Mindfulness, minimalism and design.

  • Broste

    We’re approaching the most-awaited month for retailers. Every year during this time everyone (minimalists included) deal with the dilemma of what to give during the holidays. Some of us even ask ourselves if we should give at all. Everything, from advent calendars to the infamous office Secret Santa results in more; more stuff, more clutter... more stress.

    That’s why gift-giving is tricky when you (like me) have personally decided to live your life with less. Being a minimalist that still understands we live in a world of traditions and that those traditions are something that not only have a material meaning but a sentimental meaning is what can (and truly) makes a difference.

    I’ve stood on both sides of the gift-giving dilemma before and I’ve learned that the best way to go about it is to honor how you feel and what you truly find important. Gift-giving shouldn’t be obligatory, it shouldn’t replace love, it shouldn’t make up for lost time with your loved ones and it also shouldn’t be an automatic practice.

    The reality is that not everyone likes to give and not everyone likes to receive but this specific time of the year we all feel an uneasiness about this ritual–an uneasiness that shouldn’t even be part of the equation–because we are all different and we should understand our uniqueness and our personal situations and values.

    Frederik Vercruysse

    There are some minimalists who are fully against gift-giving. Some confuse minimalism with frugality and some will find a way to just partake in the holiday experience and give. If you are one of the latter, here are 3 practical tips for you:

    1. Give personal gifts:
    Do not buy 100 pairs of socks in bulk and give them out randomly. Truly care to know what people want or need and make each and every and one of your gifts meaningful to you and the person who’ll receive them–give only if you want and to whom you want to give.

    2. Gift experiences:
    If you’re adamant about giving something to someone who’s not too keen on receiving; give them an experience, like concert tickets, a massage, a tasting... or like I said before, give to their charity of choice.

    3. Gift consumables:
    Give people things that they can consume: a great coffee, a special tea blend, a bottle of wine or even an assortment of spices.

    For those in the spirit of giving, here are my top gift suggestions for 2017:

    Cedric Bihr

    Her / Him
    Gifting the minimalists in your life who appreciate simple design and live by the less-is-more mentality can be difficult; as someone who's part of that peculiar species I’d recommend you pick consumables, minimal Design pieces and good reads. Sure, they love to receive something that has a meaningful story behind it.

    Winston Deco in Onyx • Komono • $100
    NMD C2 in Simple Brown • $200
    Ball Cap with Suede Brim • $99
    Patchwork Tube Socks • Satisfy • $43
    Moroccan Neroli Shaving Duet • Aesop • $80
    Backpack in Black • $260
    Santos Dumont in Juta Rock Miel • Veja • $120
    Large Gaia's Ark • Cult Gaia • $138
    Byredo Women's Rose Hand Wash 450ml • Byredo • $60
    Elaine Tie Pant • $47.99
    Multi Watch in Morning • $119


    The Little Ones
    What a special time for the munchkins, isn’t it? From Santa to the Three Wise Men (depending on where you’re from) it is a given that this time of the year they will ask and receive. To avoid a futile over-indulgence, get the kiddos in your life something practical, fun and and beautifully designed. For the parent’s sake, toys with whistles are a definite no!.

    THE ANIMALS OBSERVATORY Dog Animal T-Shirt • $51
    LA LANGERIE Le Parfum Eau de toilette - 100ml • $111
    TEO Modu Gold Ceiling Light • $167
    FERM LIVING KIDS Landscape Plate • $28
    FERM LIVING KIDS Organic Cotton Seaside Cushion • $62
    ELODIE DETAILS Grey Tender Bunnybelle Rabbit Soft Toy • $28
    Hunter Kids - First Classic Kids Shoes • Hunter • $54.95
    FJALLRAVEN Kanken Backpack • Fjallraven • $112–125
    Bloomingville - Bear Rug - Brown • $45.88
    CAM CAM Luca Organic Cotton Bed Set • $94–111
    Kay Bojesen - Painted Oak Songbird - Alfred • $116.67
    LORENA CANALS Bubbly Storage Basket • $54
    FERM LIVING KIDS Rabbit Bedding Set • $86–130
    Bloomingville - Bed Bumper - Grey Fox • $85.21

    Frederik Vercruysse

    Self Care
    We forget some of the most important things around this time–and one of those is to care for ourselves. The high of the Holiday time makes it almost impossible for people to recognize there should always be a time to wind down and start the New Year off right. Choose gifts that help people do exactly that. Wind down and be self aware.

