Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Current Catalogue - Big Spring Sale event - up to 75%

The Current Catalog is offering a huge Spring Sale event until 4/30/13! Hurry! 
Some items are up to 75% off and they offer free shipping for all orders over $40. Click the ad below.

Big Spring SALE - save up to 75% plus Free Shipping on $40 order at CurrentCatalog.com with promo code WGGWKV until 04/30/13. Shop checks, address labels, wrapping paper & cards!

Here are some of the items I found to be great values (click on the picture for a direct link):

Country Star Door Decoration $9.49
(was$18.99 - 50% off)

Easter Envelope Value Pack
50 envelopes (10 each)
$2.99 (was $5.99 - 50% off)
Owl Always Love you file folders
Set of 3 - $4.49
(was $8.99 - 50% off)
Brown Sugar Rooster (to keep your
brown sugar soft and moist)
 $2.99 (was $3.99 - 25% off)
Dryer Balls $3.99 (was $6.99 - 43% off)
Patterned Sticky Flags
(lot of 5 designs, 50 each)
 (was $3.99 - 70% off)
Pink Argyle Clip Tabs
$2.49 (was $4.99 - 50% off)
They clip and tab up to 30 sheets together

Happy Shopping!

Sophia, NJ.

*This site and post contain affilitate marketing - All opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Managing difficult people

Hi friends,

I have good news and bad news about difficult people:

The bad news is that difficult people happen, they happen all the time and sometimes they happen to be our own family members.
The good news is that you do not have to deal with difficult people! Not too earth shattering as a concept but a real truth - You simply do not have to.

Over the years I have gathered quite a wealth of information about difficult people and learned that they will fall under two very distinct categories:

  • Difficult people who cannot help themselves but be difficult and,
  • Difficult people who do not need to be difficult but chose to be.

When dealing with difficult people it is important to know which of the two categories is in front of you.  I have learned that, sometimes,  those who cannot help themselves cannot be helped either.
Think about those whose emotional health presents a host of challenges they can barely face on their own. Unless you are willing to embrace the challenge of battling their deeply rooted dysfunctions and horrible habits, you are in for a long, long journey into frustration. Unfortunately, when these folks happen to be our family members, we are in for even bigger troubles since we really and truly want to help them understand how difficult they are as well as how their difficult and unmanageable behavior impact us emotionally and physically. If you ever had to deal with a rigid, unreasonable and overly dramatic family member, you know exactly what I mean...After a while, you simply give up on trying to reason with them or even attempt to show them your side of the story. In this category, you will find those with Bipolar, Borderline, Narcissistic or Anti-Social Personality disorders. All four will manipulate and disregard your feelings. All four will consume you to the point of utter exhaustion and at times, the total break up of your family and marriage. It is said that when dealing with a truly dysfunctional family member, it is us who have to change and learn to manage their emotional and behavioral dysfunctions rather than enduring the constant battle of trying to change them.

Here is a tidbit about difficult people who cannot help themselves: their dysfunction is their "normal" and your fighting them is a form of judgement and opposition they have difficulties understanding since, for the most part, they cannot appreciate how wrong and over the top they can be. If anything, and to them, YOU are wrong, hence their need to press on.

In less dramatic displays, other energy sappers come in many forms such as Grandma who is never happy nor appreciative, no matter what you do to please her; your nagging mom who always critiques and makes you feel like a 14 year old every time she shows up at your door or your co-worker who keeps a black book, recording every minute of his daily interactions, just-in-case  he has to sue you and take the company down with him. Some of these folks can become quite unbearable and make you dread going to work or showing up at your own parents' Thanksgiving dinner.

Then, there are those difficult people who do not need to be difficult: the arrogant and self absorbed coworkers, the inpatient and condescending lady at the supermarket line or those who have raised levels of ignorance to a new high by never bulging because change, well, it is just not for them.  These too, just like the first category, have the potential to engage and provoke you into endless fights.

There is one thing you must remember when learning to manage these characters:

Difficult people are more interested in being right than being loved.

We, on the other end, are looking to be loved more than we care to be right. (You can swap being right with being in control). Thus, here lies our conflict: because we want to be liked and they want to be right, we often have to yield to their bombastic claims that it is their way or the highway. We often leave these battles  and other command performances feeling defeated and unable to stand up for ourselves. These folks are exhausting and quite frankly, while we do not necessarily have a choice when it comes to family members, life would be much easier if we did not have to be exposed to any of this in the first place.

