A Health Coach's Thoughts on Minimalism

Please meet my friend Tara Ward, a health coach, outdoorswoman, and all around beautiful person!  Tara and I met at a ladies’ ski day with mutual friends this winter and bonded over our love of the mountains and our complimentary work on helping people live happier lives.  We both believe in simplicity and balance, whether you’re talking about your own health or your home environment. I loved her thoughts on minimalism, which I’ve discussed a couple of times here as well, and wanted to share her perspective with you!

Photo courtesy of Tara Ward

Photo courtesy of Tara Ward

I recently watched a documentary that truly inspired me, Minimalism, a documentary about the important things. Minimalism is not about getting rid of all of your things. Minimalism itself is far more concerned with living intentionally, living elegantly through simplicity, and living meaningfully while enjoying the material possessions you own without giving those possessions too much significance.

With the start of spring and the task of “spring cleaning” looming over us, I’d like to share a few thoughts sparked by watching this film, some inspiration for your purging pleasure. I’ve always felt the need to have “less stuff”, I had this feeling that I didn’t own the stuff but the stuff owned me. I would never have enough of what I never really wanted, so I was not going to become happier by consuming more.  But for some reason I found myself consuming more things, seeking to fill some void. Then I started letting go. The more stuff I got rid of, the better I felt. Outer organization contributed to calming inner chaos. The stuff doesn’t fill the void, and clearing it can allow the space home to you, and the important things.

I had given too much meaning to the stuff I had bought, thinking it would bring me happiness or contentment. Happiness doesn’t work that way. Contentment is internal, and it is possible to be content with nothing OR with a room full of stuff. However, it is much easier to see what is important when you get the excess stuff out of the way.

Have you thought about purging, and living a more minimalistic life? Overwhelmed, many of us want to simplify, but we don’t even know where to start. Ironic, we consume the stuff, and then it consumes us.  There is nothing inherently wrong with owning “stuff”, but clearing some of the stuff can help us focus on everything that remains.

One of the filmmakers had what they call a “packing party”. This is where he packed up all of his belongings into labeled boxes for each room as if he were moving, and then kept the boxes in the middle of each room. Through the course of 3 weeks, anything he needed would be unpacked and put away in the house. After 3 weeks, 80% of his stuff was still in the boxes, to be given away. So this “packing party” is a bit radical, and very few people would be interested in doing the same thing, lets start small.

Try to keep only the things that you absolutely love in your space or that are absolutely necessary, and you will find that you’re about to rid yourself of a lot of unnecessary items.  Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, believe to be beautiful, or bring you joy.

Start in the easiest places. Identify some things that you’re certain are not adding value to your life. What unnecessary things are you holding on to “just in case”?

One fear many of us hold onto when it comes to letting go of things is that we may need them someday. This is the scarcity mindset, if you were able to attract these objects into your life at one time; you have the same ability to attract them into your life again, should you need them. Scarcity mindset says, “If I give something away, I will be in lack.” Abundance consciousness says “I can attract anything into my life that I need or desire.”

Look around your home, your car, and your office. Why are you holding on to so much stuff that doesn’t add value to your life? What would happen if you just let go of the excess? What benefits would you experience? How would it feel to have more time, more money, and more contentment? How would you feel to have a cleaner home, a clearer mind, a less stressful life?  Be honest with yourself, when was the last time you found value in many of the items cluttering your home.

Getting started is freeing, and I invite you to just that, getting started. Amid a sea of stuff, simplifying our lives keeps us from drowning. Beautiful thoughts from a beautiful film, and I will leave you this….

“Love people and use things because the opposite never works.”

Tara Ward is a Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, currently living and working in Tahoe City, CA, and yet thanks to the Internet, able to coach clients all over the world.  Tara is passionate about helping women find their true healthy potential, balance their lives, and live their most vibrant, energized, and joyful lives.  She is also a plant based chef teaching in the North Tahoe area.  Learn more at balancedwellnesswithtara.com.


