Become A Gourmet Chef In Your Own Home With Salted


Click to try salted

In my mind I’m a fabulous cook.  I lovingly and leisurely prepare meals for my family, put them intobeautiful serving dishes and set the table so it looks like Martha Stewart came over.  In reality, I’m usually racing around doing at least two things at once while I’m cooking and we eat off small plates and serve ourselves from the crockpot.  However, I’ve discovered a way to add a little more gourmet to every day; Salted.

Salted is a video cooking school.  Once you sign up for their service you’re granted access to a library of cooking, preparation and culinary skill videos.  These videos are designed and taught by culinary experts.  How To Bake VegetablesVideos cover just about every topic you could think of.  From plating with style to home made hot dogs, you’ll find something you’re interested in every time you log on.

Here’s why I love Salted.  At the start of the week, I can log on and check out some videos for inspiration.  Last week I was attending an open house party. I needed to bring something, but I had no idea what.  I logged on and found a whole smattering of recipes I could make.  Not only are there countless recipes, but you can acquire specific skill sets.  For Vanilla Bean Video Tutorialexample, I’ve taken courses on knife skills, plating and vegan cooking.  You can find courses in ethnic foods, specialty diet guidelines and even for holiday celebrations. This is a great way to increase your kitchen prowess without having to leave home or take expensive classes.

Salted makes a great gift for someone just starting out on their own, newlyweds or anyone who loves to cook.  There’s a video for every taste, personality and skill level.  Oh and did I mention this gift is clutter free?  Take a peek at all Salted has to offer.  Make a cup of coffee and cuddle up with your laptop.  Your family will love your creativity and creations!

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Four Paws Up For New Pet Gear

You all know I love pets.  My two dogs are frequently mentioned on my blog….and you’re probably sick of hearing about them by now.  However, we get a lot of requests for pet gear info.  While we covered some of the average items in the past, I wanted to bring you some extraordinary items that are as unique as they are functional.  Love your pets as much as we do?  Read on!

Doggie Gear

If you’re active with your dog, you need Talos’ K9 Sky-Trak Kit.  The unique kit allows you to create a zip line for your pup.  Of course, there is no incline :)  Attach the system to two trees, and then attach your pup to it.  They can then run free, while being protected and safe.  Add a water bowl and include some shade and both you and your dog will be happy as can be, even in the wilderness.  I love this SO much more than a stake that goes in the ground….my dog stays on one track and isn’t able to trip me in the campsite.  This is the perfect system for backyard play, a campground, or a break on a hike.

If you love a page turner, check out Amy Shojai’s thriller, Lost and Found.  It’s the tale of lives disrupted, intertwined and destroyed.  I don’t want to give too much away, but of course, there is a dog involved.  You’ll keep turning the pages and wanting to know more.  And because you’re lucky and Amy’s awesome, there’s even a sequel.  Grab this book as a gift to yourself or a gift for someone who loves a good read (and bonus points for pet lovers!) Oh and I recently joined Amy’s Triple-A Team, so more on her books, coming soon!


If you’re looking for some all natural pet treats for your pup, check out Kaleb’s Organic Dog Treats.  They are made with organic ingredients, in Vermont.  The unique flavors like Pizza Fusion and Peanut Butter Crunch delight dogs.  The crunchy treats are so fresh…they smell like fresh baked goods when you open the bag.  My dogs go crazy for these!  Because they are firm, they are perfect for taking along on a hike or walk.  They won’t make a mess and my dogs will do just about anything to get what’s in my pocket.

If your dog has some fear issues…thunder, fireworks or even the lawnmower…try AKC’s Calming Coat.  It wraps your dog up so they feel calmer and more comfortable.  I can’t tell you WHY it works, but I can tell you that it does. It’s easy to put on, and my dogs don’t fuss with it once it’s on.  However, they do lie down and rest comfortable.  It’s available in multiple sizes AND multiple colors.  If you want to keep your pup calm and comfy, give this a shot.

