Sunrise Shoot

On a recent four day long weekend abroad, I spent most of my time daydreaming while gazing up at blue skies and taking brief snapshots with my iPhone. The thought of picking up my Canon hadn’t crossed my brain longer than a fleeting second before the idea of roaming into a boulangerie came to thought. It is not to say that I was not inspired by my surroundings, it was quite the opposite. I was thrilled to be around people, art, sounds, cultures, sights, and glorious golden spring light. Seeing it through a lens wasn’t enough, I needed the moments to filter through my very own pupils into my wandering mind.

Yet, my company wasn’t convinced and inspired a challenge. Wake up at sunrise on my last day with the intention to take my camera off the shelf and out into the streets. With tired eyes I snoozed through two alarms the next morning and reluctantly tied my shoes and headed out into the world. The light was right. Softness took over what had been traffic filled every moment before this dawn. People were still home, tossing in their sheets, the morning was mine to capture. For photographers and runners, there is no better time than sunrise to get it done right.

I neglect this fact often at home. Yet, on a trip to a foreign place, it is easy for me to try new things or reminisce an old lust, for the sake of the experience. Call it je ne sais quoi, call it jet lag, but I hit the streets that Sunday morning feeling free and more like me than I had in weeks. Quiet time alone with myself to visualize, frame, and capture a moment. A memory.

One Month In A Carry-On

FullSizeRender.jpgSound impossible?

It can be done, my friends! I did it this past holiday season. For four weeks I lived out of a suitcase with only the bare essentials. I was thrilled by the prospect, excited for the challenge, and overall pleased with the outcome. It is all thanks to my favorite app on my phone, Cladwell. This little genius tells me everything I need to know about what is in my closet. *Insert classic Clueless Cher master scheming face here.* Now, I will confess off the bat, I did stray away from the challenge, but these loopholes were preplanned. While I did construct an efficient number of items and cohesive styles, the bonus to this challenge was that I would not be more than a few miles from one of my three sisters closets. Shout out to older siblings for always having something spare to share. Now, back to business.

FullSizeRender-1.jpgI use Cladwell all the time, but for this purpose specifically, it is worth its weight in gold. Traveling is already hectic enough between TSA guidelines, itineraries, and homesickness. With Cladwell you know at least you’ll be guaranteed to look good doing all that and more.

IMG_7797.jpgAs you can see, I have uploaded my planned wardrobe into the app. They have 1,000s of items to chose from, so if you can’t find something identical to what you own, you’re sure to find sometimes damn near close. And if you are like me and some things are too special and very specific, my tip is to go to the webshops and use a screenshot of the items sale page to add to the closet capsule record. Like I did here with my Billy! tee.

FullSizeRender-2.jpgNot only did this app help me go from planes, trans, Christmas parties, and a wedding, but it also saved me money! I knew exactly what I packed and what to wear, so at no point did I feel the need to impulse shop. That means walking around downtown shopping areas during the holiday season worry free of ensemble crisis thanks to one little planning application.

So, if you too have plans this year for some serious long term traveling, or if you’re going away for a quick weekend trip, make 2019 the best year ever and bring Cladwell with you. Better yet, if you are still on some new year new me game-changing vibe, clean out your closet and build your dream from the bottom up, constructing it piece by piece directly on your phone. You will not regret it!

Tampere – Day Trip

IMG_6971.JPGRecently I took a day trip north to the city of Tampere Finland. This came as an opportunity to meet with some of my friends who live there. It is the ideal little day trip from the city. After booking my ticket the night before with Onni Bus I was on my way the following morning before the sunrise.

To be honest this was my first ever bus trip. Traditionally I avoid the bus in Helsinki because I get carsick. This is due to the stop and go motion and it can be very unsettling. Yet, this was a long distance ride and it was a surprisingly easy journey. I enjoyed the double-decker feature and had little to no discomfort along the way (being 6ft/180cm in a small cabin seat means no leg room… ever). Yet I managed to catch up on some podcasts and enjoyed the sunrise over the Finnish countryside.

IMG_6967.jpgOnce I arrived to Tampere my plans were unclear. So I decided to just get to the closest coziest coffee shop. I have been to Tampere once before, so I had a decent understanding of the layout of the city. Forever grateful for my good sense of direction, especially while traveling. I found myself in a cozy corner at Kaffila. Where mind you, I made my entire order in almost perfect Finnish! Count your small victories friends.

IMG_6975.jpgLater I met with my Young Living Sponsor and new friend Ashley. She has been such a blessing and this trip would not have been the same without our long afternoon talk and the tour of her beautiful shared workspace with Store of Hope. Later I caught up with my colleague and new bestie for a quick lunch by the river.

IMG_6983.jpgWe were quickly rained out so we said our goodbyes and I was off the bus station to head down south again. For a quick trip, it was full over great conversations, beautiful sights, and soul filling moments. I sometimes get lost in daily routines and forget how deeply necessary these little moments away are for my mental health. While I scrambled the night before trying to organize bus tickets and itineraries it all ended up being as perfect as possible despite my worrying. Finland is a wonderful backyard to explore, and I want to make a bigger effort to see more than just my little neighborhood. My Finnish life has been a wave of up and downs the past few years, but new friends and new places make it all inspiring and worthwhile.

 

Accessories – Capsule Series (5 of 5)

No matter where your interest is in the Capsule Wardrobe lifestyle, one thing is certain, accessories are your friend. This is the opportunity in a minimalist lifestyle to really let your personality shine through, and add all the function and versatility you need in your day to day life. Unlike the maximalist who would entice you to consume as many options, colors, and variations of things, it is my hope to be the voice of reason. Find what you love, pick your obsessions, and cherish what you own. With this mindset, you can live with a more ethically curated closet.

IMG_5726.jpgIn my eyes, accessories are practical tools on the field. So for me, my natural attractions are versatile pieces, functional bags, and neutral tones. This is also where I spend the most money in my wardrobe. For example, all the bags I own I have purchased with the intention to wear them for my life. Literally, I am in the store imagining how my grandkids will recognize me by these bags. So you could say I am very attached to these pieces. And as for my shoes, it is something similar. I buy shoes with the intent to repair, wear, and keep them as long as possible. My black boots took years to break in, and I have re-soled them twice since moving to Finland. My newest pair of white trainers is my favorite based on their thorough ethical standards. But I will get into that later with a full blog post about why I love them so dearly.

IMG_5745.jpgSo whether your accessories have a story, are made to last, or bring you the deepest joy, chose wisely! These are the pieces that get the most attention, use, and tested by time. Consider your lifestyle too, do you need to dress more professional at work or are you more casual with your style? Do you live in a city always on the go, or do you live a slower rural life? Do you want to put in the time and effort to maintain leather for years, or would you rather have a more recyclable material like a natural cotton product? These questions may vary depending on the climate where you live, the place where you work, and the activities you partake. Although the most important thing is to reflect and ask yourself these questions. I find it is best to reflect before a shopping trip. Really consider each piece you own and wear, why you wear it, do you need it or need to replace it.

IMG_5724.jpgSometimes these questions aren’t easy, our closets hold more emotion than we give them credit for. If you’re already here reading this text and followed along through the five-part series then my guess is you are on the right path! Trust your instincts and know that a capsule wardrobe is something to build for the long run. It is a marathon, not a race. So fight the urge to consume fast fashion, ignore the seasonal bombarding of marketed trends, and dig deep into how you wish to dress and be perceived. If there are holes in your wardrobe, accessories, or other belongings, know that there are ethical options everywhere nowadays. The best places to start looking are in your own community; siblings, friends, and local secondhand shops are ideal. Then if you have something more specific, venture out on to the world wide web to find that special particular item.

IMG_5719.jpgI hope this series has inspired you to reconsider how you dress and what you wear. Work at this one season at a time, break down what you own into small manageable projects. This can be done on a smaller scale by participating in a 10×10 challenge, where you pick 10 items to wear for 10 days. This can begin to cultivate the creativity back into your closet. Or next time when you’re out shopping consider some of the questions I have mentioned in this series, will you wear it at least 30 times, is it something you have been needing, etc.

Good luck to all and thank you for following along!

 

 

Yoga + Oils

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 11.39.27 AM.pngFor the past week, I have been spending more time honing in on my home practice with the added benefit of aromatherapy. This was made easy by using my Dewdrop diffuser that comes with the Premium Starter Kit (PSK) with Young Living. I am thrilled to dive deeper into this aspect of my practice as I have always been a fan of adding oils into any manner, but never went deeper than the basic Lavender savasana moment or burning a bit of palo santo during my meditation. With my new PSK as my fully equipped oily toolbox, I feel much more confident going through this journey.

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 11.39.47 AM.pngWhile the science is still catching up to the measurable benefits of aromatherapy, I personally have experienced the positive benefits of adding oils to my practice either aromatically or topically. So to get things going I will share my all time favorite way to use oils in my practice. The simplest way to add oils into your practice, in my eyes,  is by soaking a clean cloth in lavender infused water and then ringing out the excess liquid and resting the clean cloth in the refrigerator. This little hack transforms any hot and sweaty workout into a total spa experience. It is the ultimate pampering moment to add to your home workout or just when you need to chill out. I prefer to rest the rag folded, over my eyes and forehead for 5-10 minutes of rest or your traditional savasana pose.

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 11.40.03 AM.pngSo with the Dewdrop diffuser, I don’t have to wait until the end of my practice anymore to get the yummy benefits of all my perfect baby plant juices. The different range of oils supplied in the PSK can cultivate moods ranging from energized, grounding, or detox. My personal favorites so far have been simply adding Stress Away with a little bit of extra Lavender for an after-work flow. Or if you like to get moving in the morning, my current obsession is Panway, Purification, and Copaiba. This makes for a distinctive, cool, and energizing smell to wake up your mind and encourage feelings of alertness. AKA it makes rolling out of bed and onto the mat a heck of a lot easier! This is especially nice here in Helsinki while Autumn is on a slow transition to Winter. The smell reminds me of a crisp snowy morning, and I am so excited to use it later next season to combat feelings of cabin fever.

Granted I have only been on this oily journey for a short while, I am thrilled to have these products to maintain a more well rounded and clean lifestyle. As I have predominately been using them aromatically thus far, I have yet to dabble in their benefits topically for sports massages or skin treatments. Subscribe to my blog to keep up to date on all the new ways I discover how to use these special oil babies. In the meantime enjoy this infographic cheat sheet to use your oils to their fullest potential. And if you are convinced this is something you too want to try, use this link to purchase your very own Premium Starter Kit with Young Living (p.s. they ship globally🌍)!

http://bit.ly/elizabethevans

 

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Floral Dress – Capsule Series (4 of 5)

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 11.56.13 AM.pngThe common thread between many different capsules is the consistent theme of minimalism. While the concept is based on less is more, that doesn’t mean you have to look like a minimalist i.e. beige, greys, whites, and black tones all the time. Patterns, textures, and layers all have a place in a capsule wardrobe. Which is why I wanted to specifically highlight one of my favorite pieces, an A-line floral dress.

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 11.56.57 AM.pngThis piece is wonderful to dress up or down. Originally I had purchased this item to wear to my sister in laws wedding, but as it turns out, my money stretches much farther than strictly formal wear. I love the fit, the colors and the materials of this item. I have worn it through nearly every season and believe I can continue to do so for many years to come. Recognizing that on a day to day basis my wardrobe is considerably minimalistic in color and style, little moments like this can help brighten up a mood or an occasion. Keeping in mind I purchased this dress knowing for certain that I loved the detail, the black backdrop of the floral print, and the natural colors of the flowers, it could be interpreted as a black dress with a pop of color. These details made investing in this item worthwhile.

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 11.57.34 AM.pngSo while you are building your wardrobe and looking around for inspiration, do not be disheartened when capsule after capsule is consistently neutral tones. Anyone can live consciously and dress as fabulously as they desire, as long as the intention is pure. The key is to be sure you absolutely love the piece, you can see it fitting into your lifestyle demands, and you are certain to get at least 30-wears out of it. These basic fundamental steps are the start of owning a consciously curated closet. Stay tuned for the final part of this series where I will break down the structure of how all your pieces will work together. No matter if you live somewhere with one season, or all four, you too can manage throughout the year with a stylishly curated set number of items to get through any season or occasion.

 

Special thanks again to my dear friend and colleague Milja Laakso for the images provided.

Cardigan – Capsule Series (3 of 5)

This piece is a special number that has played with my heart since moving to Finland. While living in the southern part of USA, this is not by any means a staple item. Yet, since moving north, the cardigan style has grown on me and I now value it for all of its versatility and functionality. This one, in particular, being from my all-time favorite Danish brand Samsøe & Samsøe.

IMG_5646.jpgThe thing with capsule wardrobes is that your pieces need to have functionality. There is very little room to have an item simple for the sake of sentimental value or beauty. These standards go to the wayside when considering what has the most wears, longevity, and timeless style. So in my case, working with a neutral pallet and colder climate, this thicker mohair noir cardigan suits my needs 12 months of the year.

IMG_5631.jpgWhile I know this isn’t the sexiest item in my closet, nor does it highlight any special features, in my eyes it is the perfect layer piece. And to be quite frank, layering pieces are not there to be sexy. A cardigan is a practical piece, as is a trench coat, a rain jacket, or other item designed around climate.

Speaking of the latter, I know this piece would actually work splendidly with my raincoat considering its lack of insulation, and this pieces sheer ability to stabilize my body temperate despite struggling with that for years in Finland. Basically, the problem goes as follows; it is too cold outside not to wear 3-layers and inside has little ventilation thus being too hot to wear half of what you need to get there from the outside. It is a cluster-fuck for your ensemble, but after a few seasons of practice, you start to get the hang of it.

IMG_5680.jpgWith that said, this about wraps up this part of the capsule series. While some of you may think I am a lunatic for limiting myself to simply one cardigan there may be others who are not yet persuaded to dive into the half sweater half jacket hybrid world. No matter where you fall on the scale of layers, keep in mind when building a capsule to use natural materials for added comfort, neutral colors that blend well with multiple looks, and always choose quality over quantity.