Author

Kevin W. Garcia

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You know what I wish I had more of? Focus. The moment I start working, it’s a repetitive struggle between concentration and distraction. I can never seem to hold my attention long enough to go into a state where I can perform deep, productive work. I instinctively reach for my phone at every possible moment, and the slightest distraction instantly derails my train of thought. We take every possible, gratifying opportunity to distracting ourselves with something other than whatever boring tasks we need to accomplish. Likely, our shortened attention spans are a result of the vast amounts of digital information we have to process all at the same time, every single day. While we can’t exactly change our brains’ inclination to distraction, we can instead focus on eliminating the distractions themselves. One of the best places to start, which I’ve found to be quite helpful in its own simple way,…

Living in the city, the noise never stops—the perpetual buzz of traffic, our countless interactions throughout the day, the nonstop activity. Then there’s the noise from our smart devices. Our phones keep us in constant connection with everyone we know, always a single tap away from bombarding ourselves with an endless store of information and audiovisual stimulation. It isn’t really as bad as it sounds. That’s just how we live today, but it also means that real, quality silence —the kind we all probably need more of—has become much harder to come by. We can’t control the world of noise around us, but we can control how much silence we actively try to bring into our lives. Why Silence Matters A lot of us simply prefer noise to quiet, but we can’t deny the benefits that silence has to offer. By reducing auditory distractions, we’re able to relax, recharge, and…

Our possessions mean a lot to us. We value them because we need them to survive. We take care of them because they’re sentimental. They’re important to us because we feel like we’ve earned them. I’d harp on the evils of materialism and our enslavement to the latest trends, but I doubt most of us are so intensely gullible as that. Still, many of us have way too much stuff, most of which we don’t actually need, and they restrict us in ways we wouldn’t immediately notice. I’ve always known minimalism as an art form or aesthetic, but never as a lifestyle. It’s a simple life tweak that can help us not only adopt better living habits, but also make our decisions more meaningful. Having Less Stuff Helps Us Focus on What Matters Most of us might not be living waist-deep in junk, but I’m sure we all have stuff…

Imagine two bowls. The first, made of immaculately white ceramic, embedded with intricate gold patterns. Clearly expensive. The second is wooden, old, lines of woodgrain and a few visible scratches being its only notable features. It’s safe to say most would prefer to own the first. We’ve learned to view perfection and anything close to it as the ideal standard of beauty. We’re attracted to things that are new, precise, spotless, sophisticated, and defect-free. Anything less risks earning a second-rate status. But beauty can be found even in the humblest of wooden bowls. The various chips, scars, and blemishes on its worn surface are seen not as unattractive flaws, but as signs of personal history and a simple, understated kind of beauty. This appreciation of a thing’s imperfections is what the humble Japanese aesthetic philosophy of wabi-sabi can teach us. Wabi-sabi is deeply rooted in Japanese culture, which makes it…

If there’s one thing that kills the mood, it’s a smell that isn’t supposed to be there. Whatever turns your nose off—garbage, partially rotten food, molds, your dog—is eventually bound to be a source of annoyance. And like many things, the solution doesn’t require you to dish out hundreds of pesos. Store-bought deodorizers work fine, but homemade recipes made from a few household ingredients do the job with just as much ease. Plus you won’t have to burn another hole in your wallet. For all the DIY enthusiasts, we gathered some of the simplest, most straightforward, no-brainer odor-eliminating recipes we could find. Next to being budget-friendly, these recipes are all free of harmful chemicals that store-bought deodorizers could potentially contain. Air Freshener Sprays Pour 1 tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of your preferred essential oil (or a combination of oils) into a small spray bottle, fill the…

Most of us have spent the greater part of our lives living in these spaces that, whether we like it or not, we’ve come to call home. Their place in our personal histories is undeniable. Yet our homes have even deeper connection to our identities, much in the same way that our choice of clothes and hairstyles, our painstakingly curated images on social media, and our carefully adopted behaviors do. Wander through somebody’s home and you get a pretty good idea of what its inhabitants are like. Framed vacation photos and graduation portraits scattered throughout the living room provide a glimpse of personal history. Peek inside someone’s bedroom and its contents—titles lining a bookshelf, an old sports bag carelessly dumped into the corner, objects cluttered on a desk—further paint a surprisingly vivid picture of its occupants. Looking closer, you discover their quirks and day-to-day habits, revealed in clues unwittingly left…

Lighting isn’t just a practical choice. It’s so important that every color combination, furniture piece, and pretty much any design element hinges on your room’s lighting. Just as every individual design element plays a role in a room’s overall aesthetic, so too does lighting. How you light your room can greatly affect its atmosphere and the mood of everyone who enters it. A room can turn large or claustrophobic, cozy or energizing, romantic or sterile. Even a room’s colors are subject to subtle alterations by different kinds of light. No matter how perfectly designed a room, everything will fall flat without the right balance of lighting. So for any professional or Do-It-Yourself designer, familiarizing oneself with the basic principles of lighting a room and its different layers is a must. Natural Lighting Sunlight is the easiest way to heighten the mood of your room. It saves you electricity during the…

Take a look around: at the tumbler keeping your coffee warm, the chair you’re sitting on, the room you’re in, the screen of this strange device you’ve been staring at the past few seconds. Someone, somewhere out there has either made your life ten times easier or noticeably less enjoyable (to my desk and chair at home, my stiff neck sends its regards), all thanks to design. The most obvious examples are those we barely give a second glance. Take the humble paper clip, a common detail in everyday life that usually never merits a second glance. But the reason people are still using it today since its birth sometime in the 19th century is it does what it’s supposed to do in the easiest, most straightforward way possible. Another example is door knobs. Imagine carrying a heavy stack of boxes and trying to open a door with a round,…

One word: simplicity. For a style so deliberately and compellingly lacking, minimalism never seems to have had any trouble at all calling attention to itself, in a good way. Minimalism says more with less, doing away with unnecessary and distracting details while highlighting only the most essential elements. It can speak for itself without trying to be loud. The understated grace of a minimalist room can, arguably, show even more of a personality than a room overloaded with visual stimuli. We’re drawn to order, and minimalist spaces give us a sense of stability and comfort. They’re clean, timeless, and pretty difficult to get tired of, especially when all you need after the day’s noise and clutter is a quiet, calm haven. Whether starting from scratch or giving your room a revamp, here are a couple of things to keep in mind to achieve a minimalist space. Simplicity Think of a…

You’ve finally—painstakingly—decided on a color for the room you’ve been dying to renovate. You’re just about ready to begin and show the world your impeccable taste in color, except you’ve never done any painting in your life. Don’t sweat it though, you could hire someone else to do your paint job. But sometimes, especially for more straightforward projects like repainting your walls, going DIY is both cheaper and simpler (especially with a lot of of practice) than most people think. There are a couple of things to keep in mind if you’re considering trying your hand at doing your own painting. But in the end, the best way to a perfect paint job is really always just more practice. Prep the Room Clear the room of furniture as much as possible. It’s an added effort, but the tiniest of accidents will ruin your furniture, and this tends to happen more…