Monday, January 26, 2015

Top 10 Organizing Challenge - Paperwork & $100 Kirkland's GIVEAWAY

Let's kick off this Monday morning with some productivity and a GIVEAWAY!  I'm halfway through my Top 10 Organizing Challenge, which is reason enough to celebrate, but coincidentally, Kirkland's storage and organization event is also happening now, so they are giving away a $100 gift card to their store to help you with your organizing progress.  You can find a store near you here.  I worked on getting our mail and paper organization under control this weekend and it turned out really well.  Not nearly as bad as I anticipated.  

First, I cleaned up our entryway drop zone and added a cute wooden mail organizer to hold the incoming mail.  Keeping the mail chaos at bay is a daily battle, but I try to keep it from getting out of hand by quickly tossing/recycling anything that we don't need to keep. I've also been unsubscribing from magazines and catalogs to keep the paper waste down.  I've kept my very favorites, but let others go.

The large woven basket underneath holds all my husband's baseball hats or random shoes and I put his laptop bag down there too or else it takes up too much space on the counter.  

On top is a dish for coins (and not that many currently because I've been taking them to the coin star machine at the grocery store and cashing them in:) and one for keys and sunglasses.  Why do men come home with so much loose change all the time?!?! It's like it multiplies in their pockets.

I splurged on real hydrangeas this time and they make me so happy all vibrant and green!

Here's the mail organizer up close.  So cute and my son is all about changing the cubes to reflect the current day.  It's a good way to keep reinforcing the calendar and dates to an almost 5 year-old.  He's obsessed with knowing what day it is and marking days off the calendar in his room at night before bed. 

I cleaned out the mail sorter and gathered all the extraneous paper, including from my wallet (receipts, coupons, etc.) to compile them so I could go through them.  I think our mail system is working pretty well since this pile wasn't that bad.  

James' school work has been getting put inside a kitchen drawer lately so I cleaned that out too. 

And gathered all our files that needed another run through. Lots of things we keep digital files for, but there are still some paper copies that have to be dealt with. 

I like to just spread everything out on the floor into piles and then figure out what needs to go where and what is for trashing or shredding.  We've invested in a decent shredder and use it often.  The biggest time suck is going through all the files and then the walk down memory lane as I sifted through my law school application (yes, I still have that!) and rejection/acceptance letters (those too).  I've got transcripts and letters of recommendation and tax returns from so long ago, but I like remembering when I made $16,428 as a waitress back in the day putting myself through college, so they stay.  I also have credit card bills that I paid off many years ago and have kept as a badge of pride to never get back into debt.  Thank you Dave Ramsey! My college mentor and I used to meet for lunch and I have his scribble on a napkin and since he's now in heaven, it's a sentimental piece of paper I'll treasure forever.  

See how you can get lost in these little papers that tell a lifetime of stories?! But, back to the organizing . . . 

I whittled those two big file boxes down to one that I already had (and the hanging files) and like better because it has a lid.

I keep one small accordion file for household things I might need to access easily and other files for blog expenses by year. 

A stack of Kirkland's quatrefoil storage boxes (small, medium and large) work perfectly for holding the old blog expenses, James artwork from this year that I still need to photograph to save, and old calendars.  They look nice in my office too. 

To keep a few pieces of artwork/schoolwork on display in James' playroom, I found this wooden "Look What I Did!" plaque with hooks and let him choose what he wanted to showcase.  In the future, I plan to create an art zone in the playroom and then the sign will be great for hanging those creations.  We still keep lots of James' art on the fridge with magnets, old school style. 

I found a few pretty things at Kirkland's for my office space too.  I love this shiny gold initial cup.  I was thinking of putting a small plant inside, but was concerned about drainage so for now, I've got my colored markers inside. 

These ceramic egg crates are perfect for holding little items like jewelry or small office supplies.  

So, now I get to check another organizing challenge off my list!

