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Closet 101: How to Make Your Wardrobe Organized, Beautiful, and Zen

By | All Posts, DIY, Home

Organization is overwhelming. Papers, clothes, toys, and books…it is incredible just how many things the average American household has inside it. We challenge you to quiet the noise of some of your own mayhem and focus on one impactful area this week: your closet. This is the place where you start your day and put on the armor and confidence you need to face whatever the world is going to serve you. Make that start purposeful by having a beautiful, zen space to keep your wardrobe. You’ll save time and stress; and you don’t have to break the bank doing it.

Make Everything Visible

There is a reason retail stores display all the inventory they have in such purposeful, neat stacks. If you do not see it, you will not buy it. Well the same is true for your closet: if you do not see it, you will not wear it. Who knows what incredible lost relics have been scooched to the back of your armoire? You may have incredible pieces that seem gone forever simply because you do not give yourself easy visual access to everything you have. If you don’t think you have the space to see everything, you probably have too many pieces. Consider pairing down.

Matching Hangers Are Your Friend

A simple change that clears a lot of visual chaos is to have matching hangers. We recommend thin, non-slip versions like these from Sweet Home, but really any matching set will do the trick. By removing the extra noise of mismatched colors and materials at the top of the closet, your eye naturally moves downward and focuses more on the actual clothing.

Use Containers to Maximize Space

Containers in general are always a good thing when it comes to closet organization, but again we would encourage you to go with matching sets. Think of your closet as an art gallery, and the clothing are the works of art. Everything else in the space should not compete, but rather bring your eye back to the fabrics. This simplifies your process for choosing outfits by making color-matching and memory recall of where things are placed a cinch. The only trick with containers is sizing is key. Take specific measurements of your available space and purchase bins that optimize is to the fullest. There’s nothing worse than getting geared up to tackle a mess only to realize the accessories you have don’t fit right or won’t do the job best.

Sort Your Sock and Underwear Drawers

Keeping with the idea of being able to see everything you have, make your drawers an easy-to-use area. We are obsessed with linen organizers like this version from The Container Store that give a place for every item and keep every item in its place.

Display Shoes Vertically

The most underutilized area in any space is what’s above your line of sight. Make a point of looking up and brainstorm how to best use what you have. Shoes particularly are perfect for this kind of storage as you can easily categorize shelves by occasion, color, or style and you’ll know just where to look depending on what you’re dressing for. You’ll be more inclined to seek out those green heels you never touch when you know they’re on the shelf with all your other green shoes.

Utilize Every Inch of Space with Clever Hacks

The back of your closet door, any wall space within the closet, and other parts of your bedroom are most like littered with spots you’re not quite sure how to fill. Get creative with your oddball items like scarves, camis, and jewelry by making storage systems out of these underwhelming wall spots. So often a few hooks will do the trick, but there are also plenty of easy-to-install products out there that will help you give everything a home.

Tips to Make “Back to School” So Much Smoother

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There is something so blissful about summer. Lazy days, hours of outside time, and treats you can only get at their peak for a few months of the year. (We’re looking at you, watermelon.) But there’s also a relief for many parents as the beginning of school draws near. With all of summer’s pros, there are the cons to consider like a lack of routine, messy homes, and wired kids needing more intellectual stimulation. To make the transition positive for everyone in your household, here are our top tips to prepare for the “back to school” season.

Slowly Reintroduce a Stricter Schedule

Right now your routine may be a bit lax as you enjoy late wake up times and “eat-when-you-please” meals. Many families struggle with the sudden change school brings to rushed mornings and closely timed lunches. Avoid experiencing a huge shock to you and your kids’ systems by incorporating better habits progressively throughout the next few weeks. Inch that bedtime a few minutes earlier each night, and set wake ups just a bit earlier. It’s a good idea to check on your specific school’s lunch hour and breaks, to help your little ones’ tummies adjust to waiting a little longer for their next snack. Emulate the timing they’ll have at school as much as possible at home and you’ll all adjust easier when the time comes.

