• The Power of Silence

    (originally posted on michellepowell.me)

    Few times in life do women actually get total approval for being any way we want to be. Where anything goes and we get a “free pass” if you will. I think of being pregnant, being an infant or young child and those with medical issues. There is total acceptance of whatever we want to say or do during those times and all guards are down. We feel taken care of with compassion and are completely free to be our true selves (no matter how unattractive, crazy or emotional we get). Nothing we do is “too much”, people adjust around us and we are seen with pure eyes. Isn’t that interesting? 

    I had simply accepted this as a fact until recently. Two weeks ago I attended a spiritual feminine luxury retreat with 9 other women in Palm Springs. We were to have no technology, dive into ancient feminine teachings, conduct sacred sister circles and be initiated as a “Queen”. Archetypes like the Queen or Warrior are a huge part of spirituality. They hold the role to play when seeking to embody truth and power. Little did I know, though, that this was a half-silent retreat. That meant every night after circle we would go into silence until lunchtime the next day. 

    For someone who has never done anything like this before, I was scared and shocked which is an understatement. How were we to communicate? How will we pass the time? We were sharing rooms and bathrooms, how was this going to work? I had to put full faith in my mentor and myself to trust the process, which I have been working on in my life lately anyway. This was a powerful opportunity to put this trust into action. It was time for me to step up my spiritual game and accept whatever came up. 

    As with any first time, it was a little awkward. I wanted to connect with the lovely women around me! I wanted to ask questions and laugh! I wanted to talk about what we just learned. When I was left to myself, in the actual presence of the other women, I didn’t know how to handle my emotions or feelings. I felt the energies of everyone, but was forced to be with only mine. What I realized was that I had been denying myself for so long. 

    Part of being a Queen is honoring her own time, space and body. She doesn’t seek attention, acknowledgement and social activities when there are decisions to be made or deep learning to understand. She knows what she needs and never has to explain herself. She knows she holds the power for change in herself and her Queendom. With great power comes great responsibility. She sets strong, healthy boundaries.

    That silence was a boundary to protect our process of everything we had just learned and felt. It kept us incredibly present and created space for the information or whatever feeling that came up to ‘land’. It allowed us to be in our bodies, not in our heads, to embody our truth we intrinsically are as women. It was permission to feel and be any way we wanted to. There was no judgement and no criticism from ourselves or the others. There was only love, acceptance, compassion and freedom. This is where we, as women, are safe to shine. 

    Instead of succumbing to the belief that we only get a few chances to be completely free and authentic, I now understand that once we sit with who we are without distractions, we find our safety. In that safety, we have freedom. It is when we let our minds or outside circumstances take control that the perception of safety is absent and we aren’t able to claim our power. Our power is in our being and our body, not our doing or intellect.

    When women feel safe, anything is possible. When we create our own safety through silence and space, we allow our full self to completely emerge. Our unique power is ignited and people around us will adjust to it. Just like a pregnant woman, baby or ill patient, everyone else will see us with pure eyes and compassion. They will either accept our power and be led by it or be repelled and go the other direction. Our needs are served when they are felt and honored by ourselves first.  (TWEET THAT)

    With that gift of silence, we were all able to see ourselves easier, to let things truly sink in and understand what it means to have power as a woman. All the logistic awkwardness worked out, too. You can still communicate in silence. Who knew?  ;)

    Technology such as phones, Facebook, TV, music or apps as well as engagement with others can be a distraction from what we really need to thrive, and inevitably keep us stuck. There is a time and place for it - I’m not suggesting to go all hard-core no technology. However, l invite you to give yourself enough space and time to discern when healing and processing need to be honored. You can have this whenever you need. Trust the process. 

    This concept has changed my life. I believe it has to experienced before one can fully understand it. I’ve heard about going off the grid my entire life, but not until 32 years in did I accept the challenge. Oh, and Sacred Sisterhood helped.

    Have you experienced going off-the-grid? If so, I’d love to hear all about it in the comments! If not, how and when can you create some off-the-grid silence in your life? 

    Silent hugs,

  • Are you inspired?

    What does a cluttered closet, a draining schedule and an overwhelmed procrastinator have in common? Lack of inspiration.

    Sure, proper support and a productive game-plan are what it really takes to have an organized life and space, but we mustn’t forget the path TO that arena, which is what inspires you to take action! 

    With all of noise out there on how to organize this or that, how to make your home more beautiful or what to do in order to have a smooth transition into our new home, it's no wonder anyone gets overwhelmed. How could we pick what and who to listen to? It's a dangerous road, however, because once we're on the overwhelm path, we usually stop in our tracks. No movement means stagnant energy which means too many negative consequences.

    It's quite important that we surround ourselves with the motivation and inspiration we need to stay ON track with our needs, goals and desires. 

    Are you inspired to live and be the best you can be? If not, what's missing?

    For me, this time of year is a full on parade of motivation. The weather is brisk, the colors are abundant, changes are in the air and the holidays are bustling with enthusiasm! A piece of me awakens and my creativity soars. I'm also inspired consistently by my clients. I consider them my muse. 

    For others though, this time is a bit stressful, chaotic or dismal. 

