Lifestyle

Organization nation

I remember hearing a motivational speaker a few years ago say something along the lines of: “If there’s clutter in your physical life, there’s sure to be clutter in your mental life.” They definitely put it more eloquently, but I think you can catch my drift. It’s pretty accurate if you think about it. When you’re surrounded by things that are messy and out of order, it’s hard to stay on track and easy to get distracted by those same things. I remember when I moved into my current apartment. It was my first time living completely on my own. I had total reign over my surroundings. I could put the pots in this cabinet or that one. I could put the table in the kitchen or the living room. I could buy the white plates or the blue ones. At first, I was excited. That excitement quickly turned into being overwhelmed.

I was taking dishes out of my dishwasher one day, when a thought dawned on me. If I took just an extra minute or two in the moment, and was  a bit more mindful of my belongings, I would never really have to do a huge apartment cleaning. If things had a place and I always took time to put them back where they lived, I wouldn’t be stressed out faced with a piled of those things. They would already be taken care of. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am far from perfect when it comes to cleaning up. Sometimes I leave dishes in the sink for days, or don’t make my bed. Shhhh! Time occasionally gets away from me and, yeah, once in a blue I’m a little lazy. But, the fact is that it’s important to take time to tidy up your surroundings so that you can breathe a little easier and live in a space you love.

This post comes at a pretty perfect time. I’m currently on spring break – yeah, I know, the life of a school employee – and spring is always a good time to get some cleaning done. Also, I’m moving in a little over a month and I’d like it to go as smoothly as possible. That’s where being organized is key. So, even though I’m kind of already an organized person at heart, I enlisted the help of my good friend Stephanie to give me some tips on other ways to make my life a little more streamlined.

Stephanie owns an organizing business, Optimally Organized, and is amazing when it comes to getting things done quickly and efficiently. She loves going into people’s homes and putting systems in place that help fit each clients lifestyle. I always try to channel my inner Stephanie when getting things in order. The following three tips she gave me recently are little ways to make your space less of a headache and more of a place to rest your head easy!

 

Tip #1: The old hanger trick

Stephanie suggests looking through your closet and turning all of your hangers to face the opposite direction. Next step? Forget about them for 6-12 months! Literally just go about your normal clothes hanging routine. Take out whatever clothes you’re going to wear and hang them back up when they’re clean, making sure to rehang them the correct way this time.

At the end of the 6-12 month time period, assess the situation. Do you still have hangers hanging the wrong way? That means you haven’t worn those clothes (the hanger would be turned back to the normal position otherwise). Toss them in a bag and donate your old clothes to a cause, such as Goodwill. If you haven’t worn them in nearly a year, chances are you won’t miss them!

 

Tip #2: Basket o’randos

You’ve seen it before. You’re sitting in your living room minding your own business when you notice that you have a random piece of mail on the table and then out of the corner of your eye you see a t-shirt on the floor and on the other side of the room is a bobby pin and hair tie and then your mind is going crazy with the Jaws theme song swimming through your head.

For these very reasons, Stephanie recommends keeping a small basket or container of some sort in each room of your house. Every time you notice something in the room that shouldn’t be, just throw it in the basket. At the end of the week, look through the basket, toss the junk and put away the rest. Your clutter-induced anxiety will thank you. And, hopefully the theme song that’ll be playing in your head next time you’re sitting on your couch is from the Game of Thrones episode playing on your TV and not the doom and gloom in your head.

 

Tip #3: Be your own mail carrier

 As soon as you get your mail everyday, be proactive. Head to your kitchen counter/dining room table/wherever you’ve designated as your mail sorting spot and sort it ASAP. Make a few piles based on your need, but some ideas are:

  • Junk
  • Coupons
  • Bills

Or

  • Toss
  • Save for a few weeks then toss
  • Take care of this week
  • Take care of today

Feeling a little less overwhelmed is totally worth taking a bit of extra time. I hope that those tips helped you – I know that I’m about to put them into action!

