She Owns It: All or Nothing Will Bite You in the Tush

All or Nothing - Organizing with a Side of FabulousA common obstacle preventing people from creating an organized and clutter free home is having an “all or nothing” mentality. Many people tell me that they’ve never gotten their homes organized because if they can’t get the whole house done at once then they just don’t bother to do anything.

OK. Let’s play with this.

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Everything You Need To Know About Getting Organized…Straight From A Super-Pro!

via

via

Feng Shui is something I’ve studied and dabbled with off and on for years. I’ve especially paid attention more since I’ve become a professional organizer. The flow of your house really does affect everything!

I don’t remember how or when, but once upon a time I stumbled upon The Tao of Dana. What I most love about Dana Claudat is that 1) she has a modern and fresh approach to feng shui. No “mirror in this corner to prevent X” or “pour this down your toilet if it’s in this sector of your house.” Very sensible advice to feng shui – much like mine is to organizing. 2) I love that she incorporates a full life approach to feng shui instead of just limiting it to your home…again, much like I do with organizing.

And she’s a foodie too! Can’t go wrong with that!

So I was SUPER-EXCITED when she asked if I’d guest post for her blog. In our piece together, she talks about how being organized will help you glow more while I contribute with the definition of clutter, common pitfalls to watch out for while getting organized, and the best steps to take to create and maintain a clutter-free and organized home.

Click here to read on!

Organizing your Kitchen for a Successful October #Unprocessed Challenge

organize-your-kitchen-for-october-unprocessedHello all! As I mentioned in my last Food Geek Friday post, I’m participating for my fourth year in the October #Unprocessed Challenge with Eating Rules. I’d love for you to join me! I also am honored to guest post for my second year in a row. This year I’m giving tips on how to get your kitchen organized so it will support you through the challenge.

Read more at Eating Rules. 

Food Geek Friday: October #Unprocessed & Beets with Kale, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese

Have you heard about October Unprocessed? If not, it’s fantastic. Put on by Eating Rules, the challenge is to eat only unprocessed foods for the month of October.

What counts as unprocessed?

Simple.

It all comes down to the “kitchen test.” Can the food be made in a reasonable home kitchen by someone of reasonable skill. So you don’t necessarily have to make it yourself. It just needs to be able to be made by actual human beings. So cheese with additives, chemicals and random unnecessary crap? Out. Homemade cheese and/or cheese without all the additional junk? In.

Booze fits into the test as well.

You can do it for a day, week or the whole month. Feel free to add in your own personal parameters. My personal parameters are that I won’t worry about it if I’m with friends, family, clients, or some other situation where I can’t control what I’m eating. When I eat out, I’ll choose a local restaurant over a chain. It’s rare that a restaurant has a fully unprocessed kitchen but if I’m at least supporting a fellow locally owned business then I can be OK with it.

The main point behind this challenge is to be more mindful of what we eat. I learn something new every year. Also, as I read labels, I notice that companies change their formulations from year to year. The first year I participated, I could only find ONE milk company that didn’t add anything to their milk. The next year, they had additives too.

This will be my 4th year to participate and my 2nd year to contribute a guest post. There are SO many fabulous and informative posts to help you along the way. The social media support is fantastic. Each October I set up a column in my TweetDeck just for #unprocessed. It’s easier to keep going when you see what everyone else is doing alongside you.  I still keep contact with people all over the country that I met through the challenge. Almost 4,000 people have signed up so far. Come join us!

So as October and the Unprocessed Challenge approach I’ll be posting recipes that fit within the guidelines. With a little planning, it’s not much more challenging to eat only unprocessed foods. Promise.

I love this combination of foods. It’s filling and gives me energy. I like it best at lunch because it gets me through the rest of the day without needing a mid-afternoon nap.

Beets with Kale, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese

#Unprocessed Beets with Kale, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous BlogIngredients

  • Beets, peeled, chopped and cooked. (I use the steamed beets from Trader Joe’s.)
  • Kale, washed and chopped
  • Quinoa, rinsed
  • Fat of choice ( I like bacon grease or coconut oil.)
  • Fresh chevre, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Any additional seasonings as desired. (I like to use Trader Joe’s 21 Salute seasoning mix.)

Directions

  1. Cook Quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Warm up fat of choice to medium high heat. Add Kale. Sautee until about half-way done.
  3. Add beets to kale. Continue cooking until beets are heated through and kale is finished cooking.
  4. Add cooked quinoa to kale and beets. Add salt, pepper, and any other seasonings.  Thoroughly mix.
  5. Transfer mixture to bowl. Top with goat cheese.

Enjoy!

She Owns It: Because Less Than Fabulous is Just Unacceptable

Less than Fabulous is UnacceptableOnce upon a time, I was an event planner. Through the years of planning galas, benefits, weddings, and everything in between, I spent a LOT of time chilling out my clients. The phrase that worked with even the most anxiety-riddled client was “Don’t worry, darling. Less than fabulous is just unacceptable.”  I said this phrase so often that when I started my events company my tagline HAD to be “Because less than fabulous is just unacceptable.”

I was reminded of this phrase the other day.

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Food Geek Friday: Summer Chowder

Fall is tricky for this Texas gal. It’s my absolute favorite season. I love the colors, flavors, and textures that come with it. Fall squashes, which I love, arrive at the farmers market. Food takes on more warming spices. Clothing gets cozier. And the best part is the cooler weather after months of searing heat.

The downfall here is that often that searing heat lasts until October-ish. It’s hard to get jazzed about knee-high boots with sweater dresses when the weather still screams flip-flops and shorts. The question becomes indulge in fall when it feels like it or when the calendar says so?

I regularly vote when the calendar says so because I want to indulge in as much fall as I can.

Roadside stand in East Texas.

Roadside stand in East Texas.

I concocted this soup about a month or so ago when we had an unseasonably cool and rainy streak. Just prior to that I had been on a yoga retreat that reminded me that even in the heat of summer, a great soup can be perfectly comforting. On my way home from the retreat I stopped at a roadside farm stand and picked up a BUNCH of just-picked veggies. When I saw it was going to rain, I knew I wanted to make some soup. This particular “recipe” was concocted when I was mid-prep for a corn chowder and ended up not having enough corn. Since I wasn’t exactly working from a recipe to begin with, it was pretty easy to toss other ingredients in for a complete dish.

Even though I originally concocted this a while ago, its combination of summer veg with a comforting fall soup makes it a fantastic option to straddle the “calendar vs. cool weather” fall in Texas dilemma.

And if you live somewhere that’s already starting to cool off and have a proper fall, consider me officially jealous.

Summer Chowder

Summer Chowder - Organizing with a SIde of Fabulous blog Ingredients

Note: Since I just tossed things together, I don’t have specific measurements. Have fun. Be bold. Use good judgement. If you make alterations that turned out great, let us know in the comments below!

  • mirepoix (diced onion, celery, and carrots. I used a pre-chopped mix from the grocery store. Sometimes called “soup starter.”)
  • chopped garlic
  • butter (or other fat of choice with high smoke point)
  • fresh corn sliced off the cob
  • potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • broth of choice (chicken or veggie are best options)
  • cream (I used regular dairy. Coconut cream or cashew cream should work as well. We’re going for the creamy texture here.)
  • dry white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in mirepoix. Cook until onions are almost translucent. Add in garlic and cook all until fragrant – a couple of minutes.
  2. Add in broth, white wine, and cream. (I tend to work with a 3-2-1 proportions – ex: 1 cup broth, 1/2 cup wine, 1/4 cup cream. Play around with it until you like the flavor.) Also add in potatoes. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are a couple of minutes from done.
  3. Add in corn and cook until finished. I only cook for a couple of minutes because I want to heat up the corn while leaving the crunch.
  4. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Variations: I topped mine with some cheddar. It’s also great with bacon. This would also be good with some cooked shrimp.

Melinda Mae and Eating the Whale One Bite at a Time

Have you heard Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Melinda Mae?” If not, here’s a quick refresher:

Melinda Mae by Shel Silverstein

click for source

Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,

Who ate a monstrous whale?

She thought she could,

She said she would,

So she started in right at the tail.

And everyone said, “You’re much too small,”

But that didn’t bother Melinda at all.

She took little bites and she chewed very slow,

Just like a good girl should…

click for source

click for source

…And in eighty-nine years she ate that whale

Because she said she would!

 

I always had an affinity for this poem. First is obvious – we’re both named Melinda. And when I was a child, I too was quite small but could pack away the food.

Not to mention how stubborn I was. If you said I couldn’t do something, it was happening.

Much like adult Melinda.

Secondary, my mother’s name is May. Sure, it’s spelled differently but I just *knew* Mr. Silverstein wrote this for me.

So why am I taking this stroll down poetry lane? I was reminded of this poem the other day. I’ve been stressing the importance of taking small, consistent steps to one of my email clients and she responded with, “You know how you eat the elephant don’t you?” In that moment, even though I hadn’t thought about it in decades, this poem leapt to the front of my brain.

If you’re facing a massive amount of  clutter (or any other daunting task), it’s OK. Just as with Melinda Mae eating a whale, when you take small, consistent steps towards getting rid of your clutter, it will happen. You will be able to make the clutter go away. You will be able to clear space and create a welcoming home that you want to spend time in. Start at the “tail” and systematically work your way through it.

And unlike Melinda Mae, it won’t take you 89 years to accomplish.

I would’ve never guessed way back then that this poem would be the perfect reference for my profession now. When facing a giant heap o’ clutter, take it one bite at a time. No matter whether others think you can do it or not, I, and Melinda Mae, know you can.

One bite at a time.

If you need a little Melinda-Mae magic in your home to help, contact us today. 

Food Geek Friday: Nectarine and Spiced Rum Poptail

I’ve been completely remiss is providing you with boozed up frozen desserts this summer! To remedy that just in time for Labor Day weekend, have a poptail using one of my favorite summer fruits.

Disclaimer: 21yo and up, only.

Prior boozy popsicles can be found here and here.

Nectarine & Spiced Rum Poptail

Ingredients:

Directions:Nectarine Popsicle wm

  1. Blend fruit and liquor until blended to desired texture.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and place in freezer. (If you don’t have popsicle molds you can use dixie cups or shot glasses.)
  3. One hour later, add popsicle sticks. Replace back into freezer until frozen. (approximately 4-6 hours.)
  4. Remove from molds and enjoy your frozen cocktail! (If poptail doesn’t release immediately, run under warm water for a few seconds and try again.)

Variation – I added in some thin slices of nectarine before putting in the freezer the first time. This added a nice textural different while eating the popsicle.

Quick Tip: Be Kind to Yourself

via Creative Commons

via Creative Commons

It’s so easy to beat ourselves up, isn’t it Sunshines?

But here it is, darling.

No. Good. Can. Come. Of. It.

Seriously.

None.

All too often I hear my clients say horrible things about themselves and the state their home has devolved into. This, of course, just comes from the overwhelm and frustration they’re feeling. Yet even when it’s said under the guise of a joke, it erodes at their energy, heart, and head no less.

We beat ourselves up and feel bad so then we don’t do anything about our home. Which makes us feel worse and beat ourselves up more. So then we continue to do nothing about our home. Which makes us feel bad. So we do even less. And beat ourselves up even more.

See the vicious cycle?

Instead of beating ourselves up over what’s happened in the past and gotten us to this current state of our home, chose to accept it and move forward. Next, chose reasons and motivations that are positive instead of fear driven. Or reframe current fear-based reasons into positive ones.

Example:

  • Fear-based: I should clean up the house so I don’t have the “oh shit” moment when someone unexpectedly comes by.
  • Positive reframe: I want to create a tidy and organized home so I can entertain friends and family in my home. Especially when it’s unexpected company.

Both of these examples are valid and common among my clients. However, the reframed one makes you feel better. It empowers you to take action. The fear-based tends to land my clients in a state of overwhelm paralysis which is the exact opposite of how we should feel when taking action in our homes.

Fear driven and negative motivation only lasts for so long. And it sure as hell doesn’t feel good along the way. Create positive reasons for why you want to let go of your clutter and organize your home. Then be kind to yourself throughout the process. It can be a slow one – especially if you have a lot of negative emotional juju to release. Being gentle on yourself will feel SOOOOOO much better through the process as well as help you make all of that hard work stick for the rest of your life!

She Owns It: Banishing “Make Do” or Why That Ugly Chair Has Got To Go.

Make Do isn't good enough, SunshineI currently hear a phrase swirling around too often. This phrase does nothing but keep people stuck in their clutter.

Make do.

You know:

  • This will make do until the right thing comes along.
  • This will just have to make do until I find the time to do it correctly.
  • This will make do because I can’t be bothered to deal with it.

Side note: “Make do” is not to be confused with “good enough.” Good enough is when it’s not perfect, but we still like it. Make do, on the other hand, is something we don’t like but force to work anyway.

The problem with make-do is that 1) we don’t like it thereby breaking the cardinal “need, use, and love” rule of organizing and 2) it occupies the space that could be taken by something we do like.

An example many of us can relate to is the “ugly chair.”

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