the easiest part of the wedding planning thus far… minted.


you guys. i got engaged. it happened the first weekend in november in santa barbara at el capitan canyon. it was definitely one of THE BEST weekends of my life and i could not be happier. one would think (since i’m an organizer) that i would be stoked to plan a wedding. THINK AGAIN. i had never allowed myself to even look at wedding related stuff because i just didn’t know if getting married was in the cards for me. i have mixed feelings on the way to plan a wedding but i will tell you, it’s complicated and a HUGE time suck. the internet is a black hole in which you will easily waste 3 hours a day looking at dresses, party favors, decor, lighting, etc. it’s all too much. seriously. i’m a gal who likes less options–that way i can easily make my decision and move on. in wedding world, it’s a little harder because there are about a billion options for every facet of wedding planning. i even instituted a policy of no wedding magazines. but then my friend Grace brought over the Martha Steward edition of ‘Real Weddings’ which i read through, bookmarking one resource to check out. it was an ad for wedding invitations from a company called minted.

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you know when you find something and you get this feeling that you can just stop looking. like nothing else is going to top it and there is peace with the decision. that’s how i felt when i found minted. my favorite part is the fact that you can order samples for $1 each (i stocked up and ordered 25 sample invites in alternating paper types and styles). they also have free a free sample kit that you can order but i’m super particular and wanted to see my faves up close and personal. now that i have them in front of me, the decision making process is even easier. there are also so many ways to make each wedding card suite personal and customize it for your style. you can change the shape of the card, the back of the card, the color of the card and more– so it’s unlikely that anyone would have the same invitation.

initially, i was thinking of not sending save-the-date cards but i kinda love the fact that each card style has a whole wedding suite. from the save-the-date to the formal invites to the thank you cards–they all go together. now that speaks to the organizer in me! the icing on the cake (no pun intended) is the designers are indie folks that are picked by the minted community. their aesthetic really speaks to my style which i want incorporated in the wedding–so it really feels like a great match. // they just rolled out their 2014 wedding collection + they have lots more besides wedding invites!

let’s catch up!

blog: a Web site on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative.

yea, i would say that this blog hasn’t been much of an ongoing narrative this last half of 2013. someone even emailed me recently to find out where the monthly newsletters have run off to. aw man. can i blame my lack of writing & posting on instagram? i got a new iPhone this time last year (first ever) and it seems that my updates have been hijacked by my IG feed (evident by these pics)! oh if it were only that simple:) since it’s been a while, let’s catch up and see where we go from here!

  • i started blogging for My Well Being (powered by Humana) this summer. so far, there are 2 posts up and more in the pipeline. Humana is a private health care provider and their blog, My Well Being is an online community that helps you live your life focused on health and well-being. the content is stellar and i’m super excited to be a part of their team. check out the recent 30 day get moving challenge and of course, my posts on organizing.
  • pretty soon, you’ll be seeing some organizing ideas of mine up on Emily Henderson’s blog. for those of you not in the know–she won Design Star and has quite the following. i’ll be sure to keep you posted but just in case, it never hurts to check the Bneato FB fan page for daily updates.
  • HFE videos. they are still in the works #pinkyswear
  • Bneato newsletter. up until this summer, they came out every month. i loved putting them together but it’s taken a seat on the back burner as the blogging for others has been added to the mix. i think it’s going to start being a quarterly thing. sign up here so you won’t miss out! **we moved from Constant Contact to Mail Chimp this Summer. contacts WERE NOT transferred over so if you want to re-sign up, you can do so here. new sign-ups get a super nifty organizing the bathroom webinar that is really good. #pattingmyselfontheback
  • we’ve added 3 new services to the website: Email De-Cluttering // Going Paperless // Schedule an Organizing Boot Camp for your staff or office (self-explanatory, i think, but call or email me for a consultation).
  • other than that, been working on some pretty killer stuff that i CANNOT wait to talk about publicly. until then, enjoy some of my favorite recent IG photos. looking forward to positing more over here in 2013!

Could You Live with 33 Items of Clothes for 3 Mos?

Article by Lauren: Bneato team member (reprinted from the February 2013 Bneato Newsletter)

Beth first brought Project 333 to my attention before the holidays and asked if I wanted to blog about it. I checked it out, and it intimidated me. The gist is, you pare down to thirty-three items of clothing (including outerwear like jackets, shoes, accessories and even jewelry; excluding under garments, PJs and workout gear) for three months. The woman who created the concept lists the items she chose and how living with less made her a convert. I’m by no means a fashionista, but I don’t like looking like I wear the same thing every few days. Plus I like to have variety of items, and even indulge in some trends (color, prints, etc.), which is difficult to do when you have a wardrobe consisting of 33 items. Typically most items are neutrals so they can be mixed and matched with as many options as possible.