If you have some heavy duty organizational needs, I definitely recommend getting in touch with Stephanie and seeing if her services would suit your needs. Spring cleaning, we are coming for you. Allergies and all…
XOXO

Amanda

Lifestyle

Health awakening

I apologize for this post in advance. For some reason, I wasn’t as inspired as I usually am. That’s why it took me so long to write. I’m going through the motions, but my usual wit and charm is pretty lacking. Sowwies! Enjoy anyway 🙂

I’m pretty sure that if you ask most people in my life if I’m a healthy person or not, they would say yes. And, in general, I am. I work out consistently, I try to get my veggies in (salads for lunch, a sensible dinner…I sound like a Jenny Craig commercial…), and I am obsessed with going to doctors. Name a type of doctor and I’ve probably been to them. Some may call me a hypochondriac. I just like to say I’m proactive. Has a nicer ring to it.

Anyway, what they (you?) don’t see, are my dirty little secrets. I’m a girl who likes to snack after dinner (chocolate. any and everything chocolate. please.), adds sugar and creamer to her morning coffee (I can’t help it!), and hasn’t been switching up her workout routine nearly as much as she should be (shame on me). I try to find the balance in everything in life, and nutrition and working out is really no different. I don’t necessarily live to eat – I would never classify myself a “foodie” – but I don’t like depriving myself either. This is where I often run into some problems.

So, last week I tried to change up my routine a bit. Trick my body. Test it. Make it happy. And hurt. And then happy again. I have a few tips I’ve learned over the week…and years, really…that I’d like to share if you’re joining me on this quest.

  • Tip #1: Start sssllllooooowwwww        

    When you’re looking to be a little healthier, I think that it’s good to start slow. The crazier and more intense the goals, the harder they are to achieve and the bigger the blow when you veer off course. So, what I did was look at the areas I knew I could improve upon just by making slight tweaks.

    The first change I made was to my morning routine. I am fueled by coffee. When I don’t have it, I’m a headachey mess. I’m grumpy and tired and just not a happy camper. But, I know that my large (or sometimes extra large) coffee with creamer and sugar is not the healthiest option for someone looking to improve their nutritional intake. So, I switched things up a little bit.

As I was browsing Trader Joe’s for some fresh ideas, as I often like to do, I found cold brew coffee concentrate and got an idea. I could keep my caffeine but reduce my sugar and dairy intake by blending it with unsweetened almond milk and some cacao that I had recently purchased to give it a little bit of a mocha kick. I brought my ingredients home and tried it out. The first take went well, but it was missing the sweetness I crave from my morning coffee, so I added a packet of stevia and a touch of vanilla extract. Sure it isn’t as tasty as my usual sugary hazelenutty brew, but it gets the job done! *a little note: a few days into doing this, my blender broke and I went a little crazy. I’m currently in the process of getting a new one, so I followed my own advice and I’m not beating myself up over it!

  • Tip #2: Learn what your body needs

    As I get older, I’m really learning more about my body and what it craves. Like, I’m tuning in to the way I feel when I need more protein or carbs or the feeling of needing water versus being hungry. It’s really kind of interesting and cool to grow in body awareness. One of the things I was noticing lately, was that my stomach tends to bloat really easily after eating. It’s like as soon as I ate lunch, I would have a bowling ball in my stomach for the rest of the day.  gutinstinct.png

    After seeing a bunch of advertisements all over social media for Hum Nutrition, I decided to look into their products. I was going to write up a few paragraphs on the supplements I’ve been using and their affects so far, but then I decided that would be better left for another blog post soooo you’ll have to wait in suspense to know all about my experience. I will tell you, however, that I’m obsessed with their probiotic, Gut Instinct, and the supplements Flatter Me and Daily Cleanse. I feel like I’m doing something good for my body when I take them, and my stomach is noticeably flatter, so I’ll definitely keep this up. I encourage you all to check out Hum Nutrition’s website and take their quiz that helps you figure out which supplements will be best for you.

