My Four Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

4 Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

It doesn’t matter the time of year. It seems everyone is always cleaning, decluttering and organizing their homes, and looking for new and better ways to do so.

I admit, I’m guilty. Right now, I’m doing a major cleanout and it’s refreshing to see open space where once there was something that collected dust.

It seems each season brings a host of new books advising how best to clean through your stuff. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of them, but it seems I still go back to these four books. Here are my favorites:

  1. Move your stuff, change your life by Karen Rauch Carter

I discovered this book in 2007, and it sits within easy reach of my desk. Carter approaches cleaning and organizing from a feng shui perspective, but she’s so much more than that. She takes a very holistic approach to life and is continually educating herself on how our homes can best and most healthily support us. She even wrote a sequel called, Make a Shift, Change Your Life.

Since we’re talking about cleaning and organizing here, I love her approach to working through the process. She suggests defining your perfect life in great detail, then checking to see that you have items in the house that support it. If it doesn’t, out it goes! She’s even conducted annual decluttering workshops to kick start the year.

Whenever I need something positive to keep me going as I declutter, I check out her YouTube channel or Facebook posts, and I’m motivated once again.

  1. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

I know, this is another feng shui book, but Kingston does an amazing job of getting down to the psychological and emotional reasons you keep things, and how to move past them. I was fascinated when I read this and still feel this is one of the best books of its kind. Decluttering somehow makes sense with this book.

I read the original, but there’s now an updated version, which I will also purchase. Kingston’s ideas are simple and effective, and you will refer back to it time and again. Like a good novel, once you get to the end you want to start reading from the beginning.

  1. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley – The Fly Lady

Although there are many good people out there who can help us to declutter, The Fly Lady teaches you how to clean! Not just deep cleaning, but how to maintain a clean and healthy home without spending your Saturdays washing floors and scrubbing toilets. It all comes down to routines.

For as long as I can remember, most people I know have spent their Saturday mornings cleaning for hours. What a lousy way to start the weekend! The Fly Lady agrees and aims to help you keep your weekends free for the important people in your life. Setting up a control journal is crucial to becoming successful here, but it’s super easy. I’ll try to do a blog post in the future about this.

There are references to people whose homes are in complete disarray, but even if you’re already a neat person, you’ll still pick up a few pointers.

I also highly suggest signing up for her newsletter. You’ll be flooded with messages, but there is good information and it keeps you on track.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, I had already begun doing many things in this book before it was written. I used to move a lot when I was young – a lot! – and everything just got thrown in boxes and oftentimes never got unpacked at the next location. Finally, when I had some time, I started to gather like items together, so I could determine how many of a particular item I had. It was mind blowing! Plus, items that would go into one room in one house might be used completely differently in the new one, so it was important to gather, then decorate.

I was quite open to Kondo’s approach, but I was also deep in the throes of caring for my Mom when I discovered this book, so I wasn’t able to finish going through my entire house the way she suggested. I do have an appreciation for many of her suggestions, but after living with it for a time, not everything works for me. For example, she suggests folding clothing like tops, sweaters, pants – depending on your closet and storage space. So, I folded my tanks, camis and t-shirts. It created much more closet space, but since those items now sit in drawers, I completely forget I have them! I only look in those drawers when I absolutely need those items. I would rather they hang in my closet so I can be more creative in putting together outfits. For me, out of sight, out of mind. I just need a bigger closet…

There you have it! My four favorite cleaning and decluttering books. I’d love to hear about yours! Add your comments below.

Be sure to join my mailing list and follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

Enjoy!

Cindi

My Dream for Michigan Central Station

My Dream for Michigan Central Station

Today my heart is both heavy and happy. Heavy with building lust and opportunity lost. Happy that a most beautiful, iconic structure has a savior.

For the past several hours, I’ve been sucked down the rabbit hole of the #fordetroit posts, absorbing every essence that is the future of Michigan Central Station (MCS) thanks to Ford Motor Company.

I grew up in Detroit, and I remember the first time I drove by that glorious building. My heart leapt with joy. How could something so beautiful be so unloved?

