That was then. This is now.

Sunrise Photo

The Christmas holiday has passed and I turn my thoughts and actions towards the new year that’s around the corner.  I find myself meditating more often as I contemplate where I am going in life.

 

During a late night mediation, it became clear that it is time to tell the world about my journey over the past 13 months.  You see, unbeknownst to most in my life, I went through a huge life transformation during this past year.

 

THAT WAS THEN

My marriage of 30 years had fallen apart and although I was living in the same house with my husband, we had been living separate lives for over a year.  It was what felt like a precursor to the dissolution of our marriage.

My relationship with my two adult sons was strained at best; they were busy living their independent lives and didn’t want to get in the middle of their parents’ relationship issues.  What kid wants to acknowledge that his parents are breaking up?  My interactions with them weren’t very fulfilling for the most part; they left me empty and feeling alone much of the time.

I felt there was something more, but didn’t know how to make the changes to find out what it was.  During therapy, I was encouraged to separate from everyone in order to return to an independent way of living and explore what I really wanted out of life.

 

 HOW MY LIFE CHANGED

The catalyst to change came about when Thanksgiving loomed in front of me and no one wanted to celebrate in a traditional way.  A lot of emotions were stirred up in response to that reaction and to exacerbate this heightened emotional response I faced an ultimatum from my husband: continue living in no man’s land or leave (since he had no intention of doing so).

And so I left.

I rented a house out of state for a fresh start.

I filled my car with as much personal belongings as I could.

I temporarily secured my canine companion and

said a tearful goodbye to my sons, my home and the town I had lived in for 30 years.

 

THE CHALLENGE I FACED

Over the next 6 months I would be required to make so many life changes that it was like I had been through BOTH a hurricane and tornado all at once.

The future I had envisioned at the beginning of my husband’s retirement and after I became an empty nester no longer existed.  My future had to be redesigned, but I was no where near ready to think about it as I was just struggling to get through each day.

Somehow I managed to survive those beginning days.

It was one step at a time, one task at a time, one room at a time … some days even one thought at a time.

I outfitted the house with the basic necessities to live and slowly moved most of my personal belongings and small furniture from the home I left.  I traveled back to that home several times throughout the year, each time dissolving a different tie.

I muddled through several passing illnesses, a few minor surgeries and established myself with a team of medical doctors to handle my health conditions.

I survived.  And…

 

THIS IS NOW

My life continues to change…even grow.  I’m continuously learning about myself every day.

I am finally settled into a house that I now consider home.  I’ve become familiar with the area and although I’m not sure it will be my ‘forever’ location, it will do for now.

I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past year understanding my inner emotions and dealing with the effect they’ve had on my psyche. I’ve healed many hurts as well as resolved several lingering childhood issues.

I’m working on making my relationship with my sons stronger & healthier; setting boundaries and holding them accountable while expressing how I feel at times and not allowing anyone to diminish those feelings.

I created a temporary backyard garden for creative inspiration and even put up decorations for the Christmas holiday this year.  The house feels more like a home than a just a temporary residence and I find this grounds me.

I’ve even started rethinking my business and taken baby steps to change its direction.  As well as (and this one’s the big Kahuna) I’m starting to plan for next year; defining personal dreams to explore and detailing business goals, all through a vision board.

I’m embracing life as it is now.  So…

 

WHERE WILL MY LIFE GO

The ending is unclear.  I consider my life a work in progress and I’m okay with that.

I haven’t completely figured out where my marriage is going.  Is it ready to be dissolved or can it be resurrected?  The answer I’m not sure of yet, but I DO know that I will know what it is when it’s time for me to know it.

I realize that the beauty of designing one’s own life is that you can change it at anytime.  For only YOU are the writer of your own novel and YOU get to write each chapter and the ending however you choose and as many times as you like.

So, finally, I am able to tell the story of That was then…This is now.

And I can easily say that I’m pleased with how it reads….for now!

 

 

 

Christmas Reflections … And that is okay.

Christmas TreeI sit here late into the Christmas night reflecting over the day. It wasn’t your traditional Christmas.

