• "Fake it till you make it" is one of the most thrown-around phrases that almost every entrepreneur and blogger uses to motivate clientele and readers – but in my opinion, it’s no recipe for success.

    I believe that it can actually have the opposite effect – if to start with, you do not believe that you have what it takes to live out your dreams. If you doubt yourself, you will simply mask those insecurities with over-confidence, a fine suit or whatever you feel that you should fake in order to get to where you want to be.

    Authenticity is extremely underrated these days but strangely enough, it is what makes people interested in you and what you have to give. So all the little parts about yourself and your journey are important. It’s what makes people not only look up to you but also believe in the possibility of them achieving their own dreams. Not everyone has had instant success. There are plenty of people who are incredible at what they do and have started from absolute rock bottom in every sense of the word – and there’s no shame in that.

    So, if you absolutely feel like you have to fake it until you make it, make sure that what you are changing first is your own perception of yourself... and ask yourself if maybe instead of pretending you shouldn’t be showing the honesty of where you are at and let people see you grow to the point where you make it.

    As long as your motivation is in the right place, you will always get there, whether you fake it or not.

    Ph. Dagmara Jarzynka with thanks


  • Everyone at some point will feel like all they do is lose in life. Whether it’s sickness, breakups, financial troubles, career hardships or loss, we all hit brick walls and experience feelings of worthlessness at some point in this journey of life.

    We all have the tremendous capacity to recreate ourselves – forging ways where there weren’t any before. We learn new things daily, we are able to push through the most intense challenges that life throws at us and we constantly fall and get back up again... but what does it take to get back up? Do you simply want it? Do you sit and wait for motivation? Is it a matter of believing in yourself?

    The world tells us to constantly strive, to be switched on and to fight (then fight some more) and if nothing gives, to fight harder. What our immediate circumstances don’t tell us is that *how* we get back up again is just as important as standing on our own two feet again – and the only way, of course, is through. We need to go through all of the experience to come out on the other side. There’s no way around pain, loss, trouble and sadness – only through.



    To truly rise up from something and never look back we need to accept our part in what took us to where we are, learn that motivation is an illusion and we cannot wait for it to come. We need to understand that we create momentum. True mindfulness is raw. It’s not something esoteric and mystical. It’s not (only) bubble baths and massages: mindfulness is awareness, it’s opening our eyes to our truths and accepting each situation for what it is, even if it’s uncomfortable and ridding ourselves of negativity. It’s being patient but active in working ourselves out of our ruts.

    We need to be forgiving with the people who contributed to where we are, we need to be forgiving to the circumstances that brought us to this place – but we also need to be radically responsible for the reality we experience daily. As harsh as that might sound. *That* is how we move forward. That is how we are able to live a life of balance and integrity.

    Yes, you can rise up from anything. Don’t ever doubt that. Make yourself accountable for it and truly go through it: go through the crying, the loss, the pain, go through the worries and the hurt but keep yourself in check. Don’t wait for motivation to come knocking at your door. Instead create momentum and surround yourself with faith. Have faith in your future, in yourself and in that nothing is permanent. You will get through this. Say that and believe it. Be open to a new beginning. Always.

    ph. Nicole Mason















  • Sundling Kicken

    I've been noticing an increasing wave of negative comments surrounding Minimalism–and while I wish that wasn't the case, I have to admit I completely understand where people are coming from in regards to the preachy types and the black and whiteness of it all. It is indeed quite puzzling how people can complicate something that’s meant to simplify our lives.

    The saddest part is that minimalism and mindfulness can be immensely beneficial to everyone's life... but if we complicate the mere act of becoming a minimalist we lose sight of the simplicity of it all.

    It is counterintuitive to encourage people to "let go" and then serve them with 101 "must do's", don't you think? Well, it shouldn't be made complicated. In fact, minimalism as I see it, should fit into your life and not you into minimalism. This is not a cult, it's a lifestyle–one that can change our lives completely and make our lives lighter and freer; so the only principle that we should never let go of is this:

    Minimalism results from mindfulness.

