Author Archives: melanie

About melanie

living a small, lovely life in an airstream trailer.

The Minimalist Challenge: Days 8, 9, 10

minimalist challenge 8,9,10

After week one, it became harder to find things to get rid of for the Minimalist Challenge. I did find some weird random stuff that I could live without and some clothing that I didn’t really need. One of the hardest part of this challenge is living with someone who loves to keep stuff (ahem, my lovely husband, cough cough). You know, “in case we need it one day.” Newsflash: We never need it one day. I’ve mostly been getting rid of my stuff to sell, donate or trash, but it’s going to get really difficult when I get to Day 20. My lovely husband is going to have to part with some junk! (And he isn’t going to like it!)

8 from top going clockwise: Empty box of Scotch Brite (whyyyyyy?!), tank tops, almost empty greased lightening, water bottle, olive oil container, magnetic notebook, broken carabiner, 1/2 empty Shout (poured it into the other 1/2 empty bottle of Shout)

9: 9 articles of clothing

10 from top left: damaged paper plates, old knife, peanut butter, broken lid, 2 basting brushes, knife sharpener (already have one), 3 DVDs

How do you deal with a hoarder in the family? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

Love Weekends: To-Do List

Cleaning the AirstreamI’ve had certain things on my master to-do list for about a year. Talk about procrastination. This weekend I finally got the motivation to accomplish a few of the bigger tasks including major cleaning and taking quality pictures of the Airstream! I’m hoping to do before and after posts at the end of this month.

Because…. drum roll… The end of this month will be our year anniversary living in the tin can! Can you believe it?! I put together a little seasons in the Airstream collage and it was so gratifying.

An Airstream throughout 4 seasonsBrussel sprouts ravaged by wormsPulling up the Brussels sprouts in my garden was not so gratifying. Worms got to them even though I took pesticide precautions. Oh well.

My Desk in the Airstream

I also finally framed this print! I’ve had it for over a year and never got around to framing it. Yikes. George also got in on the to-do list action and built me a nice, little desk so I can get some more work done!

Even though I’m physically exhausted, I feel more energized than I have in a long time. Weird how that works.

Was your holiday weekend productive or restful? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: Use Little Reminders to Encourage Saving Money

I wrapped a picture of this little cottage around my credit and debit cards. It's kind of my dream house! Found via Tumble Weed Houses.

I wrapped a picture of this little cottage around my credit and debit cards. It’s kind of my dream house! Found via Tumble Weed Houses.

One of my favorite tips for long-term saving is to keep little reminders of my savings goals in convenient places. When I was saving for our trip to Key West, I wrapped a picture of the beach around my debit and credit card to guilt me into spending less.

Just yesterday, I printed out a picture of a small home and wrapped it around my cards to remind me of my savings end goal. Since saving for a home is such a large goal, I want to create constant reminders to help me stay on the savings bandwagon.

I’ve changed my computer’s background image to a picture of the mountains– where we’d love to have a little cottage (or cabin!). And I also love this idea via Two Cents of creating a paper chain to represent debt. Each time $100 is paid off, a link is removed. I don’t have the room for a giant paper chain in the Airstream, but I’m brainstorming ways to visually remind myself of my ultimate goal of owning a house.

Have you ever created little reminders to help you reach a goal? Let me know about it in the comments!

love (and happy 4th!),
melanie

The Minimalist Challenge: Week 1

Minimalist Challenge Week 1Have you all heard of the minimalist challenge? Starting on day 1, you get rid of 1 thing, on day 2, 2 things, day 3, 3 things and so on. I learned about it from my fellow blogger, Anna Newell Jones from And Then We Saved. That girl is a financial rockstar.

I knew that the challenge would be extra hard for me since I got rid of a lot before I moved into the Airstream. But, the Airstream has been feeling a little cramped lately and I love a good purge.

This first week was easy, but it reminded me that I definitely need to clean out my medicine cabinet more often. I had medication stored in there that was 8 years old! How embarrassing!

Here’s what I got rid of (or plan to sell)

1. Old beach hat
2. 2 contact lens cases (Don’t need those anymore!)
3. Eye makeup tattoos and nail art wraps (A gift that was too weird for me) & a nail scrubbie
4. Library books (not actually getting rid of these, but I need to return them!)
5. Old medications (3), a small plastic bag and a linen bag
6. Old medications (6) and a glasses bag
7. Fake pair of glasses from Halloween, a cap to makeup I already used, a tank top I don’t wear, a flashlight case and rusty lids from canning jars (3)

Do you love a good purge like I do? Or does minimalism scare you (like it does my husband!)?

