Thursday, April 28, 2011

Green Winner & $20 Pear Tree Giveaway!


Today's a giveaway kind of day. As promised, I'm sharing the winner of the Green Giveaway that I ran in honor of Earth Day and I have another giveaway from Pear Tree Greetings that I nearly forgot about for April. I'm not trying to get all crazy with the giveaways but I thought it would be nice for someone to win $20 worth of stationery vs. just skipping it this month altogether because of my forgetfulness.

The winner of the Method Wood for Good spray, free eco-friendly method cleaning product coupon, and other goodies is 'ldelangel'-Congratulations! I didn't use random.org this time because we only had 6 entries from 4 different people and with 3 entries from ldelangel alone I figured she really wanted to win it. I've tried reaching you via your blog and facebook page but am unable to contact you, 'ldelangel' could you please e-mail me with your address so I can mail your gift? Thank You! :)



This month's Pear Tree Giveaway is $20 to spend any way you like and includes free shipping anywhere in the U.S. I love their note cards and address labels but they also offer graduation announcements and baby shower invitations too! Speaking of grads, if you know of one, have them enter Pear Tree's graduation contest HERE to win up to $6,000!

A reader,Trish,  recently left a comment on this blog post about Pear Tree's products, this is what she wrote:

"I just received my Pear Tree invitations and they are wonderful! The color, paper quality, and print far exceeded my expectations. I would highly recommend this company." ~Trish

Now, it's your turn to experience Pear Tree!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

1. To enter, let me know you're a public follower and tell me what you are most in need of such as thank you cards, wedding invitations, party invitations, moving announcements, etc.

2. For extra chances, share this giveaway via your blog, Facebook and/or Tweet about it! (each worth an extra entry)

*Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and don't forget to leave your e-mail if you don't have a blog, so I can contact you if you win!

GIVEAWAY CLOSES: May.1 @ 10pm EST

NUMBER OF WINNERS: One

PRIZE: $20 to spend at PearTreeGreetings.com (includes free shipping)

RULES: The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on 05/02/11.

OPEN TO: I apologize to my international friends but it's U.S. addresses ONLY for this giveaway.


Good Luck! Shop the Pear Tree website now and get special discounts. Thank you to the always generous Pear Tree Greetings for providing this wonderful giveaway prize!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Manners Monday: Perfume Etiquette



We’ve all been there-sitting next to someone at a restaurant or stuck working next to a colleague who has sprayed far too much perfume. We’re all aware of how obnoxious it can be and yet there are still so many fragrance offenders that leave perfect strangers in a cloud of scent that they cannot escape!

We generally think of our perfume as enhancing our overall appearance and others will enjoy the olfactory experience as much as we do, but it’s not always the case. What if we’re in close proximity to others who dislike or are allergic to the perfume or cologne we are wearing?

Like everything else a classy woman puts on, a perfume should also be carefully selected to fit the lady wearing it.



Perfume Etiquette Tips


1. Choose the Right Perfume- Fragrances are similar to clothing in that what works well for one person may not suit another. Applying perfume or cologne should be done so that it allows the scent to interact with one’s body chemistry, resulting in a personalized version of the scent which allows your perfume to complement you.

2. Less is More- Use restraint when applying perfume, a small spritz goes a long way. An overwhelming amount of perfume can not only distract others from their work but also be responsible for headaches or nausea. Remember that while you may become used to the scent of your own perfume, it can be very obvious to others. The smell of perfume is magnified in enclosed or crowded areas, as well as in the sun or under warm lights. Follow the old adage of less is more and refrain from re-applying more than once a day.

3. Pair your Perfume with the Venue - A fragrance should also suit the occasion. In general, heavy perfumes are best reserved for a night out. Choose a lighter scent for daytime wear. Certain occasions in life call for discretion and modesty and should not be burdened by overbearing odors. These include hospitals, funerals and when around babies or young children with developing lungs. It is best to keep your scent very light for interviews where your experience should be on display, not your chosen scent.

4. Apply it in Private – As with all other aspects of personal grooming, the application of perfume should take place in a private area such as your home or, if need be, in your workplace washroom. It is impolite to subject others to a toxic cloud of scent, so rethink the idea of spritzing if you're going to be in close proximity to others or in an enclosed space.

5. Resist the urge to Compete – Similar to the notion of eliminating the use of scented candles at the table during a wonderful meal, if you're attending an event where aroma is an important part of the experience such as dining out or wine tasting, avoid competing with anything edible.

6. Perfume is not Body Spray - While it has the ability to mask odors immediately, spaying perfume as if it were body spray, in an attempt to cover up an unpleasant scent, such as body odor, alcohol or cigarettes will only create a toxic bomb of scents that negatively interact with one another to create something unbearable.

7. Fragrances have an Expiry Date- After about a year or two, fragrances start to turn rancid and their once beautiful notes can become harsh, musky or very overpowering. No matter how much you’ve invested into the perfume or how much you love it, it’s time to replace it. There’s no sense keeping something that doesn’t help you put your best foot forward.



Perhaps the most important thing for a classy woman to remember is that, like many of her other attributes, her perfume should be an intimate experience and is something she shares with those whom she has close contact with or plans to have. These select people should have to lean in to breathe in her intoxicating fragrance. The lingering of her scent should be subtle and intriguing.

What is your favorite perfume and how do you ensure that your perfume is ‘just right’ before leaving the house?


*image (1), (2), (3)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day & Green Giveaway!


Happy Earth day! I love celebrating our planet and while today is a day that gets a lot of attention, I try to do my part every day. If we all introduce small and easy changes daily, we can make the biggest impact, and also show others by our actions how to live a more green and healthy lifestyle.


As some of you may know, Method is one of our newest sponsors. I was so delighted when they contacted me as I've been a loyal user of their fun, eco-friendly products for the past 6 or 7 years. I instantly fell in love with their yummy scents, people and earth friendly ingredients as well as their large range of products. If you have not explored the world of Method, I highly recommend it! Click {HERE} to see their collection. While all items are available online, you can find most at Target or Whole Foods.

A few weeks ago a case of these babies arrived at my door:



Thanks Method! I was asked to share their Wood for Good product with others, it is just one of their speciality surface cleaners. Wood for Good cleans and polishes wood furniture and smells like almond-it's HEAVENLY! Since Method had shipped the box of 4 bottles to me, as much as I wanted to give them all away to some of you, I wanted to keep things green by choosing friends or family members locally to avoid more fuel via shipping. I gave a bottle to 'J' and one to 'L' to try out and report back to me. Here is what they had to say about Wood for Good:

{L} said..."I love the fresh almond scent of the cleaner, makes you feel like you're baking or enjoying dessert instead of cleaning! I felt that it did a good job of removing light stains and dust/dirt and I liked that it came in a spray bottle instead of an aerosol can. I can see that the product will last me a while because a little goes a long way. And lastly, it comes in nice packaging and message on the bottle is entertaining and funny, which is always a nice bonus!"

{J} said... "WOW-the scent is awesome! I've never used a cleaning products that has smelled so good. I have both antique furniture as well as some modern pieces and it left both looking clean and shiny. We have hardwood floors and since I loved this so much that I want to try Method's wood floor cleaner next! I love knowing that this is safe for our cat and us as well as the planet."

Method wanted me to keep a bottle for myself but the final bottle will go to one of you in celebration of Earth Day! It will arrive along with a free Method product coupon to buy something of your choice and a micro-fiber cleaning cloth for one lucky winner who loves green cleaning as much as I do! (*While this is a wood cleaner, they have a separate cleaner for flooring, this is strictly for wood furniture.)



Become a public follower or tell me you already are one and leave me a comment here and tell me what green efforts you make in your home. For additional entries, like me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter or blog about the giveaway and leave a comment for each. I'll be shipping this out to one lucky winner in the U.S. and will draw the name on Wednesday, April.27th at 11pm EST. Good Luck!

