• 07/13

    Despite the fact that we are more tech savvy than ever before, it seems like there may be a disconnect in our understanding that humans—especially little humans—have an innate need to learn at their own pace and in environments that allow for their uniqueness, natural abilities and creativity to surface.

    “A man does not just happen; he does not just grow like a flower.”

    Maria Montessori came to this understanding a very long time ago, and in the 1800’s she opened Casa Bambini; a school with the preposterous proposal of a child-focused method as opposed to a content-focused method – where they could cultivate their own interests... and doing so with the support of their teachers who served as guides rather than authorities.

    To the initial shock of many who thought a child was to be handled and catered to, Maria’s "Montessori" method proved what we now know to be obvious:

    Children are much less frustrated in the learning process when they have tools and furniture that are child-sized – scaled to their level. Children also respond very positively when their environment is calm and orderly... and have better confidence and self esteem when taught to do things for themselves.

    In short, the Montessori method showed parents that early childhood education should not simply fill a child with facts, but rather actually stimulate their natural desire to learn. And so it spread to many schools and eventually reached peoples' households as well – having really caught on over the last 5 years as it began to be adopted by parents who live out mindfulness and minimalism values.

    A Montessori environment at home creates a system of freedom and ease for all involved, allowing the parents to become encouraging guides instead of authoritarian figures – and children feel supported rather than managed, having the time and space to make discoveries, gain independence and participate in daily life activities as a whole.

    Creating a Montessori system at home is easy, especially nowadays when we have companies like Woodjoy that are committed to helping parents apply its principles at home.

    Woodjoy is a 5-star company based on Montessori principles, creating multifunctional furniture at child-level but that serve children and the whole family at the same time. That's what makes them stand out.

    How to create a Montessori home?

    A prepared environment: Observing your children at play is the best way to learn what they’re naturally interested in – which will tell you how to lay out their tools (and what tools to provide for them).

    Have a place for everything and everything in its place: an organized play and learning environment allows children to be self-sufficient and focus on one activity at a time.

    Always choose quality and purposeful toys: Montessori toys are often made of wood, they are long-lasting, functional, non-toxic and durable. Woodjoy offers a vast selection of multifunctional and harmonious toys at a fair price.

    How do I transition to a Montessori method?

    Child-level furniture:
    Tables, chairs and furniture used in the child’s learning experience should, as Maria Montessori proved, be at child level. This Woodjoy clothing rack, for example, will give your child the right amount of independence and a huge sense of confidence by allowing them to pick an outfit from a small, season-appropriate selection of outfits.

    Involve your children in active learning, not passive entertainment:
    Stay away from modern toys that do everything for the child and instead pick furniture and items that allowed them to create their own entertainment and learn to become self sufficient like this pretend kitchen by Woodjoy, where they can create their own story line and unleash their imagination.

    Create a system:
    Having less toys and less activities at any given time allows children to build their concentration and develop mastery of any one particular skill at a time – so it’s a lot less overwhelming for the child. Instead of displaying baskets full of toys where little toy soldiers go to die, use a toy display system like this mini shelf where a small selection of toys are displayed and used... and then rotate the selection to bring in a new round of learning and entertainment.

    Open-ended toys:
    blocks, puzzles, animal figurines and books. Always pick toys like this wooden colored houses that allow your child to create a different story or a system that fits into the narrative they are creating.

    The advantages of transforming your home to allow your children to have freedom and independence are many – and while some might think this is a little over the top, it actually creates a respectful environment in which children learn to establish limits for themselves and others; it fills them with a sense of freedom and independence, allows them to learn organically without impositions by a system that doesn’t encourage them to be themselves and in turn helps them to be happier and more secure children that grow up to be responsible for themselves and aware of others.

    Woodjoy helps you create a nurturing environment with an atmosphere of learning, love, warmth and kindness at home, which is not only beneficial to the children but also to us parents.

    They ship world wide and have stunning reviews and recognition for having created multifunctional children's furniture that serves a variety of purposes, are made only with the best quality materials and look beautiful in any home.

    Here’s to Woodjoy and for allowing children to be creatively and uniquely themselves!

    Editor’s picks:

    Montessori Clothing Rack
    Montessori Mini Shelf
    Montessori Washbin
    Montessori Blocks
    Book Shelf
    Paid partnership © images by Jane Grewal and Woodjoy
  • 05/09

    Motherhood and entrepreneurship are two nouns that are more similar than not – they both thrive on nurturing, creative thinking, patience, planning and smart work. Women are naturally equipped for both rolls – we have proved to be able to spin more than one plate at the same time for centuries and we have assertively raised babies into capable human beings... and businesses from the ground up.

