For those who know Matthew Lucifer, they know he is a very unusual cat. Actually, he is just not a normal cat at all. He is highly intelligent and understands everything. He also knows how to communicate what he wants very effectively.
Over these past few months, we’ve had a bit of an adventure…
Back in August, we put his sister down. She was about 21 years old. When I told him it was time to let Surita die, he became so upset. She was in the kitchen at the time. He ran up to her, collapsed in front of her and started crying. I was so worried he was going to tell her. I wanted her last week of life to be a happy one.
These two never got along. Surita hated him, but he loved her.
He wanted to be there when we euthanized her, but Surita did not want him there. I didn’t want her to go into death seeing Matthew staring back at her, so I kicked Matthew out of the apartment.
He cried on the other side of the door wanting back in. That is unusual for him, because when he goes out into the hall, he runs around. This time, he wanted to be there for her.
I held her until I felt her spirit leave. After she had passed, I let Matthew back in. He sat down next to her, checking out the two strangers in his home. Then we motioned to Surita and he looked down.
He said a few words, kissed her and walked away. I asked him, “Is that all you are going to say to her?” He responded in the affirmative.
They boxed her up and took her away. My baby girl.
He was depressed for a month.
The Bloody Mouth
So Matthew Lucifer had a medical emergency over the weekend. He was showing signs something was amiss for some time, but it was hard to figure out if this was something serious.
Saturday morning, he woke me up. His kiss was a little wetter than usual and then I saw the blood on his chin. I got out of bed to wash the blood off of my face. When I turned to check on him, the blood was gone.
The rest of the day was fine. But when he showed up for bed that night, his mouth was bleeding again and it wouldn’t stop. The animal hospital was closed for the night, so we had to wait until the next morning to call them.
I sat there watching him bathe himself in blood. I just stared at him in shock and disgust thinking…this is why your middle name is Lucifer. You bathe yourself in blood and you don’t care.
The bleeding continued after he fell asleep. He woke me up at 3AM (like he does every night), shook his head and sprayed blood everywhere. It was so bad, I had to change the sheets. I started Googling what was wrong and the only thing that came up was that he had gum disease and possibly a bad tooth.
When we got up a few hours later, his mouth was still bleeding. I read that I should try cleaning the blood with a cotton swab, so I handed one to him. He chewed on it like he normally does. We did this three times and then the bleeding stopped.
When I called the vet hospital, Matthew sat next to the phone waiting for the receptionist to pick up. The second she did, he started talking into the phone. I assume he was telling her what was wrong. We made an appointment for that afternoon.
I had him take an early nap with me, because I knew this was going to be a long day for him, especially since the doctor visit was during his nap time.
When it was time to go, I put his coat on, made a little blanket cocoon in his stroller, and we walked the mile to the hospital, going farther away from home than he’s ever been. He actually enjoyed this little adventure. I could tell he was nervous, but excited.
At the vet’s office, we discovered that Googling at 3AM is not wise. My baby did not have gum disease. He was having an allergic reaction.
The vet noticed there were scabs on his back, which I knew were from a mosquito bite. We had a few flying around a few weeks ago, and I know he started scratching right after we encountered them. She double checked to make sure it wasn’t fleas and luckily, it wasn’t.
That bloody mouth of his was all about that mosquito bite. Add the fact it is allergy season, and he has allergies, it sent his body into a white blood cell tornado frenzy. His lips were swollen (which I noticed right before his sister died, but couldn’t remember if this was normal for him).
All of these different allergens were just too much for his body to handle, so that’s why his mouth started bleeding.
Come Monday morning, the doctor says his blood tests are fine, except he has anemia. He’s three points below what is considered normal. I asked if this may be because he bled so much the night before. She replied that is what she thought, but the specialist said it was more likely due to a blood disorder or a parasite or…
I’m thinking, “Doomsday much???”
So we have to go back for more blood tests the day before Thanksgiving. He has another round of steroid shots in a month. He also has to take a daily medication (which he ironically likes to take via syringe) for the next 30 days.
Luckily, he is responding very well to the steroids and medication. His lips are no longer swollen (the swelling disappeared the next day). He’s running around with more energy (good sign he is not anemic). And he stopped scratching.
Here were the warning signs something was wrong that was very hard to determine if something more serious was going on:
The scratching (he scratched his face, ears and his back). Scratching is not normal for him. I could not determine if this was fleas, mites or something else because it was a new spot every time.
Swollen lips. He had 2 little open pockets under his upper lip. I could not remember if this was normal for him or not. Ends up, it was not normal.
Itchy nose and lips. He would use his brush to aggressively scratch his nose and lips.
Scabbing on his back (from the mosquito bite).
He threw up a massive hairball two times. Matthew never throws up unless he is sick, so this was very unusual for him.
I am surprised Matthew started bouncing back so quickly. He loves his medicine. I explained to him that he needs to eat right after he takes his medicine or his stomach will hurt. So he eats immediately after each dose.
With this little guy, communication is very important.
He Brushes His Teeth
He heard the doctor and I talking about brushing his teeth daily and how he likes to brush his teeth himself. I just have to hold the toothbrush for him.
Matthew is extremely intelligent. He understands everything. Since the conversation about brushing his teeth, he now goes into the bathroom and tries to brush his teeth by himself without my help.
He still hasn’t mastered turning on the faucet yet, so I still need to help him.
The Baby Gets Spoiled x10
As of right now, I think he likes all of the attention he’s getting. He likes being told he’s a good boy and he’s doing a good job. I think he’s taking advantage of all of this attention…you know, worrying the hell out of his Mama. He is not eating right now because he knows it’s worrying me. Loss of appetite is not a side effect for what is going on.
The side effects for his medicine are actually eating more and drinking more fluids. So I think this whole ‘loss of appetite’ is an attempt to get my attention. Either way, I’m going to pick up his favorite Friskies (that he’s not had since his sister died, because they don’t sell them in individual size and god forbid the food come from the refrigerator) and Korean fried chicken for dinner tonight.
When Surita was alive, I would get Korean fried chicken. I ate the skin and gave the meat to Surita. Matthew preferred the skin too, so he’d grab an entire piece of chicken from out of the box and go crazy. He can eat three all by himself. [He is a sugar fiend, so the sweet fried chicken is cat nip for him.]
So if Friskies and Korean fried chicken does not revamp his appetite, I’m going to have to let the doctor know he’s not eating anything except dry food and a few bites of wet food after his medicine.
Unfortunately, for Matthew, he’s medically grounded from going outside. I broke the news to him this morning and he looked at me like…you’re telling me the doctor betrayed me?
He’ll be able to get around that grounding by being confined to seeing the world through his stroller.
I have been contemplating for some time the direction I want this site to go (and veer it away from oblivion). I was in Barnes & Noble back in July (a rare appearance inside an actual store) and came across a magazine called “Daphne’s Diary.” I flipped through it thinking this is exactly what I wanted.
I showed it to my friends exclaiming that I finally found exactly what I was looking for. The next challenge was figuring out how I could take those elements and translate it into an actual blog.
I started writing out the things I do each day and the things I attribute to learning how to be a little better at life each day. There were things I wrote down that I wanted to share with people. Matthew’s craziness is always part of my story. I also like to share what I’m watching and reading.
As I started to map my days out on paper, I started to see the blog post coming to life. That is, it was the blog post I’ve been wanting to showcase on this site.
Then a few new collaborations hit my email box and I realized that my idea that’s been churning in my head was being delivered to me. I now have the right tools I was looking for to start creating the blog I wanted.
So I talk about my Saturday.
When I say that I made a rare appearance in a store, it’s actually factual. I rarely if ever go inside of a store. I have everything delivered to me all the way down to my groceries.
I don’t do my own laundry. There is a service that takes care of that for me. It is the best gift I’ve ever given to myself. I can’t explain how much time this has given back to my life. Plus, they return everything folded in the KonMari style! It is way better than I could ever do.
The farmers market is a bit of a community thing. Sometimes I take Matthew with me so he can play with the little kids. They love him. I used to go every weekend, but as time goes on, I just have Amazon bring me my fruits and vegetables. It saves me so much time.
I also made a stop to donate two bags of groceries to the Food Bank. I’m very active in NYC when it comes to helping feed people in the community. I try to order the special deals Amazon Fresh offers (free boxes of Cheerios) and load up on deals so I can donate them to the community food bank. I also volunteer my time at the warehouse and the local food bank.
As for my crazy Matthew…we’ve had a bit of a dilemma when he goes out these days.
When he hangs out in the sticker bushes, I end up spending the rest of the day pulling them out one by one. This adventure was the worst one. They were so deeply embedded in his paws, he was bleeding.
Boy, did I have my work cut out for me.
In the graphic, I give you a few tips I use at home, especially when it comes to food and my kitchen.
I upcycle glass spaghetti and peanut butter jars. I keep an array of sizes. I like to keep small jars to carry salad dressing in. The peanut butter jars are used to transport bowls of soup for lunch.
If you choose to upcycle, I recommend keeping jars with wide openings. It makes it easier to ladle soup, sauces, etc. into them. Also, for those who are part of the Mason Jar craze, why buy new jars when you probably have jars in your pantry already?
When I cut up veggies, I also keep them in jars. I don’t like to use plastic in my kitchen and these glass jars come in very handy.
Prepping fruits and veggies will help you tremendously in the kitchen. Also, keeping track of what you put into your fridge is important to help avoid spoilage. I keep a dry/erase board next to the fridge to keep track of the meals I’ve already made, as well as all of the fruits and veggies that I purchased and need to eat.
When you prep your veggies, keep a few of the scraps for broth. I usually keep cabbage and onion ends to throw into my broth. More on that in a later post…
Every year I order a box of Meyer Lemons from Birch-Hill Organics. It is a little treat I enjoy every year, because I love lemons and all things sour.
When I order a box, the question always is: what do I plan to do with all of these lemons? Here’s what I do…
The main reason why I buy a box of Meyer Lemons is to make lemon preserves. These lemons tend to be sweeter than the regular lemons you pick up from the grocery store. They are also juicier!
Here’s how you make preserves: you will need canning jars and salt (along with the lemons). Make sure to wash all of the lemons well to remove any chemicals or pesticides.
Cut each lemon in half (start with five).
Add salt to the bottom of the canning jar. [I use sea salt.]
Press each lemon half into the bottom of the jar, squeezing out as much use as you can. [Note: Leave the rinds in the jar.]
Continue adding lemon halves, pressing them down into the jar, adding salt each time you add a lemon half.
Proceed to add lemons until you fill the entire jar.
Seal the jar and place on a shelf (without direct sunlight) for 3 months.
Lemon preserves are used in many French and Moroccan recipes. Yes, you eat the entire lemon in these recipes. Meyer Lemons are very pleasant to use as preserves in these dishes as compared to their counterparts, because they are not as bitter.
I make lemon preserves because all of my favorite French and Moroccan recipes call for them. These preserves are not so easy to find in stores. That is why I make my own. It is so simple to make. Plus, you are the one that has control over what goes into the preserves. You are not forced to guess what someone else is putting in store bought preserves.
A Green Cleaning Solution
For those who like to green their cleaning and keep toxic chemicals out of your home, this is how I make my own cleaning solution.
I keep a canning jar on my counter at all times and add citrus rinds to it. Instead of tossing used rinds into the trash, I remove the pulp from the citrus and add the rinds to the jar. I add white vinegar about a quarter or halfway up the jar. Then as the weeks go on, I continue to add the citrus rinds to the jar.
When it fills up, I wait two weeks before using the vinegar solution in the jar. I just remove the rinds (you can toss them at this point, but wait until you read the next section) and put the solution in a spray bottle. You can now use this as an all-purpose cleaner.
I would like to experiment with other citrus rinds (oranges and grapefruit) in the future to see what type of scent the solution gives off. Note: I do add lime rinds to the lemon rind jars too.
A Mosquito Repellent?
A little something I discovered recently is that this cleaning solution can actually work as a mosquito repellent, especially if you have a problem mosquito inside your home.
Just place the rinds in a bowl, along with a little bit of the vinegar solution, and keep the bowl in rooms where mosquitoes may roam. Change out every few days so as to not attract fruit flies.
So far, this has worked for me. Because this has been working, I keep the rinds in the solution in the jars. It is not mandatory that you have to remove the rinds from the jar and toss them. You can keep them in there as long as you like.
Someone suggested spraying the solution on your body before bed to maybe deter the mosquitoes from biting you. I haven’t attempted this yet, but if you do try this, make sure to dilute the vinegar solution with water before applying.
I think I would rather spray the bedding before applying the solution to my skin. But maybe one weekend I will try this, because I have read that vinegar helps with skin issues and balances the pH.
