Author Archives: melanie

About melanie

living a small and dreaming big in an airstream trailer.

Love Weekends: Fall Break

Mom! Stop cleaning so you can play with me. Oiy. Such a needy one.

Mom! Stop cleaning so you can play with me. Oiy. Such a needy one.

eggsI’ve been a little light on posting lately. To be honest I needed a little brain break. George and I had planned to go to the mountains this past weekend, but it just didn’t happen. There’s always something to do around the ol’ Airstream that seems much more important than having fun. Le sigh. Most of the weekend consisted of grown up activities like grocery shopping, dishes doing, breakfast cooking and fall cleaning. Is that a thing?

potatoesOh yeah, being an adult means lots of napping too.

How was your weekend? Let me know in the comments!


Link Love: 10

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111.jpgPut a dollar value on goals to make them more actionable. In other words, make goals SMART, duh!

Fool Proof Me
“The FoolProof program is a highly interactive, self-grading group of online lessons called “modules.” The modules teach young people about money, financial responsibility and the realities of the free enterprise system.”

Questions to help you decide whether to save or pay off debt

A better way to calculate the value of your time

3 jobs, plenty of dreams and the fatal consequences of one dangerous decision
This story hit home. HARD. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slept in my car at lunch. The system is broken. Period.

World-Catching Tiny House Movement (Infographic!)

Tiny houses for rent
Kind of defeats the purpose for me, but they’re cute.

The simple life in a dumpster

The Sealander
It’s a boat, no, it’s a camping trailer, no, it’s a Sealander!

And for fun… Yoga with Adriene.
Since I’ve cancelled my expensive gym membership, I’ve been trying to work out more at home. Yoga with Adriene is my favorite.

It’s almost the weekend, ya’ll!


Love Weekends: Of Flea Markets and Friends

flea marketDoes anyone else feel like October – January 1 is a whirlwind? It’s my busiest season, for sure. Only one more day in September, then we’re racing to the year’s finish line. And no surprise here, I’m already behind on work, blogging and… well… life. Because someone over commits. (This girl.)

In true over commitment fashion, this weekend we set up at the flea market. We occasionally will set up to sell some stuff and make a little cash. (Here’s my tips on how to sell at flea markets here.) I love purging out closets and this time my mom gave me a few things to sell, as well, since we’ve mostly rid ourselves of worldly possessions :)

We made a couple of bucks. Nothing spectacular, but every little bit counts.

wild and precious lifeOn Sunday we had planned to just get our shiznit together. Clean around the house, make lunches, prepare for the week, etc. But that plan was foiled when we discovered some old friends were in town.

My “organizer” personality was freaking out a bit, but I’m so glad we ditched everything to catch up with friends. One of those old friends had recently been in a motorcycle accident and it really reminded me to live for today. At the end of my life I won’t say, “Well, I wish I had cleaned my house more.”

Are we getting too deep for a Tuesday? Maybe. But Fall Break is this week and I’m taking next Monday off to just live life.

I hope you have the best of weeks!


Frugal Friday: 101 Free or Cheap Things to Do This Fall

rp_101-free-or-cheap-things-to-do-this-fall-1024x679.jpgSo you guys, this is a total cop-out. I totally jumped the gun on the fall thing and published this post way too early, but you know what? I’m posting it again because this week homegirl is tired. And now it really feels like fall. Here we go again, ya’ll.

This post was originally published in July of 2014.

“You guys. Fall is almost here. Target has put out their insanely large, insanely cute display of Back to School supplies. I’m trying desperately to stay away from it. I’m also preparing to teach a course this fall. So crazy. Feel free to refer to me as “professor.”

I’m also still on this saving money kick, but it hasn’t been much fun. I’m the kind of person who needs something to look forward to– like a trip! Since a trip is out of my budgetary reach and the summer is almost over (boo!), I created a list of free or cheap things to do this fall. I hope it will keep my spirits up, give me me something to look forward to and maybe even get you inspired and excited for fall?!

