Soulful Sunday – Clean Something Out Today!

Use today as a fresh start to the new week & clean something out.

Choose one thing to work on today and clean it out – pick a drawer, a room, a briefcase or pocketbook, a car, mail, bills, emails, a closet. Pick something that you can complete today so that you can experience a sense of accomplishment.

Now pick something inside to clean out – negativity, resentment, envy, procrastination, fear, avoidance.

As you do your physical cleaning let your mind work on the other aspect of yourself you would like to see gone as well, let the time of cleaning be both a physical and emotional experience.

When your task is done make sure to appreciate the cleanliness, the openness, the release of stress and the sense of control. Make sure not to fill this new space – physical & emotional – will more “stuff”. Only allow items or thought that support positivity, accomplishment or a sense of order back in.

Give yourself the gift of a fresh start!

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Fabulous Fridays!

When was the last time you went on a treasure hunt?  You don’t need to sail to the Caribbean – just go through your closets. More specifically your bathroom closets, linen closets, under your bed, in shopping bags,  in plastic bins or wherever you put impulse buys and samples. 

How many hair products do you currently own? The ones you use everyday, the ones you needed to create the hairstyle you saw in a magazine, the ones you bought because your stylist used them and they would magically give you the same results, the ones you had a coupon for, the inexpensive ones you bought to be frugal and the crazy expensive ones you bought on a retail therapy bender. Now just for fun add in the samples, travel sized products and the souvenirs of every hotel you’ve ever stayed at. 

Next, take stock of your skin care cache. Again the stock pile ranges from your daily routine, the splurges that promised the miraculous results, the inexpensive products promising high end results, and samples. Move on to lotions and creams – from the layering properties of our favorite scent to the vat of store brand because we couldn’t resist the value many of us could moisturize a small nation. Speaking of scents – how many bottles, vials, towelettes, atomizers and samples do you have?  Whether you are loyal to a signature scent or spritz depending on your mood I challenge you to find at least five different options at your fingertips (at least!). 

How often did the promise of a tan to envy the spray ons sported on Dancing With The Stars motivate you to buy a self tanning product? Lotions, sprays, mousse, towelettes – in every shade from day glo orange to caramel coffee and everything in between. Don’t forget the exfoliators, moisturizers, extenders and correctors that promise to make you look evenly sun kissed. For many of us the promise just didn’t deliver, or the time involved in preparation, application and maintenance just didn’t make the bronzing worth it. Add these products to the good intentions gone bad pile.

Finally take a moment to consider your make up collection.  The go to products used daily, the professional work look, the evening look, the “going to a gala/black tie/wedding” look, the drugstore collection promising to give you the same results as the air brushed movie star in their ads, the high end collection promising to make you as hip as the tattooed, pierced sales person that convinced you the edge was only one brush stroke away. Now factor in the samples, items you bought for the beach bag/store promo and the various shades that just didn’t work in real life.  Quite a haul!!

If I were mean I would tell you to calculate the value of your personal stash, but the point here is to positively move forward and not calculate how many shoes/bags/groceries you could have bought instead.  The task here is to take stock, evaluate and take action.  The whole point is to move toward fabulousness, not wallow in the past when we didn’t know any better (or chose to ignore our wiser inner voice). Now that we have owned up to the staggering arsenal of beauty we have amassed it’s time to sort it out – honestly and brutally. 

First group, what you use everyday. These are the products that work and give you the results that make you feel best about yourself, or at least good enough to leave the house. Second group – what you use when you step it up and  really feel good about yourself. You can keep all of these things! Put them away and take stock of your supply – keep no more than one back up on hand and know that you have a system that works for you.

Now look at what remains and separate into the never used/opened pile, the gently used, sample sized and the way past expiration date group.  Ditch the last group, throw it all out and do a dance of joyful accomplishment (always celebrate small accomplishments, waiting for big ones is self defeating!). Take a look at the never opened/never used pile.  Do you know someone who swears by any of these items? Pass them on as a random act of kindness. Do you know of a woman’s shelter or of a group helping those reentering the workplace – your extras would be greatly appreciated there. You might also consider community centers or donations for the military for practical items that might be sent in care packages or be a small treat for someone relying on support right now.

Any make up you have sampled throw away – as a germaphobe I shudder at passing those items on – even to your best friend (especially to your best friend!). If what is left isn’t something that is snatched up in your communal sharing effort ask if local school or community theatre groups would be interested. Often these groups are running on a tight or non-existent budget and would greatly appreciate some free stash. You might also ask women’s shelters or groups helping women re-entering the workplace if they accept unused make up as donations – they might truly appreciate it.

Gently used items are purely to pass on among friends and family, run it by them and see if anyone else wants to give what didn’t work for you a try.  Perhaps this swapping of product could be a great way for all of you to get rid of what you don’t use and perhaps try something else at no cost.

Sample sized/travel sized items take on a life of their own in that we are saving for a future use we are sure will come – most likely it won’t!  If you don’t use that deodorant or toothpaste everyday why do you think you might want to use it on vacation or business travel? If you wouldn’t buy that shampoo at full size why is it attractive in the tiny bottle – does it just look cuter to you? Twenty q-tips in a cardboard box really aren’t necessary when you have the warehouse sized crate in your closet and zip lock bags. Finally, the lure of product in hotels is something we just can’t avoid. Often we look at them as a boon for our next trip, or a benefit owed to us for the cost of the room.  Therefore, we have collections collecting dust waiting for a trip that sadly for them will never come. These are perfect for military donations, pack them up and ship them out. Many local scouting groups or school groups organize shipments – look into it and do some good. These are also good items to donate to shelters and community centers – our family program also made up bags of sample sized basics and donated them to the pediatric hospital for parents staying overnight with their children.

This exercise takes time and will power, but holds great promise.You should now be able to look at what you did decide to keep and know what works for you and what makes you feel good. Fabulousness should be part of who you are and fit into your lifestyle seamlessly. If  your past efforts to be fabulous have resulted in  clutter, depleted cash flow and disappointment it is time to move on!



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Take Charge Tuesdays!

They say that to get something done you should always ask the busiest person – somehow they have figured out how to keep all of the plates spinning at once!  Well, as a professional plate spinner I have to be honest and let you know that all of the big things always get done – it is the small things that start to pile up!  Also, what we need to do for our work, our family and a cast of others usually gets done before we do what we should for ourselves.

 In an effort to take charge of our day to day I present Take Charge Tuesdays!  This is the day to share some tips I have picked up along the way that really do make things a bit easier – more importantly they work just as well if you fall off the wagon and then try to resume the good behavior.  Another important factor for these tips is return on investment – imagine if we could have even a percentage back on the books, systems, products and time that we have invested to become organized that never panned out.

I look for options that function as a personal assistant, that keep me on track in ways that I can truly fit into my schedule. Also, it’s key to be able to break tasks down into doable (one of my favorite made up words!) blocks of time.  If you need a whole day, or three hours, it might not get done whereas most of us can fit in fifteen minute to half hour tasks. Interestingly some of the magic of breaking down tasks for over achievers is that we habitually try to do everything at once, and try to do it all perfectly, using up the necessary free time that has to be in a day to renew body and soul. We need tasks that can motivate us from doing nothing while protecting us from doing too much. No wonder why finding things that truly work is so hard!!

One of the best home care/maintenance/holiday preparedness systems I have come across is  . I first was introduced to the “old school” version of this system when our second child was born.  I desperately needed to find a way to keep up with “chores” while still feeling that I had time to be a good mom and have time for other interests, socializing and consulting work.  I have always been a believer that the answer to all things can be found in books – hence the volume of tomes in our home (which ironically often have to be decluttered!).  Get Your Act Together by Pam Young and Peggy Jones was a gift to me, these woman shared their own path to disorganization in such an honestly refreshing way that you knew these were folks who had walked the walk. Back in the day the system was kept in a file box on index cards that you referred to each day for tasks as well as reminders to build in some rest and fun.  While I wasn’t always the most consistent follower, I can truly say that that system developed some very good habits for me that remain to this day.  The online version emails you reminders of daily tasks and the site is chock full of ways to organize just about every situation you could come across from daily upkeep to holidays to car maintenance.  The one truly stress free organized holiday season I had was the one I followed  flylady to a tee.  Others since then may not have been organized to the letter, but I certainly have retained some of the short cuts that not only save time but provide peace of mind.

Flylady has many resources on line and on that provide advice for many areas in lives that need decluttering including our perhaps not so healthy lifestyles. Some of these may provide insight or incentive to motivate you to take action.

Will this be the magic system for you? Who knows, but isn’t it worth a try to see if there isn’t some benefit you can reap from a system already in place?  I for one am not a fan of reinventing the wheel.  Do you need to purchase anything? Absolutely not, although there are many products offered on the site there is nothing that you cannot do with what you have on hand or after a quick trip to Target or Staples. Is this only for women – are you kidding??  Perhaps the site title and the logo seem directed at a target market that you don’t see yourself in – who cares if it works???? 

Take charge today – just remember to do it in fifteen minute intervals!!






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Fabulous Fridays!

What does it mean to YOU to be fabulous?  Is it what you wear, what you do, who you do it with??  I think it’s who you ARE in all of the ways you express it when you are at your very best. 

We all know when we are at our best – we walk a little taller, enjoy socializing, show a strong self-confidence and give attitude in all of the best possible ways. We also should be honest enough with ourselves to know when we are just phoning it in – sweats, pony tail, baseball cap, flip flops, over sized tees – you know what your incognito crutches are! Those are fine to have every once in awhile, but when they start to become the norm and we convince ourselves that it doesn’t matter because “I am only running errands” or “I won’t see anyone I know” it severely limits your fabulousness. Every Friday I’ll share some tips to help you put your best and brightest forward – don’t think that it will require a big investment of time and money, you will be surprised at how much fabulousness you can mine from what you already own.

Today’s Tip = an investment of $00.00!!

Your first step to fabuousness, or becoming even more fabulous than you already are, clean out your closets!!  Not exactly the most original tip you have ever heard, but I want to tell you exactly what you will be getting rid of:  anything with tears or holes, anything stained, anything more than two sizes smaller or larger than what you are wearing right now, anything that is only “for in the house”, anything that was a gift you know you will never wear but you feel guilty about giving away.

Next make an effort to come to terms with what you are “saving for good” – many of us were raised by depression babies who were so appreciative of having nice things that those things got stored away except for company or holidays. There were outfits, shoes, coats and jewelry that never saw the light of day unless there was a wedding, funeral or dinner dance.  Sets of china, dishes, towels,sheets – you name it – were stored away for special occasions or for when company came.  Sadly, at least in my case, after my mother passed  I came across so many of her things I knew she would have enjoyed every day packed away for”good”. With this mindset came an implied or sometimes stated feeling that if you were using or wearing good stuff everyday you “thought who you were”.

Well you should think pretty highly about who you are, you should wear your best and set your table and decorate your home with every beautiful item you own.  If it tears or is stained, get rid of it.  If it breaks throw it out.  Live your life to the best of your ability every day – don’t wait for the day that might never come and deprive yourself of the life you were meant to live.

So for step one get rid of the things that say I am not worth the effort and break out the good stuff! See if it doesn’t lift your mood, put some attitude in your step and just make you feel better about yourself and whatever you are setting out to do. 

Next Friday – some other treasures you didn’t realize you had!!


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