Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Are you doing anything fun this evening? We are staying around the house and handing out candy to the kiddos that come by. Whatever your plan is, stay safe folks!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Eco Issues from 2016 Presidential Candidates

I really don't like to talk about politics, but these are some interesting points in the article link of the 2016 presidential candidates thoughts on environmental and energy issues.

GO VOTE next week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lightbulb Organization and Inventory

In the past year I have organized a lot things, but something that I have organized more than usual are lightbulbs. Everyone has a different preference of lightbulbs. Some have very specific lightbulbs they like and some just hope to stick it in the socket and that it will turn on.

Many of my clients have recently been switching their bulbs to more eco versions by purchasing LED lightbulbs. So far I have found that Ikea has very affordable LED bulbs.

Here is how I have been inventorying the lightbulbs:

  • Get a pencil and notepad.
  • Go room to room and see how many different light sources there are.
  • Write down light sources like lamps, ceiling fan, etc.
  • Write down how many and what type of bulbs each light source takes like 40W soft white, halogen, etc.
  • Now transfer all of your info into an excel spreadsheet. Example below. 

Organization of lightbulbs depends on each client's home, space they have and the amount of bulbs they have.

Here is a very common way to organize bulbs:

  • Purchase the necessary bulbs you need to have as spares. I would recommend purchasing one or two extra bulbs to have on hand depending on the light sources and the amount bulbs needed. 
  • Put bulbs in plastic bins (shown below) drawers, boxes or whatever works for you. 
  • Label what they are. 
  • As bulbs are needing replaced, save them and take them to get recycled. Many lighting stores, hardware stores and recycle centers will take them to be recycled.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Made in the USA: Absorene

Have any of you used Absorene on your paper and/or books before? I was reading an article about it and immediately placed it in my Amazon cart. It is a non-toxic putty and gets dust, dirt and smoke off of paper. Plus, it is made in the USA!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Try Something New: Calligraphy

In 2014 I tried something new, which was calligraphy. I took a calligraphy class from Lauren Nessl of Blue Eye Brown Eye. It was in Dallas, so we made a weekend of it and stayed with friends in Dallas. I had so much fun in this class and learned so much. Since I write a ton of letters I figured why not learn calligraphy and try to pretty up my letters. 

My only knowledge of calligraphy up until this point was the cheap pen I asked to have from Wal-Mart when I was younger. I remember I wanted it so bad and my aunt was taking me to a birthday party and I convinced her to stop there and let me buy it with my own money. I had no clue how to properly use it, but managed to do it just fine and then lost interest. 

I don't practice as much as I should, but would like to take one of her advanced classes sometime in the future. 

The pictures are of some of my calligraphy supplies that I have and I keep them in this rolling cart from Ikea. Love her post here about the calligraphy supplies she uses. 

Have you tried your hand at calligraphy? What are some new things you like to learn?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This is 30! Reflecting on My 20s

As I am entering my 30s I am reflecting back on my 20s and some of the things I have learned. I am in no way perfect and am constantly working on bettering myself. Man, I have gotten to do a lot in my 20s and have accomplished so much. I am eternally grateful for everything. Let's Do This 30s!!

Work hard. Hard work pays off. I have paid my dues in so many ways and continue to. I have worked so hard in this thing we call life and have reaped the benefits of hard work on many occasions. I will continue to work hard for Bryan, myself and others.
Love like never before. For me I grew up where my family said "I love you" a lot and it freaks me out if I don't say it to my loved ones when I end a conversation because I always think "what if this is the last time I talk to them. Tell others you love them before it's too late.
Be strong. You will be placed in many uncomfortable and heartbreaking situations in your 20s and you have to be strong for yourself and the ones around you. I know I can handle a lot, but I can't always handle everything and do the best I know how to. Others will want to tear you down, but you NEED to be strong. This too shall pass.
Be vulnerable. This is one of the scariest things because you are putting yourself out there, but it is something you need to do to be a great leader. I owe most of what I have learned about vulnerability to Breńe Brown. She was a professor at UH where I went to college and has written numerous books, publications, etc. She been has been all over the internet and t.v. talking about vulnerability for years and I've learned so much from here. It's ok to be vulnerable.
Take a break. This is something that I have learned to do more of this last year. Even though I don't like spending money on services or doing some things, I have learned sometimes you just need to take a break and do something for yourself. Whether this is going to the museum, getting a pedicure, having reflexology, etc. For me this is becoming more of a necessity and a process of taking care of myself.
Don't give up. I have been told no I don't know how many times, but if I really want something I keep pushing for it. Persistence often pays off, but not always. Either way don't give up. There will be many road blocks along the way and you just have to figure out the proper ways to get around them. Never give up.
Be kind. You never know what others are going through so be kind. Try to give others the benefit of the doubt. Kindness can do wonders. I know I am not always on my kindness game, but I truly do try to be kind most of the time.
Apologize to others. If you know you are wrong, do the right thing and apologize. Others will respect you more if you can admit to your mistakes and you will definitely feel better inside. This has been hard for me, but I am slowly learning to do it more, especially with my husband.
Be you. It is so much better to be your authentic self. If someone doesn't like you that is OK. Don't be fake. Not everyone will like you, but why hide behind something that is not you and doesn't embrace your values?
Choose happiness. There is something to be said about happiness. Do what you love and makes you happy. This helps with stress and your overall health. Sadness happens, but don't let is get the best of you. Be around be people who make you happy.
Some things aren't worth putting up the fight for. Pick your battles. If you don't, you will end up a very stressed out person.
Not everyone is nice. You will learn this pretty quickly. Even when you want to think the best of people, some just don't have good intentions and bring bad energy, which you don't need. On the flip side there are so many more good people rather than bad. Weed the bad people out of your life and set yourself free.
Forced to be an extrovert. I am still totally an introvert, but have been forced to be in extrovert with my business. I have to put myself out there in order to grow.
Work / Life Balance, what is that? You will search for it and you probably will never find it. You just need to do what is right for you. I try to balance the best that I can and will always try to find the "perfect" balance. I have also had to let go of that ideal in a way as well.
Learn new things. Always be open to learning new things. I learn daily from life, my family, my clients, etc. Knowledge is power and there is soooooo much out there to learn about. Go learn something new!
Therapy is not a bad thing. If you need to go to therapy GO. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Therapists are great to talk to about whatever is on your mind and they can offer so many helpful tips.
Sleep is awesome! Going to bed early is AMAZING! I still don't get all the sleep I need all the time, but man does it feel good when I do. I have shifted my focus more on taking care of myself than trying to burn the midnight oil all the time.
People change. I have learned to change in more ways than ever before in my 20s. I look at things differently now than I did in my early 20s. I have changed a great deal and continue to grow and change. I was immersed into "real world" situations at a very young age and have had to be the change I want to see in myself.
Ask for help. When I was younger I wanted people to think I could do everything on my own and have always been very independent, but the fact of the matter is that you just sometimes need help.
Losing weight gets harder. In my late 20s loosing weight has been sooooo hard. I can't just stop eating a particular food group for the week and loose weight. I have to really work on changing my eating habits and exercising.
Exercising is a must. For me to ultimately feel like my best self, exercise is a must. I LOVE yoga and various group exercise classes. I know my being consistent about exercising and being active will benefit me in the long run.
There is rarely a "right time". You will say I will do this or that when the time is right, but the truth is there is rarely a right time to do anything. Things will happen at the worse possible times, but you keep truckin'. You will say "I'll do this at a better time", but then life throws you curve balls you didn't expect. Just roll with it.
Have fun!!!!!!