BONUS: If you are bitten by a mosquito, apply Vicks VapoRub (or a similar medicated rub) to the bite. This actually helps keep the bite from being itchy. Make sure to apply each night until the bite is gone. Usually takes 2-3 days. Also, just a FYI, it takes about 30 minutes for the relief to set in.
You can create your own holiday cards to send to all of your family and friends. It can be as personalized as this Halloween card I sent out to my friends of my fur monster, Matthew Lucifer.
You can choose from designers like Kate Spade New York (pictured here), Rifle Paper, Sugar Paper, Charlotte Olympia, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta and many more.
You also get to customize the background (note the marble background) and the envelope liner.
This is a SPONSORED post.
So after playing around with Paperless Post, I have to admit, I find their offerings to be very beautiful, simple and unique. While I love paper, I do like the upgrade from the Evite era of invitations. You can send out really cool invitations and get RSVPs back via email.
You can try them out here. How does it work? You purchase coins on their site to create and send out your Paperless Post. From wedding invitations to party invites and announcements, you can create it all at Paperless Post. In this virtual world we live in, this is the way to go.
A Tool for Bloggers
As a blogger, I see a different type of opportunity that Paperless Post should explore. Using their designs to create unique and beautiful blog posts, they could serve as a major tool for bloggers who want to pretty up their content.
This is actually something I’ve been looking into all summer long…a way to pretty up blog posts beyond just the boring white backgrounds you see on blogs. With Paperless Post, I can see how a short blog post or a recipe can be written out on their products.
I tried to feature what I would love to do with Paperless Post’s design offerings for my site (see the first card), and realized they are missing out on a unique revenue stream from bloggers. While this is a sponsored post, I have permission to showcase their product offerings. But to continue using their product for purposes of this site, I can only say they would be missing out on a unique financial stream from bloggers who want to follow suit and write out entire blog posts using their tools and designs.
So Paperless Post, you should consider developing content specifically for bloggers and business owners that want to pretty up their online content. I can see how this can be a lot like Canva, but better. They would definitely have me as a loyal customer if this can be developed.
Oh, and I’m warning everyone on my Christmas card list…I’ll be sending out that ‘Tis the Season’ card this year. It is perfection.
DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post. I received free product for purposes of an unbiased review.
I am happy to announce that I am now an Amazon influencer. You will be able to shop my favorite picks and finds that I feature both here and on social media directly through Amazon.
If you check out Amazon.com, you may notice Cosmopolitan magazine appears with their own influencer page like the one below.
Influencer pages are a new and unique way to help our readers and followers find and purchase items we love or feature in our publications and on our social media accounts. If you are not already in love with Amazon, you may fall in love now that they are tapping your favorite influencers to work with.
This month, I am featuring my favorite picks for Valentine’s Day. Ladies, if you are looking for something to wear on date night, I got you.
For those wanting to know which kitchen gadgets I am using this year as I focus on my Love Yourself campaign, I have those listed. For those looking for the perfect gifts for your favorite cooks, I highly suggest the Instant Pot and the Click and Grow. You can find those items on my Amazon Page. [I will be talking more about the Instant Pot and Click and Grow in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!]
One thing I am asked a lot from the people at Amazon is what gadget I am using, especially when it comes to cameras. Amazon is getting ready to launch a new camera made specifically with influencers and fashion minded folks in mind. It’s not on the market yet, but keep a lookout for it. It’s listed on my Amazon Page (Echo Look).
When I get home tonight, it should be waiting for me, along with my groceries. And yes, I shop exclusively with Amazon Fresh for all of my grocery needs. Since they purchased Whole Foods and lowered the prices, they’ve improved the grocery selections for Fresh customers.
For the books I’ve read so far this year, you will be able to find them on my Amazon Page. My favorite beauty products are also listed. As many beauty products as I test out, I am only listing my favorites and items I use regularly that I swear by.
When I finish my kitchen update, you will understand why I listed a few home improvement products. It is perfect for the apartment dwellers who hate the way their kitchen looks. In other words, those products are a sneak peek into upcoming content here on the site.
I am very happy with this new collaboration. Amazon has been very helpful over these past few years when it comes to PW. They’ve helped me with the little details (like those ‘how in the hell do I do this’ questions). They are also the ones responsible for helping me set up the design of the PW Book Club page.
As a loyal customer of Amazon, I am amazed at what they come out with to make my life easier. As far as this site is concerned, I can’t even begin to tell you how much this company has been great to work with. They are so helpful. The fact they are creating products designed with influencers in mind, we may be seeing the beginning of the next phase for influencers.
Fashion. Books. Home. Food. DIY. These are all things this site promises to deliver, but it has not really lived up to doing just that. Or perhaps, it was something I always wanted to deliver, but needed some sort of direction on how I would deliver that to you.
When people ask me about this site, I never really passionately talk about it. Perfectionist Wannabe has not been in a place I was proud of yet. I was honest about that with the people I met. I did not know how to find that sweet spot where I was content with what I was putting out there.
So I went on a mission to discover what exactly I loved about magazines. Blogs were no longer the answer to what I was looking for.
The Bold Type
As I flipped through a stack of magazines, Freeform’s The Bold Type, a show about three young women working for a fashion magazine, played in the background. The show centers around a writer, a secretary turned stylist, and a social media director. As the girls go from one disaster to another, it is the wisdom of their editor that resonates.
1) Write from your own perspective in life.
2) Print is dying. The electronic age is making print media obsolete, so it is important to focus only on that.
Taking these two points, I began to see a clearer vision of what I wanted.
To get a better handle on how book reviews should be done, I went to the best source: O Magazine. As I read through the book reviews, I saw the importance of writing about experiencing the book. Describing feelings eloquently is what ultimately gets people to read a book.
I read about one reviewer’s morning before she even sat down to read the book. She made me experience her morning with her. There was nothing extraordinary about it. Her morning was a regular morning, just like anyone else’s morning. But by the time she sat down to read the book, I wanted to read whatever she was reading, even though she told me so little about the book.
What made this particular review stand out is that it was written incredibly well. That is the beauty in writing a good review. The writer made me see reviews, not just book reviews, in a whole new light.
Finally, it began to occur to me what I was unhappy with. I was dissatisfied with the voice I used on this site. I was mimicking other bloggers and what they were doing instead of focusing on what I ultimately wanted to do with this site.
In the back of my mind, my friends who are well read, played in the back of my mind. Their comments on fast literature (i.e. the books saturating our market), started to bring me down. As much as I shared their opinions on great literature, it made me ask if what I write is great literature. Would they even think I was good enough?
This is where that sense of wanting to be perfect comes in. There is that fear of never being good enough for my friends to recommend my work to others. They are brutally honest (which I respect and need). What if what I was doing did not live up to their standards?
In our opinion, discovering an author or a book that is well written is difficult to find these days. If you think about blogs in this context, it is not so often you will come across a lot of well written blogs.
Magazines and newspapers house many of the best writers that live up to these standards. Yet, these types of publications are failing because of the saturation of mediocre or poorly written content flooding the market. That means there are a lot of incredible writers out there that go undiscovered by the masses.
There are a lot of blogs out there I love that are both inspiring and beautiful. I like their brand. Even though many of these bloggers are the first of their kind in their niche markets, there are many who try to emulate that same voice, which in turn creates a problem. That brand’s voice is copied, and then it becomes overdone, watering down the original voice. I know, because this site started to do the same thing. I ultimately did not want that.
The direction this site lacked was always something very simple. It was missing my voice and the way I wanted to write and present my views of the world. I spent too much time trying to be like the other bloggers. As a result, I forgot why I created this site to begin with…to share my own adventure into learning how to be a better version of myself.
A Sense of Direction
Most noteworthy of this entire adventure are the opportunities that presented itself to me over these past few years. From Martha Stewart’s American Made to Tribeca Film Festival to Book Expo America (BEA), the universe gave me every single tool I needed to discover how to create my vision for Perfectionist Wannabe.
As a result of those experiences, I learned that even though I believe I am not doing enough, the industry communicated the exact opposite. Publishers explained to me at BEA that I was doing the right thing. I did exactly what they were looking for in order to work with them. They decided who they were allowing into the BEA this year, and I was among the select few they allowed in. [Of all the publishers I spoke with, they only counted three bloggers that were allowed to attend, unlike previous years where the expo was saturated with bloggers.]
What all of these incredible experiences tell me is that I was always on the right track.
I finally had an AHA! moment somewhere between flipping through the magazines and binge watching The Bold Type. This site is my resumé. In the end, this site is about a brand. These past few years of discovery was about defining that brand. That is the only thing it’s been about. In a sense, this site is turning into a better version of itself.
So what can you look forward to? Better content. More continuous posts. A more active social media experience. Better inspiration. More importantly, my voice.
The Sale: Save BIG on Brand-New Fall Arrivals at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. FREE Shipping. FREE returns. When:Now through August 6, 2017.
It seems like back to fall (i.e. school) shopping for adults is starting earlier and earlier each year. Since the kids are buying their supplies in July now (the time I buy my office supplies), we have to start thinking of our own fall wardrobe, because September is coming!!!
Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is from now until August 6th. Here are 50 of my favorites (plus don’t forget the Spanx).
Since I am redecorating my home, I wanted to come up with a theme that would make me happy. So I decided to make my space joyful, serene and calm. The bedroom is the spot where I add a little glamour with crystal chandeliers and a bed you don’t want to get out of.
I basically sleep in my closet. That is how I describe my bedroom because my closet can’t hold my wardrobe, so the prized items come out of the closet and become part of the decor. Color is the key to creating a gorgeous place to sleep at night. Use soft colors, neutrals, lilacs or blues to create a calm space, then add ONE bright color like pink (see the Oliver Gal print) to make you smile in the morning.
My ombré wall in three shades of blue plus my oversized Chanel Oliver Gal painting in pink makes me smile every single morning, because it is so calm and beautiful to look at each day. You should always decorate in a way that will make you smile before you start your day.
Keep in mind that less is better. Don’t overdo it. Keep it simple. Instead of an art wall, consider buying one oversized piece of artwork. It’s less clutter.
JCP’S BLACK FRIDAY IN JULY SALE
The Sale: JCPenney is having their Black Friday in July Sale. When: Now until July 29, 2017.
If you love fashion, especially the industry gossip, you probably read the Vestoj interview with former British Vogue fashion editor Lucinda Chambers. If you haven’t read it, read the linked article above, because it is very informative.
I want to point out the last part of the article, which I believe is very important for the future of magazines, newspapers and blogging.
From Lucinda Chambers’s Interview
There are very few fashion magazines that make you feel empowered. Most leave you totally anxiety-ridden, for not having the right kind of dinner party, setting the table in the right kind of way or meeting the right kind of people.
Truth be told, I haven’t read Vogue in years. Maybe I was too close to it after working there for so long, but I never felt I led a Vogue-y kind of life. The clothes are just irrelevant for most people – so ridiculously expensive. What magazines want today is the latest, the exclusive. It’s a shame that magazines have lost the authority they once had.
They’ve stopped being useful. In fashion we are always trying to make people buy something they don’t need. We don’t need any more bags, shirts or shoes. So we cajole, bully or encourage people into continue buying. I know glossy magazines are meant to be aspirational, but why not be both useful and aspirational? That’s the kind of fashion magazine I’d like to see.
This article really made me think over what I wanted to do with this site. For those who come here often, you may notice there are slight changes occurring around the site. I started working with sponsors and book publishers, even Amazon, to create a better site, one that generates an income.
After I spend so many hours monetizing the site, putting up legal disclosures and posting content, I have to ask myself if the posts are in line with the core values of the site. I realize that in order for the site to generate an income I have to have the monetary posts along with the real content…the stuff my original readers come for.
I was reminded by a film director yesterday that I needed to keep in line with the goal of the site. The ‘fluff’ pieces generate a lot of hits, but it is not qualitative content. It is not the soul of what this site means.
When people ask me about the site’s name, they fear the word ‘perfectionist.’ When I explain that’s why it says ‘wannabe,’ and how we are not perfect, but we all strive to be, it makes sense. It is the perfect title, because those who strive to be a better version of themselves, strive to perfect themselves in the things they do, but always fall short. We always learn something new every single day on how to be better than we were yesterday.
I don’t like consumerism, yet I participate in it. I own a rather large wardrobe. I KonMari’d the hell out of that thing every season. I am still nowhere closer to having only a few items, because everything brings me joy.
I still buy handbags, even though what I pay is 2-3 months worth of rent in NYC for one bag. I bought two Celine handbags this year, but I didn’t stop there. I bought a Prada, a Balenciaga, a Valentino and a Fendi. This is all in the state of perfecting my own fantasy wardrobe [curating a wardrobe that I always dreamed of having].