I have learned that in this second category of difficult folks, there are three separate and very distinct subtypes: their toxic behavior either stems from fear of inadequacy, a shattered self-esteem and/or a need for control. Fear they cannot meet expected standards, over compensation for perceived deficiencies or a need to control everything and everyone are often at the root of their resistance to be a part of a harmonious environment. It's all about their level of anxiety when confronted with specific situations, fighting back will only raise their anxiety.

So, what can we do? And wouldn't it be nice if we could live in a world where everyone is allowed to be just the way they are and no one would get offended, ever?

Here are simple, easy tips to follow and make your life easier whenever you are confronted with a difficult person:

1. Stay calm - Don't fight:

Easier said than done, yet, whether you are dealing with category one (cannot be helped) or category two (chose to be difficult), fighting back is never the right approach. There is no need to talk back and take on a defensive stance, most difficult people seek this sort of provocation and at times will set you up for a fight. It's a power-control thing.

Again, difficult people seek to engage and provoke. They want their views to take over, their needs to supersedes every one else's needs, they do not seek consensus and they believe that life is not fair so they need to have it their way. Any attempt at resisting or opposing their view point will be considered a green light for increased fighting and their perception that you are running interferences. Most will navigate you via a game of shame and guilt too. So, stay calm, do not raise your voice and remember this: no one can undermine you but YOU.

I have learned this from one of my previous supervisors and it took me a very long (and painful) journey to grasp the concept, but eventually, I did. No one can undermine me, but me. Today, my integrity and self respect are never damaged when dealing with difficult people. Not yielding to their nagging demands does not necessarily make me equally difficult, I have learned to gently stand my ground and remain intact in the process. A simple "I'll look into that, thank you" will stop the conversation in its track. Planned ignoring works just the same.

Some people will say whatever they want to say, they will create webs of lies in a deliberate attempt at ruining your reputation and ultimately make them feel better about themselves. Sometimes, it is simply about their raising smoke screens to expose you before they, themselves, are exposed. Yes, it hurts, but as long as you know who you are and remain poised and unaffected, the ball will always be in your camp.

Learn about what you can and cannot control and, think of the Serenity Prayer.  While it is often used in 12 Steps meetings, the point drives home in many situations described above:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Why are you accepting to fight with someone you cannot and will not change? If the person in front of you is overbearing, manipulative and outrageously hurtful, just walk away with your dignity intact. Let them make a spectacle of themselves and rest in the comforting thought that you are the bigger person and secure in your sense of self.
Most difficult people will equate your resisting them as a form of attack - it is your job to diffuse the situation before venom starts spewing your way. In other words, you need to stay in touch with your feelings and control your reaction to difficult people. Quite frankly, some are simply making arrogant and outrageous statements in the hope to upset and destabilize you emotionally. As long as you understand that process and know that this is not about you, but them, you will not feel nor be undermined.

2. Use humor to diffuse escalating conflicts:

Every office has a character who steals ideas,  tends to volunteer for everything and interrupts quite a lot. Whatever they do, they always do it better. Sometimes, these folks can be quite smart and manipulative as attention seekers. To add salt to the injury, I have also noticed that these folks also tend to be younger! If they have the energy to volunteer for everything, let them have it, I personally have too much work to put additional tasks on my plate, they can go ahead and run yet another committee!

Know your job description. Are you doing your job? Do you go above and beyond without being a show-off? If yes, then relax, these folks tend to quickly burn bridges and eventually their ambition will lead them somwhere else. Do your job, do it well and you'll be ok.
That said, if you are a so-so worker, learn to sharpen your saw and develop the necessary skills that will lead you to shine just as much. Resentment and jealousy will lead you nowhere as they get the promotion you had coveted. No matter what, always take things with humor...It's not personal, it's just the way they are and chances are they were that way at their previous job and will remain that way on their next job too, so you might as well have some fun! Turn yourself into some kind of lab researcher and marvel at their dysfunction. It makes for great entertainment at the office, or the family reunion! Whenever someone makes an attack, I simply reply with a note of half humility - half humor with a big smile: "Well, you know, I am still learning" and I move on. What answer could they possibly give you after that?

I once led a meeting, prepared with an agenda and a simple grid printed on the top. It was entittled: Interruption Connect-Four. Once every member sat down, I declared that I would keep track of those who would interrupt someone else during the meeting and whoever would reach "four", would have to bring doughnuts and coffee to the next three meetings. Some may think it was rude and unprofessional on my part, and perhaps poor leadership. It actually was received quite well since everyone in the group knew exactly who I was referring to, without directly naming our "identified patient"...We laughed it out, went on with our meeting, and guess what? No interruptions - No one wanted to be singled out, even our attention seeker! It was quite a productive meeting too! I brought the doughnuts to the next meeting.

3. Don't turn them down - influence:

Control freaks and attention seekers have difficulties with being turned or shut down. Your dismissive attitude towards them is never interpreted as a lesson they need to learn, if anything, it will give them more fuel to their fire. Instead of tit-for- tat attacks and continued stabbing, name calling or shaming, try to influence them.

There is an inteviewing technique used by salesmen and forensic evaluators called the Rule of Three Agreements, it is also known as the Rule of Consistency. The process is quite simple: We human, have a need to remain consistent in attitude and behavior. Whatever preceded us, we repeat, which would also explain cycles of domestic violence, addiction and control.  Think about it this way: the gambler goes to the slot machine and puts in quarter after quarter, eventually he wins, small or big, he wins. That is a guarantee he will continue wasting quarters. After losing his wins plus some, he wins again! Even losses lead to happy endings, more quarters are wasted and on it goes. We make conclusions based on history. Those who jump to conclusion simply draw from the past. If your difficult person has won a few battles with you in the past, their expectation is that this "winning" pattern will go on.

With regards to the Three Agreements, our brain needs consistency, and when faced with difficult situations it requires an answer that is congruent with previous similar situations. Check this out:

When responding to the difficult person in front of you, derail them by responding in the form of a question he or she would have to answer with a categorical YES. Do this three times. After three YES, something amazing happens to their brain: compliance and consistency. Because the brain needs to remain consistent and congruent with what was just processed, they will be more likely to continue to be ameanable to your point of view and continue to say YES. Here is an example using this technique with the nasty lady at the supermarket line:

"It looks to me that you are in a hurry, am I correct?"
"It is always a problem when things get delayed, don't you agree?"
"Wouldn't it be nice if we could always just breeze through these lines?"

Pause...Now ask the person to be patient, or calm down or whatever it is you need and watch what happens!

If you want to read more about Influence and Persuasion, here is a good read:

Sales people do this all the time, they get you to agree to a little yes first, then gradually build up to bigger ones, and that is how you end up with the latest model when you had just walked in for a used car! Why? Because as car buyers we walk into the dealer's with a difficult attitude, we expect to be duped so we put up all sorts of defenses and want to act tough and savvy! Three yes later, we drive out of the lot with an additional $6000 worth of bells and whistles we did not even know existed in the first place!

If car dealers can do it, everyday for a living, we can deal with our own sets of difficult people just as well!

4. Let them have "some" cake:

Give in, just a little. You do not have to lose everything, neither do they. So find something you can agree on and watch their defenses go down. How about you seek advice from them once in a while? Find something to ask them about, take the advice to satisfy their need to control and don't forget the feedbak. This works great with perfectionists who need to do everything right and be right too! You may not have to let them take over the entire project but allow a few tidbits here and there and make sure to give credit where credit is due.

Here are a few points to remember:

  1. No one can undermine you but you,
  2. You were not put on earth to comform to someone else's standards,
  3. Know who you are, if you don't, go find your authentic self,
  4. It is okay to severe ties with a toxic individual - if you are not happy, seek happiness,
  5. Stay calm, but don't be a pushover. If someone is just plain rude, camly set limits,
  6. Always maintain good boundaries to ward off energy drainers,
  7. You are responsible for your own destiny, if your job is a hostile environment, seek another job; If your family expresses its disapointment because of your choices, accept how and why they may feel that way but explore your own self definition. If you are unsure, change. If you are happy and content, continue to be. They will have to learn to accept you the way you are, it's not your job to teach them how to appreciate you.
  8. Take care of yourself, learn to cope with stress and adversity, it will go along way when dealing with difficult people.
  9. Some people are takers, others are givers. If you are a giver, don't complain others are taking. If you give in the hope to obtain something back, you are simply not giving.