There wasn’t any

- early morning excitement with little feet crashing down the steps towards the pile high of presents
– long, tiring cooking marathon in the kitchen and frantic setting of table in anticipation of company
– tearing sounds of paper accompanied by ooos and ahhhs or occasional shrieks of excitement while opening gifts
– smell of roasting coffee that would soothe the tired wrapping hands and warm an empty belly all the while giving that little wake up jolt after a few sips
– the ringing of the phone bringing Merry Christmas wishes and reminders of what to bring or discussion of when to visit throughout the day
– the sweeping sound of the broom cleaning up the oodles and oodles of crumpled paper left on the floor
– eventual quieting of movement as everyone tried on their clothes or started playing with their toys
– amazing smells emanating from the kitchen as everyone rushes to the table, pulling out chairs and arguing of who’s going to sit where as we sat down to a traditional holiday brunch
– the final, restful sound of silence as everyone dispersed to play with their newfound toys or put on their new makeup to get ready to go somewhere
– the sound of running water as the first round of dishes are washed in preparation for the next meal and visitors or visiting others

 

Rather it was

- a slow awakening to the sound of the fan whirring overhead
– a gradual opening of the eyes to let the daylight waken your mind
– a realization that today wasn’t supposed to be like any other day but wondering what it would really be like
– slipping into fuzzy slippers and a warm robe to still the shivers of the morning air and shuffle to the kitchen
– grabbing a warm cup of sweetened tea with lemon to soothe a grumbling stomach
– patting the pooch on the head while giving her a treat and letting her out for her morning potty call
– settling into the rocking chair with the phone in the hopes you’d get a morning holiday call
– reading a chapter of a self help or inspirational book on your Kindle since the holiday seemed to warrant something deeper than a fictional story
– catching up with the world through social media or email
– answering the call for a quick FaceTime to watch presents being opened and quickly chatting about your grown up son’s agenda for the day (modern technology certainly helps to feel included but not always enough)
– ditching the traditional brunch for a quick reheat of a leftover or bowl of cereal
– catching random Xmas specials or replays on TV
– catching up on podcasts
– reminiscing on holidays of the past

But it’s all okay.

For life moves on. Children grow up, loved ones pass on, our worlds as we once knew them change. So how we spend our holidays change.

Sometimes they aren’t always a big, happy celebration, but a quiet remembering.  AND THAT IS OKAY.

Some years are easier than others.  AND THAT IS OKAY.

Some years they are not always what we wish for.  AND THAT IS OKAY.

 

This year I was happy to

- use modern technology to share in the opening of gifts with my two sons and their families
- see the huge smile of a 5 year old as he holds his heavy lego toy overheard and exclaims ‘This is my favorite!’
– take a nap in the middle of the day
– connect with friends miles away via Facebook
– get a quick call at the end of the night to say ‘Hey Mom, thanks for the presents. I love you.’ PRICELESS.
– not feel so depressed I wanted to hide under the covers
– wish the day away

 

AND THAT IS OKAY.

Organizing For Your Personality

Gears of BrainHave you ever wondered what type of personality you are and how it might affect your organizing strategies?  I have.  My curiosity inspired me to explore this subject in greater detail and during my exploration, I came across Deb Schwartz’ take on the subject (as found on RealSimple.com).  I share it with you here:

Whether you’re innately tidy or, um, not, find strategies tailored to how you think.

Left-Brained vs. Right-Brained

Order is individual. Some minds are built to create pristine stacks, and others have a natural urge to sprawl and display. We’ve all heard about left-brained and right-brained people and the different tendencies associated with each. A quick review:

  • Right-brain types are visually oriented. They tend to think in images rather than words, focus on the big picture rather than the details, and go through life in a somewhat seat-of-the-pants (a.k.a. scattered) way.
  • Left-brainers are those who think in words (attention, list makers!), do a lot of advance planning, and approach challenges in a rational, linear way.

So why not use this information when implementing order at home? It could be the solution to the endless search for the right organizing gear and offer relief from the disappointment (and cost) of failed attempts. “The key to successful organizing,” says Melissa Picheny, principal of a functional-design company in New York City (declutteranddesign.com), “is to pay attention to your personality. Then come up with a plan that conforms to it, rather than trying to work within someone else’s system.”