    In general, if we aren't inspired, our greatest vision for ourselves and our spaces can't come to fruition. We get stuck in overwhelm, other people's expectations/standards or a desperate need for connection. We settle. We deal with it. We lower our quality of life or let life pass us by. 

    If we pinpoint why the holiday season is so exciting to most, it's because of the universal energy towards joy, cheer, giving, connecting and entertainment through constant sources in all directions. The inspiration is everywhere! And if we are not inspired to enjoy ourselves, we're considered a "scrooge", because, how could we not enjoy ourselves? 

    On the contrary, fast forward to February after the holiday madness and new year high has subsided. People are thinking about how they already broke their resolutions, dreading the valentine's day planning or how boring life is now that it's back to normal routine. (More on how to overcome this dreaded feeling at the end!)

    What if it could be different? What if you could be just as inspired to enjoy yourself as you were during the holidays (or whenever you are most inspired) ALL THE TIME? 

    It's possible, my friend. The key here is eliminating things that are taking away from your inspiration first, then actively pursuing activities, resources or people that inspire you so everything you experience can be more meaningful.

    Inspiration stems from your values. We get excited for and inspired by what we value most. See if you can figure out what's misaligned in your life. Here are some examples:

    - An auto mechanic might value technical engineering or expertise. He could eliminate a night of TV watching and go to a car show. 

    - A fashion model who values spirituality over superficiality might ditch the party and head to a yoga retreat. 

    - What about a workaholic business woman that really wants to make a difference in the world and values teamwork? Perhaps instead of taking her work home with her, she could volunteer for Habitat of Humanity. 

    My point may seem obvious, but it appears to be a growing epidemic.

    What do you need to say no to in order to say YES to something better for yourself? (TWEET THAT)

    What in your life are you doing (or not doing) that makes you feel blah? That is exactly what you should let go of NOW and replace it with something that makes you thrilled with anticipation before you do it. The after effects of this small shift will trickle all the way from your happiness to your wallet. It will give you more fulfillment and purpose in your life so you can experience more success, fun and freedom!

    So, what inspires you? What do you need to look at, listen to, play, read, work on, feel, believe, pursue, ask for, chant, choose or invest in to amplify the quality of your life? No matter what it is, it's within reach and closer than you think. 

    If you are not sure or think you might need a little support in this area, I would like to invite you to take a look at my 3 month Virtual Coaching Program. I'm offering a deep discount until November 30 for only 3 people, so take a look and schedule an Inspiration Session if you think this might be for you!

    What do you want to commit to inspiring yourself with? Do tell! Comment below. 

    May you always be inspired to be your best and live like you want to. 

  • Are you ashamed of your home?


    This is a touchy subject, but I felt the need to address this as it has been on my mind these past few months. I see too often the negative side effects that are infiltrating people's lives from feeling shame in regards to their home. Potential clients decide on not receiving help because they feel too stuck or think they can just get through it or deal by themselves. Almost EVERY single friend of mine says "don't judge me, my house is a mess" or some version of that when I come into their home. When we feel ashamed, usually we are a member of the perfection paralysis club or are just feeling downright unworthy. 

    I don't want to be associated with a "high-and-mighty" persona, nor do most Professional Organizers. We are all here to help you because we have been in your shoes at some point. We LOVE creating solutions for you and holding your hand through the process. We actually ENJOY this work and want to help as many people as possible because of our passion. There is nothing we haven't seen. If we actually do come across something we haven't seen, curiosity rules, not judgement. We are all waiting for YOU to step up and be vulnerable so we can guide you through ease and fun in order for you to reap the rewards you are searching for. 

    I really wanted to clear this up for anyone out there that might be holding back on seeking support. This is why I write blogs. This is why I have social media channels and do FREE Inspiration Sessions. To help YOU get clear on where you are, where you want to go and how to get there. If it's not with ME, let it be with someone else.

    I believe in the magnitude of a courageous YES and a clear NO (TWEET THAT)

    No one can do it alone. I actively support and promote my fellow Organizers, as not everyone will resonate with me. I believe in true teamwork and that there is p-l-e-n-t-y to go around. If you are in a sticky situation in your space, I encourage you to reach out sooner than later. To me, to a friend, to a family member, to any professional...honor yourself and your needs by receiving the support that is waiting for you. It's fall and the energy right now is perfect for this! 

    If you are in this position I have a few tips and pieces of advice:

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE & IT'S NORMAL TO FEEL THIS. Like I mentioned above, so many of my potential clients, friends, family and acquaintances are showing signs of shame and embarrassment regarding their home or even their emotional state. Imagine how many people in your own network are feeling just like you, maybe in a different way. We ALL feel this way sometimes, even professionals.

    ADDRESS YOUR FEELINGS. Ignoring it or making yourself busy as a distraction will only cover up these feelings and enable the habit to keep coming back. Also, productive avoidance will also delay the results and are basically a sign that you want to be distracted from this feeling. Only when you shed light on shadow emotions can they disappear or transition into positive ones. 

    REACH OUT. When you ask for and receive support in any way (even if it is researching), your world will open up. Find the help you need. You will connect more, you will feel more fulfilled, you will be happier, you will think more clearly, the list goes on. In other words, It's worth it. 