Some of the top things I have done in my 20s, the good and the bad:

  • Met my husband. I honestly couldn't ask for a more loving, hardworking, patient, wonderful, perfect soul than Bryan. We are completely opposite, but he keeps me grounded and in check. He is my sounding board in life and I don't know what I would do without him.
  • Married my husband. My best friend, partner, teammate, lover, and just extraordinary man.
  • Graduated with my bachelors and masters with no loans. Man, this was hard.
  • Got a brand new car. Seriously, I never thought this would happen.
  • Moved out of the city and bought a house with my husband.
  • Traveled to a lot of new places including Honduras, Virgin Islands, Europe, cities all throughout the US, etc. 
  • Experienced heartache like never before. Dying sucks. Cancer sucks. 
  • Stressed out more than I ever thought I would.
  • I have learned many new skills and have taken all kinds of new classes. 
  • Met lots of great people and built great relationships.
  • Became afraid of flying. This happened after a horrible plane ride back from Boston, but I still face my fears. 
  • Have gone through tough financial times. We have given up a lot through the years and this makes me appreciate my life so much more. 
  • Volunteered for awesome organizations and on lots of projects.

  • Built my business up. 
  • Built amazing relationships with my many of my clients, which I am so thankful for.
  • Became a certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE) and a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB).
  • Collaborated with many businesses. 
  • Have been featured in awesome publications. New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Real Simple Magazine, and several blogs. 
  • I have added and subtracted services to my business to be more focused on what I like to do.
  • Shared an awesome office space in the heart Downtown Houston. 
  • Became a member of various organization like GHCVB. 
  • Got my real estate license.
  • Became a Notary.
  • Became a Certified Travel Ambassador (CTA).
  • Became a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT).
  • Becoming an approved vendor for Super Bowl 51.
  • Gotten to teach classes. 
  • Met great people.
*I changed the photo that I originally published with this post. This photo is shortly after I turned 30 at the Renaissance Festival and my aunt Kellie made these gorgeous flower crowns for the ladies.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Made in the USA: Faribo by Faribault Woolen Mill Blanket

I originally purchased this vintage Faribo blanket last year almost exactly a year ago along with another Faribault blanket because I was looking for a wool blanket to keep cool during the winter. I have blankets all throughout my house because I am the type of person that always needs a blanket around just in case. In the summer though I usually wrap up with much lighter blankets. 

Faribault Woolen Mill who made this blanket is located on the Canon River banks in Minnesota. If you get a chance go check out their website here. It is an interesting read and I love all the eco aspects wool has. I love the design on this blanket and that it is made in the USA!

Here are some other Faribault blankets I love:


Friday, October 14, 2016

Ways Eco Modern Concierge Gives Back

If you have been to the Eco Modern Concierge website lately then you may have noticed that his year I added a section other where I and EMC gives back in the community, but I wanted to highlight it here because there are sooo many ways to give back. I am not trying to brag, but be informative because I love to support other businesses that give back to the community and love knowing about companies doing social good.

One of the things I love to do in Houston is give back in the community. Giving back is a great way to support the local community, build relationships, and help others who need it. I would love for you to email me ways you like to give back in the community and organizations you like to support. If you are interested in collaborating send me an email with your ideas of how you would like to collaborate. Here are some ways I give back personally and also through Eco Modern Concierge:

  • Volunteer. There are many organizations throughout Houston that I have volunteered for or currently volunteer for, they include, but not limited to, The Women's Home, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, etc. 
  • Donate items to local organizations. This is something I do after most organizing projects and for clients who want to get rid of their items. 
  • Support Local. I love supporting local businesses in Houston! I try to buy gifts, food items, use local services, etc. from local businesses and I especially love it when products are made in the U.S.A. I also like to support fellow businesses who are similar to ours, as there are more and more popping up, and refer work out when there is something that just isn't my expertise or that I need a little help with. Collaboration and community over competition. Here are some of my favorite local businesses. This doesn't include nearly all of them that I LOVE. 
  • Provide in kind services and classes for local organizations. From time to time I work with and collaborate with various organizations to provide in kind donations where my services offered through EMC may help other local organizations. 
  • Provide auction items for local organization and charities. We proudly donate gift certificates for various charities, auctions, galas, etc. throughout the year. 
  • Referral program incentives. Current clients who refer others that book services with us have the choice for Eco Modern Concierge to donate money towards a charity of their choice.
  • Donate money. I give money and support various local organizations throughout the year. 
  • Toy drive in November for M.D. Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. The goal is to have many items to donate close to Giving Tuesday (Tuesday after Thanksgiving). I rally my clients, neighbors, etc. 
  • Make Valentine's cards for Texas Children's Hospital. 
  • Donate school supplies in August. I love donating school supplies to  local teachers and schools because I know there is a lot of supplies that have to be bought out of pocket. Even a little bit can go a long way.
  • The list goes on and on.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Professional Organizers Favorite Organizing Books

