Organization Tip: Using Pouches

I usually carry large bags. Mainly because I like to have one bag to hold everything. In my experience, when I have multiple bags, the likelihood that I lose or misplace something (or an entire bag) is  pretty high. In order to keep myself organization. I enjoy using pouches. The current pouches that I carry include:

(1) Cosmetic Pouch – In this pouch I keep my lipstick, lotion, tissue, bandaids, eyeglass cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, & headache medicine.

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(2) Writing Utensil Pouch – I enjoy keeping lots of pens in different colors with me, as well as highlighters.

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(3) Electronics Pouch – I always keep a wall plug-in charger, a mobile charger, and my Macbook Charging card with me.

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I also use pouches when I travel to organize things like accessories & cosmetics. I recently cleaned out my stash and I want to give them away! In addition to 2 – 3 pouches, each package will include an inspirational message! I am also giving away the “Plan Like A Boss” Planner, because a planner is one of my favorite tools to use! Please review all official rules below!

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Get Organized Contest

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE THE CHANCES OF WINNING.

1. Eligibility: This Contest is open only to those who sign up via the official contest rules above and who are [18 years of age or older] as of the date of entry.The Contest is only open to legal residents of the United States, and is void where prohibited by law. The Campaign is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.

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3. Campaign Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. CST] and ending [Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. CST].

4. How to Enter: The Campaign must be entered by subscribing to DonnieNicole.com, and then posting a screenshot to the Contestant’s Instagram or Facebook Page and then hashtagging #donnienicole. The entry must fulfill all Campaign requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of DonnieNicole.com.  You may enter only once. You must provide the information requested before 11:59 p.m. CST on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple email addresses, identities, or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If You use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of DonnieNicole.com

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How To Make A Tea/Hot Drink Bar

My husband recently got back from a World Tour with DJ Jazzy Jeff. One of the things that he brought back home was lots of organic tea from his journey throughout Asia.

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I purchased mini glass Ball Jars from Amazon. In terms of size, they are about the size of Gerber Baby Food Containers. I didn’t want to run the risk of purchasing jars that were too big, and then the tea jars would look empty. I’d rather go small and then just refill as needed. Not to mention the teas are pretty potent and usually only need one teaspoon per cup.

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“I sing a song from Sing-Sing, sipping on ginseng…” – U-God of WuTang Clan in “Triumph” 

I swear I rap that line to myself everything I have a cup of Ginseng tea lol!

Finally, I added my other favorite hot drinks including Green Mint Tea, Chai Tea and White Hot Chocolate. The countertop shelf that I purchased I was also from Amazon, available here. The shelf came preassembled.

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I used regular mailing labels, and wrote the jar contents using a skinny Sharpie marker. Both the labels and the Sharpie were items I already owned. This project cost a total of $31.00, and it took about 30 minutes to fill the jars.

Happy organizing!!!

Everything in It’s Place… Organizing The Closet for a New Season

A couple of years ago we converted one of our bedrooms to our closet. This past weekend I started putting away the pastels, bright colors and sandals of Summer, in order to put out the earth tones, warm colors and boots of autumn.

I have a small dog whose favorite thing to do is to eat my shoes! So I needed to find a solution that would protect my shoes from her teeth, while also displaying my shoes in a way that makes getting dressed effortless. In all of my years of organizing, the most important thing to consider is that the system be easy to maintain, otherwise you are likely to revert to whatever is easier. For example, if you find yourself leaving clothes on the floor in your living room, why not put a beautiful lidded hamper that disguises the mess. Your brain will be happy because it will have a place to unload the clothes based on your natural behavior and your eyes will be happy because you won’t have to witness the mess. Similar, I like to keep blankets and pillows in my living room but instead of leaving them laying around, they live in a basket hamper where we can grab them when needed and put them away with ease.

Here is our shoe situation before I implemented our new storage solution:

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Whenever I need a storage solution, the first place that I go is to The Container Store.

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Here are the storage solutions I used:

Men’s Drop-Front Shoe Box. Available here.

Women’s Drop-Front Shoe Box. Available here.

Both the men’s and the women’s drop-font shoe boxes come in a bulk package for a discounted rate.

Finally, my husband loves a good hat, but he wasn’t storing his hats in a way that protected them and in a way that he could easily find whichever hat he was looking for.

Here is the before picture:

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Here is the photo with the storage solution implemented:

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I used the

Grey Drop-Front Sweater Boxes, available here.

