How to Organize Your Closet-Part Two

Last week I shared How To Organize Your Closet-Part One

This week I’m sharing the way I’ve kept my closet organized for over two years and it works! It’s not difficult to keep up with and once you master the easy technique, you’ll have it down packed. Having an organized closet saves you time in the morning getting ready. It means you don’t have to think about what to wear as much as you would if your clothes were everywhere. Also, it means you’ll know exactly what you own, what you need to enhance your wardrobe and what you no longer wear.

1. First, organize by category and sleeve length-these are items you’ll hang in your closet.
Categories: Shirts, cardigans, dresses and pants.
Sleeve length for shirts, cardigans and dresses-sleeveless, short sleeve, three quarter and long sleeve.
Dresses and pants can be hung up after these items or in a separate space of the closet. Put them the same way you would with the sleeve length.
2. Organize clothes by color-the rainbow. Within each color put the clothes lightest to darkest.
Example: Hang light blue to dark blue-Exception: If a light blue shirt has white lace on it, hang it before the first light blue shirt. I hang white cardigans before the cream ones and a black cardigan with white before an all-black cardigan.

Tip: When adding new clothes to your closet, follow the first two steps.
For some room savers in your closet-hang up accessories like scarfs and belts on a scarf hanger-the belts can hang on the hook of the hanger. If there is an accessory you wear with a specific item (black belt with a black dress, hang it on the hanger of the item).

Tip: Every morning when I use a hanger from the closet, I’ll put it in the front of the tank tops then after doing laundry I can grab all the hangers and hang up my clothes exactly where they need to go. This solution has helped me to not search for hangers throughout my closet.

The key to having an organized closet is to maintain it. Hanging clothes up after they get out of the laundry is super easy if you maintain your closet this way. Why? Because you’ll know exactly where everything goes. Again, you’ll know exactly what you own, what pieces you need to buy and what you no longer reach for and can donate or sell.

Do you have any closet organization tips? Please let me know in the comments! Or on social media-@stylestomakeyousmile

What to do When Your Meal Goes Unplanned

You know those nights where you have dinner all planned out then something happens and your “planned meal” goes unplanned? The tomatoes you planned to put in the pasta aren’t good, you planned a fun night out but it got cancelled or you just weren’t in the mood for the meal you planned? Whatever your situation is, try to selvage any food you have in your kitchen to make a meal work.

Here are my tips on what to do when this happens…

Tip 1. If you’ve already begun cooking dinner and one ingredient is bad, mix in something similar. This literally happened to me tonight-hello post inspiration! I was planning on making pasta with chicken and tomatoes and found that most of the tomatoes I had bought three days ago went bad…so instead I replaced them with spinach and mixed it into the pasta. Cooking with fresh ingredients can be challenging because you don’t know how long the food will truly last-I have trouble using avocados all the time because if I don’t check on them regularly to see if they are ready to eat they can go bad pretty fast.

Tip 2. There have been many times where I will take out chicken to unthaw it and think it’s going to be ready to go the next night but turns out it’s not. When this happens my whole dinner game is thrown off. Also, the opposite has happened where I’ll forget to take the chicken out of the freezer to unthaw then I have to wait until it unthaws for dinner the next night. So what then? I’ve learned this year that it’s best to keep the freezer stocked full of food you can cook on the stove in less than twenty minutes such as turkey and chicken burgers. These are perfect substitutes when things go unplanned because you were planning on cooking anyway.

 
Tip 3. There is ALWAYS something in your kitchen you can cook for dinner. You might need to be creative-try mixing ingredients, looking online for inspiration (search for recipes where you already have most of the ingredients), cook something simple like pasta but make your own dressing. Or try my favorite, have breakfast for dinner-this can be anything from eggs on toast to an omelet with cheese and veggies. Don’t overthink the recipe and don’t get overwhelmed, as long as you’re grocery shopping on a regular basis and stocking up on food like pantry or frozen foods, you’ll always have something you can substitute when dinner goes unplanned.