Certainly, I’m not the only person who asked this question. It’s been debated for decades. But once I laid eyes on MCS, my brain began developing a plan that has morphed a bit over time due to technology and the economy, but hasn’t strayed much from my initial vision.

At the time of my first sighting, I was traveling extensively for business. I had to put my idea on the backburner. It sat there and simmered, popped up again occasionally, but I didn’t have the experience to try to pull something like my vision together at the time.

I tracked articles and news stories about MCS, but it didn’t fully come back into my life until I started to write my novel series, The Diana Diaries. Book two – Destiny Dollars – introduces MCS into the discussion and book three (under development) – Destiny Detroit – takes the story to Detroit to pursue the main character’s vision.

The setup scenario in Destiny Detroit is fictional, but the development of the MCS project is all real in my world. My writing is influenced by my interests, and MCS, which took hold of my heart from the first moment I saw it, is part of that. I had hoped to bring it to life, at least through my book, at best through a finalized business plan accompanied by building lovers with deep pockets.

However, the last few years I was a full time caregiver to my mother, and aside from the moments to write here and there, I couldn’t spend a lot of time on my business plan. I had done some research, put together some spreadsheets to support my premise, but my focus was on my Mom. MCS had sat empty for so long I figured I had another year or so to jump in full force. First, finish the book, then present my plan to potential investors. Alas, that won’t happen. But Destiny Detroit will still contain my vision.

Joy Mangano, the HSN power lady and author of Inventing Joy, learned the lesson of not acting quickly enough on her idea for a reflective flea collar. We all know who beat her to market with that product. But, she learned and went on to invent numerous other products that serve millions of people. As I read her book, I kept getting pangs of guilt that I had not fully immersed myself in my MCS project. And now, there is none.

Would my idea have generated as much income as what Ford is doing? Probably not. But it would have helped to grow another local industry and provide much fun and flair to the neighborhood. Still, I applaud Ford for stepping up to save MCS and give it life once again. I can’t wait to see the fully restored beauty. And, should they encounter some snags along the way and need an out – I have a great idea waiting in the wings.

What am I talking about? You’ll just have to wait to read the book. Fingers crossed it will be out by the end of the year, written through tears of joy and happiness – with a touch of regret.

In the meantime, you can read the first two books – Destiny Drop and Destiny Dollars – to catch up on the characters. And, I’ll even send a copy to Bill Ford for his reading pleasure once the third book is complete.

Be sure to join my mailing list so you can be the first to know about the official release date of Destiny Detroit.

Cindi

KNIGHT UP! Why I love the Vegas Golden Knights

 

KNIGHT UP! Why I love the Vegas Golden Knights

People say that sports can change a person. I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to play the game to be impacted by it.

As I write this, the Vegas Golden Knights have just swallowed up the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A joyous day, to be certain, but only halfway to the goal.

Regardless of whether our beloved team takes home the #CupIn1, they are forever in my heart.

I began to follow the Knights back when they were just a hope. I read every article I could about the quest to bring hockey to our desert community. I listened to the pros and cons and everyone who argued it would never happen, but I admired and respected the way the process was handled. They had me at Bill Foley.

Everyone knows what has happened since then. We were awarded a franchise. We got a general manager, a coach, and the most adorable, hard-working, talented group of misfits to fill the roster. We got a broadcast team (I love the broadcast team equally as the players) who brought hockey into our homes. If it were not for them, this post might not exist.

You see, while all the stars were aligning for our Knights, I was a full-time caregiver to my dying mother. I rarely left the house, particularly that last year when I drove less than 500 miles – the entire year! It was my greatest honor to care for my mom, but even a caregiver needs something to smile about every now and then.

Enter the Knights. I had something to cheer about, because I knew what the outcome would be for my mom. But the Knights. Who knew? Even if they lost every single game, they still would have earned my devotion. On game nights, if mom was awake, I’d sit by her bedside and give her the play-by-play. Mom wasn’t much into sports, but she heard the enthusiasm in my voice for our team, and she lovingly went on the journey with me.