The reality of my wardrobe is that I have low end and high end, just like every serious fashionista out there. I still shop at Gap, Ann Taylor, Loft and Forever 21. They are my low end stores, because they dish out quality. I still own tank tops I bought 15 years ago from the Gap. That is what I mean by quality. That is how a wardrobe is supposed to be built…on quality.
There are a lot of trials and errors with fashion because we don’t know if an item we purchase is going to unravel or discolor after the first or 100th wash. We don’t know how many events we are going to have to go to where we will need a different outfit each time.
We can’t go to work wearing the same outfit two times a week. I know there are women that do that and I don’t agree with it, especially if it is not a uniform and you can afford to buy clothes.
I also have a hard time believing people launder their clothes 2-3 times a week, especially if you are in NYC. If you’re a stay at home parent, ok, maybe I can see it.
Building The Perfect Wardrobe
People always comment that I take good care of my clothes. The truth is that I have a month’s worth of pants, mainly black, that I wear. I stick to the same brands: Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, NY & Co., and Lane Bryant. I have the pants tailored to fit. Those pants have lasted me 15 years and still going.
Most items in my closet I wear once a year. There are some items that I layer or are easy pieces that I wear once a month. I donate anything that does not fit well, or after a washing the stain won’t come out.
I wear each of my couture pieces once a year, because people notice it. These pieces are treasured pieces that are only worn when I want to feel beautiful and extraordinary.
I switch out my handbags all of the time, because that is one item I do not want to show any wear. They are collector’s pieces to me. I may love my Fendi tote and want to use it all of the time, but I force myself to use the other 100 bags in my wardrobe. If I don’t, that Fendi won’t last long.
Keep in mind, I was not in my 20’s when I started buying couture. That’s when I started dreaming of the ‘someday’ fantasy wardrobe. I was in my mid-30’s when I purchased my first Valentino.
It takes time to build your perfect closet…and I think that is what all women aspire to do. They aspire to perfect their closet.
Debt For Fashion
We look to magazines, celebrities, fashion icons, fashion bloggers, etc. on how to dress each season. There are $14,000 gowns, $5,000 handbags, $3,000 shoes that are showcased in magazines like Vogue. Somehow we are supposed to own these items.
But the truth is, how many of those items are actually sold? A celebrity doesn’t want to be caught in the same dress as another celebrity. So who are the people buying these dresses? We can assume it’s the uber-rich, but people like to pretend they are in that crazy rich category.
We live in a culture where people live this fantasy life that they are one of the cool kids, because they own a Birkin or have the latest IT fashion off the runway. They have an in-disposable amount of income where they can buy all of these things, when in reality they probably just have a lot of credit card debt.
Let’s talk about that credit card debt. I bet you didn’t know that a lot of fashion bloggers and people that work in fashion are in serious debt because of fashion. Thank God for Rent the Runway in NYC. That’s been a lifesaver for many that work in the fashion industry and need to wear designer clothing daily. But that debt? It is real.
People in fashion do not make a lot of money unless they are one of the big time people. There are very few that are making millions of dollars a year like Chiara Ferragni from The Blonde Salad. Even the fashion bloggers I follow have a day job and freelance on the side.
Sure, fashion bloggers make more money than hockey bloggers, but it takes a lot of business smarts to create that income. It’s not just about those invites to fashion shows and where you are sitting. It takes more than a great Instagram photo to get Edward Enniful’s attention (and yes, I’m one of the lucky ones). It takes character and knowing how to market and project yourself.
If you’re lucky, a designer or retailer will work with you. It’s what you create in that relationship that determines your success. Some bloggers work for free stuff. The more serious bloggers demand payment for space on their site and use of their brand.
What is In
Most people pretend to live extravagant interesting lifestyles. That is the content that is IN. They give the illusion that you should want to be them. You need to be jealous of them and what they are doing or wearing. But like Lucinda Chambers says, she is not living that perfect lifestyle. She is living far from it.
What magazines and everyone is selling is a FANTASY. They want to show you that living a perfect life where you live, eat, dress, and do extravagant things are very real. You have perfect, beautiful friends, lovers and significant others. Beautiful people surround you. You workout and are super thin with incredible skin and hair. Your home looks like the pages out of an Elle Decor magazine. They are selling you a dream that will never come true.
Looking Perfect Is Not What It Seems
I’ll admit that right now, I have the most amazing ombre wall with a piece of Chanel artwork from Oliver Gal. It looks amazing and brings me joy every time I look at it. I still have yet to finish painting the other three walls, because I can’t decide if I want the entire living room to be ombre or one color. If I decide on one color, which color will that be?
I still have paint canisters for the living room and kitchen sitting around staring back at me every day. There are tiles that still need to go up, artwork that needs to go up or be sold, and stuff all over the kitchen table. My plants are all dying. I keep finding new places where the cat puked.
Trust me, this entire home is still a work in progress no matter how many awesome things I bring into it. If only we could purchase just a few things to decorate our home and it looks exactly like the magazine ad.
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that have the same predicament as me. You get an idea in your head of how you want to decorate. You try one thing after the other and you hope somehow it will all come together until you are inundated with so much stuff.
Pretty soon the clutter starts forming. Nothing matches. There is no theme. Your home looks nothing like the one in the magazine where you got the idea to begin with!
I oftentimes look at the pictures from magazine spreads and ask where all of the paper is. Where do they put all of the pieces of paper they collect? You can’t tell me paper isn’t in their home. I know it has to be somewhere. Where do they hide it?
What I’m trying to get at is that nobody has a perfect home or life. It’s just smoke and mirrors. Even the Kardashians photoshop their images, just like the majority of magazines and advertisements do. We are left to believe that no one has stretch marks, acne, cellulite or a layer of fat hanging from their arms. Everybody has teeny tiny waistlines.
The false narratives are the issue in our world today. We live in a world where everything is fake. We no longer know what is real anymore. We watch the world around us and believe that we will have a better life if we own X. We are not somebody unless we are rich and famous, so we must all aspire to be that. No one will love us if we are fat, ugly, have skin problems, balding issues, etc. People will hate us if we are not perfect.
That is the current narrative. No matter how many people try to create positive narratives, they still feel small when someone comes along and rips apart everything they’ve worked so hard for to be accepted. They are shamed for being themselves, something different than the perfect narrative.
Be Useful. Be Aspirational.
Getting back to the quote above…what is wrong with being useful and aspirational? How can we create a new narrative that is both useful and aspirational without selling something fake? The truth is we are all wannabes. We all strive to be perfect and fit into that perfect narrative.
But we are not perfect. Perfection is an illusion. It is not something attainable without adding some lies on top of it. An airbrush here, tons of makeup there, a photoshop here and there…they’re all lies that cover up the truth. Why can’t the truth be beautiful? Why can lies be the only thing that is beautiful?
I challenge everyone to create a new narrative. Be useful. Be aspirational. Don’t be a sellout that only goes where money beckons. Be behind the product you pitch to your readers. Be real with what is truly going on in your world. We need to be the change.
One of the most important books in decluttering your life. Marie Kondo may be a little obsessive with decluttering to the point she should probably seek help. But her obsession works to our benefit as we learn what works in managing our homes and offices better. It’s about finding joy. A must have in learning how to manage your home. [Amazon]
Are you using all methods to save the most money when you shop? There is a documentary on Netflix called “The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching.” The show follows a few different people saving money in their own way.
There are segments for the extreme couponer, the family that does extra research to maximize savings, a couple using cost effective ways to spend less than £1500 for a wedding, and one guy who collects and eats roadkill. These people are finding ways to scale back on spending to maximize their savings as much as they can.
Even though the movie was based on stories from the UK, there are similar stories in the US of how people are saving money in the exact same way. After watching the film, I decided to apply some of their ideas to my own life (except for the roadkill…that’s not going to happen).
In the past, I shared how I use my MoviePass membership to go the extra mile with rewards and savings. As an addendum to that story, ends up my AMC membership went VIP. That means I don’t have to wait in the long lines to buy tickets or food. I can go straight to the VIP line and get served ahead of everyone else.
I didn’t have to pay anything extra for the VIP privilege. I just went to the manager to complain about the long lines and how none of the kiosks were available when she informed me I didn’t have to do all of that because I was VIP. My kind of membership!
Yes, you can be VIP, too. Just buy the membership. If you already have an active AMC membership, you should check to see if they upgraded you when they switched to their new system. That’s how I was upgraded.
Now, onto the other stuff. Today, I’m going to talk about the different ways you can make your purchases go the extra mile.
Start With a Discounted Gift Card
When I need to go to Target or buy a new gaming system at Game Stop that is not on sale anywhere, I buy a few discounted gift cards at Gift Card Zen.
My brother wanted the PS4 Pro for Christmas. It was not on sale anywhere. It was a firm $399 (plus tax). I went to Gift Card Zen and purchased $420 worth of gift cards and paid only $375.48. That’s a savings of $44.52.
There’s an App For That
After I made my purchase, I uploaded my receipt to Ibotta and because Game Stop had a special $5 rebate for $75 purchases, I got $5 back. I was able to get $5 back from the purchase I made the day before at Game Stop too. Ibotta had an earnings bonus reward and gave me another $5. That’s $15 back for shopping at Game Stop.
I also uploaded my Game Stop receipts to Receipt Hog to get points that can be later used towards Amazon gift cards, cash or magazines.
Other apps I use are Checkout 51 and MobiSave [use PROMO CODE: IGNUXTMX to get $1 when you sign up at MobiSave].
The great thing about these apps is that you can use the same receipt (especially for groceries) on each of the apps. Most of the time, they are running the same rebate specials. For example, you see bananas appearing on the Ibotta, Mobisave and the Checkout 51 apps. You can get rebates on each of the apps from that one receipt.
If you’re heading to Target, make sure you peruse their Cartwheel app for additional savings. You can use the Cartwheel app with physical coupons for double savings. If you have the Target debit or credit card, you can get an additional 5% off your purchase.
There’s a Site For That
Want a way to earn points towards coupons, magazines, gift cards, etc.? Try Recycle Bank.
You can learn ways to be more eco-friendly while earning points to use towards coupons at Target ($5 off of $50) or magazine subscriptions.
Another site I came upon that is amazing is Living Rich With Coupons. They’ve completely simplified the entire couponing process for you. They find the deals, tell you what coupons are needed and which coupons you can stack to get the product for next to nothing or FREE. Just make sure you pick up the newspaper every Sunday to clip your coupons and print out the ones they link up to.
I love that sometimes they know the store deal + coupon before the new flyer comes out in the Sunday paper.
Also, if you are shopping online…ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go through the Ebates app to get cash back. Those surprise checks 4 times a year always come in handy.
Ways to Earn Free Gift Cards
For those who live in or near metropolitan cities and dine out frequently or make reservations a lot, use the Open Table website to book all of your reservations. Why? You get points for dining out. You can turn those points into restaurant gift cards or an Amazon gift card.
If you want to do a little work on the side to earn Amazon gift cards, try Amazon Mechanical Turk and pimp yourself out.
For those who use Bing as your search engine, make sure you are hooked up with Bing Rewards. For Chrome users, use Google Screenwise to earn gift cards just by searching on the internet.
If you use Chrome as your search engine on your phone, make sure the Google Screenwise app is on your phone so you can earn money while you do your regular internet searching.
There are always new ways to maximize saving money. The way I look at it, if you can get the same stuff for free, why pay for it? What tips do you have that helps maximize saving money?
Disclosure: I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work.
Fall is one of my favorite times of year to redecorate. Out come the spooky box of goodies, trips to the farmer’s market to pick up an array of pumpkins, and fun DIY projects.
This year, my little guy wanted to be part of the photoshoot where we share a peek into how we’ve decorated the living room for Halloween/Day of the Dead. You can say that these days, he’s a little too eager to be part of the story I’m sharing with all of you.
Matthew Lucifer welcomes you on a brief tour of our decorations for the Halloween season. [Yes, that is his name. He earned his middle name when I adopted him 2 years ago. You can follow his royal evilness on Instagram: mrmatthewkenneth.]
Glass apothecary jars from Marshalls are filled with candy and pumpkins from the local farmer’s market. These small pumpkins last an entire month and are tasty when roasted with some olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.
Just preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roast for 35-40 minutes. Use the roasted pumpkins/squash on top of salads, in curries, with pasta…the meals you can create are endless.
Pier 1 has been my go to place for Day of the Dead decorations. I picked up this Dia de los Muertos cat there last year. To add a few more scary accents, I added my Hannibal Funko and a figurine from Aliens I received from Nerd Block.
These sugar skulls are essential in decorating for the Day of the Dead. Just add a few scary books into the mix, a Spike figurine from Nerd Block, along with some photos of the people in your life that have passed.
With Dia de los Muertos, you are honoring the people you have lost. It is important to set food out (like the candy and pumpkins in the apothecary jars), candles and pictures of loved ones with the decor.
I do a mix of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos since the two holidays are back to back. [Dia de los Muertos is on November 1.]
For the walls, I usually switch out the photos from the frames and add a coloring book page from the Day of the Dead Coloring Book. I haven’t completed this year’s page yet, but when I do, I’ll be adding it to the wall.
The monster print is signed by the master of children’s horror R.L. Stine. It’s funny, because when I was a kid, I wanted to write books just like R.L. Stine. When I met him last year, he started to sign my name on the poster, before laughing at himself and saying that he was signing it as if he were me, instead of his own name.
I was surprised. My dream as a kid was to be just like him and now he was signing my name as if it were his own. It was definitely surreal and ironic. It was like the universe was winking back at me.
That is our Halloween/Day of the Dead decorations for this year. How about you guys? How do you decorate this time of year?
Over this past week, I’ve been pondering what I would like to do with this site. My friends assisted me with the items they would like to see, as well as identifying the items they already liked about the site.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…keeping up appearances for this site is very time consuming. I plan on changing that. My personal goal is to start posting on a daily basis. That means planning what will go up on this site well in advance.
Planning leads to doing. I started creating the content, cooking up recipes, taking the photographs, writing the posts and then began to feel overwhelmed.
As I was slicing up the pumpkins for the October recipes, I started to feel that pang in my gut. It was that pain of feeling stressed and overwhelmed as I was trying to do something right for myself. It’s that irony of the site’s name…wanting to be perfect.
I stopped what I was doing and re-evaluated why I was doing this. What was my current mindset? I realized I was stressing myself out and not enjoying the ride. If I didn’t change my mindset then I was going to end up with a bunch of crap meals. You see, I am of the belief that how you are feeling as you prepare your food is a direct correlation with how well your food will taste.
People who love to cook tend to make food taste incredible because you can taste their emotion in the food. I used to watch one chef create meals for me on a whim. I would watch him as he poured his love for food and cooking right into the meal. A simple fried egg tastes so different when such care is taken than one created with no emotion or feeling. It’s about passion and sharing that passion with someone else.
I didn’t want all of the food I was making to taste horrible, so I changed my mindset and focused on why I love to cook. As a result, everything turned out so well, my friend was surprised at how flavorful everything tasted.
Changing my mindset was all about reminding myself what I am passionate about and why.
I met with filmmaker Edwin Walker today for lunch. He is in town from LA filming a new movie. We met last year (see link to our story). There was something about the timing when we met last year. He mentioned to me that when we met, it was like a turning point in our lives. There was something about the direction our lives would take and the people we would become after our first meeting.
We became so inspired by each other to live life fully and passionately. Since we met, I have been trying to find my passion in life again. I only find that my passion comes when I write and when I am being myself and not focusing on what other people want from me.
You see, we live in a world filled with mediocrity and false lives. We struggle every single day to be perfect in our Instagram photos, Twitter, and all forms of social media. Reality TV makes people believe that these stories we see are real lives, when it’s just an act. We become depressed when we don’t have over a thousand friends or followers. We feel like we are failing at life when people are not following us or reading our work or we’re not getting hundreds of thousands of hits on our sites or Youtube videos.
Life for most people has become about the get rich quick schemes, becoming viral, and making a ton of money in the process. It’s not about creating a passion project and putting your blood, sweat and tears into it. It’s about the instant gratification, not the eternal happiness.
We have to constantly think of how to falsely entertain people to make you think that our lives are super glamorous, even when, for many people, it is not. People become superstars for portraying a life on reality TV, even though there is nothing real about their lives on that TV show.
It is like a drug addiction. It’s about that instant high that makes you feel happy for a moment, instead of working on what will make you happy for life.
People don’t watch real artistic movies or qualitative television programming anymore. They’re flocking to the latest ‘explosive’ blockbuster where it’s very little script, and more action with everything blowing up every other minute. The shows that make you think are constantly being canceled.
Children don’t go home and watch cartoons for half an hour like I did when I was a kid. They watch four-minute Youtube videos for entertainment, because they can’t sit through a half hour cartoon anymore.
People complain about the ‘long form’ on blogs. They don’t want to read a long drawn out story. They want glamorous photos with very little text…maybe one paragraph of text and that’s it. They want to see people living these lives that are so far fetched. It’s like watching a fairy tale or a soap opera. They assume it’s real, when it is only a glamour.
It’s depressing isn’t it? It’s like comparing ourselves to the Joneses. We try to emulate these people on a daily basis, as if that is how we are supposed to act and live, even though what they are doing on that reality TV is an act. It’s not real. People assume it is real and follow suit, like this is how they are supposed to act, think, live and dress…no matter how outrageous it is.
We’re supposed to get plastic surgery to be pretty. If you’re ugly, that means you’re too poor to look perfect. As one friend said, it’s what separates the rich from the poor. That is the culture we live in.
People sweat it out and diet, not for themselves, but to look and be thin and accepted. I mean, Donald Trump talks about how horrible it is for women and girls to be fat or ugly. If you are overweight or gain weight, you are called nasty names and meant to feel less than what you are.
When you look at street style photos, they never ever photograph fashionable women that are not thin. I know because I’ve watched thin, beautiful women pulled out of line at fashion shows to be photographed for street style, while the fashionable curvy ladies are overlooked. I have yet to see a single curvy blogger be selected in the slideshows for street style photos, even if they do have more followers than that thin, pretty girl that was pulled out of line to be photographed.
It is as if to say that X is the only thing acceptable in society, which then creates the unhealthy narrative of what it means to be a human being. We see what is on the outside, the shell, and never what is on the inside that makes each and every single one of us great individuals.
The narrative in our society today is about the false perceptions of reality. It’s the quick fix drug that makes you feel something for a moment, to make you forget what is real in your life, instead of focusing on how you can make your life better.
People don’t want the stories that help them self-reflect, connect and learn something. They don’t go see movies that will inspire them to be better human beings. They don’t want to see movies that will fix what is wrong with them on the inside. They only want those things that will help them escape reality, instead of focusing on creating a better reality for themselves and the people around them.
People focus on how they need to be fit, thin, beautiful, well-dressed, rich and famous in order to be accepted in society. You have to have thousands of followers before anyone takes you seriously.
I know there are publishing houses that have said that they are not interested in talking to you unless they see you have over 1,000 followers on Twitter (and yes, they do check to see if your followers are real or if you bought a bunch of dead accounts). That puts you into the 5% of people that do. That’s the 5% they are willing to talk to and work with.
Back in the day, when I was working with bands, each record company said they were only interested in talking to bands that had a following already. The artist needed that following before they would even listen to their music. This, of course, was before blogs and social media were in the picture. It was a lot harder back then to create a following, because they didn’t have social media to help spread the word.
What I’m getting at is this…
I’m glad I started talking about re-branding with my friends. What they were asking of me was to be raw and real on this site. Even Edwin today stressed that being real is what made this site unique. I was sharing the stories of people that needed to be told. These are the people that are living their lives passionately. They are living their dreams.
Edwin wanted me to focus on my passions in life. For me, that is writing, books and movies. In my universe, all of those things are interconnected.
Last year, I discovered that my main followers and readers of this site were the entertainment and film industry. I was doing something they needed. I wasn’t putting out stories or reviews like everyone else. I was telling the narrative untouched by the big dogs of the entertainment industry. I was sharing the art and the passion…the reason why people got into acting, directing, filmmaking, writing, art, etc.
No one ever talks about that anymore.
I noticed recently that a film short that is turning into a feature film soon has been publishing their poster with a quote from me from this site. I didn’t even notice it until I started reading the film’s poster and was like, ‘Wait…that sounds like me…’ and then I saw my site’s name underneath it.
I kind of did a little leap for joy when I saw it, because that directs more people in the film industry to this site. This site, of course, is not about entertainment news. It is about living life passionately. In a way, the site’s name is about me being that perfectionist in the same way all artists strive for perfection in their art. They are just looking for people to understand that dynamic and passion that went into their art.
Unfortunately, the art is always 80% business, 20% art. I learned that a long time ago. I’ll be honest, it is that 80% I hate about writing, because that 80% is what stresses me out all of the time. It prevents me from being me and writing more.
I believe that is the real reason why I don’t post as often as I would like to do on this site, because it becomes more about business than it does about the art. I plan on changing that mindset.
The business side is going to need to be something I am passionate about so that I can create. I need to ask myself if what I am doing is a true reflection of who I am, because truthfully, I am not going to share anything that is not true to who I am. There is too little time in life to waste it sharing the things that have no meaning. I am not going to participate in the mediocrity that has consumed the lives of the world around us. This is about being raw and real about everything.
What I do not share on this site is in actuality the side of me my friends have asked that I start sharing. They want me to share my journey in life. It is the narrative I don’t share completely.
You may think, ‘oh, this is going to be a dull and drab journey,’ when in actuality, it is quite surreal. Like the irony of sharing the Russell Crowe binge on the site is that 15 years ago, would you believe he actually serenaded me in Chicago, Illinois?
Or that when I started the Russell Crowe binge, Paul Haggis (“Crash,” “The Next Three Days”) had stalked my Instagram account and liked a bunch of photos on it? I hadn’t even gotten to “The Next Three Days” yet, and here the director was on my Instagram liking a bunch of photos on it. How is that for irony?
Or how about meeting fashion designer Malan Breton and just being so enamored with our conversation that I looked at him like, if I could talk to you for the rest of my life, I would be one happy woman? He was the first person that ever looked at me and told me right off the bat what my ethnicity was. No one has ever been so spot on. I think what was even cooler was that he knew who I was before I even introduced myself.
This is the world my friends want me to talk about. One friend said that I had always told her these stories about the life I lived. She said that she never even imagined how real that world really was for me until she saw how famous people would walk right up to me and we would have these long, drawn out conversations that were so intriguing.
It amazed her even more when she realized these people knew who I was, even if we were just meeting for the first time. This is the world she wants me to share, because it is so surreal. She wants me to share the gowns I wore. Others want me to share the fashion I wear on a daily basis. They want me to talk about the events I go to, because not everyone has that kind of life. It’s a dream life.
It’s about that VIP status. It’s a status I’ve had since my days in Washington, DC, where I could hear other society women complaining that I had what they wanted…status.
When I first moved to NYC, my boss told me that he knew when I was hired that I was known in societal circles in DC. He told me that if I wanted to enter NYC society, he would help me, but he warned me that it was pretty mean.
I remember thanking him for offering to introduce me, but I would rather go at it alone, choosing who I would like to surround myself with, rather than trying to be accepted by a group of people that seeks to destroy the people around them. In NYC there are different forms of VIP. The number one thing you need is money and being constantly seen in those VIP circles. After a while, you stop paying for the VIP treatment, because it comes to you for free.
You get the invites. You stop running around trying to be accepted by the in crowd or pursuing people for interviews by going through their publisher or agent. After you’ve established yourself, they come to you. You don’t have to pursue anything in life anymore because you are ‘in.’
That is the world my friends want me to share, because not everyone is allowed into that VIP world. It’s not always about parties, getting into clubs, etc. It’s about being in a room with incredible people like yourself and learning something from them. It’s about experiencing life in a new way beyond just attending an event. It’s about learning how the event came into being (like a film), meeting the people involved with creating this art, and letting yourself become inspired by these people and inspiring them by sharing your own journey.
It’s about the human aspect beyond the celebrity. The celebrity part…that’s not real, you know that, right? Celebrity is a false illusion.
I remember there was this guy who told me years ago he was famous. I told him I didn’t believe him. He spent the next year trying to prove to me that he was. I still don’t believe that he is, but during that time, it created a friendship. I never saw the celebrity. I saw him. I saw his passion in life and I wanted him to pursue it at all cost, so I helped him wherever I could.
You see, that is the true essence of who I am and what this site is about. I am drawn to other people like me, the creative types and the people pursuing their dreams and living life passionately. Why? Because these are the people that inspire me to be the person I truly am inside.
We are always learning from each other and inspiring each other. It’s about sharing our journeys together and helping each other in our own ways. That is the life I’m talking about. There’s the glamour on the outside, but the true essence at the core is what is more important. This is the stuff that The PW is all about. It’s not about just the glitz and glamour of life. It’s about the things that make us self-reflect in order to be true to our very own being.
This is about finding the true reality that is life. What’s on the outside is always just the shell of a being. It is not the true essence of what a human being is. It’s the glamour. In other words, it is not real.