Tip 4. For the nights when you thought you weren’t going to be home but your plans changed-instead of running out to the grocery store to buy food (since you were planning to spend money anyway on dinner) see what you have in the kitchen that you can cook up quickly. My mindset when this happens is that I’m not in the mood to cook because I was planning on having a fun night out, so if I can quickly cook up something in the microwave, in the oven or even make a sandwich I will. If all else fails, do what my grandmother would do and have a bag of popcorn! She always said that a bag of popcorn counts as dinner!

 
Tip 5. When you had a meal planned but you aren’t in the mood for it. This happens to me when I’ve made a big batch of something like pasta, and have eaten it for the past three days, it means it’s time to eat something else! Mood and cravings are everything when it comes to food, so ask yourself what are you REALLY in the mood for? If you can’t quiet figure it out, just make something that comes to mind or if it’s something you have in stock make that instead.

Do you have any solutions to unplanned meals? Let me know in the comments or on social media! @stylestomakeyousmile

My Favorite Homemade Smoothies

Over the past two years I’ve found a LOVE for making homemade smoothies. I make them either on my way out the door before work, during the late afternoons on the weekends or before a road trip so I won’t be hungry on the road.
The main ingredients I use are:

Cacao powder, banana, mixed berries, strawberries, almond milk as a base, avocado for creaminess, ice, chia seeds, flax seeds, basil, spinach and peanut butter.

The key to any smoothie is to have a liquid base (ice or milk), veggie or fruit and something to make it thick like an avocado or banana. Adding the chia/flax seeds to any smoothie can help for digestive health.
My indulgent smoothie-Almond milk, cacao powder, banana, strawberries and peanut butter. Note-I only use a few strawberries as too many can overpower the entire smoothie.
My work smoothie-Almond milk, mixed berries, banana, basil and chia/flax seeds.
Others-Ice, spinach, avocado, berries and basil.

Would you try any of these smoothies? What are your favorite homemade smoothies? Share in the comments or on social media! @stylestomakeyousmile –Facebook Page & Instagram

Lessons My Mom Taught Me

My Mom has taught me many lessons over the years, from the importance of pictures, as they always spark a remember when conversation to sayings I’ll always remember. Here are some of my favorites that I hope you can learn from.

 
1. “Only buy it if you love it!” This is her ultimate saying while clothes shopping. If you know you’ll wear a piece of clothing all the time then buy it or if you need to buy something that’s expensive but you know you’ll use it, buy it! The value of something outweighs the cost based on how much you use it! See how I relate this lesson in this post-Tips For Your Next Clothes Shopping Trip

2. How to SAVE MONEY! My Mom received the “Bank of Mom” title from my Sister when we were growing up because Mom would always save money for big projects-the house maintenance, a vacation, college education, etc. This lesson stuck with me and it is how I was able to buy my first car. It’s not always fun saving money vs. buying things immediately but the tradeoff is when you finally purchase the thing you’ve saved for, which makes it worth it in the end.

3. “Don’t let WANT be your middle name”- I can hear her saying this to me when I was younger. She is right, there needs to be a clear understanding of want vs. need in life. And if it’s something you want that’s expensive, you’ll need to save money for it, then it will be worth it in the end because you’ll always remember how much you paid for it!

4. How to have fun and laugh! My Mom always has fun wherever she goes-out to dinner, having a party at home with friends and family, in the car jamming out to her favorite song-she once told me she waited in the car until a song was over and I TOTALLY do this too! Haha. We can always find something to laugh about no matter the situation.

5. How to do things by yourself-My Mom taught me it’s okay to do things alone because then you can do whatever you want when you want. See this post-Learning How to go to Events Alone & Painting Tips

6. How to shop for clothes-Twice a year we’d go on a major clothing spree. We’d be at the mall from the time it opened until the time it closed! We’d meet my Dad for dinner and he’d ask if we’d had good luck finding clothes and it was always as YES! She’d teach me about what looks good and flatters my figure, etc. and it’s how I’m able to share all the clothes shopping tips on my blog!