Get the House in Order

Pantries, medicine cabinets, entryways, and closets…these are a few of our least favorite things. For whatever reason the areas of the home that store the most important things also tend to become chaotic the quickest. Take inventory of your home’s biggest pain points and make yourself a list and calendar for tidying them up. By tackling one area each day, you’ll be able to get the place in an ideal state for a new routine without overwhelming yourself in one giant cleaning sweep.

Make Shopping a Fun Time for Everyone

You will have no problem finding great deals on kids clothes, shoes, and school supplies this time of year; but you may have some issue getting all 3 kiddos packed in the car, acting reasonable in the store, and leaving with everything you intended to get by the end of the trip. Turn some of that responsibility back on to your children…for older kids that can read, give them individual shopping lists for things they can look for while you help the younger ones. And make it fun for everybody by giving each child choices and a sense of decision-making in the process. You may need to steer them toward the three outfits that are appropriate and within your budget, but then allow them to pick the one they like! A little bit of personal style mixed in with your practicality guidance will go a long way in helping your kids gain excitement and confidence for school.

Coordinate Carpools and Extracurricular Activities Now

You may have had it all worked out in the spring, but things with kids change so quickly that it’s probably a whole new ballgame with each new school year. You may have teenagers transitioning to middle school or high school, perhaps the neighbor who used to do pickup for the elementary kids has moved away, or your nine year old is just insisting that he needs to play basketball this year and he’s no longer into soccer. Whatever the changes you anticipate to face this fall, get the logistics in order sooner rather than later. Visit orientation campus days, call neighbors to get car pools set up, and register for the coming sport season sooner rather than later. Removing the guesswork for your upcoming calendar will also remove a lot of stress.

Create a Command Central

Now that you have a family routine once again, the kids are set with new backpacks, and the house isn’t quite so disheveled…the rest of the year will be a breeze right? We wish. Set your entire crew up for success by having a central point of organization. Set up a central location for a full calendar, chore charts, important school papers, and even baskets or shelves for things like dance practice outfits and homework. By having all of these things in one important place, each person in your home will know where to look when they’re confused, and what to do in preparation for each days’ “excitement.” With some collaboration, organization, and teamwork—you’ll all get back on track for a fun and productive school year.

Utah’s Fabulous Vintage Decor Community

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We all love a bargain. And let’s face it, interior decor can get real pricey real quick. At the same time, we all want our homes to be comfortable, beautiful, and a unique reflection of our own personal style. Jennifer Reed from Orem, Utah was facing this very problem years ago when she started to have a love of vintage and antique pieces…a passion she has now grown into a family pastime, business, and community project. As the owner of vintage decor company “3 Dotters Vintage” and founder of the “Provo Vintage Market,” she certainly knows how to be thrifty and get a good deal, while finding quality, unique items. She gave us the scoop on the best flea spots in Utah.

Best Places to Shop Antiques in Utah

Acorns Antique & Vintage Show in Ogden, Utah

This fun country show takes place at the Weber Fairgrounds and is usually riddled with real-deal antiques from farms, barns, homes, and historical sites across Northern Utah. If Victorian or Farmhouse styles are your jam, this show is definitely for you.  This is also a great show for those with a knack for DIY or restoration. There are plenty of items to find that have already stood the test of time and with some creativity and elbow grease will continue to provide years of use.

Provo Vintage Market in Provo, Utah

Exclusively in the evening, this flea market founded by our friend Jennifer Reed of 3 Dotters Vintage focuses on serving the working population, students, and busy parents. Currently located at the Bright Building in Provo, Utah, the antique charm of the location speaks well to the handcrafted and quirky items inside. To know when the next show will be, check out their facebook page. Every season it’s a party with food, music, and Utah County’s best vintage and antique vendors.

The Market Beautiful in Salt Lake City, Utah

Formerly known as The Vintage Whites Market, 5 vendors, a stuffed garage, and a dream started what is now the largest antique/vintage show in Montana. The vendors now move across 5 different states, including Utah, and have incredible collections as they move across the Western United States. Learn more about the show’s organizers Jana and Vanessa on their blog.

