7 Simple Acts of Kindness

7 Simple Acts of Kindness


7-Simple Acts of Kindness


In this blog post,  written by my colleague and friend, Andrea Brundage, owner of  Simple Organized Solutions, we are given 7 acts of kindness… good things to consider as we approach the Thanksgiving and holiday season.


Encourage charity and goodwill towards others this holiday season by being a good example and by involving your family, your friends, and your co-workers.


Spread the love, spread the word, and make a commitment to give to those in need this holiday season.

Don’t know what to give? Consider these ideas:


1. TIME: Volunteer to feed the hungry at a local soup kitchen, or take someone shopping who would not otherwise be able to do so. It costs nothing, and it feels good to serve others.


2. FOOD ITEMS: Most grocery stores have collection boxes during the holidays. Contact homeless shelters and safe houses.


3. TOYS: Toy drives are often sponsored by local police and fire departments. Join in.


4. MONEY: Make a donation in someone’s honor with their favorite charity.


5. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS: Pick up the restaurant tab or grocery bill for someone, anonymously. Offer to let some go ahead of you in line. Give someone your extra coupons. Take baked goods to the neighbors.


6. ADOPT-A-FAMILY: Brighten the lives of an entire family!


7. WISH TREES: Take a couple of Wish Lists off a Wish Tree, buy the items, and make a child’s holiday dreams come true!



Getting organized is on most people’s New Year’s Resolutions list. Do not let another year pass without accomplishing this goal. Professional help and gentle guidance is a simple click or phone call away. Visit  http://www.ProfessionalOrganizerAZ.com or call (480) 382-1085.


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Thoughts from an Organized Traveler



Thoughts from an Organized Traveler


Thoughts from an Organized Traveler



Another excellent blog, written by my colleague and friend, Andrea Brundage, owner Simple Organized Solutions.


With Thanksgiving later this week, and Christmas just a month away, you may be getting stressed just thinking about holiday traveling.


And so by the time that you are actually ready to leave, will you be overwhelmed and cranky?


Traveling, especially around the holidays, have been known to cause some of the biggest arguments with families, so here’s some advice – get organized so you won’t be stressed out and ready to bite someone’s head off before you even back out of the driveway.


Remember, vacation and travel should be a fun experience.



Basic checklist for the Organized Traveler


1.Travel Information


  • Passport
  • Itinerary
  • Flight, hotel, and car rental confirmations (these can be delivered to and stored on your Smart phone)
  • Money



  • Create a Grab-N-Go travel bag or cosmetic pouch that contains all the basic toiletries you need. You can add extra needed items such as medications, etc. on the day of travel.



  • Camera equipment, extra memory card, charger or spare batteries
  • Laptop, tablet, charging cords
  • iPod, Phone, phone charger
  • Flash or portable hard drive
  • Headphones
  • Alarm clock


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The Best Holiday Checklist You Will Find

The Best Holiday Checklist You Will Find


The Best Holiday Checklist You Will Find 

To help get and keep you organized!


Blog written by my colleague and friend, Andrea Brundage, owner Simple Organized Solutions.


November is upon us (where has the year gone?), and Thanksgiving is next week (already!), which means the stress levels have already started to increase.


With some pre-planning, you can feel more in control and less stressed.


My holiday checklist may be helpful.


• Schedule family portraits
• Write holiday events and parties on the family calendar
• Send out Save-The-Date cards
• Update list for card mailing
• Purchase stamps
• Address holiday cards
• Clean the oven and the refrigerator


December, 3-4 weeks before
• Pull out holiday decor, only put out the things you love, donate the rest
• Set up holiday “staging” area where you keep wrapping paper and holiday supplies


December, 2-3 weeks before
• Clean out your refrigerator
• Take inventory of pantry, toss expired items, add to grocery list
• Start grocery list, finalize menu, assign contributors, purchase non-perishables
• Purchase gifts, wrap immediately
• Buy batteries to insert into toys and electronics
• Mail out holiday cards
• Mail out-of-town gifts
• Begin baking. Freeze breads and cookie dough.


December, 1 week before
• Finalize gift purchases, finish wrapping
• Confirm dinner guests
• Wash china and linens
• Clean house
• If having overnight guests, change bed linens


December, 1-2 days before
• If feasible, set table
• Prep for meal by pre-cooking as much as possible
• Replace or recharge batteries on camera and video equipment
• Purchase centerpiece or fresh flowers
• Buy remaining items on grocery list


After the holidays
• Purchase holiday cards for next year (store with holiday decorations if possible)
• Inventory wrapping paper and gift bags, purchase only as needed
• Remove holiday decorations, china, and linens, store carefully
• Write Thank-You notes
• Take inventory of what you have in your environment and make decisions on what to keep, what to toss, and what to donate. Place new items in their “homes”.



