40 Bags

I’m getting a jump on my Spring cleaning this year!

I saw a Facebook post from a pal in Chicago who is doing the 40 Bags in 40 Days clutter clearing challenge. I had never heard of it, so I did some poking around and immediately made my list.

If it’s new to you too, here’s the skinny – you make a list of areas in your home to clutter clear for the next 40 days. What was appealing to me about this process is that you can really break it down in to SMALL, DOABLE areas. For example, the buffet in my dining room has two drawers and two little cubby hole areas with a door on each side – if I were to empty it out, go through my normal – “does this spark joy” process, that would take a chunk of time, therefore, it hasn’t been done in quite a long time. So I broke that down into four different times. There are things that I know will be quick, maybe 5 minutes, so I do those on days that my schedule is tight; I save the areas that will take a little longer for weekends or days that I can squeeze a longer project in.

Often people start this challenge at the beginning of Lent since Lent is 40 days long. I’m a little late to the party, so I started the last week of February and I can’t tell you how much stuff I’ve donated, put through the shredder, and discarded already. The best part for me is that it’s not overwhelming. I’d say I spend an average of 15-20 minutes a day so far just tackling one drawer, desk top, or cabinet at a time.

Since I practice Feng Shui in my home and I am always mindful of the quality of energy in my home, clutter clearing is a no-brainer for me and something I do my best to stay on top of. This challenge is making the process even easier!

Excess clutter can affect us on many levels. This is great article, from Psychology Today, really explains the mental, emotional, and physical effects too much clutter can have on our lives.

Who’s ready to join me?

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The Color Shift


The Color Shift

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

In the spring my husband and I took on the slightly insane project of painting our apartment. It’s been feeling drab in here for a while. He has always been excited to add some color to our walls. I on the other hand was a bit resistant. It’s my nature, what can I say? Part of my reluctance was to the bright and vivid colors hubby was suggesting. We have high ceilings and a long front room so that’s A LOT of wall space to live with. My first thoughts were “what about a softer shade of this or that”? Don’t get me wrong, I love brilliant and vibrant colors (I have a vast fabric collection to prove it!), but the thought of them on my walls, I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

After talking it over quite a bit and lots of patient yet continuous coaxing by my husband (he’s kind of a saint on that front) I realized that we had been in this space for a long time and had talked about painting forever. Why not step out of my comfort zone? Many of my alarm bells were ringing, but I did it anyway and I am SO glad!

We decided to paint two main walls and leave the rest a creamy white color. We narrowed down the two colors we wanted fairly quickly, but then it took several weeks to decide on the shade of each color. During that time we painted the white walls and the change in the feel of the apartment was immediate! We hadn’t fully realized how dingy the place had become. Now we were really excited to get to the colors! (and man do I have some serious respect for people who paint for a living! No joke!) Suggestions from friends to buy a bunch of small cans of paint samples and roll big patches on the walls to live with for a few days was worth every penny and probably saved us from a few arguments.

Finally we came to our colors…a blue and an orange. “Blue lagoon” and “ Hawaiian passion”… do I sense a theme here? The orange wall was painted first and needed a few coats. WOW! did it pop and I loved it. Next came the blue, really more like turquoise. I took a deep breath, dipped my roller in the tray full of color and rolled a long, luxurious streak of “Blue Lagoon” on my wall.

“I LOVE THIS COLOR!!!!!” I screamed to my husband. He chuckled and agreed. The paint totally transformed our living space! And inspired us to move things around a bit, get rid of the old stuff that had been lying around, sucking up space. I bought a new rug to compliment the colors and am in the process of making new pillow covers for the couch cushions.

I’ve always felt the effects of color on my mood or in the garden, but this was such a positive shift in how I felt about my space, it was like I had forgotten how color affects us. There are lots of cool articles out there about “color psychology” and color theory and how they really can shift our perspectives. I have felt it first hand! And everyone who has come into our space feels it too. “The energy feels better in here” has been said more than once.

I’m so glad I took the plunge and invited color into our space!

*Thanks to Pinterest and Design Seeds (see above photo) for TONS of great ideas!

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Sweet Spring Songs

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

Have you heard the birdsongs lately? They have changed, just like the weather. Suddenly cardinal is singing louder and longer and earlier then a few weeks ago. I hear it in the mornings outside my window and in the garden too. All the birds sound brighter, as if they were announcing with joy that spring has arrived.

And it is getting on time to find a mate so that’s definitely something to sing about!

Hearing this change of sound is one of my favorite parts of spring. It always makes me stop and take notice. Slow down and really listen. And it also always makes me smile!

Soon mockingbird will be running through his repertoire and red winged black bird will arrive as well. But it’s those first brilliant sounds that I love best, the ones that remind me a new season is arriving and to pay attention!

Thanks birdies!

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Lovely Lavender

fresh lavender flowers pic

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

We had a sneak preview of spring weather on Tuesday, with warm sun and cool breezes. I stopped by the garden between clients to get a boost from the crocus and mini iris that have been blooming steadily for a few weeks now. I walked around the garden, catching glimpses of little goodies slowly but surely poking out of the earth. So good for the spirit to see that!

And I really only intended to observe… but suddenly I found the clippers in my hand, my jacket thrown aside and there I was, pruning away the winter!

I cleared the old, withered leaves from the lambs ear, cut the dried stems from the chrysanthemums and straightened the wire frame that will soon be entwined with a lovely, low growing pink clematis. Then I noticed the lavender plant toppling out into the aisle. “ Oh my, do you need a haircut!” I made sure some new growths were beginning to show and then began to trim away last years ramblings.

And I’m so glad I did! In a rush, that sweet, dusty, herbal fragrance was all around me. I’ve trimmed this variety of lavender many times but don’t remember it ever smelling so sweet. I was already in a chill state of mind puttering around with my plant friends but this just enhanced it ten fold. As I continued to trim, the intensity of the fragrance grew and so did the smile on my face!

I, like many people, love lavender. The plants are beautiful, in all shades of greeny/grey, with flat, needle like or feathery leaves and all different variations in scent. Used for centuries to brighten the spirits and calm the nerves, as well as an antiseptic and addition to foods. Nothing like lavender shortbread cookies! Yum!

It is our most requested aromatherapy oil at the massage studio, helping our clients (and us!) settle their minds and bodies and get back in tune.

Here are my favorite ways to use lavender:

  • Last year for my birthday Judy gave me a bottle of Hauschka’s Moor Lavender Calming Bath Essence. WOW! It is so incredible. I use it, as she suggested, around my temples or just a light touch around my eyes, along my nose and cheeks and then down the jaw line, before I go to bed some nights. It is so soothing, I can’t help but relax (Thank you Judy!)!
  • I put 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil in an Epsom salt bath and then soak away the day. Or just a drop or two on my finger tips and then run them through my hair before I get into bed and ease into sleep.
  • Another favorite is lavender honey. A local lavender farm in Tabernacle, New Jersey, owned and operated by Toni and Steve Price, sells their honey along with sachets and bath salts at some of our farmer’s markets in the city. Lovely stuff! They also offer “cut your own ”lavender days so check out their website if you are interested. Very cool folks!

Happy Lavender-ing!

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Clean It Like You Mean It

Posted by Judy Moon

Spring is in the air! Nature around us is exploding.In Chinese medicine, Spring is a time of renewal after the long dormant winter. Bulbs are pushing their way through the soil making their long hard journey towards the nourishment from the sun.

Just as the sap in the trees shifts its flow upward, emotions and energies in our bodies can make their way towards the surface and express themselves sometimes unexpectedly. We also know it as “Spring Fever”.

I have been “swept up” by Spring Fever. I was feeling the urge to do some spring cleaning. This past weekend I washed all of the windows in my house and all of the curtains. I was cleaning holding the intention of “inviting more clarity in to my life”. It stirred a question in me –

“How can I Spring Clean My Mind and My Life?”

Spring cleaning is all about taking inventory, clutter clearing, organizing and refreshing.

1. Take stock – what’s working and what’s not? What really rocks in your life right now? Do more of that. What is draining you? Eliminate those things

2. Clutter clear – get rid of bad habits, unhealthy relationships, negative self talk and beliefs

3. Organize – make some lists and get a game plan. How will you accomplish some of that clutter clearing? Set goals, write it down make it happen, get a buddy to keep you accountable, shut off your phone and take a break from your email occasionally.

4. Try something new/plant new seeds – now that you have created some space in your mind, body and spirit there is room for some growth- try a new recipe, try a new cuisine, walk to work a different way, take a class, or do absolutely nothing if that’s a new concept for you.

Spring is a great time for bodywork and acupuncture – it can help with balancing of the spring energy and facilitating relaxation.

What’s your favorite Spring Cleaning ritual?

Acupuncture Today
Huffington Post


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