The Ritual

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RITUAL You r mon t h ly e s c a pe


Make some time for yourself and enjoy reading this magazine. You are allowed to forget about the real life for a few moments.

EDITOR’S LETTER There are a lot of serious, important, stressful things happening in the world all the time. This magazine is not about that. It is a break from it. Let The Ritual become your monthly routine where you sit somewhere quiet and cosy to enjoy its pages. A ritual where you get informed about meditation techniques, well-being, minimalist lifestyle, inspiring people and slow fashion. Some say that minimalism is just a trend that will not last in 2019. I say that it is a choice and a way of life, which indeed might not be for everybody. However, I believe that some aspects of minimalism can improve anyone’s life, without fully committing to this lifestyle. That is why I invite you to a relaxing, inspiring lecture to break from your day-to-day mental chatter. Stay present.


Take a deep breath in. Hold it for 3 seconds. And breathe out. Repeat three times. Allow your thoughts to become progressively calmer. So by the time you turn this page your mind will be at ease.

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TAKE A BUBBLE BATH INTO THE FOREST Walking on a white, icy path. No destination. The cold air is clearing my lungs. The trees are bending under the sparkling snow. The sun dances through the branches and warms my face. I feel free, no pressure, no sounds, no people.

This how a forest bathing session can start. I wasn’t

anese means forest and yoku means bath, so

expecting any snow when I planned the trip, but

shirin-yoku refers to bathing in the forest atmo-

it made the experience even more relaxing. All

sphere or taking in the forest through our senses.

the white gave me a feeling of inner peace, which

So how does one go about forest bathing?

usually happens if everything is green. It is known

There are no fixed rules. The whole idea is to de-

that spending time in nature has health benefits,

tach from day to day life and recharge yourself. It

but how a ‘bath’ in the forest can actually help?

is important to leave at home any electronic de-

Forest bathing became quite popular in UK in the

vices and to have time at your disposal. It doesn’t

last years; from books about the healing power of

matter what season it is, what time of the day or

trees to the Forestry Commission of England, which

what kind of forest are you going to. The closes

recommends various forest paths for bathing.

forest to you will do its job. Once you are there,

Forest bathing is originally known as shinrin-yoku.

just wander and observe how different the trees

The practice is imported from Japan, where

are from one another, listen to the sound of the

was developed during the 1980s. Shirin in Jap-

forest, smell the air and feel the trees, the grass,

Model: Mihaela Teianu Photographer: Călina Mureșan


the sun. Use all your senses and be present. At some point, you might feel the need to find a

When you are ready to go back to the real world get out of the forest and embrace the world.

place to sit down. When you see the perfect spot,

It makes sense for humans to feel good in na-

you will know it. Spend as much time as it feels

ture, but there is also scientific research, which

right to you. You might just sit and take all in or

demonstrates that the healing effects of the

you might want to walk a bit more, to eat some-

shinrin-yoku are not bollocks. The scientifi-

thing or to meditate.

cally proven benefits of shinrin-yoku include:

There were conducted several filed experi•

Boosted immune system

Reduced blood pressure

Reduced stress

Improved mood

Increased ability to focus, even in children with

ments, in 24 forest from Japan and there were 280 participants. In each experiment, 12 subjects walked in a forest or an urban area and then the next day they switched. Cortisol, blood pressure, pulse rate and heart rate were measured in the morning, before the walk and after it. The results show that “forest environments pro-


Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness

Increased energy level

Improved sleep

mote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments.” If you want to read more in depth about the science

One study, which proves some of the bene-

behind the forest bathing, the Association of Na-

fits, is called The physiological effects of Shin-

ture & Forest Therapy offers on their website a great

rin-yoku: evidence from field experiments in

number of researches available in a pdf format.

24 forests across Japan, published in May 2009. 9

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GETTING DRESSED DOESN’T HAVE TO BE STRESSFUL If your closet is barely closing from all the clothes, but you still don’t have what to wear, you might want to consider decluttering and reorganizing everything. Build a mindful closet by using these guidelines: 1. Invest in quality items

trouble when you have to attend an event and there is no time for thinking your outfit. How-

Owning well-made basics, which are timeless

ever, one or two dresses should be enough for

such as the immaculate white shirt or a pair of

your ‘safe’ or better said ‘signature’ pieces, since

perfectly fitting jeans, is never a waste of money.

you are not going to use them so often.

