Teen Idols

Teen Idols.  We all had one. My mom’s teen idol was Elvis Presley.  My nieces? Justin Bieber. And for me? Donny Osmond!

So you can imagine my surprise when Evine approached me to launch a show on the network called Donny Osmond Home and that I would be presenting with the one-and-only, Donny Osmond!  I would be meeting and working with my teen crush! Surreal to say the least.

Have you heard of Tiger Beat Magazine? It is a teen fan magazine and back in my teenage years this glossy magazine kept me up-to-date on my favorite celebrities with stories, teen quizzes, and of course, posters to hang on your bedroom walls!  I had it bad, real bad, for the guy who sang “Puppy Love.” I knew his favorite color was purple so it became my favorite color too!  My mom painted my bedroom walls purple and I had purple carpet as well.  Thanks mom!

We launched Donny Osmond Home on April 9th and it was a great success. Donny is as charming and nice as you would imagine him to be – he really is the real deal.  The products were beautiful and the customers love him.  It was easy to see his passion for quality, home, and family. I loved everything about the show, but the highlight for me was when Donny Osmond danced with me and sang “Puppy Love” on-air. Can you believe it?!?!

Recently during the Las Vegas JCK jewelry show and live remote for Evine in June, I had the chance to see Donny again! We were able to attend the Donny & Marie show at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino and I had the unbelievable opportunity to interview Donny backstage for a behind-the-scenes segment on Facebook. We started our visit in Donny’s dressing room to get a firsthand look at where he prepares for the show.  His dressing room is filled with mementos and really shows his personality.  What an experience! If that wasn’t enough, Donny then gave me a tour of the stage where the show is performed. I was on stage with Donny Osmond! We reenacted the show’s opening number….Donny and I walked down the stairs together singing “It Takes Two.” The Donny & Marie show has been in Vegas for nine years now and I can see why. They work so well together on stage and every song brings back so many fun memories.

Teen crushes are great. What is really amazing is when you get to meet that person and they turn out to be kind, genuine, and everything you thought they would be.

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Beauty Sleep, It’s a Real Thing

We as hosts see so many new products, whether it’s fashion, electronics or beauty. However, once in a while one comes along that blows me away!  I will be 55 years old this year and at this point, it’s not beautiful shoes that I notice on someone, it is their skin.  I am always on the lookout for the fountain of youth…and I think I may have found it!  I am talking about Evoté Skin Care.  This brand debuted exclusively at Evine in May and it is different than anything I have seen, read or presented.  So when I was fortunate to get to host the worldwide launch of this evolution in skincare, I was really excited.

Evoté was started by a husband and wife dream duo, Irena and Nik James.  Irena is a highly respected instructor at UCLA and well known around the globe for educating on the latest in skincare innovation and cosmetic ingredients. Nik is the President and Chairman of YG Laboratories, a private label skincare manufacturer and developer. Nik was born into the beauty business as the son of the world’s most preeminent cosmetic ingredient expert, Rebecca Gadberry.

Evoté’s claim to fame is that it is a scientific, patent-pending system that works with your skin at NIGHT when your skin and body are biologically programmed to restore themselves, AKA “Beauty Sleep.”

OK, when I heard what they had to say I was intrigued and I had to try it for myself.  Fast-forward 1 month since I first tried Evoté and I am sold!  I started off with the Evoté Step 1 and Step 2, 12 hour bio complex to kick start my Evoté journey.  I did this for 20 days and my skin looked brighter and firmer with better elasticity and radiance. I then moved onto a nighttime only routine with Evoté. I use the night cleanser, the night serum, the night eye cream, the night neck & décolleté cream and the night lip serum.  This routine is easy and very effective.  I continue to see improvements in the appearance of my skin with less fine lines and a more youthful look to the texture of my skin. I gave Evoté a HUGE stamp of approval!

OK, so enough about me…I thought it would be fun to get to know the couple behind this new skincare line so I did a Question & Answer session with the power couple, Irena and Nik James.

1. What was the first beauty product you ever created?

Irena:  An egg white, lemon, sage and sour cherry masque that I made from the ingredients from my fridge and the sour cherry tree that grew in front of my parents house.  I was 12 years old!

