“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein
I’m back. In fact I haven’t been away but more busy with academic stuff and something I have been working on as a sideline project to university for years. I’ve hinted it a few times on Instagram but never got explicit about it because I don’t like talking about unfinished ideas. I was working on my own product. I have been on it for a long time and it started with my interest for cosmetics chemistry. My focus lies on two things which couldn’t be more different: functional and sustainable polymers for cosmetical application and the new integration of long forgotten but effective ingredients. Both of it are things I just can’t stop thinking about and for a year I’ve been getting samples exotic butters and nut oils straight from the junge (I’m not kidding) or new active ingredients like EGF from labs. I have gathered a big collection of antique and new books about herbs, old tribe recipes from all over the world or old german scripts of ointment formulations and tinctures. I formulated little batches of stuff I wanted for myself (and good friends) and thinking about the application of various sustainable nature derived (bio)polymers and any ancient eastern herbs like tcm herbs. When I first found myself using one effective recipe over and over again and saw a visible difference it made for my skin I made a big version of it and did major research how to naturally prolong the shelf life of it. I found a lot of literature of how nature protects itself from stress factors and radicals and as my friend got their hands on it I was encouraged by my best friends to make it a real product. This week the first real prototypes arrived and I am very satisfied. I will keep this blog updated with every step and ideas that lead to the final product. Ea
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” Anaïs Nin
It’s been a while (hell yeah, two months) and a lot has been going on. There was the busy part full of exams, which turned out to my favor and also the ability to be lazy for a while. In addition I traveled a destination I’ve always wanted to visit: Zanzibar. It was a very spontaneous trip and I couldn’t be happier because I love blue warm water, happy people and the smell of fresh spices. And you find it there, all of it. It is still a very untouristy spot and I was told the oldest hotels are only 19 years old. Compared to egypt and other countries I’ve visited it’s incredible how beautiful but uncrowded the beaches are. Above you find a small selection of impressions from Zanzibar.
Suitable for the endeavor to understand the smell of most spices my special someone had a big book present for me and since then I’m occasionally lost to the world of aroma for a few hours. It is incredible how much depth you can add to sensory combinatorics. My favorite Zanzibar spices are the pink curry, the fresh vibrant turmeric powder (which I use as a mask or in yoghurt drinks abundantly) and traditional pilau spice (mostly cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and garlic) which I bought right off the spice farm we visited. So if you are looking for a destination for your next adventure I can recommend Zanzibar with all my heart. Lonely beaches, very warm and humid climate and glass clear water without the harrassment of minute-by-minute vendors or -any- mosquitos if you travel the right season. Amazed, Ea
“It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects.” Nikola Tesla
It’s nice to have a big bust except for wearing COS dresses or doing cardio workout. Finding a seamless but high support sports bra which doesn’t come in UV disco colors is probably as hard to find as higgs particles or natural painites. The ones I own, which do hold my (european size) 75D, are a pink Victoria Secret and violet Fabletics sports bra, colors I wear like… never. I guess the search has an end with this Nike Revolutionary Support Bra with a “360-degree exoskeleton which surrounds each breast and provides compressive support”. Sounds good. Because it has no seam, it feels like a second skin. Everything is adjustable with the 10 levels flaps of this bra (see picture). I love it.
By accident I came across Rachel Aust’s Youtube channel (see here) and I really like her. She’s not only living a minimalist lifestyle but also really fit (though she studies two degrees at the same time). Rachel and her boyfriend opened up their own gym in Brisbane which looks amazing. If I’d live there I would subscribe in an instant but since I live in Germany I joined their 12 Weeks Challenge which comes with a meal plan and a few exercises. The Challenge starts January 18th, so if you want to participate it’s not too late. It is in the middle of my weeks of exams but I noticed daily exercise helps me to concentrate a lot. I’ll keep you updated with the final results. Looking forward to workout, Ea Birkkam.