When you’re in the middle of a busy day or a long workout, you reach for a protein bar right?  Well think about your dog and how they might also need the same pick me up.  These protein bars by Wellness have all the goodness you’re looking for in a treat for your dog.  They are grain-free and gluten-free, 100% natural, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and made in the U.S.A.  Oh and the best part?  My dogs love them!

If you love a pet, you have pet hair.  Probably, lots of it.  It’s not easy to remove either.  The CarPET hair remover is by far the easiest remedy I’ve tried.  It’s unique shape and texture remove even thick fur from carpet, furniture and even the dreaded black yoga pants.  It’s easy to use, lightweight super effective. I want one for every room of my house!  These make a great stocking stuffer too!


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Three Organizing Mistakes To Avoid

When you’ve decided to get organized there are a lot of things you SHOULD do.  However, the things you should avoid are just as important.  Here I break down a list of common mistakes I see when my readers and clients start their organizing process.  They are common mistakes, but they are easy to avoid.  If you start off on the right foot, your project will be even more successful.

Organizing Mistakes To Avoid

1.  Don’t go gang busters on a whole room and take everything out.  I see this a lot, especially with closets. The weekend rolls around and you’re feeling like a rock star.  You take everything out and dump it on the floor or the bed.  As the day goes on, your energy level wanes and you realize this project is going to take longer than you thought.  At the end of the day, you’re ready to go to bed and it’s covered with clothes.  Now what?  You dump the piles back in the closet, even less organized than they were before.  Avoid this by working in segments, with a timer.  Start with ten minutes at a time and reset the alarm as necessary.  Using a timer and goal also helps you stay focused and breaks the project down for you.  Once you’ve duped everything onto the floor, it’s difficult to remember where you wanted to start.

2.  Don’t head to the store.  Okay, you’ve decided to get organized and you headed directly to The Container Store or Target and bought a ton of their pretty bins and organizers.  However, you haven’t really thought about where they are going to go in your home.  Only head to the store AFTER you know what you really need.  It’s ok to do some online research during the process. (Check what’s available, how much it will cost and how it will fit into your plan.)  However, if you shop first, chances are you won’t know the quantity or size of of the items you need.  When organizing, take measurements.  This means when you purchase supplies, you know exactly how they will fit and you avoid any extra trips to the store to return or exchange.  I also suggest buying a few extra hangers, totes, etc.  Your wardrobe will probably grow, you will want to store more items and so on.  If it’s important to you that future organizing supplies match, buy extras now.

3.  Don’t check Pinterest.  I love Pinterest, I really do. There are so many great ideas and life hacks on there.  I can spend hours browsing and want to go for a long run and bake brownies at the same time.  There are so many boards dedicated to organizing, products and projects.  While all of these can be great inspiration, I have found that people often get caught up in the perfectionism of the picture they are inspired by and forget the functionality of the space.  I want you to use Pinterest, as a guide…not as a map.  It’s a great place to find some ideas and inspiration.  However, make organizing your own.  Your home will have it’s own personality and style.  Design a system that works for you, not the photographer online.

Have you made organizing mistakes?  Tell me about them in the comments below and I’ll help you solve them, once and for all!

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Solution Sunday-Never Iron Again

Solution Sunday-Never Iron Again

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Island Life Part Three

When it comes to stuff, we’re all in sort of a dating game.  There is so much stuff out there, it will never be used up.  However, we keep buying new.  Why? Because we’ve been convinced we need the newest, best and more trendy item to make us whole.  Instead, think about where you can look to find what you need. On the island you can check the flea market, with your neighbors or at the swap shop.  In other communities you can check Facebook, Craigslist, Freecycle and more.

Island Life Part 2

One of my very favorite places to visit on the island is the second hand book shop called Secondhand Prose.  It’s run by the library and filled with books, old and new, that have been donated.  You can buy books for fifty cents to a few dollars.  At the start of the summer, I love going it with a reusable bag and a ten dollar bill.  I can usually get at least five books, which keeps me busy for a while.  This is such a valuable service and could be offered in any community.  I bet you have a pile of books in your home, either read or unread.  Books take up a lot of space. They are heavy and can even attract rodents who eat the paper.  It’s time to purge your home of the books you no longer want, need or serve a purpose in your life (hello…college textbooks).  If you don’t have a used book store like Secondhand Prose, bring the books to your local library, senior center or school (depending on the age and subject matter of the books). Think about the books going on to be useful to someone else.  Again, books are durable and can be used many, many times before needed to be recycled.  Likewise, there is a used clothing store on the island as well.

Share, Barter and Trade

I want you to think about the tools in your garage.  How many do you have?  How many do you use?  I bet some of them only serve one purpose.  What if you didn’t have space for all these tools?  What if you couldn’t afford all those tools?  I bet you’d find a way to get things done regardless.  On an island, everyone makes it a point to know their neighbors and community members.  If you don’t own something, you simply ask your neighbor to borrow it.  So think about this…..instead of buying everything you think you need, share it with your neighbors.  You use their items when you need them, and you share yours when others need them.  You have less to store, less items to maintain and less costs.  You also have a smaller carbon footprint because you are demanding less from manufacturing facilities.

How can you reduce your footprint by buying used, sharing, or recycling?  Thinking this way means a subtle change in the way we buy, store and use our items.  Sometimes just pausing to think about the impact and item has, long-term, can make all the difference.


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Why You’ll Never Get Organized

Okay I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer.  However, I want to be the voice of reason.  I hear from a lot of readers and clients that they want their homes to look like the Pottery Barn catalog or one of the Pins they have found on Pinterest.  I’m here to be the bearer of bad news, it’s not going to happen.  However, if you avoid these organizing mistakes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel :)

1.  If you take everything out of the closet, or the cabinet, or the desk and dump it on the floor, your chances of getting it all back together are slim.  Even if you feel full of energy, resist the urge.  Organizing is physically tiring and it takes more time than more people think.  If you start small and tackle one task, you can certainly move on to another.  However, if you create one big mess and can’t finish the job, you’ve move in the wrong direction.  I’ve had more than one frantic call from someone who has a bed full of clothes and no where to put them!

Why You'll Never Get Organized

2.  It’s never going to be perfect.  If you are looking for a magazine style organizing system, you’e got to let go.  While places like catalogs, website and Pinterest are great for inspiration and unique ideas.  However, those photographs are staged for the camera.  A professional photographer has provided lighting, styling tips and possibly retouching.  There are no kids in the photos and no one is living there.  Accept the imperfections.  After all, you love your family!

3.  If you don’t have a plan going forward you will never stay organized.  I’m sorry to say it takes more than a weekend in the garage to become an organized person.  Organizing is an ongoing journey. It takes time, every single day, to make these habits stick and to keep your home organized.  I like to spend ten minutes a day putting things back into where they belong.  Once you have the organizational system in place, it’s easy to do this.  Instead of sorting through piles and figuring things out every day, you’re simply putting things where they belong.   Think about how you empty the dishwasher…you have a predetermined spot for everything and it’s just a matter of putting things where they belong.  If you get organized, your whole home can be that easy to tidy.


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Meal Planning Made Easy

This is one of my favorite ways to meal plan for the week.  Once you get the routine down, you can mix and match the days of the week.  However, the key is to be creative, form a routine and stick to it.  Get the family involved and get their feedback.  Grocery shop in bulk when you can and rotate the recipes to avoid boredom.   When you feel you need a little inspiration, browse the internet for cooking blogs, Pins or cooking shows to give you some new ideas.  
Make a crock pot meal on the weekend (or two) for tonight’s dinner.You can also plug in the crock pot to cook while you are at work. Cut up all ingredients before hand so start up is quick and easy.
Tuesday is a great casserole night. Change out the casserole every week so your family doesn’t get bored.
This is a great day to make another crock pot meal.This meal can not only provide you with another dinner, but can provide lunches for the rest of the week.Set up the meal to cook while you are at work.
If you have left overs from earlier in the week, eat them up tonight.Chances are you have various amounts of different items.Let your family members pick and choose for a leftover buffet.
If you are going to eat out one night during the week, tonight’s the night. Everyone is tried from the week, and no one feels like cooking!
Miss MenuIf you want a little more help meal planning check out Miss Menu’s two planners.  The first is a flat note pad that you can keep on the counter, on your desk or even under your keyboard.  One side of the pad allows you space for breakfast and lunch and dinner.  Dinner is broken down further into Main, Side 1, Side 2, and Dessert.  The right hand side of the pad is a weekly shopping list.  I love that it divides your list into groups of items (toiletries, meats, veggies, etc) so you’re not racing around the store.
The second planner is very similar however it is bound into a spiral notebook.  This is perfect so you can take it with you on your shopping trips. There are also spaces for coupons, loyalty cards and even holiday meal planning.
Using these planners will ensure your family eats together and at home.  You’ll save money by not going out as much and making fewer trips to the store.  These are a gift gift and a great investment.
For more info visit
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Organizing With a Lobster Trap

