Eight Steps to Simple Living
 
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Our home is our place of refuge, relaxation and comfort. By having a simplified home, it lends us more space to relax, think freely and be creative.

When I was thinking about how we created our slow-living/simple lifestyle, I thought, “where do I begin?!”. It has become such a natural part of our lifestyle now that I had to really sit back and dissect the ways we have made this happen for our family. It is still a work in progress every day as new challenges and more “stuff” pops up, but I am proud to say we have really embraced this style of living in a non-extreme, modern way.

Here are some of the methods that we've found useful in achieving a slower, simpler lifestyle.

 
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Start At Home

“Imagine your home as a place where time moves a little slower.” -Simplicity Parenting

Our home is our place of refuge, relaxation and comfort. By having a simplified home, it lends us more space to relax, think freely and be creative.

1. It may seem obvious but getting rid of stuff is the best place to start. We started slowly so it wasn’t so overwhelming, and broke it up by room. The closets are the easiest place to start. We asked ourselves “what haven’t we used in a while and probably never really will?” and donated those items. “What’s broken or missing pieces, torn or out of shape?” and trashed/recycled or donated parts if possible. By doing this we make more room for things we love and can therefore have easier access to them. This may be an ongoing process—a good addition to spring cleaning. We have also really cut back on shopping. We really only frequent the supermarket and the bookstore and small local shops. This way we aren’t tempted to purchase things we don’t need!

2. Handmade and homemade. We use our hands and creativity to make foods from scratch, craft DIYs and rearrange furniture and décor. You may be asking, “how is this a way to simplify?” but I have found it has had a HUGE part in making us appreciate the little things and motivating us to keep things simple. When we make meals and baked goods from scratch, we savor them and waste less. Crafting is such a beautiful way to enjoy being in your home, therefore motivating us to keep it a space that is simplified and a representation of ourselves and what we love.

3. Cleaning supplies and routines. We mostly make our own cleaning supplies using simple ingredients, and we try to stick to a regular cleaning schedule. This way we aren't scrambling to clean the house before guests come over and/or we aren't leaving tons of housework for one day of the week. I'm always more calm and inspired when our home is clean.

 
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4. Cozy nooks. Create cozy little spaces meant for quiet time, enjoying a book, craft or tea. It's all about relishing in the simple pleasures.

5. Meal prep and rhythm. We have a dinner rhythm that works beautifully! Each day is a different meal theme that we stick to each week. For example, Monday is a Mexican themed dish, Tuesday is a fish dish, etc. This helps to keep shopping and meal prep simple because it becomes routine. We aren't scrambling to put something together last minute, which frees up more time for us to enjoy outdoors as a family before dinner.

 
 

Savor Your Time

"Activity without downtime is ultimately - like a plant without roots - unsustainable." -Simplicity Parenting

I think this is often overlooked in our fast-paced, get-ahead world. There is a balance to be achieved for holistic happiness and success.

1. Free play. We do our best to not overschedule ourselves and especially our son. One of the most important things to me as a parent is to give my son lots of free time to play, explore and learn about himself without time constraints and lots of restrictions. The same can be applied to adults. There is nothing like enjoying a favorite hobby with no time limit.

2. We implement "rest days" where we enjoy our home and outdoors with no obligations for the entire day. I learned this in the book "Simplicity Parenting" and love the idea of it - if you have a busy day, counteract it by making the next day a no-obligations day.

3. Politely declining. We have become much more confident with saying "no" to things when we saw how it really improves our mental state and energy when we don't have commitment after commitment.

 
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These are just some of the many ways we have scaled back our lifestyle to make room for things that are most important to us. We are by no means experts on this area, but any help or inspiration that we can pass on means the world to us.

There is such a large scale on simple living, from those who move into tiny homes and get rid of most of their belongings to a more easily attainable conscious consumer who makes little tweaks to their lifestyle. It all fascinates me, and I love learning new tips.


Brooke Fiorillo is a wife, mom and creative living in coastal Connecticut. Brooke's adaption to simple living and embracing the present moment has fascinated me. They have done such a beautiful job raising their baby boy, Anchor, to enjoy nature, play freely and grow up at his own pace. Brooke and her family run a blog called root + dwell where they share craft ideas, simple living tips and more. Keep an eye out for their shop of handmade goods, opening very soon. In the meantime, this is one of my recent favorite posts on root + dwell.

Inspired By: 02
 
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Inspired By is a column in which I examine one single piece in The Safari Collective shop. I take inspiration from the item, based on its functionality, appearance, and the emotion it provokes. Using this inspiration, I then search far and wide for photographs and scenes which fit with the theme of the piece, providing the reader with fresh ideas of how this particular piece can be added to their life.

I've chosen to feature these gorgeous ceramic and twine spoons we've recently added to our shop, handmade by Christiana Hedlund in Portland, Oregon. These beauties have received more compliments than I can count since they've arrived at our brick-and-mortar, so I thought it'd be fun to use them as the object of focus in this next edition of Inspired By. Check out below for ideas of how to incorporate these into your home and life.

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SERVING

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Meet the Maker: Jenny Rodriguez
 

Meet Jenny Rodriguez, the sweet woman behind our newest jewelry in the shop. When Jenny and I first crossed paths, I didn't even need to see her work to know that I would love it. Her heart and soul bleeds through into her designs, and I'm honored to have her beautiful jewelry in our little shop. She graciously agreed to do a "meet the maker" interview for us. Head down below to get to know this lovely artisan!

The basics. Jenny Melissa Rodriguez; Mesa, Arizona (within the Phoenix area); Owner & Jewelry Designer for my company, Pure Life Jewelry, and I also help run the marketing and bookkeeping part of my parent's business.

Describe yourself, your art, and the story of how your passion/business came about. I'm definitely a huge optimist and try to see the good in every situation. I really love the beach, beautiful weather, traveling, adventures, good music, art and ridiculous amounts of coffee (we're with you there, Jenny!). I was born and raised in Arizona, but I will forever be a beach bum.

My jewelry is a reflection of my ideals in how we should all follow our passions and crazy dreams. I believe that you should travel, see the world, and not give into what you think society wants you to do. The name of my company mirrors a popular Costa Rican saying "Pura Vida!" and it directly describes my vision for Pure Life Jewelry, as a symbol of living life to the fullest. I was raised with the notion that you should always live courageously and live a life of passion and meaning. For me, making jewelry is not a job or just a business; it is my small way of contributing to your story and journey.

I have always loved making jewelry, even as a kid I was making beaded bracelets and selling them to my mom's friends or setting up a "little store" outside my house to sell friendship bracelets. I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As I got older, I took my jewelry passion further by enrolling in metal-smithing classes and I instantly fell in love. There is just something about creating from your own two hands that fills my soul. So finally I decided to leave my full-time job and really focus on my company. I work part-time with my family where I help with their marketing, and focus on my jewelry the rest of the time.

What are you currently working on? I am working on busting out my fall line! I am so stinking excited about launching it. Right now i am focusing on incorporating more gold-filled pieces. Some of the pieces will be adorned with beautiful lapis stones and fun geometric shapes.

Describe your workspace. My workspace is in my home. I was blessed enough to find a place that has a perfect room for a studio. It was converted into a room by the last owner; he used to run his chiropractic business from home. I even have my own separate entrance! It's so perfect, with lots of lighting and I get a view of what's going on outside. It's my home away from home.

Please share a little bit about your creative process. The process of creating jewelry is my absolute favorite. It's so fun to see how an idea evolves into an actual piece of jewelry from a mere sketch. I usually start a piece by sketching what I want it to look like, then refining the structure to be more feasible. From there, I find stones that go along with the design and will compliment the piece. Then I create a sample piece and wear it out, test its durability and if it passes the test, then I work on creating other styles that compliment the colors and the piece. I always try to base a collection off of color. For me, that usually helps with creating a more cohesive line.

How do you begin your mornings? I love to take my mornings slow. I usually wake up pretty early, make some coffee, chill with my pup, Tuffy, and plan out my day. When it is not super hot outside, I love to sit on my porch and enjoy the outdoors for a bit. Since I work from home most days, I like to be able to begin my morning outside.

What does a typical day look like for you? Most days I focus my morning on following up on emails, working on marketing, etc. Afternoons are spent working on orders and packaging them. I try and run any errands in the afternoon as well because traffic in Phoenix is not very fun to sit in during rush hour. Once 6pm rolls around, I try and wrap up as much work as I can. That doesn't happen all the time but I try to be good about it. Anything tech-related that stimulates my brain, I shut off. Evenings are usually when I spend time with my boyfriend, family or friends. I think stepping away from your business and technology completely at night is important. It helps with the balance of owning a business and enjoying everything else.

What inspires you on the daily? Daily, I am inspired by the creative community in Phoenix. Everyone is so incredibly talented, it really pushes me to strive for excellence. I am also very inspired by music. I always have been. I love hearing of new bands or collaborating with friends on creating a fun playlist.

Where do you hope your business is five years down the road? In five years, I would love to 1: Be focusing on my company full-time, 2: Own a traveling jewelry boutique and 3: Still fulfilling my dream of spreading my vision for Pure Life Jewelry, as a symbol of living life to the fullest. For me, making jewelry is not just a job or business, it is my small way of contributing to my customers' life journey.