bowl with lemons on textile on table

Declutter For a Fresh Start

bowl with lemons on textile on table
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It’s amazing how things tend to accumulate. It’s one book here, a piece of mail there, a birthday present on top of that and next thing you know it can be quite a bit of stuff. Multiply that be every member of your household including pets and things can get out of hand quickly.

Some of the things you possess can be things you use or quite valuable and beautiful. But too much stuff ends up having the opposite effect. It just looks like a collection of junk and it can also contribute to stress when you are looking for something and can’t find it. So how exactly does one go about decluttering?

Recently I decided to paint my room and I had to take everything off my night stand,furniture and walls. No biggie or so it seemed until I actually got around to doing it. I found so many things I forgot I had. And then I had to decide what to get rid of and what to keep and where to put it. It turned into quite a big chore. But the end result was so worth it.

comfortable bed and white big wardrobe in elegant bedroom
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This is the method I used to declutter:

Get 3 bags and you can write on the bags if you want so you don’t get confused about what is what. The categories are:

  • Trash
  • Donate
  • Keep

There are some things that are definitely trash. Empty bottles, old newspapers or magazines can be recycled so you may want to start another bag for that but that’s personal preference. The rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in 6 months, say bye bye. When in doubt, throw it out. But I understand it can be difficult to let go of things. But trust me you will feel so much better once your room is all neat and clean. You won’t miss that junk.

Remember your trash is someone else’s treasure. Your possessions deserved to be used and appreciated. If you donate it, someone else can really need that item and will use and appreciate it. Recently I was donating some items and there was this one item that I was just tired of looking at it. It wasn’t my style and I decided to donate it. Well as I was donating it the attendant said, “Oh I like that.” I chuckled to myself because I was so sick of that item. So if you have any guilt about getting rid of stuff, remember that someone else will use it.

What to Keep?

If you are going to keep something consider if you use it, love it or it has value. If you use it great keep it. It is serving a purpose in your life. If you love it, you will know. It’s something that has sentimental value or a special gift. But just because someone gave you something doesn’t mean you have to keep it.

Sometimes people can give you the most ridiculous things. Cook books that you know you will never use. Clothing that is the wrong size or you just don’t like it. TOSS. It’s really hard to buy books for others because how do you know what someone wants to read? Personally I like to pick my own books and sometimes my taste changes in books and I’m not into something that I once was really into. Remember someone else will appreciate that book. And it will really free up space.

set of skin care products in contemporary bathroom
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It’s Definitely a Project

Now this is no easy task because depending on how big your room is and how many dressers and night stands you have, there can be quite a bit of stuff. You can have 10, 15, 20 or 30 years worth of stuff. You will get tired of this stuff. You will want to quit. You will want to say, “Forget it, it’s not worth my time. My kids can deal with this.” But if you decide to dedicate 20 minutes per day to this project, you will get it done quicker than you know. It will have to be an everyday thing until the project is done. In my case it took a week to move all my stuff and then have it painted and then put back together. I’m not going to say it was easy but it was definitely worth it.

Liberation

That’s the feeling I had after decluttering. It just felt so wonderful to get rid of stuff. My room looks so much better!! I feel so much more relaxed and have a real sense of accomplishment. I actually have kept it going into my bathroom and closet. It’s just so worth the time. I’m not done by any stretch of the imagination. I still have more closets to do but the thing is that I started and I’m not going to stop now.

Keep chasing rainbows and butterflies. Keep your chin up and consider following my blog. Here’s a link to my podcast episode about decluttering.

Valeria is a Health and wellness Coach living in California. Her hobbies include singing and playing piano. Here she in SF at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Polonaise in G Minor by JS Bach a Student Recital

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Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the final semester recital with my music school. This piece I started working on in November 2020. It was not an easy piece for me to learn. Basically every day I was working on it little by little. It’s just a little ridiculous the amount of time that it takes to get this down but I guess that’s the life of a music student. They say it never quite goes away. But in any case it is a cool piece of music.

This is dedicated to my father who passed away on July 3, 2020. He was a music teacher and unfortunately he never got to see the fruits of his labor. He worked with me over the years but I was always just getting down the scales or learning to read music. I never had the chance to perform for him which is truly sad. But I know he’s very happy looking down from heaven.

As a music teacher it’s hard to know what his response would be. He might rip me a new one for not having proper dynamics or maybe being a bit too fortissimo. But from heaven he’s all smiles.

Without further adieu, here’s the performance dedicated to my father from your daughter who waited 47 years to actually practice. Oh well, better late than never.

If you want to check out my vocal performance, you can watch that too since you’re already here.

I love this song!! Someone Like You

Well here’s to another awesome summer break from music class. Stay cool, stay hydrated and don’t let anyone get you down.

Valeria is a health and wellness coach living in NorCal with her family.

Someone Like You A Recital Performance

Someone Like You from Jekkyl and Hyde the Musical is a beautiful song about love. When my teacher presented this song to me to perform I had never heard it before but I decided to sing it and see how I felt. I eventually fell in love with it. It’s funny how if you do something over and over you eventually love it but at first there are plenty of doubts.

