Getting Organized and My Favorite Finds

After the hecticness of the holidays and with the cold weather officially here, I’ve been enjoying being inside and “nesting” a bit more. I know a lot of folks really get into the organizing mood this time of year. At first I thought this urge to get organized at the start of the new year was due to it being a whole “turning over a new leaf” thing. But after giving it some thought, I think the reason I find myself looking for better ways to organize has more to do with the urge to simplify and declutter after all the busyness of the holidays.

Today I’m sharing a few little tricks I’ve discovered lately that are making life a little cozier and more organized around here. Recently, I shared this picture that caught a glimpse of a lamp I had added to my kitchen counter. I have so enjoyed having  it here, especially in the evening time when it gives the kitchen such a cozy, heart-of-the-home feel. I also love the color it adds to the space.

Feather Tree for Christmas, Lit up at night

 

I enjoy having timers on the lamps that I always want on in the evening. For those lamps I’ve changed over to the Cree bulbs in the soft white. They cast a beautiful natural light and only costs around $1.20 a year to run! Plus, they are estimated to last over 27 years per bulb! Is that not amazing?!

So, now we can cozy up those rooms in the evening with beautiful lamplight, guilt free! For my lamps, I normally buy the Cree bulbs that are equal to a  75 watt bulb. You’ll find those here: Cree Bulb, 75 Watt The 60 watt bulbs are available here: Cree Bulb, 60 Watt and the 100 watt here: Cree Bulb, 100 Watt. I hope to eventually change over to these for all my lamps. I’m gradually doing that a few lamps at the time.Cree Light Bulb

Having a timer on the lamp here in the kitchen has been wonderful. It’s so nice to come downstairs after dark to a softly lit kitchen, like having a little elf running around making things cozy for me. It’s also nice to come home in the evening to an already lit home.

The electrical outlet for this end of the counter is behind that large platter. That’s one of the reasons I keep a platter here, it hides the unsightly cords.

Red Pine Cone Lamp, HomeGoods

 

Unfortunately, the outlet behind the platter would not work for the TV, the cable box thingy and the timer device I wanted to use on my lamp. I went in search of a power strip with several outlets and found something a whole lot better. The timer, though small, is larger than a normal electrical plug, so I needed something that could accommodate it and the bulky cable plug, too.

I love this thing! The outlets swivel so there’s plenty of room for bulky plugs. Such a genius idea!

6 Swivel Outlets with 2 USB Ports and Surge Protector

 

I also love that it has two USB plugs built into the top. Sometimes when I’m working in the kitchen, I like to listen to a book I’ve downloaded to my phone from Audible. Now when my phone is charging upstairs, I can bring it down and charge it here and enjoy my book, too.

USB Outets for Android, iphone or iPad Charging and 6 Swivel Outlets

 

I like this multi outlet device so much, I purchased an extra one that I’m currently using at my desk area in the kitchen. I also thought it might come in handy when I have guests spending the night. During those times, I could put it in the guest room and my visitors would have extra outlets and USB ports for charging their iPhone, Android phone or iPad. It works with all those devices. It also has a built in surge protector up to 2100 joules. Not bad! You’ll find it available here: 6 Outlet, USB Surge Protect Wall Outlet

6 Swivel Outlets with 2 USB Ports and Surge Protector

 

And it’s all hidden away behind the platter.

Decorative Plate to Hide Cords

 

They also come in black with USB ports on the front. I could kiss the person who invented the swivel outlets! This one is available here: 6 Outlet Swivel Surge Protected Outlet

Swivel Outlets for 6 Plugs, with 2 USB Ports and Surge Protector

Photo from Amazon

 

Another little upgrade I made recently involves my heated bird bath. It’s amazing how many birds visit for a drink of water during the hot summer and the cold winters when it’s hard to find a fresh source of water that’s not frozen over. (Birdbath is available here: Heated Bird Bath)

For the past couple of years during the winter, I have placed a plastic bag over where the birdbath cord connects to the extension cord that’s plugged into an outdoor outlet here on the deck. I’ve never liked how that looked. (see below)

Winter Table Setting with Snowy Birding Theme

 

It turns out they make a cord cover for situations like this! I ordered one this fall and it works great! I also ordered a shorter extension cord so that got the long outdoor extension cord off my deck surface. Now the short cord can hang on the other side of the rail and it’s well covered without the whole plastic bag business going on. You’ll find this water-resistant cord cover here: Cord Cover

Extension Cord Cover Water Resistant Protection

 

Switching gears a little, I treated myself to a few things this Christmas. I just learned about epilators, have you ever tried one? I hate having to shave my legs every few days so I decided to try one of the many epilators I’ve seen advertised.

