Author Archives: melanie

About melanie

living a small and dreaming big in an airstream trailer.

A Video Tour of our Airstream!

We’ve been living in the Airstream for two years now! TWO YEARS! I can’t believe it’s been that long. Anyway, we had friends over last weekend and they commented that it was hard to visualize how the Airstream looked from the pictures. I had no idea, because I live in it every day! So, yesterday, George and I filmed a video tour of our Airstream. The video isn’t the best quality and it was filmed with an iPhone and I am super awkward, but, I think it gives you a good idea of the layout.

I hope you enjoy!

September’s Book Club Pick

The not so big life

September’s book club pick is The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters by Sarah Susanka. Sarah is an architect and is best know for her “Not So Big house” books. I’ve had this book sitting beside my bed forever and this will force me to read it! Read it with me and we’ll discuss on September 1st. Let’s get to readin’!


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Link Love: 51

Link Love There’s so much to love this week!

We were featured on a Canadian non-profit housing website!

I get asked a lot about parking our Airstream. This website is filling the need of renting land for tiny houses.

This empty Sicilian town is giving away houses. Let’s all go!!!

Decluttering is the new juice cleanse (and equally annoying). I love decluttering, but I agree that “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” didn’t spark joy in me. (Here’s my thoughts on it.)

This week I talked about how we minimized books and art supplies. This guy gave away 1,000 books and learned to love reading again.

Want to never have kids? Calculate how much just the first year of their life will cost.

And similarly, systemically(?), Millennial men aren’t the dads they thought they’d be. This is a complicated problem, but I think a large part of the issue is the lack of paid maternity leave for men and women and inflexible work schedules.

Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life. This is from The Onion, so obviously it’s a parody. It had me rolling because it was #tooreal.

Advice for people in their 20s. And pretty much everyone.

Become financially independent with these 5 habits.

How walking in nature changes your brain. Thoreau had it right.

And for when you can’t get out in nature… How to meditate anywhere.

Do fewer things, more often.

Similarly, stop worrying about what you’re not doing. I need to read this every day.

50 happy little things Bob Ross taught me. My favorite is: “Just scrape in a few indications of sticks and twigs and other little things in there. People will think you spend hours doing this.” So funny and so wise.

What if teachers were treated like professional athletes? Such a smart piece.


Ask Melanie: How Do I Reduce My Books and Art Supplies?

Desk closeup in Airstream

Today’s question is from Grazia. She wants to know some tips and tricks for reducing books and art supplies. Today I’ve got George, my husband, helping me out. He’s the artist in the family. Take it away, Grazia!

Hi Melanie, happy to see you go on with your blog and thanks for doing it, it’s always a good reading. I know it’s hard to do it with a full time job and a life, thanks so much! I’ve read all your last posts this morning (it’s 5:30 am here in Italy, my time for reading peacefully) and want to thank you for your commitment in telling this life choice of living simply and small…

I’ve two questions for “Ask Melanie” – ok, I’m pretentious! But they aren’t anything urgent, I hope only to inspire one of your good articles.

1) You’re a reader and I’ve read you use library and ebooks. But is it enough to reduce the number of books? I’ve this trouble in living small… I’m a writer and a painter, so I have a lot of books that I need for my jobs. I tried to reduce them, especially huge art books, but I still have a full big bookshelf. I can’t find them at the local library and they do not exist as ebooks (in example Taschen art books). How do you manage this in the Airstream? I’d like to hear all your “techniques” to reduce the books space!

2) This question is mainly for George: how does he work in a so small table? I’m really impressed! 😀 He has a secret, I’m sure! I’ve a table for Mac and 2 monitors, another table for painting, a shelf for all the ‘minimum’ I need for painting, a big bookshelf and a big, old bedroom 4-drawer dresser to store my paintings and papers, with the printers on it. May he share his “tips and tricks” in working from home in a small space? Thanks!


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Tuesday Thoughts: Things Do Not Happen. Things Are Made To Happen.

Things do not happen, things are made to happen “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” -JFK

I’m very lucky, but most of my luck comes from plain ol’ hard work. There’s no secret powers, juices or potions. (Although I totally wish there were!) If there’s something you want, I hope you know with really hard work and perseverance, you can make it happen. We both can.

Happy Tuesday!


A Small Life Book Club: Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life


This month I read Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life. I “read” this book via audiobook. That may have colored my review. In this case, I enjoyed the reader’s voice. It was authoritative, yet personal– like a good chat with a long-time friend.

The first part of this book shared Josh and Ryan’s journey to minimalism. While I found that part relatable and quasi-interesting, I enjoyed the second part of the book much more. The second part of the book describes the five dimensions of living a meaningful life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

I must admit, I have an easy time with the “stuff” aspect of minimalism. I love throwing stuff away. And I love a clean, sparse space. The “stuff” that I hold onto is mostly mental stuff. I get really caught up in the day-to-day junk that doesn’t add value to my life. This book helped me to reflect on what’s truly important and a little more difficult– the mental part of minimalism.

I did enjoy this book. It was a quick, worthwhile read, but I did have a few bones to pick. I think an issue with much of minimalism writing is that it is written by people who once made a great deal of money. The authors do admit they were once in debt, but they also had six figure incomes. Once you start exchanging unimportant large expenses for smaller ones, like a mortgage on a large house for rent in an inexpensive apartment, you’ll be able to cut expenses incredibly quickly. With a six figure income, you’ll get out of debt quickly and you’ll be able to save quickly. For most people, it’s not so easy. I wanted strategies for sustaining minimalism. What do I do when minimalism gets really hard? It often does. How do I contribute to my health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution when I have little time for myself? Not everyone can quit their full-time jobs. I want to hear from those single moms who found minimalism!

Maybe I need to write the answer. Maybe “Minimalism for busy people” will be my next book? :)

Have you read Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life? What strategies do you have for sustaining your minimalist lifestyle? Let me know in the comments.


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Link Love: 50

Link Love Link Love is 50! 50 posts old! I hope you read that as Sally O’Malley. There’s some good stuff out there and I’m bringing it!

Our story was featured on a French site this week! (If you don’t speak French, you can translate it with Google Chrome.)

Did you know the CEO of Zappos lives in an Airstream in a trailer park?! Great minds think alike, folks.

“There is NOTHING more cleansing than throwing shit out.” YES, YES, YES.

Let’s all take mystery trips with our best friends! (Best friends, if you are reading, I am so down!)

What $1,500 a month in rent would get you in cities around the world.

These modern murals are insane. I love the flamingo.

This 11 foot wide home is LOVELY.

Sage Tidbits of Cleaning Advice I Learned from the Shakers.

Geneva makes a plain t-shirt into a classy halter top. I love this tutorial, usually cutting up t-shirts turns into a hot mess. This is so much classier.

5 ways to pay yourself first.

How hard are you trying, really. I love this one. Sometimes I am truly trying hard, but there’s other times where I just tell myself I’m trying hard. Ooops.

Don’t forget, on Monday we’ll be discussing Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life.* It’s a short read, so if you haven’t read it yet, you still have time.

This guy lives in a “teeny” house in the city with no bills, no debt and no waste. I can’t help but think it’d be easier to do in sunny, mild San Diego, but it’s definitively admirable and aspirational.

Did you find anything interesting this week? Talk to me in the comments!


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