    BELIEVE YOU ARE WORTH IT. You deserve your desires and you deserve help. No one can know or be good at everything, that's why we all need each other. Most people want to help others, so the trick is finding the right fit of expertise and need. Know that you have a perfect fit waiting for you that will light you up with positive enthusiasm when you find it. Imagine what the other side of shame is. Think of your life or space without it and that is what's possible. Go easy on yourself if you are fragile, but know that your vulnerability is key to receiving what you need. 

    Cheers to spacious living,

  • Catching Your Own Clutter

    Confession: As a Professional Organizer, I can get a little unorganized sometimes. 

    Do you ever wonder what goes on behind closed cabinet doors in an Organizers home? I am on a mission to showcase how easy Organization is, and how normal all of our situations are – no matter how messy it is. Sometimes, Organizers are messy and disorganized too. What's the one differentiating factor between them and the rest of the population? We catch ourselves, know what to do and do it. 

    Back story: My husband recently moved out of his office and started working from home. His furniture is much nicer than mine, so we decided to swap them out, leaving me with furniture to sell or let go of. The majority of it went fast. One lonesome desk (that we spent hours painting, sanding and updating) still remains after over a month of no takers. It's too heavy to quickly take it out to the curb, especially with our staircase. Perhaps, I might be hoarding this little desk because I don't want it to end up in the wrong hands, but that's besides the point right now (later blog). SO, it's been out in the living room, taking up valuable space and not matching a thing (design mis-match makes me cringe).

    Today, I realized that the top of this desk hasn't been clear since we put it out here. I had accepted the invitation of a new surface to lay out bags, notebooks, packages, trash - you name it - on top of it, consistently. My subconscious probably got a little overzealous to the fact that this new surface had no purpose so I was free to do what I wanted with it. My freedom value and slight rebellious nature took advantage of this and turned the desk into a bit of an eye sore. I have been in denial and ignored the whole situation until now. I realized I had a clutter catcher! My purse is now hanging on its special hook and I have cleared the surface accordingly. I have re-committed to the process of getting the desk out and not using the surface for my convenience.

    >> Moral of the story, save yourself from your own clutter catchers! Those areas that we dump our items into or on, the "catch all" or junk drawer, the hall closet, the backpack, the car, whatever it might be- become aware of it now!

    Know that it is not serving your highest good or the efficiency of the space by ignoring it. Tame clutter catchers by either taking away the space culprit or giving it a purpose. Do you need an organizational product? Can something you already own go on top of the surface? Do you need to organize or pay attention to the contents? 

    Your space ALWAYS needs your attention, so give it some, baby! (TWEET THAT)

    Cheers to loving every inch of your home,

  • Cosmic Construction: Organizing Your Days Using Astrology

    I believe we all are energy and what we DO with that energy can be powerful (TWEET THAT!).  Even more so when used in conjunction with other like energy simultaneously. This is similar to why Feng Shui works. In other words, a ton of people doing the same thing at the same time for the same reason. I'm sure you can put together some memories of why that concept in general is so powerful. 

    We all have shit to do. We all talk about there not being enough time to do it in. We all take on more than we can handle at some point and then complain why our lives aren't what we want it to be. I know how easy it is to get caught up in the "what life gives you" storm. We can all sure use any help we can get. Am I right? That's why I get excited to utilize the universe to my benefit. Here are 3 ways I've had success in constructing my days, weeks & to-do list according to the cosmos. 


    Astrological Significance of Each Day


    "Have you ever noticed how each weekday has a distinct feel to it? Each day of the week is governed by a planet or a luminary (moon and sun), and so each day has a special energy and feel to it according to its overruling planet. We can use astrological meaning of days to enhance our progress every day of the week. Being aware of daily planetary properties can facilitate alignment of our thoughts and allow a better flow of productivity throughout our days and weeks.

    Learning the planetary personalities and each meaning of days opens a whole new realm of potential growth. A fabulous flow of energy can be created when we work with the planetary attributes rather than blindly moving through our week. Simply put, knowing astrological meaning of days gives us a secret weapon for success and productivity because we are working with the cosmic orbits, not against." - Avia Vanefica from http://www.whats-your-sign.com/astrological-meaning-of-days.html

    Here are my suggestions on what you can do on each day that would be most benefiting:

    Monday - MOON - introspection, meditation, determining emotions (write, set boundaries, feel into desires).
    Tuesday - MARS - Take action on new/old projects (organizing!), plan a full day, stay active/energetic.
    Wednesday - MERCURY - Communicate (email, speak, phone, blog...), connect, travel, go to doctor.
    Thursday - JUPITER - Do anything that you want to grow/increase in size, meetings, planning.
    Friday - VENUS - Love someone (you count!), dates, creativity, finding pleasure in necessary tasks.
    Saturday - SATURN - Cleaning, preparation, studying, adventures
    Sunday - SUN - Rest, cooking, learning, fueling, nurture, be bold, wish.

    Time of Day Scheduling


    Just like days of the week, the time of day has an impact on your productivity. Each hour is also ruled by a planet, but that gets too convoluted for me. Let's just go with the sun schedule here. Some of this might be obvious, but try to put a deeper meaning into what you schedule for each timeframe. 