This one by Philips had great reviews (after 2,000+ reviews) and the price is very reasonable. I’ve been very pleased with it and love the time it’s freed up with not having to worry about shaving my legs so often. You can read more about it here: Philips Epilator

Epilator

I liked the results of the Philips epilator so much, I ordered this one for using on smaller areas like underarms. The Philips epilator will work on underarms, too, but this smaller epilator looked like it would be easier to use for those areas where a larger epilator would be a bit awkward. It’s also perfect to use on the face, if needed. It’s battery operated which is super convenient. You’ll find it here: Emjoi Slim Epilator

Small Epilator

 

I justed added two of these warm-mist humidifiers to my home, one for my office and one for my bedroom. They have really helped fight the dry air from having the heat running so much. I love how easy they are to fill up and they go for about 8 hours. So the one I run at night, lasts all night long. You’ll find this humidifier available here: Humidifier

Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier

 

When I started traveling so much, I purchased a new Paperwhite Kindle. I really enjoyed it on all my plane flights but I’ve been surprised how much I’ve used it at home. I’m usually listening to books on Audible while I vacuum, clean house, fold clothes, sort through photos for posts, etc… But when I’m stuck in a waiting room, I love pulling out my Kindle.

Since I’m carrying it so much in my purse these days, I decided I’d better buy a cover for it. After looking at all the options online, I decided to go with a leather case. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked how dark the leather was, but the 205+ reviews convinced me to try it. After it arrived, I discovered that I like how the darker leather comes across as a neutral and works well with all my purses. It also feels and looks like it should be an antique, which I like. And I love that it automatically puts my Kindle to sleep when I close it…such an important feature!

Leather Kindle Cover, Auto Shut off When Close

 

The fabric on the inside is elegant and kinda stately looking. It feels soft in the hands, not hard or scratchy like some plastic cases can feel. You’ll find this leather cover available here: Limited Edition Leather Kindle Cover

Leather Kindle Cover with Auto Shut-Off When Closed

 

A Christmas gift to myself this year was a new purse. I’ve long coveted Frye boots and have had a pair on my wish list forever. I never expected to buy a Frye purse first, since it was the boots I’ve been wanting, but when I came across this Frye bag in Nordstrom in this sunshine yellow color, I fell in love! I resisted buying it that night since I was Christmas shopping for family, but it haunted me, popping back into my head for weeks afterwards. When I finally decided to go back and buy it, it was gone! It’s that old saying I guess: you snooze, you lose.

Frye Heidi Fringe Bag in Lemon

 

Since I couldn’t get it in Lemon, not even on the Frye website HERE, I decided that a neutral color would be more practical because I could carry it all year long. The color I purchased is called, Whiskey, and I do love it. The yellow color would probably be more appropriate for spring or summer, although it could work well into fall, a nod to yellow autumn leaves.

The leather Frye used to make this bag is unbelievably soft! The fringe is delightful and so much fun! I can’t get over the quality of this bag! Those of you who already own a Frye purse or have Frye boots know what I’m talking about. This being my first Frye purchase, I was delighted by everything about this bag. It’s so nice to find a manufacturer who hasn’t gone the way of so many companies and started compromising on quality to cut costs. I’d rather a pay a little more and get something that’s going to last for many years.

Frye Heidi Fringe Bag in Whiskey

 

Here’s how the interior looks, I love the pinstripe/ticking interior and all the pockets inside.

Frye Heidi Fringe Bag Interior

 

I don’t think the Whiskey color is available at the moment, it seems to be sold out online everywhere I looked today. This bag also comes in a ton of other colors. The beige color is available here: Frye Fringe Bag in Beige

Frye Heidi Fringe Bag in Beige

 

It’s available in Black here which seems to be a popular color in the reviews I read online: Frye Fringe Bag in Black

 

Frye Heidi Fringe Bag in Black

 

It’s available in Grey Suede here: Frye Fringe Bag I would love it in Suede! Can you imagine how soft that must feel!

Suede Frye Fringe Bag in Grey

 

And in Plum here: Frye Fringe BagFrye Heidi Fringe Bag, Plum

I still couldn’t get the Lemon yellow bag out of mind.

Frye Heidi Fringe Bag in Lemon

 

I eventually found it in lemon on eBay, New with tags. It’s going to be my spring/summer bag this year. If you want a quality leather bag with a little bit of sass, I highly recommend this Frye Fringe Bag. I’ve gotten so many compliments on the whiskey colored bag.I can’t wait to use the lemon one this spring and summer.

