Monday, February 27, 2017

clean: squeaky clean

Let me hear it for the hardworking girls out there trying to keep the dust off furniture and floors clean.  Now let's cheer for the hardworking moms out there still able to find clean dishes and clothes every day. God bless you.

So with two heavy work weeks and two free weekends, I made two simple goals: clean the house and get the yard back in order after these California rains. This glamorous lifestyle isn't for everyone, but I like doing it myself because only I can do it really well. Sound familiar? 

This blog post should really finish right here because writing about cleaning toilets and raking the backyard doesn't make for creative writing. But since I promised to share my progress report while writing here on the blog, this is a great opportunity to pull together my favorite quick (surface) cleaning solutions.
  • Washing bath towels: I have to do this technique at least once a month and it miraculously takes away that wet smell deep in the towel. Here's how to do it.
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads: From my glass shower door to the kitchen sink to the scuffs on the floor, this cleaning tool is truly magic. I buy this stuff in bulk. (Coupon Closet has more ideas)
  • Wool Duster : Surface cleaning is all I need to feel like a new person. Every household must have one to dust of the wine bottles, er, picture frames.
  • Scotch-Brite FurFighter Hair Remover Kit: We have our precious Lola and she is really good at shedding. Instead of vacuuming the couches, this tool quickly picks up the cat hair from couches, beds and pillows.
The rest is just dusting, sweeping, vacuuming and throwing stuff in a drawer. And it feels good starting the day with shining floors and a clean front porch. How do you keep your house under control when busy? 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

craft: free "admit one" printable

One of my most requested Etsy orders isn't actually an item that I have listed on the site. It's from a previous post and very popular Pinterest pin with this image:

The requests are always for the small 4 inch by 4 inch painted burlap sign that can be placed inside the shadowbox. It's super easy to make and not a problem to quickly get an order out in a few days. But wouldn't it be so much cooler if you could just do it right now ...
As a special treat for my readers, I created these simple downloads to print and place inside your own shadowbox so that you can organize your movie/concert/festival tickets. Go ahead and copy to a Word document and adjust based on your needed size!


Need a shadowbox to finish this DIY project? Here are some options that you can quickly order today on Amazon.


Monday, February 13, 2017

goals: book nerd

Now it just sounds like I'm repeating myself. My February week 2 goal isn't much different than my January week 3 goal but goodness, I had to finish this book as it was taking me too long to read from cover to cover! And as a little treat, I've listed my favorite titles below ... in case you're looking for something good to read!

Clearly, I have book types and maybe this encourages you to try something new! Let me know if you love or hate or feel lukewarm about any of the above suggestions, and please share your favorite titles with me below in the comments!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

craft: sweet valentines treats for coworkers

As a crafter, people are always surprised when you don't get all crazy craft lady when a holiday rolls around. I forget to decorate for St. Patrick's day and it's the third of July before I remember to change out my front door wreath. It might have something to do with the other non-holiday crafts that we prioritize that by the time Valentine's day candy shows up at the grocery store, the energy is gone.

Not this year.

Let's start with Valentine's day and focus on my coworkers. I created something cheesy and super easy (read: inexpensive), and did it all in less than 2 hours. I found the below statement (enter cheesy)  and created a Word document template to cut and glue on cardstock (enter easy). With leftover cardstock scraps (enter inexpensive) and one bag of REESE'S Valentine's Exchange Peanut Butter Conversation Cups, 14.8 Ounce (in single medium packaging), I developed the below template at 9 1/2" tall and 2 1/2" wide.

My template creates 10 tags that can be glued on the cardstock. Simply fold the cardstock in the two locations that you see above, and place the Reese's peanut butter cup in the center.

Simply line up the top of the two sides of the cardstock and place the peanut butter cup in the center, and staple to connect your cute little package together.

The staple is kind of ugly; cover it up with washi tape (I know you have like 5 rolls hanging around) or some other sticker.

Sweet little Valentine's Day treats for my coworkers!

Making these Valentine's treats and small cards to send my besties around the country was my goal this week. Downtime while watching the Super Bowl was key to getting this done, but I searched Pinterest during the week looking for cute sayings (Reese-ently is adorable, admit it!). I'll finish off the game writing sweet love notes to my friends and have these in the mail this week.

Need other Valentine's day inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to Valentine's day decoration, gifts and free templates! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

goals: january wrap-up

A little silly? Perhaps. But this has been an ongoing issue for years. I start the day with the best intentions - a great lip color that makes me look put together, confident, trendy. But then a cup of coffee, a few phone calls and meetings, lunch, more phone calls and meetings. The day is over and not one effort to reapply my lipstick. The result is a bag full of lip color that vary in shade and texture. So this week, I made an effort to reapply before meetings, after lunch and afternoon coffee. I can't say that I'm a changed woman, but I'm trying to make the effort now and therefore, improving the habit. And I'm kinda cute with a little color on my lip.

