Fashion · Organization

What is your “It” bag?

IMG_0574Sex and the City made certain bags cult classics, if they weren’t already.  The Birkin and the Kelly are certainly “it” bags but I’m asking a more nuanced question here.  What makes a bag or a style of bag your own personal go to bag?  Confession time, I’m something of a bag connoisseur.  I love handbags and have since I was around three years old and was gifted a Chanel inspired bag as part of my Easter ensemble.  I loved that bag and cried and cried when I discovered my Mom “gifted” it to a younger child years later.

I have many lovely handbags but I find that, time and time again, I return to a particular type.  My personal “it” style is an unstructured tote.  The Louis Vuitton Neverfull and the Goyard St. Louis fit the profile perfectly and are the bags I return to daily.  This style is perfect for the “dump”.  In addition to wallet, phone and keys, it holds files, an iPad or laptop, leggings for after work yoga or Pilates or barre class and about anything else I think I’ll need between the time I leave for work and return home.  This style also makes a perfect carry-on bag.  I can’t count the number of times my St. Louis has been stuffed under the seat in front of me on an air plane.

While the unstructured tote is my go to bag of choice, I also have a soft spot for a hobo style bag and a bucket bag.  Goyard’s fidji / hobo bag is a favorite.  Smaller than the St. Louis or the Neverfull, the hobo bag is slightly smaller but still holds everything I might need sans laptop and has the added advantage of a zipper.

Next on my list of favorite bag styles is the bucket bag.  Celine’s cabas /tote is in my bag rotation.  The bucket bag is deep and the chief flaw is its depth.  It is easy for an item to fall to the bottom and get lost but it has the same advantages of an unstructured tote.  It is another “dump” bag.

Do you see the common characteristics?  My personal “it” style bag needs to be:

  • light because I’m going to stuff it;
  • discrete; and
  • able to accommodate the dump because I’m going to fill it with everything I need for a day in my life.

So what are the characteristics that make a bag your own personal “it” bag?

Food · Home · Organization

What’s for dinner? Kitchen Staples

 

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What do you keep in your pantry or kitchen?  I’ve been cleaning out closets and generally organizing things.  The kitchen is next on my list.  My cleaning binge sparked the question of what are my staples?  What are those items that are “go tos” for my kitchen?  Let me start with the fact that I cook.  Take out is a rare thing for me and while I love eating out, it tends to be a social occasion with friends for me.  This means that I cook dinner most nights, breakfast and sometimes even lunch.  My doctor is all for this.  She tells me to eat on the outside of the grocery.  By this she means fresh veggies, fresh meat and fish, avoid the frozen food section and go light on the canned goods.  Avoiding the canned goods may be the most difficult part.

So what are my kitchen staples?

Meat:  Chicken, chicken sausage, bacon, beef, pork chops, shrimp, salmon

Canned goods:  tuna, chicken stock, beef stock, green beans, tomatoes, beans of all types

Vegetables and fruits:  tomatoes, asparagus, lettuce, squash, apples, onions, grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, broccolini

Frozen foods:  corn, mixed vegetables, broccoli

Add in butter, flour, eggs, milk, sugar and cheese and I can whip up something healthy in minimal time.  I tend to go for soups and stews that I can make up on Saturday or Sunday and eat on during the week.  I love rice, potatoes, and pasta but they only love my waistline so I limit them to twice a month.

Suggestions for a new soup or stew?

 

Business · Decorating · Home · interior design · Organization

Paper versus online?

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I love office supplies and stationery stores.  So many tempting items.  Pens, pencils, notebooks, calendars, agendas, and supplies to organize.  Can we name January organization month?  It is the beginning of the year and time to start fresh and organize everything for the beginning of a new year.

I use a combination of online and paper to keep my life organized.

  • Agendas – I keep two one that I keep by my bed (Inslee by Design at Inslee.net) and one that fits in my tote.

 

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  • Office calendar – I use a circa calendar (weekly version) in the office.  It serves as a diary in addition to a calendar.  Appointments, phone numbers, meetings and projects and related notes end up there.
  • Online calendar – I keep all my appointments entered in an online calendar that is synched to my phone and iPad.  I love having that information electronically available and at my finger tips.
  • iPhone reminder app – I love this app.  I keep my to do list, grocery list and every other kind of conceivable list there.  It synchs across my devices and I can enter due dates.
  • Ulysses notebooks – I keep three going at all times.  One has important facts related to contacts and other key life information.  It is the notebook I take in advent of fire.  Also, it includes information I don’t want available online.  The other notebooks are more project based and hold notes for various projects and from related meetings.  One or both always seems in my tote.

 

  • Online file storage – this is a must and is available from a variety of different services.
  • Circa notebook system – I love this system.  I have custom notebooks for every project.  Small ones for travel, large ones for large projects and everything in between.

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Last but not least is my converted hope chest.  I’m southern so, of course, I have a hope chest.  Actually I inherited it from my grandmother who got it from her grandmother.  While my grandmother kept lines and her memories in her chest, I’ve turned mine into a file cabinet.  I outfit the interior with hanging folders and use it to organize and keep the papers I don’t want online or those things that simply don’t lend themselves to scanning. Added bonus is that the chest looks beautiful in my office.