So, I ask you….how is your brain wired to work?  Are you a right-brainer or a left brainer (like me)?  Don’t know the answer…. CLICK HERE to take a simple quiz and find out.  You might be surprised like I was and the answer could help you define your organizing style.

~~~~~~~~~

So what did you learn?  Are you a right-brainer or left-brainer (like me)?  I would love to have you share your findings in the COMMENTS BELOW.

Are You Living By Default?

A Guest Post by M. Shannon Hernandez

of The Writing Whisperer

Are you living by default?  According to the dictionary, by default means

  • through lack of positive action rather than conscious choice 
  • because of a lack of opposition

Do you wake up each day and continue doing the same thing you did yesterday? If the answer is yes, are you getting the results you desire with your daily actions, or are you doing it just because it is the by default action?

I recently spent 11 days on a road trip with my husband, Michael. We left Brooklyn with our final destination in mind, Edisto Beach, SC. We had digital directions, snacks in the cooler, money for fuel and fun, our bikes attached to the vehicle, and each other. We didn’t plan too much else, because we wanted to experience the trip as it happened.

We made a pit stop in Richmond, VA, to see a friend on a whim, and decided to spend the night in the downtown area. We walked by the river and happened upon a bluegrass concert and ate at an amazing vegan spot which served BBQ jackfruit sandwiches – one of the TASTIEST things I have ever eaten in my life. The local beer was delicious too!

The next morning we continued our journey. We arrived in Edisto Beach, checked into the condo, and began thinking about how we wanted to spend the next 7 days. We knew we wanted to bike, kayak, hike, and hang in the sun. But, Mother Nature had other plans, which included violent, stormy weather, at times flooding out roads and trails, lightening strikes, and scary wind!

In a past life, Mother Nature would have ruined my trip, literally. I would have stayed inside, waiting for the weather to break, and missed tons of fun. But this time, I decided I would not live by default.

We rode our bikes in the storms. We got rained on poolside. We kayaked, out of the middle of the ocean, with an angry sea beating its fury against us. But in the end, we won, because we chose NOT to live by default. We made conscious choices every single moment, and I am thrilled to report, this was one of the most delightful and fulfilling trips I’ve ever taken.

Life is short. You can either choose to make decisions each day, ones that fill you with a sense of purpose and bring joy and meaning to your life, or you can choose to live by default, walking blindly through the day, doing things the way they have always been done, without conscious thought or action.

I sincerely hope you choose to live life not by default, but rather on purpose. [Tweet This]

Experience new things each day, take a different path home, try a new flavor of coffee, call a friend and schedule an impromptu visit, dance in the rain, naked or clothed. Take that gardening class or learn to draw, since you have always wished to do so, and ride that roller coaster this summer that scares you to death!

Drop us a comment below and share your experience and, most importantly, how it made you feel to live on purpose and not by default.

M. Shannon Hernandez The Writing WhispererM. Shannon Hernandez has been passionate teaching others from a very early age.  As owner of The WritingWhisperer, her specialty lies in coaching and motivating women to hone their writing skills, particularly in non-fiction and business writing. Shannon is a leading voice in the world of authentic business writing and writes regularly for The Huffington Post. She coaches others to find their voices in business writing, because the words they use define their brands. Connect with Shannon on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

A Creative Way to Enhance Your Blog

Put Your Tribe to Work

Save Time Blogging:

Put your Tribe to Work for You

A Guest Post by Caylie Price

of Better Business Better Life

 

Do you ever sit down to write and think, “Heaven help me.. not again?”

Is your mind blank except for the booming voice “You’re not a writer…did you really think you could be a blogger…I can’t think of anything to write AARRRGGGGHHHHH.”

OR

Do you simply not have the time right now? Business is brusque, the kids are hungry, the day job wants you to work late, you’ve neglected the gym since 1984 and social life, what social life?

OR

BOTH?  And now you’re praying for a miracle to whisk you away to a tropical island.

Well, it’s time to get smarter.

It’s time to put your tribe to work for you!

So how does this work?

You need to learn how to be a content collator or aggregator and to effectively crowd source your content.

The simplest way is to post a series of links to great content your readers have written. Something along the lines of what Sarah from SillyGrrl.com does with her Blog Love series. Your readers will love you for it. I’m always on the lookout for the latest Blog Love post because I know there will be a bunch of amazing gems to dive into.

