• Tag Archives simplicity
  • elegant simple life v2.0

    "Raspberry Rhapsody." © 2013. Christianna Pierce.

    Hello, dear readers of elegant simple life!

    As many of you may recall, this blog started several years ago as a place to share my experiences of bringing simplicity and minimalism into my chaotic suburban life. At the time, my husband and I lived with our two high-school aged sons in a big house in the ‘burbs. We were long overdue for simplification in our environment and lifestyle. I wrote about our experiences, especially in the early months of the blog, and found great inspiration from the community of minimalist bloggers in the webosphere and from sharing conversations with you, my readers.

    Fast forward a few years and here we are in 2013 with a whole new scenario. Our sons have grown up and moved out on their own. One lives on the east coast and the other attends university in Eugene. Meanwhile, my  husband and I  sold our house and nearly everything in it. We now live in a cozy, light-filled apartment in downtown Portland where we are absolutely thrilled to be a part of a big (by Oregon standards!) city and partake of all it has to offer.

    Now that the external clutter of my life has been tempered, I find that I can more fully attend to the beauty around me. It’s as though the mountains of “stuff” we were living under put a damper on my ability to appreciate the simple beauty and magic that has always been right in front of me. I feel that I can breathe more deeply, both metaphorically and literally, and take in the wonders around me. This is reflected in the new tagline of my blog, “finding beauty everywhere.” Because it is everywhere. And taking the time to notice it can be a simple source of great joy.

    Additionally, I have been tapping into my artistic self . This has led to a new-found passion for creating digital paintings on the iPad. This creative expression is vital to my sense of well-being and, in talking to others, I find that I am not alone in this regard. Creative self-expression is one of the fundamental elements to a happy, balanced life and I want to encourage you to find whatever it is that makes your heart sing and spirit soar.

    “Finding beauty everywhere” has become my practice and my passion. elegant simple life will naturally reflect that shift and I will be posting images and articles in tune with that vision. I realize, of course, that this is a change in direction from the original mission of this blog, and may not be everybody’s “cup of tea,” but I hope you will stick around and see how you like the new content before making up your mind.

    After all, change is a good thing, right? 🙂

    With warmest wishes,


    image “Raspberry Rhapsody.” © 2013. Christianna Pierce.

  • Minimalism and the Paradox of Choice

    Too many choices?We often think that the freedom to choose is the ultimate luxury and that the more choices we have, the better.

    The reality is that, beyond a certain level of freedom to choose, we actually are happier when we have some limits to our choices.

    I find this to be true with minimalism in general and both veganism and the black dress challenge in particular.

    By setting rules for myself, my life is greatly simplified. For instance, when I go grocery shopping, I don’t have to agonize over whether the free-range organic lean chicken or the organic low-fat cottage cheese is a better choice. Because the answer is: neither.

    By eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, I automatically limit the majority of unhealthy food choices. This allows me to choose healthy fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts without having an internal dialogue about the pros and cons of each item I put into my shopping basket.

    Similarly, when I wore the same dress every day for a month, my mornings were streamlined and I could get on to other, more interesting, aspects of my day.

    These ideas are examined in a book I recently read, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz. Schwartz contends that we make a mistake when we equate liberty directly with choice. We do not increase freedom by increasing the number of options available. Rather,

    we make the most of our freedoms by learning to make good choices about the things that matter, while at the same time unburdening ourselves from too much concern about the things that don’t.

    In other words, we free our minds from the tyranny of small decisions and have time to consider the big things in greater depth.

    I think the mistake many people make is to assume that by giving things up, they will feel deprived. I believe the opposite to be true. For example, when I counsel people on making plant-based dietary choices, I emphasize that there may be some initial discomfort in giving up meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. But after a few days or weeks, the initial discomfort is replaced by a heightened feeling of health and well-being.

    In other words, limits are not the same as deprivations.

    How about you? Does setting limits in your life leave you more time to attend to things you really care about?

    image source: iStockphoto

  • What is an elegant simple life?

    clementines in silver bowl
    Clementines in Silver Bowl

    I’ve chosen to call this blog elegant simple life for several reasons:

    Elegant, because it focuses on the beauty and grace inherent in simplicity.

    Simple, because it does not have to be complicated.

    Life, because it encompasses the whole canvas of being, not just segments of existence.

    Elegant. Simple. Life. For me, this is both an affirmation and a goal. It is about living with less stuff and more joy in an atmosphere of tranquility and beauty.

    I’d like to focus on the concept of elegance for a moment because I have just finished reading  In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing, by Matthew E. May.  I love May’s statement, “…not everything simple is elegant, but everything elegant is simple.”

    Elegance is not a matter of money or upbringing or education. Instead, it is a matter of attitude, a lens through which one views the world. Ultimately, elegance is a state of mind.

    This concept gets to the core of simple living and minimalism. Living a simple life is not about hardship and asceticism. It does not require doing without all the joys and simple pleasures that make life just a little bit sweeter.

    Rather, elegant simple living means identifying what is essential and releasing the rest. And that will look different for everyone.

    And that is what makes it feasible. There are no rules of right or wrong. What is elegant simplicity to one person may be the height of consumerism to another. Conversely, an elegantly simple choice for one individual may look like borderline poverty to somebody else.

    Thankfully, the world of simple living and minimalism is large enough to contain a wide range of attitudes. This keeps it interesting and fresh and available to everybody. The underlying premise is that we are consciously seeking to live fulfilling lives with less stuff and more room for the things that matter.  The rest is open to interpretation. And that, to me, is simply elegant.

  • elegant simple life: a new blog about living with less stuff & more joy

    Bright Tulips, photo by Christianna Pierce

    The Vernal Equinox marks the transition between the cold, dark days of winter and the bright, new life of spring. It seems like a fitting time to launch “elegant simple life,” a blog which will focus on living a life of lightness and elegant simplicity.

    I have been moving towards a more minimalist life-style due to a number of factors, which you can read about here. Instrumental in this decision has been the inspiration I have received from reading the wonderful blogs on minimalism and simple living prevalent in the blogosphere. Yes, I’m talking about you, Miss Minimalist, Rowdy Kittens, Becoming Minimalist, mnmlist, Far Beyond the Stars, Simple Minimalism, … and many more that I’ve listed here.

    Is there a need for another blog on minimalism? Truly, who wants to read yet another blog by a suburban wife/mother of teens/plant-based dietitian/minimalist/amateur photographer/meditator/Arrested Development aficionada? I mean, really, isn’t that niche already taken? But in the off chance that there is room for one more, I hereby throw my non-wool, non-leather, eco-friendly fiber hat into the minimalist blogging ring.

    I hope you’ll join me!