 

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of goop.com

Photo courtesy of goop.com

Can This Simple Tool Banish Cellulite?

You guys.  I just... I want this not to be too good to be true.  I've had cellulite as long as I can remember, and even at my absolute thinnest it remained present and accounted for.  I am loath to pay $89 for something that might become a useless piece of junk, but I really want this to work!

Photo courtesy of newyorker.com

Photo courtesy of newyorker.com

Why J. Crew's Vision of Preppy America Failed

I am a prepster from way back, but like many of J. Crew's former core customers, I feel like I've matured away from the brand.  I had felt like I was maybe the only one and should be getting on board with GIANT ruffles, sparkly tutus, and boy pants, but it appears that a lot of consumers like me are part of J. Crew's larger struggle to stay relevant.

The Unhealthy Truth Behind 'Wellness' and 'Clean Eating'

My parents raised me to be a skeptic, and my grandma's favorite saying was "everything in moderation," so I haven't latched onto any of the various health fads that have happened during my lifetime in a serious way.   I'm counting myself lucky, and hoping that people who are starting to spiral into the world of health scare tactics can read this article and pull themselves out.

Why the 1980's Anne of Green Gables is Such a Hard Act to Follow

I adored the Anne of Green Gables books as a kid - I saw myself in her, and read the entire series so many times that my paperback copies have horribly bent spines and dozens of dog-eared pages.  And the mini-series holds a special place in my heart because I wasn't allowed to watch much TV growing up but my beloved babysitter let us see the whole thing.  Anne was and remains a revolutionary character and I'm thrilled she's getting a new vision, even if I'm afraid it won't stand up to the PBS original!

A Radical Approach to "Just In Case"

Have you ever gone to donate or trash something and then thought, “No, I should keep that just in case”?  I can tell you that I hear this All. The Time., and so do The Minimalists: a pair of best friends who discovered minimal living and are out to spread the good news through their website, podcast, books, and documentary film.  They’ve come up with a revolutionary way of approaching the concept that will likely shock you the first time you read it: Getting Rid of Just-in-Case Items: 20 Dollars, 20 Minutes.

Kind of crazy, right?

But here’s why it works.  Think of something you’re holding on to just in case, and try what I do with my clients: drill down on that.  Just in case of what?  What is the scenario in which you would need this item, and how likely is that scenario to occur in your life?  What would happen if that scenario occurred and you hadn't kept the item – how much expense and effort would it take to replace it?

This might feel aggressive and make you uncomfortable, and that’s ok.  People are often resistant to this line of questioning because it challenges a very deeply held belief for many of us: that one should always be prepared for anything.  But as The Minimalists point out, preparedness for unlikely situations carries its own costs.

For example, I have a client who travels frequently.  She and her husband each have a complete set of rugged, top of the line luggage that they use on all their trips.  Perfect!  However, they have also kept the last couple of sets of luggage that their current set theoretically replaced.  When I asked if she was ready to donate the old suitcases (which are still in good condition), my client said the magic words: “I want to keep them just in case.”

I tried to drill down on this a bit. Her reluctance to donating her old suitcases boiled down to the fact that she had really liked her old luggage set and wasn’t as big of a fan of the new stuff.  She felt guilty that she had spent a non-insignificant amount of money on new luggage only to find she didn’t like it.  It became clear that she wasn’t ready to make this decision, and that was totally fine – I work on my client’s timeline, not mine – but my gentle probing questions got the wheels turning.

Hold on a second, you say – luggage is expensive and can’t be found just anywhere!  This doesn’t pass the 20/20 test!  I would counter that this situation does in fact pass the test because my client will never need the old luggage in the first place.  A scenario in which her new set is completely lost or destroyed is incredibly unlikely.

In the meantime, suitcases are large and take up space my client could otherwise use for other things.  In addition, their continued presence in her home means that she’s continually confronted with a decision she made that makes her uncomfortable and feels pressure to resolve this discomfort.

What are you holding on to just in case, and at what cost?

