I've always loved school. Back-to-school was my favorite time of year when I was a kid and I always approached the first day of school with excitement. As I prepare (physically, with school supplies, and emotionally, with tissues handy) to send my first-born to kindergarten in less than three weeks (omg), I've obviously got school on the brain.
For all the families getting ready to go back to school or go for the first time, or maybe if you're homeschooling and need gear: Overstock has partnered with the fabulous PBS KIDS (which is on quite a bit at my house) to create the Overstock Kid Zone.
There are several categories within the shop that include products for school (supplies, desks, and watches to keep older kids on schedule), artistic expression (easels, paint supplies, and craft kits), learning through play (tablets, science activities, play kitchens, dress up clothes), and kids' rooms (beds, storage, and decor).
The Kid Zone page also links directly to PBS KIDS videos and activities families can do together. Best of all, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of products purchased from the Kid Zone goes to support PBS KIDS and its mission of educating children. I know as long as my daughter has access to Peg+Cat and Plum Landing for a long time to come, she'll be happy. And since some students, like my godchildren, have already started back to school: I wish learners of all ages a happy and enriching year!
images via overstock
No matter how interested or involved in social media I am, I'm ever the print journalist, constantly taking down notes by hand -- and realizing that my handwriting has really gone downhill since college as I'm out of practice writing by hand at that length. While spiral-bound notebooks are the most convenient, they're not always the most attractive.
This adorable strawberry notebook from MoMA is perfect for to-do lists, ideas, and notes taken during an interview. The juicy exterior is made of vegan leather and the stem-styled page marker is made of suede. There's also a honey dew version.
image via moma store
Ever have those days where you can't find something important in your bag and you look and look and it's not there?You search the whole house and finally you find it, when you check your bag again.
Or, is your place too small to have a table by the door and so you don't have a consistent, convenient place to leave your keys, sunglasses, etc?
Elefunction's newest products will take care of that for you; their tagline is Design That Never Forgets.
The Elephant mounts on the wall very easily and can become your command center to corral your things.. The strong cord holds glasses, sunglasses, phones, mail, and other small items, while super magnets embedded in the 'trunk' take care of your keys (even if you're a janitor, I've seen it in person).
Available in walnut or ash, and with or without an edge color, these products are all handmade in Colorado.
If you like to check your hair/teeth, or throw on some last-minute lipstick before you run out the door, the Echo mirror allows you to do that and has the same organizational function as the Elephant. Echo comes in walnut or ash.
Keeping your keys and glasses in one dedicated spot like this also keeps your keys from scratching the lenses of your glasses, which can happen easily in a bag. Plus, most importantly, you don't run around like a chicken with its head cut off looking for things when you're trying to get out the door to work or to meet friends.
Designer Brad Reed Nelson, founder of Board by Design - who I first met when I fell for his fabulous rockers at the AD Home Show a few years ago - initially started Elefunction as a way to keep track of his sunglasses. The product, the I Wear rack, was a simple board and tension cord (it and earlier iterations are still available). In the process Brad found that what they were doing was creating better relationships because people were happier, less stressed, more prompt, and more pleasant to be around all because they weren't wasting time looking for their things.
It's pretty powerful when a simple product can do that!
images via elefunction
I'll be honest. In theory, I am super organized, I have an idea of exactly how everything should be organized and I love to buy bins and organization paraphernalia. But, in execution, I stumble. Sometimes I get the system in place, but then get swamped for one reason or another and it falls apart until I have a lull in my commitments and can devote time solely to getting reorganized. Sometimes I get the tools and never quite implement them and sometimes my nascent hoarder tendencies plus my current lack of space (though I can't blame it only on my current living situation) combine to create a stress-induced paralysis where I feel the job is too big and so I don't start.
I feel so much better when others share their moments of disorganization. I can't tell you how happy this picture of Jessica Alba's full sink made me. Cleaning is another thing I struggle with, though most of our issues are paper and toy piles, okay, and the dishes. I think about cleaning and try to come up with a plan, like wash sort Mail on Monday, Dust on WeDnesday, vacUum on TUesday, but inevitably something comes up, or I get tired, or the kids refuse to sleep and I just give up. And as they say, something has to give, and for me, it's the cleaning up. When it comes to spending time with my kids or cleaning/organizing, well, I'm always going to choose my kids. And I don't apologize for that, but I definitely need to come up with some plan that I can actually stick to.
