Summer 10x10 Wrap-Up

13 September 2018

This past couple of weeks, I took the plunge and joined hundreds of other Instagrammers in the Summer 10x10 Challenge! I found out about this challenge in my Discover feed on Instagram and was instantly intrigued--a combination of two of my favourite things (as well as things I blog about): minimalism and style?? Sign me up!

What is Summer 10x10?

The blogger behind Style Bee, Lee, created the 10x10 challenge back in 2015, so it is by no means a new phenomenon, but it did seem to gain popularity this summer, as I was constantly seeing (and eventually followed) the hashtag #summer10x10 everywhere, from people I already followed to people I newly followed after seeing what outfits they put together using the 10x10 formula.

Essentially, the challenge is all about making the most of your wardrobe. You take ten items and make ten outfits over the course of ten days. For a more detailed breakdown, definitely read Style Bee's original blog post about the challenge

Thankfully this challenge isn't just dedicated to the summertime and can be done no matter the time of year--so it's not too late to start for yourself!

What Sarah Wants: 24th Birthday Wishlist

25 July 2018

leaves credit: (1) + (2)
My birthday is less than two weeks away now, and I already have the whole week plan-packed, but that doesn't mean I haven't had the time to think about some of the things I'd want as gifts! Here are a few items on my wishlist that stick to my minimalist theme -- all things I would use repeatedly or will replace similar, lower quality things I already own. 
  1. Plans by Death Cab For Cutie (vinyl) - $22.99
  2. Madewell Stretch Denim Straight Mini Skirt - $79.50
  3. Glosssier You Perfume - $60.00
  4. Vegan Leather Mini Backpack - $49.99
  5. UO Knock Down Plant Stand in Honey - $69.00
When's your birthday and what's your star sign? Let me know as well as what's on your future wishlist in the comments!

x, Sarah

A Minimalist Gift Guide

19 July 2018

Disclaimer: Gifts are always a luxury, not a necessity. In no way do you have to buy someone something in order to prove that you love them! This post is for those who wish to buy a gift and are unsure of where to start. Any person, minimalist or not, should be content with simply your friendship and kindness, because that's truly the greatest gift of all (wow, cheesy, lol)!

If you have a minimalist loved one, it can seem a bit overwhelming to shop for them when the specials times of year where gift-giving occurs rolls around. In honour of my birthday coming up next month (6th of August!), I've decided to put together a little gift guide for the minimalists in your life--whether they're minimalist veterens or rookies.

01. Money

This is a gift that anyone can appreciate--not just people living off of only the essentials. Probably the most versatile gift, albeit not incredibly personal, money can be used toward the necessities, such as rent, bills, or groceries, put towards a special trip or event, or even just saved. No one wouldn't love to receive money as a gift, regardless of the amount!

Instead of just flat out giving money, another option is to offer to pay for a monthly payment of theirs that they already have--such as a gym membership, Netflix or Hulu, or just filling up their tank with gas!

02. Gift Cards for Essentials

Similar to money, gift cards are a more personal approach to the idea of putting cash towards something your minimalist loved one will actually use. Examples of gift cards for a minimalist include grocery stores (Trader Joe's, Safeway), drug-stores (Walgreens, CVS, Target), supplies for their career (art supplies, tech, software), homegoods stores (IKEA, West Elm, PotteryBarn), etc.

Another gift card option is for non-essentials, but one for somewhere you know that they already spend money often, such as their favourite coffee shop, Sephora or Ulta, or their go-to clothing store (only if they're in need of new clothes, of course!).

03. One-Time Experiences

Rather than a material object, a perfect gift for a minimalist is an experience--whether it be a ticket for an extravagant holiday away, a gift certificate for a massage, tickets to a theme park or concert, paying for a hair or nail appointment, going to swim with sharks--anything that you know they would enjoy. This doesn't have to be overwhelmingly expensive. Even just paying for a movie or making them dinner is an excellent way to show you care!

This is the best option because there's no limit to what you can do! Whether you go for a road trip together or just pay for them to be pampered for a day, money spent towards experiences is far more valuable than used to buy material things.

04. Things You Know They Need

Hearing them complain about a faulty kitchen appliance constantly? Is their handbag falling apart at the seams and in need of being replaced? Are they running out of their highly-coveted cleanser? Pay close attention to when they mention or you notice these things--it can lead to a perfect, thoughtful gift that they wouldn't be expecting! 

