Posts in Living

7 Ways To (Instantly) Make Your Day Better

Hi friends

How are you today? Having a good day? No? I totally feel you. I had a bad day yesterday. Just feeling really ‘meh’ all day, not my usual self. Maybe it’s the depressing weather here or I don’t know what. Sometimes it’s just like that. It made me think what small things brighten up my day so I came up with the following seven ways. In case you’re having a ‘meh’ day today as well, I’m with you. And maybe some of those ideas might inspire you and make it a little better again.

If you have any other tips, let us know in the comments below! Bye!

#1 Make your bed when you wake up

It sounds SO SO stupid yet just the fact of doing it (and let’s be honest it only takes you less than a minute) will make you start your day on a productive note.

#2 Tackle your most daunting task first

When you prioritze your to do list and place your most dreaded task at the top, its power no longer looms over you all day. Whatever it is, once you check it off your list, you’ll feel so accomplished and ready to take all the other tasks on.

#3 Do something thoughtful for someone else

Doing something nice for someone else is scientifically proven to make your day better. Call or message a friend, send your grandparents a handwritten card, pay for your friend’s coffee at the café, bring your mother a bunch of flowers, the list is endless. Not only will this help take your mind off of whatever is bothering you, but it will also make someone else’s day better.

#4 Listen to your favorite song on repeat

Do you have a favorite song that you like to listen to when you’re in need of positive vibes? If not, it’s time to find one. Scientific American reports that “music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort, and may even promote metabolic efficiency.” So. Today’s to do: Find a go-to power song, or go the extra step and create a playlist so that you’ll never run out of options.

#5 Say “please” and “thank you”—and mean it

Being kind is important, right? Being kind AND sincere is even better. The more genuine kindness you offer to others, the more genuine kindness you’ll see in return. Hold the door for a stranger today, thank people for their efforts at work, say “please” when you order your morning coffee, smile AND MEAN IT.

#6 Have a relaxing bath

Rather than having that quick shower, make some me time (read more on how to practice self-care here) and have a bubble bath. You can also do a face or hair mask or whatever makes you feel good! It is a great treat after a long and hard day.

#7 Sniff something lemon-fragranced 

Yep, you read that right. To improve your day, simply sniff a lemon, light a lemon scented candle or get yourself a citrusy perfume. Scientists at Tel Aviv University suggest that citrus fragrances – particularly lemon – can alleviate depression and boost our mood. Why that is? The smell of a lemon boosts your levels of serotonin (a feel-good hormone) and lowers levels of norepinephrine (a stress hormone).

How To Talk Like An American

Hello friends, how are you today?

A common question I get asked by my Swiss friends is how I get along with the language.

My answer will usually be, I get along well except for the odd moment where I’ll be searching for a very specific word. In Switzerland we get taught British English (if I remember correctly, it’s been a few years) so I wanted to dive into how you can start talking American English (if that is something you are interested in, if you aren’t I TOTALLY understand). Let’s get started, shall we? 

Instead of going through all the (real serious) details I recommend you going over to wikihow to read the article related to this topic here. If you’re interested that is. You’ll find my favorite recommendations according to wikihow down below with my added comments.

American phrases you “should” know*

  • “Awesome” and “cool” -> used to describe something great or used as a positive reaction to something someone tells you.
  • “What’s up?” or “Sup” -> used to ask someone what they’re doing, how they are, and as a general greeting. It’s fine to use casually with friends. It’s most often used by young men (haha, the last part made me lol).
  • “Hanging out” is spending time somewhere or with someone. It’s a phrase often used by teenagers to describe how they pass time and socialize, often without one particular activity or aim (again, major lol moment).
  • “Y’all” is a contraction of “You all”, the second person plural mode of directly addressing a group of people. It is used primarily in the Southern States, but is acceptable in other regions.

Say it loud, say it proud

“Try to speak a ‘little’ louder when you’re talking to someone in America. It’s perfectly acceptable over in the States, and it creates an atmosphere of congeniality.” I really had to giggle a little when I saw that.

