Monday, May 15, 2017

Easterlin, my love.

It is going on 9 months now living in our sweet little camper which we call Easterlin. I want to preserve our memories living here as much as possible because I cherish this little space so much! I feel so much peace living here but know we will be moving out of  Easterlin in just a few months.

Here are some photos of some updates we have done to her over the past few months.
3 of my favorite updates:
1. The spice bottles I created with a label maker and glass spice bottle which were both bought on Amazon.
2. The wood bed side shelves Dave made us out of tiny cutting boards found at home goods.
3. The new kitchen rug which is the perfect color and texture to match the rest of the place. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Carlsbad by the sea

After 8 months living in Vegas, we have moved on to our next adventure! We spent the past 2 weeks in our little home on wheels on a cliff over looking the ocean in South Carlsbad State Beach campgrounds. Carlsbad is a gorgeous seaside village just north of San Diego. As you will see in the pictures below, the view of the ocean right outside our camper is insane. Since we are over a cliff it allows you to see out over the water for miles. However, it hasn't all been roses. We arrived and were quite surprised that there was no hook ups for water or electricity. Thank goodness for our solar powered string lights and candles for light at night.

Although the weather has been unusually cold, cloudy and wet the majority of our time here, there have been some sunny days and we share many good memories made here! I cherish the time we spent cooking over the fire, going on walks along the coast, chilling in our hammock, pretty sunsets, reading, whale and dolphin watching from the incredible view of the ocean right outside our camper's windows.

Tomorrow we are off to La Jolla for a month with our little home. We look forward to having water in the sink to do our dishes with again and electricity to charge our electronics!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

what it really has been like to live tiny...

It is time to get real. 

In a few years I will undoubtedly look back at this time in my life and wish I could remember the details of how it felt to be living in a 23 foot RV in Las Vegas (of all places!) As you can imagine, sometimes I look around and wonder how the heck I ended up here! It is crazy the amount of peace, contentment and happiness I have found living this way. The path that led me here is a bit confusing but that is why I have decided to get very real today and be honest about it all.

 I found the following questions from a tiny house blog a few weeks ago but cannot remember which blog I found them on. They were intended to be answered then sent in when you submitted your tiny house to be featured on their blog. However, I decided to switch up the questions and then share  the responses here because I thought this would be the best way to document it all.

If you are new here, you can check out my other blog posts about Easterlin including the process of re-doing her interior and what she currently looks like

  • What appealed to you about the Tiny Home lifestyle?
I didn’t think much of the appeal of the tiny home lifestyle before I started living it because I stumbled upon it and it just grew on me. I know this story is going to very confusing, but I will give it my best shot.

Let me try to explain the events that led us here…

My boyfriend and I work in the airline industry. Most people who work for the airlines can swap home airport bases every so often. I was originally Chicago based and lived in Wisconsin and Dave was Fort Lauderdale based so when I moved in with him, I swapped bases to Fort Lauderdale as well. He is about to upgrade to become a Captain and the Las Vegas base Captain schedule would be much more flexible and better for him in Las Vegas. On top of that, I have always wanted to be Las Vegas based eventually so it was a known fact that we would transfer bases one day. We also knew that we would be doing the drive across country in his truck when we did make the move. 
The idea to buy an RV for the road trip across country came to me one day while we were looking at places we wanted to live once we got to Las Vegas and also talking about plans for the road trip. It was very difficult to make housing plans in Vegas without being there so the original plan was to buy an old RV and use it to camp in while we did the road trip and then live in it for a few weeks after getting to Las Vegas while we apartment/house shopped. Then we would either sell the RV or keep it for a while to explore the west coast in. 

Obviously, that all changed once we realized how much fun we were having living in the RV and finding the “resort” we currently live in.

 {The maintenance of the park where we have kept our RV for the past 4 months is not what you would expect when you hear the phrase "trailer park"! I guess that is why they call it an RV resort instead. ;-) It really is a beautiful and peaceful place.}
{One of the two MASSIVE pools at our current home. This is the family pool, the adult only one is off to the right. There is a sand beach on the left of this one and  a massive waterfall behind it. There is also a nice big Jacuzzi.}
We ended up falling so in love with our sweet little home on wheels that Dave saw no point in renting a place again and having to furnish it when we were so comfortable living in the RV. He was also interested in some homes in the area because we really loved the weather and the cost of living here is amazing. Some of the houses you can buy here are insane for the price and there are many beautiful cities in the area. After being on the house hunt for a little while we eventually decided we didn’t love it here enough to buy a home here. 