05. Your Time

Perhaps the most priceless gift you can give to a minimalist is your time. Not every minimalist will even want any form of gift, even those listed above. The best way to show a person you care is to make time for them whenever you can--especially on special dates such as a birthday, anniversay, holiday, what have you.

Dedicating a day to a loved one and just spending time together can mean the absolute world to them--because a core value of minimalism is building and maintaning meaningful relationships. Similarly to their relationship with material possessions, minimalists will have no problem eliminating people who hold no real purpose or spark no joy in their lives. By sharing special moments and dedicating your time to them, you're showing your minimalist loved one that you are an essential and positive aspect in their life. 

Every minimalist has their own limits and interests, of course, but the mindset and way of living is roughly the same--living off of less for a fuller and richer life. Hopefully you've found this guide helpful if you're hoping to celebrate a minimalist friend or family member by giving them a gift. The key to finding the perfect gift for anyone, not just a minimalist, is listening. Understand the things they value, need, and love in life. The simplest gifts can often be the most thoughtful.

x, Sarah

10 Years of Vegetarianism & My Journey

21 June 2018

Ten years ago, June 2008: I was a thirteen-year-old living in Hawaii, about to start high school. My family and I had just finished our Sunday tradition of eating dim sum and were taking a leisurely stroll through Chinatown. We passed through the marketplace and I turned and saw what would have quite the dramatic impact--an entire pig's head upon a platter, up for sale. It was this poignant moment that I said to myself, "Yep. It's time. I'm going to stop eating meat."

Becoming a vegetarian had always piqued my interest, due to my life-long love of animals and my obsession with Degrassi, where Emma, a vegetarian character, seemed super cool to me (don't worry, I've grown up now and know that Emma objectively sucks). Aside from this, I was also about to embark on a new chapter in my life, my four-year-long commitment to an all-girls Catholic college preparatory academy. It seemed like the appropriate time for a new start.

Now growing up on an island, being a pescatarian is a much more feasible option than eliminating all meats, as we have an influx of tropical fish quite literally surrounding us in the ocean. At the time, I hadn't even heard of the term "pescatarian", and just used "vegetarian", emphasising that I don't eat any land animals. I was able to hold onto this commitment throughout the entirety of high school, aside from the occasional In n' Out Burger on our annual visit to California (I didn't know about the secret grilled cheese menu item at the time! Highly recommend, tastes exactly the same as a normal cheeseburger there, in my opinion).

Once I started preparing for the move to San Francisco for university, I was coming to the realisation that I would be living in CALIFORNIA. I'd be surrounded by In n' Out Burgers (not true at all, there is only one in San Francisco, nowhere near where I lived or went to school)!! It was at this time, in the summer of 2012, that I decided to try and transition back into being a meat eater, for convenience sake. It also gave me more options for my eventual dorm cafeteria food diet. At this point, I had no knowledge of the effect that not eating meat for four years and then attempting to would have on my body. Let's just say that I may have ordered a bacon cheeseburger from Burger King as my first transition meal and that... didn't end well. Picture me, screaming in agony on the couch, not sure if I was going to throw up, die, or both.

That wasn't my most glamorous moment, but the following few semesters in college weren't much different. I didn't eat meat very often, but I just had this overwhelming feeling of "unwellness" for my first two years. Aside from my usual chronic migraines, I was nauseous Every. Single. Day. Sure, this could have been my body adjusting to different medications every once in a while as well as my first experiences with birth control, but the only time I felt even the slightest bit better was when I cut out meat entirely. And this time, I was going to do it right.

Yet another transitional period in my life (I'm sensing a theme here), I had just gotten out of my two-year relationship with my college sweetheart, and I decided to cut all meat out completely, including fish (which I still miss dearly, but have found a fishless alternative!). It has now been four years since this decision, and I have never once looked back.

Now, I'm sure some of you will invalidate my experience as "not vegetarian for 10 years" because of my break and all that--and that's fine with me. There are plenty of people who set rules for their identity and diet in relation to what you're allowed to call yourself etc. but I try my best not to live that way and allow people to identify with whichever community they deem fit. It was ten years ago that I made the decision to be a vegetarian, and aside from a small break for convenience, I don't regret this decision in the slightest.

The most frequent question a vegetarian receives is, "Don't you miss meat?" to which I very confidently can answer, "Nope!" I think the biggest anxiety a person considering vegetarianism is the freedom that comes with being able to eat whatever they want, but I can assure you that nagging craving does completely go away eventually--and if you can believe it, it even, with time, transforms into repulsion. Although I do, on occasion, smell an intoxicating bacon-wrapped hot dog grilling on the streets of San Francisco and think for one millisecond, "God, that'd be good right now," I then remember how sick I'd be and instantly associate the meat with nausea. It's an adapted mentality, but it will come even quicker if you do go a while without meat and try and eat it again (a tactic I do not recommend).

So you've made 10 years, what's next? I told myself some time ago that when I made 10 years as a vegetarian I would begin the transition into veganism, and that's precisely what I've started this month! I'll go into detail about why and how I'm doing that in a future post (or video!).

Are you vegetarian/vegan? How long have you been committed to this? I'd love to hear your stories!

x, Sarah

  • blouse: vintage
  • jeans: gap
  • shoes: crossroads (capitol hill)
  • bandana: vintage (thanks, mama!)
  • sunnies: ray-bans
  • handbag: vintage
  • lip: glossier generation g in "zip"

*Photos by Ranier

Distracting (& Uplifting!) Post-Breakup Activities

24 May 2018

Hello, hi there from the Queen of Breakups! Okay, not really, but I've been through a loooooot of them. Like. A lot. For my age, at least. I've experienced every kind of breakup as well, being brutally dumped in cold blood, having to break someone's heart into a billion pieces, and having an amicable, mutual, mature breakup where no one was wronged (the hardest to achieve--thanks Andrew for being my coolest ex!). You've heard the spiel before--breakups suck. For everybody involved. I've lived with the guilt of dumping people for years and sometimes I'm still bitter over irrelevant people I never have to see again who ended things with me in, just, like, the worst way possible in February 2016 right before Valentine's Day... or something like that.

However the breakup, the aftermath is relatively the same (unless it was toxic and you're now free from a blood-sucking bastard. If that's the case--go you!). If you're prone to depression like me, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things post-breakup, especially if most of your day was eaten up by talking to your partner via text and you have to glare at your phone that has no notifications... NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW WHAT THAT'S LIKE!

As someone currently dealing with the aftermath of my (and possibly the world's) shortest relationship, I decided to share some activities that I find helpful after a breakup. Sometimes you need a distraction or two from the ever-present looming voice asking yourself "How do I always end up with the same type of guy??" (again, not that I would know). These are just things that help me personally, but if you have any more ideas that I haven't mentioned, please do leave them in the comments for myself as well as anyone else reading who may need it!

1. Write Letters to Loved Ones About How Much You Appreciate Them

Nothing brings you back down to Earth and helps your self-esteem like bringing awareness to the amount of love that you DO have in your life and not the love that you've lost. Handwriting personal letters to those people not only allows them to know how much you appreciate having them in your life but also writing things down in itself is just therapeutic. Studies have also shown writing things down helps you remember them better (ah, school lecture flashbacks), and what's better than remembering how loved you are? Nothing, friends.

2. Learn a New Instrument (or Song)!

Of course, learning a new instrument may require actually buying the instrument, which is quite the investment. Instead of spending all that money (unless you have it to spend--if so, kudos), maybe look into renting an instrument or borrowing from a friend! And if you're already a music pro (feel fortunate), learn a new song or two! Then with these new skills you have harboured, you can write your own angst-filled songs about your new ex and about how their jokes were never really THAT funny. 

3. Journal Those Feelings!

That's right--time to crack open that daily gratitude journal you told yourself you'd use every day back in January but has been gathering dust ever since the day you purchased it for the shocking price of $15.99. Write down all that's been building up since it all ended--whether that's sadness, anger, embarrassment, pure glee, or hatred. It's incredible how writing feelings down can just make them feel better. Or, you can try and look past the negative feelings and write down all the good parts of your day. Because honestly, screw that person, they don't deserve space in your head OR that cute overpriced journal.

4. Clean & Rearrange Your Bedroom!

Do you really want to enter the same room arrangement where you and Brian* used to cuddle and watch Netflix? I don't think so. Cleaning your bedroom alone allows for a clean headspace as well, and a way to start fresh! But rearranging your room--honey, that's some NEXT LEVEL starting fresh. You're feng shui-ing Brian the HECK out of your memory. Not only is that healthy, but also a little bit savage if you think about it. So you go host that little HGTV programme in your head as you attempt to move your heavier-than-expected IKEA bed frame in your pyjamas. LIVE YOUR TRUTH!

5. Start Binging a New Show!

I know I'm a person who has an endless of shows I "need to watch" but then I end up just rewatching New Girl for the 50th time. Don't be like Sarah! Broaden your horizons! Have to wait for your partner to watch the next episode of a show you both were watching together? Ha! Now is your chance to start a new show on your OWN schedule. Now instead of being invested in someone else, you can be invested in newfound fictional characters!