My new favorite easy lip color? Answer: Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Poppy (with SPF 15). And a lot of Chapstick Lip Balm Spf 4, Cherry - 0.15 Oz (Cherry of course) to keep these babies smooth in the cold conditions.

Monday, January 23, 2017

goals: 2017

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions. I work out year round and eat fairly healthy most of the time, and I'm already obnoxiously organized so why force the label maker to work overtime. I like my job and the amount of time I commit to my friends and self, and when I really want to do something, I just figure out how to do it - no timeline needed.

So for 2017, I'm taking a bite size approach to the resolution game by committing to a goal every week and fulfilling a bigger goal of writing more often by posting my progress here. And in the process of making more small goals, I hope to establish lasting habits (an approach my friend KBD takes with her simple resolutions). 

I'm a little late to the game so I'll catch up now in the hopes that I can inspire you as well.

I know, it's kind of silly to give yourself a goal that you're going to take on anyway, but it's not easy going back to work after a nice break and that Christmas tree still staring at you. Plus, it's rewarding to purge unused holiday decorations, give away lights that were barely working (someone said they would fix them, power to you brother!), and getting your furniture back into place. I just wish the neighbor with the lights still framing his house would take on a similar goal.

Networking is important all of the time, but we often don't think about it until we really need it - we lose a job, we're interviewing for a new one or someone asks at the wrong time! Leaving a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague is the modern day "dropping a nice note" that ultimately brings good results. I committed to write at least one recommendation every day this week and hope to continue this little habit all year!

Reading is my favorite pastime while commuting in and out of the city. I have recently been so distracted and my current book was not initially peaking my interest! So this was the week that I buckled down and read through The Fortune Hunter: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin (it turned out to be a great ending!). And while watching the New England Patriots win the AFC championship, I finally finished and am ready to start Love Warrior (Oprah's Book Club): A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton.

What are your 2017 goals?

Monday, January 9, 2017

home: start cleaning with these resources

I wrote a blog post nearly (gulp) five years ago with recommendations on how to clear the cutter and start the new year with a clean house and conscience - old paint, clothes, electronics. Over the years, new groups and sites have popped up to help you de-clutter and some actually add a few dollars to your vacation fund. Here are a few additional favorites:

I’m a member of local Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups and if you’re hoping to unload quality clothes, kid supplies and furniture, this place is a playground. Each group has different rules but in summary, you post what you’re selling or giving away, offer it to the first person that comments, and you can coordinate a porch pick-up or drop off. Just like that, your house is already starting to shine and you're making some cash.

Besides sharing neighborhood watch style information, this is a great site to unload extra lemons from your tree, invite neighbors to a garage sale or give away furniture. You join your “neighborhood” as it’s set-up on the site and share as needed. 

I mentioned this free platform in my 2012 post but I still swear by it for big ticket or free items. We recently had our bathroom redone and the contractor left all of the remaining supplies. I posted them on Craigslist's free section and - GONE! I even gave away our team's gingerbread houses after the contest ... there is something for everyone out there!

Tried and true reseller of sports equipment! As a kid, my mom picked up supplies for us because you better believe she wasn't going to invest in equipment that we were going to dump in a week. We recently sold quality running clothes, ski equipment and tennis balls that were just sitting around. You know you've outgrown that 5 pound dumbbell.

If your clothes tend to be on the higher quality side and you don't want to deal with posting and coordinating pick-up, send them to Thred Up. I've only done this once but I was able to unload suits, trousers and button-up wovens in one bag. You sign-up online, request a postage-paid bag, and once you receive the bag from Thred Up, you send it back with your items. They then offer you a price per item for the clothes you sent in. Too easy not to try!

You've seen the commercials but have you tried it? We tried selling a surfboard on this site before the holiday without any bites. There aren't any disco balls (again, see the commercial), but plenty of gently used kids' clothes and toys. They do have an app and uploading pictures and content is super simple, so totally worth a try.

I recently signed-up for this service but don't see much activity in my area but plenty in the larger Bay Area. Users are selling everything from big ticket items - cars, furniture, tools - to teddy bears. It's a growing network and I'm curious if you have tried it; let me know in the comments.

Safety - the first thing my friends ask is if these "transactions" are safe. How can I let someone come to my porch and know where I live? That's why I feel safer using the Facebook group, Play it Again Sports and Craigslist. It's important to begin a dialogue with the buyer and use your gut - sometimes, I just don't follow-up because my gut tells me that this isn't the right person.

How are you purging in the new year?