Category Archives for General

A Resolution to Look Up

Building upon my blog from two weeks ago, I want to speak about resolutions. But not in the way you think. As I talked about last week, Be x Do = Have. We need to be certain ways, in order to do the things that we must to have what we want in life. So I want to speak more to self-reflection and resolving to be different.

I enjoy my seasonal issues of Magnolia Journal from Joanna and Chip Gaines. To be frank they are my idols. They are creative and humble and family oriented and funny and stylish and basically everything I want to be as a home and business organizer, but also as a person. Their magazine, Magnolia Journal “inspiration for life and home” is my favorite thing to read because it is not just about how to decorate your mantel or which shade of paint to choose. It is also not a self-help journal, it is a beautiful mix of articles, stories, how-to, recipes, and ideas. Enough with the advertising. This winter issue’s theme is Resolve. We often speak of resolutions this time of year but not the root of the word, RESOLVE, which is a synonym of determination. Determination is what we need to be and accomplish the things we want.

The issue speaks of resolving to be a better person, more positive, more festive, seeing the beauty in the rough, appreciating moment, etc.

One thing that most caught my eye and mind was Jo’s note it’s about time in which she says she challenged herself to live 2019 in the moment and developed the mantra “look up” to say to herself when she felt herself passing it by.

I believe that I am a person that has wonder and awe. I like to travel, see and experience things, and appreciate other people, cultures, architecture and lives.

Yet conversly, I also find that I do not live in the moment. I have a lot of worry and concern about what if. I have been told I am cautious and hesitant is all facets of my life. And only after having been injured and taken out of marathon running, have I realized that I did not fully appreciate the events and experiences I had. I barely remember what I saw while running through New York City with 40,000 other people, across the bridges and streets closed to traffic. I can tell you how I felt at certain junctures, that they played New York New York at the start, that I ran with an NYP squad who kept me on pace, and the feeling in my legs as I entered Central Park. But I don’t remember how the sun rose over the Verrazano bridge as we started, or seeing the skyline undisturbed from that bridge, or the character of each burrow we passed through. I remember even less about the Boston Marathon. I remember the start, Heartbreak Hill, and that beacon of light called the Citgo sign that meant I was almost done. I remember shaking and shivering at the end because it was freezing rain and having to hold a cup of coffee from a food truck while waiting for my sister to cross the finish. But I don’t remember the people braving the cold outside their homes to cheer us on or the fact that I ran downhill most of the way. I don’t remember who I ran next to or even if I met anyone new other than the people I traveled to the race with.

What I am saying is, sometimes I go through life looking forward to the end goal and worrying about the obstacles along with way, so much so that I don’t see what is in front of me. I have done that with my personal and professional life. If I self-reflect for a minute, I formally established my business a year ago, I really went out on a limb and left my place of employment 9 months ago, and I started getting business 4 months ago. The average new small business takes 2 years to become established. And my personal life is in a very different place, arguably more positive place, because of some of the professional and independent decisions I made this year. So I would say I am doing pretty darn good. My goals for 2020 will be higher and more defined than they were at the end of 2018 when I first started on this journey. And most importantly I have appreciation for the path I have taken and the obstacles and achievements that have come my way this year.

Therefore while I continue to consider my goals and resolutions in my personal and professional life, the one thing I want to be is someone who looks up. In the words of Joanna Gaines, “These are the days. These are the moments. This season, let’s look up and behold the beauty of the here and now.”

Be Do Have

This time of year is often a time of preparation. Whether you are a homemaker, business owner, employee, or combination of both you are probably beginning your preparation for the holidays, family visiting, winterizing, end of the year finances, last minute projects, deadlines, etc. With preparation, also comes reflection. Reflection of your accomplishments for the year, the goals you had, those that you achieved, those you surpassed, those your missed and then considering why.

In my monthly Business Owners Mastermind meeting this week, we started the conversation on end of the year preparations and reflection and came upon what I thought to be a very interesting topic that can be applied to personal or professional life. Jeff Miller, our faithful leader, business coach and owner of Jeff Miller Consulting, posed to us an exercise to consider this equation:

In order to solve this equation, we have to consider it from the answer backwards, just like Jeopardy. First we considered what we want to have, i.e. what are goals are as business owners. We mentioned things like:

  • Take 2 weeks vacation
  • Have time with family
  • Have time for ourselves (exercise, reading, learning, etc)
  • Own a second home (or in my case a 1st!)

Then we had to determine what we need to do in order to get there, most of which are obvious:

  • Make and schedule time (Time management)
  • Make more money
  • Have trusted employees
  • Set boundaries for clients/customers

Lastly, we were asked to think about what type of person we need to be in order to accomplish these tasks? This was the hardest part of the exercise because you can reflect on your goals all you want, but without seeing the true nature of how to achieve them, you will not get very far. So in order to do those things listed, to achieve the goals, we need to be:

  • Disciplined
  • Dedicated
  • Honest
  • Trustworthy
  • Determined

Because if you want to make time to exercise for example, you may need to get up earlier, before work, before the kids get on the bus, or after they go to sleep. If you want to take a two week vacation as a business owner, you need to train your employees to the best of your abilities, give them responsibility and confidence that they can take care of the company and your clients while you are gone, and trust them to do so. If you don’t think that is possible, then unfortunately you either 1) haven’t provided them with the tools or training to succeed 2) need to started delegating and trusting more or 3) you don’t have the right employees.

In the end however, it is about how you are a person and what you do that will bring you the things you want to have.

Looking Forwards not Backwards

My last post talked about prioritizing and getting your to do list done when you are feeling overworked, overwhelmed, drained, etc.  Well, I have felt all of those in the last two months. Having a combination of personal and family situations, as well as coming down with a cold that seemed to never go away and finally manifested as pneumonia, was a kick in the stomach.

While I tried to tackle my list and follow my own directions of at least accomplishing one thing at a time, things still fell to the wayside. I had to cancel work events I planned on going to, skip out of a few engagements with friends, take 5 weeks off of my physical training and scratch myself from two running races. I barely posted anything on my company social media pages and didn't write the blog last week I had planned to. I had to say goodbye to a family member I had not been as close to recently as I could have been. All of these missed opportunities for business and personal experiences had me feeling that I was squandering the things I had worked hard for. 

Then I picked up a Dove chocolate bite that said "Keep life moving forward, looking backward is only for time travelers." And it made sense. There wasn't anything I could do about the missed events or downtime from working out.  All I could do was appreciate knowing my body and mind has limits. Know that I gave as much of myself to my family when they needed me as I could, and know that I can continue do those things going forward. 

So that's my message for you. Don't harp on the things that you may not have done yesterday, the to-do tasks you didn't check off, the emails you didn't answer, the conversation you should or could have had with that friend or family member. For me personally, doing anything more would have dragged out my sickness and made me even less valuable to family, clients and myself as time went on.  Just do what you can, be proud of it, and do better tomorrow.  And if you need help with your home or business tasks, give me a call, I am feeling much better these days!

Extra Extra Read All About It

Local Rockville Maryland Realtor Mary Scroth included a brief Q&A with yours truly in her fall edition of  “Hungerford Real Estate & More” newsletter. We had a wonderful discussion the importance of organizing, quick tips, and my thoughts on Marie Kondo!  Check it out.

Featuring Fragrances in Your Home or Office

According to a Rockefeller University study performed in 2014, the human olfactory system can sense 1 trillion different smells1. That is a far cry from what you can find at Yankee Candle or Bath and Body Works.

Therefore it is no surprise that smells can have a strong influence on our psychology; most notably memory and emotions. With that in mind, surrounding your home or office, whether being staged for sale or for your own living comfort, with specific fragrances can have very positive results.

Here are some of the most common and pleasing smells, broken into different categories of their scent2, that you can incorporate into your life to stimulate a number of different emotions and feelings depending on your use.

Aromatic Herbs

  • Lavender - Calming and soothing. Reducing stress and increasing relaxation. Great for use in bubble baths, in a bedrooms before to assist with insomnia or relaxation.
  • Peppermint – Cooling and stimulating. Great for use with Epson salt baths for tires and sore muscles, for headaches and migraine. I have a smell stick of peppermint oil I keep with me to swipe across my forehead when I feel a migraine coming on. The smell and oil on my skin does wonders. Lastly peppermint can also be used for stimulating your mind to wake up and work in an office setting.
  • Chamomile – Calming and soothing effect for relaxation and sleep, often mixed with vanilla, lavender and other scents to emphasize this.

Citrus

  • Bergamot & Citrus fruit – zesty, bright, can boost your energy and increases your alertness. Often used in cleaning supplies and diffusers, citrus smells are great for conveying a clean fresh house. For an office, reception or common room setting Citrus scents would be ideal, not to strong, nostalgic or unpleasing to anyone.

Floral

  • Roses, jasmine, peony – sweet, perfumey, fragrant – Floral scents can boost your mood and brighten your day, but can sometimes smell too overwhelming to others.

Fruity 

  • Fruit scents are very much the same as floral. Sweet, tropical, nostalgic of places and foods we have experienced, but frequently too "sticky sweet" for some noses.

