Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rain be damned - the project must go on!

Even the unrelenting rain in normally sunny socal can't slow me down. I've spent the past two days splashing through an endless sea of water and doing more hydroplaning than driving! But it was all worth it because I was able to cross a big number of items off my design list for project Upward Bound. Terry at Hotel Surplus donated some key pieces I needed (dining table, bench, mirror, art and more.) Paul at Zia Priven is putting together fantastic table lamps and a pendant light. Anna's Linen's turned out to be the motherload for cool, inexpensive bedding, linens and things. I was so excited to get all the textiles home and discover that they all coordinated perfectly! You see, I committed one of the cardinal sins of shopping: blind color matching! I forgot to take my paint swatches and fabric with me. Thankfully I've always had a pretty good eye for this so everything looks like its going to work out just fine. Well, tomorrow painting and set-up begins. Only 6 more working days before opening day, which means you can still send donations to help complete the room! See previous post below for a Donation link through PayPal. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Online donations for Upward Bound are now easy with PayPal!

I know how hectic things can get (I'm really feeling the craziness this month!) so I created a PayPal Donation link to make it super easy for all of those who want to donate and be done with it! Any amount will help me make my room for the Upward Bound families amazing.

Here's an example of what your money will help us buy:
$80 - 4 Dining chairs from IKEA
$30 - 1 twin "bed-in-a-bag" set from Anna's Linen's
$10 - Bath mat from IKEA
$64 - 4 bath towels for 4 families

You will also receive a donation receipt if you provide your address. Donate a little or a lot and stay posted to this site for updates, progress and pictures! And a HUGE "Thank You" to all who have already donated products and money!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Benjamin Moore Paint Colors for Upward Bound

Okay, so colors don't look really look the same on the computer as they do in person, but these are the colors I chose for my Upward Bound room (see previous posts.) Benjamin Moore has graciously donated 5 gallons of their Natura paint for each of the 18 rooms we are designing!

Celadon Green is going in the main living space (it looks kind of yellow here) and Ocean Spray is going in the bathroom (it's a richer blue in person.)My inspiration came from the fabric donated by Duralee

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Upward Bound House "Before" & "Inspiration"

So here are some "before" pics of the modest 350 sq. ft. space I will be decorating for the Upward Bound project (see previous post for more details):
Here is one of my inspiration pics from a really cool Maui based interior design firm. I'm really digging a "Modern Tropical" vibe for this space, but maybe with a Polynesian twist.
I love this wallpaper from Madison and Grow and it matches my inspiration photo perfectly, but I'm not sure if I'll have enough helping hands to go to the extent of wallpapering!Duralee is donating 6 yds of this awesome fabric - I love it! I'm thinking of curtain panels over a bamboo roll-up shade and if I have extra, some throw pillows.
This carved leave is a great color and texture inspiration piece. I'll be looking for natural and rustic accents such as these (notice how the shape echoes the motif above!)I'd love to get this natural jute rug from West Elm, it's perfect! Anybody have a hook-up at that store?And not to mention, Benjamin Moore Paints is donating all of the paint for all of the 18 rooms, from their Natura line, how amazing is that!!! I haven't picked my color(s) yet, I'll keep ya posted.

Despite all the amazing donations thus far, I still need to buy a lot of things out of pocket: bed linens, bath towels, etc. so each and every dollar donated is so appreciated.

I'll try to set up a PayPal link soon but in the meantime you can send products to or make the check or gift card out to:
Christy Biberich
818 S. Grand Ave. #205
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Monday, January 11, 2010

Upward Bound House - In need of donations!

I have some amazing news to share with you!

Myself and 17 other Los Angeles based designers are all putting in our time and effort to decorate our own room for a new shelter project called Upward Bound House in Culver City.

Each designer essentially adopts an apartment for a year that will help with temporary housing for 4 families (that’s a total of 72 families in 2010!)
The shelter will be opening its doors Feb 1st, and our deadline is Jan. 29th, so we are working around the clock to get the rooms designed in time for the new families.

We need to furnish each of the rooms that include chairs, tables, storage units, dresser, side tables, rugs etc. We are also in need of new bathroom and bedding accessories.
Each designer has to come up with their own donations (we do not have a decorating budget) so I am asking you to please help us with a small donation from $20-$50 or whatever you can offer is appreciated.

All donations are tax deductible, so please provide me with your address and I can mail out a receipt for each donation.
Cash, checks and gift cards to stores like Ross, Bed Bath and Beyond, Marshall’s, Target, Home Goods etc. would be perfect stores that we can purchase from.

Or if you have any NEW products that you no longer need I would be happy to take those as well.
I will need everything from towels to towel racks, bedding sets and sheets, plastic kitchen ware, bathroom wall mirror, waste baskets etc, etc. We’ve already had generous product donations from Zia Lighting, Empiric Furniture, Duralee Fabrics and several others, but many items will have to be purchased out of pocket so we need your help.

