Wednesday Wellness: Journaling

Welcome, Friends! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesday’s as I noted many of my friends an creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey as I explore mental health and self care, stumbling along the way!

Even before I was an author, I was a writer. I vividly remember when I was six years old, I insisted that my dad drive me downtown to buy a diary. I have always written in one form or another: journals, stories, blogs. (If you write a blog post and nobody reads it, is it a journal?) Did you have a pen pal when you were a kid? I had several. Some of those letters were epic, let me tell you! It was a form of journaling.

Currently I am journaling in no less than five journals. And that’s not even all of them! I can think of two more which I have only temporarily abandoned, and one more which I would like to replace. (Then there’s a really fun one I might want to start up again!) Let me explain.

Each journal has its own function and purpose. I can keep five journals simultaneously because each has its own design and intention. First, I’ll start with my daily planner. Sure, I use it to organize my future plans. But I also use it to keep track of what I do from day to day. See my posts on creative, decorative journaling and how it helps me manage my anxiety. #PlanforMagic Journal No. 1.

Journal No.2. This is my work notebook. Similarly, it is my list collection of daily activities, but at work. This is something i reference often something when I have a similar instance, and want to recall how i processed something. Recently, I changed the way I use it. I now refer to it as my Success Log. See my post here on how to keep a success log. Basically I now track what I did, instead of listing what I have to do. I find this mindset helps keep anxiety at bay. Of course, I till need to track my To Do items, so I write them on Post it’s and stick them on the facing page. This practice reminds me of the Word Banks that we used in creative writing in school. Use these words. Do these things. But it’s okay to keep moving them to the next day, accordingly.

Journal. No. 3. At my birthday brunch a couple of months ago, everybody gave me a journal. How delightful! My besties know me so well. Here is one of them. Isn’t it gorgeous? This one reminds me of Lucy’s journal in the TV series Timeless. I am using this one for traditional journaling, by this i mean recording feelings and processing difficult subjects. Like what, you ask. Oh just the basics, you know, inspiration and mortality…

Journal No. 4 is my book journal. This is a entralized place dedicated to my book writing. It is part organization, part freewriting, part collage. I cut and paste in images, doodle, list, the like. I have some larger worksheets that I fold and insert in the back. I may list questions that I have for further research. I may list websites which have been helpful to reference.

Journal No 5. I received this one as a gift. With my success with my work journal and my personal daily planner, I decided to try this one. It is basically an interactive goal-setting workbook. I appreciate how it guides you. This one is designed for career and professional goals, but I think I am using it more for personal goals. It is like having a personal coach in your back pocket. In the past, I have used Leonie Dawson’s guides for this purpose. Here is a link to the Acheivement Journal I am using now. Here is a link to the Life Goals workbook I have used before.

Not pictured: Gratitude Journal. Last year I used a guided gratitude journal that was in almanac style. I realized quickly that my daily planner (journal no 1) was the source and reference for completing my gratitude journal. Although you can use a gratitude journal daily, I found that I would often have Gratitude Sessions, in which I would sit in a cafe and open my daily planner to where I’d left off in my gratitude journal. I’d review the planner, taking one thing per day to write about in my gratitude journal. I found it to be a great way to savor my memories, as well as my coffee or tea! I began to look forward to my practice of self care in this way.

Travel Journal: I always encourage my children to keep a journal when we are on vacation, just as my parents did for me, when I was a kid. Last summer my daughter and I each created our own travel journals: smaller booklets with diary entries, weather tracking, memorabilia and photos. This is a good, first activity if you are overwhelmed by the idea of journalling, because it is contained and limited in scope. Read my post “Dear Diary” about how special it was to read my friend’s travel journal after she died.

Training journals: I keep a notebook for professional trainings I attend. I keep a separate notebook for personal development sessions- coaching, podcasts, or webinars.

Collage Journal: This was a favorite activity I started in 2011. The memorabilia and paraphernalia is what makes the collage journal magic. Here is a sample of my collage journal spread.

