Living a Decluttered Life

Have you ever thought to yourself: “ I am spending so much time managing all the stuff in my home!” ? If you’re a busy #momboss, then chances are you have.  From rising early for work, packing lunches, running carpool, hosting gatherings, and a multitude of other commitments...

Chances are pretty high that there’s a ball being dropped somewhere. 

After years of feeling depleted because I was constantly spinning my wheels, I have come to believe that this is a vicious cycle holding women back from truly living their passions and going for their goals.

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We are often just flat-out tired and on top of that, our spaces are full of clutter and stuff to manage so it’s nearly impossible to rest.

Because we’re managing stuff ad nauseam, we’re often left without enough time to pour into what we really want to do!!!  Soooooo what if I told you there was a better way? What if I said there was a way that did not include you frantically “organizing” your home every weekend or day off?  What if I told you that it was possible for you to walk into your home and feel peace? 

If you are anything like me, you’re raising your hand right about now.  

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Let me just take a minute to remind us all of this truth: people are of more value than stuff! Yeah, I realize we all know this, but I bring it up simply because though we’d be hard-pressed to admit it out loud, our lives often tell a different story (cringe). We’re often SO emotionally-tied to our stuff that we “hoard” the things that have strong memories tied to them (I’m looking at you LBD from wedding season, 2007).

But there is so much power in sorting through the clutter and selling/donating/giving away the things that don’t serve us anymore!  In-turn, this process creates space for everything in our homes to have both function and purpose!!! This process of decluttering allows us to see what we really have, giving us ample opportunity to actually USE our things!! Something truly magical happens when everything we own has a place to belong. 

Doesn’t that sound lovely? 

I am a living testimony that IT IS POSSIBLE.

Let me encourage you with this: 

A few months ago I posted this photo on my Instagram feed:

So what do you say, Mom Boss?  Are you ready to clear the clutter in your physical space to clear the clutter in your MIND?  I promise, promise, PROMISE you will feel lighter and more freed-up to do the things you were called and purposed to do!  

Let’s get after it! 


READ MORE ABOUT  WYNNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT WYNNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY WYNNE ELDER: PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER, ENCOURAGER, & COMMUNITY BUILDER.

Easy Entertaining 101

Ok busy #bossmoms, you know you want to entertain…but sometimes the idea is a bit daunting and exhausting. But what if we told you it could be easy to create a beautiful and memorable dinner, shower, or party?

Here are a few things to get you started!

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THEME IT

Themes create a fun aspect for younger and older women alike. And for the entertainer or hostess, it allows for an easy shopping list and quickly narrows down needed items. No matter if it’s a six-person dinner party, a bridal shower, or a community event, themes will help both you and your guests.

EXAMPLE:

Need some theme ideas? How about a Kitchen themed bridal shower, South of the Border dinner or Farm to Table dessert tasting?

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SHOP YOUR HOUSE

Use what you already have! We come across so many women who don’t realize they can use their in-house dinnerware, glassware, and serving dishes for all of their events. And by thinking outside the box, a table can have instant personality!

EXAMPLE:

Water glasses can be repurposed for holding flower arrangements, your large white plates can be used as chargers beneath grandma’s petite china, and candle sticks can be mismatched for extra charm. We recommend using neutral colored entertaining and serving items because it allows the food and decor to be the center focus. Once you have your theme and your items needed for the event think décor

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SMALL EXPENSE, LARGE IMPACT

Décor doesn’t need to be expensive or high-end to make an impact. I always like buying a bundle of affordable flowers and set out candles as the perfect aesthetic on a dinner table. My favorite little secret is using small details to create a large impact.

EXAMPLE:

When using small details with large impact, I suggest using simple items that can go a long way. For example, you’ll see in the photos how a singular bunch of eucalyptus was used for a beautiful and statement-making centerpiece. I also hand dyed the table runner for a total of $10.00! By using dishes the hostess already owned, it created the perfect aesthetic!

