starting my minimalist wardrobe

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This weekend we were blessed to have sun, sun, and more sun!  The three of us went on a few walks to the playground, got some dairy-free ice cream, and in the afternoon I cut Benoit’s hair for the first time.  My husband says he looks like Jean Reno in the movie Les Visiteurs.  I have to say I agree.

Back when I was pregnant with Benoit, I went through a major overhaul of my wardrobe.  When I could no longer fit into basically anything I had, I realized that having less to choose from was actually kind of liberating.  I would feel this way when I visited my parents in the States as well.  One suitcase, and about 1/4 of my wardrobe. Picking out what to wear was just less complicated and less stressful.  Since then, I’ve intentionally been downsizing my wardrobe.  I never counted, but if I had to estimate I’d say I went from 125 items to around 40. This didn’t all happen in one fell swoop, but rather five rounds. And at each round, I would smile as I would give away one more  thing that I just couldn’t have imagined giving away at the previous round.

Now at around 40 items, I would like to downsize even more.  My goal is to have just the basics, but still be able to look semi-fashionable.   I’m aiming at around 35-40.  This means shoes, shirts, bottoms, bags-and all seasons.  The problem with where I’m at right now is that, looking at my wardrobe, it doesn’t really “fit” together.  I don’t have many items that can go with more than a couple different things, which isn’t ideal if I’m looking to mix and match as much as possible.  I don’t have the monetary means to yet replace any of my items, so I am holding on to what I have and plan to slowly switch out items.

After sneaking a peak online at some other minimalist wardrobes, here’s what I hope to incorporate into mine*:

Skirts: 3 skirts / Currently at: 3

Dresses: 6 dresses / Currently at: 8

(Dress/”oxford”) Shirts:  2 shirts / Currently at: 0

Warm Sweaters/Knits: 6  / Currently at: 5 or 6…I say 6 to be safe.

Tops: 10 tops / Currently at: ummm, maybe 15

Jeans: 2 jeans / Currently at: 3

Pants: 3 pants / Currently at: 2

Shorts: 1 pair / Currently at: 1

Shoes: 6 pairs of shoes / Currently at: 4

Bags: 1 / Currently at: 1 (my market bag-I’m not a purse person)

*Not counting my workout clothes and one pair of tennis shoes

Plans for my future wardrobe are mainly inspired by A Small Wardrobe‘s blog-go check her out!

As I mentioned above, I am not 100% satisfied with my current choices in my wardrobe.  I can’t really pair things together that well as there are so many prints and bold colors, so in the coming year I hope to slowly switch them out with more muted, neutral-colored items that I feel great in.

I could leave it at this, but I want to end on the note of why I am choosing to adopt a minimalist wardrobe.  It’s a topic that can often be difficult to confront,  because it might involve feeling uncomfortable at the prospect of personal change.  But in my experience, whenever I feel this way, that usually means I’m opening my mind and growing into a better person-a good thing!

Having been a big shopper almost all of my life, I started to change my shopping habits when I found out how incredibly destructive the fast fashion industry is.  To the planet and to the people who make these items.  When I did some research, I realized I couldn’t support something like this.  That my style wasn’t as important as someone else’s quality of life.  As a Christian, I also believe that these practices would not be appeasing to God and they go against my morals.

From this experience I have also found that the notion of less is more is true.  Around the time I stopped buying from major chains and chose only second hand or ethical producers, I stopped buying half of what I would before.  I also stopped looking or paying attention to ads.  The ads no longer concerned me because my mind was made up that I wasn’t going to buy from these stores anyways.  When flipping through a fashion magazine (which I still sometimes read, by the way), I no longer felt disappointed that I didn’t have this or that, or felt any pressure that I needed something to fit in, or that I didn’t feel that I was good enough – all because I was making the conscious decision that I don’t want or need more things.  I felt proud that I could see through their empty promises.  With less material items and no longer focusing on what I might need from a magazine, I started to feel more complete than when I had had more.

Are you familiar with a minimalist wardrobe?  Fast fashion? Have you thought about downsizing your own?

 

January reflection + February goals

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This month marked our third month of living in Berlin.  We have sublet from two apartments already, found out that we will be moving to Hamburg at the beginning of March, and then on to New York City within the coming year.  Exciting and challenging times lie ahead for us.  Adam and I both look forward to settling down somewhere and making a home, even if it is for only half of a year.

This month we’ve been doing all sorts of touristy things (see photo above) before we leave.  Left on my Berlin list are basically food-related things.  If my will is strong (which I think it is), then I’ll see that I get them done before March.

As we’re heading into the month of February, I’d like to pause and reflect on my January goals.  Like many others who makes New Year’s Resolutions, mine started off strong but are now fizzling out a bit.

 

I read an article the other day from Forbes that talks about the 7 secrets of people who keep their New Year’s Resolutions.  One of them is remembering that something is better than nothing.  I’m choosing to have this mindset when looking back on January.  I feel good that I made wise resolutions that will make me a better person and help me grow.  I feel good that I scheduled out a time for most of them, and journaled about them.  That I tried and made some accomplishments.

For February, I am making a promise to myself that I won’t be too hard on myself and if I slip up, I will keep going.  I’ll be choosing three of the total goals I had set for January and see if this makes a difference in how I can accomplish them.

For January, I tried setting out with fifteen goals.

Yes, fifteen.

I guess I got carried away.

 

 

February goals:

My goals for February focus on taking care of myself.  I want to increase my energy levels and appreciate “me” time through my morning routine.  I want to be at my best so I can help others be at their best.