Bullet Journal: this is a modern minimalistic journal practice. It is very trendy now. I have seen examples that are simplistic habit trackers and goals/ lists, and others with ornate doodles and drawings. Usually done with a small journal with grids, you make a table of contents and may use a code. Bullet Journaling/ Bujo also has a cult following. This is another good introduction into journaling. This can be an “everything” journal, in which case you may need to replace it every month. Try it for 30 days. See if it works for you!

Do you journal? What kind of journalling do you practice?

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Friday Friends: Mo Quintana & tomiandcleo

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays I like to feature creatives and entrepreneurs. Allow me to introduce you to a very special friend: Mo Quintana from tomiandcleo ❤️ I met Mo in the eighth grade, can you believe it? She had the best book recommendations. I’m so excited to follow her successes and adventures. Read on to meet Mo~ and at the end you will find a link to her Etsy shop as well as a special discount code for my readers. Thanks, Mo!

  1. So, what have you created and produced? 
I am a designer of things. I was trained as a graphic designer, and in college (and after) got into designing for live theater, specifically lighting, costumes and sets. And a little more than a year ago, left a corporate job to design and make art jewelry.
Currently I make jewelry in small batches from polymer clay and sterling silver.
2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?
I feel strongly about animal welfare. Art and music education are essential to a well rounded human as well. Not to mention continuing education and practice keeping that human sane and engaged.
3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
My creative process follows two paths. If I’m designing for either a client or a theatre production, it’s mainly about problem solving. For instance, designing a set for a production of “Cabaret” is very collaborative. If designing and building costumes for the same, then there is much collaboration with not only director and producer but also actors, prop designers, musical directors and choreographers. Theatre design begins with research, drawings, mood boards, production meetings, then build and making changes. It’s pretty satisfying to see a production I’ve worked on. It’s also pretty fleeting. Live theatre productions (amateur) only last for maybe 2 months. I will usually work a show making repairs if I did costumes, but otherwise, what is created doesn’t live long.
The second path is creating something by myself. This is interesting for me, since I’ve worked collaboratively for most of my working life. This path usually starts with research. I decide what I’d like to create, make sketches and do research, then plan out the pieces, get supplies, make the pieces, fix the pieces or scrap them if they aren’t turning out well and finish them. Then I either wear, give them away, or sell them.
I found when doing the graphic design for my own jewelry brand that I badly missed having the feedback of other designers. The worst part of design school and indeed working as a designer was the critique. When others tell you that what you’re doing isn’t working, that becomes stressful and causes anxiety. However, to be a good designer, you can’t work without it. So I found some colleagues to give me feedback. Talk about growing up.
4. What do you like to do for fun?
I like to crochet, read fantasy books, and watch special features in my favorite movies, over and over and over. I like to sing and play Sims 4.
5. What is one unusual thing about you?
I’m very organized. Since I’m an artist, most people will think I’m the messy creative type, but everything in my world is alphabetized, color coded, and sorted by size and use. It’s helpful when one has a bajillion beads and too many art supplies. I spent a lot of time in my previous job figuring out how to produce many things in the most efficient way possible, and that has permeated every part of my life. From baking to painting to making lots of post earrings, there’s always a workflow exercise involved.
6. What music inspires you?
Normally I play chill vibe music on Pandora when actually making things. I prefer ambient music without lyrics for creating. If i’m producing things and doing repetitive work, I’ll listen to big band, pop music, funk and R&B, and usually sing along.
7. How many books did you read last year?
Probably, counting audio books, 30+.
8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?
Ranch for most things, blue cheese for buffalo wings.
9. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a new type of earring set design which is gender neutral. I’m learning how to make post earrings so that they won’t break when adhering sterling silver to polymer clay.
Next up is making some larger statement pieces, necklaces/pendants, and bracelets
10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?
As for TV, I normally wait for whole seasons to come out. I also rewatch shows multiple times. 
Some of those are:
The Great British Baking Show, Battlestar Galactica, Scandal, Sanctuary, Eureka, Person of Interest, Travelers, Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and anything about science and history. And castle building. 
I’m looking forward to the Episode 9 of Star Wars, and to Mortal Engines.
11. Do you have a theme song?
Great question! I probably have several. Looking at my favorite playlist, what jumps out are:
Harder Better Faster Stronger, Daft Punk
Happy, Pharrell Williams
Make Me Feel, Janelle Monae
I Like it Like That, Pete Rodriguez
Jump In The Line, Harry Belafonte
Amado Mio, Pink Martini
Sing, Pentatonix
Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars
Everybody Needs A Kiss, Benny Benassi and Sofi Tukker
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
Definitely that critique and feedback are painful but necessary.
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
I think that having a creative outlet is more important than ever. It helps keep you sane and hopeful. It matters not one bit if a person thinks they need to know how to draw or whatever. It’s never too late to start creating things.

Find Mo’s creations at tomiandcleo on Etsy

Click here to go to tomiandcleo on Etsy

Here is the special coupon code for my readers: DEEREADERS25

Friday Friends: Sapira Cheuk & Dolce Planner

Happy Friday, Friends! On Fridays, I like to feature creatives. I am delighted to spotlight artist-entrepreneur Sapira Cheuk of Dolce Planner. I personally have found her hand drawn designs to be the perfect enhancements for my daily planner. Her work is inspiring, literally inspiring us to do more, and to love our lives. Be sure to check out her online store! I hope you enjoy the interview. Welcome, Sapira!

1. So, what have you created and produced?

  1. I have 2 main creative outlet, first is my contemporary art practice and the second are my planner stickers. They are very different from each other and serves different purpose. I don’t see these two outlets as contradictory even tho they look and represent very different things, rather, I see them as different ways of expressing.
  • My contemporary art practice are mostly ink paintings on paper influenced by traditional Chinese brush paintings, the subject are usually about women’s embodiment and subjectivity. 
  • My planner stickers theme usually revolves around different girl themed activities or identities. 

2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?

  • Most of the works I produced have the female experience in mind. While I identify as a feminist, that identity is rooted in the believe of equality. 
  • 3. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

    It’s magic! Sometimes it feels like making a half-remembered dream real, sometimes I just start drawing and whatever takes shape, takes shape.

    4. What do you like to do for fun?

    I love to eat! I know it’s not good to link food with reward, but it’s sometime I look forward to mostly. I also love to draw, play Switch, drink wine, and go to museums/galleries.

    5. What is one unusual thing about you?

  • I love Star Trek, my favorite is TNG
  • 6. What music inspires you?

    My music taste is kind of all over the place, I would describe as indie electronic/pop. I keep a playlist on spotify specifically for painting. 

    7. How many books did you read last year?

    20ish – mostly audible 

    8. Ranch or Blue Cheese?

    Both!!! Both I especially love Ranch with pizza

    9. What are you working on right now?

    March Passion Planner Sticker subscription designs 

    10. What tv shows/ movies are you watching these days?

    I don’t watch a lot of TV, on weekends I like action movies. 

    11. Do you have a theme song?

    No… not yet

    12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?

    Do what you love and don’t give up! 

  • Thank you for letting me share a little bit of me today!
  • Websites: 

    www.sapiracheuk.com

    Friday Friends: Yancy Lael & The Reluctant Owlet

    Happy Friday, Friends! I love to introduce you to my creative friends and feature their newest creations. I’d already interviewed Yancy before, so I asked her to write about her writing journey. I think you’ll love getting to know Yancy. After reading The Fox at the Door, I was so excited to hear about her newest release ~ a picture book entitled The Reluctant Owlet. Take it away, Yancy!

    My path to writing was not a straightforward one, something that still surprises me, to this day. It’s surprising because I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I loved writing and books since I was a very young child. 

    By the age of 10, I was 100% certain of my destiny to become a writer. At the time, my parents decided to write a cowboy romance novel (a marriage of each of their favorite genres).They had decided to write under a pen name. They chose my first name and an old family name for their pseudonym: YancyJohns. They printed out business cards using that pen name; underneath the name was the word writer.

    They had one of the business cards laminated and attached it to their new typewriter. When I looked at that card and saw my name and the word writer, I knew that was my destiny. 

    I spent my teen years writing novels in spiral-bound notebooks. That’s right – handwritten. We only had one computer back then and I had to share it with five other people. So if I wanted to spend most of my time writing, I had to do it by hand. 

