New Years Resolutions…

It is that time of year again.  The holidays end.  The glitter ornaments and garland are put away.  The alarm clock goes off on January 1st.  You wake up saying, “Must make self better.”

“Better” can include all sorts of things.  Healthier.  Happier.  More organized.  More mindful.  More money.

Whatever it is that you decide to resolve and work towards this year, realize that you don’t … and shouldn’t … do it all at once.

Cut yourself some slack right now.  Before you even make the resolution, give yourself a break.  If you don’t, then you know what will happen.  The resolutions will be soon forgotten.

 My recommendation?  Tackle something different each month. 

January … Eat more fruits and veggies.  February … Enroll in a foreign language class.  March … Workout 3 days a week.

But be sure to keep adding to the prior month’s goals.

Stay tuned … I will be posting about my New Year’s Resolutions tomorrow and a game plan for others.  🙂

Until next time and Happy New Year’s Eve…

Jennifer Signature

My 2012 In Review…

I cannot believe 2012 is coming to a close!  My “end of year” feelings are usually pretty ho-hum.  This year is a bit different.  2012 will go down as one for the books for me.

As most of you know, I started Pure & Simple in June 2010.  I was still in grad school and taking pro bono clients at that point.  I graduated in December and went from full time grad student to full time business owner.  I totally freaked out!  I sat around for months making excuses … for everything.  It was awful!  I decided to get my act together and go big or go home!  I spent the last 6 months of 2011 working on projects and trying to understand what business was all about.  How to start one, how to run one, how to get clients, etc.

So 2012 came ringing in with big expectations.  It was a complete roller coaster.  So many ups and so many downs.

My theme for 2012 was “try it on”. I would try something on for size.  If it fit, then I kept it.  If it was uncomfortable, then I took it off with no guilt.  I have “analysis paralysis” when it comes to decisions.  I will analyze and research, analyze and discuss, only to realize I spent all this time analyzing what was the right decision then made no decision at all.

When do we really know that the decision is right?  Try it on for size.

{2012 Recap}

February 9. My guest blog post was published on www.moneysavingmom.com.  My website received 1,800 views in about 3 hours. I found out I made it into the competition for the 3M Command Hooks Commercial Contest.

 

February 19. Organized with a local family while my videographer filmed the project.  All for the 3M Command Hooks Commercial Contest.

 

March.  My first editorial ran in LKN Woman Magazine about how to tackle that clutter.

April. Joined Business Leaders of CLT.  One of the best networking decisions I have made to date.

Credit: Hawthorne Direct

Credit: Hawthorne Direct

May 2. I flew to Los Angeles to film 6 videos for the 3M Post-It Notes Necessorize campaign.

May 8. Signed on to work with Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont to help bring organizing ideas to their readers.

Office on moving day.  It was a mess!

Office on moving day. It was a mess!

 

June 5. I moved in with Raymond.  This was a large step for each of us, and one we both are still enjoying! 🙂

 

July. I was nominated for The Best Personal Blog category in the 2012 Charlotte Web Awards.  My editorial ran in LKN Woman Magazine about organizing makeup.  I made the cover of Apartment Times Magazine. 🙂

New logo & new business cards

New logo & new business cards

August. My brand went through a total makeover.  I love the new look! 🙂

September.  My editorial ran in LKN Woman Magazine about creating a landing zone.

Observer Article

 

September 5. The Charlotte Observer ran an article about my trip to Los Angeles and my business.

September 7. Signed on to guest post for the The Charlotte Moms to help bring organizing ideas to their readers. 🙂

October 3. Filmed my first Podcast with Fort Mill Magazine.

November.  My first article for SouthPark Magazine was published.

LKN Woman to Watch

December.  I was featured in LKN Woman Magazine as the Woman to Watch.  The Gaston Gazette wrote a fabulous article about my business and processes.