2. Practicality over impulse

5. Respect your clothes as you respect your-

Before buying something just because you


like it, ask yourself if you have something to

Try to keep your clothes in a single closet and in

wear with that and in how many combinations

a way that you can see them all. Hang all the del-

you could use it. Would you actually wear it?

icate pieces and fold the rest of them with care,

3. Dress for now, not for next year

don’t let them rest on the floor or in the back of

Buying clothes that are not your size or your

the wardrobe, you will just forget about them.

style, thinking that in a few months they will fit

6. Be curious about who made your clothes

or that you will feel the need to spice up your

Check the brands that you like and see how

outfits will only lead to an overstuffed closed.

ethical they are. Are your believes similar with

Buy them after those few months when they fit

their approach? After answering this you may

you or when you really want to change your style.

consider if the brand deserves to be worn by

4. Have one or two emergency outfits

you or not.

Having a ‘to go’ dress can save you from a lot of



PEOPLE TREE Cecile Straight Leg Jeans

Constructing a minduful closet can be tricky when you don’t know where to start. We chose a vareity of ethical, mindful brands for you to get inspired from. So, here are some essencial pieces that can last forever.

DAUNTLESS Black Quilted Biker Jacket (vegan brand) FEMININITEES Nasty Woman Tee



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ABLE Rojas Mule Heels

P.I.C. STYLE Camden Dress

KOMODO Lynn Jacket and June Trousers MATT & NAT Raylan Med - Emerald Bag Vintage Collection


TRADLANDS Night Bandana VETTA The Leatherette Skirt

ARITZIA Stedman Wool Coat

BODEN Classic Belt

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Q&A WITH PATRICIA LUIZA BLAJ Patricia is a Romanian journalist. She founded the fashion blog, The Outsiderz and the clothing brand Loud Bodies (also available internationally). She is an advocate for body positivity through her brand and writes about a variety of social problems that are linked to the fashion industry. I talked with her about how everything begin how is it run your own brand.

1. What made you to start a fashion blog? In my teenage years I dreamed about a fashion blog, however The OutsiderZ is a product of adult(ish) Patricia and it’s a lot closer to my activist side, rather than my fashionista one - not that they don’t get along, they do. OutsiderZ is more of a cry out within and against the fashion world than a fashion blog. It’s pointing out what’s wrong with it and how its rules have made generations after generations of women (and men)(and everything in between) feel like they’re not good enough unless they adhere to whatever standard they fancied at a time.


2. How did the idea of Loud Bodies come about? Loud Bodies started from my own inner cry, that started from the frustration of not being able to find clothes in my size, even though I’m barely a EU size 44-46 (UK 14-16). Things are a little bit different throughout Europe, however in Romania, if you’re anything over a size L, you’re doomed. I’ve always envisioned myself running my own business, but I wanted something that would not only be self-serving, but something that would in some way help other people too. Maybe there are more profound ways to help people, however I think we can all agree that spending a few hours in the mall, getting judged & not finding anything in your size is not exactly pleasant. A great outfit can impact your self esteem majorly. It shouldn’t depend on that, of course, however everybody deserves beautiful clothes, no matter their size. 3. How did you develop your band identity? Were there any difficulties in creating the brand? There weren’t any difficulties, since everything about the brand is very in line with who I am and the


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message I’ve been working on spreading for years. It was a natural business venture that stemmed from my work & journey as a journalist. Finding and sticking to the “perfect” name was a bit tricky, if you will, since I suck at this think of decisions, but other than that, I knew what I wanted to do from the start. 4. Who designs and creates the clothes? I do. I of course ask the opinion of all my friends beforehand deciding on anything since I am not a designer & not looking to gain that label and, after all, I’m not just looking to share my vision. I started with clothes that I would like since it was the most natural thing to do, however the idea is to design clothes for everybody - so we’ll soon branch into more & more styles. 5. Can you tell us about the sustainability aspect of the brand? The things that are in my control regarding sustainability are, well, very much controlled. The clothes are made by me and my employee, whom I am paying well above minimum wage, in spite of being very much at the beginning and without a steady income. I don’t use plastic in the wrapping process of the orders - even though plastic would look neater and more professional, I stick to recycled kraft paper or recycled paper bags. I try to produce as little waste as possible fabrics wise as well. Even the plastic bags in which our chairs were delivered I have reused as trash bags - so I’m really trying to do my part, both in regards to treating people ethically and taking care of our planet. 6. What does ‘body positivity’ mean to you? It’s the revolutionary thought that you don’t have to find people attractive to treat them with respect. That you don’t have to go through life perpetually self flagellating for not being able to look Patricia Luiza Blaj wearing Loud Bodies T-shirt (both here and in the other photos) Photos: Loud Bodies and The OutsiderZ (personal archive)

