Taking Baby Steps to a Modern Makeover

For years I’ve resisted furniture and decorative pieces that could be considered “modern” or “contemporary”.

tableI think my aversion to this style comes from growing up in the 1980’s. Remember what modern looked like back then? Very stark, sterile and cold. Black and chrome were the ultimate combination. What was modern then is now totally outdated.

Lately I’ve been looking at my furniture and thinking, am I stuck in a style rut? Has my avoidance of modern furniture made my house look like my grandmother’s? Perhaps I could just introduce a few pieces here and there to update my look. That way I won’t feel overwhelmed by committing to a specific style, one that not everyone can pull off. Read more

Throwing a Successful Summer BBQ or Potluck

Deluxe Charcoal GrillSummer has barely begun, and I’m guessing you have already been to a number of barbecues, cookouts and potlucks. We humans sure love summer entertaining! Gathering with family and friends to gobble down good food, share stories, splash in the pool and soak in the sun is what we live for all winter long. But as we know, throwing a successful summer party is no easy task. There’s a lot to prepare, and a lot to handle once it’s over.

I’m going to address three key issues and offer up some solutions for making your barbeque or potluck easier and better than ever: Read more

Ending the Battle with the Bathroom Sink

Personal Organizer with DrawersIt would seem like having a lot of counter space in your bathroom would be a good thing. You say to yourself, a pedestal sink is so pretty but it is so much more sensible to have a counter. Until the day you don’t have a counter anymore because it has been overtaken!

It all starts out feeling harmless. A soap dispenser, a toothbrush holder, maybe a jar with cotton swabs. You congratulate yourself because you hung the hairdryer on the wall. But then the lotions and potions, your husband’s aftershave, a candle, and a few hair products arrive. Read more

Spring, Spring, Go Away… I Haven’t Tackled the Garage!

Garage Gator PlatformFor those of us who live in Southern California, spring may as well be here already. But I haven’t forgotten that most people around the world are still dealing with harsh winter climate. Believe it or not, I’m a little envious of those who are. I love winter and see it as a time to turn your energies inward and tackle the indoor projects. I really don’t want to be lured outside by the sunshine and warmth; I’m actually longing for a cold, rainy day where I can put on some records and organize my photo boxes.

So if I were to write to you about gardening or decorating your patio, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to hear about it. Read more

What to Get for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is not like any other gift-giving holiday (Christmas, Birthday, etc.) – it’s a holiday all about love. Not just romantic love for your spouse or significant other, but for your mom, your dad, your siblings, your children, your best friend. So when you’re giving a Valentine gift, you want to really pamper someone, not just give them something they need – give them something they want. Here are my Valentine’s Day gift suggestions for everyone in your life.

Driving Range Leather Caddy
Show your man you genuinely take an interest in his favorite hobby (even if that’s a stretch for you); it will make him feel understood and appreciated which equates to love. If he’s a golfer, treat him to something extra special like this Leather Driving Range Caddy. Read more

Decorate Your Winter Blues Away!

winterThis time of year can be a bummer for some of us. The holidays are over, but it’s not quite spring yet, so where does that leave us? We have our eyes on the prize – warmer weather, sunny days, outdoor activities – but the weather is not ready to permit such activities. I understand the winter blues. If you too suffer from them, then I suggest you go with the flow and focus your energy on indoor decorating. Read more

Organizing Your New Year’s Resolutions

Organized ResolutionsHappy New Year everyone! I sincerely hope that everyone is feeling happy and rested from the holidays, and optimistic about the new year which has finally arrived. I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. I watched a lot of people make them and give up so quickly, it made me wonder why I would even bother. But this year is different! It can’t hurt to set some goals this year, and whether or not I follow through with them is entirely up to me. Read more

Seasonal Storage Solutions

Overhead StorageWhat better way to start off 2013, than to get your home organized? Tackle all those projects you weren’t able to get to over the holidays. Find better ways to store and organize around your house so it’s tidier and more efficient. Put a fresh coat of paint on your walls to mark the season of new beginnings! When it comes to organizing, the biggest thing I preach is storing your seasonal items. That includes seasonal clothing, home decor, dishes, linens, shoes, etc.

