Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let's Give a Warm Welcome to our Guest Blogger: Rachel Strisik

Capital City Mamas Guest Blog

Keeping Your Schedule Organized

Now that the school year is off to a busy start, it’s easy to lose track of your family’s schedule while you’re juggling extracurricular activities, preparing for the holiday season and just dealing with the daily stresses of life. The key to keeping up with a hectic schedule is a family calendar. The more organized you make your calendar, the more organized your daily life will be. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Figure out your method. Not every time organization technique works for every family - customize it so that it fits your lifestyle. If you’re always on-the-go, a planner is probably your best option. If your family centers around your kitchen, a large wall calendar would be a great option. For the more tech-saavy families, a scheduling app for your smartphones or tablets is the way to go. One of the best calendar apps I have found is Cozi, available for Apple and Android devices. It’s a great tool for digitally managing schedules and is also accessible via web so you can take your schedule anywhere you go.

2. Keep it visual. Whichever option you choose, the more visually appealing it is, the more you’ll look at it. Use pencil to write in appointments that are likely to change so things stay neat. And most importantly, color code! Choose a different color pen or marker for each type of activity or each member of the family. I love the Pottery Barn Daily System Calendar because you can customize it to your decor, whether you’d like a more rustic feel with a chalkboard, or a clean and modern look with a whiteboard.

3. Be consistent. The only way these methods will work is if you keep them consistent. Don’t just write down some of your commitments - write them all down, from important doctor appointments all the way down to daily errands. Not only will it help you remember what you need to get done, but seeing it laid out will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. The Cavallini Daily Planner from Paper Source lays out each day hour-by-hour, so you can organize your day down to the minute.

We know you’re all busy moms with overflowing agendas - getting yourself in a calendar routine will help you to keep things in perspective while keeping your sanity.

Rachel Strisik is an organizing extraordinaire - Rachel uses creativity, style and a little elbow grease to help clients get their homes, schedules and lives in order. A professional organizer and member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, Rachel empowers her clients to lived more organized, productive lives. Rachel works with her clients to customize organization plans to accommodate many different lifestyles - from bachelor pads to large families, and everything in between. Rachel's keen eye for order, along with her creative style, allows her to create beautiful and peaceful spaces for her clients around the country.

Over the course of her career, she has worked on Capitol Hill, as well as with start-ups. Most recently, she served as Director of Operations for a national personal styling company, Style for Hire, co-founded by celebrity stylist Stacy London from TLC's What Not to Wear.

Rachel lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and four year-old twin daughters.

Monday, October 22, 2012


What is this fascination with Pinterest?  It seems like every time we turn around there is a new trend in which we are already behind.  Full disclosure, I half heartedly created a pinterest board for personal use, and immediately random high school friends and acquaintances have followed me. Seems like it's here to stay.

So, now we feel like we should introduce our likes and interests to our mamas.  What would you like to see?  Please let us know, by joining our mailing list, following us on Facebook and twitter.  Let us know what interests you.  Once we get some good feedback we may even have a fun contest or two, so keep your thoughts coming.

We can't wait to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are you printing pictures of your kids?

As we try to get ahead of the game and try to order our holiday cards early, it makes us realize we have so many pictures stored on our computers, but not hanging in our houses, or in albums.

Trying not to wait for resolution time in January, we are seizing the moment.  With all of these group buying sites, there are plenty of opportunities to order photo books, holiday cards, wrapped canvases.  

It is so easy to get overwhelmed, so take it one album at a time.  Order one picture or album now, and give it to any of the family members, spouses or friends at the holidays.  And feel good about yourself that you began to tackle the photo beast!

You can do it, we believe in you!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Organizing with Kids

The school year is off to a great start, but with young preschoolers or a mix of older kids, getting and STAYING organized is the ultimate challenge.  We always have great intentions (can anyone say, working out?) but to maintain that level of organization is tough.  Here are a few tips we have acquired over the years that will help stave off the madness.

1. It seems silly, but really think about the few key places you put important things.  For example, you have patterns.  You walk in the door, where do you put your keys?  Your purse/bags etc?  If you have important papers, invitations, where do they go?  If you have a desk, or a kitchen "hub" do these things get collected in piles placed all over the fridge?