Las Vegas was hurting when the Knights began their season following the mass shooting of October 1, but they embraced the city and we hugged them right back. It’s been a mutual healing experience.

For me, personally, I don’t know how I could have gotten through these past few months without seeing my hometown team on the ice. Mom has since gone to that big hockey rink in the sky (well, honestly, it’s probably a movie theater), and I’m still cheering #GoKnightsGo in my living room. I’m not sure what I’ll do in the off season, but hopefully it’s a short one this year. And next year, I plan to actually make it to The Fortress for a game.

I grew up in Detroit (Hockeytown) and I lived in San Jose during the birth of the Sharks, but never have I ever been so grateful for the Vegas Golden Knights. Whenever I needed them, they were there. On the ice, or online.

Oh, that Twitter account! Sassy is thy middle name. Smart, funny quips morning, noon and night. How often it’s made me laugh out loud. I rarely start the day without searching for the latest updates on my Knights. Keep giving me those GIFs of William Karlsson’s hair flip, Marc-Andre Fleury thanking the goal post or doing the wave, or Jonathan Marchessault mugging for the camera. They are the GIFs that keep on giving. The Twitter account is in a league of its own.  

And it’s not just the official Twitter account that keeps me in stitches. The whole cast of characters, from our bright yellow Gila monster mascot, Chance, to Bark-Andre Furry and his beautiful singing voice heading the #DogsoftheGoldenKnights, to the newly minted Goal Post, The VGK Flamingo, and the limitless other superfans. I spend each day in harmony with them. And who couldn’t muster a smile with the shade throw-down between the Kings and the Sharks. 

As a writer, I can always disappear into my latest creation as part of my grieving/healing process, but it’s a lonely experience. The Knights have a strong worldwide community, and I’m very lucky to be part of that.

This last year has been a journey, to be sure, but as you see, sports can change a person – for the better – and I’m forever changed thanks to hockey and our Vegas Golden Knights.

Tame Those Pesky Details – March – Are you making money while you sleep?

TTPD – March – Are you making money while you sleep?

Cha-ching!

Ah, the joy of waking in the morning to discover that money was deposited into your account while you were off in dream land.

I’m following along with my book, Tame Those Pesky Details (TTPD), where I focus on one specific item each month to keep your business in tip top shape. March is the month for Passive Income, the ability to make money while you sleep. As the Internet pervades our lives more each year, options for passive income become more readily available. Of course, it’s not as easy as waving a magic wand; there is much prep work to be done, but once you’ve put in the effort, you can reap financial rewards for some time to come.

I think it’s the ultimate goal of many online entrepreneurs to be able to work as few hours as possible while making as much money as they can. That’s not the only goal, mind you, but by creating a steady online income, you can do anything from quit your full-time job to plan extravagant vacations or donate to your favorite charity. Even if you have some other source of income that you’re content with, earning extra money online is still a good thing. It’s always great to have multiple streams of income.

So, where do you begin? Here are four options to help you build your bank account in your sleep.

  1. Affiliate links. Everyone has them. Why not you? If you reference any products in your blog posts, YouTube videos or elsewhere, it’s easy to direct people to the item you’re referring to by including an affiliate link. Your commission will vary depending on the agreement the company offers. Be sure to disclose your use of affiliate links, and check for broken links on your site on a regular basis. Broken links result in lost commission and can even impact your search engine ranking.
  2. Books. As a writer, this is one of my favorite ways to find money in my account! With POD (print on demand) and ebooks, there’s no inventory or shipping required. If you have a shop on your site, you can even include the books there, avoiding sharing the commission. Choose a topic – or three – that relate to your business and pound away on the keyboard. Of course, the book will need to be well-written and properly priced, but there are many ways to build a lasting income through the written word.
  3. Classes on demand. If you have an area of expertise, or if you can produce training classes that show how to use your products, then online classes might be a good option for you. You might need some technical guidance to put this all together, but once you’ve mastered the process, you can create one or two new classes each year to build your offerings. I’ve seen classes for free (particularly when purchasing a product) or for a wide variety of prices, from $19 to several hundred dollars.
  4. Online shop. Can you create digital downloads that complement your blog content, books or classes? Post them in your online shop. People are online 24/7 and a digital download is readily accessible with an easy shopping cart. It might even be the way to find customers for your other products – a digital download could lead to a book or class sale. Be sure to have a secure checkout and capture the buyer’s info to build your email list. One thing leads to another…

