How Minimalism Changed My Life (& Can Change Yours, Too!)

How Minimalism Changed My Life (And Can Change Yours Too!)

At the beginning of every year, we are so full of it, aren’t we?

Not only are we going to lose 20 pounds, incorporate a new diet plan (vegan/keto/atkins/whatever), become more calm and centered (meditate!), workout three times a week, be a better wife/girlfriend/mother, get that promotion or launch/expand your business, learn to speak Italian, and finally learn to keep our home clean. all. the. time. (Declutter!)

Resolutions, amiright?

And then what happens by the end of February…?

Do you even remember half of them?

Do you even know why you chose them?

What if we flipped that list upside down and started with the one crucial resolution that can actually change your life? Like actually, with real results!

For me, embracing minimalism changed my life, and is a contributing factor to my everyday life as a mom, as a wife, and as an entrepreneur.

Whenever I’m feeling extra frustrated or aggravated, or if I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed OUT, I simply take a look around. Not only is my head a mess, but so is my home. And suddenly the lightbulb goes off, and I realise that I’ve allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the clutter, again.

Minimalism isn’t a “do once” purge of all the excess. It’s a way of life that brings me calm, focus, and happiness. It gets rid of all the extra clutter to make room for what matters in life – not only in physical space, but also mentally and spiritually.

How Minimalism Changed My Life (And Can Change Yours Too!)

Do you feel overwhelmed right now? Have you felt stressed out recently?

Life is busy.

Add kids, a husband, work, and a social life (HA! what social life?) and it’s no wonder your New Years’ resolutions don’t become reality.

But what if you trimmed the excess, got rid of everything that doesn’t serve you, and had the time and space, both mentally and physically, to go after what you really, really want?

Becoming a minimalist isn’t about white walls and bare shelves.

Truly, I believe minimalism is an individual process that’s different for everyone, but there are common factors that can be prescribed to everyone:

  • Get rid of the things you don’t need, you don’t want, take up space for now reason, serve no purpose, things that you hate, things that you hang on to for “future use, maybe”, and things that you don’t use on a day-to-day, or week-to-week basis.
  • Clean up your digital life! Reduce the number of emails you have, reduce the subscriptions, get to inbox zero at least once a week, organize your folders, delete, delete, delete, (OR ARCHIVE AND BACK UP!)
  • Stop buying things. Stop online shopping. Don’t start a new and expensive hobby because everyone is doing it. Learn to live with less, learn to live with what you need, and refill accordingly.
  • Start saying NO. Your time is precious. Make sure it’s well spent.

Easy, right?

The most important thing is to remove that which does not serve us – in our homes, in our social lives, in our schedules.

Once you remove that, you make room for happiness. You make room for joy. You make room for passion.

You make space for all those things in your life that you think about, that you dream about, but you’re burdened by all the things that keep you busy in life.

Life can be full and wonderful!

How Minimalism Changed My Life (And Can Change Yours Too!)

I became a mom at 22 years old, it was unexpected, it was a surprise, and it completely changed my life. After my daughter’s birth, I spent years battling post-partum depression while trying to fit into this new role of motherhood, and trying to maintain an identity that I wasn’t even sure existed anymore. I threw myself into different passions all the time, I was a wedding planner, real estate agent, cupcake baker, hairstylist, retail salesperson, and I was constantly trying new things, but nothing stuck.

I wish I could go back there and give that young mom a hug. A huge hug that goes on for a little too long.

I wish I could tell her that there’s nothing wrong with her, and that it’s not her fault that “nothing is sticking”. It’s because she hadn’t found her true passion yet. I hadn’t found my true passion yet. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life, and here I was raising a little girl with my boyfriend, while trying to still go out with my girlfriends and live a lavish life that I didn’t even know I didn’t want or need.

We moved 5 times in 5 years.

And with each move, we purged. We got rid of more stuff.

The first few times I was very sentimental with all of my “stuff” because I had spent a lot of money on these things.

But over the years, I realised that this “stuff” no longer served any purpose in my life. It wasn’t helping me in any way. It was time to let go.

To donate. To gift. To recycle.