My favorite part is at the end of the song. The lyrics are very powerful the way the music is written. If you have never heard it before now is your chance.

This was recorded a couple of times. The first time I sang it through once and it was very mannequin like. I decided to record it again because I wasn’t happy with the performance at all. There was also a couple of timing issues towards the end.

My teacher gladly recorded me again. She directed me the second time and it was much better. Singing is very difficult is all I’m going to say. Every person can sing but to do it in front of people and get the timing down with lyrics and music is quite challenging.

Music is my therapy. It really helps me to feel much better about everything. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity and ability to do what I do. I hope to keep singing for life and get better and better. But I’ll go ahead and just be grateful for this performance as it is truly a gift from God.

If you ever want to sing, sign up for voice lessons. Trust me the teacher will not judge you but will tell you what you can do to improve. It can come off as criticism maybe but if nobody tells you what you’re doing wrong, how will you ever know? They do want you to sound your best because they just do.

I hope you enjoy this performance. I love the song and I hope you do too. I really would love to see Jekyl & Hyde someday but we will see.

JS Bach Minuet 3 And Happy 336 Birthday

Well it’s safe to say that one can get a little bit obsessed with JS Bach. He has so much music that you can listen to so much and still never hear all of his music. And then you find one you really love and listen to it over and over like the Brandenberg Concerto’s. Anyway not being a musicologist but a little Pianist (my music teacher referred to me as recently), It’s difficult to discuss Bach’s work because it is quite complex and where to start with his work is challenging simply because of the mere volume of his work. Also it starts to feel like a bit of a research paper and I think it’s great for people to do their own research. Because if something interests you, you’re probably going to research it. That’s just life. Now the thought of buying a biography on his life is in my head. I’ve read it on line buy having a book is great too.

So if he was alive today I would be a Bachmaniac so to speak. But in any case I started studying his music a couple of years ago and I am working my way thru one book of his work. So far I have done Prelude 1 in C Major, Bach Minuet1, Bach Minuet 2 and my most recent Bach Minuet 3. It’s been just such a learning experience. And it’s funny how at first something seems so difficult but then the more you practice it, it starts to come together better. But I try to practice each piece everyday because it’s like I want to keep making those neural connections.

Bach Minuet 3 was challenging because of the fingering of both hands. But I definitely could not have done it with out my music teacher. That’s why I feel it’s so important to work with a local music teacher. They can really get you on the right track from the gate. If you try to do it alone, you end up like saying, “Oh I was doing something really weird with my fingers.” You kind of feel like Bugs Bunny when he used to play piano and his fingers would be tied up in a knot. Also I did the short version of this piece because sometimes the second time around is not so good. So do it once thru and your odds of doing it correctly go up.

Well without further adieu, here’s my rendition of Bach Minuet 3. I know it’s not super perfect. It’s like this is where I’m at today and so be it. But it was just a practice session. But it took me so many takes to get this one, I was starting to be like OK good enough. Now if I had professional videographer, it wouldn’t matter because they would just cut it and make it sound good but they probably want a clear audio. So maybe they would say. Just do last line one time thru. OK got it in case you mess up. It’s just fun to record and then maybe one day I will have an audience. That’s the true test of course is to have an audience. And due to the pandemic, we have not been able to perform in public.

JS Bach’s birthday is March 21, 1685 although it’s also says his birthday is March 31, 1685. So Let’s celebrate for 10 days. Something about the calendar that was changed. This is a situation where you need to do your own research because a Musicologist doesn’t write here.

Cows on The Hill

Looking out the window there are cows on a hill. They are all black. They do the funniest things. Sometimes they are just standing there contemplating life. Other times they are running which is really cute. They lay down together in packs and often time they are eating grass.

Dogs love to swim

Love puppies

Sometimes I hike in their area and my black lab will run up to them and bark. She’s basically a little cow because she likes to eat grass and run around and sometimes she stands there contemplating life.

Valeria Star is a Health Coach in Nor Cal. She likes tosinghttps://youtu.be/0unrc-9W8EI and playhttps://youtu.be/0unrc-9W8EI piano when she not watching cows.

Check out podcast about journaling. https://anchor.fm/valeria641/episodes/Journal-eqdquk

Four Pillars of Health

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What are The Four Pillars of Health?

It’s actually pretty basic. If you have been feeling a bit like you need to get your health back on track start with these basic principals.

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Sleep

What’s your sleep like? A good rule of thumb is to go to bed by 10:00 PM. I know it sounds so early. But it’s something to shoot for. If you like to burn the midnight oil. Maybe try going to bed a half hour earlier. You might also need to turn off your electronics to help you wind down. There’s lots of reasons why we need sleep. So try to get it in. You’ll probably feel better after you get a good night’s sleep. I know if stressed, sleep can seem like a dream but you can do it.

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Stress

Oh boy stress and sleep go hand in hand. So stress is the fight or flight response that stays around when you don’t need or want it. A first step towards coping with stress is to practice breathing. You can also do yoga or watch funny movies. You may also want to take a class on stress management. The other thing is you might be traumatized and not realize it. But with some time and patience, you can learn to manage your stress in a productive manner.

