30/01/2015

5 Affirmations to Pick Yourself Up

In the quest for minimalism I think it's important to prioritise clearing out your mind as well as the external junk we accumulate over time. Self loathing, hypercritical thinking and other general unhealthy thought patterns weighs you down, distract you and keep you stuck and it's an addictive habit to have, I know that from experience. Once you let them go and replace them with good thoughts you can focus on what's important and deal with what's really holding you back. I have an affirmation app on my iPhone and it updates each day with a new affirmation and here are my favourite five affirmations that help flush out the toxic thoughts (at least for a little while). 

"I am the person I was meant to become."
We all get bogged down with judging ourselves and our lives and how they are supposed to be. Even if you're not where you want to be right now you are where you're supposed to be. This point in your life is helping you to evolve and learn. If you don't think you aren't learning anything then the lesson isn't over yet. Allow yourself the freedom to exist without judgement or scorn and give you'll learn to adapt with the times. You might surprise yourself with what you can do and where you will go.

"I have what it takes to succeed."
Believing yourself is hard as hell especially if you're a perfectionist (like me) but repeating an affirmation every day and faking it until you make it can help push you into experiences that help garner actual self confidence and belief in yourself. It takes a lot of guts to go out there and try to live an honest life and taking chances especially when you do not know how it's going to turn out but it's better than being living a boring unfulfilled life. Don't let the fear paralyse you.

"Calmness surrounds me. Energy fills me."
The world is chaotic and we feel like we have a mental check list of things we think we should be doing to be considered "successful" but all that anxiety is doing to us is poisoning us. Thinking this and practising mindfulness day to day will help us to lower our stress levels and give us the energy we need to accomplish the important things. We all have secret desires we wanna do but all you can think about insignificant problem you have no control over. Stop, switch the thought and focus on the things you can change.

"Today, I abandon my old habits and take new, more positive ones."
I'm sure you have one or two old or bad habits that you want to change but you're putting it off for "the right time". The right time is now and it starts with this affirmation! The key to making positive new habits is to start with a thought and then break the new habit down into smaller increments that you can do every day. For example you wanna read more? Then try reading 5 - 10 (or even as low as one) page a day and make sure you do it every day. See how far you get in a month. It worked for me. Don't try to be perfect just try to be better than you were yesterday. 

"I am important, I am worthy, I am irreplaceable."
Ending with a cliche but the best one in my opinion. These words should be the foundation of everything. Lay all your hopes and dreams over these words especially "I am irreplaceable". You're one of a kind man and you can affect change. You don't have to save the world, you just gotta make your own universe a little better (the cosmos will thank you in it's own way). 

It's a long arduous process to unlearn negative thinking and the junk will probably never go away complete but I want to reduce and replace it. If you read one of these and believe in just one then you're a step closer to becoming the you, you wanna be inside. Take it one day at a time and remember to breathe. Also listen to this Marina and the Diamonds song. I think it's pertinent.

25/01/2015

Minimalist Wardrobe


Minimalism is about purging the clutter and excess things in your life so you have time to dedicate yourself to the things that really matter like art, mental health or happiness. Having a minimalist wardrobe takes out the stress of dressing. To be honest trends kind of stress me out. Keeping up with them, buying into them, being part of the crowd, it just takes too much effort. I don't prioritise trends but I'm not hating on people who do.

I prefer the term "minimalist wardrobe" to "capsule wardrobe" but they are similar ideas. The above image shows the bare minimum I would need to make a wardrobe work. I would build on it with patterns and textures. These are the necessary, day to day pieces I need. I'm not gonna insult anyone's intelligence trying to explain why I need black pants or a t-shirt so I'm moving on to say I'd like to hang my basics on a clothing rack like this.

As much as I'm in love with how paired down this is sometimes I worry that this is too simple, wearing all black would get tired but then I remember I'm gonna be covered in tattoos so balancing awesome ink with a simple wardrobe works out in my favour!

Are you trying to embrace minimalism?

23/01/2015

Reading Update #2


I'm putting everything behind a read more tag just so I do not spoil anyone! I read It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, Animal Farm by George Orwell and Looking for Alaska by John Green. Enjoyed two out of the three. Check behind the read more to see which books fell into which category.

19/01/2015

Attitude Clothing Wishlist

I discovered attitude clothing recently and I fell in love. The first dress is a super cute 50's style dress. Fit and flare, it's a nice addition for dates or super femme days. Everyone loves Wednesday Addams and her style so I had to include this dress. It's a simple silhouette with white accents that I would wear anywhere honestly. The final dress is definitely eye catching with it's sweetheart neckline and reflective material. It's a showstopper, always gotta have to have one or two showstoppers in your arsenal.

This crop top is a tongue and cheek take on the Spice Girls persona and it made me chuckle a little. It's like goth with a little girl power sprinkled in there. Leggings are important (and comfy) and I love them. Velvet leggings have had a special place in my heart since they were a trend a couple of years ago. Another pair of trousers that caught my eye were that pair of leather pants. Anything leather is rocker and I need it. Either of these trousers paired with the crop top and a pair of boots would create a badass look. (I also like this shirt but I couldn't make it work with the collage so enjoy the add on.)

Can we talk about these demonia boots? Breathtaking. I don't care how unpractical they are, they're too cool for school. I'd be fine wearing them just washing the dishes, chilling in bed, doing whatever and feeling awesome. On the more practical side there are these new rock boots. They are chunky, rocker and have enough traction to stomp through any kind of English weather including those days when it feels like you experience all four seasons.

Any of these clothing vibing with you guys? If so tell me which! 

08/01/2015

Reading Update #1

We are a week into 2015 and I am hear to tell you that so far I have read 3 books! I'm proud of myself!

How to manage your day to day! - Jocelyn Glei
The was the first book I completed. The book takes the form of shorts interviews about different topics like scheduling your creative practice into your daily routine, being mindful with social media, dealing with perfectionism amongst a lot of other things. Each chapter is prefaced by a quote and I love that because inspirational quotes keep me going. It was a quick read and a perfect book to ease into reading with. Informative and inspiring I think it's the type of book that should be re-read frequently to keep you going through the ups and downs of a creative life. I wanted to include my favourite quote which related to continuing on with creative work when you are dealing with personal problems because it really spoke to me.

"Treat your work as a refuge - an oasis of control and creative satisfaction in the midst of the bad stuff. Don't beat yourself up if you're not on fire creatively every day - give yourself credit if you show up for work and make even a small amount of progress." pg 217. 

Steal like an Artist - Austin Kleon
This again was a quick read. I like that this book isn't just text, it has images, drawings and quotes which was nice. I'm still a kid at heart, I like books with pictures in them. As the title suggests it's a book about developing yourself as an artist and I found to be inspiring and helpful especially the don't wait til you know who you are to start section. You just gotta start now and go from there. One thing that stuck with me was the point he made about creating with your hands physically as well as digitally. I agree that there is a distance when creating solely on a computer, that using your hands gives something else, uses your brain and your body in a different way and I want to do more creating with my hands. Maybe finally start doing physical collages as well as digital ones. At the back of the book there is a list of recommended books to check out and I definitely will be doing so!

I've put my Interview with a Vampire review under a read more cut because spoilers... and it's really long ramble. Suffice to say I didn't find it interesting.

06/01/2015

Dr Martens Wishlist


Still in the throws of winter I can't stop looking for boots that'll keep my feet warm and dry while still looking badass. While on the Dr Marten's website I fell in love with more of their shoes so here is six styles that cover all bases.

The first three I consider spring/summer shoes. The Farrell is like a every day shoe. In a similar vein to converses, they give a casual and comfortable look. Just pull 'em on when you don't care what your feet look like.  The Emmet is much more fancy (and the most expensive at £300) but don't they look amazing? Honestly I'd clash them with feminine dresses or wear them for more formal occasions. I lack formal shoes in my collection. My final choice is the Marlie and it's is a wildcard. A slip on that would fit into that "granny chic" look. Not my usual look but sometimes an item just speaks to you and you can't explain it. You know?

Bringing it back to seasonal shoes here are my three boot options. I've talked about my love for the Jadon but they are just so awesome. I can't stop. I picked the 1490 as my second boot choice. It's a classic, it's timeless and it would be sometime I'd switch between the Jadon so it looked like I owned more than just one pair of boots. Finally there is the 2976 are a simple Chelsea boot. A good transitional boot that'll carry me through to spring and also to transition in autumn.

Are you Dr Marten's obsessed? If so tell me your favourite style in a comment. 

04/01/2015

365 Photo Challenge



I've always wanted to do a 365 picture challenge and this year I have taken the plunge. I'm using my iPhone and posting the results in instagram (insidesai). It's a way to get my photography fix and feel like I'm putting in the effort to progress my skills especially on days when I'm working my full time job and can't just go out and take 20+ film photos. I've been consistent over the past 4 days which I'm stoked about and you can follow me if you'd like to see my progress this year.

02/01/2015

Mindfulness

A chapter within Manage Your Day-to-Day routine spoke about mindfulness briefly as a way to spend in between moments like when you're in transit on your way to work or if you have a 5 minute break between meetings as a way to not lose focus or distract yourself with technology. It keeps you open. It jogged my memory about mindfulness. I was introduced to it in mid 2014 as a practice to break the cycle of negative thinking I had cultivated in my mind over the years. It is about becoming present in my body, focusing on it's processes and as a result it clears my thoughts. 

Mindfulness is like a lesser version of meditation. An accessible meditation for those too busy to meditate but still want to experience inner peace and a clear mind even if it's only for 5 minutes a day. It's about becoming calm and not letting anything disturb your inner peace. It's about redirecting your energy from focusing unhelpful emotions mentally to using your senses until you naturally come out of it. I would waste time being afraid, stressing out about the future, rehashing old experiences or just mindlessly fantasising about how much better my life could be in my head. All those things have to do with the mind and all those things are passive and as comforting or unconscious as they seemed to be they were not doing me or my psyche any good and if you do any of those things then they aren't helping you either.

Ok so how do I employ mindfulness on a day to day basis? I am going to briefly take the tips from the book Mindfulness on the Go - Padraig O'Morain (great book by the way) and tell you the main ones I employ:

Breathing
Sounds odd, right, breathing? But you do that anyway right? Yes but focus on your breathing. Notice how much your chest and stomach expand as you inhale. Take a second to think about it feels in your nostrils to exhale. Consciously control your breathing. Breathe in to a certain count like 7 and then breathe out to another count like 11. See how you feel afterwards. After doing this a few times I always feel at ease.

Sense - Touch/Feel
I've always noticed the wind. The cool and refreshing feel on your skin on a hot summer's day. Before I even knew mindfulness was a thing it would always bring me out of myself for a moment. So when it's windy I appreciate the way it feels on my skin. The force of it, the direction, the temperature and just let feel for a moment. Obviously it isn't windy try and just think about whatever you can feel on your skin and how it is affecting your body.

Sense - Sight 
When in transit like on public transportation or just walking take the scenery but do it if you were seeing it for the first time. If you have time figure out a new route to get to your destination, see another part of the city. Appreciate nature, all the colours, textures, light, all of it. I am one block out the world through my music but when I'm trying to be mindfulness and focus on the body I pause it. I want to be totally present.

The key thing about mindfulness like this is that you have to keep going back to it. You will get stressed, overthink and whatever else but if you have the tools in the back of your mind you can return to a method of mindfulness to bring you back to peace at a moment's notice and if you're lucky you'll start employing mindfulness automatically! Being mindful on a day to day basis has helped me lower the amount of time I wasted on unhelpful thinking and focus on more important issues like cultivating creativity and good habits. Do you practice mindfulness? If so what are your techniques?
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