Frye Heidi Fringe Bag, Whiskey & Lemon Yellow

 

What was your favorite gift this Christmas?

Any Frye fans out there? Do you love their boots or have one of their purses?




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Comments

  1. Oh my gosh! That yellow purse is incredible! So glad you found one. I just love your posts about recommended products!

  2. I had a pair of Frye cowboy boots years ago. They were so uncomfortable I eventually took them to Goodwill! I love the purse you got. Is it heavy?

    • No, not at all. It much lighter than the Brahmin bags I normally carry. I’ve always heard good things about their boots but haven’t tried any on. I’ll be sure to do that or order from a place that allows exchanges. I would like to get a pair eventually.

      • Kay from Kansas says:

        Hi Susan, Nordstrom carries Frye boots and usually has a couple pair included in their annual summer sale, which is in early July every year. I got my Frye boots at that sale a few years ago and love them! Plus Nordstrom has a great return policy, if you choose the wrong size.

  3. Holly Rigby says:

    Hi Susan,
    Since you write one of my favorite blogs, I went back and read your back story. My 43 year old daughter began her social work career as an adult guardian here in Texas. She too, has seen it all from not wearing skirts to prevent carrying out roaches to being chased by a 300 pound “client” Nice shoes are are too slippery to run in, Mom…uh? Her happy ending, although, not as happy as yours, methinks, is being sworn in as an associate probate court judge this spring. We are so proud, and so grateful she too survived some of the horrors of the job. You are all doing God’s work…From the judges to the caseworkers…Angels are on your shoulders.

    • Holly, that is wonderful! I would be proud, too! I know you are greatly relieved to have her out of that line of work. I feel as if I could walk right back in and pick up where I left off, but I’m thankful to be out of it. It amazes me that social worker positions require a college degree when what you really need is classes in self defense!

  4. That frye bag!!! Love love love! Glad you found the yellow it’s so yummy looking! Enjoy!

    • Thanks, Jodi! It almost makes me feel like a teenager again. lol Fringe was BIG back in my teenage years with fringe jackets and vests. I’d forgotten how fun it was until I saw that bag.

  5. Pippa Griffin says:

    Susan – LOVE your recommendations and just ordered the multi-plugs and kindle cover! This is off-topic, but for some reason, around Nov., I stopped getting your blog via email. I was so busy that I didn’t stop to handle the problem but wrote a post-it to myself which I discovered this weekend….. and resigned up. Do I need to sign up separately to receive your book recommendations? I have never gone wrong with one of your books – LOVE that you share them with us! Thanks so much for such great posts! Hugs from the Rockies, Pippa

    • Thanks, Pippa! Unfortunately, when I moved to a different email service for sending out blog post updates, they somehow didn’t transfer all the addresses over. I’ll make sure you’re subscribed for the book posts updates, too. I had temporarily paused those during the holidays but I’m getting ready to start those back up soon. Also, you may want to add this address to your email “contacts” just to make sure the blog post updates don’t get sent to your spam folder or blocked by your email provider. The address to add is: admin@betweennapsontheporch.net
      Thanks again for letting me know!

  6. Jane Franks says:

    Hi Susan: Thank you for the great tip on the surge protector and Cree bulbs. I think you might have hit on something that’s been puzzling us. I didn’t realize surge protectors wear out, and we’ve had an odd thing happening with our TV. It turns off suddenly during commercials and then we have to unplug and reboot. I thought it was Cox and the new mini digital box but it checks out with the system check. My problem might be as simple as a new surge protector. I love the swivel one, too, and might get one. Does it simply plug into your outlet? thanks for the tips! Jane xo

    • Jane, those Cree bulbs have been a lifechanger for me. When I heard they were taking all the regular bulbs off the market, I almost panicked because I had tried some of the “energy saving” bulbs years ago and they were terrible. I threw all of them in the trash because they were dark and gloomy and completely changed the feel of a room. A few years later, I gave them another try and still hated them. They were brighter, but they left a room feeling and looking icy cold.
      I had read great things about the Cree bulbs and decided to give them a chance. Sooo much better. I can’t really tell the difference between those and the old incandescent lighting.
      They are more expensive for sure, but they last forever and cost pennies to run per year. When you calculate how little they costs to burn, it’s amazing. I remember the package on one of mine said you could burn the light for something like 4-6 hours a day and it would last for 20+ years, and costs like $2 per year…something ridiculous like that. Amazing!
      I love having lights on in the evening and now I don’t have to worry about the costs one bit. Be sure you get the soft white because that’s the one that feels and looks like the lighting we all love in our homes. I just googled and apparently they’ve improved them even more. Check out this article:
      http://www.cree.com/News-and-Events/Cree-News/Press-Releases/2014/October/New-Cree-LED-Bulb
      I’m obsessed about lighting in my home so I love these bulbs!

