All things holiday are starting to arrive at Anthropologie. This week, we’ve been unpacking ornaments, stockings and lots of great gift merchandise. As I scanned a cart of new stuff before it hit the sales floor, my eyes stopped on a familiar book. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Felt like I was seeing an old friend. I immediately remembered embracing this small but powerful read in July, 2014.
Back then, I rallied the troops at my house and we carefully followed the KonMari Method as we performed our giant tidying event. My enthusiasm was met with groans and complaints as we made our way through every single drawer, closet and cupboard.
In the end, I discovered there is pure magic in the method.
My kids and I worked the KonMari Method through our entire home. Once we finished, the initial impact was hard to ignore.
Everything was tidy.
We had less stuff.
The stuff we kept, sparked joy.
Our belongings had a specific home.
Over the year that followed, I noticed some areas of our home were beginning to gather junk. I felt myself becoming discouraged. Ugh...was this just another method that didn't really work?
As I looked more closely, I realized three issues were causing the new clutter:
Then, since the Universe always has your back...we moved. Our lease was up and it was time to move.
There’s nothing like the prospect of packing everything you own into boxes, schlepping it and then unpacking it...to make you strongly consider what stuff you truly love!
So...we put KonMari to work for a second time.
And you know what?
This round was much easier. We had less stuff!
Less emotional attachment to things.
Less effort to decide what sparks joy.
Maybe there was something to this method after all. My faith in Marie Kondo was restored:-)
We’ve now lived in our current home for 21 months. I recently began to see some areas (linen closet, kitchen, basement) that needed some KonMari love.
So, one recent Saturday morning, I accepted that my entire day would be spent decluttering and tidying. I set my timer and started with linens…
Then something amazing happened...
I finished each area much faster than I’d planned. We have so much less stuff, that tidying what we do have...takes a fraction of the time it took before!
If you haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon of this delightful, pint-sized Japanese guru. Don’t wait!
I’m an organized person. I’ve built my business around helping women become more organized with their wardrobes and their lives.
The KonMari Method works.
Better than everything else I’ve tried.
What seemed like a crazy big claim...Life-Changing Magic...has proved to be just that.
Questions about how to get started?
Stuck on a certain category?
Thank you so much for following along this month. Writing for 31 days straight is indeed a challenge for me. It helps to know you're here:-)
If you aren't already signed up, don't miss the last week of Write 31 Days.
I’ve written plenty on the act of decluttering and tidying your surroundings using Marie Kondo's instructions. Get a glimpse of my experience here and here. And for a chuckle, check out my very first YouTube videos...on the KonMari Method.
I’ve been pretty good at incorporating elements of self-care into my life since my children were small. I’ve always made workouts a priority. I’m an excellent and regular napper. I’ve even been know to treat myself to a mani/pedi for no reason. But I’ve recently been ‘turned on’ to a whole new world of self-care. One I've been desperately seeking...
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a very hard time seeing myself as sexy or even sensual. Despite an active, wonderful sex life, I've struggled to really identify with my sexy, feminine side.
Sure, there were times when I’d feel a wave of ‘sexy’ wash over me but they were fleeting and infrequent.
In an effort to understand (and eager to shift) my thoughts and feelings in this area, I began looking at the 'story' in my mind. I now recognize the history that created the limiting beliefs I held about my body and its lack of apparent sexiness.
In no particular order...
I’m not curvy
I was considered a prude in high school
I’ve always been angular
My lips are thin
My breasts are small
I’ve had only a handful of lovers
I had no healthy, sexy role models
And so, for the past several years, I’ve been working to discover, claim, invent and unearth the sexy side of Kristen.
What a long road...littered with lots of negative self-talk.
One very helpful experience was a photo shoot with a loving boudoir photographer. That giant step outside of my comfort zone and the resulting images, enabled me to see myself and my body through fresh eyes.
I’ve been blessed to know some very sexy women. Women who always seem wrapped in a soft, sensual cocoon. Without trying, everything about them is sexy. Not blatant, overt, tacky sexy...but that genuine...'I want some of whatever she has' kind of sexy.
The funny thing is, I know sexy women who have the same physical qualities that I feel are holding me back...small breasts, angular bodies, or thin lips.
I once asked my husband if I was ever sexy and if so, when?
His reply says it all…”Yes. When you think you are.”
Thankfully, I think I finally get it!
A sexy self-care practice has been helping me see myself differently. I highly recommend it, especially if you'd like to rewrite your story.
