My Easy Three — Sunscreen, Flash Light Batteries and Picnic Coolers

It can be very overwhelming to tackle the day-to-day list of everything we want to accomplish, but if you can just try and do three simple tasks every day or every so often, you will accomplish so much more with ease and less frustration.  I call this “My Easy Three.” Here are some previous ideas to inspire you:

Today we are going to tackle three summer-time tasks – first Sunscreen.  My go-to is the perennially popular, PABA and paraben-free Trader Joe’s SPF 50 Spray Sunscreen to save the day—and your skin—with broad-spectrum UVA & UVB protection and skin-nourishing ingredients like aloe, Vitamin E, & coconut oil.  Their sunscreen is never tested on animals and at $5.99 this product continues to appear on the “Best of” lists for years — including Consumer Reports 2019 Best Sunscreens.

Here is a great article on the 10 Best Sunscreens of 2019, how much and how to apply them, what strength dermatologists recommend and more. The FDA is currently proposing big changes to sunscreen regulations, and only physical sunscreens with the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are recognized as generally safe right now.

Flashlight batteries.  Now is the time to replace all those flashlights with fresh batteries so you are prepared for summer storms when the power goes out and for late-night walks – the only time to take a walk with your dog because it’s so hot.  It’s good practice to change the batteries every 6 months so you can avoid corrosion and it will insure you always have a ready to use flashlight. We try to keep a flashlight in each bedroom in the house, especially in the guest bedroom so your company doesn’t have to navigate around your house in the middle of the night. Here’s a helpful article on battery safety from Consumer Report.

Picnic Coolers.  When was the last time you actually used soap and water to clean out your cooler?  Usually we are so tired from a day at the beach or lake we just dump the ice out, let it air dry and put it away until the next time.  Between seasons, take them outside hose them down, fill with hot water and a little dish soap and give them a good scrub. You might even add a splash of bleach, let it sit for a bit, then give the coolers a good rinse.  Dry them out and let them dry out in the sun.

Travel and Leisure magazine rated the top insulated cooler bags for 2019 here.  I love this Igloo cooler called the Daytriper. This sommelier-inspired tote stows a mini foldable table, a bamboo cutting board, a corkscrew, and a set of cheese knives. Inside, the cooler has two separate compartments with an adjustable divider. And the front straps are flexible, too, so you can easily tote a picnic blanket or beach towel along, too. And, it’s only $79.

Now you are summer-ready!

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!

My Easy Three: Suits, Beauty and a Book

This past week was my vacay.  I was looking forward to a week of sunning by the pool and doing projects around the house.  But, a nasty bronchitis bug decided to have a vacay in my lungs so all those plans were out the door.  Despite the fact that I felt terrible and did nothing, I ended up being productive at something:  Resting.  I had one week to be on the couch to watch tv, uninterrupted, nap and just be with myself.  Rest and antibiotics were exactly what the doctor ordered for my vacation.

What did I accomplish and how does this relate to My Easy Three installment (you can read more of MET stories here, here, here , here, and here)?  Well, here are three ideas for what you can do when you are stranded at home with nothing to do:

Binge watch Suits on USA network (I’m up to Season 5 thanks to Amazon Prime).  I wanted to see what all the fuss was with Meghan Markle since I got up at 5:45 a.m. to watch her get married.  My goal is to have Suits finished by the July 18 debut of season seven.  I didn’t watch Mad Men in real time during its heyday, but I managed to watch all seven seasons of that show in three weeks.    I mention Mad Men, because it reminds me a lot of Suits.    I love all the characters, and I thought I would do a fun parallel between characters from each show…

Don Draper and Harvey Specter.  Smoldering and hot.  Both look awesome in a suit and they yell in meetings.  Harvey actually has a better sense of ethics especially in the fidelity department.  Both have a secret and have a hard time sharing their feelings.

Donna Paulsen and Peggy Olson.  Both are loyal employees, smart, funny, sarcastic, quirky, and passionate.  Donna loves Harvey.  Peggy loathed Don at times, but also was probably the closest friend Don ever had.

Peter Campbell and Louis Litt.  There is a constant competition to be at the top for these fellas and beat out Don/Harvey at every turn.  The men you love to hate, but hate to not like.  Peter was too slimy for my taste, but Louis, oh, I would love to have a fun dinner with him.  His delivery of one-liners is the best. #youhavebeenlitt  And they both loved Peggy/Donna.

Last, the wardrobe on this show, omg.  Holley should do a story on what they wear.  The costume designer, Jolie Andreatta, came onto the show in season one, episode four and elevated their style –  “My belief is that men’s wealth gets shown through the women. Their women are the ones who represent the fashion in high-end wealth.”

Let’s just say, none of these women eat cheeseburgers.  Their dresses are tailored to a t — not even a tic-tac can move around.  Jessica and Donna wear dresses.   Rachel (Duchess of Sussex) always wears separates, I think to illustrate that she does not earn the money as a Paralegal by day, law student by night, to afford the Dolce Gabbana or Prada dresses.  And, I have never seen any female at the firm wear a pantsuit.  Jessica, the managing partner played by the amazing Gina Torres, has the BEST accessories.  I’d love to rummage around in her Goodwill bags.

Closing argument:  Watch the show.  You’ll laugh, cry and learn about Tortes.

My second easy three — the book for this month’s Mrs. Twist Reads This by Julie Maloney A Matter of Chance.  It’s been a great book to read during my respite.  I am looking forward to chatting with Ms. Maloney this Thursday when she Skypes with us!  The subject matter is tough, but it’s beautifully written.  If you want to join us for our reads in July and August, head here to learn what’s coming up and join our bookclub.

 

 

And three — pimple medicine.  There is no way to segue from Harvey Spector to zits and it’s not sexy folks, but it’s real.  Even though I am 53, I still get the occasional flare up.  This week’s “pop-up” happened during my sickness and the only person who saw it was my doctor and he’s bound to his terms of client privilege (see how I made that tie into Suits!).  My go-to is Mario Badescu’s drying lotion.

The award-winning on-the-spot solution helps dry up pesky problems overnight and features Salicylic Acid, Sulfur, and Calamine.

It’s my secret weapon and a little dab will do you so it lasts a long time.

Hope you enjoyed this installment!

My Easy Three: In the Kitchen

My Easy Three are achievable tasks you can apply to keep you and your home organized.  For September I’ve got three easy things to do in the kitchen.

First — go through your plastic storage containers.  Every few months or so, I sit down on the floor in my kitchen in front of the cabinet that stores all my plastic and glass food storage containers.  I take each base and try to find its lid.  Does the lid snap on easy, does it even fit?  Is the container stained, warped? Toss or recycle the rejects.I got a set of Pyrex glass containers from Costso.  They are easy to clean and don’t melt or warp in the microwave or dishwasher.  I keep the lids snapped on and stack them in the cabinet.  Having this nice set means I only need a few plastic or disposable ones for food I might want to give away.  For those containers, I stack them inside each other and I use a divider to stand up the lids.  It keeps everything neat and organized.

Second — Do the same process from your travel cups and mugs. Do they work, are they cracked, stained, do they have matching tight fitting lids? Do you even like them?  Recycle all the ones you don’t have an attachment to. Do you really need 20 travel cups?  I have 3 travel mugs and about 8 tumblers with lids like this.  I like to drink from something with style not a faded, old Quicktrip cup.  I stack the cups and keep the lids in a long, skinny drawer divider and the straws stored upright in a cup.

Third, — Kitchen towels and dishcloths.  Go through each one. Is it faded, torn, stained?  Some can be recycled to the cleaning or car wash container in the garage.  Invest in a new matching pretty set for the fall.  I roll my towels into cylinders and keep about 20 in a drawer.  This method keeps the drawer from being over stuffed with towels.  If I bring a new towel into the drawer, I clean out the drawer again.  Here’s a pretty set for the holidays from Williams Sonoma.

What’s a constant trouble area in your home you’d like help with?  Leave a comment and I’ll try to help.  For more ideas from My Easy Three check out the Homekeeping and Organization tab under HomeStyle.

My Easy Three: Accessory Organization

My Easy Three is a series I started in January to share inspiring ideas that are doable and make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

This month, I focused on my closet using a few products from The Container Store, taking advantage of their 15% off closet storage sale. Warning:  I am showing you my underwear drawer!

First up, we might as well get the “unmentionables” out of the way.  I purchased the 3-section twill drawer organizer.

What I like about the drawer organizer for lingerie is I can fold my undergarments and organize them according to color and type. It helps me to see what I have, access it quickly and keep it neat and tidy.  I purchased three organizers.  The first easily held all my lingerie, the second I used to organize shape wear, and the third for my tank tops.

Second, I wanted a way to see all my brooches and pins.  Some belonged to Mother, and others I’ve picked up on my own either new or in antique stores.  These low-heeled shoe boxes are made for a narrow profile shoe like a flip flop.  Wonderful on it’s own, I decided to use it to stack accessories on the glass shelves I hung on the wall in my master closet.  I wanted a space for my accessories that had the feel of a boutique and these stackable boxes are pretty and functional.  I can easily see what I have.  If you know what you have you will wear it!

Third, over the last several years as I have switched to wearing glasses more than my contacts, I have curated an eye wear wardrobe. I mean, you can’t wear the same glasses everyday!  I feel like eye wear is jewelry for the face.  I needed a place to house all my eye glasses so I can easily access them and keep them protected.  These stackable boxes are perfect for my prescription sunglasses, too.

If you want to catch up, here are projects from January and March.  I wonder what I can tackle for May?  Do you need inspiration for a project? Be sure to leave a comment for Mrs. Twist and she will get to work with ideas just for you!