Posts tagged ‘home’

December 9, 2013

Letting Go of the Clutter

snowy day

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

This was definitely the theme last weekend here in Dallas, and what a cozy weekend it was! Here in the south, it’s not often that a winter ice storm shuts down a giant city 3 weeks before Christmas, but that’s exactly what happened. So, I happily nestled in with my family to enjoy our respite from the bustle of life. I love being home, and I really love being home with no plans. So, I decided to make good use of this “found” time to finally go through some boxes that had been languishing in the corner of our guest room for almost 10 years (how is that even possible?!?).

So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

out of clutter

Do you find it hard to get rid of things, like I do? Have you ever wondered why it’s such a challenge? I realize that things are simply things, but for me, I suspect that my difficulty in clearing the slate has to do with my preoccupation with both the past and future. I regard the past with quite a bit of sentimentality, and while nostalgia can be good in small doses, one can be ensnared quite easily in yesteryear. On the flip side, I hang on to way too many papers, coupons, notes, articles from magazines, etc. in the very, very off chance I might need them in the future. Silly, right? What all this says to me is that I’ve been spending far too much time living somewhere else besides the present. And life moves quickly enough without me looking the other way all the time.

Moment of Clarity

To get through my clutter purge, I mainlined an epic number of What Not to Wear episodes from my TiVo while I worked, and a slow epiphany occurred. As I watched countless women emerge victorious at the end of their style transformations, I understood how these women had allowed clothes (and, by extension, their limiting beliefs about themselves) to hold them captive from living a glorious life in the present. I also realized that I had been defining myself unwittingly by my relics from the past stuffed so unceremoniously into the corner. Not surprisingly, I have my own collection of bad clothes that I am weeding through, so no judgment here, you lucky WNTW ladies!

Tips for Letting Go

i dreamed my whole house was clean

If you’ve had trouble making positive changes in your life and getting them to stick, ponder Einstein’s definition of insanity for a moment: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  So, if you want new and wonderful things in your life, stop doing what you’ve always done and try a different way already! Here are my tried-and-true tips for tackling emotionally loaded clutter and making room in your life for unexpected blessings:

1. Prioritize Your Clutter: Creating a priority list is a great, painless way to begin purging your home, office, or life, but here’s the key: you must leave the house to make this list. Go anywhere —your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, or do what John and I did—create this list when you are hundreds of miles away on vacation, far removed from the emotional pull of your home. This helps create the psychological distance you will need to make objective decisions about what goes and what stays (see Step 2).

2. Create Emotional Distance: Observe your clutter through impartial eyes, and keep your feelings about it tucked away. Are you able to make rational decisions about what to keep and what to let go of? If you are having trouble deciding how you feel, you can ask a compassionate but objective friend to help you. If you’re like me and you prefer to soldier it out on your own, create your own filter and run each item through before deciding (see Step 4). If this is too difficult, be gentle with yourself. Maybe you need to “sit” with the idea of what you want to get rid of. Give yourself time to mentally cull through the items in question without requiring immediate action. This is an amazingly effective way to cut ties gently. Heck, it only took me 10 years! J

3. Find Your Starting Place: Find one significant but doable place to start. If your home office is consuming you, don’t take on the whole room in a day. Pick one stack of boxes in a corner or one cabinet or a single drawer—you will be able to feel good about finishing something (anything!) and if after that, you feel good and are ready to handle more, you can move on to another doable cabinet.

 4. Run It Through the Filter: Some decisions about what to get rid of are easy or will become easier once you go through the previous steps. However, when you come upon something that you are having trouble with, run it through your filter: In my current life, does this item serve me? Does it belong in the life (room, wardrobe, statement) that represents me now or who I’m trying to become? Does it make me feel happy, radiant, beautiful, amazing, and powerful? If the item doesn’t fit, then it needs to go! Why in the world would you hold on to something that made you feel anything less than joyful? Important note: If your item is a cherished treasure, you don’t have to toss it. But if it doesn’t belong in your current, everyday life, you must find a place for it. Tuck it into a special memory box, along with other precious pieces, and you’ll love being able to reminisce eventually . . . after you have streamlined the rest of your closet.