Decide the most realistic and convenient place for all of these things, and stick with keeping them in the same spots.

2. Those important papers get lost so easily.  Especially if you have more than one child. One suggestion is to use three ring binders to sort all of these papers with easy access.  For school, make either a binder for each child, or one big binder for all children.  Make sections for school papers, after school activities or class confirmations and informational papers if they are younger.  That way, when you need the class list or need to refer to when a field trip will be, you know where to go.  Keep another binder for medical forms, information, etc.  How many times are you asked to fill out a form with the dates of the last shots, or for a new class or camp.  Keep multiple copies on file so you can access them easily.

3. Designate a drawer or box for the school papers the kids bring home.  Either they, or you, may want to keep everything, but unless you live in a castle, hoarding all that work is overwhelming.  So on a monthly basis, go through the papers/artwork that can be purged, and transfer the keepers to an under the bed box, or larger flat storage box (with all the papers dated), so you can pull them out when the kiddies get older to remind them of when they were so cute!

If art projects overwhelm you, take pictures of them and keep them in a small album.

So three easy things you can do to get your hectic life in order.  You know what they say, "Happy Mommy is Happy Family".  So go ahead, get happy!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Friends of Ricki at Urban Chic Wrap-Up!

The Friends of Ricki Mompreneur MeetUp at Lindsay Buscher's Urban Chic in Georgetown was a success! Several local moms/business owners came out to chat, ask questions about improving their businesses and network.

Please take a moment to watch the videos below for a sneak peek at our event. Also, if you haven't done so already, join our MeetUp group  as well as our Capital City mamas mailing list to be informed about all of our upcoming events. Hope to see you soon!

Lindsay introduces herself and welcomes all of the mompreneurs to Urban Chic!

I, Sharon, introduce myself to all of the ladies.

Lindsay talks about the challenges of owning a boutique in this economy.

How to balance motherhood with being a business owner? Lindsay shares her story.

The mompreneurs give a shout-out to Ricki Lake!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Moving Forward with "Friends of Ricki" Meetups

It has been really exciting to partner with the "Friends of Ricki" meet ups.  Our first meet up was so much fun!  Thanks to LeCiel Salon and Spa.

Our next meetup is on Wednesday, October 3rd from 7-9pm at Urban Chic in Georgetown.  If you haven't signed up yet, you can do so here.  This event is filled with good stuff for everyone.  Lindsay Buscher, owner of Urban Chic will speak about her experience as a mompreneur.  We will have a Q and A, enjoy delicious apps and wine AND a 20% discount on shopping that night.  We will film some of the event and it will be shared on Ricki Lake's Facebook page. But most important, the networking and exchanging of information, leads, feedback, experiences for all of us at every stage of business will be invaluable.  Whether you are thinking about starting a business, or whether you've been at it for years, this event will be worthwhile.

It will be a celebration of moms and mompreneurs supporting one another.  Please join us!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friends of Ricki Kick-Off

Tomorrow is our Kick-Off event at Le Ciel Spa and Salon in Bethesda. Sign up here if you haven't done so yet.

I am so thrilled to have partnered with such a genuine and valuable model for moms everywhere. The show began this week, launching the beginning of a new era of television.  A huge basis for the Ricki Lake Show is to support and inform moms and by integrating the reach and scope of social media to do so is really commendable.  In the past few years since we launched Capital Baby Planners and Capital City Mamas, we have worked hard to keep up with all of the trends and outlets via the web.

First, it was Facebook, then Twitter, then Pinterest.  Now we have incorporated Meetups to our repertoire. Ricki understands our society continues to learn new ways to connect, inform and grow; and by embracing these opportunities, she is modeling what all moms know.  We need to be open, flexible and multi-tasking at all times.  By using social media to drive the ways we connect, she can influence the conversations and format her show will take, and therefore, we all win.

At Capital City Mamas, we have the same philosophy.  When we "gave birth" to this business we wanted to help, support and inform expectant parents as they entered into this exciting time in their lives. Those core values have not changed, but as we expanded and grew, we have learned to value and embrace the many ways we can connect with you.

Thank you for allowing us to do so, and please let us know when there is something new we should learn about, so we can continue to grow and support you.

Hoping to see you at these upcoming events, and in the future.

My best,