Buy an Item; Save the World

Fish and Cars“To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with joy and a whole heart and a free mind.” — Pearl S. Buck

Outer Beauty + Inner Beauty

As a consumer, I attempt to shop consciously. I purposefully avoid spending money at companies that exploit and/or violate the human rights of mankind to make a dime. Thus, I was happy to meet a number of social entrepreneurs at Magic Marketplace in Las Vegas, Nevada whom have started something that matters – and allow you to save the world, one item at a time.

I truly believe that their products will allow you to show your outer beauty, as you will feel wonderful wearing their comfortable, beautiful creations, while, at the same time, empower your inner beauty to shine, as you are saving the world just by purchasing their products – by choosing to be part of something that matters.

1.   José Alejandro Flores, Founder & Jimmy Flores, Marketing, VOS Flips.

José and Jimmy both intended to attend a panel on social media at Magic Marketplace, where we accidentally met. Thinking that they were from the Silicon Valley, I asked, “Are you from San Jose?” No, they are not from San Jose! From Texas and with the motto of “afford to care,” VOS Flips creates soft and comfortable flip-flops made out of genuine rubber from Hevea Brasiliensis (natural rubber trees in Guatemala).

VOS Flips allows you, the consumer, to change the world, to care about the world around you, to make your world a better place. In fact, VOS means “you” throughout Central and South Africa. Thus, you are empowered to make a difference – by simply purchasing a pair of flip-flop.

VOS Flips saves the world not only by aligning with the United Nation Global Compact in its business practices, but it also cares by building on site schools in its sourcing community, providing educational supplies, establishing its first health clinic and of course, making sure everyone’s feet is happy.

Fish and Cars
(A pair of 
VOS Flips)

Providing School Supplies
(Source, VOS Flips, providing school supplies).

Educationd
(Source, VOS Flips, educating children in the community)

2.   Christian and Steven Cremer, Founders, B Frog.

I asked Christian and Steven the meaning behind “B Frog” when I first met the brothers at Magic Marketplace. In the Mayan culture, frogs are a symbol of good luck. Therefore, “B Frog” means “Be Lucky.” I was lucky to have gained deeper insights into the company, as Christian perfectly arranged the positioning of each piece of clothing for a photograph, proudly displaying his creation.

Because the brothers desire to mix contemporary designs with traditional textiles and fabrics from around the world, they launched first with traditional Mayan handmade textiles as they were born and raised in Guatemala. And the apparels are nice. I would wear a B Frog polo with dashes of the colorful and silky fabric of the Mayan culture in the pocket details – for work or for play. And I would be proud that by purchasing this polo shirt, I am vicariously giving back to the community, as Christian and Steven were inspired to care after reading “Start Something that Matters” by TOMS’ founder, Blake Mycoskie.

With a motto of “You Buy We Give,” B Frog provides fifteen (15) meals to children in need for every product sold. And the company provides the meals directly to the children in Guatemala, a country where one of every two children under the age of six suffers from chronic malnutrition, one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. It implements a School Feeding Program that delivers meals with high nutritional value along with training and supervision for its staff. It asks us to “B Caring!”

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(Polo and Bag - B Frog)

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(Christian at its B Frog Booth, Magic Marketplace)

B CARING (8)
(Source: B Frog, Christian and Steven in B Frog shirts, providing meals to children)

B CARING (12)
(Source: B Frog, Christian and Steven in B Frog shirts, with the children in the community)

3.   Steven Weinreb, Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer, Civic Duty

The sneakers at Civic Duty stood out among millions of shoes at Magic Marketplace crying for attention.  Not only are they cool, they are made out of Tyvek – a lightweight, waterproof and recyclable material. I carefully studied a pair of the Civic Duty sneakers: comfortable, light and durable.

But beyond the shoes is a man who cares about the world we live in.  I could sense Steven’s passion as our conversation led to a discussion on the pursuit of the things we love.  Every year, Civic Duty, with a motto of “conspire to inspire,” designs an exclusive shoe for an American social cause and donates 100% of its profits to the charity.

Fish and Cars
(Sneakers - Civic Duty)

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(Steven at the Civic Duty Booth at Magic Marketplace)

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(This year, Civic Duty donates 100% of the profits from the sale of this pair of shoes to Common Ground Relief)

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Stories | Exploring Magic Marketplace

Fish and Cars
I drove hundreds of miles passing farmland, windmills and Joshua trees to be part of the press for Magic Marketplace held in Las Vegas, Nevada last week. It was a writer’s dream. No, it was this blogger’s dream. And it exceeded every ounce of my imagination. These are my stories:

Fish and Cars
From almost a block away, the term “confidence comes from within” captured my attention. I stepped toward the poster; introduced myself and told the company about my blog.  According to yummie by Heather Thomson, confidence is “about more than knowing you look your best, it’s about feeling that way too. You need to feel free to move, to breathe, to run to your next activity, to get their attention at work, or to dance the night away.” I completely agree.

