Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's resolutions....

Enjoy this article from personal trainer and certified strength and conditioning coach Larry Kaplan.

Great suggestions and tips and can be applied not just to healthy living but an organized and more productive overall lifestyle.

Staying the fitness course

Fitness-wise, the celebration of the new year is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's an excuse to overindulge, which means launching the next 12 months in the worst possible way - with a hangover.

On the other, it's when we resolve to do better (always a laudable goal). And many of those resolutions center on the body - specifically, making it thinner and more shapely as a token of our inward and spiritual grace, not to mention overall hotness.

Making resolutions is easy, of course; keeping them, not so. That's why gym membership and attendance typically spike in January and then steadily decline.

Larry Kaplan has witnessed the phenomenon often. A personal trainer and certified strength and conditioning coach, Kaplan, 40, runs a gym called Varsity Fitness in the basement of the Cynwyd Club in Bala Cynwyd.

There, Kaplan specializes in enticing children to embrace fitness and in improving the performance of elite athletes, especially tennis players. He has an array of exercise devices designed to increase strength, power, agility, coordination, and explosiveness.

Keeping people motivated is a personal trainer's central task, and lack of motivation is the main reason so many body-improvement resolutions collapse. How to better the odds? I asked Kaplan to share his suggestions.

Be patient and realistic. Don't expect to look like a supermodel or Adonis in a week, a month, or even a year. Set modest, easily achievable goals each time you work out. Compete with yourself. Try to improve or increase one thing. For instance, boost the load, add a rep, go slightly faster.

Meanwhile, don't look at the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat, and it takes time for your body to adapt and change. How do your clothes fit? How do you feel? Those are the important questions.

Don't overdo it. Your body can handle only so much stress, especially if you're deconditioned. Many people stop working out because they get sore. Getting sore is not the object, and it doesn't mean you had a good workout. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you're pushing too far, too fast, or too hard. Pain is its way of saying "STOP!" Heed it.

Dedicate your workout to a loved one. Lift weights to make your arms and back more sexy for your boyfriend or husband. Run at a brisk pace to pare your gut and fortify your heart so your wife doesn't become a widow and your daughter doesn't lose her dad before you can walk her down the aisle.

Hire a trainer(if you can afford one). Once you've booked an appointment with a trainer, you're more likely to show up and stick to it. A good trainer will encourage you, keep you motivated, and manage your progress so you don't get injured.

Vary your routine constantly. If you keep doing the same thing, your body will deliver the same results. Change is good not only for your body but also for your mind; it will keep you from getting bored.

"If a guy from outer space went to the gym, he'd think a treadmill makes people fat," Kaplan says. "That's because so many people do the same thing - they walk for 30 minutes at three miles an hour. Something is better than nothing, but you won't lose weight or change your body unless you challenge yourself. Examples: Walk two miles at a 4 percent incline, or intersperse the 30 minutes with one- or two-minute intervals at higher speeds to add intensity.

Build your fitness regimen around something you love.Kaplan remembers hearing a trainer tell a client, "I don't care if you hate doing this. Do it for 30 minutes anyway." Kaplan was appalled. "There's always something else you can do," he says. "Find something you like and do it."

Which brings to mind my piece of advice for 2011 (and beyond), courtesy of Roger Rosenblatt's delightful book Rules for Aging. I refer to Rule No. 16: "Do Not Go to Your Left."

Rosenblatt explains: "Going to one's left - or working on going to one's left - is a basketball term for strengthening one's weaknesses. A right-handed player will improve his game considerably if he learns to dribble and shoot with his left hand and to move to his left on the court.

"What is true for basketball, however, is not true for living. In life, if you attempt to compensate for a weakness, you will usually grow weaker. If, on the other hand (the right one), you keep playing to your strength, people will not notice that you have weaknesses."

In short, in the gym, and in other realms of your life, if you do one thing very well, keep doing it. "Establish your strength," Rosenblatt exhorts, "and strengthen it."

Contact columnist Art Carey

at 215-854-5606 or

Sunday, December 26, 2010

spending money to save money

"Organized people save time and money, and reduce their stress and frustration levels. Professional organizers can help you deal with everything from your paper to your professional responsibilities and give you parameters on what to keep, what to toss, and where to take action."


Cleaning, cooking, hosting, cleaning...

This article from the NY Times, "For the Hyper-Neat, a Special Strain Comes With the Season" By JOYCE WADLER, highlights the planning and organizing that goes into many of the meals and parties we host week to week.

It seems no matter how much time you have there are always the last minute things you didn't get done in time. And when I do get everything done in time, I try to sit and enjoy it, even if for a moment. Our guests are not slobs, by any means, but crumbs get loose, dishes get dirty and counter-tops dirtied and I start thinking after the guests leave how to tidy it back up as quickly as possible.

This is 1 reason why we don't have pets, shedding/hair, not interested in cleaning that up. This article made me see that I am not the only one who enjoys entertaining and preparing but also feels that similar feeling at the party's end.

Our home is fairly organized and I think starting off on that foot makes it easier to maintain and clean up when we have less energy to put things away or clean.

Much like Vern Yip, quoted in this article "Although he vacuums around his Christmas trees at least twice a day, he will never bring out the machine while a guest is there."

*Thanks to friend (AC) to bringing this article to my attention.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is your home cluttered?

Courtesy of AOL's homepage, and thanks to Husband who is the only person left I know who has an AOL email account, this heading caught my eye.

Take this quiz for yourself...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another great way to sort your closet and make $$$....

Nancy Brenner, expert shopper, reports on another great way to make money of the old clothes in your closet. Enjoy the article in Forbes and happy hunting....the proof is in the wardrobe.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The UBS Dress Code: Do's and Dont's

I caught this article on "In the papers" on NY1 this morning. I couldn't believe I was hearing the "do's and dont's" see below.
To me this seems like basic life maintenence but if not could be an incentive to work with a professional organizer/LMSW to help get you set for the do's....

The Wall Street Journal

Dress to Impress, UBS Tells Staff

First impressions count. This is the message Swiss bank UBS AG is sending its Swiss retail banking staff with a 43-page code dispensing advice on how to impress customers with a polished appearance.

Echoing rules applied at Swiss boarding schools, UBS's guidelines go beyond a list of dress "do's" and "don'ts" by providing hygiene and grooming tips often dotted with aphorisms worthy of fashion and beauty magazines.

The move is part of a test UBS is carrying out in Switzerland across five pilot branches. It follows a recent advertising campaign aimed at re-establishing confidence in the Swiss bank's brand and mending relations with clients.

The UBS Dress Code: Do's and Don'ts


For women:

  • Wear your jacket buttoned.
  • When sitting, the buttons should be unfastened.
  • Make sure to touch up hair regrowth regularly if you color your hair.

For men:

  • Store your suit on a large hanger with rounded shoulders to preserve the shape of the garment.
  • Schedule barber appointments every four weeks to maintain your haircut shape.
  • Eating garlic and onions
  • Smoking or spending time in smoke-filled places
  • Wearing short-sleeved shirts or cuff links
  • Wearing socks that are too short, showing your skin while sitting
  • Allowing underwear to be seen
  • Touching up perfume during or after lunch break
  • Using tie knots that don't match your face shape and/or body shape

As if taking a cue from style manuals, which often stress the importance of well-cut basic outfits in neutral colors, the bank expects its retail banking staff to wear suits in dark grey, black or navy blue, since these colors "symbolize competence, formalism and sobriety."

Short skirts are off limits for female staff, who are told the ideal length should reach the middle of the knee. Showy accessories and trendy spectacles are a no-no. The document isn't short of handy grooming tips.

"Light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet lipstick ... will enhance your personality," the code says, while advising women not to wear black nail polish and nail art.

The hair-care section notes studies have shown that properly cared-for hair and a stylish haircut "increase an individual's popularity."

AFP/Getty Images

Oswald J. Gruebel, chief executive of Swiss Bank UBS, speaks during a press conference in Zurich earlier this year.On the other hand, designer stubble is out of the question for men, as is excessive facial hair.UBS's advice for men even extends to underwear, which should be of good quality and easily washable, but still remain undetectable. Black knee-high socks are preferable as they prevent showing bare skin when crossing legs, it says.

Strong fragrances are unadvisable in the presence of customers, along with garlic and cigarette breath, the code says. The solution: "Avoid garlic and onion-based dishes."

Accessorizing for male staff excludes items like bracelets and earrings, but wearing timepieces is encouraged, since wristwatches suggest "reliability and great care for punctuality."

UBS spokesman Jean-Raphael Fontannaz acknowledged that the code may appear very detailed and "in line with Swiss precision," but pointed out that these guidelines were originally set up for temporary staffers who may be new to working in a banking environment.

He said the dress code may be rolled out in all UBS's branches in Switzerland if the test proves successful. "Even so, only around 1,500 [employees] would be affected, less than 10% of our staff in Switzerland," Mr. Fontannaz added.

"The goal is for clients to immediately know that they are at UBS when they are entering the bank," he said. "After the test phase we may implement the dress code, or adapt it, or not use it at all."

—Anita Greil in Zurich contributed to this article.

Write to Elena Berton at

Item reccomendation of the month...

Yes, it has been a while since I my last post. I have been organizing, researching and learning new tips and ideas. I wanted to share it forward with my readers.

Ottomans. Functional, storage, additional seating and good all around for just putting your feet up. I just purchased this ottoman from Overstock. It is under $100, free shipping and very versatile. Inside I have stored blankets for the couch and guests sheets and pillows. A bonus tip about this item, you can collapse it and store it under your bed or in a closet if you need more space!

For me it's about multi-purpose. I think this item is a great addition to apartment living and wanted to share it with you.