Imagine taking it to a whole other level though.

Say hello to Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing. This man is the master of setting his tribe to work.

Take January 2012 for example. Danny decided to run a contest for his readers called “Marketing That Works.

Readers wrote posts about anything from new technologies, to old-fashioned ideas made modern, to whole new theories – all ideas and techniques for great marketing.

The masterstroke?

“We’re going to be publishing one (finalist) post every weekday – that’s a post every weekday for four weeks.”

See that right there?

20 finalist posts published across a month. 20 posts that Danny and his team didn’t have to write. And 20 posts guaranteed to be heavily promoted by the finalists.

Nice work don’t you think?

To step it up a notch, in January 2013 Danny ran the “Awesome Engagement Contest”.

The rules…

“Each contestant had 5 days for their post to gain as much traction in the form of top-quality comments and social shares as possible. Overall, the contest generated over 70,000 words in the comment section, spread out between more than 800 comments, and posts were shared more than 800 times on Twitter, and another 1,400+ on Facebook.”

With fifteen finalists each having written a post published on Firepole Marketing and the social stats above, you might say it’s not too shabby.

You might argue that’s easy when there is $2,350 in the prize pool. Of course people will enter for that but you don’t have that sort of money to give away. Why am I wasting your time talking about this?

Well, you don’t have to be a big time blogger with cash to splash like Danny to get your readers to play ball.

If you have an e-course or other product why not offer free access for the finalists with a VIP upgrade for the winner.

Not only will it not cost you anything, but you can then also ask for testimonials from the recipients.

Or perhaps you can find a sponsor for your blog challenge or competition. If you already work with brands why not approach them to support your efforts – especially when they are more likely to get great exposure.

A little bit of creativity can get you ahead.

Time For Action

Now you’ve got a couple of very effective strategies to put your tribe to work, I want you to tell me  – have you tried a similar strategy before? What worked? What didn’t?

If this is all new, how can you apply these ideas to your blog? Identify the first step now and share your ideas in the comments below.

Caylie HeadshotCaylie Price, owner of Better Business Better Life , is currently working her way around the interwebs with her 21 day Blogging For Growth tour. She is also co-author of How To Host ASwingin’ Blog Challenge. Download the first chapter FREE to learn more.

READY FOR THANKSGIVING? Don’t fret, help is here.

giving thanks

TEN TIPS TO A TERRIFIC TURKEY DAY

Are you ready for Turkey Day?  Don’t fret if you’re not, there’s still time to get everything together!  Check out these tips for help on how to get organized for the big day! 

 

 1. GATHER YOUR IDEAS AND RECIPES: Check out the mountains of magazines in the stores; eye catching pictures can help to inspire your menu. Browse the internet for some more ideas (foodnetwork.com, marthastewart.com and pinterest.com are my favorites).  Take some time to watch the cooking channels highlighting holiday suggestions.

 2. DESIGN YOUR MENU: Create diversity by including some traditional favorites from the past as well as adding a few new recipes that can become favorites in the future. Try to balance your menu with color, texture and flavor to entice your guests.  And remember…you want to make twice as much as usual for leftovers!

 3. CREATE A SHOPPING LIST: Write down all of the items from each recipe to make a master shopping list.  You might want to break your shopping into several trips if time allows: packaged & frozen items the week before, turkey the week of, produce 1-2 days before you cook.  Try not to get caught up in all the frenzy; there will still be frozen turkeys the day before the big day – you just may have to flash thaw the turkey or eat later in the day!  If something you want isn’t available, choose something new!

 4. PLOT A TIMELINE: Timelines detailing when things should be completed helps to avoid snafus like having two things needing to be cooked at the same time on the stove or in the oven!  It helps to construct one by working backwards from the time of the meal.  Try to do as much as possible ahead of time so you can relax and enjoy doing something special or spending time with your company.

 5. CHOOSE YOUR SERVING DISHES: This will save guessing which food will go in which dish on turkey day.  Label the dishes with the food item that belongs to it so others can help you put the food on the table and everything will stay hot longer.

6. SET THE TABLE: This is a great time to showcase your special dishes!  Choose your favorites, wash and dry ahead of time and put aside covered to avoid dust.  If you’re lucky to have a separate dining table, set it up early in the week to make sure it looks the way you want (again, cover with a tablecloth to protect).  If not enough time, set it early in the day and always take advantage of extra hands!

 7. CREATE A CENTERPIECE: Professional arrangements should be ordered at least a week in advice; cut flowers/arrangements can be purchased in most grocery stores up to the day.  Think about alternative centerpieces to flowers: edible arrangements are wonderful substitutes – use what’s in your refrigerator (lemons, oranges, artichokes or asparagus make great choices).  Get kids involved and make a paper cornucopia or turkey…this could add interest to your table and inspire conversation among your guests.

 8. PUT YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER: Clean your main rooms a few days ahead, then do a quick run through with a duster the day before.  If you’re entertaining overnight guests and have a separate area/room for their use, make sure the bed has clean sheets/blankets and there are a set of fresh towels; add a special touch with an amenities basket like those found in hotels – sample sizes are readily available in most pharmacies or discount stores or a ready make basket can be purchased from a wholesale store.

 9. ADD SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Try adding music to your special day: use a portable cd/mp3 player with a speaker, the computer or even music channels on the television to set the mood.  This will help create a welcoming environment for all those who enter your home.

 10. RELAX AND STAY FLEXIBLE: Try to find some pockets of time each day leading up to the big Turkey day to relax: 15 minutes of a relaxing activity will lower your stress levels – walk, exercise, meditate or just breathe!  And there’s bound to be mishaps – remember to stay flexible and accept whatever comes your way – you’ll work through it.

Cheers to a happy and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

PRODUCT TIP OF THE WEEK

This Week’s Product

is for both the Home & Office

As an organizer, I often use products that make not only my life easier, but my clients.  One product that has come in handy in both a business AND a home setting is my label maker; I don’t go anywhere without it!  This tool is like that of a hammer for a carpenter, a stethoscope for a doctor or a calculator for an accountant.  It is truly that important!

DSCN1325The label maker that I have used since I’ve been in the organizing business is Brother P-Touch Desktop Model PT 1290.  This is what it looks like.  Now this particular model has been upgraded (to Brother PT 2030) and you can find many other options that will fit your specific needs.

 

This is a highlight of what I love about this product:

          • can be used in both home & business applications
          • lightweight & portable
          • simple to use; easy to master
          • no software needed
          • has multiple formats & offers different framing options
          •  accommodates 2 rows of text
          • battery & AC operated

I could go on and on with more of the features, but the proof is in the pudding.  Take a look at a recent reorg I did in my own pantry cabinet.  Picture 1 is without labels; Picture 2 is the labeller with the labels; Picture 3 is with labels.  The containers are fine without the labels, but if left in that state, anyone who accesses the cabinet always has to take extra steps to figure out what’s inside.  With the labels – quick, easy identification of what’s inside.  The entire process took less than 30 minutes start to finish using my desktop labeller.  Definitely a step well worth the effort.

DSCN1239     DSCN1241    DSCN1249

Now you may be thinking, “I’m not an organizer, so why would I need label maker?”  The answer remains in understanding where a label maker can come in handy.  Check out this list:

Applications for label use:

Home

  • Kitchens (cabinet/drawer containerizing)
  • Linen Closets (shelf/item labelling)
  • Bathrooms (medicines, hygiene products)
  • Garage (tools)
  • Craft Rooms (product pieces)
  • Children’s Rooms (toys, school supplies, clothing)

Business

  • Files (Labels, tabs, drawer id)
  • Inventory Control (shelf id, product id)
  • Supplies (identification of sm. pieces)
  • Drawers (separation/management)
  • Notebooks (tabs, separators, title, spine)
  • Rolodex Files (title, separators)

Above are 6 suggestions for both home and office; now it’s your turn….look around your home or office and think about the many places you could use a label maker.  Where do you think you can find an application for a label?

Now check out the links listed above and choose one that will fit your needs and lifestyle and label away!  Send us some pics and let us know where you found an application – your project might just inspire someone else!

LIST-A-PALOOZA: 90 Day List Building Challenge

Picture6

The 3 Phases of Growing Your E-mail List

