Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This month’s favorites are a little all over the place. I mean more than usual, silly.

check out this top 5 organizing and lifestyle favorites list!

I had a couple weeks of intense client work, followed by a personal escape of the most wondrous, Greek, marital variety. The resulting favorites list is a jumble of organizing products and lifestyle favorites, in no order whatsoever. The latter I possess no legitimate authority to discuss on a public platform besides being a person, who happens to like some things more than others. Great! Let’s kick this off, shall we? (Also, I’m sorry.)


From a top 5 organizing and lifestyle favorites list--"this powder SPF is the only thing I wore on my face for 9 days in Greece, and I barely walked away with a freckle!"

Powder SPF 

I wore this exclusively to protect my face from being burned the entirety of my time in Greece (plus the SPF in my moisturizer, but that cancels out after a while). I’m telling you I reapplied this. With diligence. And with ease. And nary a red nose was to be seen.

The fact that it’s a powder formulation means that responsibly reapplying it is a legitimate and not altogether unappealing option, you see. On the other hand, tasked with reapplying a liquid SPF, well, I’d have the head of a lobster currently.

If you’re wearing makeup, then applying a liquid formula on top of that is a nightmare. And if you aren’t, and you’re out and about, touching all the things, your digits mingling with all of the germs, then touching your face at all is something akin to a grave sin.

This allows for hands-free, goop-free (Gwyneth’s presence undetermined) skin protection that doesn’t even require a mirror to apply, cannot be felt at all on the skin, and, conveniently, abates the shine. It’s worth noting that I also happen to have impossibly sensitive skin, and this caused negatory irritation or break-outs.

It’s a tad pricy (as compared to your average bottle of banana boat, maybe), and worth every penny. It also happens to last forever.

Have you clicked away to guy purchase this for yourself yet? Because really, what are you waiting for? I want you to have it, it’s that stellar.

Let’s all swallow the emphasis of that statement…

(FYI I have the medium shade, which is very nearly translucent and should work for most skin tones.)

From the top 5 organizing and lifestyle favorites list--"If you're going to keep your CDs, you're going to need this box."

160-CD One Touch Box

Lots of my clients readily let go of impressively vast CD collections. They’ve come to view CDs as being apt only for the musical enjoyment of the dinosaurs, and can’t wait to be rid of them.

Yet, there are still the occasional clients who hold firm to their CD collection. They are often music devotees. And they care far less about technological trends than having ready access to killer jams.

Since both are right, I happily cart of big bins of music discs to donation sites, and help clients locate suitable storage for the physical copies of music they’ve resolved to keep.

Of course, there is the spatial cost one must pay if one retains a great number of CDs…

One of my client’s this month has a music library as vast as her space is small and falls into the second group of CD owners, making it essential to find a storage system that listed “compact” as one of its chief attributes.

This version is impressive to me. It holds 160 CDs, is very compact, has an in-built cataloguing system, and each side opens with the press of a button.

So if you’re going to keep your CDs, I vote you do so with the help of this.

From a top 5 organizing and lifestyle favorites list--these no-brainer cord wraps are the end of the inevitable cord webs.

Bobino cord wraps: Large warps // Small wraps

I’ve been finding look-a-likes of these things floating in clients’ drawers for years, without ever giving them much consideration.

I had made it a point, however, to find a method of wrangling my cords while traveling. That laptop cord is really a behemoth (not that I’m complaining about length, Apple; we all still wish your phone cords were longer), and even the small earbud and charger cords, unharnessed, can easily make one’s backpack feel like a hot mess.

These are ultra flat and lightweight; I figured it was worth a shot.

Now, don’t let’s hyperbolize the things: they’re small pieces of rubber and plastic composite. They aren’t curing malaria or organizing the contents of your hard drive for you. But you know? For silly little bobbins, they really do the job well. They’re structured enough to withstand the heft of a large laptop cord, but they also have just a bit of bend in them, allowing for easier tying and untying. The material isn’t slippery, though not quite grippy, which, it turns out, is what you want in a cord wrapper.

All in all, I thoroughly appreciated having them on my trip, and will continue to use them for my cords at home.

