Articles & Advice

Choosing the Right Colors for Dark Skin Tones

One of my readers just submitted a comment stating that his/her friends said that they should never wear bright colors because their skin is too dark. I feel that this statement is nonsense and this is my response:

I am sorry to hear that others say your skin is too black to wear bright colors. Too bad for them because they are incorrect and congratulations to you for trying to jazz up your appearance!

Having black skin does not make it inappropriate to wear bright colors. In fact I find bright colors often enhance darker skin tones IF they are right color spectrum for their skin tone, either cool or warm.

What you really need to consider when choosing colors to enhance your image is the warmth or coolness of your skin tone. Skin tones that are cool, will look best in cool tones, warm skin tones will be complimented with warmer tones.

If you look at a basic color wheel, you will see that colors range from warm to cool. So do skin tones.

There are many tricks for determining which side of the spectrum your skin falls under, warm or cool.

One easy method is to get two swatches of cloth about the size of your face, one gold and one silver. Pull your hair back from your face and hold each one up to your face. Notice which one minimizes the shadows and imperfections in your skin. Notice also which one makes you look more tired sallow toned.

If gold makes your skin look even toned, with less imperfections and even glowing or sunny, you have a warm skin tone. If blue enhances your face and makes the lines and imperfections disappear,  your skin tone is cool.

Whatever tone your skin is, you will be able to wear bright colors if they within the tonality of your skin. The perfect colors you choose will fall into bright warm colors or bright cool colors. The color graph below might help you understand which bright colors will be the correct choice for you to wear.

If you still have difficulty determining your skin tone, try this test. Look at the back of your hand. If you have an orange – yellow tint, you are of a warm skin tone. If you have a blue tint, your tone will be of the cooler family.

Another way to tell is look at your veins on the inside of your wrist. if they are green, you probably are a warm tone. If they appear more blue, you are a cool.

I hope this helps. Have fun wearing bright colors. I think it brightens everyones day when you show up wearing the perfect bright pop of color coordinated into a nice outfit! I realize that there is not enough helpful information published for people of color and I will keep writing more articles on this subject, so please check back often!

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Great Colors to Wear for Winter and Summer Skin Tones

Winter and Summer complexions are both cool skin tones with a blue base. These ‘seasons’ so to speak are helpful when determining what clothing to buy and what to wear.

Both of these seasons are best served by wearing cooler or more blue based colors.

Summers differ from winter complexions in that they are a bit softer. Winters will have a large contrast between their skin, hair and eyes where summers will bled more gently together. Because summers are themselves of softer tones, they look best in blended colors, not with dramatic variations. Wearing strong contrasted colors will make them appear overpowered and tired.

Winter complexions are usually more dramatic with a strong contrast between skin, hair and eyes. The combination of black hair, pale skin and blue eyes. is a typical indicator of a ‘winter’ complexion. A strong pairing of contrasting colors will enliven and accent the already intense look of a winter.

Taking notice of the colors in nature during each of these seasons also helps you determine which colors correspond with your tonality. Take for instance the stark contrast of crisp white winter snow and the deep red of a poinsettia.

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When to Turn to Temporary Self Storage Options

When to Turn to Temporary Self Storage Options
Before you read this article, make sure you re-read the title: When to turn to TEMPORARY self-storage options!

The best way to de-clutter your home is to get rid of things and to spend some time organizing. Self storage is definitely not the best the solution for clutter. However, it is an excellent temporary solution in a few different situations. Here are a few of the situations that might cause you to turn to self storage:

1. Moving

You may find out that you have to leave where you currently live and move across the country for a few months or a few years for a job. In this type of relocation situation, you may want to leave some of your things behind because you know you’ll be moving back. In cases like this, there’s probably no need to move everything you own with you, and you may want to store your things in a self storage unit to keep them safe until you get back.

If you’re moving to another city and do not think that you’ll be returning to your current city any time in the near future, it may be a good idea to just bring your things with you. Moving with a lot of stuff is definitely more difficult. You can always get rid of some things to downsize your move.

2. Sentimental Attachment

If you’ve just inherited your great-grandma’s 18th century furniture, you may not have enough room for it in your home. However, since it belonged to your grandma and was special to her, you may want to keep it. In this case, you could consider turning to self storage to temporarily store your inherited items until you move to a larger home or make room for them in your current home.