LMW

What I'm Organizing - Seeing Clearly

Fun fact: I wore glasses my entire childhood.  I was born with a condition called strabismus that basically means your eyes don't work together, which causes problems with 3D vision and coordination.  I had surgeries as a baby to cosmetically correct the problem and doctors recommended thick prism lenses to try to force my eyes to link up.

My, ahem, storied childhood athletic record gives it away: the glasses did not improve my hand-eye coordination.  Flying objects and I have always had a somewhat adversarial relationship.  And since I was only a little bit farsighted otherwise, and sick of wearing glasses, I put them down at age 16 and went without.

That is, until this year.  My primary care physician found out I hadn't had my eyes checked in nearly 20 years (whoops...) and sent me off for an eye exam.  Although I hadn't noticed any vision deterioration, her logic is sound: eyes can often give preliminary warning signs of serious health problems.

My doctor recommended City Optix, and I had a great experience there.  It's one stop shopping: there are two doctors upstairs, each of whom perform comprehensive eye exams, and downstairs is a full shop of eyewear that carries everything from basic to designer options.  I was in, examined, frames ordered, and out in about half an hour.  Plus, they have the machine that does an air puff in each eye instead of having to get the drops that dilate your eyes and force you to wear sunglasses around indoors like a weirdo for the rest of the day - an experience I recall detesting as a kid.

In the end, the doctor recommended that I use glasses when sitting in front of a screen, and for night driving.  I still have only mild farsightedness, and this recommendation is more to reduce eye strain than to correct any serious vision problem.

I figured that if I was going to get glasses, I might as well get cute ones.  After a little bit of trial and error, I settled on a pair of contemporary, yet classic Chloe frames.  I like that they make a style statement but remain simple and streamlined, and the lenses are large enough to balance well on my face (seriously, these are the biggest frames they had, I have a ginormous head).

The good thing is, when you take the time to carefully pick out something you love, you're more likely to use it.  This is most definitely the case with me and my glasses.  They've become part of my work routine: sit down at my desk, put my glasses on, open my notebook and email, and get going.  This association means that I feel ready to work every time I put them on, and so I somehow manage to concentrate better and for longer periods than I used to before I got them.  The brain works in mysterious ways, folks!

LMW

Weekly Peek: Jackson Hole Trip Report

Jackson Hole, Wyoming has been a dream destination for me for a long time.  The ski resort is famed for its steep, challenging slopes and consistently discussed among skiers I know as one of the best mountains in North America.  Because I'm a volunteer patroller at Alpine Meadows, I ski a lot and for free, so I don't tend to take many ski trips.  But my sister knew about my desire to ski Jackson Hole, and so for Christmas last year she gave me an Air BnB stay there (as well as the cute faux fur lined vest you'll see me wearing in all the pics)!  It was the perfect excuse to gather some friends together for a fun long weekend ski trip.

Not. Too. Shabby.

Not. Too. Shabby.

So, um, I have some Denver recommendations for you.  You see, there's one daily nonstop flight from SFO to JAC on United, so of course we booked it.  But it's a small plane going to a small airport and SFO suffers frequent weather delays, so you can guess what happened next: a couple of hours before departure, it was cancelled.  We re-booked through Denver only to have the first leg delayed so long that we missed the second and found ourselves stuck overnight.

We were delayed an entire day, but at least there were puppies in the airport!

We were delayed an entire day, but at least there were puppies in the airport!

All thanks for the following go to my husband, by the way.  He is a frequent traveler, loves trip planning, and researches flights and hotels particularly well.  By the time we made it to the arrivals area in Denver, he had us booked at the Four Seasons, a giant SUV to fit all six of us waiting for us at Avis, and a table reserved for dinner at The Kitchen.  Major thumbs up to all of the above - dinner was delicious (and huge!), and the Four Seasons bar is apparently The Place to Be on a Friday night (we did feel a little out of place in our slopeside attire).

We stayed in this Air BnB condo in Teton Village at the base of the ski resort.  It would have slept 8 people luxuriously and 10 quite comfortably, the bed/sheet/towel situation was a lot more high end than I have experienced in other Air BnB's, and the common areas were comfy and well-appointed.  For a long weekend, I would definitely stay in Teton Village again, as opposed to in the actual town of Jackson Hole.  We could walk to a lift (and also into the village within about 15 minutes), whereas it takes about half an hour to drive out from town!  

On our way from the condo to dinner on a gorgeous spring evening

On our way from the condo to dinner on a gorgeous spring evening

Teton Village is small, but packed with high quality amenities.  I always bring my own ski boots, but there were several rental shops with good demo options - I tried out and rather enjoyed a pair of Atomic Vantage 100's.  The restaurants were also pretty impressive given the small size of the village.  We had a late lunch after our late arrival on Saturday at Il Villagio Osteria, which had delicious upscale pizzas and salads.  Dinner that night was at the Alpenhof Lodge.  You go for the super authentic Swiss atmosphere and fondue, not necessarily for the other food on the menu, but it's a totally fun experience.  We may or may not have returned for several apres-ski beers the following day!

For lunch in the middle of our ski day, we were enraptured by the concept of an on-mountain sit-down restaurant (something I have experienced in Europe but never in North America!) and were lucky enough to snag a table at Piste Mountain Bistro before the lunch rush.  If you go, definitely make a reservation so you don't get shut out!  Our final dinner was at Handle Bar inside the Four Seasons (which is just about as ski-in, ski-out a resort as I've ever seen), and my bison burger was absolutely INCREDIBLE - one of the best burgers I've ever had, period.  I snarfed the entire thing.

Happy campers!

Happy campers!

And the mountain itself?  It's even better than I thought it would be!  The mountain has huge vertical - it just seems to keep going on forever, with amazing valley views everywhere you look.  Overall, the entire resort is much steeper than most - a Jackson Hole blue run would probably be rated a black diamond at your home resort.  On a sunny spring morning when conditions are firm, there's not much that's more fun than ripping giant fast turns on some steep corduroy, and we did just that!  There's also a ton of really interesting off piste terrain, and we caught some excellent spring corn on some of the lower slopes in the afternoon.  We did NOT try to kill ourselves in the famed Corbet's Couloir - it was closed, and after peering down the sheer cliff entrance, I saw why!

The weekend was short (thanks, United...) but full of good times with good friends in a truly special location.  We will for sure go back.  In my perfect world, I'd return for 5+ days earlier in the season to try to get some powder, stay at the Four Seasons, and explore the town of Jackson Hole a bit... a girl can dream!

LMW

Makeup On The Go, Round 2

My husband and I are lucky enough to be able to travel a lot, anywhere from a quick weekend getaway to a major 2 week trip.  I am a chronic overpacker from way back, and so the process of learning to pack light has been rather arduous for me (him, not so much - he packed for a week in NYC including workout gear in a small roll-aboard suitcase this week with no sweat!).

Part of this process has been learning to distill my makeup needs down to their essence.  This is especially key now, because while the products from my daily skincare regimen are all under 3oz and can come with me on the plane, they take up almost all the room in my TSA-approved clear toiletry bag for liquids.

As I mentioned here, I used to have a Lancôme travel palette from a duty free shop.  In the end, I realized that although everything you’d need to construct a variety of looks was theoretically included, the color scheme didn’t work well for me.  There were too many eyeshadows, and about half of them I’d never wear because they’re too warm-toned; the blush was really more of a highlighter and barely showed up on my skin; the eyeliner pencils were so tiny I couldn’t sharpen them; and the concealer colors were both too dark if we’re really being honest about just how pale I am.  I gave the Lancôme palette the good old college try, toting it as my singular makeup solution on pretty much every trip I took in 2015 and 2016, but after seeing myself in mirrors and photos I had to call it quits.  Life is too short to look a bit off!