I wish you all a peaceful and blessed Easter!



*image (1), (2)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Natural Cleaning Solutions


Last week while I was guest posting about Home Staging at Karen's blog, Strictly Simple Style, one of her readers enjoyed my post and asked if I would be a contributor to her blog for Earth week. So, instead of posting here, today you can find me at Sandra's blog, 'Healthier and more Prosperous Living' writing on the topic of natural cleaning using 3 simple kitchen ingredients.

I hope you will pop by to meet Sandra and get inspired to go green just in time for some spring cleaning!



I also have a deal for all of my U.S. readers. In honor of graduation season, my sponsor Pear Tree Greetings wants everyone to have thank you cards on hand. They are graciously offering a set of 6 generic thank you cards (2 each of the 3 shown above) for just $1 which includes free shipping! This offer is good for April.20th and 21st only until midnight and there is a limited 5,000 supply, so hurry!



*image (1), (2)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Living Well: Maximizing Your Wardrobe


In celebration of Earth Week, I'll be covering practical and easy ways to live well by becoming more green and saving money in the process. Classy women care about their environment and are mindful of their budget. So, today's post is all about re-discovering and shopping your existing wardrobe to keep both money in your wallet and needless garments out of landfills. It also solves the problem that most women proclaim which is, "I have nothing to wear!".



A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on getting organized and the importance of keeping an organized closet, which is essential to ensuring your don't end up buying duplicate items and reminds you of clothing and accessories that you may have forgotten about.  Karen of Strictly Simple Style commented that she had heard about a great tip which is shopping your own wardrobe and after mixing things up, taking photos of the new outfits you've created which makes getting dressed a cinch. I actually snap photos on the camera I'll be traveling with to maximize what's in my suitcase so I can travel lighter and get more mileage out of each article of clothing. Somehow though I hadn't used this photo trick for day-to-day dressing. Thanks Karen for the tip!

Mr. Polished and put together himself, Tim Gunn, has teamed up with Tide to create this fun 3-minute video where he shares easy tips on how to maximize what you have and look great while doing it!



Favorite Ways to Maximize My Wardrobe:

1. Multi-purpose items-A tunic or a casual dress can double as a bathing suit cover up in a pinch and can also be worn with  leggings.

2. Belts- They instantly change or update a dress or outfit. Keep a couple skinny belts and a couple chunky belts on hand (brown, black and gold are the best colors to invest in).

3. Go Short- If jeans shrink and become too short, wear them with flats only or if they are past that point, have them taken up to become capris or roll them up and cuff them yourself.

4. The Casual Cuff-Cuff the sleeves on a blazer for a more casual and relaxed look with jeans.

5. Layers create Length-If a favorite long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt becomes too short to wear, layer up. Use a longer, pretty tank top with lace detailing along the bottom to be worn underneath in either the identical color for an elongated look or a contrast color to mix it up.

6. Refresh with Accessories-One of the fastest ways to change the overall look of an outfit is with accessories. Whether it be a set of pretty bangles, a different pair of shoes or a scarf to jazz up a simple tee or a statement necklace, there are many ways of creating a whole new look with what you already own.

What are your favorite ways of maximizing your existing wardrobe?



*image (1)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Romantic Ruffles for Spring!



Thank you to everyone who popped by to meet Karen and read my guest post for her blog on Monday! I really appreciate it. If you didn't catch that post, you can read it {here}.

When springtime comes I instantly feel attracted to everything delicate, soft, airy, girly and pretty. Ruffles have always had a place in fashion but over the past few spring seasons we've seen them make a big comeback in both our home as well as the runway. Everything from blouses, dresses to scarves to ruffled blazers, clutches and shoes. A lot of brides are opting for dresses adorned with ruffles now more than ever.


My sweet friend { L} got married a few weeks ago wearing this beautiful ruffled gown. She is  shown here alongside of her flower girl and was such a stunning bride!