Don’t feel you have to do everything at once. Choose one method of passive income, make sure it works properly, then add another to the mix. Evaluate your income streams on an annual basis. If it requires too much work to maintain for too little return, consider dropping the stream or item and add or enhance another. Things are constantly changing on the Internet, so what works this year might be passé the next.

If you’d like to follow along through the year, purchase your copy of Tame Those Pesky Details. (link below) Print books will be available soon!

What are your favorite sources of passive income? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

I do hope you’ll enjoy my blog posts, Instagram photos and tweets on Twitter!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Tame Those Pesky Details – February – How well can your business run without you?

TTPD – February – How well can your business run without you?

If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, chances are you’re focused on growing your business. Or, at the very least, maintaining a smooth operation. A good mindset to have, but what happens when – Heaven forbid – something unexpected occurs and you’re unable to helm the day-to-day activities of your company?

If you were part of a large organization, there would be multiple people at the ready to take over in your absence. But, if you’re a one-person show, it’s very possible that no one else has a complete understanding of how your business is run. Every business has so many different facets that it’s more than just leaving passwords, mission statements and banking information for your temporary CEO; contracts, trademarks and even fonts and colors of your logo are all crucial information.

I’m following along with my book, Tame Those Pesky Details (TTPD), where I focus on one specific item each month to keep your business in tip top shape, February is Legalities and it covers a wide-range of issues. Having a way to provide a temporary – or even permanent – means of understanding and operating your business will bring peace of mind.

I’ve been busy updating a lot of personal and business items lately, and although I have binders and electronic and paper files filled with the proper data, I realized that it would take a concerted effort for someone to step into my shoes should that unexpected need arise. I also discovered that I was missing some crucial information because my business has been operating for so long and I’ve moved so many times, some things have gotten misplaced.

I also think in terms of emergency preparedness. I keep hearing stories of people who had to leave their homes with moments’ notice and left behind some key business info because they were unprepared and were worried about saving their lives, which, of course, is most important.

In addition, I’m looking forward to expanding my business in the foreseeable future. Parts of this data collection can easily be organized into an employee reference manual. A little extra work up front will pay big dividends down the line. Again, this is all normal in a larger organization, but smaller businesses might not view this as a high priority. I’m all about having a solid foundation to build upon so this data collection and coordination will benefit me greatly as I move forward. Having all my info at the ready will save me time and frustration and enable me to easily update any changes. Whew!

While you’re organizing your business, think about vendors or employees who perform key tasks that you personally don’t know how to do, for example, adding/deleting items from your online store. This may seem like a small item but your inability to make these simple changes can have an impact. That employee or vendor can disappear on a moment’s notice and your ability to run your business smoothly will be hampered until you either learn how to do it or find someone new to work with.

Aside from determining the safest place to keep this info, my next decision is whom to share it with. And, I’m even thinking about a permanent succession plan for down the road. If there’s someone in my family I’d like to groom to take over the business, one can never start the process too early!

It will take a couple of months to pull this all together, I suspect, but once I’ve completed it, I’ll post a free checklist in my store. I might even do another blog post with more details. So, keep your eyes on all my social media so you can access the information as soon as possible.

I do hope you’ll enjoy my blog posts, Instagram photos and tweets on Twitter!

If you’d like to follow along through the year, purchase your copy of Tame Those Pesky Details. (link below) Print books will be available soon!

How do you organize your business data? Do you have a plan for someone to take over in case of emergency? Have you ever experienced the need to have someone step in your shoes? I’d love to hear all about it. Please leave details in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Cindi

My Writing Life – February 2017

My Writing Life – February 2017

So many people ask me what it’s like to be a writer and, honestly, the journey is different for everyone. A writer, like any other business owner, has to balance both business and personal expectations while feeding that all-important muse! So, I’ve decided at least for this year, I will aim to provide monthly updates to give you more insight into my business.

Everyone’s situation is different and, as I take care of my Mom full time, I never know what the day will bring when the sun comes up. Some months are extremely productive business-wise, while others I hardly achieve a thing. Still, as long as I continue to move forward, I’m happy.

Sometime over the last year or so, I saw a band’s website where they listed their top 100 goals to success and identified key milestones along the way, sharing their celebrations of each. I love that idea, but I have more than 100 goals on that list so I’ll just take it a little at a time. I’ll let you know when I’m celebrating a milestone!

Without further ado, here is my recap for February 2017.

Business

Social media. My goal this year is to blog three times a week, along with Instagram posts as I see fit and hopefully YouTube somewhere down the road. In February, I was only able to blog twice the entire month! Mom needed a lot of attention and there just wasn’t the time to focus on my blog. I’ll try to up the numbers in March, but Mom still needs a lot of help. I also want to get to the point where I have a backlog of unpublished posts so I can maintain consistency when my time is limited.

Books. I finally sent Destiny Drop off to the printer. Yay!!! I’ve ordered copies and will post on Instagram when they arrive. I made some edits to the print book, so now we’re tweaking the ebook so the two match. I hope to complete that within the week. I also sent the sequel, Destiny Dollars, off for print layout. It’s a longer book which will require even more reading to double check everything. It’s a brand-new book, never before released, so we’re starting with a clean slate. I expect it will be available late March or early April, followed by the ebook release. Stay tuned!

Online Image. I’m still aiming to at least start this in March. I purchased the WordPress template and SSL certificates. I also ordered the print copies of my first novel, so I can begin taking some photos. As I said last month, this will be a time-consuming process.

Writing. My goal is to write somewhere between 1,000-2,000 words each day. I didn’t even come close this month. Mom is my number one priority, so I just take it day by day. My plan was to complete the text of a new novel by the end of March, but we’ll see. It’s about 50 percent done. I have a feeling it will be a tossup between redoing my website versus finishing the book. I’ll update you next month.

Self-Care

Steps. I only hit my step goal 10/28 days in February. Not happy, but I’ll work harder in March.

Sleep. Surprisingly, in spite of the crazy month, I managed to hit my sleep goal of seven hours a night on seven nights! I haven’t done that in a long time. Mom’s schedule changed, so I’ve been able to get more complete sleep at night and I catch a nap whenever possible. I’m not sure what her schedule will be like in March.

Goals for March

I really want to focus on my books and blogging as much as possible. I will aim to average twice a week on my blog, post to Instagram weekly, finalize the Destiny Drop ebook, finalize the Destiny Dollars print book and make some headway on the new novel. If I’m up to it, I will lovingly focus on updating my website and opening my online store. This has been on my mind for a while, but it took me a long time to decide how I wanted things to look. Now I know so I can move forward. I also have operations items that I want to address. Those haven’t gone away! We’ll see how the month goes. Mom is priority number one!

Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’!

Enjoy!

Cindi

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #12 – Folding

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #12 – Folding

If you’ve read the book and are joining the fray, then you understand that folding is a big part of the KonMari method clothing cleansing/storing experience. Of course, the book I’m referring to is Marie Kondo’s book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. And, if you’ve been following along with me on my KonMari journey, then you know that I’ve dealt with the folding issue in some of my previous blog posts.

My first introduction to the KonMari folding method was to watch videos on YouTube. The folding seemed easy enough but I wasn’t sure that it would a) save enough space to be worthwhile and b) keep the clothing from wrinkling.

I can understand the whole bonding with your clothing idea and by touching each piece every time you fold it, you can identify areas that might need repair, or even that the piece of clothing has outlived its usefulness although it still brings you joy. But, I’m still not totally sold on the concept.