About a year ago, I purchased this shelving unit from Amazon, and we use it to display our boots and oversized shoes that won’t fit in the boxes:

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Before the shelves were kind of all over the place, as my only motivation was keeping my “good shoes” high up enough so that my dog couldn’t get to them. She never goes after my boots. So now the tall boots are on the bottom, the booties are in the middle and and the top, and a few of my favorite handbags are in the top shelves.

The top of the shelf is still used for the same purpose. Displaying our jewelry and other accessories.

I store out of season clothing in bins in our storage room, as I like to swap my clothes out (once in the Spring, and then in the Fall).

 

 

Get Organized! 

So many people say they thrive under chaos! My experience is that when I am organized I feel a sense of calm, openness & peace. 


Caption: My organized closet which included a big boot organizing project this past fall. We converted a bedroom to our closet so that we could have enough space to store our clothes & get dressed. 

When I am not organized I:

  • Misplace or totally lose things 
  • Purchase duplicates (wasting money)
  • Feel stifled or frustrated 
  • Waste time looking for misplaced or lost things 
  • Feel stress because if someone asks me for something & I don’t know where to find it, it makes me feel bad. 

Organization to me, means making a home for things, making space & structuring things. There are tons of tools & resources online to help you! I personally love The Container Store. I also love searching for life & organization hacks like this: 


So you don’t overwhelm yourself, start with one drawer or one room & then go from there. 

Organization also requires regular maintenance. Make a little time everyday to sort, filter, clean & place things where they belong. 

Vision Board 2017

On this New Year’s Eve, I’d like to share my 2017 Vision Board with you guys. It is my ritual to complete my board on the last day of each year in preparation for the New Year. My Vision Board lives above my desk in my home office. Remember that the things you place on your Vision Board may not manifest within that calendar year. I actually keep all of the pieces from my former Vision Board in a scrapbook, as well as photos of the full constructed board so that I can continue to track the ways that my vision manifests.

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I have witnessed the power of my Vision Board in so many ways. For example:

  • Serena Williams was on my 2014 Vision Board and this year she and I both received the Ebony Power 100 Award in the “Women Up” Category.
  • Black Girls Rock was on my 2014 Vision Board and I’ve had several calls with their team and still hope to collaborate at some point in the future.
  • Magic Johnson was on my 2013 Vision Board and I’ve built a great relationship with one of the former EDs of his Foundation who has become a great mentor and friend to me.
  • Professional Headshots were on my 2013 Vision Board, I’ve been blessed to be photographed by some of the best photographers in the country and I now have a full collection of professional photographs.
  • Fundraising was a big goal for me in my professional career (it always is lol) especially in 2015, and 2015 was our biggest fundraising year ever. We received a $133K grant from the Louis Vuitton Foundation which was the largest single grant/gift we ever received. Each year we’ve been increasing our funds raised in the double digits.
  • I used to want a BMW X6 and really wanted a new car so I put that on my vision board in 2015. My husband surprised me with a new car (an Acura MDX) for Mother’s Day in 2015.
  • Travel is always on my Vision Board. I have been blessed since 2014 to take multiple trips around the country including to Johannesburg, South Africa, Mumbai, India, London, England and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. All of those trips except for one, were paid for by someone else. I have also had the opportunity to travel domestically quite often.
  • I hired a personal stylist, who helped me to step my style game up. That was on my Vision Board for 2016. She is the bomb and helps me to get dressed for all of my events.
  • Issa Rae and I both received the Ebony Power 100 Award in the “Women Up” Category and she was on my Vision Board for 2016.
  • I put my dream closet on my 2015 Vision Board, and Che & I ended up redoing our closet by converting one of our bedrooms into our closet. Our house was built in 1910, and closet space wasn’t important at that time, but our bedroom closet fulfills our needs.

Here are the some of the highlights of my board:

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I want to travel to more countries and I want to travel more for fun. Each and every item on my Vision Board has some significance including the number 50.

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From a work perspective, Litehouses are my number one priority for 2017 and of course fundraising so I’ve got a check written to me for $500K (the minimum I’d like to raise in 2017).

I also love to write and continue to be inspired by Zora Neale Hurston, who in the photo was on an excursion in the Everglades. I love her work as a Cultural Anthropologist and as a Creative.

I also want to spend more time with my girl friends in 2017 so for the first time friendship is represented on my Vision Board.

