The No-Stress Holiday Organizer An All-in-One Guide to Planning and Recording your holidays

About the Book:

3-month calendar for Nov – Dec – Jan filled with:

* To-do Lists
* Budget Guides
* Decoration Trackers
* Guest Lists/Contact Info
* Party Planning Breakdown
* Menu Planners
* Grocery Lists
* Cooking Schedules
* Recipes
* and MORE

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Book Details
Authors: Cedar Fort Staff
Release Date: August 2014
Publisher: Plain Sight
Genre: Holiday

Get organized this holiday season! Make you plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s as enjoyable for you as it is for your guests. From calendars and checklists to budget sheets and journal pages, this book saves you the time and money to enjoy family traditions old and new – year after year!

No-Stress-Holiday-Organizer-blog-tour

“The No-Stress Holiday Organizer” blog tour schedule:

November 1: The Hungry Family at Home
November 2: Books Devoured
November 3: Practical Frugality • I Love to Read and Review Books
November 4: Literologie
November 5: Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl
November 6: My Life One Story at a Time
November 7: Live to Read
November 8: Mel’s Shelves
November 9: Crossroad Reviews • Read For Your Future • Book Hounds
November 10: My Reading Room
November 11: Readalot • The Author’s Hideaway • Why Not? Because I Said So • LDS Women’s Book Review
November 12: My Book Addiction and More
November 13:
November 14: Blooming with Books
November 15: A Casual Reader’s Blog • The Things I Love Most • Wishful Endings

My Thoughts:

I am already an organized person, but I’m always out to learn a few more tricks. With Halloween gone and the three next big holidays of the year looming in the foreground, everyone is wondering how to get it all done and get it done efficiently. The No-Stress Holiday Organizer book will certainly help to keep even the most disorganized person on track.

Featuring a three-month at a glance planning calendar is an excellent idea. It is quite easy to overbook activities or to lose track of how many days remaining before the big event. This will help to ensure that the holidays flow without too much anxiety. Like checklist? This book will definitely have you doing the happy dance.

Broken down into holidays, it offers you a no-stress plan to keep you on track with shopping and planning and execution. As great as cell phones are these days, not everyone is using one to chart their grocery list. The No-Stress Holiday Organizer offers those individuals a list to record their items that follows the layouts of most grocery stores. This will eliminate traipsing across the store and even forgetting items.

The book also offers help with budgeting and with the holidays, who can’t use a little extra help in that department? Do you think of doing an inventory of the items that you only use at holiday time? Do you remember what was broken or needed to be replaced?

Along with a Christmas To Do list, the book offers a list of those forgotten people – the postman, etc. and offers an example of how much is appropriate to spend.

It is a great book even for the ultra-organized person like me. I have to admit I took the book on as a challenge and was pleasantly surprised to pick up a few tips along the way.

Is there someone in your life who’s a little bit on the unorganized side? Look no further for the perfect holiday gift!

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My Life in Review – The Traveling Midori

I have been a member of a group on Facebook for almost a year now. It is a group of people who are enamoured with Midoris, and to celebrate the year anniversary of the group and to promote friendship, one of the members came up with the idea of traveling Midoris. The concept behind the group was that there would x number of groups – depending upon the number of interested parties – and each group would have its own hand-made Midori. This Midori would take a year-long trip to be documented by each member of each group as they in turn hosted the Midori for a week in their lives.

I think the group ended up with approximately ten groups of ten people. These Midoris are traveling world-wide at this very moment, and to me, that is exciting. I am part of the Pioneer Dorian group and I am experiencing my week right now! Each of these Midoris have been hand-crafted by the members of the group and are works of art in their own right. Each person hosting the Midori is encouraged to document their life and add a little of themselves to the book, giving each book its own unique history. It will take a year for each Midori to complete its journey. At that time, the books will be assigned to a new group and begin a new year of travel.

It is very interesting to flip through the pages and see what other’s have chosen to leave of themselves. Some of the participants are artists, some are writers, some lead busy lives, and some lead quiet lives. The journey of each book is also being documented on Instagram with the hashtags #travelingdori #pioneerdorian and others, each representing the name of the group’s Midori. You’ll find us on Twitter and on Facebook in the Traveling Dori group.

This is my story:

I received a package in the mail on Saturday, June 7, 2014. I wasn’t expecting the package as we are not warned ahead of time. It is a surprise for each of us when the Midori will arrive. Even as I opened the envelope, and peered inside, I was still not certain what I was seeing. It was when I pulled out a leather sleeve and looked inside that I realized I was the next recipient of the Pioneer Dorian. As I sat down and began to thumb through the different books, I was taken by surprise by the artistic talents of the person before me. It gave me pause, and I began to picture what I might leave behind for the next person.