The farm-to-table dessert menu and wine from our local grocery store made for a night of laughs, stories, and fun!


READ MORE ABOUT  SARAH  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GAL  GUIDES SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT SARAH (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GAL GUIDES SECTION

WRITTEN BY SARAH JOHNS: ENTREPRENEUR, CREATIVE, FLORAL AND EVENT DESIGNER.

5 Reasons To Hire Out Office & Home Chores

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I know you are doing all the things. Mom bossing is hard. Well, actually being a mom is hard...even without the job! But in order to get some of your sanity back, let’s talk about when to hire out home chores.

Having my own living space was amazing when I first was in law school. As a single woman in school full-time, I maintained each and very aspect of my home life with ease. It made me feel like an adult, and I actually enjoyed taking care of my minuscule apartment. Wiping down the counters, making a meal and even vacuuming were not chores, they were signs I was becoming an adult. (And dare I say that I actually enjoyed tidying up on the weekends?

Add fifteen years, a spouse, children, pets, a full time law practice and running two additional business…

Can I tell you how much taking care of our home ranks on my priority list these days?

It’s at the very bottom. And I cannot even hide the fact anymore that I do not care. The stress of coming home to overflowing laundry baskets, a sink full of dishes and dust on every corner of what we own not only makes me feel like a failure, but most days, I am too exhausted to care.

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I started asking myself if there were ways that may make my life easier. I sat down in the middle of my messy closet and started asking where I was failing the most. Not only in my family, but in my business as well. Could I get help and even bigger, could I afford help?  I made myself a list of the why and when I should start hiring things out.

Here are the questions I asked (and continue to ask) before I hire anyone to do anything — whether it is at home or in my businesses:

ONE

What is my time worth?

This is the biggest question you need to be asking yourself in your business. I understand that your answer may be “I’m not making any money right now.” That is understandable and girl, I’ve been there. But if you have no idea what your time is worth, you may be doing (or trying to do) a task that ends up taking all of your time and brain capacity and then you are walking away from things that could be done quicker.

As a lawyer, I know what my time is worth for clients, because I bill by the hour. But for blogging and writing, that was a bit harder to calculate. So for the first several years, I guessed. I set a rate (a very low rate) and told myself that if the task I was trying to do was lower than my hourly rate, then I would hire it out.

This will become easier as you go along, especially in an online space. Working with brands,  selling a product or being paid for collaborations will help you start setting an average business number and you can flex it from there.

TWO

Will this save me time?

This is usually an easy question. Of course having help, especially good help can save anyone time. But knowing if that time was valuable to my family time and to my business was another question entirely. I had to ask what I needed done and what kind of an impact would this make.

THREE

Will this save me money?

In the last several years, I hired a housekeeper and it has changed my life! She only comes one time a month and she does not touch my kids’ rooms or bathrooms-that remains their responsibility.

I also hired a runner for the office a few times a week that does errands for a set fee.

Both of these things create space in my life where I can not only make money but I can take the focus off of the smaller issues in my day that I usually beat myself up about.

FOUR

Can this reduce my stress level?

Yes girl! Yes it will. Walking in from a long day to a clean countertop is one of the highlights of my month! I know it may sound trivial, but your home requires the best version of you to function.

On the days that I would hit the door with an armload of work and look around only to see more of it was soul draining. Yes, paying someone is a sacrifice to our monthly budget, but now it is actually making me money. And maybe you don’t need house cleaning. Meal preparation services, hiring a neighbor to drive the kids back and forth from soccer practice, or even lawn maintenance are all home chores that someone is willing to provide a service for.

FIVE

How often do I need to re-evaluate?

I re-evaluate how things are going every month. Several months ago I added online grocery shopping to my list. I rarely step inside a grocery store anymore. It comes delivered. And since both of my kids are active in sports, I have a rotating schedule of moms who we take turns driving car pool-and these two services are free!

I’d love to know where you are at in your home chore struggle and if you have any tips or tricks of your own!