Finally, I want to eat healthier so I’ve got fresh produce on my board. I used to put weight loss goals on my Vision Board, but now I understand that the path to weight loss is in my diet, and in my exercise.

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I always want to remind myself to be mindful and to be intentional and I want to live from a perspective of abundance – financial, philanthropic, space, productivity, etc. When we live from a scarcity perspective – fear, paranoia, mistrust, squandering… things are indeed scarce. On the continuum, I’d like to move closer to abundance in every area of my life.

Beyonce is the standard for me in terms of excellence. I’d like for Donda’s House to be featured in Fast Company at some point and I love the words “Create. Defy. Slay.” At this point her name is an adjective for greatness, and I aspire to her level of greatness and excellence in my field. I am also inspired by the fact that Beyonce is married to one of the greatest businessmen in our lifetime. As a married woman, I am always inspired by other couples who are successful.

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Gabby Douglas inspires me so. This image is a reminder to literally and figuratively stretch. It is a reminder to be more conscious of my health and to be more flexible.

From a marriage perspective, I’d like to continue my tradition of a weekly date night with my husband so that’s on my board.

Check out this blog from my colleague Emile Cambry who is the founder of Blue 1647. He keeps me inspired and does amazing work.

Thank you for reading my blogs this year and for all of your positive energy and love! I hope 2017 brings you everything you desire as well as good health, love, prosperity and a sense of fulfillment.

Project: Organize Boots

My boots were all jumbled up in one of those cheap plastic containers. It came with a lid & you couldn’t see inside of it, so it hid the clutter, but getting dressed was irritating.

I’m a visual person. I like to see my options & then make a decision from there. I also blame the movie Clueless


I’ve always wanted a nice big walk-in closet that is well organized! Our home was built in 1910, so closet space was very limited back then. We converted one of our bedrooms into a closet. 

I ordered boot organizers and assembled them. That process took about 90 minutes. From there, I pulled out my vanity table, which I no longer use, and other containers that were taking up space. Here is the final result:


On the top of the shelf I have all of my accessories and my makeup. 




I also had to relocate our mirror and ironing board. We leave our ironing board set up:


The rest of the closet remained the same. Here is a peak at my side:


I’d like to add an area rug to the room, and more images on the wall around the mirror. I’ll share pics once I find the right rug. 


My shelving & accessory organizers were purchased from The Container Store and Amazon.com. 

Self-Care Commercial…

Self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant…

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One of the hardest lessons for me as an entrepreneur, was learning to pause. When we first started Donda’s House, I would literally work 12 – 16+ hour days for 7 days straight.

I caught colds. Had back problems. Always felt like things were out of control…

We just turned 3 on August 1st and I’m proud to say that in 2016 I’ve learned the value of breaks.

I structure my weeks now to where I have at least one-day where I don’t leave my home. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still working, I just work from home. I’ll do conference calls, catch up on writing, and also do important things around the house like laundry.

I also try to reserve at least one day to a family day – usually Sundays, where I try not to do anything work related (or at least nothing heavy).

I’ve also learned to “stack” my meetings. If I book a meeting where I’m downtown, I try to book other meetings downtown the same day to maximize my time. I also reserve in-person meeting days to two days per week. For the summer, those have been my Tuesdays & Thursdays.

Finally, when I have a really big event or busy day, I try to be mindful of the schedule the day before and the day after. I’m proud to say that we’ve co-produced two festivals this summer (Teens in the Park – TIP Fest & Peace on the Beach) and we’re gearing up for AAHH! Fest!

Usually the day before and the day after, I try not to schedule too much to give myself time to prepare the day before, and to give myself time to rest & recoup the day after. Today was part work from home & part getting my mind (and gear) ready for tomorrow’s festival.

I talk alot about being a superhero! It’s important to realize that all superheroes know their limits!

Stuff To Check Out:

(1) My girl Dana Todd Pope has launched the cutest line of t-shirts, onesies, tote bags and more.

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(2) Donda’s House had the opportunity to participate in ESPN’s “The Undefeated” Townhall Conversation on Chicago Violence. I’ll have a full-blog about this soon.

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Caption: Jemele Hill did a phenomenal job hosting and moderating the conversation! Learn more about The Undefeated here.

(3) If you’re in Chicago, come through Peace on the Beach! Tomorrow from 4 pm – 8 pm, in Humboldt Park, 1440 N. Sacramento. Flyer & special Lyft Code below:

Thank you for reading my blog! It means the world to me!