A Thoughtfully Curated Kitchen

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I had the pleasure of teaching a class last week with the lovely Emma Malina of Basking in Goodness (if you don’t follow her, check her out: @baskingingoodness on Instagram) at Municipal Winemakers in Santa Barbara.  We called it a Thoughtfully Curated Plant Based Kitchen and our goal was to inspire everyone to breathe new life into their own kitchen and see how easy it is to incorporate a plant based diet into your routine. 

First and foremost, we wanted everyone in the class to feel like they could find something about their kitchen they love. Too often we focus on the negatives and what we want to change.  When we do a little kitchen refresh we can be inspired to be more creative and motivated to try new things.

The first step is a kitchen refresh:

  • Pull everything out of your drawers & cabinets so you can really see what’s in there.

  • Wipe down!! When is the last time you really did this?

  • With each item ask yourself, do I really use this? Really, be honest!

  • If not, it goes. Perhaps to the garage first. Make space and breathe life into that space.

  • Take note of anything you are missing. A good non-stick pan, cutting board or knife?

Bringing it back to the basics, how are your knife skills?  Did you know that if you hold an onion against the cutting board and make your hand into a “claw”, you have a much less chance of cutting yourself.  It’s amazing how easy it is to almost cut your finger off when cutting an onion but when your knuckles are bent in this claw shape, the knife just rolls right off.   

Some pantry staples to have in a plant-based kitchen include grains, beans, legumes, seeds and nuts, in addition to lots of fresh veggies.  One of the most important things to remember in a kitchen refresh is that when we acknowledge and celebrate what we’re good at, we can build from there in the kitchen.

I love talking to my clients about time saving and meal prepping and here are my top five favorite tips.

Time Saving/ Meal Prepping

  • Keep a running list of groceries you need and run out of during the week.

  • On Sundays (or whatever day makes sense to you) grocery shop and prep for the week.

  • Choose a few simple meals that you can make during the week. Plan for leftovers.

  • Always have prepped veggies for salads, stir fries, lunchboxes or unexpected guests.

  • Cook a few staples like rice, quinoa, couscous or lentils that can be used as the foundation for simple, but nourishing dishes on the fly.

What do you do to stay organized in your kitchen?  If you’d like help with a kitchen refresh, give me a call!



When is the Last Time You Really Played?

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Over Labor Day Weekend, I found myself pondering the importance of play.  As adults, we tend to forget how to play.  Really play.  Losing ourselves completely to fun.  Laughing so hard we are snorting. I had to stop and wonder, when was the last time I really played?

My 11 year old son, Asher reminds me to play.  Mom, “play with me” he says.  Surf with me.  Play Uno with me.  Skateboard with me.  I sleep better and feel better when I do.  

Kira Malone of Mama Manifest says,  

“Play is our direct link to joy and happiness.  It helps us access our creativity and enter into a flow state.  This flow state brings prosperity and is the gateway for manifestation”.

At work, play can help speed up learning, enhance creativity, and increase job satisfaction.  At home, play can enhance bonding and communication.  While I’m working, I try to get up and move on the days I’m sitting at my computer.  I put on my favorite music and take a ten minute dance break.  I’ve even been known to jump rope for five minutes, just to get my blood flowing.  And I feel like a kid again.

I challenge you to incorporate play into your day.  See how it feels.  I’d love to hear about how it goes and what you do for fun.  And if you are having trouble fitting it in, give me a call. I’d love to help you find more time to play.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Museum

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Earlier this summer, my son Asher and I were visiting my family in Washington D.C for a few weeks.  One of the things we love to do when we’re there is to visit the Smithsonian museums.  They are all free and there is so much to see and do with exhibits constantly changing.


It wasn’t until we were settled in on the metro heading into the city that I realized I had forgotten my phone.  At first, I was panic stricken.  I kept thinking the worst.  Had I lost my phone?  Had it slipped out of my bag?  What if there is an emergency?  How will I call for help?  Do they even have pay phones any more?  If so, how much do they cost?


At this point, there was no turning back.  We were well on our way and I decided there was a day of adventure ahead of us, phone or no phone.  Once I came to this conclusion, a sense of calm came over me.  


What’s the worst thing that will happen I kept asking myself?  The answer that kept coming up was that people won’t be able to get a hold of me.  People won’t be able to get a hold of me.  I finally realized, this will be great to have a day alone with Asher with no distractions where he will have my full attention.


Even though I knew I didn’t have my phone, I unconsciously kept checking it every twenty minutes at first.  It was a very unconscious habit.  We would see something we wanted to take a photo of then realize we had no phone.  We giggled and laughed and then began taking photos with our pretend phone.  By the end of the day I was not missing my phone at all. 


I realized that I need to schedule more phone free time into my schedule, especially with Asher.  And into my work days, too!  I know this will give my brain a break and help me to be more productive by setting aside several hours here and there where I’m not distracted.

If you’d like to work on turning your phone off, being more present and getting more done, I’d love to help.

How to Say No and Create More Space in Your Schedule

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I want to say, “no,” more.  

