Organized Charm: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Motivation

Don’t overreact.
Don’t freak out.
Don’t obsess.
Don’t worry.
Don’t panic.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Invitation Organization

We’ve all known that point in wedding planning when the bride has to post the inevitable “Why is it so hard for people to return the pre-addressed, pre-stamped RSVP card and envelope?” status on Facebook.

I mean… full disclosure: was that bride.

And when you’re the bride… those little RSVP’s are a big deal. Everyone is constantly asking you for a final head count. And the sooner you can give it to them, the sooner you know how much you’ll be paying your vendors.

However, when you’re on the RSVP-er end of things, it’s pretty different. You get home from work, open up your mail, throw it wherever you throw your mail, and go on with your day. You know that you should fill out the card right then. You know that you should march right back out to the mailbox. You know that you should return it immediately (and kudos to you if you actually do that!).

But you’re hungry… or running late… or tired… or ready for a cocktail (or several). And what if you have to choose a song (or a date)? And you put it off. And then you forget.

Now, add invitations with different dates and times and addresses and registries for bachelorette parties, bridal showers, couples’ showers, engagement parties, and rehearsal dinners for about 5 different weddings and (eek) now you’re just drowning in a sea of wedding bliss card stock. 

I get it. It’s difficult to keep up with it all. And just like everything else in life, it requires a system. 

To keep track of all of the dates, times, and RSVP deadlines, I hang all of my invitations up (in chronological order, of course) in my office. This keeps me from forgetting to send in an RSVP, losing an address or a registry card. If it’s in my sight, I’m not going to forget to do it. 

And honestly… I just love displaying my invitations because my friends have pretty awesome taste and these things are always so beautiful anyway!

People put so much effort into making their invitations, programs, and save-the-dates. 
It was definitely one of my favorite parts of wedding planning! 

But what to do with them after the event has come and gone? They really are like mini-pieces of art from the people that you love the most. 

It broke my heart to have to throw them away when the event was over. So I stopped. 

And I started saving them in a cute 1" binder instead. 
(AKA another excuse to visit my beloved school supply aisle at Target)

These are such sweet moments in our friends’ lives and I love having a mini scrapbook-ish book to flip through to remember them :)

Do you do anything creative or fun with your old invitations?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Trending: Oregon Wine Night

So, wine night is just the best. Good friends, great appetizers, chick music, and (of course) WINE!
This week we chose 7 bottles of wine from Oregon.
Each one was less than $15.

Here were the (my) faves:
(Click the name to find out more!)

Caprese Skewers. 
And I made Caprese bites which have nothing to do with Oregon… 
But they certainly are delicious! 
And easy. 

Such a fabulous way to end the week!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Motivation

It’s Monday. Meh.
Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?
Take time to think about where you were a year ago.
Take time to think about where you were three years ago.
Today, just celebrate how much you’ve already accomplished!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

10 Things to Keep in Place

When you are on the go as much as I am, you need to know where everything is… like, right now. I cannot even express the amount of meltdowns I’ve had while trying to rush out the door and not being able to find my (shoes, phone, keys, brain…). 

Here are the 10 things you need in place at all times:

1. Chargers

One of my biggest annoyances in life is that each new device we get requires a new charger. One more thing to keep up with. I keep all of mine together in a “Charger Bin” in my office. It is just full of USB ports and the like. Whenever I see one out around the house, I know exactly where to put it. Best of all, whenever I need one, I know exactly where to find it.

2. Keys

These are my biggest liability for being late. Clearly, you can leave the house without anything else. But no keys means no va. The first thing that I did when I got my own apartment was create a little space for my keys by the door. The second I walk in, hanging them up is the first thing I do. Walking out, grabbing them is the last thing I do. No more last-minute meltdowns (about that, anyway).

3. Mail

First of all, let me just say that I am the biggest advocate for PAPERLESS BILLING! Basically every company offers it now and it makes life 1,000,000 times easier. However, there are still important pieces of mail that come the old fashioned way. Here is my process for organizing my mail: I check it as soon as I get home from work; I stop by the recycling bin and throw away the advertisements and other junk. This way, there is no extra clutter coming into my house via mail.

4. Makeup

Oh, makeup. I actually keep my makeup bag in the passenger floorboard of the back seat of my car. I leave without it on and I put it on once I’ve arrived to my location on time. Why wouldn’t I just do it at my house, you ask? Easy. I am slightly compulsive. And for whatever reason, my compulsive-ness shines brightest when it’s time to put on my makeup… and somehow that always made me late for things ("are my eyelashes even? … No. I definitely need 11 more strokes of mascara on the left side”). It remains a mystery.

5. Pens

And color-coded pens. And highlighters. And mechanical pencils. And Sharpies. I have a designated place for each and I know exactly where to look when just the right writing utensil is needed.

6. Phone

Where is the craziest place you’ve ever found your phone? I have found mine everywhere from in the coat closet to in the refrigerator. And it’s so easy to leave them everywhere because we TAKE them everywhere. I keep mine charging in my bedroom (I know. I know. It’s destroying my brain). When I take it off the charger, it goes straight onto my kitchen counter until I leave for the day.

7. Purse

My system for this is the easiest ever. I have a calendar hanging in my office with a hook underneath it for my purse. Everyday when I get home, it is the second thing I put away (after my keys). This also makes it easy for me to add/remove items from it quickly… and keep it somewhat cleaned out.

8. Schoolwork

I cannot stress how important this is. In undergrad, I had printed out assignments by the computer, textbooks by the bed, notes on the kitchen table… and I was always a nervous wreck trying to round everything up as I rushed out the door for class. KEEP THE SCHOOLWORK TOGETHER. Wherever it is, it should ALL be there. Save those panic attacks for something worthwhile. Like making a B.

9. Shoes

As a female, I just happen to own a few (dozen) pairs of shoes. And I want to wear the right ones. The ones that I envisioned myself wearing when I got dressed. The last thing I need is to not be able to find them. Shoes are something that should be put back immediately, no matter how tired, rushed, whatever you are. Your future self will thank you… and look adorable.

10. Sunglasses

I hate getting in the car only to discover that I left my sunglasses at home. I mean, it’s not the biggest of all deals but it just makes me feel less put together. Creating a convenient space for hanging/storing these is such a simple and helpful thing to do. Plus, it will help prevent them from getting scratched or smashed in the bottom of a purse (and prevent you from getting wrinkles).

Finding the different culprits that were making me late was definitely a process, but I feel so much better and more put together now that I know what they are AND how to eliminate them :)

What do you have to have in its place at all times?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Trending: Farewell to Summer

Free People.
I got this dress at the end of summer last year for 75% off and I’m probably wearing it in every picture I’ve taken since then. Seriously.
Can I just say that Free People is one of my favorite stores? 
And that puppy was just the perfect accessory.

Reed’s Ginger Beer.
I had never even heard of this until my parents made me a cocktail with it over the summer.
It is nonalcoholic, organic ginger beer (they also have ginger ale).
Plus, the bottles are just adorable. 

Big Hair.
Recently, D and I were invited to do a fall fashion shoot for a local magazine. 
The colors were mostly black and red.
And this was my hair.

My favorite Pottery Barn catalog is the Halloween edition!
Its arrival in my mailbox is like Christmas morning.
Yay for Fall’s upcoming arrival!

Lana Del Rey.
Let me just say that,when it comes to music, we live under a hipster rock in this house.
I never even heard of Lana Del Rey until May (yes, this May).
I am definitely making up for lost time.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Motivation

I love Dave.
He makes the best analogies. 
Kids LOVE things with such excitement!
Today, remember to love something in your life
...your city, dog, family, friends, house, job, relationship, self, whatever… 
with childlike excitement! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Organized Study Time

Quizzes, Discussions, Responses, Tests, Reading… oh, and a clean house and somewhat relevant social life? That takes some planning. Throw in a full-time job and a house that’s for sale and that takes a LOT of planning.

I don’t really have a whole lot of time to spend on schoolwork. So I want to make the absolute most of what little time I do have. When I sit down to work on schoolwork, I need to know right away what due dates are coming up, what still needs to be done, where all my junk is, and where to get started.

Here is how I keep myself on track:

Make a Plan. 
The very first thing that I do when I get my syllabi for all of my classes is to examine my schedules. I put EVERYTHING in my planner. Seeing it all spaced out alongside the other events in my life (like weddings and trips) really gives me a sense of how my semester will look. If I notice that a lot of things are due the same week (like before fall and Christmas breaks), then I know I’ll need to start on those assignments earlier.

Keep Track of it All. 
This is a potentially obsessive thing that I do: once I get all of my assignment dates put into my planner, I create a semester assignment spreadsheet in Excel. This is different from what is on the syllabus because I am combining all of the graded assignments from all of my classes into one consolidated list. I include the due date, name of assignment, and how many points it is worth. They are listed in the order that they are due… it also allows me to keep track of my grades and eliminates panic attacks.
(just kidding)

Write a Study Breakdown. 
Okay, this really is the most obsessive thing that I do, but I don’t care. After I create my semester assignment spreadsheet, I go to the daily view in my planner and write down what I need to work on for each day. I’m not going to lie, this takes a lot of time, BUT it is worth it once I get into the middle of the semester and barely have time to wash my hair. Having a pre-planned study checklist keeps me on track and helps me start early on big projects. It also helps me see whether I am ahead of or behind schedule. It is just so much easier to know what I need to do right when I sit down and just start on it.

Mark the Progress. 
My system for this is so easy. On all three of the above lists, I highlight the items that are currently in progress in yellow and I highlight them in pink when they are complete. It is so motivational for me to see what I’ve gotten done and how much further I have to go. I even use these on my to-do lists. No matter how small the task, marking things off of a to-do list is an awesome feeling!