I am so thankful that as a result of living this way we didn’t feel pressured to make a decision before we were ready regarding buying a house somewhere we didn't really want to be. This place has kept us from feeling forced into buying a house too soon and is preventing us from being tied down somewhere we don't want to be long term. The fact that neither of us feel the need to live within socially constructed limits and the idea of living small fits perfectly with our values makes it very fulfilling. 
Every chapter of this story in our lives has been an amazing experience. Dave surprised me after a work trip one day when he had bought the RV we had fallen in love with online while I was away. Since it was during summertime in Florida, we had to take her to a park and hook her up to electricity to do all the little changes we wanted to make. We spent days having such a blast together painting her and picking up little items all over the place to make her insanely comfortable inside. Those days are a wonderful memory for me. It was so fun to see all our hard work pay off! The state park we remodeled her at was called "Easterlin Park" hence how she got her name, Easterlin. 

We have both been nomadic for years and share a minimalist mindset and vagabonding spirit so this lifestyle fits us perfectly. The fact that our home is movable makes it even better and allows our free spirits to feel unconfined. Honestly I never thought we would end up living in a tiny house but it has all been golden and feels so right. I have fully embraced all the lessons I am learning here and keep documenting this cool phase in my life! We have dreams and ideas for the future but the fact that we don't feel rushed to make concrete plans is so liberating. 
  •  What size home did you live in before moving into your tiny home?
Before moving into the tiny home, I had been living in Dave’s small Fort Lauderdale apartment in the lovely Victoria Park neighborhood for a few months.

  • What was the down-sizing process like?
Since I had moved to Fort Lauderdale from Wisconsin just a few months earlier, I had the advantage of not having so many things. I also had read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” before moving to Florida which is actually what helped me the most in getting rid of most of my belongings. While I was going thru the Konmari method of decluttering explained in the book, the thought that it was going to help me move into a tiny home with such ease never crossed my mind. In fact, I never thought I would be living in a Tiny House at all.

  • How much stuff did you get rid of?
During my decluttering process before moving to Florida, I got rid of at least 10 huge black garbage bags worth of stuff. My dad is a huge thrifter and my sister and I fell in love with thrifting as a result. Most people who know me know that I am a thrifting queen. However, I have given my thrifting habit up since decluttering my life. After spending countless hours on the hunt for nothing in particular in thrift stores, you end up adding lots of worthless (albeit cute) nonsense to your life. If you are thinking about living in a tiny home eventually, READ "THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP" AND DE CLUTTER NOW. Don't wait!

  • Do you have a storage unit housing some of your things?

  • How have your family and friends responded to your decision to live small?
Since Dave and I have lived pretty unconventional lifestyles up to this point, our friends and family aren’t too surprised by our choice to live in an RV. They have watched us make many choices that are different than how most people live their lives that it most likely seems pretty normal for us to choose to be doing this now.
  • ·         Was the cost of your tiny home more or less than anticipated?
Our tiny home was much cheaper than we expected. It was around $5,000 plus about $300 in little upgrades such as a new couch, paint and bedding. We originally had wanted an Airstream but after checking a couple out we realized they were insanely overpriced because of the “cool factor”. We decided to kiss our egos goodbye and settled on an RV instead for a quarter of the price and twice the comfort then an Airstream. Another reason we didn’t get an Airstream is because we had to tow it for 40 hours from the east coast to the west coast and we didn’t know how reliable these older models we were looking at would be. We didn’t want our home on wheels to break down during the drive across country. Most Airstreams that are affordable are “fixer uppers” so you either pay a CRAZY amount for them or you have to do a ton of maintenance yourself to get them to a point where they are livable and towable.

  • What was most important to you while you were looking for your tiny house?
Once we let go of the Airstream idea, we started looking at small RVs that would be easily towable on Craigslist. We really wanted a nice layout and the one we ended up getting was our favorite one of all. I love how the bed is tucked away in a comfy corner with a window over it. I love how the huge “Denny’s style booth” is also next to a huge window and is such a large table with large and comfy seats. The layout of the tiny kitchen is perfect.
  • What have been the best things about living in your tiny house?

There are so many good things about living small that it is hard to put my finger on the best thing. Since we travel a lot of for work, when we are here it is so relaxing. Everything that is here brings us joy and it keeps us from buying things that we don’t need since everything has to have a place to go. Although it is much smaller than most RV’s that people live in, it feels so charming and cozy. 

People may think it is too small and they could never imagine living here but every day, all the moments that make up the day are more comfortable spent here than they are anywhere else. It is such a light and airy space and we love doing everything in it from cooking at the full kitchen, to eating at the huge dinette table with crazy comfy cushion benches to sleeping in the little comfy bed nook. 

For example, a typical relaxing afternoon spent here really feels no different than relaxing anywhere else… you hook up your music via an Aux cable to the “surround sound speakers” (haha!) and make a cup of tea and read for hours just lounging around and knowing everything you could want or need is just a step away. It is wonderful! Most people barely use all the room they have in their homes but every inch of ours we use and it works out splendidly. 

  • How has living in your tiny house changed things for you financially?
With our jobs, we can take weeks off at a time so it is perfect because we are able to travel more and we worry less about paying bills.