Just so you know, I’ve always liked to fold certain clothing items. If it goes in a drawer, it’s folded. I’ve also worked many years in retail and I love the look of perfectly folded displays. However, the KonMari Method suggests a different way of folding clothing which required a tweak to my previous habits.

Mastering the technique is pretty simple. Once you fold a few pieces, you develop a rhythm that sustains you through the pile. It kind of reminds me of when I used to spend an evening ironing. It’s almost like active meditation.

However, I’m the kind of person who likes to hang the majority of my wardrobe. To me, out of sight is out of mind. That may explain why my folded shirt drawers – although they look marvelous! – are in such great condition almost two years after their initial KonMari fold. Since the tops are no longer hanging, I forget I have them and often choose something else while I’m in the closet. On the upside, I was able to fit a large quantity of tops into two drawers which opened up hanging space for new purchases!

I’m not convinced that folding works for everything except dresses, coats and jackets or flowy tops. I feel a lot depends on fabric and frequency of use, and some items are too difficult or small to fold. I suspect that many people who have cleansed their wardrobes with the KonMari method will have relatively minimal wardrobes left so everything will get used regularly. That’s not me!

I opted to fold some items because, as I stated in one of my first posts on this journey, I wanted to more efficiently use the space I had, both in my closet and in my drawers. I have a lot of stuff to fit into a small space, so folding seems to make sense. Once I’ve had a chance to completely redo my closet, I’ll have a better idea of how it all works for me. My closet is supposed to be big enough for two and even after this initial cleaning, I’m having trouble fitting just me in it.

When you watch the videos of KonMari folding, everything looks wonderful when it’s initially folded and the drawer is full. To me, the issue is just how quickly it can get ugly once you start pulling items out. You have to regularly adjust what’s left to keep some semblance of organization.

I’ve seen on blogs several people who have absorbed the KonMari Method of folding, and use it not only at home but to pack their suitcases and set up their hotel rooms. I suspect, now that I’m utilizing this method, I’ll continue to do so for years to come, but I will also hang as much as I can.

I feel your relationship with your clothing is very personal but also something we all struggle with, particularly when it comes to organizing everything. We forget what we have which is why utilizing closet/clothing/style apps help. However, they do take time to maintain and I must admit, I’ve fallen away from using mine. I just have higher priorities at the moment, but I think they’re amazing aids and I wish I had mine updated.

Now, before I digress further, here are a few pointers regarding my KonMari folding experience.

  1. Watch videos. There are several on YouTube, not only by Kondo, but by several people who follow the KonMari Method. I highly recommend watching the videos before you begin your folding phase.
  2. Use plastic. I know Kondo suggests using leftover shoe boxes and lids for small item storage, but I much prefer plastic. Cardboard is susceptible to dust, bugs and dampness. Even in a drawer, cardboard gets dusty and dirty and is just too difficult to clean. Plastic can be washed and dried at will, and if you buy the clear plastic, you can actually see what’s in there. My vote is for plastic.
  3. Cut the tags. Kondo suggests cutting all tags so your clothes will feel wanted and part of your life. I’m paraphrasing here. Anyway, I struggled with this at first. Sometimes you like to know which tops are new, particularly when it comes to camis, tamis and tanks. There are times when you absolutely want to wear a new one, and once you cut the tags, that easily identifiable designation is gone. However, if you’re going to fold, you quickly discover that the tags get in the way. Even when I was sorting, the tags kept tangling. So, I caved, dug out the scissors and cut the tags.
  4. Look at the big picture. Once you’ve cleaned through all your clothes, they need to be organized in a manner that works for you. It might mean emptying everything – again! – so you can decide how best to locate your clothing. Coats in the coat closet. Pajamas in the night stand. Scarves on a hanger. Figure out how you’ll best utilize everything you own, then organize it that way. Not everything has to be folded.
  5. Fold smoothly. Be sure to smooth each item out before you fold it, otherwise the creases will likely remain. Some items are easier to do than others, and some, like pajamas, you might not care as much if there is a wrinkle or two.
  6. Fix what you see. The good thing about folding is that you do see every inch of an item you’re folding. Tears, snags, falling hemlines, and so on, become ever more obvious. Also, you can see when a piece of clothing needs to be tossed due to wear. I sadly donated a few shirts when I got up close and personal with them.
  7. Do what’s best for you. Remember, in the end, the KonMari Method is simply the suggestion of one organizer who wrote a book. Fold or not fold. Your clothing is up to you.

