Friday, September 30, 2016

Houston Pumpkin Patches

There are several pumpkin patches all throughout Houston where you can pick out your own pumpkins and take part in fun activities happening. Where are your favorites?

Below are some places to check out, but you can also see a long list here Houston on the Cheap and here

St. Luke's United Methodist 3471 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Blessington Farms 510 Chisolm Trail, Wallis, TX

Old MacDonald's Farm 3202 FM 1960 East, Humble, TX

P-6 Farms 9963 Poole's Rd., Montgomery, TX

Old Time Christmas Tree Farm 7632 Spring Cypress Rd., Spring, TX

Froberg's Farm 3601 West Highway 6, Alvin, TX

7 Acre Wood 4401 N. Frazier, Conroe, TX

Oil Ranch 23501 Macedonia Road, Hockley, TX

Dewberry Farm FM 362 and Morrison Rd, Brookshire, TX

Halter Inc. 17410 Clay Road, Houston, TX

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Favorite Document Holders / Boxes / Sorters

I use all kinds of different document holders whether I am doing organization projects for myself or clients. Below are some of my favorites I have used through the years. I don't always use the same things and get them from all kinds of places. The top magazine file was found in the dollar bins of Target several months ago. 

Where are some of your favorite document holders to use? 

These are also some that I like:

These are Semikolon document holders are from The Container Store. As you can see they were on sale. 

These are from the Target dollar bins

These are See Jane Work document boxes that you can get at Office Max or Office Depot.

This document sorter is from Ikea.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Made in the USA: Moon Calendar

Several of my friends have been really into the moon and their cycles, along with some of my clients. So when I saw this moon calendar at Hendley Market at the end of last year I knew I wanted to pick it up. I really like looking at it and seeing when certain things are happening with the moon. I was surprised when I saw on the back of it that it is printed in the USA. This website talks about lunar cycles and their meanings. Do you believe the moon effects our bodies and minds in certain ways?

Friday, September 23, 2016

My Fall Bucket List

I thought I would make a fall bucket list of things I want to do this fall. If you know me, you know that I like to go go go. I really need to slow down sometimes, but once October hits our calendars are usually jam packed with events.

Here are some things that I hope to do this fall:
  • Go to a new winery or brewery.
  • Explore a new city in Texas.
  • Try 3 new crockpot recipes.
  • Go to the Renaissance Festival. We haven't been in years and I really want to go. 
  • Go see a show at the redone Heights Theater in Houston. This is where Bry and I's reception was years ago when it was Gallery M Squared. 
  • Start to learn to play the piano.
  • Visit a pumpkin patch. 
  • Volunteer somewhere new.
  • Start writing a gratitude journal. I did this years ago and want to start it again because I have so much to be grateful for. 
  • Go camping. I haven't been camping in years and want to go when it isn't scorching out.
  • Go to the drive in. We haven't been in years and once again I want to go when it isn't scorching out.

What are some things on your fall bucket list?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Client Fun, Busy Family: Food Storage Container Organization

Ok admit it, how many of you have drawers or cabinets that look like the top picture? Food storage containers can get disorderly SUPER quick. Here are some tips I have:
  • Get rid of some. Get rid of some that you no longer use. Usually there are ones that gross, broken, too big, too small, etc. and you NEVER you use them, so now loose them. 
  • Purchase like containers. I am personally picky about my storage containers and prefer glass. This makes it easy because many of the lids are interchangeable.  
  • Nest containers. Stack containers inside of each other to save on space. 
  • Store in bins. Store food containers and lids in bins to keep them all together. 
Here are some storage containers that I like:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Made in the USA: Strathmore Notepad

I was perusing Texas Art Supply here in Houston a few months back and came across these notepads. I am a sucker for any office supplies and probably shouldn't have bought this notepad because I have plenty, but I obviously ended up buying it. I love that it is lined, the paper quality is great and it is made in the USA!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Austin City Limits Music Festival The Eco Way

My husband and I have been attending Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival for many, many years now and LOVE going. Last year I wrote this post on what some of my ACL essentials were. This year I wanted to focus on some of their eco aspects like:
  • ACL Cares program where they have various organizations there for others to support. 
  • Rock and Recycle Program a recycling program where you can recycle cans throughout the festival for your chance to get a t-shirt.
  • ACL art market where you can pick up goodies from local Austin artists. 
  • Food features some of Austin's favorite local eats.
  • They encourage biking there, carpooling and using the shuttle buses.
  • They have refillable water bottle stations.
  • Taken from their website: "Keeping Zilker Park and the planet healthy and around for future generations are key missions of the Festival. From the use of biodiesel run generators to diverting waste from the landfill and fan education and outreach, ACL is committed to minimizing its carbon footprint both during the Festival and throughout the year. Here are more ways in which ACL strives to lessen its environmental impact…"
Here are some things you can do to be more eco:
  • Bring a refillable water bottle.
  • Use a solar charger. Like Solio or this one.
  • Use eco sunscreen like one of these options or these options.
  • Use eco deodorant like this one or an Austin favorite like one of the ones in this post. 
  • Download the festival map on your phone instead of grabbing a paper one. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Where to Purchase Organizing Supplies