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Business · Fashion · Organization · Travel

Packing for a business trip

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I have to present at a conference next week and I’m trying to decide what to pack.  This is a professional engagement and that means either suit or sheath dress and jacket.  I tend to be cold natured so I always travel with a sweater or a jacket to cover my arms.

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Business trips tend to be quick  so I always try to minimize what I’m taking.  I usually opt for either navy (is that a Southern thing?) or black.  By electing a color scheme I minimize shoes.  I also opt for having an extra outfit that I can pull out in emergencies.  That is a lesson I learned after being caught unaware on two separate occasions.  I’m leaning towards a wool, navy shift dress from Tory Burch and a navy pant suit, also Tory. I will accessorize with a scarf and my everyday jewelry of watch, earrings, necklace, rings and bracelet  By electing two Tory pieces, I can use the jacket with the dress and have the pants as my “just in case” feature.  It also saves on shoes.  I’m short so I always opt for heels.  For me that is a professional thing even in today’s climate of casual dress.  I am projecting an image of confidence and authority when I present so I try to consider presenting the complete package, thus the suit and heels.   I’m going with CL’s for the day.

My travel outfit is inspired by a wonderful TSA agent at Laguardia.  She advised me to wear a warm up suit to make the TSA line easy.  Since I have far too much of my mother and grandmother in me to go with a warm up suit, I opt for pointe leggings and a long cashmere sweater. I’ll complete the outfit with flats and a scarf.

To round out my packing, I’ll take leggings and a long sleeve exercise top, a nightgown and unmentionables with an extra set thrown in for the just in case things that happen when you travel.  My toiletries, Bluetooth speaker, conference information, laptop, and notebook with my conference papers will go in my tote with room for my handbag.

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My goal is to avoid checking my bag and by opting for minimal packing and a uniform color scheme I may just make it.

 

Business · Home · Organization

Routine?

Do you have a routine?  I recently realized that I do.  On the pro side of the equation, it helps.  I’m busy.  I have a job, a house, a family to care for and time is scarce.  On the con side, sometimes I feel constricted by my routine.  I’ve also found that I’m a creature of habit so the routine helps.  Amazon prime is a lifesaver and I can’t wait for the day when I can order my groceries online and have them appear at my house within a specified hour.  The reminder list app on my Iphone is my savior.  I keep a running grocery list, a life “to do” list with reminder dates and times and other lists for work, professional, and volunteer organizations.  The best suggestion I’ve ever received is to create a reminder with a date and time when I read an email.

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My routine tends to go something like:

Sunday:  church, cook a pot of something either for the freezer or to eat for the rest of the week, yoga class, or track, or hike with the fur children depending upon the time of year and the weather,  pay bills and answer any correspondence that came during the week, gather laundry for the cleaners, iron, class prep for Monday.  Much to the pup’s dismay, this also tends to be bath day.  Continuing a tradition from childhood, this is also the day I reach out to family and friends for a chat and catch up.  I like talking, so brunch with friends or a mid afternoon chat over the phone, is a delight.   If I’m very lucky, I can squeeze in a nap or a movie or something fun for an hour or two.  I always end the day with a long hot bath where I can relax and start the week off on a good note.

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Monday – Thursday:  work from 8 to ???, exercise class two nights a week, write my blog posts for the next week, catch up on life maintenance that can’t wait for the weekend and catch up on work maintenance that didn’t get done during the day. Update my “to do” lists for the next day, the week, and weekend and answer all emails received before 11PM.

Friday:  work, dinner with friends or tennis, Netflix evening.

Saturday:  check on Mom, tennis, laundry, grocery shopping and errands, house maintenance.    Fresh flowers are a Saturday thing for me.  I love the brightness that a vase of flowers brings to the house so I usually pick up flowers at the grocery store and arrange them for the kitchen table.  Glass of wine at night and time to relax with a good book.

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What is your routine?

Home · Organization · Travel · Uncategorized

Organizing my makeup drawer

I’m on an organizing mission these days.  The back to school, end of summer, beginning of fall is propelling me to get done those things that have languished on my to do list far too long. On top of that list is cleaning out my makeup drawer.  Makeup has a shelf life, especially mascara and eye liner.  One guideline for mascara and liquid eye liner is three to six months once opened.  Lip gloss has a similar time line.  Lipstick is a bit longer at six months.  The danger here is bacteria which may cause infection.  Since I wear contact lens, I’m very careful about my eye health and don’t care to take chances with my makeup.  So, about every four months, I do a thorough clean out of my makeup drawer.  The best part of this exercise is that everything is organized for ease of use and I have a clean space.  This cuts down on my searching for something when I’m getting ready for work in the morning.  Since I’m a night owl and not a morning person, this is a direct benefit to me.

 

The before:

 

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Not only do I throw away products near their expiration dates, I also clean out the clutter.  This means that eyeshadow that I thought I’d love but really don’t gets thrown out as clutter.  I also wash my brushes.  In the end I make a list of the things I need to replace.  I generally buy my products from Carmen at the Chanel counter at Bergdorf Goodman.  She is absolutely wonderful.  She lets me know when there is a gift card event and is wonderful to send samples for travel.

 

The after:

 

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