Speaking Engagements I’m a very nervous public speaker.  I hated giving presentations in college.  I managed to trap that fear in a little box this year as I spoke to different groups around the region about organizing.  I quickly realized that I actually like talking to groups of people!  The larger the audience the better! 🙂

Writing and Blogging I have never considered myself a writer.  But I found myself writing articles for magazines all through the area like LKN Woman Magazine, SouthPark Magazine, and Fort Mill Magazine. And the blogging?  Well only my favorite part of every day.  I love blogging.  I love sharing.  I love meeting all of you! 🙂

Organizing Projects & Clients I have met some incredible people this year and helped them through some really large piles.  I have never met the same client twice and I have never met the same project twice. I respect each and every one of my clients, their story, and their stuff. Clutter is an outward expression of something else that is going on in our lives.  I’m called in to help deal with the outward expression, but generally we hit on the “other stuff” as well.  I love my j.o.b. and I love helping people. 🙂

Cheers to 2013! 🙂  Bring it on!

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

{Guest Post} The Year of Organization

Foodie Friday will return soon … I promise.  But today I have a real treat for you … a guest post from Sally Sosler! 🙂

Sally and I met over email.  She is my email pen pal; we talk all things family, organizing, and geography.  I love that she is from New York!

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Sosler FamilyJamie Ball Photography

Sosler Family
Jamie Ball Photography

I have to admit, when Jennifer asked me to do a guest blog, I was feeling nervous.  What do I have to share with people about organizing?  But here I go; this is my journey to “The Year of Organization”.

At the beginning of 2012, I was feeling quite overwhelmed with the state of organization in my house and life.  I am the mother of 2 children, ages 4 and 2, and the wife of a self employed husband who works long hours.  Although I wouldn’t call my house dirty, a lot of projects had been neglected.  I decided that this would be the year I got myself motivated to make some changes.  I sat down at the beginning of January and wrote out my New Year’s resolutions all based around a more organized household and life.  I deemed 2012 “The Year of Organization”.

I typed up my resolutions and made it look nice and put it on the kitchen cabinet closest to my sink, that way when I was washing dishes I would be reminded of what my resolutions were.  It was funny how many people commented on seeing it, and that also made me more accountable.   My husband was completely on board and relieved.  Since having kids he had noticed the decline of organization around our house, but was understanding of how much hard work it is to raise 2 kids.  (He was happy that he didn’t have to bring it to my attention and then get an earful from me.)

To get started, I found a ready made cleaning schedule that I could tailor to my home at www.motivatedmoms.com. I loved having the list each day so that I could check off what had been done.  That was truly the first motivating step for me in my organization process.

I also spent some quality time online seeking out some organization blogs to get inspired.   I had never followed a blog before, but I was amazed at the mass of amazing information out there about organizing.  As part of my organization, I was also determined to cut out any unnecessary computer time, as that would take away from time with my kids as well as keeping my house in order. It was just a plain waste of time!  So finding the balance between getting the information, but not getting log jammed with information overload.  Somehow I found my way to Jennifer’s blog and decided I would start following.  As you all know, she has so much energy and enthusiasm in her blog posts, so I enjoyed sitting down to read them.

I had decided that my first major project was to do a complete overhaul of my children’s arts and crafts supplies.  My husband would argue that we have enough supplies for a small preschool.  They were taking over the buffet in our dining room and shoved where ever I could find room.  But since my kids were getting older, and getting into everything, I decided I had better do something fast so that I would not find that my walls were being used as canvases with the easily accessible crayons and markers.

In April, I got the courage to send Jennifer an email about the 3M hanging bins that she had used in a commercial contest.  She seemed so friendly and out going, and someone I could sit down and chat with about organization.  I explained to her how I wanted to move all of the arts and crafts supplies to our hall closet which had been used for our miscellaneous kitchen appliances.  It made sense, since the buffet was much closer to the kitchen and the closet I could keep kids out of.  I was amazed at the detailed response she sent back to me, down to specific recommendations and links to things she thought may work, as well as some tips on how to make the organization process less of a headache.  And then began our e-pen pal friendship and my road to organization.

Over the next few months, I worked on a handful of projects in addition to the arts and crafts closet including a linen closet clean out and a bedroom closet organization (which has inspired another friend to get on the road to being organized).  Jennifer has been such a great supporter throughout and has certainly inspired me to be a more organized and better me.  My husband and I still have some other major home organization projects on our list, but if you talked to us last year, we didn’t have a list, so even that is an improvement.

In my next post, I will be showing you some before and after pictures of the arts and crafts closet, the bedroom closet and the linen closet.  And I will also talk about some of the challenges I faced while organizing (especially with kids) and what has worked well for our family.  I hope you will join me again in my journey through “The Year of Organization”.