Nik:  I can’t even remember that was so many products ago.

2. How did you get into this crazy business of beauty?

Irena:  I grew up around very strong women who were my mentors from a very early age and watched them apply the knowledge of ancient European herbal modalities, modern biology, horticulture, agriculture, skin care sciences and cosmetic chemistry into daily life.  My own skin struggles pushed me into professional skin care research, education and formulation.

Nik:  I was literally born into it!

3. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Irena:  Must have a mix of both, how about a combo?

Nik:  Chocolate!

4. What inspires you?

Irena:  Being able to help others achieve their potential, believe in themselves and recognize special and unique value they can bring to the world.  I am also inspired by the strengths of the human spirit, life and nature and the relentless will and need to evolve in order to survive better on this planet. This includes all life forms, from my children and my husband, animals and plants and those invisible creatures, microbes we coexist with.

Nik:  My family.  Seeing my kids feel confident and secure because they know we’ve always got their backs as well as the belief and support of Irena.

5. Where is your happy place?

Irena:  Weekends at home by the pool with my pile of books and 3 highlighters listening to my husband singing along with James Brown hits while cooking one of his delicious Sunday family meals.

Nik:  With my family in our backyard on a sunny Southern CA Sunday afternoon.

6. If you weren’t doing Evoté and in the beauty biz, what would you be up to right now?

Irena:  Working on my degree in Social anthropology and promoting charities that make it possible for underprivileged children and orphans from war affected areas to get education and clean water.

Nik:  Stand up comedy and running a charity for abandoned bulldogs.

7. What were you like in high school?

Irena:  The mix of 2 opposites.  Mostly studious, serious, nerdy and mildly anti-social, but also adventurous, loved to travel and learn about different cultures.  I always felt out of place growing up in Eastern Europe and always felt my home was somewhere else.

Nik:  I was a friend with every clique and group, (I was actually 2nd runner up for Senior Class Friendliest) despite the fact that I looked very different from everyone else.  I had green hair, or purple or blue and piercings in my nose, lip etc. and sang in a punk rock band!

8. How did the 2 of you meet?

Irena:  Nik’s mom was my Cosmetic Chemistry mentor and hired me to work as her Director of Education and co-instructor at UCLA Extension Cosmetic Sciences program.

Nik:  My mom “imported” Irena from Canada and brought her on to be Irena’s mentor.  I was managing HR at the time and the rest they say is history.

So is Evoté a skincare story or love story?  For Irena and Nik, I think a love story.  For me Evoté is now the chance for me to love my skin!

Thanks Evoté!

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Waterford Ireland Remote

In Waterford, Ireland, the tales of adventure go back over 1,000 years to 914 A.D. A time when fierce Viking warriors in their magnificent, tall, masted long ships with dragon carved prows appeared like mythical beasts on the River Suir. Reginald’s Tower, The Quay, is a Viking treasure…a tribute to those who settled here and established Waterford as Ireland’s oldest city.

 

To help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the partnership between Waterford Crystal and Evine, we will be broadcasting live, beginning April 27th from Waterford, Ireland! Last year, we took an amazing trip, inviting our viewers to help us celebrate our 9th anniversary with Waterford Crystal by broadcasting from amazing locations including the House of Waterford Crystal, the Viking Triangle, and the Waterford Castle.

This year, we will begin our celebration at the House of Waterford Crystal for the kickoff of our 10th anniversary. We will give you a tour of the factory and you will get to meet the talented Irish craftsmen who have been an integral part of Waterford History. Many of these craftsmen have been with Waterford for 30, 40, up to 55 years! You will get to see all of the steps the crystal piece must go through before we have the opportunity to present it to you on Evine.

The tour starts in the Mould Room (check out the name on the mould I saw last year), where a treasure trove of historic wooden moulds are housed. We then move to the Blowing and Furnace room, followed by Quality Inspection and Hand Marking. Then, on to the Cutting Department, where the craftsmen rely on an abundance of skill and dexterity to cut the pattern onto the crystal using a diamond tipped wheel. The tour concludes with a sculpting and engraving presentation – the one-of-a kind and limited edition pieces you will see here are amazing.

