Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Annual Spring Cleaning

I'm not sure how this happened but it's May. Gone is the snow, on comes the rain! I'm itching for warm weather and green grass which has led to day dreams about gardening and sipping coffee on the porch. In case you didn't know, I like lists and I like to plan. In my opinion, this is not an OCD habit but is really because I get so many ideas and thoughts that I have to write them down or I'll explode! Or I'll forget to do things I wanted to do, my brilliant ideas will be lost!

My favorite tree in spring
If you know me, this list and writing thing doesn't surprise you (hello, this is a blog). I also love to clean and organize which might actually be a little OCD. I'm really excited to clean out my closet and throw out old junk. When I moved last year, I provided some helpful recycling tips including where to make donations and recycle electronics. Well, consider this a spring cleaning post about additional ways to donate, how to get into the spring spirit and how I'm giving myself a spring redo!

On Twitter a few weeks ago, I saw this tweet about something called the Fashion Project. It's a charity program where you can donate more high-end and designer clothes that will be sold on behalf of a charity of your choice. The charities are ones that are dedicated to helping women specifically and range from providing business clothes for women on job interviews to improving literacy rates among girls and women. Now, before you think I shop at designer stores like Gucci or Prada, some of the accepted brands include places like Loft and Banana Republic. In addition to benefiting great causes, for every 5 qualifying items you donate, you will be sent a $40 gift card to Nordstrom. You can donate clothes, shoes, accessories, handbags, all kinds of things! So that was spring cleaning, round 1: sending in 7 items for the Fashion Project. If you don't have items to donate, you can still support the cause by shopping at their online warehouse. They recently had their first in-person warehouse sale in Boston and it was awesome! Slightly chaotic as people scrambled through the piles of clothes and racks of dresses to find steals. I hope they have more warehouse sales in the future but this was just a pilot test.

Recap of the Fashion Project event last week
This probably hasn't come up but I have a brown thumb. I love plants and flowers and when I was a kid, I went through  many small potted plants that I inevitably over-watered. I killed a cactus once, that's how brown my thumb is. My mother and grandmother, however, are very good at keeping plants alive and thriving. My mom's gardens are crazy amazing and range from wildflowers to vegetable patches. I went through a phase of loving gardening and the idea of being self-sufficient so had a vegetable patch complete with tomatoes, peppers and broccoli. Living in a more urban environment for the last seven years (eek!), I've been limited to house plants. My brother gave me an air plant for Christmas in 2012 and I'm proud to say it's still alive! Yes, the lowest maintenance of plants being alive is an accomplishment. Inspired by this survival and a desire for spring, I'm going to give my little concrete patio a make-over for spring, complete with patio chairs, plants and easy to manage succulents.

So far, I've managed to get some herbs from home and plant some new succulents. My parents are moving so I took some of their outdoor patio furniture in an effort to convert my outdoor space. Stay tuned for the final results and potential unveiling party!

For the last spring cleaning piece, I've been spring cleaning my nearly non-existent workout routine and refreshing my look (sounds so vain!). When I moved here I joined the local YMCA and was very good about getting my money's worth by going many mornings each week to use their cardio machines. Winter saw a drop-off in my diligence though, it was just so cold and dark out. So I have canceled my gym membership after deciding it wasn't cost effective anymore. You would think this would result in working out negative amounts (because less than nothing is negative) but I have actually upped my fitness routine. Local stores like Athleta and Lululemon provide in-store classes after hours. These usually include yoga, pilates and other routines that require little to no equipment. They also host weekly running groups so now that it's nicer out, my plan is to start running again. Lastly, I won free classes to DanceFit Studio. With locations in Natick and Brookline, I'm looking forward to trying out some new routines and they have virtual classes for when I inevitably reach winter and don't want to leave my warm apartment. Other places I'm checking out include Studio Empower with some strange contraptions on their website and the free yoga session that start in June in Boston Common. No excuses to not work out!

DanceFit Studio in Natick
As part of the Hairraising fundraiser a few weeks ago, I got my hair cut at G2O salon and spa. I think they've made me a salon convert. I'm a SuperCuts gal but for a major change, I decided to seek out the fancy experts. This turned out to be a great plan! I cut several inches off my long locks and am now sporting a long bob which I absolutely love. For spring and summer, it's much lower maintenance and faster to dry. I highly recommend checking it out and ask for Whitney (tell them I sent you!).

The new 'do
That wraps up my plans for May-hem this month! With Mother's Day and Memorial Day coming up, I hope you are all spending some time with family or at least with brightly colored treats! Next on the blog will be another healthy dinner (we have a theme) and experiments with olive oil cake.

Signs of things to come!

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