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Spring Organizing Tips

There's something about the first few warm days of a new Spring season approaching that makes me want to re-organize every space in my home. Out with the old and in with the new. Or at least decluttering and sprucing up existing spaces. The feeling that comes with organizing and tidying up a space to make it more functional and inviting is like nothing else. For me, I feel a sense of accomplishment and a new-found peace. This calm permeates throughout my home and allows me to be more productive and intentional in so many areas of my life. 

I want to share a few tips for easy organizing in your most problematic spaces. These things can be done in a weekend and still give you loads of time to spend with your family.

The Pantry

This is a great place to start. I love the idea of clear containers to hold flour, sugar, cereal, granola and pretzels. All those things that you buy frequently and always have on hand. Wire mesh baskets are also helpful for bread, potatoes and onions, lots of small items that can get lost in the shuffle. Don't forget the labels, they will make finding things easy for you and the kiddos. 

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The Office

This is a space that can be overrun by paper clutter. The best tip I have for this is to get a great filing system and a shredder. Keep important documents filed by year and/or month and things that are less so, shred and toss. A helpful tip for those mounting magazines is to switch your subscriptions to digital. I love my home decor and fashion mags but hate the space it takes up. Now, I can curl up with my iPad and catch up anytime. Use bright colored boxes to store photos, receipts and greeting cards and still have a pop of color. A tall and functional bookshelf is a great investment for the office. You can merchandise it with your boxes and of course beautiful books and collected personal items. 

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The Jewelry Box

This is a space that is near and dear to my heart as I am a bit obsessed with jewelry and accessories. As a Jewelry Stylist, this is a critical area that needs to be well organized and where I can see it daily. I love stackable trays for keeping large pieces and neck-forms for those really special statement necklaces. Bracelet bars are great for keeping all like items together and you can even keep all your metals organized. I also love using vintage teacups, small plates and ceramic egg crates for small delicate pieces.

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The Playroom

This can easily be the most disastrous space in a home due to so many small parts and pieces but there are some simple tips to get everything in its place while still looking cute and decorated. One of my favorite decorating ideas is to put crayons, chalk and markers in clear containers. This keeps them neatly away and provides some colorful decoration to your shelves. Use this concept for Legos too.  As for artwork display, add hanging wire to any wall for a fun gallery-like look. Art can be rotated out as the child grows. I love the low shelves in this space at the child's level. Add closed bins for toys and games. Kids will be more inclined to clean up when there is a place for everything.  

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I hope you enjoy these tips and are able to incorporate a few into your home. You will find that life gets a bit easier when your home is well-organized. Less time fumbling to find things and more time for the things that matter most!

xoxo,

Kristen Ellis 

Your Resident Designer & Stylist

 

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline."

2 Timothy 1:7

 

 

 

Please Can I Have It?

     Do you have prayers that have been unanswered; requests you’re certain, God has ignored? Perhaps the answer is in your immediate surroundings and you just don’t see it. The Jews of Nazareth were waiting for the Messiah and yet, when He walked in their midst they couldn’t see Him because their eyes were “wide shut.” Hence, their prayers went unanswered and their needs unmet.

            The same woman that desperately prays for a friend complains to God that her marriage isn’t satisfying. Could her ‘BFF’ be her husband? Is it possible the friendship is waiting to be cultivated?

The single woman who’s stressed because her salary doesn’t cover her monthly bills might be the same woman who crafts one of kind purses for her friends. The purses don’t bring her any income because she’s too timid to try to sell them.

 We can stop the pacing and the mindless eating that results from worry. God knows about our problems and He is already at tomorrow with the solution, waiting for us to catch up to Him. Our task is to move from eyes “wide shut” to “wide open” and see where He is.

 

Prayer: Lord, sometimes I let my worries look bigger than my God. I want to open my heart and mind and see you as you are; greater than any challenge I could face.

Life’s speed bumps and collisions form who we are. We can be left with tire tracks on our back, run over by life or let God leave a distinct Fingerprint on our heart. Yielding prepares us to love and empathize with others.

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better!

I was 17, walking from the girls bathroom to my Geology class during passing period.  I had an extra spring in my step that day – I looked so cute!  I’ll never forget the grey shirt with black velvety stripes, the black pleated skirt ala Britney Spears coupled with my new patterned opaque tights and Mary Jane shoes.  I spotted a couple of girls at their lockers looking as cute as me; but my boobs were bigger and my waist smaller and I thought to myself, “I look way better!” No sooner was I seated at my lab table then the Swedish exchange student walked over to me and said, “Kala…” he didn't have to finish his sentence.  I knew immediately that I had walked down the hallway with my skirt tucked into the back of my tights and I was completely mortified!  As a teenager I cringed at the event, as an adult I realize the lesson I was being taught.  I wasn't better.

“Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” Galatians 5:26 (New Living Translation)

More and more employers have put an emphasis on teamwork in the workplace, leaving little room for those who do not play nice with others.  I recently transferred into and new job and replaced someone who was great.  While it’s easier to find the things that he did poorly and showcase MY strengths, the real challenge is focusing on his wins and reminding myself that I am building upon that.

My way, his way… neither is better or worse.  We lead differently plain and simple, we have a different approach to business, training and communication.  I'm certain that I will be able to take my job to another level, I am also certain that a great leader can step away to let another shine; and for that I'm grateful for this chance.

“Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:3 (New Living Translation)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for the talents you have given me.  Help me to recognize when I am being selfish and when I’m frustrated, show me the bigger picture so that I can move on.

Live, Laugh, Love...

I woke up one morning in July of 2012 and decided I was no longer happy with my job.  While I loved the people that I was working with, the tasks I was completing each day filled me with no joy.  There was no excitement; my professional life was stagnant.  It was then I realized I was much too young to be having these feelings.  In my head I had 3 choices; stick it out and be miserable, find a new job in a new company, or relocate to our company headquarters in California.

Live

"So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.  That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New Living Translation)

Laugh

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while."  1 Peter 1:6  (New Living Translation)

Love

"Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love.  The greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13  (New Living Translation)

After much prayer and discussion, my husband & I have decided to LIVE.  I was offered and accepted a job at my corporate office in California.  I've moved ahead of them which isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.  A small price to pay; we'll all be together again soon and I can't wait.  Until then, I'm entertained nightly by my family via Facetime, they are a LAUGH a minute!  All of these things are made possible for me because I believe in a God who grants the desires of our hearts and because I have a husband who LOVES me enough to follow me to another new city, and be both Mother & Father to our daughter while I pursue new opportunities for my career.

STOPLIGHT PRAYER:  Father in Heaven, thank you giving me life and for guiding me through it.  Thank you for making your will for my life the desire of my heart and for guiding me through life.  Help me to listen for your voice amidst the static that tries to throw me off course.

My Family This is my beautiful family.  I love them for supporting me in everything I do and can't wait to start this new adventure with them.

Stay In Your Lane

  Several weeks ago I was playing with Wii bowling with my daughter.  The best part of electronic bowling is that it’s impossible to be really bad.  You might get a few gutter balls from time to time, but at least you’ll always stay in your lane.  We were neck in neck as she proudly announced, “I’m a great bowler.  Right Mommy?”  I happily agreed.

After our game was over, she opened her box of Bob books and began reading to me.  “Mommy, I’m a really great reader.  Right?”  Again, I happily agreed.

Twenty minutes later we moved onto singing and dancing to Ava's jams.  She climbed onto the coffee table, microphone in hand, and began singing “All Star” by Smash Mouth at the top of her lungs.  “I’m a great singer.  Right Mom?”  This time I froze.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  1 Peter 4:10 (New Living Translation)

It’s a natural response to tell your children that they are great at everything they do and that they can be anything they want to be, but there comes a point when you realize that might not always be the best choice.

God gave each of us special gifts and talents that he intended for us to use.  When I was younger I wanted nothing more than to be an actress.  As I grew older, I still wanted to be an actor, but I wasn’t interested in being a starving artist in Hollywood.

I found way to use my gifts working for a non-profit organization.  For a time I traveled the state of Texas doing drug and alcohol prevention school assemblies, it was then that I met a cute teacher who would later become my husband.

While it is good to stretch yourself and grow in the areas you’re not so great at, I encourage you to incorporate your gifts.  Stay in your lane; you never know what kind of surprises He has in store for you when you operate within your gifts.

As for Ava, I told that she was great at a lot of things and that as much and Mommy and Daddy loved to hear her sing there were other things she was so much better at like drawing and making up great stories.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in heaven, thank you blessing me and making me special and unique.  Please open to door for me to share my gifts with those around me.

What Really Matters

Fashion trends for the summer are one of my favorite things. As I look through magazines, I love to learn the basic essentials I need for the latest fashion trends.  It makes things easy for me to shop and dress when I just focus on those basic pieces.  I find that I don’t waste a lot of time when I focus on what the “experts” say really matters for the season. It gives me a sense of confidence in what I am wearing on the outside.  I have also discovered that, when I focus on the basics of life, life is much easier as well.  I then become more confident on the inside.  This week, I was fortunate to have time to sit on my porch one afternoon to relax and just read as my kids played. To be honest, I had used the very basics of life that day so I could enjoy that time.  Instead of going to the gym or killing myself with a work out, I had a long walk at home; instead of killing myself in the kitchen; I prepared a simple, healthy meal in the crock pot for our evening dinner; instead of thinking I had to work extra hours for my job or it would never get done, I gave my timeline to God; and instead of thinking I had to plan every minute of the day to entertain my kids, I realized they truly love “just playing” outside  

What I realized is this…when I focus on the basics of life, I’m able to enjoy what really matters.

As a Fitness and Food Designer for Busy women, I have seen many women who are chasing so many different things that it keeps them from enjoying the basic things of life and ultimately keeps them from living a healthy life physically, mentally and spiritually. 

Has life become so busy for you that you are no longer focusing on what really matters?

Are you so busy,

  • Trying to please other people instead of looking to please God which can keep you from feeling confident in who you really are in Christ.

 

  • Trying to be something you are not instead of learning what God created you to be which can keep you constantly busy, yet never feeling successful.

 

  • Attempting to do too many things at once instead of giving attention to one thing and left feeling exhausted with no energy for yourself, family or career.

 

  • Focusing on succeeding in things that are really not important that you feel like you are failing over and over or are not good enough.  I love what Francis Chan says in the book Crazy Love, “Our fear should not be failure, but at succeeding in things in life that really don’t matter.”

 These are things that can keep you so busy that you are unable to enjoy what really matters. Life can be easier when you focus on the basic needs of life, which allows you to learn how to be:

  • physically fit with proper diet and exercise
  • spiritually fit by spending time with God
  • mentally and socially fit by doing what you are called to do

 Ask yourself the question:  “What is keeping me too busy and keeping me from what really matters?”

 

When I Was Young

  When I was a little girl my Dad would pick me up from ballet and take me to Baskin Robbins every week.  He sat in a big swivel chair and I sat right next to him in a kid size chair eating my daiquiri ice sorbet with a tasting spoon.  It was sour, not alcoholic and boy was it tasty.  I remember him brushing my hair, putting it up into pigtails and braiding them.  My hair, always adorned with the hand painted hair ribbons he made for me.  My favorite memory is singing show tunes with him in the kitchen, me singing the part of Annie and my Dad singing the lines of Daddy Warbucks.  “I don’t need anything but you,” we would sing together.

I can’t say that my Father is a man of many words.  Perhaps it comes from growing up with 3 sisters, or perhaps it’s 35 years of living with my Mom and 2 daughters.  That being said, when he does share nuggets or stories I listen.

A stubborn fool despises his father's discipline, but whoever appreciates a warning shows good sense.  Proverbs 15:5  (GOD'S WORD® Translation)

Despite the relationship you have with your father it’s important to understand that his life experiences are things you can learn from.  Sometimes you learn what you should be doing and sometimes you learn to walk in the opposite direction.

Each June we have the opportunity to celebrate and honor our fathers.  Take the time to truly honor both your earthly and heavenly fathers.  This is one seed you want to plant.  I believe I’m reaping my harvest now, I see it every week when my husband takes our daughter out on a daddy /daughter date to Starbucks and Toys R Us.

One of the greatest things my father said to me, while broken hearted in my early twenties, was, “Honey, if he doesn’t like you then he must be gay.”  You see, not all nuggets of wisdom have to be so serious!  I’m tucking that one away for my own daughter… when she’s 25!

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in heaven thank you for my Father & Husband.  Help me to find ways to continue to honor them even when they are difficult and make me want to scream.  Please continue to guide & protect them and they continue to do the same for us.

What's Hot Poolside: Summer Swim 2012

Summer time can come with an excitement and dread at the same time; after all, it does mean it's swimsuit season!  But don't you worry, long are the days when the only option is the itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie, yellow polka dot bikini!  Swim itself has become a fashion statement and there's a style for every girl!  Plus, don't forget about the fun accessories that come with the season, too.  I don't leave the house without my favorite aviators and am constantly adorned with my comfortable flip flops.  Summer time screams pedicure with a girlfriend! So as you pack your bag to head to the the water this summer, here's What's Hot poolside.

High Waisted

Thanks so the staying power of Mad Men on HBO, the pin-up girl-like bathing suit has made it's return.  The great thing about high waisted is that it hides a multitudes of sins while still making you feel and look young.

 

The Cutout

Not a bikini yet not a one piece, cut out suits hit the runway in almost every show.  The fun styles are functional and fashionable.

 

Orange/Tangerine

No matter what style you choose, this sun-kiss color screams summer and is the hottest color you'll see poolside.

 

2 Poolside Fashion Tips from Helen, Watch!

Sunglasses:

Cat Eye

This year's newest trend in eye wear is the cat eye. Fun, fashionable and sassy!  Try in a cool leopard print or solid, but try you must!

 

Ray Ban

No, it's not 1984 but the Risky Business Ray Ban is back - actually, they never left - but they are hotter than ever!  Great new colors flank every sunglass hut!

 

Aviators

My personal favorite of all summer!  Like my American Express, I never leave home without them!

 

That's What's Hot Poolise in Summer 2012 Poolside.  What do yo never leave home without?

From Darkness into Light

Gradually, over a period of years, Carol lost her site due to an inherited eye disease, but has found a new vision through a close relationship with God.