What I’m Reading on the Internets

The constant reading companion

The constant reading companion

Besides a smattering of news, articles on books and writing, and Twitter, I have a handful of blogs I follow daily. Some of these I've been following for years, others are more recent discoveries. Each of them is inspiring or entertaining in ways that speak to me and I thought I’d share in case you are looking for some sites to spend your copious amounts of time on (aka procrastinate and avoid working).

These are wide ranging from fashion, lifestyle, food, DIY, home style, minimalism, soul searching and so on. Some are hard to categorize so I won't try to.

  • Kendi Everyday - down to earth and relatable fashion blog, love the personality she injects into her writing
  • M Loves M - fashion that captures the essence of beauty, I don’t know what that means, but it's just how it makes me feel
  • Curbly - tons of home DIYs
  • A House in the Hills - she has some great, heartfelt posts on her health battles, fashion posts, recipes, and home style
  • SF Girl By Bay - stunning photography of homes, surroundings, etc.
  • A Beautiful Mess - quirky and fun DIY, fashion, food, etc.
  • Cupcakes and Cashmere - this girl is a boss genius success, but also her fashion and lifestyle posts are beautiful
  • A Cup of Jo - fashion, life advice, various other gems, a smattering of many of life’s topics, always discovering new things here, fantastic content
  • Yes and Yes - fabulous interviews, business advice, and other fun stuff
  • Oh My Veggies - a HUGE resource for recipes and advice on cooking and eating vegetarian
  • Zen habits - mentioned before, minimalism and life advice
  • The Minimalists - mentioned before, as the name implies, personal essays and advice on their journey through minimalism
  • Becoming Minimalist - again mentioned before, but great articles on living your best life and so on
  • The Beauty Department - fun how to’s and trends on hair and beauty
  • Sas Patherick - wonderful woman over in the U.K. with inspiring words on spirituality, confidence, and whatever else comes to her head
  • Man Made DIY - great how to’s, recipes, and other rustic life advice

Happy weekending!

On Dealing With Emotional Clutter

The past is a slippery and ever-changing thing. We never remember events quite like they actually happened and our interpretations vary from year to year, with each new telling of the story. We mold past events into digestible shapes, trying to make sense of them, but our memories are more creation than reality. And sometimes the memories overpower us and our mindset becomes stuck in the past, not allowing us to live fully in the present and progress to the future. This can be especially true of the bad memories. As humans, we are hardwired to focus on the negative as a means of survival, but we aren’t being chased by tigers anymore. We can allow ourselves joy.

One of my biggest challenges—and also one of my biggest motivations to practice a minimalist lifestyle—comes from dealing with emotional clutter. Letting go of the past and clearing or making sense of the emotional clutter that I struggle to let go of and fully move on from. The past can be heavy, and its exhausting to carry it around every day. Once you clear the physical stuff crowding your life, the focus turns to the mental, emotional, and spiritual. And its uncomfortable. And not easy to face. I’d rather clear out a thousand closets. But its important and I believe part of the necessary process to finding peace within yourself. Perhaps thats why it’s so hard for many of us to get rid of our stuff and stop accumulating new things because they act as barriers against the emotions we don't want to face and deal with. If we focus on our stuff, we don't have to focus on what is really bothering us. 

Unlike stuff, you can never really get rid of emotional baggage and mental scars, but you (I hope) can learn to accept them, make peace with them, and let them go, so they don't control your present and future. This is a struggle I go through everyday—some days its apparent to me and some days it affects me subconsciously. But I refuse to let past hurts and mistakes win out. This isn’t easy and don’t think you have to do this alone. Talk to a friend, family member, or counselor, especially if you can’t find a way out from under the emotional weight. Like stuff, you can unbury those old wounds from the past and let them go. You can fill your life with love, purpose, and meaning through relationships, connections, and self acceptance. You can engage in changes that bring you peace.

I have discovered peace in creativity and expression. In art, writing, learning new things, and exploring new places and new ways of doing things. Discovery is powerful. It helps the mind see more clearly, relieves negative anxiety and replaces it with excitement and hope. We can learn from children in this way. They are so full of imagination because everything is so new to them and they aren't jaded by prior knowledge. As adults, I think we can try and capture this through creative expression, learning new things, and having new experiences. Give yourself permission to explore who you are and what your interests are. Your past may have helped shape you but it does not need to define you indefinitely. By letting the old stuff go—moving on from the emotional clutter—you make room for the new, and experience deeper, more meaningful growth.

On Minimalism (The Minimal Version…I Could Go On and On)

How it started...

When I moved from Atlanta to New York about two years ago, I was forced to take a good look at all the stuff we had. We lived in a one bedroom apartment, but somehow managed to accumulate way more utensils, clothes, shoes, tools, etc. than we could ever need or use. I began purging myself of the useless, the unworn, and the long neglected shit gathering dust in my closets. 

A new place meant a new start, so I sold what I could on Craigslist and donated what we didn’t need. We hung on to a few pieces of furniture and something to eat on, and left the rest behind.

What started as a purge to make our 900 mile move easier, became a lifestyle change. This perspective shift obviously made for an uncluttered space, but to my great surprise, my thoughts became a little less uncluttered too. I had less stuff to worry about. I didn't need to go out and buy more things to fill the void or make me feel better. I have what I need. Clearing out the old stuff made room (and money...more on that in another post) for the things I love and that really matter to me. Minimalism has become a way of life.

This doesn't mean I don't have any stuff or that I’m immune to the cries of consumerism. But now I try to stop and think before I buy more "things." 

There is so much I could say about simplifying life and possessions (and I will) but for now, if you are interested in learning more about Minimalism, here are some of my favorite blogs on the topic: