Decluttering tips for a New Year, New You

This 2018, don’t let mess ruin your success. Get ahead of your goals by starting off the year with a clean slate. You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but here’s why New Years Day is the best time to get the ball rolling on your NYE goals. As we start to take down the holiday decorations and ring in the new year, we can’t help but reflect on all that we’ve done in the months prior. Thus, the NYE resolution is born. Although our goals may vary in details, we all strive to accomplish one thing…living our best life. Whether it’s getting in shape, eating healthier, or striving to be a better version of you, we all go into a new chapter of our lives with the best intentions. Achieve your aspirations by getting organized this year. Ultimately if you declutter your home, your mind will follow suit leaving you more time to focus on what you set out to achieve. To start, I tackle the biggest projects first, using the most of my extra days off, and work on the smaller projects as the month progresses, however, you can do what works best for you. To start, I tackle my biggest project, the…

Pantry

Trying to commit to a healthier lifestyle this January? Then start with the basics. Your pantry! Even if you are content with your eating habits, a pantry cleanse is a great way to take inventory of everything you have and get rid of everything you’ve been stockpiling from your experimental cooking days. For example, I haven’t had white rice in over two years, yet in my pantry was 2 lbs of white rice. You don’t even have to waste all that unused food, donate unopened pantry items to a food drive or local shelter. Any opened items I found are typically no longer good or unhealthy in the first place. Unfortunately, they won’t be making the cut in 2018. Once my pantry was cleared, I was able to see what I needed to restock, also great when planning to buy in bulk,  and make room for healthier choices in the new year.

 

Bathroom Cabinets

Self-acclaimed beauty junkies, such as myself, are frequent offenders of having overflowing bathroom cabinets. In my cabinets, they’re overflowing with free samples. I’d say Sephora is to blame but I’m also not exactly turning down anything free. Not to mention, the abundance of unused products that haven’t been touched in well over a year. Keep the essentials, clear the clutter, and donate any unused products to a shelter near you. Women shelters are especially in need of makeup and feminine products. Use dividers, baskets, and trays to keep your cabinets neat all year long. In addition, any cleaning supplies that may be under sinks that you no longer use could be downsized or upgraded. Toss old sponges, gloves, and the hoard of plastic bags you get from the local store, as well. You have a whole year to start anew.

 

Closet

My closet gets three cleanings a year, once in the spring, once in the fall and in the new year. In spring and fall, I clear my closet of anything damaged, tattered, or not worn in the past two years. In the new year, I organize and arrange for all the new items I received post-holidays. Take the time to get anything hemmed, mended, or resoled. In addition, my sock and winter accessory drawers also receive a good cleaning as well. Gloves and socks are famous for losing their better half in my house. It’s also a great time to take inventory of basic items you need. The new year is a great time to put those gift cards to work and stock up on basic clothing items such as socks, t-shirts, underwear, etc. Don’t forget about your hallway closet, too.

 

Jewelry Box

If you’re not on top of your game when it comes to your jewelry box, (and let’s be honest I’m most definitely not,) your boxes, stands, and catch all trays can quickly turn into bottomless pits of tarnished jewelry, mismatched earrings, and broken chains. Out with the old and in with new, as they say. Sell any jewelry items that are out of date for cash. I once made $300.00 after cleaning out my jewelry box. Hello, vacation money. Clean the items you keep so that you walk into 2018 looking like a million bucks.

 

Computer

When we think of traditionally organizing our homes, technology is often overlooked. Your computer and cell phone are great ways to store important documents, helpful apps, and thousands of pictures. However, just like my patience, our storage has a limit. Especially my icloud! So with a new year filled with busy schedules and great new memories ahead, get rid of any old photos, documents, or unused apps you don’t think you’ll need in 2018. If you really have a hard time letting go, aka me, you can upgrade your icloud storage for a monthly fee, use a third party source like Dropbox, or get a back up hard drive and store everything on there. Beware of storing everything on a USB. I only use USB’s for short-term projects and even then, I back up everything on the USB as they can be unreliable and unexpectedly crash, trust me on this. Finally, be sure that everything is in working condition. Fix any minor technical malfunctions, get a new battery for your phone, and/or UPGRADE to the newest operating systems.

 

The “Messy” Drawer

The “messy” drawer goes by many names but can easily be identified by an overflowing supply of knick-knacks, pens, and takeout menu’s that should have been disposed of or put in its proper place ages ago. Keep the essentials and toss anything you have in excess.

 

Bonus Points

If you have the time, your car and attic/storage space could use a good decluttering as well. But can also be postponed until the spring depending on your upcoming schedule.

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Best of luck in the new year,

City Girl Riss

Show-Stopping Thanksgiving Side Dishes

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been dreaming about sinking your teeth into that delicious roast pheasant this upcoming turkey day. However, there’s plenty of room on your dining table for more than one star! I’ll be cooking the side dishes for my family feast this Thanksgiving. Speaking of giving, you can find my show-stopping side dish recipes on CBS local, here. When I think of sides, I think about my favorite vegetables and what I grew up eating during the holidays. Next, I pick out the vegetable, learn a classic recipe and build a flavor profile that compliments the main ingredient in a new and exciting way.  My cheesy Brussel sprout casserole, for example, is a modern take on creamed spinach, which has always been a long time favorite in my family. Using fresh herbs and easy to follow recipes, I’ll show you how to make this Thanksgiving a memorable one. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @citygirlriss for more tips, tricks and to see how my family reacts to the new and improved versions of their favorite side dishes! Be sure to scroll down for more Thanksgiving articles.