To get you excited about seasonal storage, here are some of my favorite picks that cover all sorts of organizing tasks. Read more

Christmas Songs That Don’t Drive Me Crazy

MusicI gave this post that title because it’s actually the name of a Christmas playlist I created for myself. Now, if you don’t mind hearing the same Christmas songs year after year and haven’t gotten sick them, I certainly don’t mean to offend you with my pessimism. But… I can’t stand to hear the standard versions “White Christmas” or “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” one more time! This year I just got tired of them and had to find new ways to enjoy Christmas music. After a little research, I found that there are alternative versions to these songs that you don’t hear in the stores every year, and they’re quite refreshing! Read more

Last Minute Holiday Gifts – get ‘em while they’re hot!

It’s not too late to find that perfect holiday present for someone you overlooked, a new friend, a company gift exchange… To tell you the truth, I always seem to put my holiday shopping off until the last minute. And even so, there’s usually someone you haven’t found a gift for during the last week of Christmas. But the malls and department stores are packed right now and most of us don’t have the time to wait in long lines, search for parking spots, and weave our way through the crowds. Here are some of my finds for affordable and no-fail presents you can get just in time for Christmas.

Mini Charging Station
For a co-worker, an office-related gift is very appropriate. With this mini charging station, you give them the gift of desk organization! Read more

Reduce Holiday Stress with Some Holiday Organizing

holiday storageDecorating for the holidays is supposed to be magical and special. A time for the family to gather, hang the lights, trim the tree, listen to festive holiday songs and, well, be merry! But for some of us there is a downside to this, especially if you don’t have your decorations stored properly. Problem number one: the tangled lights. Every year I swear I’m going to find an efficient way of wrapping them up so I don’t have to deal with the mess next year. And, every year by the time Christmas is over, and I’m ready for all the clutter to be put away, I just do what I always do and toss them in a cardboard box. Not a wise idea!

The second biggest holiday storage issue for me is the broken ornaments. Read more

Great Gifts for Worker Bees

I’m a big fan of giving practical gifts, such as office organizers. Why not? Especially for people who are hard to shop for, people who don’t want “things”, people who have picky taste when it comes to decor or fashion. I think anyone who works in a professional environment would appreciate something new that would help keep their desk clutter under control. Rather than getting them something they don’t really need, you’re getting them something to help them with their life! So after some research, I have come up with these suggestions for desk organizer gifts:

7 Piece Black Oak Desk Set
A desk set is perfect for someone who is just starting their career. Something like this comes with everything needed to get started on the right foot.
Read more

Desktop Poetry

Messy DeskIt is 5:30 pm on a Saturday, and I’m here to talk to you about desktop organizers. Why not, I have nowhere else to be. I think that desk organizers are the kind of thing that’s different for everyone. What works for one person might not for another. It depends on how you use your desk predominantly – for work, for play, for both.

There are three kinds of organizers that most, if not all, desks need: a pencil cup, a paper organizer (either for bills or files – or both!), and a bin for small parts (paper clips, tacks, rubber bands (mine has all of the above and apparently a few bobby pins, screws, a random button and a fortune cookie fortune (I might not be doing this right))). Everything beyond that is circumstantial. Read more

Holiday Storage From Basic to Creative

holiday-storage-reels-and-bag.jpgWithout a doubt, the holidays can present our biggest storage and organization challenges. Whether it’s the tree decorations, house decorations, gift wrap, fine china, silverware or fake trees, the holidays come with a lot of baggage. Somehow I accumulate more holiday junk every year, as if I don’t have enough already. It’s just so tempting to buy more! The problem is that I forget to buy more storage pieces for those new items and I am left with a storage issue after the holidays are over. Read more

Storage Furniture 101

Modern Breakfast Bar with StoolsIf there is one thing I know about, it’s living in a shoebox and making the space more functional. I have been living in apartments and small homes for my entire adult life and troubleshooting space issues has become a passion of mine. Partially out of necessity in my own life and partially to help others. In today’s world of “everything must be oversized” it is easy to forget that we can make a small home not only work, but feel more spacious than it is. It has to do with furniture arrangement, the size of the pieces we own, being minimalistic, and most importantly having furniture that serves several purposes. Read more

Holiday Entertaining with No Rules

rustic table-scapeI see a lot of cool things happening in party planning right now. The trend in fall party decorating seems to be rustic, cozy and casual with some antique influences and best of all – no rules! You no longer need to go with the traditional “pumpkins and leaves” theme when accessorizing your home for a holiday party.

And you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Go to the thrift store to mix and match antique dinnerware and glassware pieces. The in-cohesive look is in style and so charming. An old beat up dinner table suddenly has chic appeal, so forget the tablecloth and dress it up with a lace runner or simple linen placemats. Read more

The Make Room

room plannerI don’t know if I was a decorator or an architect in a past lifetime, but I have an irresistible urge to plan spaces. I cannot walk into a room, even if it’s already furnished, without rearranging the furniture in my mind. This can be a distracting and cumbersome characteristic, but it comes in handy when I really do need to plan a space. Moving, for instance. Every time I move, I try to plan out where everything is going to go ahead of time. It’s partially to save myself the hassle later and partially because I just can’t help myself! Read more

Bins, Bins, Bins

plastic storage binsWhat can I say about bins that hasn’t already been said? I think we can all agree that plastic storage boxes are sort of the “gateway drug” when it comes to getting organized. They’re user friendly as can be and you don’t have to be a master organizer to figure out their many uses. So I thought that rather than telling you something you’ve already heard, I’d do something fun with plastic bins. Now, I’m no Dorothy Parker or Dr. Seuss when it comes to clever rhyming but I hope you’ll enjoy this little ditty! Read more

The Land of No Dishwashers – Part One

Bamboo Dish DrainerAs a life-long renter, I have lived in A LOT of different apartments, in law units, lofts, duplexes, houses, you name it. I have also lived in many cities up and down the west coast, and even in Nevada. My most recent move was to Los Angeles about two years ago. Before I go any further, I want to assure you that my intent here is not to complain about LA or the people who live here – I’m just sharing some observations. Read more

Getting Into The Fall Spirit

cozy fall tableEvery time the season changes, I like to throw a party to celebrate it. Not necessarily on the actual date, but when it really starts to feel like that season. As we all know, winter tends to drag on, spring pushes itself as far as it can, and summer (especially this year) just can’t seem to let go. So right now I’m making plans for my “welcome” party for fall. And boy is it welcome! I am so ready for a change. Fall’s party is always really exciting for me because it’s my favorite season change. By this time, I’m sick of sunny days and warm weather. I’m tired of hearing that monotonous drone of the air conditioning unit. I don’t need another backyard barbeque! Read more

Tips For "Cozifying" Your Home

Tavola Cherry Electric Fireplace by Holly & MartinFall may have officially started already, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to prep your home for what’s to come: shorter days, cooler weather, and finding pleasure indoors. I have a word for this, and it is “cozify”. I just got started on cozifying my home, even though it still feels a little like summer. What I do is introduce cozy items to my surroundings like plush fabrics and pull out appliances like the slow cooker and electric tea kettle. To me there is nothing like a cup of hot tea, a comfy chair, a warm blanket and a good book on a rainy autumn day. Read more

Tips for a Fall Themed Party

fall dinner partyFall is one of my favorite times to entertain because you can draw so much inspiration from the natural surroundings. When planning a menu and decorating scheme for a fall bash, think about all the things we love about fall. The first thing that comes to mind? The changing of the leaves. Tree lined streets burst into vibrant flames of color and richness. The apples ripen and give us mouth watering tones of red and green. Pumpkin patches alongside the roadway create blocks of luscious orange. We trade in our bright, floral summer dresses for cozy sweaters in charcoal and chocolate colored knits. Read more