It is the drug that makes you feel something for a moment, but never truly changing who you are on the inside. It’s the drug that gives you temporary happiness, instead of focusing on healing what is inside of you and finding what true happiness is, your eternal contentment in life.
The Goal of This Site
In trying to develop content on a daily basis for this site, and remaining true to myself as a writer (i.e. to write the novel, as well), I will be incorporating a version of the KonMari practice in minimizing my life. I am setting out to learn how to make things simpler so that I can post daily.
I am going to attempt to accomplish this goal beginning today. Along the way, hopefully, I’ll discover new and easier ways to create content without feeling overwhelmed (don’t worry, I’ll share my discoveries, because I’m sure that can help many others out there looking to simplify life). It’s that overwhelmed feeling that keeps me from being passionate about this site. I seek to change that, because this is supposed to be my passion project. I just need to focus on what makes me so passionate about it.
For now, I’ll be testing the water in new ways. There will be movies, books, home, arts, fashion, This Is 40, and more on this site. It’s not about what I think people want to read. This is going to be about the passion in life.
Last month, I turned 40. Like most major milestones in life, it gives you an opportunity to reflect on life thus far. What are the things you still want out of life? What dreams are yet to be realized? What parts of your life make you happy? Where do you want your focus on life to be? What things about yourself can you do better? What things about yourself do you want to change?
These are the questions I ask myself. The result is that I am going to mix life up a bit. I want to become someone different in my 40s. I want to achieve every dream and every goal I’ve ever set for myself. I want to become the person I’ve always wanted to be.
For years, I struggled with switching gears from being just a hockey columnist and a blogger to becoming a novelist. That’s what I always wanted to be…a novelist. I did not want to be known as a hockey writer or a blogger, but those are the roles I took on as I began my journey to becoming a novelist. I put in the time to make myself legit before approaching publishers.
When I first started blogging and writing for Inside Hockey, I did not want to be some nobody that publishers had never even heard of. I wanted to be someone they could easily Google and find many years worth of my writing. I got their attention last year when I introduced myself around. By year end, two publishers requested submissions. I didn’t have anything to give them but a few chapters here and there, so I didn’t submit anything.
But there’s more to it than just having a few chapters on hand…
Before I could make the leap to becoming a novelist, I had to first conquer my own self-doubt and fears. It is scary to make a leap like this…to realize a dream. It’s new territory. I was reading just yesterday how Ty Alexander (Gorgeous in Grey) finished her first book, and she was Scared AF!
All of her fears were the same fears I had: that fear that when you put yourself out there, the world thinks you’re just not good enough. Could I put my heart and soul into this and then have the world rip it apart saying it was a piece of crap? That is the fear I’m talking about, the true fear of being a complete failure and the entire world thinks that is what you are.
Reading Ty’s honest post about that fear made me realize it came at a good time. I began writing my novel a few weeks ago and then stopped. Elements like lack of sleep and an illness became reasons I put off going back to the book. I won’t even tell you how much money I spent to avoid doing what I really want to do which is MAKE THE DREAM COME TRUE.
Do not think just because I do not spend every morning writing that I’m not working on the book. I am still building the characters, researching different elements to add to the story to make each character better. I am always thinking about the story, adding new elements each day to make the story more complete. There is a lot that goes into a well thought out book beyond just sitting down and telling a story. That is the first draft. The next draft is where you fill in the gaps.
This book (as well as all of the future ones) are based on very prolific dreams from over the years which include a much deeper meaning. They are stories that are embedded in my soul that have caused me anguish, strife, love, forgiveness, sorrow, insanity, hope and understanding.
The scariest thing about writing is that when I write, my mind is living in that story at that very moment. There are tears shed, heartbreaks, angry moments, even a loss of understanding…all of those things are happening at once. If it was not for Matthew Lucifer getting in my face every hour to take a 5-minute break, I would have a hard time divorcing myself from reality and the story.
My goal is to stop writing at 6PM. This is a mandatory thing. It is my way of stepping away from the story to focus on reality, play with the little dude and take my mind off of the story. The mind always needs a mental break when you become so entranced in the story you are writing.
Changing Who I Am on the Inside
I don’t know what it was about turning 40 that made me look at life differently, but turning 40 made me think of all the things I wanted out of life as far as the woman I wanted to be.
I changed my diet completely. I decided to go Whole 30/paleo. It is so restrictive with eating only meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts (no peanuts…that got me a few times). Instead of drinking 3-4 cups of coffee a day, I’m down to one cup of black coffee before noon. No more soy milk for my coffee. [When I started writing this post, I was two weeks into Whole 30. I got sick on Saturday, so I had to get off the diet because my medication has sugar in it. I still try to focus on eating well, but because of the sugar, I’m off the diet until the illness is gone and I can take the sugar back out of my diet again. Cough drops and NyQuil have sugar in it!]
Because of that coffee rule, I’m drinking a whole lot more water than I ever had before (which is also good). I am sleeping through the night (with the exception of the fur monster waking me up at 3AM for breakfast).
Changing Who I Am On the Outside
In the evenings, I established a new nightly beauty routine doing what most women do: 1. Wash my face, 2. Brush/floss my teeth. 3. Put on night creams.
If you are a woman reading this, you probably already do that. I never did. This stuff was not drilled into my brain during my youth, because my mom, being a foreigner, did not know about these daily rituals until she became older and assimilated into the Western culture.
I changed my wardrobe and became more daring. My friends loved all the new looks. One told me that 99.9999% of the time, everything I wear is spot on (and she does not say that about anybody). I definitely upped my game.
I think the biggest surprise for everyone is that I’m wearing more than just powder, eye shadow and gloss now. I’m actually wearing eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. Talk about shocking everybody.
I bought all new makeup and beauty care products (I had a massive purge earlier this year when I KonMari’d the entire makeup collection and left basically nothing). I got an education on makeup beyond the everyday basics.
My friends are pleasantly surprised at how I upped my makeup game. Next up is getting my nails done (instead of cutting them down), going for waxings more often, hair coloring/styling…the WHOLE 40 MAKEOVER.
One of my friends was so impressed with everything so far, she told me this would be a perfect thing to share on the blog. I should give everyone a little peek inside my inner world and what I’m doing during the “This Is 40.”
Which brings me to the new photographs…
Getting Back In Front of the Camera
Turning 40 created a lot of positive changes in my life. 40 is beautiful. I kicked this new decade off by finally sitting in front of the camera for the first time in 5 years to photograph what I look like now at 40.
What happened after that? Well, the compliments came flooding in. I got more followers. A retailer whose clothes/accessories I was wearing asked for permission to post the photos on their website…all of the photos.
I showed the photos to my friend and she just looked at me in disbelief. She asked me, “What took you so long to photograph yourself?” She just could not believe it took me this long to get in front of the camera again.
Many photographers have a very difficult time getting back in front of the camera after spending so many years behind it. You are accustomed to being behind the lens, showing the world the beauty you see. It is very weird for us to want to get back in front of the camera after spending so many years behind it.
My friend told me I should approach getting in front of the camera in a different light. This is about letting people get a sneak peek into my world. It is not about showing you everything going on at every second of my life, it’s about letting you get a glimpse inside my world…the world that my friends see.
What is Changing?
What I do not share are the ball gowns, the couture handbags, the clothes and the jewelry. That is what is going to change. There is that side of me, but there is also the creative side with crafts, the books I am reading, the fun ‘paper products’ I buy (I love beautiful paper products), and the new outfits I come up with mixing up hi-lo ends.
Just yesterday, we were discussing a look I was going to try next: socks with sandals. As I was perusing Net-a-Porter, I came across a pair of Miu Mius I loved. It wasn’t just the Miu Mius. Net-a-Porter paired the Miu Mius with two outfits I loved. The whole look alone (each one) was about $10,000. In that moment, I was like…I bet I can find something very similar at ASOS.
I completed a similar look, plus purchased two pairs of socks and two pairs of the identical Miu Miu shoes for a total of $280. My friend got a good laugh out of that. She was absolutely impressed.
To define the way I dress, it’s not always designer labels from head to toe. I can go into any store and make something work with the collection I already have. I have the couture items that make up the hi-end, but I also have the everyday items that make up the lo-end.
My friend was so impressed with the look I created, she told me that’s what I should do next on the site. I should show people how I mix and match hi-lo end pieces or how I take a look that I really like and get the entire look for a much better price. Oftentimes, I can even find the same designer and the same item for a much cheaper price.
This is the side of me my friends see and believe I should share with the site. From the new handbag every week to the new looks I’ve put together, this is the glimpse they want me to share, especially the fun crafty stuff that they got me addicted to.
They also want me to start talking about life at 40 and the changes I made, including sharing my beauty and clothing finds, because that’s what girls like to read. I will be in front of the camera more often, not behind it all of the time. I will share the things I’m doing and working on more often, because simply put…it is kind of cool.
My summer is coming to an end and with that, the social calendar picks up. It is nice to take the summer off and just focus on me, thinking over what I want out of life and the positive changes I want to make for myself.
You will see a lot of changes coming up on the site and on social media as I share my 40s with all of you. To put it simply, I am being more daring.
Growing up on a farm, my mother used to can everything she could. She learned to do this when we were living in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia. Our neighbor always made pickled okra and pickled green tomatoes. I would sit in her house, eating jar after jar. I was obsessed with it.
Eventually, the neighbor reached out to my mom and started to share her recipes. I will admit there were more misses than there were hits. The only thing she did get right was the pickled okra. While there are many friends and family that will say it is her salsa that was the hit, I have to disagree, because I was always adding extra vinegar and salt to her salsa. My brother, now he makes a mean salsa that he refuses to give me the recipe for.
This summer, I decided to start canning and freezing the summer’s bounty. I’ve pinned so many canning recipes and ‘how to’s’ because there is a science to canning and preserving food. The quick way to canning (and to avoid the water bath science) is to put the food into a jar, close the lid and put it into the refrigerator. That’s how I’ve started out this summer’s preserving. I’ve put everything into the refrigerator.
Starting Off Easy With Pickled Eggs and Sausages
I started off simple. I ordered a large jar and made pickled eggs and sausages. The linked recipe is a cajun version. I decided to not add the spice, but added garlic and ginger instead. I put all the ingredients into the jar, closed the lid and put it into the refrigerator. The result?
The next morning, I pulled one sausage and one egg from the jar, made some toast and sat down to some excellent eats. It was so filling, I wasn’t hungry again until lunch.
Pickled eggs and sausages is a simple way to start off learning how to preserve and to quick pickle. You can do a variety of things with pickled eggs. Eat it with Ramen soup, make egg salad (for an extra kick), and Deviled eggs. The egg salad has been a huge hit in my home.
Confident that I could do this canning bit, I decided to focus on fruits and vegetables that I love. I decided that I’m not going to make a bunch of jams (because I stocked up on jams when Food Emporium had a sale on my favorite brand). I was going to focus on preserving food in a way that will help with my every day kitchen. In other words, I would only can, freeze and preserve as if I was creating my own pantry from scratch.
I had read from Aimée at Simple Bites that she had treated herself to a box of Meyer lemons! I love lemons. I thought that would be the best gift to give to myself for my 40th birthday, so I went to the site where she purchased her lemons, only to find out their harvest was done for the year, but they did recommend a few of their farm friends.
I found Birch-Hill Organics through Lemon Ladies Orchard. I ordered 10 pounds of lemons on Tuesday. They went out and picked the lemons from the trees. On Wednesday, I came home to a 12 pound box of lemons (they added a couple of extra pounds as a bonus). Considering I’m on the other side of the country, talk about service! Ordered it on a Tuesday, they went out and picked the bushel, I got it the very next day.
So what does one do with 12 pounds of lemons?
Simple Bites offers a few suggestions (including how to’s and recipes). Here are a few extras I’ve done this past week:
Lemon preserves for Moroccan and French recipes. Simplest recipe ever to preserve (see Simple Bites link above).
Grate lemon rinds for recipes. Place in plastic bag and freeze.
Juice the lemons into ice trays, freeze. Keep lemon juice ice cubes in a freezer bag, use when you need lemon juice.
Take leftover grated rinds, remove pulp (use pulp for recipes, like cobblers, etc.), place rinds in a jar, cover in vinegar. After two weeks, you can make a simple organic all-purpose cleaner.
Leftover lemons you don’t know what to do with? Put them in a gallon sized freezer bag and freeze the whole thing. Take out to defrost when you know you’ll need to use them.
I want you to note one important thing about the above…you’re not wasting any of the lemons. You are using the entire lemon somehow. You are making every part of the lemon go the extra mile. Between food recipes, cleaning solutions and beauty products you can create, that 12 pound box of lemons can go the extra mile…every single part of the lemon. [See my Pinterest Boardfor additional lemon uses and recipes.]
Like I said above, I wanted to make sure that I used the lemons the exact way I use lemons now. I didn’t want to make lemon curd or some other strange lemon recipe that I will never use. I wanted to make sure I only used the lemons for things that I already use lemons for. That is the art of creating the pantry. Don’t create recipes that you’ll never use again. Preserve the produce in a way that you know you’ll use them over the next year.
For those rushing to get your box of Meyer lemons, just FYI, I was lucky to get the box. Meyer lemon season is in the fall and winter. The fact they still had some in June…the owner said that these were mature and end of the season fruit. So you can put off purchasing a box until the fall/winter months, maybe even the spring, to preserve.
I Did What With Mangoes?
Other produce I’ve purchased so far this summer and started preserving include mangoes, tomatoes, herbs, and cucumbers.
People don’t generally think of preserving mangoes. Mangoes were at the top of my list because I love pickled mangoes, an Asian snack. I have had a problem finding them in Chinatown, so I decided to make my own. It’s a simple recipe. I bought two boxes of mangoes from a street vendor. He made me buy the box as is. I couldn’t switch the produce around to just green mangoes. He made me buy the mix of overly ripe mangoes along with the green mangoes.
When I got the mangoes home, I separated the overly ripe ones from the green ones. I peeled all of the ripe ones, took all of the meat, placed it in a blender and pureed it. I froze some of it into ice cubes (for an interesting twist to lemonade), and kept the rest in a jar in the refrigerator to add to smoothies and baking recipes.
For the green mangoes, I made six pint jars of pickled mango, and put the rest into an apple mango cobbler.
What about the peels? Well, they made my garbage smell so much nicer. I assume it will do the same with garbage disposals. You can pickle the peels, put in smoothies, make mango chips, zest it for salads and even make mango extract. The peels are probably the best part of the mango…as far as nutrients go. BUT only go the extra mile with the peels if they are organic. If they are not organic, it is better to be safe than sorry. Toss the peels if they’re not organic.
How to Preserve Your Herbs
When I buy fresh mint or basil, I always end up having to toss a bunch because they went bad. These days, if I don’t use all of the herbs within 5 days, I freeze them.
Just put the leaves in an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze. Keep them in a freezer bag after they’ve turned into ice cubes. Toss into recipes, drinks, etc. when you need them. My favorite is putting mint ice cubes in with my lemonade. Yum!
Stop Wasting Your Food
This past week, I was watching the HBO Documentary “How to Let Go of the World and Love All Things Climate Can’t Change” and it really made me think of how I could be better about my own carbon footprint.
One thing that I’ve noticed a lot is how much food I waste. When I eat out, there is always more food than I can eat. I usually get a to go box to give to the first homeless person I see. But at home…that’s a different story.
Each week, I noticed more and more spoiled food that I had to toss. I started thinking about what I can do to stop this waste. So I decided to become more proactive with how I use the food in my kitchen. It starts with careful planning and learning about all of the different uses for the produce I bring home.
There are certain tools I have found that help me.
ICE TRAY – I use this ice tray. It’s king sized so you can pack a lot of herbs into it. It’s also great for when you want to make ice for cocktails. A lot of the high end restaurants use these trays to create giant sized ice cubes to go with your drink.
JARS – For jars, I like to get the wide mouth jars, because they are easier to use when you are spooning the food into the jars. I like to keep jars in various sizes in the house so that as you preserve throughout the months, you can grab a jar and put your favorite marinara sauce, pie fillings, lemon rinds, etc. into the jar. Quart. Pint. Jelly Jars.
CANNING EQUIPMENT – This set includes everything you need for doing water baths.
FREEZER BAGS – I use whatever is on sale that says “FREEZER BAG” on it. I generally buy the gallon sized freezer bags in bulk.
If canning for shelf life (and not the refrigerator), I highly recommend using recipes that are focused on using the water baths. They are a little more complex than just putting it in the refrigerator. Make sure to do plenty of research on how to do water baths. Start by finding a canning recipe you want to make and then follow their instructions. [You can find my Canning Pinterest Board HERE.]
Preserve As You Go
You could spend all day trying to preserve all of the produce you purchased or you can preserve as you go.
Take for instance, marinara sauce. Make a little extra when you are making the sauce and preserve the rest. That’s one bottle of marinara sauce down. Continue to make a little extra with the ingredients you purchase to make sure you have a pantry full of preserved food for the next year. This will not only save money in the winter months, but it will also help you create your own stockpile of food. It comes in handy during an emergency.
For Home Cooks That Love to Cook
One thing I have realized in this process of preserving food is that all cooks need to do this. You know what ingredients you use often and which ingredients you have to look all over for when you want to make a recipe. I can never find lemon preserves when I want to make a Southern French recipe or a Moroccan tagine. Ends up, I could just preserve them myself. It only takes a jar, a bunch of lemons and sea salt (with no iodine). After five weeks, they’re ready. Why not prepare for those recipes when the lemons are in season?
Why buy marinara sauce in the winter when you can make batches of it over the summer when tomatoes are still in season? Why spend a lot of money on herbs in the winter when you can grow them at home or freeze them in ice cubes when they are in season?
You know what you use the most of in your kitchen. When the produce is in season, buy as much as you’ll need for the year and start preserving them. Dice tomatoes. Pickle eggs. Preserve apple slices. Preserve all those ingredients you know are hard to find during the year. You’ll find that they’re a lot easier to make and preserve than running all over God’s green Earth to find it (and then spend an arm and a leg for it).
Stay away from recipes that ‘look good’ that you want to try. Focus on creating a pantry you can use all year long. Don’t bother making batches of stuff that you won’t even use. This is about stopping the waste and focusing on using all the food you bring home throughout the year.
You can freeze, can and dehydrate produce. Make it a habit of doing this every time you bring food home from the grocery store or farmer’s market. Make it a habit of preserving the produce right off the bat. It will save you so much money in the long run because you are not wasting the food. You’re just saving it for a much later date.
The Sriracha Pressels (Retail: $1.29) are so good. They’re like eating toasted bagel chips.
Pacifica is one of my favorite cosmetic companies. I’m a big fan of their Brazilian Mango Grapefruit perfume. I’ve never tried deodorant wipes before, but I think it would be great to keep at the office for those ‘just in case’ days when I forget to put deodorant on in the morning, due to lack of coffee stimulating my brain. (Retail: $9)
The deodorant wipes come in three scents. The one pictured above is currently out of stock on their site.
The Sisters of Los Angeles have created a cute “Cheers” Gold Bottle Opener that would be great to add to your bar cart. (Retail: $12)
For your beach needs to freshen up your sunscreen/makeup, the Knock Knock compact is perfect to take to the beach with you. (Retail: $10)
I can’t wait to play Ridley’s Games Room “Who Am I?” Quiz the next time I have guests staying over. This is a perfect game for a night in from being tourists in the big city. I’m going to also order the Movie Buff and Sing it Back card games. Those games can be a lot of fun around the holidays. (Retail: $5.50 -$11.00)
This Born on the 4th NCLA Nail Lacquer is my favorite. I love all of the sparkles and glitter in the polish. I don’t normally wear polish, but I plan on wearing this. (Retail: $16)
How You Can Subscribe
Like what you saw in this box? Well, you can buy each item individually or become a Popsugar Must Have subscriber and get a box of curated items that are new to the market (and will be a conversation piece among bloggers and fashionistas everywhere) valued at over $100 for $39.95/month (+ tax). The cheaper option is definitely to become a subscriber.
I’ve been a subscriber for a few years now and Popsugar Must Have is definitely my favorite subscription box. They lead the pack in deciding which products will be the next “IT” thing on the market. I used to give away 3/4 of the box, but this past year, I found that I keep all of the items now. They have really upped their game by sending out qualitative products that I can find at a lot of the places I already shop.
All of my friends have the same lament. They hate spending the weekends cleaning the house all day long. They’d rather be out on the weekends enjoying their time with friends and family. But instead, they’re stuck in the house cleaning on the weekends.
One woman told me she outsourced her cleaning and has a maid come in every other week to help clean the house. She just can’t fathom wasting another Saturday cleaning when she could be out meeting her friends for Mexican food and a nice cold drink.
Another friend has some health issues, so she can’t drag a load of laundry to the laundromat, let alone fold the laundry with the arthritis in her hands. She’s been trying to outsource it to a laundry delivery service, but she’s had no luck finding one. Now her dirty clothes are piling up. She has to keep ordering new clothes all of the time because she doesn’t have any clean clothes to wear. Don’t get her started on the rest of her apartment…
We all have busy lives. We go to work. We have after work activities with friends or family. We’re absolutely exhausted by the time we get home. The thought of making dinner, cleaning house, etc. after a long day at work is asking way too much. So how does a person get everything done?
A few years ago, I came across an article by a woman who does 100 chores a day. She assigns her kids 10-25 chores a day (depending on their age). This may seem like a crazy notion, but the way she broke it down actually made doing daily chores a lot simpler. It only takes 20-35 minutes of your time a day. Sound crazy? I thought it was until I saw the difference doing 100 chores a day made on my home and it didn’t take a lot of time to do.
The way 100 chores works is this…for each dish you wash, that’s one chore a piece. For each dish you put away, that’s one chore. For each piece of junk mail you throw away when you get home, that’s one chore a piece. You see how easy that is to rack up 100 chores in no time?
I start counting chores the moment I wake up. Here’s how my cleanup routine generally looks:
Feed 2 cats, clean 2 bowls. (4 chores)
Make the bed. (1 chore)
Consolidate trash. (3 chores)
Clean out litter box. (1 chore)
Consolidate litter trash with other trash. (1 chore)
Take out trash. (2 chores)
Take out paper recyclables. (1-2 chores)
Put dirty clothes in laundry bag. (5 chores)
By the time I leave in the morning, I’ve done between 20-25 chores. That makes it a lot easier when I get home to finish up.
Take off shoes, put them away. (2 chores)
Put coat away. (1 chore)
Put jewelry/work clothes away. (5-8 chores)
Feed 2 cats, clean 2 bowls. (4 chores)
Throw out junk mail. (2-5 chores)
Wash dishes. (6-40 chores).
Put dishes away. (8-25 chores)
Prep lunch for next day (4-5 chores)
And so on…
This is daily tidying up. When I get to the last 20 chores, I usually have to be inventive and focus on something that doesn’t fall under the daily chores.
I keep a list of items that need to be done and go through that list to find ONE big chore that takes a little longer to do (like clean the oven). You can create your own list by going through each room of your home and taking some time to sit down in each room. Write down each item that needs to be done. This is the list you are going to refer to for the next month as you try to tackle 100 chores a day.
Sure, there are days that I get home at 11:30PM and doing chores isn’t on my list of things to do. I just want to go to bed. On days when I know I’m going to be out late, I try to tackle the majority of the chores in the morning. Whatever is leftover from the day, gets put over to the next day. Maybe I’ll get 91 chores done that day. That means I have to do 109 chores the next day.
Don’t take too much advantage of this leeway. You don’t want to have 125 chores and then 150 chores and then 300 chores. That’s sabotaging your efforts. Make sure you do at the minimum 85 chores a day if you’re going to push a few chores over to the next day. I don’t recommend pushing any chores over to the next day, but I know how it is…you pass out before you finish those last few chores and completely forget about it until the next morning. When I do that, I get up and immediately do those chores I missed the day before, before I get started on the 100 for the day. [Trust me on this, you don’t want to cheat yourself and end up having to do too many chores every day. Do the 100 a day, leaving those extreme instances of pushing chores to the next day to the absolute minimum. Don’t make it a habit.]
On the weekends, I try to do all 100 chores first thing in the morning so I can have the rest of the day to do other things. I try to do a few more of the big chores on the weekends.
Outsourcing. I do outsource the chore that takes up the most time for me…LAUNDRY. It used to take whole afternoons just to wash, dry and fold laundry. I got my Sundays back by outsourcing my laundry to a local cleaner that picks up and drops off my laundry every other week. It costs a little bit more than if I did my laundry myself, but the time I get back is worth the extra cost. Everything arrives folded in the Kon Mari method. All I have to do is put it away (and I don’t count this towards my 100 chores).
If there are certain tasks that take too long to do, consider outsourcing it. If you hire a maid service or a lawn care service, consider having them do the more difficult or nuisance tasks that you can’t take care of yourself. Leave the easier chores for your daily 100 chores. Leave the nitty gritty stuff for the people you hire. That way, you are making the best of the service and of your time.
Get kids in on the task. One of the boys I was with this weekend was lamenting to his mother that she is working them like a slave. All of these chores he has to do (like washing the windows) was like slave labor. She told him that this was his way of paying for his phone, and all of the data he uses on the phone. I chimed in and said, “Actually, all of those chores are designed to be a life lesson. You need to know how to do these things when you are an adult. This is your mom’s way of teaching how to do things for when you are an adult.” His mom agreed, and that quieted him up.
I told him that until he can outsource those chores (like maybe pay his brother to do it for him), he’s stuck with learning this lesson. [Knowing the tightwad that he is, he’s not going to pay anyone to do anything for him.]
If you want to start teaching your kids life lessons on how to clean and take care of their future homes, start off small. For little ones, have them pick up and put their toys away. Start off with a small number (like 5). Slowly work up to more chores as they get older.
Don’t ever think that kids shouldn’t do chores or help around the house. It is your responsibility to prepare them for adulthood. They are going to need to know how to do laundry, wash dishes, iron their clothes, etc. They need to learn to put their things away. They may hate it, but you can make it fun.
Kon Mari as you go. I keep a piece of paper that I carry with me all the time. It says, “Have Fewer, But Better Things.” The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to take care of. After obtaining so much stuff over the last 12 years to build a home, I all of a sudden discovered I had way too much stuff. It was so much, I was overwhelmed. I found that I spent way too much time taking care of my stuff, that I didn’t have the time to do the things I wanted to with my life.
I started to Kon Mari everything (i.e the Japanese Art of Decluttering). I made a huge dent in my first run. I donated over 20 bags worth of stuff. I am now in maintenance mode, because I know I can still do better and pare down even more. I am constantly going through my things and asking myself if these items bring me joy. I only want to keep the things that bring me joy. My goal is to be more of a minimalist so I have less things to take care of. It will make tidying up so much simpler to do.
I have found that in doing 100 chores a day, I really don’t like having a lot of stuff to take care of. I am constantly going through what I have and getting rid of things. I’m starting to see the value in the things I have invested in. It has also helped me be a far better shopper in that I know only to purchase quality, so I only have to buy it once, not several versions of the same product in order to get it right.
So as you go through your regular cleaning, always ask yourself if this item you are cleaning brings you joy. If it doesn’t, or you have no real use for it, let it go. Or you can do like I do…donate it because you just don’t like taking care of it anymore.
In Summary. Doing 100 chores a day can be fun. When I get home, I start tidying up the second I walk in. I try to complete the 100 chores for the day before I sit down to have dinner and catch up on a show. I do my best not to go over 100 chores a day. I want to leave something for the next day to do.
You’ll find that at the beginning, it may be overwhelming. There’s so much to do, and you’re only doing 100 chores a day. But keep at it. The daily chores start to become less and less, so you have to find other chores to do around the house. There is always something! Pretty soon, your whole house will look nice and clean like those houses you see in magazines and on Pinterest and Instagram.
Keep a list of chores that need to be done around the house, including those big chores. Involve the entire family. While the adults do 100 chores each, the kids can do their own number (depending on their age). Make out a list of things that need to be done around the house and assign a big chore for each person each day, along with the regular daily chores. You are trying to instill clean habits for everyone in the family. Have everyone start their chores as soon as they get home during the weekday, and first thing in the morning on the weekends. The sooner they’re done, the sooner they can play, watch TV, or relax for the evening.
100 chores shouldn’t take you all night to do. It takes me between 20-45 minutes. Just putting your things away as soon as you get home counts. Each sock, each shoe, each piece of jewelry…they all count as a chore a piece. While I always consider that the easy ‘cheat’ chores, some people consider it a necessity in keeping a clean home. Some people prefer to not lay things about and immediately put things where they belong to save on time, clutter and a mess that later has to be cleaned up. Not all people are hard wired to think that way. You have to train yourself to think that way. Until then…consider it your cheat chore to count towards your 100.
Pretty soon you’ll find that tidying up your home is simple and easy to do. You’ll be on your way to having a more perfect and clean home.
Want a simpler, more beautiful way to create qualitative storage boxes? Well, I did. I have been saving up sturdy shoe boxes to create storage in my office, but I needed the right paper to wrap the boxes in.
I headed to the new Paper Source in Rockefeller Center and picked up a few sheets of gift wrap paper. The key to picking out paper in a sea of many beautiful choices, is to select sturdy paper, not the thin paper.
Make sure the colors match so you don’t have a hodgepodge of different colors that don’t match your decor. Make sure to stay within the color scheme (or use complimentary colors) of the room where the boxes will be placed.
You can see that I chose colors in mint green, turquoise and gold, with an offset pattern of black/white (because black/white stripes with any print outfit seems to go well, apply that idea to home decor as well). The patterns don’t necessarily have to match, but the colors should.
One note in doing this project, I don’t recommend using just any kind of gift wrap paper. I purchased the gift wrap sheets, as well as a tube of gift wrap paper (to be more economical). There is a major difference! The gift wrap sheets wrapped around the boxes perfectly, making it easy to assemble. The gift wrap paper from the tube ended up being a complete disaster! I had to pull and re-pull the paper. It bunched up in places it shouldn’t have. It was much more flimsy to work with and you could definitely see that this paper was made for wrapping gifts, and did not work well for projects. It was meant to be ripped up, not to have lasting power. [Keep that in mind while shopping for paper.]
As for the amount of paper you will need for each box, as you can see in the first photo (and below), I used two different types of paper. That was because I didn’t have enough paper and didn’t realize it until I had cut the paper for the lid. One sheet fits a thin shoe box like the one pictured above (with a little bit of paper leftover). You’ll need two sheets for regular sized shoe boxes.
As for tape, I used both regular tape and Paper Source’s Super Tacky Tape. I highly recommend using this super tape. It is so simple to put on and it really adheres the paper to the box, especially when you’re working with glitter paper. The ladies at Paper Source swear by this tape, and I can completely understand why. It is a no fuss double-sided tape that works really well. Once you go with their Super Tacky Tape, you’ll never go back to any other double-sided tape.
Measure the paper to the lid, making sure you have up to an extra inch of paper to tuck into each side of the lid (depending on the size of your box). Cut the paper.
Wind the super tacky tape around the inside of the lid (about 1/4-half an inch from the top). Remove the film on the tape.
Wrap the paper around the box like you would as if you were wrapping a gift.
Tuck the extra paper in over the lid on all sides and secure it to the tacky tape already in place.
If there are any open pockets on the outside of the box that needs to be secured, use the tacky tape to secure the paper to the paper (reminder, this is double-sided tape, so you will secure from the inside of the paper, not the outside).
Secure the paper inside the lid with regular tape (this also helps prevent the paper from tearing when you close the box). Also, make sure to cover up any super tape that may be sticking out from under the paper with regular tape. USE ONLY REGULAR TAPE ON THE INSIDE, NOT ON THE OUTSIDE.
Repeat the steps above for the box.
After completing, write down what the contents are on a label and secure it to the box. Voila! You are done!
NOTE: The reason why you should use the gift wrap sheets – when you wrap the lid and the box, you won’t need to use tape on the outside because it wraps around the box perfectly. You will only use tape on the outside for those rare instances when you need to secure an open pocket (using the double-sided super tape). There should be NO TAPE seen on the outside of the box. Leave the tape for the inside!
I couldn’t believe how nicely the boxes turned out using the Paper Source gift wrap sheets. I was more amazed at how smoothly the paper just wrapped around the boxes and required so little tape (to no tape) on the outside of the box. I could tell the difference in using their regular gift wrap paper vs. the specialty gift wrap. It’s a difference of catastrophe vs. ease and perfection.
A friend of mine said she’s going to try to do this same method with magazine holders. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
What I love about Paper Source is that it is a great place for perfectionists who aim to learn more about crafting and perfect their projects with qualitative products. They’re not too expensive. I love that they don’t just sell everything under the moon for crafters. They sell perfect, qualitative products. Why waste your money trying to save on making the project when you can invest in the right materials from the get go and do the project once and it turn out beautifully? You have less fails when you focus on buying qualitative from the get go.
For those who are challenging yourself to read more, I wanted to share with you a few of the books I’ve read this past week.
(3 / 5)
1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. With the trailers coming out for the new Tim Burton movie, this story looked absolutely fascinating, so I ordered the first three books. I finished the first one in the series last week.
I will say the first book was a little boring. I think he spent too much time setting the story up in this first book, so I’m hoping that the next book really gets into the adventure.
I do like what the author is doing as far as these characters are concerned. Consider the first book the background that lays the groundwork to the adventure. The second book (so far) is starting the kids off on that journey.
(5 / 5)
2. 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses: Less Stress. More Savings. As part of a new series I’m starting here, I wanted to do some research and get some new tips on being frugal. I always like to stay abreast of what people are saying about personal finance and how to be more frugal. While I incorporate a lot of the author’s tips, I did learn a few things along the way.
I really liked her “Household Wish List” suggestion. I also tend to splurge during Christmas. While having a Christmas Savings Account is nothing new, it made me think that it’s not such a bad idea to buy Christmas gifts throughout the year, but also create a savings account for all of those big ticket purchases.
It’s definitely worth a read and FREE to read if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.
(5 / 5)
3. Six Dollar Family. What I love about this book is how it got its name. The author started off with $6 to her name, living in a homeless shelter to now on her way to her first 6-figures. A lot of her tips are drastic, but I was just so amazed. I loved how she incorporated her DIY for medicine and toiletries in the book. She takes the all natural approach to those DIYs, which end up working out so much better than the expensive stuff at the store.
I downloaded all of the apps she suggested + more. The way I look at life is that you need to bleed every single dollar…make sure you get as much as you can out of every single dollar you spend. Who knew that I could get double the rewards back if I use the Ibotta app and Checkout 51 to report my shopping receipts? You didn’t know either? That’s what I’m saying about this book!
She took being frugal to a whole new level. I learned so much and even bookmarked her website: Six Dollar Family.
A definite must read for those looking to save money and be even more frugal than you already are.
(5 / 5)
4. Resthaven. I have not put up my review of this book on Amazon.com yet for a reason. It’s because the detailed review will come from this site first. I also want to read the other book by Erik Therme before doing an interview with him (yes, that was a teaser). Note that I gave this book a 5/5 stars. Why? I got to the very last sentence of the book, flipped the page and did a “Whaaaaaatttt?”
The next page was the author page. I flipped back to the last page and re-read the last two lines and did a “Whaaaatttt?” Then I did an “OMG. I need the next book!”
Yeah…that’s how good this book was. I definitely recommend this. It’s a thriller and mystery all wrapped up into one. Loved it.
I am absolutely addicted to spiralized noodles! A friend of mine had become obsessed with zucchini noodles and wanted me to try it out, so she ordered a spiralizer for me and she started my latest food addiction.
Who needs all of those carbs from pasta noodles? Not me. Who wants to spend over half an hour just trying to cook a pot of noodles? Not me.
Spiralized noodles are easy to make and very addictive. They’re also so much healthier for you than regular semolina pasta. All you need is a spiralizer, your choice vegetable (zucchini and squash are the most popular), and a sauce of your choice.
I love spaghetti with meat sauce, but I don’t like that gut feeling you get afterward. Substituting the semolina spaghetti with zucchini noodles has become one of my favorite dishes.
The great thing about zucchini noodles is that you don’t have to boil them very long. Just bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the zucchini noodles (sometimes called ‘zoodles’), cook for 2 minutes (keep your eye on the clock), then remove the noodles from the water. Add the sauce of your choice on top and you’ve got an incredibly tasty meal.
After going Zoodles, I’m never going back to regular pasta. I ended up donating all of my regular pasta to the food bank.
I have been trying out other versions of spiralized noodles and recipes. I just recently made a Thai peanut sauce version with spiralized Korean squash. I didn’t even need to boil the noodles. I just tossed it into the stir fry and in a minute, it was done.
Trust me…you really won’t miss regular noodles.
The great thing about spiralizing vegetables is that you’re not only sneaking in more vegetables into your diet and cutting out the bad carbs, but you’re also consciously changing the way you’re eating. If you can substitute the bad stuff with the good stuff and the meal tastes amazing, why stick to the bad stuff?
My friend gave me the Pro Cuisine Spiralizer, which comes in a bundle that includes several accessories, as well as a little cookbook with recipes. It’s an inexpensive tool to add to your kitchen arsenal (currently $12.99 at Amazon.com). It’s perfect if it’s just you, or two people. If you have a family, you’re better off going with the bigger spiralizer for a few dollars more. The crank on the bigger spiralizer makes it easier to spiralize more vegetables. The smaller one is better if you’re only spiralizing one or two vegetables at a time.
I love my spiralizer. It’s one of the best gifts I’ve received in a long time,, and one of the best new tools in my kitchen.
As part of a new series this year, I wanted to share with you how I am decluttering my life. This is a five month series. For those who want to take the steps to begin decluttering your life, count on this being a six month life plan to commit to this year. You’ll need the extra month to truly put this plan into effect.
One of my resolutions is to be more of a minimalist. To have fewer, but better things. I started to embrace this change back in November. So where does one begin?
I decided I needed a change after realizing that the reason why I was not able to do the things I wanted to do was because I found myself so overwhelmed at home doing project after project, cleaning one room after the other with no end in sight, that I was spending most of my time cleaning rather than doing the things I wanted to do. I made excuses on why I couldn’t do X, Y and Z because I just felt so overwhelmed. I was drowning and I needed to find a way out of it.
My closet was overflowing. Clothes were piled up sky high on the dresser. I was running out of space to put my clothes, so I ordered a new wardrobe unit, thinking that would get a handle on things. I ordered storage boxes, thinking I could get some sort of handle on the off-season clothing.
No matter what I did, I couldn’t get a handle on my wardrobe.
I ordered Marie Kondo’s book and absorbed it within a couple of days. I set forth and started to put her methods to work.
So it begins…
As you read through the book, make sure you have a journal.
Ask yourself how you envision your perfect home. Is it light and airy? Is it calm and peaceful? Feminine? Modern? Clutter-free? Everything in its place?
When you answer this question, make sure you are very descriptive with your vision.
Now that you have an ideal of what you ultimately want, let’s start decluttering by going through your wardrobe. Have trash bags and boxes handy. For the items you are tossing, you’re going to need three categories: TRASH, TO DONATE, and TO SELL.
Marie Kondo suggests that you go through each item by category. Tops are all in one pile. Pants in another pile. Coats in another pile. And so on.
After you have separated each item into their respective categories, go through each pile by touching each item, looking at each item and deciding if this item brings you joy. If not, throw it into either one of the three toss piles. It’s easy to decipher if an item brings you joy or not. If it does not bring you joy, it goes. If it doesn’t fit well, it goes. If it’s too tight, toss it. If it’s too big, toss it. If it’s got a hole in it or it’s pilling, toss it. If you don’t feel good wearing it, toss it. Only keep the items that make you feel confident in yourself when you wear it.
When you toss, items like underwear, seriously damaged clothing, etc. should be thrown in the trash. Items that someone can use again, but are not re-sellable, should go in the donate pile. For those that you can resell, place in the sell pile.
These are the basic rules to decluttering your wardrobe.
Does it bring you joy? Keep only the things that fit well. Keep only the things that make you feel amazing. Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t make you feel great when you wear it. Underwear that rides up, make sure you toss it. Do not downgrade items to your ‘lazy days’ pile. Nothing should be downgraded to keep.
I have been guilty of downgrading clothing to the lazy days pile. Those drawers couldn’t hold all of the downgraded tshirts, tank tops and pants anymore. One thing Marie Kondo said in her book that really stuck with me is that in our well-groomed dream homes, we should also be well-groomed to show respect to ourselves. We shouldn’t downgrade ourselves to wearing tossed clothing that wasn’t good enough to wear out. We should upgrade our lounge wear so that we still look amazing when we answer the surprise knock at the door.
That doesn’t mean sacrificing your comfort. There’s plenty of lounge wear out there that will not only look amazing on you, but you will feel completely comfortable in.
Since going through your entire wardrobe might be a little daunting at first, give yourself a week to go through each category of your wardrobe. Start with the off-season clothing first. That, in itself, can be a category.
If you are short on time, and you separate your clothing by drawers already, make it a point to go through one drawer at a time. I started off by going through my main closet first, then each night after that for a month, I went through each drawer, box, cabinet, etc. by category.
I ended up donating five large bags of clothing, two large bags went into the trash. Another 3 boxes were for resale.
If you are like most fashionistas, you may have a certain type of collection, whether they be purses, shoes, belts, sunglasses, etc. Leave going through your collection for the last category to declutter in your wardrobe. You want to start with items that you are not 100% attached to.
For me, I have a purse collection. I have 2 large bookshelves, along with another two three cubby cases filled with handbags. I saved this collection for the very last when I decluttered my wardrobe for one simple reason…it’s difficult to part with a collection you take pride in.
I went through every single bag and tried to decide whether they gave me joy or not. By the time I was done, I had pared my collection down to 75 hand bags. This may seem like a lot, but to me, it isn’t. This is a collection, after all. Kondo says that you need to keep paring down until you get to that point where you feel like what you have is exactly the amount you feel happy with. After all, the whole point in the Japanese art of decluttering is to surround yourself with the things that bring you joy. Handbags bring me joy. 75 bags were the right amount. 76 bags was too much. 75 is the right fit for me.
I ended up donating two garbage bags worth of handbags. I ended up having one trash bag of handbags that I could resell.
By the time I was done, I was happy with the amount I kept and with the ones I decided to keep. I did buy two new handbags after I decluttered. I asked myself what was missing from this collection. I was missing Chanel from the collection, so I ordered two new Chanel handbags (one for the evening, one for the day) to complete the collection. I have a few bags designed like the Celine Luggage bags. I decided that this year, I would make it a goal tied in with my resolution to read 52+ books this year, the reward would be a Celine Luggage bag. I wanted to make it a goal instead of just going out and buying it. I wanted to earn that bag this year, because I’m trying to rid myself of a bad habit of buying what I want when I want it. That mentality is what got me buried underneath so much stuff I was drowning in it. This was my first step in creating change.
After I complete my goal, I’ll buy the bag and then part with all the other bags that are similar to the Luggage. It will be an upgrade of a design I love, so there’s no reason to keep the downgraded versions. It will also help keep me under that 75 bag maximum.
The reason why I mention how I’m adding to the colleciton is because in the art of decluttering and using Marie Kondo’s method called “KonMari” (a play on her name), you are trying to minimize everything. You’re not trying to declutter and then go back to those bad habits again. I know that in the past when I decluttered my wardrobe, I’d end up looking at it and going, “Oh, I’m missing X.” So I’d go out and buy three times more stuff than what I just got rid of. It’s a dangerous cycle. KonMari has been the only thing I’ve come across that doesn’t just declutter but it stops you from falling back into those traps again.
When I decluttered my wardrobe there are a few things that happened that I didn’t expect. I had pared everything down to only those items that were perfect. They fit perfectly, looked great, and made me feel amazing when I wore them. I thought…ok, this is great. I decluttered.
What I didn’t expect is that I would finally discover my wardrobe. I now know everything that is in it. I can now play around with so many different looks based on what I kept. I actually have fun with everything knowing that no matter what I pull out of my closet, it fits perfectly. I don’t have to wear a tunic with these pants because they are too tight in the leg. I don’t have to wear a long shirt because the pants made my middle look funny. I don’t have to fix or hide the blemish in the outfit I was wearing because there were no blemishes. Every single item was perfect…and it looked perfect on me.
I found my style after sifting through so many articles of clothing. I discovered that I prefer wide leg trousers to regular trousers. I realized that I preferred to keep blouses instead of just random tops. I ended up curating a wardrobe from all of the mismatches mixed in with the rest of the wardrobe. I found my own true style.
I have a lot of things that I do that require different types of garments. From red carpet premieres to hockey games to hockey practice to the office to the opera. I need something different for each event I go to. Because of that, I know I need a wardrobe from casual wear to formal wear and everything in between. I was able to cut my wardrobe down to those items that fit perfectly every time, no matter what I had to attend. I can now find exactly what I’m looking for instead of freaking out when I have a red carpet event and need to find the perfect outfit. I own every single item I could possibly need for any life event that comes up. That’s what I was able to create…a curated wardrobe for my life and everything that happens in it.
It took Marie Kondo’s book to help me find my own style by getting rid of all the wrong things and keeping only the right things. I am not buried under my closet anymore. Everything is in its place.
I have to say that it is fun knowing what you have and trying to invent so many different looks based on the items you keep. This is the kind of wardrobe that should last a very long time. There’s no need to add anymore of the wrong things to it. Knowing what it is that you want out of your wardrobe also helps in deciding what to add and what not to add. You’re not going to want to go on a shopping spree anymore. Why? Because in this process you’ll learn that the less things you have, the less things you have to take care of. That’s the kind of life you want to live. You want to have fewer, but better things.
You’ll only keep the things that bring you joy. If it doesn’t fit right, that won’t bring you joy. If it doesn’t look good on you, it’s not going to bring you joy. If the handbag is a fake, it’s not going to bring you joy because you know the real thing would make you feel better. If the shoes hurt your feet, how is that bringing you joy? Resolve to only wear the shoes you love that actually feel good on your feet.
When you go to put things back in your closet/drawers:
Learn to fold. When you put things away in the drawer, everything should be standing up. There are plenty of Youtube videos that can show you how to fold.
Use all of the same kind of hangers. Upgrade and buy thin hangers all in the same color. You can get a set of 50 for $19.99 at Kohl’s all in the same color. I bought 4 boxes over the years. Since I started decluttering, I’m only using 2 boxes.
When you put things back, the longest items should go on the left, the shortest items to the right. Also, have the darkest items to lightest items going from left (dark) to right (light). This actually makes your closet look clean and neat. (i.e. PERFECT)
For those who are new to taking care of your clothes, I learned how to do things the Martha Stewart way a long time ago. It’s 15 years later and I’ve adopted a new method. I outsource. What I mean by that is that I have a local laundromat pick up, wash, fold, hang, and deliver my clothes. This costs me about $30-$40 every two weeks, but I find that it’s worthwhile for a few reasons: 1) I get 4-6 hours back in my life to do what I want on the weekends, 2) when they return the clothes, it’s already folded exactly the way they need to be folded in the KonMari fashion, 3) they actually wash the clothes better than I ever could, and 4) they actually iron a lot of my clothes.
Sure, there are those items that are dry cleaned and mended. Those go out to the dry cleaners to take care of for me.
The reason why I don’t mind outsourcing like this is because I’m not buying clothes anymore. I’d rather professionals take care to launder, clean and iron them (I hate ironing, I’d rather wear it wrinkled) so I don’t have to. It gives me back so much precious time I was wasting on taking care of my things. Now I have someone else doing it for me. All I have to do is just put the items away when they arrive.
This is a wardrobe I’ve curated and invested in. I don’t want to throw out anymore clothes just because I don’t like them or because they don’t fit. I want to take care of the items that fit perfectly. If someone can do a better job than I can in its care, I’d rather they do it for me. Outsourcing has given me back so much of my life to do the things I want to do, instead of wasting all this time trying to take care of them.
Decluttering your wardrobe is the first step in getting out from under the life that you are drowning in. It helps you not only find and keep the things that bring you joy, but it also helps you discover your own style. Do you know how much time you save each morning knowing that every single item you pull out of your closet will fit perfectly? Do you know how much time and money you save when you know what exactly is in your closet? If you know you already have the perfect white blouse, why do you need to buy another?
The KonMari method has helped me curate the PERFECT wardrobe for myself. I find that I don’t need to buy any new clothes because I have everything I need and it is perfect. If I add anything to it, I know exactly what would complement it to make it even better. Gone are the days of buying a lot of different things only to find a few things that would bring me joy (if any). Now that I know what my style is and what I love, I know exactly what to buy when I buy. I know what the right thing is to add. I don’t need 10 different things of the same item. I know exactly what I’m looking for and will only buy that item.
If it wasn’t for the KonMari method, I never would have discovered my own style. I now have a wardrobe that brings me joy. I’ve scaled it down to a place where I’m happy with what I have. I don’t feel like I’m drowning or overwhelmed. I have exactly what I need. Sure, I still go through and question if I can make the wardrobe better. If I can reduce the wardrobe even more, I will. I want to make sure this is exactly the wardrobe I want.
I have a goal of calling the donation center once a month to do a pickup of all of the items I’m getting rid of. I make sure that each week, I throw out the things I don’t need. Recyclables are thrown out weekly instead of monthly. I make sure to always declutter one spot in the house each day.
The KonMari process isn’t a one weekend thing. It takes six months to complete this project, no matter what size home you live in. Keep that journal handy, because the one thing I never expected were the emotions you go through when you declutter. I found that when I’d take a resale item to the post office or take a bag of items in to sell, I had some emotional conflict. It’s good to write down what’s going on in your journal so that you can better understand how you got to be so bogged down with so much stuff.
Writing things down in the journal will help you work through why you are cluttering up your life. Writing it down is a way to see the monster hidden within you so that you can face it, and then make the decision you’d rather be happy. Happiness isn’t in the accumulation of things. Happiness is having fewer, but better things…the things that bring you joy. Your goal is to surround yourself in the things that bring you joy. You have to work through each and every object to discover what brings you joy. Once you discover what brings you joy, you’re only going to want to keep that joy in your life.