Whether you decide to give away, donate, or trash the clutter in your life, now’s the time for you to claim the peace and power that comes from living mindfully and on purpose. You must make room for your life to grow abundantly into the spaces that were once piled up with stuff. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner for you and me—hold on a minute, let me just move this box out of the way . . .

Good luck!

Brooke

have nothing

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January 2, 2013

Does Your House Need to Lose a Few?

Happy New Year! I’m sure you’ve all proclaimed your resolutions by now and I’m sure many of them include losing weight, but have you ever thought about getting rid of some of the weight around the house? I’m not talking about your extra pounds, but your home’s! Yep, almost every home has some excess baggage, or is bulging at the seams in one area or another.

It’s called CLUTTER!Declutter

I know my house will be making a drastic weight change in the next several months. A cluttered home can not only be frustrating,

it can be very stressful. Decluttering your home can seem overwhelming, but by taking small steps and making a few changes and getting the whole family involved your home can stay in tip top shape!Whether you have a few drawers, cabinets, a closet, a whole room—or your entire house!—here are some great tips I found for decluttering or to create good habits to keep your home at a healthy weight!

SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY!! is one of my resolutions for this year so I absolutely loved this acticle that I found by Minimalist, Joshua Becker. I thought it would be great to share with you to tighten the belt and shed some of those unnecessary pounds that your homes may have 🙂 I can’t wait to check out his book! “Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life”  Happy decluttering!! ~ Sandy 🙂

 

“The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuff sounds attractive to many. They have considered the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions. They are ready to declutter but some get quickly tripped up by the very next question… where in the world do I begin?

Many begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated around the idea of decluttering their homes. That’s too bad. The decluttering journey doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. In fact, there are a variety of people who have come up with some pretty fun, creative ways to get started.

Consider this list of 10 creative ways to declutter your home:

1. Give yourself 5 solid minutes. Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recommends 18 different 5-minute decluttering tips. Pick one today that sounds appealing. Or better yet, pick a random number 1-18, read the specific tip, and commit 5 minutes to completing it.

2. Give away one item each day. Colleen Madsen at 365 Less Things gives away one item each day. Over the past several years, she has experienced quite a transformation simply reducing her stuff one day at a time.

3. Fill one trash bag. Early in our journey towards simplicity, one of my favorite decluttering techniques was to grab a simple large trash bag and see how quickly I could fill it. While much of what I collected was trash, this could also be used to fill a bag for Goodwill.

4. Try the Oprah Winfrey Closet Hanger Experiment. While this idea didn’t originate with Oprah, she was the one to help give it notoriety. To identify wardrobe pieces to clear out, hang all your clothes with the hangers in the reverse direction. After you wear an item, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct direction. After six months, you’ll have a clear picture of which clothes you can easily discard. This experiment could also be applied to a number of clutter areas in your home (cleaners, toys, linens, tools, hobbies and craft items).

5. Make a list. Dana Byers recommends creating a list of places/areas in your home to declutter beginning with the easiest… which doesn’t sound all that creative until she adds this note, “When you’re done with one area, STOP.” This list could be made as easy or difficult as you desire based upon what areas of your home make up the list (drawers/closets/rooms). And could easily fit into any schedule.

6. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house. On more than one occasion, this challenge actually became a quick competition between my wife and I… and your kids don’t have to be too old to participate as well.

7. Change your perspective. Unclutterer offers a powerful approach to decluttering when they offer a number of strategies to help you change your perspective and begin to notice some clutter you may have missed. Among their ideas: take photos of your house, invite over a toddler, or ask the boss to meet in your office. With all of the examples, the hope is to cause you to see your home in a new light.

8. Experiment with numbers. For example, Courtney Carver invented Project 333 to challenge people to wear only 33 articles of clothing for 3 months. If 33 articles of clothing seems too little, adjust the rules as you need by picking a new number. The important thing is to challenge yourself to live with less and see what you learn from the experiment.

9. Use your imagination. Psychology Today recommends using your imagination to help declutter objects that may seem difficult to remove. Try asking yourself unique questions like, “If I was just buying this now, how much would I pay?” These creative techniques may prove to be very helpful for some with difficulties removing unneeded clutter.