    Cashmere Robe • IN BED • $482
    Boob Bathmat • Cold Picnic • $60
    Binchotan Facial Puff • MORIHATA • $17
    Redemption Body Scrub • Aesop • $35
    Purple Haze Eau de Parfum • $175
    Lana Hand Towel • MORIHATA • $32
    Linen Body Wash Cloth • $16
    Clay Pomade • $28

    Frederik Vercruysse

    For Home
    Whether you are gifting to a straight-up minimalist, a soft minimalist or a boho lover… There are 2 things that you should keep in mind: "purpose and design". Regardless of whether you choose one or the other; giving a gift for someone’s home is the hardest part... so choose well. Give things that they can truly use, that they need or that can make a statement without causing clutter.

    Pour Over Kettle in Black • $152
    Bloomingville Cotton Pillow • $68
    P2 Speaker in Umber • $169
    Muuto - Corky Carafe - Grey • Muuto • $57.68
    Muuto - Halves Side Table - Light Grey • Muuto • $386.73
    Bullshit • $100
    Serena Table Lamp • Flos • $659
    Menu NoNo Table • Menu • $450–700


    Stocking Stuffers
    Let’s put down the box of tic-tacs for a minute and think creatively when it comes to stocking stuffers. Putting in trinkets for the sake of it just isn’t the way to go. When it comes to the little details, think consumables, necessities and self care.

    Agnes Nail Polish • $19
    Memo Roll • Craft Design Technology • $10
    Dollup Crew in Ivory • Hansel from Basel • $12
    Pure Vanilla Extract • Ila • $15
    H&M Lip Scrub • H&M • $9.99
    Mini Eco Tote • Aba'ca • $16

    Remember that minimalism and stoicism are not the same thing. Do not feel bad for wanting to participate in this dynamic of the holidays and also do not feel wrong if you don’t want to. The experience of giving starts with you.

  • Marcus Lawett

    IKEA’s Creative Offices in Malmö, Sweden, were designed by Nanna Lagerman–a multidisciplinary designer, creative director, curator and stylist. Based in Stockholm, Nanna has previously worked with IKEA on numerous publications–and her work on this space speaks of her vision and creativity.

    Punched Organiser A4 Tray - Warm Grey • $51.14
    Nerd Chair • Muuto • $431.40
    Soft Cushion • Tom Dixon • $196.69
    Raw Rug • HAY • $811.65
    Herman Stool • Ferm LIVING • $159.97
    Soft Edge 10 Chair • HAY • $255.69
    Cap Table Lamp • Normann Copenhagen • $340.92

    For this project, Nanna and her collaborator–interior designer, Nina Warnolf, wanted to find out what happens when you have a board meeting in a room with plywood walls or sit on a spectacular sofa with plywood cubes instead of tables. They kept the best interior features like the beautiful parquet floors, decorative ceilings and structures intact and they decided to restore them.

    Each room in the hub has its own feel and its own personality, which makes it a different experience for the teacher–one day they could be writing on the walls and the next they could spend their time in an all-pink room decked out with (also pink) curtains.

    Only one word: Stunning.

  • Anna Pirkola

    One of the biggest human struggles since the beginning of modern times has been the attempt to achieve a balanced life. We push, pull and try to fit everything in, falsely believing that we can be everywhere and do everything all at once–spreading ourselves thin.

    If you were born in the late 80’s like me, you can attest to the revolution of technology. Life as we knew it changed before our eyes . . . suddenly everything went wireless, we no longer needed booth phones to call when away from home, video games were all the rage and all we could hear was that technology was here to make our lives easier.

    What started off as something that could ease the pace of our lives, ended up making us feel dissatisfied. It’s made us work harder, longer and feel a constant sense of unfulfillment. It’s like we cannot ever achieve our goals. Technology was supposed to connect us . . . but it’s pulled us away from real life–to the point where we now understand the difference between being “in” and “out of” real life (well, some of us still do).