Keep it All Together. 
I keep all of my textbooks, notebooks, folders, planner, etc. together. The three bins at the bottom of my office bookshelves are dedicated to my classes. This makes it quick and easy for me to grab my school stuff to work on or throw in a bag on my way to class. No searching for lost items. This makes it so much easier for me to put things away too. And clean surfaces just make me feel so happy! Yay!

These are the best things I’ve found for keeping my study time organized and relatively productive :)

What strategies do you use to keep up with your assignments?!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Trending: New Orleans Edition

The Somethin' Else Cafe, New Orleans.
The brunch at the Somethin’ Else Cafe is perfection. 
(French Toast with Vanilla ice cream!)
The food, drinks, view… amazing.
The people are crazy friendly.
This place is just the best.

Jackie’s Boutique.
If I could move into this store, I would be almost as happy as if I could move into Anthropologie. 
Jackie's in Jackson Square has the most fun collection (and the hugest mirrors) I've ever seen. 
They are reasonably priced, the clothes and accessories are precious.
I shop here every single time I visit this city.
I just can't get enough! 

Hotel Monteleone.
Seconds from everything and built during the gorgeous turn of the century. 
This was our first time staying here and it was absolutely wonderful. 
A carousel bar that actually rotates in the lobby.
A beautiful garden & pool on the rooftop.
I felt just like Daisy Buchanan. 

Royal House Oyster Bar. 
Royal Street is like the Blair Waldorf version of Bourbon Street (superior in every way).
We found this perfect restaurant at the corner of Royal and St. Louis.
Oysters on the half shell & Crawfish Ravioli.
Incredible service & SoCo Mint Juleps. 
This just became our new fave.

My clever husband got me actual cotton for our "cotton" anniversary (along with a dress from Jackie's). September 10th has officially become one of my favorite days of the year. 
This was our 2-year anniversary. 
Best anniversary ever!
I love him! 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Motivation

I absolutely love these words. 
Giving yourself to someone else is so scary.
Giving someone the power to hurt you is so scary.
But let go of whatever apprehension you are feeling today.
Because, although it is scary, it’s also kind of wonderful knowing that you’ve given it your all.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

What I Wish I Knew Before Registering

In honor of my upcoming 2 year (!) wedding anniversary, here are 5 things that I wish I had known before registering...

1. Registry checklists were apparently created in the days of Mad Men, 
when people cared about having a nicer gravy boat than their neighbors. Do not copy and paste one from a wedding planning book/magazine and treat it as gold like I did. I mean, why did I register for a food processor when I don't even cook? Because the book said so.

2. You can register on Amazon. 
PLEASE! Why didn't I know this?! Amazon would have made my life SO much easier! Gift cards could have literally been applied to anything... Plus, I don't think we would have felt so rushed to purchase things with our gift cards right after the wedding.

3. It takes a while to get a sense of your couple “style”. 
D and I both knew what our individual styles were. My east Memphis studio looked like a charming little Paris apartment. He had… well, he had hand-me-down furniture from his old roommates and… a Fight Club poster hanging in his living room. Clearly, we had to meet somewhere in the middle. While we were registering, we (I) didn’t really consider what we (I) wanted the overall syle of our home to be. And we (I) made some hideous home decor choices (Red curtains with white lining? Yeah, I did that). Sit down and make a plan for your whole house prior to getting your hands on that scanner gun.

4. Listen. 
For whatever reason, men are able to think really clearly in the midst of a lot of excitement. Women, however… whatever. Anyway, I was so busy checking items off of my Knot registry checklist that I completely ignored Derek when he kept saying, “When are we ever going to use that?”. I mean, obviously, we’re going to use it during all of those huge, elaborate dinner parties that we’ll be throwing in our 1,255 square foot house. I should have listened. I should have used my common sense. But… wedding magazine.

5. Leave room for improvement. 
Don’t register for anything too huge or permanent unless you are absolutely sure that you will be in love with it for at least the next 10 years! Don’t run out and spend all of your gift cards right away. Save some things to be done in the future, once you know what you forgot to register for.

Do you have any registry wisdom to add to this list?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Trending: Two Year Anniversary

New Orleans.
To celebrate our anniversary, we are headed to my favorite of all cities. Our spontaneous itinerary is already planned... 

Paris Fever.
Most females my age have "baby fever" but not this girl. For me it's "Paris fever" and it's getting worse with each day.

Fall Wardrobe.
We are downright ready for our fall clothes. And that's it.

Chocolate Anything.
I seem to require more chocolate than usual this week. And our local grocery store opening an adorable little bakery counter isn't helping. 

Pre-Wedding Nostalgia. 
"Remember that time at our... Rehearsal dinner... Engagement shoot... Wedding shower... Pre-wedding meltdown(s)..." This is the time o year that we totally relive those moments again and again.

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