There may be other instances when you have a sentimental attachment to something and are not ready to fully part with it. Self storage can be a solution in just about any situation that involves things that hold emotional value. Just remember that it’s better for self storage to only be a temporary solution, especially because of the long-terms costs associated with it.

These are the two most common situations that cause people to turn to self storage. Other situations like new people moving into a home and the need for someplace to store a boat or RV because of Homeowner’s Association restrictions are also common. Self storage can be very useful, but it’s wise not to use it as a crutch for simply owning too much stuff!

About the Author: Jessica Johnson works in the self storage industry, regularly traveling to see locations like a self storage facility in Kailua-Kona. In many locations, like a Shawnee self storage facility, Jessica Johnson helps her customers store seasonal sports gear when it is not being used for outdoor activities or equipment for home improvement projects that are waiting to happen.

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Organizing Your Linen Closet and Downsizing Your Sheet Collection

Last Sunday I spent a bit of time purging and organizing my linen closet. I found out that what I teach is often what I most need to learn!

Organizing Your Linen Closet and Downsizing Your Sheet Collection

Part of the reason we do not let go is indecision. We cannot decide what to keep and what to let go of. This was part of my muck as I began to sort my linens. In fact, this is what has kept me from doing this task for the past 6 months. The tags on the sheets fade and/or the size is never clearly marked.

Because I couldn’t read the tags, I was not sure what size sheets I owned. This made it all but impossible to determine how many of each size sheet I had in my closet.

I feel that every bed should only have two sets of sheets, one for ‘in use’ and the other waiting… Most of us, including myself, before this weekend, has way too many sheets! We buy them and then neglect to get rid of the old sets. After all, they might come in handy as drop cloths or whatever excuse we make up in our mind for needing to kep them on hand.

So, in order to help make the decision about which sheets to get rid of, I decided to measure them. This definitely tis a 2 person job and I am so thankful that I had someone on hand to help!

Before we began this process we found a great website that gave us measurements for each type of sheet. After that, we measured and sorted into piles – full, queen, king: flat, fitted, duvet etc.

Once I knew how many sheets of each size I owned, it was really easy to get rid of my excess. Yippee!

Here is the bedding size chart that I found online at

Remember, you only need two sets of sheets per bed. You can keep three sets at the most per bed and only if you have an extra seasonal set: flannels, silks etc…


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Black Dress for the Holidays, Glittery Tops

Dear Kathi,

I have several upcoming dressy events. I am used to wearing one of my suits with a glittery blouse to jazz up for the holidays but this year would like to do it a little better. What should I buy to add some jazz to my holiday outfits?

Jennie, Carlsbad


Glittery tops paired with suits can run the risk of looking like you’ve simply thrown together an outfit for your holiday office party.
Instead, consider tracking down that perfect little black dress this year. There is no replacement for the perfect black dress and it is worth investing your time and money to find the best cut, style and lines for your body shape. Once you have found the perfect black dress, it will last for years and you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

Try to choose a classic cut to transcend future years, such as a sheath or a dress with an empire waist. Look for vertical seams that narrow in at the waist.

A V or scoop neckline usually works for most body types. 3/4 sleeves will help your dress stretch across all seasons. Choose the sleeve length based on your body type. Sleeveless dresses work well for women with nice upper arms, whereas short sleeves, 3/4 or long help conceal wobbly upper arms. Keep in mind that 3/4 and long sleeves are much more elegant than short sleeves unless they are capped.

The perfect hemline for your new dress will be knee length. This is a timeless classic length. The hem should stop at the skinny part of your knee. The perfect black dress will emphasize your best assets and skim, not cling to, any part of your torso.

Avoid sparkly designs built into the fabric. Instead add your own sparkle with jewelry if the event dictates a little glitz. Jewelry can change your dress from glam to sophisticated. For a formal office event, accent your dress with pearls and sophisticated low-vamped pumps. For New Year’s Eve, consider wearing rhinestones and glitzy gold or silver, strappy sandals. For a less formal Christmas dinner, let the dress stand on its own with minimal, simple gold jewelry and ballerina slipper style slides.
Once you have the perfect black dress, you have the basis for several holiday outfits. A sheer wrap will transform your dress instantly. Wrap it around your shoulders, under the arms and tie it in the back to add the illusion of sleeves to a sleeveless dress. Try a satin or velvet wrap for an elegant flair.

