Designing Diva
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it’s a Spooky Pottery Barn Halloween

It’s now secret that I adore Pottery Barn, each season I just love to go in and see what new decorating pieces that they have. In the spirit of all things spooky for Halloween these are some of my favorite finds this season.

Happy Halloween!

I’m crushing on | Serena & Lily

I'm Still Standing-Interiors-I'm crushing on | Serena & LilyI don’t know about you but I’m a catalog-aholic! I’ll admit it, I’m Shelley and I have a problem with catalogs; Interiors, Clothing, the funniest is Kid’s clothing because we all know i don’t have little kids anymore, but i just love them, I love beautiful pictures lol… You can find catalogs all over my house in numerous baskets, so if you’d like to know what is happening at William & Sonoma, or my new all time fav Serena & Lily, I’m your gal. So this summer in my “bedroom redo”-more to come on that later. I finally figured I’d give Serena & Lily a try and now I’m hooked… Right now… my “interiors crush” from them would be…

Pom Pom Throw  $128.00

when i’m stressed i organize!

As many of you know my life has a “bit” of stress in it! “bit” actually is an understatement… in any event, think positive, think positive, think positive… and when that isn’t working….

organize or reorganize!!

This is where my diva dust comes into play, I put on some tunes and hit the floor running…

So most recently, i took upon my self to reorganize allll of our bathroom drawers, you know the drawers that somehow you just “throw” everything into…

Well feast your eyes on these clean beauties…

linus deep organizers, the container store | summer hill scented paper, crabtree & evelyn

I’m a big fan of the linus deep drawer organizers that you can get at your local Container Store or online. They come in many different shapes and sizes and you can make them fit anywhere! offices, kitchens, bathrooms, craftrooms, even refridge organization.. You can see where I’m going with this…

The Summer Hill Scented Paper looks lovely through the clear organizers and leaves the sweetest smell when the drawer opens! ~oh the little things

PS You can see i’m a huge laura mercier fan, but that’s another story for another time…

Organize Your Print Photos

How many of you hoard your photos in the old photo envelopes? You remember the ones we used to get after we had our photo’s “developed” at the 1 hour photo shop. Remember those before the digital age? Well if you are like me, and love taking family photos as much as I do you must have a bunch. With my 27th Anniversary coming up soon and an almost 24 year old and 20 year old I have a LOT of photos.

bag o photo'sHow many of you have “this” bag?

A few years ago I started to organize my photos by year… That was the “beginning” of my photo organization and love of scrapbooking…

got scrapbooksI told you I love to scrapbook… and these are just a “few” of mine…

But so many of my friends asked me, what do you do with the “extra” photos that you don’t necessarily want to put with your family photo albums… In my case those were photos of playground projects that I worked on and my husband’s former company’s’ employees.

This also included my daughters’ pageant life, *small disclaimer we did not start as a Toddler but she has lots of Tiara’s, and then into her college life, all of the “Zaps” she had to have while in college…

So let’s back it up, how did I take all of this and create an organized space? First I bought colorful boxes and labeled them so that when I was finished I could put them on a shelf, look great and know what was inside in an organized manner.

Then I spent a day… I kid you not… a day…. Laying out all of my photo packets and sorting them in piles in all my different categories.

I then went to one of my favorite stores in the world; that would be “the container store” an organizational lover’s dream world. I could spend hours in there just thinking of projects to do, and my husband would gulp and be thinking “yes and money that she can spend…”

photo casesAnd there I found these wonderful individual clear cases to organize my photos.

Of course it wouldn’t be a “Shelley project” if it wasn’t finished with a nice decorative touch so I had my friend Katie make me a few snazzy labels for each; I look forward to getting myself Photoshop at some point so I can do these on my own, but in the mean time she did an amazing job!

snazzy photo covers for each category

Now a statement which might surprise you; It is OK to throw out some of your photos… After sorting and loading all of my photo’s categorically there were a few cases which were overflowing and I had to make the call of, “hmm is this a photo I would look back on and love,” if not, it was trashed. I am sure you have a few of those photos where you think what was I thinking about or they weren’t of the best quality.

How to organize your photo's

I think they came out smashing…

How to organize sorority photos

And don’t you love the box of Sarah’s Zaps from college, what a great keepsake!

This is just the beginning of my Picture Projects next onto:

  • my digital sorting
  • digital albums
  • special vacation/birthday books

27 years, that’s a lot of memories, in a lot of photo’s… What do you do to organize your old photo prints?

Chic Recipe Binder

I know I know I have been going “binder crazy” with my Major Spring Cleaning, but it is just such a great way to organize one’s self, and with so many wonderful and pretty designs of binders these days, which as a designer I love, I just can’t help myself…

So do you have a “pile” of recipes that you have ripped out while reading food magazines? I can sit for hours and ponder as I daydream about all the wonderful recipes I’d like to make… and usually I do try them and when I “love” them I keep them in my “recipe pile” so now…. Organization Queen to the rescue…

food magazines

I give you my Recipe binder!

my chic recipe binder

My binder is divided into sections of food that I actually make, a lot of cookbooks always have a section I just never have used, as much as I love perusing through them and “dreaming,” I’m not going to make pasta from scratch-that just isn’t me.