When I realized I was moving I thought I’d take on an altered version of Project 333 and would cut down my wardrobe as much as possible, living with only what I needed for one month while my stuff went into storage. One of my immediate concerns was that I was starting a new job and knew I’d need some professional clothing. Luckily, I’m working at a start-up where most of the guys wear jeans and a button down flannel shirt or a hoodie. But that’s not me; and I am the client service rep. so I wanted to look professional. Having lived in NYC for many years I adopted the mantra ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ and I guess that’s stuck with me even now that I’m in laid-back California.

It took two days of re-evaluating, but I was finally able to get my clothing down to 50 items. And that was a huge accomplishment considering I had already packed at least 4 large boxes of clothes and shoes. I included 2 coats, 2 suits, 4 dresses, 3 skirts, 8 sweaters, 7 work tops, 7 casual tops, 1 scarf/mitten/hat set, 2 dress pants, 4 casual pants, 2 leggings, 2 pairs of heels, 3 flats, 1 moccasin, and 2 pairs boots (uggs, and rain – which I didn’t want to bring but it was rainy when I was packing so I kept them out). I did not count jewelry, underwear/panty hose, workout clothes, or pjs – but I only brought what I needed of those).

Once I arrived to my temporary living situation and unpacked, I realized I could’ve done with less. I could’ve cut out at least one thing from each category and been totally fine. I was scared to live with less, but I think it would’ve made my life simpler – and my suitcase lighter! I’m now more open to the Project 333 challenge and think I might do it for real now that I’ve tested the waters. Something tells me this would be easier come summer time. I do enjoy living with less clutter in general, and while I always try to keep my clothes to a minimum, clearly I could be doing a better job! Project 333 has opened my eyes and I will look at the purchase of clothing a little differently now.

Free Printables via Dream a Little Bigger

oh. my. lanta! I love love love these printables for your medicine cabinet containers. Whether they’re stored out in the open (as shown here) or behind closed doors, you’ll never have trouble locating the a remedy for what ails ya. And also, I don’t know if you’ve ever attempted to create labels for your medicine cabinet cures but I usually find it challenging. I love how Allison created these labels–there’s no question as to what is stored inside!

How To Fold Video Trailer

You know how your favorite band will often have ‘side projects’? for example: Jack White of the White Stripes started another band in 2008 called The Raconteurs. Lot of your favorite bands do this so that they have another way to express themselves–a creative license to color outside the lines, if you will. And because you already enjoy their music, you’ll probably enjoy their new stuff–even if it feels a little different.

I feel like How To Fold (HFE) is a Bneato ‘side project.’ And while it seems reasonable enough that Bneato would have a folding series, I wanted the videos to be just a little bit more off the wall than the playful vibe that is Bneato.

This first video is a trailer–a little teaser to get everyone excited for folding–because we could all use a little more enthusiasm when it comes to folding. So sit back and enjoy our first foray into the folding world with this quick 1 minute teaser. The next video will be an actual How-To where I show you how to fold a Snuggie. I know.

How To Fold

DAYS 27-39: 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS

so about halfway through the 40 bags in 40 days challenge, i realized i had little left to purge! we did just move (so i had already gone through everything) but with this challenge, i did get rid of more. i mean, let’s be honest, there’s always more you can let go of!

day 27: apparently, i hadn’t had my oil changed in almost a year (eep!) and it had been on my to-do list for forever–it feels amazing to have that crossed off. and for my birthday next month (as a gift to myself) i’m going to have my car detailed by this guy. he’s a miracle worker so i’m pretty stoked to get back a brand new car.

day 28: my exercise boot camp decided to purge their lost and found during the challenge. which is something us apartment dwellers and homeowners should be doing on a regular basis. an outbox by the door works like a charm to give stuff back to friends and family that has been left behind.

day 29: something so simple but makes the biggest difference–hooks for brooms and mops–otherwise, they have a tendency to fall over when they lean against the wall. now they have a designated home so that everyone knows where to look when they need to clean up!

day 30: as my mom pointed out, the car still does not have a place to live but you have to start somewhere, right?! at least there is now a very large path making the items inside super accessible.

