Chloé’s Ramblings

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We're all the same, we all make excuses. Well, normal people do, at least! And since I'm very very VERY normal, I make them very often. Housekeeping and weight loss are the two areas of my life where it's the worst. BUT, I wanted to share with you that tonight I decided to "just do it" and stop making excuses.

I'm in an association where I can practice Tae Bo twice a week. The problem is, the course on Tuesday is at 7:30 pm, which is too late (I get home too late for watching House MD... don't laugh, this stops me from going!!) and too early at the same time (I don't have time to eat before going, or I'm still digesting when I exercise and I'm feeling bad!). Plus I usually go to the town where the course is with people, which means I can't go at my own rythm (even if it's greener, this still bothers me).

Anyway, instead of spending another Tuesday without exercising because I find excuses for not going to this course, tonight I just grabbed my skates and sport pants and went for a 30 minutes ride. I'm so proud of myself!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Identify the problem"

One of Gretchen Rubin's Personal commandments is to "identify the problem". I recently followed this advice and it made a huge difference! I had several objects that had no designated spot in my office: my tablet's pen, my headphone, and in my kitchen: my white/magnetic board where the menus and coupons are kept, my dishes gloves and the towel. These items were always lying there, always "on my way", if you know what I mean.

The white board, for example, was on my (very little) working surface, standing against the fridge. It fell regularly, usually when my hands were full and when I couldn't pick it up. The magnets would fall too, usually in the bowls that were on the working area... a true mess!
The white board before. Notice my paper towel and foil roll holder is already vertical...this should have helped me figure out the white board thing!

This was a tiny problem, but a very annoying one, and I had to stop and think to identify it. Once I had figured out what the problem was, it was quickly solved with a couple nooks.
The white board after, on the other side of the fridge.

The dishes area with the towel and the gloves hanging down.

Here's the details of the towel and gloves' nooks. They even are hidden from sight... Just perfect!

Now all those little objects are hung up and have a designated spot to stay. The white board is the first thing we see when we enter the kitchen, which will motivate me to keep it clean and decluttered and will remind DBF to check the menu of the week. The gloves and towel are hung with clips from the Dollar Store. My working surface is free and I (or rather DBF, my personal chef) can cook without having to fear a white board falling on him. Ain't it great?

I did the same thing in my office. I had a rack of nooks that wasn't used anywhere but that I kept "just in case" (yep, I'm THAT kind of girl!). Since I don't need it in our closets, I thought I might as well use it for all those little items. Now even my ruler can hang up there, with a little help from my trusty crop-a-dile.
from left to right: my rulers, tablet's pen, pens and pencils in a container and head phones. The container is from Ikea but I can't find the name anymore!

Do you have some trouble spots like these that you could fix easily once you identify the problem?

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to know if you're doing ok even when the obvious doesn't show

This article on SparkPeople made me think. We all know that losing weight and organising have a lot in common: they both demand persistence, self-discipline, goals-setting techniques and baby steps to succeed. Is this another area where these two journeys are similar? Is there signs that your organisation is improving, or at least maintaining, even when the obvious (the look of your house, basically) isn't saying so? For me, the answer is clearly YES! Here are some signs I've seen even when I had the feeling to be stuck:
  1. I'm feeling more peaceful, I don't have the feeling that things are out of control and that a huge wave is right behind me and will drown me anytime soon.
  2. Even if things aren't properly put away, I still can find them quickly enough and I can still function. This sign can be dangerous, though, because the frontier is thin between that moment and the "I can't find anything, argggggh!! *hair pulling*" situation!
  3. The very basic maintenance is done: dishes are cleared regularly (even if it's not done every day), we have clean clothes and underwear (even if we sometimes have to pick them directly from the drying line), the house is picked up.
  4. I have energy and I don't have the feeling that my environement is dragging me down.
  5. I don't freak out when friends show up unannounced, I'm comfortable with my house.
  6. My house isn't only a house, it feels like a home, a cocoon, a retreat, and I look forward to be there.
  7. I don't have "bad surprises", for example bills I forgot to pay or forms I was sure I had send back after filling them.
  8. I can relax without feeling guilty and enjoy a good book or movie without a little voice in my head saying "You should be doing this or that, you lazy!"
  9. I enjoy organising and getting a little further each time, without falling in the "organising for the sake of it and getting lost in the process rather than focusing on the goal" trap.
  10. I see my house differently, I notice things I didn't see anymore, like that pile of clutter here, or that beautiful space there. Suddenly I re-discover my environement with new eyes.
Have you noticed those signs in weight loss or oganisation? And in any other area of your life?

Woohooo, terrific news!

