Sunday, September 27, 2015

Treat Yourself!

Treat Yourself!
Left to right: Woman Within V-Neck Tee; J. Jill Slim Pants; Blue Goo Cracked Heel; L'Occitane Jasmine et Bergamote Body Milk; Flexitol Heel Balm. 

That's not me stepping out of the shower, by the way.  Please, I wish my shower looked like that!  We have a little fiberglass tub with a tension rod in place of an actual shower curtain rod.  

I did some pampering yesterday, in that I took a shower, washed my hair, and moisturized tip to toe!  Then I changed into some comfy clothes and my roommate and I ordered dinner from the local diner.  

I have diabetes, and skincare is very important.  Skin provides a barrier to infections getting in the body, and infections, if you have diabetes, can be fatal.  So it's important to treat any cuts, wounds, or irritations of the skin as soon as possible.  I neglected my skin all summer long, mostly because I didn't go out, so I thought it wasn't necessary, but!  I was wrong.  My skin was getting really itchy and had some irritation.  My feet have callouses.  This is not a good situation.  So I've started taking care of my skin again, moisturizing my feet and my body after showering.  Yesterday I decided to make it a little special, by using the "good" moisturizer from L'Occitane.  I moisturized my feet with the Flexitol Heel Balm (stuff works wonders!) and my elbows with the Blue Goo.  I need to do this more often, because my skin really needs the help. 

After applying the moisturizers, I lay down on my bed and let them soak into my skin.  It's a nice way to relax, especially if you're in a hurry to get ready for an event.  It helps to just take 15 minutes to regroup and recharge.  

Afterwards, I felt like a new person!  So relaxed and mellow ... hmm, nice! 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Review of Peter Walsh's "Enough Already! Clearing the Mental Clutter to Become the Best You"

I read a few reviews, and some people complained that this book didn't go into as much detail as they would have liked, but to be fair, Walsh mentions in this book that he wrote about organization and decluttering and body issues in his previous books, It's All Too Much!, The It's All Too Much Workbook and Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?  I haven't read the last one, but after reading this book, I might add it to the TBR pile.  You might want to read those three books first, if you aren't familiar with Walsh's work. 

The book follows a basic format, focusing on six aspects of life, covered in six chapters of the book: relationships, work, family, money, health and well-being.  Walsh talks about how all six aspects of life are impacted by clutter: environmental clutter, mental clutter, financial clutter, relationship clutter, physical clutter in the form of obesity and poor health, and spiritual cluttter.  Then he goes on to address the issues posed by these different aspects of life and the clutter associated with them.  After that, he breaks down each segment or chapter into "Imagine the (aspect of life) you want," "clear the clutter of unreal expectations," "watch out for obstacles," and "declutter your (fill in aspect of life here), ending with "And then there's the stuff."  There were some chapters that were hard for me to relate to, including the "Family" chapter, because it focused mostly on the nuclear family, with parents and children.  I'm in my 50's, single and my parents are no longer living and I don't have that much physical interaction with my siblings, since we don't live near each other.  I have a roommate, but we get along very well and communicate well with each other, so thankfully, no problems there.  Also I couldn't relate to work, because it focused mostly on people with careers.  I'm retired on disability, and while I do volunteer work, my life is relatively low-stress.  I couldn't relate to the relationship segment at all, since it seemed to focus mostly on couples living together, which I've never done.  So, as you can see, the book mostly addresses the needs of couples with children or parents, neither of which I have.  That said, I found the chapters on money, health and well-being to be very helpful.  On the other hand, now I'm worried about what's going to happen when I turn 65.  The chapter on health gave me a lot to think about, because I have some health problems.  The chapter on well-being was inspiring for me, because as it turns out, that's one aspect of my life where I'm generally content and satisfied.

In summary, if you're looking to take a deeper look into Peter Walsh's methods, I would suggest reading the first three books mentioned above before reading this one.  Also, be prepared to do the exercises included to get the full impact of the Peter Walsh decluttering experience.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fall Is Here and the Time is Right for ... Cleaning!

Fall is here, school is in session and the fall and winter holidays are bearing down upon us.  Chances are, you'll be having company at your house, and/or you are clearing out your closets and storage areas in preparation for storing spring and summer clothing and household items (such as sports equipment and items for the beach, pool and garden), and bringing the fall and winter clothing and household items into rotation (such as winter bedding and quilts, outerwear and seasonal decorations).  

It's a good time of year to give all those nooks and crannies, closets, the pantry, the cupboards and cabinets a good going-over to get rid of all the old and expired products, such as expired medications and hygiene and beauty products, old electronics, old textiles and clothing that doesn't fit or is worn out (or just doesn't work in your wardrobe), medical supplies and other household items that you no longer use that you need to discard or that can be donated or recycled.  Some aren't safe to put in the regular trash, and I'll give you resources to deal with those.  

This information will be mostly for the New York City area, but you can check with your municipality's general information hot-line or local government websites about where to dispose of these items. 

Makeup, Skincare and Beauty Products

Good Housekeeping has a pretty thorough article on when to toss makeup, skincare and beauty products.  