The hosts and guests really enjoy sharing this experience with you. Beginning in 1783, when George and William Penrose created this iconic brand, the pride in the craftsmanship and love of the beautiful crystal have been a constant thread that has been woven into the history of Waterford, Ireland.


I hope you can join us for the 10th anniversary celebration and hear from the talented craftsmen and brilliant designers as they share their love and passion for the brand!

It takes an amazing team to pull off broadcasting from so far away, think about that for a moment. All of the logistical planning and production equipment being shipped in for the event, even before we arrive. And, as busy as it is, the team always seems to find the time for a bit of fun. With hometown boy, Tom Brennan, serving as our tour guide, we are treated to some of the most beautiful sights, including Lismore Castle, The Rock of Cashel, and Ireland’s enchanting countryside.

I am so excited to take you back to the Emerald Isle!

Live your best life, a crystal life! See you in Ireland.

 

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Empowering Future Leaders to Bloom

I can remember being a little girl and visiting my Dad at his work—he was a Director for the Guiding Light, a soap opera that was very popular at the time.  He showed me the control room, where he told people what camera to go for for the reaction shots, calling for each camera to create the story we all saw on TV and had me go out on the set where I could see myself in the monitor.

I ran off the set—I was shy and although I secretly wanted to be on camera, I was afraid to be there!  After being in corporate sales for many years, I decided to head back to my original dream of becoming an actress which led me to the career I’m in today!  Although my father didn’t necessarily nurture a career on TV (my parents divorced when I was 7), it did spark an interest in my own mind.

I decided to do the same for a non-profit group of young girls called “Diverse Daisies.” This is a group to bloom nurturing young girls of all ethnicities to learn new skills and engage in new opportunities, designed to motivate, empower and inspire the lives of young women!

The Daisies were so excited to visit Evine and experience behind-the-scenes of our home shopping world!  I gave the girls a tour of our control room where there area many monitors to view different shots on the set, showed them where the product is set up for us to review,
toured the studios, the host room where all of the hosts prepare and they loved seeing the “pink” room (although it’s not pink), where all of the hosts get their hair done before our shows!

The girls were screaming with excitement when I took them to our fashion studio with a runway!  They ran out on the set and wanted to reenact a show, so I picked 2 girls to be a host and a guest and 3 girls to be models with 2 others behind the camera, learning how to operate a jib (moving camera) during fashion shows.

I taught the 2 ‘hosts’ the basics of selling a new Holly Robinson-Peete cardigan and showed the 3 ‘models’ how to walk the runway and model the clothes with attitude and style, and the other girls learned how to move the camera around the set to follow the models.   They had a BALL! The girls were strutting their stuff and were all so proud of themselves afterwards.  Each girl had an opportunity to present and they didn’t want to leave.

A few of the girls were VERY good at speaking and presenting so who knows, we might see them on air in the future!

At the end of our tour, the girls gave me a bouquet of flowers and thank you notes and lots of hugs.

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Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Society started the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in the parking lot of an elementary school in 1955.  Today, over 55,000 gem enthusiasts arrive over the course of 2 weeks in January/February to attend over 40 shows taking place all over Tucson.

Evine’s hosts, buyers, and designers have attended the Tucson Gem fair for over 20 years.  Chuck Clemency was the first vendor that joined us in Tucson.  He introduced us to Prickly Pear Margaritas, Cactus Body Slamming, Cheese Troughs, and more colors of Topaz than anyone else in the business.

Years later, Paul Deasy and Michael Valitutti joined the Evine family, and the Three Amigos were born!  Today, many of our best designers attend the Tucson Gem Show in order to find the most magnificent gems in the world.

We just returned from Tucson after broadcasting live from the event with many of our customers’ favorite collections: Gems en Vogue, Gem Treasures, Gem Insider, Dallas Prince, JOYA and Sunwest.  I spent a few days walking the shows with our buyers and designers and am looking forward to sharing with our customers what we are bringing “Back from Tucson” this week during our shows Thursday through Saturday!

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My Brother

I am so thankful for my brother Joe.  He is not only the best big brother you could possibly have by your side, but he also has a chocolate factory.  The best of both worlds – wonderful brother and delicious chocolates.  He has been leading my family for years with is patience and strength.  He is also really funny and loves to play practical jokes on everyone.