Sally SoslerJamie Ball Photography

Sally Sosler
Jamie Ball Photography

Sally Sosler is a photographer located in Orange County, New York. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SallySoslerPhotography or at her website www.sallysoslerphotography.com.

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There is nothing that melts my heart more than reading this.  🙂  Thank you Sally for sharing!  I cannot wait to see what the next post holds!

Will 2013 be your year of organization?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Christmas Recap & a Happy Birthday…

I meant to blog yesterday but I got totally wrapped up in the exercising, the picture digging, the family get togethers, and the eating. 🙂

Christmas is fairly low key around here in the mornings and I love it that way! 🙂  I opened a few gifts from the parents .. they really shouldn’t have!  Went for a good vigorous morning walk!  Came back and started digging through old photos. 🙂  My favorite part of any day!

Christmas day is also my Dad’s birthday! 🙂  So we always say, “Merry Merrimus.  Happy Birthday!”  Not sure where the “merrimus” came from.  🙂

Merry Christmas & Happy Birthday to my Dad!

Merry Christmas & Happy Birthday to my Dad!
My Grandmaw Burnham, Uncle Mark, Uncle Scott (with the hat), my Dad

My first Christmas {December 1983}

My first Christmas {December 1983}

My second Christmas {Christmas 1984}

My second Christmas {Christmas 1984}

My third Christmas {December 1985}

My third Christmas {December 1985}

Me with Santa .. not sure what year :)

Me with Santa .. not sure what year 🙂

I’ll spare you the remaining photos but I had a blast to say the least. 🙂

I headed over to Raymond’s parents for a quick visit then over to my Aunt Betty’s for the Bryant family gathering. 🙂

Raymond's Family.  Raymond's Mom, Raymond, Me, Raymond's Dad, Sister-in-law, Nephew, Brother

Raymond’s Family.
Raymond’s Mom, Raymond, Me, Raymond’s Dad, Sister-in-law, Nephew, Brother

If you were wondering … the scarf is faux fur from Restoration Hardware, coat is Jessica Simpson. 🙂

 

We were discussing who would stand where for the photo op :)

We were discussing who would stand where for the photo op 🙂

Mom & I having some holiday fun :)

Mom & I having some holiday fun 🙂

Raymond and I had matching hats .. well sorta :)

Raymond and I had matching hats .. well sorta 🙂

The Bryant LadiesAunt Margaret, me, Mom, Aunt Betty

The Bryant Ladies
Aunt Margaret, me, Mom, Aunt Betty

It was a great day and fairly long … I couldn’t wait for my After Christmas Present.  A day at Rock Barn Spa in Hickory, NC.  🙂  I’ll blog about this shortly!  But just to give you an idea …

Rock Barn Spa

Rock Barn Spa

How was your holiday!? 🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Making Sense of Holiday Photo Madness…

Merry Christmas Eve! 🙂  I was recently approached by Jennifer Hellickson about writing a blog post about organizing digital photos.  Jennifer read one of my guest posts over at The Charlotte Moms! 🙂   She works for a PR company and one of her accounts is Photobucket.  I must admit that I had not heard of Photobucket until she mentioned the website.  I poked around and found it be very easy on the eyes. 🙂

Making Sense of Holiday Photo Madness

The holidays are upon us!  It is a time of celebration and get togethers.  A time to visit with friends and family that you see once a year.  Time to capture those moments to remember forever.  I’m sure the camera is charged and the memory cards are empty in full anticipation.

As the season comes and goes, take some time to organize your digital photos.  If you took the time to snap them, then take some time to organize and appreciate them.

Decide what you would like to do with the pictures.

Do you want to create a holiday scrapbook?  Perhaps print them and share in a family album.  Another idea is to pick the best shots and blow them up to display in wall frames.

Create an organized system for storing digital photos on your computer.

Step 1:  Delete pictures that are blurry, fuzzy, or unattractive.  Pick the best nature shots and delete the rest.

We take pictures to create memories.  Memories of the people in our lives.  Nature shots can add a layer to the memories, but pictures are better served if of people.

Step 2:  Create folders to help organize all those images.

Start with a folder for each year.  Then create a folder for each month.  For example, you will have a folder for 2012 of which contains 12 folders for each month.  Rename the months: 1 January 2012, 2 February 2012.  This will help when searching and arranging.

