The September Issue

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Yep. So here’s the thing; and it’s not just because I work in fashion. My new year starts the day after Labor Day. Has for years.  There are reasons for this both obvious and not so… So guess what? I’m gonna list them and make a case for why this is such a fantastic way to look at the year in general. And you’re gonna be like… Yep. She’s got a point. And it all starts with fashion week.

In the fashion world, the New Year starts in September. That’s when all the NEWNESS happens. New Trends, New Colors, New Styling. What goes down the runway in the fall sets the tone for what evolves to be the Resort Collections and eventually the Spring Collections for the following year. The point is that the September NEWNESS starts it all.

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a snippet of my cork board at my desk. I recently updated it with some of that September Newness. More on the inspiring work space at a later date I promise…

ps- in case you need some more convincing: Who the hell wants to start anything new or routine altering when it’s below zero and snowing in more than half the country in January? After the “real” new year, I’m spent. Working, decorating, entertaining, kids being home, carting them around because I’m still working and maybe a small amount of time off (remember I work in the retail world) leaves me wanting to do nothing but sleep, and eat and drink some more. Not necessarily in that order. Get the idea? September.

Listen, I have kids. Two of them, under the age of 10. One of the reasons why my year starts after Labor Day is because of Back to School. Duh. So obviously there is the obligatory last fabulous weekend at the beach and the hunkering down the few days after Labor Day to get to bed a tad earlier (even though that totally never happens as I am a huge advocate of being outside until there’s nothing left of the day and everyone falls into bed happy and exhausted).  I’m also shopping for the supplies I should have shopped for in July with all the truly organized people.

Also, it takes me a little bit to get used to not seeing this anymore:

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and seeing a lot more of this:

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As a working mom part of my “new year” routine is to take the week after Labor Day off to not only accomplish the Back to School stuff , but once the kids are safely in their respective schools I get cracking on some projects that will help me get the house and myself organized for the next few months. (Well, weeks, but I give myself an A for my ambition).

Recently, I totally gave up, like I threw in ALL the towels on using my phone as a calendar/ agenda. While it is convenient, the distractions are endless and I am usually bound to erase something and or completely forget to check it all together when trying to remember whose freaking birthday party is at the bounce place and whether to buy them Pokemon or Star Wars Clone Wars figures. Not to mention if on my next trip to the store we need bread, toothpaste and toilet paper or just milk. So, I went back to paper and pen. A gorgeous paper agenda complete with monthly and weekly calendars, a pretty pink book mark and pages that tell me nice things like: “your hair looks great today” and “you got this”. And guess what? It STARTS in September and runs through the next year! Take a look!

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Its Ban.Do and I totally recommend… I found it at shopbando.com if you’re interested!

Ok moving on from the pretty paper, there’s the cleaning out all the closets project. Do it. Start with the kids, then the hubs (if he lets you), then yourself. Donate, give to friends, and sell; whatever you have time for. Get rid of the shoes that no longer fit the kids and get rid of anything in your closet that you haven’t worn in a year. Now, if you haven’t worn it in 5 years hold on…it’s probably going to show up on the runway next fall. Organize the crap out of your closets even if you have to start and stop between dinner and bath times or work and happy hour.  A little trick that helps me see what I own and put together outfits quicker is to colorize. “Left to right. Light to dark.” Here’s a snippet. We’ll have a closet session in the coming weeks I promise.

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And now you know I’m not afraid of color…

I’m going to leave you with a few more ideas for your “New Year in September”, all of which I do.

– try to make a new exercise routine or get back into the one you had pre-margaritas seaside in July.

– start a “cash stash” for Holiday gifts. Those freaking kids are greedy and expensive 😉 , you have to start in September.

– do a Major food order. Stock up for a couple of weeks on those things that go into the lunch boxes; all the cheese sticks and raisins you can store in your pantry. Get a bunch of ingredients too for some dinners that are easy for those nights that you will be driving from work to school to gymnastics to soccer and then home. In 3 hours time.

– GET OUTSIDE, open windows, soak it in before the frost!!

I like to try to tackle these things before the pumpkins, hayrides and costumes and retail Christmas trees emerge. Then and only then, I can celebrate fall; Non-Fat Pumpkin Spice Latte and all (even if it’s still 75 and sunny)

Happy New Year friends!!

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Yoda lives in the chalk bowl too.

I like to make things look pretty. To a fault. I merchandise everything. Partly because it has been my career for the past 20 years as a retail visual stylist. They say, (I mean really, who are “they”??) that what you do while you are procrastinating is what your true passion is. So be it. I organize and make things pretty. The thing that gets in the way of that is the “offspring” or as I like to refer to them as the creators of the gorgeous chaos… they have a lot of stuff. Always have. Started out with all the primary colored plastic highchairs and playmats then we graduated to the legos, and doll babies. All still plastic and primary colored.

So, how do I feed my organized and pretty quota? I tend to merchandise; my house, my schedules, my life. it’s what I do to stay sane and yet still look a little scattered.

Tonight for example I was taking in the chalkboard/ family command center/ catch-all. Man I wish this could look more like a gorgeous whitewashed wood functioning media station in the Pottery Barn catalog but alas, I’ve learned to let that vision go after Ellie was born (aka #2 aka Elliemonster) So the trick is to learn how to live with (some) of the mess and find some things that I like to look at and laugh at through the chaos. And keep those things, Forever.

There are 2 staples that are always on my kitchen chalkboard. #1 the quote that I found in a country living magazine in the 90’s. It kind of defines my need to merchandise and gives me encouragement to press on with my daily activities.

DSC_0659#2 is the cropped pic of Ryan when he was a duck for Halloween at 2 years old. Priceless face. I never want to forget him at that age.DSC_0660

My mom still has an old valentine on her fridge from being a room mom in 1982 that says “I Heart Mrs. T” She has moved it from refrigerator to refrigerator, and it has traveled through 2 homes. It has never left the kitchen. It means something to my brother and I and obviously to her. I couldn’t imagine her kitchen without it.

Then, there is the counter space below. I like this to be the place for in and out going mail, the chalk, some pens etc. for Ry to do homework, a family pic and a charging area for the ridiculous amounts of devices that a family of four (both kids UNDER 10) have. The point is to have a space for this stuff. My husband and I are like ships passing on the weekdays. This area represents ALL the plans, ALL the crap that accumulated over the course of 7 days or so. Again, I aim for catalog material but real life is messy and none of the papers match and kids like to hoard things. So it helps to have some pretty vessels to hold them; and some fresh flowers but we’ll go into that on a later date.

what it looks like in my head or before we leave for a vacation.

what it really looks like, down to the soccer patches that will never get sewn onto the uniform unless Nana agrees to do it 🙂 Oh and Yes that’s Yoda, Obi Wan Canobi  and a flashlight in the chalk bowl…

So I learn to let go and know that about 3 times a year it will  be beautifully clutter free like the first pic. Unfortunately I’m more of a Rhoda than a Martha when it comes to visual merchandising soooo I have to pick my battles or else I will become overwhelmed.

About 4 years ago I added another staple. The illustration of my Nana’s Kitchen that my cousin Janine drew for all the cousins when she passed away. I don’t know how she did it but she recreated it down to the magnets on her refrigerator, the ceramic fruit basket on the shelf and the milk glass vase on the window sill by the sink. Everything I remember being in her kitchen is depicted in this illustration. Those small “things” lived there from the time I was a little girl until the time she passed in 2010 at 96 years old. They defined her space and the personality of her kitchen. I always found comfort sitting in that old green leather recliner while looking at the fridge magnets and watching my nana cook.

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I hope someday my kids will remember our kitchen the same way and smile at the small plastic Yoda that lived in the chalk bowl.

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