From the top 5 organizing and lifestyle favorites list--"these bootshapers will take your boots from limp lasagna noodles to the queen's guard"

Boot shapers

Who can remember which items I’ve included in a previous favorites and which I haven’t, huh? (No, really, have I included these??) In any case, this month, boot shapers made a big impact in my client’s closet life. We’re talking limp lasagna noodles to the queen’s guard in ten seconds flat (or however long it takes to insert these; it’s probably less than that.)

From this top 5 organizing and lifestyle favorites list-- this collapsible water bottle is the answer for hydration on the go.

Vapur Element Water Bottle

The hunt for the optimal water bottle, begun so long ago, marches ever onward…

Right before I left (I mean really, pretty much right), I got it into my head that a collapsible water bottle was the thing to have. I’m the kind of person who always carries water. This is a significant distinguisher, and the main way I might recognize my besties immediately and far away in a crowd.

Only, I’ve grown rawther tired of toting around that old bottle. For one thing, when you factor in the water, it weighs about a ton. For another, it’s cumbersome is what. And there’s kind of no winning with one; I mean, the only reason you actually remember to drink the water you’ve fastidiously equipped yourself with is to relieve yourself of the weight of it. But with a standard bottle, even if you guzzle the H2O, you’ve still got to look after (read: try mostly unsuccessfully to fit in your purse) the container.

So I found this one, and ordered it same-day delivery on Amazon.

I happened to catch sight of the Amazon truck as it sped past my house at 4:00pm. For a flickering nanosecond, I considered running out of the house, chasing it down the street, and waving my arms like a wild lunatic: “STOP! I THINK YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO STOP! MY WATER BOTTLE; WAIT—” But it was out of sight before the thought fully crystallized.

I tracked the package over the next several hours, shaking my head each time. “Messed up. He messed up.”

When, by eight o’clock the bottle hadn’t arrived, and given it’s “delivery by 8pm” status, I’d resigned myself to the truth: I would be heading to Greece water bottle-less.

“I’m boycotting Amazon.” I said in my most tremulous, victimized voice. It was 9pm, a hydration tragedy.

At 9:03pm my ears detected the unthinkable: the sound of a truck, of the sliding of a large door, a beeping of some sort of scanner–it couldn’t be–and then it was: the gentle thud of a cardboard box being lain on the porch and two abrupt, rhetorical knocks.

“AMAZON IS THE SHIT!” I cried, whizzing down the stairs to collect my prize.

And since approximately none of you are still reading this, I can now relay the only pertinent details mentioned thus far: this collapsible water bottle is the real deal. It holds a liter, it’s puncture-proof (from what I can tell), it has a screw-off top for easy filling and an attached carabiner for toting and/or keeping the empty bag tightly rolled up.

Totally worth the emotional turmoil of the delivery process.


Other favorites of the month:

Greece. The Country.

-Greek people.

-Greek food.

-Everything Greek.




Monday, June 27, 2016

Please forgive the lack of posts around here the past two weeks. I don’t have much of a good excuse, except that I was busy stealing away to my fantasy land of the Greek islands with my man/ boofriend of the last century/ exploration expert, travel author and photographer/ all around brilliant human being and object of my unending affection for our private wedding (more on that later).

everything we need is provided. Preparation is, to a certain extent, pointless. So have faith. Leave room in your suitcase. Expect to stumble on perfect discoveries.


We did lots of shopping and returning and general prepping before the trip. I mean, it was a rawther big occasion and we wanted to look and feel our best (if one is going to play tourist, one must at least play fashionable tourist, no? If one is going to elope in Greece, one must wed one’s hardest and Greekest, yes? (?)).

Our bags were packed with the usual suspects: gold sandals, sunglasses, SPF, wedding dress. We had done our best to show up prepared, and had resigned ourselves to not possessing those items which we hadn’t been able to locate prior to the trip.

But you know, something funny happened, which was that upon arrival, we discovered that all those things we had been wanting for Greece were (go figure!) in Greece.