I'm so proud to announce that I'll be guest blogging at Marcia's blog over the next weeks for her Simplify your Life serie! Look, she already posted a little introduction... I feel like a rockstar! LOL

This course looks so interesting, and a simpler life is exactly what I need and aspire to right now. I've already started with the first week and it's so interesting! Can't wait to keep working towards my goal of a simple life!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Interesting firefox add on

After my blog post about pinterest and a recent post by Marcia François, I'm starting to see a trend here: internet can be a HUGE timewaster if we let it be. I was going through some old bookmarks and I stumbled upon this one: leechblock. First, I love the name! Second (and more seriously) the goal of this add-on sounds interesting. From the add-on page:
LeechBlock is a simple productivity tool designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them.
What I find interesting here is that it allows you to block certain pages. I'm thinking Facebook, flickr, pinterest, all those fascinating websites where you can easily spend your day mindlessly browsing. It also allows you to block some pages during certain periods of the day: if you want an extra help to avoid timesucking sites during the day yet with freedom to go there during the evening, it sounds great! I think I'll install it and let you know how it goes!

What do you think? Would such an add-on be useful for you?

Fabulous fundraiser kit for La!

There's a fantastic fundraiser kit on sale since today @ SSD and DSA to help Lauren Grier. Here's the presentation of the kit in the shoppe:
Limited Edition Fundraiser! Lauren Grier is a fun, edgy, uber talented designer here at the Sweet Shoppe, but she shines in so many more ways than that. La is one of the voices that makes our community so open and fun, she is always ready to listen, la is a constant, and she certainly is one of the people that defines us here at SSD. One week ago Lauren fell severely ill and was hospitalized with 3 life-threatening blood clots. Our hearts were broken for her! La works so hard, and struggles each day to be an amazing single mom and designs her heart out as the sole provider for her awesome little son. So our designers, and friends from all over the community have come together to stand behind our la. So we bring you this labor of love, “A Little Help from My Friends.”

This kit HUGE collaborative from nearly 50 designers includes: 85 unique papers. Elements include 2 banners, 26 flowers, 8 labels, 7 borders, 4 flairs, 16 frames, 1 paint splat, 12 wordstrips, 10 stitches, 1 arrow, 4 flourishes, 1 photo corner, 1 tag, 3 chipboard circles, 6 hearts, 2 doodled swirls, 15 ribbons, 3 ricracs, 3 branches, 2 scatters, 2 sequin scatters, 3 strings, 3 butterflies, 1 charm, 9 word art, 7 buttons, 1 staple, 1 stitched circle, 5 journal spots, 1 journal lines, 1 key, 9 leaves, 2 pieces of tape, 4 paint splats, 3 gems, 4 paisleys, 2 doodles, 1 lace, 1 mat. Also includes 4 full alphabets, 2 complete fonts, 1 gorgeous template, and 1 paper stacker, and a coordinating photo action!

Participating designers: Shawna Clingerman, Penny Springmann, Kristin Cronin-Barrow, Misty Cato, Jenn Barrette, Dani Mogstad, Meghan Mullens, Libby Pritchett, Julie Billingsley, Fee Jardine, Eva Kipler, Heather Roselli, Cindy Schneider, Darcy Baldwin, Laura Banasiak, Tracie Stroud, Flergs, Micheline Martin, Crystal Livesay, Jennifer Fox, Valorie Wibbens, Designs by Helly, Jenna Desai, Jacque Larsen, Kaye Winiecki, Becca Bonneville/Tickled Pink Studio, Christy Lyle, Amy Wolff, Lauren Reid, Kate Hadfield, Lyndsay Riches, Captivated Visions, Jamie Seaward, Maaike Amstelveen, Gina Miller, mle Card, Sara Schiller, Juliana Kneipp, Jaclyn Bernardo, Sarah Cornish and Heather Hess.
This special edition kit will only be available through the end of April, so don't miss your chance to get your hands on it, and to make a difference in the lives of this beautiful woman and her son.

Have you read that? 50 designers? Yummy!!! Go to SSD RIGHT NOW and pick it up!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lots of new LOs

I've been uploading lots of new LOs to my slidshows (on the right), including all my P365 weekly LOs. This project has been truly fun to do and I really enjoy looking at those recap.

That reminds me of Gretchen Rubin. She emphasize, especially in this month's resolution, how important past happy memories are in being happy or happier now, and this is totally true for me. For example when I look at this page about our last family Christmas party, I feel happier just by seeing all the love and joyful faces of my cousins, uncle and aunts.
Credits: Winter Wonderland by Zoe Pearn @ SSD
Don't you just love reminding yourself of happy times?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why I'm not a member of Pinterest

Pinterest is all the rage right now. It's a community where you can "pin" things that inspire you and follow people that have the same interests as you do (or complete opposite interests, if you want to!). Despite being pretty interested, I've never joined, for several reasons:
  1. first (and probably least importantly) because I don't like the invite system, it has a snobbish taste that isn't my type.
  2. because this site is dangerous: you can find so many fabulous stuff there that you could literally spend days surfing mindlessly. When you're as easily distracted as I am, finding a new timesucker isn't a good idea.
  3. and last because I'm already a member of a site where I can collect pieces of inspiration, label them with keywords and even publish my finds if I feel like it: I love it and if you're interested you can find my pictures here.
Let's make it clear, I don't judge people who love pinterest, I could easily love it too, which is probably why I'm being very cautious with it. The last thing I need in my life is another time sucking hobby that will distract me of truly important things! Gotta remind myself of my 2011 word: PERSPECTIVE. And put it into action! ;)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Things that inspire me

I've stumbled upon various inspirational stuff recently, and I'd love to share some of them:
  • First of all, the SSD community got together to support one of her well known designer Lauren Grier, who's going through difficult medical stuff. If you want to do something for La, go ahead ans shop in her store, there are fantastic goodies there and you can get creative and helpful at the same time, what could be better than that? Oh, and if the amount of awsomeness in La's store overwhelms you, have a look here where the SSD members have shared their favorite products.
  • I'm a huge fan of the TED talks. They publish one (for free) each weekday and those are often incredibly interesting and exciting and mind blowing, like this one, or this one. To make it simpler, I'm getting the daily videos in my RSS feed, the link is at the bottom of the main page.
  • Talking about being creative, how fabulous is this hybrid project by MamaBee to help her kid count? I just LOVE it!!
  • I've been trying to be more positive and this awesome blog (pun intended) helped me a lot: every day, it points out something awesome. It's often funny, sometimes very touching, and everyday I get a bright little moment in my RSS reader... How AWESOME is that??? LOL
  • Last but not least, 2 fun blogs I discovered through one of the SSD challenges: Lovely Package and Lovely Stationery. Pure eyegasm!
Hope you enjoyed, let me know if you have found out something terrific that you want to share!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Last day of vacation

As I predicted yesterday, my motivation for organizing is slowly disappearing. I guess the spring cleaning fever couldn't last very long, it's just not in my nature to be that way! LOL I decided to not fight my urge to relax and be lazy a little bit. I was very productive last week and I thought that I deserved some down time too. After all, I'm on vacation!

I tried to do the minimum at least: not let the dirty dishes pile up in the sink, get rid of junk mail, do a quick pick up of the house and a quick clean up of the bathroom at night, empty and load the dishwasher ASAP, etc. To be honest, the last 2 days were very lazy and I didn't got this bare minimal maintenance accomplished, but tomorrow is my last day of vacation and I want to get my house back to normal before going back to work and having much less time to take care of it. Soooo, I'm going to bed quite early tonight (it's 10:15 PM) and hopefully I'll feel energized and ready to get all those little tasks accomplished tomorrow. Baby steps, 15 minutes at a time, I can do this! And I gotta remind myself that even if I don't like to do it, I love the end result!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not so good news... but I'll survive!

Today I got the news that our IVF didn't work. It was our first attempt and we still have 3 eggs in the fridge, so we still have pretty good chance that it'll work eventually. And my body "warned" me over the last 3 days so the negative blood test didn't caught me by surprise. Anyway, I take this news pretty calmly and peacefully, which is good. I would probably have been more stressed with a positive result, actually! LOL

The positive side of this is that I will be able to end up my vacations (2 days left) being nicely busy in the home, without being afraid to do too much. Now if I only could find more motivation... LOL

Monday, April 4, 2011

Let's try to bring that poor neglected blog back to life!

Now that I'm on vacation is the perfect time, isn't it?

I've been organizing a lot of things so that I can feel back in control. I truly hate the overwhelmed feeling that I get when things are not properly managed. I started with digital-organizing (because I had to rest after our IVF) and now I'm starting to add some (light) physical work. I also keep a running list of things I want to do, because the more I organize/declutter/clean, the more spaces I find that would need some attention!

So far, here are a couple of my accomplishements:
  • I completed 4 monthly LOs for 2010 (yeah, it was about time) and wrote the journaling for the whole year, I just have to add pictures and create the pages which is pretty much the fun part of the process! ;)
  • I got rid of 8.5 Go of digital supplies that I downloaded twice or that weren't my styl at all. And that doesn't include unzipping the files, yet! And I'm only at letter M in my list of downloads... Yeah, I'm a digi-addict!
  • I cleared my desk and shelves, filed a good chunk of documents that were waiting since 3 months in my "to file" box. I should rename it into a "To file RIGHT NOW, DON'T WAIT!!!" box, that would motivate me!
  • I started to go through our PPW, especially our medical stuff that I have to check carefully to make sure we get our money back from the insurance.
  • I started (this morning, that's why it isn't complete yet) to clean our kitchen's drawers and reorganized everything so that I can find what I'm looking for. Which, actually, made me realize that I have about 8 big knives that we don't use on a daily basis, I should donate them.
I'm also in a process of getting back to my daily routines, because maintenance is tough for me, especially once I go back to normal schedule and back to work. Having simple yet effective routines help me stay on track with all those pesky little to do's that take 30 seconds to do right away, but 5 minutes to complete if you wait: washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen after meal, cleaning the bathroom daily, etc. So far it's going ok since I'm at home all day, I can "cheat" and do things all day long, but I want to adjust and be back to a normal schedule by next week, when I'll go back to work.

On that note, I'm off to put the said knives in my "to donate" spot and clean the lunch's dishes! Have a nice day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Great opportunity!

Marcia François, an organizing and time management coach, is offering a "Simplify your life" e-course to several guest bloggers. I love her philosophy of organizing and the way that she always has very practical tips and down to earth approach to organizing issues. She's also a mom of twins and works full time, so she knows what busy means!

Check it out here!