Thursday, May 31, 2007

Product review: Organizing for Success - Suzanne McLoone

I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Suzanne, who is a professional organiser in Arizona. I first heard Pamela Slim raving about her so I went over to her site and signed up. And of course, through blogging, we've really become friends because I keep tagging her for memes and she's cool enough to keep going along with me.

In every single newsletter she sent out, I learnt something new - an Outlook tip here, an internet tip there - and I don't consider myself exactly ignorant around these parts ;)

So when she announced that she had a new e-book out, I jumped at the chance to get it. You know how I get with books?!

This is what her website says:

In "Organizing for Success", we will help you:

  • Identify Your Organizing Style
  • Put Together an Organizing Plan
  • Help You Manage Your Routine
  • Provide You With Suggestions on Products to Utilize

"Organizing for Success! Get Organized and Stay Organized" is a
step-by-step roadmap to help you on the road to organizational perfection!
It is at YOUR pace, with YOUR style, and YOUR needs in mind. Not only will
you be able to utilize the book to help you successfully identify and
outline your daily routine, you will also be able to implement the steps
into other areas of your life.

And this is the email I sent Suzanne once I'd finished the book.

I finished your book and …… I LOVE IT!

I really liked the section on your organizing style – everything else I’ve ever read has always just said, “are you paper or electronic?” I also liked how you gave examples of how you can be a mix of various styles because that has always puzzled me. I know I like a paper planner but I don’t like stuff out because I get distracted.

Thanks for clearing all that up for me!

And I love how you say that filing is finding a home for your paper. Never thought of it like that and I love it. Same like a place for everything – there must be a place for each piece of paper.

So do yourself a favour and go over there to get the book. Or at the very least, sign up to the newsletter. She also has some fun webinar workshops coming up in June so you can see if she still has a place for you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More about me than you ever wanted to know!

I totally missed my 100th post on the take charge blog – think I realised when I was at number 120 so I decided to learn from that mistake and just focus on this blog.

That said, I almost can’t believe that this is my 100th post on this blog – who would have thought I’d have so much to say about organising?!

Anyway, without further ado…

  1. My name is actually Marcia-Leigh. Nobody calls me that except two of my aunts.

  2. When I got married, I dropped the Leigh and my preferred name is Marcia.

  3. I was born in Port Elizabeth, otherwise known as the friendly city. For non-SA readers, this is a city on the Eastern Cape coast of SA.

  4. I am the oldest of 3 children. Hence the bossiness.

  5. My sister is 28 and my brother is 20.

  6. My parents got divorced after 28 years of marriage.

  7. My father’s now remarried but I don’t think my mother ever will be.

  8. My mother says I was a very good baby :-)

  9. But my stubbornness emerged at around 18 months or so

  10. When I learnt to say NO

  11. I really don’t remember being stroppy at all

  12. I started ballet at aged 4 with my cousin, Karen.

  13. And discovered one of my passions

  14. Because of ballet lessons after school, I never got involved in any sport or other extra-mural activities

  15. This is something I mildly regret

  16. I say mildly because I wonder sometimes if I’d have been any good?

  17. In all my school reports, there were two consistencies.

  18. The teachers always wrote, Marcia talks too much in class.

  19. I love how God turned that “potential negative” into good! Now I speak regularly in front of groups of people.

  20. The other thing was I always did very well, usually 1st or 2nd in the standard.

  21. I don’t consider myself a very good student however; I just seemed to remember things very well.

  22. I only remember actual studying when I was in standard 7 (grade 9) and I dropped those compulsory subjects like History as soon as I could.

  23. My favourite subject has always been Mathematics.

  24. My worst subject was PT (Physical Training). See? There’s the non-sport thing.

  25. I hated PT so much that in high school I used to ASK for extra Maths work just so I could miss it!

  26. When I was in standard 3 (grade 5), I remember organising a class library. I asked each child in the class to bring in a book and I did all the library cards, a cataloguing system, everything. It was huge fun.

  27. I’m sure I enjoyed setting up the library more than anyone else enjoyed reading the books.

  28. I used to have terrible handwriting until age 9 when it miraculously fixed itself up.

  29. I went to school a year earlier than I was supposed to (age 5) because my mother felt I was “ready”.

  30. This means that all my friends have always been a year older.

  31. I had 2 birthdays – a real one on 6 August and a pretend one on 6 February.

  32. Why a pretend birthday? Because our schools were not allowed to register kids who only turned 6 after the first half of the year.

  33. Now here’s a shocker – when I was a child, I didn’t want to eat any food. My mother had to give me milkshakes to increase my appetite and I think they worked a little too well

  34. I chose to go to a high school where I knew virtually nobody simply because it was a better school than the one near to where I lived.