Every supposed solution that doesn’t work is a learning experience, though.  I realized that I really do want to have bronzer, highlighter, and blush available when I travel, and so I spent months looking at every makeup palette out there (seriously, makeup ads are following me all over the internet). I finally settled on this limited edition but fortunately not yet sold out NARSissist Blush, Contour, and Lip Palette.  It contains NARS’ famous Laguna bronzer and Albatross highlighter, plus three blushes (including the now discontinued Roman Holiday), and a mini lip gloss.  I’m especially happy with the blush colors, all three work well on my skin and give a wide range of options.  I prefer a cooler toned bronzer and highlighter, but there’s a reason these two are some of NARS’ best sellers, they’re neutral and look pretty good anyway!  And really, one can’t go wrong with a light pink sheer lip gloss.

IMG_0645.JPG

I also realized that I missed the experience of using high quality brushes to apply my makeup while traveling.  However, I am not willing to squish my gorgeous Tom Ford brushes into my suitcase, those suckers were expensive!  Fortunately, the right solution appeared during the holiday season: a set of travel brushes from Marc Jacobs Beauty, one of the rare sets that includes all the brush types I normally use.  The brushes are synthetic and sturdy while still applying makeup easily and evenly, but I am going to have to get a brush roll and stop traveling with the metallic zipper case - it’s a serious waste of luggage space! 

On my most recent trips, I’ve packed the NARSissist palette, a Chanel eyeshadow quad, a travel sized mascara (trying to use this one up but I must say I do not love it, the applicator is so scratchy!), a lightweight foundation sample, my Guerlain Metéorites Compact, an additional mini lipstick or two, and the Marc Jacobs Beauty brushes.  That is 100% enough for me feel polished while traveling, with enough options to glam it up a bit if I want to and neutral enough products that I can just throw on some mascara and blush and go.

You might notice I’m missing 3 major things from a typical beauty routine: concealer, eyeliner, and eyebrow product.  I just ordered the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla in the travel size to test out, and if it works that will start coming with me as well.  It has more oomph than my beloved daily standby YSL Touche Éclat, but really, travel is the time to have a sturdier concealer on hand since jet lag, pollution, and varying climates can wreak havoc on my skin.  I rarely wear eyeliner, and am only just dipping a toe into the world of brow products, so I’m comfortable leaving both of those out of my suitcase.

The travel collection...

The travel collection...

...and the same number of products from my full size collection.

...and the same number of products from my full size collection.

You will very rarely see me recommend travel specific products - I’ll get into the details of that in a future post!  But a combined face palette, mini products, and travel sized makeup brushes save so much room in my suitcase compared to those same products at full size that I’m willing to use up the bathroom drawer space to store them in between trips!

LMW

What I'm Reading - My Recent "Beach Reads"

Life is good when you have back to back girls' weekends with different groups of excellent ladies.  And for all that relaxing time, I needed some solid reading.  Over the past two weekends, I made my way through back issues of some of my favorite magazines (Vogue, The Atlantic, perhaps surprisingly SF Magazine) as well as a giant hardback book.  Here's what I loved!

Bolshoi Confidential: Secrets of the Russian Ballet from the Tsars to Today

Every year, my dad gets a stack of hardback books for the family for Christmas.  He generally hands them out to the people he thinks will be the most interested in each book, with instructions to read and return to our family condo at Tahoe for everyone else to enjoy. This year he chose Bolshoi Confidential for me, a perfect fit for my lifelong love for (and jealousy of) ballet.  The book is a comprehensive history of Russia's (in)famous Bolshoi Ballet and I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't classify it in the same category as compelling, almost page-turning nonfiction works that have taken popular culture by storm.  It's great for ballet fans, but maybe a bit dense for the average reader!

Photo courtesy of vogue.com (Annie Leibovitz)

Photo courtesy of vogue.com (Annie Leibovitz)

How Tennis Star Maria Sharapova is Getting Back in the Game

I don't follow tennis, but it's hard not to know about star player Maria Sharapova and her recent fall from grace.  Because I'm such a joiner, people like Sharapova who keep to themselves and completely separate their professional and personal lives are a bit off-putting for me.  But this article makes a fairly convincing argument that Sharapova's behavior on the tennis tour would be judged much less harshly if she were male.

Image courtesy of theatlantic.com (Kevin Tong)

Image courtesy of theatlantic.com (Kevin Tong)

Welcome to Pleistocene Park

File this one under the category of mind-blowing.  It's always amazing to me just how many people are working on the distant future of our planet, in ways that seem harebrained, but are based on hard science and supported by experts all over the world.

Photo courtesy of modernluxury.com/san-francisco (Matthew Millman)

Photo courtesy of modernluxury.com/san-francisco (Matthew Millman)

This High Tech Boutique Wants To Make Real-Life Retail as Addictive as Online Shopping

The brand Reformation has been fashion girl bait for some time, and this new development in retail just makes me want to check it out that much more.  Here's hoping I can withstand the so-called addition and still only purchase things I love and know I will use for a long time!

Purse Storage for the Real World

You guys, the unthinkable has happened: there is a list of organizing tips on the internet that I can wholeheartedly endorse!  Thank you, Nancy Mitchell and Apartment Therapy, for publishing The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Bags and Purses!

Photo courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com (I Heart Organizing)

Photo courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com (I Heart Organizing)

For those readers who might be newer to my personal style of organizing, I am a skeptic of hacks that don’t address the root needs of each person’s wardrobe and life.  So many organizing recommendations just don’t function well, hiding things you need to be able to see or grouping them artificially in the name of a Pinterest-ready row of pretty straw boxes with chalk labels.  Hm, was that too on the nose?  Moving on…

That said, just like any professional organizer I have a few tried and true organizing techniques that check all my boxes: they’re quick and easy to install, aesthetically neutral, and work best when you’ve already done the hard work of organizing (that would be editing your collection, which should always be Step #1!).  And this list includes at least three of them!

I regret to inform you that I am not showing you how I organize my bags today. The closet in the room we are currently using as a master bedroom is very strangely shaped and came with pre-existing shelves and hanging space wedged into nooks and crannies.  I moved my things in as best as I could, and I’m living with it until I can move into the closet in our new master suite, but the entire internet does not need access to this situation!

I will tell you, though, that I will be using shelf dividers for my clutches and bags, and there will be hooks for my totes.  Hooks are such under-appreciated organizing tools.  The one benefit of my current weird closet is that there are hooks everywhere and they are so useful – I put belts on a couple of them, keep spare hangers on one and lay out my next outfit on another, stash the week’s pair of PJ’s here and that sweatshirt that doesn’t need to be laundered yet but isn’t quite clean over there.

I will also say that there’s bag storage strategy that works for me but that I do not often recommend to clients: I keep my purses in their dust bags.  It’s easy to see why I do that: the dust bags protect the purses!  But why wouldn’t I recommend this to a client?  It’s because many people who struggle with organizing have a hard time remembering where they put things and difficulty maintaining the habit of putting each item back in its place when they’re finished with it.  In order to help them stay organized, they need everything to be relatively visible.  With a lifetime habit of use-it-then-put-it-away firmly in place, I don’t need to see my shelf of purses to know that the one second from the left is the gray Fendi 2jours medium sized tote!

I look forward to being able to share my own closet with you, but in the meantime, these tips can get you started on your purse organization!

LMW

What I'm Organizing - Everyday Sparkle

I'm into fashion, but to be totally honest with you, I’m not very good at accessories.  Conventional wisdom says that accessories complete an outfit, but somehow when I try to incorporate them creatively I feel like I leap over the line into trying-too-hard territory.

I think part of the issue is that my taste in jewelry runs to the small and simple.  Not TOO small, because I am not a particularly delicately proportioned person, but I’ve just never been a fan of gaudier, bulkier styles.  For example, anything with pavé diamonds is my personal kryptonite.