There are soooo many places to purchase organizing supplies. Here is a long list:
  • Amazon
  • The Container Store
  • TJ Maxx
  • Home Goods
  • Marshalls
  • Ross
  • Thrift stores like The Women's Home, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.
  • Some grocery stores like HEB, Kroger, etc.
  • Tuesday Morning
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Michael's
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Joann's
  • Lowe's
  • The Home Depot
  • Southland Hardware in Houston
  • Dollar Tree
  • Kohl's

Here are some of my favorite organizing supplies to use, this is just of few of many:

Monday, September 12, 2016

Made in the USA + Eco Product: Natural Deodorants

I have used soooo many natural deodorants through the years and continue to try them all out. Within the last year or so I decided to switch to different ones. I have been using this Milk + Honey one for almost a year now and really like it. I like the smell and consistency, but it tends to stain white shirts, which washes out. I use this Lavanila one as well because it smells good, is in stick form and doesn't stain shirts as much. Here in Houston you can pick both of these Whole Foods. There is a Milk + Honey Spa in Houston so you can get the deodorant there as well.

Friday, September 9, 2016

How I Started My Business: Eco Modern Concierge

I know you can go to my about page on the Eco Modern Concierge website and read all about how I started my company, but I thought it would be fun to go into more detail in this post. I first started EMC when I was in college. I was working part-time (at times, full-time) for an Oil & Gas company doing data entry and later on moved my way up to working in HR. I worked for this company all through college and started EMC on the side. I started EMC out of happenstance because I was trying to get extra money to pay for college, study abroad and, well, live.

I first put an ad on Craigslist to housesit and petsit. I wish I had my old ads to see exactly what I posted because it would be fun to go back and read. Mind you this was before Craigslist became what it is today. For me it was free advertising. I should note: I actually started petsitting when I was in high school and knew it was something I could do on the side in college. I could go about my normal day and house / petsit on the side between work and school.

My first client in college was so wonderful and I worked for her until she moved away several years ago. She gave me pointers and things I should / shouldn't do while they are away, etc. I soon obtained other clients and then ventured into organizing for people because I could do it on the weekends, after work or while I was housesitting. Soon clients were asking me to do errands and personal assistant tasks for them while I was petsitting and / or organizing. Whether this was making a grocery run for them when they returned from out of town or running errands after an organization project. I tried to do things in an eco way and soon had clients notice and ask me to help them change to eco products to helping them with composting. So, became Eco Modern Concierge. Sprinkled in between these things, I also did various things on the side from selling on eBay to doing real estate for an apartment management company (I still have my inactive real estate license) to mystery shopping, etc.

For years I would post ads on and off Craigslist and actually got some of my best clients from there. I quit because I didn't see it beneficial to me. As I increased my prices and found that Craigslist wasn't as beneficial to me because there were tons of others offering the same services for less. I may one day put on ad back up just as an experiment to see if I actually get any business from. As the years have gone on most of my new clients have been referrals. Word of mouth is definitely the best form of advertising.

Years went by and it became hard to focus on four different things. So I decided to stop pet and house sitting. I got married several years ago and it became more and more apparent that I wanted to spend more time at home at night and on weekends and petsitting wasn't fitting into my schedule as well as it used to. With that said....I do have a client still that I help out in emergency situations. I had projects that would last all day or long periods of time and I couldn't leave to go walk a dog in the middle of the day. I eventually left my O&G job when I was in grad school and had built up the clientele where I could produce an income to live off of.

I decided that focusing on professional organizing, personal assistant work and eco consulting was the way for me to go. Eco Modern Concierge is something that has evolved so much in the past 11 years. Man, I can't believe it has been this long. There have been many times that I thought about going to work corporate to get benefits, health insurance, 401k, etc. etc. even in recent years when business has been slower than usual I have entertained ideas from clients to go work full time for them and their companies.

Who knows what the future holds, but for now I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do and have worked sooooooooooooo hard on EMC and truly love the clients I have and just have too much fun at the end of the day. No matter all the ups and downs, good stress and the bad, for the moment I don't want to give it up. Thank goodness I have such a supportive husband who encourages me to chase my dreams and supports me every step of the way, along with family, friends and clients :).

My advice is if you are on the fence about starting a business, I think you should definitely go for it. I had very minimal start up costs so it worked perfect for me. I meet with others pretty regularly who are interested in the industry and am always willing to help them with advice because who knows maybe one day I will need their help. Every so often I work with other professionals in my same industry because why compete when you can collaborate. Plus, they may bring fresh ideas to the table and sometimes you just need help.

Go for it! What are you waiting for?!?! Start that business already.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Client Fun, Busy Family: Spice Organization

I started organizing these spices for a client that I have organized many things for, which you have seen in previous posts. Originally they were storing all the spices in a kitchen cabinet and in drawers. I kept them the same, but rearranged them by putting the larger containers in the drawer and the smaller ones in the cabinet. Since taking these photos and organizing these spices they have already been moved again to the pantry where there is a built in spice rack. 

Here are some other ways to organize spices



Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! Hope you are doing something fun and relaxing today. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Where to Take Donations in The Woodlands, TX

I was perusing the web to figure out where in The Woodlands, TX is a good place to take items to donate and started my own research when I came upon this gem that had everything I was looking for in one document. As a professional organizer, I am constantly donating items to local organizations and charities. When I came upon this document I thought I had to share. Where are some of your favorite places to donate items in The Woodlands or surrounding areas?