  35. There were only 2 people from my previous school in the entire standard 6 (grade 8) class.

  36. When we had to choose between doing Needlework and Home Economics, I immediately chose Home Economics.

  37. The other 2 chose Needlework which was quite okay with me.

  38. When they saw me all alone in the HE queue, they tried to get me to come over and do Needlework.

  39. Nothing on earth would make me voluntarily do needlework ever again so of course, I refused. I don’t think you can tell just from this sentence how much I hated needlework.

  40. I can sew on a button and stitch a hem though...

  41. They then decided that because we had to all be together, they would do HE. Crazy.

  42. I have always, always slept very, very well.

  43. Because of this, I would wait until the last possible moment to get up so I ended up running up the hill to school Every. Single. Morning.

  44. But I was never late

  45. Clearly I was in a lot better shape than I am now ;)

  46. I am very lazy.

  47. I did Geography for 3 months before deciding that I would get my A easier in Accounting.

  48. So I switched and had to catch up 3 months’ work.

  49. It was easy because I have a head for numbers, logic (!) and reasoning.

  50. Oh, I was a prefect in primary school

  51. And in high school.

  52. While I’m on the topic of leadership roles, I was the SRC chairperson in my standard 9 (grade 11) year.

  53. I narrowly beat the most popular guy in school.

  54. I still don’t know why they chose me.

  55. That year I learnt to hone my public-speaking skills by speaking on a loudhailer in front of the entire school.

  56. At the time I didn’t even think of it as a big deal; I just did it.

  57. Being a prefect in high school was one of the most fun things I did, not because of the prefect thing, but because of my fellow prefects.

  58. My school was mostly Afrikaans (only 2 out of every 6 – 8 classes in each standard spoke English as their first language) and I learnt to become fluent in Afrikaans that year because of the rest of the prefects.

  59. There were only 4 Higher Grade Mathematics students in my matric year and I was the only one in the two English classes. And the only girl.

  60. So the teacher gave me lots of homework (which I didn’t mind) and challenged me a lot.

  61. I still love a challenge.

  62. I was the only one at my school selected to participate in a Maths HG Winter School (June) at Rhodes University during my matric year.

  63. That’s when I fell in love with Rhodes and with Grahamstown. And knew that was where I wanted to go to university.

  64. I met a guy there (VM) who was supposed to go to UCT but unexpectedly phoned me late that year announcing that he would be going to Rhodes too.

  65. I was seeing someone else at the time but when we broke up, guy 1 (VM) and I got together for about 3 months.

  66. I found university incredibly hard because I was not used to studying – see number 23.

  67. I also realised that I hated working in a lab – something I thought I’d enjoy.

  68. I met my husband at university when he asked me to dance for him.

  69. I thought he was a pervert so of course, I refused.

  70. We then became friends and started eating all our meals together, but just as friends.

  71. The dinner ladies used to have to chase us out of the dining hall so they could close up after supper; we were so busy talking that we didn’t even notice everyone else leaving!

  72. One day we went to a movie together (Mississippi Masala) as friends and came back as a couple ;) and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

  73. I can’t swim. One day when I was about 6 at a swimming lesson, someone pushed me into the pool. I was half scared to death and that was it for me and water.

  74. I also can’t ride a bicycle. There’s no excuse for that – I just never wanted to do it.

  75. I don’t like anything about bicycles; that’s why I hate spinning. I tried it once and that was quite enough for me, thank you very much.

  76. I can’t do slow types of exercise like yoga and pilates. I’ve tried but I’m literally sleeping 10 minutes into the class.

  77. I’m a type A exerciser, who stands right in the front row and follows the teacher perfectly. Sickening!

  78. I told you earlier that I did ballet. I also did modern and Spanish dancing.

  79. I stopped when I finished school and went away to university.

  80. After a gap of 12 years, I started taking a dance funk class at the gym in 2003.

  81. Now I do a hip-hop class on Mondays and salsa dancing on Wednesdays.

  82. I think I’ve parallel parked maybe 5 times in total since I got my driver’s licence. So in this respect I’m a typical female ;)

  83. My full-time job is in insurance (!) and I am a relationship and operations manager.

  84. This suits my ESTJ-ness down to the ground. (What is your Myers-Briggs profile?)

  85. I don’t eat peas or brussells sprouts. I think I eat all other vegetables.

  86. And as far as fruit goes, I don’t eat any melons – watermelon, sweetmelon or rock melon.

  87. My absolute favourite fruit is the humble apple. Granny Smith, nothing else. You can always find me with an apple.

  88. And of course, I love any desserts with apple. Yum!

  89. And you know I love anything with cinnamon. Cinnabon, I love you!

  90. I drink 2L water every day and have done so since 1998. That was one of my goals for the year and the easiest one to accomplish.

  91. I’ve had 3 operations in my life – my wisdom teeth out in 1997, and 2 laparoscopies – one in 2002 and one in 2004.

  92. I was leading praise and worship in a cell group the very next day after the wisdom teeth. That’s God for you!

  93. After the second laparoscopy, I refused to get another one done because there was absolutely no difference (at least to me).

  94. Both times they anticipated a 30-minute op and it ended up being 3 hours!

  95. My gynae told me I’m a lot prettier on the outside than I am on the inside. Um, thanks… I think?

  96. So I had to spend the night in the hospital. Horrible – because I hate having to live with other people’s rules!

  97. My obsessions are handbags, wallets and watches.

  98. I buy things in threes – 3 cans of tomato, 3 boxes of spaghetti, etc. I don’t know why but that’s probably why I always spend more than we budget on food.

  99. The one place I want to visit more than any other place in the world is …New York City.

  100. I’ve never been the person who dreamed of growing up, getting married and having children. Yet I met the right guy at 18, married him at 20, and decided at 30 that if we didn’t have children soon, we probably would live to regret it. And that’s where we’re at now. Except I’ve found that it’s not the easiest thing in the world.

Well, I hope you’re still there and awake!

Thanks for reading, everybody. Have a great day.

Works for me Wednesday - easy baking

Okay, so I’ve told you before that I’m lazy. I know some of you don’t believe me but it’s true.

1. So when I bake, I measure out extra portions of the dry ingredients for the next two times. Like this.

This is what works for me.

I do recommend always labelling everything. Because after a few weeks of busyness, you do forget what that mixture is. You should see my pantry cupboards – you will laugh. But at least things are always put back in the correct places, right?

That said, I don’t bother to label the baking mix since I only bake these oatmeal cookies (I will blog the recipe and pictures on the weekend) and muffins. Yes, those are the only things I bake. And I can easily tell them apart.

But I do make all sorts of muffins – does that count? In fact, I saw a really nice recipe on a blog this week which I am itching to try out. And I have to try Sandra’s quick pizza.

2. Another thing that works for me is that whenever I bake, I put a cloth towel on the counter top so that all that flour doesn’t mess up the counters. Afterwards, it is easy to shake out the cloth and wipe down the counter.

Do you have any great baking tips?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tacke it Tuesday - tolerations

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week I decided to tackle those irritating little things that I just haven't been getting around to. In the coaching world, we call them tolerations and they typically drain your energy even though doing them wouldn't take very long at all.

So this is what I did this weekend:

  1. I glued my insoles back into my boots - 3 minutes
  2. I wrote an email I've been procrastinating on (not to any of you bloggy friends) - 3 minutes
  3. I quickly sorted out my sock and underwear drawer - 5 minutes
  4. Caught up on my filing (weekly plus the stuff from the water debacle) while listening to a podcast - 10 minutes

Peace of mind = PRICELESS

What did you tackle this week?

BTW, in the June newsletter, I am going to talk about getting a handle on all the paper in your life.

To make sure you don't miss out, sign up using the box in the top right corner of the blog ------->

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Menu plan Monday - 28 May 2007

I've decided that Andrea J Lee's unwork is a wonderful concept and am trying to work it into my life. Basically it's the 20/80 principle where only 20% of your efforts produce 80% of results.

So for me, Fridays are going to be easy-peasy food. Last Friday we had McCain's beef lasagne (7 minutes in the microwave while I pack dishes or organise a cupboard) and it was delicious. This week we're doing something similar.

Stirfried beef, veggies and sweet potato. Yes, sweet potato. It is delicious in stir-fry.

Mimmos! - I've been craving for a creamy pasta so we are going to get my chicken and spinach pasta, then home for The Amazing Race. Perfect evening!

Chicken & mushroom casserole with rice

Baked potatoes with spicy tomato kidney bean sauce

Pasta & sauce - the ones where you add milk and water and it's done!

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - lists I have in my planner

Thirteen lists in my daily planner

1. Goals for the year (of course) - when you sign up to my mailing list, you get a free goals page as part of your welcome pack. It's the purple box on the top right ----->

2. Personal information (I have this typed on a separate page because I’m too lazy to write it out every year, so I just edit as necessary and reprint. Also much neater).

3. Important telephone numbers (like the locksmith, handyman, and so on)

4. Reference numbers (my insurance policy numbers, all my bank account numbers, Jhb connect meter numbers, etc.)

5. Ministry telephone, email and birthday list

6. Birthday list

7. Movies to see

8. Books to read/ buy

9. Favourite movies (just for Dion who badgered me until I made the list! – guess what’s on there besides those on my profile?)

10. Websites to visit

11. Ebooks to read – I have tons, so I do about 4 a month and of course, I schedule it in.

12. Personal shopping wish list

13. Website usernames and passwords (I know I’m not supposed to do this but there are 22 on the list, and I don’t put any involving any money on here)

What lists do you keep?