I hope this helped.

Here are other good reads:


Thanks for liking and sharing my blog. You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.

Sophia, NJ.

* This post contains affiliates from Amazon. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Birchbox March 2013 - Open Box

Hello friends,

In my last post I mentioned my using the leftover boxes from Birchbox as drawer dividers for organizing small items. I also mentioned I would write more about Birchbox, so here goes:

Birchbox is one of many monthly sample cosmetics/skincare subscriptions. Other companies that provide the same service are GlossyBox, EcoEmi or Ipsy. I am pretty sure there are more, but these are the ones I am most familiar with.

For the makeup and skincare addicts like me, those subscriptions have become the perfect solution since we get to try a variety of products without having to commit to full sizes (hence saving us some money). I lost count of how many products I bought (and paid big bucks for) only to realize I either did not care for them or they were totally useless (as in fraudulent claims). So, samples are a good alternative to spending loads of cash on stuff you don't use and they are actually quite fun to receive every month in the mail.

How it works:

Birchbox costs $10 per month. Along with Ipsy, which is also $10/month, Birchbox it is one of the least expensive of all the monthly subscriptions (EcoEmi is $15 and GlossyBox is $21).
For a quick reference: Ipsy is all makeup + a cosmetic bag each month, EcoEmi is all organic products, including cosmetics, skin care and food items and Glossy Box is all cosmetics but in Luxury sizes which is another way to say travel size. Of course the idea is that should you like a specific product, you would return to the website (whichever subscription you have) and purchase a full size of that item.

You can also cancel any of these subscriptions at any time and shipping is always included in your subscription.

You do get to fill out some kind of skin profile online but I really think that is somewhat bogus since there's just no way they can handpick all the samples based on every subscriber's individual profile -each month (sorry Birchbox, I just don't buy that at all).

Every month, usually within the first week, you receive a box with at least 5 samples. Sometimes they would send (or so they claim) one full size product. I have been subscribing to Birchbox for 4 months now and I am yet to see a full size item! EcoEmi will send way more products (10)  and guarantees a full size in every box. Ipsy also sends 5 makeups items + a different bag with one full size item each month.

So every month it is pretty much like Christmas all over again as you open your box - you just don't know what will be in it, which is kind of fun or utterly disapointing, depending on the box. 
For the inpatient ones, looking at all the other boxes subscribers have posted for that month on their blogs and vlogs will not help much either as there are many variations of the same monthly shipment, one or two items may be the same, the others are completely different. I don't think it has to do with your profile, it is more a matter of what they ran out of first.

March 2013 was a make it or lose it month for me. As mentioned above, I have been a subscriber since December, this was my 4th box and the previous three were complete or partial fails. I said to myself that if March was going to be another let down, I would cancel my subscription and move on. So let's see what was in my box this month. 

This is March 2013 - Open Box. Next month I will do a complete review of all the products I tried.

First, this is what the box looks like when it is delivered to your door. (it is always this really cool and rather festive hot pink!):

But that's just the shipping box. Your Birchbox is actually inside and pretty much always looks the same each month, though Christmas was a bit more decorated. There are some gals out there who recycle their boxes for gift giving since they are sturdy enough. I use mine as drawer dividers or small organization boxes. The box itself measures 7x5 inches.

Once you open the box, the first thing you always see is that month's special message card. On one side it has a message from the girls at Birchbox and on the other side there is a description of the samples included.

This month there was a special offer from Benefit as well. 

A Birchbox exclusive, buy one Benefit concealer, get a free deluxe size mascara . Again, Deluxe means travel size, in this case it is probably the same size than any of the mascaras you would get as a free gift from the department store brands. I'll pass. Plus I don't want a concealer that looks like a lipstick so that I can contaminate the entire thing by applying it to my skin (this is not a rant against Benefit, I actually really like their products, I just don't think it was a good move on their part to package a concealer as a stick).

So basically the big surprise is right underneath the pink tissue paper, which by the way always comes to you in pristine and totally reusable condition. Oh the suspense! Let's see what's inside, and again this was a make it or lose it month for me, will I keep or ditch my subscription to Birchbox?

Here is the first view of the samples as you remove the tissue paper...

And here are the samples I received this month:

The first item is this nail file from Madewell (never heard of them). It is supposed to be one of the freebies this month. Surprisingly enough, while some may already cry out "are you kidding me?" I was just thinking of buying a nail file to bring to work, so this is just perfect for me.

There is this pretty cottage flower design on the back of the file and it comes (once the plastic wrapper is removed) in its own protective sleeve. That is a plus.

I am not going to have you wait until next month to find out my review about the file, I tried it right away...hmmmph. It's just a nail file with the same strength on both sides, I would have liked a rough side and a smooth side...Oh well, I still need one anyway! Next!

Serge Normant Dry Shampoo - That's cool, I always wanted to try a dry shampoo! This is a pretty good travel size actually (2 oz). Here's the claim (from the back of the card): 

"Serge Normant - Meta Revive Dry Shampoo - The A-List stylist created this volume-boosting mist to give second-day locks a lift. Bonus: The subtle fragrance leaves hair sweetly scented. Full Size: $25."

Yikes! $25 for a dry shampoo that's pretty stiff, but I will try it, and yes it is aerosol (not too environmentally friendly) and the smell is just that of baby powder. Not a big deal. Will try and will definitely review it for those of you who are interested. Next!

Whish - Shave Crave Shaving Cream - Not impressed with that one.

"The organic shea butter in this foam-free shaving cream makes for an insanely close shave and leaves skin incredibly soft. We love the exclusive blueberry scent. Full Size $20."
I like the ingredients (organic), the back of this  .75 oz tube states that it moisturizes, smoothes and nourishes all at once. It is also Paraben Free, Sulfate Free, DEA and TEA free and naturally sourced. But it does not smell like blueberry at all, to me it smells like candy. Will give it a try, review is coming soon. Next!

Marcelle - BB Cream Golden Glow - 

Very cool since I am yet to try a BB Cream. Never heard of the brand, turns out they are from Canada.

It is actually a pretty good size sample (0.5 oz) or enough for at least three applications.  Here is the claim:

" A Birchbox exclusive, this Canadian brand's multitasker is rich in hydrating aloe juice and works for all skin types. Full size, $27."
So I put it on the back of my hand is this is what it looks like, pretty fluid but already tinted, I thought that BB Creams came white at first and changed to tint upon applying it. Either way it may be too dark for my fair complexion but will definitely try it and review.


Inside the little pouch there are always a few additional items. 

This time around I received three samples of body lotion from the organic company Caldrea.

I am very excited about trying these body lotions since I am a bit of a lotion maniac and these are not only phthalates, parabens and formaldehyde - free, they are also vegan and not tested on animals. Here is the claim:

"We adore these elegant body lotions, which come in three ethereal scents: Tea Olive Lime, Aloe Water Apricot, and Coconut Fig. Full Size - $22."
Dang! Do they take coupons? Can' t wait to try and review these as they look like they will actually deliver big time!

So, to recap, this is what came in my March 2013 Birchbox:

And now for the big question: Will I keep my Birchbox subscription for at least another month? Well, this was by far the least disappointing box in four months and I am eager to try all the products, so I would say that the verdict is YES, but a reserved one. I am giving Birchbox one more month to deliver some great goods otherwise I will cancel.

That being said, I did sign up for EcoEmi last month and I am still waiting for my first box. I will definitely review that one too as I suspect it will be pretty epic!


What did you think? Would you be willing to subscribe to one of these sample subscriptions? I'd love to hear your opinion on any of them.

Stand by for a complete video review of all the products above as well as my EcoEmi open box -  blog post (coming soon).

Thank you for sharing my blog with family and friends. You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.


Sophia, NJ.

I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned above - nor am I being compensated to review products - all opinions are my own.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Organizing a bedside table

Hello friends!

I have been meaning to complete this project for so long! It is really not a huge task, but if you are looking for small projects to make you feel a bit more active around the house when it comes to organizing, here is a good and simple one for you: reorganizing your bedside table.

When we first moved to our home, we both knew that the attic/master bedroom would be our last big project, so we never really did anything with it, not even a coat of paint, it is one of my big projects for this summer (removing carpeting, painting , etc.). Since our old headboard did not fit under the slanted roof, we had to buy this Ikea (Hemmes) bed frame, which I really like. But in our old apartment we did not really have bedside tables for lack of space. I ended up purchasing two small coffee tables, from Ikea as well, in the same chocolate brown color than the bed frame and that has been the extent of the setup ever since. 

Since I tend to hoard a ton of books, magazines , etc., this table quickly filled up, top and bottom, with all manner of junk, not to mention collecting dust and miscellaneous items in the like of bobby pins, cough drop wrappers and other unsightly stuff I simply got fed up with.

All week I thought about this projects, knowing it would not take much time and also realizing that I had put it off for far too long. It took under one hour to complete.

I have this antique bedside cabinet/stand I purchased at the Salvation Army back in the 90's. I think I paid $25 for it and it was in really bad shape at the time. To make a long story short, years ago when we still lived in an apartment near New York City, I had left my car parked on the street and our elderly neighbor had damaged my door while backing out of his driveway. He really was bent out of shape over this incident and asked me whether we could trade services rather than call the insurance companies. I really don't know whether that was all legit, but he was an older gentleman and quite frankly I could not care less about the dent in my side door. Well, it turned out that he was a retired Ebeniste! So I asked him whether he would be willing to restore my bedside furniture...and voila! Free restoration, and an amazing job he did too! He said it was probably around the turn of the century between 1900 and 1905 and made of Tiger Oak and Poplar. I do not know what compelled me to put this beauty in the guest bathroom when we first moved in but it stood there for two years now and that made no sense to me, I thought I was really depriving myself of the joy of having a beautiful piece of antique furniture by putting it in a room I only visited once a week at cleaning time. Today, I reclaimed it for myself!

I gathered a few other items for this project: I purchased this very inexpensive lamp at Target (I think it was under $20), and for drawer organization I thought I could use the leftover boxes that come with my monthly Birchbox subscription (more on Birchbox and other beauty sample subscriptions in a coming blog post). I also had two leftover decorative artworks I previously used for the guest bedroom and thought they would make a nice addition on either side of the bed frame.

I used the top and bottom parts of my leftover Birchbox boxes to provide compartments to the drawers. I thought about the kind of items I would want by my bedside and would actually use rather than just parking miscelleanous stuff I could not care less about.

This is what I know I used and will continue to use:

Container one (See end of post for liinks):

  • Yves Rocher night time hand repair lotion with Arnica (a favorite of mine). 
  • Yves Rocher Almond Body Lotion (excellent moisturizer, I use it every night on my legs, heels and elbows, it keeps the rough spots at bay, smells wonderful)
  • Lipbalm
  • Scented body lotion (this one was a sample from Calvin Klein's Euphoria line)

Container two:

  • Burt's Bee cleansing towels (absolutely love these, they clean and refresh without leaving a greasy residue but are moisturizing enough on those nights I don't feel like putting treatments on my face, they are great for hands and neck too)
  • Nail file, this one is from Tweezerman, it came in the December Birchbox.
  • Burt's Bee Royal Jelly eye cream, I don't have enough left for my daily treatment routine so I am using the rest of the jar as a cuticle cream.
Container three:

  • Pain relieving cream (I recently sprained my ankle...again)
  • Hair band
  • Aspirin and Excedrin PM
You can't see the back because of the shadow but I also keep a small zipploc with ear plugs because you know who snores, a lot!

That is all I need! Bobby pins and other hair clips can be placed in any of these containers...At least I know they won't end up on the floor and under the bed!

This is what it looked like once I had it all organized, what a difference for such a small job!

My All About Me Basket

Let me tell you a little bit about the basket in the front: this is my "All About Me" basket. I started this project at the beginning of the year and it has been a life saver!

As mentioned in my previous post on Organizing Magazines, I do keep manila folders in it, with articles I plan on reading. But most importantly is the rest of the stuff I keep in this basket:

You may recognize my DIY iPad cover at the bottom right (it needs washing). What makes this an "All About Me" basket are the things I keep in it that have been amazing nurturing tools to me. I purchased these black mesh pouches a while ago from Barnes and Noble, they are made of very light nylon and come 4 in a pack. In those pouches I keep specific items I want to use either individually or as a whole:

  • My journal (top left): this is from the Martha Stewart Avery collection. I was never a journal writer, however, since the beginning of this year I have started recording my thoughts and made it a nightly ritual. I do my very best to end every entry on a grateful and positive note. This goes alongside with the Simple Abundance book series.
  • Simple Abundance, a Daybook of Comfort and Joy: I never thought I would get into this but it was recommended to me as something I should look into. In short, this book contains daily meditations and inspirations for women. It is not necessarily rooted in faith but it is very uplifting and each day connects into another, making it a progressive journey towards a better, more fulfilled self. I don't think it is necessary to start on January 1, you could definitely purchase the book now and back read whatever you need to but all I can say is that I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in reconnecting with their authentic self. Each daily entry takes no less than 5 minutes to read. I have made it a routine, after work and while the boys have their half hour break before homework, to read that day's inspiration and move on to the companion book.
  • The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude: this is the companion book to the Daily Comfort and Joy. In essence, this is a prompted journal where each day is filled with your own personal five entries on specific things you feel grateful about for that day. It could be anything such as a calm day at the office or a hot cup of tea by the fireplace. This also takes less than five minutes and all you have to do is write down five things to be grateful about each day. I find that this little ritual keeps us grounded and focused on the good things happening around us.
I Never thought that taking on this Simple Abundance journey would make a difference in my life but it did. I have been reading my daily inspirations, completing the Gratitude journal and writing in my personal journal, very faithfully  and every evening, since the beginning of the year. I can tell you that spending that little bit of time for and with myself to reflect and take the time to appreciate what I have rather than contemplating what I don't have, has had a true transformative effect on my well-being and the way I perceive the world around me. 

  • Inside the medium mesh pouch, I keep another kind of journal, this one is separated with stick-on tabs, each section reserved to a specific room in our home. This is where I record all my ideas for projects, decorative items I would like to have, or organizational tips. I am constantly thinking about stuff to do around the house and how to enhance or better utilize a certain area. Unfortunately I also tend to forget my "brilliant" ideas rather quickly, so now it is all recorded, in time. Pops in my head? Goes straight into the Home Journal. If I am at work and I do not have the journal with me, or at the store, I keep stickie notes in my purse, jot the idea down and later stick it inside the correct section of my Home journal.
  • The smaller pouch contains all manner of pens, pencils, highlighters and stickie notes.
The best thing about these pouches is that they can all fit into the larger one. So when I travel (should that ever happen, LOL) or want to take them somewhere, all I have to carry is one pouch!

To continue with my bedside table, I wanted to keep the top as much clear of junk as possible. So all I set my mind on keeping is this beautiful terrarium my oldest son made at the YMCA's aftercare two weeks ago. The art print also completed the look.

On the two shelfs, I simply keep a box of tissues and some of the books I am currently and desperately attempting to read. I just never have the time or am usually too tired at night to read more than two pages before falling asleep! I also keep my Filofax here and put it back every morning inside my purse. I am always thinking about what needs to be done with regards to kids' schedule, grocery shopping, etc., this is where I keep myself in check. I think I had mentioned this Filofax in my Purse Organization blog post. While I love its compact size, I have to admit that it is just too small for me, I need an A4 size rather than a Personal Size, so guess what is on my wish list for next Christmas?

And here is the final result:

I am glad I spent the time this morning to complete this project, quite frankly it took more time to write this post than to switch bedside stand and organize drawers!

I am hoping you found some inspiration in this post, in particular with the "All About Me" Basket. I would love to know what you do to keep yourself nurtured, so please leave a comment and share with MGC community what it is that you do to keep your sanity and find time for yourself.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog. You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.

Sophia, NJ.

Items mentioned in this post with direct links:


Arnica 2 in 1 Hand & Nail Cream
2 in 1 Arnica Hand Cream by Yves Rocher

Nourishing Lotion 3 in 1
Nourishing body lotion with almond by Yves Rocher

 *This post may contain some affiliate links. I am not affiliated with Barnes and Noble or Target. Nor am I compensated for reviewing any items mentioned in this post, all opinions are my own.

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