Happy New Year 2024! I’m not sure if there’s a cut-off date in January to wish someone a Happy New Year, but on this January 17th, I’m sending my wishes to all of you, my loyal readers. It’s a pleasure to be writing my Neat Living Monthly post today, even though I haven’t been posting precisely on a monthly basis.
If you are a regular reader, you may already know that last spring, just three days after posting Neat Living Monthly #4, my family suffered a terrible loss. I was devastated, grieving for several months. I spent months unmotivated and drained of energy with no desire to work on any blogging tasks or organization projects. Needless to say, I had very little to share in my Neat Living Monthly post.
In the last ten months, I published a couple of blog posts here and there, but I forced myself to write them, trying to find motivation and distract myself from the grief.
Less than a month after our brother-in-law passed away, I turned 43, and my two sweet girlfriends insisted on coming to wish me and sing Happy Birthday. I held on tight to my little family.
Life can change in an instant, and that’s why it’s important to cherish every moment with your loved ones. Even though it might sound cliche, I wanted to remind everyone to always express their love and appreciation to those who matter the most. I also wanted to share this picture that represents a mix of emotions – from grief and sadness to love, gratitude, and joy. This picture reminds me of my friends who have supported me through this tough year, my two amazing boys who give me strength and hope, and the fact that life should be celebrated regardless of the challenges we face.
So, let’s move forward. Shall we?
2023 in Review
Although 2023 was a challenging year, I’d like to express my gratitude by sharing some positive experiences with you!
First and foremost, I completed Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Catechism in a Year podcast. To say it was a transforming experience is an understatement. Listening to it day after day was like a fire that God placed in my heart, urging me to grow in my Faith in Him and my Hope in His promises. Despite falling behind by over 90 days at one point, my heart kept telling me to ‘keep pressing play,’ so I did. I have no words to describe how transformative this podcast is.
Consequentially, being so connected to Scripture and prayer, I designed quite a few Scripture stickers and added them to my Etsy shop, Scripture & Saints™. Surprisingly, and without any promotions, I’ve made a few sales. It fills my heart with joy to see that in this crazy and broken world we live in, people still look up to God’s Word.
We Are On Amazon
Selling on Amazon was always in my plans, but I never thought I could pull it off in 2023. Achieving this milestone is the true example of the saying, ‘Sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to move forward.’ While I put on hold all the plans (including my home organizing course), and it set me back ten months, I was able to focus 100% on launching my brand on Amazon.
I am starting small with only one product. If you have been waiting for a physical version of my Neat To Do list, it’s finally here!
Andrea Bocelli Live!
If God had a singing voice, it would sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli.Celine Dion
I know this might seem random, but it was the highlight of my year. Being brought up in an Italian family and community, I’ve always had a love for Italian artists. I have been into Italian music since I was 4 or 5 years old! 😊
I bought my first Andrea Bocelli CD when I was 16, and just recently, at the age of 43, I got to see him perform live in concert. Isn’t that amazing? If you have ever listened to The Prayer or Con te Partiro, you know Andrea Bocelli.
Andrea is blind, and he had to be guided in and out of the stage every couple of songs. At the same time, the orchestra played unique pieces, dancers performed on stage, and various artists, including Pia Toscano, duet with Andrea. His 11-year-old daughter, Virginia, also performed Silver Bells solo and ‘Let it Snow’ with her dad. It was an unforgettable night, emotional and breathtaking.
My husband who was hesitant about going with the typical excuse: ‘ I do not know any of his songs!’, left the venue saying: I would definitely see him perform again!
Long live Andrea Bocelli ❤️
Ok! It wouldn’t be Neat Living Monthly without some organization inspiration. So here it is!
Under the Kitchen Sink. Yes, Again!
My kitchen sink cabinet has undergone some changes, and I thought I’d share them with you. I didn’t get around to writing a blog post about it, so I’ll give you a quick overview and a few pictures. You can move the slider below to compare the cabinet in 2021 to the changes I made in the summer of 2023.
These are the updates.
- Stacked more clear acrylic bin drawers on the left.
- Removed the two small tiered spice racks and added a larger one to the back of the cabinet.
- Upgraded the lazy Susan.
- Added a suction kitchen towel hook.
- Purchased a new over-the-door basket with a towel bar.
I now use dishwashing tabs instead of liquid. This opened up space in my cabinet by getting rid of the big bottle of Cascade. I have not made new cleaning bombs, so I got rid of the big jar taking up space in my lazy Susan.
Freezer drawer conundrum
I will show you the before, but no promises of an after yet. I have tried different organizing bins to categorize and sort my frozen foods to no avail. Right now, I am using four file holders (two on each side), and they seem to be the best system so far. I will post when it’s finished!
Things That Caught My Eye
These are a few things that have recently caught my interest and attention.
- The Pour Over – A weekly newsletter highlighting the biggest news of the day, but summarized in a way that is easy to understand and paired with brief Christian perspectives. A very refreshing way to stay updated with world and national news.
- Torque Release Technique – Take this advice from someone who swore never to visit a chiropractor. When I ran out of hope about my son’s relentless cough due to allergic asthma, my husband’s chiropractor suggested he bring him in. Six months later, he’s off the inhaler and cough-free. I also signed up to treat my hip pain after a car accident I had in 2021, and I am healed! If you are seeking alternative medicine, consider searching for a chiropractor in your area who offers Torque Release Technique (TRT). You won’t be disappointed!
- PiYo by Chalene Johnson – This 8-week workout is not new to me. I did it in 2019 and 2020, and it’s my absolute favorite. After a sedentary 2023, I am ready to get moving. Right now, through January 31st, you can get a 2-year BODi subscription for the price of one. You will get access to PiYo and so much more! – Not affiliated.
- Crock Pot Hot Chocolate – Since 3/4 of Americans are under a deep freeze, it’s still worth sharing this delicious hot chocolate recipe. I made two crockpots for a winter party, and everyone asked me how I did it. Ummm, Pinterest! Heads up; if the consistency is too thick and rich for you, add more milk to thin it out.
Things I am Loving Lately
In this section, you can discover my latest purchases that have become my new favorites! I’ll tell you all about each item and what I like about them. These are affiliate links.
Magnetic Curtain Tiebacks – Yes, please! I kept tying and untying my curtains with a piece of ribbon. These tiebacks are so easy to use and inexpensive! Why didn’t I think of that?
The C. S. Lewis Bible – NRSV – C.S. Lewis is one of the most acclaimed Christian writers. This bible pairs its passages with C.S. Lewis’s insights from his spiritual classics.
Boho Dangle Earrings – I am always hunting for dangle earrings. I LOVE these! They were out of stock for almost a year! But because they were in my saved items, Amazon sent me a notification. They are under $8!!!
Rectangular Lazy Susan – What? This is such a game-changer! Look at all those jars neatly organized. This lazy Susan sticks to the refrigerator shelf with suction cups; then the tray pulls out and swivels!
Where Do We Go From Here?
It’s been a slow start to the year. I have yet to plan projects and content. I do not want to promise a post or a project because, if I am being totally honest, I do not know yet. But I do promise I am back, and I will be posting again soon.