September 2010

As humans, we tend to focus on the negative rather than see through it to the positive.  Life would be much more beautiful if we could see the beauty in things we would otherwise recognize as unpleasant or appalling.

© The Subtle Rudder, 2008

© The Subtle Rudder, 2008

The Japanese have found a way to make broken pottery beautiful.  In an art called Kintsugi, the Japanese fill cracks and mend pieces together using a gold sprinkled lacquer.  They have learned how to create something so beautiful out of what many would view simply as broken pottery and possibly throw away.

We should all take this lesson from the Japanese and utilize it in our lives.  Instead of seeing something as broken and passing it off as useless, let us try to see the beauty that isn’t so obvious.  For example, rather than quickly viewing the homeless as repulsive, attempt to see them in another light.  Their life may have been hard and the wisdom gained from that experience may be amazingly beautiful.

I encourage you all to begin finding the positive in things you find immediately distasteful.  The more things you see in your life as beautiful, the more beautiful your world will be!

When was the last time you gave a hug to someone or received one? I believe a huge part of our society have become so disconnected socially in many ways. The internet with online social networking seems to be fading out that face-to-face time with a loved one or a friend. Fear has also allowed some to lack human contact and empathy.

Sometimes we hug someone to say “hello” not thinking about the benefits of this small gesture. Hugs are nice, and needed (and free)! This form of physical intimacy can relieve pain and depression and help one overcome fears. If you haven’t hugged someone today, find someone to hug. You just might brighten their day, and yours!

Every time I see the Ferries Wheel, I recall the fantasy I imagined when I was a little girl. Every time I see Fireworks, I recall the wishes I had. For me, the Ferries Wheel and Fireworks are signs of happiness and brightness. Although I am already an adult, I still get so excited when I see them. They are the links from my childhood to my adulthood and my inner imagination of happiness. Looking at pictures of Ferris Wheels or Fireworks shinning in the dark sky, I can’t help but think about the simple life when I was a child. I miss the simple happiness, the simple beauty, the simple life so much!!
I took these pictures at Chicago’s Navy Pier where there is a beautiful Ferris Wheel and Fireworks Shows at night. I hope you look at my pictures with an open heart and are able to see through the eyes of a child and remember how you felt as one.

Photos taken by Chenchen @Navy Pier

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Tomatoes picked from Didier Farm

What is simpler, going to the grocery store to buy tomatoes or going to a farm and picking them yourself? From the many trips that I have made to the grocery store I acknowledge that it’s easy and fast to go to a store, grab some veggies put them in a bag and take them home to make a salad. Whatever your salad of choice may be and however great of a chef you are I want to challenge your taste buds and ask you to recall the flavor of the tomatoes in the Greek Salad or Caprese Salad you last ate. The tomatoes were they juicy and sweet or were they hard and bland? Do you know what a real tomato tastes like? Here at Life Made Simple we want to encourage you to think about things of simplicity and challenge society’s system that has created fast and efficient services. Convenience is nice but when does it get too convenient that we become enslaved to laziness and no longer work for what we consume but we just pay for it?

To show you what I mean, I decided to firsthand go out in the ‘field’ -literally and pick my own tomatoes. There is a farm very close to my house in Prairie View called Didier Farm. Didier Farm has been open since 1912. They specialize in growing a variety of vegetables and one thing that distinguishes Didier Farm from purchasing produce from a Farmers Market is that they give customers the option to go out in the field and pick [term they use: U-Pick] the veggies of their choice, for less money 🙂

In my experience of picking my own tomatoes I felt so liberated and free. After the busy day I’ve had-going to the city for my morning classes and taking the Metra train back to the suburbs going to a farm was the highlight of my day that humbled my spirit. To paint a picture for you imagine this; I was away from traffic noise, no other people around me-either talking or pushing shopping carts, just me outside amongst the fall breeze surrounded in a field of sweet tomato aromas. I felt like a kid again, picking tomatoes while playing a game with my feet called “don’t step on the tomatoes.”

That day I picked at least 3 pounds of tomatoes and my reward when I got home was to make a salad with few ingredients but so much sweet flavor. I felt good eating my tomato salad-after all I did pick the tomatoes myself!

Simple Tomato Salad
2 diced tomatoes
2 springs of fresh parsley
1 tbs. olive oil
sea salt- to taste
crumbled feta cheese – to taste

Simply Delicious!

-Evie P.

Its kind of hard to believe that today is the first day of fall when the temperatures are high. But as we know winter is right around the corner. And we know how harsh cold and windy weather can be on our skin so it is crucial to try and protect it as it protects us!

Did you know that your skin is the biggest detoxification organ? The skin will show symptoms of toxins, clogging and other negative signs that are in the body screaming to get out. You can cleanse and keep your skin protected this winter with detoxification (removing toxins from the body), body scrubs (remove dead skin cells) and other simple techniques with items from the comfort of your home!

Simple Detox:
Lemon Juice (juice from a fresh squeezed lemon)

Because lemons help break down fat molecules because of its acidity and high pH, they are great detoxers and a good way to cleanse your digestive organs.