    DAWN: Ease into new energy, decide on intention as light emerges so you can "see" better

    MORNING: Schedule something new, work on the hardest tasks needing the most energy or tasks that you desire expansion from.

    NOON: Starting at 12pm, the sun is goin' down and that affects on our actions. After noon until evening is a great for working towards projects/goals, studying/learning and clean up any "mess" (whatever that might look like).

    TWILIGHT: Wrap it up! Take it slow and be more alert as "shadows" are appearing, enjoy the transition.

    NIGHT: Quiet rest and rejuvenation, sneaky secretive behavior if you're into that, endings (think relinquishing duties/responsibilities or releasing of something no longer needed).

    The Moon Cycles


    The moon, as our closest planet, is SO POWERFUL. Each moon cycle is ruled by another planet and therefore comes with different traits/personalities/strengths. We can honor each 2 week cycle by living according to what the corresponding planet of the month represents. You can find information on what each month's planetary moon combo is online (google it). In general, keep these guidelines in mind for each phase:

    NEW MOON - A fresh start to set intentions for the month and especially the next two weeks. It's the time to start new endeavors, begin processes and create. As the moon is waxing (getting bigger), we are able to harness that growth in our own lives, just like I mentioned in the morning time above. 

    FULL MOON - Big, bright Illumination means we can see the darkest spots in our lives. It's our spotlight to celebrate. As the moon is waning (getting smaller), it's the time to release what is no longer serving us such as habits, people, endeavors or beliefs. 


    Fascinating, huh?  In the comments below, tell me what you liked the most. What will you be implementing in your life right away?

  • Love Your Home, One Room at a Time: BEDROOM

    My Colleague Christel Ferguson and I are on a mission to revolutionize the way you feel about your home through organizing, Feng Shui and design. We created a video series to focus on just that, starting the the bedroom. 

    If you enjoy the video, share it with your friends and family! Stay connected with us through YouTube and Social Media through the links below. Thanks for your support.

  • Interview: Alegre Ramos - Organization Tips for Busy Moms


    Alegre Ramos is a wife, mom, eco-expert and also runs multiple small businesses. I've always admired how productive and put together she is, and now you can hear what this busy mom does to keep her life and business organized!

    She talks about what to do with all the "ugly" stuff in the home, how to handle the hectic daily life while still getting things done, what eating technique minimizes waste and saves time + more! 

    Watch the interview here:

     

    Check out Alegre on her website at EmberLiving.com.

  • Owning Your Season of Life

    Being present is not a strong suit for most americans. We are conditioned to be nostalgic, rely on past patterns, stick to family traditions out of obligation or please others first. We are bombarded with pushy marketing to speed up, buy more and consume as much as we can. As a society, we are trained by each other to worry about money, take pills for anxiety, sabotage efforts of ourselves or others and become accustomed to settling for less than what we want. I think it's about time this ends. I want to call you out of the trenches to rise up and be the person you actually want to be with the life you actually want to live. 

    I said goodbye to that kind of life a couple years ago when I signed up for a group life coaching program. It changed my life, yes, but it also made me finally realize shit needs to change NOW. There are a myriad of lessons, routines and tools I could tell you about, but the biggest one of all that I am still learning how to master to this day is presence. With all that conditioning mentioned above, it's quite challenging to break those habits, right? Constant awareness and reminders have to set to remember to be present. It's important because that's where all our power comes from, the present moment. We give our power away when we live in the past or future. That's when life goes downhill and we keep riding that downhill roller coaster. Let's not let life pass us by. Let's get off that roller coaster and meander along, soaking it all up. Before we can do that, we need to shift our perspective to the present moment or our season of life we are currently in.

    Seasons of life have actually been something I have known about for many years, but never quite seem to get it down. Sometimes it takes a few re-dedications and flipping the switch to catch yourself and get off that roller coaster. I realize it's not about perfection in the fact that we have to always be present and living super in tune with every moment. Just like meditation, it's about bringing the focus back when we wander off. It's about honing THAT skill, as opposed to beating ourselves up that we aren't good at being present. How do we hone the skill of awareness and harnessing the present? By owning our season of life

    First, as you may have guessed, the actual physical season we are in has a lot to do with our seasons of life. It's SUMMER and the energy along with that is key to really experiencing bliss. This season is especially hard for me, as I despise hot weather. I'm triggered and tested right now while life is pushing me to my full potential outside of my comfort zone. I am totally willing to do it and I think I'm doing better than other summers! I'm sitting outside relishing in the warm breeze while sipping a cold beverage. I'm wearing flowey clothes because it feels good on my skin and is a bit of a distraction from the heat. I'm getting outside more and exercising. I'm planning pool escapades and beach excursions. I'm going to farmers markets and enjoying air conditioned movie theaters. This is being present and this is what's going to help elevate your experience.

    How can you harness the blissful moments of the physical season you are in now? Here is a beautiful list of things to love during the summer. 

    Next, the actual events going on, people you are hanging out with, job you have and overall circumstance is your season of life. Sometimes seasons of life overlap. In other words, we have multiple seasons of life at the same time. We don't always know how long our season of life could be, but one thing is certain: it is unique to you and you will NEVER experience this season of life again. So ENJOY it! Relish this time, even if its hard. Savor the moments as much as you can, notice more, let arguments go, get out of your comfort zone, be with your loved ones and do what feels right at this time. Your bucket list will always be there, so no need to rush it all, unless the seasons are coming to an end.

    Examples of seasons of life are: being a toddler, pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, studying abroad, month long backpacking trip to Europe, the party lifestyle, volunteering on a politicians campaign, any job, being on tour, dealing with an illness, living in a certain neighborhood/city, being pregnant, raising a young child, raising a teenager, empty nesters, retiring, 3 week african safari, retreats, unemployment, taking education courses, getting married, going all eat-pray-love, physical training, being in a relationship and the list goes on. So, the question is, how can you cherish your season of life so that your daily experience is amazing? (Click to tweet)


    I want to hear from you! Do you recognize what season of life you are in? What would be ONE thing you could start doing or being aware of that will enhance YOUR experience? Tell me in the comments below. 

  • Lent: The Aftermath


    What is this blog post about!?

    I know, crazy title, huh?

    I've been thinking about this for quite a while, but the circumstances have just connected for me to dig in to this topic. I'm not a Christian anymore, even though I grew up so. I have done a handful of Lents and most of them have been failures. 

    What I'm really getting at here is not Lent, but transformation

    As I breathe into writing this, I understand it's much bigger than a blog post. Perhaps I can just skim the surface with some experience, examples and wisdom.

    Lent

    A significant time for a Christian to repent or "fast" of sin, activate modern and spiritual discipline in honor of Jesus Christ and embrace a more meaningful life through this healing.

    Let's also compare this to simply releasing things that no longer serve us so we can better our life. For some (yes, even Christians) this time is an excuse to do this, with or without the spiritual attachment. If we are craving change, often we need to give up something that is blocking us from our ideal way of life. We have to decide and commit to this change in us to advance to the next level of our experience. Usually, the desire is there along with a big ball of fear. Why is it so hard to change?

    The 40 Days

    The number 40, specifically that amount of days represent a powerful, universal cycle of transformation in so many contexts. From Jesus to Buddha, there has been many stories and trials of the 40 day transformation. Just like Feng Shui, this has so much power to it and I can see the supreme support it brings when utilized. 

    What happens next?

    At last, the point. What happens after Lent? What happens after the 40 days you spent giving something up? What happens when your rituals or retreats are over or when you make that major decision to let something go? Is it over for good or do you do it again? Do you regress back into that habit, person, thought or way of life? It's certainly natural, but what gives? Why can't it stick? 

    My friend gave up red meat for her 40 day Lent journey and reports a much lighter feeling in her body, a solid knowing she actually needs meat in her life and calm connection to everything. That is one rare and fantastic success story! She truly embodied what it was all about: learning from the experience. 

    However, with my own experience and with many of the people I know, the original "sin" always creeps back in, like our efforts never existed. 

    I'll tell you what I now know: Our values create our quality of life.

    When life seems out of place, icky or dull, we are out of alignment with our values. When we get stuck in a rut, indulge in unhealthy behavior, become apathetic or any negative phenomenon you can think of, we are out of alignment with our values.

    Basically, we are not remembering what we want. We are letting ourselves become blinded by societal expectations and not allowing our greatest desires to be known and nourished. 

    I read this recently and the construct of these concepts are absolute perfection:

    "Action will come easy and natural when you align your goals with your values. Happiness will flow naturally when you are making choices that contribute to experiencing your values on a deeper level. You will feel successful when you are clear on what your core values are and being sure everything in your life is in honor of these." (jeannineyoder.com)

    Let's all be determined to live our best life, and by that I mean BE your best by living according to your values. What is out of alignment for you? I challenge you now or during a future 40 day adventure to remember what you want. You have the powerful discipline within you to take a stand for yourself, I promise. The grass is greener when you water it.

    Have you gone through a transformation and landed well on the other side? How did you stay disciplined through it? I want to know ~ share your story in the comments below.

  • New Business Basics - Organizing the First Steps In Your New Biz

    Have you just started a business and need a little direction on what to do next? Ryan Powell from iLifestyle has your back in this Interview about getting those initial steps organized.

    COMMENT BELOW: What was most helpful to you from this video?

     

    Links & Resources

    Registrations:

    • Talk to your local Small Business Administration office for guidance on what permits you need.
    • City Finance Office: Business Registration
    (Other permits from your city or County may be needed)
    • County Registrar/Recorder: DBA filing
    • State: Resale Permits and other possible registrations

    Common Business Administrative Apps

    Accounting:
    • Xero Accounting Software: http://www.xero.com/us/
    • Wave Accounting Softwar: http://waveaccounting.com

    CRM:
    • Insightly CRM: http://www.insightly.com/
    • Capsule CRM: http://capsulecrm.com

    Project Management:
    • Basecamp: https://basecamp.com
    • Apollo: http://www.apollohq.com

    All in one business Apps
    • Google Apps for Business: http://www.google.com/intx/en/enterprise/apps/business/
    • WorkEtc: http://www.worketc.com

    General insights on starting a business:
    • http://www.sba.gov
    • http://startupcollective.com/

    Info on finding a mentor:
    • http://startupcollective.com/resources/find-mentor/

    • EIN Online Application:
    http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online

    • Small Business Administration Website
    (lots of helpful info and links to local offices where assistance can be found):
    http://www.sba.gov

    • Legal Zoom for Filing:
    https://www.legalzoom.com


    Ryan Powell - Chief Expert

    iLifestyle, LLC
    866-424-3997 x42
    www.theilifestyle.com

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    -Apple Consultants Network Member

  • Interview: iAccounting Solutions

    In an effort to support businesses operating virtually, I had the pleasure of meeting with Stephan from iAccounting Solutions through Skype! Since it is almost tax season, I caught up with him to talk about tax prep, what to do when you get audited, digital record keeping and the ways we can take advantage of modern technology in our financial lives. He talks about apps like Xero, Mint and Expensify which all can help with your taxes and beyond. 

    Listen to the interview

    Follow Stephan on Twitter at ss and stay up to date with the great articles from the iAccounting Solutions BLOG

    How do you utilize technology for modern business or personal taxes?

  • Interview: Tres Jolie Intimates

    Intimately Organized:

    How to Properly Store & Care For Lingerie

    Ladies! Are you ready to corral that messy underwear drawer? Have your bras gotten mis-shaped and no longer fit? Are you clueless on how to store your lingerie? In this interview, Rose from Tres Jolie in Pasadena, CA will share her expert tips from many years in the business on how to properly care for your delicate duds. 

    You will learn:
    -The most common mistake women make when buying lingerie.
    -The correct way to store lingerie, especially the padded, larger pieces that often get mishandled.
    -The Secret to making lingerie last.
    -The signs of when it's time to replace your bra.

     

    Tres Jolie in Pasadena specializes in fine lingerie and sleepwear with emphasis on quality, comfort, and one-on-one personalized service.


    Tres Jolie Intimates
    350 S Lake Ave - Suite 114
    Pasadena, CA 91101
    (626) 795-5734

    This is part of an interview series dedicated to showcasing how important organizing is in the real world. For the confused, lost, overwhelmed and curious, I offer insights and examples from real people in their daily life and/or business. I'm hoping to bring organizing to the forefront of our culture so that it's clear how important and fulfilling it is. Not only that, but the amazing people I have the pleasure of interviewing will share some top professional tips in their field. I can't wait for you to read, watch, listen and learn from these short installments. They will come in different forms, so make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter & YouTube. Please share the knowledge with someone you might think would enjoy it. I'm so happy you are here, stay with me and let me know what you're thinking below!

  • How To Organize Your Photos

    Do you have an overwhelming and unorganized amount of paper photos, and are clueless on where to start? I’ll help you knock out this project step by step. This can be applied to keepsakes or memorabilia too. 

    1. Set the Scene.

    • Set up your environment so it’s conducive and helps you work swiftly. This is the kind of job that will get you side tracked easily, so stay focused and make sure you are comfortable. Ideas include lighting a candle, playing lively music, having snacks and picking a large surface to work on. Think about if you want to be alone, if you want help from family, friends (make it a party!) or even a Professional. 

    • Set up your photos, meaning bring ALL your loose photos together in one location that you can continually come back to. Create a system layout that you can easily work around and put the photos in their correct categories. I like to use small post its temporarily for sorting in plastic shoeboxes or any small boxes you already have. The reason I use temporary boxes is because you need to know the exact amount of photos in each category before you can identify the correct container size to use. Make sure you have somewhere you can quickly stash this setup if you need the space for daily use. 

    • Set up the categories. Think of the categories like you would when setting up a filing system. Only you can create them, because it will be your mind that will search for them. Categories can include: chronological, family member, location (vacations, holidays, events, etc), theme and more. For every photo you come across, ask yourself “what category would I naturally look for this photo in?” You can come up with several right off the bat, so create those and add more categories as you need to. 

    • Set the amount of time you will work today and in the future. The key to getting a big photo project done (among everything else) is consistency. Make a plan and stick to it. Get accountability from someone else. Put it on your calendar. If this is important to you, make time for it.

    "Photo Organizing can be a massive project, first figure out your main goal, then break the massive photo project into smaller projects.”
    Christie Gelsomino
    www.Visiontobeorganized.com

    2. Sort. Now that you have everything set up, it’s time to sort, and sort fiercely. 

    • Start where it’s easiest. Perhaps you already have a category formed somehow or vacation photos already together. Perfect. Once you start, you’ll get in the flow and once you make headway, motivation will take effect.

    • There’s no need for YOU to keep doubles, blurries, off-focus or unflattering photos, 20 technically different photos of basically the same thing or any photos that have a negative association to. You are building an organized colony of happy memories, so let that be your motto!

    • What to do with all those extra photos you made a decision not to keep? My first suggestion is let it go to the recycle bin…if no one knows about it now, they probably won’t need it. Ask your family or friends if they want the photo and send to them if so (make a pile for these as your sorting and take care of it later). Take a photo with your phone or camera to keep digitally OR send that photo digitally (think #tbt on Facebook). REALLY don’t want a certain photo or group of photos? Consider having a ritual like burning them in a trash can to signify the powerful release of those emotions. 

     

    3. Store. Congratulate yourself on accomplishing the hardest part of it all, #2. Here’s a reward for that: go shopping! 

    • Now you know how many photos are in each category and how many photos overall you need to store. Note the different sizes in each category: are there 4x6’s, 8x10’s and 5x7’s all in the Hawaii Vacation category? Your containers will need to be able to hold all sizes.

    • The best storage containers are archival-quality boxes, binders, accordion files or heavy duty envelopes. Ideally you want products that are acid free, lignin-free and PVC-free. If you’re contemplating violent acts after just reading that, forget what I just said! Your sanity is more important, and you can always have someone take on this aspect for you later, if truly desired. If you just need something quick and inexpensive, store them in plastic bins or pretty cardboard boxes. The Container Store is my favorite place for such items. Don’t forget to label.

    • Finally, the eco option is to transfer these photos to digital version. There are services out there that you can send all your photos to and they will be scanned properly and made into albums as you have organized. Here are some of my favorites:
    -DVD Your Memories
    -Scan Digital
    -Scan Cafe

    "It is important to store your paper photos in archival safe boxes, and to be sure they are in a cool and dry location.  Take them out of your attics and basements, and find a closet space inside your home."
    Cari Dawson - Certified Personal Photo Organizer
    www.cariscustomorganizing.com

    BONUS! Here is a fancy video my colleagues put together about photo organizing and I couldn’t help but share. CHECK OUT THE VIDEO for additional resources and pro tips!


    Now, I want to know what YOU think! Has this helped you comprehend the process better? Are there any questions you still have? Comment below and don't be shy :)

  • Interview: Clutter

    Welcome to the first installment of my Interview series! 

    During the last several months of 2013, I was passionately trying to figure out how to showcase organizing in the real world. I finally came to the idea of interviewing people and businesses to talk about how organizing relates to their daily life and/or business. I'm hoping to bring organizing to the forefront so that it's clear how important and fulfilling it is. Not only that but the amazing people I had the pleasure of interviewing will share some top tips in their field. I can't wait for you to read, watch and learn from these short installments. They will come in different forms, so make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and newsletter for instant updates. Don't stop there! Once you read, listen or watch these interviews, make sure to comment below on what you thought. Did you enjoy it? Do you have questions? I want to hear from you.


    With the abundant storage companies in Southern California, Clutter offers a refreshing and much needed approach to simplify self storage. They are a unique solution serving Los Angeles and operate on a simple 3 step system:

    1. Visual catelog of what you store through a fully automated app
    2. Convenient pick up of your items and supplied bins for storage
    3. On-demand returns of items stored when needed.

    I caught up with Brian Thomas, CEO of Clutter, for an exclusive interview. It was great to get to know him and his company better. I am so impressed by their clear vision and enthusiasm for their purpose. Here is what he had to say, and yes, organizing is a big part of it!

    Tell us a bit about the company and what Clutter is all about.
    Clutter is all about making storage simple. Clutter is a full-service storage company which means that we manage pick up, storage, and retrieval of your extra items so you never have to visit a self-stroage unit again.

    Why did Clutter come about? What sets you apart from other storage companies?
    I started Clutter because I was frustrated with the inconvenience and frustration of visiting my self-storage unit. I wanted a simple storage solution that was easy, convenient, and helped me remember the cool things I had safely locked away. Self-storage companies offer an inconvenient and frustrating experience, an empty room for you to forget about your stuff. Mobile storage companies are helpful for moves and short-term storage but not for easy access to your items. Clutter is better than these options for the reasons noted above and because we make it easy to create a photo inventory of the items you have in storage that you can manage online.

    Is there anything you DO NOT store?
    You can store anything that can be moved by 2 people except for the the following: Liquids, Illegal substances, Perishables, Hazardous materials. For a complete list check out our Terms of Service (http://clutter.io/terms)

    What are the most common items you DO store?
    Our early customers have been storing anything from a few file boxes of documents to a garage worth of items so they can park their car inside again. The most common things people store with us are clothing, documents, sports equipment, and mementos (photo albums, etc.).

    What types of items or categories are recommended to store outside of someone's home with Clutter?
    I think the best approach for people is to first throw away things not worth keeping, donate items they no longer need/want/use, and then consider how to organize the remainder. We have several customers that are empty-nesters storing their child's things while he or she is off to college and quite a few that have downsized from a larger home in retirement. I see Clutter as a convenient and easy way for people to organize a room or garage and then have the ability to go through the photos of the items anytime they want and decide what to do with each box.

    Is there a type of person that is a better fit than most for Clutter? 
    Customers that value convenience and using technology to simplify their life are an ideal fit for Clutter. People that are moving in with a significant other (or out, yikes!), anybody that has items worth keeping that don't fit in the home will appreciate using Clutter. I was expecting to see a bit more of a "typical" customer but we have customers ranging in age from 18 to over 60 storing anywhere from 2 to over 20 boxes. I think this will become clearer as time goes on.

