July 21, 2017

I'm not fully comfortable yet with calling myself a 'minimalist', but something was stirring inside of me and I figured writing a blog post about my journey to minimalism and tips I wanted to give you would harm nobody. I'll just temporarily forget about the 12 pairs of shoes lurking at me in the corner of my room. There is no easy way to minimalism, it's a journey just like every lifestyle change is. You don't throw away half of your belongings without taking the time to let your decision sink in thoroughly. Also, minimalism covers so much more than just reducing your belongings to a suitcase of clothing, memories and other stuff. Yes, there's the 'what I own' category, but reducing your waste, your negative footprint on the planet and lifestyle minimalism that comes into play. 


First things first, the basics. Something you'll probably already know is the 'only keep what makes you happy and what you really need' rule à la Marie Kondo. I can honestly say that I got rid of half my closet, the materialistic memories, and objects I really did not need. Clothing items that didn't make me feel comfortable or pretty I easily donated to secondhand stores and charity shops, others I gave to my friends and another pile went directly into the bin. The memory box was another thing I had to tackle, but last year when I visited our friends' school in Congo, I donated 60 teddy bears to the children (I can't even believe I owned that many). Other things went, yet again, in a donation bag or I gave them to friends and family. Last, but not least, do you really need that many items to decorate your house or room? Donate, sell or give them away. 


The biggest lifestyle change for me wasn't going vegan, heck no, that was the easiest thing I ever did. I loved animals, I cared about the planet and I wanted to improve my health. To me, going plant-based was easier than doing five push-ups in a row. Trying to live zero waste is an almost impossible task, considering supermarkets like to wrap a ton of plastic around each carrot, apple or oat. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not. I try to buy items in bulk, at zero waste shops or in wholesale markets where I use reusable bags for veggies and fruit. It's not easy, but it's worth it.


We tend to be so focused on everything else, the past, the future, our phones, that we often forget to live in the moment itself. We're always longing for that something new, exciting or mind-blowing and the present doesn't seem that wonderful anymore. Try to not schedule every second of the day, leave some time to relax and sit back, enjoying the sound of your surroundings, reading a book or drinking a cup of tea whilst doing nothing else. One of my friends made a lovely video all about lifestyle minimalism which is definitely worth a watch if you're interested.

This minimalism 101 was short and sweet, so if I didn't cover something, mentioned incorrect things or if a certain part was too short, let me know in the comments so I can elaborate on things or fix them if necessary. XX


July 16, 2017

At least one outfit photo session is necessary when in Italy. Although I've been living in the same pair of shorts for over a week now (yes, they have been washed multiple times, don't you worry.) because of the strong afternoon wind in the Val d'Orcia. Being a bit risky, I fancied wearing a skirt for this outfit post. I combined the short flower-printed skirt I bought in San Francisco last year (H&M) with my trusty old croptop and comfortable sandals (both Topshop). Although I don't like both brands for offering sweatshop clothing, I found it even worse to throw these pieces away. The backpack I'm wearing is new and from Matt & Natt, which is a vegan, sweatshop-free Canadian brand specialized in making quality backpacks and shoes. 

One of the things I love the most about the Val d'Orcia is the picturesque little towns with adorable streets and even more adorable people. It isn't touristy, at all, which makes it even more beautiful and peaceful. I definitely recommend reading my last travel post with some must-visit places if you're considering a trip to Italy. More posts will be following soon, so keep an eye out on them! I've got only two more days until I'm heading home *sad face*. I'm spending these last hours laying by the pool, trying to beat my pr as I swim laps across the pool and I'm trying to write another 5K words for my fantasy novel.  


July 8, 2017

It's a Saturday evening as I'm writing this, I'm exhausted from our long walk in the (almost excruciating) heat and just generally being active in 40°C. But hey, I'm watching the sun set over the hills of the Val d'Orcia and I just had a delicious vegan pasta pesto so I have no reason to complain. Apart from the fact that I tripped over and ended up on my right side on the stony road. I'm bruised and blue, but still alive. 

I've gathered travel inspiration I'm excited to share with you and hopefully, you'll be even more excited to plan a trip to Tuscany. The place my mom and I are staying at is a little house in Contignano I found through Airbnb and it's absolutely gorgeous. It's tiny, but seeing as we're constantly out the door there's no reason for renting an expensive house. We're renting a car for the next twelve days (of which three have already passed - sad face) and we'll be cruising through the valley. 


First things first, we did a little road trip yesterday and got through four villages in one afternoon. Our first stop was Radicofani. The things in this gorgeous little town you have to visit are:
- The Fortezza; take the stairs to make the tower seem even more impressive after suffering through a rather sweaty climb. We did not visit the fort itself, but if you fancy a walk through it'll cost you about €4 per person.
- Pane e Companatico di Cesaretti Silvana; a baker who is very passionate about her bread, worth a visit if you're hungry or just curious. 
- Have a little stroll through the streets of Radicofani and embrace the authenticity of the village.


Wander through the little village and enjoy the breathtaking views over the valley. Other than this there isn't that much to see, but it's always fun to discover new places when in Tuscany.


Cetona is a larger city (with a supermarket!) where you can find several restaurants to eat out. Outside of the city you can find Suzie's Yard, a farm where the best organic olive oil is made. We didn't have the time to visit the farm, but if you have the time be sure to check it out. 


My mom was excited to have some ice cream (not vegan, sadly) at a bar called Diavoli in Sarteano so we headed towards the village. I was exhausted by that time so I caught up on some rest whilst she had her daily dose of sugar. We walked around the city for an hour before deciding we were hungry and needed a proper meal. Italians eat rather late (around 7 P.M.) and my metabolism isn't used to this, which means I get hungry around six. Thus, we survived off snacks and a soda for me whereas my mum had some wine. The restaurant where we ate a delicious meal, which I would 100% recommend, is called 'Chiostro Cennini'. They even had an accidentally vegan option! Also, may I add that the bread is freshly baked and served warm and crispy? *drools* I also wanted to share the gorgeousness that is the sunset in the Val D'Orcia.

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