Mrs. Twist Reads This: The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This month we will be reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean which also happens to be the Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine bookclub selection!  Great minds think alike.

WASHINGTON POST TOP 10 BOOK OF THE YEAR A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER and NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018

“A constant pleasure to read…Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book.” —The Washington Post

“EXQUISITELY WRITTEN, CONSISTENTLY ENTERTAINING.” —The New York Times * “MESMERIZING…RIVETING.” —Booklist (starred review)

A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries—from the bestselling author hailed as a “national treasure” by The Washington Post.

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

Susan has sent our bookclub her personal list of suggested review questions so I am excited to dig in, read a good book this winter then gather to discuss it! Join us on Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m.  If you are new to our bookclub, welcome.  It’s free and easy to join.  Just visit our partner BookMovement using this link.  Set up a free account, download the app and start reading.  You will receive notices about upcoming bookclub events, reminders of meetings and you can use it to create your own bookclub queue.  If you don’t live locally, but still want to belong to a community of women who love to read, we would love to have you join us.

Happy reading!

What Would Holley Wear: Trends Now and Later

Did you know sometimes trends are classics that come back in style?  I’m loving how two of my favorite trends are perfect for “now and later”!

In my first article of the year (click here to read it), I mentioned my focus would be on classics, but adding a trendy twist.  And just so you know….sometimes trends are classics that come back in style!

Animal print is definitely considered a classic.  To ramp it up a few trendy notches, anything in snake print will do the trick!  We are loving a pair of white and black snakeskin pants shown two ways. One look is paired with a camel sweater and the other with a white sweater.  Both are ideal for now and will easily transition into spring.

London based lifestyle blogger Fashion Mumblr shows us how to classically style a pair of white slacks with a neutral snakeskin print blouse. Doesn’t that sound like an elegant look for spring? And for now, add a white or camel coat. If all you want is a pop of this popular print, think about wearing a snakeskin belt bag seen on our Pinterest board.  It’s perfect for travel and will complement any neutral ensemble.

I’m loving a snake print pleated skirt I recently purchased from H&M.  It pairs perfectly now with a taupe turtleneck. Later this spring, I plan to dress it up with a sheer ruffled blouse and add a belt.  In addition, a coat or blazer in this classic print definitely works year round.

Shoes and boots are another way to incorporate this trendy print into your wardrobe.  Free People’s snakeskin booties go great with jeans now and will look super cute with crops later. If loafers and flats are more your style, check out the selection from ASOS on our Pinterest board.  We think the ultimate animal print shoe is a pair of Converse all-star high top sneakers in snakeskin!

So here’s the deal….if I could have any bag I wanted, it would be Gucci’s genuine python mini satchel with a bamboo handle. Keep dreaming….right? The good news is there are so many affordable faux options available. ASOS always stays on top of what’s trending.  Point proven with their yellow faux snakeskin bag….perfect for now and later!

Translucent bags are definitely on-trend!  One of the season’s trendiest bags is by Staud.  In fact, it’s so cool and artistic that New York’s MoMA design shop sells it! We love how NYC fashion blogger, Eadie Blair, demonstrates different ways to style a clear tote by adding a pouch or clutch in a cute print. Such a fun way to match your bag with your outfit! Don’t you just love the versatility of a clear bag?

Now” that you know how to incorporate these two cool trends into your wardrobe….I guess I’ll see ya “later”!

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]  Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.

Move to Bloom: Using Noom to Achieve my Wellness Goals and Promo Code

True story: I did not workout one day in 2018.  By the end of the year, my body ached, I wasn’t sleeping well, my clothes didn’t fit, I had no energy and I felt blah.  Plus, if you tuned into my podcast I was also struggling with some painful issues with my feet.  Thankfully, I’ve got myself back in gear with the new year. I joined a brand new gym and took their very first spin class on their grand opening day.   And, I’ve found that the spin class has actually helped with my foot pain, so that’s a bonus!

I also joined Noom — which as been coined as the “Millennial Weight Watchers.”  Noom is a wellness program that is designed to help you live a healthier life by guiding you to create better habits.  Unlike other weight loss programs that focus just on the physical aspect of losing weight, Noom focuses on the mental aspect. For many, struggles with weight loss has a lot to do with personal thoughts, habits, beliefs, triggers and emotions that tend to be barriers.  Noom’s goal is to help you overcome these barriers by helping you become more aware of poor habits and creating better ones.

Here’s how I use it and what I like about it.  You wake up every morning with at least 5-6 “activities” waiting for you in the Noom App from quizzes, simple strategies to try, and quick tips on what to focus on for the day.  This program is very much geared toward helping you figure out why you eat what you eat, identifying your personal triggers for making less than healthy food choices, strategies for overcoming barriers and breaking habits.  A lot of what they teach you is based on scientific studies and everyday it seems to track the exact information I need.

You are assigned a coach that helps you determine your “Ultimate Why” and who also checks in weekly to see how you’re doing and to set a new goal.  You log your meals and snacks everyday and the food is broken down into “green, yellow and red” zones so you can gauge where you did well and what needs improvement.  You are also assigned to an accountability group to share ideas and offer encouragement.  Like to cook, but you’re not sure what fits in the program?  Noom has an extensive collection of healthy recipes.   Meal planning is a big idea in this program because by planning your meals ahead of time — including breakfast and lunch – you are more likely to eat healthier.  This has helped me significantly and I’ve spent less money by not going out to eat.

While exercising is important and you’ll see better results if you combine moving and better eating, Noom doesn’t push you with any specific workouts, that’s up to you.  But, you do earn credits toward your calorie budget on the days you exercise and it connects with your fitness device like a Fitbit to track your movement.  Noom offers two programs, one for weight management and the other for diabetes management which focuses more on carbohydrate intake.

Everything is done directly through the app you upload on your phone once you sign up.  Membership costs vary based on current promotions, but it is a 16 week program for about $32 dollars a month.  This is a helpful article to answer all your questions.   And you can also visit Noom to take a free 30-second evaluation.

Here’s the best part — Just for my followers I have a 20% off promo code you can use toward your membership!

Use this link https://friends.noom.com/YVJNSThEMlNCOmNm when you sign up and you get 14 days for free + 20% off your membership!

I can’t wait to share more with you in the future on my #movetobloom goal for 2019!

What Would Holley Wear: Winter White

Remember back in the day when “winter white” had a yellowish tinge? Today’s version gives us beautiful options from icy to creamy whites. Thank goodness for that…right?

Last fall, I won the “Diva” auction package at the Samaritan House Gala, and one of the items was a gift card from Climate located in Clearfork (Mountain & Ski Apparel).  So I bet you are wondering what this “Diva” purchased with her “Diva” gift card? Drum roll please….that would be a white “Diva” jacket by prAna! It’s also the perfect transition jacket and complements all the spring hues.  

Imagine a cloud.  Then imagine the feeling of being wrapped in a cloud!  That’s what wearing a super soft and cozy pullover fleece/Sherpa feels like…perfect for days when the temperature drops.  We love how it complement a pair of white jeans. And think a pair of Sorel boots is the “white icing” on the cake! Plus, they make for a great athleisure look when worn with leggings.  

A winter-white vest pretty much goes with everything.  Wanting to winterize your preppy style a bit? A Sherpa/fleece vest will give you the look you are wanting.  An adorable ensemble on our Pinterest board shows a winter white fleece vest with a white long sleeve t-shirt, distressed jeans, UGG boots and….for  extra-preppy cuteness….they added a white knit beanie cap!

Another way to add winter white to your look is with boots and accessories.  Again, a beanie cap is a must for the ski slopes and city walking. Rubber boots are also a ski resort necessity.  Macy’s has a great selection of Sperry and UGG winter boots, and they even come in winter white! For a snowy day, we suggest a pair of white Hunter boots with fur liners…of course!  And please know, a white scarf or poncho is a great way to wrap up your winter style!

 For me, a white sweater paired with white jeans lifts my winter spirit.  The “Fab over Fifty,” blog demonstrates a great way to style a white knit poncho over a long-sleeved white tee and jeans.   A creamy white cable-knit sweater goes with just about everything and looks especially cool half-tucked in a pair of white jeans. And here’s the good news….your whites do not have to match!  How awesome is that?

So from fluffy scarves to heavy-duty rubber boots, we think the best way to add warmth to your cold weather style is with a beautiful winter white!  Don’t you agree?

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]  Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.

Blueberry-Cornmeal Muffins with Thyme Glaze

I love to bake and try out new recipes, especially with cookbooks I haven’t opened in a while.  If you want to impress your company with a beautiful breakfast bread, try this recipe for Blueberry-Cornmeal Muffins with Thyme Glaze from Bake from Scratch.  I own their Bake from Scratch cookbook and it’s full of artisan recipes for the homebaker featuring cakes, pies, breads, cookies and pastries.  But you can also access tons of great recipes from their site Baked from Scratch and sign up for their Preheat enewsletter.

Makes 8 large muffins or 12 regular size muffins
Ingredients
  • 1⅔ cups (209 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (150 grams) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⅓ cups (293 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1½ cups fresh blueberries
  • Thyme Glaze (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 8 jumbo muffin cups with parchment or paper liners, or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Fold in blueberries.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F, and continue baking until muffins are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes. Drizzle with Thyme Glaze, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Want to add a twist to your baked goods?  Try my trick – instead of baking them bare or in regular cupcake liners, use parchment lotus cups from Paper Chef sold at Target.

Thyme Glaze

Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups (150 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • Thyme Syrup (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and Thyme Syrup until smooth (the icing will be very thick).  Drizzle the tops of cooled muffins.

Thyme Syrup (try planting Thyme in your garden.  It’s cold and heat tolerant and very fragrant.  I have a patch of it right outside my front door, easy to pick for this recipe).

Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, ¼ cup water, and thyme to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool completely. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.

If you put a tray of these out for your guests, they will surely think you bought them and then you can take all the credit.  Happy baking!

2019 Mantra – Seek My Sunshine!

If you have been following my blog for a while now, thank you!  If you are new to my journey to #seekjoy everyday – then welcome!   I suggest you start here to find out how I started my blog and the life experiences that inspire me.  Since I launched Home with a Twist, I’ve published almost 700 posts and last October I started a Podcast you can find here.

In January rather than establishing a “resolution” which to me is a one and done way to approach life,  I choose to have an open-ended theme.   Like in 2018 – my theme was “Joie de Vivre — Seek Joy everyday.” I really tried to be intentional to find something good in every day.  Whether it’s happiness over a hot cup of Starbucks or an up-close parking space, I was laser focused on intentionally celebrating life.  You know what?  I had a great year.  That’s not to say there weren’t days of frustration or disappointment, but since my mind was in the habit of seeking joy, I found myself trying to find ways to flip the sad to glad!

Sunflowers in my garden

This year, my mantra is “Seek the Sunshine.”  You know the friendly little sunflower?  This Helianthus or commonly referred to as the “sunflower”  tilts its head during the day to face the Sun as it rises in the east and follows the Sun across the sky until it sets in the west.  Continuously facing towards the east also helps the flowers to heat up quickly. This gives them an advantage in pollination as warm flowers attract insects. Therefore, it’s in the plant’s best interest that the flower always faces the Sun, so it is always highly visible to these important pollinators.  The fascinating phenomenon of flowers following the sun across the sky is called heliotropism.

Daddy’s pocket of sunshine

What’s the take away on this?  Well, to me, the metaphor in life is that if I always face the sunshine – which could be alot of things like God’s warmth, having a sunny disposition, or choosing the happiness of it’s bright orange radiance – I can focus on the positives in my life.  I can face the sunshine all day from the time the sun comes up until the day comes to an end.   Because the “sun” warms me, like the sunflower, I will be attracting goodness, kindness, joy – just like the flower attracts bees (which happen to be my favorite insect…Melissa means honeybee, you know).  The sunflower also has a special meaning in our family because they were my daddy’s favorite flower.  You can read a sweet story about them here.  We called them his “Pockets of Sunshine.”

So, this year ask yourself this question “Does this support the life I am trying to create?”  Sometimes we have to move to bloom.

Here’s to a fantastic 2019 my friends.  I look forward to our journey together.

What Would Holley Wear: Bring on the Gray

In our humble, yet accurate opinion…gray doesn’t have to be that in-between shade that denotes “blah”.  So from cozy to glamorous….we say, “bring on the gray!”.

Gray skies…no problem.  Grab a cup of tea and cuddle up in something cozy and gray!  We are loving all the gray sweats and sweater combos on our Pinterest board.  If you plan to head outside, don’t forget a cute cap. An oversized gray cardigan is perfect for our southern winter weather. Think about topping off your comfy outfit with a gray blanket scarf….nothing “blah” about these cute outfits!

If you like to blend-in with the crowd in a classy way, you will love a monochromatic look.  If you don’t own a pair of gray jeans…you need to. They go with everything and are the perfect base for an all-gray ensemble. One of our Pinterest favs shows gray jeans paired with a gray turtleneck, grey coat, and snakeskin booties…so chic! To give your jean ensemble a posh vibe, think about accessorizing with a gray tote.   

Are you of the opinion that the color gray sometimes gets a bad rap?  Yep…me too. Let’s put a stop to this nonsense and “wrap” up in a gray winter coat.  Who doesn’t love an ultra-soft faux fur or teddy bear coat? We think Kenzie’s notched-collar gray teddy is ideal for a cloudy winter day.  And a faux fur collar gives a gray Anthropologie cardigan a luxurious touch of cozy.

For a business meeting, a gray pleated skirt coordinated with a sweater will definitely add polish to your professional style.  Wondering what to wear to a job interview? Nothing says, “I’m an executive” like a gray pantsuit. Be sure to take a look at our Pinterest board, and check out Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, and Banana Republic online for more pantsuit options.  

What’s your favorite color to coordinate with gray?  We are loving pink! Since every color goes with gray, just add an accessory in your favorite color to give your gray outfit a pop.  A great Pinterest board look features a gray coat, plaid scarf, and jeans paired with a pink Chloe’ handbag and pink sneakers. And a pair of gray plaid pants, pink blazer, and handbag topped with a gray overcoat was a show-stealer at Paris Fashion Week!

It’s easy to glam up a gray outfit by wearing a beautiful brooch on your coat or blazer.  We think a Chanel brooch pinned to a coat, complemented with a gray Hermes’ bag is the ultimate!  By adding a pair of Oscar de la Renta fringed earrings or a pair of Alexis Bittar teardrops, your look will instantly transform from professional to glamorous!  And think about topping off your luxe look with a metallic Dior evening bag. How glam does that sound?

With so many stylish and glamorous ways to wear gray….we are definitely saying goodbye to “blah” and hello to gray!  

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]  Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.

The Randomness of January: Breaking Up with Cable, Simmer Sauce, Kind Replies and Other Stuff

Coming down from the hustle and bustle of the holidays is a challenge.  I had such a great two-week staycation from work and did exactly what I set out to do — nothing.  I slept late, binge watched tv and movies, took naps, read, cooked and spent alot of time with my brother who was in town for almost three weeks and stayed with me.  He makes me laugh like no one else can.  It’s like “home” to be with him.

When you don’t have a schedule, it’s so easy to get out of routine, especially with your sleep schedule, so last week I leaped out of bed on Monday for work and by Thursday I was so sleepy.  My brain is also not firing on all cylinders for blogging, but I thought I would at least share a few random things I am finding fun, helpful or interesting.  And, I hope to post a podcast this week, too.

First, I broke up with cable television.  I was paying almost $250 a month for channels I have no interest in.  I took a poll at home and the only two channels Mr. Bee was adament we keep was the History Channel and MSNBC.  Me — I only care about HGTV, the Hallmark Channel and cooking shows.  I did some shopping around and found this helpful article  comparing all the companies out there that provide low cost streaming services.  I was already strongly considering Sling TV, and based on my research, they offered just what I wanted for my budget (with a free month of service).  Now I am paying about $50 for Sling, Netflix and DVR.  Then, I spent about an hour on live chat to negotiate my internet bill down to $40 for internet. For less than $100 (a $150 monthly savings) I am done for all the TV and internet I can possibly want.  AT&T took it like a champ and let me ship my equipment back for free at the UPS store.  I also lowered my insane phone bill by $15 a month with bundling my phone and internet.  Monthly savings in total – $165.  Thank you.

I made a list of two foods I want to perfect this year — Roasted chicken and souffles.   I follow this cutie Trent from Store Bought is Fine blog.  His mission is to cook every single one of Ina Garten’s recipes.  I think Trent is up to 663.  He’s inspired me to try new recipes this year and Ina’s Perfect Roast Chicken was the recipe Harry and Meghan were cooking when he proposed.  My brother got me a French cookbook on souffles so that is also on my list.

I made the most amazing meal this weekend.   I did a little grocery shopping on Saturday morning and saw these simmer sauces from Albertson’s Signature Select.  They were on sale for $2.49 a jar so I bought several varieties.  I decided to prepare the Chile Verde with pork.  I got a pork shoulder for about $5, a box of lime cilantro rice, a package of Hatch green tortillas and a can of black beans.  For about $12 I had a dinner meal that ended up making enough servings for lunch the next two days.  The meat was flavorful and the entire meal was delicious.  Really, one of the best meals I’ve made in a while.  I plan to keep these sauces on my shelf.

Kind replies and comments.  I have met some of the sweetest people in my blogging journey.  Strangers send me the kindest notes letting me know how much they appreciate my posts and most recently my podcast.  Here’s a recent message I received in my email inbox last week…

“I just wanted you to know I found your website and podcast, from following Euna Mae’s. I have binged listened to your podcast this past week, and I can’t wait to hear more! I have also looked through a lot of your blog.  Just wanted to say “hi”. Can’t wait to read and hear more!!!!  K.”

Let’s see what else…I cleaned out my pantry so I can start fresh.  Alot of the food I didn’t need any more (our eating habits have changed alot since Miss Bee is away at school), I took up to my church’s food pantry for someone else to enjoy.  I plan to go through all my cabinets in the kitchen and do a purge of things I am not using.  I usually always have at least one “donation” bag going at all times so as I find things I don’t want it goes into the bag.  When the bag is full it goes into the car for drop off the next day.  This trick keeps things from piling up and causing clutter.

I learned something new from  The Kitchen Counter Podcast, which I love, about the difference between convection and conventional cooking.  A “light bulb” moment was that I have the convection feature on my oven and I never use it.  Well, no more!  I made a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies with chopped dried cherries (that I found when I organized my pantry) and used the convection mode.  They were amazing.  Seriously.  I love learning and trying new things.  Another fun tip from this podcast is to shop your pantry.  Try to challenge yourself to cook from what you already have instead of buying more.  My pantry purge made me realize I have 100 cans of tomatoes of all varieties.  I need to make a great sauce and freeze it!

So, that’s it for this Monday.  I hope your week is great!

What Would Holley Wear: Pleats & Thank You

Let’s start first with a thank you.  Because of Melissa’s encouragement, I’ve been writing fashion articles for Home with a Twist for over two years!  For the confidence she has in me and the support she gives me, I am extremely thankful!

When Melissa first asked me to be her fashion writer, I was afraid to try something new.  But just like a pleated skirt, she slowly brought me into the “fold,” and 117 articles later…I’m still writing!  Since pleated skirts are touted as a trend every few seasons, I like to call them a trendy-classic. A favorite outfit from Pinterest features a light gray cable sweater paired with a dark gray pleated skirt.  With heels, this look is ultra-classy, and a pair of booties would add a hip vibe! Yep…I’m “com-pleat-ly” in love with this look!

Okay, I realize this is not exactly an Academy Award speech.  That being said, another special thank you goes to my editor, Rochelle Moses.  She edits every article with expertise and kindness, and for that I am beyond grateful!  So, what’s the magic word? That would be “pleats”! And just like a great editor, a mid-length pleated skirt crosses all my “t’s”!  Point proven with a pink pleated skirt complemented with a black turtleneck sweater and leather jacket.

If you cross all your “t’s”, ya gotta dot all the “i’s” too!  So let’s think about sharpening our editorial style with a striped pleated skirt.  My Pinterest favorite shows a striped rainbow skirt with a bit of sparkle from Anthropology.  Wear it now with a sweater and later this spring, with a white blouse tied at the waist. Another “i-dotter” on our Pinterest board is a bright fuchsia skirt paired with a light pink embroidered sweater.  Don’t you just love pleats with personality?

When writing a weekly fashion article, you definitely put yourself out there! Would you be willing to step out on a fashion limb in a pleated gold metallic maxi skirt paired with a black leather biker jacket?  Another hip look is a rose-gold metallic midi skirt matched with a gray sweatshirt and metallic rose-gold trimmed sneakers. Wow…who knew pleats were so cool?

We think pleats are ideal for the office.  A Pinterest look that exudes confidence highlights a fashionista wearing a blue pleated skirt with a tucked blouse and a camel coat draped over her shoulders.  A matching burgundy sweater and skirt will bring a monochromatic look to your executive style. Though, I have to admit, my pleat preference is a green cable sweater worn with a green skirt!

What do you get when you pair a classic pleated skirt with sneakers?  A cool new trend…of course! We are loving how two style-stars wear their satin skirts with sneakers.  One matched a pink sweatshirt with her cute skirt, and the other styled her skirt with a bomber jacket.  Are you a girl who likes to twirl? A pleated tulle or satin skirt is a flirty way to add femininity to your style.  So for a party look, think about twirling the night away in one of these beauties!

Okay…one last thank you to my readers.  Thank you so much for reading my articles, for “liking” them on Instagram and Facebook, for sharing them, and most of all….for sending encouraging and positive messages.  Trust me when I say…you “com-pleat” me!

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected]  Be sure to check out Holley’s updated Pinterest board here.

My Easy Three for January: Emails, linen closet, medicine cabinet and Marie Kondo

I haven’t done a My Easy Three post in a long time, but it’s time to get back to sharing three simple things you can try each month to feel like you’ve accomplished something.  By breaking it down into “just three”things it’s doable and achievable – not overwhelming.

One:  Emails – Clear the Clutter.  Do you have a stockpile of unread emails like from stores you don’t really shop or did one time to get the discount?  Do you want to start the new year sticking to a budget and don’t want the temptation to buy something?  Introducing — UNSUBSCRIBE!  Don’t just delete, because it will be back again tomorrow and you will just feel like you are on a hamster wheel.

I took about 30 minutes one day going through this process.  It might take a few times to unsubscribe until they get the message, but be persistent.  This activity can easily be done while you are waiting for an appointment, in the carpool line, or drinking your morning coffee.  If you don’t already have inbox folders designated for family members, coupons, photos, important correspondence, for example, set those up.  Then move all the emails from your current inbox into folders.  You should probably have no more than ten emails at one time in your inbox.  If it needs action leave it there, otherwise, it needs to be deleted or put into a folder.  You defeat the point with having 50,100 or 300 emails at one time.  How can you easily find something amidst that clutter?  Think of it has pieces of paper on your desk.  Once you’ve cleared the clutter, try to spend time each day purging, moving and minimizing your inbox clutter.

Two:  Clear out the linen closet, cabinet and drawer.  January is a great time to take advantage of what has been traditionally called a “white sale”  Fun fact:  In 1878, John Wanamaker of Philadelphia department store fame decreed January to be the time for a “White sale.” Bed linens, which were available in white only, were sold at a discount. This was done to increase sales for these items at a time of the year when sales were normally slow.

For this activity, go through all your towels (bath and kitchen), sheets, blankets, comforters and quilts.  Are they stained, torn or worn?  You know who could use them — animal shelters!   Have you stopped using a comforter or quilt because it’s out of style or the wrong color, then give it to a homeless shelter.  Give to someone else what once gave you joy, then it doesn’t feel like such a waste.  Go through your inventory of bath and hand towels and washcloths — do you have too many of one thing, are they random colors and you’d rather just narrow it down to two, then donate the standouts.  Sort everything in its proper place either in stacks or in baskets and if it’s not clear, then label them.  Want inspiration?  Click here for 20 Beautifully Organized Linen Closets like this one!

Three:  Clear out the medicine cabinet and prepare for flu and cold season!  Our home wasn’t built with medicine cabinets, so we use storage bins with snap off lids I bought at Dollar General.  They easily stack and I label them to distinguish between prescription, over the counter, and first aid medicines.  Physically touch each bottle or tube.  Check the expiration date.  Most medicine loses it’s potentcy and can actually be toxic past its expiration date, so be sure to error on the side of caution.  Wipe out the shelves so they are clean and free from goop.  Most drug stores are running good sales right now to prepare people for the cough and cold season.  Here’s a list from Real Simple on Medicine Cabinet Essentials.  I keep a small first aid kit in my powder room.  If guests need a bandaid or headache medicine they can help themselves to supplies on their own.

Bonus Thing:  Please watch Marie Kondo’s Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.  Her mission is to clear the clutter and spark joy — my kinda gal!  Her show is really inspiring.  There are a few rituals she strongly believes in to help ground her clients and steer them toward appreciating the process.   There’s always tears, frustration, yelling and then boom the realization.  You will leave each episode with at least one great idea to apply in your own home (like the proper way to fold a fitted sheet!).  You can watch the trailer here.

Go forth, organize, declutter and #seekjoy!