Use ‘like’ in (almost) EVERY sentence

I’m like don’t do that, she was like no way am I going to that party. And so on. You get the gist.  It’s called the “quotative like,” and over the last 25 years, it’s become one of the language’s most popular methods of talking about talking. Yes, that’s a thing. 

Are you all ready to speak American English now after this thorough introduction?

Have a great day!

The Expat Tag Follow-up

Hi guys!

Remember, how a few weeks back I had created an expat tag? Well, lots of lovely people did it and I thought it would be nice to feature their blogs and share some of my favorite answers with you. Also, lots of other people reacted so thanks to them too for sharing their stories even though they aren’t featured here (shout out to Christine!).

Check out Sarah’s blog Endless Distances here to read more about her experience as an American yoga teacher living in Plymouth (also, beautiful photos alert).

“Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand? I cannot bear the Plymouth accent. I really cannot. Growing up in the USA we all fell in love with the poshest of British accents (think Colin Firth) and were led to believe all Brits sound the same… this is NOT the case and my ears are now attuned enough that I can spot a Plymouthian accent from a mile away.”

HAHA.

Between England and IowaFollow a British Girl’s life in the Midwest of the States over here.

“What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home? Driving 3 hours to go to an airport.  In the UK, that’d be like me driving to Manchester to get on a flight.  Why would I do that when I have Stansted, Southend, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, London City, all less than 90 minutes away and all flying internationally?!  Now, my nearest major international airport is Chicago O’hare (that’s the nearest airport that flies direct to the UK) and it’s 3 hours away.  Those 3 hours of driving are a killer before and after a long haul flight.”

The Frenchy WayFind out what the frenchy way of living in Santa Cruz is and check out this French girl’s blog here. It’s very interesting, lots of pretty photos too!

I had a hard time choosing an answer I liked most, there were too many, seriously (it might also been the beautiful French language or the Grizou GIF, not sure). 

“Quel type de réactions obtenez-vous lorsque vous rencontrez de nouvelles personnes et leur dites d’où vous venez? Les réactions sont toutes très sympathiques. J’ai été très étonnée au début. Je pensais que les français avaient mauvaise réputation outre-atlantique. En fait, c’est le contraire, on a plutôt la côte !”

This one was funny, too:

“Quel est votre plat préféré, nourriture ou boisson dans votre nouveau pays?
Les ARTICHAUTS ! Vous entendez le cri du cœur là ? En soupe, en crème, en salade, frits… Californie = artichoke. D’ailleurs la capitale de l’artichaut se trouve à Castroville, à 40 minutes de chez nous. Les artichauts californiens, tu peux pas test !”

An Aussie in San FranciscoCheck out this Australian’s adventures in beautiful San Francisco over here.

“What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from? Americans tend to love Australians. I’m not sure why. I get a lot of “crikey”s and questions about deadly animals. Sometimes they just ask me which part of Australia I’m from and let me continue on my merry way. Other times I get a rendition of their best Aussie accents. To this day I get a visit from a colleague once a week to regale me with his awful accent. It’s British. The more I tell him that it’s British, the more he assaults me with it.”

My Theory on BloomingCheck out Claire’s thoughtful blog on her adventures as an American mom in South Africa here.

“Your favorite food or drink item in your new country? Granadilla – It’s a passionfruit which tastes both sour and sweet, and full of flavor.  It’s good with yogurt, mixed in a drink, or made into a sweet dessert.  My daughters even eat them right out of the skin.  I’ve got a vine growing in our back garden.  So, when they are in season…I don’t even have to pay for them!”

Expat The WorldA sweet Spanish girl moves to Germany and tells you what it really is like, check it out here.

“What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from? Usually people tend to tell me something in spanish; “hola”, “sangría” or “paella” are the most common words people say. Another usual thing is to ask me about the weather; “do you miss the sun?”. They get really surprised when I explain them that the sun does not always shine in Spain.”

My March Favorites

People, IT IS APRIL. ALREADY.

I sound like a broken record I am aware because I seem to keep repeating myself every four weeks. Time’s flying though, don’t you think? Anyhow, I’m sparing you any more “how fast time goes by” comments and am jumping right into this month’s favorites. What have your favorites been, let us know in the comments below!