Buy a short velvet or organza jacket that has similar lines and your dress will transform right before your eyes. Or choose a long brocade trench coat for the Audrey Hepburn look.

A faux-fur trimmed sweater or blazer can completely transform your little black dress. Buy this sweater in cranberry, eggplant or evergreen for another surprising pizzazz.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

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Why Being Organized Can Make You Healthier

Why Being Organized Can Make You Healthier

Having a cluttered home makes it very difficult to find what you are looking for. Living in clutter can also cause stress and other health problems. It is not uncommon for individuals to purchase furniture to help them get organized. For example, a bedroom vanity can help someone who wants to organize his or her bedroom, and it can enhance the décor of the bedroom as well.

Purchasing furniture to keep your rooms organized is a good idea; however, individuals who have excessive items in their homes tend to clutter up the shelves and top surfaces of their furniture as well as the floor space around it. This diminishes the look of the furniture, ruins the décor of the room, and causes the home to look unkempt and be unsanitary.

Many individuals have a strong desire to collect things. When buying collectibles, people do not think about the day they will have to part with these items. In fact, most people have difficulties parting with material items, particularly those with sentimental value. The inability to get rid of things that are no longer being used is the primary reason for clutter in many homes around the world.

When people fail to throw away items that are no longer in use, they tend to store them in areas of the home where there is extra space. Extra bedrooms, basements, attics, and closets are just some of the areas where people store clutter. Once these spaces fill up, individuals generally begin storing items in visible areas, including living rooms, dens, porches, and backyards. Some individuals may even purchase extra furniture for the sole purpose of stuffing them with things.

When individuals continuously purchase new items and never get rid of old items, clutter starts to build, and it builds quickly. Excessive clutter in the home often causes anxiety, and ongoing stress. Disorganization is a major cause of stress, according to many experts. The time and effort that it takes to look for items that are not easily findable can cause your heart rate to increase and making you feel flustered. According to a study performed at Yale, individuals who hoard items (or live in cluttered environments )have much higher risks of depression and can develop attention deficit disorder during adulthood.

Pests and bugs tend to gravitate towards clutter as well. Mice, rats, cockroaches, silverfish, spiders, and ants hide in cluttered areas to escape from predators. They often build nests and reproduce in these cluttered areas. Individuals exposed to their excrement can develop allergies, rashes, and unknown illnesses. The excrement created by small pests is often microscopic, making it impossible to see. Many individuals who knowingly live with these pests set traps and spray insecticides, which can lead to respiratory issues. The best way to deal with this problem is to clear the cluttered area completely to get rid of the bugs and pests.

Staying organized and periodically getting rid of excess items is the best way to keep a home free of clutter. Keeping a clutter-free home is a surefire way to ensure that your home is a beautiful and healthy environment to live in.

Miguel is an avid blogger, father of 2, and recent proud homeowner. He loves studying architecture, home design and decor and plans to one day buy a custom house plan to build his dream home.


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10 Ways to Turn Your Bedroom from Clutter Filled to Designer Chic

10 Ways to Turn Your Bedroom from Clutter Filled to Designer Chic

It’s easy for a bedroom to become disorganized. As one of the most lived-in rooms in the house, it is a natural magnet for all types of paper, books, toys, and knick-knacks. Since your bedroom is where you sleep, it’s important you keep it as neat as possible to encourage relaxation at night.

Arrange the Clothing in Your Closet
Your closet was not designed to be a refuge for every article of clothing you have ever owned. Go through your closet and remove anything you haven’t worn in the last year. With the exception of some types of formal wear, if you haven’t worn it in the last 12 months you probably won’t wear it in the next 12 months. Donate the clothes to a charity, and make room in your closet so you can find what you’re looking for quickly and easily.

Reorganize Your Drawers
It’s so much easier to shove an article of clothing in the back of a drawer than decide whether or not to keep it. If your drawers are so packed that you can’t find what you need when you need it, then it is time to weed out clothing you don’t wear. This goes double for items you don’t wear because they are stained, don’t fit, or don’t look good on you.