SAFE Events in New York City

The Department of Sanitation has SAFE events throughout the five boroughs.  SAFE is an acronym that stands for Solvents, Automotive, Flammable and Electronics.  You can dispose of these types of household items at SAFE events. 

You can find out about SAFE disposal events in your borough here.  This includes medical waste and medications.  

Disposal of Household Waste in New York City

You can learn how to dispose of residential household waste in NYC here.

New York City's Department of Sanitation has begun a pilot curbside textile collection and recycling program.  You can read about it here and see if a pickup day is happening in your borough. 


GrowNYC  has a wealth of information about neighborhood recycling, composting, Stop & Swap and donation events throughout the five boroughs of New York City.  

GrowNYC also has clothing donation events around the five boroughs.  Check if there's one near you. 


DEA National Prescription Drug Takeback Day

You can also participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Takeback Day, which is Saturday, September 26, 2015, 10 AM to 2 PM.  In Delaware and Pennsylvania ONLY, the date is Saturday, September 12, 2015.  You can find a drop-off location in your area here.  Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem, so you'd be doing the world a big favor by getting rid these drugs if you don't use them anymore.  If you can't participate in Drug Takeback Day, check with your area's local government about regulations regarding disposal of prescription medications.  Please don't pollute the water supply by dumping them down the sink or toilet.  The fishes and wildlife will thank you.  So will the campers.  


Goodwill Industries

If you're looking to donate your clothing, household items and textiles to a worthy organization, try Goodwill Industries.  They sell the items and use the funds to help people in the community with job training, skill building and employment, so they can lead better lives.  

Veterans' Organizations That Accept Donations

There's also Vietnam Veterans of America, an organization which helps not only Vietnam Veterans, but veterans of all wars.  You can read about what they do on their About VVA page.  

Another veterans' organization I just found out about is United War Veterans Council.  They called me up one day and asked if we had any donations.  My roommate happened to have donations that needed to go out, so I scheduled a pickup.  They came when they said they would and picked up the donations.  

Military Money Matters is a good resource for finding out whether the veterans' organization to which you would like to make a donation is a worthy one.  

That's the run-down!  You probably have resources in your area, and I encourage you to use them.  If you know of any that you think I should have mentioned, please let me know in the comments.  

Apartment Therapy's 10-Step Closet Cure, and the Results of a Recent Clean-Out

Good luck with your fall cleaning and decluttering!  I'm going to be attempting Apartment Therapy's 10-Step Closet Cure.  I invite you to try it.  I'll try to update regularly.  

I recently let go of a bunch of donations from when I cleaned out my closet and decluttered my apartment in spring:  

This is the result.  Five containers of clothes, ceramics and glassware, handbags, household items, CD's, hats and shoes.  It all went to this place called Bay Street Thrift, on Staten Island in NYC.  My roommate was nice enough to take a cab and run some errands for me since I haven't been able to get out, and she dropped it off.  I hope to be getting rid of some more stuff during this Closet Cure.  

Take care and be well!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Look! It's a Book Review! Rebecca Moses, Author and Illustrator: "A Life of Style"

Title: A Life of Style
Author and Illustrator: Rebecca Moses
Publishing Date: 2010
208 Pages
Publisher: The Monacelli Press, a Division of Random House

Rebecca Moses is a designer who has worked in the fashion industry since the early 1980's.  She has her own design label, and she designs the Rebecca Moses Heart Soul Style fashion and home collections.  

I had to rate this book with three stars, because after reading it ... I still came away feeling like I did not understand the intangible quality called "style."

I read this book in one sitting (last night, as a matter of fact).  It was an easy read, since the book has plenty of illustrations and large print.  Rebecca Moses, the author, was also the illustrator, and her illustrations were lush, detailed, colorful and whimsical.  Her prose was engaging.  

What I didn't like about this book was that, while the author said you don't need to have a lot of money or look a certain way to have great style, her illustrations left the opposite impression.  Almost all the women in her drawings (and there were only women, this is not a book for men to read if they want to know about style!) were white.  They were all thin, with no curves in sight.  In short, they all resembled the author.  I would've preferred more diversity.  The other thing I didn't like was that the drawings were packed with stuff.  Jewelry, accessories, shoes, furnishings, clothes, chandeliers (she really likes chandeliers), makeup ... just everything.  If you don't need a lot of money to have great style, do you really need so much stuff?  So it's not a style book for the minimalist. 

The author talks about the qualities that define your personal style: your manners (or lack thereof), speech, the way you carry yourself, the colors you choose, the objects you choose for your home, the company you keep ... all those details that define you as a unique individual.  This extends from your personal code of dressing, to the way you decorate your home, to how you entertain.  Moses has some nice ideas about home decorating and entertaining, but it's nothing earth-shattering.  Personally I'm still working on getting rid of the clutter in my home.  To me, having a place for everything and everything in its place is the pinnacle of style. 

I came away feeling slightly defeated.  As Moses says in the first few pages of her book, some people are born with innate style.  The rest of us just have to work at it, if we choose, and that's why books like this sell.  In summary, it was a short and enjoyable read, but it left me underwhelmed.