1. Drink six bottles of water a day (from my stainless steel 1/2 liter bottle)

2. Wake up at 5:30am and go through my daily morning routine (workout, reading + notes, gratitude, prayer/meditation, visualizations, affirmations)

3. Write at least 15 minutes a day on my blog and follow through with deadlines I’ve given myself.

 

 

Do you make resolutions?  How do you set yourself up for success?

 

 

 

A creative life: BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert

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I was in the Marseille train station, waiting with my husband to catch our train to Paris.  It was our first trip without our son Benoit, and leaving him that morning was hard to do.  Now that we were at the train station, though, I was starting to feel excited and a bit, well, my own person again.  I had a desire to start making things.  And to read something.  I realized I haven’t done something by myself in over a year.

We walked into the bookshop and I knew I wanted something in the field of creativity. And in the small English book section, I saw this book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, right alongside the newest Harry Potter book.  As an avid Potter fan I was torn between the two.  But with Big Magic I figured I could at least finish it during the train ride, and besides-it was probably a sign that moments before I was thinking about creativity and then I run into this book that offers advice on the matter?  I would always remember and know where to find the Harry Potter book, but who knows when I would come across this one again? So I chose Big Magic.

Big Magic discusses pushing past certain obstacles in order to live your most creative, inspired life.  Obstacles such as fear, permission, perfectionism.

As for me, I fell in love with it.  And it got my ass in gear.  All of the excuses I’ve been giving myself for why I’m not doing something, anything-this book kicked to the curb.   I won’t say too much, but here are some of my favorite quotes that were “aha” moments for me, and perhaps you may also find them helpful:

On drawing negative, destructive conclusions (rather than positive ones):

“People convince themselves they’ve been robbed when they have not, in fact, been robbed.  Such thinking comes from a wretched allegiance to the notion of scarcity-from the belief that the world is a place of dearth, and that there will never be enough to go around.”

On taking your life into your own hands:

“I think it’s a mighty act of human love to remind somebody that they can accomplish things by themselves, and that the world does not automatically owe them any reward, and that they are not as weak and hobbled as they may believe.”

On perfectionism:

“Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes-but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work.  Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place.”

 

 

My Monthly Inspiration (#1)

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Welcome to My Monthly Inspiration, one of my favorite posts I do in which I look back at the month and share people, groups, things, podcasts-you name it-that have inspired me in some way or other.  And I think they might inspire you, too!

There are people or things that can inspire us every day, and this month I had the brilliant idea of finally taking notes in my bullet journal so I don’t forget them!  I also keep a notebook handy when I go out in case I see something while on-the-go and I can quick write it down.

My Monthly Inspiration (#1):

The Slow Home Podcast 

It was either  when I was doing an online search on all things minimalism or through someone on Instagram that I found this podcast.  I am just starting to listen to Podcasts and I’m happy that this is one of the first that I’ve discovered.  Brooke and Ben talk about slowing down your life and focusing on things that are truly important to you.  They interview many fascinating people who are also choosing to live this way.  As a plus, Brooke’s voice is incredibly calming and I could listen to it all day (weird? Maybe).

Making (instead of buying) your own whipped body lotion

I stopped buying lotion a couple years ago.  I now prefer oils, shea butter, or coconut oil and they all work very well.  But I was intrigued by the whipped body lotion recipes I’ve found and decided this month I would give it a go.  I loosely followed a recipe from Wellness Mama, mixing coconut oil, shea butter, and olive oil, beating it for 10 minutes, then storing it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.  I prefer this texture over straight-up oils, which can leave your skin feeling greasy for awhile after application.

Hannah Theisen of Life + Style + Justice

While doing a search on fast fashion and what happens behind the scenes in the clothing industry, I came across Life Style Justice.  Hannah’s blog discusses all things ethical as well as social justice.  What got me excited was that she chooses to write more than about ethical clothing but articles that shine light on important topics such as worker exploitation in the fashion industry, as well. This year she says she wants to focus more on human trafficking, which I find to be an underserved focus. Brava, Hannah!

Amanda Schenkenberger of Move the Mountains

Amanda has a brilliant blog and store all about Bible journaling.  What I find especially inspiring is the fact that she offers FREE monthly Bible journaling prompts and guides for you to follow along with or work at your own pace.  She also makes and sells Bible journals, supplies and Bible studies.  For the month of February she’s offering a journaling series called Worship is more than a song – you have until the end of January to sign up on her website if you’d like to participate!

Kelly of Copper Moon Mama and the Sacred Legacy Arts team

I follow Kelly on Instagram and I adore reading her thoughtful posts that encourage women to be their best.  She also shares on all things conscious consumerism and minimalism.  She also is the founder of Sacred Legacy Arts, an online store that specializes in creating jewelry from your most treasured memories (breast milk, flowers, fabric, and more).

And last, but not least…

the Red Kuri (or Red Hokkaido) Squash

OK, so I didn’t discover find out about this squash this month, but as it’s winter and pumpkins are in season and all I’ve been using it a lot.  I saw it for the first time about a year ago when we were living in France, but didn’t really cook with it until about five months ago – basically because I wasn’t sure what to do with it!  In France it’s called potimarron and it’s very popular.  My favorite way to use it is in soups.  It has a really creamy texture to it and you can even leave the skin on, if you like (make sure it’s organic).  My all-time favorite recipe for it is from Half Baked Harvest, called Thai Pumpkin Laksa.  I have a picture of it posted on my Instagram account if you want to go see it.  YUM.

What inspired you this month?