Urban Flea Market in Salt Lake City, Utah

As one of the few flea markets that takes place in the state on a regular schedule, Urban Flea offers consistency in timing while bringing new and unique vendors every month. You can shop great secondhand pieces like vintage furniture and antiques; but you’ll also see local artists and craftsman selling anything from handmade wooden sculptures to fashion-forward jewelry. Check their website to see the schedule.

Photographs for this post were provided by Jennifer Reed @3DottersVintage

Fun with Mom: Activities to Make this Mother’s Day Memorable

By | All Posts, Entertainment, Home, Inspiration

It doesn’t take a big budget to make mom’s special day unforgettable. Try one of the activities we’ve listed and have a great time without breaking the budget.

Have a Picnic

This one is easy to plan and fun to execute. Throw a blanket in your car, stop at a deli for some subs, and you are ready to take mom out for a calm and relaxing afternoon. Pick a great spot near the woods or a river to connect  with your mother and Mother Nature alike.

Do Something Adventurous

Everyone has something they’ve always wanted to do or try, and just keep chickening out. Mark off that bucket list item together. Sign both of you up for scuba classes; do the big roller coaster at your local amusement park; or try an exotic food for the first time.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

Spend some time feeling nostalgic with your dear mother. Take her to a place you loved visiting as a child, go through old photos together, or make a recording of her talking about her own family history or childhood memories. You will learn a lot and feel a new sense of pride or understanding in your lineage.

 

Check Out a Museum or Art Gallery

Learning with someone else links you in a fun new way. Take in a new exhibit or visit the museum up the street you’ve been taking granted.

Get Active

It’s great to try new physical activities together, or simply add yourself to the mix of something your fit mom already enjoys. Try a HIIT class for the first time, or tag along on your mom’s run. Neither of you are exercise-inclined? Getting back on track with a new regimen as a team is a great way to bond!

Make a Night of It

If you’d really like to make this Mother’s Day a treat, a staycation or local getaway may be just the ticket. Cheap hotel rooms can be found online easily, even with a short notice, and you’ll definitely see a part of your hometown you wouldn’t experience otherwise.

Get Much Deserved R & R

Splurge for an all-inclusive spa day for two; or if you’re on a budget, set one up at home with DIY foot scrubs, face masks and manicures. The new calm and zen you feel doing something special for yourselves will be almost as good as the one-on-one conversation.

Help Her at Home

Is pulling weeds tough on your mom’s back? Or maybe she just hates dusting the top shelf of her curio cabinet. Volunteer for a job that your mom may not love doing and she will be sure to love YOU just a little more today. Accomplishing tasks together is also a great way to chat and reconnect. Let her have a seat and tell you about Aunt Cyndy or the neighbor’s dog while you achieve something for her.

Game Night!

Sometimes the best ideas are the most simple. Dust off the boxes in the game closet and pull out some classics to have a low-key evening. We guarantee Clue, Parcheesi and Uno are way more fun than you remember.

Give the Gift of Time

Time is often our most precious resource. Going all out and planning something for the two of you is lovely; but if you don’t have much else to give we’re willing to bet she’ll gladly take just having a few hours with you one-on-one as well. Stop by and visit without fussing too much. Hang out. Talk about your lives, watch a movie, help her cook dinner. Don’t overcomplicate it and instead focus those precious moments getting to really know your mom. You’ll be glad you did.

Utah-Made Gifts to Show Your Mom You Love Her

By | All Posts, Beauty, DIY, Entertainment, Health & Fitness, Home, Inspiration

In case you missed all the incredible vendors we had at this year’s Salt Lake Women’s Show, we have gotten together a list of some of the best for giving your mom a great Mother’s Day. Take a look at these local merchants who do incredible handmade work right in your backyard.

For the Chronic Picture-Taker

She values memories above all else. Take the work out of it for her a get a professional to take photos of her and the whole clan. Pink Rose Photography does gorgeous work in Salt Lake and Utah Counties and will make your entire family feel comfortable and look beautiful.

For the Active Mom

Clothing: Get your mom some high quality workout wear from Belcorva. Perfect for runners, yogis, and weightlifters, Belcorva’s pieces offer versatility, quality, and unique pocket designs perfect for any busy mom.

Workouts: There is no better gift than spending time together. Register you and your mom a great activity to do together like a kickboxing class with I Love Kickboxing, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) at Etude Fitness, or Barre Sculpt with Core 7. Working up a sweat together is a great time to bond.

For the Sweet Tooth Lover

If your mom is always happy with chocolate or strawberries, give her something a little different this year from one of these gourmet boutique brands. Sweet Tooth Fairy has cupcakes in every shape and flavor; while Farmhouse Fudge makes rich and decadent gooey goodness.

For the Mom Needing a Night Out

Today is the perfect day to try something new. Spice things up for your mom by sharing a great memory with her. Topgolf has a casual, super social atmosphere with the easiest golf you could play, food and drinks; and Painting with a Twist hosts evenings that give you a chance to get back in touch with your creative side.

For the Interior Decorator

There’s certainly no place like home, and if you’re anything like us, you know that part of home’s appeal is Mom’s unique and cheerful aesthetic. Check out handmade crafts from CB Creations, get some high quality paint from Chalk Couture for the Do-It-Yourselfer, support women from Kenya with Imani’s handmade home furnishings.

For the Mom Who Needs Some Zen

It’s no secret that being a mom is stressful. For the momma who has a lot on her plate, there will be nothing she’ll appreciate more than the chance to unwind. Set her up for some much-deserved rest and relaxation with a luxurious bath bomb from Bombin Baths, give her skin the royal treatment with products from Beauty Counter, and then finish with a new makeover utilizing locally made boutique makeup from Lemon Loves Meringue.

For the Fashionista

We all know that clothing is the trickiest gift to buy for others. These Utah home-grown brands provide great customer service, have modern, fresh takes on apparel, and make quality the highest priority. Your mom’s fabulous look will be covered from head to toe with hats from Gigi Pip, dresses from EmmaLou, and shoes from Copper Threads.

DIY Easter Eggs

By | All Posts, Cooking, DIY, Home

If you’re like us, you’ve had your fill of the run-of-the-mill grocery store egg dyeing kit with the weird wire holders, little tablets of egg dye, and cheap plastic egg cups. It’s fun and all, but you’ve probably thought for a few years now that surely there must be some better ways to jazz up this tired springtime ritual? Well, you’ve come to the right place! There is a better way! We’ve put together a great list of possibilities to bring your Easter egg game to the next level. Try one or all of these ideas to make this beloved tradition an artistic and fun venture once again.

 

 

Experiment with Natural Dyes

Many of us are working hard to make our homes a more organic and chemical-free place. So it just doesn’t make sense to throw that out the window once a year for a holiday tradition that could easily be given a natural twist. There are many recipes on the web for creating almost any color you need by dyeing your eggs with things like blueberries and red cabbage.  You’ll enjoy peace of mind when your family eats the after-Easter egg salad because everything involved in the process was from the earth. If you want all the natural elements, but not as much of the work there are also some awesome natural dye kits from companies committed to organic ingredients and sustainability. We also love the muted, homey colors these natural dye alternatives create.

 

 

Pressed Flower Eggs

We love this creative idea with another organic twist. The steps are fairly simple, making this a great activity to include little ones.

You’ll need: mod-podge or non-toxic glue, small flowers, egg dye and nylon stockings. (Old or torn stockings are perfect, as long as they’re clean of course!)

  • Step 1: This project works best if you press your flowers for at least a few minutes under a heavy book on a flat surface. This can take place while you prepare the eggs.
  • Step 2: If you’d like colorful eggs, start by dyeing them as you normally would. These are also beautiful on plain white eggs so this step is not completely necessary if you prefer a cleaner look.
  • Step 3: If you’ve dyed them, wait until the egg is completely dry. Place a small drop of glue or mod-podge onto the egg. Attach your pressed flower(s) and press down firmly but gently.
  • Step 4: Carefully place each egg into a nylon stocking and tie off the end. If you have tall nylons, a perfect use is to cut them down to multiple sections and tie off both ends. “Reduce and reuse,” as they say!
  • Step 5: Allow the nylon-wrapped eggs to dry. The pressure from the nylon will keep the flowers in place. Remove the nylon with a quick snip of your scissors.
  • Step 6: If using mod-podge you can also reinforce the flower after the first dry with a top layer, depending on how long you’d like your creations to last. The finished product: stunning eggs with a unique and organic look.

 

 

Painted Eggs

Sometimes the most simple ideas are the best. Watercolor paints are particularly perfect for giving your Easter eggs this year a more crafty and personal touch. Check the labels to ensure the paint is non-toxic.. For less mess, you can also get creative with non-toxic paint pens, that don’t require brushes at all. Whichever method you choose, the possibilities are limitless! The design of your eggs is 100 percent between you and the paint.

 

 

Silk “Tie Dyed” Eggs

Yes you read that right. Dye your eggs with incredibly unique and intricate patterns using silk ties. Like the kind your husband wears to church. You can get old ties for a steal at thrift and second-hand stores, (we’re talking 75 cents) or just get your sweetheart to finally clean out his closet. You’ll want to ensure that the ties you use are 100% silk…it just doesn’t work with other fabrics.

  • Step 1: Cut out the back seam and lining of the tie so you’re left with a large piece of silk.
  • Step 2: Now, use it to wrap the eggs–you should be able to get 3-4 pieces large enough for an egg from each tie.
    • Note: Unlike our other hacks, these eggs should NOT be pre-boiled. You’ll want to start with raw eggs. Just be cautious when you’re wrapping them in the fabric.
  • Step 3: To wrap, use the right side of the silk, i.e. the part you’d see on the front if someone was wearing the tie, to face the egg. Wrap it tightly and completely cover the egg, then tie off with a twisty tie. Repeat until all the eggs are covered with a glorious array of patterned and colored fabrics!
  • Step 4: Place all the wrapped eggs in a large pot of water. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the water and allow the eggs to boil 20 minutes.
  • Step 5: Pull the eggs out and allow them to cool. Once cool enough to handle, unwrap the fabric and behold the incredible impressions left on your eggs! Voila—Easter festivities are ready to commence!

 

 

Speckled Eggs

This is a quick and easy way to make your humdrum dyed eggs a little bit more interesting.

  • Step 1: Dye in the usual way and allow to dry, or leave white.
  • Step 2: Add about a cup of dried beans to a paper cup and then put in 15-20 drops of food coloring. Should the food coloring dry out, add a few drops of white vinegar.
  • Step 3: Cover top of the cup and shake the food dye and beans together.
  • Step 4: At this point you can take the eggs and roll them around in the beans to add a speckled effect.
    • For extra fun roll in multiple colors, allowing each individual layer of food color to dry between rolls. The textured effect you end up with is very cute and cheery.

5 Ways to Make Your Life More Green

By | All Posts, DIY, Entertainment, Home

 

Get a Head Start on Luscious Green Grass

Make your neighbors “green with envy” this St. Patrick’s Day by getting a headstart on a gorgeous yard. It’s surprising how much you can brighten things up by cleaning up some debris, raking or mowing the lawn, and getting your grass aeration done before it starts full regrowth.

 

 

Make a Green Treat to Share with Friends or Family

Who doesn’t love Mcdonald’s Seasonal Shamrock Shake, am I right? Do yourself a favor and grab one, but be sure to also make fun green goodies to share. We love some of the new recipes we’ve seen like Green Crinkle Cookies from Wicked Whisk, Grasshopper Fudge from Sweet Recipeas, or the absolute best Mint Chocolate Chip Pie from Barbara Bakes. With these sweets in hand, you’ll get plenty of those Irish kisses this year.

 

 

Purchase an Indoor Plant…A Real One this Time

Seek out Aloe, Jade, Rubber Trees, or Fiddle Leaf Fig for plants that are incredible home decor options which have a great look and are very easy to care for. The species we’ve listed also come in a range of sizes so you’ll be certain to find something that suits your space, big or small.

 

 

Reuse Glass in Interesting Ways

What we love about this hack is you can BE green while saving green and adding green to your life…get it? Green glass is a classic look, and you’ll find this material at secondhand stores and thrift shops all over. You may even be able to get green wine bottles for free at your favorite restaurant or bar. Use the glass elements you find to organize craft supplies, create an outdoor wind chime, or cut the tops off for a one-of-a-kind glassware set.