I know what you’re thinking…where are you going to get a lobster trap and how in the world are you going to organize with it? Kettle Cove Enterprises makes a bike basket made of the same materials used in lobster traps.  These baskets are made from either brand new or repurposed lobster trap components.

Kettle Cove Organization

These baskets attach to the back of your bike and hold items securely.  That’s how you’re SUPPOSED to use it.  However, as an organizer, I decided to see what I could organize with it.  Here’s what I came up with.


Check out how nicely books fit into this bin.  I love keeping a bin of books I’m waiting to read, so this is a perfect option to separate those books and keep them all in one place.


Want a cute way to store all of those shoes by the door?  This bin does the trick!  Since it’s made or durable materials, it’s easily cleaned if it gets muddy or sandy.


If you didn’t think you could use this bin in the bathroom, you’re wrong.  I love rolling towels and tucking them in.  You could even keep this by the door to store beach towels during the summer months or to store workout towels.

Dog Toys

This might be my favorite use of the bin.  I usually have dog toys EVERYWHERE!  While I can’t keep them put away ALL the time, but when I do pick them up, this is a great way to store them to keep the floor clean.  My dogs can even help themselves when they want.

Thank you to Kettle Cover Enterprises for sending me this basket to get creative with!

Here’s the scoop on the baskets from Kettle Cove Enterprises’ website:

Made completely from lobster trap components, the Removable Bicycle Trap Basket has the appearance of a small lobster trap but is made to haul cargo on a bicycle.

The basket is lightweight yet rugged. After all – the components are made for the ocean floor.

Choose from two types of Removable Bicycle Trap Baskets:

  • Without Barnacles (all new materials): Trap wire is galvanized steel with PVC coating, bound together with highly-durable aluminum and stainless steel fasteners.
  • With Barnacles (some repurposed materials)*: Includes recycled components from lobster traps. Component composition and colors may vary, depending on availability.

All Removable Bicycle Trap Baskets have the following features:

  • Bungee cords keeps your cargo secure while riding.
  • Rope handles for easy removal.
  • Internal cargo area measures 13.5″ wide x 10.5″ deep x 9″ high.
  • Weight: 4.9 pounds.
Want to see how to attach the Removable Bicycle Trap Basket? Take a look at the Removable Trap Basket Installation instructions.
* Only materials that are in good condition are recycled. The traps were either donated to or purchased by Kettle Cove Enterprises LLC.
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Products for Small Spaces

Lots of people think that living in a small space means they have to give things up.  In fact, you CAN change the items in your own, but you won’t be giving up anything.  I wanted to share a few of my favorite small space solutions with you.  Now these will work for a “tiny home”, they will also work for a small apartment, condo or for a family that wants to live simply.

Small Space Essentials

The fact of the matter is you don’t need a dozen knives.  You just need a few good ones.  I love the Polka Dot paring knife from Kuhn Rikon.  It cuts just about anything.  Use one knife for everything you cut. If you give it a quick wash in between items, you can use this for your whole meal. It’s stylish, effective and small.  The perfect knife in a small package.

Measuring cups and spoons can take up a lot of space.  Instead of sets and sets of measuring items, use the Measuring Cup and Measuring Spoon sets from Kuhn Rikon. They are adjustable so you only need the footprint of ONE.  How awesome is that?  They are easy to clean, easy to use and DURABLE.  Remember, buying durable items means that you have to consume less, buy less and dispose of less.  The measuring spoon can easily be increased from a teaspoon to a tablespoon and the measuring cup can go from 1/4 cup to 1 cup.

If you don’t have room for a whole coffee table, or even a full size ottoman, I suggest getting a pouf.  It’s a big fluffy foot rest.  I love this one from Belle and June Home Decor.  Not only is it stylish, it’s durable and comfortable.  Out your feet on this to relax, or put a tray on it to hold books, remotes or even a beverage.  It’s all about using your space wisely.  This takes up a very small footprint, but really packs a punch in utility.  It’s cream color allows it to match just about any decor.  This is also perfect for under a desk or a first apartment.

Apartment Therapy , (currently the best selling book on Amazon in interior design) is just what you need to make your house (or apartment) a home.  It’s FILLED with information on color schemes, floor plants, decorating choices, and so much more.  I considered myself pretty savvy in home decor, but I learned a lot from the photos and tutorials the book had to offer.  I particularly loved the section on how to make a small space look larger.  There are also informational section on planting, flooring options, buying items to scale, and even how to clean effectively.  No matter what you taste and what size your home is, this book will help you make it cozy and beautiful.

If you live in a small or large space, the next product is going to change your home for the better.  Finally Bulbs has come out with a lightbulb that lasts 15,000 hours (15X longer than traditional light bulbs) AND looks like an incandescent.  It’s all about making your home cozy and glowing, while saving the environment and your budget.  Plus, not having to change light bulbs often is pretty awesome too.  They fit all standard light bulb fixtures.



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Erin Condren Love

You’ve probably heard about Erin Condrin’s line of organizational tools.  However, in case you haven’t or want to know more about it, I wanted to bring you some of my favorites.  Erin is famous for her planners, but the rest of her products are pretty darn awesome too.  Read on to find out how you can use Erin’s products and how they will help you get organized and live a more productive, and more beautiful life.


If you’re looking for one amazing notebook, I’ve found it for you.  Simplify your life in style with Erin Condren’s new streamlined notebook! Available in both a 7×9 and 8.5×11 size, pick the option that best suits your daily needs- without breaking your bank! These modest beauties are perfect for jotting down notes, journaling before bedtime or taking to client meetings! 132 lined pages, 21 blank pages, and 1 quote page (1 sheet = 2 pages) for notes and sketches give this book a flexible structure that work with your needs! Add dividers to further personalize your book! It may be simple- but it undoubtedly has style!

I always say that if you want to make sure you stay organized, use adorable supplies.  These file folders are just what the doctor ordered to keep your school or work assignments on order.  AND, you can add personalization so you’ll always know they’re yours!

Never have a boring list again.  Erin Condren’s personalized note pads come in three sizes.  (You can even put them into your planner!) Pick the pattern that inspires you and add your name.  You’ll love using this and you’ll love looking at it too!

Want to stay organized throughout the day?  The Carry All Clutch keeps all of your items together…your planner, notepads, pencils, and more.  It’s a great way to minimize wear and tear on your precious items AND to be able to grab them quickly when you need them.  I love all these fun patterns and again, you can personalize it!

Possibly the most famous Erin Condrin product, the LifePlanner, is everything you need to keep your life in order.  The cover is durable and has your choice of motivational messages or photos.  (You choose!). There’s PLENTY of room to keep track of your daily routine, lists and everything in between.  The bright colors and beautiful design make planning just a little bit more fun.  Each book comes with:

-NEW snap-in “Party Pops” bookmark

-NEW more durable 2 sided pocket folder

-NEW perpetual calendar

A mixture of lined pages, designer blank pages, graph pages and motivational quotes help you maximize your positivity and productivity (see specifications tab for details on page counts.) Fuse function with fashion and say yes to your new LifePlanner™!

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The Joyful Organizer


Quick Tips

There is a saying, “What gets written down gets attended to, and what gets attended to gets done.” 

Write down your organizing goals and hold yourself accountable for completing them. 

I know it seems like a big chore, but you’ll be glad you did it once you’re done!

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