Does it give you joy? Life-changing tips, tidying up

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This is a perfect time to talk about a book that’s been out a while. As you organize your closet to transition from summer to fall, let’s look at “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Organizing and Decluttering” by Marie Kondo.

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Personally, I think I am already a tidy person. So only after this little book was on the bestseller list for 44 weeks did I finally decide to investigate this phenomenon.

Here’s the line that hooked me to read it: “You only do this tidying up process once.” Could this be true? The author, a famous Japanese cleaning consultant, has conducted hundreds of sold-out seminars and high-priced private consultations. She claims that no clients or students who complete the tidying up process and follow her instructions have suffered from “rebound” – reverting to their pre-training clutter and disorder. Intriguing!

The author is truly an expert in the area. Throughout the book are anecdotes about a childhood spent organizing items – hers and other people’s – at home, at school, everywhere. I’ve never heard of anyone who’s spent more time thinking about sorting, discarding and storing. This woman has studied books, analyzed theories, experimented with all kinds of techniques and models, and practiced her ideas on thousands of clients.

The result is this unusual and highly specific how-to guide. First she encourages you to find your motivation for changing old habits. That’s where the magic comes in. She gives lots of examples of how a less cluttered house can lead to a less cluttered life and a realignment of priorities.

It is a cleverly written book – rather charming, even. She suggests having a relationship with your stuff: appreciating your T-shirts as you fold them, thanking your shoes for their service as you place them by the door, finding the right place for an item to feel most comfortable.

While I could give you a summary of the tips, I think you really have to read the book to have her ideas to sink in and be infused with the “KonMari” process. It boils down to holding an item and asking yourself: “Does this item give me joy?”

I’m pretty sure the thought process that is going to help me the most is the author’s perspective on thanking an item for the joy it gave you at one point and then letting it go, regardless of why you’ve held on to it for years.

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Someone special may have given it to you, you might have worn it on a special occasion or you feel guilty that you’ve never worn it – whatever. The author says it served its purpose, even if that purpose was learning what not to buy in the future. It’s OK to get rid of it now.

While reading, I couldn’t help wonder how this process might work on other members of your household. My husband Sammy is a keeper of things. I am a “throw it away pretty quickly” person – and, then, dog gone it, often I need that item right after I throw it away. Sammy doesn’t seem to have that problem.

Last weekend I started asking Sammy, “Does that item give you joy or can I ditch it?” Sammy replied that he needs and finds joy in everything (!) he has.

I haven’t started any tidying up, but I have a friend who just finished the book and spent a whole weekend getting started. The KonMari method, which the author says can take up to six months, is all about following a sequence of discarding. You start with your off-season clothes. After years of trouble parting with clothes and accessories, my friend surprised herself, filling six garbage bags of items to give away.

As you will discover, the author is a fanatic about folding. The key is not stacking things horizontally in a drawer, but folding them to stand up vertically, so you can see everything. My friend followed the folding guidelines and was amazed at the space that opened up in her dresser!

Encouraged by her success, she went through her purses, shoes and socks: no problem. But when she gathered all 84 of her scarves and shawls, she ran into a bump.

Following instructions, she spread them all out, sorted them by material and color and then held each one and asked herself if it “sparked joy.”

When all was said and done, she could part with only two. There’s no guarantee that this method will work for all your belongings!

If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear your feedback. Who has followed the instructions, and are you happy with the results? Is it true you never need to “tidy up” again?

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Celebrating 45 years of trends: Best of fall 2015

Fringe crossbody bag- - Photos by Eduardo MunozLast week, Tres Mariposas celebrated 45 years of fashion, friendship and fun with a Fashion’s Night Out fundraising party. We loved seeing old friends and making new ones. The guests enjoyed shopping – and we enjoyed sharing a portion of the proceeds for each purchase with the FEMAP Foundation for all the good works they do in our community on both sides of the border.

For the party, we wanted to tell this season’s style story with models wearing some of the top current trends. But first we wanted to focus on which trends seemed to be most appealing and most likely to stick around a while. Here’s what I would say are this fall’s best trends:

Ponchos with panache

Ponchos with panache

Ponchos, ruins and capes – all these wraps are practical and instantly impart a trendy, fashionable look. Variations are endless and perfect for any occasion – casual and sporty to throw over denim, detailed with fringe or fashion accents, fun furs for socializing or bold prints. Ponchos are easy layering, instant chic and great for any body type. Choose your favorite for mixing and matching with your essentials.

Leather, suede, fur

Fur VestReal or faux furs and leathers starred on almost every designer’s fall runway. You will see this trend in a statement piece, such as a knockout jacket, or a design detail on a handbag. These days, designers are mixing fabrics and leathers for interesting textural combinations in a lot of great pants, blouses and jackets. By the way, leather or “pleather” leggings are a must.

