Give Yourself Space for Creativity

Give Yourself Space for Creativity

I get my best ideas in the mountains. 

Or even on a long car journey to the mountains.

I am most creative on an early Monday morning. 

I keep a notepad nearby to jot down ideas, and the page fills up by my first Pomodoro. I may be most productive on a Friday afternoon, with the urgency of my personal deadline looming, but I’m most creative on a Monday, with the whole week ahead of me. My mind has freedom to roam.

Give Yourself Space for Creativity

What mountains and Mondays have in common [besides the letter M] is SPACE.

On a long journey, my mind has time to be free. To let go of tasks. To exhaust busyness and let my mind wander. No obligations, no distractions.

On a Monday I can stretch out. I have a sense of unhurried-ness. Calling it procrastination would be stifling; what it really is is possibility. The dam is unblocked and the flood of ideas pours through: I could do so many things! 

By the end of the week I am too focused on crunch time. 

I push those thoughts out of my head before they hit the page – sometimes before they are even fully formed. They probably get pushed to the Monday part of my brain; I don’t know how that works.

Realisations like this remind me of why I’m a minimalist. 

Minimalism is having space to explore and freedom to breath. When my home is tidy, my eyes don’t dart around to the clutter. When my wardrobe is tiny, I work solely with pieces I love. Minimalism makes it easier to focus, but it also provides the space essential for creativity: fewer choices, fewer things to remember, more time and space for creativity to seep in. 

P.S. There’s more on my minimalist journey and how it opened up room for opportunity in my ebook, Own Your Story.

10-Item Wardrobe Autumn/Winter 2015

10-Item Wardrobe Autumn/Winter 2015

I have been experimenting with capsule wardrobes for years now – ever since I moved across the ocean for uni. I’ve tried Project 333 a few times, but the method that has really spoken to me is Jennifer L. Scott’s “10-Item Wardrobe”. It’s about identifying your 10 staples, the main attractions in your wardrobe, while allowing some basic extras. I love how this iteration of a capsule wardrobe is simple and doesn’t dwell on counting too much.

Voilà, my 10-Item Wardrobe for Autumn/Winter 2015!

10-Item Wardrobe Autumn/Winter 2015

Betsey Johnson Tutu Dress

#TutuDay is the best day. I try to wear my tutu as often as possible. It’s surprisingly versatile, since I can pair it with a shirt underneathovertop, or on its own!

Parisian Popsicle Blouse

Found in a tiny Parisian boutique selling nothing but shirts in funky prints.

Kate Spade Pink Dress

My Little Pink Dress: comfy, bold, sleek, love.

Walker Slater Top

My nod to smart [and warm] Scottish fashion.

Floral Anthro Dress

My go-to throw-it-on dress of choice.

Shoreditch Crop Jumper

One of my few impulse buys, a result of under-dressing in London springtime. So cosy.

Marc by Marc Shorts

I try not to wear these incredibly comfy skirt-lookin-shorts every day…

Grey Anthro Dress

For feeling especially student-y. My heroine-in-training dress.

Coast Midi Jacquard Skirt

The latest in my collection, purchased for the Halloween ball, anticipating cold temperatures to come.

Madewell Plaid Shirt

I just can’t get rid of this guy. Perfect for dressing down my more formal staples.

Where’s all the colour?

I was surprised to see a lack of colour in my spread of staples, but never fear – pretty much all my tights are florescent, half my shoes are bright yellow, and I’m rarely seen without something floral or sparkly on my head.

My ‘Extras’

Some of my extras double as pajama tops or fitness clothes. I have some nerdy t-shirts, like my Captain Planet one and my RHAP bell shirt, which I also wear to sleep. I also have some fitness clothes that I’d like to experiment with wearing during the day to dress down the formal wear. Capsule wardrobes foster creativity.

Of course, I also have plenty of outerwear, including some cardigans, coats, and woolly things for combatting the Scottish winter wind.

your-assignment

What are your key pieces this season? If you’ve posted about your capsule wardrobe or favourite outfits, drop a link in the comments!

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P.S. Minimalism & clutter in high fashion ads

Minimalist Shower Supplies

Minimalist Shower Supplies

Aesthetics matter

Here’s a peek at the Monkey and my shower things.

Inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, I grouped all of my shower supplies together. Instead of being dispersed around the tub, now they are lined up neatly at the edge. The new arrangement fills me with joy!

Minimalist Shower Supplies

Shower Stuff Made Simple

Here’s what I use:

  • Ocean Salt (Lush) – An excellent scrub for the whole body and face, I use this exfoliator every couple of days as a shower gel, and almost daily on my poor dry feet. Sometimes I use it on my scalp too, and it makes my hair go pouf (in a good way).
  • Orange & Bergamot Body Wash (Molton Brown) – To avoid “saving” special soaps, I use them up right away as a treat. I usually use Dr. Bonner’s as a body soap, but I’m taking a break to use this bottle that I got for Christmas. Plus it looks very pretty!
  • Rose Castille Liquid Soap (Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap) – This is advertised as “18-in-1”, so I guess I’m under-using it with just 3 uses: hand-washing clothes that I clean in the shower, washing my body, and as shampoo in my hair. I love the scent, and find this one lathers better than other Dr. Bronner’s flavours. At first I bought this bottle to try it out, and now I refill it from the larger jug since that’s more cost effective, but the small bottle is easier to use in the shower.
  • Venus Spa Breeze Razor (Gillette) – I invest in a little extra luxury for a soft shave, and the pink parts act as built-in shaving cream!

No Shampoo/Conditioner?

I used to use traditional shampoo and conditioner, but switching to Dr. Bronner’s for a lighter wash felt better. I realised I didn’t need conditioner when I forgot to bring it on a trip and was actually better off without it for a week! When I got my hair cut recently, my stylist noticed that I didn’t seem to need conditioner, and she confirmed that I don’t need it. Sweet!

Why is this? I can only guess it’s  because I use very natural soap as shampoo, have naturally oily hair, I rarely blow dry (I don’t own a hair dryer), and I’ve never coloured it.

your-assignment

First, line all of your bottles up in the same area – it looks better and promotes a feeling of calm.

If you want to simplify your shower supplies, consider doubling up on a product or two. For an extensive de-cluttering sesh, check out Into Mind’s guide on simplifying your beauty routine!

Finally – share! What’s in your shower?

xandra-signature

P.S. When I need inspiration to pare down, I look to extremes, like Survivor.