If you are interested in booking Andrea Brundage and Simple Organized Solutions to help you get organized and ready for the holidays, call her at (480) 382-1085 or  visit her website by clicking here.



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A Festive Thanksgiving Table


A Festive Thanksgiving Table

 A Festive Thanksgiving Table


With Thanksgiving coming next week, I thought I would look to Houzz.com for a fun and interesting article about Thanksgiving decorations, and I was not disappointed.


This article, by Killy Scheer, titled Set an Eclectic Thanksgiving Table, focused on fun ways to decorate your Thanksgiving table.


Scheer, says that she is a firm believer that holiday tablescapes can take a nontraditional route. She thinks that the holidays should be what you want them to be, and if that means blue and white for Thanksgiving and pink and green for Christmas, well then, she says go for it!


Although this article was a few years old, her ideas were quite fresh and timeless.  She thought that decorating with white pumpkins was a good idea, for example, because they are “fresh, modern and monochromatic, but still festive”.

She suggests personalizing your pumpkins and then using them décor.


Wait, did you say to personalize them? Yes!!! With stick-on embellishments! What a fun idea, right?


For the dinner table, she suggests taking the same idea and apply initials to small gourds for seating assignments (and easy party favors – who doesn’t like a cute takeaway?).


She suggests trying an alternative to natural pumpkin colors by spray-painting pumpkins and gourds Bring these elements to the dinner table with simple white plates, wine glasses and a few candles.

You can’t go wrong with greenery. Plants of any kind, whether it’s a bouquet or potted, will enliven any tablescape. For example, she suggests succulents are a (nearly) fool-proof go-to plant for those lacking a green thumb, but they are more than just an easy-to-keep-alive plant. They’re plump, bright and highly textural, which brings a whole new dimension to table settings. Use a single collection of them as a centerpiece


Like succulents, natural accessories, like branches, are appropriate decor for all kinds of parties (or daily life)! When the party’s over, move the centerpiece to a console table or bookcase. If you eventually tire of its look, reinvent it with a coat of paint!


The article is great, and her photos are lovely.  I encourage you take a look by at the article in its entirety by clicking here.



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Monarch Butterfly Walks at the Desert Botanical Gardens

 Monarch Butterfly Walks at the Desert Botanical Gardens


Fall is for Monarch Butterflies 

at the Desert Botanical Gardens

…This Saturday is the last day!!!!

 Desert Botanical Gardens
1201 N. Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85008
480 941.1225 

Monarch butterflies are in decline and need our help. Go on a butterfly walk with a naturalist, where you will learn about creating your own Monarch Waystation, see native milkweed species that you can plant to help monarchs, hunt for monarch caterpillars, and tag monarch butterflies. The walk is limited to 25 people and meets in the Ottosen Entry Garden.


When: THIS SATURDAY, November 14th


Time:  9 – 10 a.m. 


Where: Ottosen Entry Garden


 Included with paid Garden admission or Membership.

No registration required. First come, first served.


Additionally, you can see some Caterpillars, too!!!!



You can also see caterpillars and chrysalises collected from the Garden on display. Watch the caterpillars munch on their favorite host plants, form their chrysalises, and emerge as magnificent butterflies.


When:  Thursday, November 12th and Saturday, November 14th


Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m


Where: Center for Desert Living Trail


Included with paid Garden admission or Membership.





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Kathryn Henneman Now at Flow Modern in Palm Springs

Kathryn Henneman Now at Flow Modern in Palm Springs


“This for That” 
4′ x 6′

Kathryn Henneman Now at Flow Modern in Palm Springs


See the newest artwork by Kathryn Henneman:



Kathryn Henneman Now,


at the Flow Modern Art Gallery in Palm Springs.





Flow Modern


768 N. Palm Canyon Dr. 


Palm Springs, Ca 92262




This weekend!!!!  November 14, 2015     




5:00 – 8:00 p. m.



    ~ Kathryn Henneman,  Henneman Fine Art


New art forms revealing new hopes in images that are stronger than ever before. The painting

pictured above, and many others, will be displayed and for sale at the show.


Prints and Reproductions of Kathryn Henneman’s  artwork is available !!!!



For more information click here or you may contact her directly at Kathrynart@aol.com

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The Contractor’s Contract – What You Should Know!


 The Contractor's Contract - What You Should Know!

 The Contractor’s Contract

What you should know for before you sign!


For most of us who start a remodeling project – unless it is a total DIY job – there is a contractor involved. And with the contractor comes a contract, right?  The problem is most of us are unfamiliar with contractor contracts and while it looks complete – it may not be.  


This helpful article from HouzzWhat to Look for in a Contractor’s Contract, written by Kenny Grono,  outlines 10 tips that homeowners should be thinking about while reviewing their contractor’s contract. Does your contractor’s contract include these basics?