    When I was 19, my uncle gave me his old laptop. It’s humorous to remember it now, that archaic machine that weighed close to 15 pounds. It was so large, it would never be called a laptop by today’s standards, but in 1996, it was quite sophisticated. I felt so lucky to have my own computer. I had finally become a real writer, clacking away at a keyboard that belonged solely to me. 

    By the time I was 26, I had written four or five complete novels. I was quite proud of a few of them, though too afraid to send them in to publishers. (It wasn’t quite so important to get an agent back then.) 

    One story really stuck with me. It followed a young man in his twenties who was trying to find a way to deal with a sister who had become an addict and was, by the time the novel started, in a coma after a car accident. When I was done writing the novel, I realized the character I had loved the most was the one in the coma – Mary Raedwolfe. I rewrote that book from scratch three times until it became what my readers now know as The Poison Box. But still, I was too shy to share it with others, so I left it on my hard drive, untouched, for many years. 

    By my thirties, though I can’t really say I had tried very hard to get published, I was so discouraged with writing that I decided to pursue my Plan B – teaching. If I couldn’t write, at least I could help the kids in my community get excited about writing! I thought I was done as a writer. I thought I would get married and have kids and keep teaching and that would be that. It was hard to let go of my dream, but it just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. 

    In 2010, I found that I wasn’t very satisfied with teaching. I needed to find another outlet for my creativity – preferably one that could supplement my teacher’s income. I’d always been very interested in nature and natural healing, and had struggled for decades with acne that I only ended up healing through homemade natural remedies concocted with herbs and organic oils. I knew I could help people dealing with similar struggles and feed my creativity by opening a bath and beauty shop on Etsy.

    My little shop, Five Seed, was the joy of my life for the few years that it was open. I loved writing blog posts, product copy, and social media updates. I loved designing the labels and photographing the products in creative ways. And I absolutely adored mixing up different herbs and oils and waxes and turning them into finished, healing products. 

    I truly loved being a shop owner at the time. It was such a rewarding experience, and a true balm for my heart during a tumultuous time in my family life. 

    Unfortunately, my shop didn’t last long. In 2013, Etsy, prompted by the FDA’s new regulations, issued an edict that herbal shops could no longer talk about herbalism, healing, or even herbal folklore. Everything was off-limits except listing the ingredients in the products. As you can imagine, sales plummeted. The personality of my shop and educational aspect of it were lost. And really, who would buy a product with no listed benefits?

    It took me a couple of months to really come to terms with what was happening, but ultimately, I decided to let the shop go. As the experience came to an end, many of my amazing, devoted customers asked me to share my skincare secrets in a booklet. I laughed, at first, at the thought of returning to writing…but eventually, the idea seemed like the only thing to do after the shop closed. Initially, I envisioned writing a short e-book. But as the months went by and I couldn’t stop writing, I realized that this was going to be a major project.

    Once I was finished with the manuscript, I realized I had to figure out how to distribute it. I discovered Amazon’s platform and decided to start there. It took me almost a full month to format that book, but eventually, in October, I was able to release Soulful Skincare. 

    Some women imagine what it will feel like when they put on a wedding dress for the first time. I, on the other hand, had always dreamed of holding my first book. And let me tell you, it was everything I had imagined. I was exhilarated. 

    Somehow, I had become a writer. 

    It wasn’t the way I expected. I had always thought I would get a publishing deal and sell a novel as my debut work. Who knew that the universe would trick me into writing a self-published self-help book about acne, instead? It seems so funny to me now.

    Once I’d gotten up my confidence, I pulled out the old manuscript that I’d held on to for so many years – The Poison Box. I think that sat on my hard drive, mostly untouched for twelve or fourteen years! Can you imagine how trippy it was to open it again and decide to finish editing it and put it out into the world? That was a big step for me.

    And then, like any writer would, I kept going. There’s no end to our stories, after all. 

    My cousin’s untimely death prompted me to publish the journal I’d kept during my trip to France with her and my ex-boyfriend. Then I finished the project that I’d wanted to write as a companion piece to Soulful Skincare – a book about radically accepting the way we look. And then came the debut of my series of adult fairy tales (don’t get all hot and bothered – they are G rated but written for an adult audience). 