 

 

Spruce Up Your Interior with Green

The greatest thing about this color of nature is its universality. Green pairs well with any other color scheme, so it’s always a good time to add in an art piece or some throw pillows with this revitalizing hue. No need to completely redecorate, simply refresh with cost-effective and beautiful green touches.

Three Easy Cookie Recipes

By | All Posts, Cooking, Home

There are few things as universal as a neighborly gesture…like the casserole delivered when someone is sick or just had a baby; the winter treat dropped off just to say “Happy Holidays;” and, for anytime at all,there’s the plate of cookies, still warm from the oven, to say, “You were on my mind.” Take an hour this weekend and make life on your block so much sweeter by doing a simple, kind act for the elderly couple down the street or the single mom next door that you know could use some quiet time. You’ll be amazed how this simple task can drastically improve your life by making your neighbors happy to be living near you and perhaps willing to return the favor on occasion just because. It’s never a bad time to do something nice, and it’s never a bad time to become the neighbor everyone loves. To make it simple for you and still yummy for your friends, we’ve compiled a list of the very best delicious and easy cookie recipes you’ll be able to whip together quickly with the classic ingredients you already have stocked in the cupboard.

 

Classic Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter (softened)

1 ¼ cup light brown sugar (packed)

½ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. While that heats, grease 2 cookie sheets with baking spray or line with parchment paper.  

 

In a medium size bowl, use a sifter to combine flour, baking soda and salt. Then in a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together brown sugar, white sugar and the softened butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, then cream together again until the mixture is light and smooth. Add in the bowl of dry ingredients and combine all together. The final step for the batter is to add chocolate chips and gently combine one more time.

 

To distribute the dough, use a small ice cream scoop or two tablespoons to create 1/4 cup portions. Place onto cookie sheets with approximately 3 inches between each portion.

 

Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the cookies are golden with lightly toasted edges. Once removed from the oven, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for an additional 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks.

 

*This cookie recipe is courtesy of Tessa Arias at Handle the Heat

 

Soft Snickerdoodles

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup unsalted butter (cold, diced into ½” pieces)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Use a mixer to blend unsalted butter for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add salt and ¾ cup sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, and cream ingredients together until just incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together baking soda, flour and cream of tartar. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, and blend together until you have a combined dough that pinches together at the touch. Set the dough in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes until it is slightly more set for rolling into balls.

 

Mix together the remaining sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator once finished chilling. To portion the cookies, take ½ inch portions of dough and roll them lightly and quickly into balls. Take each ball of dough and lightly roll them individually in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place each ball onto greased cookie sheets allowing 2 inches between each cookie for spreading during baking.

 

Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. For even baking, turn each cookie sheet 180 degrees halfway through the allotted time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes after removing them from the oven, before transferring the cookies to wire racks for cooling entirely.

 

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 cup peanut butter (creamy)

¼ cup shortening

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In large bowl combine brown sugar, water, peanut butter, shortening and eggs. Slowly add in the yellow cake mix while continuing to combine until mixture is completely smooth. Dough should be thick and slightly sticky.

 

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheets. Allow 2 inches of space between each cookie. With a fork, flatten each cookie in a criss-cross pattern to create a classic peanut butter cookie aesthetic, ideal for even baking with this sticky dough. Bake the cookies 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets before removing cookies and finishing cooling on wire racks. Store in airtight containers to retain freshness.

#LoveYourPerson: 10 Creative Ways to Love Your Spouse

By | All Posts, Home, Inspiration

Whether you’ve been with your significant other for a few months or a few decades, it’s easy to get into a routine. Work, school, kids, social events, family obligations…the list goes on and on of the things that can distract us from that most important person in our life. And sometimes these distractions can even make the daily peck kisses as you walk out the door, or “I love yous” and “honeys” while talking on the phone seem insignificant or lose their meaning. So to celebrate February right and enjoy our week to #LoveYourPerson, we’ve put together some ideas you can use to really reconnect with your loved one and let them know you care…without breaking the bank.  

 

Prepare a spa night

For just a dollar or two, you can pick up some great one-time use face masks at any grocery store, or make your own with ingredients at home. You can offer to give them a foot massage while they relax, or if nothing else, just warm them a fresh towel in the dryer while they take a shower.  Even this small quick act will let them know that they are on your mind.

 

Start or end the day with an intentional hug

You know that feeling, usually when someone has passed away, or something truly difficult has happened, and people hold on to one another for a bit too long? When both parties are invested in this type of embrace, it often has a healing effect, as it exhibits true caring and concern for another person. So why do we save those hugs for only when things are really tough? Make it a point to give your spouse that kind of hug on purpose, at least once a day. You’ll be amazed at how much easier other aspects of your relationship will turn out to be or how much your communication will improve.

Do a chore that is normally their responsibility…cheerfully

Many couples come up with a system at some point that just “works” for them. “He hates laundry, I don’t mind it.” “I take out the garbage because she prefers dusting.” You have it all figured out by now! What we may not be considering in these agreements is that is disconnects us by compartmentalizing. Shake things up by doing something for them, with a smile. Take note that they may not notice this one right away if at all, so it’s important to check that your intention is to truly serve and love, with or without accolades or gratitude. You’ll feel the difference when you show true charity to your S.O., even if they don’t notice the action.

 

Serve them breakfast in bed

This tried-and-true act of service is a classic for a reason. Get crazy and try to do this on an out-of-the-blue weekday, not just Sunday morning or the day of Valentine’s, and the extra effort will be even more appreciated. Your partner will be sure of your love if you woke up a whole hour early just to make them feel special on a random Tuesday. Keep in mind their favorite french toast and omelet are great, but simple cereal and coffee count, too.

Transform a room in your house into a getaway

For all those “It’s a Wonderful Life” fans out there, you’ve probably already thought about how fun this could be for you and your spouse. Pick a room in your house, and a destination in the world.  With a little creativity you’ll be surprised how many things you already own can evoke a different time or place: you can build a blanket fort and go “camping” in Yosemite, fill the bathtub and take a “cruise” through the Caribbean with mai tais and bikinis, or make the floor in your bedroom a picnic of English tea with “crumpets” and jam or cucumber sandwiches.  Make it fun, make it cheesy, but simply doing something different together will make a memory for you both without the huge cost and commitment of an actual vacation.

 

Make TV time actual bonding time

There may be days when what you really need is time together to just “veg” out.  Make this relaxing time still intentional by creating intimacy through discussion. Pick shows that explore new interests you could try together, or be open to pausing movies which address topics that are interesting to talk through. Likewise, you could also make it a service moment by handing over the remote and giving your husband or wife free reign for a night. Stay engaged and ask them about something they love that may not be your thing.

Get “flours” as a gift for your S.O. instead of boring old flowers!

Or try a number of different punny gifts that take a romantic gesture up a notch by keeping it light! Just like this example inspired by the Will Ferrell movie, “Stranger than Fiction,” if you make them smile or laugh…you’ve done something right. Some of our favorites include a box of Krispy Kremes with a note that reads, “Donut go breaking my heart!” or paint a unique succulent pot with the transcription “Life would succ without you.”  

 

Prepare her toothbrush in the morning, or iron his clothes

We all have tiny little tasks that busy up our mornings. Pick just one to do that will help out your loved one—if you really want extra brownie points, try to do something every morning for a couple days or a full week. The little tasks like putting toothpaste on her brush, setting out his socks and shoes, or scraping off their car on a wintery day will make their world so much brighter…even if just for a few hours.

Have a love language night

Most couples have at least heard of Gary Chapman’s famous book, “The Five Love Languages.” The book is a self-guided tour for you and your spouse on determining, and supporting, one another’s key love languages, i.e. the way you communicate or express love. The types of love Chapman lists out are quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, and acts of service. If you’re unfamiliar with this ideology take an evening to do the quiz together and discuss the various topics. Or if you are old pros at the big 5, take a night to do something themed around your partner’s primary love language. The simple act of creating awareness for the others’ thought and emotional process will draw you so much closer.