Below is the VERY abridged version, but I encourage to read the article in its entirety by clicking here: What to Look for in a Contractor’s Contract


1. The contract itself. A contract protects the parties involved. J 


2. A physical address.  Ask to drop off the deposit at the physical location listed on the contract.


3. License. Check to see that your contractor lists a license required for the work being done 


4. Insurance. Check with your locality for the proper amount of liability insurance, and if the contractor has employees, check to see whether he carries worker’s compensation insurance.


5. Scope of work. There are many details to get right in a renovation, so write everything down before work begins. 


6. Duration of work. Though projects often take longer than predicted for many legitimate reasons — some caused by the client and some outside the contractor’s control — put the expected project duration in writing. 


7. Exclusions. A good contract should include a list of exclusions. These might be related to areas that will not be visible until the walls are opened up after demolition, or the level of cleaning you should expect after the work is complete. 


8. EPA lead safety certification. Contractors working on homes in the U.S. built before 1978 should be certified in lead-safe practices by the EPA. 


9. Payment schedule. While payment schedules can vary by the job, they should always be agreeable to both parties involved.


10. Warranty. The standard warranty for work is one year from substantial completion. 

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An Amazing List of Must Have Kitchen Essentials!


 An Amazing List of Must Have Kitchen Essentials!




An Amazing List of Must Have Kitchen Essentials!


Once again I found another article from Laura Gaskill  (Houzz magazine) that I would like to share with you. In this article (Create Your Own Checklist for a Well-Stocked Kitchen) Gaskill suggests that if you are setting up a first home, looking for a housewarming gift, or just find yourself often missing a key cooking tool, the list of essentials and nice extras that she gives us in this article should be very helpful!


Below is just a sample – I encourage you to click here to see the entire list…. and to come up with a few items of your own to add!!!




  • Salt and pepper mills
  • Can and bottle opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Wooden spoons
  • Tongs
  • Ladle
  • Pancake turners
  • Rubber spatula or scraper
  • Whisk
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Kitchen shears
  • Box grater
  • Microplane grater
  • Colander
  • Citrus juicer
  • Potato masher

Nice extras:


  • Food mill
  • Mandoline
  • Fish spatula
  • Salad spinner
  • Mortar and pestle



Small Appliances


  • Handheld or standing mixer
  • Toaster or toaster oven
  • Blender
  • Food processor
  • Kettle (stovetop or electric)


Nice extras:


  • Juicer
  • Immersion (stick) blender
  • Coffee grinder
  • Coffeemaker
  • Rice cooker
  • Slow cooker

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Orange is the new…

 Orange is the new...


Orange is the new…. color for your walls!!!


Well, maybe not all of them. Maybe just one of them?  Just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving, Jennifer Ott  gives us nine great ways we can use the color orange in our homes.  Tasteful and elegant, the Houzz magazine article (Falling for Color: 9 Ways With Pumpkin Orange) was quite delightful and offered up a refreshing perspective.


A few of my favorites:


Accent Wall

Sure, they’re an obvious way to use a bold color in a room, but I remain a loyal fan of accent walls. An eye-popping color such as this on all four walls could feel overwhelming, especially if the room lacks plenty of natural light. Ott therefore tends to advise homeowners to use it on just one or two walls. Or on the ceiling.




Accent Stripe

A little pumpkin orange goes a long way, so if a full accent wall is too much color for you, think about using a mere stripe of the color. This is a cool look for a kid’s or teen’s room. And because it’s such a small amount of color, you could even let the child pick out the particular hue.


Outdoor Wall

Take bold orange outside with an exterior accent wall. This is a terrific color for outdoor spaces in a cold or rainy climate, because it can provide a warm glow during the chilly fall evenings.


Front Door

No matter the style of your home, you can’t go wrong with a pumpkin-orange front door.


Like I said, these were just a few of the ideas given for using the color orange in your home. To read the article in its entirety, click here. 


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Ways to Save Money on Your Remodel!


Ways to Save Money on Your Remodel!


Ways to Save Money on Your Remodel!


As Kelli Kaufer says in a article  in Houzz Magazine, “When you’re investing in a home remodeling project, you want to make sure that the results not only please you but add value to your home and save you money.”  So how does she suggest that be done?  To answer that question, I have listed the 9 ways that she offered up, although it is the somewhat abridged version of her article,  9 ways to save on your kitchen remodel .  To read the article in its entirety, click here


1. Go with ready-to-assemble cabinets. The most expensive option is going custom, for which the cabinetry is designed, built and installed to specifically fit your space. If your budget doesn’t allow for custom, but you need new cabinets, ready-to-assemble (RTA) is a good option. 


2. Keep existing cabinets if possible. If your cabinets are good quality and you like the style, resurfacing is a great option.


3. Choose open shelving where possible. Open shelving creates interest in the space as well as saves money. 

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