Cozy Thoughts of Fall

cozy fall afternoonEvery year around this time, I start falling in love with fall. As the festivities of the action-packed summer come to a close, I move inward and one word describes everyday… cozy. What is cozy? To me, cozy happens when all the senses are in tune with something comforting. A warm blanket to snuggle up in, a scented candle that evokes the upcoming holidays, warm and hearty home cooked meals. The refreshing iced tea of summer becomes hot, steeping pots of herbal blends that soothe the senses. Playful afternoons in the sunshine turn into drizzly craft days, movie days, and days where any kind of indoor indulgence is acceptable. The sun sets a little earlier everyday to remind us that this is the time to nest. Read more

Holiday Planning Overlooked

coffee cup storage chestWhen it’s time for holiday planning, we tend to think only about preparation. Planning menus, sending parting invitations, shopping for gifts, and digging out the decorations. I find myself so overworked getting ready for holiday gatherings, I forget about the aftermath. Particularly when it comes to my extra dishes. I’ve never had a proper way of storing them, so they tend to just get thrown in a box that gets stacked with other boxes in the garage.

Bad planning like this leads inevitably to the catastrophe I encountered last week. Read more

Plastic Bag Dryer – The Recycler's Kitchen Friend

Plastic Bag DryerEvery time I go to my mom’s house, there is one thing that drives me crazy. No, not her infinite questioning, nor her ability to notice every minute thing that’s changed about me physically… she reuses plastic food bags. Which is not a bad thing, in fact it’s awesome! I too want to do all I can do be eco-conscious, but I haven’t evolved this far yet. In time I will. And it’s not the act of reusing plastic bags that bothers me; it’s what happens every time I go to the sink in her kitchen to wash my hands or rinse an apple. Read more

How I Reduced My Closet 50%

closetI am a master at impulse shopping for clothes, and then wearing something only once before it sits in my closet for years. Parting with clothes has never been one of my strengths. I know it’s illogical to own something for that long without utilizing it, but I always stump myself with the question, “But… what if someday I do want to wear this?” Come on, I know I’m not the only one who does that!

I just moved into a darling new downtown apartment, with lots of old fashion charm, and very old-fashion closets. Small closets, that is. My previous 6-foot long closet was packed wall to wall, so I had to do some painful – but necessary – purging in order to fit into the new one. Read more

Product of the Week: Baby Memories Box

Baby BoxThis may sound familiar to some of you moms and dads: it took my sister almost 3 years to pull together a baby book of her daughter’s first year.

Today’s busy parents have a hard enough time keeping up with the daily routine, so it’s no wonder that the keepsakes album gets put off until well into the toddler years, if it happens at all!

The problem with the traditional baby book, my sister found, is that it only holds 2 dimensional items. Read more

Product of the Week: Mario Batali Lunch Totes

batalitotes“Dear Mario, Your Lunch Bags Make Me Swoon!”

I used to carry my lunch in one of the many plastic grocery bags cluttering the cabinet under my sink, but ever since I started using reusable grocery bags, I ran into a little problem – no more lunch bags!

I may have outgrown my cutesie lunchbox, but I’m definitely not too old for a chic and class lunch tote. Read more

Product of the Week: This is how we stroll…

strollerconsoleEver tried pushing a stroller while carrying a beverage, or anything in your hands for that matter? As if strollers weren’t cumbersome enough, then you go and stuff your pockets with your keys, cell phone, spare binkies, wallet and a baggy of Cheerios.

Very attractive, I must say!

And then when you need one of these bulky items, you go on a mining expedition through the depths of your cargo pants when you could be…Oh, I dunno, watching where you’re walking? Read more

Product of the Week: Triple-Duty Bench – Part 1 of Our Multi-Tasking Furniture Series

StorageOttomanHave a look at my new weapon in the battle against clutter at home: Multi-Tasking Furniture!

My definition of multipurpose furniture is anything that does double or even triple-duty work to simplify your life. Pieces like this Storage Ottoman are a great place to start if you’re looking to eliminate space-wasters and get organized.

Don’t underestimate its storage abilities, here’s a list of everything I was able to get off my tabletops and shelves: Read more