• 04/18

    "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
  • 04/16

    Oh, the charm of Amsterdam! I could easily have been born there.

    Yes, Amsterdam happens to be one of my favorite cities in the world. It's not only the warmth of the people and the cultural contrast – but also the architecture and the beautifully preserved canal homes.

    Thomas Geerling is the Founder and Art Director of Studio Framework. He renovated this (in his own words) "rundown home" in Grachtenviertel as a personal project and completed it in less than a year. He and his wife had wanted to move to that part of Amsterdam for the longest time and with the help of his studio they made it a reality.

    The interiors were meant to remain "imperfect". Thomas wanted to keep some of the unfinished feel and have the home serve as a stage for their art, including the two sofas he designed for their dinning-room area. Visibly, they were able to achieve every one of their goals.

    This renovated home is a gem in the busy-yet-charming streets of Amsterdam.

    Ph. Kasia Gatkowska

    *click on each product for product info*
  • 04/05

    I was reading a couple of articles lately and I came across one that explained in 10 points why this person believed minimalism to be toxic. The arguments ranged from things like, "It hurts your potential and ambition."... to, “It deprives you of buying what you want”. I read the entire thing waiting for it to teach me something but it was one big nothing burger.

    I find it increasingly difficult to believe that in 2019 there are still boxes to neatly package and categorize absolutely everything in life. The black-and-white minimalist still throws shade at the minimalist who doesn't find color to be indicative of whether or not they live a true minimalist lifestyle. Yes, I find it somewhat icky that we have to make everything so all-or-nothing.

    Minimalism has abolished the ball and chain of having to strive to acquire the unnecessary. It’s given freedom to people who wouldn’t dare travel because they couldn’t leave their “stuff” behind... and it has given more meaning to yet others who where constantly trying to climb the never-ending Jacob's ladder to reach the Joneses.

    I feel many of us don’t understand the power that the philosophy of minimalism has in how we purchase, how we spend our time and how we work towards our future – and that of our children. No, I don’t believe minimalism is toxic. I *do* however believe that our *lives* have become so toxic that the notion of pairing down, letting go and not constantly hoarding makes us feel like living a minimalistic life could even harm us instead of benefiting us.

    Minimalism takes on various shapes and forms. For some it is stoic and it keeps them in check... while for others it is freedom. No matter what the arguments are, the principles of minimalism are there to free people – not hold them down. It has done exactly that for me in times of plenty and in times of little.

    Ph. Cover 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06.
  • 03/27

    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
  • 12/12

    The notion that people who work from home work less (or more freely) can only be in the minds of those who do not work from home. As alternative and as exciting as it might seem, the truth is that most of us (at home or not) work too hard. If your job shackles you to a desk and a computer, chances are that like me, you often feel drained at the end of the day . . . and most likely, while you are checking commitments off your list you are not putting in time where you should. Yourself.

    I’m guilty as charged when it comes to neglecting oneself. I’m more often than not giving up a gym session to squeeze in some extra emails and more likely to give others my time than committing to my own well-being. Sound familiar? I’ll bet it does.

    Taking time out for ourselves can many times feel selfish or wasteful when building our careers up, when in financial stress and when having people (or creatures) around us that depend on us – but meeting ourselves in the middle is crucial, so that in the long run we don’t end up tired, anxious or maybe even giving up on our dreams.

    Beyond going for a quick walk, doing a few breathing exercises and keeping an arsenal of snacks at your disposal to munch on while tied down to your desk, we should also make our lives more practical. Like I always say, there’s always a way to better one’s life, no matter who you are and where you’re at.

    Here are 5 things (material and otherwise) to give yourself this Christmas:

    1. A (you) book: In the work frenzy we all lose track of our dreams, hopes and ourselves outside the professional realm. A you-book is meant to bring you back to your own. Not a work agenda and not a diary – but something where you can do both things. A moleskine is perfect to track your day-to-day life outside of work. This can be for your dreams, your learnings, your thoughts or essays... you name it. It simply needs to be all about you.

    2. A morning warm-up routine
    I used to be the type of person who would fall flat on her bed after a long day of work and dove right in to a digital immersion again every morning – without even catching my breath. It’s taken me years to get used to not getting sucked into that – the morning anxiety that tells you there’s not enough time. There IS enough time, especially when you don’t start your day stumbling from your bedroom into your office.