There, for instance, was the most incredible little jewelry shop, its entire inventory perfectly appealing to my sensibilities in every way. I had tried to find pieces I loved at home; I had nearly given myself carpal tunnel scrolling through page after page of online retailer, not to mention ransacking the inventory of several local shops. And now, poof, here it was, Annie’s dream jewelry shop. Step inside, won’t you? I bought the bracelet I wished I had been able to find at the mall, and the necklace, too.

And there were the sandals he had been wanting! The precise kind of shoes I had been trying to find!

It’s worth noting there were at least two dresses swaying slightly in the breeze of a tiny Greek shop that I looked at and thought: well, I could have worn that for the wedding, easy. Where were you when I scouring every designer and retailer I could conceive of to (almost) no avail??

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I’m almost certain. And it isn’t about travel prep or packing. It’s about how what we need for a time and place far off and away in the future has a way of being there, waiting for us. And the version that lives there is so much more fitting than the one we might have stockpiled in anticipation of need.

We think we’re being smart, that we’re outsmarting the system even, by collecting what’s available to us now for later on. Only, when we arrive there, we realize we needn’t have worried so much, nor held so tightly to our preparatory means. For what we need and want is always available to us, at the precise moment we desire it, in the exact form we need it.

Of course, there is a fine line between being prepared and winging it. Too much of either one is limiting. If you pack your bag full of every thing you might possibly need or want on the journey, you’ll be left with no room to accomodate the treasures you may discover along the way. If you show up with nothing more than a toothbrush, claiming spontaneity, you’ll be the idiot rushing from souvenir shop to taverna asking if they sell underpants.

So bring along what you love in life, but leave room for the unexpected. Have the necessary means to abate anxiety, but be not so tied to them as to prevent your being open to new discoveries.

What’s needed and ideal for here and now is here and now. What’s desired and required for then and there has a way of uncannily, perfectly, waiting in that time and place just for you.

The trick is: you never know until you’ve already arrived.

Monday, June 20, 2016

how to make a graceful exit, and why things always seem to get good right at the very end.

Things always get good right at the very end, have you ever noticed that?

The moment you declare your plans to leave your current job, your workplace becomes an efficient and jovial atmosphere.

Right when you decide you need to end a relationship, the person whom you’re involved with starts doing and saying all the things you’d wished they’d been doing, all along.

Just when you’re ready to graduate, you find yourself feeling completely contented at your school.

When you find a new house to move into, the reasons why you wanted to move suddenly become moot points. Your nasty neighbor up and moves away, himself. Or dies! Your kids’ school gets favorably redistricted. The city finally paves the street you could no longer stand ruining your tires on every day.

This has happened to you, yes? It’s practically a guarantee in life. Right before the ending life turns sweet on you.

It’s easy to see this as some cosmic joke–a twisting of the plot designed to make you question your instincts.

It’s possible, even, to view this as a reason why you shouldn’t proceed with your decision to go out of town, to move cities, to take a new job, to end a relationship.

After all, why leave now? Why walk away? Why make a change when suddenly everything seems just great and so darn swell? What are you, some kind of masochist?

But there’s another way of looking at this altogether.

Rather than make you feel crazy, you may see this last, most sweetest chapter as the universe’s grace.

Since we aren’t really fundamentally selfish (most of us anyhow) we feel reluctant at best about walking away from people, places, or circumstances that are in terrible upheaval. Ironically, it’s often the worst case scenarios–the most unhealthy people, the most dysfunctional workplaces, the least fulfilling life paths that are the hardest for us to leave. We fear for their fates in our absence. Or, we’re too focused on the issues occurring outside of ourselves to be able to heed and nourish the voice inside that tells us we’re ready for something different.

But when people seem to suggest they’ll be alright without us, when workplaces appear as though they’ll go on just fine– when everything cooperates in just the way you’d hope it would–when what we perceive outside ourselves is continuity and functionality, that’s the moment when our inner voice most clearly breaks from the crowd and can be heard. That’s when we can recognize that although the present circumstances bear the aspect of familiarity, that’s no longer enough of a reason to stay. That’s the universe’s blessing: See, everything will be alright here. You go ahead. 

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