Pandemic Minimalism

I am making a new phrase… ‘Pandemic Minimalism’. (Or at least I think I am!)

Speaking seriously though, it is time to redefine the context of the term ‘minimalism’. When one considers the term ‘minimalism’ usually the image that comes to mind is that of space living areas with only a few pieces of basic formed furniture, or a specific number of clothing items one is allowed to have (by the rules, you know) and the methodology of giving away all ones’ belongings until there is nothing but what is necessary for daily living + maybe 3 books on the shelf for those sentimental moments.

The mental image of ‘minimalism’

After watching endless amounts of people compete with each other to see who can live with less, perhaps it’s a good time to move into a more realistic form of the minimalistic lifestyle. In my mind, the just mentioned aesthetic is no longer practical for the lifestyle we are living this year.

How does the pandemic have anything to do with minimalism?

It’s simple: We want clean space for living and our spaces / items need to be appropriate for the life we are living now.

What my meaning is that well, take economics as an example… Globally, we find ourselves in a situation where we can no longer spend irresponsibly. Those lunch breaks from the office or time spent waiting for the train while walking through the shops is no longer an option, which has probably made a noticeable difference in spending habits because the urge to purchase the item when it is in one’s grasp is much greater than when it is not. Due to this separation and the need to be more careful with our monies, we have an opportunity to make more thoughtful purchases and to be happier with the purchases we do make.

What makes ‘pandemic minimalism’ different from ‘minimalism’?

Answer: Maximalism. It’s weird, no? But still, it is logical. Lush fabrics, beautiful and comfortable clothing /items and luxurious living spaces can be (& really should be if you are living in anything other than your own large estate) minimal.

This is more the image I have in my mind 🙂

As we are spending so much time in our spaces, it seems just logical to me that we would want them to be comfortable, welcoming and perhaps even luxurious. And as guests in the home are a luxury of the past, why not take the opportunity to make your space all about you?

In regards to clothing, at the current time, purchasing new party clothes is not so necessary nor is it needed to have a new different suit for the workplace every day of the week. By eliminating these purchases and focusing more on what feels good and is appropriate for life now, such as jeans and a nice sweater or a work blouse and trousers for online meetings, we are able to easily reduce our additional spending and the percentage of wardrobe space of these items.

Did you just invent this name?

Yes. Yes I did. However, it is a real concept. Also, I should really stop writing to myself in multiple person format.

How does one do pandemic minimalism?

Remember this statement: Use what you’ve got, replace what you need. This applies to all things from eyeshadow to furniture. Clothes wear out, items are used away and furniture reaches a point of no longer functioning for the need or aesthetic. While using your items, save some money towards your next purchase. A small jar for coins or cash is always a good way to save for a much appreciated new addition to the home. During that time, research, research, research! Look for the items you like the appearance of. Discover the fabrics and patterns that make you smile. Bookmark the designers websites or small shops which carry those high quality crafted items so that you can revisit it when you are ready. And, most probably, by the time you have saved the money to purchase the item, the item(s) you are replacing will be ready for retiring.

Purchasing high quality and well crafted items may have a heavier price, but the quality will last so much longer and look beautiful while doing so. And remember, that as you are purchasing less, one luxury purchase will be preferred to 100 small unnecessary purchases, and this is how minimalism is achieved.

Break the perceived rules of ‘minimalism’ and make your items work for you.

Does the idea of Pandemic Minimalism appeal to you?

-Mliae

It’s up and it’s Awesome! – Photowall Product Review

Thank you for stopping by today:)

I would like to talk about a really fantastic company I happened upon, called Photowall. They specialize in wall canvases and wallpaper prints – and art prints (my absolute favourite now) for feature walls. It really is amazing what they do. Wow…I mean, really…WOW!

