March 14, 2018

Organize Your Home Office for Spring

Your home office should be a place that works well for you, reflects your own personal style, and is somewhere you look forward to spending time. Keeping things organized in your home office helps you avoid a cluttered workspace, which makes it easier to keep your thoughts and actions organized. This will help you be more productive than you could in a crowded, cluttered space. If you feel as though getting organized is an overwhelming task, we’re here to show you that it doesn’t have to be, if you break it down. 

Start by having a place for everything, even if it’s a box or basket to start with, and grouping like items together. If color coding works for you, colored file folders are a great way to organize the papers in your desk drawer. Got a pile of business cards you don’t know what to do with? A business card case will keep your contacts all in one place, and you can organize the cards any way that works for you -- alphabetical by the contact’s first name, last name, business name, type of business or service, or anything that makes sense to you and helps you find the right card when you need it. To keep a supply of your own business cards handy, a personal business card holder can be tossed into your bag or slipped into a pocket to keep your contact information at the ready for that next business opportunity.

Are you a jotter, always looking for a clean pad of paper to jot a quick note to someone, or a reminder for yourself? An attractive, functional note paper holder with multicolored paper or a set of coordinating notepads will keep a supply of notepaper at your fingertips, and your notes won’t get lost among the mail or copy paper.

Looking for a way to organize all the things you have to do in a day, week, or month? Use sticky notes to prioritize your tasks on a wall calendar or in a journal. Using a simple numbering system from one to ten, you can organize (and reorganize) the order in which things need to be done by simply rearranging the notes as things change.

If you’re looking for something unique to organize mail on your desktop and you love DIY projects, you can make your own elegant organizer with a small slab of marble, some hot glue, gold or silver spray paint, and a few shelving brackets. You'll have glam dividers to separate incoming and outgoing bills, and all your friends will want to know how you did it. If you’d rather keep mail off your desk, you can repurpose an old Bermuda shutter with a fresh coat of paint (or leave it as is, if you like the distressed look) and a couple of hanging brackets. Place it on the wall beside the door and grab outgoing mail on the way out. Speaking of mail, an address stamper or address labels that coordinate with your personal stationery are a great way to save your writing hand when it comes to addressing event invitations or thank you notes.

Adding a touch of greenery to your workspace can help bring the freshness of spring indoors. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, consider an arrangement of succulents; they don’t require much water or upkeep, and can be found in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. With an organized home office, you’ll be more efficient and productive when you work, giving you more time to do all the other things you enjoy.

February 26, 2018

How to Choose Your Wedding Colors

One of the most important decisions you will make when planning your wedding, and one of the most commonly asked questions you’ll receive is what colors you have chosen to use. It isn’t always as simple as choosing your favorite colors (what if your spouse hates them?), and you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to just two. Wedding designers are encouraging brides to choose three or four colors that work well together, creating a broader palette with which to decorate. Your colors are an essential part of your wedding and reception, and you want them to reflect your personality and style, but sometimes it’s difficult to hone in on exactly which ones to choose. Here are some tips from wedding planners and professionals to help you choose the wedding colors perfect for your special day.

Reflect the season

Let the season inspire your choice of colors and decorations. If your wedding will take place in winter, you may want to use ivory, silver, and greenery, with a touch of cranberry as an accent color. Decorate with items readily available in winter, such as pine boughs and pine cones, holly leaves and berries, potted poinsettias, and silvery ribbon. Or go bold with deep, contrasting tones such as dark eggplant, raspberry, and gold.

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Let your venue set the tone

It’s best to have a color palette in mind when you begin your venue search, but you may want to have a second choice in mind, just in case. If you find a venue that you love, but it clashes with your colors, you can change a color or two, or switch to your second choice so you don't waste time and money trying to distract from the fact that your colors don’t match the setting. If you find the venue before settling on a color scheme, the venue colors can help you decide on a color palette for your big day.

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Create a mood with color 

You can help create a mood for your wedding day through the use of color. Think about the atmosphere you want to surround yourself and your guests, and what color combinations can help evoke that mood. Strong jewel tones and dark colors like black, emerald, ruby red, and gold are dramatic, while sage green, champagne, pale pink, and silver lend themselves to a softer, gentler vibe. For a nostalgic or retro-themed wedding, black and white, red and white, or robin’s egg blue and bright pink can be fun combinations.

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Check out your closet

Our clothes say a lot about the colors we love, and the colors that dominate your closet are a good place to start if you’re stuck for inspiration. Chances are, if your drawers are full of pastels, you wear them because you love them, they make you feel good, and they look good on you. Use your wardrobe as a starting point for choosing your wedding colors. If you love them on your body, you’ll most likely love them on your wedding day.

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Just because everyone else wants to know what your wedding colors are doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to choose them. There are no “right” colors for a wedding; what is right is what you like and what helps create the vibe you want. Color doesn't have to be the pivotal decision some people make it out to be. It’s true that your choice of color will influence a lot of your wedding decisions such as flowers and bridesmaid dresses, it should be seen as a guideline rather than a rule. Your wedding does not have to be color coded! Instead, think in terms of showcasing your personal style, whether you are going for casual or formal, texture, and mood, in addition to color.

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When you've decided on your wedding colors, let the planning begin! Shop our selection of wedding invitations that complement your theme here.

May 2, 2017

Cubical Feng Shui

The Best Cubicle Decor Ideas We’ve Seen for Positive Energy

Lauren Pezzullo

While a cubicle is perhaps not the ideal work environment for most of us, there are ways to increase your productivity and change your frame of mind in your tiny workspace. We believe that a well thought-out space makes all the difference, and that taking some inspiration from the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui is the perfect way to make your cubicle feel like home. Here are some of our favorite ways to redesign your cubicle for positive energy.

Rearrange your cubicle
As far as office Feng Shui is concerned, there is a right way and a wrong way to organize your office space if you want to feel calm, confident, and in control of your environment. If you want to regain control of your cubicle, the Command Position is the ideal placement for your desk or primary work area. From this space–usually diagonally opposite from the door or entryway–you can see the entire room, know what or who is coming, and feel less anxious about any potential surprises during the day. If moving your desk in this way is not possible (cubicles are tiny, after all!), a small mirror near over your desk will allow you to monitor your entryway in the same way. In addition to considering the Command Position, we recommend keeping your work and storage spaces separated as much as possible to avoid confusion and unnecessary stress.

Get organized
While your personal preferences for cleanliness and organization may vary, it is essential to keep a tidy and organized work environment. Regular decluttering, cleaning, filing, and rearranging of paperwork will help you to perform better and feel better in your workplace. Because cubicles are small, having a well-organized work space means that you can maximize productivity and find what you need easily without feeling like you’re drowning in paper. Make use of paper trays and labeled file boxes to free up space on your desk, and keep your thoughts and to-do lists organized with note pads, sticky notes, or jotter cards. Remembering that there is a place for everything, and keeping everything in its place will help you to stay calm and focused even when the rest of your office is busy and stressed. 

Bring the outside in
Employees who are stuck inside all day every day may start to feel bogged down with their workload and lacking in positive energy. While there is no way to physically alter a cubicle working environment (although installing some new windows or increasing the size of your workspace would be fantastic), there are few tricks to help you remember that there is a world outside your four walls. Air-cleansing plants, bright flowers, and natural light can freshen the air in your cube, add color to an otherwise drab space, and drastically alter your mood for the better. If absolutely necessary, you can use artificial lighting to recreate sunlight, but make sure to choose your office lighting wisely, because some light temperatures are more conducive to focus than others. Most office environments use cool white LEDs or fluorescent light strips, but these can feel harsh after hours indoors and even decrease your energy and productivity levels. We recommend considering a table lamp with a warmer bulb if you want to calm down your eyes and body from time to time during the day.

Personalize your space
One of the best ways to ensure a positive attitude in an otherwise cramped cubicle space is personalization. Make your work space feel like home by bringing in a few personal effects such as framed motivational and inspirational quotes, meaningful knickknacks, or photos of the places and people you love. Be careful not to go overboard with your personalization, though, because too many personal items may make you nostalgic for home and counting down the minutes until the end of the day. To maximize on your positive energy, find ways to combine both your work and home personas. Personalized correspondence such as letterheads, business cards, and stamps or address labels look great, make you feel more professional, and give you ownership over your work environment. 

Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, editor, and musicophile who's passionate about vegetarianism and sustainable eating. As an editor for Modernize, she writes about energy-efficient living in the home. She's currently writing her debut novel.

April 11, 2017

Real Simple wants to help you with your Wedding!

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January 18, 2017

How to Create a Design Work Space that Promotes Productivity

By Bryn Huntpalmer

Your surroundings are as vital to your productivity as a full night of sleep and a healthy breakfast. A cluttered, dark, or bland work space may jive for some people, but most of us need a logical and aesthetically pleasing setup to get the most out of our creative energy. 

Create Zones

Whether you have an entire office suite at your disposal or just a desk in the corner of your bedroom, thoughtful organization can make a world of difference. Most of us have a main workspace where the magic happens, and if we don’t keep periphery projects and supplies out of the way, sitting down to work can be overwhelming. Designate an area for upcoming projects and ideas that’s separate from what you’re working on—even if it’s as simple as the calendar of all your upcoming deadlines on a wall behind or next to you but not right in front of you. Keep all the tools you currently need within arm’s reach, but put others away in drawers or cabinets where they won’t be a distraction from your current project.

Turn your Wall into a Pinterest Board 

A cluttered desk is hardly ever conducive to productivity, but a cluttered wall may be a source of inspiration. Collect ideas, quotes, artwork, and maybe even a vision statement that light your creative fire. Having tangible pieces of different sizes and textures may help spark ideas that staring at a screen just can’t.

Shop this look: Love Print

 Improve the Room

If you’re converting a room into your home design space, don’t just stick a desk and supplies in the corner and call it a day. Consider doing some home improvements that allow you to truly nest in the room. Maybe you want to paint the walls or install a kitchenette so you don’t have to walk across the house for coffee and snacks. Perhaps hardwood floors would make it easier for you to swivel from one desk to another. Or you may need some built-in storage or a brighter overhead light fixture. Consider doing whatever it takes to make this a place where the productivity flows.

 Prioritize Comfort

It’s tempting to buy furnishings that work with your decor and make your workspace more stylish. But if you plan to spend hours at a desk, it’s important to follow ergonomic principles. Get pieces that are both beautiful and functional, and make sure your eyes are in line with your monitor. Think about getting a standing desk with a tall chair—that way you can switch from sitting to standing to keep things fresh.

Set up a Thinking and Dreaming Space

You can only stare at a piece of paper or a computer screen so long. Sometimes you need to relax, close your eyes, read a book, or stare out the window for the inspiration to come. Don’t pressure yourself to be working every second you’re in your design space. Instead, get a comfortable couch or armchair in the room so that you can retreat if you still want to be in a working headspace but don’t want to keep staring at a blank page. Just make sure that couch isn’t too cozy.

Switch Things Up

After a while, your brain will start to think of your pieces of inspiration and personal decor as fixtures of the room. To prevent the area feeling static, switch out the pieces on your wall and move around the picture frames on your desk. This will keep your brain on its toes with new stimuli—the perfect recipe for productivity!

Buy a Year's Worth of Supplies

The last thing you want is to get the ideas flowing and start working, and then have to run to the store for something basic. Buying certain supplies when you need the will only waste your precious time. Instead, stock up so that you can settle in and be your most creative and efficient without worrying about small hassles. After all, making your design space exactly what you want and a place of ultimate productivity don’t have to be mutually exclusive.