You can see the organizing challenges I've completed so far here:  



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I received compensation for the “Resolution: Organize” blog post. Kirkland’s partnered with several bloggers like me to raise brand awareness. All purchases and content are on my own accord and reflect my personal opinion and style. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekend Steals & Deals

Hi friends!  I have some fun Weekend Steals & Deals for you today!  This post was easy to prepare because I'm seeing lots of new things I'm crazy about for great deals.  Starting with this tank dress for under $60!  I could see getting lots of use out of this dress and wearing it with or without a jacket.  Not sure which color I would choose though, since I like them all. 

Many days, I find myself just wanting to throw on a comfy, but still stylish t-shirt.  Right now, I only have one in light blue so I searched for a few more and found these two v-neck styles below:

BP V-Neck Tee 2 for $28

And for those who work, get cold, or just need something lightweight for layering, a cardigan is perfect.  I used to wear these all the time at the office for a jacket look (and for warmth), but softer.
Halogen 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan $48 (regular & petite)

For something to keep you even warmer, this sweater cardigan is great. 
French Shawl Collar Cardigan $23.98 $48 (lots of positive reviews) 

I'm still digging the poncho too.  I wore my geometric one on the plane when I traveled to New York and it was perfect! This fair isle style/color is also fun.  

Is it still cold where you are?  I swear, our Houston weather is all over the map.  We had several gorgeous days of sunshine near 70 and today we woke up to cold, rainy 42 degrees!  

BP Marled Forward Seam Sweater $38 (other colors)

I've featured this jacket on my blog before and was so excited to see my girlfriend Angela wearing it when we went to our coulples dinner last weekend.  It is amazing in person, so I wanted to highlight it again.  I'll have to get a picture of her in it so you can see!  Now I know why it's gotten so many positive reviews. ;)

I was browsing Nordstrom's site and was happily surprised to see the wonderful Christmas gifts that my parents gave me this year!  It's a reversible tote bag in tan/aqua.  Isn't that a great present?!

As for accessories, I'm kind of in love with these two pieces! 

Topshop Stretch Tassel Bracelet $12 (other colors and also comes as a necklace)

And I finally bought Erin Gates' book, Elements of Style and I'm loving it.  Y'all probably know that her blog was one of the very first ones I followed back in 2007 and it's still so good.  I found the book  on Amazon for only $22.14 (hardcover).  You could get in on your Kindle for $16.99.

---------------------------- get the looks ----------------------------


ANN TAYLOR:  40% off almost everything with code SHOP40   
FREE shipping on $175 or more & $8.95 flat rate shipping.  

BANANA REPUBLIC:  Extra 50% off sale styles with code BREXTRA, 40% off full price styles with code BRTIME

GAP:  35% off your purchase with off code BEST 
Free shipping on orders over $50, free returns.  

J. CREW:  25% off and extras 40% off final sale styles with code FINDAFAVE 
$5 flat rate shipping and FREE shipping on orders over $150.  

LOFT:  Buy any sweater or top, get one 50% off (excludes sale styles and Lou & Grey). 

NORDSTROM:  Always FREE shipping & FREE returns. 

OLD NAVY:  20% off online only with code SAVEBIG 

SOLE SOCIETY:  Invite friends and earn $25.  Fast and free shipping.  

ZAPPOS:  Order before 1PM PST for FREE next business day shipping on all Clothing. 


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday || Graphic Tops

Happy Wednesday friends!  I'm afraid our quick run of gorgeous weather is about to take a turn with a cold front on the way.  That's okay, I know Spring is just around the corner.  We got a taste of getting to be outside recently and now I'm itching for more of that.  I didn't realize how cooped up we've been.  I got out to one of Houston's gorgeous parks to take some pics in this 'darling' sweatshirt.  The good news is, I've since washed the top, and I like it even better- it's softer! 

The grass is looking so green!  Too bad my front yard isn't as vibrant! 

more graphic tops

Why not wear a statement top?  Fashion should be fun, right?! Just find one where the words feel right to you.

Je T'aime $31.20, $52

Meet Me in Paris $34.84, $52

Halogen Crewneck Sweater $34.49, $69 (regular & petite)

~~~~~~~~  get the look ~~~~~~~~ 


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Ashley Brooks Photography
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