marie kondo spark joy tips
I haven’t exactly been quiet about my love for Marie Kondo’s latest book, “spark joy”. Quite the opposite. I’ve been bragging up “spark joy” every opportunity I get (you’d honestly think Ms. Kondo pays me… I assure you she does not -ha!).
I really wanted to spend time going through the book several times before sharing the key points that resonated the most with me. “spark joy” is very dense with information, so it took me a bit to really narrow it down (again why I recommend purchasing the book for yourself, because what speaks to me may not necessarily with you).

1. Purge by Category and Not by Room: Since sharing my KonMari journey, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people going through their own home purge/organization process. Most were following the KonMari method, but some were opting to do their own thing. For those that weren’t going with Ms Kondo’s method, they all seemed to prefer purging by room or area in their home, rather than by category as Marie suggests. In “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” it is made clear that the method involves purging by category, but no real reason for this is provided. “spark joy” confirms the reason, by making it clear that only when we really look at the volume of each particular category is it made obvious how much we should discard. A ha!

2. Purge First, Organize Later: If you’ve followed by journey, you know that this was a very vague area within “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and actually caused me a considerable amount of grief. Marie unfortunately didn’t make it clear whether purging should be done first, followed by organizing or if the two could be done simultaneously. In “spark joy” however Ms Kondo puts the debate to rest, confirming that purging is to be done first, and organizing second. Her reasoning is simply that if your home isn’t entirely purged first, you won’t know how things will be best stored and organized. Having only what you know you will being keeping with a lot more free space in your home, will make organizing a much easier task that you’ll only have to do once.




3. “For essential things that don’t bring joy, look at what they do for you”: The only hangup I’ve had when it comes to using the KonMari question of “does it spark joy?” as a measure of whether I should keep something, is when I was faced with tools and home cleaning supplies. Of course my broom doesn’t spark joy… but, what would I do without it? The reality that my broom aids in my housework and makes it easier to keep my floors clean, does spark joy.

4. Don’t Confuse Clutter for Rebound: Life is busy and sometimes we simply don’t have the time to keep our home clutter free; things build up and suddenly we find our house looks like a still shot from the show Hoarders. Fear not says Ms. Kondo if you’ve purged and gone through the home organization process then it’s simply a matter of putting back the things left out to their designated places and with a bit of effort everything is tidy again.

5. Grey Items: When it comes to purging, there are only two options: chuck it or keep it. However, sometimes it’s not that black and white and we’re undecided on what to do about  certain items. If you feel like you’re undecided, then don’t hide the item – display it and reflect on the ever important question of whether it “sparks joy” and then do what speaks to you. Hiding the idea away will delay the decision process.

6. Make Your Own Power Spot: Create an area in your home that is your mini sanctuary. If space allows, designate a room or a corner area for this purpose. If you find yourself unable to make a larger power spot, opt for something smaller like a corner on your kitchen counter. The purpose is to have an area for yourself that is strictly for enjoyment and will give you a “joyful” feeling every time you spend time in the space or look at the spot you’ve designed.

7. Keep Like Feeling and Similar Material Items Together: Materials create a feeling: metal for example feels industrial and sterile, while wood and fabric feel warm and inviting. Keeping this in mind, organize in likeness for the feeling you want to create in the space you’re organizing.

8. Marie Kondo’s 4 Storage Principals: 
1. Fold it
2. Stand it upright
3. Store it
4. Divide storage into square compartments




monthly goals february

Some months I really have to work to come up with my five goals, while months like this one, it’s very apparent to me what they should be. February’s five goals were made obvious through the month of January as I started the year off very focused on establishing my work and family life balance. I’m creating more content than every before and couldn’t be happier doing so; but with this comes more of a time commitment. The investment of both my time, resources, and the support of others deserves my full acknowledgement of being “work”. This is the focus on the first half of my goals. The second half, is concentrated on gratitude and acknowledging the beauty in those I’m blessed to have in my life. Oh, and water… always with the water.

Monthly Goals for February

1. Own What I Do: I naturally shy away completely avoid telling people what I do. I find it almost impossible to give myself the title of, “content creator” for a number of reasons. I worry people aren’t familiar with my line of work and it will require a lot of explanation. It causes me anxiety to think people will judge me and I always find myself justifying or convincing. It should be noted that no one has ever made me feel like what I do isn’t significant, it’s purely my own insecurities that hold me back from being able to confidently name my job. However, I recognize that I am far too committed and passionate about what I do to not fully embrace it. I will work this month on being much more vocal on naming my job.

