BLOGGER TAKEOVER: How To Style A Home Office with Simply Organized

11986566_10207596590693100_2614692584096918254_n Samantha is a professional organizer, small business owner, NAPO member, and writer of the blog Simply Organized. It is a mix of organization projects, DIYs, and inspiration with the goal of simplifying and taking the stress out of getting organized.

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You may recall in August I posted an update about my home office. I shared the before and after of my very own cluttered, exhausted, end of summer work space. At the time, I thought I would take part in a popular online challenge this Fall to makeover one room in my home. That room being the office. Although I had the best of intentions, and still plan to update this space, I’m sad to report that time wasn’t on my side to join the challenge. These things happen and I’m not disappointed in the least. It will come together when its meant to be and look forward to sharing when it does.

In the meantime, however, there was no reason why I couldn’t invest in pretty artwork to brighten the space!

I’ve been talking about my new Erin Condren planner since making the move to one this summer. Her planners are bright, colorful, well-designed and full of inspiring messages. When I was looking at the new deluxe monthly planners (they are oversized, you guys – like my old DIY version!), I had no idea she also has fine art prints available. Scattered throughout her planners are motivating messages…

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Of course she would offer prints to inspire you in your home / work spaces. These two in particular are what sold me…

 

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If there’s any message I can pass on to my daughter, it’s that she can design a life she is totally in love with. I love the gold metallic! I also fell in love with the coral and pink colors in the bundle of flowers.

In looking around my office, I decided to purchase 4 prints total…

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Her white framing is gorgeous! My prints came ready to hang, which is a nice benefit when you’re too busy to run around finding frames. Framing is not my strong point!…

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The gold metallic is stunning…

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I hung 2 of the prints above my computer, where I see them daily…

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These prints would make beautiful holiday gifts!

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I added the other 2 prints to the empty space near my office shelving. So in love with these!…

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Artwork, prints and framing on the walls changes everything!

The watercolor print is delicate and beautiful…

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Erin Condren’s prints are available for purchase on their own (for as little as $18) or you can have the framing added to your order. They come in a variety of patterns, designs and quotes. She collaborated with Marco Fine Arts to bring this collection to life and everything from materials and packaging are made right here in the USA.

These prints will transfer to my new home office decor perfectly too. I’m planning a much brighter home office with less hefty furniture. In the meantime, I’m excited to have some new added color and inspiration here in my office space…

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I’m taking a little break from client work this week and heading to Nashville to visit friends. Can not wait! I’ve never been to Nashville and haven’t seen my girlfriend in nearly 3 years. I’ll share some photos on FB and will be doing some blog updates while I have the down time. Playing catch up with the client gallery! Hope you’re having a great week!

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BLOGGER TAKEOVER: Teacher of the Year Becca Foxwell!

Becca-Foxwell-Headshot-205x300Becca Foxwell is not only the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year, she’s the blogger behind foxwellforest.com, an education-based blog chronicling the adventures of teaching in a first grade classroom.

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When I started teaching first grade seven years ago, I knew I was beginning a great adventure, but I had no idea of all that would be in store.

 

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Throughout my life I have been blessed to have teachers who invested in me, believed in my best, and helped give my dreams the wings to soar. Teachers who left Forever Fingerprints on my life and now inspire me to leave Forever Fingerprints on the hearts of my students. When it comes down to it, I think that teaching is truly all about changed lives, changing lives. True life change comes through relationships, and I am so blessed that I get to spend my days investing in and making a difference in the lives of my students. They are the best part of my job! They challenge me, inspire me, and daily cause me to be the best teacher that I can be. Each one of my students holds such a special place in my heart and the Forever Fingerprints they leave on my life have changed me as well.

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Last December, a new teaching adventure began when I was named the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. My responsibilities take me all around the state as I have the privilege of speaking to others about the amazing profession of which I am so blessed to be a part! Starting in January 2017 I will be the Pennsylvania representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition and will be traveling around the country for different engagements throughout the year.

My Erin Condren LifePlanner™ has been a lifesaver as I have had to balance my teaching schedule, my traveling schedule for Teacher of the Year events, and my personal schedule. Even though I love technology, when it comes to organizing my life I need to be able to see and physically touch my calendar. When I was named Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year I knew I was going to need an effective tool that would help me streamline everything so that I could still have time to focus on the important relationships and things in life. I love Erin Condren’s mantra “Let’s get it done so we can have some fun!” Time is our most precious commodity. Erin Condren’s planner is a must have tool that I use to manage my time so that I can work smarter and not harder!

While there are many life planner options, the one that I love the best is the vertical planner. It allows me to see all of the 3 main areas of my week at one glance.

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  • Top Row is for my teaching/school dates–meetings, deadlines, student birthdays, school functions, etc.
  • Middle Row is for my personal dates–doctors appointment, date nights with my hubby (a weekly favorite!), hair cuts (yes please! Does anyone else besides me just love getting your hair cut?) church activities, time with friends and family, etc.
  • Bottom Row is for my teacher of the year responsibilities–speaking engagements, phone calls, newsletter/blog deadlines, etc.

The awesome thing is that you can make your LifePlanner™ fit your needs! Some ideas on how to use the 3 rows in the vertical planner are:

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  • Bottom Row: Meals for the Week
  • Middle Row: Home Schedule
  • Top Row: Work Schedule
  • Top Row: Morning Schedule
  • Middle Row: Afternoon Schedule
  • Bottom Row: Evening Schedule
  • Top Row: Work Schedule
  • Middle Row: Kids/Sports Schedule
  • Bottom Row: Exercise Schedule

Truly the possibilities are endless!

I also LOVE that you can personalize your planner and change the covers of your planners. While I loved my “and so the adventure begins” planner cover last year, this year I decided to put my theme for Teacher of the Year “Leaving Forever Fingerprints” on the cover. I can’t tell you how much I love how it turned out! Isn’t it pretty?!

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All of the accessories and options that Erin Condren has to accompany our planners are so beautiful and inspiring!

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As a teacher I adore the colorful pens, stickers, and dashboards!

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Thank you Erin Condren for designing such organized and practical, yet beautiful and inspirational planners! I’d be lost without mine! Click here for $10 off your first purchase!

Dare to flair with NEW metallic pins!

When I walked into my kids’ high school registration, I felt like I’d stepped back in time to the 80’s with all the buttons and fashion pins! The fabulous flair pins I used to decorate my denim jacket in high school have made a HUGE COMEBACK, we had so much fun recreating the look in our signature style. Available in multiple metallics and two super-cute designs, adding flair to your favorite bag or jacket will earn you serious style points! (Pun intended).

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#Pinning Pockets Long hair can sometimes conceal your pins, so as an alternative, you may want to let them live on your lapel. Front and center, these beauties make a serious statement!

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Collar Candy Turn up the toughness by adding a little flair to your collar! Just a few pins placed around your neckline turn a normal jacket into edgy outerwear.

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Bag Bling Jazz up a backpack, tote bag, or carry-all clutch by adding a few strategically placed pins! Arrange them in an order for a patterned, put-together effect. or stick them at random for a funky, fresh look.

 

Fri-DIY: Sticker Book Cake Toppers

When it comes to DIY projects, one fact seems to always hold true: the cutest crafts are usually the simplest! Even if you aren’t the world’s best baker, these custom cake toppers will bring a heartwarming, homemade touch to even the most basic of boxed brownies. The best part? They are stunningly simple to make – and the options are almost endless!

What You’ll Need:

– Assorted wooden sticks (we used toothpicks, craft sticks, and dowels)

– Your choice of sticker books

– String for sticker banner (optional)

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Depending on your party theme or the occasion, we’ve got a TON of sticker books with the sweetest stickers to choose from! Whichever you choose, you will need duplicate stickers to wrap both sides of your wooden sticks, so keep that in mind. Most of our books come with duplicate stickers or at least duplicate shapes for easy attachment.

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Next, simply peel your sticker, attach it to one side of your stick (we used toothpicks for cupcakes and dowels for the cake) and carefully adhere the duplicate sticker to the back, securing the stick in place. Voila!

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To take your cake decorating to the next level, you can even try fastening a banner using two sticks and a piece of string! Simply decide on your banner length, tie a section of string to two sticks, and attach the “flags” in the same manner you used to attach the stickers to your sticks. For this girly themed celebration, we used our designer sticker book edition 2 with metallic accents for the flags, and our monthly sticker book butterflies and flowers for extra decorations. Pretty genius, right?

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No time for baking in your busy schedule? We won’t spill your secret! Grab some cupcakes from your local grocery and spell out something sweet with letters from our Cool for School sticker book.

Stickers are a steal right now! Shop any LifePlanner™ or Teacher’s Lesson Planner, get a free classic sticker book on us.

How To Set Up a Homework Station

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Ah, homework! Back to school means back in the begrudging afternoon homework routine. Some don’t mind it, for others, it can feel like pulling teeth! Never fear, proactive parents, we’ve got a few tips for creating a peaceful place where the focus can be… well… focus!  Training our young children to be efficient time managers is a daunting task, but it can certainly start with the homework station. Keeping this space organized (and helping your child maintain it) is the key component to an inviting, peaceful learning environment that they will want to come home to enjoy. Mainstreaming this process and making it a routine they don’t have to think about will make homework less painful, and hopefully lead to an easier after school routine!

First things first, find a spot in your house away from distractions. This means a room or area with no TV, no phones, no devices. If your child has a device, make sure they turn it in to you for the duration of the homework period or have them put it out of reach. If your homework is timed like ours is, then give them a separate timer, like an egg timer or kitchen timer. Do not use one on a digital device or they will be tempted to play games, or worse, ask Siri for the answer!

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The Chair! This is important, especially if you have younger school children. Because most chairs at home are suitable for adults, the place where your child will sit each day after school should be fitted to their height. Be sure to have a chair that is the correct height: the child’s feet should be flat on the floor in order to stabilize themselves when they write. There is a direct connection to nice, controlled handwriting and their feet being flat on the floor! Some desk chairs are height adjustable, so be sure to take time to fit your child to the chair every few months.

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Supplies! Set this desk up with the same love you’d have to set your own desk. Get a set of colorful supplies to be used exclusively used at this homework station- meaning one glue stick, one nice set of colored pencils, one set of markers, plenty of pencils and erasers, paper clips, stapler, scissors, etc. to avoid breaking concentration in order to go sharpen a broken pencil lead or find a highlighter to mark an important place in the reading. Don’t forget a scratch pad and file folders! Keep everything they might need within reach to avoid having them get up and lose focus. Additionally, sticking to the same time for homework each day will help set the routine. For example, my kids come straight home, have a quick snack and then get right down to homework.  Whenever I get a little homework push back, I always pull out my favorite quote, “Let’s get it done so we can have some fun!”

Still need a few supplies for the school year? Shop our entire line of black to school accessories! Best of luck to you this year with all your homework adventures 🙂