    99% of the clients I work with are women and I dare say that 90% of those are mothers. Some are drained from working uninspiring 8-5 jobs, some others have used blogging as a form of catharsis but never wanted to get anywhere with it... while others (like myself) didn't have any "luck" after several years of pouring themselves into their blogs and businesses – yet interestingly enough, 100% of these women deal with the same feelings of self-doubt and worry.

    I dug into my server archives and rescued a decent list of questions I get asked whenever I’m working with a "mom-preneur". Here are 5 of the ones I think are the most common and the most important ones:

    How did you decide to start a business?
    I became a mother almost 11 years ago and 6 months into motherhood I created my first blog and my first business while sitting on the floor of a tiny villa here in Brazil. I sincerely knew nothing about what I was doing, both in motherhood and entrepreneurship. I simply knew 3 things and those things only: that we needed money, that my baby kept me up for hours at a time while she breastfed into a milk coma and that I was going bonkers not doing anything... and that is how everything started. No, I didn’t have a revelatory dream. There wasn’t a prophecy or a call. I needed to maintain some level of sanity so I jumped in with both feet.

    What do you wish you had known before starting?
    To be honest, the only thing that I wish I had known was that I was doing the right thing at that time. I made many mistakes and the entire ordeal was a mess sometimes. It looked amateurish when I started and there wasn’t much or any information to find online back then but that learning curve taught me a lot – even that I didn’t want to run my business like a machine and that I wanted to keep this a one-woman operation working from the comfort of my home. But the thing that got to me was that irrational mommy guilt you feel when your tiny swaddled baby is taking its 9th nap of the day and you feel that by sitting in front of a computer you're missing out on precious moments that you will never get back. It wasn’t like that and it isn’t like that now that my little swaddled baby is just about my height and has feet as big as mine.

    How do you juggle motherhood and business at the same time?
    You don’t. I could end it there and drop the mic but I won’t. The reality is we all need to stop trying to be everything all the time. Nobody can constantly be at 100% in every area of their lives at all times – and that is the case with being a mother and an entrepreneur. You will eventually sort out a plan that seems to work for you... but 90% of the time you are just going to need to pick your battles: one day you will thrive at your business and get the rush of a professional bad-ass and some others you will be super mom and tackle all your little one’s appointments and needs and even sneak an extra hour of playtime in there; but we all need to understand that only some things are urgent and only some things need our undivided attention at any given time.

    Do you have a routine while being a freelancer?
    Yes, I have a weekly routine that tells me what to do every day from Monday - Friday and that forces me to work in a systematic manner. My days look different and I pay attention to different things during the week giving each task my undivided attention. A good routine for mothers who work from home should always start with them - say, having time alone in meditation in the morning... and then end with them as well – maybe reading a book in bed or spending time in exquisite silence. Of course, as a freelancer, your routine will probably look different from day to day but time for self-care and (if possible) weekends offline should be non-negotiable.

    Should I venture into a business of my own?
    What advice would you give new entrepreneurs?

    10 years ago I’d have simply said, "Yes!"... but in these times I need to be honest and say that you should start a business only if you have a clear idea of what that would look like and you are willing to put in the time to patiently see it evolve. If you are determined and already have a clear idea, I’d then tell you these things:

    ¹ Be clear about how much time you want to devote to growing your business on the daily. Calculate what your time’s worth according to your capabilities, resources and available time and don’t accept anything less than that.
    ² Treat yourself as your only source of income – so invest in your well-being and mental health.
    Communicate to your children and set boundaries: you need some sort of delimitation between home and work.
    ³ Working from home is being flexible and using what you have around you. Do not invest in anything until you’re truly seeing it take shape.
    ⁴ Loneliness is a common denominator for at-home workers, especially when your little ones are not yet in a talking phase.
    ⁵ Structure your work weeks and if possible make weekends off non-negotiable.
    No matter how much more you think you can do by sleeping less and working more, never sacrifice your mental health for your work.
    ⁶ Save a part of your money whenever you surpass your earning goals – for a rainy day.
    Be aware of the privilege that it is being able to always have your kids an arm's-reach away. That will allow you to swiftly take your work hat off and enjoy times with them without the guilt of stopping work for the day and vice versa.

    Neither mom-life nor entrepreneurial life are easy to manage; you will win some battles and you will lose some – but it is important to keep sight of what made you take that leap in the first place, as it is important to let go of self-doubt and worries.

    Make sure your business is constantly growing and that you don’t have to completely neglect one thing for the sake of another. Trust your instincts and always – and I mean always – look for help in people who are here to help you... yes, like me.
  • 01/22

    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.

  • 10/17

    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.
  • 10/04

    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?

  • 08/26

    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.
  • 08/19

    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.
  • 08/01

    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?
Here you’ll find curated stories and products from both established and emerging talents; celebrating culture through art, fashion, design and architecture. Please note that we may receive a small commission when you buy using our product links.

More Products →