 

Hide a love note for him/her somewhere unexpected

Last, but certainly not least on our list is a challenge to explore the power of written word. Throughout the centuries, this form of affection has been a powerful tool…from Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais to Johnny Cash and June Carter, many times one simple letter has transformed history. Transform your marriage with this same tactic and put down on paper not just that you love your partner, but also how and why and where and for how long.  This will be a keepsake for them, and another physical reminder of gratitude and charity for you. Make it extra fun by hiding it in a place they wouldn’t anticipate and let you be surprised as well when they finally find it.  Our favorite ideas include: a coat pocket, their shaving kit, or the visor in their car—get creative!

Fresh start: Four tips for getting organized

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We’re not Mary Poppins (although being able to fit a houseplant in our purse might be kind of fun). Sometimes we need some guidance organizing. So we looked to an expert: Marla Dee is the creator of the Clear & SIMPLE Way — a company that’s helped people for 18 years make organizing SIMPLE.

We’re excited to have her share her top four tips for making organizing simple this New Year!

From Marla:

We all want to be ORGANIZED!  But just thinking about all the clutter and chaos makes it overwhelming. We don’t even know where to start. The New Year energy is a great time to start fresh and get some simple systems in place. I am excited to share my Top Organizing Tips for the New Year!

 

TIP 1: Pick one small, medium and large project for each season.

So much of our stress over organizing is thinking that we have to do it all.  This is too much and so we never start.  This tip will help you get started and keep going.

Small Project. By small I mean a project that can be completed in 2 hours or less.  Let’s tackle your purse, wallet or briefcase.  Another great one is the junk drawer or office supply drawer in your desk. These are areas we are into every day and it feels great to get them organized.

Medium Project. This project can be done in about four hours on a Saturday morning when your energy is high. Great medium size projects are the kitchen counter or your bedside night tables. These are areas we see all the time and the clutter can drive us crazy.

Your Large Project will take a day or a weekend. Choose only one weekend of the 3 months so you can prepare and enjoy this project with your partner and family. Some great ideas for the winter are the toy room (now that new toys have come in), your clothes closet, or the home office.

 

 

TIP 2: Use the STACKS© System to learn the skill & make organizing easy!

The reason most of us dread and get drained by organizing is we don’t know how. It is a skill. Only 10% of the human population is born with the organizing gene. We wouldn’t expect a child to read a book without learning the ABC’S.  My STACKS system is a step-by-step approach that makes organizing easy and teaches you how. By asking only one question at a time, you are only making one decision at a time.  You will save time, energy and money if you do it this way.

  • Sort – what is it?
  • Toss – do I keep it or let it go?
  • Assign – where does it go?
  • Contain – what does it go in?
  • Keep it up – how do I maintain this?
  • Simplify – how can I simplify?

 

Let me bring this to life for you.  Haul all the clothes out of the closet and sort them first (according to type, colors, size, etc.). Once you can see what you really have (how many of that same top) the tossing becomes easier. After you have let go, the clothes that are left now need a spot so you assign a home, then ask about containers. HINT: Get all the same color hanger to transform you closet. Next ask how are you going to keep this up? You might schedule a seasonal or annual clear out with a girlfriend. Lastly, you could simplify by getting help from a friend that loves you and will be honest with you.

 

TIP 3: Consistent containers and containers inside drawers make a big difference.

When organizing the pantry or closets, get all the same color and type of container. This gives your project that final fabulous touch. Do you want neutral or bright colors? Do you want baskets or metal bins? Getting clear or connected containers inside the drawers helps so much with the small stuff to keep it organized.

TIP 4: Start all this with my GIFT to you — The ART of Letting Go eBook.

ART stands for Acceptance, Release and Trust. This free book will help you pick your project, take you through STACKS to get it done, and then get more resources to keep going: www.clearsimple.com/art/

 

ACTION: Take 10 minutes right now to choose your three projects for this winter season.  Talk with your partner or family if wanted. Then schedule them on your calendar. Get the ART of letting go book to guide you.

If you want some extra help in organizing, feel free to check out other great resources at clearsimple.com/resources, or contact Marla at 801-463-9090

You can also share your success with Marla on FaceBook.com/clearsimple/