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simple matters

My Favorite Wellness Resources (Wellness Spells Series)

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Today, as part of the Wellness Spells Series, I would like to share a few of my favorite wellness resources. Some of these resources are well-known but a good launching point for a beginner; I hope that I may have also added a new resource or two for the more seasoned wellness explorer that are more off the beaten path.

For Food:

I am a huge fan of Michael Pollan. Pollan is a food writer known for his mantra of “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” It’s so simple it almost makes healthy eating too easy. Check out his Cooked Documentary or his book, Food Rules.

For more healthy inspiration, check Youtube channel, Pick Up Limes. Sadia of Pick Up Limes is a certified nutritionist who happens to be vegan. She’s got lots of tips on how to stop yo-yo dieting, avoiding late-night cravings, and more, for vegans and non-vegans. She also has a very soothing personality and her videos are just so pretty!

For Fitness:

I’m a big fan of Yoga With Adrienne, also on Youtube. She brings a sense of lightheartedness and self-love to her classes which makes you look forward to getting on the mat. Now, I will say that while she does have episodes on mind, body, and spirit connection rather than just “fitness”, she specializes in a more Westernized style of yoga and I have really been wanting to get a better understanding of the traditional foundations of yoga, so if anyone has any resources to share for that please let me know in the comments below.

I would also recommend Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessWhile not specifically fitness related (though there is a chapter on sports) it looks at how the way we think about ourselves and our skills can affect our ability to grow and improve, which can be huge in terms of meeting our fitness goals.

 

For Anxiety/Meditation:

I know it’s a classic suggestion, but you can’t go wrong with Thich Nhat Hanh. This Buddhist monk has created several books on meditation, mindfulness, and happiness. They are accessible and understandable to anyone of any religion.

And sometimes, when things aren’t going our way, we just have to laugh. That’s why my second recommendation is Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened by Allie Brosh, for a take on life’s stresses that we can all relate to.

For Minimalism/Simple Living:

I really love the book Simple Matters by Erin Boyle. It takes simple living beyond just getting tidy and looks at long-term solutions for a life of beautiful calm. The book is filled with photos of design ideas that are doable, affordable, and magazine-worthy all at once.

Also, this may be my particular taste, but I really enjoy Jenny Mustard on Youtube. She has a beautiful channel full of inspiration for simple living, minimalism, wellness, and more. She has laughingly described herself as an “acquired taste” though, so make sure to watch a few episodes before you decide how you feel about her.

Today’s Wellness Spell is:

Sharing perspectives increases our paths.

By this I mean, sometimes we get stuck in a particular way of doing things, but someone else might have new ideas. Whether through a different knowledge base, a different life experience, or just a different perspective, taking time to see how others face a problem may help us to see a way we didn’t see before.

Is there a wellness resource that has been especially helpful to you?

Enchanted Spaces: Living Room Reveal

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I am very pleased to unveil a new series, Enchanted Spaces, which is all about perceiving space in a more magical way. I’m in the middle of tidying and revamping my house, and will focus on a concept from a different fantasy novel for each room. Bear with me here: I’m not a designer or a photographer, just a girl with a passion for re-imagining space. First up: the living room.

I have also been changing up the rooms of my home to reflect different climates. The feel for my living room is desert.  I had considered doing a before and after picture, but the problem with this was that I am a firm advocate in slow decorating and wabi sabi.

Slow Decorating is a concept I got from a lovely book called Simple Mattersalthough I am not sure that she uses the term by name. The idea is to buy simple, quality pieces that will stand the test of time and not to rush one’s decorating or to follow a trend. Think of a simple, quality, shaker-style wood dresser found at a thrift store that will never go out of style.

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese concept based on three principals:

  • Nothing lasts.
  • Nothing is finished.
  • Nothing is perfect.

Think of a beautifully simple old cracked pot that has many stories to tell. That’s Wabi Sabi. Pinterest is full of examples. 

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So, needless to say, there was no “drastic makeover” to show. The room is tidier and cleaner, things are in slightly different places, and I swapped a few things from my bedroom and this room. Most of the belongings I have I accumulated slowly over a long period of time; some actually belonged to my mother and grandmother and even my great-grandmother (for more on my “stuff story” read this post). The only new items I acquired for this reveal were a tapestry of my mom’s that my sister gave me as it didn’t match her stuff and a beautiful tree branch that I found on a walk.

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Family piano, mom’s tapestry from India, digital photo album
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Pottery my mother-in-law gave me, found tree branch

The concepts of slow decorating and wabi sabi reminded me a of the book (and film) Tuck Everlasting, which is precious if you haven’t read/seen it. It is about a family that doesn’t age, and about the importance of growth, change, and the juxtaposition of life and death. In particular, I thought of this quote:

“Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way it is.” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

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Canvas top from a decorative box (hides thermostat); dream-catcher from Cherokee Festival

My husband recently asked me why I read the same books over and over again. I explained to him that it wasn’t the books that changed; it was me. Therefore, I perceived the books differently and picked up different things about them. Similarly, I don’t look for drastic changes in my spaces, but as I change, I pick up different nuances, swap a coat of paint, add a new pitcher from a trip, take out that shelf that no longer speaks to me.

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Work in progress; childhood dresser re-vamp (Anthropologie knobs)

So you see, to me a space is something that is never remaining the same, but always evolving, moving, changing, and being re-imagined and perceived differently. It is a sense of growth that really makes a place interesting, but slow growth. I want my spaces to grow with me, neither faster nor slower than my own personal journey, because they are a part of me and a reflection of my own life story.

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Antique family steamer trunk; new-ish jute rug (Marshalls)
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Couch hand-me-down, pillow from my sister (Ten Thousand Villages), puppy (animal shelter; limited edition!)
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Mirror from my wedding registry, elephant jar (inherited), souvenir pitcher from my sister from Hungary
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Decorations from my wedding (Anthropologie), Simple Matters book

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Any thoughts about your relationship to space? What does your space say about you, or what would you like it to say?

 

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