Greens

  • Lawns and grasses, - Australian research shows that the smell of cut grass can make people feel relaxed and joyful. These scents are again great for clean, bright spaces, both at home or at work.

Oriental

  • Cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom – The warm and sweet scents can be sensual, increasing both nostalgic memories, warmth in the body and soul, and passion.

Woods

  • Birchwood, cedar, pine, sandalwood, amber – Festive and forests aromas often reduces stress. depression and anxiety, by reminding us of winter activities and being outside in nature.

Dry Woody

  • Oak moss, leather, smoked wood, musk – The scents can be described as woody as the name implies, rich, earthy and sensual. Often connected more to the masculine, stimulating a sense of smoldering and beneficial for romantic endeavors. However they can also be fragrances people love or hate, often never indifferent of. So this category can be a little tricky.

If you are looking for inviting, homey smells for use in staging, house warming, or entertaining, you can't go wrong with your sugaed vanilla /cupcakes/cookies/pies scents. Those always bring a sense of nostalgia and make people think you are baking cookies! What more could you ask for? Of course if there is something specific, like the smell of cinnamon apple pie that brings back warm memories of your childhood, you should absolutely work that into your space as well!

I hope this has brought you some new ideas or helped you decide on something you were thinking of! There are plenty of ways you can incorporate these smells, whether purchasing a candle, using essential oils in a diffuser, making your own candles and diffusers, or boiling fresh peels and herbs on your the way my mom used to on our wood burning stove in the winter. Happy smelling!

http://vosshall.rockefeller.edu/assets/file/BushdidScience2014.pdf

http://www.fragrancesoftheworld.com/FragranceWheel

Incorporating Amethysts into Your Life

When speaking of the ideals of functionality, balance and peace of mind that I hope to offer clients, customers, friends and family it is hard to leave out some of my own personal habits.

According to crystal healing theories, Amethyst has the powers to help cure: physical ailments of the nervous system, emotional issues, insomnia and nightmares. Amethysts are also used in Chakra balancing therapy providing purifying, healing, and protective energies to help clear, open, and balance the Crown chakra.

So, what does this all mean for you and me and interior decor and style? 

For myself, I have taken an interest in amethysts and have incorporated them into my home and lifestyle. Most days, I wear an amethyst pendant around my neck. I now have two and a pair of earrings.  Sometimes I wear them more for style than for balance, but when I am feeling especially anxious, worried or having a bad day, I will wear my pendants to clean the negative energy away and keep my feeling balanced.



In my home, as well as my father's and mother's, I have placed small amethyst stones in the corners of the house an a large cluster on my office desk. The purpose of these stones are to provide protective energies throughout the home and stress relief from the work day. Additionally, because I sometimes have problems falling and staying asleep, there is a stone by my bed.  I recently gave a friend a nice uncut stone to hang in his room to over him some healing energy from his mental and physical ailments as well.  Can I prove these things work? No of course not.  But does it hurt to try to add some balance, purifying energy, and peace to your daily life, not at all.

If you would like to learn more about how to use crystals in your home, browse around the internet, visit your local crystal shop, or check out your library.  But be sure to read about how to energize and cleanse your crystals.

Its Time for a Change

According to a 2010 National Sleep Foundation study, fresh sheets have a positive impact on our sleep. This study found that 78% of Americans are more excited to go to sleep and 73% reported a more comfortable night’s sleep when fresh sheets are on the bed. Furthermore, the study found that 7 in 10 people who made their bed almost every day reported a better night's sleep as well!  Did you know the average American owns 3.4 sets of sheets for their own bed and reportedly swaps them every other week?1

The owners and founders of Brooklinen, a relatively new online seller of quality and inexpensive sheets recommends replacing your sheets every 2 to 3 years.  While the owners of luxury brand Vero Linens believe that luxury linens can last up to 12 years. Whether you believe one or the other, the fact is that the quality and care of your sheets has an effect on their lifespan.

Here are some key factors that will impact the life span of your bed linens:

  • Bed Sheets made with low grades of cotton will wear out quicker.
  • Exposure to high temperatures wil cause fiber breakage.
  • Stubble from shaved hair scrubs against sheets causing premature wearing.
  • Harsh chemical detergents and brighteners will lower the life span of sheets.
  • Heavier people and restless sleepers induce more friction and wear on sheets shortening the lifespan.2

So just think to yourself, how many pairs of sheets do you own?  How often do you wash them? How old are they? Do they feel worn out, pilled or rough? If you don't know the answers, you may want to start reconsidering your sleeping patterns.

I personally tested this theory and found that I had a wonderful night's sleep after changing my sheets for a fresh set! And another source close to me states that he too had a good night's rest after fitting his bed with brand new sheets and making the bed "properly". So the results are in! Why don't you try changing yours out tonight and let me know how you feel tomorrow! Sweet dreams!

1   https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sites/default/files/inline-files/NSF_Bedroom_Poll_Report.pdf

https://www.verolinens.com/how-long-do-bed-sheets-last/

 

 

My Journey into Home Organizing, Staging and Redesign

​One of the things I have been asked frequently as of late is how I got into this business.  While a lot of this information can be found on the About page, I thought I would give everyone a little bit of my back story, pull all of my thoughts together into one place to explain My Journey to Home Organizing, Staging and Redesign.

I was born and raised in a small town in Connecticut. We had two tiny gas stations, an orchard/petting zoo, and a few stop lights.  No other commercial business were and are allowed to this day. Starting at a very young age, every few months I would get the itch to reorganize my life. For a child this essentially just meant my bedroom. I would go through my clothes, books, and accessories to get rid of the things I wasn’t using, either by donating them to the church where we served hot dinners once a month, having a “tag sale” or just throwing them away. Once this started, it would inevitably end with my mom finding me dragging my furniture across the room to create a new and more pleasing layout. I'll tell you a secret, I always thought the girl in the mirror had a cooler room than me. I may have grown up, but that itch has never ceased.

After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta, I spent a year doing AmeriCorps service across the country. During that time I got my first real taste of the home improvement industry, working alongside volunteers and professionals at Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans and Miami. I specifically worked on framing and roofing. However, when my service was completed, I assumed it was time to start working in the "business world" So I began my professional career in the Residential Property Management field, something that related to homes but required bookkeeping and administration. Over the years I excelled in financial management, business management, operations, and social media marketing. In 2015 continued to achieve my Master of Business Administration (MBA).

So in 2013 when my father expressed his desire to renovate his New England Colonial house as well as a concern that he would not be able to manage everything with his busy travel schedule, I saw an opportunity. See after graduating from college, I had got my first taste of home improvement while completing a year of AmeriCorps service; working alongside volunteers and professionals at Habitat for Humanity. My father knew that I had loved the work. Due to some extenuating circumstances outside of my control, my long time boyfriend and I found ourselves in a position to make a move. Therefore he and I decided that I would move home and become the general contractor and designer on hand for my father's project.

Over the next year and a half, I supervised the renovation of the kitchen and four bathrooms, as well as the overall organization and redesign of the rest of his home, inside and out. We addressed a variety of items that had just been overlooked in the last 30 years ranging from pulling down the dated wallpaper, to refinishing floors, sealing the home, upgrading the electric, landscaping, and more. And I loved it! It was amazing to see how the small and large changes not only upgraded the quality of the home, but also my father's life in it. He would like to move out of the old family home one day, maybe not right this minute, but now it has evolved into a modern Colonial home with those options available.

While I was home, I also saw up close the snowball effect that "collecting" can have on a person. Someone close to me has unfortunately spiraled from collecting, to cluttering, and now to hoarding. And at some point, the "organized mess" I remember from my youth turned into an overwhelming task that no one even knows how to start. And while I don't think everyone has tendency of having this happen to them, I just wished that something had been done earlier; organizing and de-cluttering along the way. And more over, I wished I had been there to help and slowly encourage progress. Too often, this happens to seniors after a loved one passes away, or they are unable to physically address their belongings, or they must downsize to a different location.

Upon completing my father's renovation project, I tried to return to the business and financial management world I had known, taking a position as a Business Manager at a national commercial furniture liquidation company. Using my precision for planning and process, I helped to streamline the company procedures and finances. Having some history in home improvement and styling always helped my understanding of the services and assets we dealt with, however something was always missing. Something about the things I had done and seen stayed with me. Something about being inside of the office, without the ability to touch and feel and put my thoughts into physical action bothered me. I spent some time researching and considering what my strengths and interests during the past had been. And what I realized is that I enjoyed the work at my father's the most. Working my brain and my body and seeing the tangible results of my labor! So in 2018 I spent the year studying the theories and ideas behind the work I had been doing instinctively, and become an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager and Redesigner. And after a total of 11 years in various offices, I took a leap of faith launching my own organizing, staging and redesign company that combines my professional experience with my creative and problem solving abilities.

And so here I am today. My goal is to help others get and stay organized, and most importantly style living spaces in a way that will sell homes fast, invoke positivity, and truly reflect the inhabitants lifestyle and needs. I aspire to serve all people in my community, from families to real estate agents on behalf of their clients, to the elderly transitioning into a new living situation. Please let me know how I can help you!

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