2. Stop Making Excuses: Being a content creator takes far more time than I ever would have imagined. As I mentioned in my first goal, being able to produce content requires a large commitment of time that I will no longer apologize for. Again, this is my own hang up, but definitely one I need to get over (like yesterday).

3. Write Down a Simple Gratitude Everyday: A sunny day. My reliable vehicle. Healthy children. A strong community of supportive friends and family. A phone call from my Mum. My third goal this month is to give a moment of reflection at the end of each day in which I will pen down one thing I’m grateful for.

4. Recognize the Attributes in Others. My fourth goal involves letting others know the wonderful traits and qualities I see in them. It is so easy to think there is time, or worse, that others already know their strong suites, when neither is the case. Pointing out the attributes I admire in others will be made a priority.

5. Increase my Water Intake… I know, I know. Someday, friends.

konmari kitchen organization
I’ve only just recently recovered from how much work purging our kitchen was (seriously, how can such a seemingly small space hold so much stuff?!). Knowing I had to face the same space again and reorganize it all, had me stalling. If you find yourself feeling the way I was, fear not friends, I got through it and not only did I survive, I promise it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated. In fact, having a strategy and keeping things simple made it almost fun (yes, really) to work through our home’s busiest space.

Using Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy as inspiration, and going with her key point of having your kitchen serve the purpose of encouraging you to want to cook, and having things stored in such a way that it’s easy to maintain tidiness, this is what I’ve come up with for an easy strategy for achieving an organized kitchen:

Step One: Get a Game Plan!
Spend time in your kitchen and really look at the way things are currently set up:
1. Take a good look at the different areas of space in your kitchen.
A. Are you making the best use of the “prime real-estate” storage spaces? Keep your most frequently used items in the most accessible spaces, while storing your infrequent things in the lesser preferred areas.
B. Is your kitchen set up in the most practical and efficient way? Look at the way you use your kitchen, where you prepare your food and drink and evaluate how you currently have things stored in relation this.
C. What can you change to make your kitchen work better? Play around with different ideas, until you come up with a solution that “clicks” and makes the most amount of sense.
2. If you’re struggling with establishing what changes need to be made, seek out help from someone else!

Step Two: Plan
Once you’ve determined what changes need to be made, it’s time to plan:
1. Measure (and measure again) all the different drawers and cupboards – include measurements for different configurations of how you can organize each space (buying ideal sized containers isn’t always possible, you may need to play around with layouts)
2. Take an inventory of all your staple food products and make a list of all the containers/jars you need to purchase
3. Bring container list and measuring tape to the store (Dollar stores are wonderful places to buy containers and storage solutions)
4. Buy containers in one colour to keep things looking uniform.

Step Three: Get to Work!
Now that you’ve planned and prepared, it’s time to organize!
1. Work in sections to avoid your whole kitchen being a disaster zone!
A. Pull everything out of the space you’re working in, clean the drawer/cupboard, insert organizational aids, and put food in storage containers.
B. Don’t be afraid to put like products in the same container to conserve storage space
C. Label jars/containers if necessary.
D. If needed, implement secondary kitchen storage (closet, hutch, etc.)




sparkjaymariekondo
Not to be too dramatic, but I have counted down the days in my planner to the circled January 5th release date of Marie’s Kondo, “spark joy”, for well over the last month. I had questions that only Ms. Kondo could answer and I hoped this companion book would finally shed some light on what I felt was vague or completely omitted in her first book, “The life changing magic of tidying up”. And friends, Marie Kondo, delivered.

Before I get into things, a disclaimer is only fair, I have not finished the book… yet. I wanted to share with you my first impression of “spark joy” because I’ve been asked my opinion of it, and specifically whether it’s worth purchasing. So, a full review is coming, but for now this is what I can share.

Buy the book! If you’ve started the KonMari method, I truly suggest purchasing this book now and when questions arise (as they likely will), refer to ‘Part One: KonMari Master Tips” as you’ll likely have your issues addressed in this section. Take it from someone who didn’t have this new book while going through the process, it will really help. If you’ve completed the purging portion of the method and are in what I call phase two of organizing, this book is going to sort out all the storage potential your home has to offer… with visual aids, hurrah! See, you need the book.

Though I haven’t read cover to cover yet, I have finished ‘Part One’ and flipped through the book enough times to confidently say, Marie Kondo has really revamped her delivery and overall writing style. Compared to the first book, which introduced the method, “spark joy” is much easier to follow; it’s detailed and specific, the drawings provide the perfect accompaniment to her descriptions which doesn’t leave room for confusion, and I love her  breakdown for home organization into almost every area of the house and category of items imaginable.