  • How does living small compare to what you thought it’d be like?
We did it all so last minute and as I explained we kind of fell into the lifestyle so we didn’t have too much time to think about expectations. 
We just knew that once we started living this way, we loved it. It became addicting.
  • What is the number one thing people have questions about after they find out?
Once they see photos of how small it is, they ask how we are able to live here together without fighting 24/7.
  • How has living in a small space affected your relationships with those you share the space with?
Living with your boyfriend in such a small space forces you to realize very quickly if you are compatible or not. However, the opposite is also true. If you really are compatible with someone and you live in a tiny home together, it will just strengthen your bond. It forces you to do more things together. I fall more and more in love with him because I see what a wonderful person he is living here. His selfless qualities have really stood out to me and he is the perfect tiny home companion! 

We both make an effort to keep the space clean for each other by putting things away right away and using headphones if the other person wants the place to be quiet. During the warmer months, we were able to use the hammock out back for a breather if we got sick of each other but now if we have a disagreement, we try to take a break for an hour or two before reconnecting to work things out and normally realize how foolish the issue was that we were upset over. Another thing I have realized is that when I meditate in the mornings it helps me to notice when I start being judgmental and selfish throughout my day which obviously helps keep our fights in such close quarters to a minimum as well.

  • Would you change anything about your small space?
We have realized that by making one change to our space, it would affect many other things and we would have to do a complete overhaul for it to look right. For example, by doing a dark wood floor we would have to completely change the oak cabinets for it to match. The same thing goes for our dreams for a reclaimed wood table. I have let some things go for now but perhaps one day if we think doing these projects would be fun we will do it. For now, we are very happy with our space.

  • What things make your home the most efficient? and the least efficient?
The one item that makes life very efficient isn't really related to living in a tiny space. The thing that comes to mind is the electric hot water kettle on the counter which Dave has been using forever and I now cannot live without. It boils water so easily and quickly! The other thing that helps make it efficient is having a very precise place for every last thing we own so that we both always know where things are.
The thing that makes our home least efficient is the fact that the storage under the bed and under the dinette booths is not a breeze to access.

  • What would you recommend to someone who is interested in living small?
You should do it. It will give your life a re-set. You will learn so many great lessons about yourself and that you need WAY less to be happy than you ever dreamed. It is easier to see the lies that society tells you when you live tiny. You have more free time to do what you want because you don’t have to spend your life cleaning so many areas in your home or shopping to fill you space with worthless items. Give it a try. It can only bring you joy! You need less than you think. Uncluttering your life will unclutter your mind and detaching yourself from how the world tells you that you must live is a freeing and beautiful thing.

  • What are the best resources for others interested in this lifestyle?
The book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” for getting rid of all the things that do not bring you joy. Do not bring junk that doesn’t make you happy into your space!

Check out my other blog posts about Easterlin including the process of re-doing her interior and what she currently looks like! xo

Thursday, January 5, 2017

merry and bright in the hudson valley

We spent the past week in upstate New York in the Hudson Valley at Dave's sweet parents over New Years. They live in an amazing little country town nestled in the forest near the Catskill Mountains. Although it is only 2 hours from NYC it feels like it could be on another planet. It is such a refreshing place to visit because we always spend so much time in nature here. His parent's are also wonderful and gracious hosts and always makes our stay with them feel special.

A friend of Dave's works at the beautiful Mohonk Mountain House  and was able to get us in to go ice skating one night at their amazing out door yet covered ice rink next to a massive fire place. Mohonk Mountain House is a old New York Spa resort. It is hard to explain how amazing this place is! "A long, winding driveway leads you forward.  Around the last bend, a Victorian castle resort rises above Lake Mohonk, surrounded by carefully landscaped gardens and pristine wilderness. Inside you discover a warm interior that is reminiscent of a bygone era." via 

We went ice skating during a snow fall and as the sun set, we were able to watch the night sky turn beautiful colors from the rink. 

The photo above shows the back of the old castle where guests stay. It is such a beautiful place.
Another day we went for a long winter walk along the gorgeous Ashokan Reservoir. This reservoir supplies NYC with much of their water supply and it has a long walking trail thru it. I have biked along this long, open path before during Autumn and it was just as magical as I remembered it. The Catskill Mountains have this gorgeous blue hue to them and it is so quiet out there. 
On our last day we went for a 4 hour winter hike to some crazy waterfalls called Vernooy Falls. We borrowed spikes from his parent's called "crampons" (I kid you not...) which make hiking in snow and ice patches a breeze. Here is a picture I found to better explain these crazy things. You stretch the orange plastic thing over your boot.
I have never heard of such a thing before so it was cool to try them out and the waterfalls we hiked to were so beautiful! I never thought I would enjoy a winter hike but it was such a fun experience. The woods are so silent and peaceful in the winter time.
I borrowed those bib snow pants you wore sledding as a kid and had on a hundred layers!
For New Years Eve we met up Dave's friends so I am very glad he was able to catch up with so many people over our visit! 
Grateful for a wonderful holiday trip.
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