    Then I achieved a huge milestone, a goal I’ve had for decades: Writing a children’s book! The Reluctant Owlet debuted earlier this year. This story follows an owl family – one I had actually observed in the woods in 2017 – as the youngest owlet faces her fears about leaving the nest. I’m so proud of this book. I loved sharing the story of these real-life owls with others. I’m proud of the artwork, which was based on actual pictures I took of the owls. And my brother even contributed photographs to the book, which makes it extra special. 

    So here I am, knocking out an average of two books each year. An unconventional writer, I suppose, and admittedly, a struggling one. I have yet to be able to pay the bills with my work. 

    But for now, it’s more important to me to tell the stories. I think the rest will come in time. I’ve just got to keep my head down and write what I’m asked to write. 

    There’s no point in giving up, really. I’ve certainly learned that. I do love it, after all. Writing is one of the most important parts of my life. I couldn’t breathe without it, without my stories, without the characters who have become my dear friends. 

    I think that’s really what it means to be a writer. That you’re willing to surrender everything to the stories that come to you. That you fight for every minute you sit in front of the blank page. That you put all your energy into completing the stories and getting them out into the world where they belong. 

    There’s something of service about it. Or maybe just obsession. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I’ll still be typing away over here, no matter what happens. Just like I imagined when I was 10 years old. I already saw my cosmic business card way back then and it said, simply: Writer. 

     

    You can buy The Reluctant Owlet on Amazon

    Read Yancy’s interview here.

    Follow Yancy on Twitter @YancyLael

    Friday Friends: Find Your Rainbow with Jenipher Lyn

    My dear friends, I’ve missed you. Thanks for checking back in. If you are new, Welcome! So glad to have you here. On Fridays, I like to feature authors and readers. I am delighted to spotlight artist-author-entrepreneur Jenipher Lyn and her new book release: Find Your Rainbow.

    Seems like only yesterday that I participated in a blog tour for her first book, How Being Stubborn, Depressed and Unpopular Saved My Life. (You can read that post here.) I appreciated very much the hand-drawn honesty in that book. Reading it, I felt understood. Jenipher had reached out and found my inner child. I looked forward to the time my daughter would be old enough to read it.

    I bought some of Jenipher’s stickers from her website. My daughter and I use them in our daily planners. Many times, her stickers are just perfect for that day, or that mood.

    As soon as I could, I pre-ordered Jenipher’s new book. I intended to share with my girl, but I was soon told that I need to order my own copy! This is an interactive book- as you will see.

    I can’t wait to start my own journey on this rainbow quest.

    Find Your Rainbow is by Jenipher Lyn. Get your copy now via Amazon, Target, and Jenipher’s website!

    Wednesday Wellness: Success Log

    Greetings, Friends!

    I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I noted how many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my quest for wellness as I stumble along the way– literally!

    Accidental Planner

    If you are reading this you likely already know that I am sort of the Accidental Planner, as a creative spontaneous type I eschewed formal list-making and such, until I became a mom.  I happened upon the Planning Community only two years ago and it really has changed my life.  Now I enjoy planning!  There are so many creative tools available to personalize your planning experience.  There are so many etsy shops with creative and functional stickers. There are Facebook groups and instagram for sharing layouts and ideas. It has taken me a little while to get into the groove, but now I know how to really USE my planner- in a way that works for me.

    good_vibes

    Good Vibes

     

    What Works for Me:

    I use a vertical weekly planner with 3 sections and no time stamps.  I like to list and use color, and of course, sticker! This was working very well for my life and life/work management.  I wanted to keep work details separate, so I keep a work-only notebook on my desk.  I used to keep To Do lists, but I found that to be somewhat anxiety-producing, so now I keep a Success Log.

    I keep a running list of what I do all day, as I do it. This allows me to feel more accomplished.  Instead of getting stressed about what I need to do, I feel satisfaction at having completed it.  At the end of the day, it looks like a To Do list, only it’s all Done.

    success_log

    Success Log

    When I Stumble

    Recently I took a bad fall and had to recover at home for a week.  My planner was a great tool for me during this time, as I had previously decorated it with inspiring stickers for the week. I also used some stickers that said “Over It” “Survived Today” and “Let myself rest.”   And my daily list became Reminders: Rest, Meds, Ice, Repeat.

    got_ice

    Got Ice

    But What About Deadlines?

    I do keep deadlines & priorities in the forefront of my mind by using the weekly sidebar on my life planner.  For my Success Log at work, I use a project management spiral notebook which has a blank sidebar, and numbered lines.  I also use the reminders feature in Outlook to keep my digital work calendar up to date.

    Memory Keeper & Gratitude Journal

    My life planner weekly spreads are so fun to create and decorate!  I often write in what we actually did, and even name the shows we watched and food we ate (or the amusement park rides we rode!).  It then becomes a memory keeper, which I can reference as I write in my separate Gratitude Journal. This is a good practice to keep staying positive.

    Quotes of the Month

    There is a blank page following the last week of each month in my planner.  I use this area to write funny or significant quotes that my family members say.  I found this was a really neat way to memory keep, as well.  Each member of my family has a different color for their events and quotes in my book.  My daughter is pink, and my son is orange.  So I can tell at a glance who said what.

    How do YOU stay organized?

    Please let us know in the comments!

    Read about my Plan to Have Fun philosophy here.

    Read about my 15 -year Historical Spreadsheet for Holiday Gift-Giving here.

    Wednesday Wellness: Planning Ahead for the Holidays and Gift-Giving

    Happy Wednesday Wellness, Friends! I started writing about wellness as I noted that so many of my friends and creatives struggle with balance, as do I.  Join me on my wellness journey!

    I haven’t always liked to plan. I’d been spontaneous all my life, until becoming a mom.  Then I started seeing the value of planning, researching and mapping out. I discovered the crafty stickering planning community. I still love the shiny sparkles of whatever whims, though, and the stickers really help!  (Read more about my planning here.) Yes, organized chaos is a too a thing.

    I just dusted off my 12 year historical gift giving spreadsheet, as I do every September.  I review the prior year for completeness, copy and paste a new year, and clear the contents.  I also add any new recipients, and sadly, hide anyone necessary. I don’t actually delete anyone, I just hide the row.  I may need to check what I got beloved Aunt Barbara before she passed away, as it may be a good idea for somebody else in the future. I also study last years budget vs. spend.  If I spent less for somebody, maybe that’s my new budget.  If I spent more on somebody, maybe that’s my new budget!  My niece became a teen this year, so her new budget is now the same as her older brother.  See?

    This is a gift-giving list, reference, and budget, all in one. My own family has a ton of birthdays September through January, so I track those here, too. Many times as my own children approached certain ages, I’d scroll back and look at what I got my godson when he turned 12, for instance. Or, where did I get that musical teapot that all two year old girls seem to love?  Scroll back- and I see the store and the price.  Have I already given so-and-so my favorite book?  Scroll back to that year I gave most everybody the same book… oh look, so-and-so wasn’t on my list yet at that time.   See what I mean? Super helpful.

    Here is a snapshot of a clean year.  I started on Excel, but I moved it to Google Sheets last year.  (I blacked out my budget so that my dear family members won’t see what I’ve budgeted for them.) But you can see from this template what I’m doing.  Many of my family members have two entries for their two occasions.  So I start shopping in September, and spread my shopping budget over ten paychecks (through January).

    Pro-Tip: Enter your spouse and children’s gifts in white font, so they won’t see it on the printout.

    list

    Nota Bene: Creative Gifts. Two years ago I made necklaces for my best friends and sweet cousins. So last year I made a different kind of necklace for them.  Earlier this year, my daughter and I made her a memory quilt using her favorite t shirts that she had outgrown.

    quilt

    We made this Memory Quilt together!

    As my godson approaches college age, its something I’d consider doing for him.  But I may outsource such a big project.  This may change my budget.  Or, I may bookmark that for his Graduation. I’m learning how to knit, maybe I will knit scarves and give some out as gifts!  Oh hey, I WROTE A BOOK THIS YEAR! maybe I can give somebody on my list a copy of my book.   (Maybe I can afford to outsource that quilt after all.)

    I hope you enjoyed learning about my planning tool.  Let me know if you try it this gift-giving season!

    How do YOU organize your shopping?