READ MORE ABOUT  LINDSEY  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT LINDSEY (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY LINDSEY W. ANDREWS: LAWYER, ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR, AND SPEAKER

You can connect with Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or www.lindseyandrewswriter.com




iPhone-ography - Tips from a Professional Photographer

As a professional photographer, I still use my iPhone far more often than I use my DSLR when capturing my daily life. The newest iPhone technology paired with the multitude of editing apps available, means anyone can “curate magic” and capture beautiful professional grade content with just few simple clicks of a button.

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Here are four easy hacks to help you take beautiful curated photos on your iPhone:

FIRST…WORK TO CAPTURE THE EMOTION BEHIND THE MOMENT

While there are many technical aspects of photography, there is still no greater advice I could give to someone wanting to capture great photo content than to begin by shooting the people and things that mean something to you. 

When you are able to translate the emotion behind the moment you are capturing you are winning the photo game and I personally love curating anything that conveys relationship and connection between people that love one another. 

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THEN…LEARN THE TOOLS INSIDE YOUR IPHONE CAMERA

1. TAP FOCUS

The simplest and most impactful tool within your iPhone camera is the tap to focus tool. When focusing on your subject, tap the center of your screen and a yellow box will appear around the point of focus (and for some phone models you will also be shown a sun icon where you can adjust the brightness of your photo before taking the photo itself as shown in the photos below). If you want to lock this point of focus; you simply hold your finger on that same point for a few seconds, and the focus square will pulse twice. This signals the focus locking (AE/AF lock) tool. This will force whatever focus point you set to remain set while you reframe your photo until the focus point moves from the frame.   

This is a tremendously powerful tool, because it allows you to control what you want the iPhone camera to focus on. To release the focus lock, just tap anywhere else on the screen.

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2. AUTO HDR

This tool seriously upgrades your photos with one single click of a button. Simply put,  HDR stands for high dynamic range and it gives you superior picture quality by blending the best parts of three different exposures. Simply tap the little HDR at the top of your camera screen, and just like that - you are off to taking higher quality photos.


3. PORTRAIT MODE/IG FOCUS FEATURE

For those with iPhone “Plus” models, I highly recommend the use of the Portrait mode, which uses the phones dual cameras to create a depth-of-field effect. This allows you to compose a photo that keeps your subject sharp with a blurred background (and mimics a  professional look in seconds). For those without access to the two camera system, Instagram launched a similar tool in 2018 called FOCUS  which allows users to capture portraits (only downfall is that this tool only works with faces) for a similar effect. 

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4. TURN THE FLASH OFF

While your built in flash took works wonders for nighttime photography - I will consistently say that nothing beats beautiful natural light, and when shooting within these conditions, your flash will only negatively impact your photos. So be sure to turn your flash off during daylight hours. Don’t worry about it feeling a tad dark, we can lighten it up with an editing app!

5. GO WHERE THE LIGHT IS

Back to my previous point… when it comes to photography, nothing beats big beautiful, natural, sunlight. When shooting portraits; it is always best to position your subject towards the light (front facing lighting), and a big open window is your best beauty tool when it comes to capturing portraits. When shooting completely outdoors, be aware of what time of day you will be shooting, as well as the weather conditions because direct overhead sun is often too harsh and projects undesirable shadows onto your subjects.

With that said, a nice overcast day can make for beautiful photos when shot in the middle of the day. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to shoot outdoor photos in full sun conditions. When shooting indoors and in low lighting scenarios, you can always purchase additional lighting (there are so many wonderful inexpensive options for purchase on Amazon) to help supplement your photos. 

There’s one more thing you may want to think about: White environments always bring more light.  Consider shooting on white beds, in white rooms, within white snow, at white beaches etc. to reflects the natural light and enhance the brightness of your photography.

READ MORE ABOUT  CHRISTINA  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GAL  guides SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT CHRISTINA (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GAL guides SECTION.

WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA CERANNA: CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PHOTOGRAPHER, SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT STRATEGIST