 

Show-Stopping Thanksgiving Side Dishes

 

8 Gluten-Free Recipes for Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving Dinner Alternatives to Turkey

How to Turn Your Thanksgiving Gathering Into a Party

8 Dishes to Enjoy While Watching Football

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Happy Thanksgiving,

City Girl Riss

 

 

The Ultimate Halloween Roundup

Halloween weekend is almost upon us! Which means things are going to start getting real spooky around here! If you didn’t know Halloween is my favorite holiday…which means I absolutely love writing articles about it. However, this October was a crazy month in both my personal life and at the office so I compiled together the ultimate Halloween roundup of archived articles! As for 2017, here are my top picks for the trendiest costumes this year…

Wonder Woman

Because who wouldn’t want to be Gal Gadot? Not only is she a bad ass in real life but she also plays one too as a strong female lead that we can all get behind in the new Wonder Woman movie.

Pennywise the Clown

As much as I hate to recommend this because clowns scare me….Pennywise. I’m still scarred from that random scary clown epidemic that happened across the US where creepy clowns were just trolling the streets. Of course, with the remake of the Stephen King classic, “IT,” the streets are bound to be filled with creepy clowns and you will most definitely be on trend this Halloween.

The Dancing Hot Dog from Snap Chat

We’ve all seen the filter, we all know the music, we’ve all made the snaps! Break out star of the year goes to the dancing hot dog from Snapchat! Buy a hot dog costume, carry around a Bluetooth speaker, and show us your best dance moves!

Beauty and the Beast

The live-action Disney remake of Beauty and The Beast was probably the best of the Disney remakes thus far and therefore is certainly a great option for this 2017 Halloween season.

Game of Thrones

Sing it with me…Da Na Na Na Na Na! With an epic finale this year, you’re bound to see several replicas of the seven kingdom’s favorite characters. However, if you’re like me the storyline development has made you fall in love with your favorite characters all over again as we find new romances, Khal Drogo who…, and, spoiler alert, ice dragons in the final season. Also, makes for great group costumes and epic sword battles…you’re welcome.

In the meantime….here are some great Halloween articles to keep you in “good” spirits all week long…

 

Step-By-Step Halloween Makeup Guide

 

5 Spookiest Halloween Travel Destinations

 

5 Scariest Haunted Houses in America

 

5 Pumpkin Recipes Your Kids Will Love

 

How to Turn Your Home into a Haunted House

 

Also, enjoy this amazing video by my friend of the dancing hot dog…

Happy Halloween,

City Girl Riss

 

Best Educational Gaming Apps for Kids

As a teacher and caregiver, parents frequently approach me expressing their growing concern for their child’s dependency on electronics. Today in 2017, the concern is not only real but completely plausible. Just like everything else in life, a happy life is a balanced one. Everything can be enjoyed in moderation. Set your own household guidelines and encourage kids to make good choices with in-app purchases as well as what they play. In this article I wrote for CBS, I share my tried, tested, and kid approved apps that are not only educational but also a lot of fun. You can read my top picks over at CBS local, here. Just in time for back to school!

 

Best Educational Gaming Apps for School Age Children

 

 

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Easy One-Pot Dinners for Back to School

Easy One-Pot Dinners for Back to School

The start of September means it’s time to go back to school with plenty of busy weeknights ahead. As a teacher, my nights also get busier leaving me more likely to dial the delivery man than open a cookbook. In this article I wrote for CBS, I’m sharing my go to recipes for a delicious meal that only uses one pot for a quick and easy cleanup. Whether you’re feeding a family of four or a party of one, fresh ingredients and little effort go a long way.  You can find the recipes on CBS local, here.

 

Easy One-Pot Dinners for Back To School Time

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Happy September,

City Girl Riss

How to Throw the Perfect Labor Day Party

How to Throw the Perfect Labor Day Party

As summer comes to an end, our days spent basking in the sun sipping on ice cold beverages in the great out doors with friends are limited. Say goodbye to summer and hello to fall the right way with an epic Labor Day soireé!  I’ve researched, tried and tested the best trends of summer compiling them all into three articles for CBS local. I’m breaking down step by step how to achieve the party of the year featuring delicious food, simple decor,  boujee cocktails, and the greatest lawn games! I’ve done all the ground work so that you can enjoy a stress-free Labor Day.  Check out the links below, and let me know what worked best for your weekend!

 

How to Throw the Perfect Labor Day Party

 

Drink Recipes for you Labor Day Get Together

 

5 Lawn Games for Labor Day Celebrations

 

Happy Labor Day,

City Girl Riss

Fourth Of July Recipes: Set And Forget Hors d’oeuvres

Fourth Of July Recipes: Set And Forget Hors d’oeuvres

Happy Fourth of July America! Start your celebration off right with these easy to make hors d’oeuvres. Transform these simple ingredients within minutes to achieve an elegant platter that goes above and beyond your average chips and dips. I’ll personally be whipping up the cowboy caviar for my festivities later on today. Whether you’re firing up the grill this Fourth or watching fireworks by the water, have a happy and safe Fourth of July everyone! You can find the recipes in this article I wrote for CBS, here.

 

Fourth Of July Recipes: Set And Forget Hors d’oeuvres

 

 

 

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Happy Fourth,

City Girl Riss