Over the years, I realised that “stuff” was just stuff. I had purchased things to fill a void, not to fulfill any life dreams or bring joy to my life.

The me of the past had a lot of growing up to do, a lot of adulting to experience. They were hard lessons that I had to learn. Buying stuff doesn’t make you an adult. Having a full set of glassware doesn’t create a home. Spending money doesn’t equate to happiness.

We moved across the country with only a couple of suitcases.

The rest of our pared down stuff fit into ten large cardboard boxes and would be coming on a later date once we figured out where we were going to live. The funny thing was, once we found a space to live, and the boxes came down, there was only 1 box worth of items I wanted to keep.

I realised I was no longer weighed down by all the material excess – it did not. make. me. happy.

And it was only in those moments of calm and peace that I began to focus on my purpose as a woman, as a mother, as a wife.

How Minimalism Changed My Life (And Can Change Yours Too!)

I’m not perfect – no one ever is, no matter what their Instagram looks like!

I tend to find corners to throw junk in. Shove things away to deal with later. But it catches up to me, and I find myself purging and wishing I just followed my minimalist path regularly, rather than intermittently, but it happens.

But as time goes on, it gets easier, I promise!

I tend to be a bit more practical when it comes to minimalism. I’m not holding up objects to see if they bring joy to my life. I’m wondering why there’s a bunch of boxes sitting in the corner of my office, and I answer: because there’s no room to put it away, there’s no space for it. The subsequent process is to make a space for the useful things (file folders, printer paper), and get rid of the excess.

That’s all that other stuff to me is: excess.

If it’s not useful or doesn’t serve me in anyway, it’s gone.

And once that stuff is gone, it opens up my space and provides me a calm and peaceful surrounding to be creative. To focus. To work hard on things that truly matter to me.

Maybe those things are meal planning, losing weight, and learning Italian. Maybe those things are scheduling family activities and time-blocking my week.

Given the space and the opportunity, we can create a life we are truly happy in.

 

 

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The List of All Good Things That Happened in 2017

Are you ready for 2018 to begin?

I am. Definitely.

2017 wasn’t a wash, it wasn’t a failure or a disappointment. But it wasn’t an amazing year either. There was a lot of reflection. A lot of time to think and change, think and change… I think I’m still changing, evolving, and learning more about myself.

I am definitely ready for 2017 to be done with and 2018 to begin!

I don’t typically look back on the year and look back on what I’ve accomplished, but I think it might be necessary to focus on the positive.

 

 

So, without further ado, I present to you:

A list of all good things that have happened in 2017.

  • I grew a business, created some great things, helped people succeed, and then sold my client portfolio.
  • I went to Israel on a blogging trip! An amazing experience I look back on fondly and often.
  • I went all in on my husband’s construction business, taking the reigns and helping move it forward. I’ve realized we’re actually a pretty great team when we put our minds to it.
  • I went on a family road trip across BC, travelling to places none of us had been before.
  • Our whole family tried a vegan diet in August, and being meat-free has stuck! We no longer eat meat and stick to mainly plant-based meals, although we do indulge in cheese occasionally.
  • My daughter has become quite the athlete in downhill mountain biking, winning races and truly enjoying the sport. I’ve been quite proud of her.
  • I’ve found some renewed purpose in my life.

So, although I’ve come across quite a few negative aspects this past year, many of which gave my head a shake and confused me and made me think twice about EVERYTHING I was doing and who I am. I’ve come out the other end of it doing alright. Feeling alright.

And looking forward to a new year with GLEE.

Tell me, what are all the good things that happened to you in 2017?

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Motherhood and Creativity, the New Work-Life Balance

Margarita Wyld: On Creativity and Motherhood

For years, I have struggled with the self-confessed ‘work-life balance‘. I’ve written about it many times (read here, here, here, and here), I’ve pondered it in my personal journal, and, as the years go on, I’ve come to reevaluate this unrealistic notion of a ‘work-life balance’, and also how it applies to me and my life.

In retrospect, I wasn’t really looking for balance, instead I realized that I am looking to move forward and harness my creativity.

