Sunday, July 29, 2012

Simple Trick: Organizing Your Closet

I'm sure we all dream of a walk-in closet with closet after closet of wardrobe space. But if you're like me, with a small house here, you probably have very limited closet space. You probably also have too many clothes that your small closet is busting at the seams. Here are a few tips on closet-organizing that I learned from Kat of Space That Works

1 Using the same type of hanger for all your clothes instantly organizes your closet! Not only do you get rid of the eye sore caused by different hangers - hangers in various colors, materials (plastic, wood, wire), shapes & sizes, but the uniform hangers also bring your clothes' necklines & collars to the same level - which, I swear, makes a world of a difference. Oh, and make sure your hanger-hooks are all facing the back of your closet.

2 Choose the right type of hanger for your space. I've always been in love with wooden hangers. But unfortunately, these bulky hangers are only practical for big closets.

For small closets, it is best to choose thin hangers. Such flat (as opposed to the bow or curved structure of wooden) hangers allow you to cram more clothes into your tiny cabinet. I personally love the flocked hangers I got from True Value (P1,295 for a box of 30, though I checked recently and they're out-of-stock. Found flocked hangers in Howard's Storage World but they were more expensive). They are not only thin & flat, but their felt-like material keeps sleeves from sliding off the hanger. Their hook swivels too so it's easy to get all your hangers facing one direction.

3 Organize your clothes according to how you decide what to wear. If you pick clothes by color palette, then go ahead and organize your closet by color. If you choose your outfit for the day according to type - Do I wear pants or a dress today? - then put all your dresses together, all your bottoms together, all your tops together. Within a category (say, tops), you can opt to sort them by sleeve length: sleeveless together, short-sleeved together and long-sleeved together. For the dress category, you can sort them according to length (mini, knee-length and floor-length).

If you have very specific groupings like say, weekend clothes vs. office clothes, you can opt to divide your closet accordingly too. For seldom used groupings like beach and winter/travel, use underbed storage boxes (or store them inside luggage so you aren't wasting the space inside your Samsonite, Rimowa or LV trunk).

Also, not all clothes need to be on a hanger. Some clothes-categories like t-shirts, tank tops (sometimes, even pants) and especially underwear need to go on shelves or drawers versus hangers.

Oh, and remember to brief your helper on your organizing strategy so she can put the clothes back in their proper places after getting washed.

4 Purge. This is Kat's first requirement. Get rid of clothes that don't fit anymore, that "don't love you back". She says you should only keep clothes that you love AND love you. Meaning, clothes that make you look fabulous. Everything else must go. That they will come back in style, or that you will fit into it again when you lose those last few pounds, or that "this is expensive!" or a certain brand, are all excuses Kat does not allow (in her nice, sweet way).

This is the most painful part. So here's my last quick tip: instruct your helper to let the hanger-hook of newly-laundered clothes face the opposite direction. Then every morning, try not to pick the clothes on these hangers. If, after 3 months, majority of the hangers are still facing the back of your closet, then you know these are the clothes that need to go to the Donate bin. The fact that you chose other outfits over them for 3 whole months means that you either don't love them or they don't love you. So it's time to let go of them. And think of it this way... the closet space they will empty out is license to shop!!! But note that the rule from now on is in-and-out: when something new comes in, something new must go out.

These closet-organizing tricks certainly changed my life. An organized closet will put you back in control of your closet - and your life.

Follow these tips and email me before & after photos! :)

Photos from annnniegirl, heritage, polkadotshoppingbag, deliciouslyorganized and here.

Click here for previous posts from the Simple Trick series. Click here for the down-in-the-dots version of this post - a DIY trick that's not simple at all. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Today, I am loving...

Today, I am loving... the idea of wood as the centerpiece. Now that I am trying to move away from matchy-matchy furniture here, it's refreshing to see how walnut & cherry wood can become the showpiece of a room - especially against mixed materials in light colors.

I am so drawn to the mix of wooden panels with the wood grains and all. It makes even a bike stand out!

Today I am loving... these dark wood highlights.

Photos from pinkwallpaper.

Click here for previous posts from the Today, I am loving... series.

Friday, July 27, 2012

my morning drive - part 2

Speaking of morning drives here, my favorite ones fall on Fridays. Okay, my age will show, but I have to admit it's because I have two radio station options: The Morning Rush's always-funny banter and Friday Magic Madness (yes, I'm an 80's kid). I thought I had enough of a dilemma choosing between these two stations this morning.

But I brought the kids to school today and they wanted to listen to a Disney CD. So I gave in to their wishes - even though I knew I was giving up two radio shows that would surely serve as happiness-boosters for the last day of this long workweek.

Little did I know that a Disney CD would provide more happiness than any radio show could...

Because I ended up driving with the kids' duet of A Whole New World from Alladin in the background. It was so adorable how they sang along with the CD with Noah taking Alladin's parts and Isabella singing Princess Jasmine's parts.

And after we dropped off Isabella, Hakuna Matata came on and Noah loudly sang both Timon's and Pumbaa's parts by himself all the way to his school.

I couldn't help smile behind the wheel as I listened to the kids sing with so much gusto. That Disney CD started out as my third choice for musical accompaniment to my morning drive today, but now, it takes the top spot! What a happy, happy Friday morning drive!

Happy Friday everyone!

Photos from annnniegirl.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

my morning drive

It's been a sad, busy workweek. But my morning drive this week gave me tiny happiness boosters to fuel me throughout my long days at the office.

There were two particular delightful, albeit trivial, conversations on The Morning Rush with Chico, Delamar and Gino that made my day. 

The first was on the idea that it would be great if mosquitoes sucked fat instead of blood. Now, that would really be great, right?! I love how Gino got excited about the idea of a product called ON (natawa ako dito... opposite of OFF... get it? haha!). If that were true, boy, I'd slather ON all over my tummy! 

The second conversation was on how He-Man had Dora-the-Explorer's haircut. This really cracked me up!

Yes, I just love a delightful morning drive! 

Photo from annnniegirl.

Click here for the down-in-the-dots version of this post - my nighttime drive. Click here for previous posts on fatness.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lego Tales: Legoland Humor

Another thing I love about Legoland is their sense of humor. They poke fun in a subtlely silly, crazy way. From a lifeguard reading a how-to book on swimming to an old lady luring some pigeons to (gah!) cook.

To their hilarious restroom sign of mini-figs that badly need to go...

They even put in a restroom - with a man going #2 - in the Miniland replica of the Grand Central Station. Too bad, I didn't get to take a photo, but you might be able to make out the man on the toilet in this photo (check inside the circle).

I think the name they chose for their Italian restaurant was pretty clever.

And this idea of adding a Christmas twist to the San Francisco replica at Miniland via a falling sleigh and firemen holding up an inflatable catcher is quite funny too.

Finally, my favorite of all. This unassuming dog...

... doing what dogs do at hydrants.


Photos are my own except for the Grand Central Station photo, the link to which I've sadly lost. If you know where the photo is from, please email me so I can give due credit.

Click here for previous posts from the Lego Tales series.

Monday, July 16, 2012

of peekaboos & panels

This is what I loved about Project Runway Philippines Season 3 winner, Milka Redoble's finale collection: the peekaboos & panels.

The curved panels & layers are subtly reminiscent of her collection's muse: the Musa, genus term for the banana. They certainly added interesting detail to her monochromatic looks & structured silhouettes. I found her subtlety & restraint quite impressive. Her chosen inspiration could have led her down the wrong path -- going over-the-top with the silhouettes or horribly literal with the color palette (Can you imagine if her collection was in yellows, greens & plums? Gah!)

The curved panels also put an interesting twist to color-blocking. Am not loving the silhouette of the top, but the skirt is quite fabulous. The uneven peplum (I call it pumi-peplum, hehe) is also of interest.

But what I loved most about this winning collection is the peekaboo lining. None of the photos caught it, but that 3rd dress in the topmost photo actually had plum peeking out of the pockets. The official PRP photo here of the 1st dress also failed to catch the black lining peeking at the slit. You see a little in the topmost photo and more of it in the photo from MEGAstyle. My absolute favorite peekaboo lining (though am not a big fan of the bodice) is this...

I looove those curvy stripes running underneath! Many have called Milka an intelligent designer and I have to agree. I found it amazing that her quietly understated details made such a loud but elegant statement.

Photos from Megastyle, here and here.

Click here for the down-in-the-dots version of this post - the one about the PRP runway show I did watch. Click here for previous posts on subtlety.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

a taste of China in Manila

By the time this post gets published, I will again be pleasing my palate with Hong Kong's best buns here. So while I enjoy a taste of China in Hong Kong, let me leave you with a taste of China in Manila: the gastronomic delights of Ivan Man Dy's Big Binondo Food Wok.

The tour, which let us nibble our way around Chinatown, started at the plaza in front of the Binondo church. The first stop was at a volunteer firemen's coffee shop on Ongpin Street. They served us Kiampong and fishball soup.

Ivan, our tour guide, said that the trick is pouring a little soup over the Kiampong which tastes even better when moist.

The next food stop was Dong Bei Dumplings on Yuchengco Street.

Ivan gave a short history lesson about dumplings and their Northern Chinese origin. He also told us about the idea behind lauriat or why Chinese dinners are always brimming with pleasant noise. I, of course, did not catch all this, but Isabella says the pleasant noise is for good luck. We actually contributed to the pleasant noise as we gobbled up several servings of the delish dumplings!

Don't think this was really part of the tour. But it sure put a taste of Manila in this Chinese walking tour.

Then we walked to Benavidez Street via Ongpin Street.

I don't have a photo of the place where we chomped down crispy siopaos, which means "hot buns" in Chinese. Ivan pleasantly joked about the myth of catmeat-filled siopaos which I thought would horrify my cat-lover Isabella, but she didn't believe a word of it.

The next stop was at popular bakery, Ho-land, where yummy hopia or bean-filled pastry can be found.

The last stop of the palate-pleasing tour was the New Po-Heng Lumpia House where we sampled authentic Chinese lumpia. The lumpia had fresh vegetables in it that were accentuated by the spicy sauce that was poured over it. Ivan even recommended to add a special concoction with garlic that added an extra bite to my lumpia. The Big Binondo Food Wok was an interesting history lesson and gastronomic experience, as I read somewhere, "carefully wrapped like the lumpia with all the necessary ingredients to entice the mind and tastebuds of every Chinatown tourist".

For some odd reason, at the time of this posting, the Old Manila Walks site here is down. You should be able to book your tour via the site. If not, maybe you can try to message Ivan via his Facebook wall here.

Photos are my family's own in pages from one of Isabella's old scrapbooks. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Simple Trick: Busy Mom's Reviewer

My 12-hour workdays make it impossible for me to make my own reviewers & practice tests for Noah. So here are simple tricks that allow me to still provide my young gradeschooler with practice tests.

For previously answered worksheets, all you need are some post-its and a pair of scissors. Just cut out small strips (in this case, squares) of post-its to cover the old answers.

I love that I get to use my stacks of freebie post-its from here and there. 

All you need to do is go snip-snip on the part with adhesive and stick them on top of old answers. And voila! A reviewer ready for Noah to practice on!

Here's Noah busy working on the practice worksheet I "made" for him in 2 minutes.

The only problem is that I don't know what to do with the leftover strips of post-it ends - the parts without adhesive. :(

Now for unanswered worksheets, I remembered Pat-of-101gramsofeyecandy's quick tip here to use clear acrylic sheets. I didn't have such sheets, but I did have the plastic cover that some folders come in.

So I tucked the unanswered worksheet into the plastic cover flap and took out a whiteboard marker.

And they worked perfectly! Of course, I don't know how long this plastic cover will last so Pat's acrylic sheets might be a much better long-term idea.

The great thing is that Noah enjoyed writing with the marker more than his pencil so we even used the plastic-covered folder for his spelling review (I dictated the words and he wrote on the plastic with the marker). He had fun and we got to save a tree!

I love that Noah gets some advance practice and his teacher doesn't even have to know about it! :)

Oh, and I found a use for the leftover strips of non-sticky post-it parts... I used some as whiteboard marker eraser! Of course, we didn't get to use the whole stack so if you have any ideas on what to do with my leftover strips, please do email me or leave a comment on this post. 

Now, my 12-hour workdays don't need to interfere with my motherly (tutoring) duties.

Photos are my own, edited with pixlr, and from annnniegirl.

Click here for previous posts from the Simple Trick series.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Color Obsession: orange & teal

I bought orange skinny pants in February and now that several months have passed, I realize it isn't as easy as I thought to find a color to pair it with. Sure, most neutrals look good with orange: cream, white, gray...

... tan and navy.

Black is a neutral you need to tread carefully or you might end up looking like you're celebrating Halloween. I think mixing black & orange with another neutral helps... Like this one below with the chic jacket and gray tee (I'd accessorize it though with python pumps & a statement purse).

But when I was done pairing neutrals with my orange pants, it became harder. This woman actually looks pretty chic in bubblegum pink and orange, but I just can't bring myself to sport this combo because I keep thinking Dunkin Donuts or Pancake House. :(

I figured cobalt would work with orange (you know, the whole complementary color rule), but I didn't have any cobalt tops in my closet. I did find an old Ann Taylor top in dark teal and it looked pretty cool with my orange H&M skinnies (actually, i wouldn't have thought so if it weren't for a couple of compliments that day)!

Don't you think it's an elegant unexpected combination? I love the idea of pairing them with a chunky neckpiece and a leopard clutch.

Still obsessed with the orange & dark teal combo, I picked a few things on Polyvore.

I know summer's over for us here in Manila, but I love the back of this bikini top! It won't leave nice-looking tan lines, but on the beach, wow!  

Orange & teal. Love it so much am shopping for more teal tops today. Maybe even an orange skirt?

For my home though, it's an uncanny coincidence that the lighter version of the combo looks quite fab.

Okay, I admit, I will also be on the lookout for coral & soft teal home accessories at the mall today.

Happy shopping Sunday!

Photos are my own and from designeditor, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Click here for previous posts from the Color Obsession series.