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Diet

Well I think we all knew that was going to be on the list. But it’s very complex what people eat and why. So before you start getting all freaked out when you think about your diet. Just start to add in more fruits and vegetables. And then start to look at the times you eat and where you eat. There’s so much information on this issue. But you can get your diet in check.

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Exercise

Exercise is the final pillar of health. So get moving in a way shape or form. You can do it but talk to a doctor first to make sure it’s good for you. Start out with 20 minutes and add on.

Valeria is Health Coach living in Nor Cal. She likes to sing, play piano and play with her puppy.

It’s Always Best to Start at The Beginning

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Have you wanted to start a new hobby or simply stay active?. Even experienced athletes need to start at the beginning of the warm-up. We often think we have to be advanced in order to do some thing. But whenever you want to learn some thing the best thing to do is start at the beginning.

What does it mean to start at the beginning? It can be a situation where one realizes that the thing to do it to start. That’s why it’s good to start at the beginning. Very confusing and difficult to start something new. You realize that you want to do some thing but you don’t know where to start. That’s why it’s good to start at the beginning.

Examples of starting at the beginning means to walk before you run, jog before you run. The main thing is just to get started.

Check out my podcast on starting from the beginning.https://anchor.fm/valeria641/episodes/Its-always-best-to-start-at-the-beginning-

Check out my YouTube video where I play Bach minuet 2 in g minor.

https://youtu.be/TCstik9BU2c

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed

Photo by Rob Cardillo

Grow these statuesque and showy native wildflower By Michael MacCaskey

Originally published on GardenDesign.com

Eutrochium fistulosum f. albidum ‘Bartered Bride’.

LATIN NAME:

Eutrochium purpureum (formerly Eupatorium purpureum)

APPEAL:

Exuberant growth culminating in 7- to 12-inch-wide, nectar- and pollen-rich flower clusters in fall that bees, butterflies and insects crave.

ZONES: 3 to 8

SOIL: Rich and Moist

SIZE:

Grows to 6 to 8 feet high by 3 feet wide. It is not well suited for small spaces, as it needs plenty of room to grow.

EXPOSURE: Full Sun

CARE:

Plants are most vigorous when they have more moisture; however, once established they will survive brief periods of drought (but may experience some leaf scorching). Pinch growth buds (even cut plants back by half) in early summer to make plants stockier with smaller but more abundant flowers. Divide plants in spring shortly after new growth appears or in fall. Easy to grow from seed.
Purchase Joe Pye weed seeds on Amazon.

SPECIES AND VARIETIES:

Eutrochium purpureum, sweet Joe Pye weed, grows in the eastern U.S. It has purple flowers, mostly green stems and a vanilla scent. ‘Bartered Bride’ is white form. Eutrochium maculatum, spotted Joe Pye weed is similar to E. purpureum. ‘Gateway’ is shorter. ‘Atropurpureum’ has wine colored stems and dusky rose flowers.

E. purpureum ssp. maculatum, spotted Joe Pye weed.
Photo by: Alan and Linda Detrick.

LEGEND:

Joe Pye was an Indian medicine man in New England who cured typhus with E. purpureumEupatorium perfoliatum, boneset, is said to have relieved symptoms of break-bone (dengue) fever.

REASONS TO LOVE JOE PYE WEED:

Photo by Alan and Linda Detrick
  1. Easy to grow
  2. Low-maintenance
  3. Attracts pollinators
  4. Deer-resistant
  5. Late season bloomer
  6. No serious insect or disease problems

DESIGN IDEAS:

Photo by: Philippe Perdereau

Incorporate into a perennial meadow.

Dutch designer Piet Oudolf grows Joe Pye weed on his own property alongside other perennials and grasses in a random fashion that appears natural.

See more of Piet Oudolf’s garden.

Add spontaneity to a modern garden.

British designer Christopher Bradley-Hole used Joe Pye weed, drifts of grasses and other perennials to flank a grid of steel-edged garden paths.

Photo by Andrew Lawson

See more of Bradley-Hole’s designs.

Photo by: Rick Darke.

Sit back and enjoy the butterflies.

A monarch enjoys the nectar of Eutrochium fistulosum (Joe Pye weed) in Rick Darke’s garden. Place a bench or chairs nearby so you can watch the show.

Photo by Rick Darke

See more of Rick Darke’s garden.

More Tips:

  • Joe Pye weed’s height makes it a good option for the back of the border
  • It also works well in cottage gardens for extending the season—get ideas for an enticing cottage garden
  • Great for planting in or near rain gardens, as Joe Pye weed will tolerate wet soil

WHAT TO PLANT WITH JOE PYE WEED:

  • Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ (feather reed grass)
  • Echinacea (coneflower)
  • Helenium (sneezeweed)
  • Monarda bradburiana (Eastern bee balm)
  • Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)
  • Persicaria (knotweed)
  • Pycnanthemum muticum (mountain mint)
  • Vernonia (ironweed)

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