    That means that only you can determine what is right or wrong for you, what the essentials for your particular life are and what you truly need to let go of. Everything else is just a fad.

    Thoughts?

    A B O V E   1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5

















  • Last year around this time I wrote a post entitled "How To Cure A Minimalist Wardrobe". There I talk about purging a closet and the mindful exercise of learning to make sensible choices when it comes to fashion.

    What I didn’t talk about there was the minimalistic qualities of couture and why I think it makes a difference in how people perceive fashion. I know, I know… to each their own but hear me out for a bit. Minimalism has slipped its way into every realm of the fashion world because it just makes sense.

    Like everything that is created using minimalism and mindfulness as stepping stones, minimalist fashion focuses on functionality, quality and pays attention to the details. It’s honest and it’s developed from sketch to the end piece with the utmost of respect for the materials, the craft and the person who will wear it.

    That is the same approach that Australian power duo, Sara Donaldson and Georgia Martin took when creating The Undone—A unique online shopping destination, distinctly concerned with quality and aesthetics. The focus is on wardrobe essentials. In pieces that are not mere "basic" but which also engage women with a sophisticated, functional and unique fashion experience.

    They have a high standard for service and offer a small yet stunning selection of designers.

    From their website, their carefully curated images, down to their beautiful packaging, The Undone is a safe place for minimalists to invest. Below are 6 of my favorite.

    Click on each image for more




    Rachel Comey Spark Top ATP Atelier Dina Flat Sandal Rachel Comey All Wicker Baan Ba UNCONDITIONAL MAGAZINE Maison D'Amore Feuille De Tebac Matteau Square Maillot













  • Ragnar Ómarsson

    Let’s all be honest—we love acquiring things . . . Whether buying gives us a sense of power, comfort, practicality or false joy. We all have reasons why to constantly buy things—but how much is enough and how much do we really need... and have you ever thought about why you need one thing or another?

    Being mindful about everything material around us helps us develop a character that is more understanding, simpler and richer. It stirs up in us a power that not many of us practice. It makes us less reactive and more intentional about the things we purchase—and it significantly and gradually makes us pull away from desiring the material in the search for happiness—which means it brings us true happiness instead.

    Buddhists believe that gratefulness should be a habit and that we should cultivate it independent of conditions or circumstances.

    How many of the things you acquire or already own do you take for granted? How many trinkets are you stacking in your drawers? How much of what you have is truly relevant to your life and your well-being? And are you aware of those things? Are you truly satisfied with what you have? Do you have enough to be grateful?

    Minimalism, mindfulness and gratitude are intertwined. It is impossible to live a life with the essentials without being fully aware of what those things bring into our lives; therefore it is also impossible not to be grateful for those things.

    To cultivate gratitude, we need to be mindful and aware first of what we already have; denying ourselves of the pleasure of practicing gratefulness makes us to constantly want more . . . to worry. To always think we need more, to never desire deeper, more meaningful things, like peacefulness—and that is no way to live.

    The power that comes from mindfulness is gratefulness—and the benefits of gratefulness are endless. It starts by getting us out of our heads. It helps us look at humanity as number one and not selfishly to ourselves. It connects us to our passions with more intent, it fills us with happiness, it grounds us, it makes our minds and hearts lighter. In a nutshell, it makes us happily content.

    How much of what you own are you truly grateful for?





  • Photography ©️ Alice Gao

    A little over a year ago I started noticing certain daily things were causing strange involuntary reactions in me: like a slight increase in my heartbeat every Sunday before bed, or a near inability to take deep, steady breaths while I worked on my computer or replied to emails.

    The symptoms worsened when my father got ill—until seemingly out of the blue I woke up one day and I started becoming paralyzed with fear at any given moment. Stress and negative thoughts weighed down on me to the point of making me experience the feelings of going through unimaginable tragedy and loss. The slightest day-to-day challenges would set me off on a panic attack. Air seemed not to fill my lungs and I would get more and more worked up until my body would eventually crash and I’d feel burned out. An exhaustion I'd never experienced before.

    I had no idea why after I had gone through so much in life I was suddenly unable to cope with the most common things. My creatively demanding job, of course, wasn’t helping. I was starting to lose touch with the things I loved and giving up on everything that I had built.

    My life was at that point where I couldn’t go left, right, forward or backward. I could just exist in that moment and try to change my attitude—because the situation wasn’t going to change any time soon. My father was going to get worse or pass away before he could get better and my daily work was always going to have its positives and negatives. I needed to relearn how to cope.

    I wish I could tell you I had that realization moment and I set off on a magical journey or rediscovery, but it was nothing like that. There was the preliminary part where my emotions and what I knew to be “me” had spiraled out of control, making me lose all of my sense of routine, self-love and the work I held so dear.

    One day, a few months down the line after going through the actual loss of my father, I was sitting on the edge of my bed, having just woken up from a vivid dream where I had taken a train ride with him. I woke up sobbing and feeling like my chest was going to explode. Suddenly I felt tired of it all—of imploding and feeling I had no control over my emotions.

    I had to face the fact that I was helpless and stop swimming against the current. I had to truly stop and realized that I had all this bottled up and it wasn’t serving me.

    Minimalism was one of the many things that helped in the process of picking myself back up. It made it so that I could grasp some perspective and focus on the present moment. I needed to let go of some of my emotional baggage and that is exactly what I did.

    I kept it simple. I did what I could manage every day and I kept my focus on the day-to-day with a heart full of love and forgiveness for what I thought I had neglected or left behind when I wasn’t able to cope.

    I committed myself to doing one thing at a time and to tackling that one thing that was the most terrifying at the beginning of each day. That meant I wouldn’t let it hang over my head and that I wouldn’t run the gauntlet of anxiety every single day. Being mindful helped me find true strength in times where I’d otherwise have lost all emotional control.

    With time and much persistence I’ve been able to react appropriately to each situation. That’s not to say that I no longer suffer from anxiety or panic attacks but they do not run my life anymore. Last week was a terrible week for me. I was anxious and down. I was physically ill and entertaining all the negativity I could... but what counts is today—and today I'm here.

    Even in the midst of experiencing paralyzing fear, I’ve been able to push forward knowing that I can do at least one thing every single day. That the emotions that don’t serve me are supposed to be let-go of and not bottled up... and that as terrible as today might seem, there is still hope for tomorrow—or even for a minute or an hour from now.

    Minimalism has brought mindfulness into my life and consequently comfort and happiness, even in times of grief, need and fear.

    For everyone suffering from anxiety or panic attacks like me, I’d suggest looking for professional help. I wanted to share my story with you on where I’ve come from so you know that you can come out on the other side too... but this might not apply to you, so this is not at all a formula to follow but a story of someone who knows how hard it is and who can now see light and hope in her situation.
  • Photography © Adidas Originals Full disclosure: I’m writing this post as I eat my third zucchini cookie of the day – and experiencing zero guilt.

    To be fair, for someone who’s job statistically labels her as “sedentary” - and completely backing up that fact – I have a moderate to good relationship with fitness and health. But let’s face it: Blogging, designing and running a creative business from home sets up the perfect atmosphere for a sedentary lifestyle, especially when squeezing in an extra hour of work is sometimes a bigger priority in our lives.

    I believe that the place where we put *ourselves* on our mental priority list directly dictates how good of a relationship we have with exercise and spirituality (or at least that has been true in my own life). Awareness plays a lead role in making us believe we deserve something and in understanding that one hour dedicated to ourselves is an hour gained, not an hour lost – or that eating healthy is not a temporary quick fix but a life habit.

    Being aware of ourselves first when it comes to a healthier lifestyle is (surprisingly) not just about vanity and shedding the pounds, although it’s a nifty side effect, don’t you think? Being aware of ourselves makes us uncomfortable enough with our sedentarism to provoke us to action.

    The secret to effortless exercise is learning to redefine the way we see effort itself, not as something that sucks the life out of us. It changes from, "There’s no time for it" to, "I’ll make time for it". That’s where the rubber hit the road and makes us more prone to creating a realistic system for ourselves that fits into our lives and that we can maintain.