    I used to think that faster was better. Only a year ago I was living my life like a race, doing everything on autopilot and living my entire life logged on, isolated from the real world–incapable of switching off even for the sake of my health or my relationships.

    The non-stop mentality is making us sick. In my book 30 Days To Minimal Blogging I explain how my response to anxiety in the past was to do more, to try harder and to never, ever stop hacking at the things that were difficult to deal with. We are tackling our challenges in the wrong way; we are doing more than ever but in that we are getting less and less life out of our days.

    Fast living at all times isn’t natural; the bigger, better, stronger philosophy is what brought us fast food–a disconnect with what we put on our plates. It’s made way for big chains, for dehumanizing services, for automating our consumption–without truly making things that once used to be an experience, what they should be.

    That’s why after spending my life trapped in the "do-not-stop" and the "boss-everything" mantras, I reached the tipping point and I needed to rewire the way I defined living.

    I’ve said this before: that often times the answer to changing a radical point of view is to start with a new radical approach and tweak that. So, my response to my fast-paced life was to make a 180 degree turn and start living slowly. Rethinking my approach to work, to myself, to my family, my relationships and my surroundings. In other words, I started being mindful.

    The Slow movement is not just about diminishing the speed at which we do things–it’s about being aware of ourselves and the things outside ourselves, about understanding when the right time is to be slow and when it’s time to be fast–and recognizing the difference at all times.

    Certainly, living on the slow side is a challenge in this modern era we live in and it has doubly so been a challenge for me and for my business. We live in times where people feel entitled to a response almost immediately as they send in an email, where everything is urgent and no one can wait. I’ve had to force myself to comply with a daily schedule, to switch off on my weekends, to connect more outside of social media and find gratification in simple things–in cooking a simple meal, in spending 15 minutes in meditation, in having a conversation with my daughter and sitting in the learner’s seat once in a while.

    By taking simple actions in our lives, we contribute to everyone’s life–we add significance to the lives of the people we love, we contribute to our communities by buying local, we say no to dehumanizing treatment by making better choices. We re-educate people to wait and at the same time we allow ourselves to be better at what we ourselves do.

    It’s imperative for our health and our happiness that we learn to slow down by doing what we can to add more life to our days and we that we collectively start redefining what’s truly good and what it means to be truly stronger.

    It is time for all of us to remember that slow can also be a good thing.

  • Rylee+Cru

    I have an innate inability to make myself feel uncomfortable in the name of fashion. It’s something that was probably built into me from the womb. There’s not a single picture of me as a baby OR a toddler all dolled up–and I clearly recall feeling itchy at the mere suggestion that I should put on a ruffled dress or pair of tights for dinner out when I was a kid.

    My mother... the badass! She had to raise me at a time when fashion for girls was either full-on “toilet paper doll cover” (remember those?) or being often referred to as a boy-which I was (ALL the time) but I couldn’t care less; playing on the floor while wearing a yard of taffeta wasn’t even a question.

    My go-to outfit: A long (often batman) t-shirt, shorts and tevas. Yes. Tevas.

    The fashion industry has become more inclusive when it comes to kid’s clothes and I believe we owe that to the small-independent designers and studios, pushing the envelope and allowing our kids to be themselves–creating fashion that is not only comfortable but that they can identify with, no matter what their style or needs are.

    Rylee + Cru does just that: it’s fun, encouraging, ludic and practical. It’s real, fuss-free clothing that kids approve of–and their newest collection guarantees a lot more moments of play for our little ones... which translate into a whole lot more memories made for all of us.

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The Book

30 Days To Minimal Blogging

30 Days To Minimal Blogging is an interactive, 30 day journey to a stunningly more mindful blogging experience. Presented in 5 powerhouse sections, this guide gets to the heart of what you need — from how to create balance in your blogging career to monetizing your blog.


I believe in honesty and simplicity but most importantly I believe in my
client's story that needs to be told—the sum of their values and their
passions are worth a channel and I strive to put that into my work.
I'd love to know your story.

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