Getting Organized in the New Year: Emails

Screen shot 2013 01 25 at 4 21 50 PM

Two weeks ago, I cleaned out all of my email inboxes and rearranged how I am sorting things. (I’ve dug up some old posts for reference: Be a GMail Superstar, Parts 1 and 2.)  I’m still using stars, multiple inboxes and filters, but my inboxes have changed.  Now, they go:

Yellow stars: Respond within 48 hours
Green stars: Respond within the week
Purple stars: Take care of sometime this month
Blue stars: Reference emails
Orange stars: Healthy Living Summit (because we’re fully into 2013 planning mode!) 

I take some time every afternoon to respond to the yellow starred emails. Every few days, I skim through the green stars (“Respond within the week”) to see what needs to be moved to the yellow folder (“Respond within 48 hours”), and I completely clean that one out at the end of each week.  Similarly, the monthly inbox gets reviewed each week, and completely cleared at the end of the month.

Filters, stars and multiple inboxes are your friends.  Don’t be afraid to use them!

How are you getting your online life organized?

Other great email organization posts:

Be a Gmail superstar, Part 1

Be a Gmail superstar, Part 2

Simple tips for dealing with email, Elise Blaha

Conquer your overflowing inbox, Then Heather Said

How I declutter my inbox with Gmail filters, Simple Organized Living

How to use email templates or canned responses, The Crafty Mummy

Helpful tips to customize Gmail and increase productivity and organization at work, New Media Campaigns

Homemade Limoncello


I have apparently taken on the philosophy that I must “Infuse all the things!” In the past week, I’ve started big batches of both limoncello and a clementine spice liqueur. I’m already daydreaming about the next batches of strawberry vodka and new summer fruit infusions.

It is just so easy: Put fruit in jar. Cover with alcohol and shake once a day for a week or so.  Strain. Maybe add a simple syrup for a liqueur. Boom, done.

And it is just so satisfying, making even the cheapest (okay, close to the cheapest. I have this thing about not buying the absolutely cheapest alcohol) vodka or rum not only palatable, but a thing of beauty, in both color and taste.

Homemade Limoncello

Yield: About 4 cups

Homemade Limoncello

Making limoncello is a long, but easy, process. If I waited to share the recipe with you until it was done, Meyer lemons would be long out of season. So start it now, while Meyer lemons are still in the markets. I promise you won't regret it.


  • 1 pound Meyer lemons
  • 2 cups vodka or white rum
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water


  1. Zest all lemons, and reserve 2 teaspoons of zest for Meyer Lemon & Ginger Scones (you can also use all of the zest in the limoncello if you don't want the scones!).
  2. Put the rest of the zest in a quart-sized Mason jar. Pour the vodka or white rum over the zest and seal the jar. Shake well, then allow to infuse for 10-14 days, gently swirling the jar every day.
  3. Create the simple syrup: combine the sugar and water and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to simmer for another minute or two to truly make sure everything is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before adding to the alcohol.
  4. In the meantime, line a colander with two or three layers of cheesecloth. Strain the alcohol through the cheesecloth, squeezing the zest to get all the alcohol out.
  5. Measure out 2 1/4 cups of the simple syrup and stir into the strained alcohol. You may choose to add a little more or less of syrup according to how sweet you want it.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 45-60 days before serving. You can drink it earlier, but the time allows the alcohol to mellow out.