This edition of good read is a bit random.
After tasting the freedom of riding in a friend’s vintage car this summer, I’ve been thinking about buying a car myself; why not live it up during my final years here in NYC? These photographs of old cars on the streets of Beirut got me thinking. They are taken by Pauline Chardin (travel blogger who runs the Voyageur) and was featured on the NeedSupply blog. I love the sun-scorched urban landscapes she captures; feels like a a surreal 80s apocalypse, the scenes are cinematic, but the reality of the state is much more dire. Still these junky cars are appealing for my minimal needs.
You also have to check out a great post that will get your head nodding by the minimalist woman on the decluttering message and how it went from “topic du jour into perennial concern.”
[image credit: Pauline Chardin]
I’m wearing a new addition to my army green collection. Continue reading
There are some new developments in fashion that take me back to my summer in the Himalayas.
Sometimes the best things are the simplest.
I’ve tried so many fruit-veggie combos in smoothies for over a decade now. It all started with my college campus jamba juice, then I graduated to making my own at-home concoctions, and now regularly mooch off the free make-your-own-smoothie bar at work. I’ve never been big on fruit, so smoothies are literally the only way I’ll consume this essential food group. I like experimenting with recipes, but still always return to my never fail, go-to, very most favorite smoothie recipe of them all, and it has only 3 simple ingredients:
1 cup of non-fat Fage yogurt
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 very ripe banana
Blend together with 1/2 cup of ice + a few tablespoons of water.
The antioxidants in this baby will make you feel younger with each sip. It’s so sweet and yummy, you’ll forget it’s actually really really good for you!
[image credit: Richard Jung at wholeliving.com]
(No, I’m not talking about that Dave Matthew’s song)
One thing I’m loving right now is the space between my hangers.
It was hard to believe that I actually had one of those magazine wardrobes where there’s an inch or two of space between each hanger, but after weeding out all the clothes I don’t wear, it happened. It was achievable with just a 4 foot wide closet, two parallel rods, and 50 garments on wire hangers, which isn’t too extreme in my book. The space between let’s us view all our clothes at once, and makes getting ready noticeably less stressful. This makes something we spend time doing every day just a little bit easier. If we add it all up, we’re talking about much less total stress in our lives.
[image credit: ikea hangers]
I’ve been on the search for a good mineral sunscreen that goes on clear and finally found John Masters Suncare SPF 30 mineral sunscreen. The white cast is minimal, and would be invisible on fair to tan skin tones but would leave a white cast on dark skin. The ingredient list is impressive with aloe vera as the second ingredient, green tea extract, no parabens. It leaves a dewy residue to the skin which could be matte-ified with just a bit of powder. Goes under make up nicely. No smell, no clumps, no pilling, comes in a cute brown glass bottle with a pump for easy mess-free dispensing. It’s a little expensive at $32 but I think the quality is well worth the price. This picture shows what my skin looks like with the sunscreen on, you’ll notice a slight sheen on the right side of my arm where I’ve rubbed in the sunscreen.
I highly recommend this sunscreen for anyone who wants to avoid the potential hazards of chemical sunscreen.
I would argue that a cocoon cardigan is an essential. It’s versatile and can add a modest sophisticated layer to any dress or top that would otherwise be inappropriate for work. An essential item not only gets worn often but can make other things more wearable as well. Here I’m wearing one from Anthro over a sleeveless jersey shift dress. Continue reading
This outfit has all the things I like: white, linen, wrinkles, pockets, loose-fit, and of course a bit of ‘dad’-wear. I call it lazy-chic.
Framed large scale art can have major impacts on a living space. A nice large piece can elevate and transform an entire room. But buying custom frames can be really expensive and sometimes way more than the artwork itself. I recently found affordable bare wood frames from pictureframes.com Bare wood is so modern- simple- chic and timeless. Best of all they are also the most budget friendly. A 22″x 22″ custom frame was just $56. That’s $150 less than you’d pay at Michaels! I’m loving the look of mostly white rooms, with tiny pops of bright colors and bare pine wood accents + other raw organic elements throughout. And If you get bored, you can always paint over it!
image credit: max wanger photography
Not so much a read, but I had a great time watching these short videos on apartment therapy, in a series they call the A-line. They take us on a tour of two apartments with identical floorplans that are designed differently according to the owners unique style and needs. Really fun. There are some great ideas here. It’s exciting to see how other New Yorkers rise up to the challenge of living in little spaces (we’re not alone!). My favorite video takes place in a tiny brooklyn loft where two young couples are trying to carve out livable spaces for their growing families:
Also worth checking out is AT’s recent post on how to simplify your style at home.
I recently read a thought provoking OpEd article in the New York Times on when it’s ‘cool’ to have nothing. It referenced Simply Fully’s blog post on minimalism and class privilege. It’s authors highlight how the image of having very little is shaped by where one begins. A rich man who sheds all his belongings gets praise, admiration and cool factor while one who has very little and started out that way is looked down upon and considered lazy; he is the ‘involuntary minimalist’. I personally think this criticism is a narrow point of view and ultimately misses the point. I have definitely met plenty of people living below the poverty line and been inside their homes and saw closets full of clothes and spaces full of clutter. In the U.S., we need not be rich to have a lot of stuff. But I do think there is value in talking about this. Definitely had me take a step back and critically think about my own lifestyle choices in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise. As always, I find the reader comments section the most interesting of all. Here are some of the comments that resonated with me:
ohura writes “This article and comments make much of motive– are you minimalist because it’s fashionable or because you can’t afford more. Irrelevant. Having more than you need is waste, isn’t it? Why should we waste? Why should we have what we don’t need regardless of age or socioeconomic status?”
D writes: “Minimalism is just something else to sell like the extremely expensive modernist homes in magazines which no one I know can afford. The selling of minimalism utilizes the same angle of channeling desire, or more to the point, creating dissatisfaction with what you ‘have’.”
and my favorite comment of all, from mead1: “This article misses a generational nuance. For the young, minimalism is not “getting rid of stuff” – it is choosing not to acquire much in the first place. This is a far less morally ambiguous choice than middle age minimalism, which generally requires off-loading decades of acquired belongings, a process which in itself has detrimental environmental consequences even when one is recycling or donating belongings. Conscious initial consumption, as opposed to conspicuous deacquisition, is a choice that can be made — and applauded — at any end of the socioeconomic spectrum.”
Summertime in the office can be tricky. We need to balance staying cool on our commute while maintaining modesty and professionalism in the office. For those extra hot days, I gravitate towards linens and cottons in cuts that don’t cling to the body. Here I’m wearing Everlane’s texture tank with a loose fit linen pencil skirt from Target.
[outfit: Everlane texture tank in cream, Target linen skirt circa 2013, Michael Kors oversized zipper wedges]
Filled a big hole in my wardrobe today. Can you believe I have never owned a basic white tank?! Here I’m wearing Everlane’s new texture tank in cream (size XS). There are subtle things about this tank that make it worthy of a spot in our essentials wardrobe. The fabric is thick and completely opaque, but still very breathable. I can wear a dark colored bra without it showing. The straps are spaced perfectly apart to cover any standard bra straps (no need to wear your racerback bra with this). The cut is also slightly A-line, which let’s air flow to keep you cool, adding to the overall relaxed aesthetic of this outfit. It’s also super affordable at only $25, and it happens to be made in the USA, specifically in Los Angeles (woot! my hometown). In conclusion this tank is just perfect and I know I will be wearing this over and over for a long time. Here’s a view of the side and a close-up….
Understanding why we hold on to clutter helps us make better editorial choices when decluttering. Linda Sand, a commenter on the bemorewithless blog’s great post on “how to get rid of clutter you care about”, wrote that the trick for her was learning that “I keep things for who I wish I was instead of who I actually am.” The meaning of this took a few moments to settle in but when it did, it resonated with me. It’s worth repeating:
“I keep things for who I wish I was instead of who I actually am.”
I am so impressed by how inward and honest she is with herself. This wisdom can extend beyond decluttering and informs general life decisions as well. Her comment helped me realize I was doing the same thing. Now I feel like I can look at that burnt sienna blazer collecting dust in my closet and finally let it go. It’s not me, it was an image of a girl I admired, but it isn’t me. I think this subconsciously happens to all of us… are you holding onto something that isn’t ‘you’?
The blogosphere is full of posts about new purchases, monthly beauty hauls at the drugstore, unboxing new tech products, etc. It seems like every fashion blogger is wearing a brand new outfit in every picture on a daily basis too. The ridiculous amount of consumerism can be head spinning. So I want to try something different– why not take stock of what we didn’t buy this year. Let’s give ourselves credit for acts of self restraint, thoughtful shopping, and reflect upon them. Here’s a list of 4 things I was tempted to buy, but didn’t, and how I worked around that impulse.
1. Larsson and Jennings watch – Lately, I’ve seen fashion bloggers look amazing rocking this watch (the company has gifted many a blogger to get us all salivating over it!). It is beautiful and has a minimal sleek design, I’ll give it that, but honestly the price tag is simply too high. I do need a watch, but there are plenty of other watches with a similar design that costs much less.
2. Macbook Air – When my MacBook Pro’s battery and power cord died, I was tempted to just buy a whole new laptop. Even my boyfriend who never wants to buy anything thought it would be a good idea. Instead I replaced my battery and power cord for about $200 and saved myself from paying off more credit card debt. Continue reading