10.The Four-Box Method. As we first set out on our journey to minimalism, this was the technique most often used in our home. As I set out to declutter an area, I brought four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in every room was placed into one of the four categories. No item was passed over. Each was considered individually. Some projects took an hour… others took days or weeks. But the technique and principles remained the same.

No matter what you choose to help you get started – whether it be one of these ten or one of countless others – the goal is to take your first step with excitement behind it. There is a beautiful world of freedom and fresh breath hiding behind that clutter. How you remove it is up to you.”

December 27, 2012

The Best Household Tool for the New Year!

Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Here we are about to start a new year! I am so looking forward to 2013, there are going to be some major changes this year for me! As a single mom and home/business owner my life can be a little hectic and overwhelming at times. I will be honest with you, keeping up a superwoman status is not an easy task for me, as it seems to be for others! It can be quite the challenge at times, good thing I’m always up for a challenge! 😉 I am always on the search on how to be more organized especially when it comes to running my household! I’m sure “Getting more organized at home” is a New Year’s resolutions for a few of you! A well-organized household can save  you money and valuable time! Household management can be a full-time job in itself, especially when you do everything yourself.  I want to share with you the best tool I have found to getting my household in order! The best tool for your home is a household notebook!

276267758361346495_QRLGOySt_b A household notebook is a planner you can purchase or make yourself to help organize your home and family! It can include anything and everything to seasonal maintainance schedules for your auto and home, cleaning checklists, household budget planning, garage sale checklist, goal setting for home improvements, or family vacation planning! Now I’m sure there are several apps out there for all this, and if they work for you that is awesome! I, on the other hand, prefer a binder or book that sits out visibly and accessible to everyone in the house. This will serve as a nice constant reminder to do things in a timely manner. Also anytime there is a list involved, you can get a great sense of accomplishment by crossing things off! I keep my binder on the kitchen counter or in the basket on the coffee table. While I’m having my morning coffee I can flip through it and see what upcoming projects may be due around the house and what I need to put on my to do list for the week. This is also a great time to get my thoughts organized for future plans. It’s a way of making plans from where you left off and not having to start over the thought process, (if you’re a mom that is constantly interupted, you will appreciate this one!) Having a household binder prevents things from piling up and keeps things from getting overwhelming. Think of it as a journal for the well-being of your home.

My new cover!

My new feel good cover!

Pick a binder with a cover or design one that is fun or pleasing to look at. Another great thing about creating your own household notebook is that you can customize it just for your particular needs for you and your family’s home You can have multiple binders for different subjects or simply one with different dividers. There are so many free printable pages on the web! You can go to different sites and download what templates work best for you! Here are some great sites to get you started!

http://www.homelifesimplified.com.au/household-notebook-free-printables-round-up/
http://www.organizinghomelife.com
http://frugalliving.about.com/od/householdsavings/tp/Household_Notebook.htm

 

Time for me to prepare for my major changes, I want to transition smoothly so time to look for some new pages to add to my book! And while I’m at it I think I will add to the kids chore list and lighten Mommy’s load!! Have a Happy, Healthy New Year! from Sandy’s house 😉

December 21, 2012

Spicy Lemon Chick’n Pasta

This is Brooke here, and I’m excited to share one of my favorite recipes with you. Spicy Lemon Chick’n Pasta is an elegant entrée that you and your family (or guests) will love. It’s become a staple in my house mainly because it’s super simple and because the ingredients are usually always around my kitchen. True, it is a meatless dish (you can tell by the apparently misspelled “chick’n”), but because I use a vegetarian meat substitute, even your most adamant carnivores will be happy. Proof: My husband, John (the non-vegetarian), loves it! Ok, here’s what you need:

  • 1-1½ c. cooked Barilla PLUS® Multigrain Pasta (I like farfalle, or bowtie shape—makes me happy somehow)
  • 3-4 Morningstar Farms® Buffalo Wing chick’n nuggets or 1 Quorn™ chick’n cutlet
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Good dash of fresh-ground black pepper
  • Good dash or two of red pepper flakes
  • A few curls of Parmesan cheese (optional)

Serves 1—adjust quantities for more servings

Simple Ingredients + 10 Minutes = Magic!