So, March has been a cold, snowy, grey and rainy one over here. Yes, Europeans reading this, you had a way nicer month in terms of weather. However, I loved spending a little more time inside cuddling up than I usually do. Most favorites relvove around me warming up on the couch watching or generally consuming something (not uber proud of it but such is life sometimes).

Drinks and Food 

I have been drinking a LOT of Yogi Ginger Tea (with an added slice of lemon if I am feeling fancy) in the mornings. There’s just something about it that makes me feel energized. Plus: I am even happier if I get to drink it out of my favorite (new) mug that Philipp surprised me with as he knew that I was so sad about the old one breaking (yes, he’s great. I agree).

On the alcoholic side of the drinks spectrum I have been loving Downeast Cider. It’s a locally produced cider only containing fresh table apples and ale yeast. Such a fresh and delicious taste. I will force everyone that is visiting me to drink it.

I am that annoying friend. yes.

You will (must) like it though. Haha.

Downeast Cider

Friends and New Plants  

Do you know the feeling when you finally think that you’ve arrived in a new place? We are slowly but steadily building a group of friends and you cannot believe how grateful I am for them. Plus, if they bring mini baby plants and orchids when they visit for brunch, I like them even more!

Books

Well, this is an interesting one that much I can say for sure. I am still reading it but will be sure to give you a review if you would like me to. Let me know if you do!

The Life Changing Magic of not giving a fuck

Spotify

I have rediscovered my love for Spotify this month, I am listening to it all the time. I have especially been enjoying Maggie Rogers, Agnes Obel, Ed Sheeran, Lorde and many more. I have put together a little playlist (check it out here) if you want to give it a listen.

Watching stuff (lots of it) 

You must have heard and read about it a million times already but I still had to include this as it just brought back so many memories and just downright melted my heart. So here goes the trailer for the mini-sequel of Love Actually. The full 10-minute film has already been released in the UK while it is going to be broadcast in May here in the US.

What do think, who has aged best? (Colin?, Hugh or Liam?). Also, check out some behind the scenes here.

What may sound odd at first is that I have been enjoying watching a show on Netflix called “Call the Midwife“. Hear me out on this one: It’s a story based on the real memories of a young midwife in East London in the 1950s. I find that you learn a lot about history, medical and social issues. I love it! There’s also a new season coming in April, yay!

Ok, so like millions of other people we gave in and went to see “The Beauty and the Beast”.

It’s crazy how much hype this film has gotten. A lot of people were saying how Emma Watson had turned down the role that Emma Stone (so many Emmas) later took in La La Land because she thought that “Beauty and the Beast” had more potential than “La La Land”. Well, I don’t know. The film itself was entertaining, I loved the music, the costume design and the effects. The story is pretty much what you’d expect. I feel like they kept it extremely close to the original tale.

I also had to laugh about articles I read beforehand saying that the beast was waaaay to ugly and how that was a huge disappointment. I’m going to be honest with you, I thought the BIGGEST disappointment of them all was seeing the prince’s face after two hours.

Seriously? Couldn’t they have casted a better looking prince than that.

A New Backpack Love 

I’ve done something I have never EVER done before. For the grand opening of a new Fjällräven branch here in Cambridge they offered the first 5o people in line on a Saturday morning a free Kanken.

As I was in need of a new backpack and had time that morning I went for it. I felt weird at first, because when I arrived there seemed to be two homeless guys lying in front of the entrance. I later found out that they had arrived at midnight to be the first in line. I got to talk to them and another girl in the line for almost three hours and had the best time. They served tea and coffee, good times.

fjällräven cambridge

And to be honest, I would have never expected that. Bonus: I walked out with a new forest green backpack and I LOVE IT.

Feeling those school kids vibes.

fjällräven

Thoughts On Living Abroad

Hi everyone, how are you?

Let’s talk about living abroad today. Everyone knows that you will miss your holidays with your family, having your friends around, eating your favorite childhood foods from your favorite grocery stores. But I thought I’d dig a little deeper than that.

What is amazing about living abroad

I am aware that living abroad for two years is an immense privilege so I take it for what it is: A gift. Usually, when you get a gift (unless you seriously lack of education) you say “thank you”, right? So what is there to be thankful for being an expat and living abroad?

  • Besides the obvious (cliché but true) stuff like that it widens your horizon, that it forces you to learn new things and be brave (make new friends, strive to master the nuances in a new language) what strikes me as the most important of all is this:
  • The confidence you gain with yourself when you go to this new place and start all over again from zero on and the knowledge that you can rely on yourself to build a life again. That is quite a reassuring and good feeling, right? It really is a new beginning, full of curiosity and excitement. You have to figure out how basic things work in your new country (from public transportation, applying for a job, how to be good at small talk, shop at grocery stores or how to post letters, the list is endless).
  • A thought I also like is that the mere act of living in another country, in another language, fundamentally changes you. It forces you to rediscover your own personality as you are in a new environment where you have to reposition yourself in (as opposed to your home country where it is pretty clear where you belong, who you are). For example, I feel more comfortable talking to strangers now (not in a bad way, don’t you worry) but in a more being open-minded towards people I don’t know way (it is just considered friendly behavior here and my Swiss shyness seems just dumb). I am already picturing myself back in Zurich talking to people on the streets just because I feel like I want to tell them something and they go like “who dat crazy lady?” (yes, I’ve referenced myself as a a lady, haha).

Being part of an expat* community

Of course we try and meet as many locals as we can. I try doing that by volunteering, where I get in touch with lots of Americans, which I sincerely enjoy. As an expat, however, there seems to be this magnetic power to get together with other expats. And we are no exception. So far, we got to meet lot (LOTS) of expats here. It is definitely a hub for people coming together from all over the planet.

I met lovely and super interesting people from Romania, Finland, Brazil, Spain, Canada, Iran, China, Israel,  Czech Republic, France, Italy, Turkey, Haiti or Germany to name a few. Even though we couldn’t have more different backgrounds and home countries, there is one thing that unites us: The experience of leaving and starting a new life in a new country. And believe me that is enough to create a link.

Having major FOMO becomes a constant

Besides all of the lovely things starting a life in a new country entails, there is still one question always nagging you in the back of your mind that is “What am I missing at home?”. I think that we manage to keep up to date with everything going on at home pretty well, still one of my biggest fears is going home and finding out that I have missed too many things. Because, let’s be honest: Life goes on without us. I guess there is nothing you can do than trying to stay connected.

Visiting home is wonderful and strange at the same time

As much as I love visiting home I find it is strange at the same time. Except for family and friends (which are obviously great) basic stuff like our apartment or jobs aren’t there anymore. We live a life of a guest in our own home country if feels like.

Anyway, I like how this American experience has shaped me so far, I also love that I get to connect with so many different people at volunteering. This is definitely something I would like to keep up when I get back home to Switzerland (after eating mountains of cervelats and bread first).

BTW: We went to a Swiss Soirée** a couple of days ago (yes, that is what you do when you are a Swiss person living abroad) and you know what? IT WAS AMAZING. It’s crazy how food can catapult you home INSTANTLY even though it’s more than 6000 km away (unfortunately, they didn’t have cervelats at the soirée but they had Salsiz and Bündnerfleisch, WIN!).

*Disclaimer: Even though I am not particularly fond of the word “expat” as I don’t see how I am really different from a “regular” immigrant, I’ll still use it.

**I had a fancy alcoholic drink with a little white cross in it (see photo above) and it tasted FABULOUS. 

My 5 Favorite Websites To Learn New Things (For Free)

Oy! Wassup?

Let’s get educational today. I want to share my favorite websites in case you’re in the mood of learning new things. Why not have a look at them today and learn something new, sound good? Then keep on reading. Oh and I didn’t even tell you the best thing about them:

They’re free. WIN-WIN.

#1 Highbrow

This is a really cool, nicely designed email subscription service that brings bite-sized courses to your inbox on a daily basis. Courses are 10 days long and lessons are 5 minutes or less. Find out more about all the topics that are being offered here. You’ll really find anything from “How to sing like a star”, “Getting started with C Programming” to “Improving your photography skills” and more. Have fun learning!

