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Minimalism Essentials

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

In the wise words of Helen Keller:

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Although we live in an era when consumerism and all things fast and instant have taken over the world, there are still those who want to be more with less. It may sound depressing, but let’s look at it as an opportunity, instead!

This is our chance to overcome all the trendy cravings and enjoy true diversity of life without the need to possess. So, in an effort to make things simpler, the following list can be your own little to-do on your journey to becoming a minimalist!

 Photo by  Yoann Siloine  on  Unsplash


A Decluttering Mindset

Yes, spring is your go-to time to empty those drawers, donate those shoes and jeans, but in order to enjoy a simpler life, decluttering should be more of a permanent mindset. A way of being, if you will. Instead of constant hoarding, which is yet another consequence of consumerism, do your best to give and share. What may be just another pair of socks to you can be someone’s lifesaver during a cold winter day!

Do your best not to constantly postpone decisions for later. That’s how we end up keeping an excess of things which we don’t need and we don’t use at all. If it has a purpose, or even several of them, preferably, keep it! If it sits idly in your home, ditch it!

 Photo by  Alex Loup  on  Unsplash

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash

Decorate with Meaning

There’s a common misconception that a minimalist home is void of all personal things, and contains very few furniture pieces. Of course that you should pick your furniture according to purpose, but it’s no reason to keep character and charisma out of the process! In fact, in a minimalist home, those items that have the most emotional and personal value truly get to stand out, as there will be no clutter to suffocate their meaning.

If it was a gift from someone you cherish, or an item with a deep spiritual meaning for you, by all means, keep it, make it the focal point of your home! Add color and texture, play with styles, but don’t stuff your room just because.

 Photo by  Chua Bing Quan  on  Unsplash


Slow Down Your Style

Fast fashion is one of the cornerstones of consumerism, and as such, it deserves to be banished from our look-books for good. It’s great if you want to refresh your wardrobe with an occasional new item that is a reflection of your personal preferences, but we still haven’t seen anything defeat the little black dress in the quest of elegance.

The same goes for other multifunctional pieces such as the Birkenstock Arizona sandals, which are considered a staple of comfort-wear, and a timeless classic among footwear. Go for durable, long-lasting items, not just in terms of trends, but also in terms of quality, so that you can wear your stylish clothes for years on end!

 Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


Simplify Your Menu

Another common item on the list we tend to complicate is our eating regime. We buy so many products that are disguised as quick and easy, such as pre-prepared meals, and a whole slew of processed snacks. They might be fine as an occasional indulgence, but in order to lead a healthy, simple life, we should nourish our bodies with whole foods with minimal processing.

Fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds in their natural form are the best possible sources of vitamins and minerals that sustain our immune system and protect us from diseases. Add to that lean sources of protein, and you can easily mix and match a versatile menu without resorting to overly-processed foods laden with chemicals.



Invest in Sustainable Self-Growth

Curiosity and learning are the basis of progress, however, the means to an end should matter as much as the end itself. If you’re an avid reader, which is an exceptional quality you should nurture within yourself, you can still continue to expand your library without actually buying physical books. Instead, you can get an e-reader such as Kindle that uses e-ink, it stores around two thousand books, and it’s an excellent choice for reducing eye strain.

You’ll be able to help save the environment, as this is a far more sustainable way to expand your library than to support deforestation for the purpose of printing.

 Photo by  Leo Manjarrez  on  Unsplash


Finally, it’s vital to remember that there is no minimalist template that fits us all. You should strive to find your own, keep your mind open, and find the best possible ways to simplify your life, help preserve our planet, and enjoy your existence to the fullest!

 

Claire is a blogger and a Bachelor of Design from Brisbane, Australia. She is an aesthetic lover focused on meaningful living. She writes about fashion, art and consumers' habits in order to encourage her readers to live sustainably.


 
Minimalism Essentials | www.maplealps.com

 








Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity

Intentionality SpotlightAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Today, I am excited to introduce you to one of my friends, Kayla of Embrace Purity. I met Kayla this summer and was blown away at how someone so young was so full of Jesus’ love! I hope you enjoy getting to know her in our Intentionality Spotlight segment as much as I have!

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity | www.maplealps.com

First some easy stuff: Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your work, your passions and interests?

My greatest passion is reaching out to the hurting and sharing the hope of Jesus. I’m a freelance writer who loves music, reading, and spending time with the people (and animals) I love. I’ve been homeschooled for the last 6 years and love it! My biggest goal in life is to use my gifts and talents to point others to Christ.

 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity | www.maplealps.com
 

I love that your blog is about embracing purity in all areas of life! What is the story behind how your blog was started, and how has that changed over time? What is your goal and has that goal developed?

Writing has always been a part of me. When I was little, I often made up short stories and kept journals. Along with that, I had a real desire to make a difference in people’s lives. It wasn’t until 2016 that I realized writing could be more than simply a hobby. In fact, I could even combine writing and my desire to help others!

That year, a blogging class was being offered at my co-op. That’s when I started “Embrace Purity”. Though I didn’t know much, at the beginning, I knew I wanted to use my blog to point other young women toward Christ. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to write articles for multiple platforms including other websites and a magazine.

I now have the opportunity to expand my ministry to both young women and young men! Later this year, I will be launching “Rescued with Purpose”, a ministry all about trusting God and getting serious about living for Him.

I definitely want to keep “Embrace Purity” up and running, so I will be transferring it to “Rescued with Purpose”, where it will have its own section. I can’t wait to see what God will do!


 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity | www.maplealps.com
 

As a young woman, who writes for other young women, where do you get the inspiration for the topics? Is it hard, or does it come easily?

If you take a look around, it doesn’t take long to realize that there are countless young women who are struggling. Most of my inspiration comes from observing and listening. I’ve had many conversations with girls who feel alone, worthless, and burnt-out on life. I truly believe that God’s word is equipped to help us in any situation. That’s why I put time and energy into my writing!

Whenever I hit writer's’ block, I often look back to books or articles I’ve read and get more ideas!

 

What is one other specific area in your life you find that intentionality is absolutely critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?

I find that intentionality is absolutely critical when it comes to saying “yes” to God. For the longest time, I claimed to have faith, but I was still letting fear run my life. Though I knew there were certain things that the Holy Spirit wanted me to do, I often ignored it if it was outside my comfort zone.

When I decided to start saying yes to God, I realized that true joy comes from fully trusting God to keep His promises! Now, I’m able to experience the life God wants for me: one of fullness, freedom, and joy.

 

Intentionality Spotlight: Blog Love: Embrace Purity | www.maplealps.com
 

If you could give one piece of advice about saying "yes" to God to someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?

Take it day by day. Sometimes, God calls us to do things that seem scary or hard. It isn’t always easy to listen when He asks us to go outside our comfort zones.

The first step is when the Holy Spirit impresses you to do something (sharing your faith, confronting a friend, overcoming a specific sin, etc), decide beforehand that you will say yes and do it, even if it’s hard.

Remember that you’re not alone in this journey. We’ve all struggled with fear, at one time or another. When you choose to start saying yes to God, your faith can only become stronger!

 

 

 


Find Kayla at her blog, on Facebook, or on Instagram.


 

Easy Thai Red Curry

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps1 Comment

When I went to school in Tennessee, there was this Thai place that I went to a few times. The curry was to die for. It came surrounding this adorable little cake-shaped rice mound, and I loved every bite of it. I naturally tried to recreate it when I got back to my apartment and I've been making this curry (or a similar version of it) ever since.

Here's the thing: I'm terrible at writing recipes for cooking because I don't really follow them. I just kind of taste as I go. I'm trying to be more intentional about writing down the recipes that come to my mind. As I mentioned, this red curry is one that I've been making for a while, but always just kind of went along with whatever was in my fridge (I can't be the only one who does this though, so I don't feel too bad). It's perfect for leftover veggies or veggies you have no idea what to do with. I think it's pretty much impossible to mess this one up! I like broccoli in it, but this one has peppers, onions and carrots!

The Easiest Vegan Thai Red Curry | www.maplealps.com

The secret is the homemade red curry paste. It contains most of the spices you are going to need. It's easy to make and I keep some frozen in the freezer in 1 TBSP sections to use at a moment's notice. Fun fact: I only have a moose-shaped ice cube tray, so my curry bag is full of little moose friends. It puts a smile on my face anyway.

This meal is simple and delicious. It's quick to whip up and tastes delicious on rice or even noodles if that is what floats your boat!

Related: Vegan Pad Thai

Easiest Thai Red Curry | www.maplealps.com
Easiest Thai Red Curry | www.maplealps.com

Easy Thai Red Curry
Serves about 6

1 large red pepper, sliced
1 large yellow pepper, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced in long strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP maple syrup
3 TBSP red curry paste
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
Juice from half a lime
1 can coconut milk
Sea Salt to taste
Cilantro and onion to garnish

1) With a little water add the onion to a large saucepan. Cook about 5 minutes until tender.


2) Add the peppers and carrots and red thai curry and cook until the vegetables are well coated.


3) Add ginger, lime, maple syrup, and garlic.


4) Pour in the coconut milk and cook a few more minutes until the sauce coats a spoon.


5) Adjust your seasonings - adding salt if need be.


6) Garnish with green onion and cilantro and serve with fresh wedges of lime over a bed of rice or noodles!

 

What are some of your favourite quick and easy dinners?


 

The Softest Lap Blanket

DIY, BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

I don't know about you, but I love a good book haul. I find most of my books at a second-hand store. The ones that are in good condition are usually the ones that leave with me, get a nice Clorox wipe bath, and they are added to my library. The cashier, without fail, will ask me if I am a teacher when I have a particularly good children's book haul that day. I love that my kids love reading, and I'm always on the hunt for duplicates of favourite titles or brand new ones that I know will interest certain students.

Thinking about books makes me think about snuggly and cuddly things, so I decided to share this lap blanket today. I have been loving it for the last few months. I whipped this one up in January, and it was surprisingly quick to stitch! Originally, I wanted to make a full-sized blanket with this chunky yarn (and I totally should have because it is so soft!). I ended up miscounting my stitches across but decided to keep going anyway since it was long enough to make a lap blanket out of. I am only a tad disappointed, but it's actually quite perfect for my needs.

Softest Baby/Lap Blanket | www.maplealps.com

I don't even know where the inspiration for this blanket came from. I just saw some white blankets on the internet one day and decided to start crocheting. I added the stripes because I happened to have the crimson wool identical to the fisherman's and figured it would be nice to have some contrast. I think it turned out lovely. 

Of course, my husband questioned why I needed to make yet another blanket. At least they are all diverse, and I do make other projects too!

Softest Baby/Lap Blanket | www.maplealps.com

Astra loves this blanket as well. She jumps up on my lap whenever it is across my lap, and I've caught her snuggling up with it when I'm not looking. Since I have no human models living in my house, you get to see pictures of my furry friend. If you don't like cats, well that is too bad. Deal with it. But how could you not love this sweet face?

Edit: This soft blanket now lines her favourite cubby in my office and she sleeps there all of the time! So much for a lap blanket, eh?

Softest Baby/Lap Blanket | www.maplealps.com
Softest Baby/Lap Blanket | www.maplealps.com
Softest Baby/Lap Blanket | www.maplealps.com
Softest Baby/Lap Blanket | www.maplealps.com

I'm happy with how this turned out, and maybe one day I will go through with making a matching larger-sized one.

 

Have you crocheted anything lately?


 

Dealing With Stress

Ask Amanda, Blog, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments
Ask Amanda: Dealing with Stress | www.maplealps.com

 

Question: What are your best stress-coping methods?

 

This is a really great question! Sometimes I feel as if I have so much stress that I’m drowning. Other times, I feel like I can conquer the world. I find that dealing with stress is best done by preventing it as much as possible. Of course, this is not always possible - life likes to throw unsuspected curve balls every once in a while. I suppose the easiest way to answer this question is to share some of the things that I utilize to both prevent and manage stress.

 

 

Keep a planner

Writing down my tasks and goals and prioritizing them helps me keep on track. I am able to focus on things that keep me productive and I waste less time when I know what I need to be doing. When I find myself wasting time, I get discouraged and have a hard time picking myself up from it, so this is a nice preventative way of dealing with some stressful things.

 

 

Journal

Oh, the amount of filled journals I have is amazing. I write in them significantly less than I used to, but I do journal regularly. Sometimes I’ll just get my thoughts out till I can think straight again. Other times I’ll write prayers or letters to God. I do have one rule in my journals though: I never write anything bad about anyone. My journals will likely outlive me, and I don’t want a moment of agitation or anger on my part to ruin anyone’s reputation. Besides, I want to get over it, right? I don’t want to have to relive it every time I reread my journal - which I do on occasion.

 

 

Take time for Me

This may sound counter-productive, but when I take time to sit back and recharge, I am able to come back and face all of my tasks head-on, and with a better attitude than before. Taking a bath, or lighting some candles and chilling, taking time to read something for fun. Those are all great ways I can just remove myself temporarily from the situation. Sometimes, I just need a power nap to get my focus back on track as well.

 

 

Sing

This started from a very young age. I’ve sung to myself in so many stressful situations - from pumping myself up for interviews and other difficult situations to singing while driving on icy roads. It somehow calms me. Especially singing hymns and scripture songs that are filled with promises that remind me that God’s got me.

 

 

Give My Burdens to Jesus

How heavy a glass of water is just depends on how long you hold it. The longer you hold it, the heavier it seems. And if you’re carrying that thing for a year, we may have to call the ambulance for you. The same with our stress and burdens. Jesus tells us to come and give Him our burdens (see Matthew 28:11). His rest is a promise to us that I love to cling to.

 

 


How do YOU deal with stress?