“However, creativity is not simply originality and unlimited freedom. There is much more to it than that. Creativity also imposes restrictions. While it uses methods other than those of ordinary thinking, it must not be in disagreement with ordinary thinking — or rather, it must be something that, sooner or later, ordinary thinking will understand, accept, and appreciate. Otherwise the result would be bizarre, not creative.” Silvano Arieti
Have you ever had a Writer’s block? It’s been 2 months since my last cyber life sign on my beloved realm for thoughts, this blog, and I started many blog entries which sadly ended up as drafts in my WordPress because I was never satisfied or something was missing. It’s not me doing nothing, in fact there’s a lot going on with my product project, a lot of research and quite some work in university since the next round of exams starts right after Christmas. When you live a life so full of creativity sometimes you are very likely to mash up and interfuse different topics which can lead to wonderful new ideas or nothing altogether. Three time consuming topics competed against each other the last 2 months: extensively reading papers and books on Herbology and traditional chinese medicine, travel and the hunt for a good product packaging in small amounts first, which both turned out to be hard work. Don’t get lost in your own projects and ideas!
So all talk and no action, this is a future list of the next topics:
diy – SK-II sheet mask dupes
science – The Science of Aging Part 2
art – Richard Serra
beauty – December Beauty Favorites
science – Magic dust chemistry Part 1: ashwagandha and rhodiola
art – Nino Zardalishvili
science – Magic dust chemistry Part 2: lion’s mane and shilajit
I finished the first one and it will be up by tomorrow. Best, Ea
“Essentially only one thing in life interests us: our psychical constitution, the mechanism of which was and is wrapped in darkness. All human resources, art, religion, literature, philosophy and historical sciences, all of them join in bringing light in this darkness.” Ivan Petrovich Pavlov
It’s this time of the year again… when weather is colder (at least in Germany) and the days are shorter and darker. Maybe it’s the reason (though I am not a big fan of religion) I get a cozy, warm feeling around christmas time. Born into a roman catholic familiy I happen to enjoy thinking about special gifts, get-togethers and the delicious food. Our typical christmas eve is full of classical music like Corelli’s christmas concerto or Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and my christmas menu. Our eve ends with the exchange of christmas gifts and that’s the moment of truth which reveals if you really guessed the desires of the gifted person right. If I don’t know it otherwise my presents turn out to be quite simplistic. Above is my list of personal favorites for 2014! Preferably wrapped in this or this or an old natgeo. Merry christmas everybody, Ea
“Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Katja de Vries, a young jewelry designer and talented illustrator from Gent in Belgium makes possibly one of the most interesting yet simple jewelry on Etsy. Her pieces come in different states of oxidation and sometimes with thin threads wrapped around. The rings have a very clean-cut thin design and her Herkimer Diamonds come both with and without inclusions (tiny, natural drops of oil or water inside the crystal which make him unique, read more). You won’t find any unnecessary embellishment in her whole collection but a nice, subtle trace of raw manufacturing. It didn’t take long to fall in love with her minimalistic, simplistic jewelry and I bought myself my favorite pieces: the Herkimer Diamond Mini Loop Earrings and necklace. I decided to team up with her and this is how this giveaway was born! Additionally if you want to check out Katja’s etsy store (here), she offers a 10 percent discount for all readers (valid until the 17th of october). Just use the code: TSW10
To enter the sweepstake all you have to do is:
– “Like” Katja and me on our Facebook Fan Page (click here and here)
– Leave a comment on this post with your preferences (Herkimer with or without inclusions), correct email address and Facebook name/handle
– Please be sure that your email address is correct in the email field so I can contact you to claim the prize
Giveaway Starts: Thursday October 9, 2014 – Now
Giveaway Ends: Thursday October 23, 2014 – 11:59pm EST
closed! winner is: Franziska Laura
Please reply to the mail I sent you within 2 weeks to claim your prize!
“What you burnt, broke, and tore is still in my hands. I am the keeper of fragile things and I have kept of you what is indissoluble.”
The beauty of pale, almost grey, colors. I have always loved washed out pink and I consider it the maximum of color I want to wear right now. Somehow it reminisce me of modern femininity and paper-dried rosebuds. It was great fun to find my favorite nine pieces for this fall which resemble this exact feeling (see above) and I have a strong wish to see especially these pink coats in my closet. This blog entry may seem a little less abundant and scientifically interesting than the last one but that’s only because I am in the middle of an elaborate new one and my academic work consumes a little time right now. Anyways, I found some interesting new books on the Biology of Aging, the Chemistry of Senses and especially human olfactory ‘psychophysics’, so there definitely waits a scientific post about cellular aging to look forward to.
