Miss A Columnist

Melissa Curtin covers charity and style related events and loves to cover LA's best in beauty, fashion, and culture. She is an educator who recently returned to the classroom to motivate and inspire third graders at a private school in Pacific Palisades. In 2012, she launched an educational T-shirt line called Wear2learn. When she is not working out, hiking a canyon, or at the beach, she is writing. Her latest dream come true has been travel writing for Johnny Jet.

After teaching in the Maryland public school system for almost a decade, she left the conservative East Coast environment in Washington, DC for West Coast living. Eager for adventure, inner growth, and a new environment, she packed her car and took to the open road on her own landing in her new home - Hollywood, California. As a Connecticut Yankee at heart, she has now lived in Los Angeles for six years surrounded by the stars.

Melissa graduated from Gettysburg College with a double major in psychology and art history. Soon after, she earned a Master's Degree in education. Melissa traveled around the world on Semester at Sea, and earned a Fulbright Scholarship which enabled her to teach in England. A lust for travel and learning has fueled her globe trotting ever since. Some of her favorite destinations are Costa Rica, Thailand, Fiji, Morocco, Vietnam, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, Prague, Egypt, Australia, Greece, and Paris.

Los Angeles has won over her heart. She is constantly taking advantage of what LA LA Land has to offer - new boutiques and restaurants, finding great deals, discovering new hikes and beaches, music, and West Coast fashion.

O, The Oprah Magazine Wants You To De-Clutter For a Cause

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(Photo Credit: O, The Oprah Magazine)

America, it is time to get rid of it for good! Clutter: we all live with it, and most of us would love to get rid of it, if only we had a little nudge in the right direction. This year, the editors at O, The Oprah Magazine will collaborate with organizing genius Peter Walsh by challenging America to get rid of excess things for good, permanently purge unwanted possessions, and pass it along to someone who needs it.  “Not everyone can afford to write a check to charity,” says Walsh, “but everyone has clutter.”  Do you want to transform your life and that of others, just by offloading your excess?  “When you purge unnecessary possessions and open up your space, you feel more energized, focused, and motivated,” explains Walsh.  “Every time I help someone de-clutter, they say, ‘This has transformed my life.” And what if you transformed the lives of others in the process?

A couple of years ago, Walsh received an incredible e-mail from Jane Hofmann, 49, of Ashburn, Va.  To help a local boy, Ryan, who was beaten outside of a convenience store and struggling to pay his medical bills, Hofmann spoke to a friend, who spoke to a few other friends, and soon they’d organized a massive yard sale of their town’s clutter, from clothing to toys to exercise equipment, furniture, and appliances—all to raise money for Ryan’s treatment.

Walsh got involved when Hofmann, who had seen his show, Enough Already! (now called Extreme Clutter), on OWN, e-mailed him to request a signed copy of one of his books for a raffle prize. After hearing about Hofmann’s project, Walsh was so inspired that instead, he flew to Virginia to help. “It was like a well-organized military campaign,” he recalls. “They’d thought of everything.” Strapping young men from the local high school were moving boxes, community members were selling baked goods, and a “boutique” area showcased higher-priced designer items. Hundreds of shoppers ultimately helped raise $30,000 for the Diviney family. (Last fall, the women reprised the event, raising another $22,000.)

How to enter: Drawing inspiration from Hoffman’s story, readers submit innovative event ideas by March 18 to oprah.com/declutterforacause, and one ambitious and inspiring local declutter-athon will be chosen by the editors of O to be featured in a future issue of the magazine—with Walsh personally ensuring its success.

“You know, I never thought I would say this,” says Walsh, “but sometimes, a little clutter can be a good thing.”

For more on this story and other tips on how to “get rid of it for good,” pick up the March issue of O,The Oprah Magazine on newsstands now.

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