3 Tips For Keeping Your Desk More Organized

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

img via tumblr / graphic mine

As an accompanying feature for last week's desk tour, I thought I'd get down in the nitty-gritty and share with you my favorite specific organization tips. 

I'm pretty organized by nature. I jokingly say that "I can't think until everything's in it's place," and if I'm honest that's more truth than myth! But we all have our lazy moments, and even my natural tendencies don't override that. For example: I keep things clean without the drawers (i.e. the pretty, visible parts) but within could be any manner of chaos. Maybe you can relate? We can find our favorite fragrance or a statement necklace or a ring whenever we need it, but sometimes the paperwork all gets shoved in a drawer and forgotten about because, well, it's boring.

We all know that one of the best parts about being a creative is getting to run your office however you like, but if you can't find your tax forms because they're mixed in with your lipstick swatches, you're going to have more problems than an unpleasant aesthetic! Here's how I try to maintain the chaos that is the creative lifestyle, so that I can continue to live it. 

If you just put all your bills, bank receipts and any other type of paperwork in one location, when you come looking for one, you have to sift through all the others, too. Sounds pretty basic, right? You don't have to have one of those big ugly filing cabinets (or, if you find a cute one, maybe you do!) to keep the legal stuff in order. A simple 3-5 folder system, lying flat in a drawer, can solve a lot of problems. One for completed paperwork (e.g. bank receipts), one for the paperwork that's still in process (e.g. checks to be deposited), one for records (e.g. bank statements). However you choose to do it, having a system will save you so much time!

The minute you come home from being out, with your purse full of the odds-and-ends of the errand, your shoes, your sunglasses, your book, laptop - whatever you carry with you: resist the temptation to pop open your laptop right there and start responding to emails, and instead put everything in it's proper place first. Not only will this keep your workspace less cluttered, it also makes the atmosphere more conducive to productivity: everything has it's place, and you don't spend time rummaging among things that shouldn't be there. ;)

Even the best of us can't keep a clean desk 24/7: that's why I recommend regularly cleaning out your desk, throwing away old papers that are beyond their use (not the important ones, of course!) and rethinking what really needs to be there and what can find a home elsewhere. Since I spend so much of my day at my desk, it's easy for me to collect an army of random things (a sticky note to-do list that I haven't quite finished, a drawing I haven't found a place for, a book that needs to go back on the shelf...) and they really pile up over time. Sometimes, things that fit in one spot at the beginning of the month (read: your letter stash) may have grown over time and no longer fit there. That's okay! Scheduling regular clear-outs will help you avoid the dreaded end-of-the-year purge that too often results in piles of paper everywhere and feeling overwhelmed.

The moral of the story: cleaning your desk may feel like it's taking time from your real work, but at the end of the day it saves you time, making you more productive when you use that space. Tidy room, tidy mind - truer words were never spoken. :)

The Cars Don't Stop | #OOTD

Monday, June 27, 2016

Funny story: when I came downstairs wearing this outfit, my dad said I looked like I was going to prep school. Thanks, Dad. ;)

I'm so excited to finally have bought my first designer purse! I bought the Kate Spade Cobble Hill Small Rosie in the color "Cherry Liquor." I saved for this baby for quite a while, and I have been putting little cross-body bags in and out of my basket on the Kate Spade website since sometime around February, never feeling like I'd quite found the right one. I was looking for something quite small - just big enough for a phone, keys, headphones and compact wallet. A good city-exploring/travel purse, you know? I have a couple cross-body purses, most that I've bought at various thrift stores, but I find they're all either too big (I have one I can easily fit a standard-size book in, which is great for long work shifts, but a bit too much when you just want to go sightseeing/wandering) or too small (I can barely fit my phone in another, much less a wallet!). So I thought it was pretty providential when I found this in the sale, and it was exactly what I was going for. And I had a discount code. The end result? $85. (Mom would be so proud.)

I chose red over black, and perhaps broke my own fashion principle that expensive items should be bought in timeless shades, because almost all my purses are black. And you only live once, and by gosh I just really liked the bright red better for once. (Whaa?)

Have any of y'all bought designer purses? What rules do you try to stick with for these more expensive purchases? And, just because it's fun, what's your dream designer handbag? (Mine is the Chanel Wallet On a Chain, black with gold hardware...*all the heart eyes*.)

Outfit details--
Bag: Kate Spade
White Blouse: Merona
Distressed Jean Shorts: Anthropologie, via Plato's Closet; similar // affordable
Those Sandals I've Been Wearing Non-Stop The Past Month: similar
Watch: my mom's from the 90's; similar

The Chic Sheet, 24 June 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Just a little list of happy things to keep you positive going into the weekend. Xx

1. "Dance Anthem of the 80's - Live from London" by Regina Spektor (listen here).
2. , WhatOliviaDid - all her posts are so pleasant and helpful and happy and I just love it. Here's a good starter post...
3. Jenn's Instagram. If you like travel and history and flowers you'll love this lady. 
4. Lily Pebbles' "Weekend Food Diary" - so. fun. 
5. Pacifica "Alight" Multi-Mineral BB Cream. Just perfect for tapping on before you go out in the sun on a no-makeup day, and so good for your skin! Note: it's one-shade-fits-all, which means it's not for everyone. :(
6. Iced black coffee with a spoon of peanut butter on the side. ;)
7. This is keeping me pedaling:

"Then your Light will break forth like the dawn
And your Healing will quickly appear
Then your Righteousness will go before you
And the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
You will cry for help, and He will say:
-Isaiah 58:8

Riding In The Cool of the Evening Sun | #OOTD

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

title lyrics: "time" by ben abraham

There's nothing like the breezy feeling of a summer evening, especially after long hot days in the sun! I love the sun-dapple affect of evening light, which is why shooting these pictures was especially fun this week. Sometimes it can seem like the rest of the world is spinning around you at a dizzying pace, and stopping to do something creative, for me, is the best way to find calm. 

There's a pretty cool story behind this paper crane-inspired necklace: aside from being a little nod at Emma Approved (did you pick up on that? :) on a deeper level, it's got a really neat history. According to Google (and other confirmed sources),
it is said that a thousand folded cranes, one for each year of its life, makes a wish come true. Shortly after the end of World War II, the folded origami cranes also came to symbolize hope...through Sadako Sasaki and her unforgettable story of perseverance.
And receiving this for graduation from some very dear, long-time friends with that blessing sealed in it made this all the more special to me. I wear it now almost every day, like I'm carrying a bit of history, a bit of fandom, a bit of my dear friends, and a promise of hope through perseverance, all wrapped up in one lovely little necklace. How cool is that?

It's not just pretty, it's intentional. And I love things that are more than meets the eye. :)

Top: Old Navy, old, similar
Skirt: T.J. Maxx, similar
Sandals: Rue 21, old, similar
Crane Necklace: exact
Hat: Forever 21, exact
Sunglasses: Charming Charlie, exact

Post-Workout Blueberry Smoothie

Monday, June 20, 2016

I haven't talked much about my workout schedule on the blog, really since I shared my workout regime, but in case you were wondering: the fitness attempts go on! I wouldn't say I'm a gym rat quite yet, but I am still working out three times a week, which means that I'm regularly needing a post workout snack.

Post-workout snacks can be tricky, especially if you go to a gym instead of working out at home (home is where the food is XD) and are the sort of person who is hungry right after your workout (read: me). And really, it is to your benefit to eat within 30 minutes of your session, because that's when your metabolism is going the fastest!

So what to eat? There are countless recipes for protein shakes, countless variations of powders and products to load you up on energy after a workout, and while there are many that aren't as good as they claim, there are some products that are truly very beneficial! But for me personally, I've never loved the taste of protein powder, so I've had to come up with other ways of getting that energy in. 

This is one of my favorite post-workout shakes to check alllll da boxes, and it still tastes good! Taste factor is very important, because if it doesn't taste good, I know I'll just eat something less beneficial instead and defeat the purpose of the workout. And we don't want that.  

Bonus Tip: What I like to do is prep all the ingredients before I go to the gym: the night before, I make sure I freeze my fruits and have everything else on hand so that when I come home hungry, I don't have to rummage about and start inventing something on the spot. It doesn't take much time and makes such a difference!

What You'll Need:
1/2 cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen (if you're using fresh, add a handful of ice)
1 frozen banana
3 tbsp plain Greek yoghurt
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter (my favorite sugar-free version here)
1 cup of filtered water (adjust to your preferences! This creates a thicker shake, so you may need a bit more.)

Instructions: Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth, or 2 minutes.

Benefits of this shake: Peanut butter is a wonderful, natural source of protein; blueberries are full of antioxidants, which help with recovery, and bananas are filling and will keep you going until your next meal.

Let me know if you try it!

What do you like to have after you workout - are you a shake/smoothie sort of girl, or do you prefer a sit-down meal? 

Summer Reading List

Friday, June 17, 2016

After sharing my summer bucket list last week, I wanted to go more specific and share with you the books I plan on reading this summer. If you're a fellow book nerd, you know that one of the best parts of summer is having a little more time to read the books that you want to read, at the pace you want to read them.

For me, this means I get to delve into an odd mixture of biographies on historical figures (one of my quirkier loves), a good classic novel, for rainy days, and some form of fast fiction, for fun. So here's what I'm [somewhat optimistically] hoping to accomplish!

I actually wanted to read this before the Hamilton revolution hit the theatre world by storm (hurricane?). But I put it on my to-read list and forgot about it for a while, until the musical reminded me. This is the one book I've already started, but since summer has already started too, I'm considering it fair. I've been reading it for about 11/2 weeks and I'm 60 pages in, so this is definitely going to be a slower piece to chew through these next 2 months. I'm in for the long haul and I'm really enjoying it so far. :)

This is more of a insider look at the musical than a book, per se, but I'm throwing it in here because it's definitely more than a magazine, and I do plan on reading the whole thing. I recently purchased it off Amazon, and there is a wealth of fascinating information about stage productions in general and Hamilton more specifically in it that I've seen just from flipping through. I'm excited to really dive in and learn more (because tickets to the show itself just aren't an option at this point...:P)

I read this for the first time in British Literature last fall, and while the story was enjoyable, the translation was in "modern prose", which for me just threw off the entire folklore atmosphere that I love so much about old literature. Thus, I plan to re-read Tolkien's translation - because if anyone knows how to keep the folklore alive while still speaking in english, it's him.

Another book I recently purchased (the library doesn't have it, and I finally gave in). This is a book I've been saying I would read for far too long, so purchasing it is one step closer to actually taking in the words. Now I have no excuse not to, right?

 Another choice spurred by British Lit: I really enjoyed reading Perelandra this spring, and I want to complete the trilogy!

This book intrigued me: I want to read at least a bit of it, and if I like it - who knows? I may read the whole thing. (It certainly seems like a nice easy read for vacation days...)

A retelling of Peter Pan, set during World War II - who wouldn't want to read this? I know nothing about the author, so we will have to see about her talent as an author - but at the outset, I'm looking forward to reading yet another fairytale, to give my brain a break between the pages of Beowulf and Hamilton.

"Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage." -C.S. Lewis

If you'd like to hear more about what books I'm reading, you can find me on Goodreads here!

What books do you want to read this summer?


My Desk + Workspace Tour (video)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One of my favorite videos to watch on Youtube (aside from travel vlogs because let's face it nothing can beat that) are organizational videos, and specifically, desk tours. It must be the Mrs. Rachel Lynde in me because I love to have a good nosy around in someone else's cupboards, see how they keep things organized and what pretty knick-knacks they keep on their workspace! (Evidence: my home board on Pinterest is almost entirely desk and bookshelf pictures.) It's inspiring to me - makes me want to keep my own space a little cleaner if I'm honest! ;)

So today I'm trying a slightly different medium: a video. Because honestly I don't think you can properly get a feel for a space without the video aspect, and because my filmmaking skills are rusty at best, and this was a good chance to practice. XD

Desk: Ikea Micke Workspace in White
Lamp: Ikea Jansjo Desk Lamp (now wishing I'd got the copper color--love!)
Calendar: Rifle Paper Co. (currently more than 1/2 off!)
Lipstick: Lorac Alter Ego, "Flower Child"
Phone case: Kate Spade
Fragrance: Elizabeth and James "Nirvana White" and "Nirvana Black""Our Moment"
Tea: Ahmad Tea "City of London" tea set

Let me know what you think of this new medium!

Lots of love,


New York Native | #OOTD

Monday, June 13, 2016

Top: Ralph Lauren, old, updated here
Wide-leg Trousers: Brandy Melville, thrifted, similar
Sandals: Thrifted, similar
Purse: Thrifted, similar
Watch: Charming Charlie
Sunglasses: Forever 21
Lipstick: Lorac Alter Ego Lipstick, "Flower Child"

I don't remember if I've mentioned these pants on the blog before, but these things are insane. Seriously, combine all the added-height-illusion and breezy-cool factors of a maxi skirt, with the complete comfort of knowing that your skirt will never fly up because oh hey, it's actually pants and you have the amazingness that is the wide-leg trouser. Not to mention it's about the pinnacle piece for that chic, carefree New York-native vibe, which I'm all over at the moment. I've found that the best way to keep from looking overwhelmed by the amount of fabric in the pants is to balance it with a fitted tee. Flats are the best for keeping your vibe casual and easy-going, and for a touch of definition, a good-looking watch can never go wrong. I like the punch of brightness the crossbody and reflective sunglasses add, especially since blue and orange are complimentary colors.

Basically, I'm all ready to go strolling through Central Park - anyone want to come with? ;)

In other news, it's been near 100 degrees for the past 3 days and I'm so craving a city to explore, properly soaking in the sun and having iced coffee available at every corner. What are your dream summer locales?

My Summer Bucket List

Friday, June 10, 2016

These are hands down some of my favorite posts to write. What could be more exciting than daydreaming about travel and picnics and all the wonderful things the summer holds?

My Summer Bucket List, 2016

1. Have A Picnic
This one is always going to be on my summer bucket lists, forever and ever amen. Who doesn't love a good picnic, after all? I went on a grand total of one (1) last year and frankly, it wasn't too well thought out. I thoroughly intend to put in effort this year, make some really lovely treats and double-check I've got all the supplies necessary (nobody wants to arrive on site only to discover she's going to have to eat her strawberries-and-cream with her fingers because she forgot flatware).

2. Go On A Hike
I've never been on a proper hike before, and honestly it was never something I really thought about doing. But some friends of mine have been wanting to go, and I'm actually getting pretty excited at the prospect - I don't really talk about this a lot on the blog, but I'm someone who needs to be outside quite regularly to feel like myself! I thrive on fresh air and a bright sky, and the idea of taking a day and disconnecting a bit sounds so refreshing.

3. Go To The Beach
This isn't a true bucket list item as we've already got a beach trip scheduled in, but I'm putting it here for posterity, and all that. ;) I haven't been to a warm beach in years, so I can't wait to lie out and get some sun, soak my feet in the sandy waves and pore over books under the shade of palm trees for a whole week. I'm hoping to share some more travel-related posts when we get closer! (Travel is my favorite. ever.)

4. Bake More
Baking is another of my closet-passions that doesn't get much time in the sun - except, that is, in the summer time! My favorite type of baking? Recipe experimentation. On my list of new things to try this summer are a lot of breads: since most pre-made breads include sugar, which isn't always necessary, I'd love to try my hand at bagels, crumpets and banana bread, among others. If there's enough interest, I might even consider sharing what I come up with on the blog...^.^

5. Get Out of My Comfort Zone
This last one is a bit more general than the others. Nonetheless, I really would like to take advantage of this last summer as a "child", before I hit the work schedule hard in the Fall, and some of my closest friends leave for school. I want to store up memories to warm me during the cooler months, and the best memories are always made outside the ordinary, outside my comfort zone.

Really, that's what this whole summer is about: getting out there and doing things I'm not comfortable with, that I've never done before. Making memories. Not wasting a second.

What are you excited to do this summer? Do you have any plans yet, or are you more of a spontaneous adventurer?

A Truth So Loud You Can't Ignore | #OOTD

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Top: T. J. Maxx, similar
Pants: T. J. Maxx, exact (white stripe option no longer available)
Watch: Charming Charlie, exact
Flats: H&M, similar

It's officially summer in the South (well, maybe not according to the calendar, but it sure feels like it!) and we are feeling the heat of it! I love summer, but there are definitely allowances that have to be made with clothing, and one of those is the my standard jeans uniform. I wear jeans nearly every single day during the colder months, so summer definitely pushes me style-wise a lot more! That's not to say that's not a good thing, though. I love finding looser, lighter styles of pants with which to change up my look, while still staying true to my style. Currently, I'm eying culottes especially - and while I'm yet to find my perfect pair of crops (dream pairs here or here) these cropped harem-style pants are pretty dang close.

Style secret of the week: when you tuck under the elasticated ankle-band of a pair of swish harem pants or joggers, the effect is a culotte-style, on the cheap.

 I love that fashion isn't set in stone: you can wear what you want, how you want to and - assuming it looks good - make your clothes work for you!

What ways do you make your wardrobe work for you? Do you have any cheeky style tricks? Do you own some rad culottes, and if so where did you get them??? XD 

Title lyrics from "Youth" by Troye Sivan. 


My Graduation Party | Photos

Monday, June 06, 2016

Just a little photography from the special day, taken before guests arrived + so you all could enjoy a peek inside! The party was a massive success, full of good food, good friends, good conversations and lots of laughter - just the way I like it. (Never mind the fact that I was sick from exhaustion/yet-to-be-explained stomach pain for four days following.) This was beautiful. The weather was perfect: hot, clear, sunny, and somehow all the scattered ideas in my head tied together in the result I desired from the beginning. Between the tent (not pictured, I was too busy talking - oops!) and the balloons and garlands it felt very Bilbo's Eleventy-First Birthday, while the bright pineapple and fruit and succulents brought the preppy, lush vibe I desired. All in all, I was so pleased. All the heart-eyes. ^.^

How was your weekend, friends?
Design by Bethany. All images and text displayed here (C) Carmel Elizabeth 2010-16, unless otherwise stated. Please do not steal.