So, I made tabbed sections with stylish folders and file tabs for the food that I would spend time on. Surprising one of them being “holiday food” whose pile is getting larger by the holiday!

recipe binder


I also put an empty pocket at the beginning of each section for, “recipes I’d like to try” and when I try one of those new recipes out  should our family “love” it, that recipe would get their own shiny page!

I used 2 types of clear plastic protectors for my pages. One that is the full size 8 ½ x 10 sheets and also one that is for photo’s but I can use them to hold up to 6 recipe cards (front and back). *A note about plastic protectors, I have tried just about everyone on the market and it is best to use the heavyweight page, others are just to flimsy and you won’t be happy, I know I’ve thrown a bunch out… shhh, don’t tell my hubby, he won’t be to happy!

Do you have a way to organize your recipes? I’d love to see your binder if you have one! Let me know if I have “inspired” you to make one, really it is so simple and cleans up just one more “big” pile in my house and I’m sure yours too!

Fun School Files

I have been hitting up Spring Cleaning in a very serious way this year, a lot of my projects are in the mid phase and as I complete each one not only will I get a great sense of pride for getting it “done” but I will be sharing with you what I did to “organize” our household to be a little more efficient.

Today I am going to share with you my girls “education files.” Now that Sarah has graduated from college I have years and years of paperwork to organize and Hadley is going into her last year of high school and that translates to 18 years of IEP’s and mounds of paperwork… Being the “pack rat” that I am I’d like to keep these papers in an organized way so that I can look at them from time to time when I want a good cry-*sap alert, but isn’t that what all mom’s do?

So I started by organizing each of the girls paperwork by grade and I made a cover sheet where I added their school photo’s of that year and basic information, not only did this help organize the school work for each grade that I saved but also helped me organize the girl’s school photo’s; and now I’m ready to crop a new album of “School Days…”

hadley's cover page

Each year there were a few assignments I just couldn’t part with and oh yes, we must keep all of the report cards! For Hadley keeping all of her IEP’s is a great way to go back and read how/when she hit her developmental milestones since her educational years where much different then Sarah’s.

school files

I looked around for “colorful” boxes that I could use for this and I think I came up with a great choice. I love the color “red” it screams “education” to me!

school boxes

Being the organizational diva that I am I labeled files for each year of school starting with Pre-K for both and went up to grade 12, for Hadley it goes to grade 12+ since she is in Special Ed which goes till her 21rst birthday.. However, I’m still thinking of adding a few folders to Sarah’s to cover her College years.

I’m thrilled with the outcome!! Project #1 Complete…. So what do you think?

I got hit with the Spring Cleaning Bug!

Yesterday I started “Spring Cleaning,” I’m not even going to tell you how sore I am because I think I moved parts that even in my exercise regime I haven’t moved in years and too boot I chipped my nail polish even with gloves on! Uhhh But I am taking this very seriously this year!

I have 10 years worth of paperwork in my garage from the organization that I ran that I can go through now and “clean” up, keep what I want for my memories and shred the rest, which I know will be a little sad but really all of those boxes in my garage is wayyyy to much “stuff.”

a small look at the boxes

This is just a small look at the boxes that take up an entire wall of space floor to ceiling! 30 feet of space! Wowzers!

time to sort

sorting box by box…

photo'ssome amazing long lost photo’s!

computersand years and years of computer towers… who else is afraid to trash them?

hard drivesuntil I had a visit from my friendly Geek to remove the hard drives and remove the bodies, wow, that was a small fortune but soooo worth it!

I’ve done a little in the house too, my kitchen bakers rack had I think 2 years of dust on the back bottom shelf, so off with all my cooking books and dust and scrub, hmmm now that I have my bakers rack on my back deck, I’m thinking… this looks good outside… it sure would be nice for some more potted plants and a place to put ketchup and mustard for our bbq’s when we open the pool, maybe a shelf for towels… *uhhh now to talk to my hubby about a new one for the kitchen, well to be honest the cook books were over flowing, so maybe a new one is “justified” hmmm…

cookbookscookbooks in order by chef of course!

and I actually started my cleaning with moving all of our DVD’s/videos into a room where they can be watched, we don’t have a VCR in our family room anymore, silly me!

cleaned up dvd's

So I have piles and piles all over my house, books and more books… I was wondering where some of these were, yup garage in boxes from when we renovated 2 years ago…


I was wondering where my authors with last names starting with S on to W went lol

So that is my organization today.. What did I get done?

  • Half of my boxes in the garage are now emptied and in the “shred it” box, trashed or in piles to “reorganize” and keep.
  • My garage doors were serviced and checked, oh that was because while cleaning I noticed a hole in the ceiling and was afraid my new heavy garage doors where pulling the ceiling down, but happy to report that it was just the drywall, phew… but now I have my garage doors programmed to open from my cars, so ya for that too!
  • Lower cabinets in my kitchen cleaned and organized again-still need shelf paper…
  • Books all dusted and in the library, of course in alphabetical order… Do we call this organized or A.D.D? not sure lol

How goes your spring cleaning? Where did you start? I’ll be working on this for a few weeks so I’ll keep you updated for you with some humor and tips!

Organizing in now part of my Wellness Makeover

paperworkI was  “stuck”  in a rut for a while,  last year was very tough for me due to my panicking and basically that and taking care of everyone over myself took over my life. Then in January I decided it was “time” to take back my life and work on myself from the inside out. I’ve been eating healthy and exercising, driving day by day and expanding my circle to overcome my panic in the car.

Over the past year I started many projects at home and abandoned them in the middle.. abort.. abort.. abort… You know what I mean? Now as part of my “wellness makeover” and reclaiming my life I am working on getting myself out of my “paper rut” and finally cleaning “everything” up. And when I say “everything” I mean “everything.” I paperwork galore;  20 years of IEP’s for Hadley, numerous medical reports, therapists reports,  and many papers and projects from Sarah’s school years and through college. You can only imagine how this has been eating at me since I am a pretty organized lady.. But in all fairness to myself I kept most of this “downstairs” where no one could see it. So now it’s time to get down to business and get to work… Here is a little preview of my “work ahead of me”

  • Hadley’s IEP binder/files and school & medical papers from age birth-20 (that is a ton in itself)
  • Sarah’s School files from Pre-K through College
  • My scrapbook “hysteria” for lack of better work nightmare might be better
  • Our Manuals
  • Our files
  • Our Garage, which “houses” 10 years of a nonprofit paperwork which I think I can get rid of lots now, “hello shred it!”
  • Linen Closet
  • Conversion of Sarah’s closet-My closet (this is what you do when kids move out, and cry!)
  • Bathrooms organization
  • Our front closets organizations
  • My new way of shopping “extreme couponing” or at least trying via coupon binder
  • My “recipe” binder -collection of 2 years healthy recipes

This should keep me busy and out of a rut for a while, who has time to panic, it’s time to organize! Woo Hoo! Stay tuned for my step by step posts and maybe I will inspire you with your “re-organizing”.

Ohhh Martha!

Martha Stewart's new organization products and my receipts

Oops, she did it again… That would be the “Queen” Martha, doing it! She never ceases to amaze me with her great products she gets out to the public, first parties and entertaining ideas, then cooking, then a magazine, then another, then empire, now that empire also consists of great organizational products at Staples and we all know how much I love organization.

I know I know, I’m a little of an organizational geek, well, you know you are when you get this excited over cool products to make your life easier! And it is “tax time!” I don’t know about you but in my house it is me who does all of the organizing of our tax stuff and this is a job that could take an army with a husband who owns his own business, my stuff, and a child with special needs and tons of medical stuff.

But take a look at this great line of products!! And this month in any Martha related magazine there are coupons to help!

Martha Stewart office products

My tax season starts with the organization of my receipts from the year.. . *note the small portion of them in the top photo next to Martha. I know she would be grinning if she saw these piles.

So step #1: Get out all of your receipts for the year and organize them in Month piles. *These would be store receipts where I bought supplies for Hadley and our businesses. Also it is great for future budgeting to actually understand where all of your money is going, or went…

Stay tuned for how great this all looks organized with a little help from Martha! Follow along as I get all of my “stuff” together for tax time… Hey maybe I can just help you too!

The Four Seasons Baltimore

four seasons baltimore

My husband and I have been frequenting John Hopkins Hospital lately for some medical issues he has been having and so we have had the opportunity to spend some time visiting Sarah who moved to Baltimore and stay at a few of the properties in the city.

Our last two visits we stayed at the new Four Seasons hotel in the “new” side of the Harbor which is called Harbor East. It is made up of several upscale shops, where I spent a lot of time window shopping and some great restaurants.

Upon walking into the Four Seasons Hotel, after being greeted by the friendly staff, one would think that you have entered into an art gallery rather than a hotel. Your eye automatically is drawn to the huge installation of light and paper behind the reception desk by John Wigmore. The wide lobby is lit by stunning hand-blown murano glass fixtures, which will take your breath away. I have only seen such a beautiful piece one other time and that was at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Throughout the hotel there are many beautiful pieces of modern art by contemporary American and International Artists on display.

We were welcomed with a lovely fruit tray in our room, which is always a nice way to say “Hello” to your guests and make their experience memorable.

Our hotel room faced the harbor and had a beautiful view out of our floor to ceiling glass wall. The bed was extremely comfortable with soft linens which was a delight to sleep in.

The bathroom was beautiful and my husband was quite intrigued with the built in TV within the mirror! I took a quick shower and washed off before heading to bead and loved the soft towels. I felt clean and invigorated.

All in all it is a beautiful new property with a very helpful staff, I’m only sorry we didn’t have time to explore all the great things the hotel has to offer… next time…