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Mary Poppins has got nothing on my bag. She might have a lamp in hers and some kind of black magic at work, but I’m pretty sure given fifteen minutes I could MacGyver my own lamp AND a handsome set of nesting tables all from the contents of my bag.

Meet My Bag

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Yes, I normally tote around a bag that looks as if it was used on the Pony Express, and yes, I could probably be subletting it out as a LES studio with a sleeping alcove, but I’ve just grown accustomed to lugging it around. The use of my bag has probably funded my chiropractor’s kid’s private school education, but I like to think of myself as an urban-free-thinking-all-inclusive-boy-scout-LMP that lives by the motto, “Be Prepared.” Over-prepared? Perhaps. But my sensible Marc Jacobs denim shoulder tote has yet to fail me.

Everything is in this bag and everything has to be. I’m all over this city doing anything at any given minute and have to have the things that help make “doing anything” possible. Though it can’t just be thrown all in there. There has to be some kind of method to the madness. I’ve organized (of course) all like things into zipper pouches. There’s one for electronics, one for office supplies, and one for sundries (love that word). Here take a look at what’s in this monster of a bag and how I keep it in line.

Meet My Electronics

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I’m MAC-centric… I blame good marketing!

My iPhone is my life line.

My charger is my savior

My MacBook is my rock.

My iPod is perfection.

I keep a microfiber cloth in there to keep my babies looking good!

And the all important USB, a must!

Meet My Office Supplies

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Post-its for quick note taking when I’ve got to remember what’s what, who goes where, and who’s who.

 Binder clips… you’d be surprised how handy these little guys are. Keeping papers and files in line, organizing electronic wires, or an emergency tailoring fix.

Rubber bands always a must.

Sharpie Marker… is there any other way to write?

 Uni-Ball Pen, because you always need a writing implement AND its the best pen EVER!

An envelope and stationary… because you’ll look like a hero when someone needs it.

Scissors… always handy. Just don’t forget to leave at home when going to the airport.

Mini-stapler… because my mini obsession is a sickness!

Super glue, a great quick fix for almost anything and its easier to carry around than Duct Tape (and less creepy).

Highlighter, it keeps you looking prepared for meetings and adds dimension to your doodles.

Stamps… because everyone asks for a stamp.

Meet My Sundries 

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A Mending Kit because sh-stuff happens.

Mints because no one likes a stinker.

Deodorant for those times you’re UNSURE.

Stain Stick… much like that mending kit.

Bacitracin and Adhesive Bandages, because an ouchy needs tending to.

 A Lighter is useful to have on hand to help set some mood lighting.

Tissues for the sniffles.

Chap Stick to keep those lips kissably soft and works as a good cuticle cream in a pinch.

A wine key… because when you need it, you’ll be happy you’ve got it.

With all due respect, take that Mary Poppins.

 

Post authored by Josh Schulteis. 

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Hey 2013! Been waiting for you, thanks a million for getting here. Gone is the December rat race of buy, wrap, give, repeat, and here is the new day we have been waiting for. Much though I love the festive fun that is the holiday season, my involuntary sigh of relief on December 26 was a sign I was more than ready to move on and face the new year, with renewed energy and certainly with some resolutions in mind. Here on Praxis we have mentioned the importance of goals once or a million times, so we can’t help but get on board with the cultural phenomenon of New Year’s resolutions. So what will you resolve yourself to in 2013? Here at BSLM we will work with the concept of ease in action, we will focus in on refining the how, while clearly articulating the what. Uh….what?! Right, so….

There are things you do everyday, habits, that are helter skelter, just admit it. When you get up in the morning do you run to the coffee machine in your pajamas, only to get there and realize you are freezing (which you are every morning), thereby necessitating a trip back to the bedroom and a rummage through drawers for a sweatshirt and a return trip to the morning altar? Try leaving a sweatshirt out next to the bed and putting it on as you sprint to your one true love, ease in action friends. The what = coffee to face ASAP upon opening eyeballs, the how = warmly and without instant irritation. Now you try. Look for places in your life where you experience consistent frustration. How can you make it go away? How can you make it easier?

Erin and Josh will give us some insight on how to find ease in very common actions or situations so we can all get off to a solid start. We will get a look at what the inside of a busy NYC assistant’s purse or bag looks like, answering the often exclaimed question “How do you always have what I need?!” in photo essay form. Simply having on hand the things you need to get through your day will make all of your actions easier, trust us on this one.

We will interview a few of our favorite doormen, post office friends and other service professionals to give you an inside look on how to get exactly what you need without resorting to eye rolling, muttered expletives and yelp.com complaints. Believe us, it’s so much nicer when you can easily and collaboratively problem solve with these kind folks, they are not trying to make your life harder – promise!

These are only two examples of how to streamline your life, and find ease in everyday action – but there are so many more! How do you do it? Tell us here, or share with us in Facebook and Twitter. As our holiday lady imparts, wishing you a 2013 with easy assembly!

Post authored by Brooke Stone. 

BSLM Holiday Card 5by7 FRONT copy copyBSLM Holiday Card 5by7 BACK copy copy

As Angela told us last week, gift giving can actually be GOOD for you! Putting some thought into a gift, instead of just giving something to give something, can be truly gratifying and make your friend feel like you really care about them. (Which you do!)

So you’ve hit the streets, hunting down that perfect gift… but now what? You can’t just hand over the shopping bag sans receipt. You have to make it look spectacular! Sometimes the appearance of a gift can elevate the gift to make it seem even better than it already is. A thoughtful wrapping job is just as important for making the receiver feel like you put that extra time and effort into it.

My number one recommendation on taking gift presentation to the next level: accessorize! It’s easy enough to slap some wrapping paper around a box, but by adding some gifting accessories, you can add just the right touch of personalization.

Here is my list of the top 5 gifting accessories:

  1. Ribbon: Tie it, curl it, twist it… the world is your oyster!
  2. Stickers: Grab some cute holiday stickers to give plain wrapping paper a boost.
  3. Markers: Same concept as the stickers – maybe let your kids doodle personalized drawings onto Grandma’s gift box – she will never undo the wrapping paper more carefully!
  4. The Bonus Gift: if you have a small item to add to the outside of the box, it makes it look like they are getting 2 presents in one! For example, tuck an organic chocolate bar under the string, or tie a small Christmas ornament to the bow. Maybe the gift is some homemade hot cocoa mix – tie a small stirring spoon onto the top of the box for mixing up the perfect mug
  5. And last, but certainly not least, my personal favorite: Grandma Clara’s Homemade Bow!!!!

My grandmother was the BEST at wrapping presents. Whether it was a HUGE box, filled with progressively smaller boxes that led down, 12 individually wrapped boxes later, to a very tiny gift (think a $50 bill or a pair of earrings) or just thinking outside of the box (no pun intended!), to put a very ordinary shaped item, into a very strangely shaped package.

She always kept you on your toes and you never truly knew what you were going to find inside, no matter how many times you shook it or turned it over. (Well, except for the golf balls. Dad ALWAYS guessed right on the golf balls.)

But even more amazing about Grandma’s gifts, were the handmade bows that she would put atop each and every present. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was very distinctly Grandma Clara. And when you saw that bow, you knew the gift had been wrapped with love.

Here are the 6 simple steps on how to make Grandma Clara’s bows:

 

Supplies: Curling Ribbon (cut to be approximately 2 arms lengths long) & Scissors

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Step 1: Spread your fingers apart, with your palm facing upward. Lay the ribbon across your palm, gripping one end between your pinky and ring finger, leaving approximately 6 inches of extra ribbon hanging; the other end should run between your thumb and pointer finger.

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Step 2: While holding onto the one end with your pinky and ring finger, run the ribbon back and forth in a figure eight pattern, with the “loops” going around your thumb and pinky finger, until there is about 6 inches of ribbon left hanging.

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Step 3: Pinch the center of the figure eight with your free hand and remove the ribbon bundle from your hand.

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Step 4: Tie the two loose ends in a knot around the center of the ribbon bundle so that it is tight.

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Step 5: Spread out the ribbon “loops” to create the bow look and use your scissors to curl the loose ends. You can tie the bow on using the 2 loose ends or attach it with tape.

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Happy wrapping!

Post authored by Beth Renoni.

Photographs by Brian Renoni. 

Oh October, the one month curly haired gals are almost guaranteed a straight run of perfect hair days, how I love thee. Crisper than September, but without the impending mania of the holidays, October is for nesting. It always feels like a preparation month. Well, I guess for people like me it kind of always feels like preparation month, but that’s beside the point.

This month on Praxis we will share with you our take on nesting. There is a fine line between storing up for winter and hoarding for the apocalypse, we will help you find it. You will hear from your very favorite Josh and from a new LMP Shavanna, and they will bring you into the season with all of the warm fuzzies – and none of the surplus baggage.

How will I nest this month you ask? Well, I just found out I will be the happy host of a dear friend’s baby shower the first weekend in November, so I think it’s time to tackle the stack of unpacked boxes in the corner(s). It’s true. There are still boxes. July wasn’t THAT long ago in the grand scheme of moving. Don’t judge.

Happy nesting!

Brooke

It’s September. My favorite month, actually. Aside from it being the month of my wedding anniversary and the birthdays of about 7 different family members, it’s when we get that first hint of fall! Labor Day passes and suddenly the air smells a bit crisper and you start itching to wear those boots and sweaters you have had packed away since spring. September also means back to school time which, for me, was JUST like that Staples commercial – the most wonderful time of the year! Skipping through the aisles of your favorite office supply store while tossing brightly colored pens and notebooks into the cart… but I digress…

As Brooke mentioned in her post last week, September inspires a shift in our lives. Back to reality. No more beach vacations or summer Fridays or days spent lounging at the pool. So how can we use this change for good? You guessed it – resolutions! That’s a fancy way of saying goals. Use this time as a way to inspire yourself to do those things that you have been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten around to actually doing. Resolutions don’t just have to be for the new YEAR – they can be for any new time in your life. Here’s a few tips on how to go about setting your September resolutions:

  • Make a list of everything you want to get done, and post it somewhere in your home or office where you can see it throughout the day. I find that if I make a list on my phone or computer, I forget to look at it! But if it’s sitting in the middle of the coffee table or hung up on the fridge, I’m more likely to remember.
  • One of the things that really helps me keep organized with the changing of the seasons, is to swap out my closet. I know, it sounds simple, but so many people don’t actually do this. The sweaters are hanging up right next to the sundresses, and the Uggs are piled on top of the flip flops. Which is fine, if you have a GINORMOUS walk-in closet that BSLM has organized by season. But for most of us – especially here in NYC – our closets are not exactly spacious. Take an hour (or two, if you have a lot of clothes) and just sort through everything. Move the summer stuff to a high shelf or back corner that’s hard to reach, and display those fall gems front and center! This will also make getting dressed in the morning a snap!

Now the final part of making resolutions or setting goals is always the hardest – ACTUALLY DOING THEM!

  • My best advice is to make your goals public. Post them on Facebook or email them to a few close friends and family, then ask them to check up on you to see how you’re doing. If your whole family is participating in these fall resolutions, have a weekly check-in to see how everyone is doing. Hopefully the fear of having to admit you didn’t do any of the things you said you would, is enough inspiration to get them done!
  • If you have a fitness or health related goal, you can sign up for GymPact (www.gym-pact.com).  You pledge an amount of money, per week, that you would like to receive for going to the gym/working out a certain amount of times. If you accomplish this goal, they PAY YOU! However, if you DON’T go to the gym, you have to pay them! Talk about motivation!

Now, if you need that last little push to get going on your fall resolutions, here’s a playlist that will surely have you bopping around the house getting things done before you even realize you’re being productive!


Post authored by Beth Renoni

Its springtime folks! And that means it’s time for a little Spring Cleaning. Time to fling open the shutters and roll up your sleeves and reclaim your space as a home, and not the den of hibernation you spent the winter in. Perhaps a light cleaning will do the trick or maybe an overhaul is in order. Whatever the case may be I thought I’d share some of my most favorite new uses for old things with y’all, so while doing your spring cleaning you can keep your eyes peeled for some of these otherwise overlooked items.

A Tape Cassette Case

if you haven’t shipped all of these off to the Smithsonian yet, you can repurpose it as a fantastic storage case for your earbuds. A great way to keep them neatly stored away and knot free.

Rubber Bands

I am a super fan of the rubber band, it is my MacGyver go to. But my favorite use for it keeps closets looking spit spot. Slipping a thick rubber band onto each of end of a hanger will keep those strappy little tanks and summer dress from slipping off and becoming unsightly heaps of strappy things.

Magnets

For those little metal office trash bins that seem to always lose their plastic liner at the bottom, try using magnets as trash bag holder! Just pull the trash liner over the rim of the trash bin and set at least 4 magnets around the edge to keep the liner in place.

So, those are some of my favorite new uses for old things. What are some of your favorite new uses for old things? Be sure to share them with us!

Post authored by Josh Schulteis

Applications for the iPhone (or, if you insist, the Droid or Blackberry) come at all price points, and in many shapes, sizes and…well…applications.  Many people use the obvious ones; Facebook, Gmail etc.  What many people don’t know is that if you look more closely at some of these apps (let’s exclude Angry Birds for the purpose of this discussion) you will find amazing time- and sanity- savers!

My favorite application, hands down, that I’ve installed recently is called “Things”.  I have two clients, a documentary and a casting project to manage.  And yoga teacher training.  And the mundane stuff (buying groceries, cleaning the apartment, plotting world domination…).  It was too much!  I thought I was going to start ripping my hair out, tracking tasks on google tasks and with all these different lists and spreadsheets!  It was too much.  It was clunky, I needed my projects separated but not so separated that I couldn’t have them all in mind.  And then I found Things!  It was like a new religion in iPhone gadgetry!

Things can be downloaded on your mac and your iPhone and will sync between the two.  You can use it to create tasks with due dates and separate those into projects as well as areas.  When I’m sitting down to work on my documentary, I click that area and see all the projects I need to do.  I see what is due imminently on top, and can easily understand my order of priorities without any further thought.  When I complete a task, I click that satisfying little checkmark and the app logs all my completed tasks.  I’m also able to create automatically recurring tasks; every month I need to reconcile Quickbooks for a client; that task generates with a due date automatically.

Things.  Changed my life.  It can change yours

Post authored by Laura Baron 

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