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Nikki Jefferson

What is your housekeeper thinking?

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For the most part, this question is a non-sequitur for the average woman. The housekeeper is there to routinely clean your house, not judge it…right?  Right.  But…don’t forget that she takes her cues from you and will follow suit.   Many women take for granted one of the most personal relationships in their lives – the one with their housekeeper.  This person keeps order in your life and sees the most private areas of your home.  And like any other relationship, communication is the key.

Here are a few tips for optimizing the relationship with your housekeeper:
The housekeeper’s goal is to create an environment based on your standards, so she tries to think like you think.  Let her know what is most important to you when you have your home cleaned so that she’ll be sure to focus on this area at every visit and leave you satisfied every time.
When possible, place decorative items exactly where you want them and she will leave your home photo ready.
It is easier for the housekeeper to clean house when there is no one in it. If she has to work around people wandering through the house as she cleans, it interrupts her workflow and may cause her to miss a detail she would normally see.

Just remember, your home is not a hotel room with a clear template for the housekeeper.  Each home and household is different, so communicate for the best results.

Guide to Buying Luxury Sheets

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There are many differences when it comes to staying in a 5 star hotel and a no-star hotel; but one of the small, (and VERY important), distinctions are the sheets on the bed.  You can be sure that the sheets at the Ritz Carlton are quite different from those you’ll sleep on at Motel 6.  Here’s a guide to buying sheets that will give your own bed the luxuriousness of a stay at the Waldorf Astoria.

Thread Count.  One of the most important factors when buying sheets, thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical yarns in one square inch of fabric.  Keep in mind that the higher the thread-count, the softer, smoother and longer-lasting the sheets.  While this is an important factor, ply and type of fiber used also factor into the overall quality (and cost) of your purchase.

Ply.  Sometimes softness is sacrificed for durability by using the two-ply method, (twisting together two yarns to form a thicker strand), when sheets are being manufactured.  Keep in mind that durability is a by-product of higher thread-counts, and single-ply is what you’re really looking for when buying your luxury sheets.

Fiber.  There are four ideal fabrics when determining which sheets to purchase.  Cotton is breathable, less likely to stain and easy to care for.  Organic Cotton is grown without chemicals, it’s eco-friendly and less likely to irritate sensitive skin.  Egyptian Cotton has longer fibers that increase overall durability, but most importantly it gets softer with each washing.  Microfiber Polyester has super thin fibers that produce amazingly soft and lightweight sheets that resist wrinkles and pills.

Luxury sheets can be pricey, but deals are out there if you know what you’re looking for.  (Tuesday Morning and TJ Maxx are good stores to begin your quest for luxury bedding).  If you’re a real savvy broad, you’ll have one set of luxury sheets in your home…every diva deserves some.  One thing is for sure, once you’ve slept on 1000 thread-count, single ply, Egyptian cotton sheets you’ll never be the same.

Caring For Your Fashion Classic – The Crisp, White Shirt

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The crisp, white shirt – it’s a fashion classic for both men and women. It never goes out of style and it can be paired with anything from tuxedo pants to a denim mini skirt. However, this wardrobe staple requires more specified care than one might think. A good quality, cotton-weave, white shirt is best maintained by washing it in the washing machine and not being dry-cleaned. This will require a bit of work on your part, but in the end your white shirt will always be noticed as the crispest and whitest of them all.

Before washing, inspect the shirt for any stains around the collar, cuffs or underarms. Pre-treat them as soon as you find them as lingering stains discolor and weaken fabric. Wet the area with water, add stain remover and scrub it with a toothbrush until the stain disappears. Next, you will keep your shirt looking ultra-bright by using a specially formulated detergent for whites and the hottest temperature the fabric can withstand – the hotter the better. Obviously, do not mix any colored clothing with your whites (and especially when your best white shirt is in the load). Bleaching is a two-edged sword. If used too frequently it will cause your shirt to yellow, so be sure to use it on a VERY occasional basis. A brightening additive, such as Oxy-Clean, can be used with each washing and doesn’t damage the fabric fibers. The best way to preserve the ultimate longevity of your shirt is to allow it to air-dry on a hanger and never put it in the dryer, as the dryer will weaken the fabric and slowly erodes the fibers. Once it’s dry, you’ll have to iron it with a steam iron for the crispest look possible. For the best results, and to prevent the shine that sometimes come with steam ironing, use an ironing-cloth between the shirt and the iron. Finally, hang your shirt on a wooden hanger to maintain its ideal shape and it’s now ready to wear with anything.

Fall in Love With Your Closet

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We have a real love/hate relationship with our closets. They contain everything that creates our personal style and allows us to present ourselves to the world at large. Our clothes, shoes, bags, scarves, belts, etc. are stored in this small area and it seems that there is never enough room to hold it all. Organization is the key to keeping it all together. If your closet is over stuffed and unorganized you can’t see what’s in it and that can make getting dressed a daily chore.

However, before organization commences a bit of purging must take place first. Get rid of those jeans that you believe you’ll get back into, toss that blouse that never quite works with anything, give away those cute shoes that cripple you every time you wear them. These are closet killers. Those items that take up space and are never up for serious consideration when you are making your fashion decisions for the day. You’ve heard the rule before, if you haven’t worn it in the last year, chances are you won’t. Only keep clothes that you love, wear and just can’t live without. Remove out of season clothes from your main closet so that you are able to see what you need and actually use your wool in the winter and not have sundresses taking up space.

Elaborate closet systems are a luxury, but there is a way to create a space, in any sized closet, that will work perfectly for you. The ideal set-up allots a space for long items such as dresses, suits, coats, and jackets. Then another space for shirts and blouses, and another for skirts and pants. A few shelves for foldable items and purses will help keep it all in order. You, also, need a space for shoes that allows you to see them at a glance. Of course drawers are needed for your intimate items and workout gear, so if possible, try to keep your dresser near your closet so that you create a true dressing space. Finally, place your jewelry and accessories in pretty containers on your dresser so the final touches to your look of the day is readily available.

Use your imagination and consider unconventional components to help you put your closet together and create a dressing space that you never thought you could have. Kitchen carts work wonderfully in a closet. They have shelves, hooks and even pull out trays that can hold sweaters, belts, scarves and purses. Stackable shoe shelves are great, and keep you from searching the floor for shoes and keeps them paired up at all times. Adding a mirror to the wall of your closet not only makes it look larger, but gives you a peep at yourself as you’re getting dressed for the day. Also, using the same hangers throughout gives your space a uniform look that will appeal to you every time you open it.

Many people get overwhelmed trying to over-organize. Don’t fall prey to the idea that your closet needs to be color coordinated. You’ll spend time and anxiety trying to keep your clothes rainbow organized and not be able to keep up with the bottom line, which is keeping your space organized. Simply, keep your belts, scarves, gloves and hats in one area; hang your pants and skirts collectively; keep your dresses jackets and suits together, etc. However, keep in mind that all of the time and money spent on organization will mean nothing if you don’t do it. Hang up what you remove, fold what’s unfolded, pair shoes back together, put purses where they belong – in essence, pick up what you put down and keep your closet in order. You’ll find that once you’ve created a closet that you love, you’ll be more interested in keeping it together and enjoying yourself in this happy space that is yours and yours alone.