I’d love to hear your comments on how you’re adapting to KonMari folding and organizing your clothing. Leave your comments below!

Next up, more random thoughts and what I’ve learned so far. Join my feed on Bloglovin’ or catch my Instagram posts to keep up to date.

Enjoy!

Cindi

 

This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!

 

Recipes – Obsessed! Avocado Chicken Egg Salad

Recipes – Obsessed! Avocado Chicken Egg Salad

I’ve determined that I’m a serial salad eater. From time to time, I’ll become obsessed with a particular salad concoction and eat it nearly on a daily basis for weeks on end. Then, I may never resurrect it again.

My current favorite salad was created by cleaning out my refrigerator on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I was hungry but too lazy to head out in the rain to get something to nosh, and in no real mood to cook. I opened my refrigerator door and grabbed whatever grabbed me. The result? A salad I am now obsessed with and everyone I’ve served it to loves it, too!

The first thing I noticed when I opened my refrigerator was the unopened Marie’s creamy ranch dressing that I’d purchased for entertaining over the holidays. It had an expiration date in about a month so I decided I’d best get to eatin’ it!

A bag on the second shelf held a chicken tender from the local grocery store. Rummaging through the vegetable drawer, I found some mixed baby greens, grape tomatoes and a small avocado. It all sounded good, but it still seemed something was missing.

The answer was on the top shelf. In a small Lock&Lock were black olives that called my name, and I remembered I had nearly a dozen hard boiled eggs. My sister always tells me to keep hard boiled eggs at the ready in case I need a quick snack or something to add to a recipe. She was right!

I chopped, tossed, seasoned and mixed and voila! My new favorite salad!

I’ve included a make-shift recipe for those that require one, but generally when I make salads – well, almost anything – I just go by gut. You can certainly substitute if you like, perhaps grilled chicken for the chicken tender, or low-fat ranch dressing. It’s an easy recipe with good things in it; just tweak it to your taste!

Just so you know, in my house you can never have too many black olives or coarse ground pepper on anything.

Avocado Chicken Egg Salad

2-3 cups mixed baby greens (your choice)
6 grape tomatoes
1 hard boiled egg
1 small avocado
I chicken tender
Black olives
1 TBSP ranch dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Place greens and tomatoes in bowl. Slice hard boiled egg. Add thinly sliced chicken tender. Dice avocado. Add olives, seasoning and dressing. Mix. Eat!

If you try the salad, please let me know how you like it. I’ve eaten it about 20 times already. I’m sure once summer comes, I’ll switch to something else but this salad is where my taste buds are right now.

Enjoy!

Cindi

My Writing Life – January 2017

My Writing Life – January 2017

So many people ask me what it’s like to be a writer and, honestly, the journey is different for everyone. A writer, like any other business owner, has to balance both business and personal expectations while feeding that all-important muse! So, I’ve decided at least for this year, I will aim to provide monthly updates to give you more insight into my business.

Everyone’s situation is different and, as I take care of my Mom full time, I never know what the day will bring when the sun comes up. Some months are extremely productive business-wise, while others I hardly achieve a thing. Still, as long as I continue to move forward, I’m happy.

Sometime over the last year or so, I saw a band’s website where they listed their top 100 goals to success and identified key milestones along the ways, sharing their celebrations of each. I love that idea, but I have more than 100 goals on that list so I’ll just take it a little at a time. I’ll let you know when I’m celebrating a milestone!

Without further ado, here is my recap for January 2017.

Business

Social media. My goal this year is to blog three times a week, along with Instagram posts as I see fit and hopefully YouTube somewhere down the road. In january, I was consistent with blogging twice a week. I’m OK with that for now.