Moving forward means pushing my creative boundaries in writing, drawing, designing, curating, and even cooking. It means never staying still and, instead, feeling that energy and the vibe that being successful provides – especially when I have created something out of nothing. And what I realize over these past 12 years since becoming pregnant and becoming a mother to two children, is that I was never looking for balance in “work” and life, but rather, I was looking for a way to foster creativity despite the mundane, tiresome, and sometimes wretched aspects of life.

There were many times that I viewed being a wife and a mother and a homeowner as a bother. And that’s when I would fly off the ledge and succumb to the oppressive guilt of having negative feelings towards motherhood and housewife-ery and throw myself into those roles, headfirst, suddenly becoming the perfect wife/mom/homeowner for a short time before erupting into anger and tears and anxiety because I wasn’t being nourished by these roles. I didn’t get gold stars on my soul for having a clean bathroom, or cooking the perfect meal every single day.

And then I would give my head a shake and throw myself face first into the opposite – an entrepreneur, an artist, a writer, a designer – I have a million and one ideas at all times. I would work all hours of the night to develop these ideas, and spend my days trying to produce them – all the while ignoring the needs of my family, my home, and myself. I felt selfish. And then I would finally explode from exhaustion, doubts and fears would take over, and I would then succumb to the guilt of forgetting to sign school forms, or eating out too often because I was just too busy to cook… and then the cycle would start again and I would refocus my efforts on my home and my family.

I am consistently inconsistent in this regard. New ideas sparked creativity, but didn’t necessarily make me happy. Taking care of myself and my family made me happy but it also felt like something was missing. I would struggle with these emotions for years trying to figure out how to balance these two parts of my life.

And then I went to Israel. By myself.

VibeMommies Vibe Israel Blogging Tour Tel Aviv Beach

VibeMommies Vibe Israel Blogging Tour

VibeMommies Vibe Israel Blogging Tour Tel Aviv

VibeMommies Vibe Israel Blogging Tour

VibeMommies Vibe Israel Blogging Tour

VibeMommies Vibe Israel Blogging Tour

The idea of leaving my family for a week on an overseas trip was both terrifying and exhilarating. I had never flown on a plane without my husband or kids. I had never adventured around the globe. And my twenties were spent growing up with my husband and our kids, not with roommates or the freedom of allowing yourself to grow with random people who were just brief plot lines in the story of your life.

I was going to Israel on behalf of Vibe Israel, who had chosen me and 4 other mom bloggers to visit their beautiful country. The idea behind the trip was part culture shock and part ‘we’re not as different as you think’. We were meeting Israeli women, mothers and their families, to see the experience of motherhood and raising a family in Israel.

Prior to visiting Tel Aviv and its’ surrounding towns and villages, I had read so many articles about motherhood and creativity. Most notably there is the triggering ‘Secret to Being a Successful Mother and Writer‘ by Lauren Sandler, ‘Mother, Writer, Monster, Maid‘ by Rufi Thorpe, ‘How Motherhood Affects Creativity‘ by Erika Hayasaki, and ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mom‘ by Kim Brooks. Each include personal stories and points of view, but the underlying argument is how creativity affects motherhood and vice-versa.

I admit, there were times in my life, especially in the world of postpartum anxiety and depression and diapers and breastfeeding and no sleep, where I couldn’t imagine a better time. I didn’t think things would get better and I would watch myself dissolving into a hot mess of a woman, angry and unsatisfied. And then, of course, I would shower, put on a clean outfit, and write, draw, and have adult conversations and would feel like myself again.

The women I met in Israel amazed me. Why? Because I felt like so many of them were just like me – creative, not satisfied by a ‘typical’ life, always moving forward to develop new ideas, creating amazing businesses, art, and movements – and all the while, they were mothers. Mothers who had found a way to build a satisfying and creative life, and still hold their families close to their hearts.

They weren’t afraid to speak their minds, and they weren’t worried about societal values or being ambitiously polite. Their creativity drove them forward to becoming successful businesswomen, artists, and philanthropists, and the whole time, their families are what pushed them. Everything they did was for and because of their family.

Family is the core of their creativity and it is what drives them to success.

 

Tal Tenne Czaczkes: On Motherhood and Creativity

Tal Tenne Czaczkes: On Motherhood and Creativity

Tal Tenne Czaczkes: On Motherhood and Creativity

Home of Tal Tenne Czaczkes

Home of Tal Tenne Czaczkes

Tal Tenne Czaczkes is a conceptual artist, inventor, and designer, who lives with her husband and four children in a perfectly imperfect home, located a few steps away from her art studio. Tal is well-spoken (in English and Hebrew) with a quiet smile that explodes when she laughs. When she became a mother, she realized that success comes from connecting to her inner child and involving ‘play’ in everything she does.

Her studio, like her home, is filled to the brim with discarded toy pieces, vintage dolls, collectible cars, and an explosion of colour in every corner. The intersection of chaos and pure, unadulterated happiness.

As a mother, Tal went through a time of her own malcontent, trying to figure out this new landscape of motherhood and how it connects to her creativity. She learned that by embracing a childlike view it helped her connect with her children and sparked creativity in her work.

 

Esther Liebersohn Namer On Motherhood and Creativity

Esther Liebersohn Namer On Motherhood and Creativity

Esther Liebersohn Namer On Motherhood and Creativity

Esther Liebersohn Namer On Motherhood and Creativity

Esther Liebersohn Namer On Motherhood and Creativity

Esther Liebersohn Namer is a mother of three and the CEO and Co-Founder of Bosco, an app that gives parents the comfort of knowing their child feels both free and safe. When I first met Esther at SheSpace Studio in a hip neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, I was immediately drawn to her – she was chic, smart, and her smile radiated warmth. And she turned a common parenting fear into a technologically advanced solution.

My daughter is 11, and I have yet to give in to buy her a cell phone, yet in Tel Aviv it was very common for a child at that age to have a cell phone. Teachers even use WhatsApp to give homework to their students! Esther recognized that while kids having a cell phone is common place, she created a way to ensure kids are safe on their cell phones by creating Bosco. The app alerts parents to cyber-bullying, shaming, and other unhealthy behaviours to help keep your child safe.

As a mother to three and an activist, Esther is passionate about preventing bullying, shaming, and eating disorders. Back in Tel Aviv, in that hip little spot over cava and cookies, Esther wowed me with her intelligence and her accomplishments. What amazed me more is that she did this all as a mother, because she was a mother.

 

Ofra Abramovich on Motherhood and Creativity

Ofra Abramovich on Motherhood and Creativity

Ofra Abramovich on Motherhood and Creativity

Ofra Abramovich on Motherhood and Creativity

Ofra Abramovich on Motherhood and Creativity

Ofra Abramovich is a mother of two and founder of Mamanet, a mother’s Cachibol-league. I was lucky to share dinner with her at the lovely Claro, and listen to her inspiring words and passion for self-care as a mom. Essentially, she created Mamanet because she was sick and tired of moms not prioritizing their own needs. So, instead of being the ‘soccer mom’, the mom becomes the star of the game in Mamanet. Such a simple yet profound thought, because it brought up so many emotions in me.

How many times have I played taxi to my children and my husband? I make sure everyone is at their activities, on time, which are typically social and active, while I get to sit in the car or on the sidelines. Before that trip to Israel, I couldn’t remember the last time I did a yoga class or a mom meet up, something that was just for me.

Ofra took the time to create a league, which is now worldwide (even in Vancouver!), that encourages moms to put themselves first, be active, and be social. Ofra’s words are perfectly quoted on Be A Fun Mum’s blog: Invest in yourself as a person; like the ripples of a stone thrown in water, it will be a gift to your family.

 

The women I met in Israel, the ones noted above and many more, proved that creativity and motherhood can indeed co-exist. My “all or nothing” attitude was a hindrance to my life and wasn’t serving me in any way. Being a mother and being a creative, serial entrepreneur are both a part of me – so why did I think they couldn’t both shine together, in harmony?

My time in Israel invoked such deep emotions in me.

For the first time my eyes were opened to the idea that women could have everything they wanted in business, in family, and in life, and that I could also be that woman. I can be that loving wife and mother that has time for both her family and her business. I can be that home owner that could have her perfectly imperfect space that’s sometimes messy, but always full of life. I could be that creative woman with ideas flying all around her while still holding my children close to my heart.