Simple Body Scrub:
Brown Sugar
Olive oil (or Vitamin E Oil)
Lemon Juice (Only a few squeezed drops)

This sweet body scrub makes for an excellent and inexpensive exfoliative to rub away all those dead skin cells. The brown sugar acts as the exfoliator while the oil and honey moisturizes. The honey also helps kill bacteria. It is also good for your face (Just be careful with using too much lemon juice on your face because of the acidity).

These simple, easy remedies are natural ways to detox your body that can leave you feeling refreshed and revived!

*Disclaimer: The statements made on our website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). These remedies are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease.

As the famous artist Augeuste Rodin said, “There is no lack of beauty in life but lack of the eyes to discover it.” I totally agree with him. Opening our eyes in the morning, one sees the sun shining, the leaves dancing and perhaps people doing morning exercises. What a wonderful day! What are you going to do today?  As you get dressed and go outside say “Hello World” and “Welcome New Day!” What am I going to do today? Personally I will take my camera and capture the beautiful moments life has to offer! Yes, that is one of the most important things in my life.

For me, the meaning of life is more than living itself. I want to make my life fresh and energetic. That is why I love running-I can hug freedom like the wind. That is why I love traveling- I can explore new places and find passion. That is why I love chatting- I get inspiration and cheer for new friendships. That is why I love taking pictures; to make the beautiful moments become  inspirations forever. These things I love are  simple. Life – IS TO Be – Made Simple.

I am more than happy to share the simple beauty, little surprises and inspirations in my life through my pictures. I hope you can feel something from them; the story I am telling, the spirit inside each image, the Life captured by the lens.  Anything meaningful, beautiful and simple you can get is my pleasure to share with you.

Photo Taken by Chenchen =D

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Let’s slow down today and take the time to appreciate a very simple and beautiful day.
September 21st is the United Nations International Peace Day. How did I come across this? Simple – the date is observed in calendars in America and as I am learning to observe the small details in life, I allowed myself to absorb this day as I was writing errands in my planner. In 1999, filmmaker Jeremy Gilley launched Peace One Day to find a starting point for peace. His mission was simple; to establish the first annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence and have a fixed calendar date.  Two years later, the UN adopted September 21st as the United Nations International Day of Peace.  You may wonder how this affects us? Simple – September 21st is a day for non-violence and global ceasefire with life-saving activities around the world and opportunities for  young generations to become involved in the peace process.  Peace won’t happen overnight, but with a knowledgeable and passionate generation of people this movement for peace can make a difference and be around for more than just a day.

Today is Peace Day and  I want to ask you to think about what peace means to you? If there is anything you can do today to promote peace what will it be? Feel free to leave a comment, your suggestions can inspire!

– Evie P.

It may not cost anything to smile or laugh but what does it cost to show an act of kindness?

One day I was going to my neighborhood grocery store as I normally do and I ran into a guy who looked as if he was just having a very bad day. And when I say looked like he was having a bad day, I just don’t mean a guy who was out on his luck. He looked like he was down, out and got kicked and punched along the way. He asked me if I could help him get something to eat. Long gone are the days where I just give money out in hopes that the receiver actually uses it to get “something to eat”. I’ve witnessed too many “bad habits” being purchased and practiced with the use of my charitable contributions. So I told him that I can purchase something to eat on my way out. I asked “Richard” if he wanted he can sit and wait for me at a table. As I finished my shopping, I noticed how people looked and stared because it appeared that he was homeless and abused physically. His face was swollen and his right eye was blood shot red.  Besides being hungry Richard might have felt ostracized by the mistreatment of the world. I realized Richard needed more than just a nice meal – he needed a friend. So I sat and spoke with Richard while we both ate our lunch. And now I see Richard every week and we talk, and he looks better and better each time I see him.

To show kindness to someone may cost lunch money, some time and maybe even a little discomfort at first. But you can’t but a price on the way you make someone feel. Instead of wasting your Monday complaining that its Monday, I urge you to do one nice thing for someone today. You’ll be glad you did (and they will too).

A lot of times when we wake up in the morning, we focus on what tasks we must accomplish for the day.  Let us start taking a step back and appreciate the small beauties of life.  Being able to realize the beauty in everyday things, such as the sunrise, can make our ordinary days filled with wonder.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to wake up everyday and say “My life rocks!” instead of wanting to tell someone “Go kick rocks?” “Living simply” is more than just a way of living; its’ a way of thinking and thus creates this good way of feeling. Because we sometimes allow the complexities of life get the best of us, we tend to miss out on life’s simple pleasures.

When we think about life’s simple pleasures, we’re talking of going back to the very basic ways of thinking, seeing, feeling and just living. Sharing a small act of kindness to a stranger or seeing a simple picture of a baby resting are just a few simple things that one can enjoy and see beauty in. How about creating a fantastic meal made with simple ingredients? Or giving yourself a facial using simple ingredients found in the comfort of your own home? Promoting happiness and emotional well being is what Life Made Simple is all about. We want to create a place with a calming, relaxing and feel good presence in hopes that it would encourage you to adopt a simpler life. There are so many wonderful little simple things in and about our world but its all about how you view it. Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? When it rains does it really pour or does it wash away your worries? When it snows do you think about the treacherous commute and inconvenience – or going outside when it first lands before its trodden with many footprints? Let us share our stories, experiences, tips and creativity on how Life can be Made Simple.