Where the person before me was surely a free spirit – drawing and writing in a random fashion – I am not. I shall leave my mark upon the Pioneer Dorian in a much different way – a way that speaks to me, as the next recipient of this piece of history will no doubt do. I will decorate my pages with stickers and washi tape. I will add a ribbon marker to mark my place, pink, as that is my favorite color.

While some are whimsical, I am not. If I contribute art, my mark will be a carefully thought-out Zentangle with precise lines made with intention.

As I turn the pages of this wonderful book, this traveling Midori, I will bring order to it for the short time it is with me – then, I shall send it forward where it will be transformed once again.

I hope you enjoyed the story and enjoy the pictures of the traveling Pioneer Dorian – next stop – Georgia, USA!

Time Management – Formulating a schedule

With the new year underway, many people are still trying to conquer that elusive schedule. Well, I’m no different. I’ve been perusing blog posts about setting up schedules and there were a number of them that I found quite helpful.

I’ve always followed a makeshift schedule of sorts, but felt it was time to really lock in a more productive time management system that worked for me. Flying by the seat of my pants just isn’t working anymore. As organized a person as I am, my lack of attention span is forever getting in the way. I am a person who needs structure, and I found myself really needing to lock down a timeframe that allowed for my attention to be corralled for periods of time in order to get what needed to be done, done, yet something that would allow some flexibility as well.

One of the blogs I was looking at was Organized Jen. She has developed a great chart. It actually looks like a chore chart I came up with a few years ago. Using her model, I developed my own schedule. Keep in mind that it is not a schedule that is set in stone and it doesn’t mean I won’t deviate from it on occasion – I plan on working friend time into each week in place of work – it simply gives me a picture of my week. Also, there are days when I have meetings or unexpected things come up, so it definitely is not a do or die schedule. It will also no doubt go through some primping before it’s done, but for now, I think it will work for me.

Keep in mind, when planning your schedule, my schedule will not be perfect for you, but it might be a perfect prototype from which to tweak. We are all different people with different needs and various things going on in our lives. You may not even need a schedule. With my lack of attention span getting in the way of productivity, I desperately needed to try something different.

I am generally a person who looks at minute details (as in list everything), so coming up with broad weekly goals was a bit different. After much deliberation, these are the goals I came up with.

Weekly Goals

Work Goals

 Maintain a regular posting schedule (I’ve become lax here)

Stop work by 4pm (let something other than my blog have a front seat)

Less/no work on weekends (other than reading) (I’m a book reviewer too)

Work on home improvement projects weekly (Hubby and I have loads of these)

Personal Goals

Daily chores (I have a break-down schedule already)

Exercise 45 minutes five days a week (really trying to be good about this)

Family Time (Hubby and pets)

Keep up with household duties (no procrastinating – lots of !!!)

After coming up with the big picture, I was able to develop my weekly time management schedule to work with my day. To further harness my inattentiveness, I gave myself blocks of time in which to complete my tasks, and then set up a schedule to accomplish these tasks. I then studied the schedule to see if it was doable – for me.

After completing my new time management schedule, I sat down and transferred some of the information to my planner so that on Monday (today) morning, I had a plan I could work with. So far, it’s working really well – but then it’s only been one day. I know – you are laughing – but probably not as hard as I am.  You have to start somewhere and today was mine.

I’ll be reporting back each week with little tweaks as needed to let you know how my schedule is working for me. And, as I said, it has been working today. I didn’t sleep well last night so I was a little late getting out of bed, but everything has gone smoothly. I used to sit down first thing at the computer, but this morning, I followed my new routine and it has been truly delightful. I am not feeling stressed at all. I am doing exactly what my schedule says I should be doing. The photos below are not the best, but they will give the general idea of what my schedule looks like. I couldn’t figure out how to bring a word doc in. The actual information is not important to anyone but me, but the form might be helpful.

photo 1
Time Management – Weekly Schedule
photo 2
Work Schedule and Weekly Goals

Here’s a look at how it translates itself to my planner.

photo 1
The right hand page shows the blocks of time to coordinate with my chart. 
photo 2
On the left is my weekly schedule which already includes appointments to be worked into the schedule.

Hopefully, I’ve inspired some of you to develop your own Time Management Schedule if you don’t already have one. If you do, please leave a comment and let me know what is working for you.

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Feel Good Factor in 30 Days by Andrea Morrison (Spotlight & Excerpt)

Sometimes life can be a continual treadmill that if you’re not careful can drag you down. The Feel Good Factor in 30 days puts the brakes on the negative spiral with light-hearted lessons that inject positivity and happiness into your everyday life.
Drawing on her own personal experience and journey from high flying barrister to burnout and then complete recovery, these lessons, with a wealth of practical examples, reflect the practices that Andrea Morrison uses in her own every day life and is written in an engaging style.