    And if you decide to order, use my referral code! 10F03E

  • Tip #3: Keep it guessing                       

    Working out is my favorite form of therapy. When I find a “soulmate workout” I tend to stick with it, which is exactly what happened to me with barre3.  I love the way it makes me feel and the fact that it’s low impact so much that I’ve put other forms of exercise on the back burner. I know that if you want to see a change in your body, that you need to change up your workout routine every now and then. Makes sense…change = change!

    I’m slowly starting to mix it up and, last week week, enlisted the help of hot yoga and running to give my bod a little run for its money.  I’m not the best runner, but I downloaded an app called “Running for Weight Loss” and it’s pretty amazing. You can choose between several different training plans, like 5K, for example. Then, you just put on your headphones and hit “Go” and the app tells you exactly when to walk, run and sprint. It’s really helpful for someone like me who will turn around and go back after 10 minutes unless someone is pushing me along.

    Hot yoga is also a great way to stretch and strengthen your body. I find that I can get deeper physically and mentally when I do yoga in a heated room. I definitely think that any fitness plan should incorporate some form of stretching and mindfulness, and yoga is that for me.

 

Along with the things I’ve done above, I’ve also stopped drinking during the week (not as hard  as I originally thought it would be) and have steered clear of the chocolate bowl at work. Nobody’s perfect, though. And I haven’t been an angel. But when I have a little setback, I don’t let it ruin my day. And I don’t let that mean I give up completely. Life is meant to be lived and food is meant to be eaten. 

Lifestyle

Spring awakening (no, not the musical, but how amaze is it though?)

Spring is a time when the weather gets warmer, the days get longer and there’s just a little more happiness in the air. You guys can feel it, can’t you? I know I’m not making up the fact that things seem a tiny bit sweeter once March 20th hits. And, even though we had a monster of a snow storm last week here in Jersey, I think we can officially say goodbye to winter (please don’t kill me if I just jinxed us!).

With my newfound giddiness, I’ve decided to try and make this spring one of the most productive and happy I’ve had in awhile. And one of the best ways I know to be both of those things is not to stuff my face with thin mints while watching every Leonardo DiCaprio movie (although that does sound pretty sweet). Oh no. It is much more lame and adultish than that. When I want to be productive, I make lists. 

Errands I have to run? There’s a list for that. 

People I have to catch up with? There’s usually a mental note for that. 

Appointments I need to schedule? I love to have Siri remind me of those…even though sometimes she swears I say: “Siri, call the fire department,” when I really said: “Siri, remind me to call the gynecologist.”

I don’t think I’m alone in my obsession with writing down my to-do’s. Fess up, you know you have a notepad on your fridge and another in your purse (and maybe one in your car and on your work desk and at your best friend’s house…) and the LIST GOES ON! A list of lists?! I’m going a little crazy. So, anyway, let’s make a list together, shall we? What do you vow to do this season? Here’s mine.

This spring, I vow to…

1. Get a little healthier – and no, reading about the latest superfood craze is not a substitute for cooking up some quinoa burgers

2. Get a little more organized – I’m not the best  at this, so I’m going to be enlisting the help of my organizationally savvy friend, and hopefully she can share some tips with us

3. Get a little more outdoorsy – I’m sick of being inside! Get me to a mountain, STAT! 

4. Get a little more educated – I have about 20 books to read and am severely behind on my podcast listening. Let’s get nerdy.

5. Get a little more creative – Keeping up with my current trend of letting my creative juices flow will be a big priority. Can’t. Stop. Thinking. About. Soap. Scents.

6. Get a little more mindful – I’m slowly becoming a lover of all things holistic, but I still struggle with meditation. I’m ready to get down and dirty with it. 

And, because I’m all about accountability lately, I’m going to use this blog to talk about my very own spring awakening.

For the next six weeks, I’ll be making small changes everyday that I’m hoping will have a pretty big impact. I’ll write about them each week, with the first week focusing on health. I’m going to encourage everyone reading this to do the same. Spring is a time for growth (and allergies), and I think it’s a perfect excuse to mix it up.

Let’s do this!
XOXO

Amanda