  1. Set some fun fall goals
  2. Donate school supplies to a child in need
  3. Volunteer
  4. Donate your gently-used winter coats to someone in need
  5. Enroll in a class at your local community college
  6. Take a hike
  7. Admire the foliage
  8. Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice in your morning coffee
  9. Get up early to admire the sunrise
  10. Learn to knit!
  11. Get an early start on making Holiday gifts
  12. Host a pot-luck Friendsgiving (a Thanksgiving with friends)
  13. Put pumpkin in everything!
  14. Visit a pumpkin patch (or do what my mom did and tell us we are visiting a pumpkin patch, but really just go to the grocery store and play on the pumpkin display)
  15. Go on a hay ride
  16. Visit a corn maze
  17. Carve pumpkins
  18. Don’t forget to roast the seeds!
  19. Rake the leaves
  20. Jump in the leaves!
  21. Winterize your home (or your Airstream!)
  22. Visit the library and check out Autumn-themed books
  23. Bake a pumpkin pie
  24. Share the pie with your neighbor
  25. Camp in your own backyard
  26. Chop wood
  27. Find the perfect walking stick
  28. Build a fire pit
  29. Make hobo packets
  30. Roast marshmallows
  31. Tell ghost stories
  32. Enjoy a pumpkin beer
  33. Go on a bike ride
  34. Go on a fall-themed picnic
  35. Learn to can vegetables
  36. Plant winter veggies
  37. Or plant bulbs for next spring
  38. Do lots of autumn-themed crafts
  39. Donate or sell the summer clothing that you didn’t wear
  40. Pear down your winter wardrobe
  41. Host a clothing swap
  42. Or swap online on Swapdom
  43. Sell your wares at a flea market
  44. Go apple picking
  45. Bob for apples
  46. Make candy apples
  47. Learn to make apple cider or jam
  48. Pop popcorn and drizzle it in caramel
  49. Drink hot apple cider
  50. Drink hot chocolate
  51. Break out your crock-pot
  52. Make pumpkin chili!
  53. Don’t forget the cornbread!
  54. Eat your weight in fall veggies– squash and Brussels sprouts and cabbage, oh my!
  55. Get excited for fall fashion
  56. Break out the flannel
  57. Pull on those wool socks
  58. Don’t worry about bad hair days, just put on a beanie!
  59. If you are a lady, pull on those thick tights (and don’t worry about shaving your legs!)
  60. If you are a dude, grow a beard!
  61. Cuddle up in your oldest sweatshirt
  62. Wrap up in warm blankets
  63. Watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  64. And A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  65. Go to bed earlier
  66. Visit the fair or a fall festival (save money with these tips)
  67. Host a Halloween party
  68. Make your own Halloween costume and challenge yourself to use only stuff you can find around the house
  69. Dress up your pet!
  70. Craft creepy snacks like this Slimer Smoothie
  71. DIY candy
  72. Watch your favorite scary movie with a friend
  73. Read scary stories under the cover with a flashlight
  74. Listen to the Halloween station on Pandora
  75. Make spiced nuts
  76. Slurp on some soup and grill up an old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich
  77. Make beeswax candles
  78. Discover your local farmer’s market
  79. Slowly sip a cup of hot tea
  80. Pretend that you like candy corn
  81. Discover the real meaning of Thanksgiving
  82. Be more grateful by creating a gratitude journal
  83. Make turkey hands! They’re still fun, even when you’re almost 30!
  84. Simply sit outside and enjoy the cool weather
  85. Join a local foraging group and forage for wild edibles
  86. Make acorn soup
  87. Or mushroom soup from the forage
  88. Make real cranberry sauce and put it on french toast!
  89. Pour maple syrup on everything!
  90. Enjoy the Harvest Moon on September 8th
  91. Invite your friends over and create fall-themed cocktails
  92. Make a pine cone bird feeder and keep those birds fed all winter
  93. Paint your nails an autumn-colored hue
  94. Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos and honor your deceased loved ones
  95. Break out the board games and your favorite jammies
  96. Give your mum some mums!
  97. Attend a high school football game
  98. Join a sports program for adults
  99. Participate in a zombie crawl
  100. Or a Turkey Trot for charity
  101. Take lots of pictures to document your memories!

Are you ready for fall? I’m feeling a little more ready and hopeful after this list.

What are your favorite fall-themed free activities? Let me know in the comments!



Link Love: 9

rp_Link-Love-1024x10241111.jpgDebt traps that keep you living paycheck to paycheck.

Don’t hide behind my rules, you have one priority.
A kick in the pants article about how to save money. Here’s the key: prioritize and question basic assumptions. YES. YES. YES.

My July spending diet update is up on And Then We Saved.

Life in a tiny apartment.
Really great article about being more than the sum of our possessions.

For a more ordered life, organize like a chef.
Mise en place for lyfe. It’s why I keep tweezers to pluck my eyebrows in the car.

How Chris McCandless (of Into the Wild fame) died.

Tiny homes can mean big lifestyle squeeze.
Duh. They aren’t for the faint of heart, ya’ll.

Want to be a morning person? Take a few tips from campers.
Best sleep study ever.

I’ve been on the hunt for craft that don’t look crafty for holiday gifts. Yes, I am already planning my holiday gifts. (Insane) planners unite! (And follow my craft Pinterest board here.)

What goodies have you found this week? Let me know in the comments!



Mama’s Famous Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread2So my mom’s famous chocolate chip banana bread is actually from a recipe! She does make a few tweaks to the recipe (like the addition of chocolate chips!!!) and she uses honey instead of brown sugar for a moist bread. I gotta give the woman some credit. She also has a secret trick–after she butters the loaf pan, she dusts a little sugar on pan so when baked, the outside of the bread has a sugary crunch. So good.

Chocolate Chip Banana BreadThis bread takes me back. Way back. I’ve been eating this bread since I was a wee thing. Home to me smells like freshly baked banana bread. Unfortunately, I don’t eat it now because of the wheat, but I love giving it as a gift. A small loaf of bread is such a good gift, don’t you agree? This is also a great recipe to use up those too brown bananas. It’s super versatile, ya’ll.

This recipe makes two small loafs or one large loaf.

Banana bread recipeNotes: Try honey instead of brown sugar, add 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of nuts and make sure to dust that pan with sugar! We don’t want to be too healthy :)

Do you have recipes that remind you of home? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!




The Airstream Diaries: Where’s the TV?!

This is my tv/computer!

This is my TV/computer!

On the blog I don’t get asked this question much, but whenever we have relatives or friends come over to the Airstream, we always get asked “Where’s the TV?” Well, folks, when we decided to pare down everything we owned, the TV didn’t rank high on the list. I haven’t had cable television in almost 10 years and George actually grew up without cable so we’ve been doing without it for quite a while. We had a television in our apartment before (just no cable), so when we moved into the Airstream we gave it to George’s parents.

I’ve never really missed TV and if I get the urge to watch it, I’ll just head over to Hulu or use my Amazon Prime subscription to watch some of their Instant TV or movies on my computer. I’m also an incredibly boring person who doesn’t enjoy sports and would much rather watch Antiques Roadshow. That helps too when deciding to cut the cord.

I think cutting cable is a growing trend among young people. Most of my friends don’t have cable anymore either! It’s a great way to save a little bit of dough each month too!

Thinking about cutting the cord? I’ve written about it before. It’s a great way to minimize distractions and stress too! Here’s some tips on how to live without it.

Do you have a TV or cable? Let me know in the comments!