intentional living

I’m a minimalist.

You might not know it at first glance looking at my house, but realistically I’m trying to be a minimalist, and it’s a work in progress (plus more of a challenge when you’re sharing a living space with other humans).

Being a minimalist is very on trend right now, what with Marie Kondo taking over Facebook memes (and I’d like to say, for the record, that I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up before it was cool). I think some people perceive minimalism as people who keeps their house so clinical feeling that it’s more like a doctor’s office than a home. Some people might adopt that take on it, but for me, it’s a little different.

Minimalism, to me, means living intentionally. Not possessing much more than I need. With that, I value what I have more. I am intentional about what I purchase. Intentional about what takes up space in this small rental home. Intentionally choosing what represents me, what brings me joy to be surrounded by.

This is a far cry from the generation before, who held onto anything and everything in case they’d one day need it. Sure, those people may have their day when they lose yet another extension cord and have to go digging in their attic to find their spare one, but to me, the peace of mind is worth so much more than keeping extra junk around. If I need a new one, I’d rather borrow it, thrift it, or buy it cheap somewhere else.

With that, I am far from pointing fingers to those of you who hold onto all of your keepsakes from childhood with white knuckled determination! This, like most things I share, is just what works for me.

My work is a reflection of this kind of mentality. When shooting film, you have to be absolutely present. Every shot counts. If you push the shutter, there’s no take-backs. No erase button. The number dial will move up one more and you’ll have one less exposure on that precious roll of (expensive) film. Thankfully, as opposed to digital where I’d be connected to the result on the LED screen, film allows me to be present. To fully compose, expose, and focus (literally and with my lens!) on what’s right in front of me.

This has become something of a meditation practice for me. And with any meditation practice that I do, I leave feeling so much better in the wake of it.

What are you surrounded by? Does it bring you joy?

Do you notice?

long beach

My first ever blog post on my grown-up, real website is about Long Beach, which should tell you that this city means a great deal to me. But I’m kind of embarrassed to say it wasn’t my first choice.

Not even close.

Our family made the big trek from Michigan out to California four and a half years ago, unwillingly. We always said we would move ANYWHERE except California.

Then I thought I was going to have to leave California, and I realized then just how much I love it. (Why is it that with most things in life we only realize how much we love it if we’re going to have to lose it?)

We had some choices to make about school and work and what our next move was going to be. Long Beach has always been a contender, hypothetically, but it was never my choice. Then it was my only choice.

My heart has changed SO much in the handful of months since that decision was made, but everything fell into place for us in such a way that I know we are meant to be here. We came down to house hunt with only 3 weeks until we needed to find a place, and we only had two prospective homes available to see. We expected that the Los Angeles housing market would be pretty competitive, and I went into it feeling a little hopeless.

We were instantly accepted at the first place. Then the second. The decision was easy once we met our landlords, who are like surrogate parents/grandparents to us (we went with the second home).

I have adopted this city as my own instantly. It’s diverse, colorful, green, sunny, friendly, and close to the beach. Why would we ever leave?