Going minimal

Image: midlifetribe.com

A few months ago I came across a blog about being a minimalist. At the time It didn’t really seem like a concept that I could do it because I looked around my apartment noticed how much I had collected over the years. I thought it was a great concept but it didn’t feel like a concept I could actually use in my day to day life. Up until a few days ago, I stumbled across a Netflix documentary about the guys who started that blog, and it clicked: I can do it my own way of becoming a minimalist.

Now, I know how good it feels to clean out my closet, clean up my room/apartment/garage and get rid of all the crap and to someone start new again. Using that momentum, I think I can reduce, resell and recycle all of the things I thought I needed. Like 5 different cardigans and kitchen appliances I last used 2 years ago (just an example, there are many more things I’m getting rid of)

What I think I learned from the blog and from the show on Netflix is that minimalism is a way of life and it’s about having less noise, less things and being more focused on the moment and your social surroundings more than anything else.

It actually sparked something inside of me and for the past few days I’ve been clearing my entire apartment and sorting through anything from Tupperware, lipstick to bed linen. And I’ve been trying to look at each item carefully and then decide if I want to keep it or to let it go. To really thoughtfully think about it’s purpose in my life.

Without it sounding too corny, I found this whole experience of cleansing my apartment to be motivating and energizing and feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

As much as I’d love to just throw everything away I’m also trying to sell things online through Facebook marketplace. It might be a slower process than just to throw it all away but I’m a bit of a cheap ass like that and I’d love to get some money back for all my crap. Of course if there are things I can’t sell or just wont sell, I will definitely give them away to my close friends, family or to my local secondhand shop. There’s a little second hand shop just a block away from where I live and its my favorite place to browse. Might do a blog one day about all my amazing finds there!

This actually ties in well with a concept from the man himself: Gary Vaynerchuk. He started a movement well many movements but one of them was to flip things. It’s a term used when you buy things cheap and then resell them at a higher price to get a little bit of spare change in the piggy bank (or a lot!). The movement was even on Instagram tagged as the #2017flipchallenge. People were raiding their own houses and going to garage sales to find things valuable enough to sell and getting money for. The goal was to get to $20,170 before the end of 2017 which at the time, only gave competitors seven weeks. I like a challenge but even for me I felt that was unrealistic, but that’s just me. I love the spirit and the incredible motivation Gary has to all his followers some people even made it to the end of the challenge and did end up with that $20,170 which is incredible.

Along with becoming a minimalist I also want to do my own sort of flip challenge ends with anything that I see is remotely sellable I will sell and with all the profits that I make I will hope to put towards a holiday or further education for myself rather than “stuff”. I’d rather spend my money now on experiences with friends and family rather than things to collect and own. The darker logic to it all is that we can’t take all these things with us when we go – and by “go” I mean when we die, pass on whatever happens when we all finally kick the bucket. The sooner we all grasp this minimalist living concept and realize this that it’s about experiences not things that we will focus more on being one as a community. Even the idea of it being remotely reachable is quite romantic and yes I’d love to be part of the change.

It was all to do with a small idea from a blog which caught my eye or at least stuck in my mind enough to help me think or we think about changing how the way I live. Which is part of the reason why I’m blogging right now is because I want my blogs to be motivational and somewhat helpful not just to do with seasonal styles and things that I think are coming into trend – although I do kind of like that stuff too. The thing that really stuck with me was that (in the Netflix documentary) it was said that minimalism is more of a recipe and you can use any sort of ingredients you want and apply them to your own life. I really hope to learn from this and hope to minimize what I have, yet create a space which is more open to possibilities of caring less about if my clothes are going to match or not because I hope to fill my closet with clothes that go together quite easily. Well yes, that’s on a smaller level but I mean in the bigger picture, I hope to consume consciously and even go as far as leaving less of a footprint on the earth. (So just being a better person in general)

What I also really liked about the Netflix documentary about minimalism is that the guys are huggers and after each talk they did about their minimalism journey, they get up and hug people which I thought was yeah just wait I’m sure there’s a psychological reason that they do it to get a physical closer connection to the fans or whatever it is it’s just sweet I think that’s really nice.

So stay tuned I will keep you updated and maybe even keep score of what I sell and how much or even just how much in total I can save or collect from selling everything that I don’t need. I’m still going to keep my favorite hand bags and shoes – for now…

Important things I’ve learned so far.

On my birthday weekend, I went to Zermatt. There was even a flight in a helicopter and it was amazing! On my birthday or leading up to it, I like to reflect back onto my life around my birthday to see how far I’ve come. I’ve learned so much over the past few years whether it’s just about life in general or things I wish I was told when I was younger, there is now a list! Here are mine, what would you add?

1. Learn to appreciate the small things.

2. Learn when to react and when to ignore. Your energy and effort is not infinite.

3. Be kind.

4. Stop putting impossible pressures on yourself.

5. Go at your own pace.

6. Have a hobby, preferably also one that keeps you active.

7. Travel as much as possible, experience different cultures, try different foods.

8. Save your money! Set a budget, put aside some money with every paycheck. It never seems like much but over a few years it adds up.

9. Do what you want to do – plan it, execute it, don’t ask for permission.

10. Communication is key. I’d rather repeat myself than miss out important information. In relation to: relationships, work environment, etc.

11. Go with your gut instinct.

12. Don’t rely on someone else for your own happiness.

13. The important people to keep in your life will make an effort.

14. Find out what works for you when it come to self care. It’s different for everyone.

15. You are enough.

16. Saying “I love you” doesn’t cost anything. Say it to those you care about!

17. Failure is just a lesson on how not to do “it”. Fail until you figure “it” out.

18. Fake it til you make it. We are all just hacking. Not everyone knows what they are doing.

Barcelona.

So, I went to Barcelona for a two and a half day stay last week. I went to just get away from the cold weather in Switzerland and to take advantage of my 3 days off work.

As Christmas and New Years is approaching, work is getting busier and busier. Which gave me all the more reason to get away, relax and meditate before the storm. I have a feeling that time will go quickly this month (December) and if I blink I might miss it!

I can’t guarantee that this blog will be very infomative about Barcelona tourist attractions but it’s more of a chill-traveler’s guide to the city.

I’ve mentioned this before in another blog of mine, that I find shopping relaxing and calming. Hence the name Retail Therapy. That’s what I did for a lot of the time between getting a hair cut, eating at a cute cafe everyone is on a waiting list to get into.

Day 1: I got up in the morning around 8am and started to pack. Yes, I always pack last minute! I planned for 3 outfits and took 1 extra pair of shoes for just incase. I only took carry-on luggage, so only the nessesary toiletries were packed. As I was already wearing so many layers to the airport to leave Switzerland, (becasue it was around 5 degrees celcius!), I was wearing already half of the things I was taking.

-Flew with Swiss to BCN from ZRH over the midday-

I landed in Barcelona and had a hard time trying to actually find the bus shuttle that would take me to the city center.  You would think I did enough research into this but I actually hadn’t seen or heard about AeroBus until I was standing infront of it. It’s cheap, clean, direct and has no-fuss wifi! The buses are also made for people with suitcases and has USB charging stations near the seats. This was definetly worth the €5,90 fo sho.

I got to my hotel and left my tiny bit of luggage at the lobby because I knew that if I went to my room, I would have found a good reason to take a nap. I also was excited to explore the city but also a little overwhelmed on what to see first. I walked, ate snack sized portions of food and drink the whole day. I found a place to get my facial done on the last day of my trip, then pondered my way back to the hotel by the time it was getting dark. I decided to have a chill night in which was nice after being on-the-go since 8am.

Day 2: Slept in. Got breakfast at a little place called Brunch & Cake. This place has a waiting list. I was told I had to wait 20 minutes but I was seated within 5 minutes, which was a pleasant surprise. I ordered an iced matcha and some sort of refreshing juice with mint, (I was thirsty!), then I orded the “Eggs” (scrambled eggs) which came in a bagel with hummus, avocado and salmon – I ordered without salmon. I really liked this place! Just keep in mind everone was taking photos of their plates before eating, including myself. I ate brunch but sadly never got round to trying the cake. Tip: the chocolate pancakes are really just two chocolate cake layers with a ganache filling. Literally, a cake on a plate. Another guest beside me orded it and said it tasted delicious but he was expecting normal pancakes. Just a heads up!

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The good thing in Barcelona is that a haircut is about half the price there than in Switzerland. I walked in to a hairdresser and luckily got seated straight away. There’s something special about getting a haircut that gives a boost of confidence! Wash, cut and blowdry was only €35. I highly reccomend you go to Louis Philippe if you want a modern style for a reasonable price. I know I will be going back.

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I went back to the hotel, inspected the rooftop pool and found that even though it had been sunny, the water was cold. The sun was setting as I made a mental note to go back onto the roof again in the morning when the sun is really shining down, before I go back to Switzerland.

It was then time for dinner. I went to a nice place called Firebug, which was on the same block as the hotel. This place is warm, friendly and has really good food. I’m not a huge fan of tapas for dinner, so I ordered some nachos and some amazing chicken wings. With one Sangria and I was ready to sing karaoke or dance on the bar (maybe because I’m a lightweight, or it was really strong?) I guess you’ll have to find out for yourself. The chicken was amazing (it’s called sticky fingers on their menu) and the nachos were the best I’ve had in a long time.

Day 3: It was a good thing I went to check out the rooftop the day before because I spent a good 2 hours laying out on a pool chair, reading “Start with Why” (which is a really good book, btw), listening to music and soaking up as much sunshine as possible. I had my shoes off, t-shirt and jeans on and I wasn’t sweating yet I was warm enough. The morning couldn’t have been better. There was one other person there also, but they had seated themselves far away. It was so peaceful and quiet. It felt really good to just “be”.

My facial was for at 15:00 and by the time it was midday, I was hungry. So I left my luggage in the lobby of the hotel again and set off in search of lunch. I stumbled across a super cute bubble tea place called AM8. For some bubble tea, cake and stable wifi (which is not so common in Barcelona) this place is good. It’s not the most modern place, but the rose milk bubble tea was really good!

Ceiling in AM8 cafe - very cute!

The second best part of the day (first place would be the sun bathing on the roof in the morning) was getting a facial and deep clean at Dr Beatriz Beltran’s clinic. I got a microdermabrasion session, followed by a thick, cooling peel off mask. I fell asleep just a little, and left the place feeling so refeshed and relaxed. The women there are really warm and helpful with all questions I asked. They don’t speak perfect english but it was enough for me to understand. I had gotten microdermabrasion done before a few times and had forgotten how refreshing it is for the skin.

Afterwards was basically just enough time for me to wander back to the hotel to get my little bit of luggage, get the shuttle bus again back to the airport and check in for my flight back home.

That basically sums up my short, relaxed trip to Barcelona. I didn’t intend to blog this trip because I wasn’t sure it would be enough information but a good friend told me I should anyway… I’m glad he inspired me!

So in short – Highlights:

  • Having alot of “me” time.
  • The weather
  • The FOOD!

Lowlights:

  • I couldn’t shop as much as I wanted to because I had little space/weight to take it back with me (in hind-sight this was a good thing!)
  • I didn’t play “tourist” as much as I could have.

Have you been to Barcelona and would add more to this chill-travel guide? Let me know below.

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Don’t miss this amazing place when in Switzerland!

A few weeks ago now I needed to get some Swiss alpine air as I had been craving it for a some time now! Within 30 minutes on deciding where I wanted to go, I spontaneously got on a bus, then a train, then a cable car and arrived after 90 minutes at my destination: Oeschinensee.

To get there: Public transport is good (in comparison to Australian public transport) but not always great. There’s only a handful of trains that go by Kandersteg and also when going back to where ever it is you came from, it can be up to an hour’s wait if you miss your connection!

From Kandersteg you can either hike the way up to the top or take the cable car, which is what I did. Because I have a GA I got (I think) 50% off my ticket. Its about a 15 minute walk from the train station in Kandersteg to the cable car. It was a pleasant ride up to the top which of course comes with many beautiful views into the valley below. To paint a picture for you: I spotted green pastures, classic Swiss huts, paragliders and even snow capped mountains. You can hear the little rivers that has been created from the melting ice hundreds of meters further upstream and breathe in the fresh air!

Once I had started along my walk, there were even cows grazing nearby with bells on. Swiss-ness Pur!

The Lake itself is reached by a brisk 20-25 minute walk from the cable car. I went with only little knowledge of what to expect and what to explore. So after 10 minutes of walking along, I was wondering where that big lake is. But when I saw it… I knew then already my trip was well worth the effort. Just to prepare you, it’s just as beautiful as it looks in pictures, or even better!

This destination is really a full day trip. Its the best way to soak up the atmosphere or at least leaves enough time go for a long walk. Oeschinensee has a lot to offer, such as: hiking around the lake, fishing, photography (with such a view, its a shame not to take photos), swimming, paddling (there’s a paddleboat hire), have a picnic with friends and family (I noticed bundles of wood for a small campfire at the kiosk for CHF12.-), go tobogganing, marvel at the beautiful wild flowers growing all around or just go there to find a spot to meditate and get some sun!

I wish I had gone earlier in the day to get more walking and relaxing in, but now I know

 

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Have been to Oeschinensee? Or are you yet to go? Tell me below!

 

My 5 tips: How to feel effortlessly confident (and chic)

Why is feeling confident so important? Because after you start feeling good, looking good comes naturally. Confidence is something that radiates and can be seen through anything, it doesn’t matter what you look like! I’m still learning on how to be more confident but here are my 5 tips on how to feel effortlessly confident (and chic).

1. Get up, stand up.
Stand up tall like you’re a short kid trying to get on an amusement park ride. Shoulders down and back, chest out and proud. This is not only a good practice of posture, but automatically makes you feel more powerful. If you feel it – other people see it too!

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2. Smile.
Not a fake smile, but a real one. Think of a person you love or back to a moment that made you happy. It literally is telling your brain to be happy by releasing feel good hormones into your body, which in course makes you actually feel it. Happiness, like confidence, is also something that radiates from within and can be noticed from afar.

3. Scrub up nicely.
Being freshly showered and groomed not only is basic hygiene but also boosts confidence – also helps with the added “effortlessly chic” factor too. I brush my teeth, take a shower, shave (personal preference), put a face mask on and leave the conditioner in my hair for a little longer than the bottle recommends. Added confidence boosting tip: using freshly washed towels to dry off. Don’t forget to moisturise and apply deodorant! I leave my home feeling confident at least that I don’t smell offensively and I’ve also taken extra care of myself at no extra cost. But if you want to be extra: add perfume. (Less is more in this instance, use only enough for you to smell it on yourself)

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4. Compliment yourself.

Stand before your mirror and give yourself compliments each and every day. Try to find a new thing to compliment everyday. Be grateful for what you have and not on what you don’t have. you are unique and there are surely people who want things you possess. You will hopefully begin to realise you have so much to be confident about!

5. Give yourself a break.

(If all these tips haven’t helped you yet, I hope this one at least does.) Take a deep breath. Stop comparing yourself to others – I would compare myself or my life to old class mates or famous people. Trust me, this gets you nowhere! If there is something you feel you need to change, then change it. Complaining to yourself about how bad you feel, obviously won’t help your confidence. Whatever it may be: change it for you. You’ll be feeling effortlessly confident and hopefully chic in no time!

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I hope these tips have helped. Let me know of other things you do to boost your confidence, in the comments below!

x Gill Tonic