Fringe

Fringe crossbody bagFringeSwinging and swaying from every possible surface, tasseled trims offer an alternative route into this season’s retro mood. Women can’t get enough of fringe and tassels. This embellishment offers a great vibe – part hippie and part luxury – and adorns everything from handbags, shoes and boots to skirts, dresses, vests, you name it. Fringe communicates fun, channeling a rock star, the bohemian life, Vegas showgirls or Wild West chic.

The mini bag

Mimn bagGood things come in small packages. Vogue calls it the “mini-me movement.” Virtually everyone from Fendi to Tory Burch has this latest must-have. Micro purses are perfect for social occasions where you just need your phone, credit card and keys. No one needs to be a pack mule with a heavy oversized bag all the time. These bags are fun and flirty and downright adorable.

Boots

Over-the-knee boots, called OTKs, are making the ultimate style statement. Close on their heels are knee-high boots, booties, chunky rugged boots, platforms, and low-heeled flat boots and wedge styles. Some are downright works of art, with laser-cut patterns, fringe, delicate lace-up designs and feminine high heels.

In vest

Not the discreet underpinning of the past, the vest takes center stage for fall as the ideal piece in long and lean silhouettes. Call it a long vest, call it a gilet, call it a sleeveless jacket – whatever you call it, the menswear-inspired piece is the ideal item to add to your wardrobe for transitioning to fall. It will work well into the season, especially in that fickle early fall weather when it’s not quite hot, not quite sweater weather. It’s polished enough to take you into an important meeting at work and cool enough to wear over a summer dress for after-work cocktails.

Cross body bag

mini bag2Both chic and practical, long-strapped bags are making a major comeback this season. Not only is this style functional, theft-resistant and hands-free, it looks super chic slung across an equally stylish outfit. You’ll see a variety of bags worn across the body, including mini bags, satchels, messenger bags or the classic clutch.

What’s great about this fall’s trends is their versatility. These are styles that look good on any age and body type. Look for them on your next shopping trip and be ready to rock these new styles!

UTEP Football and Arkansas Family Roots

UTEP v. ArkansasI don’t tell just everyone that I grew up in Arkansas. After all, I am supposed to be a fashion icon, not a hillbilly with a country drawl and a hankering for moonshine!

Nevertheless, I was born in Arkansas, have lots of family history in Arkansas, and moved to El Paso when I was 12.

While I don’t remember my first Arkansas football game, I’m pretty sure my dad took me when I was just an infant. My dad, granddad, aunts, uncles and sister are all University of Arkansas graduates. I learned early to “call the hogs,” which is an obnoxious cheer for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Long story short, my hubby, Dr. Sam Paredes, is a big UTEP fan. He “claims” – although this may be a little self-serving – that he likes to choose a UTEP football opponent venue each year that will be a good place for me to visit.

This year he decided it would be good for me to connect with my Arkansas heritage, so we went to the season opener against the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville used to be a small college town. Now it is a key part of the Northwest Arkansas corridor, which includes Bentonville, Rogers and other towns. Northwest Arkansas doubled in population between the 1990 and 2010!

Growth has been driven by Fortune 500 corporations: Walmart Stores, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Tyson Foods, as well as over 1,300 suppliers and vendors drawn to the region by these giant businesses. The region has also seen significant investment in amenities, including the fantastic Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, built by Alice Walton, one of Sam Walton’s children.

Accompanying the UTEP football team to an out-of-town game is exciting. It is mind-boggling just how much preparation goes into each trip.

We know the coaches and players practice, strategize and work hard toward winning each game, but few people know just how much work it takes to plan transportation, lodging, meals, training facilities, medical support, media opportunities, equipment transport and more. Whew!

You’ll always see some die-hard UTEP football fans accompanying the team to away games. It is heart-warming to see the passion and dedication, no matter win or lose, of players, staff and fans.

It was so fun to see the police escorts meeting the team plane at the airport. We boarded team buses and we felt like big celebrities as police cleared traffic, red lights flashing, and led us to town!

After we arrived Friday afternoon, Sammy and I walked the campus. A University of Arkansas tradition is that every graduate’s name is etched into a concrete sidewalk that winds around campus.

I had fun finding the names of my grandfather and his sisters in front of Old Main in the graduating classes of 1917 to 1922. The next generation of family graduates came in the 1940s, and the most recent was in 1981. It was like a treasure hunt!

Who knows where we might watch UTEP in the future, but I loved this trip – even if our Miners didn’t win!