See more Thursday Thirteen participants

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How to remember your appointments

I'm always so excited to get questions from friends or subscribers so please keep them coming in. Next time when you think, "there must be a better way to do this" or "I wonder how other people do this", send me an email straight away and I'll answer it for you, okay?

So I received an email this week from a friend who asked me what my reminder system is for appointments.

Well, let me start by saying that I'm paranoid about forgetting anything. I once forgot something very dear to my heart and immediately put in a system to make sure it never happened again. I suppose you want to know what happened?

I do some volunteer work at the church where I help people discover their God-given gifts. Anyway, I'd made an appointment to assess someone on a public holiday and I was training somebody else too. So I'm at home, working on the computer and I get a phone call. "Ps Marcia, are you on your way?"

Imagine the terror!

Immediately I realised what happened so I apologised while pulling on jacket and gloves and racing out of there. I'm sure I broke a few speed limits getting to the church but at least it ended well.

However, I hated the embarrassment. Both ladies were totally fine, having some coffee and fellowshipping, and we had a lovely time the rest of the evening. But I vowed never to let that happen to me ever again.

So here's what I now do: I write down everything in my daily planner. Everything! Even if I set up the meeting in Outlook, I still make a note of it on paper. (I'm a paper gal and make no apologies for it). You never know when you'll have a power outage and you can't access your electronic diary. Or when there's a public holiday and you don't look at your email :)

If it's a recurring meeting, I follow the exact same steps until it's ingrained in me that it's a habit. Like joining a new class at gym. Or scheduling a new coaching client.

If I need to leave at a specific time to get somewhere on time, I set reminders in Outlook and in my phone. Because sometimes you do get carried away, especially when you're working hard and in the zone.

Of course, a system will only work if you work the system.

That means checking your paper planner every day. Or reading your reminders on Outlook instead of just clicking "snooze" or even "dismiss" by accident. I check my daily planner as part of my evening routine so that I can mentally prepare for the day ahead and of course, choose appropriate clothes ;)

Now, I'd love to hear what works for you!

Works for me Wednesday - preventing the flu

As you know, it's winter here in the Southern Hemisphere and I told you on Monday that we are in the midst of the BIG FREEZE in Jhb.

This morning (Tuesday) when I got in my car it was -1.5 degrees and went down to -3. When I got back this evening, it had only warmed up to 6,5 degrees.

Anyway, I have some tricks that prevent flu in this house.

  1. The minute the weather starts cooling, we start buying oranges and both of us will have an orange a day to get that Vit C.
  2. We also take a vit c tablet every day. If I feel flu symptoms coming on, I immediately have 6 vit c, 4 hours later another 6, and usually after that, the tickling throat is totally gone.
  3. I cook with garlic more than I usually do. Garlic is a natural booster for your immune system.
That's it - short, sweet but effective. I haven't had a sick day off work for about 8 years.

For more WFMW tips, visit Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer.

P.S. Can you believe I have an appointment with the gynae first thing tomorrow? I picked the coldest weather for that!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Eating out/ tagged by Annie

I just received a delightful email from Lorie who highlighted my blog in her May Blog Spotlights. Well, what an honour - I am tickled pink (as I think JennaG once said to me).


Now, I was tagged by Annie for the eating out meme because I'm South African (and proudly so) and somehow she thinks I'm organised about eating out. Oh my. Hope you're not disappointed, Annie.

Pre-Menu Plan Monday, Dion just had to say, "let's go out to eat" and before he was finished with that sentence, I'd be all ready, bag and water bottle in hand, ready to go.

These days, because I like to stick to my menu plan so I can complete a full week (boring of me, I know), I ask that he please remind me before I set it up. Most of the time, that is.

We do have a book where we write down new places we want to try so when we do feel like eating out, we can choose from there.

Anyway, here are the rules:

1. Link to the name of the person who tagged you.
2. Include the state and country you’re in.
3. List your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location (locally).
4. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Currently, our five favourite places are

1. Mimmos - Italian - wonderful pasta and pizza. I loooove their focaccia. If I'm feeling particularly good, I'll have healthy chicken breasts and salad. Otherwise, I'll have a creamy pasta, like Fettucine Alfredo or a new one (I forget the name) with chicken and spinach. Delicious! (Have a look at our prices!)

2. Chai Yo - Thai - the best Thai restaurant outside of Thailand. We go here for special occasions like Valentine's, birthdays, and so on. I always have the Mussamen curry - it absolutely never disappoints.

3. Chef Pon's Asian Kitchen - this one is in Cape Town. Am I cheating? But whenever we go to CT (roughly once a year), we have to go there. The place is always buzzing and the food is very, very good. Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese

4. Ocean Basket - seafood (!) - I usually have fish and rice. Fresh, tasty and always so delicious, especially with a squeeze of lemon. Yum.

5. Black Steer - steakhouse. We go here only for ribs. It is THE BEST ribs in Jhb. Portions are so big we usually get one main dish and and extra baked potato for me and share. That sauce? To die for.

My word, I'm drooling...

I'm going to tag

Ali - currently on holiday in the US. But I want you to write about places in Maputo please.
Suzanne - because she eats out a lot ;)
Beth - just because she's on a spending fast this month!
Tertia - since she hates cooking ;) I'm taking a try here. Tertia doesn't even know I exist.
Jennifer - because she is still on my mind since I've been drooling over her gorgeous creative stuff

Time Travel Tuesday

The idea behind this meme is that we all post why and how we first started blogging and then re-post our first post again.

Here is my first post about plastic bags – can you believe it?! You can see that this blog was intended to just be a resource to post tips and stuff like that. Who knew I would have so much fun with it and that it would be my most popular blog (I have 7 in total)?

I made a really quick decision on blogging and just jumped in when I started the other blog! I started this one about a month after the other one.

I first stumbled across a business blog (incidentally, that blog fizzled after about 2 – 3 months) late in 2005 and that was my entrance to the blogging business. I was immediatly addicted and set a goal to start a blog in the new year (2006). As you can see, not much has changed in terms of fancy layouts and all the fun stuff ;)

On this blog I got my blogging rhythm going early this year when I started participating in Menu Plan Monday, Tackle it Tuesday and WFMW. Now that I’m comfortable and I have some structure, I enjoy it very, very much.
The best thing is the community and that people get me. Do you know how nice it is to get feedback? I have like 1 real-life friend who even bothers to ask about the business. The rest don't really care. Of course that's fine because everybody's different and clearly, organising, blogging and so on doesn't float their boat.
Anyway.... I'm going to ask you the same questions I asked on the other blog.
1. This was my first blog and still is my main blog in many respects.
2. I started the organising blog because I wanted a place to put my tips.
3. I actually have been feeling a bit torn lately with blogging as I would like to have only one blog. Since blogger beta arrived, I can now categorise to my heart’s content.
4. I have the two main blogs and an anonymous one (I know a couple of you have found it but thanks for keeping quiet and pretending you don’t know about the other one!).Thing is, this organising blog is a lot more popular.
5. But the other one is on my business cards and I still have a lot left!
So what do you think?
Would you combine the two?
Which blog would you move everything to?
Would you start a new blog?
Any other suggestions?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Menu plan Monday - 21 May 2007

Hello everyone
Can't believe it's just been a week since we had no water. Amazing.
A cold front has just arrived in Jhb and if you didn't know that random fact about me, I love, love, love cold weather. So am very excited to dress up in my winter woolies, with gloves, scarves, coats, the works! [Edited to add - The headline in today’s paper says Big Freeze in Jhb and my car’s thermometer read 3 degrees this morning.]
Anyway, because of the Weight Loss Challenge, I did some healthy cooking this afternoon, a la Weigh-Less. Can't be embarrassed in blog land on Tuesday!

Stirfried beef, veggies and rice in a satay sauce. I'll tell you a secret - I used choc-chip peanut butter last week and you couldn't even taste the difference! Yum.

Spaghetti bolognaise - carried over from last week

Baked potatoes with a spicy tomato lentil sauce

Chicken and mushroom casserole with rice

Beef lasagne (McCain - trying it out). After all, it's Friday!

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.
And now, I'm off to jump into bed with my mug of tea and my book! Love this cold weather!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Losing blog posts

Don't you just love the fact that Blogger now automatically saves posts to drafts?

I have lost soooo many posts in the past that I am loving it!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Are you sentimental?

I am usually not a very sentimental person.

With letters, cards and notes, I restrict myself to a memory box which is the size of a big shoebox (the ones that boots come in).

When that box gets too full, I make myself go through it to throw out things that are no longer as meaningful for me. It's amazing to me how something that you absolutely had to keep at the time can lost its sentimental value after a few years.

Anyway, back to these shoes.

When Dion and I got married 12 years ago, we had to drive to Harrismith on the day because we were booked to sleep over at a motel that night. We then drove the rest of the way to San Lameer the next day.

We were in such a hurry and in those days, I didn't have all my travel lists so I grabbed my clothes bag and my takkies and off we went. Sometime on the way (might have been the next morning) I realised that I only had one of my shoes and the other must have fallen out of my hands before we left.

So when we got to Margate (just outside San Lameer), we stopped at Mr Price and bought these shoes. I wore them the entire honeymoon but not very much when we got back because they're not the most comfortable shoes.

Now these shoes have travelled with me from house to house (this is the 4th place since we've been married), I wear them once or twice every December and that's it.

But I recently bought a new shoebag that takes 10 pairs of shoes and because I wanted everything to fit nicely, I thought of throwing these out.

And then I felt really sad.

So that's when Dion suggested taking a picture of them. The idea to blog about it was my idea. Kind of like closure. And you'll be pleased to know I let them go quite easily after that. And my shoebag looks very pretty now.

Now that I've bared my soul, it's your turn.

Are you sentimental? What do you do with items that you just can't let go of? And how do you control your sentimental keepsakes?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How long does blogging take & how to comment smarter

Two things

I get this question all the time from people. How much time does blogging take?

It's so difficult to answer. Well - the short answer is a lot. But of course there are ways and means of reducing your blogging time.

But then......I found this great post and had to share it with you guys.

Tell me what you think.

Then because I'm blogging about blogging, I loved Michelle's post on commenting.

So if anyone is reading this, please go read her post. And then go fix your profile settings so we can communicate better. Please ;)

Works for me Wednesday - catching up on reading

Today I'm greeting all my lurkers! Hello Susan (couldn't resist)


I don't even own one magazine subscription and yet my bathroom basket is always overflowing. Somehow I keep attending events where we get free magazine subscriptions or something just catches my eye and before you know it, it's in my basket.

So to prevent being overwhelmed with magazine and e-book clutter, this is what I do:

1. Read in the bathroom. You know it's one of the best places to get caught up on reading ;)

2. Read on the plane. Remember **we went away two weeks ago? I took 4 e-books that I still needed to read in this poly envelope on the plane. Just on the two-hour trip from Jhb to PE, I finished all of them. I also like to put a post-it note in the front with the names of all the e-books inside.

The benefit of this is that you can throw the books away and don't have to carry them around with you for the rest of the holiday like normal books. I write down anything I want to remember in my pink notebook.

Don't bother getting these ones with the string. I was desperate one day so I got this one but I like the ones you just clip close.

3. Read while watching the soaps or anything you don't really have to watch closely. I read the home and decor magazines during this time.

(BTW, you can download my **travel checklist here)

For my other WFMW posts, click the label at the bottom of this post. Thank you.

For more ideas, please visit Shannon, our Works for me Wednesday host

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday - inside the fridge

Edited 11 June 2008 - this is my Works for me Wed contribution - I couldn't resist after seeing Shannon's fridge :)

Hello all!

I decided to do a house tackle this week for a change.

We have systems for our fridge (actually for our whole house). That's the main reason it doesn't take very long to get things in order if they are a bit out of whack. You'll notice I have labels. I got the idea from Aby Garvey (Creative Organising on my sidebar) and love it! We know where things go and it's quick to sort out again.

But here's what it looked like before...not too bad IMO (I see worse all the time)

And here's what it looked like afterwards.
Let me walk you through...
Top shelf - condiments and in the front I put my lunch bag (yes, that grey thing in the 2nd picture). I have to eat everything in there every day.

Middle shelf - leftovers and sometimes, bread. Bread seems to go mouldy here very quickly (or we eat it too slowly - one loaf each a week) so we store it in the fridge.

Shelf 3 - prepared vegetables - cut onion, cut mushrooms, and the carrots and pumpkin I buy prepared. Life is too short for peeling difficult vegetables ;)

Shelf 4 - lunch stuff - cheese, lunch meats, tomatoes, cucumber

The drawer on the left is Dion's - for all his water bottles and his apples. Likes them cold. I don't.
The right drawer is mine - with my water and all my yoghurts.

Oops - forgot to take a picture of the door. Oh well, it is late and just pretend you've seen it because it is nicely in order.
Bottom shelf - milk, water, Marcia's bread
Middle shelf - spreads, garlic (yes, I have a lot - plain, garlic & ginger, garlic & chilli)
2nd shelf - cottage cheeses (we eat a lot), margerine
Top shelf - eggs, medicines
Do you label your fridge?

Monday, May 14, 2007


We have water!!!!!

I've been doing laundry, cleaning up a storm and yes, I managed to cook from my menu plan tonight. (huge excitement)

I did my stirfry with a satay sauce (tablespoon of peanut butter) and Dion's with a sweet and sour sauce. Yum!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Menu plan Monday 14 May 2007 & other rants

I just did a nice, long post and blogger lost it. So I'm going to give highlights this time around.
  1. We haven't had water since Friday afternoon 5:30pm.
  2. Jhb Connect cut off our water supply in error because on their one system it looks like we haven't done anything about the query.
  3. Of course you know me - we have been phoning, logging calls for MONTHS now and the call centre says everything is fine but our accounts say another story - no progress.
  4. So we've been showering at the gym - do you know how long that takes?
  5. Tomorrow morning we are going in to see them personally to sort it all out.
  6. If it can't be done quickly, we are going to book into a hotel for a few days.

I said all that to say this! I have no idea if this menu plan will be'll have to wait and see.

Stirfried beef, veggies and noodles

Curry and rice

Chicken schnitzel, roast potatoes and pumpkin

Spaghetti bolognaise

Chili chicken pasta – held over from last week

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Chocolate snob

I'm a chocolate snob. I only eat Cadbury's chocolate. After all, "it's the best loved chocolate in the country" - it really is.
So why is it that people keep giving us these Ferrero Rocher??? We get lots of these packets as well as the big boxes.
It's like the cat thing. You know how it is when you don't like cats? They seek you out to curl themselves around your legs - ughh. Just typing that gives me chills.
Anyway, whenever we get chocolate gifts, people give us these. I understand that they're very expensive chocolates (at least they are here in SA) but neither of us likes them at all.
So we give them away and when we have people over, we set them out for them to enjoy. And they do.
But no matter how fast we give them away, they just keep coming back to us. It's like the law of sowing and reaping gone wild.
(you can see I'm still burning to disc, can't you?)

I'm a career girl

I'm busy doing the last item on my monthly to-do list (I know it's the 11th but I was away and then doing the Org Challenge) which is to back up my files.

So while that's all happening in the background, I've been catching up on my blog reading and I saw this on Karen's blog. Karen has the same fabulous taste in bags as I do ;)

I can't resist this kind of thing so I took the quiz.

You are a Career Girl!

You may not be a CEO yet, but you're well on your way to success.
You take your career seriously, and you wouldn't stop working for any guy!
An independent woman, you pay for your own car, clothes, and housing.
And men appreciate that - at least, the ones as driven as you are.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tacke it Tuesday - photos and more photos

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My tackle for this week was to get the Org Challenge judging done and to get my holiday photos on our travel blog. Both big jobs.

I had a huge emergency yesterday when I discovered my emails hadn’t been sending for a few days (they looked like they’d sent in my Sent Items).

I realised something was up when I still hadn’t heard from my contest prize winners after 4 days. So I phoned up my ISP and it had something to do with me switching to ADSL. So last night I spent about an hour and a half setting up new email, creating new forwarders to route all my addresses to the new email. I still haven’t done the ones on the blogs so if I haven’t said thank-you to some of your comments, that’s why. I will get to it - just have to focus on first things first.

Anyway, the holiday photos are up on our travel blog. Please go have a look and tell me what you think. I didn’t blog every single photo so hopefully you won’t be too bored!

But I am STILL 12 blogs away from done (as I was yesterday) with the Org challenge. So that will get done tonight. And I will update here because now I'm accountable to you!

Go visit 5 minutes for mom for more great tackles. And while you’re surfing, say hi to a blogger today!

Wed 9/5 - updated to add

I finished the judging last night and emailed my picks to Laura today. Now the games begin ;)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Menu plan Monday - 7 May 2007

I have 12 blogs left to look at in the Organising Challenge and then I’m done with round 1. Then the judges “deliberate” as they say in the beauty pageants or as I say, the real fun begins.

I am still speechless (for me) at the amount of work that went on in 58 homes all over the world. Isn’t this blogging world amazing?!

Anyway, here is my menu for the week. Tomorrow I’m tackling photos – gotta get some holiday blogging done!

Stirfried beef, veggies and basmati rice

Supper with friends. But I have a back-up in case we get stood up.

Bolognaise sauce on roasted sweet potatoes

Italian chicken, baked potatoes and pumpkin

Chili chicken pasta

For more Menu Plan Monday participants, go on over to Laura's blog.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

7 random things about me

This blog post is my reward for getting through 32 of the OC blogs last night. I am very, very impressed by all the work I've seen and I am so very proud of you all.

I've been tagged by CoachJ and Laura.
Here are the rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them that they have been tagged and to read your blog!
The peer pressure did it so here are my 7 random facts...

  1. I can't remember the last time I've made the bed. *shock* That's because my husband does the bed and has done it the entire time we've been married.
  2. I am fanatical about cleaning toilets and kitchen counter tops. I think they're the most-cleaned things in my house.
  3. I have never had a ticket for anything. Well, a legitimate one anyway. I love driving fast BUT I do so safely. Maybe everyone says this but it's true for me. I also like to think I hear God well because many times I'd sense that I should slow down and lo and behold, around the corner is a traffic cop.
  4. I studied microbiology at university. That explains number 2!
  5. I can't bring myself to watch movies where people wear period costumes. Read this and you'll understand.
  6. I did ballet for 13 years, from age 4 to 17, Spanish dancing for 4 of those years and modern jazz for another 4. Then I had a 13-year break before I started again; now it's just low-level stuff like a hip-hop class once a week.
  7. You can very easily torture me by hiding something away. I will spend hours looking for that thing especially if I know I had it in the house.

Did anything surprise you? I'm interested to hear what you think.

I'm not going to tag anyone because I'm still waiting for the planner tag.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I'll show you mine if you show me yours

I was tagged by Suzanne to show you my daily planner.

I’ve said before how I like lots of order in my life – 3 desks, each with a different function, numerous blogs and it looks like it’s the same with my daily planning because I have 3 tools!

1. An A5 leather-bound daily planner for 2007.
This is for my personal life and out of the ordinary business stuff.

I LOVE this planner. When they come out in August, I buy mine because I don’t want to take a chance of them running out. I tried other versions over the years but this is the 3rd year I’ve used this one and I am very happy with it.

It’s made by Christian Art Publishers in SA and I buy it at Exclusive Books for about R100 (US$ 14). I had to pry papers loose in the front to check who makes them because I have a habit of absolutely personalizing everything.

In the front, I have my affirmations, goals for the year, personal info (I have it in Excel so I just print a few pages for this planner and our household file every year), reference numbers, and so on.

The success of any system depends on if you use it or not. And for me, what works is how I organise it on a daily basis, like this.

The household organizing file has 3 sections – planning, personal and household. I use almost all of the personal pages, reduce them in size and stick them in this planner, at the back in the notes section.

Now you know why I would rather lose my cell phone than this planner!

Why I love this one:
A page a day except for Sat and Sun (half a page each)
Monthly planner before each month
Budget sheet before each month (I’m big on budgeting so that I can spend on what I want. Make sense?)
Lots of notes pages at the back for all my lists

2. A smaller planner (freebie with the Jan issue of O mag).
This is for business only. It shows a week at a time so I write my weekly business goals on the right and the appointments on the left. It is so cool because if I page back, I can see how much I’ve accomplished over the month or year.

And of course, I also use my business binder. (Jennifer D, did you do yours?)

3. Tiny notebook – the pink one above
This is for miscellaneous stuff I don’t want to lose track of. I write lists of topics to blog, shopping lists, things to chat to people about, quotations, anything really. And it has a pocket at the back where I keep spare business cards (besides those in my wallet)

Now let the games begin.

I'm tagging CoachJ, Laura, Lara, Annie, Jenna, Beth, Ariane, Jessica and EVERYONE else who wants to play along. Even if it's just a to-do list, I want to know about it.

This is my first Linky thing so have patience if it gives problems - I'm not a techie!

By the way, here is a holiday (!) photo for the moment!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Org challenge - the big reveal

I'm back from holiday - landed at 10.25 am and straight to work. Will post more later this week (with pics) but will say we had a wonderful time. I always LOVE being with Dion for extended periods of time.

I really had to prioritise tonight so these were the 6 things on my list. The numbers are the order in which I tackled them.

2. Download photos (while typing answers)
1. Download email
2. Reply to email interview (journalist contacted me while on holiday and this is due tomorrow)
5. Post Org Challenge (while hair dries)
4. Wash hair (the coast wrecks my curly hair and turns it to pure frizz - not a pretty sight)
3. Unpack (change of pace from computer work)

Okay, now onto the challenge...bear in mind that I didn't do this for the prizes but for the accountability. And my personal goal was to declutter paper from my old files.

As for the hubby, I am off-limits from his stuff. Which I can respect without understanding. He wants his space to be his space. I asked him if he'd like me to help him and you know what he said? No thank you; I don't want people messing with my stuff! So there you have it

1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?
Motivating Dion. Also, underestimating the speed at which he declutters and organises his stuff. Yes and no. I told you at the beginning that a lot of this stuff belongs to D. He is not as ruthless with paper as I am. And I realised that I am incredibly good at throwing paper away (hey, it's less to file, right?!).

He has been through boxes and boxes of stuff but there is still a small pile where I wanted...nothing. And he didn't even start on the shelves. BUT I am so happy that things are moving in here.

For me, the hardest part of any project is just starting. I have perfected tricking myself over the years though. I tell myself "just 15 minutes" and using this method, have written lots of e-books, e-courses, workshop materials and so on (have a look here if you're interested). I think it's the same with anybody.

2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?
I am not just dumping tote bags in the bag corner. I am working more with project folders and once the project is done, I carefully consider which pieces of paper I really want to keep before filing.

3. What did you do with the "stuff" you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?
I donated an old radio and lots of files to Bea (our cleaning lady). And everything else was paper and magazines, so those were recycled.

The Fitness Flyer is on a few websites and we're waiting for buyers. If not, we will take it to Cash Converters (2nd hand store) with the film projector.

4. What was the biggest lesson you learned from this experience?
Accountability is key to get you moving! Don't print or keep anything you can get online.

5. Now that you have completed the process, do you think having and keeping your space organized will make a difference in your life?
It already does make a huge difference in my life.

This is why I do what I do - I want everybody to have that same feeling of peace that an organised and uncluttered space gives you.

Now for the fun bits - the photos...
Edited to add - I see that my before pictures are under my after pictures. I am too tired to spend another hour fixing it so enjoy anyway.

The back of the room (look in the right corner!)

The bag corner (used to be a real dumping ground)

Files decluttered and lots of paper thrown away. There was a lot more - I just like this picture.

Shelving in wardrobes