Fish and Cars
Pink roses are always soft and pretty, just like these dresses from La Mouette. The company designs beautiful dresses for sizes 12 – 28. I love the smooth and soft jersey materials combined with the simple yet sophisticated cut. And I am proud that this company creates dresses as pretty as the pink roses for plus sized women.

Fish and Cars
This summer, I learned a lot about Minecraft, Gary’s Mod and Roblox from my nephew, whom spent one month with me.  I am still amazed by the wonderful creations of our children – the cities they built, the world they created, when given the pixels to do so.  When I found Jinx, I thought my nephew would love this company. Not only did he love this photograph, he wanted to know where he could find this Minecraft cardboard Enderman head.

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I woke up early every day to Magic Marketplace, excited. After interviewing a few merchants and absorbing the design of a number of brands and after my pair of Jimmy Choo wedge sandal has cut into the skin of my feet on the second day, I stopped at Saxx Underwear for resting. The folks at Saxx were hospitable – They charged my out-of-battery iPhone; told me the story behind the invention; even gave me a sample of the underwear. I felt at home.

Fish and Cars
“I like your dress,” Sarah, the designer of Paradigm Shift Jewelry said to me.  “Anthropologie,” I said. “I ended up wearing different things every day.” Like Michael and Sarah, pictured above, the question (after confirmation that you are attending Magic Marketplace) was: What should I wear? I brought five (5) pairs of comfortable shoes, a few dresses, two (2) pairs of jeans and a blazer. We laughed as we all agreed that we ended up dressing like ourselves, what made us happy, what made us feel good. That’s what matters, after all. <3

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Folks were joking with me at the Art Skool Clothing booth, and there, I discovered that Anna got talents! She offered to cut a T-shirt for me. I was beyond thrilled. It was an act of kindness, a creation of wearable art, which I will cherish forever. Thank you!  <3

Fish and Cars
After cruising through jewelry and apparel, I stumbled upon Chase & Chloe branded shoes and met Grace Lim, its designer. I collected a few that I would wear with skinny jeans and romantic tops; spring dresses and pink cardigans; and cut-off jeans and v-neck tees. I love the beautiful colors, the cut outs, the contours. I was in heaven.

Fish and Cars
It was 5:30p.m. on the last day of Magic Marketplace, and I was still strolling the shoes section as the merchants packed up to return home.  Amazonas Sandals eagerly introduced its shoes to me, allowing me to feel and bend its sandals. As I touched its sole, I imagined walking in the forest of South Africa, wearing a pair of green Columbia shorts and soft BCBG t-shirt, listening to lions roar in this pair of orange sandals. And I am truly grateful as this is the first pair of shoes given to me as a blogger. I feel “official” – a badge of honor. Thank you! <3

Fish and Cars
Lorena Saravia was the first booth I visited at Magic Marketplace. It was where my stories begin. It was where I found beautiful red dresses with the finest cut. It was where two beautiful women smiled at me, giving me permission to step into their world, imagine myself in their creations and step out to find many talented designers just like them, each unique, each beautiful, each different. Thank you, Magic Marketplace, for giving me this opportunity – with all of my heart. <3

Let your outer and inner beauty shine! everyday.

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Be a Superhero

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(Big Wow, San Jose 2013)

“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Spider-Man

Outer Beauty

Many of the female superheroes today are big breasted with tiny waists and large hips because these characteristics are traditionally imagined and fancied by men. The advantage of creating a superhero outfit for yourself is that you would not only change and rewrite history, you would also provide yourself with the ability to define yourself and participate in the diversity of upcoming female superheroes – and this ability of self-definition is powerful.

To create a superhero outfit for yourself, consider the following elements:

1.        Be authentic. Know who you are and what you love, and design a superhero outfit that represents you. If you rather choose to wear shirts and jeans instead of tight corsets and triangular bikini-like shorts because you would be more comfortable in your skin, your outfit is acceptable as long as they are comfortable to you in action – and would not be torn apart.