#2 Digital Garage with Google

This might be my favorite, it’s a comprehensive and nicely put together collection of all the things. It’s a good program if you want to get a little introduction to all things related to online communications, SEO, Mobile and Video Communications. Check it out here. Highly recommend!

#3 TED-Ed

While you all may know the TED talks you must check out the TED-Ed videos here. They’re animated educational videos that are fun to view and easy to share. All videos are 10 minutes or less to watch.

#4 Codeacademy

Codecademy is a website that allows you to learn how to code by doing instead of studying (haha, WIN-WIN). Learn the basics of different programming languages such as HTML, CSS or Javascript.

#5 w3schools

You’ve always wanted to code for building your own web page. w3schools does just that and teaches you computer programming through numerous web tutorials, definitions, references and examples.

 

3 Thoughts On Trying To Be A More Minimalist Consumer

Hello!

A quick note before we start. I’ve revamped my notification emails, so don’t be surprised if today’s mail looks different than the ones before*. They look definitely better than the ones before (no offense WordPress but those mail notifications are super ugly). The frequency of the newsletter will also be different. As opposed to every day from Monday to Friday, I will spare you the spam and will only send you a mail with kind of a resume of the week and my personal highlights (if I dare say so) on Fridays. Sound good? Then enter that box on Home (here) and subscribe to the newsletter. Also, if anyone has a suggestion for an alternative word to newsletter (it sounds sooooo bad), do let me know. It would be much appreciated.

Ok, so the self-promotion part is over now. Let’s get to the real content.

Living in the US, even if it only has been for a couple of months, has made me realize how consumerism really is a main pillar of American culture. You can purchase basically everything everywhere (and online as well) at any hour of the day to be delivered to your door the next day, using up all those coupons and deals and special offers you have at hand. Also, advertising is literally EVERYWHERE, calling you to buy.

It made me reflect on my own consumer behavior and when I stumbled across the Minimalists’ practical guide on how to become a minimalist consumer I thought it would be interesting to share the three points that stood out most to me with you guys (check out their original, long blog post here).

  • Adopt a traveler’s mentality of only having what you need. We only take what we need when we travel (because we don’t want to pay that overweight at the check-in, haha). And we’re fine and feel light, right (you’re on a holiday too, so that helps I guess)? The Minimalists claim that adopting a traveler’s mindset provides the same benefits and not only for the duration of a vacation but for a lifetime.
  • Compare down. President Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” He was, of course, absolutely right. As we begin comparing our lives and possessions to those around us who have more, we lose joy and happiness. And we begin trying hard to close the gap because we always compare upward—looking at those who have more. Why not break this trap if by taking greater notice of those who need more and start spending time with people who have less.
  • Consider the full cost of your purchases. Usually when you buy something, you only look at the sticker price. But this is rarely the full cost of your purchase. Our purchases always cost us additional time, energy, and focus (cleaning, organizing, maintaining, fixing, replacing, or removing). Making a habit of considering those expenses into our purchases when you’re about to buy something will allow you to make more confident decisions.

While the Minimalists’ premise is to overcome consumerism I wouldn’t go as far as that, my goal is to (just) become a more aware and mindful consumer by taking the points above more into consideration. Still, a beautiful bouquet of fresh tulips is something I want to keep indulging myself with every once in a while.

Have a great weekend everyone, enjoy it to the fullest!

And if you consume anything you might think about those little inputs. Byeeee!

* Stupid me, the moment I published this post I realized I hadn’t deactivated the old subscription notification. Please excuse the double spam today! Won’t happen again.

How To Declutter your Makeup (Mess)

In the spirit of this week’s topic, minimalism, I’ll be sharing with you my (very easy) tips on how to declutter your makeup/beauty products collection today.

Main goal would be to only have products that you like and appreciate and most importantly of all, still use (they don’t do you any good catching dust in the cupboards, don’t they?).

Are you ready? Cause we’ll be talking about getting rid of (at least some) your red lipsticks in different nuances you collected during your red lip phase (that btw with hindsight look exactly the same even though if someone would have told you that back then you would have shockingly responded that they had no idea).

Put it all on (what’s going to be a big ol’) pile

Even our friend Marie Kondo says so, it all begins with gathering your belongings on the floor (which possibly will instantly make you realize that you have gone overboard in some sort of way). We’re also talking about getting all of your lip products in every bag and pocket you own. Unless you own a more minimalistic beauty collection anyways, I would suggest you form categories (lipsticks, foundations, brushes, hair products, fragrances etc.) for going through the products.

Check expiration dates (aka the quick and easy way to say goodbye)

It’s really the first question you should ask yourself: Is this expired? If there’s no expiration date, follow these rough guidelines: Mascara goes “bad” three months after opening, lipstick after 2 to 3 years, concealer and foundation after six months, moisturizer after 6 months to a year, cleansers after a year, and powder products after 2 to 3 years. Weird smells, textures, colors are also good indicators.

When did you use this for the last time?

If you can’t remember the last time you used a product, it might be an indication that you don’t really need it. If you forgot about the product but actually like it, put it in a place next to other of your products that you use on a daily basis to give it more use.

How many duplicates do you have of this item?

It’s time to talk about those 20 red lipsticks.

I’m sorry. But be honest, you probably only need one or two at most. Keeping just your favorites and ditching the rest will both save you space and ensure that you use your favorite more often. Ideally, after this you will also be more mindful of what you already own, keeping you from accidentally repurchasing dupes in the future.

Would you buy this again or recommend it to a friend?

This is probably the most effective question that will show you how much you love a product.

Let me know if you have other tips to declutter your make up collection! Have a great day!

On (Kind Of) Having A Capsule Wardrobe

Hello you

Another day, another minimalism-related post for you. Today’s post is going to be centered all around clothing, shoes and accessories, basically all the good stuff. Or should I say rather the lack or minimal amounts of them? We’ll get to that in a second. Grab a cup of tea and get comfortable.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

I first learned about the whole concept of capsule wardrobes about one and a half years ago. As far as I know the blogger Caroline from Un-fancy (absolutely check out her blog here) started the whole movement by documenting her own experience of living with a small, intentional wardrobe by posting her style photos every day.

Her approach in a nutshell:

  • Dress with only 37 pieces* of clothing for three months (basically one season of the year)
  • AND: Not to shop during those 3 months.  Sounds adventurous, right?
  • To plan and shop for your next capsule during the last two weeks of the season
  • How much you buy is up to you but Caroline reminds us that less is more

Ok, now that we’ve got the whole definition down, you’re ready to get your own capsule experiment going. One last input provided by Caroline that I found really helpful to get the whole thing started was the Capsule Planner (you’ll find it here). It is a great way to reflect on your wardrobe, what type of colors, materials and pieces you are drawn to and if they match your lifestyle.

Why you should try it

Imagine a world without you standing in front of your closet desperately saying one of the following statements (btw total first world problem alert):

  • “I don’t have anything to wear” (even though your closet is technically full…very full actually)
  • “I don’t know what to wear”

The capsule experiment will help you in narrowing down your overcrowded wardrobe into just the items that really work for you, that you really like and that you will actually wear. So that the above mentioned scenarios will never happen again.

Sorted.

Why I kind of failed at having a capsule wardrobe

Sooo. I read everything about how to get started with my capsule wardrobe and I actually did (kind of) go through with it for about one year.

I marked four reminders in my calendar as to when I could shop again and I can’t tell you how I excited was I could shop again. Instead of dipping into the stores every once in a while, staying away from them and THEN going back in will make you more aware of what is on offer I found (as opposed to seeing it all the time).

Also, you will appreciate the clothes you have even more and it really makes your life a whole lot easier. Where I failed, however, was the amount (damn you tshirts, shirts and shoes, I just love you too much). I surpassed the number of 37 (I was more hanging around 100+ back in Switzerland). Still, when we moved here I managed to get to 56 (yay). It’s all small numbers and details that don’t matter in the end.

Happy to have talked to you (even though it was kind of a one-way conversation so far). Would love to hear your thoughts on the whole capsule wardrobe thing in the comments below. Do you have one? Would you consider creating one?

Have a lovely day y’all!

* Your 37 pieces should include: tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. Your 37 pieces should not include: workout clothes, jewelry, accessories, purses, swimsuits, pajamas/loungewear, underwear, and the jeans you wear when you paint your living room.

What Makes My (Minimalist) Home Homely

Hello everybody! How are you today?

Having moved across the ocean with two suitcases in hand has shown me that I really don’t need that many things in life. When packing up my stuff and being forced to leave things behind like clothes and furniture, I thought at first, ‘this is going to be hard’. A few months into the adventure of living in the US I can safely say that I don’t miss those things at all.

We moved into an empty apartment and had to furnish it ourselves. Ikea was obviously called to the rescue (which btw was a HUGE disappointment). The American version of Ikea is totally different from the European version it seems (Americans seem to have a totally different taste when it comes to furniture if you know what I mean). Anyways, as we will only be staying in the US for a limited amount of time we didn’t want to go all out and kept things fairly minimal.

I enjoy having a clear living space (other people would call it empty and sad). It gives me peace of mind and not seeing clutter and stuff everywhere is liberating. Also, the items that we now have in our flat all serve a purpose and are therefore greatly appreciated.

What are your favorite items in your living space? Why do you appreciate them?

Here goes a small overview of the things that make our rather minimalist home feel homely to me.

Plants and flowers

I LOVE flowers and plants. ALL of them. They are the best roommates you can wish for.

Minimalism

Photos and small gifts

They were easy to pack because they’re small and light yet mean so much to me. Love looking at them and feeling instantly happy and grateful.

Books

Cozy cushions and blankets

White bed sheets

 

Would love to hear what your favorite pieces in your home are! Let me know! Have a lovely Tuesday!

What Is This Minimalism Thing?

Hi everyone!

I hope you’ve had a great weekend filled with lots of nice sleep, good chewing of your food, enough water and biscuits eaten out of a nice little (big) bowl. If all of that sounds very weird to you, you’ll find a bit more context over here. Nevertheless, I am really happy about your positive feedback on last week’s series. We’ll keep the “theme week thing” going, this time around it’s going to be all about Minimalism. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

So what is Minimalism?

If we look back a few decades, Minimalism emerged as an art movement in New York in the early 1960s. It renounced the recent art that it thought had become academic. This Minimalism movement favored the cool over the “dramatic” art. But what does Minimalism mean nowadays?

Minimalism is definitely a buzzword that I have been seeing flying around. It pops up pretty much everywhere and actually also means something different every time I see it being used. It is applied in discussions about living in tiny houses or microapartments, monochromatic clothing or interior decor. The millions of images tagged #minimalism on Instagram don’t help with finding out more about what it really is as they include everything from white sneakers, clouds, art work or neon signs. So long as it’s stylish looking, it’s minimalist it seems.

Let’s still try and figuring out what it is, ok?

The Minimalists* put it this way: “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom”. That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have it! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately”.

Let’s think about YOU for a moment, shall we?

I have reflected on this last sentence for a bit. When I was younger and would read or hear people talk about certain products/clothes I would want to buy them too. I was (and still am) living in a culture that is driven by consumerism, especially here in America. It’s all about buying things, at the best deals, at any time of the day. Back when I was younger, I generally wasn’t genuinely interested in the things other people were talking about. I was interested in them because others were. And when you’re younger you tend to want to fit in with everyone else, which is normal and ok I guess.

Thankfully we get older though, more self-confident in our beliefs, tastes and preferences and are (should) be able to consciously decide if we want or need to buy something.

If I can inspire you to think about one thing today it would be to reflect about your last five purchases (could be anything really, from a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop, 5 new lipsticks, new trousers, a new tech gadget etc.). Did you buy those things because you really “had” to? What do they mean to you? Are they important to you, do they make you happy? Then I say, good for you. If you come to the realization now that you didn’t need four new red lipstick (as you already own three) this might serve you as a friendly reminder to not amass posessions if they don’t serve a purpose and that is to make you happy.

Have a great week, I’ll be following up with updates on how minimalist (or not) I am in different parts of my life. Be sure to come back tomorrow, see you then dear!

* Two guys have made a blog about their journey to and with minimalism. They’ve even made a movie. Check it all out here, if you’re curious.