Simple Ingredients + 10 Minutes = Magic!

A Word About Some Special Ingredients

  • Barilla PLUS Multigrain Pasta: This pasta is the bomb! It’s multigrain and packed with protein and omega-3’s. Actually, 1 uncooked cup of this pasta supplies 17g of protein (!), 28% of the recommended daily value of ALA-omega-3 (plant-based fatty acid), and 7g of fiber. Plus, it tastes amazing, and if you fix the whole box, you can have leftovers for days. This is great news for us busy people!
  • Chick’n: Depending on my mood, I use either Morningstar Farms Buffalo Wings or Quorn Chick’n Cutlets. The Quorn cutlets are delicious and are extremely similar to regular chicken breasts—they make a fabulous substitute in chicken salad and other dishes. I usually lean toward hot and spicy, so I used the Morningstar Buffalo Wings. These sassy little bites bring a whole other dimension to the dish. Yum!

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions. For al dente, be sure to remove from heat and rinse/strain after cooking for 10 minutes. Cook chick’n selection according to package directions. In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes together with a whisk or fork. Get out a pretty pasta bowl, add your cooked pasta and your cooked chick’n, then pour olive oil/lemon mixture over everything, and stir well. If you like, you can add some Parmesan curls or grated Parm. Enjoy and wait for the compliments!

Pretty Pasta

Pretty Pasta

Have a great weekend, and stay warm and toasty!

~Brooke

December 7, 2012

Enjoy the Holiday Rush

holiday list

Hi, Everyone! It’s Brooke here. All stressed out and nowhere to run? I hear ya! This time of year invites not only merriment and reflection but lots of obligations absent the other 11 months of the year. Decorating the house, shopping without breaking the bank, crafting and baking (if you’re so inclined), vowing that THIS year you won’t wait until the last minute to do everything . . . all the while, the calendar is shrinking relentlessly down to zero hour. Then there’s the anxiety over sending Christmas cards—you could choose not to send them this year, but then you risk the icky feeling of being quietly dropped from your friends’ card lists. So, your list of to-do’s is long but necessary. Here are a few tips to help you cope:

1. Plan Ahead: This one’s a big challenge for me, but it saves a lot of headaches and heart palpitations down the road. Decorate your house early in the season so you can 1) enjoy being surrounded by holiday cheer and 2) focus on other tasks as the season ramps up. If you’re shopping for loved ones’ lists, do like the stores do and barely let the gratitude of Thanksgiving sink in before jumping into The Holidays. Take advantage of sales early in the month, and if you want to avoid having to fight your way through crowded lines even for a latte, do some gift getting during the weekdays. Not possible for everyone, I know, but have you seen those women who seem to have everything done, presents wrapped (nicely), and treats baked for their children’s friends’ families before the first full weekend in December? That’s how they do it! Oh, and they may have made a little deal with the Dark One—I’m just speculating.

I only wish my house looked like this!

I only wish my house looked like this!

2. Savor the Season: This is my favorite part about the holiday season—enjoying it, even as I mow through my lengthy list. When we pull all the decorations and tree down from the attic, I love to put on our favorite Christmas CDs (Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and Harry Connick, Jr.’s When My Heart Finds Christmas—I love you!). Preferably I also have a delicious iced Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks as my companion. You know that song from Mary Poppins—“A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down”? I’m a big believer in that phrase when I’m doing anything onerous or involved (for example, cleaning out my closet . . . again). Just give yourself a little sparkle to help enjoy the task at hand—it’s always worked wonders for me. Also, despite the lack of checkmarks on your to-do list, take time out to drive around and look at the lights on your neighbors’ houses, or sit down and watch your favorite holiday movies as a family. Do the things that bring cheer and joy to you and your loved ones—make those cute, little bread loafs that you always dream of doing over the holidays. Go root through your winter clothes and find your favorite comfy sweater to nestle up in, even if you have to crank up the AC, like we have to do in Texas J

3. Be Good to Yourself:  This one obviously involves bits of the previous paragraph, but sometimes we are the ones that get forgotten in the mad rush of December. Taking care of yourself is more than just pampering. You are the lynchpin to your family’s progress through their lives and this season. If you run yourself ragged, then everyone’s in trouble! Be reasonable in your expectations of yourself. Learn to say “No” politely to some requests for your time and assistance—trust me, this will change your life. Just because someone wants you to something doesn’t mean you are beholden to. And it doesn’t mean you are a bad person or don’t like the requestor. It just means that you have a limited amount of time, and you need to spend it in the way that fills you up and keeps you marginally socially acceptable (and not a hermit). Say “Yes” when you can cheerfully help out, and be gracious but direct when replying “No.” You will feel so much better when you can do this. Also, despite occasional obstacles, keep up with your healthy eating and exercise. Exercise especially is a powerful stress buster that improves your mood, relaxes your crazy mind, brings more restful sleep, and keeps your body healthy and happy. It will serve you very well this season, as will mindful eating. If you keep yourself fueled throughout each day with high-quality food (lean protein, whole grains, veggies, fruit, and LOTS of water), you will not only feel amazing but also be able to cope more easily with holiday party temptations. If you’ve been on track with your nutrition, then you (and not the double chocolate cheesecake at your work party) will be in control. Go on, have a little piece! Mama needs some chocolately cheer too!

choc cheesecake

Happy Friday, and enjoy the season, ok? It’s going fast!

XOXO, Brooke

November 11, 2012

HAPPY 1ST ANNIVERSARY HEALTHY HOUSEWIVES

The cast of the Healthy Housewives

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HEALTHY HOUSEWIVES FAMILY!

Last year on 11/11/11, I launched my brand The Healthy Housewives. I am so proud to see how far we have come in 1 year. The Healthy Housewives mission is to help women live healthier lifestyle through fitness, nutrition, beauty, fashion, home, garden, and pets.

As a life coach and fitness trainer for the past 10 years, I have helped hundreds of women balance their busy lives and be in shape at the same time. Through my passion of helping other women, I was inspired to create The Healthy Housewives. I love helping women transform for the better. Everyone of of my clients and fans inspire me too. I love the synergy we have together. I think women work better in groups. I love having a great support group who you can lean on when you need it and vice versa.

I wake up everyday with the intentions of being a better person and to help build people up mentally and physically. I like to surround myself with like minded peeps too. Each and every Housewife I picked for my project had to fit the part. They had to love health & fitness as much as I do and practice it in everyday life, they had to fit the specialty I was looking for my HH team, and they had to be good honest people with good intentions on wanting to help women lead a healthier lifestyle.

From the time I started the HH brand, it has definitely changed. But changed for the better. I love the 5 women I work with. They are just as pumped about helping other women as I am. We have  ton of stuff in the works for you guys: workout DVD’s, eBooks, giveaways, clothing, eco-friendly products, and of course our Healthy Housewife of the month covergirl. This has been a hit over the course of our year. We love our HH covergirls! Amazing women with amazing stories.

Send us your story! This could be you!

We have been working hard to motivate you and give you our health tips that work for us. We are 6 different women with 6 very different healthy lifestyles. No one’s healthier lifestyle is better than the others. We do what works for us. We have 6 different body types that range from short, tall, athletic, and the model type. But regardless of our body type, we don’t make excuses, we stay in shape. All of us have different health & fitness journey’s. We are here to share them with you.

The cast of the Healthy Housewives

Our specialties:

Me-health and fitness

Shelly-beauty

Kathy-fashion

Sandy-outdoor living

Danielle-family health

Brooke-pets

We have more to offer than just that, but that is our passion.

Our brand has taken off in just 1 year (wow time flies when you are having fun!) and I am so excited to see what is to come in 2013! So, I just want to thank the HH friends, family, and fans for supporting us and sharing your stories with us. We love you all. We wouldn’t be successful without you! I can’t thank you enough for your likes, post, feedback, questions, and rants. We love it all! Keep it coming.

Love you guys!

Marzia