2.        Incorporate your personal brand. Are you sweet and girly, or hot and sassy? Does your branding change depending on challenges and circumstances? Will you give yourself a logo? And what makes you different? Consider creating a superhero outfit that incorporates your personal brand.

3.        Embrace originality. When designing your superhero outfit, there are no limits. Be cape-less if you desire to be down to earth. Be colorful if colors make you happy and vibrant. Be conservative if you wish to attract less attention to your chest and gluteus maximus. Be a leader of your own creation – there is no need to follow any existing trends.

Wear your superhero outfit and shine!

Inner Beauty

As a superhero, you consciously choose to make this world a better place. At times, you may feel lonely or misunderstood because principals come with a cost. At times, you may feel exhausted because you are constantly taking action to further a bigger purpose while managing the mundane of day-to-day life. And at times, you may feel hopeless because your enemies and their schemes are strong – and evil. However, there is a glow of light in your being that overcomes and fabulously fights for the greater good.

1.         Find your superpowers.  You have strengths. You may be strong and love to travel. You could fly. You are courageous and nothing can hurt you, emotionally or physically. You could be invincible. You have the ability to be observant without being noticed. No one can see you. You could be invisible. You have a willful mind and your thoughts come true. You could have the power of telekinesis. You have a natural ability to influence others, learn their thoughts and develop instant trust. You could read minds. You enjoy the taste of every bite and you run as fast as a Tesla roadster. You could be fast, very fast. You know when it will rain without checking the weather. You could control the acts of God. You fit in everywhere and dress appropriately for the occasion. You could shape shift. You experience a number of accidents but always come back stronger. You could regenerate. Find your superpowers.

2.         Be true to your moral code.  What motivates you to save the world? Is it a sense of responsibility, a calling, a personal vendetta or a strong belief in justice? And what is your moral code? Unlike the existing superheroes, do you believe that you have a life of freedom, that you must love yourself first, that it is the responsibility of the state to protect its people and that you choose to kill criminals and give justice and protect the world because you care – and it makes you feel good.

3.         Take action.  When something ain’t right, speak up and do the best you can to make it right – in your own personal life and society at large. When you are true to your moral code and you use your superpowers to do so, your actions will make this world a better place by destroying demons and villains (whether a negative thought or a giant monster), one at a time.

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Relax and Be Carefree

Fish and Cars

(Coromandel Satin Pajama Set – Natori, Jamie Heart Pajama Set – Three J NYC, Cotton Sleepshirt – Charter Club, Fresh Lagoon Muscle Top and Plaid Pajama Pants – Jenni Pajamas, The Pink Lady 3D Bow Tank and Printed Pant Set – Hello Kitty Intimates)

“The only way to true happiness is to live in the moment and let the future unfold on its own.” – Author unknown.

Outer Beauty

To relax at home, wear comfortable pajamas that are soft and loose. Avoid purchasing crisp materials that you would need to iron before each wear. Choose satin or cotton. I love satin pajama sets because they are always comfortable and kind to the skin. I also love cotton pajama sets in brighter color because color makes me happy. Find pajamas that you love and go forth and shine!

Inner Beauty

The sky is light blue today. I could hear the sounds of wind, branches pulling and pushing against the window. A sparrow thrives to stand on the edge of the skylight, occasionally putting its weight against the glass, occasionally flapping its wings. The light from the sun turns golden.  Beautiful, it is.

For a long, long time, I did not remember what it is like to be carefree. I would wake up, check my cell phone and take a business call before sun rises. I would drive to work without a minute to breathe and pray only in the car facing traffic. I would work, meetings after meetings, e-mails after e-mails, and analysis after analysis. Sometimes lunch did not begin until 3 or 4pm, and work did not end until pass midnight. And there were obligations, household chores and a list of to-dos for tomorrow with a deadline of yesterday. My pursuit of perfection, I discovered, was not the answer to happiness.

Only when I re-learned how to relax and be carefree did I begin to enjoy each minute of my life without worry.

1.     Live one day at a time.  Make it your policy to live your life day by day. If you are in a relationship, refrain from thinking (or fantasizing) about tomorrow, which creates an awkward clip of instant relationship in your mind that scares your partner away – just be grateful that you are with your partner for the day. If you are searching for the perfect man or woman, refrain from obsessing about possibilities of (or with) such men or women that you have forgotten to enjoy your time with yourself, your friends or your family. If you are looking for opportunities, take steps to send out your resume, improve your interviewing skills and find something you love – and then let go and enjoy the moment.

