Life is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Once we stop fussing about the small things and go back to the basics, we can enjoy a simple life. This is what interior designer and blogger Jillian Harris aims to do. “I really over-complicated my life about a year ago,” she shares. “If anyone follows me on social media or my blog, [my life] was all about photo shoots every week and making everything look good. I got to have a new recipe and stand on the table and take 10 photos of that, take pictures of this and more pictures of that and my outfit: I need to over-accessorize with 13,000 purses! It became overwhelming and I didn’t feel like I was living my true life.”
“I’ve really simplified the way I live, the way I design and the way I cook. Basically, because I want to enjoy life. I don’t want to over-complicate things,” Jillian explains. Starting with design, you’ll notice that Jillian is moving away from bright, crisp, artificial white and moving more towards really natural worn-in whites, greys, and creams. Even when it comes to accessories, which Jillian is famous for, she’s opting for less dainty, precious décor to make things less complicated; “I was telling my team at Love It or List It, less knick-knacks and less over-accessorizing and let’s keep things really simple. A lot of natural finishes.”
Jillian has only been embracing this new, simpler lifestyle for a few months, but she can already see the difference. “My life has been chaotic and been all over the map. Justin’s brother actually nicknamed me ‘Chill Harris’ because I realized I was taking on too much and over complicated things. I’m really simplifying things. I feel happier and more comfortable,” she says. “Some think of simple as being boring but I don’t think that’s the case. I’m not saying that everything has to be simple but the more you can simplify things, the more choices you have to make. You can have the choice to go ‘okay, this is something I want to spend more time with’ as opposed to fussing with everything.”
Embracing her simpler outlook on life, Jillian has teamed up with Excel to launch the new Excel Naturally Sweetened gum. This partnership is designed to inspire Canadians to make simple choices in their homes, fashion, food, entertaining, and the essentials. So with that in mind, here are six lifestyle tips that’ll help you to simplify your life.
“I think the thing that has helped me the most, which has been hard for me, is planning. I am very sporadic,” Jillian shares. “Planning has really helped me with my schedule, living with my significant other and living in two different homes. I schedule everything, even my downtime. I try to schedule when I take a nap, when I go to the gym and when I’m going to do some grocery shopping. When I do that, it feels good.”
Eat What You Know
There’s something pretty terrifying about not being able to read and understand most of the ingredients on the back of a processed food package. The best way to avoid this is to shop for the basics by doing your grocery shopping around the perimeter of a grocery store—this way you’ll hit the fruits and vegetables first, bread, meat, and then dairy. If you browse through the aisles in-between, make sure you’re going to purchase something specific, because a few impulse-buy boxes of cookies and instant noodles later, you’re back to eating those unknown ingredients.
Decorate With Texture
A simple way to make a big impact in any room is by including elegant décor items for added texture. Keep it simple—to add dimension to any space, include a sleek mirror, or throw on a faux fur to add some interest to flat furniture.
Have A Few Basic And Statement Pieces In Your Closet
Sometimes we wake up with no game plan for what to wear. Sometimes we wake up with a game plan but the jeans we wanted to wear are still in the wash and then we’re rushing to put together a great outfit. This is where having basic and statement pieces comes in handy—you can throw together an outfit with a lot of neutrals and then finish it off with a few bold accessories. “I’m a big fan of Aritzia because it’s Canadian and their stuff is pretty simple. Urban Outfitters is another great one,” says Jillian. “I like shopping at places like Target and Forever 21 for statement pieces and pops of colour. When you’re injecting bits of personality or trends, I tend not to splurge a lot on it.”
Easy Layer Options
If you’re on the go, or are short on time when it comes to outfit selection, opt for clothing with built-in layers. Layering can help add dimension and a quick flare to any outfit without much fuss or thought. “It gives the illusion that you have taken the time to layer your outfit with that little piece of lace that is actually just sewn on there. Sometimes they have them with a plaid or a faux collar,” Jillian expresses. “It’s all natural colours, it’s easy to throw on, it would look good with a pair of leather leggings or distressed jeans with boots.”
Count On A Bold Lip
“People ask about my beauty routine; when I’m getting ready in the morning and see that I’ve got 10 minutes, then I’m good to go. If it’s going to take me more than 10 minutes, then it’s not happening,” Jillian says. To make a beauty statement with minimal effort, reach for your favourite lipstick or crayon to add a pop of colour. A bold lip allows for the rest of your make-up to be kept minimal and more neutral. Layer your lips using a lipbalm first to ensure they are not dry or chapped before applying your lipstick.