day 31 & 32: i drove out to peterman lumber in fontana last friday to pick out some wood for our fauxdenza. and on saturday, the beau and i put it all together. in case you’re interested, this is the DIY i followed to create my own.

day 33: i also picked up a board of reclaimed wood while i was at peterman lumber to create a cute little drop zone for our keys and such (IKEA mirror, anthro hook, schoolhouse electric fixture)

day 34: hooks for bags and coats by the entry (hooks are from anthropologie)

day 35: drum roll please…. after having this ginormous rug rolled up in our bedroom, we finally were able to put it down once the fauxdenza was finished.

day 36: in december, i wiped my computer clean. so now, with the help of the beau, i’m rebuilding and organizing my iTunes (all stored on an external drive).

day 37: best productivity app ever. download now (they offer a free trial). seriously. life changing. #anti-social

day 38: Lauren helped bring it home with her friend’s closet purge–they did some major damage earlier in the challenge and i’m glad to see them return with these bags of clothes going out!

day 39: The ‘doggie door’ has been painted shut…. until 2 days ago. The litter boxes are housed in the laundry room (behind this door). Which our beloved pooch, Mayor got into the other day and had a field day on our new rug. Lucky for us, he’s terrified of doggie doors–so as long as we keep the main door closed, the ‘un-gluing’ of the pet door was oh-so-important. Oh yea, we also doused the rug with scotch guard afterwards so now we’re really prepared.


Days 19-26: 40 Bags in 40 Days

Day 19: We’ve inspired the Woodall house to go on a major purging bender

Day 20: Same story at the Madariaga homestead!

Day 21: After catching up on my magazine reading, I spotted an article where you can sell your old electronics back using You Renew. For my old Blackberry, I got $60!!!

Day 22: The entryway to our home was in need of a little TLC. I picked up some new plants and purged lots of old paint and hardware that had been collecting dust.

Day 23: Got the ‘ok’ from a client to ship their items off to eDrop Off (an eBay clothing store). Feels so good to get this big box outta here!

Day 24: This may seem silly but having long shoelaces that you have to quadruple knot takes forever! I read online how to make them short and finally tackled this simple DIY.

Day 25: Put this chair (and one just like it) up on Craigslist. No matter how hard I’ve tried, there’s just no place to put these desks in the new house

Day 26: This is what the TV area looked like before!

Days 16, 17 & 18: 40 Bags in 40 Days

while i was waiting for my flight to board at the airport, i updated my luggage tag (which was out of date by 2 addresses)! i also want to update my luggage piece and get the kind where there are 4 wheels. i have had my roller bag since 2002 so i think i qualify for an upgrade.

on the flight, i finally had the chance to go through my latest magazines and tear out anything i wanted to scan, pin, upload to evernote, etc. felt sooooo good to finally cross that off the list!

and last night, i corralled all my receipts that had been piling up and uploaded them to Shoeboxed. I do the DIY version which is forever free!

Days 13, 14 & 15: 40 Bags in 40 Days

used a quick airport ride to sort and process my mom’s car console (she could stand to get rid of a few paper clips) but other than that, we can check that off the list!

since i’m currently traveling, it’s a bit trickier to do the 40 days challenge but i’m managing! luckily, the beau’s step brother had also been visiting and decided to purge 2 bags worth of clothes from their childhood home. and the hanger… a gift to my beau from his dad when he was little (stay or go)?!

i am absolutely loving how my mom’s shoe storage solution worked out. the labeling couldn’t look better and now things will get returned to their appropriate shoe category (each cubby is divided and sorted like with like).

Day 12: 40 Bags in 40 Days

while i was home in SC, my mom had the urge to go through all of her shoes and purge in a major way (like 2 trash bags worth).

and even though she was ready to get rid of some shoes, i encouraged her to keep shoes she had worn within the last year. we also decided that if they didn’t make her (or her feet) feel good, they were out (no matter the cost she paid for them).

it’s true, during the organizing process, things get a little #craycray.

i scored these cool shoes that mom picked up from greece. they kill her feet — hopefully i’ll have better luck!!

since mom already had the perfect shoe containers, the final step was to label the lot. i really wanted her to have a shoe closet that would wow and amaze, so i took pics of all of her shoes on a white sheet for a crisp, clean and uniform look. then i uploaded them to instagram and ordered 2.5 x 2.5 prints through printstagram for $12.00!! once they arrive, all mom has to do is affix each pic with tape. can’t wait to see the ‘after.’