2.     Allow yourself to be.  Dr. Wayne W. Dyer in Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life  recommends that you let go of any labeling, defending or judging and allow yourself to be. Focus on your inner self and trust your instincts. Dale Carnegie in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living teaches us a) to treat unjust criticism as compliments because nobody kicks a dead dog, b) use an umbrella to keep unjust criticisms from running into our necks and c) embrace constructive criticisms from ourselves and others. Thus, allow yourself to be without judging yourself, without allowing judgment from others to affect you. Let your hair down, Carnegie advises. Allow yourself to be.

3.    Allocate your time.  One lesson I learned from Benjamin Franklin in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is his allocation of time for the day, which has helped me manage my time efficiently and effectively. I would sit down the night before and program the agenda for tomorrow. I would allocate the number of hours I would spend tomorrow for each task. For example, if I decide to work for 10 hours, exercise for 2 hours, pay a bill for 30 minutes and wipe the kitchen sink for 30 minutes tomorrow, I would mark these tasks on my calendar. If I had to study for a history exam tomorrow, I would allocate an hour to learn each sub-topic, making sure I know the interplay between each topic (and sub-topic) and understand the significance of each event.  If I did not get to each task (or each subject), I let it be.  This method of allocating time not only helped me earned A’s in my classes and allowed me to work, volunteer and attend school at the same time; it has also helped me be worry free.

4.    Cultivate positive thoughts. I am generally a positive person, so it is naturally easier for me to be positive. However, there are times when I want to (and need to) cultivate positive thoughts, especially when a challenge is bigger and beyond my control or when a person I interact with is more negative than I am accustomed to. It is in these situations when I had to purposefully modify my thoughts, for we become our thoughts. When I think about finding a parking space within the next five minutes, I find a parking space within the next five minutes. If I doubt about finding any parking space at all, I wouldn’t be able to find a parking space. Thus, I believe cultivating a positive outlook on life not only attracts positivity – it allows you to relax and be carefree.

5.    Expect nothing in return, even gratitude. To be carefree, let go of any expectation from anyone.  Love and give generously without expecting anything back. This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned. I had a best friend whom I loved. I would do anything for her and I expected the same.  However, one day she decided not to be my friend (via instant messenger). I was devastated and sat in a random, empty church for serenity, seeking understanding from God.  Years later, we became friends again. Again, despite our differences and values, I gave – I paid for dinner when she had no money, accompanied her to places when she needed a companion and loaned her money whenever she needed it. And again, she decided not to be my friend (via text). Instead of feeling devastated, however, I felt a sense of relief, because I no longer expected anything from her. Instead, I sent her love and light.  In the process, I learned the definition of unconditional love. Apply this concept to your partner – Love and give generously to him or her and expect absolutely nothing in return, not even a thank you. You will be happier.

6.    Be thankful. Let go of any sense of entitlement, resentment of the past and worries of tomorrow. Be grateful for the things that you are blessed with. Today, I am thankful that I could see the beautiful blue sky, the golden rays of light through the skylight, the sparrow standing on the edge of the window, the leaves and branches dancing back and forth in accordance with the sound and rhythm of the wind. I am thankful for having the ability to drive, to type, to feel, to experience, to live, to breathe. And I am thankful for family and friends whom love and choose to spend time with me (and accept me for who I am).  I am grateful for the ability to change, for changes, the ability to create memories, for memories, for the ability to hope, for hopes. Be thankful every day.

7.     Have faith in God or Your Higher Power. If you believe in God or a Higher Power, release the need to handle and resolve all of your problems, troubles and challenges by yourself – ask, rely and believe that God or Your Higher Power would help you! Pray for wisdom and guidance every day. Find the courage from something greater than yourself and trust that you are not alone. Do the best you could, let go and let God, Your Higher Power or the universe takes care of the how. And in the meantime, relax, be carefree and act cheerful – for the rest of today, one day at a time.

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Expand Your Mind:

      

Greet with Openness and a Warm “Hi!”

Fish and Cars

(L’Absolu Rouge BX: 230 Rendez-Vous - Lancome, L’Absolu Rouge BX: 151 Rouge Mythique - Lancome, L’Absolu Rouge BX: 251 Brun Prodige - Lancome, L’Absolu Rouge BX: 173 Rouge Preciosa - Lancome, Le Lipstique LipColouring Stick with Brush - Lancome, Rouge Pur Couture – 32: Pourpre Carmin – Yves Saint Laurent, Rouge Pur Couture – 35: Rouge Vernis – Yves Saint Laurent, Rouge Pur Couture – 4: Rouge Vermillion – Yves Saint Laurent, Rouge Pur Couture – 14: Rouge Feu – Yves Saint Laurent)

“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” — John Muir.