Not as in, “NO! I won’t do this,” but as in, “thank you so much for thinking of me but I really can’t commit to that right now.”  

They say that the most successful entrepreneurs have the ability to say no.  When I say no, it’s to create more clear space in my life.  In my schedule to be exact. I would use it to have more  down time and to give my brain a rest. 

What would you do with more clear space in your schedule?  Would you take time to ride your bike?  Go to the beach alone or with family? (While I’m with family I can’t fib, I sometimes daydream of lying on the beach alone where no one is whining about getting sand in their peanut butter and jelly sandwich). 

Because saying no doesn’t come easily to some of us, let’s practice together. Because at first it’s definitely not easy to say no if you’re not used to doing it.


So let’s learn how to say no and set boundaries, politely.

Some fun ones first:

  • I’ve the plague and it is contagious

  • My turtle needs me

  • I gotta catch up on Degrassi

  • It’s not you it’s my turtle (who needs me)

  • I’ve done a lot of research on the matter and it’s still a no

I have a hard time saying no because I don’t want people to think I’m not dependable. But the funny thing is that I know I’m dependable. So why do you have a hard time saying no? Is it usually the more we say no, the more people respect us. Here are a few that have worked for me so far.

So now the real ones that work really well:

  • I’m flattered you asked me but I can’t this time.

  • Thank you so much for asking but

  • I really appreciate you thinking of me but

  • Not this time but maybe next time

  • I can’t help you out but maybe Sally can fill in for me

    If you'd like to work on saying no together to find some clear space in your schedule , call me!  


    Happy Organizing,

    Amy

Lessons from an 11 year old

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I am so grateful for my son, Asher and all the lessons he teaches me every day.  When I slowwwwww down and really listen, he is showing me the way constantly. .  

I often notice that he takes his time to formulate his thoughts, weave his story and think about what he will say next, while my mind races ahead to fill in the blanks and judge what is happening.  Not because I’m a bad person but because that’s what our brains do.  Our adult brains are constantly categorizing and comparing our experiences to past events to save time and energy.

Both Hindus and Sikhs believe that the soul of an infant chooses its’ parents to teach them lessons they are ready to learn.  And I truly believe that Asher is here to teach me what I need to learn.  What he is teaching me right now is to slow down and listen.

I am ready and willing to learn this lesson though each day I forget and need to be reminded again. And again.  And again.  Each day I wake up having forgotten I need to slow down and listen.  To the leaves rustling.  The the thousands of bees in my acacia tree humming away.  To the hawk circling overhead calling out to its’ mate.

When we really listen.  Slow down and listen.  We find the answers to questions we’ve been having or problems we’ve been trying to solve.  When was the last time  you slowed down to really listen?  Took a few deep breaths and listened. Try it.

If you’d like to slow down and find some space in your life for projects you’ve been putting off, give me a call!

Getting Organized Around Your Taxes

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It’s tax time! Are you ready?  Will you be filing on time or need an extension?  Either way, do you have your finances organized? 

I’m not a financial advisor but I do like having my finances  organized and file my taxes on time every year.  I have my  dad to thank for this and feel blessed that at a pretty young age was given the financial literacy to understand the basics, especially to not live beyond my means.  I vividly remember at 18 before going off to college my dad opening a credit card for me and him explaining that I was to pay it off every month no matter what I charged and this way I should never charge more than I can pay off. Advice I actually listened to. I appreciate these lessons now even more and especially as I start to teach my son about the basics of finance.

I’ve worked quite a bit over the last few years with a local fiduciary office that  manages high wealth clients.  I  help them to organize large, overwhelming cases that they don’t have the time or manpower to deal with.  This has given me an insider’s perspective into just how very important it is to stay on top of your finances by keeping them organized.  On more than one occasion 10 or more boxes of paper would be dropped off of just financial statements for someone’s estate that was in complete disarray.  I had to make heads or tails of it all, like a 10,000 piece puzzle.

From my own experience and from working with my clients, I’ve learned a few things about keeping your finances organized.

Here are my top 3 takeaways:

  • Keep all digital financial statements in one place.  Because so much is done online now and luckily we are saving resources by going paperless, lots of statements are coming to us via email.  So, create a folder specifically for that in your inbox.  In gmail, they’re called labels.  You may have several, for instance one is banking, investments and taxes for that specific year.

  • Put all paper statements in file folders by account, investment, or type.  If there is only one statement a year, maybe those could be grouped together in investments, for example.  

  • To organize your taxes all year long have a file folder or old school expandable file folder with pockets labeled with that tax year.  My 2019 tax folder already has donation receipts from the thrift store and acupuncture receipts from appointments I’ve been to this year.  When January of next year rolls around and I start to receive my tax statements I put them in the folder, too.  Once they’re all in one place (two including the email tax folder) I’m able to simply group things together before handing over to my accountant.

If you need help there is no shame in being disorganized. It’s never too late to create new habits so that next year it’s a breeze. If you need help or get stuck give me a call!

Happy Organizing!