    Having a daily morning routine where you can ease out of bed is crucial. If you feel there’s not enough time, simply set your alarm so you can graft this into your life. Trust me, 15 minutes of morning relaxation is better than 15 minutes of extra sleep. So, start your morning by opening your eyes while in bed and pray or meditate and breathe. Sit on your bed and start your day mindfully. Grab a cup of tea or coffee (whatever makes you happy) and truly ease into your day. Think about the things you are grateful for before your to-do list starts niggling at your brain.

    Wash your face and continue to think about those things you are grateful for that day and tell yourself to have a good day.

    Then you can start, fresh and bushy-tailed.

    3. A daily spot in your agenda
    We are ALL busy. Let’s start with that. We all feel there’s no time for anything and everything is more important than what we think of as being frivolous, vain and unimportant. You are not frivolous, vain and unimportant. You are the brains of this operation, the motherboard to your computer... and so you should give yourself a special spot in your agenda – and when I say daily, I mean DAILY.

    Use this time for whatever you want – but don’t forget to pencil it in: 2:00pm-3:00pm “Me Time”, “Gym”, “Yoga” - you name it. If you easily pencil people and commitments into your agenda, why not you? After all, the better you feel, the better you will produce, so technically, by doing so, you are still a smart business woman (and a loving one at that).

    4. A weekly non-negotiable day off
    Do you want to know why many people crash and burn? Screens. Simple as that. We are constantly tethered to a screen, scrolling our computers, phones, tablets, smartphones and televisions in an endless haze of cold, blue lights... and we naively believe that a couple of hours of extra sleep on a Sunday can make a difference and prepare us for a busy week ahead. Wrong.

    Having a non-negotiable day off has completely changed my life and eased my anxiety. The act of disconnecting from social media, work, television, etc. is liberating (ok, scary at first but eventually liberating).

    Think about it. What are 24 hours (8-12 waking hours, really) in a 168-hour week. Not much… so things are going to be ok, especially you. Take that time to teach yourself new things. Sit in uncomfortable silence if you must.

    5. An evening winding down kit
    Having a nice end to your day is just as important as starting off right. I have already given you a quick walk-through of my previous robot-like behavior of the past... and let me just say that all I got out of that was endlessly more morning anxiety and panic attacks. So this is why I believe everyone (not only tiny babies) needs a winding-down routine.

    When night comes, you are run down, I know... but that is the exact reason why you need to wash off the day and give yourself a little pamper. A nice shower, a lit candle, soft music and sitting down for a warm meal is enough to do the trick – but if you want to take it a step further, I’d recommend you stop using screens 30 minutes before bed and that just as you eased into your day, you ease into your sleep. Maybe practicing a short breathing exercise or a prayer and a good read before bed.

    I keep a bottle of body cream next to my bed and I rub my feet every night before bed. I know I spend most of my day sitting down but there’s so much tension built up in the legs and feet and it’s very relaxing to soothe your body, mind and soul before sleeping. Not only will you get to sleep faster but you’ll also sleep better.

    If you have more tips and want to share with us, do it in the comment section. I just want to wrap this up by saying that no matter how hard-working you are, how many kids, pets or problems you are trying to control and resolve, never forget that you are important – in fact, you matter the most. To the measure that you take care of yourself, that’s the measure to which you will be able to take care of others.

    Say "Merry Christmas To Me" by adding these 5 small practices into your days.
  • 11/06

    There's one itch that I cannot ever get rid of – the wandering itch. Often I wake up making travel plans for 3-4 years down the road I tell my daughter, "When we go to Paris together…" or, "I'll take you to the best 'Pastel de Nata' place in Portugal…". She gets starry-eyed like me. She's always been a great traveler... ever since her first trip when she was just 3 months old, so I’m sure she’ll always be the best travel companion.

    Istoria is now on our list: a beautiful holistic hotel in Santorini, Greece – by Interior Design Laboratorium. ISTORIA Hotel is a unique Mediterranean sanctuary located in a deserted part of the Aegean Sea. The meaning of the name is "story" because this place is inspired by travelers' stories that have visited this place through the years.

    The design focuses on the traditional architecture of the Santorini Island, with dominating traditional architectural features like those arched doors, thick washed walls, natural materials and muted color tones paired with strong natural stripped brick colors and textures.

    This eclectic hotel offers the visitor a true Greek experience and a story of their own to tell.

    Ph. Design Laboratorium
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