Outer Beauty

Last year in December, I was tasked with the challenge to find a red lipstick to match my natural golden skin tone for a holiday party. I walked into Macy’s with a friend and an old Lancome lipstick (Rouge) hoping that it would still be carried by the retailer. “Hi! I am looking for this lipstick in Rouge,” I asked the counter salesperson with a smile. She responded kindly with a few alternatives to an out-of-stock item.

From my experience, I told her that red (meaning, pure red or candy apple red) does not look flattering on women with golden complexion; however, darker shades of red such as plum, maroon or raisin colored lipstick look sleek, sophisticated and fabulous (deep red also matches the dark color of my eyes).  Thus, we I played with various shades of red lipsticks until I am fully satisfied and happy. I purchased a beautiful tube of dark red by Lancome. 

Since I chose to go bold with a red lipstick, I balanced the overall look with shimmery gold-ish natural eye shadow and black eyeliner and mascara (because gold brings out the natural beauty in women with natural golden skin tone).  I received many compliments throughout the night for the lipstick and the dress (which I purchased in Auckland, New Zealand).

And I learned something new — Besides putting your finger in your mouth to keep lipstick off your teeth, applying vaseline on your teeth before applying lipstick also prevents lipstick from sticking on them!

Find your favorite shade of red and shine!

Inner Beauty

With your favorite shade of red lipstick (or whatever shade you love or even no lipstick at all), you are more than ready to meet people, make new friends, network with other professionals or hang out with your friends! Nicholas Boothman in “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less” recommends an “Open – Eye – Beam – ‘Hi!’ – Lean” approach in greeting people.

1. Open. Cultivate an attitude of openness – You are interested. You are cheerful. And You are helpful. Face your body toward the other person. Put away your technology and give this person your undivided attention.

2. Eye. Look the other person in his or her eyes. It conveys that you are confident and it allows you to sense the feelings of the other person by seeing the windows of his or her soul.

3. Beam. Smile, girls! and show off your beautiful lips (and/or lipsticks)! Share your contentment, happiness, joy and excitement. You love yourself so much that you couldn’t help but smile!

4. Say “Hi!”.  Hello! What’s Up?!  Hey! OH MY GOD! Yo! Greet the other person with your favorite hello. Identify yourself. Be pleasant.

5. Lean.  Lean subtly toward the other person. Synchronize with the other person by matching his body language, tone of voice and words. Show that you are interested in the other person. Listen to the other person’s interests and stories. Ask open-ended questions. You will create fantabulous rapport! 

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Expand Your Mind:

Find a Role Model

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(Wonder Con, San Francisco 2011)

“I don’t want to be a supermodel; I want to be a role model.” — Queen Latifah

Role Models

For this throwback Thursday, I want to inspire you to find a role model.  When I was at Wonder Con in 2011, I was excited to find female superheroes. They are feminine yet fearless, powerful and courageous.  They are women I could look up to.  And they come in different shapes and sizes.  Find one that would inspire you to shine!

Inner Beauty

When you are looking for a role model, consider the following elements:

1.         Determine the characteristics you love.  What are some traits you personally admire? When I was going to school at the University of California, Berkeley, I consciously chose female professors who had a mind of her own, the ability to challenge the norm and excellent presentation skills. As I was learning the subject, I would imagine that I was in her shoes, speaking the way that she did, with gestures just like her. I certainly love the following characteristics in women: fearlessness, achievements, courage, confidence, empowerment and resilience. Sometimes these characteristics are not found in one person – I would find a number of role models, a number of people, that have one, some or all of these characteristics that I admire.

2.         Emulate the characteristics that you love.  Learn how your role model displays the characteristics that you love. For example, I encountered a female Chief Executive Officer whom asked me out to lunch out of the blue. It turns out that she was networking. I thought she was brave – and down to earth. I had lunch with her, exploring her role and learning how I could help. And thereafter, I thought it would be fabulous to learn a little about challenges that female CEOs face. Just like this woman whom requested to have lunch with me out of the blue, I requested and set up lunches with a few female CEOs to learn about their lives. And I became wiser from their experiences.

3.         Pass it forward if you choose to.  No matter what your role is in your life, you could make a difference in someone’s life if you choose. I have a few official mentors whom helped me and I have been a mentor to a few people in my lifetime so far. It is rewarding to see high school students go to college, post graduate students find career opportunities and just friends finding an answer to a challenge that they may be facing.  Go out there and give someone a hand!