    You exercise and live healthy effortlessly when you:

    1. Ease into it – Most people fail at creating healthy habits because they don’t ease into it. You need to start from the beginning when it comes to building a healthier lifestyle, no exception. Start with something that your mind recognizes as effortless. For example, move at a slow pace for 15 minutes today rather than signing up for a military style boot camp... or switch out white bread for wholewheat bread. Simple is always smart.

    2. Redefine your limiting beliefs – Our beliefs are shaped by past experiences, logic and emotion. Once a belief is formed we reject the thought that something can be any other way: If you believe that you can’t do something, you speak and act like someone who can’t, so you actually can’t. Reshaping a belief is about changing the way we speak about things and ourselves. I love the way Tony Horton puts it: Instead of saying, “I can’t” say, “I presently struggle with...” - then act on that new belief.

    3. Be present – Creating healthy habits is a day-by-day process. It’s about what you’re doing today that’s good for you... not about what you will be able to do, feel or look like a year from now. Practicing mindfulness inherently allows you to find the process itself satisfying not only the outcomes.

    4. Align it with your personality – If your actions and habits don’t align with your personality you will soon lose your interest... and you know how that goes. First despondency... and then you'll jump ship. It’s key to recognize how beautifully different we are and how that triggers what we fall in love with. I love yoga and practice it once a week for 1.5 hours - but doing that every single day just doesn’t align with my personality. Things that have me jumping, moving and rolling on the floor are more *me*. Like Plyometrics. So that's the highlight of my week. The same can be applied to healthy eating. If you’re not someone who loves smoothies, why drink them? Eat the way you like and make smart healthy choices.

    5. Condition yourself for it – A lot of us have all these good intentions but when it comes time to put them into practice, we find something better to do or to eat because we don’t condition ourselves and our lives for action. For example, you are much more likely to exercise if you intentionally focus on simply putting on your gym clothes and shoes. Just the way you're more likely to eat better by planning your meals in advance. Conditioning is setting yourself up for success which in the end is winning.

    Keep in mind that this is not all about getting shredded abs... it’s about creating new habits and new beliefs so that exercise is always effortless no matter it’s shape, form or level of intensity. No fitness Guru in the world is going to talk you into making the shift to living a healthier life style if you don’t set yourself up for success.

    Do you have any limiting mindsets when it comes to exercise and healthy living?

    Please, let me know if you want the recipes for these cookies. I tell you, they’re scrumptious.
  • Photography © Sara Medina Lind with thanks! Living one's life intentionally is easier said than done. People have started to throw out Minimalism quotes like bible verses from Sunday's mass... and though they're empowering, there's a massive gap between the believing and the doing. Jumping in with both feet is scary for anyone, unless, like myself, life has not given you an option. It's safe to say that your journey to becoming more mindful about material things will be a tad uncomfortable to say the least.
    Introducing change into our lives, no matter how adventurous our brains are, will always generate a little discomfort. Human beings are bound to resist change because in changing there's a lot of uncertainty (and living on the safe side is always more appealing) - so the immediate answer to something new and challenging is most often NO.
    Decluttering is not about tossing things away that are broken or rummaging through your drawers trying to find things that you haven't seen since 1982 - It's about bringing more meaning into your life, it's about enjoying every single thing you have. It's not as much about letting go as it is about keeping things that add to your life.
    What if we all saw decluttering as life-giving instead of life-depriving? That micro mind shift alone can be so powerful that resistance will stop taking the drivers seat in your life. That internal talk has sharpened my desire for simplicity and taught me the value of the principles I'm about to talk about.
    01. Start Easy The best way to get started decluttering is by simply cleaning up, getting rid of the no-brainer types of things. If you start with the hard things first (like things that right now have emotional value to you), you will be challenging your ability to make progress yourself.
    02. Keep Memories Not Things There are many ways to honor the love that you receive from others. There's no need to keep every single letter, gift or souvenir. Your memories are louder and more meaningful than things that are put away in drawers.
    03. No Space For Junk If you dedicate a special shrine in your home for junk... chances are junk will always be a part of your life. Clear all junk-rooms, junk-drawers, junk-basements and re-purpose their use. Everything that you own takes your time to maintain. Are you wasting your time on junk?
    04. Stop The Incoming Flow Taking (old) things out will be a waste of your precious time if you keep bringing (new) things in. Making new habits is important to allow you to buy what you need, not what you think you will need "if". Learn to put off buying things rather than splashing out with impulse buys.
    05. Don't Spend: Invest This practice will forever change your life. Learning to invest rather than spend will have the greatest of impact - simply because you automatically give more value to the things you decide to bring into your life. Learning to invest in things that have purpose and function is life altering. Make smart decisions when it comes to function, purpose and durability.
    Mindfulness cannot be achieved unless is exercised - so if you're having trouble in this area of your life make small trigger goals that can help push you through: For example - if you are having issues getting rid of something, try using it a few days in a row. Chances are you'll see how invaluable it really is to your life and end up getting rid of it. Gather a tribe and start hanging out with people doing the same thing you're doing. Accountability and shared experience are an enormous source of inspiration.
    Focus on outcomes - not activities - and the "doing" part of it all will become something automatic in your life.
    Which of these principles do you find the hardest to apply in your life? For me it was Investing rather than Spending.
    I'd love to know.
  • Photography © Studio Kalliomäki Minimalism is getting to be one of those things that people either hate or live by. I’m one of those who lives by it - and though there are many ways it’s changed my life and turned it around for the best, I'm going to give you 5 reasons why you should at least be up to giving it a try before you knock it.

    What is minimalism?

    Minimalism, by definition, is a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.

    This might be where people say, "Wait, what?!" - Let’s face it, no one wants to live in "extreme spareness" - but how can having and doing less give you more? I agree that minimalism is simple... but it’s not in any way deprived of value. In fact, minimalism is a tool that can help every area of your life because it’s all about maximizing your outcomes with less effort.

    I personally see it as a state of mindfulness in which you are able to live your life in a rich, effortless and more fulfilled way.

    What can minimalism do for you?

    1. Give you more energy

    Minimalism helps you declutter you life in general, it helps you to be more mindful of the things you dedicate yourself to, the things you attain and the effort you spend taking care of anything - whether material or otherwise. The less you have on your plate, the more energy you can focus on those things that will truly make an impact in your life.

    2. Give you more time

    Minimalism changes your life by teaching you how to use your time more effectively and it frees up a crapload of that time so that you don’t always feel spent. Minimalism dispels the myth of the "glamour" that many relate to living as workaholics. It teaches you the value of time well used and the necessity of taking time out to do nothing at all.

    3. Give you more money

    The less money you spend on trivial things, the more money you can save or invest in things that are going to be of value. That will improve the quality of your life. It helps you understand that everything you purchase at some point will either break, need maintenance or wear out - and it instantly helps you make the right decisions when it comes to spending. Think about it as the voice of reason. How many times have you worried about not being able to afford something important because you’ve spent your money on superfluous stuff? I know you know what I'm talking about.

    4. Give you more quality

    Minimalism allows you to create a life of quality: It organizes and adds breathing space to every area of your life - from your home to your mind. It allows you to let go of material things and notions that have been weighing you down. The more you allow it to fill your life, the more you'll enjoy your life (and those who are part of it).

    5. Give you more peace

    Focus is a side effect of decluttering your life. With that comes peace - an inner feeling of satisfaction and certainty that you are taking the right steps and the right decisions for you and the ones you love - that you are living within your means and that you are being productive and present. Simply, it helps you sleep better at night.

    I can assure you that the benefits of minimalism far exceed the effort of undergoing a shift in perspective - letting go of the things or practices you might be convinced are the right way to do things right now. It’s up to each person to find their way through it: Start with what makes you feel the most comfortable and see how it adds more value to your life... and before long you’ll reap the rewards of making those simple shifts - and you’ll start experiencing the 5 things listed above.

    Now, which side are you on in the minimalism battle?

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