Archive for December, 2009

Geez, 2009?! Seriously, where did you go? It feels like you left us so quickly. I guess we only have one day left until 2010, so I better get busy! I love the anticipation and prospects of a new year. New goals, fresh ideas, renewed ambition and the shear anticipation of what the upcoming year holds. On just about every New Year resolution list is the goal of organization. Being organized can change your life– saving you time and money– and even making you healthier and happier.

Moleskine Calendar Planner and Volant

One tried and true organizing tip I can give you is to have some sort of calendar notebook system. You need a way to see the month at a glance, a place to capture your goals and ideas, and somewhere to write your daily task list. I’ve tried every conceivable system imaginable, from Franklin Covey to pocket planners, and the system I constantly go back to are the Moleskine Monthly Planner coupled with the Moleskine Volant Notebook. I use the Monthly Planner as my calendar system and it also serves as a place to capture my life goals and ideas. Whereas, the Volant Notebook serves as more of a daily task or “to-do” list.

Moleskine Monthly Calendar Planner

The main reason I love the monthly planner is because the calendar spans two pages giving ample room to write. Each morning, I take a quick glance at my calendar to see what’s in store for the day. I use the calendar pages strictly for personal appointments, important meetings, deadlines and any time-driven reminders. Basically, anything that I need to leave the house for or *HAS* to get done on a particular day gets jotted down in the appropriate date of the calendar. Following the two-page calendar of the Moleskin Monthly Planner, are two blank pages. I organize these blank pages in the following ways: the left-hand side of the page holds my “Main Goals”, the goals I want to accomplish for the month. I also highlight ideas and brainstorming notes on this page. My main goals are then broken down into manageable “Mini Goals”, the baby steps I need to do in order to accomplish the larger goal, and are written on the right-hand side of the planner.

Moleskine Calendar Planner Blank Page

For example: ‘Build company web site’ is a main goal and might be hard to get started on without breaking it down into more manageable steps. I would write ‘Build company web site’ on the left-hand “Main Goals” side of the planner. “Mini Goals” such as ‘order domain name, build mock-up of initial design, write content, contact illustrator for logo design’, and any small steps needed in order to accomplish my main goal of building my company web site, and are written on the right-hand side of the notebook. Goals that may merge over to the next month, can be easily re-written for the following month.

The Moleskine Volant Notebook holds my daily “To-Do” list. A rolling list of tasks are written down in this notebook. It also includes my shopping list and daily monotonous things that need to be done to keep my life moving such as: buying stamps, taking dog to groomer, going to the dentist, etc. The Volant notebook and my Monthly Calendar/Planner go with me where ever I go. They are light, flexible and small enough to fit in my bag. The secret to any organizing system is to use it. Have it on your desk and open to the day’s date. Start making lists of things you want to accomplish the night before. For example, plan Monday on Sunday evening. Keep the system up. Tweak and refine the system so it works for you and becomes a part of the natural rhythm of your life.

Other calendar options that I haven’t tried and sound intriguing are:

  1. The 8 Days-A-Week Planner. Room for all your Monday through Sunday plans, and then an extra column for your Someday plans.
  2. Sync Google Calendar with your BlackBerry.

If you have any calendar options to add to the above list, I’d love to add your link– and hear what works for you!


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Discarded Christmas Trees

Photo by Gabriel Mauron

The days following Christmas make me sad when the streets are lined with dead trees, endless piles of packaging, and wrapping paper overflowing the garbage bins. Outward signs of the excessiveness of the days preceding. This post is all about what to do with your Christmas tree this year and what to think about next year in terms of friendly ecological holiday options. May your holidays be merry and bright… and GREEN!

  1. Thousands of cities across the country offer Christmas tree recycling programs. Check Earth911.com or you can drop your tree off at a yard waste facility who will turn your tree into mulch. For more detailed information check out Earth 911 Christmas tree recycling guide.
  2. Recycled cardboard christmas tree.
  3. Herb Wreath.
  4. PLEASE remember to recycle your wrapping paper and packaging. Better idea: Reuse wrapping paper, boxes and bows for future gift giving whenever you can.
  5. If you do opt for a real tree next year, you can find local organic Christmas trees by looking up farms using your zip code at Local Harvest.  
  6. Wrap gifts in scarves, pillow cases or remnant cloth. With this helpful ‘How to use Furoshiki‘, you can wrap any shaped gift in fabric.
  7. A rosemary bush can be a perfect Christmas tree for small homes and apartments. They smell wonderful, thrive indoors and can be used as herbs for cooking during and after the holidays.
  8. Consider a small douglas fir or pine tree with the rootball intact, and plant it once the holidays are over. The tree should only be indoors for a week. If you are considering replanting a potted Christmas tree, read up on these tips.
  9. Wrap gifts in newspaper, magazine or junk mail. Or the simplicity of a brown box with a pop of color from a handmade felt bow.

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happy holidays

Linda and Harriett Sweater Tag

Photo by Linda and Harriett

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday– with some well-deserved rest and time with loved ones.

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browser-based teuxdeux list

TeuxDeux To-Do Application

I love the simplicity of the online to-do list called, TeuxDeux. Nothing to download, nothing to pay. Super user friendly and a clean, clear design that shows a view of the week with the ability to check things off. Basically, as minimal as it gets. TeuxDeux works especially well for people who spend a great deal of time on their computer. Have it set to be your homepage, so each time you open a browser window you’ll be reminded of what needs to get done that day.

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Family Photo

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wrapping with fabric

Furoshiki Japanese Fabric Gift Wrapping How-To

Yuriko Koike, Minister of the Japanese Environment, created “Mottainai Furoshiki” as a symbol of Japanese culture to reduce waste. Furoshiki is a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth which can be used repeatedly. The new, green version of this cloth, created by Yuriko Koiko, is made of a fiber manufactured from recycled plastic bottles. In addition, you can use the art of Furoshiki to wrap gifts in any type of fabric with this helpful ‘How to use Furoshiki‘.

Use a scarf that can later be incorporated into the recipients wardrobe or any leftover fabric you may have hanging around your house. It’s such a beautiful and inventive way to wrap gifts of all shapes and sizes. You can either cut the fabric with your pinking shears (the wacky scissors with the sawtooth edges), finish the sides of the fabric with an iron-on adhesive (such as Heat n Bond), or simply hem each edge with a narrow double fold hem and finish it with your sewing machine. (via Sew-LA.)

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Environment Happy Gift Ideas

  1. I love the handcrafted variations in size and color of the recycled carafes, jugs, and tumblers made by The Transglass Bottle Collection. Simple tableware made entirely from recycled beer and wine bottles.
  2. Wine aficionados will love the six pack wine rack made from factory waste of scrap wool felt.
  3. The To-Go Ware Utensil Set is made out of bamboo and RPET (recycled PET plastic). The perfect toolkit for life on the go.
  4. Brilliant Earth uses recycled precious metals in all of their fine jewelry. From the recycled gold in their settings to the recycled paper they print on, Brilliant Earth provides customers an eco-friendly jewelry product of the highest quality.
  5. “Metal mining – and gold mining in particular – is one of the most environmentally destructive types of mining, with 20 tons of ore required to produce enough gold for a single ring. Many gold mines also release cyanide and mercury into nearby water sources and are associated with poor safety standards, inhumane labor practices, and disregard for the rights and interests of indigenous people.”

  6. Beklina recycled leather wallets created by hand from reclaimed leather.

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