Motivational Monday: Reality & Dreams

I spent the other night looking at photos from the past 5 years and found myself comparing my life then to what it is now. When looking back those years feel like a dream because my life is so different than before.

I thought to myself, what if someone new came into my life and looked through photos of my past? While I realized they’d know more about my past without any explanation from me, I also realized what happened then doesn’t define who I am now.

Every experience and challenge has shaped me into who I am today. This is the same for anyone, we are not who we are yesterday if we choose. But that’s the key, we have to choose who we want to be-that’s our reality. Defined by our experiences and left to dwell on the past? Or take the lessons from the past and move on, keep going and stay positive.

So, what days will you choose to have?

A Special Father’s Day Post

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! I thought I’d share some lessons my Dad has taught me over the years. But first a little background: He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, ran a family owned restaurant, worked as the Chief of my grandfathers Country Club and is a semi-retired successful businessman.

How to cook pasta-this something he learned growing up and passed down to my siblings, nephews and I earlier this year-See the post I wrote about here: How to make fresh pasta

The fun of cooking-When I was growing up he would cook me pancakes with an A in the center!

He can always tell you what the weather forecast is!

A love for cooking for family and community-During the holidays he cooks a prime rib dinner and Italian soup, and chicken and burgers for the annual family summer picnic.He works the church dinners which serve hundreds of people.

How to be a good sport-He danced with me during my senior year dance recital to I’ve Had the Time of My Life. He and my Mom dance every Friday night with friends.

He’s shown the work it takes to be a successful businessman which is long hours, dedication and partnerships.

A love for his home-He always does a beautiful job with the landscaping around the house, he has a garden and has hanging flowers on the front and back decks.

He has an incredible knack for knowing directions! Wherever you are, he can tell you exactly what roads lead home.

Love you, Dad!

Lessons I’ve Learned While Blogging

Blogging is a never ending journey. It’s a place to always learn and create and always have lessons to share. So, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned so far after five months of blogging:

Consistency-I know this one of the things bloggers struggle most with (and I have too in the past). So, how I’ve found to combat this is to pick a day or two to write my posts. For me, those days are on the weekend. If I have a weekend with no plans I’ll spend the morning running errands, working out either in the morning or early afternoon, cleaning, laundry and then in the early evening I’ll sit down to blog. Because I’m mindful of knowing that I’m going to blog on the weekends, in the evenings when the house work is done, it helps my mind to be calm. I can focus on getting my blog content written and know that anything I still need to do can be done another day.

The other thing that helps with consistency is to know what I want to write about. I have my week planned out based on the topics such as: motivation, food, shopping, lessons or blogging. I then pick a day for each of those topics and write the article (this is where a content calendar would come into play). Within each topic I’ll think about a post I want to write. Sometimes I’ll write down what I want to say on paper and then transfer it over to the laptop-transferring makes the process fast because you’re just rewriting everything without thinking too much (just be mindful of errors or changes you want to make). Otherwise, I’ll write the post on my laptop.

Put the phone away-I have a rule when I blog and it is to leave my phone in another room. This helps to keep distractions limited because my phone’s social media and email notifications go off all the time. When this happens I normally click to: read the email, see who liked my post, who is now following me, etc. I also leave the phone on silent which really helps from having no distractions.

Be positive-The best part about blogging for me, is to show people a positive message in the world. I love to share that it’s okay to struggle with things as long as you come out of it with a positive message to say that something was really hard but this is how I made it out of that time in my life.

The blog is yours-I realized today that the reason I love my blog is because it is mine. I don’t have someone telling me, you should do this or change this to read like that. I love being able to choose my own topics and have others be interested in the same subject as me. Blogging provides a space of freedom for anyone looking to embrace their talents, let other’s learn from you and you learn from others. I never thought I’d love learning as much as I do from reading blogs, listening to podcasts and writing my own blog content. The best part is to make it your own, show who you are and help others.

You can choose your environment-During the spring/summer/fall months I write at a desk surrounded by pretty flowers, my favorite blogging mug, notebook, pen and a nice message written on a chalkboard to motivate me. During the winter I’ll write in my living room with the TV playing music to help motivate me. I also love working from coffee shops, being around other people motivate me to do work.

New blog post ideas-When I have an idea for a post my mind never stops thinking about it until I’ve written it. Normally, my ideas are titles for posts and then one or two ideas of content. I’ll write these in a notebook and come back to them when I’m ready to write. Once I begin writing the post all comes together and the ideas start flowing. I’ll stop either when the post is complete or when I need a break. Sometimes it’s good to come back to content either a few hours later or the next day to read from a new perspective.

What are lessons you’ve learned while blogging? I’d love to know! 🙂

 

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

Motivational Monday: Replace the Words, “I don’t have time” with “I’ll make time”

There is always something that we wish we could do more of but people will tell you they don’t have time to do so. So, how you make time to do the things you love?
Replacing the words, “I don’t have time” to “I’ll make time” can help anyone get in the right mindset of making positive choices for their life today. The things you put off because you don’t have time, try to put into perspective, how long is the thing you don’t have time for really going to take? Fifteen minutes? A half hour? An hour? Once you’ve recognized how long it will take, figure out a time frame that fits into your day.

Decide today that tomorrow you will wake up and do whatever it is you claim you don’t have time for. Whether that means you need to wake up earlier, take a break from the TV or social media, do whatever it takes to get it done.

Today, you can write what it is you want to get done in your calendar for tomorrow which will hold you accountable because you’ve written it down-this is all about visualizing that what you’ve planned for tomorrow IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Visualization is a key component to realizing your goals.
Lastly, hold yourself to your promise that you will spend the time it takes do what you’ve written down. Making time for yourself is so important because it shapes who you are and who you want to become. You then go from a vision of saying this is what I keep claiming I don’t have time for, to I’m making the time to do it, and look what I just accomplished! Keep writing down things you want to get done in your calendar so you can achieve more of your goals.

What are some things you need to make time for? Please let me know in the comments!

How To Organize Your Closet-Part One

When I was growing up I would organize my closet twice a year, once at the end of each summer to get ready for new fall/winter clothes and at the beginning of the spring for summer clothes. Before going shopping, I would go through everything from last year’s previous season styles and put away the opposites seasons clothes.

Here’s a checklist of how to organize your closet:

Go through your closet-Really look at the pieces in your closet. Figure out what it is you are and are not wearing and why. Once you do this, you’ll realize what you have in your closet and what you need to buy. Do you need more cardigans, pants, or shoes? Knowing what you have and need are half the battle when it comes to shopping.

Try It On-Just like you would try on clothes in a store, try on anything you are unsure of fitting. This is key for any pieces you have not worn in a while. Once you have it on, ask yourself if the item still fits, if so, are you still going to wear it this season? If the answer is yes, great! If no, make a donate pile and if it’s a maybe, then keep until after you’re done shopping. Remember those “maybe” items while shopping, so you can fit them into your new wardrobe.

Make Piles-Once you’re done trying on clothes, make three piles, yes, donate, maybe. Of course, throw away any items with holes, stains, rips, dirty underwear or socks. Put any donate items in a bag or bin. Also, since the seasons are changing, store the previous season’s clothes into a large bin. Inside the bin, store like items together. This will create ease when the seasons change and you have to take everything out again. This cuts down on closet clutter, out of sight out of mind. If you have room in your closet or another closet available, put any larger seasonable items, such as winter jackets, to the back of your closet or in another room. This will lessen the space for this season’s wardrobe.

Donate-Anything I grew out of as a child I donated. When my cousins were younger, a lot of my clothes went to them, which was a great way to keep cute outfits in the family! Today, I offer my friends and family clothes I no longer wear and they do the same with theirs. My friends and I even make it fun by bringing the items we want to give away to a girl’s night and show the clothes after dinner. I also donate to charities such as the Rescue Mission and Salvation Army. Back home we had a store called The Pink Door, which is where a majority of my items went. Donating clothes as a child was a great lesson to give back to others and it’s still something I continue to do and would encourage anyone to do the same. My rule for donating-if you haven’t worn it in two years, donate it!

Overall, the main point of organizing your closet is for you to keep track of what you have and what you need. Go through your closet twice a year and be honest with yourself about what you want to stay vs. donate. If you feel like you are stock piling items you never wear, donate them. If you’re struggling with buying too many clothes, try reading this article on The Art of Browsing Clothing Stores I hope these tips help to reduce clutter in your closet and helps you have a more organized closet in the future ❤

Stay tuned for Part Two of How to Organize Your Closet where I’ll share the ultimate way to organize inside your closet. It’s a fool proof way that I’ve used for over two years and I can’t wait to share with you all!

What are your tips for organizing your closet? How do you keep it fresh every season?

Motivational Monday: Embracing the Path you’re on

On my Facebook Page-Styles To Make You Smile, I’ve shared a video of actress Lisa Kudrow discussing her life story of how she was hired to work on the TV show Frasier but then was fired and after many auditions landed Friends. What I learned from her story is that you should always keep going no matter what path you’re on. She got up every single day, continuing to go to auditions which means she stayed on the path of being an actress and not giving up because it’s what she loved doing.

It can be easy to believe that the path you see for yourself is the only one that should work out. But sometimes receiving disappointments along your journey can be right for you, but it’s all about how you look at it. If you keep going and continuing to do things that make yourself happy then you will eventually find yourself doing what you love. In the end, Lisa realized that it was a good thing she’d gotten fired from Frasier otherwise she’d never be on Friends. So, the next time something doesn’t work out, keep on facing the day to strive for something new. Eventually, you’ll find where you’re meant to be. ❤