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Simplify and Organize Your Life

Fish and Cards
(Cabinet – Room & Board, End Table – Room & Board, Jars – Crate & Barrel, Flower table arrangement vase  - LSA)

“Live simply so others may simply live.” – Mother Teresa.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”  - Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  - William Morris.

Orderly Organize Things

Earlier this year, I spent an enormous amount of time organizing my home. It was organized prior. However, I wanted to conduct a thorough “walk through” of everything I own to ensure that each item in my home is something I love, is functional or is beautiful. I decided to focus on one room at a time. Thus, I started with the closet. Before I put clothes away, I thought through where each type of clothing would live.  Each item, hence, lives in its home accordingly.

I organized my clothing by occasion. My walk-in closet contains my shirts, trousers and skirts for work. My armoires house my coats and jackets. Dresses for special occasions live in the closet in one of the other rooms. Focusing on one area at a time, I tried on every piece of clothing and made a decision to either a) keep the item, b) fix the item, c) sell the item or d) donate the item.

For clothes that are in dressers, empty the space first. Thus, I took all the dresses out of all the drawers of a dresser, tried on every single piece and sorted accordingly. For those pieces I decided to keep, I folded and placed them on an empty space where I could spread the dresses I chose to keep by color and then by material. After I finished grouping all the dresses, I put them in their home, by color and material, respectively. I did the same when organizing my sweaters, jeans, shorts, t-shirts and the rest of my closet.

I use beautiful bowls to display jewelry where I could see them as I find the panoply of earrings, necklaces and bracelets both aesthetically pretty and functionally useful. For drawers in the bathroom, I use bamboo dividers to organize beauty products. From time to time, I check their inventory, which is helpful, as I would not purchase lotions from Bath & Body or Victoria’s Secret if I still have a supply of them.

Small bookcases and clear boxes serve as excellent homes to shoes! because they will be easier to find, they will be organized and preserved neatly and they will not require lots of real estate.

It feels good! every time I finish organizing a room!

Inner Beauty

In this information age when instant gratification (and impatience) have become part of our culture, we are constantly overloaded with things to do, statuses to update, people to see, photos to upload and challenges to work through. It has become more important than ever to simplify our lives.

1. Clear your mind. Let go of any negative emotions, every single pieces of anger, frustration, bitterness, jealousy, envy and hate. Let go of any bad memories including any grudges, nightmares or horror in your mind’s eyes. Let go of any worries of the future. Take negativity out of your mind by doing the following: praying to God or your Higher Power, meditating and releasing your need to control, journaling your feelings, listening to the whisper of waves or the rhythm of rain, or hiking a lake or forrest. Afterwards, take action. Take action to resolve any conflicts that resulted in any negative emotions. Take action to learn about yourself and others so situations do not repeat. Take action to forgive and forget so the past does not paralyze you or adversely affect your future. Take action to build a healthier, more loving relationship, even if it requires you to look hard at yourself, take responsibility for your mistakes, provide yourself with tremendous self-compassion and give a sincere apology to another human being.

2. Eliminate negativity in your speech. Besides clearing your mind, watch your speech. Understand when you must speak naturally, when you must think before you speak and when you must not speak at all. When you are in stressful situations, when you are angry or when you face confrontations, you may say things that you do not mean or that you will regret later. Furthermore, gossips, criticisms and abuses will add negativity to your mind, not to mention the hurts that they cause to the target of such speech. Therefore, if you have such tendencies, admit, study and change the habit. Thrive to resolve conflicts. Be congruent in your tone of voice, message and body language. Ensure your content is positive, appropriate, accurate, necessary and prompt. And look forward to deeper, more authentic relationships!

3.  Say “No” to unnecessary tasks and commitments.  Give priority to those tasks and commitments that are urgent, add value to your life or allow you to spend quality time with those you love. Say “No” to and decline any offers that do not bring any joy or value to you. To manage all of my tasks, I consider each task’s importance, urgency and amount of effort required to complete the task.  Then, I prioritize. The highest priority goes to a task with high importance, high urgency and the least amount of effort. I use beautiful “To-do” lists to create and remind myself what I want to do for the day. When I was in college, I planned my week by the hour. To prepare for finals, I broke down a topic by subtopics and allocated an hour or two for each subtopic one or two days before a final. I’ve gotten straight A’s for semesters using this method! After making a list, finally and most importantly, I take action. Now, I could cross this off my list! Mission accomplished.

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.