Making the Case for Minimalism, Part 4

Making the Case for Minimalism, Part 4

Sharing seven days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes that we can all find some clarity…

“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.”- The Minimalists

Stepping back and looking at where I am in life, and how things create a few more butterflies in my chest that I’d like, I’m going to be practicing a minimalist act each day of the week, and sharing them with you. If you are feeling like your life is a bit dizzying, take a look deeper and see how much stuff you are carrying on a day-to-day basis, and join me. At the beginning of each week, I will be posting 7 days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes of finding and maintaining some clarity.

Week Four

Monday: Barely There. Mondays can be rough. Make it easier on yourself. Sport around your basic go-to’s. Dress for comfort and calmness. For me, that’s minimal colors. Lightweight sneakers, white tee, and my best friend, my 501 Levi’s.

Tuesday: Pit Stop. When you stop to pump gas today, clean out your car. Throw out any trash, and put the clutter in your trunk. When you get home tonight, take out the excess and put it where it belongs — inside. This will make your commute to work a bit more relaxing.

Wednesday: Paperless. Go through all of your online bills today and, if you haven’t already, opt out of direct mail. This will not only help your house from collecting clutter, but will also help the environment.

Thursday: Practice Gratitude. Be mindful and appreciate both the little and big things in your life. That’s what this is all about. Write a list of everything and everyone for which you are grateful. Think about editing out what wasn’t listed.

Friday: Tackle the Fridge. The amount of condiments in your refrigerator can sometimes get to be a little much. Clean out your fridge. Toss out any items that are expired, wipe down the shelves, and prepare the space to be filled with clean healthy food going into the next week.

Saturday: Plan a Yard Sale. Look into the summer yard sales happening around your community. Pick one, and start planning. Make a list of things that you haven’t used in the last 3 months, and make a point to let go of them. Yard sales can be a fun neighborhood routine to get into during the warm months. A little bit of work can rid you of a lot of stuff.

Sunday: Morning Ritual. Wake up at 6am this morning. Give yourself a couple hours before your busy day and develop a calming ritual, whether it’s a brisk walk, a bath, or a big breakfast. Throughout this series I’ve tried to mention how important time is to a minimal lifestyle. The goal is to reclaim our time so that we can have more of it for ourselves, for relationships, for gratitude, and to simply be free.

+ Good luck this week! If you are joining in on this challenge, let me know in the comments!

+ Follow Madisyn on Instagram + take a peek at her Blog!

Free People Blog

Making the Case for Minimalism, Part 3

Making the Case for Minimalism, Part 3

Sharing seven days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes that we can all find some clarity…

“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.” – The Minimalists

Stepping back and looking at where I am in life, and how stuff is creating a few more butterflies in my chest that I’d like, I’m going to be practicing a minimalist act each day of the week, and share them with you. If you are feeling like your life is a bit dizzying, take a look deeper and see how much stuff you are carrying on a day-to-day basis, and join me.

At the beginning of each week, I will be posting 7 days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes of finding and maintaining some clarity.

Week Two

Monday: Practice Mindfulness. During your lunch break, take 30 minutes to practice mindfulness. Focus on your present moment, calmly accept any feelings that you are having, and allow yourself a therapeutic half-hour. This practice is so important to implement on a daily basis, as it resets your body to focus on the important things.

Tuesday: Minimal Ingredients. Consume minimal numbers of ingredients today. Try spending the day eating clean, raw, wholesome foods. If you can’t make an entire day of it, try making one tiny switch in your routine and make time to really notice the natural flavors in one of your favorite indulgences. For me, I’m a matcha girl through and through. I usually add a bit of coconut milk, collagen peptides, and a drizzle of honey each morning to sweeten it up a bit. If you’re a coffee girl, go cream- or sugar-free.

Wednesday: Declutter Your Workspace. It’s hard to be inspired if your workspace is a mess. It’s also easy to let it get out of hand when you are constantly doing your job. Take 10 minutes and do a quick sweep of your space today. Clean off surfaces, organize piles, and get rid of anything you don’t need.

Thursday: Night Ritual. Slow down your evening — develop a nighttime ritual. Gather a few things that make you happy and peaceful, and visit/use them before bed. This will allow you to refrain from over-tasking and focus on a restful night’a sleep.

Friday: Donate Box. Start a “donate box”. Put it in a corner of your home, and add something to it daily or weekly.

Saturday: Experience. Go out and try something new. Instead of spending money on a physical thing, instead consider an experience. Spending on experiences is always a yes in the world of minimalism. Need some inspiration? Here you go.

Sunday: Goodbye Plastic. Rid your kitchen of any plastic — cups, straws, bags, etc. Finding new ways to store items instead of in plastic helps reduce wasting and makes your kitchen a more minimal place.

+ Good luck this week! If you are joining in on this challenge, let me know in the comments!

Follow FP Madisyn on Instagram + take a peek at her Blog!

Free People Blog

Vagus, Baby: Why You Should Care About Your Vagus Nerve

Vagus, Baby: Why You Should Care About Your Vagus Nerve

Keeping your vagus nerve happy might be key to vibrant mind-body balance. Learn how to keep this nerve “toned” and why it matters according to Dr. Sarah Gottfried

This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with The Chalkboard Mag.

Vagus means “wanderer.” This nerve — the longest one in your body — wanders all through your body to important organs and areas such as the brain, neck, ears, tongue, heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, spleen and reproductive organs in women. The vagus nerve contains motor and sensory fibers. It has wide distribution throughout the body as it passes through the neck and thorax to the abdomen. Think of it as the most important nerve in your parasympathetic nervous system.

So what happens when it’s whacked? An amped-up perception of stress causes lower vagal tone (or responsiveness), which means the vagus nerve is having performance issues and operating at a lower capacity. If the vagus nerve isn’t tended to, you won’t be healthy and you’re more likely to age faster.

High vagal tone is a marker of greater altruistic behavior and closeness to others. Lower vagal tone is linked to a variety of problems:

MIND: Stress; anxiety; weakened sense of connectivity

BODY: Low stomach-acid secretion; poor absorption of B12; low or slow bile acid production, so it’s harder to clear fats and toxins; poor blood flow to kidneys; higher blood pressure; poor glucose control; poor heart rate variability and greater risk of heart disease; high resting heart rate; frequent urination; limited or absent capacity for orgasms

BOTH: Poor satiety or sense of relaxation while eating; difficulty accessing mind-body connection and flow state

7 WAYS TO REHAB YOUR VAGUS NERVE

These actions may trigger your stress genes to turn off, bringing a greater sense of calmness.

One: Connect positively with others.
Two: Take a cold shower (try it, but if it stresses you out, you may have the same TH gene as me!).
Three: Schedule a reflexology (foot massage) session.
Four: Sleep on your right side.
Five: Sing!
Six: Get acupuncture, especially in the ear.
Seven: Book a craniosacral session.

 + Read more collaborations with The Chalkboard Mag here

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program. 

 

Free People Blog

Office Style: Meet Kacie

Office Style: Meet Kacie

The one behind #FPWriteThisDown, meet our social media queen, Kacie…

Your position at Free People…

Social Media Assistant

How does your job influence your personal style?

Every day is different — I never know what the day will bring so I like to be prepared for anything! Since I’m always running around I’m usually in something comfy and versatile.

What is your personal style?

Casually random but sometimes over-the-top.

Go-to fashion rule or styling trick?

Contradiction is key.

Favorite part about your job?

The people! I love how collaborative my job is and the different teams I get to work with. I’ve met so many talented people who inspire me daily.

Most challenging part of your job?

Social Media never sleeps! I have to be aware of what’s going on in the world and be ready to react to it! At first I used to have nightmares about my phone dying and my being unreachable but I learned to value my time spent away from my phone and enjoy every second of it.

What’s in your Freepeople.com shopping cart?

United One Piece 

Camp Collection D-Veep Body Suit 

Stay Home Lounge Dress 

Move On Shortie 

Tonik No.2

One thing in your closet that you could not live without?

Sneakers, sneakers, sneakers!

Follow Kacie on Instagram and shop her look today!

+ Loving Office Style? Meet more of the Home Office employees here!

Follow April on Instagram.

Free People Blog

Making the Case for Minimalism

Making the Case for Minimalism

Sharing seven days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes that we can all find some clarity…

I have entirely too much stuff. Stuff meaning: books, towels, emails, clothes, makeup, Facebook friends, 5 different hairbrushes. Not only is my tiny apartment actually overflowing with stuff, but so is my computer, my phone, my brain. I mean, honestly, why do I have an entire drawer full of dried flowers? Who do I think I am, Anne Of Green Gables? (I wish), but no, I’m not. So, because of all of the above, and more, I’m going to try and take baby steps that could lead to a more minimalist lifestyle.

But first things first, let’s clear up what that actually means. Practicing minimalism, or living a minimalist lifestyle, may mean different things to different people. Some may say it means getting rid of your car, your phone, even saying no to those silly-buddy colored mules in your shopping cart. For me, I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with material possessions — if those shoes are important to you, then that’s wonderful. With that being said, I also believe that balance is key. Moderation is our friend. A minimalist lifestyle is personal to each and every one of us, and we can all set our own rules on how big or little we would like to practice it.

“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.” – The Minimalists

Stepping back and looking at where I am in life, and how stuff is creating a few more butterflies in my chest that I’d like, I’m going to be practicing a minimalist act each day of the week, and share them with you. If you are feeling like your life is a bit dizzying, take a look deeper and see how much stuff you are carrying on a day-to-day basis, and join me.

At the beginning of each week, I will be posting 7 days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes of finding and maintaining some clarity.

 

Week Two:

Monday: Evaluate Commitments. I’m the queen of overcommitting. It can be both a good and bad thing, but typically, it’s overwhelming. Take a step back at all of your commitments, and narrow them down. Cut out anything that may be adding stress. With that, don’t sell yourself short. You are capable of doing everything — just not at once. If it’s important enough to you, you’ll eventually get it done.

Tuesday: Bare Faced. Go the entire day without any makeup. There is some sort of power that comes with exposing your true and natural self to the world with complete confidence. Not only will you feel that power, but your skin will enjoy the break as well. 🙂

Wednesday: Unfollow + Unfriend. I have 2,000+ friends on Facebook. What the heck. I couldn’t even name 100 friends off the top of my head. I’m constantly exposed to content on my social media feeds that may make me feel negative, and yet I just scroll past. Sometimes I see posts from people that I don’t even know. Unfriend anyone who doesn’t add to your life’s conversation.

Thursday: No Spending. Not even a nickel! Take a break today from pulling out your wallet. Use up all of those groceries that you have and get creative. Going a day each week without spending anything is completely freeing, and will help you reflect on what is important enough for your hard earned cash.

Friday: Prune The Garden. Go snip all the dead and old out of your garden. Cutting back on blooms helps new ones grow, and the fresh cuts will add some minimal decor into your space. Place a single stem in each jar, and enjoy the beauty of single digits.

Saturday: Donate 10 Pieces of Clothing. I have jeans in my closet that don’t fit me, like, at all, and yet I refuse to part ways with them. Pick 10 items out of your closet that either you no longer fit into or simplydon’t like anymore, and donate them. You’ll feel great about the space that opens up, and even better that someone else will get the chance to love and enjoy them. Think about if you did this once every few months!

Sunday: Solitude. Spend the day with yourself. Go for a hike, read on the porch, or create something. Feel the joy that comes with the quietness of solitude.

+ Good luck this week! If you are joining in on this challenge, let me know in the comments! 

Follow FP Madisyn on Instagram + take a peek at her Blog!

Free People Blog

Office Style: Meet Ashley

Office Style: Meet Ashley

“I’m always about comfort, that’s when you feel your best…”

Your position at Free People…
Sample Coordinator for intimates, Movement, swim and beauty.

How does your job influence your personal style?
As a sample coordinator I work with many teams around the office… everyone is so creative, I feel inspired every day. We get to see those trends up close and personal that the teams are excited about before they hit online or stores.

What is your personal style?
My style is pretty simple and classic. You will most likely find me in jeans, a t-shirt and my Birkenstocks! I’m always about comfort — that’s when you feel your best!

Go-to fashion rule or styling trick?
I do have a “rule” but, as long as you’re comfortable and confident, you will look beautiful in anything!

Favorite part about your job?
I love working with all the different teams. When buying passes me a sample they are excited about, it’s cool to see how the studio stylist envisions it for web. The transformation of a sample and how it goes from start to finish and through so many teams is really interesting to me.

Most challenging part of your job?
Balancing communication between all the teams can be hard, but it helps me stay focused and organized.

What’s in your Freepeople.com shopping cart?
El Porto Romper
Sand Dollar Tank
On the Run Jumpsuit
Daloa Birkenstock

One thing in your closet that you could not live without?
My Levi’s denim jacket!

 

 

Follow Ashley on Instagram and shop her look today!

+ Loving Office Style? Meet more of the Home Office employees here!

Follow April on Instagram.

Free People Blog

Behind the Scenes with New FP Muse, Ming Xi

Behind the Scenes with New FP Muse, Ming Xi

Chinese model Ming Xi quickly captured our hearts during her recent visit to Philadelphia… after reading her Q&A, we think you’ll feel the same. <3

Many young women dream of becoming models. Is it true that your “break” came from appearing on TV? Tell us about that experience.

Yes that is true my first modeling experience was a TV contest in China, but my career in fashion really got started in Paris in 2010.

Has modeling changed who you are? If so, how?

I was born and raised in Shanghai, and that is still very much a part of me, but I definitely have a more global perspective now because of my travels. I’ve lived in New York for the last 7 years mostly.

What are the most 1) exotic 2) beautiful 3) strange locations you’ve worked in. Why?

I’ve been fortunate to work in many exotic and beautiful places. Although I don’t actually love traveling, once I land in a magical place like St. John’s in the Caribbean or even some of my favorite places at home in China, I’m happy!

What are 5 things you can’t live without? 

Just two things — eyeliner and my teddy bear!

Your number one beauty must for when you’re on the go!

Drink water and use sunscreen.

Your spirit animal…

a Teddy Bear!

Your advice to young women in pursuit of their dreams?

Follow your heart! If you love what you do, everything will be ok.

What are your go-to tips for keeping fit, i.e. special work-out, diet, etc? 

Even when I travel, I find time for the gym. I love to box, do pilates and aerobics! In NYC I go to Dogpound which is a really intense gym.

Were there any times you felt like you almost gave up on modeling? What made you stick through and keep going? 

I have been very lucky, but I’ve also had my struggles. Early on I wasn’t sure I could adapt to living in Paris or NYC, learning new languages, the cultures and the stresses that can happen in the fashion business. But I believed in myself and stuck with it, and now I love that I live an international life.

Do you have BFFs who are also models? 

Josephine Skriver is a great friend and many others from the VS crew, too!

Tell us about the movie you just released? What was that experience like?

Really amazing! I do love acting and the whole process. It’s a fun new challenge and I’m really going for it! I’m also excited for some new projects coming up that I can’t share too much about yet… stay tuned!!

Are you currently dating someone? 

That’s a secret! 😉

What does the word “free” mean to you?

Being free for me is finding joy in life. Unexpected and difficult things happen in everyone’s life. So, I always look for the things to love and appreciate like my family and friends.

+Be sure to shop the full lookbook here

Free People Blog

Making the Case for Minimalism

Making the Case for Minimalism

Consider taking a few baby steps to living a more minimalist lifestyle…

I’m going to begin this series by openly admitting that I have entirely too much stuff. Stuff meaning: books, towels, emails, clothes, makeup, Facebook friends, 5 different hairbrushes. Not only is my tiny apartment actually overflowing with stuff, but so is my computer, my phone, my brain. I mean, honestly, why do I have an entire drawer full of dried flowers? Who do I think I am, Anne Of Green Gables? (I wish), but no, I’m not. So, because of all of the above, and more, I’m going to try and take baby steps that could lead to a more minimalist lifestyle.

But first things first, let’s clear up what that actually means. Practicing minimalism, or living a minimalist lifestyle, may mean different things to different people. Some may say it means getting rid of your car, your phone, even saying no to those silly-buddy colored mules in your shopping cart. For me, I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with material possessions — if those shoes are important to you, then that’s wonderful. With that being said, I also believe that balance is key. Moderation is our friend. A minimalist lifestyle is personal to each and every one of us, and we can all set our own rules on how big or little we would like to practice it.

“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom.” – The Minimalists

Stepping back and looking at where I am in life, and how stuff is creating a few more butterflies in my chest that I’d like, I’m going to be practicing a minimalist act each day of the week, and share them with you. If you are feeling like your life is a bit dizzying, take a look deeper and see how much stuff you are carrying on a day-to-day basis, and join me.

At the beginning of each week, I will be posting 7 days’ worth of minimalist practices with hopes of finding and maintaining some clarity. Let’s begin.

Week One

Monday: Meditate 15 Minutes.

Simplify time and be aware of each minute. This time is only yours. Space out a bit.

Tuesday: Declutter Phone.

Erase your text messages. Go through your email inbox and unsubscribe from any mail that may be overwhelming. Save important photos, and delete the others. Get rid of any unused apps. Change your background image. I promise you will feel a bit better after this one!

Wednesday: Clean Out Purse. 

Self-explanatory. Dump it upside down, and get rid of all of those crumpled up receipts. Collect loose change, etc. Hang on to your essentials: wallet, chapstick, crystal stick for that good ju-ju. This quick and easy task will make the rest of your week a bit more easier and organized.

Thursday: Practice Single Tasking.

Spend the day focusing on one thing at a time. For example, when you are eating breakfast, don’t watch TV. I’m currently writing this post with 13 tabs open, while rubbing my dog’s tummy, and sipping some iced matcha. Overstimulation and overcompensating is exhausting. Put effort into one thing at a time, and try to focus.

Friday: Makeup Purge.

Open up your makeup drawer and get tossing. Get rid of anything old, or filled with yucky chemicals. Think about what basics you use every day, and stick with those. Replace the things you tossed with all-natural, cruelty-free products that make you feel good.

Saturday: Unplug.

It’s the weekend! Stay away from electronics and media for the entire day. No phone, no computer. Get outside and enjoy Mother Earth. For more tips, read this.

Sunday: No Complaints.

Think onward and upward. Consider all of the good, and mute the bad. Erase all of the negative things that are weighing you down, and try focusing on the positive.

+ Good luck this week! If you are joining in on this challenge, let me know in the comments!

Follow Madisyn on Instagram + take a peek at her Blog!

 

Free People Blog