My name is Barbara Jo and I am an aesthetic minimalist. I live small but very well. I believe in quality, not quantity.  For over ten years, I have lived simply…believing less is more. I do not have much, but what I have is simply beautiful. I like to emphasis  the STYLE in a minimalist lifestyle.

When the Twin Towers came thundering down, I was there. Following 9/11, I lost my job and a hazardous waste specialist condemned most of the contents of my Ground Zero apartment. Still in shock, I left New York City with my dog, Jasper, and retreated to my studio condo in a fishing town ironically known as “The End” as it is located at the furthermost tip of Long Island. In piecing my life back together, I learned that I was more than a career. Time with  family and friends became paramount. And, while I had been forced to pare down from a luxury one bedroom apartment, I found living small didn’t compromise my life. I surrounded my self with good design, a commitment to form with multiple functions.

In 2005, I returned to the city. I needed to go back and prove to myself that I could still scale the career ladder. I landed a great job at a great company making a really good six figure salary, but felt empty. In 2008 after much soul searching and, admittedly much angst, I left again, but this time it was my choice.

I am not in my twenties (and left my thirties awhile ago). I am not a nomad. I have a mortgage and I am living my dream of owning a home on the beach. It is small, but with 18 feet sliding glass doors that look out over an every changing waterscape, I feel it is a McMansion. I have a plum job as director of marketing and communications for a local not-for-profit theater and museum. It allows to me to celebrate the work of emerging and established artists…my passion! This position puts me on the red carpet of premier events and celeb galas. So, my wardrobe has to stretch beyond the requisite jeans and tee-shirt. I do have a car as my job is over twenty miles from my home. However, when the weather (and work schedule) permits I ride my bike. On Sundays, I study in a pottery studio with one of the most creative and inspiring ceramic artists of our time.  I am doing things I never thought possible…including sprint triathlons!

Today, during these challenging financial times, we all can benefit from doing more with less and being choiceful about how we spend our money and time balancing work, family, and friends. It is what I call “conscious consumerism.” I have had no debt (except for my mortgage which I am successfully paying off in ten years). I am going to tell you how I did it, and interview others who maximize a minimalist lifestyle. This goes beyond ridding unnecessary clutter to sharing advice for a simpler life that doesn’t skimp on style. I hope to  encourage all to dream,  follow their passions, and do what you love…no matter your age…anything is possible!

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