While I'm a bikini kind of gal I do love this turquoise ruffled one-piece swimsuit by Shabby Apple.

True Parisian glamour! I rarely wear a dress with sleeves, especially in spring or summer but this one is stunning! You can find it featured {here}.


 This ruffled cardigan is from JCrew and comes in 4 different colors, it's perfect for Spring's unpredictable weather.



My closet is home to a few ruffled tops, a scarf and even a dress which I've had for a few years and love today just as much as the day I purchased them. You might remember me sharing these comfy ballet flats from Target that I purchased a few months ago which are trimmed with just the perfect touch of ruffle detail.

I'm also a fan of small doses of ruffles in home decor. Lately I've been doing some shopping for clients and coming across some really beautiful items. I wanted to share a few for those that are  into romantic ruffles also.

A Few of my Ruffled Favorites


This is Potterybarn's ruffled jersey organic sheet set. What's not to love?! Not only is it soft and romantic but it has cottage charm and it's good for you and the environment. That will help you sleep at night. They also offer a ruffled turkish organic duvet cover and sham set as well, so over or under, they've got you covered!



I found this image and tutorial at Just a Girl and thought this would be a cute lampshade DIY. Her finished product shown above was inspired by the Anthropologie ruffled lampshade.



Target offers this ruffles shower curtain for just $25! I've seen something similar available in other stores like Anthropologie for about 4x the price so this is a steal! The soft and feminine detail would add a bit of 'pretty' to any bathroom.



This Floret ruffled rosette pillow from Zgallerie was a recent selection for a client's master bedroom reading chair.I love that it is linen, so light and airy.



I hope you all have a sweet weekend! :)



Have you bought anything with ruffles recently? I'd love to hear about it!



*tablecloth, cake

Monday, April 11, 2011

How do you make others Feel?


Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend filled with warm, breezy spring air and sunshine kisses. I've been keeping my head down and focused on work for most of the weekend and I'm nearly finished a few new designs which I'll share with you all shortly. In the meantime, I thought I'd leave you with another one of my favorite quotes from the ever wise Maya Angelou to inspire your day.



Wishing you a wonderful week ahead, see you tomorrow!


*image

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fitness Products Review


Okay, so remember way back in early January when I mentioned some new fitness products I was ordering HERE? Well, this CSN products review is now about 6 weeks overdue. Unfortunately, just 11 days after that post and having ordered my new fitness gear, I slipped in a puddle of water at my local grocery store and pulled several muscles in my back while catching myself from falling. I've been slowly getting back into the groove with some gentle yoga, stretching, massage and physical therapy but I don't quite feel myself yet. Let's just say my grandiose plans of starting 2011 off with a bang in the workout department didn't really materialize the way I had hoped.

Fast forward to today. I am feeling better although still experience a lot of back pain and stiffness so I've had to slowly ease into using my new fitness goodies. Now that I've been able to use each one of them, it's time to post my review! I did have to change out the trampoline I originally was going to order (although I still plan to get one in the near future) due to an order snafu and exchanged it for a new king sheet set which we needed anyway so it all worked out. So, I have 3 fitness items and 2 home items to share with you.



First up, is something I use daily. I am just in love with this Reston Lloyd Calypso 5 quart enamel colander! I've wanted one for a while so I could replace the plastic ones I have and when I saw the marina blue color, I knew I had to have it. Not only does it strain and drain but it's become a prominent fixture on my counter as our new fruit bowl and adds a fun pop of color too. It's easy to wash and the many holes allow things like pasta to drain really quickly which I love.



Next, I've been wanting to get a pair of good workout gloves for a L-O-N-G time. The ones I chose are the Savasa fitness gloves in purple/gray. They have a ventilated area on the palm and fingers, the palm area is actually padded while the top is a stretchy mesh fabric that makes getting my gloves on and off vey easy and they don't slide off or come undone. I wanted a breathable fabric without a velcro closure, knowing that velcro straps can wear over time and become less effective. These bad boys can go into the washig machine too which is perfect, leather gloves can't do that. These are great but silly me, I ordered them with my winter glove size in mind which is medium/ large  instead of the small/medium only because my fingers are so darn long (thanks Dad!), completely forgetting that these cut off half way down the finger area and that part wouldn't matter anyway. They ended up being a bit  to big but because they are so stretchy, they still fit really well despite my error.