Fashionwise I have a hard time not being distracted too much, but I could equally spend as much time as with my academics swooning over this seasons top minimalists of Spring 2015 Ready-to-wear: Stella McCartney, Akris (as always) and Haider Ackermann (click here, here and here for the gallery). I am more than surprised about the switch of styles, how come Céline, Mugler and Acne Studios have less simple and minimalistic designs than usually super colorful Sonia Rykiel and Lanvin? I am confused. Anyways, I decided to point out my (and apparently Issey Miyake’s) favorite color palette: the pale pink pastels. Best in combination with an almost-only-foundation and subtle make-up. See you soon, Ea Birkkam
As always there is still something else you not necessarily need but desire so much. This dress caught my full attention and the impeccable, clean look made me think it deserves a special tribute in my blog. It’s funny but somehow I wonder if The Silent White develops to a form of dream palace for beautiful minimalists’ objects I admire but don’t add to my collection. The highest importance is clarity and mental focus right now (university’s summer break is soon over, just one of many reasons) so I limit myself to essentials and quality. It saves my personal life from distraction and has a calming effect on me. Strolling around some minimalist blogs every now and then I notice this effect on other people, too. In a world of materialism it is hard to reduce yourself to the things you really need and many minimalist blogger start to list things they did -not- buy instead of shopping hauls. Inspiration can evolve to a coercion to possess, even if it makes you sad and starts to feel like a burden. I feel sad when I see people drowning in their ‘collection’ and finally suffering from ‘Compulsive hoarding’, what a terrible mental disorder. Why do we always want to possess things if it’s best to keep things simple? Is it possible to ‘detoxify’ yourself from surplus tenure? Best, Ea Birkkam
“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” Joshua Becker
Berlin is a fast, cold and progressive city, nourished with a fast-paced alternative subcultural movement. A thriving scene of creatives, artists and green businesses make it a colorful city which changes alot and gets more sustainable. I am not sure whether it is my favorite german city but I need it. Without Berlin it would be much harder to get my hands on new minimalistic garments and discover contemporary art, future trends and specialty foreign cuisine. You have a massive amount of tiny independent stores, exotic restaurants and very modern galleries which offer unique pieces from inventive designers. I only had three days and met a lot of friends, which made it hard to visit everything I planned. My personal priority destinations were highly anticipated mdc cosmetics and jacks beauty department (both situated in Prenzlauer Berg), a few underground crystal stores (where I thrifted druzies and crystals for diy necklaces), ostbloc bouldering hall (neat), pan restaurant (a very authentic filipino cuisine restaurant, my filipino mom would love their kare-kare! see here), lush cosmetics and &otherstories.
I gave myself the challenge to buy as little as possible and be very, very selective. Somehow I developed a serious fear of buying something which is not important and only catches dust. I hope I don’t get a clinical disorder with this (you may laugh now). Well, I tricked myself by bringing a small weekend bag, which did not allow too much space for the trip back home. This way I managed to reduce my shopping to a Lab-like, off-white coat (picture here), a beautiful naturally heartshaped calcit druzy and a new assortment of toilettries, including fragrance, bodylotion and haircare (Lush Hsuan Wen Hua, my staple). My favorite destination of them all was mdc cosmetics, a small posh beauty apothecary, easy to overlook, where you find probably the best selection of new high-end minimalistic beauty products in the world. I wasn’t looking for makeup or fragrance but somehow I came across rms buriti bronzer, Susanne Kaufmann (organic, german skincare) and Lubin ‘Korrigan’ which was love at first sniff. Soft clean leather, honey liquor, smokey juniperberry and ambrette… so smooth and ‘skin’-like (better description here). Thanks to the sample mdc gave me I might get addicted to this and buy it full size. The kind lady of mdc gave me a sample of new Transderma Reservatrol Serum, too (I will keep you updated with my skin results next week). If you are curious you can check out the pictures of my instagram. See you tomorrow, Ea Birkkam
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.” Edgar Allan Poe
Relaxation is so important in life. Oftentimes people are confronted with stressful situations like frustration, sad feelings or overwork and knowing your own limits, weakness and ways to invigorate can be crucial to your mental health. My personal preference is a long walk in fresh air and to resort to cozy surroundings (e.g. my bed) and pamper myself with various treasures like french tea or a bath with exotic oils. Oh, and there is a world of beautiful books that just wait to be read.
Fully faineant, Ea Birkkam.