If you’ve had a chance to dive into “spark joy”, I’d love to know your thoughts please feel free to share!




 

great village nova scotia

 

Every once in awhile I find myself in a place that is exactly where I was meant to be. This was the case in early November when I packed up our two youngest children, met up with my Mum, and went for a gorgeous road trip to a place in Nova Scotia that is one of my favourites, Great Village.

Great Village is known for its quaint antique shops that make you feel as though you’ve truly been transported back in time. It’s intimate and a treasure trove for finding the most unique pieces (at reasonable prices!).

Though I love all the shops, Nesting Antiques has my heart. It’s owned by Rhenore Collins (whom you’ll hear the voice of towards the end of my video) and it’s one of the most magical places I’ve ever been. I could take everything in her shop home with me. From small pieces of coral, to old photographs, jewelry, Victorian clothing, and large furniture pieces Nesting Antiques is a time capsule of beautiful things time has been kind to.

So you can imagine how disappointed I was to find her store closed when we arrived. I knew she was inside, because a gentlemen told me he was speaking with her, but that she wasn’t opened for business. It was my Mum (thanks, Mum) who gave me the nudge to still knock on the door, and in the least, say hello to her and ask if there was another time I could come back. Rhenore graciously welcomed me into her shop and instantly I felt like I knew her forever (some people just have that way). She chatted about her love of treasures, living in a barn as a child and watching the barn swallows fly above her head as she fell asleep, she shared that as a little girl she carried little bits of things she found in a cigar box because it always made her feel like home to look at them… she touched my heart. Rhenore also afforded me as much time as I wanted to explore and film her shop so I could share it with you. My footage conveys my experience better than my words ever could, so please take a look:





nuts and bolts mix recipe I was SO looking forward to including this recipe with you all as part of my Christmas series, but things played out a bit differently this month (you can read about it here), and it just wasn’t possible to get this up… until now. Though I prepared this as Christmas gifts, the mix would still work wonderfully for New Years (or let’s be serious, any time of year)!
Before I jump into the goods, I have to give a big shoutout to a friend who kindly shared this recipe with me. After receiving this mix for a couple Christmases (and secretly hiding it in the back of the fridge from the rest of my family… totally serious), I just had to ask her if she wouldn’t mind sharing and she didn’t at all (woo hoo)!

Here it is:
CHRISTMAS NUTS & BOLTS

DRY INGREDIENTS:
-1 Box Chex cereal (equivalent to 4 cups or as desired)
-1 Box Cheerios (… 4 cups or as desired)
-1 Pkg Cheddar Cheese Bits n Bites mix
-1 Pkg Cheddar Goldfish crackers
-1 pkg Bugles
-Nuts as desired

SEASONING:
-3/4 cup oil
-3/4 cup melted butter
-1/2 tsp chives
-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 tsp garlic
-1.5 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp Greek seasoning
-1/2 tsp celery salt
-1 tsp lemon pepper
-2 tbsp dill weed

DIRECTIONS:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Combine dry ingredients in large roast pan
-Mix seasoning ingredients together
-Add seasoning mix to dry ingredients, combining until dry ingredients are covered
-Bake for 1.5 hours, stirring mixture every 15 minutes

ENJOY!
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback!



winter holly

Hello, friends!
As I’m sure you can relate, sometimes despite our best intentions, life becomes unpredictable and causes us to have to readjust, reevaluate, and simply take a step back. Such was the case for me recently. I shared on my YouTube channel a very candid video in which I spoke about what has been going on and the reasons for why I haven’t been posting as frequently as usual and as much as I had planned (specifically in my Christmas series). I know I have readers of my blog who don’t necessary watch my videos, or catch all of them, so I felt it was only appropriate to keep you guys in the loop and bring my blog up to speed too.

December has proven to be as busy and hectic as I’ve ever known, but not for the predictable reasons I’ve become accustom to during this time of the year. Mairi, our youngest child, was going through an epic teething spell that started at the beginning of the month. You guys, it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before… constant crying/screeching, unconsolable discontent, and an overall miserable mood (which is not our Mairi). After about a week, my Mum instincts kicked in and I felt a visit to the doctor was required, so off we went, only to discover that she was dealing with a raging ear-infection. You can imagine how truly terrible and ill-equipped I felt as a parent. Since the diagnosis, it felt like a never ending issue – first 10-day round of antibiotics did very little, follow-up appointment confirmed this, second round of meds finally remedied her symptoms and after more than two weeks, she was herself again – hurrah! Unfortunately this also coincided with the death of three close family members on my side, passing away within six days of each other. During this time our washing machine broke and we had family visit and stay with us from Australia. All around busy, mentally draining, and tiring.