And there you have it--a compiled list of things I find helpful after a breakup, regardless of how gnarly it may be. I know there are going to be days where you literally just want to lay in bed and do nothing and that's okay. The cliché is true--time heals all wounds, but it's also important not to lose yourself and miss out on things you enjoy doing while that time passes. Stick around people who lift you up and be grateful for the good, it'll make everything feel like it's going by just a little bit faster.

x, Sarah

* There is no Brian, it's just the first generic white boi name that came to my head ok

Why Minimalism?

21 April 2018

Minimalism has always been highly appealing to me. As a person living with anxiety, needless clutter has always been a prominent source of said anxiety, albeit unavoidable at times. Even worse, clutter manifests as a result of my anxiety or depression. There have been countless occasions where I've texted my friends I JUST WANT TO BURN EVERYTHING I OWN! Does anyone else ever get like that, or is it just me?

From a purely aesthetic point of view, minimalist fashion and interiors struck my fancy on social media, but I always thought, that could never be me. Perhaps it's because, at the time, I naïvely thought that you couldn't be a minimalist and have your own personal style. Vintage clothing didn't really seem to fit into the lifestyle from an outsider's perspective, and I'm sure there are many minimalists still who feel this way.

The way I view minimalism, however, that will best suit my lifestyle, is not what you own, but how much you own, and how to learn to live with less. Many people don't realise or understand that a minimalist can still have interests and hobbies--the difference is that the items pertaining to that hobby are limited to only what the person actually uses or needs. For example, if you're a minimalist painter, limit your supplies for painting to only the essentials, or have only one type of each brush or paint colour rather than multiples.

As it should be with any type of lifestyle or fad, minimalism should not be exclusive to people who dress monochrome and don't own a television. It can be adapted and engineered to best suit your interests and personality, all while keeping the core requirement of limiting yourself to just the necessities.

So why am I interested in venturing into this seemingly huge lifestyle change? Well, there are more reasons than just appearance.


As someone living with BPD, I feel things incredibly strongly--this (unfortunately) includes stress. My mood and mental health revolve hugely around my environment. This is why I enjoy working in a café around other people working, where I feel most productive. This also applies to negative emotions and lack of productivity, primarily when I'm surrounded by clutter. Open, clean, environments with very little bring my mind peace and the idea of having a home like this will allow for that peace to be continual -- omnipresent if you will. 

I'm quite the homebody so the more relaxed I can feel while at home, the better! A clutter-free home brings a clutter-free mind, as they say. As an added bonus, the lack of excessive material possessions will hopefully bring fewer things to constantly be thinking and worrying about.

Saving Money

As a full-time self-employed artist living in the most expensive city in the country, it should come as no surprise I am trying to find ways to save money. Obviously, living off of less means that you need to buy less. I've already begun shopping much, much less frequently, and any shopping I do is always at thrift stores, where I only purchase things that already can be incorporated into my wardrobe seamlessly, and would get a lot of wear. 

Allows for More Creativity

Because I am limiting myself and buying less as well as getting rid of tonnes and tonnes of clothes, I am given more opportunity to be creative when it comes to my wardrobe. It's almost nostalgic, having a smaller collection of clothing items. Back in my first days of university, I only brought some favourite pieces and was excited to make new outfits each day with my limited supply. Although I have much more now, six years later, than I did back then, I am equally eager to get creative again and come up with new ways to wear the few items I hold onto. 

Getting creative also applies to ways of getting things done. Nowadays, it seems like there is a tool for everything, but with a minimalist lifestyle, I can adopt new ways to use what I already have to complete certain tasks. It may take a bit longer, but I am happy to put in the extra effort and use my noggin to do so!

For the Environment

In this minimalism journey, I hope to eventually produce less waste. In the process of reducing, I will recycle and donate as much as I can, to avoid contributing to the already horrific waste load that this country bears. Doing little things like bringing a reusable water bottle along with me during the day instead of buying yet another plastic one, shopping for clothes in thrift and secondhand stores, and switching to paperless organising are all ways to minimise and benefit the environment.

It's a Challenge!

I like the idea of minimalism the most because it's completely different than the way I've lived my entire life. My family had a relatively decent amount of money so if I ever needed or wanted something, more often than not I was able to get it. Despite all of this, I was still raised to have to earn the things I wanted and not just have them handed to me.

Eventually, when I started working and made my own money, I took full advantage of this opportunity to spend it on whatever I wanted. Now that I'm grown, paying my own bills, and losing interest in owning things due to a growing distaste for capitalism and consumerism, I now have a very different relationship with money.

Although I still have that pestering need for immediate gratification, largely due to the technological world in which my generation has developed, the desire to consume has greatly diminished in the last year.

So there you have it, a condensed list of why I'm entering the minimalist lifestyle. Even though there is much more to why I'm approaching minimalism, these main points are what encourage me the most. I hope this inspired you to think more clearly about your own possessions and mind space and how you can incorporate a minimalist outlook without sacrificing your personality and interests. Whatever your lifestyle choice, do only what makes you the happiest and healthiest instead of just following any old fad or the way people say you should live. Only you can decide the path you'd like to take for yourself!

What are your thoughts on minimalism? I'd love to know in the comments!

x, Sarah

  • hat: vintage
  • top: thrifted
  • cardigan: thrifted
  • lip colour: nars

My Dream Dress & How I Found My Personal Style

10 April 2018

When I was the ripe old age of fifteen, a film came out that, unknowingly, would change my life forever. Okay, maybe that's a little bit dramatic, but when people ask me what inspired my personal sense of style, I always come back to (500) Days of Summer. Sure, I've been wearing vintage and had a fringe since I was a kid, but something about every single outfit in this film triggered a spark in me that I've only felt a few times in my life. 

Slowly emerging from my emo/scene phase and developing into a "proper young lady" (a term I use very, very loosely, because of it's sexist undertones), I lacked a sense of identity. I didn't associate myself with the raccoon eyeliner, flat teased hair, and unexpected mixture of black and neon colours any longer. I knew I didn't feel myself dressing like that anymore (although, on occasion, I still do, in a much more wearable sense), but I wasn't sure in what style I could. 

Growing up, I loved wearing vintage, but at the time, and most likely my age group, it was seen as weird and sometimes even gross (why wear old, worn clothes when you could wear brand new pieces?).  It was at that moment I stumbled into the soon-to-be-closing Blockbuster Video where they were selling rental DVD's at a discounted price. I grabbed a couple that I hadn't seen, but was interested in, including Away We Go, starring the addictivly sexy John Krasinski, and then I found it. A Blockbuster Video exclusive edition of (500) Days of Summer. I quickly grabbed it and clenched it tightly to my chest, as if I'd struck gold. Little did I know, I found something so much more valuable than gold.

Upon the opening credits, I was already hooked, from the music (shoutout to Regina Spektor!), to the sweet side by side home videos. But it wasn't until we are introduced to the film's unattainable love interest, Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel, that I was struck by a sensation of lust. This lust was not necessarily for Zooey, although she is beautiful, we are too similar, so that would be a whole new level of narcisism. No, this lust was for her outfits, and that's when it all hit me. "This," I said to myself, "This is what I've been searching for!" I eventually made a list of all of the items she wore so I could recreate the outfits myself, shopping only at thrift stores and Ross. 

But there was one outfit in particular, the one that I desired the most, that I just couldn't seem to find. It was, of course, the infamous IKEA scene dress. The dress was, naturally, vintage, and rented from a costume rental service, so there was no way of obtaining the real thing myself. I spent the better part of 8 years searching for something even remotely similar, just a simple vintage baby blue shirtdress. It didn't seem like it would be that difficult to find, right? I searched every thrift store, vintage shop, and Etsy listing I could find, and still nothing.


Then came Summer 2017, which was right in the middle of the year of family weddings. I was desperately seeking a last minute dress to wear all around Haight-Ashbury with my sister-in-law's family when we reluctantly entered Decades of Fashion, an incredible vintage shoppe where each piece is organised by decade. Although I love this place, the prices were a bit high for my taste. Not only was I able to find the perfect vintage frock suitable for the wedding, but I also came across what I've been looking for over the past eight years... my dream dress!

At a $50 sale price and a fit that was practically made for my body, I swiped the dress off the rack so quickly that all I can remember is it always being in my hands. I could barely believe that I finally found what I had been looking for. I've now had it for nearly a year, and each time I wear it, without fail, I am complimented by so many people. 

Do you have a film or television series that sparked the inspiration that devleoped your personal style? If you could steal any fictional character's wardrobe, whose would it be? Let me know in the comments! Meanwhile, I'll be taking a trip to IKEA!

x, Sarah

  • dress, bag, and heels: vintage
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