Here's what I've been incorporating into my life...
Foot massage - I do this at least once a day, as a result I've developed a profound gratitude for my feet. My entire body is more relaxed after a foot rub. I'm working sensuality in from the ground up:-)
Morning sexy cat-cow - First thing out of bed...I drop to the floor and do a few slightly R-rated cat-cow stretches...moving my hips and chest with each breath. (Another take-away from Nine Revolution. Thank you, Morgan Day Cecil:-)
Breast massage - Once a day, in candlelight with a skin-friendly oil (I use Jojoba Oil). This practice already feels life-changing. I didn't realize how much my bad attitude towards my small breasts was affecting my body image. This incredibly simple massage practice has completely shifted my thinking. I now accept the size and shape of my breasts as a beautiful trade off for years spent nursing my three children. I see my body in a brand new way! Want to try? Here's more info. (And more wisdom from my One-on-One with Morgan at Nine Revolution...follow this goddess on IG:-)
Essential oils - Get yourself a diffuser and fill your home with a scent you love. I'm still a beginner, but I'm discovering that a sensual scent filling the air goes a long way to changing how I feel.
Body love - Gratitude and a full-length mirror. Get naked and offer yourself some kind words. Look past what you don't like and give thanks for all that your body can do. Having trouble with this? Check out Jade Beall's- A Beautiful Body Project.
How do you practice sexy self-care?
I welcome your thoughts and ideas.
Questions? Comment below or feel free to email me at email@example.com
Thanks for following along this month. As you may have noticed, I'm not holding back. Authenticity seems more important than ever. Thank you for letting me share. I sincerely that hope my words are helpful to you.
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I’ve always been a romantic at heart. I believe in epic love and grand gestures. However, I also subscribe to the notion that romance can (and should) be present in the smallest slivers of our daily lives. The Old English Dictionary defines Romance as ... A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. I’m all for finding that feeling as often as possible.
There was a period in my adult life...during the baby, toddler, elementary school years of my three children, when Matthew and I discovered that finding the time and energy for standard romance was a big ask.
With a trio of little people in the mix, what we previously knew as ‘romance’ was often pushed to the back burner in exchange for tending to the seemingly endless needs of our small children.
Thankfully, we still found ways to be romantic...
dry erase marker notes on the bathroom mirror
dates to the grocery store or Home Depot
nightly adult dinner with candles
periodic overnight getaways
Now that we have three teenagers, our schedule is more flexible. We have more time and energy to spend on romance. Yet, sometimes it still slips through the cracks.
I love the idea of living a romantic life. I believe in bringing a sense of romance to places, objects and people...not just in the space of being a couple.
I’m currently intrigued by this concept of infusing romance into all areas of my life.
One of my very favorite Instagram accounts belongs Morgan Day Cecil. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Morgan in person at Nine Revolution. I'm now honored to call this beautiful soul my friend. If you don’t already follow her...you should! Morgan and her husband Ron are walking the walk. They consciously choose a life of Romance and Adventure every single day…and they inspire others to do the same.
Last April, Morgan posted about 'living life as foreplay'. Her words really hit home. I absolutely love that idea.
I’m actively working to infuse all areas of my life with a little romance and adventure. Within the seemingly mundane, there can almost always be a sense of foreplay. Arousal of the mind and heart, not just the body.
How am I doing that? Good question…
I’m incorporating elements into my everyday life that make me feel playful and romantic. Things like...
I feel best when I approach my days with enthusiasm and excitement. I'm able to break up the monotony by tapping into an internal desire to spice up my life.
Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change- Dr. Wayne Dyer
A fresh outlook is all it takes.
Imagine how your normally dull day would feel if you were sharing it with a new lover. Go ahead and play along...
Unloading the dishwasher would be foreplay. Folding warm laundry would be sensual. Sharing a simple meal would seem like romance.
I challenge you to bring those feelings into your current life...exactly where you are today!
Dive into 'life as foreplay' and wake up your sense of romance.
I’d love your thoughts on living a life of foreplay...do you think it’s possible?
How can you begin today?
Thanks for being here.
Catch the final week of Write 31 Days. Right here.
Over the past several years, I’ve read countless books. I think the majority of them would fall under the category of self-help. I didn’t set out to do such vast research on how to live a better life and how to become a better person. Instead, one book led to another and led to another and so on...until I began to anticipate the next ‘breadcrumb’ that would direct me to a new title.
I've always enjoyed reading.
But I've never belonged to a book club and I rarely devour the latest bestseller.
While there was a time when I chose mostly non-fiction and read for pleasure and entertainment. After having children, I discovered that in most areas of my life, I wanted to know more.
I'm curious. I crave fresh information and perspectives. I love a book that guides and teaches me.
I still welcome a great novel, but I’m picky. I’m careful not to waste my time reading a book that I don’t find utterly captivating. Those stories, for me, are very rare.
The last novel I loved, pure and simple was...All The Light We Cannot See. Thank you, Smitten & Swoon for the share:-)
Over the past decade, I began to feel a sense of urgency...and my self-help library expanded accordingly. I had a deep need to ‘figure it all out’ or ‘get my act together’ as the name of my company suggests.
Thankfully, I’ve all but dispensed with the urgency.
I now realize that I’m not behind. I’m exactly where I should be at this place in my life.
I’m soaking up new beliefs and ideas like a sponge and loving every minute of it. I’m elated that learning, and then evolving, is a lifelong journey.
We can always master a new skill or challenge the way we’ve forever done something.
What a beautiful part of being human!
In our modern world of abundance, there are books on absolutely every subject you’d ever care to explore. And, on the off chance that there isn’t a book, there’s definitely a website to read. No excuse for not continuing to expand our knowledge, even though 30 minutes of nightly reading is no longer mandatory.
I was once told that Sagittarians are usually reading several books simultaneously. So true for me.
Here’s what’s on my nightstand right now (all started and being actively read:-)
Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting
The Power of Now
What are you currently reading?
What new subject is wiggling it’s way into your thoughts?
Thank you for following along and for sharing your comments below. I'm always looking for my next book...
Have a super day!
If you know me, you know that I’m not quiet. In fact, I’m usually a little loud. My voice tends to be loud. My actions are loud.
I remember reading Eat, Pray, Love and completely identifying with Elizabeth Gilbert when she finally donned the silence badge. She longed to be the 'quiet one'. She was thrilled it was her turn.
However, soon after taking the vow of silence, she was asked to step into a new role of welcoming everyone arriving at the ashram.
I certainly don’t want to completely silence my voice but I do wish to adopt a softer, more quiet way of being.
I’m learning to welcome and embrace less sound. Both internal and external quiet.
Like so many of the things I’m exploring right now, it’s a practice. One that requires my attention many times each day.
I’ve found that by simply being more intentional with my movements, I’m actually a lot more quiet. If I take my time and stay present, I’m far less likely to drop or crash into something.
Thus making less noise.
I’m still working on cultivating my indoor voice. I tend to become easily excited and my volume increases with my enthusiasm.
I’ve sometimes been envious of women who speak softly.
While I don’t plan to completely alter my distinctive booming voice, by being aware of it, I can make a deliberate effort to speak more softly.
It feels nicer, more intimate and more feminine.
All elements I’m happy to increase in my life.
Internally, I’m also welcoming the silent space between my thoughts. It's a different kind of quiet, but still sought after.
I’m finding that there’s real peace in my mind when I listen to the stillness.
Funny thing is, it’s always there. That silence. Beneath the continuous flow of thoughts...there is quiet. Lately, I seek out that empty sliver whenever I can.
Are you quiet or loud?
How do you find quiet in your daily life?
Thank you for being here.
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Oops. A few technical difficulties at The Together Act headquarters today! So sorry for not knowing the alphabet:-) P was easier to write than O...so I had two partial posts in the cue... I think I'm back on track. We'll see. Have a super day!
The older I get, the more I realize that I know very little and very much at the same time. I’ve lived long enough to have experienced and collected gobs of information about several subjects. I’ve even become an expert at a few things.
And yet, I understand that from here forward...it’s all about how open I can remain.
Being open to something requires that we put what we think we ‘know’ aside and let a potentially new point of view be seen.
I’ve been considering the humans I know who are ahead of me by a few chronological years. I’ve watched and listened to them with intense curiosity.
What makes someone seem old and out-of-touch?
Why are some people more vibrant and interesting?
I believe one main difference is their willingness to stay open. Open to the possibilities life offers at every age and every stage.
Just think about how much we’d miss if we refuse to stay open…
I’m going to continue working to keep the following things wide open in my own life…
My heart - I know that love breeds more love. I have nothing to lose by offering love freely. I learned recently that it’s entirely possible to welcome 47 strangers into my heart without running out of love. In fact, quite the opposite is true. My heart is more full than ever before.
My wallet - I haven’t ever given generously due to old limiting beliefs about lack. Shifting now. There are endless ways that I can give to others. I’ll start small, if necessary. But I will start. Boulder offers many opportunities to help the homeless. I have an envelope in my car that I’ll keep stocked with cash. I will hand it out freely.
My mind - At the moment, my mind is wide open in many areas. I’m thirsty for information and ideas. Learning new skills and concepts is important to me.
I think I struggle with keeping an open mind in areas that are more routine. Like how my sons clean up their rooms:-) When ‘my way’ is challenged, I sometimes dig in and refuse to see the other side. That’s not an open mind. I’m going to work on this. Gently easing my mind open when someone offers a point of view that challenges what I believe.
Are you good at remaining open?
I'd love to know your thoughts on staying open to new things, especially as we age.
Thanks for being here. More tomorrow...
A while back, I discovered the Pomodoro Technique while seeking ways to improve my time management skills. I felt scattered and overwhelmed by my very long (and always growing) to-do list! I needed a method to keep me focused, minimize distractions and help me recognize just how much time I was spending on certain tasks.
I quickly fell in love with the the Pomodoro Technique, also called the Tomato Timer. It's ridiculously bare-bones and simple to use. It promotes specific increments of time for working and resting.
I readily embraced the idea of a finite chunk of time to actively work and then a designated rest period.
I use the free tomato timer on my laptop and my cell every single day!
I’m a bit of a timer nerd.
I work well under pressure. I take pleasure in knowing there’s only a certain amount of time to complete a task.
The Pomodoro method is super basic. There are only three options...5, 10, and 25 minutes. The 25 minute chunks are the work periods. Followed by a short or longer break.
If a task requires additional time, you just reset another 25 minute chunk. And so on...
Please note: taking the 5 or 10 minute break is crucial.
Initially, I would simply reset the timer for another 25 minutes and not bother with the break period.
Oops. Bad move.
I now realize that I’m actually happier, more focused and much more productive if I take the small breaks in between.
I love using the Tomato Timer for writing, bill paying, answering emails, decluttering a space, etc.
By using a timer, I’m able to better understand how long a task or job really takes.
My perception of time has often been skewed...I imagine something will take 10 minutes, when it actually takes 45:-)
I also find that I work harder during the 25 minute blocks. I can easily eliminate all distractions, because most everything can wait 25 minutes.
Then I use the short breaks to start another load of laundry, grab a glass of water and a snack, stretch, send a few texts, check Instagram or just breathe:-).
When the timer rings, it’s back to work. For me, the gentle discipline is helpful. I'm a rule follower...the timer rules.
What about tasks that require considerably less than 25 minutes?
For quicker tasks, I love The Fly Lady’s method.
Side note: If you aren’t familiar with this interesting woman, please check out her website. However wacky some of her methods appear, I have no doubt that if you try her tips...at least a few will stick. It’s crazy, but true. I first read her book (Sink Reflections) about ten years ago and I still practice things I learned from The Flylady, aka Marla Cilley.
Ms. Cilley relies on a 10 minute block of time for basically all everyday tasks. She might be a bigger timer nerd than I am:-)
I was skeptical at first, but actually so much can be accomplished in just 10 minutes!
If I’m left to clean up a messy kitchen after everyone has headed out for for the day, I set my kitchen timer for 10 minutes.
Without rushing, I mindfully rinse and load the dishes, put away whatever needs straightening and wipe off the counters and admire my work.
It’s extremely rare that the timer beats me.
I love knowing that what seems like an impossible mess, can actually be transformed in a matter of minutes.
I’ve been using timer with my kids since they were little. Ten minutes of tidying goes a long way with three small helpers.
Plus, the timer assures children that they won’t be spending all afternoon cleaning up. And it also helps them appreciate how much time a job really takes to complete.
My son Henry and I recently cleaned out the refrigerator (like full-on, drawers and shelves out, complete wipe-down) in 10 minute increments.
We worked quickly and efficiently...hoping each ten minutes would be the last.
In the end, it took us about seven 10 minute chunks to finish the fridge. Now we know for next time:-)
Do you use timers to help keep you on task?
Do you have a favorite timer app?
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Thanks for reading. More tomorrow...
“Nature doesn’t hurry and yet, everything is accomplished.” I’ve always liked this quote by Lao Tzu. I first read it many years ago and it has long served as a powerful reminder to me when I'm lacking patience. Nature doesn’t hurry. The notion that nature could even hurry seems absurd. And further, makes humans look a little silly for so often being caught in a constant state of ‘hustle’.