People ask me all the time about Joe and Waggoners Chocolates.  I thought giving you a behind the scenes look might shed some light on how amazing he is and cool it is that he has a chocolate factory.

Joe as been creating confections for some of the most renowned chocolate companies in the world.  Many of the chocolates that you love have been developed by Joe and his team.  He also travels the world to bring the cocoa beans from harvest to market.  He can taste a bite of any chocolate in the world and tell you the quality, level of cocoa and usually what region it has come from.

That leads me to Waggoners Chocolate.  When Joe decided to build his own company, he wanted to keep it small creating some of the finest confections in the world.  Every piece of chocolate is created in small batches, with ingredients that are local.  Fresh creams and butters from the Ohio valley.  Fresh pretzels baked and shipped right to the factory to be drenched in chocolate. Made in the USA which is so important to Joe as he served his country for 8 years in the Army.

When Joe was asked to come on television, he was initially worried about the delivery to customers, freshness and quantity.  He chose to come on when he learned he could ship right from his factory to the customers.  His visits are limited; he only makes what he can make.  He has always believed that customers are family.  So many folks over the years that shopped in his store are now close, personal friends. His wonderful wife, Stephanie and daughter Cierra share in all the work with Waggoners Chocolates.  That is why every time you take a bite, you know the box was packed with love and pride.

I am not involved in the business at all, but last year he gave me the honorary title of ‘president of taste testing’  and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Give Joe a call next time he is on air next time and let him know what new flavor you would love to try!

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All That Glitters

All That Glitters is Not Gold...but with the right technique, you could be golden.

It just so happens that I like nice things.  Call me odd.  Call me over the top.  Go ahead and say it: “Who does Brian think he is, a Rockefeller?”

Well, it turns out I’m neither a Rockefeller nor a Vanderbilt.  So how does one lavish their “castle” without a tycoon’s bank roll?  We improvise.  It’s a matter of knowing what you want and making it happen with a little bit of effort.

A couple years back I was exploring my heaven on earth: H& B Gallery.  It’s Minneapolis’ premier antique store.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, I came across a mirror costing several thousand dollars.  It was a  www.carversguild.com piece – hand carved of wood and gilded to the hilt.  It was so me and oh so mine, but I couldn’t lay down the cash or put it on a credit card.  All I could do was store away the image of it in my mind and sleep on it for a couple of years.

Then, out of no where, came my “diamond in the ruff.”  Or, should I say, “carved wood mirror, painted an ugly buff”.  It was a machine-carved mirror frame made in the 50’s and finished in a pickled peach.  It looked pale, sickly and no wonder someone had cast it off.  What’s more, it was part of a dresser set so it had carved wooden feet on it that would rest on the larger dresser that I didn’t want.  But it was the perfect size for a foyer and it was only $150.  So off it went for a ride home to my place.

Flash forward a full year later, on a day with a list full of things I didn’t want to do, I cut the dresser legs off it and attempted a gold gilding using a product from Michael’s I had never tried before: Rubb n Buff.  Ya, it worked but it didn’t look like it was gold leafed.  Plus, I really wanted it to look old.

For almost a year, I passed that mirror a couple times a day and each time I said to myself, “Brian, the world isn’t right and neither is this mirror.”

Now flash forward to February 2017.  It was just another day with a list of must do’s around my home that I just wasn’t interested in doing.  So to distract myself I said, “The Mirror.” And it was through more improvising with trial and error that I got the finish just right.
Most old mirrors have a layer of plaster in between the carved wood and the gold paint or gold leafing.  So with the help of Martha Stewart’s acrylic white paint, I was able to give it that traveled, moved, chipped and moved again exposed plaster look that could give this mirror from the 50’s an aged, early 20th-century look.

So next I took a small brush and haphazardly applied that white acrylic in random areas on the mirror frame, because age never hits any piece of anything (or anyone!) evenly or symmetrically.

After the white paint dried the fun of the gilding could begin.  Of course I had the option of gold leafing the mirror, but what a mess that is with tiny fragments of 24K all over. Sounds neat I know (what a problem to have, right?), but it’s not.

So I tried Plaid’s version of Classic Gold Leaf in the form of paint.  Wow, it worked and one little 3/4 oz jar was much more than I needed to do the entire job.  Keep in mind, I carefully and intentionally left spots of white exposed.  And to my satisfaction (not easy people!) it turned out great.  More on this technique when I attempt it again on another piece in another room.

If you ever see something you love, but don’t care for the finish, it’s probably waiting for you to take it home and give it a new color.  So many things of value get overlooked that way.

Please leave me a message here or on Facebook if I can be of any assistance to your next improvisation project.

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Grading Coins 101

I have been collecting coins for over 30 years. I have hosted hundreds of coin shows for various networks and I have worked with some of the most respected numismatists in the business. The question I get all the time is “Should I have my coins graded?

Before I answer these questions, let me provide you with a brief description of graded coins. Coins that are submitted to a professional grading service are inspected and assigned a grade. They are also certified authentic and are placed in a protective holder called a “slab.” Other information besides the grade may be placed on the holder such as the denomination, precious metal content, and sometimes the provenance or the source where the coins were discovered.

The reasons to consider grading or collecting graded certified coins are:

To establish a Coin’s Grade

Location is to real estate as the condition is to the value of the coin. The grade will establish this condition. For example, uncirculated coins will grade from MS60 to MS70. An MS70 will be more valuable than the same coin graded as an MS63. When you are ready to sell or upgrade your coin, it’s important to know its value so you get the most for it. The condition will always be an issue when buying or selling a collectible coin. Having the coin professionally certified and graded by a reputable company will eliminate any argument over its condition.

 To establish authenticity

1893S Morgan Silver Dollar
Here is an 1893S Morgan Silver Dollar that has been improperly cleaned.

Professional coin graders will reject any coin they believe isn’t authentic or altered. If a coin has been altered in any way such as cleaning, polishing, or modifying the design, it would be unfit to authenticate. You want to be assured your coin is the real thing.

To establish identity

Value of $1775 based on NCG Price Guide

 

It is the coin grader’s responsibility to identify any critical devices on the coin that may affect its value. A mint mark is one such device. A 1909 SVDB cent is worth much more than a 1909 VDB cent of the same grade (the “S” denotes the San Francisco Mint,“VDB” are the initials of the designer Victor David Brenner). Design changes may identify different “types” or “varieties.” A good example of this is the $1 gold coin that was originally minted in 1849. When Lady Liberty’s design was changed in 1854, it became a Type II.

Value of $25 based on NGC Price Guide

To protect your coins

Any damage to your coin may mean a loss of value. Damage could be caused by fingerprints, dropping your coin on a hard surface, or even environmental exposure. A slab is an airtight holder and protects your coin from these damages.

Credibility and Consistency

As mentioned, the grade of a coin is an important factor in establishing its value. You will want to choose a professional grading company that is reliable and consistent. The reputation of a grading service may also be a consideration when buying or selling a coin. They must follow strict grading guidelines of the ANA (American Numismatic Association). The four most popular grading services are:

NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation)

PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service)

ANACS (American Numismatic Association Certification Service)

ICG (Independent Coin Graders)

I hope this was helpful for those who collect coins or want to begin a collection. I will admit when I first started collecting coins, it was in the hopes of someday selling my inventory to raise a nice profit. The larger my collection grows, the more my original intent has changed. I can’t imagine selling many of my coins now, they have become treasured possessions.

Wally likes coins, too!
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Invicta Adventures

1375991_10201259939885853_1848613689_nThe definition of Remote (distant/unlikely to occur) aptly describes Evine’s “Invicta Remotes.” Not only do we travel to distant/exotic locations, but when you see what has to happen from a cliff on the far side of a near deserted island, it is astonishing that our crew is able to pull off a live broadcast from these remote destinations.  These remotes are a metaphor for what Inivcta has been able to offer customers at Evine for the past 15 years. Prior to our partnership, high quality watches had been unattainable and unaffordable by other brands and were unlikely to find their way into customers collections…Invicta via Evine is making these quality timepieces available and incredibly affordable to our customers!