We can also use painting and handyman help if anyone in the area is available starting Jan. 18th (please, please, pretty please!) I can wield a paint roller and power drill with the best of them, but extra hands are sooooo appreciated :)

You can send products to or make the check or gift card out to:
Christy Biberich
818 S. Grand Ave. #205
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Thank you for taking the time to read my note and I hope that with the support from our friends, family and colleagues we can create a beautiful space for these families!.


**And please forward this email to anyone who might want to contribute.**

Here is some recent press from California Home + Design Magazine:

Information about Upward Bound House:

Upward Bound House is a community-based, social service agency headquartered in Santa Monica California. We are a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1991 to help mitigate the affordable housing crisis on the Westside of Los Angeles County and specifically, its impact on two vulnerable populations: homeless families with minor children and very low-income seniors.

Upward Bound House fulfills its mission through Family Place, its transitional housing facility for homeless families, and Senior Villa, its affordable housing facility for the very low-income elderly, both located in Santa Monica. In 2009, we will be opening Family Shelter, an emergency shelter for families with children located in Culver City.
Connecting our Santa Monica facilities and our surrounding community is our innovative S. Mark Taper Foundation Intergenerational Center, a place where the three generations housed at Upward Bound can interact and receive services that will allow each resident to lead an enriched, empowered and independent life.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A New Year, A Fresh Start

A New Year, A Fresh Start
Top 5 Ways to Start 2010 Out Right!

Everybody loves a new beginning, a clean slate, a better vision and hope for a brighter future. To start you off on the right foot, here are the top 5 things you can do to make the most of your space and make the most of your life!

1. Take 15 - Devote just 15 minutes a day to a task that you have been avoiding and you'll be surprised by just how much you can achieve in short, consistent bursts of focused work. For example, take 15 minutes to clean out one dresser drawer per day. The only catch is that you must be consistent - everyday!
2. Go Paperless - I'll admit I was late to join this bandwagon since I tend to drag my feet in fully embracing technological advances. Get over it. Go paperless with your bills and bank statements and get ready to enjoy the relief of less paper clutter!
3. Get Help - Honestly, if you're having a hard time justifying the expense of hiring help, think about the expense of NOT hiring help. Stress, frustration, wasted time and energy are a big price to pay for trying to be SuperMom, or SuperEntrepreneur. Free yourself up to do the things that really make you shine!
4. Live for Now - This means do NOT hold onto "maybe this will fit someday" or "this might be good for something somewhere" or "I might get around to that somewhere along the line." Holding onto these things actually immobilizes you from moving forward. Let the old go to make room for the new (a new life, not more stuff of course!)
5. Just a Minute - You've heard it before, "if it takes less than one minute, do it now," but how many times have you actually followed that advice? The problem is that our minds tend to warp time when it comes to doing things we don't want to do and then we convince ourselves there's just not enough time. The thorn in my side is dirty dishes - there never seems to be an end in sight and I try to think up all sorts of reasons why I don't have time to wash them. However, it only takes about 15 seconds to wash a plate, fork and glass instead of leave them sitting in the sink. That's only 1/4 of a minute! It's pretty hard to argue with the mathematical proof that just a minute now will save you hours later.

Last year's advice still rings true today

Think Less, Do More
A common problem many of us encounter at some point or another (or everyday in my case) is that our life gets overrun by our own thoughts. Pesky little buggers, constantly dancing around up there in your noggin. And especially at the onset of a New Year they tend to multiply and chant things like, "work more, work harder, be better, get it together, figure it out, achieve, improve, think, think think ..."

Well enough is enough. Silence the "think" and get out of "tank" already! No good ever came of a thought. It's true. The good comes out of the action upon that thought. No good ever came of good intentions, unless those intentions were acted upon.

We may have the best of intentions when we craft our New Year's resolutions, and it may be born from a place of sincerity and desire to do good, to be better, to achieve, to improve ourselves and thus the people and world around us. This year, however, I am challenging myself to only resolve to actual actions.

May you have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Yes, I am recycling from my old blog! Wanna fight about it?

Lights. Camera. Action. Action I Say!
Oh my goodness, so I finally got to work on my new video series and let me tell you what ...
It is a heck of a lot harder than it looks!

I mean, its not like I haven't been in front of a camera before and I certainly talk to clients everyday about organizing so why should this be any different? Well, for starters its all about ME, my face, my company, my ideas ... and quite frankly, that's terrifying!

I've always wanted to bring my organizing ideas to the mainstream because there are three things I believe I am meant to do in this life:
1) Entertain 2) Inspire 3) Create.
Reminding myself of those things helped push my inner perfectionist aside and say, "Okay, sometimes good enough is good enough. Let's just get this done."

So now I'm in the editing room (which is comprised of just my iMac ;-) laughing my butt off watching 30 minutes of my awkwardness that will hopefully, miraculously turn into 5 minutes of informative video.

But seriously, this was a great experience and I can't wait to shoot the next episode. And here is what I learned - that I already knew, but just needed to be reminded.

