Friday, December 17, 2010

Inching closer to Christmas ...

This year the energy in the world seems odd to me.  Everyone is on edge and crankier than usual.  Have you found that to be true in your neck of the woods?  It can be more difficult than usual to stay calm and centered. The words of wisdom I have for today are simple: stick to your budgets!  Don't over spend. If you are tempted to do so remember the force behind the desire is your emotions trying to 'drive the bus.'  You stay in charge.  Think beyond the momentary delight of making this forbidden purchase to the day you open your credit card bill in January.  Did you 'sober up?' I thought so!  It works for me every time.

Don't forget those other budgets: the one for your energy is important.  You can't do it all without taking the chance you'll wind up with a cold or in an exhausted heap on Christmas morning. And then you have your emotional budget: how much celebrating will you participate in?  How much time will you give your cantankerous Uncle Albert on Christmas Eve? There's always a balance to be struck between legitimate obligation to those we love and outright manipulation.  Don't give in to the latter.

Other than a lot of sugar and egg nog (joking!), how can you stay focused and centered this last week before the big day?  Remember to exercise even if that's only a brisk 15 minute walk.  Stay hydrated and that means water not more soda or several pots of coffee or tea. And take a meditation break.  It will calm your mind and give you a new perspective on Uncle Albert.  And guess what else is calming?  Are you ready?  Please tell me you're sitting down.  OK.  Getting organized is very relaxing if you have the right attitude.  After all you are exhibiting control over your environment and that's pretty powerful. 'Stuff' won't talk back to you.  It won't make you feel guilty (you're on your own with that one) or ask why you don't call more often.  It's just stuff. We imbue it with magical properties.  As your environment gets more orderly it will be easier to think clearly.  Your self-esteem will rise and you will feel in control.  I can't think of a better gift to give yourself this holiday season ... except maybe that yummy cashmere sweater you're waiting to go on sale.  I understand.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Truly useful gifts!

I cut down on catalogue subscriptions last year so the ones I receive now are the ones I really enjoy. Last night as I perused a few of my favorites, I was struck by the number of really wonderful stocking stuffer gifts available this year.  For example, there's one called the Life Hammer which is actually a type of knife that can easily and quickly cut a seat belt in an emergency.  For $20 you can make all of your loved ones who drive a lot safer on the road! I found it in the Solutions Catalogue. (; item 86304; $19.95)

There's always someone on your list who doesn't have space for a shredder, right? Well, the Container Store has a stainless steel shredding scissors! They fit so neatly into an office or kitchen drawer.  For a mere $8.99 you can help someone stay safe from identity theft.  It doesn't get any better than that, does it?  Even grandma will make room for one of these. Check out

When I lived through the Northridge earthquake, I wished I had had automatic emergency lights.  The quake plunged me and my golden retriever into darkness. Guess what?  Emergency lights exist!  Bed, Bath & Beyond has one called the General Electric Rechargeable LED Power Failure Night Light.  When you shut off the lights in a room, it provides a soft night light.  In an emergency it turns into a flashlight.  There are many versions of this emergency light.  This one retails for under $20.  I have them in every room of my home!  Check out all the wonderful items at  By the way never toss out your Bed Bath and Beyond coupon.  They are honored long past the expiration date.

Have you ever purchased an item and found yourself unable to pry past the sturdy, thief proof packaging? They actually make special package openers.  All the stores mentioned here will have one and they retail for under $10.  Just ask for a 'package opener.'  Ladies, save those manicures!

Finally any one of the books in my One Year to ... series will fit nicely into a stocking this holiday.  You can match the book to your friend or family member's greatest organizing challenge.  I've got one for the home, the office and your finances. 

What practical items will you pop into a stocking this holiday?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Counting Down to Christmas ...

I was reminded recently how this holiday means different things to different people.  I teach people how to shop within the framework of a budget and a gift plan.  I teach them how to plan menus and throw a fabulous party.  When it comes to my own life, I must say I have something of a 'been there, done that' attitude.  I don't want to crawl around a crowded mall, drive the freeways with thousands of my fellow drivers or cook a big meal.  I did all of those things for years and I have to say it all brought me great joy.  But now I'm content to help others and concentrate on the Spiritual aspects of this beautiful season.  

I have friends who are in the same boat with me.  One told me recently that she had everything she needed.  In lieu of another gift, she wanted 'an experience.'  We grabbed another friend and went to the theater!  I like to meet friends throughout the year in different places to spend a few quiet days catching up on our lives.  Instead of gifts in boxes we get memories for a lifetime. 

But I am not holding one type of experience above another. It's more of a cautionary tale: if we are the same at 50 as we were at 20 something is missing ... like growth!  What concerns me is how rocking the holiday boat causes some family and friends to become quite upset.  It's as if we're saying we reject them personally.  Somewhere between what we need to do to honor friends and family and what we wish to do to preserve our own sanity lies the perfect holiday. Have you found yours? Did your new tradition meet with opposition?  I'd love to hear your story!

May you have a holiday experience you will long hold in your heart as one of the more 'perfect' experiences of your lifetime!

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June 2009, in China

June 2009, in China
At the Summer Palace outside Beijing

About Me

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I will always be grateful I grew up in Brooklyn, New York.  It was a rich atmosphere that introduced me to different races, creeds and professions.  It seemed that anything was possible if you were willing to work hard to achieve your goals.

I'm a yogi which means that my spiritual path is that of yoga principles that have been handed down for over 5000 years. Yoga is an ancient philosophy based on the Gita, the sutras of Patanjali and yes, the Bible. The postures are a key element as is meditation. We honor all paths.

I got my first dog when I was 6 years old after a full year of begging.  She was a collie and her name was Queenie.  As an adult I've had 2 golden retrievers.  A female named Miss Katie who came into my life when she was 3 months old and an ancient male golden who came to me when he was 15.  I'd like to have a Great Dane next but we'll see what the universe has in store.

I've been organizing clients for over 24 years and writing about it for over ten.