    Do your customers have to prepare in any way before you arrive?
    Yes, customers need to be packed before Clutter arrives for the pick-up. Clutter can help with packing but we charge $40/hr after the first hour of the pick-up.

    What is the greatest benefit people get when they use your services?
    A simpler, more organized life. People get a visual inventory of the items they have in storage so they can manage their extra stuff intelligently instead of letting those items collect dust and be forgotten in storage. The ease and convenience of the service is what customers note they like the most.

    Do you service areas outside of LA?
    Right now we're just Los Angeles.

    visit www.clutter.io for all the details.

    READERS: What are your thoughts on this kind of storage solution? Would you use it? 

     

  • Mindful Organizing: Streamline Your Life to Feel More Fulfilled & Empowered

    Happy New Year! 

    What an adventure 2013 was for me. Full of lessons, setbacks, procrastinations, milestones, new journeys, growing pains and a lotta heart! It's truly an honor working with so many people that are desiring to raise their consciousness and create more abundant flow in their life. Still, negative thoughts and patterns do creep in for all of us, no matter how successful, organized, determined, motivated or happy we are. We think we need more time to get everything done, when in fact we don't. We just need to flip the priority switch so that every minute of our life is deliciously potent and meaningful. We are craving true alignment with our core values and sometimes we lose sight of all that. Let's not look at it as a constant battle, but rather an opportunity to re-evaluate. I want to share 4 steps to help you streamline your life which will make you feel more fulfilled and empowered. It's a guide to keep you focused on what's really important. These steps are crucial to begin with and will create much needed space within you, your home, your relationships and your activities so that organization (of time, thoughts or physical items) will be a piece of cake.  

    1. Start with Self Support

    Become more aware of your needs because YES, they are important. Often, we put other people first, take on to much, procrastinate, do things we don't enjoy...then we wonder why our lives aren't what we expected. Let's remember that we actively created our life by making the choices we did. When we numb out pain or emotions, it's only creating resentment, fear or anger within us, prolonging the pain, frustration, apathy or judgement. Sometimes we don't numb out those things, but put them off, ignore or deny them altogether. When you neglect yourself, you will feel unsafe and unsupported, period. When you feel unsafe, you make irrational decisions that don't align with your core values. That doesn't sound like a conducive environment for growth and fulfillment, does it?


    I recommend you make a list of your core values. What do you need to fill up your tank? I bet you can come up with some obvious zingers, but don't forget about the subtle ones that you might think you don't deserve. Give yourself permission to have those things. You deserve everything you want, and you're not a bad person for desiring them. Whatever creates more space, makes you feel more nourished, enhances your quality of life- are all positive needs to fight for. That's real support. Plus, you'll be setting a damn good example.
     

    2. Release What No Longer Serves You

    Now that you know what you need, it's time to release those patterns, beliefs or routines that are not serving you anymore. What's not worth having, doing or thinking about? What's in your life, thoughts or space that really shouldn't be there anymore? Excess clothes, shameful opinions, unhealthy habits? This could also be something you are NOT doing that you should. Have the courage to let go OR do it. It's a whole different life when you release toxic matters, because you can't move forward when you are still stuck with what's holding you back. With the removal of those blocks, you create space both in your mind and physical areas. In this transition you'll discover more time and energy to put into things you love and need. It will enable you to create systems that flow and therefore kick up the efficiency in your life. Commit to this process of letting go and you'll soon see that rainbow on the other side.

    3. Prioritize Your Priorities

    Once you release things that no longer serve you, flip that priority switch so it doesn't happen again. Delicious potency comes from actively choosing and engaging in priorities that align with your values. If you're feeling scattered, unmotivated or lost, most likely there is a disconnect which comes from misplaced priorities. Is there something holding you back from choosing your true priorities? Society expectations often have a strong hold on us. My mentor Christine calls it an Expectation Hangover. I love that. Get to know what your true priorities are so you can take steps to making time for them. Notice the word STEPS...work backwards from your goal or end point to achieve what you want to do or how you want to feel. This might mean saying no, standing up, strategizing different options and risking hurting others. It's worth it. Boundaries are healthy and reap so many rewards. 

    4. Plan For Success

    So, you've got your massage scheduled, a letter of resignation to your dead-end job in the mail and a family vacation in the works...now what? Keep up the momentum by consistently contributing to your priorities, integrity and life. Set reminders, make flyers, read, search the web, get insight from loved ones, get what you need, give what you want to receive. Schedule time for activities that enrich and enhance your life. Set up your calendar to keep you accountable to the flow you want in your life, so it keeps you focused on your priorities. Make sure you SEE the reminders, too. 'Out of sight, out of mind' is your worst enemy. Make that effort to do whatever it takes to keep your eye on the prize. You want your garage organized? Enlist help from your family, make a game out of it, purge, hire an organizer, find tips and tricks to DIY. Any step toward your priorities is perfect. Know where you want to go and take action steps to get there. Map it out.

    Our space is just a manifestation of what's going on inside of us. When WE are a mess, so is our space. Clean it up, let go, make time, give yourself a break. It all starts with you. Go on with your bad self!

    I believe in you.