What workout would be complete without an exercise/balance ball? I ordered the Body Solid anti-burst ball in red. I'm a big fan of them and think they are great to not only use for stretching or to work out the abs but they also make a great desk chair to help strengthen your core. I owned one previously that wound up being too small, so this time I was sure to order the correct size, which is 65cm for my height- 5'9 1/2" so now my knees are actually parallel with my hips. My big red ball has been really helpful for stretching and strengthening my back muscles as well as balancing exercises which are a big focus right now. This ball came with an inexpensive looking pump which can take a long time and they aren't always effective so I took mine to my gym and used their super duper pump which was the perfect solution.


I've never owned yoga blocks before but always wanted a pair. I've seen many workouts which incorporate the blocks and help to intensify a stretch and also act as a 'helper' when you're not quite flexible enough for certain poses. They also happen to be great in between the legs for squeezing/strengthening exercises and can be used in Pilates also. For anyone that's been considering them, here is a little video with their uses. These have been especially helpful in recoving from my injury where I've been forced to take a step backwards with my yoga and cannot always stretch as far as I used to be able to. I like how soft they are yet made of firm and durable foam compared to others I've seen in stores. I love Gaiam products, my yoga mat and bag are the same brand and I haven't been disappointed. I ordered my Gaiam Yoga Essentials Blocks (set of 2) in purple.


Switching out the trampoline for the king sheets actually worked out great, we were ready for another set that matched with our current bedding since the previous sets were purchased when we owned our older duvet cover. This time we went dark and ordered the Simple Luxury 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets set in mocha, which actually looks more like chocolate brown which is what I wanted vs. the lighter colors we have now. While some reviewers mentioned that they wrinkle easily, they are pretty soft Egyptian cotton and weren't any more wrinkly than other sheets I've purchased. Since I don't fold the top of our duvet down to reveal the sheet, it wasn't a really important factor for me anyway. They did claim to be extra deep pockets and after washing and drying I had to really pull at them to fit over the mattress, but other than that, they've worked out great.


CSN was super easy to deal with, some items weren't in stock at the time of purchase so I received each item separately as they were available from each vendor. My packages ended up being a little surprise every few days which were fun to open. When I had questions regarding the trampoline, the customer service representative was very helpful and made sure I got exactly what I wanted. All items shipped from CSN were also packed really well, almost too well in my opinion, a little more packing materials than I needed but most of it was paper so I was able to recycle it all which was great.

I highly recommend them for a wide range of items. While working on a few new design projects with clients I've found myself perusing their site more and more as a go-to source for accent pillows, bedding, accessories and more.

A huge thank you to CSN stores for being their generous self and gifting me with $130 worth of new home and fitness items that I'm already getting so much use out of.

How about you? For those that have ordered from CSN stores, what has been your favorite purchase?


*image (1)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Living Well: Getting Organized


One of the biggest challenges I hear from both friends and clients is taming clutter and struggling with how to both get and then stay organized. Not only does it look messy but it affects stress levels and the ability to enjoy one's home to the fullest.

There are a few simple tips that I live by which can help keep clutter out of your home, keep your space clean and serene as well as save you time and money too.

1. Managing your Mail-One of the largest clutter contributors is paper, more specifically mail and junk mail like flyers, coupons books and newspapers. When you pick up the mail, set all of the important mail aside and weed out the junk mail. Toss it straight into your recycle bin before ever bringing it into the house. Next, spend 3 minutes immediately opening your mail, recycling the envelopes and then filing away what you need to pay or keep and toss anything that cannot be recycled. If you do this everyday, you'll keep mountains of papers out of your home.

