I can’t remember where we were or what we were doing, but I remember the complete look of shock on a sales lady’s face when I told her that we lived in 500 square feet while I was in grad school. I’d love to find that sales lady today and tell her that we now live in less than 200 square feet (an estimated 188 ft!). She might have a conniption.
Deciding to live in a Airstream is one of the best decisions we’ve made. (You can read more about our reasoning here.) And just like my husband, George, said the other night, “I don’t even think of it as an Airstream anymore. I just think of it as home.” So how do we do it without killing each other?
The most obvious key is patience. Patience is not my strong suit. I want everything now, now, now! But luckily, George was blessed with enough patience for the both of us. He’s teaching me to become a more patient human being through his example. He’s also teaching me to get over things more quickly. If left alone, I’d stew in my own frustration for days, but he won’t let me.
We sold and donated the majority of our belongings. And we don’t even miss them. We decided what we truly needed and cleared out the clutter (see more tips on how to do that here). It wasn’t an easy process and took a good deal of personal honesty. But it feels good.
Keeping with the honesty, I want to divulge that we do have a small storage unit. Both George and I have a few family heirlooms that are pieces of furniture and we wouldn’t dare think of ditching those.
We clean more. I would love us to clean even more than we do now. I love a tidy home! But, we do clean much more than we did while we were living in a larger apartment. It’s much quicker to clean a small space and much more necessary to keep tidy. You can’t just throw a bunch of junk into a room and shut the door!
We stay out of each other’s way. The Airstream is narrow and two people can barely stand side-by-side in it. So when one is in one area, the other one stays out of that area. That way we aren’t constantly bumping into each other.
We think more about our purchases. George and I love to shop for vintage stuff. But now, if we are out browsing, we think long and hard about our would-be purchases. Do we actually need the item? Do we have space for it?
We know that everything needs to have a purpose.We don’t keep stuff around just because it looks nice or we might use it someday. If it doesn’t have a purpose, it doesn’t live in the Airstream.
We have hiding spots for junk.Let’s be real, craft supplies, piles of clothes and random beauty products aren’t always pretty. When we were planning the layout of the AIrstream, we planned for lots of nooks and crannies to hide the stuff that we need to be functional human beings.
We constantly reorganize. Almost every weekend I’m reorganizing, refolding and rearranging things to make the Airstream a neater and cleaner place to live. It’s just a fact of life now.
We love each other.I wouldn’t recommend living in this small of a space with your best friend (remember dorm rooms?!) because at some point you will want to strangle the other person. But because we love each other and have promised not to leave each other, we aren’t going to get out of this situation. We also remember our shared end goal of financial independence.
Do you live in a small space? What kind of tips would you include on this list? Let me know in the comments!
My dad said he was sick of turkey the day after Thanksgiving. That man does not like leftovers. But me, I’m down with the cold turkey. I could happily eat a turkey sandwich every day. Plus, leftovers are like finding pre-made meals in your own fridge!
And although I like leftovers, I also like to mix things up a bit. This morning I plopped a little bit of warm cranberry sauce on my french toast. It was delightful.
Can we talk about how easy it is to make cranberry sauce? I’ve never understood why people buy the canned stuff. It takes two seconds to make and it doesn’t have that creepy can shape.
Here’s my ultra-easy, tangy cranberry sauce recipe: Ingredients:
1 cup of cranberries
1/4 heaping cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of water
Zest from 1/2 a small lemon
Juice from a small lemon
Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until boiling. Then, turn down the heat to low and simmer until sauce reaches a more gelatinous consistency (usually about 10 minutes).
Serve warm over french toast (gluten-free, for me) and a drizzle of maple syrup! Ya’ll don’t need directions for french toast, do you? I love the tang of cranberry sauce and the sweetness of the toast.
How are you using your holiday leftovers? Let me know in the comments!
Some of my favorite childhood memories involve some sort of musical accompaniment. My sister, my best friend and I used to make up all kinds of songs. I distinctly remember a song about dirty clothes sang to the tune of Baby Love by The Supremes.
For Christmas I want to give the joy of music to my niece. But in my true fashion, I couldn’t just give her a plain ol’ ukulele. I had to customize it.
First I bought this relatively inexpensive ukulele from Amazon. Originally I had planned to cut out vinyl decals to add to the body of the ukulele. But George, my super talented husband, really liked the idea of customizing the ukulele and volunteered to hand letter it. He used a white paint markers for the base, then created texture with a black paint marker.
It’s kind of adorable. Maybe my niece will be the next Dolly Parton. I’m at least going to win best aunt award this year.
Although I’d like to scream at most stores (and some people) that have had their Christmas decorations out since before Halloween, I can no longer deny that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are just a day away! The holiday season is upon us, ya’ll.
I’m not diving through a swimming pool full of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck (yet!), but I do find a way to give some of my mere wages to charity during the holiday season and throughout the year. I’d like to encourage you to do so too.
So how do you know if an organization is legitimate? How do you know where your donation goes? How can you make a difference? Here’s some of my tips to making sure your giving counts.
Think about the things that mean the most to you.
Do you have a big heart for animals? Has a teacher made a difference in your world? It’s time to get mushy and find an organization or organizations that aligns with your beliefs.
Check to make sure the organization is a 501(c) tax-exempt nonprofit.
The IRS database of nonprofits is difficult to navigate, so I’d recommend just downloading the zip file and searching for the organization by using Ctrl F. You can download the file here.
No money? No problem. Charitable giving just isn’t a reality for some people. I get that. But many organizations not only need cash, they need the time of dedicated individuals. Consider dedicating your time, as well.
Ask and give donations instead of gifts this holiday season
Instead of gifts at our wedding, we asked our guests to donate to our favorite charity. It was one of the best decisions we made. It definitely made our wedding feel a lot less self-absorbed. Instead of yet another something that someone doesn’t need, consider making a charitable donation in their name. It’s pretty much like giving holiday cheer.
Remember that you may be able to deduct charitable giving from your taxes Just keep a good, solid record of your donations and in April, you might be able to write them off!
Still stumped? Here are a few of my favorite charities.
Your local Community College Foundation
Community Colleges change the lives of people by giving them a higher education or a technical skill for a relatively low cost (or for free!). But unlike large universities, community colleges don’t have the alumni support base that large universities do to help offset costs. I donate to the community college I work at each month and I know that my small donation is helping to change the life of student.
NPR NPR is another organization that I give to each month. I don’t have a television, so I rely on NPR to supply me with unbiased news on a daily basis. I’m also a sustainer, so I am entered into their trip drawings during their pledge drive.
Heifer International Heifer International empowers families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity. You can donate livestock to international families or communities to help “bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.” This year I’m giving a goat!
Stronghold Society The Stronghold Society is the organization that George and I chose to donate to during our wedding. Their mission “is to inspire confidence, creativity, hope, and ambition for the youth of native and non-native communities… [And] encourage youth to take action to live a healthy life in mind, body, and spirit through the diverse means of skateboarding, arts, and creative movements.” It’s a beautiful mission and it blends George’s love of skateboarding and the arts with my heritage.
In this time of thanksgiving, please think about those who are less fortunate.
I’ve never been too keen on flavored liquors with the exception of my college Smirnoff Lemon Vodka phase. I feel a little barfy just thinking about it. But that’s because most of those liquors are artificially flavored. I mean Cinnabon-flavored vodka? That can’t be real.
Infusing your own liquor is so much tastier than the manufactured stuff and makes mixed drinks extra special. And infused liquors make a great hostess holiday gift. Good thing my friends like to party because everyone is getting infused liquor this year!
Here’s the stupid-easy how-to: Grab a canning jar. Cut up some fruit, add spices (if you desire) and fill the jar with liquor. I recommend using organic fruit so there’s no yucky stuff infusing the liquor. Then, shake once a day, everyday. The liquor will be infused in about a week!
I’ve tried strawberries and vodka before with great results. The vodka tasted just like real strawberries! This time I’m also trying an apple-infused bourbon and a green apple-infused moonshine. (The moonshine is legal, guys. It’s Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, if you are curious.) For the apple-infused liquors, in addition to the fruit, I also added a cinnamon stick and three cloves. I’m thinking with a little bit of simple syrup it will taste like apple pie!
I’m so excited about these holiday gifts, I might have to keep one for myself!
You know those projects that somehow never just finish themselves? Those projects are super inconsiderate. I can’t even believe them sometimes. My dishes are the worst. They just pile up and pile up until finally I get angry enough and do them myself.
The mirror in my bathroom was one of those projects. I had planned to paint or cover the edges in small strips of wood, but sometimes all I’ve got time for is a five minute project. I found this washi tape that has been lying around since our wedding and simply put it up around the mirror to hide the ugly, old edges. The best thing about washi tape is that if you mess up, it doesn’t leave residue or loose it’s stickiness. There’s really no trick to this project.
I love projects like that. No tricks, just treats. It’s super simple and it makes a big difference.
What’s your favorite 5 minute DIY? I’d love to see links to your projects in the comments!
When I worked at the Boys and Girls Club, the older kids liked to scare the little ones with the story of Bloody Mary. Have you heard it? As legend goes, Bloody Mary appears if they spun around three times in front of a mirror while chanting her name. (You can read more of the legend here.) It was kind of terrifying and I’m an adult. I will never forget the morning my favorite little kid ran out of the bathroom with tears in his eyes, so afraid that “Bloody Muddy” was going to get him. There were so many time-outs that day.
This drink goes out to that little guy, wherever he is. I hope he’s out terrifying the big kids with some gut wrenching tales.
8 oz. Bloody Mary Mix (I cheated a bit on this one and went with a Trader Joe’s mix. You could also use tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce).
1 shot of vodka
15! shakes of Texas Pete (less if you like a less spicy drink)
1 dash of onion powder
1 dash of garlic powder
Splash of canned olive juice
Garnish with fresh, cracked black pepper and olives
Also, can we talk about how serving in a jar saves on clean up. AND. AND. AND. You can make these before a party and have them ready to go! Have you ever had a Texas Pete Bloody Mary? Let me know in the comments!