Put your home on a diet!

How does your house make you feel when you are home? Life is stressful; coming home should be an instant relief. If you are avoiding certain rooms in your home because you feel uncomfortable in them, it is time for a change.

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Moving in together

Dear Claudia,

I need tips on how to blend two households. I am moving into my boyfriend’s house. We are both in our 50’s. His taste is very “Ikea”, Swedish style modern simplicity, and I am eclectic/eccentric with antiques and funky mix. His house is fully furnished, as is my funky eclectic apartment, which is FULL of stuff. Quite honestly even my glassware would clash with his, not to mention my furniture, art pieces, and smalls. Any ideas on how we can do this so that it looks great, fits us both, I feel like I’m at home, and he doesn’t feel like he lost his?


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Surround yourself with your favorite things

Home is where we surround ourselves with things that we love, including our favorite colors. Your home should tell the story of who you are. The best interiors are never instant, but develop over time.

Whether it is for a redesign, which is using what you already own, or for staging purposes when time to sell, I work with clients who have items they love hiding in closets and basements. Incorporate what you love into your decorating, and display it authentically. These are the things that have special meaning to you. Or if you have too much stuff, scale back so you can see what you love.

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Happy spring clean out: De-clutter, help community

Finally, spring! Besides spring-cleaning, this is a good time to get rid of anything that is no longer serving you. Many organizations have fundraising yard sales. Or start gathering up goodies for your own. Sort your stuff into piles: trash/donate/sell.

On the flip side, watch for local yard and garages sales to purchase “new-to-your-home” items. You never know what you might find, and the price can be remarkably lower than buying new. Look for Facebook online yard, too. Just as you are looking to change the look in your home, someone else is, as well.

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Tips for a successful office makeover

Kathleen Day, chief organization officer at LifeSmith University, loves working with business owners.

“They give their heart, soul and the majority of their time to their companies. Sometimes the environment and the schedule get the short end of the stick. My intention with an office makeover is to create an immediate difference in those two areas, in a way that the clients can embrace, and most importantly, maintain,” says Day.

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Mom’s got talent

If you need a reminder, Mother’s Day is next Sunday, May 10th. Moms tend to focus on their family and others, sometimes putting themselves on the bottom of a very long list. One cannot associate motherhood without thinking of ‘home’. There is a quote, “Home is where your mom is”.


Norma Panelli Halahan is an avid artist and an author of two books. She has three children, Mark Halahan, Maureen Halahan Pooley and Jean Halahan and is an inspiration to her entire family.

Her daughter Jean says, “My mother has been painting for about seventeen years. She started with a local art class and really took off with it.”

Norma wrote two books; Jagged Destinies and If This House Could Talk- The Victorian, which was published in 2014. She also had several short stories published in publications such as: Mature Years, The New York Chronicle, USTA Tennis Magazine.

“Mom is 84 years old and still drives. She walks daily and paint and writes. Painting and writing are her passion. Our house is filled with her beautiful artwork. She is vivacious and very family oriented. I have watched her work take on form over the years. We are a family that supports each other and when we have company her artwork and her writing is a source of lengthy conversation. She is still involved in charity work with the local church, Our Lady of the Assumption. My mother sets an example of all those around her. She is positive and always looks to improve herself”, says Jean.

Over the years, we accumulate items that are passed through the family from generation to generation. There is something very special about art, which emerges from the deepest part of the artist’s soul. Surrounding yourself with items that you love is what makes a house a home, especially when created by a loved one.

As a parent, we can’t help but be proud of our children and their accomplishments. It is very special when our children realize how accomplished their parents are. I can’t think of a better way to pass on the legacy of motherhood than being an inspiration to your children, at any age. Remember, it is never too late to find your passion.

To all the moms out there, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~Author Unknown