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 Go For A Small Win


Go For A Small Win

This past Sunday, my husband and I loaded our car with old paint, cleaners, toiletries, medications, electronics and cables and brought them to Prospect Park for the bi-annual SAFE Disposal event. We’ve been doing this for several years and it’s perfect motivation to get our spring cleaning into gear. While we don’t hold on to clutter, it always amazes me how much builds up year after year.


What I noticed about preparing for this event was that it was very easy to focus only on the items they take. I simply focused on the places in my home where we store these items. For us it was predominantly the downstairs closet, laundry room and bathrooms. It made me think that those who are having trouble with overwhelm in dealing with their clutter can simply focus on one category to recycle. We want to find ways to celebrate an easy win, that offers some relief and also creates momentum.

One of the top clutter causes I see are plastic bags, known in the recycling world as plastic fIlm. These can’t be recycled with your regular recycling as it will jam up the machinery. Try this: focus for 10 minutes in each room and closet of your home and collect all the plastic bags, bubble wrap and used (but clean) ziplock bags. Bag them all up and check with your local supermarket to see if they accept them - most do. I take mine to the Whole Foods Customer Service counter, easy peasy.

After the first big purge of plastic bags, you will want to designate an area to collect other plastic film until your next trip to the market. Once you start to recognize how much and how often plastic film is coming in, you may be surprised at how this awareness shifts your purchases.

By introducing this as a habit in your home, you can make it a bit competitive. Whoever brings the most plastic film into the home each week has to make the trip to the store to return them. I introduced this in my home and it actually changed our pattern of behavior. We started to cook more because if neither of us wanted to suggest ordering in because neither of us wanted to take responsibility for the bag. We now carry totes or just use our backpacks to bring groceries home. This hasn’t become a burden, it’s just a new rule we both have adopted.

With these small changes and by creating easy rules for protecting the planet, you may be surprised at how easily you start to lighten up in your home. Check back next week to learn about responsible clothing recycling options.


Decisions, decisions

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Decisions, decisions

Ten days before Christmas I invited my team over to celebrate the holidays together. It was a great time to gather as we rarely see each other in person as most of our meetings are virtual. One of the women commented on how she was surprised that I had a real tree because of my environmental awareness. My response was, “well, where does a fake tree ultimately end up?”

My logic is:

  • Christmas Tree farms are a thing

  • the city collects the discarded trees to put through a chipper to create mulch for Prospect Park, so I can see the cycle of it.

  • fake trees are primarily made of plastic, require storage space and while they may be used for several years, once we’re done with them they become permanent landfill

  • I don’t really like fake shit

I’m not saying I am correct in thinking that all of the resources used to procure this tree are any better for the environment, we would all need part-time jobs to learn the truth of it all.

We have many choices in front of us on a daily basis and once we become aware of them, we can easily transform our habits for the better.

I am not asking that we all become perfect in every aspect of our lives, but if we just choose one thing to change:

  • carry a reusable water bottle

  • always have a spare reusable tote

  • stop taking free pens

  • and the very famous, say no to the plastic straw

We don’t have to turn ourselves inside out and make our lives harder to make a difference. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine not using a straw (my favorite way to suck down my smoothing or iced latte!) but seeing all of the plastic on the gorgeous Bahama beaches almost 3 years ago made it very easy for me to choose not to use them everyday. And yes, I may use a straw in the future from time-to-time and I don’t have to beat myself up about it. A daily habit being reduced to several times a year is something to celebrate.


My latest decision is collecting all of the plastic bags, including plastic mailers, bubble wrap and sealed air and bringing them to Whole Foods to be recycled. Many people don’t realize that these can’t be collected with plastic bottles and other recyclables because it messes up the machinery. Now, this is a way to create awareness because I am now noticing the volume at which uninvited plastic builds up in my home. I made a deal with my husband that we are each going to keep track of the plastic we bring into the house (including Seamless orders!) and the person who has the most at the end of the week has to bring it to be recycled. This has already made us cook more because neither of us wants to suggest ordering in.

If you need more inspiration about how to reduce your plastic consumption, check out this article.

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Essential Focus: Lemon


Essential Focus: Lemon

Next month marks three years that I have been using Essential Oils (EOs). Now that I am seeing so much misinformation and products that are being sold as “essential oils” that aren’t necessarily any safer than the chemicals in most cleaners, I feel the need to share what I’ve learned.

When I started using EOs, it was intimidating because I didn’t know anything about them. I was looking to help my mother avoid surgery so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to impact her health negatively by introducing a product I didn’t know a lot about. That’s a Frankincense story that I’ll save for another month.

Around the same time my curiosity struck, a dear and studious friend was sharing information about EOs on instagram. After an in depth conversation, and making sure I wasn’t going to get stuck with a bunch of products I didn’t want or need, I knew doTERRA was the right brand for me.

Over these last three years, I’ve not only rid my home of chemicals, I’ve also only used these oils for headaches, runny noses and body aches. I haven’t had more than a 24-hour cold since bringing these beautiful essences into my life, which in part lies in their natural antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Cleaning supplies and medications are a huge part of the decluttering process I have come across in my work. Think about how much space you use for cleaners, toiletries and pharmacy items and then know that I use less than one square foot for all of my oils that offer thousands of uses. In addition to all of the positive effects, I love these oils because they make me feel a bit like a mad scientist making new concoctions that ultimately save me time and money. I am also proud be using Mother Nature’s gifts instead of destroying her with the chemicals that get flushed into her system. With reusable glass bottle sprayers I can be one less source of unnecessary plastic going into the landfill and our oceans.

Once a month, I will share what I’ve learned about a particular oil to help you understand how easy it is to eliminate toxins (cleaners/medications/viruses) from your home.


This month’s focus is on: Lemon

It can safely remove crayons from the walls, dirt and grime to make power cords white again and combined with vinegar in a spray bottle, a perfect window and glass cleaner.

This is a happy scent that feels fresh and clean at first whiff. I’ve used Lemon to remove sticky residue, to polish wood, and my favorite use, to make my white board white again - see in my video below:


This brilliant oil can brighten anyone’s mood. Instead of burning candles and using air fresheners that are known to be toxic, I’ve switched to only using diffusers and I have a fresh smelling home everyday, even with two cats in the house.

Lemon is perfect to pull you out of the winter doldrums and is also known as The Oil of Focus. Emotional benefits of Lemon include: restoring energy, calming fears and inspiring playfulness. It’s beneficial in cases of learning issues by counterbalancing mental fatigue and clears self-judgements of not being smart enough.

If the idea of introducing EO’s into your home feels daunting to you, believe me, I’ve been there. Feel free to schedule a call with me to discover whether they would be a beneficial replacement in your home and life.


A Judgy Moment


A Judgy Moment

While I’ve been editing my book, Consciously Creating Clear Space, I find myself questioning what I see around me all the time. I've realized over the past 6 years that in order for most people to clear their space and let go of things, we are inviting the wrong things into the environment, like plastic and other objects that are harmful to the earth, and therefore, harmful to us. 

There aren’t perfect recycling options for many things, like styrofoam or used ziplock bags, and when will we have another option other than PLASTIC GARBAGE BAGS?!! It can be maddening at times and I have to remind myself over and over again, we all just need to do the best we can for now.

Until better solutions are found, I am asking for all of us to look at our current shopping habits and start realizing that everything we purchase will ultimately end up in the ocean. When we can refrain from buying the unnecessary and make the earth's health our number one priority, and start looking for eco-friendly choices, the plastics industry will have to change the way they do business. 

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped in Nordstrom Rack to grab a white tank top. Like most who shop in these types of stores, I browsed a bit, but I’ve become very good at staying focused on what I need and getting out. As I was waiting in line to make my purchase, I noticed the woman in front of me pick up a bottle of water. You know how they do it in these stores, line up all those "convenient" items so you can mindlessly grab them.

I thought about her actual NEED of this bottle of water. Surely, she should have a refillable water bottle instead. Maybe she could wait until she got home, it wasn’t that hot out. As I judged this woman, I started noticing where my thoughts were headed and let it go. It’s none of my business what this woman’s choices are and I should just focus on myself.

A literal moment later, as I moved closer to the register, I was face-to-face with dark chocolate covered caramels and dark chocolate covered toffee. If you don’t know this about me already, I am quite the candy connoisseur and a serious sugar addict. I don’t say this for exaggeration, it’s actually true. This was one of those moments when I got swept away by “caramel or toffee?” They were both salted and beautiful; I could tell either would be a spectacular treat. I opted for toffee. I wondered if I had ever actually had salted toffee.  

At the register, the cashier gave me further evidence of my expert eye and said “Ooooooh, these are GOOOOOD! I have them at lunch everyday!” I may have felt another drip of judgment here, but I refocused on paying my bill so I could get outside and delve into my treats that were sure to make my taste buds go wild.

As I continued to walk down 6th Avenue on my way to an event, I wrestled with the packaging. Because of my sugar blindness - a term I just made up to explain that I can’t see anything but candy when it’s in front of me - I didn’t even notice that my chocolate delights looked so amazing because they were in a clear plastic box, sealed with tape. My heart sank. Who am I to be telling people to be mindful when they are shopping? I had just judged a woman for buying water seconds before I made my own mindless purchase that was not only bad for the environment, but also feeding my sugar addiction.

So here’s the bottom line. We aren’t perfect! It’s not possible or healthy to expect ourselves to be. We need to celebrate the small victories and do our best to eliminate some plastic from our purchases. Doing something is better than doing nothing. We have to be kind to ourselves and others if we want to make any sort of progress. I am celebrating that I gave up my daily drinking straw habit. It may not feel like enough, but as our awareness and forgiveness grows, powerful shifts will happen.



Use What You Have


Use What You Have

I’m still in Lagos having an incredible week with these lovely and inspiring ladies. I’ll report back next week about the trip in its entirety. In the meantime, I’ll tell you about one of my attempts to loosen the grip of my ziplock bag addiction.

I love glassware, especially the super thin and fragile kind. In the past, my heart has broken every time a glass was dropped. I come from a family who still has wine glasses from over 30 years ago, so I recognize that I was taught to believe glasses lasted forever. My husband comes from the idea that glasses break, so there’s no attachment for him.

My mother-in-law Jocelynn and I have had a tradition of making strawberry jelly for years. Since Ross loves it on top of his ice cream, we ended up having a bunch of mason jars around the house. One day I decided, even though they don’t have the thin lip that I prefer, that these were going to be our new drinking glasses. These glasses have broken as well, but I don’t feel quite as sad when they do.

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Several years ago, I came across these great BPA free lids which I love because they don’t rust out like the normal metal tops do. I love that I can write on the lids to store things as well. Now my glassware doubles as food storage. This doesn’t completely solve all of my ziplock needs, but it greatly reduces the amount that I would normally use.

Mason jars have had a renaissance for those who are looking to live without plastic for many years and now there are quite a few additions to the variety of lids and accessories available. There are lids with silicone straws for kids, lids to create soap dispensers, and silicone sleeves to protect your glass if you take your iced coffee to go.

Let me know in the comments below, is there anything in your home that you can create another use for?



What Are We Doing?


What Are We Doing?

On our last day in Nicaragua, we traveled from Monty’s to the El Limonel Dump in Chinandega to cook lunch and feed the families who were displaced here after a volcanic eruption devastated their village. It was about 95º and we were there to cook soup for the 200 families that called El Limonel home. 


I had been hearing about the dump since I arrived in Nicaragua and I was trying to understand why a community was living there. One story was that they were sent temporarily during the evacuation and then forgotten about. I also heard that the community chose to stay. Either way, we were in a severely impoverished area and the sight of the old school bus we arrived on sent the kids chasing us through the streets. 

It’s always amazes me to see the pure joy that comes from those who have so little. In 2006, my mom and I traveled to Thailand and visited an orphanage. These kids were so much fun and full of happiness. I often wonder if the abundance we have created for ourselves and the accumulation of things is somehow connected to the millions who are suffering with depression.

I was relieved to see that we were preparing a soup from fresh vegetables and chicken, which we chopped up with rusty, dull and dented knives in a makeshift outdoor kitchen. The soup was cooking in three enormous cauldrons over a wood fire. While the soup was simmering, a group of us went to see the dump. Walking over to the dump, I saw some houses that had been made from cement blocks while others were more like what one might see in the impoverished areas of India. Makeshift dwellings that a swift wind could dismantle. Again, we were surrounded by children who wanted to hold our hands, get piggyback rides, all laughter and smiles.


The sight of the dump stunned me. The first thing I thought was “What are we doing?” This dump, in a small area of a small country, was enormous. This country doesn’t even have close the resources and money that we have in America. It made me wonder how vast and full our dumps are in America that we never see. The garbage men just take it all “away”.

While trying to hide my tears behind my sunglasses, one of my friends was holding a girl who was about 4 years old. She lifted up my glasses, totally exposing me and I feared that she would think I was sad for her. I couldn’t be more wrong. All she wanted to do was make me smile again, and she succeeded.

We are a disposable society basing our choices primarily on convenience. I’m not excluding myself from this, I’m not pointing fingers. I am truly confused by how to proceed in my life that is so full already, and how to now make my choices that are both good for me AND for the planet. 

In my forthcoming posts and the Consciously Creating Clear Space book, I will share alternatives, ideas and strategies to strike a balance and always look for the win-win. For years I’ve been talking about donating things we no longer use to those who are in need, but there is a tremendous amount of waste I come across with my clients that has nowhere to go but the dump. It’s time for a shift and with that shift, new opportunities and solutions have to evolve.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what small shifts you can make to keep things out of the landfill.


Cycles of Nature


Cycles of Nature

A few weeks ago I went to the country to work on my book for a long weekend. I stayed at a lovely Airbnb where all I could hear were the birds and the river. I grew up in an area not far from this place and it was good to get back to my roots. 

As a child, I would spend a lot of time in the woods and revisiting that experience was like teleporting back to being a kid. The forest looked and smelled the same, moss and fungi covered stumps of trees, brambles and thorns to navigate, critters scurrying here and there. 

What was surprising to see were all of the enormous downed trees, pulled out by their roots. I can only imagine that this destruction was from Hurricane Irene or Sandy six or seven years ago. It got me thinking about how the earth is constantly changing, destruction and renewal. The past year there have been so many devastating natural disasters: floods, fires, mudslides and most recently the volcano eruption and earthquakes in Hawaii.

I’ve never thought much about volcanoes, as the only portrayal I’ve ever seen was a movie altered version of it. Seeing a video on Facebook of the slow ooze of the magma crossing a road and engulfing a car is enough to give me nightmares. 
Back in Nicaragua, one of our crazy adventures was to climb up an active volcano, Cerra Negro (Black Hill), and ride a board down it from the top. The ride down was fun, even if I ended up with a mouthful of ash. The highlight for me was the view during the climb up. It was a rare perspective to see the flow of lava from the past eruptions. Life was destroyed up until the point where the lava stopped flowing.


Mother Nature clearly understands the need for renewal. I think we can learn a lot from her. It doesn’t have to be quite as dramatic, but letting go of the old stagnant energy in our lives is necessary for new growth. Many of my clients often talk about feeling stuck. The stagnant energy of clutter is like cement, holding us in place. We need to break it down so we can free ourselves and move on to the next stage of our lives. Holding onto our past doesn’t prevent us from growing older. It actually makes time pass us by.

In next week's post, I’ll be sharing another profound experience from Nicaragua when we visited a community that was displaced due to a volcanic eruption.

In the meantime, tell me, what area of your home is due for renewal?


Baby Sea Turtles!


Baby Sea Turtles!

It’s hard to believe how much has happened in my life since I started writing Consciously Creating Clear Space six months ago. Those who have been cheering me on in the Facebook group know that the title occurred to me several months ago and it still feels right. I’m currently in the editing phase which is a completely new process for me. The momentum has slowed a bit and I am doing my best to be patient with myself and get the message truly clear, motivational and relevant.

The most significant realization while writing is that I didn’t expect for the book to have a life of it’s own. My adventures unexpectedly gave me lessons that had to be included and expanded the scope of the message I am putting out into the world.

Last December, I traveled to Nicaragua with Chantelle Adams as part of her Courage Ignited retreat with 11 other women. These women are all up to great things in this world and Chantelle created a beautiful combination of business, fun and adventure.