Books. When I released this last batch of books, it seemed the engine was on ebooks. The idea of publishing in print was considered no longer relevant. Since then, the tables have turned and more and more people are telling me that although they do read ebooks, they still enjoy touching the paper. In fact, I have met several folks who refuse to read ebooks. So, I’ve set about getting the layout done on my books for print. My goal was to have four of them completed this month. Well…the first one is done but i’m still doing a final read-through. Every time you make a change in format, it’s important to do a complete read-through lest things get missed.

Online Image. January for me was to be a complete redo of my online image. However, I want to have print copies of my books for photos, so at this rate, it looks like it will be March or so before I’ll be able to do it. I’ve selected the new template for my website and online store, and pretty much know exactly what I want. It will just be a time-consuming process.

Writing. My goal is to write somewhere between 1,000-2,000 words each day. Well, if I add up all the blog posts and notes I’ve written, I’m not too far off. However, if I look simply at credible output on a new book, it was just over a few thousand. With plans to release a new book around the end of March, I’d better get writing!

Self-Care

Steps. This month, I hit or exceeded my step goal 26/31 days. I’m happy!

Sleep. My goal is seven hours a night, but since I take care of my Mom, it works out to be about six hours of broken sleep plus an occasional nap. Still working on this.

Goals for February

As we’re already into the month, I can say that Mom has needed a lot of extra care so far, and will continue for at least a few more weeks. That being said, I plan to get one book to the printer, start the layout on the second, blog an average of twice a week and work on my March book. There are some items regarding operations and my websites that I’d also like to accomplish. We’ll see how the month goes. Mom is priority number one!

Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home: Fashion vs. Comfort – What to wear to your home office

Fashion versus comfort – What to wear to your home office

Working from home definitely has its advantages, but there are a steady stream of challenges as well. Surprisingly, one issue that crops up time and again is what to wear to your home office!

In general, corporate office attire has become more casual over the decades although some companies still require strict adherence to a formal suit and tie dress code. Casual clothing in the workplace has swung so far away from professional attire that some people opt to up their game in the fashion department because they realize dressing well for work makes them feel better and co-workers give them more respect. Your physical appearance, after all, is the first way people form an opinion of you.

Regardless of how you dressed when you actually left the house for a job, once you work from home you have total control over your wardrobe selections. And, depending on your circumstances, it can vary widely from day to day and may change significantly over time.

I know many people who work from home and their daily fashion habits run the gamut from rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee and working in their pajamas to full-on hair, makeup and business casual outfit. The current trend of athleisure wear lies somewhere between pajamas and casual dress, so if you truly get to stay home all day, you can look a bit more together in your hoodie and compression capris. However, at some point you will encounter the outside world. Ask yourself, if you have to open the door for a delivery or run out for coffee, do you want to be known as the lady in the pink pajamas?

So, how do you decide what is best for you? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Dress casually. If you have an opportunity to have one or two really casual days of just sitting in your office to work, then enjoy yourself. How casual you go depends on your circumstances. If you live alone, it’s your option. If you’re married or have children, you’ll probably at least need to get dressed lest you encounter negative comments from your spouse or kids.
  2. Dress fashionably. If you are a social media devotee, you’ll probably have to do hair and makeup on a daily basis. If you’re a fashion blogger, I suspect you look forward to it! Also, if you do video webinars or meetings, not only will you need to look good but all the surroundings that appear on screen will need to entice as well.
  3. Dress professionally. If you attend a number of meetings outside of your home, I would suggest dressing professionally unless that’s deemed taboo in your industry. Professional dress shines a positive light on you, and your main purpose for being a business owner is to make money and be successful.
  4. Dress for you. If it makes you feel good to always look your best, it doesn’t matter what others are doing in their home offices, it just matters how you feel.

Your relationship with your personal work environment and wardrobe will likely evolve as you define yourself as a business owner. Whatever makes you feel your good will reflect in your business.

How do you like to dress for your home office?

Enjoy!

Cindi