Take Advantage of the Space Under Your Bed
Evict the boogieman and put a few large plastic storage bins under your bed. Choose wheeled bins for easy access. Storage bins are ideal for items you use infrequently, like uncomfortable shoes.

Use Baskets
Baskets are a good way to make your bedroom look neat quickly. A laundry basket is a must, and so much better than a pile of clothing on the floor. Put a wastebasket next to your nightstand so you can easily throw out tissues and other bits of garbage.

Hang Art
Don’t clutter every surface with framed photos. Instead, hang your photos in small groups around the room and free up your tabletop space.

Put Things in the Right Room
If your bedroom has become home to wayward items that belong in the playroom or garage, then put them where they belong.

Get a Covered Desk
If your desk is in your bedroom, it’s easy to get sidetracked by work at bedtime. To prevent this, invest in a desk with a solid cover to prevent you from being distracted by work at the wrong time.

Use a Shoe Tree
Organize shoes on a hanging shoe tree in your closet. This frees up floor space and makes it easy to find shoes when you need them.

Put Personal Care Items on a Vanity
Vanities are a convenient way to keep your personal care items organized. A bath vanity can go in the master bathroom or in your bedroom.

Clear Your Nightstand
Keep your nightstand free of anything you will not use immediately before bed or upon arising. For most people, that means having only one book, a clock, a bottle of water, and a box of tissues.

Miguel Salcido is an avid blogger, father of 2, and recent proud homeowner. He loves studying architecture and home design and decor and plans to one day buy a custom house plan to build his dream home.

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Organizing a Shared Bathroom ~ 14 Tips to Keep Your Bathroom Chaos Free

Organizing a Shared Bathroom ~ 14 Tips to Keep Your Bathroom Chaos Free

If several household members are sharing a bathroom, follow these 14 tips to help organize it.

Tip #1

  • Clean out every drawer and shelf in the bathroom. Get rid of anything that isn’t being used.

Tip #2

  • Move your medicines to the kitchen. The heat and steam in the bath can ruin them.

Tip #3

  • Give each household member a different colored basket to fill with toiletries. No sharing. Make sure everyone has their own toothpaste, eye drops, cosmetics and grooming supplies. Each person will keep the basket in his or her bedroom.

Tip #4

  • Evaluate your storage. You will need places for: towels, nail care, extra paper, feminine hygiene products, hair care and back-up supplies of soap and shampoo. Nothing else belongs in the bathroom.

Tip .#5

  • Use a shower/bath caddy for shampoo and soap. They hang on the wall of your shower and keep the clutter out of your shower area. They are relatively inexpensive and available in many different styles.



Tip #6

  • Set up a drip-dry container for bath toys if you have small children.
  • Corner to corner suction cup hammocks work well

Tip #7

  • Make space for a small, lidless hamper or laundry basket. Otherwise, have a system for depositing used towels in the laundry room.

Tip #8

  • Use hooks instead of towel racks for kids. They’ll be more likely to use them. Have as many hooks and/or towel racks as you have persons using the bathroom.

Tip #9

  • Make a checklist of all products in your bathroom as well as those used by each individual. Review your list weekly before shopping.

Tip #10

  • Explore the variety of storage options you can use in the bath.
  • Small countertop drawers can organize cotton balls and Q-Tips.
  • Use cutlery trays in drawers, plastic shelves under the sink and caddies which attach to doors.
  • Rolling carts can all contain the clutter that frequently accumulates in this much-used room. To keep things organized, each person can have one basket on the cart.

Tip #11

  • If pressed for space when storing towels, consider a space-saving towel rack that clips right over the back of the bathroom door.

Tip #12

  • Transform the dead space over your toilet by adding a stacked cabinet to store some of those items that have been kept under the sink.

Tip #13

  • Consider installing a shower dispenser right on the wall to dispense liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner and eliminate all of that clutter

Tip #14

  • Use organizational cosmetic containers or even small boxes to organize each person’s cosmetics individually.
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Business Party Dress Codes

Dear Kathi,

For starters, I’ll admit that I am clueless about clothes, so please excuse me if this sounds like a dumb question. I have just received an invitation to a party at a business colleague’s home. The invitation reads, “holiday attire welcome.” What does this really mean to me – formal? informal? silly Santa tie? holiday sweater? – or what?
Please help me out, the event is imminent and this is an important business contact for me.

Joe, San Diego


Don’t feel bad about not knowing what to wear to this event. The invitation is cryptic at best. To decide what to wear, we need to discover a few more details.

What type of business environment does the host work in? What type of clothes does he/she normally wear on the job? What is the address of the home where the party will take place? Was the invitation personally or professionally printed? Is the event in the evening indoors or outside during the day?

When an invitation is professionally printed, scheduled in the evening and at a prestigious address, you typically want to dress more formally. If the invitation is a daytime affair set in an informal environment, you have more latitude for casual attire.

Consider closely your colleague’s normal work clothes and status. If always in khakis and polo shirts, the colleague’s event will most likely be different than if he is always in a suit and tie.

As a man, your job of hitting the mark with your outfit is much easier than a woman’s because your choices are more limited. My advice is that you can never look too sharp, especially if this is a business contact that you are trying to nurture.

As a non-suit and tie affair, you can’t go wrong wearing a pair of dark dress slacks, a collared shirt in an unusual color or pattern, (coral, teal, brown, something besides “serious” white) and a coordinating blazer. Make sure your shoes are polished and crisp; in other words, no topsiders.

If your host never wears a suit, you should follow his lead. Wear a blazer in a more casual and relaxed fabric like tweed or corduroy and a pair of dark jeans. Every man, by the way, should own a pair of dark, nicely fitting jeans. This means almost black in color and no holes. These are an invaluable addition to your wardrobe and can be dressed up or down depending on your shirt and shoes.

When you arrive at the party, quickly scan the crowd, If the blazer is too formal, take it off immediately, as if it were an outer coat. You will then blend in with the crowd at hand. NEVER wear the cute holiday sweater or tie to an unknown event. In fact, in my opinion, they should be outlawed. If you still feel overdressed, be aware that you may be the best-dressed man at the event. This is always an asset, especially if you are trying to develop business relationships.

“Holiday attire welcome” might mean that the hosts are planning on wearing clothes with a little more glitz and polish for this event. Again, you can’t go wrong with a blazer. Top your jeans with a nice crisp collared shirt and you will appear put together and sophisticated. Don’t worry if other men in the crowd are wearing funny ties and the Santa sweater that they only wear once a year. Revel in the knowledge that you know they don’t really want to wear those eyesores and that you don’t have a partner who insists that you bring one out once a year!

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

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Organizing Papers for Divorce

Organizing Papers for Divorce

Many clients call upon addSpace To Your Life!  to help get their papers organized when they are in the process of a divorce. I help them gather, organize and scan the records they will need so that they are able to proceed ahead with confidence and skill. Oftentimes they call upon me a bit late in the game after changes have been made and records transferred. Because of this,  I asked a colleague, Kimberly Lynch, to write this article for you or anyone else that might need the tips. My wish is for everyone to gather their own personal power and be prepared as they go down the path of divorce or separation.

These are what Kimberly considers the top 10 financial documents to obtain, review and/or organize during a divorce:

(1)  Get a copy of your credit score – you can get a copy FREE every 12 months from Obtain copies from all 3 reporting agencies.  Check them for accuracy.


(2)  Copy all credit card statements- if you have good credit, open your own credit card now.


(3)  Track what you spend- create a budget and save receipts.  Can you pay down some current debt?


(4)  Prepare an inventory of all assets

(a)  List all real estate and their current values

(b)   List all investment/retirement accounts –

identify whose name the account is in, the current value and who the beneficiary is


(5)  List life insurance policies- including who the policy is with, the amount of coverage, the term and who the beneficiary is.


(6)  List all other insurance policies and include policy numbers- i.e. car insurance, home owner’s or renter’s insurance, health insurance


(7)   Copy all bank statements for all open bank accounts- checking and savings


(8)  W-2’s and other statements of income


(9)  Copy birth certificates for both spouses


(10)  Marriage certificate


I also recommend saving paper copies as well as saving all documents electronically so that you can easily send them to your attorney or accountant.

By Kimberley Lynch

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