by PJ Van Hulle

Picture 2

How do you go from no e-mail list at all, to adding a few people here and there, to adding hundreds or thousands at a time?

Here are the 3 phases of list-building and some of the most effective list-building tactics in each stage…

PHASE 1:  Getting Started

When you’re just starting out, it is recommended to reach out to your sphere of influence and inviting them to receive your special newsletter or tips (whatever valuable free goody you offer on an ongoing basis).

Here are some places to start:

  • Stacks of business cards you’ve collected
  • Contacts in Gmail (or whatever e-mail provider you have)
  • People in your cell phone
  • Facebook friends
  • LinkedIn connections

Send them an e-mail message to reconnect, inviting them to opt in to your list.  I’ll share some specific templates for this in the Opening Ceremonies call of the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

By the way, you need PERMISSION to add someone to your e-mail list.  Otherwise, it’s considered spam.  When someone gives you their business card, it does NOT mean they’ve opted in to your list (unless they specifically say, “Here’s my card… please add me to your list.”)

PHASE 2:  Launching

Just like a rocket uses most of its fuel to get off the ground, adding the first 1,000 people to your list is the hardest, in my opinion.

You can accelerate your results in this stage by asking for referrals, regularly posting on social media, public speaking, attending networking events, and investing in paid advertising, like Facebook ads.

If you’re really ambitious, you can add hundreds or thousands of people to your list in a relatively short period of time by hosting a tele-summit where the speakers that you’re interviewing help promote the event.

PHASE 3:  Leverage

As your list gets bigger and bigger, it’s easier to find strategic alliances and affiliates with bigger lists to promote you and vice versa.Once you have an online sales funnel that converts well, it’s less scary to invest more money in paid advertising as well.  Therefore, once you’ve reached this stage, it’s a lot easier to add hundreds or thousands of people to your list at a time.

 

The intention with List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge is that it will help you get to Phase 3 more quickly or accelerate your results in Phase 3, if you’re already there.  Join us in the challenge today!

 

Picture of PJ Van Hulle

   PJ Van Hulle is an acclaimed international speaker and author who works with speakers, coaches and   consultants who love what they do but get frustrated with the marketing part. She is the creator of the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

My Photo Journey of the Country Living Magazine Fair 2013

Recently, I had lost a little of my focus after having been sick with a cold for a week; I wasn’t sure how to find my mojo again, so I did what everybody does when they want help finding an answer – I asked my Facebook fans!  A recurring answer was to go somewhere that helps you clear your mind and I had the perfect place just a few minutes away.  I put aside my to-do list this weekend, hopped in the car and headed across the river to Rhinebeck, NY, where Country Living Magazine was holding their vintage flea market for the first time at this new venue location.

And, boy, was I ever glad!

It was an awesome day filled with traipsing through stalls of fantastic vintage chic treasures, meeting lots of different vendors and artists and listening to an awesome group of ladies from “Sisters on the Fly”.  I thought you might like to share in some of the highlights from my experience – come join me for a photo journey of this awesome outdoor event!

Opening to Sisters on the Fly RV Exhibit

The fair started with the delightful Sisters on the Fly exhibit of ol’ time renovated RVs displaying cute vintage sale items.  I remembered hearing about this group, adventurous women vacationing in the outdoors with renovated RVs all on their own, but couldn’t recall the particulars. (I found out more later in the day.)  We didn’t linger long as we were anxious to get closer to all of the awesome vendors and merchandise.

 

As we continued, there were so many gems along the way…starting with a little glimpse into the past as well as a science & history lesson where we found out how old-time glass automobile batteries were used.  Who would have thought!

Old Time Automobile Batteries

 

Moving along, we encountered

 the quintessential vintage sale vignettes…

IMG_20130608_130008_554     IMG_20130608_130035_002    IMG_20130608_130058_082

and old era-like jewelry.

           IMG_20130608_153703_717    IMG_20130608_130231_953    IMG_20130608_130302_292

As we moved through the covered stalls filled with the colorful displays everywhere, we came into the building with Americana items….a little slice of heaven showcasing items from all over our country that evoke so many memories of our past.

The bike from an era gone by

  IMG_20130608_132302_301

the handcrafted americana art

 IMG_20130608_132949_555 IMG_20130608_132754_628

and the items that showcase our country’s heritage

IMG_20130608_155101_337 IMG_20130608_155234_093

After a short break sipping old-fashioned lemonade, we strolled onward…

enjoying the warm sun as we gazed upon the outdoor displays of repurposed everyday items

IMG_20130608_133116_729  IMG_20130608_133226_140  IMG_20130608_133152_528  IMG_20130608_153316_931

and heading down the path to find some more wonderful treats.

Whether it was a little something from the Provence of France such as vintage home goods, lacy textiles swaying in the breeze or a french provincial vignette

IMG_20130608_134050_035     IMG_20130608_134041_349    IMG_20130608_134020_525

or lovingly handcrafted items right from our very own backyard,

IMG_20130608_134329_204     IMG_20130608_153935_624     IMG_20130608_155523_456

there was a plethora of beauty for everyone.

From the unusual …. 3 floor, 36 room bed & breakfast for birds

IMG_20130608_154941_485          IMG_20130608_154930_236

to the whimsy of a windchime created from old utensils;

IMG_20130608_134514_417

and back to something unexpected –

IMG_20130608_133918_392   who knew a light fixture could be made out of burlap?

Everywhere you turned, there was an explosion of creativity, nostalgia and charm.  We didn’t only spend a lot of time browsing, though.  We also spent lots of time gabbing with artisans, from all over, who love to share not only their techniques, but the unique stories behind their art like:

  • Kathryn Kosto from www.poetrycollage.com, right here in our very own state of New York, who loves to tell the story of poetry through collages created out of vintage textiles and memorabilia
  • to Mike Rawson from www.rockinghorsecarver.com, an amazing wood-carver donating proceeds to cancer from Ohio and
  • Ryan McPhail from www.statelytables.com, again from New York, who creates amazing tables of states carved out of wood.

No matter who they were, they loved to share their skill, passion and creativity.

But I couldn’t let this post end without highlighting our favorite vendor of the fair, Sweeter Than The Tea, who had these wonderfully repurposed mason & canning jars.

IMG_20130608_153437_948  IMG_20130608_153647_035 (1)  IMG_20130608_153617_172 (1)  IMG_20130608_153609_416    IMG_20130608_153638_739

Our spectacular day ended by re-visiting the Sisters On The Fly exhibit (read all about them here) and chatting with several RV-ers who described the amazing journey to customize their vintage accommodations.

 IMG_20130608_163356_672     IMG_20130608_163352_855

The day was amazingly wonderful and words (and pictures) cannot adequately describe it.  What started out as an activity designed to refocus my tired brain became a memorable life experience and something that inspired me to look for the next vintage fair!  I think a vacation is now in order and definitely one with a vintage fair will be on the horizon.

If you’ve visited somewhere recently that inspired you, helped you refocus or brought you great joy, please share it belowIt might inspire someone else!

OFFICE MANAGING TIP OF THE WEEK

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU START A PROJECT?

How do you contain all your thoughts, ideas and the information that accumulates before the project even starts?  Where does all that paperwork go as the project moves to completion?  Also, how do you store it all and keep it easily accessible?  In our Managing Tip of The Week, we have a solution.

SOLUTION

As soon as a project is defined, choose one of three type of organizers to contain your information.  Base the decision on how long the project will be, how much info you expect to amass and whether that information will need to be updated. Here’s 3 options to choose from:

    • FILE FOLDER: Use if the project will be a quick, one-time event.  Label it immediately upon the scheduling of the project; feed paperwork into it and store in your project management container on top of your desk for easy access.
    • PROJECT FOLDER: Use if project will be short-term and have multiple areas of concentration needing tracking.  Label it immediately upon scheduling of project; contains 5+ pocket folders that can store small amounts of information.  Keeps everything easily accessible and provides portability; stores on desktop or in drawer nicely.
    • 3-RING BINDER: Use if project will be long-term, have multiple areas of concentration for tracking and need to update information frequently.  Customize the cover AND the binder at the beginning of the project to help keep it easily identifiable; organize the areas using Tab Separators.  Store on desktop, in file drawer or on bookshelf.

RESULT

All project information is well contained, can be updated as needed, looks professional and is easily stored for quick access when needed.

Never worry about where all that project information is EVER again ….once you’ve chosen which product to use, you have everything just where you need it when you need it.  Now tell us, how do you handle your project management information?