A GOOD IDEA, ACTED UPON, is infinitely better than a GREAT IDEA, KEPT IN THE DARK. - Few people know it, but this is the basis for my organizational turning point.

I blissfully existed in my "creative clutter" for years thinking it was okay because I was artistic or because I was a busy social butterfly. I just knew (or thought I knew) that messy, scatterbrained people were more fun, less tied down, and being a true Sagittarius I wanted to fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants with zero responsibility or care.

Over time, I began to see something I had never noticed before. I began to notice that the people who were the most creative, the most talented and had the best ideas had just that - creativity, talent, ideas ... but nothing else ... they had never done anything with it. They had nothing to show for all their brilliance and internally they were frustrated, dissatisfied and angry that 'lesser' people were accomplishing more than them.

When I noticed the pattern, I began to see it everywhere, including in myself and I knew that that was not the road I wanted to take - I knew that wasn't the real me and that I had so much more to give. Having that change of heart opened doors I never would have considered before and led to discoveries that have brought me closer to my purpose to Entertain, Inspire, and Create. The difference is that now I'm actually doing it instead of just thinking it.

TAKE ACTION TODAY, NOW! Stop waiting for everything to be perfect. Stop thinking you don't have the tools/resources to do what you want to do. And most of all, stop hiding behind your disorganization and clutter! What are you afraid of if you let go? Maybe you're afraid that you'll actually have to do something - and that's scary, I know. But I did it and you can to. It may not be perfect, but its something ... and that's everything.

An oldie but goodie from my previous blogging attempts

Live. Love. Let Go.
I was thrilled to set-up my first blog today. Finally, I would be able to share the wonderful things I've learned about everything having to do with organizing! What would I write about first, how could I entertain and inspire others?

I drew a blank. Nothing. Nada.

Then it hit me, you can't help others before you help yourself. And myself, and my place, needed some help. You see, I, like so many others, share a living space, in this case with my boyfriend. For you it might be a roommate, spouse or sibling. One thing remains the same - sharing sucks.

How are we supposed to create the serene living space of our dreams with you-know-who's dirty socks littering every hallway? Or how about a stinky old can of tuna mysteriously beneath the sofa (this actually happened with a former roommate of mine)! Junk mail, dishes, laundry and miscellaneous thingamabobs pile up and let's face it - you can't do it all, nor should you have to.

So, in examining my own current state of dissatisfaction with my living space, I did the most logical thing I could think of ... ate chocolate and silently stewed. Then I did the next most logical thing ... went back to basics and followed my own advice that I give every day to my organizing clients.

For me, the biggest source of my frustration was the living room - that's where I like to be able to relax, play with the dogs and curl up with a cup of tea and magazine. When you start in an area that is most important to you or is causing the majority of your anxiety, the pay off is greater and the results make a more dramatic difference, helping you feel better immediately. So, START WHERE IT NEEDS IT MOST.

This is tough, but crucial. Usually, in shared living situations, we are most aggravated by the other person's habits and clutter, not out own. The problem with this is that as much as we'd like to try, we can't control that person and we're only hurting ourselves by being angry, stewing in that anger and yet never getting any relief. For me, I chose to distinctly differentiate between what was mine, what was his, and anything that was "shared" I could either claim responsibility for or relinquish control and leave it up to him (I usually choose control:-). I got two large plastic bins and went through the room bit by bit. Anything that didn't belong in the space went in one bin or the other, period. Your bin - your stuff - your responsibility, but it doesn't get to lay around where it doesn't belong. Thus, choosing and taking responsibility for what you control and then only FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL.

Now, everything in the bins that didn't belong in the living room either makes its way back into the area of the home where it is either useful or dearly cherished ... otherwise it goes to recycling, trash, or donation (use 3 new bins to make this easier). After it is sorted/decided, then DO IT, act now! Take out the trash, put donations in the car. DECIDE AND ACT on those decisions immediately.

Okay, so how do you get someone else to do these things as well? Honestly, if its a roommate, you may not have a lot of options, but you can work with them to at least agree what stays in their space and what lives in the common areas. When they step out of line, grab your bin and pick-up, then leave it to them to decide what to do with those items within the confines of their own personal space. If its a significant other, then you're going to have to work something out eventually. Try to get them to agree to go through their bin at the same time, or at least have them agree to a specific time when they will do it and hold them accountable - this also works well with kids and young adults.

Accept the fact that nobody is perfect and that when living in mixed company, compromises may have to be made. Persistence, rather, is the path to serenity in these situations. Commit yourself to at least 15 minutes of clutter control maintenance everyday. Remember to 1) start where it matters most, 2) focus only on what you can control, 3) make a decision, and act immediately, 4) aim for persistence, not perfection. Do this everyday, whether it needs it or not! If you can convince your living partner to commit to the same, then you're set. Your PERSISTENT efforts will yield a PEACEFUL space, but never a PERFECT one. And honestly, would I really trade my boyfriend in for a perfectly arranged closet, magazine ready living room and divinely organized kitchen that would make MONK jealous?

Maybe I shouldn't answer that. :-)