7. A love for dance-She passed along her love of dance to me, as she’s danced for many years and I’ve been dancing since I was a baby. My senior year of high school we ended my dancing journey with a jazz duet where we did the kick line at the end of the dance and everyone clapped for us. We laughed and hugged at the end of the dance. *I also got to do a dance with my Dad my senior year! She’s the reason why I love the ballet and Broadway shows.

8. The importance of family-Whenever my family gets together it’s always a good time! We all laugh over past memories and find anything in the present to talk about that’s funny. We give each other advice and always make time to see each other on the holidays. And, if we go out to dinner, we are ALWAYS the last ones in the restaurant because we like to talk! I remember one specific night when I was younger where we stayed at the restaurant until it closed and said goodbye to the workers as they headed home while we just stood in the parking lot talking all night!

9. Pictures are everything-On Christmas Eve, my Mom’s side of the family gets together and it’s a tradition to take pictures of each family. And when I say pictures, I mean, the ENTIRE FAMILY TAKES PICTURES AT THE SAME TIME-SO YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE TO LOOK! Ha! My Mom always has pictures printed and put into albums so you can always look back at them. In my parent’s home there is a wall with shelves dedicated to family albums. *My Dad always loved taking videos and it’s also fun to watch them and see how everyone’s grown.

10. “Enjoy the age you are because you’ll never be it again”-Oh how true this statement is! You only live once, so enjoy everything that each year brings you! It’s taught me not to worry about getting old but to focus on the age you are and making the most of your years.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Love you!

What are the lessons your Mom taught you throughout your life? Share with me in the comments or on social media-Instagram-@stylestomakeyousmile or Facebook Page-Styles to Make You Smile

How I Stock My Kitchen

When I go grocery shopping each week, I normally have a list of items to buy, but what I’ve come to realize is that I can add value to my shopping trip and stock my kitchen if I buy at least one extra item from the list below. This is helpful in case there were ever a time when I couldn’t run to the grocery store like getting sick or having a busy week.

Below are lists of items I stock up on:
Freezer-Organic chicken and beef and turkey burgers, pizza, vegetables (you can get bags of these for under a dollar at certain stores), fruits-strawberries and mixed berries, vegetable rice/quinoa and Greek yogurt pops.
Fridge-Water, Almond milk, yogurt, eggs
Pantry-Cereal, peanut butter, soup, pasta, tuna, cereal bars, rolled oats.
Other-Apples, oranges, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers

Stocking up on these items means I will always have a full kitchen. It also means I’ll never run out of ideas on what to cook. While I might buy something one week, it means I can eat it when I’m in the mood for it later on. None of these items listed costs more than $10 total, so it won’t break my budget. For more information on budgeting read: How to Stick to a Weekly Food Budget When you give and take on your budget it all comes out the same-stock up on one expensive item one week-like organic chicken-then next week stock up on frozen vegetables.

How do you stock your kitchen? Let me know in the comments below or on social media @stylestomakeyousmile

My New Perspective on Food

Before I can tell you my new perspective on food, I’ll tell you my original perspective. I used to only buy enough food for the week and nothing more. What I’ve learned is when sticking to a budget- How to Stick to a Weekly Food Budget  and shopping at two stores where I can pick and choose what I want to buy based on the food items prices-I can buy more each week. I also used to buy whatever food I wanted, until I started recognizing what foods my body truly doesn’t like and recognizing what foods I’m addicted to. Here are my new perspectives on food:
Stock up on frozen & pantry foods. By stocking up on these items, it means you’ll always have something to eat. The only problem I’ve seen is that sometimes I’ll forget what I’ve bought a week or two ago. To combat this issue, I write down what I’m going to eat each week for dinner. If I have to buy food to go with it I’ll write that down that too. If I’m making something with fresh ingredients, I’ll incorporate them into my dinners for the week. However, if I’m making something frozen I can choose to make half of it for the week and the other half some other time.

Since I’ve been stocking up on food, my budget can go further by buying extra items-I’ll buy a package of chicken sausage even if I’m not going to eat it that week. Or I can save money by not buying any meats that week because I already have some in the freezer. I can also choose to spend my money on something that’s the same price as chicken.
What you eat each week begins in the grocery store. Over the past few years, I’ve realized what foods my digestive system likes and dislikes. One of the things I love is chips and artichoke & jalapeno dip from Trader Joe’s, however, my body does not. Not only because I’ll devour this food in a weekend but the food just makes my stomach upset. So, knowing this, I focus on buying foods that actually give my body energy and make me feel good. Since I know what foods I’m addicted to: chips, dip, salt, chocolate, etc. I try to minimize or eliminate buying them during the week. Another thing I’ve realized is that by eliminating the purchases of these items means I have money for fresh and healthy foods. The chips and dip costs almost $6, instead I bought hummus and veggies that cost less and makes my digestive system happy.

Tip: If you don’t know what foods you’re addicted to, start by looking at what you buy each week and try to figure out why you buy these foods. Is it because they taste good but then later your body doesn’t feel good or works improper? For one week, try eating different foods to see how your body handles them.

As I mentioned earlier, I am addicted to chocolate, so to combat this I’ve tried a few different things. Last year, I used to buy a  whole carton of ice cream and eat it in a week. I realized I should try eating less sugar each week, so I then started buying Greek Yogurt Frozen Pops (they are really good!). This gave me a small portion of chocolate to consume each week. Other things I buy are chocolate almonds-they come in a small pack and because I only consume a small handful every few nights, it takes me two weeks to eat through the pack instead of a week. The other thing I’ve tried is to buy 1 or 2 chocolate candy bars a week, which really cuts down my chocolate intake. After dinner is when I’d normally have chocolate, so if I don’t have it in my home, I’ll make sure I’m eating enough food at dinner.

The point of all of this is to recognize that the foods we bring into our homes is what we’ll be eating every day. And if those items are not making our body function to its best, we should try something else, or slowly wean ourselves into eating something else. I also learned last year that if I don’t walk down certain aisles in the grocery store that means I won’t be tempted to bring those foods home.

I’m curious to know, what is your perspective on food? Let me know in the comments below or on social media IG: @stylestomakeyousmile FB Page: Styles To Make You Smile

Motivational Monday: Balance & Gratitude

I recently had a weekend that reminded me of how I got to where I am today. It wasn’t at all pretty having a negative experience to remind me of the struggles I face daily such as things like, living on a tight budget, saving money for future purchases but yet spending some money to do things that bring me happiness. It’s been hard but I’ve learned how to balance my finances with saving and spending AND not feeling guilty when I spend money on things that bring me joy-I mean I do only have one life, right?
The biggest realization I made this weekend after having a negative experience was simple, to let it go. Just let it be what it is, move on and think about something else. You can’t change the past. I’ve learned that when I put all my energy into something positive it makes me think about that instead of sitting around upset about the past.

Life will always move on. Just look outside, the world is always spinning, seasons changing. As long as you can find a balance within your experiences-by having a negative experience turn positive-you will always be able to succeed balance within yourself.

Gratitude:
I’d like to say thank you to everyone who read, liked, commented or followed me after reading: Lessons I’ve Learned at 31  When I started my blog the goal was to provide Realistic Lifestyle for Everyone. I want to create blog posts that are relatable to you all and I felt like I received a positive response from this post, so thank you ❤ My goal is to provide more posts like this and hope that you’ll learn something new along with gaining a new perspective on life.

How do you find balance within and your life and what’s something you’re grateful for? Please let me know in the comments or on social media! IG: @stylestomakeyousmile FB Page: Styles To Make You Smile