So, instead of trying to keep up with the latest trends in jewelry on a daily basis, I usually wear a tightly edited set of simple, meaningful pieces.  It's only when I have more time to think things through that I bust into my small collection of inherited treasures and costume jewelry.   

I keep my jewelry in an undisclosed location, and it was becoming a serious pain  to pull out my standby pieces at the beginning and end of every day - because, of course, I am an organizer and I hate leaving things just laying around.  I started keeping them out on the bathroom counter, but that made me nervous - one false move and they'd go sliding down the sink drain, never to be heard from again.  I am, it must be said, a clumsy person.

Fortunately, the right answer arrived in the form of a stocking stuffer this past Christmas: a fun little china dish my mom found.  It's just the right size to keep my daily essentials, and looks cute out on my bathroom counter.  After a couple of months of incorporating this jewelry dish into my daily routine, I definitely think it strikes the right balance between a strategy that works and a decorative addition to my space.

Clockwise from top left: pink sapphire and diamond engagement and wedding rings, picked out by my husband; Cartier trinity bracelet, a gift from my husband; diamond solitaire necklace, a gift from my husband; Cartier trinity ring, a gift from my husband; diamond stud earrings, a gift from my parents; Omega Lady Seamaster watch, a gift from my parents

Clockwise from top left: pink sapphire and diamond engagement and wedding rings, picked out by my husband; Cartier trinity bracelet, a gift from my husband; diamond solitaire necklace, a gift from my husband; Cartier trinity ring, a gift from my husband; diamond stud earrings, a gift from my parents; Omega Lady Seamaster watch, a gift from my parents

You can see the theme here: my daily jewelry has been picked for me by the people who love me most, and so these pieces mean even more to me than their aesthetic contribution to an outfit.  When I put them on every morning, I'm reminded that I'm loved and cared for.  Of course, I do love the look of these simple, classic pieces, otherwise I wouldn't be so happy wearing them all the time!

For me, having my skin care, hair care, makeup, and jewelry routines dialed in exactly where I want them means I have more space in my brain to put together the things I have fun with varying, like clothes and shoes.  We all have those things we love doing and the things that stress us out - I recommend making a routine out of the latter so you can fully enjoy the former!

LMW

Weekly Peek

Photo courtesy of Boboquivari's

Photo courtesy of Boboquivari's

Brush With (a Few Degrees of) Celebrity

My husband and I were recently planning a double date with some good friends, and decided to finally try a San Francisco institution: Bobo's.  Yes, I've lived in SF for 10 years and have never been, I'm aware this is a travesty.  We had a great time, enhanced by the fact that we were squirreled away at a private alcove table that is reportedly the favorite hangout of one Mr. George Clooney when he's in town.  I have to admit that for me the experience was much more about the ambiance than the food - if you're looking for the best old-school steakhouse experience in San Francisco I'd direct you to Harris' - but I spent most of my evening elbow deep in Dungeness crab with garlic sauce and regretted not one bite!

Photo courtesy of jake.clothing

Photo courtesy of jake.clothing

Dangerous Liaisons

JAKE has just come out with their Dangerous Liaisons collection, and so of course we had to support our friends at one of their launch parties.  I am dying for the custom toile fabric used throughout the collection, featuring greyhounds (the official shop mascots are Echo and SCOTUS, that would be Supreme Canine of the United States to you) instead of dragons!  It's those kind of playful details that make JAKE clothes stand out in a sea of fashion.

Photo courtesy of hoodline.com (Carrie Sisto)

Photo courtesy of hoodline.com (Carrie Sisto)

Weird for Good

I've mentioned before that I sit on the board of CounterPulse, an amazing performing arts organization based out of a theater in SF's Tenderloin.  This year, for the first time, we're putting on a gala Family Feast & Fundraiser, and I'm chairing the host committee!  The past few months have been a whirlwind of brainstorming, planning meetings, and bonding time with the truly incomparable staff and board members of CounterPulse, and we're just under a month out from the event itself.  The dinner is already sold out, but the after party will be super fun, featuring live performances, bespoke cocktails, a drag show, DJ and dancing, and a silent auction, all to benefit the Springboard Fund For Artists so that CounterPulse can keep providing a home for groundbreaking art that shatters assumptions and promotes community.  All the hippest, artiest kids in town will be there, and you'll want to be there too!

End of the Season

In bittersweet news, my official ski season is over.  I spent my winter training three new candidates to join the Alpine Meadows National Ski Patrol, and I'm so pleased and proud that all three passed their final test and will be wearing red jackets from now on!  Fortunately for all of us who love the mountains, there's still snow to spare in the Sierras and many of the ski hills are planning to be open into May and June.  I'm thinking of snagging a few runs of spring corn on Memorial Day Weekend.  How many times in life is there the opportunity to do that??

The Price of Time

When I talk to people about why they want to get organized and what they hope to achieve in the process, their responses always come down to time.  An organized life requires an upfront investment of time that then pays dividends in time saved that can be spent on things that really matter.  People fundamentally want to get organized because they want to spend more time having fun with their families and friends and less time hunting for that one particular sweater in the back of the closet or dealing with overdue bills.

Your time is precious, and it’s finite.  So, whether you’re purchasing someone else’s time or using your own, I strongly encourage you not to discount its value. Whenever I talk to my clients about amounts of money, whether it relates to the pricing of my services or their options to make money on the items they no longer want, I always try to frame the discussion in terms of time and effort. 

Yes, hands-on organizing that’s tailored to you by a professional is relatively expensive in terms of both time and money.  However, you have to compare that investment with how long it would take you to organize the same space by yourself, and how well the final product would work for you compared to the solutions a pro would create. 

I like to tell my clients that the reason they should hire me is so that they never have to undertake a huge organizing project ever again.  I set up systems and teach my clients how to manage them so that they may only need an organizing checkup now and then to keep things running smoothly.

On the flip side, clients often see dollar signs when they look at items they no longer want that were very expensive when originally purchased.  I regret to inform you that most things do not hold value, since the secondhand retail market is flooded with vintage and antique pieces while the current trend is toward simple, minimal design. 

Further, the amount of money you can make by re-selling your castoffs is directly proportion to the amount of time and effort you put into the sale.  The easiest option, consignment, means a big chunk of your profit is taken off the top, while the options that yield the highest return, like eBay, require you to do everything yourself and reward more work on better pictures, marketing copy, and sale monitoring

When making organizing decisions, it’s important to consider the big picture, and how much your personal time is worth. 

LMW

What I'm Reading

Photo courtesy of elle.com

Photo courtesy of elle.com

Kate Middleton's Engagement Dress May Have Triggered the Downfall of the Brand Issa

I own one Issa piece, a gorgeous peacock green gown with cap sleeves and a plunging back, and was a fan of the brand's simply elegant aesthetic.  It's too bad the brand disappeared, but this article is a sobering reminder that fashion is above all a business.

Photo courtesy of marieclaire.com (@ashleybouder)

Photo courtesy of marieclaire.com (@ashleybouder)

Ballet Has A Sexism Problem - But I'm Fighting Back From the Inside

I've had season tickets to the San Francisco Ballet for at least five years now.  In that time, I don't recall seeing a single piece by a female choreographer.  And I'm pretty sure there there have been few if any pieces created by people of color.  These are both serious problems.

Photo courtesy of theguardian.com (Popperfoto)

Photo courtesy of theguardian.com (Popperfoto)

"London Bridge is down:" the secret plans for the days after the Queen's death

This is fascinating.  Royals lover, hater, or not-carer, there is a lot going on here for everyone!

Restaurants Banning Children: Is It Good For Business?

As a child, I would have been outraged by this.  My parents were sticklers for table manners and took us with them to all kinds of fine dining restaurants starting when we were quite young, and I was really proud of being a well-behaved child in an adult environment.  However, my adult self realizes that not every kid is restaurant ready and that paying customers deserve the kind of experience they've sought out and paid for!