This has helped out with cooking and baking SO much.  No more sifting through a drawer full of cooking utensils.  At least we have a starting point now, which I love.

For this year my goals are the following:

  • to focus - less time shopping, window shopping, etc and more time focusing on true goals and relationships
  • photograph - shoot but commit more to taking photos and culling them - be cutthroat
  • food - even better choices, eat out less and cook more
  • fitness - even more exercise, amp it up
  • fun - I think the ratio of work to play was a little higher with work last year and this year I want to have more fun.  Be it with reading, exploring, traveling, etc

Lots of goals but why not?  For focus, I am starting today with focusing on hand lettering.  The word on Illustration Friday was "reflect" so I used that.

I'm excited for this year, I am every year.  What are your plans for this year versus last year?

Day O' Love

day o' love

I'm early. :) But I wanted to put up a little something for the occasion. Over the years I've changed my point of view on Valentine's Day and have learned to embrace it. It's a cute reminder to do what you should be doing all year long. Showing love. Be it for your hubby, pooch, parents, products, etc.

Here are some things I am loving right now:

Time to work out. It's time for myself and I cherish it.

Essie Nail Products - To Dry For top coat and Sole Mate nail polish. The toes are looking cute in this deep and dark wine color.

Project Runway - I love to watch the designers work

Pepperclipp - I love this girl's photography. She's only 20 years old. Amazing.

So show some love and add your faves to the list, whatever you love, share.

I'm desperately out of the loop.

Be Still

steam

Completely random list because my life is full of some sort of crazy lately.

  1. Car broke down on my first day of work.
  2. Thankfully it broke down when I stopped at the store after work.
  3. I got my car back the next day. All it needed was a super duper jump. Ugh, my car.
  4. Invitation proofs are approved.
  5. Dinner is chosen.
  6. Flowers are chosen.
  7. Keeping up with the workouts, trying and reaching my goal of four times a week.
  8. Getting adjusted to a new job that has a lot of information. I'm taking it all in, and it can get crazy. But I'm happy.

The best times of the day right now are when I take a little break here and there to have some quiet time reading my book. Now is one of those times.

Goodnight

*total stranger waiting just like us at the Original Pancake House

13 Things

13 things

1. I am the youngest and only girl out of three kids. My brothers and I (all seven years apart) have the same dad, my parents have been married over 25 years.

2. When I was little, I rode my PowderPuff bike around the bullnose tile of our pool, fell in, and my dad swam in to save me. I swam away and kicked him because I believed my friend who said sharks were in the pool. That's the first time I swam by myself.

3. I have weird food things. ex. I like cheese on pizza and some fondue, but block of cheese appetizers or a slice of cheese for a snack? Blech.

4. My amount of "beauty marks" are increasing by the hour. Thank you Grandmas on both sides.

5. I have two birthmarks, one is a heart on my inner elbow (is that right?) and one on my thigh that's the shape of California.

6. I'm from California.

7. I have an obsession with shoes but I don't like feet. So don't act like you're going to touch me with your bare feet, I'll run.

8. I used to be so jealous of people who wear glasses or braces. Double the jealousy if you had both.

9. I wish I could wear a ring on my middle finger but apparently they are too big, nothing fits. I love that look.

10. I can't go on rollercoasters, they scare me to death. Maybe it's the sensation of being dropped. Not cool.

11. I love accents. Not a surprise that the fiance has a rockin' Colombian one.

12. Techno geek is a good name for me. I love the latest and greatest techno stuff. Almost time for a new cell phone, hopefully.

13. My favorite foods are seafood, pizza, hamburgers, ice cream and chocolate.

*pic from Fuddruckers. Their burgers are so good. Expensive, but good.

Dessert Menu? Yes please!

pink and green

I think it's time for a list. If you know me at all in person, online, whatever, you know that I love sweets. My sweet tooth is sick and I have something with a touch of sugar every day.

So anyway, on to the list of my favorites and what I think you must try.

  1. Molten Lava Chocolate Cake, Chili's - This is to die for. I'm sure you have heard that expression before but seriously, the fiance and I roll our eyes to the back of our heads over this dessert. One time I was so greedy I said I could handle the dessert by myself, just once. I couldn't but it was fun trying.
  2. Creme Brulee, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - The menu is out of control at this restaurant. Be ready to spend some cash but we went there for a very special birthday. At the end of the meal I couldn't say no to the dessert menu and the creme brulee was chosen. This is melt in your mouth goodness with real vanilla bean and fresh fruit on top. Mm mm mm.
  3. Sweet Potato Pecan Pie, Pappadeaux - The trick to making this even better is to ask for it heated with a scoop of ice cream on top. Decadent!
  4. Fruit Tart Cake, Whole Foods - I just made up the name right now, maybe I'm right. I think it's a cross between a fruit tart and a cake. If you love cream cheese, fruit tarts and vanilla cake you will love this. It's a favorite for birthdays, quickly becoming a tradition with the family.
  5. Rookie Magic, Red Robin - Oreo cookie milkshake from heaven, with an Oreo on top. Need I say more?

Get crackin' on this list and work out shortly after. ;) Have anything to add? Do tell.