2. Look before you Shop- Before ever heading out to buy more clothes, be absolutely sure that what you think you need is not something you own already. Many of my clients have 10 black t-shirts or white dress shirts because they forgot they had one already and kept buy more of what they already had in their closet. Take a few minutes one day and look through all or your closets and drawers. Make a note of what you do not have but need. Maybe you got rid of a little black dress that had a stain or no longer fits, or your perfect summer pumps got chewed up by your puppy and need to be replaced. Perhaps you don't have a single pair of jeans that fit you anymore.  These are items you know that you in fact need. This is a wise way of shopping which will save you money, time and closet space.




3. Taming your Closet- There are two tricks I have to keeping my closet and drawers from overflowing. I always donate or give away an old piece of clothing or pair of shoes for every new item I bring into the house. If we don't do this, our closets will explode and will be filled with items we likely don't need or wear. Also, get into the habit of spending an hour each season or (more often if you like, I do it monthly) and really use an objective eye to eliminate what you don't need and what no longer fits or suits your style-try everything on if need be. Go through both yours and your kids clothes and donate or bless a friend with some items you don't wear. Try to avoid thinking you'll wear it 'some day' because that day usually never comes. The rule of thumb is that if you haven't worn it within the past 12 months you aren't likely to wear it ever again and don't need it.



4.  A Little Every Day-Most people get overwhelmed at the thought of spending a whole day or even an hour working on a very cluttered space. However, if you start small and do a little bit everyday, you'll reach your organizing goal in no time. Maybe you have some messy kitchen drawers, cabinets or a cluttered office. Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, commit to just one drawer or set a time limit using an oven timer of about 10 minutes. Really, everyone can spare 10 minutes! See how much you accomplish, you might surprise yourself with how much you get done and may even feel inspired to keep going once you get on a roll. The important thing is to start. Even if it's just for a mere 5 minutes every day, you'll be so much farther ahead after just 2 weeks than if you had done nothing at all.

You can also do this while you watch TV, bring a stack of clean towels that need to be folded, or a bunch of old magazines and decide which to keep and which to recycle, or bring a drawer into your living room and work on organizing it while you watch a show and you'll feel a sense of accomplishment when tv time is up.



5. How to Organize- Some of you might be wondering how to begin organizing. No matter what the space is, it could be as small and simple as organizing your handbag, there are four essential piles you need to create. They are: Keep, Toss, Donate, Re-locate. Toss or recycle items you no longer need which are broken or expired. Donate items that no longer have a purpose in your life, do not fit, do not work with your style, do not make you happy or that you have duplicates of. Give them away to either friends that want them or to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, your trash IS someone else's treasure. Remember to pick up your donation receipt for your taxes too.

Re-locate anything that is in its wrong place. A roll of packing tape doesn't belong in your purse, so place it back in your office or garage where it belongs. Make sure every item has a 'home' in your house so there is no confusion as to where it is supposed to go. Keep everything that has a real purpose in your life or that you really do need and will in fact use.

*psst....want to know how to keep a clean car? Click the blue link for tips on maintaining your home on the road.

There are numerous tips on how to get and stay organized and there is no right or wrong way, it's about what works best for you. These are just a few key tips I use and encourage my clients to implement as well to simplify their life. Now, I want to hear how YOU like to stay organized!




*images (1) (2) (3) (4)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Winner of the Personalized Thank You Cards


I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I enjoyed watching a couple new movies, trying some delicious mini cupcakes and spent Sunday at a friend's gorgeous beach house celebrating her birthday with the most stunning weather. I'm feeling refreshed and ready to start the week!

The winner of  our Pear Tree Greetings Giveaway has just won a set of 16 Personalized Thank You cards.

Random.org drew No.11 and the winner was Jacqueline of  the blog 'Expanding Experiences' who said: "I'd like to send thank you's to my brother and his fiance for always helping out!". Jacqueline-I've e-mailed my contact at Pear Tree and she will be sending you the details for your cards shortly!




Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway and have a wonderful Monday!

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