I have been very hesitant to wallpaper. I’m old enough to remember some of the ghastly designs people used to have up – Oh so many years ago. Due to that ongoing design trauma, I refused to put anything up on my walls that I wasn’t absolutely in love with. Needless to say, after 2 years of searching for the perfect item, we still hadn’t found it. But then this happened. I discovered Photowall. I’ve seen many firms who can do a Photo print wallpaper. But this was just unbelievable. Firstly, they had everything I could’ve possibly imagined…and a whole lot that I couldn’t even imagine for myself. I could never have believed that art. True art. Could cover my entire wall! I fell in love with the art selection at first sight. Imagine it: The person who was unable to find anything in 2 years of digging through countless wallpaper books, suddenly had an email full of links and choices to make! (Yes, I’m that chick. I email myself. ) The choice was a difficult one. Deciding on one of something that really brought out our personalities, plus fit in with the rustic-ness of the house, still offered too many options. We kept going back to this Painting by the Swedish artist John Bauer. His Trolls are just too cool. He is a highly sought after artist from the 1890’s and neither of us ever thought we could have his work in our home! This is the piece we got, on our wall and we love it! No, seriously. We can’t stop staring at it. It’s so magical, it’s kind of like stepping into a fairytale 🙂

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(Oh yeah, and this is me. You’ve never really seen a whole pic of me before. Ta-Da!)

Let’s start at the beginning.

The selection. At first glance, one might assume that this is nothing more than a photo print or statement wall papering firm. Oh, how wrong you are! The selection is out of this world. For real! There are, quite literally, THOUSANDS of incredible options! We looked at every single one of them. The ones that really made my heart flutter, are the art. I’m not kidding. Do you love Van Gogh’s Waterlilies? Want an entire wall of it? They have it. And they will get it to you…FAST! Want your entire flat to look like the exhibit hall at The Louvre? Nooo problemo.

Here are some of the items we really loved:

Van Gogh’s almond Blossom

van-gogh-almond-blossom

Watercolour World Map

watercolor-world-map

(My inner travel blogger is screaming for this in my office.)

Dans le Clapot

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These are just a few of the outstanding collection they offer.

Cost. This product seems to average about 32 Euro per square meter. This price really isn’t bad…especially considering the fact that you don’t need so much. It’s a feature piece, without the feature price. Win-win!

Customer service.  I have never had my emails returned in such a fast & friendly manner. Even with my 1001 questions, they never seemed annoyed or too busy. This I find outstanding in itself because I know I was annoying. But I could feel the smile in every transaction. And that is worth SO MUCH!

Printing and Shipping. Holy Smokes, Batman! That’s the fastest I have ever seen! No joke, I made the order at 11. By 11:20 I already had an email that it was going to be printed. By 18:00 (6 pm) I had another email stating my tracking number and that my product was being shipped. WOW! All in the same day! I love that, really. Also, for those of you like me who rage against International shipping: This is not a problem. The Photo Wall website actually has links to the website in your home country’s format. Just click on the world at the top right and scroll down to your area. It will be in your own language, currency and delivery will be incredibly affordable. YAY! That’s a huge plus in my book. 🙂

I was so excited to get the package, I made a  unboxing video.

The Product: You can see for yourself that their product is superior. It was very easy to put up and the wallpaper comes in one single roll, which is clearly marked where to cut and which panel goes where. It looks like it would be a nightmare, but it was very simple and at no point did we have to rearrange the panels. Just put on the glue, line up the panel and smooth/brush it down. Simple as that! Photowall also offers this instructional video.

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I get approached by companies every so often. Sometimes, the product does not fit into my niche worldview and I won’t bother with it. Occasionally though, there is a company that is really worth looking into. I could tell this company was doing good things and I wanted to know more. Photo Wall surpassed my expectations by leaps and bounds. I really cannot say enough good things about this company and their products. This is the truth. I have never had such amazing everything regarding the entire process, as I have with Photo Wall. I am so excited to have had the opportunity to procure one of their pieces and display it proudly in my home!

I highly recommend checking out Photowall. Even if you aren’t currently in the market for wallpaper, just so you can see how far it’s really come! I couldn’t believe it, and you probably won’t either. If you do happen to be doing some decorating, please feel free to use my discount promo code, it’s valid for the next 30 days! MliaeCampaign2017 Expires January 19.

A note to remember: These items are meant to be a focal point. Many of them are measured to be framed by the wall. If you prefer that your photowall image cover the entire wall, it might be beneficial for you to contact the customer service to make sure that you have given the correct measurements. They ask that you add a few extra centimeters, even for the pieces which don’t expand the entire wall. Photowall customer service is awesome, they’ll let you know precisely how to get what you’re looking for!

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely holiday season!

-Mliae

*Disclosure: I was given a complimentary piece, in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. Happily, I am a very happy – soon to be returning – customer!

It’s here!

I had to share this with you 🙂 I purchased this hand-woven rug during a trip to Morocco. It isn’t huge, because they were so expensive…more than I had on me, for sure! But the handicraft is beautiful, and since I limit myself to ONE purchase in each country, per trip (I’m not a souvenir ladened suitcase traveler…much to my friends dismay.) I was able to justify this little luxury to myself without too  much work.

It took a while to get everything in order and to have it shipped. Then have it shipped again. But now, it’s home! I hope you like it too…the photo colored a bit weird, but rest assured, its gold and blue tones are just beautiful 🙂

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What about you? What are some of your favourite travel souvenirs?

-Mliae

DIY Wood Cutting Boards

This is a great idea for our wedding, so I had to share it! Thank you to http://www.twobyjillabsten.com for the great post and allowing me to share! What do you think, can we pull this off?

JILL ABSTEN COX

Like most brides, I wanted to go the extra mile to set the scene at my wedding. As a kid, before my years as a florist and an interior decorator, I worked for a catering company. I suppose I was over-exposed to the standard catering set up, bar trays and piles of plates. I wanted my day to have a more authentic rustic vibe. One of the ways I achieved this was by eliminating the typical catering equipment. I didn’t have the budget to buy a dozen wood trays (averaging $30-$50 a piece), so I made them myself.

It was so cheep and easy!

I began with Top Choice 1 x 24 x 72 Kiln-Dried Whitewood Softwood Board from Lowes. It runs about $10 a board & will make 2-4 cutting boards. I also bought 1 x 12 x 48 boards to make smaller designs.


Cut the board to desired size.

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People Tree: A glimpse into the sustainable fashion web store

Hi everyone and thanks for stopping in! Todays article kicks off my happily anticipated series on sustainable fashion. I have been on the hunt… high and low, searching for the best, coolest and friendliest homes of sustainable fashion.

Here’s how it went down: I think I spent at least 30 hours doing internet search on top of internet search for sustainable fashion businesses. I then compiled a list and went through each site that I had found (another several days of solid researching). Many were sadly no longer active. Another large group was those that specialized in like…socks. And then, THEN we have the massive conglomerates that marketed sustainable and ethical fashion, but in all honesty, it was just for marketing. I’ve worked in business; I know a marketing ploy when I see one. So once I was able to categorize these business even further, it left me with only a handful of genuine fair trade practicing, sustainable processing, natural fiber using fashion companies who have some really nice modern day designs. Works for me! I’ve been on the search for the best and now it seems like I’ve found a tiny group of them.

Now I must tell you, that these people at People Tree are some of the most co-operative people I have spoken to. I understand, of course, that when a blogger contacts a company the immediate thought is ‘freebie request’. Now, I love freebies, it’s like Christmas when something that you really love arrives! That said, I merely wrote to request information. They not only understood my request for information and permission, they made sure I was well stocked in all the information I could possibly need and were at hand for any questions I might have. How awesome is that for this humble blogger??!

Now, a large part of the reason I developed a clothing crush on this company is because their designs are nice. They are comfortable and beautiful; suitable for office, home and a night out. Two of their featured designers this collection are Peter Jensen and Zandra Rhodes. They have worked with Thakoon, Laura Ashley, and Vivienne Westwood (to name a few). Having designer options at a reasonable price, in natural fabrics all the while incorporating Fair Trade and sustainable business practices, is what really made me find myself going ga-ga.

Some of this information is in the form of a social review, which is conducted every other year in order to ensure that The People Tree is maintaining or exceeding their fair trade practices. This was fascinating reading, as so many companies do not truly practice any form of transparency in their sourcing and business practices.

People Tree utilizes fair trade practices in every step of their production process. From Cradle to Cradle. Most of their cotton is certified organic and fair trade. They use safe, azo-free dyes for their clothing, they source locally and use recycled where they can. Even down to their natural buttons which use either shell, coconut, corozo ( a natural grain which resembles resin), horn or wood. All of the woven items are hand woven, and in many cases, People Tree uses recycled material so as not to create or contribute to any additional waste. Logistically speaking, they are brilliant – utilizing sea transport as opposed to air. They even take sustainability so far as to use solar panels in as many possible places as they can.

Safia Minney founded People Tree in 1990. People Tree is said to be the ‘first international clothing company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organisation Fair Trade product label’. In the past 25 years, they have been able to perfect a supply chain, which positively affects in excess of 3,700 farmers, tailors, weavers, dyers and management due to Fair Trade practices. They employ some of the persons from castes which truly struggle and need a fair opportunity. Including as stated ‘Indigenous, disabled, refugees and people living in poverty’ from the Countries India, Bangladesh and Nepal. In total, they work with  34 Fair Trade producers who employ approximately 15,000 people. The numbers I was able to get my hands on states that there are approx 4,500 artisans & farmers in 13 countries (India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Laos & The Philippines). That’s a lot of Fair Trade going around!

Some of their Fair Trade practices include training, the possibility of advance pay without interest for business development, fair wages (which is why you won’t find a €5 garment here), good working conditions and market exposure. Ladies, you will love this; HALF of the leadership positions throughout People Tree’s production chain are filled by Women! Yeah, Baby! Yeah!

People Tree has two seasonal collections per annum, and these are some of the stand out items from the Autumn/Winter collection. I could not do a business feature without displaying some of my favourite lust-worthy products, of course!

Some of the items I love at People Tree:

people-tree-lara-pencil-skirt-in-red-48-e65-www-peopletree-co-uk

The Lara Pencil Skirt

95% organic cotton, 5% elastin

€65

people-tree-imara-top-in-black-42-e59-www-peopletree-co-uk

The Imara Top

95% organic cotton, 5% elastin

Formerly priced at €65, now €33,04

people-tree-hesper-stripe-skirt-75-e99-may-turtleneck-top-in-black-25-e35-www-peopletree-co-uk

Hesper Striped Skirt in Black

100% Organic Cotton

€99

&

May Turtleneck

95% Organic Cotton, 5% Elastin

€35

people-tree-cable-jumper-185-e250-lara-pencil-skirt-48-e65-www-peopletree-co-uk

Fisherman’s Jumper in Unbleached

100% Wool

€250

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Swallows Tee

100% Organic Cotton

€39

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Peter Jensen Jewel Tie Waist Dress in Multicolour

100% Organic Certified Cotton

Now €55.44

Another cool little thing they do on the website is that under the photo of the particular item you are looking at, there is a statement which informs you where the item was sourced and the Fair Trade aspects of it. Nice 🙂

Now here’s the icing on the cake: FREE delivery in UK on all orders, and an INTERNATIONAL delivery fee of only 5 British Pounds for ALL orders over 70 British Pounds. THAT is SUPER! You know me, I’m a sucker for affordable international postage! J

They have loads of fashionable items to choose from in both Women’s and Men’s. If you are interested in sustainable fashion, this is a great place to check out!

http://www.peopletree.co.uk

After so much time reading up on this company, the mantra that will remain ringing in my head is ‘slow fashion, not fast fashion.’ From here forth, every time I see a clothing shop which turns over their trends on a bi-weekly or monthly basis and are selling man-made fabric must-have’s on me for the price of €5-€7, I will mentally equate it to McFashion – the pre-processed, rubbery burger that you can get for €1 and regret for much longer.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this business, please share!

-Mliae

*Photos & permission provided by People Tree