I’m sure based on the above, you can appreciate why I simply couldn’t manage everything on the home front while also trying to keep up with posting both on my YouTube channel and blog. I had a lot planned that I was excited to share, and simply couldn’t. Such is life, less than ideal, but a very common occurrence… or so I’m learning.

With Christmas in two days, I’m still aiming to share with you as much as I can, but it will posted on my blog instead of both in video and written form. I want to make sure that in the least, I share with you the recipes I had planned, because even if you’re unable to whip them up in the next couple of days – you’ll be able to save them for the future.

On a very personal note, I want to thank each of you who have offered support and understanding during this trying time. Your encouragement has meant more to me than I can convey. You guys are the very best!

giftguideheader

 

I love giving a gift that I know to be practical in that it will be enjoyed and used. Putting together a “be good to me” present is simple, but sure to be appreciated because it involves curating products that are little luxuries that not everyone always buys for themselves. Gifting someone a present that encourages the recipient to make “me time” and/or is an item that will be fun to display or wear is the most thoughtful way to give a heartfelt gift.

I’ve put together my own “Be good to me” present of all the little treasures I enjoy and am confident others will as well. A full breakdown can be found below!

 

gift guide giveaway

Products listed above:
1. Lush Star Dust Bath Bomb
2. EcoTools Spa Moisture Bamboo Socks (Canadian link)
3. Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub
4. Krystal Acker “Love you more than coffee” Print
Krystal Acker is a Nova Scotia based graphic designer, artist, and illustrator. You can see
more of Krystal’s amazing designs here: Facebook Instagram Twitter
5, Skin Fix Lip Repair Balm:
6. Bath & Body Works be Joyful body cream
7. Newfoundland Chocolate Company Yes B’y Sea Salt & Caramel Milk Chocolate bar
8. Little Lovelies Swarovski crystal pearl and aurora borealis crystal bracelet
Lorraine is the creator behind the Little Lovelies Jewelry business. She has perfected the
craftsmanship of jewelry making to incorporate custom designs, including family heirloom
pieces. You can take a look at more of the beautiful jewelry line here: Facebook
9. Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel hand cream
10. Life at Home (Loblaws) Spiced Apple candle: No link available
11. Milani Color Statement nailpolish in Pink Blush (31):
12. True Brit Earl Grey tea: No link available
13. Simply Gorgeous Naturals eye makeup remover set
Simply Gorgeous Naturals is a line of products I am so happy to have discovered. Emily is the creator of the business which offers a wide variety, of naturally derived, body care products that are produced in Nova Scotia. Find out more about the Simply Gorgeous line by checking out: Facebook Etsy

To hear what my thoughts on each of the above mentioned items, please check out my coordinating video (which you know to be chatty!):

 

entergiveawaya Rafflecopter giveaway

Going by the feedback I received, my ‘KonMari Inspired’ How to Shop for Children at Christmas video (below) and blog post proved helpful to a lot of you who have little ones on your shopping list this holiday season. Should you wish to pin or save this image for your reference, I thought I’d elaborate on the original post and include examples. Share away, friends! Oh, and a lot of you mentioned that you’ll be using this strategy for others, not just children, and I think that’s brilliant!

Christmas Shopping for Children How to

 

Morgan Webb Photography for the win… again!
You guys know how much we love our fall family photos (you can view them here) and the overall experience we had working with Morgan; so when the opportunity came to get the kids booked in for Morgan’s holiday mini sessions, well clearly… I can’t even handle these photos, I adore them so much!
The whole shoot took about 20 minutes and will make for our cutest Christmas cards yet… which I need to order. Now!

In addition to very cute cards, these photos are also going to double as decor! Since going through all our seasonal decorations, as part of the KonMari process, I purged way more decorations than I thought I had, and was a bit shocked at how few Christmas items we have left. I won’t buy for the sake of buying just to make our home feel festive, so instead I’m going to fin-ally buy some photo ledges and set up a Christmas gallery wall which I think will be the perfect show piece for these pictures and really add to the holiday feel in our home. Win/win!

The photos ledges I’m purchasing are the ‘Mosslanda’ 115cm in white.

Mosslanda

I’ll do an updated post to show you how it comes together (hopefully this Christmas, not next – ha!).