Talk to me in the comments!

love,
melanie

Love Weekends: A Little Alone Time

lake duskGeorge has been away for work since Wednesday, so I’ve been spending a lot of quality alone time with myself. Not in a depressing way, I quite enjoy being alone. I’ve listened to music that George hates (electronic, dance) and watched TV shows and musicals that George hates (Downtown Abbey and Fiddler on the Roof.) I’ve had quite a good time, actually.

I actually had time to take a walk around a gorgeous, local lake. I saw a heron in flight! And I dog-watched. I’ve been a bit of a crazy pet lady lately.heron over lake lakeI wasn’t totally alone all weekend. I celebrated a friend’s birthday on Saturday and I, of course, talked to my plants. I’m becoming a crazy garden lady too.

sunflowers

My ladies!banana peppers and zucchini

I cannot even express how proud I am to actually have grown something. It may sound like I’m exaggerating, but I seriously consider having a producing garden to be one of my biggest achievements in life. reading on kindle

I also had time to finish the Divergent series. I’m a little disappointed in how it ended, but I’m a little disappointed in the end of most YA novels.

Although I accomplished so much this weekend, I now can’t wait until George gets back. I’m actually starting to really miss him. And even though I get much less accomplished when he’s around, he’s a welcome distraction.

What did you do this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

 

Frugal Friday: The Sunk Cost Fallacy

Me, trying to look buff.

Me, trying to look buff.

Have you ever heard of the sunk cost fallacy? Well, it’s pretty much the only thing I remember from my management class. They never taught us to be understanding or thoughtful or to have regular meetings with our staff. That totally would have been helpful.

Anyway, the sunk cost fallacy is literally the only thing I remember from that class because it pretty much blew my mind. The blog, “You are not so smart” describes the sunk cost fallacy best: “Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it”– even if it is unprofitable.  And often times those emotional investments are tied to other investments (i.e. money!).

I’ve been thinking a lot about the sunk cost fallacy and how it relates to my money. Are there certain things that I’m sinking my money into because it is emotionally too hard to abandon? In particular I’ve been thinking about my gym membership. I enjoy my gym, but I don’t go nearly as often as I should and I’m not sure if it is worth the money each month. On the other hand, I’m having a hard time letting go. I want to be that fit person at 6:00 in the morning lifting those dumbbells and glistening (not sweating!) to the oldies. Am I once again falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy?

Do you ever find yourself battling with the sunk cost fallacy? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

love,
melanie

How to Make Beeswax Candles

beeswax candle DIYDid you know that beeswax candles are honey hole full of benefits? Ok, that pun was forced. But seriously, beeswax candles can help with allergies, have calming benefits and burn slower and cleaner than paraffin candles. I’ve even heard that beeswax candles give off negative ions that actually purify the air. I also love the scent of beeswax candles.

In elementary school we went to visit the town of Old Salem, a living history town that depict Moravian life in the 18th and 19th century. Well, one guy, dressed in his period-correct finery, was pouring candles. Even as an elementary schooler, I thought that was pretty cool and I bought one. My parents didn’t let me play with matches, so I ended up just smelling the unlit candle like a weirdo. But I’m still obsessed with the natural scent of beeswax candles.

Anyway, I know that beeswax candles are one of those things that I can make cheaper than I can buy. So I did just that. It took me a couple of tries to perfect the process, but here’s how to make beeswax candles.

Supplies

glue wicksGlue your wicks to the bottom of the jars. The glue helps the wick to stay in place during the pouring process. Let dry, then trim the wicks to slightly longer than the desired length. (I didn’t do that and regretted it later.) Pour your pellets and coconut oil into the pitcher. 1/2 pound of pellets makes about a 1 pint jar candle. Fill large pot of water 1/4 of the way full of water.

candle making pitcherPut the candle making pitcher in the water. It might float a bit. That’s ok. Stir until the wax is melted.

candle coolingAs the wax is melting either heat up your oven on low or prepare a bowl of warm water and put your jars in it to cool the candles. I did both and both methods worked. The addition of coconut oil and the intricate cooling process ensures that the candles don’t crack. The coconut oil also gives the candles a lovely baby yellow hue.

beeswax candles coolingWhen wax is fully melted pour carefully into jars to not disturb the wick.

candles covered in tinfoilIf using the water cooling method, cover in candles in tinfoil. If using the oven method, turn the oven off and let the candles cool inside.

We just made beeswax candles! All my childhood dreams are coming true! Also, wouldn’t these make great gifts?!

Have you ever tried candle making? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie