Monthly Archives: November 2012

the closet cleanse

I love clothes and all the accessories that go with, but I have a small closet (think coat closet here).  Its a problem.  When I first tried to fit all my stuff in my current closet, I would catch myself daydreaming of the walk-in I had in my Chicago studio apartment (it was almost the biggest room!)  Back in reality, I scored one of the hall closets all to myself and use it for my dresses, skirts, sweaters and heels, which helps a lot.  I employed perfect sized drawers, crates and baskets to help me fit everything else in the closet in my room, but over time I noticed only about half my clothes were in the closet at any given time.  I had clothes in the bedroom closet, in the hall closet, all over my floor, in bins and baskets, in the laundry and in the garage.  Finally, one day, while trying not to drown in a sea of scarves, I threw out a lifeline to myself…”I have too many clothes!  Time to take control.

And so I began the process of really owning what I own.  I feel that being in the right frame of mind to do this is really important.  I was ready to simplify my wardrobe.  A few months before, I may not have been able to part with things or organize as well.


1. SORT
I started by making three different bins, one for stuff I wanted to keep for sure, one for things I could give up and the very important third bin that I could figure out later.  I made myself get rid of at least one of everything…one coat, one sweater, one dress, one t-shirt, etc. ,etc.  After going through everything, I bagged up the ‘give’ clothes right away.   Then, I focused on the ‘not sure’ collection.  I laid everything out and picked out one favorite to go back into ‘keep’.  Feeling good.  Next, I looked through the pile for things that I would wear if it was ‘improved’.  For example, there was a pair of jeans I love but never wear because of a missing button and a light blue puffy vest that I want to wear, but don’t because of the color.  A new button and some dye will hopefully fix those problems, so they get set aside in a new pile.   From there, I picked my least favorite thing and throw it in the ‘give’ bag.  The rest goes through individual decisions and quite a bit goes back to ‘keep’ so that I don’t stress myself out.    Then I repeat the process with all my accessories (hats, tights, shoes, scarves, etc…).

2. ORGANIZE
As I looked at the size of the bag of stuff that I would no longer have to fit in my closet, I felt energized and relieved and rode that clothing cleanse high straight into organization.
I put everything from the ‘keep’ bin in piles…shirts, pants, socks, bags, workout clothing, etc.  Then I pulled out all my baskets, crates, hangers and bins and got to work.  I love using baskets and small fabric bins for hats, socks and tights and purses.  For scarves and belts, I love a multitude of hooks that hang over doors and stay out of the way of everything else.  My favorite thing is a fabric bin with a lid, which I store things in, but also use as a chair, a computer stand or to reach the baskets up top in the closet.  I was so excited when everything I had kept fit in my closet(s) with a tiny bit of room to breathe.  Sigh of relief.

3. DEAL WITH THE FIXERS
Once all my keepers were happily put away, I still had a ‘give’ bag and a ‘fix’ pile to deal with.  I looked through the fixers and made a list of things I might need to fix them.  I actually got rid of one more thing in doing this.  Then I put them all in a box and made a deadline.  If I don’t deal with these by the end of the year, I never will and we will then say our goodbyes.

4. GIVE, SELL AND DONATE
One of the best parts of this whole process was finally giving the clothes away.  If something I dont need anymore will make somebody else happy, I’m happy.  The first thing I did was let some friends go through my pile of stuff.  Then I looked through one more time to see if there was anything I might be able to sell and actually picked out a few things.  There are lots of ways to sell, such as garage sales or ebay and for me this time around it was a consignment store.  I took in seven items, they took four and gave me $19.  Deal.  That money went to a savings for something special.  Finally, I took what was left and donated it.  There are lots of options here as well and I like doing a little research because I like to give to a womens shelter or local project if possible.  This time around, I was able to donate to a rummage sale to benefit a local outdoor school that one of the kids I watch attends.

5. A FEW EXTRA IDEAS
Don’t forget to do the laundry! 
This process will be easiest if everything is clean and available to sort.

Do some detailed sorting.  I found that I had more trouble getting rid of any skirts and dresses, so I went a little more intense in the sorting.  I laid everything out and arranged by color and/or category.  There was a gray skirt I had been contemplating that was then easier to get rid of because I saw that I had two other gray skirts.  It also became more easy to see that I didn’t need five floral spaghetti strap summer dresses!

Prepare for the next round.  I had seen a great idea on pinterest for hanging clothes and decided to use it.  Basically, you hang up all your hangers backwards and then after something is worn, they get turned around.  After a year or so, you can see easily if anything wasn’t used.  And if you dont wear something over the course of a year, do you really need it!?

Try stuff on.  For me, trying things on helped to make the keep or give decision.  If something was far too tight, it went away.  On the other hand, I found some things that were far cuter than I remembered and made sure they were easy for me to find in the future.  Also, I know it is easy to think that something will fit once you lose those 10 pounds, but be careful about hanging on to things that aren’t being used.  I kept a few of my favorite ‘tight’ things as a fun reward, but tossed the rest.  If you lose enough weight to fit into things you can’t come close to fitting now, I say you deserve a shopping trip for new stuff! 🙂

Make a shopping list.  Once I had a fuller grasp of what was in my closet, I made a list of a few things that might help my wardrobe out.  For me, this included a colorful cardigan, a versatile black skirt and a neutral lacy top among a couple other things.  That way, when I’m shopping I can buy what I need and can build more outfits with instead of dropping money on something I already have!

It took time and made a mess for a little while, but it was worth the clean closet (and mind) in the end and I wish you the happiest of sorting, organizing and giving!

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cranberry jelly

So, in honor of Thankgiving, I thought I would share a recipe I recently discovered.
I have been going crazy over fall inspired food lately, making pumpkin bars and cookies, soup with squash, and apple everything, so it was about time for some cranberries!  I had purchased some at farmers market and was looking for ideas, so when I found this simple cranberry jelly option as the holidays were fast approaching, I knew it was the perfect time to try it.  It also didn’t hurt that it used apple cider, which I love and had just made a batch of!
I cut the original recipe in half because I only wanted to make a jar or so to start, so feel free to double (or triple or whatever)!  Also, just as a random fyi (something I learned along the way), a pound of cranberries equals about 4 cups.

Ingredients:
2 cups whole cranberries
3/4 cup sugar (I used organic)
1/4 cup apple cider
lemon juice (optional)

Directions:
1. Combine cranberries, sugar and cider and simmer until the cranberries burst.  (they will make a fun ‘pop’ sound)
2. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir.
3. Once it has cooled a minute or two, do a taste test.  If it is too tart, add a bit more sugar and return to the heat for a minute.  If it is too sweet, add a little lemon juice.
4. Once the flavor is right, press the mixture through a food mill or sieve to separate the skins.
5. Place the remaining jelly into a clean jar.
6. Enjoy!!!

I found this amount to make about a small jar of jelly.  My understanding is that this recipe holds up fine to a full hot water canning process, so if you’ve got a lot of cranberries on your hand you can make lots and save it for later!  For me, I loved something simple and quick that I could just stick in the fridge and enjoy now.

The jelly made a proud appearance on the Thanksgiving dinner table and has also been delicious in cream cheese and turkey sandwiches! Yum!

found original recipe on food in jars

1000

Something awesome is happening on my photo blog, daily perspective, right now.  I just posted my 1000th photo a week ago!  To celebrate, I am giving away free prints of photos from the blog and you get to choose which one you want!!   Find out more on the blog and tell me your favorite before the holiday ends!!! 🙂

sometimes?

try almost all the time

making change

Meet CJ.  Yes, CJ stands for change jar and yes, I named it.

I was given this handy change-saver for Christmas last year and I have to say its one of the best investments I’ve ever (not actually) made! (gift)  It provides such an easy and fun way to save all that spare change floating around.  I wasn’t sure how long it would take to fill or how much money that would be, but I am excited to say that it now holds over $150!  I am looking forward to cashing it in for something special soon and highly recommend CJ as a way to organize and save.

Here are a few quick tips for ways to collect more change:

Designate a place for your change. It doesn’t have to be a fancy counting jar like CJ.  Any old jar or bowl or bucket will do.

Create a goal and/or reward.  If you know that you are saving your pennies for a night out, a massage or a $100 shopping trip, you are simply more likely to save the coins.

Use Cash.  Obviously, the more you use cash instead of cards, the more change there will be.  It is also a great way to budget and limit overspending.

Round it Up.  Loose change manages to find its way everywhere, from pockets and purses to washing machines, car consoles and counter tops.  If you see it, touch it or hear it, gather it up and put it in its designated place.  The occasional floor cleaning cushion turning change hunt can be a fun activity as well.

Happy change saving!

p.s. If you are interested in this specific product, find it here on Amazon.  There are lots of other counting change jar options out there as well.

mountain sound

thinking. longing. loving this today.

mirror lake

Recently (ok so it was two months ago), I was staying up near Mount Hood and had planned a late morning hike.  After doing a little research and getting a couple recommendations, Mirror Lake seemed to be the perfect fit.  The trailhead is easy to find just along the southside of Highway 26 between Rhododendron and Government Camp.  A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead and can be purchased nearby. 

The trail travels about 1.5 miles uphill at a steady pace (total hike is about 3 miles roundtrip with a 750 ft. elevation gain).  It is not too strenuous, but is a good workout.  Most of the hike meanders through forest and over a small stream here and there, but also offers some great views of the forest.
Once the lake is neared, the trail can be followed in either direction to loop around it.  Mirror lake itself does not disappoint.  It is a serene little lake with a wonderful view of Mt. Hood.  There are several campsites along the trail and a few areas of “beach” to stop for lunch, rock-skipping or reflection.


I am so glad that I stopped for this hike.  It was a beautiful day and I had a wonderful time exploring, taking photos, reflecting and soaking up some Oregon sunshine.   I will definitely go back!

homemade honey nutmeg mask

As I’ve mentioned before, my sensitive skin and I are on the search for some great homemade beauty products.  When I saw a post about this acne mask, I knew I had to give it a try.
All three of the ingredients in this mask help to heal the skin.  Nutmeg has long been known and used as an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties, making it incredibly healing.  Honey is a natural moisturizer and is packed with antioxidants.  It heals, protects and rejuvinates.  Milk is naturally soothing and lactic acid is also a great exfoliator.

I was a little nervous about this one because I had read some reviews in which people complained of their skin burning (most likely due to nutmeg sensitivity), so I tested a small area before I smothered it all over my face.  Green light.  The mask was simple to make and easy to apply.  I have to admit that while it was on, I felt nothing.  I wasn’t sure that it was actually doing anything, but once I took it off my skin just felt happy.  I look forward to using this again!

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
1 Tablespoon Ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Milk (recommend whole organic)

1. Combine ingredients.
2. Spread mixture generously on face and neck and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
3. Wash mask off with water.


found recipe on huda beauty

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