What’s the hurry?
How does it help to rush?
Why is patience so hard sometimes?
There aren’t many things I regret from my children’s early childhood days. But I remember a lack of patience. I believe we hurried a lot.
We rushed, when probably we didn’t need to move quite so fast.
We hurried, when in hindsight...we would have arrived here, in their teenage years, unscathed...even if we’d slowed down a bit.
Little people move slowly sometimes. They dawdle and they meander. They’re taking it all in. While they aren't always patient themselves, children are excellent patience professors for the rest of us.
I remember urging my children to move faster.
I recall wishing the days would pass more quickly.
It's a shame, really. Lots of moments missed because I lacked patience.
After years of life experience, I’ve noticed that most adults are rarely patient.
They try. And then they squirm. And fret. And complain.
Our patience is short-lived. We’re good at being briefly patient.
Short red lights.
Swift moving lines.
24-hour turnaround time.
Patience is indeed a virtue. I want more of it.
Breathing helps. When I return to my breath I find it easier to wait.
Currently, my impatience is usually with myself. As I strive to continue growing and learning...ultimately to become a better human, I realize I want it all to occur now. I don't want to wait for the improved version of me!
I want the changes I’m working towards to happen and stick. I don’t want to wait. Time is passing. There’s only so much time for me to figure it all out.
And then I shift.
I remember that life is in the ‘figuring it out’. I offer slack to my impatient self.
Breathing helps. A build-in, instant reminder to pause. Allow the inhale, permit the exhale. Rushing would result in hyperventilation. That seems unnecessary. So, just breathe. Practice patience.
How’s your patience?
Thank you so much for being here for Write 31 Days. It means the world.
Yesterday, I shared the idea of building your momentum for a great day in the first 17 seconds. Well, the same principle can be used at night to help you release the day and enjoy a peaceful sleep. I’ve always loved sleeping. I’m happy when it’s time to turn in for the evening. But now, instead of being out like a light the minute my head hits the pillow...I keep myself awake for an extra moment and end my day with this simple practice.
I give thanks.
A quick (often repeat) rundown of what I’m most grateful for that day. A few seconds of breathing and releasing whatever feels stuck...stress or issues that certainly aren’t going to be solved right then. I replace thoughts of concern or worry or doubt with thoughts of things I love and am thankful for.
It might go something like this…
“I am so grateful and thankful for my children. I am so grateful and thankful for Matthew. I am so grateful and thankful for my good health. I am so grateful and thankful for my safe home...
...for the food in my kitchen
...for my extended family
...for the sunshine
...for my comfortable pillow
...for my dependable car
…for my friendships.”
The idea is that all of the gratitude leaves no place for the worries.
And even more than that, it changes your frequency (Say what? More on that in a few days…) or your vibe so that you begin to attract more to good into your life.
These shifts to the way I start and finish my day have begun to bring about cool changes in my thoughts.
It's much nicer to welcome the morning on a positive note and wrap up the night by letting go of the day with such a simple practice.
Do you have a nighttime practice for giving thanks?
How do you settle your mind down for sleeping?
Do you often wake up worrying in the middle of the night? What helps?
I love knowing how others handle these human realities. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
So happy you're here.
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Oh, this one has been game-changing for me! I've adopted an awesome new wake-up protocol. This manageable practice sets the tone for your day in the first 17 seconds after waking up. It seems (according to The Law of Attraction) that our minds do a reset while we sleep and upon waking, we have the beautiful opportunity to start fresh. The stream of negative thoughts and constant worries has lapsed. During the first few moments of consciousness, we can set an intention, give thanks and start a positive flow before we're even out of bed.
This practice has been incredibly helpful to me. I quickly became aware of how automatically the stressful thoughts from yesterday would reappear and take hold in my mind in the morning. It's not hard to change the cycle...it requires less than a minute of your time and a new set of thoughts.
How to do it?
But...I caution you that it’s not always easy. You might find that you only make it a few seconds before the old, worrisome thoughts worm their way back into your mind. That’s okay...gently start again.
Below is a recording of Abraham Hicks sharing how to start your day with the 17 second practice. I believe the instructions start at about 7.50 minutes in, but I'd suggest listening to the entire video.
I'd love to know if you’ve ever tried this exercise.
If not, please do and report back here:-)
I'd love to know what kind of day you have when you start with this practice?
Thank you for reading. I've reached the halfway mark! This Write 31 Days challenge is much more fun knowing you're following along.
Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,