Blue Stallion FarmInvicta remotes have taken us to Invicta’s headquarters in Florida where we’ve broadcast from Invicta’s Warehouse, the Invicta Marine Pavilion on the Intercostal, and the Blue Stallion Farm.  The most difficult to plan for were the Farm remotes as the temperatures were often over 100 degrees during the day and in the 40’s at night. We never knew if we would be outside in the blistering sun or freezing rain. They were also the most difficult as the beetles and mosquitoes were relentless at night.  The freakiest thing that happened one night on air was when a screeching hawk with a frog in its mouth flew right above our heads!

CaboThe most luxurious locations we have traveled to are Cabo and the Riviera Maya areas in Mexico.  Our most difficult broadcast by far was from Staniel Cay in the Bahamas where the crew worked around the clock everyday pulling miles of cables to remote cliffs and beaches around the near deserted island.  They spent hours lighting shark invested waters for our night broadcasts.  I liken this remote to summer camp…the roughing it kind!  We braved the elements of extreme heat and rain (we escaped the day before the hurricane hit and destroyed the island) and bonded the same way I did with my fellow girl scout campers as a teenager.

I can not say enough incredible things about the remote crew…the lighting crew, floor directors, camera operators, models, stylists, visual staff, sales managers/producers, control room, directors, etc. who all work tireless hours in difficult conditions without ever a complaint.  I also want to thank Eyal Lalo and the Invicta staff for the amazing experiences, hospitality, and opportunities they have offered us at Evine.

Invicta Cruise1For the first time ever, Invicta is giving our customers an opportunity to join us on our next remote as we broadcast LIVE from the middle of the ocean on our February Invicta Cruise!  Our customers will have a chance to be a part of our live show and meet Eyal Lalo, Invicta Designers, Ambassadors, and Collectors.  If you can’t make it, join me on my Facebook page for photos of the day from February 10-13th!

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Saying Goodbye to Old Friends

kimberlyWith the changing of the seasons comes the perfect time to declutter, purge, deep clean and say out with the old, in with the new! But when was the last time you actually dove into your closet, your home or your garage and took a good long inventory of what exactly you were using and what was just taking up space?

The art of decluttering our lives seems like an ordinarily easy task from a ‘things acquired’ perspective. But have you honestly really tried it lately?

When moving from my large 3-story home to my tiny little apartment, a friend told me about a book by Marie Kondo on tidying up your life.

The philosophy is simple: touch each thing and ask yourself ‘does it bring me joy’? If so, place in one pile, if not – out to the dumpster it goes.

So I sat upon the task of starting with my wardrobe, since Marie recommends tackling categories in your home one at a time.

As I pulled clothes from the shelves that I hadn’t seen, let alone worn in years, some still with tags on them, I realized I had my work cut out for me.

First task-anything with a tag was bagged for Good Will. I figured if I hadn’t worn it yet, it wasn’t important. Were those clothes bringing me joy? I didn’t even know they were there – seems easy enough, right?!

Next came the varying size chart of my hanging clothes-I seriously could have opened a ladies clothing store! I had garments ranging from Size 2-Size 14 and everywhere in between…yet I still stressed about ‘not having anything to wear’! So what to do? My heart said keep the clothes cuz ‘when you finally lose the weight you’ll have stuff to wear.’ My head said ‘IF and WHEN you lose the weight, you’ll want to reward yourself with something new NOT something that’s been sitting in a closet for several years and probably out of style anyway’.  Was looking at all those clothes and feeling sorry for myself about my current weight bringing me joy? Absolutely not !! Fifteen-some odd garbage bags later, I delivered those clothes to several women’s group and shelters. NOW I was beginning to be filled with joy!!

Hardest part? Walking down Nostalgia Row. Opening boxes that I hadn’t looked through in years took me down a slippery slope and had the potential to derail my declutter train. But I took Marie’s advice-if you haven’t needed, wanted, missed or been curious about what was in those boxes for at least a year-don’t even open them-get rid of them immediately! And bam-that dumpster was filled to the brim in less than 2 days!

I continued this joyful movement throughout my entire house and, man, did it feel good! My new place is very small and very minimalist by design. But I can honestly say I’ve surrounded myself by only the things that I truly love and that I can use and appreciate everyday.  It’s a very freeing feeling!! Whattaya think? Feel like finding some JOY today? xx

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