the way other people tell you you should look. 7. What are you working on for the future? Right not my biggest challenge is trying to fit content creating back into my schedule. My first baby, my first love, OutsiderZ, has been pretty neglected lately and I would very much like to get back into the saddle and write.


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Model: Ioana Cristina Băgășeanu Photographers: Mihaela Șamșodan, Călina Mureșan Styling: Călina Mureșan



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LIVING WITH 100 THINGS CHALLENGE IS IT FOR YOU? Living with less might lead to living more. More relaxed, more peaceful, more in the present. How would you feel if you would always have enough storage space and enough money? Sounds like a good life to me. And how about instead of trying to earn more money in order to move to a bigger place, making your money and the space you own now enough for you?.

A way to stop yourself from being controlled by

niture or some kitchen appliances. It’s up to you

consumerism is by decluttering your life. The

how restrictive you want to be. The downside

100 things challenge is a start if you are aiming

of the challenge is that you still might be ob-

at a minimalist kind of lifestyle. The challenge

sessed with your belongings, but in a different

is to live with just 100 objects. You can create

way. That is what happened to Cary Fortin, who

your own rules about what counts as an object

thinks that this challenge is benefic, but you

and what are you not taking into account when

have to find your own version of it.

making your 100 objects list. For instance, you

Cary Fortin tried this challenge five years ago

may want to leave out household items, like fur28

simply because she was broke. The idea came

so few cultural messages centered around let-

to her after reading The 100 Thing Challenge by

ting go, leading the equation in our homes to

Dave Bruno. Cary is devoted to a minimalist life-

get way out of balance,” says Cary.

style, alongside Kyle Quilici, co-authored New

All that being said, Cary doesn’t believe in the

Minimalism: Declutter and Design for Sustain-

pursuit of a specific number of belongings. To

able, Intentional Living and started The New

her, the goal of minimalism is “a clarity of values

Minimalism in San Francisco. The New Mini-

combined with an ease that comes from not

malism is a decluttering company, which helps

being consumed by shopping, paying, and car-

clients design simple, harmonious spaces. This more

challenge than



with a number of items. From Cary’s point of view, “any-

ing for your items”.

After only having one pen and one journal, I find the idea of buying highlighters in bulk packs of 50 a little crazy.

one can benefit from a version of this challenge”

“I think that when you start counting your belongings itably




obsessed with your stuff, just in a different light

because “having a goal like 100 Things can help

(at least I did during my challenge). It becomes

people push through their comfort zone and

a game of ego and a practice of restriction rath-

experiment with having meaningfully fewer

er than a tool for experiencing joy.”

belongings in their lives. Something many of

Cary would encourage people to try a challenge

us have never tried and therefore aren’t familiar

based on letting go of things. So, even if you


start a challenge like 100 Things, try to focus on

“We spend so much of our life pursuing the

how you feel when you get rid of unnecessary

accrual of items and have so many ritualized

stuffs and when the process becomes stressful

events that are rooted in acquiring possessions:

for you, not on reaching the goal of owning 100

birthdays, Christmas, back to school, Black Fri-

items. When you are feeling too restricted, “ease

day, and countless seasonal sales. We then have

up for a while until you’re adjusted or consider 29

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the process complete,” Cary advises.

“After having so little, I know that I’m fine with next to nothing and that stuff is only stuff. But

“In this challenge, as with any venture into min-

I also know that I feel much more joy when I’m

imalism, the focus is on creating an external

not always focusing on my stuff.”

space that reflects your internal values and priorities. If you are a chef, your kitchen might have a number of knives, tools and spices, but you might not have any need for a printer, a home gym, a large wardrobe. The goal is that your space will be pared back in all areas, and that what is most important to you is given appropriate space to easily and joyfully engage with those items.” Since Cary finished the challenge, she resolved to never count her items and to never let her ego guide her in how she declutters. “It’s clear now that minimalism for me is about pursuing a beautiful, graceful, simple life.” The experience of living with so few possessions stuck with her and influences how she lives her life today. “After only having one pen and one journal, I find the idea of buying highlighters in bulk packs of 50 a little crazy. After so precisely narrowing down my wardrobe, I’m no longer enticed by sales.”

Cary Fortin photo: her personal archive


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STOP BEING A SLAVE TO YOUR PHONE These days leisure time equals phone time. Even the private moments before falling asleep are now stolen by our phone.

Tanya Goodin, a digital detox expert talked about

is different for everybody. Some of us are vegan,

how to stop being controlled by our phones

vegetarian or just prefer certain types of food and

at London Stylist Live 2018. Tanya focused in

it is the same when you do a ‘digital junk food’

her career on the interaction between people

detox. First of all, you should identify your ‘digital

and technology, she founded a digital market-

junk food’ and as Tanya said you already know on

ing company and authored the books OFF and

which apps you are spending too much time on.

Stop Staring at your Screen. She also started

For some may be Instagram or for others even

the Time to Log Off movement and works as a

work emails, being unable to detach from work.

digital consultant for companies and schools.

A way to become more aware of how much time

Stop being a slave to your phone was the title of

you are spending on your phone is by using an

Tanya’s talk. Quite accurate, I would say. But how

app that will tell you this, such as Moment- Bal-

many of us are willing to admit our slavery sta-

ance Screen Time App. Ironicaly, yes an app can

tus? Now, we are in a screen peak period, where

actually help you. After using it for a day you will

we spend lots of our time looking at screens,

see which apps are you checking most often

but we are also realizing that this is a problem.

and the total time of time spent on your phone. Tanya highlighted that the average time spent

So, if you are ready to revolt against your phone,

on a phone is around 8 hours. (I was a bit sur-

you might consider a digital detox. According to

prised to see that indeed I spend 8 hours looking

Tanya, the digital diet works as a food diet and it


Tanya Goodin at London Stylist Live photo: Călina MureČ™an

at my phone after I used the screen time app.)

It has been demonstrated that even if the phone is on the table with the face down, it still distracts

After awareness comes some action. One of the

you. So, when you are working, eating or even so-

first steps recommended by Tanya is to turn

cializing with friends keep the phone in the bag.

off your notifications. By not being constantly disrupted by banners, badges and sounds,

These seem like basic rules, but how many of us

you will not check the phone so often. The so-

actually implement them? We have to reeducate

cial media is still there, but you are checking

ourselves when it comes to how we are spending

it when you want, not when phone wants it.

our free time and a start would be to take baby steps like these ones.

Another important step is to put your phone away. 33

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WHERE TO RETREAT IN 2019? Take yourself on a trip this year. Travelling alone it’s a great way to understand yourself better. You have time for everything you want to do, you are more willing to meet new people and you will be out of your comfort zone. If you want to improve your relationship with yourself, consider these destinations for 2019: Seychelles- The Bird Island Have you had enough grey clouds and sunless days? The private Bird Island is ready to embrace you with its warmth and quietness. The Bird Island is the northernmost island in the Seychelles archipelago and it’s called The Eco Lodge of the Seychelles. Here the nature is more important than humans are. You are just a simple visitor, who has the privilege to enjoy its turquoise waters, the calm and untouched beaches, to see an extraordinary marine life and a multitude species of birds.

Sweden- Kolarbyn Eco-lodge Take forest bathing to another level and move into the forest. In Sweden, at the Kolarbyn Eco-lodge you will live like in the primitive era. No electricity, no running water, just some candles. Everything is made from wood and your entertainer is the nature itself. This is a place to experience truly living in the nature and forget about how the civilization works for a few days.


Sir Lanka- Santani Reset your body in one of the world’s lushest environments of the world. Hided in Sri Lanka, Santani (Sanskrit for ‘in harmony with’) is a place that believes in sustainable wellness. You can get different healing programs, from fitness and nutrition, to massages, detox, yoga and spa.

Grenada- The Spice Island How about a Caribbean adventure? The island of Grenada awaits with its soft-sand beaches where you can get a great tan and with its lush rainforest where you should go for a hike. The Spice Island is an area of Grenada where you could find your peace since is not as developed for tourism as other Caribbean islands. Undisturbed by nosy tourist. What could you want more?


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