Annual review: Feng shui, new job, same great vacuum

These photos capture some of Annie Payne’s highlights of the past year as a columnist. In February, Payne received tips from feng shui expert Tammy Long, top left. In June, Payne wrote about keeping kids busy and helpful around the house during the summer, top right. Payne took to the airwaves, bottom left, and wrote about the importance of all members of household taking responsibility for its upkeep, bottom right. In May, Payne shared a picture of her beloved Dyson and new Chihuahua along with pet tips, bottom center.

I recently celebrated two years of writing for the Home & Garden pages and three years overall with The Daily Sentinel.

I appreciate all the feedback I’ve received from my fellow “Homies” (Home and Garden enthusiasts) via letters, e-mails or being stopped for a chat in the mall.

This year, I’ve had the extra special pleasure of being invited to do public speaking about my column.

Being in front of an audience is really different from typing away in the solitude of my home office, but I welcome the chance to meet my readers face-to-face, instead of imagining them clapping and cheering for me in their kitchens after they’ve finished my column and their eggs. (It’s my imagination. I can do what I want with it.)


This year also was the first time I enlisted the help of others in writing my column.

I have enjoyed learning from people, who are professionals in their field, such as Feng Shui practitioner, Tammy Long. For my Feb. 6 column, Long taught me something very important.

“Feng shui is about ridding spaces of clutter, surrounding yourself with those things you love, feeling the comfort of nature’s harmony, impacting all the senses (taste, touch, smell, sound) and artistically aligning spaces to inspire the fulfillment of dreams and goals,” Long said.

Long taught me that my home is my sanctuary. It should be relaxing and inspiring to me.

Since her visit I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things that weren’t bringing me joy and put in their place things that do, such as family pictures, live plants and flowers.

What a welcome change it has been.


This year also brought me the opportunity to be more in the public eye, or should I say ears?

I’m now a radio personality on MIX 104.3 FM. I share the microphone with another mommy, Roxi, every weekday from 5–7 p.m.

Having a part-time job outside the home has helped me to appreciate even more the difficulty some women have trying to find a work/home balance.

As I mentioned in my Feb. 27 column, when mom works, cooperation from everyone in the house is even more important.

From that column:

“In a family where both the mom and dad are bringing home the bacon, there needs to be equity in the household responsibilities.

“At our house, everyone pitches in and cleans the kitchen after dinner. It’s a wonderful change from the time when I would make dinner, the family would take 15 minutes to snarf it down and then disperse to their different corners of the house.

“Now we are together more and the kitchen is cleaned quickly.”


I received a call recently from a woman I met at one of my speaking engagements.

She saw my May 29 column that included a picture of my Chihuahua accosting my Dyson.

She was considering buying a new vacuum and wanted to know how I liked mine. I told her I didn’t like it. I love it.

I am going on seven happy years of Dyson ownership. It works as well today as the day I bought it.

Recently, it lost some of its suction, so I took advantage of a feature I had never used before. The Dyson can be taken apart and put back together without any tools.

I dismantled it in mere seconds, and pulled out a pencil and two wads of tissue paper that had gotten stuck.

A half a minute later the Dyson was back together and the suction returned.

If only everything in my life could be so easy.

Again, thank you, dear readers for your encouragement and feedback. And thanks for clapping for me in your kitchen.


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