      • Jane Franks says:

        I am going to begin changing over to these bulbs. In the long run it’s a no brainer! I’ll surely save money. Even one or two over a period of several months, will be a huge savings. Thanks for the tip!! Did you see my comment about the surge protector? Do you have any comments? Does the swivel protector simply plug into an ordinary outlet? Love your tips!!

    • Jane, I forgot to mention this, many years ago, I was told by one of the techy guys in a computer store that surge protectors were like sponges. He said, each time there’s a surge on the line, it get more and more used up. Like you, I had no idea. So periodically I replace mine, especially the ones I have in my office for my computer, printer, etc…

  7. Charlotte says:

    I love the yellow fringe purse! So perfect for Spring & Summer! I buy as much yellow as I can, I love it too!

  8. Brenda L. says:

    Hi Susan, love all your fabulous buys! I was wondering about the timer you use for your lamps. Can you tell me what it is and where you buy it? Thanks!

    • I first found them in Lowes several years ago. I love them because they are so easy to set…no instructions required. A while back I wanted to buy a couple more and I found them on Amazon. When I looked today though, I couldn’t them on Amazon anymore. I just looked at one and I don’t see a “brand name” on it. Probably your best bet would be to check Lowes to see if they still carry it. Or maybe you can find them on Amazon…I just had no luck looking there today. They are excellent, though.

  9. Barbara Paul says:

    Hi Susan: I love your cozy lamp! I also love having smaller lamps throughout the house. Your purse brought me back to when I bought a pair of Frye boots. I loved mine and had them forever. Never even thought about looking at their purses. Enjoy yours!

  10. Love that bag! Shame on you for sharing!

  11. Nice list, Susan. I have been using Epilady brand epilator for 23 years! Last year I purchased the Tria laser removal but still prefer my Epilady. I gifted myself the Clinique sonic face cleanser, and my husband & I both got the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. I’m going to show him that outlet adapter – I think we’ll both end up getting one of those. Genius! (a woman must’ve invented that one, hehe). And we use the humidifiers all winter in the MBR – they’re great, as we sleep with 62°. Ours has two, 1-gal containers (Vornado brand), and we buy replacement filters through the cold months to keep things fresh. Nice bag!

    • Wow, I had no idea they had been around that long. How have I missed that all these years! lol about women inventing it…you’re probably right! The Microsoft Surface Pros look great!

  12. I had my first pair of Frye boots in the seventies during the disco era, lol. They were lace up and I wore them with gauchos. Oh boy I thought I was somethin’ 🙂

  13. Have you been peeking in my window? I have been in search for the perfect outlet/surge protector. The one I purchased from Costco was intermittent. I love the swivel option and this will work perfectly in both my home office and my kitchen-plus I love Amazon prime. That Frye purse sent me right back to my college days. Loved that swishy swishy look. I have the Frye Reina bootie in camel nubuck and it is very soft and comfy and looks great with jeans. Lucky you to find the elusive yellow purse. I think it will be a prefect 3 season color-straight from daffodils to sunflowers.

    • Patricia, I think this one is fine for little things, but if you’ll be using it for a computer or a really expensive item TV or something like that, you may want to get this one that’s rated so highly by Wirecutter. I like how the power literally will not work if the surge protector is used up. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-surge-protector/
      It’s also available at Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1JJwoRv
      I know, I love that swishy look, too! Fringe is so much fun. I’ve even been eyeing some of short fringe boots. 🙂

      • Thanks for the heads up. I mainly want to use it to charge my ipad or phone while occasionally using my kitchen aid mixer- i like to follow recipes off of my ipad. In my home office I have a little reading corner again I would like to power a lamp and my phone or ipad. I’ll check out the more serious surge protector too. Wouldn’t hurt to update those as well. And yes those short fringe boots are very cute- maybe I’ll be tempted to get swishy with some sandals this summer 🙂

  14. bobbi duncan says:

    We started using Cree bulbs after you blogged about them, among other things brought to our attention by your posts. I so love learning about your new finds, and it saves me hours of researching whether or not they actually work as advertised. These informative posts are so thoughtful and so very appreciated!!! I love your new purses.

  15. I love all that stuff! I own the Phillips Epilator….absolutely LOVE it!!! Works great under arms! I get razor bumps and itching and it HURTS later if I use a regular razor under my arms…so the epilator is a MUST in my world. And yes, it is a great deal !

    • I’ve had that issue with regular razors, too. I really like the epilators and I’ve heard that after a while the hair will sometimes quit coming back. Would love that!

  16. Great post. I also had the idea to put a small lamp on my kitchen counter. The warm glow is so nice, great ambiance. I have had not a few people comment on how cozy my kitchen is, which makes me happy because I am not a fan of the stainless steel and blue tile we have yet to remedy.
    Interestingly, some of the nurses working in our telehealth cube farm have brought in little lamps to cozy up their cubicles.

    • Thanks, Susan! I so agree about the ambiance lamps create. I think they are so unexpected in kitchens but I do love them there, too. I love that they use them in their cubicle. 🙂

  17. Just looked up the swivel sockets in UK – £105 !!!!!! Not going to happen yet.

  18. I have those outdoor plug covers. I use them for christmas when I need to run an extension cord across the ground. Speaking of organizing, I’ve been looking for bins, baskets, planners to get better organized. So I love the surge protector. It’s something I need in my kitchen as well that will be hidden behind the new juicer since that sits on the counter all the time. What a great little product. You always provide some amazing ideas and life hacks.

  19. Joan Holleran says:

    Hello Susan. I am new to your blog and love visiting. Where did you find that adorable pine cone lamp?

  20. I love the pinecone lamp too. Please share where you found it! Reminds me of my NC roots!!

  21. I love the new bulbs. They are so kind to lamp shades. I had to use such a low wattage on the incandescent bulbs because the heat destroyed the silk shades. I can go brighter now and not have to worry about the heat. Thanks for the tip on the surge protectors. I had no idea they could lose their effectiveness.

  22. That cord cover is exactly what I have wished someone would invent & here it is. I always need something like that for outside Christmas lights. I looked it up online & I’m not sure what the cords are that are inside it. It looks like they are wrapped in electrical tape. Am I right in thinking this cord cover will fit over light plugs that are connected to each other?

    • Hi Linda,
      In this picture below, they are just showing how it works. The cords are there just as an example of what it looks like when you plug two things together, like your Christmas lights to an extension cord. Inside my cord cover, you would see the electrical cord from the heated birdbath plugged into an extension cord that I have plugged into an outlet on the deck.
      Cord Cover

  23. Hello! You just asked about what my favorite Christmas gift was. I got a cordless dyson sweeper. We loved the suction so much we went back and got the big one for the carpet. I love them.Funny how one feeds into another gift. Give a mouse a cookie…

  24. I love your blog and look forward to reading every day. I realized how familiar I am with your home when I followed a link off Pinterest to a website, Budget Dumpster.com that was regarding de-cluttering your home, and lo and behold, they used your office as their home office example! I was thinking, hey I know that room!!!!! And also, I got a pair of Frye boots for Christmas and I’m in love.

  25. Cyndi Raines says:

    Thanks Susan for the tips. I did not know that a surge protector can go bad. Will be purchasing what you recommended and the outdoor plug protector. I have a yellow purse for spring and I love it! Its’ like instant sunshine! Currently I’ using a nice red one for Christmas through Valentines. 🙂

  26. Susan, I love how you “waited it out” and we’re able to get what you wanted. Great blog with so many wonderful ideas and items! I enjoy it so much. It’s cold on the beach this morning. Sheila

  27. I found the yellow Frye purse on Amazon this morning.lin

  28. Gayle Maestri says:

    I didn’t see where you got the timer for the lamp. I like yours because it’s not too large.

    • I found a couple of those in Lowes a few years back. I purchased a few more on Amazon a year or two ago, but when I looked for them recently on there, I didn’t see them. I don’t see a “brand” name on them. If you have a Lowes nearby, check there. They may still be on Amazon and I just couldn’t find them.

  29. OMG! I spotted those cute lamps at my Home Goods the other day and I was going to go take a look at the price and forgot! Wish I had got them now. They are super cute!

  30. Oh my gosh, I love that purse! Fringe is my thing. Unfortunately being a single working mom that is more than I could ever spend. In the meantime, I ‘ll swoon over yours!

  31. I am going to buy the black swivel plug. Thank you for finding this, it looks SO cool and will be helpful too.

  32. Hi Susan, I love reading your blog. That whiskey coloured bag is “to die for”! I am a lover of boots, but don’t have a Frye pair… maybe some day. I really like the idea of timers on some lights. I may have to give that a try. -Jenn

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