The absolute highlight of my trip was releasing baby sea turtles almost every evening at sunset, almost 1000 were released the week we were there. Donald Montgomery, founder of Monty’s Beach Lodge, created a hatchery on his property in hopes of keeping these beautiful creatures safe from extinction.

To be able to witness these creatures as they emerge from their shells was fascinating, they are ready to go from that first moment, instinctually tracking themselves towards the ocean. Their strength was surprising and I fell in love with each and every one of them.

We all seem to know about the plastic that washes up on the beaches and the “island of trash” floating out in the Pacific and more recently, in the Caribbean. I keep coming back to the thought that this is just the trash that is floating, the stuff that is visible. There is so much more garbage that we don't even talk about that is below the surface and all over the ocean floor.

We learned from Monty’s that only one in a thousand sea turtles will make it to adulthood. Sure, there are a lot of predators out there who will prey on them, but I became acutely aware that the disposable plastic straw that is offered to me for my iced coffee or green juice, that I don’t think much about, is a big factor in marine life. While I wouldn’t dream of littering or throwing plastic into the ocean, as a society we need to learn that by simply using these items, even when we dispose of them “correctly”, we are a part of the problem. 

The goal of Consciously Creating Clear Space is to help people learn how to live surrounded by only the things that light them up, how to create systems of order that work the way their brain does and live in a home environment that truly feels customized to them. In addition, I implore my readers to think globally with each purchase they are making or items they are unconsciously using. If we could all think a few steps ahead before we buy something, these very small shifts that we will hardly notice in our lives, have the power to save the planet.


My commitment is to give up buying beverages to go while I’m out and about. I carry my reusable water bottle with me and I’ll be sure to have paper straws in my bag *just in case* I need a green juice on the run.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more about my Nicaraguan adventures and lessons, and more updates about the book. In the meantime, please tell me in the comments below: 

What is one small shift you can make in your life today?


Clear Space - the book!


Clear Space - the book!

Thanks for your patience as I’ve been diligently working on my book over the last 6 weeks. 

I will be on hiatus with the newsletters until the book is finished. Please watch the video for more information and join me in the Creating the Clear Space Book - Cheer Me On facebook group by clicking here. I'd love your support! ❤️


The newsletter will resume in the new year - hope you will join us in the group - have a great week!

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How to green up your mani pedi


How to green up your mani pedi

As you may recall, this past spring I decided to get rid of all toxic items in my household, primarily cleaning products, medicines and cosmetics. This started while my husband and I were recovering from Pertussis and I noticed how certain fumes now irritated my throat. I was able to replace many things with essential oils, and since it wasn't flip flop season, knowing nail polish was fairly toxic, I simply stopped wearing it.

Now that it's summer and I'm baring my toes and skin daily, I explored green options for nail polishes and sunscreen. While searching for eco-friendly nail polish on a reliableblog, this led me to learn a shocking fact - I found that my old nail polish shouldn't even be thrown away in the trash. They need to be taken to a SAFE disposal event or site which I've talked about many times in this very newsletter. Who knows this? Do you think nail salons know this? Yikes!

The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers nail polish hazardous waste, along with paints and solvents. That certainly makes sense considering the fumes, but I never really put it in the "hazardous waste" category. 

My experience with essential oils led me to understand that anything that I applied to my skin would instantly be absorbed throughout my body. I had some powerful and instantaneous positive reactions which then really got me thinking, what am I putting on my body?  Although sunscreen is necessary, is ultimately toxic to our health. Years and years ago, my father-in-law's business partner once told me he wouldn't wear sunscreen for that very reason, I decided that he was crazy. With my fair complexion, I'm not willing to go without. Here's my favorite least-toxic brand of sunscreen.

So, let me repeat myself: your skin is your largest organ and whatever you are putting on your body will be absorbed--whether it is a positive or negative substance. Becoming aware of this put a lot of things in perspective for me. How about you?  What are you putting on your body? How long have you had it? Is it possible that it has expired? Is there a safer product you could be using? How should you dispose of it?

I've given you advice on how to keep you healthy, how about an organized strategy to keep your home and the environment healthy? What I suggest is that you keep a bin specifically for hazardous items and then take them to a SAFE disposal event - they happen in all 5 boroughs 2x per year, or in other areas of the country do a web search for hazardous waste facilities. put the date in your calendar and a reminder a month or 2 before. You will be doing yourself, your children and the environment a favor. It's also a great way to stay on top of your household products and not get overrun with toxins in your home.

For more information about eco-friendly nail polishes, check out Wellness Mama's blog post on the topic, plenty of info and sources of where to buy. This summer, I still get my painted toes and vitamin D while keeping things green. 


Why Live in Order & Beauty


Why Live in Order & Beauty

This week, I've invited a "born organized" person to share with us what living in order and beauty means to her. If you are not familiar with Elena Brower, and the magic she brings wherever she goes, please take a peek at her website to gain some insight on the force that is Elena.

I first met Elena back in 2002 at Virayoga, the yoga studio she co-owned at the time. After that first class I was smitten, she was patient with beginners like me and was still able to challenge and inspire her community of yogis.

We lost touch for a few years until 2008, when I reached out to her about my pinched nerves. She introduced me to another teacher at Virayoga who taught a restorative class which was so helpful and comforting to my healing.

This past January, many years later, we crossed paths again. This time due to my mother's shoulder pain - which we were told required a full replacement on her left shoulder and arthroscopic surgery on the right. I had started researching alternative methods and learned that essential oils, especially Frankincense, could reduce inflammation, but I didn't know anything about oils.

That same week I saw a social media post that Elena was offering a free bottle of Frankincense for anyone who joined her dōTERRA team that month. I didn't think twice about reaching out to her since I knew Elena to be very discerning about anything she promoted.

Needless to say, I signed up. By March, my mom's pain had reduced significantly. Three months later, she has no shoulder pain. NONE. All she did was religiously apply it to her shoulders and bottoms of her feet every night. The impact of that little Instagram post has saved my mother 18 months of rehab, we are both so grateful.

A few weeks ago, Elena held an essential oils class in her lovely home. Voyeur that I am, when her son opened up a closet that faced the room we were all sitting in, I couldn't help but notice that this was one of the most organized closets I had ever seen. Rare in the work that I do because if your closet looks like this, you don't need me ;)

It contained many of her oils, supplies for mailing samples, cookbooks and paper bags. As silly as I felt telling Elena about my spy work, I thought it would be great to hear what it means to her to have an organized and beautiful home.

1. Were you always organized?
I was always super organized. That was how I coped with a touch of solitude as a kid.

2. Most people expect to "be done" organizing and I explain that we need to adapt and modify as our lives are constantly changing. What changes did you implement when starting to work with dōTERRA?

began arranging my weeks - ne morning is this, one afternoon that. For my dōTERRA business that's crucial. And I'm giving to myself more.

3. Once my clients make peace with the objects that are no longer serving them and let go, our next step is to create systems for every closet, drawer and cabinet to maximize their storage, make their tasks efficient and keep surfaces clear. What is your favorite organized area in your home and why?

I love my Oils closet and my clothing closet... And my altars.

My altars and even closet spaces are intimate, sacred, curated spaces that make me feel calm and centered when I see them, rearrange them, or work in or near them.

4. I create a personalized system of organization around my clients' existing habits rather than trying to make them follow "my rules". What are some of your habits for dealing with the bigger issues people struggle with like paper and clothing?

Receipts get filed nightly from wallet to pile, and get labeled then so I don't have to do it and try to remember. Clothing put away nightly. Bags emptied nightly so I never carry more than I need, even though I still feel like I carry too much.

5. I have often expressed the idea of keeping organized as a practice, similar to a yoga practice. Can you talk a little about the idea of a "practice" where it's not about perfection?

My practice is now about prioritizing and surrendering perfection to contentment.

6. How would you describe your design aesthetic? How does living or working in a beautiful environment impact your life?

My design aesthetic is functional, spiritual, simple. It's important to me to live in beauty, in creative space. I set up my son for art often, almost daily, and I keep my creative work around so I don't use the excuse of setting up to stop me from creating.

Thank you Elena for your wise and thoughtful answers.