Step 3:  Within each month’s folder, add folders for different events.  For example, Timmy’s Birthday, Sarah’s Dance Recital.  Place all pictures into their respective folders.

Step 4:  Backup your photos onto an external hard drive.  Photos take up a lot of memory on your computer.  Be sure to back them up in a safe place either online or with an external hard drive.

Photobucket is an option for backing up photos online:

  • Backing up online via a dedicated photo site allows you to add an extra level of security when safekeeping your digital photos
  • You can organize as you upload, and also have the ability to share albums links with others via email, social media sites and embed in blogs for convenience
  • Go with a place that’s trusted & reliable: Photobucket host more than 10 billion images from 100 million registered members, who upload more than 4 million images and videos per day from the Web and connected digital devices.

Step 5:  Print your favorite ones (see above)!

Be sure to enjoy your pictures after you have taken them.  Make sure you can easily find them when you want to retrieve later.  Make sure they are safely stored.  And lastly, reminisce about Christmas’ past.  Laugh over the hair styles and fashion choices.

Photobucket Stories is a method for doing something with your pictures:

Happy Holidays!

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Sunday Scavengers…

Today feels like Saturday.  The whole drive home I was thinking:

“I’ll drop by the Colonial Manor in Dallas to see what they have .. especially since they will be closed tomorrow!”

*wonk*wonk* They were closed .. because it is Sunday.

Raymond and I love our Sunday Scavenger adventures! 🙂  This particular adventure happened a few weeks ago. 🙂

We started the day with a trip to Amelie’s French Bakery.  If you have never been, then please note:  It is the coolest coffee shop in Mecklenburg County!

Amelie's Bakery

Up for order:  2 espresso shots, salted caramel brownie, coconut macaroon.

Delicious!  The Salted Caramel Brownie is one of their signature items and it did not disappoint!

Being silly at Amelies.  Loved this mirror/picture thing. :)

Being silly at Amelies. Loved this mirror/picture thing. 🙂

Raymond looking cute while sending funny text messages to a friend. :)

Raymond looking cute while sending funny text messages to a friend. 🙂

We were full from all that sugar so we walked across the street to this warehouse looking place.  Half of it was a farmer’s market/produce stand.  The other half was like a junk yard.  It was awesome! 🙂 I can’t remember the actual names ..

Produce Stand & Resale Warehouse

Resale Warehouse

Resale Warehouse

They had some of the coolest vintage furniture!  If I had a garage/warehouse/tool shed, then we would have been in trouble! 🙂

Next up was a trip to NoDa! 🙂  We dropped by this sports bar for a beer.  It was packed … with Cleveland fans.  I’m not a huge football person and definitely felt a little out of my element. 🙂

Bar full of Cleveland Fans in NoDa

Bar full of Cleveland Fans in NoDa

We had a pretty good time in NoDa but weren’t feeling it completely.  So we headed down the street to Plaza Midwood.  One of my favorite areas and neighborhoods in Charlotte! 🙂

We ate dinner at Loco Lime .. SO good.  Then headed to The Diamond for dessert!  Unbelievable chocolate cake! 🙂

To.Die.For Chocolate Cake

To.Die.For Chocolate Cake

Put a fork in me .. I was done after that! 🙂

What do you like to do on Sundays? 🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

 

A Little Perspective…

I love yoga because of the workout.  I love it more so because it makes you breathe.  Something I find myself doing … well poorly at most days.  Yoga also gives me perspective.  Or shall I say it changes my perspective.

What if this was the view outside your window?  Would it change your perspective?

I think it would.  I am fascinated with outer space.  I have been since my Astronomy class in college.  Raymond and I will get sucked into The History Channel’s daily marathon showings of “How The Earth Was Made”.

When you see how far the Earth … and humans have come.  It puts things into perspective.

When you see what else is out there (aka in outer space).  It puts things into perspective.

If you are an astronaut, walking on the moon and looking back at Earth.  It puts things into perspective.

At the end of the day, all of those things that stress us out really don’t matter.  Not money. Not responsibilities.  Not which car we drive, or neighborhood we live.  Nothing.

Be grateful for each sunrise and each sunset.  Be grateful for choices.  Just be.

The only guarantee in life?  The sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening.

Agree?  Disagree?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature