Sunday, February 16, 2014


I am not a minimalist. I never have been. I aspire to be and I think about it often. I also happen to live with someone who is a pure minimalist...a basic man who loves the SIMPLE things and a life without stuff.

I have been on the road a lot this week promoting my beloved camp Sail Caribbean.  With multiple fuzzy radio channels and no aux cable hookup to be found, I've had a lot of time to think. Dangerous, I know.

Minimalism has been on my mind. Needs vs. wants. Things. Simplicity. Accumulating. Consumerism.


8 months ago, Andrew and I did not own silverware. Hell, we didn't own half of the things that have become a permanent fixture in our home. I don't even really know how it all got there. And the scary thing is, I have been wanting more.

When I lived in the islands, I had 2 duffle bags full of clothes and a few special keepsakes. I co-owned a car that had more character and years on her than me, for the small price of $750 (and a few of my 9 lives while driving her).  I didn't care about things. First of all, there wasn't really any place to buy things. And although I wouldn't change my life today, I miss that simplicity. There was no pressure to have this or that. There were no commercials in your face pushing the latest and greatest (mostly because I did not own a tv). And people talked to one another and not to their cell phones. I worked because I loved it and I wanted to. It was always clear what was important.  My happiness was never based on things.

I heard on NPR the other day that we should be encouraged to partake in some retail therapy when life has us down. That shopping is a great way to change our mood and boost our happiness.  I could not disagree more.  I am hardly a saint...I love a good retail therapy session like most other women, but I always find myself empty in the end.  After loading up on things I think I need and HAVE to own, I am back to the root of what was making me unhappy and unfulfilled in the first place + now I have an even emptier pocket.  It all stems from this consumeristic America in which we live.  That somehow things will magically make you happy. That the more you have, the better off you will be.

In the midst of this New England polar vortex we've been living in for months, Andrew and I have passed lots of nights huddled on the couch under plush blankets with glasses of "2 Buck Chuck" and reruns of the hit tv series Nashville.  Hibernating at its finest.  A few weeks ago in the depths of winter depression and wanting more, an episode helped me gain perspective. A Life That's Good has become my obsession. My reminder after a hard day of what makes me happy...what makes me feel whole...what is truly important. This song is simple, because the simple things are really all we need. Luckily, I also have Andrew to remind me that its all just stuff.  Stuff won't love you at the end of the day.

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."

And so I will continue striving for a life of minimalism. perspective in my needs and wants. seeking simplicity. and working to get to the root of my happiness, one less thing at a time.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Write More. Type Less.

art of the written letter

Do you ever pick up a notecard and ballpoint pen and just write a note? To a friend, loved one, spouse? Anyone?

Most people can say they do, only to realize 90% of those hand written notes are thank you notes (if you were raised a Southerner) or a quick birthday card.  I know I have been a culprit of this over the years. In fact mostly because I think cards are expensive. If you know the frugality my father has engrained in my head, you'd understand. But now there is no excuse. For $1 at Trader Joes I can pick up a simple, sweet card for any person or occasion.

Call me old fashioned, but I can't think of any better expression of love and human interaction than the hand written letter. In the age of emails, face-less responses and letters on a keypad, a hand written letter is such a breath of fresh air. And a lost art.

Lately I find myself anxiously awaiting the mailman. I am hopeful that amidst the unending bills, junk mail and catalogs of things I don't need, there will be a handwritten envelope that holds real words with ink.  My grandmother's best friend Betty has sent me 2 letters in the last month since our engagement. She is 89. She understands the written word. She writes me in pencil on simple white lined paper and I love receiving those letters. They don't say much. They don't have to. They are simply refreshing.

trader joes card
Ever since Andrew and I started dating I have left him handwritten cards at least once a month.  Lots of times its when I leave for work, when he leaves for work, or when I am feeling extra sentimental. He has a stack of them on his desk. Some of them are meaningful and some of them simply say I love you.  I don't know exactly what made me start this, but I'm glad I did.  I hope our children and grandchildren look through these cards one day and know our story a bit better and gain appreciation and value of the written letter. I can only imagine by that point that in time the written letter might be extinct. I cannot imagine my children writing emails to their loved ones and sorting through an electronic label to look back on them. There is something to be said for snail mail.

Like Andrew's stack of letters, I too keep written letters in multiple manilla envelopes. I keep birthday cards, graduation letters, love notes and reflections I've written in stacks of journals. Andrew calls me a hoarder. I call it sentimental. He gets nervous when I reread them. I find perspective, a boast in self confidence and a whole lot of love from those notes, cards and letters. It is refreshing to read off plain paper and not a computer screen. Lines, ink, and flowing words.

So, I challenge you to Write More, Type Less

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