The long elusive work-life balance doesn’t exist for me, nor is it something I ever really wanted. What I wanted was a life that allowed me to be creative and a mother, without sacrificing either. And it’s something I had all along, and a trip to Israel showed me that.

 

 

Want to learn more about my time in Israel?

The 10 Best Things I Did in Israel

Read the 10 Best Things I Did in Israel

Some photos were taken by myself, many of the photos in this blog post were courtesy of the amazing photography Sharni Sadicario

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Do you #MomSneak? #StreamTeam Confessions

#StreamTeam Confessions

So in a recent poll, 95% of moms say that they had more time for themselves before motherhood. Well, duh! I mean, I feel the 5% that think they had the same or more time for themselves now were drunk when the poll was taken. And 58% of moms admit to sneaking in TV “me-time” while juggling a busy schedule, even hiding it from their kids for a moment of peace.

My hand is up! I take part in a #MomSneak at least once a week. Is your hand up, too?

Now, I can definitely tell you that I don’t watch Netflix to “be a better parent”. Nope, nope, nope.

I sneak in shows to take a break from daily routine and reduce stress with some laughs, especially from some of my favourite shows like The Ranch. I love The Ranch. Seriously. Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson as cowboys on a family ranch? It’s funny and real. And I’ve always had a thing for cowboys…

Okay ladies, confess – where do you get your #MomSneak in? What do you watch and where do you watch it?

 

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My Summer Bucket List

My Summer Bucket List

Summer is now in full swing! The bright sunny days and warmer weather are getting me super excited for some of the things I’m planning this summer! I’m super stoked to share with you my summer bucket list and the fun things we’re planning in the next couple of months!

 

Go on a road trip!

This weekend we’re taking off on a road trip to beautiful Fernie, BC. That’s a 11-hour trip one way – but of course, we’re going the loong way through Revelstoke, and spending a night there, too! I’m so stoked for mountain biking, hiking, the aerial park, and checking out the gorgeous town of Fernie, too!

I’m really looking forward to snapping some amazing photos with my camera (gotta dust that baby off and charge up the battery!), because the scenery is going to be amazing!

 

My Summer Bucket List

Have a bonfire on the beach

Sandy toes, bikinis, and roasted marshmallows – what could be better than having a bonfire on the beach? I love watching the sun go down behind the mountains and the sound of the waves as you watch the crackling fire…!

 

Experience Wanderlust

Not the travelling kind, but the yoga festival that graces the mountains of Whistler each and every year! I’ve been to Wanderlust before, and I can’t wait to go again and get my spiritual gangsta side on! Come join me at Wanderlust Whistler!

 

My Summer Bucket List

Lounge by a Pool All Day Long

How amazing would it be to lounge poolside all day long! I’m thinking a cabana, yummy sangria, fresh fruit, and a chill playlist – dream big, right?

 

Mountain Biking in Whistler

For two weeks in August, I’ll be in Whistler covering Crankworx, the epic mountain biking event. We’re going to have a ton of fun watching my kids race in the Kidsworx events, checking out all the new gear, watching our favourite slopestyle events, and going down a few runs, too!

 

My Summer Bucket List

Be A Home Body

With our patio completed, I’m kinda, sorta, really looking forward to spending most of our nights chilling on our deck, making delicious food on the barbeque, and watching sunsets from our home. Is that cheesy or what?! But when you’ve spent so many years waiting for something to be done – it’s exciting to stay home! …. I think I’m getting old!

 

Finish Decorating our Home

Yes, I know our house is up for sale – but everywhere I look I see unfinished spaces! We need some art, some throw pillows, a few plants, and maybe a few other accessories to really make our home feel complete and comfy. My argument is that when we move, we’ll be taking it all with us anyway! (Unless the buyers want the furniture…)

 

My Summer Bucket List

Learn to Make a Really Good Sangria

I love a delicious glass of sangria and I need to learn how to make it myself – the way I love it! I’d love to add peaches and pineapple and some of my favourite rosé to the mix – my goal is to learn to make the perfect sangria recipe!

 

What’s on your summer bucket list?

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