Eden House Publishing is pleased to announce the release of Andrea Morrison’s timely new book ‘Feel Good Factor in 30 Days’ on 20th January 2014.  The release date has been chosen to coincide with ‘Blue Monday’, which is said to be the most depressing day of the year*.

With honesty and warmth, holistic health expert Andrea Morrison shares her own ups and downs on her journey to changing her mindset and feeling good about life.  For a few years Andrea had been working long hours travelling the length and breadth of the country as a Barrister (think Wigs and Gowns) when she ended up with Pneumonia and then Chronic Fatigue.  Andrea describes this now ‘as the best thing to have happened to me, as I finally had to stop and this gave me the chance to become the person that I wanted to be.’

She exposed herself to everything and anything, neurolinguistic programming, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Pilates and many more which have all come together into this practical new book.  The book contains 30 practical lessons which are easy to follow and implement.  Andrea Morison says that ‘through this book that by taking lots of small actions that you can make a big change to your happiness.’

Book Reviews 

A Truth Universally Acknowledged Book Review ~ ‘With the New Year, a lot of people decide to make a fresh start. For some, it’s time to get serious about losing weight, for others it’s time to change their take on life, to create a new mindset. For these people, the Feel Good Factor in 30 Days might be just the book they need.’
‘Rich of her experience, Feel Good Factor in 30 Days gives the reader the tools to achieve a positive outlook on life.’

A Goddess of Literature Book Review ~ ‘Maybe your life isn’t miserable, but you find yourself plodding along from day-to-day not very happy with your situation in the world. If so, this book can definitely give you some food for thought.’

  • File Size: 447 KB
  • Print Length: 92 pages

So a little bit from Andrea Morrison ….

‘My journey started many, many years ago. I left school with mediocre qualifications and obtained a training contract with the local government, but I had a dream – a big dream. I had always wanted to be a Barrister since I was in junior school – but had been told by various teachers that ‘people like me do not do jobs like that’ and the schools I had attended were failing schools.
Then I met a kindred spirit! My husband wanted to travel, to do something different with our lives – so we combined it! After traveling around Europe and America, we back packed around South America and I went back to University to pursue my dream. I had already become successful in Local Authority and Durham University was quick to snap me up!

Fast forward several years and I really had it all. I was a Barrister in a fantastic local Chambers, I was Treasury Counsel appointed by the Attorney General, I had been led by a top employment QC, I was even in the Legal 500 – I was living my dream with a brilliant career ahead of me or so you might think. But something had dramatically changed in my life, I’d started a family, a family that I had desperately wanted and had battled through infertility to get – suddenly working ridiculous hours and travelling the length and breadth of the country was soul-destroying, handing over my children to (an amazing) child minder quite frankly broke my heart. Also during this time, my Father had died of cancer, he was a big influence in my life and then he was gone, it made me think about the fragility and shortness of life. I knew in ten years time, my children would be grown up and my relationship with them fragile if not nonexistent.

During 2008, after my third child, even though I was at my lowest ebb I gave it my all in my belief that if I did it I could finally balance it all. Be the mum I wanted to be and the Barrister I knew that I was – and create the home my family deserved (yes we embarked on a two story extension to our home!). But of course life isn’t like that, and I wasn’t superwoman and in November 2008 I ended up with pneumonia. I simply had burnt myself out.

It may be difficult to believe, but it was not a personal drive to be a ‘career women’ but a belief that I should be a career woman, to do anything else was a failure, a waste, that I was letting my family down both financially and emotionally. I had to carry on, to simply put my children first and be predominantly at home was simply not an option.

I stumbled through the following year, our marriage was facing a major crisis, a holiday finally highlighted to us that we were trying to do the impossible though neither of us wanted to accept that. The following months involved emotional circular discussions starting with my need to stop and finishing with the obvious fact I couldn’t because of our financial position. However, my health was deteriorating and I was literally coming to a standstill.

Eventually I stopped. In August 2009 I hit a crisis point, I could no longer carry on and I started a long-term sabbatical from the Bar. Over the following months whilst I held down a tutoring post at the University (which I loved) the rest of the time I felt like all my energy had been sapped from me and I experienced the most dreadful pain. It was like living with the worst possible type of ‘flu. In March 2010 I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue. It was quite possibly the best thing to have happened, although I could barely walk 100m and taking the children to school had become exhausting. Finally, I had the chance to stop, to become the person I wanted to be.

I can only describe this part of my journey to be like peeling layers of an onion off one by one – there were lots of them, they were difficult to peel and many of them may make you cry! I realised that I had become completely depersonalised over the previous ten years –I would have to start to live – to feed my soul – to change my life. I decided to wind up my legal practice completely – a decision that would define my recovery – I could finally become better as there was now no expectation of a return to the person that I had been before.

My heart was telling me to pursue something completely different, reflexology, which sounded complete madness! I’m sure that those around me thought I had had some kind of breakdown, I hadn’t at all, but I had to agree it was the antipathy of Law! I started with a holistic massage course at a local college and even shocked myself when I found it really made my heart start to sing! This was closely followed by me undertaking a Reflexology Diploma at Jubilee College and in July 2012 Eden House Holistic opened for business.
Whilst physically my day-to-day was changing, so was I on the inside. I exposed myself to everything and anything – neurolinguistic programming, hypnotherapy, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Pilates, reiki and many more, both with practitioners and many, many books. The biggest change was that I no longer allowed others to influence my decisions – I realized that I had attracted many strong characters in my life who were quick to judge and quick to criticize my judgement. I decided, if I was happy with my decision, then I needed no further approval. Over the last four years, my judgement has proved to be sound and that now is good enough for me!

Today I can honestly say, that for the first time in many, many years I am happy and content. When people who haven’t seen me for some time meet me, the first thing they comment on is that I look so well and happy! I don’t know what the future holds but I no longer worry about it; I see challenges as opportunities a chance to grow even more! I now have a successful therapy business, I run our local Professional Reflexology Group which is thriving and in the New Year I am launching an online Holistic Therapy resource which is extremely exciting! But above all we have a happy family! What’s not to look forward to!!

One thing that my life has taught me, is that life is a journey, there are lessons to be learnt, but it is there to be enjoyed, no decision is truly final and where there is an end there is undoubtedly always a beginning.’

Connect with Andrea on Twitter: @EdenHsePublish

Here’s a little taste of ‘The Feel Good Factor in 30 days’… (and a personal favourite of Andrea’s)

Lesson Nineteen – D.I.S.C.O

‘She is D, delirious
She is I, incredible
She is S, superficial
She is C, complicated
She is O, oh, oh, oh’

Ottawan

You are probably thinking, she’s halfway through the book and she’s running out of ideas!  I haven’t though, honestly!  But music plays a big part in my life and I find it really affects how you can feel.

So, if you have a task ahead of you that is dragging you down or you are putting it off or if you are feeling stressed about something playing music can really help!

Obviously you need to choose the music to fit the situation – no rock and roll if you are trying to write a tricky report (but if it works for you, who am I to dictate?)

You will often find me in the kitchen, either cooking or cleaning (or decorating) with music that I can dance to blaring out.  This is to the embarrassment of my kids when I ask them to dance with me.  As they get older they have become less obliging, but when they do, we find ourselves rolling around giggling.  However, I find that afterwards, whatever it was that I had to do is done quicker and with far more grace!  It really lifts the mood, everyone is happier and we’ve had some fun (and isn’t that what life is all about?).

Equally, if I have a difficult piece of work to do, then putting some chilling music can help too, it quietens my stress responses so that I can concentrate on what I have to do.

So now’s the time to go through your music collection and dig out those tunes – nothing like having a bit of a bop to something you loved when you were younger!!

Purchase the Kindle version on Amazon by clicking the icon here: 

Purchase the book version on Amazon by clicking the icon here:

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What do you do with old underwear?

I’m having fun today.

Do you ever throw yours away? 

 

No matter how many holes there are?

Ladies' underwear advertisement, 1913

 

 

       I am here to confess – and my sisters and anyone else who knows me well, will be looking around thinking – where is my sister and what have you done with her because SHE doesn’t talk about these things – back to confessing – I actually threw a pair of underwear away today. The kicker is – they were clean, but none-the-less full of holes.

 

       Seriously, do you throw underwear away, or are you like me? I see that it needs to be trashed, but then who throws away dirty underwear? Yuck! I know, who is going to see it? So, I wash it, and then I think – I’ll just wear it one more time, it is clean after all and so the cycle continues. The underwear never makes it to the trash! 

 

       Today, I threw away a pair of clean underwear. Now, I am asking all of you to fess up – do you throw away underwear – and if you dare – clean or dirty? I am throwing down the gauntlet. Leave your confessions below and know that we’ll keep them in the strictest of confidence. 

 

Be sure to follow my blog. 

 

You never know what subject will come up next! 

 

Donna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year 2013! Join me for gifts galore!

It’s a blog hop with lots of stops and prizes!
Something for everyone!
I have an Amazon Gift Certificate for
for one lucky follower!
Announcing the
Happy New Year 2013
Giveaway Hop
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Babs Book Bistro
January 1st – 7th 2013
A Rafflecopter Giveaway
In order to enter, you will need to click the following link and play the Rafflecopter on my other blog. Hope to see you there!

My Life. One Story at a Time.: Happy New Year 2013! Join me for gifts galore!

This giveaway has over 200 blogs participating!