I also have the additional problem of working from home. My husband is great, and he really does pull his own weight, but sometimes, whether he means to or not, I get that sort of "you were home all day, why didn't you clean anything" type of comment. So I started saying, "I was working all day. Did you clean anything while you were at work?" A few times of that and he got where I was coming from, but I think he would really like to come home and find that I've accomplished some household project. I'm sure other freelancers, bloggers, and people who work from home can relate to where I'm coming from. And to be fair, it's mainly my personal life that suffers because I put home stuff aside to make sure my professional deadlines are always met. I recently took on a new part time job on top of my freelancing, and now that both kids are out of the house all day, I'm hoping that I can use some of the time on work-from-home days to clean/organize. January has been a rotating schedule of sickness for our family, so I already feel behind, but I'm trying to not let those feelings overwhelm me.
I originally wanted to make last year my year to get organized but I totally underestimated how exhausted I would be after having my second child. So, I'm hoping that I can regroup and make this the year that I get it under control, at least more than I have been in the past couple years. So with that in mind, I've come across a few organizing resources that I'm going to try:
Do you struggle with any of these areas? What works for you?
P.S. Don't watch a bunch of Friends reruns while trying to blog about getting organized or thinking about time-management. It's really antithetical. Oops.
In our last house, we had a very large walk-in closet in the master bedroom, which we had outfitted with a very nice installation from California Closets. It had a 15-slot shoe organizer and plenty of drawer and shelf space, though my husband would say, if you had so much space why were your clothes never put away? And I would say, it's because I was in a constant state of let-me-try-all-this-on-and-see-what-fits-ugh-body-issues.
However, now in the house we are renting, the closets are extremely small and the sliding doors barely work because they're coming off their 50+ year old tracks. I had one large dresser which I gave over to my husband and I've been borrowing this tiny little four-drawer piece from my sister, but most of my clothes (which, yes, I still need to go through) are in giant plastic storage tubs. I'm not sure how long we'll be in this house, so I need to come up with smarter solutions to maximize the space we have. And because we're renting, I don't really want to build in anything or install anything.
That's why I'm really liking this organizer from Umbra. It only takes up the tiniest bit of hanging bar space and provides two mesh shelves that can be used for folded items, handbags, or shoes— all things I prefer to keep off the floor. And the hanging straps are adjustable so you can hang it at any height, to maximize all the vertical space you have. I think this is a pretty great solution to an extremely common problem, with the added bonus of being easy to stash away when it's not in use.
images via umbra
I have this compulsion to buy all kinds of storage bins. I think that each bin is going to be the one that finally gets my kids' toys, papers, or random clutter organized. I've already come to terms with the fact that I'm a piler, not a filer, but I still get self-conscious about people coming over and seeing the disarray.
I love love love this fluorescent pink modern toile storage bin (which comes in three sizes) that I found at ABC Home. I'm a big fan of mixing colors and patterns in unexpected ways, and when designs rooted in tradition are presented in a modern way, I'm generally hooked. I'm fascinated by the idea behind toile, but I usually find the traditional scenes a bit old-fashioned (and sometimes strangely suggestive, as evidenced by a shower curtain my sister had at her old apartment).
In the past I've been really into modern interpretations of toile (see: Timorous Beasties, Historically Inaccurate, and Sheila Bridges) and this pattern is so whimsical with the paper airplanes, wildflowers, animals, cityscape, and fashion-forward (superhero!) figures strutting across the cotton canvas.
If the fluorescent pink is too much for you, these charming bins also come in water green and honey.
images via abc home
When I was younger, I was a voracious reader and tore through several books a week. Oh, to have the time for that again. It helps when you are also an insomniac starting from a young age (although, now that my 4 year old is following this pattern, I'm not sure how great it is). I also loved to make up stories about people and what they did and where they went. For better or worse, I have a vivid imagination.
So when I see the Brownstone Bookcase from The Land of Nod, all I can think is: amazing dollhouse. Yes, it looks great with some books and toys, but how fun would it be to style at least some of this piece as a dollhouse? Decorate some of the shelves, grab some dolls and stuffed friends, and you (or, you know, your child…) could entertain yourself for hours creating lives for the dolls and imagining their interactions. I would have a ton of fun making up stories with my daughters about the apartment dwellers within. At least one shelf would be an Auntie Mame-style penthouse with revolving decor.
On the practical side, having the option to close the doors and hide away the toys and books when they're less than neat is a nice plus. The modern design certainly goes with what we have in my house, and I like that it has the natural wood tone as well, so it wouldn't feel overly matchy-matchy with my daughter's white bed and dresser. It is pricier than a simple bookcase, but if your kids are interacting with it on a level beyond organization, it could be worth the additional cost. I love that it could serve more than one function, and of course, I'm partial to anything city-related, so I think it looks super cute.
Brownstone Bookcase, $599, landofnod.com
images via the land of nod
I'm not sure why this week has felt so long, but I'm glad it's Friday! I've decided to publish the Under $50 Friday posts once a month, instead of weekly, and see how that goes, though I will always try to have a balance between inexpensive items and splurges/investment pieces in my everyday posts.
I don't put a lot of stock in horoscopes, but I do like zodiac imagery. Thomas Paul's iteration: traditional zodiac motifs on dishwasher-safe melamine coasters, shown here alphabetically ($48, Home Remedy). I'm a Sag, all the way, in case you were wondering.
As hard as I try, I'm more of a piler than a filer, so I need to make sure my papers are well-organized within those towering stacks. Large (2-inch) glasses-frame-shaped Specs paper clips ($7 for 10, Umbra) will get the job done in a noticeable, funny way.
My cramped 1950s kitchen was able to fit very few of the things from our old house. Anything from medium-sized small appliances to all the decorative items are still packed away. But we have two empty walls (literally, no cabinets or anything) next to which my grandparents used to have their kitchen table. We have a table there for extra counter space, but eat in the dining room.
As they're some of the only walls in the house not wood-paneled, I'd love to hang art like Australian artist Belinda Marshall's Possibility print ($44, Leif) to bring some life into the room. This is supposed to represent a calm meditative space. My kitchen and I both could benefit from that!
I just felt like sharing my favorite clear lip balm, which is Mor Cosmetics' Lip Macaron in passion flower ($10, beauty.com). I wear it all the time, especially now that the weather is getting chilly. It's light (not sticky), I love the fruity scent, and the little tin feels more special than a regular stick of balm.
This quirky plastic Kipik hedgehog toothpick holder made me smile; it can either perch on the edge of a bowl or be used freestanding. The little guy comes with 22 picks ($25, MoMA Store).
Brighten your child's closet with some of these adorable Farm, Zoo, and Pet Hanger Buddiez ($2.99 for set of four assorted hangers) from The Container Store. Seriously, $3 for 4 hangers!
And if your little one requires littler hangers, these precious wooden Pet and Zoo Infant Animal Hangers ($7.99 for set of three assorted hangers), also from The Container Store, are such a sweet option.
images via the container store
Better late than never. I've been busy this week on deadline, and then we went out to dinner with my father-in-law, who has been in town for a few days. We haven't seen him in a year and he just finally got to meet the baby, who turned 10 months today.
When I bought my desk--the ubiquitous white lacquer Parsons desk from West Elm--it wasn't quite as, well, ubiquitous, as it is today. I still adore it, but sometimes I wish I had something off-beat, a little different from everyone else.
The nice thing about the Parsons is that it's a great blank canvas; there are so many ways it can be styled. I am still trying to decide if I want to do brights or neutrals. Above, from The Everygirl, is a lovely neutral approach. I could easily go in this direction, and not simply because I also have the Sapien bookcase that is to the left of the desk.
Maybe someday I'll go with a different style. I also love the idea of a big table as a desk.
I think I would pair the Thalia with a few modern elements to keep it from feeling too serious. Love the ornate legs and support strut, it definitely catches the eye.
The Durham has a more industrial look, with a mix of wood and aged steel. I have a Mac, but if you were someone who had a tower for your computer, it would fit nicely on one of the lower shelves so it could be kept off the floor and out of the way.
The cool slim silhouette of the Cant is warmed by the walnut and grey finish. This would be great for someone with a small space, or who works on a laptop so they can utilize the upper shelf for storage and decorative objects. My monitor would obscure the whole thing.
Grange's traditional, feminine Ermitage has been a favorite of mine for a few years. The piece is available in 20 paint colors and 3 distress levels. I'm not really into distressing personally, so I would choose the least distressed finish, called classique. All of their colors are great, but I always find myself drawn to the purples, so I'd pick prune for the desk. Although, this fall, Grange is debuting seven new color finishes, so I could change my mind.
Super-talented and super down-to-earth designer Celerie Kemble designed a collection for Henredon, which includes this desk, the One Forty Five. This desk is so luxe, made of Philippine mahogany with a creme leather inlay on the main surface and two pull-out shelves. The cabriole legs add to the effect; it's a really beautiful piece. You can see the leather better in the image with Celerie.
Also, that black and white mirror behind the desk is amazing!
#checkout this blog with shop-themed puns
© 2014 | mrkt