There are sooooo many organizing books on the market right now. As a professional organizer here in Houston, below are some of my favorites that I have read and refer back to through the years. Many of these books you can find on Amazon, in resale shops, used book stores and regular book stores. If you are local in Houston I know many book stores have these books, also just the local, small bookshops as well. What are some of your favorite organizing books? 

Monday, October 10, 2016

8 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Personal Concierge

There are endless reasons why you should hire a concierge, but below are reasons that my clients have hired me and my company, Eco Modern Concierge, to help them out. Most of my clients live in Houston and need an organizer, personal assistant or concierge to help out with random tasks, but I also have clients that live in different cities or who travel to Houston and need help. I get requests all year round, but the holidays are upon us and I am especially busy organizing events, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, and shipping gifts, among many different things. Visit the Eco Modern Concierge website to contact me, Amy, if you are needing help and looking to get started in time for the holidays.
  • Need help and outsource tasks. This is the number one reason why clients contact me. They just can't do it all or just don't want to do it all and they need HELP. They contact me to handle tasks that they want to outsource, whether that is dry cleaning, errands, research or just sitting at the house why the gas gets turned on. Outsourcing tasks can help you in all areas of your life.
  • Saves time. For others when they hire me or another concierge company they are essentially saving themselves a ton of time so they can spend that time with family or free up time in general.
  • Stress less. By hiring a concierge company it helps others stress less because they don't have to worry about their ongoing to-do list. 
  • Save money. In the long run you can save a lot of money by using a concierge if you utilize them properly because many of times they know where to get deals, can get discounts, save you from spending more money while you are shopping, etc. I work with different companies and organizations like hotels and am able to get my clients some great discounts from time to time. 
  • Piece of mind. By hiring a concierge company it gives you a piece of mind. Especially when you start working with an individual or company on a regular basis you know what you can expect from them. I have many clients that I work for and know what is in their house on a regular basis and how I need to stock it on a regular basis, for events, when they return from trips, for their guests, etc.
  • Organization. You become more organized and are able to stay on top of things more when you hire a concierge. For me at Eco Modern Concierge I am a professional organizer so I help my clients stay organized on a day to day basis and / or on a project basis. 
  • Confidentiality. You know that when you hire a concierge most, if not all, should state that they keep all your personal, business and private information confidential. When my clients sign my consulting agreement there is a statement in there that says all their information is confidential.
  • Resourceful. Most concierges you hire are resourceful in various ways. I use so many different resources to help my clients out whether this is online resources, contacts, companies, etc.

Friday, October 7, 2016

How to Keep Flowers Fresh

How do you keep flowers fresh? I have learned a thing or two through the years about keeping flowers fresh because I have bought many for myself and for clients. Here are somethings that have worked through the years in keeping flowers fresh.

  • Cut the stems at an angle and trim every few days.
  • Change water regularly.
  • Use the flower food.
  • Put a vase half full of ice and the other half with water. Change every few days.
  • Put in the refrigerator at night.
  • Add a pinch of sugar and apple cider vinegar. Change water and add more sugar and apple cider vinegar every few days.
  • Put a drop or two of bleach in the water.
The one I do most often is trim the stems, add flower food, add half ice / half water in vase, put in frig and change water / trim stems every few days.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Client Fun, Busy Family: Pantry Organization Before and After

You may remember when I did a pantry organization project for this family earlier this year and posted about it here. Well, they had a slight remodel and redid the whole pantry with built in drawers, shelves that go up higher and a built in spice rack. They also had a bunch of containers they wanted to use in the new pantry and have it be more cohesive. I lined all the shelves with shelf liner. Below are some of the before and afters. 

Here are some products that were used in this pantry organization project: