Alyssa J Freitas

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Minimalism: Do You Really Need To Buy That?

I've always been one who loves to throw things away; I actually get a sort of high whenever I clean out a part of my room. As I've been ramping up my efforts to have less things I realized that, yes cleaning out is important, but what is more important is keeping it that way. Enter: not buying new stuff.

Minimalism: Do You Really Need To Buy That? |

Who doesn't love shopping (if you don't, please just refrain from answering so I can make my point. Thanks.)? I know I do, especially when I find things that are just oh my goodness so perfect for me I must buy all of the things. The problem with wanting to get new stuff is that it is somewhat incompatible with the new lifestyle I am pursuing (hello, minimalism). 

Here's a great example. I have a backpack I have been using since my sophomore year of high school which means I am entering year five of using it. It is stylish, fits everything I need, and is totally unique. Since I've been using it for so long, it is getting worn out and I've had to sew it multiple times. I went to the Target the other day and spotted a backpack that was similar and was like "This is great! Perfect replacement backpack!" However, as I continued walking around the store I wondered if I really needed to buy a new bag? Mine is still in relatively good condition and just needs to be sewn in one or two places. No doubt I can last two more years with the bag I currently have so why would I waste the money and fill up space with something I don't truly need?

Then, I started to think about all the stuff I have bought over the years and ended up throwing out in one of my cleaning sprees. If I don't fundamentally change the way I make purchasing decisions, this cycle of waste will only continue. I've identified some ways to effectively combat the urge to buy more so I thought I'd share them with you today.
  • Before making any purchase, at all, ask yourself if you have something similar. There is no need for duplicates and when you pause you may realize that you don't really need it.
  • Ask yourself if you can do without. You probably don't need another shade of red nail polish if you're being honest.
  • Would you be upset a week from now if you didn't get it. Sometimes I'll imagine how I would feel if I waited to purchase it and a week from now the item was sold out. If I wouldn't miss it then I can walk away happy without it. 
  • Determine if you'd rather use the money towards an experience, rather than a physical possession. Something I have made a conscious effort in doing is spending on experiences, not things. This contributes quite well to a minimalist lifestyle and truly makes me feel more fulfilled! 
Asking yourself these questions and evaluating every purchase can help to maintain your minimalist life instead of adding more clutter. I hope these tips help!


Read more minimalism posts here. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On Kindness

There are many qualities and attributes that I value in myself and others. Respect. Decorum. Intelligence. Wit. Virtue. However, the one non-negotiable, essential for anyone and everyone I allow in my life is kindness.

On Kindness |

Through middle school I was bullied. My classmates excluded me, spoke meanly to me, and made me feel as though I was a bother and not worth the time of day. I imagine many people experience this (particularly in middle school; we all have our own horror stories from that age) and it is such a sad fact. Although I do believe that this experience made me a MUCH better person and certainly causes me to be incredibly appreciative of my friends now, it could have all been avoided had those involved acted with kindness.

Every word you say has power which is why having kindness at the forefront of your mind is imperative. By acting with kindness we take an extra step to benefit others or hold our tongues when we don't have anything nice to say or pick someone up when they are feeling down. Being nice and having a positive and loving heart does not just improve the lives of those you interact with, but also makes you happier and more fulfilled.

When I am around people who are unkind and who speak badly of others I feel myself shutting down and the negativity pouring in. I wonder if they are able to say such cruel things about people, what must they say of me when I am not there? As I have been exploring minimalism more and learning that cutting out clutter and that which does not bring you joy is a major way to improve your life, I have reaffirmed my belief that it is not worth my time or energy to be around unkind people.

We all deserve to be treated with respect and love, so I encourage you to implement this mentality for every interaction you have. Remember that how you make someone feel is a true measure of your character.

What are your thoughts on kindness? What qualities must someone have to be your friend?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

#InspirationInterviews Feature

I'm just dropping a quick line today to share something pretty exciting. Lucy-Claire of Sunny Days & Lovely Ways reached out to me to ask if I would be part of her series #InspirationInterviews.

#InspirationInterviews Feature |

She was just the sweetest and asked some really great questions. If you want to learn a bit more about me, you can read the interview here. Definitely check out some of the other great ladies who have been interviewed; you can really learn a lot!

Thanks again to Lucy-Claire for the feature!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Minimalist Movement

More and more I have seen videos and read posts on minimalism. I have always been a fan of organizing and cleaning out and decluttering, but recently I have realized that perhaps this is not the best way to go about accomplishing my lifestyle goals. I crave simplicity and direction in an often overwhelming and cluttered world, so I am working toward making those a reality. Enter minimalism.

The Minimalist Movement |

Naturally, minimalism means different things to different people. For some, like The Minimalists, there is a focus on reducing material possessions in order to make room for more of what makes you happy. On Becoming Minimalist there is also a discussion of simplifying your time commitments (which I explored here). There are people who live with so little possessions I find it hard to fathom (read: Coco, like how does she even do it?!?!). Basically what I'm saying is that there are countless ways to define yourself as a minimalist and join this movement, so it really comes down to understanding what is best for you.

Through a thorough analysis of my life with a minimalist perspective I have identified a few areas that need to be addressed. I'm good with keeping my material possessions to a minimum but boy do my mind and calendar have a ton of clutter. I schedule myself for every second and continually have a list of tasks to accomplish which prevents me from having the moments of rest I need. I have committed to taking active steps to reduce what is unnecessary in my life and what does not directly contribute to my happiness and am going to share what I do with you here, as well as provide practical steps for you to implement. Three cheers for curating a life you love!

I recently posted about social media minimalism and got a really great response from everyone. Thank you! You can expect more posts like that one in the coming weeks.

Is there any topic or area of life in particular that you'd like me to address? How do you incorporate minimalism in your life?


Quick fun fact: this blog was originally called Keep It Simple until I realized what a terribly unoriginal name that is. The fundamental principal I want all of my posts to reflect still remains that of simplicity so this fits pretty perfectly, no?

image source

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Darling Magazine And Random House Event

Oh. My. Goodness. So I went to the most amazing, spectacular, wicked awesome event last week hosted by Random House and Darling Magazine. Random House, the publishing company based in New York, hosted "Off The Page" in beautiful Hudson Valley where book lovers got together with authors for inspiring conversation and discussion. I have a ton to say about the day and lots of pictures to share, so let's just jump right into it!

After driving two hours, I arrived at Basilica Hudson which is a 19th century factory that has been converted into a performance and event space. It is so perfectly rustic and I don't believe there could have been a better location chosen. Everyone made a name tag and had to put their favorite book on it (so naturally I chose Bloody Jack) which was a great conversation starter!
I checked in and received a tote filled with books and was basically in heaven! There is absolutely nothing I enjoy more than reading so you can only imagine my excitement level. 

Next, I went inside and got my very first cup of coffee. Yes, you read that right. I am not a coffee drinker and after having it, I can't say I'm ready to start...

After some donuts and poking around the popup Etsy shops, the first program was ready to begin.

There was quite the crowd and everyone was excited to hear from Ruth Reichl who discussed how to rediscover simple pleasures in the kitchen. Her words have inspired me to learn more about food (because I know next to nothing) so be on the lookout for some food related posts in coming months. I'm cooking up something big (hehe, I love puns) and may embark on my very first series. Stay tuned!

After that, I went over to the flower arranging workshop to learn the meanings of certain flowers and to create my own bouquet.

Next, Clark Strand spoke about how our sleep cycles are affected by artificial light and Lauren Redniss shared a sneak peak into her new book on weather. Not only were the talks stimulating, but I also loved conversing with other attendees. I met people from Atlanta, Michigan, Manhattan, and many other places. It is so cool to get different perspectives and learn about others. 

Following that, I heard about some of the top places to travel according to editors of Fodor's (the travel guides with the orange spins) and even got to ask some questions about India! This session was held in a room with a variety of chairs which were all produced here back when it was a factory.

Following this was a moment I had been waiting for with great anticipation: meeting Sarah Dubbeldam, the editor in chief of Darling Magazine, based in L.A. This was the first Darling event on the East Coast and I was honored to be part of it. For those of you who don't know, Darling is the most genuine, positive, impactful, gorgeous, thought provoking magazine I have ever laid eyes on. Just take a look at their mission statement.

I was so pleased to be one of around twenty people who sat in on the session and was able to ask quite a few questions. I can't truly put into words what a difference it makes to know that there are people who share your values and seek to live life in a purposeful and virtuous way. Getting to speak with Sarah and Kara (who curates events for Darling) was wonderful.

Throughout the day you could get snacks that were provided or take a taste of the food trucks. Can we just take a moment to admire how perfectly vintage the trucks are?!

Afterwards, I went to a mobile photography workshop and met a new friend named Madeline from Utah. It was refreshing to speak with someone my age who is looking to live with the principles of Darling at the forefront of her mind.

Another session was led by Mary Giuliani who I completely and utterly fell in love with. She is a caterer who discussed how to entertain without getting stressed out, so I completely trust her advice! She told a hilarious story about meeting Alec Baldwin in the kitchen of one of her clients and had the whole audience laughing.

Next up was Gretchen Rubin who you may know as the author of The Happiness Project. She spoke about forming habits and using them to accomplish your goals. Definitely some food for thought.

There was a wine tasting after, but since Madeline and I are both 20, we decided to run around taking pictures instead. First I was like "Oh, don't mind me, I'm just standing against this beautiful old door casually."

Then I was like "Please, don't take my picture. Really, I just can't deal with all of the attention."

Then I couldn't contain the laughter anymore.

I also asked if I could go up on the stage. Can't you just see me up there leading a discussion about something totally awesome? Because I can.

The real reason for the entire day had finally arrived: the Darling Dinner. Darling hosts dinners where women get together and converse about creative and emotional topics while enjoying great food. I sat with women of all ages, backgrounds, and in a variety of careers. We got to speak about what fuels us creatively, what our friendships mean to us, how we balance all of the areas of our lives, and how we go about cultivating a life we love. 

What I learned was that you have to understand that each season of your life will require something different of you. Knowing your values and priorities, and acting in accordance with them, will result in you leading a life you are fulfilled by. As we know, you can have everything, you just can't have it all at once. These women taught me that it's ok not to have it all figured out as long as you are moving in the right direction for you. No societal or familial pressure should hold you back from pursuing what makes you happy.


Thank you to Eventbrite for partnering on this post. Eventbrite is a great way to find things to do in your area as well as manage events. If you want to plan your own book lovers event, check out Eventbrite's event management tools!
Photos are a combination of mine and Random House.